For the Adherent of Pop Culture
Adventures of Jack Burton ] Battlestar Galactica ] Buckaroo Banzai ] Cliffhangers! ] Earth 2 ] The Expendables ] Firefly/Serenity ] Galaxy Quest ] Jurassic Park ] Land of the Lost ] Lost in Space ] The Mummy/The Scorpion King ] The Prisoner ] Snake Plissken Chronicles ] Star Trek ] Terminator ] The Thing ] Total Recall ] Tron ] Twin Peaks ] UFO ] V the series ] Valley of the Dinosaurs ] PopApostle Home ] Links ] Privacy ]


Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

enik1138
-at-popapostle-dot-com
The Devil's Guard The Devil's Guard
Novel
by Talbot Mundy
Originally published in 1926 as Ramsden

(Page numbers come from the first Avon paperback printing, April 1968)

 

In the 1920s, adventurers Jimgrim and Ramsden begin a quest to rescue an old acquaintance from the clutches of the dupgas of the Black Lodge in Tibet.

 

Read the full novel at Freeread.com

 

Notes from the Twin Peaks chronology

 

Should this novel be considered part of the Twin Peaks universe? If so, it takes place in the 1920s, many decades before the events of the Twin Peaks TV series. The TV series seems to be borrow many elements from this book, so the book might be considered a prelude to events in the series. For the moment, I'm keeping it as a sidebar study, but I keep flip-flopping in my mind whether it should be considered part of an historical Twin Peaks timeline. It would be fun to have one of the characters from this novel be mentioned as an historical figure in the new Twin Peaks series coming from Showtime in 2016 or 2017!

 

Didja Know?

 

This novel was one of the sources of inspiration for the White and Black Lodges and dugpas of Twin Peaks (along with the 1935 occult book Psychic Self-Defense by Dion Fortune). Quite probably, other elements of the show came from this novel as well, such as:

 

  • a BOB-like character

  • references to the Dalai Lama

  • the mysticism of Tibet

  • honest protagonists (Jimgrim and Ramsden) facing off against a former partner who searches for the Black Lodge

  • board games that involve manipulating real people

  • the quotes by Tsiang Samdup at the beginning of each chapter are loosely related to the themes of that chapter, similar to the Log Lady Intros written by David Lynch for syndicated airings of Twin Peaks

 

A great article about the connections between The Devil's Guard and Twin Peaks can be found in the fanzine Wrapped in Plastic #3 (1993), "The Secret History of the Black and White Lodges."

 

Each chapter of the novel begins with a quote from The Book Of The Sayings Of Tsiang Samdup. This is a fictitious tome of sayings of a fictitious lama. Mundy also uses quotes from this "source" in his 1924 novel Om-The Secret of Abhor Valley.

 

The novel is written in the form of journal entries by Jeff Ramsden.

 

Characters appearing or mentioned in this novel

 

Tsiang Samdup (quoted only)

Jeff Ramsden

Jimgrim (James Schuyler Grim)

Dudley Tyne

Elmer Rait (also goes by Lung-tok)

Chullunder Ghose

Reverend Will Hancock

Naryan Singh

Benjamin

Tsang-Mondrong

Rabindra Das (mentioned only)

Mordecai (also goes by Lung-tok and Shatra)

Tsang-yang

Lung-tok (an alias used by Mordecai and stolen by Rait)

Sidiki ben Mohammed

Lhaten

Rao Singh Bahadur

 

Didja Notice?

 

Chapter 1:

 

Page 9 states that Jimgrim is known from Dera Ismail Khan to Sikkim. Dera Ismail Khan is a city in Pakistan and Sikkim a state in northeastern India, bordered by Tibet.

 

On page 10, Ramsden writes that Jimgrim looks as if he is half-Cherokee, but has only a trace of red man in his ancestry. The Cherokee are a Native American tribe of the southeast United States.

 

The book opens with Jimgrim and Ramsden in Darjeeling, sitting on the porch of their hotel room, gazing at the looming Himalayas and the peak of Kanchenjunga with the roar of the Runjeet River in their ears. Darjeeling is a city in India in the Lesser Himalaya mountain range. Kanchenjunga is the third highest mountain in the world. The "Runjeet River" probably refers to the Rangeet River which originates in the Himalayas (there are numerous different English pronunciations and spellings of locations in India).

 

On page 11, Ramsden writes that Jimgrim had been part of Younghusband's expedition into Tibet. This is probably a reference to British Lieutenant Colonel Sir Francis Edward Younghusband's (b. 1863, d. 1942) expedition to Tibet in 1904. Younghusband was an interesting character himself, with personality traits that would fit him at home in Twin Peaks: during his Tibetan expedition, he is said to have had a transforming mystical experience that left him with love for the world and the feeling that humans are, at heart, divine; he is also said to have had telepathic experiences that had led him to believe that a race of translucent extraterrestrials lived on the planet Altair.

 

Elmer Rait is said to be from Columbus, Ohio.

 

On page 12, Ramsden writes that he and Jimgrim had been in Darjeeling for several days since their return from Assam (a state in northeast India).

 

Ramsden and Jimgrim use the term "babu" in reference to Chullunder Ghose. "Babu" (and it's more familiaresque "babuji") is a term of respect in India used towards men (though sometimes in a vaguely pejorative manner by British occupants of the country in late 19th and early 20th Centuries). The word is generally associated with such English words as "sir" or "gentleman". Chullunder Ghose refers to the two Americans as "sahib"; "sahib" is an Arabic word, essentially meaning "friend" in modern parlance, which has passed into numerous other languages. 

