Gitartha Samgraha (critical Study)

by Partha Sarathi Sil | 2020 | 34,788 words

This essay studies the Gitartha Samgraha of Abhinava which is a commentary on the Bhagavad Gita: one of the core texts of Indian Philosophy. The Gitartha Sangraha is written in the light of Kashmir Shaivism and brings to Shaiva metaphysics and Yoga integrated in the Bhagavadgita. This study deals with Abhinavagupta’s vision and how his commentary p...


The Bhagavadgītā is one of the kernel texts of Indian Philosophy. Every school of Indian Philosophy has made an attempt to interpret the Bhagavadgītā in light of their own principles. The present study proposes an in-depth analysis of Gītārthasaṅgraha of Abhinavagupta highlighting the philosophy of Kashmir Śaivism ingrained in the Bhagavadgītā. The study has made an attempt of a critical interpretation of the Bhagavadgītā and has tried to show the influence of Kashmir Śaivism presence in the light of this commentary. The study is based on the impression that without understanding the proper import of the presence of the Kashmir Śaivism in the Bhagavadgītā, a proper understanding of the text is not possible.

Abhinavagupta is not only a genius in the field of arts and aesthetics but also a seer, a mystic saint having knowledge of the highest order and a marvelous exponent of Kashmir Śaivism. His works are many and among them the Gītārthasaṅgraha is a very important work not only because it unfolds the otherwise overlooked semantics of the text, but also brings forth the Kashmir Śaiva interpretation of the Bhagavadgītā into light.

We have stated above that according to Abhinavagupta, the proper implication of the Bhagavadgītā can rightly be comprehended only when the text will be seen through the prism of Kashmir Śaivism. This research proposes to work over this vision of Abhinavagupta. Although Bhagavadgītā has remained a subject of multiple interpretations from ancient times even then scholars world over are still exploring the esoteric meanings in it. This commentary may be propagating a particular theory or exhibiting erudition of the author, but one thing is clear that this commentary presents deeper insights about the purpose of human existence, immortality of soul and its relationship with the supreme soul and accomplishment of self-realisation or salvation. Here a critical interpretation of the Bhagavadgītā along with the commentary Gītārthasaṅgraha has presented after careful observation of the Śaiva influence on this philosophical text.

The entire thesis is divided into five chapters excluding the ‘Introduction’ and the ‘conclusion’. The first chapter deals with a short discourse on the Bhagavadgītā. The date of compostion of the Bhagavadgītā and its Kashmir reading has been discussed in this chapter. The Second chapter has discussed about Abhinavagupta and his composition. A list, containing the names of various texts, mentioned in the Gītārthasaṅgraha, has been prepared. The third chapter contains a brief history of the Kashmir Śaivism and various Śaiva tattvas. A survey has been made and tried to explain how these tattvas have been relevant in the Gītārthasaṅgraha. The fourth chapter has dealt with the relevance of the recapitulating ślokas as a whole in the Gītārthasaṅgraha, the nature of Karma-Bhakti and Jñānaṣaṭaka, the nature of Īśvara and the concept of liberation (Mokṣa) and non-dual Śaivism. Moreover, a list of available ślokas in the Gītārthasaṅgraha vis-à-vis the ślokas in critical edition of the Gītā has been prepared. In the fifth and the last chapter of the thesis a linguistic study of this present work of Abhinavagupta and its socio-cultural relevance have been included. Then after coming down to the conclusion an addendum, containing the technical terms of Kashmir Śaivism, has been included.


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