Raimon Panikkar

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Raimon Panikkar Alemany
Raimon Panikkar.jpg
Raimon Panikkar in 2007
Born Raimon Pannikar-Alemany
(1918-11-02)November 2, 1918
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Died (2010-08-26)August 26, 2010 (aged 91)
Tavertet, Catalonia, Spain
Occupation Roman Catholic priest, theologian, scholar, chemist, philosopher

Raimon Panikkar Alemany (November 2, 1918 – August 26, 2010; also known as Raimundo Panikkar and Raymond Panikkar[1]) was a Spanish Roman Catholic priest and a proponent of inter-religious dialogue. As a scholar, he specialized in comparative religion.

Early life and education[edit]

Raimon Pannikar was born as the son of a Spanish Roman Catholic mother and a Hindu Indian father in Barcelona.[2] His mother was well-educated and from the Catalan bourgeoisie. His father, Ramunni Panikkar, belonged to Malabar Nair family from South India. Panikkar's father was a freedom fighter during British colonial rule in India and escaped from Britain and married into a Catalan family. Panikkar's father studied in England and was the representative of a German chemical company in Barcelona.[citation needed]

Educated at a Jesuit school, Panikkar studied chemistry and philosophy at the universities of Barcelona, Bonn and Madrid, and Catholic Theology in Madrid and Rome. He earned a doctorate in philosophy at the University of Madrid in 1946 and a doctorate in chemistry in 1958.[3] He earned a third doctorate in theology at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome in 1961.[3] He compared St. Thomas Aquinas's Philosophy with the eighth-century Hindu philosopher Ādi Śańkara's Interpretation of the Brahma Sutras.[3]


In 1946 he was ordained a Catholic priest, and became a professor of philosophy at the University of Madrid.[3]

He made his first trip to India in 1954 where he studied Indian philosophy and religion at the University of Mysore and Banaras Hindu University, where he met several Western monks seeking Eastern forms for the expression of their Christian beliefs.[3] "I left Europe [for India] as a Christian, I discovered I was a Hindu and returned as a Buddhist without ever having ceased to be Christian," he later wrote.[3][2]

While in Jerusalem during 1962, he was summoned to Rome by Opus Dei founder and director, Saint Josemaría Escrivá, who expelled him after a brief trial where he was charged with disobedience to the organization.[4]

In 1966 he became a visiting professor at Harvard Divinity School and a professor of religious studies at University of California, Santa Barbara in 1972.[3] For many years he taught in the spring and spent the rest of the year doing research in India.[3] Where the typical approach to Cross-Cultural Religious Studies, especially in a secular university, was to hold two or more traditions at arm's length and draw lines of comparison between them, Panikkar's approach was to view issues in the real world through the eyes of two or more traditions.

In 1987 he moved to Tavertet in Catalonia, in the hills north of Barcelona, where he founded the Raimon Panikkar Vivarium Foundation, a center for intercultural studies.[3] In 2005 he creates Arbor [5] for the realization of his principle of interreligious collaboration for the relief of poverty in thousands of villages of India [6]

Panikkar authored more than 40 books and 900 articles. His complete works are being published in Italian. His 1989 Gifford Lectures were published in English by Orbis in 2009 under the title "The Rhythm of Being."

In a statement from his residence in Tavertet dated January 26, 2010, he wrote: "Dear Friends . . . I would like to communicate with you that I believe the moment has come, (put off time and again), to withdraw from all public activity, both the direct and the intellectual participation, to which I have dedicated all my life as a way of sharing my reflections. I will continue to be close to you in a deeper way, through silence and prayer, and in the same way I would ask you to be close to me in this last period of my existence. You have often heard me say that a person is a knot in a network of relationships; in taking my leave from you I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for having enriched me with the relationship I have had with each of you. I am also grateful to all of those who, either in person or through association, continue working to spread my message and the sharing of my ideals, even without me. Thankful for the gift of life which is only such if lived in communion with others: it is with this spirit that I have lived out my ministry."


By Panikkar[edit]

About Panikkar[edit]

  • Theological Approach and Understanding of Religions: Jean Danielou and Raimundo Panikkar: A Study in Contrast by Dominic Veliath. Kristu Jyoti College (1988)
  • Emerging Trends in Indian Christology: A Critical Study of the Development, Context and Contemporary Catholic Attempts of R.Panikkar and S.Kappen to Articulate a Relevant Christology in Indian Context. (1992) by Jacob Parappally, MSFS, ISBN 81-85812-12-8
  • Christ: The Mystery in History: A Critical Study on the Christology of Raymond Panikkar by Cheriyan Menacherry. Peter Lang Publ Inc. (June 1996) ISBN 3-631-48369-4
  • Christian Advaita as the Hermeneutic Key to Bede Griffiths' Understanding of Inter-religious Dialogue. by Kuruvilla Pandikattu Ph D Thesis in Theology, Innsbruck: Univ of Innsbruck, 1996. (Chapter Two deals with Panikkar)
  • The Intercultural Challenge of Raimon Panikkar, edited by Joseph Prabhu. Orbis Books, November 1996. ISBN 1-57075-056-4
  • A New Hermeneutic of Reality: Raimon Panikkar's Cosmotheandric Vision by Anthony Savari Raj. Peter Lang Publishing (August 1998) ISBN 0-8204-3445-0
  • An Emerging Cosmotheandric Religion?: Raimon Panikkar's Pluralistic Theology Of Religions by Jyri Komulainen. Brill Academic Publishers (January 30, 2005) ISBN 90-04-13893-5
  • D'Sa, Francis X. "Panikkar, Raimon (1918-2010)." ACPI Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Ed. Johnson J. Puthenpurackal. Bangalore: ATC (2010). 2:1005-1009.
  • Gispert-Sauch, G. "Raimon Panikkar." Vidyajyoti: Journal of Theological Reflection (November 2010).


  1. ^ Biodata Archived 2010-08-29 at Archive.is
  2. ^ a b Time, September 20, 2010, p.26.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i The New York Times, September 6, 2010, p.A20.
  4. ^ "Raimon Panikkar", Raffaele Luise, San Paolo, Milan, 2011, p. 25-32
  5. ^ "Moneyhouse registration". http://www.moneyhouse.ch/en/p/panikkar_alemany_raimon-4995690/.  External link in |website= (help);
  6. ^ "Arbor Foundation India". www.arborindia.org. 

External links[edit]