[Advaita-l] Shankaracharya and Abhinavagupta

Sunil Bhattacharjya sunil_bhattacharjya at yahoo.com
Thu Jan 7 10:40:45 CST 2010

Thank you Jaldharji. Yes all these point to the fact that Abhinavagupta was from Kashmir.

--- On Mon, 1/4/10, Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com> wrote:

From: Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
Subject: [Advaita-l] Shankaracharya and Abhinavagupta
To: "A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Date: Monday, January 4, 2010, 9:47 AM

[Was Re: [Advaita-l] Conference on that Date of Adi Sankaracharya in October, 2002]

On Fri, 1 Jan 2010, Satish Arigela wrote:

>> As regards the Sankara Vijaya you referred to are you sure it was written by Vidyaranya Swami himself an not by his namesake

Madhava the author of the mAdhavIya shaMkaradigvijaya is the same person who took sannyasa under the name vidyAraNyA.  His nephew also called Madhava is also a celebrated author of shastraic works so the two are often confused.

> and do you 
>> think the great Tantric Abhinabhagupta, referred to in that, was from Kamarupa and not from Kashmir?
> Are you sure the text says abhinava gupta? Or does it say navagupta? I dont remember. abhinavagupta is a trika shaiva from kAshmIra whereas navagupta, they say is a shAkta from kAmarUpa

The 15th sarga describes Shankaracharyas digvijaya.

15.158 reads:

tadanantarameSha kAmarUpAnadhigatyAbhinavopashabdaguptam |
ajayatkila shaktibhAShyakAraM sa cha bhagno manasedamAluloche ||

The next few shlokas tell how this Abhinavagupta was defeated and pretended to submit to Shankaracharya so the latter would not steal his shishyas away.

The 16th sarga describes Shankaracharyas visit to Kashmir to ascend the sarvaGYapiTha.

16.1 reads:

atha yadA jitavAnyatishekaro.abhinavaguptamanuttamamantrikam |
sa tu tadA.apajito yatigocharaM hatamanA.h kR^itavAnapagoraNam ||

Then the next 20+ shlokas tell rest of the story of how he cursed Shankaracharya with a fatal disease but PadmapAdAcharya made it rebound on him.

Some observations:

1. In both places, Abhinavagupta is mentioned not Navagupta.

2. This Abhinavagupta is said to be a "mantrika" and the author of shaktibhashya (on the Brahmasutras?)  But the famous Abhinavagupta is a Shaiva as you say.  Which though similiar is not exactly the same thing as a Shakta.  As far as I know the only known work called Shaktibhashya is by a 20th century Bengali pandit called Panchanana Tarkaratna Bhattacharya. The famous Abhinavagupta has not as far as I know written a work by that name.

3.  According to Abhinavaguptas Tantraloka, Matsyendranath the founder of the tantric Kaula sampradaya, came from Kamarupa.  Could there be some confusion between the two by someone far away in time and place (14th century Vijayanagara) from the historical events?  However it should be noted that Madhavacharya junior in his sarvadarshanasamgraha does include a chapter on pratyabhijna darshana so Kashmiri Shaiva thought and literature were not unknown in that environment.

4.  Abhinavagupta mentions several kings of Kashmir and extensive biographical details about his family so we can be confident of dating him to the late 9th-early 10th century.  If he was truly a contemporary of Shankaracharya, this will launch another long thread! :-)

-- Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
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