The Teachings of the Odd-Eyed One

A Study and Translation of the Virūpākṣapañcāśikā, with the Commentary of Vidyācakravartin

By David Peter Lawrence

Subjects: Hindu Studies, India And South Asian Studies, Philosophy, Religion, Tantra
Series: SUNY series in Hindu Studies
Paperback : 9780791475546, 208 pages, July 2009
Hardcover : 9780791475539, 208 pages, September 2008

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
PART I: Introduction
1. The Texts in their Religious and Intellectual Contexts
2. The Instruction of Indra
3. The Odd-Eyed One’s Teachings on the Tantric Self and its Universal Body
4. Comparative Reflections:Cosmic Narcissism and Divine Self-Satisfaction
5. On the Translation
PART II: Translation of the Virūpāksapañcāśikā with the commentary of Vidyācakravartin
Book 1
Book 2
Book 3
Book 4

A study and translation of a tantric contemplative manual and the commentary on it.


This book offers the first published translation of the contemplative manual Virūpāksapañcasikā, written circa the twelfth century CE, and the commentary on it, Vivrti by Vidyācakravartin. These late works from the Pratyabhijñā tradition of monistic and tantric Kashmiri Śaiva philosophy focus on means to deindividualize and disclose the primordial, divine essential natures of the human ego and body-sense.

David Peter Lawrence situates these writings in their medieval, South Asian religious and intellectual contexts. He goes on to engage Pratyabhijñā philosophical psychology in dialogue with Western religious and psychoanalytic conceptions of identity and "narcissism," and also demonstrates the Śaiva tradition's strong concern with ethics. The richly annotated translation and glossary illuminate the texts for all readers.

David Peter Lawrence is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion at the University of North Dakota. He is the author of Rediscovering God with Transcendental Argument: A Contemporary Interpretation of Monistic Kashmiri Śaiva Philosophy, also published by SUNY Press.


"…a very welcome contribution to both the scholarship on Saivism and to comparative theology or philosophy of religion and should be widely read and discussed. " — Philosophy East & West

"…Lawrence's effort to bring this text to light is praiseworthy, particularly for his ability to break opaque Sanskrit constructions into small, pellucid sentences that make the translation very readable and approachable to a wider audience … Lawrence demonstrates his ingenious scholarship in the first introductory chapters by expanding the discourse on self into the realm of contemporary psychoanalysis. The cursory analysis based on extensive research into the original text paves the path for future research in this direction. " — Religious Studies Review

"In Teachings of the Odd-Eyed One, Lawrence exhibits not only his mastery of Sanskrit sources, but also a refined ability to illumine the theosophical heart of the Pratyabhijna tradition via comparative reference to western psychological, epistemological, and theological sources … He is to be applauded for reminding us once again of the cross-cultural relevance of self-recognition, in all of its epistemological nuances. " — Journal of the American Academy of Religion

"If Lawrence's overall goal was 'an introduction to and a translation of' the VAP and VAPV, then his endeavor has been successful. " — Journal of Asian Studies

"I think this is a marvelous book, filled with original insights into the mystical dimensions of the divine-human subject and the cosmicization of the human body. I know of no other book about South Asian philosophy or comparative theology that so deftly addresses the themes of subjectivity and embodiment and is able to relate them to contemporary debates in the fields of religious studies, psychology, and philosophy. There are few real comparativists working today. David Lawrence is certainly one of them, and he is one of the most gifted. " — Jeffrey J. Kripal, author of Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion