Professor K. R. Sundararajan passed away on December 24, 2022, at the age of 84, in Rochester, NY in the company of his wife of 47 years.
He is predeceased by brothers K. R. Rajagopalan and K. R. Rengarajan. He is survived by his wife Louise Sundararajan; daughter Radhika Sundararajan; son-in-law Jeremy Beitler; grandson Lukas Beitler; sister Viji Venugopal; brother-in-law R. Venugopal; sisters-in-law Vijaya Rajagopalan and Rosalind Rengarajan; nephews V. Rangarajan and Ramesh Rajagopalan; and nieces Ramaa Vasudevan and Usha Rangarajan.
Dr. Sundararajan grew up in South India, earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from Madras University, and taught Hindu Studies at Punjabi University, Patiala, India. He came to the United States in 1970 as a visiting scholar at the Center for the study of World Religions at Harvard University, where he met a Chinese graduate student named Louise Lu. He subsequently gave up his tenured position at Punjabi University, to marry Louise and settle down in western New York as a Theology Professor at St. Bonaventure University. In addition to Hinduism, K.R’s favorite topic of research was inter-religious dialogue. So far as ecumenical religiosity is concerned, he practiced what he preached. His close friends included Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Protestants, Catholics, and Native Americans whom he called his “Indian cousins.” It is difficult to tell which Heaven he is headed, but his sister Viji is probably right in saying that he is with God now.
As for the earthlings that he left behind, Dr. Sundararajan will be remembered as a gentle soul whose life gives us hope amidst the mounting hate crimes and intolerance toward ethnic and cultural differences.
A Celebration of Life will be held in Spring 2023 at St. Bonaventure University, Olean, NY.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Olean Meditation Center (PO Box 844 Olean NY 14760) in K.R.’s memory. CLICK HERE to donate online.