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Sadhus: India's Mystic Holy Men Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions (September 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892814543
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892814541
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 9.4 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 19 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #868,750 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Hartsuiker, a psychologist and world traveler, presents the lifestyle and beliefs of the sadhus, or Hindu holy men, in a format that is beautiful, thorough, and up-to-date. Over 100 clear and dramatic color photos of these holy men add depth and visual power to a text that itself is a masterful presentation of a complex but fascinating subject. Hartsuiker has done a marvelous job of explaining the Hindu concepts forming the foundational beliefs of these holy men, as well as explaining how the various sects developed. Separate chapters are given to those sadhus who are devotees of Shiva and Vishnu. The symbolism of the holy men's physical appearance, unfamiliar to Westerners, is lucidly explained; the color photos are strikingly captivating. An excellent bibliography is also included. Hartsuiker has given us what is sure to become a classic text on this subject. Highly recommended.
- David Bourquin, California State Univ., San Bernardino
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"This is an arresting portrait of an unusual group of people."
(MGNapra Trade Journal)

"An important and positive contribution toward revealing India's rich, vast and mysterious religious diversity."
(Hinduism Today)

"At first, the reader might feel a sense of superiority, the kind of spiritual pride that C.S. Lewis describes where you are amazed that the whole world does not do things the way they do it in your church. Relentlessly, the calm prose, with its descriptions of the different Hindu sects and the intentions of the practitioners, wears away at your prejudice. You notice the twinkle in the eye of one elderly man, the peace on the face of another. The word "holy" takes on new meanings. An amazing book in every sense of the word."
(The Bloomsbury Review)

" . . . will give you a far better, more informed (and more colorful!) picture than several months of traveling.  I've found no comparable work on the subject."
(KK, Whole Earth, Winter 2000)

"Hartsuiker, a psychologist and world traveler, presents the lifestyle and beliefs of the sadhus, or Hindu holy men, in a format that is beautiful, thorough, and up-to-date. Over 100 clear and dramatic color photos of these holy men add depth and visual power to a text that itself is a masterful presentation of a complex but fascinating subject. Hartsuiker has done a marvelous job of explaining the Hindu concepts forming the foundational beliefs of these holy men, as well as explaining how the various sects developed. Separate chapters are given to those sadhus who are devotees of Shiva and Vishnu. The symbolism of the holy men's physical appearance, unfamiliar to Westerners, is lucidly explained; the color photos are strikingly captivating. An excellent bibliography is also included. Hartsuiker has given us what is sure to become a classic text on this subject. Highly recommended."
(Library Journal (Monday , November 01, 1993) David Bourquin, California State Univ., San Bernardino)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 10 customer reviews
You can tell I like it.
Steve Waugh (dwarahat@webtv.net)
As a study in psychology in extremis, the wealth of behavioral detail and description is satisfying.
Dr Lawrence Hauser
I read the book without interruption!
laureano gonzalez

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Dr Lawrence Hauser on January 11, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The men (and very occasionally women) portrayed in this inconspicuous volume are compelling in the extreme. It is only necessary to gaze at their faces and ash-dusted bodies to fully appreciate the gift of this work. But the author/photographer offers so much more.
As a study in psychology in extremis, the wealth of behavioral detail and description is satisfying. And the diverse, often incredibly imaginative, rituals of self-abnegation are conveyed with tremedous sensitivty and scrupulous balance.
The text is dense, and possibly impenetrable in places. It is academic in its emphasis on getting every possible relevant detail down. So one is met with an avalanche of esoterica upon delving in.
Perhaps the writing assumes a bit of knowlege and sophistication in Eastern ways? But it really doesn't matter anyway. Somehow a sense of what is important filters through after a while. And the photo captions are well-written and fascinating.
This is a picture of a society of devotees who have given it ALL up in order to stay exquisitely near to the timeless, pitiless cycle of death and regeneration that powers all life. The book itself is clearly an act of devotion to that extaordinay commitment.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Gabriel Cohen Henriquez on May 4, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I went to India twice, the first time for 4 months, and sadhus are definetly one of the most interesting people of the hindu world. Obviously their lifestyle is not comprehended by westerners and even less by closed-minded people who probably have never been to another continent with a different culture (as reviewer fro Hawaii); or if they have, they still have'nt learned to respect the differences and traditions among different societies. Since my first trip to India I saw this book on many bookstores there, and after comparing it to many others this is the one with the best pictures of the holly men. Incomprehension should not be a cause of disrespect; actually, this has caused wars, and still does.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Parodi TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is one of my favorite books. Just by looking at the pictures I feel as though I am put in a higher state of consciousness. These men - and a few women - are fascinating. The pictures are beautifully done, and the text is very informative and provides information regarding the different groups of Sadhus and their - by our society's standards - unusual practices.
Two things that I found interesting about this book were: the discussion of rituals done by the Sadhus with the intention of shedding light on the non-duality of life ("life is death, death is life"), and that to the Sadhu "rationality" is not the prime objective in life. The book says that what is considered rational is too grounded in the transient world of appearances to be of concern to the Sadhu. The goal of the Sadhu is to go beyond the world of appearances and duality, and that often means going beyond what the world would consider rational.
This is a group of people that most of us will probably never be able to fully understand, and I certainly do not claim that I do. But I find them fascinating and very inspiring. This book is one of the best documentations of their life and world which, as the book mentions, may sadly be coming to an end due to the influence of the West.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
Cool color pictures, and intense documentation on the fascinating aspect of Hinduism that someone who's never been to India would have a hard time learning about. This is the India that non-Indians think of when they hear the term "India;" mysterious, forboding, and hard for the mind to think of for too long without profound bewilderment. Reccomend to anyone with even a mild interest in India or Hinduism, as is this is an integral part of her past, present, and undoubtedly, her future.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Siva Balan on August 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
If an ordinary worldly-minded person was to read this book, there would only be two extreme reactions. One would feel shocked and disgusted while the other would be filled with deep admiration for this class of human beings. I belong to the latter!

While reading this book, I felt a great shift of my consciousness to a higher plane. It was as if most of the sadhus were blessing me and were aware that I was reading about their fascinating way of life. It is definitely light years away from the modern world! The pictures of these holy men were simply breath-taking and the authors objective view (filled with subtle humour) of these sadhus is amazingly filled with reverence and a deep understanding of Hindu philosophy.

If one were to visit India, he/she must pay a visit to these holy men. That is the REAL India!
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