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Puranas
by Wikipedia
Accessed 2/24/21

[N]either the Vedas, the Upanishads, nor the Purans, profess to be historical compositions; and the ascribing this character to the latter, in particular, is a most erroneous opinion, for, with the exception of the genealogies of the princes of the solar and lunar races, the Purans contain nothing which has the slightest semblance of history ... It is true that each Puran contains a description of the division of time according to the Hindu system; but the chronology of no event is fixed more precisely than by referring it generally to such a Kalpa, or Manvantara, or Yug, as the particular year is never mentioned. The attempting, therefore, to extract either chronology or history from such data, must be an operation attended with equal success as the extraction of sunbeams from cucumbers by the sages of Laputa" -- Vans Kennedy 1831: 130.

-- Frederick Eden Pargiter: Excerpt from The Puranas, by Ludo Rocher


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Purana Manuscripts from 15th- to 18th-century

The word Purana (/pʊˈrɑːnə/; Sanskrit: पुराण, purāṇa) literally means "ancient, old",[1] and it is a vast genre of Indian literature about a wide range of topics, particularly legends and other traditional lore.[2] The Puranas are known for the intricate layers of symbolism depicted within their stories. Composed primarily in Sanskrit, but also in Tamil and other Indian languages,[3][4] several of these texts are named after major Hindu deities such as Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma and Shakti.[5][6] The Puranic genre of literature is found in both Hinduism and Jainism.[3]

The Puranic literature is encyclopedic,[1] and it includes diverse topics such as cosmogony, cosmology, genealogies of gods, goddesses, kings, heroes, sages, and demigods, folk tales, pilgrimages, temples, medicine, astronomy, grammar, mineralogy, humor, love stories, as well as theology and philosophy.[2][4][5] The content is highly inconsistent across the Puranas, and each Purana has survived in numerous manuscripts which are themselves inconsistent.[3] The Hindu Puranas are anonymous texts and likely the work of many authors over the centuries; in contrast, most Jaina Puranas can be dated and their authors assigned.[3]

There are 1 Maha Purana, 17 Mukhya Puranas (Major Puranas) and 18 Upa Puranas (Minor Puranas),[7] with over 400,000 verses.[2] The first version of various Puranas were likely to be composed between 3rd- and 10th-century CE.[8] The Puranas do not enjoy the authority of a scripture in Hinduism,[7] but are considered as Smritis.[9]

They have been influential in the Hindu culture, inspiring major national and regional annual festivals of Hinduism.[10] Their role and value as sectarian religious texts and historical texts has been controversial because all Puranas praise many gods and goddesses and "their sectarianism is far less clear cut" than assumed, states Ludo Rocher.[11] The religious practices included in them are considered Vaidika (congruent with Vedic literature), because they do not preach initiation into Tantra.[12] The Bhagavata Purana has been among the most celebrated and popular text in the Puranic genre, and is, in the opinion of some, of non-dualistic tenor.[13][14] But, the dualistic school of Shriman Madhvacharya has a rich and strong tradition of dualistic interpretation of the Bhagavata, starting from the Bhagavata Taatparya Nirnaya of the Acharya himself and later, commentaries on the commentary. The Chaitanya school also rejects outright any monistic interpretation of the purana. The Puranic literature wove with the Bhakti movement in India, and both Dvaita and Advaita scholars have commented on the underlying Vedantic themes in the Maha Puranas.[15]

Etymology

Douglas Harper states that the etymological origins of Puranas are from Sanskrit Puranah, literally "ancient, former," from pura "formerly, before," cognate with Greek paros "before," pro "before," Avestan paro "before," Old English fore, from Proto-Indo-European *pre-, from *per-."[16]

Origin

Vyasa, the narrator of the Mahabharata, is hagiographically credited as the compiler of the Puranas. The ancient tradition suggests that originally there was but one Purana. Vishnu Purana (3.6.15) mentions that Vyasa entrusted his Puranasamhita to his disciple Lomaharshana, who in turn imparted it to his disciples,[note 1] three of whom compiled their own samhitas. These three, together with Lomaharshana's, comprise the Mulasamhita, from which the later eighteen Puranas were derived.[17][18]

The term Purana appears in the Vedic texts. For example, Atharva Veda mentions Purana (in the singular) in XI.7.24 and XV.6.10-11:[19]

"The rk and saman verses, the chandas, the Purana along with the Yajus formulae, all sprang from the remainder of the sacrificial food, (as also) the gods that resort to heaven. He changed his place and went over to great direction, and Itihasa and Purana, gathas, verses in praise of heroes followed in going over."

— Atharva Veda XV.6.10-11, [20]


Similarly, the Shatapatha Brahmana (XI.5.6.8) mentions Itihasapuranam (as one compound word) and recommends that on the 9th day of Pariplava, the hotr priest should narrate some Purana because "the Purana is the Veda, this it is" (XIII.4.3.13). However, states P.V. Kane, it is not certain whether these texts suggested several works or single work with the term Purana.[21] The late Vedic text Taittiriya Aranyaka (II.10) uses the term in the plural. Therefore, states Kane, that in the later Vedic period at least, the Puranas referred to three or more texts, and that they were studied and recited[21] In numerous passages the Mahabharata mentions 'Purana' in both singular and plural forms. Moreover, it is not unlikely that, where the singular 'Puranam' was employed in the texts, a class of works was meant.[21] Further, despite the mention of the term Purana or Puranas in the Vedic texts, there is uncertainty about the contents of them until the composition of the oldest Dharmashastra Apastamba Dharmasutra and Gautama Dharmasutra, that mention Puranas resembling with the extant Puranas.[21]

Another early mention of the term 'Itihas-purana' is found in the Chandogya Upanishad (7.1.2), translated by Patrick Olivelle as "the corpus of histories and ancient tales as the fifth Veda".[22][23][note 2] The Brhadaranyaka Upanishad also refers to purana as the "fifth Veda".[25]

According to Thomas Coburn, Puranas and early extra-puranic texts attest to two traditions regarding their origin, one proclaiming a divine origin as the breath of the Great Being, the other as a human named Vyasa as the arranger of already existing material into eighteen Puranas. In the early references, states Coburn, the term Purana occurs in singular unlike the later era which refers to a plural form presumably because they had assumed their "multifarious form". While both these traditions disagree on the origins of the Puranas, they affirm that extant Puranas are not identical with the original Purana.[18]

According to the Indologists J. A. B. van Buitenen and Cornelia Dimmitt, the Puranas that have survived into the modern era are ancient but represent "an amalgam of two somewhat different but never entirely different separate oral literatures: the Brahmin tradition stemming from the reciters of the Vedas, and the bardic poetry recited by Sutas that was handed down in Kshatriya circles".[26] The original Puranas comes from the priestly roots while the later genealogies have the warrior and epic roots. These texts were collected for the "second time between the fourth and sixth centuries CE under the rule of the Gupta kings", a period of Hindu renaissance.[27] However, the editing and expansion of the Puranas did not stop after the Gupta era, and the texts continued to "grow for another five hundred or a thousand years" and these were preserved by priests who maintained Hindu pilgrimage sites and temples.[27] The core of Itihasa-Puranas, states Klaus Klostermaier, may possibly go back to the seventh century BCE or even earlier.[28]

It is not possible to set a specific date for any Purana as a whole, states Ludo Rocher. He points out that even for the better established and more coherent puranas such as Bhagavata and Vishnu, the dates proposed by scholars continue to vary widely and endlessly.[17] The date of the production of the written texts does not define the date of origin of the Puranas.[29] They existed in an oral form before being written down.[29] In the 19th century, F. E. Pargiter believed the "original Purana" may date to the time of the final redaction of the Vedas.[30] Wendy Doniger, based on her study of indologists, assigns approximate dates to the various Puranas. She dates Markandeya Purana to c. 250 CE (with one portion dated to c. 550 CE), Matsya Purana to c. 250–500 CE, Vayu Purana to c. 350 CE, Harivamsa and Vishnu Purana to c. 450 CE, Brahmanda Purana to c. 350–950 CE, Vamana Purana to c. 450–900 CE, Kurma Purana to c. 550–850 CE, and Linga Purana to c. 600–1000 CE.[8]

Texts

Mahapuranas


Of the many texts designated 'Puranas' the most important are the Mahāpurāṇas or the major Puranas.[7] These are said to be eighteen in number, divided into three groups of six, though they are not always counted in the same way.In the Vishnu Puran Part 3 Section 6(21-24) the list of Mahapuranas is mentioned .The Bhagavat Puran mentions the number of verses in each puran in 12.13(4-9)

S.No. / Purana Name / Verses number / Comments

1 Brahma 10,000 verses Sometimes also called Adi Purana, because many Mahapuranas lists put it first of 18.[31] The text has 245 chapters, shares many passages with Vishnu, Vayu, Markendeya Puranas, and with the Mahabharata. Includes mythology, theory of war, art work in temples, and other cultural topics. Describes holy places in Odisha, and weaves themes of Vishnu and Shiva, but hardly any mention of deity Brahma despite the title.[31]
2 Padma 55,000 verses A large compilation of diverse topics, it escribes cosmology, the world and nature of life from the perspective of Vishnu. It also discusses festivals, numerous legends, geography of rivers and regions from northwest India to Bengal to the kingdom of Tripura, major sages of India, various Avatars of Vishnu and his cooperation with Shiva, a story of Rama-Sita that is different from the Hindu epic Ramayana.[32] The north Indian manuscripts of Padma Purana are very different from south Indian versions, and the various recensions in both groups in different languages (Devanagari and Bengali, for example) show major inconsistencies.[33] Like the Skanda Purana, it is a detailed treatise on travel and pilgrimage centers in India.[32][34]
3 Vishnu 23,000 verses One of the most studied and circulated Puranas, it also contains genealogical details of various dynasties.[35] Better preserved after the 17th century, but exists in inconsistent versions, more ancient pre-15th century versions are very different from modern versions, with some versions discussing Buddhism and Jainism. Some chapters likely composed in Kashmir and Punjab region of South Asia. A Vaishnavism text, focused on Vishnu.[36]
4 Shiva 24,000 verses Discusses Shiva, and stories about him.
5 Bhagavata 18,000 verses The most studied and popular of the Puranas,[13][37] telling of Vishnu's Avatars, and of Vaishnavism. It contains genealogical details of various dynasties.[35] Numerous inconsistent versions of this text and historical manuscripts exist, in many Indian languages.[38] Influential and elaborated during Bhakti movement.[39]
6 Narada 25,000 verses Also called Naradiya Purana. Discusses the four Vedas and the six Vedangas. Dedicates one chapter each, from Chapters 92 to 109, to summarize the other 17 Maha Puranas and itself. Lists major rivers of India and places of pilgrimage, and a short tour guide for each. Includes discussion of various philosophies, soteriology, planets, astronomy, myths and characteristics of major deities including Vishnu, Shiva, Devi, Krishna, Rama, Lakshmi and others.[40]
7 Markandeya 9,000 verses Describes Vindhya Range and western India. Probably composed in the valleys of Narmada and Tapti rivers, in Maharashtra and Gujarat.[41] Named after sage Markandeya, a student of Brahma. Contains chapters on dharma and on Hindu epic Mahabharata.[42] The Purana includes Devi Mahatmyam of Shaktism.
8 Agni 15,400 verses Contains encyclopedic information. Includes geography of Mithila (Bihar and neighboring states), cultural history, politics, education system, iconography, taxation theories, organization of army, theories on proper causes for war, diplomacy, local laws, building public projects, water distribution methods, trees and plants, medicine, Vastu Shastra (architecture), gemology, grammar, metrics, poetry, food, rituals and numerous other topics.[43]
9 Bhavishya 14,500 verses The Bhavishya Purana (Bhaviṣya Purāṇa, lit. "Future Purana") is one of the eighteen major works in the Purana genre of Hinduism, written in Sanskrit.The title Bhavishya means "future" and implies it is a work that contains prophecies regarding the future, however, the "prophecy" parts of the extant manuscripts are a modern era addition and hence not an integral part of the Bhavishya Purana.Those sections of the surviving manuscripts that are dated to be older, are partly borrowed from other Indian texts such as Brihat Samhita and Shamba Purana.
10 Brahmavaivarta 18,000 verses It is related by Savarni to Narada, and centres around the greatness of Krishna and Radha. In this, the story of Brahma-varaha is repeatedly told.[44] Notable for asserting that Krishna is the supreme reality and the gods Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma are incarnations of him.[45] Mentions geography and rivers such as Ganga to Kaveri.
11 Linga 11,000 verses Discusses Lingam, symbol of Shiva, and origin of the universe as per Shaivism. It also contains many stories of Lingam, one of which entails how Agni Lingam solved a dispute between Vishnu and Brahma.
12 Varaha 24,000 verses Primarily Vishnu-related worship manual, with large Mahatmya sections or travel guide to Mathura and Nepal.[46] Presentation focuses on Varaha as incarnation of Narayana, but rarely uses the terms Krishna or Vasudeva.[46] Many illustrations also involve Shiva and Durga.[47]
13 Skanda 81,100 verses Describes the birth of Skanda (or Karthikeya), son of Shiva. The longest Purana, it is an extraordinarily meticulous pilgrimage guide, containing geographical locations of pilgrimage centers in India, with related legends, parables, hymns and stories. Many untraced quotes are attributed to this text.[48]
14 Vamana 10,000 verses Describes North India, particularly Himalayan foothills region.
15 Kurma 17,000 verses Contains a combination of Vishnu and Shiva related legends, mythology, Tirtha (pilgrimage) and theology
16 Matsya 14,000 verses An encyclopedia of diverse topics.[49] Narrates the story of Matsya, the first of ten major Avatars of Vishnu. Likely composed in west India, by people aware of geographical details of the Narmada river. Includes legends about Brahma and Saraswati.[50] It also contains a controversial genealogical details of various dynasties.[35]
17 Garuda 19,000 verses An encyclopedia of diverse topics.[49] Primarily about Vishnu, but praises all gods. Describes how Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma collaborate. Many chapters are a dialogue between Vishnu and the bird-vehicle Garuda. Cosmology, Describes cosmology, relationship between gods. Discusses ethics, what are crimes, good versus evil, various schools of Hindu philosophies, the theory of Yoga, the theory of "heaven and hell" with "karma and rebirth", includes Upanishadic discussion of self-knowledge as a means of moksha.[51] Includes chapters on rivers, geography of Bharat (India) and other nations on earth, types of minerals and stones, testing methods for stones for their quality, various diseases and their symptoms, various medicines, aphrodisiacs, prophylactics, Hindu calendar and its basis, astronomy, moon, planets, astrology, architecture, building home, essential features of a temple, rites of passage, virtues such as compassion, charity and gift making, economy, thrift, duties of a king, politics, state officials and their roles and how to appointment them, genre of literature, rules of grammar, and other topics.[51] The final chapters discuss how to practice Yoga (Samkhya and Advaita types), personal development and the benefits of self-knowledge.[51]
18 Brahmanda 12,000 verses One of the earliest composed Puranas, it contains a controversial genealogical details of various dynasties.[35] Includes Lalita Sahasranamam, law codes, system of governance, administration, diplomacy, trade, ethics. Old manuscripts of Brahmanda Purana have been found in the Hindu literature collections of Bali, Indonesia.[52][49]


The Mahapuranas have also been classified based on a specific deity, although the texts are mixed and revere all gods and goddesses:

Brāhma:[33] Brahma Purana, Padma Purana
Surya:[33] Brahma Vaivarta Purana[note 3]
Agni:[33] Agni Purana[note 4]
Śaiva:[33] Shiva Purana, Linga Purana, Skanda Purana, Varaha Purana,[note 5][note 6] Vāmana Purana,[note 5] Kūrma Purana,[note 5] Mārkandeya Purana,[note 7] , Brahmānda Purana
Vaiṣṇava:[33] Vishnu Purana, Bhagavata Purana, Nāradeya Purana, Garuda Purana, Vayu Purana, Varaha Purana[note 6]Matsya Purana, Bhavishya Purana[note 5]
Śakta: Devi-Bhagavata Purana, Markandeya Purana, Brahmanda Purana, Skanda Purana


All major Puranas contain sections on Devi (goddesses) and Tantra; the six most significant of these are: Markandeya Purana, Shiva Purana, Linga Purana, Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Agni Purana and Padma Purana.[57]

Upapurana

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The Goddess Durga Leading the Eight Matrikas in Battle Against the Demon Raktabija, Folio from Devi Mahatmyam, Markandeya Purana.

Main article: Upapurana

The difference between Upapuranas and Mahapuranas has been explained by Rajendra Hazra as, "a Mahapurana is well known, and that what is less well known becomes an Upapurana".[58] Rocher states that the distinction between Mahapurana and Upapurana is ahistorical, there is little corroborating evidence that either were more or less known, and that "the term Mahapurana occurs rarely in Purana literature, and is probably of late origin."[59]

The Upapuranas are eighteen in number, with disagreement as to which canonical titles belong in that list of eighteen. They include among many: Sanat-kumara, Narasimha, Brihan-naradiya, Siva-rahasya, Durvasa, Kapila, Vamana, Bhargava, Varuna, Kalika, Samba, Nandi, Surya, Parasara, Vasishtha, Ganesha, Mudgala, and Hamsa, with only a few having been critically edited.[60][61]

The Ganesha and Mudgala Puranas are devoted to Ganesha.[62][63]

Sthala Puranas

This corpus of texts tells of the origins and traditions of particular Tamil Shiva temples or shrines. There are numerous Sthala Puranas, most written in vernaculars, some with Sanskrit versions as well. The 275 Shiva Sthalams of the continent have puranas for each, famously glorified in the Tamil literature Tevaram. Some appear in Sanskrit versions in the Mahapuranas or Upapuranas. Some Tamil Sthala Puranas have been researched by David Dean Shulman.[64]

Skanda Purana

The Skanda Purana is the largest Purana with 81,000 verses,[65] named after deity Skanda, the son of Shiva and Uma, and brother of deity Ganesha.[66] The mythological part of the text weaves the stories of Shiva and Vishnu, along with Parvati, Rama, Krishna and other major gods in the Hindu pantheon.[65] In Chapter 1.8, it declares,

Vishnu is nobody but Shiva, and he who is called Shiva is but identical with Vishnu.

— Skanda Purana, 1.8.20-21[67][68]


The Skanda Purana has received renewed scholarly interest ever since the late 20th-century discovery of a Nepalese Skanda Purana manuscript dated to be from the early 9th century. This discovery established that Skanda Purana existed by the 9th century. However, a comparison shows that the 9th-century document is entirely different from versions of Skanda Purana that have been circulating in South Asia since the colonial era.[69]

Content

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The Puranas include cosmos creation myths such as the Samudra Manthan (churning of the ocean). It is represented in the Angkor Wat temple complex of Cambodia, and at Bangkok airport, Thailand (above).

Several Puranas, such as the Matsya Purana,[70] list "five characteristics" or "five signs" of a Purana.[2] These are called the Pancha Lakshana ( pañcalakṣaṇa), and are topics covered by a Purana:[2][71][72]

1. Sarga: cosmogony
2. Pratisarga: cosmogony and cosmology[73]
3. Vamśa: genealogy of the gods, sages and kings[74]
4. Manvañtara: cosmic cycles,[75] history of the world during the time of one patriarch
5. Vamśānucaritam: legends during the times of various kings.

A few Puranas, such as the most popular Bhagavata Purana, add five more characteristics to expand this list to ten:[76]

6. Utaya: karmic links between the deities, sages, kings and the various living beings
7. Ishanukatha: tales about a god
8. Nirodha: finale, cessation
9. Mukti: moksha, spiritual liberation
10. Ashraya: refuge

These five or ten sections weave in biographies, myths, geography, medicine, astronomy, Hindu temples, pilgrimage to distant real places, rites of passage, charity, ethics,[77] duties, rights, dharma, divine intervention in cosmic and human affairs, love stories,[78] festivals, theosophy and philosophy.[2][4][5] The Puranas link gods to men, both generally and in religious bhakti context.[76] Here the Puranic literature follows a general pattern. It starts with introduction, a future devotee is described as ignorant about the god yet curious, the devotee learns about the god and this begins the spiritual realization, the text then describes instances of God's grace which begins to persuade and convert the devotee, the devotee then shows devotion which is rewarded by the god, the reward is appreciated by the devotee and in return performs actions to express further devotion.[76]

The Puranas, states Flood, document the rise of the theistic traditions such as those based on Vishnu, Shiva and the goddess Devi and include respective mythology, pilgrimage to holy places, rituals and genealogies.[79] The bulk of these texts in Flood's view were established by 500 CE, in the Gupta era though amendments were made later. Along with inconsistencies, common ideas are found throughout the corpus but it is not possible to trace the lines of influence of one Purana upon another so the corpus is best viewed as a synchronous whole.[80] An example of similar stories woven across the Puranas, but in different versions, include the lingabhava – the "apparition of the linga". The story features Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, the three major deities of Hinduism, who get together, debate, and after various versions of the story, in the end the glory of Shiva is established by the apparition of linga. This story, state Bonnefoy, and Doniger, appears in Vayu Purana 1.55, Brahmanda Purana 1.26, Shiva Purana's Rudra Samhita Sristi Khanda 15, Skanda Purana's chapters 1.3, 1.16 and 3.1, and other Puranas.[81]

The texts are in Sanskrit as well as regional languages,[3][4] and almost entirely in narrative metric couplets.[1]

Symbolism and layers of meaning

The texts use ideas, concepts and even names that are symbolic.[81] The words can interpreted literally, and at an axiological level.[82] The Vishnu Purana, for example, recites a myth where the names of the characters are loaded with symbolism and axiological significance. The myth is as follows,

The progeny of Dharma by the daughters of Daksha were as follows: by Sraddhá (devotion) he had Kama (desire); by Lakshmí (wealth, prosperity), was born Darpa (pride); by Dhriti (courage), the progeny was Niyama (precept); by Tusht́i (inner comfort), Santosha (contentment); by Pusht́i (opulence), the progeny was Lobha (cupidity, greed); by Medhá (wisdom, experience), Sruta (sacred tradition); by Kriyá (hard work, labour), the progeny were Dańd́a, Naya, and Vinaya (justice, politics, and education); by Buddhi (intellect), Bodha (understanding); by Lajjá (shame, humility), Vinaya (good behaviour); by Vapu (body, strength), Vyavasaya (perseverance). Shanti (peace) gave birth to Kshama (forgiveness); Siddhi (excellence) to Sukha (enjoyment); and Kírtti (glorious speech) gave birth to Yasha (reputation). These were the sons of Dharma; one of whom, Kama (love, emotional fulfillment) had baby Hersha (joy) by his wife Nandi (delight).

The wife of Adharma (vice, wrong, evil) was Hinsá (violence), on whom he begot a son Anrita (falsehood), and a daughter Nikriti (immorality): they intermarried, and had two sons, Bhaya (fear) and Naraka (hell); and twins to them, two daughters, Máyá (deceit) and Vedaná (torture), who became their wives. The son of Bhaya (fear) and Máyá (deceit) was the destroyer of living creatures, or Mrityu (death); and Dukha (pain) was the offspring of Naraka (hell) and Vedaná (torture). The children of Mrityu were Vyádhi (disease), Jará (decay), Soka (sorrow), Trishńa (greediness), and Krodha (wrath). These are all called the inflictors of misery, and are characterised as the progeny of Vice (Adharma). They are all without wives, without posterity, without the faculty to procreate; they perpetually operate as causes of the destruction of this world. On the contrary, Daksha and the other Rishis, the elders of mankind, tend perpetually to influence its renovation: whilst the Manus and their sons, the heroes endowed with mighty power, and treading in the path of truth, as constantly contribute to its preservation.

— Vishnu Purana, Chapter 7, Translated by Horace Hayman Wilson[83]


Puranas as a complement to the Vedas

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The mythology in the Puranas has inspired many reliefs and sculptures found in Hindu temples.[84] The legend behind the Krishna and Gopis relief above is described in the Bhagavata Purana.[85]

The relation of the Puranas with Vedas has been debated by scholars, some holding that there's no relationship, others contending that they are identical.[86] The Puranic literature, stated Max Muller, is independent, has changed often over its history, and has little relation to the Vedic age or the Vedic literature.[87] In contrast, Purana literature is evidently intended to serve as a complement to the Vedas, states Vans Kennedy.[5]

Some scholars such as Govinda Das suggest that the Puranas claim a link to the Vedas but in name only, not in substance. The link is purely a mechanical one.[87] Scholars such as Viman Chandra Bhattacharya and PV Kane state that the Puranas are a continuation and development of the Vedas.[88] Sudhakar Malaviya and VG Rahurkar state the connection is closer in that the Puranas are companion texts to help understand and interpret the Vedas.[88][89] K.S. Ramaswami Sastri and Manilal N. Dvivedi reflect the third view which states that Puranas enable us to know the "true import of the ethos, philosophy, and religion of the Vedas".[90]

Barbara Holdrege questions the fifth Veda status of Itihasas (the Hindu epics) and Puranas.[91][note 8] The Puranas, states V.S. Agrawala, intend to "explicate, interpret, adapt" the metaphysical truths in the Vedas.[18] In the general opinion, states Rocher, "the Puranas cannot be divorced from the Vedas" though scholars provide different interpretations of the link between the two.[88] Scholars have given the Bhagavata Purana as an example of the links and continuity of the Vedic content such as providing an interpretation of the Gayatri mantra.[88]

Puranas as encyclopedias

The Puranas, states Kees Bolle, are best seen as "vast, often encyclopedic" works from ancient and medieval India.[93] Some of them, such as the Agni Purana and Matsya Purana, cover all sorts of subjects, dealing with – states Rocher – "anything and everything", from fiction to facts, from practical recipes to abstract philosophy, from geographic Mahatmyas (travel guides)[94] to cosmetics, from festivals to astronomy.[4][95] Like encyclopedias, they were updated to remain current with their times, by a process called Upabrimhana.[96] However, some of the 36 major and minor Puranas are more focused handbooks, such as the Skanda Purana, Padma Purana and Bhavishya Purana which deal primarily with Tirtha Mahatmyas (pilgrimage travel guides),[94] while Vayu Purana and Brahmanda Purana focus more on history, mythology and legends.[97]

Puranas as religious texts

The colonial era scholars of Puranas studied them primarily as religious texts, with Vans Kennedy declaring in 1837, that any other use of these documents would be disappointing.[98] John Zephaniah Holwell, who from 1732 onwards spent 30 years in India and was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1767, described the Puranas as "18 books of divine words".[99] British officials and researchers such as Holwell, states Urs App, were orientalist scholars who introduced a distorted picture of Indian literature and Puranas as "sacred scriptures of India" in 1767. Holwell, states Urs App, "presented it as the opinion of knowledgeable Indians; But it is abundantly clear that no knowledgeable Indian would ever have said anything remotely similar".[99]

Modern scholarship doubts this 19th-century premise.[100] Ludo Rocher, for example, states,

I want to stress the fact that it would be irresponsible and highly misleading to speak of or pretend to describe the religion of the Puranas.

— Ludo Rocher, The Puranas[98]


The study of Puranas as a religious text remains a controversial subject.[101] Some Indologists, in colonial tradition of scholarship, treat the Puranic texts as scriptures or useful source of religious contents.[102] Other scholars, such as Ronald Inden, consider this approach "essentialist and antihistorical" because the Purana texts changed often over time and over distance, and the underlying presumption of they being religious texts is that those changes are "Hinduism expressed by a religious leader or philosopher", or "expressiveness of Hindu mind", or "society at large", when the texts and passages are literary works and "individual geniuses of their authors".[103]
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Part 2 of 2

Jainism

The Jaina Puranas are like Hindu Puranas encyclopedic epics in style, and are considered as anuyogas (expositions), but they are not considered Jain Agamas and do not have scripture or quasi-canonical status in Jainism tradition.[3] They are best described, states John Cort, as post-scripture literary corpus based upon themes found in Jain scriptures.[3]

Sectarian, pluralistic or monotheistic theme

Scholars have debated whether the Puranas should be categorized as sectarian, or non-partisan, or monotheistic religious texts.[11][104] Different Puranas describe a number of stories where Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva compete for supremacy.[104] In some Puranas, such as Devi Bhagavata, the Goddess Devi joins the competition and ascends for the position of being Supreme. Further, most Puranas emphasize legends around one who is either Shiva, or Vishnu, or Devi.[11] The texts thus appear to be sectarian. However, states Edwin Bryant, while these legends sometimes appear to be partisan, they are merely acknowledging the obvious question of whether one or the other is more important, more powerful. In the final analysis, all Puranas weave their legends to celebrate pluralism, and accept the other two and all gods in Hindu pantheon as personalized form but equivalent essence of the Ultimate Reality called Brahman.[105][106] The Puranas are not spiritually partisan, states Bryant, but "accept and indeed extol the transcendent and absolute nature of the other, and of the Goddess Devi too".[104]

[The Puranic text] merely affirm that the other deity is to be considered a derivative manifestation of their respective deity, or in the case of Devi, the Shakti, or power of the male divinity. The term monotheism, if applied to the Puranic tradition, needs to be understood in the context of a supreme being, whether understood as Vishnu, Shiva or Devi, who can manifest himself or herself as other supreme beings.

— Edwin Bryant, Krishna: The Beautiful Legend of God: Srimad Bhagavata Purana[104]


Ludo Rocher, in his review of Puranas as sectarian texts, states, "even though the Puranas contain sectarian materials, their sectarianism should not be interpreted as exclusivism in favor of one god to the detriment of all others".[107]

Puranas as historical texts

Despite the diversity and wealth of manuscripts from ancient and medieval India that have survived into the modern times, there is a paucity of historical data in them.[35] Neither the author name nor the year of their composition were recorded or preserved, over the centuries, as the documents were copied from one generation to another. This paucity tempted 19th-century scholars to use the Puranas as a source of chronological and historical information about India or Hinduism.[35] This effort was, after some effort, either summarily rejected by some scholars, or become controversial, because the Puranas include fables and fiction, and the information within and across the Puranas was found to be inconsistent.[35]

In early 20th-century, some regional records were found to be more consistent, such as for the Hindu dynasties in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh. Basham, as well as Kosambi, have questioned whether lack of inconsistency is sufficient proof of reliability and historicity.[35] More recent scholarship has attempted to, with limited success, states Ludo Rocher, use the Puranas for historical information in combination with independent corroborating evidence, such as "epigraphy, archaeology, Buddhist literature, Jaina literature, non-Puranic literature, Islamic records, and records preserved outside India by travelers to or from India in medieval times such as in China, Myanmar and Indonesia".[108][109]

Manuscripts

Image
An 11th-century Nepalese palm-leaf manuscript in Sanskrit of Devimahatmya (Markandeya Purana).

The study of Puranas manuscripts has been challenging because they are highly inconsistent.[110][111] This is true for all Mahapuranas and Upapuranas.[110] Most editions of Puranas, in use particularly by Western scholars, are "based on one manuscript or on a few manuscripts selected at random", even though divergent manuscripts with the same title exist. Scholars have long acknowledged the existence of Purana manuscripts that "seem to differ much from printed edition", and it is unclear which one is accurate, and whether conclusions drawn from the randomly or cherrypicked printed version were universal over geography or time.[110] This problem is most severe with Purana manuscripts of the same title, but in regional languages such as Tamil, Telugu, Bengali and others which have largely been ignored.[110]

Modern scholarship noticed all these facts. It recognized that the extent of the genuine Agni Purana was not the same at all times and in all places, and that it varied with the difference in time and locality. (...) This shows that the text of the Devi Purana was not the same everywhere but differed considerably in different provinces. Yet, one failed to draw the logical conclusion: besides the version or versions of Puranas that appear in our [surviving] manuscripts, and fewer still in our [printed] editions, there have been numerous other versions, under the same titles, but which either have remained unnoticed or have been irreparably lost.

— Ludo Rocher, The Puranas[58][112]


Chronology

Newly discovered Puranas manuscripts from the medieval centuries has attracted scholarly attention and the conclusion that the Puranic literature has gone through slow redaction and text corruption over time, as well as sudden deletion of numerous chapters and its replacement with new content to an extent that the currently circulating Puranas are entirely different from those that existed before 11th century, or 16th century.[113]

For example, a newly discovered palm-leaf manuscript of Skanda Purana in Nepal has been dated to be from 810 CE, but is entirely different from versions of Skanda Purana that have been circulating in South Asia since the colonial era.[69][113] Further discoveries of four more manuscripts, each different, suggest that document has gone through major redactions twice, first likely before the 12th century, and the second very large change sometime in the 15th-16th century for unknown reasons.[114] The different versions of manuscripts of Skanda Purana suggest that "minor" redactions, interpolations and corruption of the ideas in the text over time.[114]

Rocher states that the date of the composition of each Purana remains a contested issue.[115][116] Dimmitt and van Buitenen state that each of the Puranas manuscripts is encyclopedic in style, and it is difficult to ascertain when, where, why and by whom these were written:[117]


As they exist today, the Puranas are a stratified literature. Each titled work consists of material that has grown by numerous accretions in successive historical eras. Thus no Purana has a single date of composition. (...) It is as if they were libraries to which new volumes have been continuously added, not necessarily at the end of the shelf, but randomly.

— Cornelia Dimmitt and J.A.B. van Buitenen, Classical Hindu Mythology: A Reader in the Sanskrit Puranas[117]


Forgeries

Many of the extant manuscripts were written on palm leaf or copied during the British India colonial era, some in the 19th century.[118][119] The scholarship on various Puranas, has suffered from frequent forgeries, states Ludo Rocher, where liberties in the transmission of Puranas were normal and those who copied older manuscripts replaced words or added new content to fit the theory that the colonial scholars were keen on publishing.[118][119]

Translations

Horace Hayman Wilson published one of the earliest English translations of one version of the Vishnu Purana in 1840.[120] The same manuscript, and Wilson's translation, was reinterpreted by Manmatha Nath Dutt, and published in 1896.[121] The All India Kashiraj Trust has published editions of the Puranas.[122]

Maridas Poullé (Mariyadas Pillai) published a French translation from a Tamil version of the Bhagavata Purana in 1788, and this was widely distributed in Europe becoming an introduction to the 18th-century Hindu culture and Hinduism to many Europeans during the colonial era. Poullé republished a different translation of the same text as Le Bhagavata in 1795, from Pondicherry.[123] A copy of Poullé translation is preserved in Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris.

