Gitartha Samgraha (critical Study)

by Partha Sarathi Sil | 2020 | 34,788 words

This page relates ‘The Tradition of Commentaries on Bhagavadgita in Kashmir’ of the study on Abhinavagupta’s Gitartha Samgraha 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 Abhinava’s vision about the purpose of human existence and the accomplishment of salvation (i.e., self-realisation).

3. The Tradition of Commentaries on Bhagavadgītā in Kashmir

In general most of the commentaries on Bhagavadgītā follow the tradition of Ādi Śaṅkara and Rāmānuja. Whereas commentaries written by Kashmiri authors generally follow the tradition of Śaiva philosophy. Śaiva scholars of Kashmir speak of Bhagavadgītā as an Agama (divine exposition) and regard it as the one among the Agama class of texts. Abhinavagupta clearly mentions that the sole purpose of writing a commentary on Bhagavadgītā is to bring into light the hidden meanings of the text which are more esoteric than Vedanta. According to Harivaṃśa Pūrāṇa, we came to know that Kṛṣṇa was taught the sixty four monistic Śaivāgamas by sage Durvāsas. In the Mahābhārata’s Mokṣa pravan, it is stated that Kṛṣṇa got knowledge of the Dvaita and Advita Śaivāgamas from Upamanyu. As a result, it can be said that Kṛṣṇa was thought by the Śaivas to have been himself a follower of the Trika. That’s why the Bhagavadgītā is classed with the Āgamas[1].

In ancient times, several elucidatory commentaries on the Gītā were available in Kashmir but at present the Valley treasures 11 commentaries written by scholars of the soil. These are: Rājānak Rāmakaṇṭh’s "Sarvatobhadra" (850 AD), Bhaṭṭa Bhāskara’s "Bhagavadgītāṭīkā " (900 AD), Abhinavagupta’s "Gītārthasaṃgraha" (950–1050AD), Ānandavardhan’s "Ānandvardhinī" or "Ānandīṭikā" (11th century), Keśavabhaṭṭa Kaśmīrī’s "Tattvaprakaśikā" (16th century), Rājānak Lakṣmī Rām alias lassa Kak’s "Lakṣmīṭīkā" (17th century), Sahib Koul’s "Gītāsāra” (17th century), Sahib Rām’s "Gītāvyakhyāsāhibī" (19th century), Pandit Dayā Rām’s "Bhagavadgītāṭīkā" (19th century), Jagadiśvar Vedapaṭhī’s "Ranavirsamithabodhini" (19th century), Rajanak Lakshman Joo’s commentary with extra verses of Bhagavad Gita (20th century). Rajanak Ramkanth’s Sarvatobhadra (circa 850 AD) is the oldest commentary on Bhagavad Gīta. It lays equal emphasis on Jñāna (knowledge), Karma (action) and Bhakti (devotion). Lyne Bansat Boudon and Judit Törzsök have nicely pointed out some salient features of the Kashmirian Gita tradition and discussed elaboratedly in their paper titled “Abhinavagupta on the Kashmirian Gītā”[2]. In the paper they have indicated the influence of Bhāskara and Ramakaṇṭha’s work on Abhinavagupta’s work. They have also furnished the information in respect of manuscripts available relating to the Gītārthasaṅgraha of Abhinavagupta.

A list of the name of commentaries on Bhagavadgītā has been included in the thesis.

Commentator Commentary Time
Rājānaka Rāmakaṇṭha Sarvatobhadra 850 A.D
Bhaṭṭabhāskara Bhagavadgītāṭīkā 900 A.D
Abhinavagupta Bhagavadgītārthasaṅgraha 950-1050 A.D
Ānandavardhana Ānandavardhinī 11th Century
Keśavabhaṭṭa Kāśmirī Tattvaprakāśikā 16th Century
Rājānaka Lakṣmīrāma Aliyas Laksītīkā 17th Century
Sāheva Koula Gītāsāra 17th Century
Sāhiva Rāma Gītāvyākhyā Sāhivi 19th Century
Paṇḍita Dayārāma Bhagavadgītāṭīkā 19th Century
Jagadīśvara Vedapāṭhī Raṇavīrasamithabodhinī 19th Century
Rājānaka Lakṣmaṇa Ju Bhagavadgītā Commentary 20th Century

Footnotes and references:


K.C. Pandey, Abhinavagupta, P-63.


Abhinavagupta on the Kashmirian Gītā, Published online, 2nd Nov, 2017, Springer.

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