is a world wide organization dedicated to rendering service
to Humanity. It was founded in February 1908 by Dr.
Annie Besant and can be considered to be the Service
Wing of the Theosophical Society. In response to the wish of a number of members “to organise themselves for various lines of service, to actively promote the first object of the Society: To form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or colour”. The motto chosen was “A union of those who love in the service of all that suffers”.
(Purpose of the TOS)
The TOS offers a framework in which:
- individuals may work along self-selected lines of service for the uplifting of humanity and the protection of the planet;
- the practical application of theosophical principles to issues of contemporary concern may be explored;
- social action as spiritual practice is honoured and nurtured.
The Theosophical Society, with its emphasis on complete freedom of thought for every member, officially maintains neutrality in controversial political and social issues. The Theosophical Order of Service, on the other hand, acts as a forum where members may air their views and take stands on affairs of public interest.
The TOS currently has branches in some 25 countries. In some of them it is a separately constituted, legally registered body and in others it operates as an autonomous department of the Theosophical Society. All activities are supported and supervised by the International Secretary of the TOS who reports regularly to the President.
Membership of the Theosophical Society is not a requirement for joining the TOS or assisting in its activities. In fact anyone may participate without being a member of either organisation, though to take office as a National Director or local branch organiser, one must be a member of both.