 

The character Reverend Hancock is a scholarly sort who has written eccentrically on the subjects of the Pali manuscripts; that the Garden of Eden was in Ceylon; that the Afghans and Afridis are the ten lost tribes of Israel; that Alexander never crossed the Indus; and that Moses wrote the Pentateuch. Hancock is also known to believe in "Shakespeare under the banner of Francis Bacon, sometime Earl of Verulam."

  • Pali is a language used in many of the earliest Buddhist literature.

  • The Garden of Eden, of course, is the land of paradise created by God for Adam and Eve at the beginning of mankind as described in the holy texts of the Abrahamic religions. Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) is an island nation off the southeast coast of India; it is not a location most scholars would suggest as a potential site of the original Garden of Eden.

  • The ten lost tribes of Israel are those that were allegedly deported from the kingdom of Israel after it was conquered by the Neo-Assyrian Empire in 722 B.C. Many groups of people since then have claimed heritage to one of the lost tribes, including the Pashtuns of Afghanistan. The Afridi are one of the tribes of Pashtuns.

  • Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) was a Macedonian king who ruled one of the largest empires of the ancient world and was never defeated in battle. He is said to have crossed the Indus River with his armies in 326 BC as the beginning of his attempt to conquer India, but had to turn back due to his own army becoming war-weary and mutinous after several years of marching and fighting their way through the East and longing to return home to their families.

  • Moses, of course, is one of the major figures of the Abrahamic religions. "Pentateuch" is another name for the Torah (or Old Testament), and it is considered to have been authored by Moses from the word of God in most Abrahamic faiths. Modern scholars generally contend the book has multiple authors, written of over a course of centuries.

  • William Shakespeare (1564-1616), of course, is widely considered the greatest writer in the English language. A minority of scholars have questioned the authorship of Shakespeare's works, many attributing it to Francis Bacon (1561-1626), a renowned philosopher and author in his own right, who was also made Baron Verulam (Earl of Verulam) in 1618, less than ten years before his death.

 

The reference to "Adam's curse" on page 14 is presumably a reference to the 1904 poem of that name by William Butler Yeats, about the difficulty of creating beauty.

 

On page 14, the children at Hancock's mission sing the Ten Commandments and Jimgrim plays "Nobody Knows How Dry I Am" and "Alexander's Ragtime Band" on the chapel organ. The Ten Commandments, of course, are the commandments given by God to Moses at Mt. Sinai in the Torah. "Nobody Knows How Dry I Am" is a line from the 1919 song "The Near Future" by Irving Berlin, which has become more famous for that line than for the song as a whole. "Alexander's Ragtime Band" is another song by Irving Berlin, published in 1911. Hancock here mistakenly thinks the songs are from Handel; George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) was a German composer known for his organ concertos.

 

A reference to Mosaic miracles is made on page 14. This refers to miracles performed by (or related to) the Biblical Moses.

 

On page 15, Chullunder Ghose makes reference to the Latin phrase tempus fugit. It essentially means "time flies" translated into English.

 

On page 16, Chullunder Ghose makes reference to drawing blank in the Calcutta Sweep. The Calcutta Sweep is a betting pool on a particular horse race, organized by the Calcutta Turf Club, a sporting club based in Calcutta, India.

 

On page 17, Chullunder Ghose makes reference to "Ruth and Boaz, in English History". This refers to a Biblical story in the Book of Ruth.

 

Chullunder Ghose states he is a failed B.A. from Calcutta University. B.A. is short for Bachelor of Arts, a collegiate degree of study in the liberal arts or sciences.

 

Chullunder Ghose mentions having worked with Ramsden in the Chandni Chowk in Delhi. Chandni Chowk is large wholesale market in the city of Delhi, India, established in the 17th Century. As Ramsden later remarks on page 32, it includes the old Street of the Silversmiths.

 

Chapter 2:

 

In his letter, Rait asks Ramsden to meet him in Lhassa. This is the capital of Tibet.

 

Rait also praises Ramsden as being able to "hit like Billy-o" when pointed in the right direction. The phrase "Billy-o" essentially means "very hard".

 

The search for the legendary land of peace called Sham-bha-la in Tibet is based on a land referred to as Xembala (a Sanskrit term indicating "peace/tranquility/happiness") in Tibetan Buddhism. Some scholars believe it is actually China (Cathay) referred to by another name. Sham-bha-la is also the basis of the fictional Shangri-La in James Hilton's 1933 novel Lost Horizon.

 

Rait mentions having worked with Ramsden in Benares. Benares (now known more commonly as Varanasi) is a city in northern India.

 

Rait calls his letter to Ramsden an SOS. SOS is the international Morse code distress signal; it is not an actual abbreviation for anything.

 

Rait believes that Sham-bha-la has a library of ancient texts written in a language older than Sanskrit. Sanskrit is an Indian language at least as old as the second millennium BC.

 

Rait claims that the Dali Lama and Tashi Lama are secretly advised by the people of Sham-bha-la and that Pythagoras and Lao-tse are said to have visited the people there. The Dalai Lama is the head monk of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism, and nominally the leader of Tibet. The Tashi Lama is the second-highest ranking lama after the Dali Lama. Pythagoras was a Greek philosopher in the 5th Century BC and Lao-tse was a Chinese poet and philosopher of about the same period.

 

Rait says he slipped into the closed country of Tibet through Gyang-tse. Gyang-tse is a city in Tibet near the border of Nepal.

 

Rait warns Ramsden to beware of women in Tibet, who sometimes favor polyandry. Polyandry is the practice of one woman having multiple husbands at the same time. This practice does occur historically in some regions of Tibet.

 

On page 24, Rait remarks on Sven Hedin's journey up the Valley of the Indus. Sven Hedin (1865-1952) was a Swedish explorer who located the source of the Indus River on an expedition from 1905-08. Rait claims the Maharajah of Kashmir looked the other way in order for Hedin to enter region; Kashmir is a region of South Asia, not a nation in itself, and has been ruled by different nations or groups of nations.

 

Rait reminds Ramsden of an old story in Freemasonry about a woman who overhears the secrets of Freemasonry and so the members are forced to admit her into the Order so she won't reveal their secrets to outsiders. Freemasonry is a (some say ancient) fraternal order originally meant to regulate the qualifications of stonemasons. Modern Freemasonry is more of a social club. Women have traditionally not been allowed to be regular "official" members of the lodge.

 

Rait claims he's heard that Sham-bha-la even has a manuscript in the handwriting of Jesus.

 

Chullunder Ghose calls Narayan Singh the Sikh who slew the Dead Sea. Chullunder Ghose seems to be using metaphoric exaggeration here to point out the level of bad luck that occurs to those around Singh. The Dead Sea is a salt lake along the borders of the nations of Israel and Jordan with such high salinity levels that animals and plants cannot live in it (though some microbes do). Presumably, Singh is a Sikh, a member of the Sikhism religion.

 

Chullunder Ghose says he is a G.B. Shavian opinionist and that he would rather be wrong than live in a barrel like Diogenes. This is a reference to George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) an Irish playwright and critic known for his passionate opinions. Diogenes was another opinionated bastard, known as Diogenes the Cynic, who is said to have lived in deliberate poverty and often slept in a large ceramic jar (the barrel) in the marketplace of whatever city he was currently in and criticizing.

 

Chapter 3:

 

Hancock tells Ramsden and Jimgrim that Tibet has a cult of disobedience to God, practicing sorcery and black magic, "the same evil that the witch of Endor practiced and that brought Sodom and Gomorrah to their ruin—that alliance with the powers of evil that the Apostle Paul denounced." The Witch of Endor appears in the First Book of Samuel, as a medium in the Canaanite city of Endor who summons the spirit of the prophet Samuel to advise King Saul of Israel on his upcoming battle against the Philistine forces; Saul is berated by the spirit for awakening him and for disobeying God, predicting the defeat of Saul's army the next day, which does happen, and Saul commits suicide. Hancock goes on to say it is the same evil that brought down Sodom and Gomorrah, denounced by the Apostle Paul. In the Bible's Book of Romans, Paul says, "And as Isaiah predicted, 'If the LORD of hosts had not left us children, we would have fared like Sodom and been made like Gomor'rah.'" The two cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are mentioned in both the Bible and Torah as being cities of sin that were judged and consumed by fire and brimstone sent by God as punishment. Again according to the Bible, the two cities were located near the modern day Dead Sea, which borders the modern nations of Israel and Jordan.

 

To hide the fact that they are planning to enter Tibet, Ramsden's group pretends they are heading for Bombay. Bombay is now known as Mumbai (since 1995) and is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra.

 

The train Ramsden's group takes from Darjeeling runs through to Siliguri.

 

Ramsden comments in his journal on the different varieties of people riding the train, including Lepchas. The Lepcha are an indigenous people of Sikkim.

 

Ramsden remarks that Benjamin's shop in the Chandni Chowk holds odds and ends from around the world, from London to Pekin (more commonly known as Peking or Beijing).

 

On page 32, Ramsden counts out Bank of England notes for Benjamin. The Bank of England has been the chief issuer of paper currency for the UK since 1694.

 

Jimgrim comments on how he and Benjamin both helped Rabindra Das escape into Persia after the Amritsar affair. Amritsar is a city in India. Persia is the country now known as Iran.

 

When he enters Benjamin's store, Chullunder Ghose uses the greeting, "Salaam," on page 33. This is an Arabic greeting meaning "peace".

 

On page 33, Chullunder Ghose makes mention of the Son of the great Joshua who made the sun stand still, the chariot of Elijah, and the submarine of Jonah. In the Torah, Joshua is said to have asked God to stop the sun and the moon in the sky so he and his army could finish the Battle of Gibeon in the daylight; the term "son of Joshua" is probably meant to refer to a Jewish man (in this case, the store owner, Benjamin) since Joshua is said to have become the leader of the Israelites after the death of Moses. Elijah is said to have been picked up in a chariot of fire in the Torah's Book of Kings. The "submarine of Jonah" is probably a reference to the whale or fish that swallowed Jonah in the Book of Jonah.

 

On page 36, Ramsden states that he and Jimgrim last saw Mordecai in Damascus, bringing goods of the Bokhara Jews while the war was waging. Damascus is the capital of Syria. Bokhara is capital of Uzbekistan. I'm not sure exactly which war is referred to, as the Middle East region has long been troubled. Ramsden goes on to describe Mordecai as a Marco Polo among bargain-hunters, looking for merchandise where most thought none existed and selling it all over the world. Marco Polo (1254-1324) was an Italian merchant who travelled the world, buying and selling.

 

Benjamin tells the group that Mordecai met Rait in Simla. Simla is the capital city of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.

 

Benjamin refers to Tibet as the Roof of the World. This is one of the region's nicknames, due to the Himalayan mountain range hosting the tallest peaks in the world.

 

Benjamin says there are older and holier books than the Quabalah in Tibet which men would kill in the name of. Kabbalah is an ancient esoteric school of mysticism in Judaism.

 

On page 37, Benjamin claims it was the Jews who traveled with Christopher Columbus, for you can not tie up a Jew in a stable. He goes on to say, "The sun stood still on Gideon and the moon in the valley of Avalon, but not the Jews..." Christopher Columbus (~1450-1506) was an Italian explorer who is credited with opening up, if not exactly "discovering", the New World for Spain in 1492. I am unsure of the references to Gideon and Avalon with the sun and moon, though it's probably a Biblical or Torahnic reference.

