Paths to Transcendence according to Shankara, Ibn Arabi and Meister Eckhart

Paths to Transcendence according to Shankara, Ibn Arabi and Meister Eckhart 
By Reza Shah-Kazemi
Reviewed by Renaud Fabbri

Brahma satyam
jagan mithya
jivo brahmaiva na'parah.

Reza Shah-Kazemi is a Research Associate at the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London
and one of the most prominent contemporary Perennialist writers. Although initially written as a Doctoral Thesis, this book is dedicated to the memory of Frithjof Schuon, and presented as a demonstration of the “transcendent unity of religions” based on a comparative study of three major figures of Hinduism, Islam and Christianity, -namely Shankara, Ibn Arabi and Meister Eckhart - and their respective approaches of the non-dual Absolute. Each study is divided systematically into three parts: a first one on the doctrine of the Absolute, the second one on the spiritual path and the last on the return of the God-realized man to the creatures. The book concludes on the “essential elements of communality” between the three perspectives.

In very substantial appendices, Reza Shah-Kazemi criticizes some of the more contemporary attempts to “reduce transcendence” in academia but also by pseudo-Perennialists such as A. Huxley.
This long-awaited book certainly represents one of the more important work recently released by World Wisdom. In this review, I will focus on Reza Shah-Kazemi’s study of Shankara’s Advaita Vedanta and more particularly sadhana (spiritual discipline): how does one Brahman is real, the world is illusory, the Self is not different from Brahman. This critic was partially anticipated in Reza Shah-Kamezi’s article “Tradition as Spiritual Function”, which will be presented in the next issue of Vincit Omnia Veritas.

What is the Advaita path to Transcendence? This review won’t be exhaustive..

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Paths to Transcendence according to Shankara, Ibn Arabi and Meister Eckhart
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