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The Circle of Fire: The Metaphysics of Yoga Paperback – November 30, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


"This superb book tackles the difficult questions contained in the metaphysics of Yoga with great clarity, so that to-day's educated laymen, eager to understand these great truths, will find it comparatively easy to comprehend them. P.J. Mazumdar is a distinguished Indian surgeon, and is thus able to bring, through his knowledge of modern science, the necessary lucidity to find the satisfactory congruence with contemporary knowledge and the ancient hallowed teachings of Advaita Vedanta and Non-Dualism.… I am confident that this book will serve as an indispensible guide for all those earnest readers keen to follow and understand the essential wisdom of the major Upanashadic Truths, still applicable more than ever for the modern man and woman."
—Alan Jacobs , President of the Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK

About the Author

P.J. Mazumdar holds an MBBS and MS from Guwahati Medical College in Assam, northeastern India. He works as an ENT surgeon and has published his poetry in India, the UK, and the US.

He is a member of the Assamese community of the northeastern part of India. Originally from Hajo, a town centered on the famous Hayagrib Madhob temple of which his family has been part of the traditional administrators, he has been brought up in the rich traditions of Hinduism.

Mazumdar's influences include the saints Sankardeva of Assam and Ramakrishna Paramahamsa of Bengal, whose syncretic teachings combine the unbending rationalism of Advaita philosophy with the devotion of the Bhakti tradition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: North Atlantic Books (November 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 155643670X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556436703
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #663,826 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
While reading P. J. Mazumdar's illuminating book `The Circle of Fire: The Metaphysics of Yoga' I couldn't help but recall Fritjof Capra's 1975 classic `The Tao of Physics'. Capra divided his book into three sections; 1- The Way of Physics, 2- The Way of Eastern Mysticism and 3- The Parallels. Fritjof's pioneering work not only succeeded in introducing the field of quantum physics to a wide, non-scientifically oriented audience but also unveiled ancient, spiritual principles at work within the physical universe working in harmony with this new science. Now 34 years later P. J. Mazumdar's book `The Circle of Fire' takes us deeper into the mysteries of the physical and non-material universe exploring the generally unnoticed, or ignored underlying harmony between modern science, Indian philosophy, Advaita, and the metaphysics of yoga.

Mazumdar divides his examination into two sections:

1- Jnanakanda: The Path of Knowledge, covering a broad range of topics such topics as evolution, DNA, relativity theory and quantum physics.
2- Karmakanda: The Path of Action, exploring mysticism, the four Yoga's: (Bhakti, Raja, Karma and Jnana), and the all encompassing reality of Advaita (non-dualism).

`The Circle of Fire' is a challenging and rather imposing 389 page volume that may cause both the casual and serious spiritual seeker to think twice before accepting such an undertaking. However once one takes that first step you will soon discover the author is a talented and accomplished communicator possessing the ability to relate both scientific and esoteric subject matter to his reading audience in a clear, intelligent and highly accessible manner. Mazumdar writes in a flowing, easy, almost conversational style that will immediately put the reader at ease.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 11, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dr. Mazumdar analyzed the physical, biological and philosophical ideas, and also the historical grounds of Indian thought in an easy-to-understand way. I learnt many new things about the world which amazed me, things I have never thought about. It was an immensely uplifting book.

On reading this book I was amazed that the concept of God need not be derived from the scriptures but could be understood in terms of science and reason. I was excited to find that I could actually accept a God that did not contradict reason. The book also described the path towards God in a gentle, enthralling way. I found in it a new way to understand Jesus. I also for perhaps the first time understood exactly what Buddhism was about, and also other religions like Taoism. I also found a new way to understand Yoga, and understood its basics.

It will be no exaggeration to say that it inspired and changed my life. I found in it both a new way of understanding myself and the world, and also a new path to follow for spiritual upliftment.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Littrell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
(Note: My book, "Yoga: Sacred and Profane (Beyond Hatha Yoga)" is now available at Amazon.)

Dr. Mazumdar comes from a long tradition in Hinduism. He is a champion of one of the six orthodox philosophies of India, that of Advaita, which can be seen as both a philosophy and a monistic religion. He is also a man of science, a surgeon with a clear understanding of the scientific method and a man who is aware of the latest advances in scientific knowledge in such diverse fields as medicine, physics and evolutionary biology. What he tries to do here in this most interesting book is justify Advaitic philosophy in light of modern science. I was impressed with his effort, but I am not sure he was entirely successful. It is difficult to straddle two worlds.

Note well the complete title of his book: "The Circle of Fire: The Metaphysics of Yoga." To justify a metaphysical position with the empirical findings of science is indeed a difficult task. What I think can be shown is that a philosophy or a religion or any metaphysical edifice is not in contradiction with science. In this sense I think Mazumdar is admirably successful. But he is not satisfied with that. What he wants to show--and this is something he insists upon--is that of all the philosophies of India, including not just the orthodox ones coming from the Vedas but the heterodox ones including Buddhism, Advaita is the one most in line with the findings of modern science.

The key idea in Advaita is that the phenomenal world is an illusion somehow resting upon the eternal truth of Brahman, Brahman being the Ineffable (God) of the Vedas about which nothing can be said. Furthermore in Advaita we are part of Brahman in the same sense that a molecule of water is part of the ocean.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
During the last fifty years there have been several outstanding books published that try to explain the world view unifying the science and metaphysics together for the common reader. Stephan Hawkins, the great scientist of the day, wrote a remarkable book, `A Brief History of Time' which is an exploration in the outer limits of science, and addresses such questions as "Was there a beginning of Time? Will there be an end? Is the Universe infinite?" and other such questions that were normally considered off the limits of science. Hawkins was addressing the issues purely from a scientist's point of view. Then we have Dr. Ervin Laszlo, a recipient of four honorary PhDs, who wrote a historic book, `Science and the Akashic Field' that tries to give an integral theory of science and metaphysics for the world view. Fritziof Capra, another scientist in theoretical high energy physics, wrote a very popular book, `The Tao of Physics' that gives an integration of the mathematical world view of modern physics and the vision with the Buddhist and other Eastern mystical vision. The American-Indian doctor-philosopher Deepak Chopra has written several books where we find a meeting ground of modern science and eastern mysticism. These are all outstanding books which have received wide acclaim in the international field and have been doing great service in bringing a synthesis between science and metaphysics.

`The Circle of Fire, (The Metaphysics of Yoga)' is written on similar subject, by an young Assamese surgeon. When I started the book, I could not stop reading before finishing the 400 page long book. `The Circle of Fire' is indeed another such outstanding book where science and metaphysics meet.
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