The Theosophical Society (Adyar)

Institutional Issues

Letter to the members of the General Council

Concerning the Vice-President nomination
by Aryel Sanat

* * *


Dear fellow theosophists,

As a member of the TS for 45 years, I want to share with you the fact that, together with numerous members of the TS, I am dismayed at some developments in the TS at this time. In my previous Open Letter, I shared with you my perceptions regarding the illegality of changes to the Rules and Regulations (R&Rs), particularly Article 10, suggested by Betty Bland (BB).

In this Open Letter, I address the issue before you, of whether to ratify Radha's (RB) nomination of Linda Oliveira (LO) for Vice President (VP), a ratification that according to the R&Rs you must make, or deny, as of tomorrow, October 20, 2008, by 5 p.m.

I specifically wish to comment on BB’s e-mail to you of September 20, 2008. So there is no confusion, I will quote the full text of that message.

I know that all of you must have a copy of this email. But this copy will be broadcast so all members can see what’s been going on. I hope you understand that I have absolutely no interest in grandstanding, and that is not what I’m doing here. What I am passionate about is transparency, something that has been severely lacking in the TS administration, particularly in recent times, and which I feel very strongly is at the heart of why we're having all the present problems.

“Only the truth shall set you free.” But you cannot have truth if you do not have transparency. The Internet has made it possible for us all to have a level of transparency never imagined before. So let’s use it as much as possible, so that the truth may come out.

I also think it appropriate to explain to you that the reason I am submitting these comments at such a late date, is that I only found out about issues having to do with the ratification a few days ago. I felt it more important to make first the statement I already sent you, so as to share with you some of my perceptions, as a TS member, of recent developments. Now I proceed to make my comments, beginning with the full text of BB’s email to you.

* * *

BB said:

Dear General Council Members,

Whatever your opinion of the international presidential elections, this maneuver to replace John Algeo as Vice President before the General Council meeting is unacceptable A possible interpretation of rule 11a is that, as Radha has reassumed office, she can re-nominate a new VP. If Linda receives a majority vote in favor, she is VP and John is off the General Council. If she does not, John remains as vice president and on the General Council.

If this works for Radha, John’s stellar leadership and cool head will not be present at the Council - which will be a crucial one as we need to consider our governing structure and a rewrite of some of the outdated or ambiguous rules. We cannot just rubberstamp this action as has been the practice in the past but must carefully consider the implications of this vote.

With deep concern,

* * *

Given the severely serious problems implicit in proposals made to you by both John Algeo (JA) and BB in the past, as outlined and laid out rather clearly in my previous Open Letter, I ask you to please look carefully at what BB is saying here, and also at what is being insinuated in this message. First of all, let’s look at the full text of Rule 11a  (for the sake of all other TS members):

(a) Within three months of assuming office the President shall nominate the Vice-President subject to confirmation by the General Council. His term of office shall be at the discretion of the President but when the Vice-President has been three years in office that office shall become vacant by the passage of time and the President, within three months, shall again make a nomination and submit it to the General Council.
Notwithstanding this provision the Vice-President shall remain in office and his term shall continue until a successor has been nominated and confirmed. The Vice-President in office may be re-nominated. It shall be his duty among other things, to carry on the executive functions of the President in case the President is dead or where the Executive Committee finds that he disabled by accident, serious illness or otherwise from performing the duties of the President.

This article is unequivocal:  The President and only the President has the right, as well as the duty, to nominate a new VP upon being elected. The VP is VP “at the discretion of the President,” the rules state rather clearly.

RB was elected by the majority of the members of the TS.

BB does not seem to know it, but RB IS the President.

Only the President has the right to nominate who will be the VP.

The Rules do not give BB the right to do that.

But the language she uses tells us in no uncertain terms that BB thinks that the Rules, somehow, give her such a right.

Given that the language of this Rule is unequivocal and unambiguous, when BB speaks of “a possible interpretation of rule 11a,” she is herself quibbling, ambiguous, equivocal. This phrase of hers suggests that there could be some other interpretation of the Rule. But she gives you none. The reason she gives you no other interpretation of this Rule is that there is none: This Rule is crystal clear and absolutely unambiguous.

BB is, clearly, trying to bully you into accepting something that is simply not true.

So when BB asserts that “this maneuver to replace JA as VP before the GC meeting is unacceptable,” she is actually asking you, as officers of the TS, to violate the R&Rs of the TS.

The R&Rs clearly and unambiguously state that it is the President’s duty to nominate a new VP.

