Utpaladeva's Lost Vivrti on the Ishwara Pratyabhijna Karika - Raffaele Torella

July 10, 2017 | Author: raffaeletorella | Category: Consciousness, Psychology & Cognitive Science, Cognition, Memory, Epistemology
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J Indian Philos (2014) 42:115–126 DOI 10.1007/s10781-013-9213-4

Utpaladeva’s Lost Vivṛti on the Īśvarapratyabhijñākārikā Raffaele Torella

Published online: 5 December 2013 © Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Abstract The recent discovery of a fragmentary manuscript of Utpaladeva’s long commentary (Vivṛti or Ṭīkā) on his own Īśvarapratyabhijñā-kārikā (I¯PK) and Vṛtti enables us to assess the role of this work as the real centre of gravity of the Pratyabhijn˜a¯ philosophy as a whole, though the later S´aiva tradition chose instead Abhinavagupta’s Vimarśinī as the standard text. This brilliant, and more compact and accessible, text was copied and copied again during the centuries and became popular in south India too, where a number of manuscripts in the principal southern scripts are still available. The success of a particular commentary is very often the indirect cause of the decline of the others, which are less and less read and, consequently, copied, until their complete or almost complete loss. Of the lengthy and difficult Vivṛti by Utpaladeva—corresponding to the extent of 8,000 ślokas (hence the traditional denomination of Aṣṭasāhasrī)—the fragmentary śāradā manuscript that has come to light covers only the section I¯PK I.3.6 through I.5.3. Although the portion of the recovered text is comparatively short (33 folios), it proves to be particularly important in the economy of Pratyabhijn˜a¯ philosophy due to the crucial points being dealt with there at great length, always in a hard-fought debate with the logical-epistemological school of Buddhism.

In principle, I like the Felicitation Volumes, particularly for the personal involment they presuppose and also for the connected gentle pushing they exercise on the lazy contributors (like me). However, a major shortcoming is to be found in their irregular circulation, which makes the reach of the scholarly world somewhat problematic. The aim of the present paper is to present to a wider audience a synopsis of the main contents of the five articles that I have devoted to the edition and translation of the only extant fragment of this important text, which have come out precisely in recent Felicitation Volumes. R. Torella (&) Istituto Italiano di Studi Orientali, Sapienza Universita` di Roma, via Principe Amedeo 182b, 00185 Rome, Italy e-mail: [email protected]



R. Torella

Keywords Pratyabhijn˜a¯ · Utpaladeva · Abhinavagupta · Apoha · Anupalabdhi · Svasaṃvedana · Digna¯ga · Dharmakı¯rti Utpaladeva is said to have composed the Īśvarapratyabhijñā-kārikā (I¯PK) and the concise Vṛtti at the same time,1 and later on to have devoted an analytic commentary to the complex Kārikā-Vṛtti, called Vivṛti (or Ṭīkā), in which he discussed possible alternative views and rejected them, also making occasionally quite long digressions on particular subjects. As is well known, the Vivṛti was in turn commented on by Abhinavagupta in one of his masterworks, the dense and demanding Īśvarapratyabhijñā-vivṛtivimarśinī (I¯PVV), covering more than 1,100 pages. The only mention of an extant fragmentary manuscript of the Vivṛti occured in K.Ch. Pandey’s pioneering book on Abhinavagupta (Pandey 1963, pp. 69–70). Though the original manuscript was apparently lost, a transcript from it by Prof. Pandey’s own hand was found among the papers left by the learned scholar upon his demise and kept by his widow on behalf of the Abhinavagupta Institute. During my visits to Lucknow, some 20 years ago, Mrs. Lila Pandey and the Trustees of the Institute were so kind as to show me the notebook with the transcript, but did not allow me to copy or photograph it, except for a small portion, which I edited and translated in Torella (1988). My efforts in the later years to secure the entire transcript were totally unsuccessful. By now, that transcript is to be considered definitively lost. The chance that sometimes helps scholars in their research, counteracting the hindrances due to human unhelpfulness, drove me in 1998 to the Indian National Archives in Delhi in search of the manuscripts used by the pandits of the Srinagar Research Department for the editions of the Kashmir Series. I was interested in those manuscripts because of the important marginal notes that some of them contained, where I assumed to find quotations from lost Kashmiri works. When I met with a S´a¯rada¯ manuscript, entitled “Pratyabhijñāvivṛti” I began looking through it with the same skepticism as I had looked in the past through manuscripts with the same title all over India (in all cases, the title had simply been the outcome of a careless cataloguing). The codex belonged to a small fund of manuscripts that the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, concerned about the current political situation, had transmitted to the National Archives in 1948. Very soon, instead, I realized that what I had in front of me was precisely the original of Pandey’s transcript, as carefully described by him on the very first page of his notebook. Once the transcript had been unretrievably lost, the original had come to light again. The thirty-three folios of the manuscript cover the full text of I¯PK I.3.6 through I.5.3 along with Utpaladeva’s Vṛtti and Vivṛti, plus Abhinavagupta’s Vimarśinī (I¯PV). Although the portion of the recovered text is comparatively short,2 it proves to be particularly important for the study of Pratyabhijn˜a philosophy since some very crucial points are dealt with there at great length. Among them, we find the nature of cognition, its being self-aware, the impossibility for a cognition to become the object of another cognition, the necessity that the various cognitions rest on a 1

I¯PVV I, p. 16.6–7 paramārthata aikyam anayor ekakālakṛtatvāt.

The Vivṛti is sometimes mentioned as Aṣṭasāhasrī, that is, corresponding to 8,000 ślokas; according to another tradition referred to in Pandey (1963, p. 163), the extent would be 6,000 ślokas. 2


Utpaladeva’s Lost Vivṛti on the Īśvarapratyabhijñā-kārikā


single substratum for a connection between cognitions to be possible, the necessity that cognition and its object share the same essential nature, that is, ‘light’; other important topics are apoha, anupalabdhi, yogipratyakṣa. Starting from 2007, I published five articles in which I presented the critical edition of the text along with a profusely annotated English translation (Torella 2007a, b, c, d, 2012).3 Since the coming forth of these studies, the central role of Utpaladeva’s long commentary on his own Īśvarapratyabhijñā-kārikā for the development of Pratyabhijn˜a¯ philosophy has become clearer and clearer, though the later S´aiva philosophic tradition chose instead Abhinavagupta’s Īśvarapratyabhijñā-vimarśinī as the standard text. This brilliant, and more compact and accessible, text was copied and copied again during the centuries and became popular in south India too, where a number of manuscripts in the principal southern scripts are still available. The fortune of a particular commentary is very often the indirect cause of the decline of the others, which are less and less read and, consequently, copied, until their complete or almost complete loss. One could mention, among others, the particularly exemplar case of the Yuktidīpikā on the Sāṃkhyakārikā. The topics of Pratyabhijn˜a¯ philosophy that I will present here are seen through the lenses of the Vivṛti. Utpaladeva, referring to an enigmatic statement in the Bhagavadgītā (XV.15b),4 had identified three powers (śakti) in the Lord: Cognition, Memory and Exclusion. The aim of his close inquiry into each of them is to show that cognition, memory and exclusion, which constitute the very basis of the knowledge process in human mind, are indirectly also a proof of the coinciding of the individual subject with universal consciousness. None of these phenomena can be really explained and their complex functioning accounted for satisfactorily in merely ‘mechanic’ terms, as first of all the Buddhists do. The individual subject can cognize, remember and exclude only if it is conceived of as inscribed within an eternal and, at the same time, dynamic universal I-ness, i.e. S´iva. Utpaladeva starts by making some preliminary remarks on the Buddhist conception of ‘non-perception’ (anupalabdhi), and, less extensively, of ‘exclusion’ (apoha) as the very core of conceptual thought. If one accepts the self-contained nature of cognitions (as the Buddhist does), it hardly becomes possible to account for neither of them. On seeing an empty surface we shall not be allowed to say that there is no jar, since the cognition of a certain object will not be able to give rise, at the same time, to alternative cognitions later to be excluded. Yet, the world of human knowledge, language and practical activity has among its pillars precisely the possibility of taking something for ‘absent’, or of building mental images through the exclusion of what is other. Then, granted that the Buddhist description of how the single cognition works in isolation is considered as basically correct, what is needed is the capacity of the single cognitions to communicate with each other, to enter into a net. Such a ‘net’ cannot be provided but by the single and unitary consciousness on which all of them are rooted. In a word: by the S´iva nature which permeates reality, constituting its ultimate ground. 3

These articles have started a hunt for more fragments from the Vivṛti, which has already produced interesting results (see Kawajiri, forthcoming; Ratie´, forthcoming).


mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṃ ca.



R. Torella

The Buddhists5 account for the establishment of the absence of a jar in a certain place by saying that the cognition of the empty place, while being aware of itself as opposed to the cognition of the place with a jar, is also aware of the place as ‘devoid of the jar’. In fact, if a jar were on that place, then also the jar would be manifested within the cognition of the place, since both the jar and the place share the same capacity [of being perceived]. This can be maintained, they go on, because particulars belonging to the same class (that is, ‘visible’ particulars) are grasped by one and the same cognition (here a ‘visual’ cognition), and consequently the cognition of the place should, in the case of a jar being there, have also contained the manifestation of the jar; but in the case at issue it was not so.6 Utpaladeva points out that here we are dealing with two distinct and separate cognitions, bound to remain such7: by any means cannot one include or exclude the other, unless one intends to explain the establishment of the absence in terms of inference,8 which is not the case with Buddhists (see Torella 2002, p. 143, fn. 17). These and other arguments are taken into account in the Vivṛti. In sum: Each cognition sheds light on itself alone, or, in other words, each cognition has its own self-awareness, which can by no means act as the common basis where two distinct cognitions may meet. No single cognition, Utpaladeva concludes, not even the perceptual cognition, can establish the absence of something by itself alone.9 The only way to fill the gap between cognitions and, by doing so, to give a reasonable explanation of the establishment of ‘absences’, which is so common in everyday life, is to accept their resting on a single consciousness.10 Instead of a multiplicity of irrelate svasaṃvedanas each corresponding to a single cognition, Utpaladeva posits the one supreme consciousness principle as the common svasaṃvedana of all cognitions, which in this way derive from it the capacity of entering into relation with each other. The starting point for the discussion of the ‘exclusion’ (apoha) issue—the third of S´iva’s powers—is clearly stated in Abhinavagupta’s I¯PVV: why on the appearing


