General Reference Glossaries
Of Interest to Theosophists
Absoluteness. When predicated of the UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLE, it denotes an abstraction, which is more correct and logical than to apply the adjective “absolute” to that which can have neither attributes nor limitations.
Adam Kadmon (Heb.) “Archetypal man, Humanity. The “Heavenly man” not fallen into sin. Kabalists refer it to the Ten Sephiroth on the plane of human perception.” In the Kabala Adam Kadmon is the manifested Logos corresponding to our third Logos, the unmanifested being the first paradigmic ideal man, and symbolizing the universe in abscondito, or in its “privation” in the Aristotelean sense. The first Logos is “the light of the World,” the second and the third, its gradually deepening shadows.
Adept (Lat. adeptus). In Occultism, one who has reached the stage of initiation and become a master in the Science of Esoteric Philosophy.
Aether (Gr.) With the Ancients, the Divine luminiferous substance which pervades the whole universe; the “garment” of the Supreme Deity, Zeus, or Jupiter. With the Moderns, Ether, for the meaning of which, in physics and chemistry, see Webster’s Dictionary, or some other. In Esotericism, AEther is the third principle of the Kosmic Septenary, matter (earth) being the lowest, and Akasa, the highest.
Agathon (Gr.) Plato’s Supreme Deity, lit. “the good.” Our ALAYA or the Soul of the World.
Agnostic. A word first used by Professor Huxley, to indicate one who believes nothing which cannot be demonstrated by the senses.
Ahankara (Sans.) The conception of “I,” self-consciousness or self-identity; the “I,” or egoistical and mayavic principle in man, due to our ignorance which separates our “I” from the Universal ONE-Self. Personality, egoism also.
Ain-Soph (Heb.) The “Boundless” or “Limitless” Deity emanating and extending. Ain-Soph is also written En-Soph and Ain-Suph, for no one, not even the Rabbis, are quite sure of their vowels. In the religious metaphysics of the old Hebrew philosophers, the ONE Principle was an abstraction like Parabrahm, though modern Kabalists have succeeded by mere dint of sophistry and paradoxes in making a “Supreme God” of it, and nothing higher. But with the early Chaldean Kabalists Ain-Soph was “without form or being” with “no likeness with anything else.” (Franck’s Die Kabbala, p. 126.) That Ain-Soph has never been considered as the “Creator” is proved conclusively by the fact that such an orthodox Jew as Philo calls “creator” the Logos, who stands next the “Limitless One,” and is “the SECOND God.” “The Second God is in its (Ain-Soph’s) wisdom,” says Philo in Quaest et Solut. Deity is NO-THING; it is nameless, and therefore called Ain-Soph—the word Ain meaning nothing. (See also Franck’s Kabbala, p. 153.)
Arabic Ul-Khemi, is as the name suggests, the chemistry of nature. Ul-Khemi or Al-Kimia, however, is really an
Arabianized word, taken from the Greek chemeia from chumos “juice,” extracted
from a plant. Alchemy deals with the finer forces of nature and the various
conditions of matter in which they are found to operate. Seeking under the veil
of language, more or less artificial, to convey to the uninitiated so much of
the Mysterium Magnum as is safe in the hands of a selfish world, the Alchemist
postulates as his first principle, the existence of a certain Universal Solvent
in the homogeneous substance from which the elements were evolved; which
substance he calls pure gold, or summum materiae. This solvent, also called
menstruum universale, possesses the power of removing all the seeds of disease
out of the human body, of renewing youth, and prolonging life. Such is the
lapis philosophorum (philosopher’s stone). Alchemy first penetrated into
These three methods were typified under the three alchemical properties—sulphur, mercury, and salt. Different writers have stated that these are three, seven, ten and twelve processes respectively; but they are all agreed there is but one object in Alchemy, which is to transmute gross metals into pure gold. But what that gold really is, very few people understand correctly. No doubt there is such a thing in Nature as transmutation of the baser metal into the nobler; but this is only one aspect of Alchemy, the terrestrial, or purely material, for we see logically the same process taking place in the bowels of the earth. Yet, besides and beyond this interpretation, there is in Alchemy a symbolical meaning, purely psychic and spiritual. While the Kabalist-Alchemist seeks for the realization of the former, the Occultist-Alchemist, spurning the gold of the earth, gives all his attention to and directs his efforts only towards the transmutation of the baser quaternary into the divine upper trinity of man, which when finally blended, is one. The spiritual, mental, psychic, and physical planes of human existence are in Alchemy compared to the four elements -- fire, air, water, and earth, and are each capable of a three-fold constitution, i. e., fixed, unstable, and volatile. Little or nothing is known by the world concerning the origin of this archaic branch of philosophy; but it is certain that it antedates the construction of any known Zodiac, and as dealing with the personified forces of nature, probably also any of the mythologies of the world. Nor is there any doubt that the true secrets of transmutation (on the physical plane) were known in the days of old, and lost before the dawn of the so-called historical period. Modern chemistry owes its best fundamental discoveries to Alchemy, but regardless of the undeniable truism of the latter, that there is but one element in the universe, chemistry placed metals in the class of elements, and is only now beginning to find out its gross mistake. Even some encyclopedists are forced to confess that if most of the accounts of transmutation are fraud or delusion, “yet some of them are accompanied by testimony which renders them probable. By means of the galvanic battery even the alkalis have been discovered to have a metallic basis. The possibility of obtaining metal from other substances which contain the ingredients composing it, of changing one metal into another . . . must therefore be left undecided. Nor are all Alchemists to be considered impostors. Many have laboured under the conviction of obtaining their object, with indefatigable patience and purity of heart, which is soundly recommended by Alchemists as the principal requisite for the success of their labours.” (Pop. Encyclop.)
