AWARDED: Septuagenarian musician Pundit Ravi Shankar with the Premium Imperial Award on October 21 in Tokyo, conferred by Japan's Emperor Akihito. Often hailed as India's cultural ambassador, Shankar gave a mesmerizing sitar recital one month earlier before a sell-out crowd in New York's Carnegie Hall, accompanied by his talented daughter and musical heir, Anoushka.

BLESSED: Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy, age 78, with Western management techniques and yogic philosophy. Following the late Sri Aurobindo, "Dr. V." created Aravind, the world's largest eye hospital, at Madurai, India. It conducted 107,000 surgeries in 1996. Two-thirds of the patients were treated free of charge. Dr. V. says, "The important thing is the deep communion we make with the patient."

CONCLUDED: A 7-year legal battle on October 16, 1997, between Ananda Church of Self Realization and Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) when SRF's remaining suit was dismissed. The dispute began when SRF sued Ananda for copyright and trademark infringement. SRF had obtained copyrights on Paramahamsa Yogananda's writings and trademarks on words like Self-Realization. Ananda challenged, and Federal Court Judge Edward J. Garcia ruled in its favor.

DIED: Advaita Vedantist Harivansh Lal Poonja on September 6, 1997 in Lucknow, India, at age 86. Poonjaji, as he was known to devotees, was a disciple of Ramana Maharshi and taught that our true nature is unbounded, limitless consciousness; we need simply to realize this fact.