Definition - What does Tantraloka mean?
Tantraloka is the name of a major work by philosopher, ascetic and mystic Abhinavagupta (950-1016). As a virtual encyclopedia on the subject, it covers all of nondual Kashmir Shaivite and Tantric philosophy and practices. The Tantraloka contains more than 5,800 verses over 37 chapters.
The name of this book means “light on Tantra.” Tantra means “thread” or “to weave” and refers to the esoteric traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism. In the Western world today, Tantra has mistakenly been associated with uninhibited sex. Practices that generate sexual energy are just one aspect of Tantra.
Yogapedia explains Tantraloka
The first half of the Tantraloka describes the philosophy of Trika, the non-dual tradition of Kashmir Shaivism. The second half of the book explains the rituals. It is believed that Abhinavagupta wrote the Tantraloka at the request of his disciples to help them understand the philosophy and practices.
Even so, the Tantraloka is a very esoteric work that's difficult to understand if you don't have deep knowledge of the Trika tradition and a direct connection to the oral tradition of Kashmir Shaivism, according to 20th-century scholar and mystic Swami Lakshman Joo, who translated 18 of the chapters into English.
Trika Shaivism was founded in the eighth century by Vasugupta, but Abinhavgupta is arguably its most influential figure.
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