Eknath Easwaran (December 17, 1910 – October 26, 1999) was an Indian-born spiritual teacher, author, as well as a translator and interpreter of Indian religious texts such as the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads.
Easwaran was a professor of English literature at the University of Nagpur in India, and in 1959 he came to the United States as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley where he taught courses on meditation. In 1961, Easwaran founded the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation and Nilgiri Press, based in northern California.
Nilgiri Press has published over thirty books that he authored.
Easwaran was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi, whom he met when he was a young man. Easwaran developed a method of meditation – silent repetition in the mind of memorized inspirational passages from the world’s major religious and spiritual traditions – which later came to be known as Passage Meditation.
Eknath Easwaran was born in 1910 in a village in Kerala, India. Eknath is his surname, Easwaran his given name. Brought up by his mother, and by his maternal grandmother whom he honored as his spiritual teacher, he was schooled in his native village until the age of sixteen, when he went to attend St. Thomas College, Thrissur, a Catholic college fifty miles away. Here he acquired a deep appreciation of the Christian tradition. He graduated at the University of Nagpur in English and law. He served as Professor of English literature at the University of Nagpur.
In 1959, he came to the United States as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley.
From 1960 he gave classes on meditation in the San Francisco Bay Area. He met his wife Christine at one of these talks. Together with his wife, he founded the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation in 1961. After a four-year stay in India, he returned to the Bay Area in 1965.
In 1970 he founded Ramagiri Ashram as a community of dedicated followers in Marin County.
He set up a publishing activity, Nilgiri Press, which printed his first book Gandhi The Man, telling the story of Gandhi as a spiritual as well as a political leader. His first major work was his 3-volume commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, the Bhagavad Gita for Daily Living, the first volume of which was printed in 1975 and the last in 1984. His book Meditation on the program of meditation and allied disciplines that he developed first appeared in 1978.
By 2018, Easwaran’s methods of spiritual practice had been the focus of two major scientific research programs that had produced thirty refereed research reports.