Influence

Image
The Puranas have had a large cultural impact on Hindus, from festivals to diverse arts. Bharata natyam (above) is inspired in part by Bhagavata Purana.[124]

The most significant influence of the Puranas genre of Indian literature have been state scholars and particularly Indian scholars,[125] in "culture synthesis", in weaving and integrating the diverse beliefs from ritualistic rites of passage to Vedantic philosophy, from fictional legends to factual history, from individual introspective yoga to social celebratory festivals, from temples to pilgrimage, from one god to another, from goddesses to tantra, from the old to the new.[126] These have been dynamic open texts, composed socially, over time. This, states Greg Bailey, may have allowed the Hindu culture to "preserve the old while constantly coming to terms with the new", and "if they are anything, they are records of cultural adaptation and transformation" over the last 2,000 years.[125]

The Puranic literature, suggests Khanna, influenced "acculturation and accommodation" of a diversity of people, with different languages and from different economic classes, across different kingdoms and traditions, catalyzing the syncretic "cultural mosaic of Hinduism".[127] They helped influence cultural pluralism in India, and are a literary record thereof.[127]

Om Prakash states the Puranas served as efficient medium for cultural exchange and popular education in ancient and medieval India.[128] These texts adopted, explained and integrated regional deities such as Pashupata in Vayu Purana, Sattva in Vishnu Purana, Dattatreya in Markendeya Purana, Bhojakas in Bhavishya Purana.[128] Further, states Prakash, they dedicated chapters to "secular subjects such as poetics, dramaturgy, grammar, lexicography, astronomy, war, politics, architecture, geography and medicine as in Agni Purana, perfumery and lapidary arts in Garuda Purana, painting, sculpture and other arts in Vishnudharmottara Purana".[128]

Indian Arts

The cultural influence of the Puranas extended to Indian classical arts, such as songs, dance culture such as Bharata Natyam in south India[124] and Rasa Lila in northeast India,[129] plays and recitations.[130]

Festivals

The myths, lunar calendar schedule, rituals and celebrations of major Hindu cultural festivities such as Holi, Diwali and Durga Puja are in the Puranic literature.[131][132]

Notes

1. Six disciples: Sumati, Agnivarchaha, Mitrayu, Shamshapyana, Akritaverna and Savarni
2. The early Buddhist text (Sutta Nipata 3.7 describes the meeting between the Buddha and Sela. It has been translated by Mills and Sujato as, "(...) the brahmin Sela was visiting Āpaṇa. He was an expert in the three Vedas, with the etymologies, the rituals, the phonology and word analysis, and fifthly the legendary histories".[24]
3. This text underwent a near complete rewrite in or after 15th/16th century CE, and almost all extant manuscripts are Vaishnava (Krishna) bhakti oriented.[53]
4. Like all Puranas, this text underwent extensive revisions and rewrite in its history; the extant manuscripts are predominantly an encyclopedia, and so secular in its discussions of gods and goddesses that scholars have classified as Smartism, Shaktism, Vaishnavism and Shaivism Purana.[54]
5. This text is named after a Vishnu avatar, but extant manuscripts praise all gods and goddesses equally with some versions focusing more on Shiva.[55]
6. Hazra includes this in Vaishnava category.[46]
7. This text includes the famous Devi-Mahatmya, one of the most important Goddess-related text of the Shaktism tradition in Hinduism.[56]
8. There are only four Vedas in Hinduism. Several texts have been claimed to have the status of the Fifth Veda in the Hindu tradition. For example, the Natya Shastra, a Sanskrit text on the performing arts, is also so claimed.[92]

References

Citations


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2. Greg Bailey (2001), Encyclopedia of Asian Philosophy (Editor: Oliver Leaman), Routledge, ISBN 978-0415172813, pages 437-439
3. John Cort (1993), Purana Perennis: Reciprocity and Transformation in Hindu and Jaina Texts (Editor: Wendy Doniger), State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791413821, pages 185-204
4. Gregory Bailey (2003), The Study of Hinduism (Editor: Arvind Sharma), The University of South Carolina Press, ISBN 978-1570034497, page 139
5. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, p.16, 12-21
6. Nair, Shantha N. (2008). Echoes of Ancient Indian Wisdom: The Universal Hindu Vision and Its Edifice. Hindology Books. p. 266. ISBN 978-81-223-1020-7.
7. Cornelia Dimmitt (2015), Classical Hindu Mythology: A Reader in the Sanskrit Puranas, Temple University Press, ISBN 978-8120839724, page xii, 4
8. Collins, Charles Dillard (1988). The Iconography and Ritual of Śiva at Elephanta. SUNY Press. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-88706-773-0.
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11. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, pages 21-24, 104-113, 115-126
12. Dominic Goodall (1996), Hindu Scriptures, University of California Press, ISBN 978-0520207783, page xxxix
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25. Brhadaranyaka Upanisad 2.4.10, 4.1.2, 4.5.11. Satapatha Brahmana (SBE, Vol. 44, pp. 98, 369). Moghe 1997, pp. 160,249
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27. Dimmitt & van Buitenen 2012, pp. 7-8, context: 4-13.
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37. Monier-Williams 1899, p. 752, column 3, under the entry Bhagavata.
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39. Hardy 2001
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47. Wilson, Horace H. (1864), The Vishṅu Purāṅa: a system of Hindu mythology and tradition Volume 1 of 4, Trübner, p. LXXI
48. Doniger 1993, pp. 59–83
49. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, page 78-79
50. Catherine Ludvik (2007), Sarasvatī, Riverine Goddess of Knowledge, BRILL, ISBN 978-9004158146, pages 139-141
51. MN Dutt, The Garuda Purana Calcutta (1908)
52. H Hinzler (1993), Balinese palm-leaf manuscripts Archived 1 October 2015 at the Wayback Machine, In: Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Landen Volkenkunde, Manuscripts of Indonesia 149 (1993), No 3, Leiden: BRILL, page 442
53. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, pages 161-164
54. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, pages 20-22, 134-137
55. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, pages 35, 185, 199, 239-242
56. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, pages 191-192
57. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, pages 113-114, 153-154, 161, 167-169, 171-174, 182-187, 190-194, 210, 225-227, 242
58. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, page 63
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60. R. C. Hazra, Studies in the Upapuranas, vol. I, Calcutta, Sanskrit College, 1958. Studies in the Upapuranas, vol. II, Calcutta, Sanskrit College, 1979. Studies in Puranic Records on Hindu Rites and Customs, Delhi, Banarsidass, 1975. Ludo Rocher, The Puranas – A History of Indian Literature Vol. II, fasc. 3, Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1986.
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70. Matsya Purana 53.65
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83. Vishnu Purana Chapter 7
84. Sara Schastok (1997), The Śāmalājī Sculptures and 6th Century Art in Western India, BRILL, ISBN 978-9004069411, pages 77-79, 88
85. Edwin Bryant (2007), Krishna : A Sourcebook: A Sourcebook, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195148923, pages 111-119
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• Hardy, Friedhelm (2001). Viraha-Bhakti – The Early History of Krsna Devotion in South India. ISBN 0-19-564916-8.
• Flood, Gavin (1996). An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-43304-5.
• Johnson, W.J. (2009). A Dictionary of Hinduism. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-861025-0.
• Kaushal, Molly, ed. (2001). Chanted Narratives – The Katha Vachana Tradition. ISBN 81-246-0182-8.
• Glucklich, Ariel (2008). The Strides of Vishnu : Hindu Culture in Historical Perspective: Hindu Culture in Historical Perspective. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-971825-2.
• Mackenzie, C Brown (1990). The Triumph of the Goddess – The Canonical Models and Theological Visions of the DevI-BhAgavata PuraNa. State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-0363-7.
• Mittal, Sushil (2004). The Hindu World. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-21527-5.
• Moghe, S. G., ed. (1997). Professor Kane's contribution to Dharmasastra literature. New Delhi: D.K. Printworld (P) Ltd. ISBN 81-246-0075-9.
• Monier-Williams, Monier (1899). A Sanskrit-English Dictionary. Oxford University Press.
• Pargiter, F. E. (1962) [1922]. Ancient Indian historical tradition. Original publisher Oxford University Press, London. Delhi: Motilal Banarasidass. OCLC 1068416.
• Rao, Velcheru Narayana (1993). "Purana as Brahminic Ideology". In Doniger Wendy (ed.). Purana Perennis: Reciprocity and Transformation in Hindu and Jaina Texts. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-1381-0.
• Rocher, Ludo (1986). The Puranas. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. ISBN 978-3-447-02522-5.
• Shulman, David Dean (1980). Tamil Temple Myths: Sacrifice and Divine Marriage in the South Indian Saiva Tradition. ISBN 0-691-06415-6.
• Singh, Nagendra Kumar (1997). Encyclopaedia of Hinduism. ISBN 81-7488-168-9.
• Thapan, Anita Raina (1997). Understanding Gaṇapati: Insights into the Dynamics of a Cult. New Delhi: Manohar Publishers. ISBN 81-7304-195-4.

External links

• GRETIL (uni-goettingen.de)
Translations[edit]
• Agni Purana (in English), Volume 2, MN Dutt (Translator), Hathi Trust Archives
• Vishnu Purana H.H. Wilson
• Vishnu Purana, MN Dutt
• Brahmanda Purana, GV Tagare
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Marquis de Sade
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/28/21


The first Director General for the Company was François de la Faye...

-- French East India Company, by Wikipedia

Image
Donatien Alphonse François
Marquis de Sade
Portrait of Donatien Alphonse François de Sade by Charles Amédée Philippe van Loo.[1] The drawing dates to 1760, when de Sade was 19 years old, and is the only known authentic portrait of him.[2]
Born: 2 June 1740, Paris, Kingdom of France
Died: 2 December 1814 (aged 74), Charenton, Val-de-Marne, France
Philosophy career
Notable work: The 120 Days of Sodom (1785); Justine (1791); Philosophy in the Bedroom (1795); Juliette (1799)
Era: Late 18th century
Region: France
School: Libertine
Main interests: Pornography, eroticism, politics
Notable ideas: Sadism
Influences: Voltaire, Rousseau, Spinoza, Radcliffe, Hobbes,[3] Diderot, Machiavelli,[3] Bernard Mandeville[3]
Family
Spouse(s): Renée-Pélagie Cordier de Launay, ​(m. 1763; died 1810)​
Partner(s): Anne-Prospère de Launay (1772)[2]; Madeleine LeClerc (1810–1814; his death)
Children: Louis Marie de Sade (1767–1809); Donatien Claude Armand de Sade (1769–1847); Madeleine Laure de Sade (1771–1844)
Parents: Jean Baptiste François Joseph, Comte de Sade (father); Marie Eléonore de Maillé de Carman (mother)

Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade (French: [dɔnasjɛ̃ alfɔ̃z fʁɑ̃swa, maʁki də sad]; 2 June 1740 – 2 December 1814), was a French nobleman, revolutionary politician, philosopher and writer famous for his libertine sexuality. His works include novels, short stories, plays, dialogues, and political tracts. In his lifetime some of these were published under his own name while others, which de Sade denied having written, appeared anonymously. De Sade is best known for his erotic works, which combined philosophical discourse with pornography, depicting sexual fantasies with an emphasis on violence, suffering, anal sex (which he calls sodomy), crime, and blasphemy against Christianity. He was a proponent of absolute freedom, unrestrained by morality, religion, or law. The words sadism and sadist are derived in reference to the works of fiction he wrote which portrayed numerous acts of sexual cruelty.[5] While de Sade mentally explored a wide range of sexual deviations, his known behavior includes "only the beating of a housemaid and an orgy with several prostitutes—behavior significantly departing from the clinical definition of sadism".[6][7] De Sade was a proponent of free public brothels provided by the state: In order both to prevent crimes in society that are motivated by lust and to reduce the desire to oppress others using one’s own power, de Sade recommended public brothels where people can satisfy their wishes to command and be obeyed.[8]

With no legal charge brought against him,[6] De Sade was incarcerated in various prisons and an insane asylum for about 32 years of his life (or, after 1778, solely due to lettre de cachet and involuntary commitment): 11 years in Paris (10 of which were spent in the Bastille), a month in the Conciergerie, two years in a fortress, a year in Madelonnettes Convent, three years in Bicêtre Asylum, a year in Sainte-Pélagie Prison, and 12 years in the Charenton Asylum. During the French Revolution, he was an elected delegate to the National Convention. Many of his works were written in prison.

There continues to be a fascination with de Sade among scholars and in popular culture. Prolific French intellectuals such as Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, and Michel Foucault published studies of him.[9] On the other hand, the French hedonist philosopher Michel Onfray has attacked this interest in de Sade, writing that "It is intellectually bizarre to make Sade a hero."[10] There have also been numerous film adaptions of his work, the most notable being Pasolini's Salò, an adaptation of de Sade's controversial book, The 120 Days of Sodom.

Life

Early life and education


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The Château de Lacoste above Lacoste, a residence of Sade; currently the site of theatre festivals

De Sade was born on 2 June 1740, in the Hôtel de Condé, Paris, to Jean Baptiste François Joseph, Count de Sade and Marie Eléonore de Maillé de Carman, distant cousin and lady-in-waiting to the Princess of Condé. He was his parents' only surviving child.[11] He was educated by an uncle, the Abbé de Sade. In Sade's youth, his father abandoned the family; his mother joined a convent.[12] He was raised by servants who indulged "his every whim," which led to his becoming "known as a rebellious and spoiled child with an ever-growing temper."[12]

Later in his childhood, Sade was sent to the Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris,[12] a Jesuit college, for four years.[11] While at the school, he was tutored by Abbé Jacques-François Amblet, a priest.[13] Later in life, at one of Sade's trials the Abbé testified, saying that Sade had a "passionate temperament which made him eager in the pursuit of pleasure" but had a "good heart."[13] At the Lycée Louis-le-Grand, he was subjected to "severe corporal punishment," including "flagellation," and he "spent the rest of his adult life obsessed with the violent act."[12]

At age 14, Sade began attending an elite military academy.[11] After twenty months of training, on 14 December 1755, at age 15, Sade was commissioned as a sub-lieutenant, becoming a soldier.[13] After thirteen months as a sub-lieutenant, he was commissioned to the rank of cornet in the Brigade de S. André of the Comte de Provence's Carbine Regiment.[13] He eventually became Colonel of a Dragoon regiment and fought in the Seven Years' War. In 1763, on returning from war, he courted a rich magistrate's daughter, but her father rejected his suitorship and instead arranged a marriage with his elder daughter, Renée-Pélagie de Montreuil; that marriage produced two sons and a daughter.[14] In 1766, he had a private theatre built in his castle, the Château de Lacoste, in Provence. In January 1767, his father died.

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Sade's father, Jean-Baptiste François Joseph de Sade

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Sade's mother, Marie Eléonore de Maillé de Carman

Title and heirs

The men of the Sade family alternated between using the marquis and comte (count) titles. His grandfather, Gaspard François de Sade, was the first to use marquis;[15] occasionally, he was the Marquis de Sade, but is identified in documents as the Marquis de Mazan. The Sade family were noblesse d'épée, claiming at the time the oldest, Frank-descended nobility, so assuming a noble title without a King's grant, was customarily de rigueur. Alternating title usage indicates that titular hierarchy (below duc et pair) was notional; theoretically, the marquis title was granted to noblemen owning several countships, but its use by men of dubious lineage caused its disrepute. At Court, precedence was by seniority and royal favor, not title. There is father-and-son correspondence, wherein father addresses son as marquis.[citation needed]

For many years, Sade's descendants regarded his life and work as a scandal to be suppressed. This did not change until the mid-twentieth century, when the Comte Xavier de Sade reclaimed the marquis title, long fallen into disuse, on his visiting cards,[16] and took an interest in his ancestor's writings. At that time, the "divine marquis" of legend was so unmentionable in his own family that Xavier de Sade only learned of him in the late 1940s when approached by a journalist.[16] He subsequently discovered a store of Sade's papers in the family château at Condé-en-Brie, and worked with scholars for decades to enable their publication.[2] His youngest son, the Marquis Thibault de Sade, has continued the collaboration. The family have also claimed a trademark on the name.[17] The family sold the Château de Condé in 1983.[18] As well as the manuscripts they retain, others are held in universities and libraries. Many, however, were lost in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. A substantial number were destroyed after Sade's death at the instigation of his son, Donatien-Claude-Armand.[19]

Scandals and imprisonment

Sade lived a scandalous libertine existence and repeatedly procured young prostitutes as well as employees of both sexes in his castle in Lacoste. He was also accused of blasphemy, which was considered a serious offense. His behavior also included an affair with his wife's sister, Anne-Prospère, who had come to live at the castle.[2]

Beginning in 1763, Sade lived mainly in or near Paris. Because of his sexual infamy, he was put under surveillance by the police, who made detailed reports of his activities. After several short imprisonments, which included a brief incarceration in the Château de Saumur (then a prison), he was exiled to his château at Lacoste in 1768.[19]

Nine years later, in 1772, Sade committed sexual acts that included sodomy with four prostitutes and his manservant, Latour.[20] The two men were sentenced to death in absentia for sodomy. They fled to Italy, Sade taking his wife's sister with him. Sade and Latour were caught and imprisoned at the Fortress of Miolans in French Savoy in late 1772, but escaped four months later.

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Detail of Les 120 Journées de Sodome manuscript

Sade later hid at Lacoste where he rejoined his wife, who became an accomplice in his subsequent endeavors.[2] In 1774, Sade partook in orgies at his home.[2] Authorities learned of his sexual debauchery and Sade was forced to flee to Italy once again. It was during this time he wrote Voyage d'Italie. In 1776, he returned to Lacoste, again hired several women, most of whom soon fled. In 1777, the father of one of those employees went to Lacoste to claim his daughter, and attempted to shoot the Marquis at point-blank range, but the gun misfired.

Later that year, Sade was tricked into going to Paris to visit his supposedly ill mother, who in fact had recently died. He was arrested and imprisoned in the Château de Vincennes. He successfully appealed his death sentence in 1778 but remained imprisoned under the lettre de cachet. He escaped but was soon recaptured. He resumed writing and met fellow prisoner Comte de Mirabeau, who also wrote erotic works. Despite this common interest, the two came to dislike each other intensely.[21]

In 1784, Vincennes was closed, and Sade was transferred to the Bastille. The following year, he wrote the manuscript for his magnum opus Les 120 Journées de Sodome (The 120 Days of Sodom), which he wrote in minuscule handwriting on a continuous roll of paper he rolled tightly and placed in his cell wall to hide. He was unable to finish the work; on 4 July 1789, he was transferred "naked as a worm" to the insane asylum at Charenton near Paris, two days after he reportedly incited unrest outside the prison by shouting to the crowds gathered there, "They are killing the prisoners here!" Sade was unable to retrieve the manuscript before being removed from the prison. The storming of the Bastille, a major event of the French Revolution, occurred ten days after Sade left, on 14 July. To his despair, he believed that the manuscript was destroyed in the storming of the Bastille, though it was actually saved by a man named Arnoux de Saint-Maximin two days before the Bastille was attacked. It is not known why Saint-Maximin chose to bring the manuscript to safety, nor indeed is anything else about him known.[2] In 1790, Sade was released from Charenton after the new National Constituent Assembly abolished the instrument of lettre de cachet. His wife obtained a divorce soon afterwards.

Return to freedom, delegate to the National Convention, and imprisonment

During Sade's time of freedom, beginning in 1790, he published several of his books anonymously. He met Marie-Constance Quesnet, a former actress with a six-year-old son, who had been abandoned by her husband. Constance and Sade stayed together for the rest of his life.

He initially adapted the new political order after the revolution, supported the Republic,[22] called himself "Citizen Sade", and managed to obtain several official positions despite his aristocratic background.

Because of the damage done to his estate in Lacoste, which was sacked in 1789 by an angry mob, he moved to Paris. In 1790, he was elected to the National Convention, where he represented the far left. He was a member of the Piques section, notorious for its radical views. He wrote several political pamphlets, in which he called for the implementation of direct vote. However, there is much evidence suggesting that he suffered abuse from his fellow revolutionaries due to his aristocratic background. Matters were not helped by his son's May 1792 desertion from the military, where he had been serving as a second lieutenant and the aide-de-camp to an important colonel, the Marquis de Toulengeon. Sade was forced to disavow his son's desertion in order to save himself. Later that year, his name was added—whether by error or wilful malice—to the list of émigrés of the Bouches-du-Rhône department.[23]

While claiming he was opposed to the Reign of Terror in 1793, he wrote an admiring eulogy for Jean-Paul Marat.[16] At this stage, he was becoming publicly critical of Maximilien Robespierre and, on 5 December, he was removed from his posts, accused of moderatism, and imprisoned for almost a year. He was released in 1794 after the end of the Reign of Terror.

In 1796, now completely destitute, he had to sell his ruined castle in Lacoste.

Imprisonment for his writings and death

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The first page of Sade's Justine, one of the works for which he was imprisoned

In 1801, Napoleon Bonaparte ordered the arrest of the anonymous author of Justine and Juliette.[2] Sade was arrested at his publisher's office and imprisoned without trial; first in the Sainte-Pélagie Prison and, following allegations that he had tried to seduce young fellow prisoners there, in the harsh Bicêtre Asylum.

After intervention by his family, he was declared insane in 1803 and transferred once more to the Charenton Asylum. His ex-wife and children had agreed to pay his pension there. Constance, pretending to be his relative, was allowed to live with him at Charenton. The director of the institution, Abbé de Coulmier, allowed and encouraged him to stage several of his plays, with the inmates as actors, to be viewed by the Parisian public.[2] Coulmier's novel approaches to psychotherapy attracted much opposition. In 1809, new police orders put Sade into solitary confinement and deprived him of pens and paper. In 1813, the government ordered Coulmier to suspend all theatrical performances.

Sade began a sexual relationship with 14-year-old Madeleine LeClerc, daughter of an employee at Charenton. This lasted some four years, until his death in 1814.

He had left instructions in his will forbidding that his body be opened for any reason whatsoever, and that it remain untouched for 48 hours in the chamber in which he died, and then placed in a coffin and buried on his property located in Malmaison near Épernon. These instructions were not followed; he was buried at Charenton. His skull was later removed from the grave for phrenological examination.[2] His son had all his remaining unpublished manuscripts burned, including the immense multi-volume work Les Journées de Florbelle.

Appraisal and criticism

Numerous writers and artists, especially those concerned with sexuality, have been both repelled and fascinated by Sade. An article in The Independent, a British online newspaper, gives contrasting views: the French novelist Pierre Guyotat said, "Sade is, in a way, our Shakespeare. He has the same sense of tragedy, the same sweeping grandeur" while public intellectual Michel Onfray said, "it is intellectually bizarre to make Sade a hero... Even according to his most hero-worshipping biographers, this man was a sexual delinquent".[10]

The contemporary rival pornographer Rétif de la Bretonne published an Anti-Justine in 1798.

Geoffrey Gorer, an English anthropologist and author (1905–1985), wrote one of the earliest books on Sade, entitled The Revolutionary Ideas of the Marquis de Sade in 1935. He pointed out that Sade was in complete opposition to contemporary philosophers for both his "complete and continual denial of the right to property" and for viewing the struggle in late 18th century French society as being not between "the Crown, the bourgeoisie, the aristocracy or the clergy, or sectional interests of any of these against one another", but rather all of these "more or less united against the proletariat." By holding these views, he cut himself off entirely from the revolutionary thinkers of his time to join those of the mid-nineteenth century. Thus, Gorer argued, "he can with some justice be called the first reasoned socialist."[24]

Simone de Beauvoir (in her essay Must we burn Sade?, published in Les Temps modernes, December 1951 and January 1952) and other writers have attempted to locate traces of a radical philosophy of freedom in Sade's writings, preceding modern existentialism by some 150 years. He has also been seen as a precursor of Sigmund Freud's psychoanalysis in his focus on sexuality as a motive force. The surrealists admired him as one of their forerunners, and Guillaume Apollinaire famously called him "the freest spirit that has yet existed".[25]

Pierre Klossowski, in his 1947 book Sade Mon Prochain ("Sade My Neighbour"), analyzes Sade's philosophy as a precursor of nihilism, negating Christian values and the materialism of the Enlightenment.

One of the essays in Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno's Dialectic of Enlightenment (1947) is titled "Juliette, or Enlightenment and Morality" and interprets the ruthless and calculating behavior of Juliette as the embodiment of the philosophy of Enlightenment. Similarly, psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan posited in his 1963 essay Kant avec Sade that Sade's ethics was the complementary completion of the categorical imperative originally formulated by Immanuel Kant.

In his 1988 Political Theory and Modernity, William E. Connolly analyzes Sade's Philosophy in the Bedroom as an argument against earlier political philosophers, notably Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Thomas Hobbes, and their attempts to reconcile nature, reason, and virtue as bases of ordered society. Similarly, Camille Paglia[26] argued that Sade can be best understood as a satirist, responding "point by point" to Rousseau's claims that society inhibits and corrupts mankind's innate goodness: Paglia notes that Sade wrote in the aftermath of the French Revolution, when Rousseauist Jacobins instituted the bloody Reign of Terror and Rousseau's predictions were brutally disproved. "Simply follow nature, Rousseau declares. Sade, laughing grimly, agrees."[27]

In The Sadeian Woman: And the Ideology of Pornography (1979), Angela Carter provides a feminist reading of Sade, seeing him as a "moral pornographer" who creates spaces for women. Similarly, Susan Sontag defended both Sade and Georges Bataille's Histoire de l'œil (Story of the Eye) in her essay "The Pornographic Imagination" (1967) on the basis their works were transgressive texts, and argued that neither should be censored. By contrast, Andrea Dworkin saw Sade as the exemplary woman-hating pornographer, supporting her theory that pornography inevitably leads to violence against women. One chapter of her book Pornography: Men Possessing Women (1979) is devoted to an analysis of Sade. Susie Bright claims that Dworkin's first novel Ice and Fire, which is rife with violence and abuse, can be seen as a modern retelling of Sade's Juliette.[28]

Influence

Sexual sadism disorder, a mental condition named after Sade, has been defined as experiencing sexual arousal in response to extreme pain, suffering or humiliation done non-consensually to others (as committed by Sade in his crimes and described in his novels).[29] Other terms have been used to describe the condition, which may overlap with other sexual preferences that also involve inflicting pain. It is distinct from situations where consenting individuals use mild or simulated pain or humiliation for sexual excitement.[30]

Various influential cultural figures have expressed a great interest in Sade's work, including the French philosopher Michel Foucault,[31] the American film maker John Waters[32] and the Spanish filmmaker Jesús Franco. The poet Algernon Charles Swinburne is also said to have been highly influenced by Sade.[33] Nikos Nikolaidis' 1979 film The Wretches Are Still Singing was shot in a surreal way with a predilection for the aesthetics of the Marquis de Sade; Sade is said to have influenced Romantic and Decadent authors such as Charles Baudelaire, Gustave Flaubert, and Rachilde; and to have influenced a growing popularity of nihilism in Western thought.[34] Sade's notions on strength and weakness and good and evil, such as the "equilibrium" of good and evil in the world required by Nature which the monk Clément mentions in Justine,[35] may have also been a considerable influence on Friedrich Nietzsche, particularly concerning the views on good and evil in Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morality (1887). The philosopher of egoist anarchism, Max Stirner, is also speculated to have been influenced by Sade's work.[36]

Serial killer Ian Brady, who with Myra Hindley carried out torture and murder of children known as the Moors murders in England during the 1960s, was fascinated by Sade, and the suggestion was made at their trial and appeals[37] that the tortures of the children (the screams and pleadings of whom they tape-recorded) were influenced by Sade's ideas and fantasies. According to Donald Thomas, who has written a biography on Sade, Brady and Hindley had read very little of Sade's actual work; the only book of his they possessed was an anthology of excerpts that included none of his most extreme writings.[38] In the two suitcases found by the police that contained books that belonged to Brady was The Life and Ideas of the Marquis de Sade.[39] Hindley herself claimed that Brady would send her to obtain books by Sade, and that after reading them he became sexually aroused and beat her.[40]

In Philosophy in the Bedroom Sade proposed the use of induced abortion for social reasons and population control, marking the first time the subject had been discussed in public. It has been suggested that Sade's writing influenced the subsequent medical and social acceptance of abortion in Western society.[41]

Cultural depictions

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Depiction of the Marquis de Sade by H. Biberstein in L'Œuvre du marquis de Sade, Guillaume Apollinaire (Edit.), Bibliothèque des Curieux, Paris, 1912

Main article: Marquis de Sade in popular culture

There have been many and varied references to the Marquis de Sade in popular culture, including fictional works and biographies. The eponym of the psychological and subcultural term sadism, his name is used variously to evoke sexual violence, licentiousness, and freedom of speech.[9] In modern culture his works are simultaneously viewed as masterful analyses of how power and economics work, and as erotica.[42] It could be argued that Sade's sexually explicit works were a medium for the articulation but also for the exposure of the corrupt and hypocritical values of the elite in his society, and that it was primarily this inconvenient and embarrassing satire that led to his long-term detention. With this view, he becomes a symbol of the artist's struggle with the censor and that of the moral philosopher with the constraints of conventional morality. Sade's use of pornographic devices to create provocative works that subvert the prevailing moral values of his time inspired many other artists in a variety of media. The cruelties depicted in his works gave rise to the concept of sadism. Sade's works have to this day been kept alive by certain artists and intellectuals because they themselves espouse a philosophy of extreme individualism.[43] But Sade's life was lived in flat contradiction and breach of Kant's injunction to treat others as ends in themselves and never merely as means to an agent's own ends.

In the late 20th century, there was a resurgence of interest in Sade; leading French intellectuals like Roland Barthes, Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida, and Michel Foucault[44] published studies of the philosopher, and interest in Sade among scholars and artists continued.[9] In the realm of visual arts, many surrealist artists had interest in the "Divine Marquis." Sade was celebrated in surrealist periodicals, and feted by figures such as Guillaume Apollinaire, Paul Éluard, and Maurice Heine; Man Ray admired Sade because he and other surrealists viewed him as an ideal of freedom.[43] The first Manifesto of Surrealism (1924) announced that "Sade is surrealist in sadism", and extracts of the original draft of Justine were published in Le Surréalisme au service de la révolution.[45] In literature, Sade is referenced in several stories by horror and science fiction writer (and author of Psycho) Robert Bloch, while Polish science fiction author Stanisław Lem wrote an essay analyzing the game theory arguments appearing in Sade's Justine.[46] The writer Georges Bataille applied Sade's methods of writing about sexual transgression to shock and provoke readers.[43]

Sade's life and works have been the subject of numerous fictional plays, films, pornographic or erotic drawings, etchings, and more. These include Peter Weiss's play Marat/Sade, a fantasia extrapolating from the fact that Sade directed plays performed by his fellow inmates at the Charenton asylum.[47] Yukio Mishima, Barry Yzereef, and Doug Wright also wrote plays about Sade; Weiss's and Wright's plays have been made into films. His work is referenced on film at least as early as Luis Buñuel's L'Âge d'Or (1930), the final segment of which provides a coda to 120 Days of Sodom, with the four debauched noblemen emerging from their mountain retreat. In 1969, American International Films released a German-made production called de Sade, with Keir Dullea in the title role. Pier Paolo Pasolini filmed Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975), updating Sade's novel to the brief Salò Republic; in 1989, Henri Xhonneux and Roland Topor made Marquis, which was partially based on the memoirs of de Sade;[48] Benoît Jacquot's Sade and Philip Kaufman's Quills (from the play of the same name by Doug Wright) both hit cinemas in 2000. Quills, inspired by Sade's imprisonment and battles with the censorship in his society,[43] portrays him (Geoffrey Rush) as a literary freedom fighter who is a martyr to the cause of free expression.[49] Sade is a 2000 French film directed by Benoît Jacquot starring Daniel Auteuil as the Marquis de Sade, which was adapted by Jacques Fieschi and Bernard Minoret from the novel La terreur dans le boudoir by Serge Bramly.

Often Sade himself has been depicted in American popular culture less as a revolutionary or even as a libertine and more akin to a sadistic, tyrannical villain. For example, in the final episode of the television series Friday the 13th: The Series, Micki, the female protagonist, travels back in time and ends up being imprisoned and tortured by Sade. Similarly, in the horror film Waxwork, Sade is among the film's wax villains to come alive.

While not personally depicted, Sade's writings feature prominently in the novel Too Like the Lightning, first book in the Terra Ignota sequence written by Ada Palmer. Palmer's depiction of 25th century Earth relies heavily on the philosophies and prominent figureheads of the Enlightenment, such as Voltaire and Denis Diderot in addition to Sade, and in the book the narrator Mycroft, after showing his fictional "reader" a sex scene formulated off of Sade's own, takes this imaginary reader's indignation as an opportunity to delve into Sade's ideas. Additionally, one of the central locations in the novel, a brothel advertising itself as a "bubble of the 18th century", features an inscription over the proprietor's door dedicating the establishment as a temple to Sade, an homage to Voltaire's "Le Temple du goût, par M. de Voltaire."

As Voltaire is said to have replied when the Marquis de Sade invited him to a second orgy, since he'd enjoyed the first one so much: "No thanks. Once is philosophy, twice is perversion.'"


