Mini–interviews Second Quarter 2014

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.

The Society MI 2 Isaac Jauli Dávila
Isaac Jauli Dávila

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

My name is Isaac Jauli Dávila. I was born in Mexico but I live in Spain since 1995 and
I am a member of the TS since 1979.

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

I was General Secretary in Mexico; I am now a member of the Arjuna lodge of the Spanish section. I coordinate the educational issue at the Institute of Theosophical Studies H. P.B. in Spain. I collaborate with lectures, workshops and courses in Spain and Latin America.

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

I found in a bookstore The Secret Doctrine, I tried to understand it which was very little, but the photo of H. P. B. touched my heart. I searched for the TS and became a member.

4. What does Theosophy mean to you?

It makes sense to our short transit on this earth with the truths it reveals. And it is one of the most important paths for realization for humans.

5. What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

The Secret Doctrine and The Mahatma Letters and other such works as The Voice of Silence. There is no particular preference, but all give a broad view of the great truths of our origin, the meaning and purpose of life and the collaboration that all human beings should do to help us in the evolution of this planet.

6. What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment?

The new challenges that this time demands must be specified in a more agile and administratively modern organization, with an appropriate technological means of communication of the work of the TS in these times. To increase the educational activities within the TS campuses, in order to give opportunity to be active in the center more months of the year. To invite more contributors from around the world to "internationalize" the center(s) more. These are just some of them.

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

Based on the events that are happening in the world, it is a great opportunity for all students of Theosophy of the different streams to come together for the common good and this will also be for benefit the movement as a whole. That means working to unite this force in the world, and thereby influencing it, with our persevering experiences for the Theosophical Ideal. The contribution of the Theosophical truths is still valid, but it needs to become a lifestyle in each student, the daily practice of compassion, love and wisdom.

 

The Society MI 4 Steven Otto
Steven Otto

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

I'm Steven Otto from Germany and I'm not a member of any TS (there are five different so called 'traditions' in Germany). At the moment I'll remain independent.

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

I'm active in the Theosophical movement more generally with some projects, for example my website or a book, which is to be published in the next months.

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

I heard from a colleague about Theosophy seven years ago. He has recommended it to me and the last five years I studied very closely The Secret Doctrine. I came in contact with the various TS's in Germany because I have compiled a study to defend the numerous allegations against H.P. Blavatsky.

4. What does Theosophy mean to you?

Truth. It is a very, very merciful gift, a light in the darkness. As far as my faith is concerned – everything and as far as my life concerned – very much. Theosophy changed me and my life radically in the last years.

5. What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

It's The Secret Doctrine, THE root base of our movement. This book has a depth and breadth, that has not been recognized even in a rudimentary way by us. We are just at the beginning.

6. What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment?

Our movement as a whole, has to be aware of it's very important role in the near future, in other words, the next 'cycle' – the so-called Age of Aquarius or the upcoming platonic world-month and, of course, act accordingly in the present.

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

A transition into a new cycle implies always a radical change. Today's materialistic society will soon experience a very cruel collapse. And I wish, that we are all properly prepared – i.e. no debt, a corresponding quantity of gold coins and maximum independence from the system – because only when prepared we can play the role, which we should play: the pioneers of a Theosophical Society not in the sense of a company or association, as today, but as a Theosophical, a reasonable and virtuous form of society - the 'brighter tomorrow', as HPB said.

 

The Society MI 6 Mike Vallis
Mike Vallis

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

Mike Vallis. Born in Cyprus. Migrated to Melbourne, Australia 30 years ago. TS member in Melbourne since late 1980’s.

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

Yes active. Attending meetings and sometimes giving lectures.

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

First contact by reading The Key to Theosophy in the Greek language during my teen-years.

4. What does Theosophy mean to you?

A rational explanation of the meaning of life.

5. What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

C. W. Leadbeater’s The Devachanic Plane presently reading it.

6. What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment?

Transformation.

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

Transparency, Efficacy, Relevance.

 

The Society MI 8 Isis de Resende
Isis Maria Borges de Resende

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

My name is Isis Maria Borges de Resende. I have been a member of the Theosophical Society since August 1, 1968.

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

Yes, I’m active in my Lodge and Section. I’m currently the president of Alvorada Lodge in Brasilia, member of the board of directors of the Theosophical Society in Brazil, and president of the Inter-American Theosophical Federation.

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

I was born in a Theosophical family and I got in touch with the Theosophical ideas when I was a child.

4. What does Theosophy mean to you?

Theosophy means a lot to me. I have a lot of gratitude to Helena Blavatsky and others who brought the Theosophical teachings from her time to mine. When the problems of life arise, and they always do, the Theosophical teachings are like a compass, a guide to help us to improve life, learn more and establish better relations with others, helping them somehow.

