ASATO MĀ SAD GAMAYA SOME EXPERIENCE OF INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE

Subhash Anand[1]

In this article I am attempting sort of an autobiography with inter-religious dialogue as my focus.[1] It is not merely a record of what happened, but also an attempt to spell out the map that guided me in my journey, and the insights I gained as I tried to journey with other pilgrims.

I grew up in a traditional family, with all the prejudices traditional families tend to have. I believed that only Catholics, and to some extent the other Christians, were good. After joining the seminary, coming closer to the ecclesiastical world, I discovered a different world: there is so much goodness outside the narrow boundaries of the Church, and so much evil in the Church. Vatican II, with its clear affirmation that the saving grace of God is active outside the Church, confirmed my shift: from “extra ecclesiam nulla salus” to “extra ecclesiam multa salus”.  In fact, sometimes I felt “intra ecclesiam nulla salus”, as some theologians seemed to have said after Vatican II.[2]

 

The Formative Years

I have many reasons to be grateful. I joined the seminary while Vatican II was being planned. I received my training while it was actually taking place. I was at Papal Seminary, Pune, a seminary very open to the new thinking in the Church. Prof. Josef Neuner, S.J, – a person deeply committed to the Church and therefore to theology – taught me theology. It would be more correct to say that he taught us to theologize. Church leaders realized this and so he was asked to be a peritus – theological adviser – for the Council. After every session, be briefed us about the major trends of thinking within the Council.

In my very first year in Pune (1960), Fr. Lionel Mascarenhas, S.J., introduced me to classical Indian Music. In 1962 I started studying Sanskrit under the guidance of Fr. Cyril Pereira, S.J. While doing theology, a few of us formed a club: to study Hinduism. We met occasionally and made a presentation. Mine was “The Upanishadic Idea of Salvation”. My companions encouraged me. Fr. Neuner accepted the paper in place of my exam for his subject: Christology. That was my first paper to be published.[3] Sometimes friends ask me as to why I did all this. Frankly I have no clear answer. Very often God works very quietly in our lives. Fr. Neuner’s lectures on Christology are foundational for my thinking.

In 1968 I was invited to join the staff of the Pontifical Athenaeum (now Jnanadeep Vidyapeeth), Pune. I decided to continue my study of Hinduism, and to do it in India. After my M.A. in Sanskrit from Karnatak University, Dharwad, I joined Banaras Hindu University for my doctoral research on Bhāgavata-purā<a a 10th century text that is very sacred for Vais<avas. I tried to understand what this text understands by holiness and what path it proposes to pursue it.

 

Christological Moorings

I believe that before the foundation of the world, the Father chose all humans to be His children, by sharing in the event of Jesus the Christ. The mystery of incarnation is not the consequence of some sin, but is a revelation of the gracious love of God. In the Word become flesh, not only humans, but all creation reaches its fullness. I would even say that without the incarnation – the becoming visible of the Invisible God – creation would remain incomplete. Creation is God’s initial revelation, pointing to and finding its fulfilment in incarnation.

The incarnation reveals that the God we believe in is a mystery of loving dialogue. This is what we mean when we say that God is unity within trinity. The three Persons who constitute the divine mystery are a bond of ineffable love and communion. They are unique, and without surrendering their uniqueness they constitute one single mystery of love. Dialogue is not the levelling down of differences, but celebrating the differences. Differences bring about enrichment. The divine Trinity is thus a model for and an invitation to dialogue. Nay, we cannot be Christians and refrain from dialogue: we believe humans are made in the image of the Triune God. We cannot confine ourselves to our little ghetto. That would be an implicit denial of the Trinity. We can be Christians only by being in a dialogue of love and service.

Our faith in the divinity of Jesus should impel us to dialogue with peoples of other faiths. The New Testament picture of Jesus is shaped by the religious background of the first Christians. They were mostly Jews, and so they used images familiar to them from the Old Testament to spell out what Jesus meant for them: paschal lamb, good shepherd, life-giving vine, lord of the Sabbath, etc. They saw Old Testament rites in their religious celebrations: Baptism as circumcision, Eucharist as paschal meal. Jesus was the new Moses, the new Samuel, the real David, etc. If Jesus is really divine, then no one culture, however great it may be, is adequate to articulate the mystery of Jesus. To claim the contrary would be tantamount to the denial of his divinity.

