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© Copyright 2006
by The Universal Message
By David H. Howard
© Copyright 1974, 2006 by The Universal Message

"I do not know of any spiritual teacher that I consider so close to the spirit of Christ as Mr. Mozumdar," wrote the late Glenn Clark, famous author, lecturer and college professor. "He has that perfect transparency that is a combination of what they say are the outstanding qualities of Gandhi, humility and confidence – humility in the outer and perfect confidence in the inner. I feel that any one who perfectly comprehends his teachings and puts them into expression in his life will possess the secret of the ages."

A.K. Mozumdar in 1924
A.K. Mozumdar (around 1924)

These words, written years ago, express the feelings shared by many who knew this extraordinary spiritual teacher, A. K. Mozumdar. Not only was Mozumdar a dynamic teacher, lecturer and writer, but in his daily life he exhibited a true love for and deep knowledge of God – which he called the "Cosmic Creative Principle." His overriding desire was to help lead spiritual searchers to inner harmony and peace – the natural outcome of the life in communion with God, the Superconscious Power.

LIFE IN INDIA

The son of an attorney, A. K. Mozumdar was born in a small village about twenty miles north of Calcutta, India, July 15, 1864. He was the youngest child, having eight older brothers and one sister. The Mozumdars were a well established, high caste family. Mozumdar's mother was a very devout woman who seemed to anticipate her youngest child's career as a deep spiritual teacher when she named him Akhoy Kumar, meaning "Son of God."

Young Mozumdar was always very close to his mother and she led her son carefully through his early inward struggles. After her death, when Mozumdar was 16, he left the family home and spent several years traveling throughout India, studying under several gurus (holy men, spiritual teachers). He even traveled as far as Bethlehem in search of enlightenment about Christianity. As a young person in India, Mozumdar came under the influence of Arumda, an enlightened teacher. It was he who told the young man that his destiny was to teach in America.

While in China and Japan in 1902 and 1903, Mozumdar's hunger to learn more about Christianity coupled with the encouragement of Arumda led him to seek transportation to the United States. Finally he was able to secure steerage on a tramp steamer, eventually arriving in Seattle, Washington, in 1903.

In Seattle the young Indian, pennyless and yet speaking little English, was taken in by a Swedish family. For three years he studied both the English language and the New Testament. By the time he moved to Spokane, Washington, in 1906 his spoken and written English were greatly improved. Mozumdar wasted no time in Seattle, however, and shortly after his arrival he began attracting the interest of Americans who wanted to hear what he had to say. 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." His lecture for April 3, 1905, was "God and Creation." The Clarks wrote that Mozumdar "calls his teachings 'universal truth.'"

On June 30, 1913, Mozumdar became the first East Indian to earn United States citizenship at a brief ceremony in Spokane, but that achievement did not come without considerable pain. On July 11, 1912, Mozumdar filed with the U.S. District Court in Spokane his petition to be naturalized. At that time, U.S. immigration law specified only "free white persons" were eligible to become citizens. The government naturalization examiner ruled that Mozumdar, coming from India, did not meet that criteria and the petition was denied. At Mozumdar's request, the court reheard the case on May 3, 1913. In his attempt to satisfy the laws of the day, Mozumdar made a lengthy statement about his racial background. "I come from the northern part of India, from the part of India that is customarily spoken of as Upper India, or what is known as Hindustan proper. I am a high-caste Hindu of pure blood, belonging to what is known as the warrior caste, or ruling caste. The pure-blooded Hindus are divided into three castes – the priestly caste, the warrior or ruling caste, and the merchant caste. The blood is kept pure by rigid rules of exclusion. Any one who marries outside of his caste is ostracized, and is disinherited by the native law. None of the high-caste Hindus will have anything to do with him. Marriage outside of the caste is not often known. Very few of the high-caste Hindus come to the United States. The great bulk of the Hindus in this country are not high-caste Hindus, but are what are called sikhs, and are of mixed blood. The laboring class, those who do the rough manual labor, are not high-caste Hindus at all, but are in an entirely separate class, having quite a different religion and a different ancestry. The high-caste Hindus are of Brahmin faith, and in India are clearly distinguished from all of the other inhabitants, including the aborigines of the country, or the hill tribes, and also the descendants of the invaders, those of the Mohammedan faith. The high-caste Hindus comprise perhaps one-fourth of the natives of India. The high-caste Hindus always consider themselves to be members of the Aryan race, and their native term for Hindustan is Arya-vartha, which means country or land of the Aryans."

