Our Fourth Year
Theosophist, August, 1882
The end of the third year of publication has come (Volume III ends with the September number), and still the THEOSOPHIST exists and thrives, despite its enemies. A large number who subscribed for it at the beginning are still its patrons, and, better yet, its friends. Its healthy influence upon Asiatic thought is greater than at any previous time, as the responses from all parts of India to the President’s Circular, which appeared in the July number, plainly show. Time, which has torn the masks from so many false friends, has but made more evident the fact that the THEOSOPHIST and its founders are the staunch champions of every man and every movement whose object is to improve the intellectual, moral, and spiritual condition of the Aryan and Iranian races. The broad eclectic policy, promised for the magazine, has been rigidly adhered to, and to the extent of our ability we have tried to lay the truth about the world’s archaic religions before an impartial world. This has been done at the heavy cost of a series of public attacks upon our good faith, and ungenerous misrepresentations of our motives, which, foreseeing, we might have easily avoided if we had been false to our convictions. The Asiatic public has given us the proofs of its sympathy in a support of the magazine as generous as perhaps we could have expected under the circumstances. Far more might have been done if our warmest friends had exerted themselves as a body to get new subscribers; but still the publication has more than paid its way as it is, and the entire profits have been given by the Proprietors towards the expenses of the Theosophical Society, as they will be, no doubt, in future. We never set ourselves up as teachers of Aryan philosophy and science, but promised to give out, for the benefit of this inquiring age, such facts of interest as might come under our notice. Our great desire has been to foster a school of native students of, and writers upon, those majestic themes, and to arouse into vital activity the latent talent which abounds in the Indian race especially. Such will continue to be our endeavour, and as time runs on, this development must of necessity take place. Already it is most apparent that the seed we have sown is germinating; Sanskrit schools are springing up, the long-needed Catechism of Hindu Ethics is being advertised for publication, the esoteric meaning of the ancient religious books and ceremonial rites is being enquired into, societies to promote national culture are being organized, both as Branches of our Parent Society and independently; translations and commentaries multiply, and there is a larger demand for works by native authors than there ever was before. There is also noted an improved moral tone among Indian youth, and a warm and unprecedented interest among University graduates in their ancestral literature. All this is most cheering to the projectors of this magazine, and they assume the publication of its Fourth Volume with the greatest pleasure, seeing the happy results of past labour.
The Proprietors of the THEOSOPHIST have never touted for it, nor adopted the usual commercial expedients to secure for it a large circulation. They will not do so now: the merits of the publication must serve as its sole recommendation. If its friends, and especially the Fellows of our Society, can reconcile with their sense of duty to abstain from helping it, we shall not reproach them. All that need be said is, that the wider its circulation, the more will be done for the moral regeneration of India, and the more liberal will be our donations to the Society of our creation and our love. It would also be a kindly act if journals, friendly to us, were to announce our new Volume.
There will be no change, either in the terms of subscription or the system of prepayment—which latter three years of experience has now shown to be incomparably the best for all concerned. As regards the geographical distribution of the THEOSOPHIST it may be remarked that, as with Volumes. I. and II., it goes to every nook and comer of India, and has gradually found its way all over the world. There are the most substantial reasons for knowing that there is a growing interest in Theosophy in the Madras Presidency, since the number of our subscriptions there has already outstripped that of Bombay. Bengal is not far behind, but the North-West Provinces are pushing it close. As regards membership, our new Branch at Madras is the largest, numerically, but one (the Colombo, Buddhist, Branch) in Asia. To facilitate the registration of names and the prompt despatch of the October number (No. I. of Volume IV.) it is requested that intending subscriber’s will at once send in their remittances to the MANAGER, Theosophist Office, Breach Candy, Bombay. For terms, see the Manager’s advertisement on the last page of this number.