- Paperback: 141 pages
- Publisher: Prism Pr Ltd (March 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1853270652
- ISBN-13: 978-1853270659
- Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,241,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Song of the Cosmos: An Introduction to Traditional Cosmology Paperback – March, 1992
Rear cover notes: "In Song of the Cosmos, we are reintroduced to the inheritance of all mankind, the spiritual legacy through which we can understand our true place on earth. We rediscover what we have always shared with most of humanity, and can reapproach our own traditions with renewed appreciation, reverence and understanding. Angels and Titans, Heavens and Hells, the Flood, the Tree of Life - the world's religions share much in common. Drawing on Buddhist, Kabbalist, Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Taoist, Celtic, Norse, Hermetic, and aboriginal traditions, Versluis shows how man has traditionally perceived the universe. Though many today emphasise the differences between traditional cosmologies, this book reveals their fundamental and underlying similarities, and how they can free us from the spell of modern materialism and nihilism. Arthur Versluis is editor of Avaloka: A Journal of Traditional Religion and Culture, and author of many books and articles on our spiritual inheritance. He is currently writing a book on the spirituality of landscape and American Indian traditions."
Top customer reviews
Here are the truths that all the great religious traditions agree upon at their very roots. Buddhist, Kabbalist, Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Taoist, Celtic, Norse, Hermetic, and aboriginal shamanic traditions are all examined. Taken together, they are not some misguided attempt to form a "new age" universal religion, but rather, they point to the original truths at the center of all true revelations down through the ages to the dawn of time. Nor is this some empty scholarly work that attempts to relegate cosmic truths to mere psychological phenomenon found only in the brain. This is a call to recollect mankind's spiritual legacy and potential on this plane and all the others. It is man's potential to join heaven and earth and to raise up the rest of creation. The human, by virtue of his axiality, is essential to all beings- and it is our realm that the battles on the field of manifestation take place.
All worlds are created that God might reveal Himself to Himself: so that the Divine emanation downwards from the Absolute Transcendent through the Angelic into the temporal (and hells) corresponds to the return journey of the true yogi upwards through Creation. Creation exists that man becomes Comprehensor
Most of the contents will be familiar to students of Hinduism and Buddhism. God is completely ineffable, all creation entails a “fall”, and the destiny of man is to re-ascend to the divine. The cosmos is hierarchic, with several different paradises at the summit, the material world in the middle, and the infernal realms further below. There are seven astral realms in between the paradises and the material world, corresponding to the seven planets of traditional astrology. Nature isn't the result of evolution (a scientific theory Versluis hotly denies), but reflects heavenly archetypes and hence the divine.
Paradise and Hell are temporary stations, all creation is cyclical, and at the end of a cycle, creation is dissolved and reabsorbed into the divine. The dissolution corresponds to the “apocalypse”, and the absorption to “apocatastasis”. Then, a new cycle of creation and fall begins. Ultimate salvation is only possible by completely breaking free of creation. The author has problems creating a neat synthesis of the various strands of Hinduism and Buddhism. At one point, he claims that an advanced Buddha can penetrate all of creation, redeeming and perfecting it (rather than dissolve it, presumably). At another point, he expresses some sympathy with Pure Land Buddhism, with its notion of a permanent paradise. The author believes in metempsychosis (a position he identifies with Buddhism) rather than reincarnation, and runs into the same problem as the Buddhists: how could the Buddha remember his previous lives, if there is no permanent soul which reincarnates?
The author spends considerable time discussing various spiritual and mythological beings: devas, asuras, demons, fairies, giants, etc. Man plays a central role in the drama of creation and redemption. Being poised in the middle of the World Axis, he has unique access to divine knowledge, something denied to animals, fairies and even devas (demigods). All the world rises and falls with Man, making his ascent to the divine necessary for the salvation of other creatures. The author also believes in the existence of primordial civilizations on Earth, unknown to modern science, including a culture penetrated by the fallen angels and eventually destroyed by a deluge. Atlantis and Lemuria are never explicitly mentioned, but it shouldn't be difficult to combine these modern myths with Versluis' traditional cosmology.
I happen to disagree with large parts of the “cosmologia perennis”, and the book gets tedious to read after a while. However, it's less dense that Guénon's writings. Eventually, I give it three stars.