Theosophical History Occasional Papers
Agarttha: a Guˇnonian Manipulation?
By Marco Baistrocchi
Translated from the Italian by Joscelyn Godwin
Renˇ Guˇnon (1886-1951) continues to wield immense influence through his ŅTraditionalistÓ principles and the ŅPerennialistÓ school that follows them. A secret Islamic initiate from his early years, he later lived openly as a Muslim, and his Western followers have mostly chosen the same path. A fierce opponent of Theosophy (see his Theosophy: History of a Pseudo-Religion), of Spiritualism, and of all occultist movements, Guˇnon laid down a rigid principle: that spiritual seekers must follow one of the great religions, and that esoteric aspirations are worthless without exoteric practice.
Marco Baistrocchi (1941–1997), a diplomat by profession, was a traditionalist of a contrary kind: a scholar and enthusiast for the Greco-Roman tradition, its revival in Renaissance Neoplatonism, and for Asiatic wisdom, especially Buddhist. Respectful of GuˇnonÕs achievement and insights, he wondered how such an intelligent man could have fallen for the absurd myth of Agarttha, the underground kingdom with its science-fiction trimmings and apocalyptic ŅKing of the World.Ó Baistrocchi puts the Agarttha mythÕs origins and GuˇnonÕs agenda under merciless scrutiny, and concludes that the whole affair was a deliberate manipulation, designed to shut off Western seekers from Eastern wisdom and to divert them, first into Catholicism, then into Islam.
Whether or not the reader agrees with all of BaistrocchiÕs arguments, they are an education in the uses of myth and the undercurrents of modern esotericism.
This Occasional Paper includes a Foreword by Dr. Piero Fenili, collaborator with the author on the journal Politica Romana, and an Afterword by the Translator, Joscelyn Godwin.
PUBLICATION DATE: December 15, 2009
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