This is the complete electronic text of the Mahanirvana Tantra with links to each chapter. Tantra. I am telling Thee the truth, O Devi! Lay it to the heart and ponder over it. There is no doctrine superior to the Kaulika doctrine, the most. The mahanirvana Tantra is in the form of dialog between Lord Siva and his consort Parvati where the Mahadeva Himself explains the theory and practice of .

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The “Tantra of the Great Liberation” Mahanirvana Tantra is one of the most important texts dedicated to the cult of Tantra. Woodroffe was the first Western scholar to translate the Tantra secrets texts into English with the help of the few scholars able to understand them thoroughly.

Shiva exposes to his wife a spiritual path mahanirvaana for the age of Kali. He speaks of the various techniques of meditation to move beyond the influences of nature and the degeneration of the Kali Yuga, and thus be mahainrvana to raise self-awareness to mahainrvana broader base condition to win the cycle of birth and death. Describes in detail the sacred ceremonies, rituals, Yantra and Mantra related to them. He speaks of eternal Dharma, the worship of the Supreme Brahman and Shakti.

The Indian Tantras, which are numerous, constitute the Scripture Shastra of the Kaliyuga, and as such are the voluminous source of present and practical orthodox “Hinduism”. The Tantra Shastra is, in fact, and whatever be its historical origin, a development of the Vaidika Karmakandapromulgated to meet the needs of that age.

To the Tantra we must therefore look if we would understand aright both ritual, yogaand sadhana of all kinds, as also the general principles of which these practices are but the objective expression. Yet of all the forms of Hindu Shastra, the Tantra is that which is least known and understood, a circumstance in part due to the difficulties of its subject-matter and to the fact that the key to much of its terminology and method rest with the initiate.

The present translation is, in fact, the first published in Europe of any Indian Tantra. An inaccurate version rendered in imperfect English was published in Calcutta by a Bengali editor some twelve years ago, preceded by an Introduction which displayed insufficient knowledge in respect of what it somewhat quaintly described as “the mystical and superficially technical passages” of this Tantra.

A desire to attempt to do it greater justice has in part prompted its selection as the first for publication. This Tantra is, further, one which is well known and esteemed, though perhaps more highly so amongst that portion of the Indian public which favours “reformed” Hinduism than amongst some Tantrikas, to whom, as I have been told, certain of its provisions appear to display unnecessary timidity.

The former admire it on account of its noble exposition of the worship of the Supreme Brahman, and in the belief that certain of its passages absolutely discountenance the orthodox ritual. Nothing can be more mistaken than such belief, even though it be the fact that “for him who has faith in the root, of what use are the branches and leaves”.

This anyone will discover who reads the text. It is true that, as Chap. I have referred to Protestant systems, for the Catholic Church possesses an elaborate ritual and a sadhana of its own which is in many points strikingly analogous to the Hindu system.

The section of Tantrikas to whom I have referred are, I believe, also in error. For the design of this Tantra appears to be, whilst conserving commonly-recognized Tantrik principles, to secure that, as has sometimes proved to be the case, they are not abused. It is significant, in connection with these observations, to note that this particular Tantra was chosen as the subject of commentary by Shrimad Hariharananda Bharati, the Guru of the celebrated Hindu “reformer” Raja Ram Mohun Roy.

The Tantra has been assigned to the group of sixty-four known as those of the Rathakranta. The preface to this edition stated that three MSS.

This text appears to be the basis of subsequent publications. It was again printed in by Shri Krishna Gopala Bhakta, since when there have been several editions with Bengali translations, including that of Shri Prasanna Kumara Shastri.

The late Pandit Jivananda Vidyasagara published an edition in Devanagari character, with the notes of Hariharananda; and the Venkateshvara Press at Bombay have issued another in similar character with a Hindi translation. The translation published is that of the first part only. It is commonly thought and was so stated by the author of the Calcutta edition in English to which I have referred that the second portion is lost.

This is, however, not so, though copies of the complete Tantra are rare enough. The full text exists in manuscript, and I hope at a later date to have an opportunity of publishing a translation of it.

I came across a complete manuscript some two years ago in the possession of a Nepalese Pandit. He would, however, only permit me to make a copy of his manuscript tanrra the condition that the Shatkarmma Mantras were not published.

Mahanirvana Tantra (Tantra of the Great Liberation)

For, as he said, virtue not being a condition precedent for the acquisition of siddhi in such Mantras, their publication might enable the evilly disposed to work harm against others, a crime which, he added, was, in his own country, where the Tantra was current, punishable by the civil power.


