F RITHJOF   S CHUON   A rchive

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Frithjof Schuon

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A Resource On Frithjof Schuon's Life & Teachings

Extract from a letter from Frithjof Schuon dated 15 March 1961.

The errors of the Mahesh Yogi movement are patently obvious. In reality the goal of meditation is not to have access to “limitless energy, heightened efficiency of thought and action, and release from tensions and anxiety [leading] to peace of mind and happiness”! None of these advantages has any spiritual value, for it is not happiness that matters: it is the motive and nature of happiness. The Sadhu says nothing of this, the sole important question, and this is what condemns him.

But there are also extrinsic criteria: the complete lack of intelligence and barakah, the propagandistic triviality, the modernist and pseudo-yogic style, the quasi-religious pretension. For instance, the Sadhu preaches in the West; how can he believe that Christ did not bring men everything they need? After all he cannot replace Christianity and the other religions, and yet this is what he pretends to do in declaring that he brings “the summum bonum of all that Christ and Krishna, Buddha and Muhammad taught”.

Heresies always arise from a terrible lack of any sense of proportion. Add to this the passional and sentimental element and then propaganda, and we have the irreversible infernal circle. I suppose the Sadhu in question is not a very intelligent man but is endowed with some psychic power; he may also be ambitious. None of this is necessarily malicious a priori, but it becomes so, and in this sense the Sadhu himself is a victim. False masters are dangerous because they are a mixture of good and evil, and they seduce with the good. I am inclined to believe the Sadhu is largely unconscious of the role the modern situation is making him play.

But this question of knowing what the Sadhu is has no importance, and it is perfectly fruitless to discuss it. This is an appalling case of deviation from a real barakah, which stems from an incapacity 1. to discern the nature of the modern world and 2. to resist the temptations resulting from this nature. A typical error is to believe that the rapid expansion of a modern sect—thanks to mechanical means—is comparable to the miraculous expansion of the religions. Everything is “confusion”, “belittling”, and “falsification”.

It must be said that India is a very dangerous terrain for most Westerners; they become imbued there with irremediable prejudices and pretensions. It goes without saying that I prefer the most narrow-minded of Catholics—if he is pious—to these pseudo-Hinduists, arrogant and permanently damaged as they are. They scorn the religious point of view, which they do not understand in the least and which alone could save them. One sometimes hates what one needs the most.

And what can one say about the infinite naiveté of believing that a method of meditation suffices 1. to change man and 2. to change humanity, hence politics as well? What happens in all this to the Kali Yuga, and what about the japa advocated by the Scriptures? If this “Regeneration Movement” came from Heaven, its first concern would be to defend the religions, to show their validity and unanimity, as Ramakrishna did; it would be to show their absolute necessity, to indict the modern outlook, to explain that this outlook is the culmination of the Kali Yuga, and perhaps to teach japa, with all the mandatory precautions.

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