I enter into dialogue with peoples of other faiths to learn news ways of looking at God, new ways of understanding His presence in our life and history, new ways of responding to Him, new ways of celebrating His love. The Synod of Asian Bishops has “expressed encouragement to theologians in their delicate work of developing an inculturated theology, especially in the area of Christology.”[4] We need to learn from St. Paul.

Evangelizers can take heart from the experience of Saint Paul who engaged in dialogue with the philosophical, cultural and religious values of his listeners (cf. Acts 14:13-17; 17:22-31). Even the Ecumenical Councils of the Church which formulated doctrines binding on the Church had to use the linguistic, philosophical and cultural resources available to them. Thus these resources become a shared possession of the whole Church, capable of expressing her Christological doctrine in an appropriate and universal way. They are part of the heritage of faith which must be appropriated and shared again and again in the encounter with the various cultures.[5]

The Church in Asia has a long way to go before Asians stop seeing Jesus as “a Western rather than an Asian figure.”[6] The New Testament writers gave us Jewish Jesus. Then a Greco-Roman Jesus emerged, more like the Roman emperor, and less like the poor prophet of Nazareth. In the 19th century, Keshab Chandra Sen (1834-1888), who succeeded Raja Ram Mohan Roy as the leader of the Brahmo Samaj, once remarked: “It seems that the Christ that has come to us is an Englishman, with English manners and customs about him, and with the temper and spirit of an Englishman about him.”[7] In the 20th century some were unfairly accused of making Jesus a Marxist. Even if they did that, we should not be sorry about it. Now we need a Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist Jesus. The more we interpret Jesus using all the wisdom of humanity, the more we will see – even then it will not be much – what a gift the Father has given us in Jesus. In like manner, the Bible will be fully understood only when it is translated and transcultured into all the languages of the world.[8]

If the incarnation is God’s original plan for the whole of creation, then from the beginning the whole of humanity is moving towards Jesus. All cultures contain elements that point to him, and find fulfilment in him. Through dialogue I discover the presence of Jesus in other peoples much before the Church arrived on the scene. “Other religions constitute a positive challenge for the Church: they stimulate her both to discover and acknowledge the signs of Christ’s presence and of the working of the Spirit, as well as to examine more deeply her own identity and to bear witness to the fullness of Revelation which she has received for the good of all.”[9] We need to recognize “the Spirit’s action in Asian societies, cultures and religions, through which the Father prepares the hearts of Asian peoples for the fullness of life in Christ.”[10]

The first Christians believed that Jesus is the fulfilment of the expectations of the people of the Old Testament. Hence they interpreted those texts in the light of their experience of Jesus. They sincerely believe that they, and not the Jews, understood those texts correctly. In like manner, if Jesus is really the expectation of the nations, then I am inclined to believe that Jesus is God’s hermeneusis of all religions. I am inclined to believe that Jesus enables me to understand the religions of others better than they themselves do. This sounds to be a tall claim, but I am basing myself on my experience. I have shared with my Hindu friends some of my writings on Hinduism, and they have wondered how I saw what they did not see.[11]

We believe that in the mystery of the Incarnation, the one eternal Word became flesh (Jn 1.14). This Word has shaped not only all things, but He is also the life that is light, shaping the thinking of all people of good will. As Vatican II teaches, from the beginning of humanity, the Father has been inviting all to Himself through “the seeds of the Word.”[12] Hence all religions “reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men.”[13] Hence the Council urges Christians who wish to be witness of Jesus to “be familiar with their national and religious traditions; let them gladly and reverently lay bare the seeds of the Word which lie hidden among their fellows.”[14] The seeds of the Word are above all to be found in the scriptures of humanity. Hence in our concern for dialogue we need to have a dialogic approach to the Word of God.

