We humans know that we could be much more than we ordinarily are. But what is this? What potential do we have that we could develop more fully? And who could tell us what this potential is?
There is a body of knowledge that answers these questions. It provides theory, practice, and techniques that enable us to free ourselves from the limitations of ordinary life and achieve greater happiness, wisdom, and peace.
This knowledge has gone by many names: the Ancient Wisdom, the perennial philosophy, the wisdom tradition. Because it is universally true, it is found all over the world, but it takes many different forms, depending upon the time and circumstances and the people it is addressing.
One version of this Ancient Wisdom in recent times is Theosophy. Derived from Greek roots meaning “divine wisdom,” it is a body of knowledge that tells us about our place in the universe and why the world is the way it is. Although it agrees in many respects with scientific theories, it goes past them in addressing unseen realities that we all experience, but often don’t understand. It answers many questions that people have, such as:
• Why am I here?
• What is the purpose of the universe?
• Is there a God?
• Why does there seem to be evil and injustice in the world?
• How can I have a purposeful and meaningful life?
The Theosophical Society in America
- Has a Vision of wholeness that inspires a fellowship united in study, meditation, and service.
- Has a Mission of encouraging 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.
- Has an Ethic holding that our every action, feeling, and thought affect all other beings and that each of us is capable of and responsible for contributing to the benefit of the whole.
What do Theosophists Believe?
Ever since its founding in 1875, the Theosophical Society has stood for freedom of thought and respect for all people regardless of race, class, caste, sex, or religion. To join the Theosophical Society, you are required to have no specific beliefs. You need only to state your agreement with the Society’s Three Objects:
1. To form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or color.
2. To encourage the comparative study of religion, philosophy, and science.
3. To investigate unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in humanity.
Stating your approval of these Three Objects is the sole condition of membership. All members have an equal right to follow any school of thought, but have no right to force their choice on others. The Society fearlessly encourages freedom of thought and expression, within the limits of courtesy and consideration for others.
Most Theosophists regard Truth as a prize to be striven for, not as a dogma to be imposed by authority. We hold that belief should be the result of individual understanding rather than mere acceptance of traditional ideas, and that it should rest on knowledge and experience, not on faith. We seek out Truth through study, reflection, meditation, service, and devotion to high ideals.
At the same time, Theosophists respect the beliefs of different traditions. We see each religion as an expression of the Divine Wisdom, adapted to the needs of a particular time and place. We prefer to study various religions rather than condemning them, and we prefer to practice them rather than trying to convert others. Theosophists extend tolerance to all, even to the intolerant, not as a privilege we bestow, but as a duty we perform. We seek to remove ignorance, not punish it. Our aims are peace and Truth.
The Theosophical Society in America is a membership organization. It is one branch of a world fellowship—the International Theosophical Society, with headquarters in Adyar, Chennai, India.
All are welcome to use our resources and attend programs and events, and we encourage those who sympathize with our mission to become members.
To fulfill our mission in promoting fellowship and spiritual education, the Theosophical Society in America:
• Has local groups around the country where members can meet, explore, and practice together.
• Organizes lectures, classes, and workshops at the different local groups.
• Offers online resources that include articles, audio lectures, videos, live webinars, webcasts, and more.
• Publishes books and a quarterly magazine on spirituality, called Quest: Journal of the Theosophical Society in America.
• Has libraries that specialize on spiritual subjects, both at the national center in Wheaton, Illinois, as well as at the different local groups.
• Is affiliated with Theosophical camps that host courses and seminars in natural settings suitable for contemplation, meditation, and learning.