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The gift of tongues

This man has the gift of tongues. To return to Guénon for a moment, the Tradition he speaks of is, per the video above, not a doctrine or a scripture—rather, it is a state of being. It is the state so exemplified above—the person who has reached this state is said to “have the gift of tongues” because he has transcended belief, he knows.

Hence he may speak in any religious idiom—Christian, Muslim, Hindu—because he knows that these are just clothes for the state so exemplified. Hence he “speaks with the gift of tongues, speaks in many tongues”.

This is not the same as syncretism—it’s not the same as that Theosophical logo that runs the Christian cross, the Muslim crescent, the Jewish Star of David, the Buddhist swastika, and so on altogether (“all religions one”). It is not to say “all religions are the same”—the religions are all distinct, yet one who knows understands that they all point to a common state of being.

Hence, in Islamic esotericism, the sage Muhyid-Din ibn al-Arabi tells us, “the true sage does not tie himself to any beliefs”. This is because he knows their common principle and so can speak in any idiom that is appropriate to the moment and the audience. It is in this sense that there is a Catholic—i.e. universal, cosmopolitan—religion. But it is not a belief, it is not in any book—it is simply adapted to different countries and epochs.

The way to reach this state is tied up with symbolism—although it’s mostly about silence—and the symbolism can be found in all religions. The “grain of mustard” appears in Christianity and in Hinduism—and in Judaism as the luz*.

It relates to the heart, for to reach this state means “to know the heart” (to see with the heart—which is not just a phrase, but is wisdom and intuition; or, in Aristotle’s terminology, the nous—“intelligence” but not calculative intelligence, because it comes from silence).

Hence it is true that sometimes I sound like a Christian, sometimes like a Muslim, sometimes like a Buddhist, sometimes like a pagan—but there is only one principle I revolve around (and it is black).

The only quibble I have with Guénon is that I think that the techniques of awakening were once not spread about so but were organised into some clear practice and so it is not quite so that every religion is just “clothing” to reach the same state (an equalitarian assumption)—I think some know better than others, have a more secure way, and that it is like a book of many volumes that has been torn up and scattered among men. Yet, in essence, there is only “Tradition”.

* Strange to report that Judaism is the only religion where “the kernel” or “the grain” does not appear primarily in the heart—rather, the luz is situated in the base of the spine.


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