The portrait of my father in the book I just found is a little unkind, but probably quite accurate. However, in spite of the fact that our society is STILL dominated by religions of superstitious belief, I am intrigued by his Theosophical connections. If you have no idea what that means look here.
I'll quote a little below, adding BOLD here and there...If I am protesting too much it is because Theosophy has been linked with Occultism, Master Races (Hitler was a vegetarian, etc) and other evil shit, but to ignore it because it has been misused or corrupted at times is like refusing The Theory of Evolution because some people use it to argue that Rich people are better and fated to rule, etc. A lot of this is arrant nonsense and much is simply propaganda from the equally scary 'official' religions.
Apart from anything else it is why I have been a vegetarian from birth not a vegan, I am sorry....and I HAVE experimented with meat and fish on occasion when travelling. I still think it was a great start in life. Of course, since about the 1960s it has become a bit more fashionable, and acceptable, but it was definitely a 'Cranks' thing back then.
Theosophy's Western Impact - from Hinduism Today, June, 1995.
"The influence of the Theosophical Society" concludes the Encyclopaedia Britannica, "has been rather significant, despite its small following. The movement has been a catalytic force in the 20th-century Asian revival of Buddhism and Hinduism and a pioneering agency in the promotion of greater Western acquaintance with eastern thought."
Some of the most influential people of its day were attracted to Theosophy - playwright Oscar Wilde, poet W.B.Yeats, author George Bernard Shaw, architect Frank Lloyd Wright, inventor Thomas Edison and even baseball's founder General Abner Doubleday.
Here is a partial sampling of organisations with direct links to earlier Theosophists: From the earlier part of this century came the I Am Movement (with 3 million followers in 1938), Rosicrucianism, the Liberal Catholic Church, Psychiana, Unity (6 million), Christian Science and sections of the New Thought movement - all influential in the higher strata of society. More recent kindred are the Waldorf alternative schools popular in the USA and UK, the London School of Economics and St. James School, and New Age channeller J Knight. The famous Findhorn Garden in Scotland came directly out of Theosophy.
The Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita translations of Swami Prabhavananda with Christopher Isherwood were singularly successful in clearly conveying Hindu thought to the West. Leadbeater's books on occult sciences, such as chakras and auras, reinforced Patanjali's Yoga Aphorisms. Aldous Huxley's book, Doors of Perception promoted mystical experience leading directly to the explosion of interest in the East in the 60s.
If you dig deep enough, you'll find Theosophical influence in the environmental, animal rights and vegetarian movements. No mystical endeavour in the West is exempt, be it yoga, meditation, channelling, near death experiences, natural healing, past life research, UFOs, Mt. Shasta or St. Germain. Even HINDUISM TODAY is not exempt - our ashram here in Hawaii was built in 1929 by a wonderful Hawaiian poetess who taught Theosophy here to seekers in the same room where we meditate each morning before dawn.