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This Manual is a little gem and it is highly recommended for those who believe that the soul survives the death of the body--for it is one thing to believe in immortality, it is another to attempt to delineate just what the post-death state might be like. Annie Besant has done as well as anyone I know of in doing so. Readers of this volume will certainly want to read the other six in the series.
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Annie Bassant, is in my opinion, a brilliant woman. One of Mme Bavatski's contemporaries.
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Originally entitled Four Great Religions in 1897, three were added in 1901 - all from lectures delivered in India. Her bibliography cites over seventy sources from which she generously offers quotations and context, from the Al Qurån to the Zendavesta.
The historical coverage is valuable, but alone is not the purpose of her book. Rather, she provides unmistakable linkage among the great religions, their laws, and purpose. Specifically she seeks to support religious study and comparisons of:
* The Founder - whose life and character are impressed on the religion
* The exoteric religion - thought to appeal to the masses of the people
* The philosophy - thought to appeal to the learned and the cultured
* The mysticism - defined as expressing the universal yearning of the human Spirit for union with its source
Enjoy this book because it suggests a celebration of religion seen as a process that supports the advancement of all humanity, given its current condition, constraints, and culture at the time it was founded.
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