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Discuss Triadic Heart & Kashmir Shaivism in general

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I am reading the text, The Triadic Heart of Shiva and wanted to start a post to discuss generally about this text or the Kashmir Shaivism concepts in general with those that are interested.  This is not intended as a verse by verse or even strictly sequential study of the text.  Just planning on  picking some key & relevant sentences or paragraphs from different portions of the book that are of interest (as sequentially as possible).  Comments are welcome, as are other relevant quotes from this or other KS (or even vedantic) texts, as long as they are relevant to the discussion at that point and to the topic.  The thread is also not restricted to just KS or one tradition.  Cross tradition (or religious) comments and comparisons are welcome, as long as they are relevant to the discussion at that point and to the topic.  A URL link for the text, 'The Triadic Heart of Shiva' is given at the end of this post as reference for anyone to check and participate in the discussion.



Since the entire text is about the Triadic Heart of Shiva, I will start the discussion with "What is the Heart?" .  The text in italics are quotes from the book.  My comments in-between quotes are within parenthesis.  This section starts talking about what Heart meant in scriptures prior to the Kashmir Shaivism.   The heart discussed anywhere here (before or after KS) is not the physical organ heart and this is clearly stated on the text.


"The Symbol of the Heart in India Prior to Abhinavagupta"

"There is little question regarding the antiquity of the Heart as a religious
symbol in India. This chapter will review briefly the history of this
symbol beginning with its appearance in the Vedic Samhita-s. While such
a cursory examination cannot do full justice to the concept of the Heart
prior to Abhinavagupta, this textual review will essentially serve to introduce
the symbol of the Heart, and to lead us into its appearance in the non-dual
Kashmir Shaiva texts. The richness of the symbol even in these early
environments is profound.


A historical sketch of the symbol of the Heart must begin with the

The Vedic terms for Heart, hrd and hrdaya, occur close to a hundred
times in the Rg Veda. 


(What is Heart?  - From Vedas)

1. "the heart is the organ with which one is able to see what is denied to
the physical eye." 
2. "the heart is the organ by means of which one comes into touch with
the Gods. " 
3. "It is the heart which enables a human being to penetrate into deep
secrets and mysteries." 
4. "It is in or by the heart that visions are fashioned into words." 
5. "The process which the visions undergo in the heart is . . . explicitly
described as a purification or clarification." 
6. "The soma juices which are drunk by the officiants are believed to be
in their 'hearts'." 
7. "By finding, with or in the heart, the light of higher insight and contact
with the transcendent one becomes an all-seeing rsi." 
8. "The inspired seers who are characterized by 'vision' (dhih) watch or
conceal, or what is most probable, pay heed to the god who is not subject
to decay with (in) their heart." 
9. "The 'clarified butter' (ghrta) of the liturgical word which the gods
produce from the seer flow from the ocean in the heart." 
10. "The liturgical words of the poets are on the other hand repeatedly said
to come to the heart of a god and are expected to stay there. The hymn
of praise is hence described as hrdisprj - 'touching (the god's) heart'." 
11. "... The repeated communication that the poet bears the soma in his
12. "It is expedient to remember that the terms denoting [the Heart], in
the ancient languages were not used with any anatomical precision.
Words for 'heart' or their derivatives were on the one hand frequently
used also for 'middle or centre' and even for the 'bowels', and on the
other hand, employed to denote a variety of emotions the seat of which
was thought to be 'in the heart'." 


"it seems clear that the Heart functions as an important cosmological locale: it is
in the Heart that existence and nonexistence are linked."


Please refer to the text, Triadic Heart of Shiva in this URL:


Any discussions on heart, or any of the text from these passages are welcome.  On the next post from the book, I am planning on quoting some interesting verses about Heart from Upanishads, from the Chapter 3 of the book.

Note:  I created this topic originally in TDB (The Dao Bums) forums.  Some replies and quotes are also copied from there.

