Kaula

Kaula is an esoteric branch of the Kashmir Shaivism tradition, which is, in its turn, a highly regarded form of tantrism. The basic meaning of kaula is "group" or "family", underscoring the main thesis of this school - that that underneath the various objects, processes and living entities of this world, there is a unifying connection.

The word Kaula has two principal meanings: first of all, it represents a philosophical concept: the world is seen as a group of objects, connected by a unifying force. Shiva (God) represents the ultimate aspect of the world - the substrate and real identity of all the objects. An object may appear as distinct and separated from other objects, but in reality it is just a manifestation of an underlying force. This underlying force is not distinct between objects, but rather is location-less (all pervading) and always simple - a monad.

A second meaning of the term kaula is that of "group of people" engaged together in the practice of spiritual discipline. The kaula practices are based on tantra, closely related to the siddha tradition and shaktism. As a school, it is part of the Shaivism tradition of Hinduism. The specific of this spiritual system is related to the development of the mystical consciousness (cit). Using it, the adept then proceeds to an alchemical transformation of his body and mind into a pure form, allowing him to enter a state of continuous religious ecstasy.

Terminology

There are a number of variations of the term Kaula in the traditional Sanskrit texts. They are:

In this article we are going to switch back and forth between the four terms depending on context, but they all refer to the same fundamental notion.

Interpretations

The translation of the term Kula in English is considered difficult and has raised some problems to the modern Kashmir Shaivism researchers. The basic meaning of Kula is "group", or any "self contained unit" inside the manifestation. Kula groups exist on many levels, from small to large, such as:

Whether in the bodily, social, subtle-energetic or cosmic level, the main attribute of the Kaula is its unity. This unity is possible because the whole creation is considered in Kashmir Shaivism to be contained in, and based on Shiva. Wherever there is a complex system made of parts seamlessly fitting and working together, creating a group that is greater than the sum of its parts, it can be described as a Kula.

Kula as the divine couple Shiva-Shakti

At the highest level of reality Shiva and Shakti form the supreme couple, or, we could say, they form the ultimate Kula (family). Shiva, under various names (anuttara - absolute, prak??a - uncreated light, cit - supreme consciousness, Akula - beyond the groups of manifestation) and Shakti, under a similar plethora or names (Vimarsa - reflection in consciousness, Visarga - creative energy that emits the Universe, Kundalini - fundamental energy of the body, spanda - atemporal vibration, Kauliki - that which is "sprung" in Kula) - the two, are always in indissoluble union, in a perfect state of bliss. Ultimately there is no difference between Shiva and Shakti, they are just names we use to call different aspects of the same reality. The supreme "family" (Kaula) is by definition spanning both manifestation and transcendence.

Kula as consciousness

In Kashmir Shaivism, Supreme Consciousness (Cit, identical to Akula) is considered to be the substrate of the manifestation. Even if Cit is not directly involved in the process of manifestation (as it is said to be unmanifest), it is always present in every possible facet of the manifestation. Thus, it is said to be the substantial cause of manifestation (the manifestation is made of Cit, "like pots are made of clay") and also the efficient cause ("like the potterer is the efficient cause in the activity of creating pots").

As Akula (Shiva) is the substrate of the whole manifestation, it is also the basis of any Kula (family, unity, manifestation). The Kula families are ultimately always united by their common substrate, the transcendent Akula.

Kula as Shakti

A concept very closely related to Kaula is Kaulika - the binding force of the Kula (group). The name Kaulika literally means "sprung in Kula". Kaulika is in fact another name for Shakti, the spiritual energy emanated from Shiva. Shakti, as described in Kashmir Shaivism, does a paradoxical thing - she creates the universe, with all its diversity and at the same time she remains identical to Shiva, the absolute transcendent. Thus, Kaulika is an energy both of the spirit and matter. Bridging the two, Kaulika creates the path of evolution for consciousness, from ego to spirit. Without Shakti there would be no guiding, gradual connection from limited life to divine life.

The manifestation of Kaulika proceeds from the absolute (anuttara) in the process of cosmic creation (mahasristi). Thus Kaulika should not be seen as mere energy, or just the link between matter and spirit, but also identical to the absolute. Even if she is the dynamic aspect of the absolute, she does not rank lower than Shiva, her divine consort.

Kula as the Heart

The Supreme Heart (Aham), a central concept in Kaula in particular, and Kashmir Shaivism in general, is the most sacred reality, home of consciousness (Cit) and bliss (Ananda), place of union between the cosmic couple Shiva and Shakti. As such it pervades everything and is the substrate of any group (Kula).

