Theosophical Encyclopedia

P. C. Mukherji and Theosophical Archaeology – Part one

Andrew Huxley – England

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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


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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

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

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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

Dumb Races

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According to Helena P. BLAVATSKY'S The Secret Doctrine, these are half-human entities who were produced by the mating of humans and animals during the Third Root Race.

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Emily Lutyens, (nee Lytton) 1874-1964

Rare photo: Lady Emily Lutyens and C. Jinarajadasa in New South Wales, Australia, around 1928

Prominent supporter of J. Krishnamurti and international lecturer for the Theosophical Society (TS). Lady Emily Lutyens was born in 1874, the daughter of Robert Lytton, a former Viceroy of India who became 1st Earl of Lytton. In 1897, she married Edwin Landseer Lutyens; it was a romantic marriage which served to enhance the career of her husband, an eminent architect.

Read more: Emily Lutyens, (nee Lytton) 1874-1964

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