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Re: theos-talk Non-Sectarianism??

Jan 14, 2012 11:13 AM
by M. Sufilight

Dear Jaqua and friends

My views are:

Yes. I thought someone would say something like that.
But, that was with regard to the Magazine the Theosophists, not the Theosophical Society and its constitution. People could easily meet and talk absolutely freely in the various Lodges and centres around the globe, --- while keeping the objects of the Society in mind of course.

The big question is also what is "Theosophy" actually - in a non-sectarian organisation?

It was explained more than one time in the various papers and also by Blavatsky in her own papers.
The following article from the Theosophist - seem to reach the most central definition - officially stated by the Theosophical Society.

(>>> About the scope for the allowed publications in the Theosophist - shortly stated - no doubt by HPB and Olcott and a few others<<<)
"It has been shown that the individual members of our Society have their own private opinions upon all matters of a religious, as of every other, nature. They are protected in the enjoyment and expression of the same; and, as individuals, have an equal right to state them in the THEOSOPHIST, over their own signatures. Some of us prefer to be known as Arya Samajists, some as Buddhists, some as idolators, some as something else. What each is, will appear from his or her signed communications. But neither Aryan, Buddhist, nor any other representative of a particular religion, whether an editor or a contributor, can, under the Society's rules, be allowed to use these editorial columns exclusively in the interest of the same, or unreservedly commit the paper to its propaganda. It is designed that a strict impartiality shall be observed in the editorial utterances; the paper representing the whole Theosophical Society, or Universal Brotherhood; and not any single section. The Society being neither a church nor a sect in any sense, we mean to give the same cordial welcome to communications from one class of religionists as to those from another; insisting only, that courtesy of language shall be used towards opponents. And the policy of the Society is also a full pledge and guarantee that there will be no suppression, of fact nor tampering with writings, to serve the ends of any established or dissenting church, of any country."

"Vaughan offers a far better, more philosophical definition. "A Theosophist," he says - "is one who gives you a theory of God or the works of God, which has not revelation, but an inspiration of his own for its basis." In this view every great thinker and philosopher, especially every founder of a new religion, school of philosophy, or sect, is necessarily a Theosophist. Hence, Theosophy and Theosophists have existed ever since the first glimmering of nascent thought made man seek instinctively for the means of expressing his own independent opinions."

M. Sufilight says:
A few comments, which might be helpful in explaining your view a bit better.......
So teachings of any kind which had a hypothesis about God or rather "God" is Theosophy. But the Magazine scope did not say anything about that the articles needed to follow - a theosophical doctrine of any kind. To put that view into the mouth of the publishers - would not be in accordance with truth - but that was niether your angle, as I understand you.
The reason why not all articles got printed was that the magazine the Theosophist, for obvious reasons, had to limit itself in size.
Another issue was as you rightly point out the editor in charge (not always Blavatsky, who travelled a lot. Sometimes T. Subba Row or Damodar was there instead) - who decided most often - no doubt alone - what got printed, and what not.
This "issue", can be - placed at the altar of any religious view - and cut down by anyone and to shreds - no matter who they are. And there would always be someone, who would claim that the editor did not act broad-minded enough - for their own taste. 

A question:
I will however ask you Jaqua - what kinds of articles you find to be missing from the yearly years of the Theosophical Society in the magazine named the Theosophist?

Another problem was that some of the articles, where not within the scope of the Theosophical Society's main objects - altruism - included. They were simply clearly having a non-altruisitic aim. The editor of course had to reject them, or else face the problem of explaining herself and her conscience to the members of the Society.

The next problem is, as you said Jaqua --- Blavatsky often "added her own sometimes highly critical or explanatory footnotes" to a given article - as editor of the Magazine the Theosophist.
This I find to be a bit problematic on her part. Because that could scare some authors away from at all daring to submit any article to print. However, if one had something on ones heart - in the search for the truth about the meaning of life - and how to promote altruism - something like that should not hold anyone back. Only the weak would give up on something like that. I see a problem of a kind here myself, but not a big one, though. And that is the only thing I find problematic in in regard to the Magazine the Theosophist in the early years - as I am so far aware of. - And Blavatsky did in fact not add footnotes or explanatory notes - to all the articles. You will find that out, if you one make a total count of them. - Just try the year 1879 as an example.
 - Another thing is that not all footnotes etc. was made by Blavatsky, who travelled a lot in India and in other countries as well. And sometimes T. Subba Row was the man ´behind the footnotes. So we have to keep they eye on the realities here. 

The ever existing problem is, that any Magazine always run the risk of being called sectarian, no matter what.

But all the above are jsut my views. If someone has something to add, I will gladly listen to it.

M. Sufilight

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Mark Jaqua 
  Sent: Saturday, January 14, 2012 5:39 PM
  Subject: theos-talk Non-Sectarianism??

  I've been looking through a Blavatsky early "Theosophist" lately, and have noted her remarks about the publication being "non-sectarian," and open to articles from nearly anyone. She did publish many articles from outside of Theosophy, - however - she _always_ added her own sometimes highly critical or explanatory footnotes. This limited the number of article submission that were far-outside Theosophical viewpoints. Being critical, and even highly critical or scoffing was obviously within her perspective of "non-sectarian." The Theosophist was an open forum, but it was not a _promoter_ of viewpoints outside of Theosophy, but obviously was a promoter of _Theosophy._
  - jake j.

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