Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:10 am

Frederick Marshman Bailey
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 9/2/19




Sir. – Recent devastating events in Tibet caused over 15,000 Tibetans to cross the perilous Himalayas into India. It may be a long time before these unfortunate people can safely return to their overrun country. Our own consciences should allow us neither to neglect nor forget them.

The Indian Government has manfully coped with this addition to its own problems at home. In this country we are bound in honour to help relieve needs of the Tibetan refugees, because from 1905 to 1947 there was a special relationship between Tibet and the United Kingdom – a relationship handed on to the new India.

On balance we think it wisest to concentrate chiefly on collecting money which can be used for the benefit of the refugees, not least in the purchase of necessary antibiotics and other medicaments. The Tibet Society has opened a Tibet Relief Fund for which we now appeal in the hope of a generous response. Donations should be sent to the address below or direct to the National Bank Ltd. (Belgravia Branch), 21 Grosvenor Gardens, S.W.I.

Yours faithfully,

... F.M. Bailey ... The Tibet Relief Fund, 58 Eccleston Square, S.W. I., Letter to the Times, July 31, 1959, p.7.

-- Tibet Society, by

Frederick Marshman Bailey

Frederick Marshman Bailey CIE FRGS (3 February 1882, Lahore, India – 17 April 1967, Stiffkey, Norfolk) was a British intelligence officer and one of the last protagonists of The Great Game - the fight for supremacy between the Russians and the British Empire along the Himalayas. His clandestine work gave him many opportunities to pursue his hobbies of photography, butterfly collecting, and trophy hunting in the high Tibetan region. Over 2000 of his bird specimens were presented to The Natural History Museum,[1] although his personal collection is now held in the American Museum of Natural History, New York.[2] His papers and extensive photograph collections are held in the British Library, London.[3]

Miru Gyalwa, Mrs Bailey, Major Vance, Colonel Bailey, 1927 in Tibet

Early life

Born in Lahore on 3 February 1882, F. H. M. Bailey was the son of an officer in the Royal Engineers of the British Army who was also named Frederick, resulting in the younger Bailey usually being called "Eric". He was educated at Edinburgh Academy, Wellington College (1895-1899) and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, from where he was commissioned onto the Unattached List of the Indian Army on 28 July 1900. He was admitted to the Indian Army on 26 October 1901 and was attached to the 17th Bengal Lancers. He was promoted to lieutenant on 28 October 1902 and transferred to the 32nd Sikh Pioneers on 1 March 1903.[2] He obtained a transfer to the Foreign & Political Department on 24 January 1906. During a mission in Sikhim he began to study Tibetan, and became so proficient that he accompanied Francis Younghusband in his 1904 invasion of Tibet. He then served as the British Trade Agent in Gyantse (Tibet) at intervals between December 1905 and December 1909.

He later travelled in unknown parts of China and Tibet, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in October 1906 (seconded by his father Colonel F Bailey who had joined the society in 1880[2]) eventually earning the Gold Explorer's Medal from the Royal Geographical Society for his discoveries. He also contributed notes on big-game to the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. He was promoted Captain 28 July 1908 and served during the operations in the Abor country 1911-12.

Bailey transferred himself from the Indian Army to the Political Department to get appointments on the Tibetan frontier. In 1911 he crossed China and southern Tibet to Assam in a failed attempt to reach the 150 foot falls on the Yarlung Tsangpo previously reported by the Indian pundit Kinthup,[4] and in 1913 he made an unauthorized exploration to the Tsangpo Gorges with Captain Henry Morshead of the Survey of India. Morshead was later a surveyor for the initial 1921 British Mount Everest reconnaissance expedition, along with George Mallory. Their adventures led them to the Rong Chu valley a gorge on the upper Tsangpo. It was in this valley that Bailey spotted a tall blue poppy at the margin of the forest and pressed it in his notebook - now called Meconopsis baileyi. They reached Kintup's falls at the monastery of Pemakochung and were greatly disappointed to find the falls to be about thirty feet.

First World War

On 4 September 1914 Bailey was appointed as a Captain with the 6th Reserve Regiment of Cavalry at Dublin. He served on the western front during March to April 1915 with the 34th Sikh Pioneers, where he was shot in the arm. At the time he was serving in the Indian Expeditionary Forces as one of the few Urdu-speaking officers on the front. When his wound continued to worsen, he returned to England, but he later joined the fight again at Gallipoli in September 1915 serving with the 5th Gurkhas, where he was wounded twice more.

He was appointed a Companion of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire on 1 January 1915[5] and was transferred to the Supernumerary List on 24 December 1915.

He was sent back to India, where he served as Political Officer on the North West Frontier during the Mohmand Operations January 1916 to March 1917.

In December 1917 he was sent to South Persia where he served until February 1918 as a Political officer, then Chinese & Russian Turkistan 1918-1920

He was appointed a temporary Lieutenant-Colonel, 1 April 1918 until 30 May 1920.

Mission to Tashkent

One of Bailey's more well-known adventures occurred in 1918, when he traveled to Tashkent in Central Asia on a mission to discover the intentions of the new Bolshevik government, specifically in relation to India. During this mission he also shadowed Raja Mahendra Pratap, an Indian nationalist who had established the Provisional Government of India in Kabul in 1915. Pratap was at the time liaising with Germany and Bolshevik authorities for a joint Soviet-German assault into India through Afghanistan.[6] It was at this time that the first plans for the Soviet Kalmyk Project was first considered. Bailey eventually had to flee for his life from the city, and only escaped after taking on the guise of an Austrian POW[7] and joining the Cheka, with an assignment to find a rogue British agent - that is, himself. Upon his return to England, he was a national hero. Bailey later recorded his exploits in his book Mission to Tashkent. He was also instrumental in organising support for the Basmachi Revolt.

Later life

In the Mishmi Hills

In 1921 Bailey married Hon. Irma, daughter of Baron Cozens-Hardy.

He was the Political Officer for Sikkim and Tibet, stationed in Gangtok (Sikkim) from June 1921 - October 1928, during which time he made annual visits to Tibet to inspect the Gyantse Trade Agency and visited Lhasa from 16 July to 16 August 1924 (accompanied by the Medical Officer, Major J. Hislop IMS)

He helped Frank Kingdon-Ward and Lord Cawdor in 1924 when he was a Political Officer in Gangtok, Sikkim. Bailey arranged passports and encouraged them to search the fifty-mile unexplored gap of the river to solve the riddles of the Tsangpo Gorges. Kingdon-Ward wrote a book by the same name documenting that expedition.

He was among the earliest to import the Lhasa Apso breed of dog into Britain.[8] He was in contact with others interested in Central Asia including Richard Meinertzhagen.

He was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel 28 July 1926.

He was the Resident at Baroda, Central India from 1930–32, and was appointed the Resident in Kashmir later in 1932 until 1933.

In February 1935 he was appointed His Majesty's Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary at Kathmandu.[9] He held this appointment until retiring in 1938.

He retired from the Indian Army on 3 February 1937 and in the Second World War served as a King's Messenger to Central and South America between 1942 and 1943.


Bailey is commemorated in the scientific name of a species of Tibetan snake, Thermophis baileyi.[10]

See also

• London Gazette
• Indian Army List (various dates)
• Wellington College Register
• The Times


1. Warr, F. E. 1996. Manuscripts and Drawings in the ornithology and Rothschild libraries of The Natural History Museum at Tring. BOC. (BMNH 1938 7-15)
2. Anon. (1967) Obituary: Lt.-Col. F. M. Bailey, C. I. E. 1882-1967. The Geographical Journal 133: 427-428.
3. Papers at Mss Eur F157, photographs at Photo 1083.
4. Bailey, F.M. 1911
5. "No. 29024". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 1915. p. 3.
6. Bailey & Hopkirk 2002, pp. 224–227
7. Bailey, F. M.; A Visit to Bokhara in 1919; The Geographical Journal > Vol. 57, No. 2 (Feb., 1921), pp. 75-87
8. Bailey, Eric (1937) Dogs from the Roof of the World : Many unusual Breeds Found in Tibet the Strange Land That Lies in the Clouds. American Kennel Gazette 25(3) "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 November 2006. Retrieved 12 December 2006.
9. "No. 34133". The London Gazette. 15 February 1935. p. 1091.
Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. ("Bailey, F. M.", p. 14).

Further reading

• Anon. Obituary. Ibis 1967:615-616
• Bailey, F. M. China-Tibet-Assam: A Journey, 1911 (London: Cape, 1945)
• Bailey, F.M; Hopkirk, Peter (2002), Mission to Tashkent, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-280387-5.(1946, republished 1992 and 2002).
• Bailey, F. M. No Passport To Tibet (London: Rupert Hart-Davis, 1957)
• Brysac, Shareen Blair and Karl E. Meyer. Tournament of Shadows: The Great Game and the Race for Empire in Central Asia. (Washington, D.C.: Counterpoint Press, 1999).
• Cocker, Mark. Loneliness and time: the story of British travel writing. (London: Secker & Warburg, 1992).
• Hopkirk, Peter. Setting the East Ablaze: Lenin's Dream of an Empire in Asia. (London: Kodansha International, 1984).
• McKay, Alex. Tibet and the British Raj: The Frontier Cadre 1904-1947' (Richmond, Curzon Press, 1997)
• Milton, Giles Russian Roulette: How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Global Plot, Sceptre, 2013. ISBN 978 1 444 73702 8
• Swinson, Arthur. Beyond the Frontiers. The Biography of Colonel F.M. Bailey Explorer and Special Agent(London: Hutchinson of London, 1971)

External links

• Memorial plaque at Wiveton church
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Mon Sep 02, 2019 9:08 am

Marco Pallis
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 9/2/19




Sir. – Recent devastating events in Tibet caused over 15,000 Tibetans to cross the perilous Himalayas into India. It may be a long time before these unfortunate people can safely return to their overrun country. Our own consciences should allow us neither to neglect nor forget them.

The Indian Government has manfully coped with this addition to its own problems at home. In this country we are bound in honour to help relieve needs of the Tibetan refugees, because from 1905 to 1947 there was a special relationship between Tibet and the United Kingdom – a relationship handed on to the new India.

On balance we think it wisest to concentrate chiefly on collecting money which can be used for the benefit of the refugees, not least in the purchase of necessary antibiotics and other medicaments. The Tibet Society has opened a Tibet Relief Fund for which we now appeal in the hope of a generous response. Donations should be sent to the address below or direct to the National Bank Ltd. (Belgravia Branch), 21 Grosvenor Gardens, S.W.I.

Yours faithfully,

... Marco Pallis ... The Tibet Relief Fund, 58 Eccleston Square, S.W. I., Letter to the Times, July 31, 1959, p.7.

-- Tibet Society, by

Marco Pallis
Born 19 June 1895
Liverpool, England
Died 5 June 1989 (aged 93)
Nationality British
Known for Writings on Tibet

Marco Alexander Pallis (1895 – 5 June 1989) was a Greek-British author and mountaineer with close affiliations to the Traditionalist School. He wrote works on the religion and culture of Tibet.

Early life: Education, Travels, and Wartime Experiences

Born in Liverpool on 19 June 1895, he was the youngest son of wealthy and cosmopolitan Greek parents.[1] Pallis was educated at Harrow School and the University of Liverpool, where he studied entomology.[2] In 1911 he traveled to British Guiana to study insects, and in 1912, he joined the Greek campaign against the Ottoman Empire during the first of the Balkan Wars. During the siege of Ioannina, the ancestral town of the Pallis family, he worked at a field hospital in Arta.

During the First World War, Pallis, initially aided the Salvation Army in the region along the Sava River in Serbia. In 1916 he enlisted in the British Army and received a commission as an army interpreter in Macedonia. Malaria and a severe inflammation of his right eye cut short his Macedonian service. After a lengthy convalescence in Malta, Pallis applied to and was accepted by the Grenadier Guards. He received basic training, then advanced training as a machine-gunner. In 1918, as a second lieutenant, he was sent to fight in the trenches of the Western Front. During the battle of Cambrai, in a charge that killed his captain and first lieutenant, Pallis was shot through the knee and was forced to retire from combat.

Mountaineering, the Himalayas, and Introduction to Buddhism

Following the war, Pallis climbed and explored against doctor's orders for his injured knee.[3] He went on expeditions to the Arctic, Switzerland, and the Dolomites, and Snowdonia, the Peak District, and the Scottish Highlands when closer to home. In 1933 Pallis led a small mountaineering party to the area of Kinnaur, one of the Himalayan borderlands. Near the village of Nako, at the border with Tibet, Pallis and his team succeeded in making the first ascent of Leo Pargial (22,280 feet).[4]

In 1936 Pallis returned to the Himalayas at the head of another expedition. His party traveled first to Sikkim, an “antechamber of Tibet”, where their failure to scale the summit of Simvu (22,360 feet) was, at least for Pallis, more than made up for by their encounter with the saintly abbot of Lachhen, in whom, according to Pallis, “intelligence, compassion, and initiatic authority were reflected in equal degree”.[5]

From Sikkim Pallis had hoped to cross the border into Tibet proper, but due to political circumstances it was impossible to obtain the necessary permissions. Forced to alter his plans, he decided instead to make his way to Ladakh. He was accompanied by his close friend Richard Nicholson[6] and one other member of their climbing party, Dr. Robert Roaf. Once in Ladakh, they discarded Western clothes in favor of the chuba,[7] and assumed as much as possible a Tibetan manner of living. “It was our way of saying to our hosts: ‘We wish to be as one of you. Please make no unusual arrangements on our behalf. We love your tradition, and hope it will not be rashly changed. We have found means of attuning ourselves to its ways.’”[8]

Pallis by now saw himself as a “pilgrim” of Tibetan Buddhism and in both Sikkim and Ladakh he received his religious education directly from qualified instructors within the living tradition. He dedicates his Peaks and Lamas to four teachers in particular, “the great contemplator, abbot of Lachhen, the venerable Dawa, bursar of Spituk, the venerable Konchhog Gyaltsan of P’hiyang, and the venerable Geshe Wangyal of Drepung, Lhasa who for my benefit and for the good of all creatures set in motion the Wheel of the Doctrine”.[9][10]

The Second World War[11] prevented further travels until 1947, when Pallis and Richard Nicholson were able to visit the Tibetan heartland before the coming Chinese invasion. They traveled widely throughout Tibet’s Tsang province, seeking to fulfill their shared desire to “absorb the spirit of the Tradition by direct experience”.[12] Over the course of their stay they were able to make contact with each of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism (Gelugpa, Nyingmapa, Kagyudpa, and Sakyapa), visiting such holy sites as the ancient Pel Sakya monastery, seat of the Sakyapa and “a treasure-house of all the arts at their very best”,[13] as well as the Tashilhunpo monastery, seat of the Panchen Lama and one of the four great monasteries of the Gelugpa.

After his departure from the Tibetan plateau, Pallis lived in Kalimpong, India, for nearly four years[14] before returning to England in 1951.[15] Kalimpong was then a center of literary and cultural activity, as well as a refuge for many of those who were being forced to leave Tibet. Pallis formed many lasting relationships during this time, including an acquaintance with the then queen of Bhutan and her family, whom he later visited in England, and with the Dalai Lama’s former tutor Heinrich Harrer, with whom Pallis later collaborated in exposing the fraudulent writer Cyril Hoskin, alias “Lobsang Rampa”.[16] While in Kalimpong, Pallis also met with the Dalai Lama’s Great Royal Mother, and he developed a close relationship with the abbot of the nearby Tharpa Choling monastery.

After the political upheavals in Tibet in the 1950s, Pallis became active in the affairs of the Tibetan [Tibet] Society, the first Western support group created for the Tibetan people. Pallis also was able to house members of the Tibetan diaspora in his London flat. Pallis also formed a relationship with the young Chögyam Trungpa, who had just arrived in England.[17] Trungpa asked Pallis to write the foreword to Trungpa’s first, autobiographical book, Born in Tibet. In his acknowledgment, Trungpa offers Pallis his “grateful thanks” for the “great help” that Pallis provided in bringing the book to completion. He goes on to say that “Mr. Pallis when consenting to write the foreword, devoted many weeks to the work of finally putting the book in order”.[18]

-- Chogyam Trungpa in Scottish kilt

Musical career

Pallis studied music under Arnold Dolmetsch, the distinguished reviver of early English music, composer, and performer,[19] and was considered “one of Dolmetsch's most devoted protégés”.[20] soon discovered a love of early music—in particular chamber music of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries—and for the viola da gamba. Even while climbing in the region of the Satlej-Ganges watershed, he and his musically-minded friends did not fail to bring their instruments.

Viola da gamba

Pallis taught viol at the Royal Academy of Music, and reconstituted The English Consort of Viols, an ensemble he had first formed in the 1930s. It was one of the first professional performing groups dedicated to the preservation of early English music.
They released three records[21] and made several concert tours in England and two tours to the United States.[22]

According to the New York Times review, their Town Hall concert of April 1962 “was a solid musical delight”, the players having possessed “a rhythmic fluidity that endowed the music with elegance and dignity”.[23] Pallis also published several compositions, primarily for the viol,[24] and wrote on the viol’s history and its place in early English music.[25]

The Royal Academy of Music, in recognition of a lifetime of contribution to the field of early music, awarded Pallis an Honorary Fellowship. At age eighty-nine his Nocturne de l’Ephemere was performed at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London; his niece writes that “he was able to go on stage to accept the applause which he did with his customary modesty.”[26] When he died he left unfinished an opera based on the life of Milarepa.[27]

Peter Davidson, cofounder of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light (HBL), a nineteenth-century British occult order, was born and raised in Forres, Scotland. In 1866 he married Christina Ross. He became a violin maker and in 1871 published a book, The Violin, that surveyed the historical and technical aspects of the instrument. At the same time, he was a student of the occult and corresponded with various occult notables throughout Britain, including Hargrave Jennings. He may have become an initiate of Pascal Beverly Randolph (1825-1875), whose teachings he would later integrate into those of the brotherhood. Much of this occult interest seems to have been stimulated by occasional visions of angelic beings. He may also have been contacted by an Oriental adept, similar to one of the mahatmas with whom Helena Petrovna Blavatsky of the Theosophical Society (TS) had claimed contact. He would later suggest that the HBL and the TS had been founded by the same order of beings. In 1878, he published The Philosophy of Man, which manifested his interest in both the occult and alternative medicine, and invited contact by readers who shared his ideas.

-- Davidson, Peter (1842-1929), by

Writings on Buddhism and Tradition

Pallis described "tradition" as being the leitmotif of his writing. He wrote from the perspective of what has come to be called the traditionalist or perennialist school of comparative religion founded by René Guénon, Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, and Frithjof Schuon, each of whom he knew personally.[28] As a traditionalist, Pallis assumed the "transcendent unity of religions" (the title of Schuon's landmark 1948 book) and it was in part this understanding that gave Pallis insight into the innermost nature of the spiritual tradition of Tibet, his chosen love. He was a frequent contributor to the journal Studies in Comparative Religion (along with Schuon, Guénon, and Coomaraswamy), writings on both the topics of Tibetan culture and religious practice as well as the Perennialist philosophy.

Pallis published three books over a span of almost forty years. His first, Peaks and Lamas (1939),[29] mentioned previously, tells the story “of how access was gained, across the varying episodes of Himalayan travel, to a traditional world, still complete and vigorous, that of Buddhism in its Tibetan branch”.[30] This was followed by The Way and the Mountain (1960)[31] and by A Buddhist Spectrum (1980),[32] both collections of essays that attempt to deal “with a number of Buddhist themes of prime importance in such a fashion as to make up . . . a coherent view of the world and of a human destiny realizable in this world as seen through Buddhist eyes”[33] Several of Pallis’ essays were also included in Jacob Needleman’s The Sword of Gnosis.[34] After his final journey to Tibet, while living in Kalimpong, Pallis wrote a short book in the Tibetan language addressing the dangers posed to Tibet by the encroachment of modern culture.[35] In addition to penning his own writings, Pallis translated Buddhist texts into Greek, and translated works of fellow traditionalist writers René Guénon and Frithjof Schuon from French into English. Some of Pallis’ own works have also been translated into Italian, French, Spanish, and Turkish.[36]

Since the publication of his first book, sixty-six years ago, generations of scholars and students have turned to Pallis for insight into Buddhism and Tibet. His work is cited by such writers as Heinrich Harrer, Heinrich Zimmer, Joseph Campbell, Thomas Merton, Robert Aitken, and Huston Smith. Despite such scholarly acclaim, it is also true, as Harry Oldmeadow states, that “Pallis had no interest in research for its own sake, nor in any purely theoretical understanding of doctrine: his work was always attuned to the demands of the spiritual life itself. [His essays] should be of interest not only to those on the Buddhist path but to all spiritual wayfarers.”[37] Huston Smith expresses a similar judgment when he declares: “Though Pallis respects scholarship, he doesn’t consider himself a Buddhist scholar. . . . What he does is focus on key Buddhist teachings and mine their essential and existential meaning. In the course of this project he regularly refers to other traditions, especially Christianity. . . . The result is completely satisfying. For insight, and the beauty insight requires if it is to be effective, I find no writer on Buddhism surpassing him.”[38] Wendell Berry, Gary Snyder, and Robert Aitken gave encouragement to the reprinting of Pallis’ classic Peaks and Lamas, which Wendell Berry has called, “The best book, in my limited reading, in connecting a form of Buddhism with its sustaining culture. . . . [It is] useful to anybody interested in what a traditional culture is or might be, and how such a culture might preserve itself.”[39]


Marco Pallis “retired to the Heavenly Fields” on 5 June 1989. Writing for the Independent, Peter Talbot Wilcox concludes the obituary of his friend with these words:

It remains to risk a brief comment: that he was and remains a great teacher . . . who made sense of life and of the life to come; in whose presence insuperable difficulties became less daunting; who took endless troubles to help those who brought their problems to him; someone to whom the spiritual quest in prayer was the one thing needful, who by his own life demonstrated the validity and truth of traditional teachings; and that, however emasculated by modernism, these remain the only valid criteria for those who, as he would put it, have ears to hear. His life was a celebration of “The Marriage of Wisdom and Method”: which is the title of one of his essays.[40]


• The Way and the Mountain: Tibet, Buddhism, and Tradition, (World Wisdom, 2008) ISBN 978-1-933316-53-6
• The Spiritual Ascent: A Compendium of the World's Wisdom, (Fons Vitae, 2008) ISBN 978-1-933316-53-6
• A Buddhist Spectrum: Contributions to the Christian-Buddhist Dialogue, (World Wisdom, 2004) ISBN 978-0-941532-40-2
• Peaks and Lamas: A Classic Book on Mountaineering, Buddhism and Tibet, (Shoemaker & Hoard, 2004) ISBN 978-1-59376-058-8
• Sikkim, (Cosmo, 2003) ISBN 978-81-7020-759-7
• Ladakh, (Cosmo, 2002) ISBN 978-81-7020-756-6
• A Treasury of Traditional Wisdom: An Encyclopedia of Humankind's Spiritual Truth, (Fons Vitae, 2000) ISBN 978-1-887752-33-6

