BANGALORE: The scholar S.K. Ramachandra Rao passed away on Thursday at his residence in Jayanagar here. He was 78.
Known as an encyclopaedist, his range of interests and scholarship was wide. He was also known for his command over several languages. He belonged to the genre of encyclopaedists like the intellectual giant from Bengal Sir Brajendranath Seal who was the second Vice-Chancellor of the University of Mysore (1920-29).
Born on September 4, 1927, Saligrama Krishna Ramachandra Rao, was a psychologist, Indologist, Vedantin and art critic. He had written extensively on Vedanta, Buddhism, Jainism, Indian culture, art and literature. He was well versed in Sanskrit, Pali, Ardhamagadhi and also several modern languages and was acquainted with the Tibetan language and European languages.
Prof. Rao obtained a postgraduate degree in psychology from the University of Mysore and studied Indian philosophy under traditional scholars. He headed the Department of Clinical Psychology at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS). He later headed the Department of Indian Culture, the University of the Pacific, U.S., which had a centre in Bangalore for some years in the late 1960s.
He was senior Associate, National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) and visiting faculty at the Indian Institute of Management, Indian Institute of Science, College of Fine Arts and Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat.He was visiting professor in College of Nursing, Institute of Social Work and Administration, MES College (Indology), Bangalore University and number of other institutions.
A prolific writer, Prof. Rao has written books on varied subjects. He was also a musicologist, sculptor and painter.
The scholar received many awards, including the Karnataka Rajyotsava Award, Karnataka Lalitakala Academy Award, Karnataka Sangeeta Nritya Academy Award, Karnataka Sahitya Academy Award, Shilpakala Academy Award, Karnataka Kalashri Sanman, DVG Award, "Sangeeta Kalarathna" of Bangalore Gayana Samaj, Vedarathna of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and Veda Sanman Award of the Government of India.
Bangalore University had conferred an honorary D.Litt degree on him for his outstanding contribution to Indian philosophy and culture besides his accomplishments as a clinical psychologist. He was the recipient of honorary D.Litt degrees from Tirupati Deemed University and Karnatak University, Dharwad.
In him the material and the spiritual, the art and the sciences, and the East and the West had come together in perfect harmony.
However the Padma awards eluded him and it is not known whether the State Government ever recommended his name for them.
He is survived by his wife, Ramadevi, a psychologist and author, and children, Uma and Sudarshan.