The Untold Story of Gandhi and Theosophy
According to Gandhi:
The soul of religions is one, but it is encased in a multitude of forms. The latter will endure to the end of time. Wise men will ignore the outward crust and see the same soul living under a variety of crusts... Truth is the exclusive property of no single scripture.
(the following is an excerpt from Black Terror White Soldiers)
In India, Blavatksy’s Theosophical Society evolved into a mixture of Western occultism and Hindu mysticism, and also spread western ideas in the east, aiding a modernization of eastern traditions, and contributing to a growing nationalism in the Asian colonies. The Theosophical Society had a major influence on Buddhist modernism and Hindu reform movements, and the spread of those modernized versions in the west. During the nineteenth century, Hinduism developed a large number of new religious movements, partly inspired by the European Romanticism, nationalism, scientific racism and Theosophy. With the rise of Hindu nationalism, several contemporary Indian movements, collectively termed Hindu reform movements, strove to introduce regeneration and reform to Hinduism.
The Theosophical Society and the Arya Samaj were united from 1878 to 1882, as the Theosophical Society of the Arya Samaj. And, along with H. S. Olcott and Anagarika Dharmapala, Blavatsky was also instrumental in the Western transmission and revival of Theravada Buddhism. Dharmapala (1864 – 1933) was a pioneer in the revival of Buddhism in India after it had been virtually extinct there for several centuries. Along with Olcott and Blavatsky, Dharmapala was also a major reformer and revivalist of Ceylonese Buddhism and very crucial figure in its Western transmission. Dharmapala also believed that Sinhalese of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) are a pure Aryan race, and advised that Sinhalese women should avoide miscegenation by refraining from mixing with minority races of the country.
An important influence on western spirituality was Neo-Vedanta, also called neo-Hinduism, a modern religious movement inspired by the ecstatic visionary experiences of Sri Ramakrishna (1836 – 1886) and his beloved disciple Swami Vivekananda (1863 – 1902). It was Vivekananda who coined the term “Hinduism” to describe a faith of diverse and myriad beliefs of Indian tradition. Also a Freemason, Vivekananda was a key figure in the introduction of Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the western world. Vivekananda taught the doctrine of the unity of all religions, and is perhaps best known for a speech at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893, the first attempt to create a global dialogue of faiths. Vivekananda quoted two passages from the Shiva mahimna stotram: “As the different streams having their sources in different places all mingle their water in the sea, so, O Lord, the different paths which men take, through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee!” and “Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths that in the end lead to Me.”
In addition to Vivekananda, the Parliament of the World’s Religions was dominated by the Theosophists and their counterparts among the representatives of neo-Vedanta and Buddhist Modernism. According to K. Paul Johnson, the Parliament gave Theosophists “a breakthrough into public acceptance and awareness which had hardly seemed possible a few years before.” Colonel Olcott shared his sentiments in Old Diary Leaves, “How great a success it was for us and how powerfully it stimulated public interest in our views will be recollected by all our older members.” Several of the World Parliament’s speakers on behalf of internationsl religions had been Theosopphists, such as Dharmapala and Kinza Hirai, who represented Buddhism, Mohammed Webb for Islam, and Chakravarti for the Hindus. In his 1921 history of the Theosophical movement, René Guénon wrote that after the 1893 Parliament, “the Theosophists seemed very satisfied with the excellent occasion for propaganda afforded them in Chicago, and they even went so far as to proclaim that “the true Parliament of Religions had been, in fact, the Theosophical Congress.”
At the Parliament, Vivekananda’s speech also made a profound impression on Annie Besant (1847 – 1933), who had assumed the leadership of the worldwide theosophical movement when Blavatsky had passed away in 1891. Born in London into a middle-class family of Irish origin, Besant was proud of her heritage, and became involved with Union organizers including the Bloody Sunday demonstration, which she was widely credited for inciting. During 1884, Besant had developed a very close friendship with Edward Aveling, who first translated the works of Marx into English. He eventually went to live with Marx’s daughter Eleanor Marx, whose network was being spied on by Theodor Reuss. Besant was a leading speaker for the Fabian Society. The Fabians were a group of socialists whose strategy differed from that of Karl Marx in that they sought world domination through what they called the “doctrine of inevitability of gradualism.” This meant their goals would be achieved “without breach of continuity or abrupt change of the entire social issue,” and by infiltrating educational institutions, government agencies, and political parties.
After a dispute, the American section of the Theosophical Society split into an independent organization. The original Society, then led by Henry Steel Olcott and Besant, based in Chennai, India, came to be known as the Theosophical Society Adyar. Besant’s partner in running the Theosophical Society was Charles Leadbeater, a known pedophile. In 1909, Leadbeater claimed to have “discovered” the new Messiah in the person of the handsome young Indian boy named Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti gained international acceptance among followers of Theosophy as the new Savior, but the boy’s father nearly ruined the scheme when he accused Leadbeater of corrupting his son. Krishnamurti also eventually repudiated his designated role, and spent the rest of his life travelling the world and becoming in the process widely known as an unaffiliated speaker.
