Thinking with, against, and beyond the Pratyabhijñā philosophy—and back again

Asian Philosophy 28 (1):1-19 (2018)

J. M. Fritzman
Lewis & Clark College
We argue that the pratyabhijñā system of Kaśmir Śaivism holds an inconsistent position. On the one hand, the Pratyabhijñā regards Śiva as an impersonal mechanism and the universe, including persons, as not having agency; call this the Impersonal Component. On the other hand, it considers Śiva himself as a person, and individual persons as having agency sufficient to respond to Śiva; call this the Personal Component. We maintain that the Personal Component should be affirmed and the Impersonal Component rejected. The Impersonal Component’s claim that Śiva is unaware of and unaffected by his manifestation should be rejected, and the doctrine of satkāryavāda should be modified. The universe is Śiva’s manifestation, in the first instance, but it also has a relative autonomy from him. Moreover, humans have agency and freedom. Their actions effect Śiva. He grows and develops in response to his manifestation.
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DOI 10.1080/09552367.2018.1432281
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