Kaśmīra Śaivism

Kaśmīra Śaivism
Non-dual Tantric Śaivism
Pratyabhijñā, strict Monism,
everything is Shiva, absolute consciousness
phenomenal world (Śakti) is real, existing and having its being in Consciousness (Chit)
1. Śiva Sūtras
2. Spandakārikā
everything is Śiva, absolute consciousness, and it is possible to re-cognize this fundamental reality and be freed from limitations, identified with Śiva and immersed in bliss. Yogic breath methods used.
Important Teachers:
1. Somananda (875–925)
Important Teachers:
2. Abhinavagupta (c. 950 – 1016)
1. Tantrāloka
2. Mālinīślokavārttika
3. Tantrasāra
Important Teachers:
3. Rajanaka Kṣemarāja
(c. 10-11th century)
student of Abhinavagupta
Many works & Commentaries
Works About Kaśmīra Śaivism:
1. Kaśmīra Śaivism

Kaśmīra Śaivism


Śaivism, as a monistic system of thought, as distinct from ritualistic religion, arose in Kaśmīra in the first half of the ninth century A.D.

It is a non-Vedic system, because it does not recognize the Veda as the final authority. Its appeal is not confined to the privileged three castes. It does not debar the śūdra from following the path to liberation.

It recognizes the universal brotherhood of all men, irrespective of caste and nationality. It is an Āgamic system. It traces its origin to the sixty-four monistic Śaiva Āgamas.

This system is called Svātantrya-vāda, because it accepts free will to be the ultimate metaphysical principle. It is called Ābhāsa-vāda, because it holds that all appearance is concretization of the Ultimate.

It is called Trika because of its triadic tendency. And it is called Kaśmīra Śaivism because all the writers of the available literature on the monistic Śaivism belonged to Kaśmīra.

It is primarily based, not on reason nor on Scriptural authority, but on the most direct experience of the true reality through spiritual discipline, the practice of Yoga.

Kaśmīra was the meeting-ground of the various philosophical currents at the time of the rise of the monistic Śaivism:

Buddhism had a strong­hold in Kaśmīra since the time of Aśoka (273-232 B.C.). It was in Kaśmīra that Kaniṣka convoked an assembly of the Buddhist theologians to reconcile the conflicting doctrines of different Schools of Buddhism.

Its existence was particularly felt by the Śaivas, when Kaniṣka (A.D. 78-101) made a gift of Kaśmīra (Kaniṣka-puram?) to Buddhist church and Nāgārjuna came to power and began to spread Buddhism.

The aggressive attitude of Nāgārjuna is referred to by Kalhaṇa in his Rāja-taragiṇī and by Varadarāja in his Śiva-sūtra-vārttika.

Panini’s grammar was intensively studied. Kaiyaṭa wrote a commentary on the Mahā-bhāṣya of Patañjali. And Abhinavaguptapāda, as the name given to him by his teachers implies, was looked upon as an incarnation of Patañjali.

Monistic Vedanta was fairly popular. Śaṅkarācārya’s visit to Kaśmīra (A.D. 820) further stimulated the interest of the learned in it. Monistic Śaktism was propounded by a section of the monistic Śaivas themselves. The Sāṁkhya philosophy was there as an integral part of the Vedānta.


Vasugupta (A.D. 825), the author of Śiva-sūtra, was the first to present the Āgamic teachings in a philosophical form.

He takes no notice of the other philosophical currents. His object was not to propound a system that would appeal to reason, but to show the three ways to the realization of the Ultimate.

He therefore offers no logical proof, nor does he refer to Scriptural authority. He, according to a tradition, presents the sūtras as he discovered them inscribed on a rock.

Bhaṭṭa Kallaa, a pupil of Vasugupta, wrote or gave publicity to his teacher’s work, Spanda-kārikā. Here we find for the first time a faint beginning of a rational approach to the problem of the ultimate Reality and an implicit reference to other Schools of thought.

