* * *
On April 2009, an article titled Information concerning the Planetary Union was published in a website called Theosophy Forward, whose authorship is attributed to Theo Curans, probably a pen name because there is not any reference to this person on Internet and this is the only document known with this name.
Moreover, the responsibles for Theosophy Forward do not state who they are, they do not have the courage to sign their own ideas (1). The previously mentioned article has been translated into several languages and has been widely distributed via e-mail among the members of the Theosophical Society, sometimes promoted by the own authorities of the National Sections and Federations. This article tries to clarify the "confusion" that - according to the author - exists between the Theosophical Society and the Planetary Union (PU).
We, the undersigned of the present letter, are members of the Theosophical Society of different National Sections who have the obligation to publish this reply to the Theo Curans' article because it makes assertions and accusations which are not true, and contrary to the proclaimed intention of the article, cause a false image of the institutions and people mentioned in it. Finally, the article tends to confuse and give biased viewpoints, not based upon facts. When Theo Curans' article was published for first time in April, we were cautious enough to not answer that publication, to allow the facts to answer on their own, because it is an article without true authentic foundations. But as its wide distribution was insisted several times without varying its content, we think that it is our duty to clarify some ideas.
The Theosophical Society members are free people to realize our ideas into action and we do not need enlightened beings who write anonymously as leaders of our behaviour.
The Planetary Union (Uniâo
Planetaria) is a non-governmental organization (NGO) created in Brazil by several
members of the Theosophical Society, leaded by Ulisses Riedel Resende, in order
to spread the main ideas about human elevation (UP), awareness of the
wholeness of life, and the practice of healthier, more responsible and supportive
ways of life. The aims and declaration of principles of PU can be read in its
It is true that PU is not the TS, because it was conceived and is run by members of the TS as a separate organization to have more facilities to spread the theosophical message through current mass media, to which the Theosophical Society has difficult access. It is remarkable that PU has no members but simply supporters who can contribute financially through donations, according to its website. They do not hold special meetings nor do they have a specific ideology other than the message to broadcast because they have not got their own books or teachings. The list of institutions that collaborate among which are the Theosophical Society in Brazil and the Theosophical Institute of Brasilia are of a universal character and related to the purposes of PU. Its activity is the spreading of theosophical ideals, of the Theosophical Society and the likes, mainly through the TV channel “TV Supren” that PU operates by broadcasting directly by satellite, through cable and on the Internet (http://www.tvsupren.com.br).
The economic model of PU, as far as we know, is based on incomes generated by donations, sponsored by public entities, and some advertising and selling of audiovisual material of its own production.
Our impression is that, economically, UP shows losses and therefore it requires the input of money from its closest supporters.
Then, we can see in PU a model of economically independent initiative but ideologically committed with the theosophical ideals as can be seen in its programming guide, with the particular purpose of the spreading of Theosophy. Isn´t it then the same model of the Theosophical Publishing Houses?
For example, let’s take a look at Quest Books (http://www.questbooks.net/), the Editorial of the TS in the USA. In its website it is stated at the footnote:
Quest Books publishes nonfiction works to facilitate spiritual growth and healing; to encourage the study of religion, philosophy, and science; and to promote fellowship among all peoples of the world. In addition to a comprehensive selection of Theosophy titles by noteworthy authors like H.P. Blavatsky, Annie Besant, C.W. Leadbeater, and others, Quest offers books on a variety of topics including alternative healing, development of creativity, transpersonal psychology, deep ecology, mythology, comparative religion, consciousness, spiritual evolution, ancient wisdom, mysticism, esoteric studies, and perennial philosophy.
This website is made possible
by generous grants from the Kern Foundation
This page and its contents are copyright ©2007 by the Theosophical Society in America.
Quest Books ® The Theosophical Publishing House
The Theosophical Society in America
International Headquarters, Adyar, India
Isn´t Quest Books' model similar to PU's? The fundamental difference is that Quest Books is devoted to the spreading of Theosophy by publishing books and PU does it mainly through the production and broadcasting of audiovisual material via TV and Internet. Only the medium is different. The PU’s initiative does not come from India nor from the USA, but from Brazil, and perhaps this fact surprises and causes mistrust which is feeding with this criticism. Wouldn't it be judging PU with a different standard, when accusing PU that many of its programmes have nothing to do with Theosophy and however accepting Quest Book publishing "non theosophical" material?
