|IRGET became public on October 29, 1987, through an article published in the São Paulo newspaper called Jornal da Tarde. IRGET exists, in fact, for almost 20 years. Its founder and current director, Luiz Pontual, initially studied Tradition and its main branches under the orientation of a scholar whose interest and knowledge of tradition were first awakened through Fernando Guedes Galvão, the introducer of René Guénon’s work in Brazil.
As it is known, Guedes Galvão maintained correspondence for many years with Guénon and was the translator — under Guénon’s strict orientation — of The Crisis of the Modern World, a work published by Livraria Martins Editora, of São Paulo, in 1948. This title was suggested by Guénon himself to Guedes Galvão as the ideal one for introducing his works. It is, indeed, the most accessible of Guénon’s works and usually the first read by those who are interested in this author.
As it is openly declared by our Institute’s name, we consider René Guénon’s work to be the fundamental reference, the orientation axis, for our courses.
Our library relies, evidently, on works of other authors of relevance, whose interest in Tradition — which in some cases resulted in veritable spiritual accomplishments — were, in many instances, developed under the influence and, frequently, under the guidance of René Guénon.
Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, the “Prince of Scholars,” improved his writings qualitatively through René Guénon, with whom he kept a significant correspondence. Coomaraswamy is the author on whom we base ourselves especially on matters concerning traditional art and Buddhism. He is not to be mistaken for his son, the physician Rama Coomaraswamy, the author of a few books, who is linked to the group led by Schuon in the United States.
Títus Buckhardt is a flaming traditional writer whose intellectual depth allied by a crystalline style has produced true gems of traditional knowledge such as his inspired Principes and Methodes de L’Art Sacré. He is, undoubtedly, an important pillar for our Institute in what regards traditional art and Islamic esotericism.
Pierre Grison enables us to enter and envision the vast traditional horizons of the Far East. Among other works, he has written the truly precious: Angkor Au Centre du Monde, La Lumière et le Boisseau and Le Traité de la Fleur D’Or du Suprême Un.
Matgioi brings rigorous precision to the Taoist doctrine and to Confucianism in his ultimate works La Voie Rationnelle and La Voie Métaphysique. Still concerning the Far East, Philastre granted us his magnificent translation of the Yi King — considered by the Chinese as being the most accurate.
Marcel Granet, as the researcher and writer of documental works of great importance, deserves special mention for his La Pensée Chinoise.
Michel Vâlsan, compiler and organizer of René Guénon’s studies on symbolism in the book Symboles Fondamentaux de la Science Sacrée, is also the author of important works on Islam as well as on the grandeur and scope of René Guénon’s traditional authority
Guido de Giorgio, ‘Abdul-Hâdi, Giuseppe Palomba (Valori Morali e Progresso Economico) and Gaston Georgel have brought us quality contribution, especially Georgel through his study The Cosmic Cycles.
The motivation for Georgel’s work is extremely curious. While still a student of History in Paris, Georgel found himself in a dentist’s waiting room leafing through the pages of a magazine in the likes of Reader’s Digest.
His curiosity was suddenly aroused by an article on the coincidences of very similar historical facts registered at regular yearly intervals during successive French reigns. This “fortuitous” event led Georgel to unprecedented discoveries for the modern Western world; discoveries which ancient sources are present in the Hindu doctrine of cosmic cycles.
Ramana Maharshi — and not those who exploit his name after his death — is an outstanding exponent of the Hindu tradition. Gangâdhar Tilak has bestowed us a definitive work on the antiquity of the Vêda that caused annoyance among the English colonizers.
The Institute judges interesting, for various reasons, an acquaintance of the works of Saint-Yves D’Alveydre, Fabre-D’Olivet, Paul Vulliaud, Luigi Valli and Frédéric Portal.
It is also essential that we mention the importance of the two enlightened renovators of the Hindu and Islamic traditions — verily diamond pillars — Shankarâcârya and Muhyudín Ibn Arabí, whose teachings remain indispensable.
The writer Julius Evola, that in many episodes recurred to René Guénon’s support and orientation — a fact attested by their correspondence — has, in our point of view, the relative merit of having produced some interesting developments, in particular, when elaborating on the principles announced in Guénon’s The Crisis of the Modern World.
Having established these initial references, let us move on to the courses ministered by IRGET.
“The Oriental Perspective” is our basic course. It is formed by eight expositions the contents of which will soon be shown through links in our homepage.
In this initial stage we seek to clarify what defines Tradition and what is the meaning of “cultural value” for an authentic oriental. Eight basic concepts are explained: Metaphysics, Tradition, Doctrine, Religion, Philosophy, Science, Technology and Mysticism.
We examine the origins of the modern Western world and the fundamental divergences that gradually distanced it from the Eastern perspective. We present the Hindu doctrine of castes that provides us with a deep understanding of what is vocation and true competence.
The Hindu doctrine of caste rests traditionally in the identification and distinction of each individual’s own nature, so that his/hers potentialities, notably the spiritual, can be developed to their maximum. The Hindu caste system is completely different from what Western propaganda ridicules as the “hateful caste system” of India.
Next, in our basic course, we present an exposition on the Four Traditional Ages: Golden, Silver, Bronze and Iron, which correspond to the four castes. In the final stage of the basic course, this theme is developed through a lecture on the Hindu Doctrine of the Cosmic Cycles leading us, in this manner, to examine the contemporary “Reign of Quantity,” the alarming invasion of sects, and the illusion of the so called “Age of Aquarius.”
The closing class of “The Oriental Perspective” course examines the symbolism of the Chinese lantern, “Kon Tan” (made of lacquered wood and several facets of glass painted with landscapes) which demonstrates that each object of traditional craft, in any traditional branch considered, is a small treatise that mirrors and speaks of the sacred doctrine to those able to grasp it.
“What is Truly Oriental?” is an intermediate course that brings accuracy by determining the criteria that must be applied for discerning what is indeed traditional and what merely pretends to be; sects are examined in minutiae in their origins and “doctrines.”
This course is based in the books Le Théosophisme, Histoire d’une Pseudo-Religion and in L’Erreur Spirite, both books by René Guénon. Far from limiting themselves to spiritual sects and Theosophism, these two works provide us with firm criteria in discerning among the hundreds of groups and tendencies that call themselves oriental, thus separating the chaff from the wheat.
In a world where false doctrines and “blind leaders” are the smashing majority, this intermediate course is always useful, for it not only spares those interested in authentic oriental themes from wasting time and money, but also and most importantly, preserves their mental and physical health.
The advanced courses deal with the main branches of Traditional and are structured rigorously according to their traditional “internal architecture” as exposed by René Guénon in the set of his works.
In this stage, we have the exposition of Man and His Becoming According to the Vedânta; Prophet Muhammad’s Life; The Tao and the Ten Thousand Beings; and other important traditional themes developed during the existence of IRGET.
In a concise manner, and with the objective of responding to the many inquiries that we receive, it is our hope that these few lines have anticipated themes soon to be found in our homepage.
We wish to register our gratitude for the words of support and encouragement that, thanks to God, we have received, even before our homepage is in fact operational.
The links to other homepages of traditional or conservative character, with their respective web and emails addresses, are equally welcome. Within our means,
we will try to return these solidary gestures.
|Institute René Guénon of Traditional Studies|