In the complex language of Kashmir Shaivism the term Aham (Heart) is describing the same reality as other terms like: anuttara (unsurpassed), Akula (beyond the group), Shiva (The Lord), Cit (supreme consciousness) or even "feminine" aspects as Ananda and Shakti. Each term brings a specific viewpoint, but none of them can fully describe the Supreme Reality.

The concept of Spiritual Heart is so important that even the supreme realization in Kashmir Shaivism is described in relation to it. The so called Kechari Mudra - an attitude described as "the ability of consciousness to freely move (charati) about in the space (kha) of the heart" ("kha"+"charati" forming "kechari").

On the individual level, the heart - center of the human being, is the binding force of all the conscious experiences. The individual being is considered a Kula in itself, composed of eight elements: his five senses, the ego, the mind and the intellect. Such a Kula is submerged in the unifying energies of the Heart.

On a cosmic level, the heart is interpreted as the "Heart of the Lord" (aham), and as such, it is the substrate of the family of 36 elements forming the manifestation.

Unifying reality

While the manifest reality is described as Kula (a variant form of the term Kaula), the unifying factor, Shiva, is termed Akula. "A" means "beyond", or "non", thus "Akula" is "beyond kula".

Beyond the manifestation (Kula) is only Shiva (Akula). In every one of its instances, on various levels of the universe, Kula is a contraction ('') of totality, thus in each Kula there is a contracted form of the universe, a contracted form of Shiva (Akula'') himself. Such an affirmation has been popularized under slogans like "Consciousness is Everything" in some recent Kashmir Shaivism related publications for the large public.

Kula as an individual

An individual person is a group (Kula) made of his body pats, senses and mental functions. In the center of an individual person, as per Kashmir Shaivism doctrine, is the so called '''' - a group of eight input-output "channels" pertaining to the individual being (the five senses, the sensorial mental, intellect and ego). The eight "rays" of the individual being are not disconnected, unrelated processes but rather a unified, interrelated family based on consciousness as the common substrate. With regard to the eight "rays" of the soul, Kaula'' prescribes practices that reintegrate them in the supreme consciousness, Cit.

Kula as a family

In one interpretation, the Kaulic group is the spiritual family, composed of the guru, his wife (yogini), the spiritual sons (advanced disciples, who have developed a spiritual link, directly from heart to heart, with their master) and other disciples. The spiritual family practices the so called "bodily methods ", a form of body alchemy which turns one's body from an obstacle in the spiritual path into a springboard, accessing the "secret" energies present in it, analogically similar to the "cosmic energies" present in the macrocosm. Thus the microcosm of the body is put in relation to the macrocosm - the composing parts of the microcosm having corresponding aspects in the macrocosm. This relationship of correspondence is the method used here to expand one's consciousness from the individual level to the universal. Within the appropriately prepared members of the spiritual family, sexuality based on love can be used as a means of initiation for obtaining the state of resorption in Shiva.

Kula as the Creation

Kula also means solidification, objectivity. The exterior world, body and mind are all external objects in relation to consciousness. In Kashmir Shaivism is considered that Consciousness is the ultimate principle, the monad of the universe, always present as substrate in every external object, be it gross (physical), subtle (mental) or subtlest (relating to the causal body or soul). Thus external world, body, mind and soul are considered kindred parts of the whole, concretisation of the supreme consciousness. From this perspective, Kula is the totality of manifestation, in gross, subtle and supreme form.

Mutual reflection

Kula means group or family - a unified collection of parts. In a Kula, each part contains the other parts. Thus, the parts are not random or unrelated; they form a unity and complement each other.

The relation between a ''Kaula's parts is realized through mutual reflection. Reflection (pratibimba) is used here in the sense of "containing an image of the other objects inside", a concept similar to that of the hologram. The number of possible interactions and reflections between the members of a Kaula'' is much larger than the number of elements it contains.

Kashmir Saivism declares that each part is in fact Akula (Shiva) in essence; thus there is a connection between the parts through their common Akula substrate. As each part contains Akula, in its essence, it automatically contains everything - this is how the mutual reflection is said to be realized.

In a group of people forming a Kula, each member is in relation to each other. If they are truly united in their hearts, the spiritual energy of the Kula is said to be greater than the sum of the individual energies and the evolution inside the group is considered much faster than alone. Even if they enjoy art together, perform rituals, meditate or perform the mystical (and secretive) group sexual practices of Kaula, the principle of multiplication is involved.

