World history finds its greatness and attraction through the services rendered by philanthropists. A person whoever he is, achieves greatness through ideologies borne in his mind and to the extent of effectiveness and favourable consequences resulting there from.
If there was any person who was capable of uplifting the Sinhala Buddhists who were helpless due to colonial rule, although their forefathers enjoyed sublime virtues enriched with the advent of Arahath Mahinda. His achievement in re-establishing a golden era in this country makes really great and sublime. February 17 marks the 109 death anniversary of Col. Henry Steel Olcott who was able to create history through his revival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. He clamoured and awakened a nation that was fast asleep without any vigour to rise up.
He was the pioneer who agitated to give due place to Buddhism and the reformer who compelled the colonial government that existed at that time to declare the Wesak Full Moon Day, a public holiday. He was the architect who designed the six coloured Buddhist flag that has gained universal recognition.
He was the pioneer who was responsible for the establishment of national schools such as Ananda College, Col. Olcott, whose contribution towards the betterment of our country nation, religion, justice and good conduct has been so great, therefore remains in our hearts forever. His motto was “The best religion is nothing but the truth”. He established the Theosophical Society at New York in America on the 17th November 1875, towards the achievements of his goal. Col. Olcott was an American. This great child was born on August 2,1832. As an enthusiastic scholar, his research in agriculture in particular paved the way for him to become the Head of a Department at Athens University of Greece. However he declined to accept this honour and instead he established an edu cational institution in agriculture because he preferred to serve his mother country. During the American Civil War, he joined the Army and through his achievements was appointed colonel.
" He was the architect who designed the six coloured Buddhist flag that has gained universal recognition."
American government appreciated his bravery and sharp wisdom, appointed him commissioner to investigate and report on corruption in the American army. He performed this task very well. For some time he practised as a lawyer. Although he was a Christian by birth, came across a copy of the Panadura controversy by Rev. Migettuwaththe Gunananda Thera, in Ceylon. Through his close association with, intellectuals such as Ven. Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala, Ven. Migettuwatta Gunananda Thera and Ven. Waskaduwe Sri Subuthi Thera. Clonal Olcott realized the sad plight of the Sinhala Buddhists at that time. Considering the gravity of this, he thought of the need to unite and create a formidable work force to act fast. When we remember the fact that great schools of learning such as Ananda, Nalanda and Dharmaraja produced national leaders and also when we remember that colleges for girls like Musaeus and Visakha produced heroic mothers for the court? try, we can imagine that they get the blessings and grace of Col. Olcott who may be at a higher place in the,, universe.
"Cól. Olcott made every endeavour to awaken the Buddhist and to impress English rulers to prove that Sinhalese are a great race. Although he belonged to a different faith, he embraced Buddhism and Sinhala people. Every Sinhalese in the past, present and future is indebted to him"
Cól. Olcott made every endeavour to awaken the Buddhist and to impress English rulers to prove that Sinhalese are a great race. Although he belonged to a different faith, he embraced Buddhism and Sinhala people. Every Sinhalese in the past, present and future is indebted to him. Finally at a time he was able to see that his efforts have become fruitful, he became very happy and expressed his sentiments before chief priest Rev. Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala whom Col. Olcott considered as teacher.
“Seeds have been sown. These have grown and become large trees, My dear Rev. Sir, no force on this earth or above can stop its growth and fruition in the future.