5. What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

My favourite Theosophical book is The Voice of the Silence. I like it so much because it shows me that the meaning of life is to help others, selfishness is a dead-end road. Selfishness makes our life meaningless, we can be happy only helping others to do so, we are all connected and we cannot have happiness for our own delight if we are not connected to others.

6. What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment?

In my opinion, the biggest challenge the Theosophical Society has right now is to keep alive the torch of teachings so that we may help the world to improve its condition. But to keep the torch alive it is necessary to light up, at least a little bit, the torch inside us and this is not easy. We have to be the change we want to see in the world, how are we to expect others to change if we are not able to change ourselves? We cannot give what we don’t have, so the process of changing outside is not possible if we don’t change inside also. So, the challenge of the Theosophical Society in a way is our own challenge, to be the change we want to see in the world.

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

Tim Boyd, the international president of the Theosophical Society—Adyar, said that he wishes to see an infusion of youthful energy, whether in the form of new members of a young age, or older members who embody a flexibility of mind and heart, the ideal would be young and old working together. I quite agree with him, we need to think about the continuity of the generations, so that the torch of the Theosophical teachings will be kept alive, burning.

The Society MI 10  Marcos de Resende
Marcos Luis Borges de Resende

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

My name is Marcos Luis Borges de Resende and I am a member of the Theosophical Society since 1968, when I joined at the age of ten.

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

Yes, I am an active member. At this moment I occupy the post of General Secretary of the Brazilian Section of the Theosophical Society.

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

I was born in a family of Theosophists. My four grandparents met at the Theosophical Society. My parents knew each other since childhood at the Theosophical Society.

4. What does Theosophy mean to you?

For me Theosophy means wisdom applied to everyday life. I think a distinction should be made between Theosophy, which is the wisdom of nature, and the Theosophical literature, which is the vast production of works of authors connected to the Theosophical Society, including the founders. The confusion of these concepts can lead to dogmatism.

5. What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

I do not have a favorite. I like very much the works of Blavatsky, such as The Key to Theosophy, and others, and also Krishnamurti´s books that, for me, are tools for pure wisdom or Theosophy.

6. What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment?

This is a very delicate moment in the life of our Society. For over thirty years, we had at the head of our work a leader that had permeated our institution with deep spirituality. Radha Burnier, for me, was someone far beyond a common Theosophist, like me. She had a way of being very quirky and her departure left a big void. I think the main challenge after her passage is to maintain the Society united and faithful to its original aims and purposes. Only through not dogmatic study that leads each, to a greater or lesser degree, to the discovery of truth, our Society can continue to be a light in the darkness that is human consciousness, including in the twenty-first century.

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

Yes. Unity and genuine spirituality. The members of the Theosophical movement must leave their egos aside to make that happen. For the Society to continue to be a useful instrument to its true founders, those who guided and inspired Blavatsky and Olcott to establish it, it is necessary that each member do their part in order not to allow it to dogmatize, nor to become a sect or belief. This requires, at the same time, freedom of thought and dedication to the pursuit of truth, not as something to be owned, but to be discovered in every moment.

 

The Society MI 12 Pamela Zane KeysPamela Zane Keys

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

My name is Pamela Zane Keys. I was born and bred in Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand. However, I have also lived much of my life in smaller coastal towns such as Wanganui (where I am now) and New Plymouth; as well farming for a while in the Coromandel plus a time in the capital, Wellington. I have been a TS member since 2005 after I re-met Warwick Keys, an enthusiastic TS advocate. [We had known each other way back, when we were young students. Amazingly, we married in 2008.]

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

I am a member of the committee of Theosophy Wanganui, which helps form plans of action for our area. Warwick and I also lead a weekly Theosophical study group in our home.

Warwick and I are both National Speakers for TSNZ and travel together around the country to lead workshops and seminars. My presentations are usually experientially based and have included topics such as The Inevitability of Change and How it can Transform, God is a Verb and The Worry Workshop. Interacting with other TS members as well as the public can be exciting and educational for us all. Having taught most of my life, I not only love to learn but also continue to be rewarded by finding ways to communicate ideas and challenge people’s thinking. Whenever I get ready to speak, I think of the words of the Sufi poet, Hafiz:

“The subject tonight is Love and for tomorrow night as well,
As a matter of fact I know no better topic for us to discuss
Until we all die.”

Being the editor of TheoSophia (the quarterly magazine of the TSNZ) is for me a wonder-filled experience for which I am constantly grateful. Contact with a wide variety of thinkers and writers is stimulating and inspiring while the practicalities of compiling a magazine in attractive and interesting ways present delightful challenges that keep me alert, creative and ever learning.

Story telling is a favourite hobby which flourished through my teaching years and has segued into writing. Inspired and encouraged by Vic Hao Chin Jr when he visited NZ in 2009, I began writing for teachers using real-life Heart and Soul Stories which seemed to encourage and inspire. Now I am working on a second book of more stories from my life which, hopefully, contain kernels of wisdom gleaned from personal, often painful, learning.

