[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]

Two Presidents (I)

May 21, 2008 06:47 AM
by prmoliveira

[A number of those who wrote about the history of TS (Adyar) during 
Annie Besant's presidency (1907-1933) have said that she was probably 
senile from 1925 onwards, if not before. I reproduce below excerpts 
of her Presidential Address delivered in Varanasi, India, December 
1930, during the TS international Convention, shortly three years 
before she passed away. They give an idea of what was occupying her 
mind when she was 83 years old. PO]

"Each can judge for himself how far he cares to come nearer Them [the 
Masters], with all the implications that go with that approach; 
whether he is willing to accept those implications, to make the 
changes demanded by Them, and thus to learn gradually how to co-
operate with the Elder Brothers in our world. There are few subjects 
more fascinating, more attractive; but it is also necessary that we 
should realize the truth of that which I just quoted from one of 
Them: "You must come out of your world into Ours." They are not going 
to come down to the level of our world; we have to climb up, however 
slowly; we have to climb up nearer to Them, and to however 
infinitesimally small a degree, to recognize the value of Their work 
for Humanity, and try in our own childish way to give some form of co-
operation to Them. 

There are two of those Masters, as you know, or as you have heard, 
who have a special relationship with the Theosophical Society. You 
may have read that once a discussion arose among Themselves as to 
exactly when it was best to start the Theosophical Society. It is 
just as well to realize that They are not always of the same opinion 
with each other, although in the discussion They may come to a unity 
of thought. There are differences of opinion, and, what is startling 
at first and very significant, is that They encourage Their 
disciples, even the youngest and least experienced of them, to state 
fully and clearly his own opinion. They do not check the statement, 
despite the imperfection of the opinion of some young disciples. On 
the contrary, They use extraordinary words of condescension: "We need 
your opinion; the world needs it." There is Their full recognition of 
the responsibility of each, and of the fact that each individual has 
his own gift to give; each individual has some particular quality; 
and when he is thinking how best approach the Master, let him try as 
far as he possibly can to empty himself of any desire for his own 
advantage, and to try merely to co-operate in Their wonderful service 
to the world, remembering the fact that all of us can render a 
definite service. 

There is one statement which struck me forcibly when I first read it, 
and it has always remained with me as a sort of continuous reminder 
in daily life; that was that "the so-called small services in daily 
life count as much with Us as the so-called greater services" ? a 
very instructive and significant statement. When I first heard it, I 
thought over it a great deal, trying to realize what lay at the back 
of those words. Why should these small services of daily life count 
with a Master as though they were some great service done to mankind? 
And the conclusion to which I came was an obvious one, that the big 
opportunities come only now and then, generally at long intervals of 
time. Therefore, they will never lead to the growth of a habit. But 
the little things of daily life come every day and all day long, and 
therefore we create the habit of service if we render any service 
that comes our way, looking on every contact with another as an 
opportunity to serve that person. As that becomes our habitual 
attitude to every one whom we meet, we shall gradually find that 
everyone is profoundly interesting, and that the giving of service is 
the greatest joy in life. 

There has been in our Society, I think, perhaps in some form a 
tendency to a different policy with most us from that which was 
pursued by H.P.B. I do not think you could be in the room of H.P.B., 
talking with her on any subject, without finding in a short time some 
words about the Masters coming into the conversation. They were 
generally related to the Master's wish, the Master's desire, the 
Master's work in life; those were the things which, to her, made the 
supremest claim, and we learned to realize, if we had the privilege 
of living with her for a time, however short, how to serve her Master.

For one thing, that was always in her mind ? not always the talking 
about him, but always the being actively alive to any possibility of 
service. The desire to do what He wished done seems always to have 
been in her mind. People sometimes asked foolish questions. I heard a 
person once ask her the question so often asked: "If a Master told 
you to tell a lie, would you do it?" Her answer was that no Master 
could ask her to tell a lie; a silly question, an absurd question! 
She was not impatient if she saw a person was in earnest, and really 
wanted to know and understand. I do not think I ever met anyone who 
was more sensitive to the wish of another person to do some little 
service, than H.P.B. was in her ordinary life.

In connection with the things for which she wished, there is one of 
which she seldom speak, but I should like to suggest it to you. It is 
about Adyar, the place which was some years earlier chosen by the 
Masters for the Centre, to which They sent her, that she might live 
there for some time and create an atmosphere which would make it easy 
for it to receive Their influence, or any spiritual influence which 
was sent. She loved Adyar deeply. That is one reason which is strong 
in the minds of many of us, as to the value of Adyar; and another is 
that there is a direct communication between Adyar and the place that 
will be familiar to all of you who are Hindus, as a spot of special 
sanctity, Shamballa, the great City which was once on the "White 
Island". She always seemed to bear in mind the method by which she 
could prepare a place in which people, coming to it for a short time, 
would receive real help in the spiritual life. And so she dwelt, at 
her Master's wish, in Adyar for some considerable time, in order that 
that place might become consecrated to Their service, and inspire all 
who came to it with the desire to draw nearer to Them." 


[Back to Top]

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application