Ankur Barua


In recent decades, a substantial body of scholarly work in the field of Hindu-Christian studies has been produced, which has not only done much to dispel earlier stereotypes of Hindu life-worlds as steeped in 'pantheism', 'world-negation' and the like, but also urged Christian thinkers to reflect on their own foundational beliefs through Hindu motifs. A relatively unexplored theme remains that of whether, and in what ways, the divine reality can be conceptualized as 'gracious' in Hindu devotionalism, especially given that the Christian doctrine of 'grace is related to a constellation of other notions such as creation out of nothing, justification and so on, which have no clear analogues in the former. In this article, I seek to trace certain parallels to the Christian understanding of 'grace' in some figures of South Indian Sri-Vaisnavism through a dialogue with the thought of Karl Rahner, and show how they attempt, in their specific theological contexts, to affirm both the divine freedom and the divine accessibility to all human beings. Karl Rahner, one of the most influential Roman Catholic theologians of the last century, emphasized the gratuitousness of grace while denying that grace is offered only to a limited few chosen by the divine will.

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