The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

Chakravarty, Amiya, 1901-1986

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Descriptive Summary

Record Group: Section A - Correspondence

Dates of materials: 1966-1968, 1982-1984

Volume: 62 item(s); 109 pg(s)

Scope and Content


Born in India, Dr. Amiya Chakravarty was a well-traveled scholar and professor of philosophy and religion who had the opportunity to meet many great people of his time, including Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, the Indian poet Dr. Rabindranath Tagore, Albert Schweitzer, Boris Pasternak, Albert Einstein, and met Merton during his Asian journey. While in correspondence with Merton, he held professorships at Boston University, Smith College and later the State University of New York at New Paltz. In addition, he served as a delegate to the United Nations for India (Source: The Hidden Ground of Love, pp. 112).

Usage Guidelines and Restrictions

Related Information and Links

See also published letters from Merton to Chakravarty in The Hidden Ground of Love, pp. 112-121; and a reference to Merton's meeting with Chakravarty in India in The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton, p. 32. For a published version of Merton's April 13, 1967 letter and his poem "A Round a Hope for Smithgirls", see also Section D.1, "Sharing gives value : letter to Amiya Chakravarty."

Other Finding Aids

If the person in correspondence with Merton has full text records in the Merton Center Digital Collections, there will be a numeric link to them below.

Series List

This Record Sub-Group is not divided into Series and is arranged chronologically.

Container List

SeriesDateTypeTo/FromFirst LinesPubFull TextNotes
 1966/09/28 TLSto MertonI am one of your countless devotees: your books have meant more to me than anything I have read  [writing from the Department of Religion at Smith College] Chakravarty tell Merton he is not Catholic, but feels close to many of Merton's writings / <i>Raids on the Unspeakable</i> / sending books for Merton to sign for friends and a brochure on Indian thought he thinks is close to one of Pope John XXIII's Encyclicals
 1966/10/28 HLSto MertonDeep and meditative reading of the printed articles you have sent me daily brings me insights  [Merton had sent articles to Chakravarty, including one on Gandhi] plans to visit Merton in December
 1966/11/04 TLS[x]from MertonMany thanks for your letter. I sent the book off in the special delivery envelope; unfortunatelyYes  
 1966/11/30 HLSto MertonFor deep personal and spiritual reasons I need to be with you for an hour or two;-- if this could be  sending book recently printed in Japan [<i>A Flower Does Not Talk</i> by Zenkei Shibayama with an introduction by Daisetz T. Suzuki] / "tragic and yet transcendingly serene and great death of Dr. Suzuki" / Bodhisattva moon / Merton's poems - introduction by Mark Van Doren / asks to visit Gethsemani on December 18
 1966/12/08 HLSto MertonYour most gracious letter has just reached me. I am planning on arriving at Louisville at 8.20 PM  travel plans for December 17 and 18
 1967/01/01 HLSto MertonIt's difficult for me to express the benediction I had - and which I needed in the depths of my soul  on his meeting with Merton at Gethsemani / sending books on Hindu thought, Chakravarty's Tagore Reader, and book by the scientist Loren Eiseley / discussing a short symposium with James Laughlin on <u>"Design"</u> seen through art, literature and religion / Vietnam - southeast Asian crisis
 1967/01/10 TL[c]from MertonI am very grateful for your kind letter and for the other package of books. I am especially glad toYes books on Hindu thought / Loren Eiseley - scientist possessing wisdom
 1967/01/12 TALSto MertonYour letter was a great blessing for me. Its message will be with me. Sometimes a spark of divine  Sally Donnelly's paper on Marcel and Buddhism - Chakravarty's paper in the <u>Journal of Religion</u> of Howard University / Buddhism, modern science and introspective Western religion are "rediscovering the meaning of pain and moving toward light" / sending another Shibayama book and <i>The Edicts of Asoka</i>
 1967/01/16 HLSto MertonJust a word to tell you that we have decided to have a Fr. Thomas Merton evening at Smith  Thomas Merton evening at Smith College - philosophy and religion students to discuss Merton's recent books
 1967/01/21 TL[c]from MertonI think I now owe you two letters. But first of all thanks for the books, particularly the edictsYes Merton's preface to Sally Donnelly's [Sally Conley] paper on Marcel and Buddha - could become a book - contact info. for Justus Lawler at Herder and Herder / "Thomas Merton evening" - mixed feelings - does not want a "personality cult" but glad others may be looking for more in life than "food, comfort, amusement, and money"
 1967/01/27 TALSto MertonJust a line now to tell tell [sic] you at once that your Introduction has reached me here:  [United Nations letterhead] Merton's definition of Nirvana and "spirit of Buddha's teachings is new, luminous and challenging" / wrote to Justus Lawler about a booklet made of Merton's preface and Donnelly's essay / enclosing a lecture to New York State University about two religions in a political context (similar debate at the UN)
 1967/02/10 TLSto MertonIn sending you this rather subtle-- though not so fully substantiated-- book on Indian philosophy  rejection by Herder of Merton/Donnelly book, but articles will appear in the <u>Journal of Religion</u> / idea for collaborative book on "INNER DESIGN" - Merton articles, Chakravarty's address on "interior unitive design in Pope John's Encyclical... Pacem in Terris... aspects of Buddhism" / shares an ancient Chinese poem
 1967/02/15 TL[c]from MertonMany thanks for your letter of the 10th and for the book of W. Norman Brown which I will read.Yes problem of Chakravarty's proposed book - editors will reject if not coherent and unified - new article "The New Christian Consciousness" / Buddhism and the Vietnam War - unfortunate situation of Cardinal Spellman "blind to these obvious facts" about the war
 1967/02/20 TLS[x]to Laughlin, JamesPerhaps Fr. Thomas Merton has already written to you about the discussion that he and I had  idea for a book about dialogue between Buddhism and Christianity to include work from Merton and Chakravarty - papal encyclical <i>Pacem in Terris</i> and the Buddha's affirmations
 1967/02/27 TL[x]from Laughlin, JamesThank you so much for your very interesting letter of February 20, and the enclosure of materials  suggests other publishing houses that might be better for a work on interreligious dialogue between Christians and Buddhists
 1967/03/09 TLto MertonHow good to know that you are well and back from hospital. Your Lent letter is a great joy to us  Vietnam / discussion of Merton's writings at Smith College in March - participation by students and faculty - Professor Stenson who knew Merton at Columbia / still hopes for book on "Inner Design"
 1967/03/27 TL[c]from MertonThanks for your letter of the 9th and the enclosure from J. Laughlin. About your proposed book:Yes Naomi Burton [Stone] will not let Merton get involved in too many projects as collaborator or co-author - proposed book will have to be published under Chakravarty with a contribution by Merton
 1967/03/29 TLSto MertonWe had the great evening. We began late in the afternoon but the students and faculty members  the events of the Smith College evening of Merton - poetry discussion, Prof. Stenson and Merton's writings on Dietrich Bonhoeffer / on meeting Merton at Gethsemani / more on the symposium on Spiritual Design
