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Issue 34 – March 2015



  • Inspiring young people to be involved in social action
  • Simple service: every gentle act

  • TOS news from around the world
    - Bolivia
    - Australia
    - France
    - USA
  • An inspirational story about peace
  • Drops in the bucket – starting a service fund

  • What’s new on the International TOS website?

  • Helping the deaf

  • A pledge

  • A story for reflection: Paying it forward

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

We trust that you are beginning 2015 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.

Let’s keep in touch and continue to share our experiences. Please 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

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

With best wishes in putting theosophical principles into action,

Nancy, Rozi, Diana, Geoffrey and Carolyn 


The editorial team (L. to R.)

Nancy Secrest is the International Secretary of the TOS

Rozi Ulics is the Assistant International TOS Webmaster

Diana Dunningham Chapotin is the past International Secretary of the TOS

Geoffrey Harrod is the International TOS Webmaster

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



To feel ‘compassion’ without an adequate practical result ensuing from it is not to show oneself an ‘Altruist’, but the reverse. Real self-development on the esoteric lines is action.

H.P. Blavatsky


Inspiring young people to be involved in social action

We have received an interesting letter from Dr Jagannath Patgiri, a life member of the TOS in Assam, North-East India.  He writes, 

“Dear TOS brothers and sisters from around the world, I wonder how many of those who live outside India have heard of our National Service Scheme for young people.  I wonder if some of you have equivalent national schemes in the educational establishments in your own countries and if any of you have participated in them, either as students or as facilitators.” 

Read Dr Patgiri’s account of his own rich experience leading university student volunteers here….


Working for the benefit of all life

What have TOS stalwarts, Betty and David Bland, been up to since they retired as National President of the TS in America and Manager of TPH at the TS’s National Center in Wheaton, Illinois, respectively?  Going to jail, for one thing!  Find out about their activism here….

Defending animal rights

How can you spend time defending animals when there are millions of starving humans on the planet?
Have you ever had this accusation levelled at you in the course of promoting vegetarianism or animal rights in general?
The French born Buddhist monk, Matthieu Ricard, who acts as the Dalai Lama’s interpreter in France, has had to answer this question innumerable times lately. Read what he has to say here….


Simple service: every gentle act

"Someone reminded me the other day that when dealing with animals on the energetic plane, every gentle act helps not just that one animal, but also helps heal the damage we humans have ignorantly inflicted on the Group Soul to which that animal belongs.  That’s the beauty of working to aid our Animal Brethren."

--Rozi Ulics, Founder/Director, TOS Animal Healing Network


TOS news from around the world

In this issue we celebrate the achievements of the TOS in Bolivia where the TOS Urus Branch, of Oruro city, was recently awarded a medal and recognised as a Commendable Institution of the Pluri-national State of Bolivia by the Legislative Assembly of Bolivia. You’ll find news from Perth, Australia, about the TOS’s collaboration with the Liberal Catholic Church in world peace candlelight meditations twice a month. You’ll also read about a collaborative project of the TOS in France. Since 2010 they have been supporting an educational project of the Liberal Catholic Church in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to provide schooling for disadvantaged children in a war-torn city. From the TOS in the USA, there’s the story of one of their members, Karen McCormick, who for over ten years has dedicated herself to the TOS’s Rosebud Project aiding Native American children.  Read more….


Drops in the bucket – starting a service fund

Here's an easy, painless way for your group to fund a service project.  Easy and painless?  Whoever said "no pain no gain" had better reconsider.
How about starting a ‘spare change’ bucket to be set out in plain view at each TS meeting, with a big label on it proclaiming what you're saving for.  Members can throw in a little spare change or even a dollar or two as you watch the fund slowly build.  Below are a few ideas to inspire a fund and get started.  Or be creative – if you can dream it, you can start a fund for it.

-- Support a programme for prisoners or their families in your community.

-- Contact a local animal welfare centre or refuge to identify items they need or sponsor an animal.

-- Consider providing a scholarship through one of the international TOS programmes such as the Pakistan TOS Scholarships costing USD$150 per year. Preschool Scholarships at Golden Link College in the Philippines cost USD$120.00 if donated through TOS USA. Donations will be matched by the Kern Foundation, so your donation morphs into $240, the amount needed to sponsor a preschool child for a year.  Your spare change creates lasting change in a child's life.  Includes tuition, snacks, camp and textbooks.



Nancy Secrest with convention delegates

What’s new on the International TOS website?

In our Latest News we enjoy an account by our International Secretary, Nancy Secrest, about her visit to Adyar for the December 2014 International Convention and her pleasure in meeting many TOS members there.

The new Featured Article is a reprint from The Hindu on Jan 25, 2015 by S. Muthiah who writes about our very own A. O. Hume, calling him “the Father of the Congress.” The article highlights the connection between Indian independence and the Theosophical Society. A connection in which we can take pride.

Our Featured Project is the Brisbane, Australia TOS Art Show for 2014. The second of its kind, it was once again a huge success, raising US$2,800 for the purchase of wheelchairs and other mobility aids for needy Indians looked after by the TOS.  The photos are worth a thousand words.

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

Helping the deaf

We invite you to watch this short uplifting video about profoundly deaf teenager, Patrick Otema from Uganda, as he discovers for the first time in his life that language exists – and in a visual form he can understand. If you would like to get your fellow TOS members involved in a project to help the deaf, this video could be an ideal way to inspire them to join you.  Read more….






A pledge

We almost never propose a petition for signature in TOS as we know that our readers receive many directly by email from sources relevant to their particular planetary or local concerns. 

We would like to make an exception here for a pledge proposed by Avaaz, the largest and most successful online activist network. Many of you undoubtedly receive their messages directly but did you notice that they have entered new territory with their “Pledge for 2015”? In their own words, it contains three “simple but powerful values.”  When half a million people have signed the pledge, Avaaz plans to invite world leaders to sign on a personal basis.  Check the pledge out here. We think you will find it utterly theosophical and worth supporting.  

While you are on the Avaaz website, you may also wish to sign what the organisation is billing as the most important and largest petition it has ever organised.  It concerns climate change and will be presented to world leaders at the summit meeting in Paris this coming September.  Read the one paragraph petition here.


A story for reflection: Paying it forward

Enjoy this short story about kindness expressed by the regular patrons of a Venice coffee shop.