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Pratyabhij and Philology*

Raffaele Torella
Universita di Roma, La Sapienza
A somewhat problematic book has recently been devoted to one of the most fascinating (and neglected) works of Kashmirian aiva Advaita: the ivadi by
Somnanda. This furnishes the occasion for broader reflection on the role of philology in dealing with the complex texts of the Pratyabhij tradition (or perhaps
in dealing with any philosophical-religious Sanskrit text).

Among the great works of Kamirian aiva Advaita, the ivadi (D) by Somnanda is

assuredly the one that has received the least attention from scholars. Only a comparatively
small part of it has been translated: hnika I and II by Raniero Gnoli, into English (Gnoli
1957) and Italian (Gnoli 1959) respectively. A Hindi translation (with Sanskrit commentary)
by Radheshyam Chaturvedi appeared in 1986, which however hardly meets scholarly standards. Utpaladevas important Vtti on it has never been translated. Secondary literature on
the D is equally scarce. Only one (unconvincing) monograph has been devoted to itin
fact, only to a part of the text, hnika V (Mayer-Knig 1996). A description of its content
and investigation into specific themes can be found in Torella 2002: xiixx, and 2009. See
recently Nemec 2012.
On these premises, the book by John Nemec is to be welcomed by the growing community of scholars specialising in Kamirian aiva Advaita, and more generally by all scholars
interested in Indian philosophy.
The D is to be considered the first philosophical work of Kamirian aiva Advaita, its
only predecessor being the Spandakrik, in which, however, the experiential and scriptural
approach largely prevails over philosophical elaboration. The D is unanimously recognized
as the first work of the Pratyabhij school, despite the fact that the word pratyabhij does not
even occur in it. Abhinavagupta at the beginning of his Vimarin on the varapratyabhijkrik (PK) does not hesitate to say that Utpaladevas masterwork is in fact only a reflect
(pratibimba) of the D. This is, of course, not to be taken literally, for, although the D was
a powerful source of inspiration for Utpaladeva, it is only with the PK that the Pratyabhij
becomes a very original and elaborate philosophical system. In the SomnandaUtpaladeva(Lakmaagupta)Abhinavagupta triad it was the last who largely overshadowed his predecessors. Among the Pratyabhij texts, Abhinavaguptas P-Vimarin became by far the
most popularif I may use this adjective for one of the profoundest and most sophisticated worldviews that India has ever produced. The main victim of the success of the
Vimarin was the extraordinarily important k or Vivti by Utpaladeva, of which only a
comparatively small fragment has survived (Torella 2007a b c d, 2012). A reasonable number of manuscripts of Utpaladevas short commentary (Vtti) have come down to us, but,
apart from a Malayalam manuscript, all the other manuscripts are incomplete. A similar fate
has overtaken the D: while a handful of manuscripts of the mla text are extant, no complete manuscript of the Vtti that Utpaladeva devoted to it, humbly named Padasagati, has

* This is a review article of The Ubiquitous iva: Somnandas ivadi and His Tantric Interlocutors. Ed. and
tr. John Nemec. AAR Religion in Translation Series. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. Pp. xii + 436.
$99 (cloth); $49.99 (paper).

Journal of the American Oriental Society 133.4 (2013)

