Saraha and Sahaja

In this lecture, Roger Jackson talks about Saraha's songs, with a special focus on his teachings on sahaja – a vital tantric term variously translated as "the coemergent," "the connate," or "the simultaneously arisen."


Saraha was a mahasiddha, a founder of the mahamudra tradition of Indian tantric Buddhism, and, along with Tilopa, Krishnacharya, and others, a key figure in what is sometimes called the Sahajayana movement. He had a profound influence on later thinkers and practitioners in India such as Kabir and Guru Nanak and on Tibetan masters from Marpa and Milarepa to Longchenpa and Tsongkapa to Chögyam Trungpa and the Fourteenth Dalai Lama.

Dr. Jackson’s new book on Saraha’s life and writings will be brought out by Shambhala Publications next year.


Roger Jackson is John W. Nason Professor of Asian Studies and Religion, Emeritus, at Carleton College, where he taught the religions of South Asia and Tibet. He also has taught at the University of Michigan, Fairfield University, McGill University, and Maitripa College. He has a B.A. from Wesleyan University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, where he studied under Geshe Lhundub Sopa. His scholarly interests include Indian and Tibetan Buddhist systems of philosophy, meditation, and ritual; Buddhist religious poetry; the study of mysticism; religion in Sri Lanka; and the contours of modern Buddhist thought. He is the author of several acclaimed books.