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Re: Theos-World Re: Did Pasadena TS tell lies under the name of Esoteric Inst...

Mar 07, 2006 06:05 PM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins

Dear John,

Judith Tyberg was the daughter of Olaf and Marjorie Tyberg, who were early Theosophists during the days of Judge. Judith was born in California in 1902 and grew up at the Point Loma Theosophical Community when it was headed by Katherine Tingley, and later, G. de Purucker. She received her early education at the Point Loma Raja Yoga Academy and received a M.A. in Religion and Philosophy, at the Theosophical University. I have copies of her school records here in the archives.

I remember her once telling me that she, as a young woman, asked G. de P. to teach her Sanskrit. She said that G. de P. became very excited and said that he had been for so long hoping that she would ask. After a few lessons, G. de P. told her that he was going to announce a new class in Sanskrit and that she (Judith) was going to teach it. Judith said that she was so nervous because she was only a few lessons ahead of the class. While she was teaching the Point Loma students, G. de P. was teaching her. I have a photo here in the archives of Judith in front of a black board teaching the Raja Yoga children Sanskrit. Later, she became the Dean of Studies at the school.
It was G. de Purucker who ordered research to begin for the production of a Theosophical Glossary (this is the controversial unpublished Glossary which has, off and on, been the subject of so many posts on this bulletin board). There was a select groups of Theosophical Scholars who worked on the Glossary. Geoffrey Barborka and Judith Tyberg were among them.
It was in 1941 that Judith published her first textbook: Sanskrit Keys to the Wisdom Religion. It was Geoffrey and Judith who designed the Devanagari typeface, which Merganthaler tooled into a font for the casting of linotype slugs.
In 1947, Judith left for India to study Sanskrit and to gain an M.A. at Benares Hindu University. There she discovered the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Judith once related to me that when she was grated audience with Aurobindo, they talked for over an hour. She was later told that normally the visits were only for a minute or so, because most visitors were too overwhelmed by his presence. She also related that G. de P. once told her that she would meet a great teacher. Judith believed that Aurobindo was the teacher he had predicted. During her stay in India, she wrote letters back home to her friends for them to share. I have copies of those letters here.
In 1950, Judith returned home. Troubles were still brewing at the Point Loma (now in West Covina) TS, so she founded the East-West Cultural Center in Los Angeles. I recall lecturing there on a couple of occasions--on one of those occasions, sharing the platform with Dane Rudhyar. It was also around this time that she also joined the faculty of the American Academy of Asian Studies. Other professors there were Alan Watts, Haridas Chaudhuri and Ernest Wood.
I last saw Judith a few month before her passing in 1980. She was in very good spirits, though suffering from back pain. We talked at length about her Point Loma days. Her presence and the balanced way that she related her memories was quite extraordinary. She is a person who I have come to more deeply appreciate as the years go by.


Best wishes,
Jerry wrote:

I can't remember when anyone mentioned Judith Tyberg on this Forum, I have several of her books and I used to visit the East-West Center in LA many years ago, I really liked her books and thought she was a pretty good presentative of Theosophy, what can say about her to people that never heard of her on this Forum?


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