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date: 20 October 2018

Abstract and Keywords

The Pratyabhijñā (“Recognition”) system, designed by the Śaiva nondualist Utpaladeva (c.925–975 ce) and expounded by Abhinavagupta (c.975–1025 ce) stands out as one of the greatest accomplishments of Indian philosophy. Engaging in a dialogue with all the rival currents of thought of his time, and claiming that the realization of our identity with God (understood as a single, all-encompassing, and all-powerful consciousness) can be achieved through the mere recourse to experience and reason, Utpaladeva transforms the Śaiva scriptural dogmas into philosophical concepts. His “new path” is aimed at demonstrating that the essence of any individual’s consciousness is none other than the absolute freedom characterizing God’s creativity. While examining Utpaladeva’s use of the concept of freedom in several major Indian controversies (such as the debates over the existence of the self or the ontological status of perceived objects), this article explores his phenomenological attempts to uncover the freedom of consciousness in our most ordinary experiences.

Keywords: Utpaladeva, Abhinavagupta, Śaivism, Pratyabhijñā, freedom, consciousness, self, phenomenology, idealism, intentionality

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