Impressions ITC 2015 Olga Omlin

Olga Omlin – USA

ITC twice

Theosophy ITC 8 a Olga Omlin
Krotona resident Olga Omlin reads greetings from Joy Mills

After my first trip to The Hague back in December 2014 visiting the Blavatskyhouse (TS-Point Loma) I was excited to plan another trip there. However, this time the main reason was to attend the International Theosophy Conference in The Hague. It was also an honor to give a talk among so many friends-Theosophists from different Theosophical groups from all over the world.

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Impressions ITC 2015 Jacques Mahnich

Jacques Mahnich – France

Naarden, The Hague – Fostering the Theosophical Heritage Transmission

Theosophy ITC 10 Jacques Mahnich
Jacques Mahnich “on stage”

During the 19th century, two Buddhist masters in Tibet – Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (1820-1892), and Jamgön Kongtrül Lodro Taye (1813-1899)– witnessing that the various ways to transmit the Buddha’s message by the main schools of Tibetan Buddhism was plagued with dissensions and sterile quarrels, and that some important teachings of the traditions were almost extinct, they decided to launch a movement to re-unify the various streams of Tibetan Buddhism. It is called the Ri-Me movement, which aim was and still is to filter out the core message of the Buddha from the historical traditions (Sakya, Kagyu, Nyingma). And it was quite a challenge, based on the deepness and complexity of the subject. But it succeeded, and this tradition is well alive today, bringing a fresh, non-sectarian vision of the Tibetan Buddhism Tradition.

Read more: Impressions ITC 2015 Jacques Mahnich

Impressions ITC 2015 Janet Lee


Janet Lee – England

ITC 2015

Theosophy ITC 12 Janet Lee
Janet Lee, who had just arrived from England brings greetings

It was great to be back at the ITC again, this time in The Hague at the Carlton Ambassador Hotel, in the diplomatic district, an apt and very comfortable choice. 

As before the whole event was excellently run by a raft of volunteers, who set a high standard of hospitality, care and service. I arrived late from our TS in England Summer School and was concerned that I might have missed out, but need not have worried, as I was given such a very warm welcome: picked up at Schiphol, steered to supper and then on to the first evening event, which was full of Theosophists whom I feel I can now call my friends. The next day, I gave belated greetings from the Theosophical Society in England, which has only in the past two years begun to come out of a few years of isolation to link up with the rest of the Theosophical world. 

Read more: Impressions ITC 2015 Janet Lee

Impressions ITC 2015 Sabine van Osta

Sabine van Osta – Belgium

An Impression

Theosophy ITC 14 Sabine van Osta
Sabine van Osta, making her point in The Hague

If you wish to catch a glimpse of the real size of the Theosophical Society, in terms of direct descendants of the movement started by H.P. Blavatsky, Col. Olcott, William Quan Judge and others in 1875, then participating in the annual meetings of International Theosophy Conferences is the thing for you.

The 2015 edition held in The Hague in August was brilliantly organised by the sisters and brothers of the ISIS Foundation, under the guidance of the Board of ITC which counts among its members the vice-presidents Jan Nicolaas Kind (TS-Adyar) and Herman C. Vermeulen (TS-Point Loma) and president Eugene Jennings (ULT).

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Motive is Everything

Tim Boyd – USA

Theosophy 2 Viewpoint  Tim 2 Boyd
Tim Boyd, International President TS-Adyar

In 1971 a man named Theodore Golas wrote a short book that went on to become an underground sensation. The setting for this phenomenon was in San Francisco just past the tumultuous peak of the 1960's. San Francisco had been a hub of activity throughout the decade and had developed into a little Mecca for the hippie and drug culture of the era. The contemporary mantras of “Peace and Love”, “Free Love”, and “Turn on, Tune in, Drop out” had attracted a population of young people pushing the boundaries of sexual and chemical norms. It was a mixed bag that included both intense darkness and light. By 1971 much of the social and cultural upheaval that characterized the period was waning, and many of the young people who had been such a driving force in the various powerful movements of the time were looking for sustainable avenues to channel their energies. Woodstock had come and gone. The Viet Nam war was winding down. The Civil Rights movement was losing focus. A cycle of prominent assassinations and bombings was ending. The flood of eastern holy men and women and gurus coming west was cresting. The promise of a chemically induced higher consciousness had degraded into addiction, broken lives, and legal repression. With so many currents of thought going on at the time, it would be difficult to identify a unifying theme. The buzzwords of the time were peace, equality, fairness, love, justice, and freedom.

