[On the Brahmo Samaj and Theosophical Society]
Theosophist, March, 1881
In the Sunday Mirror of February 20, we find a paragraph in which Sir Richard Temple’s opinion on the Brahmo Samaj is quoted from his India in 1880 to the effect that “quite recently they (the Brahmos) have adopted the name of Theosophists.” This, one of the many inaccurate statements made in his book by Sir Richard Temple upon India in general and Indian religions especially, seems to have spurred the Brahmos to a quick repudiation of any connection whatever with the Theosophists. The able organ of the New Dispensation says:—“The reference to the Theosophists is a mistake. The Brahmos have never identified themselves with the Theosophists.”
Amen. Nor have the Theosophists identified themselves with them. But whether either the one or the other have acted the most wisely in this, is another question. The Theosophical Society includes members of nearly every known religion, sect, and philosophy, none of them clashing or interfering with the other, but each trying to live in peace with his neighbour. The universal tolerance preached by us is but the active protest against mental slavery. We have as is known, purely Buddhistic, purely Christian, and purely orthodox Hindu branches, and societies allied with us; and union is strength. But of this anon. For the present we would be glad to learn from our esteemed friends and Brothers—if unhappily not allies—the Brahmos, why, while hastening to repudiate Sir Richard’s connection of them with us, they have allowed to pass unnoticed another still more serious “mistake” made by the ex-Governor of Bombay. Speaking of them in his lecture (in furtherance of the Oxford mission to Calcutta) he said that the Brahmos “are almost, though not entirely, Christians”. . . “lingering upon the very threshold of Christianity” . . . “almost persuaded to be Christians.” Unless there has been a like repudiation of the uncalled-for charge which has escaped our notice, is it possible that the latter should have been passed over only because Christianity is popular among the British rulers and Theosophy—is not?