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Kashmir Saivism and Its Literature

Though Saivism is an old religio-philosophical system prevalent in many parts of India, certain erudite and enlightened teachers from Kashmir developed a special brand of the same. This came to be popularly known as 'Kashmir Saivism' in the annals of philosophical literature of later periods. However, a more technical and acceptable title has been 'Pratya-bhijnadarsana'.

Although the basic literature of Kashmir Saivism is some of the agamas like the Svacchanda, the Netra and the Vijnanabhairava, a new class of cardinal works was produced by the later writers. Among them, the following are the principal ones: Siva sutras (revealed to Vasugupta) (9th century A. D.), Spandasutra of Vasugupta, Spandasutraurtti of Kallata (chief disciple of Vasugupta), Sivadrsti of Somananda (9th century A. D) and Isvarapratyabhijna of Utpala (A. D. 900).

Abhinavagupta (A. D. 950-1000) was the most brilliant of the later writers whose Vrtti on the Isvarapratyabhijna of Utpala, and his own independent works Tantraloka and Paramarthasra have made him immortal in the chronicles of Kashmir Saivism. Ksemaraja (A. D. 975-1025), Bhaskara and Varadaraja were the other noted writers who have enriched this literature.