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Gurunatha-Paramarsa (of Madhuraja)

By Prof. M.L.Koul

Acharya Abhinavagupta, the great Kashmiri Shaivite philosopher of Tenth Century A.D. was a multi-faceted genius. He made extraordinary contributions to the domain of philosophy and aesthetics. His two commentaries on Isvarpratyabijjna of Utpaldeva are vital to the understanding of Kashmir Shaiva monism, centering round Shiva as an absolute. The Acarya perfected the theory and praxis of Trika as a part of Kashmir Shaiva monism. Many a scholar has nomenclatured Shaiva monism as Trika Philosophy in recognition of his stature as an expositor of Trika. Acarya's many works have been lost as a result of intolerant Vandalism and ravages of time. We still have his numerous works, commentaries and devotional hymns, which establish him as an incomparable Shaiva master.

Abhinavagupta's fame, in his own life time, had spread beyond the purlieux of Kashmir. Many outstanding students and practitioners of Shaivism flocked to Kashmir to learn from him. Madhuraja, the great practitioner of Khandana (:smashing false wisdom) and mandana (:establishing truth), in his 74th year came to Kashmir to become Acaryas disciple. Madhuraja, who belonged to Madhura (Modern Madurai, Tamil Nadu), was a yogi of the Pasupata Sampradaya. In his quest for knowledge, he moved from place to place, carrying no personal belongings except a staff (Dandah), a water vessel (Kamanduluh), an earthen vessel (Karpar) and a patch-work blanket (Kantha).

Madhuraja, author of a number of works, was proficient in prose as well as verse. He was deeply impressed by the Acarya's exposition of Utpala's Sivadrsti, perhaps presented by him in the (now lost) Siva drsti-locana. Two other works of Abhinavagupta, lost to us now, are mentioned by Madhuraja, namely: Pancasika and Kathamukha Mahatilaka. Of these the latter is referred to by Acarya himself in his Paratrimsika, while the former is a new name. Dr. V. Raghavan, to whom we owe the credit for retrieving one of the manuscripts of Gurunatha Parmarsa, identifies it with Paryanta-Pancasika.

Madhuraja looked upon Acarya Abhinavagupta as Daksinamurthi reborn in Kashmir. He has paid a poetic tribute to his guru, Abhinavagupta. His panegyric, Gurunatha Paramarsa, was published by the Research and Publications Department, J&K Govt. in 1960, when late Prof. PN Pushp was its director. Commenting on the forte of the Paramarsa, Prof Pushp wrote, "The pen-portrait of Abhinavaguptacarya in the arcadian milieu of his asrama lit up by his spiritual radiance is so vivid and superb, and gives a convincing peep into the integrated personality of the great Acarya".

The text of Gurunatha Paramarsa, as established by the Research Department is based on two manuscripts -- a) Swami Lakshmana Joo of Ishbar, who copied out the manuscript in 1925 from a Devanagari transcript belonging to a grahasti mahatma of Madras (46 verses) b) Manuscript D. No: 15323 of the Sanskrit College, Tripunittura, Cochin, as utilised by Dr. V. Raghavan in his edition of the work, published in the JOR, Madras (47 verses).

In the two manuscripts, only twenty eight verses are common. Out of the nineteen verses peculiar to manuscript mentioned in (b), only 1-9 verses refer to Abhinava-Bharati, Acarya's celebrated commentary on Natyasastra of Bharata. May be the other ten verses have been drawn from some other works of Madhuraja. Prof. Mohan Lal Koul, who holds deep insights into Kashmir Saivism and cultural tradition of Kashmir has translated 'Gurunatha Paramarsa' from original Sanskrit into English for the readers of Kashmir Sentinel. Below is the English translation -- (The Editor)


Source: Kashmir Sentinel



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