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 Ravindra and Vedanta
When Ravi Ravindra was a teenager, he was searching for his own way in the world, as most adolescents do. He doesnâ€™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 lifeâ€”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.