Kuruvilla Pandikattu

Kuruvilla Pandikattu Joseph

Kuruvilla Pandikattu (2004)
Born 28 November 1957
Areekara, Kerala, India
Religion Roman Catholic
Website kuru.in
Era 20th-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
Main interests
Notable ideas
  • "Ever approachable, Never Attainable"
  • "Dialog as Way of Life"
  • "Between Before and Beyond"

Reverend Kuruvilla Pandikattu, born 28 November 1957, is an Indian Jesuit Priest and Professor of Philosophy, Science and Religion at Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth: Institute of Philosophy and Religion, Pune, Maharashtra, India.[1] He is also Director of JDV Centre for Science-Religion Studies (JCSR) and Association of Science, Society and Religion (ASSR), Pune.

He has authored/edited twenty-six books and written more than 160 academic articles. He has been involved as co-founder and co-publisher with two journals, Jnanadeepa: Pune Journal of Religious Studies and AUC: Asian Journal of Religious Studies. Further, he has organised more than forty academic conferences. His weekly column on "Contemporary Spirituality" appears on Tuesdays in Financial Chronicle.[2] He has been contributing regularly to both academic and popular journals.[3]

He is involved in science-religion dialogue and science-related activities,[4] in which topic he has been teaching four courses. His areas of interest (and specialisation) include: Science-Religion Dialogue;[5] Philosophical Anthropology (Emerich Coreth); Hermeneutics (Paul Ricœur, Bede Griffiths) and Inter-religious dialogue.

Philosophical Approach

The two starting points of his academic research works are in physics and religion: quest for the unification of the fourfold forces of nature in physics and the hermeneutics of dialogue in Paul Ricoeur. [6] This led him to seek further the interpretative and symbolic (or mythic) nature of religious experience and resulted in his first doctoral thesis: “Idols to die, so that symbols might live.” He traces the idol-symbol tension in every aspect of human experience.

Dialogue as Way of Life

Then he look up the dialogical dimension of not only of religions, but also of human existence. So his second doctoral thesis on Bede Griffiths was published under the title, "Dialog as Way of Life." Further, he took up issues in science-religion dialogue, which according to him is "not an option but an obligation" for the very survival of the human species. This calls for radial commitment.[7] Two main areas of his research are physical immortality[8] and viable or sustainable life-style.[9][10]

Humans as "Between Before and Beyond"

He has been teaching and writing on philosophical anthropology. His view on the human person could be summarised as the "between before and beyond." Following Martin Heidegger, he holds that we always carry with us our past (before) and anticipate our future (beyond) and experience the healthy tension as the "between" or the present.[11] Further, he would say that human freedom, is the "finite search for the infinite."[12]

God as "Ever Approachable, Never Attainable"

This infinite or God (also The Reality) is the enticing and elusive dimension of our human life. God is ever approachable, but never attainable exhaustively. Like the horizon, that invites and cajoles us and recedes from us, God is always near and far at the same time. He bases this insight on scientific details like the lowest temperature reachable (t →0) and knowing that the beginning of Big Bang (T →0) and is like the "horizon",[13] which is never fully attainable.

Reality as Relational and Paradoxical

He says that reality is relational and at the same time paradoxical. The paradox of love is that when two people, who have accepted their own emptiness and recognises their own nothingness, affirm each other, there emerges authentic love, that is infinite. Thus, when one truly looks at reality, accepts its nothingness (even absurdity) there emerges traces of infinity. That is the paradoxical beauty of love and of our existence.[14]

Major Activities

He has been actively involved in science-religion dialogue.[15] He is interested in looking at both science and religion critically and creatively,[16] so that they can enrich each other and the humanity. In this area he has delivered numerous lectures, written numerous articles and books and organised conferences.[17]


Scholarly books: Authored books (7)

Scholarly books: Edited books (13)

Early life and influences

Pandikattu was born in Areekara, Kerala, India.[20] He was born to Uthuppan and Mary Joseph.[21] He had his early education at Government LP School, Veliyannoor (1962–65) and St. Rockey's U.P. School, Areekara (1965–70). Then he pursued his basic studies at Sacred Heart School, Changanashery, Kerala (1970–73).

