The Society

Adyar, Mon Amour

Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil

[In part, this article was previously published in Theosophy Forward, March 2012]

Readers of Theosophy Forward were recently invited to share thoughts regarding the succession of leadership in the Theosophical Society Adyar. Reactions were marginal or insignificant, almost as if the writers feared even to consider this subject.

The third quarter issue of Theosophy Forward contained an article entitled “Theosophical Leadership.” In the introduction to that article, among other things, I wrote:

“Before long, at the latest in 2015, once more an International President will have to be chosen, and it is quite possible that this time more than one candidate will be on the ballot. But having learned from the 2008 debacle, and looking forward to the future, even if there should be only one candidate, it is a good exercise to ponder the subject of Theosophical leadership. What are the requirements and challenges for a modern leadership that will enable the largest Theosophical organization to find its rightful place in the world, serving humanity? Who could be suitable candidates? And how should members prepare themselves for that inevitable election looming on the horizon?”

Read more: Adyar, Mon Amour

Editorial Aveline’s Bagunça

Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil

Aveline’s “bagunça”

bagunca carlos aveline
What is bagunça?

When Theosophists go after other Theosophists, no matter what the argument is about, I believe one enters a red danger zone and caution is needed.

With the publication of his latest book, Carlos Cardoso Aveline from Brazil has stirred emotions left and right. Because of the way this release was handled a fiery discussion erupted on a Theosophical Facebook site. Shortly before this publication, those who belong to Aveline’s circle had been overactive on various social networking sites, performing their dreary mantra, deliberately ignoring rules moderators had implemented, not paying attention to warnings, repeating themselves again and again and above all incapable of engaging in a respectful dialogue.

Their chant “we are veracious and know it all; others, not on our line of thinking are nothing but petty pseudo theosophists”, is well-known to many. Thanks to a few brave souls Aveline and his tiny group of die-hard admirers were seriously questioned, put on the right spot and even banned from some social networking sites.

Read more: Editorial Aveline’s Bagunça


Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil

What’s in a Name?

In the various Theosophical traditions, different approaches are used when referring to speakers and authors. It is very interesting to compare them in order to come to a better understanding of those diverse ways of doing things.

Read more: Editorial

Theosophical Leadership

Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil

For time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.”
John F. Kennedy

In 2008 members of the Theosophical Society Adyar democratically elected their International President. It turned out to be a highly controversial election. Until today the aftermath of that unfortunate epoch is still felt. It is not the intention now to open old wounds or to launch another series of useless bickering, on the contrary. But every self-respecting organization, so also the TS Adyar, should have the courage to look at certain events retrospectively and learn from them, so that any mistakes made may be avoided in the future.

Read more: Theosophical Leadership

Mini–interviews Third Quarter 2013

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.

Read more: Mini–interviews Third Quarter 2013


Jan Nicolaas Kind –Brazil

Many moons ago, it must have been in the summer of 1968 while I still living in Amsterdam, that, for the first time in my life, I was told that such a thing as Theosophy exists. The man who was good enough to open that door for me was an elderly, well-known Jewish musician who miraculously had survived the horrors of World War II. I was fascinated to hear from him about the laws of cause and effects, karma, reincarnation, the visible and invisible worlds, tolerance and compassion, freedom of thought, and how music creates energies, influencing people’s minds and their environment.

I remember it vividly how we took walks in a park in the capital of The Netherlands. When we would sit down on a bench, he always started to tell me about his long and interesting life as a violinist and conductor, the artists and composers he had met, his years in Paris, the loves of his life and … Theosophy.

bench theosophy editorial

At the time, the colorful and vibrant sixties, my head was filled with Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, and the Iron Butterfly. I was certain that I was going to change the world. Bob Dylan was my hero, the war in Vietnam was horrible, Woodstock was still in the making, and at night I sat down together with some student friends of mine, trying to understand what Jean Paul Sartre meant when he wrote that humans are condemned to be free. In addition to all that, this old man was talking to me about Theosophy.

Read more: Editorial


Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil

In response to the activities of the ITC (International Theosophy Conferences Inc.) and Theosophy Forward, many are pondering the idea of Theosophical unity. In the following months, articles on this subject will appear here and in other periodicals, so it will be interesting to see where the story is going to take us. A starting point is the work that needs to be done.

For Theosophists to come closer and to understand our past and present and therefore to have a fair idea about what the future could hold for us, the path of Karma Yoga shows the way. Of the four paths to realization (Jnana, Bhakti, Raja, and Karma), Karma Yoga is the process of achieving perfection and unity in action. Karma or action should run parallel with the Yoga of unity. Yet our acts separate us so that there is no unity at all. The unbalanced nature of our activities creates division and keeps us separate from and strangers to one another.

The Divine Wisdom was specifically designed for just this task of introducing harmony in situations of apparent paradox and contradiction. If we are ever to achieve unity, we need to understand the teaching of occult philosophy that human beings do everything under the influence of the three fundamental forces in nature: the three gunas. In order to arrive at a deeper understanding, we need to investigate the way in which the gunas work.

The three gunas that constantly surround us are (1) sattva = purity, truth, harmony, and rhythm; (2) rajas = mobility, activity, passion, drive, and creativity; (3) tamas = sloth, illusion, ignorance, but also the positive qualities of tenacity and perseverance. We must learn to deal with these three gunas and with all of the qualities associated with them. We need to begin to understand them and finally to weave them into a magnificent and divine whole. The exercise by which one force is conquered while another is nurtured and further developed will bring about growth in the individual, inducing a deepening insight and indicating the beginning of freedom. Only in freedom and through devoted labor we are able to be in communion, to unite compassionately and unconditionally.

