Faith, Prayer And Grace
In a world that is becoming increasingly pluralistic in its religious affiliations, the need for rediscovering the perennial and universal values of religions cannot be overstated. The study undertaken here aims at this objective by focussing its attention on Hinduism and Christianity, and yet not quite generally, but by specifying it within the religious philosophy of two of its ablest and committed exponents, the theistic Vedantin. Ramanuja and the radical Protestant thinkers, Kierkegaard. The religious values highlighted are faith, prayer and grace ? the most fundamental conceptsof any living religion. Whereas Ramanuja construes faith as the self?s rediscovering of a pristine relation of itself as ontologically grounded in Brahman. Kierkegaard thinks it to be man?s passionate commitment to the paradox of Christ, the God-Man. the quiet assurance of Ramanuja?s bhakta is only matched by the spiritual anziety of Kierkegaard?s knight of faith. Prayer however, to both the philosophers, is not only the means to steel ones faith but also the spontaneous overflow of that faith. this is so in spite of their different conceptions of its metaphysical foundation. This is sought tobe shown by analysing not only what Ramanujaand Kierkegaard have got to sayon prayer but also their actual prayers. Finally, whereas faith and prayer may be, in a sense, said to be man?s response to God, grace in God?s quiet call to, a meeting halfway with and a divine descent to, man in ways that he can apprehend, if not really comprehend. The author believes that the fundamental openness of the human mind to the sacred is a structure rather than a phase in the development of human consciousness. Hence thiscomparative study hopesto lay bare, to a limited extent though, how two believing philosophers, for all their social, religious and cultural differences, react to three of the most important religious concepts. Hence both the similarities and the culturally conditioned, hence the systemic and sectarian, dissimilarities are amply highlighted. And yet, it is written with the optimism that man can and indeed must, encounter man on a religious plane, with all his religious, pluralism for discovering his common human which is at once religious, heritage.
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