Annie Besant

What is the TOS?

The Theosophical Order of Service (TOS) is a world-wide organisation based on recognition of the unity of all life and aimed at reducing suffering and injustice at all levels – human, animal and environmental.

The TOS was founded in 1908 by Dr Annie Besant, then International President of the Theosophical Society, to provide an opportunity for participation in activities which promote the first Object of the Theosophical Society: ‘to form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or colour’.

The TOS is a separate organisation from The Theosophical Society but is closely linked with it. Study, meditation and service are the three components of theosophical living. The TOS provides a framework in which theosophical principles can be applied in daily life and to issues of contemporary concern.

The distinctive, two-fold purpose of the TOS is selfless service to the needy and suffering and the inner transformation of the server that this requires. Dr Besant summarised the mission of the TOS in its motto:

A union of those who love in the service of all that suffers.

Today there are active TOS groups around the world, united in their ideal of selfless service.

The TOS is a non-profit organisation whose members are its greatest resource. They work as unpaid volunteers and donations are used for service projects, not for administration.



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