Issue 21 – May 2012



·     Invitation and programme outline for the International TOS Conference in 2013

·     Personal memories of Rukmini Devi

·     Inspirational people – Barbro Melander

·     An award for a courageous animal rights activist

·     Young Tanzanians bring energy to theosophical service work

·     TOS news from around the world



     Brisbane, Australia

     New Zealand

·     What’s new on the International TOS website?

·     Insights through service

·     Translations of the brochure documenting TS support for the United Nations

·     A theosophical perspective on schizophrenia and alcoholism

·     Eyes for the blind: letter 2 from Roscoe

·     Baby lion hugs



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

This issue is packed with news from members and groups around the world, sharing reminiscences as well as ideas about dynamic service projects in their communities. You’ll also find some articles and references that could be useful in your work.

Thank you for being part of our ‘in-touch’ community. Together we can make a real difference to every person, animal and plant whose lives we touch with joy and compassion.

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.


One finds love not by being loved, but by loving.
We can never know love if we try to draw others to ourselves; nor can we find it by centring our love in them. For love is infinite; it is never ours to create. We can only channel it from its source in Infinity to all whom we meet.

-  J. Donald Walters




Invitation and programme outline for the International TOS Conference in 2013

We are happy to remind you that the TS and TOS in America have kindly agreed to host a three-day international TOS Workers’ Conference from the evening of Tuesday 23 July  to Friday 26 July, 2013 at Olcott, its national centre in Wheaton, Illinois.  A five-day Summer National Gathering of the TS in America will take place immediately preceding the Conference, from 19 July to 23 July.  All are invited to attend this event as well.

For more information and a registration form, please contact our International Secretary, Diana, at  

A broad outline of the Conference programme is available here.



Personal memories of Rukmini Devi

In our last issue of the newsletter we featured Rukmini Devi as our ‘Inspirational person’. The article prompted long-time member of the TOS and TS in America, Miles Standish, to write and share his memory of Rukmini.

Miles writes, “I can’t help wanting to share my own memories of this truly inspiring Theosophist.

“I first met Rukmini at the HQ of the TS in the USA in 1947. It was my first visit to ‘Olcott’.  I drove there from Florida on an Indian Chief motorcycle. John and Betsan Coats were there too.  (John Coats was the 4th International President of the TS. –Ed.)  Betsan put on an ‘India Night’ down in the basement cafeteria, with hand-painted designs on the floor.  Rukmini danced!  It was magical…”   Read more….

Thank you, Miles!




Inspirational people – Barbro Melander

To Theosophists, Barbro was chiefly a dynamic force in the Swedish Theosophical Society and a well-loved chairperson of the European Federation of the TS.  Within her homeland, however, she was widely known as a front line social activist, a role in which she remained vigorous until close to her death in 2000 at the age of 84.

At her memorial service, close TS associates Curt Berg and Ing-Britt Wiklund said:

“Barbro was a bundle of energy and she was active to the very end. Her energy was catching. Many of us received phone calls from her starting, ‘Hello, it’s Barbro here. Can you imagine…?’ ending with, ‘What do we do?’ not ‘Shall we do something?’ That was how she was, our Barbro – she not only ascertained that something was wrong, she did something to change it.”

As founding member, general secretary and then chairperson of the South Sweden Environmental Action Group (Aktiv Skåne-Miljö), Barbro appeared on television in Scandinavia, France, Germany and England.  She received several awards for her action in defence of the environment, including the environment prize for the city of Malmö in 1992.

Theosophy was a major influence in her work as an environmental activist as can be seen in her interview with the TOS. She believed that: “To be able to be of some use in social and environmental work, one has to know oneself and one’s limits, and one must be able to love co-workers – and understand one’s antagonists. All this is perhaps an expression of the deeper understanding of life and of the task of transformation that Theosophy gives us.”

Barbro had been a member of the Theosophical Society for 63 years when she passed away from liver cancer in 2000.   Read more….


An award for a courageous animal rights activist

Readers may remember the Austrian animal rights advocate Martin Balluch, one of 13 activists charged in 2009 with forming a criminal network responsible for damage to property, arson, gas attacks and bomb threats.  After a brutal arrest and three months in remand custody for ten of the activists, and a court case lasting nearly 14 months, the 13 were exonerated on all counts in March 2011 and the police department castigated for its behaviour in gathering ‘evidence’.

Martin’s animal advocacy work has now been recognised. He has recently been awarded the Myschkine Prize, an international award for ethical work in progress. The award recognises the achievements in animal welfare in Austria and is in stark contrast to the unfounded criminal procedures pursued against the group of activists.   Read more….





Young Tanzanians bring energy to theosophical service work

A little over a year ago, Deepa Kapur, Coordinator of the TOS in Tanzania, reported that a second generation was becoming involved in service work in Dar Es Salaam.  Deepa’s daughter, Malaika, and fellow TOS member, Harsukh Dubal’s daughter, Khyati, along with 13 committed and enthusiastic youngsters, started in Tanzania, the first African branch of World Care Way (WCW), a charitable organisation for youth, whose international base is in Chennai, India.  The group is dedicated to various social causes and environmental issues.

They have been focusing their energies on a range of activities:

·         supporting the Heart Babies Project by presenting teddies (knitted by Italian TOS members) to the young children and money for incidental expenses to their mothers

·         promoting the use of cloth bags

·         presenting teddies to children with disabilities and in orphanages

·         raising awareness about how the use of plastic is a significant factor in global warming and contributes to other environmental problems.

