Download!Download Point responsive WP Theme for FREE!

Hindu Views and Spirituality on Sustainable Development:



Antony Kalliath


Introduction: Imperative of an Inclusive Paradigm

Ecology has become an inclusive narrative across the spectrum of diverse disciplines, and domains whether they are of science, politics, culture, economy, Anthropology, theology or spirituality. We encounter a series of environmental problems of global proportion which can devastate the earth and its biosphere to the extent of disintegration of this beautiful tiny planet, oikos, the home of numerous forms of life from time immemorial in an irreversible way. There are numerous studies on the gravity of this problem by agencies like World-Watch.[1] Ecological crisis has taught the humanity that the enormous problems of diverse kinds we face today cannot be understood and addressed in isolation; they are inter-connected and correlated. They may be environmental disasters, tribal violence, terrorism, war, and massive migration of people, deforestation, climate change, floods, pollution, earthquakes, new diseases and what not; they all are embedded in a circular feed-back pattern or in a continuum. They all happen in a circular causality, or a network phenomenon. For example only when the poverty is eradicated worldwide, the world population can be stabilized. The ethnic and tribal violence will continue till the scarcity of resources and environmental degradation are contained. Deforestation in Amazon rainforest frustrates the climatic environment worldwide in an invincible way. The crises happening on the global spectrum are to be seen as a pattern and they have to be addressed in a cluster of interactive dynamics and in their simultaneity. We need a new paradigm shift to take on these problems of massive nature in lateral and inclusive way. A new ‘Copernican Revolution’, a paradigm shift in our perception and hermeneutics, and experience of reality looks imperative in the present juncture of ecological crisis. We need an innovative paradigm which interprets problems in the interrelated sequences, and which resolves the issues and finds solutions on an organic continuum, or in the interconnected and multi-layered texture of reality. The urgency is for a systemic paradigm which helps us to analyse, interpret and assess in a web of correlations.     What we need is a “pattern perspective”, or ‘systemic perspective” or a “process perspective” so that solutions are insourced rather than outsourced, and found naturally and spontaneously through an inherent dynamics of systems themselves.

  • Competency of an Ecological World-View of Sustainability

In this context Ecology movement has evolved a competent paradigm of ‘sustainability’. It implies that the viable solutions must be sustainable in an inherent and systemic way. The World Watch Institute has figured out a comprehensive definition of the paradigm of sustainability. “A sustainable society is one that satisfies its needs without diminishing the prospects of future generations”.[2] It implies an innovative vision and path which takes into consideration of the present and future generation; it is intergenerational. This new paradigm of sustainability harbours a profound hermeneutical shift from the mechanistic, predetermined world view of Descartes and Newton to a holistic and ecological view. Such a shift harbours an inclusive, open spiritual vision and praxis. The ensuing discussion demands a brief discussion of the innovative strengths of this new paradigm of sustainability. The attempt of the present paper would be to figure out a competent and credible referral of this emerging paradigm of ‘sustainability’ from the Indian spiritual tradition.

The sustainability paradigm nurtures a holistic worldview in which the world is interpreted and experienced as an integrated and harmonious whole. This new world view is better articulated as ‘ecological’ rather than ‘holistic’ which are more functional. ‘Ecological’ sounds more appropriate especially when it is applied to a living system. Sometimes a distinction is kept between ‘shallow ecology’ and ‘deep ecology’ in the background of global grass-root movements. The ‘shallow ecology’ is anthropocentric and it views humans outside the brim of cosmic process, and humans are seen as masters and the sources of all values; the creation is seen as nature which can be subdued, used and consumed without any ethical constraint by humans. It holds the idea that the earth is an inexhaustible resource and looks at it as a profane and secular phenomenon solely destined for humans. This Anthropocentric vision indulges in the famous aphorism of Protagoras: “Man is the measure of all things”.

Whereas ‘deep-ecology’ sees humans as integrated constituent of the environment and interprets the whole cosmos as a web of life, which is alive through a network of interdependence, mutuality and correlation.[3]   ‘Deep Ecology’ can be figured out as a challenging metaphor of a new spiritual and religious vision grounded in the ecological vision and praxis. It is through a profound awareness of the innate web of life which is both manifest and unmanifest we insert ourselves proactively into the network of ecological phenomenon. Thereby the evolved ecological consciousness can be a vital spectrum of a new spirituality which is inclusive, open, all embracing and comprehensive.

Such a deep ecological awareness vibes with ‘perennial philosophy’ of spiritual tradition which is still vibrant in Asia despite the modern affluence, and consumerist values. Asia indulges in the ancient wisdom in which the whole creation is interpreted and experienced and celebrated as a divine epiphany; experiencing a hallow around every fibre and fabric of reality is part of their religiosity ; reverence to life and seeing the sacred in the cosmic process and metaphors, like, rivers, trees, mountains, sun, stars, moon, sky etc. is the praxis of a religious faith in the perennial wisdom which nurtures a vision of “Holy is Wholly” (Karl Barth).This has been the spirituality of Christian mystics, and Buddhists; the cosmology of the primal people like those of Native American traditions is of this ecological genre.[4]

As a corollary to deep ecology, there are two other streams of ecology, namely social ecology and feminist ecology (‘eco-feminism’). Social ecology discourses on cultural characteristics and social organizations and systems that brought about the present ecological crisis.   Patriarchy, imperialism, capitalism racism are examples of social dominations working against the eco-equity, equilibrium and continuum. Eco feminism critiques the operative principles of social domination in the ambit of patriarchy and upholds the vital link between feminism and ecology. Eco-feminists hold that the patriarchal domination in various religious and social and economic structures is the prototype of all hegemony and exploitation in the various hierarchical, capitalist and industrial domains. Exploitation of earth and subjugation of women are of the same genre. The bond between woman and creation naturally permeates in the women’s historiography and the narrative of the environment because both are the sources life. So it is argued that the female experiential knowledge would be a major source of ecological vision of reality.

A paradigm shift from a Descartesian conceptual normativity and Newton’s mechanistic determinism to a vibrant and proccessive, non-linear life-bound ecological vision and path frustrates the very foundations of materialistic, consumerist, patriarchal and anthropocentric world view. The former paradigm is rational, analytical, reductionist, linear and stands for competition, quantity, domination, expansion and self-assertion, whereas the ecological vision is intuitive, synthetic, holistic, nonlinear, and fosters conservation, cooperation, quality and partnership.[5] The paradigm of Patriarchy rests on the dynamics of a hierarchical structure while the values of ecological vision are network, equity, correlation and harmony. The eco-centric ethics fosters an ecological community bound together in a web of life in which a hermeneutics of relationality, alliance and partnership are upheld whereas the old paradigm of Patriarchy rests on the values of control, dominion and exploitation.

