Articles by alphabetic order
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 Ā Ī Ñ Ś Ū Ö Ō
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0


Abhinavagupta on Reflection (Pratibimba) in the Tantra

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search




by Mrinal Kaul1



Abstract In the celebrated tantric manual, the Tantrāloka, Abhinavagupta (fl.c. 975–1025 CE) and his commentator Jayaratha (fl.c. 1225–1275 CE) establish a nondual S ´aiva theory of reflection (pratibimbavāda) (3.1-65) using the key metaphors of light (prakāśa) and reflective awareness (vimarśa). This paper attempts to explain the philosophical problem of reflection from the standpoint of these nondual S ´aivas. It also evaluates the problem in its hermeneutical context, analysing multiple layers of meaning and interpretation. Is the metaphor of reflection only a way of explaining the particular currents of the S ´aiva phenomenology represented by the concepts of prakāśa and vimarśa? What philosophical problem does Abhinavagupta seek to solve by complicating the category of reflection and giving it a quasi-paradoxical status? Why does he use the model of the subtle elements (tanmātras) to explain the theory of reflection? What does the ‘untaintedness (nairmalya) of the mirror of consciousness’ mean for his system? These questions form the focus of this paper.


Keywords Reflection · pratibimba · Abhinavagupta · Tantra¯loka · pratibimbavāda · Trika · S ´aivism · Prakāśa · Vimarśa · Jayaratha


Abbreviations I ¯PK Īśvarapratyabhijñākārikā → TORELLA 2002 I ¯PV Īśvarapratyabhijñāvimarśinī I ¯PVB Bhāskarī I ¯PVV Īśvarapratyabjijñāvivṛttivimarśinī KSTS Kashmir Series of Texts and Studies

& Mrinal Kaul mrinal.kaul@stx.oxon.org

1 Manipal Centre for Humanities, Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), Manipal, Karnataka, India


MVUT Mālinīvijayottaratantra NT Netratantra NTU Netratantroddyota PHr ˙ Pratyabhijñāhṛdaya PS Paramārthasāra PSV Paramārthasāravivṛti PTV Parātriśikāvivaraṇa SBUM Svabodhodayamañjarī → TORELLA 2000 SN Spanda-nirṇaya S ´S Śivasūtra S ´SV Śivasūtra-vārttika SvT Svacchandatantra SvTU Svacchandatantrodyota TA ¯ Tantrāloka TAK III Tantra¯bhidha¯nakos ´a III → RASTELLI and GOODALL 2013 TA ¯ V Tantrālokaviveka TS Tantrasāra TU Tantroccaya VBV Vijñānabhairava-vivṛti VM Vāmakeśvarīmata-vivaraṇa YS Yogasūtra Abhinavagupta (fl.c. 975–1025 CE), the preeminent non-dual Trika S ´aiva philosopher of Kashmir, engages with the ‘theory of reflection’ (pratibimbavāda) in several of his works, viz. the Tantrāloka (TA ¯ ) (3.1-65), Tantrasāra (TS-3), Tantroccaya (TU-3), Parātriśikāvivaraṇa (PTV), Paramārthasāra (PS) (verses 6–13), Īśvarapratyabhijñā-vimarśinī (I ¯PV) 1.2.8 and 2.4.19, and Īśvarapratyabhijñā-viṛttivimarśinī (I ¯PVV) 1.2.8 and 2.4.19. In the TA ¯ , apart from explicating the theory of reflection (pratibimbavāda) in the first 65 verses of chapter three, Abhinavagupta discusses this again in verses 268–294ab1 of the same chapter, where he engages with the topic of absorption in S ´ivahood (śāṃbhavasamāveśa) as the state of emancipation while living (jīvanmukti). While the TS and the TU, which are short summaries of the TA ¯, touch upon the theory of reflection only briefly, the PTV explores the pratibimbavāda in detail from the linguistic-cosmological point of view.2 In both the TA ¯ and the PTV, the idea of ontological categories (tattvas) is complexly placed in relation to the emanation of the phonemes in S ´aiva cosmology.3 In addition, as noted by David Lawrence,4 there are a few other 1 TA ¯ 3.267 cd: alam anyena bahunā prakṛte’ tha niyujyate || See also Jayaratha’s comment in the TA ¯V thereupon:athetyānantaryetadito’anantaraṃprakṛtaṃviśvacitpratibimbatvādyevaprastūyateityarthaḥ||. 2 See Ba ¨umer (2011) for details on this topic. One may also see the relevant parts of Padoux (1992) and Singh (1988). 3 Apart from the contribution of Padoux (1992) on Abhinavagupta’s philosophy of language, one may also see Biernacki (2013), Lawrence (1998, 2008), and Torella (1999, 2001, 2004). 4 Lawrence (2005, p. 592, fn. 39).


examples of Abhinavagupta’s basic metaphysical use of the analogy of reflection. For instance the reflection metaphor appears also in I ¯PV 1.6.3, I ¯PV 2.1.1 (benediction), I ¯PV 2.1.8, I ¯PV 2.4.10, I ¯PV 3.1.1-2, the Bodhapañcadaśikā (verses 4–5) and the Paramārthacarcāvivaraṇa (verses 4–5).5 Abhinavagupta is certainly not the first to develop a theory of reflection or even to use the mirror metaphor to illustrate his system. In fact, as already pointed out by Raniero Gnoli6 and argued by Isabelle Ratie ´,7 Utpaladeva (fl.c. 925–975 CE), Abhinavagupta’s grandmaster, is undoubtedly a significant source for exploring the complex nature of reflection and its polemics in non-dual S ´aiva philosophy. This is gradually becoming clearer thanks to the discovery of the fragments of the I ¯PVivr ˙ ti by both Raffaele Torella8 and Ratie ´.9 The theory of reflection is a standard model in classical Indian philosophical discourse for inquiry into the nature of reality. The philosophical problem involved is whether empirical phenomena are real or not, and in what sense. In other words, is a reflecting object (a prototype) real or is the reflected form (a reflection) real? Canboth be real at the same time, or does one of them has to be not-real? This paper attempts to understand these questions in light of the non-dual S ´aiva philosophy of Abhinavagupta. MyeffortwillbetodevelopaclearpictureoftheideaofreflectioninAnuttara Trika S ´aivism, mainly as represented by his encyclopaedic Tantric manual, the Tantrāloka (‘Light on the Tantras’). At the same time, it is impossible to ignore the detailed commentary on the Tantrāloka by Jayaratha (fl.c. 1225–1275 CE), entitled Tantrālokaviveka (TA ¯V). Wherever necessary I have included Jayaratha’s explanations as well.10 By making a close reading of the Tantrāloka 3.1-65 and Viveka thereupon, this paper attempts to explain the philosophical problem of reflection from the standpoint of these non-dual S ´aivas. It also evaluates the problem in its hermeneutical context, analysing multiple layers of meaning and interpretation. Is the metaphor of reflection only a way of explaining the particular currents of S ´aiva phenomenology represented by the concepts of light (prakāśa) and reflective awareness (vimarśa)? What is the philosophical problem Abhinavagupta seeks to solve by complicating the category of reflection and giving it a quasi-paradoxical status? Why does he use the model of the subtle elements (tanmātras) to explain the theory of reflection? What does the ‘untaintedness (nairmalya) of the mirror of consciousness’ mean for his system? I intend to engage with these questions while I attempt to investigate non-dual S ´aiva theory of reflection. At the outset it should be mentioned that Abhinavagupta uses the idea of reflection sometimes as a trope and at other times as a theoretical or methodological 5 According to Alexis Sanderson (2007, p. 381), the Paramārthacarcā’s attribution to Abhinavagupta is doubtful. 6 Gnoli (1999, p. 51, fn 3–4). 7 See Ratie ´ (2017). Also see Nemec (2011, p. 121, fn. 156). 8 Torella (2014). 9 Ratie ´ (2016). 10 All translations of the TA ¯ and TA ¯V in this paper are my own, unless indicated otherwise. Readers may also consult the translations by Gnoli (1999) in Italian, Silburn and Padoux (2000) in French, and both Mis ´ra et al. (2000) and Chaturvedi (2002) in Hindi.


Abhinavagupta on Reflection (Pratibimba) in the Tantrāloka


framework.11 He also refers to the idea of reflection simply in terms of a maxim. Maxims are sometimes used as pramāṇa or hetu to support an argument,12 while at other times we see authors offering proof for maxims with the support of logical arguments. Thus, the use of a maxim can either be a starting point for analysis, or a concluding sentence that justifies the use of a maxim. This is what we see Jayaratha doing in his—viveka, for instance summing up Abhinavagupta’s thesis on the pratibimbavāda in the following words: The universe is placed in consciousness according to the maxim of reflected image in the mirror, but it is not a real entity which exists as separate from this consciousness assuming the form of an external object. One should not be attached to it [external object].13 Navjivan Rastogi (1984) categorises the use of maxims (nyāyas) by Abhinavagupta into two groups: (1) basic nyāyas and (2) ordinary nyāyas. The basic nyāyas, he says, “have been resorted to convey or clarify the logical or metaphysical standpoint of the system on a particular issue,” while ordinary nyāyas “have purely illustrative function and are resorted to exemplify a situation or fact” (1984, p. 27). According to him darpaṇa-nagara-nyāya,14 darpaṇa-tala-nyāya, darpaṇa-mukha15 or atiśuddha-sphaṭika-darpaṇa-nyāya (used by Bha¯skara), as well as yogīcchā-nyāya and sphaṭikādi-jaḍa-nyāya, belong to the former category. We also observe Abhinavagupta making a clear distinction between pratibimba-tva, pratibimba-vāda and pratibimba-nyāya.16 What I suggest is that Abhinava has used the idea of reflection both as a theoretical/methodological framework (vāda)17 and as a maxim (nyāya) (whether basic or ordinary). Here, of course, one also runs into the methodological problem of analysing the importance of metaphor as a hermeneutic tool. This is something, one must point out, that has not been seriously studied in the context of classical Indian philosophical sources. What role do metaphors play in the development of classical Indian metaphysics? Whether a metaphor can be a model or not is a problematic issue that I purposely intend to avoid here. However, it must be noted that metaphors do not only have illustrative roles, but in many cases themselves form part of the basis of an entire doctrine.18

11 As pointed out by Lawrence (2005). 12 lokaśāstraprasiddhadṛṣṭāntaḥ | (Sarvalakṣaṇasaṃgraha, p. 73). pramāṇer arthaparīkṣaṇam | samastapramāṇavyāpārād arthādigatir nyāyaḥ (Nyāyavārttika, 1, p. 14) quoted in the Nyāyakośa. nīyate prāpyate vivakṣitārthasiddhir anena iti nyāyaḥ (Nyāyakośa, p. 446). 13 TA ¯V 3.23: yad viśvam idaṃ saṃvidi darpaṇapratibimbanyāyena avasthitaṃ na tu tadatiriktatayā bahīrūpatvena vastusad iti na tatrābhiniveṣṭavyam iti ||. 14 I ¯PV (KSTS) vol. 1, p. 244; PSV, p. 38; TA ¯V 3.1; TA ¯V 3.270; NTU 16.56; SvTU 4.97ab; SvT 5.88 (vol. 3, p. 96); SvT 11.3; SvT 11.57; SvT 11.318cd; VMV 4.11; SN 1.1-2; VBV p. 47. 15 I ¯PVV, vol. 1, p. 161; TA ¯V 1.176-177; TA ¯V 3.11. 16 I ¯PVV, vol. 3, p. 238: ata eva pratibimbatveneti na uktam api tu pratibimbanyāyena iti | I ¯PVV vol. 3, pp. 237–238; I ¯PVV, vol. 1, p. 9 (here the reference is being made to Veda¯nta), I ¯PVV, vol. 1, p. 158; PSV p. 99; PTV p. 146; TA ¯V 3.23-24; I ¯PVB (Bhāskarī, vol. 1, p. 44). Here Bha¯skara glosses bimbapratibimbavat with bimbapratibimbanyāyena. 17 See Nyāyakośa p. 734 for the definitions of vāda. 18 See Raman (2004, pp. 128–149) for an elaborate discussion on this problem.


