Utpaladeva and Being the Servant

Utpaladeva and Devotion
November 14, 2018

Shambhavi riffs on the words of Utpaladeva and gets personal about devotion and her identification with the role of the servant. A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi

Podcast First Words

So there was a fellow Utpaladeva who lived in the 10th century. He was the disciple of another fellow Somananda. Together Somananda and his disciple Utpaladeva founded, or maybe just wrote down, what’s called the Pratyabhijña school of Shaivism. This means the recognition school or the self-recognition school. They wrote really beautiful treatises about self-recognition. It’s really the process of re-recognizing what is sometimes called your original face or your essence nature.

Utpaladeva in particular was a great devotee of Lord Shiva, in the sense that he was really a bhakta. He wrote kind of heavy-going tracts about pratyabhijña and about self-recognition which are actually quite devotional. He also wrote a lot of devotional poems or songs from his own experience. For that proverbial one book you would take to a desert island, I would take some of Utpaladeva’s writings. They’re some of the most beautiful, devotional writings I’ve ever encountered. I also very much identify with Utpaladeva because his form of devotion was to remain the servant of Lord Shiva. Even beyond actually having self-realization or liberation, he wanted to just remain a servant of Lord Shiva.

So this is something he wrote that’s actually in the beginning of my new book. This is from the Shiva Stotravali which is a book of his great spiritual, devotional writings. You almost get the feeling that it’s kind of his spiritual diary. I don’t think he wrote it all in one go. He didn’t mean it to be a book. He probably wrote different poems at different times. Later it got put together into a book, but anyway this is from that.

“My wish is to be neither an ascetic indifferent to the world nor a manipulator of supernatural powers, nor even a worshipper craving liberation, but only to become drunk on the abundant wine of devotion.”


Satsang with Shambhavi is a weekly podcast about spirituality, love, death, devotion and waking up while living in a messy world.