Henceforth, what is needed for future of humanity as well as the Mother Earth is eco-ethics deeply grounded in eco-awareness which should gear our policies, options and decision processes in all the domains of life, whether they are of science, social life, politics, economics, culture, religion or spirituality for sustaining the life on the earth, and for the welfare of the present and future generations. Psychologist would write on “greening of the self”[6] or speak of the imperative of a “transpersonal ecology”[7] or “eco-psychology”. In short Ecological worldview has offered us a new domain, a new hermeneutics, a new path to interrogate the theological presumptions and stances of Cartesian and Newtonian mechanistic worldview as well as a new potential and promise to construct a competent theology as well as a relevant spirituality which vibrates with the present ecological ethos and logos.

  • Reality as a Living System

The core insight inherent in the ‘paradigm of sustainability’ is that reality is interpreted as a living, self-organizing system.   The earth as being alive has a long tradition. Mother Earth has numerous mythical images in the religious history like Gaia, Earth Goddess in pre-Hellenic Greece.   Female deities were worshiped as incarnations of Mother Earth among primal people.   The Romantic poet, Goethe admired nature as ‘moving order’ (bewegliche Ordnung) and as a pattern of relationships within an organized whole. “Each creature is but a patterned gradation (Schattierung) of one great harmonious whole”[8] Throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance the Earth was figured out as a living being till Cartesian conceptual absolutism and Newtonian mechanistic world-view got ascendency in the interpretation of reality.

The idea of the Earth as a living being re-entered in the discourses with the arrival of organismic biology through cell theory, embryology, and micro-biology; thereby the mechanistic biology based on the Cartesian division of mind and body lost its appeal.

Moreover, with the Einstein’s discovery of the theory of Relativity a new understanding of reality begins to evolve in the physicist’s conception of nature. The New Physics destroyed the rigid dualism between subject and object, and frustrated the absolute empirical objectivism of the Classical Physics. The Theory of Relativity[9] and Heisenberg’s Quantum Theory[10] brought out two important facts: firstly universe cannot be understood as a structure formed by isolated `basic building blocks’ rather an integral whole of “a complicated web of relations”; secondly, there is an inevitable relation between human consciousness and matter in the understanding of nature.[11]Increasingly the planet Earth is conceived as a living, self-organizing system.

At this point, a brief discussion on the dynamics of a living being seems imperative before we enter its theological and spiritual nuances. As a general note, living beings are self-organizing systems through a dynamics of causal circularity. ‘Circular organization is the basic organization of all living systems. “Living systems … [are] organized in a closed causal circular process that allows for evolutionary change in the way the circularity is maintained”.[12] This internal circularity is also a process of cognition. It implies that all living system is fundamentally organized through a self-referral but open and inclusive in a web of relationship. This internal circular organization of living system is explained through a construct of auopoiesis which means self-making and in which importance is more given to the processes and relations than the components through which, of course processes are realized.[13] The following are three properties of an autopoietic network: the system as self-bounded, self-generating, and self-perpetuating through processes of transformation. In sum, the pattern of self-generating networks is the defining characteristic of life.

Moreover, while we interpret living system, the role of consciousness is to be vitally recognized. According to Quantum theory, there is an inevitable relation between human consciousness and matter in the understanding of nature.   Eugene Wigner, one of the founders of Quantum Theory says that consciousness is the first absolute reality, and outward reality is only secondary.[14] Utter objectivity as claimed by the Classical Physics is not tenable since the ultimate unit of reality is quantum which is a configuration of energy and information. It implies that reality is fluid and a wave at the foundational, unmanifest level. According to Modern Physics, electrons and protons are explained as models of waves rather than substantial entities; they are interpreted in terms of their behaviour within an integrated system. It implies that, as part is present in the whole, the whole is present in the part as well. A drop of water is potentially oceanic! It implies that subjectivity is to be incorporated while reality is objectively analysed and interpreted. According to Quantum Theory utter objectivity can never be entertained since the reality at the quantum level is a configuration information and energy. When physicists like David Bohm says that   an `implicate’ or `enfolded’ order is inherent web of relations of the universe, and the universe is only an unfolding of this order; thereby it suggests that the universe is not devoid of consciousness[15].   All these scientific theories and hypotheses suggest that Earth is a living, evolving and self-generating organism.

In sum, ecological vision fosters that humans are not separate from cosmos; we ontologically belong to an intricate ecological whole: human beings, animals, plants, earth and air interact and relate in dynamic, mutually supportive ways. We all are embedded in the ecological causal circularity and recycling process. Thus we humans are incorporated into the ecological continuum. We are ontologically ecological beings than historical beings by ascribed identities. As we, humans, are endowed with a conscious consciousness, we are endowed with a responsibility to sustain and foster the ecological equity and equilibrium in which every shred and fabric of existence is nurtured, cared and fostered with utmost care and sensitivity. We are trustees, and stewards of God’s creation.

As the above discussion has shown an ecological world-view is well grounded in the discourses of organismic biology and Quantum Physics and obviously an ecological wisdom should prevail in our policies and priorities towards the present ecological catastrophes. Obviously, when this ecological world view is incorporated into our religious consciousness and values it will be a new referral to do theology in a credible way. A religious person is the one who continuously seeks the significance (the logos) of life in his life narrative. Ecology has evolved as a new vital narrative and discourse in the religious pursuit today. But we need a competent and credible theological construct and spiritual path which corresponds to the ecological world view.

While embracing the Ecology as an overarching context and constant while doing theology there is an imperative of a paradigm shift in the concept of God from a transcendent Immutable Patriarchal God –Sky-God- remaining outside the flux of existence to a God who is embedded in the travails of humanity as well as the groans of cosmos – an immanent matriarchal God who inserts herself in the struggles of humanity and in the cosmic process as an enduring inner principle steering both the history of mankind and the evolution of the cosmos as self-generating principle.

However, such a major theological paradigm shift cannot be entertained in a religious vacuum or spiritual virtuality. Obviously, an honest conversance with a living religious tradition which embodies the tenor and tenet of ecological world-view will definitely offer a momentum and confidence in this regard. It is in this context that we have to see the theological and spiritual import of Indian insight and experience towards the development of Eco-theology. For theology is not a mental exercise but a vital spiritual experience in Asian religious narratives.

  1. Import of Conversance with Hindu Genius

             A living contact with Indian (Hindu) nature mysticism and incorporation of Indian insight of interiority (tman) can be rewarding while constructing a theology and spirituality which is responsive to the ecological concerns and insights.