See also

• Perennial philosophy
• Titus Burckhardt
• Hossein Nasr
• Martin Lings
• Huston Smith
• Jean-Louis Michon
• Jean Borella
• Elémire Zolla


1. For more on Pallis’ family see Laura Cameron and David Matless, “Marietta Pallis,” in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
2. See Thomas Merton, The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton (New York: New Directions Books, 1975), p. 71-72.
3. According to one of his Himalayan climbing partners, “Pallis hides a good deal of determination behind his mild manner” (F. Spencer Chapman, Helvellyn to Himalaya: Including an Account of the First Ascent of Chomolhari [London: The Travel Book Club, 1941], p. 84).
4. The Pallis led ascent is cited by Stephen Venables, Everest: Summit of Achievement (London: Royal Geographic Society, 2003); Walt Unsworth, Everest: The Mountaineering History (Seattle: The Mountaineers, 2000); and Harish Kapadia, Trekking and Climbing in the Indian Himalaya (London: New Holland Publishers, 2001).
5. Peaks and Lamas, p. 360.
6. Pallis and Nicholson met in the 1920s when both were pupils of Arnold Dolmetsch, and remained thereafter life-long friends. They were frequent climbing partners before traveling together to the Himalayas.
7. The traditional dress of Tibetan men. Made of wool and often fur-lined, the chuba is a long-sleeved and ankle-length robe that is worn belted at the waist.
8. Peaks and Lamas, p. 201.
9. Peaks and Lamas, Dedication
10. The diversity of Pallis’ instructors is further indicated in a story told by Arnaud Desjardins, the French writer and filmmaker. Guided in the early 1960s by the Dalai Lama’s personal interpreter, Desjardins met and interviewed many of the most respected Tibetan spiritual leaders, then in exile. He relates: “I remember a conversation, one evening in Sikkim, when the question which arose was of Westerners who had really come near enough to tantrayana to understand something more than words and formulas. One such person, of whom those present spoke with the greatest regard and deference, was repeatedly referred to in this conversation by the English word ‘Tradition.’ ‘Tradition’ had spent some time with such-and-such a guru; ‘Tradition’ has visited such-and-such a monastery. And all of a sudden it became apparent to me that this Mr. ‘Tradition’ was Marco Pallis (under his Tibetan name of Thubden Tendzin). . .” (Arnaud Desjardins, The Message of the Tibetans [London: Stuart & Watkins, 1969], p. 20).
11. Pallis served as a Liverpool police officer during World War II.
12. Peaks and Lamas, p. 200.
13. Marco Pallis, “The Marriage of Wisdom and Method”, The Middle Way: Journal of the Buddhist Society, Vol. XXXVI, No. 2, August 1961, p. 54.
14. A fellow English expatriate and acquaintance of Pallis, the then novice monk Urgyen Sangharakshita (born Dennis Lingwood), provides us with a brief but informative glimpse into Pallis’ domestic life in Kalimpong: “The bungalow was situated at the top of a flight of irregular stone steps, and what with trees looming up behind and shrubs pressing in on either side it was a sufficiently quiet and secluded place. Here Thubden La, as he liked to be called, lived with his friend Richard Nicholson, otherwise known as Thubden Shedub, the companion of the travels recorded in Peaks and Lamas. As lunch was not quite ready, he showed me around the place. Tibetan painted scrolls hung on the walls, and the polished wooden floors were covered with Tibetan rugs. There were silver butter-lamps on the altar, and massive copper teapots on the sideboard, all gleaming in the shuttered semi-darkness. In one room I could just make out the unfamiliar shape of a harpsichord” (Sangharakshita (D.P.E. Lingwood), Facing Mount Kanchenjunga: An English Buddhist in the Eastern Himalayas [Glasgow: Windhorse Publications, 1991], p. 173).
15. In 1959, Pallis made a return visit to northern India and Sikkim.
16. See “Private v. Third Eye”, Time Magazine, Monday, 17 Feb. 1958.
17. For more on the relationship between Trungpa and Pallis, see Pallis’ article “Discovering the Interior Life,” published in The Sword of Gnosis: Metaphysics, Cosmology, Tradition, Symbolism (New York, NY: Penguin, 1974).
18. Chögyam Trungpa, Born in Tibet (Boston, MA: Shambhala, 2000), p. 15.
19. Arnold Dolmetsch (1858-1940), was a true pioneer in his field. His circle of friends and collaborators extended to many of the major literary and artistic figures of the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, including William Morris, George Bernard Shaw, Ezra Pound, and W.B Yeats. See Margaret Campbell, Dolmetsch: The Man and His Work (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1975).
20. Harry Haskell, The Early Music Revival: A History (New York: Dover Publication, 1996), p. 38.
21. The Music of Their Royal Courts (Saga Records, London, 1967); To Us a Child. . . (Abbey “Pan” Records, Eynsham, Oxford, 1968); and Music with her Silver Sound. . . (Decca “Turnabout/Vox” Records, London, 1971).
22. When on their second tour in 1964, Pallis had the opportunity to meet with the Catholic writer Thomas Merton at the Abbey of Gethsemane in Kentucky, where they spoke of Zen, Shiva, and the plight of the exiled Tibetan government. See Thomas Merton, Dancing in the Water of Life: Seeking Peace in the Hermitage (The Journals of Thomas Merton, Volume 5: 1963-1965) (New York, NY: HarperSanFrancisco, 1998), p. 157; and Thomas Merton, A Search for Solitude: Pursuing the Monk’s True Life (The Journals of Thomas Merton, Volume 3: 1952-1960) (New York, NY: HarperSanFrancisco, 1996), p. 279.
23. H.K., “Viol Consort Gives Town Hall Program”, The New York Times, 14 April 1963, p. 15.
24. His compositions, printed or recorded, include, Marco Pallis, Divisions upon a Ground: A Contemporary Work for Viol with Accompaniment for Organ or Harpsichord (London: Thames Publishing, 1980); Marco Pallis, arrangement, Renaissance Tunes: Ensemble Pieces for String Instruments (London: Thames Publishing, 1983-4); Marco Pallis, Nocturne de l’Ephémère (Wadhurst, East Sussex, England: Pearl, 1985); Marco Pallis, String Quartet in F# Minor (St. Albans: Corda Music Publications, 1991).
25. His articles include, Marco Pallis, “The Instrumentation of English Viol Consort Music”, Chelys, Vol. 1, 1969, pp. 27-35; Marco Pallis, “Tenor I or Alto? Some Thoughts on the Instrumentation of the Consort of Viols”, VdGSA Journal, Vol. 9, 1972, pp. 5-15; and Marco Pallis, “The Rebirth of Early Music”, Early Music, Vol. 6, No. 1, January, 1978, pp. 41-45.
26. Dominie Nicholls, Quite a Lot (privately published, 2002) ch. 12.
27. Milarepa: Drame Spirituel en Quatre Parties (unpublished).
28. Pallis traveled in India with Coomaraswamy's son Rama, who later also became a writer, and knew the elder Coomaraswamy through lengthy correspondence. Pallis corresponded with both Guénon and Schuon and was able in 1946 to visit Guénon at his home in Cairo; Pallis met with Schuon, either in Pallis' flat in London or in Schuon's home in Lausanne, nearly every year for over thirty years.
29. Marco Pallis, Peaks and Lamas (London: Cassell & Co, 1939, 1940, 1942; London: Readers Union, 1948; New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1940, 1949; London: Woburn Press, 1974; New York: Gordon Press, 1975; Delhi: Book Faith India, 1995; and Washington, D.C.: Shoemaker & Hoard, 2005).
30. The Way and the Mountain, p. xxxvii.
31. Marco Pallis, The Way and the Mountain (London: Peter Owen Limited, 1960, 1991; and Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2008).
32. Marco Pallis, A Buddhist Spectrum: Contributions to Buddhist-Christian Dialogue (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1980; New York: The Seabury Press, 1981; and Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2003).
33. A Buddhist Spectrum, p. xi.
34. Jacob Needleman, The Sword of Gnosis: Metaphysics, Cosmology, Tradition, Symbolism (New York: Penguin, 1974)
35. See “Haven’t We Met?”, Time Magazine, Monday, 4 Dec. 1950.
36. In Italian: Marco Pallis, Il Loto e la Croce (Turin: Borla Editore, 1969). In French: Marco Pallis, Preface, Milarepa: Ses Mefaits, ses Epreuves, son Illumination, translated by Jacques Bacot (Paris: Fayard, 1971); Cimes et Lamas (Paris: Editions Albin Michel, 1955; and Paris: Editions Kailash, 1997); Lumieres Bouddhiques (Paris: Fayard, 1983); and La Vie Active, Ce qu’elle est et ce qu’elle n’est pas (Lyon: Paul Derain, 1954). In Spanish: El Camino y la Montaña (Buenos Aires: Kier Editorial, 1973, 1998); Cumbres Y Lamas (Buenos Aires: Editorial Sudamericana, 1946). In Turkish: Yol ve Dağ (Istanbul: Cengiz Erengil, 2007).
37. Harry Oldmeadow, Foreword, in Marco Pallis, The Way and the Mountain (Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2008), p. x.
38. Huston Smith, Review of Marco Pallis, A Buddhist Spectrum in The Eastern Buddhist Vol. 15, No. 2, Autumn 1982, p. 145.
39. Back cover, Marco Pallis, The Way and the Mountain (Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2008).
40. Peter Talbot Wilcox, The Independent, London, June 1989.

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Ananda Coomaraswamy
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Accessed: 9/2/19



I was by now, and had perhaps been always, a confirmed and deeply practising Christian, attending Communion on Sunday mornings at the cost of an early rise before breakfast and a long walk, very often in the snow. My companion was I.W.E. Dodds, a College prefect and an officer in the O.T.C. We walked together, knelt at the rail together and came back to the House together, as two Christians, all other comparison laid aside.

On the first of October 1917 the blow fell. I was sent to Mr. Berridge's study where he gently broke the news. My brother had been killed in Belgium two days earlier while standing talking with his orderly. During a lull a stray shell had landed and killed him instantly, leaving the orderly completely unhurt. His men, I learnt, adored him, partly on account of the fact that he had refused a staff job in another battalion, preferring to stay with them. And so 'Mad Jack,' as they called him for his bravery, was gone, and I could not believe it. Silently I went 'up coll.' to my class, for such was the tradition, and many boys, with a well-meaning pat on the shoulder, sympathised. I thanked them but explained that it was all a mistake and would be cleared up soon. I believed that, for my mind would not take in the alternative.

The wound went much deeper than a schoolboy's learning of a beloved brother's death. I was already silently shouting 'Why, why, why?' What was my beloved Jesus Christ, to me a sort of super Boy Scout Chief, doing about it? And God? Was he not the fount of love and mercy and were we not all, in every way, as I was reading in Tennyson, 'bound by gold chains about the feet of God'? From that hour I began a journey and it has not ended yet, a search for the purpose of the universe, assuming it has one, and the nature of the process by which it came into being. Maybe this inner shock and turmoil helped to make me ill. My parents brought me home from Malvern in the summer of 1918.

When I was better I went to a crammer for the Sandhurst exam. During this time I was still searching, in and out of the bookshops in Great Russell Street, and in one of them I found Buddha and the Gospel of Buddhism by Ananda Coomaraswamy, published in London in 1916. I read in the preface that the author's aim was 'to set forth as simply as possible the gospel of Buddhism according to the Buddhist scriptures, and to consider the Buddhist systems in relation, on the one hand, to the Brahmanical systems in which they originated, and, on the other hand, to those systems of Christian mysticism which afford the nearest analogies'. Here was the sort of book I was looking for, a setting out of one great religion, on a broad basis, and a comparison with others. I read it and said to myself, 'If that is Buddhism then whatever else I am I am a Buddhist.'

-- Both Sides of the Circle: The Autobiography of Christmas Humphreys, by Christmas Humphreys

Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy
Coomaraswamy in 1916,
photograph by Alvin Langdon Coburn
Born 22 August 1877
Colombo, British Ceylon
Died 9 September 1947 (aged 70)
Needham, Massachusetts, U.S.
Nationality Sri Lankan American
Known for Metaphysicist, philosopher, historian
Spouse(s) Ethel Mairet (m.1902–13)
Ratna Devi (m.1913–22)
Stella Bloch(m.1922–30)
Luisa Runstein(m.1930–1947, his death)

Ananda Kentish Muthu Coomaraswamy (Tamil: ஆனந்த குமாரசுவாமி, Ānanda Kentiś Muthū Kumāraswāmī; Sinhala: ආනන්ද කුමාරස්වාමි; 22 August 1877 − 9 September 1947) was a Sri Lankan Tamil philosopher and metaphysician, as well as a pioneering historian and philosopher of Indian art, particularly art history and symbolism, and an early interpreter of Indian culture to the West.[1] In particular, he is described as "the groundbreaking theorist who was largely responsible for introducing ancient Indian art to the West."[2]


See also: Ponnambalam–Coomaraswamy family

Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy was born in Colombo, Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, to the Ceylonese Tamil legislator and philosopher Sir Muthu Coomaraswamy of the Ponnambalam–Coomaraswamy family and his English wife Elizabeth Beeby.[3][4][5] His father died when Ananda was two years old, and Ananda spent much of his childhood and education abroad.

Coomaraswamy moved to England in 1879 and attended Wycliffe College, a preparatory school in Stroud, Gloucestershire, at the age of twelve. In 1900, he graduated from University College, London, with a degree in geology and botany. On 19 June 1902, Coomaraswamy married Ethel Mary Partridge, an English photographer, who then traveled with him to Ceylon. Their marriage lasted until 1913. Coomaraswamy's field work between 1902 and 1906 earned him a doctor of science for his study of Ceylonese mineralogy, and prompted the formation of the Geological Survey of Ceylon which he initially directed.[6] While in Ceylon, the couple collaborated on Mediaeval Sinhalese Art; Coomaraswamy wrote the text and Ethel provided the photographs. His work in Ceylon fueled Coomaraswamy's anti-Westernization sentiments.[7] After their divorce, Partridge returned to England, where she became a famous weaver and later married the writer Philip Mairet.

By 1906, Coomaraswamy had made it his mission to educate the West about Indian art, and was back in London with a large collection of photographs, actively seeking out artists to try to influence. He knew he could not rely on museum curators or other members of the cultural establishment – in 1908 he wrote "The main difficulty so far seems to have been that Indian art has been studied so far only by archaeologists. It is not archaeologists, but artists … who are the best qualified to judge of the significance of works of art considered as art." By 1909, he was firmly acquainted with Jacob Epstein and Eric Gill, the city's two most important early Modernists, and soon both of them had begun to incorporate Indian aesthetics into their work. The curiously hybrid sculptures that were produced as a result can be seen to form the very roots of what is now considered British Modernism.[8][9]

His second wife: Alice Coomaraswamy (Ratan Devi) with Roshanara

Coomaraswamy then met and married a British woman Alice Ethel Richardson and together they went to India and stayed on a houseboat in Srinagar in Kashmir. Commaraswamy studied Rajput painting while his wife studied Indian music with Abdul Rahim of Kapurthala. When they returned to England, Alice performed Indian song under the stage name Ratan Devi. Alice was successful and both went to America when Ratan Devi did a concert tour.[10] While they were there, Coomaraswamy was invited to serve as the first Keeper of Indian art in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in 1917.[11] The couple had two children, a son, Narada, and daughter, Rohini.

Portrait of Ananda Coomaraswamy, published 1907

Coomaraswamy divorced his second wife after they arrived in America.[11] He married the American artist Stella Bloch, 20 years his junior, in November 1922. Through the 1920s, Coomaraswamy and his wife were part of the bohemian art circles in New York City, Coomaraswamy befriended Alfred Stieglitz and the artists who exhibited at Stieglitz's gallery. At the same time, he studied Sanskrit and Pali religious literature as well as Western religious works. He wrote catalogues for the Museum of Fine Arts and published his History of Indian and Indonesian Art in 1927.

After the couple divorced in 1930, they remained friends. Shortly thereafter, on 18 November 1930, Coomaraswamy married Argentine Luisa Runstein, 28 years younger, who was working as a society photographer under the professional name Xlata Llamas. They had a son, Coomaraswamy's third child, Rama Ponnambalam (1929-2006), who became a physician and convert at age 22 to the Roman Catholic Church. Following Vatican II, Rama became a critic of the reforms and author of Catholic Traditionalist works.[12] He was also ordained a Traditionalist Roman Catholic priest, despite the fact that he was married and had a living wife[13].

Rama Coomaraswamy studied in England and then in India, learning Hindi and Sanskrit[14]. Became a psychiatrist in the United States, he was an opponent of Pope John Paul II[14] and remain a wider correspondent of mother Teresa of Calcutta, whose first healing attribution was recognized by Wojtyła in 2002[15].

In 1933 Coomaraswamy's title at the Museum of Fine Arts changed from curator to Fellow for Research in Indian, Persian, and Mohammedan Art.[7]

He served as curator in the Museum of Fine Arts until his death in Needham, Massachusetts, in 1947. During his long career, he was instrumental in bringing Eastern art to the West. In fact, while at the Museum of Fine Arts, he built the first substantial collection of Indian art in the United States.[16]

He also helped with the collections of Persian Art at the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Museum of Fine Arts.

After Coomaraswamy's death, his widow, Doña Luisa Runstein, acted as a guide and resource for students of his work.


Coomaraswamy made important contributions to the philosophy of art, literature, and religion. In Ceylon, he applied the lessons of William Morris to Ceylonese culture and, with his wife Ethel, produced a groundbreaking study of Ceylonese crafts and culture. While in India, he was part of the literary circle around Rabindranath Tagore, and he contributed to the "Swadeshi" movement, an early phase of the struggle for Indian independence.[17] In the 1920s, he made pioneering discoveries in the history of Indian art, particularly some distinctions between Rajput and Moghul painting, and published his book Rajput Painting. At the same time he amassed an unmatched collection of Rajput and Moghul paintings, which he took with him to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, when he joined its curatorial staff in 1917. Through 1932, from his base in Boston, he produced two kinds of publications: brilliant scholarship in his curatorial field but also graceful introductions to Indian and Asian art and culture, typified by The Dance of Shiva, a collection of essays that remain in print to this day. Deeply influenced by René Guénon, he became one of the founders of the Traditionalist School. His books and essays on art and culture, symbolism and metaphysics, scripture, folklore and myth, and still other topics, offer a remarkable education to readers who accept the challenges of his resolutely cross-cultural perspective and insistence on tying every point he makes back to sources in multiple traditions. He once remarked, "I actually think in both Eastern and Christian terms—Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, Pali, and to some extent Persian and Chinese."[18] Alongside the deep and not infrequently difficult writings of this period, he also delighted in polemical writings created for a larger audience—essays such as "Why exhibit works of art?" (1943).[19]

In his book The Information Society: An Introduction (Sage, 2003, p. 44), Armand Mattelart credits Coomaraswamy for coining the term 'post-industrial' in 1913.


Coomaraswamy was a firm believer in the comparative method. The analysis of both texts and symbols across a wide variety of cultures and time periods allowed him to see below the surface of local interpretations and religious exclusivism to locate the bedrock of tradition. By tradition, he meant that which has been handed down from time beyond memory.

The folk has thus preserved, without understanding, the remains of old traditions that go back sometimes to the indeterminably distant past, to which we can only refer as “prehistoric.[20] Had the folk beliefs not indeed been once understood, we could not now speak of them as metaphysically intelligible, or explain the accuracy of their formulations.[21]

His extensive knowledge of ancient languages allowed him access to primary sources and his understanding of metaphysics helped him discern the deeper meanings that other scholars often missed. Given the specialization and compartmentation of knowledge that was part of the Western academic tradition, his efforts were not always appreciated. He expressed some of his feelings in a letter to Graham Carey:

What the secular mind does is to assert that we (symbolists) are reading meaning into things that originally had none: our assertion is that they are reading out the meaning. The proof of our contention lies in the perfection, consistency and universality of the pattern in which these meanings are united.[22]

His criticism of the academic world was centered around a number of related issues. First, the academic method, by itself, was ill-equipped to deal with the way in which ideas where transmitted in non-literate cultures, due to an over-reliance on written documentation. Too much was left out.

By “folklore” we mean the whole and consistent body of culture which has been handed down, not in books but by word of mouth and in practice, from time beyond the reach of historical research, in the form of legends, fairy tales, ballads, games, toys, crafts, medicine, agriculture, and other rites, and forms of social organization, especially those that we call “tribal.” This is a cultural complex independent of national and even racial boundaries, and of remarkable similarity throughout the world.[23]

When theosophy had become more widely publicized through the German publishing houses at the turn of the century, its ideas reached a larger audience. By this time theosophy represented a detailed body of teachings, as set down in the newly-available translation of Blavatsky's major work Die Geheimlehre The Secret Doctrine (1897-1901) and the numerous abridgements and commentaries by Franz Hartmann, Hermann Rudolph, Edwin Bohme and others. Whereas the earlier Austrian theosophical movement had been defined by the mystical Christianity and personal gnosticism of cultivated individuals, its later manifestation in Vienna corresponded to a disenchantment with Catholicism coupled with the popularization of mythology, folklore and comparative religion. The impetus came largely from Germany, and both List and Lanz drew their knowledge of theosophy from German sources....

In his books and lectures List invited true Germans to behold the clearly discernible remains of a wonderful theocratic Ario-German state, wisely governed by priest-kings and gnostic initiates, in the archaeology, folklore, and landscape of his homeland. He applied himself to cabbalistic and astrological studies and also claimed to be the last of the Armanist magicians, who had formerly wielded authority in the old Aryan world....

List believed he had discovered the remnants of this universal armanist-wotanist dispensation all round his native country. Despite the ravages of many centuries, compounded by Christian obliteration, he claimed to discern the vague outlines and scanty relics of a vast forgotten culture both throughout and beyond the German-settled areas of Austria. He found these relics in material archaeological monuments (tumuli, megaliths, hill-forts and castles on earlier pagan sites); in the local names of woods, rivers, hills and fields, many of which dated from pre-Carolingian times and allegedly recalled the names of gods and goddesses in the Germanic pantheon; and in the many legends, folk-tales and customs through which the common country folk were supposed, albeit unconsciously, to inherit and pass on the pale and distorted reflection of ancient Ario-Germanic religious parables and doctrines. By means of his discoveries in these three areas of local historical and folkloristic research, List sought to convince his readers that the western or 'Austrian' half of the Habsburg empire could look back upon a German pagan and national past of immemorial antiquity....

