'Parent' Theosophical Society
“Parent” Theosophical Society
The name, “The Theosophical Society” was chosen and adopted by the Founding Members on 13-9-1875. The Preamble and by-laws were adopted by them on 16 October 1875. The President-Founder gave the Inaugural Address on 17 November 1875, and this was adopted to be the Foundation Day of the Society.
British Theosophical Society was established in 1876 with Mr C C Massey as President. Under commission of the “Parent Society” Mr John Stores Cobb, then the Recording Secretary visited London and formally accorded ‘Recognition’ to this branch. Till then, the members of British TS were accepted as ‘Corresponding Fellows’ Of the Parent Society.
(Charter was given on 19-10-1888).
American Section was chartered on 30-10-1886.
Indian Section was chartered in 17-7-1891.
When the Founders moved to India, the expansion of the philosophy and its organization, the world over, picked good speed. Many more Charters were issued.
[The above data is from The Theosophical Movement (1875-1925)]
Originally, the Society was organized into 3 Sections, Adept Brothers constitute the First Section, They spoke themselves as members of the Parent Society, according to HPB. (p.79). The second section was ‘Honorary’ and the third ‘Fellows’. Active members were granted Diplomas and fellowship of the Parent Society (p.157).
1888: Attendance at the Annual Convention was rather small, principal reason being TSR’s resignation; Bombay members’ request for re-inviting him being rejected by President. His decision was approved by the Council.
1888: The Committee recommended abandoning the name of “Parent Society”.
While the original was the Parent of all Branches, yet it was the whole Society itself, and an expansion of that founded in 1875. It was and is an indivisible Theosophical Society (p.253)
[The above is from The Short History of TS by Josephine Ransom,]
The Masters KH and M clearly disapproved the formation of Anglo-Indian Branch without connection with HSO & HPB. M writes to AOH disapproving the attempt to free the Ecclectic Branch Simla from Parent Society. (p.17 & 27)
‘ Let them all be charged and initiated as heretofore by the Parent Society, and depend on it normally.------ Solidarity of thought and action within the broad outline of the chief and general principles of the Society there must always be between the Parent and Branch bodies; and let the latter must be allowed their own independent action in everything that does not clash with those principles. (p.300-01)
However little we might care for personal subserviency to us, the accepted leaders of the Founders of the Parent T. S, we can never approve or tolerate disloyalty in any member of whatever Branch to the fundamental principles represented by the Parent organization. The rules of the mother body must be lived up to by those composing its Branches; provided of course, that they do not transcend the three declared objects of the organization. The experience of the Parent Society proves that the usefulness of a Branch, very largely, if not entirely, depends upon the loyalty, discretion and zeal of its President and Secretary; however much their colleagues may do to assist them, the efficient activity of their group develops proportionately with that of those officers. (p.418)
[The above are from the chronological ed. of Mahatma Letters]
1. The term and usage of “Parent Society” appears, to me, to have emerged since 1878, when 3 organizations were made, viz. (1) The TS – the Parent Society (2) The Arya Samaj and (3) The link-Society between them. The third one (Link-Society) died out as futile when the association of union broke in 1880.
2. Later on, with the secession or disassociation of some sections/members, the formation of several splinter groups, came into being.
3. So long/ so far as those seceded (etc.) bodies acknowledge that they are the off-springs of the Society formed in 1875, and do care for/ rely upon the Teachings of Blavatsky and the Adepts, the Adyar Society remains the “Parent Body.” Parent disowning the siblings and the vice-versa is not uncommon in Human nature; yet the parenthood (Legally and morally) is not lost.
4. It would a different matter when a Society is formed afresh with altogether a different set of objects still carrying the spirit of the theosophical philosophy. There can be many Societies thus formulated.
We do not use the term Parent Society today to either establish any claim or authority over the other bodies, organizations. It would be necessitated when we speak or write on History or when we take excerpts from the old Texts.
[Data compiled by Dr N C Ramanujachary for general information of Enquirers.]----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Literature is for Portrayal of Philosophic Ideas.
Dr N C Ramanujachary(Srivirinchi)
Besant Gardens, The Theosophical Society, Adyar, Chennai 600 020
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