Ravi Ravindra was born and partly educated in India before moving to Canada. He was a Member of the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton in 1977 in the School of Natural Sciences, and a Fellow of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study at Shimla in 1978 and 1998. He was the founding Director of the Threshold Award for Integrative Studies (1978-80), and pilot Professor of Science and Spirituality at the California Institute of Integral Studies in 1989. At present Ravindra is the Professor and Chair of Comparative Religion, Professor of International Development Studies and Professor Emeritus at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Ravi's spiritual search has led him to the teachings of J. Krishnamurti, G. I. Gurdjieff, Zen, Yoga, and a deep immersion in the mystical teachings of the Indian and Christian classical traditions. He is the author of several books on religion, science, mysticism, and spirituality.
Ravi Ravindra has been giving lectures and conducting workshops/classes at Krotona for last several years. His teachings convey the deep influence of J. Krishnamurty and Madame De Salzman on his spiritual growth.
Ravi Ravindra and Vedanta
When Ravi Ravindra was a teenager, he was searching for his own way in the world, as most adolescents do. He doesn't remember how it happened, but one day he found himself reading from the works of an Indian sage who made a deep and lasting impression on him. In the writings of Swami Vivekananda, the principal disciple of the nineteenth-century mystic Sri Ramakrishna, Ravi discovered someone who spoke to his longing to understand the mystery and significance of life; a very tall order for a precocious teenager, or any adult for that matter. At the time, Ravi was struck by one particular statement made by Vivekananda: I am a voice without a form.
Vivekananda opened a door to a new dimension of understanding for a young man whose curiosity and energy were impossible to contain. Vivekananda had a very big influence on me, he recalls. He appealed to me because he said with clarity what I was vaguely feeling. Of course, he spoke from an inner authority; I was just a kid, but that's how I felt. Ravi was about fifteen years old when he first encountered Vivekananda's published essays and lectures. He resonated with what he describes as Vivekananda's religious fire. Ravi is now seventy-four years old, and his admiration for Vivekananda is as strong as ever: "I'm still inspired by him more than any other religious figure" Ravi says.
Ravi Ravindra and Krishnamurti
Ravi Ravindra Met Krishnamurti, both formally and informally, many times over a period of twenty years in India, England and in Ojai, California. They met over meals and went of quiet walks together. In teir dailogues, which went from insight to insight, Ravindra was respectful yet questioning. These discoveries are found in two books by Ravi Ravindra, "Two Birds on One Tree" and "Centered Self - Without Being Self-Centered: Remembering Krishnamurti" The following dialogue aptly reflects the deep influence Krishnamurti had on Ravi Ravindra.
- Ravindra to Krishnamurti:
- It is clear that a bridge cannot be built from here to There. But can it be built from There to here?
- Krishnamurti to Ravindra:
- Take the risk, Sir. Say what you wish. If you speak from the heart, I'll agree. Take the risk.
Ravi Ravindra and Gurdjieff
Madame Jeanne de Salzmann was given the responsibility for the Work by Gurdjieff before his death in 1949. She fulfilled that duty with extraordinary intelligence until her death in 1990 at the age of one hundred and one. In addition to publication of many of Gurdjieff's books, her main contribution was the bringing of many pupils to a higher level of understanding. Ravi Ravindra's own contact with the Work was through Mrs. Louise Welch, who became his mentor and also his spiritual mother.She introduced Ravi Ravindra to Madame de Salzmann in 1971. Almost a decade later, Ravi Ravindra met Adame de Salzmann again in Paris in February 1980.Over the following decade he met her several times. Ravi Ravindra says, "It was not easy to be in her presence; with her, more than anywhere else, I often felt my nothingness, but I never felt diminished. On the contrary, she always invoked inspiration and hope. Her being called me towards an authentic existence and demonstrated its possibility".
Ravi Ravindra's journal entries of his meetings with Madame de Salzmann over a period of twenty years, from 1971 to 1990, are published in a book titled "Heart Without Measure: Gurdjieff Work with Madame de Salzmann"
Awards and Honors
- Commonwealth Scholarship from Canada in 1961.
- Several Leave fellowships from the Canadian Science Research Council and from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada; Senior Killam Research Fellowship (1968-69); Fellowship for Values in Higher Education (1973-74); Senior Fellowship from the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute (1977-78).
- Several visiting professorships and lectures at various universities and conferences.
- Numerous research grants from various agencies for research in the fields of Physics, Philosophy and Religion, including one from the John Templeton Foundation for investigating the relationship between science and religion in the Indian philosophical tradition.