Writing

Literary criticism


The Marquis de Sade viewed Gothic fiction as a genre that relied heavily on magic and phantasmagoria. In his literary criticism Sade sought to prevent his fiction from being labeled "Gothic" by emphasizing Gothic's supernatural aspects as the fundamental difference from themes in his own work. But while he sought this separation he believed the Gothic played a necessary role in society and discussed its roots and its uses. He wrote that the Gothic novel was a perfectly natural, predictable consequence of the revolutionary sentiments in Europe. He theorized that the adversity of the period had rightfully caused Gothic writers to "look to hell for help in composing their alluring novels." Sade held the work of writers Matthew Lewis and Ann Radcliffe high above other Gothic authors, praising the brilliant imagination of Radcliffe and pointing to Lewis' The Monk as without question the genre's best achievement. Sade nevertheless believed that the genre was at odds with itself, arguing that the supernatural elements within Gothic fiction created an inescapable dilemma for both its author and its readers. He argued that an author in this genre was forced to choose between elaborate explanations of the supernatural or no explanation at all and that in either case the reader was unavoidably rendered incredulous. Despite his celebration of The Monk, Sade believed that there was not a single Gothic novel that had been able to overcome these problems, and that a Gothic novel that did would be universally regarded for its excellence in fiction.[50]

Many assume that Sade's criticism of the Gothic novel is a reflection of his frustration with sweeping interpretations of works like Justine. Within his objections to the lack of verisimilitude in the Gothic may have been an attempt to present his own work as the better representation of the whole nature of man. Since Sade professed that the ultimate goal of an author should be to deliver an accurate portrayal of man, it is believed that Sade's attempts to separate himself from the Gothic novel highlights this conviction. For Sade, his work was best suited for the accomplishment of this goal in part because he was not chained down by the supernatural silliness that dominated late 18th-century fiction.[51] Moreover, it is believed that Sade praised The Monk (which displays Ambrosio's sacrifice of his humanity to his unrelenting sexual appetite) as the best Gothic novel chiefly because its themes were the closest to those within his own work.[52]

Libertine novels

Sade's fiction has been classified under different genres, including pornography, Gothic, and baroque. Sade's most famous books are often classified not as Gothic but as libertine novels, and include the novels Justine, or the Misfortunes of Virtue; Juliette; The 120 Days of Sodom; and Philosophy in the Bedroom. These works challenge traditional perceptions of sexuality, religion, law, age, and gender. His fictional portrayals of sexual violence and sadism stunned even those contemporaries of Sade who were quite familiar with the dark themes of the Gothic novel during its popularity in the late 18th century. Suffering is the primary rule, as in these novels one must often decide between sympathizing with the torturer or the victim. While these works focus on the dark side of human nature, the magic and phantasmagoria that dominates the Gothic is noticeably absent and is the primary reason these works are not considered to fit the genre.[53]

Through the unreleased passions of his libertines, Sade wished to shake the world at its core. With 120 Days, for example, Sade wished to present "the most impure tale that has ever been written since the world exists."[54] Despite his literary attempts at evil, his characters and stories often fell into repetition of sexual acts and philosophical justifications. Simone de Beauvoir and Georges Bataille have argued that the repetitive form of his libertine novels, though hindering the artfulness of his prose, ultimately strengthened his individualist arguments.[55][56] The repetitive and obsessive nature of the account of Justine's abuse and frustration in her strivings to be a good Christian living a virtuous and pure life may on a superficial reading seem tediously excessive. Paradoxically, however, Sade checks the reader's instinct to treat them as laughable cheap pornography and obscenity by knowingly and artfully interweaving the tale of her trials with extended reflections on individual and social morality.

Short fiction

In The Crimes of Love, subtitled "Heroic and Tragic Tales", Sade combines romance and horror, employing several Gothic tropes for dramatic purposes. There is blood, banditti, corpses, and of course insatiable lust. Compared to works like Justine, here Sade is relatively tame, as overt eroticism and torture is subtracted for a more psychological approach. It is the impact of sadism instead of acts of sadism itself that emerge in this work, unlike the aggressive and rapacious approach in his libertine works.[52] The modern volume entitled Gothic Tales collects a variety of other short works of fiction intended to be included in Sade's Contes et Fabliaux d'un Troubadour Provencal du XVIII Siecle.

An example is "Eugénie de Franval", a tale of incest and retribution. In its portrayal of conventional moralities it is something of a departure from the erotic cruelties and moral ironies that dominate his libertine works. It opens with a domesticated approach:

To enlighten mankind and improve its morals is the only lesson which we offer in this story. In reading it, may the world discover how great is the peril which follows the footsteps of those who will stop at nothing to satisfy their desires.


Descriptions in Justine seem to anticipate Radcliffe's scenery in The Mysteries of Udolpho and the vaults in The Italian, but, unlike these stories, there is no escape for Sade's virtuous heroine, Justine. Unlike the milder Gothic fiction of Radcliffe, Sade's protagonist is brutalized throughout and dies tragically. To have a character like Justine, who is stripped without ceremony and bound to a wheel for fondling and thrashing, would be unthinkable in the domestic Gothic fiction written for the bourgeoisie. Sade even contrives a kind of affection between Justine and her tormentors, suggesting shades of masochism in his heroine.[57]

Bibliography

Further information: Marquis de Sade bibliography

See also

• France portal
• Biography portal
• BDSM
• Fetish fashion
• La société
• Leopold von Sacher-Masoch
• Sexual fetishism
• Jesus Franco directed films based on the Marquis de Sade's works

References

1. Sade, Marquis de (1999). Seaver, Richard (ed.). Letters from Prison. New York: Arcade Publishing. ISBN 978-1559704113.
2. Perrottet, Tony (February 2015). "Who Was the Marquis de Sade?". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
3. Airaksinen, Timo (2001). The philosophy of the Marquis de Sade. Taylor & Francis e-Library. p. 20–21. ISBN 0-203-17439-9. Two of Sade’s own intellectual heroes were Niccolò Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbes, both of whom he interpreted in the traditional manner to recommend wickedness as an ingredient of virtue. ... Robert (sic) Mandeville is another model mentioned by Sade, and he would have appreciated Malthus as well.
4. "Power Lunch with social critic Lydia Lunch". democratandchronicle.com.
5. Marquis de Sade at the Encyclopædia Britannica
6. Marshall, Peter H., 1946- (2010). Demanding the impossible : a history of anarchism. Oakland, CA: PM Press. p. 144. ISBN 978-1-60486-064-1. OCLC 319501361.
7. Gorer, Geoffrey, 1905-1985. (2011). The life and ideas of the Marquis de Sade. [Breinigsville, Pa.]: [CreateSpace]. p. 32. ISBN 978-1-4455-2563-1. OCLC 793131351.
8. Marshall, Peter H., 1946- (2010). Demanding the impossible : a history of anarchism. Oakland, CA: PM Press. pp. 147–148. ISBN 978-1-60486-064-1. OCLC 319501361.
9. Phillips, John, 2005, The Marquis De Sade: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-280469-3.
10. "Marquis de Sade: rebel, pervert, rapist...hero?". The Independent. London, England: Independent Print Ltd. 14 November 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
11. "The Eponymous Sadist". http://www.nytimes.com. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
12. "Marquis de Sade". biography.com. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
13. Hayman, Ronald (2003). Marquis de Sade: The Genius of Passion. New York City: Tauris Parke Paperbacks. ISBN 978-1860648946.
14. Love, Brenda (2002). The Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices. London: Abacus. p. 145. ISBN 978-0-349-11535-1.
15. Lêly, Gilbert (1961). Vie du Marquis de Sade (in French) (1982 ed.). Paris: J.-J. Pauvert aux Editions Garnier frères. ISBN 978-2705004552.
16. du Plessix Gray, Francine (1998). At Home with the Marquis de Sade: A Life. New York City: Simon and Schuster. pp. 418–20. ISBN 978-0140286779.
17. de Lucovich, Jean-Pierre (30 July 2001). "Quand le marquis de Sade entre dans l'ère du marketing". marianne.net (in French). Retrieved 10 November 2018.
18. "Condé Castle – History". http://www.chateaudeconde.com. Archived from the original on 9 August 2007.
19. Schaeffer, Neil (1999). The Marquis de Sade: a Life. New York City: Knopf Doubleday. ISBN 978-0674003927.
20. "Marquis de Sade". Brittanica. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
21. Mirabeau, Honoré-Gabriel Riqueti; Apollinaire, Guillaume; Pierrugues, P. (1921). L'Œuvre du comte de Mirabeau. Paris, France: Bibliothèque des curieux. p. 9.
22. McLemee, Scott (2002). "Sade, Marquis de". glbtq.com. Archived from the original on 23 November 2007.
23. "The Life and Times of the Marquis de Sade". Geocities.com. Archived from the original on 25 October 2009. Retrieved 23 October 2008.
24. Gorer, Geoffrey. The Revolutionary Ideas of the Marquis de Sade. Berlin, Ohio: TGS Publishing. p. 197. ISBN 978-1610333924.
25. Queenan, Joe (2004). Malcontents. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Running Press. p. 519. ISBN 978-0-7624-1697-4.
26. Paglia, Camille. (1990) Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson. NY: Vintage, ISBN 0-679-73579-8, Chapter 8, "Return of the Great Mother: Rousseau vs. Sade".
27. Paglia (1990), p. 235
28. Andrea Dworkin has Died, from Susie Bright's Journal, 11 April 2005. Retrieved 23 November 2006
29. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
30. Freund, K., & Blanchard, R. (1986). The concept of courtship disorder. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 12, 79–92.
31. Eribon, Didier (1991) [1989]. Michel Foucault. Betsy Wing (translator). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. p. 31. ISBN 978-0674572867.
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Part 1 of 2

Dayananda Saraswati
by New World Encyclopedia
Accessed: 3/1/21



1879, Excerpt from Masters and Men: The Human Story in the Mahatma Letters (a fictionalized account)
by Virginia Hanson
The Theosophical Publishing House
Madras, India
c 1980 The Theosophical Publishing House

Most of the Letters are over the signature of the Mahatma Koot Hoomi, usually signed simply "K.H." A Kashmiri Brahmin by birth, at the time of the correspondence he was a Buddhist. Koot Hoomi is a mystical name which he instructed H.P.B. to use in connection with his correspondence with Mr. Sinnett. It is possible that his real name was Nisi Kanta Chattopadhyaya, as that seems to have been the name by which he was known when he was attending at least one European University. He was fluent in both English and French and was sometimes affectionally spoken of by the Mahatma Morya as "my Frenchified K.H."

At one time, under special circumstances, the Mahatma Morya took over the correspondence temporarily. He too used only his initial as a signature. "He was a Rajput by birth," said H.P.B., "One of the warrior race of the Indian desert, the finest and handsomest nation in the world." He was "a giant, six feet eight, and splendidly built; a superb type of manly beauty." The Mahatma K.H. referred to him humorously as "my bulky brother." He was not proficient in English and spoke of himself as using words and phrases "lying idle in my friend's brain" -- meaning, of course, the brain of the Mahatma K.H.

In 1870, the same year that Keshub visited England, two other Indians took ship from England to America. They were a Bombay textile magnate called Moolji Thackersey (Seth Damodar Thackersey Mulji, died 1880) and Mr. Tulsidas. Josephine Ransom, an early historian of the Theosophical Society, writes that they were “on a mission to the West to see what could be done to introduce Eastern spiritual and philosophic ideas.” Traveling on the same boat was Henry Olcott, fresh from his experiences in London’s spiritualist circles. Olcott was sufficiently impressed by this shipboard meeting to keep a framed photograph of the two Indians on the wall of the apartment he was sharing with Blavatsky in 1877. It was one evening in that year that a visitor who had traveled in India (sometimes identified as James Peebles) remarked on the photograph. Olcott writes in his memoirs of the consequences of this extraordinary series of coincidences:

I took it down, showed it to him, and asked if he knew either of the two. He did know Moolji Thackersey and had quite recently met him in Bombay. I got the address, and by the next mail wrote to Moolji about our Society, our love for India and what caused it. In due course he replied in quite enthusiastic terms, accepted the offered diploma of membership, and told me about a great Hindu pandit and reformer, who had begun a powerful movement for the resuscitation of pure Vedic religion.


This reformer was Swami Dayananda Saraswati (1824-1882). In 1870 he was still an eccentric traveling preacher with no aspirations to international influence: something that grew on him precisely after meeting the Brahmo Samajists. He met Devandranath [Debendranath] Tagore in 1870; in 1873 Keshub Chunder Sen gave him the advice (which he took) to stop wearing only a loincloth and speaking only Sanskrit. Indefatigably stumping round the subcontinent, Dayananda founded his “powerful movement,” the Arya Samaj, in 1875. This chronology suggests that in 1870 Thackersey was probably coming to America as a representative of the Brahmo Samaj, but that by the time Olcott got in touch with him again, he had transferred his allegiance to the Arya Samaj.

The Arya Samaj was more radical than any wing of the Brahmo Samaj, on which it was partially modeled. Dayananda was a monotheist who believed in the Vedas as the sole revealed scripture and the basis for a universal religion. The various gods addressed in the Vedic hymns (Agni, Indra, etc.), he explained as aspects of the One, and he was prepared to demonstrate how these ancient texts contained all possible knowledge of man, nature, and the means of salvation and happiness. Of the quarrels between the various religions, he wrote: “My purpose and aim is to help in putting an end to this mutual wrangling, to preach universal truth, to bring all men under one religion so that they may, by ceasing to hate each other and firmly loving each other, life in peace and work for their common welfare.” He had no respect whatever for Brahmanism: for their scriptures, rituals, polytheism, caste system, and discrimination against women. Unfortunately for his opponents, he was immensely learned and articulate, could out-argue most pundits, and had, in the last resort (which often seems to have occurred) the advantage of being 6’9” tall and broad to match.

From Dayananda’s point of view, the Brahmo Samajists had erred both in their failure to recognize the supremacy of the Vedas, and in their too-ready embrace of the errors of other religions. They were moreover too addicted to Brahmanic customs and privileges. Here is a contemporary summary of his social principles:

He says that no inhabitant of India should be called a Hindu, that an ignorant Brahmin should be made a Shudra, and a Shudra, who is learned, well-behaved and religious should be made a Brahmin. Both men and women should be taught Language, Grammar, Dharmashastras, Vedas, Science and Philosophy. Women should receive special education in Chemistry, Music and Medical Science; they should know what foods promote health, strength and vigour. He condemns child marriage as the root of the most of the evils. A girl should be educated and married at the age of twenty. If a widow wants to remarry, she should be allowed to do so. According to his opinion, there is no particular difference between the householder and the sannyasi.


It is not surprising that the Theosophists in New York took kindly to the Arya Samaj, at first through correspondence with Thackersey, then through the Bombay branch head, Hurrychund Chintamon, and lastly through Dayananda himself. The two societies were united for a time, though the Theosophists were disillusioned as soon as they discovered the strength of Dayananda's Vedic fundamentalism and his hostility to all other religions. On Dayananda's unexpected death, Blavatsky wrote a generous obituary in The Theosophist for December 1883. She appreciated him for defending what he saw as the best of his native heritage against the priestcraft of Brahmins and Christians alike, and for his leadership in an enlightened social policy of which she could only have approved.

As the Arya Samaj continued to flourish after Dayananda's death, it became a rallying point for that movement of Hindu nationalism that wanted neither to turn back the clock to Brahmanic theocracy, nor to embrace Western materialism along with the benefits of science and technology. What Rammohun Roy had set in motion, the Arya Samaj carried forward into the era of the Indian National Congressand the independence movement of the twentieth century. Dayananda himself died -- some said poisoned -- at the time when his mission was beginning to have real success among the North Indian rulers, but he had done enough to be celebrated as a father-figure by leaders of Indian independence such as [url]Jawaharlal Nehru[/url], Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, and Aurobindo Ghose.

-- The Theosophical Enlightenment, by Joscelyn Godwin


Image
A representation of Swami Dayananda Saraswati

Swami Dayananda Saraswati (स्‍वामी दयानन्‍द सरस्‍वती) (1824 - 1883) was an important Hindu religious scholar born in Gujarat, India. He is best known as the founder of the Arya Samaj "Society of Nobles," a great Hindu reform movement, founded in 1875. He was a sanyasi (one who has renounced all worldly possessions and relations) from his boyhood. He was an original scholar, who believed in the infallible authority of the Vedas. Dayananda advocated the doctrine of karma, skepticism in dogma, and emphasized the ideals of brahmacharya (celibacy and devotion to God). The Theosophical Society and the Arya Samaj were united for a certain time under the name Theosophical Society of the Arya Samaj.

Dayananda was an important Hindu reformist whose views did much to promote gender-equality, democracy, education, as well as a new confidence in India's cultural past and future capabilities. In some respects, he qualifies as an architect of modern India as am emerging scientific and technological power. Aspects of his views impacted negatively on inter-religious relations, however, and contributed to extreme forms of Hindu nationalism which denies non-Hindus their complete civil rights. Yet, in his own day, when he spoke of the superiority of Hindu culture and religion, he was doing so in defense of what Europeans in India had insulted and denigrated. A consequence of assuming racial, cultural, or religious superiority over others is that they retaliate, and reverse what is said about them. The Arya Samaj is now a worldwide movement.

Upbringing

Born in Kathiawi, Gujerat, Dayananda's parents were wealthy members of the priestly class, the Brahmins (or Brahmans). Although raised as an observant Hindu, in his late teens Dayananda turned to a detailed study of the Vedas, convinced that some contemporary practices, such as the veneration of images (murtis) was a corruption of pure, original Hinduism. His inquiries were prompted by a family visit to a temple for overnight worship, when he stayed up waiting for God to appear to accept the offerings made to image of the God Shiva. While everyone else slept, Dayananda saw mice eating the offerings kept for the God. Utterly surprised, he wondered how a God, who cannot even protect his own "offerings," would protect humanity. He later argued with his father that they should not worship such a helpless God. He then started pondering the meaning of life and death, and asking questions that worried his parents.

Quest for liberation

In 1845, he declared that he was starting a quest for enlightenment, or for liberation (moksha), left home and started to denounce image-veneration. His parents had decided to marry him off in his early teens (common in nineteenth century India), so instead Dayananda chose to become a wandering monk. He learned Panini's Grammar to understand Sanskrit texts. After wandering in search of guidance for over two decades, he found Swami Virjananda (1779-1868) near Mathura who became his guru. The guru told him to throw away all his books in the river and focus only on the Vedas. Dayananda stayed under Swami Virjananda's tutelage for two and a half years. After finishing his education, Virjananda asked him to spread the concepts of the Vedas in society as his gurudakshina ("tuition-dues"), predicting that he would revive Hinduism.

Reforming Hinduism

Dayananda set about this difficult task with dedication, despite attempts on his life. He traveled the country challenging religious scholars and priests of the day to discussions and won repeatedly on the strength of his arguments. He believed that Hinduism had been corrupted by divergence from the founding principles of the Vedas and misled by the priesthood for the priests' self-aggrandizement. Hindu priests discouraged common folk from reading Vedic scriptures and encouraged rituals (such as bathing in the Ganges and feeding of priests on anniversaries) which Dayananda pronounced as superstitions or self-serving.

He also considered certain aspects of European civilization to be positive, such as democracy and its emphasis on commerce, although he did not find Christianity at all attractive, or European cultural arrogance, which he disliked intensely. In some respects, his ideas were a reaction to Western criticism of Hinduism as superstitious idolatry. He may also have been influenced by Ram Mohan Roy, whose version of Hinduism also repudiated image-veneration. He knew Roy's leading disciple, Debendranath Tagore and for a while had contemplated joining the Brahmo Samaj but for him the Vedas were too central

In 1869, Dayananda set up his first Vedic School, dedicated to teaching Vedic values to the fifty students who registered during the first year. Two other schools followed by 1873. In 1875, he founded the Arya Samaj in 1875, which spearheaded what later became known as a nationalist movement within Hinduism. The term "fundamentalist" has also been used with reference to this strand of the Hindu religion.

The Arya Samaj

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ओ३म् O3m (Aum), considered by the Arya Samaj to be the highest and most proper name of God.

The Arya Samaj unequivocally condemns idol-veneration, animal sacrifices, ancestor worship, pilgrimages, priestcraft, offerings made in temples, the caste system, untouchability, child marriages, and discrimination against women on the grounds that all these lacked Vedic sanction. The Arya Samaj discourages dogma and symbolism and encourages skepticism in beliefs that run contrary to common sense and logic. To many people, the Arya Samaj aims to be a "universal church" based on the authority of the Vedas. Dayananda taught that the Vedas are rational and contain universal principles. Fellow reformer Vivekananda also stressed the universal nature of the principles contained in Hindu thought, but for him the Ultimate was trans-personal, while Dayananda believed in a personal deity.

Among Swami Dayananda's immense contributions is his championing of the equal rights of women—such as their right to education and reading of Indian scriptures—and his translation of the Vedas from Sanskrit to Hindi so that the common person may be able to read the Vedas. The Arya Samaj is rare in Hinduism in its acceptance of women as leaders in prayer meetings and preaching. Dayananda promoted the idea of marriage by choice, strongly supported education, pride in India's past, in her culture as well as in her future capabilities. Indeed, he taught that Hinduism is the most rational religion and that the ancient Vedas are the source not only of spiritual truth but also of scientific knowledge. This stimulated a new interest in India's history and ancient disciples of medicine and science. Dayananda saw Indian civilization as superior, which some later developed into a type of nationalism that looked on non-Hindus as disloyal.

For several years (1879-1881), Dayananda was courted by the Theosophist, Helena Blavatsky, and Henry Steel Olcott, who were interested in a merger which was temporarily in place. However, their idea of the Ultimate Reality as impersonal did not find favor with Dayananda, for whom God is a person, and the organizations parted.

Dayananda's views on other religions

Far from borrowing concepts from other religions, as Raja Ram Mohan Roy had done, Swami Dayananda was quite critical of Islam and Christianity as may be seen in his book, Satyartha Prakash. He was against what he considered to be the corruption of the pure faith in his own country. Unlike many other reform movements within Hinduism, the Arya Samaj's appeal was addressed not only to the educated few in India, but to the world as a whole, as evidenced in the sixth of ten principle of the Arya Samaj.[1]

Arya Samaj, like a number of other modern Hindu movements, allows and encourages converts to Hinduism, since Dayananda held Hinduism to be based on "universal and all-embracing principles" and therefore to be "true." "I hold that the four Vedas," he wrote, "the repository of Knowledge and Religious Truths- are the Word of God …They are absolutely free from error and are an authority unto themselves."[2] In contrast, the Gospels are silly, and "no educated man" could believe in their content, which contradicted nature and reason.

Christians go about saying "Come, embrace my religion, get your sins forgiven and be saved" but "All this is untrue, since had Christ possessed the power of having sins remitted, instilling faith in others and purifying them, why would he not have freed his disciples from sin, made them faithful and pure," citing Matthew 17:17.[3] The claim that Jesus is the only way to God is fraudulent, since "God does not stand in need of any mediator," citing John 14: 6-7. In fact, one of the aims of the Arya Samaj was to re-convert Sikhs, Muslims and Christians. Sikhs were regarded as Hindus with a distinct way of worship. Some Gurdwaras actually fell under the control of the Arya Samaj, which led to the creation of a new Sikh organization to regain control of Sikh institutions. As the political influence of the movement grew, this attitude towards non-Hindu Indian's had a negative impact on their treatment, inciting such an event as the 1992 destruction of the Mosque at Ayodhia. There and elsewhere, Muslims were accused of violating sacred Hindu sites by bulding Mosques where Temples had previously stood. The Samaj has been criticized for aggressive intolerance against other religions.<see>Encyclopædia Britannica Online, Arya Samaj. Retrieved September 13, 2007.

However, given the hostility expressed by many Christian missionaries and colonial officials in India towards the Hindu religion, which they often held in open contempt, what Dayananda did was to reverse their attitude and give such people a taste of their own medicine.

Support for democracy

He was the among the first great Indian stalwarts who popularized the concept of Swaraj—right to self-determination vested in an individual, when India was ruled by the British. His philosophy inspired nationalists in the mutiny of 1857 (a fact that is less known), as well as champions such as Lala Lajpat Rai and Bhagat Singh. Dayananda's Vedic message was to emphasize respect and reverence for other human beings, supported by the Vedic notion of the divine nature of the individual—divine because the body was the temple where the human essence(soul or "Atma") could possibly interface with the creator ("ParamAtma"). In the 10 principles of the Arya Samaj, he enshrined the idea that "All actions should be performed with the prime objective of benefiting mankind" as opposed to following dogmatic rituals or revering idols and symbols. In his own life, he interpreted Moksha to be a lower calling (due to its benefit to one individual) than the calling to emancipate others. The Arya Samaj is itself democratically organized. Local societies send delegates to regional societies, which in turn send them to the all India Samaj.

Death

Dayananda's ideas cost him his life. He was poisoned in 1883, while a guest of the Maharaja of Jodhpur. On his deathbed, he forgave his poisoner, the Maharaja's cook, and actually gave him money to flee the king's anger.

Dayananda Sarasvati, original name Mula Sankara, (born 1824, Tankara, Gujarat, India—died October 30, 1883, Ajmer, Rajputana), Hindu ascetic and social reformer who was the founder (1875) of the Arya Samaj (Society of Aryans [Nobles]), a Hindu reform movement advocating a return to the temporal and spiritual authority of the Vedas, the earliest scriptures of India.

-- Dayananda Sarasvati, by Britannica.com


Legacy

The Arya Samaj remains a vigorous movement in India, where it has links with several other organizations including some political parties. Dayananda and the Arya Samaj provide the ideological underpinnings of the Hindutva movement of the twentieth century. Ruthven regards his "elevation of the Vedas to the sum of human knowledge, along with his myth of the Aryavartic kings" as religious fundamentalism, but considers its consequences as nationalistic, since "Hindutva secularizes Hinduism by sacralizing the nation." Dayananda's back-to-the-Vedas message influenced many thinkers.[4] The Hindutva concept considers that only Hindus can properly be considered India. Organizatuions such as the RSS (the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) and the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party]] were influenced by the Arya Samaj.

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Sri Aurobindo

Dayananda also influenced Sri Aurobindo, who decided to look for hidden psychological meanings in the Vedas.[5] Dayananda's legacy may have had a negative influence in encouraging Hindu nationalism that denies the full rights of non-Hindus. On the other hand, he was a strong democrat and an advocate of women's rights. His championship of Indian culture, and his confidence in India's future ability to contribute to science, did much to stimulate India's post-colonial development as a leading nation in the area of technology especially.

Works

Dayananda Saraswati wrote more than 60 works in all, including a 14 volume explanation of the six Vedangas, an incomplete commentary on the Ashtadhyayi (Panini's grammar), several small tracts on ethics and morality, Vedic rituals and sacraments and on criticism of rival doctrines (such as Advaita Vedanta). The Paropakarini Sabha located in the Indian city of Ajmer was founded by the Swami himself to publish his works and Vedic texts.
• Satyartha Prakash/Light of Truth. Translated to English, published in 1908; New Delhi: Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, 1975.
• An Introduction to the Commentary on the Vedas. Ed. B. Ghasi Ram, Meerut, 1925; New Delhi : Meharchand lachhmandas Publications, 1981.
• Glorious Thoughts of Swami Dayananda. Ed. Sen, N.B. New Delhi: New Book Society of India.
• Autobiography. Ed. Kripal Chandra Yadav, New Delhi: Manohar, 1978.
• The philosophy of religion in India. Delhi: Bharatiya Kala Prakashan, 2005. ISBN 8180900797

Notes

1. New Zealand Arya Samaj, Ten Principles of the Arya Samaj. Retrieved September 13, 2007.
2. Griffiths, p. 202-3.
3. Griffiths, p. 200.
4. Ruthven, 108.
5. Sri Aurobindo, The Secret of the Veda (Volume 10). Retrieved September 13, 2007

References

• Griffiths, Paul J. Christianity Through Non-Christian Eyes. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1990. ISBN 0883446618
• Lata, Prem. Swami Dayananda Sarasvati. New Delhi: Sumit Publications, 1990. ISBN 978-8170001140
• Ruthven, Malise. Fundamentalism: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. ISBN 978-0199212705
• Salmond, N.A. Hindu Iconoclasts: Rammohun Roy, Dayananda Sarasvati and Nineteenth Century Polemics Against Idolatry. Waterloo, Ont: Published for the Canadian Corp. for Studies in Religion by Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2004. ISBN 978-0889204195
• Sarasvati, Dayananda. Autobiography of Swami Dayanand Saraswati. New Delhi: Manohar Book Service, 1976.

External links

All links retrieved November 9, 2017.
• Satyarth Prakash - THE "LIGHT OF TRUTH" by Swami Dayanand Online book.

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Dayananda Sarasvati
Hindu leader
by The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica
Accessed: 3/21/21

Dayananda Sarasvati, original name Mula Sankara, (born 1824, Tankara, Gujarat, India—died October 30, 1883, Ajmer, Rajputana), Hindu ascetic and social reformer who was the founder (1875) of the Arya Samaj (Society of Aryans [Nobles]), a Hindu reform movement advocating a return to the temporal and spiritual authority of the Vedas, the earliest scriptures of India.

Dayananda received the early education appropriate to a young Brahman of a well-to-do family. At the age of 14 he accompanied his father on an all-night vigil at a Shiva temple. While his father and some others fell asleep, mice, attracted by the offerings placed before the image of the deity, ran over the image, polluting it. The experience set off a profound revulsion in the young boy against what he considered to be senseless idol worship. His religious doubts were further intensified five years later by the death of a beloved uncle. In a search for a way to overcome the limits of mortality, he was directed first toward Yoga (a system of mental and physical disciplines). Faced with the prospect of a marriage being arranged for him, he left home and joined the Sarasvati order of ascetics.

For the next 15 years (1845–60) he traveled throughout India in search of a religious truth and finally became a disciple of Swami Virajananda. His guru, in lieu of the usual teacher’s fees, extracted a promise from Dayananda (the name taken by him at the time of his initiation as an ascetic) to spend his life working toward a reinstatement of the Vedic Hinduism that had existed in pre-Buddhist India.

Dayananda first attracted wide public attention for his views when he engaged in a public debate with orthodox Hindu scholars in Benares (Varanasi) presided over by the maharaja of Benares. The first meeting establishing the Arya Samaj was held in Bombay (now Mumbai) on April 10, 1875. Although some of Dayananda’s claims to the unassailable authority of the Vedas seem extravagant (for example, modern technological achievements such as the use of electricity he claimed to have found described in the Vedas), he furthered many important social reforms. He opposed child marriage, advocated the remarriage of widows, opened Vedic study to members of all castes, and founded many educational and charitable institutions. The Arya Samaj also contributed greatly to the reawakening of a spirit of Indian nationalism in pre-Independence days.

Dayananda died after vigorous public criticism of a princely ruler, under circumstances suggesting that he might have been poisoned by one of the maharaja’s supporters, but the accusation was never proved in court.

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The Saint who Declared Swaraj
by Rajendra Chaddha
Voice of the Nation Organiser
November 27, 2019

Image
Swami Dayanand Saraswati,(Feb 12, 1824–Oct 30, 1883

The personality and teachings of Swami Dayanand Saraswati influenced most of the revolutionaries during the freedom movement. He was the pioneer of neo-nationalism in politics


Today, it will surprise many to know that under British rule, a saint had demanded Swaraj in the year 1876, much before Bal Gangadhar Tilak. He was Swami Dayanand. He was the father of India’s Independence movement. If we study the history of India’s independence movement, we could know that most of the leaders, patriots and revolutionaries of that period who sacrificed their lives for freedom, were influenced by the personality and teachings of Swami Dayanand. Among the Indian revolutionaries, Shyamji Krishna Verma, Swami Shraddhanand and Lala Lajpat Rai were his disciples and ardent devotees. Even revolutionary patriots like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal, Gendalal Dixit, Swami Bhavani Dayal, Bhai Parmanand, Bhagat Singh, Ramprasad Bismil, Yashpal and Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi had imbibed patriotism from the Arya Samaj. Not only this, even Mahatma Gandhi was substantially influenced by Dayanand’s teachings and vision. The remarkable thing is that Mahatma Gandhi’s Guru Gopalakrishna Gokhale and Gokhale’s Guru Justice Govind Ranade were not only the ultimate disciples of Dayanand but also the distinguished office bearers of the Paropakarini Sabha founded by Dayanand.

According to Indravidya Vachaspati, after the revolution of 1857, the first name in the list of great men whom we can call the mental, social and cultural successors of that revolution is of Swami Dayanand Saraswati. It would not be an exaggeration to call Swami Dayanand the pioneer of neo-nationalism in politics. Even Anne Besant said that Dayanand was the first person who wrote that ‘India is for Indians’.

According to Lala Lajpat Rai, “Swami Dayanand donated my soul to me. I am indebted to him for being his ‘manasputra’. On reading the touching and heartfelt description of the plight of the country in Maharishi’s ‘Satyarth Prakash’ and experiencing Dayanand’s patriotic spirit, patriot and ardent follower of the Sanatan Dharma Madanmohan Malaviya’s eyes used to get filled with tears”. In light of all the above statements, it can be said that Dayanand has given inspiration and strength to the Indian freedom movement and revolutionaries through his nationalist ideology. His emergence as a champion of the Hindu’s and Indian Nation was at a time when Indian culture was beset by foreign influences. The educated class was forgetting its self-respect and ancient dignity due to the glare of Western civilisation. He dissolved this folly of Indians and taught them a beautiful lesson in nationalism.

Swami Dayanand was born on February 12, 1824 in Tankara in Morvi state of Kathiawar, Gujarat. Born in the Moola constellation Sagittarius, he was named Mool Shankar. Moolshankar left the normal household life in search of truth in the year 1846. Then, under Guru Virjanand, Mool Shankar studied Panini’s grammar, Patanjali-Yogasutra and Veda-Vedang. The Guru asked him to eradicate the ignorance of dissent and spread the light of Vedic religion with the light of Vedic Dharma as Dakshina to him. The result was that he made it his goal to rejuvenate the Hindu society of Aryavarta, regardless of the opposition and condemnation of anyone. Swami Dayanand’s biggest contribution was to empower and activate the Hindu people. He sent a message of regenerative power to the people who had remained weak from centuries of invasion. “Our existence is going to be erased from the land in the absence of strength,” he said. No one else had done empowerment of the society in India as that of Dayanand and Vivekananda.

Swami Dayanand was a strong supporter of education and wanted to spread it widely. He favoured proper education to women in the country. He considered women to be revered. Presenting the description of Atharvaveda, he said the girls should also follow the Brahmacharya and achieve education. He wanted the boys and girls to observe unbroken Brahmacharya in thought, words and action while performing a restrained life during their period of education. He wanted to impress English educated youth with the dignity of Indian languages. The use of Hindi language in his book ‘Satyarth Prakash’ suggests that he was the leader of public awakening and it was his programme to make the ancient ideals the wall of public life. He believed that one would automatically achieve social and political prosperity by having moral ideals. Thus, he was a strong supporter of temporal, moral and social emergence.

According to Maharishi Dayanand, the best goal of education is character-building. To achieve this objective, Gurukul Kangadi was established in the year 1902 on the banks of the Ganga near Haridwar. The character of the man is the sum of his various actions and desires, the sum of all the inclinations of his values. The way happiness and sorrow flow on his soul leave their imprint and their culture on him. The character of man is the fruit of the collection of these various impressions. We are the same as our thoughts are. Therefore, the character of the students is developed mainly in childhood and adolescence. The parents, guardians and teachers need to be fully alert in this regard. Swamiji asked to adopt the principle of simplicity in food, ethics, costumes and everywhere. He was of the opinion that there should be uniform food, clothes and accommodation for every student. This will be possible only when our standard of living is simple and pure. He has addressed the teachers and asked them to hold the above and said the Guru has to keep in his mind that knowledge of real religion is not possible without being alienated from wealth and worldly pleasures.

Paropakarini Sabha, formed in Meerut in 1880, was mainly tasked to print and publish the Vedas and Vedangas with proper interpretation. Aryma Samaj focussed on the protection of orphans, carrying out welfare activities and Vedic research


It is worth mentioning that famous German philosopher and educationist Herbert also considered the main goal of education as ‘ideal character building’. He has written in clear words that ‘the aim of education is to endow human beings with moral qualities. Morality is different from religiousness. Morality is the richness of human qualities. According to him, the essence of the sole and whole of education lies in morality. Herbert considers education as the basis for the development and refinement of qualities. His morality consists of the realisation of Satya, Shiva, Sundaram and Dharma.

