Saturday, June 22, 2013

Basic building blocks of prayer -Fr.Lawrence Dharmaraj

Basic building blocks of prayer

I was taught by my mother different ways of praying. My mother used to conduct morning as well as the evening prayers in the village church that would last 30 to 45 minutes. She had taken it up on her own and continued till she was unable to walk on her own to the church. As she was the only woman school teacher of the village she did this work joyfully and faithfully. Even though later many women teachers arrived in our village she gladly continued the work. She would always took me along with her to the church. She used to tell me even if you sleep in the church without praying God would love you more, “ so please give me company and come and sleep there in the church”. When I was very young most of the time that was the way I used to pray especially at 5.00 a.m in the morning. The primary and the most important part of prayer is to place one self in the milieu of prayer. As Ron Rolheiser would say formal prayer is faithfulness “in showing up oneself” is one of the basic building blocks of prayer.  

Later on when I grew up I used help mother in conducting prayer services. Besides helping my mother there were other activities in the church that attracted me very much such as ringing the church bell to invite people for prayer, decorating the alter, and at times cleaning the church. For me the church was another home. The parish priest would come to say mass on a bullock cart once in 20 days or once in a month. For the rest the church was primarily run by my mother who was also good in singing hymns. Besides learning vocal prayers I also had learnt many hymns. Some times even now I use them as part of my formal prayer.

Monday, June 17, 2013



Dr. Ishanand Vempeny

Part IV


            A little more than a decade ago I was attending a seminar on Christian Fundamentalism in Manila, Philippines. I had the opportunity of meeting various groups of fundamentalists including those with military names like the Navigators of the Lord, Crusaders for World Conquest, etc. For the seminar, we had invited the representatives from some five groups for a panel discussion. All of them propounded the ideal that only those who have been baptized through the Holy Spirit and have had the experience of having been born again could attain eternal salvation. According to them not only the Non-Christians but also the Christians of the Main Line Churches who did not receive the baptism of the spirit will go to eternal hell. When I asked them whether they believed that the Christian God is a God of love, two of them with many familiar and unfamiliar Biblical quotations tried to prove to me that He is Love Itself. One spoke about God’s unconditional love quoting a number of biblical verses and said that any sin is forgiven by God, provided that we go to Him in repentance.

          I told them bluntly that in spite of their quotations, the God whom they believed in is very much like the devil I had read about in the Bible. In spite of the uproar, shouting, “blasphemy, blasphemy!”, I managed to put in the following words,  when slowly silence was being restored:

Please listen to me. You say that God created, as an expression of His love, the whole of humanity within the universe. But this God watches daily more than  one and a half billion Christians of the Main Line Churches move towards eternal damnation day-in and day-out. Similarly he watches with no particular concern or interest more than a billion Chinese, a billion Muslims and some 800 millions Hindus move towards eternal hell ‘where the fire never gets extinguished and where the worms die not’. He is not a loving person if he does not do anything to stop this horror. He is sadistically cruel to watch the eternal torture and pain of his creatures when he could stop this horror by his supreme power. Certainly he is totally unwise to create and preside over such a horrible creation. The attributes of sadistic cruelty, the supreme power unwilling to help the hapless tortured billions, and unwise and loveless decisions, and so on, belong to my concept of the devil.

The basis of Christian faith is the experience of God as love (1 Jn. 4: 8 & 16), as an unconditionally loving Father (Lk. 15), and all humans as brothers and sisters (Mt. 23:8 and 9). We called this experience of various degrees of intensity and depth Abba Experience and we affirmed that it is the basis of the KG ideal. This is the reason why the Church insists that our approach to the Non-Christians should be with respect, openness and love.

Here an important point has to be made very briefly. One of the aspects of our faith commitment is our faith in the uniqueness of Christ for our Salvation[1].  We shall not get into the various NT texts and their interpretations according to which salvation is only through Christ: “I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE” (Jn. 14:6). “For of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved” (AA 4:12). “For there is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and mankind, himself a man, Christ Jesus who gave himself as ransom for them all” (1 Tim. 2: 5-6). How can we find some sort of openness in these kinds of absolutistic statement?

It is far beyond the scope of this paper to answer this question somewhat satisfactorily. We shall make briefly a few points which could lead one to some meaningful answers. The first point is that we should read these apparently exclusivistic texts in the context of inclusivistic ones. We have given above considerable amount of space for this latter type of texts. Often theologians try to answer this question taking recourse to what they call ‘Logos-theology’ of the Apostolic Fathers. Here the inclusivistic aspect of Christ’s name, namely the ‘Cosmic Christ’, is taken up[2]. Some theologians consider these exclusive texts in terms of ‘Love-language’ of legitimate ‘exaggeration’ rather than ‘the Science-language’ of precision and accuracy.

Non-Christian Scriptures in the Dialogal Context

          After contextual involvement when the liberation theologians read the Bible they saw it in a new light. These theologians took seriously the socio-economic context. For us in India Religious Pluralism is another challenging contextual reality. This context leads us to biblical texts which are dialogue friendly. We can also make use of the non-Christian scriptures to get in touch with the dialogue friendly texts and texts that promote WF ideals.

One of the Rigvedic text very often quoted by the Christians as well as the Hindus is the following: Ekam sat vipra bahudha vadanti (=Truth is one but sages interpret diversely, Rg. 1:164:46) cfr. also Ekam santam bahudha kalpayanti (=Though truth is one, it is diversely imagined, Rg. 10:1l4:5). Since Hinduism is very much a dialoging religion the non-Hindus can find many such texts without laboriously looking for them. Islam however is usually considered not as a dialogue friendly religion. But once some initiatives were taken up for Christian-Muslim dialogue especially in the West, people began to point out various Quranic texts which are open to other religions. One of such texts is found in Quran 29:46: “Our God and your God is One; and it is to Whom we bow”. Another Quranic verse which is often quoted in the dialogal context is the following: “To each among you have prescribed a Law and an Open Way. If God so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to God; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which you dispute” (5:48).

Inter-Religious Dialogue and Nation Building

          In the Chennai allocution (1986) Pope John Paul II said that for creating a better world we need inter-religious dialogue which proceeds from the “internal drive of charity”. A little more than a decade back a Christian priest invited me to inaugurate a bridge on the river Manimala to help the pilgrims to reach Shabarimala through a short-cut. In the building of this bridge contributions in money and hard labour were made by Hindus, Muslims and Christians. On the inauguration day as on the days of the common works, women from all the three religions cooked food together and served it to all the participants.