 

Chapter 4:

 

Ramsden remarks on having been half-boiled in natural hot-springs and half-frozen in the Tsang-po River. I'm not sure which river he means by this since there are five rivers in Tibet using the "Tsang-po" suffix to indicate they flow through the Tsang province of Tibet.

 

Benjamin warns Ramsden's group not to smoke in Tibet, for it is a crime, nor pass a religious shrine or person of respect on their left-hand side or be seen eating chicken or drinking milk. I've been unable to confirm if these were true transgressions in Tibet at the time.

 

Benjamin makes reference to a medical college on the Chakpo Hill outside Lhassa. This is the Men-Tsee-Khang Medical, Astronomy, and Astrology Institute.

 

On page 42, Benjamin tells Ramsden not to speak himself in Tibet due to his accent, adding "...niemals!" Niemals is German for "never".

 

Ramsden remarks that Kashmir is a tourist Mecca, with a system for fleecing Americans even better than Deauville or the Riviera. Mecca is considered the holiest city of Islam and Muslims are required to make a pilgrimage there at least once in their lifetime (hence the word "mecca" has been used to apply to any location that attracts large numbers of people for a specific purpose). Deauville and the Riviera are both beach resorts in France that are extremely popular with foreigners.

 

Ramsden's group travels by train from Delhi to Rawalpindi. Rawalpindi is a city in Pakistan.

 

To help make Ramsden's group look more legit, Benjamin entrusts them with two tons of merchandise for consignment to his agents in Srinigar. Srinigar is a city in the Kashmir Valley.

 

Benjamin becomes worried that one of his assistants may have told a suspicious Mahommedan something about Ramsden's group and their plans, calling the assistant a Klapperstorch. Klapperstorch is German for "stork", but I'm not sure what that has to do with an incautious assistant at the store (maybe it has to do with the idiom of a "singing bird"?).

 

On page 43, Jimgrim takes a messenger to a bar and makes sure he drinks plenty of arrack so he won't be liable to remember what the delivered message was about. Arrack is an Indonesian alcoholic drink.

 

Ramsden's group passes through Murree, an exurb of Islamabad, Pakistan.

 

Ramsden's group wants to get through the Zogi-la Pass between Kashmir and Ladakh before winter storms begin. Zogi-la is an actual mountain pass in India.

 

Ramsden mentions the River Jhelum running through the Kashmir Valley. This is a real river.

 

On page 45, Ramsden is examined by a Parsee doctor. The Parsee are a Zoroastrian community in India.

 

Also on page 45, Ramsden is referred to as a Hercules by a passing English doctor. Hercules was the Roman name for the Greek hero/demigod Heracles, who had prodigious strength.

 

Tsang-yang comes from the Province of Kam in Tibet. This now former Province was part of what is now the Sichuan Province of China and the Tibet Autonomous Region.

 

On page 51, Ramsden mentions the Karakorum Mountains. This is a mountain range that runs along the borders of Pakistan, India, and China.

 

Chapter 5:

 

Ramsden's group steals along through the Sind Valley with the unconscious Tsang-yang. The Sind Valley is a sub-valley of the Valley of Kashmir and was a strategically important part of the old Silk Road.

 

On page 54, Chullunder Ghose asks Tsang-yang if he likes his chupatties burned on both sides or just one. Chupati is a type of flatbread used as a staple in south and central Asia.

 

During the journey through the Sind Valley, Ramsden takes on the identity of Painless Parker, "a great physician gifted with powers of divination and possessed of infallible remedies for curing barrenness of acres, camels, cows and wives." In the real world, Painless Parker was Edgar R.R. Parker (1872-1952), a famous and flamboyant street dentist in the United States.

 

On page 55, Chullunder Ghose tells a nonsense tale of all of "Painless Parker's" achievements, such as curing the King of the United States of leprosy; that the Crown Prince of Switzerland conferred on him the Order of the Garter for healing him of so-called Republican Tendencies; and the Emperor of France offered him his only daughter in marriage, on condition he should live in the Louvre, which honor he refused, on account of insufficiency of palace furnishings. The United States is led, of course, by an elected president, not a king; likewise, Switzerland is lead by a president, as a republic, not royalty and the Order of the Garter is an honor bestowed on certain individuals in the United Kingdom, not Switzerland; France was not led by an emperor during Ramsden's lifetime, and the Louvre is a museum in France, not a royal palace.

 

Also on page 55, Ramsden remarks that he gave the superstitious locals Worsteshire sauce for their imagined ailments, which they took for Tantric drugs. Tantrism is part of Hindu spiritualism and meditation, sometimes augmented with the use of mind-altering substances.

 

On page 56, Ramsden remarks that Asian health department officials are known to be extremely jealous of genuine thaumaturgists. A thaumaturgist is a person who is allegedly able to work miracles or magic to affect cures or make other observable changes in the physical world.

 

On page 57, Ramsden remarks that Chullunder Ghose told tales about him that would have made Münchhausen blush. This is a reference to either the real life Baron Hieronymus Karl Friedrich von Münchhausen (1720-1797), known for the tall tales of his exploits and adventures in the Russo-Turkish War, or the fictional Baron Münchhausen written about in a series of stories by Rudolf Erich Raspe circa 1785, inspired by the original Münchhausen.

 

Also on page 57, Tsang-yang is presented as Ramsden's chela. This is a Hindi word for "disciple".

