Kabbalah · Kashmir Shaivism

Similar concepts in lurianic Kabbalah and Kashmir Shaivism

There are some similarities between kabbalah concepts expounded in many sources like “Etz Chaim” and these from Kashmir Shaivism. I’m not expert of the latter, but I know kabbalistic teachings enough to explore some deeper concepts in tantric traditions.

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I know that both these traditions are not popular, they are hermetic, esoteric and these concepts may seem difficult to grasp. In reality we must try to find these teachings inside us, because it’s how it should be. This is something that we already know, we only reaveal that which we temporarily forgot (as a Divine Being).

Of course these teachings are very deep and require experiential knowledge far beyond our senses and wordly mind.

Below is a quote from Paramarthasara of Abhinavagupta (with commnetary of Yogaraja). This is the quote that is particularly similar with the kabbalistic concept of tzimtzum.

“The supreme Lord, who is of the nature of pure consciousness and who as such underlies the universe  has the self-experience in the form of “I become the universe”. Subsequently he negates [his absolute nature] and thereby creates void in himself. This void, created by following the negation of his absolute nature, is the foundation of all existence, the world, to be manifested subsequently, and the blissful state in which this occurs is called śakti tattva. This level of the supreme Lord’s involution, which is one of both negation and fullness, on account of the dissolution and the creation of the universe, has been designated as Śakti in all secret doctrines [the Agamas].”

These are actually the words of Yogaraja,  from commentary. He was the disciple of Abhinavagupta.

And now “Etz Chaim” from Arizal:

“Know that before any emanations or creatures were fashioned there was an Upper Light (Or Elyon) that simply permeated all Existence, and there was no empty place, in the sense of atmosphere, merely space. However, everything was imbued with Infinite Light (Ayn Sof Or), to which there was no beginning nor yet any end; all was Light permeating everything evenly. This is called the Infinite Light (Ayn Sof Or).

And when He wished to create worlds and cause emanations, to bring into being His perfect works, names and attributes–which was the reason for the creation of the worlds, He then contracted (tzimtzum) Himself into the middle point, in the very center. He contracted that Light and removed Himself far to the perimeter round the midpoint, so that in that very midpoint there remained an empty place and air and a void.”

I think that these two quotes are very interesting. For me Arizal words have more power, it’s like he writes from very high level, beyond any doubt, with such uncomparable precision.. Every word here has deep meaning..

What he explains here is about Ayn Sof (blessed be He), where all creation is only in potentiality, we could say it’s Unmanifested yet.

In Talmud Eser Sfirot from Yehuda Ashlag (commentary to the Arizal teachings) there is the explanation of the meaning of this “empty place, in the sense of atmosphere”, that this is not particularly material place or atmoshphere, but a kind of spiritual light (in hebrew text this “atmosphere” is called avira dahia which is also translated as “empty air”]. And he warns us that in spirituality there is nothing about material space, time, etc. This is very important.

“You should know that that Ohr Hassadim is called Avir or Ruach. When it is by itself, without Ohr de Hochma, it is called “empty Avir,” meaning empty of Ohr Hochma. Then it waits for Ohr Hochma to clothe it and fulfill it.”

Ohr – means light.

“Bear in mind, that the entire wisdom of Kabbalah is founded on spiritual matters that do not take up time or space. They are not subject to change or absence and all the changes that are spoken of in this wisdom do not imply that the first form becomes absent and is replaced by a different form. The above change rather implies an additional form, while the first does not move from its place, as absence and change are corporeal conducts.” Talmud Eser Sfirot, chapter 1

I hope that this give some key about such superficial matters… There is more things to reveal. Maybe later (with God’s help)  I’ll write something about letters of alphabet, and give some keys from Zohar and compare this with Matrikacakra concept from Kashmir Shaivism. Or maybe concepts from Vedas and Torah, like sacrifices, which have also spiritual meaning and are explained in the wisdom of kabbalah. These traditions to be honest are not so far from each other, there are probably both part of one old teaching… (I mean Vedas and Torah)

Kabbalah

Holy waters

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“When the blessed Holy One adorns Himself in His crowns, He crowns Himself above and below. Above, from the site of deepest of all ; below, with what? With souls of the righteous. Then vitality is lavished above and below, embracing the site of the sanctuary on all sides. The cistern is filled, the ocean consummated, providing for all.

“It is written: Drink water from your cistern, flowing water from your well. Why first your cistern, then your well? A cistern is empty, unflowing, while a well bubbles with water. Yet all is one site. The site embracing the poor is called cistern, possessing nothing of its own, only what is deposited there. Who is that? ד (Dalet). Subsequently it becomes a well, filled from all directions. Who is that? ה (He), filled from above, bubbling from below. Filled from above, as we have explained; bubbling from below, from souls of righteous. [..]

