TS & ES
Feb 20, 1997 09:07 PM
Following is one of the very rare public statements made by the Head of ES,
thirty years ago. It may interest some of you.
SOME COMMENTS ON
"THE T.S. AND THE E.S."
N. SRI RAM
In his article in The Canadian Theosophist (July-Aug. 1966) entitled "The
T.S. and the E.S.", Mr. Dudley W. Barr has quoted the E.S. Pledge as
formulated by H.P.B. and printed in the September 1888 issue of her magazine
Lucifer, and says that in addition to the published version there was a
pledge of obedience to the Outer Head, more precisely, "the orders of the
Head of the Esoteric Section in all that concerns my relation with the
Theosophical movement", changed by her a little later to "orders given
through the Head of the Section in all that concerns my Theosophical duties
and esoteric work, so far as my pledge to my Higher Self and my conscience
"H.P.B. must have had her own reasons for offering such a pledge of
obedience to the small group which constituted the Esoteric Section, as the
Esoteric School was called in those days. But may I point out that the
article is altogether wrong in assuming that that pledge of "absolute
obedience as Mr. Barr terms it, continues up to the present time.
Mr. Barr remarks that H.P.B. attempted to form a guru-chela relationship
with the Esoteric Section members. That might have been so, but there is no
warrant for the suggestion that such is the relationship now, or has been
for many years in the past. As he has already mentioned me publicly as the
present Outer Head of the E.S., let me quote what I said in my first address
to the School, printed and sent to all its members, namely, that I consider
myself "a student of the Wisdom, and not a spiritual guide". For I believe
that anyone before he can teach must first be a learner, and in reality,
each one must be his own guide in all matters of fundamental importance.
I need not go over the past history of the E.S., as traced by Mr. Barr,
but it is obvious that there have been in the past 75 years and more many
changes and much. experimenting, even as there was for very many years with
regard to the wording of the Objects of the Theosophical Society.There are
members of the Theosophical Society in different countries, members also of
the Esoteric School, believing in freedom of thought and individual
understanding, who are persons as intelligent in every way and as devoted to
the work of the Society as any other member. I venture to say that they
would not have remained in the Esoteric School if the facts with regard to
membership of the E.S. were anything like the picture painted in Mr. Barr's
There is a reference to "privileges which the E.S. has assumed". I know
of no privilege, except that in some places where the Society is active, the
E.S. group is allowed to use one of the rooms for its meetings, and even
this mainly for the reason that either the Lodge considers the E.S. group as
a desirable tenant, devoted to the work and aims of the Society, or that
members of the T.S. interested in the E.S. have given or give financial help
in acquiring or maintaining the Lodge premises.
With regard to the rooms at the T.S. headquarters at Adyar, used by the
E.S., they were built out of moneys specially raised by E.S. members, and
the E.S. has the use of those rooms with permission given by a resolution of
the General Council of the Theosophical Society. This fact has been
mentioned in The Theosophist.
I am not aware of any "power" which the E.S. or members of the E.S. as
such, exercise or can exercise in the T.S., nor has the E.S. any "position"
in the Society, except that it is a body, all of whose members are members
of the Theosophical Society, a body which has been in existence since
H.P.B.'s days, whose aims in no way conflict with the objectives of the
Society, and whose methods of work cannot possibly hinder the Society's work.
Any members of the T.S. who desire to do so can form a class or group for
special studies, and attempt to live a particular kind of life according to
certain rules, and that is the description which best applies to the
Esoteric School. It is no longer called the Esoteric Section, because it is
a body which is completely independent of the T.S., although as I have
pointed out, it has been treated with consideration by Lodges of the
Society. It carries on its work silently, without fuss or propaganda,
without levying any fees or attempting to attract members or seeking success
in the ordinary sense.
Mr. Barr's article quotes the official statement issued by Colonel
Olcott, which stated that the E.S. "has no official or corporate connection
with the T.S., save in the person of the President-Founder". But he had no
administrative (or any other) control over the Esoteric Section, because it
was concerned with teachings, and not with any other matter.
Members of the T.S. who belong also to the E.S. are a very small
minority, less than one-tenth of the Society as a whole, and in many of the
Sections or cities the membership is far below even one-tenth. In Toronto,
the Headquarters of the Canadian Section, the percentage is probably about
one-sixtieth. Therefore, it is not really possible for the E.S. members to
gain any control, let alone "considerable control over the T.S." as is
stated in the article.
So, as I see the whole position, there is nothing for the E.S. to "give
up", because it has no "powers", no "privileges" and no "status" within the
Society, except the consideration that may be given voluntarily by the T.S.
members in the form of certain facilities for the E.S. work, knowing the
general character of that body. If it did have any "power", privilege" or
"position", I would be the first to propose that it should give up all that
completely, without any reservation.
[excepted from Canadian Theosophist, Nov-Dec 1966]
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