3.1. Living Acquaintance with the Indian Nature mysticism

             In spite of the vigorous Westernization in all facets of life, India still lives in a Traditional-World. Ancient Wisdom profoundly prevails over her understanding and interpretation of God-wo/man-world relationship.   Both the literate and illiterate are still under the sway of traditional perspective. Here in India, scientists, technocrats and country flock still consider the rivers Ganges and Kavery holy ; they make pilgrimages to these holy rivers for the purification of sins; the Himalayas are still holy abodes of gods for them, and it is the ardent desire of every Indian to make a pilgrimage to the Gangotri. Educationists and scientists look for auspicious time when they take important decisions in their lives; they consult with astrologers and horoscope while taking important decisions in their lives. What we see here is that modern India still lives immersed and absorbed in nature mysticism and delights in the Perennial Philosophy. An Indian space scientist finds no contradiction between reciting Gayatri Mantra and launching a rocket to the space! Such a correlation between Traditional Wisdom and scientific knowledge is somehow lost in the West. Here lies the import of a living Traditional Perspective as an agency while constructing a Theology and spirituality in the texture of ecological worldview. The sense of the sacred is ubiquitous in the Ancient-World. Everything is sacred and is sacramental because it embodies and carries the imprint and the image of the Eternal.   “Man’s sense of the sacred is none other than his sense for the Immutable and the Eternal, his nostalgia for what he really is, for he carries the sacred within the substance of his own being and most of all within his intelligence which was created to know the Immutable and contemplate the Eternal.”[16]

             The Ancient Worldview extends the sense of sacred, and creates a world, a society and a culture where everything is conceived, articulated and expressed in the Immanent Presence. This experience of the ubiquitous Presence in creation makes our relationship to cosmos as a living system; thereby we articulate and interpret our existence in the cosmic texture and process. Here India people consider themselves as cosmic being of five elements (panchabhutas) and return to these elements through the elaborate funeral rites. Cosmos and its evolution are not accidental in ancient world but it is living system and evolved responsive to the inherent teleology in cosmic process.   The traditional perspective is not critical on the achievements of Modern Age but on the premise and the foundations upon which modernism stands. “What tradition criticizes in the modern world is the total world view, the premises, the foundations which, from its point of view, are false so that any good which appears in this world is accidental rather than essential.”[17]

             Surprisingly enough, the modern science which had played a decisive role in the process of secularization begins to find its summit in Eastern wisdom and vision. It desecularizes the secular by inserting the sacred in the flux and texture of existence. As we have seen above, the New Physics has destroyed the rigid dualism and no more holds the absolute empirical objectivism of the Classical Physics. By so doing it has inserted subjectivity in the interpretation of reality in a teleological intelligibility. The ideas of the ancient world, like harmony, organic unity, symmetry are validated by the tenets of the New Science. India keeps alive this Sacred Presence and a living dialogue with India would indeed be helpful in a theological exercise which upholds an ecological world view. It is through two main religious concepts of mya (akti) and lla that India keeps herself alive and vibrant in the Immanent Presence.

3.2. The Divine Presence as my and akti

             “All this universe is pervaded by Me in My unmanifested form; all beings exist in Me, but I do not abide in them.”[18] This verse from the Bhagavad Gt suggests that the creation is precisely in so far as it is being penetrated by the presence of God. ankara would explain that in the deepest centre of beings, the Presence dwells as pure consciousness and source of all knowledge.[19] The Occident, especially the medieval theologians, explained God’s presence in creation by the notion of causality.[20] But India has preferred to remain captivated by the deifying and beatifying Presence in the created world. India too has recognized that the penetrating presence of God is the ground of creation which otherwise may fall into non-being! The Lord Krishna teaches: n’sato vidyate bhvo n’bbvo vidyate sata (The unreal has no existence; the real never ceases to be).[21] The creature exists because the eternal resides in its depth, and is its ontological constituent.

             But, how do the One and the many, the Being and beings exist together without contradicting each other in the samsra, the world of manifestation? The Vedntins answer the question with the help of the concept of my (the mysterious skill of gods) which is neither being, nor non-being, nor being-non-being. In the Bhagavad Gt, the Lord Krishna says: “Though I am unborn, imperishable and the Lord of beings, yet subjugating My Prakti, I come into being by My own My.”[22]   Commenting on this passage, ankara wrote in Gtbhya: “Though I am unborn . . .,I appear to be born and embodied, through my own my.”[23] Krishna is only dehavniva (becomes as if he is embodied) through his my. Interpreting this passage Ramanuja said that the my is the divine wisdom (jñna) and will (sakalpa) through which the Supreme Lord individualizes himself and appears before his devotees. In this sense, my is the akti, the power, the energy.[24] Swmi Abhishiktnanda would say that for the Indian, perhaps more than anyone else, the earth sings the glory of God and is full of His magnificence; she vibrates in the power of God (akti). “In fact no other country has so been intensely aware as India of the Presence —an eminently active Presence, the whole world of the divine akti, something resembling the Shekinah [divine presence of God and his cosmic glory] of traditional Judaism. India has felt this Presence since the earliest Vedic era, a presence which is inherent in each being that comes from the hands of the Creator, and in every phase of the life of man and the universe, the daily, monthly, and yearly cycles.”[25]

             My as the Presence is the Epiphany of God and is also understood as the Spirit which is operative in the process of evolution; it is, as well, agile in the process of involution, the return of beings to the One. So it is the my which works both in the disintegration and integration of the universe.[26] To phrase differently, maya is the divine breath of life which sustains the whole reality as a living system in the cycle of evolution and involution. The Creator breaths through Creation and thus God become the Lord of life and the creature is bridged to the Creator through breath of God. The Immanent God is the Breath in the breath.[27] Thus understood, created beings are manifestations of the divine mystery in the my, not projections of the human spirit. Indeed, the strict Vedntins say that the problem of multiplicity is only the work of the ignorant human mind: Kalpayati tman tmnam tmdeva svamyay[28].

3.3. Ll : Manifestation of God’s Spontaneity and Freedom

             The epiphany of God in creation through maya is the divine play (ll). Ll signifies God’s creative activity in the absolute spontaneity in which he creates the whole world. The Brahma Stra says: “na prayojanatvt, lokavat tu llkaivalyam“.[29] “Pure” activity can be properly described as “playful” because the game is played not as “work”; work is performed with a view to secure some end; the worker works for what he needs, the player plays because of what he is.[30]   The notion of divine “play” occurs repeatedly in the g Veda,[31] and is fully represented in the Upaniads. They speak of God as the incorporeal Spirit (aarra tman), the Universal Spirit (vivtman), the Universal Creator, the Universal Enjoyer, and the Universal Life.[32] He is the Universal Lord of sport and pleasure in which he participates without being moved, being at peace with himself (nttman).[33]

             “The activity of God is called a `game’ precisely because it is assumed that he has no ends of his own to serve.”[34] Supreme detachment and supreme involvement are the inner tenor of the divine play. Thus creation is the divine play of God’s supreme spontaneity manifested in a sporty delight. Swmi Abhishiktnanda writes: “The creation is as imperceptible as the divine liberty is. Nonetheless it is real in the measure in which the liberty is identical with the divine essence, and the creation is my in the measure in which it is distinguished. But the distinction between God’s liberty and essence, isn’t it already my? Yet the creation is real since God is really and essentially free… And the creation is really and essentially one play, one dream as well… And this dream is constituent in the eternity of God.”[35] Therefore everything is true in creation; every instant of the time is co-existent with all eternity, and fundamentally it is the mystery of the Being.

             Indian consciousness absorbed in the Presence prefers to be metaphorical and mythological to a conceptual and analytical while explaining the playfulness of the Divine in the Creation. India always upholds that ineffableness of God which is beyond human logic and notional idioms. Naturally Indian religious imagination indulges and delights in a symbolic logic rather than to be arrested in conceptual rigidity because only metaphors and symbols can embody and radiate the spontaneity and playfulness of God. Metaphor is innately inclusive and open; it is organic and evolves in tune with imagination of the interpreter. Moreover, it is through nature symbolism and myths that Indian religious imagination unveils itself. Nature symbols and metaphors are more alive, vibrant, and organic than constructed metaphors. Such an approach helps India to hold an ecological literacy in the hermeneutics of Reality and experience of the Divine. The Hindu rites are abundant with symbols from the nature – five elements. In the Hindu religious tradition natural forces and objects are deified from the Vedic period to this day. For example, agni (fire) has prominent place in Vedic hymns; it is the cosmic force and energy which pervades the entire creation; it is the sacrificial fire, divine manifestation, and priest to humans and gods.[36] Again the Vedic creation myth speaks of a golden embryo, or egg (Hirayagarbha) which contained the whole of cosmos. After a long period of incubation, it split open and the whole cosmos came to be. This myth suggests that the universe is a unified and integrated living whole; one and the same energy activates the whole reality[37]. Another famous creation myth describes that the universe was created from the sacrifice of Adipurua. It is through the dismembering of the body of the First-Man in a cosmic dance that the universe is created. God is figured out as a Dancer (Nataraja) and in the ecstasy the Dancer and the Dance become one so much so the Dancer indulges in a sacrificial death and resurrects through the creation. Consequently the whole creation becomes the body of the Creator who now continues its eternal dance through the Creation which is ever new and creative. Thus, God becomes a coherent and ubiquitous presence in the text and texture of reality (Isha-vasya-idam sarvam). In this sense, the whole universe is a living organism because the divine playfulness is the inherent dynamic of the whole creation.[38] Obviously, this Indian Nature mysticism is the religious ingeniousness and is the inviolable constituent of the collective religious psyche of India. This pervading perennial wisdom of interpreting the whole creation as the revelation of the Divine could be an abiding potential to further and enhance the ecological view in Asia and beyond. This inherent ecological vision in the perennial wisdom is resolved theologically at the interiority of human being—Atman through which the whole creation acquires a consciousness, and the consequently a new quality, significance and intensity.

  1. Atman: The Mystical Locus of Eco-Theology

             As seen, the inner tenet of Eco-theology is the interdependence and mutuality of God-Man-Cosmos. To construct a theology and spirituality in ecological world view, the web of eco-relationship should have a theological and spiritual referral, which unifies and integrates the dynamics of the creation as an ecological event and phenomenon. If the locus of eco-vision is figured out as an interior core of existence rather than an external referral, it would be appealing owing to its immediate and innate availability right in the interiority of being. For the latter is figured out within the ambit of cultural and social specifics while the former is experiential and existential, intimate and universal core. In reality, what really matters is the unmanifest which gives unity and harmony to the unmanifest. If we interpret and experience the manifest in and through the harmonizing unmanifest the whole tenor and quality of our life will get a vital inclusive and liberative transcendental vision.

To offer a metaphor, the manifest world in its correlation to its unmanifest realm, is only a tip of an iceberg. For example we are all embedded in the unmanifest electro- magnetic world and are under the spell of the unseen gravitational force, which gives rhyme and rhythm to this manifold and pluriform reality. To cite another example from Modern Physics, the unmanifest which integrates the complex network of reality is the quantum – the invisible configuration of energy and information of infinite mutations and fecundations at the manifest realm. In reality the manifest world is only a distant epiphany of this unmanifest world. Verily can we encrypt the significance of the manifest only through the unmanifest.

What is being suggested is that if we can figure out an inner universal harmonizing principle which is inwardly ubiquitous at the core of Reality, beyond the constraints of the manifest, there is, then, a credible source to construct an eco-vision for a new spirituality and theology.   It is in this context of searching for a universal inner ecological referral that we find the import of Indian insight of interiority which is resolved in the mystery of tman.

             As indicated earlier, the empirical science overemphasized the objective knowledge at the expense of human subjectivity which actually integrates and synthesises the variegated experience. This is possible because human subjectivity is endowed with consciousness which is an ontological quality and spectrum only through which the humans can be in constant communion with the Divine. It is the interior light, ‘eye’ in and through which human being can intuit the unmanifest, the source of unity and harmony in the manifest-phenomenal world. Consciousness is the supreme and mind is only an instrument of the Consciousness in its engagement with this external world. Consciousness brings forth harmony and rhythm in the pluriform reality. What we see in the West is that when reason reigns supreme and the mind dissects and divides object it can see only the aggregate through parts; thereby the real unity is missed as it gives importance to parts in its interpretation of reality at the cost of the whole. Eventually the objective truth   began to assert its ascendancy over subject and its intuitive powers and the consciousness is lost and forlorn in the mind forms and concepts. Fr. Bede Griffiths says: “Our success in the material world in building up a great civilization has left us with a sense of frustration in human life, a feeling of emptiness within, a lack of reality, an inability to touch the inner centre of being where we are at rest and from where we can go out to meet our fellow men, go out to meet God, but to which we can always return.”[39] This unifying centre has to be regained first and foremost to develop an enduring holistic eco-theology and an enduring spirituality.

             The grace of India is essentially a calling to interiority—tman. “Man is interiority, an in-self. It is this very interiority that gives him his identity and permits him to assimilate the data received from without.”[40] Once man is in the deepest centre of his being, and is being seized by the ineffable mystery of Self, thenceforth there exists neither a ‘thou’ nor ‘I’. The mystery of Self is the secret of the non-duality of Being, (advaita). Swmi Abhishiktnanda would say that Self is the royal cell, the reserved abode of the Creator and the created; it is the secret of the unity, the a-dvaita; it is the in-separability of the Pneuma from the Paramtman (supreme Self), and from the kevala (One).[41] The secret of the Self as the advaita of Being is the intense proximity with God, the Presence (ASTI, IS). This Presence is the mystery of the eco-existence of ‘One-Many’ in the indefinable self (guhytama rjaguhyam pavitram idam uttamam).[42] So the jñnin of India would say that the transcendent God who is the Self is the very `heart’ of man, the very source of the enunciation of `You’ that I say to Him. As long as one has not entered this source within, the self from where the very otherness is born, one indulges in idols in ignorance. The first and the foremost work of a human being would therefore be to enter within in order to encounter himself/herself there. One does not encounter oneself independent of God—one does not encounter God independent of self. Hence, what is needed is tmadi (vision of the tman); it is the domain of the auto-effulgence (sva-praka) from all duality; here all reflex actions are excluded; it is fulguration itself at the depth of self; it is the reference of non-reference, the moment of non-time, the space of non-space. In the svapraka, I exist because of God’s presence, and God exists because of my presence.[43] It is like the ocean needs waves to manifest and waves needs ocean to exist. This shows that the holistic vision of eco-theology spontaneously finds itself at home with advaita at the atmic realm.