There is absolutely no “maneuvering” involved in RB doing precisely what she is supposed to be doing.

The members have spoken. They want RB to be their President. If any of you can find specific faults with LO, or consider her not apt for the position, that is another matter. In that case, you could make your case before the other GC members, and you have of course the right to your own perceptions about LO.

Please note that BB did not offer any such objection to LO. By not saying anything against LO’s qualifications to be VP, BB is actually informing you that she can find no fault at all with LO.

But unless there is any reason why you think LO would not be a good VP, not to ratify RB’s selection is equivalent to subverting a free election.

It is tantamount to committing an illegal act.

BB & JA seem to be prone to doing this, as spelled out in my previous Open Letter.

This brazen attack on the democratically elected President of the TS is truly outrageous. I do hope and pray that none of you would become part of such an act.

BB is accusing the President of “maneuvering.”  This is a most serious accusation, not something that nice people do, unless of course there is evidence of some malfeasance.

But BB offers no evidence that there has been any “maneuvering,” because there isn't any.

Clearly, if BB had evidence of “maneuvering,” she would have given it to you. By not giving you any evidence, she is actually letting you know (and now that this message will be broadcast to the four winds, she is letting US ALL know) that this is an unsupported assertion, a slander of RB without any foundation.  It is, in fact, a fabrication.

BB also states that RB’s act of doing just what the R&Rs demand of her is “unacceptable.”  But again, she does not explain how following the Rules can EVER be “unacceptable.” Why is it “unacceptable”? Your guess is as good as mine.  Perhaps this may just be a case of there being “No fury like that of a woman scorned,” in this case, conceivably, as a result of her being upset over the results of the election.

BB makes a comment that I find most intriguing: “This maneuver to replace JA as VP before the GC meeting [in December] is unacceptable.”

What is so important about JA being present at the GC meeting in December?  Should we all expect that this meeting might be like a Junta ready to have a coup d’état in the TS?  But if not that, why is it so important for JA to be present? His term as VP is ending now.

BB provides no reasons whatsoever why someone who is no longer VP or otherwise a GC member should attend this meeting.

What is the ulterior motive here?

It might make sense to INVITE JA to be present, given that he’s been in that office for a few years now, as a courtesy to him. But to raise all hell because he won’t be there, just because the Rules say that he doesn’t belong there in any official capacity, is truly astonishing.

BB does mention JA’s “stellar” abilities.  But in every organization, people come and go, all the time. All of us will be dead, sooner or later. Not one of us is indispensable, much as some people may believe that they are. To have attachments to things such as position is the same as denying a spiritual dimension in what we do.

Also, an implication of BB’s singling out JA’s abilities is simultaneously saying that no one else in the GC has any such abilities.

She seems to be saying that all other GC members are somehow incompetent, and that without JA, all sorts of bad things would happen.

This, too, is most outrageous, and disrespectful of all other GC members.

BB expresses herself as if she does not know that JA did not get elected. The election is over. She needs to “get over it,” and move on. We all do.

We all should have better things to do than to have to address this kind of “stuff,” which is typical of politics in the world outside the theosophical sanctum.

BB is bringing into our beloved TS the kinds of “values” that one normally finds in such a tawdry environment, as worldly politics is.

Unless there is a substantial reason for not accepting LO as our new VP, please ratify Radha’s nomination. We will all thereby be getting closer to putting this nightmare behind us.

It should be clear to all TS members that we are, right now, at the most important crossroads the TS has ever been at. A great deal of what is going on right now on the planet itself as well as with the human race appeared in the form of warnings from HPB's teachers. In fact, a great deal of what came from that source refers, directly or indirectly, to major transformations that would be taking place at this time.

We as a group are in the process of deciding whether we want to take the high road, or the low: Will we heed those warnings, will we look out the window and see what’s going on around us, & see that the TS has a major part to play in this critical moment in human history? Or will we be squabbling over how a handful of TS members will be able to gain and wield political power?

A great deal is at stake here, because the planet as a whole is undergoing tremendous convulsions, at every level. The TS was meant to be a guide, a critical point of reference, for the many humans who need such guidance in these very challenging times. Whether there will be such a watchtower, such a light bringer for humanity in the form of an enlightened TS or not, is being decided right now by all of us.

Please do take this into your hearts and into your meditations, as you make your administrative decisions. What you are deciding on is much greater than what it may seem to some, who focus on the petty and on the ephemeral.

Affectionately and respectfully,
Aryel Sanat

Last update: January 2009
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