Discussions on the Esoteric School

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Post by Anand Gholap

The quotation from Ernest Wood’s Election Manifesto, published in the Canadian Theosophist January 1934, Vol. 14, #11:

“Our late President, Dr. Besant, recognized something of these dangers, and spoke about them in reference to the E.S. in an important lecture just before her election (see The Theosophist, October 1907, page 33). She said:

“In the T.S. we have a curious mixture. The Exoteric Society is purely democratic - it is only fair to admit this fully. On the other side we have an Esoteric body which is practically autocratic in its constitution ... The existence of a secret body to rule the outer Society made the constitution of the T.S. a mere farce, for it was at the mercy of the inner … All the differences that arose between the Colonel and myself were on this point; he could not believe that I was serious in saying that I would not use the E.S. against him, but slowly he came to understand it ... The greatest power will always be in the hands of the E.S., and not in the head of the Society ... I know that I exercise a quite unwarrantable power. This is what makes some people say there should not be an E.S.T. … We must recognize the danger and try to neutralize it. At any time during the last fifteen years I could have checkmated the Colonel on any point if I had chosen ...”

Further research has shown that The Canadian Theosophist, Jan. 1934 reference to Ernest Wood’s Election Manifesto is correct. It runs from pp. 321-327. October 1907 reference to the Theosophist is to an article “Reflections on the Theosophical Movement” by N.D. Khandalvala, where the quote in question appears on pp. 33-34. Khandalvala in turn sites the August 1907 issue of Theosophy in India as his source.

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Reply by Jerry Hejka Ekins

You brought up here a question that has plagued the Theosophical Society in one form or another, since it was first formed. That is: who among the leaders of the Theosophical Society will set the direction of the organization? Allow me to present a very brief overview of the evolution of this issue, and how it played out in the E.S.

Most of the seventeen or so founders, including H. S. Olcott, were interested in occult phenomena and spiritualistic apparitions. Henry Felt, who had been presenting a series of lectures on the Egyptian Mysteries, claimed that he was able to materialize spirits. So, the Theosophical Society was formed with most of the charter members expecting that the organization would be sort of a miracle club. It turned out that Mr. Felt was unable to produce any phenomena. However, Olcott already knew that Blavatsky’s occult abilities which could keep the budding organization busy for a very long time.

However, Blavatsky had different ideas. She wanted to begin by informing the world about, the hidden laws in nature just being discovered by science; the inner history of Christianity and other spiritual traditions; and about the great sages of history. So, instead of offering herself as a guinea pig for the curiosity of phenomena seekers, she began writing out a massive manuscript, that was published in 1877 as Isis Unveiled. Isis did make a publishing sensation and subscriptions for its initial printing of 1000 copies were sold out before the book ever came off the press.

The next year, new Theosophical groups were formed. The most notable were the London Theosophical Society, the Prayag Theosophical Society in India, and (of course) the original group in New York also grew. In those days, each group was completely autonomous. Though Col. Olcott was President, he had no authority over the individual Lodges.

In 1878, Olcott and Blavatsky relocated to India, for the purpose (according to Blavatsky) of defeating the Missionaries who were destroying the cultures in India and Sri Lanka. In many ways they were successful, and the Theosophical Society gained much respect among the native Indian population. However, it gained enemies among the missionaries.

In the mean time, Olcott began creating an organizational infrastructure for the Theosophical Society. The three objects were composed. Newly formed groups in India were issued charters that made them answerable to the President (Olcott) and the General Council in India. But, when the British Section was formed, The London Theosophical Society maintained its independence. William Q. Judge, one of the three initial founders, remained in the United States and worked to keep the American Section together while Olcott and Blavatsky traveled abroad.

While Olcott settled into his newly self-created duties as “International President”, Blavatsky busied herself with the editing of the TS’s first magazine, The Theosophist, while networking with the various spiritual teachers and scholars in India. She also wanted to form an inner group of sincere students, devoted to the Theosophical cause, and give them further instructions and guide them in their spiritual practice. Olcott, from the beginning, was solidly against Blavatsky forming such a group. Considering the deep respect that Blavatsky had earned among her readers, allowing her to form a spiritual group had the potential of conflicting with Olcott’s executive authority. T. Subba Rao also opposed Blavatsky’s status as a teacher - apparently for sexist reasons.

In 1885, A Scottish Methodist group in India published Mrs Coulomb’s claims that Blavatsky’s teachers did not exist and that the phenomena associated with them was created by trickery. Blavatsky was ready to sue the Coulomb’s, but Olcott refused to allow her, under threat of resigning from the Presidency. Blavatsky relented, and Olcott had her removed from the Adyar Headquarters until the situation “blew over.”

Blavatsky sailed to Germany and began work on a new book, The Secret Doctrine. By about 1887, Blavatsky moved to London where some of her followers established (To Mr. Sinnett’s annoyance) a new Lodge, name after her. Blavatsky also became President of the British Section, while Sinnett’s London Lodge remained autonomous. Blavatsky and her Lodge, also maintained an unofficial autonomy, and Blavatsky began to work very closely with Judge in the United States.

By late 1888, Blavatsky announced that she was forming her own school. Olcott objected, and embarked to London in order to put Blavatsky in line. Several days out in the ocean, a mahatma letter from KH materialized in Olcott’s cabin. The letter dealt with Olcott’s coming confrontation with Blavatsky and warns:

“But this you must tell to all: With occult matters she [Blavatsky] has everything to do. We have not abandoned her; she is not ‘given over to chelas’. She is our direct agent. I warn you against permitting your suspicions and resentment against ‘her many follies’ to bias your intuitive loyalty to her. In the adjustment of this European business, you will have two things to consider - the external and administrative, and the internal and psychical. Keep the former under your control and that of your most prudent associates, jointly; and leave the latter to her.” [Letter 19, First Series: Letters from the Masters of Wisdom]

The letter apparently modified Olcott’s attitude. Upon his arrival in London, Olcott agreed to allow the Esoteric Section, with: “The constitution and sole direction of the same [i.e. the Esoteric Section] is vested in Madame H. P. Blavatsky, as its Head; she is solely responsible to the Members for results; and the section has no official or corporate connection with the Exoteric Society save in the person of the President-Founder.” [Lucifer, Oct. 1888].

So, until her death, Blavatsky directed the Esoteric Section. Judge was responsible for the Esoteric Section in America. Additionally, Blavatsky hand picked about a dozen other members to whom she gave deeper instructions. Most of those members lived together in sort of a spiritual community in London, and carried on a spiritual practice. This community became known as “The Inner Group.”

When Blavatsky died in May 1891, Judge traveled to London to meet with the Inner Group. Since Judge was one of the three original founders, responsible for the E.S. in America, and the presumed successor to Col. Olcott, he was asked to continue the E.S. Rather than accept, Judge proposed that he and Annie Besant share the responsibility, not as representatives of the Masters, but as their fellow students. The proposal was accepted, and for the next three years or so, they sent out circulars signed by the both of them.

However, Besant and Judge both believed themselves to be in contact with HPB’s teachers, as well as HPB herself (or perhaps, rather, himself). Olcott and Besant, however, began to question Judge’s contact with the Mahatmas and called for an inquiry to be held in London. Judge appeared and stated that the Theosophical Society, as a free thought organization, cannot try or censor members because of their beliefs. Everyone had to agree with his argument. The inquiry was dismissed, and a statement concerning the neutrality of the Theosophical Society was issued. However, one member, Walter Old, was not satisfied with the outcome of the inquiry. He had copies of the evidence Besant had prepared to confront Judge. With an intent to expose Judge, Mr. Old give the material to a Mr. Edmund Garrett, of the magazine, The Westminster Gazette. It turned out that Garrett was not sympathetic to either side of the issue. Rather, he thought the whole belief in Mahatmas was a farce. So, he used the material to publish a series of articles aimed at exposing and embarrassing the Theosophical Society. The series was called: Isis Very Much Unveiled, Being the story of the Great Mahatma Hoax.

The series resulted in the revival of the Besant/Judge controversy and the members of the TS became polarized: Most of the Indian members sided with Besant, while most of the American members sided with Judge. The British section was split. The controversy grew and eventually the American Section, citing the precedent of autonomy sent in the beginning with the London Theosophical Society and others, also declared its autonomy. Olcott, chose to interpret the American Sections’ declaration as an act of succession, and canceled the section’s charter - Thus forcing the American Section to continue as a separate organization. Besant continued the Esoteric Section (Now renamed the Eastern School), but not as a fellow student. Rather she assumed the title of “Outer Head.”

As you noted in your quote below, Olcott remained suspicious of the Eastern School and on numerous occasions expressed his belief that having the Presidency of the TS and Headship of the E.S. under the control of one person would give her/him too much power. For this reason, Olcott remained reluctant to endorse Besant as his successor to the Presidency, unless she released control of the Esoteric School. Accordingly, Besant kept the E.S. in pretty low profile until after Olcott died and Besant was elected President. Besant then reorganized the E.S. to pretty much what it is today. Besant remained in control of both offices until her death in 1933, when the E. S. Headship went to Mr. Leadbeater. However, he only held the office for a few months before he also died. Mr. Arundale Succeeded Mr. Leadbeater in 1934 and also became the International President. He died in 1945, and the Presidency and ES Headship went to Mr. Jinarajadasa. N. Sri Ram followed Jinarajadasa. He also held both offices. However, he tended to play down the E.S. John Coates followed Sri Ram. Like Olcott, Coates did not believe that the International President should hold both offices. So for the first time since Blavatsky, The President and the E.S. Head were different people. Sadly, Coates, who was very popular with the younger members, died suddenly after less than five years. Radha Burnier has been International President and Outer Head since 1980.

My personal conclusions are that Olcott was right. Holding both offices gives too much control to one person and had made the Democratic processes in the TS a sham. Opinions vary concerning whether Besant (not to mention her successors) abused their power. However, there is an old saying, “Power corrupts: Absolute power ...”

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Reply by Anand Gholap

… Thanks for your in detail message on the subject of ES. Regarding the situation of ES, I think it is a big problem. ES not only gives some people a powerful tool to manipulate the TS, but it creates division in TS. A division between members and non-members of ES. I can tell that the effect is devastating and it practically ruins brotherhood.

Among the most important things which people should know about me is I don’t accept any Theosophical leader just because historically he or she was a legitimate leader. I don’t care whether certain person was real successor of HPB or any such presumed high level disciple. I also take Mahatma Letters with great caution because I see contradictions in them and even some statements which are wrong, in my opinion. I think cause of such mistakes was perhaps letters were materialized by disciples and not written by Masters literally by their hands. If Besant was happy with absolute power she got through ES, she would not have shown to the world that ES is creating such a big problem. But as she told it, it proves that she was honest and she did not think situation created by ES was good. However, as she did not change the system, that makes me think that it could be difficult to solve this problem easily. So I am doing analysis in different online groups and I hope to arrive at some solution after much discussion with many people. This solution may or may not be accepted by TS, but discussion and that solution will provide great insights to all in TS functioning, it’s problems etc.

I think we need to first study why ES is necessary in the first place. What are the reasons for formation of ES? If we list all the reasons for the formation of ES, we will be able to find if we can attain objects of ES without creating problems which ES does at present.

It will be nice to hear your thoughts on this important subject.

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You wrote: “So, the Theosophical Society was formed with most of the charter members expecting that the organization would be sort of a miracle club. It turned out that Mr. Felt was unable to produce any phenomena.”

The version of history currently circulating in TS is Blavatsky formed TS to give Theosophy because Masters told her to do so. Your sentences tell that TS was formed as a miracle club with no connection to Theosophy at the time of inception.

Do you know about what happened to ES Outer Headship during the period Mr. N. Sri Ram died and Ms. Radha Burnier became OH?

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Reply by Jerry Hejka Ekins

You wrote: “Regarding the situation of ES, I think it is a big problem. ES not only gives some people a powerful tool to manipulate the TS, but it creates division in TS. A division between members and non-members of ES. I can tell that the effect is devastating and it practically ruins brotherhood.”

I think we can agree that the TS/ES relationship is a problem. The question is; what can we do about it?

You wrote: “Among the most important things which people should know about me is I don’t accept any Theosophical leader just because historically he or she was a legitimate leader. I don't care whether certain person was real successor of HPB or any such presumed high level disciple. I also take Mahatma Letters with great caution because I see contradictions in them and even some statements which are wrong, in my opinion. I think cause of such mistakes was perhaps letters were materialized by disciples and not written by Masters literally by their hands.”

I’m not aware of any statements by the Mahatmas to the effect that they are infallible. To my knowledge, Blavatsky did not make such claims either. Rather, there was a lot of mythology that began to be created after Olcott’s death, which has continued to this day. This mythology made demigods of the Masters in the Adyar TS, while Blavatsky was raised to an almost demagogic status in other TS organizations. I am curious to know what contradictions you have found and what you have found in the letters to be inspiring. This is the kind of discussion I have hoped to see more of on this bulletin board.

You wrote: “If Besant was happy with absolute power she got through ES, she would not have shown to the world that ES is creating such a big problem. But as she told it, it proves that she was honest and she did not think situation created by ES was good. However, as she did not change the system, that makes me think that it could be difficult to solve this problem easily.”

Well, actually, much of the membership was already well aware of the problem. There was a movement to get G.R.S. Mead to run against Besant. However, while Mead opposed Besant’s candidacy, he did not want the job either. In the mean time Besant got busy campaigning and tried to ease the member’s concerns over the prospect of her holding two offices, as well as responding to other controversies going on at the time. In the end, Besant ran unopposed, so, let’s just say that her election was “in the bag.”

You wrote: “I think we need to first study why ES is necessary in the first place. What are the reasons for formation of ES? If we list all the reasons for the formation of ES, we will be able to find if we can attain objects of ES without creating problems which ES does at present.”

The problem is not with the ES. The problems began when the same person took control over both the TS and the ES.

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Whatever the Masters told Blavatsky to do, they neglected to also inform the other 16 or so people who were also present. Everyone, it seems, had their own ideas about the new organization.

You wrote: “Do you know about what happened to ES Outer Headship during the period Mr. N. Sri Ram died and Ms. Radha Burnier became OH?”

After Sri Ram died, there was (as I recall) a short interim period until John Coats was elected. Coats, did not believe that the International President should also be the Outer Head. So, he became the first International President, since Olcott, to hold the one office. I. K. Taimni was the Outer Head during that time. Coats died in 1977 and Taimni died a year later. When Radha was Elected International President in 1980, she followed the leads of Besant, Arundale, Jinarajadasa and Sri Ram, by assuming both offices.