It is also important to keep in mind in what context Abhinavagupta uses reflection as a methodological framework. Theories such as reflection, I argue, serve as a part of the critical philosophical structure which Abhinavagupta uses for explaining scriptural claims, and for developing philosophical arguments in debates with real or imagined opponents. By doing so he lays a solid foundation for explaining the Supreme Means (śāṃbhavopāya) as far as the theory of reflection is concerned. It is possible to clarify why Abhinava discusses the theory of reflection (pratibimbavāda) in the first sixty-five verses of the third chapter of the TA ¯ immediately preceding an exposition of the theory of phonemic emanation (parāmarśodayakrama). In the phonemic mysticism of Abhinavagupta the first vowel of the Sanskrit alphabetic system, A, represents the Anuttara, the Unsurpassable Being that is nothing but S ´iva. When this A desires to procreate, he extends, as if, his own reflective nature19 into himself because of his absolute autonomous agency. In the phonemic realm, Anuttara is nothing other than its own extension represented by the long vowel form of itself, viz. Ā. The theory of phonemic emanation presents the three major Trika goddesses Para¯, Para¯para¯ and Apara¯ as the three short vowels of the Sanskrit alphabetic system, A, I and U, respectively.20 However, the potential (śakti) of the potent (śaktimat), who are inseparable from one another, is what Abhinavagupta calls the supreme Power of Universality (kaulikīśaktiḥ) and creativity (pratibhā).21 Abhinavagupta himself explains this phenomena thus in the TA ¯ 22:


So this universe is a reflection in the Lord, in the perfectly reflective void of Bhairava’s consciousness, [and arises] under the influence of nothing outside [that consciousness]. This ability of the Lord to embody himself as the universe without drawing on anything outside [his own nature] is the supreme goddess that [our masters] call ‘creativity’ (pratibhāṃ), ‘the feminine ultimate’ (anuttarāṃ). It is the supreme Power of Universality (kaulikī śaktiḥ), the ability of this (asya) deity (devasya) [Bhairava] {embodied in the sound a (akulasya)} to manifest the universe (kulaprathanaśālinī) [though] {transcending it (akulasya)}, the power with which the Lord is ever one (aviyukto yayā prabhuḥ). The Power of Bliss (ānandaśaktiḥ) [= ā] is the combination (yāmalaṃ rūpam) of these two, the ‘passionate embrace’ (saṁghaṭṭaḥ) out of which the universe is emitted [into consciousness]. This is the [ultimate] reality beyond both the universe-transcending and the universal (parāparāt paraṃ tattvam). It is ‘the Goddess’ (devī) ‘the Essence’ (sāram) and ‘the Heart.’ It is the highest (paraḥ), omnipotent (prabhuḥ) state of absolute potential (visargaḥ). It is also important to mention here that the śāṃbhavopāya, which Abhinavagupta equates with the reflective state of the mind of an advanced Yogı¯, is a state of non 19 TA ¯ 3.89: tatas tadāntaraṃ jñeyaṃ bhinnakalpatvam icchati | viśvabījādataḥ sarvaṃ bāhyaṃ bimbaṃ vivartsyati ||. 20 TA ¯ 3.192. Also see Rastogi (1987, p. 201). For more details see also Pandey (1963, pp. 652–667). 21 I have used Sanderson’s translations of the terms kaulikīśakti and pratibhā. 22 I have used Sanderson’s translation of the TA ¯ 3.65-69. See Sanderson (2005, p. 98).


conceptual (nirvikalpaka) immersion (samāveśa) or ideation (parāmarśa)23 where he seeks to unify the plurality of the fifty Sanskrit phonemes by visualizing them within himself as the singular supreme phoneme. That is to say a S ´a¯m ˙ bhava Yogı¯, as affirmed by Abhinavagupta, should be able to visualize, in terms parallel to the phonemic realities, the outer most ontic-reality (tattva) Earth (pṛthivī) in an inward (ahantā) sequence inside his own non-conceptual (nirvikalpaka) state of mind, whereafter he attains oneness with the absolute consciousness of Bhairava.24 Practicing in such a way gradually leads a S ´a¯m ˙ bhava Yogı¯ to the state of identity with Bhairava. This is called jīvanmukti, liberated while living, which is nothing but the state of unity with Bhairava, where eventually he sees the ultimate reality (parama-śiva) enveloping all the ontic-realities in totality (pūrṇatā).25 This only happens when he attains complete identification with his own real nature (pūrṇāhantāparāmarśa). No physical ritual is involved at all in this process.26 This, Jayaratha points out, happens only by the intense grace (tīvraśaktipāta) of the Lord.27 Following the mātṛkākrama teaching as taught in the source text of the TA ¯, the Mālinīvijayottaratantra (MVUT), a S ´a¯m ˙ bhava Yogı¯ is able to visualise and make manifest within himself the reflected forms of the thirty-six tattvas. These realities are then seen and realized by a Yogı¯ as nothing but the reflected realities manifesting within his own self. Thus the state of S ´iva (Śāṃbhavāvasthā) is defined as the state of reflection or pure reflective awareness.


Defining Pratibimba


Abhinavagupta clearly defines bimba (‘image’) only in the TA ¯ and TS. In the TA ¯ he states that a bimba is something ‘which is not mingled with other things, is independent, is real, and manifests, like a face.’28 Jayaratha’s commentary on this verse tells us that ‘not mingled with others’ (anyāmiśraṃ) should be understood as ‘devoid of homogenous and heterogenous things’ (sajātīyavijātīyatyāvṛttam).29 And 23 TA ¯ 3.274: nirvikalpe parāmarśe śāṃbhavopāyanāmani | pañcāśadbhedatāṃ pūrvasūtritāṃ yojayed budhaḥ ||. 24 TA ¯ 3.275-276: dharām ev āvikalpena svātmani pratibimbitām | pa śyan bhairavatāṃ yāti jalādiṣv apy ayaṃ vidhiḥ || yāvad ante paraṃ tattvaṃ samastāvaraṇordhvagam | vyāpi svatantraṃ sarvajñaṃ yac chivaṃ parikalpitam ||. 25 TA ¯ 3.271: bhūyobhūyaḥ samāveśaṃ nirvikalpam imaṃ śritaḥ | abhyeti bhairavībhāvaṃ jīvanmuktyaparābhidham |. 26 TA ¯ 3.270: pūrṇāhantāparāmarśo yo‘syāyaṃ pravivecitaḥ | mantramudrākriyopāsās tadanyā nātra kāś cana ||. 27 TA ¯V 3.268-270: yasya tīvraśaktipātavataḥ sādhakāder viśvaḥ pramātṛprameyātmā tadbhedopabhedādinā prapañcavān apy ayaṃ bhāvavargaḥ saṃvidātmani pratibimbatayā bhāti darpaṇanagaranyāyenātiriktāyamānatve’pi anatiriktatvena svātmamātrarūpatayaivāvabhāsate, sa khalu viśveśvaraḥ paraprakāśātmabhagavadaikātmyena prakāśate ity arthaḥ |. 28 TA ¯ 3.53: naivaṃ tallakṣaṇābhāvād bimbaṃ kila kim ucyate | anyāmiśraṃ svatantraṃ sad bhāsamānaṃ mukhaṃ yathā ||. 29 TA ¯V 3.53: anyāmiśram iti sajātīyavijātīyavyāvṛttam ity arthaḥ |.


this ‘homogeneity’ is defined as an important characteristic of ‘purity’ or ‘untaintedness,’30 which would mean that a bimba is not understood to be pure at all. In fact purity, according to Abhinavagupta, lies in the pratibimba (‘reflection’) rather than bimba, just as purity lies in a mirror and not in a face. Also, a bimba is defined as independent and real; just as a face reflected in a mirror cannot ‘be’ a mirror, in the same way a bimba cannot manifest ‘as’ pratibimba. A thing lies only in its own nature. It cannot lie in the nature of another, as blueness can lie only in blue, and not in the reflection of blue nor in yellow. In other words, blueness manifests as blueness and the reflection of blueness manifests as the reflection of blueness in a mirror. As for pratibimba, Abhinavagupta defines this as a distinct object which is very different from its original image: Objection: Thus, what is said to be the definition of reflection? [Reply:] By union with the mingling with another [thing], its manifestation is impossible without that [thing]: [that is] the reflected image according to the masters, like a face in the mirror.31


Our worldly experience says that until we put our face in front of a mirror, our face cannot be reflected within it. As far as mundane reality is concerned the principle of simultaneity is important; without it reflection cannot take place. We cannot expect to see our face in a mirror that is not in front of us. Nor can I expect to see my face in a mirror at this very moment if the mirror had been in front of me yesterday. In other words, the reflected image has to be independent from the locus, albeit at the same time it has to appear in union with it. From this point of view, only a mirror (or similar reflective surface) is the right locus of reflection, and not the light, eyes and consciousness, which are simply means for this.32 At issue is the specific ontological status of the reflected image, on one hand, and of its locus, on the other. Contrary to the common-sense understanding of reflection, Abhinavagupta posits that a reflected image can exist on its own even in the complete absence of a prototype. A critical point for interpreting Abhinavagupta’s theory of reflection is the distinction he makes between reflection as it pertains to physical mirrors and reflection in the mirror of consciousness; the former is merely an imperfect analogy for the latter. When analyzing the attributes of reflection taking place in a mirror, Abhinavagupta says that what applies in the case of a mirror does not apply in the


30 While I have chosen to translate nairmalya either as ‘purity’ or ‘untaintedness’, Gnoli (1999, pp. 51– 52) has translated it as ‘senza macchia’ (without stain) and Silburn and Padoux (2000, p. 141) have translated it as ‘parfaite purete ´’ (perfect purity). Mis ´ra (2000), who in general only paraphrases the text without providing literal translation, uses ‘svaccha’ (pp. 323, 325–326) for nirmala and ‘nairmalya’ for nairmalya (p. 327), while Chaturvedi (2002) has used ‘nirmala’ (pp. 286, 288), ‘nirmalata¯’ (p. 289) and ‘nairmalya’ (pp. 290–291). For obvious reasons note the Sanskrit loan words in Hindi translations. Ratie ´ (2017, p. 214) translates nairmalya or svacchatā as ‘limpidity’. See Ratie ´ (2017, fns 62 and 78). 31 TA ¯ 3.56: nanv itthaṃ pratibimbasya lakṣaṇaṃ kiṃ tad ucyate | anyavyāmiśraṇāyogāt tadbhedāśakyabhāsanam | pratibimbam iti prāhur darpaṇe vadanaṃ yathā ||. 32 TA ¯ 3. 19-20: tasmāt tu naiṣa bhedena yad bhāti tata ucyate | ādhāras tatra tūpāyā dīpadṛksaṃvidaḥ kramāt || d īpacakṣurvibodhānāṃ kāṭhinyābhāvataḥ param | sarvataś cāpi nairmalyān na vibhādarśavat pṛthak ||.

case of consciousness, simply because a mirror is endowed with innumerable limitations.33 But consciousness has no limitations of any sort whatsoever: Here, within one’s own self, this entire universe manifests like a variegated image inside a mirror. Consciousness, however, becomes aware of the universe by the activity of its own nature of awareness. But this does not happen at all in case of a mirror.34 Abhinava says that the image that is reflected in consciousness indeed does not possess a separate existence as if it were an independent reality, separate from the mirror of consciousness. There is no existence separate from or outside of consciousness. This is precisely why the reflected image in consciousness does not have form and other attributes. As Abhinava proclaims:

