During my second week of Fulbright, I joined a group of other Fulbright scholars on a tour of the gardens of the Theosophical Society. The gardens are not far from my apartment, situated across the Adyar River and nestled in a secluded area away from the traffic and noise of the city. A member of the Society spoke to us about their philosophy of universal human connection among people of all races, ethnicities, and religions and the Society’s movement to foster the spirit of harmony and peace in the world. It was formed in New York in 1875by Colonel Henry Olcott, a veteran of the American Civil War and Madame Helena Blavatsky, an aristocrat and clairvoyant, they moved to India to establish their Utopian society. The Society acquired the Huddlestone Gardens from a wealthy civilian and built the Society’s world headquarters. The movement drew great thinkers and intellectuals who would meet to discuss the Theosophical philosophy. A notable accomplishment was establishing the Women Indian Association (WIA) a philanthropic organization that founded the Cancer Institute (WIA) where I am working.
A peaceful walk through the gardens revealed many sights and sounds of nature … the 400-year Great Banyan… green parrots barely visible in the leaves of the trees …. bats hanging around… colorful flowers … a peaceful pool with water lilies.