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TS Organization - Part 2 of 4

Jul 12, 1997 12:19 PM
by ramadoss

Part 2 of 4

III. "The members are appointed by the President-Founder. . . ." it is
complained; "the Gen. Council only advises on what is submitted to it" . . .
and "in the meantime" that P.F. is empowered to issue "special orders" and
"provisional rules," on behalf of that ("dummy") Council. (Rule IV, p. 20.)
Moreover, it is urged that out of a number of 150 members of the G. Council,
a quorum of 5 and even 3 members present, may, should it be found necessary
by the President, decide upon any question of vital importance, etc., etc., etc.
Such an "untheosophical" display of authority, is objected to by Messrs. M.
M. Chatterji and A. Gebhard on the ground that it leads the Society to
Caesarism, to "tyranny" and "papal infallibility," etc., etc. However right
the two complainants may be in principle it is impossible to fail seeing the
absurd exaggerations of the epithets used; for, having just been accused on
one page of "tyrannical authority," of "centralization of power" and a
"papal institution" (p. 9)--on page 11, the President-Founder is shown
"issuing special orders" from that "centre of Caesarism"--which no one is
bound to obey, unless he so wishes! "It is well known" remarks the principal
writer--"that not only individuals but even Branches have refused to pay
this (annual) subscription . . . of . . . two shillings" (p. 11 ); without
any bad effect for themselves, resulting out of it, as appears. Thus, it
would seem it is not to a non-existent authority that objections should be
made, but simply to a vain and useless display of power that no one cares for.

The policy of issuing "special orders" with such sorry results is indeed
objectionable; only, not on the ground of a tendency to Caesarism, but
simply because it becomes highly ridiculous. The undersigned for one, has
many a time objected to it, moved however, more by a spirit of worldly pride
and an untheosophical feeling of self-respect than anything like Yogi
humility. It is admitted with regret that the world of scoffers and
non-theosophists might, if they heard of it, find in it a capital matter for
fun. But the real wonder is, how can certain European Theosophists, who have
bravely defied the world to make them wince under any amount of ridicule,
once they acted in accordance with the dictates of their conscience and
duty--make a crime of what is at the worst a harmless, even if ridiculous,
bit of vanity; a desire of giving importance--not to the Founder, but to his
Society for which he is ready to die any day. One kind of ridicule is worth
another. The Western theosophist, who for certain magnetic reasons wears his
hair long and shows otherwise eccentricity in his dress, will be spared no
more than his President, with his "special orders." Only the latter,
remaining as kindly disposed and brotherly to the "individual Theosophist
and even a Branch"--that snub him and his "order," by refusing to pay what
others do--shows himself ten-fold more Theosophical an(1 true to the
principle of Brotherhood, than the former, who traduces and denounces him in
such uncharitable terms, instead of kindly warning him of the bad effect
produced. Unfortunately, it is not those who speak the loudest of virtue and
theosophy, who are the best examplars of both. Few of them, if any, have
tried to cast out the beam from their own eye, before they raised their
voices against the mote in the eye of a brother. Furthermore, it seems to
have become quite the theosophical rage in these days, to denounce
vehemently, yet never to offer to help pulling out any such motes. 

The Society is bitterly criticized for asking every well-to-do theosophist
(the poor are exempt from it, from the first) to pay annually two shillings
to help defraying the expenses at Head-Quarters. It is denounced as
"untheosophical," "unbrotherly," and the "admission fee" of £1, is
declared no better than "a sale of Brotherhood." In this our "Brotherhood"
may be shown again on a far higher level than any other association past or
present. The Theosophical Society has never shown the ambitious pretension
to outshine in theosophy and brotherliness, the primitive Brotherhood of
Jesus and his Apostles, [*6] and that "Organisation," besides asking and
being occasionally refused, helped itself without asking, and as a matter of
fact in a real community of Brothers. Nevertheless, such actions, that would
seem highly untheosophical and prejudicial in our day of culture when
nations alone are privileged to pocket each other's property and expect to
be honoured for it--do not seem to have been an obstacle in the way of
deification and sanctification of the said early "Brotherly" group. Our
Society had never certainly any idea of rising superior to the brotherliness
and ethics preached by Christ, but only to those of the sham Christianity of
the Churches--as originally ordered to by our MASTERS. And if we do no worse
than the Gospel Brotherhood did, and far better than any Church, which would
expel any member refusing too long to pay his Church rates, it is really
hard to see why our "Organisation" should be ostracized by its own members.
At any rate, the pens of the latter ought to show themselves less acerb, in
these days of trouble when every one seems bent on finding fault with the
Society, and few to help it, and that the President-Founder is alone to work
and toil with a few devoted theosophists at Adyar to assist him.

