The founder and guiding light of theosophy was a woman named Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891). She spent more than twenty years traveling the world, meeting with experts in the occult. She was initiated into secret societies all over the globe. She studied in Egypt, Mexico, Tibet, Canada, and the United States, where she met Colonel Henry Olcott (1832-1907). He was a scientist and a lawyer who had been investigating the new phenomenon of Spiritualism for years. The two of them formed the Theosophical Society in 1875, convinced that science and the occult supernatural could expand both mind and spiritual power. In 1878 Blavatsky published Isis Revealed, in which she looked to the wisdom of the ancient masters for guidance in the modern world.
It soon became obvious to them that real wisdom could only be found in the East. So they traveled to India, where they established their headquarters in Madras, thus they linked their understanding of Theosophy with both Buddhism and Hinduism. They took such a proactive position for Indian independence from Britain and so become friends with the local Hindu intellectual community, and then Theosophy began to flourish.
Mrs Blavatsky published her most important work, The Secret Doctrines, in 1888 . It shows a lot of Hindu spiritual influence with its imagery of the One universal principle, which flows through all things, fighting through creation and then returning to the One. All reality is one universal consciousness. Humans, existing at different spiritual levels, are linked to the One.
Later Theosophical leaders developed a whole master hierarchy. Solar Logos rules the
solar level. Sanat Kumara, "Lord of the World," resides in Shamballa, another dimension parallel to the one in which we live. The Buddha, the Bodhisattva, and Manu serve there as well. The Seven Rays govern all earthly life, each ruled by a different master. They have appeared from time to time throughout history. We know them by such names as Krishna, Jesus, and Roger Bacon.
Long before the creation of the so called Theosophical Society, the term theosophy was used as a common denomination of a wide variety of doctrines which were all of the same kind, or at least originated from the same tendencies, their common and fundamental feature is that they are more or less strictly esotoric conceptions of a religious and mystical inspiration and they claim to belong totally to a western tradition ( Christianity ) as for example the doctrines of Jacob Boheme, Gichtel, William Law, Jane Lead...
Now the organization presently called "Theosophical Society " does not belong to any school related even indirectly to doctrines of this kind.
Mrs Blavatsky, could have had a more or less deep knowledge of the writing of certains theosophists, especially Jacob Boheme, and she may have picked up of his ideas which she then inserted into her own writing but with a lot of others elements of varied origins..
The theosophycal society has just a pretention to esoterism and none of the characteristic just described, moreover it presents its esoterism in a false way as of eastern origin adding to it a strange pseudo-christianity.
It remains true that their original tendency was anti-christian, indeed Mrs Blavatsky said " is not to restore hinduism, but to sweep christianity from the surface of the earth"
The great propagandist of the new " esotoric christianity Mrs Besant proclaimed also that "above all to fight Rome and its priest, fight against christianity and chase God out from heaven "
So, between theosophical Society and theosophy in the true sense, there is absolutely no filiations, not even in the levels of ideas..Indeed the doctrines professed by the theosophical society are wholly modern and so different from those to which the name theosophy legitimately applies, they are simply a result of dishonesty and ignorance, dishonesty of the heads of the society and ignorance of the majority of those who follow them, we should not forget also the ignorance of their adversaries, who being insufficiently informed, commit the error of taking the leaders ' assertions seriously and believing that they represent an authentic eastern tradition..
Theosophy, is very active today, known by many names. It introduced a lot of Westerners to false Eastern thought and for this reason we can say that Theosophy was the first of what is now called New Age Religion...