The Theosophical Society
The Theosophical Society has international headquarters in Adyar, Madras (now Chennai), India. The society was created in 1875 in New York City, and after moving several times, was finally established in Adyar in 1882. Today the International TS has members in almost 70 countries around the world.
The Theosophical Society in America (TSA) is affiliated with the International TS. It first was established in New York City, then moved to Hollywood, California, and finally relocated to its present site in Wheaton, Illinois. It boasts one of the finest theosophical libraries in the world. Their staff includes a number of teachers, such as Pablo Sender and author John Cianciosi. It also supports an active publishing arm, the Theosophical Publishing House (TPH).
Approximately 110 local groups in major cities of the US carry on active Theosophical work. A considerable number of members-at-large are affiliated directly with the national center.
The New York City lodge of the Theosophical Society in America is one of considerable history. It hosts a library of theosophical works and also a book store (the Quest book shop), on east 53rd Street.
Seattle has a branch of the Theosophical Society in America. Like the New York lodge, the Seattle Lodge has a fine library and a Quest Book Shop. Other west coast lodges include San Francisco and Victoria, BC.
Theosophical Order of Service
In 1908 Annie Besant, then international president of the Theosophical Society, and herself an activist of great social conscience, founded the Theosophical Order of Service (TOS). Many members of the Society wanted to organize various lines of service for the active promotion of the First Object of the Society: To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of humanity without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color. TOS offers a framework in which individuals may demonstrate practical and humanitarian actions in a theosophical spirit, whether or not they are members of the Theosophical Society.
Other Theosophical Organizations
There are also a number of theosophical organizations which split off during the early years, and are not directly affiliated with the Theosophical Society described above. To be clear, the name of the location is included in literature which discusses the different organizations. This one is referenced as “Theosophical Society (Adyar).”
Another organization is The Theosophical Society, with its international headquarters based in Pasadena, California. This organization of theosophical scholars supports the Theosophical University Press, an excellent source of books written during the early years of the theosophical movement. The TU Press provides high-quality reprints of many books by early students and scholars, and offers many of these on-line. Theosophy Northwest, its northwest branch, has a number of interesting Theosophical articles on its website.
The Theosophical Society Point Loma – Blavatskyhouse The Hague, is based in Point Loma, California. It has a presence in Europe, located in The Hague. It works through a foundation, the International Study Centre for Independent Search for Truth. This group produces a scholarly magazine and offers reprints of a number of classic books by early theosophical students.
The United Lodge of Theosophists (ULT) does not call itself a “Theosophical Society,” but rather a voluntary international association for the study and promulgation of the original teachings of Theosophy. Its expressed mission statement is “To spread broadcast (sic) the original teachings of Theosophy as recorded in the writings of H.P. Blavatsky and William Q. Judge.” As there does not appear to be an official ULT website, we will present this site as a resource.
Another branch, under the heading of Anthroposophy, was originated by Rudolf Steiner. He was a student of H.P. Blavatsky, and went on to considerable research in theosophical topics on his own. Among other studies, he originated the Waldorf School.
Books and Writings Related to Theosophy
The books by H.P. Blavatsky and her magazine articles had wide dissemination and broad appeal. Many individuals have been inspired by her teachings and writings, and some went on to create their own organizations based on their individual understanding.
The books written by J. Krishnamurti have broad appeal even today. Quite a number of websites exist around his speeches and writings.
C. Jinarājadāsa was a writer, lecturer, and the fourth president of the Theosophical Society.
Alice Bailey wrote a number of books which are still sought by students today. They are offered through the Lucis Trust which also supports an educational course by correspondence, through the Arcane School. This group is world-wide and operates almost entirely through correspondence.
Another teacher who was considerably affected by early theosophical students was Harold W. Percival. His teachings were gathered together into a large book entitled “The Word.” The Word Foundation still exists for the purpose of disseminating this book. The author, and this group, disclaim any connection with the Theosophical Society.