More fruitful and far richer as a source of evidence for the former armanist-wotanist culture of Austria were the numerous popular legends and folk-tales in which List had taken an interest since his childhood. He suggested that the stock figures and motifs in fairy-tales and nursery rhymes such as the ogre, the sleeping emperor, the wild huntsman, and the ratcatcher reflected the parables and teachings of the formerly universal Wotanist religion. [6] When List heard specific folk-tales describing vanished castles, the offspring of supernatural and mortal unions, fratricides, lost lovers, or half-human creatures, he would trace their elements back to the fables of Teutonic mythology and their cosmic significance as symbols for the winter-gods, sungods, spring-goddesses and the goddess of Death in the old Ario-Germanic nature-religion. [7] The same interpretation could be applied to popular customs. In a work specifically devoted to the rites of the Ario-Germans, List traced a wide range of legal antiquities and common law practices relating to local jurisdictions and their officers, fines, ordeals, penalties and ceremonial back to ancient Armanist procedures. [8]...

List had marshalled all sorts of occult evidence for the existence of a prehistoric national culture in the heart of the hereditary Habsburg lands. The archaeological monuments, the place-names, and the legends, folk-tales and customs of the Danubian region were interpreted in such a way as to prove that this part of Central Europe had participated in a universal and superior German civilization of great antiquity. List's invocation of a secret, consciously created Armanist heritage in the form of heraldry, architectural decoration, and legal antiquities also progressed from the celebration of past Germanic glory to an analysis of the historic measures taken by the old priest-kings to ensure its eventual restoration. The occult meanings which he ascribed to these materials indicated the political testament and expectations of the last representatives of a lost unitary Ario-Germanic nation. The time for that restoration was now come. List's secret heritage augured the imminent transformation of Austria and Germany into a new pan-German empire.

-- The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology. The Arisophists of Austria and Germany, 1890-1935, by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke

A second point of conflict was the obsessive tendency of Western scholarship to divide cultures, religions, and time periods into discrete categories in order to fit into academic organizational and mental structures.

It is equally surprising that so many scholars, meeting with some universal doctrine in a given context, so often think of it as a local peculiarity.[24]

As a traditionalist, Coomaraswamy emphasized the continuity of culture. He was well aware of historical change but he felt that the connecting elements had been lost by the extreme emphasis placed on change and “progress”. Conflict between a new religion and an older one often obscured the commonalities that linked them.

The opposition of religion to folklore is often a kind of rivalry set up as between a new dispensation and an older tradition, the gods of the older cult becoming the evil spirits of the newer.[25]

He pointed out that the Greek word daimon, which at root indicates something given, was synonymous with the Christian Holy Spirit, God’s gift of life. If Christian propagandists chose to emphasize the demonic at the expense of the daimon it was only to further their own cause. Ideas like this did not go over well with other scholars and his correspondence has its share of angry or condescending responses to his work which he deflected with a combination of erudition, tact, and humor.[26]

A third issue that raised his ire was the racism inherent in the Western world’s criticism and misinterpretation of traditional and tribal cultures, attitudes tied closely to literacy and the attendant idea of progress.

It was possible for Aristotle, starting from the premise that a man, being actually cultured, may also become literate, to ask whether there is a necessary or merely an accidental connection of literacy with culture. Such a question can hardly arise for those to whom illiteracy implies, as a matter of course, ignorance, backwardness, unfitness for self-government: for you, unlettered people are uncivilized peoples and vice versa—as a recent publisher’s blurb expresses it: “The greatest force in civilization is the collective wisdom of a literate people."[27]

Like Franz Boas and a handful of others, Coomaraswamy waged a constant war against racism with the press and academic world. He was a strong advocate for Indian independence and was pressured to leave England for publicly suggesting that Indians not fight in the First World War.[28]

Unlike Rene Guenon and others who shared many of his understandings, he was not content to describe traditional ideas from the inside out, in metaphysical terms alone. His commitment to the Western intellectual tradition was deep. He didn’t believe that science and metaphysics were in opposition but were two different ways of looking at the world.[29] He was trained as a geologist and was well equipped to deal with science as well as metaphysics.

Nor did his work suffer from the oversimplifications and distortions that can afflict comparative studies. He was highly critical of the writings of Carl Jung and of Theosophy which he believed distorted the meaning of traditional ideas. The details he provided in support of his arguments could daunt the ablest scholar; his footnotes sometimes took up more room on a page than the text. The comparative method has achieved a good deal of success in linguistics but its application to culture had rarely gone beyond mere documentation before Ananda Coomaraswamy.

Traditional Symbolism

One of Coomaraswamy’s most important contributions was his profound understanding of how people communicated in early times and how their ideas were transmitted and preserved in the absence of writing. He felt that traditional symbolism could best be understood by means of images, which preceded writing and which contained ideas that had been handed down from the earliest times and preserved in a vast array of media.

To have lost the art of thinking in images is precisely to have lost the proper linguistic of metaphysics and to have descended to the verbal logic of “philosophy.[30]

His study of traditional symbols had taught him that symbols were meant to express ideas and not emotions and that a study of “styles” and “influences” would reveal little of significance.

An adequate knowledge of theology and cosmology is then indispensable to an understanding of the history of art, insofar as the actual shapes and structures of works of art are determined by their real content. Christian art, for example, begins with the representation of deity by abstract symbols, which may be geometrical, vegetable, or theriomorphic, and are devoid of any sentimental appeal whatever. An anthropomorphic symbol follows, but this is still a form and not a figuration; not made as though to function biologically or as if to illustrate a text book of anatomy or dramatic expression. Still later, the form is sentimentalised; the features of the crucified are made to exhibit human suffering, the type is completely humanised, and where we began with the shape of humanity as an analogical representation of the idea of God, we end with the portrait of the artist’s mistress posing as the Madonna and a representation of an all-too-human baby; the Christ is no longer a man-God, but the sort of man we can approve of.[31]

In keeping with his traditionalist stance, he saw this process as one of gradual decay in which the human life world began to encroach gradually on the divine with an attendant growth of sentimentality and loss of meaning. He was fond of quoting the curator, John Lodge: “From the Stone Age until now, quelle dégringolade.”[32]

Coomaraswamy spent a lot of his time documenting themes and images that appeared to be very old, given their widespread distribution. Major areas of study included:

• Solar symbolism
• Symbolism of the wheel

• The Flood story
• The “Water Cosmology” and the “Plant Style”
• Soma and the Water of Life
• Traditional cosmologies (the three worlds)
• The symbolism of snakes and reptiles
• The symbolism of birds and other “psychopomps” (soul carriers)
• The heavenly ladder
• The cosmic dome and the hole in the sky with its guardian figure
• The Thread-spirit (sutratman) doctrine that underlies the symbolism of the fiber arts
• The concept of ether and the symbolism of fire
• Divine bi-unity (male/female) as one
• The inverted tree and arboreal symbolism
• The Symplegades (Clashing Rocks) and the Coincidence of Opposites

He found these symbols in many cultures and time periods, both in religious writings and in folklore. He saw little opposition between religion and folklore. Folklore was transmitted in the vernacular as compared to the sacred languages in which scripture was delivered and interpreted. Folklore was less moralistic but its themes shared a common source with those of religion; Jack’s beanstalk was Jacob’s ladder. Religion was not “contaminated” by folklore but used it to express the same ideas in a more rationalized and moralized setting, just as Plato used myths to explain his philosophy.

The designs we found in Neolithic times were derived from older images. Thus the continuity of tradition reveals itself best in art, which expresses ideas. Even when religious philosophies developed with writing, a continuity of meaning could be observed often because the change was gradual and the old and the new existed side by side.

In the Vedas, the belief {that all life began in the “Waters”} appears in the form of an old popular theory, for which are substituted the successively more philosophical concepts of Space Cosmology, of a belief in the origin of the world in Non-being, in an origin of the world from Being, and finally in the conception of Brahman (the Absolute) as world-ground. The Water Cosmology, it is true, persists side by side with, and linked with these deeper views, even in post-Vedic literature; but it is typically not a creation of the Vedas and seems to belong to an even older stratum of ideas than that which is developed in the Vedas.[33]

The ideas expressed by images were made explicit by writing, which allowed for a greater degree of abstraction and elaboration but since the concrete preceded the abstract, all philosophy started with images. In the absence of writing, the tribal cultures of the world have preserved a good deal of this older symbolism.

Coomaraswamy also maintained that traditional technologies (like the needle or the fire drill) were applications of metaphysical ideas, just as modern technology is an expression of scientific principles.

Primitive man knew nothing of a possible divorce of function and meaning: all his inventions were applied meaning.[34]

The American art historian, Carl Schuster, who corresponded with Coomarawamy and learned much from him, would go on to identify some of the Paleolithic sources of this symbolism.[35]

Perennial philosophy

Portrait of Coomaraswamy printed in the April 1916 issue of The Hindusthanee Student

He was described by Heinrich Zimmer as "That noble scholar upon whose shoulders we are still standing."[36] While serving as a curator to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in the latter part of his life, he devoted his work to the explication of traditional metaphysics and symbolism. His writings of this period are filled with references to Plato, Plotinus, Clement, Philo, Augustine, Aquinas, Shankara, Eckhart, Rumi and other mystics. When asked how he defined himself foremost, Coomaraswamy said he was a "metaphysician", referring to the concept of perennial philosophy, or sophia perennis.

Along with René Guénon and Frithjof Schuon, Coomaraswamy is regarded as one of the three founders of Perennialism, also called the Traditionalist School.
Several articles by Coomaraswamy on the subject of Hinduism and the perennial philosophy were published posthumously in the quarterly journal Studies in Comparative Religion alongside articles by Schuon and Guénon among others.

Although he agrees with Guénon on the universal principles, Coomaraswamy's works are very different in form. By vocation, he was a scholar who dedicated the last decades of his life to "searching the Scriptures". He offers a perspective on the tradition that complements Guénon's. He was extremely perceptive regarding aesthetics and wrote dozens of articles on traditional arts and mythology. His works are also finely balanced intellectually. Although born in the Hindu tradition, he had a deep knowledge of the Western tradition as well as a great expertise in, and love for, Greek metaphysics, especially that of Plotinus, the founder of Neoplatonism.

Coomaraswamy built a bridge between East and West that was designed to be two-way: among other things, his metaphysical writings aimed at demonstrating the unity of the Vedanta and Platonism. His works also sought to rehabilitate original Buddhism, a tradition that Guénon had for a long time limited to a rebellion of the Kshatriyas against Brahmin authority.


For a complete bibliography, see James S. Crouch, A Bibliography of Ananda Kentish Coomarswamy. Indira Gandhi , National Center for the Arts, Manohar, New Delhi, (2002).

Traditional art

• Figures of Speech or Figures of Thought?: The Traditional View of Art, (World Wisdom 2007)
• Introduction To Indian Art, (Kessinger Publishing, 2007)
• Buddhist Art, (Kessinger Publishing, 2005)
• Guardians of the Sundoor: Late Iconographic Essays, (Fons Vitae, 2004)
• History of Indian and Indonesian Art, (Kessinger Publishing, 2003)
• Teaching of Drawing in Ceylon] (1906, Colombo Apothecaries)
• "The Indian craftsman" (1909, Probsthain: London)
• Voluspa ; The Sibyl's Saying (1909, Essex House Press, London)
• Viśvakarmā ; examples of Indian architecture, sculpture, painting, handicraft (1914, London)
• Vidyāpati: Bangīya padābali; songs of the love of Rādhā and Krishna], (1915, The Old Bourne press: London)
• The mirror of gesture: being the Abhinaya darpaṇa of Nandikeśvara (with Duggirāla Gōpālakr̥ṣṇa) (1917, Harvard University Press; 1997, South Asia Books,)
• Indian music (1917, G. Schirmer; 2006, Kessinger Publishing,
• A catalog of sculptures by John Mowbray-Clarke: shown at the Kevorkian Galleries, New York, from May the seventh to June the seventh, 1919. (1919, New York: Kevorkian Galleries, co-authored with Mowbray-Clarke, John, H. Kevorkian, and Amy Murray)
• Rajput Painting, (B.R. Publishing Corp., 2003)
• Early Indian Architecture: Cities and City-Gates, (South Asia Books, 2002) I
• The Origin of the Buddha Image, (Munshirm Manoharlal Pub Pvt Ltd, 2001)
• The Door in the Sky, (Princeton University Press, 1997)
• The Transformation of Nature in Art, (Sterling Pub Private Ltd, 1996)
• Bronzes from Ceylon, chiefly in the Colombo Museum, (Dept. of Govt. Print, 1978)
• Early Indian Architecture: Palaces, (Munshiram Manoharlal, 1975)
• The arts & crafts of India & Ceylon, (Farrar, Straus, 1964)
• Christian and Oriental Philosophy of Art, (Dover Publications, 1956)
• Archaic Indian Terracottas, (Klinkhardt & Biermann, 1928)


• Hinduism And Buddhism, (Kessinger Publishing, 2007; Golden Elixir Press, 2011)
• Myths of the Hindus & Buddhists (with Sister Nivedita) (1914, H. Holt; 2003, Kessinger Publishing)
• Buddha and the gospel of Buddhism (1916, G. P. Putnam's sons; 2006, Obscure Press,)
• A New Approach to the Vedas: An Essay in Translation and Exegesis, (South Asia Books, 1994)
• The Living Thoughts of Gotama the Buddha, (Fons Vitae, 2001)
• Time and eternity, (Artibus Asiae, 1947)
• Perception of the Vedas, (Manohar Publishers and Distributors, 2000)
• Metaphysics, (Princeton University Press, 1987)

Social criticism

• Am I My Brothers Keeper, (Ayer Co, 1947)
• "The Dance of Shiva - Fourteen Indian essays" Turn Inc., New York; 2003, Kessinger Publishing,
• The village community and modern progress (12 pages) (Colombo Apothecaries, 1908)
• Essays in national idealism (Colombo Apothecaries, 1910)
• Bugbear of Literacy, (Sophia Perennis, 1979)
• What is Civilisation?: and Other Essays. Golgonooza Press, (UK),
• Spiritual Authority and Temporal Power in the Indian Theory of Government, (Oxford University Press, 1994)

Posthumous collections

• Yaksas, (Munshirm Manoharlal Pub Pvt Ltd, 1998) ISBN 978-81-215-0230-6
• Coomaraswamy: Selected Papers, Traditional Art and Symbolism, (Princeton University Press, 1986)
• The Essential Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, (2003, World Wisdom)


Rama Coomaraswmay provides a biography of his father's life at

See also

• Ivan Aguéli
• Titus Burckhardt
• Calico Museum of Textiles
• Comparative Religion
• Esoterism
• René Guénon
• Seyyed Hossein Nasr
• Martin Lings
• Whitall Perry
• Huston Smith
• William Stoddart
• Mateus Soares de Azevedo
• Michel Valsan
• Advaita Vedanta
• Carl Schuster


1. Murray Fowler, "In Memoriam: Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy", Artibus Asiae, Vol. 10, No. 3 (1947), pp. 241-244
2. MFA: South Asian Art. Archived from the original Archived 15 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine
3. "The Annual Ananda Coomaraswamy Memorial Oration 1999". Retrieved 7 April 2016.
4. Kathleen Taylor, Sir John Woodroffe Tantra and Bengal, Routledge (2012), p. 63
5. Journal of Comparative Literature & Aesthetics, Volume 16 (1993), p. 61
6. Philip Rawson, "A Professional Sage", The New York Review of Books, v. 26, no. 2 (February 22, 1979)
7. "Stella Bloch Papers Relating to Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, 1890-1985 (bulk 1917-1930)". Princeton University Library Manuscripts Division.
8. Arrowsmith, Rupert Richard. Modernism and the Museum: Asian, African and Pacific Art and the London Avant Garde. Oxford University Press, 2011, passim. ISBN 978-0-19-959369-9.
9. Video of a Lecture discussing Coomaraswamy's role in the introduction of Indian art to Western Modernists, School of Advanced Study, March 2012.
10. Alice Richardson, Making Britain, Open University, Retrieved 17 October 2015
11. G. R. Seaman, Coomaraswamy, Ananda Kentish (1877–1947), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, accessed 17 Oct 2015
12. "Rama P.Coomaraswamy (1929-2006)" by William Stoddart and Mateus Soares de Azevedo (3 pdfs)
13. "On the Validity of My Ordination" by Dr. Rama P. Coomaraswamy
14. Father Rama Coomaraswamy (1981). ""About"". The Destruction of the Christian Tradition. (2nd ed.). Archived from the original on 9 February 2010. His son, born in Massachusetts in 1932, plays the same role in the catholic resistance guerilla against so-called 'II Vatican Council' and so-called 'John Paul II'. He studied in England and later in India,
15. "Profile: 'Living Saint' Mother Teresa". 18 December 2015. Archived from the original on 1 November 2005. In 2002, five years after her death, Pope John Paul II judged that the healing of a woman suffering from an abdominal tumour was the result of Mother Teresa's supernatural intervention.
16. Princeton University Press, The Door in the Sky: Coomaraswamy on Myth and Meaning
17. Antliff, Allan (2001). Anarchist Modernism : Art, Politics, and the First American Avant-Garde. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 129. ISBN 9780226021041.
18. "Anand Coomaraswamy A Pen Sketch By - Dr. Rama P. Coomaraswamy". Archived from the original on 20 April 2008. Retrieved 21 November 2007.
19. Why Exhibit Works of Art? Archived 28 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine, essay. He also published a book of that title.
20. Ananda Coomaraswamy, Christian and Oriental Philosophy of Art, p. 139; quoting René Guénon
21. Ananda Coomaraswamy, Christian and Oriental Philosophy of Art, p. 140.
22. Selected Letters of Ananda Coomaraswamy, p. 213. Graham Carey (1892-1984) was an architect, essayist, lecturer and the co-author, with A. K. Coomaraswamy, of Patron and Artist, Pre-Renaissance and Modern (1936).
23. The Collected Works of Ananda Coomaraswamy, vol. 1, p. 286.
24. Ananda Coomaraswamy, The Greek Sphinx in Guardians of the Sun-Door pg. 120 ft. 5
25. The Collected Works of Ananda Coomaraswamy, vol. 1, p. 286, ft.2.
26. See Selected Letters of Ananda Coomaraswamy, passim, for many examples.
27. Ananda Coomaraswamy, The Bugbear of Literacy, p. 23, quoting Aristotle, Metaphysics, VI 2, 4, and XI: 8, 12.
28. See Selected Letters of Ananda Coomaraswamy, passim, for his stance on Indian independence.
29. See Ananda Coomaraswamy, What is Civilisation and Other Essays. “Gradation and Evolution” Chapters 7 and 8.
30. The Collected Works of Ananda Coomaraswamy, vol. 1, pp. 296-297.
31. Ananda Coomaraswamy, Christian and Oriental Philosophy of Art, pl. 45.
32. "From the Stone Age until now, what a downfall.
33. "Ananda Coomaraswamy, Yaksas, pp. 98-99.
34. Selected Letters of Ananda Coomaraswamy, p. 291, in a letter to George Sarton.
35. See Selected Letters of Ananda Coomaraswamy, pp. 220-221,for one example. The two men met in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the 1930s.
36. - StumbleUpon


• T.Wignesan, "Ananda K. Coomaraswamy’s Aesthetics" # Tamil studies Now published in the collection: T.Wignesan. Rama and Ravana at the Altar of Hanuman: On Tamils, Tamil Literature & Tamil Culture., 2008, 750p. & at Chennai: Institute of Asian Studies, 2007, 439p.
• "Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy" in One Hundred Tamils of the 20th Century
• "Coomaraswamy, Ananda K.", Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature, vol. 1, ed. Amaresh Dutta, Sahitya Akademi (1987), p. 768. ISBN 81-260-1803-8
• Mattelart, Armand. The Information Society: An Introduction, Sage: London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi, 2003, p. 44.

Further reading

• Ananda Coomaraswamy: remembering and remembering again and again, by S. Durai Raja Singam. Publisher: Raja Singam, 1974.
• Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, by P. S. Sastri. Arnold-Heinemann Publishers, India, 1974.
• Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy: a handbook, by S. Durai Raja Singam. Publisher s.n., 1979.
• Ananda Coomaraswamy: a study, by Moni Bagchee. Publisher: Bharata Manisha, 1977.
• Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, by Vishwanath S. Naravane. Twayne Publishers, 1977. ISBN 0-8057-7722-9.
• Selected letters of Ananda Coomaraswamy, Edited by Alvin Moore, Jr; and Rama P. Coomaraswamy (1988)
• Coomaraswamy: Volume I: Selected Papers, Traditional Art and Symbolism, Princeton University Press (1977)
• Coomaraswamy: Volume II: Selected Papers, Metaphysics, Edited by Roger Lipsey, Princeton University Press (1977)
• Coomaraswamy: Volume III: His Life and Work, by Roger Lipsey, Princeton University Press (1977)

External links

• Works by Ananda Coomaraswamy at Project Gutenberg
• Works by or about Ananda Coomaraswamy at Internet Archive
• Books by Coomaraswamy - Fons Vitae Series
• 1999 Coomaraswamy lecture by Sandrasagra
• Ananda K. Coomaraswamy at WorldCat
• Coomaraswamy bibliography at
• "Ananda K. Coomaraswamy’s Life and Work" at World Wisdom publishers
• The Colonial Context and Aesthetic Identity Formation: Coomaraswamy, A Case Study by Binda Paranjpe
• Coomaraswamy’s Impetus to Eastern Spirit
• Coomarswamy in Dictionary of Art Historians
• Ananda Coomaraswamy materials in the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA)
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Part 1 of 2

René Guénon
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 9/2/19



René Guénon
Guénon aged 38 (1925 studio photo).
Born 15 November 1886
Blois, Loir-et-Cher, France
Died 7 January 1951 (aged 64)
Cairo, Egypt
Era 20th-century philosophy
Western philosophy
Eastern philosophy
Advaita Vedanta Sufism Nondualism Platonism
Main interests
Metaphysics Esoterism Initiation Symbolism Mythology Gnosis Gnosticism Religious texts History Freemasonry Mathematics Society Social criticism Comparative religion
Notable ideas
Critique of modernity from the perspective of ancient wisdom traditions
Refounding Western esotericism using Eastern ideas
Influences: Adi Shankara Ibn Arabi Lao Tse (Laozi) Plato Aristotle
Influenced: Mircea Eliade Frithjof Schuon Michel Valsan Hossein Nasr Marco Pallis Huston Smith Olavo de Carvalho Titus Burckhardt Martin Lings Jean Borella Wolfgang Smith Julius Evola Jean-Louis Michon Mateus Soares de Azevedo
Ananda Coomaraswamy
Assinatura Rene.svg

René-Jean-Marie-Joseph Guénon[1] (French: [ʁəne ʒan maʁi ʒozɛf ɡenɔ̃]; 15 November 1886 – 7 January 1951), also known as ʿAbd al-Wāḥid Yaḥyá (Arabic: عبد الواحد يحيى‎), was a French author and intellectual who remains an influential figure in the domain of metaphysics, having written on topics ranging from sacred science[2] and traditional studies,[3] to symbolism and initiation.

He wrote and published in French, and his works have been translated into more than twenty languages. He is considered to be an important writer in the Traditionalist School of philosophy.


