Faculty of Humanities
University of Amsterdam

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Faculty of Humanities
University of Amsterdam

Online lecture: Bharat Samaj Puja: Studying a Theosophical Ritual, by Mriganka Mukhopadhyay 10 April 2024

This talk by Mriganka Mukhopadhyay, PhD student at the HHP centre, is hosted by The University College Cork’s Study of Religions Research Seminar Series. It will focus on Bharat Samaj Puja, an understudied ritual performed by the Theosophical Society in India since the early twentieth century. This ritual was initially designed by Tamil Theosophists and was further developed by Charles W. Leadbeater and Jiddu Krishnamurti, two leading figures of the Theosophical movement. In this regard, a Bharat Samaj temple was built based on the drawings of Leadbeater’s Thought Forms. Besides, a Bharat Samaj Association was also formed for planning and organising the ritual across India. The ceremony, still performed by Indian members in the Theosophical centres in India, consists of chanting Vedic hymns and worshipping fire during mass congregation. The ceremony sheds light on the Hindu ritualistic practices within the Theosophical movement in the context of the global history of religion. This talk will critically examine Bharat Samaj Puja from historical and contemporary perspectives. It will be discussed how the ritual helped the Theosophical Society connect itself to Indian nationalism and Hindu revivalism through ritualistic practices.

The talk will be held on Wednesday 10 april from 5-6pm (Irish Time/GMT) on MS Teams.
Click for the link to the lecture.

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