Mini–interviews March April 2011


Ananya Rajan

 

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

Ananya Sri Ram Rajan, Chicago, Illinois. I have been a member of the Theosophical Society for almost thirty years.

2.    Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?

I was on the editorial board for the Quest Magazine from 2001 to 2005, have volunteered in the prison correspondence program through the Department of Education and am currently the editor of For the Love of Life, the national magazine for the Theosophical Order of Service in the US. I am also active at the international level of the TOS, working on various projects.

3.    How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?

I am the fourth generation in my family to be involved in the Society, so it is difficult to say when I came into contact with Theosophy. As a child I was always sensitive to nature and animals and was made fun of by other children when were they were cruel to animals or insects, because it upset me. Once I was old enough to understand Theosophy, I was delighted to find I was not as odd as others thought I was.

4.    What does Theosophy mean to you?

Theosophy means divine wisdom. To live a life aware of the divine wisdom or divine consciousness within every being so one’s actions stem from that awareness is, to me personally, living a theosophical life. Theosophy means nothing if we don’t live it.

5.    What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

I never get tired of reading Light on the Path. Each time I read it, I feel renewed. But then I would have to say that about The Voice of the Silence as well. I can understand why they are promoted as introductory books. Each time one reads them, depending on one’s state, there is something new to ponder.

6.    What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS Adyar (as an organization) is facing at the moment?

I am not sure I understand this question. Adyar is the international centre for the organization. It is not an organization in itself. Right now, internationally, the TS, much like the rest of humanity, is going through a transition. It is obvious. The challenge, at present, lies in the hands of its members. Transition can cause the best and worst in humans. It is important that we remember transition is also a time of evolution. Are we evolving as theosophists in order to help the evolution of the work of the TS or as just ordinary humans who are members of just another organization? The two are very different.

7.    Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?

Universal Brotherhood. If we cannot practice it within our own organization, as members of the organization we have no right to promote it to the rest of the world. We must be the living example of the work the Theosophical Society sets out to do.

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

Dara Eklund, Los Angeles, T.S. member-at-large over 30 years.

2.    Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?

Have attended study groups at the  L.A. Lodge in Hollywood, then  in homes in L.A. and  later coming to our own home in Studio City, California.  At this home we held annual Solstice meetings, to which all Theosophical students were welcomed, including the Spanish Lodge which met at Besant Lodge in Hollywood.  After retirement Nicholas and I have hosted the Solstice meetings at our new home in Moorpark, California.

3.    How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?

As a child my parents took me to the United Lodge of Theosophists in L.A. where I studied until the age of 18.  After meeting Boris de Zirkoff at the home of my ULT friends, I became acquainted with the Point Loma tradition and began assisting him with his work for the T.S. on the Collected Writings of H. P. Blavatsky.


4.    What does Theosophy mean to you?

It is my Life’s work, and a means of uniting all students in the pursuit of truth.


5.    What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

The Secret Doctrine is my favourite book, as well as the writings of William Quan Judge.  My favourite devotional book is the Bhagavad Gita.


6.    What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS Adyar (as an organization) is facing at the moment?

Becoming less involved in politics, but keeping open to all Theosophical groups as indeed the TS is now doing.


7.    Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?

Possibly for us to recognize that the “Movement” does not belong to any one group or person, but is worldwide and may be present in Buddhism, or Hinduism, etc. as well as any Theosophical organization.


Dara Eklund and Nicholas Weeks

 

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

Nicholas Weeks was born in Tennessee USA, but moved around much.  I am a member of the TS Pasadena & TS Point Loma.

2.    Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?

No, not that active.

3.    How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?

Around 1970 I read Isis Unveiled and heard my first TS Adyar lecture.

4.    What does Theosophy mean to you?

The Divine Wisdom that is deep within cosmic & human nature, so that it pervades all traditional spiritual paths.

5.    What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

Any book that explains how to develop & practice altruism, the keynote of Theosophy.  Mahayana Buddhist texts are best at that. The Bodhisambhara Shastra by Nagarjuna or Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva Way are just two of many examples.

6.    What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS Adyar (as an organization) is facing at the moment?

Same as always, for all Theosophical organizations: putting concern for the organization above concern for helping sentient beings.

7.    Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?

Perhaps less worrying about the future and more workers now.  Also, to recall that the Theosophical Movement is far wider than any organization with roots in Blavatsky’s Theosophy.

 

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Guido Haas

 

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

My name is Guido Haas from The Netherlands and I have been a T.S. member since 1972.

2.    Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?

Currently I am treasurer of our local lodge, I live and work at the International Theosophical Centre at Naarden, and I manage the bookshop of the Dutch Section which is open five days a week.

3.    How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?

My parents were members of the T.S. and I visited the I.T.C. at Naarden before I could walk. The Round Table provided an introduction to Theosophy and in my teens I started reading the books in my father’s library. Leadbeater’s The Other Side of Death was one of the first.

4.    What does Theosophy mean to you?

It has meant different things to me. Gradually what remains as Theosophy to me are the fundamental things like the three propositions of The Secret Doctrine. All the technical details are open to interpretation and debate. The fundamental things are different, somehow more real.

5.    What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

There are many, e.g. Human Regeneration by Sri Ram and Radha Burnier’s later book on the same subject, Alan Watts’ The Wisdom of Insecurity, Mabel Collins’ Light on the Path, Krishnamurti’s Notebook, Chögiam Trungpa’s Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism. Books that help in making one think and see.

6.    What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS Adyar (as an organization) is facing at the moment?

The T.S. can only be a vehicle for Theosophy if we can be true Theosophists. The challenge of the organization is the challenge of the individual, and I don’t think that has changed since its beginning.

7.    Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?

A spirit of fearless open mindedness in all the participants in this movement.

 

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John Vorstermans

 

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

I am John Vorstermans from New Zealand.  I have been a member of the Theosophical Society for around 30 years.


2.    Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?

I am currently involved in the study of The Mahatma Letters and working on an introductory course for Theosophy which will be presented later this year.  This course will also be available over the internet for interested people to participate.  I also facilitate a series of classes on the various types of meditation to give new meditators an experience of different approaches.   As the president of the Indo-Pacific Federation of the TS I am working on a multilingual website where we hope to be able to make material available in local languages for countries that have no T.S. currently active, such as China and Vietnam, also adding active study courses in these languages.

3.    How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?

In my 20's while I was visiting a friend in Utah, USA, I came across references to HP Blavatsky.  I ventured into a local bookshop (The Cosmic Aeroplane) and found a copy which I purchased.  I then spent several months reading on returning to New Zealand.  Some months later I read in a local magazine an advertisement for the Theosophical Society in New Zealand.  I went along to a meeting and joined.  I became involved in the activities of the Lodge then and have remained very involved in the Society for the last 30 years.

4.    What does Theosophy mean to you?

In a nutshell, Theosophy for me is about learning who I am and developing the universal qualities that are inculcated in all the religious traditions.  For me it is not so much about knowledge, more about practising what I understand, experiencing theosophy and working alongside others to help share our understand and experience of Theosophy.  Knowledge for me is the first rung on the ladder of Theosophy but in time we must step onto the second rung and put our knowledge into practice, taking the essence of the first rung of the ladder with us but then leaving it behind as we move forward to integrate knowledge into true understanding through research and experience.

5.    What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

The Secret Doctrine.  It is not such a definitive book but a collection of stories, each of which when explored take you to a deeper level of understanding.   The book for me is like a veil, and if we search, it is surprising what we can uncover.  It opens a key to one’s Self and for me it seems to unlock all sorts of intuitive understanding.  It is much more than just a book.  It has its own special magic for me.

6.    What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS Adyar (as an organization) is facing at the moment?

I think its biggest challenge at the moment is to trust that in the bigger scheme of things the TS will evolve as it is meant to.  Every organisation has its challenges as there always is a strong urge to “protect”, however our purpose is simple and empowered by each of us as individuals as expressed in our first object.   Our biggest challenge however is to move up the rung of the TS ladder, learning from our founders and presenting the principles of the Divine Wisdom from our own experiences in practical and relevant ways for today.