The outcome of this hearing was that District Judge Rudkin admitted it was difficult to determine if citizens of India were in fact "free white persons" as required by federal statutes existing at that time. "The difference between daylight and darkness is apparent to all," the judge said, "but where is the dividing line, and where does daylight end or darkness begin? So it is with the races of mankind...." He closed the case by ruling, "I fully appreciate the fact that the lineage of the applicant in these matters must rest largely, if not entirely, upon his own testimony, and that the courts may be imposed upon; but they must administer the law as best they can until Congress sees fit to prescribe a more definite rule for their guidance. The testimony in this case satisfies me that the applicant has brought himself within the provisions of the Naturalization Act, and he will be admitted to citizenship accordingly, upon taking the oath prescribed by law." (To read a contemporary newspaper story about Mozumdar's citizenship hearing click here.)

But the naturalization ceremony two months later did not end the citizenship struggle for Mozumdar. In 1923 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind 261 U.S. 204, 1923) that natives of India could not become naturalized citizens even though anthropologists had determined that those people were members of the Caucasian race. Because of this decision, a petition was filed shortly thereafter in Los Angeles, where Mozumdar was then living, seeking to institute proceedings "for the purpose of setting aside and canceling the certificate of citizenship" that had been granted Mozumdar ten years before in Spokane. A hearing was held on November 30, 1923, where S.G. Pandit, Mozumdar's attorney, presented a strong case but, in the end, the court sided with the district attorney and the citizenship was revoked. On appeal to the Circuit Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, the court on June 16, 1924, said that U.S. v. Bhagat Singh Thind was clear enough; Mozumdar was from India, he did not "look like" a northern European Caucasian and, therefore, was not eligible to become a citizen of the United States. Revocation of his citizenship was upheld. [See 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)]

Congressional passage the following year of the Johnson-Reed Immigration Act further codified this race-based immigration policy. However, Mozumdar remained a loyal American and in 1950, with the help of close friends and thanks to some loosening of immigration laws, he passed the requirements for a second time and became naturalized again. He wanted to die as an American citizen.

MINISTRY IN SPOKANE

Mozumdar had been in America only three years when he moved to the eastern Washington city of Spokane in 1906. He brought with him a deep inner understanding of the spiritual heritage of his native India and a new, fresh and exciting awareness of Christianity. His ability to reduce complex spiritual concepts into easily understood truths made him immediately popular in Spokane.

Location for Society of Christian Yoga
Location of Society of Christian Yoga in Spokane (entrance at the left). When this photo was taken in the early 1970s the occupant was a book bindry. The building was torn down in the mid-1970s.

Spokane's citizens enthusiastically welcomed this handsome and intriguing man's fresh, practical approach to living. The Sunday services were well attended at Mozumdar's First Society of Christian Yoga, West 611 Third, and many of those in the congregation each week were prominent in the community. In addition to the weekly church services he gave private instruction and counseling abundantly. Though never charging for his services, most who sought out his advice gave generous gifts in thanks for his willing help.

A.K. Mozumdar, 1929
A.K. Mozumdar, probably around 1929.

Mozumdar's first books were written while he lived in Spokane. The first, The Life and the Way, was published in New York in 1911 and a greatly expanded version was printed three years later. This was the primary textbook used by his followers throughout his long career. In the twenties, however, he made extensive revisions and additions, republishing the text in pamphlet form.

A second book, Teacher's Manual of the Universal Message, was printed in Spokane in 1915. This handbook was used for many years by those students who went out and started teaching centers in other communities. After these first publishing efforts, Mozumdar produced many pamphlets, articles and seven other full-length books. All of them present his masterful insight into life and religion.

