I was reviewing and contemplating on the 36 tattvas or the principle aspects of nature in Kashmir Shaivism. Wanted to share my understanding of tattvas and how they relate to the Anda or different layers of the cosmos or the dimensions. Please use the picture in the post above for reference. These principles are not some abstract terms coined to describe some vague theory a long time back. Each one of these principles apply and operate right now in this moment and will continue to do so. These are ingredients that make us the sentient beings, the universe that we see and perceive including the astral realms and various dimensions that we perceive. Time itself is one of the cloaks or veils preventing us from seeing our true nature.
These tattvas are just so fascinating and they explain the origin, function and demise of the entire cosmos. They can also help solve our current predicament and with the suffering that we undergo because our true nature is obscured. I feel it is best to go through and understand this top down. We also need to have a basic understanding of the lowest level tattvas to start with this such as the mind, sense organs, sense perceptions that make up this worldly experience. Everything starts with the Paramashiva in Kashmir Shaivism. This Paramashiva descends into the jivas, the sentient beings or the multitudes step by step with the 36 tattvas. All of us started as Paramashiva and got to wherever we are at this point. How did we get to become the local independent person or xyz? It is through the descent of these 36 tattvas or principles. We can understand our story or origins with the help of these. Self-realization is about tracing our way back from the lowest principles to the highest ones to find ourselves as Shiva in the end.
The first tattvas (after Shiva tattva) emerge in the Shakti Anda/layer or cosmos, which is part of the shudda or pure layer. Meaning these tattvas are not influenced by the maya yet, the veiling force of Paramashiva with the 5 cloaks (kanchukas).
From the Paramashiva emerges the:
1. Shiva tattva (Light or consciousness but without awareness)
2. Shakti tattva (awareness of the light), or the polarities of the male and female principles in the creation.
Followed by these 3 tattvas.
3. Sadashiva tattva - Self-awareness of this, and there was no self awareness before this point. Also corresponds to the iccha-shakti or the power of will of Paramashiva.
4. Ishwara tattva - the objectification of self-awareness such as, this is myself. This layer corresponds to the jnana-shakti or the power of knowledge/knowing of Paramashiva.
5. Suddha vidya tattva - this-ness becomes balanced at this layer. This layer corresponds to the kriya-shakti or the action/active power of Paramashiva.
There is no individual separation of a sentient being or jiva (Purusha + Prakriti) yet. Will expand and see more in the next post.