The word kaula is derived from kula, which means "family." As the name itself suggests, kaula is the path of spirituality that can be practiced while living in a family. It is a path of freedom in the world, rather than freedom from the world. The philosophy supporting this tradition proclaims that everyone and everything in this world is a member of one family. Transcendental primordial energy known as the Divine Mother is the head of the family and the origin of all that exists. All forms of matter and energy emerge from her. It is not that the universe as a distant entity evolves from her; rather, she herself manifests in the form of the universe. She is the universe. Experiencing ourselves to be different from her is ignorance which leads to bondage. The sense of separation from her results in strife. Experiencing our oneness with her is self-understanding and leads to liberation. It is the experience of unitary consciousnesses that brings all forms of strife to an end. From the moment of our birth, we have been identifying ourselves with the physical realm, especially with our bodies. This identification convinces our consciousness to the pleasure and pain and loss and gain associated with our physical level of existence. So often we find ourselves driven by the four primitive urges: food, sleep, sex, and self-preservation. Upon analysis, we find that all emotions such as desire, anger, hatred, jealousy and greed spring from these four primitive urges. Unless we rise above our body consciousness and become established in non-dual unitary consciousness, these emotions will continue to flood our minds and nervous systems with anxiety, fear, and a pervasive sense of insecurity. If, on the other hand, we follow the path of self-discipline and inner purification, we eventually attain freedom from these urges and the emotions springing from them.
- "Touched by Fire," by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait. Himalayan Institute Press, 2000