René Guénon was born in Blois, a city in central France approximately 160 km (100 mi) from Paris. Guénon, like most Frenchmen of the time, was born into a Roman Catholic family. Little is known of his family, although it appears that his father was an architect. By 1904, Guénon was living as a student in Paris, where his studies focused on mathematics and philosophy. He was known as a brilliant student, notably in mathematics, in spite of his poor health.

As a young student in Paris, Guénon observed and became involved with some students who were, at that time, under the supervision of Gérard Encausse, alias Papus.[4] Guénon soon discovered that the Esoteric Christian Martinist order, supervised by Papus, was irregular. He joined the Gnostic Church founded by Fabre des Essarts-Synesius. Under the name "Tau Palingenius" Guénon became the founder and main contributor of a periodical review, La Gnose ("Gnosis"), writing articles for it until 1922. From his incursions into the French occultist and pseudo-masonic orders, he despaired of the possibility of ever gathering these diverse and often ill-assorted doctrines into a "stable edifice".[5] In his book The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times he also pointed out what he saw as the intellectual vacuity of the French occultist movement, which, he wrote, was utterly insignificant, and more importantly, had been compromised by the infiltration of certain individuals of questionable motives and integrity.[6] Following his desire to join a regular masonic obedience, he became a member of the Thebah Lodge of the Grande Loge de France following the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.[7]

Around this time (according to indications reproduced by his biographer Paul Chacornac),[8] it is possible that René Guénon became acquainted with Hinduism, specifically via the initiatic lineage of Shankarâchârya,[9] and with Taoism, due to his friendship with Georges-Albert Puyou de Pouvourville, alias Matgioi. It is likely that Guénon learned to use opium from de Pouvourville, and Guénon later described the use of opium as an aid to meditation.[10] He met Léon Champrenaud, alias Abdul-Haqq, and John-Gustav Ageli, alias Abdul-Hadi who had been initiated by Abder-Rhaman el Kébir in Cairo. According to Paul Chacornac, Guénon chose a conversion to Islam rather than to Hinduism because the Hindu ritual life is not compatible with the Western way of life, whereas following Islamic rituals is compatible with modern Western life. He believed that Islam is the only traditional religious world that is practically accessible to Westerners.[11][12] In 1910,[13] Guénon was initiated into the Sufi Shadhili order by Ivan Aguéli, taking the name "ʿAbd al-Wāḥid Yaḥyā".

Abdul Qadir al Jazairi

The myth of Sufism as the origin of Freemasonry developed through the influence of Abdul Qadir al Jazairi (1808 – 1883), an Algerian national hero who led a struggle against the French invasion of their country in the mid-nineteenth century. Abdul Qadir was ultimately forced to surrender, and eventually settled in Damascus, Syria, under a generous pension from the French.

In 1860, he attained international fame when he and his personal guard saved large numbers of Christians who had come under attack by the local Druze population. As reward, the French government bestowed on him the Grand Cross of the Légion d’honneur and he was also honored by Abraham Lincoln. As well, the town of Elkaker of Iowa was named after him.

Abdul Qadir had been initiated into the Naqshbandi, into the Qadiriyya by his own father, and into the Darqawi branch of the Shadhili Sufi order, by the student of its founder, al Arabi ad-Darqawi. The Shadhili was branched to the Akbariyya chain, going back to the “Shaykh Al-Akbar” (Greatest Sheikh), referring to Arab mystic, Ibn Arabi (1165–1240). However, Ibn Arabi was condemned by the vast majority of orthodox Muslim scholars as a heretic. The reason Ibn Arabi served the purposes of these Sufi Masons was for his belief in the doctrine of a “Universal Brotherhood,” which was the core of the mission of Freemasonry and Theosophy, and the basis of their pretext of establishing a one-world religion.


-- Toward the One, by Pir Vilayat Khan, aka The Lama Foundation

Abdul Qadir was also friends with Jane Digby and Sir Richard Burton, the famous British explorer, spy and fellow Freemason, who had been made consul in Damascus in 1869. Digby, or Lady Ellenborough (1807-1881), was an English aristocrat who lived a scandalous life of romantic adventures, having had four husbands and many lovers. Burton and Digby were also close friends of Wilfred Scawen Blunt and his wife Lady Anne, a grand-daughter of poet Lord Byron. Blunt was the handler of British agent Jamal ud Din al Afghani and his disciple, Mohammed Abduh, the founders of the fundamentalist tradition of Islam known as Salafism, from which emerged the Muslim Brotherhood.[1]

Burton was also an avid occultist, and like Abdul Qadir, a member of the Qadiriyya Sufi order, because “Sufism,” he claimed, is “the Eastern parent of Freemasonry.”[2] Burton was also a member of the Theosophical Society of Blavatsky, who visited him in Damascus. According to historian K. Paul Johnson, Afghani was one of Blavatsky’s “Ascended Masters,” from whom she learned her central doctrines. Afghani was the reputed head of a mysterious order known as the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor (or Light), which exercised a profound influence over the occult societies of the period, culminating in the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) of the scandalous Aleister Crowley.

Most important to the transmission of Sufism to the West was Réne Guénon, a one-time member of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light. Guénon founded the occult school of Traditionalism, which suggests that all exoteric religions share a single underlying occult tradition. Therefore, according to Guénon, one could choose any religion as one’s outward belief, and so he chose Islam.

Guénon’s initiation was effected by Swedish convert to Islam Ivan Aguéli, who was also interested in Kabbalah, and performed under the authority of the friend of Abdul Qadir al Jazairi, Sheikh Abder Rahman Illaysh al Kabir, a Freemason and head of the Maliki Madhhab at Al Azhar University. As a Freemason, al Kabir also aimed to demonstrate the relationship between the symbols of Freemasonry and Islam.

-- The Sufi Conspiracy, by David Livingstone

In 1917, Guénon began a one-year stay at Sétif, Algeria, teaching philosophy to college students. After World War I, he left teaching to dedicate his energies to writing; his first book, Introduction to the Study of the Hindu Doctrines, was published in 1921. The book was first proposed as a thesis, but the thesis was rejected by Indologist Sylvain Lévi. From 1925 Guénon became a contributor to a review edited by P. Chacornac, Le Voile d'Isis ("The Veil of Isis"); after 1935 and under Guénon's influence, this periodical became known as Les Etudes Traditionnelles ("Traditional Studies").

In summer 1875, Blavatsky began work on a book outlining her Theosophical worldview, much of which would be written while staying in the Ithaca home of Hiram Corson, a Professor of English Literature at Cornell University. Although she had hoped to call it The Veil of Isis, it would be published as Isis Unveiled.

-- Helena Blavatsky, by Wikipedia

Although the exposition of Hindu doctrines to European audiences had already been attempted in piecemeal fashion at that time by many orientalists, Guénon's Introduction to the Study of the Hindu Doctrines advanced its subject in a uniquely insightful manner,[14] by referring to the concepts of metaphysics and Tradition in their most general sense, which Guénon precisely defined, along with the necessary distinctions and definitions of seemingly unambiguous terms such as religion, tradition, exoterism, esoterism and theology. Guénon explained that his purpose was not to describe all aspects of Hinduism, but to give the necessary intellectual foundation for a proper understanding of its spirit.[15] The book also stands as a harsh condemnation of works presented by certain other European writers about Hinduism and Tradition in general; according to Guénon, such writers had lacked any profound understanding of their subject matter and of its implications. The book also contains a critical analysis of the political intrusions of the British Empire into the subject of Hinduism (and India itself) through Madame Blavatsky's Theosophy.[16]

In September 1920, Père Peillaube asked Guénon to write a book against the Theosophical Society.[17] In 1921, Guénon debuted a series of articles in the French Revue de Philosophie, which, along with some supplements, led to the book Theosophy: History of a Pseudo-Religion. His critique of Theosophy was received positively by conservative Catholics.[10] However his later book Orient et Occident distanced him from his Catholic supporters.[10] His friend and erstwhile supporter Jacques Maritain argued that Guénon's views were "radically irreconcilable with the [Catholic] faith and called them a "Hinduist restoration of ancient Gnosis, mother of heresies".[10] Maritain later unsuccessfully tried to have Guénon's works put on the Catholic Index of Prohibited Books.[10] During the decade 1920–1930, Guénon began to acquire a broader public reputation, and his work was noted by various intellectual and artistic figures both within and outside of Paris. Also at this time were published some of his books explaining the "intellectual divide" between the East and West, and the peculiar nature, according to him, of modern civilization: Crisis of the Modern World, and East and West. In 1927 was published the second major doctrinal book of his works: Man and His Becoming according to the Vedânta, and in 1929, Spiritual Authority and Temporal Power. The last book listed offers a general explanation of what Guénon saw as the fundamental differences between "sacerdotal" (priestly or sacred) and "royal" (governmental) powers, along with the negative consequences arising from the usurpation of the prerogatives of the latter with regard to the former. From these considerations, René Guénon traces to its source the origin of the modern deviation, which, according to him, is to be found in the destruction of the Templar order in 1314.

Life in Egypt

In 1930, Guénon left Paris for Cairo. During his lengthy sojourn in Egypt, René Guénon carried on an austere and simple life, entirely dedicated to his writings and spiritual development.[18] In 1949, he obtained Egyptian citizenship. Sedgwick wrote about Guénon's life in Egypt that even though he continued his interest in Hinduism and other religions, Guénon's own practice was purely Islamic. He is "not known ever to have recommended anyone to become a Hindu, whereas he introduced many to Islam".[10]

Urged on by some of his friends and collaborators, Guénon agreed to establish a new Masonic Lodge in France founded upon his "Traditional" ideals, purified of what he saw as the inauthentic accretions which so bedeviled other lodges he had encountered during his early years in Paris. This lodge was called La Grande Triade ("The Great Triad"), a name inspired by the title of one of Guénon's books. The first founders of the lodge, however, separated a few years after its inception.[19] Nevertheless, this lodge, belonging to the Grande Loge de France, remains active today.

René Guénon died on Sunday, January 7, 1951; his final word was "Allah".[20]


In 1921, Guénon published an Introduction to the Study of the Hindu Doctrines. His goal, as he writes it, is an attempt at presenting to westerners eastern metaphysics and spirituality as they are understood and thought by easterners themselves, while pointing at what René Guénon describes as all the erroneous interpretations and misunderstandings of western orientalism and "neospiritualism" (for the latter, notably the proponents of Madame Blavatsky's Theosophy). Right from that time, he presents a rigorous understanding, not only of Hindu doctrines, but also of eastern metaphysics in general.[21]

His work comprises:

• An exposition of fundamental metaphysical principles: Introduction to the Study of the Hindu Doctrines which contains the general definition of the term "tradition" as Guénon defines it, Man and His Becoming according to the Vedânta, The Symbolism of the Cross, The Multiple States of Being, The Metaphysical Principles of the Infinitesimal Calculus, Oriental Metaphysics.
• Studies in symbolism (comprising many articles he wrote for the journal Le Voile d'Isis which became later known under the name Etudes Traditionnelles). These studies in symbolism were later compiled by Michel Valsan in the posthumous book Symbols of Sacred Science. The studies The Great Triad, Traditional Forms & Cosmic Cycles, Insights into Islamic Esoterism & Taoism and The King of the World (alternately translated as Lord of the World) are also mostly about symbolism.
• Fundamental studies related to Initiation, a subject completely re-exposited by Guénon from the traditional perspective: Perspectives on Initiation, Initiation and Spiritual Realisation, The Esoterism of Dante.
• Criticism of the modern world and of "neospiritualism": East and West, The Crisis of the Modern World, Spiritual Authority and Temporal Power, Theosophy: History of a Pseudo-Religion, The Spiritist Fallacy and The Reign of Quantity & the Signs of the Times, the latter book being often considered as his masterpiece as an explanation of the modern world from the traditional perspective.
• Various studies in esoterism: Saint Bernard, Insights into Christian Esoterism, Studies in Freemasonry and Compagnonnage, Studies in Hinduism, &c.

Some key terms and ideas

Main article: Metaphysical terms in the works of René Guénon

Guénon's writings make use of words and terms of fundamental signification, which receive a precise definition throughout his books. These terms and words, although receiving a usual meaning and being used in many branches of human sciences, have, according to René Guénon, lost substantially their original signification (e.g. words such as "metaphysics", "initiation", "mysticism", "personality", "form", "matter").[22] He insisted notably on the danger represented by the perversion of the signification of words seen by him as essential for the study of metaphysics.

Metaphysical core

The exposition of metaphysical doctrines, which forms the cornerstone of Guénon's work, consists of the following books:[23]

• Introduction to the Study of the Hindu Doctrines
• Man and His Becoming According to the Vedanta
• The Multiple States of Being
• Symbolism of the Cross
• Oriental Metaphysics

Introduction to the Study of the Hindu Doctrines

Introduction to the Study of the Hindu Doctrines, published in 1921, on topics which were later included in the lecture he gave at the Sorbonne on December 17, 1925 ("Oriental Metaphysics"), consists of four parts.

The first part ("preliminary questions") exposes the hurdles that prevented classical orientalism from a deep understanding of eastern doctrines (without forgetting that Guénon had of course in view the orientalism of his time): the "classical prejudice" which "consists essentially in a predisposition to attribute the origin of all civilization to the Greeks and Romans", the ignorance of certain types of relationships between the ancient peoples, linguistic difficulties, and the confusions arising about certain questions related to chronology, these confusions being made possible through the ignorance of the importance of oral transmission which can precede, to a considerable and indeterminate extent, the written formulation. A fundamental example of that latter mistake being found in the orientalist's attempts at providing a precise birth date to the Vedas sacred scriptures.

The "general characters of eastern thought" part focuses on the principles of unity of the eastern civilizations, and on the definition of the notions of "tradition" and "metaphysics". Guénon also proposes a rigorous definition of the term "religion", and states the proper differences between "tradition", "religion", "metaphysics" and "philosophical system". The relations between "metaphysics" and "theology" are also explored, and the fundamental terms of "esoterism" and "exoterism" are introduced. A chapter is devoted to the idea of "metaphysical realization". The first two parts state, according to Guénon, the necessary doctrinal foundations for a correct understanding of Hindu doctrines.

Man and his Becoming according to the Vêdantâ

Ganeshâ, "Lord of meditation and mantras", "Lord of Knowledge", and "Lord of Categories", would be displayed in the front page cover of the Symbolism of the cross's original edition

The Introduction to the study of the Hindu doctrines had, among its objectives, the purpose of giving the proper intellectual basis to promote openness to the study of eastern intellectuality. The study of Hindu doctrines is continued in his book Man and his Becoming according to the Vedanta by taking the specific viewpoint of the human being's constitution according to the Vêdantâ: Guénon states that his goal is not to present a synthetic exposition of all vedic doctrines "which would be quite an impossible task", but to consider "a particular point of that doctrine", in that case the definition of the human being, in order to contemplate afterwards other aspects of metaphysics.

The Symbolism of the Cross

The Symbolism of the Cross is a book "dedicated to the venerated memory of Esh-Sheikh Abder-Rahman Elish El-Kebir". Its goal, as Guénon states it, "is to explain a symbol that is common to almost all traditions, a fact that would seem to indicate its direct attachment to the great primordial tradition". To alleviate the hurdles bound to the interpretations of a symbol belonging to different traditions, Guénon distinguishes synthesis from syncretism: syncretism consists in assembling from the outside a number of more or less incongruous elements which, when so regarded, can never be truly unified. Syncretism is something outward: the elements taken from any of its quarters and put together in this way can never amount to anything more than borrowings that are effectively incapable of being integrated into a doctrine "worthy of that name". To apply these criteria to the present context of the symbolism of the cross:

syncretism can be recognized wherever one finds elements borrowed from different traditional forms and assembled together without any awareness that there is only one single doctrine of which these forms are so many different expressions or so many adaptations related to particular conditions related to given circumstances of time and place.

The Multiple States of Being

Narayana is one of the names of Vishnu in the Hindu tradition, and signifies literally "He who walks on the Waters", with an evident parallel with the Gospel tradition. The "surface of the Waters", or their plane of separation, is described as the plane of reflection of the "Celestial Ray". It marks the state in which the passage from the individual to the universal is operative, and the well-known symbol of "walking on the Waters" represents emancipation from form, or liberation from the individual condition (René Guénon, The Multiple States of Being, chapter 12, "The two chaoses").

This book expands on the multiple states of Being, a doctrine already tackled in The Symbolism of the Cross, leaving aside the geometrical representation exposed in that book "to bring out the full range of this altogether fundamental theory".[24] First and foremost is asserted the necessity of the "metaphysical Infinity", envisaged in its relationship with "universal Possibility". "The Infinite, according to the etymology of the term which designates it, is that which has no limits", so it can only be applied to what has absolutely no limit, and not to what is exempted from certain limitations while being subjected to others like space, time, quantity, in other words all countless other things that fall within the indefinite, fate and nature. There is no distinction between the Infinite and universal Possibility; simply the correlation between these terms indicates that in the case of the Infinite, it is contemplated in its active aspect, while the universal Possibility refers to its passive aspect: these are the two aspects of Brahma and its Shakti in the Hindu doctrines. From this results that "the distinction between the possible and the real [...] has no metaphysical validity, for every possible is real in its way, according to the mode befitting its own nature".[25] This leads to the metaphysical consideration of the "Being" and "Non-Being":

If we [...] define Being in the universal sense as the principle of manifestation, and at the same time as comprising in itself the totality of possibilities of all manifestation, we must say that Being is not infinite because it does not coincide with total Possibility; and all the more so because Being, as the principle of manifestation, although it does indeed comprise all the possibilities of manifestation, does so only insofar as they are actually manifested. Outside of Being, therefore, are all the rest, that is all the possibilities of non-manifestation, as well as the possibilities of manifestation themselves insofar as they are in the unmanifested state; and included among these is Being itself, which cannot belong to manifestation since it is the principle thereof, and in consequence is itself unmanifested. For want of any other term, we are obliged to designate all that is thus outside and beyond Being as "Non-Being", but for us this negative term is in no way synonym for 'nothingness'.[26]

Hermes' caduceus: example of a symbol associated to the possession of lesser mysteries, and showing an example of horizontal duality (the two snakes' heads are placed in the horizontal dual position, hence referring to apparent dualities such as life and death). In Studies in Hinduism, Guénon mentions a relation between the symbol and the Kundalini shakti.

Other writings in metaphysics, hermeticism, and cosmological sciences

Lesser and greater mysteries

Main article: Perspectives on initiation

In his book Perspectives on initiation, Guénon clarifies the signification given by the ancient Greeks to the classical names of lesser and greater mysteries: "they are not different "types" of initiations, but stages or degrees of a same initiation".[27]

Lesser mysteries lead to the "perfection of the human state", in other words to "something traditionally designated by the restoration of the "primordial state",[28] a state that Dante, in the Divine comedy, relates symbolically to the "terrestrial paradise".[29] On another hand, "greater mysteries" refer properly to "the realization of supra-human states";[27] they correspond to the Hindu doctrine of "deliverance" (Moksha) and to what Islamic esoterism calls the "realization of the Universal Man": in that latter tradition, "lesser" and "greater" mysteries correspond exactly to the signification of the terms "el-insân el-qadîm" (the Primordial Man) and "el-insan el-kâmil" (the Universal Man).[27] These two phases are related to an interpretation of the symbolism of the cross with the notions of "horizontal" and "vertical" realization. They also correspond respectively to what is traditionally designated in western hermeticism by the terms royal initiation and sacerdotal initiation.[27]


While it is acknowledged that symbolism refers to something very different from a mere 'code', an artificial or arbitrary meaning, and that "it holds an essential and spontaneous echoing power",[30] for René Guénon, this 'echoing power' goes immensely farther than the psychological realm: symbolism is "the metaphysical language at its highest",[31] capable of relating all degrees of universal Manifestation, and all the components of the Being as well: symbolism is the means by which man is capable of "assenting" orders of reality that escape, by their very nature, any description by ordinary language. This understanding of the profound nature of symbolism, writes René Guénon, has never been lost by an intellectual (i.e. spiritual) elite in the East.[32] It is inherent in the transmission of initiation which, he says, gives the real key to man to penetrate the deeper meaning of the symbols; in this perspective, meditation on symbols (visual or heard, dhikr, repetition of the Divine Names) is an integral part both of initiation and of spiritual realization.[33]

Symbolism and analogy

For René Guénon art is above all knowledge and understanding, rather than merely a matter of sensitivity.[34] Similarly, the symbolism has a conceptual vastness "not exclusive to a mathematical rigor":[35] symbolism is before all a science, and it is based, in its most general signification, on "connections that exist between different levels of reality".[36] And, in particular, the analogy itself, understood following a formula used in Hermeticism as the "relation of what is down with what is above" is likely to be symbolized: there are symbols of the analogy (but every symbol is not necessarily the expression of an analogy, because there are correspondences that are not analogical). The analogical relation essentially involves the consideration of an "inverse direction of its two terms", and symbols of the analogy, which are generally built on the consideration of the primitive six-spoke wheel, also called the chrism in the Christian iconography, indicate clearly the consideration of these "inverse directions"; in the symbol of the Solomon's seal, the two triangles in opposition represent two opposing ternaries, "one of which is like a reflection or mirror image of the other"[37] and "this is where this symbol is an exact representation of analogy".[37] This consideration of a "reverse meaning" allows René Guénon to propose an explanation of some artistic depictions, such as that reported by Ananda Coomaraswamy in his study "The inverted tree": some images of the "World Tree", a symbol of universal Manifestation, represent the tree with its roots up and its branches down: the corresponding positions correspond to two complementary points of view that can be contemplated: point of view of the manifestation and of the Principle. This consideration of "reverse meaning" is one of the elements of a "science of symbolism" in which Guénon refers to, and used by him in many occasions.