A crying need of our country is the creation of an inter-religious front to oppose all pervading corruption. The so-called people who seem to be advocating the value of dharma do not seem to do much effectively to oppose adharma – in this case the adharma of corruption. This adharma is very powerful. But if all the religions in India bring their resources together they can effectively oppose the adharma of corruption. But unfortunately for us in India there are rivalries among religions and are divided among themselves.

There could be many other areas for dialogal cooperation. Education and medical care for the poor, finding employment for the unemployed, establishing whom for the aged, etc. are very much in need of inter-religious collaboration. But it is far beyond the scope of this paper to describe dialogal action in many such sectors. Indeed, dialogue in terms of Jnana (inter-religious research, seminars, etc.), karma (dialogal action in various fields) and bhakti (inter-religious prayer, celebrations of festival) is very much in keeping with the Indian Ethos and it can our country more and more united and powerful. Jai Hind.

[1] Cfr. Ishanand, Raw Materials for an Indian Theology, Chapter-8, pp.283-318
[2] For a rather detailed study, Cfr. Ishanand, Raw Materials for an Indian Theology, op.cit., pp.310-315

Friday, June 14, 2013



Dr. Ishanand Vempeny
Part 111


Pope Benedict XVI has declared 2013 as YEAR OF FAITH. It is fitting that as a gesture of ‘Thinking with the Church’, we are dealing with a topic like this. Christ is indeed the centre of Christian Faith “O Logos Sarx Egeneto” (= The Word became Flesh). In the past Christian theology was centred on Christ. There has not been much change in teaching theology as something Christo-centric.

What do we understand by Faith in Christ? Is it enough to pick up the Christological articles from the Nicene Creed? In the Eucharistic celebration of the Latin Rite, after the consecration there is the declaration by the priest “The Mystery of Faith”. One of the formulas through which the people respond to this declaration is the following: “Christ has died, Christ is Risen, Christ will come again”. To my mind, this formula does not express many of the Christological dogmas. How then shall we express within our scope the essential elements of Faith in Christ?

One of the concepts which seems to express in a summary form, the sum total of Christ’s teachings, indeed the very personality of Christ, is that of the Kingdom of God. As we shall soon point out, this concept contains both the words and deeds of Christ. Besides, as the Fathers of the Church taught by calling Christ “Autobasilea”, Jesus Christ is the personified expression of the Kingdom ideal. Therefore, commitment to the Kingdom ideal is commitment to Christ Himself. Another reason for choosing the Kingdom ideal to express the gist of Christian Faith is that this ideal can lead to concepts and ideals in Non-Christian Religions homologically similar to it.  Another important advantage of this central concept of the NT is that it does not teach that Salvation is a once-for-all, press-button reality. The Kingdom of God ideal is partly realized here on earth and fully in the beyond. It is in a process of growth here on earth like a mustard seed.

A.      Articulating Faith in Christ through the Kingdom of God Ideal

No serious theologian or Biblical scholar seems to doubt the centrality of the KG Ideal in Christ’s preaching. This concept and its equivalents, occur in the NT more than a hundred times (106 according to George Soares Prabhu, 122 times says J. Fullenbach, and about 150 times according to a number of modern scholars). The total will increase if we add the equivalent Johanine concept “new life” to the list. The following view of one of the greatest Indian Biblical Scholars, the late George Soares, seems to me beyond serious controversy: 

But the preaching of Jesus was concerned primarily, one might even say exclusively, with the “Kingdom of God”, for everything he said and did was ultimately related to this overriding and urgent concern. The Kingdom is the referent of most of his parables (see specially Mt. 13:1-52; 18:21-35; 22:1-14; 25:1:13; Mk. 4:26-29); the subject of many of his aphoristic sayings (Mt. 7:21; 18:3; 1719:12; Mk.9:1-9:47; 10:23-25; Lk.6:20; 9:62; 13:28-29; 16:16; 17:20-21). It is also the content of the symbolic actions which form so large a part of his ministry: his table fellowship with tax collectors and sinners (Mk 2:15-17; Lk.15:12-2), and his healings and exorcisms. For in his ‘communion’ with the religious and social outcasts of his people (tax collectors and sinners) Jesus demonstrates in action the presence of the Kingdom of God, that is of God’s unconditional and wholly forgiving love for sinful mankind. He explicitly interprets his miracles as ‘signs’ that the Kingdom of God has come and has put an end to Satan’s oppressive rule (Mk. 3:23-27; Mt 11:2-6; 12:25-28).[1]

I have written rather elaborately on this topic in a number of my articles and books.[2]. Here we are interested in a few salient points of this ideal with direct relevance to our topic. “Abba-Experience” seems to be the basis of the experience of this ideal.  

B.      The ‘Abba-Experience’ 

There seems to be a general agreement to the view that the KG Ideal is based on the Abba-experience of Jesus and the consequent Abba-experience of Christ’s followers. Abba is an Aramaic word, with which little children addressed their fathers, and it is somewhat equivalent to the English word ‘daddy’. This is a revolutionary way of addressing God in the Jewish situation. Knowing fully well the sacredness and delicacy of this way of addressing God, St. Mark and the later translators retained the Aramaic word, ‘Abba’, in Christ’s prayer in Gethsemane: “Abba Father, all things are possible to thee; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will but what thou wilt” (Mk 14:36). 

In the baptismal theophany the Father declares Jesus as His Son: “This is My Son, the Beloved my favour rests on him” (Mt. 3:17). In the first recorded words of Jesus we read, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be busy with my Father’s affairs?” (Lk. 3:49). He expresses His intimacy-relationship with the Father: “Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him” (Mt. 11: 26-27). Later on He will express His relationship of intimacy with the Father in terms of identification, “The Father and I are one” (Jn. 10:30).

