Kashmir Shaivism

The Eastern mysteries of Creation, a science of enlightenment

What is Kashmir Shaivism?

Kashmir Shaivism is a complete path of initiation that provides everything needed to reach spiritual realisation. At the essence of this elevated path is Shiva.

It offers you fundamental keys for awakening the soul, for understanding deeper and deeper who you truly are, until finally revealing the ultimate Self – in the here and now.

Kashmir Shaivism is considered one of the most elevated forms of yoga and Tantrism; as it penetrates straight to the core of spiritual knowledge, and dives deep into esoteric principles from the outset.

Kashmir Shaivism provides an understanding of living in full awareness of your true Self, by:

  • Gaining an understanding of the universe and its building blocks, or the tattvas, and how consciousness unfolds within it, thereby coming to understand our place and role within the universe
  • Obtaining an overview of the four fundamental paths of spiritual evolution, identifying where you are on this journey, and how best to accelerate your transformation
  • Studying ancient spiritual texts in-depth, and how to apply the teachings in daily life
  • Learning methods to reach spiritual enlightenment according to your current level of consciousness (e.g. meditation techniques, methods based on aesthetic experiences, methods based on breath, external objects, etc)

Where even suffering is transformed into joy, where even poison becomes nectar, where the world itself is a way of liberation, there is the way of Siva!

Utpaladeva

What makes our Kashmir Shaivism course special?

Tara is the only school in the UK offering an ongoing course on the esoteric teachings of Kashmir Shaivism. Founded over 25 years ago, this course is also attended by thousands of practitioners throughout Europe in our sister schools.

Traditionally, a deep understanding and practical use of the principles and techniques taught in Kashmir Shaivism required a high level of consciousness and spiritual preparation in its students. While this might make it seem inaccessible to many, in our course, we bring the profound esoteric teachings forward in an accessible and practical way for modern day life, so that it is still possible to benefit from the invaluable insights of this tradition.

Why Shiva?

Who is it for?

This tradition attracts those who aspire to have an open and awakened heart, an open and creative mind, a pure, honest and curious nature, who wish to discover the essence of themselves and of everything, and who have a thirst for knowledge and self-knowledge.

1
People who wish to dive into the depths of spiritual knowledge

People who are interested in studying the ancient texts and their insights, in understanding the core principles of the universe, and answering the fundamental existential questions such as “Who am I?”.

2
Serious spiritual seekers

People who wish to accelerate their spiritual growth & development, to learn techniques & methods revealed by ancient secret lineages, and to reach the highest spiritual accomplishment.

3
People who have a questioning intellect

Those who are not satisfied with simplified answers, who want to know the depth of the truth, to wrestle with greater notions, and who are curious to know more and more.

What you will learn

This course is the study of Advaita Shaivism as it was known and practised in Kashmir. The fundamental aspects of this unique spiritual tradition will be gradually revealed

  • The mysteries of the 36 essential aspects of manifestation – the tattvas
  • Tools to awaken the soul through beauty, objective art, purifying of emotions (rasas), the enneagram
  • Initiatory and practical study of fundamental Kashmir Shaivism treatises, such as Shiva Sutra, Spanda Karika, Vijnana Bhairava Tantra etc.
    • Secrets of the 3 (+1) essential paths to spiritual liberation:
    • the path of the Limited Being — Anavopaya
    • the path of the Deifying Energy — Shaktopaya
    • the path of Shiva — Shambavopaya
    • the Supreme Path, or the Path without steps — Anupaya
  • Spirituality in daily life
  • A special initiation in Sri Vidya esotericism; the mantras of the 15 nityas of the Great Cosmic Power Tripura Sundari
  • Methods to awaken Consciousness
  • The mysteries of the phonemic godly energies of the creative godly Logos
  • Full revelation, from an efficient, practical perspective, of the 112 major direct methods of enlightenment contained in the esoteric treatise Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, which confer the revelation of the Immortal Supreme Self, Atman, and ecstatic, complete union with God

Some initiations will be given as a result of passing optional written tests. On passing such tests you can receive the following initiations:

  • Kshurika mantra: a mantra that is specific to the Shaivism tradition for opening brahmarandhra, bestowing the ability to instantly transcend the limited individual condition, as well as to practise the secret method of the “transfer of consciousness”, known as Phowa in Tibetan tradition
  • Maithuna – a secret erotic Tantric procedure
  • Secret spiritual methods comprised in the famous work Sundaryalahari
  • The mantra of the complete transcending of all limitations inherent to the common human condition, as well as of individual karma
  • The spiritual traditional ceremony of adoration of Shiva
  • Secret mantras for awakening the three essential hypostases of the formidable power of the Shiva lingam

What a class looks like

Classes will include a mixture of both presentations and meditations. The presentations will explore the authentic spiritual texts of the tradition, with references and parallels to our current era being made. The meditations will focus on awakening particular states, energies or aspects in connection with the lesson’s topic, such as boundless aspiration, or the awakening of the soul etc. By combining both the intellectual and experiential forms of knowledge- you will gain the spiritual insight and impulses to bring the principles into your everyday life.

There will also be the chance to ask questions, to discuss ways to apply these teachings in everyday life, and to share insights and experiences. At the end of the class, you will be given a handout of the notes in connection with the topic of the class.

Key information

2 – 2.5 hour class every two weeks, combining knowledge and practice

Structured lessons with course notes given after each class

Teachers with +7 years experience of personal practice, available for personal questions & support

Ongoing course (no end date) – continue for as long as you choose to

Our courses are now closed to newcomers. New courses will open in the Autumn.
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FAQs

How long is the course?
We see personal evolution as a continuous process, so our courses continue for as long as you wish to keep learning! Some students continue for a few months, while many attend classes for years. If you ask a Tara student, ‘What year are you in?’ you might hear them reply, ‘2nd year’, ‘4th year’, ‘7th year’ or even more! New lessons every week include tools and practices that allow your ever-expanding knowledge to be integrated into daily life.
Do I need to commit to a year or even the rest of my life?!
No, you can come for as long as you feel the course continues to fuel your curiosity, growth and self-discovery. With our Try Tara pass you can try all our courses for four consecutive weeks. After that, there is a monthly membership for the courses you wish to continue, that can be cancelled at any time – no strings attached! 
Is this a religious course?
No. Tara is not affiliated with any religion. We focus on the spiritual principles that are common to all spiritual traditions, so you will hear references being made to a wide range of different spiritual traditions.
Does it matter if I am religious/atheist/unsure?
No, we welcome people of all beliefs and affiliations.
 
Due to the common principles that are shared across religions, students of a particular faith often find that the tools and knowledge taught in our courses help them go much deeper into their current practices. 

Also, with the down-to-earth wisdom of our teachings, there is something for everyone to apply in their life for more fulfilment and meaning – whether you believe in ‘something’ or not.
How fast will I see results? 
That is very specific to the individual – everyone has their specific affinities and limitations that affect how fast they transform, as well as the type of transformation they experience. However, by practising frequently – even every day – with an attitude of open curiosity, enthusiasm and optimism, and by being attentive to the transformations that manifest in your life, you will see results much faster than if you practise only in class, or without the inner attitude.
What support is there?
Firstly, your teachers, who are available to answer questions, and give specific advice or guidance. You will also be in a class of others who are embarking on a journey not identical, but similar to your own. Students often become friends and companions, and support each other on many levels. 

Secondly, the extensive resource of the course notes which are handed out at the end of each class, as well as our large spiritual library.

Finally, we are a strong spiritual community. Tara has been running in the UK for over 20 years. There are many teachers and students with a wealth of experience, who have seen peaks and troughs on their own spiritual paths as well as on other’s. Such a community provides a strong backbone under which all students – new and old – can grow and flourish. 
Sounds daunting. What if I don’t feel ready?
Our advice – try! Try something. Our 4 week Try Tara pass allows you to try all the courses for only £35. So you can attend the courses for a few weeks to get a feel of whether they are right for you. 

If you would like to attend just one class, you can do so for £15 in London, and £13 in Oxford or Manchester. You can buy a single class four times before choosing if you’d like to join or not. For the best price, we recommend the Try Tara Pass.  
Is this course suitable for beginners?
Yes. Even though this is one of the most comprehensive Yoga courses you will find, it starts from the very beginning. No knowledge or experience is assumed. Given the esoteric nature of the teachings, it is anyway new for most people. We often have beginners and experienced yogis together harmoniously in the same class. 
I can’t attend the course from the very beginning, can I join later or do I have to wait until next year? 
It’s best if you can start the course from the beginning so that you have a solid foundation for the lessons as you progress through the course. 

However, the courses remain open to new students for some weeks, so it is possible to join later if necessary.
If you join later, you can catch up by reading the course notes from previous classes, asking the teachers questions, and we run catch-up sessions from time to time. There is also the option, as part of your membership, to repeat the weeks missed from the first year without extra payment if you continue into year 2.
Will I do Yoga?
No, the classes focus on meditation. You will be given homework to do at home such as becoming aware of certain aspects or practicing a meditation.