Directly and indirectly the collection documents the early life of J. Krishnamurti from the point of view of those responsible for how he was raised, educated and groomed to serve as the World Teacher. The concept of a World Teacher came from Esoteric Buddhism, and the prophesy that there would be a future Buddha called the Maitreya.
The Theosophical society had an Esoteric Section devoted to preparing humanity to understand the Teachings that the World Teacher would bring. The Ross Collection contains thousands of letters, documents and intimate correspondences between the leaders who were responsible for grooming and protecting Krishnamurti. It also documents what was taking place in and around Krishnamurti beginning in 1900.
What makes the collection so unique and valuable are two broad categories: First: it helps to completely document the extraordinary life of Krishnamurti and Second: It documents and reveals how the concepts, beliefs, forms and expectations of the organizers actually prevented them from understanding Krishnamurti’s core message.
Those involved were extraordinary people, sensitive, intelligent, passionate, convinced they were serving the best interests of humanity. Future generations can learn from the mistakes these people made but only if the story so well documented in the Ross Collection is preserved and made available.
It is estimated the collection contains over 20,000 correspondences and transcripts, audio recording of CW Leadbeater, George Arundale, hours of personal interviews and memoirs with Rukmini Devi, original photographs, first edition books and pamphlets, many esoteric and private documents describing activities and ceremonies many of which involved Krishnamurti, legal documents documenting court cases, the 1906 Leadbeater scandal, politics, and many others.
Central to the project is the way the indexing process identifies important links between various documents revealing beliefs, patterns and policies that shaped the environment that surrounded Krishnamurti during his most formative years. Very few people are alive today who can see, understand and articulate these connections. Without these connecting links a critical letter or paragraphs may appear meaningless to the untrained observer. Providing a context where the deeper meaning and implications of each document is revealed is a critical part of this preservation process.
In the 1970’s I became acquainted with Rukmini Devi who was George Arundal’s wife. She was present and participated in many of the most intimate activities involving Krishnamurti beginning in the early 1920’s. The collection began when she asked me to catalogue her collection which included that of her husband, private letters of Annie Besant, C.W. Leadbeater, C. Jinarajadasa and many other influential leaders, and transcripts of occult sessions in 1925 that caused tremendous conflicts with Krishnamurti and the death of his brother Nitya.
This began a 40 year process when other private and personal collections were added from Betty Warrington, Joan Donath, Geffery Hodson, Herbert Staggs, Byron Casselberry, and Marie Russak. Over the years people would show up, knocking at my door offering boxes of private papers, publications and artifacts. Today the collection contains over 100 boxes, thousands of pages, correspondences, recordings and photographs.
Building upon and expanding the archival efforts of the KFA, consulting with individuals, archivists with many branches of the TS we have created a new database that indexes each document by searchable categories; the document title, Box number, folder, source, who authored the document, to whom, dates, and major themes such as Krishnamurti and other key individuals, the esoteric section, the world teacher, masters, discipleship, and many other key words. A form is used to categorize each document adding notes and comments.
The original document is scanned and uploaded to the database where it is linked to the indexed summary of that document. As the indexing and scanning process is completed researchers can search the complete collection using any combination of key-words, Annie Besant and Krishnamurti for example, the Egyptian Rite., CW Leadbeater and the Liberal Catholic Church. Being web based the complete contents of the Ross collection can be accessed from anywhere in the word and high resolution PDF copies of the originals downloaded.
Indexing and scanning will be organized first by topics, Besant or CW Leadbeater letters for example, correspondences or publication to, from and about Krishnamurti, Co Masonry, the South American tour, Esortic School certificates, and many others. Sponsoring archives will receive a full functioning copy of The Ross Collection Preservation database.
Archives can use the database as an independent structure or by working with developers the data-field structure of The Ross Collection can be mapped, configured and delivered in a format that integrates with preexisting structures.
Each month The Ross Collection Database will be updated releasing new materials to sponsoring individuals and archives. Plans are being made to develop a public–access system making appropriate modules of the Ross Collection available to the public. And we are exploring ways to transfer ownership of the originals to apocopate archives.
