Theosophical Society was founded in 1875 in New York in the USA by Madame H. P. Blavatsky and Colonel H. S. Olcott. They came to India in January 1879 and set up the headquarters of the society at Adyar, presently a suburb of Chennai in Tamil Nadu. It was however with the joining of the society by Annie Besant in 1888 in England that the movement began to gain momentum. Theosophical society owes its success in India to Annie Besant who arrived in India in 1893 at the age of forty six and made permanent residence in the country.
Fundamental teachings of the Theosophical Society
· The spiritual hierarchy of God
· The unity of God and three-fold emanation of God
· Universal brotherhood
Though Theosophical society had several branches all across India, it exerted a compelling influence on the social and religious life of South India to a good measure. Its role in “the awakening and self-respect of the Indians” has been acknowledged by everyone. However, since its beliefs were a bizarre mixture of religion, philosophy and occult mysticism, they proved to be a deterrent for many who might have supported the movement.
Theosophical society is remembered for its great work in the field of education. The opening of the Central Hindu College in Varanasi by Annie Besant in 1898 is case in point.