The Theosophical Society was founded in 1875, in New York, by Henry Steel Olcott
, H.P. Blavatsky
, William Quan Judge
and others. Its founding objective was the study of mediumistic phenomena
and explaining these. When Olcott and Blavatsky moved to India, the study of Eastern religions became part of their programme and thus of the programme of the Theosophicla Society. By the time Blavatsky's Key to Theosophy
was written (1889), the objects had evolved into:
- To form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity without distinction of race, colour, or creed.
- To promote the study of Aryan and other Scriptures, of the World's religion and sciences, and to vindicate the importance of old Asiatic literature, namely, of the Brahmanical, Buddhist, and Zoroastrian philosophies.
- To investigate the hidden mysteries of Nature under every aspect possible, and the psychic and spiritual powers latent in man especially. (p. 39, Key to Theosophy)
After Blavatsky's death in 1891, the theosophical leaders seemed at first to work together peacefully in her memory. This did not last long. Judge was accused of forging Mahatma-letters by Olcott and Annie Besant
and ended up leaving the Theosophical Society and taking most of the American Section with him.
Now the major theosophical organisations include:
Other exponents of this movement are: