Gitartha Samgraha (critical Study)

by Partha Sarathi Sil | 2020 | 34,788 words

This page relates ‘Concept of Ishvara in the Gitarthasangraha’ 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).

6. Concept of Īśvara in the Gītārthasaṅgraha

To understand the god stated in Gītārthasaṅgraha, it is necessary to know the nature of god first adumbrated by the Śaiva philosophy. We have already presented the context of god while discussing about doctrine of Kashmir Śaivism. However, in this chapter discussion will be made on the nature of Parameśvara and the nature of ātman to speak about god. Parameśvara is cidātman[1], pure thought. We find the reference of undecaying ātman in the Bhagavadgītā and the Gītārthasaṅgraha. This ātman is imperishable and perpetual. The embodied personal soul becomes manifested during living condition and gets transformation[2]. As the ātman is imperishable one should not mourn for it[3]. Sage Vyāsadeva too has told that, as the ātman is very minute, it is very hard to know its nature[4]. All the activities of the creation are produced by knowledge, and knowledge is produced from god[5].

Parameśvara is the perfomer of everything[6]. The thing which can not be known by intellect, is pūrṇāhantā, non-relational I-consciousness. The entire world becomes dissolved in that I-experience, and this state expresses the complete non-difference. “I am that entire universe”–this non-difference is the nature of Ātman. Ātman is non-performer and is always of liberated nature[7]. Ātman is primarily filled with six guṇas. They are–omniscience, complacence, feeling of eternity, individuality, undiminishing power, and unending power[8]. Although the formless god is filled up with these six guṇas, he creates individual souls by his own part due to His grace[9]. Nothing is existent beyond Vāsudeva. Parameśvara, filled up with joy, remains freed from the bondage of all activities in all conditions. This god is no other provable matter than the authority. In fact, here the sameness of bhoktā and bhogya is desired[10]. This entity of Brahman never perishes[11].

Abhinavagupta has mentioned it sāmya, equality[12]. The nature of Parabrahman, who is the form of self, is ascertained with many adjectives. Paramātman does not manifest His own nature[13]. So, the nature of Paramātman remains unperceived to the yogin unless its nature in expanded form is observed by him[14]. Equality in the perception makes the yoga, union of the yogin appropriate separatism is rejected and the knowledge of the entity of Brahman can be attained[15]. In this context discussion mode by Abhinavagupta in the Devīśtotravivaraṇa, has also been mentioned in the Gītārthasaṅgraha. Abhinavagupta has said that though the god is different from Prakṛti and Puruṣa, He exists in all the worldly materials[16]. It is due to the will power of god that the sādhaka attains the undivided knowledge in respect of the forms between a jar and a cloth[17].

According to the Gītārthasaṅgraha, there is no difference between god and Vāsudeva. So, a yogin after worshiping the god taking many births, can have the knowledge that everything is pervaded by Vāsudeva. He realises the nature of Vāsudeva by his undivided perception[18]. God exists in this world in the form of māyā. The ignorant perceives only that māyā form[19]. But the wise can perceive this world as colour-imposed by the power of god[20]. The spiritual, divine and material sacrifices are in fact, the nature of god, transformation only[21]. Parabrahman is vast, and pervaded everywhere. The god is termed as Brahman in the Gītārthasaṅgraha for the purpose of making the self great and the earth a great creation[22]. In spite of all changes the nature of consciousness is the true nature of god. The Gītārthasaṅgraha of Abhinavagupta mentions that all gods reside in the individual soul[23]. To make the form or image of god understandable, the simile of the sun has been presented[24]. Though the sky and air are always in inseparable relation, the quality of touch is not available in the sky, likewise though god is always pervasive in this creation, the form of god cannot be known by all people[25]. He is always unattached like the sky[26]. So, no other thing is the subject to be known excepting Brahman[27]. Parabrahma is the god, god is experiencer[28]. God is the all authority, pramātā–by the knowledge one can easily perceive the all powerful own self[29]. God is sat, existent, as a result He is existing[30]. This god is of the form of this universe and Vāsudeva himself[31].

