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Spiritual Authority and Temporal Power

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Spiritual Authority and Temporal Power
René Guénon
Translator(s): Henry D. Fohr
Editor(s): Samuel D. Fohr; James R. Wetmore
Page count: 108
ISBN 0-900588-46-2 PB

Spiritual Authority and Temporal Power is an analysis of cyclical manifestation, and more specifically of the relationship between royal and sacerdotal power. In accord with the Hindu doctrine of manvantaras and Plato’s depiction of historical degeneration in the Republic, Guénon views history here as a series of ‘revolts’ of lower castes against the higher. The kshatriyas (warriors) revolt against the brahmins (priests), thus setting the stage for a revolt of the vaishyas (loosely, the bourgeoisie), as in the French revolution-and, finally, the shudras (the proletariat), as in the Russian revolution (which Guénon does not touch upon in this work). From one point of view, this is a progressive degeneration; from another it is entirely lawful, given the ‘entropic’ nature of manifestation itself. External, historical descent reflects an inner degeneration: knowledge (the celestial paradise) is eclipsed by heroic action (the terrestrial paradise), which is in turn overrun by the inertia and agitation of the passions. Yet the nadir of degeneration is also the point of renewal: the dawning of the Heavenly Jerusalem-spiritual Knowledge-which begins a new cycle of manifestation. 

Table of Contents

1 Authority and Hierarchy
2 Functions of Priesthood and Royalty
3 Knowledge and Action
4 Brahmins and Kshatriyas: Their Respective Natures
5 The Dependence of Royalty on Priesthood
6 The Revolt of the Kshatriyas
7 The Usurpations of Royalty and their Consequences
8 The Terrestrial and Celestial Paradises
9 The Immutable Law