Damodar: The Writings of a Hindu Chela

Theosophical University Press Online Edition

Part I

Biographical Notes

[As the title of this chapter shows, no attempt is here made to present either a highly documented and detailed Biography of Damodar, or a critical study of his literary output. The facts of his life as here stated are all derived from authoritative sources. — EDS. ]

"Took bhat [rice] in the morning, and proceeded from Kabi alone, sending back my things with the coolies to Darjiling."

These were the last words written by Damodar K. Mavalankar that have been made public. They were penned in a small pocket diary which was sent back to his friends as he set out on the last lap from Darjiling in British India on his pilgrimage to the lands beyond the giant crests of Kanchanjunga which tower 28,000 feet into the blue. Shigatse, the seat of the Tashi Lama, is twenty-five days march from Darjiling, and it was toward this goal that Damodar went in company with a party sent to meet him. We learn from Colonel H. S. Olcott that Damodar's record:

since joining H. P. B. and myself at Bombay is one of unbroken energy and unfaltering zeal in the cause of humanity. A nobler heart never beat in a human breast, and his departure was one of the hardest blows we ever received. As above remarked, he had almost broken down his constitution by incessant official work, and when leaving Adyar had begun to spit blood and show signs of a rapid decline. Yet, with undaunted courage, he undertook the hard journey across the Himalayas, indifferent to the biting cold, the drifted snow, the lack of shelter and food, intent upon reaching the Guru whom he had first seen in his youth when lying on a sick-bed, of whom he had lost sight for many years, but whom he had recovered soon after joining the Theosophical Society, as his spiritual faculties developed and he was able to seek him in the suksma sarira. What made him so devotedly attached and unswervingly loyal to H. P. B. was the discovery that this Guru was one of the Adepts behind our movement, the intimate associate of "Upasika," as he always subsequently called H. P. B. From the chief coolie of his escort I [Colonel Olcott] got particulars about him of great interest. . . . Damodar would not keep any more clothes than the ascetic costume he was wearing, nor any of the rice, meal, pulse, or other dry provisions with which his friends had supplied him. The most he would do was to let the chief coolie bake him a dozen chapaties, or unleavened pancakes. The last that was seen of him by the coolies was when, with face turned towards the Tibetan frontier, he trudged painfully on and disappeared behind a turning of the road. — Old Diary Leaves, Vol. III, pp. 265-6

Without further explanation this description in Col. Olcott's Old Diary Leaves of Damodar's departure for the mysterious land of Tibet might leave the casual reader puzzled and wondering why anyone should wish to abandon relatives, friends, and the duties incumbent upon every responsible man, for a goal which promised little that the world holds dear. The old monastic idea of shutting oneself away from the world in order to pursue a life of devotion and spiritual exercises has lost its appeal in the West, and it would be no exaggeration to include a large portion of the East as well. But the case of Damodar throws a different light on the subject.

Damodar K. Mavalankar must have become a 'chela' or pledged disciple of one of the great Oriental Mahatmans or Masters of Wisdom very early in life, and it is clear that this was not the first incarnation in which he had stepped on the Path of Enlightenment. H. P. Blavatsky says:

Damodar was ready from his last birth to enter the highest PATH and suspected it. He had long been waiting for the expected permission to go to Tibet before the expiration of the 7 years; . . . — The Theosophist, August, 1932, pp. 623-4

In Dr. G. de Purucker's Occult Glossary we read:

The chela-life, or chela-path, is a beautiful one, full of joy to its very end; but also it calls forth and needs everything noble and high in the learner or disciple himself or herself; for the powers or faculties of the Higher Self must be brought into activity in order to attain and to hold those summits of intellectual and spiritual grandeur where our Masters themselves live. For that, Masterhood, is the end of discipleship; . . . The more mystical meanings attached to this term "Chela" can be given only to those who have irrevocably pledged themselves to the esoteric life — to Esotericism and its School.

Damodar's significance in the Theosophical Movement lies largely in the fact that he became a high exemplar of the Theosophical life in spite of extraordinary difficulties, and that almost alone among hundreds of other earnest aspirants was he found qualified to proceed to the Tibetan mountain-home of the Founders of the Theosophical Society, the Mahatmans Koot Hoomi and Morya. These members of the Great Lodge of spiritual Adepts, one a Brahman from Kashmir, the other a Rajput, decided to launch the Theosophical Movement at a critical period when the sands of spiritual life were running low in the West, and when even the ancient home of Aryavarta showed signs of degeneration and decay. The glorious age of the Vedas, when inspired lawgivers stirred the souls of the people of India and a truly mystic civilization was in flower, was gone, seemingly for ever; and a caste-ridden people held in thrall by rigid forms and superstitious fancies needed a new impetus, a new inspiration, to re-create their lives. But the main purpose of the Theosophical Movement was to reawaken the spiritual intuitions and to promote the idea of universal brotherhood in the progressive nations of the West, where the need was great in that materialistic period. But the Orient was not overlooked, and Damodar, a patriotic Hindu, as well as a natural-born occultist and Theosophist found in Isis Unveiled, H. P. Blavatsky's first book, a glorious picture of ancient India which filled his breast with a longing to lead his countrymen to a worthier mode of living so as to restore Aryavarta to its one-time splendor. After reading Isis he discovered the Theosophical Society and immediately became an active member.

Damodar belonged to a wealthy family of the Karhada Maharashtra Brahman caste. On August 3, 1879, he joined the Society at Bombay; several of his relatives, including his father and his uncle, also became members.

Little is known of his early life, but since the age of seven he had felt an urge to give himself to a life of devotion, and once, when he was brought near to death by fever, he had a vision of his future Teacher, the Master Koot Hoomi. This Master assured him that he would not die but would live to do a much needed work in the world. As already mentioned, Damodar afterwards recognised in one of H. P. Blavatsky's Adept Teachers the wonderful man who had awakened his inner vision when a child, and this for ever sealed his devotion to the cause of Theosophy. In H. P. Blavatsky he found one who was closely in touch with the Master in whom he trusted, and an older and more experienced chela than himself. He never wavered in his obedience to her.

Damodar joined the Theosophical Society nearly six months after H. P. Blavatsky's arrival in India in February, 1879, and he was soon ready to serve on her journal, The Theosophist, which was established in October, 1879. According to Brahmanical customs, he had to get his father's permission to live at the Theosophical Headquarters and to adopt the mode of life of a Sannyasin — one who abandons worldly bonds and attractions in the service of the spiritual nature. This he was allowed to do, but he went farther and abandoned his caste,* no trifling matter, as can be realized by reading an article that appeared in The Theosophist, and which is included in this volume (see "Castes In India," chapter II). According to the Hindu custom he had been betrothed in his childhood, of course without his consent, and the time had arrived when he was expected to assume the responsibilities of married life. This would have seriously interfered with the realization of his hope of preparing under his Master in Tibet for self-mastery (the chela discipline) which must be undergone by those who aspire to become saviors of humanity. The higher degrees require a complete self-dedication. His father, a man of generous feelings, sympathized with Damodar's aspirations and consented to the abandoning of the marriage obligations, a proceeding recognised in India as perfectly honorable in the case of a Sannyasin. Damodar assigned his share of the ancestral estate to his family under the understanding that his wife should be properly cared for. She fully agreed to this arrangement and took up her residence in her father-in-law's home.

*The Mahatman Morya, referring to difficulties facing certain Hindu Theosophists, wrote: ". . . unless a man is prepared to become a thorough theosophist i. e. to do as D. Mavalankar did, — give up entirely caste, his old superstitions and show himself a true reformer . . . he will remain simply a member of the Society with no hope whatever of ever hearing from us." — The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, p. 462

Unfortunately, however, when Damodar, along with H. P. Blavatsky and Col. Olcott, was formally received into the Buddhist communion during their tour in Ceylon in 1880, his orthodox Hindu relatives were greatly disturbed and they demanded that he return to his caste. As he absolutely refused, they left the Theosophical Society and became its open enemies. Of course, neither H. P. Blavatsky, Olcott nor Damodar accepted the notion that sectarian Buddhism was the only true religion. Their action was chiefly an outer expression of kindly support to the Buddhists in Ceylon who were struggling to preserve their national faith, as well as a demonstration that Theosophists believe that every religion contains the same spiritual teaching, more or less hidden by the obscuring veils of dogma. Col. Olcott wrote his highly successful Buddhist Catechism soon after this Ceylon journey, and through his efforts the Buddhists in that island were given complete protection by the British Government. Damodar was very busy during the tour with his duties as Assistant Recording Secretary in connection with the new Branches and other activities that were being started, but at the same time his occult development was being assisted by the Masters as we learn from 'A Hindu Chela's Diary' and four letters to W. Q. Judge dated Jan. 24, 1880, and June 14, 21, and 28, 1881, printed in this volume. The few occult experiences he was permitted to mention in those letters are exceedingly interesting as they throw a vivid light on the method by which an accepted chela may receive personal instruction and spiritual benefits from the Masters even while he is working hard at the ordinary duties of everyday life.

