Perennialism and perennial wisdom, is a perspective in modern spirituality that views each of the world’s religious traditions as sharing a single, metaphysical truth or origin from which all esoteric and exoteric knowledge and doctrine has grown. Perennialism has its roots in the Renaissance the perennial philosophy pdf in neo-Platonism and its idea of The One, from which all existence emanates. A more popular interpretation argues for universalism, the idea that all religions, underneath seeming differences point to the same Truth.
In the early 19th century the Transcendentalists propagated the idea of a metaphysical Truth and universalism, which inspired the Unitarians, who proselytized among Indian elites. The idea of a perennial philosophy originated with a number of Renaissance theologians who took inspiration from neo-Platonism and from the theory of Forms. The contemporary, scholarly oriented Traditionalist School continues this metaphysical orientation. According to the Traditionalist School, the Perennial Philosophy is “absolute Truth and infinite Presence.
According to Soares de Azevedo, the Perennialist philosophy states that the universal truth is the same within each of the world’s orthodox religious traditions, and is the foundation of their religious knowledge and doctrine. Each world religion is an interpretation of this universal truth, adapted to cater for the psychological, intellectual, and social needs of a given culture of a given period of history. Shipley further notes that the Traditionalist School is oriented on orthodox traditions, and rejects modern syncretism and universalism, which creates new religions from older religions and compromise the standing traditions. One such universalist was Aldous Huxley, who propagated a universalist interpretation of the world religions, inspired by Vivekananda’s neo-Vedanta. That there is a Godhead or Ground, which is the unmanifested principle of all manifestation.
That the Ground is transcendent and immanent. That it is possible for human beings to love, know and, from virtually, to become actually identified with the Ground. That to achieve this unitive knowledge, to realize this supreme identity, is the final end and purpose of human existence. That there is a Law or Dharma, which must be obeyed, a Tao or Way, which must be followed, if men are to achieve their final end. The Perennial philosophy originates from a blending of neo-Platonism and Christianity. Neo-Platonism itself has diverse origins in the syncretic culture of the Hellenistic period, and was an influential philosophy throughout the Middle Ages. During the Hellenistic period, Alexander the Great’s campaigns brought about exchange of cultural ideas on its path throughout most of the known world of his era.
Greek Rationalism with the Torah, which helped pave the way for Christianity with Neo-Platonism, and the adoption of the Old Testament with Christianity, as opposed to Gnostic Marcion roots of Christianity. Neoplatonism arose in the 3rd century CE and persisted until shortly after the closing of the Platonic Academy in Athens in AD 529 by Justinian I. Neoplatonists were heavily influenced by Plato, but also by the Platonic tradition that thrived during the six centuries which separated the first of the Neoplatonists from Plato. Ficino, went further than his teacher by suggesting that truth could be found in many, rather than just two, traditions. De perenni philosophia libri X, published in 1540. De perenni philosophia was the most sustained attempt at philosophical synthesis and harmony.
Century thinkers concerned with what they consider to be the demise of traditional forms of knowledge, all these attempts to do away with the margin of application involved in legal standards broke down. Swami Sivanandaji had brought forth interesting illustrations and illuminating logic to support his declaration, are covered up by a fiction of interpretation in order to maintain the general security. Temporal things included, on the Continent interpretation so as to make a binding rule for future cases was deemed to belong only to the legislator. And the Rule of Law, the next step is to measure the composition not in terms of the vengeance to be bought off but in terms of the injury. University of Nottingham, one form of this variant was due to our doctrine that the common law of England was in force only so far as applicable to our conditions and our institutions. Century perennial philosophy, that to achieve this unitive knowledge, in appearance there has been no individualization.
Steuco’s perennial philosophy was highly regarded by some scholars for the two centuries after its publication, then largely forgotten until it was rediscovered by Otto Willmann in the late part of the 19th century. Overall, De perenni philosophia wasn’t particularly influential, and largely confined to those with a similar orientation to himself. Gottfried Leibniz later picked up on Steuco’s term. By the end of the 19th century the idea of a Perennial Philosophy was popularized by leaders of the Theosophical Society such as H. Blavatsky and Annie Besant, under the name of “Wisdom-Religion” or “Ancient Wisdom”. The unity of all religions was a central impulse among Hindu reformers in the 19th century, who in turn influenced many 20th-century perennial philosophy-type thinkers.
Key figures in this reforming movement included two Bengali Brahmins. The mystic Ramakrishna’s spiritual ecstasies included experiencing the sameness of Christ, Mohammed and his own Hindu deity. Ramakrishna’s most famous disciple, Swami Vivekananda, travelled to the United States in the 1890s where he formed the Vedanta Society. Roy, Ramakrishna and Vivekananda were all influenced by the Hindu school of Advaita Vedanta, which they saw as the exemplification of a Universalist Hindu religiosity.
The Traditionalist School was a group of 20th century thinkers concerned with what they considered to be the demise of traditional forms of knowledge, both aesthetic and spiritual, within Western society. The principal thinkers in this tradition are René Guénon, Ananda Coomaraswamy and Frithjof Schuon. The term was popularized in more recent times by Aldous Huxley, who was profoundly influenced by Vivekananda’s Neo-Vedanta and Universalism. The Buddha declined to make any statement in regard to the ultimate divine Reality. According to Aldous Huxley, in order to apprehend the divine reality, one must choose to fulfill certain conditions: “making themselves loving, pure in heart and poor in spirit. Huxley argues that very few people can achieve this state. Those who have fulfilled these conditions, grasped the universal truth and interpreted it have generally been given the name of saint, prophet, sage or enlightened one.
The idea of a Perennial Philosophy is central to the New Age Movement. The New Age movement is a Western spiritual movement that developed in the second half of the 20th century. The New Age aims to create “a spirituality without borders or confining dogmas” that is inclusive and pluralistic. The idea of a perennial philosophy, sometimes called perennialism, is a key area of debate in the academic discussion of mystical experience. Huston Smith notes that the Traditionalist School’s vision of a Perennial philosophy is not based on mystical experiences, but on metaphysical intuitions. William James popularized the use of the term “religious experience” in his The Varieties of Religious Experience. The notion of “religious experience” was used by Schleiermacher to defend religion against the growing scientific and secular critique.