Summary of Religion for the Age of Darkness - Hugh Urban

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Religion & Culture
Brent Hagerman

Religion for the Age of Darkness – Hugh Urban Religion for the Age of Darkness  Tantra and the history of Religions in the twentieth century o Indologists and scholars extremely interested in Tantra and some saw it as essence of Eastern spirituality  Saw it as most primordial form of Indian religions o Tantrocentrism at the heart of discourses of the history of religions o Study of Tantra not just linked to colonialism and nationalism, but to reformation of political identities in aftermath of imperialism o Heinrich Zimmer – impact on Indology o Julius Evola – esotericism and right-wing politics o Mircea Eliade – comparative religions o Obsession with Tantra due to shift to uprooted world of modernity  Felt longing for world not touched by modernity  Wanted to move back to traditional religious spirit, right wing political movements or the un-modernized traditional Oriental world o Tantra provided solution to solution to spiritual cry  Offer means of affirming material world, while transforming it into means to spiritual liberation  Eliade, Zimmer and Evola saw Tantra as most transgressive and violent path to sacred o Tantra not only culminating synthesis of Indian philosophy, but needed solution to crises of modern age  Became religion of the oppressed masses, rooted in primitive socialism and precapitalist ideals  The Path of Power and the Dar age of Modernity: Twentieth Century European Scholarship on Tantra o Modern imagining of Tantra born from interplay between two extremes:  Denigration of Tantra by European orientalists  Rationalization and purification by John Woodroffe o Entered the West through scholars and intellectuals, not spirituals o Zimmer, Evola and Eliade accepted that Tantra embodies all extreme aspects of the Indian Mind, but also the affirmation of the human body and sexuality  Imagining India: Heinrich Zimmer and the Tantric Imagination o Study of myths and sacred images more than just academic, also personal and transformative o Zimmer’s interest in India intimately tied to own sense of disenchantment and disgust with Christian tradition o Zimmer never travels to India, always a land of idealization o Western civilization reached terrible spiritual crisis: modern man destroyed religious faith, slain all his gods, now waiting for new source of faith to fill spiritual void  Turned to Jung and psychology Religion for the Age of Darkness – Hugh Urban  If man can no longer find god outside himself, must turn inward to recover them from his soul  The Hero’s Path: The Godlike power of the Tantric Imagination o In Tantric yoga, Zimmer found most developed techniques of creative imagination and science of human psyche  Creative imagination – most effective instrument of liberation  Essence of Indian yogic practice and artistic traditions, using creative imagination to awake divine forces within us o Using yantras and mandalas, draws forth gods and demons, heavens and hells all from imagination  Worshipper projects within himself a vision of the divine reality o Power of creative imagining is both his study and means for recovering sacred within secularized world of the West o Tantra was the antidote to patriarchal, life-denying Christian tradition o Indian equates himself with God, transcends God and is at peace in the knowledge of himself as Brahman  Riding the Tiger: Julius Evola and the Fascist Uses of Tantras o Influential figure in the development of the history of religion o Went in search of higher values that limited the bourgeois prejudices of Judeo Christian Europe o Imagined birth of elite spiritual nobility, who could regenerate decaying world of modern Europe o Evola’s Fascism  Romantic Telluric Dionysianism  Spiritual and apollonian fascism o One of the most influential figures in neofascist movements of Europe  Spiritual master of the new Right  Revolt against the Modern World and Age of Darkness o Scathing and merciless critic of Modern West  Agenda consisted of nothing more than revolt against the modern world o Modern West marks lowest point in downward spiral of Kali yuga, darkest moment in darkest cosmic eras o Most conspicuous theme is radical antidemocratic, aristocratic and elitist vision of society  Spiritual elite would rule ordinary masses o Evola predicts a revolt against flaccid democracy of the modern west and return to traditional ethics of spiritual nobility  Given that we live in darkest, antitraditional age, only solut
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