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Reply by Anand Gholap

It is very strange that 16 out of 17 founders did not know exactly what for they founded the TS! It appears that beginning of TS was even more messy than the later developments.

Can you tell whatever you know about the death of late President of TS J. B. Coats? There are some people wondering about this mystery.

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Reply by Jerry Hejka Ekins

Yes, very strange. History has a way of turning out to be very different than we imagine it to be.

While the idea of universal brotherhood is the primary objective in today’s TS, it was not at all present when the society was proposed. Originally, the new organization was for the purpose of the study, research and dissemination of occult research, ancient philosophy and theosophical ideas.

The idea of organizing the TS on the lines of universal brotherhood did not happen until Olcott and Blavatsky moved to India. Even there, Olcott was initially against the brotherhood idea. But, Blavatsky managed to prevail on that argument.

You must be thinking of the rumors that John Coates was poisoned. Unfortunately, his body was cremated (against his wife’s wishes) right after his death. Consequently, there is no medical way to prove or disprove the rumor.

There seems to be more evidence of foul play concerning Dr. Gregory Tillett, the author of the infamous biography of Leadbeater. It was John Coats, then International President, who granted Dr. Tillett access to the Archives for the purpose of researching his book. Coats was of the opinion that the archives should be available to qualified researchers. I’m sure that you are aware that such an opinion is a very unpopular one.

Dr. Tillett personally told me, and later posted publicly, that while at the Adyar Headquarters, he had a minor ailment and received some pills from the resident physician. When he began taking them, he became deathly ill. So, he arranged for an emergency flight back to Australia where he could be examined and treated by his own doctor. Suspicious, he gave the bottle with the remaining pills to his doctor, who confirmed that the pills were indeed lethal. His doctor further told him that he was very fortunate that he did not finish them as he was directed - as death would have been certain.

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Reply by Anand Gholap

Death of John Coats in relatively young age is a mystery. This mystery becomes more troublesome if we see the fact that short time after the death of the President in young age, the Outer Head of ES died. I guess I.K. Taimni was also not too old. Within one year both, the President of TS and Outer Head of ES died. Can you pl. tell whatever you know about the death of I.K. Taimni?

As you told, these pills were given by the resident physician to Gregory Tillett. As Gregory later found that these pills were “lethal”, why didn’t he catch the doctor who gave him these pills? Gregory is an intellectual. And it is difficult to believe that he would not go into details of such an important events, which could have claimed his life. Has he documented details of these events anywhere?

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There is one interesting rule about the Esoteric School. It was told to me by an ES member. There had been secrete documents supplied to only ES members. As time passed, and when outer things became favorable, these ES documents were made available to all people. He told me that in the same way many documents in ES were gradually made available to outside world, after they were kept secrete for some time in ES. If we think according to this rule, one can guess that it is perhaps time when all ES documents can be safely made available to all people. What do you think?

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Reply by Jerry Hejka Ekins

I met John Coats in Wheaton during the summer preceding his election as International President. Unlike most other TS officials I have met, he was remarkably spontaneous, transparent, and easy going. There was no pretentiousness about him. This is probably why he was so popular among the younger members. I saw his election as an opportunity for the Theosophical Society to make major changes, resolve a lot of old karma, and work harmoniously with post-Victorian and post-modernist culture. But traditions run deep and resistance to changes is very strong.

While I was supportive of him, he was not a young man, even at that time. He was already at an age when people develop health problems, and I sensed that he had his share. So, I would not dismiss the possibility of death from natural causes. Rather, I would assume it, unless there was compelling evidence to the contrary.

As for Taimni, he was 80 when he died. So, his life span was longer than average. I've had friends who did not make it to age 60. In fact, my mother died at sixty, as did my Theosophy teacher of 18 years. Only a minority of people make it past 72 or so and remain in good mental and physical health. A lot of it has to do with the genes you inherent, of course. I don’t recall ever meeting him.

You wrote: “As you told, these pills were given by the resident physician to Gregory Tillett. As Gregory later found that these pills were “lethal”, why didn’t he catch the doctor who gave him these pills?”

You mean, bring a law suit against the doctor, or against the Headquarters? I posed the same question, but already knew the answer as I formed the words. India’s legal system is notorious for its inefficiency. Take for instance the Union Carbide tragedy in Ghopal that took place in 1984. It is still being litigated after 25 years. Either way, justice is very expensive and in both the Australian and Indian systems, and the burden of proof is always on the accuser. In Tillett’s case, he was just a lowly Ph.D. student at the time. You might question him more directly on the Theos-World discussion board. I believe that he still follows the discussions and makes contributions there.

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I recommend that you read Jinarajadasa’s book, “Occult Investigations.” It is a pretty good account of what I think your ES member friend was trying to explain to you. The ES documents were never made available, but certain teachings that were in the documents were released in journal articles and books a decade or so later. C.W.L.’s “Masters and the Path” is an example of such material. “Invisible Helpers” is another example of material that appeared first in ES documents. I recall telling you once in an early email that you will find nothing worthwhile (As far a teaching go) in the ES material that you cannot find in the published writings. As far as new ES revelations go, they seemed to have all but stopped after George Arundale died.

On the other hand, the ES documents do have a lot of material of historical importance. For instance, notices of rules changes, and changes in the pledges. For instance, there was one point where a candidate to the ES had to accept Krishnamurti as the World Teacher, as a condition for admission into the ES.

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Reply by Anand Gholap

As ES knowledge could be released for ordinary members after passage of some time, and as lot of time has passed after that last E.S. revelations from G.S. Arundale, perhaps it is safe to make ES documents available to outside members.

You wrote: “As far as new ES revelations go, they seemed to have all but stopped after George Arundale died.”

Thanks for your opinion. For long time I felt that after G.S. Arundale died, contact of TS Presidents with Masters was little if at all any contact was there. However I feel that C. Jinarajadasa might be having some contact with Masters, even if it may not be as strong as HPB, AB and CWL. It appears that TS Presidents, who came after CJ did not have contact with Masters. I think this was the cause of stopping ES revelations after the death of G.S. Arundale.

Do you think there was any significant addition to ES documents after GSA passed away? After J. Krishnamurti rejected Theosophy publicly, did Annie Besant or Leadbeater remove the condition that candidate should accept Krishnamurti as World Teacher?

After JK started teaching independently and before the death of Besant and Leadbeater, there was a period of around 6 years. Did JK’s teaching and rejection of Theosophy make any difference in ES teaching and conditions during this period?

The pledge, as it was taken during the time of Blavatsky, by the candidates while joining the Esoteric Section of the TS, is already uploaded by Daniel and perhaps more people on the web sites. As it is no more secrete, I am copying it here. Source: http://www.blavatskyarchives.com/espage1.htm

The main contradiction, which I see in this pledge, is although pledge is made to the Higher Self, the other rule demands “Obedience to the Head of the Esoteric Section in all Theosophical matters.” Question can be asked whether a person should listen to the voice of his own Higher Self, or whether he should listen to the commands of the Head of the Esoteric Section. If the Head of the Esoteric Section is not a disciple and clairvoyant, how will he know the inner occult condition of a pupil in the Esoteric School? If the Head does not know pupil’s condition, how can pupil trust his inner life to this Head by obeying commands of the Head of the ES?

Below is the pledge as drafted by Blavatsky.

The Esoteric Section of the T.S.

Dear,
I forward herewith a copy of the Rules and Pledge for Probationers of the Esoteric Section of the T.S. Should you be unable to accept them, I request that you will return this to me without delay.

Rules of the Esoteric Section (Probationary) of the Theosophical Society.

1. No person shall belong to the Esoteric Section who is not already a Fellow of the Theosophical Society.
2. Application for membership in the Esoteric Section must be accompanied by a copy of the Pledge hereto appended, written out and signed by the Candidate, who thereupon enters upon a special period of probation, which commences from the date of his signature.
3. All members shall be approved by the Head of the Section.
4. He who enters the Esoteric Section is as one “newly born”; his past - unless connected with crime, social or political, in which case he cannot be accepted - shall be regarded as never having had existence in respect of blame for actions committed.
5. Groups of Theosophists belonging to the Esoteric Section may be formed under a charter from the Head of the Section.
6. Any member joining the Section expressly agrees, without reservation, Clause II of the Pledge.
7. To preserve the unity of the Section, any person joining it expressly agrees that he shall be expelled, and the fact of his expulsion made public to all members of the Section, should he violate any one of the three following conditions:
(a) Obedience to the Head of the Section in all Theosophical matters.
(b) The Secrecy of the Signs and Passwords.
(c) The Secrecy of the documents of the Section, and any communication from any Initiate of any degree, unless absolved from such secrecy by the Head of the Section.

Pledge of Probationers in the Esoteric Section of the T.S.

1. I pledge myself to endeavor to make Theosophy a living power in my life.
2. I pledge myself to support, before the world, the Theosophical movement, it’s leaders and it’s members; and in particular to obey, without cavil or delay, the orders of the Head of the Esoteric Section in all that concerns my relation with the Theosophical movement.
3. I pledge myself never to listen, without protest, to any evil think spoken of a brother Theosophist, and to abstain from condemning others.
4. I pledge myself to maintain a constant struggle against my lower nature, and to be charitable to the weakness of others.
5. I pledge myself to do all in my power, by study and otherwise, to fit myself to help and teach others.
6. I pledge myself to give what support I can to Theosophical movement, in time, money, and work.
7. I pledge myself to preserve inviolable secrecy as regards signs and passwords of the Section and all confidential documents. So help me, my Higher Self.

Signed  .................

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Reply by Jerry Hejka Ekins

You wrote: “As ES knowledge could be released for ordinary members after passage of some time, and as lot of time has passed after that last E.S. revelations from G.S. Arundale, perhaps it is safe to make ES documents available to outside members.”

Safe? What makes publishing ES documents safe, and what makes publishing them unsafe? From the time of Blavatsky on, the publication or non publication of ES documents has been the sole prerogative of the Head. Besant made Blavatsky’s ES material was made available in a very edited form. They were finally made available in their correct form in Volume 12 of the Blavatsky Collected Writings. Besant and Leadbeater made much of their ES material available, in an edited form, in the years after it was published, as I had explained in an earlier post. As for Radha, rather than making later ES documents available, I understand that she has been actively collecting them and taking them back to Adyar - presumably to make them as unavailable as possible. Her actions might be an answer to your question.

You wrote: “Thanks for your opinion. For long time I felt that after G.S. Arundale died, contact of TS Presidents with Masters was little if at all any contact was there.”

I would rather not indulge in opinions about who was in touch with Masters and who wasn’t. Anyway, it all seems to come down to a matter of individual belief, doesn’t it? However, here is something to think about: An ES member is obliged to believe that the Other Head is in touch with the Masters. Otherwise, the title (Outer Head) has no meaning. Consequently, one would have to assume that Radha is also in touch with the Masters, or else the ES no longer has any meaning. Do you agree?

You wrote: “Do you think there was any significant addition to ES documents after GSA passed away?”

It depends upon what you consider significant. ES documents were published after Arundale and are still being published today.

You wrote: “After J. Krishnamurti rejected Theosophy publicly, did Annie Besant or Leadbeater remove the condition that candidate should accept Krishnamurti as World Teacher?”

The rules are changed whenever they become inconvenient, irrelevant, or perhaps, just at the whim of the O.H. I would have to check my papers to be sure, but my memory was that that rule was changed even before Krishnamurti went off on his own. By the Way, I submit that it is inaccurate to say that K. “rejected Theosophy.” Actually, he continued to speak at Theosophical gatherings and even to ES gatherings for many years after he became independent.

You wrote: “After JK started teaching independently and before the death of Besant and Leadbeater, there was a period of around 6 years. Did JK’s teaching and rejection of Theosophy make any difference in ES teaching and conditions during this period?”

The ES bulletins stopped and Besant ordered the ES closed in about 1928, about a year before Krishnamurti became independent. After Krishnamurti left, the ES was restarted, but the Bulletins were pretty preoccupied with the confusion Krishnamurti created by closing the Order of the Star. The ES “revelations” did decline in the re-opened ES, but I would credit that decline to Besant’s death in 1933 and C.W.L.’s failing health and death in 1934. After that, there was a lot of attention given to the events leading up to the War in Europe (i.e. World War II).

You wrote: “The pledge, as it was taken during the time of Blavatsky, by the candidates while joining the Esoteric Section of the TS, is already uploaded by Daniel and perhaps more people on the web sites.”

That pledge never was a secret. It was published in Lucifer for all to see in 1888 or 1889.

You wrote: “The main contradiction, which I see in this pledge, is although pledge is made to the Higher Self, the other rule demands “Obedience to the Head of the Esoteric Section in all Theosophical matters.””

Not a contradiction at all. Blavatsky had explained that our first obligation is to our Higher Self. If Blavatsky gave an order concerning “Theosophical matters,” one was only obliged to follow it if it did not conflict with the member’s better judgment. Interestingly, The poet W.B. Yeats was a member of that early ES, and asked Blavatsky that very question. He recorded her answer in his Memoirs. Yeats was satisfied with her answer.

You wrote: “Question can be asked whether a person should listen to the voice of his own Higher Self, or whether he should listen to the commands of the Head of the Esoteric Section.”

Blavatsky told her students that their obligation is first to their Higher Self. In the last Pledge sheet I saw, I noticed that new ES members now make their pledge directly to Radha - not to their Higher Self.

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Reply by Anand Gholap

What did Annie Besant and Leadbeater tell to the members of Esoteric School, regarding the success or failure of the World Teacher project and J. Krishnamurti? Obviously members of ES must have asked many times to Besant and Leadbeater whether World Teacher project failed or succeeded. Was there any definite answer from Besant and Leadbeater or did they avoid saying anything definite in this regard?

Here is more interpretation of the pledge. In entire pledge, the word Higher Self comes only once at the end of the pledge. Here is the exact sentence.

“So help me, my Higher Self.”

Here me means Lower Self. In other words, “So help me (Lower Self), my Higher Self.” That means Lower Self is making a pledge to follow the Head of ES and in that decision, Lower Self is asking the Higher Self to confirm the decision of Lower Self. Here, Lower Self is also requesting the Higher Self that the Higher Self would help, in future, in carrying out commands of the Head of ES. Suppose the Higher Self agrees to the request of the Lower Self and confirms the decision, then it means that both Lower Self and the Higher Self will be obeying the commands of the Head of ES.

