[Shah-Kazemi] analyses as `case studies' the writings of what are by general scholarly agreement understood to be the three most outstanding (if not necessarily unvaryingly orthodox) representatives of the mystical traditions of three of the world's great religions, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity, from the perspective of the `Perennialist' or `Traditionalist' school in the philosophy of religion.... Shah-Kazemi's book is a very welcome addition to the study of comparative mysticism. -- Eckhart Review 2007
In our day when there is much strife between factions, this work illuminates the theme of transcendence as understood by the saints of the religious traditions: Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity.
The aim of this book is to contribute to the elucidation of an important but much neglected theme in comparative religion and mysticism: that of transcendence. More specifi cally, we intend to shed light on the meaning of transcendence both in itself and as the summit of spiritual realization; thus, both as a metaphysical principle and as a mystical attainment, our principal concern being with the concrete dimensions of the spiritual paths leading to what we shall be calling here "transcendent realization." What we wish to offer is an interpretive essay on this theme, taking as our starting point what three of the worlds greatest mystics have said or written on this subject.
Reza Shah-Kazemi is a Research Associate at the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London. Professor Shah-Kazemi has also contributed to Paths to the Heart (World Wisdom, 2003) as well as Islam, Fundamentalism, and the Betrayal of Tradition: Essays by Western Muslim Scholars (World Wisdom, 2004). He has regularly contributed to Sophia, Sacred Web, and The Journal of Islamic Studies (Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies. He also translated Doctrines of Shi'i Islam (Manshur-i Aqa'id-i Imamiyya, and edited Algeria: Revolution Revisited. He lives with his wife in Kent, England.
The first question that needs to be asked is whether the transcendent Absolute is in any way conceivable, in such a manner that one can speak of the "concept" thereof. If, as is maintained by Shankara, the Absolute is "That from which words fall back," that which ignorance (avidya) alone would attempt to define, then what function is served by the variety of names by which the Absolute is referred to--Brahman, Atman, Om, Turiya?