Philosophers (or School). This famous school arose in
Ammonius Saccas. A great and good philosopher who lived in Alexandria between the 2nd and 3rd centuries of our Era, the founder of the Neo-Platonic School of the Philalethians or “lovers of truth.” He was of poor birth and born of Christian parents, but endowed with such prominent, almost divine goodness as to be called Theodidaktos, the “God-taught.” He honoured that which was good in Christianity, but broke with it and the Churches at an early age, being unable to find in Christianity any superiority over the old religions. Analogeticists. The disciples of Ammonius Saccas (vide supra) so called because of their practice of interpreting all sacred legends, myths, and mysteries by a principle of analogy and correspondence, which rule is now found in the Kabalistic system, and pre-eminently so in the schools of Esoteric philosophy in the East. (Vide “The Twelve Signs of the Zodiac,” by T. Subba Row in “Five years of Theosophy.”)
Ananda (Sans.) Bliss, joy, felicity, happiness. A name of a favourite disciple of Gautama, the Lord Buddha.
Anaxagoras. A famous Ionian philosopher, who lived 500 B. C., studied philosophy under
Miletus, and settled in the days of Pericles, at
Archelaus, and other distinguished men and philosophers were among his disciples and pupils. He was a most learned astronomer, and was one of the first to explain openly that which was taught by Pythagoras secretly -- viz., the movements of the planets, the eclipses of the sun and moon, etc. It was he who taught the theory of chaos, on the principle that “nothing comes from nothing,” ex nihilo nihil fit—and of atoms, as the underlying essence and substance of all bodies, “of the same nature as the bodies which they formed.” These atoms, he taught, were primarily put in motion by nous (universal intelligence, the Mahat of the Hindus), which nous is an immaterial, eternal, spiritual entity; by this combination the world was formed, the material gross bodies sinking down, and the ethereal atoms (or fiery ether) rising and spreading in the upper celestial regions. Ante-dating modern science by over 2,000 years, he taught that the stars were of the same material as our earth, and the sun a glowing mass; that the moon was a dark uninhabitable body, receiving its light from the sun; and beyond the aforesaid science he confessed himself thoroughly convinced that the real existence of things, perceived by our senses, could not be demonstrably proved. He died in exile at Lampsacus, at the age of seventy-two.
Anima Mundi (Lat.) The “Soul of the World,” the same as Alaya of the Northern Buddhists; the divine Essence which pervades, permeates, animates, and informs all things, from the smallest atom of matter to man and god. It is in a sense “the seven-skinned Mother” of the stanzas in the Secret Doctrine; the essence of seven planes of sentiency, consciousness, and differentiation, both moral and physical. In its highest aspect it is Nirvana; in its lowest, the Astral Light. It was feminine with the Gnostics, the early Christians, and the Nazarenes; bisexual with other sects, who considered it only in its four lower planes, of igneous and ethereal nature in the objective world of forms, and divine and spiritual in its three higher planes. When it is said that every human soul was born by detaching itself from the Anima Mundi, it is meant, esoterically, that our higher Egos are of an essence identical with It, and Mahat is a radiation of the ever unknown Universal ABSOLUTE.
Anoia (Gr.) is
“want of understanding folly”; and is the name applied by Plato and others to
the lower Manas when too closely allied with
Anthropomorphism. From the Greek Anthropos, man. The act of endowing God or the gods with a human form and human attributes or qualities. Anugita (Sans.) One of the Upanishads. A very occult treatise. (Vide Clarendon Press series “The Sacred Books of the East.”)
