2012. márc. 24.

Martin Lings: Frithjof Schuon and René Guénon

The following is the text of a talk given at the Temenos Academy on July 14, 1999 to an audience by no means altogether familiar with the writings of these two men. 

In the title of this talk the name Schuon is put before that of Guénon because it will be mainly about Schuon, as a sequel to the talk I gave two years ago on Guénon alone.[1] But in principle their message is one and the same. The main theme of both is esoterism, that is, the inner aspect of religion summed up by Christ in his affirmation that "The Kingdom of Heaven is within you" and also "Seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you." 

Inevitably they wrote about exoterism also because although some rites are purely esoteric, the main obligatory rites of a religion which are exoteric as performed by the vast majority become esoteric when performed by the minority of esoterists. In other words, subjectively speaking, the aspirations of the majority stop short at salvation, whereas the aspirations of the minority stop short at nothing less than sanctification. It is true that there are many degrees of sanctification, and in consequence esoterism consists of circles within circles, for "many are called but few are chosen". But this fact does not figure largely in our present context, since Guénon and Schuon never allow their readers to forget that spiritual aspiration in the full sense will be satisfied with nothing less than the Supreme Identity, that is the actual realization that one's true self is none other than that One, Absolute, Infinite Perfection which we name God. 

Both writers are in agreement about essentials, but very different in their manner of expression. Guénon of course was the pioneer, and already as a young man he saw clearly that in the West human intelligence, generally speaking, had come to be left out of religion. It no longer participated in the things of the spirit, and he was acutely conscious of the need to express spiritual truths in such a way as to win back the intelligences of virtually intelligent men and women for the only object that could truly satisfy them, namely Divine Reality, the Object for which intelligence exists. To do this, in a world increasingly rife with heresy and pseudo-religion, he had to remind twentieth century man of the need for orthodoxy, which presupposes firstly a Divine Revelation and secondly a Tradition that has handed down with fidelity what Heaven has revealed. He thus restores to orthodoxy its true meaning, rectitude of opinion which compels the intelligent man not only to reject heresy but also to recognize the validity of faiths other than his own if they also are based on the same two principles, Revelation and Tradition. 

Guénon's function as pioneer went, no doubt providentially, with a style of writing wherein he could be likened to an archer. His teachings came forth like arrow after arrow, shot from a basis of unwavering certitude and hitting, in the vast majority of cases, the very center of the target. The undeniable attraction that lies in such spontaneity explains the immense attraction that Guénon's writings continue to have for his readers. It is true that there is a danger of simplification in such a style, and also, inevitably, one or two arrows went wide of the mark. But Schuon has shown himself to be a providential complement to Guénon. 

An aspect of the difference between the two writers was bought home to me in connection with one of Guénon's masterpieces, The Reign of Quantity. I had the privilege of being the first person to read this book which the author gave me chapter by chapter. When it was finished he said: "Now I will write a fair copy of it." But the fair copy proved to be almost identical with the so-called "rough copy", whereas when Schuon wrote a fair copy many changes were made in the process, nor was there any guarantee, to say the least, that the fair copy would not become itself a rough copy for a still fairer copy. Not that he had any difficulty writing, and he himself also 'shot arrows' in his own particular way. But he never simplified, and he was exceedingly conscious of the extreme complexity of the truth on certain planes, nor was he easily satisfied that he had done justice to that complexity. 

It is typical of him to go as far as is legitimately possible to meet, on their own ground, the holders of an opinion against which he is arguing. In other words, his theses are worked out in detail with all possible objections foreseen, given their due, and outweighed. 

By way of example, in The Transcendent Unity of Religions, he broaches the question of missionaries -- in particular Christian missionaries, since the book is primarily for the modern West. He does justice to the life of sacrifice led by most missionaries and admits that in some cases it has subjectively even a mystical value. He allows that there are relatively rare cases where an individual is more suited to a religion other than that of the world where he or she was born and brought up. But he reminds us also -- I quote his words: "It is possible to pass from one religious form to another without being converted." He adds that this may happen -- again to use his actual words "for reasons of esoteric and therefore spiritual expediency". He gives no example, and then passes on. But we will stop here for a moment because the first examples that spring to mind are those of the two men who are the theme of this talk. Both Guénon and Schuon were brought up as Christians and both, at a certain stage of their lives, made the change from Christianity to Islam. At first thought the "spiritual expediency" in question might seem to be, in both cases, the presence of a great spiritual Master in the religion to which the change was made and the absence of his counterpart in the other, and this is certainly the true explanation of the subsequent changes which took place along the same lines, for although Schuon had many disciples who had been brought up as Muslims, the majority were of Christian or Jewish origin. But on second thoughts, as regards Guénon and Schuon themselves, the above explanation is not convincing. It is true that Guénon received a Sufi initiation from one of the representatives of an eminent Egyptian Sufi Shaykh whom he never met, but to whom, later in life, he dedicated his book The Symbolism of the Cross; and it is also true that Schuon became the disciple of the great Algerian Sufi Shaykh Ahmed al-`Alawî whose successor he undoubtedly was. But in his article 'A Note on René Guénon'[2] Schuon makes it clear that in his opinion Guénon was altogether exceptional, a man who did not need a path and who did not need guidance, but who had a message for mankind which was of universal import, and he needed a setting for himself which was in harmonious correspondence with that message. Moreover when we read this article we are conscious that in certain respects Schuon is also writing about himself; and for his part he had not only a message similar to that of Guénon, but he was also a born spiritual master, and to exercise that function he would need to become a link in the chain of spiritual succession of some truly esoteric order. More precisely, the way on which he was so eminently qualified to give guidance was a way of knowledge rather than a way of love. In other words, it was just such a way as the way towards which Guénon's message pointed, a way which, to say the least, is most untypical of the Christian mysticism of our times. To sum up, we have here two men, conscious from their earliest years of being strangers here below and in urgent need of the least uncongenial setting possible which the alien territory of this world could offer them. I am not presuming to trace out here, in this last sentence and what precedes it, an exact train of thought for either man, but anything that they themselves did not foresee would have been foreseen by Providence; and as for the ordained setting, let us allow ourselves to be wise after the event and to see, as regards the three world religions which are more open to receiving adherents from outside themselves than Hinduism and Judaism are, that Heaven appears to have given, generally speaking, the East to Buddhism and the West to Christianity, whereas the Quran reminds Muslims that they are "a middle people". It is in fact clear that Islam is something of a bridge between the East and the West, and this favors the universality of the message in question. Moreover Sufism, the inner aspect of Islam, is predominantly a way of knowledge; and the Quran itself is implacably universalist, with a vastness which goes far beyond the capacity of the average Muslim. These two changes of religious form and those of Schuon's disciples cannot possibly be called "conversions" in the ordinary sense of the word, because the former religion is still loved and revered at the same level as the newly adopted religion. Such possibilities far transcend the domain of the missionaries which was our starting point, and to which we now return. Our ready acceptance of the truth expressed in the title of Schuon's book The Transcendent Unity of Religions leads us to hope for some arguments that spring directly from that truth, nor does Schuon disappoint us. In connection with attempts to convert Hindus to Christianity he writes: 

Brahmins are invited to abandon completely a religion that has lasted for several thousands of years, one that has provided the spiritual support of innumerable generations and has produced flowers of wisdom and holiness down to our times. The arguments brought forward to justify this extraordinary demand are in no wise logically conclusive nor do they bear any proportion to the magnitude of the demand: the reasons that the Brahmins have for remaining faithful to their spiritual patrimony are therefore infinitely stronger than the reasons by which it is sought to persuade them to cease being what they are. The disproportion, from the Hindu point of view, between the immense reality of the Brahmanic tradition and the insufficiency of the Christian counter-arguments is such as to prove quite sufficiently that had God wished to submit the world to one religion only, the arguments put forward on behalf of this religion would not be so feeble, nor those of certain so-called 'infidels' so powerful.[3] 

Equally unanswerable is Schuon's refutation of the claim that Islam is a pseudo-religion: That God should have allowed a religion that was merely the invention of a man to conquer a part of humanity and to maintain itself for more than a thousand years in a quarter of the inhabited world, thus betraying the love, faith and hope of a multitude of sincere and fervent souls -- this again is contrary to the laws of the Divine Mercy, or, in other words, to those of Universal Possibility.[4] 

The book from which the last two quotations come, The Transcendent Unity of Religions, published in French just over two years before Guénon's death, was the only book of Schuon's that Guénon read, and he had the highest praise for it, especially for a chapter entitled 'The Universality and Particular Nature of the Christian Religion' which might be said to fill in some gaps left by Guénon himself. 

