B P Wadia - A biography Part 4 of 7
Feb 23, 1998 06:03 PM
by M K Ramadoss
Continued from Part 3 of 7
During the second World War, several students of ULT were suddenly
transferred by their employers to new locations in the country. A number
of them set up Study Classes and drew to themselves others who became in
their turn students of Theosophy. Such Study Groups were formed in their
homes in New Delhi (which in l960 became a Lodge), Calcutta, Poona, Baroda,
On the 12th of August 1942, the Bangalore Lodge of ULT was opened. A
building named "Maitri Bhavan" (Abode of Friends) at 15, Sir Krishna Rao
Rd., Basavangudi, Bangalore 4, houses a central hall for meetings,
lectures, and study classes; a library devoted to Theosophical reference
books; and also residential quarters for visiting students. It conducts a
publishing program that is complementary to, and in harmony with that which
the Bombay Lodge runs. In this work it has reprinted the many pamphlets
that make the articles of HPB and WQJ available to students at low cost
following the pattern adopted earlier by the Los Angeles Lodge.
In 1945, on August 11th, the Indian Institute of Culture was started by Mr.
Wadia, with Dr. L. S. Doraiswamy, as its first Secretary. This was to be
an extension of Theosophical work, in line with the 2nd Object of the
This was designed to bring to Bangalore learned persons from many countries
who were visiting India, who were asked to lecture or give short courses in
their specialties there. It also served as a forum for prominent Indian
specialists to lecture on their investigations and findings. Later the
name of this institution was changed to The Indian Institute of World
Culture. It houses a large library, sponsors many regular programs of
talks, musical recitals, seminars. And, it has a substantial publishing
program of books, transactions and pamphlets in addition to its regular
monthly Bulletin. The inaugural meeting and many subsequent meetings were
held at No. 1, North Public Square Rd.
Some years later over an acre of land was acquired at No. 6, North Public
Square Rd. for the IIWC Institute, and buildings were erected. These
include a lecture hall, the Wm. Q. Judge Hostel for students, a Library,
and other buildings. In 1959, following Mr. Wadia's death ( Aug. 20th l958
), North Public Square Road was renamed by the Bangalore Municipality and
citizenry: B. P. Wadia Road.
On the 18th of February 1955 Mr. Wadia laid the corner stone for the
present home of the ULT in Bombay at 40 New Marine Lines, ( Theosophy Hall
). 328 persons from several countries attended this foundation ceremony.
November 9th 1957, in Bangalore, saw the opening of the New Lecture Hall of
the Indian Institute of World Culture by the Maharaja of Mysore, (he was
also Mysore State's first Governor in Independent India) at 6 North Pubic
Square Rd. in the Basavangudi quarter of Bangalore. At that time Mr.
Wadia, who welcomed the Maharaja, renamed the Institute so that it now
included the word: "World."
On November 17th 1957 Theosophy Hall in Bombay was inaugurated at 6.15 p.m.
by Mr. Wadia. The auditorium and balcony built to accommodate 500 was
overflowing and people stood in the aisles. Over 700 were counted. ULT
associates from all over India and several foreign countries came for the
The building houses on two floors the main auditorium, above are two more
floors devoted to the ULT offices and the Reference Library--(over 120,000
books and pamphlets available ). The Indian P.E.N. has another floor
devoted to its offices. The top two floors are apartments for associated
who work at the Lodge.
August 11th 1958 was to be the Foundation Day lecture at the IIWC. It was
to be given by Mr. Wadia, who had been ill for some days. He had prepared
a talk under the title: Our Soul's Need (later reprinted). He began
reading it, but his voice grew weaker, and he turned the reading over to
Mrs. Wadia, who finished it, while he waited in a chair at the back of the
auditorium. A copy of this had been mailed earlier to Bombay, where on the
same day at 4.30 p.m. a number of students gathered in the Library to read
August 20th 1958 early in the pre-dawn of Bangalore, the intimate friends
of Mr. Wadia received an emergency call. The time was 2.20 a.m. He knew
that he was approaching death and desired to speak to them of the future.
He spoke of the changes that the cycles had brought to him. He reviewed
some past incidents in his life. His first meeting with the Master in the
"Brahma-Vishnu-Siva Cave" in 1907; his vision of HPB early during his stay
in Adyar (November 1918), which two events he said had inspired his life.
He indicated that there would be changes now, and that responsibility would
thenceforth have to be shared among those who had been near to him in the
work, and who would survive him.
It was not until that evening, that he actually passed away. The time of
the death of his body was 7.17 p.m. His friends met immediately after the
event and read from the devotional books he loved: the Bhagavad Gita,
Voice of the Silence, and Light of Asia.
Cremation was the next morning at Chamrajpet, a suburb of Bangalore.
B. P. Wadia - Additional Notes
Memorandum from Wane Kell (Extracts from a letter 1992) :
"B.P.Wadia was a friend of my parents when I was born (Los Angeles, Dec.