IV. "There is no such institution in existence as the Parent Society"--we
are told (pp. 2 and 3). "It has disappeared from the Rules and . . . has no
legal existence" . . . The Society being unchartered, it has not--legally;
but no more has any Theosophist a legal existence, for the matter of that.
Is there one single member throughout the whole globe who would be
recognised by law or before a Magistrate--as a theosophist? Why then do the
gentlemen "complainants" call themselves "theosophists" if the latter
qualification has no better legal standing than the said "Parent Society" of
the Head Quarters itself? But the Parent-body does exist, and will, so long
as the last man or woman of the primitive group of Theosophist Founders is
alive. This--as a body; as for its moral characteristics, the Parent-Society
means that small nucleus of theosophists who hold sacredly through storm and
blows to the original programme of the T.S., as established under the
direction and orders of those, whom they recognise--and will, to their last
breath--as the real originators of the Movement, their living, Holy MASTERS

V. The complaints then, that the T.S. "has Laws without sanction," a
"legislative body without legality," a "Parent Society without existence,"
and, worse than all--"a President above all rules"--are thus shown only
partially correct. But even were they all absolutely true, it would be easy
to abolish such rules with one stroke of the pen, or to modify them. But now
comes the curious part of that severe philippic against the T.S. by our
eloquent Demosthenes. After six pages (out of twelve) had been filled with
the said charges, the writer admits on the 7th,--that they have been so
modified!--"The above" we learn (rather late) "was written under
misapprehension that the 'Rules' bearing date 1885--were the latest. It has
since been found that there is a later version of the Rules dated 1886 which
have modified the older rules on a great many points." So much the
better.--Why recall, in such case, mistakes in the past if these exist no
longer? But the accusers do not see it in this light. They are determined to
act as a theosophical Nemesis; and in no way daunted by the discovery, they
add that nevertheless "it is necessary to examine the earlier rules to
ascertain the underlying principle, which rules through the present ones as
well." This reminds of the fable of "the Wolf and the Lamb." But--you
see--"the chief point is, that the Convention has no power to make any
rules, as such a power is opposed to the spirit of Theosophy," . . . etc., etc.
Now this is the most extraordinary argument that could be made. At this rate
no Brotherhood, no Association, no Society is possible. More than this; no
theosophist, however holy his present life may be, would have the right to
call himself one; for were it always found necessary to examine his earlier
life, "to ascertain the underlying principle" which rules through the nature
of the present man--ten to one, he would be found unfit to be called a
theosophist! The experiment would hardly be found pleasant to the majority
of those whom association with the T.S. has reformed; and of such there are
a good many.
After such virulent and severe denunciations one might expect some good,
friendly and theosophically practical advice. Not at all, and none is
offered, since we have been already told (p. 9) that it would be "out of
place to suggest any specific measures, as no one who has any faith in
Brotherhood--and in the power of Truth will fail to perceive what is
necessary." The President-Founder has no faith in either "Brotherhood," or
"the power of Truth"--apparently. This is made evident by his having failed
to perceive (a) that the Head Quarters--opened to all Theosophists of any
race or social position, board and lodging free of charge the whole year
round--was an unbrotherly Organisation; (b) that "the central office at
Adyar for keeping records and concentrating information" with its European
and Hindu inmates working gratuitously and some helping it with their own
money whenever they have it--ought to be carried on, according to the method
and principle of George Miller of Bristol, namely, the numerous households
and staff of officers at Adyar headed by the Pres.-Founder ought to kneel
every morning in prayer for their bread and milk, appealing for their meals
to "miracle"; and that finally, and (c) all the good the Society is doing,
is no good whatever but "a spiritual wrong," because it presumes to call a
limited line of good work--(theosophy) Divine Wisdom."

