Above: pictures of Professor Hari Prasad Shastri and Trevor Leggett with his teacher, Hari Prasad Shastri
Hari Prasad Shastri was born at Bareilly in Northern India in 1881.
He came from a long line of Brahmin scholars and himself took the highest possible distinctions in Sanskrit and in the classical philosophy of India. He was also well versed in the Chinese, Japanese and Persian languages and literatures.
He studied the practical methods of Yoga as a traditional disciple under the saint Shri Dada of Aligarh. At the age of 20 he undertook an arduous pilgrimage to Tibet and was permitted by the late Tashi Lama to bring back many valuable manuscripts to India.
In 1916 he went to Japan, where he lectured on Hindu philosophy at Waseda University and the Imperial University in Tokyo.
Later he became dean of Hardoon University in Shanghai and Professor of Philosophy at Nan-kwang College.
Dr. Sun Yat Sen, founder and first President of the Republic of China, was Dr. Shastri’s personal friend and pupil. While in China he founded the Asiatic Review and brought out the standard Chinese edition of the Buddhist Scriptures now used in the Universities. He also translated the Analects of Confucius into Hindi, and supervised a translation of the Koran into Chinese.
Dr. Shastri came to London in 1929, where he founded Shanti Sadan, a traditional centre of the classical Yoga of Self-realisation. Before his death in 1956, Dr. Shastri gave detailed instructions for the continuance of his work. Among Dr. Shastri’s literary works, his translation of the Indian epic Ramayana was sponsored by the Indian Government.
Dr Shastri’s most immediate friends included Paramahansa Rama Tirtha, Shri Swami Mangalnath and Swami Satchitananda Saraswati.
Trevor Leggett was one of Dr Shastri’s pupils and Trevor dedicated all his books to his teacher.