VITVAN

A well-documented encounter in 1911 would profoundly change the lives of both Mozumdar and a young forest ranger from Idaho, Ralph Moriarity deBit. Arumda had told Mozumdar that he would encounter a pupil in America who needed his guidance and he had been meditating and searching for this person since arriving in Washington state. Ralph deBit, at that time a devout fundamentalist Christian, had been working in the northern Idaho woods supporting his family and in the quietness of the wilderness he was patiently searching for a deeper spiritual life. During the first week of October 1910 he was on a solitary week-long trip deep into the forest when one evening, on two occasions, he heard his name audibly called out. Both times he yelled out an answer and he even went into the woods looking for the person who was calling him. Nobody was found. The third time his name was called, deBit answered, "Come out, damn you, whoever you are. Come out." After a brief silence, the voice came back out of the darkness: "It is for you to come out, my son. Come out of the woods to the city. Come out and begin your work."

A few weeks later deBit was talking with an itinerant evangelist who, out of the blue, asked him, "Ralph, when are you going to be about your Father's business?" This confirmed what the voice in the woods had said and within a week deBit and his family were headed for the closest big city, Spokane.

Mozumdar & Vitvan during their Spokane years
Mozumdar (second from right) and Vitvan (at the left) are seen together on a ship in this early photo. (Courtesy of School of the Natural Order, www.sno.org)

The young man was puzzled about what to do next. One day in January 1911 he noticed an advertisement in the newspaper that read: "The Bhagavad Gita: Lectures by A.K. Mozumdar, Sunday afternoons and evenings the month of January; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. by donation." DeBit recalled reading a reference to the Bhagavad Gita in Emerson's writings so he decided to attend the next lecture at Mozumdar's storefront headquarters at West 611 Third Avenue. DeBit later recalled his first impression of Mozumdar was that of a small, exceptionally handsome, dark man, conservatively dressed in a Western suit and tie, appearing to be in his early thirties. According to the account in deBit's biography, "He carried a small leather-bound book in one hand and a thin wooden cane in the other. He began to speak in halting, broken English with the high lilt of the East Indian. He used the cane as a pointer to a chart he had arranged.

"He had spoken only a few words when he paused in mid-sentence and raised his head to stare in deBit's direction. For a long moment he stood silent, moving his head ever so slightly to one side and then the other, as though listening to a far away sound. Suddenly he leaped from the podium, cane in hand, and raced down the aisle. He stopped in front of deBit and gave him a resounding rap on the shins with his cane, shouting, ‘Where have you been? What has kept you? I have been waiting for you.'"

In speaking of the incident years later, deBit laughed and said, "When I saw that little Hindu vault into the aisle and come running toward 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 to 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; I stood again in that dimension of timelessness that I had experienced on one other occasion.

Mozumdar & Vitvan near Spokane
Vitvan (right) was a student of Mozumdar's (left) in Spokane for seven years. (Photo, taken before World War I, courtesy of School of the Natural Order, www.sno.org)

"Then, in a moment I was sitting again where I had been, with everything intact. I looked up at him and was caught again in that odd vibration I had felt from the old parson [the evangelist who told deBit to attend to his Father's business]. Mozumdar was smiling still and looking deep into my eyes. ‘Now you recognize me,' he said. He turned to the stunned audience and said calmly, ‘People, you must go home now. I will talk here again another time.' Then he took me by the arm and walked out of the building and down the street."

DeBit, who was named Vitvan (meaning "one who knows") by Mozumdar, studied with his master until 1918 when he began his own career as a lecturer and writer. He died in 1964 at the age of 80. His story is told in, and the quotations above are reprinted from, the book Vitvan: An American Master by Richard Satriano, published by the School of the Natural Order in 1977 (the book is available in its entirety online at www.sno.org).

Christian Yoga Magazine, April 1913
A.K. Mozumdar's Christian Yoga Monthly magazine, April 1913 issue

Shortly after Mozumdar and deBit joined forces they commenced the publication of a regular magazine, Christian Yoga Monthly. Mozumdar wrote much of the content and deBit was listed as an editor along with a George E. Chambers. Annie Rix Militz (1856-1924), a prominent early leader in the New Thought movement, commented about Mozumdar's magazine in her own publication, Master Mind Magazine (April-Sept., 1912, p. 174): "The principal writer is a Hindu of fine intellectual ability and great spiritual zeal, intent upon giving a clear message that all things and conditions are according to your concept. Strong, absolute statements abound in the teachings of A.K. Mozumdar."

