F RITHJOF   S CHUON   A rchive

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Selected Books by
Frithjof Schuon

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A Resource On Frithjof Schuon's Life & Teachings

Extract from “Not To Be Lost from Sight”

The philosophia perennis is founded essentially and intrinsically on the nature of things as perceived by intellectual intuition; only formally and extrinsically is it founded upon a particular revealed Text, and it could never be dependent on it.

It is altogether erroneous to believe that religion in the ordinary sense of the term—including an esoterizing exoterism—is the indispensable condition and sole guarantee of intellectual intuition and of the practical consequences derived from it. The fact that all spirituality extrinsically depends on a tradition in no way signifies that the human Intellect is inoperative outside the framework of a traditional symbolism or sacramental means.

As Meister Eckhart said, “There is something in the soul that is uncreated and uncreatable; if the entire soul were such, it would be uncreated and uncreatable; and this is the Intellect.” Similarly, the Islamic formula: “The Sufi is not created.”

According to the Brahma Sūtra, “Man can acquire true divine Knowledge even without observing the prescribed rites; and indeed in the Veda there are many examples of people who neglected to perform such rites or were prevented from doing so and who nonetheless acquired true Knowledge because their attention was perpetually concentrated and focused on the supreme Brahma.”

In principle man—“made in the image of God”—contains everything within himself; in fact, however, he needs elements of actualization coming from the outside, hence from tradition; this does not mean that a man needs every possible support, but he does need the supports his particular nature requires. Necessity is not the only issue; there is also opportuneness; the useful is not always the indispensable.

According to Guénon, “True esoterism is something quite different from the outward religion, and if it has some connections with it, this is only to the extent it finds in the religious forms a mode of symbolic expression; moreover it matters little whether these forms are those of this religion or that since what is in question is the essential unity of doctrine lying hidden beneath their apparent diversity. This is why the initiates of old, following the established customs of the various countries in which they found themselves, participated in all the outward forms of worship without distinction. . . . Pure metaphysics is neither pagan nor Christian but universal; the mysteries of antiquity were not paganism, but they were superimposed upon it.”

It sometimes happens that the pure pneumatic will act in a manner foreign to a given religious perspective and to particular prescriptions, but he never acts in a manner contrary to the nature of things, for he bears the essential, universal, and primordial Law in the depths of his own heart. For this very reason deviation or corruption is impossible in his case, however things may appear from a particular, limited perspective.

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