Raimon Panikkar was born on November 3rd 1918, his father a Hindu and his mother a Catalan Catholic. Thus, from his early childhood he was able to adopt, cultivate and speak of traditions within which he had always felt perfectly at home. He was ordained into the priesthood in1946 and in the same year he got Ph. D. in Philosophy and in 1958 in Science at the University of Madrid and in 1961 in Theology at the Lateran University in Rome. He lived in India, in Rome (where he was a “libero docente” at the University La Sapienza) and in the United States. Panikkar was visiting professor at Harvard University and from 1966 to 1987 he divided his time teaching in USA every Spring Semester and doing his research in India. From 1971 to 1987 he held the chair of Comparative Religious Philosophy at the University of California in Santa Barbara, and in 1987 he returned to Catalonia, Spain, where he lived until his death. When investing Panikkar as Doctor Honoris Causa at the University of Girona, Spain, Dr. Josep-Maria Terricabras said, “Without a doubt Raimon Panikkar is the most internationally renowned catalan thinker alive today. His life and works testify to the huge thematic, geographic and linguistic scope of his thought.”
Panikkar was unusually prolific. He has published around fifty books, mainly in Catalan, Castilian, Italian and English, translated into French, German, Chinese, Portuguese, Czechoslovakian, Dutch and Tamil. For his part over the course of ten years he translated an anthology of a thousand pages of texts from the Vedas.
Apart from this immense academic activity Panikkar was president of the “Pipal Tree” (Bangalore). He was the founder and director of the “Center for Cross-Cultural Religious Studies” (Santa Barbara, California) and of “Vivarium, Centre d’Estudis Intercultural” (Tavertet, Catalogna).
The International Interfaith Centre and the World Congress of Faiths joins with many others in expressing sympathy for those who have been bereaved and deep appreciation of Raimon Panikkar’s life and work