It will be seen by the letter to W. Q. Judge, in January, 1880, that even then valuable opportunities for learning had been provided for the young aspirant. He had already entered upon the intensive spiritual discipline prescribed for chelas of his degree who have to live in the outer world. He observed some simple rules of diet and meditation, but above all he proved his sincerity and love for humanity by tireless work for Theosophy. He threw up a Government appointment and other interests to labor literally from dawn to midnight for the Cause, in his official capacity as Assistant Recording Secretary of the Theosophical Society and in many other ways, especially in helping H. P. Blavatsky to get out The Theosophist under the greatest difficulties. For the magazine he wrote many book reviews, 'open letters,' long and thoughtful comments on letters from contributors, reports of activities, and, of course, original articles. For some time before he left for Tibet he held the responsible place of Manager. The Master Koot Hoomi said he was "indispensably necessary at Headquarters" and that for his unselfish labor and devotion he was receiving their help, "silent though it be." In regard to the difficulties in producing The Theosophist with such a small staff, H. P. Blavatsky wrote to A. P. Sinnett, her friend and the editor of an important and flourishing Anglo-Indian journal, in reply to some criticism he made:

Do you forget that you are addressing two European beggars with two Hindu other beggars to help them in the management and not the rich Pioneer with lakhs behind it? I would like to see you undertake the management and editing of Phoenix with two pence in your pocket; with a host of enemies around; no friends to help you; yourself — the editor, manager, clerk, and even peon very often, with a poor half-broken down Damodar to help you alone for three years, one who was a boy right from the school bench, having no idea of business any more than I have, and Olcott always — 7 months in the year — away! . . . please remember that while you in the midst of all your arduous labours as the editor of the Pioneer used to leave your work regularly at 4 after beginning it at 10 a.m. — and went away either to lawn tennis or a drive, Olcott and I begin ours at five in the morning with candle light, and end it sometimes at 2 a.m. We have no time for lawn tennis as you had, and clubs and theatres and social intercourse. We have no time hardly to eat and drink. The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett, p. 57

It must not be forgotten that Damodar had a very fragile physical body and suffered from chronic ill health, but he never let up on that account. The spirit of unselfish devotion that inspired him brought about a rapid spiritual and even psychic unfolding. His intellect was already well developed as is seen by his writings. Without forcing, occult powers began to appear quite naturally as they should in such cases, according to Theosophy. He soon became able to transmit astral messages on his Master's business and even to take astral journeys at will when called upon in the line of duty. He was occasionally instructed to heal the sick, and at such times he was endowed with the necessary 'magnetism.' Some of the communications from the Mahatmans, published in The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, in 1923, were transmitted through Damodar.

The ignorant and prejudiced critics who denied H. P. Blavatsky's ability to transmit or 'precipitate' letters, etc., from the Masters by occult methods because the proceedings were not conducted under what they called 'test conditions' such as they would dictate to a paid medium, were utterly unaware of the special conditions necessary before an 'astral mail service' could be inaugurated or sustained. Harmonious surroundings were the first requisite, and a unified 'magnetism' in the auras of transmitter and receiver had to exist. The process bears some resemblance to radio transmission, but the likeness must not be pushed too far; it is, however, equally 'scientific.'

Damodar, like H. P. Blavatsky, possessed a 'magnetic' aura congenitally sympathetic with that of the Masters, and so he could be employed as a focus of energy for astral transmission, but such phenomenal activities cannot be forced when disharmony prevails. The periods of stress and bitter controversy in India seriously interfered with them, and so far as India was concerned they ceased when H. P. Blavatsky and Damodar left the country in 1885.

Col. Olcott relates several striking instances of Damodar's awakening powers, but, probably owing to his weak health, he was rarely employed to produce the so-called 'phenomena.' We quote in part two interesting accounts of his activities on the inner planes in November, 1883, during his tour with Olcott and others in Northern India when his occult powers were rapidly developing. According to Col. Olcott:

. . . Damodar gave me another proof of his acquired power of travelling in the astral "double." He went to Adyar, conversed with H. P. B., heard the voice of a Master speak a message to me, and asked H. P. B. to telegraph me the substance of it so as to satisfy me of his veracity in these matters. On reporting the facts to me, he dictated the message as he heard it, and all present in my room signed a certificate as to the facts. The next morning the expected telegram from H. P. B. was delivered to me by the postman, this being the rule in India as to the class of "Deferred" messages. The despatch corroborated Damodar's dictated and certificated message, and again the witnesses who were present signed their names on the back of the Government despatch. — Old Diary Leaves, Vol. III, pp. 29-30

Here is the other case. Olcott writes:

On putting his body to sleep as usual, he made a dash for the home of the Master among the Himalayas, but found, on arriving, that he too was away in the astral body; and, by the power of his attraction for his pupil, the latter was swept away as powerfully and instantaneously as though he had ventured into a deep and impetuous river current and been carried off his footing. The next minute Damodar found himself at Adyar, in the presence of both his Master and H. P. B. On going to sleep he had held Mr. Ward's letter in his hand, and it had, it seems, gone along with him on the astral plane — itself, of course, changed from ponderable into astral, or etheric, matter. On telling the Master about the letter, he perceived it in his hand, gave it over to him, and was bidden to return to his place. By the radical power of the occult chemistry or physics, the astralized letter was restored to its solid state, taken by H. P. B., and the next day duly posted to my Aligarh address; the sequel is known. — Op. cit., p. 31

Col. Olcott describes another astral visit by Damodar to H. P. Blavatsky which took place a week or so later in the train on the way to Lahore, and before long while Damodar and Olcott were in Lahore they both had the privilege of meeting and conversing with the Mahatman Koot Hoomi in his physical body. W. T. Brown also saw him.

The time was approaching when Damodar's period of probation, considerably shortened because of his rapid advance, would end, and he would be allowed to begin his training in Tibet. On November 25, 1883, shortly after the meeting with the Mahatman at Lahore, and when Olcott and Damodar were spending a few days at Jammu in Kashmir, as guests of the Maharaja, the Masters called Damodar to one of their forest retreats (asramas) which was not far away. Damodar instantly departed without notifying Olcott, who was alarmed by his disappearance until H. P. Blavatsky telegraphed from Adyar that the Master told her he would return. In less than three days he came back, a changed man, "seemingly robust, tough, and wiry, bold and energetic in manner: we could scarcely realize that he was the same person," writes Olcott.

Damodar's experience at the Master's asrama was evidently a preparation for his journey to Tibet, which has already been mentioned, but before he could be granted this inestimable opportunity he had to be tested in a new and quite unexpected way in connection with the disgraceful attacks on the Theosophical Society by Mme. Coulomb.

After Damodar's visit to the Master's asrama near Jammu, mentioned above, he returned to Adyar and took up his arduous duties again. H. P. Blavatsky and Col. Olcott departed for Europe on February 20, 1884, and stayed away till December. During this time the Headquarters was left in charge of a Council which contained many discordant elements, and in a few months the Indian section was in the midst of the turmoil of the 'Coulomb affair,' details of which first reached Olcott when he was in Germany with H. P. Blavatsky in September, 1884, through a letter from the ever faithful Damodar. Owing to the opposition Damodar had to meet from more or less disaffected members and owing to the complications of the Coulomb trouble, his health broke down again.

It would be out of place to consider the Coulomb-Hodgson case here except in so far as it concerns Damodar. Mme. Coulomb charged him with supporting in public the claim that the Mahatmans are real persons, living men, while privately not believing it; and that he had conspired with her to deceive the members of the Society and the public in this matter. Of course there was no basis for this preposterous accusation, and the absurdity of her case was exposed when the illogical and self-contradictory nature of its contents was revealed. For example, she admitted that she and her husband tried to deceive Damodar himself by methods that would have been utterly useless and unreasonable if they really thought that he disbelieved in the Masters! (For information on this subject see H. P. Blavatsky and the Theosophical Movement by C. J. Ryan; or Defence of H. P. Blavatsky, and The New Universe by Beatrice Hastings.)

In view of this Hindu Chela's intense devotion to the Master Koot Hoomi, the glorious ideal of his childhood vision, and the great help he had received from him and the other Mahatmans, Mme. Coulomb's charges are so ridiculous that an apology for mentioning them is almost called for! The purity of Damodar's life, the flavor of his writings, his sacrifice of all the world holds dear — family, wealth, high social position, country, etc.— to work indefatigably for Theosophy (in which the existence of Mahatmans is an indispensable factor) make the charges actually grotesque.

