THE SPIRITUAL HERITAGE OF INDIA by Swami Prabhavananda

THE SPIRITUAL HERITAGE OF INDIA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

India's Swami Prabhavananda, best known, if at all, as a sort of Hollywood holy expatriated on the West Coast (his charmed circle includes Christopher Isherwood and Aldous Huxley), here in stately, systematic Oxbridge style informatively interprets the world of Eastern philosophy and religion. He shows how the two are historically inseparable, how they seek, preach and sometimes find transcendental consciousness, and how they shall perhaps be the forerunner of a unified, universal spiritualism. The pages are dazzlingly sprinkled with quotes from various exotic or esoteric texts; the arguments well-wrought and the temperament committed. In coverage, it extends from the Rig Veda (the growth of syncretism, monism and a cosmology of active relation, passive chaos), and the Upanishads (the Brahma warning of getting lost in Maya's multiple illusions), to the materialist, epistemological aspects of Jainism and Buddhism, and the resultant critical revolution of the Six Systems, including the Yoga disciplines, Nyaya's analysis of inference, induction and intuition, and Vedanta's non-dualism. If all this sounds abstruse or abstract, it is only so in summary; Prabhavananda makes the soul-searching of centuries an enlightening experience, something for mystic and non-mystic to ponder and appreciate.

Pub Date: May 3rd, 1963
Publisher: Doubleday