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TS in America

Feb 10, 1998 12:51 PM
by Thoa Tran

I find all this to be sad, particularly sad because of the lack or refusal
of communication.  As somewhat of an outsider and no loyalty to either
side, I have some comments and questions.  I'm ready to be flamed.

What is the Theosophical Society?  What sets it unique from other
organizations?  One of its object (let's say, the first) is to promote the
Brotherhood of Humanity.  Another of its object (say, second) is to
discover the mysteries and the truth.  If we focus on the first object, we
can do volunteerism, etc., without enriching our knowledge of the mysteries
of life.  Why would I need the T.S. for that?  There are countless
organizations that I could lend a hand to that is devoted purely to
service, no scholarship needed, no theosophical rules and politic required.

If I focus on the second object, I would be greatly stimulated by little
inklings of the mysteries that I learned and comprehended.  The danger of
that is that I could have all this great knowledge without doing anything
to promote the Brotherhood of Humanity.  On the other hand, would not
knowing the mysteries open one up to the Brotherhood of Humanity?
Certainly, a true student of occultism would realize this, and not just
focus on the power aspects of occultism.  For me, an inkling of the mystery
makes me feel like Ramakrishna, makes love flow from my heart, and makes me
more kind and tolerant of others.  When you actually feel the mystery, the
material and power aspects become unimportant.  When you feel the mystery,
you feel interconnectedness with all beings and life.  With this
interconnectedness, you would not want to hurt others, for you feel that
they are like yourself.

>        When one considers all of the above it is very clear that wrong
>messages are being sent about the mission of TS. They tend to attract
>persons seeking personal development and personal goals or scholarship with
>no interest in the "Orphan Humanity" or Universal Brotherhood. I do not
>know how much harm it has already done to TS in the United States. If this
>continues, more and more wrongly motivated selfish individuals would be
>joining the TS and it is only a question of time for TSA to be wrecked by
>its selfish membership who have no interest in Universal Brotherhood.

This is a very harsh assessment.  People follow the path in myriad ways.  I
would give them all credit for starting somewhere, and would be hesitant to
blanket describe them as selfish.  My feeling is that if one truly follows
the path, eventually one could not avoid the understanding of the Universal
Brotherhood.  Some can go straight into doing whatever they can for the
"orphan humanity", but others need to be at certain stages of development.
I believe that understanding, tolerance, and setting good examples will do
more good than making people feel that they are selfish.  My personal
belief is that building a strong inner foundation will enable the person to
be more effective helpers of humanity.  An ignorant helper of humanity can
sometimes do more harm than good, although the chances of hurting by
helping are little, IMO.  I was more concerned with effectiveness.  I have
periods where I am out to the world, and periods where I am in seclusion to
strengthen my foundation.  Both periods are valid, and I have no apologies
for either periods.

These "selfish" people are also a part of orphan humanity, Doss.  They are
also lost and trying to find themselves.  In finding themselves, they will
be stronger as a helpful Brother.  Perhaps the most effective way for
theosophists to spread the value of service, is to keep on performing
service, and promote service through discussions and news items of areas of
service needed.  You can describe to a person a great dish, but it would
not really make them hungry until they see you eating with gusto that
delightful dish.

I agree that John Algeo, if he was really concerned about his brother
theosophists, would put himself on the line and be open, in order to
communicate and understand all concerns.  If he was truly an open-hearted
theosophist, he would put himself out in the line of fire, and wisely
defuse the arguments.  In this way, he would do more to unite theosophists
and gain respect, rather than through terse communication.  Any truly great
people would put themselves out in the open, even under the real threat of
bullets, such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King.  I don't think John Algeo
would have to worry about bullets, just a bunch of theosophists with great
vocabulary.  Is the TS important enough for that step to be taken?

On the other hand, what step can the dissenting theosophists do to unite
with the TS?  Do you be direct and accusing?  Or can you quietly perform
services for the TS while putting your influences in?  I have no idea how
resistant the TS is to changing ideas.  If the leadership would not be
influenced, then how about all the different lodges setting their own
focus?  And what about spreading the influences to other lodges via
communication?  You start with one, spread to a group, spread to a lodge,
spread to other lodges, until it touches the leadership?  Naive?  Why not?
Communication can be powerful if done smartly.

Okay, I'll stop now.  I need to go to a monastery and take my vow of
silence.  I'm not doing too well on my own.

Love and light to all of you,
Thoa :o)

