Theosophical Society Offers Vision of Peace

Article excerpt

Byline: Michael J. Murschel Daily Herald Correspondent

The grounds of the Theosophical Society in America unfold in sweeping splendor from the hustle and bustle of Main Street in Wheaton.

Once on the curving drive, an immediate feeling of tranquillity enfolds visitors. Perhaps it is the graceful lines of the headquarters building or the comforting landscaping. It could be the mere act of pulling out of the hectic pace of daily life.

Whatever the reason, the Theosophical Society has been offering the world a vision of peace and understanding for nearly a century. And starting tomorrow, residents from throughout the Chicagoland area will be able to experience this firsthand.

On Sunday<, Sept. 13, > the Theosophical Society in America will hold its Open House at Olcott. Through this event, organizers hope the public will take the opportunity to visit the historical national center and gain an introduction to the Theosophical world view.

Visitors will be treated to a preview of the new programming season, as well as a feast of activities, art and wisdom.

Theosophy, translated as "Wisdom of God," draws on the rich traditions of ancient teachings, as well as from discoveries of past and present scientific work.

The Theosophical Society was founded in New York in 1875 by three people of distinctly different backgrounds.

One was a Russian noblewoman, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, who also was the first Russian woman to become an American citizen. Along with her were William Quan Judge and a prominent New York attorney, Col. Henry Steel Olcott, who had served on the commission which investigated the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

In time, the international headquarters of the society were relocated to Adyar, India, a suburb of Madras. The Theosophical Society in America was founded in 1888, and is currently located at the Wheaton site.

The Society has a membership of approximately 40,000 globally. Those members are found in some 60 countries, with 4,000 living in the United States, half of whom are in the greater Chicago area.

The society's site on the northern edge of Wheaton sits on approximately 44 acres. The quiet grounds house the Theosophical Society in America headquarters offices, the Henry S. Olcott Memorial Library, Theosophical Publishing House and residences for numerous employees of the society.

"There will be a lot of participatory activities," said Ruthann Fowler, coordinator for the public relations department, "plus a lecture by our international president, Radha Burnier, from Adyar in Madras, India. Burnier will discuss walking the labyrinth."

The seven-circuit Cretan Labyrinth, permanently located on the grounds, is available for people to walk whenever they choose during the daylight hours. The labyrinth offers a unique way to experience the Wisdom Tradition.

Radha Burnier's visit also coincides with the society's Inter-American Conference, running Friday, Sept. 18, through Monday, Sept. 21. This meeting brings together delegates from north, south and central America.

Burnier's address on "Freedom, Order and the Law of Karma" will also be the kickoff of the regular Thursday evening public lecture series. …