Yugoslavia and Canada - Cancellation of Charter 1 of 2
Feb 16, 1998 09:52 AM
by M K Ramadoss
There were some discussions on the subject. One issue that came up was what
happened in Canada. Here is what appeared in the Canadian Theosophist. The
editorial that followed is in a following msg.
>From Canadian Theosophist -Jul-Aug 1992
[The following article is a slightly revised version of a letter
sent earlier to all members of the Theosophical Society in
Canada, and presented here for the information of our non
The T.S. in Canada has been excommunicated on Jan. 1,
1992 from Adyar, by Adyar. Whatever ties or links of
affiliation we have had with Adyar have now been
completely severed. Adyar claims that we did the
"disassociating", but it must be clearly understood from the
outset, and which will be shown hereunder, that Adyar did
this excommunication or disassociating, and from the
beginning, last fall (1991 ) did nothing else with respect to us
but to accomplish the breaking of all ties with us, and, to
date of preparing this for publication late May, has done
nothing but maintain the break. I was not informed of the
break until Feb. 12, 92, in a very short letter from the
International Secretary, Mr. Hugh Gray. I have had nothing
further directly from Adyar since.
I will now give the events which led up to this affair. At the
last annual meeting of our members, in September 1991, we
amended our by-laws as per a notice sent to all members in
August, which also had explanations for the changes. The
amendments were passed at the meeting, with no problem.
The next legal step for me was to submit these changes to
the Canadian Government for approval. Since we are a
federally chartered corporation, we are subject to the Canada
Corporations Act. The government has the last say in all
Sometime in the fall, a Western E.S. leader sent a copy of the
by-law changes to Adyar, exactly as I predicted would be
done. This person in the past, regarded another change our
Board had proposed as being a step to break with Adyar,
which was completely illogical, and never thought of or
contemplated by our Board. One can assume that a similar
fear was operative last fall. No break with Adyar was
contemplated at any time by our Board, in the year that it
took to work on the by-law changes, nor were any breaks
suggested in the by-law changes, and as has been stated
publicly, a break with Adyar cannot be done by us through
those by-law changes, it is entirely the wrong method,— but
Adyar can and did break from us, with one of the by-law
changes as the excuse. I have no doubt but that a letter
accompanied those by-law changes on their trip to Adyar,
and can safely surmise that some alarm was expressed.
Kindly note that Adyar did not write to me upon getting
those things from our western E.S. leader, to ask for details,
or clarification, or if the western E.S. leader was mistaken as
to our intent. I repeat: to this day, late May, as I rewrite this,
I have had nothing directly from Adyar except the brief letter
received mid Feb. that told us that the break was in effect.
I did not send a copy of the by-law changes to Adyar last fall
for several reasons:
1. We are not required to do so by law;
2. Adyar has no say whatsoever in the promulgation or
approval of our by-laws as a Canadian Corporation; and to
this end, but ignored so far by Adyar, their Rules make an
allowance where the laws of another country should cause an
exception to be made to the application of their Rules.
3. I would never send a copy of the by-laws as passed by our
annual meeting to Adyar, or anywhere, until the Canadian
Government had approved them. Until the Canadian
Government passes judgment, the bylaws amendment as
passed by our members is but a memorandum of intent to
change. I received the Government's approval (except for a
minor point) on the same day I received the notice of
excommunication from Adyar, Feb. 12,1992.
4. If there is autonomy of Sections, as is claimed, there is no
need to send copies of by-laws, and any such requirement in
Adyar's Rules should be deleted as being contradictory to
Mrs. Burnier, in an indirect letter, claims that she could not
and would not act on our situation until the General Council
met in late Dec. 1991. Fine, but she or co-workers should
still have written to me for clarification of intent. Again, the
Feb. letter was the only one ever received. Much later,
writing through an intermediary, Mrs. B. states that we failed
to send a copy of the by-law changes, and tends to say that
this might be a forgivable fault, as long as the document is
amended to her (or her Council's) liking. Earlier, in February,
I wrote to Hugh Gray stating what is largely covered in the
previous paragraph, above, to wit: Adyar does not have any
legal say in our by-laws. Conveniently overlooked by Adyar
is the fact that they did get a copy of the by-law changes, as I
knew they would, in a manner that saved us the postage.
But, as I have pointed out earlier here, such a copy did not
yet have the approval of the Can. Government, and therefore
had no validity then.
On getting the by-law changes last fall, the Adyar vice
president, who had the task of examining all by-laws of all
sections, spotted where we had deleted the phrase "parent
society" and this deleting was found objectionable by Adyar.
The "parent society" mention was deleted for reasons given
to all our Canadian members last August in the by-law
change notice. I reprint the (August) reason here: "Old
wording creates a conflict position with Corporations Act, as
deleted word suggests 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." (I should
have added then, "unless the other organizations decide to
change our affiliation").
