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15

 

impossible that Madam Guyon, in about 1680, could have been acquainted with the writings of the Vedantists.

 

In his Welt als Wille und Vorstellung (The World as Will and Idea), Schopenhauer goes to great length to show that Brahmism and Buddhism, spiritually and ethically, are akin to Christianity, more so than Judaism. He even goes so far as to say that the Christian religion has fundamentally taught to the Western world that which the entire Orient knew already for ages, namely, the metaphysical meaning of life. ‘ If,” he says, the paradoxes and the concurrence of my philosophy with quietism and asceticism are resented by my contemporaries, it would mean to me another proof of its correctness and truth .. Because not only the Oriental religions but also true Christianity has fundamentally the same ascetic character, which is being clarified by my philosophy of “negation of the will to live ...”

 

Here I am tempted to go further into the elaborations of Schopenhauer in his Parerga and Paralipomena on this subject, but that would lead me too far. I must quote however a curious fact observed by that philosopher. That there is an identity between Buddha and Wotan would seem likely because Wednesday (Wotans day) is dedicated to Buddha. An even stronger link between Eastern and pre-Christian European religions is, that the planet Mercury is sacred to Buddha and to a certain extent is identified with him. Now, Wednesday (French: Mercredi, i.e. , Mercury day) is Buddha day and Mercury is the son of Maia, whereas Buddha is the son of Queen Maja. This can hardly be a coincidence.

 

But we don’t have to go so far from home to see how Oriental and Western thoughts are interrelated. Our own New England Transcendentalism shows the unmistakable traces thereof, especially in Emerson’s Oversoul and Compensation.

 

The above necessarily brief expose should however suffice to show that, far from being alien to our religious feelings and thoughts, a study of Oriental religions, and I refer here specifically to MEHER BABAS teachings, should serve to enrich our spiritual life. It would he trite to elaborate on the fact of how much we stand in need of development of our spiritual potentialities, now that our mind is keyed entirely to the material accomplishments of our civilization.

 

Dr. Truman Douglass, in his powerful book, Mission to America, which should be on the bookshelf of every serious

(...Continued on page 36)

 

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