The Radiance Sutras
by Lorin Roche
Excerpts from The Radiance Sutras: 112 Tantra Yoga Teachings for Opening to the Divine in Everyday Life
The Vijnana Bhairava Tantra is one of the early teachings on yoga and meditation. The name, loosely translated, means “the terror and joy of realizing oneness with the Soul.” I say it is little because it is only about three thousand words in the original Sanskrit, perhaps forty minutes of chanting. It is astonishing that in so few words it describes the essence of many of the world’s meditation techniques. I call it The Radiance Sutras because it is so luminous.
A tantra is not poetry, although it may sound that way in the original and in translation. A tantra is a manual of practices. This one is a book of yoga meditation instructions, set as a conversation between lovers. The focus is on full-body spirituality and accepting every breath, sensual experience and emotion as a doorway into deep and intimate contact with the energies of life.
The text feels as though it was composed by a couple, a man and a woman who sang the verses to each other as they co-composed. They lived this teaching. The techniques that are described here occurred to them naturally, as an evolution of the questions they were asking of life, and their explorations of the body of love.
As was the convention of the time, they frame the conversation as the Goddess and the God in them speaking. Their inquiry is about how to enter into the vibrant essence of the world with the dual balance of passion and detachment.
A translation of this tantra came into my hands more than forty years ago, when I was 18, and I have worked with the methods every day since then. It has been a love affair, and I am blessed. One day I started to write a fresh version and it evolved into this book.
vayu dvayasya samghattat
Pour one breath into the other,
In the harmony of this fusion
Tend to breath in this way,
yatra yatra manas tustir
Wherever, whenever you feel carried away,
Cherish those times of absorption—
Nowhere is more holy than this.
asane shayane sthitva
Sitting on a soft seat,
You are simply suspended,
Structures of the mind release,
chitti adi antah kritih nasti
People talk about mind and ego.
Lorin Roche, PhD, has been teaching meditation since 1968 and has a doctorate from the University of California for his work on the subjective experience of meditation. He is author of The Radiance Sutras, Meditation Made Easy, Breath Taking, and Whole Body Meditations. www.lorinroche.com
Reprinted with permission.