Deputy Collector of Kashi, Raja Jayakrishnadas, met Swamiji (when Swamiji came to Kashi) in May 1874. In June 1874, Swami Dayanand started writing ‘Satyarth-Prakash’ to the Pandits. Shri Harvilas Sharda wrote life sketch of Rishi Dayanand in English, which he did in Allahabad. Swami Dayanand, who founded the Arya Samaj on April 7, 1875 in Mumbai, gave the slogan to return to the Vedas. He formed the basis of his philosophy of karma theory, rebirth, celibacy and renunciation while writing commentary on the Vedas. He considered untouchability against the Vedas and he has a major contribution in freeing the Hindu caste from the curse of untouchability. The first edition of ‘Satyarth-Prakash’ was printed in Kashi in the year 1875. By the time of Swamiji's lifetime till Deepavali 1883 October 30 (Samvat 1940), only 11 Samullas of it were printed in the Vedic Press at Prayag. For this reason, the second edition came to light in December 1884. Among all his writings ‘Satyarth Prakash’ is the principal one. Reference of a total of 377 texts can be seen in this, in which evidence of 210 books are given. Examples of 1542 Veda Mantras or Shlokas are given in this book.

If a research scholar of today wants to write a text with such references from an up-to-date library of Sanskrit of a university where all the texts are available, it would take years, which was written by Rishi Dayanand in three months. This book gave birth to a new social outlook. Inspiration to study foreign languages as much as possible is there in the ‘Satyarth Prakash’, but it urges to give first place to his own language Sanskrit and Hindi.

Maharishi Dayananda accepted the Vedas and Upanishads, adopting only the ancient and his interpretation of the Upanishads. He followed his own method of interpretation. He formed the Arya Samaj and his primary purpose behind it was to define and organise the entire Indian society as a cultural unit. The Arya Samaj contributed much in increasing the nationalist thought stream as seen today. It mainly affected the states of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Paropakarini Sabha was primarily founded in Meerut in 1880. Its original purpose was printing and publication of the Vedas and Vedangas by interpreting them. Propagation of religion, protection of orphans, and doing other public welfare activities have been taken as activities of Arya Samaj, along with the publication of books, doing of Vedic research and studies. Maharishi Dayanand started purification movement by inspiring people who had converted to other religions to return back to Hinduism. Under this movement, by purifying millions of Muslims and Christians, they made a comeback to the true Sanatan Vedic religion. It was started by Swami Shraddhanand on February 11, 1923 by establishing the Bharatiya Shuddhi Sabha.

(The writer is a member of the central team, Prajna Pravah)

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Krishna Varma admired Swami Dayananda Saraswati's cultural nationalism and believed in Herbert Spencer's dictum that "Resistance to aggression is not simply justified, but imperative". A graduate of Balliol College, Oxford, he returned to India in the 1880s and served as divan (administrator) of a number of princely states, including Ratlam and Junagadh. He preferred this position to working under what he considered the alien rule of Britain. However, a supposed conspiracy of local British officials at Junagadh, compounded by differences between Crown authority and British Political Residents regarding the states, led to Varma's dismissal. He returned to England, where he found freedom of expression more favourable. Varma's views were staunchly anti-colonial, extending even to support for the Boers during the Second Boer War in 1899.

Krishna Varma co-founded the IHRS [Indian Home Rule Society] in February 1905, with Bhikaji Cama, S.R. Rana, Lala Lajpat Rai and others, as a rival organisation to the British Committee of the Congress. Subsequently, Krishna Varma used his considerable financial resources to offer scholarships to Indian students in memory of leaders of the 1857 uprising, on the condition that the recipients would not accept any paid post or honorary office from the British Raj upon their return home. These scholarships were complemented by three endowments of 2000 Rupees courtesy S.R. Rana, in memory of Rana Pratap Singh. Open to "Indians only", the IHRS garnered significant support from Indians – especially students – living in Britain. Funds received by Indian students as scholarships and bursaries from universities also found their way to the organisation. Following the model of Victorian public institutions, the IHRS adopted a constitution. The aim of the IHRS, clearly articulated in this constitution, was to "secure Home Rule for India, and to carry on a genuine Indian propaganda in this country by all practicable means". It recruited young Indian activists, raised funds, and possibly collected arms and maintained contact with revolutionary movements in India. The group professed support for causes in sympathy with its own, such as Turkish, Egyptian and Irish republican nationalism.

The Paris Indian Society, a branch of the IHRS, was launched in 1905 under the patronage of Bhikaji Cama, Sardar Singh Rana and B.H. Godrej. A number of India House members who later rose to prominence – including V.N. Chatterjee, Har Dayal and Acharya and others – first encountered the IHRS through this Paris Indian Society. Cama herself was at this time deeply involved with the Indian revolutionary cause, and she nurtured close links with both French and exiled Russian socialists. Lenin's views are thought to have influenced Cama's works at this time, and Lenin is believed to have visited India House during one of his stays in London. In 1907, Cama, along with V.N. Chatterjee and S.R. Rana, attended the Socialist Congress of the Second International in Stuttgart. There, supported by Henry Hyndman, she demanded recognition of self-rule for India and in a famous gesture unfurled one of the first Flags of India.


-- India House, by Wikipedia


Shyamji Krishna Varma (4 October 1857 – 30 March 1930) was an Indian revolutionary fighter, an Indian patriot, lawyer and journalist who founded the Indian Home Rule Society, India House and The Indian Sociologist in London. A graduate of Balliol College, Krishna Varma was a noted scholar in Sanskrit and other Indian languages. He pursued a brief legal career in India and served as the Divan of a number of Indian princely states in India. He had, however, differences with Crown authority, was dismissed following a supposed conspiracy of local British officials at Junagadh and chose to return to England. An admirer of Dayanand Saraswati's approach of cultural nationalism, and of Herbert Spencer, Krishna Varma believed in Spencer's dictum: "Resistance to aggression is not simply justified, but imperative".

In 1905 he founded the India House and The Indian Sociologist, which rapidly developed as an organised meeting point for radical nationalists among Indian students in Britain at the time and one of the most prominent centres for revolutionary Indian nationalism outside India. Krishna Varma moved to Paris in 1907, avoiding prosecution...


In 1875, Shyamji married Bhanumati, a daughter of a wealthy businessman of the Bhatia community and sister of his school friend Ramdas. Then he got in touch with the nationalist Swami Dayananda Saraswati, a radical reformer and an exponent of the Vedas, who had founded the Arya Samaj. He became his disciple and was soon conducting lectures on Vedic philosophy and religion. In 1877, a public speaking tour secured him a great public recognition. He became the first non-Brahmin to receive the prestigious title of Pandit by the Pandits of Kashi in 1877. He came to the attention of Monier Williams, an Oxford professor of Sanskrit who offered Shyamji a job as his assistant.

Oxford

Shyamji arrived in England and joined Balliol College, Oxford on 25 April 1879 with the recommendation of Professor Monier Williams. Passing his B.A. in 1883, he presented a lecture on "the origin of writing in India" to the Royal Asiatic Society. The speech was very well received and he was elected a non-resident member of the society. In 1881 he represented India at the Berlin Congress of Orientalists.

Legal career

He returned to India in 1885 and started practice as a lawyer. Then he was appointed as Diwan (chief minister) by the King of Ratlam State; but ill health forced him to retire from this post with a lump sum gratuity of RS 32052 for his service. After a short stay in Mumbai, he settled in Ajmer, headquarters of his Guru Swami Dayananda Saraswati, and continued his practice at the British Court in Ajmer. He invested his income in three cotton presses and secured sufficient permanent income to be independent for the rest of his life. He served for the Maharaja of Udaipur as a council member from 1893 to 1895, followed by the position of Diwan of Junagadh State. He resigned in 1897 after a bitter experience with a British agent that shook his faith in British Rule.

-- Shyamji Krishna Varma, by Wikipedia
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Gurukula Kangri [University or Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalaya] (deemed to be university; 'गुरुकुल कांगड़ी समविश्वविद्यालय') is a public central deemed to be university located in Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India. It is fully funded by UGC [University Grants Commission (India)]. It is a NAAC [ National Assessment and Accreditation Council] "A" grade Accredited Deemed to be University u/s 3 of the UGC act 1956. Situated near the bank of the Ganges about 6 km from Haridwar and about 200 km from New Delhi. Gurukula Kangri has 24 academic departments covering Engineering, Applied Sciences, Vedic Sciences, Humanities &nd Social Sciences and Management programs with a strong emphasis on Vedic and Modern Sciences and technological education and research.[2]

Gurukula Kangri (Deemed to be University) was founded on 4 March 1902 by the Arya Samaj sannyasi Swami Shraddhanand, who was a follower of Dayananda Saraswati, with the sole aim to revive the ancient Indian gurukula system of education. This institution was established with the objective of providing an indigenous alternative to Lord Macaulay's education policy by imparting education in the areas of Vedic literature, Indian philosophy, Indian culture, modern sciences, and research...

The impetus for the foundation was found in the teachings and activities of Dayananda Saraswati, founder of the Arya Samaj.
The first foundation brick was laid down in Gujrawala, Punjab. During India Partition Swami ji searched for a suitable palace in India according to the imagination of Dayananda Saraswati as mentioned in Satyarth Prakash. The site of Kangri village, Bijnor district, was flooded when the river changed course in 1924; the new (present) campus was built subsequently...

The university provides education in modern sciences, technology and management, as well as covers traditional subjects such as Vedic literature, Indian philosophy and culture...

The Vedic Path

The Vedic Path is a peer-reviewed international quarterly journal of English published by the university. It is indexed in the Guide to Indian Periodical Literature. It was originally published as The Vedic Magazine from 1906 to 1935 and thereafter it was named as The Vedic Path.

The journal aims at promoting Indian knowledge tradition, Indian and Western literary theories, and their applications to literature. The research papers dealing with any aspect of these areas are published; preference is given to research papers of a comparative or interdisciplinary nature.


-- Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalaya University, by Wikipedia


In 1880, Lajpat Rai joined Government College at Lahore to study Law, where he came in contact with patriots and future freedom fighters, such as Lala Hans Raj and Pandit Guru Dutt. While studying at Lahore he was influenced by the Hindu reformist movement of Swami Dayanand Saraswati, became a member of existing Arya Samaj Lahore (founded 1877) and founder editor of Lahore-based Arya Gazette. When studying law, he became a firm believer in the idea that Hinduism, above nationality, was the pivotal point upon which an Indian lifestyle must be based. He believed, Hinduism, led to practices of peace to humanity, and the idea that when nationalist ideas were added to this peaceful belief system, a secular nation could be formed. His involvement with Hindu Mahasabha leaders gathered criticism from the Naujawan Bharat Sabha as the Mahasabhas were non-secular, which did not conform with the system laid out by the Indian National Congress. This focus on Hindu practices in the subcontinent would ultimately lead him to the continuation of peaceful movements to create successful demonstrations for Indian independence.

-- Lala Lajpat Rai, by Wikipedia


The rising star of the Samaj in the 1860s was Keshub Chunder Sen (Keshava Chandra Sen, 1838-1884), a middle-class recipient of a British education, ignorant of Sanskrit and enthralled by Christianity. Keshub was not of the Brahmin caste, so it is not surprising that he called for the discarding of the sacred thread worn by all Brahmins, and broke other taboos, e.g., by bringing his wife into the services. Debendranath was fond of him and for some time tried to keep up with Keshub’s idea of progress. But by 1865 their styles had diverged so far that the Samaj split in two, the greater part following the “Brahmo Samaj of India,” founded by Keshub in 1868.

Keshub was a bhakta -– a follower of the path of love -– who had no sympathy with traditional Hinduism, but was enthralled by the personality of the great bhakta of Galilee. Throughout his life he teetered on the brink of Christianity, but like his predecessors could not stomach its claim of supremacy over every other religion. He soon determined to follow in the steps of Rammohun Roy, and make his synthesis known to the West. His visit to England in 1870 was a triumph: the President of the Brahmo Samaj was received by numerous dignitaries from Queen Victoria downwards, and welcomed by the Unitarians as if he were a reincarnation of Rammohun himself. But for his part, he was appalled to discover what a nation of “Christians” was really like: the British seemed more alienated from Jesus’ teachings than even the Brahmins.

Keshub’s admiration for Jesus had brought him round to a belief that God had actually been revealed in certain men. The next step, perhaps an inevitable one for a charismatic leader lacking in any philosophical subtlety, was to class himself as one such man. This was his first major mistake. Struggling to define the prophetic status of which he had become convinced, Keshub said that he had no creed or doctrine to reveal, but was under a “perennial and perpetual inspiration from heaven.”

Some of the Brahmo Samaj members were dismayed by this kind of claim. But not far away from the headquarters in Calcutta, in the temple precincts of Dakshineswar, there was a man who left most visitors in no doubt that he was a recipient of such inspiration. It is to Keshub’s credit that, towards 1875, he did not hesitate to go and see Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (1836-1886). The two bhaktas fell in love with one another, in a spiritual sense, but it was Ramakrishna who was evidently the senior partner. With great delicacy and humility he tried to lead his more famous friend on to the realization that God and the devotee are one and the same, but this was going too far for the church leader. Nor was Keshub happy with Ramakrishna’s easy acceptance of “idols,” or with his seeming indifference to social reform. Enough that Ramakrishna succeeded in bringing Keshub round to worshipping God as Mother as well as Father, and that they spent many hours in ecstatic singing and dancing. More significant historically is the fact that some Brahmo Samajists gravitated permanently to Ramakrishna’s circle, finding there a level of spiritual awareness and presence that their own services lacked. It was they who brought Narendranath Datta [Swami Vivekananda] into the sage’s influence, initiating his transformation into Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902), founder of the Ramakrishna Mission and Order and envoy to the Chicago Parliament of Religions in 1893. Mysticism apart, one can say that whereas the Brahmo Samaj was founded on rejection (albeit of social abuses and religious nonsense), Ramakrishna was an accepter. He adored Jesus with the Christians, not worrying that some of them were Trinitarians; worshiped Allah with the Muslims, agreeing that there was One God and that Mohammed was his prophet; and joyfully accepted the whole pantheon of Hindu gods and goddesses in all their idolatrous imagery. Every one of them spoke to him with the voice of his elected deity, the Mother Kali, and he knew that she was ready to speak to everyone who would listen to her.

It is one of the ironies of history that Blavatsky and Olcott failed to make contact with Ramakrishna, their one contemporary in India to whom no one can deny the title of spiritual master. That they did not was probably the fault of Keshub Chunder Sen, whose reputation reached them as one of “personal leadership and reckless egotism” diametrically opposed to the ideals of Rammohun Roy. In 1881 it seemed to Blavatsky that the Brahmo Samaj, fifty years after its foundation, was developing in exactly the same way as Christianity and Buddhism, with “the approach of a pompous ritualism, which in the progress of time will stifle what there is of spirit in the new church and leave only a gorgeous formalism in its place.” She warned her readers that whereas Rammohun had always been humility itself, the Samaj’s new leader, Keshub Chunder Sen, was claiming the church as a new dispensation and himself as an avatar.

In 1870, the same year that Keshub visited England, two other Indians took ship from England to America. They were a Bombay textile magnate called Moolji Thackersey (Seth Damodar Thackersey Mulji, died 1880) and Mr. Tulsidas. Josephine Ransom, an early historian of the Theosophical Society, writes that they were “on a mission to the West to see what could be done to introduce Eastern spiritual and philosophic ideas.” Traveling on the same boat was Henry Olcott, fresh from his experiences in London’s spiritualist circles. Olcott was sufficiently impressed by this shipboard meeting to keep a framed photograph of the two Indians on the wall of the apartment he was sharing with Blavatsky in 1877. It was one evening in that year that a visitor who had traveled in India (sometimes identified as James Peebles) remarked on the photograph. Olcott writes in his memoirs of the consequences of this extraordinary series of coincidences:


I took it down, showed it to him, and asked if he knew either of the two. He did know Moolji Thackersey and had quite recently met him in Bombay. I got the address, and by the next mail wrote to Moolji about our Society, our love for India and what caused it. In due course he replied in quite enthusiastic terms, accepted the offered diploma of membership, and told me about a great Hindu pandit and reformer, who had begun a powerful movement for the resuscitation of pure Vedic religion.


This reformer was Swami Dayananda Saraswati (1824-1882). In 1870 he was still an eccentric traveling preacher with no aspirations to international influence: something that grew on him precisely after meeting the Brahmo Samajists. He met Devandranath [Debendranath] Tagore in 1870; in 1873 Keshub Chunder Sen gave him the advice (which he took) to stop wearing only a loincloth and speaking only Sanskrit. Indefatigably stumping round the subcontinent, Dayananda founded his “powerful movement,” the Arya Samaj, in 1875. This chronology suggests that in 1870 Thackersey was probably coming to America as a representative of the Brahmo Samaj, but that by the time Olcott got in touch with him again, he had transferred his allegiance to the Arya Samaj.

The Arya Samaj was more radical than any wing of the Brahmo Samaj, on which it was partially modeled. Dayananda was a monotheist who believed in the Vedas as the sole revealed scripture and the basis for a universal religion. The various gods addressed in the Vedic hymns (Agni, Indra, etc.), he explained as aspects of the One, and he was prepared to demonstrate how these ancient texts contained all possible knowledge of man, nature, and the means of salvation and happiness. Of the quarrels between the various religions, he wrote: “My purpose and aim is to help in putting an end to this mutual wrangling, to preach universal truth, to bring all men under one religion so that they may, by ceasing to hate each other and firmly loving each other, life in peace and work for their common welfare.” He had no respect whatever for Brahmanism: for their scriptures, rituals, polytheism, caste system, and discrimination against women. Unfortunately for his opponents, he was immensely learned and articulate, could out-argue most pundits, and had, in the last resort (which often seems to have occurred) the advantage of being 6’9” tall and broad to match.

From Dayananda’s point of view, the Brahmo Samajists had erred both in their failure to recognize the supremacy of the Vedas, and in their too-ready embrace of the errors of other religions. They were moreover too addicted to Brahmanic customs and privileges. Here is a contemporary summary of his social principles:


He says that no inhabitant of India should be called a Hindu, that an ignorant Brahmin should be made a Shudra, and a Shudra, who is learned, well-behaved and religious should be made a Brahmin. Both men and women should be taught Language, Grammar, Dharmashastras, Vedas, Science and Philosophy. Women should receive special education in Chemistry, Music and Medical Science; they should know what foods promote health, strength and vigour. He condemns child marriage as the root of the most of the evils. A girl should be educated and married at the age of twenty. If a widow wants to remarry, she should be allowed to do so. According to his opinion, there is no particular difference between the householder and the sannyasi.


It is not surprising that the Theosophists in New York took kindly to the Arya Samaj, at first through correspondence with Thackersey, then through the Bombay branch head, Hurrychund Chintamon, and lastly through Dayananda himself. The two societies were united for a time, though the Theosophists were disillusioned as soon as they discovered the strength of Dayananda's Vedic fundamentalism and his hostility to all other religions. On Dayananda's unexpected death, Blavatsky wrote a generous obituary in The Theosophist for December 1883. She appreciated him for defending what he saw as the best of his native heritage against the priestcraft of Brahmins and Christians alike, and for his leadership in an enlightened social policy of which she could only have approved.

As the Arya Samaj continued to flourish after Dayananda's death, it became a rallying point for that movement of Hindu nationalism that wanted neither to turn back the clock to Brahmanic theocracy, nor to embrace Western materialism along with the benefits of science and technology. What Rammohun Roy had set in motion, the Arya Samaj carried forward into the era of the Indian National Congress and the independence movement of the twentieth century. Dayananda himself died -- some said poisoned -- at the time when his mission was beginning to have real success among the North Indian rulers, but he had done enough to be celebrated as a father-figure by leaders of Indian independence such as Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, and Aurobindo Ghose.

This in itself defines the limits of Dayananda's mission, which was, as it turned out, for India alone. Likewise, the mission of the Brahmo Samajists was a one-way street, bringing liberal Christian principles to India but making only the slightest inroads on the West through Emerson and his friends. The purpose of the foregoing survey has been to show how these Indian movements form another link between Enlightenment ideals and the Theosophical Society, which after its move to India took on the role of a mouthpiece for Eastern wisdom to address the West.


Madame Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott were not converts to Hinduism. One cannot convert to a religion which is entered only by birth into one of its castes. Western followers of the liberal, bhaktic Hinduism of the Ramakrishna Mission may well regard themselves as converts (Christopher Isherwood being perhaps the most eminent of these), but they are Vedantists, not Hindus. What Blavatsky and Olcott were was Buddhist.

-- The Theosophical Enlightenment, by Joscelyn Godwin


The Theosophical Society of Aryavarta, also sometimes called Theosophical Society of India, and abbreviated as Theosophical Society was a Theosophical Society from May 22, 1878 until March 1882.

In 1875 Swami Dayanda [Dayananda] Saraswati founded in Mumbai the Hindu reform movement Arya Samaj. In the same year, the Theosophical Society was founded by Madame Blavatsky and Henry Olcott in New York.

Olcott met Moolji Thakurshi (Moolji Thackersey) [Seth Damodar Thackersey Mulji, a Bombay textile magnate] already in 1870, but they lost contact with each other.

In 1877 Olcott wrote to Thakurshi, and described the Theosophical Society and its goals to him. Thakurshi replied to Olcott, and told him about the Arya Samaj. He described its goals and gave Olcott the address of its president in Mumbai Hari Chand Chintamani (Hurrychund Chintamon). In the following exchange of letters, they illustrated the positions of their own societies, and noted the agreements between them. Chintamani then became a member of the Theosophical Society, and Olcott began a correspondence with Dayananda Saraswati.

It was suggested to unite the two societies, and the proposal was accepted at a meeting of the Theosophical Society on May 22, 1878 in New York. A branch of the Theosophical Society was founded in June 27, 1878 by Charles Carleton Massey in London. Its name was the British Theosophical Society of the Aryavart.

In December 1878, Blavatsky and Olcott travelled to Mumbai, where they arrived in February 1879. They met Hari Chand Chintamani, and founded the first theosophical lodge in India. They moved the headquarters of the society to Mumbai.


There were however tensions between the two societies, and on March 26, 1882 Dayananda spoke about the Humbuggery of the Theosophists, Olcott replied to Dayananda's charges in The Theosophist in July 1882 in an article titled Swami Dayanand's Charges.

-- Theosophical Society of the Arya Samaj, by Wikipedia


Thomas H. Burgoyne [Thomas Dalton]

Unlike the case of Peter Davidson, there are no descendants or local historians anxious to bear witness to the virtues and achievements of Thomas Henry Dalton (1855?-1895? [Date of birth deduced from prison records; death record searched for, without success, by Mr. Deveney.]), better known as T.H. Burgoyne, whose misdemeanors are amply chronicled in the Theosophical literature [B.6]. The “Church of Light,” a still active Californian group which descended from Burgoyne’s teachings, disposes of his life up to 1886 as follows:

T.H. Burgoyne was the son of a physician in Scotland. He roamed the moors during his boyhood and became conversant with the birds and flowers. He was an amateur naturalist. He also was a natural seer. Through his seership he contacted The Brotherhood of Light on the inner plane, and later contacted M. Theon in person. Still later he came to America, where he taught and wrote on occult subjects. [“The Founders of the Church of Light.”]


While this romanticized view cannot entirely be trusted, there is no doubt that Burgoyne was a medium and that he was developed as such by Max Theon. Burgoyne told Gorham Blake that he “visited [Theon’s] house as a student every day for a long time” [B.8.k], and gave this clue to their relationship in The Light of Egypt:

… those who are psychic, may not know WHEN the birth of an event will occur, but they Feel that it will, hence prophecy.

The primal foundation of all thought is right here, for instance, M. Theon may wish a certain result; if I am receptive, the idea may become incarnated in me, and under an extra spiritual stimulus it may grow and mature and become a material fact.


Burgoyne was making enquiries in occult circles by 1881, when he wrote to [The Rev W. A.] Ayton asking to visit him for a discussion of occultism. The clergyman was shocked when he met this “Dalton,” who (Ayton says) boasted of doing Black Magic [B.6.f], and forthwith sent him packing [B.6.k]. Later Ayton would be appalled to learn that it was this same young man with whom, as “Burgoyne,” he had been corresponding on H.B. of L. business. Having decided that the mysterious Grand Master “Theon” was really Hurrychund Chintamon, Ayton deduced that the young Scotsman must have learned his black magic from this Indian adventurer.

Image

This lovely picture raises as many questions as it answers. Adam McLean tells me in a private e-mail (3-18-08) that the book Philalethes Illustratus is about alchemy. He adds:

The ouroboros is a well know symbol in alchemy, as is the interwoven triangles. These were often brought together in alchemical emblems. There was a particular focus on this image in the early 18th century, through its use as an illustration in the influential 'Golden Chain of Homer', written or edited by Anton Josef Kirchweger, first issued at Frankfurt and Leipzig in four German editions in 1723, 1728, 1738 and 1757. A Latin version was issued at Frankfurt in 1762, and further German editions followed. In the late eighteenth century Sigismund Bacstrom made a rather poor translation of the work into English. Blavatsky was very interested in this work and apparently wanted to write a commentary on it. Part of this was published in the Theosophical Society Journal 'Lucifer' in 1891. The Rev W. A. Ayton, the alchemical enthusiast, and contact of Blavatsky, used a variation of this image as a letterhead on his papers.


Image

This is a copy of the letterhead of Rev W. A. Ayton which Adam McLean sent me. Ayton is mentioned in Blavatsky's diary in 1878 and 1879 (BCW I, p 410, 421 and II, p. 42). Note that where Blavatsky's seal has astrological connotations with for instance the sign of the Leo in the right-bottom corner, Ayton has an actual lion in exactly the same spot as well as a sun and moon. Adam McLean notes (3-18-08) that Ayton was a member of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor and his seal is similar to theirs.

It's clear at this point that the Theosophical Seal has a western esoteric background. Seen through the Eliphas Levi seal the cross was turned into an Egyptian cross, which makes sense as an Egyptian source for the early theosophical adepts was hinted at in their name: the Brotherhood of Luxor (whether a connection with the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor should be assumed is an open question of theosophical history).

The circle on top with the swastika inside is present in Blavatsky’s seal. I have not been able to find any precursors to that. In this respect Blavatsky’s seal was clearly the example for the Theosophical Seal.

-- Early history of the Theosophical Seal, by Katinka Hesselink 2006, 2008


Hurrychund Chintamon had played an important part in the early Theosophical Society and in the move of Blavatsky and Olcott from New York to India. He had been their chief Indian correspondent during 1877-1878, when he was President of the Bombay Arya Samaj (a Vedic revival movement with which the early Theosophical Society was allied). After Blavatsky and Olcott arrived in Bombay in 1879 and met Chintamon in person, they discovered that he was a scoundrel and an embezzler, and expelled him from the Society. Chintamon came to England in 1879 or 1880, and stayed until 1883, when he returned to make further trouble for the Theosophists in India. Perhaps the fact that Chintamon was in England when Burgoyne first met Theon led some to conclude that they were the same person. But this cannot be the whole story. Ayton claimed very clearly and repeatedly that he had proof of Burgoyne’s being in company with Chintamon. In a letter in the private collection, Ayton writes:

I have since discovered that Hurrychund Chintaman the notorious Black Magician was in company with Dalton at Bradford. By means of a Photograph I have traced him to Glasgow & even to Banchory, under the alias of Darushah Chichgur. Friends in London saw him there just before his return to India. This time coincides with that when I noticed a great change in the management. Chintaman had supplied the Oriental knowledge as he was a Sanskrit scholar & knew much. Theon was Chintaman! Friends have lately seen him in India where he is still at his tricks.


Before her disillusion[ment] with Chintamon, Blavatsky had touted him to the London Theosophists as a “great adept.” After the break that followed on her meeting with him in person, Chintamon allied himself to the rising Western opposition to esoteric Buddhism exemplified by Stainton Moses, C.C. Massey, William Oxley, Emma Hardinge Britten, Thomas Lake Harris, and others. From this formidable group, Burgoyne first contracted the hostility towards Blavatsky’s enterprise that would mark all his writings.

Chintamon also appears in connection with “H.B. Corinni,” the otherwise unidentifiable (and variously spelled) “Private Secretary” of Theon, who was thought by the police to be just another of Burgoyne’s aliases. Ayton, however, believed Corinni to be Chintamon’s son, who he said offered Blavatsky’s old letters for sale to the President of the London Branch of the Theosophical Society, Charles Carleton Massey. [Ayton to unnamed American neophyte, 11 June 1886, based on what he had been told by Massey.] The flaw in Ayton’s thesis is of course the existence of a real and independent Max Theon, of whom we, unlike Ayton, have documentary evidence. Nonetheless, after more than a hundred years, the whole tangle of misidentifications involving Chintamon, “Christamon,” and “Metamon” [see B.9.c-3] with the Order cannot be entirely resolved.

By October 1882, Burgoyne was in Leeds, working in the menial trade of a grocer. [This is the trade ascribed to him in the court records. The records of the Leeds Constabulary call him “medium and astrologer.”] Here he tried to bring off an advertising fraud [B.6.d] so timid as to cast serious doubt on his abilities as a black magician! As a consequence, he spent the first seven months of 1883 in jail. He had probably met Theon before his incarceration, and, as we have seen, worked for a time in daily sessions as Theon’s medium. On his release he struck up or resumed relations with Peter Davidson, and became the Private Secretary to the Council of the H.B. of L. when it went public the following year.

Burgoyne contributed many letters and articles to The Occult Magazine, usually writing under the pseudonym “Zanoni.” He also contributed to Thomas Johnson’s Platonist [see B.7.c], showing considerably more literacy than in the letter that so amused the Theosophists [B.7.b]. But he never claimed to be an original writer. In the introduction to the “Mysteries of Eros” [A.3.b] he states his role as that of amanuensis and compiler. The former term reveals what the H.B. of L. regarded as the true source of its teachings – the initiates of the Interior Circle of the Order. The goal of the magical practice taught by the H.B. of L. was the development of the potentialities of the individual so that he or she could communicate directly with the Interior Circle and with the other entities, disembodied and never embodied, that the H.B. of L. believed to populate the universes. If Gorham Blake is to be credited [B.6.k], Davidson and Burgoyne “confessed” to him that Burgoyne was an “inspirational medium” and that the teachings of the Order came through his mediumship. Stripped of the bias inherent in the terms “medium,” and “confess,” there is no reason to doubt the statement of Burgoyne’s role. In the Order’s own terminology, however, his connection with the spiritual hierarchies of the universe was through “Blending” – the taking over of the conscious subject’s mind by the Initiates of the Interior Circle and the Potencies, Powers, and Intelligences of the celestial hierarchies – and through the “Sacred Sleep of Sialam” (see Section 15, below).

Shortly after arriving in Georgia, for all the Theosophists’ efforts to intercept him [B.6.1], Burgoyne parted with Davidson. From then on, the two communicated mainly through their mutual disciples, squabbling over fees for reading the neophytes’ horoscopes and over Burgoyne’s distribution of the Order’s manuscripts, with each man essentially running a separate organization. This split may be reflected in the French version of “Laws of Magic Mirrors” [A.3.a], which was prepared in 1888 and which bears the reference “Peter Davidson, Provincial Grand Mater of the Eastern Section.”

Burgoyne made his way from Georgia first to Kansas, then to Denver, and finally to Monterey, California, staying with H.B. of L. members as he went. According to the Church of Light, Burgoyne now met Normal Astley, a professional surveyor and retired Captain in the British Army. After 1887 Astley and a small group of students engaged Burgoyne to write the basic H.B. of L. teachings as a series of lessons, giving him hospitality and a small stipend. Astley is actually said to have visited England to meet Theon – something which is hardly credible in the light of what is known of Theon’s methods. We do know, however, that Burgoyne advertised widely and took subscriptions for the lessons, and that they were published in book form in 1889 as The Light of Egypt; or The Science of the Soul and the Stars, attributed to Burgoyne’s H.B. of L. sobriquet “Zanoni.”

With The Light of Egypt, the secrecy of the H.B. of L.’s documents was largely broken, and they were revealed – to those who could tell – to be fairly unoriginal compilations from earlier occultists, presented with a strongly anti-Theosophical tone. Only the practical teachings were omitted. The book was translated into French by Rene Philipon, a friend of Rene Guenon’s, and into Russian and Spanish, and a paraphrase of it was published in German. We present [B.8] the most important reactions to this work, which has been reprinted frequently up to the present day.


After the political upheavals in Tibet in the 1950s, Pallis became active in the affairs of the Tibetan [Tibet] Society, the first Western support group created for the Tibetan people. Pallis also was able to house members of the Tibetan diaspora in his London flat. Pallis also formed a relationship with the young Chögyam Trungpa, who had just arrived in England. Trungpa asked Pallis to write the foreword to Trungpa’s first, autobiographical book, Born in Tibet. In his acknowledgment, Trungpa offers Pallis his “grateful thanks” for the “great help” that Pallis provided in bringing the book to completion. He goes on to say that “Mr. Pallis when consenting to write the foreword, devoted many weeks to the work of finally putting the book in order”.

Pallis studied music under Arnold Dolmetsch, the distinguished reviver of early English music, composer, and performer, and was considered “one of Dolmetsch's most devoted protégés”. Pallis soon discovered a love of early music—in particular chamber music of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries—and for the viola da gamba. Even while climbing in the region of the Satlej-Ganges watershed, he and his musically-minded friends did not fail to bring their instruments.


Image
Viola da gamba

Pallis taught viol at the Royal Academy of Music, and reconstituted The English Consort of Viols, an ensemble he had first formed in the 1930s. It was one of the first professional performing groups dedicated to the preservation of early English music. They released three records and made several concert tours in England and two tours to the United States.

According to the New York Times review, their Town Hall concert of April 1962 “was a solid musical delight”, the players having possessed “a rhythmic fluidity that endowed the music with elegance and dignity”. Pallis also published several compositions, primarily for the viol, and wrote on the viol’s history and its place in early English music.

The Royal Academy of Music, in recognition of a lifetime of contribution to the field of early music, awarded Pallis an Honorary Fellowship. At age eighty-nine his Nocturne de l’Ephemere was performed at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London; his niece writes that “he was able to go on stage to accept the applause which he did with his customary modesty.” When he died he left unfinished an opera based on the life of Milarepa...

