5. The Public Intellectuals

Swamis Tutor Smart Guys, and They Tutor Us

In the mid-20th century, swamis of the Vedanta Society were mentors to some of the most important thinkers of the era. As the opening of chapter 5 says of those eager students, “their firepower, like the arsenal of a revolutionary vanguard, would radically transform the way large numbers of people understand and practice religion.”

Gerald Heard   Official Gerald Heard website

Gerald Heard

Aldous Huxley  Comprehensive Huxley site

Aldous Huxley

Christopher Isherwood  The Isherwood Foundation

Christopher Isherwood

Heard, Huxley and Isherwood, all expatriate Brits, studied in Los Angeles with Swami Prabhavananda:

Swami Prabhavananda


Joseph Campbell  studied in New York with Swami Nikhilananda Official Campbell Foundation website

joseph-campbell_bill_moyersSwami Nikhilananda

Huston Smith  studied in St. Louis with Swami Satprakashananda Official Huston Smith site

huston smithsatprakashananda

It should also be noted that the great novelist J.D. Salinger also spent a great deal of time with Swami Nikhilananda at the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center on New York’s upper east side. More about him in chapter 15.

More to come. Please send articles, links, audios, videos etc. about these five intellectual giants.