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The Lord Of The Heart: Abhinavagupta's Aesthetics And Kashmir Śaivism

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Chapter Summary

In more than one tradition aesthetics plays an important mediating role between the sensuous and the spiritual levels, leading from sense experience to mystical experience. This interrelatedness of aesthetics and metaphysics has been most thoroughly elaborated in so-called Kashmir Śaivism, especially by its greatest exponent, Abhinavagupta. This chapter presents some topics and samples of Abhinavagupta’s work which can throw light on the intimate relationship between aesthetic experience, philosophical insight, and spiritual experience. Abhinavagupta’s multidisciplinary approach explores not only what is mentioned in the śloka but also the concerns of various modern disciplines, including the phenomenology of perception, psychology, and linguistic analysis-all in the service of an analysis of states of consciousness and of the practical ways (upāya) to attain higher levels of consciousness. The chapter looks at some philosophical topics which are directly related to aesthetics. Every art-form is ultimately embedded in a given cosmology.

Keywords: Abhinavagupta; aesthetics; Kashmir Śaivism



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