The modern system of Theosophy refers to the religio-philosophic doctrines of the founded in New York City in 1875 by w:Henry Steel Olcott with w:William Quan Judge and Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. Blavatsky's magnum opus, one of the major foundational works of this Theosophy, was published in 1888 as The Secret Doctrine. Theosophical Societies and Organizations remain active in more than 50 countries around the world. Theosophy has also given rise to or influenced the development of other mystical, philosophical, and religious movements.
- The possible truths, hazily perceived in the world of abstraction, like those inferred from observation and experiment in the world of matter, are forced upon the profane multitudes, too busy to think for themselves, under the form of Divine revelation and scientific authority. But the same question stands open from the days of Socrates and Pilate down to our own age of wholesale negation: is there such a thing as absolute truth in the hands of any one party or man? Reason answers, "there cannot be." There is no room for absolute truth upon any subject whatsoever, in a world as finite and conditioned as man is himself. But there are relative truths, and we have to make the best we can of them.
- Lucifer (February 1888)
- "There is often greater martyrdom to live for the love of, whether man or an ideal, than to die" is a motto of the Mahatmas.
- There is no religion higher than truth.
- Motto of the Theosophical Society. See for instance: Blavatsky Collected Writings, Volume 6, p. 168
- Nothing of that which is conducive to help man, collectively or individually, to live — not "happily" — but less unhappily in this world, ought to be indifferent to the Theosophist-Occultist. It is no concern of his whether his help benefits a man in his worldly or spiritual progress; his first duty is to be ever ready to help if he can, without stopping to philosophize.
- I speak "with absolute certainty" only so far as my own personal belief is concerned. Those who have not the same warrant for their belief as I have, would be very credulous and foolish to accept it on blind faith. Nor does the writer believe any more than her correspondent and his friends in any "authority" let alone "divine revelation"!
- Theosophy brought to India yet another strain of sarva-dharma-samabhâva. It proclaimed that all religions were ultimately derived from and were distortions of the Original One Religion known to the ancient Mahatmas, who had kept themselves hidden for a long time. But so far as the prevalent religions are concerned, Theosophy never said that they were the same or equally true. In fact, the first Theosophists who come to South India showed a marked preference for Hinduism, and encouraged Hindus to ridicule and denounce Christianity, its totem, and its missions. Later on, Annie Besant founded the first Hindu College at Varanasi, and could never see eye to eye with Mahatma Gandhi when it came to Islam. The only Theosophist who really stood for sarva-dharma-samabhâva came from the heartland of Indian Islam, U.P. in North India. That was Dr. Bhagwan Das. But anyone who has studied different religions in right earnest can say without any hesitation that Bhagwan Das' magnum opus, Essential Unity of All Religions, is not much more than silly and sentimental humbug. He has missed the forest for the trees in the case of all religions when he picks up stray sentences from different scriptures and strings them together without any reference to context or their real meanings beyond the literal. Rather than studying and understanding all religions he is out to foist his own pet and preconceived notions on all of them.
- Sita Ram Goel, Freedom of expression - Secular Theocracy Versus Liberal Democracy (1998)