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  • 8/16/2003

1-The Transfiguration of Man

Frithjof Schuon

“This book is, indeed, a serious challenge to the ‘modern spirit’ whose ‘ideas no longer bite.’ Highly recommended for all who seek an understanding of the ‘traditional spirit.’ —Choice Magazine

“The content of religions and their reason for being is the relationship between God and man... The diversity of religions results from the diversity of the possibilities comprised in the relationship between God and man; and this relationship is both unique and innumerable.” The leit-motif of Schuon’s corpus has been described as the religio perennis — the permanent link (religio) that is both natural and supernatural between God and man, the Necessary and the possible. This book presents and illustrates many concepts and distinctions essential to metaphysics, anthropology and religious phenomenology, such as intellect-reason, metaphysics-theology, esoterism-exoterism and the concept of religious archetypes. The chapter entitled آtmâ-Mâyâ is a succinct masterpiece on the degrees of Being.

Table of Contents


Part One: Thought, Art and Work

. Thought: Light and Perversion

. Reflections on Ideological Sentimentalism

. Usurpations of Religious Feeling

. The Impossible Convergence

. Art, Its Duties and Its Rights

. The Spiritual Meaning of Work

Part Two: Man, Truth and the Path

. Faculties and Modalities of Man

. Axioms of the Sophia Perennis

. The Mystery of Possibility

. The Ternary Rhythm of the Spirit

. An Enigma of the Gospel

. Characteristics of Voluntaristic Mysticism

. Concerning the Principle of Sacrifice

. Dimensions of Prayer

Part Three: Excerpts from Correspondence

.The Garden

. The Ordeal

. Certitudes

. On Holiness

. Love of God

. Gratitude

. Weakness and Strength

. Complementarities

. To Earn One's Salvation

. The Sense of the Sacred

. On Virtue

. Treasures

. The Ransom of the Self

. Two Visions of Things

. Manifestation and Proof

. Sufic Onomatology
Existence and Divine Presence

. The Two Great Moments



The image of man presented to us by modern psychology is not only fragmentary, it is pitiable. In reality, man is as if suspended between animality and divinity; now modern thought--be it philosophical or scientific--admits only animality, practically speaking.
We wish, on the contrary, to correct and perfect the image of man by insisting on his divinity; not that we wish to make a god of man, quod absit; we intend simply to take account of his true nature, which transcends the earthly, and lacking which he would have no reason for being.
It is this that we believe we can call--in a symbolist language--the "transfiguration of man."
The Garden:
An Excerpt from The Transfiguration of Man

A man sees a beautiful garden, but he knows: he will not always see these flowers and bushes, because one day he will die; and he also knows: the garden will not always be there, because this world will disappear in its turn. And he knows also: this relationship with the beautiful garden is the gift of destiny, because if a man were to find himself in the middle of a desert, he would not see the garden; he sees it only because destiny has put him, man, here and not elsewhere.
But in the innermost region of our soul dwells the Spirit, and in it is contained the garden, as it were, like a seed; and if we love this garden--and how could we not love it since it is of a heavenly beauty?--we would do well to look for it where it has always been and always will be, that is to say in the Spirit; maintain yourself in the Spirit, in your own center, and you will have the garden and in addition all possible gardens. Similarly: in the Spirit there is no death, because here you are immortal; and in the Spirit the relationship between the contemplator and the contemplated is not only a fragile possibility; on the contrary, it is part of the very nature of the Spirit and, like it, it is eternal. The Spirit is Consciousness and Will: Consciousness of oneself and Will towards oneself. Maintain yourself in the Spirit through Consciousness, and approach the Spirit through the Will or through Love; then neither death nor the end of the world can take away the garden from you nor destroy your vision. Whatever you are in the Spirit now, you will remain so after death; and whatever is yours in the Spirit now, will be yours after death. Before God there is neither being nor ownership except in the Spirit; whatever was outward must become inward and whatever was inward will become outward: look for the garden within yourself, in your indestructible divine Substance, which then will give you a new and imperishable garden.

2-Station of wisdom Frithjof Schuon

Publisher:World Wisdom Book

Wisdom Books:
"One of the great errors of our times is to speak of the 'bankruptcy' of religion or the religions; this is to lay blame on truth for our own refusal to admit it; and by the same token it is to deny man both liberty and intelligence."
Schuon goes to the root of the impasse reached by the modern mind, resulting from the difficulty so many people have in accepting the symbolic expressions of religion in the face of academic rationalism, relativism and the discoveries of science. These essays clear the ground, beginning with the crucial reintegration of intelligence and our need for causal explanations, long left neglected and outside faith. The transcendent and primordial nature of Revelation, intellect, faith, prayer and the human condition are set forth in a framework that reconciles the apparent incompatibility between metaphysics--commonly confused with rational thought--and the love of God, often seen only from the standpoint of sentimentality.