 

On page 59, Tsang-yang mentions Krishna. Krishna is one of the most revered of the Hindu deities.

 

On page 60, Tsang-yang mentions Leh. Leh is a city in the Ladakh region of the Himalayas of India.

 

Also on page 60, U is described as a province of Tibet. This is correct, it is one of the three regions of Tibet, with Kam and Amdo.

 

The term chiling is used in Tibet for a foreigner. More specifically, it is used for a Caucasian foreigner in the real world.

 

On page 61, in the asking of questions, Chullunder Ghose implores Tsang-Mondrong, "...why in the name of Chenresi..." Chenresi is the thousand-armed embodiment of God in Tibet, reaching out to the suffering beings in the worlds.

 

Tsang-Mondrong refers to Rait as a ragyaba. Ragyaba is a term used in Tibet for the lowest class of person, beggars who live in filth on the outskirts of towns.

 

Chapter 6:

 

Tsang-yang spent some time at the Dre-pung monastery. This is a real monastery in India.

 

Ramsden makes a remark about it being bad generalship to postpone crossing the Rubicon. This is a reference to the crossing of the Rubicon River in Italy by the armies of Julius Caesar in 49 BC.

 

Chapter 7:

 

Ramsden describes Mordecai's face as being like Lenin's, but better-humored. This refers to Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924), the communist founder of the Soviet Union in 1922 after the dissolution of the Russian Empire in 1917.

 

Kűn-Dűn is an actual title by which the Dalai Lama is referred. The term is Tibetan for "presence", which Mordecai says the monks also refer to him as (the Presence).

 

Mordecai remarks on gold brought from Thok Jalung. Thok Jalung was an actual gold mine in India in this period of time.

 

Mordecai states that Rait had the monks of the monastery he was staying at believing he'd been taught in China by some kind of living Buddha. Buddha was the Indian spiritual teacher Siddhārtha Gautama whose teachings began the Buddhist religion.

 

Mordecai says there are white Mahatmas and black Mahatmas and a war going on between them behind the scenes. This sounds similar to members or adherents of the White and Black Lodges in Twin Peaks; in fact, both White and Black Lodges are mentioned specifically later in the novel. "Mahatma" is Sanskrit for "great soul", similar to "saint" in Christian terms.

 

Mordecai refers to the black Mahatmas as Red Hats. In Buddhist tradition, Red Hat are three distinct sects of Buddhism, Sakya, Kagyu, and the oldest Buddhist sect, Nyingma. Are these what Mordecai is referring to? A fourth Buddhist sect is known as Yellow Hat or Gelug, of which the Dalai Lama is a member. Yet, later in the novel, a figure referred to as the Yellow Lama is depicted as essentially evil. In the real world both Red and Yellow sects of Buddhism are generally considered peaceful, fair, and tolerant...in other words, good.

 

Mordecai tells the assembled group that he had rode all over the Dras plateau. Dras is a town in India often considered the Gateway to Ladakh.

 

On page 76, Mordecai exclaims, "Ach Ihr lieben Gottesmenschen!" This is German for "Oh ye dear people of God!"

 

Mordecai reports that a monk told him that Sham-bha-la is not a place, but a kind of state of consciousness.

 

Mordecai says he shared a drink of chang with the monk who provided him the information about Sham-bha-la. As he says, chang is a type of beer, brewed in Nepal and Tibet.

 

Mordecai speculates that Rait may think he can gain a clue to Sham-bha-la through the Tantric mysteries.

 

Mordecai remarks on having been into the secret caves of Lebanon. Lebanon is a country in the Middle East, but I'm unaware of what secret caves he refers to.

 

On page 79, Mordecai remarks on his experience inside a dark cavern (the Black Lodge?) where monks in masks seemed to be judging him and strange music is played. He goes on to say that it feels as if your senses all worked backward instead of forward, like being the reflection in a looking-glass, like a place where animals exist before they are born. He says he felt the way he guesses a cow feels in the shambles (slaughterhouse).

 

On page 81 and 82, Mordecai uses nemo for "landlady" and kale pe a for "go slowly". These are the respective Tibetan words for these terms.

 

Mordecai tells the group there is a Morovian mission in Ladakh. I've not been able to find a reliable reference to "Morovian". Possibly, it's a misprint of Moravian, relating to the region of Moravia in the Czech Republic.

 

Mordecai relates that the evil ones tried to poison him with aconite in his soup. Aconite is a toxin derived from the Aconitum genus of plants.

 

Chapter 8:

 

On page 86, the author uses the word buss, stating it means "that is all". I've been unable to confirm the meaning of the word.

 

On page 89, as Ramsden's party is watched by two snow leopards through the winter's night, Tsang-Mondrong tells them of the superstitions of his people, "They are incarnations of the souls of lamas who forsook the true religion and pursued black arts. And as they robbed and misled men's souls, so now they seek our bodies. If they catch us, we will be as they are--leopards in the next life! If a man should die of a sickness, or be slain by a man, then it is safe to throw his body to the dogs and vultures, who will merely eat it and the soul goes free; but if he is slain by an animal he becomes an animal. And all creatures crave company, which is why those leopards seek to slay us men, hoping to add to the number of leopards."

 

Also on page 89, Ramsden mentions Baltistan. This is a region in the Karakoram mountains of Pakistan.

 

The home of Sidiki ben Mohammed is said to lie "near the northern outskirts of Leh, in a hollow between two spurs of a rock-littered mountain." Between twin peaks?

 

Ramsden's party is brought to a meeting room in Sidiki's house and Ramsden describes two chromographs hanging on the wall of Queen Victoria and Field-Marshal Lord Roberts of Kandahar. Queen Victoria (1819-1901) was the ruler of the United Kingdom from 1837-1901. Field-Marshal Lord Roberts (1832-1914) was an extremely successful British Army commander in the 19th Century, including time spent in the Kandahar field forces. Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan.

