Linda Johnsen. Lost Masters: Sages of Ancient Greece. Honesdale, Penn.: Himalayan Institute Press, 2006. Paperback, 217 pp.
Linda Johnsen is the author of several books and many popular articles, including the best-selling Daughters of the Goddess. In this book, she focuses her keen journalistic eye on the spiritual teachers of ancient Greece—Pythagoras, Plato, Apollonius, Plotinus, and so forth. Like most of us, Johnsen was force-fed with a deadly boring diet of Greek philosophy in college, and it took her decades before she realized that “the Greeks were neither dull nor irrelevant.”
In the 1960s, she turned to India for inspiration, and the detour clearly paid off, because, curiously, it was her encounter with India’s wisdom that led her back—at a deeper level—to the Greek heritage of “living spirituality.” In this book, she shares with the reader her exciting rediscovery. She manages to tell the story of what she calls the “Western sages” in a vivid manner that brings the Hellenes straight to our doorstep. She believes that “bringing the viewpoint of the East to our knowledge of ancient Greek culture will vastly enrich our understanding of our own spiritual roots as Westerners.”
Johnsen’s intellectual travelogue is unashamedly popular in that it focuses on the highlights of the Greek wisdom tradition, but this makes for easy reading and assimilation. Her frequent references to India and the many correlations that exist between Greek and Indic gnosis give this book its unique flavor.