In Memoriam - Allan W. Anderson

Allan William Anderson, poet, author, Professor Emeritus, beloved teacher, scholar of the Oracular Tradition, born July 18, 1922, died peacefully at home in San Diego, March 11, 2013.

All the world is a prayer, whether I pray or no
And the prayer I might have prayed
God heard and knew as tho
---Allan W. Anderson

Well versed in Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Sanskrit, German, French and Chinese, Allan Anderson was a gifted religious linguist. Upon graduation with a double degree from Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary, he was recruited by San Diego State University as an Associate Professor in the Philosophy Department to teach Asian Studies. In 1967, Dr. Anderson was instrumental in founding the newly formed Religious Studies Department. He received an Excellence in Teaching Award from the State of California in 1970.

During his tenure he taught an eclectic series of classes on fascinating topics such as: The Oracular Tradition, Ways of Spiritual Transformation, The Masculine and Freedom, The Feminine and Destiny, and Spirit and Structure. Dr. Anderson was conferred Professor Emeritus status in 1987.

In 1978, he was asked to partner with the spiritual teacher J Krishnamurti in a series of 18 videotaped dialogues for PBS that brought forward the essence of Krishnamurti's teachings. Two books resulted from this exchange, the transcript of the dialogues, A Wholly Different Way of Living and the more recent On Krishnamurti's Teaching. His original research on the ancient Chinese oracle, the I Ching, produced two books: Self-Transformation and the Oracular and Reflections on the I Ching. His studies of Taoism led to his original poetic translation (yet to be published) of the Tao Te Ching.

Between 1994 and 1997 Dr. Anderson was asked to present a series of papers at the International Conferences on the New Paradigms of Science at the University of Guadalajara, Mexico. His four papers, entitled "Human Transformation Independent of Knowledge and Time," "Inner Transformation and Bearing," "Awareness, Consciousness and Bearing," and "Primal Intuition and Bearing" exemplify his fierce independent spirit, keen intellect and highlight him as an original thinker and profound teacher of self-inquiry. These papers are included in On Krishnamurti's Teaching available at the "Publications" link at the top of the page.

At the request of former students, Dr. Anderson taught a small, informal graduate seminar from 1993 until 2006.

In addition to his academic accomplishments Dr. Anderson was at heart a poet, his pen and heart happiest in verse. From this fertile ground came the children's poems (book and CD) Songs From the Mifflinger Sea and a little cove of Nonsense. The greater part of his poetry is being readied for publication.

San Diego State University has established a special collection of Dr. Anderson's work and we urge you to contact us if you have materials which you might like to donate. The collection is concerned with everything that documents Dr. Anderson's life and work. They are especially interested in his approach to teaching because of his Distinguished Teaching award, in his work with Krishnamurti (also a major focus of the Special Collection) and in the history of the Religious Studies Department.

Steve Echard was kind enough to set up a memorial website where you are encouraged to leave your stories, reflections, memories and photos.

When asked once about an epitaph, he replied quoting Samuel Taylor Coleridge:

For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

Bookstore lecture photo courtesy of Dennis Wills of D.G. Wills Books
Birthday photo by Linda Chase
Black and white portrait by Alexandra Trimm
Photo of AWA wearing a scarf and photos of the mountain lake area by Esperanza Zane