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Raimon Panikkar, 'apostle of inter-faith dialogue,' dies

Jetavan

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Professor Raimon Panikkar, one of the greatest scholars of the 20th century in the areas of comparative religion, theology, and inter-religious dialogue, died at his home in Tavertet, near Barcelona, Spain, Aug. 26. He was 91.

Panikkar taught and lived in the United States from 1966-1987 and was known to generations of students here and around the world through both his lectures and his many books. What they heard and read were the arresting reflections of a multi-dimensional person, who was simultaneously a philosopher, theologian, mystic, priest and poet.

Panikkar was born the son of an Indian Hindu father and a Spanish Catholic mother Nov. 3, 1918. He received a conventional Catholic education at a Jesuit high school in Barcelona before launching his university studies....

In late 1954 when he was already 36, Panikkar visited India, the land of his father, for the first time. It proved to be a watershed, a decisive reorientation of his interests and of his theology....

The Unknown Christ of Hinduism, which Panikkar originally presented as a doctoral thesis to the Lateran University in Rome in 1961, [was] based as it was on a close textual comparison between Thomas Aquinas and Sankara's interpretation of a canonical Hindu scripture, the Brahma-Sutras. Christ and his teaching are not, so Panikkar argues, the monopoly or exclusive property of Christianity seen as a historical religion. Rather, Christ is the universal symbol of divine-human unity, the human face of God. Christianity approaches Christ in a particular and unique way, informed by its own history and spiritual evolution. But Christ vastly transcends Christianity....

Conversant in a dozen or so languages and fluent in at least six, he traveled tirelessly around the world, lecturing, writing, preaching, and conducting retreats. His famous Easter service in his Santa Barbara days would attract visitors from all corners of the globe. Well before dawn they would climb up the mountain near his home in Montecito, meditate quietly in the darkness once they reached the top, and then salute the sun as it arose over the horizon. Panikkar would bless the elements — air, earth, water and fire — and all the surrounding forms of life — plant, animal, and human — and then celebrate Mass and the Eucharist. It was a profound "cosmotheandric" celebration with the human, cosmic, and divine dimensions of life being affirmed, reverenced, and brought into a deep harmony.
Panikkar wrote an awesome commentary on the Vedas.
 

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Jetavan said:
hrist and his teaching are not, so Panikkar argues, the monopoly or exclusive property of Christianity seen as a historical religion. Rather, Christ is the universal symbol of divine-human unity, the human face of God. Christianity approaches Christ in a particular and unique way, informed by its own history and spiritual evolution. But Christ vastly transcends Christianity....
See what I mean about Hinduism appropriating Christ and then claiming it knows more about Him than Christians do?

There's no doubt that pre-Christian cultures had flashes of insight about the Son. St Justin Martyr wrote as much. When it comes to the true teachings of Christ, true fellowship in His Body, the Christian Church is the only reliable place. We don't know how far God's mercy extends outside the Church, but the claim that it's perfectly OK if someone wants to search for Christ elsewhere ought to be repugnant to us.
 

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CRCulver said:
Jetavan said:
hrist and his teaching are not, so Panikkar argues, the monopoly or exclusive property of Christianity seen as a historical religion. Rather, Christ is the universal symbol of divine-human unity, the human face of God. Christianity approaches Christ in a particular and unique way, informed by its own history and spiritual evolution. But Christ vastly transcends Christianity....
See what I mean about Hinduism appropriating Christ and then claiming it knows more about Him than Christians do?
Panikkar was a Catholic priest.
 

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CRCulver said:
Jetavan said:
hrist and his teaching are not, so Panikkar argues, the monopoly or exclusive property of Christianity seen as a historical religion. Rather, Christ is the universal symbol of divine-human unity, the human face of God. Christianity approaches Christ in a particular and unique way, informed by its own history and spiritual evolution. But Christ vastly transcends Christianity....
See what I mean about Hinduism appropriating Christ and then claiming it knows more about Him than Christians do?
Panikkar was a Catholic priest. I'm sure he knew a bit about Christ. ;)
 

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Jetavan said:
Panikkar was a Catholic priest. I'm sure he knew a bit about Christ. ;)
Just because he was a Catholic priest doesn't mean that he didn't go off the deep end. There have been plenty of Catholic priests over the last century who retained their position in the church while descending utterly into relativism.
 

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And in the Church of England.  I refer especially to Don Cupitt (?spelling) and the Bishop of York.
 