In this pledge, if we interpret the text of the pledge correctly, there is nothing which says that Lower Self should obey the commands of the Higher Self. According to the text of this pledge, Lower Self is not obliged to follow the commands or wishes of the Higher Self. Rather, Lower Self is making Higher Self to join itself, so that both would obey the commands of the Head of the ES. I wonder if this kind of pledge will help or harm an ES member.

Now, if Blavatsky made members’ Higher and Lower Selves to follow commands of the Head of ES through written pledge, I wonder how much wisdom and morality is there in explaining to an individual W.B. Yeats that she did not mean what pledge says. Did she expect that other ES members will always refer what she talked with W.B. Yeats? Obviously members of ES would follow officially published rules in the rules book and may not read what Blavatsky talked with W.B. Yeats or some other individual. After knowing the great contradiction in the pledge, did Blavatsky correct the text in the pledge and make known correction to all members of ES? Was it not her duty to correct the text of the pledge, so that members won't be misled?

You wrote: “In the last Pledge sheet I saw, I noticed that new ES members now make their pledge directly to Radha - not to their Higher Self.”

Do these new ES members make their pledge to follow Radha Burnier or do they make pledge to follow the Outer Head of ES? There is a difference between following Mrs. Radha as an individual and following the Head of ES. It is because Head of ES may change and members will have to follow the new Head, whereas if they make a pledge to follow Radha, it would mean following her soul always, even when she is no more an Outer Head of ES.

* * *

Reply by Jerry Hejka Ekins

You wrote: “What did Annie Besant and Leadbeater tell to the members of Esoteric School, regarding the success or failure of the World Teacher project and J. Krishnamurti? Obviously members of ES must have asked many times to Besant and Leadbeater whether World Teacher project failed or succeeded. Was there any definite answer from Besant and Leadbeater or did they avoid saying anything definite in this regard?”

Besant maintained her belief that Krishnamurti was the Word Teacher. As far as I know, she maintained that belief onto her death. Leadbeater explained that K. was the World Teacher but did not become so in the way he had expected. I might add that George Arundale felt that K. betrayed the TS and the little inner group that was running things. After Besant and Leadbeater were gone, and he had control of the Theosophist, you will find little or no mention of Krishnamurti during his Presidency. Also, sometime after Besant and Leadbeater passed from the scene, many of the classical Theosophical texts began to go through an editing process. One of the first things that began to disappear from the texts, were references to the “World Teacher.” For instance, you might compare a current edition of /Talks on the Path/ with the original, and you will see what I mean. /Masters and the Path/ is also heavily edited, but I think that is pretty well known by now.

You wrote: “So help me, my Higher Self.”

Actually “me” can mean the higher or lower self (or a mixture of the two) depending upon the spiritual development and motivations of the applicant. While HPB accepted anyone who applied, the new members quickly sorted themselves out. Those who weren't ready resigned, or were expelled.

You wrote: “Did she expect that other ES members will always refer what she talked with W.B. Yeats?”

No. Yeats’ recorded his conversation with HPB in his private “Occult Notes and Diary”, so other ES members did not have access to it. However, other ES members asked HPB the same question, and HPB answered them also. Also, an more importantly, HPB later made clarifications in writing. I mentioned Yeats’ account because it was at the top of my head at the time, and because I thought it was very clear. For your interest, I’m transcribing the relevant section in his diary below. But remember, this is a diary entry - not polished writing:

“About Xmas 1888 I joined the Esoteric Section of TS. The pledges gave me no trouble except two - promise to work for theosophy and promise of obedience to HPB in all theosophical matters. Explained my difficulties to HPB. Said that I could only sign on the condition that I myself was to be judge as to what Theosophy is (the term is wide enough) and I consider my work at Blake a wholly adequate keeping of this clause. On the other matter HPB explained that this obedience only referred to things concerning occult practice if such should be called for. Since then a clause has been inserted making each member promise obedience subject to the decision of his own conscience.”

You wrote: “Do these new ES members make their pledge to follow Radha Burnier or do they make pledge to follow the Outer Head of ES? There is a difference between following Mrs. Radha as an individual and following the Head of ES. It is because Head of ES may change and members will have to follow the new Head, whereas if they make a pledge to follow Radha, it would mean following her soul always, even when she is no more an Outer Head of ES.”

They make a pledge to obey Radha who is at present, the Outer Head. My guess is that the ES members will have to sign a revised pledge when Radha appoints her successor.

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Reply by Anand Gholap

You wrote: “Leadbeater explained that K. was the World Teacher but did not become so in the way he had expected.”

Can you copy the text where Leadbeater explained “K. was the World Teacher but did not become so in the way he had expected.” I am not sure if Leadbeater considered WT project had succeeded. J. Krishnamurti started his teaching by declaration “Truth is pathless land.” Before dying he was asked to summarize his teaching. And Krishnamurti said that his teaching can be summarized in what he said in the beginning i.e. “Truth is pathless land …”. Now, Leadbeater did not accept this statement, he showed how these paragraphs by J. Krishnamurti are NOT logically correct. So, when Leadbeater rejected the core of J. Krishnamurti’s teaching, how can we say that Leadbeater considered JK as successful teacher or the World Teacher?

You wrote: “I might add that George Arundale felt that K. betrayed the TS and the little inner group that was running things. After Besant and Leadbeater were gone, and he had control of the Theosophist, you will find little or no mention of Krishnamurti during his Presidency.”

G.S. Arundale was very close to Annie Besant and Leadbeater. So, Besant and Leadbeater must have communicated their opinions about the success or failure of the World Teacher. I can understand that AB and CWL were reluctant to say things openly. But I think AB and CWL must have communicated to Arundale that World Teacher project failed and because of that Arundale rejected Krishnamurti. Govert Schuller is studying for many years about whether WT project failed or succeeded. Govert is of the opinion that according to Leadbeater, WT project had failed. So, I think we need to do more research on whether according to CWL the WT project had failed or succeeded.

You wrote: “Also, sometime after Besant and Leadbeater passed from the scene, many of the classical Theosophical texts began to go through an editing process. …”

Also in “Man: Whence, How and Whither”, Leadbeater describes conditions after 600 years. He does not write anything about the World Teacher. That is another indication that WT project might have failed. Researchers from Krishnamurti Foundation wrote “Krishnamurti’s critique of organised religion, and his revolt from Theosophy, are central strands that run all through his public talks.”

If we read the pledge drafted by HPB, it is clearly demanding obedience to the Head of the ES. Nowhere in that pledge is mentioned obedience to the Higher Self. It appears that when ES members expressed objection to this clause and when they found that teaching is inconsistent with following the Higher Self, HPB, perhaps unwillingly, tried to change it. However, it appears that HPB actually wanted obedience from ES members, but she changed it, as members showed opposition to such a rule.

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Reply by Jerry Hejka Ekins

You wrote: “Can you copy the text where Leadbeater explained ‘K. was the World Teacher but did not become so in the way he had expected.’”

Yes, I will be happy to do that. However you will need to be patient because, rather than googling a reference, I will have to go back and search through written texts. It is going to take awhile to reread this stuff. We have a rather large library and archives here: some 15,000 books and journals, and some 50,000 archival documents, most of which are one-of-a-kind.

By the way, I met to mention to you, that I tried to find the Besant quote on the ES you posted that began this discussion string. You had stated that it is in the Oct. 1907 Theosophist. I paged through that issue very carefully and was unable to find it there. Would you mind confirming the source of that quote, and give a page number?

You wrote: “I am not sure if Leadbeater considered WT project had succeeded.”

He probably “considered” quite a lot of different things about the WT project between the end of 1929 and his death in 1934. I can only produce his published statements, whatever they are worth.

You wrote: “J. Krishnamurti started his teaching by declaration “Truth is pathless land.” Before dying he was asked to summarize his teaching. And Krishnamurti said that his teaching can be summarized in what he said in the beginning i.e. “Truth is pathless land ...”. Now, Leadbeater did not accept this statement, he showed how these paragraphs by J. Krishnamurti are NOT logically correct.”

Are you saying that CWL publicly confronted or corrected K. and his teachings? I would like to see that. Did K. offer a rebuttal? Please tell me your references.

You wrote: “G.S. Arundale was very close to Annie Besant and Leadbeater. So, Besant and Leadbeater must have communicated their opinions about the success or failure of the World Teacher.”

Since Arundale claimed to be an Arhat and claimed to regularly visit the Masters in Shambala, as Besant and Leadbeater also claimed to do, one would think that they would all be on the same page about this thing.

You wrote: “But I think AB and CWL must have communicated to Arundale that World Teacher project failed and because of that Arundale rejected Krishnamurti.”

Perhaps the Master at Shambala was giving AB, CWL and GSA different accounts :-)

You wrote: “Govert is of the opinion that according to Leadbeater, WT project had failed. So, I think we need to do more research on whether according to CWL the WT project had failed or succeeded.”

I guess it depends upon what constitutes success or failure. Unless the parameters of success and failure in this case are first carefully defined, such research would be, in my opinion, a huge, waste of time.

You wrote: “Also in “Man: Whence, How and Whither”, Leadbeater describes conditions after 600 years. He does not write anything about the World Teacher. That is another indication that WT project might have failed.”

Do you have the first (1913) edition? Read pp. 454-57. It says that Julius Caesar reincarnated “sometime in the 20th century in connection with the coming of the Christ to proclaim the WISDOM.” (p. 454) In the early Star literature, K. was presented as the returned Christ. CWL
predicts that with the help of the reincarnated Caesar, the countries will “give up war” (p. 455); “... money is reserved to feed all the poor, to destroy all the slums, and to introduce wonderful improvements in all the cities.” (p.455.); “Caesar arranges all the machinery of this
wonderful revolution, but his work is largely made possible by the arrival and preaching of the Christ Himself, so we have a new era in all senses, not merely an outward arrangement, but in inner feeling as well.” (p. 456). So, why didn’t all of things happen?

You wrote: “If we read the pledge drafted by HPB, it is clearly demanding obedience to the Head of the ES.”

Yes, obedience to the Head in matters pertaining to Theosophy. Did you read my last post?

Yes, HPB wanted “obedience” from those to came to study under her: just as school teachers want obedience from their students. When a teacher says, it is time to write your ABCs he/she expects the students to obey, and write their ABCs. When the teacher makes rules: “do not fight”; “do not disrupt the class”, the teacher expects the students to follow those rules. It was just like this in the ES: HPB posted rules for the ES members to follow: Do not gossip; be respectful to each other; Do not boast of being in the ES; Do not pretend to have psychic powers; Think before you speak; etc. Almost all who joined the ES found the rules too difficult to follow, and broke them after. HPB encouraged them to keep trying to follow the rules anyway. Students were given instructions to study. HPB gave them examination questions. Most did not pass those exams. She asked no more than that of her students. But even this, was too much to ask.

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Reply by Anand Gholap

It will be great to read those texts by Leadbeater. You have quite impressive collection of documents. I hope it will become available online one day from the benefit of all.

It will be highly useful to read those. One of the biggest mystery TS left is J. Krishnamurti. And best person to throw light on this mystery was C.W. Leadbeater himself. Other occultist in TS, Geoffrey Hodson had rejected J. Krishnamurti’s teachings.

Below are passages which Leadbeater wrote in Adyar pamphlet “The Third Object of
the Theosophical Society”. It is a published document. J. Krishnamurti rejected whole Theosophy and it’s major ideas in strongest words. I have sent the quotations to your e-mail address. I don't know if he ever separately commented on these passages.

http://anandgholap.net/Third_Object_Of_TS-CWL.htm

“I know quite well that our Krishnaji [J. Krishnamurti] has been teaching that the highest of all is pathless, either that there is no specified path or that every man must find his own. That is true; but we have to remember, haven’t we, that we are not all at the heights where we can hew out some entirely new scheme for ourselves. Nor, I think, would it be wise to ignore definite, recorded facts.

55. I read some years ago of a shepherd boy who, somewhere out with his sheep, gradually thought out for himself the general rules of what we call geometry, and actually succeeded in rediscovering, or at least in reproducing, by himself, many of the problems and demonstrations in Euclid. I suppose that hard thinking with the right kind of brain - he must have been something different from a shepherd boy in his past life - can bring you to what has already been reached. But it is our principle in civilization to take advantage of the labours, the revelations, of those who have gone before.

56. If every man has to begin from the beginning, knowing nothing, it seems to me we should waste an enormous amount of time. I suppose if we were to push that theory to its extremity, you must never teach a child anything because you would be prejudicing his mind. But of course that is not reasonable or logical. The child comes newly into the world so far as his brain and vehicles are concerned. I cannot see any reason why you should not acquaint him with the conditions around him, while leaving him to discover anything new for himself.”

Although we should consider merit of every teaching without reference to who taught them, I will, in this case would consider the project successful if Lord Maitreya taught through JK. If He could not teach through JK, then I will consider it a failed project. That is why I am trying to find out whether Lord Maitreya taught through him or not. While Leadbeater’s opinion is not clear, Hodson rejected JK’s teaching. I find JK’s teaching as waste of time on the part of reader. I say it because according to me what good JK teaches is already there in Theosophy in much better language. But JK has mixed those good ideas in many bad ideas and in nonsense.

Do you have the first (1913) edition? Read pp. 454-57. It says that Julius Caesar reincarnated “sometime in the 20th century in connection with the coming of the Christ to proclaim the WISDOM.” ... (p. 456). So, why didn’t all of things happen?