Somānanda was a younger contemporary of Vasugupta. He made a definitely rationalistic approach to the problem of ultimate Reality. He distinctly refers to various Schools of thought and rationally proves the unsoundness of their theories.

His attacks are directed primarily against the Śabda-brahma-vāda of the grammarians and the Śaktyadvaya-vāda of a section of the Kaśmīra Śaivas.

He refuted the theory, propounded by Bhartṛhari (A.D. 650) in his Vākya-padīyam, that paśyantī is the Ultimate, the parā. He established parā to be distinct from paśyantī.

The earlier grammarians accepted only one stage of transition, the madhyamā, from the subtlest speech (paśyantī) to the grossest (vaikharī).

In Kaiyaṭa’s Pradīpa, we find a different interpretation of those Vedic passages (catvāri śṛṅgā, etc.) which are interpreted by Nāgeśa Bhaṭṭa, in his Udyota, as implying parā.

Recognition of parā as distinct from paśyantī, by Nāgeśa Bhaṭṭa and his followers, was due to the influence of the Śaiva-Āgamas.

Thus, the contribution of Somānanda to the philosophy of Grammar is the establishment of parā as distinct from and higher than paśyantī. This parā is recognized by the Śaivas as identical with what they call Svātantrya or Vimarśa.

Somānanda criticizes the Śakta monism (Śaktyadvaya-vāda) in the third chapter. But he criticizes only summarily various Schools of Buddhism and the monistic Vedānta, along with other Schools of thought, such as the Jaina, the Sāṁkhya, the Nyāya and the Vaiśeṣika in the sixth chapter.

He clearly brings out the distinction of the Ultimate, as maintained by the monistic Śaivas, from similar conceptions of other systems.

He discovered in the Śaiva-Āgama a means to final emancipation, which was unknown to Vasugupta. It is this means, the pratyabhijñā, which has given the system its name, under which it is recognized by Mādhava in his Sarva-darśana-saṁgraha.

Vasugupta had recognized only three means to liberationŚāmbhava, Śakta and Āṇava. All these involved the practice of Yoga.

Somānanda presents an advance on Vasugupta in so far as he shows a new way to emancipation. He says that the Ultimate, the freedom, can be realized through recognition of it by the individual in himself in practical life.

He holds that freedom is the inner being of the individual, but it is hidden by the veil of ignorance, which has to be removed to recognize it as identical with the essence of the individual.

Utpalācārya was a pupil of Somānanda. The latter had criticized different Schools of Buddhism summarily along with other Schools. Buddhism was fully alive in Kaśmīra at his time. And, therefore, very probably there was a counter-criticism of the monistic Śaivism.

Utpalācārya undertook to reply to this and wrote his Īśvara-pratyabhijñā-kārikā and two com­mentaries thereon, which are mainly a reply to the Buddhist objections against the fundamentals of the monistic Śaivism.

Abhinavagupta (A.D. 960), a grand-pupil of Utpalācārya, was an encyclopaedic thinker and a man of the highest spiritual attainment.

He very often speaks of himself and mentions the dates and places of com­position of some of his works. If we are able to write a fairly accurate history of monistic Śaivism, it is primarily because of this distinctive feature of Abhinavagupta’s works.

We know of forty-one works of Abhinavagupta. And there is strong evidence to show that he wrote many more:

He began with writing commentaries on sixty-four monistic Śaiva Āgamas and wrote an indepen­dent work, Tantrāloka, dealing with the mystical, theological, ritualistic, epistemic, psychological and philosophical aspects of the monistic Śaiva Āgamas.

Next he commented on the works on literary criticism and dramaturgy. He wrote Locana on Ānandavardhana's Dhvanyāloka and psychologically established dhvani (the suggested spiritual meaning) as distinct from three types of linguistic meaning, conventional (abhidheya), contextual (tātparya) and secondary (lākaika).

