Print Print Comment Comment Add to Favorites
Log in to save to My Yoga Journal!
Add to Favorites
Bookmark Bookmark

India: A History by John Keay

A new history of India provides a decidedly down-to-earth counterpoint to our idealized image of yoga's birthplace.

By Richard Rosen

Keay's book still merits inclusion on our hypothetical reading list, if only to enable our imaginary students to have some perspective on the historical-cultural background of Indian spirituality. Yoga students in the West tend to think of India as the quintessential holy land—swarming with ash-covered sadhus and sacred cows, thick with thousand-year-old temples, watered by rivers that stream out of Heaven itself—so much so that we tend to exaggerate this aspect of the place. In Keay's chronicle a decidedly more down-to-earth Indian identity slowly materializes; it serves as an important counterpoint to our idealized image.

What we would like most of all for our students is an insightful treatise on the centuries-long relationship between the sublime expressions of the Indian soul (yoga among them) and its country's history. It's pretty evident that this subject isn't a particular interest of Keay's, at least not in this book.

Despite this failing, his work is still an engrossing, entertaining, and intellectually edifying experience. It's also a visual delight, with stunning photos of ruins, shrines, palaces, sculptures, and paintings, along with some 40-odd maps and half as many charts and tables. The history that addresses us as yoga students remains to be written, it seems, but in the meantime India: A History is well worth our attention.

Contributing editor Richard Rosen is deputy director of the Yoga Research and Education Center in Sebastopol, California, and teaches public yoga classes in Berkeley and Oakland, California.

Page 1 2 3

Print Print Comment Comment Add to Favorites
Log in to save to My Yoga Journal!
Add to Favorites
Bookmark Bookmark
Full Name
Address 1
Address 2
Zip Code:
Email (req):

Reader Comments

Add a Comment »

Your Name:


Stay Connected with Us!

Yoga Journal Live events
ep14 YJ LIVE! Colorado
Estes Park, Colorado
Sep 14-21, 2014
florida YJ LIVE! Florida
Hollywood, FL
Nov 13-17, 2014

More Events

Join Yoga Journal's Benefits Plus
Liability insurance and benefits to support
teachers and studios.
Learn More
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 4 FREE GIFTS
Your subscription includes
Yoga for Neck & Shoulders • Yoga Remedies
Yoga for Headaches • Calm, Cool, Collected
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Yoga Journal
and my 4 FREE downloadable Yoga Booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions