Photo: Original page from the Pratyabhijñā-hṛdayam.

The Pratyabhijñā-hṛdayam is one of the most profound sacred texts that illuminates a tradition that teaches that every human being is lacking nothing but the recognition of their Divine essence-nature. Christopher Hareesh Wallis, PhD, one of the foremost scholar/practitioners in this field wrote what is perhaps the most accessible translation and commentary on this text. The text is just 18 sutras that offer a direct path to the nondual understanding and practices to help with recognition of the nondual. An excerpt from a blog by Hareesh Wallis is below as well as a sample sutra, sutra 1:

SUTRA 1. citiḥ svatantrā viśva-siddhi-hetuḥ
Awareness, free and independent, is the cause of the performance of everything. (from The Recognition Sutras: Illuminating a 1,000-Year-Old Spiritual Masterpiece)

“One thousand years ago in the valley of Kashmīr, a great tāntrika, Rājānaka Kṣhemarāja, wrote his masterpiece: the Pratyabhijñā-hṛdayam [referred to as The Recognition Sutras, in English] which means ‘the essence of the Recognition philosophy’ or ‘the heart of the teachings on Recognition’—recognition, that is, of oneself as an expression of the universal divine Consciousness.

“The Recognition philosophy is the most fully developed body of teachings in nondual Śaiva Tantra. It arose in Kashmīr in the early 900s and eventually traversed the whole length of India, being especially well studied in the far South as well as the far North. Even back then, it was considered an intellectually challenging philosophy—I think it’s amongst the most intellectually challenging in any language—and so to make the teachings accessible to a wider public, Rājānaka Kshemarāja composed this short work, about fifty pages in the original Sanskrit. It was a concise primer, written, he said, to introduce spiritual seekers to the Recognition philosophy in more approachable, less formally philosophical, language. What he created turned out to be one of the great spiritual masterpieces, breathtaking in its brevity but stunning in its power. It came to be considered equivalent to scripture itself by later generations, because of its undeniable inspiration. Since the text is anchored by twenty key sūtras (aphorisms), my translation of it is called The Recognition Sutras

“The text itself is extraordinary, but the fact that we’re able to read The Recognition Sūtras today—that it exists at all, in any language, let alone in English—is nothing short of a miracle.” [Read more here.]

Interestingly, this text and many others from the Kashmir Valley, were thankfully preserved by King Pratāp Singh, who was aware of the treasure trove of scriptures that were in decay and would disappear without preservation efforts. This tradition of preserving sacred texts continues with the efforts of the King’s grandnephew, Dr. Karan Singh. Dr. Singh is  a close friend and interfaith colleague of Integral Yoga founder Swami Satchidananda. Dr. Singh donated the magnificent Nataraja murti that is enshrined at Kailash, at Satchidananda Ashram–Yogaville in Virginia.

Hareesh Wallis teaches a wonderful course on The Recognition Sutras via The Sutra Project and his book is available in bookstores and Audible.