1. What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?
My name is Raphael Langerhorst. I am from Austria and I am a member of the TS since October 2012.
2. Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?
Yes, I give talks and actively participate in our regular lodge meetings. I am also taking responsibility for various formal positions in the TS in Austria and help with technical work at the International Headquarters of the TS at Adyar/India. Sometimes I write articles, too. Other than that my regular work is also oriented towards Theosophical principles and purpose.
3. How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?
I was born into a family of Theosophists.
4. What does Theosophy mean to you?
For me, Theosophy is the link between the world of perception to the essence of what is. Since I have naturally grown into Theosophy, my life is based on its principles, especially regarding universal brotherhood (as with Theosophy the inter-relation of humanity and all life is not only phrasal, but actual) and orienting my field of activities towards usefulness in the sense of uplifting humanity towards its divine dignity, with the capabilities and possibilities that I may happen to have at hand.
5. What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?
My favourite books change from time to time depending on current situations. Recently I have been studying The Voice of the Silence by H. P. Blavatsky very deeply. This book, approached with undefiled intention, pure and at peace, is a treasure beyond measure to integrate our human and divine essence. Other books that have previously been very important for me are The Masters and the Path, by CWL (C. W. Leadbeater) as well as The Science of Yoga, by Taimni.
6. What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment?
The biggest challenge is to make efficient use of human and other resources that the TS has built up in order to be of service to humanity in a time where demand of actual Theosophy in our world is ever on the rise. It is also important that members of the TS start to think more along those lines – that the TS is a body of service to humanity. And the service that the TS can provide – both in its depth and breadth – is a service not easily available from other bodies that may exist in our outer world. This means, besides becoming Theosophists ourselves as a very important prerequisite, we need to see in what ways we can also be of service to the world with the love and wisdom that we may already have instead of just doing our duty to the TS and ourselves. At best such service should be coordinated and united throughout the TS both on global and local levels to be of most effectiveness and efficiency. Such service must be guided from a Theosophical point of view in order to meet spiritual demands; otherwise we will decay to a mere social welfare organization, devoid of higher and actual purpose, of which we have so many already. In that sense it is about integrating deep Theosophical wisdom with practical life – on all levels, and for humanity as a whole.
7. Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?
Theosophy is alive. While its utmost essence is ever untouched and unchanged, its outer application must be meaningful to the world of its time. This does not mean to flatten out its great depths of wisdom to superficial mainstream media, just to become more popular, but rather to apply that depth of wisdom towards the crucial challenges humanity is facing in each time period. I think that we managed well to establish a profound body of wisdom (or knowledge that can lead to wisdom) so far and that we are well set and ready now to offer solutions to most demanding challenges of human society and individual struggles in our modern world. Our purpose is not to be popular, but to be useful. We have grown a worldwide Theosophical body, now it is time to make it work towards its purpose and infuse practical life with wisdom, purpose, and sense.
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.