Two Theosophical Societies in SFR Yugoslavia

After the Order issued by the President of the Theosophical Society and the Extraordinary Assembly of the Theosophical Society in SFR Yugoslavia there existed in Yugoslavia two separated societies with the same name, namely the society registered and treated under this name on the basis of the Yugoslav legislation by the Yugoslav authorities (in continuation: the Theosophical Society in SFR Yugoslavia) and the society treated as the Regional Association of the Theosophical Society in Yugoslavia on the basis of the Rules and Regulations of the Theosophical Society by the officials of the Theosophical Society (in continuation: the Theosophical Society in SFR Yugoslavia - Adyar).

On February 19th 1984 also the Theosophical Society in SFR Yugoslavia - Adyar called its Extraordinary Assembly where 13 (21 with proxy) out of 47 members of the Lodges “Service”, “Understanding” and “Love”, which now formed the Society, were present, but any member of the Lodge “Love”. The President of the Theosophical Society in SFR Yugoslavia wanted to attend the Assembly too but wasn’t allowed to participate. Instead he was suggested to find a legal advisor if he doesn’t understand the situation. The Assembly confirmed the T. S. President’s Order, elected new members of the Society’s Committees (with Mr. Avguštin Gerden as the President) and decided to send an informative letter about the changes to the authorities and to prepare new Society’s By-laws.

On February 25th, at the first meeting of the Executive Committee, members were informed about letters sent to the authorities in the Republic of Croatia where the Society was registered and decided that contacts has to be re-established with the members who (after the President’s Order) weren’t attached to any Lodge. A notice was then sent to these members, explaining the situation and possible solutions in regard to their membership. There came a reply to this letter from the Vice-president of the Theosophical Society in SFR Yugoslavia in which he wrote: “… The Theosophical Society in SFR Yugoslavia isn’t and can’t be orchestrated from abroad (as you would like to be). Every decision of the international President has to be approved by the Assembly which didn’t do that but sent a complaint (among you there are lawyers who are certainly aware that that gathering in Ljubljana , to which you didn’t allow the approach, was an absolute iniquity). Therefore the whole situation is - until it is legally solved - on stand by. You momentarily represent an illegal group of citizens directed from abroad … to not say anything about the Esoteric School … which is for years directed from abroad … Just because of the Esoteric School the Society was prohibited in 1946. Relationships …, as well as those of few individuals, with a definite secret organization (here I don’t have in mind the T. S. neither the Esoteric School; those concerned will know what I think) could be a subject of investigation … I wait the day when someone will finally ask the question on behalf of whose direction … all this was initiated. …”

On April 7th a smaller group of the Executive Committee members of the Theosophical Society in SFR Yugoslavia - Adyar discussed about the situation and were informed that authorities handed over the matter to the political organizations, competent for these questions.

At the meeting of the Executive Committee, on May 12th, members considered the forthcoming visit of the President of the Theosophical Society and problems in regard to the membership. At the subsequent meeting, on June 9th, they stated that the authorities didn’t solve the situation yet and that a personal visit to the Chief of Department who treated the matter would be appropriate. They also ascertained that members of the Lodge “Love” didn’t pay the annual fees yet and decided that a smaller group of the Executive Committee's members will deal with current business from then on.

On June 30th members of the Committee stated that there wouldn’t be wise to intervene with the authorities as it is obvious that they delay with the decision and that the Society has received only 4 replies to 140 letters sent to “pending” members.

The President of the Theosophical Society visited Ljubljana towards the end of August to ascertain herself with the situation. As this was deadlocked she wrote, on October 9th 1984, a letter to Indian Ambassador in Belgrade with the request to mediate with the Yugoslav authorities in benefit to the Theosophical Society in SFR Yugoslavia - Adyar. On the Ambassador’s inquiry the President of the Society sent him additional information and documents regarding the matter, but about the fate of this informal initiative there are no further data available - it seems that it hasn’t bring any results.

On November 17th there took place the 1st Regular Annual Assembly of the Theosophical Society in SFR Yugoslavia - Adyar where 12 (22 with proxy) out of 55 members were present and elections were held (without any significant changes on leading positions of the Society). The Commission for the preparation of new By-laws was nominated, the decision to launch a Society’s magazine was made and the organization of Summer School discussed.

At the meeting, on January 12th 1985, the Executive Committee of the Theosophical Society in SFR Yugoslavia - Adyar treated few “pending” members who wanted to join the Society and an article in the magazine Mladina. Namely, the situation in the Theosophical Movement in Yugoslavia raised a considerable media’s interest and articles’ authors were more in favor of “liberal” part of the movement, as they called the “fraction” lead by E. T., in contrast with the “conservative” part of the movement, lead by A. G. The Committee therefore decided that there is a need to make an observation of the article and represent proper views on the situation.

At the subsequent meeting of the Executive Committee, on March 15th, members ascertained that Adyar still sends all its correspondence to old address in Zagreb and treated the preparation activities regarding the Society’s magazine and in regard to the visit of the EFTS’s Secretary in April and Summer School in Bled.

At the meeting on March 31st the Committee was concerned with membership problems and decided that an inquiry letter (with the translation of the article from magazine Mladina) has to be sent to the Argentinean Section, as there were mentioned in the article connections of the Theosophical Society in Argentina with Mr. Licio Gelli, head of the derailed Italian Masonic lodge P2. But neither about this step are any other data available.

