A comparison of Hinduism and Theosophy

Essay by judomilkshakeUniversity, Bachelor'sA, April 2006

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Theosophy and Hinduism are two very complex religions that have many similarities and differences that aid to the comparison of them. Some of their most central elements are similar such as, the practice of meditation and yoga and the belief in reincarnation and karma, yet they use different functions of each. Theosophy uses some of the same ideas as Hinduism and can go hand and hand, but Hinduism does not go with Theosophy. In Theosophy, you can use any greater divine, but Hinduism uses the divine. These comparisons help to understand the central elements that are in a religion and help in knowledge of how religion works in general.

Theosophy is similar to Hinduism in that it dates back to ancient times before the Christian era, but different in that the Theosophical Society was founded in New York City in 1875. The Society itself is a relatively recent establishment. Helena P. Blavatsky was the main founder who once said, "Theosophy is an expression of a spiritual and educational movement that has been active in all ages."

(Ferm, 783)

In 1878, Blavatsky along with Henry S. Olcott, a co-founder, left America for India. There, they worked diligently to establish their value for Oriental religions and philosophies. While she was struggling for accreditation in the East, Blavatsky's fame in the West was struggling after the Society for Psychical Research issued a report in 1884 reporting on her fraudulent paranormal phenomena. With these reports fueling her drive to strengthen her society, she moved to London and published her most famous piece of work, The Secret Doctine.

Over the next hundred years, Blavatsky's original movement has split into several separate organizations. A few years after Blavatsky's death, the society split into two parts, those following H.S. Olcott and Annie Besant, which kept its headquarters...