When the names and personalities of the Mahatmans Morya and Koot Hoomi began to be disrespectfully treated by the Coulombs and other enemies of the Theosophical Movement, Damodar and the other chelas suffered far more acutely than from the personal charges against themselves. They found that the affair was very difficult to handle, not from any lack of evidence but for a reason not easily appreciated outside India or certain other Oriental countries. According to the unwritten code of the Indian Occult Schools the honored names of the Gurus or spiritual Teachers are never dragged into any kind of controversy; in fact, few if any true chelas will mention the name or dwelling place of the Master to outsiders, or even admit their connection with a Guru.* Therefore, when the prospect arose of having to give evidence concerning the existence of such Teachers, statements which might break this immemorial and wise tradition, the situation became critical and tragical. Handicapped by this difficulty the defence was naturally weakened, and through the excessive zeal of Damodar and others in protecting their trust from profanation, as they regarded it, serious errors of judgment were committed. These are referred to by H. P. Blavatsky in Letter L, quoted in Chapter VI of this volume where she says that the Master was seriously displeased by the mistaken methods of Damodar and other chelas in handling the case.

*H. P. Blavatsky says that "as in the case of Subba Row (the well known writer, a learned chela of the Mahatman M.) they will sooner die than speak of their Masters." It may be asked: How could H. P. Blavatsky, a high chela, or Damodar, speak of the Masters and give out information hitherto preserved with great secrecy, without breaking the rules? She explained that at this critical period in human history the Masters had decided that it was time to open the door a little wider, and therefore she was given authority to reveal certain matters that were formerly forbidden. But far more, of course, is reserved until mankind is ready, mentally and morally, to understand it and to employ it wisely.

In June, 1886, about a year after Damodar had reached Tibet and affairs were settling down again at Adyar, the Master K. H. wrote to Col. Olcott giving him the reason why Damodar had suffered so deeply. He says:

The poor boy has had his fall. Before he could stand in the presence of the "Masters" he had to undergo the severest trials that a neophyte ever passed through, to atone for the many questionable doings in which he had over-zealously taken part, bringing disgrace upon the sacred science and its adepts. The mental and physical suffering was too much for his weak frame, which has been quite prostrated, but he will recover in course of time. This ought to be a warning to you all. You have believed "not wisely but too well." . . . — Did H. P. Blavatsky Forge The Mahatma Letters? by C. Jinarajadasa

H. P. Blavatsky knew of this, for she wrote, shortly after he reached Tibet: "The poor boy . . . has no happy times now since he is on probation and this is terrible."

Damodar's errors, however, did not arise from wrong or selfish motives — quite the reverse, but his Master well knew that even the most promising candidates for initiation must take the consequences of their acts, wise or foolish, just like anyone else. Before the Coulomb troubles the Master had spoken of the misunderstandings that Damodar aroused by his excessive zeal, but for all that he was found worthy of the high training of the Tibetan Mystery School, a rare distinction.

H. P. Blavatsky and Col. Olcott had the greatest respect and affection for him, and the high estimation in which the Masters held him is proved by a remark in a letter from Olcott to Miss Francesca Arundale dated February 9, 1885. He says Damodar is starting for Tibet and that the Master has arranged that if H. P. Blavatsky, who was very ill, should die before Ddmodar returned to take her place as the link between the Masters and the Society, he, Olcott, would have to fill the gap for the time being. Modestly he adds, "These are His orders, but I should be a sorry substitute." Olcott said that he loved Damodar as a son, and he was terribly missed by both H. P. Blavatsky and Olcott when he was called to Tibet.

William Q. Judge corresponded frequently with Damodar and thought highly of him. In one letter to Damodar he writes: "And as to having made greater progress than you, I think I have some positive knowledge on that point. At one time I may have been further than you, but not now." Judge was inclined to think him "too humble" in contrast to some of his critics who considered him too plain-speaking!

On March 31, 1885, H. P. Blavatsky sailed for Europe in order to write her great work, The Secret Doctrine, in relative peace. Damodar left Adyar on February 23 on the first stage of his longed-for journey to the Mystery School of his Master in Tibet. He stayed, on his way, at Calcutta, Benares, Darjiling, and Sikkim. At Benares he had long talks with the woman ascetic, Maji, a highly respected friend and almost, we might say, colleague, of H. P. Blavatsky. She is mentioned in one or more of Damodar's letters. Damodar had to wait at Benares for about a fortnight until the decision came that he was to start immediately for Sikkim, where he would meet the distinguished personage under whose protection he was to travel to the 'Forbidden Land.' On April 23, 1885, they began the perilous crossing of the Himalayas.

