Money Key to Growth TS and Theosophy in 21st Century?
May 02, 2010 09:48 PM
IS MONEY KEY TO GROWTH OF TS AND THEOSOPHY IN 21ST CENTURY?
BELIEF IN THE WEST
In theosophical circles, one frequently may hear money, money, money.
You go on-line to websites setup by the organizations or websites the prime
movers of which are organizations or organizational leaders - present and
past, you will find solicitation for money. You will also get solicitations
In many meetings of lodges and elsewhere, either you find an admission fee
or suggested donation or passing the plate for collections.
One may get the idea that money will solve the current problems facing the
organization. If that is true, all you need is to find a theosophically
sympathetic 'fat cat' who can write a large check and solve all the
To me, money is not going to solve the problems facing TS or theosophy in
the West in 21st century.
HISTORY OF TS
When HPB & HSO launched TS, they were âpoor and penniless.â All they had was
the dedication and enthusiasm in seeing what dissemination of the idea of
Brotherhood can do to the welfare of Humanity.
TS was built and theosophy propagated world-wide by many dedicated
volunteers in addition to Chief Volunteers - HPB & HSO.
In the early days, money was very tight and Founders accomplished a lot in
spite of this situation.
One characteristic you find in the leaders of the early days, was their
charisma, dedication and enthusiasm. They also travelled, in spite of the
fact, travel was very difficult and hard and lectured on various
theosophical subjects and got involved in issues affecting the common man
and woman. Naturally this attracted volunteers - young and old - for the
Usually, when men and women personally meet charismatic people and attend a
lecture, they get fired up by enthusiasm and decide to volunteer. Human
nature has not changed for ages and hence volunteers come up in similar
There is a problem of âsalaried priests.â Many organizations have
paid-employees and sometimes it may even be the elected leaders on salary.
In all organizations, salary information is a tightly guarded secret. When a
hard-working volunteer discovers high salaries paid to some employees, who
may not even be doing the critical work of dissemination of theosophy and
furthering the mission of the organization, the volunteer is shocked. The
volunteer quits in disappointment. Word spreads around and able men and
women no longer want to volunteer.
VOLUNTEERS ON INTERNET
Internet plays an integral and key role in all organizations today. It is
the independent volunteers who are at the forefront of use of Internet
technology to disseminate theosophy. There are websites created by
individual independent volunteer theosophists which are outstanding as
compared to those funded and created by paid employees.
Some of the very successful long-time theosophical forums are the brainchild
of volunteers who never expected any monetary support from anyone. In
addition they are independent and they play a key role in the welfare of
theosophy and the TS.
We saw a clear demonstration soon after the election in 2008 when an ultra
secret attempt by a few GC members from the USA and West to disenfranchise
all members was exposed to the members worldwide with the help of such an
Independence of Internet activities is very important. It gives credibility
to the leaders and the organizations. Age of Internet is one of
transparency. Transparency is a built-in protection against well-motivated
but misguided and harmful actions of leaders.
Transparency is a critical need in 21st century. Many governmental processes
are by law, are transparent in order to prevent any misguided mischief by
those in power.
So transparency can be implemented in TS. It can be started in some of the
Western Sections and fine tuned as we go along.
Over several decades, theosophical leaders have gotten used to operate in
greatest secrecy and members never bothered about them. All that has changed
since last election and especially, the Internet has helped to raise the
veil on actions which members would have never known in the pre-Internet
Due to the various actions seen since the last election, many members hold
their leaders in low credibility. Leaders can effectively lead the followers
only when they command a high degree of credibility. Transparency is the
tool which is going to help the leaders build the trust members have in
CLIMATE CHANGE NEEDED IN TS ORGANIZATIONS
Early key writings are very clear about the priorities of TS. It is
dissemination of Brotherhood. That is true today as it was true in 1875.
Human nature has not changed in ages, hence Brotherhood is a key factor
which will strike a very favorable response from men and women even today.
In the West, Meditation and Yoga have become commodities and many
individuals and organizations are hawking them, and some bring in a lot of
money. These practices cannot bring salvation to the Humanity, which was the
prime motivation for the launching of TS.
Sometimes, misguided ideas like emphasis on meditation and yoga may be seen
as 21st century wisdom especially when they come from old brains with a lot
of gray or white hair. Already, the membership trends in the West seem to
show that ideas such as meditation and yoga have failed to spur the
membership growth in TS.
The continued perception of low credibility in the minds of members and lack
of any clear cut display of efforts to turn back the disunity that was
displayed in the 2008 voting in the GC meeting, continues to hurt TS and
Leaders need to be seen by members. They need to travel to all the lodges
and lecture on topics which would attract attention of the public. Also they
need to explore means of getting involved in issues affecting common man and
Anyone visiting Internet, can clearly see lack of active participation from
leaders. Internet is here to stay. By avoiding hands-on participation by
elected leaders, they are simply missing the opportunity. Complacent
attitude that there is no need to actively get involved in Internet is
simply not helping TS or theosophy. If this continues, theosophical movement
may bypass organizations and a new Internet based International structure
may be the outcome. I am sure that the Founders will have Plan B if the
current leadership does not make full use of the Internet technology.
SOME THINGS THAT ARE DO-ABLE
Great ideas in the world have come from individuals and not from committees.
Buddha, Christ, Shankaracharya, Jiddu Krishnamurti, & Gandhi are examples.
Their ideas, plans and strategies did not come from committees.
It is time for leaders to act now. Leaders who wait for the approval of the
followers would never raise above those being led. We have no time to waste
in backdoor secret planning and maneuvering.
Leaders should consider travel, travel, travel to lodges and cities. This
will provide opportunities for lecture, lecture, and lecture.
Travel can be inexpensive since the food and lodging can be taken care of by
members in the cities visited.
The above are some of the ideas of an ordinary member. We can see results
only if the above are tried. Let us make haste in putting up a plan of
travel and lecture immediately.
M K Ramadoss
There is no religion higher than Truth
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