 

Several of the characters seemingly associated with the White Lodge wear a gold ring on the middle finger. Is there any significance to this? Is there any connection to the Owl Cave symbol ring in Fire Walk With Me?

 

Chapter 9:

 

The White Lodge chela called Lhaten is said to speak English "with a pause between each word, as if he had lost a former fluency, but there was not much accent." Could this be considered similar to the "reverse-speech" of the beings seen in the Waiting Room in Twin Peaks?

 

Chapter 10:

 

The passage from The Book Of The Sayings Of Tsiang Samdup at the beginning of Chapter 10 includes, "he who has true courage welcomes trial..." This might be compared to Hawk's warning to Agent Cooper about his people's legends of the Black Lodge, "if you confront the Black Lodge with imperfect courage, it will utterly annihilate your soul," in Episode 18: "Masked Ball". The passage goes on, "...neither because of bravado nor from any other form of vanity, but because he is strong and the strength asserts itself as sap in springtime." The strength of sap in springtime is an obvious allusion to trees, a prominent symbol throughout Twin Peaks, possibly representing human souls as suggested by the Log Lady's log and Josie's "presence" in the wood of the Great Northern Hotel.

 

On page 104, Narayan Singh worries that Tsang-Mondrong and Tsang-yang have run off to betray the party, bringing policemen and a burra sahib. An author's footnote describes a "burra sahib" as "an important official". This seems to be a roughly accurate definition of the term.

 

An unnamed man who visits Ramsden's party at Sidiki's house and who seems to be associated with the dugpas is described on pages 104-105 thusly: "In the darkest corner, with his back toward a bookcase filled with bound volumes of ancient English illustrated magazines, there sat a coppery skinned man in a drab-colored turban, whose black hair fell in waves over his shoulders. He had more hair than a woman, but his face was almost tigerishly masculine..." This could almost be a description of BOB!

 

Chapter 11:

 

On page 117, Sidiki declares he would treat his young child-wife as "Abdurrahman of Kabul used to treat faithless women (not particularly mercifully, that is, if accounts are true)." I've been unable to confirm any historical or legendary account of a man by this name and his treatment of women.

 

Chapter 12:

 

   Jimgrim describes the dugpas in a manner almost identical to the words of Windom Earle in Episode 27: "The Path to the Black Lodge":

Jimgrim: "Dugpas is the name for sorcerers who cultivate evil for the sake of evil."

Earle: "...these evil sorcerers, Dugpas they’re called, they cultivate evil for...for the sake of evil, nothing else."

   In the real world, Dugpas, or the Drukpa Lineage as they are sometimes called, are a branch of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, no kind of evil fraternity at all, though some 19th and early 20th Century writers used them as sorcerer-practioners of the "left-hand path" (LHP), allegedly malicious black magic, as opposed to practitioners of the "right-hand path" (RHP) of benevolent white magic. Definitions of LHP and RHP that go back to the origins of the terms in Indian Tantra suggest a more middle-of-the-road approach for each, RHP being based on ethical codes and social convention and LHP being based on the breaking of taboos and desire for individual freedom.

 

Jimgrim and Earle both also compare the dugpas to the Kali-worshipers of India. Kali is the Hindu goddess of empowerment, but popular western fiction has tended to portray her as an evil goddess of destruction (such as with the Kali-worshipping Thuggee cult depicted in the 1984 film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom).

 

Jimgrim states that the White Lodge is made up of those who are "the students of Life, so to speak—much in the same way that Luther Burbank studies botany, for the love of it." Luther Burbank (1849-1926) was a horticulturalist who developed numerous strains and varieties of plants in the name of agricultural science.

 

Jimgrim states that the Dalai Lama and Tashi Lama of Shigatse are the trusted outer representatives of the inner secret White Lodge, whose headquarters is said to be Sham-bha-la. Historically, the Tashi Lama (usually referred to as the Panchen Lama by Buddhists) has traditionally lived in Tashilhunpo Monastery in the city of Shigatse, Tibet.

 

Jimgrim also states their Jewish shopkeeper friend Benjamin "takes orders from the White Lodge, although he isn't a White and doesn't know much more about them than we do."

 

According to Jimgrim, the dugpas are master hypnotists, incredibly expert psychologists.

 

Jimgrim states that the dugpas want to gain control of the entire world, just like the Bolshevists. The Bolshevists were a faction founded by Vladimir Lenin and Alexander Bogdanov of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split from it and formed the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

 

Lhaten makes reference to Thales, Gilbert, Faraday, Edison, and Tesla in regards to the discovery and knowledge of electricity. Thales (c. 624–c. 546 BC) was a Greek philosopher and mathematician who noted some of the first discovered properties of electrical attraction. Gilbert is William Gilbert (1544-1603), an English physician and physicist who is credited by some as the father of electrical engineering. Faraday is Michael Faraday (1791-1867), an English scientist who contributed greatly to the study of electricity. Thomas Edison (1847-1931) was an inventor and businessman, producing many electric products, including the light bulb. Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) was a Serbian-American electrical engineer and physicist who was something of a competitor against Edison.

 

On page 126, Lhaten mentions Galileo. Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) is often considered the father of the Scientific Revolution and contributed to astronomy, physics, mathematics, and philosophy.

 

Lhaten mentions Kabir becoming a poet. Kabir was a 15th Century Indian poet and philosopher who influenced and criticized both Hinduism and Islam.

