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100 of 108 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The one and only, 28 Jan. 2005
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This review is from: The Perennial Philosophy (Perennial Classics) (Paperback)
My hands are shaking as I write these very lines. Anything anybody could say about this opus magnum would only be a wink in the direction of its greatness.
Since time out of memory, mankind has wondered what lies behind existence. What it means to exist and what lies beyond our senses and our short lives.
Huxley points out that while this is the noblest, most important preocupation a being can have, the search for religious 'truth' has plagued our world with, at best, petty finger pointing between denominations, and, at worst, outright war and even genocide.
Since the dawn of humanity, organised religions have denied that each individual has a personal path to salvation. This denial has been necessary for the survival of the relgious leaders who need as many followers as possible so that they can afford the luxurious headquarters that they are recognised by. (Sorry, of course, the headquaters are built for God!)
Aldous Huxley, with a detached coolness that I can only wonder at, presents what an all too small minority consider common sense, backing it with quotes from mysics from all religions from Meister Eckhart to Jalal-uddin Rumi passing by William Law, Chuang Tzu and Srimad Bhagavatam. With these mystics (who, he insists, have experienced what they preach first hand)and many more exemplifying his premise, he exposes the fact that we each have our own 'way to salvation' or 'dharma', depending on our character, and even physiology. He also warns that our own dharma might not be the one imposed upon us by whichever 'spiritual' corporation has monopolised our part of the world.
This is not to say that Huxley forsakes organised religion (that's just me...) He warns us against pure philosophy also. Philosophers lie on the other extreme from the church/mosque/temple goers who mumble their creed without understanding a word of it and who go home to preach the hate of their neighbour to their families, fearing God because they only know of the external God which is the only part of God they have been told about.
The philosophers, on the other hand, have discovered God inside themselves and neglect the necessary other half of God which is external to themselves and which requires action, not mere understanding. Philosophers of this nature never fully realise the true nature of God which is in all things and in which all things are, and the little which they have, will even be taken away.

Huxley presents a comprehensive observation of the world's spiritual condition, where it's been, where it's going to, and most importanly of all, he shows us the many paths to salvation while, once again, emphasising the fact that only one is right for each individual.
For anyone who disagrees with anything I've just written, I have to add that Huxley's 'Perennial Philosophy' judges no-one, unlike my weak self, only giving factual insight into the workings of the world and what lies beyond.
It's just so hard to believe that all this information has been packed into so few pages. A thousand life-times' wisom in one book of quotes and reflexions. That's real value for money. No other book, to my knowledge is as complete or readable.
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Initial post: 3 Jul 2014 21:09:17 BDT
B. Damlin says:
Well said Sir !
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