By TERESA FULLER
THE TEACHINGS OF THE MYSTICS, being selections from the great mystics and mystical writings of the world. Edited, with introduction, interpretive commentaries, and explanations, by Walter T. Stave, (A Mentor Book, the New American Library, 4s.).
TO anyone interested in pantheism, this book will be of great informative value, as the first half consists of a penetrating analysis of Hindu, Buddhist and Taoist mysticism, with an illuminating chapter on Plotinus. In the selection of writings from these schools, the most outstanding and hauntingly beautiful, is from the Svetasvatara Upanished;
Thou, sole guardian of the universe
Thou, Lord of all, In the hearts of Thy creatures Thou hidest Thyself.
Those who know Thee die not.
THE account of Christian mysticism is not so satisfactory. Christianity, Judaism and Islam are Theistic in character, as opposed to Hinduism and Buddhism. which are Pantheistic; although the author gives a fair, and up to a point, accurate, description of Christian mysticism, and a great many extracts from the writings of Christian mystics, One feels that he is fundamentally out of sympathy with Theism.
Re assumes that, in the final analysis, all mysticism must. of its nature, be pantheistic: " How can union with God be possible if the soul does not in that union become identical with God? " and, therefore, there is, and must be, a "state of tension between mystics and the ecclesiastical authorities ".
Why the human soul cannot have union with God thrc ugh love, without becoming God. the author fails to explain, or rather, the explanation given is, to a Catholic, mindful of the gulf between the Creator and the created, wholly unconvincing.
THE STORY OF SALVATION, by Sister Jane Marie Murray, 0.P. and Eugene S. Geissler (Fowler Wright Books Ltd.,
EXPENSIVE? Yes, but good value. This is a delightfully instructive picture book which I would recommend for priests'. doctors' and dentists' waiting rooms. convent parlours. headmasters studies and anywhere where people have to wait about for interviews, pleasant or otherwise.
The hook consists of fine photographic reproductions ranging from the primitives to the moderns, of paintings illustrating the story of One salvation, accompanied by a very brief commentary based on scripture. The compilers seem to have a marked predilection for Chagall-understandable. A simple idea. but well executed.