Gitartha Samgraha (critical Study)

by Partha Sarathi Sil | 2020 | 34,788 words

This page relates ‘Abhinavagupta and his works’ 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).

Unlike the poets like Kālidāsa and others, Mahāmaheśvarācārya Abhinavagupta’s life and personal history can quell the quires of the readers. The information which Abhinavagupta himself has presented in the Tantrāloka[1] and Parātriśikāvivaraṇa, suffice to shed light on his personal life. He mentioned Atrigupta, belonging to the clan of Agastya as the first and foremost person of his lineage. It is known that Atrigupta got the favour of Yaśovarman, the king Kanauja. He was not only a scholar of Śaivism, but expertise in other branches of learning. About 740 A.D. Kashmirian King Lalitāditya defeated Yaśovarman and being amazed of his qualities he requested Atrigupta to go to Kashmir. Since that time Abhinavagupta’s forefathers left Madhyadeśa which is presently known as Uttar-Pradesh, to go to Kashmir in the middle of 8th Century.

Abhinavagupta’s grandfather Varāhagupta was a staunch devotee of God Śiva and a great Pandit. Naraharisiṃhagupta, the son of the Varāhagupta and the father of Mahāmaheśvarācārya Abhinavagupta was a respectful devotee of Śiva and expert in all the śāstras. It is learnt that Vimalakalā Devī was Abhinavagupta’s mother. Both the parents were religious and devotees of Lord Śiva. The śaivas believed that the only Yoginībhū could give explanation on the Śaiva non-dualism. That is why Abhinavagupta was an offspring of Yoginī (Yoginībhū)[2] in Kashmirian Śaiva tradition. According to Jayaratha, the commentator of Tantrāloka, the author Abhinavagupta himself has given hint in this regard in his composition. The name Abhinavaguptapāda is significant. Here the word ‘pāda’ is indicative of his honour. ‘Guptapāda’ means ‘śeṣanāga’. So, the learned scholars think that Abhinavagupta had been so named for his having the incarnated form of Śeṣanāga. On the other hand Patañjali is considered as the incarnation of Śeṣanāga and as Abhinavagupta was a great grammarian, he had been so named as a recognition of his expertness in the field of grammar. Of course, Abhinavagupta appears to have explained the term ‘abhinava’ in the concluding śloka of the Bhagavadgītārthasaṅgraha[3]. It is noteworthy that there the combined form of Śiva and Śakti (the static and the dynamic) is really something new, abhinava, which is imperceptible by human eyes, and therefore, concealed, gupta. Jhalkikāra, however, has mentioned a different meaning. Abhinavagupta’s sharp intellect would create a tremendous fear as if a snake, among his classmates, and this sense has been mentioned while explaining his name. Considering all these explanations it appears reasonable to hold that the name Abhinavagupta was conferred on him as a title. Abhinavagupta himself has mentioned in the Tantrāloka that his teachers used to call him by this name. The time of Abhinavagupta is admitted as between 950 A.D. to 1015 A.D. In this context it may be stated that one Abhinavagupta was who was defeated in philosophical arguments of the śastric debate as mentioned by the Mādhavācarya in his ‘Śaṅkaradigvijaya’, was a different person. Being a contemporary of Śaṅkara, he is presumed as belonging to the 8th Century A.D.

Abhinavagupta’s uncle was Paṇḍita Vāmanagupta who taught him Kāvyaśāstra. In the commentary of Nāṭyaśastra named Abhinavabhāratī, Abhinavagupta quoted a śloka of Vāmanagupta. It is known that the entire family of Abhinavagupta was devoted to God Śiva and detracted from worldly happiness. As Abhinavagupta was connoisseur of poetic art, so also he was a crescent jewel among the philosophers. He could easily traverse all branches of learning unimpeded. For this he acquired various knowledge with great sincerity and enthusiasm from different preceptors. It is known that even from Buddha and Jaina preceptors he acquired learning. The preceptors whom he referred to frequently in his writings are noted below.

