Theosophical Encyclopedia


In Sanskrit the term means “virgin boys” (compare the feminine kumari “virgin,” used as the name of a goddess). But in Theosophy the masculine form is used to denote various great beings in the spiritual hierarchy, specifically: (1) the four great beings who are the highest members in the spiritual hierarchy helping the evolution of humanity; (2) one type of DHYANI-CHOHANS; (3) the AGNISHVATTAS, who are creative solar angelic beings that played an important role in the generation of our humanity. In THE LIVES OF ALCYONE, by C. W. LEADBEATER, the term LORDS OF THE FLAME is applied to those first four of the hierarchy: Sanat Kumar (the “King”), Sanaka Kumar, Sananda Kumar, and Sanatan Kumar — all of whom came into the Earth world from the Venus system. In addition to those four, three other Kumaras (Sana, Kapila, and Sanatsujata), who had accompanied the four, returned whence they had come. Helena P. BLAVATSKY, discussing the Kumaras, wrote that they “may indeed mark a ‘special’ or extra creation, since it is they who, by incarnating themselves within the senseless human shells of the two first Root-races, and a great portion of the Third Root-race — create, so to speak, a new race: that of thinking, self-conscious and divine men” (Secret Doctrine 1: 457 fn). As such, they are the Pitris or “fathers” of our kind.

Philip Sydney Harris
John Algeo

Jinarajadasa, Curuppumullage

Jinarajadasa, Curuppumullage (1875-1953). Fourth President of the Theosophical Society.

Jinarajadasa was born in Sri Lanka on December 16, 1875, one month after the Theosophical Society was founded. His parents were Buddhists and he was raised as such. In 1886 the prominent Theosophical worker Charles Leadbeater visited Sri Lanka in connection with Buddhist education there and met Jinarajadasa. At the age of thirteen he was taken to England by Leadbeater and after a period of private education went up to St. John’s College, Cambridge, and in 1900 graduated in Sanskrit and Philology. After graduation, Jinarajadasa returned to Sri Lanka and accepted an appointment as vice principal of Ananda College (1900-01). He joined the Theosophical Society on March 14, 1903, and worked energetically for the Society in Sri Lanka until, at the request of Annie Besant, then international president of the Theosophical Society, he spent two years in Italy on Theosophical work, during which time he attended the University of Pavia for post-graduate study. After his time in Italy, he commenced a period of international lecturing for the Theosophical Society, which continued until the outbreak of war in 1939.

Curuppumullage Jinarajadasa

Jinarajadasa was married in 1916 to Dorothy M. Graham who was a prominent worker for the Theosophical Society, a Justice of the Peace for Madras, and founded the Women’s Indian Association in 1917.

Jinarajadasa held many positions in the Theosophical Society, including vice president, 1921-28; head of the Manor in Sydney, Australia, 1934; and director of the Adyar Library, 1930-32. In 1935 he became Outer Head of the Esoteric School of Theosophy.

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Huna is a Hawaiian word with a basic meaning of “secret” or “hard to see,” used by some Hawaiians to refer to a body of traditional esoteric knowledge that is applied to the practical problems of life. Because the same word was also used by Max Freedom Long for his interpretation of Hawaiian esoteric lore, the term is surrounded by a certain amount of controversy among the Hawaiians themselves.

In addition, Hawaiian culture is composed of a number of ideas about life based on different family traditions that arrived in the islands from various parts of Polynesia at various times in history, which makes the study of Hawaiian culture and philosophy a very complex issue. The view of Huna described in this article derives from the tradition of the Kahiliokamoku family from the North Shore of the island of Kauai whose oral genealogy traces their existence as a family for more than two thousand years. According to this tradition, the essence of the philosophy that they call Huna is contained in seven Hawaiian key phrases and the principles derived from them.

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European Federation of the TS

The Theosophical Society in Europe or the European Federation of the Theosophical Society (EFTS) is an association of national Theosophical organizations in about twenty European countries which are parts of the international Society headquartered at Adyar, Chennai, India. 

