Issue 20 – February 2012        to TOS website


  • Invitation to an International TOS Conference in 2013
  • Inspirational people – Rukmini Devi Arundale
  • Service in the community in the Philippines and Delhi
  • TOS news from around the world
    • Lisbon, Portugal
    • London, England
    • Pakistan
    • Brisbane, Australia
    • France
  • What’s new on the International TOS website?
  • Insights through service
  • Brochure documenting TS support for the United Nations
  • UN International Years for 2012
  • Eyes for the blind: letters from Roscoe
  • A joke to provoke

Dear fellow-members of the TS and TOS around the world,

We trust that you are beginning 2012 with a sense of optimism and a conviction that every small act of service imbued with compassion and given selflessly will make a positive difference to life on this beautiful planet. We hope that you will continue to enjoy keeping in touch with what is happening in the TOS worldwide and find inspiration and ideas for service.

Remember that the newsletter is designed to be read while you are connected to the internet.

Please also consider sending photographs of your TOS activities and news items that might be of interest to fellow TOS members. We would welcome your contributions by email to the editors at

With best wishes,
Carolyn, Diana and Geoffrey

(L. to R.)
Carolyn Harrod is the past National Coordinator of the TOS in Australia,
Geoffrey Harrod is the International TOS Webmaster, and
Diana Dunningham Chapotin is the International Secretary of the TOS



Special announcement
We are happy to express a warm welcome to the newly elected international Vice-President of the Theosophical Society, Mr Mahendra P. Singhal.  Our brother is well known within India where he has held numerous responsibilities within the TS over his many years of membership.  Of special interest to TOS members is the fact that Mahendra acted as National Secretary of the TOS in India from 1985 to 1992 and then as National Director from 2001 to 2004.  Most recently, Mahendra has been free to support our current Director, Birendra L. Bhattacharyya, by taking responsibility for the TOS work in Delhi and by attending regional and zonal conferences as guest speaker. 

Mahendra and his wife Shashi will be moving from their home in Delhi to Adyar in March.  We wish them all the best in their new assignment.

For full biographical information on Mahendra, and photos, read more here


Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you.   
  – Mother Teresa

Invitation to an International TOS Conference in 2013

We are happy to announce that the TS and TOS in America have kindly agreed to host a three-day international TOS Workers’ Conference from Wednesday July 24 to Friday July 26, 2013 at Olcott, its national centre in Wheaton, Illinois.

TOS office-bearers and those with responsibilities in the TOS at international, national or local level are warmly invited to attend.

All are cordially invited to participate in the five-day Convention and Summer National Gathering of the TS in America immediately preceding the Conference, from July 19 to July 23.
Participants will be actively involved throughout the TOS Conference. The goals of the conference are to:

  • review the current international Plan of Action and ensure that it takes into account the needs of each country for the period 2014-2018;
  • involve each participant in implementing part of the Plan of Action;
  • deepen links amongst active TOS workers and increase the effectiveness of their collaboration.

Further information will be provided in the next few months.    Read more….

Inspirational people – Rukmini Devi Arundale

The month of February saw both the birth and death of an inspirational Theosophist, Rukmini Devi Arundale. She was born in 1904 into a Brahmin family. Her father, an engineer, and his musical wife were strongly influenced by theosophical ideas to which they had been introduced in 1901. When her father retired, he settled in Chennai close to the headquarters of the Theosophical Society.

At the age of 16, Rukmini married Dr George Arundale, an Englishman destined to become the third International President of the Theosophical Society. In partnership with him and under the influence and inspiration of Annie Besant, she became very active in the theosophical movement.

In 1936, she and George Arundale established Kalakshetra, an academy of dance and music, built around the ancient Indian Gurukul system. The school has many renowned graduates including Radha Burnier. Because of their shared commitment to education and to the Montessori method in particular, Rukmini Devi and George Arundale have left a legacy of schools in India.

Rukmini Devi was committed to improving the welfare of animals in India and worked tirelessly to promote an awareness of the sanctity of all life. She was instrumental in establishing the legislation for The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and for later setting up the Animal Welfare Board of India, under her chairmanship in 1962. She remained on its board until her death in 1986.

Rukmini Devi was a strict vegetarian and did a great deal of work to promote vegetarianism within India. She was Vice-President of the International Vegetarian Union for 31 years from 1955, until her death in 1986.
   Read more….




Service in the community in the Philippines and Delhi

In presenting her Annual Report in the last issue of this newsletter, the International Secretary commented on her frustration at the impossibility of mentioning all the wonderful work going on in the TOS.  She wrote, “Only a small proportion of the members’ work can be mentioned in an Annual Report. Whole countries – 18 this year to be precise – have not even been referred to!” She gives a couple of examples of this unsung service work here.

PART 1: The TOS in the Philippines

Most Theosophists have heard of the Golden Link College in the Philippines by now. Did you know, though, that the TS and TOS in the Philippines run no fewer than five schools and learning centres for the underprivileged?  Did you know that whole villages have been adopted and helped toward autonomy through vocational training, micro-loans, nutrition programmes, parenting skills training and values awareness classes?  Did you know that for many years now, peace-building and conflict resolution seminars have been run for Philippine army officers and for multi-religious and multi-cultural groups?