Practices

Kaula is equally encompassing daily life and mystical practices. Similar to other tantric schools, Kaula chooses a positive (affirmative) approach: instead of prescribing self limitations and condemning various actions, it embraces such actions, in a spiritual light. Thus, sexuality based on love, strong involvement in social life and artistic pursuits are considered vectors of spiritual evolution. The main focus in Kaula is to expose easy practical methods for attaining enlightenment, rather than engaging in complex philosophical debate. Whatever is pleasant and positive can be integrated in its practice.

The principal means employed in the Kaula practice are: the spiritual family (the practice of initiation rituals, where the guru is seen as unified to disciple's spirit), the couple (sexual rituals such as maithuna), the body (spiritual alchemy inside one's own body), the energy (shakti) (controlled especially through the use of mantras and mystical phonemes) and the consciousness (seen as the epitome of one's whole being and of the universe itself).

Group Practice

The group practice, restricted only to the members of a kaula (family), include rituals, festivities, initiations and even the secretive tantric sexual union.

Purpose

In logical order, the purposes of this practice are: the initiation of novices, the expansion of consciousness, and ultimately, to express the bliss already attained, as participants become more and more advanced.

The "group effect"

The key to the effectiveness of the group practice is the harmony of minds and hearts of the participants. Abhinavagupta declares that together, such a group, can enter a state of oneness and universal consciousness without effort. He explains this "group effect" by the notion of reflection (pratibimba) : as the consciousness of one reflects in the consciousness of the others, there is a process of unification, an effortless overflow of spiritual energy. Abhinavagupta then warns about the risk of letting in someone who is in dissonance with the group - in which case there would be undesired negative effects. Thus when a compatible spiritual group is created, it can greatly accelerate the spiritual evolution of its members.

Method

Almost half of Tantraloka is dedicated to rituals. The whole chapter 29 is dedicated to the so called kula-cakra - the so called "secret Kaula ritual". As a general practice, in all the rituals is evoked the union of complementary sets such as: man and woman, a faculty and its object or inhalation and exhalation. The practice of rituals may involve the construction of a mandala, visualization of a goddess or group of goddesses (?akti), recitation (japa), performed in a state of "rest inside the creative awareness" (camatk?ra), oblation into fire and its internalized version - the burning of the objects and means of knowledge into the "fire" of non-dual consciousness (par?mar?a).

The power of a ritual, as in all spiritual paths, lays in its repetition. A pure disciple will attain the supreme state even by simply staying for a short time in presence of a guru without any instruction (see the article on shaktipat), but less prepared ones need reinforcement and gradual accumulation. Thus such rituals were created in order to help even the slower disciples evolve.

Bodily practice

Kaula puts a special emphasis on the physical body in the spiritual practice , "as a vessel of the Supreme", and as such, the body is not considered an obstacle, nor is it tortured in ascetic practices Repeated submergence into the state of non-duality are supposed to induce secondary effects on the physical body. The effects are attributed to the activity of the spiritual energy (?akti) and are called by another name as the tantric body alchemy (see internal alchemy). Starting from the expanded consciousness of the self (atman), the body (and in the end, the exterior reality too) is infused with the experience of non-duality.

Transfiguration of the heart

The first phase is linked to the attainment of a state of non-duality. This remarkable spiritual accomplishment, by far difficult to achieve, is described as an "absorption into the spiritual heart", nirvikalpa samadhi or experiencing the "uncreated light" of consciousness (prak??a) (read a number of subjective accounts of this experience). At this moment the non-dual realization is limited to the heart of the practitioner, in deep meditation, but in the next steps the focus will fall on its expansion.

Transfiguration of the body

The non-dual sensation that was experienced initially only in consciousness is extended to the whole body. The kaula adept will discover kaulika - the power (siddhi) of identification with the Universal Consciousness experienced in the physical body, generated spontaneously, without any effort (formal meditation, postures - asana, concentration - Dharana and other forms of exertion in yoga) - the holy grail of the spiritual practice.

In terms of Divine Grace (Shaktipat) and energy (Shakti), this process is described as the descent of the energy of the non-dual consciousness into the physical. Then consciousness manifests as a free force, entering the senses, and producing extroverted samadhi. At this point, consciousness, mind, senses and physical body are "dissolved" into oneness, expanded into the spiritual light of consciousness.

