Since 1982

The Theosophical Society and the International Vegetarian Union: An Ancient Partnership

The Theosophical Society and the International Vegetarian Union: An Ancient Partnership

This lecture will explore the involvement of prominent figures from the Theosophical world, such as Rukmini Devi and Geoffrey Hodson, in the International Vegetarian Union (IVU). The IVU was founded in 1908 in Dresden, Germany being the oldest international vegetarian organization.

Rukmini Devi Arundale, was an Indian theosophist, dancer and choreographer of the Indian classical dance form of Bharatanatyam, and an activist for animal welfare. She was vice-president of IVU for 31 years, and organized the first IVU Congress outside Europe in 1947, which drew crowds and was attended by political, religious, and cultural authorities, including the President of India and the Dalai Lama. Rukmini founded the Indian Vegetarian Congress, of which later Radhar Burnier was vice-president. Rukmini Devi features in India Today’s list of ‘100 People Who Shaped India’.

Geoffrey Hodson was the Director of Studies at the School of Wisdom of the Theosophical Society in Adyar, India, for some years. He was also the vice-president of IVU for 27 years and the founder and president of the New Zealand Vegetarian Society.

Both Theosophical leaders were passionate advocates of vegetarianism, not only for ethical reasons but also for its believed benefits to health and spiritual evolution. Their contributions to the vegetarian movement and IVU will be examined in this lecture, highlighting the importance of practical idealism in promoting healthier and more compassionate lifestyles.