“When you consider the scope, width and erudition of this work, it is not surprising that it took its author over 20 years to complete. Most philosophical books take a single view of the problem of consciousness, either scientific or philosophical, but Edi Bilimoria takes a much wider, more inclusive view. Who am I? is the underlying question of Volume I: A Panoramic Survey–Science Contrasted with the Perennial Philosophy on Consciousness and Man, which provides an overview of the field, highlighting both the value of science and its limitations as a tool for examining the deeper problems of life and consciousness, and makes the case for the perennial philosophy as a bridge to reach a greater under- standing of these areas.

In Volume II: Peering Down the Microscope – Man’s Internal Landscapes, Bilimoria manages the seemingly impossible task of finding common ground in the mass of beliefs and practices, old and new, from diverse, cultures, religions and philosophies, to demonstrate an overlap and unifying doctrine even on such issues as post-mortem existence and re-birth and the complexities of the human mind.

Volume III: Gazing Through the Telescope–Man is the Measure of All Things is even more ambitious in its aim to show how the human being fits into the grand scheme of the Universe, to examine the question of emergence from the spiritual to the material, from the implicate order to its explicate expression. It draws on the insights of symbolism and mysticism, and the deepest teachings of occultism to explain the nature of consciousness. In this twenty-first century, an era in which science is our dominant paradigm and is playing an ever increasing part in our technology and our lives, this work helps to adjust the balance and resolve the conflicts between science and religion on issues like evolution and purpose, the nature of consciousness, and what it truly means to be a human being as opposed to an animated robot or a biological mechanism.

This is a complex work, but each chapter opens with a synopsis and closes with a summary of the principal themes which are extremely helpful and means that despite their complexity, the three volumes are always easy to understand and follow. I would recommend this trilogy to anyone who wants a broad overview of the various traditions which have led to the current Western understanding of man’s place in the Universe”


Peter Fenwick was a senior lecturer at King’s College, London, where he worked as a consultant at the Institute of Psychiatry. He was the Consultant Neuropsychiatrist and Neuropsychologist at the Maudsley and John Radcliffe Hospitals. He worked with the Mental Health Group at the University of Southampton, and held a visiting professorship at the Riken Neurosciences Institute in Japan. He is President Emeritus of the Scientific and Medical Network.