Review of "The Book of Shiva"

book_of_shivaThe Book of Shiva, by Namita Gokhale is an extremely informative and rather strange book. It describes the way representations and views of Lord Shiva and the way he is worshiped today and was worshiped historically. It is illustrated with drawings similar to the one on the cover. They show all elements of the various manifestations clearly but are somehow not inspiring.

The text varies in style, sometimes talking enthusiastically and with feeling about a real live belief, and at other times becoming almost detached and reading like an anthropological report. At times I found it inspiring, and at others I feel it could have had more feeling. That said it is always informative and gives a wealth of information about the great Lord.

It really comes together in the last page, where it says:

As we trace the eternal living reality of Shiva in its forward and backward moments …. we breath new life into the living faith of Shiva, he who is beyond words and names, he who is beyond understanding.

This makes sense of the whole book, and in my view would have been better at the beginning. Despite my mixed feelings when reading it, I think that it is a worthwhile book for its wealth of content and where it does show the feeling of love and devotion for Shiva shines like a beacon. It is a book that I am sure I will refer to many times.

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