The Buddhist position Utpaladeva is referring to is clearly formulated in Dharmottara’s Nyāyabinduṭīkā p. 101.13–14 yadaikajñānasaṃsargivastvantaropalambhaḥ | ekendriyajñānagrāhyaṃ locanādipraṇidhānābhimukhaṃ vastudvayam anyonyāpekṣam ekajñānasaṃsargi kathyate. 6 Vivṛti – kevalapradeśe hi ghaṭo yadi syāt, tat tatra pradeśajñāne tulyayogyatārūpatvāt so ’pi prakāśeta tathā ca saghaṭapradeśajñānam etat syāt, na kevalapradeśajñānam; ataḥ kevalapradeśajñānaṃ svātmānaṃ saghaṭapradeśajñānaviparītaṃ saṃvedayamānaṃ pradeśam api ghaṭarahitaṃ saṃvedayate iti ghaṭābhāvasiddhiḥ pradeśe syāt (Torella 2007a, p. 478.6–9). 7 Vivṛti – yāvatā kevalapradeśajñānena yadi nāma svātmā saghaṭapradeśajñānaviparītaḥ saṃviditas tato dvitīyam arthāntarabhūtaṃ saghaṭapradeśajñānaṃ svaprakāśarūpaṃ nāsti kathaṃ sidhyet (Torella 2007a, p. 478.10–12). 8 Vivṛti – tad evam iyannyāyānusaraṇād ānumāniky eva ghaṭābhāvasiddhiḥ syāt, na prātyakṣī (Torella 2007a, p. 479.6).

Vivṛti – jñānānam aindriyakānām apy anyonyaṃ sahabhāvapṛthagbhāvaprakāśo na syād ity arthānām api sadasattāniyamaniścayo na syāt (Torella 2007a, p. 480.3–5). 9

10 Vivṛti – tad evam ekāntarmukhasvasaṃvedanarūpacittattvātmatāviśrāntiṃ vinā […] (Torella 2007a, p. 480.5); tasmād eṣām ekacittattvaviśrāntirūpam anusandhānam avaśyābhyupagantavyam (Torella 2007a, p. 480.6).


Utpaladeva’s Lost Vivṛti on the Īśvarapratyabhijñā-kārikā


of a certain particular object should one figure out something different destined later to be excluded?11 Abhinavagupta is not satisfied with Dharmakı¯rti’s answer, elaborated at length in the Sva¯rtha¯numa¯napariccheda and svavṛtti: the correct knowledge of the svalakṣaṇa is continually menaced by erroneous superimpositions (samāropa), caused e.g. by misleading similarities—such as the brightness equally found in mother-of-pearl and in silver—which makes the knower mistake the former for the latter. The doubt, which projects alternative forms to be negated, would arise precisely because the knower is aware that many superimpositions are in principle possible; so a definite ascertainment becomes possible only after hypothetical mistaken forms are preliminarily rejected. Then Abhinavagupta takes into account the position of S´an˙karanandana (292.18ff), who in the Apohasiddhi recognizes prasaṅga (anyathāprasaṅga ‘the mere possibility that a thing be different from itself ?’) as the cause of doubt. Both samāropa and prasaṅga are for Abhinavagupta equally untenable, since, whether they derive from a beginningless nescience or other causes, they ultimately lead to a regressus ad infinitum. In the Vivṛti (Torella 2007a, p. 480.11–21), Utpaladeva puts forward his own version of how apoha works, taking for granted that apoha is indeed the pivot of all conceptual thought. His view, evidently nourished with Buddhist ideas, is centred on the plurality of causal efficiencies found in any object,12 which he substitutes for the plurality of wrong assumptions (vikalpa, samāropa), with respect to which Abhinava will clearly explicitate the fault of anavasthā, already implicit in Utpala’s argument. But, more importantly, the Vivṛti makes an additional remark. On the ma¯ya¯ plane, in which alone vikalpa is at work, the objects should be at their highest level of differentiation: then, how can their cognition evoke ‘other’ objects, too?13 Utpaladeva’s answer is rooted in the S´aiva theology. The Īśvara-tattva level, at which all the manifested world is still enclosed in the I (sarvam idam aham), remains so to speak in the background even in the ma¯ya¯ world, marked by a fullfledged differentiation. This is especially true for the cognition process, in which even the fully differentiated object ends up flowing into consciousness and being absorbed into it; moreover, as is often repeated, if the object were not essentially light, it could not shine at all in knowledge. This latent basic undifferentiation of the object (from other objects and from the self) is, according to Utpaladeva, what finally renders the process of apoha possible, the potential ‘openness’ of the object (and the subject) being the very ground for the doubt about it.14 On this premise alone, the Buddhist apoha is accepted by the S´aivas, who take it as a particular śakti of the Lord, figuring side by side with jñānaśakti. If Utpaladeva’s close investigation of the three powers starts with memory, by infringing the above stated order, it is “[b]ecause in a very clear manner memory can


I¯PVV I, p. 292.9 nanu svalakṣaṇe ’vabhāte kuto ’tadrūpam āśaṅkyate yad apohyate.

Vivṛti – śaṅkyamānatattadarthakriyākāritattatpratipakṣanirākriyāṃ vinā na tena vyavahartum alaṃ pratipattāra iti (Torella 2007a, p. 480.19–20). 12

13 Vivṛti – padārthāntarasamparkarahite ’py arthe pratiniyataprakṛtāv avabhāte vividhārthakriyākāriṇy api (Torella 2007a, p. 480.17–18). 14

Vivṛti – īśvarāṅgabhūta ivānyonyātmatayā (Torella 2007a, p. 480.18–19).



