By Ramachandra Guha
“Inside each considering Indian there's a Gandhian and a Marxist suffering for supremacy”, says Ramachandra Guha within the starting sentence of this splendidly readable e-book of principles, reviews and reflections. a considerable element of the booklet expands in this salvo: it analyses Gandhians and pseudo-Gandhians, Marxists and anti-Marxists, Nehruvians and anti-Secularists, Democrats and Stalinists, scientists and historians, environmentalists and cricketers briefly, it examines and discusses all those that include the highbrow lifetime of pondering Indians this day.
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The Grand Master offered words of encouragement to the Fellowcraft, suggesting that, in time and • 34 • T H E F E L L OW C R A F T A N D T H E M A S T E R M A S O N with his own personal development, he would be able to gain those secrets lawfully. However, he, Hiram, could not reveal them before that time because of the ‘sacred trust’ that his position involved even if it meant his own death. Greatly angered, the Fellowcraft struck a blow at Hiram’s forehead that actually hit his right temple.
The Corpus consisted of 16 books written in Greek that take the form of a number of dialogues between Hermes Trismegistus and other ﬁgures. The ﬁrst book involves Hermes being taught by God about the mysteries of life and the universe and the majority of the following books feature Hermes passing on this secret, mystical knowledge to a number of others. Upon its rediscovery many believed that the Corpus Hermeticum was, in fact, a body of work older than the works of Plato. However, this contention was seriously challenged when a Swiss philologist called Isaac Casaubon examined the texts in 1614.
Hermetic thought, it is argued, need not be restricted to any one particular religion and need not necessarily be viewed as constituting a religion in itself, a claim that is also made of Freemasonry. It is, therefore, a philosophical system for spiritual development that can be combined with religions such as Islam, Judaisim or Christianity. Nor need it embrace monotheistic religions only. It can even extend to pantheistic belief systems. The Rosicrucian movement that began in mysterious circumstances in the seventeenth century, although it was based on Christianity, was inﬂuenced by Hermetic thought.