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“The philosophy of Sri Aurobindo is all-comprehending in its integration of the past, and prophetic in its vision of the future. As a connected view of the totality of existence, it brings to light the ultimate unifying principle of life. On the basis of a balanced appreciation of the multifarious values of life, it shows how to reconcile the various conflicts of our human existence. Out of a broad survey of cosmic evolution it evolves a creative idea which bids fair to impart a new rhythm to the historical order. In reaffirming the central truths of ancient wisdom in the context of our present-day problems, it creates new values and opens up new vistas of human progress. In an endeavor to meet the challenge of the present age, it gives a new dynamic form to the spiritual heritage of the human race—a unified and integrated form to the highest cultural values of East and West. With a penetrative insight into the profound meaning of life it lays the foundation for a complete art of harmonious and creative living.

— Haridas Chaudhuri, 1960


Robert McDermott, PhD, is president emeritus of the California Institute of Integral Studies (1990-99), and current chair of CIIS Program in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness. He taught philosophy at Manhattanville College (1964-71). At Baruch College, CUNY, he was professor of philosophy (1971-90), assistant provost (1982-84), and for 12 years chair of the department of philosophy and of the program in religion. He received two Fulbright grants (summer 1966 and 1975-76) and a National Endowment for the Humanities grant (1978-80). He served as president and chair of the board of many institutions, including: Secretary, American Academy of Religion (1969-72); Secretary treasurer of the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy (1972-76); President of the Rudolf Steiner Institute (1983-94); board member, San Francisco Zen Center (1994-96) and International Transpersonal Association (1995-97); and founding chair of the board, Sophia Project for Mothers and Children at Risk of Homelessness in west Oakland (1999–present). His publications include: Radhakrishnan (1970), The Essential Aurobindo (1974; 1987), co-editor, The Spirit of Modern India (1974; 2009), Six Pillars: Introductions to the Major Works of Sri Aurobindo (1974; 2012),The Essential Steiner (1984), The Bhagavad Gita and the West (2009),The New Essential Steiner (2009), and many essays on philosophy, spirituality, and American thought.

Michael Murphy is a pioneering figure in the human potential movement, Co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Esalen Institute, and Director of Esalen’s Center for Theory & Research. He graduated from StanfordUniversity and lived for a year and a half at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, India. In 1962, with Richard Price, he started the Esalen Institute in Big Sur. Michael has had a long relationship with CIIS as a friend of the founders, and many present and past faculty and community members. He has also served on the Board of Trustees of CIIS.

Michael is the author of four novels: Golf in the Kingdom, The Kingdom of Shivas Irons, Jacob Atabet, and An End to Ordinary History. Other nonfiction work includes In the Zone, an anthology of extraordinary sports experiences, co-authored with Rhea White, The Life We Are Given, a book about transformative practice, co-authored with George Leonard, The Physical and Psychological Effects of Meditation, co-authored with Steve Donovan, and The Future of the Body, a study of human nature’s capacities for transformation. His latest nonfiction work is God and the Evolving Universe, co-authored with James Redfield and Sylvia Timbers.