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Accueil > Oriente > Utpaladeva : Section I. Knowledge — Chapter 1


Utpaladeva : Section I. Knowledge — Chapter 1

Critical edition and annotated translation of Raffaele Torella

samedi 21 avril 2018

2. What intelligent being could ever deny or establish the cognizer and agent, the Self, Maheśvara, established from the beginning (ādisiddhe) ?

I.1.2 - The Self of all beings, the substratum of the establishment of all objects [1], who embraces the establishment of himself [2] — since otherwise it would be impossible to establish all the various objects — self-luminous, whose nature? is uniquely that of cognizer, formerly [3] established, ‘ancient’, possesses knowledge? and action?. Sovereignty (aiśvaryam) is established through inner awareness. Therefore only the foolish strive to establish or deny the Lord. — 2 —

3. However, since He, though being directly perceived (dŗşţe ’pi), is not discerned for what He is because of delusion, precisely for this reason, by bringing His powers to light?, the recognition (pratyabhijñā?) of Him is shown.

  •  However, since the Lord, though established through inner awareness [4] (svasamvedanasiddham), does not enter the sphere of full and definite knowledge (ahŗdayahgamatvāt) [5] because of the delusion caused by I 1.3 māyā?, His mere ‘recognition’ [6] is here shown — in the form of the acquisition of unswerving certainty — through the illustration of that sign of recognition that is represented by the faculties peculiar to Him [7]. — 3 —

    4. Indeed, the foundation of insentient realities rests on the living being ; knowledge and action are considered the life of the living being.

  •  There are two kinds of reality : insentient and sentient. The establishment of an insentient nature rests on the living being ; the being such of the living, i.e. life, is represented precisely by knowledge and action. — 4 —

    5. Knowledge is self-established (svatah siddham) ; action, when it manifests itself through a body, becomes cognizable also by others. Thanks to it, knowledge in others can be guessed.

  •  In living beings action, when it reaches the final stage of bodily movement, also becomes directly perceptible in other subjects [8] ; knowledge, which is in itself capable of self-perception, becomes evident (prasidhyati) also in others precisely through action [9]. Therefore, the Lord, I.1.5 the Self perceived as ‘I’ in oneself and others, is established insofar as it is directly experienced through inner awareness. Because of the obscuring of his true nature caused by the power of māyā, the Self is thus [10] erroneously conceived. — 5 —


    [1According to Abhinavagupta (Abh.) (see next note 4), this is to be understood as meaning that the cognizer constitutes the final stage (viśrāntisthāna) of the cognitive act, at which the revelation of the object (prakāśa) becomes reflective awareness (vimarśa).

    [2The cognizer becomes implicitly conscious of himself, of his being ‘light’, precisely through perception (the ‘illumination’ of the object) ; indeed, the illumination of the object — its perception — presupposes a light into which it enters, a light that by definition is not its own but pertains to the subject.

    [3The being established of the subject always ‘precedes’, as an a priori condition of knowledge, and for this reason eludes any objectification that attempts to capture it, so to speak, from behind. That would be like trying to step ahead of one’s own shadow, as a well-known verse of the Trikahŗdaya (quoted in ŚSV p. 4) puts it. Abh. (ĪPVV I p. 51) gives the example of inferring fire from smoke, which, indeed, implies that it is always the smoke that is already established first : the difference being that the priority of the self is ad infinitum (yadā yadā upakramah tadā tadā pūrva-siddhatvam ity eşo ’tra paramārthah). This is precisely what the nearness of pūrva-siddlia to purāna signifies, which taken singly may apply to various things (see text note 15) ; the same theme will be taken up again later.

