HCT - Sept 1992 - Part 1 of 3
Jun 08, 1997 00:01 AM
by M K Ramadoss
This is being posted in three parts.
THE HIGH COUNTRY THEOSOPHIST
VOL. 7 NO. 9 BOULDER, COLORADO SEPTEMBER, 1992
The Canadian Section:
Canadian Trip report 10
Kootenai Brown and
Victor Endersby 13
High Country Study Center
Name changed 15
QWAA Project report 15
Boris de Zirkoff
Tapes available 15
The Canadian Section - Excommunicated
Readers of The High Country Theosophist not having access to The Theosophist
(Adyar) or the Canadian Theosophist may not be aware of the action taken on
January 1, 1992 by the Adyar General Council under the leadership of
International President Radha Burnier in expelling the entire Canadian
Section from the Adyar Theosophical Society.
The approximate sequence of events leading up to this action is as follows
[CT July `92]:
In August 1991, members of the T.S. in Canada were mailed notice of proposed
changes in the Section by-laws, one of which would delete the words "Parent
Society" from its language because "old wording creates a conflict position
with the [Canadian] Corporations Act, as deleted word[s] suggest another
body owning controlling interest, such as a majority of shares, which is not
the case. Only members shall have an interest in this corporation, which is
without shareholders. This change in no way affects our affiliation with
any other T.S. Organization."
In September `91, the proposed change was passed, along with others at the
annual members' meeting and submitted to the Canadian government for
approval. No official notification of the by-law changes was sent to Adyar
at that time because, according to Canadian General Secretary Stan Treloar;
(1) They are not required to do so by law.
(2) Until the Canadian government passed judgement and approved the changes,
the by-laws amendment was but a memorandum of intent to change.
(3) Adyar rules allow for exceptions to be made when these conflict with the
laws of the country of jurisdiction. Such a conflict with Canadian
Corporate law did exist in the case of the words "Parent Society" in the
(4) As Branches and National Sections are assumed to be autonomous, the
National Secretary regarded the wording of their by-laws to meet the
requirements of Canadian Corporate law to be an internal matter consistent
with autonomy. [CT July `92]
In The Theosophist [Adyar] for April `92, the following notice appears,
announcing the break:
In Canada, for a long time, there were two groups of lodges and members,
namely the Canadian Section T.S. and the Canadian Federation T.S. The
origin of these two bodies goes back to the first quarter of this century.
Normally the T.S. does not approve of the existence of separate bodies in
the same place, since its aim is to unite all people in a nucleus of
universal brotherhood. Only when there are serious and weighty reasons,
lodges or individuals are permitted to leave the concerned National Society
and become directly attached to headquarters. There were such reasons to
allow a Federation independent of the Section in Canada.
[In an autocratic style, typical of Adyar management under Mrs. Burnier, no
further information or hint is given herein as to the `reasons' and the
reader is left to guess what sins the Canadians are accused of in the 1920s.
We shall investigate that historical context below. (ed. HCT)]
However, the Canadian Section (The T.S. in Canada) took steps in 1991 to
alter the picture. Registered in 1976 as a Corporation under the laws
governing business corporations in Canada, some changes were made in its
by-laws which were incompatible with the Rules and Regulations of the
International Society. Though the then President Mr. John Coats objected,
the situation did not change.
Last year, several amendments were again made to the by-laws, eliminating
all references to the International Society.
After discussion of the different aspects of the question, the General
Council (the governing body) of the International Society decided, at its
meeting of 1 January 1992, that since all references to the parent Society
have been removed from its by-laws, the T.S. in Canada can no longer be
considered as part of the International Society. The Canadian Federation
thus now remains the only body affiliated to the International Society and
recognized as a constituent.
* * * * * * *
I think it is a truism that the events of a given historical period can
rarely be understood and appreciated by younger generations as fully as by
those elders who have actually lived through those events. As my own years
accumulate I find that my understanding of the history of WWII is usually
far better than that of those whose understanding was gleaned from a history
book -- because I lived those war years.
This is not to denigrate or belittle the upcoming generations in any way --
they too will live their "history" as it unfolds.
Just so, we theosophists who were either too young or were not in the
Movement when a schism in the Canadian T.S. resulted in the birth of the
Canadian Federation will quite reasonably ask "Why did this occur?" To
understand the factors which led to this schism of the Movement in Canada,
one must study the events of that time in Canadian Theosophical history.
