Utpaladeva – emblematic master of the Trika School

 Utpaladeva  was one of the greatest masters of shaivism in Kashmir.

The great mystical saint of Kashmir is also known as Utpala or Utpalacharya, but also Jnoon-e-Kamil- wise in divine ecstasy.

His life

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Utpaladeva was a precocious child with a sharp intellect, with a great desire for knowledge and transformation. Spurred on by this desire, by a great spiritual aspiration and a great love of God, he accumulated deep mystical knowledge and became  a perfect divine model.

Udayakar’s son lived  around the mid-900’s d.Hr. and lived somewhere in Nauhatta (Navyut) in Srinagar.

Remaining by his special qualities, he was taken as a disciple by the great philosopher  Siddha Somananda , whose great work Shivadrishti, Pratyabhijnya Shastra (Philosophy of Recognition) inspired Utpala to write
Ishwar Pratyabhijnya Karikas

In Shivadrishti it is said that Utpala was motivated to write Karikas at the request of his son, Vibhramakara .

In this work, he synthesized  the teachings of his master and speaks  of it  as  “a reflection of the wisdom taught by Somananda”.

In fact, tradition says that Utpala was often  in a deep state of spiritual ecstasy. He has written important works, which are the  expression of his state as a liberated being who lives permanently in total identification with God.

“Oh my God!

Sit next to me

and listens briefly to the brief definition of pleasure and pain .

What is union with You is pleasure

and what is separation from You is pain.”

Founder of the school Pratyabhijna

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He was, along with Abhinanagupta, one of the most important masters of the Pratyabhijna school.

The name of this  school is derived from the name of the Shhivaite text, written in Sanskrit by the liberated grand master Utpaladava, around 1000 BC- “Ishavaprathyabijnakarika

” (aphorisms about the direct recognition of Demnezeu in ourselves ).

Schivaism is considered to be the oldest spiritual path of the world, a fact attested by archaeological excavations at Mohenjo Daro and Harappa that indicated its existence even beyond the chalcolithic.

Pratyabhijna is one of the most important schools of Casmiri Shahivaism in the Trika system. There are several important schools of Cashmerian Shivaism, but the Trika system encompasses the most elevated ones.

“Pratyabhijna” means
“to recognize yourself, to spontaneously realize your Self once again”
“the recognition, the reminder of our divine nature”.

It means realizing who we really are and finding ourselves back. That’s the philosophy behind this system.

In short this term that refers to the direct recognition of the Divine Essence.

“Oh my God!

You may have increased the desire for the objective world just like other people,

but with this difference that I will regard it as yourself, with no idea of duality.”

In this way there is no “upaya”, i.e. means, modalities or instruments of transformation, but the cultivation of inner attitudes in order to awaken the lightning Divine Consciousness within us.

It is also called the “easy and very short way”, being accessible for very few very elevated beings.

Its philosophy

∞ Infinite Symbol - Origin, Meaning, Benefits ~ FOLconcept

“O Lord,

the one who sees (truly)

recognizes the entire objective world

as a purely non-relational consciousness.

Thus occurs  the identification of individual consciousness with universal Consciousness and,

as a result,

the attainment of divine Happiness,

where or who does someone need to be scared of? “

He asserts that supreme spiritual liberation is essentially a total and irreversible recognition that our true identity is eternal, immutable, and ineffable.

Man lives in suffering and limitation because he has forgotten his true identity. But he can emerge from samsara through a direct and spontaneous knowledge of his essential nature, through the spontaneous recognition of his identity with the Supreme Self Atman.

This revelation is a total and overwhelming manifestation of divine grace.

9 Amazing Facts About Lord Shiva That You Didn't Know Before Now

Somananda explained Utpala’s doctrine with the following example:

A girl and a boy whose marriage was established by their relatives

and who have not seen themselves happen to sit with their friends and relatives at a fair.

The girl happens to serve the boy with refreshments.

As a matter of course, there is a special feeling between the two.

But when the future marriage of the couple is suggested, suddenly feelings of love appear in both the boy and the girl.

The girl recognizes her lover.

This is Jiva’s recognition with Shiva.”

In this way the philosophy of Pratyabhijnya is briefly described  , as taught by Utpala .

Upta’s teaching was continued by Lakshmangupta, who was abhinavagupta’s master.

His works

  • Pratyabhijnya Karikas – The Sutras or  ” Lyrics about the recognition of the Lord “
  • Book image page

 Although Ishwar Pratyabhijnya is difficult to study and understand, it is still a perfect work of philosophy that gives  the devotee the knowledge  necessary to take a leap into the levels of consciousness.

It is not only a set of philosophical doctrines, but also contains instructions on practical Yoga .


  • Shivastotravali (with Kshemaraja’s commentary in Sanskrit and Hindi commentary by Swami Lakshman Joo
  • Sivastotravali of Utpaladeva

“Shivastotravali” is a poem, which was written after a period of intense and deep states of divine ecstasy (samadhi) and is a mirror of his exceptional spiritual experiences.

His disciples, Sri Rama and Adityaraja, together with Vishvanatha, structured this poem into 20 chapters which, with the exception of chapters thirteen and fourteen which were written by Utpaladeva in a full state of lucidity.

  • Ishwara-Siddhi
  • Ajadapromatri-Siddhi .



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