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s urvived, none going beyond IV.75. And without the help of Utpaladevas Vtti any endeavor
to understand the D proves to be fairly desperate.
Nemecs book is very ambitious, containing the first critical edition of hnikas I-III of the
D along with Utpaladevas Vtti, an abundantly annotated English translation, the first in
any absolute sense of hnika III and of the Vtti on the three hnikas. A lengthy introduction,
various indices, and a copious bibliography complete the book.
Before starting the evaluative part of this review, I should like to sketch the profile of the
ideal Pratyabhij scholar as seen, of course, from my own viewpoint. The task awaiting the
modern Pratyabhij specialist is not an easy one. It has become increasingly evident that no
serious study of Pratyabhij philosophy can be carried out without taking into account the
complex relationship of its tenets with the main lines of Indian philosophy as a whole, particularly Dharmakrti and the epistemological school of Buddhism, Bharthari, Mms and
the other major daranas, aesthetic and linguistic speculation. In other words, the time when
aiva Advaita philosophy was studied focusing exclusively (or nearly exclusively) on aiva
sources is definitively over. The student of Hindu tantra, and even more so that of Buddhist
tantra, accustomed to a low standard of Sanskrit (with its own difficulties, of course) risks
losing himself in the refined stric Sanskrit of our Pratyabhij authors, who do nothing to
conceal that they belong to a highly cultivated (and aristocratic) milieu. Spiritual experience
is poured into a complex stric text, and to understand it we must turn primarily to textual tools or, to use a word perhaps no longer very popular in the contemporary American
academy, to philology. Years ago, invited to deliver an Infinity Lecture at the University of
Hawaii, I received a warning from my host, Prof. Arindam Chakrabarti, about not being too
philological in my exposition (You must understand, we are in a Philosophy Department).
The next day I started my lecture with a praise of philology, understood in the highest sense
as a discipline that, by using paleographic, linguistic, historical, and hermeneutic tools, aims
at establishing and understanding a text, (re-)placing it within its contemporary cultural
parameters. As a rhetorical device to counteract the common identification of philology with
something very boring, old, dusty, ugly, etc., I asked the audience whether they had ever
seen the so-called Primavera (Spring) by Botticelli. Well, recent studies have shown that that
beautiful and sensual young girl surrounded by flowers in the center of the painting in actual
fact represents Philologiathe whole scene coming from Martianus Capellas De Nuptiis
Mercurii and Philologiae, a work very highly praised at the court of Lorenzo il Magnifico.
In it, we meet Apollo giving advice to his brother Mercury, tired at last of his bachelor status: Leave Goddesses aside and marry Philologia instead; she is human, agreed, but among
humans she is the closest to the stars.
Does Nemecs book match the above requirements? Before answering this question we
should examine at some length both the edition and the translation. The time I have devoted
to this task, unusual for a review, is well merited, I believe, because the D and Utpaladevas
Vtti are two exceptionally interesting texts, and Nemecs book makes a serious attempt at
improving our understanding of them.
the edition

Nemecs critical edition is based on six manuscripts, and on the editio princeps published
by the Kashmir Series of Text and Studies (KSTS) in 1934. Of the manuscripts, two are in
rad script (G J), three in Devangar (C P R), one in Malayalam. Only G J P R contain
also Utpaladevas Vtti (G J until III.75, P R until III.64). He admits that he is aware of the
existence of two other manuscripts, one in rad from Srinagar and the other a Devangar

