Many friends, inquirers and brother Theosophists have been asking me to explain to them what Theosophy is, what it teaches and the contrast of the Theosophical Society with other secret societies. In answering these interesting questions I shall have to deal with them in the order the questions are put.
The first question is, What is Theosophy?
Theosophy is not a religion in itself, but is the truth which underlies all religions alike, the hidden root from which all the different religions have sprung. Theosophy is made up of two Greek words, Theos, God, and Sophia, Wisdom, and means Divine Wisdom, without the help of which it is impossible for man to know anything about the creation of the Universe, whence, how, whither does it tend; what am I, what is the purpose of my existence, what is the goal; what is God and where; how am I connected with Him and the Universe; what is the explanation of the apparent injustices of life; what is the meaning and the use of suffering and pain; what is luck, fate, or destiny; what are dreams and how are they caused; what is life, what is death — these and many such questions which the ignorant in all ages think to be inexplicable can be understood only with the help of Theosophy.
The second question is what Theosophy teaches. Here I am going to give you a rough sketch of its teachings. Its teaching can be outlined thus:
(a) That there is one eternal infinite Reality, one uncognizable real existence.
(b) That from that proceeds the manifested God, unfolding from unity to duality and from duality to trinity.
(c) That the whole Universe with everything within it is a manifestation of the life of God.
(d) That there are many mighty intelligences called Archangels, Angels, Devas, who have come out of the manifested God, and are His Agents for carrying out His thought and will.
(e) That man like his Heavenly Father is divine in essence, his inner Self being eternal.
(f) That he develops and evolves by repeated incarnations, into which he is drawn by desire under the law of Karma in the three worlds, the physical, the Astral and the Mental, and from which he is set free by knowledge and sacrifice, becoming divine in potency as he had ever been divine in latency.
(g) That there are Masters, perfected men, men who have completed their human evolution, have attained human perfection and have nothing more to learn so far as our human state is concerned.
The third and last question is the difference between the Theosophical Society and other secret societies.
In answering this question I would ask my readers to note the points I am giving because it is the question that matters much, as many members of the Society, particularly in this country, think by joining this Society they can perform miracles, invoke spirits overnight. This is not so with Theosophy.
I cannot give an idea of the teachings of other secret societies, but what I know is that the Theosophical Society does not encourage its members to nurse sectarianism, politics, phenomena, unbelievable and uncanny things, superstitions, so-called astrology, palmistry or any of those idiosyncrasies which some who call themselves Theosophists believe in and teach.
— From News and Activieies of the Theosophical Society,
Bulletin of the Nigerian Section, T. S.
The Theosophical ForumTHEOSOPHICAL UNIVERSITY PRESS ONLINE