Ravi Ravindra

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"Ravi Ravindra obtained degrees of B.Sc. and M. Tech. from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, before going to Canada on a Commonwealth Scholarship to do an M.S. and Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Toronto. Later, he did an M.A. in Philosophy also, and at different times held Post-doctoral fellowships in Physics (University of Toronto), History and Philosophy of Science (Princeton University) and in Religion (Columbia University). He is now Professor Emeritus at Dalhousie University in Halifax (Canada) where he served for many years as a Professor in the departments of Comparative Religion, Philosophy, and of Physics.

"He was a Member of the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, a Fellow of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study in Shimla, and the Founding Director of the Threshold Award for Integrative Knowledge. He was a member of the Board of Judges for the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. He is an Honorary Member of the Scientific and Medical Network and a Fellow of the Temenos Academy, England.

"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." [1] He served from 1978 through 1980 as the Founding Director of the Threshold Award for Integrative Knowledge.

Biographical Details

"When Ravi first came to North America in 1961, he was a twenty-two-year-old postgraduate student with a master's degree from the Indian Institute of Technology. Showered with academic invitations, he was offered doctoral scholarships at Caltech, MIT, and the University of Toronto. He chose to study in Canada because he wanted to study with Professor J. Tuzo Wilson, a well-known geophysicist who was in Toronto, and also because the Commonwealth Scholarship from Canada offered to pay his travel expenses.

"While his academic achievements were swift and impressive (he holds an M.S. and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Toronto, as well as an M.A. in philosophy), what he needed for his inner life could not be found by accumulating knowledge in academia. Ravi puts it this way: "Philosophers always talk about knowledge. Aristotle said, "A man by nature wishes to know,' but the need for meaning is just as strong. There can be no meaning without a relationship—what is my relationship with myself, with nature, with God? And the heart of any relationship is love. Knowledge isolates one more and more. In analysis, you can break down anything into smaller and smaller parts and so your attention is isolated from everything else."

"Ravi was searching for a higher level of consciousness, and he wanted to meet someone who could point him in that direction. He was lucky enough to have his wish fulfilled. He was thirty years old when he met the woman he describes as his spiritual mother. The meeting came about through a friend who had introduced Ravi to P.D. Ouspensky's seminal book In Search of the Miraculous. The book illuminates what the twentieth-century spiritual teacher G.I. Gurdjieff called the Fourth Way or the Work. The Gurdjieff Work can briefly be described as a practical approach to self-inquiry that can awaken the possibility of inner freedom.

"In 1968, Ravi met sixty-three-year-old Louise Welch, a senior member of the Gurdjieff Work in New York. He saw in her a higher level of being, a finer quality of energy that he wished to develop in himself. She became his teacher, and her husband, Dr. William Welch, a cardiologist, treated Ravi like a son. "Mrs. Welch is one of the most influential people in my life. She was less interested in what a person manifests at present because she could speak to what a person could be or needed to be," says Ravi. She suggested that he read The Voice of the Silence by H.P. Blavatsky. At the time, Ravi was not familiar with Theosophical literature. "I cannot say that I understand The Voice of the Silence, then or now, but something in me resonates with it deeply," he says. "Mrs. Welch was very appreciative of The Voice of the Silence, and it may also be relevant that her first teacher in the Work was Alfred R. Orage, who had been the general secretary of the Theosophical Society in England for a while."...

"A few months later, in February 1980, Ravi met the woman who had been the head of the Work since Gurdjieff's death in 1949. From that point forward, Jeanne de Salzmann, who was then ninety-one, became his spiritual mentor. He later wrote Heart without Measure, a book in which he painstakingly and lovingly describes his experience under her guidance until she passed away in 1990." [1]

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  1. Ravi Ravindra Home, organizational web page, accessed May 10, 2018.