Date published: October 5, 2010
* Raimon Panikkar, Catholic priest, philosopher and theologian noted for promoting interfaith dialogue, died at his home in Spain on August 26. He was 91 . The son of a Catalan Catholic mother and an Indian Hindu father, Panikkar was a professor at the University of Madrid when in 1954 he made his first trip to India. It proved to be a life-changing experience of which he later said: "I left Europe [for India] as a Christian, I discovered I was a Hindu and returned as a Buddhist without ever having ceased to be a Christian." He also taught in Rome and at two U.S. universities, Harvard (1966-1971) and the University of California, Santa Barbara (1971-1987). The peripatetic Panikkar traveled worldwide, giving lectures and sermons and conducting retreats, always with a view to opening up Christianity to other religions. His 1989 Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh were published as The Rhythm of Being. Among his many other books: The Unknown Christ of Hinduism, The Vedic Experience, The Silence of God, The Cosmostheandric Experience and The lntrarel'igious Dialogue. In an interview in these pages in 2000, Panikkar said: "The whole history of Christianity is one of enrichment and renewal brought about by elements that came from outside itself."