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AryaSamaj and The TS (reformatted)

Jul 03, 2012 07:03 AM
by MKR



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.

"I 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

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

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

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

[will continue]

Dr N C Ramanujachary (Srivirinchi)
Besant Gardens, The Theosophical Society, Adyar, Chennai 600 020
Phone: 044/24913584, Mobile: 9444963584

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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