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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Indralaya Camp

A theosophical camp located on Orcas Island, one of the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound in the northwest corner of Washington State, U.S. It was founded in 1927 by members of The Theosophical Society (TS) as a practical experiment in applying theosophical principles to daily life. In particular, the camp’s founders intended that Indralaya would provide a setting for people to reawaken or deepen their connection with the natural world while exploring theosophical concepts in a community setting. It was the first theosophical camp to be established in the U.S. Its key founders included Fritz and Dora Kunz, Ray Wardall, and Eugene Emmons. The name of the camp was given by Fritz Kunz, with “Indrālaya” defined by him as “a home for the spiritual forces in nature.” Its name in Sanskrit means literally “abode of Indra,” a Vedic deity associated with nature, mainly atmospheric phenomena.

The camp is 78 acres (31.5 hectares) in size with 3/4 of a mile (1.2 kilometer) of shoreline and contains both grassy and heavily wooded areas traversed by nature paths. It has two beaches suitable for swimming in the ocean. A wide variety of programs are offered in the spring, summer, and fall. It has a great hall with a fireplace and attached dining and kitchen area, a circular meeting hall (though programs are held in a tree-lined grassy area outside in clement weather), a library and meditation hall, a campfire, and a variety of living accommodations ranging from rustic to furnished. Maximum occupancy is 95 people. The caretakers live on the grounds in a substantial house with adjoining workshop buildings. There is also a garden which furnishes much of the food for the vegetarian diet of the camp. The camp (sometimes the garden also) is regularly visited by rabbits and deer.

Over the years since its founding it has hosted programs by most of the Presidents and noted personalities of the theosophical movement, including George and Rukmini Devi Arundale, C. Jinaršjadšsa, Nilakanta Sri Ram, John Coats, Radha Burnier, Geoffrey Hodson, the Kunzes, Joy Mills, and J. Krishnamurti.

M.Ly.

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