1. What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?
Saskia Campert from The Netherlands (Northern Europe); since May 2005 member of The TS Adyar.
2. Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?
In 2015 my husband (Maurits) and I moved to Zeeland (the south of the Netherlands near the Belgium border). Since there was no centre or lodge of TS Adyar available, I decided in 2016 to start my own Theosophical study group. I am surprised and very grateful that today we have a powerful group of 24 students (12 are TS-members, the rest is “supporter”). After an introduction year, we started in 2017 with The Key to Theosophy. I function as secretary of the Lodge (being set up in near future) and “teacher” (with the valuable and indispensable help of Maurits).
3. How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?
At an age of about 30 years I became interested in spiritual matters. Before I was too busy with career, mortgage, friends, travelling, sport, etc. My quest started around 1980 with Tibetan Buddhism (FPMT, Federation for the Preservation of Mahayana Buddhism). I studied and followed in 1985 the Lam Rim course. In 1988 I translated the book How to Meditate from Kathleen Mc. Donald into Dutch (still a bestseller!) for the FPMT.
Later on, my interests broadened, and I discovered Theosophy. Living in The Hague at that time, as of 1990 I came in contact with all Theosophist groups present there: ULT, TS Pasadena, TS Adyar and I.S.I.S. (International Study-centre for Independent Search for truth). I became acquainted with the books of amongst others Blavatsky, Krishnamurti, Plummer, Besant, Judge and G. de Purucker. Theosophy became so meaningful that after our move to France, we opened “The Theosophical Information Centre (TIC)” in our house in the Dordogne. In 1996, on one of our trips through India (we travelled a lot through India), Maurits and I visited the TS in Adyar. An eye-opener, that brought me instantly closer to the TS Adyar, realising that Theosophists in Europe and the USA tend to forget the Indian roots of Theosophy: The Book of Dzyan and The Secret Doctrine, were written under supervision of Indian Masters!
4. What does Theosophy mean to you?
A way of living. A source of happiness. The wisdom I discovered (and am still discovering) in Theosophy widened my view and made my life much brighter. Instead of living enclosed in my own small world full of egoistic worries, I see now the magnitude of the universe, my place in it and the path I have to follow. I feel safe within the laws of nature, with their strict justice and my own responsibility therein. That is why I always try to interest others in Theosophy. I am convinced that many people, now living a dull and sorrowful live, can be helped by the study of Theosophy.
5. What is your favorite Theosophical book and why?
My favourite book is The Secret Doctrine. Of course, one can use other authors to widen your knowledge, but I discovered that it is much more fruitful to study the source of Theosophy. The verses of the Book of Dzyan are so poetic and the explanation by HPB makes them really understandable. It takes time and serious study but is worthwhile. For everybody who is interested: Pablo Sender’s webinars are very helpful!
6. What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment?
How to have our message heard in the future. How to keep our message alive. No easy task!
In my humble opinion many Theosophists try to make their own Theosophy. I see a huge influence from Christian, socialistic and new age values appearing in the original ideas. People now speak about a ‘second generation Theosophists’ who concentrate on healing, chakra’s and clairvoyance. In my view this does not fit in the message the Indian masters gave to us (they were the source of the TS). But perhaps I am influenced by my background of Buddhist teachings. The Buddhist reformer Lama Tsong-kha-pa built around 1500 A.D. with success his Lam Rim-course on the basis of the Book of Dzyan. HPB wrote her Secret Doctrine 400 years later on the same grounds. Perfect old values! Today we only need someone to ardently promote these teachings again. I am aware that The Secret Doctrine does not give practical rules for today’s daily life. Few do and don’t rules are given. But on the contrary, you are stimulated to think for yourself, to discriminate and to make your own rules on the basis of your inner Wisdom. A very useful and inspiring task!
7. Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?
Good idea to speak of ‘movement’ instead of the different Theosophical societies! But for a common future we have to make a choice that fits all now existing Theosophical groups. And, most of all, we need an inspiring man or woman who is capable to be the natural head of the Theosophical movement! Quod non-at this moment. Baghwan Shree Rajneesh, Baghwan Satya Sai Baba, Mata Amritananda Mayi (known as Amma), Sadhguru and so on are capable of gathering tens of thousands of people around them. So, there is a need for spirituality. Modern man mostly lives without any religion or is disappointed in his religion. He needs stories, explanations and books, giving him hope and an indication for living a meaningful life. Listening carefully to all these guru’s, you will see they all explain the Theosophical message in simple words. Pablo Sender wrote an interesting article on this item in The Theosophist, December 2014. He sees two possibilities: 1) easy going Theosophy, simple lectures/articles/meditations to win a great audience, or 2) a high-quality Theosophy for a small group of serious students. As long as the Theosophical movement misses a charismatic, attractive or even controversial leader who attracts worldwide people and media (as HPB did), we are not able to start a movement and are obliged to stick to option 2 until the Masters choose to send us somebody. A pity, but true (in my view).
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.