1. What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?
My name is Svyatoslav Igorevich Lipsky. I am from Russia and have been a member of the TS for three full years.
2. Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?
I am currently President of the White Lotus Lodge located in Moscow. The activities of our Lodge in this period are focused on studying and discussing The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett. The previous book that we studied together was The Key to Theosophy by H.P. Blavatsky. The work in the TS that I do is interpreting the talks by foreign speakers who come to give presentations once a month, on each last Saturday, for the Russian-speaking theosophical community, non-members included, within the Online Lecture Program of the TS in Russia. On the remaining Saturdays there are other talks and panel discussions on theosophical topics where I also take part. There are also various theosophical online activities where my friends and I participate. Throughout the year there are several presential events in Russia that bring theosophists together and I try to help as well as I can in organization and participation. Another kind of work is writing translations from Russian into English and from English into Russian. Currently, I am a part of the team that is working with HPB’s Scrapbooks.
3. How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?
I was very interested in esoteric teachings and the superior knowledge that they bring since the end of the nineties. For some reason I was also attracted to Eastern Philosophy by the feelings of purity, peace and freedom that they convey to those who study it. When I found that after finishing the 9th grade at school I had to travel to study in college, and had some time to read on the way, I started buying books. Among the very first ones was a compilation of texts on Taoism (including Tao Te Ching) and on Buddhism (including the Dhammapada) the higher beauty and wisdom of these texts moved me very deeply and really changed me. Among the further books happened to be The Secret Doctrine by H.P. Blavatsky. I remember that, after reading the first pages. I recognized that I had never read anything like this, not anything of that scope. This was my introduction to the literature of the theosophical tradition. It was followed by The Voice of the Silence, which again left a very deep impression and other books such as collections of articles by H.P.B.
The first theosophical meeting I attended was in the autumn of 2009. It was a regular monthly theosophical seminar in Moscow organized by a prominent elderly theosophist, Georg Davidovich Avrutsky. There I first met my future and dearest friends.
4. What does Theosophy mean to you?
It is surely something that gives meaning to my life. It is a body of knowledge that explains the world, the inner and outer universe, as it is. It really changes the consciousness of those who study it expanding inner horizons and setting completely new and superior motivations in life. It gives glimpses into immortality of our mind and the Immortal Path we travel. It opens doors to true happiness that we can achieve through caring about others. It gives us the great privilege of connecting to and learning from the great people who lived in the past – those who are endowed with deep wisdom and are far more advanced in the evolutionary journey. It also helps us to connect and make friends with wonderful people around us, who share the same interests and the same Path. This is all true about my own experience.
5. What is your favorite Theosophical book and why?
It is a difficult question indeed. My choices would be The Secret Doctrine, The Voice of the Silence and a collection of seminal articles by H.P. Blavatsky. If I were forced to choose, I would probably choose The Secret Doctrine, because even after reading it for some years it still represents a wealth of knowledge unfathomable and can provide virtually unlimited material for study and meditation. As we engage in this study, I believe, it serves as a system of training that really changes us inwardly while we assimilate this knowledge.
6. What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment?
The biggest challenge is always about the inner quality of the people that comprise the TS. The quality of the people is always the quality of their organization and of the work that they do together, whatever it may be. It is easy to read a book, but it is hard to change oneself for the better. A theosophical organization whose members are wise, pure and loyal cannot be threatened by any outside factor. On the contrary, it is through their own members that all the religions, orders, esoteric and philosophical schools have always deteriorated with time. In short, the TS is what we make of it. Therefore, making ourselves is the key. And that is the most difficult thing in the world. I believe that recognizing the difficulty of the challenge that we face is a very important step to take. We can do it much better if we learn about the examples of the past, about those people in the history of the TS, whose experiences – triumphs and failures – is recorded and commented on for us by the wise ones. We should not take the spiritual journey lightly. Both our future lives and the character of the Theosophical movement depend on our success.
7. Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?
I wish that we would find ways of conveying and presenting the Ageless Wisdom, approaches which are deeply meaningful and also attractive to all who feel the inner call to it. There are many who are looking for answers and for the deeper meaning of their lives and they can benefit immeasurably by coming into contact with the teachings of Theosophy. It is our duty and our happiness as theosophists and members of the TS to share with them, spreading this wisdom for the benefit of all who need it. However, paraphrasing the famous saying: handsome does as handsome is, the inner quality of our work depends fully on our own inner spiritual condition. And this is what I’d wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement: that it may consist of people who successfully realize this most difficult of all tasks – knowing and transforming themselves with altruistic motivation and in dedicated service to all living beings.
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.