The volume Hinduism and Christianity focuses mainly on the dialogue between the two religious traditions to which the author belonged from birth and to which he remained faithful throughout his life, while not presuming to study exhaustively their many dimensions. Their relationship may be likened to that of two lovers who speak different languages. They love each other and, through this love, they have found out that they share the same goal and want the same thing.
Yet when they try to speak they cannot understand each other. Each one must first learn the language of the other. They may not say the same thing, and certainly they do not say ‘the same thing’ in the same way. Each of them has a perception of something that deeply touches both, without being able to express it. But they can love each other, help each other, find common ground in practical life, be patient and begin to learn about each other.
Today, after centuries of separation, Christianity and Hinduism are coming together again and are attempting to share their respective experiences. Christians may see their destination in the future, Hindus in the present, but each see it in terms of the complete, realised human person.
The book has two sections, the first of which features one of Panikkar’s most well-known writings, The Unknown Christ of Hinduism.
The central theme, which has frequently been misunderstood, is the as yet unknown aspect of Christ which is present not only in Christianity but also in other religions, and that these may therefore help to give us a more universal vision.
The second section is dedicated to the ecclesiology of India as an example of interculturation and describes various aspects of the encounter between these two religions.