David Grossman – USA
An addition by the author:
The ITC conferences I have attended have been healthy and respectful gatherings transcending those borderlines of tradition that have divided us rather than been catalysts for the Universal Brotherhood that we all in our hearts work towards. It became apparent to me at the Naarden Conference (2014) reflected in what became the “Naarden Declaration” that the glue that binds the various Theosophical societies together is the recognition that HPB was the primary public messenger for the Theosophical impulse, formally begun in 1875, through her books, articles, and oral teachings taken down stenographical.
ITC offers an opportunity not only to discuss and hear Theosophical topics from students one might not usually hear or speak with, but also affords participants an occasion to learn about the various traditions, their exponents and work. And maybe most exciting, ITC provides a forum where Theosophists of all stripes can work and explore the metaphysical as well as practical aspects of our work together. It is in an active working together that unity is manifest. Nowhere was this more apparent than at Naarden.
The ITC experience is beginning to have a positive leavening effect on the formal theosophical movement. What better expression of that “Universal Brotherhood” that was and is the true fulcrum of all theosophical work than for students to benefit from each other’s experience and insights creating further internal bonds and to carry that into the world as we each are able as individuals and organizations.
HPB spoke of the need to awaken the Buddhi-Manas of the race, in other words to provide the tools for each of us to awaken to our true spiritual nature. As Theosophists we can aid this process along by deepening our theosophical understanding and keeping the teachings alive in various ways for others that are attracted to them. In my opinion ITC offers an opportunity to strengthen the movement from within by cultivating the process of mutual work and understanding.
Hereunder my article as it was published in 2014:
When unity is looked at from a metaphysical perspective, I am reminded of the following statements from The Secret Doctrine: “The fundamental identity of all Souls with the Universal Over-Soul, the latter being itself an aspect of the Unknown Root; and the obligatory pilgrimage for every Soul — a spark of the former — through the Cycle of Incarnation (or “Necessity”) in accordance with Cyclic and Karmic law, during the whole term” (1:17). “The radical unity of the ultimate essence of each constituent part of compounds in Nature — from Star to mineral Atom, from the highest Dhyani-Chohan to the smallest infusoria, in the fullest acceptation of the term, and whether applied to the spiritual, intellectual, or physical worlds” (1:120).
The implication here is that unity is a cause rather than an effect or outcome of fitting together. So the question becomes: How do we work from a basis of unity? First, we realize that we are all on the same team, attempting to be conscious coworkers with nature. Robert Crosbie, founder of the United Lodge of Theosophists (ULT), in writing on this subject pointed out that the basis for union among Theosophists is “similarity of aim purpose, and teaching.” Through this triplicity we become “magnetically united” even if our methods of work differ, as they naturally will.
One way we can work in unity is by getting to know each other. Most individuals from a particular Theosophical tradition don’t really know much about the other traditions. I have found that some students in the Theosophical Society, serious thinkers, have never read any writings by William Q. Judge, which is their loss. And likewise ULT students know little about the real work of Colonel H. S. Olcott (original cofounder and first president), or have read any of Annie Besant, Gottfried de Purucker, or even The Mahatma Letters. So a unifying factor might be a bit of unbiased exploration of the valuable resources in the various traditions, putting aside historical prejudices, which will only be dissipated by transforming the present. There is no need to rewrite history. It seems to me that, when we spend time debating history, we are losing valuable time in the present for the work at hand. Hopefully that doesn’t go on so often anymore.
Another way to expand our perspectives and give us new insights is by inviting speakers from different traditions to speak at our halls and lodges. Students I’ve spoken with from various corners of the Theosophical world all acknowledge H. P. Blavatsky as the primary messenger of Theosophy in recent centuries.
In the spirit of unity and our common philosophy, as presented by H.P.B., it might be interesting and useful to pick a topic with contemporary world importance, like climate change, materialistic reductionism, world hunger, or some other such subject and have all Theosophical organizations, publications, websites, online study groups, and whoever is willing to participate, take up this topic simultaneously, as each sees fit, in the light of Theosophy. Lectures, seminars, workshops, online study groups, articles, discussions groups, art installations, or whatever form of thought and dissemination appeals to a group or individual could be used to explore the subject. Internationally infusing Theosophical thought into the world through the lens of a chosen subject has power. Later a Web page can be made available to post and share findings, conclusions, questions, or thoughts. If individuals and groups find this exercise edifying we might do another such topic in the future.