"If there is an 'exact science' embracing all that is, it resides in consciousness of the realities underlying both the traditional symbols and the fundamental virtues, which are the 'splendor of the true.' "

Preface: Orthodoxy and Intellectuality
The Nature and Arguments of Faith
Manifestations of the Divine Principle
Complexity of the Concept of Charity
Modes of Prayer
The Stations of Wisdom

3-Religion in the Modern World  Lord Northbourne

Pub Date: 02/02
Publisher: Sophia Perennis
Binding: Paper, 108pp.

Editorial Note:
A thoroughgoing critique of the modern world from the point of view of traditional metaphysics, pointing out the false assumptions at the root of many contemporary problems.
Lord Northbourne was a key figure in the so-called traditionalist of perennialist school, including such figures as René Guénon, Frithjof Schuon, Titus Burchhardt, martin Lings, S.H. Nasr, Huston Smith, and the Tibetan Buddhist Marco Pallis. It was Pallis, struck by Northbourne's early agricultural writings, who first introduced him to the traditionalist writings, and soon Northbourne was engaged in his masterful translation of Guénon's major work,The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times.

Lord Northbourne had a gift for expressing the profoundest truths in simple and graceful language, and it is the publisher's hope that his unique combination of gentleness and rigor, whether on the subject of flowers, or of predestination and freewill, will spur new readers to study other traditionalist authors. It is just this quality which formed the basis for the fascinating but all too short correspondence with Fr Thomas Merton that has been added to this volume. Sophia Perennis has also recently republished Lord Northbourne'sLooking Back on Progress, and will shortly be reissuing Look to the Land as well as a collection of his essays and occasional writings.

From Thomas Merton

I have just finished reading your book Religion in the Modern World...Not only is the book interesting, but I have found it quite salutary and helpful in my own case. It has helped me to organize my ideas at a time when we in the Catholic Church, and in the monastic Orders, are being pulled this way and that. Traditions of great importance and vitality are being questioned along with more trivial customs, and I do not think that those who are doing the questioning are always distinguished for their wisdom or even their information. I could not agree more fully with your principles and with your application of them, In particular, I am grateful for your last chapter. For one thin, it clears up a doubt that had persisted in my mind, about the thinking of the Schuon-Guénon 'school' (if one can use such a term), as well as about the rather slap-dash ecumenicism that is springing up in some quarters. It is most important first of all to understand deeply and live one's own tradition, not confusing it with what is foreign to it, if one is to seriously appreciate other traditions and distinguish in them what is close to one's own and what is, perhaps, irreconcilable with one's own. The great danger at the moment is a huge muddling and confusing of the spiritual traditions that still survive. As you so well point out, this would be crowning the devil's work....I am very grateful for your important and thoughtful book, and I am sure you can see I am in the deepest possible sympathy with your views.

4-The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times René Guénon

Among the features characteristic of the modern mentality the tendency to bring everything down to an exclusively quantitative point of view will be taken from now on as a the central theme of this treatise. This tendency is most marked in the scientific conceptions of recent centuries but it is almost as conspicuous in other domains, notably in that of social organization; so much so that with one reservation the nature and necessity of which will appear hereafter, our period could almost be defined as being essentially and primarily the ?reign of quantity? This characteristic is chosen in preference to any other not solely, nor even principally because it is one of the most evident and least contestable but above all because of its truly fundamental nature for reduction to the quantitative is strictly in conformity with the conditions of the cyclic phase at which humanity has now arrived?
Nowadays, there are so many signs of unbalance in our contemporary world that almost everybody is aware that something serious is happening, at many levels. Nor it would be necessary to mention the mockery done with religions and doctrines all over tha world. If the misfortune called communism accomplished its disastrous and devastating role as genocide and destructor of religions, the "democratic liberalism" also accomplished its side in another style: it placed above all the adoration of money, relegating the religions as a type of moral or ethics decoration.
The nature, constantly violated and "defeated", manifests clear signs: the global temperature increases and phenomenons as "El Niٌo" are each year more devastating. The family, as institution, is in undoubtly disaggregation from decades and today we see children not only disrespecting their parents, but challenging them. Even in the vestiments we can verify disturbing signs: the masculine and the feminine less and less is distinguished and, with torn clothes, many seem to search the identification with the poverty, the dirty, the debauchee.
Even the duration of things is dramatically abbreviated, at this times of "disposable", denouncing the inconstancy and the remainless, the mischievous consumistic voracity tending to incredible ends. Less and less are distinguished permanent values, principles and foundations. The visible result is the generalization of the unbalance, external and internal.
"The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times" is a masterly work, without parallel, that investigates and exposes, step by step, all the gears of the plan of "deconstruction" and annihilation of the world, from the so called "Renascence", - that in fact constitutes the death of authentic values much more than the birth of other - until our days, with pseudo-religions, "holistics" movements and "ecumenicals" anything, converging for the establishment of a homogeneity and hegemony of the laica and materialistic mentality today dominating everything and all with hallucinating speed, prefiguring the coming of the "Anti-Christ", whose arrive is foreseen, under different names, by all the authentic traditions.

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