You are right. These passages are there in “Man: Whence, How and Whither”. In fact, these passages suggest that World Teacher project succeeded. This is the most interesting part. Leadbeater tells what will happen. Most of the things he said are actually happened, confirming his clairvoyant was true. Here are the passages from Man: Whence ...
http://anandgholap.net/Man_Whence_How_And_Whither-CWL.htm

“933. Practically the whole world has federated itself politically. Europe seems to be a Confederation with a kind of Reichstag, to which all countries send representatives. This central body adjusts matters, and the Kings of the various countries are Presidents of the Confederation in rotation. The rearrangement of political machinery by which this wonderful change has been brought about is the work of Julius Caesar, who reincarnated some time in the twentieth century in connection with the coming of the Christ to reproclaim the WISDOM. Enormous improvements have been made in all directions, and one cannot but be struck with the extraordinary abundance of wealth that must have been lavished upon these. Caesar, when he succeeds in forming the Federation and persuades all the countries to give up war, arranges that each of them shall set aside for a certain number of years half or a third of the money that it has been accustomed to spend upon armaments, and devote it to certain social improvements which he specifies. According to his scheme the taxation of the entire world is gradually reduced, but notwithstanding, sufficient money is reserved to feed all the poor, to destroy all the slums, and to introduce wonderful improvements into all the cities. He arranges that those countries in which compulsory military service has been the rule shall for a time still preserve the habit, but shall make their conscripts work for the State in the making of parks and roads and the pulling down of slums and the opening up of communications everywhere. He arranges that the old burdens shall be gradually eased off but yet contrives with what is left of them to regenerate the world. He is indeed a great man; a most marvellous genius.

934. There seems to have been some trouble at first and some preliminary quarrelling, but he gets together an exceedingly capable band of people - a kind of cabinet of all the best organisers whom the world has produced - reincarnations of Napoleon, Scipio Africanus, Akbar and others - one of the finest bodies of men for practical work that has ever been seen. The thing is done on a gorgeous scale. When all the Kings and prime ministers are gathered together to decide upon the basis for the Confederation, Caesar builds for the occasion a circular hall with a great number of doors so that all may enter at once, and no one Potentate take precedence of another.

935. THE RELIGION OF THE CHRIST

936. Caesar arranges all the machinery of this wonderful revolution, but his work is largely made possible by the arrival and preaching of the Christ Himself, so we have here a new era in all senses, not merely in outward arrangement, but in inner feeling as well. All this is long ago from the point of view of the time at which we are looking, and the Christ is now becoming somewhat mythical to the people, much as He was to many people at the beginning of the twentieth century. The religion of the world now is that which He founded; that is the Religion, and there is no other of any real importance, though there are still some survivals, of which the world at large is somewhat contemptuously tolerant, regarding them as fancy religions or curious superstitions. There are a few people who represent the older form of Christianity - who in the name of the Christ refused to receive Him when He came in a new form. The majority regard these people as hopelessly out-of-date. On the whole the state of affairs all the world over is obviously much more satisfactory than in the earlier civilisations. Armies and navies have disappeared, or are only represented by a kind of small force used for police purposes. Poverty also has practically disappeared from civilised lands; all slums in the great cities have been pulled down, and their places taken, not by other buildings, but by parks and gardens.”

In 20th century, there were born many great politicians, leaders, economists, scientists etc. who tried to bring about the changes Leadbeater told. And these leaders actually succeeded to much extent. Think about the United Nations, the European Union and you see it happened. To me things that are not clear are who was Julius Ceasar and what was his relation with JK’s teaching. There were many great leaders in 20th century, so one of them could be Julius Ceasar. He could be one of the Presidents of the United States or the President/General Secretary of UN, or an architect of UN or a leader or architect of the EU or some other leader, who worked by influencing decisions of these organizations. People might say wars are not stopped. Just a one year back or so I read an article in a leading newspaper. That scientist had written that in entire history of humanity, total deaths of civilians plus military people deaths, due to war, are at all time low, if we consider whole earth. TS might claim to have helped it happen, but there can be other causes. I don't see many reasons how J. Krishnamurti could have brought about positive changes in the world.

I wrote: “If we read the pledge drafted by HPB, it is clearly demanding obedience to the Head of the ES.” You wrote: “Yes, obedience to the Head in matters pertaining to Theosophy. Did you read my last post?”

The pledge demands obedience regarding “all theosophical matters”. Objections can be raised about it because there are many other sentences in Theosophical literature that tell people to become self-reliant and independent. For example “Adept becomes, he is not made”, etc.

It is not clear when HPB demanded obedience in “all Theosophical matters”, whether she meant obedience regarding only moral code which you told or obedience in other matters also. I do not think obedience expected by current Outer Head is limited to moral code.

You wrote: “HPB encouraged them to keep trying to follow the rules anyway. Students were given instructions to study. HPB gave them examination questions. Most did not pass those exams. She asked no more than that of her students.”

Did HPB ask obedience only in these matters? If we think about the text of the pledge, we find that she expected obedience in many more things - “in all Theosophical matters.” To me it appears that the pledge was drafted for the convenience of the functioning of TS, rather than making disciples.

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Reply by Jerry Hejka Ekins

In support of your argument that CWL corrected K., you quote Leadbeater as follows: “I know quite well that our Krishnaji [J. Krishnamurti] has been teaching that the highest of all is pathless, either that there is no specified path or that every man must find his own. That is true; but we have to remember, haven't we, that we are not all at the heights where we can hew out some entirely new scheme for ourselves. Nor, I think, would it be wise to ignore definite, recorded facts.”

My reading is that CWL is confirming K here when he writes “That is true”. I think K. would also confirm CWL’s point concerning the wisdom of learning from those who have achieved those “heights.” Because K. had come to some deep realizations himself, he was able to be of help to many others who responded to his message.

You wrote: “You are right. These passages are there in “Man: Whence, How and Whither.” In fact, these passages suggest that World Teacher project succeeded. This is the most interesting part. Leadbeater tells what will happen. Most of the things he said are actually happened, confirming his clairvoyant was true.”

I’m sorry. You completely lost me here. CWL’s clairvoyant predictions, as I understand them, did not happen at all. For instance:

1. Where is this “Confederation”? The only Confederation I can think of is the European Union. But that only involves about 27 countries. Also, what “Kings” are left in Europe, no longer have any political power, let alone preside over the E.U. or any other confederation.
2. This confederation is supposed to have been organized and carried out by a reincarnation of “Julius Caesar.” Who is that person?
3. What Confederation do you know of that is re-proclaiming “the wisdom of Christ?”
4. If the E.U. is not the predicted Confederation, what is?
5. I’m not aware of any agreement among any confederation of countries that has agreed to give up war and pool their military budgets for social improvements “which he (Caesar) specifies.” Are you?
6. I’m not aware of any central government to whom the entire world pays taxes - let alone using that money to feed the poor and eliminate slums. Are you?
7. As far as I know armies and navies have not disappeared. Their purpose is still for waging war. People are not drafted to improve slums.
8. Poverty has not disappeared in the United States or in Europe. I’ve saw quite a lot of it during my travels. I've also heard that it still has a wondrous presence in Calcutta.
9. Where is the location of this “circular hall with a great number of doors” that “Caesar” had build for the Confederation?

I’m curious to know how you will explain these discrepancies between CWL’s predictions and the world as it is.

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Reply by Anand Gholap

You wrote: "In 1930, after K closed the Order of the Star, Besant reopened the ES. But it never regained what it once was, and today, has declined to almost nothing."

Decline to almost nothing in what sense? There are many ES members and there is literature already written. So in what sense did it become nothing?

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Reply by Jerry Hejka Ekins

By “declined to almost nothing” I meant the membership in the ES has declined. Before the ES was closed in 1928, its membership in the U.S. comprised about 40% of the general membership of TSA. About ten years ago, we did a little research and determined that the total membership in the U.S. is less than 150. That would be less than 5% of the membership. I have reason to believe that this same situation exists in all the other sections also. Unlike Arundale, Radha does not put out revelations from the Masters, and membership in the ES has become increasingly burdened with restrictions. So, the ES membership continues to decline.

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Discussions on the TSA's Theosophical Community
The Esoteric School Lobby

Posted by Anand Gholap

Mrs. Annie Besant wrote: “In the T.S. we have a curious mixture. The Exoteric Society is purely democratic - it is only fair to admit this fully. On the other side we have an Esoteric body which is practically autocratic in its constitution ... The existence of a secret body to rule the outer Society made the constitution of the T.S. a mere farce, for it was at the mercy of the inner … All the differences that arose between the Colonel and myself were on this point; he could not believe that I was serious in saying that I would not use the E.S. against him, but slowly he came to understand it ... The greatest power will always be in the hands of the E.S., and not in the head of the Society ... I know that I exercise a quite unwarrantable power. This is what makes some people say there should not be an E.S.T. … We must recognize the danger and try to neutralize it. At any time during the last fifteen years I could have checkmated the Colonel on any point if I had chosen ...”

I could see frustration of some officers in TS regarding the results in Presidential elections. They were wondering how one person can get elected unopposed for around 30 years. It happened again and again in TS history. Different theories were offered to explain this phenomenon. I think all that mystery is solved by above passages of Annie Besant.

* * *

I think, success of the Esoteric School depends, to much extent, on the outer head of ES. ES was more successful when disciples like Besant and Blavatsky were the heads of ES. As can be seen from Annie Besant's words, ES can be used for political purpose instead of spiritual purpose. It is important for members of ES to carefully observe for what purpose they are working.

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C.W. Leadbeater was a great example of self sacrifice. He served people through Theosophy by working from morning till night, but never held high posts in TS. It shows that old Theosophists were not interested in power, politics, posts etc.

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Reply by Pablo Sender: Comment 29440

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Reply by Konstantin Zaitzev

>We spend our meetings studying and discussing about how to deal a spiritual life.<

Why isn't it possible in the regular lodges? I think that it would be a better solution to have several lodges in a city, as it used to be in older times, and these lodges dedicated to the spiritual life shall have more strict admittance, while in all other respects not differ from other lodges. For example, Blavatsky had her own lodge in London, while there was other lodge president of which was Sinnett.

>Leadbeater did hold a high position in the ES, though.<

Outside ES no one could know this for sure, and in this respect we have to believe the members of ES without any possibility to test it ourselves.

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Reply by Pablo Sender: Comment 29485

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Reply by Konstantin Zaitzev

>since not every member of a Lodge is interested in actually leading a practical spiritual life you should create an “inner group” within a regular Lodge.<

I meant the special lodges for such persons.

Though I accept all your arguments in favour of ES, my purport was the following: Most of us, the simple members, are far from being fit to the life which ES disciples should live. Yet an existence of a secret society within the Theosophical Society which is declared a democratic body can provoke in us the thoughts that we are being manipulated. It can be our fault, not of the ES, as the people are liable to think the worst; nevetheless it is obvious that such our thoughts (even though ungrounded) poison the atmosphere in the Society.

As for the link, the very joining the Theosophical Society shall create a link with the Masters, if they really exist.

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Reply by Pablo Sender: Comment 29631

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Reply by Konstantin Zaitzev

Can there be a solution in making the ES more open? I mean that all ES members should be known as such (without disclosing their inner proceedings).

Then other members shall have more trust to them, consult with them on sophisticated questions, etc. And they will serve as example to others and also a moving force of the Society, helping it to became more active.

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Reply by Pablo Sender: Comment 29655

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Reply by Konstantin Zaitzev

OK. In 1900 Master K.H. wrote a letter to Annie Besant in which he advised to reform ES. Was it made that way as he proposed?

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Reply by Pablo Sender: Comment 29736

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Reply by Anand Gholap

J. Krishnamurti's opposition to the Esoteric School can be seen in his quotation below. Current Outer Head's promotion of J. Krishnamuriti seems strange when Krishnamuriti opposed Theosophy and the ES. Here is J. Krishnamuriti's quotation:

J. Krishnamurti: [Perhaps] you too hope that I may some day come back to Theosophy. Many friends of mine have told me that "eventually you will come back to us" + As I have repeated over and over again, I can say nothing with regard to ... Theosophy + The beliefs you hold are diametrically opposed to what I maintain. (Ommen 4Aug31 Q5 ISB Sep31);

Q: Will you ever come back to the Masters?

J. Krishnamurti: The questioner wishes to bring me back to his fold + Why do you need Masters, those supposed living beings with whom you are not directly in contact? + If you are seeking truth, why all this bother about them, why the exclusive organisations and secret conclaves?" (Ojai 4Jun44 Q17)

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Reply by Pablo Sender: Comment 29622

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Reply by Janeth: Comment 29676

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Reply by Anand Gholap

According to Pablo ES does not play role in TS elections. Annie Besant wrote quite the opposite. I have given Besant's observation above. I am copying here excerpt of the message sent by Roberta, at theos-talk, 20th June 2009. Message no. 51721 Roberta's message:

"It's good that you have asked for clarification regarding this embarrassing situation, as you call it. Let me tell you that although the subject you touched is related, we were discussing how some ES members in Latin America were advised to leave the ES last year, IF they had doubts about Radha Burnier's faculties, as in relation to her task as International President of the TS! So, at least in the Latin American region, the ES fuctioned as a state in the state, as a manipulative, and secretive political instrument. ... Roberta"

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Reply by Pablo Sender: Comment 29740

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Reply by William Vollrath

The fact is, any "secret" organization within a larger, essentially democratic organization is going to create concern and distrust. The only way to counter that reality is for the "secret" organization to be as open as possible regarding its membership, goals, beliefs and activities. In short, it should cease being secret and become an open and active group within the TS readily available for all who share those ideals!

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Reply by Anand Gholap

Let ES literature be available to all. Let members make their pledge in their own hearts to support Masters' work. This will make environment in TS more healthy and brotherly. This could be one option, though I want to think more about different options, before arriving at final conclusion.

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Pablo Sender wrote: "There is nothing in the ES rules that binds its members to anything regarding the TS administration."

Let us compare Pablo's words with E.S. rules and the pledge drafted by Blavatsky.
http://www.blavatskyarchives.com/espage2.htm
Rule 7(a)
(a) Obedience to the Head of the Section in all Theosophical matters.

And Pledge of Probationers in the Esoteric Section of the T.S.
http://www.blavatskyarchives.com/espage3.htm
2. I pledge myself to support, before the world, the Theosophical movement, it's leaders and it's members; and in particular to obey, without cavil or delay, the orders of the Head of the Esoteric Section in all that concerns my relation with the Theosophical movement.

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Reply by Pablo Sender: Comment 30246

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Reply by Anand Gholap

We can compare it with the information given by Jerry Hejka Ekins. Jerry says: "Blavatsky told her students that their obligation is first to their Higher Self. In the last Pledge sheet I saw, I noticed that new ES members now make their pledge directly to Radha - not to their Higher Self."

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Reply by Pablo Sender: Comment 30340

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Reply by Anton Rozman


Let me try to ask some fundamental questions in regard to the Esoteric School from common sense perspective.

It was said that the Esoteric School was formed to allow the TS’ members to follow definite path of self-discipline which leads ultimately to the chelaship and therefore to the connection with the Master.

