Théophile Pascal

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Théophile Pascal

Théophile Pascal (1860-1909) was a French physician and General Secretary of the French Section of the Theosophical Society based in Adyar. He was awarded the Subba Row Medal in 1906 for his writings.

Early years and career

A friend wrote this account of Dr. Pascal's early life:

Dr. Pascal was born on May 11th, 1860, at Villecroze, a small village in the Department of Var in the South of France. His childhood was passed in the country. When sixteen years old, a relation of his, a Roman Catholic priest, was attracted to young Pascal because of his brilliant capacities, and took it on himself to direct his studies. Thanks to this help, aided by hard work and a bright intelligence, he very soon received the bachelor’s degree and entered the Naval Medical School of Toulon. In 1882, he left this institution, coming out at the head of the list of his year, with the degree of Assistant Naval Physician. A short time afterwards, he acquired the diploma of Doctor of Medicine from the Faculty of Lyons, then the grade of Physician of the 2nd Class, and in the latter capacity he made several voyages on ships of the Mediterranean squadron, without ever sailing to any great distance from the coasts of France. Though his naval career was very successful and he was much esteemed both by the officers and the men, he resigned after his marriage in 1886. He then set up as a homoeopathic doctor in Toulon where he soon built up an extensive practice. There also in 1888 his only child, a daughter, was born.[1]

Theosophical work

Dr. Pascal was admitted as a member of the Theosophical Society in France on March 20, 1891.[2] This is an account of how he became interested in the Society:

In 1887 he renewed acquaintance with an old patient whom he had treated in 1881, when the latter was a simple Naval Lieutenant and he himself still a student. This acquaintance was D. A. Courmes, now Capitaine de Frégate, and also a member of the Theosophical Society.

Soon a more intimate friendship sprang up between them, the subject of Theosophy came up for discussion, and Dr. Pascal (who was already interested in human magnetism and allied matters) recognised very quickly the grandeur and value of this magnificent revelation of truth. In 1891 he joined the Society, and he studied hard—too hard perhaps, alas !—in the intervening years. He began in 1892 his long and fertile literary labors in the service of Theosophy.

Mostly in the Revue Théosophique Française (Le Lotus Bleu) and also in book form, contributions from his pen appeared incessantly and regularly for the next seventeen years, forming an imposing list, both in quantity and in quality. In 1896 on the death of the then editor, Mr. Arthur Arnould, he joined with Commandant D. A. Courmes in editing the above named Review. In 1898 the first signs of the long and painful illness which was to terminate in his death showed themselves. He had for the moment to seek complete rest and to cease all work. During that time he visited India and lived for a short time at Benares and at Adyar.

In the same year he changed his habitat from Toulon to Paris, thereby sacrificing entirely all material results and advantages of a long and strenuous career as a physician in that town.

In 1900 he held a series of lectures on Theosophyin the aula of the University of Geneva, which drew much attention at the time and evoked some vivid polemics.

In 1900 also the French Section of the T. S. was founded and Dr. Pascal was chosen its first General Secretary, a post which he held till 1908, when he sent in his final resignation on account of ill-health. He was then unanimously chosen Honorary General Secretary.

In 1902, a second attack of his waxing illness gave a menacing warning, but an improvement seemed to follow it, and energetic literary activity was shown until 1906, in which year Colonel Olcott, on the occasion of the Paris Congress, bestowed on him the Subba Row Medal for the most valuable and original contribution of the year to Theosophical literature.[3]

While Dr. Pascal is remembered mainly as a superb writer, he was also a teacher and administrator of the French Section. He headed the Esoteric Section in France.

Final years

Dr. Pascal became very ill in 1907 from a disease that affected his nervous system. After much suffering, he died in Paris on April 18, 1909. "His body was cremated three days later in the presence of a band of friends, comrades and disciples.[4]


Dr. Pascal performed a great service in his translation of Theosophical works, overcoming a gap in understanding between the English forms of expression and other languages,

by faithfully assimilating the essence of such Theosophical teachings as were given by our greater instructors in the English language, transmuted them and gave them out in a form perfectly adapted to his public. And this fact is so real that we find his writings, and especially his magazine articles, forming a most essential part in all Theosophical propaganda and study in Spanish countries, to the people of which his books were thoroughly congenial and natural, for whom they had the familiar "feel" about them.[5]

His French works were translated into Spanish, Italian, Romanian, Russian, Greek, Polish, German, and English. Some of his books and pamphlets were:

  • Essai sur l'evolution humaine: Résurrection des corps, reincarnations de 'âme. Paris: Publications Théosophiques, 1901. Revised second edition, 1908. 346 pages. Available at Bibliothèque nationale de France.
    • Reincarnation, a Study in Human Evolution: the resurrection of the body and the reincarnation of the soul translated by Fred Rothwell. London: Theosophical Publishing Society, 1910. 303 pages. Reprinted in Auckland, N.Z.: Floating Press, 2009. Available at Gutenberg. Audio version at Internet Archive, read in English by KirksVoice
    • Reîncarcarea: un studiu privind evoluția umană: înverierea corpului și reîncarnarea sufletului. Bucharest: Pro Dao, 2012. Romanian, translated by Nicu Gecse.
    • Ensayo sobre la evolución humana. Barcelona: n.d. Spanish. Translation by J. S. P.
  • La sagesse antique à travers les âges. Paris: Libraire de l'art independant, 1903. 92 pages. Available at Bibliothèque nationale de France and Gallica. Second edition at Paris: Publications Théosophiques, 1917. 176 pages.
    • La sapienza antic attraverso i secoli. Torino: Prometeo, 1925. 129 pages. Italian.
    • Drevniaia mudrost' na protiazhenil viekov. Petrograd: Viestnik Teosifii, 1915. Russian. 163 pages. Available at Google Books.
  • Conférences théosophieques a l'"aula" de l'Université de Genève, novembre-décembre 1900. Les enseignements principaux de la théosophie. Les rapports de la théosophie avec la science, les philosophes at les religions. Paris: Bailly, 1901. 52 pages.
    • Che cosa è la teosofia?: quattro conferenze tenute nell'Aula Magna dell'Università di Ginevra. Milano: Sulli Rao, 1907. 2nd edition revised. 81 pages.
  • Les lois de la destinée. Paris Publications théosophiques, 1904. 264 pages. Available at Bibliothèque nationale de France.
    • Las leyes del destino: las layes de acción, acción de la providencia, acción del hombre. Barcelona: R. Maynadé, 1907. 240 pages. Spanish. Translated by J. S. P.
  • De l'éctivité thérapeutique et des indications de l'aconit. Lyon: Faculté de médecine et de pharmacie, 1884. Thesis. 51 pages. Manuscript.
  • La conscience psychologique. Cours fait au Siège de la Société Théosophic, a Paris. Paris: Publications Théosophiques, 1911. 298 pages.
  • ABC de la théosophie. Paris: Librairie de 'art indépendant, 1897. 52 pages. Second edition at Paris: Publications Théosophiques, 1906. 62 pages. Available at Bibliothèque nationale de France.
    • To A.V.G. tēs theosophias [Greece]: Henōsis Hellēnikon Theosophikōn Stoōn, 1925. 34 pages. Greek. Translated from French by Hēvē Kougia.
  • Brotherhood. Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1909, 1919. 20 pages. Adyar Pamphlet No. 98. Reprinted from The Theosophist 30 part II (August 1909).
    • La fraternité. Paris: Publications Théosophiques, 1919. Available at Hathitrust.
  • La théosophie à Genève: réponse de M. le Dr Th. Pascal à M. Gaston Frommel. Genève: Agence générale des journaux, 1901. 16 pages.
  • [Main Outlines of Theosophy].
    • Glówne zarysy teozofii. Warsaw: L. Biliński i W. Maślankiewicz, 1911. Polish. Translated by Hanna Krzemieniecka. Available at Polona.
  • La Réincarnation, ses preuves morales, scientifiques, phlosophiques at directes. Paris: Publications de la Société Théosophique, 1895. 91 pages. Available at Bibliothèque nationale de France.

Translations of works by Annie Besant:

  • La mort et l'au-delà. Paris: Publications de la Societe théosophique, 1896. 133 pages. Available at Bibliothèque nationale de France.
  • Les sept principes de l'homme; ou, Sa constitution occulte d'après la théosophie. Paris: Chamuel, 1895. 174 pages.

Additional resources

  • Pascal, Théophile. Reincarnation - A Study in Human Evolution. London: Theosophical Publishing Society, 1910. Biographical sketch on pages 5-10, available on pages 3-4 of the Canadian Theosophical Society's digital version.
  • Pascal, Theophile in Theosophy World.


  1. J. v. M. [Johan van Manen)], "Theosophical Worthies" The Theosophist 31 no.1 (October, 1909): 113:
  2. Theosophical Society General Membership Register, 1875-1942 at See book 1, entry 6793 (website file: 1C/17).
  3. J. v. M. [Johan van Manen)], "Theosophical Worthies" The Theosophist 31 no.1 (October, 1909): 113-114:
  4. J. v. M. [Johan van Manen)], "Theosophical Worthies" The Theosophist 31 no.1 (October, 1909): 114-115:
  5. J. v. M. [Johan van Manen)], "Theosophical Worthies" The Theosophist 31 no.1 (October, 1909): 114-115: