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Presidential Address

Jan 29, 2009 02:40 PM
by Pedro Oliveira

Presidential Address to the 133rd Annual Convention of the 
Theosophical Society, Adyar, 26 December 2008 
(Published in The Theosophist, January 2009. PO)

It is with much pleasure that I welcome all of you to this 133rd 
International Convention, hoping that those who come will be able to 
respond to the beautiful atmosphere which is in Adyar all the time. 
>From the very earliest years of the Society people have met here like 
this ? a few in the early days, and many nowadays, to have a 
Convention so those who can come, meet each other and talk over 
Theosophical work, and expand inwardly both heart and mind. Let us 
offer ourselves to the Elder Brethren and make our minds free to 
receive what they are always ready to give.

May those who are the embodiments of Love immortal bless with their 
help and guidance this Society, founded to be a channel for their 
work. May They inspire it with their Wisdom, strengthen it with their 
Power, and energize it with their Activity.

As you all know, during the first part of this year an election of 
some importance took place. The election is not meant to be a reason 
for us to be unreasonable. Until now, the Theosophical Society has 
completed more than one hundred and thirty years; we may say it has 
been doing well. But this year, there were some members who regarded 
the election as an opportunity to compete. Very few members perhaps 
understand that the Theosophical Society has an inner significance 
which unites all true members throughout the world, and keeps the 
structure safe and whole. This time, those who were voting had a 
choice between someone living in Adyar, which has been called `The 
Master's Home', and others who felt that the President can function 
just as well, even though he may not reside at Adyar.

The election is over. Dr John Algeo was able to get 4323 votes in his 
favour, while I received 8560 votes. The number of votes is not 
important, but as far as I can see it is of much importance to decide 
from where the President should function.

Adyar should not be seen and thought of merely as an entity without a 
living force. It seems essential to me that Adyar, and to a lesser 
extent every Section Headquarters, should demonstrate the essential 
character of the Society, lifting it above petty concerns. We all 
have an opportunity to proceed according to the wishes of those 
higher beings on the ladder of evolution who are watching over the 
events of earth. It must shake off what has been useful to people at 
the time before human incarnation, but have less and less value as 
they become truly human. This is important for the real human being, 
not those who are still tainted by the past, to perform its role in 
evolution. It is the special duty of those who see the mid-point, and 
appreciate its importance. They learn to abandon all lower concerns, 
and work towards the heights to which humanity will rise. An election 
therefore, in the Society, must not be grounded in notions that may 
take a person into ways that do not help.

What is the way for human beings to rise above to the human stage? 
The first fact of importance is to realize that many of the thoughts, 
feelings and actions which surround and instigate us are not 
compatible with the real work we have to do. As The Voice of the 
Silence says, every person needs `the gentle breezes of Soul-Wisdom 
to brush away the dust of our illusions' and blend mind with 
soul. `The rose must re-become the bud, born of its parent stem, 
before the parasite has eaten through its heart . . . The self of 
matter and the Self of Spirit can never meet.' We human beings must 
live in such a way that during each incarnation we live purer lives. 
Therefore we have to strive, not do the contrary.

The human stage is of great importance because from the beginning it 
is a stage where the animal nature of the candidate is overcome 
altogether. This conscious work must be carried out, then progress 
takes place by itself. The student of Theosophy belongs to a category 
which is very important for this reason; then at least a few 
responsible persons will act in a manner which exercises an influence 
which is spiritual.

The spiritual is different from the material, social, intellectual 
and religious fields. `Religion' can be more harmful than helpful if 
people misunderstand it. It often demands that a person does what he 
is told to by people who seem very different. But actually, if one 
does not cling to anything, but seeks only to know in a deeper way 
life's meaning, it does not matter whether one is Christian, Hindu, 
Zoroastrian or Muslim or any other category. The truly religious mind 
is a pure mind.