But getting deeper in reasoning, what is theosophical material and what is
not? Is it more theosophical reading a book about rounds and chains or invisible
protectors, for example, than teaching a vegetarian recipe or listening to
one of Bach's concerts? The great leaders of the TS such as Sri Ram made it
clear that because of its very nature of Divine Wisdom, Theosophy can’t be
defined. If a study doesn’t promote the transformation of the human being and
its environment, if it doesn’t inspire to diminish misery and suffering in
the world, it doesn’t matter who has written it, it isn’t a real theosophical
study (2). In the bookshops and libraries of the Lodges there are many various
books of theosophical authors and of others, and there is not such a discrimination
like that is asked to PU. Who are the theosophical authors? Just those who
have belonged to the TS? What about Plotinus and Pythagoras, for example, weren’t
they theosophical authors?
And the case of Quest Books is similar to most of the Theosophical Publishing Houses, as can be seen in the following links:
TPH in Philippines: http://www.theosophy.ph/publications.html
Editions Adyar in France: http://www.editionsadyar.com
Editora Teosófica in Brazil: http://www.editorateosofica.com.br/et/index.asp
Editorial Teosófica in Spain: http://www.tinet.org/~jgar/
We are not criticizing Theosophical Publishing Houses, we are just showing that they do the same kind of work that PU does but by using other means. Are we then applying the same standards when judging Theosophical Publishing Houses and PU?
According to Theo Curans, in parts 6 and 7 of his article, should the hired personnel and collaborators of Quest Books or TPHs refrain from going the TS and mingle with its members and even talk to them? And according to section 8, should we sell books from the Theosophical Publishing Houses or from any other publisher in the Lodges premises? As you can see, it’s an absurd to apply the dead letter to the TS principle of independence. Its spirit tries to keep the TS autonomous and not be used by other organizations and ideologies that attempt to leverage its infrastructure and contacts, but we do not believe that in the General Council´s aims there was the intention of hindering the work of enthusiastic collaborators who have found the opportunity of employing new technologies for this work. We truly believe that PU doesn’t want to use the TS to become well-known by the world - as Theo Curans says - but, on the contrary, to allow the message of the TS be known in the world.
When some of the members of a family have an initiative and
decide to put it into motion through founding a company, generally they set
up a Limited Liability Company so they do not to transfer risks and responsibilities
to the family heritage. Isn’t the PU´s initiative something similar? What is
wrong in that? We are glad that the message of Theosophy can be spread through
such a wide mass media as Katinka Hesselink says in her blog:
The TS General Council statement on the PU (3), held in December 2008 in Adyar, is clear and it is interpreted as a support because it is what it says, whether Theo Curans likes or not, who tries to minimize it in his/her 5 th section. It is a matter of pure grammatical analysis.
The fourth section of Theo Curans is worth to be analyzed. It says that “the TS is a vehicle for Theosophy”. So far so good, but … is it the only one? And before the foundation of the TS, there were not vehicles? Should we not earn the members of the TS with our honest, unselfish and intelligent work the right to make the institution a vehicle of Theosophy? Let´s get down from the pedestal, we are students of Theosophy, aspirants to understand the Ancient Wisdom, but it doesn’t seem that we should arrogate the possession of Theosophy as a gift that we lavish to people who approaches to us.
The final observations of Theo Curans article are riddled with statements
which are not based on facts.
How can it be stated that “many of the programmes have nothing to do with Theosophy”?
As Ulisses Resende reports, in TV Supren programming there are about 17 hours a day (14 hours in Portuguese, 2 in Spanish and 1 in English), devoted to programmes produced by the Theosophical Society, some of them recorded by the TS in Brazil and by the Theosophic Institute in Brazilia, others yielded by the TS in the USA for its spreading, and others made by theosophists in TV Supren studies. Just like that, for example, the programme "En busca del autoconocimiento" (“In search of the self knowledge”) consists of lectures recorded in the headquarters of the TS in Brazilia.
