Monday, August 1, 2011


Romero D’Souza
DIVYADAAN, AUGUST 1, 2011: On July 27, 2011 from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm, the Staff and Students of Divyadaan, Salesian Institute of Philosophate, had a Seminar in honor of Raimon Panikkar (1918-2010), a philosopher, scientist, as well as a theologian who passed away from this earthly life. The speakers for the day were Rev. Fr Ivo Coelho who presented to us a paper on, “The Epistemological Foundation of Panikkar’s Approach to Reality” and Rev. Fr Nelson Falcao who presented to us a paper on, “Ecology and Ecosophy of Raimon Panikkar.” Fr. Robert Pen, the Principal was the one who introduced to us the author with the help of a PowerPoint Presentation.
In brief, Raimon Panikkar was one of the greatest scholars of the twentieth century. He has been a Pioneer in comparative religion, theology, and inter-religious dialogue. He earned a Doctorate in philosophy at the University of Madrid in 1946, a doctorate in chemistry in 1958, and a third doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Lateran University, Rome in 1961. He gave courses in universities around the world. He guided about twenty doctoral dissertations by students from all over the world. “Writing, to me, is intellectual life and also spiritual experience…it allows me to ponder deeply the mystery of reality.” He has written forty books and nine hundred articles. Raimon Panikkar’s sparkling personality combined: the quite dignity of a sage, the profundity of a scholar, the depth of a contemplative and the warmth and charm of a friend. Panikkar’s Self-Realization: “I started as a Christian, I discovered I was a Hindu, and returned as a Buddhist without ever having ceased to be a Christian.”
The Epistemological Foundations of Panikkar’s Approach to Reality presented by Fr. Coelho had the following Scheme of the paper begins with Being is beyond Thought then proceeds on to explore the Way to the Whole that is Being showing the importance of the Three Eyes finally concluding with Comments and Observations.
A snippet taken from the presentation Comments and Observations: There are many versions of the thesis on the identity of Thinking and Being, with different consequences: The Platonic leads to the subject-object split in epistemology and other problems, The Aristotelian leads in the direction of the doctrine of analogy of Aquinas but Panikkar is right affirmation given by the speaker, when he says that it is important to reflect on seemingly ‘unreal’ and ‘impractical’ issues. To speak about Thinking and Being, Being is beyond thought Panikkar questions the equation between Thinking and Being taken from 1970 (El silencio del Dios / The Silence of God): “Being and thought do not coincide, not even at their apex.” This seems to manifest from the influence of F.H. Jacobi. To speak about three basic philosophical categories: knowing, being, and objectivity/truth. Panikkar’s phenomenology of understanding and judging is inadequate. He sets up a weak idea of reason as conceptualistic and static; this is then easy to demolish or overcome. Perhaps he displaces the creative and dynamic aspects of intellect to the third eye.
Still: Panikkar is on to something important. For me, that importance is lit up by the fact that a very different thinker such as Lonergan saw the necessity of rewriting Insight on the new basis achieved by Method in Theology. This rewriting has to do with what Panikkar has been calling logos and pneuma. Method calls for operation on the basis of intellectual, moral as well as religious conversion. Insight had called for intellectual conversion, at least most of the time. The concrete human being is always a mixture of the presence/absence of religious, moral and intellectual conversion. So yes, we do need the third eye. We need mind as well as heart – and body. Perhaps the wider ecumenism to which Panikkar aspired will only be served by the precision brought to it by other very differently gifted thinkers and scholars.
This left the audience with clarifications as well as that of with questions to which the speaker had insights to share after his readings on Panikkar.
From Ecology to Ecosophy: A Cosmotheandric Vision of Raimon Panikkar Fr. Falcao began by presenting to us the etymological meaning and the definition of the word ‘ecology.’ Then plunges into the word ‘ecosophy,’ ecosophy and ecophilosophy are neologisms formed by contracting the phrase ecological philosophy.
Philosopher-Theologian who goes beyond Ecology, Deep Ecology and Ecological Concerns is none other than Raimon Panikkar. According to Panikkar, ‘Ecosophy’ is a new word for a very ancient ‘Wisdom’. For Panikkar, Ecosophy implies the following aspects: the human consciousness that the earth is a living being, as a whole and in all its members; the approach to matter and the physical world whose names, physics, nature, bhumi, etc. reveal that she is begotten and is alive; life is not the privilege of humans alone; in fact, humans share in the life of the universe which has unity, a living principle and a soul; contemporary ecological crisis cannot be just reduced to ecological or technical. A radical conversion in human thinking and cultural mutation are necessary.
In the presentation made by the second speaker Fr. Falcao the design sketched by him was in the following manner: Cosmocentrism and Anthropocentrism, Cosmotheandric Reality: Trinitarian Situation/Context, Cosmotheandric Reality: Trinitarian Problems, Cosmotheandric Reality: Trinitarian Causes, Cosmotheandric Reality: Trinitarian Solution, and Conclusion: Christophany: the Fullness of Man.
There were questioned raised with regard to the cosmotheandric reality and the whole issue of Is Christophany and answer to the future of Christianity?

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