R. Torella

serve as a logical reason for the establishment of the identity of the self with the Lord”.15 The starting point of the examination of memory is the classical definition of memory given in Yogasūtra I.11: “Memory is the non-extinction of the object formerly perceived (anubhūtaviṣayāsampramoṣaḥ smṛtiḥ)”. The sustained analysis of Utpaladeva’s Vivṛti16 singles out a few crucial points contained in such an apparently simple process: How is it possible to attribute temporal differentiation to a cognizer that is permanent in his essential nature? What is the relationship between the cognitive act of the original perception and the cognitive act of the subsequent memory? How can the latter bring the former to light again without objectifying it? On this point, in fact, the S´aiva and his principal opponent, the Buddhist epistemologist, are in full agreement: a cognition is self-luminous and cannot be the ‘object’ of another cognition. The prima facie Buddhist explanation which is the target of Utpaladeva’s criticism is far from being satisfactory: saying that the perception produces a saṃskāra, which in turn will produce the phenomenon of memory, only accounts for the fact that the subsequent memory has a certain objective content allegedly similar to that of the original perception, though strictly speaking, since memory has no direct access to the former perception (cannot ‘know’ it), this very similarity cannot even be established.17 Furthermore, this view leaves out the ‘subjective’ component represented by the fact that the object has been ‘coloured’ by the previous perception, or, to be more precise, by its having been ‘already’ perceived in a certain past moment.18 Memory, in fact, is indeed the memory of the past object, but also of the past perception of it. Instead, as Abhinavagupta says, what the saṃskāra is able to convey (or resurrect) is neither the original perception nor the object insofar as it was cognized by such past perception.19 This presupposes a living organism at work, a dynamic and unitary consciousness able to freely move between different moments of time. It is the I that ensures the possibility of unifying the various cognitions occurring at different times, thus resolving the apparent inconsistency

15 Vivṛti – smṛter eva tāvat suspaṣṭam īśvarātmasiddhihetutayā prathamaṃ sambhavam āha (Torella 2007b, p. 544.3–4). 16 Text in Torella (2007b, pp. 544–549.2; 2007c, pp. 479–482.4). The examination of memory runs from ¯IPK I.2.3 to III.4.8. On memory in the ¯IPV, see Ratie´ (2006). 17 ¯ IPK I.3.2cd […] saṃskārajatve tu tattulyatvaṃ na tadgatiḥ (cf. Torella 2002, pp. 99–100). 18 This position might be attributed to a nirākāravādin, but for sure not to a sākāravādin, like Digna¯ga or Dharmakı¯rti. Digna¯ga uses the argument of memory, seen as necessarily including the awareness of the temporal distance of the object previously perceived and the awareness of the previous perception of the object, as a proof of the twofold nature of cognition and of its being self-aware (svavṛtti on Pramāṇasamuccaya I.11ab viṣayajñānatajjñānaviśeṣāt tu dvirūpatā: p. 4.24 na cottarottarāṇi jñānāni pūrvaviprakṛṣṭaviṣayābhāsāni syuḥ, p. 5.2–3 yasmāc cānubhavottarakālaṃ viṣaya iva jñāne ’pi smṛtir utpadyate, tasmād asti dvirūpatā jñānasya svasaṃvedyatā ca). For a thorough analysis of the crucial passages on these topics in Pramāṇasamuccaya I and svavṛtti, see recently Kellner (2011). Such stratification of previous perceptions that is found in a memory act could not be satisfactorily explained by those who, like the nirākāravādins, deny cognition the characters of dvairūpya and svasaṃvedana; in the same vein, Kuma¯rila (Ślokavārttika, s´u¯nyava¯da 112cd–114ab) does not conceive of an ‘accumulation of forms [in cognition]’, but only of a difference in objects (cf. Hattori 1968, p. 109). 19 ¯ IPV I p. 97.5–8 saṃskārāt paraṃ saviṣyatāmātraṃ smṛter siddham, na tu anubhavaviṣayatvam, nāpi asya viṣayasya pūrvānubhavaviṣayīkṛtatvam.


