Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Frithjof Schuon (1907-1998)

One of the greatest spiritual thinkers of the 20th century, Frithjof Schuon, born in Switzerland, was an advocate of the perennial philosophy as well as being an artist and poet. This theme of the universal in Schuon's writings was foreshadowed by his early encounter with a marabout who had accompanied some members of his Senegalese village to Switzerland in order to demonstrate their culture. When the young Schuon talked with him, the venerable old man drew a circle with radii on the ground and explained: “God is in the center, all paths lead to Him.”

Below is a video summarising his philosophy in two minutes, and following it translations of some of his poems from the original French.


How can we find our rest in restless things,
In play and dreams to which desire clings?
If happiness you want, then close your eyes;
Silence is gold; and Peace is Paradise.

No heaviness is felt, no noise is heard;
Yet in this naught: God's Presence and His Word.

Say "yes" to God, God will say "yes" to thee;
To Heaven's gate this is the golden key.
About my earthly road I do not care;
It may be long; short is God's road to me.


Within our deepest center dwells the Self;
And so they say: you ought to realize
Your own divinity. But they forget:
Without God's help we never can be wise.
Ignoring this, too many go astray.

With Heaven's Grace alone we find the Way.


The Sovereign Good is real, the world is dream;
The dream-world has its roots in the Supreme,
Who casts His image in the endless sea
Of things that may be or may not be.

The fabric of the Universe is made
Of rays and circles, or of light and shade;
It veils from us the Power's burning Face
And unveils Beauty and Its saving Grace.

from Frithjof Schuon, "Road to the Heart" (1995)

Shared originally on Buddhist Travellers in 2010.

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