Published by Blavatsky Study Center. Online Edition copyright 2004.

Humbuggery of the Theosophists

[A Tract based on a Lecture given
by Swami Dayananda Sarasvati]

[The following translation of the pamphlet is reprinted from The Life and Teachings of Swami Dayanand Saraswati by Bawa Chhajju Singh, Lahore, 1903, pp. 519-531.  In an introductory paragraph, Singh wrote that Swami Dayananda "delivered [in Bombay March 1882] an exhaustive lecture on the 'Theosophical Society,' and had the following tract, embodying the substance of the speech, distributed among the people . . . . "  (p. 518).  The tract was originally issued in Hindi.  In July of 1882, Colonel Olcott published a rebuttal to Swami Dayananda's charges.  Another translation of this tract can be found on pp. 556-560 of Harbilas Sarda's Life of Dayanand Saraswati:  World Teacher, Ajmer, 1968.  - BA Editor.]

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Shri Swami [Dayanand] and the Arya Samajists had been led to believe from the previous letters and actions of the Americans [Colonel Olcott and Madame Blavatsky] that the well-being of Aryavarta would, to certain extent, be promoted by them, but that impression of his has proved unfounded, because: -

1.  They said in their first letters that the Theosophical Society was to be regarded as a branch of the Arya Samaj, but subsequently they changed their mind (and did not declare their Society as a branch of the Arya Samaj).

2.  They said that they were coming as students,  to understand and embrace the Vedic Religion, and to acquire a knowledge of Sanskrit. They have not only failed to keep their promise, but have become disbelievers in any and every Dharma whatsoever. They never studied any Dharma in the capacity of an inquirer, have not yet commenced studying Sanskrit, nor is there any hope of their ever doing so.

3.  They gave the Swami the assurance that income from fees, paid by the members of the Society, should belong to the Arya Samaj, and that a good number of books should be presented to the Samaj. They never kept their word: on the contrary, the seven hundred rupees sent to Harish Chandra Chintamani, they pounced upon and never said so much as a word about the "engulphing!" They not only did not present any books to the Samaj, but actually went so far as to unblushingly realize Rs. 30 for a book they presented to Babus Chhedi Lal and Shiv Narain, who had spent hundreds of rupees in giving them a reception and in providing for them conveyances, lodgings, etc. (at Meerut): yes, this the Colonel and Madame H. P. Blavatsky did. Again, the Lahore, Amritsar, Saharanpur and other Samajes gave them each a handsome reception, but they never put any value on the same. And the Swami also benefitted them as far as his leisure would permit, but instead of feeling grateful to him, they are bare-faced enough to assert that they gave the Swami much assistance.

The Swami, however, asserts that the assertion is unfounded. And if they did assist him, why won’t they declare, how? As they will not specify the nature of the services they alleged to have rendered to the Swami, nobody can be expected to give credence to what they say.

4.  At the outset they admitted in their letters, and after they had arrived into India that they were believers in God. But subsequently they, in utter disregard of their previous professions, both declared, in presence of the Swami and many other gentlemen at Meerut, that they did not believe in God. Is not this a contradiction of what they said at first? Upon this declaration, on their part, the Swami said: "You prove that belief in God is wrong, and I will prove the contrary. Whatever is found to be the truth, let that be believed in." They would not agree to this too.

5.  When they were about to come into Aryavarta, they got it printed, in the columns of the Indian Spectator, dated 14th July, 1878, that they were neither Buddhists, nor Christians, nor Brahmans, believing in the Puranas, but that they were Arya Samajists. Now they have, in contradiction of what they said before, got it published that they had been for years Buddhists, and are Buddhists even now. Is not this cunning and trickery? And it is evident from their letter of January, 1880, that they were believers in God. Only eight months after this declaration, they affirmed at Meerut that both of them were atheists. Was not this conduct on their part deceitful?