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CRCulver said:
Jetavan said:
Panikkar was a Catholic priest. I'm sure he knew a bit about Christ. ;)
Just because he was a Catholic priest doesn't mean that he didn't go off the deep end. There have been plenty of Catholic priests over the last century who retained their position in the church while descending utterly into relativism.
How can Panikkar have been a relativist, if he believed that Christ was above all names?

Panikkar calls the name "Christ" the "Supername," in line with St. Paul's "name above every name" (Phil 2:9), because it is a name that can and must assume other names, like Rama or Krishna or Ishvara.
 

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Jetavan said:
How can Panikkar have been a relativist, if he believed that Christ was above all names?

Panikkar calls the name "Christ" the "Supername," in line with St. Paul's "name above every name" (Phil 2:9), because it is a name that can and must assume other names, like Rama or Krishna or Ishvara.
He claims that when people are worshipping Krishna or Rama, they are really worshipping Christ. That's just another claim that "all religions are different paths up the same mountaintop". The ancient commandments against idolatry (which Hindu devotion popularly entails) clearly refute any claim that salvation can be achieved through worship of other gods.
 

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CRCulver said:
Jetavan said:
How can Panikkar have been a relativist, if he believed that Christ was above all names?

Panikkar calls the name "Christ" the "Supername," in line with St. Paul's "name above every name" (Phil 2:9), because it is a name that can and must assume other names, like Rama or Krishna or Ishvara.
He claims that when people are worshipping Krishna or Rama, they are really worshipping Christ. That's just another claim that "all religions are different paths up the same mountaintop". The ancient commandments against idolatry (which Hindu devotion popularly entails) clearly refute any claim that salvation can be achieved through worship of other gods.
Didn't Paul say that the Greek "Unknown Deity" was fully known in Christ?
 

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Jetavan said:
Didn't Paul say that the Greek "Unknown Deity" was fully known in Christ?
The Greek "Unknown Deity" wasn't an idol, but an empty space that could only be filled in by St. Paul. Pannikar would tell us that when Hindus anoint an idol of Krishna, they are really worshipping Christ and we ought to be OK with their worship.
 

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CRCulver said:
Jetavan said:
Didn't Paul say that the Greek "Unknown Deity" was fully known in Christ?
The Greek "Unknown Deity" wasn't an idol, but an empty space that could only be filled in by St. Paul. Pannikar would tell us that when Hindus anoint an idol of Krishna, they are really worshipping Christ and we ought to be OK with their worship.
I think Panikkar would say that the Krishna-worshipper is worshipping Christ, though incorrectly and incompletely.

Devotees of Krishna may use a "murti", an image, but they don't equate Krishna with that image. They believe Krishna is, in fact, Ishwara, the Supreme Reality, beyond images, and thus "unknown" to most people.
 

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Jetavan said:
CRCulver said:
Jetavan said:
Didn't Paul say that the Greek "Unknown Deity" was fully known in Christ?
The Greek "Unknown Deity" wasn't an idol, but an empty space that could only be filled in by St. Paul. Pannikar would tell us that when Hindus anoint an idol of Krishna, they are really worshipping Christ and we ought to be OK with their worship.
I think Panikkar would say that the Krishna-worshipper is worshipping Christ, though incorrectly and incompletely.

Devotees of Krishna may use a "murti", an image, but they don't equate Krishna with that image. They believe Krishna is, in fact, Ishwara, the Supreme Reality, beyond images, and thus "unknown" to most people.
I used to be a devout-temple-devotee of pure "hinduism" - "Gaudiya Vaisnavism" and we believed/they believe that the deity(statue) is him manifested. And they very much worship these statues.They think its an offense to call it a statue.They believe that Krishna is his image,his name,his scripture,etc.,etc.etc......I dont believe in this anymore but I still have a little bit of doubt(in orthodoxy)/consideration of Vaisnavism because it(s' world view) seems to be so very scientificly logical.And it brings up the question - in orthodoxy do we believe that Christ's icon in a sense manifested rather than just -somebody painted it.?
 

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CRCulver said:
Jetavan said:
Panikkar was a Catholic priest. I'm sure he knew a bit about Christ. ;)
Just because he was a Catholic priest doesn't mean that he didn't go off the deep end. There have been plenty of Catholic priests over the last century who retained their position in the church while descending utterly into relativism.
Take it from me, going off the deep end is not the exclusive property of Catholic priests, I have known more than a few Orthodox ones who have gone off into the deep waters as well.....into either relativism or hyperdoxy.
 

