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Has anyone here read any of the works of Abhishiktananda (the Benedictine Henri le Saux who spent most of his life living in India)?

His books--most published pre-VII--received an imprimatur, and, though he lived as a Hindu monk, offered daily mass, following the Latin rite. I suspect his ideas would be less favourably received here, but he is a very interesting person: deeply Christian, yet expressing himself through Hindu ideas.
(10-19-2011, 03:50 PM)ecclesiastes Wrote: [ -> ]Has anyone here read any of the works of Abhishiktananda (the Benedictine Henri le Saux who spent most of his life living in India)?

His books--most published pre-VII--received an imprimatur, and, though he lived as a Hindu monk, offered daily mass, following the Latin rite. I suspect his ideas would be less favourably received here, but he is a very interesting person: deeply Christian, yet expressing himself through Hindu ideas.

If he rec'd imprimaturs before V2, that's pretty interesting.  But what does it mean to live as a Hindu monk (for him)?  How is it different from being a hermit in the Western tradition?  Or was he in community with non-Christians (that sounds like a stupid idea)?  Was he under an approved rule?

Did he feel Western ideas of monasticism were lacking?

As a former Hindu, I really don't see the point ... every single interesting / cool / good natural virtue associated with Hindu monasticism (community, sacrifice, discipline, rules) are all found in the Catholic ideals, but in the Catholic ideals we have faith in Jesus, without which all is lost.
What's the point? I wouldn't touch his shir with a ten foot pole
so one csn lve as a hare Krishna say and still be considered a benidictines?
Interesting garbage
way to syncretic for my liking
(10-19-2011, 03:54 PM)newyorkcatholic Wrote: [ -> ]If he rec'd imprimaturs before V2, that's pretty interesting. 

He did. One of his books he had to revise significantly, but he did.

(10-19-2011, 03:54 PM)newyorkcatholic Wrote: [ -> ]Did he feel Western ideas of monasticism were lacking?

As a former Hindu, I really don't see the point ... every single interesting / cool / good natural virtue associated with Hindu monasticism (community, sacrifice, discipline, rules) are all found in the Catholic ideals, but in the Catholic ideals we have faith in Jesus, without which all is lost.

HIs interest in going to India (in 1948!) and live like a Hindu sadhu was, in large part, to explore a distinctly Indian way of living a Christian life, much like the early Jesuit missionaries in India did.
(10-19-2011, 04:40 PM)ecclesiastes Wrote: [ -> ]HIs interest in going to India (in 1948!) and live like a Hindu sadhu was, in large part, to explore a distinctly Indian way of living a Christian life, much like the early Jesuit missionaries in India did.

But what is different?

In my understanding of Hindu sadhus, with the caveat that it's varied but I have known some personally, there is nothing particularly useful there for a Christian.

Of course they have many things in common with Western monastics as I mentioned, but what is there in their life that we lack in Catholicism?

Why does it help to wear saffron?  Begging, living in poverty, these are not distinctly Hindu.  But saffron, syncretism, seeing non-human life as equally sacred, these are more distinctly Hindu... but what good are they to us?
Merton of his time, I guess.
(10-19-2011, 05:16 PM)newyorkcatholic Wrote: [ -> ]... but what good are they to us?

Why does every Christian have to become Western? That was Abhishiktananda's question. Just as the European Christians borrowed heavily from pagan sources, why could Indian Christians not do likewise, and find in their own cultural heritage elements that complement or support a Christian lifestyle or even Christian thought?
(10-19-2011, 05:53 PM)ecclesiastes Wrote: [ -> ]
(10-19-2011, 05:16 PM)newyorkcatholic Wrote: [ -> ]... but what good are they to us?

Why does every Christian have to become Western? That was Abhishiktananda's question. Just as the European Christians borrowed heavily from pagan sources, why could Indian Christians not do likewise, and find in their own cultural heritage elements that complement or support a Christian lifestyle or even Christian thought?

But you need the guidance of the Church to reject what is bad and use what is good.

So what in Indian elements is good, that we don't already have in the Catholic Church?  It doesn't have to be Western, really -- Malabar and Malankara Christians have all sorts of unique elements to their worship.

To me it's concerning.  Hinduism has a history of developing for many many centuries in the present of Christianity in India, but specifically refusing to accept Christianity, and remaining largely pagan as well as pantheistic, indifferentist, and syncretic.  So one should be very careful about incorporating any Hindu ideas, that are uniquely Hindu.

So again I ask, what specifically is good in the Hindu ideas that we don't already have in Christianity? 
(10-19-2011, 05:53 PM)ecclesiastes Wrote: [ -> ]Why does every Christian have to become Western? That was Abhishiktananda's question. Just as the European Christians borrowed heavily from pagan sources, why could Indian Christians not do likewise, and find in their own cultural heritage elements that complement or support a Christian lifestyle or even Christian thought?

I agree to an extent. Inculturalization has proven to be a risky business. Perhaps this man was able to maintain integrity of Faith. I think the Buddhist and Hindu philosophies have much to offer Catholicism in similar terms that Aristotle and Plato have. Not the whole philosophy, but some aspects. In addition, the Indian people should be able to incorporate their traditions into their Catholicism, just as we Europeans have. But it has to be done slowly and organically as it was done for us, and not just made up by a liturgical committee or something like that. I can understand a westerner wanting to adopt certain Indian accoutrements and traditions which he admires, or thinks will help himself and others. It is a risky venture, though, to tow the line.
Also, if we can adopt their style of language, why not their style of clothing, and manners?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krista_Purana
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