Read more: Motive is Everything

A Living Wisdom

From a student

[The magazine Vidya , edited by associates of the United Lodge of Theosophists in Santa Barbara, USA, published the following article in its summer 2012 issue; here slightly revised.]

Theosophy A Living Wisdom 2

What might be the distinction between a doctrine and a dogma?

When we think of dogma, typically, we are thinking of belief. Inorganized religion, there is institutional requirement to make mental assent to a particular dogma or set of dogmas. One is under an obligation to say “I believe in that. I assent to that.” This affirmation, however, can sometimes be a recipe for a sort of spiritual schizophrenia. When we start assenting to things without thinking them through and testing them for ourselves, then we really do not know what we believe in. Theosophy takes an honest position in this regard. There is no place for blind belief. The doctrines are placed before the inquirer or the student to consider, think about and even perhaps revisit, without any obligation for believing in them by saying, “This is so” or for making any sort of mental assent.

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The Apostle Paul and Theosophy – Part one

Leslie Price – England

Second draft (November 5, 2012) of an October 24, 2012 talk to Camberley Theosophical Lodge.

Theosophy Apostle 2 Paul and Theosophy

Two thousand years ago, Europe and the Mediterranean world were ruled by the Roman Empire. Different provinces, cities and communities of the empire had varying rights and responsibilities. Those who followed the Jewish religion enjoyed some religious freedom, and a few even obtained Roman citizenship

There was a substantial Jewish community in Egypt and in modern Iraq, but the religious authorities around the Temple in Jerusalem were pre-eminent, and in their own sphere, they were backed by the Romans. But the development of the Way, a sect within Judaism which venerated a man crucified by the Romans as an agitator, was perceived a danger by the Jewish authorities. They took steps to suppress it, especially among the Greek-speaking Jews, who soon came to recognise the man Jesus as Lord and Saviour, as well as the Messiah or Christ.

Read more: The Apostle Paul and Theosophy – Part one

How to prove Theosophy?

H. P. Blavatsky and her successors

Barend Voorham and Herman C. Vermeulen – the Netherlands

Key thoughts:

  • Proof is conviction for the heart, mind and feelings.

  • You can be convinced by three causes: perception of truth, confidence and belief.

  • Start studying Theosophy by testing the principles.

  • Theosophy must be based on its intrinsic merits and not on the authority of the one who proclaims it.

  • In attempting to spread Theosophy H.P. Blavatsky, commissioned by the Masters, laid the cornerstone. After her death the Masters continued to support the work.

Theosophy is not a religion. And it’s certainly not a belief. All theosophical leaders emphatically and repeatedly stated that you should investigate Theosophy yourself. But how? And how do you know it is true? If you do not have to put blind faith in theosophical leaders, then what function do they perform?

How do you know that something is true? If it has been proven. But what is proof? Proof is information that shows something is definitely true. It is an external factor and gives decisive assurance of the correctness of something. It’s like a quizmaster who assesses the answer to a quiz question, right or wrong. And his judgment cannot be discussed. The reality, however, is different, because proof is always related to the individual consciousness of man. Gottfried de Purucker, fourth leader of the Theosophical Society (T.S.), describes it as “the bringing of conviction that a thing is true to the thoughtful mind.” And he adds, “if by the adduction of evidence the mind is not swayed into the belief that a thing is true, that thing has not been proved, even though it may be true.”(1)

Read more: How to prove Theosophy?

Human Regeneration – part seven

Radha Burnier – India

[Recognizing regeneration as the kernel of all Theosophical work, the International Theosophical Centre at Naarden, the Netherlands, jointly with the Federation of Theosophical Societies in Europe, organized two seminars in July 1990, with a number of office bearers, workers and members of the Society from different countries as participants. Proceedings of the seminar were published as a book under the title Human Regeneration: Lectures and Discussion (Amsterdam: Uitgeverij der Theosofische Vereniging in Nederland, 1990). This chapter is here slightly revised.]

Theosophy Human Regeneration part 7 RB 2
A younger Radha Burnier (on the right) with Clara Codd


We have been pondering the subject of regeneration for several days. We shall also obtain copies of talks, questions and answers. These will help us remember to give our attention to this subject for a long time to come. The ending of the seminar will not be the ending of the subject, because of its vital nature. Since we know how essential it is, we should not fall back into a routine approach.