Read more: Editorial

Mini–interviews Second Quarter 2013

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.

Please note that the mini-interview at the end is actually a “maxi” interview. Members of the Vasanta Youth Lodge in Adyar have done fine job making the interview a joint effort.

Read more: Mini–interviews Second Quarter 2013

Towards the Memory of Sally Meeker Colbert

James Colbert - USA

memory of sally meeker colbert

Sally was President of International Theosophy Conferences from 2008 – when ITC began as a formal organization – through 2011. She was the principle moving force for ITC when it was informal. That is, she brought together Theosophists in 2004 in San Diego, in 2006 in Julian, and worked for the 2007 conference in Petaluma, California. She was also the editor of the International Theosophy Magazine.

Sally came into Theosophy when she was five years old through the United Lodge of Theosophists.  Her early years in Theosophy were deeply treasured. As a young woman she studied Vedanta, Catholicism, Christian Protestant Bible Study, and always was involved with Buddhism.  She then rediscovered her Theosophical roots.

Sally’s life was a triumph of going through some of the most painful periods that anyone could encounter.  She experienced a devastating illness and for a time lost her children, but she recovered and was fully able to nourish them. She was proud that her daughters are now highly successful adults. Sally was raised by a mother who suffered from severe depressions and who probably died by taking her own life. She helped her mother to the end. Sally truly knew the exigencies of life’s pain, giving her a compassion and understanding for who all who suffer.

She reached out to all Theosophists inviting them towards unity. Her vision of ITC was to bring all Theosophists together. This was her dream. She communicated this with the arts through prose, music, and poetry. Her smile and laughter were infectious. She was loved by so many – especially by her husband.


Mini–interviews First Quarter 2013

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.

Edi Bilimoria

1.    What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?

My name is Edi Bilimoria; I live in England and have been a member for 36 years.

2.    Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?

No, because I have just resigned from the TS. Previously I was very active in England and recently in Australia where I was Education Coordinator for the Australian Section for two years.

3.    How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?

By being inexplicably drawn to an advertisement I saw at Tottenham Court Road Station in London about the Theosophical Society’s bookshop opposite the British Museum (this was of course in the grand days of the English Section, now long past).

4.    What does Theosophy mean to you?

In the same way that Newton’s Laws of Motion explain the fundamental mechanical laws governing all physical matter in motion, so theosophia explains the spiritual laws that underpin life at all levels; as well as showing a path to transform book knowledge of those laws to their actual realization and direct experience.

5.    What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

1. The Notebooks of Paul Brunton.
2. The original writings of Ramana Maharshi
3. The Heart of Religion by P. D. Mehta
4. The Secret Doctrine

Of these the Brunton Notebooks are in my opinion by far the most important. It is a CRIPPLING WEAKNESS of classical theosophical literature that whereas the grand scheme about Cosmos and Man is set out in eloquent detail there is virtually nothing at all on the PRACTICAL STEPS needed to embody these truths in our daily lives (other than a few early books by Annie Besant, and in the Voice of the Silence, which is hardly a book for the neophyte). There is no guidance on the ‘tools and techniques’ to convert the high level vision into ones daily experience. Interminable sermons and platitudes on unity and brotherhood achieve nothing other than throwing a smokescreen of glamour. What the Brunton teachings do is to make the individual face himself. Self-Inquiry: The Search for Self is vastly more important than occult theory on karma, or rounds and races or the principles of man.

6.    What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS Adyar (as an organization) is facing at the moment?

To act as an active hub and focus for the worldwide Theosophical movement instead of being an isolated ivory tower detached from and totally unconcerned about the welfare of Theosophical sections in the rest of the world. For this to happen there would have to be a massive updating of the organization based on modern (not 19th century) management principles; and an even greater degree of goodwill and motivation.

7.    Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?

To live up to (not merely talk about) its motto: ‘There is no Religion (dharma) Higher Than Truth’. This means putting the whole emphasis on inquiry rather than preaching a set of doctrines by H. P. B. or anyone else.

Read more: Mini–interviews First Quarter 2013


Jan Nicolaas Kind -- Brazil

Is my Blavatsky better than yours?

It seems that within our circles some hardliners are still trying to prove that they have invented the wheel. Some have divided the Theosophical landscape into those who know and those who lie. There are those who are exclusively connected with the truth, whatever truth that might be, and those who are forever on the loose.

On one social networking site, readers are constantly treated to patronizing and abominable exposes by a moderator who apparently has appointed himself as the conscience of the TS Adyar, while elsewhere some website authors and their editors have the tendency to proclaim whatever it is they feel like proclaiming. Their articles and editorials are stuffed with the well-known model verbs like “must,” “have to,” “should,” “ought to,” and “shall.” They present themselves as the good shepherds watching over the flock.

Read more: EDITORIAL


Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil

Jan Nicolaas Kind

It seems to me that some Theosophical social networking sites are experiencing a kind of identity crisis. One should never generalize, there are exceptions of course, but a number of moderators are clearly maneuvering themselves into a self-appointed superiority position and they also have become increasingly intolerant towards those who hold views different from theirs. Contributors are banned, ridiculed or even demonized if their views don’t resonate with the views of the moderators; so much for freedom of thought, Theosophy and its principles.

Read more: EDITORIAL

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