6.  On their arrival here, they agreed that the Theosophical Society should be a branch of the Arya Samaj, but subsequently they came to assert that neither the Central Society was a branch of the Arya Samaj, nor the Arya Samaj a branch of the Central Society, but that the Vedic Shakha (Branch) was common to both. Now, in defiance of their previous declarations, they have got it published that their Society never became branch of the Arya Samaj, and that theirs is an entirely separate body, having nothing to do with the Arya Samaj. Is not this one of their objectionable freaks?

7.  When they founded their Society in Bombay, they enrolled the Swami among their members without the Swami having ever asked them to do so, and without their ever having previously consulted the Swami on the subject. When they first met the Swami at Meerut, in company with Moolji, the Swami asked them why they had put him down as a member of their Society without his permission, and requested them to strike his name off. The Colonel assured the Swami, in reply, that such a thing should never be repeated in future, and that they should strike his name off. Afterwards, when they met the Swami at Kashi, it was discovered that they had not struck off his name yet. Then the Swami wrote them a strong letter, asking them to strike off his name. They wired to know, in reply, what they should write (in place of the words - member of the Theosophical Society). The Swami answered by wire, telling them to write Vedic Dharma Updeshak instead, as desired by him at the very outset, adding that he was neither a member of their Vienna Society, nor of any other similar Society: he was a follower of the Vedic Faith which he could not give up to associate with anyone. But, in spite of that Madame Blavatsky, while at Simla, wrote him such an objectionable letter that no upright man could approve of its tone and spirit. Was this worthy of them? The Swami never wrote to them, nor personally authorized them to make him their member, but, for all that, they did make him one. Was not this shameful?

8.  Their promise at Meerut that they should never henceforward ask any Arya Sabhasad to become a member of their Society, they broke, for only two days after the promise had been given, they did their best to persuade, during the journey, Lala Chhedi Lal, who accompanied them as far as Umballa, to identify himself with their Society. They further sent him a letter from Simla, advising him to accept the membership of their Society.

Seeing them having recourse to such deceit and fraud, the Swami delivered a lecture at the anniversary of the Meerut Samaj, declaring, in the course of his remarks, that it was not necessary for a follower of the Vedic Religion to become a member of their Society, for the principles which the Arya Samaj believed in, were not professed and believed in by the Theosophists. It was this remark which made Madame Blavatsky write from Simla the objectionable and untruthful letter she did, and the Swami also answered it as it deserved.

After that the Swami came to determine that on his visiting Bombay, he should come to an understanding with them on every point. This determination of his was exactly the determination of the Bombay Samaj also. When the Swami reached Bombay, many Arya Sabhasads and the Colonel also received him at the Station, and when the Swami had arrived at the place fixed for his residence, he had a long talk with the Colonel, informing him (at the conclusion of the conversation) that there were many things yet to be talked on. The Colonel made no clear reply to this. When he came to the Swami to have a talk about Rev. Cooke, the Swami once more told him that it was high time that a conversation (discussion) should take place between himself and him. The Colonel answered that such a discussion should come off (ere long), (but finding that the matter was being delayed), the Swami sent, through Pana Chand Anandji and Rao Bahadur Pandit Gopal Rao Hari Desmukh, word to the Colonel that he (or Madame Blavatsky) should come for a conversation, and that, in the event of his still evading the Swami’s request, the real facts should be proclaimed. Pana Chand brought back the answer to the Swami that Colonel Olcott would come for a discussion on 27th March, 1882. The Colonel, however, failed to keep his promise: on the contrary, he left Bombay for Jeypur, from which place he wrote to the Swami that he had been unable to see him and that Madame Blavatsky would have a discussion with him in his (Colonel’s) place. But Madame Blavatsky too never came.

Seeing how matters stood, the Bombay Arya Samaj had a notice issued, announcing that the Swami would deliver, on the following day, a lecture on the relations which originally existed between the Arya Samaj and the Theosophical Society, and those that existed at present between the two Bodies, showing, in the course of the lecture, their conflicting nature. Madame Blavatsky had one clear day to come and have a friendly discussion, but she did not come, and so the Swami delivered his lecture.

Noticing the lecture they wrote in their paper, the Theosophist, that the Swami delivered his lecture without having previously informed them of his intentions. Is not this an untruth? In the lecture, the Swami read out their letters, showing how the former professions and actions of the Theosophists differed from their present:  how they said one thing and did quite another. They professed to be trying to promote the well-being of Aryavarta, but they appeared to be only doing it harm. For instance, the Swami dissuaded them several times from writing stories of evil spirits, demons and fiends in the Theosophist, for, as he said, these things were untrue and opposed to science, and what was untrue and unscientific should not be allowed to go into papers, for the great reason that the Theosophist had a circulation in this country as well in Europe, and (if it contained such stories) the Westerns would think that the people of Aryavarta believed in what was foolish and nonsense. They have not heeded the Swami’s counsel up to the present time. In their first letters, they gave the Swami the assurance that they would follow and believe in what the Swami should teach them. Can those professions of theirs be regarded as sincere?

9.  The letter addressed to the Rev. Mr. Cooke was written by the Colonel with his own hand, and it was dictated by the Swami. In this he put down, deliberately and of his own accord, the expression, which religion is "most Divine"? (i.e., which religion has the greatest connection with the Deity!) as a translation of the Swami’s words. The expression "most Divine" expresses anything but the Swami’s meaning. When, after the Colonel’s departure, the Swami had the letter read out and translated to him, he found that it was incorrect. On the Colonel’s again coming to the Swami, the latter had the expression expunged and put down, in its place, the words: "When the discussion between you and me takes place, it will become evident which religion is of Divine origin, and which not." In spite of this the Colonel had the wrong letter printed. Was this worthy of him?

Among their principles are the following: -  "(We are) Theosophists, or believers in God; the Society does not levy any fees; no religion is higher than this; Christianity should be always opposed; He who is unborn, Who has been created by none but Who has created all, that is God." To charge a fee of ten rupees now and to praise whatever "creed" forms the subject of their lectures for the time being - is not all this after the fashion of flatterers and begging-bards?

It is not all necessary that any more should be written for the wise. What has been said above will enable everybody to understand the real facts. The object aimed at in issuing this pamphlet is to point out that nothing but harm can come to Aryavarta and to the Arya Samajes by keeping up a connection with the Theosophical Society. For what their real object is, they alone can tell. Were they pure-minded, why would they do such deeds and write such letters? When they are such dangerous atheists, so unfaithful to their word, and so selfish, Aryavarta and the Arya Samajists and other Aryas had better give up the hope that they will do any good to the country.

A further illustration of their chicanery may be given, one of the many (that may be given). At first they lauded and extolled the Swami, but when the Swami would not be caught in their snare, they commenced talking of Koot Hoomi Lal, a person whom nobody has seen or heard of. If they fail to compass their selfish end through his assistance, they might call him Gotra Koot Hoomi Singh. They assert that Kote Hoomi appears to them, and works wonders. "Here," say they "is his photograph; letters and flowers fall from above, and things lost can be found." All those assertions of theirs are wholly untrue. For not to speak of others, Colonel Olcott and Madame Blavatsky themselves, on their arrival at Bombay for the first time, had their clothes, etc., stolen, but could never find them, in spite of their taxing the resources of the Police to the utmost of their power. Why did not they get the stolen things brought to them by the power of their magic? And when they were unable to recover the same, who can put faith in what they allege they accomplished at Simla?

When the Swami had a talk with Madame Blavatsky on "yoga," at Meerut, Madame asserted that she practised yoga as taught in the Yoga and the Sankhya Shastra. On the Swami’s desiring her to explain the methods of the yoga recommended by the Shastras, no answer whatever was forthcoming. In other words, it is only mesmerism or the juggler’s art which they can practice. Those who practice yoga, though but to a small extent, they are always the same externally and internally, and in their dealings they are upright. The dealings of these people are marked by deceit and falsehood. If they knew yoga ever so little, they would not be such dangerous atheists, unbelievers in God. That they are wholly ignorant of yoga, is proved by the single fact of their having no faith in God. Hence the certain conclusion from all this is, that their contradictory professions and doings do not deserve to be put any faith in, and the best thing is, therefore, to keep aloof from them.