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Re: Going down ...

Jul 23, 1997 08:50 PM
by ramadoss

At 08:49 PM 7/23/97 -0400, Dr. A.M.Bain wrote on ti-l:
>I heard today that the total membership of the TS in England is now
>below 1,000.  Last year it was 1,313.
>This is a minimum drop of 24% on the year.


>In other words, do we think that the study of the occult or the
>theosophical has within it nothing intrinsically at fault, but that the
>attempt to organise and calssify it *has* - especially when the
>organisation appears to have a 'hidden agenda'?  Even though this can be
>argued to be an appearance only, and not necessarily a fact?
>In an ideal world in which the Three Objects were the *only* criteria
>for membership of a formal, fee-paying organisation (which the current
>TS clearly does not meet, other than through lip service), there would
>be facilities for study, discussion and research unfettered by
>"official" dogma or doctrine.  One reason, I suspect, for people
>remaining with the existing but dwindling organisational approach, is
>that the various TS Sections still have the property, the libraries, and
>other assets, which an alternative setup would have to acquire from
>scratch.  But how long will it be the before the TS can no longer
>sustain these facilities and services?  And what shall we do then?
>Should we begin an attempt to set up alternative, if parallel
>facilities, but with the benefit of hindsight, so that if - or more
>likely when - the "official" TS is no more, there will be something
>ready to take over these essential services?
>If there were, the constitition of the Adyar Society requires that its
>assets be handed over to an existing organisation with aims and purposes
>as close as possible to its own stated objectives, and such an
>alternative would fit the bill admirably.
>So how about suggestions for setting up such facilities, and the means
>of financing and maintaining them?  Not a teaching organisation with a
>set of esoteric doctrines, but a study-based organisation, where all or
>any esoteric ideas could be freely discussed and disseminated?

1. You have touched on a very important issue in the light of dwindling
membership. To this I would add the phenomenon of aging leadership in many
countries and aging membership in many lodges.

2. I do not know what the legal setup in the UK and other countries to deal
with the eventuality of lodges and sections had to close for one reason or
the other.

3. In the USA, in such an eventuality, the current bylaws (which many
lawyers question the legality due to TSA not following its own bylaws when
they were amended some time ago and there was a lot of intense discussion on
this issue on theos-l) provide *all* the assets to be transferred to the
Theosophical Investment Trust to hold it in trust to start another
incarnation of the Society in the USA.

4. The problem with this arrangement is that once the assets are
transferred, the Trustees are answerable to *no* *one* and have no legal
obligation to tell *anyone* what they are doing or what they do with the assets.

5. I pointed out this problem to the TSA leadership when the bylaw revision
was going on and I don't think that the TSA leadership sees the very obvious
problem at all. It may not happen now; but can happen in another 20-30 years.  

6. Once such a transfer takes place, the Trustees could end up doing things
that are even against the basic objects of TS. This comment is made in all
seriousness and is based on a very a glaring example we have.

7. Years ago, Krishnamurti Trusts ended up having a set of Trustees who are
answerable to no one but themselves. They were not even answerable to
Krishnamurti himself for whose benefit the Trusts were setup. Effectually,
Krishnamurti, when he was alive was prevented from using the Trust owned
property in Ojai and Madras for his lectures. Finally California Attorney
General had to become a party to sue the Trustees and it took law suits
dragging on for 18 years to get everything settled so that Krishnamurti
could use the Trust assets to further his teachings. Trustees even ended up
suing Krishnamurti himself personally for 9 million dollars. The litigations
was finally resolved/settled only after Krishnamurti died in 1986.

8. Coincidentally, one of the Trustees involved in the above lawsuits is a
well known member of TSA and is currently sitting on the Board of Trustees
of the Theosophical Investment Trust and is also on the National Board of
Theosophical Society in America. Very few of the even long term members of
TSA are aware of this and I accidentally stumbled on it.

9. If Krishnmurti had problems with his Trust when he was alive, it does not
need much imagination of how bad the situation can become with Theosophical
Investment Trust holding all the assets and not answerable to anyone --
man/woman or (former) members of TSA or even God. Money can affect humans in
strange ways.

10. I do not know what the long term plans are. I have not seen any response
to my suggestions to TSA leadership to attend to this potential problem.
They are so secretive/unresponsive that even my request quite some time ago
just for a copy of the Trust document and bylaws of the Theosophical
Investment Trust has not been answered till today. Mind you I am no stranger
to TS and I am a dues paying member in good standing for several decades and
literate enough to read and understand the intricacies of complex Trust

11. It looks like every section in the world which has valuable properties
need to look into this problem very closely so that we do not have a re-run
of the Krishnamurti Trust episode. Intelligent men and women do not wait for
an inspiration (from whatever source) to prevent future problems but try to
learn from the experiences of others.

I thought this might interest some of those interested in the future welfare
of the TS.


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