Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Raimon Panikkar, fully Raimon Panikkar-Alemany

Spanish Roman Catholic Priest, Scholar and Proponent of Inter-Religious Dialogue

"To look for a purpose in Life outside Life itself amounts to killing Life. Reason is given by Life, not vice versa. Life is prior to meaning... Human life is joyful interrogation. Any answer is blasphemy."

"I left Europe [for India] as a Christian, I discovered I was a Hindu and returned as a Buddhist without ever having ceased to be a Christian."

"Without purity of heart, not only can one not “see” God, but it is equally impossible to have any idea of what is involved in doing so. Without the silence of the intellect and the will, without the silence of the senses, without the openness of what some call “the third eye” (spoken of not only by Tibetans but also by the disciples of Richard of Saint Victor), it is not possible to approach the sphere in which the word God can have a meaning. According to Richard of Saint Victor, there exist three eyes: the occulus carnis, the occulus rationis, and the occulus fidei (the eye of the body, the eye of reason, and the eye of faith). The “third eye” is the organ of the faculty that distinguishes us from other living beings by giving us access to a reality that transcends, without denying, that which captures the intelligence and the senses."

"The cosmotheandric principle could be stated by saying that the divine, the human and the earthly--however we may prefer to call them--are the three irreducible dimensions which constitute the real, i.e., any reality inasmuch as it is real... What this intuition emphasizes is that the three dimensions of reality are neither three modes of a monolithic undifferentiated reality, nor are they three elements of a pluralistic system. There is rather one, though intrinsically threefold, relation which expresses the ultimate constitution of reality. Everything that exists, any real being, presents this triune constitution expressed in three dimensions. I am not only saying that everything is directly or indirectly related to everything else: the radical relativity or pratityasamutpada of the Buddhist tradition. I am also stressing that this relationship is not only constitutive of the whole, but that it flashes forth, ever new and vital, in every spark of the real."

"Religion is not an experiment, it is an experience of life through which one is part of the cosmic adventure."

"If I do not take my intellectual vocation seriously, putting it before everything else even at the risk of appearing inhuman, then I am also incapable of helping people in more concrete and proximate ways. Conversely, if I am not alert and ready to save people from a conflagration, that is to say, if I do not take my spiritual calling in all earnestness, sacrificing to it all else, even my own life, then I shall be unable to help in rescuing the manuscript. If I do not involve myself in the concrete issues of my time, and if I do not open my house to all the winds of the world, then anything I produce from an ivory tower will be barren and cursed. Yet if I do not shut doors and windows in order to concentrate on this work, then I will not be able to offer anything of value to my neighbors."

" Peace cannot merely be achieved by a military disarmament. It also requires a ‘disarmament’ of the prevailing cultures, the abandonment of the ruts of habitual attitudes in which modern, Western culture has developed. This would also include letting go of or re-assessing traditional, acquired values, and values we currently consider non-negotiable — like progress, technology, science, democracy and the world economic market. We unthinkingly impose our value-systems as indispensable conditions for establishing a dialogue with other cultures. But don’t forget that, at the same time, 70 per cent live in conditions of utter inferiority and degradation, and, of course, it’s an affront to speak of dialogue if the conditions of equality are absent, if somebody is starving and has been deprived of all human dignity. If we regarded other cultures as equal, we would no longer consider the ‘modern’ criterion as a necessary condition to create lasting peace for humanity."

"Many of our present-day problems arise when a group seeks to impose its vision, believing there is only one solution, and that solution is, of course: its solution. This is fundamentalism. There are many kinds and degrees of fundamentalism, some more destructive than others, but the fundamentalism I am referring to is that which is convinced that our ideas are the only real ones and that they are absolute or at least definitive. It is difficult to find someone with a truly open attitude, free from absolutism."

"There are a number of ways in which we can help these ‘undeveloped’ countries to be self-sufficient, but not by imposing our notion of development; that kind of development normally serves only to enlarge the already saturated markets of the industrialized world. We all know there are strong economic interests which prevent countries from realizing their full potential. The example of foreign debt reflects that which is immoral in our help."

"I don’t think we can talk about real democracy unless we include the idea of consensus. To accept a decision simply because the majority decides it doesn’t seem to me very natural. Consensus requires a very special technique, and we are still ‘democratically illiterate’. Because of our lack of vision and patience we just take the shortest path. We have to learn to put consensus into practice, first in small communities and then widening the sphere of action. In some communities it exists already."

