The Theosophical Society : Laying Its Foundations
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Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and Colonel Henry Olcott collaborated in the formation of the Theosophical Society in 1875. Originally formed as a group dedicated to occult investigation and development, the society soon began to focus on two other aspects of the movement forming a universal brotherhood of man and comparative studies of ancient. religions, philosophies and sciences. As a movement, Theosophy has been called a philosophy, for it attempts to explain all components of the universe as belonging to an ordered Hierarchy. It does not. merely deal with man IS soul. For a Theosophist., one cannot. separate the natural word, man or God. Theosophy is called a religion; it certainly holds that much of religion is valid and good. Although the Theosophists are not interested in converting people to a set of beliefs, their teachings reveal a path to salvation. Some will also call Theosophy a science, for they say the Knowledge--The Ancient Wisdom--is obtainable through study and investigation. To a Theosophist all the Phenomena associated with the psychic nature of man--telepathy, the disintegration of matt.er, etc. --are very real phenomena, all in accordance with natural law. Although Theosophy never became a major movement, it did exercise some influence on the events of the period. The respect. Madame Blavatsky and her followers had for the aspects of traditional Indian religion apparently contributed to the cultural revival, nationalist sentiments, and eventually the independence movement of India. It is claimed that. Gandhi in particular was influenced by Theosophical teachings. Whether or not there is any truth in these claims is not important, for the movement was able to reformulate previous religious ideas, incorporating the new scientific concepts of the age, and providing "answers" for the increasingly materialistic, atheistic world. Much of its success was due to the charisma of its founder, Madame Blavatsky, for no one could " ... equal her public work, whether in mysterious phenomena produced, in fascination of conversation, in mass of pages written expounding the philosophy of 'ancient wisdom,' or in travel and fame."