Utpaladeva’s Lost Vivṛti on the Īśvarapratyabhijñā-kārikā


between a (present) vimarśa and a (past) anubhava.20 The one and same svasaṃvedana of both cognitions creates that necessary bridge between them which the Buddhist epistemologist fails to account for.21 Then Utpaladeva gives voice to a hypothetical opponent who finds the explanation proposed by the Pratyabhijn˜a¯ too awkward and distant from common sense: it would be much simpler to speak of a cognition (present memory) that ‘cognizes’ another cognition (the past perception). However, the Pratyabhijn˜a¯ cannot accept such an interpretation, nor can the Buddhists, unless they question one of the keystones of their respective philosophies: cognitions can never become the ‘object’ of other cognitions as they are only cognizable through introspective selfawareness (svasaṃvedana).22 The opponent, not expressly named but certainly representing the realistic brahmanical schools, replies that it is common knowledge that at least one case of objectification of cognitions does exist, namely, the case of the yogin who penetrates the thought of others, that is, the cognitive and emotional content of their minds.23 In order to find an answer to this objection, Utpaladeva feels as a primary task to define as accurately as possible the expression svasaṃvit ‘self-awareness’ (on the part of all cognitions) through singling out three levels of meaning (Abhinavagupta even adds a fourth one of his own). In the main, he is in full agreement with Dharmakı¯rti, who had taken svasaṃvedana (or ātmasaṃvedana) as one of the four varieties of perception.24 Any cognition, says Utpaladeva, has as its essential nature self-awareness (svaṃvit), which can be taken in three different, Vivṛti – smṛtikriyāpy asyaivaiṣaivāntaḥsthitānubhūtapūrvārthavimarśecchopakramā bahiḥ sa iti tatpūrvakāloparaktānubhūtabhāvāvamarśanāvasānā (Torella 2007b, p. 545.9–11). Cf. Torella (2002, pp. 106–107, fn. 12). 21 ¯ IPVV II, p. 17.22–23 anubhavasmṛtyor ekaṃ svasaṃvedanarūpam ekaviṣayatopalambhāt. What Utpaladeva and Abhinavagupta implicitly say is that not even the Buddhist sākāravādin’s view of cognition as twofold and self-aware, however acceptable in itself, is able to satisfactorily account for the phenomenon of memory, since it is not well supported by the whole of the Buddhist philosophical framework. If we cling to this, saying that the former anubhava shines in the present memory only amounts to saying that the self-contained memory cognition ‘knows’ the self-contained anubhava cognition, which goes against the basic principle of svasaṃvedyatā of all cognitions. Even admitting that a purely intellectual cognition (citta) may be the object of another (or another’s) cognition, the emotional resonances of such cognition (caitta) are bound to remain strictly confined in the subjective sphere (cf. Moriyama 2010, p. 271), hence the need for establishing the svasaṃvedyatā principle for all cognitions (in fact, also the various feelings and emotions are viewed as cognitions: Pramāṇavārttika III.448cd sukhaduḥkhābhilāṣādibhedā buddhaya eva tāḥ). 22 ¯ IPVV II, p. 43.12–13 saugatānāṃ tāvat svasaṃvedanam eva jñānasya vapuḥ, tad eva kathaṃ vedyatā. Though basically agreeing with Kellner’s objection to translating svasaṃvedana by ‘introspection’ (Kellner 2011, p. 215), I think that it would not be out of place to underline the special kind of cognition that after all svasaṃvedana is—it is vivid as only pratyakṣa can be, but it does not depend on sensory faculties; it cognizes something without making it into an object; the phrases svasaṃvedanasiddha, svasaṃvedya, etc. often convey the meaning of something whose presence and certainty are inwardly ‘felt’ and are not in need to be proved by pramāṇas. 20


Vivṛti – yogināṃ parapramātṛbodhaḥ paratvenaivedantayā prakāśate (Torella 2007c, p. 482.1–2).

Nyāyabindu I.7 tat [pratyakṣaṃ] caturvidham; I.10 sarvacittacaittānām ātmasaṃvedanam ‘the selfawareness of the mind and the mental events in their entirety’; cf. also Pramāṇaviniścaya I, p. 20.9. Also Digna¯ga had apparently listed svasaṃvitti as a variety of pratyakṣa in Pramāṇasamuccaya I.6c mānasaṃ cārtharāgādisvasaṃvittir akalpikā, a definition however not exempt from problematic aspects (cf. Hattori 1968, pp. 27, 92–94; Franco 1993; Yao 2004). To the concept(s) of svasaṃvedana a special issue of the Journal of Indian Philosophy has recently been devoted, with several important contributions. 24



R. Torella

and complementary, senses: svasyaiva saṃvit, svaiva saṃvit, svasya saṃvit eva ca (Abhinavagupta adds: svā saṃvit eva).25 None of them would stand, if the objectifiability of cognition were accepted. Once we have ascertained that this is indeed the distinctive mark of any cognition, it remains to be seen whether this may be a feature of yogic perception, too. Even if we were hypothetically willing to admit—says Utpaladeva with his usual terseness—that a cognition might become the object of another cognition, things would hardly change. In fact, the relationship of the subject and object of cognition (viṣaya-viṣayin), which would thus obtain, should, in the case at issue, necessarily pass through the achievement of identification between the two cognitions and their respective subjects, since all cognitions and subjects share the same essential nature. However, if a valid cognitive process is based on the attainment of ‘conformity’ (sārūpya) between the ‘apprehended object’ (grāhya°) part and the ‘apprehending subject (or cognition)’ (grāhaka) part, such a conformity is incompatible with the essentially unity of the two cognitions.26 Utpaladeva’s discourse is based on the full acceptation of the epistemological scheme provided by Digna¯ga: the twofold aspect of cognition (see above). The ‘apprehending cognition’ part assumes the form of the ‘apprehended object’ part; the cognitive process consists precisely in the conformity or likeness (sārūpya) between the two (svasaṃvedana being a property of both of them). It is an undeniable fact, concludes Utpaladeva, that the yogin can have access to other minds, but this takes place insofar as he has attained identification with the supreme self, and, consequently, has overcome the distinction among the various limited subjects. On this plane, the cognitions of the others end up being one’s own cognitions, and, as such, are known through self-awareness.27 At the end of this argument, ātmavāda is finally established, but to Utpaladeva this is not sufficient. It is true that in this manner cognitions are endowed with a permanent self acting as their ultimate substratum, but the ‘idle’ self—e.g. of Nya¯ya and Vais´esika—would prove incapable of moving freely through cognitions, now ˙ by uniting them, now by separating them, or, as in the case at issue (the phenomenon of memory), by retrieving an object and its perception from the past and making them shine again in the present without cancelling their original nature, but also without reproducing them mechanically.28 The object recovered by memory is not the same object as in the original perception, but an object ‘coloured’ by it. For that to take place, the dynamism, the sovereignty (aiśvarya) of the I of the S´aivas is needed. One of the central points dealt with at length in the Vivṛti fragment is the inquiry into the relationship between the perceiving subject (grāhaka) and the perceived object (grāhya), on the one hand, and between the perceiving subject—that is, the 25

Text in Torella (2007c, p. 482.23–24).

Vivṛti – jñānayos tu dvayor viṣayaviṣayiṇor ekabodhamātralakṣaṇatvād abheda eveti na sārūpyam ālambanārtho ’nayor, api tv aikyam eva (Torella 2007c, p. 483.9–10). 26

27 Vivṛti – vāstavena tu bodhaikātmanā pramātrā pramātrantaraikyāpattir eva paramā[read: parā°] tmavedakatvaṃ sarvajñasya (Torella 2007c, p. 483.21–22). 28 Vivṛti – ātmanaś ca aikyamātreṇāpy audāsīnyān ananubhavasmaraṇādiśaktimattvād aiśvaryaṃ na syād, etac coktaṃ vakṣyate ca (Torella 2007c, p. 484.23–25).


Utpaladeva’s Lost Vivṛti on the Īśvarapratyabhijñā-kārikā


empirical subject acting in the ma¯ya¯ world—and the subject in the absolute sense, the Knower (paramārthapramātṛ) identified with S´iva or supreme Consciousness, on the other. The very fact that the Sanskrit language presents the perceiving subject and the perceived object as a dvandva compound (see the concluding kārikā of the fourth āhnika, where memory is examined29) points to their mutual dependence, anyonyāpekṣā in Utpaladeva’s words.30 This means, in Abhinavagupta’s further remarks (I¯PVV II, p. 58.11–12), that they are assumed to be linked by a reciprocal union, a two-directional one (itaretarayoga), and consequently the grammatical principle of sahavivakṣā ‘intention to express simultaneously’ applies to them: the perceiving subject at the same time points at, or expresses, the perceived object, and vice versa, the ultimate reason for this being the fact that each of them is at the same time itself and the other (cf. Torella 1987, pp. 155–157). According to the Vivṛti, this must be understood also in a subtler way: the subject-ness of the ma¯yic individual is mixed with a more or less conspicuous dose of object-ness, and the object-ness of the body is mixed with a certain dose of subject-ness. The status of cognizable object (vedyatā) pertaining to the body is not the same as the jar’s, where the vedyatā is full-fledged and the extreme level of insentience has been reached. However, the vedyatā of the body or the vital breath cannot be compared with the vedyatā of the universe with respect to the level of subjectivity called īśvara, since to the latter things appear as non-separate from one another and each thing appears as made of everything.31 Nor can the level of subjectivity of the empirical perceiver be comparable with that of īśvara where the whole mass of cognizable objects is so to speak ‘covered’ (saṃcchādita) by the I.32 By highlighting such a multiplicity of levels both in subjectivity and objectivity, Utpaladeva aims at undermining the belief that they may have an intrinsically definite nature. Instead, they are more like two communicating vessels. In order to explicitate what kārikā I.4.8cd states (“The two elements divided into perceiving subject and perceived object are manifested within the [highest] cognizer”), the Vivṛti says: “They are woven into any cognizer who performs the act of reflective awareness”.33 So, will they be comparable to two gems woven into a thread, says Abhinavagupta giving voice to a hypothetical opponent (I¯PVV II, p. 58.20)? No; in fact, the Vivṛti adds immediately after the above statement: “They are indeed ‘made’ of the cognizer” (tanmayāv eva). The critical point for the object is when the knower cognizes it, i.e. makes it ‘shine’, manifests it (prakāśayati). Ka¯r. I.5.2cd (“The light is not differentiated [from the object]: being light constitutes the very essence of the object”) is to be understood as an allusion to the Bha¯tta Mı¯ma¯msaka thesis, which is diametrically ˙˙ ˙ opposed to Utpaladeva’s position and indirectly helps him formulate his own in a 29

I.4.8c grāhyagrāhakatā°; Vṛtti thereon, anubhāvyānubhāvakau.


Vivṛti – grāhako grāhyaś ca anyonyāpekṣāv avabhātaḥ (Torella 2007d, p. 932.4).


Vivṛti – grāhyasvabhāvam api ca tad dehādi na tadānīṃ ghaṭādivedanāvasara iva prodbhūtavedyabhāvam avabhāsate ’ham iti prathanād īśvarasya iva vastujātam | kevalam īśvarasya tad anyonyāpṛthagbhūtam evaikaikaṃ viśvātmarūpam avabhāsate | atra tu prāṇādi sarvato bhinnam eva na tu viśvarūpatām āśrayat […] (Torella 2007d, p. 932.12–15). 32

Vivṛti – vedakatāpi ceśvaravedakatāyāḥ saṃcchāditāśeṣavedyarāśer anyaiva (Torella 2007d, p. 933.4–

5). 33

Vivṛti – sarvatra parāmṛśati pramātari protau (Torella 2007d, p. 932.2–3).



