The Seventies

The transition of the Theosophical Society in SFR Yugoslavia into new decade was marked by the organization of lodges’ libraries. The President of the Society held that theosophical books should be widely available either to members and non-members. She stimulated attraction of young people and translation of articles which should help members to formulate a clear view on theosophy. In that way there were translated the articles Three Paths in One by N. Sri Ram; Atma in Everyday Life and Concept of Absolute by I. K. Taimni; Journey to Infinite and Immediate Task by B. Mullik; and Die Welt der Illusion by Hermina Sabetay. She herself began to translate I. K. Taimni’s Self-Culture and prof. Djuro Robotić the H.P.B.'s Abridgement of the Secret Doctrine.

In Belgrade there was established, beside the lodge “Truth”, the study center “Love”, but it actually never developed autonomous work as its members met only when Mr. Nikolaj Brezinski, head of the lodge “Truth”, gave a talk.

In that year Zagreb and Ljubljana were visited by Mr. B. Mullik, who was enthusiastic over the situation in Yugoslavia, and Mr. Henk Dubbing.

At the meetings of the lodge “Service” in Ljubljana, attended by 10 to 16 members, there was still Mr. Juš Kavčič stimulating the discussion with his interesting lectures.

From 4th till 18th of July there took place the first Young Theosophists’ Summer Camp in Gozd Martuljk which was very successful in spite of rainy weather. (We shall try to represent the tradition of Summer Camps in Gozd Martuljk in a separate article.) On October 25th 1970 there was going on the 4th Regular Annual Assembly where new Society’s By-Laws were adopted and where Mr. Djuro Robotić presented his vision of the Theosophical Society in SFR Yugoslavia’s work and divided the directives into general: educational; special: work with individual members; and concrete: material which has to be studied and an example of concrete analytical study. His proposal was developed on the basis of interest shown by some young educated people for the work of the Society and the fact that nine new members joined the Society.

But this proposal wasn’t somehow sympathetic with the views of the President who, during the years 1970/72, shaped them on the ground of contacts with Mr. Boris de Zirkoff and his article Psychic versus Spiritual, Geoffrey A. Barborka’s article H. P. B. the Light-Bringer and her understanding of the texts of Mr. I. K. Taimni, the Outer Head of the Esoteric School. In her appendix to the article Psychic versus Spiritual she wrote: “It is shown from the preceding how urgent is to begin to study the man’s constitution … therefore I translated for that purpose from I. K. Taimni’s book Self-Culture the following … In Part I. … in first two chapters, we will study man’s personality … then it will follow seven chapters from which we will learn about man’s individuality … This is a plan for our study in the following two years. And if we will absorb the material well we will be in a position to say that we have more or less realized ourselves.”

The short circuit between these two views took place at 6th Regular Annual Assembly, on October 8th 1972, where there was, through the election process of new Executive and Inspective Committees of the Theosophical Society in SFR Yugoslavia, made a substitution in the office of the Vice-President, held till then by Mr. Djuro Robotić. Because of this members of the Lodge “Harmony” left the Assembly. The renewed team wanted to somehow “compensate” prof. Djuro Robotić and offered him the title of Honorary Vice-President for life.

In the years 1971/72 nineteen new members joined the Society. This positive trend continued also during the years 1973/74 when eleven new members joined. In 1974 there took place the final disintegration of the study center “Love” in Belgrade and its members associated with those of the Lodge “Truth”. But in the same year there was a new study center formed in Rijeka. Young and active members of Zagreb’s Lodge started the publication of the Society’s magazine Young Theosophist which was issued twice a year.

The disputes because of different views on theosophy and on the work of the Society and the inflow of young members which agitated Society’s life and activity raised reflections about the necessity of changes in the management of the Society. The initiative for changes was brought forward by Mr. Zvonimir Frlan who, in his letters to the Vice-President and Secretary wrote: “The impetus of free attitude without prejudices reached also our Society and therefore the old, rigid and dogmatic attitude of some members became more visible … in the form of the proposal to impose to all members the idea to in unison prolong the mandate of the Executive Committee in its present formation for another three years … But the reasoning at last prevailed among all … that the brotherly attitude has to be adopted and the most democratic way of the elections of new Committee executed. But in the same time the date of the Annual Assembly was postponed till … March 7th 1976 because of objective reasons. … this year there was important inflow of young members … This infusion of “fresh vitality” indubitably demands also a more dynamic Executive Committee. More then anything else there is a strong homogeneity of the representatives of basic functions of the Executive Committee needed which can be established only in the way if the President, Secretary and Treasurer come from the same town. According to the present situation … Ljubljana is now the only center of ours which can realize the needed homogeneity of work and activity of the Executive Committee of the T. S. in Yugoslavia.” And in regard to the way of work of then actual President he added: “… she represents “theosophical ideas” which are not proper to the center in Adyar. She denies several Leadbeater’s and A. Besant’s representations as well as those of Jinarajadasa (we can include here also Arundale, Sri Ram, John Coats, Rukmini and Perkins) and especially Hodson, who in present days lead the School of Wisdom in Adyar for so many years … already for the third time (in last three years and half) she exposed those un-theosophical ideas, propagating this time books of Purucker and Zirkoff, and then Point Loma and so on. She was in her well known agitated condition therefore I didn’t want to react to not provoke the conflict although she anyway attacked all those who didn’t agree with her … she propagate bearers of these ideas who made it up that they have a special task to free us from “wrong theosophy” and give us the “right theosophy” which can be found only in the works of H. P. Blavatsky and in the letters of the Masters of Wisdom … We have realized that she was “inwardly” ill already three years ago although visible symptoms showed up only later on. G. Hodson clearly writes that mental prejudices cause illness and that this is especially true with the occultists who don’t translate in their life the ideas which they accepted as Egos.”

The initiative didn’t meet a concrete positive answer. Probably this was therefore the reason that towards the end of the year the Lodge in Zagreb incorporated itself, on the basis of the new Republican Societies Act, as an independent society, although it continued to respect the formal arrangement on the basis of the Rules and Regulations of the Theosophical Society.

On November 17th the President, along with three other members, took part at the Centenary of the Theosophical Society in Adyar; and along with the Secretary, the celebrations in New York.

At the 9th Regular Annual Assembly, on May 8th 1976, there were elected new officers of the Society but the President still remained Mrs. Mila Grubačević. The Assembly nominated some other committees to cover the management of publishing activities and the organization of Summer Camps.

During the vigorous activity in the years 1976/79 thirty-four new members joined the Society. As usual there was every summer going on in Gozd Martuljk the Summer Camp. In 1977 the Camp was visited by then President of the Theosophical Society, Mr. John Coats. There were seldom many non-members present at the Camp what raised pretty considerable disagreements within the Society. In 1976 the Society’s magazine was renamed into Teozof (Theosophist). In 1977 the Society’s hired for its work an apartment at Soteska 6 in Ljubljana. The Society’s premises were opened by Mr. Avguštin Gerden on March 16th 1978. But in the same year the seat of the Society has to be moved to Zagreb as the Society didn’t manage to coordinate the registration according to the demands of Slovenian authorities. Because of this transfer the Special Assembly was called on September 9th 1978, where change of the Society’s By-Laws was adopted, new Disciplinary Commission and Honorary Court of Arbitration were elected, the Voting Commission for the next year nominated and new Plan of work adopted. The Croatian Secretariat for the Internal Affairs then, on September 19th, registered the Society with the right to work on the whole territory of Yugoslavia. In that same year the lodge “Bratstvo” was established out of young members living in Ljubljana. These members begin to publish, in 1979, the Informativni bilten (Informative bulletin) which monthly informed members about various activities. Similarly, members in Zagreb began to publish monthly informative bulletin Jezgra (Kernels).

At the 12th regular Annual Assembly, on May 6th 1979, there took place the elections of new officers of the Society’s organs and Mr. Emilio Trampuž was elected for the office of President and Mr. Zvonimir Frlan for the office of Vice-President. On the same day the establishment of the Lodge “Kundalini”, under the leadership of Mr. F. M. was confirmed. These changes on leading positions in the Society raised discontent among older members of the Society who up to then independently decided upon the Society’s activities. These were now spreading to the areas which, according to their opinion, weren’t strictly theosophical.

At the end of the year 1979 number of members of the Theosophical Society in SFR Yugoslavia was 130.

This is eight 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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