Generally, Vaishnavas follow the Pancharatra Agamas, Shaivites follow the Shaiva Agamas, and Shaktas follow the Shaiva Agamas. But long ago, there was a group of people in Kashmir who followed the Shakta Agamas but adopted Shiva as their Ishta Devata. That group evolved into what we now call Kashmir Shaivism. Because it has its roots in Shakta Agamas, it subscribes to a monistic philosophy, as opposed to philosophical Shaivite sects like Shaiva Siddhanta which are more dualistic in their philosophy.

Now the most famous Kashmiri Shaivite philosopher was Abhinavagupta, who lived in the 10th century. As I discuss in this question, Abhinavagupta had many gurus, but one of them was Lakshmanagupta, whose guru was Utpaladeva, who is the subject of my question. Utpaladeva composed a work called the Ishwara Pratyabhijna Karika, which is the defining work of the Pratyabhijna school, a philosophical school founded by Utpaladeva's guru Somananda which involves regaining knowledge of one's own Shiva-nature. The Pratyabhijna school is one of the traditions that merged to form the Kashmiri Shaivite sect.

In any case, Utpaladeva wrote two commentaries on his own Ishwara Pratyabhijna Karika, the Vritti which is short and the Vivriti which is long. The Vritti still exists, and has been translated by Rafaelle Torella in this book. But the Utapaladeva's Vivriti is mostly lost now. That's because people stopped paying attention to it and started paying attention to Abhinavagupta's two commentaries on the Ishwara Pratyabhijna Karika, namely the Ishwara Pratyabhijna Vimarshini and the Ishwara Pratyabhijna Vivriti Vimarshini. That's ironic, because the latter work is actually a commentary on the Vivriti, but the problem is that Abhinavagupta seldom quotes the actual verses of the Vivriti in his commentary. And so the Vivriti was eventually lost.

But my question is, what surviving fragments of Utpaladeva's Ishwara Pratyabhijna Vivriti have been translated into English?

1 Answer 1


TL;DR: Read this PDF document I created.

Let me start off by posting a useful chart from Isabelle Ratié 2016 paper "In Search of Utpaladeva's Lost Vivriti on the Pratyabhijna Treatise", showing exactly what major fragments of Utpaladeva's Vivriti have been discovered to date:

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The numbers shown are the verses of Utpaladeva's Ishwara Pratyabhijna Karika (IPK), and if a number is shaded then that means that we have a fragment of Utpaladeva's Vivriti which comments on this verse of the IPK. In any case, here are the fragments of the Vivriti which have been translated into English so far:

Apart from Kawajiri's paper, I have compiled all the translations given in the above papers into a single 76-page PDF file. Hopefully people will find it useful.

But this isn't the end of the story. I contacted both Rafaelle Torella and Isabelle Ratié, and here is what they told me about Vivriti fragments that will be translated in future:

  • Torella is working on a translation of a Vivriti fragment commenting on IPK verses 1.4.6-1.5.3, which will be published in a volume in memory of Helmut Krasser.
  • Ratié is working on a translation of a Vivriti fragment commenting on IPK verses 1.5.6-9, which will be published in a volume in honor of Alexis Sanderson.
  • Ratié is working on a translation of a Vivriti fragment commenting on IPK verses 2.1.1-8.
  • Torella is working on a translation of a Vivriti fragment commenting on IPK verses 2.2.1-7.
  • Ratié is working on a translation of a Vivriti fragment commenting on IPK verses 2.3.1-8.

So when all is said and done, we will have at least two portions of the Vivriti translated into English: a portion commenting on IPK verses 1.3.5-1.5.9, and a portion commenting on IPK verses 1.8.10-2.3.8 (and possibly whatever Kashmiri had found). And my 76-page PDF would probably expand to over 200 pages. Whew!

  • 4
    exemplary example of how to do research work. Keep it up! May 29, 2017 at 5:31
  • 2
    Marvelous work. :) May 29, 2017 at 5:34
  • Hass there any progress been so far? :) Apr 14, 2018 at 4:04
  • 1
    @Rohit. I haven't checked in a while. I can contact these professors again. Apr 14, 2018 at 4:39
  • 1
    Yes please carry on. Apr 14, 2018 at 4:42

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