Multiple Revelation


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From The Heart of the Religio Perennis: Frithjof Schuon on Esotericism
(Harry Oldmeadow, “The Heart of the Religio Perennis: Frithjof Schuon on Esotericism”, in Edward Crangle (ed), Esotericism and the Control of Knowledge, Sydney University, 2004, pp. 146-179.)

"The principle of multiple Revelations is not accessible to all mentalities and its implications must remain anathema to the majority of believers. This is in the nature of things. Nevertheless, from a traditionalist viewpoint, anyone today wishing to understand religion as such and the inter-relationships of the various traditions must have a firm purchase on this principle.

"As each religion proceeds from a Revelation, it is, in Seyyed Hossein Nasr's words, both:
"... the religion and a religion – the religion inasmuch as it contains within itself the Truth and the means of attaining the Truth, a religion since it emphasises a particular aspect of Truth in conformity with the spiritual and psychological needs of the humanity for whom it is destined." (Nasr, Ideals and Realities of Islam, London, 1966, p. 15).

"In other words each religion is sufficient unto itself and contains all that is necessary for man's sanctification and salvation. Nevertheless, it remains limited by definition. The recognition and reconciliation of these two apparently antagonistic principles is crucial to the traditionalist perspective. Schuon:
"A religion is a form, and so also a limit, which "contains" the Limitless, to speak in paradox; every form is fragmentary because of its necessary exclusion of other formal possibilities; the fact that these forms—when they are complete, that is to say when they are perfectly "themselves"—each in their own way represent totality does not prevent them from being fragmentary in respect of their particularisation and their reciprocal exclusion." (Schuon, Understanding Islam, London, 1976, p. 144).

"Further, as Nasr reminds us:
"... every religion possesses two elements which are its basis and its foundation: a doctrine which distinguishes between the Absolute and the relative, between the absolutely Real and the relatively real... and a method of concentrating upon the Real, of attaching oneself to the Absolute and living according to the Will of Heaven, in accordance with the purpose and meaning of human existence." (Nasr p15)"