Interview with Frithjof Schuon ( Entrevista con Frithjof Schuon)

I. Spirituality

Question : You have written more than twenty books on religion and spirituality. Your first book has the title The Transcendent Unity of Religions. May I ask you how one should understand this unity?

Frithjof Schuon: Our starting point is the acknowledgment of the fact that there are diverse religions which exclude each other. This could mean that one religion is right and that all the others are false; it could mean also that all are false. In reality, it means that all are right, not in their dogmatic exclusivism, but in their unanimous inner signification, which coincides with pure metaphysics, or in other terms, with the philosophia perennis.

Q. : How can we know that this metaphysical meaning is the truth?

F.S.: The metaphysical perspective is based on intellectual intuition, which by its very nature is infallible because it is a vision by the pure intellect, whereas profane philosophy operates only with reason, hence with logical assumptions and conclusions.

Q. : This being so, what is the basis of religion?

F.S.: The religious, dogmatic or theological perspective is based on revelation; its main purpose is, not to explain the nature of things or the universal principles, but to save man from sin and damnation, and also, to establish a realistic social equilibrium.

Q. : If we have religion, which saves us, why do we also need metaphysics?

F.S.: It is because metaphysics satisfies the needs of intellectually gifted men. Metaphysical truth concerns not only our thinking, but it penetrates also our whole being; therefore it is far above philosophy in the ordinary sense of the word.

Q. : On the spiritual level, what does every human being need?

F.S.: Three things: truth, spiritual practice, morals. Pure and unveiled truth coincides with metaphysics; the religious dogmas are symbols of metaphysical truths; the deep understanding of religious symbolism is esoterism. Pure metaphysics is hidden in every religion.

Q. : And what about spiritual practice?

F.S.: Spiritual practice is essentially prayer. There are three forms of prayer: first, canonical prayer, for instance the Lord’s prayer; second, personal prayer, whose best model is given by the Psalms; third, the contemplative prayer of the heart; this is mystical spirituality, which requires certain conditions. The story of the “Russian Pilgrim” offers an image of it; also Hindu texts about japa-yoga, methodical invocation.

Q. : And what about morals?

F.S.: This is, after truth and spiritual practice, the third dimension of spiritual life. On the one hand, morals mean a reasonable, healthy and generous behavior; on the other hand, it means beauty of the soul, hence intrinsic nobility. Without this quality, doctrine and spiritual practice would be fruitless.

Q. : You mentioned before intellectual intuition. Doesn’t every man possess this faculty?

F.S.: Yes and no. In principle, every man is capable of intellection, for the simple reason that man is man; but in fact, intellectual intuition — the “eye of the heart” — is hidden under a sheet of ice, so to speak, because of the degeneration of the human species. So we may say that pure intellection is a gift and not a generally human faculty.

Q. : Is it possible to develop this higher intuition?

F.S.: There is no need to develop it. Man can be saved by faith alone. But it is evident that a very pious or contemplative person has more intuition than a worldly person.

( Extraído de: http://www.frithjof-schuon.com/interview.htm)

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