TS and its Future (Part 3 of 3)
Jun 01, 1997 01:24 PM
by M K Ramadoss
First the Adyar Society must take an honest look, fearlessly, at
the present position against the background outlined above.
Loyalties to past leaders, to their personal influence and their
teachings, must become secondary issues. This means an
acknowledgment that all that happened to the Society as a result
of C.W. Leadbeater's influence on it, directly or indirectly,
his influence on Annie Besant and his enduring influence by way
of his writings, is suspect. It must be recognized that these
writings are 'theosophically' defective and misleading.
Annie Besant's influence, by reason of her long term as
President, must also be very objectively assessed. Whatever her
personal integrity she was obviously misled and mistaken, witness
the Krishnamurti fiasco, her espousal of Co-Masonry as part of
the Theosophical Society and her handling of the Judge 'case'
with its disastrous results.
For most members a change of mind or basic beliefs will at best
be painful and at worst difficult if not impossible. This means
that only a section of the existing membership can, in the first
instance at any rate, be expected to make any radical change, and
this section will necessarily include E.S. members who will
obviously have their loyalties but they will also presumably have
acquired some self-reliance and have learned to think
Some members already have or will have difficulty with the
question of their membership of the Liberal Catholic Church and
CoMasonry in the light of their long standing association with the
Society. Many of these institutions have in fact been regarded
as 'theosophical', even theosophy itself.
However, it is necessary that the Society should formally declare
that henceforth neither of them is really any part of, or has any
special association with, the Theosophical Society.
This does not mean that members are not free to join the Liberal
Catholic or any other Church, or become Masons or members of any
other institution they wish, provided that they are not inimical
or antithetical to Theosophy, and still be members of the
The Society has its own special message to promulgate. This
message only exists in the writings of HPB and in the Mahatma
Letters. This message in its completeness (as far as it was
given out) is unique.
The future direction of the Society must therefore include:
1) The eradication of the 'make-believe' Leadbeater influence -
in all departments including literature, and severance from the
Society of all other organizations, i.e. the Liberal Catholic
Church and Co-Masonry.
2) A thorough examination of all literature purporting to be
'theosophical', and a brave declaration, and no further
promotion, of any which is not wholly consonant with the original
teachings. This is no proscription but all books purporting to
be theosophical which strictly are not should be clearly labeled
or marked that they are the author's views on the subject and not
necessarily authentic. Members are, of course, free to read what
they like but they can be warned, if not guided. The section in
any Theosophical Society library purporting to be theosophical
literature should be segregated from other material offered, be
clearly marked and the books given prominence on book lists,
3) The retention and promotion of the three objects of the
Society plus an active promotion of~Theosophy as given by the
4) At all Theosophical Society Centers, Headquarters, etc., there
should be someone qualified to discuss Theosophy, say what it is,
and recommend books to enquirers. This service should as far as
possible be available at all times or a notice displayed as to
where it can be obtained.
5) Commercialism in any form, i.e. book selling or publication
as such, without specific reference to the promotion of a
knowledge of Theosophy, is not part of the legitimate activities
of the Society. 'Fringe' literature can be obtained in ordinary
bookshops or from other organizations, e.g. the Arcane School,
the Anthroposophical Society, etc. This recommendation is made
with our second object specifically in mind. Study of
comparative religion is encouraged by the Society but it does not
have to publish or supply the books.
6) Professionalism in the society should be examined. Whereas
'goods and services' must obviously be paid for, Theosophy as
such cannot be sold. Should exponents be paid? If so, to what
7) Serious study of the 'prime' literature, whatever else is done
in Lodges, at Centers, etc., should be encouraged and all
facilities provided. Facilities should be provided for
meditation - quiet and solitude if possible. Meditation should,
however, be 'theosophical', i.e. classical (Patanjali), HPB
Diagram, or just silence, not according to local gurus and
amateurs with 'special' methods, and NEVER for money.
8) The Society will obviously need a group of students dedicated
to the study of the literature and to the dissemination of what
they discover both in the writings, and in themselves, as they
progress. This can be supplied by some of the existing members
of the E.S. At present there are no 'esoteric' leaders or
teachers in the Society; it will therefore in this respect have
to 'lift itself up by its own boot-laces' as the expression has
There is no justification for secrecy within the E.S. or the
Society but on occasion private members meetings could be
efficacious for discussion, exchange of information, mutual
encouragement, etc. There is obviously now no corporate
connection with the Masters so that that 'make-believe' can be
dispensed with. The E.S. study should be confined to the Master
or HPB writings. The Society has no other Initiate-inspired
Where the E.S. members feel they need inspirational literature
apart from books like THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE, LIGHT ON THE PATH
and some of the classical mystical works like THE BHAGAVAD GITA,
as this is a personal matter they should be free to discover
their own. Discrimination as to what is consonant with
theosophical teachings will grow. Let students beware of
self-styled teachers and of themselves posing as such. They will
know when they really are qualified - they will have been
'authorized'. Let none pretend.
9) The Society's relation to 'computerization', the Internet,
etc., needs serious examination and Sections given guidelines.
HPB used the words Occultism, Esotericism, Esoteric Science,
etc., as synonymous with Theosophy. In THE SECRET DOCTRINE she
states several times that some of the teaching given there had
never been made public before. These statements indicate that
the teachings included more material than was contained in any
published religious or philosophic literature.
This distinction has been almost entirely overlooked. The great
Hindu scriptures have been taken virtually to be Theosophy.
Initiated Brahmins know this is not the case but they keep their
esoteric knowledge to themselves.
This was the position when HPB made some of that knowledge
public: it was much resented even -by Subba Rao whose Master
incidentally was the same as HPB's. All extant scriptures are
exoteric even though in their mystical content they reflect much
of what is in Theosophy.
Such treatises as THE BHAGAVAD GITA, the Puranas, many Sufi
writings and other world acknowledged scriptural writings are
beautiful and inspiring, potentially capable of leading aspirants
on to the highest experiences.
Neither they nor Hinduism nor Buddhism, in their published form,
are 'esoteric', nor of course is the now published THE SECRET
DOCTRINE except that its prolonged study changes our modes of
thinking and understanding, giving us insights we could otherwise
What do the theosophical writings include that others do not?
While the differences might appear superficial in themselves, in
their totality they are not.
For example, the Hindu system is fivefold, as far as the human
principles and the skandhas are concerned, whereas the
theosophical system is sevenfold. The planes of Nature are
sevenfold, with each having a corresponding level of
In Theosophy Karma is a comprehensive Law applying universally,
not just to human beings by way of reward or retribution.
Theosophy contains the vast evolutionary scheme by Chains,
Globes, Rounds and Races which process by analogy applies to all
manifest things, e.g. all those 'things' comprising the kingdoms
of Nature. Incidentally, properly there are no 'things'; every
'thing' is a life.
Some 'esoteric' systems of the past, notably the original Kabala,
had reflections, in some instances almost exact, of the
theosophical scheme, but they were neither so comprehensive nor
so explicit. In THE SECRET DOCTRINE for example, HPB relates
much of the theosophical teaching to the principal world
religions and explains much of their symbolism and practices.
Some of this is also dealt with in ISIS UNVEILED wherein the
student can find exciting insights and many explanations of even
obscure ancient writings. It is a mine of information leading up
to the comprehensive and relatively systematized exposition in
THE SECRET DOCTRINE of as much of the Ancient Wisdom as could be
All this knowledge was in addition to that of the 'mystical'
information and teachings in exoteric literature. The outpouring
of information and teaching given in THE SECRET DOCTRINE pushed
forward the boundaries of knowledge several steps beyond what was
then otherwise available to the layman.
To a very large extent this has been ignored by the world and
much more sadly even by the majority of members of the
Theosophical Society, who according to THE KEY have the special
responsibility "of letting it be known that such a thing as
Theosophy exists". They cannot possibly do that if they
themselves do not know what it is.
The Maha Chohan uses the expression "to popularize a knowledge of
Theosophy". Where this has been heeded at all it has been taken
to mean the rendering of the vast and erudite teachings of
Theosophy into a form suitable for assimilation by the general
Quite obviously this cannot be done and any attempt to do so must
at least oversimplify the grand concepts and at worst dilute them
until their profundity and inner meaning is completely lost.
Such an attempt to 'popularize' Theosophy in this way, to make it
appeal to people who otherwise cannot comprehend it, is virtual
This, however, is a tactic used to increase membership of the
Society. The Society's three objects are popular, for anybody to
subscribe to, but apart from letting it be known as widely as
possible that it exists, Theosophy itself cannot be popularized.
This is something that has to be accepted when considering the
future of the Society. We must never forget the nature of the
original writings. No attempt was made even in THE KEY TO
THEOSOPHY, to 'simplify' or 'dilute' the subject matter. They
were written to appeal to the 'highest minds', who in turn, as
far as possible, would disseminate their content to others, i.e
the grand ideas would percolate down and so influence all
A consequence of the virtual substitution of the original
literature by that of the second generation writers has meant
that there has been very little follow-up material in the
HPB/Masters vein. There is, however, enough to introduce the
subject to intending students.
To comprehend Theosophy one has to make a serious and prolonged
effort. In Bowen's Notes "Madame Blavatsky on How to Study
Theosophy", HPB explained to him, "This mode of thinking is what
the Indians call Jnana Yoga" and then mentioned the likely
experiences that may arise.
But nothing can happen without the effort. The Theosophical
Society was founded at the instigation of the Masters with a
sublime object in view: the salvation of the whole human race by
a 'popularization' of their teachings. Surely we can attempt to
do this to the limit of our capacity. Let us try!
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