Issue 29 – December 2013



  • The TOS salutes Radha Burnier
  • An interview with the remarkable Fareeda Amir
  • Insights through service
  • New Spanish language TOS newsletter
  • Working at the Golden Link College – the experience of a lifetime
  • Why we should test on humans not animals
  • Congratulations, Ananya
  • TOS news from around the world -
    • India
    • Bali
    • USA
  • Good news from India
  • What’s new on the International TOS website?
  • Respecting the creatures
  • How our planet’s climate is changing
  • Beauty pause


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

What a year 2013 has been! Members have successfully planned and implemented a wide variety of projects to improve the lives of people in their communities, to alleviate the suffering of animals and to raise awareness about important social issues. We have held an International TOS Conference that not only generated ideas for our Plan of Action for the next five years but also joyfully connected members from around the world.

We have been saddened by the loss of Mrs Radha Burnier, the International President of the TOS, whom we salute below and will honour in a special edition of our newsletter.

As the year comes to a close, the super-typhoon in the Philippines, that killed well over 10,000 Filipinos, has provided us with an opportunity to work together to support our sisters and brothers in that country. Our hearts go out to the Filipino community and we are thankful that Rosel Doval Santos, Vic Hao Chin and their TOS and TS team on the spot have a strong record of effective long term action and can be trusted to ensure that every penny of our donations will be used for the relief work.

Hearty thanks to TOS groups and members around the world for their outpouring of concern. So far, donations are on their way from the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, France, Italy, Germany, Singapore, India, Spain, England and elsewhere. The TOS team on the ground is doing a sterling job organising and delivering emergency relief through members close to the areas affected. If you would like to make a donation, please contact Diana at

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 in putting theosophical principles into action,

Carolyn, Diana and Geoffrey







The editorial team (L. to R.)

Diana Dunningham Chapotin is the International Secretary of the TOS

Geoffrey Harrod is the International TOS Webmaster

Carolyn Harrod is the past National Coordinator of the TOS in Australia




Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one's thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


The TOS salutes Radha Burnier

The International President of the Theosophical Order of Service passed away on October 31, 2013, two weeks short of her 90th birthday.  We honour her many decades of outstanding public and private work in the fields of education for the needy, preservation of the environment and animal welfare.  We salute the courageous positions she took on a great number of contemporary issues of concern: inhumanity, violence, exploitation of the vulnerable, corruption, the abuse of women, vivisection, the pollution of the environment, nuclear weapons and genetic engineering, to name a few. 



An interview with the remarkable Fareeda Amir

Mrs Fareeda Amir retired this year as Honorary General Secretary of the TOS in Pakistan after 17 years of devoted service.  ‘Devoted’ is an understatement in qualifying her work.  It would be better to say “devoted, efficient, loving, gracious and courageous” service!

In taking responsibility for the TOS, Fareeda and her husband Aman accepted the challenge of following in the footsteps of the highly respected and nationally known Mrs Gool Minwalla.  They have helped the TOS continue her outstanding work during a violent and frightening period in Pakistan’s history with which we are all somewhat familiar through the media.  Along with their staff, they have ensured that Pakistan remains one of the most active and vibrant sections of the TOS worldwide.

It is our pleasure to share an interview with Fareeda in which she relates her rich experiences along the Way.  



Insights through service

Anne Johnstone has been a member of the TS since 1982 and is a trained nurse. With an interest in group work and science, she left her homeland of New Zealand in 2001 to help at the Krotona School of Theosophy for three months. By a stroke of luck, she received a green card through a lottery system to reside in the US. Twelve years later, she is still living in the Krotona Institute community and is part of the school staff. Her nursing knowledge, as well as her increasing familiarity with the US health system and her respect for complementary health approaches, has been useful. Anne tries to help out with the gardening at Krotona and walks many miles each day. She recently started learning to sing with more emphasis on diction! Here she reflects on insights she has gained over the years as an end-of-life midwife.  




New Spanish language TOS newsletter

We are happy to announce that our Spanish language coordinator, Fernando Pérez Martín, has started an international TOS e-newsletter in Spanish for all our members in Spain and Latin America.  The first issue appeared in September and the next will appear when Fernando has received enough service-related news and articles to fill its pages.  To your keyboards, linguists!  In the meantime, if you would like to receive the October issue and those that follow, write to Fernando:

Nos sentimos felices al anunciar que nuestro Coordinador en lengua española, Fernando Pérez Martín, ha comenzado a editar un Boletín internacional de la OTS en español para todos nuestros miembros en España y en América Latina. El primer número apareció en Septiembre y el próximo saldrá en cuanto Fernando haya recibido bastantes noticias sobre servicio y artículos, para completar las páginas del Boletín. ¡A ponernos a escribir! Mientras aparece el siguiente número, si se desea recibir el número de Septiembre y los siguientes, escribid a Fernando: 




Working at the Golden Link College – the experience of a lifetime

Michelle Mitchell, a TS member sometimes based in Adelaide, Australia, recently worked as a volunteer with staff and students of the Golden Link College in the Philippines. She writes of her experience, “The young people at the Golden Link College are different from any other young people I have ever worked with or met. I experienced an amazingly evolved emotional intelligence in these youngsters. They are gentle, respectful and genuinely interested in the wellbeing of those in their company.  They are centred, grounded and beautiful from the inside to outside. They display no fear of authority, no tardiness, no unruliness. There is a willingness to be present and to learn, a delightful sense of playfulness and a total acceptance of and trust in others.