[The image reflected in consciousness has] no space, no form, no union with time, no measure, no mutual conjunction, no negation of this [conjunction], no density, [it has] no state of being non-entity, no innate essence, whatever it is. The teaching of the mirror pointed out [that thinking] in such a way (iti) the delusion should surely disappear.35 Jayaratha maintains that Abhinavagupta’s purpose in advancing the ‘teaching of the mirror’ (i.e. the mirror of consciousness) is that it should aid the person suffering from mala (impurity—for nondualists, the contraction of consciousness) to rid himself of it and help him in realizing his true self. Since limited or incomplete knowledge is based on duality, it is only the total or complete manifestation of knowledge that can make limited beings discern the true nature of knowledge. Here it should be kept in mind that Abhinava emphasizes the idea of ‘the totality of manifesting’ (pūrṇābhāsa). Knowing a thing in its totality or in its completeness, without delving into the binaries of what may or may not exist, is what is referred to as complete knowledge, which has ‘manifesting’ alone as its very nature. According to a S ´aiva what is reflected in a mirror is a configuration of form and not an illusion or an error at all. Even though there is the absence of touch, etc., in this form, still the other subtle elements (tanmātras) are present there in a state of latency. If it were not the case it would be impossible to distinguish between a bimba and its pratibimba. For Abhinavagupta, pratibimba is, 33 Also pointed out by Ratie ´ (2017, pp. 211–212). 34 TS p. 19. Also quoted in TA ¯V 3.65 and I ¯PVV Vol. 2, p. 203: antar vibhāti sakalaṃ jagadātmanīha yadvad vicitraracanā makurāntarāle | bodhaḥ punar nijavimarśanasāravṛttyā viśvaṃ parāmṛśati no makuras tathā tu || This verse is also quoted in PSV 13, p. 39 and Yogara¯ja wrongly attributes this verse to the I ¯PVV. While in the I ¯PVV Abhinavagupta himself says that he has said this (tathā coktaṃ mayā śrītantrasārādau) in the TS and elsewhere. This would mean this verse originally belonged to the TS and is simply quoted in the I ¯PVV. 35 TA ¯ 3.23: na deśo no r ūpaṃ na ca samayayogo na parimā | na c ānyānyāsaṅgo na ca tadapahānir na ghanatā || na cāvastutvaṃ syān na ca kim api sāraṃ nijam iti | dhruvaṃ mohaḥ śāmyed iti niradiśad darpaṇavidhiḥ ||.

that reality which is the simple configuration of form, which is united with touch, smell, taste etc. in a state of latency.36 The unique property of a mirror is that it can conceive a ‘form’ within its surface owing to its purity. In other words we can also say that a mirror has a unique quality of manifesting within itself anything that is reflected in it. The unique quality is that a mirror is able to singularly and simultaneously manifest all the diverse entities in itself without causing any change to what is being reflected within it. Abhinavagupta’s purpose is to prove that even if worldly entities are diverse, their cognition is singular. He thus emphasizes the singular manifestation of diverse entities (many different objects) in a mirror. Objects occupying different spaces in the single limited surface of the mirror is logical, according to Abhinava, since those objects are condensed together through reciprocal mixing (paraspara-saṃmelana), for it is otherwise illogical that they could share the same space. If that were not the case, a town could never be reflected in a mirror. All things manifest in a mirror are mutually independent. And because what is reflected cannot be not-reflected, the reflection cannot be said to be a non-entity. While a reflected image is a kind of entity, at the same time it does not possess its own real, independent form. As Ratie ´37 explains, a mirror has the unique quality that it is able to reflect within its own surface multiplicity while itself being completely unitary in nature. It has the power of letting objects of cognition manifest within while itself remaining completely unaltered. Coming back to the definition of pratibimba quoted above, Abhinavagupta teaches that a mirror can only reflect a ‘form’ but not other sensory perceptions like touch and taste. In the same way it is only the ear which can reflect within itself sound and not touch, form etc. In contrast, consciousness alone is capable of reflecting everything within its own ‘surface’ because it is not pure only with respect to certain qualities, but it is completely pure in every sense. In consciousness, all aspects reflect in their totality simultaneously. Abhinava tells us that what might be understood as the original image, that which is the cause of a reflected image from the mundane point of view, itself becomes a reflected image in consciousness.38 This universe cannot be called, he says, an original image in consciousness because it lacks the characteristics of an original image. Abhinava himself raises an objection: how could a reflected image exist in the absence of an original image? To this he first replies with almost taunting clumsiness, saying, “As a matter of fact it appears like that, what can we do?”39 But

36 TA ¯ 3.16: rūpasaṃsthānamātraṃ tat sparśagandharasādibhiḥ | nyagbhūtair eva tad yuktaṃ vastu tat pratibimbitam ||. 37 Ratie ´ (2011a, p. 286). 38 TA ¯ 3.50: yad vāpi kāraṇaṃ kiñcid bimbatvenābhiṣicyate | tad api pratibimbatvam eti bodhe’ nyathā tv asat ||. 39 TA ¯ 3.52: nanu bimbasya virahe pratibimbaṃ kathaṃ bhavet | kiṃ kurmo dṛśyate tad dhi nanu tad bimbam ucyatām ||.


later, in TA ¯ 3.59 cd, he revisits this point and says: What from that? [We do not care about this] for the original image is not identical with the reflected image. And therefore, in the absence of this [original image], nothing goes wrong as regards the said definition of the [reflected image]. This question is merely confined to the cause.40 The main point Abhinava makes here to counter his opponents is that the reflected image is not identical with the original image. That is to say, he would continue to argue, if a face is reflected on the surface of a bright sword, for instance, it can look elliptical or oval, etc., taking the shape of the surface of the sword—thus no longer remaining identical with the original image.41 Our face may attain many different shapes when it is reflected in a crystal, depending on its shape, size and colour. Jayaratha explains this using the example of a S ´im ˙ s ´ipa¯ tree. The S ´im ˙ s ´ipa¯ maxim is used widely in Sanskrit literature to signify that a thing cannot exist without its essential nature, i.e. a rose cannot exist without its being a flower. Abhinavagupta suggests that this relationship of identity does not exist in the case of an original image and a reflected image. The reflected image has nothing to do with the acquisition of the nature of its original image. In this case, the question arises, what is the difference between the original and the reflected image, and what is the relationship between them? Abhinavagupta defines a reflected image as dependent and the original image as being independent and not mingled with others. Jayaratha explains Abhinava thus:

Here, indeed, all the debaters agree that the reflected image is just a ‘mingling’, i.e. [a kind of] identity, ‘with another thing’, which is its substratum, such as a mirror.42_ ‘By union with’ this mingling means by its not being separated from it [namely, from the substratum]. Its manifestation is impossible ‘without’ this (tataḥ), that is to say alone, independently from another thing, such as a mirror, which is capable of assuming its form. The meaning is that this [reflected image] is dependent [on its substratum]. And with this [definition] it has been pointed out the difference with respect to the original image. For the latter has been defined as not mingled with others and independent. And this has been said previously many a times. Thus it is not repeated here.43

40 TA ¯ 3.59 cd-60: kiṃ tataḥ pratibimbe hi bimbaṃ tādātmyavṛtti na || ataś ca lakṣaṇasyāsya proktasya tadasaṃbhave | na hānir hetumātre tu praśno’yaṃ paryavasyati ||. 41 TA ¯ 3.54: svarūpānapahānena pararūpasadṛkṣatām | pratibimbātmatām āhuḥ khaḍgādarśatalādivat ||. 42 Note the use of Jayaratha here: how he splits the compound anyena vyāmiśraṇayā yogāt. Also, see the TS p. 10: anyavyāmiśratvenaiva bhāti tat pratibimbam. 43 TA ¯V 3.56: iha khalu sarva eva vādinas tat pratibimbam āhur yad anyena svādhikaraṇabhūtena darpaṇādinā yā vyāmiśraṇā tādātmyaṃ, tayā yogāt tadanatiriktatvād hetoḥ | tato' nyasmāt tadākāragrahaṇasahiṣṇordarpaṇāder bhedena pṛthaksvātantryeṇāśakyaṃ bhāsanaṃ yasya tat | tatparatantram ity arthaḥ | anena cāsya bimbavaiparītyaṃ darśitam | tad hy anyāmiśraṃ svatantraṃ cety uktam | etac ca pūrvam eva bahūktam itīha na punar āyastam |.


And since this universe is ‘mingled’ (miśraṃ) with consciousness its manifestation without consciousness is impossible. It is absolutely true, Abhinavagupta concludes, that this universe, in which there are tattvas, worlds, etc., is a reflected image in consciousness.44 But if the relationship between an original image and the reflected image is not that of identity, then what is their relationship? Jayaratha contributes to this debate saying that the original image is not the material cause of the reflected image, for that material cause continues to exist under the aspect of its effect once its own nature has been transformed, like the clay into a pot. This is not the case with the original image here, since even when the reflected image comes into being, its untransformed form itself is perceived separately. Therefore, as Jayaratha puts it, the original image is the instrumental cause, like a potter’s stick in the case of a pot.45tenātra daṇḍa iva ghaṭe nimittakāraṇaṃ bimbam |. This means that a reflected image can exist without an original image since there is also another cause which is capable of producing this reflected image, which is ancillary to it.46 Abhinava alludes to the metaphor of the ‘universal sovereignty of consciousness’47 for emphasizing the power of consciousness that prevails universally.48 This also supports his ‘theory of manifestation’ (ābhāsavāda) since it is consciousness alone that manifests everywhere in everything whatsoever. Here Abhinava introduces an important point about the similarity of form (sādṛṣya) or identity (tādātmya). A mirror is not able to reflect anything more than the similarity of form of an object reflected in it. This pertains to the identity between what shines forth and the Lord’s consciousness.49 Even if a mirror with specific qualities (i.e., its being thin, circular etc.) does not abandon those qualities when something is reflected in it, the principle of reflection is nonetheless based on the similarity of form. This is further illustrated by Jayaratha with a couple of examples: when a town is reflected in a mirror, it should also become manifold since there is the perception of many things—as for instance, in the case of a butterfly, where there are different understandings of the variegated cognition of ‘butterfly’ with no loss of unity of cognition. For this reason cognition is unitary and not manifold in as much as it is simply similar to the many aspects of the butterfly. In the same way, a mirror also has a singular nature even when united with manifold reflected images. There is no undesired consequence of this manifoldness, but

44 TA ¯ 3.57: bodhamiśram idaṃ bodhād bhedenāśakyabhāsanam | *puratattvādi [em.; paratattvādi KSTS] bodhe kiṃ pratibimbaṃ na bhaṇyate ||. 45 TA ¯V 3.60: hetuś ca dvividhaḥ—upādānaṃ nimittaṃ ca | upādānaṃ yathā ghaṭādau mṛdādi | nimittaṃ yathā tatraiva daṇḍādi | pratibimbasya ca bimbaṃ nopādānakāraṇam | tad dhi ghaṭa iva mṛtsvarūpavikāram āsādya kāryānugāmitvena vartate | naivam atra bimbam | pratibimbodaye' pi tasyāvikṛtasyaiva pṛthagupalambhāt |. 46 TA ¯V 3.61: tena bimbaṃ vināpi pratibimbaṃ bhavet | tadutpādanasamarthasya tatpratinidhibhūtasya kāraṇāntarasyāpi bhāvāt |. 47 Such expressions as akhaṇḍasaṃvitsāmrājya and saṃvitsāmrājya are also used by Varadara¯ja in his Śivasūtravārttika 1.11.60 (p. 7) and 3.45.112a (p. 45). 48 TA ¯ 3.51 cd: sāmrājyam eva viśvatra pratibimbasya jṛmbhate ||. 49 See Ratie ´ (2011b, note 14) who also quotes I ¯PVV, vol II, p. 89 to illustrate this point.


simply mere similarity to the original image. Therefore, the fact of possessing a reflected image is simply the fact of having a similar form as the original image.50 Metaphysics of Light and the Motif of ‘Pure Mirror’ According to Abhinava, the ‘means’ (upāya) and the ‘goal’ (upeya) are two distinct ways of representing the same reality from the absolute point of view. There is no distinction between the two of them. This is explained in Abhinava’s S ´aiva metaphysics using the binary of light (prakāśa) and reflective awareness (vimarśa). On the other hand from the theological point of view, it also translates into reintegrating S ´iva and S ´akti. S ´akti or reflective awareness functions as the only means to reach S ´iva.51 In other words, integration of the means (upāya) and goal (upeya) is like the process of reflection (pratibimba) which takes place when S ´iva is able to cognize his real nature in the ‘reflective medium’ of S ´akti, which is integral to his own being. Just as the ‘luminosity’ of light is not different from the light itself, in the same way vimarśa is nothing but the very nature of prakāśa. The totality of light which pervades or envelops everything is beyond the binary of light and reflective awareness. Thus even though

Abhinavagupta some times refers to prakāśa alone, but he actually referring to both prakāśa and vimarśa (prakāśavimarśamaya). The plurality of manifestation is inherently present in the unity of consciousness according to Abhinavagupta as, for instance, the variegatedness of a peacock’s plumage already resides in the plasma of the egg of a peacock, where it lies in an unmanifested form52; or, to take another example, a large banyan tree is potentially hidden in its seed before it actually manifests in its

variegatedness.53 In the TA ¯ Abhinavagupta has a specific purpose in mind while developing the fundamental ideas of prakāśa in chapter two and vimarśa in chapter three. In fact the second chapter, engaging with the idea of prakāśa, is entitled anupāya, while the third chapter, describing the nature of vimarśa, is named śāṃbhavopāya. One of the unique features of Abhinavagupta’s Trika is the addition of anupāya (‘[means] without a means’) to the scheme of the three immersions (samāveśa) orupāyas taught in the MVUT. Even

though anupāya is understood to be the fourth means, it is basically the culmination of the śāṃbhavopāya. Theanupāya is treated independently only to signify the intention of reintegrating both components involved in this process—the means and the goal. Thus it is only by following the śāṃbhavopāya that one reaches anupāya. These concepts of prakāśa and vimarśa also find echo in Abhinavagupta’s use of paired terms such as anuttara and anuttarā, akula and kaulikīśakti, orvācya and 50 TA ¯V 3.54: evaṃ darpaṇāder apy anekapratibimbayoge nānekarūpatvam iti nānaikyaprasaṅgo' pi tu tatsādṛśyamātram eva | na ca sādṛśyamātrād eva tādrūpyam | na hi gavayasādṛśyād eva gaur gavayaḥ | tasmād bimbasadṛśākāratvam eva pratibimbadhāritvam iti tātparyārthaḥ |. 51 VB 20d: śaivī mukham ihocyate |. 52 Here I am referring to another often used metaphor by S ´aiva authors: mayūrāṇḍarasa-nyāya. 53 See PTV verse 24 (p. 258): yathā nyagrodhabījasthaḥ śaktirūpo mahādrumaḥ | tathā hṛdayabījasthaṃ jagad etac carācaram ||.


vācaka, in his Kaula interpretations, and jñāna (cognition) and kriyā (action), in his Pratyabhijn ˜a¯ system.54 It is the realization of the inseparable nature of prakāśa and vimarśa, S ´iva and S ´akti, or upeya and upāya which leads one to emancipation. As pointed out by Rastogi this state is referred to as ‘ever-awakened’ (nityoditā).55 An adept practitioner’s self-reflexive awareness, when s/he is in its highest stage, reflects on the pure surface (bhitti)56 of his/her own consciousness, leading to awakening. This is the nature of śāṃbhavopāya, and this awareness arises through the power of Will (icchā-śakti), which is why this upāya is also called icchopāya. The first level of reflection occurs where prakāśa (light) is reflected in vimarśa (reflected awareness) like face in a mirror, while the second level of reflection occurs where vimarśa, which is nothing but the extended form of prakāśa itself, is reflected back in prakāśa. This does not happen in the case of a mirror, however, because a face is indifferent towards receiving

reflection owing to its impure nature. In both cases reflection takes place within prakāśa itself. The kind of reflection with which we are concerned is self-generative, and may not necessarily require a bimba or a prototype. It is a matter of the self-luminosity of light, which does not require an external bimba or prototype, to shine forth or reflect. Abhinavagupta’s concept of reflection is what we might thus call ‘meta-reflection,’ for understanding which the concepts of prakāśa and vimarśa are absolutely fundamental. Before we consider other ways in which Abhinavagupta explains prakāśa, a small note on vimarśa or svātantrya in necessary. Jayaratha defines svātantrya or autonomy as ‘the state of being the agent of the act of illumination’.57 Here there is an implicit reference to the well-established concept of agent in the Pa¯n ˙ inian su ¯tra- “svatantraḥ kartā,”58 whichdefinestheagentasabsolutelyautonomous.Andweknow,againfrom Sanskrit grammar, that any kriyā or action requires a kartṛ or agent. Thus, the act of illuminating or making something appear or manifest requires an autonomous illuminator. This position is likely acceptable to most other systems, but carrying the argument forward, both Abhinavagupta

and Jayaratha maintain that ‘being the agent of illumination’ is ‘being the one who manifests everything according to his own Will onHisownsurface.’59 Thekeyquestionmightbewhy‘onHisownsurface’.Thisisan implicit statement of non-duality: a claim that what shines on one’s own surface is not really distinct from oneself. Here we see the relevance of the mirror-analogy. Ks ˙ emara¯jasumsupthesameideasinasūtraofhisPHr ˙ :‘allbecomesmanifestby[His] own Will on [His own] surface.’60 In other words, the universe shines in identity with the Lord’s consciousness on His own surface. 54 I ¯PV 1.8.11: sa eva hi ahaṃbhāvātmā vimarśo devasya krīḍādimayasya śuddhe pāramārthikyau jñānakriye, prakāśarūpatā jñānaṃ tatraiva svātantryātmā vimarśaḥ kriyā, vimarśaś ca antaḥkṛtaprakāśaḥ |. 55 See Rastogi (1992, p. 253). 56 For more on the concept of bhitti see Castro (2013). 57 TA ¯V 3.1: svatantrateti prakāśanakriyākartṛtvam. 58 Aṣṭādhyāyī 1.4.54. 59 TA ¯V 3.1: tasya ceyattatvaṃ yat svabhittāv eva svecchayā sarvaṃ prakāśayatīti. 60 PHr 2: svecchayā svabhittau viśvam unmīlayati ||.


According to the Anuttara Trika of Abhinavagupta the foremost attribute of a reflection is the condition of untaintedness (nairmalya). He interprets this idea of untaintedness or purity on multiple levels. Here our focus is how Abhinava understands purity to play a role in the idea of reflection in consciousness. In the realm of common experience, the idea of ‘purity,’ ‘non-contamination,’ or ‘untaintedness’ is surmised when a reflection takes place on the clean surface of a mirror that is free from any kind of contamination. If, for instance, the surface of the mirror is dusty or is not clear because it has been exposed to steam, etc., it would be impossible to see one’s face in a mirror. In the system of Abhinavgupta the idea of purity or nairmalya is closely connected with light or prakāśa. Rastogi (2002, p. 35) brings our attention to how Abhinava defines prakāśa etymologically61: its root (prakṛti) signifies the idea of absolute purity (nairmalya) and the affix (pratyaya) means autonomy (svātantrya) or reflective awareness (vimarśa). This means prakāśa has two functions: one is to manifest itself (prakāśate) because of its absolute purity (nairmalya) and the second is to cause others to manifest (prakāśayati) along with it (prakāśa) owing to the power of absolute autonomy (svātantrya). This is also true about our common experience: when light appears it causes everything else manifest with it. To perceive the reflection of a face in a mirror requires the external support of light, however consciousness is like a selfluminous mirror which is not dependent on any external support for its sustenance. In the absence of that self-luminosity of consciousness the universe would be insentient and thus devoid of the light.62 But this is not the case. Light is defined by Abhinavagupta as S ´iva’s own body that is not only self-dependent, self-sufficient and self-effulgent, but is of the nature of light alone, internally and externally, and nothing else.63 This light is what Abhinava also calls Bhairava Consciousness64 or Anuttara, in which there is ‘full freedom’ (pūrṇasvātantrya). Other features of this light are that it is of the nature of non-duality, and is beyond the relationship of cause and effect.65 That is to say that Abhinavagupta’s idea of light transcends the dichotomy between light and not-light66 on the one hand, while on another hand there cannot exist any dichotomy between the light and luminosity. Luminosity is the essential nature of the light; light cannot exist without luminosity, and vice versa. This can also be understood using the example of knowledge and ignorance.67 One thing is known and something else is not known. In this process of ‘knowing’ and ‘not-knowing’, the common feature of ‘knowing’ which transcends both these

61 I ¯PVV, Vol II, p. 177: atra nairmalyāt prakāśanarūpāt prakṛtibhāgaviśrāntād atiriktaḥ kartṛtālakṣaṇaḥ svātantryasvabhāvo yaḥ pratyayasya arthaḥ |. 62 TA ¯ 2.10: saṃvittattvaṃ svaprakāśam ity asmin kiṃ nu yuktibhiḥ | tadabhāve bhaved viśvaṃ jaḍatvād aprakāśakam ||. 63 TA ¯ 2.15: kiṃ ca yāvad idaṃ bāhyamāntaropāyasaṃmatam | tat prakāśātmatāmātraṃśivasyaiva nijaṃ vapuḥ ||. 64 TA ¯ 3.1: prakāśamātraṃ yat proktaṃ bhairavīyaṃ paraṃ mahaḥ |. 65 For more on the non-dual S ´aiva theory of Causality as discussed by Abhinavagupta in the TA ¯ 9.1-44 see Kaul (forthcoming). 66 Here, ‘not-light’ should not be understood as ‘the absence of light’. 67 So, for instance, if we compare the idea of ‘not-light’ with ‘ignorance’, the ‘ignorance’ does not mean the ‘absence of knowledge’, but it means ‘limited knowledge’. See S ´SV 1.2.


ideas is called complete knowledge or supreme knowledge. This is because, according to Abhinavagupta, in both the forms of non-duality and duality, where non-duality is represented by knowledge and duality is signified by ignorance, it is basically the Great Lord manifesting Himself in the form of light.68 For Abhinavagupta light has a unitary nature, and if it does not have a unitary nature, then it ceases to be light.69 Thus when Abhinavagupta refers to light one should understand Supreme Light, which possesses the two indivisible characteristics of light and not-light, but nonetheless remains unitary.70 According to him, this universe is manifest because light is manifest and the true essence of all the entities is light alone. Nothing can be manifest if light is not manifest.71 The concept of prakāśa has another property which is the absence of impurity. Light can only manifest when it is free from any kind of impurity. Abhinava says that light is by definition pure in an absolute sense; if there is impurity in it it ceases to be the light. But what is this purity or untaintedness? Abhinavagupta defines purity as ‘a single complex of very compact and homogenous elements’72 such as one finds in a

reflected image in a mirror. The idea explained is that the face is impure and the mirror is pure; an impure object cannot reflect in another impure object. For instance, a face cannot reflect in another face because both of them are bereft of purity, but it can reflect into an object which possesses purity of form, like a mirror. A pure thing, however, can reflect into another pure object as, for instance, a mirror can reflect into another mirror. The idea is that consciousness can manifest or reflect anything in itself since it is completely pure in its totality, while other objects are unable to reflect consciousness in themselves owing to their impurity. Yet the fact that they exist is proof that they are being reflected in cosmic consciousness. A face can reflect in consciousness, but consciousness cannot reflect back into that face. While consciousness is endowed with the quality of absolute autonomy (svātantrya), owing to which it can manifest itself into any form or shape it would wish, the mirror is bereft of such a quality. In a mirror, the atoms of form (rūpaparamāṇavaḥ) are compact and homogenous. These atoms are associated with atoms existing in the same substratum, and there is no contact with other atoms at all. This is to say that purity of form can only arise when there are only atoms of form in a certain substratum, for instance a mirror. If the atoms of touch also arise along with the atoms of form, in that case purity cannot exist in a mirror, and a reflection cannot occur. In ordinary experience there is no surface capable of reflecting all aspects of a given entity at the same time, except consciousness. There only exist surfaces that are able to reflect a given entity partially, and are therefore pure to a certain extent. For instance a mirror is a pure surface only with respect to

