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re: historical and doectinal

Oct 21, 1995 10:33 AM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins

Jerry S.

< I ... cited extant definitions in order to point out that these
<organizational definitions tend to imply that theosophy is a
<of teachings.

I agree that it is a body of teachings. And I think that you
have pointed out how the desire to avoid dogma has led
to a lot of confusion in the ranks.

 I get the feeling that you are still missing my point. I'm
not trying to establish or to sell anyone on a definition of
theosophy, nor am I trying to inform anyone that theosophy is a
"body of teachings." My purpose for citing these institutional
definitions was to point out the implication within them that
there is a body of teachings. As I had pointed out in an
earlier post, there are other definitions of theosophy that do
not make such an implication. Rather than trying to define
theosophy, I was trying to point out that there are many
conflicting definitions which in turn have been the cause of
 Yes, the desire to avoid dogma has also led to confusion.
During her Presidency (1907-1933), Annie Besant was getting a lot
of flack for supporting Krishnamurti as the world teacher;
promoting the Liberal Catholic Church; and Co-masonry. So, in
1924 she had a resolution passed through the General Council
expressing an ideal of freedom of thought. It reads:

 The Theosophical Society has spread far and wide over the
 civilized world, and as members of all religions have become
 members of it without surrendering the special dogmas,
 teachings and beliefs of their respective faiths, it is
 thought desirable to emphasize the fact that there is no
 doctrine, no opinion, by whomsoever taught or held, that is
 in any way binding on any member of the Society, none which
 any member is not free to accept or reject. Approval of its
 three objects is the sole condition of membership. No
 teacher, or writer, from H.P. Blavatsky downwards, has any
 authority to impose his teachings or opinions on members.
 Every member has an equal right to attach himself to any
 school of thought which he may choose, but has no right to
 force his choice on any other. Neither a candidate for any
 office, nor any voter, can be rendered ineligible to stand
 or to vote, because of any opinion he may hold, or because
 of membership in any school of thought to which he may
 belong. Opinions or beliefs neither bestow privileges nor
 inflict penalties. The Members of the General Council
 earnestly request that every member of The Theosophical
 Society to maintain, defend and act upon these fundamental
 principles of the Society, and also fearlessly to exercise
 his own right of liberty of thought and of expression
 thereof, within the limits of courtesy and consideration for

 This resolution, of course, expresses a fine ideal which I
think the majority of the Adyar TS members hold to. On the other
hand, the very reason the resolution was passed was for the
purpose of justifying Besant's embracing of the LCC and Co-
Masonry, and for the promoting of Krishnamurti as the World
Teacher in the face of a significant outcry of protests from the
membership at the time. Of course, as John Mead has pointed out
today, this ideal of freedom only works one way: though LCC and
ER ceremonies may be held at Krotona, other ceremonies, such as
an American Indian ceremony would be prohibited. To add an
example of my own, some people I know, who are very long time
members of the TS and the ES recently tried to get permission to
do a Wicca ceremony on Krotona Property. Permission was denied.

Jerry HE

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