“I believe that Vic Hao Chin and his amazing teachers and staff at Golden Link are responsible for these results.  They themselves embody the qualities they seek to nurture in their students.”  




Why We Should Test on Humans Not Animals


Why we should test on humans not animals

Animal testing is unethical, inhumane and completely unnecessary. With so many alternatives available to us, how can we justify the poisoning, burning, shocking and killing of more than 100 million animals each year causing them unimaginable pain, fear and loneliness?

Thousands of animals suffer and die every day in laboratories around the world, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If we truly want to improve our lives and the lives of others, we need to cut out the use of animals altogether.

More and more scientists are taking a hard look at the relevance of animal experiments for human diseases and improving our lives. The evidence is showing that we can actually get much better answers about human health and develop much more effective therapies if we use human based tests instead.   




Congratulations, Ananya

This year one of the members of our international team of TOS volunteers graduated with a Master's degree in mental health counselling. She says that her theosophical philosophy is immensely helpful as a background in this new work.  Ananya Rajan, a board member of the TOS in America and current editor of its publications, plans to do her best to assist those who come to her to recognise and develop their divine potential, no matter what their outward circumstances.

In 2010, Ananya published a book entitled Get Real! Fighting the Mythic Woman, Finding Your Authentic Self to facilitate self-awareness.  The book also incorporates theosophical ideas.  



TOS news from around the world

In this issue you’ll find news from the TOS in Chennai, India, about their recent free medical camp and jumble sale and you’ll read about the TOS presence at the Theosophical Society’s Indo-Pacific Federation Conference in Bali. There’s also news about how the Denver TOS in the USA provided its community with an entertaining yet seriously useful look at end-of-life planning.  


Good news from India

“In an atmosphere where every morning, our newspapers greet us with stories of girls being tormented, raped, killed or treated like a doormat in one way or another, trust India's ‘village republics’ to bring in some good news from time to time,” writes The Hindu newspaper.

“One such village in southern Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district is quietly practising its own, homegrown brand of Eco-feminism and achieving spectacular results.

For the last several years, Piplantri village panchayat (council) has been saving girl children and increasing the green cover in and around it at the same time.”  



What’s new on the International TOS website?

Our Latest News is a tribute to our International President, Radha Burnier, on her passing to the higher life on 31 October, 2013.

The new Featured Article is by Dorothy Bell. It is taken from a talk, Service as Sacred Labour, that she gave at the International TOS Conference in July 2013. In it she discusses four issues related to seeing service as ‘Sacred Labour’:

·         Acknowledging the divinity and sacredness of our inner nature

·         Recognising difficulties we encounter in its expression

·         Choosing the path of self-transformation and purification of action

·         Identifying the distinctive characteristics of a theosophical new world server – a way of being.

In our Featured Project we bring news of a vocational skills training programme organised by Usha Shah for ladies in Nairobi. They learnt manicure, pedicure and hairdressing techniques, all of which are jobs that can be done in their own homes, enabling women to be present for their children, while earning money to contribute to their financial independence and sense of dignity and self-respect.

You’ll also find additions to the TOS photo gallery and the expanded Inspiration section. We look forward to adding more new stories and videos over the coming year. Go to


Respecting the creatures

Service takes many forms. TS and TOS member Alan Harris, of Tucson, Arizona in the USA, might be said to serve through his poetry. He challenges us to ask deep questions about our attitudes to, and relationship with, animals. We brought you some of Alan’s poems in June and share another four here.…


How our planet’s climate is changing

The Earth's climate has changed throughout history. Just in the last 650,000 years there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat, with the abrupt end of the last ice age about 7,000 years ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era — and of human civilisation. Most of these climate changes are attributed to very small variations in Earth’s orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives.

The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is very likely human-induced and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented in the past 1,300 years.

Earth-orbiting satellites and other technological advances have enabled scientists to see the big picture, collecting many different types of information about our planet and its climate on a global scale. Studying these climate data collected over many years reveals the signals of a changing climate.

NASA provides an amazing 26-second animation depicting how temperatures around the globe have warmed since 1880. That year is what scientists call the beginning of the “modern record.”  Read more and watch the video...



Beauty pause

Enjoy this beautiful collection of photographs from nature.  

View them here...


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