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Shiva Sutras are a collection of seventy seven aphorisms that form the foundation of the tradition of spiritual mysticism known as Kashmir Shaivism. They are attributed to the sage Vasugupta of the 9th century C.E.[1][2][3]

Vasugupta is said to have lived near Mahadeva Mountain in the valley of the Harvan stream behind what are now the Shalimar Gardens near Srinagar. One myth is that he received the aphorisms in a dream visitation of a Siddha or semi-divine being. Another is that Shiva came to him in a dream and instructed him to go to a certain rock on which he would find the teachings inscribed.[4]

Historically the Shiva Sutras and the ensuing school of Kashmir Shaivism are a Tantric or Agamic tradition. The Kashmiri Shaivism is combination of Shaivism, Agama and Tantra.

A number of commentaries were written by Vasugupta's contemporaries or successors. Most famous of them is Kshemaraja's Vimarshini (10th Century C.E.) which has been translated into English by Jaideva Singh and Swami Lakshman Joo. Another is a commentary called the Varttika by Bhaskara (11th century C.E.) which has been translated into English by Dr. Mark Dyczkowski.[5]

There are many translations of the Shiva Sutras into English. A painstaking Italian translation of the Sutras and the Kshemaraja's Vimarshini by Raffaele Torella is also available. Demetrios Th. Vassiliades translated the Shiva Sutras with the Kshemaraja's Vimarshini into Greek.[6] The latest most authoritative treatise on the Sutras is by Gerard D. C. Kuiken.[7]

The Fifth Guru of Kriya yoga (Babaji's lineage), Shailendra Sharma gave yogic commentaries to Shiva Sutras in 1993.[8] In 2014 new translation of Shiva Sutras into English has been made available along with innovative commentary organized into chapters called cascades [9]

The soul power of Shiva Sutras of Vasugupta is that the yogi experiences both internal and external awareness of the Divine. His consciousness transcends into sublime awareness of each minute particle of the universe so that all the seemingly mystic to others seems totally innate to him.[10][11]

See also