A. K. Mozumdar
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Template:NewThought Akhay Kumar Mozumdar (July 15, 1864 – March 9, 1953) was an Indian-born spiritual leader who was associated with the New Thought Movement in the United States. He became a naturalised American in 1913. However, in 1919, in the wake of the Thind decision, Mozumdar became the first Indian to have his American citizenship stripped from him.
Biography[edit | hide all | hide | edit source]
The son of an attorney, Mozumdar was born in a small village about twenty miles north of Calcutta, India. He was the youngest child, with eight older brothers and one sister. The Mozumdars were a well-established, high caste family. Mozumdar's mother was very devout and seemed to foresee her youngest child's career as a spiritual teacher when she named him Akhay Kumar, meaning "Son of God." Mozumdar was a dynamic teacher, lecturer, and writer of the New Thought Movement in the United States during the first half of 20th-century. He exhibited a deep knowledge of God and taught what he called, the "Cosmic Creative Principle." After leaving his family home, he spent time traveling throughout India, then traveled to Bethlehem in search of enlightenment about Christianity. He spent several years in China and Japan but realizing that his destiny was to teach in America.
Mozumdar immigrated to the United States, arriving in Seattle, Washington, in 1903. He began attracting the interest of Americans who wanted to hear his message. In 1905 Jennie and Charles Clark, leaders in Seattle's Queen City Theosophical Society, reported in the Theosophical Quarterly Magazine that Mozumdar, 'a Hindu Brother … has spoken for us for several weeks to full houses.' The Clarks wrote that Mozumdar "calls his teachings 'universal truth.
In 1910, Mozumdar had just begun to present a lecture on The Bhagavad Gita in Spokane, Washington, when suddenly he left his podium and raced down the isle stopping in front of a man exclaiming, "Where have you been? What has kept you? I have been waiting for you." Mozumdar had come to America at the mandate of his own renowned guru, the Master Arumda, with whom he had studied since the age of eight. After 25 years Arumda had informed his devoted disciple that his real dharma was to serve the ‘Great Plan’ in America.
When Mozumdar arrived in the United States he had immediately began looking for the one waiting for his teachings. He had known immediately where Ralph M. de Bit was located as he explained to him later: ""I found you very soon. But it was two years before I could bring you out of your forests." According to DeBit's biographer, Richard Satriano, Forest Ranger DeBit had just left his job in the Bitter Root Mountains in Montana after being told by an unseen voice "Come out of the woods to the city. Come out and begin your work." Mozumdar and deBit remained together as student and teacher for nearly seven years. During that time Mozumdar bestowed upon the student he had traveled to the United States to find, the name of "Vitvan", Sanskrit for "one who knows." DeBit studied with his teacher, A K Mozumdar until 1918 when he began his own career as a lecturer and writer. Whenever Vitvan recalled his first meeting with Mozumdar, he always laughed, saying "When I saw that little Hindu vault into the aisle and come running towards me I was certain he was a madman. I was preparing in my mind how I would deal with him. He pulled up just short of where I was sitting. He hit me hard on the shins with his cane and shouted at me. Before I could respond the most extraordinary thing happened. He smiled at me with great warmth and affection and laid the open palm of his hand over the lapel of my coat. My surroundings blurred and everyone and everything disappeared."
Teachings[edit | hide | edit source]
If man thinks and acts, is not the thinker and actor God? If God is all life, then all lives are God. The creative power is the very nature of the being of the Creator; hence the creative power is God. Life is the Creator, and will never be reduced to the level of its own creation. The creature will forever be ensouled with the creative activity, and move and act according to the inner impulse of the Creator. By thinking with the mind of the one life, you become conscious of being the thinker. At the back of your every action you should find yourself. You are spirit and therefore spiritual. The permanent substance is underneath all forms. The forms are made of the everlasting substance. This knowledge sets a man free.
Critique of Mozumdar's writings[edit | hide | edit source]
While Mozumdar's teaching is popular ... it shows us what happens when a thinker immersed in Hindu lore completely accepts a world-affirming position. What happens is an identification of the Hindu conception of a divine universal Self with the Hebrew conception of a divine creative power. To Mozumdar the ultimate God is not uncreative bliss, as in the view of Sankara, but creative power, as in the Hebrew tradition. Yet this creative Power, he declares, is the same as the universal Self. Here the universal Self, we should note, is not a finite Ideal, as in Greek philosophy, but the infinite Substance of the world.
U.S. immigration law[edit | hide | edit source]
In 1913 Mozumdar became a U.S. citizen after having convinced the Spokane district judge that he was in fact Caucasian and thereby met the requirements of naturalization law then restricting citizenship to "free white persons." On February 5, 1917, the United States congress passed the Immigration Act of 1917 also known as the Asiatic Barred Zone Act. Along with many other undesirables it banned Asians from immigrating to the United States.
Ten years later, however, as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind, stipulating that no person of East Indian origin could become a naturalized United States citizen, Mozumdar's citizenship was revoked. A decision on his appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the revocation. The Luce-Celler Act of 1946 provided a quota of 100 Indians to immigrate into the US. A. K. Mozumdar remained in the United States until his death in San Diego in 1953, he was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. Mozumdar was very close to several leaders in the International New Thought Alliance. Reverend Ernest Holmes, an American spiritual writer, teacher and founder of a Spiritual movement known as Religious Science, and author of "Science of Mind" was a close friend and admirer. Holmes officiated at Mozumdar's large and well attended memorial service.
Major works[edit | hide | edit source]
- The Triumphant Spirit
- The Conquering Man (also translated into Swedish by Eric O.G. Olson, Den segrande människan)
- The Mystery of the Kingdom
- The Commanding Life
- "Christ on the Road of Today
- Key to the New Messianic World Message
- Christ Speaketh
- Today and Tomorrow
- Open Door to Heaven
- The Life and the Way
References[edit | hide | edit source]
- Lal, Vinay (2012). "VI: Exile in the New Canaan". The Other Indians. Harper Collins. ISBN 9789350292617. Retrieved 9 April 2016.
- Satriano, Richard (1977). Vitvan An American Master (First ed.). Baker Nevada: School of Natural Order. p. 20.
- Satriano, Richard (1977). Vitvan An American Master. School of The Natural Order. p. 25.
- Mozumdar's The Life of Man, pp. 1, 3, 7, 27, and The Conquering Man, p. 41, as synthesized by Wendell Marshall Thomas in his 1930 study, Hinduism Invades America, published by Beacon Press, p. 253 ff.
- Hinduism Invades America by Wendell Marshall Thomas (Beacon Press, 1930) Template:Page needed
- "Hindu of High Caste Eligible for Citizenship". San Francisco Call. May 4, 1913.
- In re Mozumdar, 207 F. 115 (E.D. Wash. 1913); United States v. Akhay Kumar Mozumdar, 296 F. 173 (1923); and Akhay Kumar Mozumdar v. United States, 299 F. 240 (1924)
- Martell, Francesca (1981), "A New Mozumdar Chapter" (PDF), Valley Wide Resorter, 22 (45)