This first volume of Raimon Panikkar’s Opera Omnia addresses “the most important theme” of Panikkar’s life and the “indispensable hermeneutical key” to his published writings: mysticism. Rather than restricting mysticism to the realm of the otherworldly or the rare, Panikkar links it to the experience of life which each of us enjoys, calling it “a free and spontaneous attitude welling up from the person’s fullness.” The book is divided into three parts, the first of which treats “The New Innocence” that comes with an embrace of mysticism. The second section deals with meditation and saintliness, using examples of three saints to show that no single concept of sanctity holds sway in our consciousness. The third is a systematic and philosophical study of the mystical experience, including Panikkar’s attempt to refute the notion that mysticism is an extraordinary phenomenon reserved to a small elite, as he notes that “we all are potentially opened to the mystical experience.” Finally, he offers in an appendix a philosophical reflection on the experience of mysticism from various perspectives in the East and West.
Raimon Panikkar (1918-2010) was one of the most profound and original religious thinkers of our age. Schooled in science, philosophy, theology, and religious studies, he made pioneering contributions in the areas of interreligious dialogue, comparative theology, and the phenomenology of religion, while bridging different religions and cultures (Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism), and effecting insightful conversation between the so-called sacred and secular worlds. These diverse contributions were tied together in a unifying vision he called his “cosmotheandric intuition,” the deep interconnection of the Divine, the Cosmic and the Human.