As branches to the vine (Jn. 15) as grafted branch to the trunk of a new tree (Rom. 6:5) and as members of the Body of Christ (Rom. 12 and 1 Cor.12), Christians believe that they  share His life and they  too can call God in His Spirit Abba Father. “When we cry, Abba Father it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.” (Rom. 8:15-17; Cf.Gal.4:5 ff.) John, in his Gospel (Jn 1:12) and in his epistles (e.g.1 Jn.3:1-2) keeps on insisting that we are truly God’s children. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus pointed out that we should consider God at least as loving and caring as a decent human father (Mt 7:7-11). In other words, the disciples of Christ too can have the Abba-experience similar to that of Christ.       

In this Abba-experience I usually distinguish a father-element and a mother-element. The Power and Truth aspect of the Abba, I attribute to the father-element and the unconditional love of the Abba to the mother-element, albeit with the awareness that the former elements can be very strong in the mothers and the latter aspect can be very strong in fathers. As in other human traits here too we cannot categorize them in watertight compartments. All the same this distinction is valuable as far as it goes. After all, in India God is addressed very much as father and mother (tvameva mata pita ca tvameva) as for example, in the daily prayer of the Hindus.

C.      The Kingdom Ideal as a World Family Ideal

For us of the democratic age, Kings and Kingdoms do not have much appeal. To express the rootedness of this ideal in the Old Testament (OT) Kingdom of God tradition, this concept is important. But when we analyze its characteristics we realize that it is a universal ideal of the World Family (WF). From an Indian point of view such an interpretation is of great importance as we shall soon see. The surprising thing is that this is not a forced or contrived interpretation of the NT. 

There are, however, a few misconceptions among the Non-Hindu Scholars, especially among the Western ones, about this concept. The misconceptions are based more on the context rather than on the content of the original Sanskrit text. First we shall cite this verse from Hitopadesa and then state some contextual questions.

Ayam nijah parovetti ganana laghuchetasam
Udara charitanam tu vasudhaiva kutumbakam

According to the above verse only small minds (laghu-chetasam) think of things as mine (ayam) and yours (nija), but generous or magnanimous persons (udara charitanam) think in terms  of vasudhaiva kutumbakam [vasudha = world + iva (= as though) + kutumbakam (=family like][3].

In this part of Hitopadesa which deals with “mitra-labhah”, one of the five diplomatic policies (Panchatranta) taught by a Guru for instructing some princes who are of poor intelligence. The Guru teaches them through stories. The characters of the stories are usually animals and birds. In the Hitopadesa, verses from the original Panchatantra are quoted by these characters. Under the title mitra-labhah (gaining friends) in Part-I, there are eight stories (kathas). Our verse is taken from the 3rd story. These diplomatic principles are taught by various animals and birds among whom some are crocked and some are honest. The most crocked ‘Preacher’ in the first part, story no.3 is a cat. After cheating the birds about his evil intentions through pious, principles and stories, he began to eat up the young ones of the birds. Another crocked preacher of part-I is a fox who wanted to get a deer killed for getting a share of its dead body. He too tells pious stories and declares wise principles to realize his evil intention. Our verse was articulated by the fox (part-I, story-3, verse-71) to hide his evil intention of getting the deer killed.[4]

The Western scholars are usually aware of the devil quoting the Bible to tempt Jesus asking him to jump from the pinnacle of the temple (Mt. 4:6). He does it quoting Psalms 91: 10-11 making minor modifications to suit his interest.

          He has given his angels orders about you,
and they will carry you in their arms
in case you trip over a stone.

Is it right to say that since this verse was used by the devil, it has lost its meaning? No Biblical scholar would accept such an interpretation. If this is so why should we consider that the above verse from Hitopadesa is not very meaningful to us today? I do not see any reason to consider the verse teaching the World Family Ideal is a polluted one because it was quoted by a fox with evil intention.

In fact, there is another equally well-known sloka (verse) in the Indian tradition which gives the same meaning as that of the above verse: Atraiva vishvam bhavati ekanidam. This verse is an aspiration for all the creatures in the world (vishvam) to be so united and cooperative as though they are the members of a single nest (ekanidam). This ideal was captured by the late Indo-American astronaut, Kalpana Chawla through her photographs of the earth from the space-shuttle Columbia, and by her motto: samucha brahmand mera kutumb hai (= The whole cosmos is my family). Just before taking off for her final mission on the Space Shuttle, in her last interview to Anil Padmanabhan, she quoted  the Roman Philosopher Seneca,  “I was born not for one corner; the whole world is my native land”, and said: “I have felt that connection and stewardship …not just for Earth, but the whole Universe.”[5]

          This same ideal could be found in the South Indian vernaculars like Tamil: Yatum urai yavarum kelir, and Malayalam: Lokame Taravad. The deep-rootedness of this ideal in the Indian Ethos could be seen through the peculiar custom that exists all over India, in the North and in the South, namely the custom of addressing people with whom one has no blood-relationship or relations of affinity, as though they are one’s blood relations.  What pass in English as Mr., Mrs., Master, Miss etc., in the Indian languages become brother, sister, uncle, aunt, etc. The following common nouns from the Northern and Southern languages can be taken as examples: Bhai (=brother in Hindi, Gujarati, etc.), Annan, Thambi, Akka (elder brother, younger brother, elder sister in Tamil), Chettan, Chechi, (=elder brother, elder sister in Malayalam), Kaka (paternal uncle in Gujarati), Chacha (paternal uncle in Hindi), Masi (maternal aunty in Gujarati), Buvaji (paternal aunty in Hindi). The family, joint family, extended family in terms of teachers, guests, doctors and people of the same caste, village etc. appear to belong to one family through such appellations, though the living of this ideal in practice may be quite another thing as in the case of any other ideal in any religion.

D.      Brief Comparison between the KG Ideals and Family Ideals

          The dialogue imperatives by the Church show how she opens herself to other religions but also how she reaches out to them. This is especially so when the Church teaches her children that dialogue has been an expression of genuine Christian love which is rooted in a God who is Love itself. On the other hand, Christian faith as understood in terms of the KG ideal and as interpreted as the WF ideal is equally open and inviting. Besides when we see the WF ideal directly or indirectly is embedded in the Non-Christian Scriptures like the Bhagawad Gita, Holy Quran and Guru Granth Saheb, we realize that these religions too are open to inter-religious dialogue and cooperation. Indeed, during the past few decades I have been taking part in dialogue activities organized by the non-Christians themselves. What we have stated just above by way of introduction to this ideal, with regard to its presence in Hinduism in particular and in the Hindu Ethos and in the Indic Religions in general, are sufficient enough for our purpose. I have done more elaborate studies on this topic elsewhere[6].