1922). I have lived close to Mr. Wadia, and worked with, and for him,
directly and indirectly, until his death in 1958. I hold him in the
highest respect, and have studied his life and his works for all these
years; also, comparing his writings with those of HPB and WQJ on
Theosophy. Here was a man who lived to help others--in the sense that Tom
Paine wrote: "His country was the World, and "to do good" was his religion."
Common-sense and decency demand that no one person, or cabal dominate
others for whatever pretext through coercive means, especially in the T S
where Brotherhood is the only object that all members have subscribed to.
If one could not tolerate an emergent abuse of principle, the first and
only recourse of a "pledged" person is resignation. This can only, after
strenuous attempts at reconciliation, be done individually, not as a group.
A "group" is not essential for the kind of help and support that the world
needs, but there is no reason why any student who is devoted to Masters, to
HPB, and to Their Theosophy, cannot start where he is and organize a study
center with whatever persons Karma may bring around him. It is all in the
will, the motive, and a matter of sincerity, of an inner devotion to HPB,
to the Masters, and to Theosophy, and above all, a grand, embracing and
all-inclusive love for Humanity as a whole.
Mr. Judge, in the expansion of Theosophy in America, after 1886, took
advantage of the wave of interest that arose, and which, in many places, he
stated was the result of Adept influence felt all over the country by those
individuals whose karma made them sensitive to it.
Recently a fine biography on the life of HPB, and bearing that title, by
Sylvia Cranston has been issued, the first printing sold out in 6 weeks
time, with little advertisement. [By November 1993 over 10,000 copies had
been sold. Over 1,800 were distributed to University Libraries in the USA.
A 6th printing is being made and 1995 will find that a paper back edition
is to be issued. French, German, Dutch, Italian, and Russian translations
are being arranged for.]
Students of Theosophy could take advantage of this. The participation of
Theosophical bodies at the Centenary commemora6M3 ion of the Parliament of
Religions in Chicago ( Aug/Sept. 1993 ) underlines the significance of
Theosophy, now, as it was in 1893. I enclose a "bio-chronology" on Mr.
Judge, showing the enormous value of his contribution to the Movement, if
you will review the synopsis of Annual Reports he issued as "General
Secretary, Amer. Sec. T. S.," included therein, you will see how he caused
the work to expand, employing many fine ideas, and the energies of many
There is early evidence of a type of misunderstanding in T S history in
Adyar, that which relates to "authority," to an expectation that individual
members and Branches of the T.S. would accept and comply with, in docile
conformity and acceptance, to such "orders" as the President, Col. Olcott,
PTS might issue from "Adyar." HPB will be found to have been one of the
first to protest and resist this authoritarianism. In her article: "A
Puzzle from Adyar," (HPB Articles, Vol. II, p 217; U.L.T.) she points to
the ethical and personal principles of Theosophical application every
member can employ.
These she declares are transcendent to any "orders" issued from Adyar,
whether by the President, or any other person or body that claimed
authority, to direct the activities and thought of the membership. She
claimed that the essence all effort as also of Theosophical application,
was the self-induced and self-devised decisions made by individual members.
It was a putting into effect the ethics of Theosophy based on the
independent understanding and choice of each member. This is how Karma
operates. This is how all mankind and every being in the Universe
progresses: on their own independent decisions at whatever their level of
intelligence or consciousness.
The first "sin against Brotherhood" openly committed after HPB's death, was
Olcott's action in declaring that Mr. Judge and the "American Section T.S."
as a whole, had seceded, when, in April 1895, it elected to become an
affiliated, but independently administered "T.S. in America." He seems to
have forgotten that earlier he had indicated that he had no objection to
such an independence. Now, in seeming retaliation for his loss of direct
control he refused to consider the further actions of the "T.S.in America,"
which, had registered its desire to remain in fraternal affiliation with
the T.S. Sections, Branches and Fellows in Adyar and elsewhere.
He then presented at a General Meeting of the European Section T.S.
resolutions (in 1895) excommunicating the membership of the T.S.in A,
naming Mr. Judge, its President, and all other members "seceders." The
principle of local autonomy had been agreed to years earlier by him.
First, Mr. Sinnett insisted since 1883 that the London Lodge of the T.S.
should remain entirely independent of his control, to which he agreed.
Later, he wrote to Mr. Judge and to HPB that he had no objection to the
formation of independent Sections. The implementation of local
independence had been arranged by the formation, in turn of the "American
Sec6M3 ion," the "British Section," and the "European Section" of the T.S.
