The Great Liberation (Mahanirvana Tantra) – Arthur Avalon (1927)


The Great Liberation (Mahanirvana Tantra) – Arthur Avalon (1927)


Title: The Great Liberation (Mahanirvana Tantra)

Author: Arthur Avalon

Publisher: Ganesh & Co., Madras, 1927. Second edition, scarce.

Condition: Hardcover, no dust jacket. Former library book, belonging to the Theosophical Society. Cracked front hinge, some library markings including library plate on endpaper. Text clean, binding tight. 461pp. 9.5″ by 6.5″.

SKU: avalon-tantra Categories: , ,

About the book (from

The “Tantra of the Great Liberation” (Mahanirvana Tantra) is one of the most important texts dedicated to the cult of Tantra. It has been translated by Sir John Woodroffe, under the pseudonym of Arthur Avalon. 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.

The Mahanirvana Tantra is a series of conversations between Shiva and Parvati, his Shakti.

Shiva exposes to his wife a spiritual path suitable 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 able to raise self-awareness to a 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.

About Arthur Avalon (from Wikipedia):

Sir John George Woodroffe (1865–1936), also known by his pseudonym Arthur Avalon, was a British Orientalist whose work helped to unleash in the West a deep and wide interest in Hindu philosophy and Yogic practices.

Alongside his judicial duties he studied Sanskrit and Hindu philosophy and was especially interested in Hindu Tantra. He translated some twenty original Sanskrit texts and, under his pseudonym Arthur Avalon, published and lectured prolifically on Indian philosophy and a wide range of Yoga and Tantra topics. T.M.P. Mahadevan wrote: “By editing the original Sanskrit texts, as also by publishing essays on the different aspects of Shaktism, he showed that the religion and worship had a profound philosophy behind it, and that there was nothing irrational or obscurantist about the technique of worship it recommends.”

Woodroffe’s The Serpent Power – The Secrets of Tantric and Shaktic Yoga, is a source for many modern Western adaptations of Kundalini yoga practice. It is a philosophically sophisticated commentary on, and translation of, the Satcakra-nirupana (“Description of and Investigation into the Six Bodily Centres”) of Purnananda (dated c.AD 1550) and the Paduka-Pancaka (“Five-fold Footstool of the Guru”). The term “Serpent Power” refers to the kundalini, an energy said to be released within an individual by meditation techniques.