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Lord have mercy, and grant him peaceful rest.
 

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crux_84 said:
Jetavan said:
CRCulver said:
Jetavan said:
Didn't Paul say that the Greek "Unknown Deity" was fully known in Christ?
The Greek "Unknown Deity" wasn't an idol, but an empty space that could only be filled in by St. Paul. Pannikar would tell us that when Hindus anoint an idol of Krishna, they are really worshipping Christ and we ought to be OK with their worship.
I think Panikkar would say that the Krishna-worshipper is worshipping Christ, though incorrectly and incompletely.

Devotees of Krishna may use a "murti", an image, but they don't equate Krishna with that image. They believe Krishna is, in fact, Ishwara, the Supreme Reality, beyond images, and thus "unknown" to most people.
I used to be a devout-temple-devotee of pure "hinduism" - "Gaudiya Vaisnavism" and we believed/they believe that the deity(statue) is him manifested. And they very much worship these statues.They think its an offense to call it a statue.They believe that Krishna is his image,his name,his scripture,etc.,etc.etc......I dont believe in this anymore but I still have a little bit of doubt(in orthodoxy)/consideration of Vaisnavism because it(s' world view) seems to be so very scientificly logical.And it brings up the question - in orthodoxy do we believe that Christ's icon in a sense manifested rather than just -somebody painted it.?
You're correct: many Hindus, like the G. Vaishnavas, do believe that the Deity and the murti are not separate, that the Deity can manifest in and as the murti, that the Deity can interact with the physical world (eat, drink, move, etc.) via the murti. I recall Ramakrishna experiencing the murti of Kali becoming animated. But, philosophically, the Deity existed before the murti was formed, and will exist after the murti dissolves -- unless the G.V. have a different idea on this?
 

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He claims that when people are worshipping Krishna or Rama, they are really worshipping Christ. That's just another claim that "all religions are different paths up the same mountaintop".
Didn't C.S. Lewis argue along these lines in the Narina books.  In one place he has Aslan (I believe) commenting on the worship of the pagan humans who worshiped the god "Tash", and said that since Tash was evil and could not receive good any good done in the name of Tash was unknowingly done for Aslan and any genuine worship offered in love to Tash was actually unknowingly offered to Aslan since Tash was a stranger to love and could not be genuinely worshiped in love.

This sounds similar in concept.
 

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Seraphim98 said:
He claims that when people are worshipping Krishna or Rama, they are really worshipping Christ. That's just another claim that "all religions are different paths up the same mountaintop".
Didn't C.S. Lewis argue along these lines in the Narina books.  In one place he has Aslan (I believe) commenting on the worship of the pagan humans who worshiped the god "Tash", and said that since Tash was evil and could not receive good any good done in the name of Tash was unknowingly done for Aslan and any genuine worship offered in love to Tash was actually unknowingly offered to Aslan since Tash was a stranger to love and could not be genuinely worshiped in love.

This sounds similar in concept.
So in other words - though missing the mark - because they were aiming their devotion to God(again missing the mark) they were still worshipping God......I dont know if I understood properly there but Ill go ahead and comment further anyway - I still feel like people who  condemned me for being devoutly religious as a "Hare Krishna" were wrong - that is in such cases as a protestant family member of mine whos life portrays the message that spirituality is above "gettin saved" and then carrying on arrogantly as a materialist
who cant figure out why their life is so screwed up and fruitless.....A sincere devotee of God via Hinduism - or at least Gaudiya Vaisnavism(supposed Orthodox Hinduism if you will) sincerely gives up the world(apparently in a very missing-the-mark kind of way) and devotes his/her whole being - mind,words,deeds,etc. to "God" (Krishna)....I guess I wonder if God still heard my prayers,etc. during this phase...Ive read it said that the Holy Spirit works within "even the pagans".(Tell that to a fundamentalist Protestant.)
 

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Jetavan said:
crux_84 said:
Jetavan said:
CRCulver said:
Jetavan said:
Didn't Paul say that the Greek "Unknown Deity" was fully known in Christ?
The Greek "Unknown Deity" wasn't an idol, but an empty space that could only be filled in by St. Paul. Pannikar would tell us that when Hindus anoint an idol of Krishna, they are really worshipping Christ and we ought to be OK with their worship.
I think Panikkar would say that the Krishna-worshipper is worshipping Christ, though incorrectly and incompletely.