          Some people wonder how valuable it is to compare the ideals of the KG with the WF. They point out that due to reasons like that of globalization, urbanization, the growth of nuclear families etc. there is almost a break-down of family values. But the truth seems to be is that when various forces are attacking the family values, in most of the families, especially of Afro-Asian countries, many of these values are kept up and cherished. Even in the families where these values are eroded, the family members begin to realize with concern that their family is not even a good one, much less an ideal one. One might even agree with the view that the percentage of good and model families is steadily and speedily decreasing. In spite of this, people by and large, know which is a good family and which is not a good one, and which is an ideal family and which is not.

          Another important value of this WF ideal is that practically all human beings long for such an ideal. One of the main reasons for this is that naturally all human beings, notwithstanding some exceptions here and there, desire affiliation to a group, affection from others, recognition by others as somebody important, and conducive atmosphere for personal growth and achievements. Affiliation to genuine and ideal families helps one to achieve all these personal goals for personality fulfillment. In this section we shall compare some of the features or characteristic of the KG ideal with WF ideal.

1. The boss of the Kingdom

          The chief executive (boss) of the Kingdom is not a King or an Emperor. He is an ‘Abba’ which means Father or better ‘Daddy Dear’. Abba is the name with which little children addressed their Fathers at the time of Jesus. The Semitic culture is Patriarchal and male-dominated. But we have briefly pointed out that this Father has also the motherly qualities of unconditional love, ever-forgiving attitude and concern for the ‘least fortunate’ of his children.

          In Hinduism God is addressed in the daily prayer tvameva mata pita ca tvameva, tvameva bandhu sakha ca tvameva which means they addressed God as Father, Mother, Brother, Friend. In these addresses God is conceived as the source of love and power. In the Islamic addresses of God Bismillahi r-rahmani r-rahim (Allah the most merciful and most kind) and Allah ho Akbar (Allah the Greatest), these attributes are implied and these are based on the Holy Quran.  

          Apart from these three religions, with the danger of over-generalization, one might say that in all the religions the Absolute Being is considered to be the source of power and love. When Rudolf Otto explained the meaning of noumenon (the Ultimate Reality) through the words tremendum et fascinans (terrifying and fascinating), the underlying idea is that the Absolute Being is the source of power and love.

2. The Kingdom and the Familial Socio-Economic Values

The economic relationship of the Kingdom, if viewed from the standpoint of today’s interpretation of justice, is thoroughly unjust. One man works for one hour, another for five hours and another eleven hours; but all are paid equally! (Mt 20:1-16). Such a situation occurs in a harmonious family where the unemployed grandmother, the dependent little children, the bedridden adult and so on are often given even better treatment than the earning members of the family. “From each man according to his capacity and to each man according to his need” is more a family ideal than a political one. No political society which upholds commutative justice can blame the so called ‘Rich Fool’ of Lk. 12 and the ‘Heartless Rich Man’ of Lk.16. If the money earned by the father, if the gifts received by the mother, and if the income generated by the elder brother are not shared, it will cease to be an ideal family. The judgment passed by the Eternal Judge on the people who were at His left side is quite unintelligible in a political society (Mt.25:41 ff.). In which country is there the law that it is the duty of each citizen to feed his hungry and to house his homeless fellow-citizens?

The social relations upheld in the Kingdom Project too belong to the family ideals. The best expression of it is found in Christ’s reaction when He was told that His mother and brothers were waiting to see Him. Stretching out his hand towards His disciples He said: “Here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in Heaven, he is my brother and sister and my mother” (Mt.12:50). ‘Doing the will of His Father’ can be interpreted as belonging to God’s Kingdom. If the members of the Kingdom are called mothers, brothers, sisters, then the KG Ideal is very similar to the WF Ideal. Well, Jesus Himself expressed it in these many words when He said: “You, however must not allow yourselves to be called Rabbi, since you have only one Master, and you are all brothers. You must call no one on earth your father, since you have only one Father, and He is in heaven” (Mt. 23: 8-9). This world family ideal is present in what St. Paul says: “This then is what I pray, kneeling before the Father, from whom every family, whether spiritual or natural takes its name” (Eph. 3:14). Elsewhere in the same epistle, Paul upholds this ideal saying: “So you are no longer aliens or foreign visitors: you are citizens like all the saints, and part of God’s household” (2:19). Because of this family ideal, in the Kingdom, the economically poor and the socially marginalized have a privileged place with special caring and sharing, as in an ideal family.

It is in this context we have to interpret Christ’s teaching about forgiveness and about loving our enemies. If the family members do not forgive each other such a family would cease to be a family. Forgiveness is part and parcel of the Kingdom ideal.

3. “Freedom of the Children of God” and the Familial Freedom

Here, our interest is to speak of freedom as something flowing from the Abba-experience, and we shall overlook other aspects of freedom. In the light of the following Pauline text, let us at least have a glimpse of this ‘freedom of the children of God’:

Now before we came of age we were as good as slaves to the elemental principles of this world, but when the appointed time came, God sent His Son… to redeem the subjects of the Law and to enable us to be adopted as sons. The proof that you are sons is that God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts: the Spirit that cries, ‘Abba’ Father’, and it is this makes you a son, you are not a slave any more: and if God has made you son, then He has made you heir (Gal.4:3-7). 

I usually explain the slavish, servile and filial interpretations of law by a parable. A land lord decided to make a foreign trip. Before his departure he called his slaves and gave the following instruction: “See that you water every day our groves and orchards so that the trees may bear abundant fruits.” Then he called his servants and asked them to irrigate the paddy fields regularly for a fixed rate as wages. Finally he called his son and told him to water the flower beds in the courtyard of his mansion. When he returned after a month he asked the slaves and the servants whether they had obeyed his orders. The slaves in fear said that they had fulfilled his instruction, and the servants requested the master for the wages for doing the job as they were told. Then he called his son and said: “Vatsal, these flower-beds look so beautiful. I am sure that you must have been watering these plants everyday.” Vatsal fearlessly said: “No daddy, I did not water the plants even for a day. From the day you left till three or four days ago it has rained almost everyday. I made these furrows to let the excess water out.” 

