- M.K. Gandhi  

HANUMAN FOUNDATION

A BRIEF ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

The Hanuman Foundation was established in 1974 as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit educational and service organization in order to “promulgate spiritual well-being among members of society through: a) education and media including events, trainings, publications and recordings, and b) community service programs that support practical applications of benevolent knowledge and ongoing spiritual wisdom traditions in the areas of health, education, the arts, social responsibility, civil society, water and environmental sustainability.” The organization was founded upon the life principles and teachings of the Indian mystic-saint, Neem Karoli Baba. These teachings included to, “Love and feed people,” “Love and serve everyone...,” and “Live simply, so others can simply live” -- (see, Miracle of Love: Stories about Neem Karoli Baba, for more information on Neem Karoli Baba). The name Hanuman originates from the historic archetypal monkey-deity of the Hindu tradition. Hanuman represents the full embodiment of service and devotion through actions and conduct which help in alleviating suffering on the earth (see, Hanuman Chaleesa CD liner notes for more information on Hanuman).

From 1974-1997 the Foundation served as a primary vehicle for producing and facilitating educational workshops, retreats, lectures, and gatherings led by Ram Dass (a.k.a., Richard Alpert, Ph.D., see: www.ramdass.org ), as well a host other well-known teachers from diverse Eastern and Western contemplative spiritual traditions and practices. During this period, the Foundation was responsible for producing more than 1200 events throughout the United States, Canada, South & Central America, Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, India and the Far-East. The Foundation has also served as the co-publisher of Be Here Now, by Ram Dass (Crown Publishers, 1971), the epic spiritual-guide which has sold more than 2 million copies world-wide.

In 1974, Hanuman Foundation helped to establish the Prison-Ashram Project (presently, the Human-Kindness Foundation, www.humankindness.org ) which provided educational training (including yoga and meditation study groups) and life counseling services for individuals incarcerated at local, state and federal correctional facilities in North America. Through the pioneering vision and work of past Hanuman board members, Bo and Sita Lozoff, the project produced the highly acclaimed book, Inside-Out: A Spiritual Guide for Prison Living. In 1976, the Hanuman Foundation created the Living-Dying Project (see, www.livingdying.org) to support and assist individuals in various stages of terminal illness. A private hospice and training center for individuals and families was established in Santa Fe, NM in 1982, which also included a national call-in consultation hot-line facilitated by Stephen & Ondrea Levine, co-founders of the Living-Dying Project and co-authors of the national best-selling books, Who Dies and A Year to Live (see, www.stephenlevine.com).

From 1974-2001, the Foundation established and operated the Hanuman Foundation Tape Library which produced and published an extensive range of spiritual educational and training materials recorded at events by Ram Dass and other prominent teachers and artists including: Stephen and Ondrea Levine; Joesph Goldstein; K.K. Sah; Gelek Rinpoche, Dada Mukherjee; Thich Nhat Hanh; Brother David Steindl-Rast; Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi; Paul Gorman; Lama Surya Das, Frances Vaughan; Roger Walsh; Sharon Salzberg; Jack Kornfield; Jai Uttal; Zuleikha; Krishna Das; Elizabeth Lesser; Joan Halifax, Suil Pema, Catherine Ingram and others (see, www.ramdasstapes.org and useful links).

In 1979 Ram Dass, along with members of the Hanuman Foundation helped to establish the Seva Foundation, an international public health organization working in India, Nepal, Tibet, Mexico, Guatemala, North America and in Native communities. Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, Hanuman Foundation served as a primary support and fundraising vehicle for Seva and its community health programs, producing annual worldwide fundraising-event tours, performing arts concerts, and educational campaigns. In 1988 Hanuman Foundation helped produce a year-long series of community events and benefit concert focusing on domestic homelessness in the U.S., entitled, “Home-Aid,” which took place at St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York City. In 1991, the Foundation was a partner in creating a three month long workshop-series for helping-service professionals and community organizers that culminated in the nationally aired PBS series, “A Change of Heart” (1994), hosted by Ram Dass. In 1996 -97, the Foundation also produced a nationally syndicated talk-radio series entitled, “Here and Now,” which explored and highlighted compassionate values and acts of everyday helping heroism in mainstream American life.

Since its inception in 1974, the Hanuman Foundation has worked as a small independent non-profit publisher and distributor of books, periodicals and recordings on topics focusing on spiritual traditions, practices and education which promote compassionate living in daily society. Hanuman Foundation is the publisher of: Miracle of Love: Stories about Neem Karoli Baba, compiled by Ram Dass; By His Grace: A Devotee’s Story, by Dada Mukherjee; The Near and the Dear, by Dada Mukherjee; and, Hanuman Chaleesa: Songs in Praise of Hanuman, (various artists). The Foundation was also instrumental in producing the books, Journey of Awakening: A Meditator’s Guidebook (Dass, Bonner, Goleman, Borglum, Bantam Publ., 1977) and, Inside-Out,(Bo & Sita Lozoff, 1974) and assisting with the books: Grist for the Mill (Dass & Levine, Unity Press, 1976); How Can I Help (Dass & Gorman, Knopf, 1985); and Compassion In Action (Dass & Bush, Belltower, 1991); and Still Here: Embracing Aging, Changing & Dying (by Ram Dass, Riverhead Books, 2000).

While continuing its publishing activities, the Foundation is also currently involved in creating and supporting ongoing community education programs which promote diverse community dialogues and studies concerning water sustainability and fragile ecosystems of the desert southwestern United States (see, www.nmwaterinitiative.org ).