The Theosophical Society (or societies)

The Theosophical Society was founded about 125 years ago (in 1875) in New York. At the time it had the object of investigating the phenomena of spiritualism and mediums and explaining these rationally. Later, when two of the founders (H.P. Blavatsky and Col. Olcott) went to India, they added universal brotherhood to the objects of the T.S. These objects evolved a bit after that. Eventually they came to be the following:

  1. To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or color.
  2. To encourage the study of Comparative Religion, Philosophy, and Science.
  3. To investigate unexplained laws of Nature and the powers latent in Man.

(for a discussion of the meaning of these objects and the way they should be practiced, see Some articles on the the objects of the Theosophical Society.

Historical overview

After the death of H.P. Blavatsky, who had been the main expounder of philosophy and explanations, the T.S. split up. At first into two Theosophical Societies (both still baring that name), later both these organizations gave birth so to say to even more organizations. The oldest of the Theosophical Societies, is Theosophical Society Adyar. Adyar being the headquarters of this T.S. This is the T.S. that had Annie Besant at its head and where the whole Krishnamurti story started. This is also the T.S. from which Rudolf Steiner was expelled because he refused Krishnamurti-followers into the German Section of the T.S. (of which he was president at the time).

Then there is the T.S. of which W.Q. Judge was the head when it split of. This later became the Point Loma T.S. and the Pasadena T.S. Leaders of these organizations have been C. Tingley, Conger, James Long, Grace Knoche and de Purucker. These two organizations have focussed on studying the writings of H.P. Blavatsky and elaborating on that. Also in that line of work was Robert Crosby, he founded the United Lodge of Theosophists, usually abbreviated to U.L.T.

Between these organizations there is not much friendliness to spare, as is usual between rival organizations from the same stock. Still on the internet the different organizations do work together in publishing as much from H.P. Blavatsky as they can. And on the e-maillists one can often find members of all the above mentioned organizations. In the realm of writings being published there is both rivalry to be found and working together. The H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings for instance were published by T.S.-Adyar, but compiled by a member of the TS-Pasadena (Boris de Zirkoff). This project had people from the whole theosophical movement working together. For more information see also my Theosophical Movement FAQ.

Links to all the homepages of theosophical organizations (national and international) can be found on my linkspage, the theosophical organisations.

Katinka Hesselink