David Gordon White
University of Chicago Press, 2003.
Hardcover, 372 pages
Oral Transmissions of Power
The book discussed in these pages is brilliant, well done and highly recommended. I have just finished reading it, more or less non-stop, in 2 full days (June 4 and 5, 2005).
As with his earlier work (The Alchemical Body), the author's research is detailed and professional - and he discusses the sexual aspects of Tantra in "The Kiss" open and honestly - which has earned him the scorn of many in India who try, since years, to keep such information shamefully hidden.
The author must have foreseen that his theme and stance won't be liked by many - not only in India but also within the "New Age Tantra" community across the hemispheres: the latter are 'pissed off' because he tells the world - rightfully, loud and clear - that their 'tantra' does not deserve the name Tantra - a conclusion I share since many years and have published several times.
To everyone who has read actual Tantric texts - even in translation - White's conclusions are fully in concordance with previously published material AND with actual practice - the real merit of this book lies in presenting us with more and new material (translated by the author), and by connecting and combining previously difficult to relate evidence.
So what is the book actually about that shocks so many sensitive minds? It is the fact that White establishes more firmly than has been done (in scholarly circles) before, that Tantric ritual makes use of the fluids that arise from the genitals - both female and male! And we're not only talking here about orgasmic emissions, we're also talking about the magical blood we call menstruation; and we're talking about oral sex. And although DG White concerns himself mostly with theory and practice of the Indian branch of Tantra, many of his observations also hold true for the Tibetan branch that has developed out of the Indian one.
Congratulations, DGW, thanks for this great book - and for the Vira balls to write it - I hope you're immune to the bad press you're getting from the self-proclaimed keepers of the secret.
Should you have or buy the book and wonder what the Sanskrit dedication means on page v (opposite the colophon), here's a translation:
To my parents without whose bodily fluids this book would not have been written.