The Theosophical Society, while reserving for each member full freedom to interpret those teachings known as Theosophy, is dedicated to preserving and realizing the ageless wisdom, which embodies both a worldview and a vision of human self-transformation.
This tradition is founded upon certain fundamental propositions:
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 concerns of theosophy is the desire to promote understanding and unity 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 behind 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.
Some Reflections on a Theosophical World-View by Emily Sellon
A Theosophical View of War and Violence by John Algeo
Theosophy on War and Peace by Robert Ellwood
Theosophical Interpretations of Evil by Robert Ellwood
God: A Theosophical View by Pedro Oliveira
Christian Ritual in Theosophical Perspective by Robert Ellwood
Yoga: A Theosophical Perspective by The Theosophical Society in America
A Theosophical View of War and Violence by John Algeo
Theosophy and the Quest for Meaning by Joy Mills
Theosophy and the World Religions by Robert Ellwood
Vegetarianism and Spirituality by Pat Davis
Some Theosophical Ideas
Modern Theosophy postulates that the field of existence embraces more than this material and passing reality we perceive through our senses. In fact, the lack of knowledge about the higher aspects of reality makes us see things from a wrong perspective, which is the root cause of suffering. We can gain knowledge of the Real, both in the universe and in human beings, by means of a holistic spiritual practice that includes study, meditation, and service.
Below are some of the basic ideas the Theosophical literature offers for consideration. However, the Theosophical Society does not ask its members to adhere to any of these ideas in particular. Members are only expected to be in agreement with the Three Objects of our organization.
- Behind everything seen or unseen there is an eternal, boundless, and immutable absolute Reality, which is beyond the range of human thought. Both matter and consciousness (or spirit) are the two polar aspects of this Reality.
- Theosophy postulates a cyclic universe. A universe manifests, develops, and dissolves back into the absolute Reality. After a period of cosmic rest, a new universe appears again.
- Since everything proceeds from (or manifests within) this single Reality, there is only one common Life that pervades and sustains the whole universe. Every form of life is an expression of this Unity.
- The visible universe is only its densest part; the whole universe contains also invisible dimensions or planes of exceedingly tenuous kinds of matter-energy interpenetrating the physical.
- Theosophy postulates a universe of purpose. The entire system, visible and invisible, is the scene of a great scheme of evolution, in which life moves to ever more expressive form, more responsive awareness, and more unified consciousness.
- There are no mechanical laws. The universe is pervaded by a non-anthropomorphic intelligence, which is both immanent and transcendent. Therefore, intelligence is at the basis of all laws of nature. At the same time, no super-natural miracles are possible. As H. P. Blavatsky said, "Deity is Law."
- Human consciousness is in essence identical with the ultimate Reality, which Ralph Waldo Emerson called the "Oversoul." This one supreme Reality, being the root of our real Self, is shared by each of our particular beings, thus uniting us with one another.
- The gradual unfolding of this latent divine Reality within us takes place over a long period of time by the process of reincarnation, which is an aspect of the cyclic law seen everywhere in nature.
- The cycle of reincarnation is ruled by the law of cause and effect. As Saint Paul says--whatever we sow, we will inevitably reap. This is the law of karma by which we weave our own destiny through the ages. It is the great hope for humanity, for it gives us the opportunity to create our future by what we do in the present.
- The human pilgrimage takes us from the Source, where we are an unconscious part of the One, leading us through the experience of the many, to finally take us back into union with the One Divine Reality, but now in full awareness. Our goal is thus to complete the cosmic cycle of manifestation through which we attain a fully conscious realization of ourselves as an integral part of the One, no longer polarized between consciousness and matter, or divided into self and other. This realization is enlightenment.
Theosophy and Orthodoxy by Pedro Oliveira
You, Theosophy, and the Society by George Arundale
Some Fundamentals of Theosophy by Emily Sellon
What Theosophy does for us by C. W. Leadbeater
Theosophy: Changeless Yet Always Changing by Willamay Pym
Jacob's Ladder by Mary Anderson
Entering the Garden of Theosophy by Mary Anderson
The Pattern and the Law by Christmas Humphreys
Check out our online articles to find out much more about Theosophy
Theosophy, an Introductory Study Course by John Algeo
The Key to Theosophy by H. P. Blavatsky
The Ancient Wisdom by Annie Besant
A Textbook of Theosophy by C. W. Leadbeater
The Ocean of Theosophy by W. Q. Judge
First Principles of Theosophy by C. Jinarajadasa
Esoteric Buddhism by A.P. Sinnett
Bibliographical list on Introduction to Theosophy by H. S. Olcott Memorial Library
How to Study Theosophy by Pablo Sender
Check out our audio library to find out much more about Theosophy
The Secret Gateway by Ed Abdill
Watch the Living Theosophy Series on how Theosophical teachings apply to daily life.
Watch lectures on Theosophy and general spirituality in our Media Library.
For Further Reading:
The following Quest Books are available from book stores or through the Theosophical Publishing House by ordering online (click a title for more info) or calling 1-800-669-9425:
An Abridgement of the Secret Doctrine, by H. P. Blavatsky
Ancient Wisdom—Modern Insight, by Shirley Nicholson
Life: Your Great Adventure, by Felix and Eunice Layton
The Secret Gateway, by Ed Abdill
Theosophy, by Robert Ellwood