             For the wise man/woman of India, Reality is Self, and Self is all. Self as the Source and the Summit is everywhere, in the centre of every self. There is no event in the life of man or in humanity, great or small, which is not moved by Self. It is by the divine play (ll) that the Self is realized in every instant, in every act, thus every act and instant is open onto the Eternal. For the one who has passed into satori (illumination), it is only the Self everywhere, in the water which flows, in the clouds which drift away, and in the child which sings… in the work of each being.[44]. According Upanishads, a realised person is the one “Who sees all beings in his own Self, and his own self in all beings”.[45]

Residing at the inner centre (guha, self) of Being, man can intuitively discern (pratyabhijñ) the advaita of Being—the Knowledge of non-duality. But he must plunge into the bosom of every creature, in the same manner as God himself/herself plunges there in his eternity. What is needed is the view-point of God which is the very glance of God on Himself. This glance of God is the Knowledge, the eternal life which is, as the New Testament says: “Know God as he knows Himself”; “but then face to face” (1Cor.13,12); “We shall see him as he is” (1Jn.3,2).

             For the Hindu jñnin, there is only one reality in this world of division and becoming: it is the irresistible movement of beings towards the tman (self), the slow re-entry within.[46] Swmi Abhishiktnanda writes that India’s thought increasingly interiorizes itself; India soon understood that the Real which is divined as the Transcendent in the Vedas, was within, the inmost mystery of inwardness.[47] The awakening of man/woman to God transpires on a level of inwardness much deeper than any level attained by thoughts, the place that the Upaniads call guha, the cave of inwardness, the inmost crypt. “A wise man [woman], indeed, saw the tman (soul) inward, with his [her] gaze turned inward, seeking the eternal”.[48] Buddha would say, turn within, tune within and awaken to oneself. Atmo-deepo-bhava. Thus become a light unto yourself.

  1. The tman, Inner Principle of Eco-Vision

             In the Upaniadic literature, the image that often recurs is that of the guha (cave), the `cavern’ of the heart’.[49] It is the pre-eminent secret place which man must discover in his/her pilgrimage of life. Since the Vedic age India’s enquiry nostalgically was attached to this mysterious place of immortality. It is the `golden gateway’ that opens on the Real; it is the golden cup that at once contains and conceals the supreme object of the soul’s desire.[50] Life as a matter of fact exists in this `cave of heart’, for it is there that the eternal mystery of man/woman springs up. All the rest, nmarpas, body, senses and words are only signs which pass away. Thus “Man [woman] is interiority, an in-self. It is the very interiority that gives him [her] his [her] identity, and permits him [her] to assimilate the data received from without.”[51]

             The secret of guha is the mystery of the tman. This self (tman) is infinite and immutable consciousness; as the subtlest of the subtle, and the greatest of the great, the Self resides in the heart of every creature.[52] This self is bodiless among the bodies, and the permanent in the midst of the impermanent.[53] He is the sole intelligent principle of the senses and the mind “the ear of the ear, the thought of thought, and the speech of speech . . . the breath of breath and the eye of eye”.[54] He is the pra, and the prajñ which encompasses the body, and keeps it erect, and also is the unity of the vital powers.[55] Thus the tman is the seer, the thinker, the hearer, and the knower.[56]

             Moreover, the tman is present in this world as its centre and inner meaning. It is the fire (vivambhara that which maintains all) which lies concealed in the fuel preserving the fire. He who has the knowledge of tman has known everything in this world.[57] The tman is like the musical instrument out of which the world arises like the sound. So the world is not able to be grasped independent of tman.[58] Like salt dissolved in water, the tman is present in the five elements out of which the world has originated.[59] “Just as the sparks out of the blazing fire scatter towards all sides, so also out of this tman all life-forces.”[60] Hence the tman is the dear one in whom all desires find their fulfilment; tman is the truth, the prana, the bird of passage (Hasa), the controller, the unshakable one; dwells in the fire, it dwells in the heart, and it dwells in the sun; it is all alone the only one; it assumes all forms but remains concealed.[61] The Self which is the antarymin, the Inner Controller of the whole world, and which, just like a blazing fire, assumes all forms (viva-rpa), is also understood as the `Real of the real’ (satyasya satya)[62] the Brahman, the Absolute.

             Above all, the Upaniads see tman as the same as the Eternal, the changeless principle which indwells and controls the whole universe. This identification is quite obvious in the following well known mahvkys (dictum) from the Upaniads: the Bhadraayka Upaniad proclaims, “Who knows: `I am Brahman’ becomes this All”[63] whereas the Mandukya Upaniad begins with the verse, “This whole world is Brahman; the self is Brahman.”[64] The sage of the Bhadraayka Upaniad, Yjñavalkya teaches “ayam tm brahm (this self is Brahman)”[65] and the sage Udlaka instructs, “tat tvam asi (that thou art)” in the Chndogya Upaniad.[66] So, according to Upaniadic thought, the final mystery is that interior mystery which one uncovers in one’s inmost self, the tman “pure of all taint”; it is this very mystery that reveals in the most distant spaces of the beyond, the full immovable Brahman himself, the principle, the life and the being of All.[67] As the subtlest of the subtle and the greatest of the great, Brahman dwells as the self in the heart of the creation.[68] The one who knows that thread by which this world and the other world and all beings have been bunched together, that inner director who inwardly regulates this world and all other worlds, knows everything.[69] For him Reality is “Plenitude” as said in the `Peace Invocation’ of Ia Upaniad. This Fullness (pram) is advaita (non-duality) the basis of the Indian holistic vision of reality.

             At this juncture of our discussion, a brief discussion on advaita (non-duality) looks relevant. In the Upanishadic Metaphysics, advaita stands for tmavidya (doctrine of true self). Advaita simultaneously opposes both pure monism and pure dualism (dvaita). At the same time, it transcends as well as embodies both the extremes.[70] In other words, Upaniadic advaita corresponds to the ontological tension between the two poles of Reality – One and Many. It implies, Reality is neither One nor Many. Reality is the “advaitic-tension” between these two poles of Reality. (It is the ‘Golden-Mean’, the Tao. Yang-Ying, the Middle-Path) This advaitic tension is the co-incidence and simultaneity of the Non-manifest-Manifest (a-rpa -rpa), of which man can be profoundly aware at the depth (tman) of his being. The following passage of Coomaraswami points to this fundamental tension of Reality in a remarkable way: “All tradition speaks in the last analysis of God as an incommensurable and perfectly simple Identity, but also of this Supreme Identity as an identity of two contrasted principles, distinguishable in all composite things, but coincident without composition in the One who is no-thing. The Identity is of Essence and Nature, Being and Nonbeing, God and Godhead as it were masculine and feminine.”[71] It can further be said that Supreme Identity (tad ekam) found in the Upaniadic identity statements (“Aham Brahmsmi” “Tat-tvam asi) is not merely in itself “without duality” (dvaita); this is an identity of many different things if considered from the external point of view. It does not mean only that “a first unitary principle transcends the reciprocally related pairs of opposites (dvandvau) . . . but rather that the Supreme Identity . . . subsumes in its infinity the whole of what can be implied or represented by the notions of the infinite and the finite, of which the former includes the latter, without reciprocity.”[72]

             Indeed, the advaitic experience of Fullness (pram) at the realm of interiority (tman) offers us an interior centre (locus) which offers a credible experiential principle of the holistic vision of eco-theology. Further, this inner experience – advaita understood as the creative tension (`implicate’ and `enfolded’ order!) between One-Many, points to a new theological and mystical depth and dimension of the eco-categories of mutuality and relationality.

The ecological paradigm grounded in Indian mystical tradition finds a socio-political translation in the concept and praxis enshrined in the political ideal of Gandhi’s Sarvodaya (a comprehensive welfare of all). For Gandhi his political engagement was a religious praxis and is motivated by religious consciousness rather than for political ambitions. It looks relevant to evoke the ideal of sarvodaya when we find ourselves in a predicament of no valid political options and convincing policies to go forward at the onslaught of massive ecological crisis and its sequent disastrous consequences on all the layers of human life today. Sarvodaya was not a hypothetical ideology for Gandhi but was his religious vision and its praxis. Hence it embodies credibility and integrity because it is personalized in his pilgrimage of ‘Experiment with Truth’. (Here we find a resonance with Jesus and his practice of Kingdom of God. First and foremost the Kingdom of God is realized in the person of Jesus and in his narrative. Hence the advocacy and appeal of Jesus’ Kingdom of God beyond time and space).

  1. Evoking Gandhian Ideal of Sarvodaya

A competitive and credible socio-cultural and politico-economic paradigm which embodies the Ecological-Worldview as discussed is potentially latent in Gandhi’s Sarvodaya (welfare of all) of which the inherent praxis is antyodaya (uplift of the last). It is through the poor that a real welfare can realized; it means the poor should be the subject, medium, agent of a welfare state constructed in terms of an inclusive economics and development. Acharya Vinoba Bhave and Jayaprakash Narayan were ardent advocates of sarvodaya as the panacea of all problems across the spectrum of India’s socio-cultural, political, economic and religious problems. India, a home of one billion plus population is massively under the scourge ecological disasters of all kinds like deforestation, floods, new diseases due to unbridled use of pesticide like Endosulfan to augment agricultural produce, massive migration especially from tribal zones in search of employment due to the encroachment to their traditional habitats by multinational corporates, climate warming, erratic seasons, menacing pollution of air and water, and the consequent frequent ethnic and caste violence on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, the present political dispensation is inordinately under the spell of global capitalism; the very idea and ideal of welfare state is forlorn in the political policies and economic strategies especially under the present political regime; thereby India is becoming the abode of multinationals resulting the poor are marginalized further and increasingly becoming the victims of new capitalist strategies and they are increasingly unwanted in the emerging faceless capitalism in which the only motif is money and profit; the divide between the poor and the rich is becoming abysmal; consequently violence and political and economic corruption are becoming systemic and invincible. Black money is conveniently approved as a systemic factor of Indian economy by the corrupt politicians and business top brass. Cultural chauvinists and religious bigots are exploiting this volatile situation to their political purposes and selfish motives. A comprehensive political imagination and innovative economic strategies and above all a collective enduring political will and commitment are missing in the present electoral politics of power and money. Politicians indulge in some contingent and piecemeal plans and programmes to suit their electoral goals.

In this ambivalent political, social and economic scenario, it will be rewarding exercise to invoke the cultural archetypes latent in the collective unconscious of the polity to invigorate the people in its tryst with destiny. In this stream of thinking, the forlorn Gandhi’s proposal of Sarvodaya looks credible and competent because it resonates with ecological worldview and embodies its values in a remarkable way.

Sarvodaya means ‘welfare of all’. If we interpret ‘sarvodaya’ in the narrative of Gandhi’s journey of life, it is more a religious statement which embodies simultaneously his political, economic, social and cultural values, priorities and praxis; thereby they become the vital agencies of his religious praxis. Besides, if we re-read sarvodaya ideal in the compass of ecological-world view its presumption is crucial: ‘Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need but not every man’s greed.” Resourcefulness of the Earth abides not in the presumed inexhaustible assets but its inherent recycling process through which an everlasting renewable energy is produced. Sarvodaya is a praxis and an ideal of how to figure out our economy in and through renewable energy resources as well as how to vibe with eternal rhythm of cosmic re-cyclic process. In this sense Sarvodaya is very ecological to the core both in vision and practice. Its tenets and insights argue for an ecological society of wellbeing grounded on the principles of sustainability accomplished through partnership and interdependence.

Sarvodaya (welfare (justice) of all), basically a religious ideal finds its insight in Bhagavad Gita’s teaching on lokasamgraha (well-being of the world) and sarva bhutahite ratah (those who delight in the well-being of all beings).[73] The ideal of ‘welfare of all’ is accomplished through threefold path: i) Swaraj (self-rule); ii) Swadeshi (the wisdom of the local); iii) Ahimsa (Satyagraha: Nonviolent revolution).

Swaraj upholds the value of self-organization so that people’s participation in the decision process is assured. People are the subjects and agents of economic process not mere passive objects of development. Optimization of people is valued more than optimization of capital in the vision and praxis of swaraj   Development is not mere economic progress but is to be figured out in the integral welfare of people, namely, the dignity and identity of people, the role of people in the decision making in a free democratic process, mutual recognition of people and above all partnership culture. An egalitarian and just society nurtured in fraternity and equity respecting human rights and gender and social justice is the cherished ideal of swaraj so that it becomes suraj (good-governance) where Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas  ‘Together with all, Development for all’ is realized through “minimum government, maximum governance’, if we employ the new idioms popular in the present political discourses. It highlights the ideal of integral and inclusive development. Then the credible equation of economic emancipation is “welfare index’— ‘development index”; otherwise the progress becomes regress.

Swadeshi: It brings forth the import of local sustainable economy anchored in the natural resources of their own bioregions. It calls for a people-centred economics. It critiques the consumerist values prevalent in the capitalist economy. It calls for an ecologically sensitive sustainable economy based on renewable energy and self-reliance in the perspective of the future generations. It is indeed a critique of consumerist capitalism. We need a religious vision of ‘small is beautiful’[74] in which priorities are seen in a self-fulfilling relations nurtured in an experience of transcendence, partnership, communion, equity and just society rather than sole material affluence.

