Raimundo Panikkar was born of an Indian Hindu father and s catalan catholic mother. From his early childhood he was able to adopt, cultivate, and speak of different traditions. He got doctorates in philosophy, Science, and Theology. He had lived in India, Europe, and the USA for several years teachings and researching. About 25 books and numerous articles were published by him. He also translated an anthology of a thousand pages of texts from the Vedas. Panikkar received numerous prizes and awards.
An Unconventional thinker, he infringed on many dogmas and prejudices. His intellectual development between the east and the west allowed him to reflect on a continuing philosophical dialogue among different traditions and ideologies. His thought suggest a vision of harmony and concord, to discover the ‘ human invariant ‘ without destroying cultural diversity’ without destroying cultural diversity, for the realisation of the individual in a continuing process of creation and recreation.
Kapila Vatsyayan is a renoned art historical and chairperson of IIC-asia project ; former Secretary, in the Ministry of HRD; Academic director, IGNCA; president, IIC; Member, UNESCO Executive Board; and member of Parliament. She has taught at various universities in India and abroad. She is author of over 15 books and several research papers and monographs. Dr. Vatsyayan has won several awards including the padma Vishnushan. Several art music, and cultural institutions in India and abroad.
Come Carpentier de Gourdon is the convener of the Editorial Advisory Board of world Affairs; The Journal of International Issues and a member of advisory boards of several scholarly publications. He studied in Europe, India, and the USA and has lived, travelled, and taught in several universities and academic institutions in more than 50 countries in four continents. He has authored several books and more than 80 research papers and monographs. His recent books are from India to Infinity (2012) and Memories of a Hundred and One Moons (2015).
Raimundo Panikkar was an extraordinary person – a philosopher , a theologian, and a scholar of comparative religions. He lived in India for many years . He taught at several universities in Europe and the USA. He explored the many dimensions of dialogue at the level of Philosophical and religious discourse. More than that, he reflected deeply on the present predicament of humankind. He left behind vast literature spanning many decades and published in many languages.
This Volume comprises the contributions by Raimundo Panikkar’s contemporaries and some , I would say, his disciples and pupils besides madame milena carrara pavan, who has worked tirelessly to compile his bibliography Bettina Baeumer has written an introduction to the volume. She has with great sensitivity spoken about the life of Raimundo Panikkar, specially in Varanasi, where she collaborated with him in the preparation of the Anthology Mantramanjari : The Vedic Experience. Her narration of Panikkar’s journey from Roman Catholicism to delving in t primary vedic surces is as faithful as it is illuminating. Pertinently , Bauemer as commented on the contributions made by the participants at the seminar ranging from Anand Amaladass, Maciej Bielawski, fred Dallmayr, George Gispert – Sauch, Grevel Lindop, Clemens Mendonca, Joseph Prabhu, Oscar Punjol , Francis d’Sa, and others. There is Little that I need to add to her introduction. The seminar was organised by the Asia project, India International Centre , Instituto Cervantes, New Delhi, and the Kapur Surya Foundation.
Bettina Baeumer’s introduction refers to two remarkable pesentaion made by Raimundo Panikkar one ina major international seminar on the Concepts of space , and the Other in a seminar on the Concepts of time . Also at a very different level Raimundo Paikkar had contributed an article for a special volume of world Affairs on Eternal India ‘. This article has also been included in this volume while the essays on the Concepts of space and time deal with primary categories, the Article ‘ The Dharma of India’ focuses attention on the existential reality of India. Since these essays are perhaps not so well known internationally, it was considered appropriate to include them here.
Way back in 1984 an international seminar on the concepts of space was organised by the Indira Gandhi Centre for the Arts in new Delhi. The participants ranged from scientists, philosophers , men of religions, archaeologists, anthropologists , art historians , sculptors, and artists. They came for all parts of the world – from far off Caribbean , Nigeria, Indonesia, Australia, Mexico, Canada, Spain, Czechoslovakia, and Italy , and still closer from Nepal, Sri lanka, Thailand, and so on. Dr D.S Kothari , who inaugurated the seminar, gave a historical view of the developments in modern science, specially the theory of relativity and he principles of waves and quantum mechanics, and observed that the principles of waves and quantum mechanics, and observed that the philosophy of modern physics had a special relationship to upanishadic and Buddhist though. Dr. Raja Ramnna drew attention to the division of all knowledge in the categories of citta, Acitta, and isvara and went on to identify some inconsistencies.
Thereafter Raimundo Panikkar, with an incomparable intensity, spoke about the concepts of space. He said that for all traditions, space was a fundamental symbol. ‘ The psychological experience of space was origin probably rose with the awareness of external distance. Inner space and Outer space are two faces of one and the same space.’ Quoting a vast number of primary sources of many philosophic traditions, he asserted: ‘(1) it is characteristic of modern western culture to have reduced space to a physical extension: (2) there is a primordial and universal experience of space which is more holistic and circumscribed to the outer space , but of which inner outer are aspect.’ The presentation electrified the audience. Right through the seminar there was references to what Raimundo Panikkar had said.