Tyana. A wonderful philosopher born in Cappadocia about the beginning of the
first century; an ardent Pythagorean, who studied the Phoenician sciences under
Euthydemus, and Pythagorean philosophy and other subjects under Euxenus of
Heraclea. According to the tenets of the Pythagorean school he remained a
vegetarian the whole of his long life, ate only fruit and herbs, drank no wine,
wore vestments made only of plant fibres, walked barefooted and let his hair
grow to the full length, as all the Initiates have done before and after him.
He was initiated by the priests of the
At Lesbos, the priests of Orpheus got jealous of him, and refused to initiate him into their peculiar mysteries, though they did so several years later. He preached to the people of Athens and other States the purest and noblest ethics, and the phenomena he produced were as wonderful as they were numerous, and well authenticated. “How is it,” inquires Justin Martyr, in dismay, “how is it that the talismans (telesmata) of Apollonius have power, for they prevent, as we see, the fury of the waves, and the violence of the winds, and the attacks of wild beasts; and whilst our Lord’s miracles are preserved by tradition alone, those of Apollonius are most numerous, and actually manifested in present facts?” (Quest. XXIV.) But an answer is easily found to this, in the fact that, after crossing the Hindu Koosh, Apollonius had been directed by a king to the abode of the Sages, whose abode it may be to this day, and who taught him their unsurpassed knowledge. His dialogues, with the Corinthian Menippus, give to us truly the esoteric catechism, and disclose (when understood) many an important mystery of nature. Apollonius was the friend, correspondent, and guest of kings and queens, and no wonderful or “magic” powers are better attested than his. Towards the close of his long and wonderful life he opened an esoteric school at Ephesus, and died at the ripe old age of one hundred years. Archangel. Highest, supreme angel. From the two Greek words, arch, “first,” and angelos, “messenger.”
Arhat (Sans.), also pronounced and written Arahat, Arhan, Rahat, etc., “the worthy one”; a perfected Arya, one exempt from reincarnation; “deserving Divine honours.” This was the name first given to the Jain, and subsequently to the Buddhist holy men initiated into the esoteric mysteries. The Arhat is one who has entered the last and highest path, and is thus emancipated from rebirth. Arians. The followers of Arius, a presbyter of the Church in Alexandria in the fourth century. One who holds that Christ is a created and human being, inferior to God the Father, though a grand and noble man, a true adept, versed in all the divine mysteries.
Aristobulus. An Alexandrian writer, and an obscure philosopher. A Jew who tried to prove that Aristotle explained the esoteric thoughts of Moses. Aryan (Sans.) Lit., “the holy”; those who had mastered the Aryasatyani and entered the Aryamarga path to Nirvana or Moksha, the great “fourfold” path. They were originally known as Rishis. But now the name has become the epithet of a race, and our Orientalists, depriving the Hindu Brahmans of their birthright, have made Aryans of all Europeans. Since, in esotericism the four paths or stages can only be entered through great spiritual development and “growth in holiness,” they are called the Aryamarga. The degrees of Arhatship, called respectively Srotapatti, Sakridagamin, Anagamin, and Arhat, or the four classes of Aryas, correspond to the four paths and truths. Aspect. The form (rupa) under which any principle in septenary man or nature manifests is called an aspect of that principle in Theosophy. Astral Body. The ethereal counterpart or double of any physical body—Doppelganger.
Astrology. The science which defines the action of celestial bodies upon mundane affairs, and claims to foretell future events from the positions of the stars. Its antiquity is such as to place it among the very earliest records of human learning. It remained for long ages a secret science in the East, and its final expression remains so to this day, its esoteric application only having been brought to any degree of perfection in the West during the lapse of time since Varaha Mihira wrote his book on Astrology, some 1400 years ago. Claudius Ptolemy, the famous geographer and mathematician who founded the system of Astronomy known under his name, wrote his Tetrabiblos, which is still the basis of modern Astrology, 135 A. D. The science of Horoscopy is studied now chiefly under four heads, viz.: (1). Mundane, in its application to meteorology, seismology, husbandry. (2). State or Civic, in regard to the future of nations, Kings, and rulers. (3). Horary, in reference to the solving of doubts arising in the mind upon any subject. (4). Genethliacal, in connection with the future of individuals from birth unto death. The Egyptians and the Chaldees were among the most ancient votaries of Astrology, though their modes of reading the stars and the modern methods differ considerably. The former claimed that Belus, the Bel or Elu of the Chaldees, a scion of the Divine Dynasty, or the dynasty of the King-gods, had belonged to the land of Chemi, and had left it to found a colony from Egypt on the banks of the Euphrates, where a temple, ministered by priests in the service of the “lords of the stars,” was built. As to the origin of the science, it is known on the one hand that Thebes claimed the honour of the invention of Astrology; whereas, on the other hand, all are agreed that it was the Chaldees who taught that science to the other nations. Now Thebes antedated considerably, not only “Ur of the Chaldees,” but also Nipur, where Bel was first worshipped—Sin, his son (the moon), being the presiding deity of Ur, the land of the nativity of Terah, the Sabean and Astrolater, and of Abram, his son, the great Astrologer of Biblical tradition. All tends, therefore, to corroborate the Egyptian claim. If later on the name of Astrologer fell into disrepute in Rome and elsewhere, it was owing to the frauds of those who wanted to make money of that which was part and parcel of the Sacred Science of the Mysteries, and who, ignorant of the latter, evolved a system based entirely on mathematics, instead of transcendental metaphysics with the physical celestial bodies as its upadhi or material basis. Yet, all persecutions notwithstanding, the number of adherents to Astrology among the most intellectual and scientific minds was always very great. If Cardan and Kepler were among its ardent supporters, then later votaries have nothing to blush for, even in its now imperfect and distorted form. As said in Isis Unveiled (I., 259), “Astrology is to exact astronomy, what psychology is to exact physiology. In astrology and psychology one has to step beyond the visible world of matter and enter into the domain of transcendent spirit.”
