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Blavatsky Net - Theosophy

This site focuses on Madame Blavatsky and her teaching - Theosophy. It features an introduction to Theosophy, study aids, research tools, original text, supporting evidence, membership, and visitor interaction.

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WHILE travelling from the landing place--on the Madras "Buckingham Canal"--to Nellore, we were made to experience the novel sensation of a transit of fifteen miles in comfortable modern carriages each briskly dragged by a dozen of strong, merry men, whom we took for ordinary Hindus of some of the lower or Pariah caste. The contrast offered us by the sight of these noisy, apparently well-contented men to our palankin-bearers, who had just carried us for fifty-five miles across the sandy, hot plains that stretch between Padagangam on the same canal and Guntoor--as affording relief--was great. These palankin-bearers, we were told, were of the washerman's caste, and had hard times working night and day, never having regular . hours for sleep, earning but a few pice a day, and when the pice had the good chance of being transformed into annas, existing upon the luxury of a mud-soup made out of husks and damaged rice, and called by them "pepper-water." Naturally enough, we regarded our human carriage-steeds as identical with the palankin-bearers. We were speedily disabused, being told by one of our Brother members--Mr. Kasava Pillai, Secretary to our Nellore Theosophical Society--that the two classes had nothing in common. The former were low caste Hindus, the latter--Yanadhis. The information received about this tribe was so interesting, that we now give it to our readers, as we then received it.


The word Yanadhi is a corruption of the word "Anathi" (Aborigines), meaning "having no beginning." The Yanadhis live mostly in the Nellore District, Madras Presidency, along the coast. They are divided into two classes: (1) Cappala or Challa, "frog-eaters," "refuse-eaters"; and (2) the Yanadhis proper, or the "good Yanadhis." The first class lives, as a rule, separated from the Sudra population of the district, and earns its living by hard work. The Cappala are employed to drag carts and carriages in lieu of cattle, as horses are very scarce and too expensive to maintain in this district. The second class, or Yanadhis proper, live partly in villages and partly in the jungles, assisting the farmers in tilling the land, as in all other agricultural occupations.

Yet both classes are renowned for their mysterious knowledge of the occult properties of nature, and are regarded as practical magicians.

Both are fond of sport and great hunters of rats and bandicoots. They catch the field-mouse by digging, and the fish by using simply their hands without the usual help of either angle or net. I They belong to the Mongolian race, their colour varying from light brown to a very dark sepia shade. Their dress consists of a piece of cloth to tie around the head, and of another one to go round the waist. They live in small circular huts of about 8 feet in diameter, having an entrance of about 1½ p. in width. Before building the huts they describe large circles round the place where the huts are to be built, muttering certain words of magic, which are supposed to keep evil spirits, influences and snakes from approaching their dwelling places. They plant round their huts certain herbs believed to possess the virtue of keeping off venomous reptiles. It is really astonishing to find in those little huts two dozens of persons living, for a Yanadhi rarely has less than a dozen of children. Their diet consists chiefly of rats, bandicoots, field mice, cangi, guano, and little rice--even wild roots often forming part of their food. Their diet, in a great measure, explains their physical peculiarities. Field-mice account partly for their having so many children each. They live to a good old age; and it is only very seldom that one sees a man with grey hairs. This is attributed to the starch in the cangi they daily drink, and the easy and careless lives they lead.

Their extraordinary merit consists in the intimate knowledge they possess of the occult virtues of roots, green herbs, and other plants. They can extract the virtue of these plants, and neutralize the most fatal poisons of venomous reptiles; and even very ferocious cobras are seen to sink their hoods before a certain green leaf. The names, identity and the knowledge of these plants they keep most secret. Cases of snake-bite have never been heard of among them, though they live in jungles and the most insecure places, whereas death by snake-bite is common among the higher classes. Devil possession is very seldom among their women. They extract a most efficacious remedy, or rather a decoction from more than a hundred different roots, and it is said to possess incalculable virtues for curing any malady.

In cases of extreme urgency and fatal sickness they consult their seer (often one for 20 or 25 families), who invokes their tutelary deity by sounding a drum, with a woman singing to it, and with a fire in front. After an hour or two he falls into a trance, or works himself into a state, during which he can tell the cause of the sickness, and prescribe a certain secret remedy, which, when paid and administered the patient is cured. It is supposed that the spirit of the deceased, whose name they have dishonoured, or the deity whom they have neglected, tells them through the medium of the seer, why they were visited with the calamity, exacts of them promise of good behaviour in future, and disappears after an advice. It is not unfrequently that men of high caste, such as Brahmins, have had recourse to them for such information, and consulted with them with advantage. The seer grows his hair and lets no razor pass his head. The Yanadhis shave their heads with the sharp end of a glass piece. The ceremonies of naming a child, marriage and journeys, and such other things, are likewise consulted.

They possess such an acute sense of smell, or rather sensitiveness, that they can see where a bird they require is, or where the object of their game is hiding itself. They are employed as guards and watchmen for the rare power they have in finding and tracing out a thief or a stranger from his foot-marks. Suppose a stranger visited their village at night, a Yanadhi could say that the village was visited by him (a stranger) by simply looking at the footsteps.

H. P. Blavatsky
Theosophist, January, 1883

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List of Articles
African Magic
Ahkoond of Swat
An Astral Prophet
An Unsolved Mystery
Ancient Doctrines Vindicated
Ancient Magic in Modern Science
Animated Statues
Answers to Queries
Antiquity of the Vedas
Apollonius Tyaneus and Simon Magus
Are Chelas "Mediums"?
Are Dreams but Idle Visions?
Arya Samaj
The Babel of Modern Thought
Black Magic in Science
Blessings of Publicity
Bright Spot of Light
Buddhism, Christianity and Phallicism
Buddhism in America
Can the Double Murder?
Can the Mahatmas Be Selfish?
Case of Obsession
Chelas and Lay Chelas
Chinese Spirits
Christmas Then and Christmas Now
Civilization, the Death of Art and Beauty
Claims of Occultism
Classification of "Principles"
Count St. Germain
Cross and Fire
Cycle Moveth
Denials and the Mistakes of the Nineteenth Century
Devil's Own-Thoughts on Ormuzd and Ahriman
Diagnoses and Palliatives
Dialogue on the Mysteries of the After Life
Dialogues between the Two Editors
Do the Rishis Exist?
Does Vaccination Prevent Smallpox?
Dr. Beard Criticized
Dreamland and Somnambulism
Drift of Western Spiritualism
Dual Aspect of Wisdomhe
Echoes from India. What is Hindu Spiritualism?
Eddy Manifestations
Editorial Comment
Editorial Appendix
Eighth Wonder
Electric and Magnetic Affinities between Man and Nature
Esoteric Axioms and Spiritual Speculations
"Esoteric Buddhism" and its Critic
"Esoteric Buddhism" and the "Secret Doctrine"
Esoteric Character of the Gospels
Fakirs and Tables
Fall of Ideals
Fate of the Occultist
Few Thoughts on Some Wise Words from a Wise Man
Force of Prejudice
French View of Women's Rights
Grand Inquisitor
"H. M." and the Todas
H. P. Blavatsky on Precipitation and Other Matters
H. P. Blavatsky's Masonic Patent
Have Animals Souls?
Hindu Widow-Marriage
History of a "Book"
History of a Planet
Holmes Controversy
Holmes Controversy(continued)
Huxley and Slade
Hypnotism, and Its Relations to Other Modes of Fascination
Imperfections of Science
Indian Metaphysics
Intro-Version of Mental Vision
Is Creation Possible for Man?
Is Denunciation a Duty?
Is Foeticide a Crime?
"Is it Idle to Argue Further?"
