Biography—An essence of C.T.K

A Life in pursuit of Knowledge

Professional Life

Even before he got his doctorate or even became a professor at MCC, he was contributing to scientific magazines. His first paper - 'An Epistemological approach to the special theory of relativity' was published by Mind in April 1937. In 1955, Gardner Murphy - a world renowned psychologist - came to visit Dr. Chari at the request of Eileen Garrett - a medium and one of the founding members of the American Para psychological Society. Dr. Murphy suitably impressed with Chari, communicated a favorable report to Garrett and from then on, CTK became a regular contributor to the American Para psychological magazine.

CTK corresponded with leading thinkers all over the world, and yet he had a strange reluctance to travel. One of his colleagues - Principal Chandran Devanesan -the first Indian principal of Madras Christian College - jokingly said that Chari had at least 10 standing invitations to visit universities and institutions abroad at any given time. So, it was the world that had to travel to college campus at Tambaram to meet him. In fact, Pavlov - the very renowned psychologist from Soviet Russia - sent his assistant to meet with Dr. Chari in the early fifties. His correspondence was massive through his working years and he exchanged correspondence with luminaries like Rhine. Many people visited him through the years - including Gardner Murphy again in 1961, Marie Higbee - collaborator of Harold Sherman, Dr. Burke – the brilliant mathematician, Herbert Feigl, Hans Bender, Erlendur Haraldsson and Mrs. Goldini from the UK. He had some of his papers translated into German and Italian for publication in the respective countries.

He became so well renowned that his fame enveloped the Philosophy department at MCC. Many students from all over the world - from Ceylon (Sri Lanka now), Thailand, Tibet - came to study under him. He was a charismatic professor who encouraged his students to question and many of his students went on to become thinkers in their own right - Dr. Marcus Braybrooke being a shining example of that. He visited MCC as an exchange student from Oxford and spent time with Dr. Chari and his family and refers to Dr. Chari in many of his writings.

 It was a known fact that notes for his classes from one year could not be used by the next set of students as he constantly revised and changed his approach to keep the students engaged in their classes. Popular with his students, he and his wife Mythili gave parties to graduating students every year. Apart from written articles for various journals, he also had his speeches broadcast on radio occasionally, of which 'Philosophy of Bertrand Russell' - is the only documented one as it was later published by AIR.

His contributions to the scientific papers were prolific and varied as his interests were diverse. He wrote much about philosophy of science, social impact of the philosophy, psychology, parapsychology, cognitive sciences and quantum mechanics. He had a long and engaged battle of wits with Ian Stevenson who studied reincarnation across South East Asia and published a lot of cases favoring the phenomenon. Dr. Chari always the skeptic questioned Dr. Stevenson's research and had a lively correspondence with him through scientific papers such as Journal for American Society of Psychical Research.  He also had an ongoing conversation with Dr. B. V. Raman, a well-respected figure in the area of Vedic astrology, who was also the founder of the Indian Astrological magazine. Even though they held widely diametrical beliefs, they had mutual respect for each other and corresponded regularly. Dr. Chari also regularly wrote as a book reviewer for the philosophy section of The Hindu. In the 1980s, he slowly wound down his research activities, though his correspondence with various scholars continued to the very end. His last contribution was a paper titled ‘Paranormal Religious Thanthology’ to Christian Parapsychologist in March ’92.








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