To Kailash and Beyond

To Kailash and Beyond

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The novel 'To Kailash and Beyond' relates the journey of a young contemporary mystic and can be placed within the genre of religious fiction. Throughout the book one follows the mystic's development in first only Hinduism, and later also Judaism. Whereas the information offered about Hinduism clearly stems from the author's personal experience gained on many and extended trips to India, the knowledge that is passed on about Jewish mysticism is academic in nature. The author managed to combine these two personal fields of interest by introducing a hermit into the story. It is this hermit, steeped in kabbalah, who initiates the protagonist into the secrets of gematriah, the Jewish counterpart of numerology. Although the protagonist is essentially the same person throughout the entire book, a structural division can be made, dividing the novel into two, seemingly different, journeys. The first journey, with which the book opens, is a geographical journey through, mostly, Hindu India. The second journey, beginning with chapter three, is a textual journey through the books of the Hebrew Old Testament, and kabbalistic texts commenting on this Testament. The chapters narrating the two journeys loosely alternate. Their main connecting point is based on ten specific sentences, the origin of which is only made explicit in chapter sixteen, almost two-thirds into the book. The genesis of these ten sentences lies within the first journey, in the numerological implications as perceived by the protagonist while visiting Hindu temples. When one finds them again in the second journey, they are incorporated as specific passwords needed to cross from one world to the next. The reader finds themselves here in a setting reminiscent of the so-called 'throne mysticism', the oldest stage of Jewish mysticism, the followers of which travelled from throne world to throne world. In 'To Kailash and Beyond', these throne worlds are replaced by the ten sefirot (godly emanations), and the passwords by the original ten sentences. With the progress of the youth's journey in India and the parallel rise in the worlds of the sefirot, the reader experiences a sense of synthesis. To come to this culmination, the protagonist uses the highest truths as he found them in Hinduism and Judaism as tools with which to negate the dogmatic aspects of these two religions. He thus succeeds to come to a pure mystical experience untainted by exclusive theories or limiting paths. In order to aid readers inexperienced in and/or uninformed about either of the two main religions prevalent in the novel there are two main resources. At the beginning of the book there is a rudimentary introduction into Jewish letter mysticism. At the end one finds a glossary containing Hindi words and terminology. In general, throughout the book, the author has sought to develop the main ideas gradually and with many reformulations. All in all, 'To Kailash and Beyond' is a fascinating account of modern-day mysticism, addressing many aspects in an inter-religious adventure. Although some of the mathematical expositions might seem obscure at first, giving them extra attention will certainly add to one's reading of the novel and pay off when one has reached the grand finale. If all else fails, though, skipping these parts, the reader will still experience the thrill and wonder of the mystical journey and come out on the other side moved by more

Product details

  • Paperback | 488 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 27.94mm | 816.46g
  • Createspace
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1507744986
  • 9781507744987

About MR Eric Jan Verwey

Eric-Jan Verwey, 45 years old, was fascinated by and drawn to religious mysticism from a very early age. As soon as he was old enough to travel alone, he went to India, and experiencing the power of the temples and myths of this ancient culture, has been making pilgrimages there ever since. Through a strange set of circumstances and an illness, his path eventually led him to Israel where his inclination towards linguistic kabbalah commenced. Returning to his homeland, the Netherlands, he was inspired to master the Hebrew language in order to gain access to the source texts of this stream of mysticism. Now he combines daily study of medieval kabbalistic texts with regular trips to India visiting ever-more obscure and ancient Hindu temples. In between he also explores other streams of mysticism such as Zen Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, and Jainism. Verwey has turned to writing as a way of deepening his own mystical experiences and his novels are an outcome of this. His writing process is not a conventional one, and he uses a free-flowing technique where he is unaware of the outcome and follows signs and intuitions as they arise while he writes. His books can be read as fictional novels but more than that they are the stream of consciousness and real-time experiences of a contemporary mystic. Over the last five years he has been working on a trilogy about the place, meaning, and status of various mystical streams of Judaism within those of Hinduism and Buddhism. To Kailash and Beyond is the first part of the trilogy. The connection Verwey unveils between the oriental conceptions of mysticism and Judaism is a result of many years of study and travelling. Having a MA (with distinction) from the University of Amsterdam (including studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for a year) in Jewish mysticism, he has used existing theories from the Middle Ages for the novels, occasionally taking them further than one would find (explicitly) mentioned in the kabbalistic works themselves. While his thorough knowledge of Jewish mysticism is academic, the descriptions of what happens to the protagonists concerning Hinduism and Buddhism are based on more than twenty trips to India, Nepal, and Tibet over the last twenty-five years, coming to a total of five years of pilgrimages to different temples and studying the myths connected to more