On Becoming a Vaishnava Christian . . . Sort of

How to Cite

Klaus K. Klostermaier. (2022). On Becoming a Vaishnava Christian . . . Sort of: Journal of Vaishnava Studies. Journal of Vaishnava Studies, 19(1), 121–135. Retrieved from https://ivsjournal.com/index.php/jvs/article/view/211


Steven J. Rosen, the editor of this journal, reminded me that some time in the past I had called myself somewhere a “Vaishnava Christian” and asked me to address that topic by offering some personal reminiscences for an issue of JVS on “Religious Pluralism.” Autobiography is a delicate enterprise: one runs the risk of floundering either on the Scylla of exhibitionism or shipwrecking on the Charybdis of obscurantism. What to tell and what not to tell? And—why should it interest anyone? Born in the fateful year 1933, in what was by then Hitler Germany’s Hauptstadt der Bewegung, I probably had a childhood and youth very unlike the ones of those reading this. My father was a veteran of World War I: he was nineteen when an artillery grenade struck him down. In addition to a
massive head injury his left leg was smashed. It was a medical miracle that he survived his severe brain lesion, but his life was one of constant pain and suffering. He ended it at age fifty-six. In his own way he was very religious, perhaps even fanatically so. He believed that a relic of a recently canonized Bavarian saint had caused his miraculous recovery from a severe nervous breakdown, shortly before my birth. He vowed that—should the child be a boy—he would give him the name of the saint and would dedicate him to
service in the Church.

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