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Sivastotravali of Utpaladeva

by: Watkins Books




Utpaladeva (late 9th-early 10th century) was a great philosopher of the School of Recognition of non-dualist Kashmir Saivism, who established its philosophy on a solid basis with his Isvarapratyabhijna Karikas (Verses on the Recognition of the Lord), and with three philosophical works, the Siddhitrayi. He was the predecessor (Paramaguru) of the great Abhinavagupta. But at the same time he was a mystic of bhakti as we find it here expressed in his Hymns Sivastotravalt. For him, bhakti and advaita were not opposed to each other but complementary. The sivastotravali is a collection of verses and hymns which are an expression of intense bhakti, longing for the Lord, and the mystical experience of the author and his non-dual union with Siva. They were arranged in 20chapters or Stotras by his disciples.Of highly poetic quality, these verses belong to the greatest mystical literatures of the world. Swami Lakshman Joo, the last Saivacarya of Kashmir (1907-1991), combined in himself the great scholar of the tradition of Kashmir Saivism, who taught and expounded its texts time and again to his disciples and to scholars from all parts of the world, and the perfect yogi who had an intimate experience of the spirituality contained therein. He had a special love for the Sivastotravali and expounded it many times in different languages (Kashmiri, Hindi and English). His edition of the Sivastotravali with Ksemaraja's commentary and his Hindi translation remains the standard text. In the present volume his exposition in English is brought out for the first time.