(2 March 1931 – 24 March 2018)
Anand Jina (aka Robert E. Gussner or Bob) was born in Minnesota and graduated from Hamline University (St. Paul), where he played guard for the Hamline Pipers basketball team so successfully that, in 1994, he was inducted into the Hamline Athletic Hall of Fame.
Jina received a Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree from Boston University and earned his PhD in comparative religion at Harvard University.
He was a Unitarian minister in Stoughton, MA from 1960 to 1964. During the late 1950’s, he was a member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation and helped organise peace action projects and non-violent direct action for civil rights in the South.
From 1969 to 1996, he was a professor of comparative world religions at the University of Vermont. During this time, in 1977, he was sent to Pune by the American Academy of Religion to research and write a scholarly paper on Osho’s syntheses of modern western methods (particularly those of the Esalen Institute in California) and the traditional Indian approach to religion.
While he wrote the paper, he became more and more intrigued by what was going on in Pune. “But at first I thought Osho’s approach was so different from anything I knew, that it couldn’t be right,” he had commented. He visited Osho’s commune in Pune several times until, in 1982, he was intitiated and was given the name Swami Anand Jina. He incorporated Osho’s wisdom and his meditations into his teachings at the University of Vermont.
Following his retirement, he continued to write and feed his keen mind. He received tremendous satisfaction from teaching others, particularly about meditation and awareness.
Jina died at the VNA Respite House in Colchester, following recent complications of Parkinson’s Disease.
A celebration of his life will be planned for the summer.
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