Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil
All through the twelve years of its existence, Theosophy Forward the e-Magazine has endorsed the idea of Theosophical unity through dialogue. During the time of my involvement with International Theosophy Conferences (ITC), this particular thought, “Theosophical Unity,” was often an important subject during ITC’s many conferences.
Your editor here in the middle making a funny face, with on his right Gene Jennings (ULT) and Herman C. Vermeulen (TS Point Loma) and on his left Danson Kiplagat and Carolyn Dorrance (both from the ULT Santa Barbara, Cal.) A diverse group of seekers. Photo taken during an ITC gathering in The Hague, the Netherlands
Helena Blavatsky stated: “Truth is the quest of every Theosophist.”
It is this quest for Truth that all students of Theosophy (should) have in common and it is in this quest that lies that Unity.
Being united in that quest, however, ain’t that easy. Theosophists and their respective groups or Societies have gone in those very early years through considerable growing pains, as adolescents do.
Disagreements, quarrels and even splits from the Parent organization were common in the years directly after HPB’s passing in 1891. Those who, guided by their own conscience, really made an effort to reach out to Theosophists from other currents truly brought the first object into practice. Over time several such valiant attempts were made.
Much progress was made over the decades. Theosophists from the various streams with different approaches to the understanding of the TheoSophia communicate with each other and try to learn from one another and that’s a great development.
Although once in a while the old and worn-out conflicts flare-up, by now there is no longer this “Back to Blavatsky” mantra, since going back implies turning the clock back; consequently, one can only go “Forward with Blavatsky.”
ALL Theosophical streams are but branches of one large Theosophical family tree. Each branch has earned its place under the sun, each branch represents a unique facet of the diamond called the Theosophical Movement.
In our quest for Truth, we are encouraged to investigate all that comes our way, seriously, consciously and always open minded. Given the fact that Theosophy or the TheoSophia didn’t start with Helena Blavatsky and will not end with her, we all know that she most definitely was that formidable channel, reintroducing the Old Wisdom that had long been forgotten. On many an occasion HPB specifically insisted that we are to enquire and investigate, never taking anything for granted—and hence, not fall into the trap of orthodoxy.
I have been fortunate enough to have been able to make friends with students affiliated with the various groups and I do sincerely admire their activities: organizing events, study groups, courses, book publications and you name it. All put in their own particular energy and understanding to come to self-realization and consequently work towards the lofty ideal of making our planet a better place to live on, because ultimately that is what is all about; it is not about MY Theosophy or YOUR Theosophy!
At times, however, the old agonies resurface. What happened more than 125 years ago seems to become actual again, which by now of course is not at all realistic. In our day and age, dialogue among Theosophists in most cases brings them together, it being recognized that a main objective of dialogue is to learn from one another, valuing one another’s chosen and favorite authors, many, with their respective generational lineages. All are free to agree or respectfully disagree. In order to learn, one has to perform the art of listening—to the beliefs and convictions of others without any prejudice. As good listeners know, listening is a quality of the heart. The simile of cross-pollination ought to be applicable here. Cross-pollination is not one-way pollination.
It is counterproductive, I would even like to say plain silly, to reanimate occurrences that happened a long, long time ago. The past cannot be undone. Mistakes were made on all sides. The future nevertheless is ours and it is now, and with that vision directly on our radar we are able to continue our amazing journey together.
Perhaps, in order to free us from the bondage of the past it is wise to read Dorothy Bell’s sagacious, recentering and healing lines again, when she finishes her well-known introduction to Roots and Shoots:
…. But the original impulse that produced the seed and the tree, the branches and offshoots, the underground runners with their place in the sun, is still within, seeking expression and fulfillment. There is no need to change any boundaries, annex other territories, or dissolve any compartments, save in the prison of the mind. And a mind that is crippled by memory—by separation and fear—can never be free. We can find our own place in the sun by going beyond the bondage of the past and serving that impulse wherever we be. That is our territory; that is our center; that is our Theosophical family.
Read the full version of this important paper by Dorothy Bell: