The Multiple States of the Being

René Guénon

Hillsdale, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2002.
116 pages
ISBN: 0-900588-59-4
Price: $18.95 US
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ISBN: 0-900588-60-8
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The Multiple States of the Being is the companion to, and the completion of, The Symbolism of the Cross, which, together withMan and His Becoming according to the Vedanta, constitute René Guénon’s great trilogy of pure metaphysics. In this work, Guénon offers a masterful explication of the metaphysical order and its multiple manifestations—of the divine hierarchies and what has been called the Great Chain of Being—and in so doing demonstrates howjnana, intellective or intrinsic knowledge of what is, and of That which is Beyond what is, is a Way of Liberation. Guénon the metaphysical social critic, master of arcane symbolism, comparative religionist, researcher of ancient mysteries and secret histories, summoner to spiritual renewal, herald of the end days, disappears here. Reality remains.

Table of Contents

Preface—Infinity and Possibility—Possibles and Compossibles—Being and Non-Being—Foundation of the Theory of the Multiple States—Relationships of Unity and Multiplicity—Analogous Considerations drawn from the Study of the Dream State—The Possibilities of Individual Consciousness—Mentality as the Characteristic Element of Human Individuality—The Hierarchy of Individual Faculties—The Limits of the Indefinite—Principles of Distinction between the States of Being—The Two Chaoses—The Spiritual Hierarchies—Reply to Objections drawn from the Plurality of Beings—The Realization of the Being through Knowledge—Knowledge and Consciousness—Necessity and Contingency—The Metaphysical Notion of Freedom


In the exercise of the central function of restoring the great principles of traditional metaphysics to Western awareness this true jñanin gave proof of a universality of understanding that for centuries had had no parallel in the Western world.
Frithjof SchuonLanguage of the Self

If during the last century or so there has been even some slight revival of awareness in the Western world of what is meant by metaphysics and metaphysical tradition, the credit for it must go above all to Guénon. At a time when the confusion into which modern Western thought had fallen was such that it threatened to obliterate the few remaining traces of genuine spiritual knowledge from the minds and hearts of his contemporaries, Guénon, virtually single-handed, took it upon himself to reaffirm the values and principles which, he recognized, constitute the only sound basis for the living of a human life with dignity and purpose or for the formation of a civilization worthy of the name.
Philip SherrardChristianity: Lineaments of a Sacred Tradition

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.