- One of the courses of Ravi Ravindra, Mystical Consciousness and Modern Science, was selected by the Templeton Foundation for an award in their Science-Religion Courses Program in 1996.
Ravi Ravindra is a prolific writer.
In addition to his numerous writings in academic publications, he is well represented in the Theosophical literature. The Union Index of Theosophical Periodicals lists over articles by Dr. Ravindra or about him.
- Ravindra, R.: "Yoga: the Royal Path to Freedom," in Hindu Spirituality: Vedas Through Vedanta; ed. K. Sivaraman; New York, Crossroads Publishers, 1989, pp. 177-191. [This is volume 6 of World Spirituality: An Encyclopedic History of the Religious Quest.]
- Ravindra R.: "J. Krishnamurti: Traveller on a Pathless Land," in Hindu Spirituality: Flowering of Tradition, ed. R. Sundrarajan; New York, Crossroads Publishers, 1997. [This is volume 7 of the World Spirituality: An Encyclopedic History of the Religious Quest.]
- Ravindra, R.: Five articles on "Physics and Religion", "Albert Einstein", "Isaac Newton", "Johann Kepler", and "Galileo Galilei" – published in the relevant volumes of The Encyclopedia of Religion; gen. ed. Mircea Eliade; New York, Macmillan Press, 1987.
An article on Ravindra, with the title “All is Krishna, a Profile of Ravi Ravindra” by Cynthia Overweg was published in the winter 2013 issue of the Quest Magazine.
The Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue has a bilingual interreligious journal, Religions/AdyÄn. An interview with Ravindra on Science and Religion was published in the December 2013 issue of the journal.
Ravindra was invited to contribute to the Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet; ed. Todd E. MacLean; Rocky Mountain Books, 2014. [Ravindra’s contribution is on the page for June 11.]
Theory of Seismic Head Waves; University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Canada, 1971 (with Vlastislav Cerveny, Professor of Physics, Charles University, Prague, Czechoslovakia). Translated into Russian.
Whispers from the Other Shore: Spiritual Search East and West; Quest Books, Wheaton, Illinois, U.S.A. 1984; new edition in 2000 by Shaila Press, Halifax, Canada. [Also published by Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Chennai, India in 2003.] Translated into Portuguese.
Science and Spirit; Paragon House, New York, U.S.A., 1990. [R. Ravindra is the editor and the principal author.]
The Yoga of the Christ; Element Books, Shaftesbury, England, 1990. [Reprinted as Christ the Yogi by Inner Traditions, International, Rochester, Vermont, U.S.A., 1998; and as Gospel of John in the Light of Indian Mysticism in 2004. Also published by Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Chennai, India in 2009.] [Translated into Portuguese, French, German, Greek, Croatian, Polish, Russian and Spanish.]
Krishnamurti: Two Birds on One Tree; Quest Books, Wheaton, Illinois, U.S.A., 1995. [Also, published by Pilgrim Books, Varanasi, India in 2003.] Translated into French, Italian, Greek, Turkish.
Yoga and the Teaching of Krishna; Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar,Chennai, India, 1998.
Heart Without Measure: Gurdjieff Work with Madame de Salzmann; Shaila Press, Halifax, Canada, 1999. [A paperback edition published by Morning Light Press, Sandpoint, Idaho, U.S.A. in 2004.] Translated into Portuguese, Spanish, French, Russian, Italian, Finnish, Serbian.
Science and the Sacred: Eternal Wisdom in a Changing World; Quest Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 2002. Translated into Dutch, Spanish.
Centered Self Without Being Self-Centered: Remembering Krishnamurti; Morning Light Press, Sandpoint, Idaho, U.S.A., 2003. [Also published by Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Chennai, India in 2011.] Translated into Hindi and Dutch.
Pilgrim Without Boundaries; Morning Light Press, Sandpoint, Idaho, U.S.A., 2003.
Spiritual Roots of Yoga: The Royal Path to Freedom; Morning Light Press, Sandpoint, Idaho, U.S.A., 2006. [Also published by the New Age Books, New Delhi in 2010.]
The Wisdom of Patñjali’s Yoga Sutras: A New Translation and Guide; Morning Light Press, Sandpoint, Idaho, U.S.A., 2009. [Also published by Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Chennai, India in 2012.]
The Pilgrim Soul: A Path to the Sacred Transcending World Religions; Quest Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 2014.
The Bhagavad Gita: A Guide to Navigating the Battle of Life (with a New Translation and Commentary); Shambhala Publications, 2017.
Ravindra is the Series Editor of an eight volume series dealing with The Inner Journey in the major spiritual traditions of the world, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The series has been published by the Morning Light Press, Sandpoint, Idaho, U.S.A.