Frithjof Schuon discusses his perspective on metaphysics and religion

Frithjof Schuon (1907–1998) discusses his perspective on metaphysics, the transcendent unity of religions, the meaning of religion, and the need for metaphysical truth.

He agrees with the interviewer that his metaphysics is largely based on Hinduism. From Schuon’s writings, we can understand that he is specifically referring to the Advaita Vedanta school of Hindu philosophy. In saying that “the framework is Islam,” he is referring to the religious form to which he was guided as a young man. The “certain ecological barakah (i.e. blessing, or spiritual ambiance)” with which he liked to surround himself, he describes as Red Indian, referring to the tradition into which he was adopted and which was to provide his deep connection to nature itself and to the underlying primordial nature of man. In recapturing this unblemished primordial nature within ourselves, we begin to understand with “the Eye of the Heart,” as he says.

Turning to the subject of formal, traditional religions and their purpose to offer the possibility of salvation to all of their adherents, Schuon says of the Greek philosopher Plato “With Plato, you cannot save everybody. But with a religion you can save the last man. It is not necessary to be intelligent to be saved.” Here, Schuon is using “intelligent” to mean “scholarly,” “learned,” or “adept in philosophy.” His writings make it clear that he respects, for example, the words of an American Indian sage without formal education as much as the writings of a great philosopher.

Finally, Frithjof Schuon explains that the reason for metaphysics is “because there are metaphysicians.” He says this to show that he and many others are “drawn to God through metaphysical truth,” thus specifying that certain people find their religious vocation through philosophical concepts. Personally, and in his writings, Schuon always emphasized that one must follow the practices of a traditional religion, which he himself did throughout his life. Here he points out that some people find their strongest attraction to God, and then their deepest participation in religious rites, as a result of the one Truth that underlies all religion. In his case, the Truth spoke to him through metaphysics and he had the gift to put this into thoughts he communicated through his writings.

It is notable that Frithjof Schuon was also attracted to the Truth in its earthly manifestation as visual or even auditory Beauty. His paintings and poetry reflect precisely that. These have been possibilities that have inspired many others in history to delve into religion and spirituality, even if metaphysics was not their destined entry-point.

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