Our beloved friend, George Palmer (Sruti Ram to many who knew and loved him), passed away on December 16th from complications due to COVID. He left us too soon and too quickly, and he will be missed by thousands in the Woodstock area and around the world.
Born in the Bronx on July 21st, 1943, to Italian-American parents, George and Rose, George grew up in Pelham and after his father died when he was 13, he and his mother moved to Riverdale. Catholic school, Gregorian choir, doo-wop singing¸ and a high-powered hair dressing career that lasted 55 years followed.
As a young adult, rock 'n roll jet-setting shifted to a serious life-long meditation and yoga practice; he continuously sought to understand the true nature of a human incarnation and realize his higher being in India and back home. Sruti Ram travelled extensively with Ram Dass (Richard Alpert) as meditation master at his retreats. He ran two houses of Ram Dass students in Queens in the mid-70s, a time when Ram Dass lived and taught in Manhattan. After Ram Dass moved to the Bay Area, Sruti gravitated to Woodstock 40 years ago along with several of those students and, besides bringing his hair-cutting practice with him, started weekly kirtans at his house that continued for decades. Always crediting and honoring his guru, Neem Karoli Baba (who left his body in 1973), Sruti became the core leader of kirtan and bhakti (devotional) yoga in Woodstock. Soon chanting the names of Rama and Krishna, Durga and Shiva together with many bhakti-friends like Shyam Das and others took on a life of its own and they had created a devotional yoga scene in the Hudson Valley affectionately referred to as 'The Bhajan Belt'.
Sruti Ram teamed up with singer/musician, Ishwari Keller, to form the kirtan recording duo SRI Kirtan in 2004 and for many years together they led kirtans all over this country and in India and produced several beautiful, rapturous and successful albums of devotional music. More recently, Sruti Ram shifted his creative focus to writing a spiritual journey memoir - All Roads Lead to Ram: The Personal History of a Spiritual Adventurer will be published by Monkfish Publisher in 2021.
Many people of Sruti Ram's 60s hippie generation have looked to the East for spiritual awakening and practice. But very few have been so passionate and so dedicated, year after year after year, to the practice of love for his fellow beings and hunger for self-realization as Sruti Ram has.
Sruti Ram was a beacon of light for so many fellow seekers. His extended family, all around the globe, will miss his presence dearly.