John H. Drais – USA
Just 20 years ago I published an article in Theosophical History: A Quarterly Journal of Research on The Paracelsian Order and why we consider ourselves a theosophical organization.  This same article, "The Paracelsian Order is a Theosophical Organization" is available on the front page of the website of The Paracelsian Order (http://www.madregrande.org ). You are cordially invited to download, translate, and disseminate it as you will. For further information on our founding, please see “The Roots of Madre Grande”, in the Hall of Learning on the same web site. Reading all three of these articles will give a much clearer picture of our Theosophical work.
Establishing a Theosophical, religious organization is admittedly controversial, however, it is the express intent of the Mahatma KH and the Maha Chohan that their labors should result in a "…needed universal religious philosophy “ and be"…the cornerstone, the foundation of the future religion of humanity." It was with the hope for their sanction and spiritual support that this endeavor was and is attempted. While freely admitting our own inadequacy for this task, it is by such humble beginnings that all great edifices are grown. We are but a seed that has barely begun to sprout. Nonetheless, there are signs that this seed is viable and its roots are starting to spread. We are now forming our second monastic, theosophical community in Central California.
Believing, along with Maimonides, that life must be simplified to allow more useful time for inner work , a community of like-minded seekers was gathered together to share the worldly burden as well as to lend support to one another’s individual search. A piece of land large enough to provide the basis for life, livelihood and education was secured in 1975. Our utopian plans, along the lines suggested in a letter to Emerson by Ripley in 1840,  allows some personal property in an open government run by consensus. This was achieved by using a monastic model, even though the image conjured by the word “monastery” envisions a bunch of similarly attired monks all believing and acting the same. But that is not the essence of monastery. The monas or unity in “monastery” is the key. A group of leaders all working together, like strings on a vina, is what is needed. Brotherhood is a necessity. Since there is no body that claims to have divine authority, there can be no dogma, and every member is freed from having to believe what is mandated by the group to which he belongs.
Every religious, cultural expression has to be allowed as does each Theosophical tradition. We see this as true Theosophy. The leaders, even though they be Mahatmas are not infallible.  So we read the literature of all theosophical groups, religions, and more modern writings for their Theosophical content. The goal, of course, is to make Theosophy practical and “to find objective expression in an all-embracing code of life." One that guides each of us in our personal spiritual search for positive perfection.
Over the past 36 years, we have introduced thousands of visitors to our theosophical way of thinking and proven that theosophy can be practical and is not just an extreme eye doctrine.
Although we teach Theosophy as originally presented in the Mahatma Letters, The Secret Doctrine and in commentaries thereon from volumes published by all theosophical organizations, our emphasis is on the heart doctrine. The Chohan clearly expressed to Hume and Sinnett that “…absolute self-sacrifice … philanthropy, divine kindness, as all the highest virtues”  is the true essence of Theosophy. Our “religious” practice consists of Loving-Kindness All-the-Time and Mindfulness in daily living. We have on-going courses to spread these practices and teach them in retreats and over the phone to groups and individuals. Please visit the Hall of Teaching on our web site. The point is to get our psychic brain into a state of silence to allow the heart to rule.  We feel, as in The Voice of the Silence, that we must ignite “the light of daring, burning in the heart” for “…that alone can guide.”
Our “religious” festivals are the solstice and equinoxes and we read The Four Sacred Seasons  and In the Temple  as they did at The Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society in Pt Loma, California  for many years at these significant turning points of the year.
1. Vol. 3, No. 6, April 1991.
2. Margaret Conger, Combined Chronology for Use with The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett and The Letters to H.P. Blavatsky(Pasadena: Theosophical University Press, 1973), 38.
3. H.P Blavatsky, The Original Programme of the Theosophical Society, (Adyar, Madras, India: The Theosophical Society, 1966), 44.
4. Moses Maimonides, Guide of the Perplexed. Translated by M. Friedlander (New York: Hebrew Publishing Co., n.d.), 126.
5. J. Gordon Melton, The Encyclopedia of American Religions (Gale research, Inc, 3rd edition, 1989), 102.
6. H.P. Blavatsky, The Voice of the Silence, (Pt Loma, California: Theosophical University Press, 1936), 51.
7. The Original Programme, 4-6.
8. The Original Programme, 45.
9. Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, First Series. Translated and compiled by C. Jinarajadasa, “Letter 1 from the Maha Chohan to A.P. Sinnett.” (Adyar, Madras, India: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 8.
10. The Inner Group Teachings of H.P. Blavatsky. Compiled and annotated by H. J. Spierenburg (Pt. Loma Publications, 1995), 171-3.
11. The Voice of the Silence, 54.
12. G. de Purucker, The Four Sacred Seasons, (Pasadena: Theosophical University Press, 1979).
13. G. de Purrucker, In The Temple, (Pt Loma: Pt Loma Publications, 1994).
14. Emmett A. Greenwalt, A California Utopia: Point Loma: 1897-1942. (Pt Loma: Pt Loma Publications, 1978).
[This article was first published in Theosophy Forward’s series OUR WORK in June 2012]