Humanity as a whole has a beginning, a purpose, and a goal. Theosophy describes these.
Central to the concerns of Theosophy is the desire to promote understanding and unity among people of all races, nationalities, philosophies, and religions.
The name comes from two words in Greek, Theos and Sophia translating to God and Wisdom, respectively. Thus the meaning of “Wisdom of God” or “Wisdom about God.”
What is Theosophy? To answer this question, we need to distinguish between modern Theosophy and ancient or timeless Theosophy. Timeless Theosophy, also called by many names such as the “Wisdom Tradition” and the “Perennial Philosophy,” is a tradition found in human cultures all over the world and at all times in history. It is the basis of the inner or mystical side of many philosophies and cultures. Theosophy is much more than just an explanation of the phenomenon of humanity. It describes the entirely of the universe, in its broad circular sweep through time from its beginning to its end, and its rebirth on a higher rung.
Where did this wisdom come from?
There is a source of wisdom available to every human being when in a state of relaxed attentiveness and openness to the reality of the inner dimensions. In this source is glimpsed the reality which, when translated into familiar concepts and language, is expressed as religions and as philosophies of life.
What is the Theosophical Society?
The Theosophical society is a worldwide membership organization devoted to the study and realization of that body of eternal truths known variously as the Perennial Philosophy, the Ageless Wisdom, or theosophy. A deep understanding of such timeless truths is not merely of theoretical or academic interest, but is key to living a sane and harmonious life in a turbulent and often chaotic world. The serious Theosophical inquirer engages in the study of religious traditions, philosophical bodies of thought, and the theories of modern science, as well as a systematic spiritual practice. It is an organization founded in New York City in 1875 to investigate the nature of the universe and humanity’s place in it, to promote understanding of other cultures, and to be a nucleus of universal brotherhood among all human beings. Today the Society has branches in some seventy countries, with its international headquarters in Chennai, India.
What does this wisdom tradition teach?
The three basic ideas of Theosophy are:
- The fundamental unity of all existence, so that all pairs of opposites — matter and spirit, the human and the divine, I and thou — are transitory and relative distinctions of an underlying absolute Oneness,
- The regularity of universal law, cyclically producing universes out of the absolute ground of being, and
- The progress of consciousness developing through the cycles of life to an ever-increasing realization of Unity.
What specific doctrines do Theosophists believe in?
The Theosophical Society is non-dogmatic, and Theosophists are encouraged to accept nothing on faith or on the word of another, but to adopt only those ideas that satisfy their own sense of what is real and important. Theosophy is a way of looking at life rather than a creed. Modern Theosophy, however, presents ideas like the following for our consideration, and many Theosophists hold these ideas, not as fixed beliefs, but as a way of looking at life that explains the world as they experience it:
karma (or moral justice),
the existence of worlds of experience beyond the physical,
the presence of life and consciousness in all matter,
the evolution of spirit and intelligence as well as of physical matter,
the possibility of our conscious participation in evolution,
the power of thought to affect one’s self and surroundings,
the reality of free will and self-responsibility,
the duty of altruism, a concern for the welfare of others, and
the ultimate perfection of human nature, society, and life.
What practices do Theosophists follow?
All members of the Theosophical Society decide what practices and manner of living are appropriate for them, but many Theosophists follow a certain regimen of life that is implied by Theosophical ideas like those above. They meditate regularly, both to gain insight into themselves and as a service to humanity. They are vegetarians and avoid the use of furs or skins for which animals are killed. They do not use alcohol or drugs (except under a doctor’s order). They support the rights of all human beings for fair and just treatment, being therefore supporters of women’s and minority rights. They respect differences of culture and support intellectual freedom. Theosophists are not asked to accept any opinion or adopt any practice that does not appeal to their inner sense of reason and morality.
What is the society, basically?
The Society is nonsectarian and nonpolitical. Its three declared Objects are:
- To form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or color.
- To encourage the comparative study of religion, philosophy, and science.
- To investigate the unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in humanity.
The Theosophical Society in America encourages open-minded inquiry into world religions, philosophy, science, and the arts in order to understand the wisdom of the ages, respect the unity of all life, and help people explore spiritual self-transformation.
Ways in which our lodge supports our city: