Pratyabhijñā Inference as a Transcendental Argument about a Nondual, Plenary God

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The two most well-known and important nondual Śaiva and tantric philosophers are Utpaladeva (c. 900–950 CE) and Abhinavagupta (c. 950–1020 CE). Utpaladeva furthered the initiatives of his teacher Somānanda (c. 900–950 CE) in creating the originary verses and commentaries of the Pratyabhijñā system of philosophical theology. Abhinavagupta is famous for brilliant and extensive commentaries on Utpaladeva’s writings as well as for the creation of a vast corpus of philosophical hermeneutics, itself comprising both a poetics and an exegetics of tantric symbolism and ritual.

This chapter clarifies and build upon the interpretations of the overarching Pratyabhijñā inference as a transcendental argument in the article, “Tantric Argument: The Transfiguration of Philosophical Discourse in The Pratyabhijñā System of Utpaladeva and Abhinavagupta” (1996) and the book Rediscovering God with Transcendental Argument (1999). It considers how the Pratyabhijñā inference may be characterized as transcendental, answering various objections to that characterization, provides translations of key passages for understanding the Pratyabhijñā method (especially, IPV 2.3.17 and a paragraph from IPV 1.17.1 on the identification of cosmogony and teleology), and summarizes some of the author’s later research that pertains to this subject.



Bhāskarakaṇṭha’s commentary Bhāskarī on the IPV


Īśvarapratyabhijñākārikā by Utpaladeva, for convenience cited in edition with BIPV and IPV, rather than better edition of Torella


Īśvarapratyabhijñākārikāvṛtti by Utpaladeva, commentary on IPK,

cited in edition of Torella


Īśvarapratyabhijñāvimarśinī by Abhinavagupta, commentary on

IPK, cited in edition with BIPV


Īśvarapratyabhijñāvivṛtivimarśinī by Abhinavagupta, commentary on Utpaladeva’s Īśvarapratyabhijñāvivṛti


Virūpākṣapañcāśikā by Virūpākṣa, cited in edition of Kaviraj


Virūpākṣapañcāśikāvṛtti by Vidyācakravartin, commentary on VAP, cited in edition of Kaviraj


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and Religious StudiesUniversity of North DakotaGrand ForksUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Mrinal Kaul
    • 1
  1. 1.Manipal Centre for Philosophy and HumanitiesManipal UniversityManipalIndia

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