Four Yogas recommended books, with reviews - Nagualism, Tibetan Buddhism, Adi Da, nondual Shaivism, Meditation

The Mastery of Awareness - Kashmir Shaivist Nondualism

 
The Doctrine of Vibration
The Doctrine of Vibration: An Analysis of the Doctrines and Practices of Kashmir Shaivism, Mark S.G. Dyczkowski. Ancient Kashmir was a source for both Buddhist and Hindu spirituality and learning. Many of the metaphors of the nondual awareness school were handed down to our present day through generations of mystics and scholars and provide an extraordinarily rich source for meditative expansion and stabilization. The root guru of Adi Da Samraj was Swami Muktananda, who in turn was a product of the Kashmir Shaivist school of nondual awareness. The richness of the terminology, derived from the ancient Sanskrit, is remarkable for both it's clarity and depth. These teachings are readily accessible in meditative absorption, and are a wonderful adjunct in the development, expansion, and assimilation of transcendental awareness.  [Edward Plotkin
 
From the Introduction: "The mainstay of the Doctrine of Vibration is the contemplative experience the awakened yogi has of his true nature as the universal perceiving and acting consciousness. Every activity in the universe, as well as every perception, notion, sensation or emotion in the microcosm, ebbs and flows as part of the universal rhythm of the one reality, which is Siva, the one God Who is the pure conscious agent and perceiver. According to the Doctrine of Vibration, man can realize his true nature to be Siva by experiencing Spanda, the dynamic, recurrent and creative activity of the absolute." 
Mark S.G. Dyczkowski

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THE TRIADIC HEART OF SIVA
THE TRIADIC OF HEART OF SIVA: Kaula Tantricism of Abhinavagupta in the Nondual Shaivism of Kashmir, Paul Eduardo Muller-Ortega. The Heart as a metaphor for the enlightened experience of consciousness was masterfully revealed by the great Shaivist sage, mystic and scholar Abhinavagupta. Abhinavagupta "taught from a level of complete spiritual awakening with the authority of one who was considered a Siva incarnate." The study of these teachings, for the student able to attain and maintain meditative absorption, may be the basis for a radical transformation in consciousness to spiritually awakened Being in nondual freedom of awareness.[Edward Plotkin
 

From the back cover: "This book explores one of the most explicit and sophisticated theoretical formulations of tantric yoga. It explains Abhinavagupta's teaching about the nature of ultimate reality, about the methods for experiencing this ultimate reality, and about the nature of the state of realization, a condition of embodied enlightenment. The author uncovers the conceptual matrix surrounding the practices of the Kaula lineage of Kashmir Shaivism.

 
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The Yoga Tradition: History, Religion, Philosophy and Practice
Unabridged, New

by Georg Feuerstein, Phd, Ken Wilber

List Price: $29.95

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Paperback: 550 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.08 x 10.86 x 8.61

Publisher: Hohm Pr; ISBN: 1890772186; (October 31, 2001)

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist
Feuerstein is a renowned yoga scholar and a tireless communicator, sharing his knowledge in more than two dozen books on the subject as well as translations of key yoga scriptures. Most Westerners have a limited understanding of what the term yoga, which means "union," implies. Feuerstein describes yoga as a "spectacularly multifaceted phenomena," and performs a truly yogic feat by combining commentary with translated Sanskrit teachings, history with theory, the spiritual with the practical, and the classical with the contemporary. He illuminates every facet and phase of yoga from its roots in shamanism to its connections to the complex and dynamic spirituality of India, especially yoga's relationship with Hinduism and Buddhism. Feuerstein explicates the different yogic schools and profiles key yoga teachers. Yoga is a vast and vital universe maintained over the centuries by the discipline and persistence of its practitioners, who strive to join the physical with the spiritual, the "individual self with the supreme Self." No more adept or comprehensive study of yoga aimed at a Western audience is to be found. Donna Seaman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title

 

Customer Reviews Avg. Customer Rating: 5.0 out of 5 stars

The most extensive and detailed work on yoga in English, February 7, 2002
Reviewer: Dennis Littrell from SoCal

This extraordinary work represents a lifetime of devotion to yoga by its preeminent Western scholar. It is at once a distillation and compilation of all that Georg Feuerstein has gleaned in his extensive travels both academically and spiritually. It greatly broadens the usual scope of yoga to include its manifestation in other religions and goes back in time to the edge of the prehistory. Feuerstein understands that yoga is both an ancient practice, and, by itself, a profound and venerable religion. More than anything, however, it is a salient expression of the culture and philosophy, the lifestyle and history of the Indian subcontinent where it was the midwife of the great religions of Buddhism, Jainism, Taoism and of course that great body of belief and practice known as Hinduism.

