Tantra Yoga and Four Schools of Kashmir Shaivism

The four schools of Kashmir Shaivism have outlived all the others that have come and gone. There is no gainsaying that there have been quite a few, and the matter they contained is quite voluminous as well as authentic.

However, in Tantra Yoga, for all intents and purposes, these four schools of Kashmir Shaivism have survived the test of time.


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Historically, the oldest school of the Four Schools of Kashmir Shaivism is Krama. In Sanskrit, tit means 'process', 'order' or 'succession'. The basic idea promulgated by this system is that the path to perfection is composed of several stages or steps. All of  them are governed by certain aspects of Divine Law. As a result, the Supreme Being is really present all the way. Then again every new step shows a more profound face of Him. The Krama system is based upon the concept of Shakti. It postulates the Supreme Creative Energy of Siva, and even more specifically, a certain aspect of Shakti that is related to succession and time that is none other than the Great Cosmic Power of Time and Eternity – The female consort Kali.


Another very important school of the four schools of Kashmir Shaivism, is Kula.

In Tantra Yoga is also called Kaula, which in Sanskrit, means 'family'. Alternately, it also represents 'totality'. This is a Tantra Yoga school par excellence, where Shakti plays a vital role. The Kula teachings form the skeleton of Tantra Yoga.


The third of the four schools of Kashmir Shaivism is Spanda. In Tantra Yoga is considered one of the fundamental system of Kashmir Shaivism, which also centered around Sakti, even though not much of it is known today.


Of the four schools of Kashmir Shaivism the Pratyabhijna school is a unique school. It doesn’t believe in or postulate any means to the end. That is, there is nothing to practice. All there is to do is recognize “Who am I?” In Sanskrit Pratyabhijna means "mean." In fact, it can actually be called Anupaya, because "without means" in Sanskrit, actually means "to impulsively, , recognize and realize your Self afresh."

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