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The Doctrine of Recognition (Pratyabhijna Philosophy): A Rare Book

The Doctrine of Recognition (Pratyabhijna Philosophy): A Rare Book
Item Code: NAB958
Author: R.K.Kaw
Publisher: Vishveshvaranand Book Agency, Hoshiarpur
Language: English
Edition: 1967
Pages: 418
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 10.0 Inch X 6.5 Inch
weight of the book: 700 gms
From the Jacket

The work discusses, in its First Part, the controversial view points with reference to (1) the name of the system, (2) place of its origin, (3) time of existence of the Pratyabhijna system, (4) its connection with Sankara’s School of Vedanta, (5) its differences from the Vedanta system and so on. All these discussions indicate the emergence of this system of philosophy in Kashmir towards the ninth Century A.D. It further gives a brief history of the system and its literature and distinguishes the two stages of its development on the textual evidence. Its Second Part presents the exposition of the various tenets of the system. The Third Part reviews the allied philosophical movements in India and the West indicating that the Pratyabhijna system is, indeed, a reorientation of Indian and Western Philosophy.



The work which is now being presented as No. 40 of the Vishveshvaranand Indological Research Series is an important contribution to Indian philosophical literature. As indicated by the title, it deals with the Pratyabhijna Darsana (the Doctrine of Recognition), the main philosophical system of the Kashmir Saivas. The school emerged in the second half of the ninth century and developed in two stages, the earlier as represented by Somananda’s Sivadrsti and the later by Utpaladeva’s Isvara Pratyabhijna Karika and its exposition by Abhinavagupta. An attempt is made in this work to discuss about the origin and development of the system and to affiliate it to the thought of the Upanishads. The work reviews also the allied philosophical movements in India and the West and indicates what specific contribution the Pratyabhijna makes to philosophy.

The work was originally submitted by its author, Dr. R. K. Kaw, as a thesis to the Panjab University at Lahore, which approved it for the award of the Ph.D. Degree. I am glad to note that the work has since been duly revised by the author on the lines indicated to him. It is to be hoped that this work, as now being presented, will be of interest to students of Indian philosophy, in general, and to those of Kashmir Saivism, in particular.

I thank our Publication Department and the V.V.R.I.Press for all the care they have taken in bringing out this volume in a proper form.



The attention of modern scholars was drawn to what is known as the Pratyabhijna System of Philosophy very late in the annals of Indological research. Before the literature on the subject, distinguished as Pratyabhijna Literature, was discovered in Kashmir by Dr. G. Buhler in 1876 AD., the system had remained sealed in manuscripts and shelved in the houses of a few traditional Pandits in Kashmir. As will be noticed, the study of the system by modern scholars started from very recent times. A brief review of the earlier studies, given below, will indicate the nature of the work so far done on the subject and the object of the present study.

The first notice of the system: The system came to the notice of the modern scholars in 1858 A.D., when Sarvadarsana Samgraha of Madhavacarya, an epitome of the sixteen systems of philosophy, edited by Ishvarachandra Vidyasagara, was published for the first time in the Bibliotheca Indica:. This well—Known work reviews, perhaps, in the gradually ascending order of importance, from the Vedanta point of view, the sixteen most important philosophical systems, including the three Saiva systems, Nal2uliscz•P5zsum£a, the dawn and the Pratyabhijna Darsana, current in Southern India in the 14th century A.D. Though not of much importance in itself, it aroused interest among the modern scholars in the so-called minor systems of thought and was translated into English by E. B. Cowell and A. E. Gough. In this work, the Pratyabhijna system is the eighth and the Vedanta system of Sankaracarya the last and considered as the highest among the sixteen systems described.