 

On page 129, Lhaten mentions Newton, Beethoven, and Lao Tse. Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) is often considered the father of modern science. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) was a German composer, known for many great works of classical music. Lao Tse was a poet and philosopher of ancient China.

 

On page 130, Lhaten mentions Einstein. Einstein, of course, is a reference to Albert Einstein, the renowned German theoretical physicist.

 

On page 130, Lhaten is described as seeming to hesitate in his speech, as if listening to the wind. Then, on page 131, he goes on to say, "What becomes of the fire that has eaten the wood! Fire is a bad master. Better to grow trees, though fire come and consume them. The very worst that fire can do is to release the elements of what it burns. Does any of you wish your very spirit to revert into its elements? Serve evil if you do. Become a dugpa. It is first a little comfortable fire that warms the intellect; and some, by growing used to heat, endure it for a long time. Even rocks burn when the heat grows great enough. Better to grow trees and guard against the fire." In close succession, we get almost spiritual mentions of wind, fire, and trees, similar to the spiritual suggestions of such in Twin Peaks.

 

Chapter 13:

 

Ramsden describes the abbot of the monastery as enduring the outrageous banter of Chullunder Ghose with emotions that suggested an old maid being flattered by Don Juan. Don Juan is a fictitious character of 17th Century Spain known as a womanizer.

 

On page 139, Jimgrim exclaims, "Take a dekko at him." "Dekko" is a British slang term meaning "look" or "glance".

 

Chapter 14:

 

The abbot of the monastery proclaims, "Can a tree not cast a shadow on a wall? Can even you not see your image in a pool? Shall not an arch dugpa then use this poor weakling to reflect his image?" An author's footnote about "reflecting an image" reads, "According to some authorities this process accounts for a large percentage of the idiots immured in lunatic asylums. It is said that, through vicious habits and in various other ways, they render themselves unable to resist the imposition of other wills on theirs — even of a number of other wills at one time. If true, this would account for the sudden criminal outbursts of otherwise apparently sane people. Whether true or not, there are millions of people who believe—and there is plenty of circumstantial evidence—that experts in malignant hypnotism and thought transmission can project their own personal appearance as well as superimpose their will on another. Compare the Bible, H.P. Blavatsky, Eliphas Levy, and scores of other writers on the subject." Again we have the mention of trees, an image in a pool (the oily pool with the reflection of red drapes in the center of Glastonbury Grove?), and a description of an imposition of one's will upon another's psyche (like BOB and Mike possessing human hosts?). H.P. Blavatsky (1831-1891) and Eliphas Levy (1810-1875) were both self-professed magicians and spiritualists of the late 19th Century.

 

On page 147, Ramsden hears a voice in his near-death dream speaking Pushtu. Pushtu is the language of the Pashtun people of South-Central Asia.

 

On page 148, Ramsden describes Rao Singh as looking more like a Rajput than a Tibetan. Rajput is a clan of people existing in India and Pakistan.

 

Chullunder Ghose quotes, "Blow, blow, thou winter wind. Thou art not so unkind as man's ingratitude!" He is quoting from Shakespeare's 1599 play As You Like It. In both cases, the quote represents one who has been disgraced by a friend.

 

On page 150, Chullunder Ghose addresses Rao Singh by the title of Sri. Sri is a Sanskrit word used in place of "Mr." or "Ms." in English or even meaning "holy" in the original Sanskrit.

 

Chapter 15:

 

Ramsden describes a circle of monks sitting around a fire as being as dignified as owls.

 

Ramsden mentions the Taj Mahal.

 

On page 164, the head monk speaks of Gautama. This is a reference to Buddha.

 

An author's footnote on page 165 describes the term sanyassin as "a wandering religious beggar". This is roughly true, as a sanyassin is a follower of Hindu philosophy who is in a stage of renunciation of material desires.

 

Chapter 16:

 

The quote by Tsiang Samdup at the beginning of this chapter is about dreams. It is reprinted below:

"Consider this, my son: this earth-life is a little time, of which a third is spent asleep.

What went before it, and what cometh after, are a long time—verily a time too long for measurement.

Shall we be of the herd who say that dreams are a delusion because waking we cannot interpret them in terms of common speech?

Or shall we, rather than pretend to have more knowledge than the gods, admit that possibly some dreams may link us with that universe

from which we came into a temporary world, and into which we must inevitably yield ourselves again?

Some dreams are memories, it may be, of experience gained in the infinity of time before the world was.

And the wisest—aye, the very wisest of us—is he altogether sure that all earth-life is not a dream?"

The final question asked by Samdup here is reminiscent of Phillip Jefferies' statement in Fire Walk With Me (or, rather, Jefferies' quote is reminiscent of Samdup's): "We live inside a dream."

 

On page 170, Ramsden describes Chullunder Ghose as arguing like a bunnia. Bunnia is a Hindi term for "merchant" or "money-lender".

 

In Ramsden's dream, Rait moves pieces around on a board that looks similar to checkers. As he makes his moves, it seems to cause things to happen to other men around him. This scene may have been a partial inspiration for the chess game played between Earle and Cooper in Twin Peaks.

 

Chapter 17:

 

On page 180, a dugpa describes the difference between the White and Black Lodges:

 

    "Why should the White Lodge be willing to receive you, and the Black Lodge not?" the man went on. "Which would you rather have—knowledge now, or knowledge at the end of twenty or thirty lifetimes, which is all the White Lodge offers you and at the cost of endless self-discipline. And they don't even offer it. They make you struggle for it. They withhold it. Whereas the Black Lodge makes things easy. They will teach you and send you back to the United States, where you will enjoy prosperity and influence. I hate this barren land, into which I was born and in which my die is cast."

