Very little is known about Utpala, the great mystic Saint of Kashmir, except that he might have lived somewhere in Nauhatta (Navyut) in Srinagar. From some authors on Kashmir Shaivism and his contemporaries we find that he was a Brahmin and lived a married life around the middle of 900 A.D. He was the son of Udayakar.
Utpaladeva must have been a precocious boy with a sharp intellect and a quest for learning. This becomes evident from the fact that he was taken as a disciple by the great philosopher. Siddha Somananda, whose great work Shivadrishti, the Pratyabhijnya Shastra (Philosophy of Recognition), inspired him to write the Ishwar Pratyabhijnya Karikas. It is stated in the Shivadrishti that Utpala was motivated to write the Karikas on the request of his son, Vibhramakara. Therein he summarized the teachings of his master and this work is spoken of as "the reflection of wisdom taught by Somananda". Kashmiri's Persian-knowing scholars have termed it is Khird-e-Kamil (wisdom of the sage).
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