One hundred years ago, the Adyar Library began its career with a modest collection of books. But the Founder, Col. H. S. Olcott, was a man of vision who saw a great future for the institution. In his eyes, it was to be not only an instrument for the revival of Sanskrit literature, but a 'power and blessing to the world', making available once again the wisdom and insights which were part of India's living traditions.
From 1879 onwards, the Theosophical Society in India sponsored the founding and maintenance of Sanskrit schools and encouraged the study of valuable Sanskrit texts. Sanskritic literature and culture have always been a powerful influence towards the integration of India. Diverse though the schools of thought in India were, they were held together by a common foundation and sustained by a vigorous intellectual quest and concern for truth which are clearly reflected in the Sanskrit learning through the Adyar Library, the Founder and other dedicated scholars in fact worked for the spiritual resuscitation of mankind.
Since its founding, the Adyar Library has grown into an institution of renown, attracting students and savants from all over the world. Its valuable collection of manuscripts and books has placed the Library in a position of advantage for research work. Its publications include texts and studies on a wide variety of subjects such as philosophy, religions, language, literature, music and astronomy. The facilities which this institution offers have earned for it the accolade, not only of Indologists, but also students of Indian culture. The non-denominational character of this centre is conductive to the meeting of minds from East and West, Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Jain and Zoroastrian.
The Adyar Library and Research Centre is an example of what voluntary effort can achieve, for most of the scholars and the dedicated workers who have given of themselves to the institution rendered service motivated purely by love of learning. Their work has been their best reward. The maintenance of the Library and its publication programme during these hundred years have been financed almost entirely by donations from members of the Theosophical Society all over the world.
The Golden Jubilee of Brahmavidya coincides with the Centenary of the Adyar Library and Research Centre. This special issue of the journal contains contributions from distinguished scholars. On this occasion, other important publications are also being released. An Endowment Fund is being set up to put the research and publication work on a stable base in these days of rising costs.
As the present President of the Theosophical Society, I take this opportunity of paying homage to the Founder of the Library and to all those-Directors, Curators, Librarians and others-Who have made the Adyar Library and Research Centre what it is. I also thank all the scholars who have contributed to this volume of Brahmavidya. We pray on this occasion that our work will flourish and find fulfilment by bringing about a great sense of unity in mankind and the wisdom which will help human beings to discover their true potential for well being.
The Theosophical Society
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