Athenagoras. A Platonic Philosopher of Athens, who wrote an apology for the Christians in 177 A. D., addressed to Marcus Aurelius, to prove that the accusations brought against them, viz., that they were incestuous and ate murdered children, were untrue.
Atman, or Atma (Sans.) The Universal Spirit, the divine monad, “the seventh Principle,” so called, in the exoteric “septenary” classification of man. The Supreme Soul.
Aura (Gr. and Lat.) A subtile invisible essence or fluid that emanates from human, animal, and other bodies. It is a psychic effluvium partaking of both the mind and the body, as there is both an electro-vital and at the same time an electro-mental aura; called in Theosophy the Akasic or magnetic aura. In R. C. Martyrology, a Saint.
Avatara (Sans.) Divine incarnation. The descent of a god or some exalted Being who has progressed beyond the necessity for rebirth, into the body of a simple mortal. Krishna was an Avatar of Vishnu. The Dalai-Lama is regarded as an Avatar of Avalokiteswara and the Teschu-Lama as one of Tson-Kha-pa, or Amitabha. These are two kinds of Avatars: one born from woman and the other “parentless”— Anupadaka.
Beness. A term coined by Theosophists to render more accurately the essential meaning of the untranslatable word Sat. The latter word does not mean “Being,” for the term “Being” presupposes a sentient consciousness of existence. But as the term Sat is applied solely to the absolute principle, that universal, unknown, and ever unknowable principle which philosophical Pantheism postulates, calling it the basic root of Kosmos and Kosmos itself, it could not be translated by the simple term “Being.” Sat, indeed, is not even, as translated by some Orientalists, “the incomprehensible Entity”; for it is no more an “Entity” than a non-entity, but both. It is as said absolute BENESS, not “Being”; the one, secondless, undivided and indivisible ALL—the root of nature both visible and invisible, objective and subjective, comprehensible and -- never to be fully comprehended.
Bhagavat-Gita (Sans.) Lit., “the Lord’s Song,” a portion of the Mahabharata, the great epic poem of India. It contains a dialogue wherein Krishna—the “Charioteer” and Arjuna his chela have a discussion upon the highest spiritual philosophy. The work is pre-eminently occult or esoteric. Black Magic. Sorcery; necromancy, or the raising of the dead and other selfish abuses of abnormal powers. This abuse may be unintentional; still it has to remain “black” magic whenever anything is produced phenomenally simply for one’s own gratification.
Boehme (Jacob). A mystic and great philosopher, one of the most prominent Theosophists of the mediaeval ages. He was born about 1575 at Old Diedenberg, some two miles from Gorlitz (Silesia), and died in 1624, being nearly fifty years old. When a boy he was a common shepherd, and, after learning to read and write in a village school, became an apprentice to a poor shoemaker at Gorlitz. He was a natural clairvoyant of the most wonderful power. With no education or acquaintance with science he wrote works which are now proved to be full of scientific truths; but these, as he himself says of what he wrote, he “saw as in a Great Deep in the Eternal.” He had “a thorough view of the universe, as in chaos,” which yet opened itself in him, from time to time, “as in a young planet,” he says. He was a thorough born mystic, and evidently of a constitution which is most rare; one of those fine natures whose material envelope impedes in no way the direct, even if only occasional, intercommunication between the intellectual and spiritual Ego. It is this Ego which Jacob Boehme, as so many other untrained mystics, mistook for God. “Man must acknowledge,” he writes, “that his knowledge is not his own, but from God, who manifests the Ideas of Wisdom to the Soul of Man in what measure he pleases.” Had this great Theosophist been born 300 years later he might have expressed it otherwise. He would have known that the “God” who spoke through his poor uncultured and untrained brain was his own Divine Ego, the omniscient Deity within himself, and that what that Deity gave out was not “what measure he pleased,” but in the measure of the capacities of the mortal and temporary dwelling IT informed. Book of the Keys. An ancient Kabalistic work. The original is no longer extant, though there may be spurious and disfigured copies and forgeries of it. Brahm (Sans.) The student must distinguish between the neuter Brahma, and the male Creator of the Indian Pantheon, Brahma. The former Brahma or Brahman is the impersonal, Supreme, and uncognizable Soul of the Universe, from the essence of which all emanates, and into which all returns; which is incorporeal, immaterial, unborn, eternal, beginningless and endless. It is all-pervading, animating the highest god as well as the smallest mineral atom. Brahma, on the other hand, the male and the alleged Creator, exists in his manifestation periodically only, and passes into pralaya, i. e., disappears and is annihilated as periodically. (Vide infra.)
