1. What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?
My name is Pavel Malakhov. I am from Russia. I have been a member of TS since 2009.
2. Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?
I am the Presidential Representative in Russia. I also conduct a webinar on studying The Secret Doctrine and I'm the author and the editor of Teopedia (http://teopedia.org). It is a web project (wiki site) where quotes of different Theosophists are grouped in topics and categories. The project has an engine with a multilingual ability, but the one in Russian is the most rapidly developing for now.
3. How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?
It happened when I was in my last year at university. I had more spare time and got a part-time job as a bank employee. My duty was to setup and maintain all ATMs in our city and in small towns nearby. That meant a lot of traveling by car. And it happened to be that a driver with whom I spent so much time at work was an adherent of Theosophy. He was not a member of the TS but was deep into study of the Theosophical classics such as The Mahatma Letters and The Secret Doctrine. We had many talks about the Universe, religions, history, human nature - about everything. My mind at that time was under the influence of science fiction and fantasy books. Those talks were so interesting and unusual, and in comparison with the books I had already read they provided the outlook about the real world in a more interesting manner then I had from the fictional ones. During those talks I became more convinced that the theory he was giving me was the most adequate one. That was how I learned about Theosophy.
4. What does Theosophy mean to you?
It fulfills my life with meaning. It is not enough for me just to live and enjoy my life. I am one of those people who need to know the reason for life and what is happening in it. Even knowing that the human mind is limited and final truth is not reachable, that every knowledge gained will remain some kind of illusion, I need to have the most reliable theory to motivate me in everyday actions.
5. What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?
The Secret Doctrine. It offers the most profound outlook and provides the guidelines to explore everything else that it doesn't cover.
6. What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS Adyar (as an organization) is facing at the moment?
I don't think that the challenge has really changed much from the moment the TS appeared. I think that the challenge remains the same for every Theosophist - it is to reflect the ideal of Theosophy. The difference for an organization is that the result of this inner work should be obvious to the public. The example of theater as a symbolic representative of life is very close to my understanding. These are that it is only the decorations that are changed. Through the different roles in different circumstances we should go through the play not to just know but to live and gain experience, to prove our knowledge, to see how it reflects in our feelings and mind.
The next part of the answer to this question goes logically into the next question.
7. Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?
It is obvious for me that the Theosophical movement has spread far beyond its modern original organization founded back in 1875.
At that time it was an attempt to gather people of different cultures and traditions worldwide under the banner of one idea of Universal Brotherhood, Universal Knowledge, Universal Service and any other aspect of life as a part of one Universal Being. That was an attempt which did not have an example in known history. Today we can witness the variety of different kinds of organizations based on the more or less the same concept. The work of the Mahatmas succeeded indeed. We have a lot of Theosophical organizations now even though they don't call themselves such, or even don't know about Theosophy. But Theosophy as such is not so much in words but more in actions. That's why the Theosophical movement nowadays has many reflections or currents under the different names, for the Mahatmas always work in all possible directions to improve humanity.
People unite worldwide inspired by different ideas. There are so many philanthropic organizations everywhere. They are separated groups still, but they are indicative of a uniting process on behalf of peace and enlightenment which cannot be denied.
It could be that the next step for the Theosophical movement is to unite these varieties of organizations in cooperation, to support them, to help them to grow and to flow to the one stream. And that is probably one of the current challenges of the TS. The work of the World Teachers never stops and is never limited by one person or an organization. They use every opportunity to reduce the sorrow, unfairness and ignorance of humanity. The Theosophical Society as their tool should carry out their intentions. Being TS members we should always have this fact in mind in our every activity for it depends on us how to represent to other people what Theosophy is about and what is the meaning of being a Theosophist.
From the editor:
Opinions and ideas expressed in the mini-interviews are exclusively of those who are being interviewed. They don’t necessarily represent the ideas and opinions of the compilers of Theosophy Forward. The responses of the interviewees are not edited for content. Some contributors give short answers to the questions while others touch upon the subject more elaborately.