Man and His Becoming According to the Vedanta

René Guénon

Hillsdale, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2001.
200 pages
ISBN: 0-900588-61-6
Price: $19.95 US
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ISBN: 0-900588-62-4
Price: $34.95 US
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Man and His Becoming according to the Vedanta is Guénon’s central exposition of traditional metaphysics, companion to his other two great works in this genre: The Symbolism of the Cross and The Multiple States of the Being. Guénon held that Hinduism embraces the most ancient, profound, and comprehensive expression of traditional metaphysics we possess, which can in some ways function as a key to every other traditional form, and this work has been called the first reliable exposition of Hindu metaphysics in any Western language. Before Guénon, the West’s image of Hinduism was a hodge-podge of translated scriptures lacking traditional commentary, fragments of doctrine reported by Jesuits and other missionaries, random impressions of merchants, imperialists, and adventurers, unreliable Eurocentric constructions of the orientalists, and the fantasies of the Theosophical Society and their ilk. To this day, Man and His Becoming remains one of the best (if not the best) expositions of the doctrines of the Vedanta, an exposition entirely free from the modernizing and Westernizing tendencies that first infiltrated the Indian subcontinent under the British Raj, and have not yet abated. This text is a veritable bible of traditional metaphysics and anthropology. In his Studies in Hinduism and Introduction to the Study of the Hindu Doctines, Guénon treats historical and cosmological aspects of Hinduism in further detail.

Table of Contents

General Remarks on the Vedanta—Fundamental Distinction between the 'Self' and the 'Ego'—The Vital Center of the Human Being: Seat of BrahmaPurusha and PrakritiPurusha unaffected by Individual Modifications—The Degrees of Individual Manifestation—Buddhi or the Higher Intellect—Manas or the Inward Sense: The Ten External Faculties of Sensation and Action—The Envelopes of the 'Self': The Five Vayus or Vital Functions—The Essential Unity and Identity of 'Self' in all the States of the Being—The Different Conditions of Atmain the Human Being—The Waking State: or the Condition ofVaishvanara—The Dream State: or the Condition of Taijasa—The State of Deep Sleep: or the Condition of Prajna—The Unconditioned State of Atma—Symbolical Representations of Atma and its Conditions by the Sacred Monosyllable Om—The Posthumous Evolution of the Human Being—The Reabsorption of the Individual Faculites—Differences in the Posthumous Conditions according to the Degrees of Knowledge—The Coronal Artery and the 'Solar Ray'—The 'Divine Journey' of the Being on the Path of Liberation—Final Deliverance—Videha-Mukti and Jivan-Mukta—The Spiritual State of the Yogi: The Supreme Identity—Sanskrit Index


Guénon established the language of sacred metaphysics with a rigor, a breadth, and an intrinsic certainty such that he compels recognition as a standard of comparison for the twentieth century.
Jean BorellaModern Esoteric Spirituality

No living writer in modern Europe is more significant than René Guénon, whose task it has been to expound the universal metaphysical tradition that has been the essential foundation of every past culture, and which represents the indispensable basis for any civilization deserving to be so called.
A. K. Coomaraswamy, author of Time and Eternity

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.