R. Torella

straightforward way. According to Kuma¯rila, when an object is cognized, what in fact happens is that an additional quality ‘being manifest’ occurs in it, from whose presence a previous cognitive act is inferred. On the contrary, according to Utpaladeva, the object cannot receive such ‘light’ from outside: only what is essentially light can shine, light must already be the very self (ātman) of the object,34 its own form (Vṛtti: svarūpabhūtaḥ). The very being of the object, the Vivṛti goes on, consists in its becoming manifest.35 Light, in its essence, is the knower itself: it is the contact with the knower’s light that, so to speak, kindles the latent, inner luminous nature of the object. Thus, if it is true that both subject and object are essentially light, we are not allowed to say that the light-knower is the light-object, but only the other way round. To explicitate this concept, Utpaladeva makes a rare exception to his usual dislike for quotations: for the second time, in the Vivṛti he cites a passage from the Bhagavadgītā (now, VII.12d ‘[b]ut I am not in them, [whereas] they are in Me’).36 When in the ma¯yic world the object shines as differentiated, this holds only with regard to the empirical subject and never from the light taken in the absolute sense, since in this case the object could not shine at all.37 Likewise, the subject, regardless of the level of subjectivity he may be identified with, never loses his contact with absolute light/consciousnesss—“[t]hat immaculate consciousness which, though different from the presumptive identification with the thickest veil represented by the body, is however intimately present in all levels of subjectivity (body, puryaṣṭaka, etc.), just like the autumnal sun is [only provisionally] obscured by clouds (I¯PVV II, p. 24.13–15)”. To sum up: Utpaladeva’s final aim is to establish a single cosmic consciousness, i.e. S´iva, as the common background of all reality and, particularly, of all human experiences. He pursues this intention not by apodictically stating the S´aiva truth— for example, by resorting to the authority of revealed texts—but by critically examining diametrically opposed doctrines, i.e. those of the Buddhist pramāṇa philosophers. In doing so, he recognizes the leading position of the Buddhist philosophy in the Kashmir of his day and at the same time shows that he is not afraid of challenging the great cultural prestige of the Buddhist doctrines. Moreover, in many cases he makes use, as far as possible, of their arguments to preliminarily build up and then refine his own positions. This way of carrying out the “duel” with the pramāṇa philosophers reminds one of the attitude often found in oriental martial arts. Instead of directly attacking his adversary, Utpaladeva seeks to exploit the adversary’s intellectual ability to finally turn it back upon him. The main technique on which Utpaladeva’s argumentation is based is the one well known in s´a¯stric debate as prasaṅgaviparyaya (see Iwata 1993). The Buddhist ideas are not rejected at the outset, but are rather apparently accepted and then pushed to their extreme consequences. As a result, the Buddhist opponent is finally confronted with two 34

I¯PK I.5.2cd na ca prakāśo bhinnaḥ syād ātmārthasya prakāśatā.


Vivṛti – prakāśamānatātmikā sattā (Torella 2007d, p. 934.10).

Vivṛti – ata eva prakāśasya vedyātmatānupapatter na tv ahaṃ teṣv iti gītāsūktam (Torella 2007d, p. 936.8–9). 36

37 Vivṛti – na tv anavacchinnāt paramārthaprakāśād aprakāśanaprasaṅgāt (Torella 2007d, p. 936.18– 19).


Utpaladeva’s Lost Vivṛti on the Īśvarapratyabhijñā-kārikā


alternatives: either to abandon his own specific theses or, if he is still convinced of them (and, interestingly, this is the case not only for the Buddhist, but for the S´aiva philosopher himself), to change the perspective from which they are to be viewed. In other words, he should accept the overall theoretical S´aiva framework precisely to safeguard his own Buddhist ideas. The philosophy of Pratyabhijn˜a¯ is built upon two main cornerstones, both of them due to Utpaladeva: the above mentioned attitude to the Buddhist pramāṇa philosophers, made of a subtle interplay of attraction and rejection, and the acceptance of the legacy of Bhartrhari, which had been so openly despised by ˙ Utpaladeva’s guru Soma¯nanda (Torella 2009; Nemec 2011, pp. 59–67). Now that it is possible to look, however partially, into the Vivṛti, where these two aspects stand up and are dealt with in a greatly elaborate way, we are no longer allowed to consider Utpaladeva a mere predecessor of Abhinavagupta and that the latter is the great master of the Pratyabhijn˜a¯, but we must rather take Utpaladeva, particularly with his Īśvarapratyabhijñā-Vivṛti, as the real centre of gravity of the system, and Abhinavagupta mainly as his brilliant commentator.


Texts Abhinavagupta, Īśvarapratyabhijñāvimarśinī, edited by Mukund Ra¯m Shastri, vols. I–II, Kashmir Series of Texts and Studies XXII XXXIII, Bombay 1918–1921. Abhinavagupta, Īśvarapratyabhijñāvivṛtivimarśinī, edited by Madhusudan Kaul Shastri, vols. I–III, Kashmir Series of Texts and Studies LX LXII LXV, Bombay 1938–1943. Dharmakı¯rti, Pramāṇavārttika with the Commentary ‘Vṛtti’ of Acharya Manorathanandin, critically edited by Swami Dwarikadas Shastri, Varanasi 1968. Dharmakı¯rti, Pramāṇaviniścaya I, II: Pramāṇaviniścaya chapter 1 and 2, critically edited by E. Steinkellner, Sanskrit Texts from the autonomous Tibetan region No, 2, Beijing-Vienna 2007. Dharmakı¯rti, Nyāyabindu, see Durveka Mis´ra, Dharmottarapradīpa. Durveka Mis´ra, Dharmottarapradīpa [being a sub-commentary on Dharmottara’s Nyāyabinduṭīkā, a commentary on Dharmakı¯rti’s Nyāyabindu], edited by Pandita Dalsukhbhai Malvania, Kashiprasad Jayaswal Research Institute, Revised II Ed., Patna 1971. Digna¯ga, Pramāṇasamuccaya I, see Steinkellner 2005; Hattori 1968. Jinendrabuddhi, Viśālāmalavatī Pramāṇasamuccayaṭīkā, Chapter I. Part I: Critical Edition, by E. Steinkellner, H. Krasser, H. Lasic, China Tibetology Research Centre – Austrian Academy of Sciences, Beijing-Vienna 2005. Kuma¯rila, Ślokavārttikam with the commentary Nyāyaratnākara of S´rı¯ Pa¯rthasa¯ratimis´ra, edited and revised by Swami Dwarikadas Shastri, Pra¯cyabha¯rati Series-10, Varanasi 1978. Utpaladeva, Īśvarapratyabhijñākārikā and vṛtti, see Torella 2002.

