Skip to content

This is Shaivism

Shiva Stotravali
Episode No. 138

Shambhavi reads from the Shiva Stotravali and offers commentary. A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi

Podcast First Words

This is a new translation of one of my favorite texts from the Kashmiri tantric tradition. The text is called the Shiva Stotravali. There are a few different translations of this text into English. Constantina Rhodes wrote one very beautiful translation that’s really lovely, but probably not completely accurate. But this one is a newly released loose translation by Swami Lakshmanjoo.

It’s really hard to characterize how Swami Lakshmanjoo related to these texts. On the one hand, you could say that they’re loose translations. On the other hand, you could say they’re the most accurate translations because he’s translating the real essence meaning of these words. Swami Lakshmanjoo’s students got together and took a lot of different teachings that he gave on the Shiva Stotravali and combined them into this text. It includes both his riffs on the words of the different parts of the text, and also conversations that he had with students during the teachings which were recorded.

The Shiva Stotravali was spoken by Utpaladeva, who lived a couple of generations before Abhinavagupta. The text is a loose collection of devotional words. A lot of them were spoken in various states and then his devotees wrote them down. I don’t know if all of them were spoken because Utpaladeva was also a great scholar—so there’s nothing preventing him from writing now and then! He wrote lots of books of View teachings.

This is definitely the book from the Kashmiri tradition that I keep going back to, after my interest in the more scholarly View teachings came to an end, more or less. Because when you’re living those teachings you don’t really need to read about them. At one time it was very exciting for me to read about them, but now I just find these to be the most exciting words.

So this is from Chapter 1, called the Ecstasy of Devotion.