Swami Sri Ramanananda Saraswathi, trans. Tripura Rahasya: The Secret of the Supreme Goddess. Bloomington, Indiana: World Wisdom, 2002. Paperback, xviii + 222 pages.
On my shelves is a copy of the by now rickety second edition of this book, published in 1962, and it is good to have this more handsome version. The Tripura-Rahasya is one of my favorite Shâkta scriptures, and Swami Ramanananda’s rendering is essentially correct, if not always elegant.
In a style similar to the voluminous Yoga- Vâsishtha, the Tripura-Rahasya makes use of didactic stories to illustrate Shâkta metaphysics and spirituality: The world is regarded as an image projected onto the screen of consciousness. Behind it looms the infinite reality of the Goddess, who is our ultimate essence. We must discover Her to attain peace. The path to freedom is vicâra, or inquiry into the nature of existence, especially the nature of the mind.
The text offers a remarkable teaching: Even the highest ecstatic states are useless, because they do not last. Only full awakening in the condition of sahaja-samâdhi, which is permanent, is worthy of our aspiration. To prepare for this great awakening, we must reject nothing but remain completely open. Thus, in contrast to many other Indian teachings, the Tripura-Rahasya teaches that the world is not a threat from which we should recoil but a temporary, illusory appearance of the ultimate Being, which is the Goddess. When we see the Divine in all things, there is no possible fear that can shake us and contract our awareness. Little wonder that Ramana Maharshi loved and recommended this Sanskrit scripture.
Unfortunately, in the course of retypsetting this book, a number of disfiguring printing mistakes have crept in, which should be corrected in the next printing. This new edition also would have been an excellent opportunity to rectify earlier misspellings of Sanskrit terms. These shortcomings, however, in no way lessen the merit of the text itself, which is an outstanding and very readable treatment of Shâkta philosophy.
Originally reviewed © Copyright 2003. All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2006 by Georg Feuerstein. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in any form requires prior permission from Traditional Yoga Studies.