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The Radiance Sutras

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The gateways to wonder and delight are flung open wide for all to enter. At once a beautiful love song and an encyclopedia of yogic techniques, the cherished text known as the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra shimmers with new effulgence in Lorin Roche's The Radiance Sutras. Lorin brings us his unique perspective on each of 112 Sanskrit teachings, along with his one-of-a-kind guidance in how to meditate with, embody, and practice them—what he describes as "answering the call of the sutras you love."

Here is an invitation to experience directly the ecstatic depths of yoga as revealed by the divine partners Shiva and Shakti, through an intimate exploration of:

The divinity that is permeating your body at this very moment
• The alchemical power of Sanskrit
• Yoga meditation—harmonizing all the elements and levels of your being
• The depths of your connection to the energies of life
Taken as a whole, this teaching is startling in its breadth and the huge range of human experience that it encompasses. This is a book to savor one phrase at a time, over a period of days or years or a lifetime. With The Radiance Sutras, yoga and meditation students everywhere can nurture their own relationship with these living wisdom teachings.

386 pages

First published January 1, 2008

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Lorin Roche

13 books23 followers

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5 stars
412 (72%)
4 stars
105 (18%)
3 stars
39 (6%)
2 stars
11 (1%)
1 star
4 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 57 reviews
January 9, 2013
This luminous book is one of my most treasured possessions. It's much more than a book. It's a collection of 112 rare and precious gems. Each sutra is a portal into presence, an invitation to experience all aspects of life more fully by connecting with your life force with all your senses. In Lorin Roche's words, the book is about "full body spirituality, being at home in the universe, and techniques for accepting every breath, sensual experience, and emotion as a doorway into deep and intimate contact with the energies of life."

I fell in love with the Radiance Sutras in 2006 during a yoga teacher training with Shiva Rea. We were lying down in a deeply relaxed state at the end of class, when she started reading sutra 26 to us. I got mesmerized both by the slow rhythm and sensual tone of her voice, and by the sheer beauty of that sutra which opens with these lines:

"The one who is at play everywhere said:
There is a place in the heart where everything meets.
Go there if you want to find me.
Mind, soul, senses, eternity, all are there.
Are you there?"

And all of a sudden, I was! Since then, I have learned many of these sutras by heart. I love what happens to me whenever I spend time reading or reciting them. Each sutra is an invitation to enter the body fully and let the deepening of that connection naturally expand one's sense of self beyond the boundaries of skin, and the constrictions of identity and personality. They keep giving me opportunities to feel and experience my inner body and subtle energy while moving through life, walking, playing, working, and dealing with day-to-day curve balls. They have literally changed the way I experience `reality.'

I take them on walks and travels, bring them into my yoga practice, and share them with friends. They make my day, every day.

If you want to taste a few of them, you can read some of the sutras on Lorin Roche's website (http://www.lorinroche.com), listen to a few of them on Soundcloud, or google the author's wonderful commentaries of this text in the LA yoga magazine. Note that Amazon sells the book through a few sellers for an exhorbitant price at the moment (betwen $193 and +$300), but you can get it for $25, if you buy it straight from the author's website.

Be prepared to fall in love!
7 reviews
December 11, 2014
While reading this book, I created the list "Books to Live in Your Bones" just so I could add it. There are passages throughout this book that brought me instantly and directly to the same state of mind that I had previously experienced after meditating in silence for days, or at rare moments that will stand out as labels for a particular state of consciousness to me for the rest of my life. I read this book aloud to myself to encounter what is being said when I hear myself saying it, for the first time -- and I have discovered to my joy that it is possible to surprise myself and make myself laugh as if tickled by an angel. I bought myself a copy of this book after checking it out of the library even though I was unemployed and struggling to make ends meet. I will never regret it. What a fantastic and priceless discovery! I love this book.
Profile Image for Libby.
354 reviews74 followers
April 29, 2019
I don’t know if I will ever be finished reading this book. Honestly. I could read just sutra 98 every day for the rest of my life.

I first heard the Vijnana Bhairava tantra read aloud by a woman I adore very much, a holder of the Kashmiri Shaivism lineage and it came alive for me in that very moment. I felt the words in my bones, in my blood, in my breath, these words are alive, they hold universes.

This translation is radiant indeed, luminous, effulgent, overflowing with light and the energy of creation. To state the obvious this is one of my favorite texts of all time.
Profile Image for Nikolas Alixopulos.
38 reviews5 followers
February 22, 2021
The main reason for the low marks is that Lorin Roche created a poetic interpretation of the Vijnana Bhairava here but to portray it as an accurate translation is disingenuous. I have also seen first hand yoga teachers use this text as an accurate translation when it's an interpretation of already existing published English translations of the VB that many Sanskrit scholars find to be inaccurate. As poetry, Roche creates an enjoyable read but it is important to leave translations of Sanskrit to Sanskrit scholars.

Case in point from his own bio:
"A few months later, someone handed him a little book describing 112 meditation practices. When he looked at the first page of the book, Lorin felt a huge flash of light and delight as he realized that he had experienced some of these meditations while sitting in the lab. This experience made it clear that meditation is a spontaneous and natural human experience, and that there are many doorways into meditation. The book contained the first English translation of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, an ancient yoga text."

Most likely without investigating it, it was either Jaideva Singh (Singh knows sanksrit but his translation itself reads stiff/dry) or Paul Reps who included his own translation in the a popular Zen Buddhism book from the 1950's "Zen Flesh Zen Bones". I am not doubting Roche's background as a practitioner and his insights. However, there is a difference between personal experience and the academic background in the study of languages required to translate a very cryptic Kashmiri Tantric text from centuries ago. The problem with people who are brilliant in one lane, they make the mistake of thinking they are brilliant in all lanes and that is where problems like this occur.

I would suggest if you are looking for accurate true to it's core translation of the Sanskrit language- look at the pioneering work of the alumni from Oxford where a great department has spent years studying Non-Dual Tantra from Kashmir. Scholars like Alexis Sanderson, Christopher Wallis, Paul Nemec, Paul Muller Ortega, Bettima Baumer, and Paul Dyckowski are all brilliant and understand the important of accurate Sanskrit interpretation.

To end this here is one more point to drive home from Roche's own words:
"We teach meditation that is easy to learn, effortless, and free of dogma. It does not require knowledge of Buddhism, Hinduism, Sanskrit, or Yoga. "

Yes, this is true one can learn meditation without these things but you definitely need to know Sanskrit fluently in order to interpret it fluently. I pick up a lot of Sanskrit from mantras and over time in both India and around the Indian community, but it's just basic grammar/syntax and figuring out how the words are created. However, that is not enough knowledge of language to translate an entire text. That requires years of rigid study of the language, not always the case in India as a lot of Hindi words are derived from it, but for Westerners we definitely are learning a language with a lot of differences than the European languages derived from Latin/Greek.
Profile Image for Lonnie.
1 review4 followers
March 26, 2015
I am so excited to have found this book. It is not a book you read and put away. It is so profoundly powerful that opening one page, reading one sutra and meditating on it for minutes, days, hours.....years could be an entire practice. It is simply awe-inspiring. I am using it in my practice, and in my teaching everyday. I imagine the words will only become more and more poignant as they seep ever more deeply into my being.
2 reviews
March 7, 2015
Reads beautifully like Rumi or Hafiz, with lots of great explanations and methods of practice in the last half. Will be looking to add this to my permanent library.
Profile Image for Vijay.
3 reviews7 followers
July 24, 2019
A beautiful book that I am going to return to again and again. If you are into any kind of meditation, this book has tons of exercises to play with and deepen your practice. It was a pure joy to read this book.
Profile Image for sarah.
184 reviews17 followers
February 25, 2018
I absolutely love this text. The version I am currently reviewing is no longer in print. It'll be interesting to read the version my partner bought me for Christmas as a comparison- it's much newer and includes practices that follow the sutras. As a poet, this is the kind of text I feel I can bring into yoga classes once I begin teaching because it's a type of poetry that is accessible to everyone. I love Lorin's translation process and how he works with one word for MONTHS, writes 20-50 English versions of the Sanskrit. For that reason, I *know* this isn't a 100% accurate translation, and he discusses this in the end. I also love the amount of resources included in the back as well as Shiva Rea's intro and conclusions. Not sure if these same things exist in the newer version.

One thing I wasn't a fan of (-1 star) was the lengthiness of his story post-sutras. While I am very interested in this project and the translator, I felt that story is meant for another book- a book dedicated solely to Lorin's journey. I realize this translation is interconnected with everything he must do in life, but I'd rather read about his college days in another text. I'm also not sure if this appears in later versions. It's also interesting to note that this text is consistently changing. I'm not sure I'd feel the same way without my spiral-bound version in teacher training. Truly a person's life work.

While I have many favorite verses, I keep going back to 6 + the last 2 lines:

In the space above the head,
The great dawn.

These lines remind me of George Oppen's poem, "Of Being Numerous" and the saying that the light is always darkest before the dawn. There are so many seeds in this text that I'd love to bring to bloom once I start teaching.
Profile Image for Kenneth Hughes.
Author 17 books4 followers
December 17, 2015
Here comes my average joe viewpoint:
The Sutras have been life inspiring and changing for many people for one zillion years. And as all great historical feats there are many views of what they are or are not. I was not around the unknown 1000's of years ago when they presumably were created BUT I read this book and feel myself thinking I hear outrageous murmurings somewhere inside myself to dance, make profound love or just be a bit more where I am, because it's smarter or more important or beautiful than I seem to have allowed it to become. I read a few before bed or to my girlfriend or when it calls to me...I even memorized one because it was so moving....and that is when I got it. It's about being moved. The author is moved through his years of whatever the hell a Phd does for years...and then he wrote this...and it moved me. And I am writing this to you...(whoever you are but I feel you and know you are there)...to let you know...it is moving. And you might really, really like that as I do.
Profile Image for Caitlin.
19 reviews
July 2, 2018
Hard to say I am really "finished" reading this book as it's one I know I will pick back up again and again, as the translation is so magical, each sutra written in a way that lends itself to being spoken and heard.
Profile Image for Nicole Taylor.
Author 1 book8 followers
August 26, 2013
When you bring these meditations into your life, you experience that there is no such thing as mundane. Every moment is imbued with spirit.
May 1, 2019
A stirring and gorgeous collection of yuktis that leave me feeling energized and at peace every time I open it up and read even one page. This book has had a profound impact on how I experience the world, and Roche interpreted and translated the Sutras exquisitely. It is obvious the time, energy, and personal experience he has had with each and every one. This book is a treasure and an absolute necessity for anyone on the non-dualistic tantric path, or any yogi who wants to dive deeper into the philosophy of yoga.
Profile Image for Shiva Somadev.
Author 2 books4 followers
May 23, 2020
Some people of course, will prefer the original translations of "Vijnana Bhairava" Tantra of the Trika school of Pratyabijna/ Kashmir Shaivism tradition - the teaching of 112 meditation techniques leading to highest states of consciousness given from Shiva to His inquiring consort Parvati (Shakti). However this new modern take on "Vijnana Bhairava" Tantra is simply sublime.

Lorin Roche created higly poetical version of a very important ancient text. I give this beautiful book five stars. Highly recommend to anyone.
Profile Image for Pascal.
279 reviews2 followers
March 28, 2018
This book spoke to me on a deep deep level. If anyone knows anything about psychology/psychoanalysis, they know that words matter. Not only is the beginning a dialogue, which is essential for self development, but also the second half of the book is all words and their meanings. I could not put the book down, and cherish it very much. It will stay close to me at all times. Lorin Roche did an amazing job!
Profile Image for SAT CHIT ANANDA.
40 reviews5 followers
December 30, 2020
Every page in this book is meditative. This is not a book that you read in a traditional sense. Instead, this is a book that you pick up before or afraid your daily meditation. Very profound sutras within and it should help just about anybody on the spiritual path. The only other poetic book (which I may prefer) that entices you to question your Self is: Paradox by Incognito. I highly recommend that book for people who have read this or who want something that is more modern than this translated ancient text.
Profile Image for Brian C. Holley.
Author 3 books2 followers
July 14, 2021
This is undoubtedly the most practical and helpful book that I've read so far. So much of my past reading has prepared me for this including the Upanishad's, Rumi, Kabir, Ramana Maharshi and books on silence by Robert Sardello, Maggie Ross and Richard Rohr, among others. Each practice takes us a little deeper into a felt experience. It's all so simple and so simply expressed. This is my kind of spirituality.
Profile Image for Patti Triplett.
39 reviews
September 25, 2022
I. Love. This. Book.

I’d never read any Loren Roche before, but have always been called to the Eastern philosophies. A friend who is deeply into his work recommended I give it a try, that he makes it very understandable and simple to digest. She was absolutely correct. I enjoyed the poetry of the sutras, yes, but what I enjoyed the most was the explanations of the Sanskrit words as they related to each chapter. Another very worn, notated, and highlighted book in my library.
Profile Image for Eliza.
191 reviews14 followers
July 26, 2020
Extraordinary. This book is already worn out and I've only been reading it for about six months. It has a kind of magical quality to it and I swear new sutras show up all the time. Despite having read this book more than once I find new thoughts and lessons and magic on almost every page. Highly recommended!
Profile Image for TessaCollinsMilligan.
22 reviews2 followers
December 16, 2022
I read part 1 (first 200 pages), which is just the sutras. I enjoyed it as poetry, I did not consider it as reading the sutras of the vijnana Bhairava Tantra sutras because I just don’t know the quality and accuracy of the translation. So instead I considered it the authors poetic interpretations, and enjoyed it as such:)
1 review
January 5, 2021
This is one of the best books I've ever read in my life. The yoga of sound (nada) is profound, and reading the sutras aloud, in both Sanskrit and English, will lift your spirits and completely change the way you look at the world.
Profile Image for Karen.
Author 2 books21 followers
July 12, 2022
I have read this book a couple times, and each time I have gotten so much out of it. I like how it's playful and also serious at the same time about spiritual practices. I consider it a must read for any yogi.
Profile Image for Travis English.
12 reviews
January 6, 2023
One of my Yoga teachers had this one, and recommended it.

Pretty cool stuff. It's a modern, poetic, English translation of an old scripture. Not something to sit down and read. But, a very cool piece to look at from time to time.
Profile Image for Meeko1971.
477 reviews
December 24, 2017
I think this is a book that I’ll never really be done reading...a sutra or two a night will probably be my pattern from here on out.
Profile Image for Chloe.
6 reviews
August 15, 2018
An adventure in consciousness. Perfect for anyone interested in meditation, yoga or bliss. I will be reading it over and over for years to come.
Profile Image for Nancy McQueen.
303 reviews4 followers
July 14, 2019
Beautiful lyrical poetry. Checked it out from the library, but hopefully soon, it will grace my bookshelves.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 57 reviews

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