 1967/04/13 (#01)HLSto MertonLindsay Jones is one of the most brilliant girls we have at Smith -- a fine scholar, writer  sending a letter from Chakravarty's student Lindsay Jones (see "Jones, Lindsay" correspondent file for copy of letter) - Jones' reaction to Merton's work / asks the favor of Merton writing at least one letter to the students at Smith College
 1967/04/13 (#02)TL[c]from MertonI have put off answering until a moment of quiet, an afternoon that is almost as hot as summer.Yes letters sent to Merton from Diana Eck and Janice Wilson [Chakravarty's students - see letters in correspondence file under their names] / "reality that is present to us and in us: call it Being, call it Atman, call it Pneuma... or Silence" / Thomas Traherne / Ecclesiastes "almost Taoist"
 1967/04/13 (#03)TALS[x]from MertonI have put off answering until a moment of quiet, an afternoon that is almost as hot as summer.Yes [handwritten in pen - "for Mrs Hyatt"] letters sent to Merton from Diana Eck and Janice Wilson [Chakravarty's students - see letters in correspondence file under their names] / "reality that is present to us and in us: call it Being, call it Atman, call it Pneuma... or Silence" / Thomas Traherne / Ecclesiastes "almost Taoist"
 1967/04/20 HLSto MertonYour profound message of love was shared by us all: in silence and in prayer we were with you  [Merton sent a letter and poem to the students of Smith College] asks Merton to sign some cards for the students / students want to send Merton some gifts
 1967/04/23 TALSto MertonFirst: I made a mistake, the Smith student who spoke of gifts of food etc came and said she meant  sending proofs for book for Merton's corrections / Vietnam War
 1967/04/25 TL[c]from MertonFirst of all, the proofs are going back to Dr Giltner with all speed. I am perfectly in accord withYes correspondence with students at Smith College / sending photo and asking students to send their pictures / does not want gifts - donations can go to Dorothy Day at the Catholic Worker Farm / Vietnam War
 1967/05/21 TALSto MertonWhat a rare and wondrous gift- A PRAYER OF CASSIODORUS-- I got it now on my return from a long tour  Diana Eck, Janice Wilson and Lindsay Jones [students of Chakravarty] / experience at the UN - abuse of power by large nations (U.S. and China collision course) - trouble in the middle-east - "Hitlerian type[s]" in high places trying to start pre-emptive wars / plans of visiting Japan and India / Vietnam War
 1967/05/25 TL[c]from MertonAfter I had mailed my note to you the other day, your letter arrived with the photos andYes Janice Wilson - the Wilsons interested in Zen and always welcome at Gethsemani / Arab - Israeli Crisis
 1967/08/14 HPCSto MertonDeep regards and my greetings from this beautiful city of stone and wood towers, fenced in gardens,  [verso: "Daisen'in Retreat" - monk meditating in a garden for Zen contemplation near Daitokuji Temple in Kyoto, Japan]
 1967/08/21 TL[c]from MertonI just got your card of the Zen monk and the sand garden. Very tranquil and pleasing. You mentionYes Miss Okamura - Dr. D.T. Suzuki's old place
 1967/09/no? HLSto MertonSome of the cards that I showered from abroad must have reached you; particularly I hope  [writing from new address at the State University College, New Palz, New York] sent message to Merton from Gabriel Marcel - trip to Paris - existentialism "rooted in mystical and Christian reality" / asking for article in which Merton mentions Marcel / Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan a fan of Merton
 1967/10/11 TL[c]from MertonThanks for your letter: I am glad to know you are settled in America again, and now I will knowYes [mentions postcards that are not extant] Merton has not written anything exclusively on Gabriel Marcel - will send him <i>Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander</i> - mentions him in passing / Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan / Janice Wilson wrote from the Zen center in the Sierras of California
 1967/11/04? TLSto MertonI cannot tell you how much your writings have meant to me--and I am sharing them with colleagues   
 1967/11/07 (#01)HLSto MertonI thought these papers from Van der Post might interest you;-- this is a good African-- and human--  response to "Day of a Stranger" [published in Hudson Review, no. 20 (1967)]
 1967/11/07 (#02)otherto Mertonfrom <u>Patterns of Renewal</u> by Lowans Van der Post [-] the things that prowl by night. People  [sent with Chakravarty's 1967/11/07 letter] partial article by Lowans Van der Post
 1968/03/06 (#01)TL[c]from MertonYesterday I was reading in the <u>Forum</u> of the ICIS both your note on Iqbal and Diana Eck'sYes commenting on his note and Eck's article on Krishnamarti
 1968/03/06 (#02)TLS[x]from MertonYesterday I was reading in the <u>Forum</u> of the ICIS both your note on Iqbal and Diana Eck'sYes commenting on his note and Eck's article on Krishnamarti
 1968/03/12 HLSto MertonYour letter was on its way to me when I sent you Shibayama's new book from Yale University.   
 1968/03/28 (#01)TL[c]from MertonThanks for you very good letter. It took some time for your own Shibayama book from YaleYes hoped to meet Shibayama some time / discussing the possibility of traveling to Thailand for meeting of catholic abbots / not encouraged
 1968/03/28 (#02)TLS[x]from MertonThanks for you very good letter. It took some time for your own Shibayama book from YaleYes hoped to meet Shibayama some time / discussing the possibility of traveling to Thailand for meeting of catholic abbots / not encouraged
 1968/04/11 HLSto MertonIt is wonderful to get your letter -- the book you mentioned has not yet arrived. With a slight  conference in Bangkok / <i>Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander</i> / Dawn Vigil in New York [protesting war?] with many Catholic religious orders present, Jews, and other religions
 1968/04/16 HLSto MertonWhat an altogether delightful - (and quite original in technique) your <u>Cables to the Ace</u> is!  [sends newspaper clipping with quote from Pope Paul VI]
 1968/04/23 TL[c]from MertonI am enclosing the signed slips of paper as you requested. Thanks for your kind remarks   