Mozumdar's fledgling religious movement quickly gained national recognition. In its 1916 census of religious organizations, the U.S. Census Bureau printed a lengthy account of this new group that studied a blend of Eastern and Western religious teachings. "The founder [of the Christian Yoga Society], A.K. Mozumdar, gathered a number of followers and a society was organized at Spokane, Wash.... with 50 active members," the report states. "For some time it developed somewhat slowly but gathered membership in different parts of the United States. After a time the organization was disbanded, and Mr. Mozumdar organized the Universal Messianic Church, or the Church of the Universal Messianic Message."

At the time of the census there were five separate churches meeting in rented facilities – three in Washington and one each in California and New Jersey. The report cites 266 total members in 1916, 98 males and 168 females. [United States Bureau of the Census. Religious Bodies: 1916. Washington, D.C.: Govt. Printing Office (1919).]

CHURCH OF TRUTH

Mozumdar was not the only Spokane teacher of New Thought who was gaining a nationwide audience. Mozumdar's Christian Yoga Society (later known as the Universal Messianic Church) had a neighbor not many blocks away called the Church of Truth led by the popular Dr. Albert C. Grier. When Grier left Spokane to take up work in Pasadena, members of the Church of Truth approached Mozumdar about assuming the pulpit, an offer he considered but eventually turned down. Mrs. Erma Wells was chosen to replace Grier and she later went on to lead the International New Thought Alliance as its president (1938-1940). Grier ultimately succeeded Dr. W. John Murray as pastor of the Church of the Healing Christ in New York City and the Churches of Truth that Grier founded become a significant denomination. The New York church was pastored by the well-known Emmet Fox for some years following Grier's retirement and Dr. John Seaman Garns also served as minister there for several years. The Spokane congregation later affiliated with Charles Fillmore's Unity movement out of Missouri and it remains one of the largest churches in that denomination.(www.unityspokane.org)

MOVE TO LOS ANGELES

The entry of the United States into World War I provided a brief interruption in Mozumdar's expanding work. On October 18, 1918, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was assigned to Gonzaga University in Spokane for officer's training. He was honorably discharged only two months later, however, due to the armistice.

A.K. Mozumdar, 1929
A.K. Mozumdar, 1929

In 1919 Mozumdar made a difficult decision that affected the remainder of his life. His twelve years in Spokane had provided the opportunity to meditate, write, counsel and speak to many. His residence there saw him mature and develop into a dynamic lecturer. He had watched the city grow and he loved its people. But he also felt his primary mission in Spokane was to find Vitvan and provide him with the training he needed. By now Vitvan was on his own, then living in New York City.

While in Spokane, occasional lecture tours took him to other cities around the U.S. where he met equally enthusiastic audiences. Since Spokanites sent Mozumdar's books along with letters of praise about the Indian teacher to friends all over the country, his fame was no longer confined to the eastern Washington city. Finally, the time felt right to leave and Mozumdar settled in Los Angeles, a city that even then had a reputation for welcoming teachers of all persuasions.

After the relocation to California, Mozumdar's ministry developed primarily into that of a religious writer and lecturer. He began traveling extensively and his visits over the years took him to San Diego, Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Oakland, Milwaukee, Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago, Oklahoma City, Minneapolis, Cincinnati and many other cities. He always had large, captivated audiences. Most lectures were followed by a short healing service.

His talks were practical, direct and realistic. Some lecture titles were, "What Did Jesus the Christ Give That No Other Teacher Gave?," "Dynamic Meditation," "The Mystery of All Mysteries – The Great Within," "Your Mind – Its Power and Mysteries." He continually tried to point the way for individuals to live a longer, happier, healthier, more harmonious life.

At the beginning of one of his lectures, the local host mistakenly introduced Mozumdar as "Prince Mozumdar." That slip amused Mozumdar's followers and they began using "Prince" as a nickname. In no time the moniker stuck and for the rest of his life Mozumdar was affectionately called Prince by those he knew.

JOURNALIST PRAISES MOZUMDAR

Journalist Frederick G. Lieb, in his book Sight Unseen,* wrote that A.K. Mozumdar was "more spiritually advanced than any person I encountered along the metaphysical by-ways ... I feel that I got more from him than from any other (East Indian teacher) I listened to.

