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One may begin with a simple dictionary definition:
Theosophia (Greek: θεός theos + σοφία sophia), "Divine Wisdom," or Wisdom of the gods. The word theos means "a god" in Greek, one of the divine beings, not "God" in the sense attached in our day to the term. Therefore, it is not "Wisdom of God," as translated by some, but Divine Wisdom. Theosophy is the substratum and basis of all the world-religions and philosophies—the common thread that runs through them all. In its practical bearing, Theosophy is purely divine ethics.
Here are three exceedingly important ideas central to Theosophy:
Universal Brotherhood: Theosophy is about solidarity. We are all one family, undivided. It is the doctrine of Unity.
Reincarnation: Theosophy is about the immortality of the Soul; living and learning from life to life. It is the doctrine of Hope.
Karma: Theosophy is about the universality of the Law of cause and effect. “As you sow, so shall you reap.” It is the doctrine of Responsibility.
One of the Masterpieces of modern Theosophy, the "Secret Doctrine" by H.P. Blavatsky, presents Theosophy as “the synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy.” From this idea we have the following. Theosophy is the:
Science of Spirituality: Theosophy postulates an underlying Divine Wisdom to the Cosmos, Nature and Man. This wisdom has been sought, tested and verified by a countless list of sages and seers throughout recorded history.
Philosophy of Perfectibility: Man is the microcosm of the Macrocosm. Human Nature can either soar or sink. Human potential for creativity, benevolence and knowledge is endless.
Religion of Responsibility: Divinity underlies all of life, but each man is responsible for his or her actions. The actions of one have a ripple effect upon all. Man grows through self-devised and self-induced efforts. Men largely reap the consequences of their choices and actions, good or bad, in this and future life times.
It’s important to understand that Theosophy is not restricted to the modern presentation of these ideas; it is as old as humanity. There is a oneness in fundamental teachings underlying the world’s major religious, philosophical and even scientific schools of thought. This “Wisdom of the Ages” points us towards the true nature of Theosophy. The Movements founded all over the world by history’s Great Teachers show us the unity of their insights. The world’s Sacred Texts provide us with visions of this “divine wisdom.” This is the heritage of humanity, and it is ours to explore.
The founding of the modern Theosophical Movement is generally recognized as spearheaded by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, with two main associates, William Quan Judge and Henry Steel Olcott. In 1875 they, and others, founded the Theosophical Society. The Society grew and flourished during their time, and since has spawned several distinct organizations, associations and lodges of theosophical students. There is a vast and ever-growing body of literature belonging to this movement, including translations of sacred texts, original works and countless articles.
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