Edited by Siva

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(Heart & how it relates to Atman the Self- from Various Upanishads)


The Triadic Heart of Shiva.


"The Chandogya Upanisad, also a very early text, tells us (ChU
3.12.4, 7-9):

Verily, what the body in man is, that is the same as what the heart within man
here is; for on it these vital breaths are established. They do not extend beyond
it.  Verily, what is called brahman - that is the same as what the space outside
of a person is. Verily, what the space outside of a person is - that is the same
as what the space within a person is - that is the same as what the space here

within the heart is. That is the Full, the Non-active. Full, non-active prosperity
he obtains who knows this. 

References to the Heart in these passages show how closely bound the
Heart is to one of the central teachings of the Upanisad-s - namely, the
teaching of the atman."



"In the Katha Upanisad (6.6-9) we encounter an important new dimen-
sion in the teaching about the Heart. This text mentions the Heart not
only as the abode of the atman, but also as the instrument by which the
atman comes to be known
. In a well-known passage from this Upanisad,
the senses, mind, true being, intellect, the unmanifest and the purusa are
compared, and each is set on a respectively higher level. 36 We are told
that the purusa, which is all-pervading and without any distinctive mark,
confers liberation and immortality when known."



"A similar and perhaps even clearer statement in the Svetasvatara
 (4.17) points out the nature of the Heart: it is the place where
the atman resides as well as the instrument by which reality comes to
be known.

More minute than the minute, greater than the great is the Soul atman that
is set in the heart of creatures here. 

That god, the All-Worker, the Great Soul (mahatman) ever seated in the Heart
of creatures, is framed by the Heart, by the thought, by the mind. They who
know that become immortal. "


"Significantly, in this passage we encounter the God (deva) who is the
Great Soul placed in the Heart, whereas in the Katha Upanisad we find
reference to the more impersonal universal Self. At the end of the Katha
(6.16-17) a final statement appears which is designed to bring the inquiring
Naciketas to salvation.

There are a hundred and one channels of the Heart. One of these passes up to
the crown of the head. Going up by it, one goes to immortality. The others
are for departing in various directions. A person of the measure of a thumb
is the inner soul (antaratman) ever seated in the heart of creatures."



"The Taittiriya (1.6.1) adds:
This space that is within the Heart - therein is the person, consisting of mind,
immortal, resplendent. "


"It is in the Mundaka (2.2.8) that we first hear about the knot of the
Heart (hrdaya-granthi). This is the knot which must be loosened in order
to achieve salvation
The knot of the Heart is loosened, all doubts are cut off, and one's deeds cease
when he is seen - both the higher and the lower. "


"Finally, several powerful passages occur in the Maitri that identify
the limitless brahman with the unlimited and unborn atman. We are
told that (6.18):
His is that shining form which gives heat in yonder sun and which is the brilliant
light in a smokeless fire, as also the fire in the stomach which cooks food. For
thus it has been said: he who is in the fire, and he who is here in the Heart, and
he who is yonder in the sun - he is One. 

In the Maitri we also encounter several of Siva's names applied to the
atman within the Heart 
He, truly, indeed, is the Self (atman) within the heart, very subtle, kindled like
fire, assuming all forms. This whole world is his food. On Him creatures here
are woven. He is the Self, which is free from evil, ageless, deathless, sorrowless,
free from uncertainty, free from fetters, whose conception is real, whose desire
is real. He is the Supreme Lord. He is the ruler of beings. He is the protector
of beings. This Soul, assuredly, indeed, is Harm, Sambhu, Bhava, Rudra. "  - The Triadic Heart of Shiva.



Really  interesting to note that the Heart is linked to Shiva even in the Upanishads before the Kashmir Shaivism, as shown from the Maitri text just above.  Next, I will post very briefly about the Heart from Yoga sutras from the same chapter 3, before proceeding to the Abhivanagupta's and the KS definition of Heart.  Discussions welcome.

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