1st Edition

The Concept of Mind in Hindu Tantra

By Gavin Flood Copyright 2025
    176 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book presents an account of the concept of mind in Hindu Tantra through a study of religious and philosophical texts in the medieval period. 

    Offering an understanding on how the mind is conceptualized both as that which keeps a person bound to the cycle of reincarnation and as having transformative potential in allowing a person to achieve liberation or salvation, this book examines mostly previously untranslated sources. It shows how there are different understandings of the mind that relate to different ideas of redemption. The main tantric tradition, the Śaiva Siddhānta, adopts a model of mind from Yoga in which the wandering mind keeps us trapped, whereas the nondualist Śaiva tradition, sometimes called ‘Kashmir’ Śaivism, sees the mind as inherently pure and free. The book traces a history of the concept of mind from early sources, especially Buddhism, through to the tantric medieval period, and ending with the eighteenth century. The author shows how the concept changes and what is retained. A comparison of the tantric ideas of mind with those of some European philosophy – notably Descartes’ dualism and German idealism’s non-dualism – sharpens the concept of mind in the tantric tradition. 

    A historical and philosophical study of a key ideas in the tantric traditions, this book will be of interest to researchers in the field of Religious Studies, Asian Religion, Hindu Studies, Indian philosophy and comparative philosophy.

    Introduction. The Concept of Mind in Indian Thinking; Chapter 1. The Mind in Śaiva Scriptures; Chapter 2. The Śākta Śaiva Discourse on Mind; Chapter 3. Later Developments: The Treatise on Recollecting the Mind, the Cittānubodhaśāstra; Chapter 4. Grounding the Mind; Chapter 5. Comparing Philosophies of Mind; Conclusion: Mind in Tantra; Bibliography; Index


    Gavin Flood is a Professor of Hindu Studies and Comparative Religion in the Theology and Religion Faculty, University of Oxford, UK, the Piramal Dean of Academic Affairs for the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, UK, and Senior Research Fellow, Campion Hall. He is the author of "Hindu Monotheism" (2020) and "Religion and the Philosophy of Life" (2019) and the editor of the series Routledge Studies in Tantric Traditions and the Routledge Hindu Studies Series.