Sunday, March 13, 2011


The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has been airing what they describe as “the first definitive series on Gandhi’s life, examining his controversial views on race and his role in Indian independence.” Journalist Mishal Husain follows the life and legacy of Mahatma Gandhi in this BBC production. The first installment traced his roots to his birth town in India and looked at the early influences on his life. A local commentator, Sudha Hamilton, notes on his blog:

Indeed Gandhi’s commitment to vegetarianism came to fruition, during his time in England, where he was studying law. He was exposed to a rich vein of social and spiritual practices in the great city of London, where he met many influential people. Gandhi became acquainted with Madame Blavatsky’s Theosophists and greatly admired their appreciation of the rich diversity of religions and spiritual approaches. He was very young, and I would imagine impressionable, as we all are in our youth, during his time in the capital of the British Empire.

Gandhi’s brush with Theosophy, or more specifically with Mme. Blavatsky and her circle in London, is often touted by Theosophists. While he acknowledges the influence those early Theosophists had on his awakening to the Bhagavad Gita, he was not as enthused about later developments in the Society. He wrote to Theosophist Ernest Wood in 1933:

I was invited to become a member of the Society when I was in Johannesburg, and I told the Theosophical friends that I could not join a Society which believes in secret methods and messages from invisible Mahatmas. I have always felt that these things are a serious hindrance in the search for truth.

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