The Mystic Dance Tandava, Daniel Odier

  image: Goddess Kali Ma from

Daniel Odier was born in Geneve in 1945. He is a novelist, screenwriter and poet, and has published over 46 works including the bestselling Tantric Quest (Inner Traditions), and Desire, The Tantric Path to Awakening (Inner Traditions). Anais Nin called him “an outstanding writer and dazzling poet”. The author began his studies with Kalu Rinpoche in 1968 and remained his disciple until his passing in 1989. In the Himalayas, he was initiated by his Tantric master the yogini Lalita Devi.  In 2004, Odier received the Ch’an ordination in the Lin t’si and Caodong schools in China, as well as permission to teach the Zhao Zhou Ch’an lineage in the West.

Daniel Odier teaches, within the Spanda tradition of Kashmiri Shaivism, the mystic dance Tandava and the Yoga of Touch, which he received from the Yogini Lalita Devi.

The tradition of Kashmiri yoga is a non-postural form of yoga which develops a movement in three stages, culminating in Tandava, or dance of Shiva. It is an extremely slow, completely free practice which brings about a release of the body into space, the experience of an absence of limits, and leads to non-dual awareness. The body is perceived as space and it is precisely this perception which lets the yogini access her true self, unhampered by any divisions of the ego. The ego is viewed as absolute in its tense state, and the absolute is experienced as ego in its unlimited state. Perceiving the unlimited allows the practitioner to savor the absence of choice and to become free in a world where matter and being are experienced as vibrating energies.

“In the tantric approach, we don´t see the body as something separated from the cosmos. We have practices to feel the Spanda, or vibration, on an intimate level. When we are vibrating, we realize that the whole world is vibration too and consciousness. From this point, there is no split between the inside and the outside, which is the core of all mystical experience.”

“The work on emotions is one of the most interesting and less known practices of the tradition of Kashmiri Shavisim. It is based on the Vijnanabhairava tantra, or tantra of the supreme knowledge.

image: Kali and Bhairava in Union

Thru the practice of the mystic dance Tandava, the practitioners’ body opens and becomes sensitive to the subtle perception of the effects of emotions. Once they reach this bodily consciousness, they are capable of living emotions through their bodies, rather than leaving the emotions to the mind, which grabs them and uses them to keep telling an old story we have heard too many times.

The body has the capacity to absorb emotions without building on them, and to let them go back to the space where they came from. The yogi does not try to dominate his emotions, on the contrary he lets them bring their cycle to completion. He lives one emotion at a time, without stagnation or repetition.”

“The tantric quest totally revolves around the idea that there is nothing to add or take away from one’s being as it already contains its absolute essence. Existing beyond the realms of religious dogma, belief systems, and moral precepts, it is therefore a supreme form of lay asceticism, entirely suited to the reality of everyday life. It is a feminine path which embraces all living beings and fully recognises the power of woman. It is a path which leads to the original source, to the embryonic state of being which encompasses the whole.”

“You don’t meditate to experiment with altered states of consciousness or whatever else. You meditate only to perceive by yourself that everything is within us, every atom of the universe, and that we already possess everything we would wish to find outside of ourselves.”

“Desire, liberated from its ties to the ego, realizes that it has no other aspiration than the fullness of Mahamudra and, as it sees in the same impulse that this plenitude is innate and limitless, it no longer aspires to any realization whatsoever.  There is no longer anything but intimate vibration, continuous sacred tremoring, and the absence of localization in time and space.”

“No act loses us; no violence we’re subjected to destroys us; no debasement chases out the divine, and no one can take the divine from us. We can have access to it at any time by breathing the intimate perfume of the woman, the perfume of the world.”

“Shiva and Shakti are indistinguishable. They are one. They are the universe. Shiva isn’t masculine. Shakti isn’t feminine. At the core of their mutual penetration the supreme consciousness opens.”

“The capacity for total wonder is the very substance of awakening.”

Daniel Odier will be teaching at SAND16 in Italy August 2&3.  



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