James, I do not find this helpful. And…Guenon’s Ph.D thesis in Hindu Studies was rejected at the Sorbonne because he failed to meet scholarly criteria in his work and persisted in an approach that was a-historical and sought to reduce Hinduism to Vedanta.
Westerners have been projecting our wants and desires onto Hinduism for years.
So that is why I would be interested in knowing to what extent Kali Yuga is understood in a Hindu context and what its actual emotional meaning is, rather than its being filtered through the biases of Westerners who go east, with minds preformatted by exposure to Christian anxieties.
Guenon started out as a Roman Catholic and a lot of his earlier articles were published in a Catholic magazine, though later, he became outre and resigned. Jaques Maritain, a Catholic philosopher, was one of Guenon’s early sponsors, before Guenon went in directions too extreme for Rome.
We also need to look at the role of Western mavericks who picked and chose what suited them from Indian culture and religion, because it was through these mavericks (eg Blavatsky, Guenon and others) as well as through Western trained Indians (Vivekananda, Gandhi, Roy and other figures of the Hindu Reform/Renaissance) that Indian ideas in distorted form, reached and were marketed to the west.
An anthropology professor said that it is people who are the first to talk to anthropologists who tend to be mavericks in relation to their tribes and societies. Those perfectly integrated into a tribe or society are apt to be leery of foreigners. Brahmins tended not to proslytize to Westerners at all–the belief being that by crossing water one literally would lose caste.
So it was the misfits within a culture who were imperfectly socialized, and who had something to gain by daring to interact with foreigners, who tended to be the first contacts.
These first contacts are valuable, but not necesssarily reliable sources of information. An alert traveller would use that information but see it as provisional, and be prepared to revise it, after winning the trust of those fully integrated into the culture.
This cautious attitude was not followed by most seekers eager to project their own hopes and dreams onto the otherness of India and of Asian religion in general.
A western view of Last Judgement may not be similar to how a Hindu seeks Kali Yuga at all.
And so I am bringing this up I am curious to know from Nemo and others what the actual place of Kali Yuga is in HINDU culture–vs what Westerners, especially power hungry Westernized gurus, have made of it.
I heard someone say that a Tibetan teacher said that knowing we have many lifetimes work matters out took a lot of anxiety out of the situation–very different from the notion we have just one life to live and if we do poorly we go to hell, forever.
From Rene Guenon and Traditionalism, 2008/10/21 at 1:42 PM