Transfiguration of the exterior reality

First one's heart is engulfed in non-duality. Then the physical body and the senses are transfigurated. As a consequence of that, any perception of the exterior reality becomes nondual. After this stage is reached, it becomes possible to live submerged in a continuous state of union with Shiva even while performing regular day to day activities. This form of extroverted, all inclusive samadhi is revered as the pinnacle of the spiritual evolution, as bhairavi mudra, jagadananda or bhava samadhi. The yogi experiences everything as pure light and ecstasy (cit-ananda) and does not feel any difference between interior and exterior any more.

The couple practices (the sexual ritual)

Yamala - the tantric couple

The sexual practices of the Kaula school, also known as the the secret ritual, are based on the couple. They are performed with a so called external Shakti (sexual partner) as opposed to the purely meditative practices which involve only one's own spiritual energies (the interior Shakti).

Abhinavagupta gives a radical definition of the tantric couple, from the point of view of an illuminated master: "The couple (yamala) is consciousness itself, the unifying emission and the stable abode. It is the absolute, the noble cosmic bliss consisting of both Shiva and Shakti. It is the supreme secret of Kula; neither quiescent nor emergent, it is the flowing font of both quiescence and emergence." (Tantraloka)

Thus, the ultimate form of the tantric couple is identical to the Shiva - Shakti couple. The two lovers are not merely mimicking the Divine Couple, but becoming one with it, and respectively with one another. This state combines both the dynamic and the static aspects of the Divine.

Complete unification of the two

The role of the sexual Kaula ritual is to unite the couple, yogini (initiated woman) and siddha (initiated man), and induce one in the other a state of permanent awakening This achievement is made possible by the intensity of their love.

First the mental limitations will fall and the force centers will harmonize their energies. In their exalted state, the two become absorbed into the consciousness of the Self. Becoming united on all the levels, physical, astral, mental and even in their consciousness, they reconstitute the supreme couple of Shiva and Shakti.

Prequalifying conditions

The Kaula sacrifice is reserved for the few, the elites, who can maintain a state of Bhairava (spiritual illumination) while being engaged in the sexual union. Other couples, even if they reproduce the ritual to the letter (as perceived from outside), if they do not attain the Bhairava consciousness, are merely engaging in a sexual act.

This path to spiritual accomplishment is considered both fast and very difficult. Making use of the enormous forces sleeping inside the human sexual potential, the secret ritual accelerates one's evolution, but also the risk of failure - thus the need for it to remain a secret.

Transmission of initiation from the yogini

Also called "initiation by the mouth of the yogini(yogin?-vaktra)", is a method by which the adept unites with a purified yogin? (advanced female practitioner) and receives the unique experience of the illuminated consciousness directly from her. (in case there's any doubt, the "mouth" of the yogini refers to her yoni). He is to see her as both his lover and guru. Such practices allow for the transmission of the initiation first from the guru to his female disciples, and then from the female disciples to the male disciples, forming a complete circle.

The three forms of emission

The energy generated during the tantric sexual act is considered a form of subtle emission, while the act of ejaculation is considered a form of physical emission. In Kashmir Shaivism, the energy of emission (visarga ?akti) is considered to be just a lower form of ?nanda (bliss).

Depending on the orientation of one's consciousness, introverted or extroverted, emission can be of two kinds: rested and risen. In ??nta, the rested form of emission, focus is absorbed just on one's own Self in an act of transcendence. In Udita, the risen form, the focus is projected on the Self (Atman) of one's lover - a state associated to immanence.

Santodita - beyond udita and ??nta - is the uniting form, cause of both ??nta and udita emissions. Santodita is described as universal bliss (cid?nanda), undivided consciousness, kaula (the group of two as one) and an "outflow of the pulsation of Shiva and Shakti".

This kind of translation from the physical act to the mental and to consciousness itself is a characteristic of the tantric world view. We need to remember that in Kashmir Shaivism nothing is considered to be separated from consciousness (cit) and bliss (?nanda), thus, such associations are not forced.

Mantric Practice

Mantric meditation is the most common form of tantric practice. In the Kaula system, this practice is associated especially with the group of phonemes . The 50 phonemes ('') of the Sanskrit alphabet are used as mantras denoting various aspects of consciousness(cit) and energy(?akti). The group(kula) of Sanskrit phonemes form a complete description of reality, from the lowest(earth) to the highest (?iva'' consciousness) level..

