Certain books should be required reading for serious spiritual seekers, I think, and The Conquest of Illusion is one of them. Knowledge of its existence came down to me through my primary spiritual mentor, Richard Rose, who used to crisscross the country in the 1930s in search of teachers and information about spiritual enlightenment. The story goes that one day he was talking to a cab driver who had similar spiritual interests and asked him if he’d found any teachers or books of value. The cabbie said, “Yeah. One teacher, Alfred Pulyan, and one book, The Conquest of Illusion.”
Van der Leeuw writes with the unmistakable perspective of an enlightened master, always grounded in a personal experience of Truth. No matter how deeply into the details of philosophy he leads us, he always circles back to That Which Is. He expounds on each problem of philosophy so evenly and so well you think he’s putting forth his own belief. Then he comes back to Truth and pulls the rug out from under everything he just carefully explained.
I have lightly edited this version to read slightly more smoothly to modern ears, but nothing has been deleted and Van der Leeuw’s engaging style remains completely intact.