In Memory

James N Merryman - Class Of 1939

James N Merryman

James Norman Merryman, known as Devidas, was born in Los Angeles February 10, 1921. He graduated from The Los Angeles School of Optometry in 1943. After serving in the Navy as a ship's captain in the Pacific during World War II, he worked as an optometrist until retirement in 1977. His contact with Vedanta began in 1951, when he visited the Ramakrishna Monastery in Trabuco Canyo, California and met Swami Yogeshananda. He did volunteer work there and at the Vedanta Society of Southern California's Hollywood Center, receiving spiritual initiation from Swami Prabhavananda in 1956. While living in the Hollywood Center monastery for some years, he worked on the maintenance of the Society's rental properties. He served on the Society's Board of Trustees for about 10 years, resigning when his hearing disability became problematic. For decades he served as an usher for services at the Temple. He died in August 2013 in Woodland, California.

Devidas was known and beloved by many, not only as a stalwart friend, but as an extraordinary example of a joyful and loving devotee. He was personally warm and affectionate, with a rare sense of humor and love of practical jokes. And yet he was learned in all aspects of Vedanta and rock solid in his devotion to his spiritual Ideal.

American Vedantist, February 17, 2014