The Krishnamurti archives should be interested in all the original lectures Krishnamurti gave to members of the Esoteric Section up to 1946. Of equal significance are the thirty hours of private recording with Rukmini Devi as she describes her experiences with her husband and the leaders of the society regarding the grooming of Krishnamurti, rituals, initiations, and the politics involved.
Of course the letters and correspondences of Besant, Leadbeater, George Arundale, and others describing the politics and ceremonies Krishnamurti rejected. This includes the evolution of Self Preparation and the origins of the Egyptian Rite in 1925 which all influences Krishnamurti’s changing views of discipleship. As the collection is indexed countless other historical facts and relationships will be made.
Virtually every branch of the Theosophical society will be interested in the collection. It contains original documents of the Esoteric School founded by H.P.B. Blavatsky and the split within the society between W. Q. Judge and Annie Besant. Rare photographs of Theosophical conventions, Co-Masonry documents, and Liberal Catholic Ordinations in Old Hollywood. Of equal significance are the thirty hours of private recording with Rukmini Devi as she describes her experiences with her husband and the leaders of the society regarding the grooming of Krishnamurti, rituals, initiations, and the politics involved. Of course the letters and correspondences of Besant, Leadbeater, George Arundale describing their lack of understanding of Krishnamurti’s teachings resulting in denial and betrayal including the evolution of Self Preparation and the origin of the Egyptian Rite in 1925 which influenced Krishnamurti changing his point of view regarding discipleship.
There are rare silk paintings of Leadbeater, Besant, Olcott, and HPB and more:
1983 Theosophical Politics in Adyar
George Arundale on Lotus Fire, Kundalini, Yoga of Sound
C. Jinarajadasa lectures
Photo Albums; Old Hollywood, Sarobia Camp, The Manor, Byron Casselberry, Norman Clarke
H.P.B. Scrapbook with 1800’s clippings
Letters of Manni Maria Roine
Correspondence of Austin Bee
Roger-Cooper Foundation dealing with the Liberal Catholic Church
History of Far Horizons
1915 trouble in the American Section dealing with A.P. Warrington
1916 Conflict with Grace Shaw Duff and Henry Hotchener
Study outlines on The ancient Wisdom, Thought Power, Study in Consciousness
Ernest Wood and Geoffrey Hodson approach on: Krishnamurti and the Search for Light
Besant Cultural Center
The Policy of Disassociation of the Adyar Theosophical Society
Art as a Religious Ideal
The Better Citizenship Associations
George Arundale papers on Symbolic Yoga
Geoffrey Hodson Sun Ritual
Journal by George Arundale Conscience
Letters from Clara Codd
Benito Reyes on the World University
School of the Krotona Institute
1980 Election at Adyar with Rukmini Devi and Pledges
1910 Annie Besant Esoteric Instruction talks
E.L. Gardner correspondence regarding No Religion Higher than Truth
It is important to keep in mind that many of the documents have never been reviewed. That is why this archival indexing, scanning and database effort is so important. Without it – these are just a bunch of old fading papers in a box.
What makes The Ross Collection so unique and valuable is the rare and often intimate contents of the collection and Joseph Ross himself. This preservation project enables Joseph Ross to continue his life’s works, documenting, indexing and preserving the authentic history of both the prophesy and manifestation of Krishnamurti’s mature teachings.
Two years is required to review, identify, index and digitize the most important elements of the collection. As a collaborative venture The Theosophical Society and Krishnamurti Archives are being asked to each sponsor the project by committing $2,000 per month for two years with each retaining and sharing indexed copies and copyright to the collection.
Some documents and artifacts are extremely rare and valuable and each organization places different values of contents of The Ross Collection. It is important to consider that much of the collection has not been reviewed. Over the two year term, as the major work of identification, indexing and digitizing is completed, dialogues with sponsoring organizations will take place defining both the value of original documents and how they will be shared.