- Hari Dass, Baba
- (1923– )teacher of Ashtanga YogaFor over 50 years, Baba Hari Dass has been teach-ing ASHTANGA YOGA and instituting organizations for social service in the United States, Canada, and India, while maintaining vows of monastic silence.Born in 1923 near Almora, India, in the foot-hills of the Himalayas, Baba Hari Dass left home at age eight to join a sect of renunciants in the jungles of the lower Himalayas. In 1942, he took initiation as a monk in the VAIRAGI Vaishnavite order. After years of MEDITATION, he decided in 1952 to become a MUNI SADHU, a monk who prac-tices continual silence. The observance of silence is aimed at gradually quieting the mind and elimi-nating unwanted thoughts. He writes on a small chalkboard to communicate his teachings. Despite this vow, he has been able to implement his plans for the extension of his version of religion and spirituality, while developing ASHRAMS and teach-ing YOGA.In addition to teaching classical Ashtanga Yoga (the Yoga of the Eight Limbs, originally codified by PATANJALI), Baba Hari Dass is an author, builder, philosopher, sculptor, and pro-ponent of AYURVEDA (the ancient Indian system of health and healing.) In 1971, he traveled to North America, and he has continued to work in India, Canada, and the United States. He and his teachings have inspired the Mount Madonna Center near Santa Cruz, California; the Dhar-masara Satsang Society/Salt Spring Center near Vancouver; the Ashtanga Yoga Fellowship in Toronto; and the Sri Ram Ashram in Haridwar, India, all organizations dedicated to yoga educa-tion, retreats, service projects, and publishing. The California-based Hanuman Fellowship was formed in 1974.In 1987, he founded (and continues to fund) a unique orphanage near HARIDVAR, Uttar Pradesh, that provides a family life for its residents, Baba Hari Dass, silent monk, teacher of Ashtanga Yoga, author, and founder of several retreat centers and social-service organizations (© Hanuman Fellowship) emulating the life of a home with parents and siblings. The orphanage now houses more than 35 children. His Hanuman Fellowship sponsors weekly gatherings, or satsangs, and periodic retreats at their centers. Sri Rama Foundation/Publishing, established in 1971, publishes the writings of Hari Dass.Hari Dass presides at weekly sessions on the YOGA SUTRA, the BHAGAVAD GITA, Ashtanga Yoga, and related subjects. He also writes commentar-ies on the principal yoga scriptures and teaches classes on yoga. Each Sunday he leads community gatherings that include singing, meditation, and yoga.Further reading: Baba Hari Dass, Ashtanga Yoga Primer (Santa Cruz, Calif.: Sri Rama: Hanuman Fellowship, 1981); ———, Between Pleasure and Pain: The Way of Conscious Living (Sumas, Wash.: Dharma Sara, 1976); ———, Fire without Fuel: The Aphorisms of Baba Hari Dass (Santa Cruz, Calif.: Sri Rama, 1986); ———, Hariakhan Baba: Known, Unknown (Davis, Calif.: Sri Rama Foundation, 1975); ———, Silence Speaks: From the Chalkboard of Baba Hari Dass (Santa Cruz, Calif.: Sri Rama Foundation, 1977); ———, Sweeper to Saint: Stories of Holy India (Santa Cruz, Calif.: Sri Rama, 1980).
Encyclopedia of Hinduism. A. Jones and James D. Ryan. 2007.