Most probably members who follow this particular path have to believe that this Master actually exists and that education offered through this particular Esoteric School leads to the connection with Him?

If this is the case, is it not that in that way the TS members whose sole “religion” is supposed to be search for Truth and who choose to become members of the Esoteric School are now divided between an attitude of seekers of Truth and an attitude of believers of particular “religion” imposing that following this particular path will lead them to self-realization and connection with the Master, or in more profane words, that this particular mystical path will lead them to the reunion with their (inner) God?

It is said that on this particular path there are many who fail to actually become chelas and that it depends to great extend of the members themselves what the effects of following this particular path will be on them.

But is there anyone who can unequivocally say that at least the Outer Head of the ES has succeeded to become chela and that she is connected with the Master, the Inner Head of the ES, and that the influence of this connection can be clearly seen in her acting as the President of the Theosophical Society?

Or is there anyone who can at least approximately say how many other longstanding Esoteric School members have succeeded to become accepted chelas through the history of the ES?

Anyhow, but how would one evaluate an educational system in which very rare succeed to graduate, in which there is great danger and possibility that the effects of this educational system on pupils will be negative, which doesn’t have incorporated measures to prevent these negative effects and which doesn’t make visible selection between those who are getting positive effects from the system and those who have to face its negative effects?

Is there anyone who can list positive effects of attending this particular educational system that can not be achieved through any other similar system?

The TS Declaration on Freedom of the Society says that the TS “is and must remain an organization entirely independent …, not committed to any objects save its own, … by remaining free of affiliation or identification with any other organization.”

If it said that the Esoteric School is a separate organization from the TS can we also say that it is not affiliated to the TS if it has no existence without the TS?

If certain number of the Theosophical Society’s members seek self-fulfillment through Esoteric School what are the effects of this choice on the fulfillment of the objects of the Theosophical Society, or at least on the fulfillment of its first object? Does this choice actually enforce it or diminish it?

Is it legally acceptable that the Esoteric Section uses resources and property of the Theosophical Society for its functioning if in the TS Memorandum of Association it is declared that they shall be applied solely towards the promotion of the objects of the Society?

In the TS Declaration on Freedom of Thought it is said that “Every member has an equal right to attach himself to any teacher or to any school of thought which he may choose, but has no right to force his choice on any other.”

Does not special position or affiliation of the Esoteric School (in comparison with other organizations) with the Theosophical Society imply that choice of this particular school of thought is “forced” on the members of the Theosophical Society?

Is it not true that only with the de facto separation between the Theosophical Society and the Esoteric School the fundamental principles of the Society can be “defended and acted upon”?

Therefore the question is not to stop or not to stop the Esoteric School - this is the issue which only members of the ES have right to discuss. The issue is that members of the TS have the right to attach themselves to any school of thought or none and that they can defend and preserve this right only with strict application of TS’ Constitution and Declarations.

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Reply by Pablo Sender: Comment 29742

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Reply by Anton Rozman

My intention was and is to provide somehow different, out of box perspective on the situation to challenge the established view on the Esoteric School.

I wrote: "TS members whose sole “religion” is supposed to be search for Truth" You wrote: "I don't agree with that. TS members are free to follow any religion they want."

Maybe the wording I have chosen really wasn’t most fortunate one but from the context and my previous posts it could be realized that I meant that the Society’s motto “There is no Religion Higher than Truth”, the search for Truth, is the sole “religion” or “respect for what is sacred” which transcends TS members’ freedom of choice of whatever spiritual path or religion.

"And why would it matter who has succeeded as a chela and who has not? No earnest member should care about that and fortunately, it is not an issue in the ES."

I am seeing the Esoteric School as a specific educational system, which structure goes from the Master as the Inner Head, through the Outer Head and various levels of officers down to the individual pupils. In my opinion really matters if the Outer Head is connected with her Superior and if the instruction she is forwarding down through the structure really derives from that Source or not. And as you are also saying: “Most ES members will tell you their aspiration is simply to help in the Master’s work,” how is then possible that they are not interested to know if they are really fulfilling His work.

"Your view of the spiritual path sounds to me materialistic, with concepts of immediate success, palpable proofs, etc."

Once again, we are talking about the Esoteric School and, yes, I would expect immediate success, palpable proofs, that attending this particular educational system is giving some quick results. At least it should be visible that it is gradually enabling pupils, that it increases their willingness and capability, to maintain and promote fraternal relationships.

"The ES is one of these “allied institutions”, and this is legally accepted in the TS Rules and Regulations."

Pablo, I wasn’t able to find in the TS Memorandum of Association and Rules and Regulations any entry in regard to “allied institutions”; can you please indicate the exact Rule where this is mentioned.

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Reply by Pablo Sender: Comment 29813

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Reply by Anton Rozman

I present my views as concerned member of the Theosophical Society for I find, as do numerous other TS members who write and wrote on this issue in the past, that the relationship between the TS and ES is far from being healthy and because I think that interests and benefit of the Theosophical Society should be primary also for the members of the ES.

Maybe you will be interested to know what was recently written on this issue by longstanding TS member Jerry Hejka Ekins: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/theosophy_/message/4899

I can well imagine that your experience, as that of numerous other ES members, is very positive one and brought you spiritual benefits but on the other hand it is my impression that till now you haven’t been in a situation to experience “hard arm” of the structures of power and that therefore you consider them as non-existent what is perfectly normal. But if you don’t see them yet this doesn’t mean that they do not exist.

As I regularly check the TS Rules and Regulations and translated them in our language already 15 years ago, made commentaries and wrote numerous analysis of current happenings in the TS in the light of TS Constitution I can assure you that there is no such wording in them as “allied activities or institutions”. And if you will find time you can check this by yourself as you can find the latest Edition on: http://www.teozofija.info/tsmembers/Rules_2007_E.htm

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Reply by Konstantin Zaitzev

I would also add that the current international president who is inthe same time the outer head of ES seems to promote teachings of Krishnamurti. How is it so, if Krishnamurti was against all esotericism?

"Krishnamurti told Radha Burnier to run for president of the Theosophical Society (she had been high up in the Krishnamurti Foundation before that)."
http://www.katinkahesselink.net/faq/faq_jk.htm
Is that true? How the person with such a background could become a head of ES? (While there can be no objections against her presidency in the T.S.)

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Reply by Pablo Sender: Comment 29752

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Reply by William Vollrath

I believe it was much more than just excessive intellectualization that Krishnamurti came to reject. My understanding is that, as he aged and grew, he concluded one cannot achieve their highest spiritual awareness by seeking to understand "The Path" promoted by any group or organization. It must instead be an individualized journey...

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Reply by Anand Gholap

Pablo, when Annie Besant wrote above passages regarding control of TS by the ES, she knew that there was no rule in ES that asked members of ES to control TS. She was talking about the result of the organizational structures of TS and ES and their relationship. It was unintended consequence of that structure that ES became a secrete body controlling TS. This is how it works.
As I understand, members of ES take guidance from the Outer Head of ES in spiritual matters. So ES head enjoys respect and to some extent obedience from ES members, which gurus in India receive. ES is a hierarchy. At lower levels in ES hierarchy there are officers which enjoy similar advantage because they are guiding ES members in spiritual matters. In other words, all ES officers from lodge level to highest level receive that special status. Now, which ES member will vote against the Outer Head or an ES officer, in elections, when he is taking spiritual instructions from him? Not just voting but in many other ways these ES officers, being spiritual guides of ES members, receive obedience to some extent from ES members. For example generally ES member will be reluctant to questions actions of an "ES guru". In addition to it, a member of ES can be thrown out of ES anytime, if his immediate "ES guru" wants to or any of the higher officers in ES. So, who will challenge these "ES gurus", if they want to remain in ES?
This is the effect Annie Besant was talking about in passages I gave above from her writing.

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The presidential elections in Theosophical Society are conducted through secrete ballot. So others may not know for which presidential candidate a person votes. But in many Theosophical lodges elections don't happen through secrete ballot. So everyone knows for whom a member votes.
If an ES warden is running for the office, which they generally do, then how can an ES member under him vote against the ES warden, when he knows that this warden can expel that member from ES?
Not only that, how can a member of the lodge or a managing committee of the lodge challenge any proposal supported by an ES warden, when he knows that this warden can expel him from the ES?
Similarly, how can anybody in the General Council challenge any proposal supported by the Outer Head of ES, when he knows he can be expelled by this Outer Head?
So, ES officer not only finds it easy to get elected, but he does not get challenged in passing proposals, selecting people and in almost every area of TS related matters.

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Reply by Pablo Sender: Comment 29808

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Reply by Anand Gholap

Pablo, you might be writing from your experience. But I am also writing from my experience. It is possible that environment in which you were did not have negative factors I mentioned. But I talk from experience. Anton and some others also told about their experience of ES members. Whether local ES head would act as a guru among other ES members in his group depends on that head. Situation in ES is not uniform everywhere. It is more likely that there are places where ES power is misused and there are places where ES power is justly used.
It appears that Pablo won't believe even when Annie Besant, herself an ES head for decades, admitted that TS democracy is a farce.

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(Note: this reply relates to the information given by some anonymous contributors whose posts was automatically deleted when they left the forum.”

Dear Mary and All,
Here is one hypothesis. I am not in the ES, so others may correct this hypothesis.
Outer Head of ES has full control of ES hierarchy consisting of the O.H., Corresponding Secretaries in ES, ES Wardens and Members of ES.
ES hierarchy controls what happens in TS. In America condition may be different. But I think in many parts of TS, it is ES that controls TS. I was also told by an ES member that current O.H. controls TS through ES.
ES members do what O.H. tells them to do. Non-obedience of the orders of O.H. means getting expelled from the ES. Members of ES fear getting expelled from ES, and so they do whatever O.H. wants them to do.
These orders to members of ES are given through ES hierarchy. That means every order coming from O.H. need not be signed by the O.H. The Corresponding Secretaries and Wardens in ES know that they must do what O.H. wishes them to do. This wish may be expressed verbally or written. In any case obedience is demanded. Here again office in ES will be lost in case Warden or Corresponding Secretary does not do according to the wishes of O.H.
Many of the General Secretaries are also in ES and/or co-freemasonry. The head of both these organizations is current TS President. As ES and co-freemasonry are autocratic, their head can expel any member of these organizations any time. As General Secretaries know it, and as they don't want to get expelled from ES and/or co-masonry, they do what O.H. wishes them to do. They know that doing anything in TS work, against the wishes of O.H. means getting expelled from ES/co-masonry. So they don't challenge TS President in whatever decisions she takes.
Why do General Secretaries and ES members try to preserve their membership in ES and/or masonry by blind obedience? There could be at least two reasons. One is they know that true controlling power is in ES, and so if they lose position in ES, they might lose offices in TS also. Another reason behind trying to preserve ES/comasonry membership is they believe that if they remain in ES, they will be accepted as disciples by Masters of Wisdom. Because of these two reasons they try to preserve their ES membership, even if it meant blind obedience of orders of O.H., given through ES hierarchy.

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Reply by Konstantin Zaitzev

The reason why people got involved into politics is that they see that an organization isn't efficient and poorly fulfills its objects. Of course they infer that it's fault of the president and higher officials.
Now it's obvious that the Theosophical Society has a lesser influence in the world than under presidencies of Olcott or Besant. Even not long ago, with John Coats it could be called flourishing if to compare with today's situation.

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Reply by Anand Gholap

Pablo wrote: "One requisite to be an ES member is to have confidence in the ES head in his/her function as ES head. This is clearly stated in papers since HPB's times."
How is this confidence in ES head supposed to translate into action? By voting for her in Presidential elections? How can an ES member have confidence in spiritual capacities of ES head, decide to follow her, and at the same time vote against her in TS elections? It would be contradictory actions on the part of ES member if he takes pledge similar to what Blavatsky recommended and still votes against that person in TS elections.
There are three independent members, Roberta from Latina America, Preethi from India and Mary Underwood who are saying that ES members were asked to either believe in the capacity of Mrs. Burnier as President of TS or leave the ES.

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Reply by Pablo Sender: Comment 30083

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Reply by Konstantin Zaitzev

It should be also noted that the ES/TS issue and recent elections may be not necessarily connected, or, better to say, are not necessarily the same thing.
For example, miss Kim Dieu from EFTS supported John Algeo, though she is probably a member of ES (I don't know exactly).

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Reply by Pablo Sender: Comment 30088

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Reply by Janeth: Comment 30092, Comment 30101

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Reply by Anand Gholap

Manohar had sent that extremely important message. And now I find that he and his messages both are gone. I think there is required some system to back up messages.
It is very likely that some good members of TS want to tell something important to members of TS, for the benefit of TS members, but they fear administration. This may be the reason why they just give the messages they want to give and later leave the group, in order to avoid identification by the administration.

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Reply by William Vollrath

From my standpoint, the issue isn't whether TS members should engage in focused spiritual growth via the ES, but do they make an effort to reach out and invite participation by all interested parties, or are their activities mostly unannounced and exclusive rather than widely publicized and inclusive. Does the group foster a sense of Special Us or of Brotherly All ...

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Reply by Anand Gholap

Preethi's reply to Keith at
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/theos-talk/message/51860
"The reason for my "putting my head on the block" as you call it is that I saw in Pedro's hand a draft of Mrs Burnier's letter to ES members asking them to leave the ES if they thought she was incapable of running as head of the TS."

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Reply by Janeth: Comment 30035

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Reply by Konstantin Zaitzev

>Had there been a provision in TS's by-laws preventing the TS president to occupy both TS positions<

There was an objection that in such case the president may happen to be an ordinary ES member and obey to the ES orders; so the Society will be controlled not by the president but by a quite another person.
So the combination of two offices was considered the lesser evil; at least we know who is really the boss.

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Reply by Anand Gholap

After reading messages from different members of American Section it appears that American Section is much more free than most other sections, and perhaps better managed. However it will be a mistake on the part of TSA employees if they believe that all national sections are equally free and to believe that in all sections TS is free from interference from ES. I think there is a lot of difference between environment in American Section and that in other sections of TS. For example in India, it appears that Indian Section has considerable influence of TS President, whereas such influence of TS President does not exist on American Section.

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Reply by Konstantin Zaitzev

Yes, in Yugoslavia entire section was unchartered by Radha Burnier as it worked the way the members of ES didn't like; and it really ceased to exist, though it was a big one. Though there were serious violations of TS Rules by some lodge secretaries, the destruction of entire section was like a treating of a headache by a guillotine. Anton will correct me, if needed, as he knows much better.
I've heard about a similar story in Denmark but I don't know any details.

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Reply by Anand Gholap

I also heared about this tactic that showed me that lodge members and section officers will obey the commands instead of losing the charter of the lodge or section. Not only that, TS President can expel a person from TS also. These are some of the reasons why there is little or no resistance to President's decisions.

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Reply by Anton Rozman

On this page you will find under the title "Sparks from the movement's history in Slovenia and former Jugoslavia" documents related to the history of the TS in the area of former Jugoslavia.

There are two documents which treat the issue in question:
The Eighties
and
Formal reasons for the decay of the Theosophical Society in SFR Yug...

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Reply by Anand Gholap

If Theosophical Society had not claimed to be democratic, and if it had non-democratic constitution, then people would not have expected democracy. And there would not be false impression that TS is a democracy. But when you make TS constitution democratic, make others feel it is democratic, but practically it is not a democracy, then it is wrong.
Motto of the Theosophical Society is "No religion is higher than Truth", meaning Truth is most important and so TS indirectly claims to know that Truth and claims to follow Truth. If apparent democracy is autocracy in reality (refer quotes of Besant), then where is following of truth?

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Reply by Anton Rozman

I am quite sure that in regard to the TS Constitution and also in regard to the status of the Esoteric School there is present a lot of misunderstanding within the ranks of TS members. Namely, the legal situation in the Theosophical Society is a real mess. Why? Because the TS Constitution is far from being applied in practice. Only two points: The TS Sections have their own by-laws and are incorporated under different local societies, companies and corporations Acts and it seems that their only compliance with the TS Rules and Regulations is the declaration that they are connected with the International Theosophical Society with the seat at Adyar. On the other hand and consequently the roles of the international TS bodies as determined by the TS Rules and Regulations are equally not applied in practice.

There are several historical reasons for such a situation but we should be aware that it has serious consequences because the Society’s Rules are actually Society’s moral code. They determine how members and especially officers must behave, which proceedings they must apply, so that rights and freedom of each individual member is respected and promoted in the way of realization of the Society’s objects. If the Rules are not applied in practice we actually have an immoral situation - and we can all see this in the troubles we have as a Society, beginning from the interaction between individual members to the decision making process on the international level.

H.S. Olcott was a constitutionalist and he knew well that secret societies in principle destroy social justice and human rights but had to face the political reality (or call it Master’s intervention if you want) and therefore accepted sort of coexistence of the Theosophical Society and the Esoteric Section. Annie Besant was also constitutionalist herself as she was deeply involved in social and political life and therefore knew well the implications but, in my opinion, used this situation for the purposes which she considered higher than those of the TS. Later Presidents, except maybe John Coats, didn’t have this special constitutional awareness and didn’t pay due attention to this problem, or maybe the anti-constitutional lobby has became so strong that it brought us to the current situation.

It was said that there is Freedom in the TS. There is no such thing as Freedom per se. Freedom is something what has to be fought for and realized every single day.

For instance, if an individual member thinks that she/he has some good idea or objection regarding the management of the Society or regarding some activity she/he must in first place have a courage, or conquer her/his individual freedom, to publicly propose this idea as a resolution or petition. Then she/he has to fight that this resolution will be put on the agenda of an appropriate body and finally to defend and promote it with strong pro arguments. Therefore, Freedom requires courage, perseverance and knowledge or, once again, willingness and capability from the part of every single member. When there will be enough such Freedom loving members in the TS things will change.

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To revitalize an organization or a community, it is of the greatest importance for its members to examine the process of corruption - how and why it comes; for unless minds are incorrupt no amount of alteration in outer patterns and forms will avail. In dealing with corruption the problem of inertia too will be solved, for corruption and inertia are not two different things. Organizations and communities can remain fresh and vital only when their members are extraordinarily vigilant with regard to the process of corruption which contaminates the mind. If the members are aware of this they will, by their very vigilance, be able to retain the pristine purity of their organizations. Only as organizations become fields of observation, instead of fields of self-fulfillment, will they serve as channels for the pure and living waters of life to all those who suffer deep psychological agony. Organizations will fulfill their purposes only if their members do not seek to fulfill their own purposes through them. (Rohit Mehta, The Search for Freedom)

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Reply by Anand Gholap

The organization like Esoteric School succeeds if it's head is highly evolved spiritually. In the beginning of ES, there were highly evolved disciples namely Blavatsky and then Annie Besant. At that time it was good for members of ES to take a pledge to follow such ES heads, because these disciples had great knowledge of how to lead the followers in right direction.
When you give control of your life to other person (for example ES head), to some extent, then there is a big risk if the leader is not highly evolve spiritually. In this situation, both leader and his followers degenerate. So if you do not get very highly developed leader, then don't give up control of your life to anybody. Study good books written by highly developed people like Annie Besant and C.W. Leadbeater. Follow instructions given in their writings and take decisions yourself. Don't hand over control of your life to anybody. Don't take pledge to follow anybody, because if leader (being less evolved) leads you in wrong direction, you will suffer and involve in many wrongdoings.

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Reply by Robert

Ms. Mary Underwood has no problem in re-posting her messages. She was asked to call it off because some well-meaning people felt that the messages, albeit all true, can damage the organization if seen by outsiders and those who are against the TS. (throwing the baby with the bath water!). As usual, Ramdoss and his likes try to hijack the issue and resort to their usual 'diry tricks' of twisting facts. Why not concentrate on the messages instead of the messenger? For example, why not be transparent (to quote these very people) and post in here the 'un-doctored' ES letter for members to compare and evaluate for themselves. That letter was not doctored and is the same as circulated within a group, but as Mary has stated clearly in her posting, that could have been the draft and the final version may have changed. But even as a draft, it exposes the motive and that is what truth-seekers should focus.This is available as a circulated document for inspection by an independent authority. But then, the whole thing will hit the fan. And it is not possible to reveal the identity of people involved at this stage because they will surely be expelled and not much truth will come out thereafter.

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Reply by Anand Gholap

I agree with Robert. Also I don't favor suppression of free discussion under the excuse of "it can damage TS organization". It appears that some groups in TS try to suppress free discussion of sensitive issues because it damages that group's own interests. I have also observed that when somebody talks against the interests of these groups, he is removed by calling him "unbrotherly". This was the condition of Anton also. Anton perhaps did more translation work than entire Slovenian Section. And yet he was considered by Slovenian Section as unfit for TS membership for many years. Ironically these officers, who expelled Anton, were ES members reporting to the Outer Head of ES.
There are many individuals who have told that such ES letter, similar to what Mary copied, had been issued. From the messages of Mary and Manohar it appeared that they had considerable knowledge of TS organization and they were part of it or are still part of it. It seems more likely that they left this forum after giving information in order to avoid wrath of administration.

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Reply by Janeth: Comment 30165

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Reply by Anand Gholap

There is one option being discussed. Some people are thinking that if two offices, the Outer Head of ES and the President of TS, are held by two different individuals, misuse of power will not happen. However, I doubt whether this option can succeed in preventing wrong use of power. In any organization two individuals can form a kind of understanding, a sort of power sharing agreement. I have seen formation of such lobbies by some individuals for their own mutual benefit, at the cost of organization. So, I don't think mere on paper separation of power can guarantee that ES power will not be used to control TS.
There is other better option, which needs debate. We can make all documents of the Esoteric School available to all members of TS. Then whatever spiritual practices were being taught in the ES can be practiced by anybody in TS who wants to live that kind of life. After doing this, there will not be any need of having a separate Esoteric School. As there won't be an ES, question of using ES to control TS will not arise.
There will be many advantages of this change. Abolition of ES will create much healthy relations and brotherhood in TS. ES power will not be used to control TS. And everybody will be free to live life as given in ES documents, if he/she wants.

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Reply by Janeth: Comment 30162

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Reply by Anand Gholap

Somehow I could get the message sent by Manohar yesterday. As he left, his messages had got deleted automatically. I could still get one.
I am giving below that short message. I have not yet checked whether this data is accurate or not. Others might be knowing about whether it is accurate or not. But the message looks interesting. Below is the message from Manohar.

The strategic alliance between Krishnamurti Foundation of India (KFI) and the Theosophical Society was formed many years back after Radha took over as President and strengthened over time. … Adyar estate, which is worth about $3 billion or about 140 billion Indian Rupees ... Radha’s cousin headed Adyar Library for many years, this cousin’s husband was general manager and head of publishing house, their one son was also general manager of the estate, the latter’s brother is head dean of KFI School, which is the Society’s estate, his wife is a teacher there and her mother also works in the Society’s library. Another cousin was a Kalakshetra teacher and organizes cultural programs in the Society. These are all on Radha’s mother’s side. On her father’s side, nephew Nandan’s wife Uma heads Leadbeater Chambers. Nandan was earlier head of publishing department. Subha is Nandan’sister in the editorial office. Another of their relatives is for cleanliness of the estate. Some more underlings are also there. … All of them live in the Adyar estate. … Radha’s proposed successor as President of the Society, Krishna, is her cousin and a permanent invitee to all Convention Lectures. And he gets ‘invited’ by all loyal sections and Lodges for their programs. … lives in Varanasi and works closely with the Indian Section there. …

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Reply by Anton Rozman

You wrote: I hope you, and others like you who still do not understand the important role the ES plays in the TS, thus the world, would come to a fair understanding of it as soon as possible.

Can you please elaborate your understanding of the importance of the ES role in the TS.

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Reply by Janeth: Comment 30762

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Reply by Anton Rozman

You asked: “… what is your understanding of what the ES is …?”

As much as I can conclude from outside observation and published documents I would say that according to its status and name the Esoteric School is a secret educational organization which was originally established with the purpose of deeper study of esoteric philosophy with quite severe rules which its students have to apply to be able to adequately follow the learning process - but in my eyes it certainly isn’t an equivalent for the spiritual path. In what it actually developed in practice and through time it is hard to me to say, but it seems that besides educational it has also political purposes.

“… what is your understanding of what the ES … purports to do?

It is still harder for an outsider to reply to this part of the question but I will anyway not avoid the answer. It is said that it prepares students for chelaship and that this process should enable them to spread positive influence on the functioning of the Theosophical Society.

On the ground of my study of the history of the Theosophical Society it is my current conviction that the ES failed and is failing in both these two respects. I do not believe and I presume that the Outer Heads of the ES weren’t and is not in contact with those Beings who stood behind the establishment of the Theosophical Society.

From historical facts I further conclude that the ES as a whole have had more negative than positive influence on the functioning of the TS. Most probably the ES additionally benefited those persons who already possessed strong character, so that they were individually capable to spread positive influence but additionally harmed persons with weak character who, as a group, represented serious obstacle for that positive influence. More over, the “attractiveness” of the ES and its goal has had the negative effect on the realization of the Theosophical Society’s objects in general.

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Reply by Janeth: Comment 30796

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Reply by Anton Rozman

In essence your view, and please correct me if I am wrong, of the importance of the ES role in the TS is in providing members which are untitled to assume greater responsibilities and provide deeper service because they submitted themselves to certain discipline and study and that problems in regard to the performance of these responsibilities arise, not because of this system of discipline and study, but because people aren’t able to apply it practice; but that we should have understanding for their troubles and patience as they have assumed hard task to accelerate their evolution, so that in future the whole system will work perfectly. Correct?

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Reply by Janeth: Comment 30815

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Reply by Konstantin Zaitzev

>The problem is "us" imperfect human beings and how we interpret the teachings<

There's a problem with a system which is unfit for real "us". For example, some people dream about an initiated king which will wisely rule his kingdom. But in practice a monarchy is just a system of violence because of the human nature. The same with communism. So democracy is the best system to work with our type of consciousness, as it provides mutual control. Though were we more developed, communism or monarchy probably would work.
The same thing with societies. ES would work only if its head were much more advanced than most of us. If not, with other conditions of karma which you wrote about being provided, it becomes a playground of forces where members' karma is just "being burned". (Blavatsky wrote that T.S. became a pandemonium, probably, due the same reasons). Maybe it's a useful experience for some people which helps their advancement, but when connected with democratic and secular Theosophical Society, in cannot but bring to it discord and disturbance.

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Reply by Janeth: Comment 30841

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Reply by Anton Rozman

I give up. I hoped that you will be so kind to provide somehow clear picture of your personal understanding of the role of the ES in the TS as I am familiar with generally uniform explanations represented as well as with somehow uniform scruples about personal destructive agendas and selfishness addressed to those who are asking questions, seeking understanding and pondering upon more satisfactory solutions. I am therefore doomed to remain ignorant and the role of the ES secret of “higher wisdom”.

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Reply by Janeth: Comment 30908, Comment 30909

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Reply by Anton Rozman

I see, the system does not work properly because anomalies of individual members aren’t reported to sufficient degree to the officers in charge who should take fraternal action to protect the system. Now I understand fully as it sounds very familiar to me.

As we all know there exists a branch of science which “uses systematic methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop and refine a body of knowledge about human social structure and activity” called sociology and which “traditional focuses have included social relations, social stratification, social interaction, culture and deviance”. One of its branches is political science which is “concerned with the theory and practice of politics and the description and analysis of political systems and political behavior” and which “study the allocation and transfer of power in decision-making, the roles and systems of governance including governments and international organizations, political behavior and public policies”. It measures “the success of governance and specific policies by examining many factors, including stability, justice, material wealth, and peace”. “A political system is a complete set of institutions and interest groups, the relationships between those institutions and the political norms and rules that govern their functions (constitution, election law, etc).” (Source: Wikipedia)

So, there exists out there vast knowledge on the subject we are examining here, but it seems that we theosophists tend to ignore this knowledge and to consider our situation as something outside the researches made by sociologists.

My exclamation that I now understand what you mean because things are familiar to me is based on similarity of your description with the political system we had in former Jugoslavia and which I will try to represent in few words. This political system of “Self-government”, as it was called, had representative legislative and governmental decision making bodies from the local to the federative level which were to great extend autonomous, it had political ideal formulated in the words of “Brotherhood and Unity” and an “enlightened” leader in a person of Josip Broz Tito. But parallel to this to great extend democratic structure there existed a Communist Party with a hierarchical system at the top of which it was the same person and where actually the decisions were taking place making the political system a farce. The “optimal” functioning of the system was guaranteed by the operation of political police which reported “deviances” to the political structure of Communist Party which then acted accordingly, usually producing gossip about the “deviated” persons and in that way socially kill them - all in the name of “Brotherhood and Unity” and with use of lofty words. It was a system of sophisticated repression of human rights and freedom. When the “enlightened” leader who pulled all the strings died the reality of relationships within the system sprung up in a form of one of the bloodiest wars in recent times.