Image

Pallis described "tradition" as being the leitmotif of his writing. He wrote from the perspective of what has come to be called the traditionalist or perennialist school of comparative religion founded by René Guénon, Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, and Frithjof Schuon, each of whom he knew personally.

Frithjof Schuon (/ˈʃuːɒn/; German: [ˈfʀiːtˌjoːf ˈʃuː.ɔn]) (18 June, 1907 – 5 May, 1998), also known as ʿĪsā Nūr ad-Dīn ʾAḥmad (عيسیٰ نور الـدّين أحمد),[1] was an author of German ancestry born in Basel, Switzerland. He was a spiritual master, philosopher, and metaphysician inspired by the Hindu philosophy of Advaita Vedanta and Sufism and the author of numerous books on religion and spirituality. He was also a poet and a painter...

Schuon's father was a concert violinist and the household was one in which not only music but literary and spiritual culture were present.

Image
Violin

-- Frithjof Schuon, by Wikipedia


As a traditionalist, Pallis assumed the "transcendent unity of religions" (the title of Schuon's landmark 1948 book) and it was in part this understanding that gave Pallis insight into the innermost nature of the spiritual tradition of Tibet, his chosen love. He was a frequent contributor to the journal Studies in Comparative Religion (along with Schuon, Guénon, and Coomaraswamy), writings on both the topics of Tibetan culture and religious practice as well as the Perennialist philosophy.


-- Marco Pallis, by Wikipedia


Burgoyne’s last years were spent in unwonted comfort if, as the Church of Light says, Dr. Henry and Belle M. Wagner – who had been members of the H.B. of L. since 1885 – gave $100,000 to found an organization for the propagation of the Light of Egypt teachings. Out of this grew the Astro-Philosophical Publishing Company of Denver, and the Church of Light itself, reformed in 1932 by Elbert Benjamine (=C.C. Zain, 1882-1951). Beside Burgoyne’s other books The Language of the Stars and Celestial Dynamics, the new company issued in 1900 a second volume of The Light of Egypt. This differs markedly from the first volume, for it is ascribed to Burgoyne’s spirit, speaking through a medium who was his “spiritual successor,” Mrs. Wagner. As the spirit said, with characteristically poor grammar: “Dictated by the author from the subjective plane of life (to which he ascended several years ago) through the law of mental transfer, well known to all Occultists, he is enabled again to speak with those who are still upon the objective plane of life.”

Max Theon wrote to the Wagners in 1909 (the year after his wife’s death), telling them to close their branch of the H.B. of L. [Information given to Mr. Deveney by Henry O. Wagner.] By that time, the Order had virtually ceased to exist as such, while the Wagners continued on their own, channeling doctrinal and fictional works. Their son, Henry O. Wagner, told Mr. Deveney that he, in turn, received books from his parents by the “blending” process, to be described below. In 1963 he issued an enlarged edition of The Light of Egypt, which included several further items from his parents’ records. Some of these are known to have circulated separately to neophytes during the heyday of the H.B. of L. (see Section 10, below), while others were circulated by Burgoyne individually on a subscription basis to his own private students (all of whom were in theory members of the H.B. of L.) from 1887 until his death. These include a large body of astrological materials and also treatises on “Pentralia,” “Soul Knowledge (Atma Bodha)” and other topics. They are perfectly consistent with the H.B. of L. teachings, but appear to have been Burgoyne’s individual production, done after his separation from Peter Davidson, and they are not reproduced here.

-- The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor: Initiatic and Historical Documents of an Order of Practical Occultism, by Joscelyn Godwin


Davidson, Peter (1842-1929)
by Encyclopedia.com
Accessed: 3/2/21

Peter Davidson, cofounder of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light (HBL), a nineteenth-century British occult order, was born and raised in Forres, Scotland. In 1866 he married Christina Ross. He became a violin maker and in 1871 published a book, The Violin, that surveyed the historical and technical aspects of the instrument.

Image
Violin

At the same time, he was a student of the occult and corresponded with various occult notables throughout Britain, including Hargrave Jennings. He may have become an initiate of Pascal Beverly Randolph (1825-1875), whose teachings he would later integrate into those of the brotherhood. Much of this occult interest seems to have been stimulated by occasional visions of angelic beings. He may also have been contacted by an Oriental adept, similar to one of the mahatmas with whom Helena Petrovna Blavatsky of the Theosophical Society (TS) had claimed contact. He would later suggest that the HBL and the TS had been founded by the same order of beings. In 1878, he published The Philosophy of Man, which manifested his interest in both the occult and alternative medicine, and invited contact by readers who shared his ideas.

At some point in the early 1880s, Davidson became acquainted with Thomas Burgoyne, an occult student who had learned to contact clairvoyantly the beings who made up an inner order of adepts whom he would begin to refer to as the Interior Circle. He had learned this ability from one Max Theon, a Polish occult teacher living in London. In 1884, Davidson, Burgoyne, and Theon founded the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light and in February 1885 began issuing The Occult Magazine as a periodical through which the public could learn of its existence.

By this time, Davidson began to harbor a dream of creating a utopian colony in the United States and began to speak of it in The Occult Magazine. His plans to move to America were accelerated in the spring of 1886 when Theosophists discovered that Burgoyne was in fact a man named Thomas Dalton who had been convicted of mail fraud in Leeds in 1883. Davidson and Burgoyne left for America as the scandal grew. Davidson and his family settled on a farm near Loudsville, Georgia. Although the brotherhood was largely destroyed in England, it had a growing membership in France and the United States. Burgoyne soon moved to the West Coast, where he established what was in effect a separate HBL that would eventually give birth to the presently existing Church of Light.

In Georgia, Davidson established himself as a herbalist and practitioner of alternative medicine. He authored several books, including Masonic Mysteries Unveiled and The Book of Light and Life. From 1892 to 1910 he edited The Morning Star, a periodical similar to The Occult Magazine he had published in the 1880s. He also came into contact with the Martinists, who had emerged in France under the leadership of Papus (Gérald Encausse). The Martinists had become the dominant occult group in France and had attracted the interest of Albert Farcheux (also known as F.Ch. Barlet), the HBL leader in Paris.

Through the 1890s, Davidson contended with several problems. He was arrested for practicing medicine without a license, though he was acquitted. He had problems with Edouard Blitz, the Martinist leader in America who attempted to destroy Davidson's relationship with Papus. At the beginning of the new century, he reestablished contact with Max Theon, then living in Algiers, and offered the pages of The Morning Star as an outlet in English for his Cosmic Philosophy, a doctrine he had developed from the channeled teaching coming through his wife.

Davidson died in 1929. His family had become established in White County and his son was the editor of the newspaper in Cleveland, Georgia. His descendants can still be found in the county.

Sources:

Davidson, Peter. The Mistletoe and Its Philosophy. Loudsville, Ga: The Author, 1892.
——. The Violin. Glagow: Porteous Bros., 1871.
Godwin, Joscelyn. The Theosophical Enlightenment. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994.
——, Christian Chanel, and John P. Deveney. The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor: Initiatic and Historical Documents of an Order of Practical Occultism. York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, 1995.

Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Tue Mar 02, 2021 11:33 am

Peter Davidson (1842-1929)
by Encyclopedia.com
Accessed: 3/2/21

Peter Davidson, cofounder of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light (HBL), a nineteenth-century British occult order, was born and raised in Forres, Scotland. In 1866 he married Christina Ross. He became a violin maker and in 1871 published a book, The Violin, that surveyed the historical and technical aspects of the instrument.

Image
Violin

At the same time, he was a student of the occult and corresponded with various occult notables throughout Britain, including Hargrave Jennings. He may have become an initiate of Pascal Beverly Randolph (1825-1875), whose teachings he would later integrate into those of the brotherhood. Much of this occult interest seems to have been stimulated by occasional visions of angelic beings. He may also have been contacted by an Oriental adept, similar to one of the mahatmas with whom Helena Petrovna Blavatsky of the Theosophical Society (TS) had claimed contact. He would later suggest that the HBL and the TS had been founded by the same order of beings. In 1878, he published The Philosophy of Man, which manifested his interest in both the occult and alternative medicine, and invited contact by readers who shared his ideas.

At some point in the early 1880s, Davidson became acquainted with Thomas Burgoyne, an occult student who had learned to contact clairvoyantly the beings who made up an inner order of adepts whom he would begin to refer to as the Interior Circle. He had learned this ability from one Max Theon, a Polish occult teacher living in London. In 1884, Davidson, Burgoyne, and Theon founded the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light and in February 1885 began issuing The Occult Magazine as a periodical through which the public could learn of its existence.

By this time, Davidson began to harbor a dream of creating a utopian colony in the United States and began to speak of it in The Occult Magazine. His plans to move to America were accelerated in the spring of 1886 when Theosophists discovered that Burgoyne was in fact a man named Thomas Dalton who had been convicted of mail fraud in Leeds in 1883. Davidson and Burgoyne left for America as the scandal grew. Davidson and his family settled on a farm near Loudsville, Georgia. Although the brotherhood was largely destroyed in England, it had a growing membership in France and the United States. Burgoyne soon moved to the West Coast, where he established what was in effect a separate HBL that would eventually give birth to the presently existing Church of Light.

In Georgia, Davidson established himself as a herbalist and practitioner of alternative medicine. He authored several books, including Masonic Mysteries Unveiled and The Book of Light and Life. From 1892 to 1910 he edited The Morning Star, a periodical similar to The Occult Magazine he had published in the 1880s. He also came into contact with the Martinists, who had emerged in France under the leadership of Papus (Gérald Encausse). The Martinists had become the dominant occult group in France and had attracted the interest of Albert Farcheux (also known as F.Ch. Barlet), the HBL leader in Paris.

Through the 1890s, Davidson contended with several problems. He was arrested for practicing medicine without a license, though he was acquitted. He had problems with Edouard Blitz, the Martinist leader in America who attempted to destroy Davidson's relationship with Papus. At the beginning of the new century, he reestablished contact with Max Theon, then living in Algiers, and offered the pages of The Morning Star as an outlet in English for his Cosmic Philosophy, a doctrine he had developed from the channeled teaching coming through his wife.

Davidson died in 1929. His family had become established in White County and his son was the editor of the newspaper in Cleveland, Georgia. His descendants can still be found in the county.

Sources:

Davidson, Peter. The Mistletoe and Its Philosophy. Loudsville, Ga: The Author, 1892.
——. The Violin. Glagow: Porteous Bros., 1871.
Godwin, Joscelyn. The Theosophical Enlightenment. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994.
——, Christian Chanel, and John P. Deveney. The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor: Initiatic and Historical Documents of an Order of Practical Occultism. York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, 1995.

Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Tue Mar 02, 2021 12:12 pm

Part 1 of 2

Swami Dayanand's Charges
by Colonel Henry S. Olcott
President of the Theosophical Society.
Reprinted from Extra Supplement to The Theosophist,
(Bombay) July, 1882, pp. 1-9.

In sorrow, not in anger, I take up the task of answering certain charges recently made against my colleague, Madame Blavatsky, and myself, by Pandit Dayanand Saraswati Swami. The duty is trebly unpleasant since I am compelled to prove, alike to the members of the Arya Samaj and Theosophical Society, the fact that the Founder of the Samaj is either suffering from so grave an impairment of the memory, as to make him unfit for further public service, or has been totally misled by our mutual interpreters. The facts, that I shall present, admit of no other alternative; and I, as one who is sincerely interested in the spiritual and moral welfare of the Aryas, deplore the act of the Swami in publicly dishonouring the names of two persons who, whatever their imperfections and shortcomings, were at least his staunch and unselfish allies. We might have even passed over the offensive language used in his lecture at Bombay on the 26th of March - in fact, had decided to do so, as the editorial paragraph in the May number of this magazine fully shows. But, as though possessed by some evil spirit, he repeated his insults and misrepresentations over and over again in lectures, and in handbills in the Hindi and Gujarathi languages. Our best friends - who, at the same time, are true friends of India - now call upon us to set the case as it really is, and thus once more show the public that - no matter what may be said against us - the Founders of the Theosophical Society have held inflexibly, from first to last, to one straight course and one plain policy. I invite Arya Samajists to patiently read what follows, promising that I shall not imitate the extreme language of the Swami - who publicly called us liars and cheating jugglers, - but leave the Swami of 1882 to be judged by the Swami of 1878, 1879, 1880, and 1881. Epithets would lend no additional strength to the condemnation that the Swami’s own documents stamp upon his recent lectures and handbills.

I may properly ask the reader to take into consideration before passing on to my proofs, one or two psychological facts. Firstly, I note that the minds of those who have studied and practised Yoga science, are continually oppressed with the conviction that a profound secrecy must be ever maintained as to the esoteric instruction given them. It is the most difficult thing in the world to get a Yogi, or even a Yogi’s Chela (pupil), to say what he has learned, or where, or when, or of whom. And, so far does this instinct of caution go that they will deny point-blank all knowledge of Yoga or Yogis if, in their opinion, the asker or the public is not fit to be taught. A glance at Swami Dayanand’s history and utterances shows that his mind is so pre-occupied, and, if we bear this in view, we shall understand certain things which would be otherwise incomprehensible. And, again, the reader will note this very important point, viz., that the retention of Yoga powers - the Siddhis, or peculiar psychical faculties developed by training - for any length of time unimpaired, exacts that the Yogi shall periodically retire to a solitary place, for new training. If this is not done, the Yogi, little by little, becomes like common men, and, indeed, often develops the traits of violent anger, unsteadiness of purpose, even recklessness of language and actions. Nature is, in fact, taking her revenge for the restraint under which the Yogi had been keeping her. Now, with this hint in mind, let the reader turn to the chapters of the Swami’s unfinished autobiography contributed by him (October and December, 1879, and November, 1880) to these pages, and to the report of an interview between him and ourselves at Meerut - when Yoga Vidya was discussed (Theosophist, December, 1880), and see what bearing, if any, this has upon the case at issue. That the Swami practically knew Yoga appears from his own confessions; and, knowing it and having of necessity the ability to recognize Yoga phenomena when shown, and Yogis when met with, he was in 1880 competent to give an opinion upon the phenomena of Madame Blavatsky. He said, when asked by me, that they "were phenomena of Yoga. Some of them might be imitated by tricksters, and then would be mere tamasha; but these were not of that class." If he now says that these same phenomena are produced by "electrical wires under ground," or in some other unscientifically absurd way, his friends are put in the painful dilemma of either believing him to have turned falsifier for a motive, or to have lost his memory. Another example of his change of mind is the fact that when he first visited Bombay to preach, he was a professed Vedantin, scouting the idea of a personal God (as some of his Vedantin members will testify to), and was entertained on that account by Vedantins, whereas he now preaches a religion quite opposed to Adwaitism. So, too, his different expression of views at different times about the Shraddha ceremonies for the dead.(1) These are all symptomatic - to use a medical term - of either a concerted policy of mystification, or a disturbance of mental equilibrium, perhaps resulting from overtraining in Yoga Vidya. I sedulously keep aside the alternative that my late colleague has lost all moral principle, and has deliberately taken to malicious falsification of the facts of history; it would shake my confidence in human nature. But whatever the cause, the case is none the less a hateful injustice towards us, and my present duty none the less disagreeable. Having said this much by way of preface, I will now pass on to the issues of fact.

As all the meat of a nut is packed into the shell, so the whole pith of the Swami’s lecture against us is compressed into the handbill above mentioned. His points are numbered from 1 to 9, and are as follow: -

Point I. - That "from the former correspondence and actions of the Founders of the Theosophical Society, the Swami and his Samajists had concluded that Aryavarta would be under certain obligations to the Society, but this conclusion proves false." And, for the reason, that we now deny what we said in our letters, viz., "that the Theosophical Society is made a Branch of the Arya Samaja."

Point II. - That whereas we wrote that we "were coming to follow the eternal Vedic Religion," and to study the Sanskrit, after coming here, we have "believed in no religion, do not now, nor are likely to believe in any hereafter."

Point III. - That whereas we had written that the fees collected by our Society "would be given to the Samaja in addition to the present of many books," we took back and pocketed Rs. 700 that we had sent to Hurrychund Chintaman; while, instead of presenting books to the Samaja, we "shamelessly charged Babus Chedi Lall and Sheo Narayana for a book presented to them," when these gentlemen had actually expended "hundreds of rupees" for our entertainment. And this we were not ashamed to do, though the Samajis of Saharanpur, Amritsar, and Lahore had received us with all their heart, but got no thanks from us in return. "From what Swamiji says," it is plain that "they have not at all supported him, and if they have, why do they not make the thing public?"

Point IV. - That "first in their letter, and afterwards here, in the presence of Swami and all" we had expressed our belief in a personal God (Iswar), but when we afterwards met him at Meerut we denied such belief.

Point V. - That in the Indian Spectator of 14th July, 1878, we published that we "were neither Buddhists, Christians, nor Bramhans (i.e., believed in the Purans), but were Arya Samajists." But now we say that for many years we have been Buddhists. And he asks "Now, is this not fraud and treachery?" Again "the note of Magha of Samvat 1936 [publish the note, please, if it does,] proves their belief in Iswar," but six months later, at Meerut, we declared our disbelief.

Point VI. - "After coming here and admitting that the Theosophical Society was a branch of the Arya Samaja," we "afterwards said that neither one was a branch of the other," and that the Society was never a branch of the Samaja.

Point VII. - That when we established a Society of our own in Bombay, we, "without the knowledge of Swami," and of our "own free will, put his name in the list of members." Afterwards, we, with the late Mr. Mulji Thakersey, "first saw him upon the subject at Meerut," where he "demanded" our "reasons for doing so," and told us to strike off his name. Then "Colonel Olcott answered that they (we) would not do any such thing hereafter, and would strike out his name." But up to the time we met again - nine months later, at Benares - it was not done. Whereupon Swami "wrote a strong letter" to insist upon it, and we asked, by telegram, "what to substitute for it" [presumably the "it" means his membership of our council or his chieftainship of our branch called the "Theosophical Society of the Arya Samaj,"] and he replied, by telegram, that we "should write him as a Vedic Preacher." He asks if this is not "shameful."

Point VIII. - That notwithstanding we had taken a resolution at Meerut not to tell any Samajist to become a member of our Society, we tried to win over Babu Chedi Lall, whereupon the Swami felt constrained to lecture to the Samajists upon the subject, and tell them that "none of them need join the Theosophical Society since the laws of the Society were not like those of their Samaja." When the Swami came of late to Bombay he had a long conversation with Colonel Olcott, whom he told that he wished him to "remove his (Swami’s) misunderstanding on many points." I evaded an answer. Again, when I went to consult him upon the Cook affair, the Swami again pressed the matter. Finally, he sent me word, through Mr. Panachand Anandji and another gentleman, a man of distinction, that if I did not come and discuss with him "he would deliver a public lecture on the subject." This message Mr. Panachand delivered, but I replied that I would come to the Swami on the 27th March, 1882. Instead of which I went away to Jaipur and wrote from there that as I could not come, Madame Blavatsky would. But she never did. So Swami did give the lecture, read our notes, and "said that it was true that they (we) said one thing, but did another." Instead of good, we are doing harm to India. For instance, "notwithstanding the Swami’s remonstrance," we still "continue speaking of ghosts and spirits" in our journal, which "does harm to the country, as it is against science, and the journal having a wide circulation, the people of Europe and others would think that the Indians are foolish enough to believe in such things."

Point IX. - That the late challenge to Mr. Cook "was dictated by the Swami to the Colonel," but I, instead of writing that if Mr. Cook should discuss the merits of Christianity and Vedism with the Swami, the public could judge for themselves "which religion is divine," inserted the word "most" before "divine." This without his knowledge; and notwithstanding his telling me to strike out the word "most," the incorrect version was published. That in the rules of our Society we have "publicly admitted that "Theosophist" means a believer in Iswara, that the Society exacts no fees, tolerates all religions, should always be against Christianity, and that it should believe in that Iswara who is unborn, made by none, but who has made all things." Whereas, now, we go against all these former statements, disbelieve in Iswar, charge the fee of Rs. 10, and say that that religion is the best which we may, at the time, be lecturing upon.

That the present handbill is issued to warn the Arya-Samajists and all Aryavarta against keeping up relations with us; such "atheists, liars and selfish persons" cannot be expected to do any good to the country. Failing to catch the Swami in our snares, we have now found out a certain Koot Hoomi, who comes to us, speaks to us, &c., &c. "Letters and flowers fall from the ceiling, and he finds out missing things. All these and other things are false." When Madame Blavatsky talked with Swamiji at Meerut on the subject of Yoga, she said that she performed the wonders of the Yoga science by the system of the Sankhya. Where upon Samiji put her questions on Yoga as by this science, but she failed to answer a simple one. In short, "they are like mesmerists or sorcerers, but they know nothing about Yoga. He who had studied Yoga even a little would act truthfully in word and deed, and would run away from falsehood." The document winds up with a Sloka setting forth that the wise man will not stir a step aside from the path of justice.

REPLY.

First, then, I enter a general denial; the indictment is unfounded in almost every particular, and for those who know my character, it would perhaps suffice for me to leave the case there, and offset my word of honour against each and all of these charges. For, those which are not absolutely false, are based upon such gross perversions of fact, and so mix up dates and occurrences as to be in reality scarcely worthy of notice. Still, that we may not be charged with either an evasion of the issue, or concurrence in the mutilation of documents and suppressiones veri upon which the case rests, I will cite my proofs seriatim. A brief historical note must be first given.

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 Thackersey 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 then been in existence just two years, and the design to come to India to live and die there had already been formed in my mind. I wrote to Mr. Mulji an account of our Society and its plans, and asked his co-operation and that of other friends of Aryan religious philosophies. He responded, and introduced to me Hurrychund Chintaman, President of the Arya Samaj, "a man of learning, for a long time Political Agent at London of the ex-Gaekwar," and author of a commentary on the Bhagwat 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." (2)

The Indian Political Department (IPD) was a government department in British India. It originated in a resolution passed on 13 September 1783 by the board of directors of the East India Company; this decreed the creation of a department which could help “relieve the pressure” on the administration of Warren Hastings in conducting its "secret and political business".

-- Indian Political Department, by Wikipedia


At the same time he spoke to me of "a renowned Pandit, Dayanand 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 something, 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 the true light out of the darkness of superstition, was a Yogi-adept, our natural ally and a fit teacher for 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 defence of his Bhashya against the attacks of his critics, in which he quoted approvingly the opinions of Max Muller, Colebrooke, Coleman, and the Rev. Mr. Garrett upon the God of the Vedas - an impersonal, all-pervading Principle. No document ever put forth by the Theosophical Society, nor by Madame Blavatsky, or myself, could - 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 - 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 Adwaitis, the Arhat mystics, the ancient Mobeds of the Zardushtian period, and all other representatives of the "Wisdom-Religion," we recognized an eternal and omnipresent Principle (called by many different names) in nature - the source of motion and of 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 assurance 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. Hurrichund (letter of April 22, 1878), "for two reasons: first, inasmuch as it is acknowledged that the TRUE LIGHT can only be had 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 ........ 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 acted without delay upon Mr. Hurrichund’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 Teacher. To our eager questions about the Swami, our Teachers gave us the invariable answer: - "He was a Chela, he was a Yogi....... He is a good man. Try him and see. He may be very useful to your American and English members." What we learned of Swami, later on, just after our arrival in India, we are not at liberty to divulge. Mr. Hurrichund (who was endorsed over to me by the Swami as an honourable man and the channel for our correspondence) even suggested that the Swami might come to Europe and America on a preaching mission, and this idea I hailed with joy, though advising delay until the necessary elements of success were provided. He said that meanwhile Swami’s instructions to our Theosophists would "be of the second section of Indian philosophy," as "no real Muni or adept will ever disclose the secret of the third (our 1st) section - the genuine and highest knowledge - to any one unless he is thoroughly satisfied of the merits and aptitude of the recipient; and this knowledge to be given to him in person....... and not in writing;" moreover he told me that while the Swami was "a Sanskrit scholar and a great ADEPT in the ancient literature and Vedic philosophy of the Aryans," he had no "knowledge of the modern scientific development of the West."

And now that it has been shown in what light the Swami, the Arya Samaj, and the President of the Bombay Samaj were presented to our view, the reader is asked to examine the points of the Swami’s charges in connection with the following

DOCUMENTS:

Extracts from the first official letter of the President of the Theosophical Society, Colonel Olcott, to Pandit Dayanund Saraswati, Founder of the Arya Samaj, dated New York, 18th February, 1878, (not included in Swami Dayanand’s recent publications).

........... "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 by your learned Pandits, with their own commentaries on the text. To counteract the drift of Society towards materialism, we would expound the doctrines of old upon man’s soul and spirit, show that difference there is between them, and what are the limitations and potentialities of each. We would teach the truth about man’s origin and destiny, and the relative importance of this life and the future one. We would show how the highest degree of wisdom and happiness may be reached here upon earth. To the Christians we would prove whence their doctrines were derived, what part of them is error, what truth. To science we would show the true nature of matter, force and spirit, and how far their doctrine of evolution has been carried by Eastern philosophy. The ‘Spiritualists’ we would convince that their phenomena are full of danger to the investigator and the ‘medium’; being caused by low beings, some of the elements and not human, others human, but evil and earth-bound. See, respected teacher, the vast, the solemn, the important field of labour we are traversing. Will you honour us by accepting the Society’s Diploma of ‘Corresponding Fellow’? Your countenance and favour will immensely strength us. We place ourselves under your instructions. Perhaps we may directly and indirectly aid you to hasten the accomplishment of the holy mission in which you are engaged; for our battlefield extends to India, and from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin there is work that we can do. We labour to establish a true Brotherhood of Humanity, in which the supreme tie of kinship will be the love of truth. Dogmas, creeds and theologies, we aspire to help sweep away, for by whatsoever people created, or, by whatsoever authority supported, they are dark clouds across the sun of spiritual light.

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....... If you will take us under your guidance, we beg that you will notify our Brother, Mulji Thackersey, who has charge of your diploma, awaiting your decision........

IN BEHALF OF THE SOCIETY I subscribe myself,

H. S. OLCOTT,
President of the Theosophical Society.

It is but too apparent from the above that the actual character of the Swami had been misrepresented to us. This language is addressed to a typical Aryan Adept and Swami, to whom all men and religions were alike interesting, and in whose heart prevailed the feeling of Universal Brotherhood. Observe that there was now no idea of the amalgamation of the two Societies, but he was offered the Diploma of a Corresponding Fellow of our Society. He answered thus: -

Pandit Shyamji Crishnavarma’s translation of Swami Dayanund’s letter, dated 21st April, 1878: (3)

"Hail! It is to you, my noble-minded Brothers, Members of the Theosophical Society, including the honored President, Mr. Henry S. Olcott, the worthy Secretary, Madame H. P. Blavatsky, that I, Dayanund Saraswati Swami, want to convey my benedictions. You are endowed with prosperity and adorned with stainless virtues, you are for the eternal and true religion, you are inclined to get rid of false doctrines, and you have every desire to worship only one God. I enjoy here perfect happiness, and always wish you the same.

I FEEL EXCEEDINGLY HAPPY TO RECEIVE THE DIPLOMA YOU SENT ME from the hands of the kind-hearted gentlemen, Messrs. Mulji Thakersey, Hurrichund Chintamon and Toolsidas Yadavaji. Though we [Aryans] have been separated for the last five thousand years, and though you, our beloved Brothers, have been living in America, while we in Aryavarta, the time has fortunately come once more for correspondence and interchange of ideas, resulting in mutual friendship and welfare. Oh! all this change has come about by the grace of that Lord of the Universe, who deserves all endless praise, who is omnipotent and all-pervading, who stands as a mine of all good qualities, namely, truth, knowledge, all-joy, justice, and mercy; who is infinite, undivided, unborn, immutable, without destruction; who is the prime cause of creation, protection, and destruction; who is naturally accompanied by true qualities and actions; who is unerring and all learned.

"I undertake with great pleasure to keep correspondence with you in future; you can forward letters to me through Messrs. Moolji Thakersey and Hurrichund Chintamon, and I shall do the same; I am prepared to give you every possible aid that lies in my power. I hold the same opinion regarding Christianity and other religions as you do. As God is one, men cannot but have one religion; it must be borne in mind that the true religion should be no other than the one consisting in the worship of, and obedience to, the Supreme Governor; it must be in accordance with the Vedic views, and at the same time beneficial to all human beings; it must be worthy of being followed by men, learned and deserving confidence; it must stand the test of logical maxims, and should not contradict the laws of nature; it must be accompanied by justice and impartiality; it must be pleasing to every heart and must brighten itself with truth, so as to produce happiness. It is my firm belief that all other religions, different from the above-mentioned, are meant to serve the selfish motives of mean-minded and ignorant persons. To give life to a dead man, to heal leprosy and other diseases, to uphold a mountain, to pound the moon, and all other wonders of the world betray irreligion, and are sure to give rise to many misfortunes; they are averse to true happiness, as mutual contradiction plays a prominent part in all of them. I always pray to the Supreme Soul that the true religion, practiced by the Aryas from generation to generation may, by the grace of the Almighty and human efforts, eradicate the so-called wonders, and prevail amongst all the people....... We shall be very happy to keep correspondence, to do some service to the people. This will suffice for the present, as long lectures are of no avail to the most learned persons."

And, now, turn to the Swami’s Point VII., and see whether or not it is answered, and whether he ever accepted fellowship in the Theosophical Society. As to his acceptance of a place on the General Council, we shall see further on.

On the 22nd of February - four days after writing the first letter to the Swami - I addressed to Mr. Hurrichund the enquiry contained in the following extract. This, in course of mail, must have reached him on or about the 22nd of March, and in ample time to be forwarded to Swami before he wrote to me on the 21st of April: -

Extract from Colonel H. S. Olcott’s letter, to Hurrichund Chintamon, Esq., dated New York, 22nd February, 1878: -

"Will you not oblige us by explaining to me the exact differences between the Bramho and the Arya Samajees? As nearly as I can understand them, the former accepts the doctrine of a personal God, capable of being moved by supplications and propitiated by promises, while the latter is a Society which teaches the existence of an Eternal, Boundless, Incomprehensible Divine Essence, too great to be made personal, too awful to be even apprehended by the finite mind. Tell me, my Brother, if I am right; or, if not, wherein consist the differences in the two. With such a Samaj as the latter (if as I depict it), the Theosophical Society has the closest kinship. In fact, so far as its religions department of work is concerned, it is an Arya Samaj already without having known it..... If the Arya Samaj is what I fancy, I would be proud to be admitted a member and proclaim the fact in the face of all the Christian public. Send me all necessary documents, that I may understand just what it teaches."

This definition of the views of the Arya Samaj was duly accepted as correct by Mr. Hurrichund, and so the matter was by us considered settled beyond cavil. But to make it impossible that there should be any obscurity about the subject, I sent to Mr. Hurrichund the following: -

Extract of a letter to Mr. Hurrichund Chintamon, dated New York, 29th, May, 1878: -

............ "We feel highly honoured not alone by his (Swami Dayanund Saraswati’s) acceptance of our Diploma, but also by the very kind phrases in which he communicates his decision to us...... I have ventured to send you, for publication, a brief exposition of Theosophical views to avoid any possible misconception, in India as to the same. We want to be open and candid in coming before a new audience, so that those may be attracted to us who are in accord with us, and these who oppose us may do so with all the facts before them."

Extract of a letter from Colonel Olcott, to the Editor of the "Indian Spectator," dated New York, 29th, May, 1878:

......... "We understand Buddhism to really mean the religion of Bodh or Buddh [Wisdom] - in short, Wisdom-Religion. But we, in common with most intelligent Orientalists, ascribe to the popular Buddhistic religion only an age of some twenty-three centuries - in fact, not so much as that. As we understand it, Sakkya Muni taught the pure Wisdom, or "Buddh," Religion, which did antedate the Vedas; for when the Aryas came to the Punjab, they did not bring the Vedas with them but wrote them on the banks of the Indus. That "Wisdom-Religion" is all contained in the Vedas; hence the Aryas had it, and hence, as has been said, it must have ante-dated the Vedas. It was a secret doctrine from the first; it is a thousand times more so now to our Modern Scientists, few of whom are any wiser than Max Muller, who calls all in the Vedas he cannot understand "theological twaddle!" Being a secret doctrine - comprehensible fully but by the brightest minds, the priests of every creed distorted it......... It is this Wisdom-Religion which the Theosophical Society accepts and propagates, and the finding of which in the doctrines expounded by the revered Swami Dayanund Saraswati Pandit, has led us to affiliate our Society with the Arya Samaj, and recognize and accept its Chief as our supreme religious Teacher, Guide and Ruler. We no more permit ourselves to be called Joss-worshipping Buddhists than Joss-worshipping Catholics; for in the former, no less than in the latter, we see idolators who bow down to gross images, and are ignorant of the true Supreme, Eternal, Uncreate Divine Essence which bounds all, fills all, emanates everything, and, in the fullness of cycles, re-absorbs everything, until the time comes for the next one in the eternal series of re-births of the Visible from the Invisible. You see, then, that we are neither Buddhists in the popular sense, nor Brahminists as commonly understood, nor certainly Christians..... The Theosophical Society prays and works for the establishment of a Universal Brotherhood of races. We believe it will come about in time." ......
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The same idea is conveyed in my letter to Piyaratana Tissa, a learned Buddhist priest: -

Extract of a letter from Colonel Olcott, to the Reverend Piyaratna Tissa Tirunanasee, dated New York, 19th August, 1878: -

........... "We have formed a close alliance with that reformatory religious society called the Arya Samaj, whose Chief Pandit, Dayanund Saraswati Swami ...... labours to restore the purest form of ancient Aryan philosophy, and sweep away the corrupting idolatry and superstitions which have so long smothered the sacred truth...... We, the leaders of the Theosophical Society, believe in the Incomprehensible Principle and the divine philosophy taught by Sakkya Muni. We see in every human faith some portion of the Truth, and that is the spark from which the light must spread, if at all. That one portion of Truth is the common ground upon which men of all creeds can meet. It is upon that common ground that we build our Society."......

Kindly couched as the Swami’s letter was, it yet outlined views of a personal God, which could not be accepted on behalf of a Theosophical Society proper, having no official creed, and whose two chief Founders could never subscribe to them. Personally, any member had a perfect right to believe in a God of any description, and to be respected in that belief, but no one member had any right to make the whole Society responsible for his private belief. So, to clear up the matter, the following letter was sent: -

Extract of a letter from Colonel Olcott, to Mr. Hurrichund, dated New York, 23rd August, 1878: -

....... "It is my imperative duty to the Cause, as President of the Theosophical Society, to come to a perfect understanding with you as President of the Arya Samaj. In the eyes of my Fellows, you stand for the present as the representative of Indian Esoteric Wisdom - for they see in you one who would not have been chosen to such a high responsibility in such a Society as they regard the Arya Samaj to be, unless you were thoroughly versed in every branch of Indian philosophy. In short, they naturally clothe you with attributes of right only possessed by our revered Swami." ......

