The Theosophical Society as an organisation
The Belgian Theosophical Society (BTS) is a membership organization, branch of a world fellowship–the International Theosophical Society with headquarters in Adyar, Chennai, India since 1882. It was founded in 1875 in New York by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Henri Steel Olcott, William Quan Judge and others, and has branches in some forty countries.
The Society is composed of students belonging to any religion or to none. Its members are united by:
- their approval of the Society’s Three Objects;
- their wish to remove religious antagonisms, to draw together people of goodwill whatsoever their religious opinions;
- 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.
In accordance with the Theosophical spirit, most Theosophists regard Truth as a prize to be striven for, not as a dogma to be imposed by authority. They hold that belief should be the result of individual understanding and intuition rather than mere acceptance of traditional ideas, and that it should rest on knowledge and experience, not on assertion. Truth should therefore be sought by study, reflection, meditation, service, purity of life, and devotion to high ideals.
At the same time, Theosophists respect the different beliefs. They see each religion as an expression of the Divine Wisdom, adapted to the needs of a particular time and place. They prefer the study of various religions to their condemnation, their practice to proselytism. Thus, earnest Theosophists extend tolerance to all, even to the intolerant, not as a privilege they bestow but as a duty they perform. They seek to remove ignorance, not punish it.
“Peace is the watchword, and Truth the aim.”