Feuerstein is in one sense a true believer. He has devoted his life to the study of yoga and attendant phenomena, in particular Hinduism and the broad Tantric tradition. One gets the sense that even here in this lengthy work, he knows much more than he is conveying; that there is a synergistic power in his extensive knowledge that allows him to know things that he cannot express. One feels his intense desire to say something that perhaps cannot be said, something spiritual and personal that can only be experienced.

In another sense he is a hard-working scholar who reports on what he has learned without passing unnecessary judgments or drawing unwarranted conclusions, although he does interpret. He is, in this sense, the American expression of the great French scholar Mircea Eliade with perhaps a pinch of the Indian philosopher Sri Aurobindo, on the one hand, and the English tantrist Sir John Woodroffe, on the other, folded in.

The book begins with a thorough definition of yoga and then an overview, and then its inescapable conjoining with Hinduism. This is "Part One: Foundations." Then Feuerstein looks at "Pre-Classical Yoga" and overviews the entire Vedic tradition including the yoga of the earliest Upanishads, culminating in its expression in the Bhagavad Gita. Then in "Part Three: Classical Yoga," he comes to Patanjali and the yoga of the eight limbs, the famous yoga of the aphorisms. Part Four is "Post-Classical Yoga" from the later Yoga-Upanishads from the Middle Ages in which the focus is on bhakti, technique, mantra and meditation. It is here that Western readers will find much that is new, or at least not readily available in English. And it is here that a non-dualistic yogic philosophy (as opposed to the dualism of Patanjali) holds sway. Part Five is on tantrism and "Yoga as Spiritual Alchemy." It is in this last part that the so-called "subtle body," with its nadis and pranas, its cakras ("psychoenergetic centers") and the mysterious serpent power of kundalini, is explored in depth. Here too we have the ritualistic practice of the five forbidden things from tantra yoga, the infamous "left-handed path." Here is Feuerstein's take: "Practitioners of the left-hand path (<vāma-mārga>)--vāma means both "left" and "woman"--know they are breaking profound social taboos, and their only justification for their conduct is that their goal is not sensual gratification but self-transcendence in the context of bodily existence." (p. 484)

To me--and I have studied and practiced yoga for 28 years--yoga is first and foremost a profound psychology, a way of life that has evolved along with the human experience, from the prehistory to today, a guide on how to live that has come down to us in part (only in part: so much has been lost) as a philosophic and religious tradition. Feuerstein's book is at once a great reference and a heart-felt exposition on the power of yoga to transcend this world in which we are enveloped in the "food sheath," where we are both the eater and the eaten, but with our eyes on the stars.

The book includes numerous black and white illustrations, passages from yogic works, and an extensive, selected bibliography. There is a chronology, a glossary and an excellent index.

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Meditation Revolution

Meditation Revolution : A History and Theology of the Siddha Yoga Lineage
by S.P. Sabharathnam, Douglas Renfrew Brooks

Siddha Yoga's path of spiritual development is based on Shaktipat, the awakening of Kundalini energy by an enlightened teacher. Meditation Revolution centers on the work of three enlightened nondual Shaivist teachers, Bhagawan Nityananda, known for his extraordinary awakening powers, his disciple, Swami Muktananda who established Siddha Yoga in the West, and Muktananda's disciple, Gurumayi Chidvilasananda who established her unique insight within Siddha Yoga, and transformed these teachings into a global movement.

From The Publisher
Although the Western world has long been attracted to Indian spirituality, few credible scholarly works have explained its concepts and practices to the satisfaction of the Western mind. This intriguing, collaborative book explores in depth a path of meditation rooted in the Indian yogic tradition which has had tremendous impact on students of spirituality since the 1970s. At its heart is the work of two teachers: Swami Muktananda, who introduced Siddha Yoga to the West, inspiring what he called a "meditation revolution, " and Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, who has brought Siddha Yoga to maturity as a global spiritual movement.

  
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