The constant throughout Robert
Kleinman’s life has been a deep interest in the cosmos and the
individual’s place in it. As he explains in his book, he was awakened
to the wonders of the universe as a teenaged soldier during a spiritual
experience on a WWII battlefield in France. After completing his Army
service, Kleinman began a long trek towards the heart of the cosmos at
NYU, where he completed undergraduate studies in mathematics and physics.
To generate funds for further study, he served the country again as a
meteorologist in the Air Force, taking a degree in that discipline from
Pennsylvania State University. He then entered the doctoral program in
philosophy and cosmology at Columbia University.
Kleinman explored the spiritual traditions of India under the guidance
of Swami Nikhilananda at the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center in New York
City. While a student at Columbia, he undertook years of Zen practice
with the great Isshu Miura Roshi at the First Zen Institute of New York.
Well-grounded in meditation, he encountered Sri Aurobindo’s poetry
in a bookshop. The vast and integrative vision of Sri Aurobindo enlarged
and reshaped Kleinman’s life and purpose.
In 1961, he accepted a teaching post at Pensacola Junior College in
Florida. It seemed an ideal place to quietly polish his dissertation.
As they came to know the depth of his integrity and scope of his knowledge,
the college’s administration was so appreciative that they afforded
him full freedom to develop a broader philosophy program. Thus, in the
early 1960s, a college freshman could attend classes with Kleinman like “Theories
of the Universe” and “Comparative Religion” in the
wilds of northwest Florida. Compassionate to the core, he guided scores
of students towards careers, assisted them in resolving life challenges,
and opened them to self-discovery. His reputation grew, and Dr. Kleinman
became the most respected intellect within hundreds of miles, who could
speak authoritatively to wide sweeps of scientific, artistic, philosophic,
and spiritual concerns.
It was not thinking, but realization that formed the core of his efforts.
Kleinman’s deepening study and practice of Sri Aurobindo’s
integral yoga led him to visit India with his wife, Jan, and two of their
children in 1969-1970. Posted as professor for a year to the Sri Jagadguru
Chandrasekhara Bharati Memorial College in Sringeri, South India, Kleinman
and his family visited the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry for lengthy
periods. There they grew close to the Mother and to several of the leading
exponents of her spiritual community.
When he returned to the States, he developed more fully the philosophy
and religion curriculum at the college and shared the richness of his
perspective with an intimate circle of students and friends. Many went
on to distinguished academic and business careers, but all traced their
understanding of the universe and their poise in life to his influence.
Kleinman wrote a number of articles during his career for diverse journals.
He sacrificed significant writing potential, though, when he accepted
larger administrative responsibilities for the college as Chairman of
the History, Languages, and Philosophy Department. Over the years, Kleinman
was awarded grants to numerous conferences on cosmology and metaphysics
by the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the
Humanities. A larger picture of his academic achievements appears below
in his Biographical Data.
After retirement in 1992, Bob and Jan Kleinman moved to Boulder, Colorado,
where over a period of years they carefully honed his studies of the
cosmos and eventually carved this book out of a larger tree of knowledge.
It was brought to its final shape after they returned to a grateful Pensacola.
The Four Faces of the Universe rejuvenates cosmology and carries it beyond
the confines of astronomy. The reader senses not just the shape of this
magnificent and growing universe, but the larger Being whom it manifests.
Robert M. Kleinman
Born March 26, 1926 in Brooklyn, New York.
Attended New York University (B.A., Mathematics and Physics, 1951), Pennsylvania
State University (B.S., Meteorology, 1954), and Columbia University (M.A.,
Ph.D., Philosophy, 1959, 1964).
Two tours of military service (U.S. Army, 1944-46; U.S. Air Force, 1953-57).
Recipient of New York State Scholarship for Veterans, 1951-53). Professional
meteorologist with the Air Weather Service (USAF), 1953-1957.
Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Connecticut, Waterbury, CN, 1961.