Therefore the system you are proposing or explaining fits into the term of “totalitarian democracy”, a system in which elected representatives, while granted the right to vote, have little or no participation in the decision-making process of the government, and with the repressive institutions which can actually dismiss deviances but at the same time kill all individual initiative and freedom. Such system is, in my view, against all libertarian principles behind the Constitution of the United States as those of the Constitution of the Theosophical Society.

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Reply by Janeth: Comment 31092

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Reply by Anton Rozman

It seems to me that there is much misunderstanding present.

In the Theosophical Society we have definite political (in a sense of management of public affairs) system. Its frame is represented by the TS Constitution, i.e. Memorandum of Association and Rules and Regulations. This system is democratic and un-ideological and designed after the example of the Constitution of the United States of America.

The problems in regard to the proper functioning of this system are twofold. Firstly, it is not applied in practice; and secondly, parallel to it or illegally incorporated into it there is another political system in a form of definite organization which structure is totalitarian and ideological, i.e. the Esoteric School.

As I understand your opinion (which is shared by many) is that the TS Constitution is archaic/ancient and therefore major reason for improper functioning of the TS. I don’t share this opinion because we actually can’t know if this is the case for the TS Constitution was never fully applied in practice. There are several historical reasons for this but nevertheless the fact is that we have a political system which is not in operation. On the other hand we have this parallel political system which displays decisive influence on the primary in a form of recruiting candidates for the offices and therefore on the decision making process and which is fully operational. Therefore we have the “totalitarian democracy”.

... in which elected representatives, have little or no participation in the decision-making process of the government?

Elected representatives in our case are General Secretaries (as members of the General Council) and members of the Executive Committee. Other officers are appointed and then confirmed by the GC. You yourself are listing in your reply to Anand series of problems indicating that members of the GC can not execute properly their function. But more important deviations are the following: proposals of elected representatives are arbitrarily rejected and are not put on the agenda of respective bodies (for instance, last year such was a fate of Joy Mills’ proposal to the EC, Betty Bland’s proposal to the GC, serious violations of the President election process weren’t even discussed), the General Council is not discussing and accepting Society’s policy, plan of work and so on. This clearly shows that elected representatives actually have no influence on the decision-making process in the TS.

repressive institutions … Do you mean to say we have a repressive institution? With all due respect, dear brother, I do not feel repressed, nor have I allowed anyone make me feel repressed.

I will mention only an example I am well familiar with. When the ES lost control over the management of the Yugoslav Section of the TS an inquiry was launched that avoided all proceedings demanded by the TS Constitution and which sole purpose was to confirm fabricated allegations against Section’s officers. The result was cancellation of their Diplomas and Charters of five lodges out of eight. The outcome was decay of the Section. You can learn more on this reading the article: - Formal reasons for the decay of the T.S. in SFR Yugoslavia

I heard about several others but less catastrophic instances. So, I consider that the system is repressive, actually that it is very repressive. Is it so only because of personal characteristics of the current Outer Head of the ES and President of the TS it is not so important; more important is that we have a system which allows such abuse of power, and the reason is not inadequate TS Constitution.

In regard to the situation in the TS Sections we have to know that their “political system” is not the TS Constitution as each of them has its own by-laws and is incorporated as separate legal entity. Their Constitutions are therefore very different and in accord with local cultural and legislative specifics. A relation to the ES therefore differs much, from that in the United States, where the separation is substantial, to that for instance in Slovenia, where there is no separation at all and where the TS is actually the ES. Probably depends a lot from the respective General Secretary how she/he manage to deal with the inserting influence of the Outer Head of the ES. It is an irony that this illegal situation within the TS actually protects its Sections against the complete dominance from her part. And I assume that many problems which arise within the Sections are consequence of struggles between those who protect Sections’ independence and those loyal to the OH of the ES.

Therefore the level of democracy within TS Sections is very different, so the term “totalitarian democracy” must be understand conditionally, but I see only one Section, the TS in New Zealand, which visibly shows high level of democracy as you can see on its web site all relevant documents.

Do you honestly believe that if the system was so imperfect as some would want others to believe I would still be here writing this comment?

Actually I do, as there are theosophical ideas and the lofty objects of the TS which bring us together in an effort to contribute something that the vehicle which holds them will improve, for the current situation is disgrace (think about what happened last year) for those ideas and objects.

After all I've been through in less than three years since becoming a TS and TSA member, would I still be part of such an imperfect, or maybe I should say disastrous system as some perceive it to be? NO!! I am no sage, but I am not that ignorant either!

As said, the problem is overall situation in the TS. In Sections there are countless dedicated workers, students and members faithful to the theosophical principles, which turn their head in disgust, instead of being proud, when institutional issues spring up. It happened also on this Community recently. Well, there has to be some reason for that.

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Reply by William Vollrath

Janeth, Please carefully consider these complete, recent comments from Anton and try not to view them as an attack on ES or TS or you, but on the political realities of the current organizational structure. I and many others find significant TS/ES administrative activities to be dysfunctional and inappropriate because of the existence of a strong and powerful, undemocratic organization in a position of great power within TS at various levels!!

Just to be clear, I have no reason to believe the current administration of TSA is not receptive to dissenting opinions/democratic procedures. That may not have always been true in the past, and it apparently is clearly not currently true at the International level.

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Reply by Janeth: Comment 31311

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Reply by Anand Gholap

In TS, the General Council is supposed to be the most powerful body, just as congress is most powerful decision making body in the US. Now, as many of these GC members are in ES, and follow ES head because of convention, how can you expect them to support any proposal which is not supported by ES head? Suppose few GC members like Ms. Bland and Mr. Warwick venture to bring new proposal, who among the GC will support it, when supporting such a proposal means going against their ES head?

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Reply by Janeth: Comment 31378, Comment 31379

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Reply by Anand Gholap

It is true that last year many GC members nominated Mr. John Algeo instead of supporting the ES head. But it was an exceptional revolt. Generally there was tendency to support ES head. When Annie Besant wrote passages regarding ES controlling TS, she was talking about this factor i.e. strong tendency among ES members to support ES head. And that factor still exists to a considerable degree. That is the reason why in most earlier elections ES head got elected almost unopposed. And the advantage which ES head gets is not just in Presidential elections. ES head most probably gets advantage while taking any decision or while passing any resolutions because ES members have tendency to support ES head.

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Reply by Janeth: Comment 31604

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Reply by Anand Gholap

The condition of Esoteric School and TS is different in different places. American Section is more independent than most other Sections. American Section is not controlled too much by the President in Adyar. But there are many national sections where control of TS President and ES hierarchy is considerable. That is why one should not assume that condition of TS and ES in America is similar to the condition of TS and ES in other countries.

It gives me the feeling that in countries like Slovenia, lodge President acts more like TS Presidential Representative than like the lodge President elected by the lodge and for the lodge.

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Reply by Janeth: Comment 30851

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Reply by William Vollrath

It seems to me that the tension between the oligarchic ES and the, purportedly, more democratic TS lies in a larger issue, namely the tension between following one's inner Master and following an external Master. Maybe it can best be understood and resolved if viewed from the perspective of an individual human's growth. As an infant, we must depend almost completely on the nurturing of another, more advanced human. In childhood we begin to develop the ability for individualized actions, and in adolescence we really wish to exercise that freedom. As adults, our need for independent lives is at its maximum if we are to realize our full potential. Perhaps the path of spiritual growth is similiar. If so, I would suggest most Theosophists are at the adult level of spiritual growth, and, as such, their focus should be on the inner, not an external, Master. If ES cannot recognize and accept this very important reality, it likely will do more harm than good...

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Reply by Anand Gholap

In ES, members tend to depend on ES officers for guidance about what to do and what not to do. These ES officers may or may not be spiritually developed enough to be able to guide these members in right direction.
In addition to that, these ES officers can take many other considerations into account. For example instead of thinking what is good for the member, he may think what is good for the organization, or that officer himself, while giving orders to members of ES.
It can also happen that member of ES would be much more evolved than his officers. In that case is that ES officer going to admit it and allow member to take his decision? Perhaps not.
Because of such factors I would recommend people to study good books of Leadbeater and Besant. Then people should decide themselves what they should do. Let members discern where their Higher Self and their best judgment are leading them and let them do accordingly.

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Reply by William Vollrath

In fact, I would suggest that ES is to Theosophy as the Catholic church is to Christianity, and history speaks loudly on each...

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Reply by Konstantin Zaitzev

Catholic church, at least, speaks aloud about itself without hiding itself behind the secular societies.

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Reply by William Vollrath

It seems all religious, political, spiritual and philosophical groups have a strong need to share their TRUTH with the rest of us. Unfortunately, they almost never get it right, and instead end up promoting various quasi-truths...

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Reply by Anton Rozman

Here is an interesting article on this issue by Gottfried de Purucker:
The World's Trouble and its Cure

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Reply by Anand Gholap

I think as long as ES is there, the habit of blind obedience to ES Head and other ES officers will remain in Theosophical Society. Abolition of ES seems to be the only way to get rid of autocratic influence of ES. It is perhaps good for ES members not to have ES, because there is visible degrading influence of ES on it's members.
Another most important thing which should be done is to reduce the term of the President to five years. Seven years is too long term. Most countries don't have such long term for the President. So shortening of Presidential term is important.
Third thing that should be done is nobody should be allowed to be the President of TS for more than two terms.
These things will greatly help in making TS more just, transparent and efficient.

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Reply by Anton Rozman

What will the ES do is up to its members to decide. The TS should have no say in this respect. But what the TS have to say and to do is that it must resolve current illegal situation. This is quite serious thing if someone will one day decide to bring it to the court. So, the TS can incorporate the ES into its Constitution and officially say good bye to democracy or demand from the ES to establish itself as separate legal entity.

On the other hand it is not only the ES but also some other organizations which are in similar relationship to the TS, as Co-Masonry and Liberal Catholic Church. In my view the only remedy to solve this conflict of interests is to adopt definite ethical standard that the person who runs for the office in the TS should not be officer or even member of any other organization. Many ethical TS members have done so in the past as they understood this conflicting situation. More over, such solution can be adopted progressively and in that way a revolutionary approach avoided.

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Reply by Anand Gholap

When TS is greatly influenced by ES and when democracy of TS is threatened by ES, we can not say that what ES does is their problem alone. If we suppose ES members benefit in some ways by being in ES, then also we can't sacrifice interests of large number of TS members for the benefit of some ES members.
Dan's points regarding membership in other organizations is interesting. The ES head can control behavior of TS officers because membership of TS officers in ES is dependent on favorable opinion of ES head.
Suppose ES head and TS officers are only ordinary members of Roman Catholic Church (RCC) or LCC, then membership of TS officers in RCC or LCC will not depend on favor of ES head. So, if ES head is only an ordinary member of other organizations, then perhaps he may not be able to control behavior of TS officers
"who am I to judge the subjective worth of another person's experience? That is for the person having the experience to decide - and nobody else."
Although it is true to some extent, it is still possible for others to judge behavior and actions of ES members in TS. For example when you see visible efforts made by ES officers to control TS, and when it is against the spirit of the constitution of TS, then you can see what effect ES has on those individuals.
We need to understand it very well that constitution of TS does not give any preferential right to ES members to control TS.

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Reply by Anton Rozman

Yes, you are right; if we would install a restriction in a form of a Rule or Declaration which will prevent the TS member to run for the office if she/he is an officer or even member of any other organization then such a Rule or Declaration would in fact represent a discriminatory stipulation and would be against democratic principles, objects of the TS and its Declaration on Freedom of Thought. Therefore I am talking about an ethical standard or, in other words, that it should be “normal” that the TS member who runs for a definite office renounce her/his position or even membership in any other organization and dedicate her/himself totally and solely to the aims of the Theosophical Society and that such candidate should be preferred and actually would have a chance to be elected. This ethical standard is recognition from the part of TS members that this is the only way in which the TS can maintain its independence.

Why? Please, read that part of the E. Wood’s Election Manifesto (The Second Visitor) where he describes the situation when a candidate for the TS Federation Presidentship was dismissed because he abandoned his membership in the ES and Co-Masonry. He simply wasn’t an appropriate candidate any more.

So, the problem is not related to the individuals but to the organizations. Each individual who lives or is striving to live according to her/his ideals, and such are great majority of TS members, deserves respect and admiration. But this is not enough to make the TS “live” according to its ideals. It is the same with other organizations, i.e. Co-Masonry, ES, LCC, and so on. Organizations have their own logic of functioning and certain behavior must be applied to prevent assertion of separate or private interests (what is a complex issue which I can not expand properly here) in any kind of organization. Namely, organizations in general do not “live” according to their ideals otherwise this world would be very different place to live in.

In autocratic or theocratic organizations such interest can assert itself very easily when the Leader asserts her/his private interest (possibly and to great extend even unconsciously). In democratic organizations such assertion can be to large extend prevented by strict application of the Constitution.

In the TS there is present strong influence of mentioned organizations, to such a degree that these organizations determine who will be the candidate for an office in the TS. E. Wood’s representation is clear indication that individuals are replaced if they not play according to the logic of these organizations (not individuals). This makes the TS their hostage. Until this conflict of interests will not be resolved the TS Constitution (even if largely modernized) can not be really applied in practice as it will be always by-passed by assertion of interests of other organizations.

What will the ES do is up to its members to decide. The TS should have no say in this respect. When TS is greatly influenced by ES and when democracy of TS is threatened by ES, we can not say that what ES does is their problem alone.

You didn't take in consideration the second part of my sentence:

But what the TS have to say and to do is that it must resolve current illegal situation. ... the TS can incorporate the ES into its Constitution and officially say good bye to democracy or demand from the ES to establish itself as separate legal entity.

