"Three Aims of TS"
Feb 23, 1997 09:57 PM
In response to requests about the Three Aims discussed in several messages
here, the following excerpt gives the relevant description for those who
have not see it.
Three Aims of Theosophical Society: See the note at the end of this excerpt.
 Well, certainly there are a lot of New Age organizations around that
teach and practice the same ideas you do. How is the Theosophical Society
different from those?
It is true that a number of organizations today teach Theosophical concepts.
But the Theosophical Society is more than just an organization teaching
various Theosophical concepts. The Society has three aims that it pursues,
and those three aims, taken together, make it unique.
 What are those aims?
Well, to start with the one that is closest to our discussion so far, the
Society teaches Theosophy ─ not just various related ideas like
reincarnation and karma ─ but a total worldview that relates all our varied
experiences to a single vision of cosmic unity, order, and purposefulness.
Theosophy holds the existence of a great cosmic plan by which everything,
from the fall of a leaf to the expansion of galaxies, has its place. All the
myriad realities we experience are expressions of one underlying Reality and
are themselves interrelated within an orderly cosmos that is evolving
towards ever increasing consciousness and self-awareness.
 And all your Theosophical ideas fit into that worldview?
Precisely. Theosophy is a kind of seamless garment in which no parts can be
omitted or disconnected, because all are interconnected. Or, to use a
different metaphor, Theosophy is a hologram, whose design is present in
every part, so that the whole can be reconstructed from any fragment.
 Where does this worldview come from?
It can be found in partial form in all of the religions and philosophies of
the world, adapted in each of them to a particular culture, speaking to the
people of a place and time. The underlying source of all those religions and
philosophies is a tradition that goes by many names: the Perennial
Philosophy, the Ancient Wisdom, the Esoteric Tradition, the Secret Doctrine,
the Timeless Teaching, the Way of the Old Ones, and, in other languages, the
Gnosis, the Sanata Dharma, the Brahmavidya, and Theosophia─or Theosophy.
According to this tradition itself, it was given to earliest humanity by
wise teachers whom legends remember as heroes or gods; it has been passed
on, verified, expanded, and adapted to changing conditions by a succession
of other wise teachers; and from time to time those wise teachers send out
some version of the tradition into the world as a religion, a philosophy, or
a science. Modern Theosophy is such a version of that Wisdom Tradition, with
a worldview that embraces and synthesizes religion, philosophy, and science.
 Tell me more about these "wise teachers." Who are they?
They are called by various names:
Mahatmas, literally "great souls" because of their spiritual achievements;
Masters of the Wisdom, because they have mastered the tradition and
therefore can teach it; Adepts, because they are highly skilled or adept at
the tradition; Bodhisattvas, literally "Those whose nature is Wisdom"; the
Brothers, because they belong to an inner family within the larger human
family, though they might better be called Brothers and Sisters, for they
incarnate in both male and female bodies; the Elders, because they are an
evolutionary stage in advance of us, or are older than we in development.
 What is our connection with these elders?
Having completed the task we have to fulfill in this stage of evolution, our
elders might have exited from the stage and gone on to other spheres of
activity. However, like the good, responsible elders they are, they have
chosen to stay in this stage of evolution in order to help us, their younger
siblings, to achieve what they have already done. Because of their decision
to remain with us as our helpers, they are called bodhisattvas. The
"Bodhisattva vow" of Northern Buddhism is a resolve not to enter nirvana
(which represents the extinction of all pain, change, and separateness)
until all other living beings can enter nirvana with them.
The elders serve as our guides and guardians. Thus they are active in
protecting us from the consequences of ignorance and in preparing us to take
advantage of our evolutionary possibilities. One way they guide us is by
presenting the Wisdom Tradition at various times and in various forms. One
of those presentations is the Theosophical Society. Although we say that the
Society was founded by H. P. Blavatsky, H. S. Olcott, W. Q. Judge, and
others, Blavatsky was sent to America by one of the elders who was her
special teacher especially to start such an organization.
 So one of your aims is to set forth a worldview that derives from these
elders, a worldview you call Theosophy?
Just so. Modern Theosophy has, of course, been shaped by many persons from
Helena Blavatsky onward. But its essence is an expression of the Wisdom
Tradition, which we also call timeless Theosophy.
 What are the other two aims you alluded to?
A second aim of the Society is to offer its members a way of transforming
themselves, of achieving the purpose of our evolution, of discovering who
they really are. Theosophy is not just a body of information, it is also a
way of life. Blavatsky said, "Theosophist is who Theosophy does"─not
"knows," but "does."
And the third aim?
The third aim of the Society - actually the first in importance - is to
bring together a group of people who are informed about the principles of
the Wisdom Tradition, who have begun the work of self - transformation, and
who are dedicated to cooperating with the elders and assisting in their
work. The elders need the help of ordinary men and women because, whatever
their knowledge and ability, they cannot do everything themselves. They need
co-workers who can assist in realizing the cosmic plan, even in modest ways.
It is an aim of the Theosophical Society to bring together a nucleus of
persons who can fill that role.
 Are these three aims in addition to the three declared objects of the
No, the aims we have been discussing are really just a different way of
looking at the Society's three objects. They are the Inner side of those
[excerpted from The Messenger, A newsletter and Study Paper of the
Theosophical Society in America, edited by John Algeo, National President -
February 1996, No, 12. The above part of a serial article titled "Theosophy
in a New Key, Chapter 9: Theosophy and the "New Age". The article is unsigned]
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