How does the Theosophical Society differ from other organizations which inculcate fraternity and mutual helpfulness as the purpose of their existence? Most of these fraternities do not recognize and build upon universal brotherhood as a fact and an essential principle in nature, but look upon and treat it as a desirable result to be sought, an object to be attained. Theosophy, on the other hand, teaches that each individual in the human family is but a ray from the One Life, and that by tracing the ray back we find the whole human race united in the Over-Soul — so that all men, women, and children are not brothers merely, but are really and essentially one. Not one in kind merely, not one by incorporation into one society, but one in substance and essence, as the ocean is one though made up of all the waters that flow into it from every source, and as the tree is one though thousands of twigs and leaves are parts of it.
— G. A. Marshall