Theosophical Encyclopedia

Historical Photos from the Surendra Narayan Archives (Adyar Archives) – Radha Burnier

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Radha Burnier (née Radha Sri Ram) (November 15, 1923 – October 31, 2013) was the seventh international president of the Theosophical Society (Adyar). Having taken office in 1980, she was the longest standing president of the organization (33 years).

Early life and education

Radha S. Burnier, respectfully called "Radhaji", was born in Adyar, Chennai, India, on the grounds of the Theosophical Society (Adyar) on November 15 , 1923, into a Theosophical family. She was the daughter of Mr. Nilakanta Sri Ram, who was the fifth international president of the organization, and Srimati Bhagirathi, who was also an active member of the Society. Although she was born a Brahmin, her family did not follow the exclusivist customs attached to their caste but adhered to the Theosophical ideal of universal brotherhood.

Read more: Historical Photos from the Surendra Narayan Archives (Adyar Archives) – Radha Burnier

Who Knew H.P.B. When? – Lydia Paschkoff

John Patrick Deveney – USA


Lydia Paschkoff (Countess Lydia Alexandrovna de Pashkov)

One of the most intriguing keys to unlocking the murky history of H. P. Blavatsky in the years before she appeared in New York in 1873 is provided by those who knew her in the early years and then came forward to vouch for her, as Albert Leighton Rawson did, (1) or condemn her, as Emma Coulomb did. We can learn from both sides. Lydia Paschkoff is one of these witnesses who “knew H.P.B. when” and contributes several threads to the confused tapestry of the early history of H.P. Blavatsky and the Theosophical Society. H.P.B. herself tells us (in Letter 78 to A. P. Sinnett) that Paschkoff was the kind soul who notified her that Agardi Metrovitch had fallen ill near Alexandria, Egypt, poisoned (as H.P.B. suspected) by villainous Catholic monks. (2) He died, as Master Hilarion had predicted, on April 19, 1872 (as H.P.B. believed) (3) —a date which, as we shall see, is almost certainly wrong.

Read more: Who Knew H.P.B. When? – Lydia Paschkoff

Historical Photos from the Surendra Narayan Archives (Adyar Archives) - Rukmini Devi Arundale

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Rukmini Devi Arundale (1904-1986) was an Indian Theosophist best known as a dancer and educator, and as wife of George S. Arundale, President of the Theosophical Society based in Adyar, Chennai, India. At the beginning of her career in the Society, she expressed her purpose in these words:

To encourage the living of beautiful lives, of lives so refined and so artistic, so gracious and so compassionate, so true and so noble, so wise and so understanding, that everywhere the beautiful is extolled and ugliness fades away

Rukmini Devi was born on February 29, 1904, into a Brahmin family in the city of Madurai, South India. Her father, Sr, A. Nilakanta Sastri of Thiruvisanellur, was an engineer and a respected Sanskrit scholar. His wife, Srimati Seshammal, came from a very cultured family of Thiruvaiyar. They were "strongly influenced by theosophical ideas to which they had been introduced in 1901. When her father retired, he settled in Chennai close to the headquarters of the Theosophical Society.”

On April 27, 1920 she married Dr. George S. Arundale, a 44-year-old Englishman who was a Theosophist prominent in Indian education at Central Hindu College.

Read more: Historical Photos from the Surendra Narayan Archives (Adyar Archives) - Rukmini Devi Arundale

Three Names and One Universal Soul

Arni Narendran – India

The Life and Altruism of Wanda Dynowska – Uma Devi –Tenzin Chodon 

(30 June 1888 – 20 March 1971) 

The Mystic Journey of a Polish Theosophist

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Wanda Dynowska

In the sacred mountains of Arunachala, the abode of Lord Shiva, near the holy town of Thiruvannamalai, in South India, lived a sage by the name of Ramana Maharishi. One morning, after sitting in silence with the sage amongst many other Truth seekers, a young Polish lady approached the sage with a question about her dream in which she had a vision of Shiva. She asked the sage how she could retain her blissful vision for eternity. The Maharishi told her that a vision can never be eternal, therefore she should ask herself, who am I? One cannot see God and still retain once individuality. The seer and the seen unite into one being. There is no cogniser, no cognition nor the cognized. All merge into one Supreme Shiv. This was the sage whom Carl Jung described as the whitest patch in a white cloth of spirituality.

Read more: Three Names and One Universal Soul


TE 10 419 Sun

Since civilization began, human beings have considered the Sun as both as a source of life and an object of veneration. Sun worship can be found in the Purnas of India, and the mythology of the Greeks, the Norse, and other cultures. In India, the Sun is Surya, considered an embodiment of Brahmā, Vishnu and Shiva. Among the Greeks, it is represented by Apollo and Helios, while the Egyptians revered it as Ra (and later, Aton), also considered as the first Egyptian king. The Persian deity Mithras was a sun god. Even in Christianity, Christ or God has time and again been identified with the sun that Tertullian, St. Augustine and Pope Leo I had to vehemently refute this allegation.

Read more: Sun


 TE 8 419 Moon

The Earth’s satellite. It is considered by the ancients as one of the sacred planets. Helena P. Blavatsky states that its inclusion in the list of sacred planets is because it is but a substitute of a planet. It is “a planet with a retrograde motion, sometimes visible at a certain hour of night and apparently near the moon. The occult influence of this planet is transmitted by the moon” (Transactions of Blavatsky Lodge, 47). 

Esoterically, the Moon is the mother of the earth, and thus far older. It was once a Globe where life evolved through seven ROUNDS until it finished its task. It belonged to the Moon CHAIN that preceded the Earth Chain.

Read more: Moon


TE 6 419 Mars

The fourth planet of the Solar System. It has two satellites, Phobos and Deimos. It is one of the planets visible to the naked eye, and has a reddish color. Based on the expeditions since 1965, the photographs of Mars show no life, but astronomers think that it may have supported life billions of years ago.

Read more: Mars

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