Read more: Human Regeneration – part seven

In The Light of Theosophy

[This article appeared in the April 2015 issue of The Theosophical Movement. For more articles published in this excellent magazine follow this link: ]

Generally, as International Women’s Day approaches, social media engages in male-bashing – some of it is friendly and teasing, and the rest vicious and damaging. Pulling down men is not the way to women’s upliftment, observes Vinita Dawra Nangia. The author received a message from a woman, saying, “Women no longer cook like their mothers. They drink like their fathers.” She observes that instead of perpetuating strong sexist divide, we must realize that both men and women are equal and complementary to each other. Instead of trying to adopt masculine traits, women should try to be more confidently feminine. It is only when we appreciate the criticality of both masculine and feminine strength, and help nurture the feminine in the society, that we become equal and complete as human beings.

Theosophy In the Light of Theosophy 2

Women’s movement should aim at fighting oppression of women from every quarter. Women should be looking for freedom from dogmas, deep-rooted sexist attitudes, chauvinistic beliefs, and not freedom from men or the masculine. Is it even possible to do away with men and the masculine? “In every woman, there is a man, just as in every man, there is a woman. How can the two be torn asunder without harming the very fabric of life?” asks Vinita Nangia. Male and female are inseparable and equal as can be seen in the ardhanareshwara form of Shiva, symbolizing the meeting of masculine and feminine energy, wherein the Lord casts of half of himself to accommodate the female form of Parvati.

Read more: In The Light of Theosophy

We remember Richard Brooks, June 27, 1931 – May 13, 2013

Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil

Theosophy Richard Brooks 01 We remember
Richard Brooks

Richard W. Brooks, Ph.D., was professor emeritus of philosophy at Oakland University in Michigan. A longtime member of the Theosophical Society, priest in the Liberal Catholic Church, and a Co-Freemason, he wrote on topics ranging from religion to parapsychology. He was also co-editor of The Theosophical Encyclopedia. Richard lectured about Theosophy around the world and served as visiting instructor at the School of the Wisdom at Adyar, in Chennai, India.

After joining the Society in 1953, Richard served on the board of directors for many years and was very committed to the Detroit Lodge. As co-instructor of members' study classes, he regaled us with tales of well-known Theosophist he had befriended over the years. His contributions have been pivotal to the lodge's success.


  • He earned his doctorate in philosophy at the University of Minnesota.

  • He joined the Theosophical Society in America on December 31, 1953.

  • He taught a variety of courses at Oakland University for 33 years.

  • Special interests included logic, Indic and Chinese philosophy, and parapsychology.

  • He lectured all over the United States, and in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England, Wales, Europe, Brazil and India.

I first met up with Richard when my wife Terezinha and I spent some months at Adyar in the late 1990s. At the time he conducted one of the sessions of the School of the Wisdom there. He was a kind, warmhearted man with a great sense of humor. I recall that he had adopted one of the many stray dogs who frequented the compound, in spite of the warnings that it was not always safe to do so since only some dogs were adequately vaccinated. The dog had become so attached to Richard that it would follow him all around the estate wherever he went and would sleep in front of the door of his room at Leadbeater Chambers. His talks were characterized by an enormous amount of factual knowledge, a profound tie with the teachings, and … humor.

Some time later Richard came to Brazil for a lecture tour and was guest at our home in Brasilia. It was there that I heard one of his most remarkable talks entitled: “I am dead, now, what do I do?”

It is my great pleasure to publish in this issue of Theosophy Forward four of the many wonderful articles he left us, honoring this driven and unique Theosophist. Special thanks to Janet Kerschner, archivist at Olcott in Wheaton, who, like always, very kindly helped me in my search. 

Glimpses of the Afterlife?

Richard Brooks – USA

[This article was previously published in The Theosophist, 120 (February 1999): 668-673]

Nearly all the world’s religions proclaim some form of conscious existence after the death of the physical body. But it has become fashionable in recent history to question the truth of such beliefs. After all, there is considerable divergence of opinion among the religions — and among theologians expounding those religions — as to the nature of this post-mortem existence. In fact, the beliefs are sometimes referred to by debunkers of theology as “mythologies” in an effort to discount them, to suggest that they do not warrant serious attention from scientifically minded people. All human behavior, they say, including our mental life with its religious beliefs, can be explained in terms of neurophysiology. This is a form of “reductionism.” When the neurons stop “firing,” life ceases, mind ceases, consciousness ceases. Hence, there is nothing after death. The optimistic religious beliefs may be comforting, may even have some social value, but they aren’t true. Or, so they say.

