Three postulates to summarize the philosophical consequences of the Shaivite school of thought as propounded by Abhinavagupta:
1. The universe is a projection of the consciousness into consciousness and by the consciousness. The cosmogony of it only details the birthing of our awareness of it. Abhinavagupta’s idea of non-dualism is a variant of monism: the latter entails that the mind and body are one, but the Shaivite argues that the bodies are phenomenological multiplicities. Last, universal consciousness and the universe are one.
2. Following from the first postulate, individual consciousness is not separate from universal consciousness. They are akin to embodiments of that all-pervading awareness and it is wrong to think of them as subsets or otherwise; they are, essentially, one and the same. The highest good is attained when the individual becomes conscious that the individuated consciousness IS the universal consciousness. The supreme consciousness, the “all-aware”, is Siva (not a person, but a state of being).
3. In Abhinavagupta’s Shaivite philosophy, what is the highest good? It is a continuum of uninterrupted awareness of the non-dualist essence by the individual, where the individuations of the consciousness no longer break down the big picture. In the soteriological context, liberation (moksa) is the gradual recognition of the Supreme Being. The ultimate state of bliss is the expansion of the individuated consciousness through a process of gradually increasing awareness into a universal consciousness.
Wherefore, in conclusion, the Supreme Being is the core of the human subject – and upon attainment of moksa, the subject-object duality loses its meaning. One does not become the Supreme Being, one does not establish a relationship with the Supreme Being. One only realizes that he (or she) him- (or her-) self is the Supreme Being.
Using bodily means to attain this moksa is useless since they are all external endeavors to explore the inner self, but in their defense, they exist principally for the disciplining of the mind.