The ritual "setting out" of the phonemes imitates the emanation of the cosmos from the supreme I-consciousness of ?iva. In another ritual, the phonemes are identified with specific zones of the body through the practice of ny?sa, infusing the body with spiritual energy. This mystical state of culminates in the kaula of the body - perfection of the ensemble of organs, senses and mind - and such a being is known as a siddha (accomplished one). The adept attains a form of bodily enlightenment where, through the power of mantras, one comes to recognize the divinities within the body.

Initiation in the mantric practice is based on a transfer of power and the link (lineage) of the heart. Thus simple knowledge of the word or phoneme is not useful in itself, as it does not have efficiency, unless the disciple received his initiation from an authentic master.

Even if the concept of mantra is primarily related to ?akti, it is necessary to remember that ?akti and ?iva are always united. Thus, the supreme mantra, par?v?k, is equated to the I-consciousness of the Lord.

Fundamental concepts

Even if they are already treated elsewhere, we shall investigate the concepts of purity, sacrifice, freedom and spiritual master (guru) as they are reinterpreted in the light of the non-dual philosophy of Kaula. They are core concepts on the clear understanding of which rests the understanding of the whole Kaula tradition.

Pure and Impure

In Kaula, any particular action (or object) is not seen impure in itself, rather the attitude with which it is approached is the determinant factor. In other words, spiritual ignorance is the impurity and knowledge is pure.

For example, as long as one is identified with the supreme consciousness Cit (that is to say, as long as one is experiencing reality from the point of view of the first five tattvas), there is nothing impure. The Kaula knowledge is a universal awareness that inspires confidence, that is why for the adept is possible to be protected from any external impurity.

A veritable alchemy of sin is developed here, by dissolving the lower tattvic categories into the higher ones - as lower ones are contained in the higher ones - until one reaches Shiva, and consequently regenerating the body by expressing the higher categories in the lower ones: a process of purification and regeneration by light (prak??a).

Keeping with the best of the tantric practices, the adept is making use of what is reprehensible so that, by being involved in "sin", yet, not in the manner of the 'bonded, limited human being' (pa?u), to attain transcendence of consciousness.

In this sacrifice, the wise man should use the very ingredient which is forbidden in the series of scriptures. It is immersed in the nectar-of-the-left.

(Tantr?loka)

Sacrifice

The Kula sacrifice (yaga) is defined as knowledge and whatever is done in relation to the pure knowledge (?uddha vidy?). Any action performed with the mind, word or body with the purpose of evoking that supreme reality of Kaula is said to the sacrifice. Kula must be understood as the ?akti of the Lord, his capacity, eminence, freedom, vitality and potency, mass, consciousness and body.

There are six main types of sacrifice according to the six supports: the external reality, the couple, the body, the central channel of the subtle breath (susumna), the mind and ?akti.

However, if the sacrifice were performed only interiorly, there would be a lack of externality and therefore limitation and dualism. That is why besides the interior sacrifice, the Kaula adepts also perform symbolic external sacrifices making use of a sacred place and various rituals. For example, in one ritual, the splendor of consciousness is celebrated, representing the phases of emission and then resorption, by making use of sacrificial "lamps" set out on the surface of a mandala.

Freedom

The concept of Kaula is intimately connected to that of self sufficiency and freedom. Autonomy is emergent from the way a Kula (group) is formed: its composing parts are not random or unconnected but rather complementary to each other, forming a family or unity in their ensemble. Paradoxically freedom is attained inside web like connections of the Kula because the Kula, being complete in itself, is free; it doesn't need anything exterior to be fulfilled.

Attributes of freedom

The freedom cherished by the participants in a Kaula family should not be confused with rebelliousness and anarchy - it is freedom from interior mental and egotistic limitations and from exterior social and cultural preconceptions. One of the most important aspects of this freedom is asserted in the esoteric and often radical sexual practices; contrary to the majority of spiritual paths, the Kaula way doesn't reject sex as sin but integrates it as a major vector of spiritual practice. Because its approach is often misunderstood, Kaula has been traditionally a practice reserved for the few, an elite formed of those who can shed their ingrained conditionings and adopt a tantric or alchemical perspective on the corporal practices.

The traditional connotations of the concept of freedom are social (freedom to associate), political (freedom of opinion) and physical (freedom to move). In Kashmir Shaivism freedom is understood as interior rather than exterior: freedom to access one's spiritual inheritance.