The title of another of Schuon's books, Esoterism as Principle and as Way, may be said to sum up his writings as a whole. But to sum up Guénon's writings it would have to be changed to 'Esoterism as Principle with a view to the Way'. Guénon never lost sight of the Way, and indeed it might be said that one of his chief themes was 'the way to the Way', but he did not write about the spiritual path directly whereas Schuon did, being himself a spiritual master with many souls under his care, and in consequence his writings are rich in psychological observations of the utmost importance. Jung once remarked, not without sagacity: "The soul is the object of modern psychology. Unfortunately it is also the subject." But it may be doubted whether Jung realized how fully this amounts to a condemnation of the modern science in question. In traditional civilizations it was taken for granted that the soul can only be examined from a level higher than itself, that is, from a spiritual level. The priests were the recognized authorities. And when Schuon speaks about the soul we spontaneously accept what he says in the certitude that he is speaking from a level which transcends the psychic domain. Let me say in passing that Schuon was remarkably aquiline in appearance, so much so that the Sioux Indians who adopted him into their tribe would refer to his followers as "the eagle people". 

After he had come to live in Indiana, he was visited every year by a Crow medicine man, Thomas Yellowtail. And Schuon once remarked to me that some people might find these regular visits surprising but that the explanation was very simple. In his own words: "Yellowtail is profoundly conscious of being a priest by his very nature and he senses the same consciousness in me, despite the many outward differences between us". 

I must mention here, without having time to dwell on it, that a remarkable aspect of Schuon's psychological penetration is to be seen in his fascinating book Castes and Races. It is in a sense doubly fascinating, because of the infectious quality of Schuon's own fascination, fascinated as he was by the differences and the relationships between the castes and by the wealth of variety to be seen in the races. There is a third chapter, equally enthralling, on art, a subject which, when it is not in the foreground is often in the background of his writings, for he himself was an artist, in the double capacity of painter and poet.

For the first half of this century it is not on Guénon but on Coomaraswamy that we have to rely as regards the artistic dimension. But though this dimension is somewhat strangely, absent from Guénon's writings, we must remember with immense gratitude all that he bas written about symbols, and symbolism is the language of sacred art. Schuon once said to me: "On symbolism Guénon is unbeatable." In actual fact we always spoke French together, and when he said: "Sur le symbolisme Guénon est imbattable," he banged his fist on the table three times, once for each syllable of "imbattable". Schuon demands total commitment to the way: "Knowledge saves only on condition that it enlists all that we are. Metaphysical knowledge is sacred. It is the right of sacred things to demand of man all that he is."[5] 

What is that all? The answer to this question is the theme of a chapter in Esoterism entitled 'The Triple Nature of Man' and much of his other writings are concerned with this threefold totality. To sum up, it is a question of knowing, willing, and loving the Divine Reality; and since the Way demands perpetual consciousness of this triad, for easy remembrance Schuon often words it Comprehension, Concentration, Conformation. The faculties in question are intelligence, will and soul or character and they correspond respectively to the Truth, the Way and Virtue, that is to doctrine, method and morals. It might be objected that both the intelligence and the will are faculties of the soul. But in man as he was created and as he seeks to become they infinitely transcend the human plane: only at its lowest extremity does the intelligence enter into the psychic substance, and only the most superficial extremity of the will is human in the limited sense of the word. The intelligence is a ray of light proceeding from the Divine Truth, and the will is rooted in the Divine Self. One of the first problems of the Way is that for profane man intelligence and the will have been reduced to becoming the soul's means of satisfying its desires. They are the servants and it is the master. The Way begins on the understanding that henceforth the so-called master must follow the directives of its one time servants. That is not easy, and to begin with the psychic elements are divided amongst themselves, the majority submitting readily enough to the change -- otherwise there could be no question of the Way -- but the remainder in varying degrees of being unreconciled or undecided. 

Comprehension, Concentration, Conformation: the soul must conform by virtue. But it retains a certain power because without its conformity, without its love, without its assimilation of the qualities of the Beloved by participating in them through the virtues, no spiritual progress can be made. A whole section of Esoterism as Principle and as Way is entitled 'The Virtues in the Way.' 

Guénon avoids the moral issue, possibly because he was conscious of a widespread reaction, in his own generation, against unintelligent moralism. But Schuon dwells on this dimension in his own unmoralistic way, with considerable stress on the importance of outward beauty, whether it be of nature or of art, as a prolongation of the inward beauty of virtue. Of his disciples he demanded beauty of soul as an altogether obligatory basis without which the intelligence and the will cannot operate as they should. He continually quoted in writing and in speech, the Platonic dictum "Beauty is the splendor of the True", in the sense that inversely, if that splendor is lacking, it means that the Truth is not fully present. 

I would like now to draw attention to a particular characteristic of Schuon which might be termed "spiritual common sense". I think I have heard him use on occasion this very term. The following passage is a typical example: 

One cannot subject oneself to a constraining idea -- or seek to transcend oneself for the sake of God -- without bearing in one's soul what psychoanalysts call 'complexes'; this means in fact that there are complexes which are normal for a spiritual man or simply for a decent man and that, conversely, the absence of 'complexes' is not necessarily a virtue, to say the least.[6]

Another example is in the following passage, which also serves to express an aspect of what Schuon aims at doing through his books. It serves the same purpose as regards Guénon also, who would have totally agreed with it; and it illustrates a difference, for it very clearly comes from Schuon's pen and not from his. 

It must be admitted that the progressists are not entirely wrong in thinking that there is something in religion which no longer works; in fact the individualistic and sentimental argumentation with which traditional piety operates has lost almost all its power to pierce consciences, and the reason for this is not merely that modern man is irreligious but also that the usual religious arguments, through not probing sufficiently to the depth of things and not having had previously any need to do so, are psychologically somewhat outworn and fail to satisfy certain needs of causality. If human societies degenerate on the one hand with the passage of time, they accumulate on the other hand experiences in virtue of old age, however intermingled with errors their experience may be; this paradox is something that any pastoral teaching should take into account, not by drawing new directives from the general error but on the contrary by using arguments of a higher order, intellectual rather than sentimental; as a result some at least would be saved -- a greater number than one might be tempted to suppose -- whereas the demagogic scientistic pastoralist saves no one.[7] 

Another different example of Schuon's down-to-earth common sense is in the following passage, though here it would be better to say up-to-Heaven common sense, and not only here but elsewhere, for the point of view is always celestial: 

Imagine a radiant summer sky and imagine simple folk who gaze at it, projecting into it their dream of the hereafter; now suppose that it were possible to transport these simple folk into the dark and freezing abyss of the galaxies and nebulae with its overwhelming silence. In this abyss all too many of them would lose their faith, and this is precisely what happens as a result of modern science, both to the learned and to the victims of popularization. What most men do not know -- and if they could know it, why should we have to ask them to believe it? -- is that this blue sky, though illusory as an optical error and belied by the vision of interplanetary space, is nonetheless an adequate reflection of the Heaven of Angels and the Blessed and that therefore, despite everything, it is this blue mirage, flecked with silver clouds, which is right and will have the final say; to be astonished at this amounts to admitting that it is by chance that we are here on earth and see the sky as we do.[8] 

It might seem unexpected that Schuon, who, unlike Guénon had an esoteric function, should have written much more than Guénon did about each religion as a whole, its outer as well as its inner aspect. But he did this partly for the enlightenment of his disciples, for a way of knowledge in the full sense calls for a certain understanding of the Divine economy of things. I say partly because he did it also for his own satisfaction. He once said to me: "If there was a religion which I did not love, I would not rest until I loved it." For him the religions were among the great signs of God, each one to be marveled at, and he demanded this attitude from his disciples insofar as they were capable of it. 

