Andrew Harvey: Founder Director of the Institute of Sacred Activism
Andrew Harvey was born in south India in 1952 where he lived until he was nine years old. It is this early period that he credits with shaping his sense of the inner unity of all religions and providing him with a permanent and inspiring vision of a world infused with the sacred. He left India to attend private school in England and entered Oxford University in 1970 with a scholarship to study history. At the age of 21, he became the youngest person ever to be awarded a fellowship to All Soul’s College, England’s highest academic honor.
By 1977 Andrew Harvey had become disillusioned with life at Oxford and returned to his native India, where a series of mystical experiences initiated his spiritual journey. Over the next thirty years he plunged into different mystical traditions to learn their secrets and practices. In 1978 he met a succession of Indian saints and sages and began his long study and practice of Hinduism. In 1983, in Ladakh, he met the great Tibetan adept, Thuksey Rinpoche, and undertook with him the Mahayana Buddhist Bodhisattva vows; later, in 1990, he would collaborate with Sogyal Rinpoche and Patrick Gaffney in the writing of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. In 1984, Andrew Harvey began a ten-year-long exploration and explication of Rumi and Sufi mysticism in Paris with a group of French Sufis and under the guidance of Eva De Vitray-Meyerovitch, the magnificent translator of Rumi into French. In 1992, he met Father Bede Griffiths in his ashram in south India near where Andrew Harvey had been born. It was this meeting that helped him synthesize the whole of his mystical explorations and reconcile eastern with western mysticism.
In 2005, in the historic Santuario de Guadalupe in Santa Fe New Mexico, Andrew Harvey delivered his vision of the contemporary crisis now confronting us in today’s world and its potential solution in what he has termed “Sacred Activism,” which he sees as the culmination of his life’s work. This extraordinary occasion was made into a documentary film by the Hartley Film Foundation and is available on DVD at www.hartleyfoundation.org.
Andrew Harvey has taught at Oxford University, Cornell University, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, The California Institute of Integral Studies, and the University of Creation Spirituality as well as the at various spiritual centers throughout the United States. He was the subject of the 1993 BBC film documentary The Making of a Modern Mystic and appears also in Rumi Turning Ecstatic and The Consciousness of the Christ: Reclaiming Jesus for A New Humanity.
Andrew Harvey is Founder Director of the Institute of Sacred Activism. He also has a spiritual counseling practice in Chicago and is available for spiritual direction via phone.