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Interview with Frithjof Schuon - on Art
Interview with Frithjof Schuon - on Primordiality
A Definition of the Perennial Philosophy
What is Sacred Art?
The Fullness of God: Frithjof Schuon on Christianity
Ernest Thompson Seton explains "The Gospel of the Redman"
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The Universal Spirit of Islam: Keys for Interfaith Understanding
How can we understand Native American traditions?
William C. Chittick explores "The Sufi Doctrine of Rumi"
  Light on the Ancient Worlds: A Brief Survey of the Book by Frithjof Schuon Back to the List of Slideshows
A new edition
of the classic work
Light on the Ancient Worlds
by Frithjof Schuon, was published in 2006 by World Wisdom and features a glossary, an index, and additional unpublished material from Schuon. This slideshow was written by an anonymous reader.
slide 1 of 10

This slideshow was created by a generous and intelligent reader
who modestly asks for no public recognition. We thank her for her work
and offer you the following slideshow. Her comments are in italics
and the excerpts from Frithjof Schuon are in normal,
un-italicized text in blockquotes.

As the title suggests, this book aims at providing the reader with keys necessary for the understanding of the ancient worlds and for ridding oneself of prejudices widely spread in modern thought.

Chapter 1:   Light on Ancient Worlds

This slideshow is a glance at the chapters in the book Light on the Ancient Worlds by the eminent Perennialist/Traditionalist writer Frithjof Schuon, published in a new edition by World Wisdom in 2006. Each slide selects an excerpt from the successive chapters.

The first chapter, from which the book gets its title, begins by mentioning the two key ideas that dominated the whole existence of ancient peoples: the ideas of Center and Origin. The sacred Center and the sacred Origin are the connections in space and time of a given people with Heaven. Schuon then explains the consequences of these ideas in many aspects of ancient civilizations, among them the political order:

The purpose of ancient imperialism was to spread an “order”, a state of equilibrium and stability which conforms to a divine model and which is in any case reflected in nature, notably in the planetary world; the Roman emperor, like the monarch of the “Celestial Middle Kingdom”, wields his power thanks to a “mandate from Heaven”.…If the non-Roman peoples were considered “barbarians”, it is above all because they were outside the “order”; from the point of view of the Pax Romana, they manifested disequilibrium, instability, chaos, perpetual menace.… The modern idea of “civilization” is not without a connection, historically speaking, to the idea of “empire”; but the “order” has become purely human and entirely profane, as is proven in any case by the notion of “progress”, which is the very negation of any celestial origin; in fact, “civilization” is merely an urban refinement within the framework of a worldly and mercantile outlook. And this explains its hostility to virgin nature as well as to religion. According to the criteria of “civilization”, the contemplative hermit—who represents human spirituality and at the same time the sanctity of virgin nature—can only be a sort of “savage”, whereas in reality he is the earthly witness of Heaven. (Excerpted from page 2.)

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