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Building of Ananda Theosophical Society

East Godavari, Andhra Pradesh

March 17, 2023 to March 17, 2024

Following the Vande Mataram movement during India's fight for independence, the Home Rule Movement emerged as an inspiring force for the people. On 16.04.1916, Bal Gangadhar Tilak founded home rule with the objective of achieving self-governance as the first step towards liberating India from British rule. Meanwhile, Annie Besant, a woman from Ireland, settled in Madras and became the second president of Theosophical Society. She gave shape to her sentiments by establishing another home-rule league in response to India's circumstances. The two home rule leagues collaborated, and, like the Vande Mataram movement, this movement proliferated throughout the nation.

Annie Besant raised awareness among the youth during her three tours of Andhra Pradesh, leaving a profound impact on the minds of the people with her speeches. As a result, branches of the Theosophical Society were established in various cities, including Visakhapatnam, Eluru, and Vijayawada, making her well-known throughout the region. During her visit to the coastal region of Andhra Pradesh in 1926, the Theosophical Society was established in Rajahmundry, and the foundation stone for its building was laid. On her third tour in 1929, she personally inaugurated the completed Theosophical Society’s lodge in Rajahmundry. Additionally, during her visit to the West Godavari district in 1887, she gave a lecture at the Tadepalligudem Ananda Theosophical Society branch.

The establishment of Theosophical Society branches in Andhra played a vital role in promoting independence and home rule movements and breathed new life into the local population. They emphasized the importance of education in raising awareness, preached against discrimination among people and taught that all are equal in the eyes of God. In addition, they continued communal meals with the Harijans and published newspapers that opposed British rule. By using the power of the press to expose the despicable actions of the British, the Divygnanakarkarta from the Rajahmundry and Tadepalligudem branches instilled the belief that achieving independence would not be difficult if all people stood united, regardless of their differences.

Currently, the Theosophical branch building in Rajahmundry remains closed; however, the Ananda Theosophical Society in Tadepalligudem (West Godavari District) is thriving. This is primarily due to the efforts of its president, Karri Sita Ramachandra Rao, who generously donated his land for the construction of a new library and established various activities. The Ananda Theosophical Society continues to uphold its original purpose, which is to bring about inner transformation in people through the motto "Live selflessly, give others a chance to live." In line with the Theosophical Art of Service introduced by Annie Besant in 1908, the society provides essential facilities like clothes, medicine, and food to the underprivileged.

Source: Somisetty Sarala, Scholar, CCRT