Spirituality Studies 9-1 Spring 2023 47 Barbora Čaputová be justified in regarding the traditional conception of archetypes and repetition as an aberrant reidentification of history (that is, of ‘freedom’ and ‘novelty’) with nature (in which everything repeats itself).” (Eliade 1959, 154). What is very interesting from this point of view is the creative ability of a person with the help of the environment in which he lives to create symbols, to imagine, and thus to make sense of the world around him. We can notice that Eliade’s request refers to a conscious grasp of the dominance of history in the life of the individual; it points to the possibility of Heidegger’s rejection of the novelty that our history determines for us what is currently modern and returns to the tradition that comes out from the primordial need of man to coexist with nature. Eliade argues that man needs nature to be religious because we live in a world that is not just a human construct (Cave 1993, 43). Archaic people, who lived and live in close connection with nature and its cycles, directly participate in the so-called “Great Time.” Their privilege is the archaic idea, according to which time wears out in cycles and at the end of them it is periodically renewed in its original timeless state (Kováč 1998, 53). The authenticity of a person is thus correlated with participation in the great cosmic time (the time of nature), which ensures the elimination and transformation of profane time and its negative consequences for a person. With the help of this idea, Eliade tries to penetrate the essence of the break that was created by the invasion of time into the world and the resulting fall into history (Vrhel 1997, 57). As a philosopher, Eliade explores the meaning and significance of being in order to reveal the reality that defines man and his culture in relation to the whole from the point of view of the “archaic”. He considers the conscious creation of a sacred space with the constant support of nature’s cyclical time as an act that produces meaning. In order for archaic man to discern archetypal patterns in the world around him, he must have the faculty of imagination. Then he can see in natural phenomena the symbols that support him in life and fill him with meaning. Archaic people were able to overcome the primordial imbalance of being in the world by considering the world as a symbolic place. Eliade concludes that man is characterized by symbol-making power and everything he creates is symbolic. Symbolic thinking is the only way people can orient themselves in the world (Cave 1993, 35). The man in an archaic society is not “still ‘buried in Nature’, powerless to free himself from the innumerable ‘mystic’ participations in Nature, totally incapable of logical thought or utilitarian labor in the modern sense of the word… But it is clear that a thinking dominated by cosmological symbolism created an experience of the world vastly different from that accessible to modern man. Through symbolic thinking the world is not only ‘alive’ but also ‘open’: an object is never simply itself (as is the case with modern consciousness), it is also a sign of, or a repository for, something else.” (Eliade 1978, 143). However, the ability to see symbols does not make a person religious. Every skilled interpreter of symbols can, for example, see “something” in the figure of the historical Jesus. What opens man to the symbol is his ability to experience the hierophany internally. In doing so, he creates a code of understanding, with which he can decipher the diversity of symbolic expressions. In his vision, Eliade leads man in one direction – he is convinced that cosmic spirituality can “liberate” man and all of humanity (Cave 1993, 51). Archaic man saw this liberation in the return of unity to his world, that is, in the return “to paradise.” Eliade finds in all religious cultures an invariant that helps man to spiritual awareness and opens him to the sacred. This invariant is transformation, awakening, enlightenment, and initiation. As we mentioned, Eliade’s first encounter with a culture that differed from European culture not only socio-culturally, but also in the field of science and philosophy took place during his stay in India, which he finished before completing his studies and dissertation. The inspiration that arose from this stay was for Eliade one of the fundamental pillars on which his philosophy rests. In the book Yoga: Immortality and Freedom (1958; Yoga: Immortalité et liberté 1954) he advocates the need to include Indian thought in the opinion repertoire of the Western world. Eliade calls ignorance of Indian thought cultural provincialism, which must be overcome in order for a person to start thinking in terms of global history and thereby create universal spiritual values. He was convinced that Indian thought can answer the key question about the position of man in this world, which is closely related to the essential perception of time and history (Eliade 1958, xv–xvi). In the second chapter of the book Images and Symbols: Studies in Religious Symbolism (1961; Images et symboles: Essais sur le symbolisme magico-religieux 1952) Eliade interprets the meaning of Indian mythological ideas about time. He claims that the teachings of Yuga periods and some myths (he mentions, for example, the myth of Indra and the story of Nārada) lead to a vision of infinite cosmic time in which universes arise, last, disappear, and re-emerge in a never-ending cycle. This myth of eternal return is meant to serve people as a tool of knowledge and as a means to liberation. “In the perspective of the Great Time every existence is precarious, evanescent, and illusory. Seen in the light of the major cosmic rhythms – name-