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Re: theos-talk Hodson on Rishi Agastya

Feb 27, 2011 06:09 PM
by Govert Schuller


My own summary was as follows:

In the 1960s he [Hodson] was Director at the School of the Wisdom at the headquarters of the Theosophical Society in Adyar. On one of the trips with his students they visited one of the four monastic centers established by the sage Sri Shankaracharya at the city of Conjeeveram. Here the group was received by the reigning administrative head who, by tradition, also was named Sri Shankaracharya. After the group audience Hodson had a private meeting with him and was asked to submit any question he still had. One of them was if the Rishi Agastya was still the "Spiritual Guardian of India" and still reachable. Sri Shankaracharya answered that the Rishi was still in his physical body and lived in the Himalayas. See: John K. Robertson "Aquarian Occultist: The Life and Teachings of Geoffrey Hodson" (unpublished MS, 1971), 292. 

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: MKR 
  To: theos-talk 
  Sent: Sunday, February 27, 2011 4:18 PM
  Subject: theos-talk Hodson on Rishi Agastya

  There have been discussions among theosophical students about the Adept
  known as Rishi Agastya. Very little is known about Him, which should not
  surprise anyone. Here is an account of an inquiry by Hodson about Him. This
  is extracted from - LIght of the Sanctuary - his personal diary.


  On another occasion, having heard that another holy man was visiting
  Conjeeveram, [a city close to Chennai] I sent a request through a local
  Theosophist, to know whether he would receive the students of the School of
  the Wisdom.

  That was none other than the reigning Shri Shankaracharya, administrative
  and spiritual head of the whole monastic centre, or mutt as it is called, of
  the ancient temple centre at Conjeeveram. The office has been held in an
  unbroken line since the days of Shri Shankaracharya Himself, twentythree or
  four hundred years ago, according to Subba Row, one of the early
  Theosophists and occultists connected with our Society. The Lord Shri
  Shankaracharya is regarded occultly as a voluntary incarnation of one of the
  Lords of the Flame following the Lord Buddha to correct certain
  misconceptions, using some of the Lord Buddha's subtle vehicles.

  Amongst other things, He established four such temple centres and ordained,
  as we would say in Christianity, the first of an unbroken series of
  representatives of Him to bear His Name and preside over these centres
  continuously down the ages. As far as I know, this has been kept up, and the
  finest human beings available are called to occupy these positions, regarded
  as amongst the highest in India.

  Our request for audience was granted. We arrived on a Sunday morning, and in
  due time were led into his presence. He had chosen a walled garden a mile or
  so outside the city of Conjeeveram. It was a sacred place, because for long
  years a holy man had lived and died there. We went in through the garden
  gate. Nobody seemed to be there at first, until, over on one side, right
  across the garden, we saw a figure sitting on a mat under a tree. He was in
  a yellow robe with a chaplet of leaves around his head. In front of him was
  spread Japanese matting to which we were led. The Europeans saluted him in
  the usual fashion, and the Indians prostrated themselves before him.

  We sat down and, as the leader, I expressed gratitude to him for granting us
  this audience, addressing him as "Your Holiness", which is his title among
  his people, and told him who we were. He spoke very good English, but an
  interpreter helped, and he began to ask all the students questions in tum.
  Interestingly enough, these questions were about their Lodges and how many
  members, what they did, and what they taught ...

  All of us bore testimony afterwards to being bathed in an atmosphere of
  peace in the presence of this slight figure. Looking at him you would never
  have thought that he held one of the highest positions in ecclesiastical
  India, so humble was he, but he did.

  Towards the end I asked him if he would give us all a message to take back
  to the world for ourselves. He had a peculiar habit of closing his eyes and
  being silent for quite a time after every question, clearly allowing his
  consciousness to slip back to where it seemed to be normally living. in a
  higher realm. That was very marked with him, it appeared to me. The eyelids
  were half-closed much of the time until his full attention was arrested.
  Then the eyes were open and alive.

  He said, "Fix your mind upon God. Keep it there always, and whenever it
  tends to move away from the thought of God, bring it back instantly, until
  at last it becomes a habit always to keep one part of your mind
  contemplating God." He also spoke of universal truths that other holy men
  had stressed. For example, that you can do nothing in the spiritual life
  until you have purity of heart. Shiva said the same several times.

  Purity of heart is of the utmost importance, meaning that there must be no
  thought of personal gain or personal reward whatever from any attainment
  spiritually that may be reached. Finally, this successor in office to the
  great original Shri Shankaracharya held up his right hand and said, "This is
  the blessing."

  And certainly some of the members of the School, next morning, when we went
  over it all, bore testimony to having felt a descent of blessing. As we
  withdrew from this unforgettable experience, one of the men attendants came
  to me before we left the garden, and said that His Holiness would see me
  alone for a few minutes if I wished. I felt very highly honoured, of course.
  and went back, knowing that it was only because I was the Director of
  Studies of the School of the Wisdom.

  He asked if there were any questions that I, personally, would like to ask.
  He made me feel completely at home with him, never any embarrassment at all.
  I did ask a number of questions, but I wish I had been more prepared for the
  opportunity. One felt that one did not have any questions in his presence.
  As a result of Theosophical studies, one's mind isn't really filled with

  I did ask him whether the Rishi Agastya was still in India, guarding it,
  fulfilling His Office, still reachable by men, and could be seen. He went
  off into silence, and then asked if I meant in the physical body. I answered
  that that was said to be the belief. He went off again for some time before
  answering. Then he said that the Rishi Agastya was still in His physical
  body, but not here; that He lived in the Himalayas. Then again he held up
  his hand and said, "This is the blessing." I further thanked him on behalf
  of us all and withdrew.

  I have been asked if I looked at his aura. I had not. I forbore to try to
  look at him in any kind of a research method, because I felt it would be
  unfitting and perhaps an impertinence. I was only aware that the slight
  figure was surrounded by a great light and that he was a highly advanced
  person . .. Such were the rich extra-curricular activities of our school.


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