Who is René Guénon (Sheikh Abdulvahit Yahya)?June 26, 2021
René Guénon (also known as Sheikh Abdulvahit Yahya) (born 15 November 1886, Blois-France – died 7 January 1951, Cairo) was a French metaphysician writer.
Born on November 15, 1886, in Blois, France, to a traditional Catholic family, Guenon received his formal education in mathematics and philosophy. In 1906 he went to Paris, where he made contact with various spiritualist groups, and in 1909 he was the founder and editor of a journal that published on spiritual and esoteric subjects called La Gnose. Guenon did not give much information during these contacts with the occult groups prevalent in France of that day between 1906-1908. However, it is possible to obtain information on this subject from various sources.
In 1906, at the age of twenty, Guenon attended the courses of the Ecole Hermetique, the pioneer of the occult movement later led by Papus (Dr. Gerard Encausse). Accepted to all organizations controlled by Papus. He later rejected some of Papus’ beliefs (spiritism, reincarnation). In 1908, with the encouragement of his Martinist friends, he assumed control of the Orde du Temple Renove (O.T.R), which continued for a short time. He left O.T.R. in 1909, severing all ties to occultism. In 1909 he joined the Eglise Gnostique, which claimed to be an authentic reconstruction of historical Catharism. He gained the title of diocese and took the name Palingenius. He founded the journal La Gnose on the initiative of Synesius, the patriarch of this church, and directed it until 1912. His articles published in the journal between 1909 and 1912 contained the first elements of his two later books.
When we look at Guenon’s later works, we see that he opposed occultism, theosophism, neognosticism and similar movements. The reason for this was Guenon’s investigation of the authenticity claims of these movements and his struggle against the parodies of genuine esotericism.
In 1910, he met the famous French painter Gustav Ageli, who embraced Islam and took the name Abdulhadi, and through him, he became a Muslim in 1912 and joined Abdurrahman Eliş el-Kebir, one of the Shazeliye sheikhs in Egypt, and took the name Abdulvahid Yahya.
He completed his university education in 1916 with his thesis “Leibniz and the Calculation of Infinite Smalls” (Leibniz and Infinitemal Calculus). In 1921, he completed his doctoral dissertation, General Introduction to the Study of Hindu Doctrines, under the supervision of Jacques Maritain. Leaving academic life after the doctoral jury rejected his thesis, Guenon published his works named Orient and Occident and The Crisis of the Modern World. Guenon, whose wife died the same year his work The Crisis of the Modern World was published, went to Egypt in 1930, as a result of an agreement with a publishing house for the study and publication of some Sufi texts, and there he married Fatma, the daughter of Sheikh Muhammad Ibrahim, a Sufi leader. He did not abandon his humble life in Cairo until he passed away in 1951.
Guenon had an extraordinary memory and great linguistic talent. He spoke Greek, Latin, Hebrew, English, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Polish, Arabic, Sanskrit, and a little Chinese. With his extensive knowledge of grammar, he had the opportunity to read classical mystical literatures from their source. He has produced works in a wide range of fields from metaphysics to traditional sciences and criticism of the modern world. The main theme of his works is the contrast between the various traditions of the world and the modern world. Describing the modern West as a deviation from traditional civilizations, an “anomaly”, Guenon argues that the only way to recovery is the rediscovery of the truths underlying traditional teachings in the East. Guenon, who argues that all true religions come from the same divine source and vary in terms of their rules, stated that Hinduism is open to those who are Hindu by birth, Christianity has lost its initiatory character, and Judaism has a racial character. has chosen. However, he preferred to use the language of Hinduism in his works, which he thought would be more suitable for the western mentality due to his racial and mental affinities. Although he was a member of the Traditionalist school, writers such as Frithjof Schuon did not agree with Guenon’s views on Christianity. Because of such differences between writers, there are also people in the west who make a certain distinction between Guenon followers and Schuon followers.
The combination of religions, synthesis, etc. of expressions in Guenon works. He especially emphasized that it should not be understood as; “Oddly enough, when we confirm the fundamental unity of all traditional doctrines, some may think we are talking about fusion of different traditions.” (Rene Guenon, Orient et Occident, Guy Trédaniel, 1987, p.192) d