Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wisdom Christianity of Bede Griffiths

"This is indeed India; the land of dreams and romance, of fabulous wealth and fabulous poverty, of splendor and rags, of palaces and hovels, of famine and pestilence, of genii and giants and Aladdin lamps, of tigers and elephants, the cobra and the jungle, the country of a thousand nations and a hundred tongues, of a thousand religions and two million gods, cradle of the human race, birthplace of human speech, mother of history, grandmother of legend, great-grandmother of tradition, whose yesterdays bear date with the mouldering antiquities of the rest of the nations—the one sole country under the sun that is endowed with an imperishable interest for alien prince and alien peasant, for lettered and ignorant, wise and fool, rich and poor, bond and free, the one land that all men desire to see, and having seen once, by even a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for the shows of all the rest of the globe combined." -- Mark Twain, Following the Equator, 1897

"It is precisely the fact of being a bridge [between Christianity and Hinduism] that makes this uncomfortable situation worthwhile. The world, at every level, needs such bridges. The danger of this life as a ‘bridge’ is that we run the risk of not belonging to either side; whereas, however harrowing it may be, our duty is to belong wholly to both sides. This is only possible in the mystery of God." -- Swami Abhishiktananda, Letter, September 2nd 1967

"Would you believe that all the gods that people have ever imagined are still with us today?" -- Neil Gaiman, author, American Gods, Chapter 13, 2001

"It is beyond doubt that the achievement of this devout Roman Catholic sannyasin [Bede Griffiths] will be reflected upon, and built upon, throughout the twenty-first century. Many Christians, some of whom are as yet unborn, will be inspired to follow his example...." -- Judson B. Trapnell, theology professor, Bede Griffiths: A Life In Dialogue, 2001

"Shantivanam [Ashram], in its own unique way, is an enduring monument to the wisdom of interspirituality as Father Bede practiced it, even though he did not actually use this term since it was coined after his death. He saw that the Church has an important task here: the gradual sifting through and careful absorption of the authentic spiritual insights, practices, and experiences that have existed for millennia in the other traditions of spirituality." -- Brother Wayne Teasdale, monk, "Father Bede as Sage of a New Age", The Golden String, May 2003

"The history of the movement to which Bede Griffiths belongs [Wisdom Christianity] has yet to be written. It is a relatively modern development, beginning only in the seventeenth century with Roberto de Nobili, and acquiring definite shape and direction in the latter half of the twentieth century, with such figures as Jules Monchanin and Abhishiktananda...." -- Brother Wayne Teasdale, monk, Bede Griffiths: An Introduction to his Interspiritual Thought, 2003

"The Second Vatican Council, in its Declaration on Non-Christian Religions, declared that ‘the Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions,' and encouraged Catholics to ‘recognize, preserve and promote the spiritual and moral values as well as the social and cultural values to be found among them.' Following this direction the All-Indian Seminar in 1969, which was attended by the whole of the hierarchy and representatives of the whole Catholic Church in India, spoke of the 'Wealth of truth, goodness and beauty in India's religious tradition' as ‘God's gift to our nation from ancient times.' The Seminar showed the need of a liturgy ‘closely related to the Indian cultural tradition,' and a theology ‘lived and pondered in the vital context of the Indian spiritual tradition.' In particular, the need was expressed ‘to establish authentic forms of monastic life in keeping with the best traditions of the Church and the spiritual heritage of India.'" -- Brother Augustine, monk, June 2004

"All the sacred scriptures are a gift of God to humanity." -- Brother John Martin Sahajananda, monk, Guidelines For Interreligious Dialogue, January 2009

Wisdom Christianity is the combination of Christianity and Hinduism. Father Bede Griffiths aka Swami Dayananda, a Benedictine monk and Hindu swami, was it's most famous and recent practitioner.

Fastiggi, R., and Pereira, J., The Swami From Oxford, CatholicCulture.Org, 2010

The scene is Tamil Nadu in South India. An elderly man with white hair and beard sits in meditative posture in a thatched hut near the banks of the River Cavery. He is dressed in the ocher robe of a Hindu sannyasin--an ascetic who has renounced all possessions. Yet this man is not a Hindu guru but a Benedictine monk named Bede Griffiths, originally associated with Prinknash Abbey in England. A former student of C.S. Lewis at Oxford, Griffiths is well known as a popular interpreter of Hindu wisdom to Western Christians. A convert to Catholicism, Griffiths is a British version of Thomas Merton, who, like his American counterpart, has had a long and abiding interest in Oriental religion.

Griffiths has made the claim that he is "a Christian in religion but a Hindu in spirit."
Syncretic Scriptures

"God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods." -- Psalm 82:1

"For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods." -- Psalm 96:4

"... behold, the kingdom of God is within you." -- Jesus Christ, celestial, Luke 17:21

"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." -- John 3:3

"Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." -- Jesus Christ, celestial, John 3:7

"Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it to them." -- Romans 1:19

"For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things and we in him." -- 1 Corinthians 8:5-6


Quantum_Flux said...

Christianity is a direct precursor for Communism.

OilIsMastery said...


OilIsMastery said...

Something tells me that Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot were opposed to Jesus's message of love and peace.

Jeffery Keown said...

... I have it from a very devout Christian that real communism is very Christian, it's just that humans are flawed critters who can't get communism right.

The next best thing, of course is capitalism, wherein you have freedoms that other forms of government do not provide.

Fortunately, I do not have to worry about any of that.

Still, I can't help but wonder if Wisdom Christianity isn't some kind of heresy. (Not in the Warhammer 40,000 sense, but the less fun real sort)

Also... what's this got to do with science?

Lies, Lies and More Lies said...

While there are communist tendencies in Christian life saying that it is a direct precursor is laughable. Communism is a political movement, while Christianity is a religion.

Jeffery Keown said...

I'd have to agree.

muthukrishnan said...

Christ reveals God as Spirit but Hindus ,at the lower end of the spectrum,believe idols to be God;the upper end points to void,-sataasat.Both religions have nothing in common.Marxism offers no lyric on unconditional love.Finally The Holy Bible is not a treatise on economics.It lauds charity.

OilIsMastery said...


"Also... what's this got to do with science?"

Everything. Hinduism and the Mahabharata are concerned with the three worlds, the science of celestial weapons, and mind and voice activated technologies.

Quantum_Flux said...

Judaism is pro-Capitalism (Book of Proverbs), and I suspect that Islam is pro-Capitalism (not very certain, but at least their paridise allows them to accumulate material wealth in the afterlife), but Christianity is very anti-Capitalist (Book of Acts).

OilIsMastery said...


"Christianity is very anti-Capitalist"

That's hilarious since Jesus Christ himself instructs his disciples to carry purses and to buy and sell things (Luke 22:36).

Quantum_Flux said...

Acts 4:32 - And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. 4:33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. 4:34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 4:35 And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.