Discovery of the Pratyabhijna literature: Nevertheless, until about the year 1876 AD. the Pratyabhijna Sastra remained unknown to the modern scholars. In the year 1875, G. Buhler, while on a tour, under the orders of the Government of India, for a search of Sanskrit manuscripts, discovered in Kashmir the works composed by Kashmiris under the general name Saiva Sastra. Having collected a number of manuscripts, he divided some portions of these referring to the philosophy of the Saivas into two classes according to the two great Saiva schools of Kashmir: Spanda Sastra of Vasugupta and the Pratyabhijna Sastra of Somananda and Utpaladeva. Dr. Buhler points out in his report that the Pratyabhijna system `appears to be pure idealism and an application of Sankaracarya’s principles to the Saiva philosophy. He further brings to notice the remarks by Prof. Gough in his Prefatory Note to the translation of the ‘Saiva-darsana’ in Sarvadarsmm-samgrha: that the Kashmirian Saliva philosophy bears close resemblance to the Saivism of the Southern India.

Publication of ‘the Kashmir Series of Texts and Studies' (KSTS`3:
The first impulse to the study of the Pratyabhijna literature was given by the publication of Buhler Report about the discovery of the manuscripts on Saiva Sastra in Kashrnir.2 The Kashmir Research Department which dates back to the very first year of the reign of Maharaja Ranvir Singh in 1857, took up the study from 1902, when its activities actually began. The literature on the Kashmir Saiva School particularly attracted the notice of J. C. Chatterji, the first Director of the Department, who reported that 'there is a rich literature in Kashmir belonging to the Saiva school of philosophy of which very little is known to the outsider. It is a most interesting school...Manuscripts of this school should be made public by the Department} Accordingly, the editing of the Saiva literature and the publication of KSTS were started by the Department in 1904 and during the last half a century about one hundred volumes of the series have been issued, which include almost the whole of the Pratyabhijna Sastra.

Pioneering Studies: This literature began to attract the attention of scholars early in the present century. There appeared 'The Paramarthasara of Abhinavagupta’ (Sanskrit test and Translation, with Notes, etc., by L.D. Barnett}, in the year 19lO, in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, London, (pp. 707-47}, in which we find, for the first time, an English presentation of the principles of the Saiva school of Kashmir. Dr. Barnett observes, in his Introduction to this work, "In my Notes on the Saiva Siddhantam published last year (in 1909) in Le Muséon, I called attention to the fact that the living faith of the majority of modern Tamils is in almost every respect, and certainly in all essentials, the same doctrine that was taught in Kashmir about the beginning of the eleventh century by Abhinavagupta; wand I endeavoured to indicate what, in my opinion, the links are which join the modern theology of the South to the ancient teachings of the North, and ultimately to the school which is represented by the Svetasvatara Upanishad, In further illustration of this view, I now present the Paramarthasara of Abhinavagupta."

In the year I9l2 was published the translation of Siva sutra Vimarsini by P. T. Srinivasa Iyengar. This important work, in the early days of the study of Kashmir Saiva Sastra, acquainted the scholars with the system of Saivism as a form of the Yogic system. In his Introduction to the work, the scholar calls attention to the tact that Siva Sutra is but a manual of Yoga, since we have in it importance attached to forms of the Yoga discipline, meditation and the recitation of the etc] The learned scholar further says, 'With the analysis of the universe taught by Samkhya and the discipline of the Yoga were welded in these Vaisnava and Saiva schools, also the love of the personal God and the belief that God’s grace is a necessary antecedent of individual salvation.,} As is evident from this, the Siva Sutras do not represent manual of philosophy? Since they merely deal with certain forms of Yoga and propound a Tantric creed or a system of faith which is based on an earlier existing Tantric cult.

Another work, namely Kashmir Saivism, being a brief Introduction to the history, literature and doctrines of the Advaita Saiva philosophy of Kashmir, by J. C. Chatterji, appeared as one of the volumes of KSTS, in the year 1914. J. C. Chatterji is well-known as the author of Hindu Realism and India’s Outlook on Life. In Kashmir Saivism, the scholar distinguishes the Saiva Philosophy from a system of Saiva faith, as he writes, While Kallata may be said to have handed down the doctrines as a system of religion, Somananda supplied the logical reasoning in their support and made system of Advita Philosophy of what was at first taught as a system of faith and thus founded Pratyabhijha Sastra which is so named after the Pratyabhijna Sutra ...