Malaika Kapur attended the East and Central African TS Convention in Zambia and delivered a speech on the projects that she and her teenage friends have carried out. Many of the members came forward to compliment Malaika on her ability to show the relevance of theosophical ideals to World Care Way’s service activities.   Read more….


TOS news from around the world

In this issue you’ll find news from the TOS in Canada, about welcoming New Canadians and you’ll read about the TOS in Hungary’s activity to provide Christmas gifts to the families in their ‘adopted’ village. There’s also news about a recent seminar day held by the TOS in Brisbane, Australia, to raise funds for the home-schools in Pakistan and at the same time, educate participants about the importance of forests to our health and wellbeing on many levels. Finally, the New Zealand TOS shares news about a successful Open Day promoting the TOS.   Read more….

Linda Jo Pym

The Hungarian TOS camping team

What’s new on the International TOS website?

The new Featured Article is an interview with Linda Jo Pym, who for 36 years was a social worker in the state of Washington, USA. In the course of her career, she held positions in a variety of environments, working with diverse populations and issues: in juvenile correctional facilities, family service agencies, childcare programmes, a university mental health clinic and private practice. Issues handled include family violence, intergenerational conflict, grief, loss, death, dying. Throughout, Linda Jo has been active in the TS, holding positions in the Seattle branch of the TS and working as resident manager at the Theosophical Camp Indralaya and chairperson of the Board, as assistant to the President at the national HQ of the TS in Wheaton, Illinois and director of fieldwork there. This interview took place just before Linda Jo retired. In it, she talks about how theosophical principles and the theosophical worldview have influenced her work.

In our Featured Project we bring more news on the activities of the TOS in Hungary. Their first long term project was the ‘adoption’ of a flood-affected village with the blessing and support of the town’s municipal officers. While they have so far provided emergency relief and offered gifts at Christmas, the group’s long term goal is to help the villagers build their own active self-help community. To this end, the group camped in the town for three days last August to get to know the villagers better and deepen already established bonds. The team relates the experience here and updates us on what has happened since.

You’ll also find additions to the TOS photo gallery and the Inspiration section.

Go to



Service at Adyar

We have received a message from Maria Rosa Martínez and her husband, Ernesto García, of Argentina mentioning some extra-curricular activities engaged in by some of the students attending Ravi Ravindra’s class on the Rig Veda at the School of the Wisdom at Adyar in January.  Maria Rosa and Ernesto describe Ravi’s class enthusiastically and then say:

“During our second week, Ravi’s associate, Priscilla Murray, drew our attention to the debris-strewn state of the Adyar beach in front of the Theosophical Society estate.  She suggested that we help to clean up the huge amount of waste matter accumulated there.

In addition, one of our classmates, Lucille Crocker from Australia, organised the collection of donations for the purchase of mattresses, pillows, sheets and pillow covers for the boys at the HPB Hostel.  With the help of Sunita and C.V.K. Maithreya of the TOS in Chennai, they were purchased and delivered before the School of the Wisdom course was ended.”   Read more….



Insights through service

In our last issue, our International Secretary, Diana Dunningham Chapotin shared an insight that has influenced her service work.

Now Cynthia Trasi, Secretary of the TOS in England, shares her insight into the small experiences in her childhood that sowed the seeds of compassion and their importance to her in putting theosophy into action.   Read more….


Translations of the brochure documenting TS support for the United Nations

We now have translations into French and Spanish of our brochure documenting the history of support that the TS has given to the United Nations. The brochure was published by our TOS United Nations Committee, chaired by Lorraine Christensen, the Coordinator of the TOS in Canada. It is available in English on the Members section of our website.

Maria Rosa Martínez of the TOS in Argentina translated it into Spanish and Gérard Marc of the TOS in Canada translated it into French. In addition, the National Director of the TOS in India, Mr Birendra L. Bhattacharyya, has arranged for its translation into Bengali, Assamese, Hindi and Gujarati and has requested the regional secretaries of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu & Chennai to get it translated into their local language.

We are very encouraged that this brochure has attracted so much support and greatly appreciate the contribution of our translators. The translated brochures are available here in French and Spanish



A theosophical perspective on schizophrenia and alcoholism

We draw your attention to a series of articles started jointly on two Theosophical websites,
International Theosophy Conferences ( and
Theosophy Forward (

The articles look at thorny social problems in the light of theosophical teachings. They are intended to help us deal with some of the traumas with which we can be faced in the course of our lives.

The first two articles examine the issues of schizophrenia and alcoholism. You can find them through the linked words. The issues to be dealt with in the edition of Theosophy Forward appearing in late June will be suicide and marijuana addiction. Other subjects lined up include Alzheimer’s disease, abortion, physical disability and the effects of psychic practices. Authors Sally and James Colbert draw on their knowledge of Theosophy and their background in clinical psychology in their attempt to focus attention on issues relevant to all engaged in service.

We congratulate International Theosophy Conferences and Theosophy Forward on this initiative.



Eyes for the blind: letter 2 from Roscoe

In the last issue of the newsletter we shared a letter from Roscoe, the Guide Dog who lived with Ann Davis, a member of Pretoria Lodge, and her family.

In this issue we share a second letter from Roscoe, originally published in the South African Theosophist in 2007 and 2009. In it, he tells us about his life after puppy training, and how he eventually became the ‘eyes’ for Annemie, a student at Cape Town University.

“Annemie has now started lecturing at the university,” writes Roscoe. “I listen enthralled. If students do not listen I go and give them a nuzzle to wake them up, because Annemie cannot see.”   Read more ….


Baby lion hugs

This heart-warming video reminds us of how readily young animals connect with other species. To them, we are all One.  Watch the video …. (YouTube)


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