In this example, who obeyed the land lord truly and meaningfully? Only his son did. He obeyed by ‘disobeying’ using the freedom of a son knowing the mind and spirit of his father because of his deep love for him. His father’s interests are bound up with his own as he is heir to him.

4. Compassionate Judgement in the Familial and the Kingdom Structures

Once I was watching a teenager being accused for some mischief before his mother by their two neighbours. The mother chided the boy and gave him a slap which caused him hardly any pain. The boy was told to get out of her presence. Then the mother began to give many reasons justifying the mischievous behaviour of her son after asking pardon for the damage caused by him. The truth of the matter is that the judgement of a mother on her son is with a lot of love and understanding. When we see faults of others, if we follow the values of the Kingdom of God, we will judge him as our son, brother, nephew and so on.

Jesus unambiguously says, “Do not judge and you will not be judged” (Mt 7:1 ff). The parents, teachers, superiors, elders and so on, have the duty of correcting and guiding their wards. How is it possible without making a judgment on the actions of their wards? Here again the insistence is on compassion and love in judging and correcting. In the Parable of the Publican and the Pharisee (Lk 18:9-14), the Pharisee points an accusing finger at the Publican because he has not experienced God’s unmerited grace or His forgiving love. One of the most attractive scenes in the NT is the one where Jesus forgives an adulteress woman when no sinless person remained on the scene to stone her (Jn. 8::3 ff.).

In the Mahabharata, there is a story: Lord Krishna meets Yudhishtira, the leader of the righteous group, the Pandavas, and Duryodhana, the leader of the unrighteous group, the Kauravas. He told Duryodhana, the ‘anti-hero’, to take the census of the good people; and Yudhishtira, the good character; to take the census of the evil persons of the capital, Hastinapur. After a month Duryodhana came to Lord Krishna and reported that there was not a single good person in the city. He pointed out so much evil in the so-called good people like the hermits, social workers and other do-gooders. According to Yudhistira’s report, all were good including murderers, prostitutes and robbers. The moral of the story is that an evil person sees only evil even in good people and a good person sees good even in evil persons. This will explain Christ’s love for the ‘unlovable’. The ‘Sons of the Kingdom’ are supposed to have such a compassionate and loving heart open to the ‘unlovable’. ‘Celebrating the faults and failures of others’ is far from the Kingdom Ideals.

5. Kingdom Leadership vis-à-vis Familial Leadership

In any human community there is the need of leadership. But in the Kingdom community, unlike the secular communities, the leader will be serving. “The Kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and those in authority are called benefactors. But not so with you; let the greatest among you become as the smallest, and the leader as the one who serves” (Lk 22: 26-27). While establishing the Kingdom community in a sacramental way in the cenacle, the Master and the Lord washed the feet of His disciples like a slave, and asked them to do the same (Jn. 13: 1 ff).

This Kingdom value proposed by Christ is one of its most revolutionary aspects. The power and privileges of the leader is to empower those under his/her, and to make the individuals in particular and the group as a whole to grow and to be fruitful to their fullest potential. But such a leadership happens even today in relatively good families. The leadership of the father and mother are intended by them are for the good of the other family members, though a father can be too authoritarian or a mother can be too pampering.

6. Kingdom Equality and Familial Equality

          In the democracies there is confusion as regards this concept. In what sense human beings are equal? Is there equality in a family where there are grand parents, younger ones and elders? Among other things if we look in terms of opportunities of meaningful growth and human dignity, we find real equality in both of these ideals. This aspect of the Kingdom value is very similar to what we said about leadership. Jesus emphatically taught this message of equality by word (Mt 23:8-11) and by example, especially by His table-fellowship (Cf. Mt. 9:9-13). For the Jews, table fellowship meant equality in a very special sense. Indeed, the Samaritan woman was surprised when Jesus asked her for drinking water (Jn. 4). According to Paul, in Jesus Christ, who is autobasilea (kingdom personified), “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28).

7. Concern for the Last and the Lowest in the Kingdom and in the Families

The concept Anawim in Hebrew means not only the economically poor but also the socially marginalized with no human dignity. In the Indian context this term could be used for the untouchables. Apart from St. Mark’s brief, pointed, declaration of the arrival of the Kingdom (Mk 1:15) we have a sort of three ‘inaugural’ speeches of Jesus about His Project Kingdom at the beginning of His Public Life: The Sermon on the Mount in Mt. 5-7, Sermon on the plain as a counterpart of the former in Lk. 6, and Jesus’ inaugural speech in the synagogue at Nazareth (Lk. 4). In the Beatitudes, at the beginning of these sermons, Luke just says “How happy are you poor: yours is the Kingdom of God” (6:20). Whereas Mathew adds “poor in spirit” (5:3), which is a translation of the Aramaic inwanayya or anawim which means people of diminished human worth, of diminished human dignity due to socio-economic reasons, and due to diseases like leprosy and blindness. In Luke’s inaugural speech, reading Isaiah 61:1-2, Jesus affirms His stand for the economically poor and the socially oppressed and marginalized. “He has sent me to bring the good News to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, and to the blind new sight, to set the downtrodden free” (4:18).

Why are the poor happy? Is it because they will have their pie up in heaven, as interpreted in the past? What Christ meant was that in the new socioeconomic order of the Kingdom, the economic relations would be such that the rich would share their riches with the poor. If Jesus said that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom (Mt 19:24), he also declared in the house of a rich man called Zacchaeus, “Today, salvation has come to this house” (Lk 19:9). Why? Because the rich man was willing to share what he had with others (Lk 19:8). This is an example of familial economy and justice.

8. Kingdom Justice and Familial Justice

Jesus said: “For I tell you, unless your righteousness (Gk. Dikaiosyne, Justice, Sanskrit, dharma) exceeds that of the scribes and pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mt. 5:20). At the wake of Liberation Theology there is much talk on fighting for justice. Usually justice is understood as giving each person according to his/her due. If it is so, in terms of commutative justice, the ‘boss’ of KG, either as the Father of the Prodigal Son (Lk. 15) or as the Benevolent Employer (Mt. 20) is patently unjust. The justice of the KG goes far beyond this concept of justice. I prefer to call it the Kingdom Justice or Familial Justice rather than Social Justice. I would not like to substitute it by ‘love’ since it can imply that the beneficiary is benevolently treated not because he/she has a right for it but only because of the generosity of the giver. True there is a strong emphasis on justice in the Kingdom ideal. However, it is over shadowed by the teachings of economic sharing, fellowship, loving the last and the least including ones own enemies. In short the justice of the Kingdom is fit for a united and loving family.

