Theosophical Encyclopedia

Long, James Albert (1898-1971)

International head of the Theosophical Society, Pasadena, from 1951 to 1971. His administration was marked by an emphasis on the practical expression of Theosophy in daily living and, to combat crystallization, a reorganization of the Society's methods and activities.

Long was born in York, Pennsylvania, on August 27, 1898. Following a career in private business, he worked during World War II as management consultant in the Office of the Quartermaster General in Washington, D.C., and was later transferred to the Department of State, where he assisted in the changeover to peacetime responsibilities. While there, Long was sent as an adviser to the U.S. delegation to the United Nations at the opening of its second session in 1946.

In 1935, Long joined the Pasadena Theosophical Society, then headquartered at Point Loma, California. In 1939, he was appointed business manager of its American Section by Colonel Arthur L. CONGER, the Society's leader at that time, and a cabinet member in 1945. Upon retirement from government service in 1947, he joined the staff of the Society's headquarters (relocated at Covina shortly after the outbreak of World War II), where he continued to work closely with Conger. In December 1950, Conger sent Long on a world tour in order to contact officials and members with regard to the future work of the Society. He returned just ten days before Conger's death and succeeded him as leader in February 1951.

Frequently referring to his predecessor's and his own administrations as a transition period from the "receiving end to the giving end" of Theosophy, Long urged members to share their Theosophical knowledge from their own experience, in their own words without propagandizing, i.e., with sensitivity to what is being called forth by karma and the need of others. For this purpose, he founded and edited Sunrise magazine as a bridge between Theosophy and the general public, each issue offering Theosophical perspectives on relevant trends in science, philosophy, and religion, as well as studies in ancient and modern Theosophy.

Recognizing the membership's greater understanding of the Society's objectives and the necessity of periodical renovation, Long placed his Society entirely on a volunteer basis without fees or dues. He also brought to completion a consolidation program initiated by Gottfried de PURUCKER, and continued by Colonel Conger, so that incoming generations could rebuild organizational forms and activities relevant to their needs. Accordingly, Long requested that virtually all branch activity be temporarily discontinued and that members give greater emphasis to realizing Theosophical ideals in daily life, to become better examples of true brotherhood in action, the original program of the Theosophical Society.

To enhance the flow of Theosophical teachings into the world, he strengthened the publishing activity of Theosophical University Press and its overseas agencies, featuring the primary source books and classics of Theosophy, including the first soft-cover editions of The Secret Doctrine and lsis Unveiled. A number of Long's writings, drawn largely from his editorials and "Roundtables" in Sunrise magazine, were published in 1965 as Expanding Horizons, which has been in wide use as an introductory text on Theosophy. Long died on July 19, 1971, and was succeeded by Grace F. KNOCHE.

Ransom, Josephine Maria (née Davies) (1879-1960)

Theosophical historian who served as General Secretary of three different sections of the Theosophi¬cal Society. Ransom was born on March 22, 1879, in Armidale, Australia. She joined the Theosophical Society (Adyar) on November 23, 1897. Ransom was General Secretary of the Australian Section, 1924-5; South African Section, 1926-7; and English Section 1933-6. She worked with Annie BESANT in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and founded the British and India Society. Ransom was nominated Vice-President of the Adyar Theosophical Society in 1960, but did not formally take office as she was badly injured in a vehicle accident in London and died on December 2, 1960. 

Ransom's publications include: Schools of  Tomorrow; Indian Tales of Love and Beauty; Irish Tales; Madame Blavatsky as Occultist; Studies in the Secret Doctrine; The Seventy-Fifth Anniversary Book of the Theosophical Society; and notably A Short History of the Theosophical Society.

Arnold, Sir Edwin (1832-1904)

English poet, scholar, and journalist, as well as a friend of Henry S. Olcott, co-founder of the TS. Arnold was born at Gravesend in Kent on June 10, 1832, and educated at King's College, London, and University College, Oxford. After receiving his degree from Oxford, he was appointed Principal of Deccan College, Poona, in 1856. There he quickly mastered Sanskrit, Arabic, Turkish and Persian, thanks partly to a phenomenal memory. He returned to England in 1861, on the staff of the Daily Telegraph, of which he became editor.

Arnold became well-known to his contemporaries after the publication of his epic poem on the life and teachings of the Buddha, entitled The Light of Asia (1879). His reputation was further enhanced by his translation of the Bhagavad-Gita, entitled The Song Celestial (1885). Both works have been continually in print.

Read more: Arnold, Sir Edwin (1832-1904)

Van Manen, Johan – Dutch Orientalist (1877-1943)

Johan van Manen was born on April 16, 1877, in the city of Nijmegen, the Netherlands, into a well-to-do Dutch family. As a youth he was not exactly a symbol of virtue. On the contrary, he gave his parents and teachers a lot of trouble. Van Manen was one of the innovative young artists and thinkers, and it is said that he remained a Bohemian for the rest of his life. However, Theosophy, its principles and tenets, took his fancy, and he started a thorough study of its teachings. At the same time, his remarkable linguistic talents helped him to explore the folklore of ancient peoples.

Not only was he fluent in several European languages, but without pretending to be a Sanskritist, he knew much about that ancient language, as well as about Tamil and other languages of south India. It is not surprising that ultimately van Manen was drawn to India. Between 1896 and 1908 he collaborated with Henry Olcott and Annie Besant by propagating Theosophy in the Netherlands, the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) and Europe. In 1909 he set off for the international headquarters in Adyar to become Charles Webster Leadbeater’s private secretary, a function he fulfilled until 1916. During this period he witnessed the discovery and initial education of the young Krishnamurti. From 1910 until 1916 he was assistant general manager of the Western branch of the Adyar Library.

Read more: Van Manen, Johan – Dutch Orientalist (1877-1943)

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