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Rama P. Coomaraswamy’s life and work
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Rama P. Coomaraswamy
Rama P.  Coomaraswamy
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Biography of Rama P. Coomaraswamy

Dr. Rama P. Coomaraswamy (1929-2006), son of the renowned perennialist writer Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, was in his own right an important writer on traditionalist topics, especially regarding Christianity and the influx of modernistic ideas and practices in this ancient apostolic tradition.

Rama P. Coomaraswamy received his early education in India in an orthodox Hindu setting. He then spent several years in America, Canada and England where he obtained his Oxford Matriculation. Graduating from Harvard University with a major in Geology, he went on to medical school, graduating in 1959. He spent 8 years in post-graduate training and then some 30 years as a thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon, holding the position of Assistant Professor of Surgery at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, as well as Chief of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at Stamford Hospital. Subsequent to some heart difficulties, he retired from the practice of surgery and retrained in psychiatry, in which field he also held an Assistant Professorship at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Although raised in the Hindu tradition, after the death of his father, Rama would convert to Catholicism. He was a firm traditionalist and an ardent student of Church history and theology. For five years in his later life he was Professor of Ecclesiastical History at the St. Thomas Aquinas (Lefebrist) Seminary. He also always maintained his interest in traditionalist metaphysics and in traditional art.

Dr. Coomaraswamy published extensively both in the fields of medicine and theology. His works include, The Destruction of the Christian Tradition and The Invocation of the Name of Jesus (1999). He was married for 50 years, had six children, many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In his last years he taught, and maintained a small practice in psychiatry, mostly dealing with problems involving the interface between religion and psychiatry.

Besides his own book, a collection of his father's writing that he edited (The Essential Ananda K. Coomaraswamy), he also contributed an essay, "Ancient Beliefs or Modern Superstitions" to the World Wisdom book The Betrayal of Tradition: Essays on the Spiritual Crisis of Modernity, edited by Kenneth (Harry) Oldmeadow.

Books containing the work of Rama Coomaraswamy

Books written or edited by Rama P. Coomaraswamy

Essays by Rama P. Coomaraswamy in other World Wisdom books

Rama P. Coomaraswamy’s Writings Online
 TitleSourceAuthor 1Author 2SubjectWW HTMLWW PDFExternal Link
The Voice of One Crying in the WildernessStudies in Comparative Religion - Vol. 9, No. 3. ( Summer, 1975)Coomaraswamy, Rama P. Christianity, History, Modernism, Tradition
In this wide-ranging article, Rama P. Coomaraswamy puts into sharp contrast the attitudes and beliefs of “traditional” man and his “modern” counterpart. The defining attitudes of modern man are set out in some detail, and the author confronts head-on the conflict between science and faith. Coomaraswamy examines the evolutionist viewpoint and explains what its consequences must be upon traditional belief systems. Though primarily a study on evolutionist concepts and their consequences, the author also looks at the result of blind belief in rationalism and “scientific methodology.” While the essay focuses upon the Christian tradition, the concepts it covers are applicable to other religious traditions as well.
The Fundamental Nature of the Conflict Between Modern and Traditional Man - Often Called the Conflict Between Science and FaithWorld Wisdom online libraryCoomaraswamy, Rama P. Christianity, Comparative Religion, Cosmology, Metaphysics, Perennial Philosophy, Science, Tradition
On the Nature of EvilProjet René Guénon web siteCoomaraswamy, Rama P. Christianity, Metaphysics, Perennial Philosophy
The Problems that Result from Locating Spirituality in the PsycheSacred Web 9Coomaraswamy, Rama P. Modernism, Perennial Philosophy, Science, Symbolism, Tradition
Christian writer Rama P. Coomaraswamy demonstates how, in the words of early Church authorities and saints, as well as from clear logic, Christians should view the truths found in other religions.
Philosophia Perennis and the Sensus CatholicusWorld Wisdom online libraryCoomaraswamy, Rama P. Christianity, Comparative Religion, Perennial Philosophy
Who Speaks for the East?Light from the East: Eastern Wisdom for the Modern WestCoomaraswamy, Rama P. Comparative Religion, Modernism, Tradition
The End of a TraditionYe Shall Know The Truth: Christianity and The Perennial PhilosophyCoomaraswamy, Rama P. Christianity, Modernism, Tradition
Rama P. Coomaraswamy writes from the perspective of a modern day Catholic, discussing the confusing mesh for many modern practitioners of “‘pre-Vatican’ training—however poor — [and] the pronouncements and sermons of the modern clergy.” He describes the confusion, errors and assumptions present in much of modern religious literature and thought.
New Wine in Old Bottles – or Old Wine in New BottlesStudies in Comparative Religion, Vol. 7, No. 3. ( Summer, 1973)Coomaraswamy, Rama P. Christianity, Modernism, Tradition
Christian traditionalist Rama Coomaraswamy summarizes the content of this essay by noting that "in recent years there has been a revival of interest in the Prayer of the Name of Jesus. Various groups…have embraced this form of prayer without any foundation in its theology, and without the 'protection' that a traditional and orthodox basis provides. The author of this paper makes no attempt to present a historical or scholarly text; rather he hopes to provide the reader with an outline or introduction that will place this form of prayer in its proper perspective.…What I hope to show is that this form of prayer is deeply rooted in the Traditions of the Western Church and has been so from time immemorial. Even more, I hope to show that it is a prayer eminently suitable to contemporary man and the present times."
On the Name of JesusStudies in Comparative Religion, Vol. 10, No. 4. (Autumn, 1976)Coomaraswamy, Rama P. Christianity, Spiritual Life
In this article Rama Coomaraswamy presents various guidelines on spiritual masters and spiritual direction, taking the Hindu and Christian traditions as his points of departure. Coomaraswamy first issues a warning against the many false gurus operating in the West, enumerating the signs by which they may be detected. He then emphasizes the need for an attachment to a traditional and orthodox religion, which, he says, corresponds to an “external direction” preparatory towards a more “internal direction” by a qualified spiritual master. Drawing on St. Francis de Sales, Coomaraswamy emphasizes that a true “spiritual director must have three principal qualities, charity, knowledge, and prudence”.
On Gurus and Spiritual DirectionThe Essential SophiaCoomaraswamy, Rama P. Metaphysics
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Rama P. Coomaraswamy’s Bibliography

