Arya Samaj and The TS-4
Jul 01, 2012 07:59 PM
by Ramanujachary nallanchakravarti
Arrival of the Founders of
TS and their meetings with Swamiji:
The founders of the
Theosophical Society arrived at Bombay
on 16 Feruary 1879. Sri Harishchandra Chintamani of Arya Samaj, the President
of its Bombay
branch, arranged hospitality and provided initial comforts needed by them.
They could meet Swami
Dayananda Saraswati in person only on 1 May 1879 at Saharanpur. They accompanied him to Meerut on 3 May and were
in his company until 6 May. The meetings and exchange of ideas went on well. A
real rapport was established on both sides.
Their further meeting was at
Benares (now Varanasi)
on 15 December 1879.
The next meeting in person
was in September 1980 at Meerut
The last and final meeting
in person was on 30 December 1881 at Bombay.
By then, there was much correspondence between Col. Olcott, Madame Blavatsky
and Swamiji. The points of philosophic differences have clearly emerged.
However, the founders of the TS have shunned meeting and discussing with
Swamiji on the subject proper. According
to the correspondence produced, Olcott was to meet Swamiji on 17 March 1882 but
he did not do so and instead left the place on tour. Madame Blavatsky did not,
according to her message, find time to hold a discussion.
Swamiji was rather impatient
about the situation and after due notice to the founders of the Ts, addressed a
public meeting at Bombay
on 28 March 1882 when he broke the 'ice' and 'ties' with the TS.
We shall attempt to see the events
in the same chronology.
The founders of the TS and
Swami Dayananda Saraswati, the founder of the Arya Samaj were together at Saharanpur and at Meerut
from 1 to 6 May 1879. The much-longed
meeting had to wait for three months (Feb. to April) because of the
preoccupations of swami Dayananda Saraswati.
founder-president of the TS, delivered an address to the Arya Samaj of Meerut on May 5, 1879 on
the occasion of a public welcome to a Committee of the TS, by the Revered Swami
Dayananda Saraswati and the Meerut Samaj. The address is also titled as 'The
Joint Labours of the Arya Samaj and its American Sister, The Theosophical
Society' and published as a pamphlet in 1879 itself. (Roorkee, India:
Printed at the Thomason Civil Engineering College Press)
Portions of the address are
worth reckoning here:
'Venerated Swamejee and Brother Aryans:'
starts Col. Olcott and expresses his happiness at the meeting. 'A happier day
never shone for us than this, upon which, under the blue Indian sky, we have
met to exchange with you mutual pledges of our devotion to the course of
humanity. The aspirations and yearnings
of two years are at length satisfied, and we clasp hands as brothers long separated
greet each other when reunited in the presence of their common father.'
Then he elaborates upon what
they heard about Swami and his movement, at Bombay which carried the following
1. Swami preached a God as
personal and unphilosophical as the Christian Jehovah, whose loves and hates,
cruelties, repenting and vacillations were so familiar to us from our Bible
2. Swami would not, and could
not, sympathize with the theory of the TS that all men are brethren, all alike
entitled to respect for religious opinions honestly held.
3. Swami would not approve of
our (TS) policy to organize branch societies of Buddhists, Parsee, Jains, Jews
and other sectarians.
Olcott then adds:
At last we have
met, taken each other by hand, exchanged thoughts, and questioned each other
upon all-important subjects. At last, all mutual doubts and misunderstandings
have been cleared up, and our hearts have been laid bare to each other. --- I
say with heartfelt joy that we have found in the Swameejee a great Aryan soul,
proud of the learnings of his ancestors, devoted equally to the spiritual
welfare of the whole human race, broad and benevolent in his views, thoroughly
acquainted with Yog-Vidya, the science of sciences, and ready to join with
enthusiasm and lend the powers of his masterful soul to help on the work of our
Western Society. With the new light now
given us, we find that the Arya Samaj is the very twin sister of our own, and
that it has always held and promulgated views substantially identical with ours.
