The Singapore Lodge Theosophical Society
The Theosophical Society
The Theosophical Society
The Theosophical Society was founded in New York in 1875, jointly by Madame H. P. Blavatsky, a Russian, and Col. H. S. Olcott, an American, assisted by others. In 1879, the world Headquarters was shifted to Bombay and later in 1882 to Adyar, Madras. It is an international organization with membership which now includes over 70 countries.
The three declared Objects of the Theosophical Society are:
1. To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or colour
2. To encourage the study of Comparative Religion, Philosophy and Science
3. To investigate unexplained laws of Nature and the powers latent in man
Col. H. S. Olcott was the first President, followed by Dr. Annie Besant (1907-1933), Dr. G. S. Arundale (1934-1945), Mr. C. Jinarajadasa (1946-1953), Mr. N. Sri Ram (1953-1973) and Mr. John B. S. Coats (1973-1979). Mrs. Radha Burnier is the present President of this International body, since her election in 1980.
The Theosophical Society is composed of students, belonging to any religion in the world or to none, who are united by their approval of the Society’s Objects, by their wish to remove religious antagonisms and to draw together people of goodwill, whatsoever their religious opinions, and by their desire to study religious truths and to share the results of their studies with others. Their bond of union is not the profession of a common belief, but a common search and aspiration for Truth. They hold that Truth should be sought by study, by reflection, by purity of life, by devotion to high ideals, and they regard Truth as a prize to be striven for, not as a dogma to be imposed by authority. They consider that belief should be the result of individual study or intuition, and not its antecedent, and should rest on knowledge, not on assertion. They extend tolerance to all, even to the intolerant, not as a privilege they bestow but as a duty they perform, and they seek to remove ignorance, not to punish it. They see every religion as an expression of the Divine Wisdom and prefer its study to its condemnation, and its practice to proselytism. Peace is their watchword, as Truth is their aim.
Theosophy is the body of truths which forms the basis of all religions, and which cannot be claimed as the exclusive possession of any. It offers a philosophy which renders life intelligible, and which demonstrates the Justice and the love which guide its evolution. It puts death in its rightful place, as a recurring incident in an endless life, opening the gateway to a fuller and more radiant existence. It restores to the world the Science of the Spirit, teaching man to know the Spirit as himself and the mind and body as his servants. It illuminates the scriptures and doctrines of religions by unveiling their hidden meanings, and thus justifying them at the bar of intelligence, as they are ever justified in the eyes of intuition.
Members of the Theosophical Society study these truths, and Theosophists endeavour to live them. Everyone willing to study, to be tolerant, to aim high, and to work perseveringly, is welcomed as a member, and it rests with the member to become a true Theosophist.
FREEDOM OF THOUGHT
As the Theosophical Society has spread far and wide over the civilized world, and as members of all religions have become members of it without surrendering the special dogmas, teachings and beliefs of their respective faiths, it is thought desirable to emphasize the fact that there is no doctrine, no opinion, by whomsoever taught or held, that is in any way binding on any member of the Society, none which any member is not free to accept or reject. Approval of its three Objects is the sole condition of membership. No teacher or writer, from H. P. Blavatsky downwards, has any authority to impose his teachings or opinions on members. Every member has an equal right to attach himself to any teacher or to any school of thought which he may choose, but has no right to force his choice on any other. Neither a candidate for any office, nor any voter, can be rendered ineligible to stand or vote, because of any opinion he may hold, or because of membership in any school of thought to which he may belong. Opinions or beliefs neither bestow privileges nor inflict penalties. The members of the General Council earnestly request every member of the Theosophical Society to maintain, defend and act upon these fundamental principles of the Society, and also fearlessly to exercise his own right of liberty of thought and of expression thereof, within the limits of courtesy and consideration for others.
FREEDOM OF THE SOCIETY
The Theosophical Society, while co-operating with all other bodies whose aims and activities make such co-operation possible, is and must remain an organization entirely independent of them, not committed to any objects save its own, and intent upon developing its own work on the broadest and most inclusive lines, so as to move towards its own goal as indicated in and by the pursuit of those objects and that Divine Wisdom which in the abstract is implicit in the title, The Theosophical Society.
Since Universal Brotherhood and the Divine Wisdom are undefined and unlimited, and since there Is complete freedom for each and every member of the Society in thought and action, the Society seeks ever to maintain its own distinctive and unique character by remaining free of affiliation or identification with any other organization.
WHY JOIN THE SOCIETY?
Many of us are members because we want to help this great organization which exists for a supremely altruistic purpose - altruism in a deep, true and extended sense. The Society does not exist for our own edification, much less for our amusement or glorification; it exists in order that each one of us may lend his or her strength, give of his or her light and in whatever capacity he or she may have, to make the world a better place in which to live; better not merely from a physical point of view, but with a more spiritual climate, a rarer, more vital atmosphere where all delicate and wonderful things may grow.
ORGANIZATION AND MEMBERSHIP
THE SOCIETY is organized into national sections. These are further organized into Federations, and branches or Lodges. All groupings of members, whether local or national, are largely autonomous, framing their own rules, electing their own officers, raising their own funds and promoting the purpose of the Society according to their own understanding.