Friday, July 16, 2010

The Lady Twilight

Killing the Buddha has published a five-part excerpt from William Dalrymple's new book Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India. The focus of the excerpt is tantra in Bengal! Dalrymple tells the heart-breaking, inspiring story of Manisha, a devotee of Tara whose life has been a long, strange trip through "the burning grounds of Bengal, an open-air lunatic asylum for the divinely mad."

Normally I'd greet that kind of purple prose with an eye-roll and a waspish dig about orientalism, but where the Mother is concerned no prose can be purple enough. The truth of tantra is stranger than any fiction. Dalrymple is an excellent observer of people as well as places, and he communicates very well the sense of danger involved in the worship of Tara/Kali.

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