68 TA ¯ 2.18: idaṃ dvaitam ayaṃ bheda idam advaitam ity api | prakāśavapur evāyaṃ bhāsate parameśvaraḥ ||. 69 TA ¯ 2.22: ata ekaprakāśo' yam iti vāde 'tra susthite | dūrād āvāritāḥ satyaṃ vibhinnajñānavādinaḥ ||. 70 This concept of singular light is repeatedly emphasized both by Abhinavagupta and Jayaratha. See TA ¯V 2.16-23. The one thing that Abhinava makes clear in TA ¯ 2.23 is that the ‘single’ should not be understood in terms of a number or an enumeration. 71 TA ¯V 2.30ab: prakāśa eva sarvabhāvānāṃ parā sattā | TA ¯V 2.30 cd: na hi tena vinā kiṃcid api idaṃ prakāśate |. 72 TA ¯ 3.7cd: nairmalyaṃ cātiniviḍasajātīyaikasaṃgatiḥ ||.


form. Consequently, subtle elements (the tanmātras) can only be reflected in their purest form on their respective pure substratum. As Abhinava states in the TA ¯ 3.5 cd, ‘in pure form, only form is manifested’. Abhinava illustrates the idea of purity of form (rūpa) through the example of an enamoured woman who, though gazing at her beloved in a mirror, does not feel satisfied at all since a mirror does not have the capacity to reflect the purity of touch: A secretly enamoured woman, even though touching with her breasts a mirror that is beautiful for the reflected image of the beloved, does not feel satisfied.73 Jayaratha adds that if this principle is not accepted then a mirror could possibly be reflected back in a face. In the common experience it is observed that not everything is reflected in everything else. As far as our own experience of this world is concerned, reflected forms are perceived only in something pure or clear, e.g. a mirror. Jayaratha proposes that this can be understood from both positive and negative concomitance. Thus, contact between a form and its reflected image occurs only when the form (for instance, of a mirror) is perceived as uncontaminated by elements devoid of homogeneity. But this does not transpire when dirt on that form (i.e., mirror) is produced by non-homogenous elements such as steam or dust. With respect to the projector of reflection (bimba), what possesses the specific quality called ‘purity’ is indeed the same as that which perceives its reflected image. Jayaratha strengthens this argument in his commentary on the verse TA ¯ 3.9, where he adds that purity manifests as both primary and secondary. The former belongs to consciousness and the latter is attributed to things such as mirrors. If this is not accepted, then, as mentioned, even the reflected image of our face in a mirror can be reflected back in our face. He says:

This [pureness] in fact is only [perceived] in a specific [reality], corresponds to a specific thing which is pure. If this were not the case, even contact with a mirror should catch the reflected image [in it] on the basis of the principle that everything should appear in everything else. And thus there would be no difference between this [secondary pureness] and the principal [pureness]. [But this would be illogical.] And with respect to this [secondary] pureness, the cause is nothing but His freedom. Thus [Abhinavagupta] says: ‘That which is pure is due to the Will of the [Lord].’ ‘That’ means form etc. [and] therefore contact etc. What is impure regarding this [that is to say form etc. and contact etc.] is self-evident. Therefore, it is only His Power that manifests in such a way. This is the intended meaning.74 In a mirror one can only see whatever is reflected within the limited area or surface of the mirror. So for instance, if a mirror is in front of the face one can only see his or her face in the mirror, but cannot see the face of a friend standing some distance 73 TA ¯ 3.6: pracchannarāgiṇī kāntapratibimbitasundaram | darpaṇaṃ kucakumbhābhyāṃ spṛśanty api na tṛpyati ||. 74 TA ¯V 3.7: tad dhi kvacid eva kiṃcin nirmalam anyathā sarvatra sarvaṃ bhāyād iti darpaṇe' pi sparśaḥ pratibimbaṃ gṛhṇīyāt | evaṃ ca mukhyād asya bhedo na syāt | tannairmalye ca tatsvātantryam eva nimittam ity āha vimalaṃ tat tad icchayeti | tad iti rūpādi | ata eva sparśādi | tatrāvimalam ity arthasiddham | tena tacchaktir eva tathā prasṛteti bhāvaḥ |.


away. Abhinavagupta says this is because the purity of a mirror is limited by conditions such as the need to stand in front of it, and so on. This quality of reflection is possessed by a few more objects, such as crystals. But the limitation does not apply in the case of consciousness since consciousness is completely pure in every respect. This is indeed why, as already mentioned, Abhinavagupta talks about the manifestation of purity in two ways—as primary purity and as secondary purity: Primary purity belongs completely to [that] single [principle] which is the Lord-Consciousness. The other [i.e. the secondary purity] is related to a specific [entity] according to its partial aspects.75

Abhinava probably intends to use the secondary or limited purity possessed by objects like mirrors as a model to explain the primary or unlimited purity, which belongs to consciousness alone. Only if one understands how reflection operates in the case of a mirror can one understand how the complex mirror-metaphor functions in the case of consciousness. When speaking of purity Abhinavagupta refers to the same idea explained by Utpaladeva before him: According to the teaching of the master [Utpaladeva],76 pureness is nothing but the capacity of manifesting a different [reality] in identity with one’s own self, a capacity possessed by [the mirror, etc.,] which [while acting in such a way] does not lose its own luminosity.77

Since consciousness is self-luminous, it does not need any external light to make itself manifest. When it manifests, it manifests along with its light because that is its true nature. It is like a mirror manifesting itself and the form reflected in it simultaneously without losing its quality to reflect, except that the mirror requires external light for this process to take place while consciousness does not. Jayaratha explains further: [This complex] is ‘purity’, a compactness of [entities] endowed with smoothness, which derives from [their] being placed in close connection, that is to say by the elimination of unevenness and so on.78

75 TA ¯ 3.9: nairmalyaṃ mukhyam ekasya saṃvinnāthasya sarvataḥ |aṃśāṃśikātaḥ kvāpy anyad vimalaṃ tattadicchayā || As regards the translation of this verse, it must be pointed out here that it is purity or untaintedness (nairmalya) that is indeed fundamental, preeminent or primary (mukhyam) and perhaps even omnipresent or complete (on all sides sarvataḥ) when it is that of the only Lord, and it is not the case that purity fundamentally and entirely belongs to him. 76 For sake of historical clarity, it should be mentioned here that Utpaladeva was not a direct teacher of Abhinavagupta, but was his grand master (paramaguru). This is also made clear by Jayaratha in his commentary on TA ¯V 3.8: ‘gurūditam iti’ guruṇā paramaguruṇāś rīmadutpaladevena. 77 TA ¯ 3.8: svasminn abhedād bhinnasya darśanakṣamataiva yā | atyaktasvaprakāśasya nairmalyaṃ tad gurūditam ||. 78 TA ¯V 3.7: nairantaryeṇāvasthānāt sthapuṭatvādiparihāreṇa ślakṣaṇatvātma saṃhatatvaṃ nairmalyam | The word ślakṣaṇa also appears in TA ¯ 27.27, 9.208 (in the commentary in the sense of subtle), 3.54. Here it is used in the sense of ‘extremely dense’.


If the surface of a mirror is uneven or rough, one cannot see one’s face in it clearly. So smoothness and evenness of the surface in which an image is being reflected are defined as further attributes of purity. As regards form (rūpa), purity is the capacity or the ability of grasping the reflected image which is completely absent in things like a wall etc. Jayaratha remarks that, as regards one entity, for instance a mirror, ‘its own luminosity’ is not concealed even when another object is reflected in it, since entities like the mirror and so on, manifest in identity with that object, holding the absence of distinction with one’s own self. What Abhinava and Jayaratha assert here is that ‘apart from the surface of mirror the reflection cannot take place outside its surface even for a single atom’.79 And it is this uncontaminated mirror that eventually is compared to the Lord of Consciousness. In other words consciousness is pure like an uncontaminated mirror since the universe, which is intertwined with consciousness, reflects in its entirety only in consciousness,80 and as Abhinavagupta suggests, purity belongs completely to the latter alone.

Reflection in Subtle Elements (tanmātras)

To explain the theory of reflection further in the TA ¯, Abhinavagupta uses the model of the subtle elements (tanmātras). The tanmātras are pure, and purity (nairmalya) is defined by Abhinavagupta81 as the quality of perceiving the reflected image of everything in the universe, which consists of the five tanmātras. And because the tanmātra is intermediary between a sense organ (jñānendriya) and a gross element (mahābhūta), it bears the commonality of both and thus has characteristics of both.82 As Torella clarifies, The relation between the series of subtle elements (tanmātra) and that of the gross elements (bhūta, mahābhūta) is referred to in both the Sa¯m ˙ khya and A ¯ gama texts as the relation between universal and particular. The tanmātra represents the archetypal, quintessential form of the relative mahābhūta of which it constitutes the primary quality (sound-ether, tactile sensation-air, etc.), though not the only one, as all the schools are forced to admit.83 Keeping the above model in mind we understand that the universal form of sound reflects in ether while its particular form reflects in the ear. In the same way the universal form of touch reflects in air and its particular form reflects in skin. The universal form of ‘form’ (rūpa) reflects in fire (and also in a mirror) and the particular form of form reflects in the eye. Likewise the universal form of taste and smell reflect in water (or saliva) and earth, respectively, and the particular forms of 79 TA ¯V 3.8: na hi darpaṇadeśāda ṇumātre' pi bāhye deśe pratibimbaṃ bhavatīti bhāvaḥ |. 80 TA ¯ 3.4: nirmale makure yadvad bhānti bhūmijalādayaḥ | amiśrās tadvad ekasmiṃś cinnāthe viśvavṛttayaḥ ||. 81 See the fn. 77 above for the definition of nairmalya. 82 See Rastogi (2013, p. 202). 83 Torella (2002, p. 195, fn. 19).


both reflect in the tongue and the nose. Here we are concerned with the undifferentiated unity that makes the objects of knowledge cognizable. Rastogi has paraphrased these ideas as found in Utpaladeva’s I ¯PK:

The cognizable reality consists of twenty[-]three types divided into two classes of means and effect. The means, comprising the external and internal, are thirteen in number and the group of effects is tenfold owing to its division into subtle and gross. The subtle effects stand for what is popularly known as tanmātras and the gross for five elements (pañcamahābhūtas). Both of them are universals where former is cause-universal as clay (mṛt) in jar and may be likened to para-sāmānya, the latter is similarity-universal like jarness in a jar and may be likened to apara-sāmānya.84 This scheme of using tanmātras to interpret the theory of reflection is mentioned both in Abhinavagupta’s TA ¯ and PS, but is apparently missing from the I ¯PV and I ¯PVV. Elsewhere in his works, namely in the PTV, the PS and in the TS, Abhinavagupta makes reference to the pañcatanmātras85 in order to illustrate the mechanism of reflection. In the TS Abhinavagupta states:

The reflected image is what is incapable of shining independently [and] it manifests only as mingled with another thing, like the form of a face in the mirror, like taste/juice in saliva, like smell in the nose, like touch while in sexual union in the faculty of bliss [=genitals], or like ‘touch with trident or spear’ in the faculty of the internal touch, or like an echo in ether.86

Jayaratha, while commenting on TA ¯ 3.4, states that ‘the universe is nothing but the five [subtle elements] starting with form and so on,’ and to support his stance he quotes a verse from the Svabodhamañjarī of Va¯manadatta.87 Here Jayaratha seems to move away from the main doctrinal position of the S ´aivas who believe that this universe constitutes of nothing but thirty-six tattvas.88 The reason why Abhinavagupta has focused on the five tanmātras to explain reflection in the TA ¯ is probably because for him purity and the tanmātras are connected; even if he accepts the

