Why the membership has become so miniscule
May 01, 1999 06:02 AM
by M K Ramadoss
At 03:08 PM 4/30/1999 EDT, LeonMaurer@aol.com wrote in theosopy talk:
>Do you wonder why the membership in ALL theosophical=20
>groups has dropped to such a minuscule level since the time of HPB and
<paraindent><param>left</param>Let me try to give a shot at this
I think that the answer lies in what she said at the end of Key to
Theosophy which I quote below:
Let me also add a few further comments of mine.
1. It appears that HPB's predictions are coming true and hence all of us
share the responsibility for the current status.
2. HPB talks about the next Torch Bearer. Many believe that it is
Krishnamurti. Many do not agree. However, the fact is that after
Krishnamurti came on board and started lecturing, there has been no
theosophical leader of his charisma and influence. As a matter of fact,
in Adyar(TS), the leaders who followed Annie Besant seems to have put it
more in a maintenance mode. I do not see any charismatic leader in sight
even today. As early as late 1920s, Krishnamurti made a comment that
Adyar is dead and he may be right.
A visit to any bookstore shows that K's books out number theosophy books
by 10-20 to 1, which seem to indicate the general interest in his
teachings. Also I recently found out that the annual operating budget and
net assets of the Krishnamurti Foundation in America is far larger
compared to TSA. Further more, KFA's annual fund raising is about 3 times
that of TSA.
May be it is time to brain storm and see what can be done here and now
before the TS organizations become extinct or put on life support.
THE FUTURE OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY
ENQUIRER. Tell me, what do you expect for Theosophy in the future?
THEOSOPHIST. If you speak of THEOSOPHY, I answer that, as it has existed
eternally throughout the endless cycles upon cycles of the Past, so it
will ever exist throughout the infinitudes of the Future, because
Theosophy is synonymous with EVERLASTING TRUTH.
ENQUIRER. Pardon me; I meant to ask you rather about the prospects of the
THEOSOPHIST. Its future will depend almost entirely upon the degree of
selflessness, earnestness, devotion, and last, but not least, on the
amount of knowledge and wisdom possessed by those members, on whom it
will fall to carry on the work, and to direct the Society after the death
of the Founders.
ENQUIRER. I quite see the importance of their being selfless and devoted,
but I do not quite grasp how their knowledge can be as vital a factor in
the question as these other qualities. Surely the literature which
already exists, and to which constant additions are still being made,
ought to be sufficient?
THEOSOPHIST. I do not refer to technical knowledge of the esoteric
doctrine, though that is most important; I spoke rather of the great need
which our successors in the guidance of the Society will have of
unbiassed and clear judgment. Every such attempt as the Theosophical
Society has hitherto ended in failure, because, sooner or later, it has
degenerated into a sect, set up hard-and-fast dogmas of its own, and so
lost by imperceptible degrees that vitality which living truth alone can
impart. You must remember that all our members have been bred and born in
some creed or religion, that all are more or less of their generation
both physically and mentally, and consequently that their judgment is but
too likely to be warped and unconsciously biassed by some or all of these
influences. If, then, they cannot be freed from such inherent bias, or at
least taught to recognise it instantly and so avoid being led away by it,
the result can only be that the Society will drift off on to some
sandbank of thought or another, and there remain a stranded carcass to
moulder and die.
ENQUIRER. But if this danger be averted?
THEOSOPHIST. Then the Society will live on into and through the twentieth
century. It will gradually leaven and permeate the great mass of thinking
and intelligent people with its large-minded and noble ideas of Religion,
Duty, and Philanthropy. Slowly but surely it will burst asunder the iron
fetters of creeds and dogmas, of social and caste prejudices; it will
break down racial and national antipathies and barriers, and will open
the way to the practical realisation of the Brotherhood of all men.
Through its teaching, through the philosophy which it has rendered
accessible and intelligible to the modern mind, the West will learn to
understand and appreciate the East at its true value. Further, the
development of the psychic powers and faculties, the premonitory symptoms
of which are already visible in America, will proceed healthily and
normally. Mankind will be saved from the terrible dangers, both mental
and bodily, which are inevitable when that unfolding takes place, as it
threatens to do, in a hot-bed of selfishness and all evil passions. Man's
mental and psychic growth will proceed in harmony with his moral
improvement, while his material surroundings will reflect the peace and
fraternal good-will which will reign in his mind, instead of the discord
and strife which is everywhere apparent around us to-day.
ENQUIRER. A truly delightful picture! But tell me, do you really expect
all this to be accomplished in one short century?
THEOSOPHIST. Scarcely. But I must tell you that during the last quarter
of every hundred years an attempt is made by those "Masters," of whom I
have spoken, to help on the spiritual progress of Humanity in a marked
and definite way. Towards the close of each century you will invariably
find that an outpouring or upheaval of spirituality -- or call it
mysticism if you prefer -- has taken place. Some one or more persons have
appeared in the world as their agents, and a greater or less amount of
occult knowledge and teaching has been given out. If you care to do so,
you can trace these movements back, century by century, as far as our
detailed historical records extend.
ENQUIRER. But how does this bear on the future of the Theosophical
THEOSOPHIST. If the present attempt, in the form of our Society, succeeds
better than its predecessors have done, then it will be in existence as
an organized, living and healthy body when the time comes for the effort
of the XXth century. The general condition of men's minds and hearts will
have been improved and purified by the spread of its teachings, and, as I
have said, their prejudices and dogmatic illusions will have been, to
some extent at least, removed. Not only so, but besides a large and
accessible literature ready to men's hands, the next impulse will find a
numerous and united body of people ready to welcome the new torch-bearer
of Truth. He will find the minds of men prepared for his message, a
language ready for him in which to clothe the new truths he brings, an
organization awaiting his arrival, which will remove the merely
mechanical, material obstacles and difficulties from his path. Think how
much one, to whom such an opportunity is given, could accomplish. Measure
it by comparison with what the Theosophical Society actually has achieved
in the last fourteen years, without any of these advantages and
surrounded by hosts of hindrances which would not hamper the new leader.
Consider all this, and then tell me whether I am too sanguine when I say
that if the Theosophical Society survives and lives true to its mission,
to its original impulses through the next hundred years -- tell me, I
say, if I go too far in asserting that earth will be a heaven in the
twenty-first century in comparison with what it is now!
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