Devotees of Krishna may use a "murti", an image, but they don't equate Krishna with that image. They believe Krishna is, in fact, Ishwara, the Supreme Reality, beyond images, and thus "unknown" to most people.
I used to be a devout-temple-devotee of pure "hinduism" - "Gaudiya Vaisnavism" and we believed/they believe that the deity(statue) is him manifested. And they very much worship these statues.They think its an offense to call it a statue.They believe that Krishna is his image,his name,his scripture,etc.,etc.etc......I dont believe in this anymore but I still have a little bit of doubt(in orthodoxy)/consideration of Vaisnavism because it(s' world view) seems to be so very scientificly logical.And it brings up the question - in orthodoxy do we believe that Christ's icon in a sense manifested rather than just -somebody painted it.?
You're correct: many Hindus, like the G. Vaishnavas, do believe that the Deity and the murti are not separate, that the Deity can manifest in and as the murti, that the Deity can interact with the physical world (eat, drink, move, etc.) via the murti. I recall Ramakrishna experiencing the murti of Kali becoming animated. But, philosophically, the Deity existed before the murti was formed, and will exist after the murti dissolves -- unless the G.V. have a different idea on this?
Was Ramakrishna one of those Hindu masters who believed God was  like the All-Pervading-Allness of everyone/everything or whatever(impersonalism/mayavadi)?    (Does anyone else have this problem with not being able to see what your writing in your replys - I dont know the computer language for it - quite frustrating)...
 

Jetavan

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crux_84 said:
Jetavan said:
crux_84 said:
Jetavan said:
CRCulver said:
Jetavan said:
Didn't Paul say that the Greek "Unknown Deity" was fully known in Christ?
The Greek "Unknown Deity" wasn't an idol, but an empty space that could only be filled in by St. Paul. Pannikar would tell us that when Hindus anoint an idol of Krishna, they are really worshipping Christ and we ought to be OK with their worship.
I think Panikkar would say that the Krishna-worshipper is worshipping Christ, though incorrectly and incompletely.

Devotees of Krishna may use a "murti", an image, but they don't equate Krishna with that image. They believe Krishna is, in fact, Ishwara, the Supreme Reality, beyond images, and thus "unknown" to most people.
I used to be a devout-temple-devotee of pure "hinduism" - "Gaudiya Vaisnavism" and we believed/they believe that the deity(statue) is him manifested. And they very much worship these statues.They think its an offense to call it a statue.They believe that Krishna is his image,his name,his scripture,etc.,etc.etc......I dont believe in this anymore but I still have a little bit of doubt(in orthodoxy)/consideration of Vaisnavism because it(s' world view) seems to be so very scientificly logical.And it brings up the question - in orthodoxy do we believe that Christ's icon in a sense manifested rather than just -somebody painted it.?
You're correct: many Hindus, like the G. Vaishnavas, do believe that the Deity and the murti are not separate, that the Deity can manifest in and as the murti, that the Deity can interact with the physical world (eat, drink, move, etc.) via the murti. I recall Ramakrishna experiencing the murti of Kali becoming animated. But, philosophically, the Deity existed before the murti was formed, and will exist after the murti dissolves -- unless the G.V. have a different idea on this?
Was Ramakrishna one of those Hindu masters who believed God was  like the All-Pervading-Allness of everyone/everything or whatever(impersonalism/mayavadi)?
Nope, he did not support mayavada. Ramakrishna's biographer wrote, in The Kathamrita, Volume I, Section XIII, Chapter Nine:

"[Ramakrishna] does not consider this world as a dream. If that be so, it will "lose weight" [that is, "lose importance"]. It is not mayavada; it is Vishishtadvaitavada ["both separate and non-separate from God"]. This is because he does not consider the jiva [individual soul] and the world as imaginary. He doesn’t think them to be an illusion. God is real, so are men and the world. Brahman is qualified with jiva and the world. You cannot get the whole of the bel fruit if you take away seeds and its shell."
 

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Jetavan said:
crux_84 said:
Jetavan said:
crux_84 said:
Jetavan said:
CRCulver said:
Jetavan said:
Didn't Paul say that the Greek "Unknown Deity" was fully known in Christ?
The Greek "Unknown Deity" wasn't an idol, but an empty space that could only be filled in by St. Paul. Pannikar would tell us that when Hindus anoint an idol of Krishna, they are really worshipping Christ and we ought to be OK with their worship.
I think Panikkar would say that the Krishna-worshipper is worshipping Christ, though incorrectly and incompletely.

