The World Is Like a Divine Language

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René Guénon

“1. … symbolism seems to us to be quite specially adapted to the needs of human nature, which is not exclusively intellectual but which needs a sensory basis from which to rise to higher levels.

2. Fundamentally, every expression, every formulation, whatever it may be, is a symbol of the thought which it expresses outwardly. In this sense, language itself is nothing other than symbolism. There can be no opposition, therefore, between the use of words and the use of figurative symbols; rather, these two modes of expression should be complementary one to another (moreover, they may in fact be combined, for primitive writing is ideographic and sometimes, as in China, it has always retained this characteristic). Generally speaking, the form of language is analytical and ‘discursive’ , as is human reason of which it is the true and fitting instrument and the flow of which it reproduces as exactly as possible. On the contrary, symbolism in the strict sense is essentially synthetic and thereby as it were intuitive…

3. …if one is not content merely to note a difference and if one wishes to speak of superiority, this superiority, whatever some may claim, will lie with synthetic symbolism which opens the way to truly unlimited conceptual possibilities. Language, on the contrary, fraught as it is with more definite and less supple meanings, always sets more or less narrow limits for the understanding.

4. … the highest truths, which would not be communicable or transmissible by any other means, can be communicated up to a certain point when they are, so to speak, incorporated in symbols which will hide them for many, no doubt, but which will manifest them in all their splendour to the eyes of those who can see.

5. … once it be accepted that symbolism has its basis in the very nature of beings and things, that it is in perfect conformity with the laws of this nature, and if it be borne in mind that natural laws are basically only an expression and as it were an exteriorisation of the divine Will-does this not authorize us to affirm that symbolism is of ‘non-human’ origin, as the Hindus say; or in other words, that its principle goes further back and higher than humanity?

6. … the world is like a divine language for those who know how to understand it.

7. … if the world is the result of the Divine Word offered at the beginning of time, then nature in its entirety can be taken as a symbol of supernatural reality.”

René Guénon, “Fundamental Symbols, The Universal Language of Sacred Science”; 4§ Word and Symbol

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Monju Bosatsu with Eight Sacred Sanskrit Syllables

Description from www.metmuseum.org:

“Monju (Sanskrit: Manjushri), the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, is seated on a lion against an ovoid nimbus edged with flames. He wears a crown decorated with eight miniature Buddhas and holds a sword and a long stemmed lotus flower supporting a vajra—a pronged implement with origins in Indian weaponry. In other manifestations of the bodhisattva, Monju’s lotus typically supports a Buddhist scripture, but here the vajra is an emblem of wisdom. Monju is surrounded by eight Sanskrit seed syllables, or sacred utterances symbolizing the eight guardian youths from a mantra invoking him…”

 

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11 Responses to The World Is Like a Divine Language

  1. SalvaVenia says:

    Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Cnawan Fahey says:

    What an excellent discourse on symbolism. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Cnawan Fahey says:

    Actually, this is so good, I’m going to reblog it. Thank you again!

  4. Cnawan Fahey says:

    Reblogged this on Ethereal Nature and commented:
    Exploring the same theme as Emerson’s “Essay on Nature”, this discourse on the symbolism of nature is exceptionally penetrating…

  5. Debra says:

    What a wonderful idea. Love this.

  6. Amy Campion says:

    I would also like to reblog this with your blessings 🙂

  7. Pingback: The World Is Like a Divine Language | Companions of Light

  8. Ahsan Raza says:

    Understanding deeper meanings of life Symbols always fascinated me.Finally I reached somewhere,with similar interests.Great efforts.

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