Work Title: Lost Masters: Sages of Ancient Greece
Work Author(s): Linda Johnsen
Himalyan Institute Press
232 pages, Softcover $14.95
Reviewer: Carol Haggas
"East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,"" said Kipling. A poetic sentiment, to be sure, but one that has misleading implications when tracing the derivation of Western philosophic doctrine. From Plutarch to Plotinus, were the venerated sages of antiquity original thinkers, or did they borrow precepts and principles from both Indian and Egyptian cultures?
The author is a contributing editor to Yoga + Joyful Living magazine and has written numerous books on Eastern philosophy and spirituality, including the recent Daughters of the Goddess: The Women Saints of India. She is a self-proclaimed "child of the '60s," whose natural inclination was to explore the mystic religious teachings of Krishna and Buddha instead of Socrates and Plato. The sages of ancient Greece held no allure, that is, until her educational and professional research led her to a startling discovery: there was a sinuous thread that could connect Indian theories of enlightenment to Egyptian beliefs of spirituality, and Egyptian dogma to Greek doctrines of philosophy.
Though her findings are presented without academic annotation, Johnsen's exuberance for her subject is genuine. "I went back," she says, "to the original Greek historians ... in an effort to learn what the ancients said about their own tradition before modern scholars reinterpreted it for them. I was continually amazed at how similar the long-lost Greek world was to the India I travel through today."