As disciples of Jesus we need to learn from him. We see him engaged in dialogue with non-Jews. John gives us an account of Jesus’ meeting with the Samaritan woman. “To the Jews, the Samaritans were a heretical and schismatic group of spurious worshippers of the God of Israel, who were detested even more than the pagans.”[15] The woman is quite aware of the disdainful attitude of Jews towards her people, and so she does not miss the chance to hit back: “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria” (4.9)? Jesus is not put off by her rudeness, but makes that the starting point of a long conversation. They discuss religious topics: real life, true worship, the messiah to come. She wants to hear more and more from Jesus, and eventually she comes to believe in him.

On another occasion Jesus is so taken up by the disposition of a Roman centurion that he exclaims: “Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith (pistis, Mt 8.10). He praises the Canaanite woman, who refused to be rebuffed by the harsh words of Jesus. So great was her faith (pistis, Mt 15.28), that Jesus is forced to rethink his position: she deserves more than the crumbs of bread that fall the master’s table.[16] He realizes that he is sent not merely for Jews, but for all humans. He could appreciate the religious depth in others; nay even accept their superiority to his own people. He was indeed a very broadminded person, a model for inter-religious dialogue.

 

Initial Encounters

In 1972 I was asked to give a course on Early Indian Philosophy – concerned with the teaching of the Vedas. As a seminarian, I myself had already done some studies in this area. But we study better when we prepare to give classes. Somehow I find it difficult to follow lecture material prepared by others. I need to prepare my own. I also believe that merely telling people what others think is not philosophy, but history of philosophy. I tend to take off from what others have said, and make my own reflections. Two themes struck me very powerfully.

I was fascinated by the Purusa-sūkta.[17] When this hymn was composed, the Vedic seers believed that sacrifice (yajña) is the centre (nābhi) of this creation,[18] holding together in harmony all the elements and forces that go to make it. The Purusa-sūkta describes a mysterious ancient sacrifice from which everything in this universe came to be. During this sacrifice the primordial Purusa was cut into pieces, and from these emerged the different parts of creation.[19]

Our ancestors, who were primal but not primitive people, realized that only humans can become aware of others as others. Only humans can affirm others as others. They realized that this was possible fundamentally because they could be aware of and affirm themselves as ‘I’. They were aware that because they had this I-awareness, they could also surrender themselves to other humans – or refuse to do so – in a way no other living being could do. They felt that though in some way they are similar to and in communion with the rest of creation, they are also significantly different. They are persons (puru{a). In as much as every creature is a reflection of Puru{a, it has a personal character and – I shall add – its own humanity, because our experience of what it means to be persons is inseparably connected to our experience of what it means to be human. This, I believe, provides us a deeper motivation for a concern for the whole of creation.

The early Upanishads teach that Brahman is Ātman.[20] The word ātman is derived from the root an (to breathe), and comes to mean not only breath, but also the body or some of its parts.[21] But already in the ôV, we have “he incipient use of ātman (soul) in a reflexive sense.”[22] Hence a being that has an ātman is a being that is reflexively in possession of itself, it knows itself: “I am so and so.” Being in possession of itself, it can dispose of itself. It is free. Brahman is also vijñāna and ānanda: Wisdom and Bliss.[23] He is satya, jñāna and ananta: Being, Knowledge, and Infinite.[24] Later Upanishads will say that Brahman is sat, cit, and ānanda: He is Being, Awareness and Bliss.[25]

These formulae spell out the full significance of the basic insight: “Ātman is Brahman”. Being (sat), is no doubt primary, but by itself it cannot be perfect. Then it is just out there. Self-possession perfects being, for then being is with itself. Self-possession is the result of awareness, of the presence of being to itself. Greater the self-awareness greater will be the being of being. By saying that Brahman is Ātman, the Upanishads want to affirm that the perfection of Brahman is constituted by His perfect self-possession, and this is because he is infinite knowledge or awareness (cit). Brahman is infinite being and He not only has perfect self-awareness (ātma-vat), but He also is perfect Self-awareness (Ātman). This leads to total self-acceptance, and this is total joy (ānanda). Self-awareness makes self-disponibility possible. Only beings that have self-awareness can be truly free. This explains why our spiritual masters insist on silence, for without silence we cannot come to self-awareness. This explains why self-awareness is essential for our Christian ministry – whatever be its form. Without it we would be very shallow, trying to give what we do not really have.

