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AryaSamaj and The TS

Jun 26, 2012 11:34 PM
by Ramanujachary nallanchakravarti






 How the
two came together


The account how the two
organizations viz. Arya Samaj and the Theosophical Society came together needs
to be seen at the outset. 


We have the following
narration from Col. H S Olcott, the Founder-President of the Theosophical
Society, made in July 1882.  


In the year 1870
I made the voyage from New York to Liverpool,
and met on board two Hindu gentlemen of Bombay,
the Late Mr Mulji Thakersey and his friend Mr Tulsidass.  I heard no more of them until late in 1877,
when from an American gentleman I learned that Mr Mulji was still alive. The
Theosophical Society had by then been in existence just two years, and the
design to come to India
to live to die there had been already formed in my mind.  I wrote to Mr Mulji an account of our Society
and its plans, and asked his cooperation and that of other friends of Aryan
religious philosophies.  He responded,
and introduced to me Harishchandra Chintamani, President of the Arya Samaj, 'a
man of learning, for a long time Political agent of the ex-Gaekwar,' and author
of a commentary of Bhagawat-Gita "a book full of Aryan philosophy and
Aryan thought"; a man "who will be a capital helpmate to our
Society," and would give me any information I might need "about
oriental publications."  At the same
time he spoke to me of a "renowned Pandit,Dayananda Saraswati, the best
Sanskrit scholar, and now travelling through India to teach people the Vedic
doctrines in their true light and --- their forefathers' faith which seems to
be the foundation of all religions and civilization."

Now, I had
reason to believe that I had been taught sometimes, at least, about that
"true light" - i.e. esoteric meaning - of Vedic doctrine, and so I
naturally concluded that an Aryan Swami, who was trying to lead his people back
to that true light out of the
darkness of superstition, was a yogi - adept, our natural ally and a fit
teacher to our members. This opinion was strengthened by the tone of a pamphlet
issued, August 25, 1877, by the Lahore Arya Samaj as a memorial to Dr G W
Leitner in favour of the Veda Bhashya. 
It contained as well the swami's defense of his Bhashya against the
attacks of his critics, in which he quoted approvingly the opinions of Max
Muller, Colebrooks, Coleman, and the Rev. Garrett upon the God of the Vedas -
an impersonal, all-pervasive Principle. 
no document ever put forth by the Theosophical Society, nor by Madame
Blavatsky or myself, could â unless my memory is at fault, in which case the publication of the
letter by any one who has it would set the matter at rest â have conveyed any
other view of the beliefs of the founders, respecting the personality of god.
In Isis Unveiled, as in all
subsequent publications, it has been said that we could conceive of no God
endowed with the attributes and limitations of Personality: and that, with the
Vedantin Adwaitees, the arhat mystics, the ancient Mobeds of the Zandustian
period, and all other representatives of the "Wisdom-Religion", we
recognized an eternal and omnipresent Principle (called by many different
names) in nature â the source of motion and life.

In writing to
our Bombay
friends we took great care to make these views clear - as will be seen in the
documents which follow, and when we received from them the assurances that the
principles of our Society were identical
with those of the Swami and his Samaja, we joyfully entertained the proposal
for an amalgamation.

requested this (the amalgamation) -says Mr Harishchandra Chintamani  (in his letter of April 22, 1878) for two
reasons: first, inasmuch as it is acknowledged that the True Light can only be
in the east, and that the Aryans were the first to make a satisfactory progress
in the study of the science of psychology, why not adopt an original name
rather than have recourse to a new-coined word; and, second, because â all
institutions in the work, which have one and the same object, should have one
common name throughout."