[1] Unpublished notes on The Dharma of Jesus, pp.4-5
[2] (1) Games We Religious Play, Delhi: Media House, 1997, pp.77-116; (2) Raw Materials for an Indian Theology, Volume–I, Delhi: Media House and ISPCK, 2008, pp.111-161; (3) History of Science, Philosophy and Culture in Indian Civilization, General Editor D. P. Chattopadhyaya, Vol. VII, Part 6, Indian Christianity, New Delhi, 2009, edited by A. V. Afonso, “Christ’s Central Message in Today’s India, Chap. 21, pp.421-449
[3] Cfr. Hitopadesha, Dr. Kansara Narayan M., Ahmedabad-1: Saraswati Pustak Bhandar, 1978, p.37
[4] Hitopadesa, op.cit., p.37
[5] India Today, February 17, 2003, p.38
[6] Cfr. Ishanand, Raw Materials for an Indian Theology, “Christ’s Central Message Interpreted for Today’s India”, Delhi : Media House & ISPCK, 2008, pp.111-161 and also History of Science, Philosophy and Culture in Indian Civilization, General Editor D. P. Chattopadhyaya, Vol. VII, Part 6, Indian Christianity, New Delhi, 2009, edited by A. V. Afonso, “Christ’s Central Message in Today’s India, Chap. 21, pp.421-449

Thursday, June 13, 2013



Dr. Ishanand Vempeny
Part 11


          In a situation of religious pluralism as in India, inter-religious dialogue is of paramount importance. With our unenviable past of communal squabbles, rivalry and riots, it is natural for us to wish for cooperation among the various religions. Indeed, in today’s world the problem should not be between this religion and that religion, but between religion and irreligion, between dharma and adharma. If religions exhaust all their energies in inter-religious rivalry, the anti-religious forces may do immense harm to the fundamental human values which all the religions wish to protect. Besides, no religion is an adequate response to the basic religious drives in man but rather to their partial fulfillment, and so inter-religious dialogue can enrich and complement each religion in man’s perennial quest for the Absolute Truth, Absolute Love and Absolute Bliss.

1.       Dialogal Approach 

          Before Vatican II the approach of Western theology had been, by and large, non-contextual. This theology, to a great extent, approached other religions as objects without getting into the experiential and commitment dimensions of other religions. These aspects of religion can be illustrated through an example. A collegian said in an inter-religious meeting: “My mother may be ill-mannered and ugly, but no other person can be her adequate substitute. Islam is my mother.” How shall we interpret such a standpoint? The collegian admits that his mother, in the eyes of an “impartial” observer, may be ill-mannered and ugly. He might have come to know this by comparing his mother with other women. But his filial commitment establishes an irreplaceable relation between him and her, and his filial love makes him see her imperfections in a very different light from the one in which an impartial observer would see them. He therefore wants others to know that unless they understand and experience, from his own point of view, his loyalty to Islam, they would not be able to appreciate what his religion means to him.

The Post-Vat. II official Church documents and the authoritative statements of national and international theological conferences and seminars on inter-religious dialogue are encouraging, enlightening and forward-looking. The Church had said, through the council of Florence, that “no one remaining outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews, heretics or schismatics, can become partakers of eternal life” (ND. 1005). The same Church after a little more than five centuries could say through Vat. II: “And so the Church has this exhortation for her sons: prudently and lovingly through dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions, and in witness to the Christian faith and life, acknowledge, preserve and promote the spiritual and moral good, as well as the socio-cultural values found among them” (NA 2, Cf. LG. 16). When we read these two documents we are reminded of the presence of the Spirit of God in the Church to interpret the revealed truths in a way relevant and challenging to the people of different epochs.

As in the immediate Post-Vatican period even today there are voices in the Church against inter-religious dialogue. Even the Encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI, Dominus Jesus is not very dialogue-friendly. In fact Jeevadhara itself devoted a whole issue with a number of articles by international theologians opposing this anti-dialogal stance of this encyclical[1]. Referring to the negative reaction to this document, the spokesperson for FABC (Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference), Edmund Chia wrote six months after the publication of this document:

Even as six months have passed, more articles continue to be churned out and many regard the Dominus Jesus document a pastoral disaster. A look at some of the article-headings on the Yahoo sites is revealing. For instance, one article begins with The Much-maligned Vatican Document…and another had this for title: Dominus Jesus Exalts Her Throne. Yet another hit the nail right on the head by entitling it explicitly as: Catholics are the Best: I know you mean it, but did you have to say it that way? Others carried titles such as Negative Reactions to Dominus Jesus, Vatican Declaration Provokes Churches. The Vatican Magnifies Divide Among World’s Religions. Rome, Relativism and Reaction and A Kiss of Death for The Ecumenists.[2]

But a recent official statement of Pope Benedict XVI on the NCRs has been very positive and it encourages all the Christians for inter-religious dialogue. The Pope when receiving in audience the members of The Foundation for Inter-religious and Inter-cultural Research and Dialogue said:

“I repeat with insistence, research and inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue are not an option but a vital necessity for our time”[3].

A.      The Dialogue Imperatives by the Church[4]

          No other Pope has so emphatically and unambiguously spoken about the necessity of inter-religious dialogue as John Paul II. This Pope has not only stressed its need but also has given directions as to how to practice it both by his teachings as well as by his example. The international inter-religious conference, organized under the guidance of the Pope, in 1986 in Assisi was indeed a high point.

