Madhya, Finding the Centre led by Bettina Sharada Baeumer & Dr. Sadananda Das
This retreat seminar is an introduction to the central theme of non-dualist Kashmir Shaivism, leading from a selection of various texts to the practice implied. Finding and experiencing the Centre corresponds to the recognition of one’s true nature, an act of Pratyabhijñā. In this tradition, it is actually a definition of enlightenment. The texts chosen approach the Centre from different perspectives and experiences. Every day of the retreat one text is presented by an introduction, a selection of passages related to Madhya, and indication to the practice implied. These texts comprise Vijñāna Bhairava, Vātūlanāthasūtra, Sāmbapañcāśikā (a Hymn to the Sun), Netra Tantra, and Pratyabhijñāhṛdaya of Kshemarāja. In the last session, the theme of the Heart is presented as the spiritual Centre, in the basic philosophical text of the School, the Īśvarapratyabhijña Kārikā of Utpaladeva and related texts. This theme and the rich variety of texts can inspire the listener to finding the Centre in all situations of daily life where Divine Consciousness can be experienced. Method: 3-4 hours of Meditation during the day Maintaining Silence from dinner time till the end of lunchtime the next day The musical recitation of Mangala verses and other slokas will be taught and guided by Patricia Obermeier
Occasional walks in Nature (depending on the weather) and visit the Baijnath Temple Conditions for participation: apply to the Deer Park Institute Experience in meditation and some basic knowledge of Kashmir Shaivism, Yoga, and Tantra
Dr. Bettina Sharada Bäumer (Prof.Dr., Padmashri awardee 2015) is a scholar and teacher of Nondualist Kashmir Shaivism. She was a Fellow and Visiting Professor at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, and is currently Director of Samvidalaya, Abhinavagupta Research Library, Varanasi. Her latest publications include Abhinavagupta’s Hermeneutics of the Absolute, Anuttaraprakriyā, An Interpretation of his Parātrīśikā Vivarana (2011, 2nd ed. 2021), and The Yoga of Netra Tantra. Third Eye and Overcoming Death (2019,2nd ed. 2021). She is a direct disciple of the last great master of Trika Shaivism, Swami Lakshman Joo (1907-1991). For over 20 years she has been teaching and guiding retreat seminars on Kashmir Shaivism in India and Austria/Germany/Switzerland.
Dr. Sadananda Das is a Sanskrit scholar who has taught Sanskrit language and Spoken Sanskrit in about 50 special courses in different countries. He has been Assistant Lecturer at Berne University and South Asia Institute, Heidelberg, and for the last 17 years, he is teaching Sanskrit language and literature, Indian Philosophy, and especially Kashmir Shaivism at the Institute of Indology and Central Asian Studies of Leipzig University, Germany. He has edited and translated a number of books and collaborated with Bettina Bäumer in various research projects for about 16 years in Varanasi and Odisha. Together they also gave an introductory course on Kashmir Shaivism at the Sanchi University of Buddhist and Indic Studies.