Monday, July 13, 2009

50th year anniversary of Sri Eknath Easwaran's arrival in the US

Recently Blue Mountain Center of Meditation (BMCM) ( celebrated 50th anniversary of Easwaran's arrival in the US. It was a very simple program. 150 or so close friends of BMCM gathered at the beautiful 'ashram' of BMCM in Tomales, CA to commemorate the event. Very nice event. I was lucky and fortunate to be considered as one of the friends of BMCM. So, I got to attend. Anyone who chooses to get close those great people at BMCM, is welcomed with open arms. There is nothing more to it. All you need is a friendly attitude and some sort of commitment to Easwaran and his teachings. Rest all follows. Good things.

Sri Easwaran was an accomplished English professor at the university of Nagpur. He was a successful writer, teacher and a radio personality. He was an excellent teacher of English literature. His interests were varied. He read widely and wrote widely.

He had a chance to come to the US in 1959 as Fulbright scholar. He was first allotted University of Minnesota. He dazzled academics there. Since he had come to study about Emerson, people at University of Minnesota recommended him to get transferred to University of California at Berkeley after seeing his prowess in the area of Emerson and his works. So, Easwaran landed at UC, Berkeley. What followed is history.

He was already pretty deep into spirituality. He practiced it very diligently. It did not take much time for people to notice something marvelous in him. A set of very devoted and dedicated people started hanging out with him. He was also looking for similar people. He started teaching them about spirituality and how he saw life. Having excellent command over English helped a lot to convey rich Indian spiritualism to western audience. Thus was born Blue Mountain Center for Meditation.

BMCM, which started in an apartment in Berkeley, later moved to a 250 acre ranch in Tomales where it stands now. Easwaran spent 40 odd years writing several best seller books. He wrote excellent books on Hindu classics such as Bhagvadgita, Upanishads, Dhammapada etc. He did not box himself to one school or the other. He read widely and assimilated best from anywhere and everywhere. So, he went on to write about Christian and Islamic mystics also. He also wrote about people like Gandhi and Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan who had impressed him a lot by their activities during Indian freedom struggle.

BMCM put together a very nice program of selected videos which chronicle the master and his accomplishments after he came to the US. You can view them at I hope you will enjoy watching them.

If you are interested, you can pick up a book or two of Easwaran and see if he appeals to you. If you like, you can then attend retreats that BMCM conducts all over the US. Retreats are a great place to get started seriously with your 'sadhana'.


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