Death, they argue, is a fact of life. It should be calmly and objectively accepted. As a former biologist colleague of mine once put it, “We are all programmed to die.” That is, the body can regenerate itself by cell division only up to a certain point; after that, there is a gradual decline until death sets in. This inevitable end could be delayed — that is, one’s life could be prolonged — by eliminating disease, lowering one’s body temperature a degree or two, eating a sensible diet (he recommended vegetarianism), breathing more slowly, etc. But it cannot be avoided, and therefore should be rationally and dis­passionately accepted.

Read more: Glimpses of the Afterlife?

The Essential Unity of All Religions

Richard Brooks – USA

When one looks at religious practices in the world today, one might as well ask “Is there an essential unity of all religions?” The answer would certainly seem to be “No.” In the past, religion has been used to justify the Inquisition and forced conversion of people to what was thought to be the Only True Religion, usually either Christianity or Islam. In both the past and the present, religion has been used to justify warfare against infidels or to justify invasion of other people’s territory. One need only think of the invasion by ancient Jews of what they considered to be their Holy Land or even present-day building of settlements on the West Bank of the River Jordan because Zionism claims that it was given by God to be the Jews’ homeland. Or think of the conquest of that land (as well as others) by Muslims, because Jerusalem is considered their Holy City. Or think of the Crusades by Christians to free that land from the Muslims because it was considered their Holy Land. Think of the pogroms against Taoists and Buddhists in China under certain Confucian dynasties — or similar pogroms against Confucians when Taoists later gained power. Or think of the suppression of the Falun Gong movement in China by its Communist rulers today. Think of the bloodshed of Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims as a result of the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947. Or think of the contemporary “Hindutva” (“Hindu-ness”) movement in India which is attempting to change India from a tolerant, secular State to a Hindu State. Movie houses have been damaged by Hindu mobs who objected to what they considered to be an indecent, un-Hindu movie being shown there. Christian missionaries have been murdered by Hindu mobs claiming the missionaries were engaged in “forced conversions.” A Muslim mosque was tom down in Allahabad by a Hindu mob who claimed it was built on the site where the avatar Rama was bom. Consider the pogrom against Muslims in the former Yugoslavia or against non-Muslims and even non-conservative Muslims in Afghanistan today.

Read more: The Essential Unity of All Religions

Karma and Justice

Richard Brooks – USA

[This article was previously published in Theosophy in New Zealand, (June 2004)]

Karma is one of the basic ideas of Theosophy along with its twin doctrine, reincarnation. It is sometimes stated as a Law of Karma and is generally acknowledged as a fact by members of the Theosophical Society. But what, exactly, is this law? That question was put rhetorically by Sri Krishna to his disciple Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita (4.16; my translation): “What is karma, what non-karma? About this even the wise are confused. Therefore 1 will declare what karma is, knowing which you will be freed from harm.”

Krishna then proceeded to indicate the relation of karma to one’s duty (Sanskrit dharma) and also stated that doing nothing is just as much a form of action (karma) as is engaging in activity. But one must remember that in Sanskrit the word karma means merely “action,” whereas Westerners who have adopted the term tend to use it to refer either to the action-reaction cycle or just to the reaction alone, which in Sanskrit is called phala, literally “fruit.” The latter, karma interpreted as reaction, seems to be the intended meaning in that Beatles (John Lennon, editor) song “Instant Karma” which begins: “Instant karma gonna get you, gonna knock you right on the head! You better get yourself together. Pretty soon you’re gonna be dead.”

Read more: Karma and Justice

A Theosophical View of Christianity

Richard Brooks – USA

[This article was previously published in The Theosophist, 127.3 (December 2005): 93-98]

The Theosophical view of the early history of Christianity and of its founder, Jesus the Christ, is very different from that found in more orthodox sources, the latter being generally accepted without question by most Christians. Furthermore, while most Christians interpret their scriptures in a historical sense, theosophists see them as allegories and interpret them metaphorically. There are some Christians who are aware that the historical interpretation of, say, the Gospels presents serious problems, since their accounts are mutually inconsistent. But they have worked out what they consider to be a reasonable solution to those problems, retaining a historical account of the life of Jesus and his disciples based on those Gospel stories. Since the orthodox view is probably familiar to most readers, I will not attempt to detail it here, but rather will concentrate on a theosophical interpretation of early Christianity.

