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Remembering pioneers

T.S. Atul Swaminathan
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Tranquillity:The site where Henry Steel Olcott, president-founder, The Theosophical Society, Adyar, was buried. —Photo: N. Sridharan
Tranquillity:The site where Henry Steel Olcott, president-founder, The Theosophical Society, Adyar, was buried. —Photo: N. Sridharan

T.S. Atul Swaminathan

The Theosophical Society, Adyar, continues to hold a special place for many of its members. With its natural beauty, and quiet surroundings, the deep woods or ‘Huddleston Gardens,’ as it is called, has become a sacred centre of shelter for weary travellers, and its members, who want to know more about the Society.

As one walks into the idyllic campus with its rare, diverse flora and fauna, they feel relaxed and good. Silence and calmness prevail inside the treasure trove of nature’s beauty. The Theosophical Society, every year observes, February 17, as ‘Adyar Day’ in memory of Col. Henry Steel Olcott, President-Founder, The Theosophical Society, Adyar, and founder of Olcott Memorial High School (1894).

On this day, members gather at the place where Henry Steel Olcott was buried, offer prayers and pay floral tributes at the memorial built in his honour on the campus.

“Adyar Day was initiated in the 1920’s commemorating those who have worked for the Society, sacrificed their time and energy to build the Institution,” S. Harihara Raghavan, General Manager, The Theosophical Society, said. Henry Steel Olcott, and Jiddu Krishnamurti, writer on philosophical and spiritual subjects, passed away on February 17, Charles Webster Leadbeater, an influential member of the Theosophical Society, was born on this day, and Giordano Bruno, a free thinker, who stood for truth and freedom, was burnt to death at the stake on this day in 1600.

“The day is observed as a homage to these pioneers. The members who are scattered around the globe, should turn to Adyar, to remember and say thanks to those who walked before us, dedicated their lives to Theosophy, and gave us the very special gift ‘Adyar’.

“Along with the thanksgiving prayer, and remembering people, who have worked for the Institution, the members recollect their (people) glorious contribution, and rededicate to work for Adyar,” he added.

On ‘Adyar Day’, the students of Olcott Memorial High School, observe Colonel Henry Steele Olcott’s memory by singing songs, holding a procession carrying his portrait through the green canopy of The Theosophical Society.

Olcott Urur Kuppam, a fishing hamlet in Besant Nagar, is named after him. In 1882, when the Head Quarters of The Theosophical Society was moved to Adyar along with Olcott and Blavatsky, Olcott would sit on the lawns in Adyar, and villagers, would line up to consult him for cures of various ailments.

‘Adyar Day’ will be observed on February 17, Sunday, at the Head Quarters Hall, The Theosophical Society, Adyar, at 9.30 a.m.

The day is observed as homage to the thoughts and love

of all members scattered around the globe

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