Theosophical Society - Pune Lodge.
On the road to B.M.C.C. from the lane opposite Rupali Hotel, a old stone bungalow attracts our attention. It's a nice bungalow of olden days, built around 1886 making it century old period building. The structure's foundation stone was laid by Annie Beasant, and even inaugurated by her after completion. This building houses the lodge of one of the internationally known esoteric institutions, called Theosophical Society with tenets of secret doctrine, and universal brotherhood. In their terminology the centre is called as Lodge.
The Society was formed by three eminent people called Madam Helena Blavatsky, an occultist, alongwith Henry Olcott, and Mr.W.Q.Judge, in the year of 1875 in New York. Presently Theosophical Society is spread over 70 countries with 26000 members. The Society integrates various elements of Hinduism, Suphism, Buddhism and is based on the universal laws of religion and brotherhood.
They incorporate, comparative studies of religions, investigating mystical secrets of the esoteric world, promotion of universal brotherhood. Believing in super masters who are at the highest echelons of theosophist hierarchy. It is believed by them as immortals, living in Tibetan region.
The two most important masters are Kuth Humi, and other one is Morya. Theosophy came to India in 1879, and started rooting . Annie Beasant took to theosophy in 1889.
The head office is in Adyar, Chennai, where Annie Beasant breathed her last in 1933.
Madamme Blavatsky had strong occult powers. And strong proponent of transmigration of soul. One of the most eminent theosophist from India was world famous philosopher J. Krishnamurthy, who headed the Society for almost 15 years or so. Annie Beasant took him under her wings, and trained him in theosophy and sent him and his brother to England in childhood for their Education.
As a story goes one Mr.Narayan Shridhar Marathe a devout theosophist was in Germany during World War 1. The then king William Kaeser gave him dozen diamonds, to be given to Lokmanya Tilak for raising funds to fund armed struggle against British.
Marathe handed over the diamonds to Tilak - but Tilak didn't use them as he didn't want swarajya with the help of Germans. Subsequently diamonds were handed to one Mr. Bhave, who raised capital for his business with consensus of Tilak and others from Tilak's group.
Mr.Marathe had devoted almost 30 years of his life for Theosophical work.
The Pune Theosophical Society was formed on 25th of January in 1882. Poona lodge building was leased from Mr. L. R. Gokhale for 200 years of lease, on one rupee per year, further extendable by another two hundred years. Khanbahadur Nowrrojee Dorabjee Khandalwala was the president of Pune lodge at that time. Mr.Gokhale had purchased the land from Shirole Patil who owned large tracts of land including Fergusson College land. The building was designed by Architect Mr.Talim. The foundation stone was laid by Annie Beasant on 6th of February in 1926. The building was inaugurated on 9th of December in 1927.
In the beginning the upper floor was used by Freemason's Society, another occultic Society. Before coming to Deccan Gymkhana area, the lodge was in different areas. Starting from Pune Cantonment, to some Peth areas like dispensary of Dr. N .G. Ranade. In between The Maharashtra Lodge was started in 1917. And a seperate women's lodge was started called Beasant Lodge. Present president at Pan India level is Tim Boyd, a veteran American theosophist over 4 decades. The current president of the Pune lodge is Mr. V. S. Pote.
This impressive vintage lodge building stands in dense tree cover with a silent but mystic aura and solitude. The place is an active center of Theosophy and has spacious spaces, for prayers, meditation , and training, for all with no discrimination of sex, religion, caste and creed. Next time you pass that road give it a good look and not just a passing glance to this spiritual hub of esoteric knowledge in Pune.
Note :- Another occultic Society active in Pune is a famous Freemason's Society to which many of the U.S. Presidents subscribed and practiced. This was started 1844 in Pune by shifting a existing lodge from Mumbai. It was in a secluded bungalow in close proximity of Bishops High School. It was under care of the senior most Mason Mr.F.D.Bilimoria. Today their Masonic lodge is in Khadki Bazar. This Society is secretive about certain aspects and conduct ritualistic practices.
These two institutions in Pune, put Pune on esoteric, and mystic map of India.
Disclaimer: Photos are not taken by me. Copyrights to the photos lie with the original photographers.