In Bhagavad Gita chapter 3.11, Sri Abhinavagupta talks about a text rahasyashastram

मूल श्लोक:

देवान्भावयतानेन ते देवा भावयन्तु वः।

परस्परं भावयन्तः श्रेयः परमवाप्स्यथ।।3.11।।

(Sri Abhinavagupta commentary on 3.11) य(त)त्र येषां मोक्षप्राधान्यं तैरेव विषयाः सेव्या इत्युच्यते देवानिति। देवाः क्रीडाशीलाः (K क्रीडनशीलाः) इन्द्रियवृत्तयः करणेश्वर्यो देवता रहस्यशास्त्रप्रसिद्धाः ताः अनेन कर्मणा तर्पयत ययासंभवं विषयान् भक्षयतेत्यर्थः।...

Devan etc. Devas : Those that have a tendency of playing i.e., the deities who preside over the organs and who dwell in the senses (or who are nothing but the sensitive faculty of the senses) and who are well-known in the Rahasyasastra. 'You must gratify these deities by this action i.e., feed them compability with sense-objects.

I have been looking for this text Rashasyashastra since months but couldn't find it anywhere. Does anyone know about this text? What is the full name of this text and who authored it?

I will be very grateful.

  • Perhaps someone can comment on the part "devatā rahasyaśāstraprasiddhāḥ tāḥ"? Can it also translate to "these deities [as generally known in the Rahasyasastra scriptures]"? Jun 17, 2021 at 11:24

1 Answer 1


By "Rahasyashastra", Sri Abhinavagupta just meant the Trika scriptures (like MaliniVijaya, Trishira, Swachhanda, etc...). They are called 'Rahasyashastras' because of their esoteric nature and their secret can be revealed only by a teacher. In Tantraloka 15.517, Sri Abhinavagupta uses the term 'Rahasya shastra' to mean the Trika scriptures.

अत एवार्थसत्तत्त्वदेशिन्यस्मिन्न दिश्यते।
रहस्यशास्त्रे जात्यादिसमाचारो हि शाम्भवे।। (Tantraloka 15.517)

That's why in these Rahasya Shastras (Trika Scriptures) which give the meaning of Tattvas, things like caste and timing rules (of Smriti) are not told which tells about Sambhava (darshana).

Basically, the context is why rules of Smritis (like those of caste system, etc..) are not accepted in Trika Shastras. For this Abhinavagupta says that supreme Trika shastras which deal with concepts like Sambhava do not mention these (lower) things like caste, etc. He further argues rules of Smritis are applied for those who care of only heaven and hell. So, from above verse of TantraLoka it is clear that by 'Rahasyashastras', Trika scriptures should be understood.

  • Actually he doesn't use the word trika. Can you post a source for your translation? It's most likely the translator added the clarification in brackets. Of course, he might be correct in assuming the trika scriptures are meant since the word shastra is often used to denote a category of scriptures. Jun 17, 2021 at 11:19
  • @GabeHiemstra it's my translation (and based on some Hindi sources), I added Trika scriptures in bracket based on the context discussed there...
    – Tezz
    Jun 17, 2021 at 11:37
  • Okay, you might also want to look up verse 27.7 which also mentions rahasyashastra. Perhaps in the same context? I have found one translation which simply translates to "the mantras of secret shastras" Jun 17, 2021 at 11:45
  • @GabeHiemstra Okay I just checked it...The context here is one should not tell mantras of Rahasyashastras while performing outer ceremonies (like death rituals), thus for these outer rituals only ordinary pratistha should be done... (basically the essence is do not do rituals in public using mantras mentioned in Rahasyashastras (Trika/Bhairava agamas) as they are to be kept secret, so just do by basic rituals)...
    – Tezz
    Jun 17, 2021 at 12:05
  • 1
    @Lokesh you can also look at Dehasta devata chakra stotra composed by Abhinavagupta abhinavagupta.org/hymns/track-5-dehasta-devata-cakra-strotra
    – Tezz
    Jun 17, 2021 at 13:26

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