Guénon was critical of modern interpretations regarding symbolism which often rested on naturalistic interpretations of the symbol in question which Guénon regarded as a case of the symbol of the thing being mistaken for the thing itself. He was also critical of the psychological interpretations found in the psychiatrist Carl Jung.[38]
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Part 2 of 2

Contemporary "neo-spiritualism"

Guénon denounced the Theosophical Society, many pseudo-Masonic orders in the French and Anglo-Saxon occult scenes and the Spiritist movement. They formed the topic of two of his major books written in the 1920s, Theosophy: History of a Pseudo-Religion and The Spiritist Fallacy. He denounced the syncretic tendencies of many of these groups, along with the common Eurocentric misconceptions that accompanied their attempts to interpret Eastern doctrines. René Guénon especially develops some aspects of what he refers to as the manifestation of "antitraditional" currents in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His first book on that subject is devoted to a detailed historical examination of Madame Blavatsky's theosophy: Theosophy: History of a Pseudo-Religion. Guénon examines the role and intervention that played in that movement organizations that are described in more detail in The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, as under what he called the "pseudo-initiation"; in particular what he calls "pseudo-Rosicrucian" organizations holding no affiliation with the real authentic Rosicrucians, like the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia founded in 1867 by Robert Wentworth Little, the "Order of the esoteric Rose-Cross" of Dr. Franz Hartmann etc. He denounces the syncretic nature of theosophy and its connection with the theory of evolution in "The Secret Doctrine" (Madame Blavastky's main work); he also examines the role and relationship that the Theosophical Society had with multitude of "pseudo-initiatic" organizations, among others the O.T.O. founded in 1895 by Carl Kellner and propagated in 1905 by Theodor Reuss, and the Golden Dawn, to which belongs a large number of key figures of the Anglo-Saxon "neo-spiritualism" of the early twentieth century etc. Some authors have argued that Guénon's analysis of Theosophy is flawed and that it is debatable whether Theosophy is really hostile to Islam and Christianity.[39][40]

These are precisely some members of the "inner circle" of the H.B. of L., to which belonged Emma Hardinge Britten, who would have produced the phenomena giving rise to spiritist movement[41] that is to say, another "antitraditional" current born in 1848. To support this assertion, he relies on statements from Emma Hardinge Britten herself, which will be confirmed much later, in 1985, by the publication from French publishing house Editions Archè of the documents of the H.B. of L. This organization would have received in part the legacy of other secret societies, including the "Eulis Brotherhood", to which belonged Paschal Beverly Randolph, a character designated by René Guénon as "very enigmatic"[42] who died in 1875. He denounces "the confusion of the psychic and the spiritual"[43] and especially the psychoanalytic interpretation of symbols, including the Jungian branch of it, which he condemned with the greatest firmness, seeing in it the beginnings of a reversed – or at least distorted – interpretation of symbols.[44] This aspect is reflected in some studies,[45] especially in a book published in 1999 by Richard Noll[46] who incidentally speaks of the role played by the Theosophical Society in Jung.[47]

A commentator of René Guénon, Charles-André Gilis, has published a book in 2009 which proposes some insights and developments of the idea of 'counter-tradition' introduced by Guénon, based on Mohyddin Ibn Arabi's writings ("The profanation of Israël in the light of Sacred Law").[48]


The impact of Guénon's work has been very broad, including many artists, in particular in the surrealist movement. For instance, writers and artists influenced by Guénon include Alain Danielou,[49] André Malraux,[50] Albert Gleizes,[51] André Breton,[52] Antonin Artaud,[53] Marco Pallis, René Daumal,[54] Raymond Queneau,[55] Georges Bataille[56] and Paul Ackerman.[57] René Guénon had a discrete impact in the field of comparative religion,[58] particularly on the young Mircea Eliade and on contemporary scholars such as Huston Smith, William Chittick, Harry Oldmeadow, James Cutsinger and Hossein Nasr. For instance, Carl Schmitt wrote in 1942 that Guénon was an important "teacher" for Mircea Eliade.[59] However, Eliade also wrote that he preferred the writings of the tradionalist Ananda Coomaraswamy to both Guénon and Evola, whom he defined as "dilettantes" in an essay written in 1937,[59] and Eliade also thought that Sri Aurobindo was more "perfected" than Guénon.[60]

Just after World War I, Guénon was close to some circles of the conservative French right such as the neo-thomists, above all Jacques Maritain, and some members of the right-wing political movement Action Française including Léon Daudet, Jacques Bainville (Maritain, as many Catholics, stopped any links with the Action française after the papal condemnation of the movement in 1926).[61][62][63] The main goal of Guénon during this period was to convince Maritain and the Catholic Church to revitalize Christianity through a dialogue with oriental religions and he envisaged a restoration of traditional "intellectualité" in the West on the basis of Roman Catholicism and Freemasonry.[note 1] The project was unsuccessful. Several authors see in Guénon a successor of the monarchist, ultramontanist Joseph de Maistre, who was a Freemason like Guénon.[61]

Even though Guénon repeated on many occasions that he was apolitical and that he rejected in advance any political interpretation of his work, he influenced several writers who are on the far right of the political spectrum.[64] The main reason is the fact that he had a strong influence on Julius Evola with whom he kept up an epistolary correspondence. In addition, Carl Schmitt, the conservative German jurist, told scholar of comparative religion Mircea Eliade that he regarded René Guénon as “the most interesting man alive today”.[65] Guénon has remained on the reading lists of the some members of the New Right.[66][67][68] For instance, the work of Russian New Right author Aleksander Dugin is influenced by René Guénon and Julius Evola. Dugin repeatedly claimed Guénon as one of his teachers.[69][70][71] Olavo de Carvalho[72][73] and Steve Bannon[74] are others examples of a contemporary New Right authors influenced by Guenon's philosophy.

However, several academic studies dismiss now any intellectual connection between Guénon and monarchist, far right politics.[75] In a study based on the correspondences exchanged between Guénon and Evola and also some articles, P.-G. de Roux has pointed the harsh criticism of Guénon against Evola.[76] In the same manner, in his book Guénon ou le renversement des clartés, French scholar Xavier Accart disputes the connection made between the Traditionalist school and the far right movements. He claims, for instance, that Guenon was highly critical of Evola's political involvements and was worried about the possible confusion between his own ideas and Evola's. Guénon also clearly denounced the ideology of the fascist regimes in Europe before and during the Second World War.[77] Guénon consented to having extracts of his writings published in the fascist newspaper Regime fascista, a newspaper curated by Evola, but always refused to publish Evola's books and articles.[78][79][80][81] Some authors consider that Evola should not be considered a member of the Traditionalist school due to the large differences between his thought and that of Guénon.[82] A well known if controversial definition by Bergier and Louis Pauwels defined Adolf Hitler as Guénon plus the 'Panzerdivisonen'.[61] However, Pauwels recognized himself on the radio later that the connection between Guénon and Hitler was totally wrong.[83] In addition, Guénon also influenced many leftist or even apolitical writers and artists.[77][84]

Alain de Benoist, the founder of the New Right declared in 2013 on the radio that the influence of Guénon on his political school has been globally very weak.[note 2] In addition, Guénon was an outspoken opponent of the concept of Aryan race or Indo-European race and of any form of nationalism.[77]

Biographers also recall that Guénon disclaimed in his writings any connection to a "school" or "movement". George Santayana compared him to C. S. Lewis.[85] The religious scholar Huston Smith acknowledges a debt to Guénon and the Traditionalist School while remaining outside the school as an academic.[86]


In English

• Introduction to the Study of the Hindu doctrines (Introduction générale à l'étude des doctrines hindoues, 1921)
• Theosophy: History of a Pseudo-Religion (Le Théosophisme – Histoire d'une pseudo-religion, 1921)
• The Spiritist Fallacy (L'erreur spirite, 1923)
• East and West (Orient et Occident, 1924)
• Man and his Becoming according to the Vedanta (L'homme et son devenir selon le Vêdânta, 1925)
• The Esoterism of Dante (L'ésotérisme de Dante, 1925)
• The King of the World (also published as Lord of the World, Le Roi du Monde, 1927)
• The Crisis of the Modern World (La crise du monde moderne, 1927)
• Spiritual Authority and Temporal Power (Authorité Spirituelle et Pouvoir Temporel, 1929)
• St. Bernard (Saint-Bernard, 1929)
• The Symbolism of the Cross (Le symbolisme de la croix, 1931)
• The Multiple States of the Being (Les états multiples de l'Être, 1932)
• Oriental Metaphysics (La metaphysique orientale, 1939)
• The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times (Le règne de la quantité et les signes des temps, 1945)
• Perspectives on Initiation (Aperçus sur l'initiation, 1946)
• The Metaphysical Principles of the Infinitesimal Calculus (Les principes du calcul infinitésimal, 1946)
• The Great Triad (La Grande Triade, 1946)
• Initiation and Spiritual Realization (Initiation et réalisation spirituelle, 1952)
• Insights into Christian Esoterism (Aperçus sur l'ésotérisme chrétien, 1954)
• Symbols of Sacred Science (Symboles de la Science Sacrée, 1962)
• Studies in Freemasonry and Compagnonnage (Études sur la Franc-Maçonnerie et le Compagnonnage, 1964)
• Studies in Hinduism (Études sur l'Hindouisme, 1966)
• Traditional Forms & Cosmic Cycles (Formes traditionelles et cycles cosmiques, 1970)
• Insights into Islamic Esoterism & Taoism (Aperçus sur l'ésotérisme islamique et le Taoïsme, 1973)
• Reviews (Comptes rendus, 1973)
• Miscellanea (Mélanges, 1976)

Collected works

New English translation, 23 volumes, Sophia Perennis (publisher)

• East and West (paper, 2001; cloth, 2004)
• The Crisis of the Modern World (paper, 2001; cloth, 2004)
• The Esoterism of Dante (paper, 2003; cloth, 2005)
• The Great Triad (paper, 2001; cloth, 2004)
• Initiation and Spiritual Realization (paper, 2001; cloth, 2004)
• Insights into Christian Esoterism (paper, 2001; cloth, 2005)
• Insights into Islamic Esoterism and Taoism (paper, 2003; cloth, 2004)
• Introduction to the Study of the Hindu Doctrines (paper, 2001; cloth, 2004)
• The King of the World (paper, 2001; cloth, 2004)
• Man and His Becoming According to the Vedanta (paper, 2001; cloth, 2004)
• Metaphysical Principles of the Infinitesimal Calculus (paper, 2003; cloth, 2004)
• Miscellanea (paper, 2003; cloth, 2004)
• The Multiple States of the Being tr. Henry Fohr (paper, 2001; cloth, 2004)
• Perspectives on Initiation (paper, 2001; cloth, 2004)
• The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times (paper, 2001; cloth, 2004)
• The Spiritist Fallacy (paper, 2003; cloth, 2004)
• Spiritual Authority and Temporal Power (paper, 2001; cloth, 2004)
• Studies in Freemasonry and the Compagnonnage (paper, 2005; cloth, 2005)
• Studies in Hinduism (paper, 2001; cloth, 2004)
• The Symbolism of the Cross (paper, 2001; cloth, 2004)
• Symbols of Sacred Science (paper, 2004; cloth, 2004)
• Theosophy, the History of a Pseudo-Religion (paper, 2003; cloth, 2004)
• Traditional Forms and Cosmic Cycles (paper, 2003; cloth, 2004)

In French

• Introduction générale à l'étude des doctrines hindoues, Paris, Marcel Rivière, 1921, many editions.
• Le Théosophisme, histoire d'une pseudo-religion, Paris, Nouvelle Librairie Nationale, 1921, many editions.
• L'Erreur spirite, Paris, Marcel Rivière, 1923, many editions including: Éditions Traditionnelles. ISBN 2-7138-0059-5.
• Orient et Occident, Paris, Payot, 1924, many editions, including: Guy Trédaniel/Éditions de la Maisnie, Paris. ISBN 2-85829-449-6.
• L'Homme et son devenir selon le Vêdânta, Paris, Bossard, 1925, many editions, including: Éditions Traditionnelles. ISBN 2-7138-0065-X.
• L'Ésotérisme de Dante, Paris, Ch. Bosse, 1925, many editions, including: Éditions Traditionnelles, 1949.
• Le Roi du Monde, Paris, Ch. Bosse, 1927, many editions, including: Gallimard, Paris. ISBN 2-07-023008-2.
• La Crise du monde moderne, Paris, Bossard, 1927, many editions, including: Gallimard, Paris. ISBN 2-07-023005-8.
• Autorité spirituelle et pouvoir temporel, Paris, Vrin, 1929, many editions, including: (1952) Guy Trédaniel/Éditions de la Maisnie, Paris. ISBN 2-85-707-142-6.
• Saint Bernard, Publiroc, 1929, re-edited: Éditions Traditionnelles. Without ISBN.
• Le Symbolisme de la Croix, Véga, 1931, many editions, including: Guy Trédaniel/Éditions de la Maisnie, Paris. ISBN 2-85-707-146-9.
• Les États multiples de l'Être, Véga, 1932, many editions, including: Guy Trédaniel/Éditions de la Maisnie, Paris. ISBN 2-85-707-143-4.
• La Métaphysique orientale, Editions traditionnelles, 1939, many editions. This is the written version of a conference given at The Sorbonne University in 1926.
• Le Règne de la Quantité et les Signes des Temps, Gallimard, 1945, many editions.
• Les Principes du Calcul infinitésimal, Gallimard, 1946, many editions.
• Aperçus sur l'Initiation, Éditions Traditionnelles, 1946, many editions.
• La Grande Triade, Gallimard, 1946, many editions.
• Aperçus sur l'ésotérisme chrétien, Éditions Traditionnelles (1954). ISBN (?).
• Aperçus sur l'ésotérisme islamique et le taoïsme, Gallimard, Paris,(1973). ISBN 2-07-028547-2.
• Comptes rendus, Éditions traditionnelles (1986). ISBN 2-7138-0061-7.
• Études sur l'Hindouisme, Éditions Traditionnelles, Paris (1967). ISBN (?).
• Études sur la Franc-maçonnerie et le Compagnonnage, Tome 1 (1964) Éditions Traditionnelles, Paris. ISBN 2-7138-0066-8.
• Études sur la Franc-maçonnerie et le Compagnonnage, Tome 2 (1965) Éditions Traditionnelles, Paris. ISBN 2-7138-0067-6.
• Formes traditionnelles et cycles cosmiques, Gallimard, Paris (1970). ISBN 2-07-027053-X.
• Initiation et Réalisation spirituelle, Éditions Traditionnelles, 1952. ISBN 978-2-7138-0058-0.
• Mélanges, Gallimard, Paris (1976). ISBN 2-07-072062-4.
• Symboles de la Science sacrée (1962), Gallimard, Paris. ISBN 2-07-029752-7.
• Articles et Comptes-Rendus, Tome 1, Éditions Traditionnelles (2002). ISBN 2-7138-0183-4.
• Recueil, Rose-Cross Books, Toronto (2013). ISBN 978-0-9865872-1-4.
• Fragments doctrinaux, doctrinal fragments from Guénon's correspondence (600 letters, 30 correspondents). Rose-Cross Books, Toronto (2013). ISBN 978-0-9865872-2-1.
• Paris-Le Caire, correspondence with Louis Cattiaux, Wavre, Le Miroir d'Isis, 2011. ISBN 978-2-917485-02-6.


1. Cf. among others his Aperçus sur l'ésotérisme chrétien (Éditions Traditionnelles, Paris, 1954) and Études sur la Franc-maçonnerie et le Compagnonnage (2 vols, Éditions Traditionnelles, Paris, 1964–65) which include many of his articles for the Catholic journal Regnabit.
2. On Radio Courtoisie (20 May 2013), during the programme Le Libre Journal de la resistance française presented by Emmanuel Ratier and Pascal Lassalle.


1. Chacornac, Paul (1 May 2005). The Simple Life of Rene Guenon. Sophia Perennis. p. 7. ISBN 1-59731-055-7. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
2. René Guénon's works dealing with various aspects of sacred science are collected in the book which appeared in its first English translation as Fundamental Symbols: The Universal Language of Sacred Science, Quinta Essentia, 1995, ISBN 0-900588-77-2, then, in another translation, as Symbols of Sacred Science, translated by Henry D. Fohr, Sophia Perennis, 2001, ISBN 0-900588-78-0. There were two original French editions, both under the title Symboles fondamentaux de la Science sacrée, Editions Gallimard, Paris. The first contained a foreword followed by notes and comments by Michel Valsan, the second did not contain these additions.
3. "Traditional studies" is a translation of the French Les Etudes Traditionnelles— the title of the journal in which many of René Guénon's articles were published
4. Paul Chacornac, The Simple Life of Rene Guenon, Sophia Perennis, 2005, p. 21.
5. Chacornac, chapter II.
6. The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, chapter "The pseudo-initiation".
7. Jean-Claude Frere: Une Vie en Esprit, in Le Nouveau Planete, Rene Guenon: l'Homme et son Message 15 April 1970 p 12.
8. P. Chacornac, The Simple Life of René Guénon, chapter III: Ex oriente lux.
9. Frans Vreede a close friend of Guénon also claimed the same, c.f. René Guénon et l’actualité de la pensée traditionnelle in Actes du colloque international de Cerisy-la-Salle : 13-20 juillet 1973, Ed. du Baucens, 1977, cité in P. Feuga [1]
10. Mark Sedgwick, Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century ISBN 0-19-515297-2
11. Paul Furlong, Social and Political Thought of Julius Evola, 2011, Routledge.
12. P. Chacornac, La Vie simple de René Guénon, Editions traditionnelles, 1958
13. c.f. Charles-André Gilis, Introduction à l'enseignement et au mystère de René Guénon (Introduction to the teaching and mystery of René Guénon), chapter VII, Editions Traditionnelles, Paris, ISBN 2-7138-0179-6, and also P. Chacornac, The Simple Life of René Guénon, chapter III: Ex oriente lux. In a letter to T. Grangier dated June 28, 1938, Guénon writes: "mon rattachement aux organisations initiatiques islamiques remonte exactement à 1910" ("my linking with islamic initiatic organizations dates back precisely to 1910").
14. P. Chacornac, The Simple Life of René Guénon, chapter VI, Calls of the East.
15. Introduction to the Study of the Hindu Doctrines, part III, chapter VII, Shivaïsm and Vishnuïsm: "our goal is not to expose the doctrines themselves, but only to point the proper spirit necessary to study them..."
16. René Guénon Introduction to the Study of the Hindu Doctrines, part IV, chapters III and IV.
17. Jean-Pierre Laurant – Le Sens Caché dans l'Oeuvre de René Guénon
18. X. Accart, L'Ermite de Duqqi, Archè, Milano, 2001, chapter: "René Guénon diaphane au Caire".
19. J.-B. Aymard, La naissance de la loge "La Grande Triade" dans la correspondance de René Guénon à Frithjof Schuon in Connaissance des religions, special issue on René Guénon, n° 65–66, pp. 17–35. The integral version of this text can be found here (in French).
20. Paul Chacornac, The simple life of René Guénon, 2005, p. 98.
21. "For all his intellectuals skills might be, it seems unlikely that he succeeded just by himself or with the help of a few books in getting the profound and enlightening understanding of the Vêdânta he seems to have acquired by the age of 23" in P. Feuga, "René Guénon et l'Hindouisme", Connaissance des Religions, n. 65–66, 2002.
22. Cf. for instance The Eastern Metaphysics and Introduction to the Study of the Hindu Doctrines w.r.t. the meaning of the word "metaphysics", the first chapter of The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times on the meanings of the words "form" and "matter", the chapter "Kundalini-Yoga" in his Studies on Hinduism about the translation of Sanskrit word samâdhi as "ecstasy", Man and his Becoming according to Vedânta on the word "personality", Theosophism: History of a Pseudo-Religion on the word "theosophy" etc.
23. Luc Benoist, L'oeuvre de René Guénon, in La nouvelle revue française, 1943 (in French).
24. The Multiple states of the Being, Preface, p. 1.
25. The Multiple states of the Being, chapter "Possibles and compossibles", p. 17.
26. The Multiple states of the Being, chapter: "Being and Non-Being".
27. Perspectives on initiation, chap. XXXIX: Greater mysteries and lesser mysteries.
28. Perspectives on initiation.
29. René Guénon, The Esoterism of Dante.
30. Gilbert Durand, Les structures anthropologiques de l'imaginaire. Introduction à l'archétypologie générale, PUF, 1963 (Introduction et conclusion, passim), p. 21 (in french).
31. Introduction to the study of the Hindu Doctrines, part II, chapter VII: Symbolism and anthropomorphism.
32. Introduction to the Study of the Hindu Doctrines.
33. Perspectives on initiation, chapters XVI, XVII and XVIII.
34. Guénon's summary of a book by A. K. Coomaraswamy The Christian and Oriental or True Philosophy of Art, lecture given at Boston College, Newton, Mass., in March 1939. The summary appears on page 36 of the book Comptes-rendus, Editions Traditionnelles, 1986
35. General Introduction to the Study of Hindu doctrines, p.116.
36. René Guénon, Symbols of analogy
37. Jump up to:a b René Guénon, Symbols of analogy.
38. The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times. Sophia Perennis, 2004.
39. Smoley, Richard. “Against Blavatsky: Rene Guenon's Critique of Theosophy.” Quest 98. 1 (Winter 2010): 28-34.
40. Rebuttal of Rene Guenon’s Critique of Modern Theosophy by D. Johnson, copy available online at https://theacademiciantheosophical.word ... theosophy/
41. The Spiritist fallacy, "The origins of spiritism" (chapter 2).
42. The Spiritist fallacy, p. 19.
43. The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, chapter 35 p. 235.
44. Symbols of Sacred Science, Tradition and the 'Unconscious', p. 38.
45. Such as P. Geay's PhD thesis: "Hermes trahi" ("Hermes betrayed", in french).
46. The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement (Princeton: Princeton University Press), ISBN 0-684-83423-5.
47. On this subject, however, see the review by Anthony Stevens, On Jung (1999) about Noll's book.
48. Ch.-A. Gilis, "The profanation of Israël in the light of Sacred Law", translated by R. Beale with a foreword by Abd al-Jabbâr Khouri, Le Turban Noir publishing house, Paris, 2009.
49. "RENE GUENON ET L'HINDOUISME". Retrieved 17 March 2018.
50. Jean-Pierre Laurant: René Guénon.
51. Jean-Pierre Laurant, René Guénon, Les enjeux d'une lecture,
52. Eddy Batache, « René Guénon et le surréalisme », dans le « Cahier de l'Herne » consacré à René Guénon, p. 379.
53. Antonin Artaud, « La Mise en scène et la métaphysique », dans Le théâtre et son double, Gallimard, « Folio Essais »,
54. Dictionnaires et encyclopédies » (1936), recueilli dans Chaque fois que l'aube paraît. Essais et notes, t. I, Paris, Gallimrard, 1953
55. Michel Lécureur, Raymond Queneau, biographie, Les belles Lettres/Archimbaud, Paris, 2002,
56. Prévost, Pierre : Georges Bataille et René Guénon, Jean Michel Place, Paris. (ISBN 2-85893-156-9).
57. Ackerman, monographie sous la direction d'André Parinaud et Simone Ackerman, Éditions Mayer, 1987.
58. Oxford University Press, Description: "Against the Modern World. Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century"
59. Jump up to:a b Grottanelli Cristiano. Mircea Eliade, Carl Schmitt, René Guénon, 1942. In: Revue de l'histoire des religions, tome 219, n°3, 2002. pp. 325-356.
60. Mircea Eliade’s The Portugal Journal, trans. Mac Linscott Ricketts (Albany, N.Y.: SUNY Press, 2010)
61. Lindenberg Daniel. René Guénon ou la réaction intégrale. In: Mil neuf cent, n°9, 1991. Les pensées réactionnaires. pp. 69-79.
62. Marie France James wrote that René Guénon, knew “Ferdinand Gombault, doctor in scholastic philosophy; during more than 30 years, until his departure for Cairo, these two intellectuals maintained regular contact and both were partisans of the Action Française”
63. Paul Chacornac, Simple Life of René Guénon
64. Review by: Daniel Lindenberg Source: Esprit, No. 332 (2) (Février 2007), pp. 218-222. Reviewed Work(s): GUÉNON OU LE RENVERSEMENT DES CLARTÉS. Influence d'un métaphysicien sur la vie littéraire et intellectuelle française (1920–1970) by Xavier Accart
65. Mircea Eliade’s The Portugal Journal, trans. Mac Linscott Ricketts (Albany, N.Y.: SUNY Press, 2010), see also Grottanelli Cristiano. Mircea Eliade, Carl Schmitt, René Guénon, 1942. In: Revue de l'histoire des religions, tome 219, n°3, 2002. pp. 325-356.
66. Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century by Mark Sedgwick. ... UFmQ-NF_0C
67. Roger Griffin, ed., Fascism, 1995, page 353
68. Enquêtes sur la droite extrême, (1992), le journaliste R. Monzat
69. Russian Fascism: Traditions, Tendencies, Movements by S. Shenfield
70. "L'œuvre de Douguine au sein de la droite radicale française". Retrieved 17 March 2018.
71. A. Shekhovtsov & Andreas Umland: Is Aleksandr Dugin a Traditionalist? “Neo-Eurasianism” and Perennial Philosophy. In: The Russian Review. 68, Oktober 2009
72. de Carvalho, Olavo (1981). "O homem e a sua lanterna, RENÉ GUÉNON O MESTRE DA TRADIÇÃO CONTRA O REINO DA DETURPAÇÃO" (107 ed.). Planeta (revista).
73. "A derradeira análise da obra de Olavo de Carvalho, para nunca ter de lê-lo" (in Portuguese). Época (Brazilian magazine).
74. Revealed: The 6 Books That Steve Bannon Says Influenced His Worldview, by Adelle Nazarian, 12 November 2017, Breitbart News
75. C.f. André Lefranc, « Julius Evola contre René Guénon » and P. Geay "René Guénon récupéré par l'Extrême-Droite " LRA 16, 2003.
76. Pierre-Guillaume de Roux in Cahiers de l'Unité, n°5, 2017.
77. Accart, Xavier : Guénon critique des régimes totalitaires dans les années 1930, La Règle d'Abraham, september 2015, Ubik éditions.
78. Fascism: Post-war fascisms edited by Roger Griffin, Matthew Feldman
79. Julius Evola, Ricognizioni: uomini e problemi (Rome: Edizioni Mediterranee, 1974).
80. Orlando Fedeli’s essay “A Gnose “Tradicionalista” de René Guénon e Olavo de Carvalho”
81. Patrick Geay : René Guénon récupéré par l'extrême droite, La Règle d'Abraham, september 2015, Ubik éditions.
82. Renaud Fabbri also argues that Evola should not be considered a member of the Perennialist School. See the section Julius Evola and the Perennialist School in Fabbri's Introduction to the Perennialist School
83. "GUÉNON OU LE RENVERSEMENT DES CLARTÉS. Influence d'un métaphysicien sur la vie littéraire et intellectuelle française (1920–1970)" by Xavier Accart, 2005, Arché.
84. Daniel Lindenberg, revue Esprit, février 2007, p. 218-222.
85. Daniel Cory, Santayana: The Later Years: A Portrait with Letters (New York: G. Braziller, 1963), p. 267.
86. The Huston Smith Reader: Edited, with an Introduction, by Jeffery Paine, p. 6.

