The Richest Vein

Eastern Tradition and Modern Thought

Charles le Gai Eaton

Hillsdale, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2005.
232 pages
ISBN: 1-59731-026-3
Price: $20.95 US
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In The Richest Vein, published in 1949, Charles le Gai Eaton was the first to give a clear account in English of the ‘traditionalist’ school of writers, specifically in the setting of his chapter on two of its major representatives, René Guénon and Ananda K. Coomaraswamy. It was T. S. Eliot who commissioned him to do this. Traditionalism has since been championed by others, pre-eminent among them Frithjof Schuon, and the past decade has also seen the completion of the monumental 23-volume Collected Works of René Guénon, an achievement that could only have been dreamt of at the time the present book was written. But precious little has been publishedabout these authors; and this is perhaps not so surprising, for their writings tend to repel minds over-saturated with the psychism of the modern age. But those who treasure traditionalist works inevitably seek to furnish their libraries with any title that bears upon them. This demand, alongside the inherent and lasting interest of Mr. Eaton’s writing, is sufficient reason to republish this work, and we hope it may reach many new readers and stimulate them to look further into the writers he so engagingly characterizes here.

Table of Contents


Approach to the East—The Source of Light—The Golden Person—The Great Way—The Sudden Stroke


The Sound Heart: Max Plowman—Mask and Man: L.H. Myers—Monk at Large: Aldous Huxley—Two Traditionalists—Conclusion


I think that the richest vein is somewhere hereabout . . . and here I will begin to mine.
H.D. ThoreauWalden

A remarkably lucid short guide to the Wisdom of the East.
New English Weekly

This book offers an unusually penetrating critique of our modern civilization in terms of both symptoms and causes. Mr. Eaton has a wide-ranging historical sense, coupled with a strong human sympathies unsullied by tendentious undertones behind all this he allows one to recognize a metaphysical flair of uncommon sureness.
Marco Pallis, author of The Way and the Mountain

I remember—many years ago--picking up in a Tokyo bookshop a copy of The Richest Vein... Its author, Charles le Gai Eaton, has trodden a long path since that first essay into what is, for him, the only subject of his writing, and he now conjoins, to intuition and longing, an inner knowledge and experience that has enabled him to produce subsequently other acclaimed books, such as King of the Castle and Islam and the Destiny of Man.
Peter HobsonStudies in Comparative Religion

About the Author

Charles le Gai Eaton was born in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1921 and raised as an agnostic by his parents. He received his education at Charterhouse at King"s College, Cambridge. He worked for many years as a teacher and journalist in Jamaica and Egypt. Eaton converted to Islam in 1951. After wartime service in the British Intelligence Corps, his professional life has included diplomatic service, teaching, and journalism, and has taken him to four continents. He has since served as a consultant to the Islamic Cultural Centre in London. In 1996 he served on a committee that drafted the constitution of the Muslim Council of Britain. His books include The Richest VeinIslam and the Destiny of ManKing of the Castle, and Remembering God.