The "parent society" was left out and should remain out for a
number of other reasons:
1. It is not required to be in by-laws by Adyar's Rules. No
doubt they will amend this oversight in their inevitable Rules
changes for this year.
2. It is not required by Canadian law.
3. There is no such thing as a, or the, "parent society" and
for this we have the authority of H.P. Blavatsky and W.Q.
Judge, whose statements will be quoted below.
4. The words "parent society" should never have been, and
need not have been, put in the by-laws in the first place, 17
years ago. Had this been left out, nothing in that respect
could have been noticed last fall, and this present situation
would not have come about.
5. There is supposed to be autonomy of lodges and Sections.
This is stated by Blavatsky and Besant. One finds it also in
various T.S. magazines, and if not hypocrisy, should
therefore be upheld without exceptions by Adyar. Recent
history shows that it has not been upheld.
Blavatsky said "There is no longer a "Parent Society"; it is
abolished and replaced by an aggregate body of
Theosophical Societies, all autonomous ..." (H.P.B. C.W.
Vol. Xl, p. 381).
Wm. Q. Judge, when asked about "Parent Theosophical
Society, and ... the meaning of the term, and to what is it
applied?" answered: "At present there is no meaning in the
name, and its use a source of error; it should never have been
used. If there is in existence a"Parent Society", then it is the
Aryan [Theosophical Society] because its charter members
are the only ones left here of the first branch ever formed,
while Mme. Blavatsky and Col. Olcott are the founders of
this branch, which became the Aryan after their departure.
But as the whole Society is composed of its branches and
unattached members, and as each person who joins - either
through a Branch or at large - thereby becomes a member of
the whole Society, there can be no "parent Society." It is
advisable that this term be discarded altogether, as it has no
reason for its existence, and no meaning in its use." (From a
reprint in "Echoes of the Orients", The Writings of William
Q. Judge, Vol. II, p.440.) Annie Besant also stated that "A
National Society, or Section is autonomous, ....
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. Our first charter came via Judge, as head of the
American Section then. Judge split with Besant and aligned
elsewhere. Besides what H.P.B. and Judge had to say about
"parent society". there is another problem, and valid reason
for not using this phrase: if there were a "parent society" for
the T.S. in Canada, then is it the Aryan T.S. (which no
longer exists) or the theosophical organization that Judge
shifted to after his split, or the present T.S. in America,
(which group took over from Judge, and from which the T.S.
in Canada derived in 1919)? One has only one real parent (or
in biology, two). A foster parent is not a real parent. At best,
Adyar could be only a foster parent. We in Canada have
always leaned to H.P.B. for an authority, so there is no
parent society and therefore no foster parent.
A.E.S. Smythe always held, as with Judge, his mentor, that a
Section and a lodge was autonomous with a loose affiliation
with other like theosophical groups, and all the Canadian
General Secretaries have always been given this rule of
Smythe's, and upheld it, often to the chagrin of those in far
places over the past 101 years, and with this tradition, I have
found no reason to take a different path, and in this current
affair, I have but followed Smythe's footsteps.
When I received the letter, Feb. 1 12th that noted our
excommunication, I immediately sent off a letter of
explanation of our actions, said that there was never any
intent by our Board via the by-law changes to break from
Adyar, suggested that they had acted rashly on the fear
mongering information from their E.S. Canadian informant, I
acknowledged that the break was in place, at Adyar's doing,
and invited/awaited a reply, which never came. I wanted to
allow them the 24 days for mail each way plus some time to
further discuss this matter among themselves, before
breaking the news to our members. I restate that Adyar has
done nothing other than to make this break from us,
commencing last fall, and to maintain it. They will claim
otherwise, when it appears unflattering to appear to have
done what they did. They have also been apprised of H.P.B.'s
stand on "parent society".
I have received an inkling, indirectly, by a copy of a letter
from Mrs. Bumier to an intermediary, probably for my
consumption. The gist of this is that if we were to apply on
bended knee, and subjugate our rights to Adyar's desires for
our by-law content, then they might reconsider mending the
break. Contractual subservience too, would be required, to
get around the problems inherent in our being a corporation.
These previous sentences have been reinforced again, by
another letter from "over there" which was again for my
benefit, and which the required subservience in by-laws and
any other matters deemed necessary, was repeated as a
prerequisite before any rejoining could take place.
I heard rumours that Adyar had asked or instructed that our
advertisement in "The Quest" magazine be stopped. So much
for rumours. Within two days of hearing of this, (and five
days after getting the excommunication letter from Adyar), I
had a phone call from the company that looks after
advertising for various magazines, including "The Quest". He
stated as follows, "I have been requested to advise you by
"The Quest" magazine, that on orders from headquarters in
India, the T.S. in America. cannot further permit your ad to
appear in "The Quest" magazine". (*The T.S. in America
owns and publishes that magazine.)