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transcript from Government Oriental Manuscript Library (Chennai), both used for the KSTS
edition. With regard to the former, he says (p. 81): It would be highly desirable to see this
manuscript, but all my efforts to obtain a copy failed, due in no small part to the current
political instability in the Kashmir Valley. As Nemec might have gathered from an article
he in fact quotes (Torella 2007a: 47374), that manuscript, indeed a very important one, is
now no longer in Kashmir, but safely kept at the National Archives, New Delhi, since 1948.
I think that a more extensive search for manuscripts of D and Vtti would not have been out
of place. Personally, I am aware of at least six other manuscripts (three of them including the
incomplete Vtti) in the Research Library, Srinagar, and it is likely that further manuscripts
can be identified in Indian and European libraries. However, this lack of documentation
is probably less deplorable than feared. The difficult, if not impossible, task of outlining a
stemma codicum (the one sketched by Nemec [p. 89] is far from being convincing, as is his
idea of a Southern and Northern recension [p. 85]) is bound not to be particularly effective
in establishing a reliable text, given that the very archetype from which all the extant manuscripts derive directly or indirectly was already fairly corrupt (and of course incomplete). The
genealogical lines of rad manuscripts are usually blurred by the tendency of the Kashmiri
pandits, who themselves copied the manuscripts, to make something like a critical edition
ante litteram. Rather than a replica of the exemplar, the result was often a partly new text,
including what they believed to be better readings derived from other manuscripts, as well
as their own corrections. This very active way of copying was not without risks, as we
shall see.
Thus, the editor of the D and Vtti is compelled to move along the text provided by the
manuscripts in a very cautious and critical way. Even when all textual transmissions agree,
the text could be corrupt, and the role of the editor becomes crucial in proposing emendations. Nemec does not shrink from this task, as delicate as it is necessary, and makes a lot
of emendations, which change the KSTS edition here and there significantly. We must be
grateful to him for improving the edited text at roughly seventeen points, but unfortunately
his emendations also impair the KSTS text at not fewer than sixty-six points. (We can skip
more than twenty irrelevant emendations, such as caikatvc for caikyc.) The infelicitous
corrections by Nemec derive either from choosing the wrong reading from those furnished
by the manuscripts, or from replacing the transmitted reading(s) with his own conjectures. I
refer the reader to my forthcoming article Notes on the ivadi by Somnanda, in which
I will give a detailed account of the textual problems of the D, of the solutions I propose,
while also treating various problematic aspects of Nemecs edition and translation.
I am well aware that making emendations and corrections to manuscripts is a widespread practice nowadays, perhaps even too widespread. Our ancestors aptly called the
highest case of textual criticism divinatio. However, the question is Can everybody afford
divinationes? Behind any bold emendation lies the unspoken belief: If I cannot understand a passage, it is because the passage is corrupt. A very risky statement, indeed ...
I remember one of my students, many years ago, whose translation into Italian of the
Spandapradpik by Bhgavata Utpala contained an impressive amount of corrections to
the edited text: whenever he did not understand the text (which happened frequently due
to his being a rather poor Sanskritist) he corrected the not-always-easy text to adapt it to
his imperfect understanding. Unflinching self-consciousness and self-criticismin other
words a precise awareness of his limitswould be of substantial help to the emendor by
making him at least more cautious in his job. In the case of the present edition, this would
probably have prevented the editor from conjecturally emending viaynanuakte (KSTS)
to viayn anuakte (p. 294.264), mtrt (KSTS) to mtratvt (p. 295.286), satyn

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v (KSTS) to saty s (p. 318.199), tannivtti (KSTS) to tan na nivtti (p. 319.213),
kryabhvt (KSTS) to kryatvat (p. 324.277), deasthena (KSTS) to deasthe na (p.
329.350), tasyvasthnt (KSTS) to tasynavasthnt (p. 342.539). In these and many
other examples, the editors failure to understand the subtle lines of the argument led him
to establish a banalized text.
This does not amount to saying that in actual fact it would have been desirable not to
touch the edited text at all. On the contrary, a close reading of the Vtti (and sometimes of
the mla text itself) shows that it is defective at several points, despite the fact that at such
points the whole textual tradition may be in agreement. A side question might be how to
explain that generations of Kashmiri pandits, proud of their learning and insight, may not
have noticed that here and there passages of the text were meaningless or at least imperfect unless better readings were proposed. A few examples: p. 288.169 icchdyasadbhve
(icchdisadbhve conj.), p. 289.190 tadartha (tadartho conj.), p. 289.193 iva (eva conj.),
p. 334.420 dyrthamayadrapaiva (dyrtham adrapaiva conj.), p. 335.436
sphoasatyrthatvt (sphoasysatyrthatvt conj.), p. 336.445 asatyenvidytmanvyaj
yamnlokena (asatyenvidytman vyajyamnnlokena conj.; in vyajyamnnlokena
the second n has been dropped by haplography), p. 336.446 akty (aakty
conj.), 340.513 jaatvn na paramrthapadapratihena kicidbhogena (jaatvt
paramrthapadapratihena ki bhogena conj.), 342.531 vieanabhve (vieanbhve
conj.), 342.538 vartamnaklena (vartamnaklena na conj., with na dropped by haplography). Many more example could be added. (I refer the reader to my forthcoming article.)
the translation