According to Śaivism, He transforms easily to the devotee as meditative feeling. God is qualified with unending qualities. The entity of god is described by eight qualities. These are ahanta-papmā, vijayī, vimṛtyu, viśoka, avijightsa, apipāsa, satyakāma and satyasaṃkalpa[32]. In course of description of the eighteenth śloka of the thirteenth chapter Abhinavagupta has said that Parabrahman is anādimat that is, having no beginning. God is of the form of Brahman. Many adjectives have been used to identify god[33]. There is no difference in fact, between Prakṛti and Puruṣa[34]. Only the ignorant distinguishes between them. Parabrahman is the manifested form of the power of Paramātman, that bears no name and that is the main source of supreme joy. Basing on the vimarśa śakti, power of self revelation, He appears for the welfare of the world[35]. Lord said in the Bhagavadgītā–I am the root of the attainment of Brahman. The devotee transforms into Brahman by serving me[36]. There by attaining the god Viṣṇu, it is possible to be elevated to the state of the absorption with Śiva[37]. It is because everything is enveloped by Maheśvara. In this context it may be mentioned that the eternally existent domain though covered in mystery, sometimes becomes illuminated to the realization[38]. In connection with the discussion of the Jñeya, Kṣetra and Kṣetrajña in the 13th chapter of the Gītārthasaṅgraha it is stated that he who, being independent, perceives the knowledge through the eyes of his knowledge, can get the ultimate bliss by attaining the Paramātman. It is therefore evident that the Absolute self can be experienced through realization. It is undeniable that Vāsudeva is Parameśvara[39]; but to enquire as to whether Maheśvara is Vāsudeva, we have to search for the nature of the Absolute elsewhere. The supreme Lord is ever coupled with jñāna and Śakti and it is stated in the 14th chapter of Gītā. It can be known that being the cause of all creation[40], His self manifestation as the world represents His self-expansion by the independent Śakti. That Śakti is the mother and the Parameśvara is the father[41]. Abhinavagupta has suggested to take resort to Parameśvara in almost all the pages of his Gītārthasaṅgraha.

Footnotes and references:


sa ca matpara evāsīta māmeva cidātmānaṃ parameśvaramabhyaset | Gītārthasaṅgraha, 2/63.


dahānvito'pi satataṃ dehāntaraṃ gacchati tena saṃvadhyata ityarthaḥ, dehasya kṣaṇamātramapyanavasthayitvāt | Gītārthasaṅgraha, 2/26.


tathāhi ātmā tāvadavināśī, nānāśarīreṣu saṃcarataḥ kāsya śocyatā | Gītārthasaṅgraha, 2/12.


munināpi—‘kalānāṃ pṛthagarthānāṃ pratibhedaḥ kṣaṇe kṣaṇe |
vartate sarvabhāveṣu saukṣmāttu na vibhāvyate || ’ Gītārthasaṅgraha, 2/19.


annaṃ ca vṛṣṭidvāreṇa parjanyāt, so'pi yajñāt, yajñaḥ kriyātaḥ sā ca jñānapūrvikā, jñānamakṣarāt iti |..ata ātmaiva viṣayopabhogena poṣyate | Gītārthasaṅgraha, 3/15.


svatantraḥ parameśvaraḥ eva sarvakartā nāhaṃ kaśit iti niścitya lokānugrahaṃ cikīrṣurlokācāraṃ yuddhātmakamanutiṣṭha | Gītārthasaṅgraha, 3/30.


ātmā ca akartā nityamuktaḥ | Gītārthasaṅgraha, 3/33.


śrībhagavānkila pūrṇaṣāḍguṇyatvāccharīrasaṃparkamātrarahito'pi sthitikārittvātkāruṇikatayā ātmāṃśaṃ sṛjati | Gītārthasaṅgraha, 4/7.


sarvatra sarvadā ānandaghanaṃ parameśvarameva ‘na vāsudevāt paramasti kiṃcit’ iti nītya vimṛśati, tasya kiṃ karmabhirbandha | Gītārthasaṅgraha, 4/14.


tathā ca mayaiva laghvyāṃ prakriyāyāmuktam-
na bhogyaṃ vyatiriktaṃ hi bhoktustatto vibhāvyate |
eṣa eva hi bhogo yattadātmyaṃ bhoktṛbhogyayoḥ || Gītārthasaṅgraha, 4/26.


taṣāṃ sarvataḥ sarvāsvavasthasu brahmasattā pāramārthikī na nirodhakālamapekṣate | Gītārthasaṅgraha, 5/26.


sāmye hi te pratiṣṭhitāḥ | sāmyaṃ ca brahma | Gītārthasaṅgraha, 6/10.


svasvabhāvasya brahmaṇo bahutaraviśeṣaṇadvāreṇa svarūpaṃ nirūpyate | Gītārthasaṅgraha, 6/20.


paramātmanaḥ sarvagataṃ rūpaṃ yo na paśyati tasya paramātmā palāyitaḥ svarūpaprakaṭīkārābhāvāt | Gītārthasaṅgraha, 6/31.