In the early days of the Society the members had the opportunity to 
learn rightly what religion is. The motto of the Society (satyât 
nâsti paro dharmah) `There is No Religion Higher than Truth' often 
brings to our mind the Truth about this way of living. The way anyone 
claims to be on the religious path ? behaviour, interest, and so on ? 
indicates what he is. If he is truly religious he learns to be 
affectionate to all people, not considering whether the other person 
is poor, rich, well read or simple. The truly religious person and 
the real Theosophist are not different. Often we think that the 
religious consciousness depends on words and phrases, but that may be 
completely wrong; and religion is not dependent on what a person 
says, but on how a person lives. The person may be a weaver or a 
tailor dealing with clothes, but essentially pure and carrying purity 
with him.

In modern days, especially among Indians, superficiality is stressed. 
The whole of society depends on the people who are part of it, and on 
their attitudes. So we can on the whole think of modern society as 
materialistic as most people are concerned with material values, 
which is quite opposed to the religious life. The religious person on 
the other hand applies the values he knows theosophically; he is more 
concerned with his heart, not with his hands. The hands, the feet, 
the whole body responds to what the mind requires. Can one do one's 
work in the world which may be weaving or anything else, but with the 
religious quality necessary for raising the consciousness?
As Theosophists, we must, each one of us, be a person showing to 
those who come along that one can be engaged in almost any work, not 
involving slaughtering, or cheating and so on, and yet be religious, 
because the one thing that matters for everyone is the condition of 
the heart and mind. A Theosophist therefore, tends to be someone 
different from the ordinary man or woman.

*  *  *

The Indian Section celebrated its 117th convention, as usual, within 
the ambience of the International Convention in 2007. The membership 
of the Section on 30 September 2008 was 12,917. This means that the 
Indian Section continues to be the largest one we have. Although the 
names of those who have passed away, and also of those who have not 
renewed their membership have been removed, it still remains the 
largest Section in the world. The General Secretary has urged members 
to go on working steadily towards universal values. It is our 
responsibility to live Theosophy, not merely study Theosophy. The 
Section is improving its work though at times it is difficult, but 
problems are being faced.

Many programmes were arranged throughout the year. More than eighty 
members attended the North Indian Study Camp. Lectures on Human 
Regeneration, The Way of Self-Knowledge and Letters from the Masters 
of the Wisdom were discussed. Prof. P. Krishna and Mrs Radha Burnier 
led another study course on J. Krishnamurti's book, Freedom from the 
Known. One hundred and fifty delegates registered for the South 
Indian Conference, and several people gave fruitful talks. Many other 
Federation Programmes took place during the year.

The General Secretary and his wife, Mrs Sundaram, attended the 
Triennial Conference of the Indo-Pacific Federation which was held 
early in November in the Philippines. The General Secretary also 
attended the Marathi Federation Meeting, whose theme was `Live to 
Benefit Humanity'. During the Rayalaseema Federation meeting, the 
centennial issue of the Telugu magazine was presented to the 
audience, and talks were given by the President. The 125th 
anniversary of the Anantha Lodge in Trivandrum brought Kerala members 
together. The Inter-national President, Mrs Radha Burnier, spoke 
on `Unity ? the Way Ahead'. The National Lecturers travelled all over 
India, and tried to stimulate the work. All regions throughout India 
have been active in the work of the Theosophical Order of Service 
which is divided in such a way that can be effective.

The General Secretary has made an appeal for funds to repair and 
renew properties which require maintenance. The places where funds 
have accumulated contribute to this work, which has commenced on some 
of the Headquarters buildings at Varanasi. During the year some well-
known members passed away, including Bro. Anandamurti Srivastava, who 
was for many years a worker at the Varanasi Headquarters. Swami 
Anand, former Secretary of the U. P. Federation and Mr V. M. 
Parmanand who generously donated a lakh of rupees to the Section and 
belonged to Bombay, were also among those who passed to other regions.
A meeting specially for officers was tried and proved useful. The 
General Secretary, Mr S. Sundaram, made a number of valuable 
suggestions, including help with understanding the Rules and 
Regulations. Office-bearers should now have a somewhat better concept 
of Lodge level and Federation level work.

Sri Lanka is functioning under a Presidential Agency. It is reported 
that monthly meetings for members are supplemented with guest 
speakers delivering talks on various spiritual matters. This is 
followed by a free lunch. Three thousand copies of Colonel Olcott's 
Buddhist Catechism were distributed by Hamsa Lodge, Badulla, to 
schools and the university library. This Lodge also brings out a 
periodical called Sanatana Dhamma.

