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The Second Generation Leaders of the Theosophical Society (Adyar)

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Chapter Summary

The second generation and third generation of leaders continued to work out the tension between charismatic authority (the belief that someone has access to an unseen source of authority) and rational-legal authority in the evolving leadership and doctrines of the Theosophical Society. During the controversies involving the second and third generation of leaders, charismatic authority in the parent Theosophical Society was routinized into rational-legal authority. The members of the Theosophical Society (Adyar) ultimately opted to affirm the rational-legal authority of elected officers in the operation of the organization over the charismatic authority of claimed contact with the Masters. During the period of the second-generation leaders, Besant possessed the rational-legal authority of elected office as well as charismatic authority deriving from claimed contact with the Masters, but toward the end of her life she admitted that she had lost her conscious link with the Masters.

Keywords:Adyar; charismatic authority; second-generation leaders; theosophical society



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