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The word Trika in Sanskrit means "three". In Trika system there exist three core concepts which are Shiva, Shakti and Man. Trika system means the three fold science of man and his world towards the goal of Enlightenment. Trika concept predates Kashmir Shaivism. From Trika originates Kashmir Shaivism. The term trika was used by Abhinavagupta to represent the entire Kashmir Shaivism or to designate the Pratyabhijna system.[1][2] [3][4]

A list of other triads

The following sections cite other important triads in the Trika Darsana (philosophy).

Śiva, Śakti and Aṇu

According to the Trika Darsana there are three essential realities:[5]

  1. The Supreme Transcendent - Śiva
  2. The Supreme Creative Energy, immanent in creation - Śakti
  3. The Spiritual Atom, the limited atom or individual - aṇu (sometimes nara - man)

Anu is a microcosm, a complete image, on a reduced scale, of the macrocosm, and in permanent resonance on multiple levels with the macrocosm (universe). The resonance (link) between the microcosm and the macrocosm is Sakti, the only one who can help Anu recover his lost knowledge - that he is one with Siva. This is all possible because of the completely free will of Siva - Svatantrya Sakti.

The Śakti trinity

Trika is also reflected in the Śakti trinity:[6]

  1. parā-śakti - the supreme energy, existing in transcendence
  2. parāpara śakti - the supreme-unsupreme Śakti, existing both in transcendence and immanence
  3. aparā śakti - the unsupreme energy, existing in immanence

The trinity of energies of will, knowledge and power of action

Any action of any being, including God, is subject to three fundamental energies:[7]

  1. Icchā Śakti - the energy of will. This energy appears in the beginning of any action or process.
  2. Jñāna Śakti - the energy of knowledge, by which the action is clearly expressed first in mind, before it is put into action.
  3. Kriyā Śakti - the energy of action

The trinity of knowledge

  1. Pramatri - the one observing, the subject
  2. Pramana - the modalities of knowledge
  3. Prameya - the known object

In Trika Tantra when pramatri, pramana and prameya become one, the true nature of the world is discovered. This state of nonduality is how God (Siva) and perfect yogis experience the world.

The three fundamental states of consciousness

  1. jāgrat - waking state
  2. svapna - dreaming
  3. suṣupti - dreamless sleep

Besides these three there is another state which has no name (turya - the fourth) because it is indescribable. This fourth state is that of perfect fusion of pramatri, pramana and prameya, also known as superconsciouness, pervading the other three states and existing also outside them.[8]

The three-fold spiritual path

  1. Śāmbhavopāya - the path of Shiva, the divine path; unstoppable spiritual aspiration is the characteristic of this short and difficult spiritual path
  2. Śāktopāya - the path of the Divine Energy, the path of Śakti, the intermediary path; here the yogi must be able to perfectly control his emotions and thoughts and merge his consciousness with one or more Divine Energies, Śakti
  3. Āṇavopāya – the individual path, accessible to the limited beings (aṇu); here the aspirant must strive to awaken his soul by working with his intellect (buddhi), subtle breath (prana), physical body (deha) or exterior objects such as yantras or the picture of an authentic master.[9][10]

The three levels of the Vāk (speech)

  1. paśyanti - subtle speech, undifferentiated speech, intuitive language, the seeing word (in the heart)
  2. madhyamā - mental speech, intermediate speech (in the mind)
  3. vaikharī - spoken speech (exterior)[5]

The transcendental triad - parātrika

  1. prakāśa (or cit, śiva) - luminosity
  2. vimarśa (or spanda) - dynamism
  3. sāmarasya - homogeneous bliss[11]

The types of Trika schools

  1. abhedha - non dualism (Kashmir Shaivism)
  2. bhedābheda - qualified non dualism
  3. bheda - dualism (Saivāgama)

Triad of God, world and the soul

This triad is identical to Śiva, Śakti and Aṇu.[5]

  1. pati - master, lord, Śiva
  2. pāśa - bondage, the three mala
  3. paśu - bonded, animal, the limited soul, jivatman

The three impurities

Mala means impurity, bondage or poison. The three impurities are responsible for the limitation of the divine condition. When they are transcended, the limited being becomes liberated.[12]

  1. āṇavamala - being incomplete, non-full
  2. māyā mala - limitation in knowledge, avidyā, illusion
  3. kārma mala - limitation in the power of action, wrong identification of the author of action with the limited self instead of Śiva

See also


  1. Flood, Gavin. D. 2006. The Tantric Body. P.62
  3. Flood, Gavin. D. 2003. The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism. P.213
  4. Carl Olson, The Many Colors of Hinduism, Rutgers University Press, 2007, page 237
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 The Trika Śaivism of Kashmir, Moti Lal Pandit, pag. 13
  6. The Trika Śaivism of Kashmir, Moti Lal Pandit, pag. 17
  7. The Trika Śaivism of Kashmir, Moti Lal Pandit, pag. 14
  8. Kashmir Shaivism, The Secret Supreme, Swami Lakshman Jee, pag. 73
  9. The Trika Śaivism of Kashmir, Moti Lal Pandit, pag. 16
  10. Kashmir Shaivism, The Secret Supreme, Swami Lakshman Jee, pag. 33
  11. The Trika Śaivism of Kashmir, Moti Lal Pandit, pp. 4
  12. Kashmir Shaivism, The Secret Supreme, Swami Lakshman Jee, pag. 47

External links