This retreat draws inspiration from Lilian Silburn's book "La Bhakti - Le Stavacintamani De Bhattanarayana," where she delves into the devotional essence of the non-dual Shaiva masters of Kashmir. Silburn elaborates on the multifaceted aspects of Shiva, the Cosmic Consciousness. The mystics' non-dual devotion is a blend of heartfelt adoration, aesthetic rapture, and profound philosophy, as exemplified in Utpaladeva's words:

"Homage to that wondrous Shambhu, The deluding one who is yet pure and clear; The hidden one who has yet revealed himself; The subtle one whose form yet takes the form of the whole universe!" - Utapaladeva, Shivastotravali

Our meditative journey navigates the mystical landscape of Shaivist mythology, unraveling the enigmatic personifications of the transcendental Absolute. Through these contemplations, we aim to deepen our understanding of Consciousness and the nature of our reality.

In the Kashmirian Shaiva tradition, the Absolute is referred to as Bhairava or Paramashiva. Alongside the concept of the Divine as pure, inexpressible Consciousness, the tradition acknowledges a more personal aspect of God, named Shiva, Maheshvara, Shankara, Bhagavan, Isha, Shambhu, etc. This Lord is both transcendent and immanent, addressed in the worship of the faithful.

During our exploration, Shiva appears as the magician, Maayaavin, using the power of Mahamaayaa to conceal himself, creating an illusion that transforms the undifferentiated Absolute into the diverse subjects and objects constituting our universe. We encounter Pashupati, the shepherd and lord of Grace, guiding bound souls towards self-realization through divine inspiration, insight and compassion. The more formidable aspects of Shiva, such as Virupaaksha, Dhuurjati, and Bhairava, challenge our egoic attachments, paving the way to embrace the Divine Totality. Nataraja, the Divine dancer, symbolizes the vibrant consciousness dancing within each of us on the stage of the Cosmic Self. Finally we contemplate Shiva as Umapati, the lover of Uma (the pure transcendent energy), reflecting on how everything commences and concludes in love.

This journey is both devotional and transcendent, inviting us to contemplate Divinity in a personified, symbolically rich manner. The goal is to immerse ourselves in the divine intoxication that birthed this inspired tradition with its sublime teachings on the nature of Consciousness.

Homage to Shiva

"In this realm of devotion, Shiva loves the mystic, and the mystic loves Shiva, merging as a single and equal love. Entering through the gate of the soul, one finds Shiva united with his energy, bathing in the lake of eternal ambrosia" - Lilian Silburn.

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