As President of the Theosophical Society, Besant became involved in politics in India, joining the Indian National Congress, and during World War I helped launch the Home Rule League, modeling demands for India on Irish nationalist practices. This led to her election as president of the India National Congress in late 1917. As editor of the New India newspaper, she attacked the colonial government of India and called for clear and decisive moves towards self-rule. In June 1917 Besant was arrested, but the National Congress and the Muslim League together threatened to launch protests if she was not set free. The government was forced to make significant concessions, and it was announced that the ultimate aim of British rule was Indian self-government.
After the war, a new leadership emerged around Mohandas K. Gandhi, who was inspired by the ideals of Vivekananda, and who was among those who had written to demand Besant’s release, and who had returned from leading Asians in a non-violent struggle against racism in South Africa. In 1888, he had travelled to London, England, to study law at University College London, when he met members of the Theosophical Society. They encouraged him to join them in reading the Bhagavad Gita. As a result, despite not having shown any interest in religion before, Gandhi began his serious study of the text, which was to become his acknowledged guide throughout his life. According to Kathryn Tidrick, Gandhi’s approach to the Gita was theosophical. Gandhi later credited Theosophy with instilling in him the principle of the equality among religions. As he explained to his biographer, Louis Fischer, “Theosophy… is Hinduism at its best. Theosophy is the brotherhood of man.” The organization’s motto inspired Gandhi to develop one of his central principles, that “all religions are true.”
Gandhi had met Blavatsky and Besant in 1889. And when Gandhi set up his office in Johannesburg, among the pictures he hung on his walls were those of Tolstoy, Jesus Christ and Annie Besant, and in a letter he wrote to her in 1905 he expressed his "reverence" of her. Besant bestowed on him the title by which he became famous, "Mahatma,” a Hindu term for "Great Soul,” and the same name by which Theosophy called its own masters. Besant's distinctive influence on Gandhi was through her contribution to theory was the “Law of Sacrifice,” which was set out most fully in Esoteric Christianity. The Law of Sacrifice was derived from a Fabian reading of the Bhagavad Gita, where Krishna's selfless activity brought the world into existence and continues to sustain it. Action performed in this “sacrificial” spirit, says Krishna, is free from Karma. From this Besant developed the notion of the Law of Sacrifice, a form of “spiritual alchemy,” through disinterested action, “cast upon the altar of duty.” The man who acts in harmony with the divine selflessness animating the universe becomes:
..a force for evolution… an energy for progress, and the whole race then benefits by the action which otherwise would only have rough to the sacrificer a personal fruit, which in turn would have bound his Soul, and limited his potentialities.
Despite his popular image as holy man, Joseph Lelyveld’s Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi And His Struggle With India, according to his reviewer, reveals Gandhi was a “sexual weirdo, a political incompetent and a fanatical faddist—one who was often downright cruel to those around him. Gandhi was therefore the archetypal 20th-century progressive intellectual, professing his love for mankind as a concept while actually despising people as individuals.” According to Lelyveld, Gandhi also encouraged his seventeen-year-old great-niece to be naked during her "nightly cuddles,” and began sleeping with her and other young women. He also engaged in a long-term homosexual affair with German-Jewish architect and bodybuilder Hermann Kallenbach, for whom Gandhi at one point left his wife in 1908.
Though Gandhi was concerned for the plight of the Indians of South Africa, he shared the racist beliefs of the Theosophists. Of white Afrikaaners and Indians, he wrote: “We believe as much in the purity of races as we think they do.” Gandhi lent his support to the Zulu War of 1906, volunteering for military service himself and raising a battalion of stretcher-bearers. Gandhi complained of Indians being marched off to prison where they were placed alongside Blacks, “We could understand not being classed with whites, but to be placed on the same level as the Natives seemed too much to put up with. Kaffirs [Blacks] are as a rule uncivilized—the convicts even more so. They are troublesome, very dirty and live like animals.”
Gandhi and Mussolini became friendly when they met in December 1931, with Gandhi praising the Duce's "service to the poor, his opposition to super-urbanization, his efforts to bring about a coordination between Capital and Labour, his passionate love for his people." He also advised the Czechs and Jews to adopt nonviolence toward the Nazis, saying that "a single Jew standing up and refusing to bow to Hitler's decrees" might be enough "to melt Hitler's heart."
 Wijesiriwardhana Sunil, Purawasi Manpeth (Published by: FLICT/ First Print 2010) p. 222-223.
 John R. McRae, "Oriental Verities on the American Frontier: The 1893 World's Parliament of Religions and the Thought of Masao Abe,” Buddhist-Christian Studies (University of Hawai'i Press, 1991), pp. 7–26.
 K. Paul Johnson, Initiates of Theosophical Masters (State University of New York Press, 1995) p. 97
 Guénon, Theosophy.
 Kathryn Tidrick, Gandhi: A Political and Spiritual Life, (London: I.B. Tauris, 2006) p. 63
 Mitch Horowitz, Occult America: White House Seances, Ouija Circles, Masons, and the Secret Mystic History of Our Nation, (New York: Bantam Books, 2009), p. 189.
 Charles Freer Andrews (Hrsg.): Mahatma Gandhi, Mein Leben. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt a.M. 1983.
 Kathryn Tidrick, Gandhi: A Political and Spiritual Life, (London: I.B. Tauris, 2006) p. 60-61.
 Ibid., p. 63.