ataśca samadarśanatvaṃ jāyate yogaśceti saṃkṣepārthaḥ | Gītārthasaṅgraha, 6/30.


ahamityanena prakṛtipuruṣapuruṣottamebhyo'vyatirikto'pīśvaraḥ sarvathā sarvānugatatvena sthita iti | Gītārthasaṅgraha, 7/6.


kāmaḥ icchā saṃvinmātrarūpā yasyā ghaṭapaṭādibhidharmarūpairnāsti virodhaḥ | Gītārthasaṅgraha, 7/6.


anenaiva cāśayena vakṣyate ‘vāsudeva sarvam’ iti jñānena yo bahujanmopabhogajanitakarmasamatāsamanantarasamutpannaparaśaktipātānugṛhītāntaḥ karaṇeno'sau pratipadyate..... sa ca durlabha iti | Gītārthasaṅgraha, 7/13.


tacca bhedātmakaṃ rūpaṃ saṃsāribhiranirvācyatayā tān prati māyārūpam | Gītārthasaṅgraha, 7/4.


ye tu vinaṣṭatāmasāḥ.... sarvameva bhagavadraśmikhacitam jarāmaraṇamayatamisrasrutaṃ brahma vidanti | Gītārthasaṅgraha, 7/29.


ādhyātmakādhibhautikādhidaivikādhiyajñikāni ca mamaiva rūpāntarāṇi | Gītārthasaṅgraha, 7/30.


bṛhatvād bṛhaṃkatvācca paraṃ brahma | Gītārthasaṅgraha, 8/3.


puruṣaḥ ātmā sa cādhidaivatam, tatra sarvadevatānāṃ pariniṣṭhitatvāt | Gītārthasaṅgraha, 8/4.


ādityavarṇatvaṃ vāsudevatvasya paricchedakam ākṛtikalpanādivibhrāntimayamohatamaso'tītatvāt ravitvena upamānamityaśayaḥ | Gītārthasaṅgraha, 8/10.


evaṃ sakalasaṃsāravisāryapi bhagavattattaṃ na visarjanaviṣayam | Gītārthasaṅgraha, 9/7.


yata'sau paramātmaiva śarīrastho'pi na lipyate ākāśavat | Gītārthasaṅgraha, 13/33.


na hi brahmavyatireki kiṃcidupāsyamasti | Gītārthasaṅgraha, 9/27.


svātmā tu parameśvaro na vidhipūrvako vidhipariprāpitatvābhāvāt | Ibid.


sarva eva hi pramātāra eka īśvara iti | Gītārthasaṅgraha, 10/9.


sat padārthatvena, asat upalabdhaṃ pratyaviṣayatvāt | Gītārthasaṅgraha,11/38.


‘vāsadevaḥ sarvam’ ityadipūrvābhihitopadeśacamatkārāt viśvātmakaṃ vāsudevatattvamayatnata eva bodhapadavīmavatarayatīti śivam | Gītārthasaṅgraha, 11/60.


ātmani kilāpahatapāpmatvādiguṇāṣṭakāropaṃ vidhāya paścāttamevopāsate iti svataḥsiddhaguṇagrāmagarimaṇi īśvarayatnasādhye sthite'pi dviguṇamāyāsaṃ vidanti | Gītārthasaṅgraha, 12/5.


anādimatparaṃ braham ityadibhirbrahmasvarūpāpekṣepānugrāhakaṃ sarvapravādābhihitavijñānāpṛthagbhāvaṃ kathayati | Gītārthasaṅgraha, 13/18.


pumānprakṛtirityeṣa bhedaḥ saṃmūḍhacetasām |
paripūrṇāstu manyante nirmalātmamayaṃ jagat || Gītārthasaṅgraha, Saṅgrahaśloka-13.


ātmayāmeva hi vimarśaśaktimālambyāhamanādīnātmāṇūn anugrahārthaṃ saṃsārayāmi | Gītārthasaṅgraha, 14/3.


ahameva hi brahmaṇaḥ pratiṣṭhā | mayi sevyamāne brahma bhavati | Gītārthasaṅgraha, 14/27.


lasadbhaktirasāveśahīnāhaṃkāravibhramaḥ |
sthite'pi guṇasaṃmarde guṇātītaḥ samo yati || Gītārthasaṅgraha, Saṅgrahaśloka-16.


Iśvarapratyabhijñāvimarśinī, 2/133.


Gītārthasaṅgraha, 13/34


Gītārthasaṅgraha, 13/3.


Gītārthasaṅgraha, 14/4.

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