Translations and Studies Franco, E. (1993). Did Digna¯ga accept four types of perception? Journal of Indian Philosophy, 21, 205– 299.



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Hattori, M. (1968). Dignāga. On perception, being the Pratyakṣapariccheda of Dignāga’s Pramāṇasamuccaya. Harvard oriental series no. 47. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Iwata, T. (1993). Prasaṅga und Prasaṅgaviparyaya bei Dharmakīrti und seine Kommentatoren. Wiener Studien zur Tibetologie und Buddhismuskunde 31, Wien. Kawajiri, Y. (forthcoming). New fragments of the Īśvarapratyabhijñā-ṭīkā. In R. Torella & B. Ba¨umer (Eds.). Kellner, B. (2011). Self-awareness (svasaṃvedana) in Digna¯ga’s Prama¯nasamuccaya and -vrtti. A close ˙ ˙ reading. Journal of Indian Philosophy, 38, 203–231. Moriyama, Sh. (2010). On self-awareness in the Sautra¯ntika epistemology. Journal of Indian Philosophy, 38, 261–277. Nemec, J. (2011). The ubiquitous Śiva: Somānanda’s Śivadṛṣṭi and his tantric interlocutors. New York: Oxford University Press. Pandey, K. C. (1963). Abhinavagupta. An historical and philosophical study (2nd ed.). Varanasi: Chowkhamba. Ratie´, I. (2006). La me´moire et le Soi dans l’Īśvarapratyabhijñāvimarśinī d’Abhinavagupta. Indo-Iranian Journal, 49, 39–103. Ratie´, I. (forthcoming). Some hitherto unknown fragments of Utpaladeva’s Vivr̥ti (I): On the Buddhist controversy over the existence of other conscious streams. In R. Torella & B. Ba¨umer (Eds.). Torella, R. (1987). Examples of the influence of Sanskrit grammar on Indian philosophy. East and West, 37, 151–164. Torella, R. (1988). A fragment of Utpaladeva’s Īśvarapratyabhijñā-vivṛti. East and West, 38, 137–174. Torella, R. (2002). The Īśvarapratyabhijñākārikā of Utpaladeva with the author’s Vrtti. Critical edition and annotated translation. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass (I ed. Serie Orientale Roma LXXI. Roma: IsMEO, 1994). Torella, R. (2007a). Studies in Utpaladeva’s Īśvarapratyabhijñā-vivṛti. Part I. Apoha and anupalabdhi in a S´aiva garb. In K. Preisendanz (Ed.), Expanding and merging horizons. Contributions to South Asian and cross-cultural studies in commemoration of Wilhelm Halbfass (pp. 473–490). Vienna: ¨ sterreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften. O Torella, R. (2007b). Studies in Utpaladeva’s Īśvarapratyabhijñā-vivṛti. Part II. What is memory? In K. Klaus & J.-U. Hartmann (Eds.), Indica et Tibetica. Festschrift für Michael Hahn zum 65. Geburtstag von Freunden und Schülern überreicht (pp. 539–563). Wien. Torella, R. (2007c). Studies in Utpaladeva’s Īśvarapratyabhi°jñā-vivṛti. Part III. Can a cognition become the object of another cognition? In D. Goodall & A. Padoux (Eds.), Mélanges tantriques à la mémoire d’Hélène Brunner (pp. 475–484). Pondiche´ry: Institut franc¸ais de Pondicherry. Torella, R. (2007d). Studies in Utpaladeva’s Īśvarapratyabhijñā-vivrti. Part IV. Light of the subject— Light of the object. In B. Kellner et al. (Eds.), Pramāṇakīrtiḥ. Papers dedicated to Ernst Steinkellner on the occasion of his 70th birthday. Wiener Studien zur Tibetologie und Buddhismuskunde, Heft 70.1–2 (pp. 925–939). Wien. Torella, R. (2009). From an adversary to the main ally: The place of Bhartrhari in the Kashmirian ˙ (proceedings of the S´aiva¯dvaita. In M. Chaturvedi (Ed.), Bhartṛhari: Language, thought and reality international seminar on Bhartṛhari, December 12–14, 2003), Delhi (pp. 343–354). Torella, R. (2012). Studies in Utpaladeva’s Īśvarapratyabhijñā-vivṛti. Part V: Self-awareness and yogic perception. In F. Voegeli et al. (Eds.), Devadattīyam. Johannes Bronkhorst felicitation volume. Worlds of South and Inner Asia 5 (pp. 275–300). Bern: Peter Lang. Torella, R., & Ba¨umer, B. (Eds.). (forthcoming). Proceedings of the international workshop on ‘Utpaladeva, philosopher of recognition’. Indian Institute for Advanced Study, Shimla (August 2010), New Delhi. Yao, Z. (2004). Digna¯ga and four types of perception. Journal of Indian Philosophy, 32, 57–79.


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