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Vedanta in Light of Christian Wisdom

Wolfgang Smith (2022)

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Unlike his previous books, this monograph by Wolfgang Smith deals explicitly with man’s quest of immortality: with religion, that is, properly so called. As a Christian, moreover, who in his earlier life had identified with the Vedic tradition, he is well situated to speak knowledgeably of both.

Beginning with recollections of his early days amongst Hindu monks-living lives of almost unbelievable yogic attainment-he introduces the reader to the Vedic religion, which he goes on to contrast with the Judeo-Christian, not to exalt one above the other, but to explain the salient difference. Smith argues that the two religions lead to antipodal Ends: the Vedic to what he terms “the nirvānic option,” in which “the human” does not survive, and the Christian to salvation, in which it does.

Not only thus does Smith disprove the so-called “transcendent unity of religions,” but basing himself upon an astounding exegesis discovered by Meister Eckhart, he goes on to show that-contrary again to the prevailing view-the Vedantic categories are in principle subsumed and transcended by the Trinitarian. The author believes that these categorical reflections-admittedly and perforce of an esoteric kind-are called for to terminate the unholy confusion which has for long impeded our comprehension.

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