Further reading

• Fink-Bernard, Jeannine. L'Apport spirituel de René Guénon, in series, Le Cercle des philosophes. Paris: Éditions Dervy, 1996. ISBN 2-85076-716-6
• Études Traditionnelles n. 293–295 : Numéro spécial consacré à René Guénon.
• Pierre-Marie Sigaud (ed.) : Dossier H René Guénon, L'Âge d'Homme, Lausanne. ISBN 2-8251-3044-3.
• Jean-Pierre Laurant and Barbanegra, Paul (éd.) : Cahiers de l'Herne" 49 : René Guénon, Éditions de l'Herne, Paris. ISBN 2-85197-055-0.
• Il y a cinquante ans, René Guénon..., Éditions Traditionnelles, Paris. ISBN 2-7138-0180-X. (Notes.)
• Narthex n° trimestriel 21-22-23 de mars-août 1978 (et semble-t-il dernier), Numéro spécial René Guénon with two contributions by Jean Hani and Bernard Dubant (journal printed at only 600 samples which can now be found only at Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris).
• René Guénon and the Future of the West: The Life and Writings of a 20th-century Metaphysician.
• Accart, Xavier : Guénon ou le renversement des clartés : Influence d'un métaphysicien sur la vie littéraire et intellectuelle française (1920–1970), 2005, Edidit. ISBN 978-2-912770-03-5.
• Chacornac, Paul : La Vie simple de René Guénon, Éditions traditionnelles, Paris. ISBN 2-7138-0028-5.
• Evola, Julius : René Guénon: A Teacher for Modern Times.
• Gattegno, David : Guénon : qui suis-je ?, Éditions Pardès, Puiseaux (France). ISBN 2-86714-238-5.
• Gilis, Charles-André (Abd Ar-Razzâq Yahyâ) : Introduction à l'enseignement et au mystère de René Guénon, Les Éditions de l'Œuvre, Paris. ISBN 2-904011-03-X.
• Gilis, Charles-André (Abd Ar-Razzâq Yahyâ) : René Guénon et l'avènement du troisième Sceau. Éditions Traditionnelles, Paris. ISBN 2-7138-0133-8.
• Hapel, Bruno : René Guénon et l'Archéomètre, Guy Trédaniel, Paris. ISBN 2-85707-842-0.
• Hapel, Bruno : René Guénon et l'esprit de l'Inde, Guy Trédaniel, Paris. ISBN 2-85707-990-7.
• Hapel, Bruno : René Guénon et le Roi du Monde, Guy Trédaniel, Paris. ISBN 2-84445-244-2.
• Herlihy, John [ed.]: The Essential René Guénon: Metaphysics, Tradition, and the Crisis of Modernity. World Wisdom, 2009. ISBN 978-1-933316-57-4
• James, Marie-France : Ésotérisme et christianisme autour de René Guénon, Nouvelles Éditions Latines, Paris. ISBN 2-7233-0146-X.
• Laurant, Jean-Pierre : Le sens caché dans l'oeuvre de René Guénon, L'âge d'Homme, 1975, Lausanne, Switzerland, ISBN 2-8251-3102-4.
• Laurant, Jean-Pierre : L'Esotérisme, Les Editions du Cerf, 1993, ISBN 2-7621-1534-5.
• Laurant, Jean-Pierre : René Guénon, les enjeux d'une lecture, Dervy, 2006, ISBN 2-84454-423-1.
• Malić, Branko : The Way the World Goes – Rene Guénon on The End, ... n-the-end/
• Maxence, Jean-Luc : René Guénon, le Philosophe invisible, Presses de la Renaissance, Paris. ISBN 2-85616-812-4. (Notes.)
• Montaigu, Henry : René Guénon ou la mise en demeure. La Place Royale, Gaillac (France). ISBN 2-906043-00-1.
• Nutrizio, Pietro (e altri) : René Guénon e l'Occidente, Luni Editrice, Milano/Trento, 1999.
• Prévost, Pierre : Georges Bataille et René Guénon, Jean Michel Place, Paris. ISBN 2-85893-156-9.
• Robin, Jean: René Guénon, témoin de la Tradition, 2nd édition, Guy Trédaniel publisher. ISBN 2-85707-026-8.
• Rooth, Graham : Prophet For A Dark Age: A Companion To The Works Of René Guénon, Sussex Academic Press, Brighton, 2008. ISBN 978-1-84519-251-8.
• Science sacrée : Numéro Spécial René Guénon : R. G. de la Saulaye, Science sacrée, 2003, ISBN 2915059020
• Sérant, Paul : René Guénon, Le Courrier du livre, Paris. ISBN 2-7029-0050-X.
• Tamas, Mircea A : René Guénon et le Centre du Monde, Rose-Cross Books, Toronto, 2007, ISBN 978-0-9731191-7-6
• Tourniac, Jean : Présence de René Guénon, t. 1 : L'œuvre et l'univers rituel, Soleil Natal, Étampes (France). ISBN 2-905270-58-6.
• Tourniac, Jean : Présence de René Guénon, t. 2 : La Maçonnerie templière et le message traditionnel, Soleil Natal, Étampes (France). ISBN 2-905270-59-4.
• Ursin, Jean: René Guénon, Approche d'un homme complexe, Ivoire-Clair, Lumière sur..., Groslay (France). ISBN 2-913882-31-5.
• Vâlsan, Michel : L'Islam et la fonction de René Guénon, Chacornac frères, Paris, 1953 (no isbn) and also Editions de l'Oeuvre, Paris.
• Vivenza, Jean-Marc : Le Dictionnaire de René Guénon, Le Mercure Dauphinois, 2002. ISBN 2-913826-17-2.
• Vivenza, Jean-Marc : La Métaphysique de René Guénon, Le Mercure Dauphinois, 2004. ISBN 2-913826-42-3.

External links

• (in French)
• René-Gué (in French)
• (in English)
• Guenon and Hinduism (in French)
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Frithjof Schuon
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 9/2/19



Frithjof Schuon
Born June 18, 1907
Basel, Switzerland
Died May 5, 1998 (aged 90)
Bloomington, Indiana, United States
Nationality Swiss

Frithjof Schuon (/ˈʃuːɒn/; German: [ˈfʀiːtˌjoːf ˈʃuː.ɔn]) (18 June, 1907 – 5 May, 1998), also known as ʿĪsā Nūr ad-Dīn ʾAḥmad (عيسیٰ نور الـدّين أحمد),[1] was an author of German ancestry born in Basel, Switzerland. He was a spiritual master, philosopher, and metaphysician inspired by the Hindu philosophy of Advaita Vedanta and Sufism and the author of numerous books on religion and spirituality. He was also a poet and a painter.

In his prose and poetic writings, Schuon focuses on metaphysical doctrine and spiritual method. He is considered one of the main representatives and an exponent of the religio perennis (perennial religion) and one of the chief representatives of the Traditionalist School. In his writings, Schuon expresses his faith in an absolute principle, Gᴏᴅ, who governs the universe and to whom our souls would return after death. For Schuon, the great revelations are the link between this absolute principle—Gᴏᴅ—and humankind. He wrote the main bulk of his work in French. In the later years of his life, Schuon composed some volumes of poetry in his mother tongue, German. His articles in French were collected in about 20 titles in French which were later translated into English as well as many other languages. The main subjects of his prose and poetic compositions are spirituality and various essential realms of the human life coming from Gᴏᴅ and returning to Gᴏᴅ.[2]

Life and work

Schuon was born in Basel, Switzerland, on June 18, 1907. His father was a native of southern Germany, while his mother came from an Alsatian family. Schuon's father was a concert violinist and the household was one in which not only music but literary and spiritual culture were present.


Schuon lived in Basel and attended school there until the untimely death of his father, after which his mother returned with her two young sons to her family in nearby Mulhouse, France, where Schuon was obliged to become a French citizen. Having received his earliest training in German, he received his later education in French and thus mastered both languages early in life.[3]

From his youth, Schuon's search for metaphysical truth led him to read the Hindu scriptures such as Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. While still living in Mulhouse, he discovered the works of René Guénon, the French philosopher and Orientalist, which served to confirm his intellectual intuitions and which provided support for the metaphysical principles he had begun to discover.[3]

Schuon journeyed to Paris after serving for a year and a half in the French army. There he worked as a textile designer and began to study Arabic in the local mosque school. Living in Paris also brought the opportunity to be exposed to various forms of traditional art to a much greater degree than before, especially the arts of Asia with which he had had a deep affinity since his youth. This period of growing intellectual and artistic familiarity with the traditional worlds was followed by Schuon's first visit to Algeria in 1932. It was then that he met the celebrated Shaykh Ahmad al-Alawi and was initiated into his order.[4] Schuon has written about his deep affinity with the esoteric core of various traditions and hence appreciation for the Sufism in the Islamic tradition. His main reason for seeking the blessings of Shaykh Al-Alawi being exactly the attachment to an orthodox master and Saint.[5] On a second trip to North Africa, in 1935, he visited Algeria and Morocco; and during 1938 and 1939 he traveled to Egypt where he met Guénon, with whom he had been in correspondence for 27 years. In 1939, shortly after his arrival in Pie, India, World War II broke out, forcing him to return to Europe. After having served in the French army, and having been made a prisoner by the Germans, he sought asylum in Switzerland, which gave him Swiss nationality and was to be his home for forty years. In 1949 he married, his wife being a German Swiss with a French education who, besides having interests in religion and metaphysics, was also a gifted painter.[3]

Following World War II, Schuon accepted an invitation to travel to the American West, where he lived for several months among the Plains Indians, in whom he always had a deep interest. Having received his education in France, Schuon has written all his major works in French, which began to appear in English translation in 1953. Of his first book, The Transcendent Unity of Religions (London, Faber & Faber) T. S. Eliot wrote: "I have met with no more impressive work in the comparative study of Oriental and Occidental religion."[3]

While always continuing to write, Schuon and his wife traveled widely. In 1959 and again in 1963, they journeyed to the American West at the invitation of friends among the Sioux and Crow American Indians. In the company of their Native American friends, they visited various Plains tribes and had the opportunity to witness many aspects of their sacred traditions. In 1959, Schuon and his wife were solemnly adopted into the Sioux family of James Red Cloud, descendant of Red Cloud. Years later they were similarly adopted by the Crow medicine man and Sun Dance chief, Thomas Yellowtail. Schuon's writings on the central rites of Native American religion and his paintings of their ways of life attest to his particular affinity with the spiritual universe of the Plains Indians. Other travels have included journeys to Andalusia, Morocco, and a visit in 1968 to the reputed home of the Virgin Mary in Ephesus.

Through his many books and articles, Schuon became known as a spiritual teacher and leader of the Traditionalist School. During his years in Switzerland he regularly received visits from well-known religious scholars and thinkers of the East.[3]

Schuon throughout his entire life had great respect for and devotion to the Virgin Mary which was expressed in his writings. As a result, his teachings and paintings show a particular Marian presence. His reverence for the Virgin Mary has been studied in detail by American professor James Cutsinger.[6] Hence the name, Maryamiya (in Arabic, "Marian"), of the Sufi order he founded as a branch of the Shadhiliya-Darqawiya-Alawiya. When asked by one of his disciples about the reason for this choice of name, Schuon replied: "It is not we who have chosen her; it is she who has chosen us."[7]

In 1980, Schuon and his wife emigrated to the United States, settling in Bloomington, Indiana, where a community of disciples from all over the world would gather around him for spiritual direction. The first years in Bloomington saw the publication of some of his most important late works: From the Divine to the Human, To Have a Center, Survey of Metaphysics and Esoterism and others.

Apart from regular strictly Islamic Sufi gatherings of invocation (majalis al-dhikr), Schuon would occasionally lead in Bloomington gatherings involving the wearing of American Indian attire, and also some degree of ritual nudity.[8] These gatherings were understood by disciples as a sharing in Schuon's personal insights and realization, not as part of the initiatic method he transmitted, centered on the invocation of a Divine Name.[9]

In 1991, one of Schuon's followers accused him of "fondling" three young girls during “primordial gatherings”. A preliminary investigation was begun, but the chief prosecutor eventually concluded that there was no proof, noting that the plaintiff was of extremely dubious character. The prosecutor declared that there were no grounds for prosecution, and the local press made amends. Some articles and books, including Mark Sedgwick's Against the Modern World,[10] purporting to be scholarly documents[11], discuss this event and the related "primordial" practices of the Bloomington community in Midwestern suburban America in the late twentieth century.[12] Schuon was greatly affected, but continued to write poetry in his native German, to receive visitors and maintain a busy correspondence with followers, scholars and readers until his death in 1998.[3][13]

Views based on his written works

Transcendent unity of religions

The traditionalist or perennialist perspective began to be enunciated in the 1920s by the French philosopher René Guénon and, in the 1930s, by Schuon himself. Orientalist Ananda Coomaraswamy and Swiss art historian Titus Burckhardt also became prominent advocates of this point of view. Fundamentally, this doctrine is the Sanatana Dharma – the "eternal religion" – of Hindu Neo-Vedanta. It was supposedly formulated in ancient Greece, in particular, by Plato and later Neoplatonists, and in Christendom by Meister Eckhart (in the West) and Gregory Palamas (in the East) Every religion has, besides its literal meaning, an esoteric dimension, which is essential, primordial and universal. This intellectual universality is one of the hallmarks of Schuon's works, and it gives rise to insights into not only the various spiritual traditions, but also history, science and art.[14]

The dominant theme or principle of Schuon's writings was foreshadowed in his early encounter with a Black marabout who had accompanied some members of his Senegalese village to Switzerland in order to demonstrate their culture. When the young Schuon talked with him, the venerable old man drew a circle with radii on the ground and explained: God is in the center; all paths lead to Him.[15]


For Schuon, the quintessence of pure metaphysics can be summarized by the following vedantic statement, although the Advaita Vedanta's perspective finds its equivalent in the teachings of Ibn Arabi, Meister Eckhart or Plotinus: Brahma satyam jagan mithya jivo brahmaiva na'parah (Brahman is real, the world is illusory, the self is not different from Brahman).[16]

The metaphysics exposited by Schuon is based on the doctrine of the non-dual Absolute (Beyond-Being) and the degrees of reality. The distinction between the Absolute and the relative corresponds for Schuon to the couple Atma/Maya. Maya is not only the cosmic illusion: from a higher standpoint, Maya is also the Infinite, the Divine Relativity or else the feminine aspect (mahashakti) of the Supreme Principle.

Said differently, being the Absolute, Beyond-Being is also the Sovereign Good (Agathon), that by its nature desires to communicate itself through the projection of Maya. The whole manifestation from the first Being (Ishvara) to matter (Prakriti), the lower degree of reality, is indeed the projection of the Supreme Principle (Brahman). The personal God, considered as the creative cause of the world, is only relatively Absolute, a first determination of Beyond-Being, at the summit of Maya. The Supreme Principle is not only Beyond-Being. It is also the Supreme Self (Atman) and in its innermost essence, the Intellect (buddhi) that is the ray of Consciousness shining down, the axial refraction of Atma within Maya.[17]

Spiritual path

According to Schuon the spiritual path is essentially based on the discernment between the "Real" and the "unreal" (Atma / Maya); concentration on the Real; and the practice of virtues. Human beings must know the "Truth". Knowing the Truth, they must then will the "Good" and concentrate on it. These two aspects correspond to the metaphysical doctrine and the spiritual method. Knowing the Truth and willing the Good, human beings must finally love "Beauty" in their own soul through virtue, but also in "Nature". In this respect Schuon has insisted on the importance for the authentic spiritual seeker to be aware of what he called the "metaphysical transparency of phenomena".[18]

Schuon wrote about different aspects of spiritual life both on the doctrinal and on the practical levels. He explained the forms of the spiritual practices as they have been manifested in various traditional universes. In particular, he wrote on the Invocation of the Divine Name (dhikr, Japa-Yoga, the Prayer of the Heart), considered by Hindus as the best and most providential means of realization at the end of the Kali Yuga. As has been noted by the Hindu saint Ramakrishna, the secret of the invocatory path is that God and his Name are one.[19]

Schuon's views are in harmony with traditional Islamic teachings of the primacy of "Remembrance of God" as emphasized by Shaykh Al-Alawi in the following passage:

Remembrance (dhikr) is the most important rule of the religion. The law was not imposed upon us nor the rites of worship ordained except for the sake of establishing the remembrance of God (dhikru ʾLlāh). The Prophet said: ‘The circumambulation (ṭawāf) around the Holy House, the passage to and fro between (the hills of) Safa and Marwa, and the throwing of the pebbles (on three pillars symbolizing the devil) were ordained only for the sake of the Remembrance of God.’ And God Himself has said (in the Koran): ‘Remember God at the Holy Monument.’ Thus we know that the rite that consists in stopping there was ordained for remembrance and not specifically for the sake of the monument itself, just as the halt at Muna was ordained for remembrance and not because of the valley. Furthermore He (God) has said on the subject of the ritual prayer: ‘Perform the prayer in remembrance of Me.’ In a word, our performance of the rites is considered ardent or lukewarm according to the degree of our remembrance of God while performing them. Thus when the Prophet was asked which spiritual strivers would receive the greatest reward, he replied: ‘Those who have remembered God most.’ And when asked which fasters would receive the greatest reward, he replied: ‘Those who have remembered God most.’ And when the prayer and the almsgiving and the pilgrimage and the charitable donations were mentioned, he said each time: ‘The richest in remembrance of God is the richest in reward.’[20]

Quintessential esoterism

Guénon had pointed out at the beginning of the twentieth century that every religion comprises two main aspects, "esoterism" and "exoterism". Schuon explained that esoterism displays two aspects, one being an extension of exoterism and the other one independent of exoterism; for if it be true that the form "is" in a certain way the essence, the essence on the contrary is by no means totally expressed by a single form; the drop is water, but water is not the drop. This second aspect is called "quintessential esoterism" for it is not limited or expressed totally by one single form or theological school and, above all, by a particular religious form as such.[21]

Criticism of modernity

Guénon had based his Crisis of the Modern World on the Hindu doctrine of cyclic nature of time.[22] Schuon expanded on this concept and its consequences for humanity in many of his articles.[23] In his essay "The Contradictions of Relativism", Schuon wrote that the uncompromising relativism that underlies many modern philosophies had fallen into an intrinsic absurdity in declaring that there is no absolute truth and then attempting to put this forward as an absolute truth. Schuon notes that the essence of relativism is found in the idea that we never escape from human subjectivity whilst its expounders seem to remain unaware of the fact that relativism is therefore also deprived of any objectivity. Schuon further notes that the Freudian assertion that rationality is merely a hypocritical guise for a repressed animal drive results in the very assertion itself being devoid of worth as it is itself a rational judgment.[24][25]


Books in English

• Adastra and Stella Maris: Poems by Frithjof Schuon, World Wisdom, 2003
• Autumn Leaves & The Ring: Poems by Frithjof Schuon, World Wisdom, 2010
• Castes and Races, Perennial Books, 1959, 1982
• Christianity/Islam, World Wisdom, 1985
o New translation, World Wisdom, 2008
• Dimensions of Islam, 1969
• Echoes of Perennial Wisdom, World Wisdom, 1992
• Esoterism as Principle and as Way, Perennial Books, 1981, 1990
• The Eye of the Heart, World Wisdom, 1997
• The Feathered Sun: Plain Indians in Art & Philosophy, World Wisdom, 1990
• Form and Substance in the Religions, World Wisdom, 2002
• From the Divine to the Human, World Wisdom, 1982
o New translation, World Wisdom, 2013
• Gnosis: Divine Wisdom, 1959, 1978, Perennial Books 1990
o New translation, World Wisdom, 2006
• Images of Primordial & Mystic Beauty: Paintings by Frithjof Schuon, Abodes, 1992, World Wisdom
• In the Face of the Absolute, World Wisdom, 1989, 1994
• In the Tracks of Buddhism, 1968, 1989
o New translation, Treasures of Buddhism, World Wisdom, 1993
• Islam and the Perennial Philosophy, Scorpion Cavendish, 1976
• Language of the Self, 1959
o Revised edition, World Wisdom, 1999
• Light on the Ancient Worlds, 1966, World Wisdom, 1984
o New translation, World Wisdom, 2006
• Logic and Transcendence, 1975, Perennial Books, 1984
o New translation, World Wisdom, 2009
• The Play of Masks, World Wisdom, 1992
• Primordial Meditation: Contemplating the Real, The Matheson Trust, 2015 (translated from the original German)
• Road to the Heart, World Wisdom, 1995
• Roots of the Human Condition, World Wisdom, 1991
o New translation, World Wisdom, 2002
• Songs Without Names Vol. I-VI, World Wisdom, 2007
• Songs Without Names VII-XII, World Wisdom, 2007
• Spiritual Perspectives and Human Facts, 1954, 1969
o New translation, World Wisdom, 2008
• Stations of Wisdom, 1961, 1980
o Revised translation, World Wisdom, 1995, 2003
• Sufism: Veil and Quintessence, World Wisdom, 1981, 2007
• Survey of Metaphysics and Esoterism, World Wisdom, 1986, 2000
• The Transcendent Unity of Religions, 1953
o Revised Edition, 1975, 1984, The Theosophical Publishing House, 1993
• The Transfiguration of Man, World Wisdom, 1995
• Treasures of Buddhism ( = In the Tracks of Buddhism) (1968, 1989, 1993)
• To Have a Center, World Wisdom, 1990, 2015
• Understanding Islam, 1963, 1965, 1972, 1976, 1979, 1981, 1986, 1989
o Revised translation, World Wisdom, Foreword by Annemarie Schimmel, 1994, 1998, 2011
• World Wheel Vol. I-III, World Wisdom, 2007
• World Wheel Vol. IV-VII, World Wisdom, 2007
Schuon was a frequent contributor to the quarterly journal Studies in Comparative Religion, (along with Guénon, Coomarswamy, and many others) which dealt with religious symbolism and the Traditionalist perspective.[26]


• Art from the Sacred to the Profane: East and West, (A selection from his writings by Catherine Schuon), World Wisdom, Inc, 2007. ISBN 1933316357
• The Essential Frithjof Schuon, World Wisdom, 2005
• The Essential Writings of Frithjof Schuon, ed. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, 1986, Element, 1991
• The Fullness of God: Frithjof Schuon on Christianity, Foreword by Antoine Faivre ed. James Cutsinger (2004)
• Prayer Fashions Man: Frithjof Schuon on the Spiritual Life, ed. James Cutsinger (2005)
• René Guénon: Some Observations, ed. William Stoddart (2004)
• Songs for a Spiritual Traveler: Selected Poems, World Wisdom, 2002
• American Gurus: From American Transcendentalism to New Age Religion, Arthur Versluis (2014), Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199368136
• Harry Oldmeadow (2010). Frithjof Schuon and the Perennial Philosophy. World Wisdom. ISBN 9781935493099.
• Splendor of the true : a Frithjof Schuon reader, James S. Cutsinger, State University of New York Press, 2013. ISBN 9781438446127[27].

