The Society

Implementing the Ageless Wisdom

EXTRA 2 Naarden 2018 1 Participants of the July 2018 Naarden meeting - photo Damon Scothern

A Summary of the General Council Planning Meeting, ITC Naarden, the Netherlands, July 2018

Tim Boyd – USA & India 

MISSION STATEMENT:

To serve humanity by cultivating an ever-deepening understanding and 

realization of the Ageless Wisdom, spiritual Self-transformation, and the Unity of all Life

 Since its founding in 1875 the Theosophical Society (TS) has grown into an organization with membership, branches, and sections in more than 70 countries worldwide. The scope of TS activities has similarly grown and changed over the years, with publishing, education, programs, lectures, TS centers, communication, and meetings assuming new forms to suit ever-changing times. One of the recognized features of our time is the rapid nature of change. Unlike the recent past, no nation, culture, or geographical location is unaffected by the currents of change sweeping the planet. This condition places strong demands on all of us. More is required of us than mere repetition of past formulas or insistence upon “staying the course” in maintaining the forms of previous activities. With all of its uncertainty, this is a powerful moment in which we are living. It is a time that cries out for the depth of understanding and potential for harmonious living that the Ageless Wisdom can provide. The question for the TS now, as in the past, is “How can we communicate this wisdom to the world in a usable way?”

Historically, the General Council (GC) of the TS has met for a few hours once each year – on the day before the opening of the annual International Convention at Adyar. This approach has placed severe limitations on the ability for heads of national Sections to share necessary information and allowed little or no time for meaningful dialogue on long range plans for the international organization. In an effort to provide an opportunity for more extended planning, in 2015 a second meeting specifically devoted to strategic planning was added immediately following the close of convention. At the GC meeting in December 2016 it was determined that a 5-day planning meeting would be held in March of 2017 at the International Theosophical Centre in Naarden, the Netherlands. That meeting was primarily focused on brainstorming-allowing the space for all manner of ideas to come to light and be considered. Mere ideas were not enough, and each of the more than 40 projects proposed at that meeting had people assigned to make them real. 

During the course of the year the progress and difficulties of the various projects were monitored by a small coordinating team, charged with both reporting and helping to keep the work on track. Special attention was given to 11 priority projects. In the beginning of July this year we met again at the ITC in Naarden, this time as an official GC meeting. In all, 30 members (20 GC members and 10 invited participants) attended from a variety of countries: the Netherlands, England, Belgium, India, the USA, Kenya, Finland, Sweden, New Zealand, the Philippines, Spain, Germany, Italy, Brazil, and Argentina. It is the intention to formalize this extended meeting as an additional annual meeting of the GC. The report which follows is a summary of this year’s gathering. 

Read more: Implementing the Ageless Wisdom

Editorial - This is Theosophy Forward

Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil

 

The Society A 2

The first issue of Theosophy Forward appeared in February-March 2009 and ever since many hundreds of articles have been published in it. The period after the first publications, some nine years ago now, was not a calm one. The TS Adyar had just gone through a tumultuous election for International President and there was much animosity, misunderstanding, mayhem and distrust across the board. I saw that friendships that had lasted for years, were being torn apart due to all the turmoil. My sole intention with the magazine was to bring light in the apparent darkness. I had no experience whatsoever with running an e-magazine, so I needed to learn very fast. In those first days my brother Hans in the Netherlands helped out by hosting the site and John Algeo in the USA was the one who, in his own, distinctive manner, taught me how to edit, write and keep up with the task of an editor-in-chief. A very supportive and excellent co-worker in the first years, and he definitely needs to be mentioned here, was Anton Rozman from Slovenia, who, for some time produced wonderful e-books for Theosophy Forward. These gems are still to be found in TF’s archives. Unfortunately Anton had to stop collaborating with us in 2014.

