Sahaja, Sacrifice, the Garden and the Phoenix

This week our new additions include an unusual article by Ananda Coomaraswamy where he expounds the Hindu concept of Sahaja, reaching deeply into the mystery of love, both in its metaphysical reality and in its earthly manifestations:

In reading of romantic love we are apt to ponder over what is left unsaid. What did the writers really mean? What was the actual physical relation of the Provençal lover to his mistress, of Chandidas to Rami? I have come to see now that even if we knew this to the last detail it would tell us nothing.

From the late French philosopher Jean Hani, a chapter tracking the notion of sacrifice in general, and the Eucharist in particular, through its historical sources and back to its first cause:

In order to understand in its ultimate profundity the meaning of this sacrifice, at one and the same time expiatory and transfiguring, and in a general manner, the real meaning and function of all sacrifice, it is necessary to know its metaphysical basis.

• In “A Contemplation of the Herbs”, a sermon by Thomas Adams (1583–1653), the “Shakespeare of the Puritans”, we have a very particular combination of a treatise on spiritual psychology and the symbolisms of gardening, because, among other things “A good life is a good salad.”

Labour we then to be fruitful gardens, and to abound with gracious herbs, that God may in this world shower upon us the dews of his mercy, and after this life transplant us to his heavenly paradise.

• Finally, Shakespeare’s enigmatic poem on the tragic love between the Phoenix and the Turtle-dove, “allegorically shadowing the truth of Love,” is read aloud for our collection of mystical poetry, and accompanied by several interpretative articles that illumine the profound meaning of “the bird of loudest lay”, the Phoenix of “the sole Arabian tree”. Click here to listen and read.