Lucifer7, May 2008


Short Quotes
Theosophical Elections
Hail to the Unborn

Seasonal: White Lotusday (May 8th)

Short Quotes

N. Sri Ram, Thoughts For Aspirants, Second Series

Before one can come to the truth, there has to be an attitude of humility, absence of conceit, a recognition of his own limitations and willingness to learn. 

Talbot Mundy, Queen Cleopatra

Blame is easy to lay and no man or no woman is perfect. Commonly the greatest fools and hypocrites are readiest to cast aspersion; and the wisest and most honorable are the slowest, ever qualifying accusation and withholding judgment, knowing that themselves in like predicament might blunder worse than the accused and might achieve less.

Paul Brunton, The Secret Path, Chapter VII

We may say that the person exists by virtue of, through the life force of, and by permission of the Overself.

Theosophical Elections

John Algeo and Radha Burnier are both running for president of the Theosophical Society with headquarters at Adyar.

John Algeo has a website and gives his vision of the work of the Theosophical Society which reads like the perfect mix between conserving what's best from the past and moving forward into the 21st century. John Algeo is a retired professor of English, who's written a book on the differences between American-English and British-English. His scientific approach shines through in his work on 'The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky', volume 1 - which caused a storm among fundamentalist Blavatskyan theosophists who felt too many letters had been published there which they felt had not actually been written by Blavatsky. I have personally felt for years that he was the only likely candidate to step in Radha Burnier's shoes. John Algeo is less of a Krishnamurti enthusiast and as the articles published (with his permission) on my website show, more of a Blavatsky man. This really ought to please members of the other theosophical organizations, but we can be sure they will find some fault or other with him nonetheless.

There are several documents relating to this election online at There is discussion about Radha Burnier's Health as well as about John Algeo's willingness to live at Adyar. On my website there is a lot of information on the goals and aims of the Theosophical Society.

Personally I feel that Radha Burnier has served the TS long enough and that her health and age are such that it is a very bad idea that she be president for another tenure. I have not yet received the election-ballots yet - but I will be voting for John Algeo as the only serious candidate. I was of the impression that a person can only be president for two terms. Since our terms are seven years long, Radha has been at the helm of the TS for fourteen 28 (four terms) years now. She has done the TS good with uniting of Krishnamurti's and Blavatsky's messages, but her negative attitude towards the Internet slowed the TS down considerably when it the Internet was coming up a few years ago. While she has since grown less vocal about this, I feel she is not the right person to move the Theosophical Society into the 21st century. In her letter (as published on Theos-talk) she says we need someone younger - well, nobody younger was nominated. We will have to wait seven years for that. Meanwhile: John Algeo is younger than Radha Burnier, though 78 according to Radha's e-mail.

In the online discussions there are several issues that get the limelight:
Radha's Health
The reports are mixed: some say her health is fine. Others say her memory isn't what it used to be and the stroke she had roughly a year ago has left its mark. 
John's inability to live at Adyar
Radha makes a lot of John Algeo's likely preference for living somewhere other than at the Adyar estate in Southern India. Since the headquarters have been at Adyar most of the time since the Adyar estate was bought in the 19th century, this would go against tradition. The main reason for John not living there would be the health of his wife Adele. Let's not make too much of this though: presidents of the Theosophical Society generally don't live at Adyar year round anyhow: they travel too much for lectures and connections to the various sections of the TS. The place of any non-Indian president on the Estate is going to be different from Radha's position. Radha speaks Tamil, which is the mother tongue of the local people. Any Western president would have to rely on aids for the running of the estate because of that language barrier. 
Radha Burnier's aversion to the Internet
Radha has gone on record against the Internet. She said at one point that it could not replace face to face contact. This is really besides the point. Books don't replace face to face contact either. I'm not sure what her current position on this issue is, but she certainly isn't an Internet advocate. In contrast: John Algeo has his own website.
Open versus closed
Unfortunately both candidates have been accused (I feel with reason) of being closed off in their connection to ordinary members and the world. But of the two, Radha is the most isolationist, I feel. Her position on the Internet is a case in point. John addresses the issue of communication on his website and therefore shows awareness of that point. Of the two candidates Radha has been of the opinion that PR is just not spiritually sound (it should not be necessary, because if we live theosophy, we radiate it). John shows far more awareness of PR as something that should at least be on the agenda. A modern organization just can't do without some publicity - and this is something Blavatsky and Olcott (both journalists) knew very well.

