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Abhinavagupta

Abhinavagupta (960–1050 CE). A Hindu theologian of Kashmir Śaivism who wrote extensively on poetics, aesthetics, and religious doctrine and practice. In his work Tantrism finds its philosophical articulation. His comprehensive Light on Tantra (Tantrāloka, Ital. tr. R. Gnoli Lucce delle sacre scritture, 1960) is a synthesis of the traditions, teaching, and practice of Kashmir Śaivism. His ideas are summarized in his Essence of Supreme Meaning (Paramārthasāra, Fr. tr. L. Silburn, 1957). He also contributed to aesthetics (rāsa), writing a commentary (locana) on the great aesthetician Ānandavardhana's Dhvanyāloka and Bharata's Nātya Śāstra (Eng. tr. R. Gnoli, The Aesthetic Experience According to Abhinavagupta, 1956). Abhinavagupta was probably the first Indian philosopher to link aesthetic and religious experience, maintaining that the aesthetic emotions (rāsa) originate in the aesthetic emotion of tranquility (śāntarasa) which is also an experience of the absolute. Applying the categories of aesthetic to religious experience was developed much later by the Gosvamins, brahmans who are descendants of Nityāndanda.

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