The Theosophical Society and Swami Dayanand
Theosophist, Supplement, April, 1882
Owing to misrepresentations and consequent misunderstandings caused by our mutual ignorance of each other’s language, the learned Pandit Dayanand Saraswati was prevailed upon, by our enemies, to deliver a public lecture denouncing us personally and our Society collectively, without even giving us any notice of his intentions. In addition to this, he caused his statements to be printed, accusing us of having “sold” him and of having been unfaithful to our promises. He charges the Founders of the Theosophical Society with having first believed in the Ishwar preached by him; acknowledging him (the Pandit) as their spiritual guide; and with having subsequently become Buddhists and—finally Zoroastrians!!!
Such extraordinary accusations need no comment. The Founders never believed in Ishwar as a personal god; they are Buddhists for many years and were so long before they knew of Swami or even before his Arya Samaj had come into existence; and—he knew all this well. We had accepted and formed an alliance with him, not for his religious doctrines, but, because—believing him able to teach our members what we thought he knew far better than we did (since he was a Brahmin Yogi for eight years), namely, Yog Vidya—we had hoped to secure for our Society perfect instruction in the ancient Brahminical esoteric doctrine. If any one was “sold,” it was the Founders, not the esteemed Swami. For reasons best known to himself, however, while telling us privately that Yog Vidya must not be taught promiscuously as it was a sacred mystery, he laughed at the Spiritualists, denounced every spiritual and occult phenomenon as a tamasha, a juggling trick, and pooh-poohed publicly that which we all know to be undoubted and genuine facts, capable of demonstration and verification. Thus we were laid under the necessity of accepting one of these two conclusions: either (1) he did not himself know practical Yoga; or (2) he had determined to keep it secret from the present generation. As we cannot persuade ourselves to believe the former, we shall submit to the latter alternative. Henceforth we will be content with our Arhat or Buddhist esotericism.
Well, things have now gone too far to be mended. We had been repeatedly warned by the orthodox Pandits as to the Swami’s true character, but—did not heed them. Though we never agreed with his teachings from the very beginning, we have yet been faithful and true to him for three long years. We respected him as a great Sanskrit scholar and a useful Reformer; and, notwithstanding the difference in our religious opinions, we have supported him through thick and thin. We regret to be unable to record as much of him. As a consequence of all this, we declare the alliance between the Theosophical Society and the Arya Samaj broken. Not for all the alliances in the world shall we renounce what we consider to be THE TRUTH—or pretend belief in that which we know to be FALSE.
We Stand Corrected
The Bombay Gazette, April 3, 1882
To the Editor of The Bombay Gazette:
Since you refuse publishing my long letter, will you kindly insert this one—merely to correct two grave mistakes I find in your today’s editorial—unless it is indeed your determined object to make the “venerated” Swami turn still more fiercely upon us? I never said that the Arya Samaj “became a branch of the Theosophical Society,” but only that, among several other branches of our Society, we had one established solely for those Theosophists who were already Arya-Samajists, or desired to recognize the Pandit as their Spiritual Guru. This branch we called the “Theosophical Society of the Arya-Samaj of Aryavarta.” Neither the Arya-Samaj nor the Theosophical Society, as a body, was ever a branch of the other. This incorrect notion that the Arya-Samaj may have been taken as a branch of the Theosophical Society, was the very thorn in Swami’s side. Both the societies, as bodies, were perfectly independent of each other, the “Theosophical section of the Arya-Samaj” being a branch of both.
Still more do you err in saying that we have been Buddhists “for a good many months.” As a body we belong to no religion. I myself am a Buddhist for many years, and Colonel Olcott has also been for several years. The various members, as individuals, have a perfect right to keep to their own particular faiths and creeds, but, as theosophists, they belong to none.
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
Bombay, March 31