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Introduction to the Study of the Hindu Doctrines (New)
by Guenon, Rene
Publisher: Sophia Perennis
Book ID: 9780900588730, 090058873X
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Rene Guenon’s first book, Introduction to the Study of Hindu Doctrines, came (in the words of the eminent scholar S.H. Nasr) 'like a sudden burst of lightning, an abrupt intrusion into the modern world of a body of knowledge and a perspective utterly alien to the prevalent climate and world view.' In this book Guenon establishes the criteria which formed the basis of his later works and set the tone for the Traditionalist School that came after him: the meaning of Tradition, the relationship between 'religion', 'theology', 'metaphysics', etc. -- all leading up to an exhaustive definition and comprehensive overview of Hinduism, which Guenon saw as the most ancient and most complete spiritual tradition on earth, embracing the most profound and explicit metaphysics. The West is now overrun with many brands of compromised Hinduism, whose 'gurus' are considered charlatans by traditional Hindu authorities. For anyone drawn to the Hindu tradition, searching for a way to separate the wheat from the chaff and dedicated to gaining an understanding of the universe that is Hinduism in its own terms and not those imposed by modernist Western assumptions, this book is indispensable.
In Part I, Guenon clears away certain ingrained prejudices inherited from the 'Renaissance', with its adulation of the Greco-Roman culture and its compensating depreciation -- both deliberate and instinctive -- of other civilizations. In Part II he establishes the fundamental distinctions between various modes of thought and brings out the real nature of metaphysical or universal knowledge -- an understanding of which is the first condition for the personal realization of that 'Knowledge' which partakes of the Absolute. Part III presents a more detailed examination of the Hindu doctrine and its applications at different levels, leading up to the Vedanta, which constitutes its metaphysical essence. Lastly, Part IV resumes the task of clearing away current misconceptions, but is this time concerned not with the West itself, but with distortions of the Hindu doctrines that have arisen as a result of attempts to read into them, or to graft onto them, modern Western conceptions. The concluding chapter lays down the essential conditions for any genuine understanding between East and West, which can only come through the work of those who have attained, at least in some degree, to the realization of 'wisdom uncreate' -- that intellective, suprarational knowledge called in the East jnana, and in the West gnosis.
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