What is not generally known however is that he wrote some texts exclusively for them and not for publication, though certain passages have been incorporated into some of his later books. These texts, about 1200 in number, most of them consisting of only one page, may be said to belong to the innermost center of Sufism, and by extension to all other innermost spiritual centers; and since every true center has its radiations, we will give here two examples. 

The first, of which we will only give the central part, is entitled 'The Chain of Quintessences'. The quintessence of the world is man. The quintessence of man is religion. The quintessence of religion is prayer. The quintessence of prayer is invocation. Here lies the meaning of the Quranic verse: The invocation of God is greater [than anything else]. If man had no more than a few instants to live, he would no longer be able to do anything but invoke God. He would thereby fulfill all the demands of prayer, of religion, of the human state. 

The second of these texts is entitled 'The Two Great Moments', and with it I will close my talk. There are two moments in life which are everything, and these are the present moment, when we are free to choose what we would be, and the moment of death when we no longer have any choice and the decision belongs to God. Now, if the present moment is good, death will be good; if we are now with God -- in this present which is ceaselessly being renewed but which remains always this one and only moment of actuality -- God will be with us at the moment of death. The remembrance of God is a death in life; it will be a life in death.[9]


1.Sophia, Vol. I, No. 1, Summer 1995, pp. 21-37.

2.Studies in Comparative Religion. Vol. 17, no. 1.

3.The Transcendent Unity of Religions, Wheaton (Illinois): Theosophical Publishing House, 1984, pp. 30-31.

4. Ibid., p. 37.

5.Spiritual Perspectives and Human Facts, London: Perennial Books, 1970, p. 138.

6.Esoterism as Principle and as Way, p. 125.

7.In the Face of the Absolute, Bloomington (Indiana): World Wisdom Books, 1989, pp. 89-90.

8.Understandinglslam, Bloomington (Indiana): World Wisdom Books, 1994, p. 137.

9.Echoes of Perennial Wisdom, p. 39.

2012. márc. 22.

Martin Lings: René Guénon

The following is a transcript of a lecture given in the autumn of 1994 at the Prince of Wales Institute in London and sponsored by the Temenos Academy. 

As regards the early part of the life of René Guénon our knowledge is very limited because of his extreme reticence. His objectivity, which is one aspect of his greatness, made him realize the evils of subjectivism and individualism in the modern world, and impelled him perhaps too far in the opposite direction; he shrank at any rate from speaking about himself. Since his death book after book has been written about him and the authors have no doubt felt often extremely frustrated at being unable to find out various things and as a result, book after book contains factual errors.

What we do know is that he was born at Blois in France in 1886, that he was the son of an architect; he had a traditional Catholic upbringing and at school he excelled in philosophy and mathematics. But at the age of 21 he was already in Paris, in the world of occultism, which was in full ferment at that time, about 1906-08. And the dangers of that world were perhaps counteracted for him by the fact that it was more open to wider perspectives. It seems to be about this time, in Paris, that he came in contact with some Hindus of the Advaita Vedanta school, one of whom initiated him into their own Shivaite line of spirituality. We have no details of time or place and he seems never to have spoken about these Hindus nor does he seem to have had further contact with them after one or two years. But what he learned from them is in his books and his meeting with them was clearly providential. His contact with them must have been extremely intense while it lasted. His books are just what was and is needed as antidote to the crisis of the modern world.

By the time he was nearly 30, his phenomenal intelligence had enabled him to see exactly what was wrong with the modern West, and that same intelligence had dug him out of it altogether. I myself remember that world in which and for which Guénon wrote his earliest books, in the first decade after the First World War, a monstrous world made impenetrable by euphoria: the First World War had been the war to end war. Now there would never be another war; and science had proved that man was descended from the ape, that is, he had progressed from apehood, and now this progress would continue with nothing to impede it; everything would get better and better and better. I was at school at that time and I remember being taught these things with just one hour a week being taught the opposite in religious lessons. But religion in the modern world had long before then been pushed into a corner. From its corner it protested against this euphoria, but to no avail.

Today the situation is considerably worse and considerably better. It is worse because human beings have degenerated still further. One sees far more bad faces than one did in the 20s, if I may say so, at least, that is my impression. It is better because there is no euphoria at all. The edifice of the modern world is falling into ruin. Great cracks are appearing everywhere through which it can be penetrated as it could not be before. But it is again worse because the Church, anxious not to be behind the times, has become the accomplice of modernity.

But to return to the world of the 20s, I remember a politician proclaiming, as who would dare to do today, "We are now in the glorious morning of the world." And at this same time, Guénon wrote of this wonderful world, "It is as if an organism with its head cut off were to go on living a life which was both intense and disordered." (from East and West first published in 1924).

Guénon seems to have had no further contact with the Hindus and no doubt they had returned to India. Meantime, he had been initiated into a Sufi order which was to be his spiritual home for the rest of his life. Among the ills which he saw all around him he was very much preoccupied with the general anti-religious prejudice which was particularly rife among the French so-called intelligentsia. He was sure that some of these people were nonetheless virtually intelligent and would be capable of responding to the truth if it were clearly set before them. This anti-religious prejudice arose because the representatives of religion had gradually become less and less intelligent and more and more centered on sentimental considerations. In the Catholic Church especially, where the division of the community into clergy and laity was always stressed, a lay figure had to rely on the Church, it was not his business to think about spiritual things. Intelligent laymen would ask questions of priests who would not be able to answer these questions and who would take refuge in the idea that intelligence and pride were very closely connected. And so it is not difficult to see how this very anti-religious prejudice came into being especially in France.

Now Guénon put himself the question: Since these people have rejected Christianity would they be able to accept the truth when expressed in the Islamic terms of Sufism, which are closely related to Christian terms in many respects? He decided that they would not, that they would say that this is another religion; we have had enough of religion. However Hinduism, the oldest living religion, is on the surface very different from both Christianity and Islam, and so he decided to confront the Western world with the truth on the basis of Hinduism. It was to this end that he wrote his general Introduction to the Study of Hindu Doctrines. The French was published in 1921 to be followed in 1925 by what is perhaps the greatest of all of Guénon's books, Man and His Becoming according to the Vedanta.

He could not have chosen a better setting for his message of truth to the West because Hinduism has a directness which results from its having been revealed to man in a remote age when there was not yet a need to make a distinction between esoterism and exoterism, and that directness means that the truth did not have to be veiled. Already in Classical Antiquity the Mysteries, that is esoterism, were for the few. In Hinduism however they were the norm and the highest truths could be spoken of directly. There was no question of 'Cast not your pearls before swine' and 'Give not holy things to dogs'. The sister religions of Hinduism, for example, the religions of Greece and Rome, have long since perished. But thanks to the caste system with the Brahmins as safeguarders of religion we have today a Hinduism which is still living and which down to this century has produced flowers of sanctity.

One of the points to be mentioned first is the question of the distinction which has to be made at the divine level and which is made in all esoterisms but cannot be made exoterically, that is, in religions as given to the masses today -- the distinction between the Absolute and the beginnings therein of relativity. The Absolute which is One, Infinite, Eternal, Immutable, Undetermined, Unconditioned, is represented in Hinduism by the sacred monosyllable Aum, and it is termed Atmâ, which means Self, and Brahma which is a neuter word that serves to emphasize that it is beyond all duality such as male and female. And it is also termed Tat (That), just as in Sufism, the Absolute is sometimes termed Huwa (He). Then we have what corresponds in other religions to the personal God, Ishvara, which is the beginning already of relativity, because it is concerned with manifestation, the term that Hindus use for creation, and creation is clearly the beginning of a duality -- Creator and created. Ishvara is at the divine level, yet it is the beginning of relativity.