The translation is meant to be a literal one, but one that presents the material in idiomatic
English (p. 91). However, in the rest of the book Nemec quite often contrasts literal with
idiomatic. Probably due to my somewhat imperfect knowledge of English, in most cases I
fail to grasp the idiomatic nature of the translations presented as being suchwhich seem
to me merely plain English and would be tempted to substitute this alternative with a simpler one: literal/free translation. The requirements for a reliable translator of the D and Vtti
are, after all, not so very different from the requirements for a reliable editor outlined above.
First of all, in the ideal translator a firm knowledge of grammar should be accompanied by
a very sound acquaintance with stric Sanskrit. It is on this very basis that the translator
has to build an in-depth knowledge of dual and non-dual aiva scriptures, the exegetical
literature on them, the literature of possible opponents; highly desirable in the case of the
Pratyabhij texts would also be familiarity with aesthetic speculation. Though aware that
the svataprmnya principle advocated by Bhaa Kumrila has its own merits (if correctly
understood), I believe that a scholar should be unflinchingly critical first of all with regard
to himself and not think that all that comes to his mind is correct just because it comes to
his mind.
A typical case is Nemecs understanding of the following passage (p. 368.233): na hy
asau yog svtmano mtpiasyeva ibika(ibi N em.)stpakdirpavikraparimakramea
kumbhakra iva ghaam (K N add iva, which I have deleted) bhvamaala janayati.
Nemec translates (p. 237): For, the yogin does not produce the universe out of his own
self in the manner that the one who appears to be a potter produces what appears to be
a pot out of what appears to be a ball of clayin stages, by the real transformation, the
modification of form, of the (clay that is made into a) small stpa of the king of ibi, for
example. On readingin the KSTS edition and in all manuscriptsibikastpakdirpa,

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Nemec seems struck by the two initial words, which betray a Buddhist appearance: King
ibi of the Buddhist Jtakas and the stpa. Of course, the text adds two annoying kas, but
he quickly eliminates the first by emending ibika to ibi; for unknown reasons he does not
do the same with stpaka, which comes to be interpreted as small stpa. His Buddhist
intuition apparently prevents his looking around a bit before proceeding. Would it ever be
reasonable to assume that a aiva master in medieval Kashmir, wishing to describe the multiform variety of the manifested world, should refer to the frieze of the small stupa of the
Buddhist King Sibi (if he wanted to use such a simile at any cost, he had plenty of aiva
temples at hand covered with a proliferation of reliefs ...)? Then, does this small stpa of
a legendary king actually exist somewhere? Nemec develops his interpretation with a very
lengthy footnote listing the scholarship on Jtaka and Avadna literature, and on Buddhist
architecture as well. A little more acquaintance with stric Sanskrit would have led him to
a prompt understanding of this straightforward passage, which goes more or less like this:
For this yogin does not create the multiplicity of things [through a gradual modification] of
himself, in the same way as the potter makes a pot through a gradual evolution of modified
forms of the lump of clay, like ibika, stpaka, etc.). In fact, ibika and stpaka are just two
intermediate stages between the amorphous lump of the clay and the finished pot, frequently
mentioned in stric examples.
An apparently limited acquaintance with stric Sanskrit is the cause of other blunders,
too. At the very outset of hnika II we come across a seeming contradiction about the traditional number of tattvas, as it appears that Somnanda is adding one more. Utpaladeva
comments (p. 305.13): tad astu, m v bht, naitad iha mukhyay vtty pratipdyam. ata
evdhikaaktipradarane kte py uktam atriattattvarpat bibhrat iti. In Nemecs
translation (p. 148): Whether it exists or not is not a matter to be discussed here in the
primary commentary [mukhyay vtty]. That is why, even after examining the higher powers, [Somnanda] says he assumes the nature of the thirty-six tattvas. Apart from other
problems in the translation, the reader is struck by Utpaladevas claim that his commentary
is the primary one, and in vain looks for more examples in Sanskrit literature of commentators labeling their commentary as primary to distinguish it from all others (allegedly
secondary). Here Somnanda is describing the five highest aktis: the outmost akti,
kriy, is spiritually and ontologically transcended by jna, which in turn is transcended
by icch. But not even the will is assumed as the final resting point: beyond it there is a
desiring state still without a definite object (the second akti), technically called aunmukhya
tension towards ..., which will only later condense into icchakti. In turn, aunmukhya
itself is the first outline of a dynamic wave stirring the surface of the quiescent bliss of iva
consciousness (the first akti), named after a concept that also has a strong aesthetic connotation, nirvti lysis, contentment, the deep sense of inner satisfaction that is associated with
an intense aesthetic enjoyment. In the passage under examination Somnanda has brought
forward the possibility of an additional akti between aunmukhya and nirvti, but the fact that
in the subsequent account he does not change the traditional number of tattvas shows that
this extreme subtleness is to be taken, so to speak, mostly as an academic virtuosism. Thus,
a more appropriate translation would be [Such additional tattva] may exist or not; [in any
case] in this context this subject is not to be treated in the primary sense. For this very reason,
despite having shown [the possibility of ] an additional power, nevertheless the author says
he assumes the form of thirty-six tattvas. The main cause of Nemecs misunderstanding
is the very innocent mukhyay vtty, which, though having among its various (theoretically)
possible meanings that of primary commentary, in stric Sanskrit invariably means primary sense as opposed to gau vtti (secondary or metaphorical sense).

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A much debated issue is the status of akti in itself and with respect to iva. Vtti on III.5cd
6ab (353.40) says: aktir api aktyantarayogt kurvat aktimn eva syt, karaalakad
artht pravttinimittt karttvd ity artha, yath ivabharaka, akte ca svatantra
svanibandhana krya nnyrayam iti ivat nnyatra kvacid bhavet. In Nemecs translation (p. 216): As for akti, she, acting as a result of being associated with another power,
must be none other than the possessor of power; this is so because an instrument of action
that is the cause of creation [pravttinimittt] must exist, which means that this is so because
she must be an agent, as is ivabharaka. Moreover, the independent, self-reliant effect of
aktis action would not have a basis in anything else. Thus, iva-nature would not exist anywhere at all. His misunderstanding of the passage mainly hinges on his not being aware that
pravttinimitta is a well-known technical term of grammatical speculation, which always lies
in the background of all Indian authors, including our aiva theologians and philosophers.
A better translation may be If in turn akti produces its effects through the connection with
another akti, then akti would end up coinciding with the very possessor-of-akti, this being
due to the meaning characterized by the word producing (karaa), that is, being due to the
ground for using (pravttinimittt) the verb to produce, i.e., due to [akti] being the agent
of the action of producing (karttvt), just like the highest iva. [Thus] the product of akti
would be autonomous, self-dependent, i.e., not having anything else as its substratum, and,
therefore, iva nature would not exist anywhere else.
Sometimes, even technical terms belonging to Pratyabhi philosophy are not recognized
as such and hence mistranslated. A significant example is to be found in his translation
of a passage from the Vtti, p. 333.415 [...] anavasthat, avasthnasya daranavirnter
abhvt. Nemec (p. 190): [...] which leads to a state of infinite regress, because no condition exists that is a repose from seeing. What Utpaladeva means to say is just the opposite:
[this thesis] would lead to a regressus ad infinitum (anavasth), insofar as there would be
lack of a resting point (avasthna), i.e., of an ultimate resting point for the act of perception.
As is well known, for the Pratyabhij the ultimate resting point (virnti) of any cognition
is in fact the I, the cognizer.
A firmer command of stric Sanskrit would have also rescued him from other embarrassing situations. At the beginning of Ahnika III Somnanda says (350.6; III.1): atha akte
parvasth yair bhakty parigyate | yukty prakito devas tata aktida yata. Nemec
translates (p. 212): Now, those who out of devotion proclaim that the supreme condition
belongs to akti promote God under a pretense, because the akti condition immediately
follows him. A more accurate translation might be (Objection:) Those who figuratively
attribute the supreme state to akti, according to the ultimate truth proclaim God [to be such].
For the state of akti comes after that [supreme state]. In this context it is evident that bhakti
does not stand for devotion but for figurative expression, as opposed to yukti (glossed
with vstavbhedayukty), the state of things according to ultimate truth. In short, here there
is no question of personal devotion to akti or not, but only of figuratively maintaining the
primacy of akti over iva with the final aim of stressing the energetic dimension of the
Lord.
Rhetorical tools are often used by the learned commentators of these sophisticated
schools, so that the translator should always be in a state of rhetorical alert. D III.53cd54ab (and following) addresses a crucial issue: If the Lord also has a quiescent state, how
to explain his setting into motion to create the universe without having to conceive of an
occasional cause, external to him, as responsible for his change of status? Somnanda says:
aktitrayasvarpatva sarva (wrongly em. by N to sarve) yasysty avasthitam || nimitta
kalpyate tatra [...], which he translates (p. 242): (Objection:) You must consider the

