The term "Theosophy" means Divine Wisdom. It has not been defined anywhere in the Theosophical literature, for to define is to limit. However, what it is and what it is not may emerge as one makes a deeper study of it.
The Theosophical Movement began with the founding of the Theosophical Society on November 17, 1875.
The three objects of the Society are:
Theosophy and the Divine Plan
Theosophy postulates that there is a Divine Plan, and that Plan is Evolution. The basic postulates of the Ancient Wisdom as presented by Theosophy are:
Process of the Soul's Evolution
Theosophy is in agreement with science about the existence of an evolutionary process. The life of the Supreme Being, permeating every atom of the universe, and being partially expressed in the multiplicity of the mineral, vegetable, animal and human forms that fill the world, is slowly evolving these to manifest in an ever increasing measure their potentialities through increasingly complex forms.
The soul is the germ of divine life immersed in matter - an individualized portion of the universal consciousness. Through long periods of time it slowly evolved before it reached the human stage. Consciousness is involved in matter and is evolving through its association with matter. Inseparable companions, they are but two aspects of one thing - of the one reality. A center of consciousness working in matter builds a form about itself; at the earlier stages more and more complex forms. But the matter referred to is not always visible matter - matter that is known to the physical senses. Even in physical matter, we have grades which are invisible and intangible, like the air and these gradations of rarer and rarer matter continue far beyond the point.
There is a point in evolution where consciousness becomes self consciousness and then where the selfconsciousness becomes the all consciousness. At the point the human race has now reached - roughly, the half-way point in the whole evolutionary journey - the individual consciousness is functioning a part of the time in invisible matter. When a human being reaches the time for that change which we know as death the consciousness leaves this physical body and goes on with life in bodies composed of the matter of the invisible worlds. Later consciousness parts with the invisible body, and also in due course of time transfers its activities once more to the physical world, appearing again in an infant physical body which serves its purpose until the succeeding physical death. In this alternation from the visible to the invisible, from the grosser to the rarer, from the outer to the inner, from the objective to the subjective the soul finds its possibilities of evolution from lower to higher states of consciousness, each cycle carrying it to a higher point than it has previously attained. The method by which it grows is the acquirement of experience in the physical life, and the working up of this experience into faculties or powers during the life in the invisible worlds. This succession of returns to the physical life is the soul's reincarnation; souls in evolution are much like children in study. They represent many grades of intelligence and many degrees of effort. Souls are like children in nature's school. Millions are in higher grades, hundreds have finished their education and are voluntarily staying back to act as teachers of the rest. These, Theosophy knows as the Masters of the Wisdom.
The Path of Perfection
Adeptship is the identity of the innermost self of man with the innermost self of the universe, the Atma with the Paramatma, pseudo-individuality is dissolved. The Adept abides in perpetual experience of identity with Universal Spirit. This is Perfection, Nirvana or Salvation - liberation from illusion of separated individuality. This is the highest human attainment and the spiritual "purpose" of existence.
The means of attainment consists of interior unfoldment of consciousness and its internal and external experiences. Interior unfoldment is continuous, while repeated physical rebirth or reincarnation provides the necessary time, opportunity and experience.
A cosmic law of compensation, partly seen operating in man as cause and effect, ensures absolute justice to every man. The places and conditions in which individuals and races are born, as well as those later entered, are exactly the "right" places and conditions, for only in them can justice be done and experience required for the attainment of Adeptship be obtained.
Already some men and women have attained the state of Adeptship. Some of them remain on earth as members of a highly organized fraternity of directors of planetary evolution. Of these great sages, some, in compassion for humanity accept individual men and women for training in the mode of life and thought which increases the rate of evolutionary progress, and the training is called The Path.
These Adepts who teach and train pupils are known as Masters. They can be successfully approached by those who fulfill the necessary conditions and apply for admission to their presence in the appointed way.
Man can delay or hasten the process of attaining perfection, deliberate hastening of the process accurately describes the treading of the Path.
What kind of an individual must the would-be disciple/pupil be? It is said that affinity alone can draw us close to Them. The Adepts are the very embodiments of Love and Selfless Service. So none can approach Them unless he has in him in howsoever small a measure the spirit of Brotherhood - kinship with the entire creation - and eagerness to serve to alleviate the suffering and distress of those around him.
These qualifications are said to be necessary for the successful entry upon the Path of Discipleship. The first is absolute self-surrender, which implies a transcendence of the limitations of I-ness, of self-separateness with its concomitants of pride, personal ambition, selfishness and desire. Material acquisitiveness and possessiveness are displaced by spiritual aspiration. The second is called self-study or enquiry. It implies a development of the mental faculties of the highest degree. The third qualification is service. Realization of the oneness of Life must show itself in selfless action. Then for him the gate will swing open. The open mind, the pure heart - which means the selfless heart and the co-operative life, these are the three essentials to triumph through the Judgement Hall into the Presence of the Divine Judge.
This material was taken almost in its entirety from the brochure: "Theosophy and its Concept of Plan - Evolution and Perfection of Man," published by the Indian Section of the Theosophical Society in its Centenary Year: 1990-1991.to return to teosofia.com