1. What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?
My name is Jaikumar Kannan and I am from the TS Headquarters at Adyar. I have been a member of the TS since 1985.
2. Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?
No, I have not been very active in the Lodge-Section work in the TS as I was pursuing a corporate career till recently. However, I plan to do so in future. I may mention here that I work here at TS, Adyar, as the General Manager of the estate.
3. How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?
I have been a resident of the TS, Adyar, since December 1964. I am from a Theosophical family – my grandfather, S.G. Venkataramanan, had been associated in various capacities at Adyar for over three decades till 1980; my father Dr. A Kannan too, has been associated with the Theosophical work (National Lecturer, Convener - Theosophy Science Study Group) for over 5 decades. Further, several other members of my family have been closely involved with the proceedings of various TS Lodges in the Madras Theosophical Federation. Growing up in the midst of Theosophists, has automatically shaped my world-view in this particular direction.
4. What does Theosophy mean to you?
To me, Theosophy is a process and a Path towards realizing and experiencing the Truth. This process operates at multiple levels. At one level, Theosophy seems to be a guiding light illuminating the Path and helped / guided by the distilled essence of our Ancient Wisdom, as enunciated by our Masters. At another level, Theosophy seems to be a vehicle of self-enquiry and introspection. At yet another level, Theosophical concepts also mirror onto oneself through which one can constantly seek and obtain corrective measures in our day-to-day world. However, this process requires an unconditioned and receptive mind – again, a long, iterative process in itself.
5. What is your favorite Theosophical book and why?
I have not read many books on Theosophy. However, among the few that I have, I like The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett (Compiled by A. T. Barker). This book is a compilation of Letters from the Masters in answers to questions raised by Mr. A. P. Sinnett from time to time, during 1880s. What is remarkable about this book is that although it is a collection of responses in the form of Letters, which were neither sequentially ordered nor structurally presented on particular subjects, they contain profound insights into subjects such as “the amelioration of the condition of man” and “man’s endeavour to evolve spiritually”. Just as one studies the Gita or the Bible again and again, so should one read and re-read, books such as The Mahatma Letters – for one gets fresh insights every time.
6. What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment?
Assessing pros and cons of the available technology seems to be a challenge. For instance, while modern social media platforms and tools have obvious advantages of speed, economy and widespread reach, in the hands of the unscrupulous, the message of the TS can also be distorted with undesirable consequences for large sections of our community.
7. Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?
If the Theosophical movement were to become more widespread, bringing within its fold, more people who choose to live truly theosophical lives, the world would be a better place – a place where peace, joy and harmony prevails.
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.