International Headquarters — Pasadena, California USA
The Theosophical Society is a worldwide association dedicated to practical realization of the oneness of all life and to independent spiritual search. It was founded in New York City in 1875 by Helena P. Blavatsky, Henry S. Olcott, William Q. Judge, and others. Blavatsky (1831-1891) is the primary force behind the modern theosophical movement. Her works and those of her teachers express the principal concepts of its philosophy. A Russian by birth, she traveled for over twenty years through Europe, the Americas, Asia, and the Near East studying mysticism and occultism before devoting her life to The Theosophical Society and its objectives. For further information about the Society's history, see History of the TS.
The Theosophical Society has several objectives:
(More on objectives and Misconceptions about the TS)
The primary purpose of the Theosophical Society is to encourage altruism and compassion. The Society does offer for consideration some basic theosophical concepts which lie at the root of the world's philosophies and religions; but beyond supporting its objectives, those wishing to join need not accept any particular beliefs, and members may belong to any religion or to none. While members may pursue whatever activities they wish, the Society itself is unsectarian and nonpolitical, open to all people regardless of race, nationality, class, creed, or gender. Its endeavor is to aid humanity rather than promote or strengthen the self-interests of its members.
Blavatsky held that "the very root idea of the Society is free and fearless investigation." She addressed the question "What is a theosophist?":
one need not necessarily recognize the existence of any special God or a deity. One need but worship the spirit of living nature, and try to identify oneself with it. . . . Be what he may, once that a student abandons the old and trodden highway of routine, and enters upon the solitary path of independent thought — Godward — he is a Theosophist; an original thinker, a seeker after the eternal truth with "an inspiration of his own" to solve the universal problems. — The Theosophist, October 1879, p. 6
The Theosophical Society, Pasadena, California, pursues its original program under its leader, Randell C. Grubb. Toward this end the Headquarters and its National Sections sponsor library centers, public discussions, and study groups on theosophic and allied themes. They also offer a series of correspondence courses for anyone wishing a more structured approach to theosophic studies. The Society's publishing facility — Theosophical University Press with its Overseas Agencies — features theosophic classics.
Further information regarding theosophy, membership, and programs and publications of the Society may be obtained by writing to the Secretary General at the International Headquarters: