A Trident of Wisdom

Translation of Parātrīśikā-vivaraṇa

By Abhinavagupta
Translated by Jaideva Singh
Foreword by Paul E. Muller-Ortega

Subjects: Tantra
Series: SUNY series in Tantric Studies
Paperback : 9780791401811, 405 pages, July 1989
Hardcover : 9780791401804, 405 pages, July 1989

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

Foreword by Paul Muller Ortega
List of Abbreviations

Part I: Paratrisika-Vivarana of Abhinavagupta: Translation with Notes
Preliminaries (Benedictory Verses 1-5)
Verse 1 of Paratrisika
Different implications of the word Devi
The rationale of the past tense in 'said' (uvaca)
The Final Resting Place of all questions and answers
Sixteen interpretations of anuttara
Interpretations of Kaulika-siddhidam
Exposition on Verse 1 and Commentary
Etad guhyam mahaguhyam Text and Commentary

Verse 2
Verses 3 and 4
Verses 5 to 9a
Verses 9 to 18b
Verse 19
Verse 20
Verse 21
Verse 22
Verse 23
Verse 24
Verses 25 to 26
Verse 27
Verse 28
Verse 29
Verse 30
Verses 31 to 33
Verse 34
Verse 35
Verse 36
Verse 37
Autobiographical Verses of Abhinavagupta
General Index

Part II: Paratrisika-Vivarana : Sanskrit Text
List of Additions & Corrections (Sanskrit Text)
Index of Half-Verses of Paratrisika
Index of Quotations

List of Charts
1. The various anda or ellipses contained in anuttara
2A. The identity of the original sourse (bimba) and its reflection (pratibimba)
2B. The transposition of the tattvas (catagories of existence in reflection (pratibimba)
3. The arrangement of letters according to Matrka in parasamvitti in sarvagrarupata
4. Arrangement of letters according to Matrka in parparasamvitti in sarvamadhyarupata
5. Letters of Malini together with their representation with reference to supreme consciousness or parasamvitti
6. Parasamvitti (supreme consciousness) - sarvagrarupata
7. In parapara-samvitti - supreme-cum-non-supreme consciousness, sarvamadhyarupata in the order of Matrka-letters
8. Arrangement of letters according to Matrka in parparasamvitti sravantya-rupata
9. Malini in apara samvitti and Matrka in pasyanti or parapara samvitti
10. The outline of the Mandala of the trident and lotuses (trisulabjamandala)


"I have prepared a trident of Wisdom in order to cut asunder their bondage. " — Abhinavagupta

This is a long commentary on a short Tantra. One of the most authoritative and venerated texts in Kashmir Shaivism, it deals with the nature of Ultimate Reality and with methods of realization focusing on the theory and practice of Mantra. Abhinavagupta presents his metaphysics of language, of the Word (Vak), and its relation to consciousness. He calls it, "trikasastra-rahasya-upadesa: The teaching of the secret of the Trika doctrine. "