Read more: A Theosophical View of Christianity

The Unity Of Our Movement

[Original cover photo: Nikolay Konstantinovich de Roerich (October 9, 1874 - December 13, 1947)]

The unity of the Theosophical Movement is not determined by any organizational structure in which any single authoritative body holds hegemony over other groups and dictates to them their policies. The unity of the Movement is a totally spiritual factor which inheres in a similarity of aims, objectives and long-range plans, and derives its power from the basic precepts of the Ancient Wisdom and the common endeavor to implement at least some of them in one's daily life.

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Voice of the Silence 16 (verses 230-271)

John Algeo – USA

Theosophy The Voice 2

After the preceding introductory verses, the text returns to the list of the seven Portals (verses 207-213) and describes each in greater detail. The first three Portals and keys, treated in verses 230-240, concern particularly the body or outer person.

Read more: Voice of the Silence 16 (verses 230-271)

Do you remember?

Tim Boyd – USA

For sixty years I have been forgetful, every minute, but not for a second has this flowing toward me stopped or slowed. I deserve nothing.”

Theosophy Do you remember 2
Jallaludin Rumi

As a young person growing up I used to find humor in some of the things my parents did. One thing in particular that my father did I could never understand. I would shake my head and wonder about it. It was something simple that I later realized many parents do, but one of those things that just did not make any sense to me. What he would do was this; there were four of us kids and sometimes when he wanted to call one of us for one thing or another, he would look at the one he was calling and cycle through each of our names until he got the right one. If we were out of sight when he called, it would be the same process. This did not happen every time, but to me it was remarkable that it happened at all. How could he not immediately know my name, or my brothers', or sister's? There was no way that I would ever call for Brandon when I wanted Ed or Becky. At the time I wrote it off as one of my dad's unintentionally humorous quirks.

Read more: Do you remember?

Voice of the Silence 15 (verses 215-229)

John Algeo – USA

Theosophy The Voice 2

... it is only Silence

The keys to the seven portals having been enumerated in the last group of verses, the next group (verses 215-222) begin an introduction to a more detailed description of the seven portals. The introduction continues through verse 229, which is followed by the start of the detailed treatment in verse 230.

Read more: Voice of the Silence 15 (verses 215-229)

Human Regeneration – part six

Radha Burnier – India

Theosophy Human Regeneration 2 part six
Radha Burnier

[Recognizing regeneration as the kernel of all Theosophical work, the International Theosophical Centre at Naarden, the Netherlands, jointly with the Federation of Theosophical Societies in Europe, organized two seminars in July 1990, with a number of office bearers, workers and members of the Society from different countries as participants. Proceedings of the seminar were published as a book under the title Human Regeneration: Lectures and Discussion (Amsterdam: Uitgeverij der Theosofische Vereniging in Nederland, 1990). This chapter is here slightly revised.]

Read more: Human Regeneration – part six

Madame Blavatsky and the Seven Archival Mysteries - part two

Leslie Price – England

[This text, written by Leslie Price in September 2014, has been extensively revised by John Algeo; any remaining or newly introduced errors are therefore his responsibility.]

Theosophy Madame 2  Blavatsky and the Seven Archival Mysteries
Leslie Price

The Fourth Mystery: What Did the Master Serapis Say?

You might think that all the Mahatmic material has long since been published, but that is not so. The recent biography of Mrs Holloway which I cited, included such material. And some of the earliest letters from HPB’s teachers have never appeared in full. This brings us to the next mystery.

Read more: Madame Blavatsky and the Seven Archival Mysteries - part two

The Occult Side of Nature

Robert CrosbieUSA

The word Nature used in its widest sense, as when we speak of Great Nature, or Mother Nature, means the whole of the outside – all that is external to us – the trees, the open places, and the world of men. We do not, in fact, know what that nature is, because it presents to us something external to our perceptions. We speak of “the laws of nature,” seeing that nature always acts in an orderly way, without in fact knowing at all what those laws spring from nor what they rest in. Yet nature cannot exist of itself, by itself, and come from nothing. It must come from a sufficient cause. There must of necessity be an occult side to nature. The “sufficient cause” in reality lies upon those planes which are invisible to us, but constitute a part of nature. The invisible side is the producing side – the causal side – of what we see; all the laws noted on the visible side are really existent in and proceed from the invisible side of nature.

Theosophy The Occult Side of Nature 2
Robert Crosbie reading

Read more: The Occult Side of Nature

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