Hindu and Muslim Mysticism

Hindu and Muslim Mysticism

Hindu and Muslim Mysticism

Hindu and Muslim Mysticism

Excerpt

This volume consists of eight lectures delivered (in a slightly abridged form) in May 1959 at the School of Oriental and African Studies in the University of London, when I had the honour of being invited by the Director and the Academic Board of the School to give the fifth series of Lectures under the Louis H. Jordan Bequest.

I chose the subject of Hindu and Muslim Mysticism because it seemed to me that, voluminous as the literature on mysticism is, much of it starts from the quite unproven premiss that mysticism is a more or less uniform phenomenon appearing in all the great religious traditions. So far from this being the case, certain varieties of mystical experience are attested not only in different mystical traditions but also in the same religion. I chose the Hindu and Muslim varieties for three reasons: first because I am better equipped to deal with these two than with any other, secondly because in Hindu mysticism the types are most easily and clearly distinguished, and thirdly because so little has been written on Muslim mysticism in English.

I have treated the two streams of mysticism separately, the first four lectures being devoted mainly to Hinduism and the last four to Islam. Constant reference from the one to the other, however, has been made throughout wherever such comparison seemed illuminating, as has surprisingly often proved to be the case.

I have not, of course, attempted to cover the whole field of either Hindu or Muslim mysticism since that would not have been possible in eight lectures, but I have attempted to trace the development of mystical thought within the formative period of both traditions. In the case of Hinduism I have concentrated on . . .

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