United Lodge of Theosophists, London, UK

Theodore Leslie Crombie – Friend of India

An Appreciation of the life of Theodore Leslie Crombie, BA, Bar-at-Law by Ethel Beswick.

Theodore Leslie Crombie was born at Aberdeen, Scotland, on August 31st, 1879. Shortly after he left Oxford University he contacted Theosophy and the Theosophical Society and when he went East on a visit he called on Mrs. Besant at Adyar.

There he also met Shri B. P. Wadia and a friendship grew up between them which lasted till his death on November 17th, 1938. On this visit he decided to dedicate his life to the cause of Theosophy and of India, and returning to England settled his affairs so that he was able to take up his new life under Shri B. P. Wadia at Adyar in 1912.

Few realize how much India and the resuscitation of pure Theosophy owe to his devotion, sacrifice and selfless work from these early days until his death.        (page 1)

In this short book the first three chapters give many important and historic details of early theosophical work of the ULT in India, US and Europe.

In the final three chapters we find some occult ‘short stories’ in which there are many hints given that help us understand the influences that are so often out of sight to our ordinary perceptions. These stories are written in such an engaging and truth-revealing way that they bring the spirit of the philosophy to life.

That the author of this sweet farewell, Miss Beswick, included the “Remember Gaeta” story as the last one suggests it has some significance to Crombie’s own life. What that could be is left to the reader, but in any event it may entertain and inform you and also provide your intuition with an idea or two.

Ettie Beswick was the author of “The Jataka Tales” (birth stories of the Buddha), “Tales of Hindu Gods and Heroes”, “Eyes: Their Use and Abuse” etc and a long-time Theosophical student in India and the UK.

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Foreword                                                                         ix  (contains a review of the life of Shri B. P. Wadia)
Theodore Leslie Crombie; An Appreciation                     1
India’s Freedom; A Personal View                                   9
Some Odd Happenings                                                 14
The Beggar Dance                                                         19
“Remember Gaeta”                                                        29


The life of Theodore Crombie

Where ever he found himself TLC, as he was known, was a cheerful and industrious worker. From his birthplace in Northern Scotland to Oxford in Southern England, in far-off India and America, he was not moved by whim but went where ever he felt he could best serve. His particular love was for India, and for its people who were dear to his heart.

This brief tribute to his life paints him as an energetic and skilled magazine editor, author and poet. When he first arrived at the Theosophical Society in Adyar, India in 1912 and until he left in 1922 he held important roles in writing for and editing “The Commonweal,” “New India” and “The Theosophist.”

It was this instinctual love for India that brought him to Adyar and into contact with B. P. Wadia, with whom he worked from the start. However 10 years later they both felt the same need to move on, leaving – within a few months of each other – to find somewhere they could give better expression to the perennial philosophy.

Crombie followed Wadia to New York in 1922 when they along with existing students who had already formed an active study group, established the ULT Lodge there. He then accompanied Wadia to London where again he, Wadia and others founded the UK Lodge on 17th November 1925.

After this he went to the ULT in Bombay in 1929 where he was one of the editors of “The Aryan Path” magazine (started January 1930) and “Theosophical Movement” magazine (started November 1930). He worked on these with B. P. Wadia and Dr. Eleanor Hough, continuing until his too-early death at the age of 59. In a curious, but perhaps indicative roll of fate, his passing was on the 17th November 1938, the anniversary of the founding of the modern Theosophical Movement.


Theodore Leslie Crombie – Friend of India by Ethel Beswick

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