Monday, September 19, 2016

Author of the Day: Annie Besant

One of the sources I used for the Public Domain Edition of the Mahabharata is a book by Annie Besant: The Story of the Great War (1899). Annie Besant, who lived from 1847 to 1933, was a leading member of the Theosophy movement and also a supporter of Indian independence. You can read more about her life and accomplishments at Wikipedia.

If you want to read The Story of the Great War, you can do that for one, two, or three weeks of reading during the second half of the semester: Overview - Reading Guide.

Although she was once married to a clergyman, Annie Besant rejected Christianity and spent some time as a member of England's National Secular Society, but then in 1980 she met Helena Blavatsky, a co-founder of the Theosophical Society. Because of her interest in theosophy, Annie Besant traveled to India, and she eventually became president of the Theosophical Society which had its headquarters in India. She was also a member of the Indian National Congress, and was elected president of the Congress in 1917.

You can find many of Besant's books online, including her Introduction to Yoga, her translation of the Bhagavad-Gita, along with her autobiography. This photograph of Besant dates to 1897:




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