On the 27th December, 1882, I was first introduced to H.P.B. by Mr. Damodar K.
Mavalankar, in the hall of the Theosophical Society building, as R.J. and
Veritas of The Philosophic Inquirer. She was seated in a chair,
and surrounded by a small group of her admirers. The first impression she made on me
was that she was not of this earth, as she had a pair of glowing but terrible eyes, under
the arch of strongly-marked eyebrows. She was a woman in body, a man in speech,
earthly in appearance, celestial in reality. Her pronunciation of some words sounded
somewhat peculiar to me, and I was told afterwards that she had a Russian accent.
Ah! exclaimed she, I expected that you would come to me some
day. I asked her how she could expect me, since she was a Theosophist and I an
Atheist. She asked Mr. Damodar to fetch her scrap-book, and showed me some cuttings
from my lectures on Kapila, Buddha and Shankara, and said that she was
carefully reading my contributions to The Philosophic Inquirer, which she
appreciated, as they breathed a spirit of enquiry after Truth. As Secularism was
insufficient to satisfy my higher aspirations, she reasonably concluded that I would go to
her for further light on the problem of problems --- the mystery of life and death.
Then H.P.B. asked me what I wanted to know. I questioned her on some points to
all outward appearance difficult, each of which had been very carefully formulated by me
overnight. As a member of the National Secular Society of England, I consoled myself
with the idea that the problems I proposed were insoluble, and that they would tax her
fine and philosophic intellect.
To my great astonishment she took up question after question, and answered each most
elaborately and satisfactorily. She occupied nearly three hours in solving my
questions. The array of facts she cited in support of her forcible and
incontrovertible arguments, historical, philosophical and scientific, confused my poor
The whole audience was spellbound. And one peculiar point in her answering I
cannot afford to omit. Her mastery of the various subjects was such that in her
answer all the side-questions were anticipated and disposed of once for all. On the
second and third day we were thus occupied for hours in the presence of the same audience;
as the interest daily increased in proportion to my more and more difficult questions and
her most able and satisfactory answers, the members of the first-day audience were
irresistibly attracted to attend punctually the discussion on the following two days.
On the third day, after answering the questions, on which I spent much thought and
care, mustering all the force of my atheistic knowledge and learning, she cheerfully asked
me if I had anything more to say. Readily and unreservedly I answered that my
stock was exhausted, and this afforded food for laughter for a few minutes to the
My idea was that Theosophy was something like the many religions of the world, and that
H.P.B.s knowledge and ingenuity might be a little more than those of the ordinary
student. Emboldened by this hasty idea, I went to shear but returned
shorn. Glad was I to be defeated by her; for my defeat was an immense gain to
me, as she opened my eyes to the slippery ground on which I then stood. In three
days she shattered my seven years knowledge of atheistic theories.
I propounded the following question: What convincing proof can be given for the
existence of spirit after death? Her answer was a most lengthy one, and to it
she added a piece of advice. The study of mesmerism, she said, would give me some
good, though not complete evidence. I studied and practised mesmerism with success
for some years, and then I appreciated her sage advice. At the conclusion of her
answer she addressed me thus --- I try to reproduce her words from memory as nearly as I
can after so many years:
Why do you trouble yourself with western Secularism, a modern mushroom? You
have secularism among yourselves. The Charvakas were Atheists, but they were not
able to stand. You can find truth nowhere but in the teachings of the Aryan
Rishis. I advise you to study the Upanishats day and night.
I left her on the evening of the third day with the indelible impression of the truth
of Theosophy and of her sound wisdom. For hours at night, I took a calm survey of
the position of Atheism and Theosophy, and exultingly exclaimed that Theosophy was worth
On the fourth day I went again to Adyar to hear her, and obtain some crumbs of
knowledge. I was invited, with my companion, the late Mr. P. Rathnavelu Mudaliar,
co-editor of The Philosophic Inquirer, to join the gathering on the upper storey.
This giant of intellect, wisdom and might, asked me what I thought of Theosophy, and if
I would join the Theosophical Society and help the movement, if I were convinced of the
truth of Theosophy. She founded the Theosophical Society, she said, under the orders
of her Guru, an Indian Mahatma, a Rishi, and came to disseminate a knowledge of
Brahma-Vidya, the Wisdom-Religion. But to her regret many an intelligent and learned
Hindu kept aloof from the movement and looked with some suspicion on her for her western
origin and alien race.
I readily responded that I would join, and work and die for the sacred Cause, so long
as a spark of life existed in this body. Who, that was inspired by her, would dare
refuse to be guided by her.
She said that if I would join, I should do so under the following conditions. I
should not run after phenomena; should not be too anxious to see the Masters; should not
run away to the forests; but should study the philosophy of Theosophy, and work to spread
a knowledge thereof in the world as I was then doing in respect to Atheism.
The late revered T. Subba Rao, who was standing by my side, asked why such conditions
should be imposed in my case, when everyone who signed an application was admitted into
the Society. H.P.B. laughed, and said that she knew that even sterner conditions
would not deter me from joining the Theosophical Society.
I gladly joined, and I have been working for the Theosophical Society ever since,
always alive to the sacredness of my promise made to H.P.B. personally, on the 31st
December, 1882, in her Adyar Ashrama. H.P.B. opened my eyes and enlightened my
ignorance. She turned my attention to the precious and lustrous gems of knowledge
lying deep in the oriental mines of wisdom. Very kindly and motherly advice was that
she gave me in bidding me read the Upanishats, which were Schopenhauers solace
in life and solace in death. I owe my life and knowledge to her, the Great
Teacher, H.P. Blavatsky.