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Commentary on a series of hymns to Śiva


Śivastotrāvalī (A series of hymns to Śiva) is a famous compilation of 20 hymns composed by Utpaladeva. Sage Kṣemarāja (the main disciple of venerable Abhinavagupta, the greatest Trika Shaivism Master of all time) wanted to elucidate the meanings contained in those twenty hymns and wrote a full commentary in prose (Vivṛti) on them all. His Sanskrit is simple and elevated at the same time. Kṣemarāja wrote many important scriptures such as: Śivasūtravimarśinī, Spandanirṇaya, Pratyabhijñāhṛdaya, Parāprāveśikā, etc. He is one of my two favorite authors of Trika Shaivism (the other is Śiva Himself, the Holy Lord).

Now I will explain in detail the number of stanzas each of the hymns contains:

  1. Chapter 1: 26 stanzas.
  2. Chapter 2: 29 stanzas.
  3. Chapter 3: 21 stanzas.
  4. Chapter 4: 25 stanzas.
  5. Chapter 5: 26 stanzas.
  6. Chapter 6: 11 stanzas.
  7. Chapter 7: 9 stanzas.
  8. Chapter 8: 13 stanzas.
  9. Chapter 9: 20 stanzas.
  10. Chapter 10: 26 stanzas.
  11. Chapter 11: 15 stanzas.
  12. Chapter 12: 29 stanzas.
  13. Chapter 13: 20 stanzas.
  14. Chapter 14: 24 stanzas.
  15. Chapter 15: 19 stanzas.
  16. Chapter 16: 30 stanzas.
  17. Chapter 17: 48 stanzas.
  18. Chapter 18: 21 stanzas.
  19. Chapter 19: 17 stanzas.
  20. Chapter 20: 21 stanzas.
  21. TOTAL: 450 stanzas.

The goal of life is Liberation. Man has always sought freedom in human history, but according to Trika Shaivism, this is not the true Liberation. True Liberation does not mean that your body must be free from some prison and things like that. True Liberation is equivalent to attaining His Svātantrya or Absolute Freedom. When the Great Lord's Svātantrya is achieved, then you see unity in all things, that is, you stop seeing duality as before. Everything is always identified with Svātantrya, with Him, and that is the end of the story called 'you in captivity'. From this point on, nothing will stand in your way, because if something seemingly stands in your way, that is Svātantrya again. This constant awareness of unity in everything is true Freedom. There is no greater achievement than this!

With the above in mind, now read the Śivastotrāvalīvivṛti and experience Supreme Delight, dear Śiva.


 Further Information

Gabriel Pradīpaka

This document was conceived by Gabriel Pradīpaka, one of the two founders of this site, and spiritual guru conversant with Sanskrit language and Trika philosophy.

For further information about Sanskrit, Yoga and Indian Philosophy; or if you simply want to comment, ask a question or correct a mistake, feel free to contact us: This is our e-mail address.

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