Abhinavagupta - Lifestyle


Abhinavagupta remained unmarried all his life, we do however know him to be an adept of Kaula and as such, utilized his sexual energy as vital force (ojas), a constant source of shakti to power the spiritual nervous system he outlined in his works. This system involves ritual intercourse between shaktiman and shakti, yet this intercourse is essentially non-physical and universal, and thus for a master such as Abhinavagupta, he was always in intercourse as Shiva-Shakti. We can only speculate about whether he was physically chaste, and either answer to this question is not very meaningful in the context of his life and teachings. Abhinavagupta parallels Shiva as both ascetic and enjoyer.

He studied assiduously at least until the age of 30 or 35, and in order to do that he travelled, but mostly inside Kashmir.

By his own testimony, he had attained spiritual liberation through his Kaula practice, under the guidance of his most admired master, Śambhunātha.

He lived in his home (functioning as an ashram) with his family members and disciples and he did not become a wondering monk, nor did he take on the regular duties of the brahmin caste.

Thus, Abhinavagupta lived out his life as a writer and a teacher. His personality was a living realization of his vision.

In an epoch pen-painting he is depicted seated in Virasana, surrounded by devoted disciples and family, performing a kind of trance inducing music at veena while dictating verses of Tantrāloka to one of his attendees - behind him two dūtī (women yogi) waiting on him.

A legend about the moment of his death (placed somewhere between 1015 and 1025 depending on the source), says that he took with him 1200 disciples and marched off to a cave (the Bhairava Cave, an actual place known to this day), reciting his poem Bhairava-stava, a devotional work. They were never to be seen again, supposedly translating together in the spiritual world.

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