Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil
My wife Terezinha, who headed the Inter-American Theosophical Federation for some years, once returned from a talk given in Assunção. the capital of Paraguay, and was met by tanks, military vehicles and hundreds of soldiers. Apparently a military coup was underway, civilians were told to stay indoors, a curfew was ordered, so Terezinha’s driver hurried to the member’s house where she was staying. She and her host remained locked up inside for at least 48 hours, anxiously listening to the radio for the latest updates. Television stations were off the air, while very noisy fighter jets were constantly flying over and planned talks had to be cancelled. The coup ultimately failed but it was quite an unpleasant experience.
On another occasion, in Guatemala City, Guatemala, this time I was accompanying my wife, also on the way home after a talk; our car was stopped by what seemed to be a police car. What seemed to be two policemen got out and accused our host, who was driving, of having committed a traffic violation. Clearly no violation had ever taken place and after a second good look, while I was sitting in the back of the car, I noticed that the two weren’t real policemen. Their uniforms only went as far as their waist. From the waist down they wore ordinary jeans! They were 100% fake cops. While I tried to share my “discovery” with the driver and my wife in front of me, I was told by Terezinha to be very quiet and not say anything since it would only make things worse. I kept quiet and looked at the two guys standing next to our car and saw that out of one of their pockets a large revolver was sticking out. According to my observation this revolver was anything but fake. Our dear host was forced to pay one hundred US dollars to two fake policemen for a traffic violation that had never occurred.
I thought it would be good to share these two experiences, underscoring that our work at times isn’t easy nor safe, and that many of us, in various parts of the world, are trying hard to communicate the theosophical message under very difficult and extremely dangerous circumstances. With a world in utter turmoil and indescribable tragedies in progress, causing thousands on all sides to suffer, theosophists have the chance, I would say the obligation even, to show the way to various other paths.
Last month Abraham Oron from Israel, working under complicated circumstances in a traumatized country, sent a letter that was published on Theosophy Forward. Here are two sentences from it:
The stress and mental distress following the war causes an influx to “mindfulness workshops” that are held on Zoom and sometimes reach up to 1,000 participants (!!) and more.
This is a dark time but it also has points of light and hope that the suffering we are going through will inspire the sane majority on both sides to search and find ways to live in peace.
This time we take a closer look at UKRAINE.
In spite of an awful war, now entering its 3rd year, our sisters and brothers in Ukraine, have not given up on their theosophical endeavors. As it appears from what we hear, and through reports received from Svitlana Gavrylenko, Ukraine’s General Secretary, the members there are highly motivated and determined not to give in, but to show the world that practical theosophy certainly is a reality and applicable, even in a war-torn and badly crippled country. Living under the pressure of a war and a possible occupier ain’t easy, but it definitely unites and often brings out the very best in people.
For those who have not lived through a war experience and never saw their motherland being attacked or occupied it is hard, if not impossible, to imagine what it feels like.
My mother, who was a young woman when the Germans in May 1940 in just a few days defeated the Dutch army and occupied the Netherlands, often told me that the experience of seeing foreign soldiers, speaking another language, entering your country in order to conquer it, is a dramatic and traumatic experience. For those who have gone through this intense suffering, it is evident that no longer being able to enjoy basic, personal freedom means that they will become prisoners in their own land.
Without taking any political stance we need to realize the state Ukrainians are in. We must support the fine work that is being done there, appreciating the fact that coming together, moving from one neighborhood to another, in order to meet others and talk about or study Theosophy is a very risky undertaking. These meetings are often held in small groups, in a modest living room setting.
Ukrainian theosophists are faced with almost unsurmountable obstacles and therefore it is admirable that they are still capable to publish an excellent magazine called Theosophy and Science in both Ukrainian and English! In the editorial foreword of the most recent publication the compilers write the following:
Friends, this is the new issue of the newsletters of the Scientific Group of the Theosophical Society in Ukraine, it produces twice a year. We hope it will be interesting to all our readers who search the questions of interconnection and synthesis of ageless wisdom and modern science and we propose you an acquaintance with materials of the issue #12. Our aim – to unite our efforts, to inform of the achievements, to stimulate the spirit of search. We give the basic content in bilingual variant, we will try to keep such style in the future. We will be thankful to you for your attention and support.
Click on the cover of Theosophy and Science to go to the magazine
Last November, Svitlana Gavrylenko, wrote the following:
THE NATIONAL SECTION OF THE TS IN UKRAINE HAS BEEN WORKING IN THE CONDITIONS OF WAR FOR ONE AND A HALF YEARS
Our work not only did not stop, but became more diverse and even more intense. Over the past year, 84 TOS actions were held, this work is reflected on our TOS information blog, where each entry has an English translation, and gratitude is indicated to our partners from different countries and continents. During the war we received such support from many sections and associations, as well as from brothers and sisters personally.
On November 18-19, the 19th National Convention was held in Ukraine, the keynote of which was OUR RESPONSIBILITY IN AN INTERCONNECTED WORLD.
The event was held in a mixed format, Kyiv residents and guests of the capital were invited to our Headquarters, the Ankh Library, and remote participation was possible via Zoom. More than 50 Ukrainian theosophists, as well as colleagues from Italy, took part.
Some of the Zoom participants of the 19th National Convention in Ukraine
Excepts from the impressive Ukrainian TOS report:
- REGULAR WEEKLY HELP FOR THE SEVERELY WOUNDED
In the conditions of war, with constant shelling, the work of the Kyiv Theosophical Order of Service does not stop in providing assistance to victims during military operations. This is what our Motherland needs, this is what the heart of every conscientious citizen needs. For a year and a half, the Kyiv TOS has been taking care of forty wounded people at the hospital of the Institute of Orthopedics and Traumatology of NAMSU every week, helping the wounded with food, hygiene products and clothes. Many members of our Kyiv Society took a direct part in this, thereby expressing their devotion to their duty to the Motherland and the people.
TOS Ukraine in full swing, aid to children
- ASSISTANCE TO LARGE FAMILIES OF KYIV
Our experienced volunteers Oleksandr and Olena Dovgopol, in their own vehicle, made a trip to the de-occupied Borodyanka and neighboring villages, Mircha, Nebrat and brought aid to families with many children. Food kits and basic necessities were distributed to these families. Many thanks to our dedicated volunteers for their service to the people, as well as to our TOS America colleagues for their financial support of this project. Together we will be able to overcome the difficulties of the war period.
It is fairly simple to find out all about the activities of the TOS in Ukraine by going to the Section's Website in English (!!). Click on the site's logo below to go there.
This write up concerning the activities in Ukraine is obviouly far from complete, but it'll give the readers of Theosophy Forward the opportunity to get better acquainted with what is going on there.
TOS, also for financial support, click HERE
YOUTUBE Channel, click HERE
Blessed are all those who risk their lives and continue to work for Theosophy!