A.K. Mozumdar, 1925

"In appearance Mozumdar is one of the most remarkable human beings I ever gazed upon. He seems to have found what Ponce de Leon searched for around Tampa Bay over four hundred years ago, the fountain of perpetual youth, only this Eastern philosopher and scholar finds it bubbling within himself. Though some of his followers tell me he is well along in the seventies, he has the appearance of a vigorous, healthy-looking young man in his early thirties. This especially is true when he is on the platform and you are not too close to him. There has been no change in his physical appearance since I first heard him speak in New York in 1925 and at that time a metaphysical teacher in New York, a lady in whose veracity I have full confidence, told me Mozumdar looked exactly the same then as when she first had seen him a quarter of a century before.

"Some persons with clairvoyant or psychic tendencies can see the auras or color emanations of other persons. My wife possesses this gift to some degree. Around Mozumdar's entire body, not once but several times, she could see a three- to four-inch aura of white light, with golden sparks shooting from it. She has attended many other lectures given by European, American and Hindu teachers, but only with Mozumdar did she see such emanations of light.

"He is well educated, is as conversant with the great English and German philosophers as with the writers of the Christian Bible and the Sanskrit Vedas, and he can converse intelligently on abstract subjects with such super-scientists as Einstein and Millikan. In no person I ever met is the simple mind of Christ so merged with that of the Twentieth century thinker and scientist. In a mind such as his religion and science meet on common ground."
(* Sight Unseen by Frederick G. Lieb, copyright 1939, Harper & Row Publishers, and reprinted by permission.)

MOZUMDAR AND THE TEMPLE

For many years Mozumdar dreamed that there would be a place where people of all Christian denominations, in fact followers of all persuasions, could worship in their respective faiths – and yet radiate universal love, Christian ethics, all-embracing tolerance, harmony, devotion and peace.

Lodge at Camp Mozumdar
A.K. Mozumdar spent much time at his lodge on the grounds of Camp Mozumdar in the San Bernardino Mountains.

With this dream and his own funds he purchased a 10-acre tract of land in the San Bernardino mountains about 80 miles east of Los Angeles. Gradually the property was expanded to nearly 100 acres. A lodge was constructed. But most impressive were the Temple of Christ and the Pillars of God Amphitheater.

The Temple of Christ
The Temple of Christ at Camp Mozumdar (These camp views are all from old postcards.)

The Temple of Christ was designed by Mozumdar's close friend, the late William P. Lodge, a San Diego architect. It is a small structure resembling an Indian temple, about 40 feet square. Plans called for displaying murals inside depicting the life of Jesus. The interior of the temple was never completed, however.

The Pillars of God Amphitheater
The Pillars of God Amphitheater at Camp Mozumdar is where many of Mozumdar's students received their best instruction.

The amphitheater was the stage for many of Mozumdar's popular summer lectures. The large cross, representing Jesus, occupies the center and the twelve natural stone pillars, representing the twelve apostles, radiate away from the cross. Each Sunday afternoon he spoke to the crowds that gathered from across the country. Many camped on the property and were invited to do so with no fee being asked.

"This is your spiritual home of worship, " Mozumdar was fond of saying." You come and go as you please. You may come here to worship alone, or with your congregation. Even to stop here for a brief period is to commune with God, your Eternal Self."

William P. Lodge
William P. Lodge, architect for the Temple of Christ and a close friend of A.K. Mozumdar.

Following his death, Camp Mozumdar was sold to the YMCA and then, in 1977, that organization sold the property to the Unification Church (popularly known as the "Moonies," followers the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the Korean cult leader). That group continues to call the property Camp Mozumdar, but their teachings and camp operations are in no way similar to Mozumdar's. There is no connection between Mozumdar's teachings, the operators of mozumdar.org and the Unification Church. The lodge building burned several years ago.

MOZUMDAR'S MESSAGE

A.K. Mozumdar's Universal Message was that God is within you, inseparable from you. "We are forever united with God," he wrote, "and can never be separated.... If man can live his life today in harmony and peace with all, he will automatically reach the goal of Perfect Realization. This message does not lay special emphasis on the attainment of the Absolute Goal of Realization, but on living today's life by creating higher qualities regarding oneself and all with whom one associates."

A.K. Mozumdar, 1934
"Peace Be Unto You" wrote A.K. Mozumdar in autographing this portrait. This was the most popular portrait of the teacher's career.

