Friday, August 8, 2014

From The Unknown Christ of Hinduism (1981) Raimundo Pannikar

There are ex-Catholics, ex-Marxists, ex-Buddhists and so forth, but I know of no ex-mystic. Once the transformation due to an authentic mystical experience has happened, it is irreversible….

Nothing is so dangerous in the Christian apostolate as the paternalistic attitude and false security of one who thinks he is in full possession of the truth. The true Christian (as also the true Hindu) possesses nothing, not even the truth. Rather, he is possessed by the truth, as Thomas Aquinas points out. He knows God because God knows him….

Two propositions are universally accepted by Christian Theology: one, salvation comes exclusively through Christ, and two, God does not condemn anybody. Now, this second proposition amounts to saying that God provides every Man coming into existence with the means of salvation.

We have mentioned God’s universal will to save. Now if he created Men for union with him, then surely he also provided them with a means whereby to attain this end. If these means were exclusively in the viable Church or in ‘official’ Christianity, other people could not be saved, but this, in fact, is not so. If it be true that ‘outside the Church there is no salvation’, this ‘Church’ should not be identified with a concrete organization, or even with adherence to Christianity….

The ultimate reason for this universal idea of Christianity, an idea which makes possible the catholic embrace of every people and religion, lies in the Christian conception of Christ: he is not only the historical redeemer, but also the unique Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, the only ontological – temporal and eternal – link between God and the World….

If we take the concept of the sacrament not in the restricted sense used by the Church when she speaks of the sacraments of the New Law – to distinguish them from other sacraments – but in a more general sense, … then we may well say that sacraments are the ordinary means by which God leads the people of the earth towards himself.

No true sacrament is magical. Nevertheless the sacraments have a special causative strength because of their extrinsic connection with the will of God. Thus the efficacy of the Christian sacraments does not reside in themselves … but depends on the action of Christ within them as instruments of grace. One may or may not assume that the same efficacy is conferred upon all other sacraments…. Yet it remains true that Christ may be active and at work in the human being who receives any sacrament, whether Christian or any other.

The good and bona fide Hindu as well as the good and bona fide Christian are saved by Christ – not by Hinduism or Christianity per se, but through their sacraments and, ultimately, through the mysterion active within the two religions. This amounts to saying that Hinduism also has a place in the universal saving providence of God and cannot therefore be considered as negative in relation to Christianity.

From The Unknown Christ of Hinduism (1981)

No comments: