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"A Five-trunked, Four-tusked Elephant is Running in the Sky": How Free is Imagination According to Utpaladeva and Abhinavagupta?


Ratié, I (2010). "A Five-trunked, Four-tusked Elephant is Running in the Sky": How Free is Imagination According to Utpaladeva and Abhinavagupta? Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques, 64(2):341-385.

Abstract

According to the Śaiva non dualists Utpaladeva (fl. c. 925-975) and Abhinavagupta (fl. c. 975-1025), imaginary objects, far from being a mere rearrangement of previously perceived elements, are original creations resulting from consciousness’s free creativity. The present article examines how the Pratyabhijñā philosophers defend this thesis against Naiyāyika and Mīmāṃsaka theories of imagination, but also how they link it with their idealism, since Utpaladeva and Abhinavagupta contend that the phenomenal world is created by a universal consciousness through a process similar to the individual subject’s activity of imagination. They thus state – as the Advaita Vedāntins or the Buddhist Vijñānavādins – that the world is an imaginary construction, but they refuse to draw from this the conclusion that it is unreal: paradoxically, they consider that the world is real insofar as it is imagined, and they see imagination as an experience capable of leading the individual subject to liberation.

Abstract

According to the Śaiva non dualists Utpaladeva (fl. c. 925-975) and Abhinavagupta (fl. c. 975-1025), imaginary objects, far from being a mere rearrangement of previously perceived elements, are original creations resulting from consciousness’s free creativity. The present article examines how the Pratyabhijñā philosophers defend this thesis against Naiyāyika and Mīmāṃsaka theories of imagination, but also how they link it with their idealism, since Utpaladeva and Abhinavagupta contend that the phenomenal world is created by a universal consciousness through a process similar to the individual subject’s activity of imagination. They thus state – as the Advaita Vedāntins or the Buddhist Vijñānavādins – that the world is an imaginary construction, but they refuse to draw from this the conclusion that it is unreal: paradoxically, they consider that the world is real insofar as it is imagined, and they see imagination as an experience capable of leading the individual subject to liberation.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:Journals > Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques > Archive > 64 (2010) > 2
Dewey Decimal Classification:950 History of Asia
Language:English
Date:2010
Deposited On:10 Aug 2010 08:58
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 14:13
Publisher:Schweizerische Asiengesellschaft / Verlag Peter Lang
ISSN:0004-4717
Related URLs:http://www.sagw.ch/de/asiengesellschaft/publikationen/Asiatische-Studien.html (Publisher)
http://www.peterlang.com/index.cfm?vID=86850&vLang=D&vHR=1&vUR=4&vUUR=11 (Publisher)

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