Mozumdar felt the rigorous spiritual disciplines of India held little value for residents of the West. Here, he realized, the teachings of Jesus proclaimed openly the inward presence of Divinity. Mozumdar's nearly 50 years of lecturing, writing and teaching in America were dedicated to showing Western men and women how to grasp this Divinity and let it reshape and direct their lives, leading them to happiness, health and harmony. "Whatever you do with a pure heart to promote health, happiness and well-being is divine," he taught.

Throughout his life Mozumdar repeatedly faced the opposition of uninformed dogmatists who accused him of being "pagan" or "unchristian." Little did they realize the devotion this man had for Jesus and his teachings. It is said that as he studied he always had two books beside him: the dictionary and the New Testament.

But the admiration Mozumdar had for Jesus' life and teachings was also shared with all other religious masters. "I love all the great spiritual teachers and Masters of the world because of their wonderful messages," he wrote in 1915. "To me, they are the living exponents of the Truth." Mozumdar taught that science and religion could be copartners in man's search for illumination. He felt that Truth was revealed in all religions; the most important Truth being that God is within – God is man's very Power to think and conceive. When this is fully realized, one achieves immediate contact with God.

MOZUMDAR'S MINISTRY TODAY

A.K. Mozumdar's memorial plaque
A.K. Mozumdar's final resting place is Forest Lawn in Glendale, California, marked by this plaque. Next to him rests his friend, architect William P. Lodge.
Akhoy Kumar Mozumdar passed from this conscious plane on March 9,1953. Following a memorial service conducted by Ernest Holmes, founder of the Churches of Religious Science and author of the best-seller Science of Mind, his bodily remains were interred in beautiful Forest Lawn, Glendale, California.

After Mozumdar's death most of his books eventually went out of print. The New Messianic World Message (the name of his organization) gradually ceased to function due to a lack of leadership. A small group of his followers in Spokane, Washington (where he began his public ministry) became concerned, and in 1967 The New Messianic World Message was renamed and reborn. Through this new organization's efforts, two of Mozumdar's most influential books were reprinted (The Triumphant Spirit and Today and Tomorrow) but these have subsequently gone out of print again. For several years the group also published a magazine called "The Universal Message."

With the advent of the Internet, it is felt that more people could be helped by wide dissemination of Mozumdar's teachings on the Web, at less expense, than could ever be achieved with reprinting of his books. The Universal Message has accepted this challenge and dedicates its limited resources to this end. The Universal Message has never had any paid personnel; it has existed since 1967 only because of dedicated volunteer efforts.

CONTEMPORARIES SPEAK OF MOZUMDAR

A.K. Mozumdar had many devoted students and friends during his lifetime. Unfortunately, most of these have since passed away. I vividly remember a conversation in the early 1970s with one student who knew Mozumdar in Spokane before World War I. This woman was confined to a nursing home when I visited and a nurse had warned me that she often was not coherent. After entering the room, I introduced myself and stated the purpose of my visit – to talk about A.K. Mozumdar. When the conversation began there was little response from the woman who was confined to her bed. But when the name "Mozumdar" was mentioned, her face lit up and a broad smile crossed her face. She proceeded to talk with great lucidity about this man who had made such a life-changing impression nearly 60 years before.

Mozumdar's teachings about the connection between the mind and the body is gaining renewed interest today as researchers in the medical field are probing those links as well. In the book Beyond Biofeedback by Dr. Elmer and Alyce Green (Delacorte Press, 1977, page 280), Alyce Green gives some personal information about her introduction to New Thought back in the 1940s by Dr. John Seaman Garns, a gentleman in Minneapolis who had a center and school "for the express purpose of building a bridge between psychology, religion and science [called the School of Psychology and Divine Science]." Dr. Garns had a Ph.D. from Drake University and taught for many years at the University of Minnesota. The Greens, at the time they wrote this book, were co-directors of the Voluntary Controls Program, Research Department, of the prestigious Menninger Foundation.