See also

• Seyyed Hossein Nasr
• Martin Lings
• Marco Pallis
• Whitall Perry
• Wolfgang Smith
• Leo Schaya
• Jean Borella
• Walter James, 4th Baron Northbourne
• Michel Valsan
• Algis Uždavinys
• Mateus Soares de Azevedo
• James Cutsinger
• William Stoddart
• Huston Smith
• Kathleen Raine
• Annemarie Schimmel
• Jean-Louis Michon
• Tage Lindbom
• Kurt Almqvist
• Ivan Aguéli
• Michael Oren Fitzgerald
• Philip Sherrard
• Jacob Needleman
• Henry Corbin
• Ivan Illich
• E. F. Schumacher
• Harry Oldmeadow
• Patrick Laude
• Olavo de Carvalho


1. Vincent Cornell, Voices of Islam: Voices of the spirit, Greenwood Publishing Group (2007), p. xxvi.
2. Schuon, Frithjof (1982). From the Divine to the Human. USA: World Wisdom Books. p. 1. ISBN 0-941532-01-1.
3. Frithjof Schuon's life and work.
4. Frithjof Schuon, Songs Without Names, Volumes VII-XII, (World Wisdom, 2007) p. 226.
5. J. B. Aymard and Patrick Laude. Frithjof Schuon, life and teachings. SUNY press 2002
6. "Colorless Light and Pure Air: The Virgin in the Thought of Frithjof Schuon" for some reflections, and J.-B. Aymard’s "Approche biographique" for chronological details.
7. Martin Lings, A Return to the Spirit, Fons Vitae, Kentucky, 2005, p. 6.
8. American Gurus: From Transcendentalism to New Age Religion, Oxford University Press, 2014, p. 170. by Arthur Versluis.
9. Aymard and Laude, Frithjof Schuon: Life and Teachings, SUNY Press, NY, 2004.
10. Mark Segdwick. Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century. Oxford Scholarship Online. p. 171ff. ISBN 9780195152975.
11. Book critique by Horváth, Róbert and reviews by Fitzgerald, Michael Oren and Poindexter, Wilson Eliot (2009). "Articles". Retrieved 2018-08-23.
12. Versluis, Arthur (2014). American Gurus: From Transcendentalism to New Age Religion. Oxford university press.
13. J.-B. Aymard, "Approche biographique", in Connaissance des Religions, Numéro Hors Série Frithjof Schuon, 1999, Coédition Connaissance des Religions/ Le Courrier du Livre.
14. Schuon, Frithjof (1982). From the Divine to the Human. USA: World Wisdom Books. pp. i. ISBN 0-941532-01-1.
15. Schuon, Frithjof (1982). From the Divine to the Human. USA: World Wisdom Books. pp. Backcover. ISBN 0-941532-01-1.
16. Schuon, Frithjof (1982). From the Divine to the Human. USA: World Wisdom Books. p. 21. ISBN 0-941532-01-1.
17. Schuon, Frithjof (1982). From the Divine to the Human. USA: World Wisdom Books. p. 37. ISBN 0-941532-01-1.
18. Schuon, Frithjof (1982). From the Divine to the Human. USA: World Wisdom Books. p. 61. ISBN 0-941532-01-1.
19. Schuon, Frithjof (1982). From the Divine to the Human. USA: World Wisdom Books. p. 73. ISBN 0-941532-01-1.
20. (Shaykh Aḥmad al-ʿAlawī in his treatise Al-Qawl al-Maʿrūf)
21. Schuon, Frithjof (1982). From the Divine to the Human. US: World Wisdom Books. p. 85. ISBN 0-941532-01-1.
22. The System of Antichrist: Truth and Falsehood in Postmodernism and the New Age, Chapter: The Prophecy of René Guénon, By Charles Upton, Sophia Perennis, 2005 - 88 pages, Pages 8 to 10
23. Nasr, Critic of the modern World, pages 46 à 50 , in The Essential Frithjof Schuon, [1]
24. Logic and transcendence, Perennial Books, 1975.
25. A Mística Islâmica em Terræ Brasilis: o Sufismo e as Ordens Sufis em São Paulo. Mário Alves da Silva Filho. Dissertação apresentada à Banca Examinadora da Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo em 2012. (in Portuguese)
26. Journal of American Society of Philosophy
27. World Catalog

External links

• Perennialist/Traditionalist School website
• Schuon website
• Fons Vitae books - Traditionalist School books
• Frithjof Schuon Archive
• World Wisdom - Perennial Philosophy
• Frithjof Schuon metaphysician, theologian and philosopher
• Frithjof Schuon Swiss metaphysician, theologian and philosopher Oxford University Press
• Publications by and about Frithjof Schuon in the catalogue Helveticat of the Swiss National Library

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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Sep 03, 2019 6:47 am

Paschal Beverly Randolph
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 9/2/19



Paschal Beverly Randolph
Born October 8, 1825
New York City, New York, USA
Died July 29, 1875 (aged 49)
Toledo, Ohio, USA

Paschal Beverly Randolph (October 8, 1825 – July 29, 1875) was an African American medical doctor, occultist, spiritualist, trance medium, and writer. He is notable as perhaps the first person to introduce the principles of erotic alchemy to North America, and, according to A. E. Waite, establishing the earliest known Rosicrucian order in the United States.[1]

Early life

Born in New York City,[2] Randolph grew up in New York City. He was a free man of mixed-race ancestry, a descendant of William Randolph.

William Randolph I (bapt. 7 November 1650 – 11 April 1711) was an American colonist, landowner, planter, merchant, and politician who played an important role in the history and government of the English colony of Virginia. He moved to Virginia sometime between 1669 and 1673, and married Mary Isham (ca. 1659 – 29 December 1735) a few years later.[1][2] His descendants include many prominent individuals including Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, Paschal Beverly Randolph, Robert E. Lee,[3] Peyton Randolph, Edmund Randolph, John Randolph of Roanoke, George W. Randolph, and Edmund Ruffin. Genealogists have taken an interest in him for his progeny's many marital alliances, referring to him and Mary Isham as "the Adam and Eve of Virginia".

-- William Randolph, by Wikipedia

His father was a nephew of John Randolph of Roanoke and his mother was Flora Beverly, whom he later described as being of mixed English, French, German, Native American and Malagasy ancestry.[3]

John Randolph (June 2, 1773 – May 24, 1833), known as John Randolph of Roanoke,[note 1] was a planter and a Congressman from Virginia, serving in the House of Representatives at various times between 1799 and 1833, and the Senate from 1825 to 1827. He was also Minister to Russia under Andrew Jackson in 1830. After serving as President Thomas Jefferson's spokesman in the House, he broke with the president in 1805 as a result of what he saw as the dilution of traditional Jeffersonian principles as well as perceived mistreatment during the impeachment of Samuel Chase, in which Randolph served as chief prosecutor.[1] Following this split, Randolph proclaimed himself the leader of the "Old Republicans" or "Tertium Quids", a wing of the Democratic-Republican Party[2] who wanted to restrict the role of the federal government. Specifically, Randolph promoted the Principles of '98, which said that individual states could judge the constitutionality of central government laws and decrees, and could refuse to enforce laws deemed unconstitutional.

A quick-thinking orator with a remarkable wit, he was committed to republicanism and advocated a commercial agrarian society throughout his three decades in Congress. Randolph's conservative stance, displayed in his arguments against debt and for the rights of the landed gentry, have been attributed to his ties to his family estate and the elitist values of his native Southside Virginia. His belief in the importance of a landed gentry led him to oppose the abolition of entail and primogeniture: "The old families of Virginia will form connections with low people, and sink into the mass of overseers' sons and daughters".[3] Randolph vehemently opposed the War of 1812 and the Missouri Compromise of 1820; he was active in debates about tariffs, manufacturing, and currency. With mixed feelings about slavery, he was one of the founders of the American Colonization Society in 1816, to send free blacks to a colony in Africa. At the same time, he believed that slavery was a necessity in Virginia, saying, "The question of slavery, as it is called, is to us a question of life and death ... You will find no instance in history where two distinct races have occupied the soil except in the relation of master and slave."[3] In addition, Randolph remained dependent on hundreds of slaves to work his tobacco plantation. However, he provided for their manumission and resettlement in the free state of Ohio in his will, providing monies for the purchase of land and supplies. They founded Rossville, now part of Piqua, Ohio and Rumley, Ohio.

Randolph was admired by the community and his supporters for his fiery character and was known as a man that was passionate about education and equality for all. He applied rousing electioneering methods, which he also enjoyed as a hobby. Randolph appealed directly to yeomen, using entertaining and enlightening oratory, sociability, and community of interest, particularly in agriculture. This resulted in an enduring voter attachment to him regardless of his personal deficiencies. His defense of limited government appeals to modern and contemporary conservatives, most notably Russell Kirk (1918–1994).

-- John Randolph of Roanoke, bu Wikipedia

His mother died when he was young, leaving him homeless and penniless; he ran away to sea in order to support himself. From his adolescence through to the age of twenty, he worked as a sailor.[2]

As a teen and young man, Randolph traveled widely, due to his work aboard sailing vessels. He journeyed to England, through Europe, and as far east as Persia, where his interest in mysticism and the occult led him to study with local practitioners of folk magic and various religions. On these travels he also met and befriended occultists in England and Paris, France.


Returning to New York City in September 1855, after "a long tour in Europe and Africa," he gave a public lecture to African Americans on the subject of emigrating to India. Randolph believed that "the Negro is destined to extinction" in the United States.[4]

After leaving the sea, Randolph embarked upon a public career as a lecturer and writer. By his mid-twenties, he regularly appeared on stage as a trance medium and advertised his services as a spiritual practitioner in magazines associated with Spiritualism. Like many Spiritualists of his era, he lectured in favor of the abolition of slavery; after emancipation, he taught literacy to freed slaves in New Orleans.

In addition to his work as a trance medium, Randolph trained as a doctor of medicine and wrote and published both fictional and instructive books based on his theories of health, sexuality, Spiritualism and occultism. He wrote more than fifty works on magic and medicine, established an independent publishing company, and was an avid promoter of birth control during a time when it was largely against the law to mention this topic.

Having long used the pseudonym "The Rosicrucian" for his Spiritualist and occult writings, Randolph eventually founded the Fraternitas Rosae Crucis in 1858, and their first lodge in San Francisco in 1861, the oldest Rosicrucian organization in the United States, which dates back to the era of the American Civil War. This group, still in existence, today avoids mention of Randolph's interest in sex magic, but his magico-sexual theories and techniques formed the basis of much of the teachings of another occult fraternity, the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor, although it is not clear that Randolph himself was ever personally associated with the Brotherhood.[5]

Randolph was the principal of the Lloyd Garrison School in New Orleans when on October 14, 1865, he wrote to Garrison in Boston requesting assistance for his school.[6]

Belief and teaching

Randolph described himself as a Rosicrucian.[7] He had worked "largely alone", producing "his own synthesis" of "esoteric teachings".[7] The manner in which Randolph incorporated sex into his occult system was considered uncharacteristically bold for the period in which he lived.[7]


Randolph was a believer in pre-Adamism (the belief that humans existed on earth before the biblical Adam) and wrote the book Pre-Adamite Man: demonstrating the existence of the human race upon the earth 100,000 thousand years ago! under the name of Griffin Lee in 1863. His book was a unique contribution towards pre-Adamism because it wasn't strictly based on biblical grounds. Randolph used a wide range of sources to write his book from many different world traditions, esoterica and ancient religions. Randolph traveled to many countries of the world where he wrote different parts of his book. In the book he claims that Adam was not the first man and that pre-Adamite men existed on all continents around the globe 35,000 years to 100,000 years ago. His book was different from many of the other writings from other pre-Adamite authors because in Randolph's book he claims the pre-Adamites were civilised men while other pre-Adamite authors argued that the pre-Adamites were beasts or hominids.[8]

Personal life

A peripatetic man, he lived in many places, including New York state, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Toledo, Ohio. He married twice: his first wife was African-American, his second wife was Irish-American.


Randolph died in Toledo, Ohio, at the age of 49, under disputed circumstances. According to biographer Carl Edwin Lindgren, many questioned the newspaper article "By His Own Hand" that appeared in The Toledo Daily Blade. According to this article, Randolph had died from a self-inflicted wound to the head. However, many of his writings express his aversion to suicide. R. Swinburne Clymer, a later Supreme Master of the Fraternitas, stated that years after Randolph's demise, in a death-bed confession, a former friend of Randolph had conceded that in a state of jealousy and temporary insanity, he had killed Randolph. Lucus County Probate Court records list the death as accidental. Randolph was succeeded as Supreme Grand Master of the Fraternitas, and in other titles, by his chosen successor Freeman B. Dowd.

Influence and legacy

Randolph influenced both the Theosophical Society and—to a greater degree—the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor.[7]

In 1994, the historian Joscelyn Godwin noted that Randolph had been largely neglected by historians of esotericism.[7] In 1996, a biography was published, Paschal Beverly Randolph: A Nineteenth-Century Black American Spiritualist, Rosicrucian, and Sex Magician by John Patrick Deveney and Franklin Rosemont.

Published works

• 1854 Waa-gu-Mah
• 1859 Lara
• 1860 The Grand Secret
• 1860 The Unveiling
• 1861 Dealings with the dead at the Internet Archive
• 1861 Human Love and Dealing with the Dead
• 1863 Pre-Adamite Man1
• 1863 The Wonderful Story of Ravalette
• 1863 The Rosicrucian Story
• 1866 A Sad Case; A Great Wrong!2
• 1867 "Clairvoyance, How to Produce It," Guide to Clairvoyance
• 1868 Seership! The Magnetic Mirror
• 1869 Love and Its Hidden History3
• 1870 Love and the Master Passion
• 1872 The Evils of the Tobacco Habit
• 1873 The New Mola! The Secret of Mediumship
• 1874 Love, Woman, and Marriage
• 1874 Eulis!: The History of Love at the Internet Archive
• 1875 The Book of the Triplicate Order
• Magia Sexualis: Sexual Practices for Magical Power (published posthumously)

Randolph also edited the Leader (Boston) and the Messenger of Light (New York) between 1852 and 1861 and wrote for the Journal of Progress and Spiritual Telegraph .[9]

It is also attributed to Randolph "Affectional Alchemy and How It Works" (c. 1870).

1 under the pseudonym "Griffin Lee".
2 as anonymous.
3 under the pseudonym "Count de St. Leon".


1. Greenfield, T. Allen (2000). Paschal Beverly Randolph: Sexual Magick in the 19th Century.
2. Godwin 1994, p. 248.
3. Deveney (1996), p. 378.
4. Daily Illinois State Register (Springfield, IL), September 20, 1855, p. 2.
5. Godwin et al., 1995.
6. The Liberator, November 10, 1865.
7. Godwin 1994, p. 247.
8. Paschal Beverly Randolph, Pre-Adamite Man: demonstrating the existence of the human race upon the earth 100,000 thousand years ago!, 1863.
9. Lindgren 1996


• Deveney, John Patrick and Franklin Rosemont (1996). Paschal Beverly Randolph: A Nineteenth-Century Black American Spiritualist, Rosicrucian, and Sex Magician. State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-3120-7.
• Godwin, Jocelyn, Christian Chanel, and John Patrick Deveney (1995). The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor: Initiatic and Historical Documents of an Order of Practical Occultism. Samuel Weiser. ISBN 0-87728-825-9.
• Carl Edwin Lindgren (1996). "The Rose Cross in America." Spiritual Alchemists. New Orleans: Ars Latomorum Publications, pp. 27–32. Available online.
• Carl Edwin Lindgren, (1999). "Randolph, Paschal Beverly." American National Biography (biographical entry).
• Randolph, Paschal Beverly (1932). SOUL, The Soul World. Beverly Hall, Quakertown, PA: The Confederation of Initiates.
• "By His Own Hand." The Toledo Daily Blade, July 29, 1875, p. 3, col 3. This article states that he committed suicide.
• Paschal Beverly Randolph. Lucas County Probate Court Death Records 1:254, Randolph entry, Lucus County Probate Court, Toledo.

External links

• Biography at
• Works by Paschal Beverly Randolph at Project Gutenberg
• Works by or about Paschal Beverly Randolph at Internet Archive
• Carl Edwin Lindgren (1997). The History of the Rose Cross Order, Chapter III ("The Rose Cross In America, 1800–1909").
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Sep 03, 2019 8:15 am

Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 9/3/19



Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park, July 2007.
Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park is located in London Borough of SouthwarkGeraldine Mary Harmsworth Park
Location within Southwark
Type Public
Location Lambeth Road, London, SE1
Coordinates 51°29′46.23″N 0°6′35.59″W

Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park is a public park in Kennington, south London. It is maintained by the London Borough of Southwark and bounded by Lambeth Road, Kennington Road, St George's Road and Brook Drive.[1] It covers an area of 5.9 hectares (15 acres).[2]


The park was opened in 1934 after the land was gifted to the 'splendid struggling mothers of Southwark' by Harold Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Rothermere. The park was named in remembrance of Rothermere's mother.[1] The land had previously been the grounds of the Dog and Duck tavern and later the Bethlem Hospital, after which the freehold was purchased by Rothermere following the relocation of the hospital to Surrey. The hospital building, constructed between 1812 and 1814, was largely demolished, with the remaining central portion being leased to the government's First Commissioner of Works to accommodate the Imperial War Museum.[3]

The park received its first Green Flag Award in 2012. The award was renewed in 2013.[4]

Sports facilities

The park's sports facilities include five-a-side football pitches, and netball, basketball and tennis courts.[1] The provision of these facilities was supported by a £1.4 million grant from the Big Lottery Fund.[5]


Soviet War Memorial

Vladimir Putin at the memorial in April 2000.

On 9 May 1999 a Soviet War Memorial was unveiled by the Secretary of State for Defence George Robertson, and the Russian ambassador Yuri Fokine. The date of the unveiling was significant as 9 May is marked as Victory Day in Russia. Since its inauguration the memorial has been the site of commemorations of Victory Day, Holocaust Memorial Day and Remembrance Sunday.[6]

Also in May 1999 the Dalai Lama opened a Tibetan Peace Garden, commissioned by the Tibet Foundation, in the park. The garden features a bronze cast of the Kalachakra Mandala, contemporary western sculpture, and a pillar inscribed with a message from the Dalai Lama in English, Tibetan, Hindi and Chinese.[7]

On 30 October 2004, two Araucaria araucana ('monkey puzzle') trees were planted near the park's eastern gates in memory of two Chileans who were forcibly 'disappeared' in 1974 following a military coup in Chile. The plantings were part of the Chilean Human Rights International Project's 'Ecomemoria' campaign.[8]


1. Southwark Council (2012). "Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park". Southwark Council: Parks and open spaces. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
2. "Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park and Vauxhall Park to lose Park Rangers". southeast 11. Lurking about SE11. 15 March 2011. Retrieved 13 September2013.
3. Ida Darlington, ed. (1955). "Bethlem Hospital (Imperial War Museum)". Survey of London: volume 25: St George's Fields (The parishes of St. George the Martyr Southwark and St. Mary Newington). English Heritage (British History Online). Retrieved 1 July 2012.
4. Southwark Council. "Green Flag awards". Retrieved 6 February 2014.
5. Big Lottery Fund (October 2004). "New Opportunities Fund Annex 1: Details of grants over £100,000 made during the period 1 April 2003 to 31 March 2004" (PDF). The Stationery Office. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
6. Society for Cooperation in Russian and Soviet Studies. "Soviet War Memorial". Retrieved 1 July 2012.
7. Tibet Foundation. "Art and Culture: Tibetan Peace Garden". Retrieved 1 July 2012.
8. "Pinochet's victims remembered in SE1 park". London 10 November 2004. Retrieved 1 July 2012.