This view
appearing reasonable, and we, Founders having no conceit of leadership, but
being more than willing to unite with any body - especially an Aryan one led by
a Swami-adept - that was fitter than ours to head this movement for a revival
of the Wisdom-Religion, we would without delay upon Mr Harishchandra's
proposal, and passed the act of amalgamation. It must here be observed that in
my letters to the swami I speak on behalf of the Society as a whole, and
do not offer myself individually as his chela. I was already the accepted pupil of a Mahatma, and
receiving instruction.  But our
members at large were not so favoured, and for them I begged the Swami to take
up the relation of Teacher.  He being in
the world, actively at work, I naturally inferred that he would be freer than
our Mahatmas to come into relations with such of our members as had not taken
the vows of celibacy and total abstinence that I had. And the adept-Brothers, whom
we knew, having refused to instruct any member but an accepted chela, these
members both in America and Europe, were then most anxious to find such a

First letter of
Col. H S Olcott:


Col. H S Olcott wrote his
first letter to Swami Dayanand Saraswati on 18 February, 1878 and that letter
reads thus:  (Letter dated 18th
February, 1878 from No.71, Broadway, New York)


                        To the most Honourable
Pandit Dayananda Saraswati, India,
Venerable Teacher.  A number of American
and other students who earnestly seek after spiritual knowledge, place
themselves at your feet, and pray you to enlighten them.  They are of various professionals and
callings, of several different countries, but all united in the one object of
gaining wisdom and becoming better.  For
this purpose they, three years ago, organized themselves into a body called the
Theosophical Society.  Finding in
Christianity nothing that satisfied either their reason or their intuition,
seeing on every side the evil effects of its pernicious doctrines, finding
priests who were hypocrites, rapacious and sensual; and worshippers who lived
false and unclean lives, beholding crime concealed, and condoned, and virtue
and wisdom put aside as obnoxious to existing conditions of society in
Christendom, they stood apart from the world, turned to the East for light, and
openly proclaimed themselves the foes of Christianity.  The boldness of their conduct naturally drew
upon them public attention and reprobation of all influential organs and
persons, whose worldly interests or private prejudices were linked with the
established order.  We have been called
atheists, infidels and pagans.  Eighteen
months ago, in this great city of ever a million Christians, we buried one of
our number with pagan rites, employing the symbols of fire, lights, the ancient
Tan entwined with the serpent and others. 
Six months later we took the corpse from its temporary resting place,
and reduced it to ashes by burning according to the customs of the fathers of
the race.


We need the
assistance not only of the young and the enthusiastic, but also of the wise and
the venerated. For this reason, we come to your feet as children to a parent,
and say 'Look at us, our teacher; tell us what we ought to do.  Give us your counsel and your aid.'   Here are some hundreds of millions who are
shut out from the light of the spirit, and grovelling in the dust and darkness
of matter.  Not content with being
misled, bigoted, and unhappy themselves, they expend their wealth, their active
intelligence and their quenchless energies in carrying on a crusade throughout
the East against the ancient religions and philosophies, and persuading the
ignorant masses to embrace their false theological system.  Our Society through its members has access to
the press.  We would spread throughout
Christendom a correct idea of eastern thoughts and throughout heathen and pagan
lands expose the practical efforts of the religion offered to their acceptance
by lying missionaries. Orientalists, so called, who acquire Sanskrit and other
old languages, forge and mutilate the Vedas and other sacred books in
translating them.  We wish to print and
circulate correct translations made by learned pandits with their own
commentaries upon the text.


Will you honour
us by accepting the Society's diploma of "Corresponding Fellow"?  Your countenance and favour will immensely
strengthen us. We place ourselves under your instruction. Perhaps we may
directly and indirectly aid you to hasten the accomplishment of the holy
mission, in which you are now engaged; for our battle-field extends to India; from the Himalayas to Cape
 Comorin there is work that we can do. 


You venerable
man, who have learned to pierce the disguises and masks of your
fellow-creatures, look into our hearts, and see that we speak the truth.  See that we approach you not in pride but in
humility, that we are prepared to receive your counsel, and do our duty as it
may be shown to us. If you will write to us a letter, you will know just what
we wish to know, and will give us what we need.

In behalf of the
society, I subscribe myself, Venerable Sir, with great respect,       

                     (SD) Henry S. Olcott,
President of the Theosophical Society.

[will continue]

Literature is for Portrayal of Philosophic Ideas.

Dr N C Ramanujachary(Srivirinchi)

Besant Gardens, The Theosophical Society, Adyar, Chennai 600 020 

Phone: 044/24913584, Mobile: 9444963584

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