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motive to exist as the condition of the one whose naturethe triad of powersexists in
everything. [...]. A more appropriate translation would be Must we imagine an occasional cause for him who in all conditions has the three powers as his intrinsic nature?
[...]. The ground for the latter interpretation can be found in Utpaladevas comments
(p. 376.328): tatra nimitta kalpyate (my em., kalpyeta K N and all the manuscripts), kkv
(k kv N) yojyate, ki kalpyeta (kalpyate N), naiva kalpanyam ity artha. The passage is
understood by Nemec like this (p. 247): This means: What is it? Where is it set to work?
How is it conceived of? This simply cannot be assumed. Let us try to do justice to the lucid
argument of Utpaladeva: Shall we imagine an occasional cause? [Kalpyate in the kr.] is
joined to a special [interrogative] tone (kkv), hence the meaning is should a cause be
imagined? which amounts to saying that no cause has to be imagined. Nemecs misunderstanding of the full passage derives from his taking the instrumental of kku special
tone, a well-known term in Indian rhetoric, for a non-existing sequence k kv (the same
mistake is repeated p. 266). The Vtti first quotes kalpyate from the krik, then highlights
an interrogative tone in it that makes it the equivalent of an optative, lastly expresses the
overall meaning in straightforward terms.
Sometimes, however, Ns translations are obscured not by a limited acquaintance with
stric Sanskrit but by problems with Sanskrit grammar itself. A recurring charge against
the worldviews that maintain the eternal presence of the god in all aspect of the manifested
world is that this belief makes liberation of the creatures meaningless as well as all the
traditional means to it (and this holds even if we conceive of liberation as the liberation
of the Lord himself within the creature). On commenting on D III.7374ab, Utpaladeva
says (p. 383.423) tath bhedarpatay ivasyaivvasthiter hetor mokbhvt kimartha
gurustrnuhndikam. na hi devasya nityaprabuddhasya streodbodhana saprayojanam. Nemec translates (p. 256): (Objection:) Of what use is the teacher, the teaching,
the religious practices, etc., given that liberation does not exist, this because iva himself
abides in them as he does, i.e., as the form of duality? For, awakening through scripture has
no purpose for a god who is eternally awoken. [...]. A more correct translation would be
Since there is no [possibility of ] liberation because it is iva himself who manifests himself
in this wayi.e., in terms of differentiationwhat is the use of gurus, conduct according to
scripture, and so on? For awakening the God who has ever been fully awake has no sense.
Then, Utpaladeva adds one more comment: this objection does not hold necessarily with
respect to other systems, but even to the aiva one (satm anyni stri [...] let us
keep aside (satm) the other scriptures [...]. In Nemecs translation: Other teachings
are for those who are seated (around the teacher) [satm] [...]. What happened? He has
unfortunately taken the tmanepada imperative satm for the (non-existing) present parasmaipada participle of s- in the genitive plural. But then, seeing that those who are seated
hardly makes any sense, he has been forced to make an arbitrary addition: seated where?
around the teacher. Needless to say, the arguments extensively developed in fn. 321 are
consequently out of place.
As we have seen, one of the most original doctrines in the D is the identification of
states even behind or beneath the power of will (icchsakti), usually considered the highest
akti. Utpala comments (p. 294.264): aktimtraka aunmukhye viaynanuakte nirvtimaya
icchprvabhge. In Nemecs translation (p. 131): In the one possessed of pure power,
i.e., in eagerness, the first part of will that is closely associated with the objects of sense and
consists of delight. I would rather say: In the state of eagerness, made only of unqualified power, not craving for a specific object, consisting of delight [...]. Very infelicitous
is Nemecs choice, even profusely argued in fn. 227, to read viaynanuakte as viayn