In all esoterism one finds the same doctrine. Meister Eckhart came into difficulties with the Church because he insisted on making a distinction between God and Godhead -- Gott und Gottheit. He used the second term for the Absolute, that is for the Absolute Absolute, and he used God for the relative Absolute. It could have been the other way around, it was just that he needed to make some difference. In Sufism one speaks of the Divine Essence and the Essential Names of God such as The One, The Truth, the All-Holy, The Living, and the Infinitely Good, al-Rahmân, which contains the roots of all goodness and which is also a name of the Divine Essence. Below that there are the Names of Qualities, like Creator, the Merciful, in the sense of one who has Mercy on others, and that is clearly the beginning of a duality. In every esoterism this distinction is made even at the level of the Divinity. It cannot exist below esoterism because it would result in the idea of two Gods; a division in the Divinity would be exceedingly dangerous in the hands of the mass of believers. The Divine Unity has to be maintained at all costs.

Now Guénon, in this book, traces with all clarity the hierarchy of the universe from the Absolute, from the personal God, down to the created logos, that is buddhi, which is the word which means intellect and which has three aspects -- Brahmâ (this time the word is masculine), Vishnu and Shiva. Strictly speaking in the hierarchy of the universes these devas (this is the same word linguistically as the Latin deus), have the rank of what we would call archangels. Hinduism is so subtle however that though they are created they can be invoked as Names of the Absolute because they descend from the Absolute and they return to the Absolute. They can be invoked in the sense of the Absolute Brahmâ, in the sense of Atmâ, in the sense of Aum.

The Hindu doctrine, like Genesis, speaks of the two waters. The Quran speaks of the two seas, the upper waters and the lower waters. The upper waters represent the higher aspect of the created world, that is, of the manifested world, corresponding to the different heavens in which are the different paradises. It is all part of the next world from the point of view of this world. The lower waters represent the world of body and soul, and all is a manifestation of the Absolute.

In Man and His Becoming according to the Vedanta, Guénon, having traced the manifestation of man and having shown what is the nature of man in all its details, then proceeds to show how, according to Hindu doctrine, man can return to his absolute source. It ends with the supreme spiritual possibility of oneness with the Absolute, a oneness which is already there. A Brahmin boy at the age of eight is initiated by his father and the words are spoken into his ear, "Thou art That," meaning thou art the Absolute, tat vam asi. This shows how far we are from religion as understood in the modern world. But that truth which is called in Sufism the secret, al-sirr, is necessary in all esoterism in the present day, otherwise it would not deserve the name esoterism.

Another aspect of Hinduism which made it the perfect vehicle for Guénon's message is the breadth of its structure. In the later religions it is as if Providence had shepherded mankind into a narrower and narrower valley: the opening is still the same to heaven but the horizontal outlook is narrower and narrower because man is no longer capable of taking in more than a certain amount. The Hindu doctrine of the samsâra, that is, of the endless chain of innumerable worlds which have been manifested, and of which the universe consists, would lead to all sorts of distractions. Nonetheless, when one is speaking of an Absolute, Eternal Divinity, the idea that that Infinitude produced only one single world in manifesting itself does not satisfy the intelligence. The doctrine of the samsâra does, on the other hand, satisfy, but the worlds are innumerable that have been manifested.

Another point in this respect is that Hinduism has an amazing versatility. It depends first of all on Divine Revelation. The Vedas and the Upanishads are revealed; the Bhagavad Gita is generally considered as revealed but not the Mahâbhârata as a whole, this "inspired" epic to which the Gita belongs. In Hinduism this distinction between revelation, sruti, and inspiration, smriti, is very clearly made, as it also is in Judaism and in Islam: The Pentateuch, that is, the first rive books of the Old Testament, were revealed to Moses, the Psalms to David, the Qur'ân to Muhammad. That is something which Christians as a rule do not understand. They have difficulty in realizing, in the Old Testament for example, the difference between the Pentateuch and the Books of Kings and Chronicles which are simply sacred history, inspired no doubt, but in no sense revealed. For Christians the revelation is Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh; the concept of "the Word made book", which is a parallel revelation, does not enter into their perspective.

Hinduism also has the avatâras, and that a Christian can well understand, that is, the manifestations, the descents, of the Divinity. Of course a Christian would not recognize the descents of the Hindu avatâras because for the average Christian there has only ever been one descent and that is Christ Himself, but Hinduism recognizes the descent as an inexhaustible possibility and it names ten avatâras who have helped maintain the vitality of the religion down to the present day. The ninth avatâra which is called the foreign avatâra is the Buddha himself because, although he appeared in India, he was not for Hindus but clearly for the Eastern world. The breadth of Hinduism is seen also in its prefiguration of exoterism which is the recognition of the Three Ways. These are still Ways back to God -- the three margas -- the way of knowledge, the way of love, and the way of action -- three ways which correspond to the inclinations and affinities of different human beings.

Another point which makes the terms of Hinduism so right for giving Europeans the message is that they have as Aryans an affinity with Hinduism because they are rooted in the religions of Classical Antiquity which are sister religions to Hinduism; their structure was clearly the same as the structure of Hinduism. Of course they degenerated into complete decadence and have now disappeared. Nonetheless our heritage lies in them and Guénon gives us, one might say, the possibility of a mysterious renascence in a purely positive sense by his message of the truth in Hindu terms. This affinity must not be exaggerated however, and Guénon never advised anybody who was not a Hindu, as far as I know, to become a Hindu.

His message was always one of strict orthodoxy in one esoterism, but at the same time of equal recognition of all other orthodoxies, but his purpose was in no sense academic. His motto Was vincit omnia veritas, Truth conquers all, but implicitly his motto was 'Seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you'. Implicit in his writings is the certainty that they will come providentially to those who are qualified to receive his message and they will impel them to seek and therefore to find a way.

Guénon was conscious of having a function and he knew what belonged to this function and what did not belong to it. He knew that it was not his function to have disciples; he never had any. It was his function to teach in preparation for a way that people would find for themselves, and this preparation meant filling in gaps which are left by modern education. The first of these gaps is the failure to understand the meaning of the transcendent and the meaning of the word intellect in consequence, a word which always continues to be used, but the intellect in the traditional sense of the word, corresponding to the Sansrit buddhi, had simply been forgotten in the Western world. Guénon insisted in his writings on giving this word its true meaning which is perception of transcendent realities, the faculty which can perceive the things of the next world, and its prolongations in the soul are what might be called intellectual intuitions which are the preliminary glimmerings before intellection in the full sense takes place.

One has the impression that Guénon must have himself had an intellectual illumination at quite an early age. He must have perceived directly spiritual truths with the intellect in the true sense. He fills in gaps by explaining the meaning of rites, the meaning of symbols, the hierarchy of the worlds. In modern education the next world is left out altogether whereas in the Middle Ages students were taught about the hierarchy of the faculties and correspondingly the hierarchy of the universe.

Now I must for the moment speak on a rather personal level, but perhaps it may not be without interest. When I read the books of Guénon in the early thirties it was as if I had been struck by lightning and realized that this was the truth. I had never seen the truth before set down as in this message of Guénon's that there were many religions and that they must all be treated with reverence; they were different because they were for different people. It made sense and it also was at the same time to the glory of God because a person with even a reasonable intelligence when taught what we were taught at school would inevitably ask, well what about the rest of the world? Why were things managed in this way? Why was the truth given first of all to only the Jews, one people only? And then Christianity was ordered to spread over the world, but why so late? What about previous ages? These questions were never answered, but when I read Guénon I knew that what he said was the truth and I knew that I must do something about it.

I wrote to Guénon. I translated one of his first books, East and West, into English and I was in correspondence with him in connection with that. In 1930 Guénon left Paris, after the death of his first wife, and went to Cairo where he lived for twenty years until his death in 1951. One of my first ideas upon reading Guénon's books was to send copies to my greatest friend who had been a student with me at Oxford, because I knew he would have just the same reaction as I had. He came back to the West and took the same way that I had already found, a way of the kind that Guénon speaks of in his books. Then being in need of work he was given a lectureship at Cairo University, and I sent him Guénon's poste restante number. Guénon was extremely secretive and would not give his actual address to anybody; he wanted to disappear. He had enemies in France and he suspected that they wished to attack him by magic. I do not know this for certain but I know that Guénon was very much afraid of being attacked by certain people and he wished to remain unknown, to sink himself into the Egyptian world where he was, the world of Islam. And so my friend had to wait a long time before Guénon agreed to see him. But when the meeting finally took place Guénon became immediately attached to him, and told him that he could always come to his house whenever he liked.

