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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Light of Asia

A long poem by Edwin Arnold (1832-1904) on the life and teachings of Buddha. It was published in 1879 and achieved great popularity. Helena P. Blavatsky had so high a regard for it that she requested that after her death, a portion of Light of Asia be read when people want to commemorate her death anniversary. This practice has been honored throughout the theosophical world to this day.

Arnold later composed a poem on the life and teachings of Jesus (Light of the World, 1891), but this was not so well received. H. P. Blavatsky wrote that he had composed the poem about Jesus in an attempt to offset some of the criticism of him by orthodox Christians that followed the publication of Light of Asia.

P.S.H./V.H.C.

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