Doss' letter:
>Dear Brother:
>        For any organization, for its long term growth and survival, it is very
>important that its key mission is presented to the public and the
>membership reminded of it in a very simple unambiguous manner giving no
>chance for any misinterpretation or for any confusion.
>        When the TS was launched, it was very clear in the minds of the Real
>Founders that its mission is to form a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity.
>In the early days of TS, the question whether the Universal Brotherhood
>mission of TS was the right one was raised from time to time. At one
>juncture, A P Sinnett raised it with one of the Real Founders. In response,
>the Maha Chohan, who was the Boss of the Founders was consulted. His
>response was put down in a letter. This letter is considered as one of the
>most important by every leader of TS starting with HPB onwards. It is
>considered as the Charter for TS. In it is stated:
>                "And it is we, the humble disciples of these perfect
>Lamas, who are
>expected to allow the Theosophical Society to drop its noblest title, that
>of the Brotherhood of Humanity, to become a simple school of philosophy!
>No, no, good brothers, you have been labouring under the mistake too long
>already. Let us understand each other. He who does not feel competent to
>grasp the noble idea sufficiently to work for it, need not undertake a task
>too heavy for him. But there is hardly a Theosophist in the whole Society
>unable to effectually help it by correcting erroneous impressions of
>outsiders, by himself actually propagating this idea. Oh! for noble and
>unselfish men to help us effectually in that divine task! All our
>knowledge, past and present, would not be sufficient to repay him."
>        In the light of the above, when I recently saw a statement by Bro. John
>Algeo, our National President I was very shocked and disappointed. In the
>letter published in Quest (1997) Holiday Gift Catalog he states:
>"The books and audios in this catalog come from the publishing arm of the
>Theosophical Society, a nondenominational organization devoted to helping
>its members:
>        realize their inner potentials and seek out the mysteries of the
>followed by two other items.
>        The above statement would lead the uninformed reader to conclude
>that the
>mission of TS is to help everyone to work towards the selfish goal of
>realizing inner potentials and seeking out the mysteries of the universe..
>        Some time ago, in "The Messenger" which is edited by Bro. John
>Algeo and
>sent to all at-large members of TS, an unsigned serial article titled
>"Theosophy in a New Key", talks about three aims. It says that "The second
>aim of the Society is to offer its members a way of transforming
>themselves, of achieving the purpose of our evolution, of discovering who
>they really are. The third aim of the Society actually the first in
>importance is to bring together a group of people who are informed about
>the principles of the Wisdom Tradition, who have begun the work of
>self-transformation, and who are dedicated to cooperating with the elders
>and assisting in their work." [In reference to elders there is a discussion
>about the Mahatmas.]
>        When I visited the TSA Internet WWW, I saw the following statement:
>                "The Quest is published by the Theosophical Society in
>America, the
>American section of a worldwide organization promoting the comparative
>study of religion, philosophy, and science."
>        When one considers all of the above it is very clear that wrong
>are being sent about the mission of TS. They tend to attract selfish
>persons seeking personal development and personal goals or scholarship with
>no interest in the "Orphan Humanity" or Universal Brotherhood. I do not
>know how much harm it has already done to TS in the United States. If this
>continues, more and more wrongly motivated selfish individuals would be
>joining the TS and it is only a question of time for TSA to be wrecked by
>its selfish membership who have no interest in Universal Brotherhood.
>        I think the situation is a very serious one and needs swift and
>action. Firstly the seriousness of the situation has to be recognized. Once
>this is done, a plan has to be developed to adopt a strategy to send the
>simple message that the mission of TS is to establish a nucleus of
>Universal Brotherhood. This message should be sent to our current members
>as well as to the public and frequently reinforced at every opportunity, in
>the hope that any wrong ideas that the membership and public may have
>formed is corrected promptly.
>        When I brought the statement in the Quest Catalog and the article
>in The
>Messenger to the attention of Bro. Algeo, I received a one line response
>from him which did not address any of the above issues. I sent you all a
>copy of his letter which you should have received by now.
>        In the light of the above, I think that the issues require very serious
>consideration at the level of Board of Directors. Hence I hereby formally
>request that it be included in the agenda of the upcoming meeting of the
>Board of Directors of TSA.
>        As the issues raised above may have policy and other ramifications
>relative to the International Rules, I am copying this letter to Bro. Radha
>Burnier, our International President.
>        With regards
>                                                Fraternally yours,
>                                                M K Ramadoss
>                                                Member TSA, San Antonio Lodge
>Encls:  1. Maha Chohan Letter.
>        2. John Algeo's Letter in the Quest 1997 Holiday Catalog.
>        3. The Messenger - February 1996.
>        4. Print out from TSA Internet WWW.
>2. John Algeo's reply regarding the decision of the Board of Directors:
>Wednesday, February 4, 1998
>Dear Mr. Ramadoss:
>Your communication of December 10th was discussed at the January meeting of
>the National Board of Directors. Their unanimous conclusion what that the
>concern expressed in that letter is based upon a misreading of the intent
>of the documents you cite and is unwarranted.
>Sincerely yours,
>John Algeo
>National President
>3. My response to John Algeo:
>February 9, 1998
>By First Class Mail, e-mail to, and
>        Fax to 630-668-4976
>John Algeo
>National President
>Theosophical Society in America
>1926 North Mail Street
>Wheaton IL 60189-0270
>Dear Bro. Algeo:
>I have just received your letter of February 4, 1998 informing me that TSA
>Board of Directors discussed my letter (regarding the mission of TS) of
>December 10, 1997 at the January meeting and that the Board concluded that
>the concern expressed in that letter is based upon a misreading of the
>intent of the documents I cited and is unwarranted.
>I do not agree with the conclusion and the reasoning based on which the
>Board reached the conclusion. Hence, I am going to leave it to the members
>and the interested public to decide for themselves, as I believe they are
>intelligent enough to make up their own minds whether the concern is the
>result of misreading and/or whether the concern in unwarranted.
>With regards,
>Fraternally yours,
>M. K. Ramadoss
>Member TSA
>San Antonio Lodge

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