There is very little reliable information about his life - mostly rumors and conjectures. It is precisely known that he wrote and published twelve best-selling books, and also founded the company Cleargreen, which still owns the rights to Castaneda's creative legacy.
In Russia, the books of Castaneda appeared in the early 70s. Samizdat anonymous translations were reprinted on a typewriter for about two decades, until finally, at the end of the 80s, official publications appeared (initially in the same translations). At the beginning of the first two books came out. The third book, Journey to Ixtlan (1972), turned out to be a real drug for readers.
When “it became possible”, many Russian publishers not only released the already well-known books of Castaneda by that time, but also very quickly translated everything very fresh, very little behind America. How many readers and followers today Castaneda has in Russia is hard to say. But it is known that his books do not lie on the shelves, and also on the bookshelves, too, and, as in former times, are passed from hand to hand, read to holes.
Famous writer Victor Pelevin once said in an interview that he considers Castaneda's “Journey to Ixtlan” to be one of the best literary works of the twentieth century. In his essay "Ikstlan - Petushki" Pelevin writes: "Some believe that Castaneda revealed to the world the secrets of the ancient Toltec culture. Others believe that he is just a deft compiler who collected a herbarium of quotations from Ludwig Wittgenstein and the magazine Psychedelic Review, and then mixed them with genuine anthropological material. But in any case, the books of Castaneda are, first of all, first-class literature, which even the most vehement of his critics admit. ”
In his books, the mysterious American anthropologist Carlos Castaneda describes his training with the Indian magician Don Juan, a different vision of the world. As a result, this new world perception should radically change the nature of the student so that it allows him to fully transform into some kind of energy substance, and, retaining awareness, go not only beyond the limits of his temporal body, but also beyond the reality accessible to the ordinary person.
Castaneda created a sensation by making the ideas of the Indians about the structure of the world and man, practically unknown to Western science, made publicly available to everyone. And these ideas were by no means primitive. While white people studied the “history of civilization development” by “wild” Indian tribes, those from generation to generation passed on secret knowledge, If don Juan’s teachings were cleared of the natural centuries-old layers in the form of purely Indian legends and myths, if not to succumb to the peculiar terminology, it is possible to find his obvious relationship with long-familiar Europeans Taoism and Zen Buddhism (if, of course, clear them too), which only by ignorance can be considered primitive.
According to Castaneda, one of the main stages of turning a student into a magician is the process of erasing a person, which begins with erasing a personal story. And, I must give him his due, in this Carlos Castaneda succeeded, creating an aura of such mystery around his person. He very rarely gave interviews and categorically refused to take pictures (nevertheless, by chance, several of his photographs still appeared in print).
Stories about himself Castaneda very different from the version of the magazine "Time", which was carried out a thorough journalistic investigation. In his official biography, Castaneda not only threw off a dozen years, but his mother “buried” twenty years earlier than he actually did, posing as an orphan.
One day, don Juan told Carlos that he must forget everyone he knows. Upon his return to Los Angeles, Castaneda rented an apartment a block away from the house where friends were eagerly waiting for him, and asked one of them to bring him some things and pick up the rest. Friends felt that Carlos was crazy and that sooner or later the madness would recede and he would return. That did not happen.
Even more dramatically Castaneda broke off relations with his beloved. He invited her to a restaurant. At dinner, she got angry and started scolding him. Castaneda got up and, declaring that he needed to take something out of the car, left and did not return. Before leaving, he asked the girl if she had something to pay for lunch and if she had money for a taxi to go home. He left her forever. Thus, Castaneda disappeared from the sight of all his acquaintances and friends. Where he was, only two have known since then - his agent and his friend, who collected letters that came to Carlos.
When Castaneda passed away on April 27, 1998, reports of this appeared in the newspapers only on June 18. Even the fact of the death of Castaneda (according to official reports, the writer died at home from liver cancer) was perceived ambiguously in society. Many of his followers believe that he did not die, but only, having transformed his body accordingly, moved into that other world about which he wrote so much in his works.
Once the journalists asked Castaneda a question:
- What awaits Carlos Castaneda ahead?
- I will definitely inform you about it, - he answered. - Next time.
- Will there be another time?
- There will always be another time.