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The Theosophical Society

In modern times, the wisdom-tradition of Theosophy was revived by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, who had been for years the pupil of great oriental adepts or sages. Aided by Henry Steel Olcott and William Quan Judge she founded the Theosophical Society in New York City, November 17, 1875.

Objectives of the Society

The three objects of the society are:-

(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 the unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in people.

Assent to the first of these objects is required for membership, the remaining two being optional.

"The Society has no dogmas or creed, is entirely non- sectarian and includes in its membership adherents of all faiths and of none, exacting only from each member the tolerance for the beliefs of others that he would wish them to exhibit toward his own."

In 1895, William Quan Judge, then vice-president of the society, led a secession movement which resulted in a separation therefrom of a large number of the American and some of the European members. The seceding body, however, soon divided into two bodies, one of which is known as the Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society. The other body, known as the Theosophical Society in America, again subdivided; one division located at 244 Lenox Avenue, New York City, published The Word, a monthly magazine, and the other division, headed by Charles Johnston, 159 Warren Street, Brooklyn, N. Y., published the Theosophical Quarterly.

The parent society became overtly international, with headquarters at Adyar, Madras, India. A yearly report of 1907 of its then president, Mrs. Annie Besant, showed that in December of 1907, there were a total of 655 branches all over the world, 77 of which were in America. A large literature had by this time grown up within the society, including the regular publication of forty-seven magazines.


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