BY THE BODY OF THE EARTH by Satprem

BY THE BODY OF THE EARTH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Think of it this way: if you've gotten through this book, next time you're at a dinner party and you're served a soufflÉ made with chalk, it won't be such a big deal. Now to our story: hero Nil is a big Occidental zero in an Oriental arithmetic problem. ""Nobody's man"" and with a ""heart as hard as a green guava,"" he's about to quit India to continue world-hopping, subtracting his gal Mohini in hopes of adding some loot when he finds chromium in New Guinea; before he can get on the boat, though, he meets an orange-robed Sannyasi--one of a breed of know-it's-nothing-therefore-all who divides Nil of his illusions of selfhood and multiplies his inward-bound realizations. ""Where is the question? Not one ripple. It is, and to perfection. And all things are the same but supple, vast, mystical. . . ."" After some trouble with a fellow Westerner who fell into the hands of the evil Tantrics-devils who want to do, instead of merely be--and falling into destiny with a young slip of a thing named Batcha, Nil finally becomes a full-fledged know-it-all, a Sannyasi, and everything's cool. Satprem (the author, not the non-dairy creamer) has developed a new form, something akin to Indian music: the drone-book--and in the doing manages to make a fellow spiritualist like Madame Blavatsky read as crisply as John O'Hara. (By the way, subtitle--always a good early warning system--is ""The Sannayasin unending history."")

Pub Date: March 28th, 1978
Publisher: Harper & Row