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Some Comments by T Subba Rao

Aug 16, 2012 09:10 PM
by MKR

T Subba Rao, a very well known theosophist and contemporary of HPB
delivered four lectures on Gita at the International Convention at Adyar in
1886. He made some comments at the end of the last lecture which are very
significant to any theosophical student. He said:

We have merely commenced the study of Bhagavad Gità in these lectures. Try
to examine, by the light of the statements found in our own books, and in
modern books on Psychology and Science, whether the theory I have placed
before you is at all tenable or not -- decide for yourselves -- whether
that is the theory supported by the Bhagavad Gità itself. Do not rely on a
host of commentaries which will only confuse you, but try to interpret the
text for yourselves as far as your intelligence will allow; and if you
think this is really a correct theory, try to follow it up and think out
the whole philosophy for yourselves. I have found that a good deal more is
to be gained by concentration of thought and meditation, than by reading
any number of books or hearing any number of lectures. Lectures are utterly
useless, unless you think out for yourself what they treat of. The Society
cannot provide you with philosophical food already digested, as though you
were in the ideal state of passivity aimed at by the advocates of the
Sankhyan philosophy; but every one of you is expected to read and study the
subject for himself. Read and gain knowledge, and then use what you have
gained for the benefit of your own countrymen.

The philosophy contained in our old books is valuable, but it has been
turned into superstition. We have lost almost all our knowledge. What we
call religion is but the shell of a religion that once existed as a living
faith. The sublime philosophy of Sankaracharya has assumed quite a hideous
form at the present day. The philosophy of a good many Adwaitis does not
lead to practical conduct. They have examined all their books, and they
think with the Southern Buddhists of Ceylon, that Nirvana is the Nirvana
promised by the SÃnkhya philosophers, and instead of following out their
own philosophy to its legitimate conclusion, they have introduced by their
Panchayatanapuja and other observances what seems to be a foolish and
unnecessary compromise between the different views of the various sects
that have existed in India. Visishthadwaita philosophy has degenerated, and
is now little more than temple worship, and has not produced any good
impression on men's minds. Madhwa philosophy has degenerated in the same
manner, and has perhaps become more fanatical. For instance, Sankaracharya
is represented in their Manimanjari as a Rakshasa of former times. In
Northern India people generally recite Saptashati and many have adopted
Shakti worship. Kali is worshipped in Calcutta more perhaps than any other
deity. If you examine these customs by the light of Krshna's teachings, it
must appear to you that, instead of having Hinduism, we have assimilated a
whole collection of superstitious beliefs and practices which do not by any
means tend to promote the welfare of the Hindu nation, but demoralise it
and sap its spiritual strength, and have led to the present state of
things, which, I believe, is not entirely due to political degeneration.

Our Society stands upon an altogether unsectarian basis; we sympathise with
every religion, but not with every abuse that exists under the guise of
religion; and while sympathising with every religion and making the best
efforts we can for the purpose of recovering the common foundations that
underlie all religious beliefs, it ought to be the duty of every one of us
to try to enlighten our own countrymen on the philosophy of religion, and
endeavour to lead them back to a purer faith -- a faith which, no doubt,
did exist in former times, but which now lives but in name or in the pages
of forgotten books.


His emphasis on the need for each one of us to do our own thinking and not
to expect the TS to provide philosophical food already digested is worth


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