Excommunication - Canadian Section Part 2 of 2
Feb 10, 1997 09:14 PM
Excerpted from Canadian Theosophist - July-August 1992
----------------Begin part 2 of 2 -------------------
I have received an inkling, indirectly, by a copy of a letter from Mrs.
Burnier to an intermediary, probably for my consumption. The gist of this is
that if we were to apply on bended knee, and subjugate our rights to Adyar's
desires for our by-law content, then they might reconsider mending the
break. Contractual subservience too, would be required, to get around the
problems inherent in our being a corporation. These previous sentences have
been reinforced again, by another letter from "over there" which was again
for my benefit, and which the required subservience in by-laws and any other
matters deemed necessary, was repeated as a prerequisite before any
rejoining could take place.
I heard rumours that Adyar had asked or instructed that our
advertisement in The Quest" magazine be stopped. So much for rumours. Within
two days of hearing of this, (and five days after getting the
excommunication letter from Adyar), I had a phone call from the company that
looks after advertising for various magazines, including "The Quest". He
stated as follows, "I have been requested to advise you by The Quest"
magazine, that on orders from headquarters in India, the T.S. in America.
cannot further permit your ad to appear in "The Quest" magazine". (*The T.S.
in America owns and publishes that magazine.)
I have obtained the name of the western E.S. leader who "went snitching
to mama". As I knew who this was before, from prediction, this was but a
confirmation. I learned that the Canadian Federation T.S. was advising some
lodges of the excommunication and suggesting that these lodges join up with
the Federation. I then received a copy of a letter being sent out by the
Federation, which turns out to be written by Radha Burnier to Mr. H.
Jackson. The letter adds "... It is the wish of the General Council to
encourage the growth of the Canadian Federation in every way." So we are
out, there was never anything done "over there" but to put us out and keep
us out. This letter was dated Feb. 24, 1992. Adyar has time to write to the
Federation, fax to Wheaton, and no doubt write to other loyal E.S. dominated
sections, but has no time or courtesy to reply to my letter of Feb. 15/92.
Since they want us out, why should we go against Adyar's wishes? Thus I
say, out we are, and out we should stay. We will not be alone in this, as
others have separated, or been separated in the past, the next last to us
I have always held as despicable the gentle art of shunning as practiced
by certain "Christian" sects when one or more of their fold leaves. There
have been fears expressed to me, and already signs that this could or is
happening against the members of the T.S. in Canada. If it does, I say that
it is a good thing, because it indicates the level of development of the
person doing the shunning, as well of that of who orders the shunning, so it
would be no loss to us by losing any former contact with a shunner.
THE IMPLICATIONS AND FUTURE PATH
Each member should make up his or her mind as to whether they want to
stay with this now independent theosophical society, the T.S. in Canada, or
if the umbilical cord with Adyar is deemed essential, as it might be for all
E.S. members, to attach themselves with the Federation forthwith, (or form a
3rd group, if the Federation is not acceptable). I could never understand
why the T.S. in Canada did not themselves make a break years ago, such as in
the '20's when the Federation split-off was done. We have historically
always "been a thorn in the side of Adyar" critical when wrong or folly
appeared. A.E.S. Smythe in the twenties was highly critical of distortions
of the original teachings being put into the E.S. by the Leadbeater-Besant
duo, and the "Christ is coming through Krishnamurti" farce. A number of
members disagreed with Smythe, so the Canadian Federation was formed, to
cater to the needs of the E.S., who disagreed with Smythe et. al.
Now we have the opportunity, handed to us on a platter, of having two
organizations to cater to the two basic desires: the T.S. in Canada, H.P.B.
and Judge based in origins and fairly steadily upheld over the years; and
the Federation, E.S. based with Adyar and Outer Head linkage and obedience
to E.S. Oath. Make a choice, and let us all go onwards in our preferred
ways. There is little compatibility, if any, with what the E.S. now stands
for, and basic theosophy and the desire of many for autonomy.
We have been separated from Adyar since Jan. 1 st, 1992. I have noticed
nothing different in our operations nor in my life, theosophical or
otherwise prior to learning of the excommunication on Feb. 12th, nor since.
This article brings the information to many of you for the first time. Has
your life been different since Jan. 1, 1992? I think not. I have been asked
many times, going back years, "What is the benefit, if any, of being
attached to Adyar?" I have never been able to answer this - that is, the
"benefit" part. There is none. Yet some, especially the E.S. members, feel
that there is, and that is their privilegeÄjust do not push this at those
who think otherwise. Now we have a choice: the independent group or the
Adyar linked group. This choice I think, now, is fair and just, and should
settle the long standing fuss with the E.S. based Federation plus the E.S.
members in our midst, and those of us who disliked what crept into the E.S.
(see "The Elder Brother" by G. Tillett) and have always stood aloof and
against that E.S. Then there are the very many of our members who have lime
or no knowledge that Adyar exists, and know nothing of the E.S. and its
history. That group will, I hope, remain as our members. (The Tilled book is
part of our Home Study Course, and it can be purchased from our Edmonton
Lodge, and from a bookseller in California.)
