1. What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?
My name is Pradeep H. Gohil. I was born and brought up in Bhavnagar, Gujarat State, India, about 300 kms north west of Mumbai. I completed 11th grade of school there and then went to Redondo Union High School, Redondo Beach, California, as an AFS scholar to complete High School Graduation. I came back to India to do B.E.(Hons) in Chemical Engineering. I went back to the U.S. to do M.S. in Chem Engg, M.S. in Plastics and an MBA. I worked in the U.S. for 8 years before returning to settle down in India. I became a member of TS at the Bhavnagar Lodge, where my parents were members for about 25 years.
2. Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?
At the present time, I am the General Secretary of the Indian Section and have no choice but to be active. I have to travel to several of the 16 Federations in India, with about 455 Lodges and about 12000 members. I have given a number of lectures on Theosophical subjects in India and once in Naarden, the Netherlands. Earlier, I was a member of the Executive Committee of the Indian Section and worked with others in the EC on amending our constitution, building awareness amongst Theosophists all over the world of using the Himalayan Study Centre for camps and workshops and in resolving property matters of the Indian Section.
3. How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?
As an 8 year old boy, my parents talked to me and my younger sister about Theosophy. At that time, I did not understand much except to meditate on Buddha Purnima day. I was very busy as a student with a lot of extracurricular activities. My parents had probably given up on me about ever working for Theosophy. However, after I came back from the U.S., our family hosted Dr Radha Burnier, our 7th international president, for 5 days at our home in Bhavnagar. It was at this time, hearing about Theosophy from her that old memories were rekindled and I joined the Theosophical Society in 1982.
4. What does Theosophy mean to you?
Theosophy to me is the true spiritual path which if followed properly, can lead to moral elevation and faster evolution. It is the key to finding the Real Truth in life. It is the understanding of the oneness of the Universe and how we are all connected. It helps me to realize my unity with the whole of humanity. It is boundless and very deep but once it is understood it can be wrought into the fabric of our life if we remain sincere to ourselves. It is the path way to the relief of human suffering – moral as well as physical. Theosophy makes us aware that we are in this world to help and serve others and that is the best way to help and serve ourselves.
5. What is your favorite Theosophical book and why?
My favorite Theosophical book is The Masters and the Path by Bishop Charles W. Leadbeater because it is the best exposure to the stages of the Path one has to tread to reach the Masters, from probation to acceptance as their disciple and beyond. As an engineer and a manager in my profession, I always like to see a plan, visualize the stages one has to pass through, the actions one has to take on the way and the boundless joy of reaching the destination. In the process he has thrown a flood of light over obscure questions in a very simple and lucid style. He has roused our motivation to tread the path by using visualization of the personalities of the Masters, their homes, their work, their nature and their powers. It was silently sensational material for me to read about death and the exciting world of peace and happiness that lies beyond death.
6. What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment?
In my opinion, the biggest challenge being faced by the Theosophical Society is the lack of awareness about it amongst most of the people in the world, who are already living as good Theosophists but are not members of the TS because they have never heard of it. I am not concerned about the numbers of our membership but of the quality of our members. At the moment, the Theosophical Society is very weak in Public Relations and hence people by and large just do not know about its existence. I can understand that we do not want to advertise Theosophy or carry out promotions to join its membership but we can certainly do good Theosophical work, let people know about it and get adequately acknowledged for it. This is Public Relations at its best and it will attract good people to become members of the Theosophical Society.
7. Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?
I wish that in the future the Theosophical Society will have members whose hearts and minds have been purified by its teachings so that their conflicts, illusions and prejudices have been eliminated to a large extent. The “Information Technology” age will make it easy for a lot of information to be transmitted at negligible expense just as this e-magazine, Theosophy Forward, is doing it. Let the Society remain free from fragmentation, without any hard and fast dogmas and degeneration into a sect. I wish the Theosophical Society will become a very organized, living and healthy body, obedient to their original three objects, with the vitality which living truth alone can impart.
From the editor:
Opinions and ideas expressed in the mini-interviews are exclusively of those who are being interviewed. They don’t necessarily represent the ideas and opinions of the compilers of Theosophy Forward. The responses of the interviewees are not edited for content. Some contributors give short answers to the questions while others touch upon the subject more elaborately.