          Perhaps one of the most enlightening of his allocutions on this topic was the one addressed to the members of the different religions in Madras in February 1986. Here the Pope enumerates a number of reasons for dialogue and points out its way: “The Catholic Church recognizes the truths that are contained in the religious traditions of India. This recognition makes true dialogue possible… The Church’s approach to other religions is one of genuine respect; with them she seeks mutual collaboration. This respect is twofold: respect for man in his quest for answers to the deepest questions of his life, and respect for the action of the Spirit in man”[5].
          To the members of the Plenary Assembly of the Secretariat for Non-Christian Religions, in 1984, the Pope said:

In fact, no one can fail to see the importance and the need which inter-religious dialogue assumes for all religions and all believers, called today more than ever to collaborate so that every person can reach his transcendent goal and realize his authentic growth and to help cultures preserve their own religious and spiritual values in the presence of rapid social changes. Dialogue is fundamental for the Church, which is called to collaborate in God’s plan with its methods of presence, respect, and love towards all persons.[6]

The Secretariat for Non-Christian Religions (Rome) have promulgated in 1984 a document under the title: The Attitude of the Church Towards The Followers of Other Religions. It points out how the Christian mission by necessity has to be dialogal:

Dialogue is thus the norm and necessary means of every Christian mission, as well as of every aspect of it, whether one speaks of simple presence and witness, service or direct proclamation… Any sense of mission not permeated by such a dialogal spirit would go against the demands of true humanity and against the teaching of the Gospel”[7].

          Three great events that took place in India after Vat. II gave great momentum to the cause of inter-religious dialogue. One of them was the International Seminar held in Bombay almost in the beginning of Vat. II and in connection with the Eucharistic Congress in 1964, which pointed out the salvific value of Non-Christian Religions. Then, the All India Seminar, held in Bangalore, in 1969, and the International Seminar in Nagpur in 1973, declare forcefully and effectively the need of inter-religious dialogue. To this we may add the impact of the Patna National Consultation in 1977 and the three conferences of Indian Theological Association held in 1987, 1988 and 1989 which triggered the cause of inter-religious dialogue in India.

B.      Reasons for Dialogue According to these Documents

          In his Chennai address to the Non-Christians Pope John Paul II said:

The Catholic Church recognizes the truths that are contained in the religious tradition of India. This recognition makes true dialogue possible. Here today the Church wishes to voice again her true appreciation of the great heritage of the religious spirit that is manifested in your cultural tradition. The Church’s approach to other religions is one of genuine respect, and with them she seeks mutual collaboration[8].
          The International Seminar held at Nagpur gives a very profound reason for dialogue. After explaining how the Vat. II helps us to see the World Religions in a new light, the Seminar declares:

We see at work in them Christ and His Grace An ineffable mystery, the centre and ground of reality and human life, is in different forms and manners active among all peoples of the world and gives ultimate meaning to human existence and aspirations. This mystery which is called by different names, but which no name can adequately represent, is definitely disclosed and communicated in Jesus of Nazareth[9].

The Indian Theological Association in its 1989 session gives a very interesting sociological reason for the dialogue imperative:

One insight, among many others, that contemporary thought on human nature has brought to light, is the radical insufficiency of any isolated human existence and its need for dialogue for its own self-understanding and authenticity. This principle is valid also in the realm of our religious existence. A religion, however exalted, can no more define itself in splendid isolation from other religions. Rather it has to evolve its own self-understanding in its manifold forms of relatedness to other religions. This takes us to the reality of dialogue in our life[10].

          Most of the reasons given in the above documents depend on Vatican II. The documents by the Secretariat referred to earlier give quite a few references to Vatican II in the following statement:

This vision induced the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council to affirm that in the religious traditions of non-Christians there exist ‘elements which are true and good’ (OT 16); ‘precious things, both religious and human’ (GS 92); ‘seeds of contemplation’ (AG 18); ‘elements of truth and grace’ (AG 9); ‘seeds of the word’ (AG 11, 15) and ‘rays of the truth which illumines all mankind’ (NA 2). According to explicit conciliar indications, these values are found preserved in the great religious traditions of humanity. Therefore, they merit the attention and the esteem of Christians, and their spiritual patrimony is a genuine invitation to dialogue (Cf NA 2, 3; AG 11) not only in those things which unite us but also in our difference[11].

C.      Love-centredness Leading to Rootedness with Openness

Most of the official documents stress the need of love and respect for the partners in dialogue. Pope John Paul II, quoting Ecclesiam Suam of his predecessor Pope Paul VI, affirms that “Dialogue proceeds from the ‘internal drive of charity’”. The Vatican Secretariat too stresses the need of love when it says: “Each aspect and activity of the Church’s mission must therefore be imbued with the spirit of love if it is to be faithful to Christ who commanded the mission and continues to make it possible throughout history”[12]. The CBCI guidelines too emphasize the need of love: “There must be a pervading atmosphere of a deep love of God and love of the other partners in the dialogue. Like all Christian activity, dialogue can be genuine and profitable only if it is the expression of love”[13].

          If this approach demands that one has to be committed to one’s own religion as deeply and as honestly as possible, how can one enter into the heart of the religions of others with openness? The simple answer is that it is through the door of genuine love, the nature of which is sensed both by the child and the grown-up, the educated and the illiterate. And this doctrine is preached by all the religions in the name of ahimsa, karuna, agape, etc. As Erich Fromm says, “In love the paradox occurs that two beings become one yet remain two”[14]. According to this author one of the intrinsic elements of love is mutual respect which makes one look at the other as he is, and view things from his own stand-point. Knowing a person intimately and existentially is essentially connected with loving him[15]. About the connection between knowledge and love in a personalistic situation, Victor Frankl says: “Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him”[16].

D.      Re-reading the Bible for Dialogue–friendly Texts

When we re-read the Scriptures from the context of dialogue we will come across a number of themes and texts which are inclusive and dialogue-friendly. Even in the OT there are many texts which seemed to have been inspired by the Dialogal Spirit. The Book of Jonah, the prophesies of Balaam and of Malachi are very inspiring for dialogue[17]. We shall later on make passing references to the Biblical texts which are exclusive or even fundamentalistic. In the NT, in spite of the bloody persecutions that were going on against the Christians both by the Jews and by the Romans during the coming-to-be of the Gospels, there are numerous texts which can guide us in our Dialogal ventures. We shall select just three texts: (1) The Wise Men from the East (Mt. 2:1-12), (2) The Cornelius Episode (AA 10: 1 to 11:18) and (3) Paul’s Speech in Athens (AA. 17:23-31)[18].