The choice is to remain in a democratic autonomous society, or go to a
Adyarian linked society under their current autocratic rule. For us to
return, I remind you, bended knee is required, surrender of right to make
autonomous decisions as to our by-laws etc., and contractural subservience
I stated to our Board meeting last September, that I would never
instigate a break with Adyar, and I added that if any such break were to
occur, it probably would be started by Adyar, who had much more experience
in this sort of thing, such as the recent Denmark Affair. How right I was!
I do hope that when this rite of excommunication was done, that they
used correct and proper procedure, with:
Ring the bell,
Close the Book,
Out the candle.
[ Not necessarily in that order.]
Earlier in this issue, I have given the story of our Excommunication by
Adyar. When I first opened and read their letter, last February, my first
reaction was "How stupid can they get?" I had spent much of my time in 35
years in business checking with others or answering where others were
checking with me as to intent of instructions in various business matters.
One always checks and double checks to minimize errors, to retain clients
and provide a reliable service. This is a business basic, checking meaning
and intent. I referred this and the excommunication fact to a respected
Director on my Board, and his reply was that Adyar has done some amazing
things and here was another example. The persons last fall who sent the copy
of by-law changes to Adyar, had earlier shown both fear of change in another
matter, (as well as the by-law changes) and misread in the change proposals
an additional intent to break from their most desired Adyar, where there was
no such intent at all, an act of gross misinterpretation. By acting on this
unwarranted fear, these two persons, ironically enough, caused the break
away, done this time by their beloved Adyar, not by the Executive here. So
their fear both became and caused a self-fulfilling prophesy. By reacting
without checking, the Adyar council "Jumped the gun, . . ." as a national
president in a neighbouring country said to me.
There is nothing wrong with our by-law changes. The revisions were
worked on for a year by members of our Board with experience in business
matters, including by-laws. As was said in the set of explanations sent to
all our members prior to the Annual Meeting, the by-law revisions were but
to reflect reality; things change over time, so should our by-laws, to
reflect our evolution.
Looking at the Minutes of Adyar's Dec.Jan. Council meeting, one notes an
undertone of complaint that the re-emerging Russian theosophical movement
has proceeded without asking permission from Adyar, has members that are not
registered with Adyar, nor had Adyar been asked to charter Russian lodges,
and the Russians operate on Rules not presented to Adyar for approval. The
Russian groups would be wise to stay separate. Rather than be glad that
theosophy can function in Russia again, there seems to be that additional
compulsion that all must be under the Adyarian wing/thumb (choose one).
There we have the authoritarian tendency that has become the bad habit. For
the cause of our break, it is easy to see a resentment for some remarks
earlier in these columns, coupled with an autocratic tendency. The reasons
are easy to see, but I do not intend to give a lesson in psychology here.
The personality problems of some on the General Council should not be the
problems of national Sections and lodges. We are better off separated.
After the excommunication notification was sent to our members, I
expected some letters to come in what I would call the spontaneity period,
where people pick up pen to write their immediate reactions and comments to
the news. I had intended to give a series of one liner excerpts here, from a
broad section of these letters, but I then decided not to: why rub salt in
wounded feelings over there. The general tone of the letters was
"Congratulations, it should have happened sooner, good riddance," to a few
showing the closest degree of sympathy with Adyar, if one could call it
that, with three "sad, that Adyar, with Brotherhood as a first Object, would
take such act ion." No one said that we had better get back in the fold.
(These quotes are a composite of the general tone of letters received.)
A question was asked at a lodge, before the break was known to anyone
here, "What do we need Adyar for?" No one could answer this, because there
is no need. We can function fine on our own as others have done. Let the
current dust settle, and those few who want a link with Adyar join the
Canadian Federation of Theosophists, or such other group that suits. The
worst so far that has come into my life as a result of this break is that my
farm gate fell off its hinges recently. What has happened in your life from
That we and other theosophical groups of whatever affiliation or no
affiliation remain constant to the Objects of the Theosophical Movement, as
they exist now, is the important thing, and the true spirit of the Movement.
Connections and associations are of minor to no importance, especially if
the connection means being treated as children incapable of handling their
own affairs, and catering to the autocratic tendencies that have come in.
The centre of our Movement should be the circumference; this statement is
not an oxymoron. What matters is that we are aligned and allied with the
"Trans Himalayan Hierarchy of Masters": to attach importance with a worldly
place or power is an error both of judgment and of focus of attention. Place
worshipping is an error to be grown out of, not into, be it the Vatican,
Mecca, or Adyar.
If Adyar is to control the by-laws of Sections, as they seem to want to
do, then their Rules should (but do not) contain a full set of rigid guides
for such purposes, if the resultant "acceptable" Sections' by-laws are not
to seem to be bent or controlled by whatever is the current prevailing whim
of the Adyar Council. The objection to no mention of Parent society is just
such a whim, might not have been the whim of a Council in the past, or in
the future with other members. Pouncing on "no parent society" when the
Rules have no such requirement is specious, and one looks to other reasons
as the real reasons, if reason is to be assumed to have prevailed on Jan. 1,
1992. I would be interested to know how many other Sections and lodges in
the world are also deficient in that they did not have "parent society" in
their bylaws. Adyar will have to amend their Rules to make this mention in
by-laws a must.
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