The reason for the creation of these several "sections" was the rapid
expansion of the membership of the T S, and, so as to avoid the delays and
the slowness in administrative matters of detail, when those were
concentrated in the President's office in Adyar, India - also, because he
was frequently absent on tours of duty. Mail was slow and thus detail
suffered, as correspondence with Judge and HPB reveals. Certain problems
had also arisen in Adyar among the staff there which led to inaccuracy and
Legally, it could be treated as a secession of the T.S. outside of America,
as a whole, led by its President: Col. Olcott, from its original and legal
source and center, which had never changed: in New York. This is a fact in
In every case, the imposition of "authoritarian" rule coupled with the
failure to apply fair ethical principles in administration has led to ill
feelings among members, and a failure in the moral/ethical integrity of
those involved became apparent. Both the enforcers and those who accepted
enforcement, without insisting that common-sense ethical principles be
rigidly upheld, have caused the debasing of the esoteric and the exoteric
bodies. Most struggles have revolved around money and power, which True
Theosophy has nothing to do with. ...
Clear speech on sound principles is the only way that any TS
"organization/association/group, etc." can run. The "conference method" is
the only one in which a reasonable consensus can be gained. We are long
past the era of authoritarianism, or rule by right of royal, or of
"apostolic succession," the laying on of hands, etc. All those things open
the doors to some form of sectarianism, and generally an abuse of power for
personal benefit. Pity the future of those people who follow blindly
self-seekers and claimants of various stripes. We need to apply our
knowledge of Karma, reincarnation and derive from Theosophy such moral and
ethical bases for our decisions as will revolutionize the world in a true
sense. Brotherhood in practice will alone do this.
Essentially, administration in a truly Theosophical body, ought to be a
form of practical, cooperative "anarchy." Local units establish a bond of
mutual trust, based on common-sense principles that are universal and
impartial. It is a total elimination of any personal or "partisan"
interest. If such a situation is not possible, then the eventual spiritual
and material failure of any T S organization can be predicted with
It is for this reason that Mr. Wadia in 1919-20, after finding how Judge
had been treated by the conspirators (Olcott, A. Besant, B. Keightley,
Olds, Edge, and others ) of 1893-6, on his return to India and Adyar, first
protested directly to Mrs. Annie Besant (who privately agreed that he was
right. But, she said to him that although Mr. Judge had been unfairly
treated she was unwilling at that time to make any further public redress
beyond what she had already written in her article "Theosophical Worthies"
in 1909 in the Theosophist. If one refers to the book entitled The
Theosophical Movement (1875-1925), and 25 years later, an updated edition.
covering the period (1875-1950), all the documents issued, and the sequence
of events will be found given. There are no mysteries left. Most of what
has been written pro- and con- the doings of the individuals involved in
the T S can be independently reviewed using documents. It now becomes the
responsibility of those who read these statements to verify them for
themselves and then to decide how to act individually.
One might be led to conclude that when individuals abandon the impersonal
application of the philosophy of Theosophy for the sake of an Organization,
they get nothing but a seared and dried-up shell. Thereafter, they may be
assuming the dangerous Karma of misguiding their contemporaries and
misleading millions of people still unborn. A heavy Karma rests on even
minor decisions made by any student of Theosophy at a time such as this.
If we take it to be true, as the Great Master stated, that the "TS was
chosen to be the corner-stone for the future religions of humanity."
We are now living hardly 125 years since the repromulgation of Theosophy
and therefore are privileged to be involved in this formative, foundational
work. We may assume that the tests and the decisions that rest on us are
of great magnitude and we should be most careful. Whatever we are, and
however we may rate ourselves, it is a Karmic opportunity for us.
Loyal adherence to a "power group" is like backing the Church Fathers of
the early centuries of Christianity, as they went cutting, paring,
twisting, interpolating and adjusting their selections from current, and
from ancient scriptures, and the Gospels, to fashion a Credo, and a Church
that would serve the needs of black magic to enslave the masses for many
centuries into the future, right up to about 300 years ago, when the
Reformation began in various centers of Europe. They were so clever that
they succeeded in almost entirely concealing their work. In preventing
their descendants by taboos, from discovering the traces of their
malefactions, they condemned millions of faithful but ignorant adherents to
be duped by impossible and absurd explanations, rites, ceremonies and
promises which are entirely illogical and certainly not verifiable - the
creeds and beliefs (so called rites and sacraments) of the Christian Churches.
The publication, in 1896 of the "Third and Revised Edition of the Secret
Doctrine," [with over 40,000 alterations from the "Original Edition" of
1888 - which, needless to say HPB had not authorized or supervised], and
the addition to that of an entirely spurious "Third Volume," [ this 3rd
Vol. contrary to HPB statements made in The Secret Doctrine, Vols. 1 and
11, gives adequate indication of the seriousness of the disease.] A
careful reading of the 2nd Vol. of Isis Unveiled will show so many
parallels, historically, to this creedal trend, that one should not be
surprised, but only feel deep sorrow, that so many have failed to abide by
their pledged "word of honor." How can anyone who breaks that, be
thereafter trusted ?
If one desires to write a biographical apercu of Mr. Wadia' life and work,
with emphasis on his work in the U S and Canada, the Canadian Theosophist
for the months of 1919/20 carried the most detailed reports of his
lectures. When in America, the American Theosophist did the same. As soon
as his resignation from the T S became known, they dropped further mention
Continued in Part 5 of 7
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