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

When I re-met Warwick in 2005, he gave me a copy of At The Feet of The Master to read on the train. I kept sending him texts marvelling at what I read and excitedly decided to explore Theosophy further - with his help and encouragement.

4. What does Theosophy mean to you?

Firstly, I found that the disparate strands of my life-long esoteric explorations through mystical spirituality, religion and study, came together and made sense through Theosophy. Theosophy has allowed my ever broadening views of The All to rest within the range of my continued growth and learning while spurring me on to understand and manifest more - in this life and beyond.

Secondly, helping to form a ‘Nucleus of Universal Brotherhood [and Sisterhood]’is an ideal that appeals to me - along with the awesome challenges it represents. Through our involvement in the Society, I have met and befriended some wonderful people who have supported, encouraged and led me into new discoveries. They not only provide examples of living aware and creative lives but also make up a sample of that ‘Nucleus’. These Theosophists are some of the most cherished and respected people in my life.

Additionally, reading about and considering diverse religious paths such as Ancient Egyptian esoteric lore, Gnosticism, the Sufi tradition and Buddhism for example, and how seemingly diverse esoteric views (throughout history as well as across cultures) can be fundamentally united by a Theosophical viewpoint, is a great and rewarding discovery for me. I relate to the words of the great Rumi:

“I have lived on the lip of insanity, wanting to know reasons, knocking at the door.
The door opens.
I have been knocking from the inside.”

5. What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

My ‘favourite book’ changes with time but currently our home group is exploring Geoffrey Hodson’s Sharing the Light. It comprises short chapters dealing with deep esoteric subjects in simple but profound ways that are clear and easy to follow. English-born Geoffrey lived and worked in NZ for some of his life. Warwick and I were fortunate to live in his former home next to Vasanta House (TSNZ HQ) in Auckland when Warwick was National President of TSNZ.

6. What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment?

Uniting very culturally diverse groups of TS members in the work of spreading Theosophy internationally and inspiring the demonstration of Theosophical values through the lives we live, must be the greatest challenge.

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

I wish for forward looking approaches, grounded in the present, that will:

appeal to new members as well as long term Theosophists
breathe life into dated attitudes and hide bound practices and
share in the development of an evolving world population that has often lost touch with the true essence of being.

Until then:

Out beyond right-doing and wrong-doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
- Rumi


The Society MI 14 Sampsa Kuukasjarvi 2010-Summer-02
Sampsa Kuukasjärvi

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

Sampsa Kuukasjärvi from Finland. I have been an Adyar TS member since 2000.

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

I’m currently the President in my local Lodge and Editor-in-Chief of the Theosophical magazine of the Finnish Section. I also write, translate and lecture a little and participate in Theosophical discussions on the internet.

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

I learnt the word “Theosophy” already in childhood, because my parents had a lot of Theosophical, especially Anthroposophical literature at our home. I understood that “Theosophy” means something thrilling, which is not understood by the masses.

I came in contact with the Adyar TS in the late 1990s when I had a crisis in life. Before that I visited several spiritual groups and went to different lectures. I soon experienced that Theosophical groups (meaning also Rosicrucian, Anthroposophical, etc.) were deeper than other groups, because they were not very interested in personal happiness nor so called phenomena. Coming to a Lodge meeting of the TS felt like coming home. The atmosphere there was warm-hearted and uplifting, and contrasted with many other groups. I also perceived that members in the TS were less dogmatic. So I soon joined the Society. Lodge meetings still feel like being at home!

4. What does Theosophy mean to you?

Perennial wisdom, which gives me deep perspectives. More specifically it means harmlessness and free thinking.

5. What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

There have been many,especially books by Pekka Ervast (a remarkable Finnish Theosophist) and J. Krishnamurti, which are a concrete down to earth type. Nonetheless, I don’t read books anymore, because they take too much time. I only look for definitions or quotes in books and really read only articles and other short texts, usually digitally.

6. What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment?

The international organization has serious problems with management and communication. Due to that, I believe it loses many current and potential members. There should be open communication about administrative issues from leaders to ordinary members, and effective communication about Theosophy to the outer world. The web site of the Adyar Headquarters should provide news and articles, which would be updated often. Articles should be light and contemporary and include pictures. I think old books are not the future of Theosophy.

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

That it were not a mere museum, which repeats old quotes according to the principle “The more Sanskrit words, the better!. For too many people Theosophy seems to be a finished belief system. The movement should be searching for truth and creating something new all the time.

To the Adyar Headquarters, I wish skilful and dedicated workers.

To the movement I wish also vitality and seeing that different Theosophical groups have between themselves more similarities than differences.

 

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