I have obtained the name of the western E.S. leader who
"went snitching to mama". As I knew who this was before,
from prediction, this was but a confirmation. I reamed that
the Canadian Federation T.S. was advising some lodges of
the excommunication and suggesting that these lodges join
up with the Federation. I then received a copy of a letter
being sent out by the Federation, which turns out to be
written by Radha Bumier to Mr. H. Jackson. The letter adds
"... It is the wish of the General Council to encourage the
growth of the Canadian Federation in every way." So we are
out, there was never anything done "over there" but to put us
out and keep us out. This letter was dated Feb. 24, 1992.
Adyar has time to write to the Federation, fax to Wheaton,
and no doubt write to other loyal E.S. dominated sections,
but has no time or courtesy to reply to my letter of Feb. 15,
Since they want us out, why should we go against Adyar's
wishes? Thus I say, out we are, and out we should stay. We
will not be alone in this, as others have separated, or been
separated in the past, the next last to us was Denmark.
I have always held as despicable the gentle art of shunning as
practiced by certain "Christian" sects when one or more of
their fold leaves. There have been fears expressed to me, and
already signs that this could or is happening against the
members of the T.S. in Canada. If it does, I say that it is a
good thing, because it indicates the level of development of
the person doing the shunning, as well of that of who orders
the shunning, so it would be no loss to us by losing any
former contact with a shunner.
THE IMPLICATIONS AND FUTURE PATH
Each member should make up his or her mind as to whether
they want to stay with this now independent theosophical
society, the T.S. in Canada, or if the umbilical cord with
Adyar is deemed essential, as it might be for all E.S.
members, to attach themselves with the Federation forthwith,
(or form a 3rd group, if the Federation is not acceptable). I
could never understand why the T.S. in Canada did not
themselves make a break years ago, such as in the '20's when
the Federation split-off was done. We have historically
always "been a thorn in the side of Adyar", critical when
wrong or folly appeared. A.E.S. Smythe in the twenties was
highly critical of distortions of the original teachings being
put into the E.S. by the Leadbeater-Besant duo, and the
"Christ is coming through Krishnamurti" farce. A number of
members disagreed with Smythe, so the Canadian Federation
was formed, to cater to the needs of the E.S., who disagreed
with Smythe et. al.
Now we have the opportunity, handed to us on a platter, of
having two organizations to cater to the two basic desires:
the T.S. in Canada, H.P.B. and Judge based in origins and
fairly steadily upheld over the years; and the Federation, E.S.
based with Adyar and Outer Head linkage and obedience to
E.S. Oath. Make a choice, and let us all go onwards in our
preferred ways. There is little compatibility, if any, with what
the E.S. now stands for, and basic theosophy and the desire
of many for autonomy.
We have been separated from Adyar since Jan. 1st, 1992. I
have noticed nothing different in our operations nor in my
life, theosophical or otherwise prior to learning of the
excommunication on Feb. 12th, nor since. This article brings
the information to many of you for the first time. Has your
life been different since Jan. 1, 1992? I think not. I have been
asked many times, going back years, What is the benefit, if
any, of being attached to Adyar? I have never been able to
answer this - that is, the "Benefit" part. There is none. Yet
some, especially the E.S. members, feel that there is, and that
is their privilege—just do not push this at those who think
otherwise. Now we have a choice: the independent group or
the Adyar linked group. This choice I think, now, is fair and
just, and should settle the long standing fuss with the E.S.
based Federation plus the E.S. members in our midst, and
those of us who disliked what crept into the E.S. (see "The
Elder Brother" by G. Tillett) and have always stood aloof
and against that E.S. Then there are the very many of our
members who have little or no knowledge that Adyar exists,
and know nothing of the E.S. and its history. That group
will, I hope, remain as our members. (The Tillett book is part
of our Home Study Course, and it can be purchased from
our Edmonton Lodge, and from a bookseller in California.)
The choice is to remain in a democratic autonomous society,
or go to a Adyarian linked society under their current
autocratic rule. For us to return, I remind you, bended knee
is required, surrender of right to make autonomous decisions
as to our by-laws etc., and contractural subservience to
I stated to our Board meeting last September, that I would
never instigate a break with Adyar, and I added that if any
such break were to occur, it probably would be started by
Adyar, who had much more experience in this sort of thing,
such as the recent Denmark Affair. How right I was!
I do hope that when this rite of excommunication was done,
that they used correct and proper procedure, with:
Ring the bell
Close the Book
Out the candle.
[* Not necessarily in that order.]
--- S.T. [Stan L. Treolar, General Secretary]
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