Edited by Keshavaram N. Iengar and Rama P. Coomaraswamy

1999, xxiii+87pp., notes, index, ISBN: 81-7304-227-6: Rs.250 (HB)

Originally published in 1943, the two essays are authoritative expositions of the teachings of these religions as understood by those who practised them rather than as understood by scholars and comparative religionists who studied and viewed them from without. Coomaraswamy assumes that even the oldest forms of Hinduism were neither polytheistic nor pantheistic and that there is no doctrine of reincarnation, other than that of the immanent God “who never becomes anyone”. Hinduism is the oldest of the surviving mystery religions whose formulations are essentially the same as those of Platonism, Christianity, Taoism and other traditional doctrines.

Buddhism is treated in a similar manner. The life of the pseudo-historical founder, the conqueror of death, repeats the original myth of the archetypal dragon­ slayer. His doctrine as he asserts very forcibly is not his own but the re-opening of the “ancient path”. Buddhism is thus not a “new” religion, but rather a reiteration, with different emphases, of the same teachings that are to be found in the Ancient Vedas.

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