Bede Griffiths on Hinduism, Wisdom & the Sacred, continued

Father Bede Griffiths continues to expound on the ever-present reality of the sacred.

Hindus bathe in the sacred Ganges in the city of Varanasi, sacred site for riverside cremation. The Ganges and its tributary the Yamuna, the most polluted rivers in India, have been granted legal personhood by the Indian courts. Photo by Patrick Barry, Wikimedia Commons.

The Western world must recover this ancient vision of the three dimensions of reality. Then everything is sacred. That is what one finds in India; everything is sacred — eating or drinking or taking a bath; in any of the normal events of life there is always a sacred action. . . . We have lost that awareness. . . . [There is] this sacramentality of the universe. The whole creation is pervaded by God.

According to Bede Griffiths, what Westerners most need to learn from India is the “sense of the sacred” that pervades “the whole order of nature.” This is creation spirituality, indeed. “Every hill and tree and river is holy” and the simplest human acts are also. We in the West have emptied the daily of “all religious meaning.”

Bede recognizes a “sacramentality of the universe.” That is, everything that exists, and all our daily actions, are part of that. This is what Teilhard de Chardin was also speaking about.

A 400-year old sacred balete tree with a natural spring between its roots in Lazi, Siquijor, Philippines. It is believed to be home to diwata (anito) spirits. Photo by Lawrence Ruiz on Wikimedia Commons.

The divine essence, the Holy Trinity, is totally present in every particle of matter, every atom, and every electron.  However  you would like to divine the universe, the whole creation is totally pervaded by God. The cosmic religion has this awareness of God pervading the whole creation which we, as a whole, have lost. The Hindu is still aware of the Divine Immanence in the universe.

This is the Cosmic Christ tradition, the image of God in all things found richly in Hildegard of Bingen, Francis of Assisi, Thomas Aquinas, Meister Eckhart, Julian of Norwich and others in the creation spirituality tradition.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Christian Mystics, p. 253.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: Sripada (known as Adam’s Peak) – one of the most sacred sites in Sri Lanka, visited by thousands of devotees and tourists each year. Photo by Chitral Gamage on Wikimedia Commons.

Queries for Contemplation

Where does God or the Sacred exist for you?  How can we deepen our understanding and experience of that sense of the sacred in all things and all our daily actions? How can we create rituals that would help accomplish this?

Recommended Reading

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8 thoughts on “Bede Griffiths on Hinduism, Wisdom & the Sacred, continued”

  1. Avatar

    What arises for me with regards to today’s DM, is an image of a pearl, and the story of finding this pearl of great prize. This pearl is conscious awareness of the sacred within the all and the everything of creation, which includes oneself. This pearl is that inherent truth, the light, the goodness, the beauty that dwells within, which is Divine Love, our original nature.

    This pearl begins, like a tiny grain of sand, placed in the heart. Our life experiences, all the pains and the joys are the grist if you will, that shapes and forms the pearl. Each moment is an opportunity to open the heart, even if but a little… to trust in the living waters to purify our conscious awareness… to let go of our attachments to our feelings, our thoughts, our perceptions, our many human reactions to all that we encounter in the journey of life.

    Throughout this process, the substance of our humanity is transformed, as we surrender, little by little to the unfolding of our becoming, coming into being. Slowly, day by day, moment by moment, we become less afraid to remain open, less tentative of embracing the sacred, the blessing that we are.

    Suddenly, we find ourselves rising to the surface, through remembering that we are a gift of self to be given, a pearl of Divine Love. Through daily small acts of tending to, nurturing and caring for all that is sacred, that inherent truth, light, goodness and beauty of our original nature, our original blessing, that pearl of great prize, within ourselves, others and the all and the every of creation, we begin to co-create new life.

    Living present, in, with, to, and for this essence and presence of the sacred within not only ourselves, others and the all and the everything, we intentionally and more frequently choose, with conscious awareness, a responsive offering of love, compassion and mercy to all that we encounter and experience in life… as we faithfully and willingly lean into becoming and being the offering of this pearl of great prize.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, You speak of the “pearl of great prize (price–Matthew 13:45-46) and say that, “This pearl is conscious awareness of the sacred within the all and the everything of creation, which includes oneself.” Well, Jeanette, your pearl reminded me of Eckhart’s “seed,” for he writes, “The seed of God is in us. Now the seed of a pear tree grows into a pear tree, and a hazel seed grows into a hazel tree, a seed of God grows into God.” Think about that for a while! This Meister Eckhart quotation is from Matthew’s book, MEDITATIONS WITH MEISTER ECKHART…

  2. Avatar
    Patricia Rodemann

    This is very meaningful. It completely coheres with a spiritual experience I had weeding string beans
    on my knees in the dirt, when everything suddenly shifted for under a minute. I was aware that IT is
    ALL alive. I heard everything singing to great rushing of wind, cosmic music emanating from sun, clouds, trees, plants, birds, even the worms, which all had halos/rainbows about them. I was aware that ‘IT/GOD’ is LIFE
    itself. Ah, this is where halos come from in renaissance art! So awestruck, filled with love and connection,
    I shared it some time later with a pastor who said darkly, ‘It is from the devil.’ A psychology professor later said it was sign of a disturbed mind, and I wondered if some of those materialist folks weren’t disturbed. A few languages and master’s degrees later and deep studies into process philosophy and world religion, I have to laugh.

  3. Avatar

    Thank you for inviting me to post this.
    There’s a reason why there’s so much similarity between Eckhart, the Upanishads, Sufism, etc. It’s all the SAME mystical experience and the same basic techniques or Path, which include ideas as techniques. It’s a very distinct experience, which includes a revelation (for lack of a better term), a “transcendent’ Knowing, the Gift of a Divine Unfolding. When you read these texts, they’re trying to both describe the experience and what it means AND align/enable/transform the intellectually-imprisoned self to become the True Self, to walk the soul’s Original Best Path. All the mystical schools are trying to do this same thing and must use similar (but not always the same) practices. Their interpretations vary somewhat, both because of cultural/religious differences and because the revelation, the Logos, is an intuition, the deepest level of knowledge that the human brain is capable of. It is not intellectually known or analyzed at the time of the experience. It’s also capable of multiple nuances, some of which can lead to very different interpretations.
    This particular mystical experience, I believe, was the source of the “humans made in God’s image”, the “I AM that I AM” and monotheism itself in the Old Testament, the “Logos” as the Word in the opening of the Gospel of John, and the source of much of the theology of the early Christian creeds.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Melinda, Thank you so much for your comment, which speaks so clearly about the common nature of mystical experience. As you say, and we agree, “There’s a reason why there’s so much similarity between Eckhart, the Upanishads, Sufism, etc. It’s all the SAME mystical experience and the same basic techniques or Path, which include ideas as techniques.”

  4. Avatar

    I should mention that there are two stages of transcendence in the Logos mystical experience, the “Void” and the Logos. The Void is the “apophatic” phase and the Logos is the other transcendent phase. Like the revealed name of God, which is not to be directly spoken, I believe the mystical Logos revelation has been kept secret from being directly spoken of in all the mystical traditions….but the mystics are a remarkably talkative bunch, and they talk ABOUT the Logos — A LOT. They describe it in every conceivable way, analyze its meaning endlessly, express it in countless poems, icons, and art forms. They drop hints everywhere.

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