He also wrote Abhinava-bhāratī on the Nāṭya-śāstra of Bharata and propounded a theory of aesthetics in the context of drama, which has been accepted by almost all the subsequent writers on the subject.

And last of all he commented on the two works of Utpalācārya on the monistic Śaivism, (1)Īśvara- pratyabhijñā-kārikā and (2)Tīkā on it. His commentaries together with the originals are recognized to be authoritative books on the Pratyabhijñā system.

Abhinavagupta made two contributions:

1. He related the monistic Śaivism in all its aspects to the recognized sixty-four Śaiva Āgamas by referring to the Āgamic passages.

2. He established the Indian aesthetic theory on the basis of the monistic Śaivism.

Aesthetic experience had been explained before him in Kaśmīra itself by Śrī Śaṁkuka in the light of the ancient Nyāya and by Bhaṭṭa Nāyaka in the light of the monistic Vedanta. Abhinavagupta clearly brings out the unsoundness of both.

After Abhinavagupta, we have only summaries of the system such as Pratyabhijñā-hdaya of Kṣemarāja (A.D. 1040) and commentaries on the works of earlier thinkers such as the commentary on Paramārtha-sāra of Abhinavagupta by Yogarāja (A.D. 1060),

the commentary on the Tantrāloka by Jayaratha (A.D. 1180) and the commentary on the Īśvara- pratyabhijñā-vimarśinī by Bhāskara Kaṇṭha (A.D. 1780).


Kaśmīra Śaivism has a mystic tendency. It holds that Reality is absolute unity; that it is indescribable and, therefore, no predicate is applicable to it;

that it is identical with the equally indescribable essence of human-self; that it is possible to reach the ultimate union with it; and that there are ways to realize such a union through different stages.

It is rationalistic in its metaphysics. It takes up human experience for a critical analysis and shows that it is possible only on the basis of the metaphysical principle that it admits.

It is authoritarian in the sense that after it has logically justified its principles, it shows that they have the support of the sacred Scriptures also. It is voluntaristic in the sense that its ultimate metaphysical principle is free will.

It is a synthesis of the various philosophic currents. It takes up the conflicting views, corrects and modifies them so as to reconcile and synthetize them into one system.

It adopts, with necessary modifications, the twenty-four categories and puruṣa from the Sāṁkhya, the māyā from the Vedānta and adds to them ten more categories, five of which are transcendental and the remaining five are the limitations of the individual subjects.

At the top of them all it places the Absolute, of which the categories are mere manifestations.

It has given a definite place to each of the important systems of Indian thought within itself, according to the conception of the “self” that each upholds separately.

Thus it holds that the “self” of the Naiyāyikas and others, who hold it to be the mere substratum of the qualities, such as cognition (jñāna), pleasure and pain, is identical with buddhi during the continuation of the world and with Śūnya at its dissolution.

The Vijñāna-vādin's self, as a series of ideas, each of which gathers from its predecessors the impressions of the past, is nothing more than the modifications of buddhi.

The Vedāntin's Brahman, as pure sentiency (cit or prakāśa) without self-consciousness (Vimarśa) and, therefore, śāṅta, is identical with the third category, Sadāśiva.

It rejects dualism and pluralism in all forms, because they present a layman’s point of view and create an unbridgeable gulf between the self and the non-self.

If the subject and the object are completely cut off from each other, are essentially different and have mutually exclusive and independent existence, they can scarcely be inter-related.

In regard to the subjectivism of the Vijñāna-vāda—which approximates to the philosophy of Berkeley, if we ignore the position that he assigns to God in his system—the attitude of Kaśmīra Śaivism is slightly dif­ferent.

It accepts the doctrine of momentariness of the ideas, but rejects the doctrine of momentariness of the subject in its inner nature:

If there be no essentially permanent subject, capable of retaining the memory of the objective ideas, if the subject were to disappear with the disappearance of each idea, the unification of ideas, necessary for the consciousness of a combined whole, would be impossible.

