Eknath Easwaran (19101999) grew up in India and studied both Sanskrit and Pali, the simplified version of Sanskrit that was spoken by the Buddha. He was chairman of the English department at a major Indian university when he came to the United States on a Fulbright fellowship in 1959.
In 1961 Easwaran founded the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation in California, and in 1967, at the University of California, Berkeley, he taught the first academic course on meditation ever offered for credit at a major American university. From the mid 1970s onwards, Easwaran held classes on the core Buddhist scripture, the Dhammapada, in addition to his talks on meditation, world mysticism, and spiritual living.
A gifted teacher, he was able to anticipate the problems that Western readers may have with the concepts underlying the classics of Indian spirituality, and to explain them in fresh and profoundly simple ways. Easwaran’s translations of the Indian classics, the Dhammapada, The Bhagavad Gita, and The Upanishads, are all best-selling editions in English. His books have been translated into 25 languages, and more than 1.5 million copies are in print.