PART 2: The TOS in Delhi

Another group that merits closer attention is the TOS in Delhi.  Its annual report for 2011 shows how amazingly varied TOS undertakings are.  In India there are so many groups – over a hundred – that National TOS Director, Mr Birendra L. Bhattacharyya, has to have a team of senior members to help him visit them all.  In reading this annual report, it is easy to see that a whole issue of this newsletter could be filled reporting on the year’s activities in Delhi. They organise various medical, educational and social welfare programs, including a number of vocational training centres.
   Read more….

At Karachi Theosophical Society

TOS news from around the world

In this issue you’ll find news from the TOS in Lisbon, Portugal, about the popular vegetarian cooking classes they’ve been conducting. The TOS in London, England, shares news about their successful fundraising concert at the recent European School of Theosophy and the TOS in Pakistan reports on a recent function held in Karachi to acknowledge the work their teachers are doing in the home schools, despite the violence and unrest in their community. The dedication of these teachers is most inspiring and is very much appreciated by the TOS internationally. There’s also news about an initiative of the TOS in Brisbane, Australia, to make carry bags for their Theosophical Society bookshop from recycled newspapers and magazines. Finally, the TOS in France tell us about a recent meeting that not only raised funds and motivated members about the projects the group supports, but also included a beautiful celebration focused on peace.
   Read more….

Famine relief in East Africa


What’s new on the International TOS website?

Our Latest News this month is, of course, the announcement of the International TOS Conference from Wednesday July 24 to Friday July 26, 2013 at Olcott, the national centre of the Theosophical Society in America, in Wheaton, Illinois. TOS office-bearers and those with responsibilities in the TOS at international, national or local level are warmly invited to attend.

The new Featured Article is by a Canadian TOS member, Tim Marrin. In his article, The Occult Side of Service, Tim explore some of his thoughts on what it means to serve from an occult perspective, how service relates to who we are at the deepest level of being, and how, through the practice of self culture, we can open up to our true nature – a limitless resource waiting to be discovered.

In our Featured Project we provide the third and fourth reports on the famine relief project organised by the TOS in Kenya and supported by several TOS groups around the world. Usha Shah, the Coordinator of the TOS in Nairobi, tells us that the food distributions to the 55 families involved in the project continue to proceed smoothly. Usha is now working to put in a water bore to enable the villagers to grow food and become self-sufficient. Donations for the water bore would be warmly welcomed.

We have added two more theosophically orientated funeral services, a memorial service and several new quotations to the For Members section, under the title Funerals. You’ll also find additions to the TOS photo gallery and the Inspiration section.

Go to

Insights through service

One of our readers suggested that an important feature is missing from our electronic newsletter: “Personal stories of inner growth and spiritual insights gained through service action.” The idea is to share with our readers the more difficult and challenging elements and effects of the work and show how we can turn these around to become opportunities to move forward.

To make up for this lack, we are starting a column entitled “Insights through service”. Our International Secretary is the first to share an insight with us.   Read more….

Brochure documenting TS support for the United Nations

In our December update of the international TOS website, we reported on the publication of a new brochure describing the history of the Theosophical Society’s support for the United Nations. In case you missed that news item, we share it again here, in our electronic newsletter.

In 2010, the international TOS formed a committee to make better known the historical role of the TS/TOS in supporting the work of the UN, and to explore and promote ways that the TOS can continue to support its work. The TOS United Nations Committee is chaired by Lorraine Christensen, the Coordinator of the TOS in Canada.

The UN Committee has now published its first brochure, documenting the history of support that the TS has given to the United Nations. In Lorraine’s words, the brochure describes “how the TS's history of support spans a century, going back to the early days when the TS was a leader in sowing seeds of internationalism and world brotherhood”.


UN International Years for 2012

When you start planning your group activities for 2012, you might be inspired by the United Nations themes for the year. 2012 has two major themes. One is the International Year of Cooperatives which aims at raising public awareness about the contribution of cooperatives to poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration. Have a look at the third and fourth reports on the famine relief project coordinated by the TOS in Kenya and you’ll see a wonderful example of how forming a co-operative can benefit an entire small community.

2012 is also the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All. This theme provides a valuable opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of increasing access to energy, energy efficiency and renewable energy. It is a call to promote action on energy issues at the local, national, regional and international levels.    Read more….


Eyes for the blind: letters from Roscoe

Ann Davis, a member of Pretoria Lodge, has shared with us three letters from Roscoe, a beautiful, intelligent dog that she and her family cared for while he was a ‘puppy in training’ to become a Guide Dog for the Blind. These letters were first published in the South African Theosophist in 2006, 2007 and 2009. We will be sharing them over the first three editions of the newsletter in 2012.

In his first letter, Roscoe tells us about his early life as a puppy and what it was like to be a ‘puppy in training’ and an honorary member of the TOS.   Read more….

A joke to provoke

This short story is a joke but it has a deep, underlying message.
  Read more….

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