In the year I936, there appeared Abhinavagupta-Ah Historical and Philosophical Study (Ph. D. thesis) by K. C. Pandey, which gives a brief presentation of the various doctrines of the Pratyabhijna Philosophy, as expounded by Abhinavagupta, in his two commentaries on Isvara Pratyabhijna Ka and his other works on the subject, viz, Tantraloka, etc.




1. Foreword - General Editor v
2. Contents vii
3. Preface xiii
4. Dedication xxi
Chapter   Page
I. Introduction:Preliminary: The name of the system; Place of its origin; Emergence of Pratyabhijna school; Its connection with other systems of Indian Philosophy; Its connection with Sankara’s school of Vedanta; Development of the Pratyabhijna system: Exposition of its doctrines; A bird’s eye-view of Pratyabhijna metaphysics; Place of Pratyabhijna in Indian and Western systems of Philosophy; Philosophical movements in India and the West. 1
  A: Origin and Development II-III  
II. Religious and Philosophic Background-Cultural history of Kashmir, a brief survey; Religious beliefs of the earliest inhabitants of Kashmir; Origin of Siva worship in Kashmir, Saivism in Kashmir; Buddhism in Kashmir, Origin of Philosophic movement in Kashmir; Survey of the early Philosophical speculations and doctrines. 20
III. History an d Literature-Mythological origin of the system; Chronology of the Pratyabhijna literature; The time of its existence, - K.C. Pandey’s view; Lacchmidhar’s view; Sakuntalam, an allegorical representation or dramatization of Pratyabhijna (Lacchmidhar’s view); The pioneers of the system;l Somananda – the originator, Utpaladeva – the systematiser, Abhinavagupta – the expounder; the later teachers. 40
  B: Somananda’s Philosophy IV-VII  
IV. Siva: The Ultimate Reality-Siva, His Transcendence and Immance: Siva materializes Himself in the concrete form of this universe; A controversy; Siva’s diversified creations. 65
V. Pasyanti Vak – the Transcendental Word-Sabda-parabrahma-vadins’ doctrine; A controversy with the Grammarians; Somananda’s point of view; Scientific value of the doctrine. 75
VI. The Views of Alien Schools Refuted-Controversies with Saktas, dualistic Saivas and other schools. 90
VII. Saiva Monism – Sarva-Sivata;Siva-Sakti doctrine; Sarva-sivata; Sarva-samata (Equality of the world phenomena); Somananda’s criticism of the theories of other schools; Goal of Siva-realization. 99
  C: Utpaladeva’s Philosophy VII-XXII  
VIII. Origin and Purpose of Pratyabhijna The origin and meaning of the term: The purpose of Pratyabhijna. 107
IX. Mahesvara (The Ultimate Relity) and His Powers Mahesvara; Powers of Mahesvara; The three forms of Jnatrtva-Sakti; Maya-vimohini-Sakti and Drkkriyatmika-Sakti; Kartrtva-Sakti; Its different forms; Cognitive and Active powers in relation to insentients. 115
X. Permanence of Self (Atman) Refuted (Saugata View) Prima Facie (Purvapaksa). 123
XI. Permanence of Self (Atman) Established The Saugata opponent’s view refuted (para-darsana-anupavatih). 131
XII. Power of Remembrance Smrti-Sakti-nirupanam. 138
XIII. Power of Knowledge Jnana-sakti-nirupanam. 147
XIV. Power of Differentiation Apohana-sakti-nirupanam. 159
XV. Substratum of the three Powers – one Supreme Consiousness (Mahesvara) Ekasrya-nirupanam 166
XVI. The Essential Nature of the Supreme Consciousness (Mahesvarya). Mahesvarya-nirupanam: The doctrine of man infestation (Abhasavada). 173
XVII. Power of Action Kriya-sakti. 180
XVIII. The Philosophy of Relation – I: The Law of Division Bhedabheda-vimarsanam (Unity in Diversity). 187
XIX. The Philosopohy of Relation – II : The Law of Division Bhedabheda-vimarsanam (Unity in Diversity). 196
