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Money and Theosophical Society in America

Nov 12, 2011 07:11 AM
by MKR

Money and Theosophical Society in America

When Annie Besant was the President, she was able to raise lot of funds for
many causes including TS. She also had a policy of spending all the money
by the end of each year and start fund raising again. Since donors saw
their money being spent on productive and beneficial projects, they were
willing to donate more funds. TS also saw greatest growth during the
presidency of Besant.

Going back to early days of TS, the money at the disposal of Olcott and HPB
was very tight. Still they managed to launch and expand the presence of TS
around the world. Many of the lodges they chartered are still actively
functioning today.

When you look at the TS after Besant passed away, the membership outside
India has been shrinking. The second largest section in the world is the
American Section. It is also the richest section with a lot of money in the
bank. In addition, in the recent decades, Kern Foundation has been
supporting the Section with substantial annual contributions. With all
this, the membership count is in a sad state. Today, we have around 3,500
members compared to about 8,000 when Dora Kunz was the president. Since
Doraâs time, there was no lack of dedicated, scholarly, professorial,
occult, administrative, leaders. Yet with all the money and the leaders the
trend in membership is a pitiful and none of the leaders want to discuss
this hot potato issue. Attempts have been continually made to divert the
attention of members to what is going on at Adyar while the situation at
home is serious. We all even witnessed the misguided attempt from the USA
to ultra secretly disenfranchise all members in the election of the
International President and seize control by a few members of the General

Sections are autonomous and hence no one including the International
President can interfere with decisions of the Sections. So the ball is
squarely in Wheaton and no one can be blamed. Why with all the money and
autonomy and able leaders, the results are pitiful?

There is one more angle we may want to look at the money situation. We are
all aware of the Phoenix venture during the time of Sinnett. It
demonstrated how difficult it was to raise money. Usually when large
donations are made, these come from money made in business ventures and not
from hard working men and women who work 8-5 to pay their bills. Usually
large fortunes are made due to business investments or growth. So one
wonders if all the money in the bank not able to help TS in America grow
its membership, is due to some bad Karma attached to the money. Who knows?

It is time for all active decision makers in TS in America start looking
into this issue of all the money not helping TS membership grow. Is not the
goal of TS to grow in the long run, not shrink?


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