In April 1999, along with Margaret Thatcher, Pope John Paul II, and the first George Bush, the Dalai Lama called upon the British government to release Augusto Pinochet, the former fascist dictator of Chile and a longtime CIA client who had been apprehended while visiting England. He urged that Pinochet be allowed to return to his homeland rather than be forced to go to Spain where he was wanted by a Spanish jurist to stand trial for crimes against humanity.

-- Friendly Feudalism: The Tibet Myth, by Michael Parenti
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Sep 03, 2019 8:35 am

Harold Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Rothermere
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 9/3/19




Sir. – Recent devastating events in Tibet caused over 15,000 Tibetans to cross the perilous Himalayas into India. It may be a long time before these unfortunate people can safely return to their overrun country. Our own consciences should allow us neither to neglect nor forget them.

The Indian Government has manfully coped with this addition to its own problems at home. In this country we are bound in honour to help relieve needs of the Tibetan refugees, because from 1905 to 1947 there was a special relationship between Tibet and the United Kingdom – a relationship handed on to the new India.

On balance we think it wisest to concentrate chiefly on collecting money which can be used for the benefit of the refugees, not least in the purchase of necessary antibiotics and other medicaments. The Tibet Society has opened a Tibet Relief Fund for which we now appeal in the hope of a generous response. Donations should be sent to the address below or direct to the National Bank Ltd. (Belgravia Branch), 21 Grosvenor Gardens, S.W.I.

Yours faithfully,

... Harmsworth ... The Tibet Relief Fund, 58 Eccleston Square, S.W. I., Letter to the Times, July 31, 1959, p.7.

-- Tibet Society, by

The Right Honourable The Viscount Rothermere PC
Lord Rothermere
President of the Air Council
In office
26 November 1917 – 1918
Preceded by The Viscount Cowdray
Succeeded by The Lord Weir
Personal details
Born 26 April 1868
Died 26 November 1940 (aged 72)
Nationality British
Spouse(s) Mary Lilian Share
Harold Alfred Vyvyan St. George Harmsworth (1894–1918)
Vere Sidney Tudor Harmsworth (1895–1916)
Esmond Cecil Harmsworth (1898–1978)
Alfred Harmsworth (barrister)
Geraldine Mary Maffett
Cecil Harmsworth (brother)
Alfred Harmsworth (brother)
Leicester Harmsworth (brother)
Occupation Publisher

Harold Sidney Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Rothermere, PC (26 April 1868 – 26 November 1940) was a leading British newspaper proprietor, owner of Associated Newspapers Ltd. He is known in particular, with his brother Alfred Harmsworth, the later Viscount Northcliffe, for the development of the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror. He was a pioneer of popular journalism.

During the 1930s, he was known to be a supporter of Nazi Germany, purportedly having become convinced that the National Socialist Party would help restore the German monarchy. He cultivated contacts to promote British support for Germany.


Harmsworth was the son of Alfred Harmsworth, a barrister, and the brother of Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe, Cecil Harmsworth, 1st Baron Harmsworth, Sir Leicester Harmsworth, 1st Baronet, and Sir Hildebrand Harmsworth, 1st Baronet.

Alfred Harmsworth (3 July 1837 – 16 July 1889) was a British barrister, and the father of several of the United Kingdom's leading newspaper proprietors, five of whom were honoured with hereditary titles – two viscounts, one baron and two baronets. Another son designed the iconic bulbous Perrier mineral water bottle.[1]

Alfred Harmsworth was born on 3 July 1837 in Marylebone, London, the only son of Charles Harmsworth and Hannah Carter.[2]

On 21 September 1864, at St Stephen's Church, Dublin, he married Geraldine Mary Maffett (1838–1925), one of the eight children of William Maffett, a land agent in County Down, and his second wife Margaret Finlayson. They lived in Dublin until 1867, when they moved to London, initially to St John's Wood, and later to Hampstead when the family's fortunes declined, in part due to Harmsworth's "fondness for alcohol", although they were always short of money, in part due to having so many children.[2][3]

The Harmsworths had 14 children, three of whom died in infancy:[4]

Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe (1865–1922)
Geraldine Adelaide Hamilton Harmsworth (1866–1945), married Sir Lucas White King, mother of Cecil Harmsworth King[4]
Harold Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Rothermere (1868–1940)
Cecil Harmsworth, 1st Baron Harmsworth (1869–1948)
Sir Leicester Harmsworth, 1st Baronet (1870–1937)
Sir Hildebrand Harmsworth, 1st Baronet (1872–1929)
Violet Grace Harmsworth (1873–1961), married William Wild[3]
Charles Harmsworth (1874–1942)
St John Harmsworth (1876–1933)
Maud Harmsworth (1877–187?)
Christabel Rose Harmsworth (1880–1967)
Vyvyan George Harmsworth (1881–1957)
Muriel Harmsworth (1882–188?)
Harry Stanley Giffard Harmsworth (1885–188?)

Christabel was named after the suffragette Christabel Pankhurst, as Harmsworth was an ardent believer in women's suffrage.[3] In 1939, there were five Lady Harmsworths.[4]

Harmsworth was a barrister of the Middle Temple and one of the standing counsel for the Great Northern Railway.[5] He has been described as an "unsuccessful" barrister.[6] It was not until after his death that the press empire created by his sons "really took off".[4] Harmsworth was the founder of the Sylvan Debating Club, for which he served as Secretary for a number of years.

Harmsworth died on 16 July 1889.[2] He is buried at East Finchley Cemetery. He died of cirrhosis of the liver, as did his son Hildebrand, both in their 50s.[3]

-- Alfred Harmsworth (Barrister), by Wikipedia

Harmsworth was educated at St Marylebone Grammar School, which he left to become a clerk for the Board of Trade. In 1888 he joined his elder brother Alfred's newspaper company, and in 1894 he and his brother purchased the Evening News for £25,000.


In 1896 Harmsworth and his brother Alfred together founded the Daily Mail, and subsequently also launched the Daily Mirror. In 1910 Harmsworth bought the Glasgow Record and Mail, and in 1915 the Sunday Pictorial. By 1921 he was owner of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Pictorial, Glasgow Daily Record, Evening News, and Sunday Mail, and shared ownership of the company Associated Newspapers with his brother Alfred, who had been made Viscount Northcliffe in 1918. His greatest success came with the Daily Mirror, which had a circulation of three million by 1922.

When his elder brother died in 1922 without an heir, Harmsworth acquired his controlling interest in Associated Newspapers for £1.6 million, and the next year bought the Hulton newspaper chain, which gave him control of three national morning newspapers, three national Sunday newspapers, two London evening papers, four provincial daily newspapers, and three provincial Sunday newspapers.

In 1926 Harmsworth sold his magazine concern, Amalgamated Newspapers, and moved into the field of provincial newspaper publishing. In 1928 he founded Northcliffe Newspapers Ltd and announced that he intended to launch a chain of evening newspapers in the main provincial cities. There then ensued the so-called "newspaper war" of 1928–29, which culminated in Harmsworth establishing new evening papers in Bristol and Derby, and gaining a controlling interest in Cardiff's newspapers. By the end of 1929 his empire consisted of fourteen daily and Sunday newspapers, with a substantial holding in another three.

Rothermere's descendants continue to control the Daily Mail and General Trust.

Rothermere was an active member of the Sylvan Debating Club, founded by his father. He first attended as a visitor in 1882 and later served as Treasurer.

Viscount Rothermere used the Daily Mail to heavily campaign for a free trade area covering the British Empire, coupled with high tariffs from elsewhere. He even founded his own party to promote this objective, the United Empire Party.[1]


Harmsworth was created a baronet, of Horsey in the County of Norfolk, in 1910.[2] He was raised to the peerage as Baron Rothermere, of Hempstead in the County of Kent, in 1914.[3]

Public life

Rothermere served as President of the Air Council in the government of David Lloyd George for a time during World War I, and was made Viscount Rothermere, of Hampstead in the County of Kent, in 1919.[4] In 1921, he founded the Anti-Waste League to combat what he saw as excessive government spending.

In 1930, Rothermere purchased the freehold of the old site of the Bethlem Hospital in Southwark. He donated it to the London County Council to be made into a public open space, to be known as the Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park in memory of his mother,[5] for the benefit of the "splendid struggling mothers of Southwark".[6]

Revision of the post-World War I treaties

Rothermere strongly supported revision of the Treaty of Trianon in favour of Hungary. On 21 June 1927, he published an editorial in the Daily Mail, entitled "Hungary's Place in the Sun", in which he supported a detailed plan to restore to Hungary large pieces of territory it lost at the end of the First World War. This boldly pro-Hungarian stance was greeted with ecstatic gratitude in Hungary.

Transatlantic flight of Endresz György with Justice for Hungary – 15th of July, 1931

Many in England were caught off-guard by Rothermere's impassioned endorsement of the Hungarian cause; it was rumoured that the press baron had been convinced to support it by the charms of a Hungarian seductress, later identified as the Austrian Stephanie von Hohenlohe, a princess by marriage. Rothermere's son Esmond was received with royal pomp during a visit to Budapest, and some political actors in Hungary later went so far as to inquire about Rothermere's interest in being placed on the Hungarian throne. Rothermere later insisted he did not invite these overtures, and that he quietly deflected them. His private correspondence indicates otherwise.[7] He purchased estates in Hungary in case Britain should fall to a Soviet invasion. There is a memorial to Rothermere in Budapest.


The "Hurrah for the Blackshirts" article by Lord Rothermere
"Blackshirts proclaim a fact which politicians dating from pre-war days will never face -- that the new age requires new methods and new men."

In the 1930s Rothermere used his newspapers to try to influence British politics, particularly reflecting his strong support of the appeasement of Nazi Germany, and is considered "perhaps the most influential single propagandist for fascism between the wars" by historian Martin Pugh.[8] For a time in 1934, the Rothermere papers championed the British Union of Fascists (BUF), and were again the only major papers to do so. On 15 January 1934 the Daily Mail published a Rothermere-written editorial entitled "Hurrah for the Blackshirts", praising Oswald Mosley for his "sound, commonsense, Conservative doctrine".[9]

Rothermere visited and corresponded with Hitler on multiple occasions, such as after the 1930 elections that saw the Nazi Party dramatically increase its seats in the Reichstag, which Rothermere welcomed.[10] In gratitude for this foreign support, Hitler granted Rothermere an exclusive interview.[10] On another occasion, On 1 October 1938, Rothermere sent Hitler a telegram in support of Germany's invasion of the Sudetenland, and expressing the hope that "Adolf the Great" would become a popular figure in Britain.[11]

He was also aware of the military threat from the resurgent Germany. He warned J. C. C. Davidson, then Chairman of the Conservative Party, about it. In the 1930s Rothermere fought for increased defence spending by Britain. He wrote about it in his 1939 book My Fight to Rearm Britain.[10] His interest in the Fascist movement seems to have been chiefly as a bulwark against Bolshevism, while apparently being blind to some of the movement's dangers.[10]

Numerous secret British MI5 papers related to the war years were declassified and released in 2005. They show that Rothermere wrote to Adolf Hitler in 1939 congratulating him for the annexation of Czechoslovakia, and encouraging him to invade Romania. He described Hitler's work as "great and superhuman".[11][12]

The MI5 papers also show that at the time Rothermere was paying an annual retainer of £5,000 per year to Stephanie von Hohenlohe, suspected by the French, British and Americans of being a German spy, as he wanted her to bring him closer to Hitler's inner circle. Rothermere also encouraged her to promote Germany to her circle of influential English contacts. She was known as "London's leading Nazi hostess". The secret services had been monitoring her since her arrival in Britain in the 1920s and regarded her as "an extremely dangerous person".
As the Second World War loomed, Rothermere stopped the payments and their relationship deteriorated into threats and lawsuits, which she lost.[11] [12]

He appears in Dennis Wheatley's 1934 novel Black August about an attempted Communist takeover of Britain, under the name of "Lord Badgerlake" (mere is another word for lake). Badgerlake supports a paramilitary force called the "Greyshirts", which backs the government during the uprising. Any connection with Fascism is disclaimed, and the novel does not end with a dictatorship. (In fact, the new Government repeals the Defence of the Realm Act to guarantee the liberty of the subject.)

Interest in aviation

In 1934, Rothermere ordered a Mercury-engined version of the Bristol Type 135 cabin monoplane for his own use as part of a campaign to popularise commercial aviation. First flying in 1935, the Bristol Type 142 caused great interest in Air Ministry circles because its top speed of 307 mph was higher than that of any Royal Air Force fighter in service. Lord Rothermere presented the aircraft (named "Britain First") to the nation for evaluation as a bomber, and in early 1936 the modified design was taken into production as the Blenheim Mk. I.

Grand Falls, Newfoundland

In 1904, on behalf of his elder brother Alfred, Harmsworth and Mayson Beeton, son of Isabella Beeton, the famed author of Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, travelled to Newfoundland to search for a supply of timber and to look for a site to build and operate a pulp and paper mill. While searching along the Exploits River they came across Grand Falls, named by John Cartwright in 1768. After the two British men purchased the land, they had a company town built to support the lumber workers. It developed as Grand Falls-Windsor.[13][14]


Lord Rothermere married Lilian Share, daughter of George Wade Share, on 4 July 1893. They had three sons, the two elder of whom were killed in the First World War:

• Captain The Hon. Harold Alfred Vyvyan St George Harmsworth MC (born 2 August 1894), died of wounds on 12 February 1918, aged 23, after serving with the 2nd Bn. Irish Guards in France. A week after his death he was awarded the Military Cross. He is buried in Hampstead Cemetery.[15]
• Lieutenant The Hon. Vere Sidney Tudor Harmsworth (born 25 September 1895), killed in action during the first day of the Battle of the Ancre on 13 November 1916, aged 21, while serving with the Hawke Bn. 63rd (Royal Naval) Division, Royal Naval Reserve. He is buried in the Ancre British Cemetery at Beaumont-Hamel on the Somme.[16]
Esmond Harmsworth, 2nd Viscount Rothermere (29 May 1898 – 12 July 1978)

Viscountess Rothermere, as she had become, died on 16 March 1937.[17]


• Rothermere, Harold S.H., Warnings and Predictions, Eyre & Spottiswoode Ltd., 1939
• Viscount Rothermere, My Fight to Rearm Britain, London: Eyre & Spottiswoode Ltd., 1939


1. Twitter, Dominic Ponsford (16 February 2017). "Hitler, the Daily Mail and how Lord Rothermere showed he has learned the lessons of history". Press Gazette. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
2. "No. 28400". The London Gazette. 26 July 1910. p. 5392.
3. "No. 28797". The London Gazette. 30 January 1914. p. 810.
4. "No. 31427". The London Gazette. 1 July 1919. p. 8221.
5. "Bethlem Hospital (Imperial War Museum) | Survey of London: volume 25 (pp. 76-80)". 22 June 2003. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
6. "Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park - Southwark Council". 17 February 2010. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
7. Romsics, Ignác (2004), "Hungary's Place in the Sun: A British Newspaper Article and its Hungarian Repercussions", in Péter, László (ed.), British-Hungarian Relations since 1848, London: University of London. School of Slavonic and East European Studies, pp. 195–204
8. Pugh, Martin (2006). Hurrah For The Blackshirts!: Fascists and Fascism in Britain Between the Wars. Random House. p. 41. ISBN 1844130878.
9. Sassoon, Donald (2006). Culture of the Europeans: From 1800 to the Present. HarperCollins. p. 1062.
10. Philpot, Robert. "How Britain's Nazi-loving press baron made the case for Hitler". Retrieved 17 January 2019.
11. Norton-Taylor, Richard (1 April 2005). "Months before war, Rothermere said Hitler's work was superhuman". the Guardian. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
12. Tweedie, Neil and Day, Peter. "When Rothermere urged Hitler to invade Romania", The Daily Telegraph (1 March 2005)
13. Address to Kiwanis and Rotary Club of Grand Falls-Windsor Archived 11 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine
14. "Grand Falls-Windsor Heritage Society". Archived from the original on 5 July 2007. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
15. "Casualty".
16. "Casualty".
17. "Person Page".
• Ignác Romsics. Hungary’s Place in the Sun. A British Newspaper Article and its Hungarian Repercussions.

Further reading

• Boyce, D. George (May 2008). "Harmsworth, Harold Sidney, first Viscount Rothermere (1868–1940)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 12 December 2008.

External links

• Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Viscount Rothermere
• Page at Spartacus
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Harmsworth family.
• Newspaper clippings about Harold Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Rothermere in the 20th Century Press Archives of the ZBW
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:04 am

Esmond Harmsworth, 2nd Viscount Rothermere
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 9/3/19




Sir. – Recent devastating events in Tibet caused over 15,000 Tibetans to cross the perilous Himalayas into India. It may be a long time before these unfortunate people can safely return to their overrun country. Our own consciences should allow us neither to neglect nor forget them.

The Indian Government has manfully coped with this addition to its own problems at home. In this country we are bound in honour to help relieve needs of the Tibetan refugees, because from 1905 to 1947 there was a special relationship between Tibet and the United Kingdom – a relationship handed on to the new India.

On balance we think it wisest to concentrate chiefly on collecting money which can be used for the benefit of the refugees, not least in the purchase of necessary antibiotics and other medicaments. The Tibet Society has opened a Tibet Relief Fund for which we now appeal in the hope of a generous response. Donations should be sent to the address below or direct to the National Bank Ltd. (Belgravia Branch), 21 Grosvenor Gardens, S.W.I.

Yours faithfully,

... Harmsworth ... The Tibet Relief Fund, 58 Eccleston Square, S.W. I., Letter to the Times, July 31, 1959, p.7.

-- Tibet Society, by

The Right Honourable
The Viscount Rothermere
Born 29 May 1898
Died 12 July 1978 (aged 80)
Nationality British
Education Eton College
Occupation Politician, Publisher
Title 2nd Viscount Rothermere
Spouse(s) Margaret Hunam Redhead (1920–1938)
Ann Geraldine Mary Charteris (1945–1952)
Mary Murchison (1966–1978)
Children With Margaret:
* Lorna Peggy Vyvyan Harmsworth (1920–2014)
* Esmé Mary Gabrielle Harmsworth (1922–2011)
* Vere Harmsworth, 3rd Viscount Rothermere (1925–1998)
With Mary:
* Esmond Vyvyan Harmsworth (b. 1967)
Parent(s) Harold Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Rothermere & Mary Lilian Share

Esmond Cecil Harmsworth, 2nd Viscount Rothermere (29 May 1898 – 12 July 1978) was a British Conservative politician and press magnate.


Early life

Harmsworth was the son of Harold Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Rothermere, who had founded the Daily Mail in partnership with his brother Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe. He was educated at Eton College and commissioned into the Royal Marine Artillery in World War I. His two older brothers were both killed in action. Esmond served as Aide-de-Camp to the Prime Minister at the Paris Peace Conference. In 1919, he was elected as a Unionist Member of Parliament for the Isle of Thanet, one of the youngest MPs ever. He served until 1929.

Press career


After 1922, the Daily Mail and General Trust company was created to control the newspapers that Lord Rothermere retained after Lord Northcliffe's death (The Times, for example, was sold). As his father dabbled in association with the Nazis and a flirtation with becoming King of Hungary, it fell to Harmsworth to manage the businesses. His father retired as chairman of Associated Newspapers in 1932 at the age of 64, and Harmsworth took over that role.[1] He served as chairman until 1971, after which he assumed the titles of President and Director of Group Finance, and chairman of Daily Mail & General Trust Ltd, the parent company, from 1938 until his death.

Harmsworth ran the businesses with sufficient skill that they remain firmly under family control today, majority ownership being voted by his grandson, the 4th Viscount Rothermere, and a significant minority by Vyvyan Harmsworth, the 2nd Viscount's son by his third marriage. Never as flamboyant as his father or his son, he wielded his power on Fleet Street alongside other press lords whose families have all relinquished control of their holdings today.

Harmsworth also had a significant impact on the development of Memorial University of Newfoundland (the family has had a long-standing interest in Newfoundland, having built a paper mill in Grand Falls before the outbreak of the First World War). The University's first residence in Paton College, known as Rothermere House, is named after the Viscount. Harmsworth was the first Chancellor of Memorial University and the benefactor who provided the funds to construct Rothermere House.

Personal life


Lord Rothermere succeeded his father in the viscountcy in 1940. He married three times and had four children:.[2] His first marriage was to Margaret Hunam Redhead, daughter of William Lancelot Redhead, on 12 January 1920 (divorced 1938). They had three children:

• Hon. Lorna Peggy Vyvyan Harmsworth (1920–2014) who married Neill Cooper-Key MP (1907–1981), and had issue two sons and two daughters; her younger and only surviving son was the first husband of Lady Mary-Gaye Curzon-Howe (mother by later marriages of actress Isabella Calthorpe and society beauty Cressida Bonas).
• Hon. Esmé Mary Gabrielle Harmsworth (1922–2011) who married Rowland Baring, 3rd Earl of Cromer, and had issue two sons and one daughter by her first marriage.
• Vere Harmsworth, 3rd Viscount Rothermere (1925–1998)

For fourteen years Orage continued to edit ‘The New Age’. His reputation as a literary critic and writer on current affairs in almost every field of human effort was at its height when an inner discontent began increasingly to manifest itself. With all his searching he had not been able to find an answer to the question which never allowed him to sleep in peace – the question of the meaning and aim of existence. The possibility of finding an answer, however, was nearer than he supposed. P. D. Ouspensky, whom he had been in touch with for some time, arrived in London in the autumn of 1921 and spoke with him about the teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff. Orage, with Rowland Kenny, organized a study group for Ouspensky which first met at the studio of Lady [Margaret Hunam Redhead Harmsworth] Rothermere in Circus Road, N.W. After some months of work Gurdjieff himself visited the group in London early in February 1922 [2] and again for a three week visit in March of that year [3].

-- Alfred Richard Orage (1873-1934), by Leeds Gurdjieff Fourth Way Group

He married, secondly, Ann Geraldine Mary Charteris, widow of Shane Edward Robert O'Neill, 3rd Baron O'Neill, who was killed in action in 1944 in Italy. She also was the daughter of Captain Hon. Guy Lawrence Charteris and Frances Lucy Tennant and granddaughter of Hugo Richard Charteris, 11th Earl of Wemyss, on 28 June 1945 (divorced 1952). Ann Charteris then married the writer Ian Fleming in 1952.[3]

Lord Rothermere married, thirdly, Mary Murchison, daughter of Kenneth Murchison, on 28 March 1966, by whom he had a second son:[4]

• Hon. Esmond Vyvyan Harmsworth (b. 1967), who moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1993.[4]
Lord Rothermere died on 12 July 1978, aged 80, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Vere Harmsworth.


1. "A Newspaper Magnate Railway Service Fire Alarms Banditry in East and West". The Times of India. 21 October 1932.
3. Jennet Conant, The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington, 2008. p. 332
4. "Viscountess Rothermere, Socialite, Is Dead". The New York Times. 7 April 1993. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
• Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs

External links

• Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Viscount Rothermere
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