20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
A brilliant reading of the origins of Tantra...,
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This review is from: The Origins of Yoga and Tantra: Indic Religions to the Thirteenth Century (Paperback)
Geoffrey Samuel's scholarly, reflective, ambitious work does an extraordinary job of relating tantric traditions to the flow of Indic history. The emphasis in some Tantric traditions on auspicious magic, deities and ritual makes much more sense when considered as a complement to the otherworldly concerns of the Vedic Brahmanical and Buddhist traditions.
Samuel writes very well, and is very much the modern scholar: comfortable with ambiguity and conjecture, and comfortable with limits to knowledge and evidence. His approach is very pragmatic; he follows the stream of developments rather than trying to create a structure the evidence cannot support. He states clearly that his conjectures about Tantric origins are not to be confused with the full flowering of Tantric traditions over the course of centuries, nor is it to be confused with the actual Tantric experience.
For anyone who has wondered how a stunningly transcendent insight such as Tantra can be associated with so much shamanic and philosophical cultural baggage, this is the book to read!