Then came the Rules of the Samaj, translated for us by Pandit Shyamaji, and they were duly printed for the use of our members. What their effect was may be inferred from the following: -

Extract of a letter from Col. Olcott, to Mr. Hurrichund Chintaman, dated New York, 24th September, 1878: -

"Either we have been especially unfortunate in misconceiving the ideas of our revered Swami Dayanund, as conveyed to us in his valued letters to me, or he teaches a doctrine to which our Council, and nearly all our Fellows, are forced to dissent. Briefly, we understand him as pointing us towards a more or less personal God - to one of finite attributes, of varying emotions - one to be adored in set phrases, to be conciliated - one capable of displeasure..... I cannot worship him in such a guise. The Deity of my spiritual perceptions is that Eternal Principle which I understood you to say, was what the Arya Samaj recognized as contradistinguished from the personal God of the Unitarian Bramhos. Relying upon this view of the case, I united with our Sister H. P. Blavatsky to carry through the Council the vote of affiliation and allegiance. When! along comes the Swami’s letter speaking of a God whom at least Brother Chrisnavarma’s translation points to us as a Being of parts and passions - at least of the latter if not the former, and at once we two are taken to task. Protests from every side, a hasty reconsideration of the former sweeping vote of affiliation, the adoption of a resolution to make the Theosophical Society of the Arya Samaj, a Vedic Section instead of the whole body in a transformed shape, and the consignment to the flames of the whole edition of the proposed circular and preparation of a revised introduction to the "Rules of the Arya Samaj" - these thing followed. Perhaps it as well as it is, for we keep a broader platform for men of various creeds to stand upon, and our work for and with the Arya Samaj, is not to be affected in the least. We will be just as zealous and loyal as heretofore, will send the Initiation Fees the same as ever, and continue to regard the revered Swami as dutifully and our Hindu Brothers as affectionately as though this shadow had not passed athwart our horizon. I wish you would define to me somewhat more clearly just what is the doctrine of the Arya Samaj respecting God and the divine inspiration of the Vedas. I understood you to say (and certainly that is my own idea) that the Vedas were written by Rishis in a state of spiritual illumination and inspiration to which every man may attain who passes by initiation through the several phases of self-conquest and exaltation to the condition of seership and adeptship ....... I must frankly apprize you that you cannot count upon many more Fellows to follow a lead right towards the Orthodox Christian ambuscade from which we have so thankfully escaped ..... What we want to teach these Western people is the ‘Wisdom-Religion,’ so called, of the pre-Vedic and Vedic periods - which is also the very essence of Gautama Buddha’s philosophy (of course, not popular Buddhism). This religion you seem to have taught both in your letters and your books, and I certainly gather from the revered Swami’s defence of his Bhashya against his critics that this is the identical religion he propagates. But this does not agree with the tone of his esteemed letters to me - at least as I have them in the English translation......"

Could any thing have been more frank and open? But no answer was returned, either from the Swami or his Bombay agent; the latter writing me (30th September, 1878,) that we would come to an understanding about all matters when we should meet at Bombay. He also notified me that he had duly forwarded all my letters to the Swami, who was then travelling in the North-Western Provinces.

During the two years antecedent to the alliance with the Arya Samaj and formation of the link-branch of the "Theosophical Society of the Arya Samaj," or Vedic Section of our Parent Society, no fees had been exacted of our members. I had defrayed the expenses myself. But now, with the view of assisting the Arya Samaj, our General Council re-imposed the Initiation Fee of five dollars (£1, or Rs. 10), and these were duly remitted to Mr. Hurrichund from New York and London. In this way some Rs. 609 were sent. At last, in February, 1879, the Founders arrived at Bombay, and a number of painful experiences followed, which having been discussed in the newspapers of the day, I need not dwell upon at length. Suffice it to say that the Samaj had never received a penny of the money remitted, that we recovered it from Mr. Hurrichund under pressure, and on the 30th of April met the Swami face to face for the first time at Saharanpur, North-Western Provinces. Our much lamented and staunch friend, the late Mulji Thackersey, was with us, and acted as interpreter in the long and animated discussions that ensued between the Swami and ourselves at Saharanpur on that and the following day, and then at Meerut on the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th of May. I have notes of all these conferences in my Diary for the year 1879, the entries being written, as is my custom, on each day before retiring to sleep. They bring the facts vividly to mind, and I am, therefore, not left to my memory to recall them, as would otherwise be the case. My entry for the day of the first conference says: -

"Swami came to the Dak Bungalow at 8 a.m. Defined Nirvana and Moksha as H. P. B. has. His God is Parabrahma. I described to him the phases of Western Spiritualism." The next day’s entry reads: - "Conference with Swami. He agreed to the new Rules of the T. S. Accepted a place on the Council. Gave me full proxy powers. Recommended the expulsion of Hurrichund. Admits the reality of all Western phenomena [Mediumistic] and explains them as H. P. B. has. Is not a sectarian. Approves of other sectarian sections in the T. S."

This is clear enough certainly: he perfectly coincided with our views upon all the points that had been mooted, and, in proof of his concurrence, accepted the office of Councillor of our Society. This, he has since denied on more than one occasion, and our conduct in using his name against his wishes and "of our own accord," has been stigmatized as cunning and unprincipled. But I know well that there are some partisans who would be quite ready to challenge my Diary, rather than conceded my veracity; so I will call the Swami himself to the stand. Here is a lithographed fac-simile of one of the two papers given me at Saharanpur by him, after accepting the office of Councillor. It was intended to serve as a general proxy, under which, at all meetings of the General Council at which he might not be personally present, I should cast his vote as Councillor. And the second clause also gave me a general authority to represent him in the issuing of orders, or transaction of business arising in connection with our link-branch, the Theosophical Society of the Arya Samaj. If words mean anything, this documents means just what is above stated. Here it is: -

Image

Further evidence of his conscious and willing membership of our General Council is to be found in the following reply by Mrs. Gordon, wife of Colonel W. Gordon, B.S.C., to an official enquiry as to the circumstances of her initiation as a member of our Society: -

"Glenarm, Simla, June 19, 1882.

"Dear Colonel Olcott,
"I was initiated into the Society on the 17th December, 1879, by Swami Dayanand Saraswati, in the presence of yourself, Madame Blavatsky, and Mr. Damodar. At the same time, he explained to me at length the rules for the practice of Yog Vidya.

"Faithfully yours,
(Signed) "Alice Gordon."

The main complaint in Point VII. is thus effectually disposed of, and with it various reiterations that have been made in the course of our relations during the past three years. As to the answer sent by Swamiji to our telegram, in answer to our question whether he wished his name stricken out of the Council-list, its text was as follows: - "Benares City, 14-4-80. Announce as accepted, in American correspondence." I have no copy of the dispatch to him, or I would gladly print it; but, if I am not mistaken in its character, then this reply means that in our American correspondence we might continue to use his name as a Councillor. And nothing in it about a Vedic Preacher!

One of the points made by the Swami, - for brevity’s sake omitted above - was that he had signed a certain diploma sent to him from America. This he did, and that diploma is that which has been issued to all who preferred to be enrolled in the link-branch of the Theosophical Society of the Arya Samaj, and to none others. If the original vote of amalgamation had not been rescinded, it would have been the general diploma of the Parent Society; but, as it turned out, it was only used as above stated. In September, 1878, a circular letter was addressed by me, to members, from the New York Head-quarters, promulgating the translation by Pandit Shyamaji of the Arya Samaja Rules, for their information. In it I stated: "The observance of these rules is obligatory upon such Fellows only as may voluntarily apply for admission to the Arya Samaj; the rest will continue to be, as heretofore, unconnected with the special work of the Samaj..... Those who join the Samaj will, of course, be expected to comply as strictly as practicable with its rules, including that of the contribution of the fixed percentage of monthly income." And to show what we expected of the Arya Samaj upon the strength of Mr. Hurrichund’s representations - I added: "Fellows will observe [in Rule IX.] that, equally with the Theosophical Society, the Arya Samaj has a separate class of ‘ascetics,’ who aim to acquire spiritual, rather than secular, wisdom, power and advantage, and to devote themselves in an especial manner to the promotion of the Society’s work." That the programmes of the two Societies were identical, we were further assured by our very talented and esteemed brother, Shyamaji, who, in a letter, dated at Bombay, the 5th July, 1878, says our "aims and objects are not only identical with those of our Samaja, but, &c., &c.," The reader will then bear in mind that there was correspondence about two diplomas; one that of Corresponding Fellow, the other the new diploma of the link-branch.

That we re-affirmed on coming to India the independence of the Theosophical Society proper in its relation with the Arya Samaja, can be shown by every document ever issued by us subsequently, and by every lecture of mine, in which the topic was discussed. I even went to the trouble of writing out a lecture, in which the conflicting rules of the two doctrines were quoted, and the eclecticism of our programme was unmistakably shown. I delivered it first on the 6th September, 1880, before the Meerut Arya Samaj, when Swamiji was himself present, and, later, before the Samajis of Amritsar, Lahore, Multan, Cawnpur, &c. But I need not rest my case even upon this, since, again, I am able to cite the complainant to testify for the defence. In a letter of date July 26, 1880, the learned Swami wrote me as follows: -

Extracts from a letter by Swami Dayanand to H. S. Olcott, dated 26 July, 1880:-

......................"You will please to circulate in the Theosophical Society, as I shall in the Arya Samaj, the fact that neither the Arya Samaj, nor the Theosophical Society, is a branch of the other, but that the Vedic section of the old Theosophical Society is a branch of both the Theosophical Society and of the Arya Samaj; and that this Vedic section, which is like an intermediary, links both the Arya Samaj and the Theosophical Society together. It is not proper that this fact should remain secret, for it is but right that the exact position of the members of the Vedic section of the Theosophical Society and of the Arya Samaj, should be rightly understood, told and published. No doubt will then remain in any one’s mind after the publication of this fact, and the true position being properly known, it will delight all. What I have told Mr. Sinnett is all right, for I do not consider it proper to see and show such matters of ‘tamasha,’ whether they be done by sleight-of-hand, or by Yoga power; because no one can realise the importance of Yoga and have a true love for it, without the practice and teaching of Yoga by himself personally. But they (the witnesses) are only thrown into doubt and astonishment, and are all the time desirous of examining those who exhibit them, and of seeing the "tamasha," leaving aside matters of improvement. They do not endeavour to acquire it themselves. I have shown no phenomena to Mr. Sinnett, nor desire any thing to be shown to him, whether he be pleased or displeased with me, for if I were to be ready to do that, all fools, as also Pandits, will ask me to show to them similar phenomena by Yog, as I may have shown to him. It is also, because, I would have been pestered with this worldly ‘tamasha’ affair, just as Madame H. P. Blavatsky is. Instead of enquiring after, and accepting from her scientific and religious information, by means of which the soul, being purified, acquires happiness, every one who goes to her asks for the exhibition of ‘tamasha.’ For such reasons I neither encourage directly or indirectly such things. But if one wishes, I can teach him Yog so that by its practice he may himself experience Siddhis.

"I now communicate to you a piece of news that will please you. It is this: A will, appointing eighteen persons - in which, of course, will be yourself, Madame Blavatsky, and sixteen eminent persons of Arya Samaj of Aryavarta, - will be sent to you in a registered cover and to the rest, so that, hereafter, there may be no confusion, and all my things will be appropriated by you, all for the public good, and this body will be recognised as my representative. Therefore, you will please to take very great care of the paper, so that it may afterwards be useful for very great purposes ..... And another thing is that after I have published a circular about the relation between the Theosophical Society and the Arya Samaj, [a copy of] it will be sent to you. On seeing it you will be much pleased."

I think, the intelligent reader will see that all misunderstanding must have been removed from the Swami’s mind respecting the connection between our two societies, and will attribute the tone of his recent lectures and handbills to a lapse of memory due to the engrossing cares of his public duties. I think, also, that his expressed views with respect to the exhibition of Yoga phenomena strongly bear out my remark, at the beginning of this article, about his feeling obliged to carry on the policy of secrecy in regard to the mysteries of adeptship. No stronger proof of his entire confidence in the good faith and honourable disposition of the Founders of the Theosophical Society, could have been given by him, than his choice of them as co-trustees under his last will and testament.

The document, last referred to in the above letter, was a handbill, or proclamation, to the public, which the Swami had printed and circulated. It ran as follows: -

[TRANSLATION]

Swami Dayanand’s Circular of 1880:

TO ALL GOOD MEN.

As many people began to question me and others, as to the correct relation between the Theosophical Society and the Arya Samaj, and considered the latter a Branch of the former, it has become of the highest importance for me to issue the present circular, with a view to clear the matter, for, if it be not done, misconception may arise in the minds of people, which might lead to unfavourable consequences.

After an exchange of information of Rules, &c., of the two Societies by means of correspondence between Babu Hurrichund Chintamon, the then President of the Bombay Arya Samaj, on one hand, and Colonel H. S. Olcott, Saheb Bahadoor, (?) President of the New York Theosophical Society, and Madame H. P. Blavatsky, on the other, I received a letter in the month of Chaitra of the Vikrama era 1935, asking for instructions in the Archaic Vedic Religion of Aryavarta, - to which I replied with the greatest pleasure that I would comply with their request as far as I could. Afterwards they sent me a diploma as it was then intended to make the Theosophical Society a Branch of the Arya Samaj of Aryavarta; when this diploma was returned to New York, a meeting was held, in which many members most cheerfully accepted the new arrangement, while many others deferred action until they knew more of, and thought well over, the matter.

Owing to such a diversity of opinion, my advice was asked, as to what should be done. In my reply, I said that, if in Aryavarta itself many people reject the rules of the Arya Samaj, while a few only accept them, what wonder is there if, in New York, people should adopt this course, and, therefore, those who, of their own accord, would accept the rules of the Arya Samaj, would be the followers of Vedism, and those, who would not, might remain simple members of the Society, as it was not desirable that the connection of the latter with it should be cut off. (4)

This reply I forwarded to Babu Hurrichund, with a request to transmit its English translation to its destination. But he did not do so. And, notwithstanding, that the reply was not thus received in due time, the very same arrangement, as proposed by me, was carried out in New York, that those who would regard the Vedas as divine, sacred and eternal, might be reckoned as the members of the Vedic Section, which was to BE A BRANCH OF THE ARYA SAMAJ, BUT AT THE SAME TIME THIS SECTION WAS ALSO TO BE A BRANCH OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, AS IT WAS, BUT A PART OF IT. Of course, neither the Arya Samaj, nor the Theosophical Society, was to be considered a Branch of the other, but only the Vedic Section of the Theosophical Society - of which Colonel H. S. Olcott, Saheb Bahadur, Madame H. P. Blavatsky and some others were members (5) - is a Branch of both the Arya Samaj and the Theosophical Society. And it is proper that all good men should understand it in this light and improper to view it in any other mark. How very phenomenal is the fact, that just at the very time the Arya Samaj was founded in Bombay, the Theosophical Society was established in New York! The very same objects and Rules, as defined by the Arya Samaj for itself, were also adopted independently of the latter by the Theosophical Society for its own part; and, moreover, before the receipt of my third letter, the very same proposal made by me in it, as to the Vedic Section and the Theosophical Society, was also carried out! What? Are not all these results the effects of Divine Providence? And are not these beyond the power of ordinary mortals - that the very same events happening here on this hemisphere should also take place on the other, at its antipodes, i.e., Patala (America)? I offer millions on millions of praises to that Almighty God, by whose power these miraculous occurrence have come to pass, namely, that after five thousand years a bond of brotherhood should be formed between religious men of Aryavarta and those of Patala (America) in connection with the ancient, well-examined Vedic religious practices! Oh! Almighty, all-pervading, merciful, just Paramatma! Mayest Thou strengthen all religiously disposed, learned men all over the world in the Vedic Religion as Thou hast done this! So that mutual antagonism may die out, and friendly feelings, arising among all peoples, the spirit of doing injury to others may be vanquished, and a desire for mutual benevolence may spring up, &c., &c.

The document closes with a lengthy ascription of praise to God for effecting the union between the long-separated sons of the common Aryan Mother.

Points I., II., IV., V., VI., and VII., are now disposed of. Points III., VIII., and IX., remain in part, uncovered. The facts as to the first, not above stated, are briefly as follow: - The Rs. 609-9-4, recovered from Mr. Hurrichund, were taken by us on our trip to the North-Western Provinces in April, 1879, - two months after our arrival in India - and at Saharanpur, through the interpretation of Mr. Muljee Thackersy, offered to the Swami for the Arya Samaj. He refused to accept the money, saying - as Mr. Muljee interpreted him to us - that our Society needed it, and that he was even in favour of having his whole Samaj contribute towards our Society’s expenses. He mentioned his wish that the subscriptions should be graded according to the monthly incomes of the Samajists. As regards the disposal of our proffered donation to his cause, his views are seen in the following excerpt from the official report of an extraordinary Council meeting held by him and ourselves - he sitting as a Councilor - at Saharanpur: -

Extract from the Minutes of a Council of the Theosophical Society held at Saharanpur, North-Western Provinces, on this 30th day of April, 1879: -

.......................................................................................................................
"Resolved - that any available funds of the Society be appropriated to defray
the cost of the journey of the present Committee from Agra to Sharanpur and return."
.......................................................................................................................
The Council then adjourned.

(Signed) Mooljee Thackersey,
Recording Secretary pro tem.

(True Copy.)
G. K. Deb.

This motion was put by the Swami, and seconded by Mr. Muljee. The Rs. 609 were properly accounted for in the Treasurer’s Report for the twenty-nine months ending April 30, 1881, and the item will be found on page 1 of the "THEOSOPHIST" Supplement for May, 1881. The account in question - officially audited - shows that over and above this Rs. 609, and all other income, the Society had received from the two Founders the sum of Rs 19,546-3-1, as their private contribution towards its expenses. I have mentioned this only for the information of such as may not have seen the Financial Statement above referred to. The only promise of a gift of "many books" that could ever have been made, must have been a conditional bequest of the private libraries of Madame Blavatsky and myself, in the event of our lives being lost on the voyage out from America to India. We never sold Babus Chedi Lall and Sheo Narayana the book referred to. But Mr. Muljee Thackersey, who had brought his own private copy of Isis Unveiled with him to read, as chance offered, did sell it to the gentlemen named and received and spent the money, as he had a perfect right to do. If our kind hosts at Meerut "spent hundreds of rupees" in entertaining us, we were never aware of it until now. We were put up in their private residence on the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th of May, 1879 - when the book affair occurred; we ate the same vegetable food as the family, and if our entertainment cost "hundreds of rupees," then one must need a princely income to live at Meerut! But that we did receive from our friends there a welcome so hearty and affectionate, as to lay us under most lasting obligations - is true. And the same remark applies to our fraternal receptions at Lahore, Amritsar, Multan, Cawnpore, Allahabad, Benares, and elsewhere by Arya Samajists, who treated us everywhere with the utmost kindness, and a hospitality so generous as to force us sometimes to protest. If our gratitude was not warmly enough expressed, our words must have ill translated the feelings of our hearts.

The charge in Point VIII., that we improperly influenced members of the Samaj to join our Society, may well be regarded as answered by the Swami’s own circular of July, 1880, in which the Link-Branch is recognized as a Branch of the Arya Samaj, and, therefore, we were only asking some two or three good Samajists to enter that Branch to promote the interest of their own Samaj, as well as of our Society. It was after that visit to Meerut that we learned of the Swami’s pronunciamento - after the fashion of the Mussalman Caliph Omar’s at Alexandria - that no Samajist should join any other Society than his own; for, as he said to the Meerut Samaj, if that other Society professed the same principles as the Samaj, to join it was useless, inasmuch as they were already in the Samaj, while if its principles were different, then they should not join it anyhow!

No threatening message of the kind alleged in Point VII. to have been sent me by Swamiji, through Mr. Panachand, was ever delivered to me by that gentleman; nor - as he has himself assured me - was it ever confided to him for delivery. I was told that Swami wished to see me, and I replied that I would come with pleasure, if I could find an hour’s leisure time. But I never found it before leaving Bombay (February 17th) on my annual official tour, nor have I found it since. The fact is that such a thing as an idle day or an unoccupied hour has not been seen by me since, in 1875, I joined Madame Blavatsky in founding the Theosophical Society, and from present indications, I doubt if I shall ever see one until I die - in the harness!

Certainly, we do speak and write much about "ghosts and spirits," and treat them as scientific questions. Moreover, I may say that I have not found among "the Indians" one in a hundred, who is not "foolish enough to believe in such things" as phenomena of some kind. The entry of April 30, 1879, in my Diary, would seem to show that Swamiji entertained the same opinions respecting them as ourselves; while his letter of July 26, 1880, proves that he believed himself then able to produce the phenomena of adeptship before Mr. Sinnett.

The charge in Point IX., as to the insertion of the word "most" before the word "divine," is too trifling to dwell upon at any length. There were two copies made of the Swami’s challenge to Mr. Cook, to discuss, in one of which the "most" originally written there, was stricken out while, by an oversight, in the other the change was not made. The reading preferred by the Swami will be found in the pamphlet, entitled "The Whole Truth about the Theosophical Society" (page 29, line 7), of which 5,000 copies were printed by public subscription and circulated gratuitously throughout India and other countries.

I shall say no more, in reply, to the affirmation in the concluding para. of the "bill of indictment," that Madame Blavatsky, having failed to entrap the Swami with her "tamasha," has now taken refuge under the Himalayan adepts, as she possesses no psychical powers of her own, than to refer the reader to the report of the famous interview between Swamiji and ourselves at Meerut ("THEOSOPHIST," December, 1880), and to print the following certificate from the two learned gentlemen who kindly served us as interpreters on that occasion: -

To

COLONEL H.S. OLCOTT,
President of the Theosophical Society, Bombay.

DEAR SIR,
In justice to you and your learned colleague, Madame Blavatsky, we cannot help contradicting the statement in the May number of the Arya, made on the authority of the Bombay Gazette, that "the Pandit of the Samaj (meaning Swami Dayanand Saraswati) informs the public, that neither Colonel Olcott, nor Madame Blavatsky, know anything of Yoga Vidya..... that they may know the art of clever conjuring," for, in the month of August, 1879, when both of you were staying here at Babu Chedi Lall’s bungalow, Swamiji, who was also at the time in the station, stated before us and several other witnesses, including many Arya Samajists, on two different occasions, that the phenomena performed by Madame Blavatsky, were the result of, and produced through, the agency of real Yoga power, and not that of "clever conjuring." Therefore, we cannot believe the statement of the Arya quoted above to be correct, since a learned and wise man, like Swami Dayanand Saraswati, who has taken upon himself the duties of a Teacher and a Reformer of India, cannot be expected - even though he may be on terms of variance with you - to contradict himself so palpably.

As regards the Arya’s statement about you, we have nothing to say, for we do not remember to have heard Swamiji acknowledging that you yourself knew Yoga Vidya practically.

In conclusion, we have to add, that as we had to perform the duty of interpreters between yourself, Madame Blavatsky and Swamiji at the time, we are in a position to certify that the account of the discourse, about Yoga Vidya, between yourself (Madame included) and the Swamiji, which appeared in the "THEOSOPHIST," is, to the best of our knowledge, true and correct.

We are, Sir,
Yours sincerely,

JWALA PRASADA,
Judge’s Office, Meerut.

BULDEO PRASAD SANKDHAR,
Head Master, Normal School.

Meerut, the 16th June, 1882.

I might largely swell this narrative by printing a number of confirmatory documents, but our case is already made out, as every candid mind must admit. No consideration, short of the absolute necessity to clear up once for all this unhappy controversy, would have moved me to say even a single word in answer to the recent attacks upon us. As was remarked above, I cannot permit myself to believe that a man so learned, and so patriotic an Aryan as the Swami Dayanund, has been actuated by dishonourable motives. He and we have scarcely ever exchanged an hundred words, except through interpreters. It must be that our ideas have been mainly misunderstood by him, and such portions of our conversations as he did understand have slipped his memory. He may have never known the contents of the letters which passed between his Bombay agent, Hurrichund, and ourselves, if that faithless person suppressed them (as there is too much reason to suspect he did); and thus our views about Parabrahma may have been quite unknown to him before we met in person, and what has transpired since been forgotten. I cannot say. And since we have had to depend upon third parties to interpret his oral and written communications to us, I shall most assuredly abstain from putting any harsh construction upon conduct which, at first sight seems not only indefensible, but incomprehensible. Now, that the documents are filed, and the case stated as fairly as lies within my power, no doubt the Swami will himself be glad to have the errors into which he has inadvertently fallen thus corrected, and the consistent course of his loyal allies vindicated to a large extent by what he has himself written in friendlier days.

_______________

Notes

(1) See the first pages of Swami’s "Sattyartha Prakasha," on the necessity for Shraddha ceremonies and compare with what he says now. - H. S. O.

(2) This work was sent me by the author and in it (see Preface, p. viii.,) we read the following: - "In Hindustan, as in England, there are doctrines for the learned, and dogmas for the unlearned; strong meat for men, and milk for babes; facts for the few, and fictions for the many; realities for the wise, and romances for the simple; esoteric truth for the philosopher, and exoteric fable for the fool." This fitted in so exactly with our own knowledge of all religions, that it was no wonder we were led to believe Mr. Hurrichund was the very treasure his friend Mulji depicted him. Our disillusioning came after we personally met the man at Bombay and looked under his mask. - H. S. O.

(3) Pandit Shyamji Crishnavarma, who has now become so widely known among European Sanskritists and Orientalists, and who is now in Oxford, will certainly recognize his own translation and recollect the original as a letter in his own handwriting, a genuine document in short. - Ed.

(4) This shows that when we had learned what kind of a God the Swami was preaching, we had even offered then to break the alliance. - H. S. O.

(5) Not active, but official, members, as the Founders are ex-officio members of every Branch, not being allowed, under the Society’s rules to favour any religion or sect to the prejudice of any other represented in any other Branch. Neither has ever attended the religious meetings of the Samaj, as a participant, while, as for Madame Blavatsky, who was upbraided for her absence by the Swami, she plainly told him that she was his friend and staunch ally, but not his follower. - Ed.
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Hermetic Brotherhood of Light
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/2/21

The Hermetic Brotherhood of Light was a Fraternity that descended from the Fratres Lucis in the late 18th century (in turn, derived from the German Order of the Golden and Rosy Cross), and was the seed from which Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) ('Order of the Temple of the East' or 'Order of Oriental Templars') was created.

Carl Kellner and Paschal Beverly Randolph were members of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light. In Theodor Reuss' 1917 O.T.O. Constitution, it states in Article 1, Section 1:

Under the style and title: ANCIENT ORDER OF ORIENTAL TEMPLARS, an organization, formerly known as: "The Hermetic Brotherhood of Light", has been reorganized and reconstituted. This reconstituted association is an international organization, and is hereinafter referred to as the O.T.O.


Sources

• Greenfield, Allen. The Story of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light. Luxor Press
• ____. Hermetic Brotherhood Revisited. Luxor Press
• Godwin, Joscelyn. (1990). "The Brotherhood of Light." Theosophical History, Vol. III, No. 3

*************************************

Fratres Lucis, Chapter 18, Excerpt from The Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross
by Arthur Edward Waite
1924

I have met with no first-hand memorials of the Golden and Rosy Cross in the second half of the eighteenth century, excepting the Rituals which arose out of the Reformation of or about 17771. We do not know certainly whether that reform came about in the course of a natural development, as for example in exchanging the astral workings for those of alchemical experiment, or whether it was the result of disruption. It was a stormy period, and the history of Secret Societies—Masonic or otherwise— indicates that titles of adeptship may have had many claims on the good pleasure of Divine favour and recognition but they had few upon the peace of God. I conclude that the Golden and Rosy Cross underwent a revolution which it characterised by a different name. There is another point of uncertainty. We have no means of determining whether the circle about which we have learned so much owing to the survival of its Rituals was the only one of its kind in Germany and otherwhere on the Continent of that period. There may have been several branches admitting no allegiance to one another, but following their own path. In any case the Order survived, and there came a time when two of its important members—who were not, however, Supreme Superiors within the initiated circle—were the chief advisers of Frederick William II, with their hands on the helm of the Prussian ship of state. I refer to Johann Rudolf Bischoffswerder and Johann Christoph Wöllner2. The King himself had been received within the ranks, and for a period of eleven years there was the strange spectacle of a Rosicrucian triad ruling over the destinies of an European kingdom. But this period began in 1786 and the initiation of Bischoffswerder must have taken place—under whatever Obedience of the Order—prior to 1773; that of Wöllner is altogether uncertain; it may have been subsequent to the King’s reception, which is referable to circa 1780. I do not propose to pursue this subject because it offers nothing to my purpose and information concerning it is available in many quarters3. We are told that the King was a tool in the hands of his brother-adepts and that Wollner in particular must be called his evil genius. In both cases, however, they were working for their own ends and not for those of the Order. This point seems perfectly clear from all that we know of their history. I set aside, of course, the bare possibility that the King’s treasury might at need have furnished money to the heads of the Rosy Cross through the influence of his two advisors, but no suggestion of the kind has been made from any direction. On the contrary, it would seem that the advantage of a royal patron and member was regarded in another light, for—at the value of such records—it is in evidence that the Master of a House or Temple at Hamburg, speaking in the name of the Highest Superiors, welcomed in absentia a Brother, then newly joined, under the name of Ormesus Magnus, as one who might be able to advance the Kingdom of Christ and the spread of the Order—presumably as a herald of His reign to come. Now Ormesus Magnus was the mystic name of Frederick William II as a Brother of the Rosy Cross4.

Meanwhile the Reformation of 1777 had by no means eliminated undesirables or malcoutents5. The impostor Schrepfer is an example of the first class his pretended evocations made him the comet of a season and there must be some ground on which he called himself a Rosicrucian, for he seems to have been acknowledged by Bischoffswerder, who ought to have known a fellow-initiate. The malcontents also were in evidence, and this fact led to the establishment of other Rites and Orders by what may be called a process of segregation. They were made in the likeness of their original and advanced corresponding claims, e.g., to hold the key of Masonic Symbolism, possessing therefore all its secrets, or to represent the true and original Order of the Rosy Cross. We have seen that there were similar pretensions in France, but they owed nothing to each other and in all probability knew nothing of each other’s existence. Three years after the Reformation, or circa 1780, Clavel says that a last schisrn in the Order produced the Initiated Brothers of Asia in Austria and Italy, but coincidently therewith or proceeding immediately therefrom was an association of Fratres Lucis, otherwise Knights of Light, and this shall be the subject of investigation in the first place as considerable consequence has been attached to it in some modern occult circles. It has been named by a few continental historians of Freemasonry and has figured in a few lists, like those of Ragon, but there was no knowledge concerning it till the late Mrs. Isabel Cooper-Oakley took up the subject with that earnestness which always characterised her excursions in research. She had unfortunately no critical faculty and her sense of evidential values made her judgments worthless, but she was to be trusted implicitly about facts within her first-hand knowledge, and if she said that a document was in her hands, it was most certainly there. The point is of vital importance in the present connection.

Her study of the Fratres Lucis was based by Mrs. Oakley on one of many rare MSS. which were once in the library of the late Count Wilkoroki of Warsaw. In connection with the Rosy Cross in Russia, we shall see that this library was looted by Catherine II, but Mrs. Oakley found access to the collection, which is or was in the Imperial Library at Petrograd. It would seem also that she was permitted or found it possible to make extracts or a transcript in full, for she states that the documents belonging to the Fratres Lucis passed — apparently from herself — into the charge of a member of the Theosophical Society, “having been committed to his care for possible future use. Many years have elapsed, however, and it does not appear that any result has followed. The original MS. claimed to comprise or embody the system of the Wise, Mighty and Reverend Order of the Knights or Brothers of Light, working five Degrees, the titles and content of which will appear immediately6. It was either divided formally or falls naturally for purposes of consideration into two main sections — otherwise the Laws of the Order and the Rituals worked thereby.

The second division of the manuscript contains the Ceremonies of the Order in what is presumably a rough outline or at least summary form. Preliminary to the whole appear the general conditions on which reception is possible and may become actual. They may be enumerated in the following order: (1) As in the Brotherhood of the Golden and Rosy Cross, Candidates must be Master Masons, raised in a regular Lodge; (2)they must be free from physical defects, thus recalling the whole manhood required by the Craft itself, but the stipulation in the present case connotes something more than perfect limbs, this being insured already by the first condition: it is possible that there is a sex-implicit; 3) they must not be initiates of any other Secret Order: alternatively they must resign there-from, but it is unlikely that this undertaking was fulfilled by the Heads of the Fratres Lucis; (4) they must be at least twenty-seven years of age or otherwise Master Masons of seven years’ standing, thus intimating that minors were eligible for Masonic initiations at the place and time; (5) they must not be oppressors of the poor; (6) they must not be disputatious and quarrelsome, or must have repented sincerely, as the banal clause adds; (7) they must submit to a probation of seven months, five of which would be occupied by the Superiors of the Order with inquiries into their Masonic conduct and reputation. The significance of these rules is to be sought in all that is omitted rather than anything that is expressed: it will be seen that they turn upon questions of moral fitness, Craft status and tolerably good citizenship. There is no word as to spiritual qualifications, religious aims or attainments, although — by the hypothesis of its Grades — the Rite was one of priesthood. Supposing that the Intelligence Department reported favourably the seven-months’ child of its concern might then be born into the Order.

On the day fixed for his reception the Candidate was placed in a vestibule, where he was proved in the Three Craft Degrees, after which he was passed to the Chamber of Reception, otherwise the Chapter House, and there signed the following preliminary Pledge: “ I, N. N., Master Mason, do promise in the Name of the one God, and by the duty of an honest man, that I will respect all the Mysteries and will observe all the Statutes which shall be imposed upon me by the Reverend, Wise and Worthy Chapter of Knights and Brothers of Light, Novices of the third year, and will hold them as a revelation of the ultimate forces of Nature, even if they seem difficult to follow and dealing with unheard of things.” The execution of this undertaking entitled the Candidate to be acquainted with the Laws under which he must abide as a Novice. These may be summarised as follows : (1) He was required to abstain from any action which might militate against the Order itself, its Chapters or its Grades; (2) to exhibit dutiful submission — as pledged — in respect of all its Laws; (3) to prosecute its Mysteries throughout the days of his life, because they emanate from the True Light; (4) to ask nothing respecting their source or those by whom they have been delivered;(5)to maintain, so far as may be possible, the Three Degrees of Freemasonry, seeing that they are the Elementary School of the Sublime Order; (6) to guard and shield the Reverend, Mighty and Wise Order itself.

