About The Term “Traditional Authors” by Róbert Horváth

It is often argued that the work of today’s authors of traditional spirituality is too “philosophical” and theoretic in nature. There are even some who say they are “difficult to comprehend” (these should consider the acquisition of certain skills as we suggested earlier). Well, concerning the accusation of being theoretic we should note that the very reason why these authors can be justly called traditional is that all of them were also “spiritual practitioners” who had authentic sādhanas, spiritual methods, and paths they practiced and walked on. This is the fourth (IV) major key point. Their ultimate authenticity and traditionality – which is more difficult to describe in detail – is actually due to the decisive importance of the concept of spiritual realization in their work. Let us now put aside the important question of the exact degree of this realization in terms of its metaphysical, esoteric or exoteric extent. In the end, all higher traditional teachings are incomprehensible without the concept of spiritual and metaphysical realization – and not only incomprehensible, but also meaningless. The beginnings of theology or the deep foundations of the human desire for transcendence are incomprehensible. We thirst because we are able to drink, and because we know – and on the higher levels of our being, possess – the reality of water. We desire because we can realize our desires, even if they become real in a sense other than the common human sense.

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At last, let us draw up a list of traditional authors of our age by name and in chronological order, or more exactly, a list of traditionalists who have matured or have the potential to mature into traditional authors. René Guénon, the first author in this list, was preceded by several persons in the early 20th century whose work can be considered traditional in spirit but was still permeated by either 19th century occultism or an exclusive commitment to specific traditions, or by authors who did not leave extensive written works behind. Of Paul Vulliaud, Louis Charbonneau-Lassay, Albert Puyou, Count of Pouvourville (Matgioi), Léon Champrenaud (Abdul-Haqq), Ivan Gustaf Aguéli (Abdul-Hādī), John Woodroffe (Arthur Avalon), Arturo Reghini, Patrice Genty, Georges Thomas (Tamos) and Paul Chacornac, several were also Guénon’s co-workers. The voluminousness of written works clearly cannot be regarded as one of the criteria of spiritual greatness – teaching itself constitutes only one-third of the manifested aspects of the inner Guru –, yet it is natural that it should be considered here. Of the authors more or less parallel in chronology with Guénon, we must mention Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy, and in a certain sense, Leopold Ziegler. Among the initial followers of Guénon we can find authors with both less voluminous and more extensive written works. The former include Marcel Clavelle (Jean Reyor), René Allar, André Préau, John Levy, Arthur Osborne, Michel Vâlsan, Jacques-Albert Cuttat (Jean Thamar), Elie Lebasquais (Luc Benoist). The latter include Marco Pallis, Frithjof Schuon, Titus Burckhardt, Vasile Lovinescu, Leo Schaya, and Martin Lings. This “second generation” of 20th and 21st century traditional authors also includes Julius Evola, who is prominent in several aspects. A concurrent, significant line of authors – following or alongside Ziegler – appears in the 1930s in the German-speaking countries; they are open to other traditions, are characterized by deep thinking and expressiveness, are fundamentally Catholic, and emphasize the need to apply the political and social aspects of the traditional concepts: Othmar Spann, Taras von Borodajkewycz, Walter Heinrich and others. After the initial followers – disciples but not in the formal sense – of Guénon and Coomaraswamy, the first authors under the influence of Schuon also emerge (this influence was already manifested in the works of Pallis, Burckhardt, Lings and Cuttat): Whitall Perry, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Kurt Almqvist (all of them also Guénon’s admirers). Subsequent followers of Guénon also appear: Guido de Giorgio, Roger Maridort, Franco Musso (Giovanni Ponte), Abdul-Wahid Pallavicini or Gaston Georgel.
As we approach our days the list – thanks to God – can be extended with several more authors. A lengthy enumeration again raises the issue of the extent of written works and of other problems, but still we wish to mention the following names: Rama Coomaraswamy, Charles Le Gai Eaton, Lord Northbourne, Joseph Epes Brown, Huston Smith, William Stoddart, James Cutsinger, Chales-André Gilis, Jean-Louis Michon, Keith Critchlow, Victor Danner, Ernst Küry, Henri Hartung, Jean Borella, Jean-Léon Granger (Jean Tourniac), Jean Robin, Christophe Levalois, Philippe Baillet, Bruno Hapel, Renato Del Ponte, Gianfranco de Turris, Claudio Mutti, Nuccio D’Anna, Tage Lindbom, Antonio Medrano, Federico González, Marcos Ghio, Ernesto Milá, Gheydar Jemal, Alexander Dugin (in his early works), Florin Mihăescu, Dan Stanca and – with special emphasis – András László. Since this list also includes persons concerned with a single tradition, it would be unfair to leave without mention authors like Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki, Eugen Herrigel, Philip Sherrard or William Chittick etc.
In spite of the enormous differences, undoubtedly we see the contours of one and the same spiritual current. We intentionally avoided the term “school” since they themselves did not want to create any particular school. Much more is involved: spiritual traditionality – and the variety of its manifestations.

Translated from the Hungarian original by Gábor Faragó

The major key points of argumentation

I. Interpreting the teachings taking into account the defects, characteristics and actual conditions of the contemporary Western man
II. Having the adequate doctrinal and spiritual preparations made
III. The presence of the principle of spiritual autonomy and sovereignty with the principle of respecting spiritual authorities
IV. Decisive importance of the idea of spiritual and metaphysical realization

Further key aspects

1. An overall understanding, feeling and adoption of the mentality of traditional cultures and their characteristics
2. Formulating an outlook that represents the essence of all spiritual traditions and is fundamentally consistent with each of them
3. Paying attention to and focusing on the highest, esoteric and metaphysical class of spiritual teachings
4. Personal acquisition of significant qualities
5. Teaching to think

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3 Comments

  1. Shantia said:

    I really liked your essays and especially your review on Sadgwick book.It was excellent!!
    Now may ask you to give me your e-mail address that in case I can ask you more about your essays?
    Bests
    Shantia Yarahmadian
    Indiana University
    Bloomington,Indiana
    USA

  2. No enterprise is a bit more prone to succeed than one concealed from your enemy until it is ripe for execution.
    We reach your goals in enterprises which demand the positive qualities we possess, but we succeed in people that can also make use of our defects.

  3. Rai Munir said:

    An appreciable effort to brush away certain notions about the traditionalists. But the most important thing is the traditionalists’s expansion-istic views about spiritual and religious authentic verdicts. It seems more than interesting when each and every traditionalist roars that there’s an intellectual and metaphysical chaos, but LOOK! WE ARE HERE TO REJUVENATE! Moreover, majority of the current day traditionalists are in reality just Schuonians and Guenonians, no more. Wisdom is not the sole property of traditionalists. True sufi masters do not talk, they realize and make other realize. Knowing is not seeing. Seeing is not having. Having is not tasting. Tasting is not being. Being is not not-being. Not-being is not the BEING. While traditionalists are far behind. Make much noise. But their efforts to counter modernistic cults are matchless.

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