Light & Learning

Abhinav Gupt Sansthan

Head of Department

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Assistant Professor

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(Abhinavagupt Institute of Aesthetics and Shaiva Philosophy)

Abhinavagupt (c.950–1016CE ) was a philosopher, mystic and aesthetician from Kashmir. He was also considered an influential musician, poet, dramatist, exegete, theologian, and logician – a polymathic personality who exercised strong influences on Indian culture.

He was born in Kashmir in a family of scholars and mystics and studied all the schools of philosophy and art of his time under the guidance of as many as fifteen (or more) teachers and gurus.In his long life he completed over 35 works, the largest and most famous of which is Tantrāloka, an encyclopedic treatise on all the philosophical and practical aspects of Kaula and Trika (known today as Kashmir Shaivism). Another one of his very important contributions was in the field of philosophy of aesthetics with his famous Abhinavabhāratī commentary of Nāṭyaśāstra of Bharata Muni.

Philosophical works

One of the most important works of Abhinavagupt is Īśvarapratyabhijñā-vimarśini ("Commentary to the Verses on the Recognition of the Lord") and Īśvarapratyabhijñā-vivṛti-vimarśini ("Commentary on the explanation of Īśvarapratyabhijñā"). This treatise is fundamental in the transmission of the Pratyabhijña school (the branch of Kashmir Shaivism based on direct recognition of the Lord) to our days. Another commentary on a Pratyabhijña work – Śivadṛṣtyā-locana ("Light on Śivadṛṣṭi") – is now lost. Another lost commentary is Padārthapraveśa-nirṇaya-ṭīkā and Prakīrṇkavivaraṇa ("Comment on the Notebook") referring to the third chapter of Vākyapadīya of Bhartrihari. Two more philosophical texts of Abhinavagupt are Kathāmukha-tilaka("Ornament of the Face of Discourses") and Bhedavāda-vidāraṇa ("Confrontation of the Dualist Thesis"). Abhinavagupt's thought was strongly influenced by Buddhist logic.

Founder of Abhinav Gupta Sansthan

Dr. K.C. Pandey, the second Head of the department, was a recipient of President Certificate of Honour, posthumously. He was a prodigiously talented scholar of Kashmir Shaivism and Aesthetics. He had introduced both Kashmir Shaivism and Aesthetics subjects in the postgraduate curriculum. He has also founded an Institute called Abhinavagupt Institute of Aesthetics & Shaiva Philosophy for Higher Studies in this field.

This Institute has two objectives—

To promote the advance researches in the field of Shaiva Philosophy of Kashmir. This philosophy was flourished in Kashmir in between 9th AD to 13thAD. It is considered the most advanced thinking in the field of Indian Philosophy. Abhinavagupt is the chief exponent of this system.

To explore the Abhinavan view on Indian Aesthetics. This is discussed here as applied metaphysics only. Besides this, the comparison of western and Indian theories of Aesthetics is also a focus for research.