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Abhinavagupta (fl. c. 975 - 1025) was one of India's great literary critics and philosophers. He was born in Kashmir and he wrote on Shaivism, aesthetics, music, and a variety of other subjects. His two famous commentaries on poetry, drama, and dance, the Locana on the Dhvanyaloka and the Abhinavabharati on the Natyasastra engage with almost every important aspect of Indian aesthetics. In their book Santarasa (published by Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Poona, 1969) authors J.L. Masson and M.V. Patwardhan write about Abhinavagupta's major contribution to Sanskrit aesthetics, the theory of rasa.

Abhinava is also considered the greatest exegetical theologian of the Shaiva religion in the mediaeval period. A prolific and polymathic writer, he authored dozens of works, only some of which survive to the present day. Weaving together citations from dozens of authoritative scriptures, his monumental encyclopedic work the Tantraaloka or Light on the Tantras is one of the greatest accomplishments in Indian theology. Its discourse moves amongst the realms of rigorous logical philosophy, scripturally-grounded theology, and personal mystical experience. It influenced theological thought and the understanding of the inner meaning of ritual in the Shaiva and Shaakta spheres for centuries afterward.

Nearly of of Abhinavagupta's extant religious writings are published in the Kashmir Series of Texts and Studies and available (in Sanskrit) from the link below.


  • Wikipedia (2005). Abhinavagupta. Retrieved July 11, 2005.
  • Free Encyclopedia of Thelema (2009)

External links