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What is Theosophy?

There is no religion higher than truth

The contemporary theosophical movement was started by seventeen founding members in New York City in 1875. Three of the most prominent founders were Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831–91), Colonel Henry Steel Olcott (1832–1907), and William Quan Judge (1851–96).

It was formed at a time when spiritualism and scientific materialism were extremely popular, to help point human beings towards the deeper significance of life beyond the observed psychic and physical worlds.

In 1879, the Headquarters of the Society was transferred to India. Since 1882 the International Headquarters has been in Adyar, Chennai (formerly Madras) in South India. Today branches of the Theosophical Society exist in about seventy countries throughout the world.” (Source https://theosophicalsociety.org.au)

What do Theosophists Believe?

Theosophists believe in the essential unity of all things and advocate for the spiritual evolution of humanity that there is an underlying reality and that it is possible for humans to access this reality through direct experience.

Theosophy has its roots in Eastern philosophy and religion, but also incorporates elements from Western esoteric traditions. Theosophy has exerted a considerable influence on Western culture.

Theosophy promotes values of universal brotherhood and social improvement, although it does not stipulate ethical codes. It teaches that the “purpose of human life is spiritual emancipation and claims that the human soul undergoes reincarnation upon bodily death according to a process of karma”. (Wikipedia).

What is Theosophy’s stance on reincarnation?

Theosophy teaches that the human soul undergoes reincarnation after death according to the law of karma. Karma is the principle of cause and effect, and it determines the conditions of a person’s next life. Theosophy holds that reincarnation is a process of spiritual evolution that allows the soul to progress towards enlightenment.

What is Theosophy’s stance on religion?

Theosophy teaches that all religions are equally valid paths to truth. Theosophy also holds that each person must find their own path to spiritual enlightenment. Theosophy’s stance on religion is one of tolerance and respect for all faiths.

What are the Seven Key Principles of Theosophy?

‘’According to the teachings of Theosophy there are seven principles or parts of the human being that reflect cosmic principles. These concern the evolution of life from the unmanifest principles through creation.

“The seven principles of the human being are: Atman (the universal self), Buddhi (the intellectual principle), Manas (the mental principle), Kama (desire), Prana (subtle vitality), Linga-sarira (astral body), and Sthula-sarira (gross physical matter).” (“Seven Principles (in Theosophy) | Encyclopedia.com”)

For convenience, these are sometimes simplified into three principles of the human being: spirit, soul, and body, as in Christianity. These three parts are first and highest, the Divine Spirit or the Divine Monad, rooted in the universe, whose spirit is linked with the All, being in a mystical sense a ray of the All; second, the intermediate part of Spiritual Monad, which in its higher and lower aspects is the spiritual and human soul; third, the lowest part of the human constitution, the vital astral physical part, composed of material or quasi-material life atoms.” (“Seven Principles (in Theosophy) | Encyclopedia.com”)

A Theosophical Worldview

“The universe and all that exists within it are one interrelated and interdependent whole.

Every existent being—from atom to galaxy—is rooted in the same universal, life-creating Reality. This Reality is all-pervasive, but it can never be summed up in its parts since it transcends all its expressions. It reveals itself in the purposeful, ordered, and meaningful processes of nature as well as in the deepest recesses of the mind and spirit.

Recognition of the unique value of every living being expresses itself in reverence for life, compassion for all, sympathy with the need of all individuals to find truth for themselves, and respect for all religious traditions. The ways in which these ideals become realities in individual life are both the privileged choice and the responsible act of every human being.

Central to the concern of Theosophy is the desire to promote understanding and brotherhood among people of all races, nationalities, philosophies, and religions. Therefore, all people, whatever their race, creed, sex, caste, or color, are invited to participate equally in the life and work of the Society. The Theosophical Society imposes no dogmas, but points toward the source of unity beyond all differences. Devotion to truth, love for all living beings, and commitment to a life of active altruism are the marks of the true theosophist. “(source https://theosophicalsociety.org.au)

The Three Objects of the Theosophical Society

First—To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or colour.

Second—To encourage the study of Comparative Religion, Philosophy and Science.

ThirdTo investigate unexplained laws of Nature and the powers latent in the human being.

Who was Madame Helena Blavatsky?

Madame Helena Blavatsky was a Russian writer and thinker who is best known for her work in Theosophy. Madame Blavatsky was born in 1831 into a noble family, and she spent her early years living in various parts of Europe. In 1848, she married General Nikolai Blavatsky, a man much older than herself. Madame Blavatsky’s marriage was an unhappy one, and she soon left her husband and began to travel extensively. During her travels, Madame Blavatsky encountered different belief systems and philosophies, which would later inspire her work in Theosophy. Madame Blavatsky settled in New York City in 1873, and it was here that she founded the Theosophical Society, an organization dedicated to the study of comparative religion and philosophy.

Blavatsky’s work was highly influential in the development of Western esotericism, and she is considered one of the most distinguished figures in the history of Theosophy, and her ideas continue to be studied by thinkers all over the world.

The Secret Doctrine

Blavatsky claimed to have received guidance from supernatural beings, who guided her to write books on Theosophy. Her most famous work is The Secret Doctrine, which sets forth the principles of Theosophy.

The Secret Doctrine is a compendium of her teachings on Theosophy, and it offers a detailed exposition on topics such as the origin of the universe, the nature of God, and the evolution of humanity. In addition to providing insight into these metaphysical concepts, The Secret Doctrine also serves as a guidebook for those who wish to follow the path of spiritual enlightenment. While the book can be dense and difficult to grasp at times, its overall message is one of hope and possibility, encouraging readers to awaken to their own divine nature and become agents of change in the world. Whether one is interested in exploring deep philosophical questions or simply seeking guidance on the path to self-realization, The Secret Doctrine is a thought-provoking work.

Who was Henry Steel Olcott?

Henry Steel Olcott was an American attorney, journalist, and agricultural expert. He was also a founder of the Theosophical Society. Olcott was born in New York City in 1832. After graduating from college, he became a lawyer. Olcott married in 1858 and had three children. He served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. After the war, Olcott moved to Sri Lanka, where he helped to start a coffee plantation. He also became interested in Buddhism and helped to establish Buddhist schools and colleges. In 1875, Olcott met Helena Blavatsky, who introduced him to theosophy. The two developed a close relationship, and Olcott became one of the leading figures in the Theosophical Society. He died in 1907.

Who was William Quan Judge

William Quan Judge was an influential thinker who helped to shape the early days of the Theosophical movement. He is best known for his work in spreading the teachings of Theosophy to the United States, where he played a key role in establishing the Society’s American headquarters in New York City. Judge also authored important books on Theosophy, including A Treatise on Cosmic Fire and The Ocean of Theosophy. In addition to his work as a writer and teacher, Judge was also an attorney, and he represented the Society in legal cases.

Who was Annie Bessant?

Annie Bessant was a British theosophist, social reformer, and women’s rights activist. She was an active member of the Theosophical Society and worked closely with Madame Blavatsky. Bessant was highly involved in social reform movements and helped to establish schools and orphanages in India. She also wrote extensively on Theosophy and its principles.

Who was Charles Leadbeater?

Charles Leadbeater was a British theosophist, clairvoyant, and author. He was an active member of the Theosophical Society and worked closely with Annie Bessant. Leadbeater wrote extensively on Theosophy and its principles. He also claimed to have the ability to see auras and to astral travel. Leadbeater’s work was highly influential in the development of Western esotericism.

More Information on Theosophy

https://theosophicalsociety.org.au/statics/the-theosophical-society-what-is-it-all-about

https://www.ts-adyar.org

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