"If there have been divine manifestations before, we cannot assume that they will never again occur. Moreover, the present situation of the world, new in the history of mankind, could be the right time for a new revelation — I don’t know if through Masters who came before or new ones, I don’t think that’s very important. But it might well be that this revelation has not much to do with, or it does not resemble, the ones we have known until now. Reality is always new."

"The realization that no separation exists between ourselves and our reality, and from that emerges a new consciousness, what I call a new innocence. In broad terms, it emerges from the knowledge of our ‘ignorance’, of knowing that our knowledge does not exhaust knowledge, not because we know ignorance, but because we understand our limitations: it is a consciousness born from a conflict of knowledge. Then we overcome knowledge through a leap of faith, confidence, sensitivity, intuition. Underlying this there would be what I call the Cosmotheandric Principle, in which what is divine, what is human and what is earthly (let everyone find their own terminology) are the three irreducible dimensions which constitute what is real. These three parts are not juxtaposed simply by chance, but they are essentially related and together constitute the Whole. They are parts because they are not the whole, but they are not parts which can be separated from the whole."

"When man breaks his connection with Earth, wanting to fulfill himself, he becomes a monster who destroys himself. When man breaks his connection with heaven, wanting to lead himself on his own, he becomes an automaton that destroys others."

"There are not three realities: God, Man, and the World; but neither is there one, whether God, Man or World. Reality is cosmotheandric. It is our way of looking that makes reality appear to us at times under one aspect, at times under another. God, Man, and World are, so to speak, in an intimate and constitutive collaboration to construct Reality, to make history advance, to continue creation."

"If the church wishes to live, it should not be afraid of assimilating elements that come from other religious traditions, whose existence it can today no longer ignore."

"Theism is one of the most important treasures of humankind. There are many types of theisms. In the judeo-christian-islamic traditions there is a tension between the notion of God as Absolute Being (ipsunt essej and as Supreme Entity (ens a se). Three main problems have been haunting the monotheistic mind: the existence of Evil, Freedom, and Multiplicity. Asian religions have proceeded along different lines. African religions and the primitive Biblical tradition have kept theology apart from metaphysics and thus avoided such problems at the cost of others: is God only the ultimate point of reference for acting or also for thinking? Most of the mystical moods either insist so much on immanence, so that theism turns into pantheism, or on transcendence, so that the question does not even appear - and when it does, theism turns into dualism. Modern Science has successfully criticized the picture of a gap-filling' God (for unsolved problems). Modern humanistic consciousness has sapped the credibility of a God acting in history. Monotheism may be unconvincing on theoretical, practical and scientific" grounds. But is there a more satisfying alternative? For whom?"

"The inquiry about the most fundamental questions for humankind assumes already both the meaningfulness of the queries and that there is a factual end to an ever further questioning. The quest eventually stops when we believe that we see things as they are - even if provisionally. We have reached a horizon which is the proper locus of the myth. We take it for granted and the answers are satisfying for the time being. The roughly 8,(XX) years of historical consciousness seem to show (reveal?) a Cosmotheandric Invariant. We call it the thcoanihropo-cosmic myth. It is the story of three intertwined elements or dimensions always present in (the human awareness of) Reality: the Cosmos, the Human and the Divine. There is a certain consensus today in believing that we are facing a turning point in the History of Humankind. Plato and the Bible may be insufficient, or Sankara and K'ung Fu Tzu for that matter. There is a felt need for a fresh experience of Reality. We shall explore whether this mood does not reflect a crucial moment in the History' of Being as well. Does Being also have history? Or is Rhythm a better word? "

"Being designates all that (there) is. We designate it with a verb. Being is flowing, rheon, rhythmic. It moves, but it cannot go anywhere else. Humans have life and conscious life. Life seems superior to or independent of its bearers. Has it a destination? Is that its sense? But the Destiny of Being is different from though 1 "

"The cosmotheandric intuition expresses the all embracing indissoluble union, that constitutes all of Reality: the triple dimension of reality as a whole: cosmic-divine-human. The cosmotheandric intuition is the undivided awareness of the totality."

"I would like to communicate to you that I believe the moment has come to withdraw from all public activity, both the direct and the intellectual participation, to which I have dedicated all my life as a way of sharing reflections. I will continue to be close to you in a deeper way, through silence and prayer, and in the same way I would ask you to be close to me in this last period of my existence. You have often heard me say that a person is a knot in a network of relationships. In taking my leave from you I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for having enriched me with the relationship I have had with each of you. I am also grateful to all of those who, either in person or through association, continue working to spread my message and the sharing of my ideals, even without me. Thankful for the gift of life which is only such if lived in communion with others: it is with this spirit that I have lived my ministry."

