Theosophical Encyclopedia

Theosophy in Sweden

The Theosophical Society (TS) in Scandinavia started in Sweden in 1889. In the year before, the famous Swedish author Viktor Rydberg who had taken an interest in Helena P. BLAVATSKY’s The Secret Doctrine, called together a group of Swedes, among them two ladies who had visited Blavatsky in London; the purpose was to start theosophical activity in Sweden. A Swedish group, attached to the British section, was formed on February 10, 1889. Dr. Gustaf Zander became the first chairman. The other members of the board were baron Victor Pfeiff, Vice-Chairman, A. F. Akerberg, Ph.D., Secretary, Amelie Cederschlöld, Corresponding Secretary, and Emil Zander, B.A. Treasurer.

The main activity during the first years was concentrated in Stockholm with public lectures, group meetings, discussions and answers to criticism from the press and others, the publication of books and booklets in Swedish, among them The Key to Theosophy, The Secret Doctrine (offered in instalments published successively), The Voice of the Silence by Blavatsky, Light on the Path by Mabel COLLINS, and Man’s Seven Principles by Annie BESANT. A library with some 500 titles was gathered and was open to the public. In 1891, a theosophical journal, Teosofisk Tidskrift, started and has been continuously published since then, sometimes under other names and under certain periods in cooperation with one or more of the other Scandinavian countries.

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Theosophy in Scotland

In 1884, Henry S. OLCOTT, then President of the Theosophical Society visited Scotland. This led to the formation in Edinburgh, on July 17, 1884, of the first lodge in Scotland. This was named “The Scottish Lodge.” Factionalism in the early 1890’s resulted in the Scottish Lodge severing its connection with Headquarters which resulted in its charter being withdrawn. A new lodge was chartered in 1893 named “Edinburgh Lodge”. This was followed by the formation of a lodge in Glasgow which received its charter in 1900.

During these early years, the Scottish lodges were part of the English Section. The Scottish Section was formed in 1910 and the following year the premises at 28 Great King Street, Edinburgh were purchased for the purpose of being used as our National Headquarters. This building, in beautiful Georgian Edinburgh remains as our headquarters to this day. In the same year the Scottish Section held its first National Convention in these newly acquired premises with the then President of the TS, Annie BESANT, as our guest speaker.

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Theosophy in The Netherlands

On July 9, 1892, a national Theosophical Society was founded in Netherlands. Its name was De Nederlandsche Theosophische Vereeniging (NTV). This was not the first association that undertook Theosophical activities in the Netherlands; there had been earlier activities.

Early Theosophical Activities: One of the first Theosophical Lodges in the Netherlands was called the “Lodge Post Nubila Lux” (light after darkness). It was founded on June 27, 1881. One of its founders was Adelberth de Bourbon, grandson of the French King Louis XVI. This Lodge, which had joined the French Section, was established at The Hague. Among its members were several painters of the Hague School, a leading group of artists who worked from about 1870 to 1900. After the death of Adelberth in 1897, the Lodge became dormant.

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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.

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