The Destruction of the Christian Tradition, Updated and Revised. Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2006.

The Essential Ananda K. Coomaraswamy by Ananda K. Coomaraswamy. Edited by Rama P. Coomaraswamy. Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2003.

The Invocation of the Name of Jesus: As Practiced in the Western Church. Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 1999.

The Problems With the New Mass: A Brief Overview of the Major Theological Difficulties Inherent in the Novus Ordo Missae. Rockford, IL: Tan Books, 1990.

Online Resources about Rama P. Coomaraswamy

The late Rev. Dr. Rama P. Coomaraswamy left behind many unpublished papers. A web site dedicated to his Catholic writings was developed to let others benefit from his writings which, according to his own words, were "written in order to clarify my own thinking on the issues involved; some have been written in response to requests from others. They reflect in many ways a personal journey or rather, my own struggles to remain Catholic and to pass on the Faith as I understood it to my children. In offering them to others it is my hope that they also will derive some benefit from them." Click here to go to the site.
A very recent and welcome online contribution is the web site of the Coomaraswamy Library. It is a private library of the combined lifetime collections of Rama, his father, Ananda K., and his grandfather, Sir Muthu Coomaraswamy. The physical library contains "over 15,000 books, pamphlets, periodicals, and recordings as well as selected letters and notes. With many rare and out-of-print books dating back to the 1600’s, the scope of the library is predominantly Traditional Catholic in nature and geared toward pre-Vatican II liturgical studies and mystical theology. However, a third of the collection focuses on comparative studies and the Sophia Perennis and includes exhaustive selections on Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and Native American religions." The site has sections of biography on the above-mentioned luminaries of the family, wonderful old photos of traditional scenes, and other images of traditional design. The sections that will be of particular interest to scholars, the catalogues of printed and recorded material, are presently under construction. This site should prove to be an important addition to Traditionalist resources.
There is an online interview with Dr. Rama Coomaraswamy, which reveals some interesting aspects of his life and thought.
The web site for Traditio, "The Traditional Roman Catholic Network," has a page of an unpublished piece by Dr. Rama P. Coomaraswamy titled "The Problem with the Other Sacraments," meaning other than the Mass. In his preface, Coomaraswamy explains that parts of this piece were previously published, but he brought everything together as a study of the post-Conciliar changes in the sacraments with an in-depth examination of their subsequent validity.

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