Contents: I. Abhishiktananda's dialogical commitment: 1. Personal experience (biographical). 2. A life of dialogical commitment. II. Abhishiktananda's dialogical theology: 1. The context and the setting of Abhishiktananda's dialogical theology. 2. Presuppositions and process of Abhishiktananda's dialogical theology. 3. The unique shape of Abhishiktananda's dialogical theology. 3. Evaluation and conclusion. Bibliography. Index.
"This book in its original form is the thesis submitted to the Senate of Serampore College towards the D.Th degree with the title : "An Examination of Swami Abhishiktananda's Dialogical Theology": now published, with written permission with the title : "A Christian Dialogical Theology : The Contribution of Swami Abhishiktananda.
The book is both a person-oriented and a problem-oriented research. It focuses on the unique personality of Swami Abhishiktananda and on the unique contribution he has made to the problem of inter-faith relationships in terms of inter-faith dialogue. Meeting between the Sanathana Dharma (classical Hindu faith, Advaita in particular) and Christianity as a faith and not as a religion is taken as a case in point, the meeting point between the two being "the cave of the heart" as Swamiji would love to put it.
Swamiji, undoubtedly, succeeded in combining in himself the two great traditions of the east and the west--the Hindu Dharma and the Christian Faith to the point of interiorizing both in his person. Swamiji was a Sannyasi to the core - a Benedictine monk and an Indian Sannyasi at one and the same time. A synthesis of these two forms of spirituality was essential to the fulfillment of his vision and vocation, and this he accomplished by being a "ferryman between the two shores"--between eastern and western spiritualities in general and Hindu and Christian spiritualities in particular.
Abhishiktananda dedicated himself unstintingly to the cause of ecumenical dialogue with Hinduism and made a significant contribution to that cause by evolving a "Dialogical Theology" which has special significance for Hindu-Christian dialogue in India. True dialogue, for Swamiji, is a "meeting", an "exchange" and a "mutual donation", the end purpose of which is "communion" rather than "communication" (though that is not excluded completely) - "interpersonal involvement" as Buber would have it. It is on the basis of "mutual donation" and "interpersonal involvement" that Swamiji's dialogical theology is constructed. It is good to remember that Swamiji was the first Christian Sannyasi to live in a hermitage like an Indian Sannyasi and perhaps, the first person to realize that India has a message of spirituality not only for the church but also for the world at large." (jacket)