Kalikrama and Abhinavagupta by Navjivan Rastogi

Kalikrama and Abhinavagupta

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Kalikrama and Abhinavagupta
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The Krama School of the Trika Saivism of Kashmir, more familiar as Kalikrama in the contemporary parlance, has turned out to be the most crucial among the monistic Saiva traditions of medieval Kashmir after the Pratyabhijna school, a scenario people could hardly envisage six decades back when it first came to the notice of modern scholarship. The doctrine of Kalikrama, lit. sequential order of consciousness deities called Kalis, constitutes the most pivotal aspect of this school marked by a synchronous resonance between the esoteric/Tantric and cognitive/metaphysical undercurrents of the system.
In order to delve deeper into the doctrine of Kalikrama the present monograph does some loud thinking in three important areas: (a) the role of cognitivization in the ultimate realization; (b) the theoretical background of the mystical experience built around the consciousness deity(ies); and (c) the inconclusiveness of the hidden meaning posing an epistemological barrier in the study of an esoteric Tantric tradition. In all these areas one cannot miss the imprints of Abhinavagupta’s profound contribution. As such, the present study journeys into three directions: (1) a short genealogy of modern Krama studies; (2) the epistemology of the esoteric internalization embodied in the doctrine of Kalikrama; and (3) the role played by Abhinavagupta as its foremost architect. As such, the present study needs be construed as a small step towards discovering the intrinsic epistemological ethos of an esoteric Tantric tradition.




1. Approaching the Core Theme
Tradition Underexplored
Brief Recount of Modern Krama Studies
Meaning of “Exploring” an Esoteric System

2. Succession as the Central Problem of Philosophy
Krama Exegesis of Succession (Krama)
Synthesizing Succession with the Unitary Framework of Krama
Explaining the Nature of Succession (Krama)
Krama vs Apohana: Succession vs Logical Exclusion
Bhedana, Apohana and Kramana: Differentiation, Logical Exclusion and Succession

3. Krama Reality as Kalo
Krama’s Indebtedness to Bhartrhari and Patanjali
Hermeneutics of Kalana: The Niche World-view of  Abhinavagupta’s Krama
Cyclical Notion of Reality: Essence of Four- Five-fold Functional Ontology

4. Abhinavagupta as Pramana-Purusa: The Foremost Systematizer of Krama
Integrating Krama within Pratyabhijna Metaphysics
Seminal Elements of Abhinavagupta’s Legacy
Associating Kalis with Saktopaya
Abhinavagupta’s Krama Writings
Motivation behind Composing a New Krama-Stotra
The New Krama-Stotra as an Embodiment of Abhinavagupta’s Version of Samvit-cakra

5. Abhinavagupta’s Kramification of Trika Thought
Developing Anuttaratrika-prakriyà Methodology for Exploring Tantra-Tattva
Reformulating Cultural Paradigm: Positing Bhoga as an Integral Component of Moksa
Devising an Encyclopaedic Epistemological  Architecture under Anuttaratrika-prakriya
External Phase
Internal Phase
Inventing Prakriya Methodology at Macro Level
Schematization at Micro Level
Schematization at Subtler Micro Level
(a) Appropriating Kalana to Twelve-Kali Cycle  (Samvit-Krama) (b) Four Models of Twelve-Kali Cycle
Appropriating Kalana to Vikalpa-Samskara

6. Epistemology of Internalization
Structural Epistemologization
Sense Faculties as Sense Deities (Karanesvari)
Body as Threefold Seat of Awareness Flow
As Gross Seat (Pitha-Niketana)
As Subtle Seat (Vrnda-Cakra)
As Transcendental Seat (Pancavaha)
Analysing Epistemological Process
Pramana as a Vehicle for Internalizing the Object
Pramana as an Aestheticizing Process
Meta-epistemological Character of Pramana
Pramana as Karana

7. Abhinavagupta’s Kramification of the Tantric Lore: Revisiting His Paramarthasara

8. Summing Up


Navjivan Rastogi, a direct descendant in the lineage of K.C. Pandey, is supposed to represent the contemporary ingenious Indian scholarship dedicated to unravelling the profound speculative tradition of Abhinavan thought. Now retired from active service, Rastogi is formerly Head of the Department of Sanskrit and Prakrit languages and Hony. Director of the Abhinavagupta Institute of Aesthetics and Shaiva Philosophy, University of Lucknow. His known works include: The Krama Tantricism of Kashmir, Vol 1; Introduction to the Tantraloka: A Study in StructureKashmira Shivadvayavada ki Mula Avadharanayen; and Tantraloka (with the Viveka of Jayaratha, in eight vols., jointly edited with R.C. Dwivedi). His two books are in the press: Abhinava: Perspectives on Abhinavagupta [Essays in Memory of K.C. Pandey] (ed.) and Abhinavagupta ka Tantragamiya Darshanika Cintana: Tattva-jnana, Itihasa, Sanskriti aura Saundarya-vimarsha in the “Darshanika Cintana Srijana Series” of Akhila Bharatiya Darshan Parishad. His current engagements comprise the editing of the volume on Kashmir Shaivism of the Encyclopaedia of Indian Philosophies with Karl H. Potter and English translation of Somananda's Shiva-drishti for the Indian Council of Philosophical Research.

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