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Remembering HSO's vision

Dec 22, 2008 01:11 AM
by Pedro Oliveira

"The time seems to have come for me to say a word or two about the 
constitution and ideals of the Theosophical Society, so that they may 
be made perfectly plain to the thousands of new colleagues who have 
entered our membership within the past five years. The American 
public, out of whose bosom the Society evolved, is entitled to the 
first word on this subject from their compatriot; whose love for 
India and absorption in the Society's life have never quenched his 
patriotic feeling for the land of his forefathers. 

After the lapse of nineteen years, the small group of friends who 
casually met in the drawing-room of H.P. Blavatsky, in Irving Place, 
New York City, has expanded into a Society with nearly four hundred 
chartered Branches in the four quarters of the globe; known of all 
men; discussed, complimented, reviled and misrepresented in almost 
all languages; denounced usually, but sometimes praised in the pulpit 
and the press; satirized in literature, and grossly lampooned on the 
stage. In short, an important factor in modern thought and the 
inspiring cause of some high ideals. Like every other great movement, 
it has its centres of intensest activity which have developed amidst 
favouring environments, and, as in other cases, the evolutionary 
force tends to shift its swirl from place to place as these 
conditions change. Thus, for instance, India was the first centre 
where the thought-engendering power accumulated, and our movement 
overspread the Great Peninsula from North to South, from East to 
West, before it flowed westward. What was done at New York was but 
the making of the nucleus, the bare launching of the idea. When the 
Founders sailed away to Bombay, in December 1878, they left little 
more than the name of the Society behind them; all else was chaotic 
and unmanifested. The breath of life entered its infant body in 
India. From the great, inexhaustible store of spiritual power 
garnered up there by the Ancient Sages, it came into this movement 
and made it the beneficent potentiality it has become. It must be 
centuries before any other country can take its place. A Theosophical 
Society with its base outside India would be an anomaly; that is why 
we went there. 

The first of the outflowing ebb went from India to America in 1885-6. 
Ceylon  came into line six years earlier, but I count Ceylon as but 
an extension of India. After America came Europe. Then our movement 
reached Burma, Japan and Australasia. Last of all, it has got to 
South Africa, South America and the West Indies.

What is the secret of this immense development, this self-sowing of 
Branches in all lands? It is the Constitution and proclaimed ideals 
of the Society; it is the elastic tie that binds the parts together; 
and the platform which gives standing room to all men of all creeds 
and races. The simplicity of our aims attracts all good, broad-
minded, philanthropic people alike. They are equally acceptable to 
all of that class. Untainted by sectarianism, divested of all 
dogmatic offensiveness, they repel none who examine them impartially. 
While identified with no one creed, they affirm the necessity and 
grandeur of the religious aspiration, and so bid for the sympathy of 
every religious-minded person. The Society is the open opponent of 
religious nihilism and materialistic unbelief. It has fought them 
from the first and won many victories among the best educated class. 
The Indian press testifies to its having stopped the tendency towards 
materialism, which was so strong among the college graduates before 
our advent. This fact is incontestable, the proofs are overwhelming. 
And another fact is, that a drawing together in mutual good-will has 
begun between the Hindu, Buddhist, Parsi and Mussulman Fellows of the 
Theosophical Society; their behaviour towards each other at the 
Annual Conventions and in the local Branches, shows that. It is a 
different India from what it was prior to 1879, and the late tour of 
Mrs. Besant lightened up the sky with prophetic brightness." 


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