The "Royal Art" as used here references Raja Yoga, most commonly simply called "yoga," a meditation practice developed within Hinduism. Bô Yin Râ (this name has no meaning but was chosen for its sound quality), actually J.A. Schneiderfranken, used this term rather freely referring to eastern wisdom. The book's main characters are a group of mystical guides, the Luminaries, who offer, in simple language, a complex compilation of spiritual advice. What is presented is an amalgamation of standard religious ideas plus some esoteric teachings and minus any named central figure such as Christ or Buddha. The subject matter is wide-ranging, the chapters encompassing such diverse material as "The Call of the Luminary to the Soul," "The All Infinite One," "The Masters in the Realm of Spirit," and "The Dangers of Conceit."
To fully understand The Book of the Royal Art requires some biographical knowledge about Schneiderfranken (1876-1943). A German/Swiss mystic whose youthful paintings were considered highly visionary, he entered an art academy while still in his teens. But later he chose writing as the medium to express his unique philosophy, completing 32 books, including this one.
This current collection has been produced in two attractive hardcover formats: one in English only, and a larger, bilingual (German and English) volume. Though little known here and now, Bô Yin Râ was admired by the European intellectuals and artists of his time. More recently, his philosophical treatises had a deep influence on Oprah author Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now). This posthumous selection of arcane teachings has doubtless been released for a twofold purpose: to make the work of Bô Yin Râ more accessible to his admirers, and to garner a wider readership for the ideas of this remarkable visionary.
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