P. Iyaloo Naidu

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P. Iyaloo Naidu (or Iyalu Naidu) was an Indian member of the Theosophical Society, and a good friend to the Founders. G. Narasimhulu Chetty was his son-in-law. Mr. Naidu was a retired Deputy Collector, a government official in charge of revenue collection and administration of a sub-division in India.

Henry Steel Olcott wrote of him: "that golden-hearted old man, P. Iyaloo Naidu, Retired Deputy Collector, whose acquaintanceship was a privilege, whose friendship an honor."[1] When Colonel Olcott and Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, upon seeing the property at Adyar for the first time, Mr. Naidu was the devoted member who advanced the money needed to secure the purchase.[2]

In 1884, Naidu was a member of the committee appointed by the Annual Convention of the Theosophical Society to advise Madame Blavatsky on letters published in the Christian College Magazine, and he signed the report.

His testimony figured in the Hodgson Report, Appendix XXII:

Mr. R. Ry. P. Iyaloo Naidu Garu (retired Deputy Collector of Arnee, now at Chudderghat, Hyderabad, Deccan, India) is an old and very devoted member of the Theosophical Society. On the 20th April, 1884, he wrote a letter to Damodar, enclosing therewith a letter for Mahatma K.H. Damodar was then at Ootacamund, and, as I was in charge of the office, I sent the letter to him. When it was returned to me, I found remarks and endorsements not only on the envelope (of the letter to Damodar), but also inside the letter to the Mahatma --- in his well-known blue pencil handwriting.[3]

Mr. Naidu was Secretary of the Theosophical Society branch at Hyderabad when William Quan Judge visited there beginning on July 25, 1884. He wrote an account, "Mr. William Q. Judge at Hyderabad," that was published in The Theosophist. Mr. Judge participated in some lodge experiments in psychometry, and lectured about the formation of the Theosophical Society in New York.[4]

After Mr. Naidu died on September 28, 1891, a narrative taken from his notebooks was printed in The Theosophist, recounting his son-in-law's experience with "Mahatma Help."[5] His obituary, printed in the October, 1891 issue, said:

Theosophists all over India will feel the loss we have sustained in the passing away of our Brother P. Iyalu Naidu Garu, who left us on the morning of the 28th September 1891. A true Theosophist, an unselfish worker for humanity, one who always regarded the good of the Society in preference to his own interests, his loss will be doubly felt now when we can ill afford to lose an earnest and devoted worker.

We publish below a short sketch of his life and work and a testimony to his worth by a fellow Theosophist, who knew him and appreciated the purity and unselfishness of his life.

Time and Karma have taken away from the phenomenal world a brother whom the Theosophical Society can ill spare just at this period of its greatest activity. After a long illness, consequent on old age and general debility, our esteemed and revered Brother, P. Iyalu Naidu Garu, the President of the Hyderabad Theosophical Society, passed away on the morning of 28th September 1891. Having risen from the ranks, as it were, and commencing his life on a salary of Rs. 10, his honesty and even-handed justice in his official career so endeared him to his superiors that, in course of time, he was raised to the post of Deputy Collector of Arni. But with this portion of his life we have not to deal. His really important life, to us at any rate, began with the advent of the Theosophical Society in India. Since the year 1881, when the late illustrious Madame Blavatsky and the President Founder made their first debut in Bombay, Bro. Naidu followed their fortunes through good and evil report. Arriving in Madras, he aided the infant Society to the best of his powers in every way. The spot at Adyar on which stands our present Head-quarters was pointed out by him as the most suitable site for the Society. For the last ten years of his admirable life, his one chief aim was how to spread Theosophy through the length and breadth of India. Incessantly did he study its vast literature, and it was simply wonderful to see this old man with a devotion and zeal quite enviable pouring over the pages of Isis Unveiled, The Secret Doctrine, and other standard works, with a view to instructing others, far unto the hours of midnight, by the dim light of a cocoanut-oil lamp. His veracity and his honesty of purpose were really beyond words. To every one he came in contact with, the one thing he expounded was Theosophy, and no one left him without feeling better and wiser for his conversation. His favourite books were Light on the Path, Through the Gates of Gold, and a Telugu Bhashya of Srimat Bhagavatam. W h o can describe the great affliction our deceased brother felt when he was informed on his dying bed that H. P. B. had left us ? Pure indeed was our departed fellow worker, — pure in thought, pure in word, pure in deed. Tolerant of the shortcomings of others, he was always stern as regards his own failings. He lived and died for Theosophy. Could he do more?[6]

Notes

  1. Henry Steel Olcott, Old Diary Leaves Second Series (1878-83), page 347. See this link.
  2. Henry Steel Olcott, Old Diary Leaves Second Series (1878-83), page 361. See this link.
  3. See Blavatsky Archives.
  4. P. Iyaloo Naidu, "Mr. William Q. Judge at Hyderabad" The Theosophist, Vol. V, Supplement to September 1884, p. 129.
  5. P. Iyaloo Naidu, "Mahatma Help" The Theosophist 13.2 (November, 1891), 97-99.
  6. "In Memorium: P. Iyaloo Naidu Garu, F.T.S." The Theosophist 13.2 (November, 1891), 74.