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anuakte, which is totally against the expected meaning (and grammar as well). Another
example of weak grammatical command can be found in the translation of the stanza I.36bc
(p. 296.308) [...] tatphalai | sabhatsyamnni [...] [the bodies which] will be consumed by their fruits, where he evidently takes sambhatsyamnni for the future participle
of sabhak-, while it is of sabandh- ([the bodies which] will be connected with their
fruits). See also his constant translation of yvat by in as much as, when it means instead
a very strong opposition (but), with fatal consequences for the overall understanding of the
passages in which it occurs.
The last two points exemplify the excessive quickness and self-reliance of the
author. While examining the concept of pratibh intuition, Utpala says 337.466: tat
pratibhprabhsanam (wrongly separated by Nemec into pratibh prabhsanam) nirnimittam asti, kpe jalam itydivan na pramam. He translates (p. 195): We reply: intuition
is an appearance that has no (precisely definable) cause. Similar to thinking, there is water
in the well, for example, it is not a valid means of knowledge. As he argues at length in
fn. 309, kpe jalam would refer to a special type of intuition arising from repeated practice,
for example that which allows one to establish the proper location to dig a well. In fact, this
laukikanyya, which is well known among the Kashmiri authors (see for instance Tantrloka
XXXV.33, varapratyabhijvivtivimarin II p. 250), refers to a possible but not certain
knowledge (in a well there may be water, but there are also a lot of wells without a single
drop of water). Accordingly, the correct translation is We reply that the shining of intuition
has no specific cause, and consequently it cannot be assumed as a valid means of knowledge,
just as when we say there is water in the well.
At the beginning of hnika III we are faced again with a theological-grammatical problem: the gender of the Absolute (p. 351.13) [...] pustva hi strpusayo smnya
liga, napusaka puna ahat[my em.; aktat N along with KSTS and all
manuscripts]paryyarpa naivavidhavivevaranirdevasare yuktopapdanam. Nemec
translates (p. 213): [...] for masculinity is the unmarked gender of both the feminine and
the masculine [genders], while the neuter [gender], it not being a way of speaking of the
state of being empowered, does not merit examination when one refers to the Lord of the
universe in such a(n empowered) form. I am afraid that no Sanskrit author (not to speak of
Utpala, always so fond of clarity and non-ambiguity) would have ever adopted the solution
proposed by Nemec in fn. 13 (p. 213): to read aktatparyya as aktat-a-paryya. On the
other hand, the context by no means allows aktatparyya to be taken in its own meaning
(which is a synonym for being powerful). The lectio difficilior ahat in the place
of aktat should have come to mind as the only possible solution, all the more so because
aha eunuch is frequently found in grammatical texts to designate the neuter gender
instead of the more common napusaka. Thus, an alternative translation may be In fact,
the masculine is the generic gender covering both feminine and masculine, nor would it
be appropriate to use the neuterwhich is a synonym for the condition of eunuchon the
occasion of designating the Lord of the universe, having the aforementioned characteristics
[i.e., power, etc.].
conclusion

The reader should not think that I have only criticism for Nemecs book. In spite of the
above reservations, which are however by no means secondary, I recommend this book as
the first comprehensive attempt to shed light one on the most importantand comparatively neglectedworks of aiva Advaita of Kashmir. The author is well read in secondary

Torella: Pratyabhij and Philology

713

literature (apparently more than in primary sources), has profitably interacted at length with
numerous top scholars both in India and the West, and has a keen interest in the subject. This
is particularly evident in the long introduction, which, although somewhat repetitive and diffuse, basically provides an ample and coherent picture of Somnandas thought and of his
role among the Pratyabhij authors and also succeeds in being accessible to non-specialists.
In a sense, a scholar is required to be bold: problems emerge when he becomes too bold
and is not really aware of his (present) limitations, particularly as a Sanskritist. In sum, in
order to be useful (as it can be) Nemecs book needs to be read extremely cautiously, without
taking anything for granted. But scholarly works that can be read while serenely abandoning
oneself in the arms of the author are indeed rare...

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