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Some seeds take root and flower dramatically: in 1967 I attended Thomas Berry’s course on Hinduism. In 1970 I went to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville, and on the way home visited Dr. Chaudhuri. In 1974 I edited a book of essays on the major works of Sri Aurobindo for which Thomas Berry wrote the essay on Sri Aurobindo’s Foundations of Indian Culture. In 1975 Dr. Chaudhuri died, Thomas Berry gave up Asian religions for ecology, and I went into study and administration of anthroposophy. But in 1990 these strands reunited: I succeeded Haridas as president of CIIS, Brian Thomas Swimme, who became a student and friend of Thomas Berry as I had been, joined the faculty. With other PCC faculty Brian and I have been weaving the Chaudhuri and Berry legacies. In the early 90s CIIS awarded Thomas an honorary doctorate and a weekend in his honor. We inherited a third of Thomas’s library that sits in a place of honor next to the library of Dr. Chaudhuri.


Robert McDermott, PhD, is president emeritus of the California Institute of Integral Studies and current chair of CIIS Program in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness. He received two Fulbright grants and a National Endowment for the Humanities grant. He was Secretary, American Academy of Religion ; Secretary treasurer, Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy; President of the Rudolf Steiner [summer] Institute; board member, San Francisco Zen Center and International Transpersonal Association, and founding chair of the board, Sophia Project for Mothers and Children at Risk of Homelessness in west Oakland. His publications include: Radhakrishnan (1970), The Essential Aurobindo, co-editor, The Spirit of Modern India, Six Pillars: Introductions to the Major Works of Sri Aurobindo, The Bhagavad Gita and the West, The New Essential Steiner, and many essays on philosophy, spirituality, and American thought.