Consider for a moment that the Dalai Lama is a tantric adept, and those visions of sexual bliss that the word "tantra" conjures up quickly dissolve. Tantra is more than the sex play of popular articles and books. Georg Feuerstein, authority of the yogic traditions, conjures up a much richer world of Hindu cosmology, philosophy, and theology. Tantra is a form of devotionalism, in which ritual sounds, gestures, and actions figure prominently. Reverence of the guru as god also plays a part, but Feuerstein tempers our suspicion by repeating the admonitions of tantric texts down through the ages to choose carefully. As much prudence must also go into reflection on the disciple's own person, who engages in strict yogic discipline designed to conquer the six enemies: desire, anger, greed, delusion, pride, and envy. Feuerstein draws on the ancient texts to describe the tantric path in great detail, including realization of the subtle body, directing energy through the chakras, and, yes, sex. Taken together, tantra becomes a vivid, multifaceted path to self-realization. --Brian Bruya
From Publishers Weekly
Feuerstein has attempted a daunting task, defining Tantric Yoga drawn from Hindu and not Tibetan Buddhist sources. To do this, he has assembled a wide-ranging compendium of Hindu, Tantric and Shaivite texts almost impossible to find in one place elsewhere. To plunge into this book is to find yourself rushing down the sacred River Ganges through the heart of India. Like a sophisticated travelogue, it brings into sharp focus the rich tapestry of the Indian ecstatic life and the exotic practices of Tantric Yoga that take place, metaphorically, on the banks of this Queen of rivers. The inner eye is challenged with mystical beasts bathing in the waters; holy men daubed in ashes undertaking bizarre and often previously never-before-seen Tantric rituals; the inner ear is filled with the rhythmic, pulsating chant of Om, and all its associated Sanskrit sounds; the senses are awash with meditative visions. It is a passage through Indian spiritual life that may be too sophisticated for the casual tourist, although for those who have passed this way before, it is a comprehensive and provocative commentary on the basic and advanced precepts of Tantric yoga. Written with literate modesty and erudition, this book is an invaluable resource.
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