Thursday, November 04, 2010

The Yoga of Spiritual Devotion by Prem Prakash

The Yoga of Spiritual Devotion A Modern Translation of the Narada Bhakti Sutras (Transformational Book Circle)The Yoga of Spiritual Devotion: A Modern Translation of Narada Bhakti Sutas by Prem Prakash is another in the Transformational Book Circle series which I have been trying to finish reading even though the circle itself, including the website, seems to be gone.  Although this book is focused on yogic teachings, it is not Hindu in tone.  Bhakti yoga is a school of teaching that focuses not on study or even on physical practice but on devotion, on experiencing love and compassion in, for, and through all things.  The idea that giving love increases the receiving and experience of love permeates the text.  Prakash draws on other spiritual paths to highlight the teachings of the original text making the overall text more ecumenical in its application. 

This is a very good book and there is another version of it in publication.  I would encourage anyone interested in reading the text to look at a different version because this one has some very careless editing in it.  There are Sanskrit words where a letter is replaced by a digit (specifically the digit 1), pages where there are hyphenations of words as if they were at the end of the line but are in the middle of the line, words dropped from sentences, and so many other sloppy examples of poor editing on the publisher’s part that I can’t encourage anyone to spend their money on this version.  Hopefully the other one is better edited and printed.

This book also comes with a cd of a conversation between Gay Hendricks and Barbara De Angelis.  Hendricks is the editor of the series, inviting other spiritual teachers to share their favorite inspirational books.  The conversation is pleasant enough, although it doesn’t add a lot to the appreciation of the text itself.  What I found most interesting is how Hendricks admitted that his approach to devotion had initially been intellectual while De Angelis shared how hers was rooted in the emotional and yet both ended up at the same place spiritually.

Anyone who is interested in moving their yoga experience in a more spiritual direction would probably benefit from reading the Narada Bhakti Sutras but I would definitely consider investing in a better edited version.

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