Speaking of Dr. Garns's school, Alyce Green wrote: "Other lecturers and teachers were brought to the center. I remember one especially well, [A.K.] Mozumdar, a man from India who had been one of Dr. Garns's teachers. He was in his early nineties, but you would never have known it from his black hair and alert eyes and the grace with which he danced a waltz with me at a center party. Like Dr. Garns, Mozumdar had his own miracles of precognition and healing to tell, but the sharpest memory I have of him is when he told me to ‘develop the will.' I was going down the broad stairs at the center as he and Dr. Garns were coming up, engaged in an animated conversation. As we were about to pass he suddenly turned, looked at me with his piercing black eyes, and said, ‘The will! Develop the will,' then resumed his conversation and continued up the stairs."

Dr. Garns, who served as president of the International New Thought Alliance 1941-1943, was a close friend of Mozumdar's. "Mozumdar's course plunged me at once into a laboratory method of doing things with expedition and power," he wrote. "I had expected theory, I got practice; I looked for philosophy, I got operative science. I had shopped around with courses of instruction before. They all seemed like kindergarten work; Prince Mozumdar's is like a postgraduate course. I cannot thank him enough for the push his lessons gave me toward action and reality, away from bookish theories."

In 1930, Dr. Wendell Marshall Thomas's influential and objective study Hinduism Invades America was published by Beacon Press. Throughout the book Thomas writes about the many teachers and movements that had, prior to 1930, presented various versions of the Hindu religion to audiences in America, including those headed by still famous East Indians such as Swami Vivekananda (the Vetanta Society) and Paramahansa Yogananda (Self Realization Fellowship). However, he chose to close the book with the following, a statement of praise he reserves for A.K. Mozumdar:

"The most rapid movement of all, however, is found in the clean-cut work of A. K. Mozumdar, an independent Christian of Hindu race and tradition, who has preached here and there in America for about twenty years. While Mozumdar's teaching is popular, it has unusual historic significance, for 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.

"Mozumdar makes this synthesis on the basis of his faith in Jesus Christ. Whether Jesus was historically influenced by Hinduism, as many Hindus contend, we cannot at present determine, but what makes him more than an ordinary Hebrew prophet in his life and teaching is precisely the Hindu-like conviction, expressed as well as possible within the limits of Jewish conceptions, that God is the universal Self, or the personal Substance of man. Elaborating the same conviction, Spinoza declares that the God of creative Power is also the thinking Substance of man and the universe. While the synthesis of Jesus is implicit and popular, the synthesis of Spinoza is explicit and technical.

"Like Spinoza, Mozumdar worships Jesus as the supreme religious genius. Like Spinoza again, he feels both Hindu and Hebrew influence. And like Spinoza in the third place, he accepts the monistic philosophy of modern science instead of the dualistic philosophy of ancient Greece. Unlike Jesus, both Spinoza and Mozumdar are explicit in their Hebrew-Hindu synthesis, but like Jesus and unlike Spinoza, Mozumdar uses a popular instead of a technical method, for he preaches, teaches and performs faith-healing. While his lectures, classes, lessons and correspondence courses subordinate the Hebrew interest in social justice to the Hindu interest in meditation and concentration, his philosophical position – as revealed in his numerous pamphlets and books on "The Messianic World Message" – is definitely Christian and opposed to many. traditional Hindu conceptions, such as the equal value of all great religious geniuses, the illusory nature of the world, and the postponement of final salvation till the end of the cosmic process. Says he:

Jesus's teaching is the greatest and simplest revelation of God, and is different from other teachings of Truth.... He came to teach us that the human expression is not an illusion... but... a vital reality.... Instead of following a specific path to realize God, you let God direct your life.... It need not take you millions of years to dispel millions of years' accumulated darkness. It will take but a flash of light from God to light your entire mental life. [From The Conquering Man (1929) p. 58, 84, 85, 22]

"Yet his Christian teaching is unusual because it rejects the traditional Greek dualism in favor of Hindu monism.

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 It 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.... [From The Life of Man, p. 1, 3, 7, 27, and The Conquering Man, p. 41]

"American religion, with its dualistic Greek notion of an ideal God up in heaven – and an actual man down on earth, has come to a fork in the road. To the left lies a path trod by atheists, secularists, humanists and others, who seek to exalt man by getting rid of this sort of God. To the right lies a path trod by Hindus, Theosophists, Christian Scientists and others, who seek to exalt man by supporting him with a belief in his divine nature. The modern age has little use for the traditional dualism between the natural and the supernatural, and is moving towards pluralism on the one hand and monism on the other, towards the path of less religion and the path of more religion. Hinduism comes to America to point out the path of more religion."