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Reply by Anand Gholap

Some people suggested that if we compulsorily keep leaders of TS and ES separate individuals, the problem will be solved. I think it may not work. At present President of TS and her close relative is the director of Krishnamurti Foundation, India. Similar thing can happen in case of TS and ES. You might get close relatives as President of TS and other Outer Head of ES, with lot of "understanding" between them.

the TS can incorporate the ES into its Constitution and officially say good bye to democracy or demand from the ES to establish itself as separate legal entity.

If, without legal existence ES has so much influence on TS, how much worse effect will it have if it gets legal status? So it is a bad idea to give separate legal status to ES.
First option of making TS autocratic under ES also does not seem possible for many reasons. One reason is ES has certain beliefs whereas TS does not have stated beliefs, as TS gives freedom of thought to all.

The basic question is why do we need the Esoteric School. If the answer is to develop spiritually it's members, then I think ES is not absolutely necessary. TS member also can develop spiritually if he does the same things as ES member does. In Esoteric School, spiritual development is sought by study of Theosophy, meditation and unselfish service. You can see all these things can be done without ES, by any ordinary member of TS.
Mr. Leadbeater has written that anybody involved in unselfish service of mankind is noticed by Masters and and guided. Unselfish service also can be done without being a member of ES. That means, to develop spiritually, it is not necessary to be a member of ES.
That is why ES is not absolutely necessary.

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Reply by Anton Rozman

I think that the TS has neither right nor power to dismiss the ES. We as democrats and libertarians should abstain from telling others what they should think and do but we have the right and should claim our freedom and be able to defend it.

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Reply by Anand Gholap

Anton wrote: "I think that the TS has neither right nor power to dismiss the ES."

Why not? Esoteric School uses property of Theosophical Society and holds meetings in TS premises. TS can prevent ES from using property and premises of TS.

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Reply by Anton Rozman

Anand, because those who should decide on this mater are all members of the ES. So, in any case there will be the ES members who will decide about its fate.

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Reply by Anand Gholap

Whatever improvements you may make in the constitution of TS, the effect of Esoteric School will always make TS constitution what Annie Besant called "a farce". It is unethical to tell people that TS is democratic, when in reality it is not.

There is one interesting message sent by Robert Bruce. It is very relevant in this organizational discussion.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/theos-talk/message/49867

* * *

In TS, General Council is supposed to be the most powerful decision making body, just as Congress is in the US government. But as most General Council members are also members of ES, whose head is TS President, and as these General Council members perhaps think that it is their duty to obey "without cavil and delay" orders of the Outer Head, they don't challenge President's decisions. This is the impression members are getting.
So, when you have an ES, you make constitution of TS ineffective because there remain no checks and balances in TS.
If a General Council member, who is pledged member of ES, challenges the President, he breaks the convention of obeying commands of the Outer Head. And if he does not question decisions of the President, he is doing injustice to his post as elected representative of TS members.
That is why ES and TS constitutions are not compatible with each other, unless heads of two are different. Even when heads are different, there should not form a lobby, if the spirit of constitution is to be protected.
When there is no ES, TS constitution has highest checks and balances.

There are also some other factors that make President too powerful. At present, President can withdraw charter of any Section, Federation or lodge. Because of it, President can tell officers of a Section "Do what I say, or I will remove charter of your Section". Because of this threat, officers in national sections fear to challenge the President on any issue.
The power to remove charter of any Section, federation or lodge must be given to only General Council. If charter of any section or federation or lodge is to be removed, it should require majority votes from the General Council, taken in secrete ballot.

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Reply by William Vollrath

Mr. Leadbeater has written that anybody involved in unselfish service of mankind is noticed by Masters and and guided. Unselfish service also can be done without being a member of ES. That means, to develop spiritually, it is not necessary to be a member of ES. That is why ES is not absolutely necessary.

This observation by Anand may well hold the answer to at least part of the problem, although TS democratic by-laws must still be followed or the de-emphasis on ES does nothing. Karma is unfolding on this thread ...

* * *

It would appear that a totalitarian rule to prohibit certain outside organization members (e.g. ES members) from being TS officers, is not the path to a more democratic TS. However, as would be done in most US elections, relevant outside memberships should be fully disclosed, and if elections are democratically conducted, it will then be decided by the voting members if that membership is an issue. Such controversial memberships should be recognized to be a legitimate election issue that can be discussed and debated during an election. If concerns and interests of a less influential group of members (e.g. non-ES members) then continue to be abused, they will no doubt leave the organization and TS will become less relevant to the spiritual growth of humanity ...

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Reply by Anton Rozman

The “totalitarian rule to prohibit certain outside organization members (e.g. ES members) from being TS officers, is” certainly “not the path to a more democratic TS”. But we need the recognition that the TS can not be an independent organization if its officers are at the same time officers or members of other organization(s). We need a system in which non-ES (or some other organization) members will have at least equal opportunity to be elected. Maybe to open the nomination process to all, along with obligatory disclosure of outside membership, would be a step toward the realization of this goal.

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Reply by William Vollrath

Perhaps any member of the GC should be allowed a nomination right that must be seconded, and which includes a one page nominee bio that all GC members can read and then reference during a majority vote for nominee approval. Perhaps up to three nominees per position should be allowed. There are thousands of good organizations that already have democratic by-laws in place they would be happy to share with us ...

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Reply by Janeth: Comment 31611

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Reply by William Vollrath

The best psychological screen is a democratic nomination process, not a test ...

* * *

If you tell me where I can find the by-laws that govern the administrative workings of TS, I will offer specific suggestions for increasing democracy and checks & balances, but suspect most should be obvious. However, if by-laws are frequently just ignored, why should I or anyone bother to suggest changes?

I welcome suggestions from anyone on where to find the current TS bylaws, especially regarding election of international officers and sanctions on/removal of TS members and entire sections.

* * *

Reply by Anton Rozman

Click on the link to open last 2007 Edition of the TS Rules and Regulations.

On this page you will find links to practically all relevant documents which were published in last two years concerning the situation in the Theosophical Society.

* * *

In my view we have an organization called the Theosophical Society with its membership and we have a separate, although affiliated organization called the Esoteric School with its own membership and the prerequisite that the membership in the Esoteric School is membership in the Theosophical Society what makes it an affiliated organization. The Theosophical Society has its Constitution which represents definite (democratic) type of relationships and objects which should govern behavior of its members. On the other hand the Esoteric School has its own Rules which determine (autocratic) behavior of its members.

The first problem is that the Constitution of the Theosophical Society and the Rules of the Esoteric School are in collision as they require different type of behavior from their members. The second problem is that the Theosophical Society is public organization while the Esoteric School is secret organization what equally requires different type of behavior from their members.

The third and major problem is that the Esoteric School (with the excuse that its members are better fitted to occupy the leading positions in the Theosophical Society) is substantially influencing the Theosophical Society officers’ nomination and election process and in that way subordinating the Theosophical Society to the Esoteric Section and disrupting the Constitution of the Theosophical Society, what, after all, represents also violation of one of principal aims of the Esoteric School itself.

The abbreviation TS-ES member can therefore represent just a description of a member of the Theosophical Society who is at the same time also member of the Esoteric School and who is, because of mentioned relationship between the Esoteric School and the Theosophical Society and requirements for conflicting types of behavior forced into pathological state of being.

Talking about this discussion on the Esoteric School and strivings of some of us to openly discuss related problems as an attack on the members of the Esoteric School and the Theosophical Society can be well compared with the campaign in regard to the “disenfranchisement of members”. In both cases an attempt to have rational discussion on existing problems was and is vilified on the level of emotional outbursts which tend to represent those who make proposals as those who are actually hurting members of the Theosophical Society or the Esoteric Section.

In my view, the case of “members’ disenfranchisement” was used (along with fierce propaganda) as unprecedented raise to power of a definite person I never witnessed before in my life. Although this was so obvious and flagrant it seems that it leaved the majority of the TS members unaffected.

Therefore we should be careful to not degrade also this discussion on the Esoteric School on the level of supposed “attacks on members” as it is actually such degradation which is bringing harm and alienating interested public from the Theosophical Society. But it seems that this is already too late and that not much rational can be contributed.

* * *

Reply by William Vollrath

Even if all ES members belong to TS, which may not actually be true, I remain uncomfortable with the TS-ES designation which tends to combine the two organizations as one. That concept is essentially why there is now a growing distrust of ES influence in the TS.

* * *

Reply by Anand Gholap

Two subjects, 'The Esoteric Shool Lobby' and Disenfranchisement proposal (also known as an 'ultra secrete attempt to disenfranchise members') are intimately connected. From the information given by an officer at Adyar, disenfranchisement proposal was drafted and supported by four GC members Mr. John Algeo, Ms. Betty Bland, Mr. Warwick and Mr. Wies (the quartet).
It was a natural question what prompted creation of such a proposal. It appears that the quartet was embarrassed by the situation that TS members elect the same person (the current President of TS) for thirty years or more, and as long as ordinary members keep electing, the same thing will continue. So they perhaps thought it is not good for TS that ordinary members should elect the President. And so they proposed that only General Council members should elect the President.
Although I can understand the embarrassment caused to the quartet because of the election of same person for thirty years as TS president, I think that the quartet did not know the true cause of this situation. The true cause was tendency among ES members to elect their Outer Head. There are reports that ES members were asked to either support current ES head or leave the ES.
If disenfranchisement proposal was passed by the General Council, would it have changed the situation? I think, even then the situation won't change. It is because many GC members follow the Outer Head of ES. So even after disenfranchising members, GC members will have the same attitude of electing the ES Outer Head as TS President.

Good constitution is one of the most important factor that protects interests of members. But there is another very important thing that protects interest of people in any country, society or organization. This factor is STRONG MEDIA. When media, like internet, newspapers, TV, become strong it protects interests of members because media provide information and insights which are very useful in right decision making. Media also expose injustices done by elected and other members. That makes officers avoid violation of constitution and principles of fairness. So, in future, media will be most important for serving the Theosophical cause. Theosophical.ning.com and many other internet sites are very important to defend and promote Theosophical cause as they make important information available to members.
One can now understand why media was being suppressed by some groups in TS.

Theosophical Society is going through an important phase. There are all kinds of changes unfolding. Reforms in constitution, leadership changes due to old age of leaders, and many new things are happening and TS should adapt itself to new situations. This all requires discussion, thinking and research. It is a bad idea to suppress discussion on important matters by calling it unbrotherly etc. About exposing dirty secretes, there are many online groups already doing that. So there does not remain anything secrete about TS.
Let us think, discuss and make corrections in TS, wherever required, so that there won't remain anything that needs to be hidden.

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Reply by Anton Rozman

Labeling members of the General Council who made a proposal of the Amendments to the Rules and Regulations of the Theosophical Society as a “quartet” can serve only one purpose. Such degrading behavior against co-members of the Theosophical Society along with oversimplification of complex issues of the management of the Theosophical Society on the level of “members’ disenfranchisement” and then using these “slogans” for continuous repetition is simple propaganda. Please see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda

Therefore this word ever reminds me about the campaign and propaganda against “Gang of Four” which served for the consolidation of ranks of Chinese Communist Party in the period of Cultural Revolution.

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Reply by William Vollrath

I don't know about a "campaign" of disenfranchisement, but there certainly seems to be a pattern of unenlightened behavior (e.g. Canada, Yugoslavia, etc.)

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Reply by Anton Rozman

A little less than a year ago Mrs. Betty Bland and three other members of the GC made a proposal of Amendments to the TS Rules and Regulations. One of the Amendments was dealing with the way in which the TS President is elected. The proposal was sent to the TS Administration in Adyar according to the required procedure but definite person who had access to this document at Adyar made it public and characterized it on theos_talk e-mail list as an “attempt to disenfranchise members”. What followed is what I call the campaign of “members’ disenfranchisement” on that e-mail list as there are people who are demonizing those who proposed the Amendment as a clique and characterizing the proposal as an “ultra secret attempt to disenfranchise members with the purpose to make the TS President a puppet”. This campaign actually prevented and is still preventing a rational debate not only on that Amendment but on any proposed change in the TS Rules and Regulations. And I am afraid that this discussion on Esoteric School is now facing the same fate.

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Reply by Anand Gholap

Present conditions are favorable to certain individuals and they are unfavorable to many others. Those individuals, to whom conditions are favorable, try to persuade others not to discuss changes and bring about changes. Any such discussion of changes is called unbrotherly. They call such discussion as against the spirit of society or against the objects of this group. Real motive behind such suppression of sensitive issues is to stop discussion and to maintain status quo. That is why whenever some individuals or group try to stop discussion about important changes, calling it unbrotherly or against the spirit of this group or society, members should be aware of real motives.

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Reply by Janeth: Comment 33165

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Reply by Anton Rozman

Membership in the TS

According to the TS R&R the TS Fellows “whether unattached or attached to a Lodge (Branch), residing within the territory of a National Society, shall normally belong to that National Society” or “may become directly attached to Headquarters, Adyar, severing all connection with the National Society” and/or become “Fellows at large, in countries where no National Society exists,” so that they “must apply for their Charters or Diplomas (Certificates) directly to the Secretary” (of the “international” TS).

An important fact in regard to the membership in the TS is that according to the Rule 36 (a): “All Charters of National Societies or Lodges (Branches) and all Diplomas (Certificates) of membership derive their authority from the President, acting as Executive Officer of the General Council of the Society, and may be cancelled by the same authority,” but the President does not perform this authority as we can see that individual Sections can expel members at their discretion without any intervention from the part of the President for they actually have this authority according to their by-laws which are legal acts independent from the TS R&R. As the TS is not registered as an international society and as the TS R&R does not represent the legal act in force in its sections the membership in the TS, besides Fellows-at-large, is actually legally non-existent and the Administration at the TS Headquarters is actually only registrar of the membership in its Sections.

On the other hand I assume that membership in the Esoteric School is actually derived directly from the authority of the Outer Head of the ES and that it is actually cancelled by the same authority and that therefore the ES is in fact an international body and that in this situation the eventual dissipation of the ES would probably in fact represent serious problems for the Theosophical Society as majority of the TS members imagine.

On required behavior

When it is said that “Constitution of the Theosophical Society and the Rules of the Esoteric School are in collision as they require different type of behavior from their members” and “that the Theosophical Society is public organization while the Esoteric School is secret organization what equally requires different type of behavior from their members” this doesn’t mean that the Theosophical Society and the Esoteric School as organizations (how this would be anyway possible if not through definite officers or bodies) are requiring certain behavior from their members.

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Discussions on theos_talk e-mail list

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Last update: July 2009
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