Speaking of Divinization & Cosmic Awareness: Gandhi & Bede Griffiths

We are considering the teaching from Eastern Christianity naming redemption as theosis, the divinizing of the universe. The emphasis is not on our individual souls so much as matching the doxa and glory of creation with our own doxa and Christlikeness and projecting that onto our world, work, and all our relations.

Gandhi writing a document at Birla House, Bombay, August 1942. Photo by Kanu Gandhi. Wikimedia Commons.

Gandhi also thought along these lines, according to a serious student of his: “For Gandhi, to become divine is to become attuned in thought, feeling and act to the whole of creation.”

What follows is that “Dharma or morality cannot be ultimately divorced from rta or cosmic order.” We know what Gandhi accomplished working from a cosmic understanding like that.

Gandhi also said: “Earth and heaven are in us.”* This statement sounds a lot like Jesus when he taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” And, “the kingdom/queendom of God is among you.”

Father Bede Griffiths points out how thoroughly Gandhi absorbed the teachings of Jesus:

Father Bede Griffiths talks about how exploring other religions can enhance your own faith experience. Video by Grateful Living.

Gandhi has shown how the principles of the Sermon on the Mount can be applied to social and political life in a way which no one before him had done: he made the Beatitudes a matter of practical concern in a way which few Christians have realized.

Father Bede recognizes how we can touch the universe in meditation:

In meditation, I can experience my solidarity with the universe, with the remotest star in outer space and with the minutest particle in the atom.  I can experience my solidarity with every living thing, with the earth, with these flowers and coconut trees,…with every human being. I can get beyond all the outer forms of things in time and space and discover the Ground from which they all spring. 

*Raghavan Iyer, The Moral and Political Thought of Mahatma Gandhi, pp. 91, 100, 176.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality, p, 67. 

And Fox, Christian Mystics: 365 Readings and Meditations, pp. 248, 261.

Banner Image: Meditating in the Krantskloof Nature Reserve, South Africa. Photo by MissMakhyana89.  Wikimedia Commons.

Queries for Contemplation

What is meant by Gandhi when he says to become divine is to become attuned to the whole of creation? And morality and the cosmic order go together?

Recommended Reading

Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality

Matthew Fox lays out a whole new direction for Christianity—a direction that is in fact very ancient and very grounded in Jewish thinking (the fact that Jesus was a Jew is often neglected by Christian theology): the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality, the Vias Positiva, Negativa, Creativa and Transformativa in an extended and deeply developed way.
Original Blessing makes available to the Christian world and to the human community a radical cure for all dark and derogatory views of the natural world wherever these may have originated.” –Thomas Berry, author, The Dream of the Earth; The Great Work; co-author, The Universe Story

Christian Mystics: 365 Readings & Meditations

As Matthew Fox notes, when an aging Albert Einstein was asked if he had any regrets, he replied, “I wish I had read more of the mystics earlier in my life.” The 365 writings in Christian Mystics represent a wide-ranging sampling of these readings for modern-day seekers of all faiths — or no faith. The visionaries quoted range from Julian of Norwich to Martin Luther King, Jr., from Thomas Merton to Dorothee Soelle and Thomas Berry.
“Our world is in crisis, and we need road maps that can ground us in wisdom, inspire us to action, and help us gather our talents in service of compassion and justice.  This revolutionary book does just that.  Matthew Fox takes some of the most profound spiritual teachings of the West and translates them into practical daily mediations.  Study and practice these teachings.  Take what’s in this book and teach it to the youth because the new generation cannot afford to suffer the spirit and ethical illiteracy of the past.” — Adam Bucko, spiritual activist and co-founder of the Reciprocity Foundation for Homeless Youth.

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4 thoughts on “Speaking of Divinization & Cosmic Awareness: Gandhi & Bede Griffiths”

  1. Avatar

    All life is divine and all that we view as matter is light of the divine. When we finally ‘see the light’ the divine fully shines in and through us without cloud or illusion. Gandhi would have ‘seen’ freedom as light of the divine and all beings ‘captured’ by it, even the oppressors. – BB.

  2. Avatar

    Thank you Matthew and the DM team for including in today’s DM YouTube video the beautiful interview of Fr. Bede Griffith. Synchronistically the YouTube segment consequently jumped to an interview of Fr. Thomas Keating from the Outreach channel of YouTube titled “Christian Non-Duality and Unity Consciousness with Thomas Keating” (contemplative outreach.org).
    Both Fr. Griffith and Fr. Keating describe their personal experience/understanding of the universal mystical experience of the sacramental Loving Presence of our Beloved Source~Co-Creator within and among Us, each of Us as a unique sacred manifestation of this PRESENCE, Microcosm and Macrocosm, our human and Divine Natures, with-in Our Evolving Loving Diverse ONENESS COSMOS~COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS….

  3. Avatar

    “Morality and the cosmic order go together.”
    Gandhi understood this in a grand narrative sense, of divinity within the cosmos, but in the daily practice of universal divinity within peoples’ souls, he fell short. He promoted a hierarchy of souls, with black South Africans at the very bottom, whom he regarded as little better than wild animals, and he had some weird, disturbing rules that he imposed upon his family. He was an inspiring visionary, but also a man of his times and his culture, using his male privilege to do as he pleased and abusively dominate his family.

    Mystical, “Cosmic” Truth, testified to by Jesus and others in the Bible, demands justice and human equality, but has consistently been modified and “creatively interpreted” to create hierarchies of power. Universal equality, which includes women and minorities, seems to be “just too much” for the ruling male patriarchy to wrap their heads around, so they find excuses to create a hierarchy of souls, with themselves at the top, of course. This is the lie that’s been chiseled into the stone of “tradition,” a spiritual abuse that’s “justified” because “it’s always been that way.”
    Jesus was the mystical visionary who demanded an end to the whole abusive framework of inequality. That was over 2,000 years ago. So why haven’t we lived up to his vision?

  4. Avatar

    “To become divine is to become attuned to the whole creation”: what a wonderful concept!… that everyone should know about, like the concept of royal personhood Matthew Fox introduced me to. When I was in college, I took a class in cosmology, and I remember coming out of those classes literally on a spiritual high, with a wondrous sense of awe and joy, because the cosmos had been shown to me.

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