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Tatya, Tukaram

(1836-1898). A prominent early theosophist. He was born in Bombay, India, in 1836 in a family of the Bhandari class (jati) of the Sudra caste (varna). Orphaned at the age of ten, he was adopted by his cousin’s wife, who worked to support the family. He received his initial education at a mission school, but was eventually expelled from the school because he refused to become a Christian. Tukaram became a highly respected merchant and participant in the local political scene.

Tukaram joined the Theosophical Society (TS) on May 2, 1880, after having read about the Society in The Theosophist, and became a trusted friend and assistant to the President-Founder Henry S. OLCOTT. He joined the TS at the time when the Founders lived in Bombay and therefore Bombay was the focus of theosophical activity; when the Founders moved to Adyar, near Madras, it was Tukaram who worked to maintain interest in theosophy in the Bombay area. He was particularly interested in the use of what was then called mesmerism and treated thousands of patients at a homoeopathic clinic he established.

In 1894, he established a Theosophical Publishing Fund with the object of popularizing Indian philosophical writings. He was responsible for publishing inexpensive English translations of the Vedas, Upani±ads, and the BHAGAVAD-GITA as well as other works on ancient PHILOSOPHY, YOGA, and metaphysics. He also published works in Sanskrit and Marathi. He died June 2, 1898.


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