 1968/05/04 TALSto MertonMONK'S POND and the reprints have come: the great treasure is in front of me.  <u>Monks Pond</u> - Merton's poem "North" - <i>The Geography of Lograire</i> / pieces by Lorine Niedecker and Keith Wilson / John C.H. Wu and going deeper into Pai-Chang / Chakravarty's brief visit with Boris Pasternak and Merton's article on him / article by Homer Jack / Thich Tri Quang in U.S.-Vietnamese prison
 1968/05/25 HLSto MertonI forgot to add my tiny check for your Journal. We shall wait for the next issue with great   
 1968/06/14 TL[c]from MertonIt was nice of you to send a check for the magazine. The second number is on its way to you.Yes offer to dedicate <i>Zen and the Birds of Appetite</i> to Chakravarty - contains introduction to Sally Donnelly's "Marcel and Buddha" / plans for Merton's Asian trip - asks suggestions of good places to visit - Zen monasteries and Roshis / "I find myself almost inarticulate in the presence of the <u>usualness</u> of assassination"
 1968/06/24 TLS[x]from MertonMany thanks for your letter and card. This is just a brief note to give the tentative plansYes [copy from published letters] travel plans for Asia - Indonesia, Burma (depending on war), and possibly India; then Thailand and Japan - wants to avoid groups and "unofficially visit traditional communities as a monastic brother of another faith, and just quietly discuss things behind closed doors, and join in some meditation"
 1968/07/23 TL[c]from MertonI am not quite sure where you are now but doubtless this letter will reach you if I send it to New   
 1968/08/31 TLS[x]from MertonI am most grateful for all your help in providing addresses. I am getting in contact with theYes [copy from published letters] plans to visit Japan in spring - meet with Dr. Hisamatsu, Roshi Ogawa / trip to India - visit to Darjeeling and Tibetan Buddhist monasteries - cross into Nepal to visit Dalai Lama at Mussoorie / Ceylon
 1968/10/24 HACSto MertonWith warm words - Amiya [-] Calcutta, Oct. 24, 1968  [verso: "Lamp from Medallion 'Dream of Maya' [-] Bharut, 2nd Century B. C." and a quote about a lamp attributed to Gautama Buddha]
 1982/09/06 TL[c]from Shannon, WilliamI have recently been appointed by the the[sic] Merton Legacy Trust to be the general editor  asking for permission to include his exchange of letters in the published letters
 1983/02/02 (#01)TLS[x]from Shannon, WilliamYou will recall that I called you on the telephone two days ago. At that time I told you that I  second request for permission to include his exchange of letters in the published letters / includes a list of Merton letters in the Bellarmine collection
 1983/02/02 (#02)TLS[x] from Shannon, William / to Academic DeanI am writing to you with the hopes of getting some information about several of your graduates  seeking correspondence with three Smith College, North Hampton, MA graduates - Janice Wilson, Diana Eck, Lindsay Jones
 1983/02/14 TLS from Overstreet, Jeanne / to William ShannonThis letter is in reply to yours of February 2nd regarding "Merton Study Day" here at Smith  reply from the Alumnae Association of Smith College concerning Janice Wilson, Lindsay Jones and Diana Eck / recommends contact with Professor Sten Stenson - Dept. of Religion
 1983/02/27 TLS[x] from Shannon, William / to Sten StensonI am a professor at Nazareth College of Rochester and have been appointed by the Thomas  seeking assistance in locating letters that may be missing from the files of Merton - Stenson was a colleague of Chakravarty who organized the Merton Day at Smith College in 1967 - three girls including Diana Eck were involved at that time
 1983/02/28 (#01)TLS[x] from Shannon, William / to Jeanne OverstreetThank you for your kind reply to my letter inquiring about the Merton Study Day at Smith College  letting Ms. Overstreet know he has written - Diana Eck, and Professor Stenson
 1983/02/28 (#02)TLS[x] from Shannon, William / to Deba P. PatnaikIt was good to see you if only for a short time at Waterloo University. I was sorry that I could  seeking addresses for Marco Pallis, Dona Luisa Coomaraswamy and inquiring as to whether Chakravarty has a secretary / Professor Patnaik is from Oberlin College, Ohio
 1983/06/30 TLS[x] from Shannon, William / to Haimanti ChakravartyI spoke with you on the phone yesterday and I am delighted that you are willing to search  seeking correspondence with the help of Mrs. Amiya Chakravarty (Haimanti Chakravarty)
 1983/10/24 HLS from Chakravarty, Haimanti / to William ShannonPlease, excuse the delay in sending you whatever I found in my husband's files with regard  cover letter for copies of Merton letters
 1983/10/31 (#01)TLS[x] from Shannon, William / to Mary TrottI spoke with you on the telephone the other day, inquiring about the correspondence of Prof  follow up letter to phone call requesting a search of the Smith College archives for missing Chakravarty letters / also seeking program for "Merton Day" - March 14, 1967 / suggested she contact Sten Stenson / suggested researching student publication for letter and poem
 1983/10/31 (#02)HNS[x] from Stenson, Sten / to William ShannonI recently ran across an old issue of the Columbia Jester. Merton has some cartoons in it.  note written on the Shannon/Trott letter of October 31, 1983 / mentions cartoon by Merton but not included in this file / includes article about Chakravarty and biographical information
 1983/11/22 TLS from Trott, Mary / to William ShannonThank you for your letter of October 31st inquiring about Amiya Chakravarty's correspondence with  no correspondence found / includes copies of SOPHIAN reprint of letter and poem from Merton to students / also article about Ada Howe Kent Fund Lecturer and program note in college bulletin / re: Chakravarty lecture and discussion - Smith College
 1984/02/06 HLS from Eck, Diana / to William ShannonI am sending you a copy of a letter to Amiya Chakravarty from Thomas Merton. I hope this  enclosed copy of letter to Chakravarty dated 1967/04/13 and poem - "A Round and a Hope for Smithgirls"
 undated/no/no other Correspondence - Merton - Amiya Chakravarty  Shannon's working notes on correspondence

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