84 Rastogi (2013, pp. 200–201). 85 For the definition of each tanmātra and their functioning see TA ¯ 9.280-288. For the role of tanmātras in the mātrikākrama see PTV, p. 4. Also see PS-21, TS-89-90, TA ¯-Vol.6, p. 218. The 14 Chapter of the MVUT discusses the visualisation of the tanmātras in the yogic states. 86 TS 3, pp. 10–11: yat bhedena bhāsitam aśaktam anyavyāmiśratvenaiva bhāti tat pratibimbam mukharūpam iva darpaṇe rasa iva dantodake gandha iva ghrāṇa mithunasparśa iva ānandendriye śūlakuntādisparśov ā antaḥsparśanendriye pratiśrutkeva vyomni ||. 87 SBUM 2: rūpādipañcavargo' yaṃ viśvam etāvad eva hi | gṛhyate pañcabhis tac ca cakṣurādibhir indriyaiḥ || This verse is also quoted in TA ¯V 4.149 as pointed out by Torella (2000, p. 402). However, Torella has missed TA ¯V 3.4. Jayaratha quotes first two pādās of this verse in the TA ¯V in 4.149 and 4.221 besides TA ¯V 3.4. Even though Va¯manadatta’s teachings, as pointed out by Torella (1994, p. 487) in detail, were held in high esteem not only by the S ´aiva non-dualists, but also by dualists like Na¯ra¯yan ˙ akan ˙ t ˙ ha, it might have been more authoritative for Jayaratha to take recourse to an A ¯gamic source for justifying that the universe is made up of the pañcatanmātras and nothing else. 88 It is well known that the Trika S ´aivism accepts the Sa¯m ˙ khya model of the tattvas. However, the sequence of the tattvas may vary considerably from one A ¯gamic system to another. And sometimes also the definition of the tattvas can vary to some extent. See Goodall (pp. 77–111) in Goodall and Isaacson (2016) and Kaul (2018).


common knowledge that “[…] the (five) gross elements (bhūtāni) cannot exist without the five tanmātras,”89 it is clear to him that when speaking of bhūtas or the tattvas in general, other qualities are also involved, for instance heaviness, smell and so forth—i.e. the other qualities that should be reflected in turn. However, in the case of each tanmātra, it is only possible to have one reflection at a time. They can only reflect the corresponding quality that they are sensitive to. For example, a mirror can only reflect a form; it cannot reflect touch. We never have a surface that is capable of reflecting all the aspects at the same time of a given entity: we only have surfaces that are able to reflect partially a given entity; therefore they are never completely pure, but pure only to a certain extent. Consequently, only subtle elements can be reflected in their purest form in their respective pure substrata. This is what TA ¯ 3.5 cd states: ‘in pure form, only form is manifested’. This, according to Abhinavagupta, also applies to the other

four tanmātras (Table 1). Also, as mentioned above, in the case of five tanmātras, this process takes place both inwardly and outwardly. For instance in our daily life what we see is that a form is reflected outwardly as fire while inwardly it is reflected in an eye.90 All the tanmātra reflections, according to Abhinavagupta, are like reflections in a mirror, but there are limitations attached to each. Even individual reflections cannot take place if there is no consciousness. However, in consciousness everything can reflect simultaneously because in consciousness, it is svātantrya alone that is reflected. In other words svātantrya is the bimba reflected in the mirror of consciousness. But in consciousness, we can only see a reflected thing and never its prototype. Out of the five tanmātras Abhinava’s emphasis on rūpa (form) is justified, for in a reflected image, it is

only the manifestation of a configuration of form that appears, and not touch etc. Heaviness is not a characteristic of a reflected image in a mirror. Abhinava regards a mirror simply as a means of perceiving the reflected image.91 Explaining the purport of Abhinavagupta, Jayaratha brings in a possible objection: if it is said that touch also resides in the reflected image then it would become evident that there is also heaviness in it, but our common experience contradicts this, since when we see the reflected image of a mountain in a mirror, the mirror does not gain weight at all. And the question arises whether form and touch always reside together. If both are present in the original image (bimba), then why is only form reflected and not touch? Abhinava states that a mirror simply works as a means for the realisation of form, which manifests bereft of touch and so on. But form can manifest only when it is in its purest state. Abhinavagupta’s point here is that when a face is reflected in a mirror, the reflected image in the mirror assumes the characteristics of the mirror where the face is being reflected. So, for instance, if the colour of the mirror is blue, our face in the mirror will also appear blue, or depending on the shape and size of the mirror, our face may also take the respective shape in the mirror. Exactly in the same way, because this universe is a reflection in the mirror of consciousness, whatever is 89 See Singh (1988, p. 117). 90 See Lakshman Joo (1988, p. 29ff). 91 TA ¯ 3.18: ata eva gurutvādir dharmo naitasya lakṣyate | na hy ādarśe sa ṃsthito’ sau taddṛṣṭau sa upāyakaḥ in it takes the form of the collection of qualities of consciousness, which are nothing but light and reflective awareness. As Abhinava says: And as smell, form, touch, taste and so on, being reflected, appear with the characteristics of their support, like a face in a sword [assumes the characteristics of the latter], in the same way, this universe, being reflected in consciousness, takes refuge in the collection of qualities [of consciousness] beginning with ‘being light’ and ‘being freedom’.92

After having established how the theory of reflection works in the context of form (rūpa), Abhinava focuses on explaining how an echo (pratiśrutkā) works. He defines ‘echo’ as the reflection of sound. An echo, for him, is not a sound arising from another sound, nor is it a rebounding sound as we commonly think it to be. An echo, Abhinava says, is a reflection of sound.93 Moreover, for Abhinavagupta the echo (like pratibimba) itself remains an original sound, because when we make noise, the so called original sound (like bimba) comes back to us in the form of an echo (like pratibimba), just as in the case of a face in a mirror. In other words echo as echo (like in case of pratibimba) is a new sound and not just the bouncing of the so-called original sound (like in case of bimba). Echo, like the reflection of a face in a mirror, has a unique ontological status. In an echo we hear a sound that seems as though it is produced by someone else even if it is the echo of our own voice. The echo is our own sound which eventually is recognized by the speaker himself or herself. As in the case of a reflected image, Abhinava advocates the same position for sound using the analogy of a lady, a mirror, and her beloved: But also without the perception of the main image, the perception of the reflected image is possible. [A lady] can perceive the form of the beloved who stands behind her reflected in front in a mirror.94


Table 1 Tanmātras corresponding to Mahābhūtas and Buddhīndriyas Tanmātra Mahābhūta buddhīndriya gandha pṛthivī nāsikā rasa ap jihvā rūpa tejas cakṣus sparśav āyu tvac śabda ākāśa karṇa 92 TA ¯ 3.45-46: yathā ca gandharūpaspṛgrasādyāḥ pratibimbitāḥ | tadādhāroparāgeṇa bh ānti khaḍge mukhādivat || tathā viśvam idaṃ bodhe pratibimbitam āśrayet | prakāśatvasvatantratvaprabhṛtiṃ dharmavistaram ||. 93 TA ¯ 3.24-26: itthaṃ pradarśite’ mutra pratibimbanavartmani | śabdasya pratibimbaṃ yat pratiśrutketi bhaṇyate || na cāsau śabdajaḥ śabda āgacchattvena saṃśravāt | tenaiva vaktrā dūrasthaiḥ śabdasyāśravaṇād api || piṭhirādipidhānāṃśaviśiṣṭachidrasaṅgatau | citratvāccāsya śabdasya pratibimbaṃ mukhādivat ||. 94 TA ¯ 3.29: mukhyagrahaṃ tv api vinā pratibimbagraho bhavet | svapaścātsthaṃ priyaṃ paśyeṭṭaṃkitaṃ mukure vapuḥ ||.

Abhinavagupta argues that an echo is also heard by means of reflection (pratisaṃkramaṇa), and has the nature of an original sound. The sound arises on its own. It should not be understood, as the Vais ´es ˙ ikas do, as coming into being by contact or breaking. In the Vais ´es ˙ ika theory, ether is regarded as the inherent cause of sound. Each sense faculty, according to them, is made out of the substance with which it is particularly associated. Accordingly the faculty of hearing is made up of ākāśa (ether).95 Here Abhinava critiques the Nya¯ya-Vais ´es ˙ ika theory and advocates for the unity of the cognition of sound. That is to say that he emphasises the unique quality of ether (ākāśa) that is capable of grasping the sound. Ether is the only substratum able to catch sound, just as a mirror is the only substratum able to catch hold of form (rūpa). In other words ether is the only substratum which is pure with respect to sound, allowing sound to reflect in ether. Since, according to Nya¯yaVais ´es ˙ ikas, an ear (the auditory

faculty) is part of the all-pervasive ether (ākāśa) and also sensitive with respect to it, the other important point implied here is that, in the presence of sounds of various intensities, an ear is able to hear these simultaneously with the same intensities with which they were produced. This is exactly like in a mirror, which is able to manifest within itself the reflected image of a variegated city exactly as it is. The point Abhinavagupta makes is that sound (śabda) is only reflected in ether and not in anything else. This is exactly not the case in the context of consciousness, where reflection takes place without any conditions. In the case of the production of sound, the speaker and the listener have a number of conditions or limitations which determine how and where sound is produced. That is to say sounds depend on the distance between points, and the direction in which one speaks or listens. All this becomes irrelevant in the case of consciousness. The ether is the perceiver of the reflected image of sound96 only in as much as it is in front of the original ‘image’. This is how Abhinavagupta illustrates the idea: And it is said that being in front of [the original image] is because of the steadiness [of the reflected image] due to [its] non-difference with such a mirror.97 Therefore, the place occupied by the speaker, which is being reflected in the space of a cavity such as a well, appears endowed with sound, as if appearing in a speaker who is different from that.98

This is to say that a reflection can only reflect in a mirror when the mirror is exactly in front of the reflected object and not in back of it. This is an important condition for reflection to take place within the surface of a mirror. Jayaratha elaborates further, saying that this is exactly what happens in the case of sound, a reflection in the ether. This is what Jayaratha reiterates: In as much as the sound is the quality [of ether], since it is connected with its quality-bearer [i.e., with the ether], it is dependent on the latter. Its reflection 95 For a detailed discussion on ether (ākāśa) in Nya¯ya-Vais ´es ˙ ika see Bhaduri (1975, pp. 163–182). 96 In other words it is only in ether that sound is cognised. 97 TA ¯ 3.30: sāṃmukhyaṃ cocyate tādṛgdarpaṇābhedasaṃsthiteḥ ||. 98 TA ¯ 3.31: ataḥ kūpādipiṭhirākāśe tat pratibimbitam | vaktrākāśaṃ saśabdaṃ sad bhāti tat paravaktṛvat ||.


in the quality-bearer is logically tenable only together with the quality-bearer; it has been said: ‘In the ether there is ether.’99 Jayarathacomparesthespaceofanearwiththespaceinawellorcave,sayingthatjust as in a mirror, where the reflected image may not necessarily be similar to its original image, the same is the case with sound. Since the sound is reflected in ether, it also takestheshapeofthesubstratumwhere itisreflected,e.g.ifweblowairintoanempty jar this sounds different from the original sound. Likewise, when we blow air into a musical instrument like a flute, the reflected form of the original sound is completely different.Inthesamewaypeoplefarawayfromacertainsoundmaynotbeabletohear itwhileothersneartotheplaceoforiginationmaybeabletohearitclearlyandloudly. Since thereflectedsound (i.e. the echo) may notnecessarily be similar tothe so-called originalsound,itbecomesclear,accordingtotheargumentofAbhinavagupta,thatthe reflected sound (i.e. the echo) is in itself an original sound. Having explained the application of reflection in the tanmātras of form (rūpa) and sound (śabda), Abhinavagupta continues by saying this is exactly how reflection works in the domains of touch (sparśa), taste (rasa) and odour (gandha) as well. In other words, for Abhinavagupta ‘a pleasant contact is reflected in the blissful abode of touch.’100 It is indeed due to the pureness of contact that, when reflected, touch becomes fit for the enjoyment of making love. For the same reasons, explains Jayaratha, the pleasure of seminal emission of semen depends on sensitive (or pure) touch. A touch could be both pleasant or unpleasant: there is also the reflection of touch in a violent blow of a trident on our skin, because of which we feel agitation in our body.101 Jayaratha says:

