The Key to Theosophy (book)

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The Key to Theosophy is a book published in 1889 by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky to introduce readers to Theosophy and the Theosophical Society in an accessible question-and-answer format.

Writing and publication

The cost of publication was paid by an American, Edward Parker.

Appendix to 1889 edition

A two-page appendix on "The Legal Status of the Theosophical Society" was contributed by an American judge from St. Louis, Augustus W. Alexander. The document was subtitled:

The following Official Report, on which was granted a Decree of Incorporation to the St. Louis Theosophical Society, is an important document, as putting on record the view taken of the Theosophical Society – after a careful examination of witnesses on oath – by an American Court of Law.[1]

Judge Alexander filed an amicus curiae brief making the case that incorporating under the statutory phrase "society formed for religious purposes" does not apply only to an organization established to practice a religion, but to one such as the Theosophical Society that encourages a study of religions. He wrote, "To teach religions is educational, not religious." The Theosophical Society in St. Louis was consequently able to incorporate.


1889 edition:

2006 edition:


Mohandas Gandhi

Mohandas K. Gandhi spoke of The Key to Theosophy in his autobiography:

"This book stimulated in me the desire to read books on Hinduism, and disabused me of the notion fostered by the missionaries that Hinduism was rife with superstition."[2]

Online resources





  1. Augustus W. Alexander. "The Legal Status of the Theosophical Society." Appendix to The Key to Theosophy by H. P. Blavatsky. (London and New York: Theosophical Publishing Company, 1889), 309-310.
  2. Autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi, Chapter 20