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

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  298 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Tantra Illuminated takes the reader on a fascinating journey to the very heart of Tantra: its key teachings, foundational lineages, and transformative practices. Since the West s discovery of Tantra 100 years ago, there has been considerable fascination, speculation, and more than a little misinformation about this spiritual movement. Now, for the first time in the English ...more
Paperback, 516 pages
Published August 15th 2013 by Mattamayura Press (first published December 1st 2011)
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Average rating 4.51  · 
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Todd45387
Feb 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A revelation

This book is a masterful example of the author's self-proclaimed scholar/practitioner model. It is a beautifully written combination of history and philosophy infused with a radiant spirit -- an energetic signature that can be felt while reading the text. I've been a seeker for a long time and this book incredibly encapsulates and synthesizes what I have intuited in my heart but have been unable to express.

Highly recommend this book!!
Joao Fonseca
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: filosofia
Notes and quotes:
Tantra Illuminated

Tan=expansion
Tra=device
Stretches our awareness and our capacity for joy (modern interpretation but in the same sprit as the roots)

There are several Tantras, different gurus followed different tantras.

Ramakartan? Definition:
.Must come from a initiation ritual
.adoration of the divine, in a sense of becoming the divine
.2 goals of tantric practice:
-Higher: spiritual freedom, release from suffering- moksha or mukti
-Lower: worldly enjoyment and prosperity, pleasure
...more
Christopher Tompkins
Tantra Illuminated is the most accurate, comprehensive, and accessible portrayal of the Shaiva tradition by any modern scholar. Christopher Wallis renders the sould of the Tantrik masters with profound intuition and academic poise.

Christopher Tompkins
www.shaivayoga.com
...more
Jane Martin
Nov 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Profound, scholarly and based on personal experience, this book is a guide to discovering the very roots of our soul. It explains the mystery of nondual Saiva Tantra without diminishing it; it leads me gently to a comprehension of this ancient teaching at the same time it encourages my participation in the journey. It acknowledges key questions many of us have about the meaning of God in our lives, and provides a grounding for the answers within the research and the personal experiences of the a ...more
JSter
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tantra Illuminated is a relevant and beautiful work of the heart and should be a companion resource for any student of yoga, Tantra, Sanskrit, Indian philosophy, or history. This book is for those interested in learning more about the topic (you can stay close to the surface or go deep), as well as for scholars who are well versed in Shaiva Tantra—there is an incredible amount of knowledge and wisdom within!

I purchased both the audio and print versions, and suggest listening to the recording fi
...more
Kate
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite book on Tantra ever written. I listened to it while home with my baby and it lifted me to sublime levels while I was changing diapers and pacing around my house. OMG I love this book.
Trish
Oct 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Illustrations are just amazing. Ekabhumi is a dear friend of mine and a fantastic artist.

I found the book to be informative and easy to read,
my only issue with it was that I found it slightly preachy...
Liz DeMarco
Aug 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really gave me some new ways of looking at spirituality, life and myself. A dense read for someone unfamiliar with many Hindu words, still I liked it a lot, I will be coming back to it again as I continue on this new journey :)
Dorum
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Serious scholarship by a serious practitioner and scholar. This is not some bullshit sexual book. This is not some New Age feel yourself good philosophy. It is a serious research into the Saiva religion that is based on the Tantrik texts of the 5th-8th centuries. Furthermore, since the author is a practitioner, it also includes detailed explanation in modern language of most esoteric and strange concepts, practices and terms.

More importantly, one can clearly see what part of modern Yoga is actu
...more
Bon Tom
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A lot more than I ever wanted to know about Tantra, written by the author totally passionate about the topic. And it's not a pun. Tantra is not what you think and what I thought. Read the book if you want realistic, not new agey/commercial account of it.
Megan Knott
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very thorough and extremely well researched presentation of the history, theory and methodology of this fascinating tradition.
Benjamin Hoshour
Christopher (Hareesh) Wallis has written THE definitive, modern day work on classical non-dual Saiva Tantra (NST). This book is simply masterful. The author manages to write with a scholarly breadth, but in an easily accessible and engaging style. Many books on Tantra fall into two unfortunate categories. Either they are written in a dense, academic prose that does not lend itself well to the non-scholar, or else they are purporting the bastardized version of "Neo-Tantra" with its overt and almo ...more
Vinay Varrier
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Daniel Claussen
Nov 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For the yoga inspired westerner this book is the seminal manual for understanding and practicing tantra. Written by a scholar-practitioner for practitioners, this penetrating work serves as both a reference and source of inspiration for taking my practice deeper and expanding my awareness. Wallis helps reveal the exquisite and precisely wrought source teachings with profound clarity, beauty and practicality. An incredible contribution to the understanding of non-dual Shaivite Tantra for the 21st ...more
Melody
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I normally never write reviews here, but this book...how could I not!? It is truly one of the most beautiful books I have ever read and Hareesh has done a wonderful job explaining so much. Never before have I received such a unified understanding of spirituality, on the whole, let alone that of Tantra. I originally downloaded as a free monthly audio version but it is so good I'm waiting for my paperback copy so I can dive in again!
Christy Evans
Oct 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
if you are curious about (real) Tantra ~ this is the book to read!
Tim Daily
Inspiring scholarly historical overview of Shaiva Tantra
Steven
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
Okay so... I'm not going to lie, this book is mind-blowing. It puts into words everything that I've experienced in my personal meditation practice, and now I have a framework in which to view meditation and mindfulness.

In fact, just about every paragraph in this book is highly intentional and startlingly clear. I was gaining new understanding with each sentence, and I think that that is the spirit of Tantra itself. The act of understanding one's true nature is indeed the full manifestation of th
...more
Avonlea
I keep meaning to finish this book since I started it during yoga teacher training almost three years ago as required reading. I got off to a great start with it, but lately in attempts to read I haven't been able to get into it. It's very technical spiritual literature about Hindu beliefs and uniting oneself with the Divine. Overall a concept I love; maybe another time I will feel more motivated to read it.
Peter Tournoy
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I consider Tantra Illuminated to be a jewel of information if it comes to understanding nondual teachings. These teachings used to upset me because I misunderstood their essence. They scared me because they remained a purely cognitive matter to me. However, there is a theory/practice that helps you to integrate nonduality at the level of soul: Saiva Tantra. Christopher Wallis is highly informed on the subject and delivers a masterpiece that is academically sound and spiritually enriching.
Nikolas Alixopulos
This comprehensive introduction to Kashmiri Shaivism is an eye opener. I am always a little skeptical of Western scholars interpreting Eastern text but it is clear Christopher Wallis understands the subject and has lived hand in hand with it. This alongside his interpretation of The Pratyabhijnahridayam (known as the Recognition Sutras) sheds light on the Tantric tradition which has had a significant influence on Advaita Vedanta, Yoga, and Vajrayana Buddhism.
Sachin Gopal
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a mix of philosophy, spiritualism and Shaiva tantra. If you are someone who wants to understand the roots of tantra and its different forms like srividya and others, this is the book. Tantra illuminated and Recognition sutras is a must read if you want to learn more on the ancient tantric traditions. It's also a good start for those who are practicing any of its modularity.
Mike Kundalini
May 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read this book three-time and am on my 4th, truly remarkable, and inspiring walkthrough on the profound development of what is called today yoga. The Flower of yoga that we enjoy today stems from its roots and foundation of Tantra.
Autistic Spinoza
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Just an amazing reference book. You can come back to this again and again. Its very dense but written in what I would call a reader-friendly style. Wallis is a scholar-practitioner. Also check out his new book The Recognition Sutras. That one is blowing me away right now.
Daniel
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It was very illuminating. Joking aside, it was a great book, there are some difficult parts, and while I didn't agree with all the theology, I am glad I took the time to read it and this version on Tantra
Leanne
Oct 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read years ago and found it very deep to the point that it went over my head. That said I'd like to re read and read similar books now that I'm a yoga teacher. I love teaching and it's great to remind myself of the philosophy behind the practice.
Kerry Congdon
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well written, informative, and engaging work on non-dual Shaiva Tantra. Highly recommended.
Mark
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding!

This is the Tantric primer for the western reader. Absolutely massive in scope, yet broken down as much as possible for the average student. A priceless read for me.
Micah Fagre
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent. A book I'll need to re-read over the years.
Tord Helsingeng
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Surprisingly good. Great on theory, but heavily biased towards trika and krama, more than kaula. Perhaps Wallis' style could be called ambidextrous tantra?
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“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” — Thomas Merton” 3 likes
“The great master Abhinava Gupta suggests to us that if you practice yoga from the perspective that you are not good enough as you are, or that there is something wrong with you that needs fixing, then your yoga cannot fulfill its ultimate purpose because it is a practice founded on wrong understanding. It can only go as far as fulfilling the limited purpose that has been conceived by your limited ego-mind. However, 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.” 2 likes
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