Ketan Tamm Memorial

Remembering the life of a gifted actor-director, restaurateur, but above all spiritual seeker

Introduction

One of the curious things about our present-day world with its emphasis on the secular and the material is that when people make spiritual choices it’s almost as if they’ve fallen off the edge of the earth. They seemingly no longer exist to people who only measure secular activity. They become unpersons, particularly to hardline anti-cultists.

How strange that people whose days are filled with activities and whose lives are filled with meaning are simply written off as “lost” by those who take an extreme worldly view. Yet, when people make spiritual choices, they continue to breathe oxygen, to eat food and drink water, to plan and dream, to care for others and be cared for. That they do these things in a broader context of service to God or pursuit of spiritual enlightenment does not lessen their humanity.

When Ketan Goldman Tamm passed away in March 2014, it marked the end of a life filled with activity and service. He ran the Panorama of My Silence-Heart Café, which offered more than lattes and loving-kindness: it became a hub of community activity. According to reviewer Julia Lofaso:

Events held there have ranged from community board meetings, elementary school class plays and meatless barbecues to demonstrations by local raw food devotees, performances by Brazilian opera singers and a dramatic President’s Day reading of writings by the founding fathers. Local musicians come to play at Panorama’s recurring Edible Jam while listeners partake in a tasting menu of desserts, all of which feature jam. And, of course, there’s always a chance that [Guinness record holder Ashrita Furman] will walk in and start snapping celery stalks in half or cracking eggs against his forehead in rapid succession.

Ketan was first and foremost a spiritual seeker. Before settling down to run the Panorama Café, he traveled the globe, arranging meetings and events for his teacher, Sri Chinmoy, with the goal of inspiring a more harmonious world. Ketan also loved theatre, and enjoyed directing and acting in plays.

Ketan doing his roadwork with the World Harmony Run, on the island of Jamaica, 2005

Ketan doing his roadwork with the World Harmony Run, on the island of Jamaica, 2005

A poster for the play "Siddhartha Becomes The Buddha" which Ketan directed at the Bleeker Street Theater in 2010

A poster for the play “Siddhartha Becomes The Buddha” which Ketan directed at the Bleeker Street Theater in 2010

The Buddha character from Ketan's play

The Buddha character from Ketan’s play

Because Ketan was very devoted to the spiritual life, his closest friends and family were those who shared his spiritual interest and remained true. This is how his friends and family at Sri Chinmoy Centre remembered him.
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