Abhinavagupta was a versatile genius. He was a philosopher, poet and logician. As an encyclopaedic thinker, as a brilliant commentator and as a devoted poet, he reigns supreme. He was a prolific author. He wrote forty—five works covering various branches of philosophy and literature. His works are marked by originality and profundity. He founded new schools of Metaphysics and Aesthetics.
Abhinavagupta was a mystic and also a rationalist. He has significantly added new chapters to the history of Indian Aesthetics. His magnum opus the Tantraloka, his searching Locana on the Dhvanyaloka of Anandavardhana and his erudite commentary Abhinavabharati on the Natyasastra of Bharata Muni are monumental works.
Abhinavagupta's contribution to the stotra literature has a distinct character and tenacious grip. His stotras have richness of thought, devotional fragrance, literary beauty and invigorating spirit. So the study of the stotras of Abhinavagupta is rewarding. With this puspose, Dr. Shashi Shekhar Chaturvedi has translated Abhinava’s stotras into English and Hindi under the title 'Abhinavastotravalih, which shows his genuine interest in the discipline.
I recommend the work to the students of literature and Kasmira Saivism and hope it will be well received.
Bhaktimarga (devotion-path) is considered excellent among all the paths of salvation. Lord Sri Krsna preaching to Arjuna said that devotion is the most easy path by which one can attain liberation (or God) as -
- Bh. G., 18|54
The stotras (hymns of praise) are very usual means of that Para-bhakti and liberation. The great poet Kalidasa has propounded the significance of the stotra—'Stotram kasya na tustaye’ in regard to please any being. It is well known that a great Pandita of his time, Ravana having appeased Lord Siva got all the things what ever he wanted. In the chain of the great stotras composed by different scholars, the stotras of Abhinavaguptapadacarya, the greatest scholar of Kasmira Saiva philosophy, has assigned important place to both aspects of the Stotras, the philosophical and the devotional. The stotras of Abhinavagupta, translated in this edition have not been translated by any scholar till the present time. I am presenting the translation of the stotras of Abhinavagupta under the title “Abhinavastotravalih" in this edition in Hindi as well as in English. In the translated stotras of Abhinavagupta, the tranascendental and the immanant states of Lord Siva with his power Para which is known by different names like Laksmi, Sarasvati etc. in the Puranas and other scriptures are described. In these stotras, a very sacred, religious and philosohic stream of Jnanayoga and Bhaktiyoga is always current. These stotras have distinct importance in comparison to others, because the elements and the principles of Kasmira Saiva philosophy with feelings of devotion are delineated here. Therefore, these stotras are very significant from the research point of view.
While translating the text, full care has been taken that the translated text remains quite close to the original. The suggestions from readers and scholars are always welcome which would be duly incorporated in the next edition of the work.
I am very grateful to my father Prof. Radheshyam Chaturvedi without whom I would have not been able to complete Stotravali. I am also thankful to Prof. Amar Nath Pandey, an extra-ordinary scholar of Sanskrit for his foreword to this book. I am also grateful to Prof. Vachaspati Upadhyaya, V.C., L.B.S. Sanskrit Vidyapith, Prof. R.C. Panda, Sanskrit Faculty B.H.U., Prof. P.D. Singh, Dr. O.P. Upadhyaya, C.M.O., B.H.U. and Dr. Sudhakar Malviya for their advice and inspiration. I also pay humble gratitude to Prof. B.L. Tripathi Dept. of English B.H.U. for his valuable suggestions. I wish to thank heartly Dr. V N. Tiwari & Dr. Mridul Tiwari for their co— operation. I am also grateful to my wife Smt. Vibha Chaturvedi and daughters Nishtha and Astha and also to Dr. Reema for their love and inspiration.
For the publication and excellent printing I also thank Navinji and Sri Ramaranjan Malviya. This edition should prove useful to the lovers of Sanskrit and research scholars, My sincere solicitation to the Goddess Parasakti.
'Stotram kasya na tustaye' according to this statment of the great Poet Kalidasa, there is no such creature in this world who does not please by his praise. It is also stated in the political books that the being, fearful demon etc. also begin to favour because of Sama or stuti (praise). Therefore, among the Danda, Bheda and Dama etc. manners, sama or stuti is considered the excellent. Because of this Veda, histories, Puranas and the Kavyas are full of suktas and stotras. The scholars unanimously accept that Veda is the main source of all true knowledge and every mode of Sanskrit Vanmaya. Five primary elements viz the earth, the water, the fire, the sky and the air have been praised many times in the form of suktas. Agnisukta, Savitrsukta, Varuna and Marut etc. suktas are the burning evidence to this statement. In the post Vaidic period, symbolic natural powers praised in the Vedas in the form of five primary elements, were given figurative form. The word stotra is derived from the root-stu and suffix strun. Hence the meaning is to praise, eulogy, commendation, a hymn of praise, ponegyric.
'Adityahrdaya stotra' is the first stotra of (laukika) wordly Sanskrit literature described in the Ramayana, the first Mahakavya composed by the first great poet and the great sage Valmiki of Laukika Sanskrit, in which Aditya is praised by different names. 'Gangastakam' stotra in the praise of Goddess Ganga written by sage Valmiki and the 'Sivatandava stotra' of the great Pandita Ravana, contemporary of Lord Rama, are the most ancient stotras available in Laukika Sanskrit. Just after the Ramayana, the Mahabharata comes in order which is the second great historical poetry, in which the 'Srivisnorasta- vimsatinama stotra' contains description of Lord Visnu's twenty eight names in the dailogue form between Arjuna and Sri Krisna. In the same period another stotra (hymns of priase) namely the 'Srivisvanathastakarn' composed by sage Vyasa as well as the Mahabharata and many other Puranas. In the same time, in the Bhagavadgita another stotra viz. 'Sapta Slokigita' is available in the dailogue form between Srikrsna and Arjuna referred to 'Brahmavidya' Hymns of praise of Lord Visnu by Dhruva in the fourth skandha of ninth chapter of 'Srimadbhagavata Purana' and the praise of the same God by Prahlada in the seventh skandha of ninth chapter, are also important. The 'Catussloki Bhagavata' in the second skandha of ninth chapter referred to Bhagavad-Brahma dailogue and another stotra viz. 'Bhagavatstutih' done by Bhisma in the praise of Sri Krsna are the older stotras. In the Aranya Kanda of the Adhyatmaramayana done by saint Jatayu and in the thirteenth chapter of Yuddhakanda, praise done by Brahma- deva in the admiration of Rama are also significant.
The great scholar of the 8th century A.d, God Sankara in- carnate, and founder of the Monistic Vedanta philosophy, Sankaracarya has composed many stotras in the praise of different Gods and Goddesses which are fortunately available. The stotras of Acarya Sankara and many other can be seen in the list coming further. Besides the above stated stotras there are many other in the praise of different Gods and Godesses composed by different scholars namely the Ramanandacarya, Tulasidasa, Yamunacarya, Brahrnananda swamin etc. can be seen in the list. The collection of all the stotras is very difficult for us to mention here.
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