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date: 22 November 2019

Abhinavaguptalocked

  • Jonathan Katz

Extract

(flc1000). Indian philosopher, mystic and scholar. He was born to a Brahman family probably of Srinagar, Kashmir, and continued in their Śaiva Hindu religious tradition, being trained in grammar and philosophy by his father; but he also studied more widely with Hindu, Buddhist and Jain teachers. He lived a life of renunciation as a scholar and religious devotee and never married. His hugely prolific scholarly and literary output in Sanskrit included approximately 50 works which may be crudely grouped into the areas of religious exegesis, philosophical analysis and commentary, and aesthetics. For the historian of music his most important contribution is the monumental commentary Abhinavabhāratī; this became the most celebrated of all commentaries on the Nāṯyaśāstra of Bharata and attests a flowering of interest in aesthetics and the arts in medieval Kashmir. Manuscript evidence has hitherto been insufficient for a full critical edition and reliable translation of the work, and there remain many obscurities in the existing text. Abhinavagupta showed considerable knowledge of the practice of his own time, and it is not always easy to assess the validity of his judgments of earlier music. He argued a distinction between the religious ...

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