The Society

MINUTES

MINUTES
of the
Meeting of the General Council of the Theosophical Society
held on Friday, 25 December 2009, at Adyar

PRESENT


Mrs Radha Burnier - President (in the chair) and proxy for Joy Mills,Ricardo Lindemann, East Africa and Mexico
Mrs Linda Oliveira - Vice-President
Miss Keshwar Dastur - Treasurer and proxy for Surendra Narayan
Mrs Kusum Satapathy - Secretary
Mrs DaraTatray - General Secretary, Australia and proxy for Greece and New Zealand
Mr Marcos L. B. Resende - General Secretary, Brazil and proxy for Argentina
Mr Jan Jelle Keppler - General Secretary, Belgium
Mr S. Sundaram - General Secretary, India
Mr Antonio Girardi - General Secretary, Italy
Mrs Helen Jamieson - Additional Member
Mr D. K. Govindaraj - Additional Member
Mr H. K. Sharan - Additional Member
Mr Sriram Panchu - Additional Member

Present as Observers by invitation:
Dr Dusan Zagar - Organizing Secretary, Slovenia
Mrs Agnes Gasemyr - Organizing Secretary, Norway
Mr Colin Price - England
Mr Aroon Parshottam - New Zealand
Mr Govert van der Wal - Netherlands
Maria Mengelt - Mexico
Patrizia Calvi - Italy

The list of proxies was read out as above.
The President welcomed those present.

Read more: MINUTES

What is Important?

Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil

If H. P. Blavatsky were with us today I am confident that she would have loved to make use of all the good things the Internet has to offer. Yes, she would have had her own Web site and blog. She would have been busy maintaining her social network: Orkut, Twitter and Facebook, you name it. It would have been a blessing for her, and for us, if she could have communicated her important message through the channels that are now at our disposal.

If used properly, the Internet can bring people together, build bridges, and diminish obvious differences. It can create platforms for dialogues or, if the common rules of decency are obeyed, even debates. It can be an enormous source of information, a guide for independent study, and an invaluable eye opener and pointer.

Read more: What is Important?

Moving Forward

Vicente Hao Chin, Jr. – the Philippines

Vicente is the President of the Theosophical Society in the Philippines and lives in Manila.  He compiled and edited the chronological edition of the Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, and is the Associate Editor of the Theosophical Encyclopedia. He has lectured on many subjects.

The first century of the Theosophical Society has been devoted to sowing the seeds of the Ageless Wisdom in the public mind. While this work is not yet completed and is still going on, we must move on to the second phase of the work: the incorporation of Theosophical principles into the mainstream of social practices and dynamics through the Theosophical Society and allied movements.

Read more: Moving Forward

Do We Truly Aspire To Universal Brotherhood?

Roger Price - Belgium

That the first and foremost objective “To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or colour” is seen as the basis of the working of the Theosophical Society is never in my experience disputed. However, despite that, do we truly aspire to it?

In the Mahatma Letters No 5 in chronological sequence page 20 speaking about Universal Brotherhood we find:

“It is the only secure foundation for universal morality. If it be a dream, it is at least a noble one for mankind: and it is the aspiration of the true adept.”

Read more: Do We Truly Aspire To Universal Brotherhood?

Playing the Piano with three Fingers

Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil

The core of Theosophy is to think for oneself, and in order to learn how to do this, one sets out to collect information and instructions, so that the process may begin.

It’s like learning to play a musical instrument.  For many this doesn’t come on a silver platter; it takes years of profound and dedicated study.  Sitting behind a piano, no one but the student can play ‘the instrument of instruments’.  Are we studying the Esoteric Philosophy at all, and, if so, do we study it, for example, as if we were learning to play the piano?

Read more: Playing the Piano with three Fingers

Information concerning the Planetary Union

Theo Curans

The Planetary Union (PU) or União Planetária is a Brazilian organization that is being confused with the Theosophical Society. That confusion is not adequately recognized in the following statement from the minutes of the recent General Council meeting at Adyar:

Planetary Union, an organization created by members of the Brazilian Section, which broadcasts theosophical lectures to 66 cities in Brazil by cable TV, to all Central and South America by satellite, and globally on the Internet, was explained in detail.  The organization is a non-profit entity and managed independently of the TS so as to place no financial burden or risk on the assets of the TS in Brazil.  The directors are all TS members who receive no remuneration.  The President noted that this is a new idea and each Section needed to be free to develop its own way of promoting Theosophy.

Read more: Information concerning the Planetary Union

Applying the “Freedom of the Society” Resolution

Jan Nicolaas Kind - Brazil

The Freedom of the Society Resolution affirms the independence of our Society from all other organisations.  The time has come to study the content and significance of this important Resolution, and — more importantly — to apply it as necessary.

The Freedom of the Society Resolution:

The Theosophical Society, while cooperating with all other bodies whose aims and activities make such cooperation possible, is and must remain an organization entirely independent of them, not committed to any objects save its own, and intent on developing its own work on the broadest and most inclusive lines, so as to move towards its own goal as indicated in and by the pursuit of those objects and that Divine Wisdom which in the abstract is implicit in the title ‘The Theosophical Society’. Since Universal Brotherhood and the Wisdom are undefined and unlimited, and since there is complete freedom for each and every member of the Society in thought and in action, the Society seeks ever to maintain its own distinctive and unique character by remaining free of affiliation or identification with any other organization.

Read more: Applying the “Freedom of the Society” Resolution

Attached versus Unattached Members and Lodges versus Study Centers

Wies Kuiper - The Netherlands

In our Dutch Section, a quarter to a third of the members are unattached to any local group. In addition, the Section has nine Lodges (some of which own their own buildings but whose members are mainly older) and seven Study Centers (whose members are often younger). No new Lodges have been chartered for some fifty years. Yet most of the Study Centers have seven or more members, some as many as twenty-five members. The Study Center members do not want to be concerned with the organizational details of a Lodge, such as formal rules and officers.

I suspect that the Netherlands is not unique in this situation, but that other countries also have many unattached members and more new Study Centers than traditional Lodges.

The Society’s international rules envision a nineteenth-century structure that is not realistic for the twenty-first century in many countries. How should those rules be changed?

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