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Re: Research Project: Third Object of the T.S.A.

Dec 26, 1999 01:01 PM
by James Langdon Rodak

James Langdon Rodak writes:  With respect to the original wording of the
Objects of the Society at its founding, I commend THE GOLDEN BOOK OF THE
THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY (1875-1925), p. 243,to interested inquirers and quote
the following therefrom: II.  "The objects of the Society are, to collect
and diffuse a knowledge of the laws which govern the universe." The editor
of the aforementioned book, C. Jinarajadasa, continued as follows: "There
was only this one object, and commenting on it Colonel Olcott writes in his
Old Diary Leaves, vol. I, p. 120:  'The Brotherhood plank in the Society's
future platform was, therefore, not thought of; later on, however, when our
sphere of influence extended so as to bring us into relation with Asiatics
and their Religions and social systems, it became a necessity, and, in
fact, the cornerstone of our edifice.  The Theosophical Society was an
evolution, not -- on the visible plane --a planned creation.'"
Theosophical writers have well documented the early history of the Society
to include the wording of its charter and by-laws.  What seems to be
lacking are comprehensive, in-depth discussion on what the     spirit and
intent of the terminology chosen by the founders when they      approved
the language of the Objects.  Another excellent source document   on the
history of the Society is a pamphlet written by James A. Santucci,  a
professor of religious studies and linguistics at CalStateU Fullerton
titled "Theosophy and the Theosophical Society" (pub by the Theosophical
History Centre, London.  I found this particular source of value because
Prof Santucci has an extensive bibliography and notes to support his paper.
 I commend this reference to all my theosophical brethren who have an
interest in the early history of the Society.  Another informative - and
provocative - reference that addresses the Objects in general and the Third
Object in some particulars is to be found in the Nov 1996 issue of THE
THEOSOPHIST with contributing writers such as N. Sri Ram; Geoffrey
Farthing; Hugh Shearman; Joy Mills; John Algeo; etc.  A wide range of
opinions (from "They're just fine as written!" to "They need to be revised
completely!" can be found in this series of essays.  Again, I commend it to
my theosophical brethren.  And lastly, there is that superlative article by
H.P.B. in the Sep 1889 issue of "Lucifer" titled "Our Three Objects" that
is worthy of a visit on for those interested in what our
founding Mother had to say on the subject early on.  Hopefully, the
aforementioned will generate much constructive discussion and ponderings
among the readership.  I look forward to reading your comments.
Fraternally yours,          Jim Rodak       < >

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