On the photo you’ll see Mirva on the left, translating Tim Boyd during his most recent Finland tour.
1. What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?
My name is Mirva Jaatinen, I’m from Espoo, Finland and have been a member of the TS for 22 years.
2. Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?
I was elected as the General Secretary of the Finnish Section in March 2015 and before that I served several years as the secretary of the Section and did other things as well.
3. How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?
When I was studying music at Oulu conservatory, I got interested in spiritual matters and heard that the caretaker there knew something about those things. As I went to talk with him, it turned out that he was the chairman of Oulu lodge of the TS and through him I started attending Theosophical lectures and other activities of the lodge.
4. What does Theosophy mean to you?
It is the most important thing in my life, since through Theosophy I’ve learned what is needed for a happier, more peaceful and above all more compassionate and wiser way of life.
5. What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?
The Voice of the Silence and Practical Occultism by HPB. I had to name these two together, as they describe in such a beautiful and yet practical manner the essentials of Theosophical life. The Voice of the Silence presents the bodhisattva ideal and the steps preceding a realization of that goal very beautifully and clearly. Practical Occultism on the other hand gives a very clear idea on what Theosophical life should really be like. For me the definition given there for a Theosophist has been a guideline I’m still practicing with. It says: “It is easy to become a Theosophist. Any person of average intellectual capacities, and a leaning toward the metaphysical; of pure, unselfish life, who finds more joy in helping his neighbour than in receiving help himself, one who is ever ready to sacrifice his own pleasures for the sake of other people; and who loves Truth, Goodness and Wisdom for their own sake, not for the benefit they may confer – is a Theosophist.” My practice here begins right from “…of pure, unselfish life…” onwards and that’s why I usually prefer to call myself a member of the TS instead of saying that I’m a Theosophist, recognizing that as much as I try, I’m still quite far from being the kind of a Theosophist that would fit HPB’s definition. At the same time this definition reminds and inspires me to practice the ideals given therein.
6. What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment?
I think that at the moment a big challenge for the TS is how to present Theosophy in such a manner that it would give people practical ways and methods to cope with their challenging lives and how to make Theosophy appealing and interesting – how to make it stand out from the big variety of different kinds of spiritually inclined groups or organizations, which exist in today’s world.
I believe that the key issue here is how much we as TS members are able to truly live Theosophy, how much are we able to put the ideal of universal brotherhood into practice, how compassionate, loving and patient are we truly. When we truly live Theosophy along these lines, instead of just talking about it theoretically, people will automatically be drawn towards us, but as we all know, this is not at all so easy – so that’s the challenge.
7. Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?
I wish that we will be able to keep this Movement alive as an active force, which will keep on providing people access to the ageless wisdom tradition and produce many true Theosophists, who will be of help and benefit for the entire world.
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.