Taught philosophy, religion, cosmology, and interdisciplinary humanities at
Pensacola Junior College, 1961-92. Professor of Philosophy and Chairman of
the History, Languages, and Philosophy Department, 1988-92. Visiting Professor
of Philosophy and Religion, the University of West Florida, Spring, 1969. Member
of the Task Force on General Education, 1987. Recipient of the 1988 Academic
Teaching Excellence Award. Member of the PJC Academy of Teaching Excellence.
Retired in 1992. Professor Emeritus.
Awarded first sabbatical leave offered by PJC, Academic year 1969-70. Visiting
Professor of Philosophy at the Sri Jagadguru Chandrasekhara Bharati Memorial
College in Sringeri, South India, 1969-70. Offered a series of lectures on
The Bhagavad Gita at the Nehru Memorial Library in Manipal, India, 1969.
Received a National Science Foundation Grant in 1973 to study contemporary
scientific cosmology at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA (seminar
directed by Remo Ruffini of Princeton University).
Recipient of three National Endowment for the Humanities Grants: (1) “The
Exact Sciences in Antiquity” (Asger Aaboe, at Yale University, 1982),
(2) “The Great Chain of Being in World Perspective” (Huston Smith,
at the Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, CA, 1985), (3) “Metaphysics
and the Modern World” (George Lucas, at the University of Santa Clara,
Santa Clara, CA, l986).
Many articles published in philosophical journals and books in the U.S.A.,
Great Britain, and India. Most recent publications: (1) an article in Contemporary
Philosophy: The Journal of the Institute for Advanced Philosophic Research,
Mar/Apr, 1991, (2) a paper included in New Essays in the Philosophy of Sarvepalli
Radhakrishnan(Ed. S.S. Rama Rao Pappu), Sri Satguru Publications, India Books
Centre, Delhi, 1995, and (3) an article in The Advent: A Quarterly Devoted
to the Exposition of Sri Aurobindo’s Vision of the Future, August, 2004.
Numerous papers presented at meetings of the Socratic Society (The University
of West Florida), The Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, Mysore
University, The American Academy of Religion, and The International Congress
of Vedanta (Miami University, Oxford, OH).
Attended lectures in Vedanta philosophy given by Swami Nikhilananda at the
Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center in New York City, 1957-59.
Studied Buddhism with the Zen Master Isshu Miura Roshi at the First Zen Institute
of America in New York City, 1959-61.
Participated in a seminar on “Sri Aurobindo and Teilhard de Chardin” organized
by Lois Duncan at the Sri Aurobindo Center, Crescent Moon Ranch, Sedona, AZ
(1969). Pursued further research on the works of Sri Aurobindo at the Sri Aurobindo
Ashram in Pondicherry, India (1969-70).
Attended seminars given by the Tibetan Lama Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche at
Naropa Institute in Boulder, CO (1974 and 1976). Took part in the “Seminar
on the Sutras” at Mount Baldy Zen Center in California (directed by Joshu
Sasaki Roshi in conjunction with the U.C.L.A. Extension Division), 1978, and
a seminar on “Emptiness and Great Compassion,” conducted by Tenzin
Gyatso, the Dalai Lama, at Harvard University, 1981.
Also attended a number of international conferences on philosophy: “Hegel
and the Sciences,” sponsored by the Boston Colloquium for the Philosophy
of Science, Boston University (1970), “Plotinus and Indian Philosophy, “at
the Second International Congress of Neoplatonic Studies, Brock University,
Ontario, Canada (1976), and “Einstein’s Century,” a Symposium
at San Francisco State University focusing on the broader cultural impact of
the life and work of Albert Einstein (l980). Did postgraduate study on Dante’s
The Divine Comedy at the University of Colorado in Boulder (1994-5).
Traveled extensively in North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia, with periods
of residence in France, Germany, Morocco, Great Britain, Thailand, and India.
Did research on the life and work of the English poet William Wordsworth in
the English Lake District (1971).
Past memberships in the American Philosophical Association, The American Academy
of Religion, The Hermetic Academy, Pi Mu Epsilon (The National Mathematics
Honors Society), and the American Meteorological Society.