“Desire of the female toward the male arouses only when a spirit enters her and she gushes water toward upper, masculine waters. Similarly Assembly of Israel arouses desire toward the blessed Holy One only by the spirit of the righteous entering Her. Then waters flow from within Her toward waters of the male, all becoming one desire, one cluster, one nexus. Rapture, total rapture! An amble ambled by the blessed Holy One with souls of the righteous.”

— Zohar, Noah 1:160a-b

Kabbalah

Greatest lie

The greatest lie ever told to the human race is that we are nothing more than the descendants of monkeys. While there may or may not be any truth to Darwin’s unproven theories of evolution, it really does not matter. For whether our bodies evolved from monkeys or created from the dust of the earth by G-d, either way we humans possess something that Darwin and later scientists cannot understand. We human beings have a soul.

When we humans are looked at as being no more than a very complicated machine, then the entire element that makes us human is overlooked. Not everything is controlled by genetics and brain chemistry. Although these two forces have successfully been manipulated by science, they are far from being under control. Indeed, science will never be able to control anything that comes from the mind/soul, simply because this ethereal aspect of our being is not subject to scientific rules. [..]

Dwelling deep within us, often buried, often repressed, but never dead, is that which makes us truly human. It is our soul, the higher, thinking, psychic element within us that knows what is best for us and how we are best to live our lives. This and this alone separates us from the animal kingdom. It is this “other-worldly” nebulous non-physical mind/soul that makes our physical selves truly human. It is a crime against humanity to try to convince any human being that he is anything less than a lofty soul created in the Image of G-d.

— rav Ariel Bar Tzadok, “Of Angels and Man”

Kabbalah

Future Temple

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But in time to come, when the hidden beginning I mentioned [Keter] is revealed, the happiness will be far, far greater, and it will never cease. All things emanate from their source. Likewise, all the rules governing the lights and their functioning, whether in motion or at rest, follow their source. Any change in the source from which the lights receive affects the whole world. For this reason, in time to come the world will undergo many changes, and the Holy Temple will certainly be different since this is the place from which life is channeled to all the creatures in all the worlds.
The First Temple, then, corresponds to Chochmah, the Wisdom that was given to Solomon and with which he built the Temple, as I have explained, while the future Temple corresponds to the hidden beginning [Keter] that has yet to be revealed.

Nevertheless, there is certainly nothing new under the sun. All the changes and developments that have taken place and continue to take place every single day for the six thousand years of creation were decreed at the very outset. Even so, in time to come, when the boundaries of Chochmah are surpassed, the world will enter a new state of joy. This is a great fundamental, though I will not discuss it at length now. Let me just say briefly that initially God made all things the way they are now on the basis of Chochmah alone, yet they contain within them the power to be ordered according to the supreme beginning [Keter]. And when this beginning is revealed, everything will be drawn after it through the original power already planted within them at the outset. The entire creation will then be renewed as if it was born at that moment. That is why Isaiah spoke of: “The new heavens and the new earth” (Isaiah 66:22).

— Chaim Luzzatto “The Secrets of the Future Temple”

Kabbalah

He will be one and His name one

Since the day the world was created until the present time the world has not attained perfection. Everything depends on man’s deeds. Had man not sinned, the universe would have come to perfection. Because of his sin, it was not perfected. So far the creation has only come to the level of rectification corresponding to Wisdom. But there is a far greater, higher level that is still to be attained. For when the hidden beginning (Keter) is revealed in all its power and glory, all the lights will come to a far greater, higher level, after which there will be no more decline. The lights have not yet attained this level, but in time to come they will indeed attain it. And then abundant good will come into the world. Peace and tranquility will reign everywhere, and sadness and sighing will be banished. Of those days it is said: “On that day YHVH will be one and His Name one”.

— Chaim Luzzatto “The Secrets of the Future Temple”

Kabbalah

Zohar, Toledot

“Come and see: Whoever engages in Torah, maintaining every work of creation perfectly, fittingly. Every single smooth member in the human body corresponds to a creature in the world. For just as a human being is composed of members upon members, all standing rung upon rung; arrayed one upon another, yet all one body, so too the world: all those creatures are members upon members, standing one upon another, which when all arrayed actually form one body.

“All these resemble Torah, for Torah is entirely members, joints, sections – standing one upon another, all arrayed, becoming one body. When David saw this handiwork, he opened and said, O YHWH, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all; the earth is full of Your creatures (Psalms: 104:24)

— Zohar, Toledot 1:135a