After School Secondary Leaving Certificate (S.S.L.C.) he left for Guhiajori, Dumka, Bihar (now Jharkhand). Other places of his studies are: St. Xavier's School, Sahibganj (1976–78); Loyola College, Chennai (1978–81); St. Joseph's College, Trichy (1981–83); Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pune (1983–85), and University of Pune (1988–91).[22]

Variants of His Name


  1. Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth (2010), Handbook and Calendar, Pune: JDV, p. 20.
  2. http://www.mydigitalfc.com/2008/kuruvilla-pandikattu-sj
  3. http://www.smartcompanion.in/client/index.php
  4. See Mialil, John (2008) Wonders in Nature, New Delhi: Media House, 2008, pp. 121–130.
  5. It may be noted that together with Prof Job Kozhamthadam, he has started the firsts Masters Programme in Science and Religion at Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pune, India. See also Kozhamthadam, Job (2002) Contemporary Science and Religion in Dialogue, Pune: ASSR, pp.98–111.
  6. http://philpapers.org/rec/PANITD
  7. See Kuruvilla Pandikattu "LSI as Social Web of Committed Entrepreneurs," http://jdv.academia.edu/KuruvillaPandikattu/Papers/956906/LSI_as_Social_Web_of_Committed_Entrepreneurss
  8. See https://sites.google.com/site/kurusj/articles
  9. Kuruvilla Pandikattu, "Global Village vs Gandhian Villages: A Viable Vision," See https://books.google.com/books?id=YrGadHsc1bUC&pg=PA171&lpg=PA171&dq=viable+or+sustainable+life-style+pandikattu&source=bl&ots=esgCrSb21f&sig=8IsOmubP9enLNHf3yREFKqs0gAk&hl=en&ei=7HtWTaf9L5DSrQeE-pzWBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBgQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=viable%20or%20sustainable%20life-style%20pandikattu&f=false
  10. "Kuruvilla Pandikattu" See http://www.counterbalance.org/bio/kuru-frame.html
  11. http://www.answers.com/topic/kuruvilla-pandikattu
  12. http://www.amazon.com/Between-Beneath-Before-Beyond-Exploration/dp/8188360023
  13. https://sites.google.com/site/pandikattujoseph/everapproachable
  14. See http://www.fig.usv.ro/socio-umane/arhiva/2010I.pdf
  15. http://www.science-religion-news.org/regular-courses.asp
  16. https://sapnaonline.com/dancing-to-diversity-science-religion-dialogue-in-india-194680
  17. http://www.jdv.edu.in
  18. Read online http://www.crvp.org/book/Series03/IIIB-3/contents.htm
  19. Read the Review online http://www.acton.org/sites/v4.acton.org/files/pdf/7.2.573-575.REVIEW.%20Pandikattu,%20Kuruvilla%20and%20Vonach,%20Andreas--Religion,%20Society,%20and%20Economics.pdf
  20. Directory South Asia, New Delhi: JCSA, 2010, p. 47
  21. He is the oldest of 4 children from his mother but has two older sisters from his father's previous marriage. He has an younger brother who has two children, a sister with three children who came to America in the early 80's, and he also has another sister who has two children, Christy Joseph and Sherin Joseph. He once quoted his true inspiration came from his niece Meera Joseph.
  22. His early intellectual life has been influenced by inspiring figures like Emmanuel Stellini (English, Sahibganj, Jharkhand), Prof Joseph Inchackal (Physics, Chennai) Prof G.A. Savariraj (Physics: Trichy), Prof Salvino Azzopardi (JDV, philosophy, Pune) and R. Sundararajan (Philosophy, University of Pune). Right from the beginning of his academic life, interests in physics and philosophy have accompanied him.
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