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Periodical: Light of India

Summary:  From Pat Deveney's database:

Light of India, The.
The Magazine You Want to Read.
1906--1908 Monthly
Los Angeles, CA, then beginning January 1908, Calcutta, India, and Los Angeles. Publisher: Light of India Publishing Co.. Editor: Baba Bharati, then Bharati and Rose Reinhardt Anthon. Succeeded by: East and West Magazine and Review of Thought--Combined with "The Light of India"
1/1, October 1906-2/5, May 1908 (?). $1.00 a year (from India, Rs. 4-8), 7 x 10, 36-42 pp.

Surendranath Mukerji ("Baba Premanand Bharati," 1868-1914) was a Bengali English-language newspaperman (and an editor of the Lahore Tribune) of prominent family who was converted to Gaudiya Vaishnavism in 1884 and, turned holy man and missionary after a vision, tried to spread the movement in America, Japan, and India. He was an early example of the first wave of gurus and swamis to descend on the United States after the World's Parliament of Religions in 1893, and his success (he claimed 5,000 disciples, mostly women, in Los Angeles) was a factor in the passing of the Alien Exclusionary Act of 1917 and the resentment of American mages (like "Adiramled") who urged people to support their local gurus and "Buy American." He arrived in the United States in October 1902 (after traveling through Paris and London, where he offered three lessons in "spiritual development for a guinea) and for several years made the circuit of East Coast reform-minded, feminist, New Thought enclaves like Green Acre ("long-haired men and short-haired women") and then, inevitably, decamped for Los Angeles in August 1905, where he established a "Krishna Home" and, incidently served to unmask Mazziniananda as being ignorant of Hindustani. His message was a combination of "Krishna Consciousness" and American New Thought, tempered with pointed comments on "The White Peril." The journal was a very polished production for its type, in turns literary and devotional, and overlain with a very strong, and even virulent, strain of anti-western, anti-Christian thought. Bharati thoroughly resented his perceived slights at the hands of his former colonial masters in India, especially the "Tommies," and was determined to point out western errors and failings and to emphasize the primacy and superiority of Hinduism, at last awakened by the impositions of Christian missionaries. His novel Jim: An Anglo-Indian Romance Founded on Real Facts, a "reply to" Kipling's Kim, was first published serially in the journal and showed a westerner humiliated and put in his place on being exposed to the wonders and secrets of the Indians--a "divine people." Given the nature of his audience in the West, Bharati went to great lengths ("The Myths about Hindoo Women"), proffering the example of the Maharani of Baroda, though perhaps not totally successfully to elevate the western view of Indian women and their lives.

The journal intended to be of general interest: It "is an all-round magazine, embracing and dealing with, in its masterful way, subjects, affecting the deepest interest of all humanity---spiritual, social and domestic in especial. Although its articles, sketches and stories are essentially Oriental, they throw illuminating sidelights upon human life in the West. For the first time in the history of the world and Western literature, the real facts of the inner life of the East in general and India in particular, are being revealed to Western readers, which is the chief mission of the Light of India, which is the light of the entire East. Hence, it cannot fail to fascinatingly interest the general reader, while those who have real spiritual hunger will find more than enough in the contents of this issue the greatest treasures of their life, the surest guide for their soul's path to its goal." In practice, the journal printed one of Bharati's sermons and serialized his encounter with the West ("The Baba in the West"), and filled its pages with oriental sketches, serialized novels (like "Jim" and Anthon's "IStories of India"), and poetry by Ella Wheeler Wilcox and others. Contributions by William Walker Atkinson, W.J. Colville, Julian Hawthorne, Mrs. Arthur L. Smith (on "Soul Affinity"), Adela Bee Adams, et al. Notable are regular contributions by Elsa Barker, the author or transcriber of Letters from a Living Dead Man. The journal increasingly came to carry the standard New Thought variety of advertisements for the likes of Sister Onfa's Higher Occult Life and "Ulric's" solicitations for "those aspiring for Soul Sight and allied powers."

Bharati returned to India in 1907 with his favorite disciple, the novelist Rose Reinhardt Anthon, and others, continuing the journal from Calcutta for a time, and came back to America in 1910, when he published the journal as East and West. He returned to India permanently in 1911. The effect of his prolonged stay in Los Angeles can be seen by comparing the photograph of him on the cover of this journal with that on the cover of East and West, the latter showing his transformation into the robed, well-coifed, slightly epicene figure expected of mages in California.

Bharati regularly contributed to Alexander James McIvor-Tyndall's the Swastika. It has been suggested that he was the same as the "Baba Bharata" who was a disciple of an unknown "Yogi Ramacharaka" who supposedly came to America for the World's Parliament of Religions in 1893 and whose name William Walker Atkinson used for several of his books, but there is no evidence to support the claim beyond the fact that Atkinson wrote for the early issues of the journal. LOC; NYPL;

Issues:Light Of India V1 N10 Jul 1907
Light Of India V1 N1 Oct 1906
Light Of India V1 N2 Nov 1906
Light Of India V1 N2 Nov 1906 Ver 2
Light Of India V1 N3 Dec 1906
Light Of India V1 N4 Jan 1907
Light Of India V1 N5 Feb 1907
Light Of India V1 N6 Mar 1907
Light Of India V1 N7 Apr 1907
Light Of India V1 N8 May 1907
Light Of India V1 N9 Jun 1907
Light Of India V1 N10 Jul 1907
Light Of India V2 N1 Jan 1908
Light Of India V2 N2 Feb 1908
Light Of India V2 N3 Mar 1908
Light Of India V2 N4 Apr 1908
Light Of India V2 N5 May 1908

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