Read more: Editorial - This is Theosophy Forward

Concentric Circles: Why I Support ITC (International Theosophy Conferences)

Jonathan Colbert – USA

The Society JC 2 KADINSKY Squares With Concentric Rings

Kadinsky’s Concentric Circles

We see in our world so many bitter, apparently intractable, Cain and Abel style disputes, between, not just, say, the Israelis and the Palestinians, but also between India and Pakistan, between the two Koreas, the two Sudan’s, the two Irelands, the Protestants and the Catholics, the Shiites and the Sunnis, the Left and the Right. By contrast, this unique, pioneering, forward looking Theosophical Movement of ours, is the first to organize around abstract, universal principles – high above such differences as caste, gender, creed, race or nationality. Focusing instead on unconditional solidarity amongst members of the human race as a whole, this movement might just be humanity’s last, best hope to sweeten the bitterness, to heal our world’s deep wounds. Equally, we acknowledge as Theosophists, that it is incumbent on ourselves to pull together, to get along with each other. We embrace a special responsibility to support all Theosophists, regardless of seeming tribal separations. Just in even knowing about the sacred ideal of Universal Brotherhood, it is our job, we feel, to exemplify it.

When Theosophists, especially from different organizations, commit to work together, there will inevitably arise strong forces bent on disruption and making mischief. Because of the laser-like, quantum breakthroughs possible when supposed differences are set aside in favor of drawing a larger circle; because of the potential that can be made kinetic by the magnification of a current created by the convergence of tributaries – the forces of inertia will be made all the more apparent. Moreover, the very degree to which the motives for such cooperation are pure and unselfish, and the desire to serve humanity indeed strong – is precisely the degree to which will be awakened the rude forces of detraction, destabilization and doubt. Brotherhood in actu, being essentially revolutionary, directly challenges the comfort zone of the status quo ante. If the Theosophical organizations are going to be able to work together, individuals within each of them will have to call on equally revolutionary faculties within themselves: the powers of unconditional magnanimity; the powers of the creative imagination and that power which real servants of humanity covet, the power to appear as nothing in the eyes of others.

Read more: Concentric Circles: Why I Support ITC (International Theosophy Conferences)

Mini-Interviews Ria Pati

The Society MI 10 Ria Pati

1. What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?

My name is Ria Pati and I am from India. I have been a member of TS since February 2017.

Read more: Mini-Interviews Ria Pati

Mini-Interviews Gastón Santana

 The Society MI 8 Gaston Santana

1. What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?

My first connection with the TS was three years ago, but it took me one year to start going to the center in my home town, Buenos Aires, Argentina. People there call me Gastón, my last name is Santana.

Read more: Mini-Interviews Gastón Santana

Mini–interviews Andrea Biasca-Caroni

The Society MI 6 Andrea Biasca Caroni

1. What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?

My name is Andrea Biasca-Caroni, from Ascona, Switzerland. I’m a member since 1999.

Read more: Mini–interviews Andrea Biasca-Caroni

Mini–interviews Birgitta Skärbo

 The Society MI 4 Birgitta Skarbo

1. What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?

My name is Birgitta Skärbo and I’m from Sweden. I have been a member since 1992.

Read more: Mini–interviews Birgitta Skärbo

Mini–interviews John O. Boakye

 The Society MI 2 John Boakey

1. What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?

My name is John O. Boakye, from Ghana West Africa. I have been a member of the TS since 1968 in my youthful days.

Read more: Mini–interviews John O. Boakye

TO MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL COUNCIL

April 26, 2018

Dear fellow GC member,

In response to some of the low-quality information about Adyar and the TS that has been recently circulated, a number of us felt that some response should be made. As members of the TS's general council, we have all received numerous mailings from one common source. Many of us have read them, many have chosen not to. It has not been and cannot become the habit of the GC to use valuable time sorting through the half-truths, total untruths, distortions of fact, and personal conjecture that fill each of these mailings. What has been done in the attached text is to address each and every assertion of “fact” presented in these recent mailings. Most of what is written is already fully known to GC members, particularly to those who have attended recent meetings, as it has been discussed in meetings, included in minutes, and elaborated at the request of GC members. Matters related to ordinary management issues at Adyar, which were included in the recent mailing, are also addressed.

One of the features of the operation at Adyar has been the degree of transparency that has been instituted. Like most things, it is something of a double-edged sword with a few ill willed operators seizing upon and distorting information that is readily available to the GC, and to our membership through us. While it is not our belief that GC members are confused or uncertain about the state of things at Adyar, we feel that it is necessary to address the insubstantial basis for these numerous mailings.

