The Radiance Sutras by Lorin Roche

The Radiance Sutras by Lorin Roche

Lorin Roche has taken an innovative and unique approach to translating the Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, an old tantric yoga text written in the the second millennium B.C.E. These sutras are considered a key text of Kashmir Shaivism, and is a collection of yogic meditation techniques including breath work, chanting, visualizations and other concentration and awareness exercises.

Roche’s translation is stunningly beautiful, poetic, romanticized and sensualized, which is befitting as this account is a discourse between two lovers, Shiva and Shakti. One can open it randomly to a sutra to find inspiration for a yoga practice or meditation. Roche’s words make one feel deeply summoned to go inwards, and have a magical quality to awaken the jewels of our inner world.

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The largest section in the book is the “Yukti Practice Transmissions,” where Roche focuses on one Sanskrit word from each of the 112 practices described in the Vigyan Bhairav Tantra. This serves as both the book’s commentary and practice guide. Each transmission is described in very general terms to be accessible to householders, and this section alone would make a terrific resource for yoga teachers who incorporate themes in their classes.

If you choose to study this tantra in depth, I would highly recommend a more traditional translation to further understand the esoteric practices that Roche has simplified in his book.

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