OTHER TESTIMONIALS

(Written during Mozumdar's lifetime)
"Of all the teachers, and we have had many, to whom our church doors are open, no one has been more acceptable than Mr. Mozumdar. I count on the judgement of my men more than I would my own. Many of them are professors in Columbia, Union, etc.; they are unanimous in their approval. Whenever Mr. Mozumdar desires to come to our church, our doors will be flung wide open for him."
– Dr. E.H. Emmett (pastor of Manhattan Congregational Church, New York City)

"Of all the courses in ‘Practical Christianity' I have attended with various fine teachers, the lessons by Mr. Mozumdar on Master Wisdom have been the most practical, complete and convincing. The study of Body, Molecular, Electric and Divine Vibrations and the Cosmic Ray has been a revelation, and has lifted me out of untold depths."
– Mrs. F.H. Shepard (Shepard Schools of Music, New York City)

"His class work is the finest, clearest and highest one can imagine. I wish everyone could have it. His books are my constant companions."
– Carola Rust (Art Director of Home and Field Magazine, New York)

"How I appreciated your wonderful class! It was indeed wonderful that you could simplify (by the aid of your illustrations) your instructions and make them so easily understood. You eliminated the non-essentials and presented the Truth in such a clean-cut, common-sense manner, and without sacrificing the beauty and spiritual significance of your message."
– Georgette Banta (President, Chicago Psychology Club)

"Never have I heard so clear, so logical and so beautiful an exposition of the real gospel of Jesus the Christ as that of Prince Mozumdar. He is indeed a Messenger of God. His inspired teaching is in the highest degree simple, helpful and practical. Beyond a doubt he illumines the way to God-realization."
– Dr. Anne Von Helmholtz-Phelan (Late Professor of English literature, University of Minnesota, poet, author of The Social Philosophy of William Morris and other books.)

"Mr. Mozumdar and his work is what the world needs today."
– Henry Wellington Wack (Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, artist, member of the Author's Club of New York City and founder of Field and Stream magazine.)

"I do not know of any spiritual teacher that I consider so close to the spirit of Christ as Mr. Mozumdar. He has that perfect transparency that is a combination of what they say are the outstanding qualities of Gandhi, humility and confidence – humility in the outer and perfect confidence in the inner. I feel that any one who perfectly comprehends his teachings and puts them into expression in his life will possess the secret of the ages."
– Glenn Clark (Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota; founder of Camps Farthest Out and author of best-selling books The Soul's Sincere Desire, I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes and more than 50 others. He was professor of literature and athletic coach at Macalester College for more than 30 years.)

"Words cannot express my gratitude for what I have received in Mr. Mozumdar's class. He is one of the Illuminati whom it is a privilege to contact."
– Countess Ilya Tolstoy (daughter-in-law of Russian author Leo Tolstoy)

"I have met all the well-known spiritual teachers in America, and I unqualifiedly place A.K. Mozumdar among the foremost in point of realization. I believe he is the highest teacher in America today.
– Mrs. C.M. Fassett (wife of the former mayor of Spokane and a friend of Mozumdar's since his arrival in America)

"Mr. Mozumdar is the most spiritual man and the most beautiful character I have ever met."
– Arthur Garfield Learned (an internationally-known New York City portrait artist)

"I know India from my years spent in that country, and I know her great spiritual message for the world. Mr. Mozumdar is one of those highly spiritualized souls who has much for America and whom we should receive with open arms."
– Edwin Lester Arnold (son of author Sir Edwin Arnold, upon introducing Mozumdar to a Chicago audience. Edwin Lester Arnold was a widely published novelist and non-fiction writer while his father is best remembered for his epic poem The Light of Asia.)

"In his class work I feel that Mr. Mozumdar has given all one ever needs to know about spiritual laws. It is the Final. I do not care to take another class. All his explanations are given in the clearest and simplest manner possible."
– Olive McNeal (president of the Psychology Club of Washington, D.C.)

Note: Other articles on this website provide further insight into the life and work of A.K. Mozumdar.

Visit the Photo Gallery on this website for more pictures of Mozumdar and his work.