The remaining seven hours of the programming are devoted to varied programmes with theosophical contents such as meditation, Yoga, Tai-Chi-Chuan, “Amongst friends”, “Chatting with the world”, documentary films, arts, ecology, vegetarianism, ethics and sustainability of the Earth, interviews, and other themes. TV Supren programming can be seen in their website: http://www.tvsupren.com.br/GradeHorarios.aspx. Do not have anything to do these topics with Theosophy?
The article also says that "In Brazil TS membership has not increased,
but rather decreased. Nor do the programs seem to have deepened an understanding
of Theosophy". How does Theo Curans, or who hides behind that name,
knows about it? Does he have any method to measure the understanding got
by the audience of TV Supren? The rate of new members in the TS is decreasing
all over the world, that is why this indicator does not give us any clues.
The data refute the article vague and biased opinions.
Finally, the author attacks the Theosophy Luso-Hispanic Meeting, at that time under preparation and which was celebrated in Brazilia on July 14th to 19th, 2009. We do not find justifiable the claims that do not conform to facts.
Firstly, the article refers to the visit made by a member of the Spanish Section of the TS, María del Carmen César to Latin America. The author claims that the purpose of that tour was the promotion of TV Supren when in fact, the programme was developed according to the necessity of promoting the interest in the Luso-Hispanic Meeting, as people who has attended it can state (4).
We find in the article another unjustified disqualification when placed in quotation marks theosophical character of Luso-Hispanic Meeting. This does not correspond with the facts. The invitation to the Meeting has been done by the Brazilian Section of the TS and 220 members and sympathizers participated in it. The topics revolved around "Theosophy in the 21st Century" so there is no doubt about the theosophical character of the event. Moreover, there were two more invitations to other events, to “Young Theosophits” and the “International School of Theosophy”. On the one hand, it is true that there were hurries on having anticipated the programme draft, but people were warned that it was an advance and it was later corrected (5). On the other hand, the testimony of assistants (6) and the content of the joint declaration issued by the attendees with the name of “Letter of Brazilia” can prove the event spirit.
The best thing of all this is that it is not necessary to believe in opinions that are in favour or against it. Thanks to technology, anyone can watch TV Supren online (http://www.tvsupren.com.br), to see its programmes, visit the Planetary Union website (http://www.uniaoplanetaroa.com.br), to judge for themselves and draw their own conclusions. We will not waste our time answering each of the missives published by the people who are behind these attacks. This one will be our only communication. We have a more important mission to which we devote ourselves: to understand and to spread Theosophy and improve the world.
(1) The persons in charge of Theosophy Forward do not say in their website who they are, contrary to what is usual. The website manager uses the pseudonym “ST Adelante”, and when some people asked for the identity of the responsible of the website, the answer was: “It is not necessary to know the people who are in charge”. On the other hand, they know that some authority in the TS has said that “it was forbidden to mention who is behind Theosophy Forward”.
(2) In the book “Letters from KH to C. W. Leadbeater”, C. Jinarajadasa says:
"A very noteworthy fact is that, though the Theosophical Society was originated by the Masters, and is their messenger to the world, and they have guided it in its chequered career, there is no mention of the word Theosophy in the Constitution of the Society which regulates the work of its constituent parts, the National Societies or "Sections." There is no official definition of what is Theosophy. Therefore every member of the Society can claim the right, under the Constitution, to declare what Theosophy is, or what it is not. For the work of the Society is not primarily to proclaim a cut-and-dried philosophy, but to establish a Universal Brotherhood."
(3) Minutes of the meeting of the General Council of the Theosophical Society held in Adyar, December 2008.
"Planetary Union, an organization created by members of the Brazilian Section, which broadcasts theosophical lectures to 66 cities in Brazil by cable TV, to all Central and South America by satellite, and globally on the Internet, was explained in detail. The organization is a non-profit entity and managed independently of the TS so as to place no financial burden or risk on the assets of the TS in Brazil. The directors are all TS members who receive no remuneration. The President noted that this is a new idea and each Section needed to be free to develop its own way of promoting Theosophy."
(4) As examples of these testimonials, Silvia Liliana Pastore, President of the TS in Argentina says:
"The sister Carmen César visited Argentina, gave public lectures in Buenos Aires and San Rafael. She also held meetings just with members of the TS, emphasizing the essential work of the TS. She never talked as representative of the PU or TV Supren. She invited the members to participate in the Luso-Hispanic Meeting in the name of the TS Brazil and of his president Marcos Borges Ressende".
And Julia Ballesteros, President of the TS in Colombia says:
"I testify that the brothers María del Carmen César, Ulisses y Wanda Resende came to Bogotá and Medellín in January 2009 and they specifically devoted themselves to promote the TS and the Luso-Hispanic Meeting. Thanks to those visits in which they gave public conferences, interviews in Universities and talks to the members, the interest in knowing about the TS and belonging to it grew. I also state that they generously spend their time and money for this trip and that the TS did not have to spend any money during their visit."
(5) In this regard, Maria del Carmen César clarifies:
with the agenda of the event, a letter of invitation was sent to each member
dated April 27th, in which there was this footnote: 'EXPLANATORY
NOTE: MEETING AGENDA: In this regard we want to inform you that previously we
have sent a draft in advance of the programme. We want to make clear that this
DRAFT was sent by requests of some General Secretaries because they wanted to
begin studying the themes to be discussed, and they also wanted to know how the
works would be distributed (we make clear that several countries have taken part
directly, in different ways, in the preparation of the agenda). We also want
to clarify that the relevant invitations were sent at the appropriate time to
both Presidents of the European and American Federations at the same time as
this ADVANCE of programme, to allow them to check their inclusion in the agenda.
So far, we have just received the answer of Sister Kind (by a phone call made
by our organization a few days), who replied that she would not be able to attend
because she would be travelling with her husband that same date. With regard
to Mrs. Kim Dieu, we still have not received any answer'."
(6) On the Brasilia meeting, Silvia Liliana Pastore reports:
"To the Luso-Hispanic Meeting traveled from Argentina 17 atendees (8 young), who participated in activities, panels and workshops, fully connected with Theosophy and the TS. The atmosphere of brotherhood and excitement experienced during the meeting showed the quality of spiritual energy that only circulates in gatherings engaged with the Service to Mankind."
On the other hand, Miguel Martínez de Paz, Madrid, member of the Spanish TS says:
"Meeting of Theosophy Luso-Hispanic held at the Theosophical Institute in Brasilia last July, we went 11 Spanish and were internally motivated by the profound spiritual experience that took place there, being strengthened and will theosophical spirit given to extend that spirit in a global environment, confused and in crisis."
“Eleven Spanish people attended the Luso-Hispanic Meeting celebrated in the Theosophical Institute of Brazilia, last July, and we were internally motivated by the deep spiritual experience that took place there, begin strengthened the theosophical spirit and with the will commited to extend that spirit in a global environment, confused and in crisis.”
Signed by the following TS members:
Adela Bonomini Francovich (Madrid, Spain)
Ana María Cáceres (Paraguay)
Ana María Oncina Cordón (Lanzarote, Spain)
Antonio Castillo (Asunción, Paraguay)
Antonio Martínez Segura (Bogotá, Colombia)
Carlos Pérez Menéndez (Madrid, Spain)
Edith Padilla Johnson de Pomar (Lima, Perú)
Elena Ortiz (Montevideo, Uruguay)
Erica L. Georgiades (Athens, Greece)
Julia Ballesteros de Martínez (President, TS in Colombia)
Julio Gerardo Pomar (Presidential Agent, ST in Peru)
Lissette Arroyo Jiménez (President, TS in Mexico)
Marcos Resende (President, TS in Brazil)
María del Carmen César Galante (Madrid, Spain)
Miguel Martínez de Paz (Madrid, Spain)
Mónica Pastore (Rosario, Argentina)
Norberto Cicirelli (Rosario, Argentina)
Ricardo Lindemann (Brazilia, Brazil)
Silvia Liliana Pastore (President, TS in Argentina)
Last update: November 2009