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Annie Besant

Annie Besant (1847-1933) was a women's rights activist, writer and orator.

Besant was divorced from her clergyman husband and she had to leave both her children behind. She fought for the causes she thought were right, starting with freedom of thought[?], women's rights, birth control, Fabian socialism[?] and worker's rights. She was a prolific writer and a powerful orator. Her conversion to theosophy came after reading The Secret Doctrine by H.P. Blavatsky in 1889 and writing a review on this book.

Soon after becoming a member of the Theosophical Society she went to India for the first time (1893). Thereafter she devoted much of her energy not only to the Theosophical Society, but also to India's freedom and progress.

Together with Charles Webster Leadbeater she investigated the universe, matter and the history of mankind through clairvoyance. The two became embroiled over Leadbeater's advice to young boys to masturbate. At the time such advice was highly controversial. He had to leave the Theosophical Society over this in 1906. In 1908 he was back into the fold, through the agency of Besant, who had been elected president of the Theosophical Society in 1907. Soon after that, in 1909, Leadbeater discovered Jiddu Krishnamurti on the beach at Adyar. This started years of upheaval in the Theosophical Society, as the boy was hailed the new Messiah. Jiddu Krishnamurti and his brother Nitya were brought up by theosophists from that moment on.

Eventually Krishnamurti ended up disbanding the Order of the Star of the East, in 1929, of which he had been made the leader, and which was founded to support him.[1] (http://www.katinkahesselink.net/kr/star.htm) This act destroyed Annie Besant's spirit, as it went against her whole belief system. She tried to accommodate Krishnamurti's views into her life, but never really succeeded. The two remained friends though, until the end of her life.

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