Is Suicide a Crime?
Is the Desire to "Live" Selfish?
Is Theosophy a Religion?
"Isis Unveiled" and the "Theosophist" on Reincarnation
Isis Unveiled and the Vishishtadwaita
"It's the Cat!"
Jews in Russia
Kabalah and the Kabalists
Kabalistic Views of "Spirits"
Karmic Visions
Knout, The. As Wielded by the Great Russian Theosophist
Kosmic Mind
Lack of Unity among Spiritualists
Lamas and Druses
Land of Mystery
Last Song of the Swan
Le Phare de L'Inconnu
Leaven of Theosophy
Leo Tolstoi and His Unecclesiastical Christianity
"Let Every Man Prove His Own Work"
Life and Death
Life Principle
Literary Jottings on Criticism, Authorities, and Other Matters
Lodges of Magic
Logic versus Peripatetic
Madame Blavatsky on "The Himalayan Brothers"
Mahatmas and Chelas
Memory in the Dying
Mind in Nature
Missing Link
Missionaries Militant
Mistaken Notions on "The Secret Doctrine"
Modern Apostles and Pseudo-Messiahs
Mote and the Beam
Mr. A. Lillie's Delusions
My Books
Mysterious Race
Nature's Human Magnets
Negations of Science
New Cycle
(New) York against Lankester. A new War of the Roses
"Not a Christian"!
Note on Eliphas Levi
Note on "Memory"
Notes on some Aryan-Arhat Esoteric Tenets
Notice to Mediums
Number Seven
Number Seven and Our Society
Occult or Exact Science?
Occult Phenomena
Occultism or Magic
Occultism versus the Occult Arts
Old Hindu Ships
Old Philosophers and Modern Critics
On Pseudo-Theosophy
On The New Year's Morrow
"Oppressed Widowhood" in America
Organisation of the Theosophical Society
Origin of Evil
Our Cycle and the Next
Our Three Objects
Paradoxical World
Parting Words
Persian Zoroastrianism and Russian Vandalism
Pertinent Queries
Pertinent Questions
Philosophers and Philosophicules
Popular Idea of Soul-Survival
Posthumous Publication
Practical Occultism
Pralaya of Modern Science
Premature and Phenomenal Growths
Progress and Culture
Psychic and Noetic Action
Psychic Warning
Psychology - The Science of the Soul
Puzzle from Adyar
Puzzle in "Esoteric Buddhism"
Queries and Answers
Questions Answered about Yoga Vidya
Re-Classification of Principles
Recent Progress in Theosophy
Reincarnations in Tibet
Reply to Our Critics, A.
Republican Citizen
Retort Courteous
Roots of Ritualism in Church and Masonry
Russian Atrocities
Sacred Tree of Kum Bum
Science of Life
Science of Magic
"Scrutator Again"
Search after Occultism
Seeming "Discrepancies"
Seventeen-Rayed Sun-Disc
She Being Dead Yet Speaketh
Signal of Danger
Signs of the Times
Six-Pointed and Five-Pointed Stars
Society Without a Dogma
Some Scientific Questions Answered
Spiritual Progress
Spiritualism and Occult Truth
Spiritualism and Spiritualists
Spiritualism in Russia
Spiritualistic Tricksters
Star-Angel-Worship in the Roman Catholic Church
Stars and Numbers
Stray Thoughts on Death and Satan
Substantial Nature of Magnetism
Theories about Reincarnation and Spirits
Theory of Cycles
"Theosophical Mahatmas"
Theosophical Society: Its Mission and Its Future
Theosophists and their Opponents
Theosophy and Spiritualism
Theosophy or Jesuitism?
Thoughts of the Dead
Thoughts on the Elementals
Tibetan Teachings
Tidal Wave
"To the Readers of 'Lucifer'"
Transmigration of the Life Atoms
Trickery or Magic?
Universe in a Nut-Shell
Views of the Theosophists
War in Olympus
Warning to Mediums
Was Cagliostro a "Charlatan"?
Washing the Disciples' Feet
What Are the Theosophists?
What is Occultism?
What is Theosophy?
"What Is Truth?"
What of Phenomena?
What Shall We Do for Our Fellow-Men?
What's in a Name? - Why the Magazine is called "Lucifer"
Which First - the Egg or the Bird?
Why Do Animals Suffer?
Why I Do Not Return to India
Why the "Vahan"?
"Word with Our Friends"
World-Improvement or World-Deliverance
Year is Dead, Long Live the Year
Year of Theosophy
Yoga Philosophy