The foundation of this journal is due to causes which, having been enumerated in the Prospectus, need only be glanced at in this connection. They are—the rapid expansion of the Theosophical Society from America to various European and Asiatic countries; the increasing difficulty and expense in maintaining correspondence by letter with members so widely scattered; the necessity for an organ through which the native scholars of the East could communicate their learning to the Western world, and, especially, through which the sublimity of the Aryan, Buddhistic, Parsi, and other religions might be expounded by their own priest or pandits, the only competent interpreters; and finally, to the need of a repository for the facts—especially such as relate to Occultism—gathered by the Society’s Fellows among different nations. Elsewhere we have clearly explained the nature of Theosophy, and the platform of the Society; it remains for us to say a few words as to the policy of our paper.
It has been shown that the individual members of our Society have their own private opinions upon all matters of a religious, as of every other, nature. They are protected in the enjoyment and expression of the same; and, as individuals, have an equal right to state them in The Theosophist, over their own signatures. Some of us prefer to be known as Arya Samajists, some as Buddhists, some as idolaters, some as something else. What each is, will appear from his or her signed communications. But neither Aryan, Buddhist, nor any other representative of a particular religion, whether an editor or a contributor, can, under the Society’s rules, be allowed to use these editorial columns exclusively in the interest of the same, or unreservedly commit the paper to its propaganda. It is designed that a strict impartiality shall be observed in the editorial utterances; the paper representing the whole Theosophical Society, or Universal Brotherhood, and not any single section. The Society being neither a church nor a sect in any sense, we mean to give the same cordial welcome to communications from one class of religionists as to those from another; insisting only, that courtesy of language shall be used towards opponents. And the policy of the Society is also a full pledge and guarantee that there will be no suppression of fact nor tampering with writings, to serve the ends of any established or dissenting church of any country.
Articles and correspondence upon either of the topics included in the plan of The Theosophist are invited; and while, of course, we prefer them to be in the English language, yet if sent in Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, or Gujarati, or in French, Italian, Spanish or Russian, they will be carefully translated and edited for publication. Where it is necessary to print names and words in Hebrew, Greek, and other characters (except Sanskrit and the Indian vernaculars) unlike the Roman, authors will kindly write also their phonetic equivalents in English, as the resources of our printer’s office do not appear great in this direction. Manuscripts must be written legibly, upon one side of the sheet only, and authors should always keep copies at home as we will not be responsible for their loss, nor can we obligate ourselves to return rejected articles. Statements of fact will not be accepted from unknown parties without due authentication.
It is designed that our journal shall be read with as much interest by those who are not deep philosophers as by those who are. Some will delight to follow the pandits through the mazes of metaphysical subtleties and the translations of ancient manuscripts, others to be instructed through the medium of legends and tales of mystical import. Our pages will be like the many viands at a feast, where each appetite may be satisfied and none are sent away hungry. The practical wants of life are to many readers more urgent than the spiritual, and that it is not our purpose to neglect them our pages will amply show.
One more word at the threshold before we bid our guests to enter. The first number of The Theosophist has been brought out under mechanical difficulties which would not have been encountered either at New York or London, and which we hope to escape in future issues. For instance: We first tried to have Mr. Edward Wimbridge’s excellent design for the cover engraved on wood, but there was no wood to be had of the right sizes to compose the block, nor any clamps to fasten them together; nor was there an engraver competent to do justice to the subject. In lithography we fared no better; there was not a pressman who could be trusted to print artistic work in colors, and the proprietor of one of the best job offices in India advised us to send the order to London. As a last resort we determined to print the design in relief, and then scoured the metal markets of Bombay and Calcutta for rolled metal plate. Having finally secured an old piece, the artist was forced to invent an entirely novel process to etch on it, and to execute the work himself. We mention these facts in the hope that our unemployed young Indian brothers may recall the old adage, “where there is a will, there is a way” and apply the lesson to their own case. And now, friends and enemies, all—Namastae!