Damodar K. Mavalankar – Esoteric Buddhism and Hinduism

[From The Theosophist, June, 1884.]

[Note by Damodar to an article signed “A Brahman Theosophist” discussing A. P. Sinnett’s book Esoteric Buddhism in connection with Hinduism. — EDS.]

Note. — We print the above letter as it expresses in courteous language and in an able manner the views of a large number of our Hindu brothers. At the same time it must be stated that the name of Esoteric Buddhism was given to Mr. Sinnett’s latest publication, not because the doctrine propounded therein is meant to be specially identified with any particular form of Faith, but because Buddhism means the doctrine of the Buddhas, the Wise, i. e., the WISDOM-RELIGION. At least that was the understanding on which the name was permitted to be used. We have now only to make one remark in regard to what our correspondent says concerning Exoteric Hinduism. The Hindus have devoted ages to a study of religious problems. Hence all possible phases of thought are propounded by different schools. Extreme materialists, positivists, theists, dualists, non-dualists, &c. &c., can, one and all, quote some ancient authority or other in their favour. Hence it is extremely difficult to say whether exoteric Hinduism is nearer the Esoteric Doctrine than any other Faith. One can say that a particular form of Hinduism approaches the Occult Doctrine much nearer than any other; and that is all. We must say a few words more. Although the book of Mr. Sinnett employs a Buddhistic phraseology, our correspondent must have noticed that the Theosophist almost invariably uses the Vedantic form of expression. Thus readers of the Theosophic literature will see that, although the two Faiths may use different phraseology, the ideas underlying the same are identical. — D. K. M.