The King of the World

René Guénon

108 pages
ISBN: 0-900588-54-3
Price: $17.05 US
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ISBN: 0-900588-58-6
Price: $33.95 US
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This remarkable book grew out of a conference headed by René Guénon, the sinologist René Grousset, and the neo-Thomist Jacques Maritain on questions raised by Ferdinand Ossendowski’s thrilling account in his Men, Beast and Gods of an escape through Central Asia, during which he foils enemies and encounters shamans and Mongolian lamas, whose marvels he describes. The book caused a great sensation, especially the closing chapters, where Ossendowski recounts legends allegedly entrusted to him concerning the ‘King of the World’ and his subterranean kingdom Agarttha. The present book, one of Guénon’s most controversial, was written in response to this conference and develops the theme of the King of the World from the point of view of traditional metaphysics.

Table of Contents

Western Ideas about Agarttha—Royalty and Pontificate—Shekinahand Metatron—The Three Supreme Functions—Symbolism of the Grail—Melki-TsedeqLuz: Abode of Immortality—The Supreme Center concealed during the Kali-Yuga—The Omphalos and Sacred Stones—Names and Symbolic Representations of Spiritual Centers—Location of Spiritual Centers—Some Conclusions


Sacred geography and geometry as they were treated by Guenon in his The King of the World and elsewhere remain entirely valid. The symbolism of the Center or of centers that represent it in the respective traditions—together with the associated practices of pilgrimage, sites of celestial influence and, at the microcosmic level, the means of concentration—all this falls concordantly together at the same time as does the quest, through corresponding forms, for the lost Gateway and the lost Word.
Marco Pallis, author of Peaks and Lamas

About the Author

René Guénon (1886–1951) was one of the great luminaries of the twentieth century, whose critique of the modern world has stood fast against the shifting sands of intellectual fashion. His extensive writings, now finally available in English, are a providential treasure-trove for the modern seeker: while pointing ceaselessly to the perennial wisdom found in past cultures ranging from the Shamanistic to the Indian and Chinese, the Hellenic and Judaic, the Christian and Islamic, and including also Alchemy, Hermeticism, and other esoteric currents, they direct the reader also to the deepest level of religious praxis, emphasizing the need for affiliation with a revealed tradition even while acknowledging the final identity of all spiritual paths as they approach the summit of spiritual realization. His greatest contributions are a blindingly lucid exposition of the principles of orthodoxy and traditional metaphysics, an uncompromising critique of the deviation of modernism, and a breath-taking view of the polyvalence of traditional symbols. Implicit in these three genres, as in all Guénon's writing, is the need for personal affiliation with an orthodox tradition as a precondition for a bona fide spiritual practice that might lead, at least in principle, to the intellectual intuition of which he speaks. Little known in the English-speaking world till the recent appearance of his Collected Works in translation, Guénon has nevertheless long been recognized as a veritable criterion of truth by a vanguard of remarkable writers who evince that rare combination: intellectuality and spirituality. Regarded by leading scholars as the first truly authentic interpreter of many Eastern doctrines in the West, Guénon never tired, in face of the seemingly inexorable process of dissolution in the twentieth century, of pointing to the transcendent unity of all religious faiths and the abiding Truth that contains them all.