Read more: TO MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL COUNCIL

Specific Issues Raised by Ramadoss

1. President's term of office. In a recent mailing Ramadoss states that “We now know that District Registrar has ruled that the (TS) President's Term is limited to three years. Of course, The Theosophical Society has challenged this decision in the High Court of Madras.”

On April 12, 2018 the High Court of Madras suspended the order of the Registrar, ruling that the President's term will remain as 7 years, as stated in TS Bye Law 9. The language of the court's ruling is as follows:

4. A perusal of bye-law 9 of the Rules and regulations for the management of the petitioner society (TS) would clearly show that the terms of office of the President shall be seven years from the date of assuming office. It is useful to extract bye-law 9 of the Rules and regulations which reads as under:
“Bye law 9. President's term of office The terms of office of the President shall be seven years from the date of assuming office.”
5.considering the submission made by the learned senior counsel appearing for the petitioner (TS), this Court is inclined to pass the following order:
The respondents are directed to allow the petitioner to continue by virtue of bye-law 9 which is extracted as above.

Read more: Specific Issues Raised by Ramadoss

Editorial

Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil

The Society Editorial 2

River Bungalow “down-stairs” where your editor was staying in December of last year and January of this year (2018) with his buddy MICHIEL HAAS as his neighbor

This part of the editorial is dedicated to all those women and men who are working hard, day in day out, to keep our International Headquarters in ADYAR, and the TS world-wide running, which is not an easy task.

Volunteering: It is a calling.

Had not been in Adyar for ten years, so it was about time to renew my acquaintance with that wondrous place in faraway India, a kind of oasis in the craziness of the Chennai traffic and the hustle and bustle one encounters in any growing metropolitan city nowadays. With a population of around five million people, Chennai, as capital of the state Tamil Nadu, and as is the case in many other Indian cities, is confronted with substantial pollution and other logistical and socio-economic problems.

Each time when one arrives there and undertakes the, at times scary, but also breathtaking ride from the airport to Adyar, it becomes evident that you can actually smell India. Am not talking about the pollution here, but that rare mixture of spices, herbs and food in preparation. Oh, how I do love that smell, so familiar still, even after an absence of one decade.

Have always had the tendency not to idealize or to romanticize Adyar, as our International Headquarters. The home of the Masters …? Don’t get me wrong, I do understand what is meant by that phrase, and yes there is that historical and spiritual tie, but I happen to believe also that the Masters’ home can be in any place, providing thoughts are pure, the energy is elevating, and hearts are filled with compassion. Yet, when it comes to romance, I met my wife Terezinha there for the first time, on the stairs of Leadbeater Chambers, we fell in love on the banks of Adyar river, so who is talking? I owe Adyar so much.

Next to the fact that I visited many International Conventions and took part in sessions of the School of the Wisdom, I also worked for one year non-stop on the estate, from 2001 until 2002. I had the great opportunity to get the “taste” of Adyar, to know and feel what it is like to be a part of that group of volunteers, who are there, day in and day out, doing their utmost. Yes, people come and go in the Adyar workforce. Some remain there for many years; others are there just for a short time, but the essence is always the same: dedication, sacrifice, humility, the willingness to learn; being a part of the nucleus.

Working at Adyar requires courage and perseverance. It is not some vague adventure one gets engaged in. It certainly demands much from the volunteer. Coming to the International Headquarters based in Adyar, a region in a very crowded and noisy Chennai, to work and spend some time there, to work for the Cause, offers a unique chance for inner growth. But it doesn’t come easy, that is certain. The energy at Adyar is substantial. Visitors to the conventions notice this, but the impact of that energy becomes much stronger when one spends more time there.

Volunteers, workers, are vital assets for the success of any non-profit; so, also for the TS-Adyar, they are invaluable. The move to Adyar, getting accustomed to the Indian way of doing things and living in a highly spiritual environment – can be demanding and stressful in the beginning.

Read more: Editorial

Mini-Interviews Patrizia Conte

 The Society MI 2 Patrizia Conte

1. What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?

I'm Patrizia Conte, I live in Italy and I'm a TS member since February 2013

Read more: Mini-Interviews Patrizia Conte

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