Monday, January 25, 2010

Poised for Grace by Douglas Brooks - a review

I finished reading Douglas Brooks' Tantric commentary on the Bhagavad Gita last night, after struggling with it for about two weeks. Well... it wasn't terrible, but it was in dire need of editing. There were a few sentences that didn't make sense even after repeated readings, and there were a few very obvious errors, like subject-verb agreement. I don't fault the author; these things can creep into anyone's writing. But the editors could have done a better job.

Regarding the content - it was interesting, but I don't know if I buy the basic Tantric belief that everything is god or comes from god. I have never found that to be a satisfying philosophy, and usually when it gets fleshed out, it starts feeling circular. On a positive note, though, the book did give me a much better understanding of the Gita. Whereas PataƱjali's Yoga Sutras is a philosophical treatise, the Bhagavad Gita addresses the more vital question of how to practice yoga in the morally ambiguous full blown disaster of the world. The description of Arjuna's breakdown on the battlefield is especially striking, and will be hauntingly familiar to anyone who has ever lost their footing in the world and didn't know what to do next. Krishna's advice is all the more poignant for the familiarity of Arjuna's self doubt.


Pamela said...

have you ever done a week long yoga retreat?

Squirrel said...

No, but I've done weekend retreats occasionally.