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Book details
  • SubGenre:Mysticism
  • Language:English
  • Pages:386
  • eBook ISBN:9780957518520

Yoga and the Dark Night of the Soul

The Soul's Journey to Sacred Love

by Simon Haas View author's profile page

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Yoga and the Dark Night of the Soul is about the soul's journey from fear, lamentation and confusion to sacred love. Based on the timeless teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, this contemporary guide to yoga's ancient wisdom shows us how to overcome life's greatest challenges, how to follow our life purpose, how to engage our heart in our yoga practice, and how to write our life story with love and compassion.
In the middle of a battlefield, the warrior Arjuna, the greatest of his time, has an unexpected life crisis. The imaginary identity he has been holding on to in his story is shattered, and he is cast into a “dark night of the soul”. Arjuna turns to Krishna, his dear friend and charioteer, who teaches him the Bhagavad Gita, a classic on yoga. Instead of being a “warrior” or “hero” in his small, imagined story, Arjuna now becomes a seeker, a traveller at the beginning of his yoga journey. Yoga and the Dark Night of the Soul is a book about difficulty and darkness. Not a temporary setback or a bad day at work, but a period in our life of intense suffering. Almost all of us will go through one or more periods like this in our lifetime. We live in a society that conceals crisis or despair, that looks upon it with fear and repulsion; a society that medicates it out of sight. There’s nothing in our education to help us navigate crisis. In ancient India, soul-searching crisis was viewed as an important time of transition, a deep rite of passage. In India, such an experience was known as vishada, which in Sanskrit means “despair”. Yogis and mystics studied these descents into the crisis, regarding the journey as a system of yoga—“the yoga of despair”. They noticed common attributes of dark night experiences. These experiences were not looked upon with shame and concealed; they were regarded as potent spiritual experiences, leading to spiritual awakening. Yoga and the Dark Night of the Soul examines what deep existential crisis really is, how it unfolds, what its common features are, and how best to navigate such an experience to allow it to transform us. In doing so, it focuses specifically on the yoga teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, making these timeless teachings easily accessible for contemporary readers and yoga practitioners. Krishna’s teachings to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita can be summarized as four agreements that take us on a yoga journey of discovery. They not only help us navigate the dark night of the soul, but bestow upon us yoga’s greatest gift—sacred love. The dark night of the soul is a unique opportunity, a sacred juncture, for addressing the soul’s true need, sacred love. As the Bhagavad Gita illustrates, crisis and despair are really our call to love; and yoga is the way we get there. The purpose of this book is therefore to lead readers to sacred love, yoga’s ultimate aim.
About the author
Simon Haas is a teacher of yoga philosophy who specializes in applying ancient wisdom to everyday life. Born in 1975, Simon Haas first became interested in the study of ancient wisdom traditions thirty years ago. As a young boy, Simon studied the sacred writings of India and spent ten years living in temples and monasteries in Mathura and Braj, the birthplace of Krishna, speaker of the Bhagavad Gita. He apprenticed for sixteen years with an elderly master practitioner in the Bhakti tradition, within an unbroken line of teachers that dates back thousands of years. Simon graduated with honours from the University of Cambridge. Currently, he focuses on making the teachings of ancient India widely accessible to contemporary readers and audiences. He lectures and gives seminars and workshops internationally on the philosophy of yoga and the transformative wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita. Simon is author of the bestseller "The Book of Dharma: Making Enlightened Choices", which shares practical teachings on how to consciously direct our life, by improving the quality of our choices. His most recent book, "Yoga and the Dark Night of the Soul: The Soul’s Journey to Sacred Love", translates the yoga teachings of the Bhagavad Gita for contemporary readers.

Book Reviews

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An enlightening re-reading of the Bhagavad-gita Simon Haas’s latest book is a beautiful union between the potent and relatable idea of St John of Cross’s ‘dark night of the soul’ and the ancient and timeless teachings of the Bhagavad-gita, which, in his unique marriage of the two, are made all the more relevant to the soul-searching and existentialism of today’s world. Speaking to the intrinsic need for growth and transformation, to a needful release from stagnation and closed-circuit perceptions, Haas coaches the unwriting and the writing of the self, encouraging an optimistic utilisation of life’s inevitable adversities and the discovery of latent yet hidden beauty, dedication and satisfaction. This re-reading of the Bhagavad-gita, drawn from the revelatory wisdom of both contemporary and historic sages, is a delightful and profound addition to the bookshelves of any being remotely interested in an exploration of the self and soul through the reality of our lived experiences. Read more