Tantra Illuminated by Christopher Wallis
While tantra is often a euphemism for “spiritual sex” in the West, Tantra Illuminated is not a sex book, nor is it even a sexy looking book. This is a thick, heavy book with the feel, organization and depth of a textbook. While the look of the book may initially appear intimidating, it is a pleasure and joy to read. Wallis expertly details the history, philosophy and practice of non-dual tantra based on original Sanskrit texts and recent research and scholarship, and does so in a wonderfully readable and accessible way.
Tantra is a spiritual tradition that started 1,500 years ago in northern India that combines meditation, initiation, mantra and ritual with the intention of leading practitioners to experience the universe as pure divine energy. While this is a complex and esoteric sacred tradition, its practices and teachings can be utilized to deepen one’s yogic path. Tantra’s history and philosophy provides insight to the foundations of our modern hatha yoga.
This book is skillfully designed to allow the reader to skip around and explore these 500 pages in a non-linear fashion. The copious margin notes seem cryptic at first, but readers will likely find that they provide valuable cross references, identify passages from source translations, and highlight sections that are especially profound or difficult to understand allowing you to skip over and/or return later for deeper contemplation.
I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in learning about authentic non-dual tantra or anyone wanting to deepen their yoga practice.