The names of all the preceptors of Abhinavagupta including their teachings and other matters as stated by G.T Deshpande, have been mentioned in the thesis.

Guru / Master Śāstras / Domain
Narasiṃhagupta Grammar
Vāmanātha Dvaita Vidyā
Bhūtirāja Brahmavidyā
Bhūtirājatanaya Dvaitādvaita Śaivāgama
Lakṣmaṇagupta Krama and Trika Darśana
Bhaṭṭatouta Dramaturgy
Śambhunātha (from Jalandhara) Kaulāgama


Moreover, Prof. Kanti Chandra Pandey has mentioned a list of the books written by Abhinavagupta in the investigative book named “Abhinavagupta”. Considering the subject matter, the compositions made by Abhinavagupta can be classified as 5 books on Alṃkāra and Saṃskṛt kāvya, 11 stotras and the rest are Advaita Śaiva texts and texts on spiritual discipline (Śādhanā). It is to be mentioned here that in preparing the list of Abhinavagupta’s texts, the list of K.C Pandey was followed.

Books Written by Abhinavagupta:

  • Bodhapañcadaśika
  • Mālinīvijayabārtika
  • Parātriṃśikā-vṛtti
  • Tantrāloka
  • Tantrasāra
  • Tantravaṭadhānikā
  • Dhvanyāloka-locana
  • Abhinababhāratī
  • Bhagavadgītārthasaṅgraha
  • Paramārthasāra
  • Īśvarapratyabhijñāvṛttivimarśinī
  • Īśbarapratyabhijñābimarśinī
  • Paryantapañcāśikā
  • Ghaṭakarparakulakavivṛti
  • Kramastotra
  • Dehasthadevatācakrastotra
  • Bhairabastotra
  • Paramārthadvādaśikā
  • Mahopadeśaviṃśatika
  • Anuttarāṣṭaka
  • Anubhavanivedana
  • Rahasyapañcadaśikā
  • Tantroccaya
  • Purūrabo-vicāra
  • Kramakeli
  • Śivadṛṣṭyālocana
  • Padārtha-praveśa-nirṇayaṭīkā
  • Prakīrṇa-vivaraṇa Prakaraṇa-vivaraṇa
  • Kāvyakautukavivaraṇa
  • Kathāmukhatilaka
  • Laghvīprakriyā
  • Bhedavādavidāraṇa
  • Devīstotravivaraṇa
  • Tattvādhvaprakāśikā
  • Śivaśaktyavinābhāvastotra
  • Vimbaprativimbavāda
  • Paramārthasaṃgraha
  • Anuttaratattvavimarśinīvṛtti

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

vimalakalāśrayābhinavaguptamahājananībharitatanuśca pañcamukhaguptarucirjanakaḥ | asya hi granthakṛtaḥ narasiṃhaguptavimalākhau pitarau iti guravaḥ, Tantrāloka, 1.1.

[2]:

śivaśaktyātmakaṃ rūpaṃ bhāvayecca parasparam
na kuryānmānavīṃ buddhiṃ rāgamohādisaṃyutāṃ
jñānabhāvanayā sarvaṃ kartavyaṃ sādhakottamaiḥ |
evaṃvidhasiddhayoginīprāyapitṛmelakasamutthayā
tādṛṅmelakakalikākalitatanuryo bhavedgarbhe |
uktaḥ sa yoginībhūḥ svayameva jñānabhājanaṃ bhaktaḥ ||
ityaktanītya svātmani niruttarapadādvayajñānapātramabhidadhatā granthakṛtā nikhilaṣaḍarddhaśāstrasārasaṃgrahabhūte granthakaraṇe'pi adhikāraḥ kaṭākṣīkṛtaḥ | Tantrāloka, Viveka, 1.1

[3]:

abhinavārūpā śaktistadgupto yo maheśvaro devaḥ |
tadubhayayāmalarūpamabhinavaguptaṃ śivaṃ vande || Gītārthasaṅgraha, Concluding Verse, 4.

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