Text Size

Thomas Troward

THOMAS TROWARD
troward
1847 - 1916

Thomas Troward is one of the greatest spiritual guides in our history whose works provide the inspiration for much that is written and taught today in the area of new thought, the mind sciences, and even mystic Christianity.  His works were influenced by his long years of study in the teachings of the Bible, those of Islam, Buddhism, and the Hindu teachings. As a Bible scholar he had few equals.

Thomas Troward was born in India to British parents, Albany and Frederica Troward. His father was a full colonel in the Indian Army. As with many children of British officers, Thomas was sent early to England for his education. At the age of 18 he graduated with gold medal honors in literature, and after that he entered the study of the law.

Following law school, Troward took the Indian Civil Service examination at London and passed with high marks. An incident which occurred during the course of his examination foreshadowed the trend of the life that was to replace the regulation judicial career when the twenty-five years of service was ended. His student, Genevieve Behrend writes of that incident as follows: “One of the subjects, left for the end of the examination, was metaphysics. Troward was quite unprepared for this, having had no time for research and no knowledge of what books to read on the subject, so he meditated upon it in the early hours of the morning, and filled in the paper with his own speculations. The examiner, on reading it, was amazed, and asked “What text-book did you use for this paper?” “I had no text-book, sir,” Troward answered. “I wrote it out of my head.” “Well, then, young man," was the examiner's comment, "your head is no common one, and if I am not mistaken, we shall hear from you again.” Troward returned to India at the age of twenty-two and rose steadily and quickly from his first civil position as Assistant Commissioner to Divisional Judge of the Punjab, an office he held for twenty-five years.

In India, he married his first wife and they had three children. He married a second time after his first wife died. His second wife, Sarah Ann, helped in the publishing of his works after his death. In the forward to a publication entitled, "Troward's Comments on the Psalms," Annie Troward writes:

"When he retired from the Bengal Civil Service in 1896, he decided to devote himself to three objects -- the study of the Bible, writing his books, and painting pictures. He believed that the solution to all our problems was there (in the Bible) for those who read and meditated with minds at one with its Inspirer."

He loved to study the ancient Indian religions, or the scriptures of the Hebrews and of other ancient peoples. While studying these profound subjects, there was unfolded to him, as in a vision, a system of philosophy which carried with it not only peace of mind, but also physical results in health and happiness.

When relieved of his burdensome official duties in the Indian Court, he returned to England, where a manuscript of some hundred folios slowly came into existence. At that time he had no knowledge of Mental Science, Christian Science, New Thought, or any of the new modern thought groups springing up in study groups or as churches. His views were the result of solitary meditation and a deep study of the scriptures.

His only private student, Genevieve Behrend, in explaining something of his views, said:
A difference between Troward's teaching and that of Christian Science is that he does not deny the existence of a material world. On the contrary, he teaches that all physical existence is a concrete corresponding manifestation of the thought which gave it birth. One is a complement of the other.

I once asked him how one could impart to others the deep truths which he taught. "By being them," he answered. "My motto is, 'Being, and not possessing, is the great joy of living.' "

Mrs. Behrend further noted in her works something of the character of Thomas Troward:
"His manner was simple and natural, and he exemplified a spirit of moderation in all things. I never saw him impatient or heard him express an unkind word, and with his family he was always gentle and considerate. He seemed to depend entirely upon Mrs. Troward for the household management. Only in the intimacy of his home did he entirely reveal his charming geniality and radiating friendship. His after-dinner manner was one of quiet levity and a twinkling humor. He would enter into the conversations or parlor games of the family with the spirit of a boy. He did not care for public amusements."

The first edition of the now famous "Edinburgh Lectures" was published in 1904 and Troward’s genius was almost immediately widely recognized. The philosopher, William James of Harvard, stated that the writing in Troward’s Edinburgh Lectures on Mental Science is "far and away the ablest statement of that philosophy I have met, beautiful in its sustained clearness of thought and style, a really classic statement." The Boston Transcript editorially stated, "The author reveals himself as easily the profoundest thinker we have ever met on this subject."

Bible Mystery and Bible Meaning proved especially attractive to churchmen. The late Archdeacon Wilberforce, when writing to Troward, signed himself, "Your grateful pupil."

Thomas Troward’s books, by sheer worth, found their way around the world and he is quoted widely today. He will be recognized in history as a contributing influence to Religious Science, the New Thought Movement in the United States and Great Britain, and also, to some extent, to the more liberal ideas of the Church of England.

Some of his profound thoughts are quoted as follows:

“I AM is the word of power. If you think your thought is powerful, your thought is powerful.”

“The subjective mind is entirely under the control of the objective mind. With the utmost fidelity it reproduces and works out to its final consequences whatever the objective mind impresses upon it.”


Genevieve Behrend writes of her mentor’s last day as follows:

“He had spent the greater part of the day he died sketching out of doors. When he did not join his family at the dinner hour, Mrs. Troward went in search of him. She found him in his studio, fully dressed, lying on the sofa in a state of physical collapse. About an hour later he passed away. The doctor said that death was caused by hemorrhage of the brain. I am sure that Troward would have said, "I am simply passing from the limited to the unlimited." He died on May 16th, 1916, in his sixty-ninth year, on the same day that Archdeacon Wilberforce was laid at rest in Westminster Abbey. It was no ordinary link that bound these two men. - - -   Thomas Troward regarded death very much as he would regard traveling from one country to another. He remarked to me several times, that he was interested in the life beyond and was ready to go. His only concern seemed to be the sorrow that it would cause his wife and family. When the time came, his going was exactly what he would have wished it to be."