    [4The expression svasamvedanasiddha interprets and orientates, by limiting its meaning, dŗşţe in the kārikā, which, insofar as it is passive, seems to degrade to the status of object He who is the subject par excellence, the Lord. But. Abh. notes (see text note 19), this expression, too, is, in the strict sense of the word, inadequate, as the ţikā itself has pointed out (nāpi svasamvedanasiddhaham ātmanah) ; it can be accepted only if understood in a metaphorical sense, as expressing the undeniability of the experience of the I. The theme of the absolute impossibility of objectifying the I, Siva, recurs with particular insistence in the work of Utp. Cf. ĪPVV III p. 162 yat prameylkŗto ’smiti sarvo ’py ātmani lajjate / katham prameyikaranam sahatām tan maheśvarah // ‘Everyone feels ashamed in himself at seeing that he is transformed into an object of cognition ; then, how might the Great Lord stand this ?’

    [5Lit. : ‘does not reach the heart’, i.e. the plane of vimarśa which alone makes a cognition fully accomplished and effective (cf. ĪPVV I p. 80).

    [6The reality of the Self is not therefore ‘known’ — as happens with any object in phenomenal reality, which, not shining itself, needs to be illuminated by consciousness — but is simply ‘recognized’. Moreover, this act of recognition is not something that was not there formerly and must be brought into existence, but eternally present and merely concealed, it is only ‘shown’ (darśyate) as predominant, by placing it near (upa), in contact with the heart (ĪPVV I p. 87 see text note 26). Thus Abh. intends to remove the act of recognition from the sphere of the vyavahārasādhana as well (cf. p. 173 n. 3). In fact, there may not be anything asiddha in the Lord, not even as regards any aspect of vyavahāra (prakhyā-upākhyā, jñāna-abhidhāna) concerning him, for in this case even the establishment of the smallest portion of the knowable would become impossible (ĪPVV I p. 87 tadasiddhau prameyaleśasyāpi hi na kācit siddhir ity uktam).

    [7That is, above all, the powers of knowledge and action.

    [8This means that action, as an inner reality (vimarśa), inseparable from knowledge, is also self-established. The possibility of objectification only regards its extreme phenomenal form of bodily movement.

    [9If action is examined first in the vŗtti, thus reversing the order of the kārikā where knowledge is mentioned first, this is because action is the means by which knowledge (from which it is inseparable) can be inferred in others (ĪPVV I pp. 104-105). That bodily action, and the use of the word, presuppose knowledge is a generally recognized fact ; cf. for instance Dharmakirti’s Santānāntarasiddhi 1-2 (Kitagawa 1955 ; 58 ; Stcherbatsky 1969 : 64). But to infer knowledge means to objectify it and it is for this reason that Utp. in the kārikā and in the ţīkā prefers to resort to other expressions, such as to conjecture, suppose, guess etc. (cf. ūhanam tarkanam sambha-vanam ibid. p. 101). The problem, however, arises again and is given an elaborate solution in ĪPVV I pp. 105-108. Abh. begins by stating that since it is a question of an inference founded on the svabhāvahetu (see below p. 179 n. 17) — that does not aim to make known an object not formerly known, but only to rid it of erroneous conceptions — the real basic self-luminosity of knowledge and of the subject is not contradicted. After a series of objections and replies, following the line of argument in the ţīkā, the conclusion is reached : a certain level of objectification in inferring knowledge in another body is undeniable, but this applies only to the initial and medial stages, whereas in the end (paryante) knowledge appears in all its luminosity, at unity with the subject making the inference, as happens at the conclusion of every cognitive act. In saying prasidhyati the vrtti intends to express the emergence of the natural self-luminosity of knowledge and to exclude the possibility of its being a luminosity induced by the subject, as is the case for the common object of knowledge (siddham bhavati, na tu sādyam).

    [10I.e. in the way that will be described in the following chapter. In understanding tasya both as objective and subjective genitive (it is Abh. himself who underlines this, see text note 43), the Self becomes both the object and the subject of the error : the Self in its freedom is mistaken about itself. Indeed, every reality, even error, has the Lord, the Self, as its ultimate source.