The Triadic Heart of Śiva

Kaula Tantricism of Abhinavagupta in the Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir

By Paul E. Muller-Ortega

Subjects: Tantra
Series: SUNY series in the Shaiva Traditions of Kashmir
Paperback : 9780887067877, 342 pages, November 1988
Hardcover : 9780887067860, 342 pages, December 1988

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Table of contents



1. Introduction and Methodological Considerations

2. The Historical Context

3. The Symbol of the Heart in India Prior to Abhinavagupta

4. The Heart as Ultimate Reality

5. The Heart as Embodied Cosmos: Kula

6. The Heart: Vibration and Emissional Power

7. The Heart and Natural Metaphors

8. The Heart as Mantra

9. Conclusion: The Heart Attained






This book explores one of the most explicit and sophisticated theoretical formulations of tantric yoga. It explains Abhinavagupta's teaching about the nature of ultimate reality, about the methods for experiencing this ultimate reality, and about the nature of the state of realization, a condition of embodied enlightenment. The author uncovers the conceptual matrix surrounding the practices of the Kaula lineage of Kashmir Shaivism.

The primary textual basis for the book is provided by Abhinavagupta's Parātrīśikā-laghuvṛtti, a short meditation manual that centers on the symbolism of the Heart-mantra, SAUḤ.

Paul Eduardo Muller-Ortega is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Michigan State University.


"Muller-Ortega's approach is good, clear, intelligent, and perceptive. The translation of the Paratrisika-laghuvrtti given in the appendix, being the first English translation of this short but important text, is a very useful contribution to the study of Kashmir Shaivism, and so are the long and numerous quotations in the text of other works, as yet untranslated into English, of Abhinavagupta. " — Andre Padoux, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris