This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

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Karma, bhakti, jnana

We can begin by acknowledging the fundamental differences in spiritual temperament that occur in individuals, and that this variation implies different needs when it comes to spiritual method.

Although there are as many spiritual types as there are people, the primary classifications are three: the way of works, the way of love, and the way of knowledge. This doctrine of the three ways is universally applicable, but most directly enunciated in the Hindu doctrine via the terms karma (works), bhakti (love), and jnana (knowledge), resulting in three corresponding margas (paths) to spiritual realization: karma-marga, bhakti-marga, and jnana-marga. We will note that a corresponding division is present in Sufism with the terms makhafa (fear), mahabba (love), and ma’rifa (gnosis or knowledge). We have deployed these terms elsewhere in this manual and what was said there should also be considered applicable here.

Our first remark here should be that each of these, because they correspond to human nature, are valid as such and appropriate, even if in different contexts one might be emphasized at the expense of another. Thus, in the Hebrew tradition, we find a way of works; in Christianity, a way of love; in Taoism, a way of knowledge. However, we also must acknowledge that in any tradition, we find possibilities for each way, even if that way is not emphasized. Thus, in the Hebrew tradition we find jnana or gnosis in the Kabbalah. Likewise, in Hinduism, from which we have borrowed our terminology, we find distinct paths for each type. All of this is simply to point out the diversity of paths and to note that emphasis on one does not (or should not) imply the exclusion of other possibilities.

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