Alan Richard Griffiths
Alan Richard Griffiths [name in religion Bede Griffiths] (1906-1993), Benedictine monk, was born at Fritton, Rydens Road, Walton-on-Thames. He was educated from 1919 at Christ's Hospital, where, aged seventeen, he had a mystical experience. At Magdalen College, Oxford he made lifelong friends with C. S. Lewis, and in 1932 became a Roman Catholic. In January 1933 he was clothed as a postulant at the Benedictine Abbey of Prinknash. Later he was sent to Pluscarden, near Elgin, the most northerly Benedictine Abbey in the world where he was seen as a holy man with outstanding pastoral gifts. After reading W.B. Yeats' translation of the Upanishads he developed an interest in eastern spirituality. In 1955, he published a spiritual autobiography, 'The Golden String', and left the Abbey to travel to India, and later America. In August 1968 he returned to India to join the Saccidananda ashram [Shantivanam] in Tamil Nadu, where he remained for the rest of his life, devoted to bridging Hinduism and Christianity.