The Most Beautiful Word Ever Written

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“KNOW ye not in the day of death how sins make the soul shrink? how they stir up the heart from beneath? At that time therefore, when such things are happening, the remembrance of good works stands by us, like a calm in a storm, and comforts the perturbed soul…

Because the prisoner too is then most grieved, when they are leading him out to the court; then most trembles, when he is near the judgment-seat, when he must give his account. For the same kind of reason most persons may be then heard relating horrors, and fearful visions, the sight whereof they that are departing may not endure, but often shake their very bed with much vehemence, and gaze fearfully on the bystanders, the soul urging itself inwards, unwilling to be torn away from the body, and not enduring the sight of the coming angels. Since if human beings that are awful strike terror into us beholding them; when we see angels threatening, and stern powers, among our visitors; what shall we not suffer, the soul being forced from the body, and dragged away, and bewailing much, all in vain?”

St. John Chrysostom
[English Source – Homily LIII on Matthew]

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Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna

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“…it is individualism that everywhere sponsors the spirit of debate. It is very difficult to make our contemporaries see that there are things which by their very nature cannot be discussed. Modern man, instead of attempting to raise himself to truth, seeks to drag truth down to his own level, which is doubtless the reason why there are so many who imagine, when one speaks to them of ‘traditional sciences’, or even of pure metaphysics, that one is speaking only of ‘profane science’ and of ‘philosophy’. It is always possible to hold discussions within the realm of individual opinion, as this does not go beyond the rational order, and it is easy to find more or less valid arguments on both sides of a question when there is no appeal to any higher principle. Indeed, in many cases, discussion can be carried on indefinitely without arriving at any solution, which is the reason why almost all modern philosophy is built up on quibbles and badly-framed questions.

Far from clearing up these questions, as it is commonly supposed to do, discussion usually only entangles or obscures them still further, and its commonest result is for each participant, in trying to convert his opponent, to become more firmly wedded to his own opinion, and to enclose himself in it more exclusively than ever. The real motive is not the wish to attain to knowledge of the truth, but to prove oneself right in spite of opposition, or at least, if one cannot convince others, to convince oneself of one’s own rightness-though failure to convince others nevertheless causes regret, in view of the craving for (proselytism’ that is one of the characteristic features of the modern Western mentality.

Those who are qualified to speak in the name of a traditional doctrine do not need to discuss with the ‘profane’ or to engage in polemics; they have only to expound the doctrine as it is, for such as can understand it, and, at the same time, to denounce error wherever it arises, and expose it by casting upon it the light of true knowledge. Their function is not to compromise doctrine by taking part in strife, but to pronounce the judgement which they have the right to pronounce, if they effectively possess the principles that should infallibly inspire them. The domain of strife is the domain of action, that is to say the individual and temporal domain; the ‘unmoved mover’ produces and directs movement without being involved in it; knowledge enlightens action without partaking of its vicissitudes; the spiritual guides the temporal without mingling with it; and thus everything remains in its proper order, in the rank that is its own in the universal hierarchy; but where is the notion of a real hierarchy still to be found in the modern world?

Nothing and nobody is any longer in the right place; men no longer recognize any effective authority in the spiritual order or any legitimate power in the temporal; the ‘profane’ presume to discuss what is sacred, and to contest its character and even its existence; the inferior judges the superior, ignorance sets bounds to wisdom, error prevails over truth, the human is substituted for the Divine, earth has priority over Heaven, the individual sets the measure for all things and claims to dictate to the universe laws drawn entirely from his own relative and fallible reason. ‘Woe unto you, ye blind guides,’ the Gospel says; and indeed everywhere today one sees nothing but blind leaders of the blind, who, unless restrained by some timely check, will inevitably lead them into the abyss, there to perish with them.”

René Guénon, The Crisis of the Modern World

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“…‘sacred science’, in the sense that we have used this term in our writings, is essentially based on supra-rational knowledge; and all that we have said about the use of symbolism and of the teaching contained therein is related to the means which the traditional doctrines place at the disposal of man to enable him to attain to that knowledge par excellence with regard to which all other knowledge, in the measure that it too has some reality, is only a more or less remote participation, a more or less indirect reflection, just as the light of the moon is only a pale reflection of that of the sun.

“Discursive knowledge, as opposed to intuitive knowledge, is fundamentally synonymous with indirect and mediate knowledge; it is therefore only a very relative knowledge, gained in a way by reflection or by participation. By reason of this character of exteriority, which allows the duality of subject and object to subsist, it cannot find within itself the guarantee of its truth, but must receive it from principles that surpass it, and which are of the order of intuitive knowledge, that is to say purely intellectual knowledge.”

“As for the essential distinction of the ‘mental’ from pure intellect, we will only recall the following: in the passage from universal to individual, intellect produces consciousness, but consciousness, being of the individual order, is in no way identical with the intellectual principle itself, although it does proceed immediately from it as the result of the intersection of this principle with the particular domain of certain conditions of existence by which the individuality under consideration is defined. On the other hand, individual thought, which, according to what has just been said, includes reason along with memory and imagination, is formal and belongs exclusively to the mental faculty united directly to consciousness; in no way is it inherent in the transcendent intellect (Buddhi), whose attributes are essentially non-formal. This clearly shows to what degree this mental faculty is really something limited and specialized, while nonetheless remaining capable of unfolding indefinite possibilities; it is thus both much less and much more than it appears in the simplified, and even ‘simplistic’, conceptions current among Western psychologists.”

Symbols of Sacred Science; The Multiple States of the Being

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“…observe in everything the necessary hierarchies, so as never to lose sight of the essential or sacrifice it to the accidental.”

Guénon, East and West

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“…the most universal ideas, being the most indeterminate, can only be expressed–to the degree that they are expressible at all–by terms that are in effect negative in form, as we have seen in connection with the Infinite.”

Guénon, The Multiple States of the Being

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“…the most universal ideas, being the most indeterminate, can only be expressed–to the degree that they are expressible at all–by terms that are in effect negative in form, as we have seen in connection with the Infinite.”

Guénon, The Multiple States of the Being

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“…every philosophical system presents itself as being essentially the work of one individual, contrary to the case of the traditional doctrines, where individualities count for nothing.”

Guénon, The Multiple States of the Being

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“Every­ thing, without exception, was at first conceived in Thought. And if anyone should say: ‘Lo ! There is something new in the world,’ impose silence on him, for that thing was pre­viously conceived in Thought.”

The Sefer Yetzirah

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