ORIENTAL MYSTICS AND MAGICIANS by Perle Epstein

ORIENTAL MYSTICS AND MAGICIANS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Without imposing a veil of western skepticism Epstein tells the lives and miracles of Sri Chaitanya, the Zen master Hakuin, Jetsun Milarepa and Ramakrishna. In itself, this deliberately naive approach works well. But the intervening chapters mix background on two subjects--magical practices and mysticism--to the inevitable disadvantage of the latter. Epstein is at her strongest when discussing Tibet, where Tantrism really does interweave both concepts. Her quick rundown of the esoteric practices and beliefs of Tibetan yogis and sorcerers is a predictable attention getter. It would have been better to stop there, since next to all this fancy magic the austere Zen teacher Hakuin merely seems dull and amid the tales of Ramakrishna's psychic powers, his real significance to Hinduism is shunted aside. A responsible enough survey of Eastern magic for the curious, who will be more likely to absorb the occult oddities than the author's mild attempt to put all this into some philosophical perspective.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1975
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Doubleday