Utpaladeva (late 9th–early 10th century) was a great philosopher of the School of Recognition of non-dualist Kashmir Shaivism, who established its philosophy on a solid basis with his Ishvarapratyabhijna Karikas (Verses on the Recognition of the Lord), and with three philosophical works, the Siddhitrayi. He was the predecessor (Paramaguru) of the great Abhinavagupta. But at the same time he was a mystic of bhakti as we find it here expressed in his Hymns Shivastotravali. For him, bhakti and advaita were not opposed to each other but complementary.
The Shivastotravali is a collection of verses and hymns which are an expression of intense bhakti, longing for the Lord, and the mystical experience of the author and his non-dual union with Shiva. They were arranged in 20 chapters or Stotras by his disciples. Of highly poetic quality, these verses belong to the greatest mystical literatures of the world.
Swami Lakshman Joo, the last Shaivacarya of Kashmir (1907–1991), combined in himself the great scholar of the tradition of Kashmir Shaivism, who taught and expounded its texts time and again to his disciples and to scholars from all parts of the world, and the perfect yogi who had an intimate experience of the spirituality contained therein. He had a special love for the Shivastotravali and expounded it many times in different languages (Kashmiri, Hindi and English). His edition of the Shivastotravali with Kshemaraja's commentary and his Hindi translation remains the standard text. In the present volume his exposition in English is brought out for the first time.