Bede Griffiths
Born Alan Richard Griffiths
December 17, 1906(1906-12-17)
Walton-on-Thames, England
Died May 13, 1993 (aged 86)
Shantivanam, in Tamil Nadu, India
Nationality British
Other names Swami Dayananda
Ethnicity Caucasian
Citizenship U. K.
Alma mater Magdalen College, Oxford
Occupation Benedictine Monk
Known for Integral thought, Wisdom Christianity
Religion Roman Catholic

Alan Richard "Bede" Griffiths (17 December 1906 – 13 May 1993), also known as Swami Dayananda (Bliss of Compassion), was a British-born Benedictine monk and missionary who lived in ashrams in South India. He was born at Walton-on-Thames, England and studied literature at Magdalen College, Oxford under professor and Christian apologist C. S. Lewis, who became a lifelong friend. Griffiths recounts the story of his conversion in 1931 to Catholicism while a student at Oxford in his autobiography The Golden String.


In December 1932, Griffiths joined the Benedictine monastery of Prinknash Abbey near Gloucester, where he was ordained to the priesthood in 1940. Griffiths spent some time in the sister abbey in Scotland but, after two decades of community life, he moved to Kengeri in Bangalore, India, in 1955 with the goal of building a monastery there. That project was unsuccessful but, in 1958, he helped Francis Acharya to establish Kristiya Sanyasa Samaj,Kurisumala Ashram (Mountain of the Cross), a Syriac rite monastery of Syro-Malankara Catholic Church in Kerala. In 1968 he moved to the Shantivanam (Forest of Peace) Ashram in Tamil Nadu, the ashram had been founded by the French Benedictine monk Abhishiktananda in 1950. Although he remained a Catholic monk he adopted the trappings of Hindu monastic life and entered into dialogue with Hinduism. Griffiths wrote twelve books on Hindu-Christian dialogue. Griffiths' form of Vedanta-inspired Christianity is called Wisdom Christianity.

Griffiths was a proponent of integral thought, which attempts to harmonize scientific and spiritual world views. In a 1983 interview he stated,

"We're now being challenged to create a theology which would use the findings of modern science and eastern mysticism which, as you know, coincide so much, and to evolve from that a new theology which would be much more adequate."[1]

Griffiths died at Shantivanam in 1993. The archives of the Bede Griffiths Trust are located at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California.


  1. Renee Weber, Dialogues With Scientists and Sages: The Search for Unity (1986), Routledge & Kegan Paul, ISBN 0-7102-0655-0, p. 163


By Griffiths

  • The Golden String: An Autobiography, (1954), Templegate Publishers, 1980 edition: ISBN 0-87243-163-0, Medio Media, 2003: ISBN 0-9725627-3-7
  • Christ in India: Essays Towards a Hindu-Christian Dialogue (1967), Templegate Publishers, 1984, ISBN 0-87243-134-7
  • Return to the Center, (1976), Templegate Publishers, 1982, ISBN 0-87243-112-6
  • Marriage of East and West: A Sequel to The Golden String, Templegate Publishers, 1982, ISBN 0-87243-105-3
  • Cosmic Revelation: The Hindu Way to God, Templegate Publishers, 1983, ISBN 0-87243-119-3
  • A New Vision of Reality: Western Science, Eastern Mysticism and Christian Faith, Templegate Publishers, 1990, ISBN 0-87243-180-0
  • River of Compassion: A Christian Commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, (1987), Element Books, 1995 reprint: ISBN 0-8264-0769-2
  • Bede Griffiths, Templegate Publishers, 1993, ISBN 0-87243-199-1
  • The New Creation in Christ: Christian Meditation and Community, Templegate Publishers, 1994, ISBN 0-87243-209-2
  • (co-editor with Roland R. Ropers), Psalms for Christian Prayer, Harpercollins, 1996, ISBN 0-00-627956-2
  • John Swindells (editor), A Human Search: Bede Griffiths Reflects on His Life: An Oral History, Triumph Books, 1997, ISBN 0-89243-935-1 (from 1992 Australian television documentary)
  • Bruno Barnhart (editor), The One Light: Bede Griffiths' Principle Writings, Templegate Publishers, 2001, ISBN 0-87243-254-8
  • Thomas Matus (editor), Bede Griffiths: Essential Writings, Orbis Books, 2004, ISBN 1-57075-200-1

About Griffiths

  • Kathryn Spink, A Sense of the Sacred: A Biography of Bede Griffiths, Orbis Books, 1989, ISBN 0-88344-442-9
  • Beatrice Bruteau (editor), The Other Half of My Soul: Bede Griffiths and the Hindu-Christian Dialogue, Quest Books, 1996, ISBN 0-8356-0717-8 (essays in honor of Griffiths by Matthew Fox, Thomas Keating, Rupert Sheldrake, Thomas Berry, Judson Trapnell, Wayne Teasdale, and others)
  • Jesu Rajan, Bede's Journey to the Beyond, Asian Trading Corporation, Bangalore, India, 1997, ISBN 81-7086-211-6
  • Judson B. Trapnell, Bede Griffiths, State University of New York Press, 2001, ISBN 0-7914-4871-1
  • Wayne Teasdale, Bede Griffiths: An Introduction to His Interspiritual Thought, Skylight Paths Publishing, 2003, ISBN 1-893361-77-2
  • Shirley du Boulay, Beyond the Darkness: A Biography of Bede Griffiths, Alresford, UK:O Books, 2003, ISBN 1-903816-16-5.
  • Albano Fernandes. The Hindu Mystical Experience: A Comparative Study of the Approaches of R. C. Zaehner and Bede Griffiths. New Delhi: Intercultural Publications, 2004.

External links

sv:Bede Griffiths

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.