Devotees of Krishna may use a "murti", an image, but they don't equate Krishna with that image. They believe Krishna is, in fact, Ishwara, the Supreme Reality, beyond images, and thus "unknown" to most people.
I used to be a devout-temple-devotee of pure "hinduism" - "Gaudiya Vaisnavism" and we believed/they believe that the deity(statue) is him manifested. And they very much worship these statues.They think its an offense to call it a statue.They believe that Krishna is his image,his name,his scripture,etc.,etc.etc......I dont believe in this anymore but I still have a little bit of doubt(in orthodoxy)/consideration of Vaisnavism because it(s' world view) seems to be so very scientificly logical.And it brings up the question - in orthodoxy do we believe that Christ's icon in a sense manifested rather than just -somebody painted it.?
You're correct: many Hindus, like the G. Vaishnavas, do believe that the Deity and the murti are not separate, that the Deity can manifest in and as the murti, that the Deity can interact with the physical world (eat, drink, move, etc.) via the murti. I recall Ramakrishna experiencing the murti of Kali becoming animated. But, philosophically, the Deity existed before the murti was formed, and will exist after the murti dissolves -- unless the G.V. have a different idea on this?
Was Ramakrishna one of those Hindu masters who believed God was  like the All-Pervading-Allness of everyone/everything or whatever(impersonalism/mayavadi)?
Nope, he did not support mayavada. Ramakrishna's biographer wrote, in The Kathamrita, Volume I, Section XIII, Chapter Nine:

"[Ramakrishna] does not consider this world as a dream. If that be so, it will "lose weight" [that is, "lose importance"]. It is not mayavada; it is Vishishtadvaitavada ["both separate and non-separate from God"]. This is because he does not consider the jiva and the world as imaginary. He doesn’t think them to be an illusion. God is real, so are men and the world. Brahman is qualified with jiva and the world. You cannot get the whole of the bel fruit if you take away seeds and its shell."

I dont know anything about his school of thought but to explain briefly the G. Vaisnava understanding of "mayavadi" - a person who believes we are all "God".All is One,etc. - as opposed to- God being the Supreme Soul of wich we are His children/servants.Their idea of "jiva" is simply spirit-soul.And of course the idea is that we are spiri-souls inside a material body......Anyway when it comes down to it they bow to freakin statues and if people who were directly enlightened by the only Spiritual Teacher to have risen from the dead and changed the time-table of our planet from B.C. to A.D. said that worshipping statues is wrong Im'a gonna believe them and probably go ahead and reject the philosophys of statue-worshippers as well(although all religions contain truths wich are attributes of the Absolute Truth - but Ill let Christ teach me about all that.)
 

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At the judgement I am under the impression that the thing that will matter the most to Christ is how we have treated our neighbor, those whose lives have intersected ours. Have we helped them, fed them, clothed them, sheltered them, visited them in their hour of need or not. He said that he would say to those who come to Him presenting their credentials of mighty works, miracles, expulsion of devils, etc. if they have done these other things He will bid them depart, for He never knew them.

Years ago I read the life of Sadhu Sundar Singh. He was a Sikh who later converted to a Protestant confession, though he had strong connections to the Mar Thoma community. He said his mother was a practitioner of Bakhti-yogi, the discipline of love. It was his opinion after many years as a Christian, that given her earnest loving heart, that Christ would reject her just because she didn't know Him in her earthly life. He could not imagine that she would not be in heaven when she died.  

That of course is not proof.
 

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Seraphim98 said:
At the judgement I am under the impression that the thing that will matter the most to Christ is how we have treated our neighbor, those whose lives have intersected ours. Have we helped them, fed them, clothed them, sheltered them, visited them in their hour of need or not. He said that he would say to those who come to Him presenting their credentials of mighty works, miracles, expulsion of devils, etc. if they have done these other things He will bid them depart, for He never knew them.

Years ago I read the life of Sadhu Sundar Singh. He was a Sikh who later converted to a Protestant confession, though he had strong connections to the Mar Thoma community. He said his mother was a practitioner of Bakhti-yogi, the discipline of love. It was his opinion after many years as a Christian, that given her earnest loving heart, that Christ would reject her just because she didn't know Him in her earthly life. He could not imagine that she would not be in heaven when she died.  

That of course is not proof.
Did you mean to say that Christ would not
  reject her? ... Right now my general understanding is that its how Christ-like or pure we are at the time of death that determines how much we will enjoy or suffer in the next life.Is this erroneous?
 
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