Trika means trinity of Nara, Shakti and Shiva as is given in Tantras. Nara means an individual, Shakti means the Universal Energy and Shiva means the Transcendental Being. Thus a soul recognizes himself as Shiva by means of the realization of his Shaktis – the powers of God-head.

Therefore this Trika system advocates the practical path towards complete self-realization. To make it more clear, this three fold science of spirit is based on the three energies of Lord Shiva namely Para, Parapara and Apara. Para energy is subjective energy of Lord Shiva and it is regarded as the supreme. Parapara energy is cognitive energy of Lord Shiva and is called as intermediate. Apara energy is objective energy of Lord Shiva and it is known as inferior energy.

This triple action, reaction and interaction of mind and perception with consequent follow-up mental drill in this system of Shaivism has given it the name of ‘Trika’. The Trika philosophy of Kashmir Shaivim advocates how a human being, engrossed in the inferior objective energy of Lord Shiva, can be taken upwards viz. towards the supreme energy of Lord Shiva through his cognitive energy.

For this journey, undertaken to attain the real Transcendental state of self, Trika philosophy has laid down three means within the ambit of cognitive energy. The first and the supreme expedient is called Shambhavopaya. The intermediate expedient is known as Shaktopaya and the third expedient is called Anvopaya.

The meaning of the Sanskṛit word upāya is “means” or “path”. The word upāya in Kashmir Śaivism is used to indicate the means to enter into Universal God Consciousness from individual consciousness. The upayas unify the fettered soul with the Supreme, Shiva Consciousness.

The Purpose of the Upayas

All the upayas share the same purposes:

-Revealing the central core of reality, which is Shiva

-Eliminating ignorance

-Helping us attain liberation in this lifetime

“Anavopaya will carry you to the same point of God consciousness, but say, in a cart. Shaktopaya in a train. Sambhavopaya in a jet.”
-Swami Lakshman Joo