English Man’s Tomb with Upanishad Mantra! (Post No.5088)

Written by london swaminathan


Date: 8 JUNE 2018


Time uploaded in London –  11-59 am  (British Summer Time)


Post No. 5088


Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks. Pictures may be subject to copyright laws.



I was reading the Woolner Commemoration Volume published in Lahore (now in Pakistan) in 1940. I found some interesting details about him:


Dr Alfred Cooper Woolner was born on May 13,  1878 at a place called Etruria Hall in Staffordshire in England. In 1897, he won an open Classical Exhibition at Trinity College, Oxford and was also awarded Ford Studentship. At Oxford he studies Sanskrit and Persian along with the classics and in 1901 ,was awarded the Boden Scholarship for Sanskrit. He studied Sanskrit, Pali and Chinese. He was appointed Principal of Oriental college in Lahore.


He was equally interested in almost all branches of Sanskrit studies. Linguistics had a special charm for him. He worked for 33 years in Punjab University. In spite of heavy administrative works, he was able to produce a good amount of valuable work. Besides his contribution to various research journals of research, he published the following:

  1. Introduction to Prakrit (Year 1917)
  2. Asoka Text and Glossary (1925)
  3. Thirteen Trivandrum Plays attributed to Bhasa (Translated into English with Dr L Sarup, 1930, 1931)
  4. Jasmine Garland or Kundamala, translated into English in 1935 (but published after his death)
  5. Indian Students’ Handbook of Philology (incomplete)

He always enjoyed a good health. He never suffered from a long illness except one occasion when an attack of malta fever (Brucellosis) made him to take rest for several weeks. He fell ill of malaria on December 17, 1935, which after a week developed into pneumonia and he died in Mayo Hospital on January 7, 1936.


He was buried the next day, in the new cemetery on the Ferozepur Road (in Lahore). His body takes eternal rest in tomb 125, under a black marble slab, on which are engraved, besides the usual inscription, the following Vedic lines in Devanagari script, perhaps for the first on the tomb of an European

“Out of non being lead me into being;

out of darkness into light

out of death into life eternal.”


(First line is translated in other books Lead me as ‘From unreal to rea’l—Brihat Aranyaka Upanishad)

(These lines are taken from elsewhere; NOT from his tomb)

A bust of his has been enshrined in the Woolner Hall of the University Union, and a statue erected on the roadside in front of the hall. Mrs Woolner (Mary Emily Bland) was his constant companion.

Sir George Anderson Said,

“Dr Woolner was tall, well built, and, of somewhat massive proportions; his presence was dignified and stately; and his beard, which he wore even in his Oxford days, seemed both natural and imposing. He could not pass unnoticed in any company, but he gave often the impression of extremes austerity. Then, all of a sudden, his face would be lit up with by the merry twinkle in his and the real man that was within him would appear.”


Dr G U Pope and Tamil

Dr Rev.G U Pope translated Tiruvasakam, Naladiyar and several Sangam verses from Tamil into English when he was in Tamil Nadu. People very often read about his intention to engrave that ‘I am a Tamil Student’ on his tombstone. But THERE IS NO SUCH THING ENGRAVED ON HIS TOMB STONE IN OXFORD. I don’t know how the false notion was spread by the Tamils.

— Subham—


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1 Comment

  1. Dr G U POPE:-
    you have brought the truth to limelight.:
    i have also read in my school days about him. in the book it was written that his tomb has the words : ” naan oru thamiz manavan. I started doing research on him and found the exact wordings on the tomb.
    there is no such words as “naan oru thamiz manavan’ christian and tamil vested interestes have spread this roumour.

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