T. Lobsang Rampa, in "Twilight," one of his final books, takes some time to answer questions from his many readers. The title is a reference to the fact that Rampa is in his twilight years, bound to a wheelchair and making frequent trips to the local hospital, though he never tells the reader just what his illness is.
Rampa is not one, however, to "go gently into that good night," as poet Dylan Thomas once wrote. Rampa does indeed rage at the dying of the light, and his crotchety attacks on the world media and the Canadian tax collectors show that he had an excellent fighting spirit and would not lie down and be a victim for anyone. He is amusingly and righteously cranky about a good many things, such as the traffic in his adopted home of Calgary, Canada, and what he considers to be the neurosis-inducing hard rock music of the time. He is also aghast at the burgeoning Women's Lib movement, saying that society would crumble when women ceased to be homemakers exclusively.
Rampa's publisher had asked him to do a book in which he answers questions from his readers, sent over the course of many years. So Rampa goes through his pile of letters and chooses questions that are of general interest to his audience, such as can one meet deceased pets in the astral plane? And is it possible to conceive children there? And how many lifetimes are required to pass through all the signs of the Zodiac?
Among the many responses Rampa provides to his readers' questions is a fascinating summation of the Hollow Earth Theory and the existence of a hidden paradise where science tells us there is only molten rock. Rampa goes into detail about the benevolent, immortal king who reigns there and explains why no one has yet verified the entrances to the Inner Earth located at both the North and South Poles.
There are also some questionable questions as well, such as how does one use his occult powers to win the lottery? Rampa answers that type of question with an edge of contempt, something he had earned the right to do in his many years as a spiritual teacher.
It is important to keep the context of the times in mind when reading "Twilight." The year was 1974, and as the book is being written, Richard Nixon has just resigned the presidency. Rampa feels a certain amount of sympathy for Nixon, and he rails against the press instead for unfairly manipulating public opinion and punishing Nixon for things no worse than many other presidents had done before. Rampa had suffered at the hands of that same press many times in the wake of the scandal that followed the publication of his "The Third Eye," which most fans of Rampa are already familiar with.
"Twilight" is probably best enjoyed by people who are devoted fans of Rampa's work, readers who already know his writing style and combative attitude well enough to follow his reasoning and leaps of faith. Rampa is his usual charming self here, but one has to be acclimated to his sometimes eccentric rants and his daily struggle to keep his household in order in spite of the countless stresses of his life as a Lama in an often pitiless material world.
And for those seekers who have a few of Rampa's books under their belts, this is a wonderful peek into the twilight years of the great Tibetan sage. Rampa's whole life was a work in progress, and one cannot help but feel privileged to have been a distant participant in his spiritual journey, a reader who has touched the infinite through Rampa's words and traveled with him from the fading light of this world to the bright sunshine of the next.