   "Listen: by being nobody and living like a louse a man may go through life and never even know there is such knowledge as I offer you—such opportunity. But you are not a louse. You must ally yourself with one force or the other or you will simply be torn apart as countries often are that try to keep neutral in wartime. The White Lodge is extremely difficult to enter, and if you should succeed in finding the place you seek, the odds are ten thousand to one you would not be admitted. If admitted,—well, imagine for yourself, if you can, what it means to be taught prodigious secrets, which you are not allowed to use! I assure you, virtue grows monotonous. And if your virtue grows weak, you are out like a sorefooted soldier—like me!"

    "But if you choose the Black Lodge," the man went on, "you will be allowed to use the forces whose nature will be revealed to you. The Black Lodge, too, is difficult to enter, because none but he who has strength of character is useful to them. But, once in, you are in the ranks' of the magicians. You become a power. You are given work to do from which you see immediate results. You are on the side of the erosive forces, like the wind and flood, that are just as much agents of evolution as are those other forces that assemble the detritus and so slowly build up structures that shall only be destroyed again. So now choose."

 

Ramsden asks Lhaten where he learned English and Lhaten tells him, "Cambridge University. German at Heidelberg. French at the Sorbonne." These are real world educational institutions, the Sorbonne currently divided into three university groups in Paris.

 

Chapter 18:

 

At the base of a mountain trail, Ramsden sees a chorten. A chorten, also called a stupa, is a vase-shaped stone monument in Buddhist tradition.

 

The lama refers to the Wheel of Life. This is a Buddhist symbol of the cyclic existence, birth, death, and reincarnation over and over until a soul finally achieves nirvana.

 

Chapter 19:

 

The yellow lama seems to indicate that the Black Lodge exists in a place called Jalung-dzong. This appears to be a fictitious monastery.

 

The lowest order of monks in a monastery is said to be the dok-dokpas. These are guardians of the monastery, fighting to protect it and their betters so the others don't have to break vows of non-violence.

 

An ugly woman who attempts to seduce Ramsden and Chullunder Ghose at the yellow monastery is compared by Ramsden to Lilith, the she-monster who seduced Adam before Eve turned up. In Jewish mythology, Lilith was a female demon who became Adam's first wife, but left him when he demanded she become subservient to him.

 

Ramsden describes Chullunder Ghose as a Lothario. Lothario is a character accomplished at seducing women in "The Impertinently Curious Man", a story-within-a-story in the 17th Century novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. The character's name has since been used to describe a man who enjoys seducing women.

 

The ugly woman is named Kyim-shang, which Ramsden comments was the name of a famous queen of Tibet who was the daughter of an emperor of China. There are real legends of this, but I've been unable to confirm whether it is considered historically accurate; Kyim-shang is said to have been the daughter of a Chinese emperor named Juy-tsung and is alleged to have become a queen of Tibet (or even the Queen of Existence).

 

Ramsden describes bell-ringing and the blare of a radong. A radong is a long, trumpet-like instrument with a bell-shaped end.

 

Chapter 20:

 

The head of the dugpas who capture Ramsden and Chullunder Ghose says that Nature is red in tooth and claw. "Nature, red in tooth and claw" is a line from the poem "In Memoriam A.H.H." by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

 

The dugpa leader forces Ramsden to drink some soma. Soma is a ritual drink in Hindu tradition. Western fiction tends to portray it as an intoxicant with mind-altering properties.

 

Chullunder Ghose is described by a couple of outsiders in the novel as if he is a Bengali, but it is never confirmed outright. Bengal is a region of India at the apex of the Bay of Bengal.

 

Chapter 21:

 

As he makes his attack against Rait, Naryan Singh shouts, "Rung ho!" As far as I can tell, this is a phrase made up by the author. Even the similar American term "gung-ho" originated during WWII, some time after this book was written.

 

Chapter 23:

 

Ramsden remarks that Lhaten reminds him of a doctor he once met in Baroda. Baroda is a city in India, now known as Vadodara.

 

Chapter 24:

 

The quote from Tsiang Samdup at the beginning of this chapter includes, "Be moderate in all things..." This is a major part of the philosophy of the Middle Way, described by Buddha as the path to liberation.

 

Ramsden's group passes through a couloir in the mountains on the way to Sham-bha-la. Couloir is a French word for passage, in this case a narrow gully in mountainous terrain.

 

Ramsden states that a marble carving of an Asiatic man with the Athenian build of the time of Pericles that resembles Rodin's Thinker lies at the cave where he and Chullunder Ghose recuperate at the end of the novel. The Thinker is a bronze sculpture by French sculptor Auguste Rodin. Pericles (495-429 BC) was a statesman and general of the Greek city of Athens during the height of its glory.

 

Ramsden states that he hasn't cried for thirty years, but can perform fake sobs behind his hands like a Worthington pump with an overload and valves that need repacking. Worthington Pump and Machinery Corporation made steam pumps sold around the world at the time this novel was written.

 

Jimgrim sends back a representative of the White Lodge to fetch Ramsden and Chullunder Ghose. Ramsden describes the man as looking like Michelangelo or John Singer Sargent's painting of Moses. Michelangelo (1475-1564) was an Italian artist and engineer. John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) was an American artist; he never did a painting of Moses as far as I have been able to find, but did do a frieze of him and some sketches as he planned the frieze.

 

Deciding that he cannot go to meet Jimgrim at Sham-bha-la with Ramsden, Chullunder Ghose exclaims, "Pranam!" before explaining. Pranam is a Hindi term used for the greeting of respect one gives to another by putting their palms together and bowing (or sometimes touching the feet of the person greeted).

 

Back to Twin Peaks Episode Studies