Journal of Indian Philosophy 48 (2):161-189 (2020)

In the celebrated tantric manual, the Tantrāloka, Abhinavagupta and his commentator Jayaratha establish a non-dual Śaiva theory of reflection using the key metaphors of light and reflective awareness. This paper attempts to explain the philosophical problem of reflection from the standpoint of these non-dual Śaivas. It also evaluates the problem in its hermeneutical context, analysing multiple layers of meaning and interpretation. Is the metaphor of reflection only a way of explaining the particular currents of the Śaiva phenomenology represented by the concepts of prakāśa and vimarśa? What philosophical problem does Abhinavagupta seek to solve by complicating the category of reflection and giving it a quasi-paradoxical status? Why does he use the model of the subtle elements to explain the theory of reflection? What does the ‘untaintedness of the mirror of consciousness’ mean for his system? These questions form the focus of this paper.
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DOI 10.1007/s10781-019-09414-0
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