TANTRIKA: Traveling the Road of Divine Love

Asra Nomani, Author . Harper San Francisco $24.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-251713-5

It was supposed to be a light, human interest assignment for Wall Street Journal reporter Nomani: Write about the fad of "Tantra sex." Initially, Nomani's memoir about researching the Tantra tradition reads like a hilarious exposé. Instead of meeting enlightened swamis, Nomani encountered a slew of smarmies—exploitative male teachers offering private sexual healing lessons and advanced tutorials in finding her G-Spot. Beneath this exposé on the Tantra sex racket in California and India, Nomani tells the deeper story of confronting her own ethnic and spiritual roots. The Indian-born Muslim Nomani was scolded by her now-American parents for researching the dark art of Tantra, an ancient and mystical tradition based in sexuality that's been woven into factions of Buddhism and Hinduism. Nonetheless, she persevered with the research, traveling to caves of Thailand, the doorstep of the Dalai Lama and Tantra boot camps of India. Along the way she discovered her own hidden Hindu ancestry as well as a deep fascination with the true spiritual teachings of Tantra. In the memoir, Nomani learns to live compassionately and fearlessly in the face of severe challenges, including the kidnapping and slaying of her close friend and Wall Street Journal colleague Daniel Pearl by Pakistani extremists. While Nomani is a talented writer and has strong material to work with, her memoir frequently loses focus. It staggers between a search for identity and a search for Tantra teachings and ultimately doesn't satisfy either theme. (June)

Reviewed on: 05/26/2003
Release date: 06/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-06-145394-6
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 304 pages - 978-0-06-145391-5
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-06-145388-5
Paperback - 286 pages - 978-0-06-251714-2
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-06-186028-7
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