Brahma’s Day. A period of 2,160,000,000 years, during which Brahma, having emerged out of his Golden Egg (Hiranya Garbha), creates and fashions the material world (for he is simply the fertilizing and creative force in Nature). After this period the worlds being destroyed in turn by fire and water, he vanishes with objective nature; and then comes Brahma’s Night. A period of equal duration, in which Brahma is said to be asleep. Upon awakening he recommences the process, and this goes on for an AGE of Brahma composed of alternate “Days” and “Nights,” and lasting for 100 years of 2,160,000,000 each. It requires fifteen figures to express the duration of such an age, after the expiration of which the Mahapralaya or Great Dissolution sets in, and lasts in its turn for the same space of fifteen figures. Brahm-Vidya (Sans.) The knowledge or Esoteric Science about the true nature of the two Brahmas.
“The enlightened.” Generally known as the title of Gautama Buddha, the Prince of
Kapilavastu, the founder of modern Buddhism. The highest degree of knowledge
and holiness. To become a Buddha one has to break through the bondage of sense
and personality; to acquire a complete perception of the real Self, and learn
not to separate it from all the other Selves; to learn by experience the utter
unreality of all phenomena, foremost of all the visible Kosmos; to attain a
complete detachment from all that is evanescent and finite, and to live while
yet on earth only in the immortal and everlasting. Buddhi (Sans.) Universal Soul or Mind.
Mahabuddhi is a name of Mahat (q. v.); also the Spiritual Soul in man (the
sixth principle exoterically), the vehicle of Atma, the seventh, according to
the exoteric enumeration. Buddhism is
the religious philosophy taught by Gautama Buddha. It is now split into two
distinct churches: the Southern and Northern. The former is said to be the
purer, as having preserved more religiously the original teachings of the Lord
Buddha. The Northern Buddhism is confined to
Buddhi-Taijasi (Sans.) A very mystic term, capable of several interpretations. In Occultism, however, and in relation to the human “Principles” (exoterically), it is a term to express the state of our dual Manas, when, reunited during a man’s life, it bathes in the radiance of Buddhi, the Spiritual Soul. For “Taijasi” means the radiant, and Manas, becoming radiant in consequence of its union with Buddhi, and being, so to speak, merged into it, is identified with the latter; the trinity has become one; and, as the element of Buddhi is the highest, it becomes Buddhi-Taijasi. In short, it is the human soul illuminated by the radiance of the divine soul, the human reason lit by the light of the Spirit or Divine SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS.
Caste. Originally the system of the four hereditary classes into which Indian population was divided: Brahman, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Shoodra -- (a) descendants of Brahma; (b) warrior; (c) mercantile, and (d) the lowest or agricultural Shoodra class. From these four, hundreds of divisions and minor castes have sprung.
Causal Body. This “body,” which is in reality no body at all, either objective or subjective, but Buddhi the Spiritual Soul, is so-called because it is the direct cause of the Sushupti state leading to the Turya state, the highest state of Samadhi. It is called Karanopadhi, “the basis of the cause,” by the “Taraka Raj” Yogis, and in the Vedanta System corresponds to both the Vignanamaya and Anandamaya Kosha (the latter coming next to Atma, and therefore being the vehicle of the Universal Spirit). Buddhi alone could not be called a “Causal body,” but becomes one in conjunction with Manas, the incarnating Entity or EGO.
Chela (Sans.) A disciple. The pupil of a Guru or Sage, the follower of some Adept, or a school of philosophy.
