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Mysticism In Shaivism and Christianity

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Item Code: IDD193
Publisher: D. K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Author: Edited By: Bettina Baumer
Language: English
Edition: 2019
ISBN: 9788124600962
Pages: 383
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.8" X 5.7"
Weight 690 gm
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Book Description

From the Jacket:

If mysticism is hard to define, what is it then? Or, why have mystics often spoken about what they have realized - notwithstanding the 'unspeakability' of a spiritual experience? And, yet more significantly, how can a meeting point of different religious traditions be discovered at the mystical level? Focusing on these and other related questions, eminent scholars from varying religious traditions here explore the nature of mystical experience in two of the world's major traditions: Hinduism and Christianity.

Neither a comparative study of religious traditions, nor an attempt to develop an overall mystical theology, the book sets out a spiritual dialogue between Saiva and Christian mysticism: a dialogue wherein the participants articulate worldviews of the mystical traditions of Saiva Siddhanta, Kashmir Saivism, Meister Eckhart, Hadewijch, Julian of Norwich, St. Ignatius Loyola, and of the Eastern Christianity. And, without taking any a priori intellectual position, each author here evolves his/her own tradition-specific perspective on mysticism - letting the comparisons, if any, to surface in the dialogue itself.

A spiritual dialogue, like the one this multi-author work embodies, holds a key to an insightful understanding between different people, cultures and faiths - more specially in today's world riven, as it is, by fundamentalist forces and endless religious conflicts.

The book will be a valuable acquisition for the scholars and spiritually interested readers alike.

About the Author:

Bettine Baumer, Austrian by birth, is a widely known Indologist, author and scholar, with a versatility of research concerns: ranging from Kashmir Saivism to Oriyan religious traditions, from silpasastras to Indian temple architecture. Settled at Varanasi, India, since 1967, she is currently Research Director of the Alice Boner Foundation (Varanasi) and Visiting Professor of Religious Studies at Vienna University. And as President, since 1988, of the Abhishiktananda Society, she has been engaged in interreligious dialogue, with focused interest in comparative mysticism.

Besides her German translations of Yoga-sutra, Upanishads and Abhinavagupta, Dr. Baumer has also edited and authored a number of books - which notably include Volumes 1-3 of Kalatattvakosa, Rupa Pratirupa, Vastusutra Upanisad, and Silparatnakosa.


In our times of narrow fundamentalism and religious con- flicts, a dialogue of religions is not a luxury, but a necessity. But dialogue in the true - and etymological - sense should mean a piercing through the logos, transcending the logi- cal, the verbal, the social and institutional levels in order to come to a real meeting beyond the infinite differences of re- ligious expressions. Institutional dialogues do not bring the followers of different religions closer to each other, unless a real spiritual meeting takes place. The true meeting-point is at the mystical level, "in the cave of the heart". If two per- sons, and more so two spiritual persons, truly meet, they do not remain the same. A mutual transformation takes place which does not allow the followers of a particular tradition to remain exclusivistic, because one realizes that the spiri- tual reality that one aims at may also be present in another tradition, though in a different form and language. Therefore dialogue at the spiritual level is one of the most important means of bringing about an understanding between different people, cultures and religions.

One of the etymologies of the word 'mysticism', derived from the Greek myeo, has also the sense of 'closing a wound which has been split open', hence healing. "Mystic then means to restore original unity, which through the embar- rassing manifoldness of empirical appearances is temporarily broken or obscured. Our time is in need of a mysticism of this kind, which can heal the wounds of differences, separa- tion and alienation of human beings, Man and Nature, Man and the ultimate Reality, by whatever name we call it.

It is not a modern idea that the closer a person, a group or a tradition is to the mystical experience, the less do they feel the differences between the various religious expressions. Thus the Saiva mystic Utpaladeva of the ninth century ex- claims, after realizing his oneness with Siva:

Glory to you, O Sarva,
who are the essence of the 'right-handed path',
who are the essence of the 'left-handed path.',
who belong to every tradition
and to no tradition at all.
Glory to you, 0 God,
who can be worshipped in any manner,
in any place,
in whatever form at all.

