(in English unless otherwise specified)
Bettina Bäumer gives "Retreat Seminars" on various texts of the non-dualist Kashmir Shaiva tradition. She mainly teaches three basic Tantras of the Trika School: the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, the Paratrisika (with Abhinavagupta's Vivarana commentary) and the Netra Tantra (with commentary by Ksemaraja), as well as texts like the Siva Sutra, the Spanda Karika, and the the Pratyabhijna Hridayam. Besides these, she also teaches mystical Bhakti hymns of Kashmir, such as the Sivastotravali by Utpaladeva, the Stavacintamani by Bhatta Narayana, the Sambapancasika and Stotras by Abhinavagupta.
She follows a certain style in conducting these retreats, basically consisting of two sessions of text study, morning and afternoon, about four hours of meditation, recitation of the hymns and slokas of the texts concerned, besides periods of silence and meditative walks in nature (wherever the surroundings permit).
These Retreat Seminars are given in various places around India and in Europe, notably near her home in Varanasi, in Himachal Pradesh, and in Rishikesh, as well as in Srinagar (Kashmir) itself. They typically will be five days long, though shorter or longer sessions are possible.
Venue: Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama, Rishikesh
The Pratyabhijñā Hṛdayam, “The Heart of Recognition”, of Kṣemarāja (early 11th century), is a profound and concise summary text of the spirituality of non-dualist Kashmir Śaivism. Pratyabhijñā or divine recognition is the core philosophy, as expounded by Utpaladeva (9th century) in his Īśvarapratyabhijñā Kārikās (“Verses on the Recognition of the Lord”), and Kṣemarāja, genial disciple of Abhinavagupta, gives an experiential key to this non-dualism. He places the mystical experience of pure Awareness at the centre, giving both, the background and the practical ways to reach the permanent state of samādhi.
This seminar, which combines text study and practice, will be especially useful for those who have already studied other texts of Kashmir Śaivism like Vijñāna Bhairava, Śiva Sūtras, Netra Tantra, etc. For newcomers to this tradition, it can prepare the ground for further study and practice.
The program includes two sessions of text teaching, about 3 hours of meditation, yoga and recitation of stotras of the tradition.