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Frithjof Schuon


Frithjof Schuon, also known as Shaykh `Isa Nur al-Din Ahmad al-Shadhili alDarquwi al- `Alawi al-Maryami, wasan authentic representative of the Sophia Perennis. In his books, he often described the real nature of man,

and his life bears witness to this real nature. His personality was a perfect reflection of his writings. He was a noble man, a spiritual man, a contemplative, a "Gnostic" or "Pneumatic", and a "primordial" man.

Schuon was born in 1907 inBasle, Switzerland, of German parents. Schuon's father was a concert violinist, and the household was one in which not only music but literary and spiritual culture were present. Schuon lived in Basle and attended school there until the untimely death of his father, after which his mother returned with her two young sons to her family in Mulhouse, France, where Schuon was obliged to become a French citizen. While still living in Mulhouse, he discovered the works of the French philosopher and orientalist Rene Guenon, which served to confirm his intellectual intuitions and which provided support for the metaphysical principles he had begun to discover. Schuon journeyed to Paris after serving for a year and a half in the French army. In Paris, he worked as a textile designer and at the same time began to study Arabic in the school of the mosque. Living inParis also brought the opportunity to be exposed to a much greater degree than before to various forms of traditional art, especially those of Asia, with which he had had a deep affinity since his youth.This period of a growing intellectual and artistic familiarity with the traditional worlds was followed by Schuon's first visit toAlgeria in 1932. It was then that he met the celebrated Shaykh Ahmad al-'Alawi. On a second trip to North Africa, in 1935, he visited Algeria and Morocco; and during 1938 and 1939, he traveled to Egypt, where he met Guenon, with whom he had been in correspondence for 20 years. In 1939, shortly after his arrival inIndia, the Second World War broke out, forcing him to return toEurope. After having served in the French army, and after having been made prisoner by the Germans, he sought asylum in Switzerland, which gave him nationality and was to be his home for forty years.

He married in Lausanne in 1949. They traveled widely inEurope, making trips toFrance, Germany, Belgium, Holland England, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and Morocco, and visited the United States several times.

During the 1950’s, the Schuons had contact with North American natives who visitedParis and Brussels, and they traveled to the Lakota tribe of the Sioux nation in 1959, where they were officially adopted into the Red Cloud family. Later he was also adopted into the Crow tribe.
In his last years he lived in Indiana, and he died of a protracted illness in Bloomington in 1998.

n xstyle="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: tahoma">Publications
Over the past 50 years,Schuon has written more than 20 books on metaphysical, spiritual and ethnic themes as well as having been a regular contributor to journals on comparative religion in both Europe and America. Schuon's writings have been consistently featured and reviewed in a wide range of scholarly and philosophical publications around the world, respected by both scholars and spiritual authorities.

The Transcendent Unity of Religions

, 1953

Revised Edition

, 1975, 1984, The Theosophical Publishing House, 1993

Spiritual Perspectives and Human Facts

, 1954, 1969

New Translation

, Perennial Books, 1987

Gnosis: Divine Wisdom

, 1959, 1978, Perennial Books 1990

Language of the Self

, 1959

Revised Edition

, World Wisdom Books, 1999

Stations of Wisdom

, 1961, 1980
Revised Translation, World Wisdom Books, 1995

Understanding Islam

, 1963, 1965, 1972, 1976, 1979, 1981, 1986, 1989

Revised Translation

, World Wisdom Books, 1994, 1998

Light on the Ancient Worlds

, 1966, World Wisdom Books, 1984

In the Tracks of Buddhism

, 1968, 1989

New Translation, Treasures of Buddhism

, World Wisdom Books, 1993

Logic and Transcendence

, 1975, Perennial Books, 1984

Esoterism as Principle and as Way

, Perennial Books, 1981, 1990

Castes and Races

, Perennial Books, 1959, 1982

Sufism: Veil and Quintessence

, World Wisdom Books, 1981

From the Divine to the Human

, World Wisdom Books,1982


, World Wisdom Books, 1985

The Essential Writings of Frithjof Schuon (S.H. Nasr, Ed.)

, 1986, Element, 1991

Survey of Metaphysics and Esoterism

, World Wisdom Books, 1986, 2000

In the Face of the Absolute

, World Wisdom Books, 1989, 1994

The Feathered Sun: Plain Indians in Art & Philosophy

, World Wisdom Books, 1990

To Have a Center

, World Wisdom Books, 1990

Roots of the Human Condition

, World Wisdom Books,1991

Images of Primordial & Mystic Beauty: Paintings by Frithjof Schuon

,Abodes, 1992

Echoes of Perennial Wisdom

, World Wisdom Books, 1992

The Play of Masks

, World Wisdom Books, 1992

Road to the Heart

, World Wisdom Books, 1995

The Transfiguration of Man

, World Wisdom Books, 1995

The Eye of the Heart

, World Wisdom Books, 1997

Paintings by Schuon

Frithjof Schuon was not only a metaphysician in the tradition of Shankara, Plato, Plotinus and Meister Eckhart, he was also a painter. His paintings, sketches and drawings illustrate with depth and talent the aesthetic principles expressed in his books ("The Beautiful is the Splendor of the True" as he liked to remind it) and in his poetry. He wrote several chapters about art in various books.
As for his paintings, they express the most intimate and inward aspects of his doctrine
(Ends, the visible and the Intelligible, meet). See, below, an example of these paintings.

One of the most powerful symbols of the sun is the majestic headdress
made of eagle feathers; he who wears it is identified with the solar orb,
and it is easy to understand that not everyone is qualified to wear it;
its splendor - unique of its kind among all traditional headdresses
in the world - suggests both royal and priestly dignity,
thus the radiance of the hero and the sage."
(To Have a Center, p.162)

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