Some other issues are:

Blavatsky versus Krishnamurti
John Algeo is more of a Blavatsky based theosophist, while Radha is more of a Krishnamurti person. Radha also quotes Blavatsky regularly though. John has been known to comment on fantasy works like the Harry Potter series. John Algeo was responsible for creating the first volume of the Collected Letters of Blavatsky. 
Spiritual teaching versus administration
Radha is very much a spiritual teacher as well as an administrator. John Algeo's strengths include scholarship and administration, but I don't think many would describe him as a spiritual teacher. This is really the only sound reason to elect Radha Burnier that I can think of. 
India versus the world
The Theosophical Society is a world-wide organization, with headquarters in India. John Algeo is an American. I feel that it is good for the TS to have a mix of Indian and international presidents. Radha has given the Indian voice a strong place in her presidency, as she would: she is Indian, she knows Sanskrit. I feel it's time for the rest of the world to have its say.
The procedure appears to be a direct vote. This means that all members should vote, as it is my impression that this is a tight race. I will personally vote for John Algeo as he is younger, healthier and more modern.

Hail to the Unborn

From Chicago TIME, January 25. Found in the Canadian Theosophist, Vol. 24, #1 (1943)

In a small town in Yugoslavia there lived a man named Peter.  He read many books, dabbled in politics and married a girl named Maria.

When Maria was heavy with child, the Germans occupied Peter's village and took over his home and his business.  Peter left to fight in the woods with the Yugoslav Partisans.  He was shot several weeks later but before he died he took a stub of pencil and wrote a letter to his unborn son.

Partisans found Peter's body and the letter.  While they waited for a chance to deliver it, the letter was passed from hand to hand and became in time a part of guerrilla folklore.  By now it may have been sharpened by the literacy of other men and given added eloquence by the nobility of other men's minds.  But what it said was as true when it was scrawled on a scrap of paper in a great whispering forest as it was when last week it reached London and the outside world.

My child, sleeping now in the dark and gathering strength for the struggle of birth, I wish you well.  At present you have no proper shape, and you do not breathe, and you are blind.  Yet, when your time comes, your time and the time of your mother, whom I deeply love, there will be something in you that will give you power to fight for air and light.  Such is your heritage, such is your destiny as a child born of woman - to fight for light and hold on without knowing why.

May the flame that tempers the bright steel of your youth never die, but burn always;  so that when your work is done and your long day ended, you may still be like a watchman's fire at the end of a lonely road - loved and cherished for your gracious glow by all good wayfarers who need light in their darkness and warmth for their comfort.

The spirit of wonder and adventure, the token of immortality, will be given to you as a child.  May you keep it forever, with that in your heart which always seeks the gold beyond the rainbow, the pasture beyond the desert, the dawn beyond the sea, the light beyond the dark.

May you seek always and strive always in good faith and high courage, in this world where men grow so tired.

Keep your capacity for faith and belief, but let your judgment watch what you believe.

Keep your power to receive everything;  only learn to select what your instinct tells you is right.

Keep your love of life, but throw away your fear of death.  Life must be loved or it is lost;  but it should never be loved too well.

Keep your delight in friendship;  only learn to know your friends.

Keep your intolerance - only save it for what your heart tells you is bad.

Keep your wonder at great and noble things like sunlight and thunder, the rain and the stars, the wind and the sea, the growth of trees and the return of harvests, and the greatness of heroes.

Keep your heart hungry for new knowledge;  keep your hatred of a lie;  and keep your power of indignation.

Now I know I must die, and you must be born to stand upon the rubbish heap of my errors.  Forgive me for this.  I am ashamed to leave you an untidy, uncomfortable world.  But so it must be.

In thought, as a last benediction, I kiss your forehead.  Good night to you - and good morning and a clear dawn.

Here the letter ends.  The day that the avenging Partisans swept back into Peter's village they found that his widow had been murdered a few days before her child would have been born.  The letter that his comrades could not deliver has become instead a letter to all the unborn children in the great, mad world. 

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