A Treasury of Mystic Terms - RSSB Books

A Treasury of Mystic Terms

A Treasury of Mystic Terms is a collection of the spiritual terms that appear in the literature of the world's religious and mystical traditions. Planned as a multi-volume work in four parts, the Treasury’s primary objective is to explain the meaning of these essential terms within the framework of a universal understanding of spirituality.

All terms are explained in a simple manner, with each term presented as a separate entry. With the explanations grouped according to subject and placed alongside one another, many similarities between the various religions immediately become apparent. Among these many pages, the reader will find a mixture of interesting concepts, quotations, thoughts, perceptions and ideas. There should be something for everyone, whoever they are and whatever their bent of mind.

The Treasury has been prepared and edited by an international team of researchers, contributors, editors and readers with a wide variety of religious and cultural backgrounds. All those involved donated their time and expertise to the project. Since the Society does not seek any profit, and the cost of printing in India is low, the Treasury can be sold at a low price. This helps the Society stay true to its premise that spirituality is the birthright of all, that no profit should be extracted from its dissemination, and so that knowledge of these truths should not be withheld from anyone for economic reasons.

Sold only as complete sets, volumes not sold separately

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Food for the Soul: A beautifully produced set on mysticism and spirituality, this is a significant work. More than 40 scholars have worked on it, gleaning over 5,000 nuggets from religious texts from around the globe. The first volume starts with an overview of the universe of spirituality, which helps to put the early spiritual traditions in perspective. …you come across some interesting bits of information, like the relationship between Jewish mystics and the Sufis, and the existence of Jewish Sufi manuscripts, which were discovered in Cairo in the late 19th century. Christianity is explained at length, and another interesting section is on Greek mystics and philosophers.

... The very strength of these volumes lies in the fact that they bring out the essential similarities in the way man envisions mystical experiences. Once you get over cultural and linguistic differences, the essence is so similar. But then, why should it not be?

... One can just not read this set of six volumes, or for that matter any book in it from cover to cover. In fact, it has been designed for the reader who, like this reviewer, would come back for more and more. As one sees the various terms explained in fairly lucid and simple language, one recognizes the work that must have gone behind it to `dejargonise' one of the more esoteric subjects. Of course, there can and will be differences of opinion and hair-splitting, but that is only to be expected and would probably be welcomed by the editors.

Brought out by a team of volunteers, the volumes are produced at par with international standards, and priced low even by Indian norms. There is no doubt that this is a labour of love, which is obviously continuing, since Part II of the treasure is still to come. It will be eagerly awaited by many.

Roopinder Singh, The Tribune, Sunday, April 11, 2004

The Principles of Mysticism constitutes Part I of A TREASURY OF MYSTIC TERMS, and deals mostly with the theoretical aspects. It will be followed by Part II, The Practice of Mysticism, in a near future. As the title indicates, it is not a dictionary or an encyclopedia, but a treasury of the essential terms and concepts used by different spiritual traditions. The Treasury deals with mysticism, as a transcendental experience in the sphere of consciousness. It is not intended to be exclusively an academic reference book, but it is further intended to provide for the cultivated reader a presentation in ordinary words of fundamental mystic concepts. All the entries of the Treasury have been written with great care, drawing from the best English translations available.

… With the Treasury, Davidson has found an excellent opportunity to illustrate that gnosticism is not circumscribed to Early Christianity, neither to any specific place or time, but has developed in all the major spiritual traditions of the world, up to now.

… Instead of adopting a continuous alphabetical sequence, the editor has intelligently adopted a presentation in six subject areas, each presented in one volume. …Volume 1 also contains a very handy glossary of the main texts and authors of those traditions, with cross?references.

… While dealing with this book, the reader should be aware of its backdrop. Its structure corresponds to the creed of gnosticism: existence of God and immortality of soul separated from the Divine, soul prisoner in the corporeal body, quest for a relation with the Divine through fusion.

… All the entries concerning the different spiritual traditions are treated from the specific angle of mystic gnosticism. If the reader accepts this prerequisite, even though he may not adhere completely to gnosticism, he can still make a very fruitful reading. For the Christian, he may discover new aspects of the Christian faith which have remained in the shadows of history and, through this contact, the Christian faith may be challenged to open itself new horizons.

Thierry Meynard SJ ,March 3rd 2004

… Although the scholars have found inspiration in the teachings of mystics of Beas in India, they present a variety of illuminating views, all of which serve to make this miscellany a ‘treasury’ worth cherishing.

