Religion and Environment

Fr. Pedro Arrupe’s Birth Centenary Seminar

    4th February, 2007

    “The   Principle and Foundation in the Multi –religious, Tribal and Ecological Context of South Asia”

    Paper I. The   Principle and Foundation in the Multi -religious Context of South Asia


    Out of the mystical experiences, Ignatius of Loyola composed Spiritual Exercises to overcome disordered attachments and to order one’s life. The   Principle and Foundation of Spiritual Exercises, deals with the simplest and most fundamental questions: What is the meaning or purpose of human life? How can one obtain freedom to live and shape one’s life in accordance with the will of God? These are the questions addressed by various religions too. Hence, this paper, from the perspective of the Principle and Foundation, tries to find the unifying principle or common goal (Divine/God/Ultimate Reality/Happiness/ Wholeness) in our major religions of South Asia. This was attested in our very ancient tradition as Rig Veda proclaims, “Truth is One; those who perceive it speak of it in different ways (ekam sat vipra bahudha vadanti)”.[1] The Church, in its document on its relation to other religions, affirms the common goal present in other religions in the following words, “For all peoples comprise a single community, and have a single origin, since God made the whole human race dwell over the entire face of the earth (cf. Acts 17.26), One also their final goal: God” (NA 1).

    Since we, as Christians and religious, confronted with the context of religious pluralism, let us briefly look into religious pluralism of South Asia. Second, we deal with the quest for “meaning or purpose of life”. Third, let us find out what is the “Ultimate Reality” in various paths? and finally, from the perspective of the Principle and Foundation, let us look for the commonality in the other paths of South Asia.

    Religious Pluralism in South Asia

    Religion is a widely diversified...