 

Deeper Probings

One of the important ideas in the Upanisads is the power of satya: it alone conquers: “satyam eva jayate na anatam”.[26] My doctoral research into the Bhagavata-puru<a confirmed my conviction formed while studying the Upanishads. The power of satya rests in the presupposition that satya is concerned above all with a mode of being, and not with the veracity of knowledge, much less of a mathematical or theological formula.[27] Deepest truth is personal, and in God truth and person become identical. In the Christian framework, we can even say three persons together constitute the Truth that is God. Thus truth is not only personal, but also inter-personal. It is that quality which makes my being and my relation to others authentically personal.

The Bhagavata-puru<a begins by declaring its subject: “dharma1 parama1 satām” (1.1.2). I have argued elsewhere that by ‘sat’ the text here means a holy person, one who is whole-heartedly devoted to God and is kind and compassionate towards. In short, it proposes to explain the way of the saints.[28] This helps us to understand why the same text gives so great importance to sat-sanga, the company of holy persons.[29] We have a charming story to explain the power of sat-sanga.

Some people wish to bring Gangā to the earth, and so they perform severe penance, but she does not oblige. It is only with the penance of Bhagīratha that she is pleased and agrees to come down, but then she has two difficulties: all sinners will come and have bath in her, and thus destroy her beauty and purity; second, if she falls on the earth, straight from heaven the earth will be torn apart by the impact. The second is solved by Śiva agreeing to receive her on his head. As for the first, Bhagīratha tells her: “Holy people, who have renounced everything, enjoying deep penance within, firmly rooted in God, and capable of purifying the whole earth, will come and bathe in you. By coming in contact with their body you will be freed from all sin, for in them dwells the Lord who removes all sins.” (9.9.6). The saints will bathe in the Gangā and thereby restore her sanctity!

Just as the Brahma-sūtra is considered the summary of the teaching of the Upanisads, so too the Nārada-bhakti-sūtra is believed to summarise the Bhagavata-puru<a. I am inclined to believe that inspired by the story given above, it makes three very bold claims (69): “[santa] tīrthīkurvanti tīrthāni, sukarmīkurvanti karmā<i, sacchāstrīkurvanti śāstrā<i.[30] Allow me to translate the text, using Christian theological jargon: “A holy person (not his grave) by his presence sanctifies the place of pilgrimage. He makes the sacraments truly effective. He gives Scripture its transforming power.” This claim finds its most potent verification is the person of Jesus. If what the Church claims to do today is helpful, it is not because of some past event (opus operatum), but because of the living and active presence of the Risen Lord (opus operiens). If Jesus had not been raised from the dead and powerfully alive with his disciples, there would not have been any Church with her sacraments or Christian scriptures.

 

Embodying Sincerity

After my doctoral studies, my teaching compelled me to study Modern Hinduism. I read Mahatma Gandhi more attentively. In his life and teaching, the Upanishadic concept of satya and the later ideal of sat-puruna find a contemporary presentation. In 1929, Gandhi reversed his earlier statement: from “God is Truth” to “Truth is God”.[31] This means that only through satya can we come to God: we “have no God to serve but Truth.”[32] Since satya is profoundly existential in nature, it calls for a response from the whole person. Since satya is primarily a mode of being, we can come to satya only by a way of life, by a constant struggle to live satya, by a sustained effort to become what we ought to be. Or to make a pun, we can understand truth only by standing under it, by placing ourselves under it, allowing it to dominate us, to overcome us, to transform us. God reveals Himself through word and deed. The desire for Truth must lead to an experience of Truth (anubhava), to a way of being (bhava) in harmony with (anu) Truth.

Gandhi is less concerned about the correctness of a statement. What matters for him more is the honest search for Truth. For him sincerity is more important than infallibility. Authentic personal presence is more significant than perennially valid statements. Life is more convincing than doctrine. Yes, he proves to us that truth alone conquers. Slowly I understood that his Satyagraha was much more than a political tool. It was his life.[33] I find Gandhi particularly significant for our commitment to inter-religious dialogue. In his life, silence and dialogue, thought and action, sustained involvement and inner freedom, the ancient and the modern, loyalty to one’s own religious beliefs and sincere openness to other faith traditions, seem to meet in wonderful harmony.

 

Promoting Peace

In the context of growing fundamentalism within and outside the Church, what shape should inter-religious dialogue take; what should be the contribution of Christians? My engagement with Hindus and Hinduism shows me that what is most important is satya. To attain this we need awareness (cit) of what we are (sat), and we need to accept what we are (ānanda). To do this we do not necessarily have to belong to any traditional religion. Our humanness is more foundational than the particular religion we belong to. Religious truths are less significant than satya. This, I believe, is the basis for dialogue. Religion is helpful only if there is humaneness. Grace presupposes nature. Fundamentalism flourishes when we put aside our common humanity and give more importance to a specific set of formulae and a particular code of laws. If religion, whatever be its name and claim, does not make us truly human, then it ceases to be authentic religion. We do not need it.

Besides the inter-religious dialogue meetings that are now and then reported by the media, many other forms of inter-religious activities are taking place, e.g., working together to help others. Inter-religious dialogue is not the work only of specialists or confined to some centres. It is a way of life, and the vocation of the Church, particularly the Church in Asia. The Synod of Asian Bishops “confirmed the importance of dialogue as a characteristic mode of the Church’s life in Asia.[34] It is sad to note that, exceptions apart, “the need for interreligious dialogue is not generally well appreciated nor supported on ground by church members…”[35] I am afraid we still a Church confined to our compound.

One aspect needs special emphasis: simple inter-religious hospitality. In a world of fast life, real hospitality is become a ‘threatened species’. Long ago our sages advised us to treat a guest as God: “atithidevo bhava”.[36] Hospitality provides a friendly atmosphere to share and it respects the otherness of the other, and the partners believe that what they share are “hospitable truths, truths which allow the warm welcoming of the truths of others.”[37] Gandhi, who comes from a devout Vaia<ava family, tells us that his father offered hospitality to Jain monks, Parsi and Muslim friends. These “would talk to him about their own faith, and he would listen to them with respect, and often with interest. Being his nurse, I often had a chance to be present at these talks. These many things combined to inculcate in me a toleration for all faiths.”[38] All Christians, who wish to promote inter-religious harmony, should rediscover the art of receiving and being guests. We need to find time and energy to reach out to peoples in our neighbourhood, irrespective of religion. This may need a different way of life.

In this context, a monastery or an ashram becomes an ideal place for interreligious dialogue, which “arises naturally from welcoming strangers, from practising a contemplative form of prayer and from personal commitment to the search of God.”[39] The monk is given to discernment, and as such knows how to listen – an art so important for dialogue.[40] He is also concerned with the most important questions of life and so is at home with silence. He is aware that the humanity of Jesus is not only fragmentary and but also fragmented. Dialogue embraces those humans who experience brokenness in one form or the other.

Here we must face a question: Can there be an inter-religious monastery or ashram? Gandhi gave a lead. The ashram is “a community of men of religion.”[41] The ashram brought together Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Parsis, and others.[42] Their praying together, using the different Scriptures, was a sustained effort in dialogue, which was for them also a hermeneutical experience, bringing them not only a deeper understanding of their own religious tradition, but also a joyful acceptance of the best in the other faiths.[43]

Dialogue is a journey from our brokenness unto the fullness of Truth. I have learnt from my encounter with Hinduism the need we all have to make our own that beautiful prayer first uttered by a Hindu sage much before Jesus appeared in Nazareth:

asato mā sad gamaya From untruth lead me to the Truth.

tamaso mā jyotir gamaya From darkness lead me to Light.

matyor mā amatam gamaya From death lead me to Immortality.

Through authentic dialogue we come to satya. Only then will we attain the fullness of life. But without a sustained effort to become satya, our dialogue will soon become an empty ritual.


[1] St. Paul’s School, Bhupalpura, Udaipur, 313001, 43subhash@gmail.com; 0294-2423507

 


[1] As guidelines, I was given the following questions:

1. What have been the major insights that you got in your doctoral research?

2. How did your perspectives evolve over the years after the doctoral studies in encounter with Hindu persons /scriptures/ themes…?

