The Doctrine of Vibration

An Analysis of the Doctrines and Practices Associated with Kashmir Shaivism

By Mark S. G. Dyczkowski

Subjects: Hindu Studies
Series: SUNY series in the Shaiva Traditions of Kashmir
Paperback : 9780887064326, 308 pages, July 1987
Hardcover : 9780887064319, 308 pages, November 1987

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Table of contents


Introduction The Land of Kashmir

The Śaivism of the Kashmir and Kashmiri Śaivism

Abhinavagupta and the Flowering of Trika Śaivism

Tantra, Kashmiri Śaivism and Kashmiri Society in the Eleventh Century

The Philosophy of Recognition and the Doctrine of Vibration

Notes on Methodology and Synopsis of Contents
1. The Integral Monism of Kashmiri Śaivism Śaiva Idealism

Kashmiri Śaiva Realism
2. Light and Awareness: The Two Aspects of Consciousness Prakāśa: the Light of Consciousness

Self-Awareness and Consciousness

Awareness and the Integral Nature of the Absolute
3. Spanda: The Universal Activity of Absolute Consciousness Three Moments in the Vibration of Consciousness

The Conative Power of Consciousness

The Cognitive Power of Consciousness

The Power of Action
4. Śiva and Śakti Śankara

The Nature of Śakti
5. Śakti Cakra: The Wheel of Energies The Wheel of Vāmeśvarī

The Wheel of the Senses
6. The Divine Body and the Sacred Circle of the Senses

7. The Path to Liberation The Means to Realisation

No-Means (Anupaya)

The Divine Means (Śambhavopaya)

The Empowered Means (Śaktopaya)

The Individual Means (Ãnavopaya)

Cutting across distinctions of schools and types, the author explains the central feature of Kashmir Shaivism: the creative pulse of the all pervasive Consciousness called SAiva. This is also the central theme of the Hindu Tantras, and Dyczkowski provides new insight into the most literate and extensive interpretations of the Tantras.


This book is significant from four points of view. First, it breaks new ground in Indian philosophy. According to the Spanda Doctrine, the self is not simply witnessing consciousness as maintained by Sankya and Vedanta, but is an active force. Second, the ultimate reality is not simply a logical system of abstract categories, but is living, pulsating energy, the source of all manifestation. Third, the work elaborates the dynamic aspect of consciousness. It supplies an excellent introduction to the texts and scriptures of Kashmir Shaivism. Fourth, it suggests a Yoga for the realization of self.

Mark S. G. Dyczkowski took his first degree at Banaras Hindu University and then took his doctorate at Oxford University. He is presently associated with Sampurnananda Sanskrit University in Varanasi.


"This is a serious, scholarly and personally committed approach to a highly significant topic. It makes accessible materials which are not widely known and not readily available. " -- Wilhelm Halbfass, University of Pennsylvania

"There is no other complete study of the Spanda, which is central to the SAaiva thought as it was developed in Kashmir. The treatment of the subject is sound, scholarly, exhaustive and penetrating. " -- Andre Padoux, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris

"This delves into a relatively unexplored area of Kashmir Shaivism, i. e., Spanda, and offers a comprehensive first-hand treatment. The author brings forth new information and fresh insights. " -- Navjivan Rastogi Abhinavagupta Institute of Aesthetics and SAaiva Philosophy University of Lucknow, India