For a considerable time no news was received from Damodar, and many thought that he had not survived the hardships of the journey. Olcott writes to Miss F. Arundale on July 8, 1885, that in the absence of authentic information rumors had arrived that he had perished, but Olcott is certain that this is false. H. P. Blavatsky had good reason to believe he was alive. He had told her that he would arrange so that no one would search for him, and it would appear certain that he was lost. She gave him a few things to throw away on his journey as if he were overcome by fatigue. His object was to give no further cause, so far as he was concerned, for any discussion about the Masters whose names had been so desecrated.

From time to time, during H. P. Blavatsky's stay at Wurzburg in 1885-6, the Masters and some of their chelas would visit her in the astral. Countess Wachtmeister, herself a remarkable clairvoyant, also saw them. On January 4-6, 1886, H. P. Blavatsky wrote to A. P. Sinnett, "I saw Damodar last night. . . . About the same time she wrote to Dr. Franz Hartmann that she knew Damodar was alive and probably in Tibet at that moment. Evidently thinking of the persecution she was still enduring and of her longing to go "Home," she cried to Sinnett, "Happy Damodar! He went to the land of Bliss, to Tibet and must now be far away in the regions of our Masters." Maji reported, from statements made by pilgrims returning from Tibet, that Damodar was there, and in The Theosophist, July, 1886, Supplement, a notice was issued, signed by H. S. Olcott and T. Subba Row, that news had arrived as recently as June 7 that Damodar was safely "under the guardianship of the friends he had sought" but that his return would probably be uncertain for a long time to come.

Another very interesting reference which settles the matter occurs in a letter from H. P. Blavatsky to her old friend Khan Bahadur N. D. Khandalavala, dated London, November, 1889, more than four years after Damodar's departure. She writes:

. . . Damodar is not dead, and Olcott knows it as well as I do. I had a letter from him not more than 3 months ago, and his opinion of his countrymen at the present juncture is a caution. . . . It is a base falsehood that he was driven away from Adyar. I was driven away, by the cowardice of those for whom I had risked my whole life, reputation and honour, and he was the only true, devoted friend I had in all India, the only one who having the Masters' and my secret, knew the whole truth and therefore knew that whatever people thought being blinded by appearance I had never deceived anyone — though I was bound on my oath and pledge to conceal much from everyone, even Olcott. Damodar was ready from his last birth to enter the highest PATH and suspected it. . . . — The Theosophist, August, 1932, pp. 623-4

Among the host of members who have enrolled in the Theosophical Society since 1875, few have exemplified the true Theosophical life so well as Damodar, but he was also equipped with 'technical Theosophy' without which the highest ethics lack the philosophic and scientific foundation which answers the question of Why and Wherefore.

Damodar could express his ideas clearly in writing. His literary output was not large but it is valuable. It did not wander from the 'Original Lines' as laid down by the Masters, and therefore it is as 'modern' today as it was sixty or so years ago, for true Theosophy does not grow old. Damodar's range was wide, as the reader will find on perusing the contents of this volume. Of special interest are his lively but not exaggerated accounts of 'historical' events in which he took part, particularly those which reveal, within permitted bounds, his personal experiences with the Mahatmans. Having received a good training in English he wrote the language with ease, and if his style lacked polish in his earlier period it quickly improved, and when occasion required it eloquently proclaimed the intensity of his belief and trust in the saving message of Theosophy.

Damodar was only one of a group of Indian and Tibetan chelas who helped H. P. Blavatsky in India, but none of them worked so closely beside her, and with the exception of Damodar and Subba Row we know little of their personal lives. Damodar's story arouses a vivid impression of the early days of the Theosophical Society in India, permeated with the enthusiasm and devotion of the few sincere workers who carried the Movement safely over apparently unsurmountable obstacles, from attacks by open enemies, and from the more dangerous onslaughts from within by the disappointed ambition, jealousy, cowardice and plain treachery for selfish ends of fairweather friends. Though the guidance of the Masters was naturally more apparent in the early days when the Society was in its infancy, the same inspiration has never failed throughout the sixty-five years of its checkered history, and today Theosophy, the Light from the East, is widely recognised as a powerful factor in the thought of the age. — C. J. RYAN


Part II

Contents