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Brazil, Theosophy in

The first recorded theosophical event in Brazil took the form of a lecture given in 1902 by a Mr. Leite, in the city of Curitiba situated in the state of Paraná. The earliest lodge was the Dharma Theosophical Society (TS) which was chartered in 1905 in Pelotas, Rio Grande do Sul. Another early center was Lodge Perseveranca (Perseverance) founded June 5, 1910, at Rio de Janeiro. Its first President was Com. Raymundo Pinto Siedl, who was responsible for the fairly rapid growth of the society in Brazil, three more lodges coming into existence before 1914.

Brazil functioned under a South American Presidential Agent until it became a Section in November 17, 1919, its first General Secretary being R. P. Seidl.

A considerable stimulus was imparted to Brazilian theosophical work by the visit of C. JINARĀJADĀSA in 1928 and again in 1934.

The TS in Brazil had the following General Secretaries:

Raymundo Pinto Seidl: 1919-1927

Juvenal Mesquita: 1927-1930

Caio Lustoza Lemos: 1930-1935

Oswaldo Guimaraes: 1935-Jan. 1936

Manuel Bandeira: Jan. 1936-Feb. 1937.

Oswaldo Silva: Feb.1937-Sept. 1937

Aleixo Alves de Souza: 1937-1946

Armando Salles: 1946-1964

Cinira Riedel Figueiredo: 1964-1967

Alberto Lyra: 1967-1970

Armando Salles: 1970-1973

Murillo Nunes de Azevedo: 1973-1982

Joao B. Brito Pinto: 1982-1988

Ulisses Riedel de Resende: 1988-1994

Alfredo Roman Puig Figueroa: 1994-1996

Ulisses Riedel de Resende: 1996-1999

Ricardo Lindemann: 1999 -

Among the outstanding Theosophists who lived and worked in Brazil were Lourenço Borges and his wife, Piper Borges, M. C. Parolin, Alexo Alves de Souza, J. Gervásio de Figueiredo and his wife Cinira R. Figueiredo.

In 2003 the TS in Brazil had 37 Lodges and 12 study centers with a membership numbering over 850, being the largest Section in Latin America.

The Section maintains a retreat center, called the Fazenda, in the countryside. It has a lecture hall, dormitories, dining hall, and meditation hall. It also has a natural waterfall on its extensive grounds.

The Section publishes a quartely newsletter, O Teosofista, that goes regularly to all members. There are two annual meetings: the Summer School in January and the Theosophy-Science seminar in July.

There are four main Theosophical centers in Brazil; the National Headquarters located in the city of Brasilia; the Brasilia Theosophical Institute, located in the neighborhood of Brasilia; the Rāja Center in the neighborhood of São Paulo, and the Pitagoras Theosophical Institute, in the city of São Paulo. The Section also publishes a quarterly newsletter, called TheoSophia, which reports the work done by the several departments as well as events, national and local. In 1989 the Theosophical Publishing House was organized and it is mainly working on the translation into Portuguese and production of certain theosophical books originally published in English. From 1989 till 2003 more than eighty titles were already published. In July 1993, the Eighth World Congress of The Theosophical Society was held in Brasilia, where delegates from more than forty countries were received. In 2003, the Diffusion Department of the Brazilian Section was responsible for the production and transmission of theosophical lectures through television in 24 cities including 15 capitals of states, through 26 different channels, and it is calculated that more than fifty thousand people are effectively watching the programs each day. One of the features of the Brazilian Section is the large percentage of young people in its membership who are involved in its work.