Techniques of Transmission in Kashmir Saivism

by Lilian Silburn

Based on the works of Abhinavagupta (AD 950–1016)

Siva seated, statue

Table of Contents

Originally published as "Techniques de la transmission mystique dans le Shivaisme du Cachemire", by Lilian Silburn, in Hermes. Numbered footnotes/endnotes are by the author. Lettered footnotes are by the website editor.

top of page




Of all the Indian philosophical systems, the monistic system of Kashmir most thoroughly and profoundly explains the various influences of the spiritual master. [a]

Even before the 7th century, in Kashmir flourished several mystical traditions (sampradaya) – Trika, Kula, Krama, etc. – each possessing its own lineage of venerated masters.

[a. ]

Abhinavagupta, [b] who lived in the late 10th century, had as gurus the greatest masters of his age, and was initiated by them in these different traditions. Thus did Shambhunatha, [c] who had restored the Kula system, [d] reveal the Self to him and teach him the practices of initiation.

[b. ]

[c. Saints and Sages of Kashmir, Triloki Nath Dhar, Google Books ]

[d. ]

Abhinavagupta commented upon certain treatises and descriptions of these systems. The compendium of these teachings is to be found in his voluminous Tantraloka (The Light of Tantra), [e] concerned with paths of liberation and composed in Sanskrit verses.

[e. ]

Lilian Silburn
Author, Lilian Silburn (1908-1993)

The materials which have served in the preparation of this article have been taken from the Tantraloka: they thus form a part of the teaching of Abhinavagupta, himself a famous master with numerous disciples. [1]

All endnotes appear in a separate page: endnotes.htm   Brief endnotes are reproduced in the text as footnotes (as below). Where suggested, click on the blue link to see the full endnote on the Endnotes page.

[Endnote 1: Somananda's Sivadrsti, [f] I, 37-38. See the endnote for an unrelated quote by Angelus Silesius.]

[f. ]

top of page


More links

top of page