I find that, as interpreted to us, the Vedas contain no warrant for idolatry,
or any of the repulsive superstitions, which a crafty and selfish priesthood
have forced upon the Hindoos. The God preached by Swamee upon Vedic authority
is an Eternal, Boundless, Uncreate, Impersonal Principle; satisfying the
highest aspirations of spiritual man, - a conception ennobling and worthy of
reverence. This God differs in no
essential particular from the ideal of the mighty founder of Buddhism, the
stainless Gautama, nor that of Zarathustra, nor that of Pythagorus or Plato, or
any other great philosopher and theosophist of old. It is the conception of
Deity which, with this modification or that, has been worshipped in the
innermost soul of every great religious teacher whose name has been preserved
to us from the wreck of nations. It is
the God of the world's primitive "Wisdom Religion," as expounded by
Initiates from the beginning; and ever in the coming ages, when a human soul
struggles up towards the Inner Light, it is this image of a Deity which will
shine in upon and illuminate it. Joyous then the day of this meeting and ever
This long passage reveals
that the philosophic ideas of each group/system were made known to the other
and that according to Col. Olcott, the views held by Swamiji, as understood by
him, are well in support of those in currency with the TS.
However, we must remember
that each of the founders do not know the language spoken by the other, and the
conversation was through interpreters like Mulji Thackersay and others.
If there were an agreement
on the point of (1) Personal God, (2) Formation of branches with members of
sectarian groups - here, in otherwords, if they were well settled amicably to
both, the future events would not have precipitated the matter of amalgamation.
It was a total miscalculation of the proceedings.
Col.Olcott, in his address,
then deals with Brahmo-Samaj founded by Raja Ram Mohun Roy, who 'was thoroughly
a christian convert.' He emphatically
states, 'to compare Ram Mohun Roy with Dayananda Saraswati, the former
repudiated the Vedas aimed to set up a sentimental Christianity in its stead,
while the later aims to re-establish the authority of the national sacred
books, by stripping away the rubbish that selfish priests have adulterated and
covered them with.' He saw Dayananda as
'the man from whose labours, learning and courage will come the reformatory
movement that is to purify and regenerate Hindoo theology.'
Then he deals with child
marriages prevalent in India,
the need for technological schools, the desire 'to revive a knowledge of
spiritual science, so that educated men may comprehend the hidden forces of
nature.' He asserts, 'we know your
ancient Vidya science to be true; we believe in the potentiality of the
spiritual part of man. We believe that
the developed human WILL is the sovereign controlling force of nature. --- We
are not ashamed to go and sit at the feet of these initiated Eastern men, and
acknowledge that they are the only capable teachers of their own sacred
books.' He ends his address with the
Now that we are
united as brother workers, in one sacred cause, henceforth let our only strife
be to vie with each other in efforts to benefit our fellow men. As the morning breaks the night flees away,
and so, in time, if we but courageously persevere, we may live to see a
brighter day dawn, not only for our beloved Aryavarta, the mother of all
nations, but for the whole world.
Babu Ganidam Lal, the
president of the Meerut
branch of the Arya Samaj has expressed his immense joy when he said, ' We are
sure that the happy union of the TS with the AS will help root out the
foundation of all ignorance in every part of the world. From the striking coincidence that the two
Societies were established, in opposite parts of the world, in the same month
of the same year, it appears that it is the Will of God to restore the golden
times of the Vedic period.'
Swami Dayananda wrote a
letter to Munshi Samarthan at Bombay
on 5 May 1879, wherein he says, ' They (the founders of the TS) talked with me
for four or five days. They appear to be quite sincere. When I spoke about the
matter to the Sahib (Col.Olcott), he told me in reply that until now the object
of the TS was such that followers of all religions may join it and give their
opinion. "From now, after understanding the principles of the AS, we will
do as you (Dayananda) will order, and those who do not approve of the
principles of the Arya Samaj will not remain in the TS." '
We do not find any
substantiation to the statement in the public address of Col. Olcott. The
misapprehension must be because the over-confidence of each group was so strong
that it had taken for 'granted' that the other group has 'accepted' their point
of view. In the meetings, each group must have asserted its own convictions,
and out of modesty, perhaps, did not read sufficiently in between the lines of
the remarks. We should again recollect that the dialogues between groups were
carried through the interpreters.
Dr N C Ramanujachary
Literature is for Portrayal of Philosophic Ideas.
Dr N C Ramanujachary(Srivirinchi)
Besant Gardens, The Theosophical Society, Adyar, CNNnhennai 600 020
Phone: 044/24913584, Mobile: 9444963584
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