Theosophical Encyclopedia

P. C. Mukherji and Theosophical Archaeology – Part two

Andrew Huxley – England

TE JS 2 319 Andrew Huxley 010

The author

Introduction by Professor James Santucci

“P. C. Mukherji and Theosophical Archaeology” provides a fascinating insight in the colonialist view of archeology in India and the Theosophical perspective. Furthermore, the value of The Theosophist from its inception in 1879 to the end of the nineteenth century cannot be overstated. Aside from archival material, many of the activities and interests of its leaders are chronicled in the pages of both the journal and its Supplements, the latter especially serving as a veritable goldmine for historians. This was evident in Professor Baier’s article, “Mesmeric Yoga and the Development of Meditation within the Theosophical Society” (Vol. XVI, No. 3-4), as also in the present article. Keeping in mind the third reason for establishing The Theosophist (“the necessity for an organ through which the native scholars of the East could communicate their learning to the Western world, and, especially, through which the sublimity of Aryan, Buddhistic, Parsi, and other religions might be expounded by their own priests and pandits, the only competent interpreters”), it is no wonder that the policy of the Theosophists, especially its leaders Blavatsky and Olcott, was what Dr. Huxley describes as “Indology for the Indians,” a view that was in direct opposition to the colonialist policy to Belittle and conquer. How the Babus and pandits fared vis-à-vis government agencies such as the Archaeological Survey of India, is illustrated in the example of Rājendralāla Mitra and Purna Chundar Mukherji. Of the two, Mukherji takes on an added importance for those interested in Blavatsky’s erudition concerning Indian archaeology and history, for instance the controversy over the Buddha’s dates. Her response is pertinent today, especially with the varying opinions appearing in Heinz Bechert’s collection entitled When did the Buddha Live?: The Controversy on the Dating of the Historical Buddha (1996). 

The author, Dr. Andrew Huxley, was Emeritus Professor in the School of Law at the School of Oriental and African Studies (London) from his retirement in 2013 until his death on November 29, 2014.  From 1984 to 2012 Dr. Huxley was Lecturer of Southeast Asian law at SOAS and an authority on Burmese Buddhist Law and on the pre-colonial legal history of Southeast Asia.  In 2012, was appointed Professor of Southeast Asian law in 2012 and in 2013 delivered his inaugural lecture, “T. W. Rhys Davids and the Forged Relics of the Buddha,” which can be viewed on YouTube.

*****

Read more: P. C. Mukherji and Theosophical Archaeology – Part two

Historical Photos from the Adyar Archives JOHN COATS (1906 – 1979)

Presidency of the Society

In 1973, International President Nilakanta Sri Ram passed away in April. Vice President James S. Perkins took over temporarily and supervised the electoral process, in which many fine candidates had been nominated: Rukmini Devi Arundale, Joy Mills, Radha Burnier, James S. Perkins, and others.

Mr. Coats traveled extensively in Central and South America that year. He attended the Convention and Summer School of the Argentine Section at the resort town of Embalse de Rio Tercero near Cordoba, along with about 300 people from eight nations, including Theosophical Society in America President Joy Mills. Council meetings of the Inter-American Theosophical Federation held in conjunction with the convention, improved cooperation of members in the Americas in preparation for the 1975 Centenary Congress held in New York City. In June, he began touring the United States, lecturing at numerous branches and for a week at each of the four Theosophical camps. He led sessions at the American convention on the theme, "Preparing for Tomorrow."

Read more: Historical Photos from the Adyar Archives JOHN COATS (1906 – 1979)

P. C. Mukherji and Theosophical Archaeology – Part one

Andrew Huxley – England

TE 17 Andrew Huxley

The author

Introduction by Professor James Santucci

“P. C. Mukherji and Theosophical Archaeology” provides a fascinating insight in the colonialist view of archeology in India and the Theosophical perspective. Furthermore, the value of The Theosophist from its inception in 1879 to the end of the nineteenth century cannot be overstated. Aside from archival material, many of the activities and interests of its leaders are chronicled in the pages of both the journal and its Supplements, the latter especially serving as a veritable goldmine for historians. This was evident in Professor Baier’s article, “Mesmeric Yoga and the Development of Meditation within the Theosophical Society” (Vol. XVI, No. 3-4), as also in the present article. Keeping in mind the third reason for establishing The Theosophist (“the necessity for an organ through which the native scholars of the East could communicate their learning to the Western world, and, especially, through which the sublimity of Aryan, Buddhistic, Parsi, and other religions might be expounded by their own priests and pandits, the only competent interpreters”), it is no wonder that the policy of the Theosophists, especially its leaders Blavatsky and Olcott, was what Dr. Huxley describes as “Indology for the Indians,” a view that was in direct opposition to the colonialist policy to Belittle and conquer. How the Babus and pandits fared vis-à-vis government agencies such as the Archaeological Survey of India, is illustrated in the example of Rājendralāla Mitra and Purna Chundar Mukherji. Of the two, Mukherji takes on an added importance for those interested in Blavatsky’s erudition concerning Indian archaeology and history, for instance the controversy over the Buddha’s dates. Her response is pertinent today, especially with the varying opinions appearing in Heinz Bechert’s collection entitled When did the Buddha Live?: The Controversy on the Dating of the Historical Buddha (1996). 

The author, Dr. Andrew Huxley, was Emeritus Professor in the School of Law at the School of Oriental and African Studies (London) from his retirement in 2013 until his death on November 29, 2014.  From 1984 to 2012 Dr. Huxley was Lecturer of Southeast Asian law at SOAS and an authority on Burmese Buddhist Law and on the pre-colonial legal history of Southeast Asia.  In 2012, was appointed Professor of Southeast Asian law in 2012 and in 2013 delivered his inaugural lecture, “T. W. Rhys Davids and the Forged Relics of the Buddha,” which can be viewed on YouTube.

*****

Read more: P. C. Mukherji and Theosophical Archaeology – Part one

Historical photos from the Adyar Archives

From Jaishree Kannan, Officer in Charge of the Adyar Archives, Theosophy Forward received the following historical photos, which to the best of our knowledge have rarely, or never been published before.

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Jaishree at work

Read more: Historical photos from the Adyar Archives

Fatalism

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The subject is bound up in the concept of KARMA. According to Theosophical theory, what one does at any particular time causes one’s future (environment, social situations, etc.), but does not pre-determine how one will respond to that future. While people very familiar with a particular person might be able to predict how he or she would react in any situation, that does not imply that the person is fated to act in that manner. It is a common observation that people often behave in unpredictable ways. In other words, karma may draw us to certain circumstances, but we are able to respond to them with free will, whether we actually do so or not. Some Hindus do interpret karma in a fatalistic manner, feeling that they ought not act to prevent something since it is that person’s karma to be in the situation.

Read more: Fatalism

Absolute Consciousness

TE 4 cosmos

The state of consciousness, which is beyond limitation, and hence is beyond the cognizer, cognition and cognized. It is thus a state of unconsciousness. 

Read more: Absolute Consciousness

Blood

From immemorial times, blood has had great significance, ritually and esoterically. It has been used to imitate rain in rain-making ceremonies; smeared on the wood-work of houses to appease the tree spirits; used by magicians for evil purposes and so on. Religious fundamentalists such as Jehovah’s Witnesses forbid the “eating of blood” and its use for ritualistic purposes is frequently described in the Christian Holy Bible.

Read more: Blood

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