"I think you should come with me to India"
Thus begins the story of the author at the age of 21, when he happened to sit next to Ed Spencer, a brilliant 70-year-old ex-Harvard professor turned wandering holy man, who makes this offer within an hour of their meeting on a Greek ferry.
Though unsure whether the old man is some kind of a bum or a realized being or both, he agrees to go with this enigmatic stranger whose credo is: "Take the money out of your pocket and put yourself in the hands of the Unknown."
When they arrive at the border and Ed passes the money exchange with hardly a glance, Shor begins to understand the gulf that separates the old man from the rest of humanity.
The ensuing journey takes us on an epic trip by foot into the heart of South India and then to the Himalayas where the author makes his first contact with the Tibetan people.
Into the Hands of the Unknown has been revised and has a new Postscript describing Shor's subsequent encounters with Ed Spencer. The book was originally published as Part II of Windblown Clouds.
From the review by the renowned British poet Kathleen Raine:
Thomas Shor's life is a continual unfolding of those inner and outer worlds which his sense of wonder discovers continually. His story reminds us that we are, or could be, travelers in a world of marvels, of love, and encounters with men and women themselves on pilgrimages of the imagination. Did not the Emperor Haroun al-Rashid for a thousand and one nights hear in the city of Baghdad endless stories that make up the one story of the world? Once involved in Thomas Shor's adventure of life, one hopes only for more.
Kathleen Raine (D.Litt., Cambridge; Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France; Commander of the British Empire; Winner--Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry, England, etc.)