The Presidential Representative for South-East Asia reports that, due 
to unrest in the area, it has not been possible to contact all 
members. The Seramban Lodge in Malaysia has been restarted with the 
admission of five new members, while in Selangor the work is going on 
well. In Bangladesh there are five Lodges and a Study Centre. All 
have regular study classes. The Lodge at Chittagong in eastern 
Bangladesh has been very active, and along with Besant Lodge is 
planning to have a meeting to coordinate attempts to strengthen the 

The Singapore Lodge started the year with 336 members. Forty-one new 
members have received diplomas this year. Continued focus has been 
laid on the presentation of A Course in Theosophy. This programme is 
their principal means of attracting new members. Twenty-one members 
attended the Indo-Pacific Conference in the Philippines. Speakers 
from India, the Philippines, Australia and America gave lectures 
during the year. This has been the centenary year for the TOS, and 
support included help to elderly persons.

The Australian Section has been doing well. Their funds have 
increased, and their total number of members is 1312. Membership fees 
are subsidized when needed by the National Headquarters. The National 
Members receive letters from the General Secretary who also visited a 
number of places and spoke at the Lodges. Two new study papers were 
brought out, one being on The First Leaf of TS History in tribute to 
Colonel Olcott. A copy of Buddhist Meditation by Samdhong Rinpoche 
was sent free to all the members while the Buddhist Catechism, in 
memory of Colonel Olcott, was sent at almost no cost to members. The 
library of the Section was enriched by a donation of personal files 
from Elaine Murdoch. A thesis entitled `A Visionary Space' showing 
the influence of Theosophy on artists, was donated by Dr Jenny 
McFarlane to the Campbell Library. The theme of the School of 
Theosophy was `Occult Science ? Principles and Applications.' The 
director was Dr Edi Bilimoria. The former President of the Indo-
Pacific Federation, Mr Pedro Oliveira, was appreciative of the 
generous support from the Section.

The New Zealand Section is among one of the bigger ones, having 899 
members. While the membership has dropped from 982 to 899, we are 
told this is due to serious culling in two major centres, but 
membership in several smaller areas is tending to rise. The new 
General Secretary, Mr Warwick Keys, believes that there should be 
greater self-reliance in the future. After a lot of work (some of 
which was done by the former General Secretary, Mr John Vorstermans) 
the Charities Act is now in force. The Section magazine has changed 
its name and format and is now called TheoSophia.

The Philippines Section commemorated its 75th anniversary and many 
old members were present at an exhibition of the Publishing House in 
Manila. At the National Headquarters, a workshop for Lodge officers 
and leaders was held last August. The Golden Link School, which the 
Section runs, produced its first high school graduates. The Kern 
Foundation has sent money to help the School. A number of services 
and workshops have been established to help young people. A 
meditation group has been started at the National Headquarters. Among 
those who passed away during the year was Mr Romeo Velarde who has 
spent much of his energy on Theosophical work after his retirement.

The American Section has had difficulties because of the economic 
situation. The General Secretary mentions that they have had to 
tighten their belts and the membership has dropped by 172, making a 
total of about 4000 members. It is mentioned that fewer people have 
joined the Society, but more are interested in making use of Internet 
programmes. There are about 110 groups out of which there are 45 
active branches, and the rest are study groups. The Department of 
Education has been producing study courses and other work, helping to 
keep the Society alive. The Audio-Video Department produced eighteen 
new videos and DVDs. The Library has been awarded a grant of $25,000 
which will enable the conversion of the records to a standard 
electronic format. The Publishing House sales were disappointing, but 
a multi-faceted approach that was introduced has made Theosophy offer 
greater service.

The General Secretary of the Canadian Association, Mrs Lorraine 
Christensen, reports that many changes for the better have taken 
place. Mr George Duguay, a former General Secretary, who was 
instrumental in setting up a website, passed away. The newly 
appointed officers have been provided with a manual giving 
guidelines, so that they can proceed confidently. Work on their 
website is underway, and for the time being the magazine The Light 
Bearer will be produced twice yearly.

The General Secretary, Mr Eric McGough, of the English Section 
reports that interest in their programmes has increased, resulting in 
increased membership in many Lodges, and much enthusiasm across the 
Section. The current membership is 1033 and increase is 35. 
Redecoration of the Head-quarters has been completed. The Welsh 
Region had its triennial congress in June. A study course on The 
Secret Doctrine is being led by Mr Eric McGough. In March 2008 all 
the members of the Cardiff Lodge resigned, calling themselves `The 
Cardiff Theosophical Society'. But, twenty-five new people became 
members, adding to eighty-one members in Wales.

Work is going on well in Ireland. Belfast Lodge meets regularly, as 
does Limerick Lodge. Limerick Lodge, in addition, holds a healing 
service. There is a good group of members in Coleraine, and a number 
of meetings have been held in Dublin. The website has been running 
for some time, and it is hoped to produce a newsletter. Study notes 
throughout the year, and a covering letter from Mrs Marie Harkness, 
have been sent to all the members. A successful convention was held 
in Dublin, and the members were very happy to meet together.

The General Secretary of the Swedish Section, Mr Pertti Spets, 
reports that there are seven Lodges in Sweden and some study groups, 
making a total of 162 members. Studies on Self-culture and 
Reincarnation have been taken up by the study groups. There have been 
lectures in Stockholm, and in July the Summer School was held there.
In Norway, the work has been kept alive by the Organizing Secretary, 
Mrs Agnes Gassemyr. She reports that the Watch-Tower Notes were sent 
every month to members, so that they are able to keep in touch with 
the work. A successful seminar with Prof. P. Krishna was held in May. 
Meetings to discuss the work, including a website, will be 
functioning fairly soon. Members are concentrating on making the 
Lodges work.

The Italian Section and the Finnish Section are among the largest and 
most active Sections in Europe. The Italian Section has 1077 members, 
and is preparing to have the World Congress in Rome in 2010. A larger 
Headquarters, including a publishing house was set up in Vicenza and 
donations have increased. The Trieste Headquarters has been 
remodeled, conserving the old charm. Some other places in Italy are 
managing their resources so that they can improve their Headquarters 
in the next few years.

The General Secretary, Mr Antonio Girardi, reports many features 
which show that improvements are taking place, including the 
distribution of 1300 copies of the magazine Rivista Italiana di 
Teosofia sent to subscribers. Some new Study Centres were opened. The 
General Secretary visited a number of places giving talks and 
initiating fresh enthusiasm. Prof. P. Krishna was a special impetus 
when he took part in a seminar near Venice with about eighty people 
attending. The Italian Section helps Eastern countries, the work of 
the Olcott Education Society in India, educational activities in 
Pakistan and Manila, and so on. The General Secretary reports that 
they have taken an interest in the publication of books by Madame 
Maria Montessori, who was a member of the Society in Italy.

The Theosophical Society in Spain held as usual in March the Iberian 
gathering. The subject discussed was Search for the Path Going 
Inside, and about sixty-seven persons attended. There was also a 
Summer School on the subject of Human Perfection, and 130 persons 
attended. The Theosophical Publishing House brought out several books.

In Portugal, the General Secretary, Dr Licio Correia, reported that 
the Section is working with enthusiasm and commitment. Some members 
have been studying Theosophical works and others are focusing on a 
basic course in Theosophy. All basic Theosophical festivals were duly 
celebrated, and every month a lecture was given by an invited 
lecturer. Last June the two Lodges in Porto inaugurated their new 
premises. A talk was given on this occasion, and some members from 
Lisbon attended.

The work of the four Lodges in Slovenia continues. A mini school, a 
winter school and also a summer school were part of the programme, 
and a few members from Croatia came. There are seventy-one members in 
this Section, and we hope that it will increase because of the 
enthusiasm of the members.

Mr Thomas Martinovich, who looks after the Hungarian TS, reports that 
regular monthly meetings are held, usually concluding with group 
meditation. Some books were translated and are available on the 
computer. Public lectures were held at Budapest four times a year and 
once a month in another place. Their goal is to increase the number 
of Lodge members. In the eastern Lodge of Debrecen, `Living Questions 
on Theosophy' were discussed, and articles and material from The 
Theosophist were made known to the participants.

The Theosophical Society in Finland has been active as usual with 
many kinds of programmes that are held in their summer house in 
Kreivila in cooperation with Theosophically-based organizations. A 
new Lodge called Isis-Iooz was started. The web pages of I. K. 
Taimni's Science of Yoga and Rohit Mehta's Creative Silence were 
compiled in Finnish, while Ms Eeva Hippula compiled a book entitled 
Notes about the History of Finnish Theosophy. The activities in 
Estonia have generally been useful. There is a good library in Tallin 
and several in other places. At the end of September 2008, the 
Section had 460 members.

The French Section has been carrying on in the usual way studying The 
Mahatma Letters under the leadership of Ms Trân-Thi-Kim-Diêu. Prof. 
Robert Ellwood and his wife were the main guests at the Summer School 
of the Latin countries. The German Section is still quite small. The 
weekend meetings in the north of the country and the usual Summer 
School in Lippstadt, with the subject `Joy ? Divine Spark', took 
place. A new General Secretary, and a new Committee have been 
elected, and we hope that the Section will do good work as a result.

In Greece, after a period of transition, Mr Theodoros Katsifis was 
elected as the General Secretary, with Mrs Erica Georgiades as the 
Secretary. We are told that the Section has approximately 150% more 
members, and four new Lodges have been founded. The Headquarters of 
the Society in Greece was extensively renovated, and a study room has 
been established. They have very many publishing and translating 
projects underway. The official magazine Ilisos has 600 subscribers 
in Greece and abroad. It is published every three months, and every 
year articles by well-known Theosophists are included in their 

In Iceland, the General Secretary reported that fifty-one meetings 
were held during the year, with an attendance of between forty and 
sixty. There are seven active Lodges in Iceland with two outside the 
capital. Open-house meetings, with programmes including dialogue, DVD 
films with discussion, and refreshments are held weekly. The income 
from the refreshments helped to run the Section Headquarters. 
Approximately sixty members attended a summer seminar in Estonia.

The Dutch Section had a difficult year during which two members were 
expelled. The Headquarters in Amsterdam has a number of people 
carrying out research, and it seems as if the library has an 
increasing membership. This Section has nine Lodges and seven Study 
Centres, with a total of 398 members.

The Theosophical Society in East and Central Africa is spread over 
four countries. Some short talks are given in Gujarati, apart from 
the English talks, because there are people who do not know English. 
The important Theosophical days were observed. Two youth seminars 
were arranged in Nairobi. The statistics show a decrease in 
membership, but this is inevitable because Indians are leaving, and 
many Africans are not yet familiar with the Theosophical point of 
view. The TOS has been celebrating its centenary and they hope that 
the authorities concerned will issue a stamp to mark this occasion.
The West African Section continues its work which covers the English-
speaking countries, namely, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and Liberia. The 
studies during the year were concentrated on the Ancient Wisdom. Many 
Theosophical volumes were sold in the bookshop in Ghana, and the 
study groups also used books from this source. Two journalists 
interviewed the General Secretary about the aims of the Society and 
an article was printed in a newspaper called The Moment. Mr John 
Boakye, who assists the General Secretary, attended the School of the 
Wisdom at Adyar. Free copies of At the Feet of the Master, translated 
in the Twi language, were distributed to all the members who do not 
know English. On the Ivory Coast, weekly meetings were held. Many 
members and sympathizers studied The Key to Theosophy. These studies 
are particularly helpful for younger members. The work on the African 
Headquarters building has progressed well, the ground and first 
floors having been completed. In spite of the difficult ongoing 
political situation in Africa, the Pan-African Federation's Chairman, 
Mr Tom Davis, reported that activities continue, and their newsletter 
is distributed regularly.

>From Southern Africa, the General Secretary, Mrs Susan Kaschula 
reports that a new Lodge with twenty-nine members was chartered. This 
is the first new Lodge in fifty-eight years. The use of Prof. K. V. 
K. Nehru's PowerPoint presentation was successful. Attempts are being 
made to revive the work in Cape Town and Durban.

The President of the Inter-American Federation, Mrs Terezinha Kind, 
reports that the `First All Central American Convention' was held in 
El Salvador and resulted in an increase of members, mostly in the 
Central American countries. The larger Sections are encouraged to 
help smaller neighbours by interchanging information, materials and 
experiences. The IATF Newsletter is distributed twice yearly. At all 
meetings, there is an emphasis on working together under the guidance 
of the International Headquarters in Adyar.

Argentina has been active, particularly in the San Rafael centre. 
They have had a number of sessions with various members including one 
with younger members. In Mendoza and San Rafael, there were two 
conferences and a winter school, with thirty-one people in 
attendance. Similarly, other areas have had gatherings. The 
Theosophist has been translated, and sent to all members in addition 
to their own magazine. The total number of members is 333. The book 
Transformation from the Internal to the External was printed and 
distributed, and revision of the Theosophical Glossary is being 

The General Secretary of Brazil reports that the membership is now 
776, which shows a reduction. Some Lodges and study groups have 
closed. The system of paying annual dues in installments is going on. 
Every year a renewal appeal is made to members asking for their 
contributions to support the Theosophical work. Two thousand copies 
of their magazine Sophia is published and distributed every three 
months. There were three national gatherings which studied various 
Theosophical subjects, including the writings of Clara Codd, N. Sri 
Ram and I. K. Taimni. Special meetings are held at the Headquarters 
and the lectures were useful. The Theosophical Institute in Brazil 
also held seminars and workshops. Members in all regions participated 
in various programmes. The work is going on well in other places 
besides Brasilia. The advertising department has done a lot of work, 
especially preparing talks and seminars which they can broadcast. The 
TOS is also active and publishes a journal of its own. The Raja 
Centre holds several seminars during each year.

The three Lodges in Costa Rica are active. A workshop on Therapeutic 
Touch  was conducted by Mrs Nelda Samarel when she visited the 
country. In Cartago, under the leadership of Mrs Anna Howell, The 
Voice of the Silence was studied. The Society has been given 
permission by the government to build a 700 sq. m. building.  Study 
programmes are regularly con-ducted, and a national gathering took 
place during the year. Meetings were organized by all the Lodges and 
Mrs Isis Resende visited some of them.

The Mexican Section held a series of nine-teen public lectures from 
March to August on `What is the Invisible in Theosophy?'. At their 
National Headquarters a new course was started by Ms Lissette Arroyo 
called `Me and Theosophy'. The Mexican Section celebrated all the 
Theosophical dates and their own anniversary.

In the Ukraine, two Lodges with more than fifty members are working 
regularly. The keynote of the last year was `The Inner Guidance Comes 
from Within'. About a hundred persons participated, coming not only 
from various places in the Ukraine, but also from Russia, Kiev, 
Odessa, etc.

In Peru, the Lodges organized talks in October and November which 
proved to be useful. There are twenty-nine members at present. Their 
magazine could not be published because of financial difficulties. 
The TOS has been active and the first stage of a three-stage effort 
to recover their property has been initiated.

In Bolivia, a national gathering took place on `The Path of 
Discipleship' in San Benito in April. A similar gathering on `The Way 
to Adeptship' was held in August. Mrs Isis Resende visited several 
cities. Weekly meetings continue at the four Lodges. The Theosophical 
Society in Bolivia is the legal owner of a flat in the town of La Paz.

In Uruguay, all the Theosophical commemorations were celebrated. The 
total membership is sixty-six. The study of books and informal 
meetings continue. In Venezuela, work goes on as usual, and includes 
the commemorations of the Society, their main theme during the year 
being `Theosophy as a Process of Healing'. Another small region was 
Central America, where there are thirty-one members in Nicaragua, and 
some more in El Salvador and Guatemala. The passing of Mrs Carmen 
Aguilar Alvarez in Guatemala was a loss, but a new Organizing 
Secretary has been elected.

The General Secretary of Indonesia reports that a new group with 
about twenty-five members was formed in Kaliabu in February. A 
translation of The Etheric Double was translated some years ago and 
has been published for internal use in Java. Two Study Camps near 
Malang, focusing on the seven manuals of Theosophy, were attended by 
about twenty participants. Money was distributed to the necessary 
agencies to assist with overcoming earthquake damage. The annual 
convention was held in the Sala Lodge in Surakarta.

