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Sivananda Buried Yoga

By Anne Mills

Initially, I was under the impression that Yogi Manmoyanand was arrogant and self-involved, but then soon realised that this was what I was supposed to think, as he described his feelings as a young man looking for his spiritual pathway amongst the Buddhist sects, Hinduism and even Christianity. He explored hatha and then raja yoga to prepare his body for higher meditation but finally became disillusioned with all the hollow devotions, that he was not reaching the spiritual growth he was hoping for to explain the meaning of life. In a chance inflammatory meeting on a train, he met a sadhu, an ascetic practitioner of yoga, who was going to change his life. His name was Kripanand Saraswati, and with gentle persuasion and play on this self-important young mans sense of conscience, he persuaded him to come with him to the Himalayas where the ashram (settlement) for this Hindu sect of monks practised their yoga and philosophy. Through the purification of kriyas (practices) and balance of energy in asanas (yoga poses) and also by the teachings of true yoga by the guru Angadanand Saraswati, he progressed spiritually along a challenging pathway. He learned about persistence of knowledge from one life to another, and about settling karmic debt, finally discovering the possibility of transcendence into the highest realm of existence through meditation, where he was able to merge and fuse with cosmic resonance.

I found this book fairly hard to read, with pages littered with many Sanskrit words in italics, including all the Sanskrit names for the yoga postures, (many of which I have actually attempted in the past). Even though I resorted to Googling many times, and writing notes and diagrams to understand the different levels of consciousness, there were many elucidating and thought-provoking perspectives, and interest was sustained by edifying parables - it was worth the struggle. It is only by the last chapter that the meaning and revelation of the title is revealed.