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Foreword to the Revised Translation
At the beginning of the twentieth century, a school of thought arose with René Guénon and Ananda Coomaraswamy which has focused on the enunciation and explanation of the Philosophia Perennis; this philosophy is the timeless metaphysical truth underlying the diverse religions, and whose written sources are the revealed Scriptures as well as the writings of the great spiritual masters. Because these truths are permanent and universal, the point of view may thus be called "Perennialist." Frithjof Schuon is by far the pre-eminent spokesman and exponent of the "Perennialist Perspective," having written more than twenty books on this subject; these books as a whole can be said to contain the Perennialist Philosophy.
The first edition of Language of the Self appeared in 1959, published by Ganesh and Co. in Madras. Since that time, the importance of this perspective has become all the more clear in a world increasingly dominated by conflicting confessional fanaticisms and by unbelief. It is in the light of the Philosophia Perennis, which views every religion "from within," that may be found the keys for an adequate understanding which, joined to the sense of the sacred, alone can safeguard the irreplaceable values and genuine spiritual possibilities of the great religions.
Schuon's outlook is very much that of the Sanatana Dharma, and his message has three main dimensions: comprehension, concentration, conformation. Comprehension of the Truth; concentration on the Truth through methodical and quintessential prayer; conformation to these dimensions through intrinsic morality, which means beauty of character. Without this beauty, there can be no serious assimilation of the metaphysical truth, nor any efficacious method of orison. To these may be added a fourth and more extrinsic element: the beauty of our ambiance and hence our affinity with virgin Nature. For as Plato expressed it: "Beauty is the splendor of the True."
Reviews of Schuon's works have recently begun to appear in Indian intellectual journals, with an evident appreciation for the re-establishment of the sapiential core of traditionalism. On this basis, the initial translation has been revised, adding to it selected articles written since the first edition and considered to be relevant to the content of the original chapters. The editors are pleased to presentsimultaneous with a new Indian editionthis revised and augmented edition of Language of the Self.