Satyagraha: Nonviolent struggle grounded in truth (satya). It is a non-violent resistance to oppressive forces in the society. It believes that violence breeds violence. The circle of violence can be breached only through non-violent means deeply nurtured in compassion and friendliness. It is a religious act in the public space so much so that religions become a transformative agency. Its sources are the religious scriptures. It is indeed radical political and social praxis which vibes with ecological vision of the whole reality as oikos (household). The inherent ideal is Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the world is one family)[75].

All the religious traditions, like Christianity, Buddhism and even Islam (peace) support and advocate non-violent means to accomplish a just and egalitarian society because violence is inherently an antithesis and can never be means to realize a society of peace and righteousness. The paths the Buddha and Christ in this regard are referrals for   Gandhi in his construction of a society of sarvodaya.

Other valid tenets of Sarvodaya which are responsive to ecological world view are: 1. a profound trust in the Creator who sustains the inner rhythm (dharma) of the cosmos; 2. The principle of trusteeship which reminds us that the humans are only stewards, endowed with the responsibility to uphold the integrity and sanctity of creation; 3. The human values of love, honesty, truth, compassion are the abiding dynamics of Sarvodaya; 4. A non-violent and decentralized democratic construct is the basic societal and political ideal of Sarvodaya and it is fundamentally envisioned as people’s enterprise at the grass root levels through the agencies of Panchayat raj and cooperatives. 5. Its path is a decentralized economy so that locally available natural resources are utilized in the economy of sustainability 6. Sarvodaya resolves in the ideal of egalitarianism in which social equity, gender justice, human rights and religious tolerance are dearly guarded.

Obviously, the vision and tenets of Sarvodaya pulsate with the emerging ecological world-view both in its construct and praxis. A return to this vision with the relevant interpretations responsive to the present global economic streams could be one of the valid ways to take on the ecological crisis and the consequent economic issues. What is primarily needed is a consensus political vision and economic strategy grounded in our cultural and religious archetypes and cultural subconscious to take on the massive problems the nation is facing, namely poverty, dislocation of people due to ecological imbalance, consequent ethnic and communal violence, corruption on all layers of social life, natural disasters etc. This cultural rooting is imperative to gain the popular support while taking on massive concerns like ecological crises affecting the whole nation.

  1. Conclusion: Import of Paradigm Shifts

             The above discussion was highlighting the possible contributions from the part of India toward the emerging eco-theology. The prevailing perennial wisdom in the sundries of daily lives among common people in India and Asia despite the post-modern ethos does offer us a live text and context to nurture and foster an ecological worldview in our spirituality and theologization process. Moreover, when the West is increasingly attracted to Eastern Religions and mysticism, a creative conversance with Indian traditions will be rewarding to enhance the discourse on a theology of environment in the whole church. More importantly, India’s unique contribution would be her insight of interiority as the theological as well as spiritual basis of ecological worldview.

             The most distinctive aspect of the Judeo-Christian tradition is its understanding of a personal God. The Western theology prominently portrays this personal God as a liberator or redeemer of humanity and circumscribe Him in the domain of persons and history, leaving much of the cosmos unaddressed[76]. Besides, the metaphors like King, Ruler, Lord, Master which represent this personal God entail the ideas of separation and control; they are hierarchical, imperialistic and dualistic, emphasising the gap between God and the world, and the total dependence of the world on a transcendent Patriarchal God who gears the history and cosmic process as an outsider (God of Hosts on the Skies).

The concepts, to which these metaphors correspond, are absolute, complete, transcendent and omnipotent, and do not convey straightaway the sense of mutuality, shared responsibility and reciprocity. Naturally the viability of the personal God is critically seen in the theology of environment.   Attempts are made to understand God as the “unifying symbol of those powers and dimensions of the ecological and historical feedback network which create and sustain and work to enhance life”.[77]

In this context Indian insight of Interiority can play a crucial role of supplying a credible unifying theological referral of the complicated web of eco-relations, operating from ‘within’ of reality. In this regard, the Incarnate Word as the Immanent Presence is the theological corollary of Indian interiority. As St. Paul says, the glory of the Risen Christ, henceforth, is hidden in the interior recesses of existence and we are called to witness this immanent glory (Col 1:27); now onwards, “in him we live, and move and have our being”, intimately and existentially, not merely in thoughts and memories (Acts 17:28).   Indeed, the glory of the Risen as the inner realm of reality would be a credible referral in the exercise of constructing a Christian theology and spirituality in the ecological worldview.

God is no more a distant other in Jesus, the Risen, he is the ‘host’ and ‘hostage’ of this world. God loved this world to the extent of sending his own Son so that the world may have life, in its fullness (Jn 3:16). The whole creation became a living system on account of Incarnation; it is predominantly ecological rather anthropological. In the New Dispensation, Life in abundance is the ultimate metaphor (Jn 10:10). The existence has become verily a living system in the ‘New life’ which is ‘the Joy of the Gospel’ owing to Resurrection of the Incarnate Word.   The whole existence has become a “burning bush” and ‘Holy Ground” for the Risen One is the ‘holy quantum’ of the existence, if I employ a metaphor from Modern Physics, steering the unfolding of the cosmos. The Risen Christ is cosmic and he cannot be constrained in the Hebrew historiography. Christian theology should embrace a new gestalt of reverence to the Creation so that a new theology and spirituality in the ecological world view emerges. Such an eco-sensitive theology and spirituality would be a new vital platform to revitalize the Church and its mission in the present times.

In this process the Christian theology should entertain the following paradigm shifts both in constructs and praxis: i. A historical God to Existential God; ii. Anthropocentric economy of salvation to Ecological Economy of salvation; iii. A patriarchal Sky God of Hosts to a Matriarchal God of Mother Earth; IV. Salvation from without to Salvation from within; v. Normative, and historical categories to a narrative and ecological metaphors and cosmic symbols; vi. Notional spirituality to a Nature Mysticism; vii. Aprirori immutable theological positioning to a proccessive, and ecological inclusive open-ended and inconclusive aposteriori revelations of the unbound Spirit of the Risen in the ecological phenomena. viii. An exclusive intra ecclesiastical theological exercise to a theological process on the public sphere where religious values are increasingly active in resolving social and ecological issues.

In this regard a society of Sarvodaya in which the values of Kingdom of God like reconciliation, Joy of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium) , abundance of life are explored and experimented in and through ecological concerns and peoples movements across the spectrum of today’s political resolves, welfare economics and cultural discourses, could be a competitive paradigm and praxis. A revisit to our theological presumptions and constructs by indulging in the above mentioned paradigm shifts will help us to sing together “LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord” along with Francis of Assisi.

The promise and credibility of our theology and spirituality and witness will abound in the secular space and inter-faith fellowships if our theologization helps us to sing a new song and retell a new story to the Lord “through our Sister, Mother Earth” (# 01 Laudato Si)!

Antony Kalliath

[1] Al Gore, Earth in the Balance (New York: Houghton Miffin, 1992); Paul Hawken, The Ecology of Commerce (New York: Harper Collins, 1993); Reports of State of the World, Worldwatch Institute, Washington D.C.