Having signified his adhesion to these undertakings in writing, the Novice was then escorted into the Chapter itself, where he was questioned as to when and by whom he had been made a Mason, and as to his age in the Master Grade. The Headship being familiar already with these points of his career, the testimony was exacted presumably for the information of those who were auditors. Having been given and approved, an Officer denominated the Corrector of Novices called the Chapter to prayer by sounding a bell. The Invocation which follows has, however, been mangled in translation or is represented badly by the original7. “Thy Name, 0 God our Creator, is known throughout the earth8, and we give Thee thanks in Heaven. Out of the mouth of babes Thou hast established Thy strength against Thine enemies, that Thou mightest put to silence the accuser and the avenger.9 I behold the heavens, the work of Thine hands, the moon and the stars which Thou hast made.10 They that have ears let them hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches To him that overcometh I will give to eat of the Tree of Life which is in the Paradise of God.11 And to the Angel of the Church of Smyrna write, saying: This is the first and the last, He that was dead and shall live again.12 They that have ears, etc. (repeated). To him that overcometh I will give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a good testimony written in his name (sic), but none shall know it save he that owneth it13. For all this hath the Lord spoken, and the word of the Lord is pure, even as pure silver, purged seven times.”14

The Corrector of Novices then exhorted the Candidate, bidding him pray to "the good elements of all creatures that the One and the Three and the Five and * * * * * * * may be with us and that they may direct thee on the path which thou hast entered.” Robing and unrobing followed, with the recitation of a Psalm, which is not otherwise specified. The Candidate was then warned that he had been brought within the secret circle in order that he might study the Laws of Divine Wisdom, Justice, Mercy and Power. He was called upon to abide among his Brethren in sincerity of heart, with the spirit of goodwill and submission, with love and devotion to the true ends of the Order. In the fulfilment of these conditions it was said that he would be taught “our Mysteries” fully and would be directed to that point when he himself should enter the light. On the faith of this prospect he ratified another Pledge as follows: "I, N. N., do swear by the one law of the True and Unknown Being that I will continue through all my life in fidelity to the duties of Knights and Brothers of Light. If I violate even one of them, may my Superiors, by the miraculous power of Magic, render me the most pitiable of all creatures. May the powers of evil rise up against me for ever, the cruel spirits which hide themselves from the light. May the powerful Princes of Darkness assemble about me all terrors of darkness, to encompass me as with a cloud. May they expel all light from my spirit, my soul and my body, and may the Source of Good, which is One and Three, shut me out for ever from its mercy."15

The Signs and Passwords are communicated in the next place, after which another Master of Novices delivers the Historical Discourse. It affirms the existence of various occult Societies from past times immemorial and under various names. In all cases their knowledge and objects were concealed in hieroglyphics, and thus reserved to the elect. The centre was always in Asia, and there on a day it came about that certain Knights were admitted who took part in the war against Saracens under the Banner of the Cross. They learned after this manner many mysteries in Asia, but the time came when part of them perished under a thousand tortures. The reference is of course to the suppression of the Knights Templar, whose story is told in brief. It is added that out of this ruin there arose what is called the Radiz, otherwise Knights of St John, as also "the German Order" — presumably Teutonic Knights — and the Golden Fleece.16 The wreckage of the Templar Mysteries was inherited by these Associations. Apparently, however, they were not the only heirs, for it is said that the Order of Freemasons, more ancient than any of the above, is that which has best preserved the hieroglyphics of Templar Knights. The Temple of Solomon was their most catholic symbol of all, yet it was used by the Chivalry itself, the Sanctuary of Israel being divided apparently into symbolic portions corresponding to the Grades of the Knighthood. The discourse is confused at this point and it is scarcely possible to understand what is intended. We hear of moral interpretations applied by Templars to sacraments and picture-symbols. It recurs then to Masonry and affirms without further preface that its real objects have been invariably those of Alchemy, Theosophy and Magia, but they have not been pursued owing to the ignorance of Brethren. The Fratres Lucis were, however, in a position to intervene and atone for this deficiency, by means of clear instructions, which would be given to deserving Novices.

In this manner the claim of the Order itself begins to emerge distinctly for the first time, and thereafter the Discourse proceeds to explain the Entered Apprentice Degree of Craft Masonry. The dark room used prior to reception signifies that the First Matter of the Great Work is found in a black earth. It is an earth which contains no metals, and these are removed from the Candidate prior to his reception for this reason. When he is divested of various garments the reason is that “Our Matter is stripped of the veil that Nature has given it.” It is said also that it can be “drawn as from the breast of a mother.” When the shoe also is removed the reference is to a certain mystical severance and is “one of the most ancient hieroglyphics known to the Israelites,” being connected with the refusal to take the wife of a deceased brother, the renunciation of an inheritance, and so forth. The battery which is made upon the floor as a token of affirmation or consent to the reception of Candidates “signifies that we procure our Matter from its habitation in a volcano and that the Order has for its chief objects the physical mysteries wrought by fire.” The hoodwink indicates that although the First Matter is luminous, shining and clear in itself, yet it can be found only in a most darksome abode—meaning the black earth already mentioned. The three circumanibulations which are made in the course of reception are called “laborious journeys “ and with their connected discourses and procedure are not interpreted alchemically: they signify’ the obedience, fidelity and silence which must be shown towards Chiefs, as well as “the toils, reflections, upright heart and open soul,” by which only the Novice can hope to rise towards them. But it is obvious that this is a blundering digression which has forgotten that its business of interpretation is at work on a Craft Grade. The confusion persists throughout the following clauses. The point of the sword making contact with the breast is a reminder that “no two-edged weapon must ever be used to slay our Hiram and obtain his precious blood, which is shown afterwards by a ‘weak’ Brother and his blood-stained handkerchief.” It is affirmed that this unintelligible reference — which has no Masonic application in our own day — is explained to the Knight-Novice of the seventh year. The silence preserved in. the Lodge intimates that our Matter,” after its due preparation, operates the dissolution of all metals in stillness. The compasses brought forward on a plate of blood and afterwards applied to the Candidate, with the subsequent elevation of the plate, intimate that “ we have another poniard,” being that which “we thrust into the bosom of our matter" and cause it to pour forth blood.” Whatsoever is repeated thrice indicates that the Matter is animal, vegetable and mineral. Finally, the name of Thooelkam (sic), conferred on the Candidate in virtue of his admission, is another reference to the fact that “our Matter lies where the volcano has its fire and its dwelling.”

The Tracing-Board offers an opportunity for further confusion between Masonic symbolism and that of the Fratres Lucis. The four cardinal points or quarters intimate that God has endowed the Chiefs of the Order with such wisdom that they are raised above all mortality, and that to them nothing is unknown. The four principal winds, considered as symbols, offer the same lesson. When the Smaragdine Tablet testifies that “the wind bears it in its belly,” the meaning is “carry the Matter, for it is the source and end of all things.” The border and the pointing finger are said to denote “our unchangeableness,” but this seems pure nonsense. The Masonic flooring reveals the well-known magic squares.

The Sign of the Hexagram appeared on the Tracing-Board and is connected with the words Aesh Mazor, whence it is said to signify the watery-flame or flaming water which belongs to the Hermetic work. The Sun and Moon typify the male and female elements, active and passive, corresponding to Jakin and Boaz. But it is affirmed that these have also their meaning in the operations of Divine Magic, to which statement is appended an unintelligible sentence, referring presumably to the Pillars of tile Sephirotic Tree, the Mystery of MERCABA, being the Symbolic Chariot of Kabalism. The last episode of the Grade was a further historical recitation, dealing more especially with the Order of Fratres Lucis and including a sketch of the Theosophia, Magia and Chemia belonging to the First Degree.

It seems that according to the ridiculous nomenclature of the Rite the Mason admitted to the First Degree became a Knight-Novice of the Third Year and that having been proved as such for a period of three years he was entitled to the Second Degree, which is Knight-Novice of the Fifth Year. It is difficult to believe that such a contradictory symbolical scheme of times could have obtained in any sane Ritual, and my inference is that Mrs. Cooper-Oakley, who was always a confused writer, has mismanaged her material. The ceremonial of the Second Degree is said to be substantially the same as the first, and it comes about for this reason that she presents some selections only from certain addresses delivered in the Chapter. They would appear to be explanations of Fellow-Craft Symbolism, though this is little better than speculation in the state of the summaries given. We hear of the “entrance" — whether of the Chapter or the Candidate it is impossible to say — and that it signifies an approaching union of those principles that are separate in themselves. The letter F, placed in the centre of a Blazing Star, signifies the active principle of the Creative Elohim. There is also an allusion to "the Seven Degrees,” which are not specified by name and it is impossible therefore to identify the Masonic Rite they correspond, however, to the seven metals which have to be perfected in the Hermetic Work and to the least number of “the true Jewish name of our Matter.” The following cryptic sentence is appended to this statement “Thus Zechariah saw one stone with seven eyes and finally seven wheels, which are our last workmen, by means of whom we raise ourselves to perfection.”18 The degrees, moreover, signify seven stars, the power of which is explained in our Kabalistic science, for Natural Magic is very useful and indeed necessary to our Chiefs in their work.”

The time of probation for the Third Degree is not specified, but its title is Knight-Novice of the Seventh Year, and it is either in analogy with the Craft Master Grade or the latter is expounded as to its inner meaning therein. (1) The Temple of Solomon is declared to be the general synthesis of the Hermetic Art. (2) It is affirmed to be clear from Ezekiel that Hiram has an universal meaning — namely, NEPHESH, URIM, THUMMIM — and also that he was slain.19 (3) He signifies “our Matter, killed by three workmen in order that they may obtain the Word,”which Word is Jehovah, otherwise the Central Fire.20 (4) He was buried and the murderers secured his caput mortuum: it is said to appear “ as if the spirit were excited by rage” and that the Acacia is an illustration of the fact. (5) As to the nature of the Matter, this is shewn in the Master Grade: it comprises three kingdoms, and these are symbolised in that Grade by (a) the touchstone,21 corresponding to the mineral kingdom; (b) the “dead-head,” corresponding to the animal; and (c) by the Acacia, which represents the vegetable kingdom. (6) The Name or Symbol of Jehovah, which appears in the centre of a triangle, denotes the fulfilment of the Work, and this itself is called the Central Fire, otherwise “the greatest light.” After these explanations, however they may happen to have been communicated in the course of addresses, the Candidate is told as follows: “This Matter, Reverend Brother, is our book, which is here exhibited before thee, and after close study thou shalt find that it is adorned with all these qualities.” Mrs. Cooper-Oakley makes tiresome omissions and at points which seem to be vital, but I conceive it possible that some of them were actuated by a desire to reserve what she might regard as Masonic Secrets. If the Philosophical Matter of the Fratres Lucis was literally a book, it is obvious that the work was not physical—in the sense of metallic transmutation — and if the qualities which it is said to contain are a reference to the three kingdoms specified above, then the latter must be understood in an allegorical or mystical sense. One is inclined to speculate whether the Knight-Novice of the Seventh Year had the Bible held up before him and was told that this was the touchstone — otherwise a key to all things — a “dead-head” or caput mortuum in respect of the cortex or external meaning, and the Acacia or sign of life and resurrection, a gage of immortality in respect of its inner meaning. As regards the Third Degree of the Order, I may add that there is one reference to Hiram, King of Tyre, of whom it is said that according to the Chaldaean book JALKOT he gained inexhaustible riches by his wisdom and was eight hundred years old. But a time came when he thought himself equal with God, and this led to his destruction. He fashioned two "beams” by his art and raised seven heavens upon them, in which he caused an altar to be erected, after the fashion of the Altar of God. The purpose of this adventure in emblematic building does not transpire, nor why it was counted against him as an evil work ; but the story says that God sent Ezekiel to pronounce judgment upon him, that he fell from the height which he had raised and was slain subsequently by men.

In the Fourth Degree the Candidate passes from Grades of supposed Knighthood into offices of priesthood, but as no one can see why his previous experiences should connect with the idea of chivalry, so now there is no reason on the surface, or perhaps beneath it, to account for him becoming a Levite. There may be, however, an explanation in the procedure which does not appear in the extracts. A Catechism contains the following unconnected and mostly inexplicable points. (1) Perfection is 1, 2, 3 and 4, but the sum of these numbers is 10, and the meaning may be that perfection is in the keeping of the whole Law alternatively the allusion may be to the denary scale of the Sephiroth and the emblematic mystery of their ascent. (2) The Perfect Flame is that which illuminates, blazes and destroys not. (3) The word Majim must not be pronounced while proving pure stones of marble. (4) Elohim is Eli and Ki, the light without will and the light with will, otherwise colourless and coloured, will being the source of colour. (5) The serpent which flies through the air and burns is represented by the ant found within its scale — referring, I think, to some rabbinical myth. (6) Moses was forty days with Scharnajim and brought back the natural laws, inscribed on a stone. Mrs. Oakley says that there are many more questions and answers, after which the officiating Brother offers the following Prayer “I beseech Thee, 0 Lord, to grant me two graces, and may they abide with me through all my life. Take away my idolatry and falsehood ; give me neither poverty nor riches, but only my daily bread. Vouchsafe unto me reason and wisdom, that I may learn both good and evil.” It may be added that the whole Ceremony is much shorter than those of the previous Degrees. Considerable stress is laid upon the ethical side of the Candidate’s life.

In the Fifth Degree and last the Levite becomes a Priest and is told that he has reached the end of the Secret Mysteries of a Royal and Sacerdotal Order. It is said also that he is approaching a barrier, through which he may pass, if God wills, being “enlightened by the light.” He is caused to perform certain ceremonial acts before a Sacred Fire which has been kindled with religious observances. Thereafter the Closing is taken. After making every allowance for a piecemeal translation which may be also indifferently done, it will be seen that on the surface at least the Candidate has learned little enough throughout and that there is practically nothing in the Degrees to deserve calling Ritual. In view of the references to light Mrs. Oakley cherished an opinion that the teaching of the Fratres Lucis was designed to lead members from the darkness of sense-life into that illumination of spiritual being which is our heritage. Her opinion on any subject having debatable elements cannot be said to count, and there is nothing apparently in her original to support the view. The barrier referred to in the Ritual most probably means the guarded threshold of the Fifth Degree, or alternatively the threshold of that secret knowledge which would have been held to lie behind the whole Rite. The intimations concerning it point to a medley of doctrine in combination with a medley of occult practices. As such the Order of Fratres Lucis does not stand alone there are other Rites in its likeness, though there is nothing to indicate that they have drawn therefrom. The characteristic, I am afraid, of all is that they lead nowhere. The highest Orders and Degrees of Masonry are shadows of things which have never passed into plenary expression, but they can open great vistas of symbolism beyond their own measures this is the distinction between them and a thousand others which were dead before they were born, which contain nothing and impart nothing in themselves, and have no windows from which we can look beyond.

Having exhibited the general Ritual-horizon of the Fratres Lucis, I will complete the available information concerning them by reference to the same source. The Order was divided into Provinces, particulars of which are wanting. If the scheme, as it may have been, was laid out on an elaborate scale, it will be understood that most of them were in a state of potential subsistence only, awaiting a day to come when Fratres Lucis would have acquired the Masonic world. Actually or hypothetically, each Province was governed by a Head elected by the Brethren over whom he was subsequently to rule. The Chapter on such occasion was in the hands of a Provincial Administrator, who sounded a bell seven times. The process of election began, the votes were taken, the result was announced in due course and the Head-Elect was installed immediately after. Psalm ii: “Why do the heathen rage?” was recited, after which the Chancellor-Assessor and Sword-Bearer uncovered the breast and head of the elected Knight. The questions of the time were then put, namely, (1) Whether he promised to have faith in the Good Author of all creatures to the end of his life; (2) whether he would observe the Statutes of the Order and maintain the same inviolate; (3) whether he would love the Brethren more than he loved himself. When the Assembly had been satisfied on these points, the Chancellor took a golden cup containing oil and anointed the head of the Knight-Elect crosswise on the crown, saying “God chooses thee as the Chief of His Elect.” Afterwards the left hand and breast were anointed, with the words: "David said unto the Philistines,22 etc. He was also and finally anointed on the right hand, but seemingly with no verbal formula. He was invested thereafter with the robes of his Office and with the Cap, the Chancellor saying “He who is the Chief Priest among his Brethren, on whose head has been poured the holy chrism and whose hands have been anointed, shall be clothed with this sacerdotal garment, and let him not uncover his head or rend his robe.” There were other exhortations, ending with this Prayer: “They who have ears to hear let them hear: he that overcometh shall have the first Tree of Life [sic] in the Paradise of God. And to the Angel of the Church [sic, meaning the Church in Smyrna] he shall write This is the First and the Last, Who shall die and live again [sic]. To him that overcometh I will give of the Hidden Manna, and I will give him a good certificate23 [sic], and this certificate he alone that hath shall know it [sic]. The lightning shall arise from the Altar, and also the Thunder and the Voice. And seven lighted candle­sticks shall be before the Altar which represent the Seven Spirits of God. May God bless thee and keep thee: may God teach thee and be gracious unto thee: may God turn His countenance and give unto thee peace there­from.”24

As regards the Laws of the Order they may be extracted thus: (1) The Grades comprised by the Rite, as already given; (2) Regulations concerning voting, election and so forth; (3) The decorations of the Temple, in the centre of which there was to be a seven-branched candlestick of gold; (4) Offences against the Order and complaints; (5) Rules for the preservation of right and order; (6) The vestments used in the Rite, but they are omitted by the translator; (7) Concerning alms; (8) Dues payable in the Order; (9i) The Chronology of the Order, and this is given as follows: The Chronology begins with the year of the reform which was inaugurated by John the Evangelist, Founder and Head of the Seven Unknown Churches of Asia, seven years after the death of Christ. By subtracting from A.D. 1781, the year in which the Order was founded, the 33 years of Christ’s life on earth and the seven which elapsed before St. John began his work, making 40 years, we arrive at the symbolical or rather mythical year which was arrogated to itself by the Order, namely, 1741. Were it revived at this day on the same basis it would assume the age of 1883 years. The subsequent Laws are devoted to questions of correspondence and business details.

It remains to be said that the manuscript on which Mrs. Cooper-Oakley depended was addressed to the Seven Wise Fathers, Heads of the Seven Churches of Asia, wishing peace in the Holy Number “—presumably the number seven. The Order comes therefore before us as that of a hidden Church or Holy Assembly, ex hypothesi like that of Eckartshausen, but passing into substituted manifestation by virtue of its ceremonial workings. The analogy ends at this point; but the reference to the Seven Churches opens a further question. We are taken back to the Asiatic Brethren or Initiated Brothers of Asia, otherwise the Knights and Brethren of St. John the Evangelist for Asia in Europe, which claimed to possess and to propagate the only true Freemasonry. According to Findel, the system consisted of two probationary Degrees of seeking and suffering,25 which were followed by (1) Consecrated Knight and Brother, (2) Wise Master, (3) Royal Priest or Perfect Rosicrucian, called otherwise the Degree of Melchisedek. It should be understood as regards the last that it was neither the Eighteenth Degree of the Rite of Perfection nor any variant thereof but that it drew from the Golden and Rosy Cross of circa 1777 and from Rosicrucian things antecedent thereto in Ritual, so far as served its purpose.26 The proof is that the Initiated Brothers of Asia were almost beyond question a foundation of the Brothers Ecker und Eckhoffen prior to the Knights of Light. Findel seems to be the only writer who has thrown any doubt upon the point, but he has created uncertainty solely by contradicting himself. He says in one place that Baron Hans Heinrich was propagator rather than founder and that he was helped by an Israelite named Hirschmann in recasting the Rituals; but in another place we are told that because he had failed in “obedience, trust and peaceful behaviour” he had been expelled from the Rosy Cross and that in revenge he founded the Asiatic Order. It is possible that this is a correct version of the matter and it seems certain also that the only Rituals to remodel were those of the Rosy Cross.

There is no trace of the Initiated Brothers prior to 1780,27 and by Findel’s own shewing the expulsion of Hans Heinrich could not have taken place till very late in the previous year, for in 1779 he is said to have been editing for the Rosicrucians a “collection of Masonic [sic] speeches,” delivered in the “ancient system,” that is, prior to the Reformation of 1777. But the Fratres Lucis based their symbolic chronology, as we have seen, on 1781. It is clear therefore that they arose concurrently with the Initiated Brothers, or alternatively that they were different branches or names of one thing. In support of the latter possibility we find that the heads of the Initiated Brothers claimed to have been Directors of the Seven Invisible Churches of Asia, or in other words that they are the very persons to whom the Wilkoroki manuscript was addressed. Moreover, the chief stipulation with Candidates was the same in both cases, or “not to inquire by whom the secrets were communicated, whence they came now or might emanate in the future.” Finally, the Initiated Brothers dated by their hypothesis from the year A.D. 40, when the Fratres Lucis originated under the auspices of St. John the Evangelist. There could be no two emblematical peas more like unto each other in one pod of the Mysteries. It ought not to need adding that nothing attaches to the identity or distinction between the two groups. In modern occult circles of the theosophical type a considerable rumour of importance has grown up about the Fratres Lucis, but — against all intention on her part — it has been dispersed by the publication of Mrs. Cooper-Oakley’s analysis of the Warsaw document. The two Orders concern us only as derivatives of the Rosy Cross in the eighteenth century under the Masonic aegis. They are serviceable as illustrating the circumstances under which new branches of the Order or things made in its likeness came suddenly into being, making great claims on present possession of knowledge and on an immemorial past, but with very little behind them and, as it happened in both these cases, with no horizon in front. According to Clavel, the Initiated Brothers were in trouble with the police in 1785 — where, however, being omitted — and in 1787 a writer named Rollig put an end to them by revealing their secrets. My experience of Secret Orders, Masonic and otherwise, shews that they do not suffer death in this manner more often they undergo change.

It is reported also that the Fratres Lucis were broken up in 1795, but the fact is exceedingly doubtful on other considerations than are adduced by Mrs. Cooper-Oakley. She refers to a publication entitled DER SIGNATSTERN, and terms it an official organ of the Order. It began to appear in small volumes about 1804 and continued for several years, but was not a periodical publication in numbers or in any way corresponding to Transactions. It is in reality a collection of archives, and according to these and the general title of the work there were Seven Grades of Mystical Freemasonry, otherwise of the Order of Knights of Light. I can speak with certainty only of the ninth part or division, comprised in a duodecimo volume of three hundred pages and containing (1) a long disquisition on the Mysteries of Egypt and their alleged analogies with those of Freemasonry; (2) the Constitution and Laws or Statutes of the St. John’s Lodge Ferdinand zum Felsen at the Orient of Hamburg, dated in 1790 and signed by Hans Karl Freyherr von Ecker und Eckhoffen; (3) a sheaf of orations emanating from the Grand Lodge Royal York of Friendship. If the archives as a whole are to be judged by these examples, they offer no evidence on the perpetuation of the Fratres Lucis. I have no doubt that the Asiatic Brethren survived the revelations of Rollig, and I should regard it as exceedingly doubtful that the concordant or identical association was actually broken up in 1795. It is probable that both lapsed gradually and that the second had passed out of sight at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

As regards the fraudulent antiquity claimed by both Orders, it is alleged concerning the Asiatic Brethren (1) that it underwent some kind of reform in 1541; (2) that it was working at Prague in 1608; (3) that it was closely connected with the Rosicrucians and had been helped by Christian Rosencreutz from time to time — a reference to its supposed activities, in the early fifteenth century; (4) that according to one of its traditions it was to continue till the Head should return — presumably C :. R :. C :.. The Jew Hirschmann is said to have supplied Kabalistic and Talmudic elements, including instructions on the four worlds of Atziluth, Briah, Yetzirah and Assiah. According to Mrs. Oakley the Fratres Lucis were incorporated originally at Berlin, but were first made public as an Order at Vienna in 1780, or immediately after the death of the Empress Maria Theresa. The evidence does not appear, and we have seen that their own chronology points to the year 1781. It appears from the Warsaw manuscript that few Rosicrucians were admitted, it being alleged that they had fallen away from their original ideal, were tainted with the thirst for gold and the search after power.

It remains to say that Hans Heinrich von Ecker und Eckhoflen — who seems to have worked always in conjunction with Karl his brother — was a gentleman of the bedchamber and counsellor of the Duke of Coburg-Saalfeld. According to his own statements, he became a Freemason in his sixteenth year and a Rosicrucian at no long date after. We have seen that he was expelled from the latter Order, or such is the recurring allegation, whatever its value.

_______________

Notes:

1. My reference is to official documents, actual or assumed. An important memorial belonging to the period itself, although at the last end, is H. C. Albrecht’s GEHEIME GESCHICHTE EINES ROSENKREUZERS, from their own documents, published at Hamburg in 1792. It is concerned entirely with the post 1777 period and in particular with (1) the revelations of a certain Cedrinus; (2) the history of Freemasonry; (3) the Order of the Temple; (4) the Convention of Wilhelmsbad; (5) a Rosicrucian romance called DON SYLVIO; (6) an ADDRESS to the Rosicrucians of the Old System, belonging to the year 1781 and connected with an attempt by Fraxinus to establish or revive the Rosy Cross in Vienna, the nature of which experiment was exposed by Cedrinus; (7) the activities of Theoretical Brethren ; and (8) the PHYSICA MYSTICA and PHYSICA SACRA SANCTISSIMA of Johann Gottfried Jugel.
2. Bischoffswerder was a native of Saxony, and was born on Nov. 23, 1741. He had been in the service of the Duke of Courland prior to that of the King, and before he became a Rosicrucian he belonged to the Strict Observance and many of the Secret Rites. He died in 1803. Wöllner was born at Dobritz in 1732 and belonged to the Lutheran ministry. He entered the service of the Prussian King in 1786 as Privy Councillor of Finance. He died on September 11, 1800.
3. Mr. Gilbert Stanhope’s MYSTIC ON THE PRUSSIAN THRONE, 1912, gives an excellent general account, with a long list of authorities but it should be understood that the writer neither has nor claims acquaintance with Rosicrucian history, outside the place and period with which he is concerned. As regards these the following summary particulars will clear up the chief issues, and those who are concerned further may be referred to Mr. Stanhope’s work. (1) Bischoffswerder had served during the Seven Years’ War and again in the Bavarian campaign, at the end of which he was attached to the suite of Frederick William, then Prince of Prussia. (2) He had attained already a high position in the Rosicrucian Fraternity and was a firm believer in the healing power of an elixir known to the Order. (3) It was used in an illness which befell the Prince, and his recovery was attributed to its virtues. (4) Bischoffswerder thereupon induced him to join the Order, concerning which it is said that the real leaders worked in secrecy, exacting implicit obedience: in a word, they were Unknown Superiors. (5) Delighted as they were—this is of course speculation—at the advent of a royal recruit, they imposed on him a year’s probation—as it is said, “to impress him more deeply with the sanctity and seriousness of their authority.” (6) On their own part, as stated at an Order-Convocation and mentioned in the text above, they looked upon his advent from the standpoint of its possible spiritual profit, in view of his exalted position. (7) Bischoffswerder is regarded as sincere, at least at that time; but Wollner, the son of a pastor, had belonged to the rationalistic party which flourished under Frederick the Great, and is thought to have entered the Order for the furtherance of his own schemes. (8) When Frederick William ascended the throne in 1786 he desired a return to the “orthodox religion,” and Wöllner co¬operated. (9) The number of Rosicrucians and mystics multiplied about the new King, and their influence was resented by many of the German princes, including Duke Frederick of Brunswick and Prince Eugene of Würtemberg. (10) Such was the entourage of Frederick William II, so far as occult circles were concerned ; but if the Rosy Cross in Prussia does not shine in any favourable light, there is nothing to shew that its representatives at the German Court were doing anything but play for their own hands. Mr. Stanhope says that the reactionary tendency of Austria made it sympathetic to Bischoffswerder, who regarded it as “a bulwark of monarchical and ecclesiastical authority against the approaching tide of liberalism in religion and politics.” But this at least exhibits a Rosicrucian on the less intolerable of two sides when neither made for goodness. Moreover, the case against Wöllner may call for amendment. It is possible for a rationalist to be sincere when he turns to things represented by the religious side of the Rosy Cross. When he said in a Circle of the Order “0 my Brethren, the time is not far off when we may hope that the long-expected Wise Ones will teach us and bring us into communion with High and invisible Beings “—it is scarcely fair to suggest that this was a mere pose. In any case the statement is valuable for my own purpose, as it shews that he was addressing a Lodge of Expectation, a Lodge of Quest, not one of attainment.
4. That of Bischoffswerder was Farferus Phocus Vibron de Hudlohn, while Wöllner was known as Chrysophiron in outer circles and Helioconus at the ruling centre. The King’s sacramental title, having regard to its claim on fabulous inventions of the past was most certainly provided or conferred and not chosen by himself. It indicates the hope of the Order in his respect.
5. Though Findel knew little of the Rosicrucian subject, and in view of his Masonic hypotheses found little reason for knowing, he has drawn facts belonging to the period under review from various quarters and aids in the extension of our knowledge. (1) We hear of Dr. Schluss of Löwenfeld, Sulzbach, Bavaria, called Phocon in the Order, and Dr. Doppelmayer of Hof as “ stars of the first magnitude “ in what is denominated “the new Order“—otherwise in “the latter half of the eighteenth century.” (2) As regards Shrepfer, who was a native of Nürnberg, it is said that he was the first who became a public apostle of the “Golden Rosicrucian Order,” but this was before the Reformation—an event with which Findel seems unacquainted—and before it is possible to speak, even incorrectly, of a new Order. (3) Schrepfer shot himself on October 8, 1774, at the age of thirty-five. 4.) He is said to have confessed previously that he was an emissary of the Jesuits, Findel having a mania in this direction, and almost anything served as evidence. (5) There is a story of Schröder—but I know not which as intended of the two Masonic celebrities who bore the name—and according to this he became acquainted with the Rosicrucians and “ their first three Degrees “ through an unknown alchemist. (6) He is said to have propagated the Order zealously till he lost the address of the person with whom he was directed to communicate. (7) This is on the authority of Lenning, and if the story is not a myth, the Schroder in question can hardly be he whom we shall meet with in the next chapter. (8) The activities of the Brotherhood caused the Order to take toot in Lower Germany—especially Hamburg; it appeared in Silesia circa 1773, at Berlin in 1777, and soon after at Potsdam, which became its headquarters. (9) The members claimed direct derivation from the old establishment, and the inheritance of all its secrets, including the only solution of Masonic symbols. (10) About 1782 it is stated that Wöllner placed himself at the head of the new Order,” using three different names in the three different Degrees this is exceedingly doubtful and Findel has admitted previously that the Degrees were nine. (11) According to certain MSS. in the possession of a Dr. Puhlmann, Wöllner corresponded with members at a distance and promoted greatly the extension of the Order. (12) But the BERLINER MONATSCHRIFT exposed the propaganda and declared the whole thing an invention of the jesuits. (13) In addition to attacks like this, the Order is affirmed to have carried within it the seeds of its own destruction—of what kind does not appear. (14) But when it became evident that the subjection of German Masonic Lodges to its yoke was beyond all expectation, a command went forth in 1787 from Southern Germany, enjoining the suspension of activities. (15) The event coincided with the time when “the credulous were anticipating the last and most important disclosures of that new and general plan which had been promised them.” (16) In the North the Rosicrucians survived till the Prussian crown “changed hands,” dying out in 1797-98. (17) I can see no reason for reliance upon these statements, which indicate a Rosicrucian headship in the South apart from that of the North, after placing Wöllner in charge of the whole Order. (18) As a fact, there seems no evidence for regarding Potsdam as the Rosicrucian headquarters or Wöllner as more than the chief of a single province.
6. Each Degree was called a Chapter and membership was graded on reducing multiples of the number 27. That of the First Degree was 27 x 5 = 135 ; of the Second 27 x 4 = 108 of the Third 27 x 3 = 81 ; of the Fourth 27 x 2 = 54 of the Fifth 27 x 1 = 27. It will be seen that according to so-called theosophical addition the number 9 ruled throughout, e.g., 27 = 2 + 7 = 9, and so forward. According to Eliphas Levi, the number 9 is that of initiation, while in Martinism it is of evil import; but there is neither harmony nor analogy between the numerous competitive systems of occult numerology, except in the sense that they appear to be at once arbitrary and worthless.
7. I speak under certain reserves: there is no end to the follies and confusions of minor Masonic Rituals, as there is no end to the common¬places and ineptitudes of those which rank as major. The Invocation above is, in any case, a mere chaos of Scripture-quotations.
8. Cf. Ps. viii, 1: How excellent is Thy Name in all the earth.”
9. Ibid., 2 : Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast Thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that Thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger."
10. Cf. ibid., 3
11. APOCALYPSE i, 7.
12. Ibid, 8, but read ‘‘which was dead and is alive.’’
13. APOCALYPSE, 17, but read: “will give him a white stone, and in the Stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.”
14. Cf. Ps. xvii, 6.
15. In the imposition of such a Pledge the Order of Fratres Lucis is condemned out of its own mouth, for it is certain that nothing true and of good report would require a Candidate to invoke an eternal judgment on himself. The Masonic Rites and Degrees are content with penal clauses which threaten the destruction or maiming of the body.
16. We have seen that the Order of the Golden Fleece originated in 1429 in connection with an event belonging to that date and to nothing else ; the Knights of St. John were founded in 1124; and the Teutonic Knights in 1191. It follows that none of these institutions “arose“ out of the suppression of the Templars in 1307.
17. It is said alternatively that the path, according to its affirmed significance, can be found only in secrecy, after great trials, and by firm and fearless constancy.
18. For the stone with seven eyes see ZECHARIAH iii, 9, but the prophecy has no reference to wheels. In the Vision of Ezekiel the wheels are four in number.
19. There is no reference to Hiram in Ezekiel, whether the king or the builder and artificer. It is impossible therefore to speculate on the meaning of this statement. Hiram the worker in brass is mentioned only in 1 KINGS, vii, and 2 CHRONICLES iv.
20. I conclude that this is an attempt to allegorise in a Hermetic sense for the purpose of saving the Masonic situation when it communicates familiar Divine Names and, other formulae as great secrets protected by solemn pledges and Words or Names of power.
21. I conclude from this interpretation that German Craft Masonry must have incorporated stone-symbolism into the Third Degree ; but it may be mentioned for the benefit of non-Masons that it is not to be found in any English working, wheresoever practised.
22. The use of the plural notwithstanding it is not unlikely that reference is intended to 1 SAMUEL, xviii, 45—47: “Then said David to the Philistine, i.e. to Goliath. Compare ibid., xxix, 8 “and David said unto Achish,” i.e. the King of Gath, who was a Philistine; but this is without application.
23. Cf. the “testimony“ of the previous prayer.
24. Cf. Ps. iv, 6: “Lift up the light of Thy countenance upon us."
25. There were three, according to Mrs. Cooper-Oakley, namely, (1) Seekers, (2) Endurers, (3) Probationers, all classed under the general denomination of Sufferers. She does not cite her authority. See THEOSOPHICAL REVIEW, Vol. XXIV, 1899.
26. A Grade of Melchisedek connotes Eucharistic procedure and symbolism, but, according to Findel, Hans Heinrich established a Melchisedek Lodge at Hamburg into which non-Christians were admitted, as they were also in Berlin. He promised to unfold the meaning of all Masonic “hieroglyphics.”
27. This is the date of organisation given by Mackey, an American historian of Masonry. He terms the Asiatic Brothers a Rosicrucian schism.
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Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/2/21

