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Achievements of Abhinav Gupta

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Achievments Of Abhinav Gupta

Pratyabhijnavimarshini and its larger edition Viviriti belong to the Pratyabhijna (recognition) school of Shaiva Shastra as propounded by Utpala Deva and originated by Somananda. Both Vedanta and Shaivism professed the same goal: “the removal of veil of ignorance.” While in Vedanta the negation of facts of experience was the requirement for realization of the self, Shaivism taught that the self was realized through embracing the facts of experience and recognizing itself in every aspect of the universe. Abhinavagupta defined the term “Pratyabhijna” as: “Recognition of that supreme self is by coming face to face with what was forgotten through effulgence (of consciousness).” Abhinavagupta explained cognition as taking place “when the past perception and the present perception are revived (by the object coming in full view).” Ahbinavagupta explains the apparent contradiction between unity and plurality by saying that in essence, objects are internally one consciousness, but externally, at the illusory level, they are differentiated by physical characteristics.

Among Abhinavagupta’s contributions to aesthetics is his analysis of eight types of rasa (the emotional experience of poetry or drama). He explored how the appreciation of art, music, poetry and literature was heightened by the removal of moha (ignorance), and how their beauty was enhanced through knowledge of Brahman.

Contemporary pânditas and spiritual personages recognized Abhinavagupta as the spiritual head of all the Shaiva schools and as an incarnation of Bhairava (Shiva) himself. On the authority of contemporaneous writers whose works have survived, Abhinavagupta apparently showed all the signs of a fully realized master: he demonstrated unswerving devotion to Shiva; possessed the mantra-siddhi or power of mantras; had control over the elements; was capable of fulfilling any desire; and had spontaneous knowledge of all the scriptures.”

“Abhinavagupta has made the blazing Sun of commentary [on Tantra] manifest that is bent on extirpating the darkness of misleading, wretched commentaries lacking the refinement of good teaching and tradition … [and] by its flashing lustre, melts the coagulated stream of innumerable bonds.” Somanda on Abhinavagupta.

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