“The first difference, therefore, between Kashmir Saivism and Vedanta is in their different understanding of karmayoga. This difference, as you have seen, is very great with the Vedantins believing that karmayoga means doing all actions without asking for their reward and our Kashmir Saivism teaching that yoga in action means doing all actions while maintaining a breakless contemplation of God.
Another of the differences to be found in the understanding of Kashmir Saivism and Vedanta concerns the existence of individual being and Universal Being. The Vedantins explain that individual being is manifested only when Universal Being is reﬂected in the mirror of the individual intellect. They say that Universal Being is reﬂected in the intellect (buddhi) and that reﬂection becomes the existence of the individual being (jiva).
Kashmir Saivism, however, does not recognize this explanation, arguing that it is without any basis. As Universal Being is absolutely pure and perfect and individual being is ﬁlled with imperfections (malas) and covered by veils, it is not buddhi that will take the reﬂection of Universal Being rather it is Universal Being that will take the reﬂection of buddhi.
It is the purer and more reﬁned reality which will take the reﬂection of that which is less pure and reﬁned and not the other way around. Buddhi cannot hold Universal Being. Kashmir Saivism explains that when Siva is reﬂected by His pure will in the mirror of his freedom (svatantrya) this is the existence of the universe and the existence of individual being.
Furthermore, in the theory of the Vedantins it is not clearly explained how, if the world were not existing, buddhi, in which Lord Siva is to be reﬂected, could exist at all? How could the intellect (buddhi) exist before the existence of the world? Therefore, individual being is the reﬂection of Lord Siva in His svatantrya sakti. This is the existence of the uni verse.
The third area of difference in understanding between Kashmir Saivism and Vedanta concerns the essence, the substance, the basis of this universe. Vedanta holds that this universe is untrue, unreal. It does not really exist. It is only the creation of illusion (maya). Concerning this point Kashmir Saivism argues that if Lord Siva is real then how could an unreal substance come out from something that is real.
If Lord Siva is real then His creation is also real. Why should it be said that Lord Siva is real and His creation is an illusion (maya)? Kashmir Saivism explains that the existence of this universe is just as real as the existence of Lord Siva. As such it is true, real, pure, and solid. There is nothing at all about it which is unreal.
The fourth important difference between Kashmir Saivism and Vedanta is that Vedanta does not recognize kundalini yoga. The Vedantins say that kundalini yoga is meant for those who are treading on the inferior path of yoga. From our Kashmir Saivaite point of view, however, kundalini yoga is the most important yoga in this system.
Kashmir Saivism explains that there are three ways of kundalini yoga, para kundalini yoga, cit kundalini yoga, and prana kundalini yoga. Para kundalini yoga is supreme kundalini yoga. It is functioned by Lord Siva with the universal body not the individual body. Cit kundalini yoga is kundalini in consciousness. Prana kundalini yoga is kundalini in breath.
The fifth signiﬁcant difference between Kashmir Saivism and Vedanta concerns the question of who is fit to practice this monistic teaching. Vedanta holds that this teaching can only be practiced by “worthy” people such as Brahmins with good qualities. In fact, Sankaracarya holds that Vedanta is meant only for samyasins and not others. From the Vedantic point of view women and other castes are not allowed to practice the Vedantic system. This point of view, however, is not recognized by our Kashmir Saivism. Kashmir Saivism teaches that this monistic thought can be practiced by anyone, man or woman, without the restriction of caste, creed, or color. In fact, our Saivism teaches us that this thought can be practiced more fruitfully by women than by men.
Kashmir Saivism, therefore, is a universal system, pure, real, and substantial in every respect, which can be practiced by all.”