The Full Wiki

Ernest Wood: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Professor Ernest Egerton Wood (* 18 August 1883 in Manchester, England; + 17 September 1965 in Houston, United States) was a noted yogi, theosophist and author of numerous books, including Concentration - An Approach to Meditation and Yoga and a Sanskrit scholar.


Youth and Education

Wood was educated at the Manchester College of Technology, where he studied chemistry, physics and geology. Because of his interest in Buddhism and Yoga, he began to learn the Sanskrit language.


As a young man, Wood became interested in Theosophy after listening to lectures by the theosophist Annie Besant, whose personality impressed him greatly. He joined the society's Manchester lodge and in 1908 followed Besant, had become President of the Theosophical Society Adyar, to India. Wood became one of her assistants, working with Besant and Charles Webster Leadbeater, who had arrived in Adyar in 1909.

Wood observed the discovery of the boy Jiddu Krishnamurti by Leadbeater, who soon declared Krishnamurti to be the vehicle for the "coming World Teacher". Wood's account of this discovery is in his autobiography, Is this Theosophy...?, published in 1936, and in two articles written after that.[1][2]

At Besant's suggestion, Wood became involved in education, and after 1910, he served as headmaster of several schools and colleges founded by the Theosophical Society. Wood became Professor of Physics, Principal and President of the Sind National College and the Madanapalle College, both teaching colleges of the Bombay and Madras Universities. Wood promoted theosophical ideas, conducting lecturing tours and publishing numerous articles, essays and books on a variety of theosophical subjects, among them a digest of Helena P. Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine. His lectured throughout India and travelled to many countries in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. He continued to reside in India until the close of World War II, when he relocated to the United States.

Wood become disillusioned about the future of the Theosophical Society and began to study the yoga classics. Following the Krishnamurti affair, which caused a splitting of the society, Wood campaigned for election to the office of president after Annie Besant's death in 1933. He was defeated by George Arundale, one of Charles Leadbeater's close allies, in a campaign that Wood later described as unfair and questionable. Disenchanted with the society's direction, but impressed with the now mature and independent Krishnamurti, Wood turned to Yoga.[3]


In India, Wood had encountered many yogis and Hindu pundits. As a practising yogi, vegetarian and teetotaller, having adopted this lifestyle after reading Sir Edwin Arnold's The Light of Asia in his boyhood, he was warmly received by Indian yogis, many of whom became Wood's friends and advisers. During his early years in Adyar, the Head of the Vedantic Monastery Shri Shringeri Shivaganga Samasthanam in Mysore Province, Sri Jagat Guru Shankara Charya Swami, bestowed upon Wood the title of "Shri Sattwikagraganya" in recognition of his efforts to introduce Indian pupils to Sanskrit. [3]

Wood did not officially become a student of any Indian master. However, during a visit to New York in 1928, he again met with Krishnamurti, who was leaving the Theosophical Society to become an independent teacher, renouncing the ceremonies and occult hierarchies created by the leadership of the Society. This meeting affected Wood deeply, and he returned to the classic yoga literature as a source of inspiration.[3] Wood spent his remaining years writing and publishing on yoga. He moved to the United States, where he served for a short time as president and dean of the American Academy of Asian Studies in San Francisco, and later moved to Houston, Texas, working for the University of Houston, Texas. Together with his wife, Hilda, Wood helped in the establishment of a Montessori school in Houston, Texas, which was named after them.[4]

Shortly after his arrival in India, Wood had begun translating the Indian classics, such as the Garuda Purana. In the late 1920s, he began a thorough study of the Yoga classics with the assistance of several Hindu scholars, leading to the publication of numerous translations of famous yoga texts such as the Bhagavad Gita, Patañjali's Yoga Sutras, Shankara's Viveka Chudamani. In his commentaries to these translations, Wood tried to make these texts' philosophical ideas applicable to modern life. His writings contain many references to his own practical experiences in these matters. Together with his concise treatises of yoga, such as the volume Yoga, Penguin Books,1959/62, and his earlier writings on concentration and memory training, Wood's works contain a complete introduction to the classic texts of Raja Yoga, or the yoga of the mind, with a sparing use of Sanskrit expressions.

Wood died on September 17, 1965, days after finishing his translation of Shankara's Viveka Chudamani, which was posthumously published and entitled The pinnacle of Indian thought.[5]


  1. ^ Ernest Wood: "Clairvoyant investigations by C.W. Leadbeater on Alcyone's (or Krishnamurti's) previous lives." (with extensive notes by C. Jinarajadasa)
  2. ^ Ernest Wood: "There is no religion higher than truth", on the discovery of Jiddu Krishnamurti, his youth and upbringing and Leadbeater's role in this
  3. ^ a b c Wood, Ernest E. (1936). "Is this Theosophy...?", Rider & Co.
  4. ^ Homepage of the School of the Woods, history section (retrieved 24 Oct. 2006)
  5. ^ Wood, Ernest E. (1967), "The Pinnacle of Indian Thought", editor's note by Hilda Wood, p.161.

Partial List of Works

  • The Garuda Purana (Saroddhara). The Sacred Books of the Hindus, Vol. 9. Indian Press 1911.
  • The Seven Rays. 1925.
  • The Intuition of the Will. The Theosophical Press 1927. ISBN 0-7661-9095-1
  • An Englishman Defends Mother India. A Complete Constructive Reply to „Mother India“, Ganesh & Co. 1929, revised 1930.
  • The Occult Training of the Hindus, 1931 (republished in 1976 under the title Seven Schools of Yoga by the Theosophical Publishing House).
  • The Song of Praise to the Dancing Shiva. Ganesh & Co. 1931.
  • Mind and Memory Training. Theosophical Publishing House 1936.
  • Is this Theosophy...? (Autobiography) Rider & Co. 1936. ISBN 0-7661-0829-5
  • Practical Yoga, Ancient and Modern, with an Introduction by Paul Brunton. E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc. 1948.
  • Concentration - An Approach to Meditation. Theosophical Publishing House 1949. ISBN 0-8356-0176-5
  • Practical Yoga, Ancient and Modern, Being a New, Independent Translation of Patanjali's Yoga Aphorisms, Interpreted in the Light of Ancient and Modern Psychological Knowledge and Practical Experience. Rider and Company 1951.
  • The Glorius Presence, A Study of the Vedanta Philosophy and Its Relation to Modern Thought, Including a New Translation of Shankara's Ode to the South-Facing Form. Rider & Co. 1952.
  • Great Systems of Yoga. Philosophical Library 1954.
  • The Bhagavad Gita Explained, With a New and Literal Translation. New Century Foundation Press 1954.
  • Yoga Dictionary. Philosophical Library 1956.
  • Zen Dictionary. Philosophical Library 1957. ISBN 0-14-021998-6
  • Yoga. Penguin Books 1959. Revised 1962.
  • A Study of Pleasure and Pain. The Theosophical Press 1962.
  • Vedanta Dictionary. Philosophical Library 1964.
  • The Pinnacle of Indian Thought, Being a new, independent translation of the Viveka Chudamani (Crest Jewel of Discrimination) with commentaries. The Theosophical Publishing House, 1967.
  • Come Unto Me and Other Writings. The Theosophical Publishing House 2000.

External links



Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address