Joseph Ross, Theosophy scholar and researcher, is the author of archival source material research books on the early days of the Theosophical Society and its leading figures, such as Annie Besant , CW Leadbeater, AP Warrington, C. Jinarajadasa, and J. Krishnamurti. He is the founder of the Ross Collection of rare archival documents of Theosophical Society history, including its relationship to J. Krishnamurti.
A native Californian, born in Culver City in 1943, Joseph graduated in 1981 from the Human Relations Center in Goleta California, now called Joseph Campbell University, located in Carpenteria, California to become an advisor in the field of marriage and family counseling.
Due to his is interest in Theosophy he came to the Krotona Institute of Theosophy in Ojai, California where he resided around 1971. Widening his interest, he began collecting letters, articles and photograph of theosophical leaders, to document its history. During the Fall and Winter Terms 1978-79, was a guest lecturer at the Krotona Institute.
In 1980-89, Ross began writing articles for theosophical journals, and traveled several months a year with renowned Indian dancer, Srimati Rukmini Devi, as her secretary, visiting educational centers around the world. In 1989, he founded El Montecito Oaks Press, Inc., to publish his first book, Krotona of Old Hollywood, Volume I, 1866-1913.
He currently resides in Taormina, California, where he calls himself the "Book Doctor." Spending a great deal of his time painstakingly caring for and mending rare and new books that have frayed stitching, crumbling pages, spines coming unglued and cracked covers. Now retired, he maintains the Ross Collection, and is working on future titles connected to the Krotona Institute and the Adyar Theosophical Society.
"As there is no oeuvre of Theosophical Society history world-wide or in America except for the several volumes that comprise the Krotona history in California by Joseph Ross, the reader has no other source to refer to that could provide the larger framework that would make sense of the history of the Society, Krotona as the Esoteric center, and of Krishnamurti's association with the Society." Mark Lee
"Having curated these documents and images and feeling responsible for them", the author Joseph Ross relates, "I also have felt the need to make their story accessible. The Theosophical Society has been a very chapter in the West's approach to new religious ideas and ideals, and had an important role in the coming of J. Krishnamurti onto the world stage. For these reasons, I have felt really compelled to complete the Krotona Series."
The work is revealing of how religious movements work internally as institutions, especially in the face of unexpected change says Theosophical scholar Robert Boyd:
"Volume 6 is a shattering account of the activities to the early leaders of The Theosophical Society, including their attempts at coercing Theosophical members into agreement... Much of this information is not available anywhere else."
It's the source materials in the Ross Collection that make these works possible, according to documentary videographer Michael Mendizza, who is working on a documentary of Krishnamurti's early life:
"Joseph has a rare and in-depth understanding of Theosophy, the intent and pracitces of the Esoteric Section and equally a solid appreciation for Krishnamurti's necessary transcendence of the forms and images that frame the society. Without understanding the forms, images and structures that Krishnamurti went beyond, one has a very limited appreciation for what has been called Krishnamurti's teachings. There would be no Krishnamurti or 'the teachings' were it not for Krishnamurti's struggle to go beyond the limitations and constraints of these forms. Joseph, like no other that I know explores what and how this transcendence took place."
"Wow! Such intrigue! I really enjoyed every page of the book, and what a monumental job it was to gather all those records, letters and collate it all. I must congratulate you on an amazing feat!” - J. Peterson