Sivananda Buried Yoga
by Yogi Manmoyanand
Published by O Books, PB, 308pp
reviewed by John Canard
This is one of those books which promises so much and then does not quite seem to deliver all you hope for. It starts very well, with the author’s experiences, and the first few chapters are extremely well written and enjoyable. They gave me very high hopes that this was going to be an exceptional book. However the flavour of the book once the author makes the connection with his guru becomes like a yogic version of Castaneda.
I am not a yogi, so I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information, though it is clearly heartfelt. I can relate to the author’s claims that yoga has become a diluted pale shadow of what it started off as, and understand why he should wish to see its purity and purpose restored to their proper place. The same can be said for spiritual and magickal traditions the world over, which are almost all showing the taint of commercial corruption in their presentation, even if not in the practitioners. It is the old story of if it can make money, some people will try. From that perspective the latter chapters and the author’s experiences could be seen as fairly universal, just substitute the name of the appropriate tradition in and certificates and affirmations seem to win over substantive work and discipline every time in our lazy society.
My main problem is that the presentation of the siddhis (magickal powers) made the book come across as too fantastic. This seriously detracted from the quality found elsewhere and also from the many positive and important messages the book contains. As soon as the siddhis come to the fore, it reads like Don Juan and Castaneda, and even if te experiences were true, they should have been treated with more subtlety, which the author is obviously capable of, as seen in some of his lovely phraseology.
So this is a book of two halfs, or perhaps I should say a half broken in two and a second half! The first half (or just under) of the book is excellent, then it fades somewhat, and then the fire returns in the last couple of chapters. Although it lacks in places, it is still ane xcellent read, and one which is sure to make any seeker stop and think about their path, which is always a good thing.