It refutes the Vijñāna-vādin’s explanation of the variety of experience in terms of vāsanā. It rejects the phenomenalism theory of the Bāhyārthānumeya- vādin, who, like Kant, admits an external reality, which is never to be known directly, but is only inferable from the effect, the “given.”

For, though it may be a good hypothesis to explain variety in cognition, it cannot explain the practical life; because practical life cannot be carried on with what is only inferable and not directly present.

It rejects the monistic idealism of the Vedānta, which holds that māyā is neither of the nature of being nor of not-being and therefore indefinable.

For the Vedāṅtin lands himself into contradiction when he says that this indefinable is the cause of the phenomenal world. Is not the assertion that māyā is the cause of the phenomenal world by itself a definition?

Mysticism.—From the mystic point of view the Ultimate (Anuttara) is the Reality beyond which there is nothing. It is, therefore, free from all limitations.

It is indefinable. No questions or answers are possible about it. It cannot be spoken of as “this” or “that” or as “not-this” or “not- that.”

The limited mind cannot grasp it, and therefore no talk about it is possible. It is not a thing to be perceived or conceived but simply to be realized. Whatever word or words we may use for it, we fail to convey the idea of its real nature.

This Reality can be realized through spiritual discipline only. The discipline is meant for freeing the individual soul from various impurities (mala), which constitute its limiting conditions, and thus differentiate the individual from the universal.

But the mystic reality is not different from the metaphysical. The Ultimate is both transcendental and immanent(viśvottīra and Viśva- māyā).

Here Kaśmīra Śaivism has synthetized the mystical and the metaphysical conceptions. This has been done by the Western mystics also.

“Realistic” Idealism.—Realism and Idealism are opposite currents of the philosophical thought:

For while Realism believes in an extra-mental reality which exists independently of any relation to any mind, Idealism maintains that everything is essentially of the nature of thought and as such has no being independently of the mind.

Kaśmīra Śaivism has synthetized the two. Hence it has been called “Realistic Idealism.”

In contrast to the view of the subjectivist that the objects of experience are the products of the individual subject and to that of the “pheno­menalism' that the external reality is known through inference only,

it admits that the objective world exists independently of the individual subject and that it is objectively present in “non-empirical cognition.”

The external world, however, is of the nature of mind but not of the individual mind. That which acts upon the individual mind in sense- experience is not matter but a manifestation of mind other than the individual mind.

The world of reality is the world of the universal mind. It exists both before and after the individual subject.

Realistic Idealism accepts all that is valid in subjectivism and realism. Subjectivism holds that materialism is impossible and that reality is mental. And realism holds that the objective world exists independently of the individual mind.

Realistic Idealism accepts both the views, and says that the world in which we live is merely a manifestation of the universal mind and as such is mental. But it exists independently of the individual mind and therefore it is real.

Universal Mind (Maheśvara).—Kaśmīra Śaivism admits that the individual mind is identical with the universal. Its conception of the universal mind is therefore based upon the analysis of the individual mind, which reveals two undeniable aspects:

1. It receives the reflection of or is affected by the external objects no less than by the residual traces of the past experiences.

In this aspect it is simply a substratum of the psychic images which are merely its modes, due either to external objects, as at the time of perception, or to the revived residual traces as at the time of remembrance, imagination and dream.

The effect of an external stimulus on the mind is not like that of a seal of wax but like that of an external object on a clear mirror.

The point that the analogy of mirror is intended to bring out, is that mind shows the affection as one with itself without losing its purity or separate entity.

The point of distinction, however, between the mirror and the mind is that the former, in order to receive reflection, requires an external light to illumine it.

A mirror in darkness does not reflect any image. But mind is self-luminous. It receives reflections independently of any external illuminator.

Thus the first aspect of mind is that it is a self-luminous entity, which receives reflections and makes them shine as identical with itself. This aspect is technically called prakāśa.

