Abhinavagupta

If what is known as ‘Pratyabhijñā-darśana’ (Kashmir Śaivism) has attained a respectable status among the medieval philosophical systems, it is mainly due to Abhinavagupta, the encyclopaedic scholar and prolific writer of the middle ages. His ancestors hailed from the ‘Antarvedī,’ the country between the Gaṅgā and the Yamunā rivers. He lived in Kashmir. His literary activities extended from about A. D. 980 to A. D. 1020. He was an authority on several subjects and at least forty works are attributed to him.

His Tantrasāra is a voluminous treatise on Tantra. Īśvara-pratyabhijñā-vimarśinī is an authoritative work on the monistic Śaivism of the Pratyabhijñā school of Kashmir. Among his other works Tantrāloka and Paramārthasāra should also be mentioned.

Abhinavagupta has carved out a niche for himself in the fields of poetics and dramaturgy also. His two superb commentaries, Dhvanyāloka-locana (also called Locana) and Abhinavabhāratī on Ānanda-vardhana’s Dhvanyāloka and Bharata’s Nāṭyaśāstra are considered as supreme authorities even now on those subjects.