The mystic is aware of the relativity of any path, and only such a person has the inner freedom to transcend the limita- tions of tradition.

In the Christian tradition, thinkers like Ramon Lull, Nico- las of Cusa and others have foreseen a spiritual dialogue of different religions, which may be coming true only in our days. But here the extremes have to be avoided: an indis- criminate mixing of traditions in a 'spiritual supermarket', a narrow fundamentalism fearful of losing its self-identity, and the spiritual indifference created by materialism. No doubt we have to dive deep in the existing spiritual traditions of humankind in order to overcome the spiritual crisis of our times. The saying of the great Catholic theologian Karl Rah- ner that 'only the mystic will survive' has almost become a common-place, and one wishes it would become a practical truth."

The present book is the outcome of a spiritual dialogue between Saivas and Christians, more than a comparative study of Saiva and Christian mysticism, because any compar- ison from a one-sided perspective cannot really help to bridge the gulf between traditions. Such a comparison is not even able to clarify concepts, because those very concepts are the outcome of an experience. They can only be communicated from within a living tradition. Therefore the believers of each tradition have to speak for themselves, and the comparison will emerge in a dialogue, not in any a priori intellectual po- sition. Nopreconceived ideas of either oneness or difference, abheda or bheda, are guiding the studies of these two tradi- tions. If there is any presupposition, it is the acknowledgment of differences as well as an openness for unity. In the words of Gopinath Kaviraj, one of the greatest authorities on Tantra and Kashmir Saivism: "There are different ways of approach to this Supreme Experience and there are infinite shades of differences among the various ways. The Supreme Experience is certainly one and the same and yet there is a characteris- tic quiddity (visesa) in each individual, which has an abiding spiritual value. We may just think of the difference between a Ramakrishna and a Ramana Maharshi, or between a Fran- cis of Assisi and a John of the Cross. These differences attract us as much as their unity.


Bettina Baumer
Odette Baumer-Despeigne
Sr. Brigitte
Hemendra Nath Chakravarty
Serge Descy
Swami Nityananda Giri
George Gispert-Sauch
Alois M. Haas
Jankinath Kaul
Baljinath Pandit
Raimon Panikkar
Murray Rogers




 Bettina Baumer
What is Mysticism?
 Alois M. Haas
Source of all Bliss: Mysticism of Saiva Siddhanta
 Swami Nityananda Giri
Mysticism of Jesus the Christ
 Raimon Panikkar
I. The Approach 74
  1. The Occasion 74
  2. The Notions 79
  3. Three Anthropologies 94
    a) Individualistic 96
    b) Personalistic 100
    c) Adhyatmic 109
II. The Utterances 114
  1. Abba, Pater! 133
  2. I and the Father are One 147
  3. I should go 159
III. Christ's Mysticism 168
  1. Eva me suttam 169
  2. Itipasyami 170
  3. Satpurusa 173
Divine Recognition: Pratyabhijna
 H.N. Chakravarty
On Letting God be God: Meister Eckhart and the Lure of the Desert
 Sr. Brigitte
The Divine Way: Sambhavopaya in Kashmir Saivism
 B.N. Pandit
Unknowing and Personalism in the Theological Tradition of Christian East
 Serge Descy
Saktipata: Grace in Kashmir Saivism
 Jankinath Kaul
Hadewijch of Antwerp and Hadewijch II: Mysticism of Being in the Thirteenth Century in Belgium
 O. Baumer-Despeigne
Enclosed in God: The Joyful Surprise of One-ing. The Experience of Julian of Norwich
 C. Murray Rogers
The Active Mysticism of St. Ignatius Loyola
 G. Gispert - Sauch
Aesthetics of Mysticism or Mysticism of Aesthetics?
 The Approach of Kashmir Saivism
 Bettina Baumer
1. Bibliography R. Panikkar 351
2. Abbreviations and Bibliography Kashmir Saivism 361
3. About the Contributors 363


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