In the summer of 1939 I went to visit my friend in Cairo and when I was there the war broke out. I had a lectureship in Lithuania at that time and, being unable to return there, I was forced to stay in Egypt. My friend, who had become like a member of Guénon's household, collecting his mail from poste restante and doing many other things for him, took me to see Guénon. A year later I was out riding in the desert with my friend when his horse ran away with him and he was killed as the result of an accident. I shall never forget having to go to tell Guénon of his death. When I did he just wept for an hour. I had no option but to take my friend's place. I had already been given the freedom of the household and very quickly I became like one of the family. It was a tremendous privilege of course. Guénon's wife could not read and she spoke only Arabic. I quickly learned Arabic so I was able to talk to her. It was a very happy marriage. They had been married for seven years without children and Guénon, who was getting fairly old -- he was much older than she was -- had had no children with his first wife, so it was unexpected when they began to have children. They had four children altogether. I went to see Guénon nearly every day. I was the first person to read The Reign of Quantity, the only book he wrote while I knew him since the other books had all been written earlier. He gave it to me chapter by chapter. And I was able also to give him my own first book when I wrote it, The Book of Certainty, which I gave him also chapter by chapter. It was a very great privilege to have known such a person.

During this time a rather important question was resolved. The Hindus with whom Guénon had made contact in Paris had given him a wrong idea, not a strictly Hindu idea, about Buddhism. Hinduism recognizes the Buddha as the ninth avatâra of Vishnu but some Hindus maintain that he was not an avatâra, that he was just a revolted kshatriya, that is a member of the royal caste, against the Brahmins and it was this latter view which Guénon had accepted. Consequently he wrote about Buddhism as though it was not one of the great religions of the world. Now Ananda Coomaraswamy, Frithjof Schuon and Marco Pallis altogether decided that they would remonstrate with Guénon about this point. Guénon was very open to being persuaded and in 1946 I took Marco Pallis to see him with the result that he agreed that he had been mistaken and that the mistakes must be rectified in his books. Marco Pallis started sending him lists of many pages that needed correction.

Guénon almost never went out except when he came to visit us. I would send a car to fetch him and he would come with his family to our house about twice a year. We lived at that time just near the pyramids outside of Cairo. I went out with him only once and we went to visit the mosque of Sayyidnâ Husayn near al-Azhar. He had a remarkable presence; it was striking to see the respect with which he was treated. As he entered the mosque you could hear people on all sides saying, 'Allâhumma salli 'alâ Sayyidnâ Muhammad,' that is, 'May God rain blessings on the Prophet Muhammad', which is a way of expressing great reverence for someone. He had a luminous presence and his very beautiful eyes, one of his most striking features, retained their lustre into early old age.

With his book on the Vedanta ranks his book on symbols, entitled Fundamental Symbols: The Universal Language of Sacred Science, which was published after his death from all the articles which were written about symbols in his journal, Études Traditionelles. It was marvelous to read these articles when they came out month after month, but this book takes us back almost to prehistoric times as does Man and His Becoming according to the Vedanta but in a wider sense. Everything is a symbol of course, it could not exist if it were not a symbol, but the fundamental symbols are those which express eloquently aspects of the Supreme Truth and the Supreme Way. For example, one of these aspects of both the Way and the Truth is what is called the 'axis of the world', the axis which runs through all the higher states from the center of this state. That is the meaning of what is called the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life is symbolized by many particular trees: the oak, the ash, the fig and others throughout the world. The axis is the Way itself, the way of return to the Absolute. It is also symbolized by man-made things: the ladder, the mast, weapons like the lance, and the central pillar of edifices. As architects know, many buildings are built round a central axis which is not in fact there, which is not materialized. Very often in traditional houses the hearth is the center of the house and the chimney through which the smoke rises is another figure of the axis. And things which are normally horizontal are symbols of the axis: a bridge is also a symbol of the world axis. Witness the title Pontifex, the maker of the bridge, which is given to the highest spiritual authority of the Church -- the bridge, which is the bridge between Heaven and earth.

Another fundamental symbol is the river. There are three aspects to the river: the crossing of the river symbolizes the passage from this world to a higher world, always, but then there is the river itself. There is the difficulty of moving upstream which symbolizes the difficulties of the spiritual path, of returning to one's source against the current. There is also the symbolism of moving in the other direction to the ocean, of returning finally to the ocean; that is another symbol of the Way. In this book amongst many other symbols, Guénon also treats of the symbolism of the mountain, the cave, the temporal cycle. In the temporal cycle the solstices of summer and winter are the gates of the gods according to Hinduism. The gate of the gods is the winter solstice, in the sign of Capricorn; the gate of the ancestors is the summer solstice, in the sign of Cancer.

As I have said, Guénon did not like to talk about himself and I respected his reticence, I did not ask him questions and I think he was pleased with that. To sum up what his function was, one might say that it was his function, in a world increasingly rife with heresy and pseudo religion, to remind twentieth century man of the need for orthodoxy which itself presupposes firstly a divine intervention, and secondly a tradition which hands down with fidelity from generation to generation what Heaven has revealed. In this connection we are deeply indebted to him for having restored to the world the word orthodoxy in the full rigor of its original meaning, that is, rectitude of opinion, a rectitude which compels the intelligent man not merely to reject heresy, but also to recognize the validity of all those faiths which conform to those criteria on which his own faith depends for its orthodoxy.

On the basis of this universality, which is often known as religio perennis, it was also Guénon's function to remind us that the great religions of the world are not only the means of man's salvation, but that they offer him beyond that, even in this life, two esoteric possibilities which correspond to what were known in Graeco-Roman Antiquity as mysteria pava and mysteria magna, the 'Greater Mysteries' and the 'Lesser Mysteries'. The first of these is the way of return to the primordial perfection which was lost in the fall. The second, which presupposes the first, is the way to gnosis, the fulfillment of the precept, 'know thyself'. This one ultimate end is termed in Christianity deificatio, in Hinduism, yoga, union, and moksha, deliverance, in Buddhism, nirvana, that is, extinction of all that is illusory. And in Islamic mysticism, that is Sufism, tahaqquq, which means realization and which was glossed by a Sufi sheikh as self-realization in God. The Mysteries and especially the Greater Mysteries are explicitly or implicitly the main theme of Guénon's writing, even in The Crisis of the Modern World and The Reign of Quantity. The troubles in question are shown to have sprung ultimately from loss of the mysterial dimension, that is, the dimension of the mysteries of esoterism. He traces all the troubles in the modern world to the forgetting of the higher aspects of religion. He was conscious of being a pioneer, and I will end simply by quoting something he wrote of himself, "All that we shall do or say will amount to giving those who come afterwards facilities which we ourselves were not given. Here as everywhere else it is the beginning of the work that is hardest."

2012. márc. 19.

Schuon: Zwei Gedichten - Two Poems

The following poems are extracts from Adastra & Stella Maris, Poems by Frithjof Schuon (German-English edition), World Wisdom, 2003. Four other volumes have also been published by the same publisher more recently: Songs without Names Volumes I-VI , Songs without Names Volumes VII-XII ,World Wheel Volumes I-III and World Wheel Volumes IV-VII.

Zum Eingang

Es floss aus meinem Herzen mancher Sang;
Ich sucht ihn nicht, er ward mir eingegeben.
O mög der gottgeschenkten Harfe Klang
Die Seele läutern, uns zum Himmel heben —

Möge das Licht der Wahrheit sich verbinden
Mit Liebe, unsrem Streben zum Geleit;
Und mögen unsre Seelen Gnade finden —

Den Weg von Gott zu Gott — in Ewigkeit.

As an Entry

Out of my heart flowed many songs;
I sought them not, they were inspired in me.
O may the sound of the God-given harp
Purify the soul and raise us to Heaven —

May the light of Truth unite
With love to accompany our striving,
And may our souls find grace —

The path from God to God — in eternity.


