The fly-leaf to the first (1946) UK edition of The Perennial Philosophy
Beneath the revelations of all the great world religions, the teaching of the wise and holy of all faiths and the mystical experiences
of every race and age, there lies a basic unity of belief which is the closest approximation man can attain to truth and ultimate
The Perennial Philosophy is an attempt to present this Highest Common Factor of all theologies by assembling passages from the
writings of those saints and prophets who have approached a direct spiritual knowledge of the Divine, and who have recorded not only
the method of that approach but also the clarity of soul they derived from it
Aldous Huxley's Introduction to The Perennial Philosophy includes this section:-
"Rudiments of the Perennial Philosophy may be found among the traditionary lore of primitive peoples in every region of the world, and in its fully
developed forms it has a place in every one of the higher religions. A version of this Highest Common Factor in all preceding and subsequent theologies
was first committed to writing more than twenty-five centuries ago, and since that time the inexhaustible theme has been treated again and again, from the
standpoint of every religious tradition and in all the principal languages of Asia and Europe."
In The Perennial Philosophy
Aldous Huxley accepted the proposition, deriving from Leibniz, a notably
eminent scholar who was an early investigator
into Comparative Religion and the
Common Ground shared by The World Religions, that Religions concern themselves"with the one, divine Reality"
and that "the nature of this one Reality is such that
it cannot be directly or immediately apprehended except by those who have chosen to fulfill certain conditions, making themselves
loving, pure in heart,
and poor in spirit."
The results of our own investigation into comparative religion and The Perennial Philosophy were such as to lead us to also accept that "the one, divine Reality"
is better discerned by those
spiritually endowed with Charity, Purity of Heart and Humility. However, we came to believe Meekness to be another spiritual endowment which
may well tend to contribute towards heightened powers of discernment.
This suggestion that Meekness is of immense spiritual
value may not surprise.
More unexpectedly, perhaps, the outcomes of our own comparative religion studies were such as to suggest that it is appropriate
to fully associate A Disdain for Materialism
(compared to the Spiritual), A Distrust of the Intellect (compared to Divine Inspiration),
and A Yearning for Divine Edification (or A Thirst for Enlightenment), with the centralities of The Perennial Philosophy.
Some truly extra-ordinary wisdoms
~ a brief selection of "Central Spiritual Insights"
gleaned from Christian sources closely followed by another brief selection of "Central Spiritual Insights" drawn from "non-Christian"
Inter-Faith sources ~ are set out below!
A selection of "Central Spiritual Insights" gleaned from Christian sources
These Christian quotations have been selected based on their inherent Spiritual Impact, (rather than whether they might be deemed to be
Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox), and come from The New International Version of The Bible.
- A Disdain for Materialism
Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
- A Distrust of Intellect
- So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.
They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening
of their hearts.
- Spiritual Insights are possible!
- What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely
given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities
with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them
foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.
- Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does
not love does not know God, because God is love.
- Purity of Heart
- Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, "children of God without fault in a warped and
crooked generation." Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life...
- Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be your servant. For
whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
- Therefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man worketh not the
righteousness of God.
"Central Spiritual Insights" drawn from "non-Christian" Inter-Faith sources
Our world seems to be becoming more and more "globalised" presenting us with new challenges of co-existence between cultural communities and of toleration between faith communities!
Extensive studies have been conducted into Comparative Spirituality by ourselves at age-of-the-sage and were actually undertaken before 2000 A.D. and hence prior to that difficult situation,
often overstated as being an actual "Clash of Cultures," that has (however that situation should be depicted) been all too evident in recent years.
As such these studies will hopefully qualify to be considered as having adopted a somewhat open and unprejudiced consideration of the spiritual teachings of
such major World Religions as Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Taoism and Judaism.
In the following brief overview one or two quotes are presented from Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish, Sikh and Taoist sources respectively.
Such inclusivity as this is quite clearly necessary in any genuine attempt to present a wide-ranging and profound overview of non-Christian spiritual insights.
Those inclined to look further into Comparative Religion Spirituality can find links to more detailed studies at the end of this initial presentation.
- A Disdain for Materialism
- Chuang Tzu put on cotton clothes with patches in them, and
arranging his girdle and tying on his shoes,
(i.e. to keep them from falling off),
went to see the prince of Wei.
"How miserable you look, Sir!" Cried the prince. "It is poverty,
not misery," replied Chuang Tzu. "A man who has TAO cannot be
miserable. Ragged clothes and old boots make poverty, not
Chuang Tzu - (Taoism)
- A Distrust of Intellect
- Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment; Cleverness is mere
opinion, bewilderment intuition.
Rumi - (Sufism ~ a notably mystical, minority, tradition associable with both Sunni and Shia Islam)
- Spiritual Insights are possible!
- The intelligence of the mean man does not rise beyond bribes and letters of
recommendation. His mind is beclouded with trivialities. Yet he would penetrate the
mystery of TAO and of creation, and rise to participation in the ONE. The result is
that he is confounded by time and space; and that trammelled by objective existences,
that he fails apprehension of that age before anything was.
But the perfect man, - he carries his mind back to the period before the beginning.
Content to rest in the oblivion of nowhere, passing away like flowing water, he is
merged in the clear depths of the infinite.
