Average Rating: 5
Even though for the last two years I have been slowly teaching myself Sanskrit, it will be years before I am able to translate - therefore I love to have more than one translation of any text that feels key to me. However, what I have learned and experienced with Swami Lakshmanjoo's teachings is that there is an enormous difference in learning from the consciousness of the real enlightened Master. Even a highly intelligent and wonderful Indian teacher who carries the Sanskrit traditions in his or her DNA, or the most brilliant Sanskrit scholar cannot infuse you with the wisdom knowledge in a comparable way. The scholar and teacher will endeavor to give the reader all the facets of a verse, with multiple word definitions, and references to similar ideas in various other related texts. All of this information is useful and helpful, but cannot reach a similar depth of understanding when compared to the simple, direct and potent meaning transmitted by the enlightened master. He is there, where we want to be. In fact due to the deeply veiled nature of the Kashmir Shaivite texts, scholars and other teachers must look to the enlightened master to decipher these texts. For example Jaideva Singh in the introduction to the 'Pratyabhijnahrdayam' says: "No one who has not studied this book with a teacher can work away its translation merely with the assistance of a lexicon and grammar. I had the good fortune of studying it with Swami Lakshmanjoo... who embodies within himself the tradition." I have found this to be true in all the translations of the ancient Sanskrit texts, even the Bhagavad Gita. Each translation reflects the consciousness of the translator. Indeed in all humility I touch the feet of those amazing scholars who have climbed the peaks of Sanskrit grammar and given me so much. Yet I do recognize something else, something that emerges from that elusive state of Being the Oneness that only comes from one who is There - in Parabhairava. The scholar Mark Dyczkowski, an Oxford don, is reported to have said: "Somehow he [Swami Lakshmanjoo] sees much more in them than could ever be grasped through mere bookish knowledge and we could all feel that behind his words lay another dimension beyond them in which he lived and from which he beckoned us to join him" (from the foreword to 'Self Realization in Kashmir Shaivism', John Huges). Swami Lakshmanjoo's Vijnana Bhairava, a how to Become manual, is filled with his gems from that other dimension. One in particular that struck me was his explanation of Verse 133. I had on my own developed the theory that myriad other worlds, heavens and hells if you like, were holographic in nature - perhaps projected by us over the cycles of time. So when Swami Lakshmanjoo reveals that "these 118 worlds" have no substance, and even more "it is just a joke" - I had to laugh. The Creators Play! We never were this - we are always That, just as the ancient texts say. Swami Lakshmanjoo is there in that Thatness waiting, as Dyczkowsi says, beckoning you. The "nectar lips" of Swami Lakshmanjoo have the power to reveal that other dimension within you. This is the authentic version of his teachings on this text.
i first came to know about this sacred text, vijnana bhairava tantra, during the middle part of last year, 2008 it was a love at first sight sort of meeting and there has not been a day to pass without it i have a few different translations and commentaries, but this edition is the one i turn to most often i find the beginning of the text, up to the first dharana, quite confusing some parts of it are clear but due to my lack of familiarity with the finer points it briefly discusses before entering the main subject - that of the dharanas - i am lost however the rest, and most important, parts of the book are very clear - i find lakshmanjoo's exposition of the dharanas more helpful than every other translation and commentary i have read he approaches each dharana simply and clearly, leaving little room for misunderstanding in places i have found what appear like gems, sometimes a few words that reveal an infinitely profound depth i have a difficult time understanding lakshmanjoo because he is so unlike his contemporaries - it seems he did not seek fame or adoration from thousands of naive disciples like many indian gurus who took their business to the west. he seems to have been entirely content with teaching people directly, even if it meant being relatively unknown to the world at large. i admire these qualities and yet still come across difficulties lakshmanjoo does not speak with the scholarly grace of some of his students like jaideva singh or mark dyczkowski so it is rare to hear or read long-winded and wordy explanations of the text as one might expect. instead, his translation and commentary is often enigmatic and pithy, sometimes giving the entire explanation of a practice in only a few words. in many ways this is refreshing, i have found the book inspiring in this way - it leaves much room for one's own free contemplation over the meaning of verses perhaps most importantly - there is some hint given each time to lakshmanjoo's own realization, often when he translates and elucidates the part of each verse which states the result of its practice the introduction by john hughes and additional notes throughout the text are also invaluable. the introduction for managing to beautifully capture the essence of kashmir shaivism in a few pages and the notes for clarifying many points which would certainly invite confusion if left as they are the context of the discourses is worth noting for any potential buyers - lakshmanjoo was teaching his disciples or his students, and evidently they had some degree of familiarity with the symbolic and technical world of kashmir shaivism, so one often comes across technical terms which are mentioned and rarely explained in full, as it is already understood in the student at the time this however to the dedicated reader and student should provoke further interest and offer an invitation to broaden one's knowledge by learning more about those things although i am deeply satisfied with my purchase of this set - $125 is nothing when the book is of such a profound and immensely practical nature as this one - i would have preferred that an additional commentary be included which wrote at length on lakshmanjoo's exposition of the text -
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