The early gnostic term for Christ. This technical term was used in the fifth
century B. C. by AEschylus, Herodotus and others. The Manteumata pythocresta,
or the “Oracles delivered by a Pythian God” through a pythoness, are mentioned
by the former (Cho. 901), and Pythocrestos is derived from chrao. Chresterion is not only “the test of an
oracle,” but an offering to, or for, the oracle. Chrestes is one who explains
oracles, a “prophet and soothsayer,” and Chresterios, one who serves an oracle
or a God. The earliest Christian writer, Justin Martyr, in his first Apology,
calls his co-religionists Chrestians. “It is only through ignorance that men
call themselves Christians, instead of Chrestians,” says Lactantius (lib. IV.,
cap. VII.). The terms Christ and Christians, spelt originally Chrest and
Chrestians, were borrowed from the
Christian Scientist. A newly-coined term for denoting the practitioners of a healing art by will. The name is a misnomer, since Buddhist or Jew, Hindu or Materialist can practise this new form of Western Yoga with like success if he can only guide and control his will with sufficient firmness. “Mental Scientists” is another rival school. These work by a universal denial of every disease and evil imaginable, and claim, syllogistically, that since Universal Spirit cannot be subject to the ailings of flesh, and since every atom is Spirit and in Spirit, and since, finally, they—the healers and the healed—are all absorbed in this Spirit or Deity, there is not, nor can there be, such a thing as disease. This prevents in nowise both Christian and Mental Scientists from succumbing to disease and nursing chronic diseases for years in their own bodies just like other ordinary mortals.
Clairaudience. The faculty—whether innate or acquired by occult training—to hear things at whatever distance.
Clairvoyance. A faculty of seeing with the inner eye or spiritual sight. As now used, it is a loose and flippant term, embracing under its meaning both a happy guess due to natural shrewdness or intuition, and also that faculty which was so remarkably exercised by Jacob Boehme and Swedenborg. Yet even these two great seers, since they could never rise superior to the general spirit of the Jewish Bible and Sectarian teachings, have sadly confused what they saw, and fallen far short of true clairvoyance.
Alexandrinus. A Church Father and voluminous writer, who had been a
Neo-Platonist and a disciple of Ammonius Saccas. He was one of the few
Christian philosophers between the second and third centuries of our era, at
Deist. One who admits the possibility of the existence of a God or gods, but claims to know nothing of either, and denies revelation. An agnostic of olden times.
Deva (Sans.) A god, a “resplendent” Deity, Deva-Deus, from the root div, “to shine.” A Deva is a celestial being—whether good, bad or indifferent—which inhabits “the three worlds,” or the three planes above us. There are 33 groups or millions of them.
Devachan (Sans.) The “Dwelling of the Gods.” A state intermediate between two earth-lives, and into which the Ego (Atma-Buddhi-Manas, or the Trinity made one) enters after its separation from Kama Rupa, and the disintegration of the lower principles, after the death of the body, on Earth. Dhammapada (Sans.) A work containing various aphorisms from the Buddhist Scriptures.
Dhyana (Sans.) One of the six Paramitas of perfection. A state of abstraction which carries the ascetic practising it far above the region of sensuous perception, and out of the world of matter. Lit., “contemplation.” The six stages of Dhyan differ only in the degrees of abstraction of the personal Ego from sensuous life.
Dhyan Chohans (Sans.) Lit., “The Lords of Light.” The highest gods, answering to the Roman Catholic Archangels. The divine Intelligences charged with the supervision of Kosmos.
Double. The same as the Astral body or “Doppelganger.”
Ecstasis (Gr.) A psycho-spiritual state; a physical trance which induces
clairvoyance, and a beatific state which brings on visions.
Ego (Lat.) "I"; the consciousness in man of the "I am I," or the feeling of
I-am-ship. Esoteric philosophy teaches the existence of two Egos in man, the
mortal or personal, and the higher, the divine or impersonal, calling the former
"personality," and the latter "individuality."
Egoity (from the word "Ego"). Egoity means "individuality" -- indifferent --
never "personality," as it is the opposite of Egoism or "selfishness," the
characteristic par excellence of the latter.
Eidolon (Gr.) The same as that which we term the human phantom, the Astral form.
Elementals, or Spirits of the Elements. The creatures evolved in the Four
Kingdoms, or Elements -- Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. They are called by the
Kabalists, Gnomes (of the Earth), Sylphs (of the Air), Salamanders (of the
Fire), and Undines (of the Water), except a few of the higher kinds and their
rulers. They are rather the forces of nature than ethereal men and women. These
forces, as the servile agents of the occultist, may produce various effects; but
if employed by elementaries (Kamarupas)-- in which case they enslave the mediums
-- they will deceive. All the lower invisible beings generated on the fifth,
sixth, and seventh Planes of our terrestrial atmosphere are called Elementals --
Peris, Devs, Djins, Sylvans, Satyrs, Fauns, Elves, Dwarfs, Trolls, Norns,
Kobolds, Brownies, Nixies, Goblins, Pinkies, Banshees, Moss People, White
Ladies, Spooks, Fairies, etc., etc.
