TS & Volunteers
TS always money poor
The turning point in Col Olcott’s life was the visit of Master M in NY and
his leaving his Turban as evidence of his visit. (More on the Turban saga
later.) When Olcott and HPB moved from NY to Bombay (Mumbai), it was a leap
The Master did not provide money to Olcott to support his move and
subsequent living in India. Both Olcott and HPB were always on a tight
budget and they spent the last penny they had to the Cause.
Support to TS came from many many members who volunteered their time and
money. Even the HQ was bought with the financial support from local members
from India. This trend of land rich - money poor situation continues to
this day. So it is for the members to come up to the aid of Adyar.
Adyar and Volunteers
To make Adyar a vibrant active campus, a lot volunteers are needed. It can
come only from members who are convinced of the great good Theosophy can do
the Humanity as it has done in the past. A key component in attracting
volunteers, especially younger ones with computer and Internet skills
(Internet is a key player in the future of the world) is to provide good
basic facilities for them to live and work at Adyar. More on this later.
In the West, it is an accepted norm that even volunteers are paid for their
work. In some Sections, in the past, General Secretaries are on the payroll
of the Section, even though this is not generally disclosed to members.
Today there are many at Adyar from the President downward, who work as
unpaid Volunteers and do not take a penny as compensation. Not many are
aware of this fact.
Anyone from outside India who wants to volunteer to visit and work at Adyar
is now facing a lot of obstacles. TS is not a Religious Organization. Hence
it is treated like any other commercial enterprise and this comes in the
way of the Government permitting visitors to India who get paid a
This policy is similar to that you find in the United States. So one has to
find volunteers who are financially independent and can come and work for
free at Adyar. I am sure we can find such volunteers if the living and
working conditions at Adyar are good.
Basic Working and Living Conditions needed
The work environment must be first addressed. It should be airconditioned,
Chennai gets very warm during Summer and traditionally HSO, HPB, Besant,
Krishnamurti used to go Nilgiri Hills during summer to beat the heat.
Today, it can be addressed by room airconditioners and these are found in
most middle class homes and is not a luxury. (We found only one window
airconditioner in the estate and it was in the HQ Building at the SE corner
of second floor and do not know why it is there and not in any other office
or living quarters.)
The work environment should also have running water and clean uptodate
western style commode. Most middle class homes in Chennai have situp
toilets and is not a luxury. It is also not something new to Adyar. As
early as 1920s, Jiddu Krishnamurti’s quarters in the second floor of the HQ
building had one. (Soon I may be able to post a photo). In addition, there
should be Broadband, Wifi, refrigerator, microwave and a small gas fueled
kitchen at work. When you are working long hours, you may want to grab a
snack and cup of coffee or tea. These are also now found in most middle
Similar amenities should be provided in the place the volunteers live.
These amenities will be demanded by any volunteer from within India or
outside India. Also no young man or woman with computer skills (most octo
or septuagenarians do not have computer skills) will come and work at Adyar
without these basic amenities.
Wireless Phone is the lifeline for varied uses when one needs to contact
anyone within or outside the Estate. After the Mumbai tragedy when a lot of
people were killed, you cannot get a wireless phone sim card unless you can
prove you are a resident of Chennai, which a visitor cannot. Even when
people from outside India visit their families, the family loans their
phones for use. Wireless phones are quite inexpensive in India and almost
everyone in the city has one. TS should arrange to provide one to the
volunteer on arrival at the Estate.
Transportation within Adyar Estate
It would be a great help if a two-wheeler is provided for travel within the
Estate. There is the rainy monsoon season as well sweltering summer heat,
and quick transport is needed. For example to travel to Dining Rooms, both
Western and Eastern, it is efficient to use a two-wheeler.
Food Service in the Estate
The system currently in use is very ancient. You need to order food 24
hours ahead. Last time when a small group from USA visited Adyar, they
found out that they cannot get even a cup of coffee or tea or any other
drink for love or money. If any volunteer needs food out of the routine, it
should be possible most of the time when the Kitchen is open. Any chef
knows how to fix something at short notice. This is what is done everyday
in every home. Chefs should be encouraged to be flexible and accommodate
when feasible, instead of the iron clad requirement of 24 hours notice.
The bottom line is that someone who has authority to take decisions should
start looking into the above. There may items that the person may not agree
with the writer. But we need to move fast so as to encourage volunteers to
come and work at Adyar.
All the above needs money. It is upto the members world-wide to open their
purses and support financially. It is a very good cause which will do a lot
of good and also earn a lot of good Karma!
PS: I was told that the current treasurer works like a hawk and makes sure
money is spent right. I am confident that every penny we donate would be
very efficiently and effectively used to help Adyar.
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