3. In the present context of rising fundamentalist ideas in certain Hindu (Hindutva / RSS) and Christian (Pentecostals / Charismatics) circles how would you envisage the creative role of Hindu-Christian Dialogue?

In my article, I start much before my doctoral programme: for two reasons. The vision that guided me in my doctoral and post-doctoral encounter with Hinduism was formed much before my doctoral studies. Secondly, my doctoral studies carry forward the some of the most significant insights into Hinduism I had already acquired.

[2] Swami Vivekanand is reported to have said: “It is good to be born in a Church, but bad to die in it.”

[3] Subhash ANAND, “The Upanishadic Theology of Salvation”, Paths (Pontifical Athenaeum Studies), II‑3 (1967), pp. 1-26.

[4] Ecclesia in Asia, no. 22.

[5] Ibid., no. 20.

[6] Idem.

[7] Quoted by Hans STAFFNER in Jesus Christ and the Hindu Community: Is a Synthesis of Hinduism and Christianity Possible?, Anand: Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, 1988, p. 10.

[8] By ‘transculturation’ I mean translating a text in such a way that the images in the original text are replaced by corresponding images from another culture. In a Jewish or Muslim context it will be a horrible humiliation looking after pigs (Lk 151.15), but not so in a community that relishes pork, and considers a festal meal incomplete without a pork dish.

[9] John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio, no. 56.

[10] Ecclesia in Asia, no. 20.

[11] Reviewing one of my books, Prof. Manohar Rai SARDESAI, remarked: “2e alone could have written such an informative, thought-provoking and enthralling book.” Book-review of Major Hindu Festivals: A Christian Appreciation, Bombay: St. Pauls, 1991, in Renovaçao, 1991, p. 373a. In a letter to me dated 15th March, 1998, Ravindra KELEKAR, who has transcreated  Mahābhārata in three volumes in Konkani, commenting on my book Śiva’s Thousand Names: An Interpretative Study of Śivasahasranāma (New Delhi: Intercultural Pubs., 1998), wrote: “I have always felt that your deep insights into things Hindu would make great Hindu scholars envious.” Another comment: “The book compels our attention by its refreshing interpretation.” G. VISWANATHAN, Book-review of Story as Theology: An Intrepretative Study of Five Episodes from the Mahābhārata, New Delhi: Intercultural Pubs., in The Vedanta Kesari, January 1999, p. 38. In a inter-religious meeting held recently (7th All-India Seminar on “Religion And Morality”, organized by Samvada – A Forum For Understanding Religion, Haridwar, Uttrakhand, India, 20, 21, 22 March 2009), I presented a paper on Var<a-Āśrama-Dharma, a very important traditional Hindu concept. I tried to show how this concept, though Hindu in origin, is an expression of a deep insight into our humanness. As such, it can be the foundation of a secular morality. Commenting on it Dr. S. R. Bhatt, Professor of Philosophy (Rtd.), Delhi University, remarked: “The scholarly paper of Prof. Subhash Anand “Var<a-āśrama-dharma” is an appreciable attempt to properly understand one of the seminal theories of traditional Indian culture. It is a good exercise in trans-creative interpretation of a theory which had healthy influence on individual and social life of India once upon a time but which was soon distorted and misunderstood resulting in terrible ill-effects. It is written with a positive and constructive mind with a view to restoring its pristine purity and removing the contamination it has suffered from the perverting influences due to travesty of history.” For those who wish to read this paper, see “Var<a-Āśrama-Dharma: Towards a Universal Ethical Theory”, Journal of Indian Theology, 2-1 (January – April, 2009), pp. 68-87.

[12] Ad Gentes, no. 15.

[13] Nostra Aetate, no. 2. My own experience makes me believe that this is an understatement.

[14] Ad Gentes, no. 11.

[15] John L. McKENZIE, Dictionary of the Bible, Bangalore: Asian Trading Corp., 1998, pp. 765b-66b, here p. 765b.

[16] If it is impossible to please God without faith (pistis, Heb 11.6), and if even those who do not accept Jesus can be saved, then it is difficult to understand and accept what the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith asserts in its declaration Dominus Iesus, issued on 6th August, 2000: “For this reason, the distinction between theological faith and belief in the other religions, must be firmly held” (no. 7).” I am afraid this goes against what Jesus said about the centurian! The real Dominus Jesus would be very uncomfortable with the Roman Dominus Jesus!

