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Information Digest
Volume 2
January 2001

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Lalla-Ded Educational Trust
Project Zaan
Information Digest - Vol. 2


Eminent Personalities

Acharya Abhinavagupta

Abhinavagupta was a distinguished poet, critic & saint and one of the most outstanding Acharyas of the Shaiva philosophy. His exact date of birth is not known but we learn from references about him in Tantraloka and Paratrimshika Vivarana that he lived in Kashmir about the end of the tenth and beginning of the eleventh century A.D. The earliest ancestor of Abhinavagupta was a famous Brahmin Attrigupta a great Shaiva teacher and scholar of Kanauj, who had p.mp3anently settled in Kashmir on the invitation of Lalitaditya. One of Attrigupta’s descendants, named Varahagupta, became a great scholar of Shaiva philosophy. His son, Narasimhagupta, alias Chukhala, father of Abhinavagupta, was also a great Shaiva teacher. Abhinavgupta lost his mother Vimalaka, a spiritualist of high order, in his childhood. Soon thereafter, his father renounced the world. The young Abhinav, pursued his studies under versatile teachers. Some of them were well versed in Buddhist thought and scriptures, some were Jain scholars and some others were saints. He studied metaphysics, poetry and  aesthetics with almost superhuman toil and mastered all knowledge.

Abhinavagupta possessed knowledge in all matters relating to Kashmir Shaivism. The versatility of this genius was recognised in his own time. He was one of the best authorities on Shaiva philosophy and various branches of Sanskrit literature.

Acharya Abhinavagupta possessed all the eight Yogic powers explained in Shastras. People also observed six great spiritual signs as explained in ‘Malinivijayotara Shastra’, in him and in his time, everybody looked upon him as Shiva incarnate. Kashmir Shaivism, called Trika Philosophy is classified by Abhinavagupta in four systems viz. Krama system, Soanda system, Kula system and Pratyabijnya system. ‘Krama’ deals with space and time, ‘Spanda’, with the movement, ‘Kula’ with the Science of Totality and ‘Pratyabijnya’ with the school of Recognition. Abhinavgupta enunciated ‘Shanta Rasa’, the mood of Serenity and Peace, as the ultimate end of art. He was a celibate all his life and became ascetic in his last years. It is belived that he entered Samadhi along with 1200 of his desciple near the village of Magam on the Srinagar-Gulmarg road.

Many works have been attributed to Abhinavagupta, though only a few are extant Some of the works of his authorship are Tantraloka, Abhinavbharati, Bhairavastotra, Malinivijaya Vartika, Bharata Natya Shastra-Tika, Natyalochana, P.mp3artha Charcha, Kramastotra, Ishwar Pratyabijnya Vivriti Vimarshini, P.mp3arth Sara, Tantraloka, Tantra Sara etc.

Madhuraja, a devotee of Abhinavagupta, writes that Lord Shree-Kantha-Nath Shiva Himself appeared in Kashmir in the f.mp3 of Abhinavagupta to enlighten the people. He also asserts that Abhinavagupta was, in fact, the incarnation of Bhairva-Nath Shiva.


Charaka was an authority on Ayurveda, the Veda for (lengthening of) the span of life. He was a Muni and a physician. It is believed that he was the incarnation of the Serpent-king Shesha, who was the receipient of the Ayur-veda. Once, on visiting the earth, he found it full of sickness and was moved with pity. He det.mp3ined to become incarnate as the son of a Muni for alleviating disease.

There was much controversy about the birth place of Charaka. But the Buddhist literature discovered by Professor Sylavan Levi in China showed that Charaka was the court poet of Kanishka (Ist century A.D.) and his birth place was Kashmir. Chinese Tripitaka (translated in 472 A.D.) describes Charaka as the personal physician of Kanishka.

Charaka composed a new book on medicine called Charakasamhita. Though the origin of Indian medicine can be traced back to Atharveda, Charaka’s work is a definite and masterly contribution to this science. In fact, history of the development of Indian medicine begins from this physician. With him, begins the dawn of Indian medicine and surgery, as all the later works are either based on his work or are mere extension of the same work.

The text of Charakasamhita, which is preserved in a dilapidated condition, was revised wholly by Drdhbala, a Kashmirian, who also prepared its appendix. The basic part of the work however, is probably the oldest of the extant medical manuals. The oldest extant commentary on the Charakasamhita, is one by Chakrapanidatta in the 11th century A.D. But before this, the work had already been translated into Persian and from it into Arabic.

Charakasamhita consists of 8 chapters:

1) Sutrasthana - on Healing, Diet & Duties of a physician
2) Nidanasthana - on 8 principal ailments
3) Vimanasthana - on Tastes, Food, General pathology & Medical stadium
4) Sarirasthana - on Anatomy and Embryology
5) Indriyasthana - on Diagnosis and Prognosis
6) Chikitsasthana - on Special therapy
7) - 8)  Kalpa & Siddhanta-sthana - on General therapy
Charaka was not only a physician. He was also a moralist and philosopher. He prescribed even a number of moral instructions with reference to hygienic rules as well as in connection with the theory of sin being the primary cause of a malady.
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