My first intimation that there was something to be learned was hearing that
"The Canadian T.S. has long been a `thorn in the side' of Adyar."
Looking among my back issues of The Canadian Theosophist, I find in the CT
for March 1926, a series of articles criticizing, in the main, the direction
being taken by the Adyar T.S. under the leadership of Annie Besant. Albert
E.S. Smythe, was then editor of The Canadian Theosophist and General
Secretary of the Canadian T.S.
Theosophy came to Canada via A.E.S. Smythe 101 years ago. Smythe emigrated
to Canada from Ireland, and on the boat he met W.Q. Judge, who convinced him
of the merits of Theosophy. Canada's first charter came via Judge, as the
then head of American Section. [CT July `92 p. 73]
A.E.S. Smythe became the spearhead for Canadian criticism of Adyar's
direction and gathered about him a substantial following of Canadian
Those whose loyalties remained with Adyar, as led by the Besant-Leadbeater
duo, left the Canadian T.S. to form the Canadian Federation. (Chartered in
1924, according to Adyar. [The Theosophist April `92 p. 278])
>From the lead article of that 1926 issue of the CT, we read:
"So many ardent admirers of Mrs. Besant all over the world are asking
themselves and others --
`In view of recent happenings and pronouncements, what are we to think of
Mrs. Besant?' ...
To get a clear view it is basically necessary to eliminate all bias or
prejudice. Not otherwise may the truth be known undistorted, pure, of this
or any subject.
The writer is of those who owe very much to Mrs. Besant for her lucid
coherent presentation of the Ancient Wisdom. If H.P.B. is an exhaustless
spring of water of life from which the writer is constantly drawing more and
more to satisfy his needs spiritual, mental, ethical, etc., it is due in a
very high degree to Mrs. Besant who has made H.P.B. possible for him.
Surely then, ingratitude is in such case unthinkable.
But he has never learned from Mrs. Besant that he should sacrifice his
allegiance to his own Higher Self, his own independence of judgement, on the
altar of any personality.
He has been asked `Why, if in the past you accepted Mrs. Besant's assertions
in matters that you could not verify by first hand knowledge, should you
A fair question. It implies that he does balk, at least in some things.
And his only answer is that, for him, certain recent claims do not ring as
true as her earlier teachings.
Is Mrs. Besant deliberately misleading people? The writer does not think
so. It is contrary to her entire career. Knowing her bitter struggles for
truth and freedom of thought, it is utterly inconceivable that she would
There remain only two alternatives:
The claims are valid, or,
Mrs. Besant is herself the victim of illusion. The analysis of why these
claims `do no ring true' will not be undertaken now. ...
But we may ask: `Is it quite impossible that Mrs. Besant may be, in these
matters, under the sway of illusion?'
All the Wisdom Teaching and Teachers, herself included, agree that the
psychic world, the Hall of Learning, is by its very nature deceptive.
Is it taking too much upon ourselves to decide whether Mrs. Besant has been
caught in the toils or not?
Yet, we cannot, we dare not, shirk the responsibility. It is imperative
that we decide for ourselves whom and what we shall believe. `To thine own
self be true, and it follows as the night the day, thou canst not then be
false to any man.'
Of course this raises the problem of acute and constant discrimination as to
which statements we may accept, which reject; but no problem gets solved by
shelving it. Intuition does not grow by refusing to use it, it atrophies.
Mistakes may be made, but with honesty and sincerity they will soon or late
work their own cure. `Truth may lose many battles but no wars.'"
* * * * * * *
In the same CT issue, A.E.S. Smythe takes A.B. to task for her speeches
predicting the coming of the Messiah and World Teacher in the person of J.
Krishnamurti, giving forth the opinion that she is reliably on solid ground
on such practical topics as "The problem[s] of: Colour, Nationality,
Education, Capital and Labour and Government," saying that "these sound like
the Mrs. Besant we used to follow."
He goes on to say: "`The coming of the World Teacher' sounds like Mr.
Jinarajadasa, Mr. Leadbeater and the seance room, the medium and the
speaking trumpet. If standards be required, read `The Mahatma Letters' and
note the virile and manful difference.
