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Re: Theos-World Amendments to Rules & Regulations of the TS

Nov 23, 2008 05:43 PM
by Drpsionic

Brother John Algeo???
Damn!  My parents were a lot older than I thought they were.
Chuck the Heretic
In a message dated 11/23/2008 7:29:01 P.M. Central Standard Time, writes:

[Below is the text of the message Mr Surendra Narayan, a former  
International Vice-President of the TS (Adyar), recently sent to  
General Secretaries, National Presidents, Organising Secretaries,  
Presidential Representatives and Presidents of Lodges directly  
attached to Adyar. PO]

"Dear Friends,

Many of us were  surprised and somewhat alarmed at receiving copies of 
an email of 21st  September from sister Betty Bland (joined by 3 other 
members, including  brother John Algeo) addressed to the International 
Secretary and  containing draft of proposed amendments to the Rules 
and Regulations of  the Theosophical Society, principally related to 
the election of the  President. International Secretary has been asked 
to include the proposed  amendments as a Resolution in the agenda for 
the forthcoming meeting of  the General Council on 25th December at 
Adyar, under the provision of  Rules 5 and 49 of the Society.

The main and fundamental amendment  therein states that the election 
of the international President shall be  by members of the General 
Council, and thus not by the individual votes of  the members of the 
Society worldwide, as is being done for over a century  in accordance 
with the existing Rules and Regulations of the Society. It  must be 
admitted, with due respect to the proposers of the amendments,  that 
one finds it extremely difficult to discover a convincing reason for  
such haste in trying to incorporate such a fundamental amendment in  
the Rules and Regulations of the TS. The last election was over only  
by the end of June this year and the next election of the President 
is  due seven years hence and even according to another proposed 
amendment, at  least 5 years later.

Leaving this aside, let us examine some of the  aspects and 
implications of these proposed amendments.

The General  Council today consists of about 36 members and this 
includes the 4  International Officers, 7 additional members nominated 
by the President  and about 25-26 General Secretaries of National 
Societies / Sections. The  International Directory which appears at 
the end of the October issue of  the Theosophist has a list of 53 
countries, including a few forming a  group. Deducting 25-26 National 
Societies / Sections represented in the  General Council through their 
General Secretaries, the remaining 26-27  countries do not have 
General Secretaries and are not thus members of the  General Council 
and will now not have any role in the election of the  President, 
while today their individual members enjoy voting rights in  electing 
a President. A National Society can be formed by mere 70 members  
having 7 lodges, the number of lodges can later go down to even 5.  
There are 12-13 National Societies represented in the General 
Council,  each of which has even less than the number of members in a 
lodge of a  country â the Singapore lodge having 336 members.

At present the  President of the Society is elected by all eligible 
members worldwide.  According to the figures given in the July issue 
of the Theosophist, out  of about 29,000 members worldwide, there were 
20,724 members eligible to  vote, of whom 12,993 voted. Under the 
proposed rule, the General Council  with only about 36 members will 
elect a President. On top of this, comes a  proposed amendment 
providing that while the General Secretaries, who form  a majority in 
the General Council, shall consult their Governing Bodies  before 
casting votes for a Presidential candidate, they shall however vote  
according to their own judgment, and thus are free to override the  
views of their National Societys' Governing Bodies. 

A General  Council which consists of about 36-37 members and does not 
have any place  for about 26-27 countries which are not National 
Societies / Sections can  elect a President by only about 18-19 of its 
members voting in favour of  one particular candidate. Such a General 
Council is totally unfit to be  given the power of electing an 
International President, which power and  privilege has for a century 
now rested in the individual hands of its over  20,000 members 
worldwide, eligible to vote.

The reason given for  this basic amendment is that, "popular election 
by the full membership of  a worldwide, multilingual body is fraught 
with complications. Not the  least among those complications is the 
fact that most of the voting  membership will have little or no 
knowledge of the candidates they are  voting upon and hence their 
votes cannot be well informed".

The  Founders of the Society purposely set up the TS as an 
international body,  with branches in all parts of the world, because 
its first object is to  form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of 
humanity, without  distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or colour. 
They were certainly well  aware that the world has a large number of 
countries and naturally the  people therein were speaking different 
languages. They were also aware  that long distances separated 
continent from continent and country from  country. And yet, in their 
profound wisdom, they decided to involve every  member of the TS in 
the world in the election of its International  President, in order to 
forge links in the universal brotherhood of  humanity. In the past 100 
years, even when travel was difficult and oral  and written 
communication within different parts of the multilingual world  was 
equally difficult, members of the TS the world over have, overall,  
voted sensibly and in a mature and responsible manner. To say that  
today, when the world has shrunk into a global village, votes of  
members of the TS cannot be well informed is, to put it mildly, a  
strange statement!

The Theosophical Society is not a multinational  corporation with its 
CEO and narrow business interests. It is an  international body which 
seeks to promote universal brotherhood, deeper  understanding of life 
and its purpose and selfless service. By virtue of  the election of 
its President by individual members of the Society  worldwide, the 
President gets directly linked to the members in a golden  chain of 
brotherhood, which an election by the General Council of about 36  
members certainly does not and cannot achieve.

It is unfortunate  that for some reasons, this past election of the 
President caused some  misunderstanding and unhappiness in certain 
quarters and it seems that  these feelings are still simmering. It 
would therefore be most desirable  to let 2-3 years pass and hurt 
feelings allowed to heal before even  thinking about a major scheme of 
revolutionary changes in the Rules and  Regulations of the TS. But 
even then, if there is insistence by some to  change to election of 
the President by the General Council and not by  individual members 
worldwide during the past 100 years or more, justice  and respect for 
the deep feelings of brotherhood among members, demand  that the 
proposed amendments should be referred to all the members of the  
Society worldwide in the same manner as in an election of a President  
at present.

A Master of the Wisdom in The Mahatma Letters to AP  Sinnet 
wrote, `the term "Universal Brotherhood" is no idle phraseâit is  the 
only secure foundation for universal morality'.

With best  regards and warm greetings of the season,

Yours  fraternally

Surendra Narayan"


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