The undersigned is an ever patient theosophist, who has hitherto laboured
under the impression that no amount of subtle scholasticism and tortured
casuistry but would find like the Rosetta stone its Champollion--some day.
The most acute among theosophists arc now invited to make out in A Few
Words"--what the writers or writer--is driving at--unless in plain and
unvarnished language, it be--Down with the Theosophical Society,
President-Founder and its Head-Quarters!" This is the only possible
explanation of the twelve pages of denunciations to which a reply is now
attempted. What can indeed be made out of the following jumble of
contradictory statements:

(a) The President Founder having been shown throughout as a "tyrant," a
"would be Caesar," "aiming at papal power" and a "Venetian Council of
Three," and other words to that effect implied in almost every sentence of
the paper under review, it is confessed in the same breath that the "London
Lodge" of the Theosophical Society has completely ignored the Rules (of the
Pope Caesar) published at Adyar! (p. 4) And yet, the "L.L. of the T.S."
still lives and breathes and one has heard of no anathema pronounced against
it, so far. . . .

(b) Rule XIV stating that the Society has "to deal only with scientific and
philosophical subjects," hence, "it is quite evident {?} that the power and
position claimed in the Rules for the P't Founder and the Gen. Council and
Convention are opposed to the spirit of the declared Objects."  
It might have been as well perhaps to quote the entire paragraph in which
these words appear,[*8]  once that hairs are split about the possibly faulty
reaction of the Rules? Is it not self-evident, that the words brought
forward "only with scientific and philosophical subjects" are inserted as a
necessary caution to true theosophists, who by dealing with politics within
any Branch Society might bring disgrace and ruin on the whole body--in India
to begin with? Has the Society or has it not over 140 Societies scattered
through four parts of the world to take care of? As in the case of
"Mahatmas" and "Mahatmaship"--active work of the Theosophical Society is
confused--willingly or otherwise, it is not for the writer to decide--with
Theosophy. No need of entering here upon the difference between the jar that
contains a liquid and the nature of, or that liquid itself.

"Theosophy teaches self-culture . . . and not control," we are told.
Theosophy teaches mutual-culture before self-culture to begin with. Union is
strength. It is by gathering many theosophists of the same way of thinking
into one or more groups, and making them closely united by the same magnetic
bond of fraternal unity and sympathy that the objects of mutual development
and progress in Theosophical thought may be best achieved. "Self-culture" is
for isolated Hatha Yogis, independent of any Society and having to avoid
association with human beings; and this is a triply distilled SELFISHNESS.
For real moral advancement--there "where two or three are gathered" in the
name of the SPIRIT OF TRUTH--there that Spirit or Theosophy will be in the
midst of them. 

To say that theosophy has no need of a Society--a vehicle and centre
thereof--is like affirming that the Wisdom of the Ages collected in
thousands of volumes, at the British Museum has no need of either the
edifice that contains it, nor the works in which it is found. Why not advise
the British Gov't on its lack of discrimination and its worldliness in not
destroying Museum and all its vehicles of Wisdom? Why spend such sums of
money and pay so many officers to watch over its treasures, the more so,
since many of its guardians may be quite out of keeping with, and opposed to
the Spirit of that Wisdom? The Directors of such Museums may or may not be
very perfect men, and some of their assistants may have never opened a
philosophical work: yet, it is they who take care of the library and
preserve it for future generations who are indirectly entitled to their
thanks. How much more gratitude is due to those who like our
self-sacrificing theosophists at Adyar, devote their lives to, and give
their services gratuitously to the good of Humanity!

Diplomas, and Charters are objected to, and chiefly the "admission fee." The
latter is a "taxation," and therefore "inconsistent with the principle of
Brotherhood". . . . A "forced gift is unbrotherly," etc., etc. It would be
curious to see where the T.S. would be led to, were the P't. F. to
religiously follow the proffered advices. "Initiation" on admission, has
been made away with already in Europe, and has led to that which will very
soon become known; no use mentioning it at present. Now the "Charters" and
Diplomas would follow. Hence no document to show for any group, and no
diploma to prove that one is affiliated to the Society. Hence also perfect
liberty to any one to either call himself a theosophist, or deny he is one.
The "admission fee"? Indeed, it has to be regarded as a terrible and
unbrotherly "extortion," and a "forced gift," in the face of those thousands
of Masonic Lodges, of Clubs, Associations, Societies, Leagues, and even the
"Salvation Army." The former, extort yearly fortunes from their Members; the
latter--throttle in the name of Jesus the masses and appealing to voluntary
contributions make the converts pay, and pay in their turn every one of
their "officers," none of whom will serve the "Army" for nothing. 
=============== end of part 2 of 4 ======================

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