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Thursday, 15 October 2015

Awakening Shakti - Book Review

The path of tantra is an esoteric path. Its practitioners seldom write about their techniques. If ever something is written, the most vital part is deliberately omitted. It is not the path for all. The Master passes the techniques to his worthy disciples only through his word of mouth or through intuitions but never in writing.

Sally Kempton is a tantra practitioner with a real living Guru. In Awakening Shakti she has demystified the tantric deities, to be more specific – The Hindu female deities. Not only does she tell about the deities and the stories associated with them, but also shares the techniques which can be used to channelize the powers of various Goddesses into our lives. It is these Goddesses or Shaktis who are govern every aspect of our lives – from material possessions to our thought patterns.

So when we are enraged we have the Kali energy channelizing through us. When we wait for our beloved, Radha is dancing through our systems. Young radiant women have Laxmi smiling on them. When we let go, it is Dhumavati who is guiding us. According to the author this applies to both men and women. In other words these energies are present in everyone irrespective of your sex. When she discusses the Goddesses who are married women like Parvati, Sita, she says that their energies and qualities play in same sex couples as well.

The tales which she has culled from various sources are interesting as well. Many of them are unheard before. One tale is about how Brahma divorced his wife none other than the Goddess of learning Saraswati as she was spending most of her time in learning and not discharging her duties as a wife.

When a devotee performs his penance, the Goddess appears before him in the form in which he had imagined her. That image remains in the ether and whoever prays to that image will also be able to see the Goddess in that form.

The writer has understood our Goddesses more than we Indians have. See what she has to say about Lakshmi “ Lakshmi is famous for giving material boons, but her deeper gift is subtle ability to experience innate perfection and beauty. Love of beauty is an expression of goddess. It’s true that when we pursue greedily, we end up chasing an ever-receding prize. But when we deny it or are denied it, our hearts wither.

The book is an excellent piece of work. The meditations are bound to grant you if not everything than at least peace of mind for sure. Indian religious texts are not easy to discern. Most of them are not straight forward. They are cryptic and viable to multiple interpretations. There are various versions of the same story. But the author has learnt them all. Indeed she has impressed me with her knowledge – not just of the religious texts but also deeper understanding of Tantra.

The language of the book is simple and easy to comprehend. Each chapter in the book states the name of the Goddesses, their qualities, the places where they are found, their beej mantras and her other names. The book will also help you identify which energy is dominant in you. The book also tells us about the shadows of the Goddesses. The writer gives us illustrations in the forms of well known women and characters from the western movies. In the very words of the author “The book’s intention is to help you open the layers of your soul that are related to these particular energies and the practices that invoke them. That way, you can better receive their gifts. You can recognize and own their shadowy aspects. You can access their power to awaken and transform you. Above all you can dance with their energies.”

If you are interested in yoga, tantra or Indian Goddesses, this is the book you will treasure. It will reintroduce you to your beloved Goddesses. It will establish your relationship with them. It will give you discernment which will peel the cover of superstitions and blind beliefs. It will bring you closer to Her. This is the book which couldn’t have been written without divine intervention.

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