Ad astra — zu den Sternen — strebt die Seele,
Die eine ungestillte Sehnsucht drängt.
O Weg der Wahrheit, Schönheit, den ich wähle —
Des Gottgedenkens, das die Seele tränkt.

Du bist das Lied, das alles Sehnen stillt —
Das Gnadenlicht; schein in das Herz hinein!
Der Herr ist unsre Zuflucht, unser Schild —

Sei du mit Ihm, und Er wird mit dir sein.


Ad astra — to the stars — the soul is striving,
Called by an unstilled longing.
O path of Truth and Beauty that I choose —
Of God-remembrance that pervades the soul!

Thou art the song that stills all longing —
The Light of Grace; shine into my heart!
The Lord is our Refuge, our Shield —

Be thou with Him, and He will be with thee.

Frithjof Schuon


2012. márc. 17.

Christophe Levalois: Hyperborea – A Fény, Észak és az Eredet földje

"…kik az északi parton túl laknak,
legidősebb népek a földilakók közt…"

Hyperborea egy édeni korszaknak, az Aranykornak felel meg. A jelenkori vélemények elburjánzó egocentrizmusának köszönhetően e témában a legfőbb tévedés az, hogy ezt a kort a jelen alapján képzelik el. Pedig ez semmiféleképpen nem a lustaságnak, a dolce farnientének, a szórakozásoknak, a hedonizmusnak, a könnyelműségnek, az individualizmusnak és a tömegek diadalának, a mindenféle szabados szeszélynek, a folyton teli gyomornak, a teljes komfortnak a kora. Nincs semmi közös az élet e tipikusan modern és involutív szemlélete, s az igazi Aranykor között. Természetesen az Aranykor külső feltételei igen kellemesek voltak, ám ebben következményt kell látni, nem elsőséget. Ezzel kapcsolatban Pierre Gordon[2] nagyon találóan írta: „…az Aranykor … egy egyedülálló aszkézis s az egész jelenségvilágról való lemondás kora volt. E régmúlt idők jellegzetességei, a szépség s a különlegesen hosszú élet nem könnyű, külsődleges feltételeknek voltak köszönhetőek, hanem az emberi tudat teljes uralmának a benyomások felett, és a létszükségletek nagyon korlátozott voltának. Semmit sem érthetünk az Aranykornak e koncepciójából, ha szem elől tévesztjük, hogy a szellem uralmán és a hús gyengítésén alapuló teokratikus koncepcióról van szó.” A modern individuum nézőpontjából, aki teljesen a modern világot irányító elvek szerint él és szilárdan hisz is bennük, a Tradíció Aranykora semmiféleképpen nem felel meg egy Paradicsomnak. Ellenkezőleg, az ő általa idealizált aranykor a Tradíció Sötétkorának a megfelelője.

Számunkra, akik közel vagyunk a Sötétkor végkifejletéhez, a ciklusok doktrínájá-nak köszönhetően létezik egy eszköz – mindazon határok között, amelyeknek folyto-nosan tudatában kell lennünk – Hyperborea imaginárius megközelítéséhez. A ciklikus kibontakozás és a ciklusok egymáshoz való kapcsolódása szerint az utolsó kor valójában ez elsőnek az inverze: a modern világ Hyperborea világának az ellenképe. Michel Vâlsan ezt így foglalja össze: „Ahhoz, hogy a primordiális állapot helyreállítása megvalósítható legyen, a jelenkori emberi orientációt meg kell fordítani”.[3] Szellemében a két ellentétes pólus nagyon felszínesen hasonlít egymásra. Ám az egyik pozitív: az Aranykor; a másik meg negatív: a Sötétkor. Nagyon jól fejezi ki ezt egy finn legenda, amelyben a teremtés előtt Isten megpillantja saját képét a tengerben és megparancsolja neki: „Kelj fel!”. A kép az ördög. Vegyünk néhány példát ennek illusztrálására.

A hinduk szerint az Aranykorban csak egy kaszt volt, a hamsa. Ma egyre inkább azt állapíthatjuk meg, hogy a modern világ afelé halad, hogy a társadalmat egyetlen osztályra redukálja – ragaszkodunk akaszt és az osztály szavak közti különbséghez. Valójában teljes a szembenállás. A hamsa egy olyan szellemi egységre vonatkozik, amely minden lehetőséget magában foglal; ezek fentről, a szellem által realizálódnak. Az egyetlen osztály viszont az uniformizációra épít, ami épp ezért lentről, az anyag és a forma által, minden lehetőségtől megfosztottan valósul meg. A különbség radikálisnak tűnik.

Politikai-szimbolikus síkon egy másik jelzésértékű példa a sarló és a kalapács, amiket a kommunizmus szimbólumként a magáévá tett. A latin tradícióban a sarló Saturnusnak, az Aranykor istenének az attribútuma, aki a görögök számára Kronos volt. Ha ez a szerszám pozitív aspektusában, mint például a druidák által a fagyöngy – ami a halhatatlanság egyik szimbóluma – leszedéséhez használt aranysarló, a holdkorongot, a női termékenységet, az aratást jelképezi, negatív aspektusában azonban az idő fegyvere ez, ami egyenlősít és halált okoz. A szaturnáliák idején, a téli napforduló alatt, mindenki egyenlőnek tekintetett, az egyetlen, eredeti kaszt felidéztetett. Ezzel szemben a kommunizmus, a negyedik, az utolsó kaszt kiáradása első lépésben az összes ember egyenlőségét a maga szintjére helyezi, s politikai és ideológiai tevékenysége révén a lefelé való nivellációt, a kollektivizmust ösztönzi, ami számára az egyedüli megvalósítható. A kalapács, a fejsze megfelelője, a sugarat, az Ég és a Föld közötti ter-mészetfeletti köteléket, az isteni megtermékenyítést jelképezi. A felső erők eszközéből azonban az alsó hatalmak mind jobban és jobban megsemmisítő tárgya lett. Már nem Thor kalapácsáról van szó, hanem Héphaistoséról.

Ezzel párhuzamosan a „jólétinek” nevezett fogyasztói társadalom, ami lényegében és céljában azonos a kommunizmussal, paradicsomi szeretne lenni és minden eszköz-zel arra törekszik, hogy ezt be is bizonyítsa. Valójában e társadalom egyedei az anyag és saját egójuk rabszolgái, s így képtelenek a valódi szabadságra, ami a feltétlenség elérésére irányuló szellemi realizációval érhető el. A művészet, a technika, a profán tudományok[4] fantasztikus ragyogásba, káprázatos csillogásba bújtatják, de csupán bilincsek, szolgaság, délibábok, feledés és rothadás, aljasságok és hazugságok. A măyă – ez a szó jelöli a hindu tradícióban mind a formát mint tér- és időbeli lehetőséget, mind az anyagot, ám mindenekelőtt az illúziót – ellenállás nélkül uralja ezt a világot.

Az Aranykor Sötétkortól való megkülönböztetése két igével is lehetséges: lenni és élni. A hinduk az első kort Satya-yugának, „az Igazság korának”, „a Lét korának” ne-vezik. A jelenkori világ ellenben az élet, a birtoklás, az illúzió kora. Nyilvánvaló és művi mindenütt-jelenvalóságának köszönhetően, mint üres álarc, a Létről végletesen hamis benyomást nyújt. A Létnek nincs szüksége a Birtoklás „nagyságára”, ami csak paródiája. Ennélfogva az archeológiai kutatások, amelyeknek célja „hyperboreai civili-zációs” relikviák felszínre hozatala, kizárt, hogy ez esetben eredményesek lesznek; mint oly sokszor, az eredmény csupán csalódás lesz, mivel a hyperboreusok ereje önmagukban rejlett, nem külsőségeikben.

Az Aranykor és Hyperborea más koroktól és más helyektől néhány tipikus vonás-ban különbözik.

A klíma. Csak egy évszak van, a tavasz. Ovidius mondja: „Elnemenyésző volt a tavasz, langy lengedezéssel mag nélkül született szirmot simogattak a szellők.”[5] A latin szerző arra is utal, hogy az emberek az Ezüstkortól kezdve viszont „házakba költöztek”. Mivel Jupiter „négy részre tagolta az évet”, ami ettől kezdve olyan, amilyennek mi ismerjük.

