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History of the

Theosophical Society



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The Theosophical Society was founded on November 17th 1875 in New York By

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky,

Colonel Henry Steel Olcott,

William Q Judge and others.


Headquarters were later established in Adyar, India. The Theosophical Movement has since fragmented into a diverse range of groups. An Adyar based Society still exists alongside several others.



H P Blavatsky



Brief Chronology of the Theosophical Society


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History of the Theosophical Society in Wales


The Theosophical Society: Its Origin, Plan and Aims

By H S Olcott with H P Blavatsky


 The Original Programme of the Theosophical Society


Theosophy and The Theosophical Society

The Meaning of the Name



1875 The founding of the Theosophical Society, in New York.

1877 Isis Unveiled, written by H.P. Blavatsky, is published.


1878 Colonel Henry Steel Olcott and H.P. Blavatsky start traveling to India.



 1876 – 1878  Influence Grows Despite Inactivity


1879 Olcott and H.P. Blavatsky arrive in India. Olcott and H.P. Blavatsky start the Publication of "The Theosophist".


Timeline of British India


1881 Publication of The Occult World, written by A.P. Sinnett.


1883 Publication of "Esoteric Buddhism", written by A.P. Sinnett.


1884 Leadbeater joins the Theosophical Society and travels to India at the order of the Master. The Inner Group of the London Lodge is formed.


1885 H.P. Blavatsky returns to Europe. "Man-Or Fragments of Forgotten Truth", by Mohini Chatterji and Laura Holloway was published.


1886 W.Q. Judge starts the magazine, The Path.


1887 W. Q. Judge writes a letter to H.P. Blavatsky asking her to start a group with the purpose of esoteric instruction.


1888 The Secret Doctrine, written by H.P. Blavatsky, is published. The existence of the Esoteric School is publicly announced.


1889 Annie Besant joins the Theosophical Society after reading the Secret Doctrine and meeting H.P. Blavatsky. H.P. Blavatsky pubishes "The Key to Theosophy".


1889 - 1890 Mohandes K Gandhi is introduced to H P Blavatsky and Annie Besant in London but declines to become a regular member of the Theosophical Society. However, during the following year the Society’s influence lead him to read Theosophical and religious literature including Edwin Arnold's The Song Celestial (the Bhagavad Gita) and The Light of Asia.


H P Blavatsky meets Mohandes K Gandhi


1890 T. Subba Row dies.


1891 H.P. Blavatsky dies. Annie Besant and W.Q. Judge become joint Outer Head of the Esoteric Section.


1894 Start of the argument between W. Q. Judge on the one hand and Olcott and Besant on the other on the authorship of some Mahatmic letters received through W.Q. Judge.


1895 The American Section secedes and is now eventually become the Theosophical Society, Pasadena. W. Q. Judge is its president until his death


1896 W. Q. Judge dies.


1900 Annie Besant receives a letter by Mahatma Koot Hoomi.


1902 Annie Besant invites Rudolf Steiner to form a German Section to the Theosophical Society.


England and India By Annie Besant 1906


1907 Olcott dies. Annie Besant voted president of the Theosophical Society (Adyar)


The Vicissitudes of Theosophy By A P Sinnett

A 1907 article assessing the early

progress of the Theosophical Society

Selection of Annie Besant's Writings


1909 Leadbeater discovers Jiddu Krishnamurti at the private beach at theAdyar Headquarters.


C W Leadbeater on Freemasonry


1911 Formation of the "Order of the star in the East", in dedication to the "World Teacher" (i.e. J. Krishnamurti)


1912 J. Krishnamurti is made the head of the "Order of the star in the East". J. Krishnamurti's father starts custody battle against Annie Besant. The fight ends when in 1914 J. Krishnamurti is 18 years old and no longer a minor by Indian law.


Rudolf Steiner is expelled from the Theosophical Society (Adyar),because he refuses to have as members of his German section, people who are also members of the "Order of the Star of the East". Most of the German Section leaves with him and the Antroposophical Society is formed.


Theosophy and the Great War


1917 Annie Besant demanded Home Rule for India and suffered internment for it from June to September 1917.


Annie Besant and The Indian National Congress


The Case for India by Annie Besant


Welsh Theosophists protest against the Internment of Annie Besant 1917


1925 Rudolf Steiner dies.


1929 J. Krishnamurti dissolves the "Order of the star of the East".


1929 Tekels Park Estate in Camberley, Surrey England is purchased for the Adyar based Theosophical Society in England and becomes one of the Jewels in the Theosophical Crown. Tekels Park continues as a major Theosophical Centre until it is sold to developers in 2010 much to the dismay of Society Members.


1930 J.J. van der Leeuw writes "Revelation or Realization".


1931 P.W. Bowen creates or reveals the Bowen Notes on study of the Secret Doctrine. The effect of this publication have yet to be fully assessed.


1933 Annie Besant dies. G. S. Arundale voted president of the Theosophical Society (Adyar)


Life of George S Arundale


1934 Leadbeater dies.


1945 Dr. Arundale dies. Jinarâjadâsa elected president of the Theosophical Society (Adyar).


Life of C Jinarajadasa 1875 - 1953


The Future of The Theosophical Society By C Jinarajadasa 1930


1953 Jinarajadasa dies and N. Sri Ram elected president of the Theosophical Society (Adyar).


Life of N Sri Ram


1973 N. Sri Ram dies and John Coats elected president of the Theosophical Society (Adyar).


Life of John B S Coats


1980 Radha Burnier is voted president of the Theosophical Society (Adyar)


Life of Dr Radha Burnier


2008 Radha Burnier is re-elected as President in the Adyar Presidential Election. The other candidate was Vice President John Algeo.


Results & Voting Figures for the 

Adyar Theosophical Society

Presidential Election 2008



2010 Anger and Dismay at the decision to sell Tekels Park to developers. The Theosophical movement is shocked to hear the news the Adayr based Theosophical Society in England’s Spirital Retreat, Tekels Park is to be sold to developers.


The news of the sale has come as a bombshell to members of the Theosophical Society in England who regarded Tekels Park as one of the Great Centres of the Theosophy Universe.


Tekels Park is a 50 acre woodland park in Camberley, Surrey, England which was purchased for the Theosophical Society in England in 1929. Tekels Park has been the home of many Theosophical Groups including Camberley Lodge and the Esoteric Section.


2010 February; Insight Magazine ceases publication. The Theosophical Society in England announces that Insight Magazine is to cease publication and to be replaced by a free journal to be distributed to members and the public.







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