Christopher D. Wallis


Ph.D. in South Asian Studies (Sanskrit), University of California-Berkeley, 2014

M.Phil. with Distinction in Classical Indian Religions, University of Oxford (UK)

M.A. with Honors in South Asian Studies (Sanskrit), University of California-Berkeley, 2003

B.A. magna cum laude in Religion and Classics, University of Rochester, 2001


Published Work

Tantra Illuminated: The Philosophy, History, and Practice of a Timeless Tradition, Mattamayura Press, Petaluma, CA, 2013.

 "The Decent of Power: Possession, Mysticism, and Initiation in the Shaiva Theology of Abhinavagupta" in the Journal of Indian Philosophy (Springer Verlag), published online in 2007; print version published in 2008.

 "The Descent of Power: Possession, Mysticism, and Metaphysics in the Shaiva Theology of Abhinavagupta" in Evam: Forum on Indian Representations vol. 4 (Samvad India, New Delhi), 2006.


Current Research Projects and forthcoming Publications

 A translation, annotation, and commentary on the Pratyabhijñā-hrdayam is currently in preparation, to be published at the end of 2014.

A translation of Vīranātha’s Svabodhodayamañjarī is complete, and scheduled for publication in 2015.

Researching and translating the Tantrasāra of Abhinavagupta (11th c.). Eight chapters of the original text, annotated with explanatory essays, will be ready for publication as Tantrasāra vol. 1: The Means to Liberation in 2016.

 My doctoral research focused on the role of spiritual experience in medieval Indian religion, as well as the hermeneutical interpretation thereof; and secondarily a cross-cultural comparison of select psychological and physiological aspects of the varieties of religious experience. This produced a 500-page dissertation, filed in August 2014, which will be reworked into a book.


Professional Activity

 Papers at Professional Conferences (partial list):

“Alchemical Metaphors for Spiritual Transformation in Abhinavagupta’s Īśvara-pratyabhijñā-vimarśinī and Īśvara-pratyabhijñā-vivrti-vimarśinī,” at Śaivism and the Tantric Traditions: A Symposium in Honour of Alexis G.J.S. Sanderson, University of Toronto, March 2015.

“Theories of Mind and Consciousness in ancient India and their relevance for the modern period,” at the International Conference on Consciousness, Mind and Body II: Paradigms and Integrative Practices in Education and Health, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro), Brazil, October 2013.

 “One Being with the Universe for its Body: Logical arguments in nondual Tantric Śaivism for the primacy of Consciousness and the unity of God and the Self,” at the International Conference on Consciousness, Mind and Body: Eastern and Western Perspectives, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (Federal University of Rio de Janerio), Brazil, August 2011.

“Samāveśa: Possession or Liberation?“ at the annual South Asia Conference, University of California at Berkeley, Spring 2007.

 “Consciousness in Shaiva Theology” at the Consciousness in Religion and Science colloquium, Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, 2005.


Professional Teaching Experience

Freelance Lecturer in Yoga Teacher Trainings on the international circuit  (USA, Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia, Brasil, UK, Denmark, etc.), 2008 - 2015

Graduate Student Instructor, Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of California at Berkeley, 2002 - 2008

Lecturer in Yoga Philosophy and Sanskrit language, Yoga Mandala (Berkeley) and Yoga Tree (San Francisco), 2005 - 2007

Lecturer in Yoga Philosophy Curriculum and Sanskrit language, YogaKula (Berkeley) and Triyoga (London), 2003 - 2005

 Religion Fellow, Department of Religion and Classics, University of Rochester, 1999 - 2001


Awards, Grants and Honor Societies

(with year of election)

Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society (2001)                      Magistretti Fellowship, UCB (2001-09)

Golden Key National Honor Society (2000)            Beinecke Brothers Scholarship (2003-05)

Departmental Writing Award (2001, UR)                Humanities Special Fellowship, UCSB (2005)

Barth-Crapsey Research Grant, UR (2000)                  


Areas of Specialization

South Asian Studies:  Classical Indian Philosophy, The Yoga Traditions, Medieval Philosophical Theology, The Tantric Traditions, Shaivism

Religious Studies: Buddhism, Sufism, Early Christianity, Mysticism in World Religions

Sanskrit: Classical, Purānic, Medieval, and Scholastic varieties

 Courses taught (partial list)

            SSEAS N51:             The Yoga Tradition in Theory and Practice (2008)

            SSEAS 120:              Classical Yoga Traditions of India (2003)

            SSEAS 98/198:        Meditation, Mysticism, and the Mind (2002-03, 2006-07)

            SSEAS R5A:             Great Books of India (writing seminar) (2006-08)

            SSEAS R5B:             India through the Writer's Eye (writing seminar) (2006-08)