Adyar: The International Headquarters of the Theosophical Society

Adyar: The International Headquarters of the Theosophical Society

Introduction by Radha Burnier
Adyar Madras (Chennai): Theosophical Publishing House, 1999. Paperback, xii + 36 pages.

Adyar: Historical Notes and Features up to 1934. 2d ed.
By Mary K. Neff, Henry S. Olcott, Annie Besant, Ernest Wood, J. Krishnamurti, George S. Arundale. Foreword by C. Jinarajadasa. Adyar Madras (Chennai): Theosophical Publishing House, 1999. Paperback, x +54 pages, 1st ed. 1934 as A Guide to Adyar.

These two guidebooks present an introduction to the international center or "Home of the Theosophical Society--one a new work on Adyar today and the other a new edition of an older work on the Adyar of yesteryear. Together, they give a comprehensive overview of the campus that has been the headquarters of the Theosophical Society since 1882.

The first, the new work, is lavishly illustrated with color photographs, an average of one per page. It gives an Insightful, colorful, and extensive view of present-day Adyar. It covers the history, the grounds, the shrines, the Garden of Remembrance, the international offices, the Theosophical Publishing House, the Vasanta Press, the School of the Wisdom, the Adyar Library, the museum and archives, the guest houses, the Olcott Memorial School and other welfare activities, the Theosophical Order of Service, and international conventions. The book gives an informative and handsomely appealing tour of Adyar, its physical plant, educational activities, administrative operations, charitable services, and spiritual events. From it one gains a real sense of what Adyar is and means.

The second, newly reedited older work, covers the history of Adyar more extensively, particularly in two articles by one of our most knowledgeable historians, Mary K. Neff, tracing the history of the place under the Society's first two presidents: Henry S. Olcott, who was responsible for the initial development of Adyar, and Annie Besant, who enlarged the campus and expanded its operations. The other authors listed above give glimpses of Adyar from their intimate personal perspectives.

These two booklets are works to be read by anyone who wants to know what Adyar is like now and was like in the past. They should be in the library of every Theosophist because they give, not just a tourist-guide description, but an empathetic visit to the "spiritual heart" of the Theosophical Society.


July/August 2000