Re: The future of the TS
Feb 12, 1997 08:56 PM
At 09:32 PM 2/12/97 -0500, you wrote:
>>5. The National Board and or Adyar can shut down the Section. Once this is
>>done, all charters of lodges and study centers are automatically cancelled,
>>which immediately triggers seizure of assets.
>In all this debate on the TS and TSA, I think we have to recognize the fact
>that "The Theosophical Society, Adyar" is an international body, having its
>and branches throughout the world. When you join the TS, you really join TS
>an international society. You can then choose to be a member of a certain
>within a section (the "default" choice), or you can be a member at large,
of a Section,
>or you can be (under certain conditions, I believe) attached directlyto the
>in Adyar without belonging to any section or branch at all.
>Because its an international society, the powers to rule are naturally
>in the International Government of the Society, the General Council and the
>Sections and branches are then naturally only practical subdivisions of the
>with their "limited" freedom of government, as long as the "general
guidelines" set by the
>General Council and the Bylaws of the International Society or National
Sections are not
>We can of course criticizes the handling of the powers vested in the
>governments within this structure, which has after all handed the TS to us
>the 120 odd years of sailing through rough sea, but we have to recognize
that they are
>elected to take hand of these powers, it's their "Duty" to rule and keep
>There has been some discussion among members in some sections, whether there
>should be some other, more modern, or more up to date structure of
>the Society. The former GS of the English Section wrote an interesting
article of a
>"network structure" that would have no hierarchy of power, but to be built
up as groups
>of services interacting and cooperating freely out of some necessity,
>authority. He used the Internet as a model.
>Its an interesting Idea, but I'm afraid that it's still an Utopia, and will
be for some
>time to come.
>Regarding the Denmark incident, I really don't know the lot, but to my
>the group began revolving solely around one person, the GS in office, and
>very little "theosophy" in the usual term of the word. In another words, it
>a "CULT" around a single person's ideas and believes (mostly around his
>spiritual powers and prophetic visions I believe). When the "old" members
>to the headquarters to see if something could be done, the Section was simply
>changed into an independent association by "lawful" voting, and all the
assets from a
>century of theosophical activities were "confiscated" by the new "Theosophy
>The few old members had simply nothing to say in this matter and stood
>on the street, so to speak.
>Anyone can have their own idea on who's rights was maintained or not in
>but from the standpoint of the International Society this was a clear
"theft", lawfully or not.
>I also know that a similar incident was just avoided in Ireland few years
>a considerable amount of assets, nearly lost to a handful of "enthusiastic"
>I hope this will cast some light on matters
>Love and light,
>Einar from Iceland.
Thanks Einar for the information.
When I wrote about the quote you quoted, it is as summary of the
current legal situation in the USA due to the way the current by-laws stand,
even though the recent bylaw changes are open to court challenges because
many attorneys are of the opinion that TSA did not follow its own by-laws
One of the things that happened during the bylaw change was, when
someone raised the concern that GC may arbitrarily cancel a section charter,
because that is what it appeared from the outside as far as the Danish
situation was concerned, the response from the US National President was
that the matter in Denmark was not simplistic and was more complicated (I am
quoting from memory and this is the substance) and instead of trying to
explain in simple terms the fundamental problem that existed over in
Denmark. This, to many of us looked like not forthcoming and open. We have
members who deal with more complicated issues on a daily basis and can
understand any issue if sufficient details are provided. There are many
professionals, lawyers, chartered/certified accountants, business men and
women in the membership and it is almost like an insult to their
intelligence and capability to understand complex matters.
I know that cancelling charter decisions are very difficult to take
and I had a gut feeling there was some legitimate and serious reason behind
each one of them. In this day and age, at least in the United States, many
of us do expect some reasonable answers to reasonable questions. May be it
is due to the unique culture that exists in the United States.
Personally I am aware of how many of the valuable properties in many
lodges around the world were the result of sacrifices of many many *not*
affluent individual members who made small but difficult contributions and
other personal sacrifices in the past. All and every means should be used to
make sure those assets are not used up or "taken" over (now or in the
future) by a group of people with a different agenda but not Theosophy -- by
that I mean the fundamental object being Philanthropy, as clearly stated by
the Real Founders.
On another front, when the bylaws were changed and the provision
that in case the section charter was revoked or cancelled (either
voluntarily or involuntarily,) the proposed provision that all assets will
be turned over to a Trust, I had great concerns.
Turning all assets over to the Trust is ok. But how do you make the
Trustees accountable. Just *trusting* them to do the right thing is not
enough. Money and the power it gives can change people in most unexpected
ways. So when things are setup, they need to have strong built-in safeguards
which will stand the test of time.
As it is currently set up, the Trustees are not accountable to *any*
*one*. They can do almost anything they want and need not disclose anything
to anyone, except for some routine filing of tax information papers with the
Federal Government which tells very little. I even suggested that concurrent
with the bylaws change, the Trust provisions should be altered concurrently
to protect the Trust from its Trustees. I even went as far as suggesting
that the International President be made an ex-officio member of the Trust
so that there will be at least there will be some protection. All this I
communicated in writing to Wheaton and to this day we have not heard
nothing. There was no response for even a request for a copy of the current
trust document and the bylaws. I suppose the current laws do not require the
Trustees to provide these to anyone including a dues paying member of TSA.
One wonders why the secrecy and non responsiveness.
While the above concern may not materialize in the current
administration, I am looking down the road 30 - 50 years when most of us
would be dead and gone and what all it takes is a strong charismatic leader
who can make such a thing to happen.
The above contigency situation is not based on my imagination.
Trustees working against the purpose of the trust has happened before. If so
it can happen again. Let me give a summary of a classic instance to those
who may not be aware.
Several decades ago, Krishnamurti Writings Inc, and I believe
another charitable trust was set up and many individuals contributed funds
to help Krishnaji to travel, talk, print his talks, duplicate audio and
video tapes for sale and distribution to those interested. Initially
Krishnaji was a Trustee of the Trust. Some time later, Krishnaji resigned as
a Trustee. He generally was not concerned about the business matters and
trusted the Trustees and left it to them to manage the trust assets and
In course of time, his business manager who was managing the trust,
ended up in total control of the trust and of course he had a group of
trustees who appears did not have much of a say in the trust matters. At
later date, when when a situation arose and Krishnaji wanted to know the
disposition of some of the moneys donated to the trust, he could not get any
information whatsoever. Sometime later he was even prevented from using the
Trust properties in California and Madras to conduct his lectures. Finally
he told the Trust that he will not accept any money from the Trust and he
started a new Foundation to take care of the new funds donated for his work.
Ultimately, the Attorney General of California and the some of the Trustees
of the new Foundation had to sue the Old Trust and its Trustees to recover
the assets. The litigation went on for 18 years (at a great legal expense to
both parties) and was finally settled only after his death.
There were three law suits. One of them by the Trustees of the old
Trust (Krishnamurti Writings Inc.) against Krishnaji and the Trustees of the
new Foundation for $9.0 million in damages. I believe many of the Trustees
of the old trustees were also members of TSA. All these are documented in
the public records of the courts. And until couple of years ago, every thing
was kept quiet and very little was known to the public and I just
accidentally ran into it and it is more real than fiction.
If this could happen when Krishnamurti himself was alive and with a
Trust setup to help him teach, one can imagine what could happen to a Trust
where no one is legally answerable to *anyone*.
Sorry that the response was long. It was necessary to explain the
current climate and background of TS in America.
Anyhow, I am appreciative of your response.
Peace to all living beings
M K Ramadoss
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