The current day Theosophical Society was founded in 1875. Its declared Three Objects are:
- To form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or colour.
- To encourage the study of comparative religion, philosophy and science.
- To investigate unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in humanity.
To help carry out those objects, the Society presents for consideration a contemporary statement of the Ancient Wisdom called Theosophy. The Theosophical Society does not require its members to accept all or indeed any of the Theosophical teachings. The motto of the Society is “There is no religion higher than Truth.” The term “religion” in that motto refers not only to churches, but to any system of belief or ideas – including the Society’s statement of Theosophy.
Most Theosophical members agree generally on the basic ideas and ideals of Theosophy, but they are free to reject any of them and to interpret all of them according to their own lights. To be a member of the Society, one must only subscribe to its objects. Yet the Society does offer a view of life that is remarkable for its comprehensiveness, coherence and timelessness, a contemporary formulation of an ancient Wisdom Tradition that is the basis for a satisfying, productive life that enables those who follow it to discover their own inner nature and to contribute to the welfare of the world.
Although this Wisdom has been offered throughout the ages under various names and in many languages, its essence is fundamentally the same, however much its outer aspects and manner of presentation may vary. It especially points to the reality of brotherhood and the imperative necessity of practising it; but it also gives insight into the unexplained around us and helps the development of our latent powers; and it is the inner harmony of religion, philosophy and science.
The Philosophy of the Society
The Society promotes an underlying unity of life; it fosters religious and racial understanding by encouraging the study of religion, philosophy and science; and the enquiry of the spiritual aspect of life. The Society stands for a complete freedom of individual search and belief while promoting a willingness to examine any concept and belief with an open mind, and respect for other people’s understanding.
In the modern Theosophical movement the word ‘Theosophy’ has been used with several different meanings:
It is frequently used to describe the body of teachings that were given through Mme Blavatsky and other Theosophical writers. This body of knowledge is frequently called "modern Theosophy" (with capital T).
It is also used to refer to the universal Ancient Wisdom underlying all religions, which can be found at their core when they are stripped of accretions, deletions and superstitions. This is sometimes referred to as "ancient" or "timeless" theosophy.
These two usages refer to a body of teachings transmitted by different sages, in different parts of the world and at different times.
As we have seen, theosophia refers to a Divine Wisdom, that is, a state of consciousness in which the sage or mystic goes beyond his or her mind and gets a direct, supra-conceptual perception of Truth. This is the primary meaning of Theosophy.
It is important to note that the intellectual study and daily practice of Theosophy is only a means to reach the real theosophia or inner enlightenment. As we become more mindful of this, we open the door to a flash of insight which comes from the part of us that is Divine. The process of becoming more and more receptive to these theosophical insights is the spiritual path or journey.