Practice pages: meditation

The Marriage of Passion and Peace


A meditation on lust, anger, bewilderment, and intoxication
from The Radiance Sutras, a new version of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra By Dr. Lorin Roche

She drives you wild, out of your mind. You are crazy over him. She cast her spell over you. You’re thinking with the brain in your pants, not the one in your head.

There you are, talking to someone, when suddenly a sweet erotic tingle begins taking over your attention. Or an obstacle appears and you are mad, aflame with anger. Your blood boils, you want to blow your top. A conversation goes south and your mind swirls with confusion. Now you are missing your loved one, with a palpable tug of yearning on your heart. You don’t know WTF is going on, but you know you have chakras, because they are spinning.

We have an app for that, says Shiva. Welcome to the Yoga of Passion. Game on.

Desire, lust, longing –
Anger humming in your blood.
Confusion, jealousy, bewilderment,
Swirling in your head.

Catch the first hint as passion rises,
The first quickening heartbeat.
Embrace that vibrancy
With a mind vast as the sky.

Witness the elemental motion of emotion –
Fire burning, illuminating,
Water gushing, cleansing,
Air inspiring, soothing,
Earth supporting, holding,
Space expanding, embracing.

Go deeper still and rest in essence, 
Awake to infinite spiritual energy 
Surging into form.


कामक्रोधलोभमोहमदमात्सर्यगोचरे।
बुद्धिं निस्तिमितां कृत्वा तत्तत्त्वमवशिष्यते॥

kāmakrodhalobhamohamadamātsaryagocare |
buddhiṁ nistimitāṁ kṛtvā tattattvamavaśiṣyate || 101 ||


Wow, look at the Sanskrit here, feel the impact of these words:

kama - wish, desire, longing, love, affection, pleasure, enjoyment, sexual love, sensuality, The God of Love (the god who grants all desires), a stake in gambling, a species of mango tree, a kind of temple.

krodha - anger, wrath, passion, a name of the mystic syllable hum or hrum, the name of a sruti in music.

lobha - perplexity, confusion, impatience, eager desire for or longing after, covetousness, cupidity, avarice, greed.

moha - loss of consciousness, bewilderment, perplexity, distraction, infatuation, delusion, error, folly, fainting, stupefaction, a swoon, darkness or delusion of mind, a magical art employed to bewilder an enemy, wonder, amazement.

mada - hilarity, rapture, excitement, inspiration, intoxication, ardent passion for.

mātsarya - envy, jealousy, displeasure, dissatisfaction.

gochare - pasture ground for cattle, range, field for action, abode, dwelling-place, district, offering range or field or scope for action, within range of, accessible, attainable, within the power, the range of the organs of sense, anything perceptible by the senses.

buddhi - the power of forming and retaining conceptions and general notions, intelligence, reason, intellect, mind, discernment, judgment; perception - of which 5 kinds are enumerated, comprehension, apprehension, understanding, presence of mind, ready wit, an opinion, view, idea, conjecture, thought about or meditation on, intention.

nistimitām - motionless, without agitation. (timyati, become quiet, become wet,)

kritva - having done this.

tat tattvam - that tattva, that essence, that truth, principle. Tattva - true or real state, reality, element or elementary property, essence of substance of anything.

avashishyate - remains (avasis - to be left as a remnant, remain.)


The Sanskrit here is amazingly condensed. This one word, kama, represents desire, love, sex and sensuality in all forms. Kama also hints at that reckless gambling impulse, the urge to risk it all, to go for it, throw away the life you know and follow your heart. The verse rocks on from there. In sixteen syllables, the first line lists a whole range of passion and wildness, inviting us to notice whenever any of these become perceptible, come into the range of the organs of sensing.

The second line says, bring your ready wit, your best intentions. Call upon your intelligence. Use your mentality and wake up to the Great Reality.

Passions are activated when we care deeply, when we are committed, when we connect intimately with someone or something. Inside every passion is a blessing, an impulse of life evolving itself. Love is a force of connection; lust makes the hooking up of bodies feel sacred, delicious, delirious. Anger is a hum and hruumm of mighty power whose job is to blast through any obstacles in the way. The ache of longing calls us to meditate on whatever or whoever we are missing. Infatuation and wonder take us beyond our narrow scope and make us feel we are in the presence of something amazing. There is a rapture to hilarity and even intoxication that loosens the tight hold of everyday consciousness and makes us forget who we are, so we can discover ourselves anew.

Shiva gives 112 yoga practices (yuktis) in the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, and this one is saying, use every bit of your skill in yoga to perceive the magic of passion. Use your appreciation of breath (prana), the centers along the spine (chakras), bring your awareness of the song of life (mantra), and savor your passion in the moment that it first becomes a tingle in your senses.

When we notice passion in its initial rising, in the first couple of heartbeats as the juice begins to flow, we have freedom in how to shape our expression. Lust, anger, greed, amazement, hilarity – we must choose a way to express these intense energies of life in a way that is appropriate, ethical, and beneficial to us and everyone around. Much of the time it is not about acting out – but rather going in and savoring the elemental movement of the life force. If we do find it necessary to blow things up - leave that job or relationship, make dramatic changes in our life, we try to minimize the damage. This is intensely challenging. Yogic awareness raises the stakes and more discernment is required. We can get slapped harder by karma when we make mistakes. Human beings are multiple amphibians – we live simultaneously in the physical, emotional, technological, ethical, mental, and spiritual worlds. However we live our passions has an impact on all these levels. If we do not live our passions, do not give our gifts to the world, that also has an impact.

Lust is a life-giving, creative energy - without it, you wouldn’t be here; the human race would have died out long ago. Every surge of passion is created out of the divine Shakti in action, the energy of life that is sublime in its essence. In the intensity of desire, the fireworks of sex, wrath or intoxication, your inner world becomes a physics experiment, a Particle Accelerator, displaying the elements of life, so enjoy the show. In this yoga practice, find your deepest serenity and bring it to embrace and penetrate your wildest passion. This is the mating dance of life and consciousness.

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Dr. Lorin Roche has been practicing and teaching from the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra since 1968. He has a PhD from the University of California at Irvine, where his research focused on the language meditators generate to describe their inner experiences. The Radiance Sutras, a new version of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, is available from Lorin’s website: lorinroche.com. Email comments and questions to lorin@lorinroche.com. Become a fan of The Radiance Sutras on Facebook.

The Vijnana Bhairava Tantra describes 112 Yogas of wonder and delight for touching the divine in the midst of daily life. Dr. Roche does one-to-one coaching with individuals wishing to evolve their daily meditation practice and trains yoga teachers in how to teach meditation. Call (310) 821-0620 for more information.

Lorin is presenting at Shakti Fest this May, at Joshua Tree. And feel free to come to Esalen May 13-18, 2010, for a week of immersion in the yoga of delight, with Dr. Lorin Roche and his wild Dakini wife, Camille Maurine.