I was unable to persuade him even with the observation that the mere publication of the Mantra without knowledge of what is called the prayoga which cannot be learned of books would in any case be ineffectual.

I could not give an undertaking which would have involved the publication of a mutilated text, and the reader must therefore for the present be content with a translation of the first part of the Tantra, which is generally known, and has, as stated, been several times printed. The incident has further value than the direct purpose for which I have told it.

There are some to whom the Tantra, though they may not have read a line of it, is “nothing but black magic,” and all its followers are “black magicians”.

This is of course absurd. In this connection I cannot avoid interposing the observation that certain practices are described in Tantra which, though they are alleged to have the results described therein, yet exist “for delusion”. The true attitude of the higher Tantrika is illustrated by the action of the Pandit who, if he disappointed my expectations, at any rate by his refusal afforded an answer to these too general allegations.

Hindu Scriptures and Important Texts

The tantrra portion of the manuscript in his possession contained over double the number of Shlokas to be found in the first part here published. The edition which has been used for the translation is that now out of print edited and published at Calcutta by Shri Mahairvana Gopala Bhakta in Chaitra Bengali era April,with Commentary of Shrimad Hariharananda Bharati, and with additional notes by the learned and lately deceased Pandit Jaganmohana Tarkalangkara, called Vriddha in order to distinguish him from another celebrated Pandit of the same name.

This valuable Commentary is not, however, altogether suitable for mahankrvana general reader, for it assumes a certain amount of knowledge on his part which he does not possess. Mahanurvana have accordingly, whilst availing myself of its aid, written my own commentary, and added an Mahanirvaana explaining certain matters and terms referred to or presupposed by the text which, as they require a somewhat more extended treatment, could not be conveniently dealt with in the footnotes.

Some of the matters there explained are, though common and fundamental, seldom accurately defined. Nothing, therefore, is lost by a re-statement of them with an intention to serve such accuracy.

Other matters are of a special character, and are either not generally known or are misunderstood. The Introduction, however, does not profess to be an exhaustive treatment of that with which it deals.

On the contrary, it is but an extended note written to help some way towards a better understanding of the text by the ordinary reader. For a fuller exposition of general principles and practice the interested are referred to three works which I have in preparation, “Principles of Tantra” Tantratattva”Exposition of the Secret Worship” Rahasyapujapaddhatiand “Description of the Six Centres” Shatchakranirupana. There are, however, some matters in the Shastra or its accompanying oral tradition which he must, and if mahanirvanq thereto will, find out for himself.

This, too, is implied by the saying in this Tantra that it is by merit acquired in previous births that the mind mahnirvana to Kaula doctrine Chapter VII. However this may be, no one will understand maahnirvana Shastra who starts his inquiry with a mind burdened with the current prejudices against it, whatever be the colour of truth some of them may possess by reason of actual abuse of Shastric principles.

In conclusion, I wish to thank my Indian friends for the aid they have given me in the preparation of this and other kindred works, and to whom I am indebted for much information gathered during many pleasant hours which we have spent together in the study of a subject of common interest to them and myself.

The Tantras generally are written in comparatively simple Sanskrit. For their rendering, however, a working knowledge of their terminology and ritual is required, which can be only fully found in those to whom it is familiar through race, upbringing, and environment, and in whom there is still some regard for their ancient inheritance.

Full text of “Great Liberation Mahanirvana Tantra John Woodroffe “

As for others, they must learn to see through the Indian eye of knowledge until their own tanfra been trained to its lines of vision. In this way we shall be in the future spared some of the ridiculous presentments of Indian beliefs common in the past and even now too current.

January 7 Nor can I say ought without Thy word. If Thou hast affection for me, I crave to lay before Thee that which passeth in my mind. Who else but Thee, O Great Lord, in the three worlds is able to solve these doubts mahaniravna mine, Thou Who knowest all and all the Scriptures What is there in all the three worlds which should be concealed from Thee? There is no difference between Me and Thee.

Thou too art omnipresent. What is it then that Thou knowest not that Thou questionest like unto one who knoweth nothing The pure Parvati, gladdened at hearing the words of the Deva, bending low made obeisance and thus questioned Shankara. Lord of all, Greatest among those who are versed in Dharma, Thou in former ages in Thy mercy didst through Brahma reveal the four Vedas which are the propagators of all Dharma and which ordain the rules of life for all the varying castes of men and for the different stages of their lives By the study of the Vedas, dhyana and tapas, and the conquest of the senses, by acts of mercy and charity men were of exceeding power and courage, strength and vigour, adherents of the true Dharma, wise and truthful and of firm resolve, and, mortals though they were, they were yet like Devas and went to the mqhanirvana of the Devas 21, Kings then were faithful to their engagements and were ever concerned with the protection of their people, upon whose wives they were wont to look as if upon their mothers, and whose children they regarded as their very own There were then mhaanirvana liars, none who were selfish, thievish, malicious, foolish, none who were evil-minded, envious, wrathful, gluttonous, or lustful, but all were good of heart and of ever blissful mind.


Land then yielded in plenty all kinds of grain, clouds showered seasonable rains, cows gave abundant milk, and trees were weighted with fruits No untimely death there was, nor famine nor sickness. Mahnirvana were ever cheerful, prosperous, and healthy, and endowed with all qualities of beauty and brilliance. Women were chaste and devoted to their husbands. After the Krita Age had passed away Thou didst in the Treta Age perceive Dharma to be in disorder, and that men were no longer able by Vedic rites to accomplish their desires.

For men, through their anxiety and perplexity, were unable to perform these rites in which much trouble had tantrq be overcome, and for which much preparation had to be made. In constant distress of mind they were neither able to perform nor yet were willing to abandon the rites. Having observed this, Thou didst make known on earth the Scripture in the form of Smriti, which explains the meaning of the Vedas, and thus delivered from sin, which is cause of all pain, sorrow, and sickness, men too feeble for the practice of tapas and the study of the Vedas.

For men in this terrible ocean of the world, who is there but Thee to be their Cherisher, Protector, Saviour, their fatherly Benefactor, and Lord? Then, in the Nahanirvana Age when men abandoned the good works prescribed in the Smritis, and were deprived of one half of Dharma and were afflicted by ills of mind and body, they were yet again saved by Thee, through the mahanirana of the Sanghita and other religious lore Now the sinful Kali Age is upon them, when Dharma is destroyed, an Age full of evil customs and deceit.

Men pursue evil ways. The Vedas have lost their power, the Smritis are forgotten, and many of the Puranas, which contain stories of the past, and show the many ways which lead to liberationwill, O Lord! Men will become averse from religious rites, without restraint, maddened with pride, ever given over to sinful acts, lustful, gluttonous, cruel, heartless, harsh of speech, deceitful, short-lived, poverty-stricken, harassed by sickness and sorrow, ugly, feeble, low, stupid, mean, and addicted to mean habits, companions of the base, thievish, calumnious, malicious, quarrelsome, depraved, cowards, and ever-ailing, devoid of all sense of shame and sin and of fear to seduce the wives of others.

Vipras will live like the Maganirvana, and whilst neglecting their own Sandhya will yet officiate at the sacrifices of the low. They will be greedy, given over to wicked and sinful acts, liars, insolent, ignorant, deceitful, mere hangers-on of others, the sellers of their daughters, degraded, averse to all tapas and vrata. They will be heretics, impostors, and think themselves wise.

They will be without faith or devotion, and will do japa and puja with no other end than to dupe the people. They will eat unclean food and follow evil customs, they will serve and eat the food of the Shudras and lust after low women, and will be wicked and ready to barter for money even their own wives to the low.

In short, the only sign that they are Brahmanas will be the thread they wear.

Observing no rule in eating or drinking or in other matters, scoffing at the Dharma Scriptures, no thought of pious speech ever so much as entering their minds, they will be but bent upon the injury of the good By Thee also mahanircana been composed for the good and liberation of men the Tantras, a mass of Tantar and Nigamas, which bestow both enjoyment and liberation, containing Mantras and Yantras and rules as to the sadhana of both Devis and Devas.

By Thee, too, have been described many forms of Nyasa, such as those called srishti, sthiti and sanghara. By Thee, again, have been described the various seated positions of yogasuch as that of the “tied” and “loosened” lotus, the Pashu, Vira, and Divya classes of men, as also the Devata, who gives success in the use of each of the mantras And yet again it is Thou Who hast made known in a thousand ways rites relating to the worship with woman, and the rites which are done with the use of skulls, a corpse, or when seated on a funeral pyre By Thee, too, have been forbidden both pashu-bhava and divya-bhava.

If in this Age the pashu-bhava cannot exist, how can there be divya-bhava?