[2] Lester R Brown, Building a Sustainable Society (New York: Norton, 1981)

[3] Bill Devall and George Sessions, Deep Ecology (Salt Lake City: Peregrine Smith, 1985)

[4] Fritjof Capra and David Steindl-Rast with Thomas Matus, Belonging to the Universe (San Francisco: Harper, 1991)

[5] Fritjof Capra, The Web of Life (London: Flamingo, 1997), 10.

[6] Joanna Macy, World as Lover, World as Self (Berkeley Cal. : Parallax Press, 1991)

[7] Warwick Fox, Towards a Transpersonal Ecology (Boston: Shambhala, 1990)

[8] Capra, Web of Life, 21

[9]In the Theory of Relativity time and space are intrinsically related and one cannot be conceived at the exclusion of the other as conceived in Newtonian vision. In this new understanding of time and space, mass is energy, not res extensa (an extended body). See Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics, 2 Edition (Shambhala, Boston: New Science Library, 1985), 61ff.

[10]According to Quantum Theory atoms are not hard and solid particles as conceived by the Newtonian mechanistic laws. Matter is energy, always agile and vibrating with stupendous velocity. A quantum is a configuration of energy and information but ever in a proccessive fluid state. See Ibid., 66ff.

[11]Ibid., 68.

[12] Humberto Maturana, “Biology of Cognition, published first in1970; reprinted in Humberto Maturana and Varela, Autopoiesis and Cognition (Holland: D. Reidel, Dordecht, 1980). See Capra, Web of Life, 96.

[13] Auto means ‘self’ and refers to the autonomy of self-organizing systems. And poiesis (Greek word of poetry) means ‘making’. See Capra, Web of Life, 97.

[14]See Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Knowledge & the Sacred (New York: Crossroad,1981), 115.

[15]Cappra, The Tao of Physics 319; see, David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order (London, 1980),

[16]Seyyed, Knowledge & Sacred, 76

[17]Ibid., 84,85

[18]Bhagavad Gita, 4.9.

[19]Sankara, Upadesha Saharsi, I,1.

[20]Summa Theologica, I.Q.3, Art.3.

[21]Bagavat Gita 2.16.

[22]Bhagavad Gita 4,6.

[23]Sakara, Gitabhashya, trans., A.Mahadeva Sastry (Madras: 1961), quoted in Mariasusai Dhavamony, Classical Hinduism (Roma: Universita Gregoriana, 1982), 95.

[24]See The Gitabhashya of Ramanuja, trans. M.R.Sampatkumaran (Madras: 1969). See also Mariasusai Dhavamony, Classical Hinduism, 95-99.

[25]Abhishiktnanda, Henri Le Saux, Guru and Disciple, trans. Heather Sandeman (London: SPCK, 1974), 55.

[26]Henri Le Saux, Abhishiktananda, La montée au fond du coeur (Paris: O.E.I.L.,1986), 105.

[27] In Ancient World the spirit/soul is described with the metaphor of breath. The words for ‘soul’ in Sanskrit (atman), Greek (psyche, pneuma), Latin (anima, spiritus), Hebrew (ruah) all mean ‘breath’

[28]“The divine Self disposes itself through its self by its own m~y~.” Gaudapada, Kareka, 2.12.

[29]“Brahma’s creative activity is not undertaken by way of any need on his part, but by way of sport”. Brahma Sutra, II,1, 32, 33.

[30]Coomaraswamy, 2:Selected Papers Metaphysics, Ed. Roger Lipsey (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1977), 150.

[31]Rg Veda, IX,20, 7; X,3, 5; X,79, 6.

[32]Chandogya Upanishad 8,12; Mandukya Upanishad 5,1.

[33]Brahadharanyaka Upanishad 4,3, 13.

[34]Coomaraswamy, 2:Selected Papers, 158.

[35]Abhishiktananda, La montée au fond du coeur, 183, 184.

[36]See Rg Veda I,1;35;145; II,8; III,18; VII,10

[37]See Hiranyagarbha Rg Veda X, 121.

[38]See Purusha Sukta Rg Veda X, 90.

[39]Bede Griffiths, Christian Ashram (London: Darton, Longmann & Todd Ltd., 1966), 84.

[40]Henri Le Saux (Swami Abhishiktananda), The Eyes of Light (Denville, New Jersey: Dimension Books, 1983), 30.

[41]Henri Le Saux O.S.B. Swami Abhishiktnanda, Intériorité et révélation (Sisteron: Presence, 1982), 88-89.

[42]“The secret of the secrets, the royal secret, the supreme purifier” Bhagavad Gita 9, 2.

[43]See Abhishiktananda, Intériorité et révélation, 92-94.

[44]See ibid., 42, 43.

[45] Isha Upanishad no. 6

[46]Ibid., 41, 42.

[47]Abhishiktananda, The Eyes of Light, 82. Katha Upanishad 3,1.

[48]Katha Upanishad 4, 1b.

[49]See Chandogya Upaniad 8,1,2,3. See KathaUpanishad 2, 12; Munaka Upanishad 2, 1; Taittiriya Upanshad 2, 1,1.

[50]See Isha Upanishad 15.

[51]Abhishiktananda, The Eyes of Light, 30.

[52]Katha Upanishad 2, 20.

[53]Katha Upanishad 2, 21, 22.

[54]Kena Upanishad 1,1-2. See also Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 4,4,18.

[55]Kausitaki Upaniad 3,3; Chandogya Upaniad 8,12, 4-5.

[56] Brhadaranyaka 3,7,23.

[57] Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 1, 4,7-8; 4,5b, Chandogya Upanishad 6,1.

[58] Brhadaranyaka 2,4,7-9.

[59] Ibid., 2,4,7-9; 2,4,12-14; Chandogya Upanishad 6,13.

[60]Kaui taki Upanishad 3, 3.

[61] Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 4, 8,9; Maitrayana Upanishad 6,34. Ibid., 7,7.

[62]See Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 3,7,1-22; 2,3,6.

[63] Ibid., 1, 4,10.

[64]Mandukya Upanihad 2; see also Chandogya Upanishad 7, 25,1.

[65]See Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 2, 5,19.

[66]Chandogya Upanishad 6,8,7.

[67]Abhishiktananda, The Eyes of Light, 83.

[68]Mahanarayana Upaniad 10, 1.

[69] Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 3, 7,1.

[70]See Panikkar, Myth, Faith and Hermeneutics, 281.

[71]Coomaraswamy, 2 Selected Papers, Metaphysics, 231.

[72]Ibid., 198.

[73] Bhagavath Gita, 5:20

[74] E.F. Schumacher, Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered  (London: Harper and Collins, 1973)

[75] Maha Upanishad (ch 6: 71-73)

[76]See Sallie, Models of God, 18.

[77] Gordon Kaufman, Theology for a Nuclear Age (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1985), 56, quoted in Sallie, Models of God, 18