Sunday, August 13, 2006

Book Review: Irving Karchmar’s Master of the Jinn

He who knows himself knows God – is one of the greatest secrets of mankind. This knowing refers to self realization. The self-realization along with the path of Love and the infinite mercy of God is the central theme of the novel – ‘Master of the Jinn’ by Irving Karchmar.

For those readers who love mysticism - the hidden meanings and mystic wisdoms in the book are perhaps the best attraction. The journey is triggered when the Sufi Master is visited by an Israeli Professor of archeology and an Israeli intelligence officer, Captain Simach. The Captain had several mysterious incidents and visions, which may point the way to the legendary ring of King Solomon – the greatest treasure of the ancient world. In a quest to salvage the immensely mysterious treasure, seven people start their journey into the unknown territory of the desert.

Soon they arrive at a lost city where the mystery of Solomon’s ring is revealed. The journey from the beginning to the end and everything in between has deep allegorical significance. At the end of the journey, it reveals not only the fate of the Jinn, but also some greater truths. And I felt that to realize the inner meanings, the book deserve more than one reading. No doubt readers will find the book spellbinding.

Often among the conversations between the characters, readers can find treasures of timeless wisdom that can at once penetrate a reader directly to the heart. One of such is, “The less you are burdened by possessions, the lighter will be the anchor of your self-indulgent nafs (false ego)” - one of the central teachings of Sufis. Likewise, Karchmar quotes verses from the Islamic Holy Book Koran, Jewish wisdom and beautiful mystic Persian poetry that contains deep spiritual reflection.

For someone who is not familiar with the mystical path, especially those of the Sufi mystics, the book gives a rare inside look at their community and how the interaction, love and harmony between the master and the students happen. Also, their inner practices, attitudes and the process of initiation, which are often veiled from the outside world, are interestingly revealed in the book. Karchmar, himself being a darvish of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order, has taken this wonderful opportunity through his eloquent description, not leaving out any of the finer details. The richness of the details shows the research behind the book and also the author’s mastery of the subject matter.

The message of Love and Harmony of the Mystic Path that transcends any religion, faith or boundaries can be summarized by quoting this text from the novel, spoken with the voice of the Master: “Know, O dervish, that love is the foundation and principle of the way to God, and that all states and stations are stages of Love, which is not destructible so long as the Way itself remains in existence.”
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  • The author also maintain a beautiful blog: Darvish.

My deep appreciation to Irving Karchmar, the author for giving me the opportunity to read this beautiful book and to review it.


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