Ultimate form of freedom

To be spiritually evolved is considered here equal to being truly free. Absolute freedom is to be found only in the revelation of one's spirit and the union of the spirit with God, a state described in the terms Atma-vyapti: resorption into the pure consciousness of the Spirit (Atman) and Shiva-vyapti: resorption into the supreme consciousness of Shiva. To be free is to be absolved from the necessity of rebirth, or in other words unconditioned by karmic restraints.

As consciousness expands, there is a stage where it passes into the so called pure reality, a level that is considered to exist beyond time and space, where the powers of knowledge and action are unfettered and there are no conditioning desires or needs to be fulfilled, but rather bliss is directly present in consciousness. This is the place of the true freedom in the vision of the Kaula system.

Freedom emerges from the heart

Kaula's basic method is the experience of the freedom of consciousness in the heart. As freedom is gradually related to the exterior reality, body, mind and soul, it ultimately reflected in the center of the being - the consciousness, as Kechari Mudra. This mudra (attitude) means "the ability of consciousness to freely move (charati) about in the space (kha) of the heart". When such an attitude is successfully realized, one's consciousness can experience at will all the facets of ananda (bliss), aham (the heart) and the universe, at all its levels.

Social deconditioning

At a social level deconditioning is realized by detaching from the traditional restrictions with regard to what is considered pure and impure, what is considered an acceptable way of expressing love and sexuality and through the adoption of the spiritual family with the guru as the spiritual father, playing from now on a role more important than one's blood-related family.

Tantric body alchemy related to becoming free

At the mental level freedom is attained in a process of gradual expansion. The bodily alchemy involving the awakening of Kundalini through asana, pranayama, mudra or mantras prepare the disciple through the amplification and sublimation of the vital and mental energy, and with it, the elevation of one's consciousness. The culmination of this process is the spiritual illumination which is the moment one penetrates with consciousness into his spiritual heart (aham).

Living in a state of freedom

At the level of the spiritual heart the disciple learns to recognize ?iva as the ultimate reality, identical to himself, his mind and even the exterior reality. From now on, one lives in a pure world, a world that is described as a compact mass of consciousness(cit) and bliss(ananda). The practices pertaining to consciousness are explained in such traditional texts as Vij˝?na Bhairava Tantra, Spanda K?rik?s and ?iva S?tras.

Freedom pertaining to Shiva himself

Ultimately, Kashmir Shaivism describes freedom as sv?tantrya - that is freedom to create, maintain and destroy the universe pertaining to ?iva himself. In Kashmir Shaivism it is considered that ?iva is above any restriction or conditioning, and thus he proceeds to the creation of the universe of his free will, as a playful expression of his spirit (lila), unlike, for example, Veda, where there is the conception that maya (cosmic illusion) is superimposed upon the brahman (absolute), inducing a sort of illusory creation. Thus, here, creation is considered real, and the will to create is considered free and unfettered. Svatantrya is identical to Ananda(supreme bliss) and vimar?a(reflexive consciousness/auto-consciousness).

Guru

"Guru is the path" - '' . This statement, extracted from the most revered sacred text of Kashmir Shaivism - ?iva Sutras'', best summarizes the school's conception regarding the guru-disciple relationship. In another foundation text of Kashmir Shaivism, Tantraloka, Abhinavagupta says that the essence of the Kula ritual is the Worship of the Perfected Beings.

In between the ranks of disciples, there are those who are eminently open towards their guru's spiritual influence. They are named spiritual sons (instead of mere disciples) and they have the experience of the highest state of consciousness. Thus, the spiritual sons are those who can access, at the level of consciousness, a direct link to their guru's illuminated heart.

Kaula functions as a form of guru yoga, where the disciple's only essential practice is to surrender himself to his guru, accepting the spiritual impulse bestowed upon him by his master.

The guru is considered to form a single Self (atman) with his disciples. As such, the guru leads the disciples towards the discovery of their own Atman with his own consciousness, exalted into the supreme state. Like fire kindled from a candle to another candle, the revelation of the self is passed from master to disciple directly, not trough words or exterior practices, but intermediated by the direct transfer of ?akti

Kaula traditions

The Kaula tradition had two main branches, Purva Kaula and Uttara Kaula. The Kaula lineage is closely linked to the Siddha and N?tha traditions.

Literature

While Kaula is primarily an oral tradition and does not place a high value on the creation of texts, there are some texts associated with the tradition. Muller-Ortega, following Pandey, summarizes the literature of the school as follows:

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References

External links

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This article is based on "Kaula" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org). It is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licencse. In the Wikipedia you can find a list of the authors by visiting the following address: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Kaula&action=history