Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Quote for Day: Leonardo Boff on Link Between Christ and Krishna, Charisma and Caritas — Questions Worth Asking

Charisma, carma, Crishna, Cristo, crisma and caritas posses the same Sanskrit root, kri or kir. It refers to the cosmic energy that refines and vitalizes, penetrates and rejuvenates all. It is a force that attracts and fascinates the spirit. 

And, as I think about what Boff says here, I recall Karen Armstrong:

The Middle English word beleven originally meant "to love"; and the Latin credo ("I believe") probably derived from the phrase cor do: "I give my heart." Saint Anselm of Canterbury had written, "Credo ut intellegam," usually translated "I believe in order that I may understand." I had always assumed that this meant that I had to discipline my rebellious mind and force it to bow to the official orthodoxy, and that as a result of this submission, I would learn to understand a higher truth. But no, Cantwell Smith explained, "Credo ut intellegam" should be translated "I commit myself in order that I may understand." You must first live in a certain way, and then you would encounter within a sacred presence that which monotheists call God, but which others have called the Tao, Brahman, or Nirvana (Spiral Staircase [NY: Random House, 2004], pp. 292-293).

Charisma and caritas are etymologically linked, as are Christ and Krishna. And the latter couplet is linked to the former one. All of these words are rooted in a Sanskrit root refering to an indwelling cosmic energy that rejuvenates everything, and attracts and fascinates the spirit.

If Christ is linked to Krishna, and if both names are etymologically linked to the Latin word for love, caritas, all of them grounded in the concept of a cosmic force dwelling throughout creation, rejuvenating and fascinating the spirit, how is it that religion — in its formal manifestations — has ended up being so stultifying for so many of us? So opposite of indwelling life that pulls spirit to itself? So devoid of caritas? So far removed from seeing Christ and Krishna as connected?

And how has belief become so divorced from love, when the two words are intimately related in the etymological sense? Or how have credo and cor do because entirely separate from each other, so that giving one's heart — loving — has become totally disconnected from believing? 

How has it happened that one can count on believers to be so frequently about anything other than loving, than living in and from hearts that speak to other hearts? How has it happened that one can count on so many people of faith today to use their creeds precisely to combat love?

Questions worth asking, it seems to me as I read these powerful theological meditations . . . . 

The graphic: Hildegard of Bingen's mystical vision of the heavenly choir of angels, from the Rupertsberg manuscript, uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by Slick-o-bot.

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