On June 2nd 1985 the 2nd Regular Annual Assembly of the Theosophical Society in SFR Yugoslavia - Adyar took place, where 13 (21 with proxy) out of 51 members of the Society were present. Members ascertained that several articles were translated that year and that members of the Lodge “Love” didn’t pay the annual fee and that the Lodge didn’t sent its annual report. There were elections held for the offices of secretary and master. Regarding the application sent to Croatian authorities the Assembly decided that it is better to stop all further activities as eventual negative reply would cause serious problems. That same year the Summer School in Bled went on from 21st till 28th July.

At the meeting of the Executive Committee of the Theosophical Society in SFR Yugoslavia - Adyar, on October 20th, there was a sketch of new membership card presented and a condition of two years preparation period and the agreement of two society’s members proposed for aspirants to join the Society. It was stated that the Lodge “Love” do not function any more and that a representative of the Lodge in Ljubljana should periodically visit members of that place and give lectures.

At the subsequent meeting of the Executive Committee, on December 8th, the preparations for the publication of Society’s magazine were discussed, the need to revive work in Rijeka and the proposals of Society’s By-laws changes.

In February 1986 first issue of the Theosophical Thought was issued; and two other issues, in July and December, were published during that year (See the Theosophical Thought contents).

Meeting of the Executive Committee of the Theosophical Society in SFR Yugoslavia - Adyar, on May 7th 1986, was held under the influence of house-breaking and theft in the Society’s premises. Members stated that there exist serious problems in regard to the payment of annual fees and that three members from Rijeka left the Society.

On My 18th 1986 there was held in Zagreb the Assembly of the Theosophical Society in SFR Yugoslavia where members voted for the change of the Society’s name into “Pitagora”. Many members, especially those of the Lodge “Brotherhood”, opposed to this decision and to the legitimateness of the proceeding in which this decision was brought about but without any success. Therefore on that day finished formal existence of the Theosophical Society in SFR Yugoslavia.

At the 3rd Regular Annual Assembly of the Theosophical Society in SFR Yugoslavia - Adyar, on May 25th 1986, where there were present or represented 29 out of 49 members of the Society, members of the Lodge “Service” stated that Society’s work could be revived with the connections with the vegetarian society and the society for the protection of animals. The Assembly treated also problems regarding the publication of the Theosophical Thought and on how to implement two years preparation period for the aspirants to not be in contrast to the existing Societies Act. Therefore new Commission was formed for the preparation of By-laws’ changes till he next Assembly. It was decided that the Summer School will be once again held at Bled, from August 12th till 17th, with the motto: Cultivate yourself (then there were 16 members present at the seminar), while course for aspirants will be postponed. As in Zagreb the change of the Society’s name took place the Assembly decided that information must be gathered regarding the possibility to transfer the seat of the Society in Ljubljana .

At the meetings of the Executive Committee of the Theosophical Society in SFR Yugoslavia - Adyar, towards the end of 1986 and at the beginning of 1987, members took a decision to offer to publishers the translation of Mabel Collins’ book Light on the Path and that members should help to promote Society’s magazine as there were usually less then 100 copies sold. Regarding the problem with the Lodge “Love” it was decided that all members from Slovenian and Croatian coast will now on form this Lodge.

On March 25th 1987 Mrs. J. K. resigned from the office of the Lodge “Service” President as she and her husband decided to move to Adyar which they visited in previous year.

On April 12th the Executive Committee was confronted with a sudden death of the President, Mr. Avguštin Gerden, and the office was taken over by the Vice-President, Mr. Anton Jesse, and membership of the Lodge “Love” was formed too.

On April 28th the Society received a notice on the organization of the Summer Camp in Gozd Martuljk sent by the “Committee for the preparation of Summer School” composed out of some former members of the Theosophical Society in SFR Yugoslavia from Rijeka, Zagreb, Ljubljana and Novi Sad with the wish to overcome past disagreements but few members strongly opposed to any collaboration.

On May 5th 1987 took place the 4th Regular Annual Assembly of the Society which now had 47 members. The routine work of the Society was limited to regular Lodges’ meetings, the translation of articles and organization of public lectures when the Secretary of the EFTS visited the country. Subsequent, the 5th Regular Annual Assembly, took place on June 4th 1988, beginning with the commemoration of long-standing member, Mr. L. K. The Assembly decided that more articles in Serbo-Croat language must be introduced into Society’s magazine and that in the Society’s By-laws the new society’ seat in Ljubljana has to be stated. It ascertained that there is no change in the number of members.

In next two years the Society tried to solve without any success the problem in regard to legal succession of the Theosophical Society in SFR Yugoslavia. Therefore it decided to found the Theosophical Society in Slovenia. On May 25th 1989 there took place the Founding Assembly of the Theosophical Society in Slovenia, the event which marked the end of existence of the Theosophical Society in SFR Yugoslavia.


This is tenth in the series of articles which tend to represent the history of the theosophical movement in Slovenia and former Yugoslavia. It is based on the presently available data and will be regularly updated with new recognitions where they come in our view. Therefore, readers are kindly asked to constructively collaborate in this representation with particulars known to them and which will further elucidate the history of the theosophical movement in Slovenia and former Yugoslavia.

Anton Rozman

Last update: January 2009
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