The EFTS was founded in 1903 as a consultative, not a legislative body. It aims to promote the Objects of the Theosophical Society and to encourage and extend its work throughout Europe, strengthening bonds and encouraging cooperation between member countries. To this end, it arranges a European Congress approximately every three years in a different European country and organizes European tours by overseas speakers. Further functions include the coordination, as far as possible, of Theosophical activities, keeping Council members informed of those activities, in particular of the dates of summer schools and other gatherings and of details of publications in various languages. The official language of the EFTS is English.

Read more: European Federation of the TS

Theosophy in Australia

The first Australian to join the Theosophical Society (TS) was Gilbert Elliott of Melbourne, Victoria, who joined in December 1879. One of the earliest members was William H. Terry who joined in 1880. He merits mention here because he was one of the select few who received a letter from the Master Morya (see CW 5:11 fn). Another early member (joined 1882) was Professor John SMITH, founding Chancellor of Sydney University, who also received a letter from one of the Masters. The first study group was formed in 1881 in Brisbane, Queensland. During the rest of the decade a number of small groups were formed and in 1889 a study group was formed in Hobart, Tasmania, which was chartered as a Lodge on June 7, 1889, and continues in existence to this time. By the turn of the century there were 5 Lodges in existence, all situated in State capitals.

Headquarters of the Theosophical Society in Australia

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Theosophy in Argentina

In the last decade of the nineteenth century, a group of people imbued with the Masonic ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity greatly influenced the political and economic organization of Latin American nations. Especially in Argentina they set an example of moral conduct in public office that inspired later generations.

The first Argentine Theosophical Lodge, named Luz (“Light”), was founded in Buenos Aires on January 7, 1893. Its first president was Antonia Martinez Royo. Meetings took place on Sunday afternoons and most of the members were well-known public persons: deputies, senators, writers, scientists, and teachers, among whom were Federico W. Fernandez, Alejandro Sorondo, Leopoldo Lugones, Alfredo B. Palacios, Joaquin V. Gonzalez, Jose Ingenieros, and Rodolfo Moreno, all famous in Argentine history. Subsequently, lodges were formed in neighboring countries: Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay and Brazil. As there were three lodges working in Buenos Aires when Henry S. Olcott visited that city in 1901, he suggested the foundation of a South American Section, with Luis Scheiner as his correspondent, although that Section did not come into being until 1930.

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Theosophy in New Zealand

History of the Theosophical Society in New Zealand: Originally part of the Australasia Section (founded in 1894), the New Zealand Lodges then comprised Auckland, chartered in 1892; Christchurch, chartered in 1894; Wellington, chartered in 1888; and Dunedin, chartered in 1893.

Early members and Lodges of the Australasian Section: Augustine Les Edgar King became the first New Zealand member, having joined while visiting London. His diploma was dated April 3, 1879. On his return to New Zealand, he became the first member of the Society in the southern hemisphere.

E. T. Sturdy, whom Colonel OLCOTT referred to as the “Father of Theosophy in New Zealand,” joined the Society in 1885 while living at Woodville in Hawkes Bay. After traveling overseas and meeting Col. Olcott, H. P. BLAVATSKY, and W. Q. JUDGE, he returned to New Zealand and settled in Wellington. Gathering a group of students around himself, he started the Wellington Lodge, which was chartered in 1888. Among its members were Sir Harry Albert ATKINSON, Prime Minister of New Zealand; his wife Anne E. Atkinson; their son, E. Tudor Atkinson; M. van Staveren, a Jewish rabbi; H. M. Stowell (Hare Hongi), a Maori tohunga (priest); and Edward Tregear, a poet and Maori scholar, who wrote a book about the similarities of the Hindu and Maori languages. The Wellington Lodge ceased to exist when Sturdy returned to England, where he became a student in HPB’s “inner group”; however they regrouped in 1894 and continue to the present.

Read more: Theosophy in New Zealand

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