Shankarananda came into contact with Kashmir Shaivism through his teacher, Swami Muktananda, who was an important disseminator of this philosophy in recent times. Described by Shankarananda as a "philosophy of Consciousness", Kashmir Shaivism, like Advaita Vedanta, advocates the primacy of consciousness as the ground of all being. In contrast to Advaita Vedanta, however, Kashmir Shaivism regards phenomenal reality as an expression or manifestation of consciousness, rather than maya or illusion.
The first sutra in the foundational text, the Shiva Sutras, affirms, "the Self is consciousness" (caitanyamatma). Shankarananda teaches that this important sutra defines the elusive Self as nothing but our own awareness. When that awareness is purified and expanded the yogi is said to have attained Self-realisation.
Instead of treating the philosophy as a theory or belief system, Shankarananda applies the teachings of Kashmir Shaivism to daily life and the practitioner’s own experience. His book, Consciousness Is Everything: The Yoga of Kashmir Shaivism, as well as discussing the philosophy of Kashmir Shaivism, is a guide and resource book for the practice of this yoga. The noted scholar Georg Feuerstein said in his review of it:
Swami Shankarananda has succeeded in making Kashmir's Shaiva Yoga come alive in these pages and I consider this work the best introduction to that tradition so far.
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