Eleusinia (Gr.) The Eleusinian Mysteries were the most famous and the most
ancient of all the Greek mysteries (save the Samothracian), and were performed
near the hamlet
days of Iacchos (1800 B. C.) They were held in honour of Demeter, the great
Ceres, and the
sacrificial victim of atonement and a resurrection, when the Initiate was
admitted to the highest degree of Epopt. The festival of the Mysteries began in
the month of Boedromion (September), the time of grape-gathering, and lasted
from the 15th to the 22nd -- seven days. The Hebrew Feast of Tabernacles -- the
feast of ingatherings -- in the month of Ethanim (the seventh) also began on the
15th and ended on the 22nd of that month. The name of the month (Ethanim) is
derived, according to some, from Adonim, Adonia, Attenim, Ethanim, and was in
bonour of Adonai, or Adonis (Tham), whose death was lamented by the Hebrews in
the groves of
the Eleusinia and during the Feast of Tabernacles.
Emanation (The doctrine of) is in its metaphysical meaning opposed to evolution,
yet one with it. Science teaches that, physiologically, evolution is a mode of
generation in which the germ that develops the foetus pre-exists already in the
parent, the development and final form and characteristics of that germ being
accomplished by nature; and that (as in its cosmology) the process takes place
blindly, through the correlation of the elements and their various compounds.
Occultism teaches that this is only the apparent mode, the real process being
Emanation, guided by intelligent forces under an immutable LAW. Therefore, while
the Occultists and Theosophists believe thoroughly in the doctrine of Evolution
as given out by Kapila and Manu, they are Emanationists rather than
Evolutionists. The doctrine of Emanation was at one time universal. It was
taught by the Alexandrian, as well as by the Indian philosophers, by the
Egyptian, the Chaldean, and Hellenic Hierophants, and also by the Hebrews (in
their Kabala, and even in Genesis). For it is only owing to deliberate
mistranslation that the Hebrew word asdt was translated "angels" from the
Septuagint, while it means Emanations, AEons, just as with the Gnostics. Indeed,
in Deuteronomy (xxxiii. 2) the word asdt or ashdt is translated as "fiery law,"
whilst the correct rendering of the passage should be, "from his right went (not
a fiery law, but) a fire according to law," viz., that the fire of one flame is
imparted to and caught up by another -- like as in a trail of inflammable
is precisely Emanation, as shown in
Evolution, as it is now beginning to be understood, there is supposed to be in
all matter an impulse to take on a higher form -- a supposition clearly
expressed by Manu and other Hindoo philosophers of the highest antiquity. The
philosopher's tree illustrates it in the case of the zinc solution. The
controversy between the followers of this school and the Emanationists may be
briefly stated thus: The Evolutionist stops all inquiry at the borders of 'the
unknowable'; the Emanationist believes that nothing can be evolved -- or, as the
word means, unwombed or born -- except it has first been involved, thus
indicating that life is from a spiritual potency above the whole."
Esoteric. Hidden, secret. From the Greek Esotericos -- "inner," concealed.
Esoteric Bodhism. Secret wisdom or intelligence, from the Greek Esotericos,
"inner," and the Sanskrit Bodhi, "knowledge," in contradistinction to Buddhi,
"the faculty of knowledge or intelligence," and Buddhism, the philosophy or Law
of Buddha (the Enlightened). Also written "Budhism," from Budha (Intelligence,
Wisdom) the Son of Soma.
Exoteric (Gr.) Outward, public; the opposite of esoteric or hidden.
Extra-Cosmic, i. e., outside of Kosmos or Nature. A nonsensical word invented to
assert the existence of a personal god independent of or outside Nature per se;
for as Nature, or the Universe, is infinite and limitless there can be nothing
outside it. The term is coined in opposition to the Pantheistic idea that the
whole Kosmos is animated or informed with the Spirit of Deity, Nature being but
the garment, and matter the illusive shadows, of the real unseen Presence.
Eurasians. An abbreviation of "European-Asians." The mixed coloured races; the
children of the
white fathers, and the dark mothers of
Ferho (Gnostic). The highest and greatest creative power with the Nazarene
Gnostics (Codex Nazaraeus).
Fire-Philosophers. The name given to the Hermetists and Alchemists of the Middle
Ages, and also to the Rosicrucians. The latter, the successors of Theurgists,
regarded fire as the symbol of Deity. It was the source, not only of material
atoms, but the container of the Spiritual and Psychic Forces energising them.
