In the early 1990’s a friend walked into my shop, Mysterium, in Boulder, CO and handed me a copy of I Am by Jean Klein. After reading a few pages I knew that he was someone I wanted to meet. I was relieved to find contact information on the back cover which I phoned and learned that there was a retreat in Joshua Tree, CA coming up in a couple of months. Thus began a friendship that would last until Jean left his body in early 1998. A short story of this friendship can be read at Jean Klein: Master of Listening. -purushottama
As a young man, Jean Klein studied music and medicine in Vienna and Berlin. During this time, he became familiar with the philosophies of Gandhi, Lao Tze, Chuang Tzu, Tagore, Coomaraswamy, Aurobindo, and later became acquainted with the writings of the French philosopher Rene Guenon. What struck him about Guenon’s views was the distinction he made between the traditional and the Tradition–the latter being a principle, which is transmitted from teacher to disciple through intitiation. He remarked of this approach: “This awoke in me that it was actually humanly possible to become fully integrated and awake in the whole.”
Jean Klein left Germany in 1933 and spent World War II in France, secretly helping thousands to escape from Germany. After the war, he left Europe for India seeking an environment that would welcome self-inquiry. There, in Bangalore, he met a Pandit–a professor of Sanskrit–who became his teacher and subsequently initiated him into the wisdom of advaita. After living intensely with this understanding, one day the teaching became an awakened reality–a living truth that became fully integrated in him.
For forty years Dr. Klein responded to invitations from all over the world to share his knowledge. He lived in Europe and The United States and died in February 1998 in Santa Barbara, California. He is the author of several books on non-dualism in English and other languages.
-Most of this biographical sketch came from Inner Directions Journal, Fall/Winter 2002.
Books and Audios
Here are a couple of books and audios by Jean Klein that are downloadable.
Here you can see an excerpt from an interview of Jean by Lillias Folan.
An interview with Jean Klein by Stephan Bodian (Yoga Journal)
Follow the link to read an excellent biography
All of the posts concerning Jean Klein