The Paramārthasāra, or ‘Essence of Ultimate Reality’, is a work of the Kashmirian polymath Abhinavagupta (tenth–eleventh centuries). It is a brief treatise in which the author outlines the doctrine of which he is a notable exponent, namely nondualistic Śaivism, which he designates in his works as the Trika, or ‘Triad’ of three principles: Śiva, Śakti and the embodied soul (nara).
The main interest of the Paramārthasāra is not only that it serves as an introduction to the established doctrine of a tradition, but also advances the notion of jiv̄anmukti, ‘liberation in this life’, as its core theme. Further, it does not confine itself to an exposition of the doctrine as such but at times hints at a second sense lying beneath the evident sense, namely esoteric techniques and practices that are at the heart of the philosophical discourse. Its commentator, Yogarāja (eleventh century), excels in detecting and clarifying those various levels of meaning. An Introduction to Tantric Philosophy presents, along with a critically revised Sanskrit text, the first annotated English translation of both Abhinavagupta’s Paramārthasāra and Yogarāja’s commentary.
This book will be of interest to Indologists, as well as to specialists and students of Religion, Tantric studies and Philosophy.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 2. Translation of Paramarthasara and Commentary by Yogaraja, with notes 3. Sanskrit Text 4. Glossary
Lyne Bansat-Boudon is Professor in the Section des sciences religieuses at the École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE) in Paris, and an Honorary Senior Member of the Institut Universitaire de France (IUF). Her main fields of research are Sanskrit Literature and Poetics, Aesthetics and the Śaiva tradition. She published in 1992 Poétique du théâtre indien. Lectures du Nâtyaçâstra, and, in 2006, as the chief editor of the volume and a translator, Théâtre de l’Inde ancienne, Gallimard (Bibliothèque de la Pléiade).
Kamaleshadatta Tripathi is Emeritus Professor at the Benares Hindu University, India, where he was Dean of the Faculty of Sanskrit Learning and Theology and Head of the Department of Religious and Agamic Studies. For several years he also was the director of the Kâlidâsa Akademi in Ujjain. His research interests include Agamic Philosophy, Hindu Theology, Philosophy of Grammar, Sanskrit Literature, Poetics and Aesthetics.
"Clearly, Sanskrit scholars and the growing coterie of serious students of Śaivism will profit greatly from a close study of Bansat-Boudon’s notes and other supplemental materials; yet, this volume also will be of use to those with less than a professional commitment to the study of Śaiva materials, as the clarity of the authors’ translations affords an easy access to the subject, even, perhaps especially, for those who do not read Sanskrit. Certainly, then, every college and university library worth its salt should own a copy, but I also imagine—and hope—the readership of this outstanding text will extend to a wider audience, beyond the confines of academia."
John Nemec, University of Virginia
Journal of the American Oriental Society 135.2, pages 343-345 (2015) 343