Tookaram Tatya (also spelled as Tukaram Tatya) (1836-1898) was a cotton commission merchant and active member in the municipal and political affairs of the city of Bombay who became an early, prominent member of the Theosophical Society.
Theosophical Society involvement
On April 9, 1880, Mr. Tatya contacted Col. Olcott and presented an introductory letter from Mr. Martin Wood, editor of the Bombay Review. He was formally admitted into the Theosophical Society the next month, on May 2, and became a trustee of the organization.
He established a Bombay Theosophical Publication Fund and published many books in Sanskrit, English, and Marathi, including the literary works of T. Subba Row. One example is the Fund's publication of "Lectures on the Study of the Bhagavad Gita," a series of Subba Row articles originally printed in The Theosophist. Tookaram Tatya also issued it separately under the title of "Discourses on the Bhagavad Gita." He also was noted for publishing A Guide to Theosophy (1887).
Another of his activities was establishing a free homeopathic clinic which treated 40,000 patients mesmerically over 18 years.
He passed away on June 2, 1898. An obituary notice in The Theosophic Gleaner states that his death "was a great loss to the T.S., not in India only, but throughout the world. He was of great assistance to H.P.B. [Helena Petrovna Blavatsky] and Col. Olcott in Bombay, and has been one of the most active members in the T.S., a great philanthropist, and steadfast in loyalty to the Masters."
Precipitation of Mahatma Letter
On June 5, 1886, Mr. Tatya wrote a cordial letter to Col. Olcott. After touching upon several subjects, he asked for news of Damodar, who had gone to Tibet on February 23, 1885 to join his Master. While the letter was passing through the post, Master K.H. added a note to it by phenomenal means.
The letter with its precipitated note is available as Letter 29 in the First Series of Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom. Although Col. Olcott was actually the recipient of the message, it is evidence that the Mahatmas were interested in Mr. Tatya and found his inquiry worthy of response.
- Tukaram Tatya, editor.The Yoga Philosophy: Being the Text of Patanjali, with Bhoja Raja's Commentary. Bombay: Subodha-Prakash Press, 1885. 2nd edition revised, edited, and reprinted for the Bombay Theosophical Publication Fund by Tookaram Tatya, with introduction by Col. Olcott. Translations in English by Dr. Ballantyne and Govind Shastri Deva. Available at Blavatsky Archives.
- Tukaram Tatya, compiler. A Guide to Theosophy, containing select articles for the instructions of aspirants to the knowledge, of theosophy. Bombay: Bombay Theosophical Publication Fund, 1887. Available at Hathitrust.
- "Tatya, Tukaram" at Theosophy World.
- N. C. Ramanujachary, "Tookaram Tatya" The Theosophist (July 2009).
- "Book Reviews," Mercury 3.11 (July, 1897), 355.
- "Tatya, Tukaram," The Theosophical Year Book, 1938 (Adyar, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1938), 218.
- The Theosophic Gleaner quoted in "Book Reviews," Mercury 5.1 (September, 1898), 37.