Synthesizing Organizational Discussion 3
Jul 04, 2009 03:33 PM
If theosophists are supposed to be supporting the Movement and their leaders, how can this be made more practical?
Cass in a message be posted on Theos-Talk (Message #51964) draws our attention to the words of KH in ML #92. KH suggests a reformation of the Branches and their privileges. One of the chief lessons coming out of the pledge of the ES Members is that we should, as the Christians say, "Judge not lest we be judged." There is far to much interest by theosophists in what the other guy is doing. There is also far too much waiting around for others to do something (apparently so those sitting on the sidelines can have something to criticize) and far too little practical work. What KH suggested was that "let every Branch before it is chartered, choose some one object to work for, an object naturally, in sympathy with the general principles of the T.S. - yet a distinct and definite object of its own, whether in the religious, educational or philosophical line. Lodges would thus become practical engines of work for the theosophical cause. KH saw of the results of such action that it would allow "the Society a broader margin for its general operations; more real, useful work would be done; and as every Branch would be so to say, independent in its modus operandi, there would remain less room for complaint and par consequence - for interference." Instead of waiting for headquarters to give direction, a chartered lodge would already have an independent identity and would have the practical work ahead of them of realizing that identity. The fact that the lodge next door is not doing the same thing as yours is not a reason for criticism, we are not all trying to clone ourselves in one another, we are each being exhorted to follow the Path in our own individual way. What we share in common is "sympathy with the general principles of the T.S."
Brotherhood is the key principle of the Society. KH makes this clear when he writes " a Branch composed of mild Christians sympathizing with the objects of the Society might remain neutral in the question of every other religion, and utterly indifferent to and unconcerned with the private beliefs of the "Founders" the Theosophist making room as willingly for hymns on the Lamb, as for slokas on the sacredness of the cow." Very often the Masters seem to show very little concern about the beliefs of theosophists and great interest in how individuals and lodges relate to one another. It is the practical effort along the lines of Brotherhood that they seem to care about most. In principle a group of Christians should be able to have a lodge within the Society, practice Brotherhood by taking a neutral stand towards other religions, and do some practical theosophical work based on principles that theosophists and Christians share, at least in theory.
In order to do this successfully, KH points out that "the greatest care should be taken in the selection of Presidents." Leadership is important, in the context of Letter 92, we learn that Hume had just resigned as President of the Simla Branch of the TS. Hume had become a huge thorn in the side of the Masters, and of their efforts in Simla. KH pointed out that "had the 'Eclectic' (the Simla Branch) been placed from the first on such a footing of distinct independence, it might have fared better." Its president, Hume, had a rather large ego and if given a certain free reign he might have worked more diligently along a more creative path, rather than spending his time lecturing the Masters on their inadequacies and lack of understanding with respect to the European mind.
Again, if today lodges had specific identities and missions set out before them, perhaps they would spend less time worrying about what was going on in Adyar. This may make the leaders of the Society more secure as they would not constantly have to face criticism, and consequently they would be less likely to make rash political decisions based on fear. It is the constitutions job to limit the power of leaders, and the memberships job to empower them to do good. They do this through their support. Sometimes leaders will make mistakes. Support them anyways if it is your duty to do so in order that they more quickly realize they have made a mistake. By not cooperating, you may convince them that they failed due to lack of cooperation, and becoming entrenched in their idea, they may keep trying their mistaken plan to the detriment of all. Even leaders have to be allowed to make mistakes.
I have great regard for de Purucker and have read some evidence that seems to indicate he was directly pledged to a Master while Judge was still alive. I have no reason to think that Tingley was so pledged, and have often wondered why Purucker sat quietly by, even supporting Tingley, when she seemed, to me, to be doing things that were against the principles of Theosophy. Perhaps the reason was, that a good theosophist supports his leader before the World, even when that leader is making mistakes. In time Purucker came to power and he had a lot of new insight to offer theosophy. So whose to say what would have happened to this insight had he chose to criticize Tingley and leave the Society that she presided over.
Theosophy's lessons are never black and white. At best we can endeavor to follow the general principles as laid out by the founders of the modern Movement. It seems that the Masters believed that working according to these principles would be of great benefit to theosophist, theosophy, and the World.
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