Theosophical Encyclopedia

Ransom, Josephine Maria (née Davies) (1879-1960)

Theosophical historian who served as General Secretary of three different sections of the Theosophi¬cal Society. Ransom was born on March 22, 1879, in Armidale, Australia. She joined the Theosophical Society (Adyar) on November 23, 1897. Ransom was General Secretary of the Australian Section, 1924-5; South African Section, 1926-7; and English Section 1933-6. She worked with Annie BESANT in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and founded the British and India Society. Ransom was nominated Vice-President of the Adyar Theosophical Society in 1960, but did not formally take office as she was badly injured in a vehicle accident in London and died on December 2, 1960. 



Ransom's publications include: Schools of  Tomorrow; Indian Tales of Love and Beauty; Irish Tales; Madame Blavatsky as Occultist; Studies in the Secret Doctrine; The Seventy-Fifth Anniversary Book of the Theosophical Society; and notably A Short History of the Theosophical Society.

Arnold, Sir Edwin (1832-1904)

English poet, scholar, and journalist, as well as a friend of Henry S. Olcott, co-founder of the TS. Arnold was born at Gravesend in Kent on June 10, 1832, and educated at King's College, London, and University College, Oxford. After receiving his degree from Oxford, he was appointed Principal of Deccan College, Poona, in 1856. There he quickly mastered Sanskrit, Arabic, Turkish and Persian, thanks partly to a phenomenal memory. He returned to England in 1861, on the staff of the Daily Telegraph, of which he became editor.

Arnold became well-known to his contemporaries after the publication of his epic poem on the life and teachings of the Buddha, entitled The Light of Asia (1879). His reputation was further enhanced by his translation of the Bhagavad-Gita, entitled The Song Celestial (1885). Both works have been continually in print.

Read more: Arnold, Sir Edwin (1832-1904)

Van Manen, Johan – Dutch Orientalist (1877-1943)

Johan van Manen was born on April 16, 1877, in the city of Nijmegen, the Netherlands, into a well-to-do Dutch family. As a youth he was not exactly a symbol of virtue. On the contrary, he gave his parents and teachers a lot of trouble. Van Manen was one of the innovative young artists and thinkers, and it is said that he remained a Bohemian for the rest of his life. However, Theosophy, its principles and tenets, took his fancy, and he started a thorough study of its teachings. At the same time, his remarkable linguistic talents helped him to explore the folklore of ancient peoples.

Not only was he fluent in several European languages, but without pretending to be a Sanskritist, he knew much about that ancient language, as well as about Tamil and other languages of south India. It is not surprising that ultimately van Manen was drawn to India. Between 1896 and 1908 he collaborated with Henry Olcott and Annie Besant by propagating Theosophy in the Netherlands, the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) and Europe. In 1909 he set off for the international headquarters in Adyar to become Charles Webster Leadbeater’s private secretary, a function he fulfilled until 1916. During this period he witnessed the discovery and initial education of the young Krishnamurti. From 1910 until 1916 he was assistant general manager of the Western branch of the Adyar Library.

Read more: Van Manen, Johan – Dutch Orientalist (1877-1943)

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