2. The other aspect of mind is that it knows itself in all its purity, as in the case of mystic experience; it is free to analyse and synthetize the varying affections;

it retains these affections in the form of residual traces; it takes, at will, anything out of the stock of memory to reproduce a former state, as in the case of remembrance;

it creates an altogether new “construct,” as in the case of imagination. This aspect is technically called Vimarśa. This is the characteristic aspect of human mind.

Thus human mind is self-luminous and self-conscious. It shines inde­pendently and knows that it so shines. And because there is identity of the individual and the universal, the Ultimate, therefore, is self-shining and self-conscious.

Admission of Vimarśa, self-consciousness, in the Absolute by the Śaiva is the point of distinction between the Śaivite conception of the Ultimate Reality and that of Advaita Vedanta:

The latter holds that the Brahman is Śāṅta, without any activity. It is static and not dynamic. It is self- shining but not self-conscious.

For all consciousness is activity, and therefore self-consciousness also is an activity and as such would disturb the peace (śānti), perfect restfulness.

Brahman is indeterminate (nir­vikalpa). And, therefore, thinking that admission of self-consciousness would mean admission of determinacy, the Advaitin holds Brahman to be self-shining only (cin-mātra).

The Śaiva maintains that the Absolute is not only self-shining but also self-conscious, and at the same time holds it to be indeterminate. He explains his position as follows:

Determinacy (vikalpa) implies:

1. unification of a multiplicity into unity, as when a person combines a number of simple percepts into a complex whole,

2. contradistinguishing the object of cognition “this” from “not-this,”

3. interpretation of a stimulus in a variety of ways and acceptance of one interpretation as correct and rejection of others as incorrect.

Thus determinacy in all cases is dependent on the conscious­ness of multiplicity either for unification or for consciousness of distinc­tion. Therefore, in the case of absence of consciousness of multiplicity, determinacy is not possible.

Since in the case of transcendental self- consciousness there is nothing to be contradistinguished from self, as there is no “not-being” from which “being” is to be distinguished, it cannot be spoken of as determinate consciousness.

The universal mind brings forth everything from itself. It is wholly active and not passive. The concretization of its aspect of Will is the manifestation of the world, not only of limited objects but also of the limited subjects.

In the metaphysical context it is self-conscious Will, which is nothing but freedom of thought and action. It is technically called Maheśvara.

In understanding Kaśmīra Śaivism we have to guard against con- founding the conception of Maheśvara with the ordinary conception of God, as the first cause that is to be inferred from the order, beauty and design in nature, for it holds that the world-mind, as Will, is within the process of nature.

The world is not a finished result that is to be ascribed to God, an external designer; but the very march of nature is the working of the universal mind.

Voluntarism.—In the context of metaphysics, the universal mind, according to Kaśmīra Śaivism, is the universal Free Will(sva-tantrā icchā).

This Free Will is the same as Vimarśa, but with the difference that, while Vimarśa does not involve the antithesis of subject and object, but Free Will does.

The object, however, to which Will is related, is the universal “this” which lacks all determinacy, exactly as does the mental picture in the mind of a great artist, when the desire to produce a master­piece first arises in him.

It is like an imperceptible stir in calm water before the rise of waves. It is like the internal stir that precedes the per­ceptible movement of a physical organ. It is that aspect of the universal mind which is responsible for the objectification of what is identical with it.

It is not a blind force, but self-conscious energy that expresses itself in blind forces of nature also.

It is free, inasmuch as it depends on nothing that is external to it; in fact there is nothing which does not owe its being to it. It is changeless though it appears as it were changing.

It is absolute being (mahā-sattā) in so far as it is perfectly free to be anything (bhavane sva-tantratā). It is beyond the limitations of time and space, for they are its own manifestations. It is beyond the relation of causality, because the causal principle is empirical and not transcendental.

If we personify the universal mind, the Free Will would answer to its heart (hdayam parāmeṣṭhina).

Svāntrya-vāda, therefore, holds that the Ultimate, as universal Free Will, manifests all from itself, in itself and by itself.

