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Re: Theos-World Presidential Address

Jan 30, 2009 10:45 PM
by MKR

I am very glad to see Pedro posting the full address of Radha Burnier, our
International President. It is to be noted that in the address, the
President has included a report of the activities/condition of all the
sections in the World. It is informative to many members and others around
the world because many do not subscribe to the Theosophist.

This is the first time ever that it is posted on the Internet maillist and I
hope this is the start of a new era of using Internet to quickly disseminate
information to the members and others interested.

It is also a first breakthrough for two reasons. Firstly, in the minds of
some, the copyright issue may override the need to keep members uptodate and
hence even if a member gets hold of the document, there will always be
reluctance on posting it on Internet because some short-sighted bureaucrat
may challenge the poster for violation of copyright. Secondly, in the minds
of some bureaucrat, these independent maillists may be seen as an
"unofficial" forum which should not post a copyrighted material, because
some legitimacy may be picked up by association.

I think that last year's electioneering and the role independent Internet
maillist has played has definitely changed the landscape. Based on the
events of last year, anyone who wants up to keep up with uptodate factual
information concerning TS, now looks to theos-talk. Thanks Eldon for making
this list available.


On Thu, Jan 29, 2009 at 4:40 PM, Pedro Oliveira <>wrote:

>   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 â 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 (satyÃt
> nÃsti 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 â behaviour, interest, and so on â
> 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 â 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
> work.
> 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 â 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 TrÃn-Thi-Kim-DiÃu. 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 â 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
> magazine.
> 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
> prepared.
> 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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