Speaker: Dr. Peter Pandimakil
Date of the Event: Sunday, June 8, 2008

Topic: "The Life & Work of Pannikar, an ambassador of culture and civilization of India": Dr. Pandimakil will deliberate on the life work of Raimon Pannikar. Born in Barcelona (1918) to a Catalan Catholic mother and an Indian Hindu father, Raimon Pannikar has dedicated his life to interfaith and intercultural dialogue.

His approach is also interdisciplinary attested to by his three doctorates in philosophy, science (Madrid University) and theology (Lateran University). In the late forties, Panikkar was ordained a Catholic priest and in the early fifties first left for India where he undertook studies in Indian philosophy and religion (University of Mysore and Varanasi). For the next fifty years Panikkar's academic posts oscillated between professorships in European, Indian and North American universities. Panikkar is currently Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, but lives in Tavertet, outside Barcelona, where he continues to study, pray and write. He has also married (at seventy), continues to minister as a Catholic priest, but conceives of himself as a monk.— See the synopsis of his talk below.

See Dr. Pandimakil's profile below.

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Dr. Peter Pandimakil's Presentation
on Raimon Panniker + Q & A
(First few minutes are missing)
ICFC DISCLAIMER: The content and views expressed in this presentation and the Q&A session are entirely those of the speaker and individual members of the audience. ICFC has no responsibility for any comments and interpretations.

Personal Profile of Dr. Peter Pandimakil

Born in India, Peter G. Pandimakil, has completed his studies in Europe with doctorates in Mission Studies from the Gregorian University, Rome (Italy) and in Philosophy from Westfallen William’s University, Münster (Germany). From 1985, he has been a professor for philosophy and mission studies for more than five years in Tanzania both at the Saint Augustine’s Seminary in Peramiho and the Salvatorian Centre for Philosophy and Theology in Morogoro.

Since 1994 he has been professor for History and Phenomenology of Religions at the Augustinian Theological Centre (Estudio Teológico Agustiniano) in Valladolid, Spain, and from 2001 full-time professor at Saint-Paul University, Ottawa. He is currently the director of the program for Mission Studies and Interreligious Dialogue in the Faculty of Human Sciences, and Editor of the Journal Mission. His research is centered on: religious anthropology, religious-cultural pluralism, and symbolic pragmatism.

Dr. Pandimakil has taught courses on History of Mission: Jews, Gentiles, Christians, Men and Women; Theology of Religious Pluralism; Christian Encounter with the New World: The Age of 'Discovery'; Religiones de la India actual: conversión, igualdad de género e identidad religiosa (University of Valladolid, Spain); Religious Pluralism and Theologies of Religions: An Assessment; and Religious Anthropology. His publication include “Caught in-Between: Re-visiting Religious Syncretism,” “El diálogo interreligioso: una perspectiva católica,” and “Challenging Mission Today: the Issue of Surrogacy.”

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Synopsis of the Talk on "Raimon Pannikar's Perspective of India"

1. Cosmotheandrism
2. Interconnected universes and religions
3. Plenitude of Man – a universal goal

Among the contemporary scholars of Hinduism, Oriental Religions or Religious Studies, Raimon Panikkar occupies an admirable position especially for his decidedly holistic approach to what he calls the ‘resource of human spirituality,’ that is India. Panikkar’s admiration for India as well as his connections to it is manifold: not only its culture, religion and civilization are things which matter to him most, but also his own parental lineage.

Panikkar is literally a person of ‘double belonging’ not only from a biological but also religious/intellectual perspective. The latter does not often astound us, for intellectuals usually are considered to be persons with multiple abodes; but the combination of both in a single person is quite rare, and that has been Panikkar.

This talk on the contributions of Panikkar intends to broach the unique approach he adopts towards India as well as to religion in general. Besides exploring his appraisal of India since its independence, it deals in detail on his current thesis, namely cosmotheandrism, a perspective which has grown out of long years of intercultural and interreligious studies especially centered on Hinduism, Christianity and Buddhism. Panikkar’s thesis has been welcomed with awe by many, but also criticized as a new religion intending to supplant the contemporary religions and ideologies. But for Panikkar, his proposal is nothing other than a synthesis of wisdom in possession of humanity since the appearance of Man on earth. Humanity’s pursuit for other justifiable goals such as technical achievement and mastery of nature has forced Man to ignore if not abandon the goal proper to humanity: plenitude. Cosmotheandrism is hence a proposal to recover the target, to be on the right path so that the summit does not escape from the view.

In discussing Panikkar, we hope to explore the contributions of Indian culture, not merely from a local but a universal perspective. This critical approach to the Indian culture and spirituality offers an opportunity to examine the role of international / intercultural collaboration.

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