All that constitutes the world of experience, whether unity or diversity or unity in diversity, whether subjective or objective or the relation between them, is the manifestation of Free Will, which is the ultimate Reality of all.

The Śaiva voluntarism agrees with the voluntarism of Schopenhauer:

1. That what is known at the empirical level is only a phenomenon. For, like Kant, it admits that the subject at empirical level can know the object, not as it is in itself, but as it appears through the limiting conditions, time (kāla), etc.

2. That the thing-in-itself is the Will, of which we are immediately aware in voluntary action and emotion.

It admits that the principle of freedom (Svātantrya) is immediately present to us in states of intense emotion, in which all external affections of mind disappear.

3. That the physical act and the entire physical body are immediate objectifications of Will. For it holds that action is nothing but will externalized and accepts that the will of Yogin manifests physical things independently of matter.

4. That Will is the inner nature of everything and the one kernel of every phenomenon.

5. That philosophical wisdom is nothing but bringing the truth, “The world is my idea,” into reflective and abstract consciousness.

For the salvation of man in this very life (jīvan-mukti) consists, according to Śaivism, in nothing but the realization: “This entire universe is my manifestation” (sarvo mamāya vibhava).

But it differs from the voluntarism of Schopenhauer, inasmuch as he holds Will to be unconscious.

He abstracts Will from intelligence, which he regards as a mere function of the brain, and identifies it with nature, which, according to him, works independently of intelligence.

He was led to such an abstraction, because he wanted to identify the presuppositions of different sciences with something of which he was immediately aware at the empirical level.

Kaśmīra Śaivism, developed in the hands of Yogins to whom self-consciousness in isolation from the object was the most indubitable experience, did not feel compelled to abstract Will from self-consciousness. It admits will to be an aspect of the mind. This view is in consonance with our experience of will.

Ābhāsa-vāda.—Just as the metaphysical theory is called Svātantrya- vāda from the point of view of the Ultimate principle, so it is called Ābhāsa-vāda phenomenalism, from that of the manifested variety.

In the Ultimate the entire variety is in perfect unity, exactly as the whole variety of colours that we find in a full-grown peacock is in a state of perfect identity in the yolk of the peacock. This analogy is called “mayū- rāṇḍa-rasa-nyāya.

All that emanates from or is manifested by the Absolute is called ābhāsa, appearance or manifestation, for the simple reason that it is a manifestation and therefore has some sort of limitation.

Thus it is all that appears; all that is within the reach of external senses or internal mind; all that we are conscious of when the senses and the mind cease to work, as in the state of trance or deep sleep;

in short, all that exists in any way and in regard to which the use of any kind of language is possible, be it the subject, the object, the means of knowledge or the knowledge itself.

The Ābhāsa-vādin holds that everything is a configuration of ābhāsas or limited manifestations. The subject is no less a configuration than the object. Both are unity in multiplicity.

The apprehension of unity pre­supposes perception of multiplicity and is due to appearance of all that is separately cognized, on a common basis.

The configuration is called after that particular constituent of it which, because of the attitude of the perceiver, figures as the most important.

Thus, according to him, an ordinary object of cognition is a whole. And its constituents differ according to the analysing individual's tendency, attitude and knowing capacity.

For instance, if we analyse our experience of a jar, we find that though ordinarily it is taken to be one object, it embodies as many ābhāsas as there are words, which can be used with reference to it by various analytical perceivers, looking at it from different points of view.

To an ordinary perceiver, it is a combination of ābhāsas of roundness, materiality, externality, blackness, existence and so on. But to a scientist it is a combination of atoms and electrons.

The Ābhāsa-vādin holds that the ordinary object of cognition is a collocation or configuration of a certain number of ābhāsas, each of which requires a separate mental process to cognize.

Each constituent as it is apprehended separately is an ābhāsa, a universal, which marks the farthest limit of the cognitive activity.

The subject also is a similar configuration. It is made up of the limiting conditions or forms of cognition and action, kāla or time, etc., pur­posiveness, tendencies, intellectual background, body, vital airs, senses and intellect.

But none is its permanent aspect. Its constituents differ in the case of every distinct experience. The inner being, the self-consciousness, with the impurity, called āṇava-mala, alone is the persisting element in the flux.

Cognitive activity is of two kinds: 1. The primary and 2. the secon­dary.

The primary activity consists in receiving the reflection of an isolated ābhāsa and in mental reaction, which consists in the rise of the inner expression (āntara-śabdana).

Thus the object of primary cognition is very much like a universal, which the Vaiyākaraas hold to be the meaning of an expression. As such it is free from temporal and spatial limitations.

The secondary cognitive activity consists in mere unification of the various ābhāsas, separately cognized. It is responsible for bringing about a configuration.

Aesthetic experience in the light of Ābhāsa-vāda.—The Ābhāsa-vādin holds that an ābhāsa is a universal idea. It shines as a particular when it is related to time and space, because of the purposive attitude of the cognizer.

Therefore, if the cognizer be free from purposiveness, his cognitive activity will terminate at its “primary” stage and will not proceed to relate the apprehended to the temporal and spatial conditions.

Thus the aesthetic object, as it figures in the consciousness of an aesthete, is universal, because he approaches it disinterestedly.

The Ābhāsa-vādin also holds that the subject has no fixed constituents; its constituents are different in the case of each separate type of experience.

Accordingly the aesthetic personality is constituted by:

taste (rasikatva), aesthetic susceptibility (sahdayatva), power of visualization (pratibhā) contemplative habit (bhāvanā) and capacity to identify with (or to be engrossed in) the object (tanmayībhavana-yogyatā).

The aesthetic attitude, determined by taste, love of art, is an important constituent of the subject in aesthetic experience.

It differs from the practical, inasmuch as it is marked by total absence of the expectation of being called upon to act in reality.

It consists in the expectancy of a short life in an ideal world of beautiful sights and sounds. It leads to self-forgetfulness when the aesthete contemplates on an aesthetic object. It brings about identification with the central fact of the presented.

Thus, when the aesthetic object is a dramatic presentation, the identification consists in the substitution of personality of the spectator by that of the focus of the situation. The aesthete, therefore, is affected by the situation exactly as is the hero.

Then, assisted by taste, intellectual background and power of visualization, he arranges and moulds the given, unites it with the necessary elements from the unconscious, and so builds up a world of imagination. Here the aesthetic susceptibility comes into play, appropriate responses follow and emotive state is the result.

From emotive level the aesthete rises to the cathartic (sādhāraṇībhāva).

Abhinavagupta has chosen Kālidāsa’s presentation of the flying deer, pursued by King Duṣyanta (grīvā-bhagābhirāmam), to show the exact nature of aesthetic experience at the cathartic level and the process involved in it as follows:

The deer in terror, as it appears in the aesthetic vision, is free from temporal and spatial relations, and therefore is de-individualized.

The judgment at this stage may be spoken of as “terrified” (bhīta). The “terrified” presupposes the cause of terror. That in the present case, being without any objective relation, is reduced to “terror” (bhayam).

This universalized terror, appearing in the consciousness of the spectator who is free from all elements of individuality, affecting his heart as if penetrating it, and being visualized so as to seem to be dancing as it were before the eyes, is the objective aspect of the aesthetic experience at the cathartic level.

Ābhāsa-vādin Abhinavagupta, therefore, has rejected the two powers of language assumed by Bhaṭṭa-Nāyaka to account for universalization. He explains the cathartic level in terms of the Ābhāsa-vāda.

Abhinavagupta has also shown how the final level in aesthetic experience is not the level of ānanda, which is nothing more than predominance of sattva, as Bhaṭṭa-Nāyaka, in accordance with the Vedānta, held. He has shown it to be identical with the level of Vimarśa.