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Some have seen Eliade's "sacred" as simply corresponding to a conventional concept of deity, or to Rudolf Otto's ganz andere (the "wholly other"), whereas others have seen a closer resemblance to Emile Durkheim's socially influenced sacred.
Eliade himself repeatedly identifies the sacred as the real, yet he states clearly that "the sacred is a structure of human consciousness" (1969 i; 1978, xiii).
This would argue more for the latter interpretation: a social construction of both the sacred and of reality.
Yet the sacred is identified as the source of significance, meaning, power and being, and its manifestations as hierophanies, cratophanies, or ontophanies accordingly (appearances of the holy, of power, or of being).
In 1928 he sailed for Calcutta to study Sanskrit and philosophy under Surendranath Dasgupta (1885-1952), a Cambridge educated Bengali, professor at the University of Calcutta, and author of a 5 volume, History of Indian Philosophy (Motilal Banarsidass 1922-55).
He returned to Bucharest in 1932 and successfully submitted his analysis of Yoga as his doctoral thesis at the Philosophy department in 1933.
Published in French as Yoga: Essai sur les origines de la mystique Indienne this was extensively revised and republished as Yoga, Immortality, and Freedom.
He also launched the journals History of Religions and The Journal of Religion and acted as editor-in-chief for Macmillan's Encyclopedia of Religion.
Despite his focus on the history of religions, Eliade never relinquished his philosophical agenda.
That said, he never fully clarified his philosophy.
This distinction will be immediately familiar to students of Henri Bergson as an element of that philosopher's analysis of time and space.
Eliade contends that the perception of time as an homogenous, linear, and unrepeatable medium is a peculiarity of modern and non-religious humanity.