[17] Rig-veda, 10.90.

[18] 1.164.34-35.

[19] The hymn lends itself to a rich interpretation. For a more comprehensive treatment see “Puru{a-yajña: Self-giving as the Mystery of Being”, in Subhash ANAND, Hindu Inspiration for Christian Reflection: Towards a Hindu-Christian Theology, ANAND (Gujarat): Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, 2004, pp. 1-64.

[20] Chāndogya-upanishad, 3.14.4; 5.11.1; B[hadāra<yaka-upanishad, 2.5.19; 4.4.5, 25.

[21] SURYAKANTA, A Practical Vedic Dictionary, Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1981, p. 133.

[22] Arthur A. MACDONELL, A Vedic Grammar for Students, Bombay: Oxford University Press, reprint, 1966, p. 112.

[23] B[hadāra<yaka-upanishad, 3.9.28.

[24] Taittirīya-upanishad, 2.1.1.

[25] For the references, see G. A. JACOB, A Concordance to the Principal Upanishads and Bhagavad-gītā, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1891, rep. 1971, p. 954.

[26] Mu<*aka-upani{ad, 3.1.6. The critical edition reads “satyam eva jayati…”, and indicates “satyam eva jayate…” as a variant (LIMAYE & R.  D. VADEKAR (eds.), Eighteen Principal Upani{ads, p. 45). Following the rule of lectio difficilior, I am inclined to believe that what is considered a variant is the original text. The idea is not so much that truth conquers somebody (parasmaipada), but that it vindicates itself (ātmanepada).

[27] For a detailed presentation of this insight, see “Religion for Our Times: An Upanishadic Perspective”, Journal of Indian Theology, 1/2 (May – August, 2008), pp. 36-57.

[28] Subhash ANAND, The Way of Love: The Bhāgavata Doctrine of Bhakti, New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1996, pp. 8-9.

[29] Ibid., pp. 157-81.

[30] Nārada-bhakti-sūtra, tr. Swami Tyāgīśānanda, Madras: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 2001, p. 19.

[31] Mohandas K. GANDHI, In Search of the Supreme, 3 vols., ed.: V.B. Kher, Ahmedabad: Navjivan Publishing House, 1961, vol. 1, p. 11.

[32] Mohandas K. GANDHI 1946: The Mind of Mahatma Gandhi, eds.: R.K. Prabhu &  U.R. Rao, Madras: Oxford University Press, (1945) rev. ed., p. 27.

[33] For a detailed presentation of Gandhi’s understanding of Satyagraha, see “Satyagraha: A Theological Model for India”, in Subhash ANAND, Hindu Inspiration for Christian Reflection: Towards a Hindu-Christian Theology, ANAND (Gujarat): Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, 2004, pp. 176-201.

[34] Ecclesia in Asia, no. 3.

[35] Anthony O’Mahony & Peter Bowe, OSB (eds.), Catholics in Interreligious Dialogue: Monasticism, Theology and Spirituality, Herefordshire: Gracewing, 2006, p. 15.

[36] Taittirīya-upani{ad, 1.11.

[37] O’Mahony & Bowe, Catholics in Interreligious Dialogue: Monasticism, Theology and Spirituality, p. 8.

[38] Mohandas K. GANDHI, The Story of My Experiments with Truth, Ahmedabad: Navjivan Publishing House, (1927-29) 14th rep. (no date), p. 28.

[39] O’Mahony & Bowe, Catholics in Interreligious Dialogue: Monasticism, Theology and Spirituality, p. 11.

[40] This demands that we be very careful when admitting people to regular monastic life. The anxiety for numbers has destroyed many well-intentioned ventures in the Church.

[41] Mohandas K. GANDHI, Ashram Observances in Action, tr. V.G. Desai, Ahmedabad: Navajivan Publishing House, 2nd imp., 1959, p. 3.

[42] GANDHI, In Search of the Supreme, vol. I, p. 204.

[43] For some years the Christa Prema Seva Ashram in Pune had a core ecumenical community, consisting of religious women from the Anglican and Catholic Churches.

 

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