One might say that if religion is the opium of the people, the Hindus have the inside dope."" And one might say that if...

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One might say that if religion is the opium of the people, the Hindus have the inside dope."" And one might say that if Disneyland were to offer a course in quickie theology, Alan Watts, the author of the above quotation, with his Waring blender of far-flung mysticism, his bouncy knowingness, his glib garrulity, his suntanned appeal as a Sausalito guru, would be the ideal candidate. Those of us who are not privy to Alan Watts' inner struggles, have no way of accounting for his change over the years from an austere English doctor of divinity and Zen scholar to his current California-style stance, including his LSD sermonettes and his recently published dialogue of the soul with Shirley MacLaine. The Book is ostensibly an introduction to the mysteries of Vedanta philosophy, as well as a vaguely unprogrammatic attempted reconciliation between the wisdom of the East and the cosmology of the West. Or vice-versa, a follow-up more or less of his last mind-stretching exercise, Beyond Theology, where, among other bits of luminosity, we were told that God really does have a sense of humor. It's a thought perhaps equalled here by the piquant chapter entitled ""How to Be a Genuine Fake,"" the implications of which are suggestive in more than one way. There are unacknowledged echoes of Gide's Fruits of the Earth, mutations of Groddeck, Heidegger, Seami, Suzuki, et al. along with busy-bee apercus of such fashionable matters as myth, energy, relativity, the intermingling of the private and outer continuum, nature, morality. A readable mishmash, up to a point.

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 1966

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1966