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Vassar College

Publication Date

Spring 2014

Program Name

India: National Identity and the Arts


Though the Theosophical Society promotes the universal wisdom found at the core of all religions, the Society locates India, particularly Hindu India, as the unwavering source of spiritual wisdom valuable worldwide. As a result, the Theosophical Society has reconfigured its own Hindu ‘truths’ within its teachings. This Independent Study Project observes the influence of the Theosophical Society’s reconfiguration of Hindu values on Indian national identity. During the struggle for Indian Home Rule, the Theosophical Society’s use and defense of Hinduism became a tool of the Home Rule movement. Relying predominantly on archival research conducted at the Theosophical Society of Adyar’s Library and Research Center, and the Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, this ISP finds that elements of the Theosophical Society’s defense of Hinduism have also been indigenized by right-wing Hindu nationalists. This ISP traces the trajectory of Theosophy’s influence on Hindu nationalism from the origins of the Indian National Congress to today.


Arts and Humanities | History of Religions of Eastern Origins | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


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