7.    Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?

Yes, for us all to embrace the concepts outlined in our First Object. To really create a Theosophical Family and form a strong nucleus, which mirrors that of those our inner founders. To embrace the universal values we so often talk about, such as compassion, respect for all life, etc.  To accept differences of view and opinion, yet see in the others a true spirit trying to understand just as much as you or I are trying to do.

 

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C. V. K. Maithreya

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

My name is Chaganti V.K. Maithreya.  I am from Adyar.  I have been a member for over 42 years.

2.    Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?

I am the President of the Madras Theosophical Federation and the TOS, Chennai.  Besides, I am on the Indian Section Council & the National Board of the TOS, India.

3.    How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?

I am a fifth generation member and hence came into contact with Theosophy since I can remember things.

4.    What does Theosophy mean to you?

It is a holistic way of life I aspire to live and a body of truths I persevere to learn.

5.    What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

The ML, LMW & The Secret Doctrine. [I find it difficult to choose.]  There is no doubt that the SD is a unique work, unparalleled in modern times.

6.    What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS Adyar (as an organization) is facing at the moment?

There is a dearth among its members of youth, well-read persons and committed volunteers.  All three combined present the biggest challenge to the organisation.

7.    Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical movement?

I would like each member to live a Theosophical life and make efforts to “Popularize the knowledge of Theosophy”.

 

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

My name is Sally Colbert.  I am not a member of the TS Adyar, but have been a member of the United Lodge of Theosophists in Los Angeles, California for many, many years.  My husband and I now live in Julian, California, a rural, mountain area we love above San Diego, California.

2.    Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?

I am active as Secretary of San Diego Theosophists, Inc.  For this group I have provided a website, www.theosophysandiego.org. I am also the President of International Theosophy Conferences, Inc. (ITC) and provide a website for this organization, www.theosconf.org. Also I am Editor of International Theosophy Magazine.  ITC is dedicated to provide a vehicle in which all Theosophical traditions can work together and provide the strength to offer the teachings to all.

3.    How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?

I grew up in what was called Theosophy School in Los Angeles, California.  Both of my parents were Theosophists.  Theosophy School, and its weekend organization, Theosophical Pathfinders, were pivotal to my husband, James Colbert, and me.  We enjoyed the many trips to the mountains, ocean, and exploring the world of ideas for children.  We live in the mountains now as a continuation of that experience.  And, wish this could be available to children growing up in all Theosophical families.

4.    What does Theosophy mean to you?

Theosophy is the path of compassion and understanding.  It provides a world view which leads to discovering who and why you are.  It is a rational basis for unity showing why no one is either higher or lower on the path for we are all finding our own way.

5.    What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

The Key to Theosophy. A new world opens up with each reading.  Letters That Have Helped Me by William Q. Judge has a profundity going to the depths of our lives.

6.    What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS Adyar (as an organization) is facing at the moment?

Although I have no direct relationship to TS Adyar, except as brothers and sister Theosophists, from what I can gather, there exists a centering of control which can be found in other Theosophical traditions as well.  There is creativity, building, and then consolidating with often diminishing of the original inspiration.  This can lessen the power of Theosophy to the world.  It is our hope that International Theosophy Conferences can provide a vehicle where we can all step outside of our individual tradition and find that the only real is true brotherhood.

7.    Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?

Fortunately, I realize there are beings and minds involved in the Theosophical Movement of such proportion, just to know this are a feeling of gratitude.  From this stance, there is no specific thing I wish for – only that the higher principles come into greater consciousness.  There is a tradition in the Hopi Indian peoples which is simply that what we do as individuals has an effect on the rest of the world.  I think this is true of Theosophists.  Total energy should be to find a way for Theosophists to come together as this would have its effect on the world – and perhaps aid the Theosophical Movement.

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