A couple of years later a complementary international conference was held on the concepts of time . Once again this was a gathering of scientists , Philosopher, poets, architects, sculptors, and others. Professor J.M Malville, whose book time and eternal change was released on the occasion, highlighted the fact that our varied experiences of time could be described in terms of arrow, cosmological, thermodynamics , biological , cultural, sociological, historical, spiritual on the concepts and power of time from the viewpoint of a thinker and philosopher. In the earlier seminar on space, Raimundo Panikkar had asserted that there was ‘no outer without Inner space’ Here asserted equally emphatically that he ‘experience of time is intrinsically connected with the awareness of the life and of reality.
It is time that the genius of Raimon ( or Raimundo) panikkar is rediscovered in India. Papers collected in this volume are the outcome of seminar organised in his memory. They intend to bring him and his ideas back t his fatherland. After retiring from professorship in santa Barbara, California, Panikkar chose to settle down in spain, or rather catalunya. This is the reason why he became more present, not only in spain, but also in Italy and in other European countries. But leaving alone this biographical-historical circumstances, Panikkar’s though is essentials and relevant in today’s India. This publication is the first attempt to reflect on his contribution, with the hope that it will not remain isolated, but lead to a living dialogue on the themes contained in this volume.
In our Multicultural world panikkar is a bridge and a prophet. A bridge between cultures, between tradition and modernity, between religions, and between disciplines. A prophet, because long before intercultural and interreligious dialogue became catch – words he elaborated the Philosophical and practical bases which are still valid today. In his role as a bridge he defended Indian thought in a European context, and Western thought in an Indian context. Sometimes his was lonely voice . for example, in philosophical and theological seminars in Europe at the highest level, he was the only Indian who asserted that India had a Philosophy! His greatness was to pass through these walls of misunderstanding with the conviction that he had to pave the way for a real dialogue . He was the pioneer of preparing and living such a dialogue at all levels. Some of his most fundamental insights and concepts were the result of such a dialogue – his holistic vision, his advaitic or a or a dualistic understanding, and his cosmotheandric insight. These Concepts and ideas emerged from specific traditions . But he enlarged their scope so that they could encompass many traditions. But he enlarged their scope so that they could encompass many traditions . One example is the expansion of the Christian concept of the trinity to a universal Trinitarian paradigm. It was his Intense work on the Vedas that kindled his vision of the relationship of cosmos , Man and the Divine – the cosmotheandric (or the anthropocsmic) insight, which again he applied to different cultures and religions.
His study of Buddhism convinced him that the theory of praityasamutpada, of the interconnectedness of all things by dependent origination, has a universal validity, and can be ‘homologised’ with the Kashmir saivism concept of sarvam sarvatamakam, ‘all is connected with the totality ‘ , everything else’, ‘all is in all’, and so on.
From these different traditions arose his holistic vision which encompasses several tradition , without negating differences.
Panikkar repeatedly stressed that his work is the result of his life and experience at the crossroads of cultures and religions.
I have been a witness to the development of his thought, having been associated with him as a pupil and collaboration right from 1961 practically till the end. Our Most intense collaboration was on the vedas , in preparation of the Anthology Mantramanjari: the vedic Experience . I could closely observe his style of working . He would be inspired by a text of the Vedas , go deep in to its meaning and transform his inspiration into an introduction , in conformity with the translation which was a collective effort. His inspiration was contagious. We practically lived in the vedic atmosphere. Out of that immersion arose insight of a more universal nature, the most important being the cosmotheandric vision.
Panikkar could create a bridge also between Mysticism and the practical implications of his experience and thought which are very relevant in the present world – the question of peace , human rights ecology , all of which cannot be solved without an intercultural and inter-religious approach.
The contribution on his concept of human rights in this volume is especially relevant as an example for the implications of such a dialogue.
The Authors of this collection of essays reflect on some of the many facets of Panikkar’s multi – disciplinary oeuvre. Milena Carrara introduces us to opera his complete works , which she has edited and published in 12 volumes arranged by topic as per the author’s own autobiographical description of is lifelong inquiry. She concludes that his writings are like the proverbial finger that points us to the invisible goal of all spiritual journeys, the mystical, inaccessible Mount kailash.
While gravel Lindop movingly recollects his impressions of the hermit of Tavertet’s scholarly, poetic and monastic personality, Maciej Bielawski attempt to pierce the mystery of his guiding spirit through his life story and literary output . Oscar Pujol evokes the intercultural adventure on which Panikkar embarked almost from the day of his birth as an Indo – Spanish mestizo, so to speak. He was seeking ‘full communion with reality by weaving a very Indian synthesis between East and west that stops short of syncretism or eclecticism but exposes the modern concern with historical truth as another materialist obsession that India Shunned through most of her Past.
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