Ez az állandó tavasz csak akkor lehetséges, ha a Föld csillagászatilag más kapcsolatban áll a Nappal. Ez azt jelenti, hogy egy katasztrofális esemény elferdítette a tengelyét; a legvalószínűbb hipotézis szerint egy hatalmas meteorittal ütközött össze. Mint Veli-kovszkij magyarázza: „Tavasz azért követi a telet, nyár azért előzi meg az őszt, mert a Föld forgástengelye ráhajlik az ekliptika síkjára. Ha ez a tengely ismét merőleges lenne erre a síkra, nem lennének évszakok a Földön. Ha irányt változtatna, megváltozna az évszakok rendje és intenzitása.”[6]

A Föld ebben a korban mindent megadott, ami az embernek szükséges a táplálkozáshoz: a földet „ember nem kötelezte, kapák s eke föl se sebezte, és mégis megadott a mező mindent maga önként; mind [az emberek] megelégedvén a magától-lett eledellel, vackort gyűjtöttek, hegyi epret szedtek az erdőn és somot szedret, mely tüskés cserje közt csüng, s mit hullat Jupiter terebélyes tölgye, a makkot …a fölszántatlan föld meghozta gyümölcsét, szűzi mező sárgult sok súlyos búzakalásszal; egy folyamár tejjel, nektárral folyt le a másik, zöld viruló tölgyből csepegett az aranyszínű színméz.”[7] Vergilius hasonló ismérveket sorol fel: „Juppiter óta törik csak föl televényük a gazdák, senki mezőt addig mezsgyével nem tagosított, és jellel se jelölt: a közé volt mind a keresmény, mégis a föld fölösebben adott önként, ima nélkül”.[8] „Vetetlen földek fordulnak termőre…”[9] – állít hasonlót a skandináv hagyomány a közeli Aranykorról.

A bőségnek és a klímának köszönhetően a görög legendák szerint a hyperboreusoknak nem voltak házaik, a mezőkön és az erdőkben éltek. Mint Ovidius alábbi sorából világosan kiderül, növényevők voltak: „az elmúlt kor, melynek mi az arany nevet adtuk, fák termésével volt boldog, földi füvekkel, s nem mocskolt soha kifolyó vérrel emberi ajkat.”[10] E táplálkozási szokással való szakítás az Aranykor végével esik egybe.

Ahogy azt Platón írja, mivel nem fogyasztottak húst, tisztaságuknak köszönhetően a hyperboreusok az állatok nyelvén is beszéltek: „Ha tehát Kronos neveltjei, akiknek sok szabadideje volt és alkalma arra, hogy ne csak emberekkel, hanem állatokkal is elbeszélgessenek, mindezt filozófálásra használták fel, az állatokkal és egymással való érintkezésük során mindegyik fajta teremtménytől tudakozódva, hogy vajon valami különleges képesség révén nem vett-e észre valamelyikük valamit, ami a többiek tapasztalataitól különböző, a bölcsesség tárházának gyarapítására, akkor könnyen eldönthető, hogy az akkori emberek a mostaniak fölött ezerszerte kitűntek a boldogságot illetőleg.”[11] Ovidius megerősíti, hogy azokban az időkben „biztonságban szállt … a madár a magasban, és nem félénken futkosott a mezőkön a kisnyúl; görbe horogra hiszékenység halakat nem akasztott. Mind e világ cselnélküli volt, sose félt a csalástól; mindent béke ölelt”.[12] Egy korszak jelei, amikor is az állatokkal való dialógus és megértés állandó volt, ami a Bibliában szintén szerepel. Egy kínai legenda azt állítja, hogy „a szellemek az állatokkal elvegyülten éltek. A szentek keresik és el is tudják nyerni az állatok bizalmát.”[13]

A régi szövegek gyakran kiemelik és súlyt helyeznek az első kor embereinek kivételesen hosszú életére. A Biblia szerint Ádám kilencszázharminc évig élt. A kínai tradíció elbeszéli: „Fáradtan a világtól, ezer év élet után a legkiválóbb emberek a szellemek rangjára emelkednek és egy fehér felhőn lovagolva a magasság uralkodójának székhelyére érkeznek.”[14] Hésiodos ezekkel a szavakkal írja le a hajdani hosszú életet: „könnyű szívvel, akárcsak az istenek, élt a halandó… még az öregség sem járt közöttük, mindvégig duzzadt az erőtől karjuk s lábuk… mint lágy álom jött a halál rájuk”.[15] A héber hagyomány szerint, az involúció előrehaladásának arányában a pátriárkák egyre rövidebb ideig élnek, különösen Noé után. Míg Noé több mint nyolcszáz évig élt, Sém csak hatszázig, Héber négyszázhetvenötig, Péleg kettőszázharminckilencig, Ábrám százhetvenötig.

A hyperboreusok valójában nem haltak meg, hanem pártfogó szellemekké transz-formálódtak, mint azt Hésiodos alábbi mondata mutatja: „Majd aztán a föld befogadta magába e fajtát, jótét lelkek lettek, a nagy Zeus rendeletére, földönjáró hű őrzői az emberi nemnek, minden gaztettet meglátnak, s őrzik a törvényt, míg magukat köd leplezi, úgy járják be a földet, gazdagság-gyarapítók, mert övék ez a rang is.”[16] Az ősök tisztelete ebből a hiedelemből származik, mint azt Evola kifejti: „…a halottat nem önmagában tekintették, hanem egy erőként, amely tovább fennmarad, továbbra is jelen van egy nemzetség mély rétegeiben és egy élő család, egy gens vagy egy rassz sorsában és ténylegesen tevékenykedik ezen a földön… A halott az élőkkel kapcsolat-ban marad, nem pusztán mint a rassz energiája, a vér »élete«, hanem mint ami egy fénylő princípiummá alakul át, ami a patríciusi ház közepén rituálisan meggyújtott lángban testesül meg.”[17] Az Aranykor további jellegzetessége a béke és a harmónia. A pólus, az egyensúly pontja az utak kereszteződésében, a különböző erők és ellentétek centrumában van, és meghaladja azokat. A görögök szerint az Igazság, Astraia az első korszakban az emberek között lakott. Ez azt jelzi, hogy tisztasága által az Igazság, és ennél fogva biztosítéka, az egyensúly és a harmónia uralkodott. Ovidius e tekintetben azt állítja: „nem fenyítéstől s törvénytől, hanem önként folyt becsületben, erényben. Félelem és megtorlás nem volt”.[18] A hindu hagyomány így mutatja be e korszak embereit: „Az emberek általánosan elégedettek voltak, tele együttérzéssel, jóindulattal, (az érzékek) lecsillapítottak és uraltak: türelmesek, önmagukban találják meg boldogságukat, pártatlanul látnak mindent… Az akkori nyugodt emberek nem ismerték a haragot, szívélyesek, kiegyensúlyozottak, aszkézisük által istentisztelők, (lelkileg) nyugodtak és (szenvedélyeik) kontrolláltak voltak.”[19] Kallimachos ezt írja Délosról, ami Apollón születése miatt egy ciklus elejét jelölte: „S terád nem lép Enyó, sem Hádés és Arés paripái”.[20] Pindaros szintén hangsúlyozza a hyperboreusok kapcsán: „Nincsen azonban a múzsa száműzve náluk azért: szüzek karai táncot lejtenek keringve a lant s fuvolának a hangjaira. Arany babárral övezve fürtjeiket vidoran élvezik a lakomák vigalmait. E szent fajhoz sohasem közelít sem a bús öregség, sem a kór; nem is tudják mi a baj s a küzdelem. Nem hódolnak a bosszút álló Nemesisnek.”[21] A kínai hagyomány tanítja: „A Lie-kou-hegy a Ho-tseou szigeten található. Transzcendens emberek lakják, akik nem fogyasztanak táplálékot, hanem a levegőt szívják be és a harmatot isszák. Szellemük tiszta, mint a forrásvíz, arcuk üde, mint egy szűz leányé. Egyesek különleges képességekkel megáldottak, mások csupán nagyon bölcsek, vágyak nélkül, félelem nélkül nyugodtan élnek, egyszerűen, szerényen, minden szükségessel rendelkezve anélkül, hogy törniük kellene magukat érte. Bennük a yin és a yang állandó harmóniában vannak, a Nap és a Hold megszakítatlanul világítanak, a négy évszak szabályos, a szél és az eső kívánságuk szerint jön, az állatok szaporodása és a termények érése szabályosan történik. Nincsenek halálos miazmák, nincsenek gonosz vadállatok, betegséget vagy öregséget okozó szellemek, nincsenek különös jelenések vagy hangok (amelyek mindig hiányt jeleznek a kozmikus egyensúlyban)”.[22]