The reader will thus find a rich cornucopia among the pages that have something for everyone … Moreover, despite its thematic coherence, the book also seems ideal for dipping and browsing.…

Like ‘mysticism’ and ‘myth', the word ‘mystery’ comes from the Greek verb ‘musteion’, which means to close the mouth and the eyes. In everyday life, this denotes an experience of obscurity, darkness and silence. In the spiritual world, however, such a closure offers a key to enlightenment.

In esoteric techniques such as Shambhavi mudra of Hatha Yoga, for instance, the closing of the gates of the body is supposed to lead the seeker from darkness to light. Knowing the various shades of meanings in different traditions can … lead to a stimulating ‘Aha’ reaction or inspiration of its own. This is indeed what makes A Treasury of Mystic Terms invaluable for those interested in inquiring into their own spiritual backgrounds, and those of other cultures.

Vithal Nadkarni, _Sunday Times of India, February 8, 2004

... A Treasury of Mystic Terms ... is really a most remarkable work and the highest compliments are due to all those who participated in it.

Eli Kahn, Koren Publishers, Jerusalem LTD

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Preface
Table of Contents
Volume 1
 The Universe of Spirituality
Volume 2
 The Divine Eternity
Volume 3
 The Divine Creative Power
Volume 4
 The Hierarchy of Creation
Volume 5
 Man and the Cosmos
Volume 6
 The Soul in Exile

PART I: VOLUMES 1–6
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Volume 1-6
The Principles of Mysticism

Volume 1
The Universe of Spirituality
Acknowledgements, Preface
Editorial Notes
 Languages and Transliteration Systems
Abbreviations
The Universe of Spirituality
Biographic and Bibliographic Glossary
Bibliography
Index of Headwords

Volume 2
The Divine Eternity
God and Eternity
The Absolute and the Relative

Volume 3
The Divine Creative Power
The Creative Power
Divine Music

Volume 4
The Hierarchy of Creation
The Realms of Creation
Deities, Rulers, Archons and Angels

Volume 5
Man and the Cosmos
The Nature of Man
Cosmic Principles

Volume 6
The Soul in Exile
Evil, the Devil and the Negative Power
The Veil of the Physical
Reincarnation, Destiny, and the
 Law of Cause and Effect


PART II: VOLUMES 7–10
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Volumes 7-10
Spiritual Guides & Practitioners

Volume 7
Acknowledgements
Preface to Part I
Preface to Part II
Editorial Notes
 Languages and Transliteration Systems
Abbreviations
Guides and Practitioners
 (ab – imām)
Bibliography
Index of Headwords

Volume 8
Guides and Practitioners
 (incarnation – sāyah)

Volume 9
Guides and Practitioners
 (scribes – zǔ)
The Inner Guide, the Inner Beloved

Volume 10
Powers, Attributes, and Characteristics
Baptism, Initiation, Mysteries
Spiritual Association


PART III: VOLUMES 11–16
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Volumes 11-13
Spiritual Experience

Volumes 11
Acknowledgements
Preface to Part I
Preface to Part III
Editorial Notes
 Languages and Transliteration Systems
Abbreviations
States of Consciousness,
 Forms of Knowledge
 (abandonment of self – inner life)
Bibliography
Index of Headwords

Volumes 12
States of Consciousness,
 Forms of Knowledge
 (inner peace and love – vijñāna)

Volume 13
States of Consciousness,
 Forms of Knowledge
 (vikalpa – zìwù)
Going Within
Death and Dying

Volumes 14-16
Religious & Spiritual Practices

Volume 14
Religious Practices & Beliefs
 (‘abā’ – sharī‘ah)

Volumes 15
Religious Practices & Beliefs
 (sharīra-dhātu – zunnār)
Spiritual Practices
 (abhibhāyatana – kavanah)

Volume 16
Spiritual Practices
 (kavanot – zuòwàng)

PART IV: VOLUMES 17–22
Yet to be Published – Arrangement of sections yet to be finalized

Volumes 17-22
The Spiritual Way of Life

Volumes 17, 18
Human Life
Prelims
Human Perfection and Imperfection
End Matter
Conduct of Life

Volumes 19, 20
Treading the Spiritual Path
Diet and Spirituality
Treading the Spiritual Path
The Way of the World & the Way of the Spirit

Volumes 21, 22
The Soul & the Divine
Humanity and the Divine