‘Blissful’ is a specific substratum [of the yogic body] such as the bulb, heart, or base of the palate (tālutala), which are loci of bliss. There, indeed, due to the pureness of contact, the touch that is fit for the enjoyment of making love is reflected; by means of this [touch] there could be also the pleasure of the emission of semen and so on. For this reason, since it produces abundance of bliss it has been defined as ‘pleasant’ (sundara). Also, the other contact which is unpleasant since it produces pain and so on, necessarily, is reflected in a specific substratum (ādhāra-viśeṣa)102 such as the perineal region (mattagandha),103 the belly (jaṭhara), the bronchial 99 TA ¯V 3.31: śabdasya guṇatvena guṇini samavetatvāt tatparatantratvam eveti guṇinaiva sahāsya guṇini pratibimbanaṃ yuktam ity uktam ākāśe ākāśam iti |. 100 TA ¯ 3.36ab: śabdo nabhasi sānande sparśadhāmani sundaraḥ |. 101 TA ¯ 3.36cdef: sparśo’ nyo’ pi dṛḍhāghātaśūlaśītādikodbhavaḥ || parasthaḥ pratibimbatvāt svadehoddhūlanākaraḥ ||. 102 In the NTU 7.5, Ks ˙ emara¯ja mentions sixteen ādhāras and mattagandha, jaṭhara, kūrmanāḍī and kaṇṭha fall under this list. He also interprets all the sixteen in the light of Kaula system. 103 mattagandhasthāna is referred to as perineal region. Cf. NTU 7.36. The contractions and relaxations of the perineal region (mattagandhasaṃkoca) that Jayaratha refers to in TA ¯V 5.55 is supposed to be a painful experience just like as if a serpent is hit by a stick. (See “prāṇadaṇḍaprayoga” in TAK III, pp. 330–331).


tube (kūrmanāḍī)104 and the throat (kaṇṭha), which are painful and so on, and through which one can even lose consciousness. ‘Which belongs to another person’ means ‘which is perceived by another person’ since, in this case, this [touch] is the main [source of reflection]. This was the meaning. And the implication is as follows: by virtue of this, the [other touch] would be in such a way [namely, would remain the main source of reflection] even though it is [simply]rememberedorimaginedandsoon.Andhowisitrecognizedthatitisa reflection? In order to answer this question he says: ‘Since [all those are] reflection, they cause excitement in one’s own body.’ And that is the same in the experience of both pain and pleasure. In this regard (iti) the non-distinction [between these two] is accepted.105 Here Abhinavagupta points out the unitary nature of the excitement created because of either pleasant or unpleasant touch. In other words, concerning the nature of the cognition of touch, the distinction between pleasant and unpleasant touch is not relevant at all. It is the manifestation (ābhāsa) of all objects of cognition that establishes their existence. This unitary nature (or what is translated by Jaideva Singh as ‘homogeneousness’) is called khecarī-samatā by Abhinavagupta in the PTV.106 In the PTV Abhinavagupta says: That very khecarī is perceived separately (from the Divine) in the form of desire, anger, etc. However, the samatā or sameness of khecarī means the perception of her full divine nature everywhere (in śabda or sound, rūpa or form and colour, rasa or taste, gandha or smell, sparśa or contact) because of her being of the nature of perfect Bhairava. Even an iota of the ignorance of the nature of the integral anuttara amounts to a contrary state of mind. It is this contrary state that constitutes transmigratory existence (saṃsāra).107

Touch, taste, smell etc. cannot be perceived without the associated sense faculty. These faculties are located in the internal sphere and manifest only through the activity of one’s own senses, which are governed by internal organs. In the experience of touch, even though it (touch) is predominant, because only touch 104 In the vyāsabhāṣya of the YS 3.32 kūrmanāḍī is mentioned as a tortoise-shaped tubular structure. If one is able to control the bronchial tube (kūrmanāḍī) one can attain calmness. See Aranya (2000, p. 307). 105 TA ¯V 3.35-36: sānanda ity ānandasthānātmake kandahṛttālutalādāv ādhāraviśeṣe | tatraiva hi sparśasya nairmalyān mithunopabhogasamucitaḥ sparśaḥ pratisaṃkrāmati yena dhātuniḥṣyandasukhyādy api syāt | ata evānandātiśayakāritvāt sundara ity uktam | anyo duḥkādikāritvād asundaro ‘pi sparśo ‘rthād du ḥkhādyātmake mattagandhakaṭharakūrmanāḍīkaṇṭhaprabhṛtāv ādhāraviśeṣe pratisaṃkrāmati yena mūrchādy api syāt | parastha iti parānubhūyamānaḥ | tatra hi sa mukhya iti bhāvaḥ | etac copalakṣaṇam tena smaryamāṇotprekṣyamāṇādirūpo ‘py asāv evaṃ syāt | pratibimbatvaṃ cāsya kuto lakṣyata ity āha pratibimbatvāt svadehoddhūlanākara iti | etac ca sukhaduḥkhayor anubhave samānam ity aviśeṣeṇopāttam |. 106 See Singh (1988, pp. 42–44). 107 Singh (1988, p. 39). I have used Jaideva Singh’s translation.


exists there in its purest form, the other tanmātras are not completely absent. They exist in their latent forms, as discussed previously.108 Adopting the model of the tanmātras and explaining the phenomenology of reflection, Abhinava applies the same argument to smell and taste as he does to the cases of form, echo and touch. As he says: In the same way, [the same occurs for] smell in another nose; [and] the taste becomes manifest in the one which is the [basis of] saliva.109 And in the same way a form which is reflected in the eyeballs [like in a mirror] is not perceived without another eye [i.e. the eye of another person], in this very way, although they are present, taste, touch, smell and so on are not perceived without [another] sense faculty.110 However, what is important to keep in mind, according to Abhinava, is that in each case ‘manifestation’ (ābhāsa) alone is the essence of the nature of reflection. Here Abhinavagupta is suggesting that the ontology of reflection lies in its appearance; and thus, probing further along strictly philosophical lines, he questions whether a reflected image generates its own causal efficacy (arthakriyā). This becomes a major point of contention between the non-dual S ´aivas and the Naiya¯yikas where Abhinavagupta, following his grandmaster Utpaladeva, further elaborates upon the S ´aiva theory of causal efficacy appropriating it according to the non-dual doctrinal position of Pratyabhijn ˜a ¯.111 I intend to focus on this debate more closely in the context of theory of reflection in a subsequent essay currently under preparation.112 The present essay has only been an effort to understand the basic position of Abhinavagupta vis-a `-vis his theory of reflection focusing mainly only on a part of the TA ¯ .


Conclusion


As mentioned towards the beginning of this paper, two relatively recent attempts at understanding the problem of reflection in Abhinavagupta were made by Lawrence (2005) and Ratie ´ (2017). The former explores the implications of ritual in the context of reflection while the latter focuses on philosophical debates and contexts. In this essay, I have attempted to contribute to the discussion through a close reading of the idea of reflection in the TA ¯ . I have only evaluated the problem in its hermeneutical context, analysing various layers of reflection’s meaning and interpretation brining in still neglected questions about tanmātras, for instance, or the example of the echo. However, there are further important insights to be studied and developed as far as the fundamental philosophical position of Abhinavagupta 108 TA ¯V 3.40. 109 3.38ab: evaṃ ghrāṇāntare gandho raso dantodake sphuṭaḥ ||. 110 TA ¯ TA ¯ 3.39: yathā ca rūpaṃ pratibimbitaṃ dṛśor na cakṣuṣānyena vinā hi lakṣyate | tathā rasasparśanasaurabhādikaṃ na lakṣyate' kṣeṇa vinā sthitaṃ tv api || Also cf. I ¯PVV vol. 1, ad st. 1.2.8. 111 See I ¯PV 1.8.6; 2.2.7; 2.3.4-6; 2.3.12; TA ¯V 3.41-42. 112 For more details see Kaul 2016.


related to the theory of reflection is concerned vis-a `-vis his tradition of Anuttara Trika and Ka¯lı¯kula.113 Abhinavagupta cannot be understood fully within the confines of the Pratyabhijn ˜a¯ system alone: his logical-epistemological interpretation of reflection is just a single dimension of a larger project. While in the I ¯PV and the I ¯PVV Abhinavagupta builds upon the Pratyabhijn ˜a¯-based Trika, in the TA ¯ he engages in crafting a Trika grounded in the Krama cult of Ka¯lı¯. In addition to this, in the PTV, he shapes a Trika immersed in Kula system. Abhinavagupta’s commentaries (both the I ¯PV and the I ¯PVV) on two verses of Utpaladeva, viz. 1.2.8 and 2.4.19,114 are significant sources for critically exploring the polemics of reflection in the non-dual S ´aiva philosophy. In the TA ¯ Abhinavagupta appropriates the idea of reflection to fit within his S ´aiva soteriology, while his polemical discussions in the I ¯PV and the I ¯PVV are deeply embedded in S ´aiva theological metaphysics. In his Pratyabhijn ˜a¯ exegesis Abhinava strongly contests the Sa¯n ˙khya idea of reflection. However, while discussing reflection in the TA ¯ there is no mention of Sa¯n ˙khya at all—at least not in the third chapter.115 Even though Jayaratha bases most of his commentary on the original ideas of Abhinavagupta found in his colossal commentary, the I ¯PVV, sometimes verbatim, he nonetheless does not touch upon the Sa¯n ˙khya theory in his commentary on pratibimbav āda in the TA ¯ . As a loyal commentator, he apparently does not wish to put words in the mouth of Abhinavagupta, and thus focuses on Naiya¯yikas alone. In each one of the above mentioned texts Abhinavagupta has approached the problem of reflection differently, keeping in mind various thematic approaches. Abhinavagupta is fond of creating multiple S ´aiva hermeneutic layers where engagement with an absolute non-dual subject is implicit. From the epistemological point of view, the limited knowing subject and knowable reality as the object of knowledge are both real at the same time, since they are nothing but the manifestation of the pure knowing subject alone. Together with this argument, Abhinavagupta establishes a non-dual S ´aiva ontology. For Abhinavagupta phenomenal reality is as real as the absolute reality, for it is nothing but the manifestation of the luminosity of light, where luminosity or reflective awareness is the manifestation of light’s own real nature and nothing else.


Acknowledgements I would like to thank Dr Francesco Sferra, Dr Shaman Hatley and the anonymous reviewer of JIP for their valuable comments and suggestions that helped in improving this article. 113 See Sanderson (2007, p. 376). 114 Also quoted by Jayaratha in the TA ¯V 3.8. 115 In the context of Śaktipāta Abhinavagupta does have a detailed discussion on Sa¯m ˙ khya in the TA ¯ 13.3-41b.