Chuang Tzu - (Taoism)
- He that does everything for Me, whose supreme object I am, who
worships Me, being free from attachment and without hatred to any
creature, this man, Arjuna!, comes to Me.
Bhagavad Gita ~ (Hinduism) ~ also known as ~ (Vedanta).
And my soul is absorbed
In the Love of My Lord.
Bow humbly to the saint
That is a pious act.
Bow to the ground before him
That is devotion, indeed.
The faithless know not,
The joy of the love of the Lord;
From Sohila-Arti ~ a bed-time prayer
This section of which is attributed to Guru Ram Das - (Sikhism)
- Purity of Heart
- The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more
and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as
darkness: they know not at what they stumble.
Solomon - (Judaism)
- Would you become a pilgrim on the road of love? The first
condition is that you make yourself humble as dust and ashes.
Ansari of Herat - (Islam)
- Let a man overcome anger by love, let him overcome evil by good;
let him overcome the greedy by liberality, the liar by truth!
Speak the truth, do not yield to anger; give, if thou art asked
for little; by these three steps thou wilt go near the gods.
Dhammapada - (Buddhism)
Two particularly noteworthy Faith versus Reason quotes from "non-Christian" sources now follow:-
"Would he had been less full of borrowed knowledge! Then he would have accepted inspired knowledge from his father. When, with
inspiration at hand, you seek book-learning, your heart, as if inspired, loads you with reproach. Traditional knowledge,
when inspiration is available, is like making ablutions in sand when water is near. Make yourself ignorant, be submissive,
and then you will obtain release from your ignorance."
Rumi - (Sufism / Islam)
Rumi lived 1207 - 1273, (by the western calendar).
A BBC "Culture" web page of April, 2014
has said of him:-
The ecstatic poems of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, a Persian poet and Sufi master born 807 years ago in 1207, have sold millions of copies in recent years, making him the
most popular poet in the US. Globally, his fans are legion.
Vivekananda, (the name-in-religion Vivekananda
translates as - The Bliss of Discerning Wisdom), was a Vedic scholar and Hindu sage who made an
appearance at the Parliament of World Religions that convened in Chicago in 1893 and was generally recognised as having made a singularly important contribution to the
"When there is conflict between the heart and the brain, let the heart be followed, because intellect has only one state, reason,
and within that intellect works, and cannot get beyond. It is the heart which takes one to the highest plane, which intellect
can never reach; it goes beyond the intellect, and reaches what is called inspiration. Intellect can never become inspired; only the
heart when it is enlightened, becomes inspired. An intellectual, heartless man can never become an inspired man. It is always the
heart that speaks in the man of love; it discovers a greater instrument than intellect can give you, the instrument of inspiration. Just
as the intellect is the instrument of knowledge, so is the heart the instrument of inspiration."
Whilst many of our visitors may be now prepared to accept that it has been shown that Faiths can value "Spiritual Insight" over "Rationality"
fuller evidence is available on our pages that Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Taoism
are all in agreement
that "Human Intellect is to be in some ways distrusted" and that "Spiritual Insight is possible, desirable and profoundly important."
The following linked pages are intended to more fully demonstrate a degree of
Common Ground between the Inner-most Spiritual Teachings of several major World Religions on Charity, Purity of
Heart, Humility, Meekness, A Disdain for Materialism
(compared to the Spiritual), A Distrust of the Intellect
(compared to Divine Inspiration) and A Yearning
for Divine Edification
(or A Thirst for Spiritual Enlightenment).
These quotations are presented on a series of very
brief pages where each faith is considered individually.
seen it as worthwhile to add
another category of quotation ~ where recognition has been given "by the wise and holy of several faiths" to the possibility of Mystical Communion
At Age-of-the-Sage we hope that it will be
possible to see our contribution to the Faith vs Reason debate as being consistent with such
Sermons and Parables of Jesus
as The Sermon on the Mount and The Parable of the Sower.
We nevertheless have great respect for the Spiritualities that exist at the
cores of the Buddhist, Islamic, Jewish, Sikh, Taoist and Vedic-Hindu faiths and have laid out the above table of links in a manner consistent
with our aspiration towards promoting a mutually respectful co-existence of The Great Faiths of the World.
It is surely worth noting that both The Sermon on the Mount
and The Parable of the Sower
can be seen as suggesting the "Spirituality" is
relative to "Desire" and to "Wrath".
A selection from The Parable of the Sower:
And he taught them many things by parables, and he said unto
them in his doctrine,
Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:
And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side,
and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.
And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and
immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:
But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no
root, it withered away.
And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked
it, and it yielded no fruit.
And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang
up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, some sixty, and
some an hundred.
And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him
… The sower soweth the word.
And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but
when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away
the word that was sown in their hearts.
And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground;
who, when they have heard the word immediately receive it with
And have no root in themselves, and so endure for a time:
afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's
sake, immediately they are offended.
And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear
And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches,
and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it
And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear
the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold,
some sixty, and some an hundred.
And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a
bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick?
For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested;
neither was anything secret, but that it should come
Jesus' teaching from St. Mark's Gospel, Chapter 4
Such suggestion of "Spirituality" as being relative to "Desire" and to "Wrath" can also be found in
Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh teachings.
Examples of such suggestion are to be found on the Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh spirituality pages which were offered as links in the above panel.