Harmónia az életben és a szellemben. Hérodotos is tárgyalja a hyperboreusokat, az „áttetsző emberek”-et. Mások úgy tartják, hogy testetlen lényekről van szó.[23] Egy hindu szöveg[24] fehér emberekről beszél, „akik a világ északi részén laknak és nem rendelkeznek érzéki funkciókkal.” Ennélfogva csak közönyt éreznek a külső, a jelenségvilág iránt. Ez az, amit Csuang-ce mond el e dialógusban: „Kou-che távoli szigetén transzcendens emberek élnek, fehérek mint a hó, üdék mint a gyermekek, semmiféle táplálékot nem fogyasztanak, a szelet lélegzik be és a harmatot isszák. A térben sétálnak, a felhők kocsik számukra, a sárkányok pedig lovak. Transzcendenciájuk hatása megóvja az embereket a betegségektől és megérleli a termést. Ezek nyilvánvaló őrültségek, ezért semmit sem hiszek belőlük…” Lien-chou erre így válaszol: „A vak nem lát, mert nincsenek szemei. A süket nem hall, mert nincs füle. Nem értetted, Tsieu, mert nincs szellemed. Az ember feletti emberek, akikről beszéltem, léteznek. Sőt, csodálatosabb erényekkel rendelkeznek, mint amiket felsoroltál. Ami pedig a betegségeket és a terményeket illeti, oly kevéssé foglalkoznak velük, hogy ha a birodalom romba dőlne és az egész világ a segítségükért könyörögne, minden iránti közömbösségüknek köszönhetően nem szomorkodnának. Egy világméretű özönvíz nem mosná el őket. Egy világméretű tűzvész nem emésztené el őket. Azért, mert mindenek fölött állnak.”[25]

A béke és az igazság alkotják valamennyi tradicionális társadalomban az alapelveket. Ebből következnek az azoknak adott tulajdonságok, akik a ciklikus regresszió folya-mán a pólust testesítették meg, és akik például a Hyperboreából eredő éltető fuvallatot egy ideig felkeltették a halandók között. „A Cakravarti, az egyetemes uralkodó azonkí-vül, hogy a béke ura, a »törvény« (vagy rend: rta) és az »igazság« ura is, ő a dharmarăja.” „A »béke« és az »igazság« a királyiság két alapvető attribútuma, amelyek egészen a Hohenstaufenekig megőrződtek a nyugati civilizációban”, írja Evola.[26] Valamennyi hyperboreus a cakravarti képe és hasonlatossága, „…a lények születésüktől fogva tel-jesítették feladatukat…”, mondja az Aranykorról egy szanszkrit szöveg[27]. Feladaton a kozmikus és isteni törvénnyel való összhangot kell érteni – görögül a rendet a kozmos szó fejezi ki –, nem pedig a morális, külső jelentést, amit manapság adnak e szónak.

A hyperboreusok a póluson vagy annak közelében éltek, s ami még fontosabb, önmagukban birtokolták a Centrumot. A metafizikai pólus megfelelt a fizikai pólus-nak. Az egyiknek a hiánya helyrehozhatatlan és végzetes veszteség a másik számára. Természetesen a ciklikus alászállás folyamán a poláris tradíció örökösei centrumokat alkottak az első, Thule, az ősi Fehér Sziget mintájára, amelyek többé-kevésbé hűek voltak az eredetihez, bár azonos egyik sem volt a mintával. A geográfiai pólus eltolódásának arányában egyre nehezebb lett eljutni a spirituális pólushoz, s a hozzá kapcsolódó tudáshoz és bölcsességhez.

[1] Himnuszok Déloszhoz [Devecseri Gábor fordítása. Kallimakhosz himnuszai, Európa, Bp. 1977, 29. o. nyomán – A szerk.].
[2] L’image du monde dans l’Atiquité, Arma-Artis, 1981.
[3] Études Traditionnelles, 1971, Gerard Leconte idézi a L’Arbre Inversé bevezetésében.
[4] Vö. „Szakrális és profán tudomány”, in: Guénon, A modern világ válsága. Továbbá A mennyiség uralma és az idők jelei VIII., X., XIV., XVI., XVIII. fejezetek.
[5] Metamorphoses [Devecseri Gábor fordításában. Publius Ovidius Naso, Átváltozások, Európa, Bp., 1982, 10. o. nyomán. – A szerk.]
[6] Mondes en collison, Stock, Paris, 1976.
[7] Átváltozások. A régiek úgy gondolták, hogy a méz az égi harmatból származik, hogy a méhek a fák leveleiről szedik. [l. uo. – A szerk.]
[8] Georgica, I. [Lakatos István fordítása. Vergilius összes művei, Európa, Bp. 1984, 42-43. oldal nyomán – A szerk.]
[9] Voluspá, 62. [Tandori Dezső fordítása. Edda, Európa, Bp. 1985 , 22. o. nyomán. – A szerk.]
[10] Id. mű. [l. uo., 426. o. – A szerk.] Az államférfiben Platón azt állítja, hogy „volt… bőven gyümölcs a fákról és sok bokorról, s mindezt nem a föld művelése eredményezte, hanem magától adta a föld. Mez-telenül és takaró nélkül többnyire szabad ég alatt tanyáztak. Mert az időjárási viszonyok az ő korukban szelíden mérsékeltek voltak, és puha fekhelyük volt, hiszen bőven nőtt ki a földből fű” [Kövendi Dénes ford.].
[11] Uo.
[12] Id. mű.
[13] Marcel Granet, La pensée chinoise, Albin Michel, 1980.
[14] Uo.
[15] Erga kai homerai [Hésiodos, Munkák és napok, Akadémiai Bp. 1955, 45. o. nyomán – A szerk.].
[16] Uo.
[17] „La vision romaine du sacré”, in: Evola, Symboles et mythes de la Tradition occidentale, Arché.
[18] Id. mű. [l. uo., 10. o. – A szerk.]
[19] Bhăgavata PurăŹa, XI. könyv, III. fejezet.
[20] Id. mű. [Ld. uo. – a szerk.] Enyó a háború istennője. Arés leányának tekintik. Római megfelelője Bellona. A háború véres, erőszakos aspektusát testesíti meg. Hádés a halált képviseli, Arés a konfliktusokat.
[21] Pythica X. [Csengery János fordítása. Pindaros, (X.) Pythói óda, 3. 3., In: Pindaros, MTA, Bp., 1929, 211. o.– A szerk.] Nemesis a világok rendje, egyensúlya, harmóniája elleni agresszió kiváltotta „isteni bosszút” személyesíti meg.
[22] Lieu-Tseu, Les pčrčs du systčme taoďste.
[23] H. P. Blavatsky alaposan kitér erre a témára a Titkos tanításokban.
[24] A Mahăbhărata Nărăyanya Parvanja, II. és III. fejezet.
[25] A fordító egy jegyzetben hozzáteszi, az utolsó előtti két mondatra utalva: „Allegorikus mondatok, amelyeket később szó szerint vettek.” Lásd: Les pčrčs du systčme taoďste.
[26] „A poláris szimbólum. A béke és az igazság ura”, in: Evola, Lázadás a modern világ ellen.
[27] Bhăgavata Purăna, XI. könyv, XVIII. fejezet.

Christophe Levalois

Fordította: Bódvai András
Köszönettel átvettük a Tradíció évkönyv 1999-es számából.

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