We get the truer note in Mrs. Besant's six lectures. `The true evolution is
not that kind of unity which would abolish the gains made by diversity.'
This is either true or it is not. I believe it is true.
But the religious side of Mrs. Besant's mind would have us all bow down to
one conception, and her followers in Canada have left the T.S. in Canada
[for the Federation (ed. HCT.)] because they cannot have the unity which she
here proclaims as inadvisable."
* * * * * * *
We have evidence, in the form of a letter received by Annie Besant in 1900,
that Master K.H. had warned her of the trials and pitfalls that lay in her
path as president of the Adyar Society.
First published in expurgated form (C. Jinarajadasa compiler) in Letters
>From The Masters of Wisdom, Second Series (Adyar), the full text appeared in
The Eclectic Theosophist for Sept. 1987 with the following explanatory preface:
"In 1900, a B.W. Mantri of India, wrote a letter to Annie Besant, then in
England, dated August 22nd. When A.B. opened it she found on its back, some
lines in the well-known blue pencilling of the MASTER K.H. In the volume
published in 1919 by the Theosophical Publishing House of Adyar, this letter
and the blue pencilled lines are reproduced and are included in all
[Note: the photographic reproduction of the K.H. message is omitted in my
sixth printing. The frontispiece lists the first through fifth editions,
1919-1964, then a sixth printing - 1973. (ed. HCT)]
"In the 1948 printing [edition?], Mr. Jinarajadasa adds some historical
comments and includes some letters newly found and never before printed from
K.H. to Laura Holloway, H.P.B. and Olcott.
The pencilled lines from K.H. to Mrs. Besant in the 1900 letter, however,
were never published in completeness, as ellipses dots indicate, the editors
omitting certain lines they considered too private for public reading. The
following now is the complete letter, earlier omissions being indicated in
bold letters. The earnest student will study these omissions, which in
context reveal Master's fuller and clear advice." [The Master's letter follows]:
"... The TS and its members are slowly manufacturing a creed. Says a
Thibetan proverb "credulity breeds credulity and ends in hypocrisy." How
few are they who can know anything about us. Are we to be propitiated and
made idols of?
Is the worship of a new Trinity made up of the Blessed M., Upasika [H.P.B.,
ed. HCT] and yourself to take the place of exploded creeds?
We ask not for the worship of ourselves. The disciple should in no way be
fettered. Beware of an Esoteric Popery.
The intense desire to see Upasika reincarnate at once has raised a
misleading Mayavic ideation. Upasika has useful work to do on higher planes
and cannot come again so soon. The TS must be safely be ushered into the
You have for some time been under deluding influences. Shun pride, vanity
and love of power. Be not guided by emotion but learn to stand alone. Be
accurate and critical rather than credulous.
The mistakes of the past in the old religions must not be glossed over with
The [Esoteric School of Theosophy] must be reformed so as to be as
unsectarian and creedless as the T.S. The rules must be few and simple and
acceptable to all.
No one has a right to claim authority over a pupil or his conscience. Ask
him not what he believes.
All who are sincere and pure minded must have admittance. The crest wave of
intellectual advancement must be taken hold of and guided into spirituality.
It cannot be forced into beliefs and emotional worship.
The higher thoughts of the members in their collectivity must guide all
action in the T.S. and E.S.
We never try to subject to ourselves the will of another. At favorable
times we let loose elevating influences which strike various persons in
various ways. It is the collective aspect of many such thoughts that can
give the correct note of action.
We show no favors. The best corrective of error is an honest and
open-minded examination of all facts subjective and objective.
Misleading secrecy has given the death blow to numerous organizations.
The cant about "Masters" must be silently but firmly be put down. Let the
devotion and service be to that Supreme Spirit alone of which one is a part.
Namelessly and silently we work and the continual references to ourselves
and the repetition of our names raises up a confused aura that hinders our
You will have to leave a good deal of your emotions and credulity before you
become a safe guide among the influences that will commence to work in the
The T.S. was meant to be the cornerstone of the future religions of humanity.
To accomplish this object those who lead must leave aside their weak
predilections for the forms and ceremonies of any particular creed and show
themselves to be true Theosophists both in inner thought and outward
The greatest of your trials is yet to come. We watch over you but you must
put forth all your strength. K.H."
-------------------- end of part 1 of 3 ----------------
[Back to Top]
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application