References


Primary Sources


Bhāskarī of Rājānaka Bhāskarakaṇṭha,Vols. I–II, A Commentary on the Iśvarapratyabhijñāvimarśinī of Abhinavagupta, ed. K. A. Subrahmia Iyer and K. C. Pandey. 2 volumes. Allahabad: Superintendent, Printing and Stationery, United Provinces, 1938 & 1950. Īśvarapratyabhijñākārikāvṛtti of Utpaladeva. See Torella 2002. Īśvarapratyabhijñāvimarśinī of Abhinavagupta, edited by Pan ˙ d ˙ it Mukunda Rama Sha¯strı¯ and Pan ˙ d ˙ it Madhusu ¯dan Kaul Sha¯strı¯, KSTS 22, 33, Bombay 1918, 1921. Īśvarapratyabhijñāvivṛtivimarśinī of Abhinavagupta, edited by Pan ˙ d ˙ it Madhusu ¯dan Kaul Sha¯strı¯, KSTS 60, 62, 65, Bombay 1938-1943. Mālinīvijayottaratantra, edited by Pan ˙ d ˙ it Madhusu ¯dan Kaul Sha¯strı¯, KSTS 37, Bombay 1922. Netratantra with the commentary by Ks ˙ emara¯ja, Edited by Pan ˙ d ˙ it Madhusu ¯dan Kaul Sha¯strı¯. KSTS Nos. 46, 61, Bombay 1926-1939. Nyāyakośa or Dictionary of Technical Terms of Indian philosophy. Compiled by Maha¯mahopa¯dhya¯ya Bhı¯ma¯ca¯rya Jhalakı¯kar. Revised and re-edited by maha¯mahopa¯dhya¯ya Va¯sudev Sha¯strı¯ Abhyankar. Poona: The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, 1978. Paramārthasāra of Abhinavagupta, With the Commentary of Yogara¯ja, edited by J. C. Chatterji, KSTS 7, Srinagar 1916. Parātriṃśikāvivaraṇa, KSTS 18, edited by Pan ˙ d ˙ it Mukunda Rama Sha¯strı¯, Bombay, 1918. Pratyabhijñā Hṛdaya being a Summary of the Doctrines of the Advaita Shaiva Philosophy of Kashmir by Ksemaraja, Edited by J.C. Chatterji, KSTS No. 3, 1911. Sarvalakṣaṇasaṃgrahaḥ, Padārthalakṣaṇakośa by Swami Gaurishankar Bhiksu, Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, Varanasi, 2004. Śivasūtravārttika of Varadara¯ja, edited by Pan ˙ d ˙ it Madhusu ¯dan Kaul Sha¯strı¯, KSTS 43, S ´rı¯nagar 1925. Spandakarikas of Vasugupta with the Nirnaya by Ksemaraja, edited by Pan ˙ d ˙ it Madhusu ¯dan Kaul Sha¯strı ¯, KSTS No. 42, Bombay 1925. Svacchandatantra with commentary by Ks ˙ emara¯ja, edited by Pan ˙ d ˙ it Madhusu ¯dan Kaul Sha¯strı¯, KSTS 31, 38, 44, 48, 51, 53, 56, Bombay 1921-1935. Tantrāloka of Abhinavagupta, edited by Pan ˙ d ˙ it Mukunda Rama Sha¯strı¯ and Pan ˙ d ˙ it Madhusu ¯dan Kaul Sha¯strı¯, 12 vols., Kashmir Series of Texts and Studies 23, 28, 29, 30, 35, 36, 41, 47, 52, 57, 58, 59, Srinagar 1918-1938. Tantrālokaviveka of Jayaratha, See under Tantrāloka. Tantrasāra of Abhinavagupta, edited by Pan ˙ d ˙ it Mukunda Rama Sha¯strı¯, KSTS 17, Srinagar 1918. Vāmakeśvarīmatam with the commentary of Rājānaka Jayaratha, Pan ˙ d ˙ it Madhusu ¯dan Kaul Sha¯strı¯. KSTS No. 66, Srinagar, 1945. Vijñānabhairava with the commentary partly by Ks ˙ emara¯ja and partly by S ´ivopa¯dhya¯ya, edited by Pan ˙ d ˙ it Mukunda Rama Sha¯strı¯, KSTS 8, Bombay 1918.


Secondary Sources


Aranya, S. H. (2000). Yoga philosophy of Patañjali with Bhāsavatī, Fourth revised and enlarged edition, reprint 2012. Kolkata: University of Calcutta. Ba ¨umer, B. (2011). Abhinavagupta’s Hermeneutics of the Absolute—Anuttaraprakriyā—An Interpretation of his Parātriśikāvivaraṇa. Shimla: IIAS. Bhaduri, S. (1975). Studies in Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika metaphysics. Poona: BORI. Biernacki, L. (2013). Panentheism and Hindu Tantra: Abhinavagupta’s Grammatical Cosmology. In L. Biernacki & P. Clayton (Eds.), God’s body: Panentheism across the World’s religious traditions (pp. 161–176). New York: Oxford University Press.


Castro, O. F. (2013). Un muro, inusual imagen religiosa. El vocablo bhitti en Abhinavagupta, Ilu. Revista de Ciencias de las Religiones, 18, 95–110. Chaturvedi, R. (2002) Śrītantrālokaḥ (Part One) [1-3 Āhnika]. Vidyabhawan Prachyavidya Granthamala, vol. 120. Varanasi: Chowkhamba Vidyabhawan. Gnoli, R. (1999) Abhinavagupta, Luce dei Tantra. (Tantrāloka). Biblioteca Orientale (Vol. 4). Milan: Adelphi Edizioni. Goodall, D., & Isaacson, H. (2016). Tantric studies, fruits of a Franco-German collaboration on early tantra (Collection Indologie 131, Early Tantra Series 4). Pondiche ´ry: Institut Franc¸ais de Pondiche ´ry/E ´cole Franc¸aise d’Extre ˆme-Orient. Asien-Afrika-Institut, Universita ¨t Hamburg. Kaul, M. (2016). Abhinavagupta’s theory of reflection: A Study. Critical Edition and Translation of the Pratibimbavāda (verses 1–65) in Chapter III of the Tantrāloka with the commentary of Jayaratha. PhD dissertation, Concordia University, Montre ´al. Kaul, M. (2018). Ontological hierarchy in the Tantrāloka of Abhinavagupta. In B. S. Ba ¨umer & H. Stainton (Eds.), Tantrapuṣpāñjali: Tantric traditions and philosophy of Kashmir, studies in memory of Pandit H.N. Chakravarty (pp. 240–270). New Delhi: Indira Gandhi Centre for the Arts. Kaul, M. (forthcoming). Causal reasoning in the Trika philosophy of Abhinavagupta. In S. Sarrukai & M. Chakraborty (Eds.), Springer handbook of logical thought in India. New Delhi: Springer. Lakshman Joo. (1988). Kashmir shaivism. The secret supreme. Albany: Universal Shaiva Trust. Lawrence, D. P. (1998). The mythico-ritual syntax of omnipotence. Philosophy East and West, 48(4), 592–622. Lawrence, D. P. (2005). Remarks on Abhinavagupta’s use of the analogy of reflection. Journal of Indian Philosophy, 33, 583–599. Lawrence, D. P. (2008). Abhinavagupta’s philosophical hermeneutics of grammatical persons. The Journal of Hindu Studies, 1(1–2), 11–25. Mis ´ra, P. ed and tr. (2000). Śrī Tantrālokaḥ vyākhyādvayopetaḥ [prathamo bhāgaḥ]. Va ¯ra¯n ˙ ası ¯: Sam ˙ pu ¯rna¯nanda Sam ˙ skr ˙ ta Vis ´vavidya¯laya. Nemec, J. (2011). The Ubiquitous Śiva. Somānanda’s Śivadṛṣṭi and his Tantric Interlocutors. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Padoux, A. (1992). Vāc—The Concept of Word in Selected Hindu Tantras. (translated by Jacques Gontier). Sri Garib Dass Oriental series no.155. Delhi: Sri Garib Dass Oriental. Pandey, K. C. (1963). Abhinavagupta. An historical and philosophical study. Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series (Vol. 1, Second edition revised and enlarged). Varanasi: Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office (First edition 1936, Revised 1951, reprint 2003). Raman, N. S. S. (2004). Problems of interpretation and translation of philosophical and religious texts. Shimla: Indian Institute of Advanced Study. Rastelli, M., & Goodall, D. (Eds.) (2013). Tāntrikābhidhānakoṣa III, T–Ph: Dictionnaire des termes techniques de la litterature hindoue tantrique. A Dictionary of Technical Terms from Hindu Tantric Literature. Wo ¨rterbuch zur Terminologie hinduistischer Tantren. (BKGA 76). Wien: VO ¨AW. Rastogi, N. (1984). Some more Nya¯yas as employed by Abhinavagupta. Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, 65, 28. Rastogi, N. (1987). Introduction to the Tantrāloka. A study in structure. Delhi: MLBD. Rastogi, N. (1992). The Yogic disciplines in the Monistic S ´aiva Tantric traditions of Kashmir: Threefold, fourfold, and six-limbed. In T. Goudriaan (Ed.), Ritual and speculation in early tantrism studies in honour of André Padoux (pp. 247–280). Albany: State University of New York Press. Rastogi, N. (2002). kāśmīra śivādvayavāda kī mūla avadhāranāeṃ. Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal. [in Hindi]. Rastogi, N. (2013). kāśmīra śivādvayavāda meṃ pramāṇa-cintana. L.D. sanskrit series: 156. Ahmedabad: L.D. Institute of Indology [in Hindi]. Ratie ´, I. (2011a). Le Soi et l’Autre. Identité, différence et altérité dans la philosophie de la Pratyabhijñā. Jerusalem studies in religion and culture (Vol. 13). Boston: Brill. Ratie ´, I. (2011b). Can one prove that something exists beyond consciousness? A S ´aiva criticism of the Sautra¯ntika inference of external objects. Journal of Indian Philosophy, 39(4–5), 479–501. Ratie ´, I. (2016). In search of Utpaladeva’s lost Vivr ˙ ti on the Pratyabhijn ˜a¯ treatise: A report on the latest discoveries (with the Vivr ˙ ti on the end of chapter 1.8). Journal of Indian Philosophy. https://doi.org/ 10.1007/s10781-016-9302-2. Ratie ´, I. (2017). An Indian debate on optical reflections and its metaphysical implications: S ´aiva nondualism and the Mirror of Consciousness. In J. Tuske (Ed.), Indian epistemology and metaphysics (pp. 207–240). London: Bloomsbury.


Sanderson, A. (2005). A commentary on the opening verses of the Tantra¯sara of Abhinavagupta. In S. Das & E. Fu ¨rlinger (Eds.), Sāmarasya. Studies in Indian arts, philosophy, and interreligious dialogue (pp. 89–148). New Delhi: D.K.Printworld. Sanderson, A. (2007). The S ´aiva Exegesis of Kashmir. In: D. Goodall and A. Padoux (Eds.) Mélanges tantriques à la mémoire d’Hélène Brunner Tantric studies in memory of Hélène Brunner (pp. 231– 442) and bibliography (pp. 551–582). Pondicherry: Collection Indologie n° 106, IFP/EFEO. Silburn, L., & Padoux, A. (2000). Abhinavagupta: La Lumière sur les Tantras. Chapitres 1 à 5 du Tantrāloka. Traduits et commente ´s (Colle `ge de France. Publications de l’Institute de Civilisation Indienne, Se ´rie in-8, fasc. 66). Paris: E ´dition-Diffusion de Boccard. Singh, J. (1988). Parātriśikāvivaraṇa, The Secret of Tantric Mysticism. English translation with notes and running exposition. Delhi: MLBD. Torella, R. (1994). On Va¯manadatta. In P. S. Filliozat, S. P. Narang, & C. P. Bhatt (Eds.), Pandit N.R. Bhatt felicitation volume (pp. 481–498). Delhi: MLBD. Torella, R. (1999). “Devı¯ Uva¯ca”, or the theology of the present tense. Journal of Indian Philosophy, 27, 129–138. Torella, R. (2000). The Svabodhodayaman ˜jarı¯, or how to suppress the mind with no effort. In R. Tsuchida & A. Wezler (Eds.), Harānandalaharī, Volume in Honour of Professor Minoru Hara on his Seventieth Birthday (pp. 387–410). Reinbek: Verlag fu ¨r Orientalistische Fachpublikationen. Torella, R. (2001). The word in Abhinavagupta’s Br ˙ had-Vimars ´inı¯. In: T. Raffaele et al. (Eds.), Le parole e i marmi. Studi in onore di Raniero Gnoli nel suo 70° compleanno. Serie Orientale Roma 92.1-2 (pp. 853–874). Rome: IsIAO. Torella, R. (2002). The Īśvarapratyabhijñākārikā of Utpaladeva with the Author’sV ṛtti. Critical edition and annotated translation. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass (1st ed. appeared as Serie Orientale Roma 71, Rome: IsMEO, 1994). Torella, R. (2004). How is verbal signification possible: Understanding Abhinavagupta’s reply. Journal of Indian Philosophy, 32, 173–188. Torella, R. (2014). Utpaladeva’s Lost Vivṛti on the Īśvarapratyabhijñākārikā’. Journal of Indian Philosophy, 42, 115–126. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10781-013-9213-4.






Source

[[Category:Mahayana]