Studies in Comparative Religion
The First English Journal on Traditional Studies - established 1963
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New Books

summarized by J. C. Cooper

Source: Studies in Comparative Religion, Vol. 3, No. 3. (Summer, 1969) © World Wisdom, Inc.

Sub-titled "A Religious alternative to Christianity", Honest to Man, by Victor Skipp. (Darwen Finlayson, 18s.), examines and rejects Humanism as too limited by rational inhibitions, and the Secularism of Bonhoeffer, Tillich and Robinson as too superficial and self-contradictory since it must end in a religionless Christianity "which has ceased to be centred on the sanctuary and dominated by theistic practices" and is thus "philosophically ersatz". He then turns to the tenets of the Hindu with his experience of the mystery of life and his ability to see the world "through the unitive consciousness of his childhood and his life-long love affair with creation". An appeal is made for a rediscovery of the direct, childlike awareness of the wonder of the world and a reawakening to the ever-present, but normally ignored, mystery around us, and "a life lived primarily in terms of feeling". This is not a regression to the sub-rational, but to go forward to the supra-rational in spiritual values. Rational knowledge belongs to the fallen world, redeemed knowledge must come through "an intimate and numinous apprehension of the object's true character". Man before the Fall was in a state of 'being'; through the Fall he gained knowledge which could be divorced from 'being'. The return to Paradise is the way of being which must now know itself.

The Faith of Other Men. Wilfred Cantwell Smith. (Mentor Paperback 60e.) is a thoughtful and thought-provoking study, simply written for the layman, of the way in which the world's faiths impinge upon each other and why it is necessary to understand each other's faiths if we are to gain international understanding also. The faiths of Hindus, Buddhists, Moslims, Chinese, Christians and Jews are commented upon individually. There appears, however, to be a misunderstanding of the Chinese yin-yang symbolism. It is a hysteron proteron to speak of yang-yin: the terms are not interchangeable. One might as well re-tell the story of Genesis with the primordial waters of chaos coming after the light of creation. Nor is it a case of "you may, if you like, put a dot of white in the middle of the black, and a black dot in the white". These symbolic embryos are essential, not optional, showing that either nature contains within itself the germ of the other.

Sub-titled "The Practice of Spiritual Healing", Realisation of Oneness, by Joel S. Goldsmith. (George Allen & Unwin, 25s.) is a series of essays written for students of "The Infinite Way". God, the author maintains, is Pure Being, totally detached from all evil or disaster in the world. Evil arises in living separate from God, it is impersonal and, therefore, equally has nothing to do with the individual, but merely manifests through ignorance.

In The Paradox of Self-Denial. W. Artro Evans (Stuart& Watkins, 2Is.) shows that ego-centricity, the concentration on self-hood, is the cause of suffering, fear and the sense of isolation in man. It is a delusion which can be overcome by denying this self with its positive and pleasure-seeking and negative and pain-avoiding outlooks. There are quotations from Oriental, O.T. and N.T. sources to prove the universality of the doctrine of self-denial. Through the death of the ego-delusion man comes to life.

Kindred Soul. (Essence of Health Publishers. Durban). Under the cover of a somewhat bizarre, pseudo-scriptural and at times gramatically slovenly presentation, with sentimental illustrations, there is some sound conservationist advice and a necessary warning against the exploitation of the material world and an insistence on man's need for realising his kinship with all forms of life.

Original editorial inclusions that followed the essay in Studies:
For the uncontrolled, there is no intelligence: nor for the uncontrolled is there the power of concentration and for him without concentration, there is no peace and for the unpeaceful, how can there be happiness?
The Bhagavadgita.

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