The Theosophical Order of Service has been celebrating its centenary 
and this involved planning further work that can be done. I am glad 
to say that there is much more interest than there used to be, and 
this can be attributed to the enthusiasm of the organizing head, Mrs 
Diana Dunningham Chapotin.

The Olcott Education Society at Adyar has four main activities, one 
of which is the HPB Hostel with twenty students. The training given 
to the hostel boys is such that it will not alienate the boys from 
their family and relatives. Ninety-one children attend the Social 
Welfare Centre. The tailoring course issued certificates for work 
done to produce various items. At the Besant Memorial Animal 
Dispensary, Dr P. D. Jagannathan and his team cared for more than 
8000 animals; a small proportion of them underwent the operation to 
control births. The outreach programme operates in six areas, and 80 
to 100 animals are treated on most visits.

The work of the Theosophical Publishing House has continued to be 
satisfactory with good sales figures. Three revised editions were 
printed and twenty-two books were reprinted and brought out during 
the year. The Adyar Library acquired quite a number of books; Miss 
Mary Anderson donated many from her collection. The work of 
cataloguing continues. The Library readers numbered 2091 and 
borrowers 835. Lamination of books has been lagging because of a 
dearth of the films required. Many visitors and scholars continue to 
visit the Library.

The Besant Scouting Centre during the year had 1600 young people 
using the facilities, and during their stay, they gained some 
appreciation of the Theosophical Society. This activity admits many 
into the ambience of the Society.

*   *   *

We learn from Theosophical literature that the universe is made up of 
vast, in fact unknown, areas and these are related to everything that 
we know at this external level. Scientists may acknowledge this fact, 
because the more they discover of the limitlessness of the universe, 
the more appears to be ahead of them. But the scientist has as yet no 
knowledge of this. Throughout the vast course of evolution everything 
has converged to bring about more and more intelligence; it is like a 
flower that opens itself ever more beautifully. We know that there is 
a great difference in intelligence between living creatures, but we 
are unable to say why. The difference between the intelligence of 
ants and bees and the larger intelligence of the elephants or dogs, 
between rather primitive human beings and the brilliant man or woman, 
has no explanation. They all seem to be developing, but are not the 
same. We have to open our inner eyes to understand this.

We learn while studying Theosophy about the Great Plan. It is a mode 
in which the divine mind makes known something of its own nature. 
Real knowledge may have something to do with knowing how the mind 
becomes divine. Knowledge is unlimited when it can understand all 
this. In the philosophical literature of India they say that knowing 
the external includes not only the phenomenal but also noumenal. When 
we live in desires and thoughts stimulated by sense-experience, we 
are unable to be aware of subtler dimensions.

The Masters wrote about something which seems simple, but is 
difficult to follow. This is knowledge of our neighbours. Who are 
they? In The Key to Theosophy Madame Blavatsky indicates that the 
book contains not only what the reader may require, but the basis of 
Theosophy, and this can be passed on to our neighbours. A 
philanthropic attitude must go side by side with an altruistic 
spirit. Knowledge cannot be an objective by itself. This is clearly 
stated in one of the letters from the Masters, `Be a missionary of 
love and charity.'

We tend to look charitably at our-selves, and ignore weaknesses, but 
harp on about the weaknesses of other people. But the others are 
struggling as much as ourselves. Therefore we must try to be more 
open, and widen our feelings. Obstacles to understanding are many, 
and include lust, illusion and hatred, which do not help us to 
understand. Hence, never add fuel to the fire.

When we are more in harmony with the divine mind, we make room for a 
little part of the knowledge to come down here. An uncharitable 
attitude indicates ignorance about the divine mind. In Indian 
tradition, listening with the heart is said to be part of learning. 
If once we begin to learn of the presence of what we may call God, 
the consciousness becomes deeper and knows more. The Voice of the 
Silence says: `Before the soul can see, the harmony within must be 
attained.' A condition of being awake to the spiritual more and more, 
the harmony `within' may be achieved. The preparation may be more 
important than getting wisdom, because the condition of the heart and 
mind allows contact, or fails to do so, depending on ourselves. Let 
us ponder and learn.

Radha Burnier

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Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application