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Tantra Illuminated: The Philosophy, History, and Practice of a Timeless Tradition

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The ever benevolent one. Sadha Shiva. The word god is no longer applicable for it transcends any form of a deity with identifiable names or attributes. iii] For both points, see Sanderson’s monumental “The Śaiva Age,” published in Genesis and Development of Early Tantrism, edited by S. Einoo.

Ego. Ankara. Identity maker. “I am”. Ego is a persistent contraction of awareness in a form of a collection of self images that causes suffering trough artificial self limitation. In tantric tradition an enemy is an ally seen in a wrong way, thus the ego is not to be Anahi later in tantric yoga but purified and infinitely expanded until it melts into all that is if you undertake the practice of yoga with the right View of yourself, that you already are a perfect and whole expression of the Divine and that you are doing yoga to realize and then fully express what is already true, then you have empowered your practice to take you all the way." iv] However, many aspects of Tantrik yoga and ritual were being studied one hundred years ago, by the pioneering scholar-practitioner John Woodroffe (pen-name: Arthur Avalon); but these East Indian sources did not include the philosophical texts under discussion, which were preserved almost exclusively in the far North (Kashmīr, Puñjab, Nepāl) and South (Kerala, Karṇātaka, Tamiḷ Nādu). There is no problem, and there has never been any problem - other than the fact that you think there's a problem: the flawed human understanding from which all suffering springs." This definition also applies to other forms of nondual Tantra, such as Buddhist forms (though they of course use names for the Divine reality other than Siva and Sakti, such as Buddha-nature or Dharmakaya). This rather condensed definition will be explained simply now and elaborated later.Understood in the proper context, the teachings of original Tantra are not at all vague or nebulous. They precisely map intricate structures of awareness and pay impeccable attention to detail in answering fundamental questions like What is the basic nature of a human being? Is consciousness a static witness or a dynamic process? How do we acquire valid insight, undistorted by our past conditioning? Does awareness create reality?How do we become free of suffering? Careful answers to these questions informed by direct spiritual realization is the gift we have received from the Tantrik sages like Kṣhemarāja who composed or transmitted these texts.This gift has passed through the loving hands of those who are reviving and resuscitating this tradition today on the level of its most subtle transmission. The energy of that transmission has not been lost; I know because I myself, and many others I know, have been fortunate to receive it. Jai Ho! इति शिवम् iti śivam! May it be for a blessing. If the world were considered as separate [from the Light of Consciousness], then by virtue of the fact that it would be unmanifesting/unillumined, it would not exist at all. NŚT teaches that our universe exhibits self-similarity, like a snowflake or a fractal, with the same patterns repeating on all levels. As above, so below. As without, so within. As here, so elsewhere."

Individual soul. Purusha. The innermost self,soul, the witness, pure consciousness, Attman. In samkhya and classical patanjali yoga, the atman sits at the top of the hierarchy of tattwas, for those non tantric systems it is the ultimate principal, spirit as opposed to matter energy, and there are a plurality of divine souls that are not part of one conscious entity. For tantrical philosophy the purusha is not the highest principle, but a contracted form of the universal consciousness. There are not a plurality of selfs but one self. This is one of the most comprehensive books on the tradition of Tantra that I have come across yet. Christopher is clearly a thorough academician who has opted for this study because of a passionate personal practice. Because of this he shows the invigorating color of his bhakti while maintaining the pragmatism of an academician. I feel it's a must read for anyone interested in exploring tantra & yoga academically and an absolute must read for anyone aspiring liberation through spirituality. One feels the deep ocean of knowledge that our ancients lived in and realizes that their knowledge is pragmatic and evergreen...fit for all generations. When you see yourself clearly, there comes a flash of recognition: you are a microcosmic expression of precisely the same divine powers that create, maintain, and dissolve this whole universe. When you experientiallyrealize that the same beautiful and awesome powers that orchestrate the intricate and wondrous display of this entire creation are flowing within you, creating you even as you create with them, providing the very foundation of your whole experience of reality, there is a profound shift. Your fear and pettiness drop away as you harmoniously fall into the dance of life energy, realizing that you have been the only one who has ever limited your potential. An explosion of joy accompanies the realization that there is nothing to do, nothing to achieve, other than to fully embrace the divine powers that seek to manifest through you by expressing the entirety of your authentic being in the fullness of each moment, in an endless flow of such moments." Graduate StudentInstructor, Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies,University of California at Berkeley, 2002 - 2008To step into the world of Saiva Tantra is to enter a world of magic and mystery. Mind-expanding philosophy and arcane rites, pantheons of fierce goddesses embodied in mystic syllables, energy diagrams that map the many dimensions of reality, visualizations of power centers within the body, gestures that express the purest forms of consciousness, nectarean experiences of the sheerest ecstasy, wielders of supernatural power, and concepts that challenge the fundamental norms of ordinary society: these are just some of its features. In short, it is a world that encompasses the entire range of human spiritual and religious activity, from the most elevated and sublime contemplations of our inner nature to the strangest of superstitions. (We'll be focusing on the former more than the latter.) Some people today are interested only in the high philosophy of the Tantra, others in the purely practical techniques, others are curious about the entire historical picture. acts of god( what god does) come from the power of action, which is not independent from the other actions: After the philosophy section, the author gives a detailed, but generalized, accounting of the history of Saiva Tantra. A lot of his work is based off of Alexis Sanderson, who is the pre-eminent scholar of Saiva Tantra. Not only do we learn the genesis and development of the classical Tantra, but we also learn that the Tantra subsumed many elements of Patanjali’s Yoga to produce Hatha Yoga, which he clearly shows has its roots in the Tantra. It is from Hatha Yoga that we obtained the Modern Postural Yoga. So not only do we get to learn about this history of classical Tantra, but we also learn about the Tantric roots of modern day yoga practice. The history is both relevant and fascinating. Lecturer in Yoga Philosophy and Sanskrit language,Yoga Mandala (Berkeley) and Yoga Tree (San Francisco), 2005 - 2007

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