What I have attempted in this chapter is the presentation of one stream of reflection on the Ultimate Mystery, which, while it is the most prevalent, is not the only one. The Indian church is surging ahead in its theological reflection. Not denying the acuteness of the dehumanizing poverty in which millions live, one could still say that the major issue the church in India faces is how to cope with the vibrant religions with their ancient wisdom expressed in the lived spirituality of the Indian masses. The originality of Indian Catholic theology is to be found above all in the writings and lived spirituality in response to this religiosity of India. Though most Indian theologians have something to say about the Ultimate Mystery, most of the time what they say is from the perspective of understanding Jesus Christ as the only medium of salvation and articulating the mission of the church emanating from that understanding.
A characteristic that the Indian mystical tradition has brought out is that theology is not solely a science of God as an abstraction, but it is for and in relation to humans. Humans constitute as much importance as God in theology. Humans exist in the world and thus there can be no theology divorced from the world. The world is the arena in which humans struggle to grapple with the problems which derive their meaning in relation to God. The search for God takes place in the context of lived reality. This makes the Indian search not just a conceptual clarification but an encounter with the Ultimate Reality in the context of atmasa-shatkar (self-realization).
Even in the midst of globalization, frequently we lack the readiness to accept others and respect the space of others. The Indian approach to the Ultimate Mystery can serve as a corrective to this tendency to exclusivism. Equally, it is a corrective to another spin-off from market-oriented globalization: a trade mentality with respect to others and to the world -how to make the best of them for one's own advantage. The Indian approach insists on a sort of detachment (nishkamakarma) in the pursuit of interests, keeping the Ultimate Reality in focus, in the midst of the relative reality (maya) of the world of senses (namarupa). The Indian approach reminds us of the need to concentrate on the experience of the
5 Teasdale, Toward a Christian Vedanta, p. 41.
Ultimate Mystery, which is all-pervading and thus invites us not only to be tolerant but respectful of others. Here religions will have to underplay doctrinal expressions but must concentrate rather on the Mystery itself, which unites all. The Mystery is greater than the representation of it. This implies an inward orientation, the gift of interiority with which India was blessed, leading to the state when 'God may be everything to every one' (1 Cor. 15:28), the state of convergence of existence in its crystal purity and limitless plenitude in the experience of the Ultimate Mystery, the pure non-duality.
Was this article helpful?