XX. The Philosophy of Relation – III: The law of CausationKarya-karana-tattva-nirupanam (Effet and Cause). 209
XXI. The Doctrine of Tattvas Tattva-nirupanam (The Categories of the Objective Reality) 220
XXII. Divine Hierarchy and Transmigratory Subjects Pramatr-tattva-nirupanam: divine hierarchy; nature of perceivers; their bondage and release; three impurities- Anava, Karma and Mayiya; Pati, and Pasu; different types of perceivers; three common states of perceivers – Jagrat, Svapna and Susupti; the fourth state and beyond the fourth – Turya and Turyatita; four methods of obtaining liberation and Samavesa; summum bonum of the Pratyabhijna. 228
  D: Place of Pratyabhijna in Philosophy: Indian and Western XXIII-VI  
XXIII. Philosophical Movements in India (1): Saiva Movement- Antiquity of Saiva movement; Saiva scriptures; Chronology of Tantras and Agamas; Saivagama sects; Doctrines of the different Saivagama sects: Pasupata system of Nakulisa; Saiva Darsana; Vira Saiva School: Saktas; Kashmir Saiva, their three main divisions: Agama Sastra (Saivagamas, Siva Sutra); Spanda Sastra (Spanda• Karika, Tantraloka, Tantrasara, and Vatulanatha Sutras); Pratyabhijna Sastra (Pratyabhijna—hrdayam); Charac- teristic features of Agamic tenets in Praryahhiina ; Role of religion and supernatural in Pratyabhijna ; Saiva Yoga. 239
XXIV. Philosophical Movements in India (2): Vedic and Buddhist Beginning of the Vedic movement ; Philosophical tendencies in the Vedas; The philosophical thought in the Upansads; The earlier philosophical systems-the Carvaira system; the Jaina philosophy; the Buddhist philosophy; different Buddhist schools; Hinayana schools-Vaibhasikas and Sautrantikas (ksanika-vada) and Mahayana schools-Yogacaras and Madhyamikas (Vijnana-vada and Sunyawada) ; the rise of six Brahmanical schools; Vaisesika-Nyaya systems; Samkhya—yoga systems; purva-mimamsa and Uttara-mimamsa or Vedanta schools; Sankaracarya and his Advaita school of Vedanta; Sankara’s criticism of the earlier doctrines; Maya-vada ; Ramanuja and his school of thought; Rama- nuja's objections to Sankara’s doctrine; the Pratyabhijna school, its distinctive features; Differences between the Pratyabhijna and Vedanta systems; the concluding remark. 274
XXV. Philosophical Movements in the West: Ancient and Modern Ancient Philosophy in the West; Physical philosophers- Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Empedocles, Anaxagoras and Democritus ; Socrates, Plato and Aristotle (Plato’s theory of ideas); Neo- Platonists, the Alexandrian School; Medieval Philosophy: English Philosophy; Sufism; Modern Philosophy; Bacon and Descartes; Spinoza (Realistic Idealism); Hobbes and Locke (Psychology); Berkeley, Hume and Condillac (ldealist systems); Reid and Kant (Realist systems); Fichte, Schelling and Hegel {three different forms of Idealism); Schopenhauer’s system; August Comte and Herbert Spencer (Positive Philosophy and Scientific Philosophy); Similarity of Philosophical problems in Indian and Western thought (Idealism and Realism); Approach of Pratyabhijna to the Problem of the Ultimate Cause: Specific contribution of Pratyabhijna to Philosophy; Pratyabhijna as a synthesis of diverse currents of thought. 336
XXVI. Pratyabyijna Thought in Modern ContextImportance of Philosophy; Role of Pratyabhijna; Humanistic movement in Kashmir (as the composite Saiva-cum-Sufi philosophy); Lallesvari (Lal Ded), the first apostle of the dynamic philosophy (Humanism). 360
1. General Bibliography 367
2. Index 379
3. Errata  


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