BEDE GRIFITHS (1960-93) the name Swami Dayananda as a gift of the Holy Spirit when he came to India from England in 1955 and assumed the Kavi robe as a sign of his sannyasa, the threefold renunciation of offspring, wealth and the world of ego-gratification. Yet even before he first touched India soil, Father Bede-Dayananda had been formed according to the Christian equivalent of the Upanishadic idea, since for more than twenty years he had lived as a Benedictine monk of the Catholic Church at Prinknash Abbey in Gloucester, England. His first two years in India (1955-57) gave him time to restructure his understanding of Indian life and culture. He spent the following decade (1958-68) in the mountains of Kerala where he formed a monastic community known as Kurisumala Ashram. In 1968 he assumed charge of Sacchidananda Ashram at Shantivanam in Tamil Nadu. It is from there that he started his correspondence with K.D. Sethna, who had already read and admired a few of his books.
K.D. SETHNA, a Parsi, born on 25 November 1904 in Bombay, was educated at the Roman Catholic St. Xavier’s School and College and took his B.A. degree in Philosophy Honours at Bombay University with a prize in English. He is one of the earliest disciples of Sri Aurobindo whose Ashram of Integral Yoga he joined at the end of 1927. There he received from the Master the name Amal Kiran, meaning “ The clear ray”. He is not only a poet in the English language but also an intellectual whose interests cover a very wide field, from Indian prehistory and antiquity to philosophy and literary criticism, from scientific thought to mysticism and Yoga. He has been editing a monthly review of culture titled Mother India from the beginning of 1949. He has published nearly forty books. With his background of versatile knowledge especially of Christianity no less than other religions he seems to have been well fitted to discourse with Bede Griffiths.
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