1. What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?
My name is Jan Maarten Braak and I have been a member since 2012, but a longtime sympathizer of the Theosophical cause. I found out that Theosophy was running strong within my family, my great great grandmother read Theosophical works and her daughter lived a Theosophical life.
2. Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?
I’m on the board of the The Hague Lodge of the TS-Adyar branch in the Netherlands and librarian in our beautiful lodge library.
3. How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?
Theosophy literally came to me. I was in a bookshop where a big tome radiated “read me.” It turned out to be The Secret Doctrine and I was hooked ever since. But it took me a long time to understand that I couldn’t understand the first Stanza’s at all. That was the little kick that got me into a more organized form of Theosophy.
4. What does Theosophy mean to you?
Everything! It helped me to deal with the loss of dear ones and gives joy every day. I’m still amazed by the amount of books available within the various traditions. I could only wish that the wise words of wisdom within Theosophy would be known to more people.
5. What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?
The Voice of the Silence it is all in there, the richness of the texts provide new insights all the time and every time you read it you read something new. It’s like the book grows on you. Besides that: Lord of the Rings, where we learn all about the concept of Vairagya when Frodo embarks upon a quest to get rid of the ring of power while enduring all kinds of hardships. And of course The Secret Doctrine, as well as the works of Clara Codd dealing with the Spiritual Path and Charles Hampton’s booklet about what happens when we die; if only more people knew of this little gem. De Purucker’s Fountain Source ofOccultism for coming to grips with The Secret Doctrine.
6. What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment?
How do we bring the works and the practicing of Theosophy into the world without doing harm to the original texts and without proselytizing? There are so many seekers and Theosophy has lots of answers, but it seems there is still a big chasm between the two. How do we keep the flame burning, the fire rekindled? “Just do it!” a famous sports brand says. Live, breath, talk, think, act and be the teachings. We really should become less text book philosophers…it’s not the amount of books you’ve read, but what you do with what you’ve studied or taught. In fact our work should be easier nowadays, we don’t have to travel by ox cart a whole day to lecture for just a few persons like back in the Olcott days…we just go online and use teleconferencing or livestreams for a worldwide audience.
7. Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?
More cooperation, as we’re all part of the same source.
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.