A Collection of Esoteric Writings of T. Subba Row/Preface



Whilst presenting this little volume to the public, we cannot but pay due tribute to the memory of one who had done such good service to the cause of Occult Science. The late lamented Mr. T. Subba Row, b.a., b.l., of the Madras University, was one of the highest Occultists of Southern India. We tried our utmost to collect as many facts relating to his life as we could possibly get from his relatives and friends, to enable us to write a short sketch of his life to go with this book. But, we regret to say, that our endeavours in this direction have been without fruit. We have, therefore, had no alternative but to reproduce the notice of his death taken by Col. H. S. Olcott, in the "Theosophist," in its place.

Mr. Subba Row was a member of the Theosophical Society, and was highly respected not only by all its members, but also by Madame H. P. Blavatsky, for his great erudition and proficiency in almost all the branches of Occult Science. Madame Blavatsky used always to consult him whenever there were difficult and intricate problems to be solved. And we know she had, at one time, sent the manuscripts of her most valuable work, "The Secret Doctrine," to him for correction and alteration; but he declined to undertake the work because he believed the world was not yet prepared to accept the disclosures of those secrets which had been, for good reason, hitherto kept within the knowledge of the sacred few.

Mr. T. Subba Row had written no book on Occult Science, but he has left behind him a series of lectures and articles which he used every now and then to contribute to the "Theosophist," and which display the real depth of his knowledge, and his worth as an Occultist. He, in the year 1887, at the Convention of the Theosophical Society, held at Adyar, Madras, gave a course of lectures to assist Theosophists and others in their study of the Philosophy of Bhagwad Gita. We all know how difficult to understand is the Philosophy of the Gita, notwithstanding the commentaries written thereon in Sanskrit as well as in many modern Eastern and even Western languages. The reason of this is obvious. Everyone acquainted with the description of the great war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas knows that the Bhagwad Gita was preached by Bhagwan Shri Krishna to his friend and disciple Arjun, because of the disinclination expressed by the latter to fight on the battlefield. This description, as a matter of course, as there was no time to be lost, must have been recited in a short space of time, in the form of Aphorisms in short sentences, conveying a deep hidden meaning. Shri Krishna knew that Arjun was able accurately to comprehend in all its fullness the significance of this teaching.

Mr. Subba Row has written a commentary on this Philosophy, and has done his best to make it as elucidative, consistent, and clear as possible. We have printed these lectures in a separate book, and the readers will find on its study what an amount of learning the lecturer must have had.

These very lectures are conspicuous for the fact of having created between Mr. Subba Row and Madame Blavatsky a difference of opinion regarding the Koshas (कोश) or principles of which the human being is formed. This resulted in a written controversy between them, which the reader will find reprinted in this book.

Though most of the articles reproduced here are of controversial character, the reader will find them of sterling worth and merit on account of the originality of thought displayed and the able treatment of the various points controverted. And, moreover, they teem with learned and useful suggestions for progress of the students of Occult Science. Those who had read and studied these articles in the various numbers of the "Theosophist," as they appeared from time to time, had more than once requested us to reprint them in a collected form for the benefit to students of Occult learning.

Besides these articles, we are in possession of several notes of a miscellaneous character, regarding the private instructions given by Mr. T. Subba Row to the "chosen few" who had the good fortune to be in close contact with him. But we are sorry to say that they are incomplete, and were given by him only under the pledge of secrecy. It has, therefore, been thought desirable not to publish them. Mr. T. Subba Row had also made contributions to the local newspapers and magazines, but we think it unnecessary to reprint these, as they are solely on questions political and social.

Here we cannot help thanking our respected brother, the Hon'ble Mr. Subramaniyar for the valuable help, pecuniary and otherwise, he has rendered us in publishing some of our works.

Bombay, 1st April 1895. T. T.