"Theogenesis studies what humanity searches after when it searches for the Divine, and how it proceeds in this quest. The fact that Man asks about something not empirically given leads to the suspicion that the very questions stem from an extrapolation of the mind, or the other shore. But whether or not there is a revelation from Transcendence it is Man who has to struggle with both the question(s) and the answer(s). The Deity appears, or Man searches for it, in three possible horizons: the meta-cosmic (Prime Mover, Creator) the meta-personal (Supreme Being, Redeemer), or the meta-ontical (Absolute Being, Spirit). There are several methods by means of which Man attempts to penetrate into the Divine Mystery. The classical ways of action, love and knowledge yield three different notions of the Divine. Theology as a merely human logos about God defeats its purpose, and as a purely divine logos about God begs the very problem. When in the logos ton theou the objective and the subjective genitives coalesce the categories of identity and difference collapse. Can we overcome thinking without destroying it? Where is the locus of the Deity? "

"There may be no cultural universals, but there are human invariants. Practically all cultures have experienced Reality as a tress of Matter, Consciousness, and Infinity/or Atoms, Forces, and the Void/or Heaven, Earth, and Man, etc. The modern civilization is not an exception even if the word for the Divine is understood as Future, Justice, Liberty and the like. This seems to be more than just an historical fact. It seems to be also linked with the structure of the human mind. It might as well be a true character of the Real. The interpretations vary from strict dualisms to severe monisms passing through all kinds of non-dualisms. The cosmotheandric insight aims at doing justice to the deepest intuitions of most human traditions and. carrying the insight a step further, claims to elicit a certain consensus. The data of History of Religions are intriguingly revealing. Everything that is, for the very fact of being, is at the same time cosmic, human, and divine. All the words used are not synonymous, but homeomorphic equivalents. "

"Is it possible to live a truly 'religious' life, a full human existence while transcending all theisms? The answer is yes. Worship persists, but free from idolatry. Prayer remains, but free from superstitions and being a projection of human frustrations. Love is not split into service of God and concern for our fellow-beings. The 'Presence of God' is not an act of the memory or the will. The Sacred and/or the Holy are then purified of all taboos. Each being recovers its dignity and human freedom is not reduced to making choices. Ethics finds its basis iii the very nature of Being. Human knowledge does not need to be divorced from sacred knowledge and the vexing conflict between reason and faith, Science and Religion is dissolved. True piety does not disappear, and humanism is no longer anthropocentric. The rift between philosophy and theology is healed and all sciences rediscover their proper autonomy. Furthermore the experience of the divine dimension is compatible with different ideas about the Deity according to the diverse religious traditions of humankind which are then seen as concrete expressions of the deeper cosmotheandric intuition. We are Divine as much as the Divine is Human - without confusion and division. "

"Any attempt to isolate the Divine fails. Any effort at uniting it with the rest of Being makes it superfluous. The non-quantifiable symbol of the Trinity seems to be able to express the universal range of the human experience when dealing with this problem. It is a non-dualistic experience. "

"The question about Reality entails the awareness that we are also part of it. But it implies also the awareness that we would not ask the question if Reality itself were not, in one way or another, eliciting in us that very question. In any question about Reality we are involved both as questioners and as questioned. The question about the Divine is a question about Reality. It concerns us intrinsically. This leads to a deepening of the Christian trinitarian insight on a much broader problematic. "

"Man is not alone in the Universe. But the human being has no equal partners. The Divine only dwells: disorientating wandering and reassuring abiding. There is a Mystery of Uniqueness in each being. Human self-consciousness discloses a Self which is neither (an) Other nor (my) ego, neither a divine Self nor a cosmic Whole. There is a theo-anthropo-cosmic myth - only visible in statu nascendi. et morieiuii. The Divine is an abstraction. But so is Man, and equally so the Cosmos. Divine Destiny, Human History, and Cosmic Existence are inseparable. The being of God is not the god of Being. The historical character of Man does not exhaust human nature. The Space of the Cosmos is not a scientific' magnitude. No one controls or commands the rhythm of the Dance. Nothingness looms in the horizon of Being. It is the locus of Freedom. Truth is related to Time as much as Time is related to Being. Historicity is dethroned. They put limits to eschatology. Time is not an arrow, nor eternity the target. The human experience of a solar year allows us to surmise the Rhythm of Reality. "