-- Liber LII, Manifesto of the O.T.O., by Aleister Crowley
-- Magick in Theory and Practice, by Aleister Crowley
-- Magick Without Tears, by Aleister Crowley
-- Moonchild, by Aleister Crowley
-- The Book of Lies, by Aleister Crowley
-- The Book of the Law, by Aleister Crowley
-- The Diary of a Drug Fiend, by Aleister Crowley
-- The Heart of the Master, by Aleister Crowley
-- The Vindication of Nietzsche, by Aleister Crowley
-- Aleister Crowley and Coprophagy: The Limits of Transgression, by Georgia van Raalte
-- Aleister Crowley as Political Theorist, by Kerry Bolton
-- Ordo Templi Orientis Spermo-Gnosis: Carl Kellner, Theodor Reuss, Aleister Crowley, by P.R. Koenig
-- The OTO & the CIA -- Ordis Templis Intelligentis, by Alex Constantine
-- Ordo Templi Orientis Spermo-Gnosis: Carl Kellner, Theodor Reuss, Aleister Crowley, by P.R. Koenig
-- 13th Degree: Royal Arch of Enoch (or Knights of the Ninth Arch), by Charles T. McClenechan
Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, by Wikipedia
-- Knights Hospitaller, by Wikipedia
-- Nosferatu's Baby (Much Too Much) Too hot To Handle, by Peter-R. Koenig
-- Ordo Templi Orientis Outer Head of the Order?, by Karl Germer
-- The Templar's Reich Milieu: The Slaves Shall Serve, by Peter-Robert Koenig
-- Theodor Reuss: The Programme of Construction and the Guiding Principles of the Gnostic Neo-Christians O.T.O., published in 1920, by P.R. Koenig
-- A Note on Gerard Aumont, by Ordo Templi Orientis International Headquarters
-- The Scented Garden of Abdullah the Satirist of Shiraz, by Ordo Templi Orientis
-- Ananda Metteyya [Charles Henry Allan Bennett]: The First British Emissary of Buddhism [Excerpt], by Elizabeth J. Harris
-- Honour Thy Fathers: A Tribute to the Venerable Kapilavaddho ... And brief History of the Development of Theravāda Buddhism in the UK, by Terry Shine
-- Convert to Compassion: Allan Bennett, from Theravada Buddhism and the British Encounter: Religious, Missionary and Colonial Experience in Nineteenth Century Sri Lanka [Excerpt], by Elizabeth J. Harris
-- Charles Henry Allan Bennett, by Wikipedia
-- Allan Bennett, by AstrumArgenteum.org
--Allan Bennett, by George Knowles
-- Tibet House US: Overview, by Tibet House US
-- Tibet Society: Our Story, by tibetsociety.com
-- Tibetan Friendship Group, by tibet.org
-- Tibet, the ‘great game’ and the CIA, by Richard M. Bennett
-- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Parapsychology, DRAFT 3, by cia.gov
-- Committee for a Free Asia, by Central Intelligence Agency
-- The Dalai Lama, by The Central Intelligence Agency
-- The Indian Communist Party and the Sino-Soviet Dispute, by Office of Current Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency
-- The Sino-Indian Border Dispute, by Central Intelligence Agency
-- Communist Party Weekly, Vol. X, No. 44, New Delhi, November 4, 1962, Approved for Release: 8/27/2000: CIA-RDP78-03061A000100070014-0, by Central Intelligence Agency
-- Nehru on Communism: An Awakening, by cia.gov
-- Scientology Guardian's Office Debbie Sharp Reveals Secret CIA Human Experiments
-- Sex, Drugs and the CIA, by Douglas Valentine
-- The CIA's Secret War in Tibet, by Kenneth Conboy and James Morrison
-- Project MKULtra, by Wikipedia


The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor was an initiatic occult organisation that first became public in late 1894, although according to an official document of the order[1] it began its work in 1870. According to this document, authored by Peter Davidson, the order was established by Max Theon, who when in England was initiated as a Neophyte by "an adept of the serene, ever-existing and ancient Order of the original H. B. of L."[2]

The Order's relation, if any, with the mysterious "Brotherhood of Luxor" that Helena Blavatsky spoke of is not clear.[3]

Theon thus became Grand Master of the Exterior Circle of the Order. However, apart from his initiatory role, he seems to have little to do with the day to day running of the order, or of its teachings. He seems to have left these things to Peter Davidson, who was the Provincial Grand Master of the North (Scotland), and later also the Eastern Section (America).

Peter Davidson, cofounder of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light (HBL), a nineteenth-century British occult order, was born and raised in Forres, Scotland. In 1866 he married Christina Ross. He became a violin maker and in 1871 published a book, The Violin, that surveyed the historical and technical aspects of the instrument.

Image
Violin

-- Davidson, Peter (1842-1929), by Encyclopedia.com


The order's teachings drew heavily from the magico-sexual theories of Paschal Beverly Randolph, who influenced groups such as the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) (later headed by Aleister Crowley) (Greenfield 1997) although it is not clear whether or not Randolph himself was actually a part of the Order.[4]

Prior to the rise of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in 1888 the HBoL was the only order that taught practical occultism in the Western Mystery Tradition. Among its members were a number of occultists, spiritualists, and Theosophists. Initial relations between the Order and the Theosophical Society were cordial, with most members of the order also prominent members of the T.S.[5]

Later there was a falling out, as the Order was opposed to the eastern-based teachings of the later Blavatsky (Davidson considered that Blavatsky had fallen under the influence of "a greatly inferior Order, belonging to the Buddhist [sic] Cult").
Conversely, the conviction in 1883 of the Secretary of the Order, Thomas Henry Burgoyne for fraud, was claimed by the Theosophists to show the immorality of the Order.

Thomas H. Burgoyne [Thomas Dalton]

Unlike the case of Peter Davidson, there are no descendants or local historians anxious to bear witness to the virtues and achievements of Thomas Henry Dalton (1855?-1895? [Date of birth deduced from prison records; death record searched for, without success, by Mr. Deveney.]), better known as T.H. Burgoyne, whose misdemeanors are amply chronicled in the Theosophical literature [B.6]. The “Church of Light,” a still active Californian group which descended from Burgoyne’s teachings, disposes of his life up to 1886 as follows:

T.H. Burgoyne was the son of a physician in Scotland. He roamed the moors during his boyhood and became conversant with the birds and flowers. He was an amateur naturalist. He also was a natural seer. Through his seership he contacted The Brotherhood of Light on the inner plane, and later contacted M. Theon in person. Still later he came to America, where he taught and wrote on occult subjects. [“The Founders of the Church of Light.”]


While this romanticized view cannot entirely be trusted, there is no doubt that Burgoyne was a medium and that he was developed as such by Max Theon. Burgoyne told Gorham Blake that he “visited [Theon’s] house as a student every day for a long time” [B.8.k], and gave this clue to their relationship in The Light of Egypt:

… those who are psychic, may not know WHEN the birth of an event will occur, but they Feel that it will, hence prophecy.

The primal foundation of all thought is right here, for instance, M. Theon may wish a certain result; if I am receptive, the idea may become incarnated in me, and under an extra spiritual stimulus it may grow and mature and become a material fact.


Burgoyne was making enquiries in occult circles by 1881, when he wrote to [The Rev W. A.] Ayton asking to visit him for a discussion of occultism. The clergyman was shocked when he met this “Dalton,” who (Ayton says) boasted of doing Black Magic [B.6.f], and forthwith sent him packing [B.6.k]. Later Ayton would be appalled to learn that it was this same young man with whom, as “Burgoyne,” he had been corresponding on H.B. of L. business. Having decided that the mysterious Grand Master “Theon” was really Hurrychund Chintamon, Ayton deduced that the young Scotsman must have learned his black magic from this Indian adventurer.

Image

This lovely picture raises as many questions as it answers. Adam McLean tells me in a private e-mail (3-18-08) that the book Philalethes Illustratus is about alchemy. He adds:

The ouroboros is a well know symbol in alchemy, as is the interwoven triangles. These were often brought together in alchemical emblems. There was a particular focus on this image in the early 18th century, through its use as an illustration in the influential 'Golden Chain of Homer', written or edited by Anton Josef Kirchweger, first issued at Frankfurt and Leipzig in four German editions in 1723, 1728, 1738 and 1757. A Latin version was issued at Frankfurt in 1762, and further German editions followed. In the late eighteenth century Sigismund Bacstrom made a rather poor translation of the work into English. Blavatsky was very interested in this work and apparently wanted to write a commentary on it. Part of this was published in the Theosophical Society Journal 'Lucifer' in 1891. The Rev W. A. Ayton, the alchemical enthusiast, and contact of Blavatsky, used a variation of this image as a letterhead on his papers.


Image

This is a copy of the letterhead of Rev W. A. Ayton which Adam McLean sent me. Ayton is mentioned in Blavatsky's diary in 1878 and 1879 (BCW I, p 410, 421 and II, p. 42). Note that where Blavatsky's seal has astrological connotations with for instance the sign of the Leo in the right-bottom corner, Ayton has an actual lion in exactly the same spot as well as a sun and moon. Adam McLean notes (3-18-08) that Ayton was a member of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor and his seal is similar to theirs.

It's clear at this point that the Theosophical Seal has a western esoteric background. Seen through the Eliphas Levi seal the cross was turned into an Egyptian cross, which makes sense as an Egyptian source for the early theosophical adepts was hinted at in their name: the Brotherhood of Luxor (whether a connection with the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor should be assumed is an open question of theosophical history).

The circle on top with the swastika inside is present in Blavatsky’s seal. I have not been able to find any precursors to that. In this respect Blavatsky’s seal was clearly the example for the Theosophical Seal.

-- Early history of the Theosophical Seal, by Katinka Hesselink 2006, 2008


Hurrychund Chintamon had played an important part in the early Theosophical Society and in the move of Blavatsky and Olcott from New York to India. He had been their chief Indian correspondent during 1877-1878, when he was President of the Bombay Arya Samaj (a Vedic revival movement with which the early Theosophical Society was allied). After Blavatsky and Olcott arrived in Bombay in 1879 and met Chintamon in person, they discovered that he was a scoundrel and an embezzler, and expelled him from the Society. Chintamon came to England in 1879 or 1880, and stayed until 1883, when he returned to make further trouble for the Theosophists in India. Perhaps the fact that Chintamon was in England when Burgoyne first met Theon led some to conclude that they were the same person. But this cannot be the whole story. Ayton claimed very clearly and repeatedly that he had proof of Burgoyne’s being in company with Chintamon. In a letter in the private collection, Ayton writes:

I have since discovered that Hurrychund Chintaman the notorious Black Magician was in company with Dalton at Bradford. By means of a Photograph I have traced him to Glasgow & even to Banchory, under the alias of Darushah Chichgur. Friends in London saw him there just before his return to India. This time coincides with that when I noticed a great change in the management. Chintaman had supplied the Oriental knowledge as he was a Sanskrit scholar & knew much. Theon was Chintaman! Friends have lately seen him in India where he is still at his tricks.


Before her disillusion[ment] with Chintamon, Blavatsky had touted him to the London Theosophists as a “great adept.” After the break that followed on her meeting with him in person, Chintamon allied himself to the rising Western opposition to esoteric Buddhism exemplified by Stainton Moses, C.C. Massey, William Oxley, Emma Hardinge Britten, Thomas Lake Harris, and others. From this formidable group, Burgoyne first contracted the hostility towards Blavatsky’s enterprise that would mark all his writings.

Chintamon also appears in connection with “H.B. Corinni,” the otherwise unidentifiable (and variously spelled) “Private Secretary” of Theon, who was thought by the police to be just another of Burgoyne’s aliases. Ayton, however, believed Corinni to be Chintamon’s son, who he said offered Blavatsky’s old letters for sale to the President of the London Branch of the Theosophical Society, Charles Carleton Massey. [Ayton to unnamed American neophyte, 11 June 1886, based on what he had been told by Massey.] The flaw in Ayton’s thesis is of course the existence of a real and independent Max Theon, of whom we, unlike Ayton, have documentary evidence. Nonetheless, after more than a hundred years, the whole tangle of misidentifications involving Chintamon, “Christamon,” and “Metamon” [see B.9.c-3] with the Order cannot be entirely resolved.

By October 1882, Burgoyne was in Leeds, working in the menial trade of a grocer. [This is the trade ascribed to him in the court records. The records of the Leeds Constabulary call him “medium and astrologer.”] Here he tried to bring off an advertising fraud [B.6.d] so timid as to cast serious doubt on his abilities as a black magician! As a consequence, he spent the first seven months of 1883 in jail. He had probably met Theon before his incarceration, and, as we have seen, worked for a time in daily sessions as Theon’s medium. On his release he struck up or resumed relations with Peter Davidson, and became the Private Secretary to the Council of the H.B. of L. when it went public the following year.

Burgoyne contributed many letters and articles to The Occult Magazine, usually writing under the pseudonym “Zanoni.” He also contributed to Thomas Johnson’s Platonist [see B.7.c], showing considerably more literacy than in the letter that so amused the Theosophists [B.7.b]. But he never claimed to be an original writer. In the introduction to the “Mysteries of Eros” [A.3.b] he states his role as that of amanuensis and compiler. The former term reveals what the H.B. of L. regarded as the true source of its teachings – the initiates of the Interior Circle of the Order. The goal of the magical practice taught by the H.B. of L. was the development of the potentialities of the individual so that he or she could communicate directly with the Interior Circle and with the other entities, disembodied and never embodied, that the H.B. of L. believed to populate the universes. If Gorham Blake is to be credited [B.6.k], Davidson and Burgoyne “confessed” to him that Burgoyne was an “inspirational medium” and that the teachings of the Order came through his mediumship. Stripped of the bias inherent in the terms “medium,” and “confess,” there is no reason to doubt the statement of Burgoyne’s role. In the Order’s own terminology, however, his connection with the spiritual hierarchies of the universe was through “Blending” – the taking over of the conscious subject’s mind by the Initiates of the Interior Circle and the Potencies, Powers, and Intelligences of the celestial hierarchies – and through the “Sacred Sleep of Sialam” (see Section 15, below).

Shortly after arriving in Georgia, for all the Theosophists’ efforts to intercept him [B.6.1], Burgoyne parted with Davidson. From then on, the two communicated mainly through their mutual disciples, squabbling over fees for reading the neophytes’ horoscopes and over Burgoyne’s distribution of the Order’s manuscripts, with each man essentially running a separate organization. This split may be reflected in the French version of “Laws of Magic Mirrors” [A.3.a], which was prepared in 1888 and which bears the reference “Peter Davidson, Provincial Grand Mater of the Eastern Section.”

Burgoyne made his way from Georgia first to Kansas, then to Denver, and finally to Monterey, California, staying with H.B. of L. members as he went. According to the Church of Light, Burgoyne now met Normal Astley, a professional surveyor and retired Captain in the British Army. After 1887 Astley and a small group of students engaged Burgoyne to write the basic H.B. of L. teachings as a series of lessons, giving him hospitality and a small stipend. Astley is actually said to have visited England to meet Theon – something which is hardly credible in the light of what is known of Theon’s methods. We do know, however, that Burgoyne advertised widely and took subscriptions for the lessons, and that they were published in book form in 1889 as The Light of Egypt; or The Science of the Soul and the Stars, attributed to Burgoyne’s H.B. of L. sobriquet “Zanoni.”

With The Light of Egypt, the secrecy of the H.B. of L.’s documents was largely broken, and they were revealed – to those who could tell – to be fairly unoriginal compilations from earlier occultists, presented with a strongly anti-Theosophical tone. Only the practical teachings were omitted. The book was translated into French by Rene Philipon, a friend of Rene Guenon’s, and into Russian and Spanish, and a paraphrase of it was published in German. We present [B.8] the most important reactions to this work, which has been reprinted frequently up to the present day.


After the political upheavals in Tibet in the 1950s, Pallis became active in the affairs of the Tibetan [Tibet] Society, the first Western support group created for the Tibetan people. Pallis also was able to house members of the Tibetan diaspora in his London flat. Pallis also formed a relationship with the young Chögyam Trungpa, who had just arrived in England. Trungpa asked Pallis to write the foreword to Trungpa’s first, autobiographical book, Born in Tibet. In his acknowledgment, Trungpa offers Pallis his “grateful thanks” for the “great help” that Pallis provided in bringing the book to completion. He goes on to say that “Mr. Pallis when consenting to write the foreword, devoted many weeks to the work of finally putting the book in order”.

Pallis studied music under Arnold Dolmetsch, the distinguished reviver of early English music, composer, and performer, and was considered “one of Dolmetsch's most devoted protégés”. Pallis soon discovered a love of early music—in particular chamber music of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries—and for the viola da gamba. Even while climbing in the region of the Satlej-Ganges watershed, he and his musically-minded friends did not fail to bring their instruments.


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Viola da gamba

Pallis taught viol at the Royal Academy of Music, and reconstituted The English Consort of Viols, an ensemble he had first formed in the 1930s. It was one of the first professional performing groups dedicated to the preservation of early English music. They released three records and made several concert tours in England and two tours to the United States.

According to the New York Times review, their Town Hall concert of April 1962 “was a solid musical delight”, the players having possessed “a rhythmic fluidity that endowed the music with elegance and dignity”. Pallis also published several compositions, primarily for the viol, and wrote on the viol’s history and its place in early English music.

The Royal Academy of Music, in recognition of a lifetime of contribution to the field of early music, awarded Pallis an Honorary Fellowship. At age eighty-nine his Nocturne de l’Ephemere was performed at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London; his niece writes that “he was able to go on stage to accept the applause which he did with his customary modesty.” When he died he left unfinished an opera based on the life of Milarepa...

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Pallis described "tradition" as being the leitmotif of his writing. He wrote from the perspective of what has come to be called the traditionalist or perennialist school of comparative religion founded by René Guénon, Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, and Frithjof Schuon, each of whom he knew personally.

Frithjof Schuon (/ˈʃuːɒn/; German: [ˈfʀiːtˌjoːf ˈʃuː.ɔn]) (18 June, 1907 – 5 May, 1998), also known as ʿĪsā Nūr ad-Dīn ʾAḥmad (عيسیٰ نور الـدّين أحمد),[1] was an author of German ancestry born in Basel, Switzerland. He was a spiritual master, philosopher, and metaphysician inspired by the Hindu philosophy of Advaita Vedanta and Sufism and the author of numerous books on religion and spirituality. He was also a poet and a painter...

Schuon's father was a concert violinist and the household was one in which not only music but literary and spiritual culture were present.

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Violin

-- Frithjof Schuon, by Wikipedia


As a traditionalist, Pallis assumed the "transcendent unity of religions" (the title of Schuon's landmark 1948 book) and it was in part this understanding that gave Pallis insight into the innermost nature of the spiritual tradition of Tibet, his chosen love. He was a frequent contributor to the journal Studies in Comparative Religion (along with Schuon, Guénon, and Coomaraswamy), writings on both the topics of Tibetan culture and religious practice as well as the Perennialist philosophy.


-- Marco Pallis, by Wikipedia


Burgoyne’s last years were spent in unwonted comfort if, as the Church of Light says, Dr. Henry and Belle M. Wagner – who had been members of the H.B. of L. since 1885 – gave $100,000 to found an organization for the propagation of the Light of Egypt teachings. Out of this grew the Astro-Philosophical Publishing Company of Denver, and the Church of Light itself, reformed in 1932 by Elbert Benjamine (=C.C. Zain, 1882-1951). Beside Burgoyne’s other books The Language of the Stars and Celestial Dynamics, the new company issued in 1900 a second volume of The Light of Egypt. This differs markedly from the first volume, for it is ascribed to Burgoyne’s spirit, speaking through a medium who was his “spiritual successor,” Mrs. Wagner. As the spirit said, with characteristically poor grammar: “Dictated by the author from the subjective plane of life (to which he ascended several years ago) through the law of mental transfer, well known to all Occultists, he is enabled again to speak with those who are still upon the objective plane of life.”

Max Theon wrote to the Wagners in 1909 (the year after his wife’s death), telling them to close their branch of the H.B. of L. [Information given to Mr. Deveney by Henry O. Wagner.] By that time, the Order had virtually ceased to exist as such, while the Wagners continued on their own, channeling doctrinal and fictional works. Their son, Henry O. Wagner, told Mr. Deveney that he, in turn, received books from his parents by the “blending” process, to be described below. In 1963 he issued an enlarged edition of The Light of Egypt, which included several further items from his parents’ records. Some of these are known to have circulated separately to neophytes during the heyday of the H.B. of L. (see Section 10, below), while others were circulated by Burgoyne individually on a subscription basis to his own private students (all of whom were in theory members of the H.B. of L.) from 1887 until his death. These include a large body of astrological materials and also treatises on “Pentralia,” “Soul Knowledge (Atma Bodha)” and other topics. They are perfectly consistent with the H.B. of L. teachings, but appear to have been Burgoyne’s individual production, done after his separation from Peter Davidson, and they are not reproduced here.

-- The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor: Initiatic and Historical Documents of an Order of Practical Occultism, by Joscelyn Godwin


See also

• Hermetic Brotherhood of Light

References

1. Godwin, Chanel, Deveney, 1995, pages 92-97
2. Godwin, Chanel, Deveney, 1995, page 95
3. Godwin, Chanel, Deveney, 1995, page 6
4. Godwin, Chanel, Deveney, 1995, page 44
5. Godwin, Chanel, Deveney, 1995, page 52

Sources

• Godwin, Joscelyn; Chanel, Christian; Deveney, John Patrick (1995), The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor: Initiatic and Historical Documents of an Order of Practical Occultism, Samuel Weiser
• T. Allen Greenfield. The Story of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light. Looking Glass, 1997.

External links

• The Hermetic Brotherhood Of Luxor at kheper.net

************************************

Lodges of Magic
LUCIFER
Vol. III., No. 14
London
October 15, 1888.

When fiction rises pleasing to the eye,
Men will believe, because they love the lie;
But Truth herself, if clouded with a frown,
Must have some solemn proofs to pass her down."

-- Churchill


One of the most esteemed of our friends in occult research, propounds the question of the formation of “working Lodges” of the Theosophical Society, for the development of adeptship. If the practical impossibility of forcing this process has been shown once, in the course of the theosophical movement, it has scores of times. It is hard to check one’s natural impatience to tear aside the veil of the Temple. To gain the divine knowledge, like the prize in a classical tripos, by a system of coaching and cramming, is the ideal of the average beginner in occult study. The refusal of the originators of the Theosophical Society to encourage such false hopes, has led to the formation of bogus Brotherhoods of Luxor (and Armley Jail?) as speculations on human credulity. How enticing the bait for gudgeons in the following specimen prospectus, which a few years ago caught some of our most earnest friends and Theosophists.

Students of the Occult Science, searchers after truth, and Theosophists who may have been disappointed in their expectations of Sublime Wisdom being freely dispensed by Hindu Mahatmas, are cordially invited to send in their names to . . . ., when, if found suitable, they can be admitted, after a short probationary term, as Members of an Occult Brotherhood, who do not boast of their knowledge or attainments, but teach freely” (at £1 to £5 per letter?), “and without reserve (the nastiest portions of P. B. Randolph’s “Eulis”), “all they find worthy to receive” (read: teachings on a commercial basis; the cash going to the teachers, and the extracts from Randolph and other “ ove-philter” sellers to the pupils!)* [Documents on view at Lucifer Office, viz., Secret MSS. written in the handwriting of----- (name suppressed for past considerations), “Provincial Grand Master of the Northern Section," One of these documents bears the heading, “A brief Key to the Eulian Mysteries,” i.e. Tantric black magic on a phallic basis. No; the members of this Occult Brotherhood “do not boast of their knowledge.” Very sensible on their part: least said soonest mended.]


If rumour be true, some of the English rural districts, especially Yorkshire, are overrun with fraudulent astrologers and fortune-tellers, who pretend to be Theosophists, the better to swindle a higher class of credulous patrons than their legitimate prey, the servant-maid and callow youth. If the “lodges of magic,” suggested in the following letter to the Editors of this Magazine, were founded, without having taken the greatest precautions to admit only the best candidates to membership, we should see these vile exploitations of sacred names and things increase an hundredfold. And in this connection, and before giving place to our friend’s letter, the senior Editor of Lucifer begs to inform her friends that she has never had the remotest connection with the so-called “H(ermetic) B(rotherhood) of L(uxor),” and that all representations to the contrary are false and dishonest. There is a secret body— whose diploma, or Certificate of Membership, is held by Colonel Olcott alone among modern men of white blood— to which that name was given by the author of “Isis Unveiled” for convenience of designation,* [In "Isis Unveiled," vol. ii. p. 308. It may be added that the "Brotherhood of Luxor" mentioned by Kenneth Mackenzie (vide his Royal Masonic Cyclopaedia) as having its seat in America, had, after all, nothing to do with the Brotherhood mentioned by, and known to us, as was ascertained after the publication of “Isis" from a letter written by this late Masonic author to a friend in New York. The Brotherhood Mackenzie knew of was simply a Masonic Society on a rather more secret basis, and, as he stated in the letter, he had heard of, but knew nothing of our Brotherhood, which, having had a branch at Luxor (Egypt), was thus purposely referred to by us under this name alone. This led some schemers to infer that there was a regular Lodge of Adepts of that name, and to assure some credulous friends and Theosophists that the "H. B. of L.” was either identical or a branch of the same, supposed to be near Lahore!!— which was the most flagrant untruth.] but which is known among Initiates by quite another one, just as the personage known to the public under the pseudonym of “Koot Hoomi,” is called by a totally different name among his acquaintance. What the real name of that society is, it would puzzle the “Eulian” phallicists of the “H. B. of L.” to tell. The real names of Master Adepts and Occult Schools are never, under any circumstances, revealed to the profane; and the names of the personages who have been talked about in connection with modern Theosophy, are in the possession only of the two chief founders of the Theosophical Society. And now, having said so much by way of preface, let us pass on to our correspondent’s letter. He writes:

A friend of mine, a natural mystic, had intended to form, with others, a Branch T. S. in his town. Surprised at his delay, I wrote to ask the reason. His reply was that he had heard that the T.S. only met and talked, and did nothing practical. I always did think the T.S. ought to have Lodges in which something practical should be done. Cagliostro understood well this craving of humans for something before their eyes, when he instituted the Egyptian Rite, and put it in practice in various Freemason lodges. There are many readers of Lucifer in ----- shire. Perhaps in it there might be a suggestion for students to form such lodges for themselves, and to try, by their united wills, to develop certain powers in one of the number, and then through the whole of them in succession. I feel sure numbers would enter such lodges, and create a great interest for Theosophy.” “A.”


In the above note of our venerable and learned friend is the echo of the voices of ninety-nine hundredths of the members of the Theosophical Society: one-hundredth only have the correct idea of the function and scope of our Branches. The glaring mistake generally made is in the conception of adeptship and the path thereunto. Of all thinkable undertakings that of trying for adeptship is the most difficult. Instead of being obtainable within a few years or one lifetime, it exacts the unremittent struggles of a series of lives, save in cases so rare as to be hardly worth regarding as exceptions to the general rule. The records certainly show that a number of the most revered Indian adepts became so despite their births in the lowest, and seemingly most unlikely, castes. Yet it is well understood that they had been progressing in the upward direction throughout many previous incarnations, and, when they took birth for the last time, there was left but the merest trifle of spiritual evolution to be accomplished, before they became great living adepts. Of course, no one can say that one or all of the possible members of our friend A.’s ideal Cagliostrian lodge might not also be ready for adeptship, but the chance is not good enough to speculate upon: Western civilization seems to develop fighters rather than philosophers, military butchers rather than Buddhas. The plan “A.” proposes would be far more likely to end in mediumship than adeptship. Two to one there would not be a member of the lodge who was chaste from boyhood and altogether untainted by the use of intoxicants. This is to say nothing of the candidates’ freedom from the polluting effects of the evil influences of the average social environment. Among the indispensable pre-requisites for psychic development, noted in the mystical Manuals of all Eastern religious systems, are a pure place, pure diet, pure companionship, and a pure mind. Could “A.” guarantee these? It is certainly desirable that there should be some school of instruction for members of our Society; and had the purely exoteric work and duties of the Founders been less absorbing, probably one such would have been established long ago. Yet not for practical instruction, on the plan of Cagliostro, which, by-the-bye, brought direful suffering upon his head, and has left no marked traces behind to encourage a repetition in our days. “When the pupil is ready, the teacher will be found waiting,” says an Eastern maxim. The Masters do not have to hunt up recruits in special ----- shire lodges, nor drill them through mystical non-commissioned officers: time and space are no barriers between them and the aspirant; where thought can pass they can come. Why did an old and learned Kabalist like “A.” forget this fact? And let him also remember that the potential adept may exist in the Whitechapels and Five Points of Europe and America, as well as in the cleaner and more “cultured” quarters; that some poor ragged wretch, begging a crust, may be “whiter-souled” and more attractive to the adept than the average bishop in his robe, or a cultured citizen in his costly dress. For the extension of the theosophical movement, a useful channel for the irrigation of the dry fields of contemporary thought with the water of life, Branches are needed everywhere; not mere groups of passive sympathisers, such as the slumbering army of church-goers, whose eyes are shut while the “devil” sweeps the field; no, not such. Active, wide-awake, earnest, unselfish Branches are needed, whose members shall not be constantly unmasking their selfishness by asking “What will it profit us to join the Theosophical Society, and how much will it harm us?” but be putting to themselves the question “Can we not do substantial good to mankind by working in this good cause with all our hearts, our minds, and our strength?” If “A.” would only bring his ----- shire friends, who pretend to occult leanings, to view the question from this side, he would be doing them a real kindness. The Society can get on without them, but they cannot afford to let it do so.

Is it profitable, moreover, to discuss the question of a Lodge receiving even theoretical instruction, until we can be sure that all the members will accept the teachings as coming from the alleged source? Occult truth cannot be absorbed by a mind that is filled with preconception, prejudice, or suspicion. It is something to be perceived by the intuition rather than by the reason; being by nature spiritual, not material. Some are so constituted as to be incapable of acquiring knowledge by the exercise of the spiritual faculty; e.g. the great majority of physicists. Such are slow, if not wholly incapable of grasping the ultimate truths behind the phenomena of existence. There are many such in the Society; and the body of the discontented are recruited from their ranks. Such persons readily persuade themselves that later teachings, received from exactly the same source as earlier ones, are either false or have been tampered with by chelas, or even third parties. Suspicion and inharmony are the natural result, the psychic atmosphere, so to say, is thrown into confusion, and the reaction, even upon the stauncher students, is very harmful. Sometimes vanity blinds what was at first strong intuition, the mind is effectually closed against the admission of new truth, and the aspiring student is thrown back to the point where he began. Having jumped at some particular conclusion of his own without full study of the subject, and before the teaching had been fully expounded, his tendency, when proved wrong, is to listen only to the voice of his self-adulation, and cling to his views, whether right or wrong. The Lord Buddha particularly warned his hearers against forming beliefs upon tradition or authority, and before having thoroughly inquired into the subject.

An instance. We have been asked by a correspondent why he should not “be free to suspect some of the so-called ‘precipitated’ letters as being forgeries,” giving as his reason for it that while some of them bear the stamp of (to him) undeniable genuineness, others seem from their contents and style, to be imitations. This is equivalent to saying that he has such an unerring spiritual insight as to be able to detect the false from the true, though he has never met a Master, nor been given any key by which to test his alleged communications. The inevitable consequence of applying his untrained judgment in such cases, would be to make him as likely as not to declare false what was genuine, and genuine what was false. Thus what criterion has any one to decide between one “precipitated” letter, or another such letter? Who except their authors, or those whom they employ as their amanuenses (the chelas and disciples), can tell? For it is hardly one out of a hundred “occult” letters that is ever written by the hand of the Master, in whose name and on whose behalf they are sent, as the Masters have neither need nor leisure to write them; and that when a Master says, “I wrote that letter,” it means only that every word in it was dictated by him and impressed under his direct supervision. Generally they make their chela, whether near or far away, write (or precipitate) them, by impressing upon his mind the ideas they wish expressed, and if necessary aiding him in the picture-printing process of precipitation. It depends entirely upon the chela's state of development, how accurately the ideas may be transmitted and the writing-model imitated. Thus the non-adept recipient is left in the dilemma of uncertainty, whether, if one letter is false, all may not be; for, as far as intrinsic evidence goes, all come from the same source, and all are brought by the same mysterious means. But there is another, and a far worse condition implied. For all that the recipient of “occult” letters can possibly know, and on the simple grounds of probability and common honesty, the unseen correspondent who would tolerate one single fraudulent line in his name, would wink at an unlimited repetition of the deception. And this leads directly to the following. All the so-called occult letters being supported by identical proofs, they have all to stand or fall together. If one is to be doubted, then all have, and the series of letters in the “Occult World,” “Esoteric Buddhism,” etc., etc., may be, and there is no reason why they should not be in such a case—frauds, clever impostures,” and “forgeries,” such as the ingenuous though stupid agent of the “S .P .R” has made them out to be, in order to raise in the public estimation the “scientific” acumen and standard of his “Principals.”

Hence, not a step in advance would be made by a group of students given over to such an unimpressible state of mind, and without any guide from the occult side to open their eyes to the esoteric pitfalls. And where are such guides, so far, in our Society? “They be blind leaders of the blind,” both falling into the ditch of vanity and self-sufficiency. The whole difficulty springs from the common tendency to draw conclusions from insufficient premises, and play the oracle before ridding oneself of that most stupefying of all psychic anaesthetics— IGNORANCE.
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