Some reasons why there is decline in membership of Theosophical Society
Jun 15, 2011 11:58 AM
We have discussed the hot potato issue of declining membership in the TS
outside India. No one has examined this issue and pinpointed the fundamental
problems that is reflected in the declining membership. It looks like one of
the key issues may be the kind of treatment that visitors to TS get. Here is
an account recited in Joseph Rossâ recent book - Krotona, Theosophy and
Beatrice Wood writes her experience for the Messenger, October
1927, that the first time she attended a theosophical lodge room
meeting, no one welcomed her at the door, no one bothered where
she sat, no one smiled, no one seemed conscious of the thrilling
excitement of coming into contact with members of the Society for
the first time. She sank into a seat by an empty row of chairs, while
others avoided the places beside her; they had friends they preferred
to sit by. After the lecture was over she did not leave immediately,
but stood in the middle of the room, hoping that one or two people
might talk to her. However, the members were too busy discussing
occult progress, and their self-interest in comparing notes. There was
nothing left for the woman to do but to walk home, more lonely
than when she had come. Beatrice states that this is a true story.
She felt that the Masters would not allow one hungry soul to pass
unwelcomed, if They did, they were failing in their sacred duty.
[Wood, Beatrice, ïOur Attitude to New Members', 1he Messenger, Oct., 1927,
Vol.xv, n5, p.109 ..
I am sure there are many who may have had similar experiences. This kind of
experience is not limited to the USA. When I first formally joined a lodge
in India, the man in charge of the lodge activities, while being polite was
very aloof as if I am some kind of stranger not to be befriended with. He
was an older man, probably a long time member and was also a member of the
ES; but never took any interest to do anything to encourage a new member. It
did not matter to me since I was exposed to theosophy for a long time.
A second experience I had several years later was with a long time member
who was active in the esoteric section as well as Co-masonry and had resided
in Adyar for several years. Yet when I tried to meet him personally on an
issue in which I thought he may be helpful, he avoided me, only for reasons
known to him.
It is these kind of episodes that is harming the growth of TS. I think all
officers in lodges need to be trained in some of the basic interpersonal
skills so that they can practice Brotherhood before they launch on
meditation and other exercises meant for spiritual growth.
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