1. The Wise Men from the East (Mt. 2:1-12)

The word used in Greek is ‘magus’ which had various meanings among which one signifies a member of the Persian priestly caste and another, the possessor of occult knowledge and power. The occult knowledge was usually understood in terms of astrology. Since Babylonia was the traditional home for astrology, one could guess that these men had come from that region.  Even a midrashic interpretation of this text does not rule out the probability of the incident narrated or the lesson we would like to learn.

Here come three Gentile Wise Men to Jerusalem, the heart of the nation of the Chosen People. They inquire about the birth of the Messiah about whom there were many prophesies and whom the Jewish people were expecting. At first the Jewish leaders looked not much bothered about the birth. But they began to look into the sacred books, perhaps chiefly due to the insistence of Herod, who had many things at stake in such an eventuality. The Jewish Religious Authorities agree with a possibility inquired about by the Wise Men. The news was no source of pleasure for Herod. The Magi go to Bethlehem guided by the same star and pay obeisance to the new born Messiah.

This story bears comparison with that of Jonah both with regard to the dramatic style and with regard to the content. Jonah, a Jewish prophet goes to a non-Jewish people at the bidding of Yahweh. In the whole story Jonah is the villain. Here, some Gentile Wise Men come to the Jewish capital and the reaction of the Jewish people was quite opposite to that of the Ninivites who repented of their sins. The Magi Story tells us that there is revelation among the gentiles. The revelation is understood of the religious symbols of the gentiles concerned, and the revealed truth as practiced by these men.

2. The Cornelius Episode (AA 10: 1 to 11:18)

 Here three religions are involved: the religion of the Chosen People, the New Israel, and that of a gentile military leader. The revelation is in favour of the gentiles as in the case of Jonah, Balaam and Magi. The leader of the New Israel, Peter, at first refuses to eat the ‘impure animals’ as prescribed in Lv 11. But the heavenly message tells him not to call anything impure that has been made pure by God (Acts 10:15).

The big sheet being let down to earth by its four corners with all sorts of animals can very well recall the Ark of Noah (Gen 6). The Ark represented a ‘chosen few’ whereas the sheet represented the whole of humanity in which none is too impure not to be accepted. When the messengers of Cornelius came, Peter interpreted the whole revelation in favour of the gentiles and he went along with the messengers. The central message proclaimed here is interpreted by Peter in these words: “The truth I have now come to realize is that God does not have favourites, but that anybody of any nationality who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to him” (Acts 10:34; Cfr. also 1 Pet 1:17 and Rom 2:11). He had heard from his Master similar utterances: “But I say this to you; love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike” (Mt. 5:44-45).

If Origen and Cyprian had had the revelation of this Sheet let down from heaven, which is more representative of the Church than the Ark of Noah, we would not have had the exclusivistic axiom extra ecclesiam nulla salus (=Outside the Church there is no salvation).

3. Paul’s Athenian Speech (AA. 17:23-31)

This speech is considered in comparison with his speech to the Jews in Pisidea in Antioch (Acts 13: 6-41) and to the Christians in Ephesus (Acts 20: 18:35), and with the three speeches of Peter viz. the one on Pentecost (Acts 2:14-40), another in the temple (Acts 3:12-20) and yet another before Cornelius (Acts 10: 34-43).  This speech of Paul is considered to be a failure by some on the basis of 1 Cor 2:2 where Paul looks down on human wisdom in comparison with the divine wisdom and is often considered to be a model for how not to preach. But in truth this was no more of a failure than that of Jesus in Nazareth (Lk 4:16-22).

Following the rules of rhetoric he tries to enter through the door of the Athenians to bring them out through his door. He uses quotations not from the OT but from the sacred writings of the ‘Greek Prophets’, Aratos (ca 310 BC) and ‘Epimenides’, a pre-Socratic sage. He appreciates their religiosity. He then speaks approvingly and appreciatively of their religion taken collectively:

From one single stock he not only created the whole human race so that they could occupy the entire earth, but he decreed how long each nation should flourish and what the boundaries of its territory should be. And he did this so that all nations might seek the deity and, by feeling their way towards him, succeed in finding him. Yet in fact he is not far from any of us, since it is in him that we live, and move, and exit, as indeed some of your own writers have said: ‘We are his children’ (17: 26-28).

The tone of this speech is as important as its content. There is no condemnation but approbation. Not a blind approval but a critical one. The Jerome Biblical Commentary points out that the whole speech of Paul had quite some resemblance to the initial stanzas of Arato’s poem. Aratos too was a Silician like Paul.

[1] Cfr. Articles in Jeevadhara, vol.xxxi, no.183, May 2001. This whole issue of Jeevadhara consists of articles by internationally reputed theologians who point out its flaws and anti-Vat. II reactions.
[2] Cfr. Jeevadhara, op.cit., p.229
[3] Vatican City, Feb. 7, 2007,
[4] Cfr. Ishanand Vempeny, “Emerging India and the Word of God”, Non-Biblical Scriptures in Dialogal Theologizing, Fr. Paul Puthanangady, SDB (Edit)., Bangalore: NBCLC, 1991, pp.418-420
[5] The Pope Speaks to India, Bombay: St. Paul Publications, no.17:2, p.83
[6] The Attitude of the Church towards the Followers of other Religions, “Address of the Pope at the Conclusion of the Plenary Assembly of the Secretariat”, Vatican: Secretarius Pro Non-Christianis, 1984, no.2, p.3
[7] op.cit., no.30, p.18
[8] op.cit., no.17:2, p.83
[9] Service and Salvation, Joseph Pathrapankal (edit), Bangalore: TPI, 1973, nos.12 and 13, p.4
[10] Theology of Religions, Tiruchirapalli: St. Paul’s Seminary, no.16, pp.18-19
[11] op. cit., no.26, p.16
[12] op.cit., no.9, p.9
[13] op.cit., no.44, p.46
[14] The Art of Loving, New York : Bantam Book, 1970, p.17
[15] Op.cit., p.22
[16] Man’s Search for Meaning, New York: Washington Square Press, 1968, p.176
[17] Cfr. Ishanand, Inspiration in Non-Biblical Scriptures, Bangalore: TPI, 1973, pp.126-133
[18] Cfr. For wiper deeper study, Ishanand, Raw Materials for an Indian Theology, Chapter-9, pp.292-318