If mysticism is hard to define, what is it then? Or, why have mystics often spoken about what they have realized — notwithstanding the ‘unspeakability’ of a spiritual experience? And, yet more significantly, how can a meeting point of different religious traditions be discovered at the mystical level?
Focussing on these and other related questions, eminent scholars from varying religious traditions here explore the nature of mystical experience in two of the world’s major traditions: Hinduism and Christianity. Neither a comparative study of religious traditions, nor an attempt to develop an overall mystical theology, the book sets out a spiritual dialogue between Shaiva and Christian mysticism: a dialogue wherein the participants articulate worldviews of the mystical traditions of Shaiva Siddhanta, Kashmir Shaivism, Meister Eckhart, Hadewijch, Julian of Norwich, St. Ignatius Loyola, and of the Eastern Christianity. And, without taking any a priori intellectual position, each author here evolves his/her own tradition-specific perspective on mysticism — letting the comparisons, if any, to surface in the dialogue itself.
A spiritual dialogue, like the one this multi-author work embodies, holds a key to an insightful understanding between different people, cultures and faiths — more specially in today’s world riven, as it is, by fundamentalist forces and endless religious conflicts. The book will be a valuable acquisition for the scholars and spiritually interested readers alike.
About the Author:
Dr. Bettina Baumer is an indologist from Austria, living and working in Varanasi since 1967. At present she is Director of Research, Alice Boner Foundation, Hon. Consultant, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, and Visiting Professor in Vienna University. Her main fields of research are Silpa.sastra of Orissa and Kashmir Saivism. She has edited 3 volumes of Kalatattvakosa, A Lexicon of Fundamental Concepts of the Indian Arts (Vol. I, 1988; Vol. II, 1992; Vol. Ill, 1996), Silparatnakosa (Delhi 1994), and is the author of several books in German, and a number of research articles.