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Bhagavan Das

(Dr. Bhagavan Das , M.A., D. Literature.)


Well-known in India as well as throughout all of Asia as a scholar of Sanskrit, philosopher, educator, writer, and civic leader. He was born in Varanasi, India, January 12, 1869 and died there on September 18, 1958 at the age of 90. He is well known as the author of such classic texts as The Science of Peace, The Science of Emotion, The Science of Self, The science of Social Organization, The Essential Unity of All Religions, and was co-translator with Annie Besant of The Bhagavad Gita. He wrote approximately 30 books, many in Sanskrit and Hindi, and contributed many articles to The Theosophist.

Inspired by a speech given by Annie Besant he joined The Theosophical Society in 1894. He joined the faculty of Central Hindu College in 1898 the year Besant founded that institution. He was an advocate for national freedom from British rule; served for a time in the Central Legislative Assembly of British India, and was active on opposing rioting as a form of protest. Although he collaborated with Besant on many fronts he was a strong opponent of Besant’s declaration that Jiddu Krishnamurti was to be the New Messiah – “the future vehicle of the Coming Christ”.

In 1934, he wrote: “Ever since certain deplorable controversies within the Theosophical Society, in 1912-13, I have been only a distant, though earnest and sincere, will-wisher of the Theosophical Society.” In 1913 Das published a pamphlet titled The Central Hindu College and Mrs. Besant. In it he exposed Besant’s “reckless, incoherent, self-contradictory, incorrect and misleading statements” which harmed her reputation and the Theosophical Movement. (In his book, Theosophy in Canada, Ted Davy eloquently tells this story in the chapter titled The “World Religion” That Wasn’t.)

In 1941 Albert E.S. Smythe, General Secretary of the Canadian Section of the Theosophical Society and Editor of The Canadian Theosophist, pondered on the possible state of the T.S. with Bhagavan Das as its Leader:

In years to come it will be one of the reproaches of Adyar that it has not done more honour to Bhagavan Das. Had he been elected President of the Theosophical Society, with all his great learning, his independence, his discriminating judgement, what a different tale there would be to tell at the present time of war-twisted conceptions of life and official forgetfulness of all the chief principles that were propounded by the Masters and their messenger H.P. Blavatsky. While the President is running around begging for suggestions for a peace Programme, Bhagavan Das’s Science of Social Organization has been sitting on the shelves for all to consult who would. And if that is not enough his Science of Peace is available in the second edition.