Broadly analysed, Fire is a triple principle; esoterically, a septenary, as are
all the rest of the elements. As man is composed of Spirit, Soul, and Body, plus
a four-fold aspect; so is Fire. As in the works of Robert Flood (de Fluctibus),
one of the famous Rosicrucians, fire contains -- Firstly, a visible flame
(body); secondly, an invisible, astral fire (soul); and thirdly, spirit. The
four aspects are (a) heat (life), (b) light (mind), (c) electricity (Kamic or
molecular powers, and (d) the synthetic essences, beyond spirit, or the radical
cause of its existence and manifestation. For the Hermetist or Rosicrucian, when
a flame is extinct on the objective plane, it has only passed from the seen
world into the unseen; from the knowable into the unknowable.
A name in
Sudhodana, the Sakhya King of a small territory on the borders of Nepaul, born
in the seventh century B. C., now called the "Saviour of the world." Gautama or
Gotama was the sacerdotal name of the Sakya family. Born a simple mortal, he
rose to Buddha-ship through his own personal and unaided merit; a man -- verily
greater than any God!
Gebirol. Salomon Ben Jehudah, called in literature Avicebron. An Israelite by
birth, a philosopher, poet and kabalist; a voluminous writer and a mystic. He
was born in the
eleventh century at
called him Salomon, the Sephardi, or the Spaniard, and the Arabs, Abu Ayyub
Suleiman-ben ya'hya Ibn Dgebirol, whilst the Scholastics named him Avicebron
(see Myers' Quabbalah). Ibn Gebirol was certainly one of the greatest
philosophers and scholars of his age. He wrote much in Arabic, and most of his
MSS have been preserved. His greatest work appears to be The Megoy Hayyim, i.
e., The Fountain of Life, "one of the earliest exposures of the secrets of the
Speculative Kabbalah," as his biographer informs us.
Gnosis (Gr.) Lit. "knowledge." The technical term used by the schools of
religious philosophy, both before and during the first centuries of so-called
Christianity, to denote the object of their enquiry. This spiritual and sacred
knowledge, the Gupta Vidya of the Hindus, could only be obtained by Initiation
into Spiritual Mysteries of which the ceremonial "Mysteries" were a type.
Gnostics (Gr.) The philosophers who formulated and taught the "Gnosis" or
knowledge. They flourished in the first three centuries of the Christian Era.
The following were eminent: Valentinus, Basilides, Marcion, Simon Magus, etc.
Golden Age. The ancients divided the life cycle into the Golden, Silver, Bronze
and Iron Ages. The Golden was an age of primeval purity, simplicity and general
Great Age. There
were several "Great Ages" mentioned by the ancients. In
it embraced the whole Maha-Manvantara, the "Age of Brahma," each "Day" of which
represents the Life Cycle of a chain, i. e., it embraces a period of Seven
Rounds (vide "Esoteric Buddhism," by A. P. Sinnett). Thus while a "Day" and a
"Night" represent, as Manvantara and Pralaya, 8,640,000,000 years, an "age"
lasts through a period of 311,040,000,000,000; after which the Pralaya or
dissolution of the universe becomes universal. With the Egyptian and Greeks the
"Great Age" referred only to the Tropical, or Sidereal year, the duration of
which is 25,868 solar years. Of the complete age -- that of the Gods -- they
said nothing, as it was a matter to be discussed and divulged only at the
Mysteries, and during the Initiation Ceremonies. The "Great Age" of the Chaldees
was the same in figures as that of the Hindus.
Guhya Vidya (Sans.) The secret knowledge of mystic-mantras.
Gupta Vidya (Sans.) The same as Guhya Vidya. Esoteric or secret science,
Gyges. "The ring of Gyges" has become a familiar metaphor in European
literature. Gyges was a Lydian, who, after murdering the King Candaules, married
his widow. Plato tells us that Gyges descending once into a chasm of the earth,
discovered a brazen horse, within whose opened side was the skeleton of a man of
gigantic stature, who had a brazen ring on his finger. This ring when placed on
his own finger made him invisible.
Hades (Gr.), or Aides, the "invisible," the land of shadows; one of whose
regions was Tartarus, a place of complete darkness, as was also the region of
profound dreamless sleep in Amenti. Judging by the allegorical description of
the punishments inflicted therein, the place was purely Karmic. Neither Hades
nor Amenti were the Hell still preached by some retrograde priests and
clergymen; and whether represented by the Elysian Fields or by Tartarus, they
could only be reached by crossing the river to the "other shore." As well
expressed in the "Egyptian Belief," the story of Charon, the ferryman (of the
River must be
crossed before gaining the Isles of the Blest. The Ritual of
described a Charon and his boat long ages before Homer. He is Khu-en-na, "the
hawk-headed steersman." (See Hell.)
Hallucinations. A state produced sometimes by physiological disorders, sometimes
by mediumship, and at others by drunkenness. But the cause that produces the
visions has to be sought deeper than physiology. All such, particularly when
produced through mediumship, are preceded by a relaxation of the nervous system,
generating invariably an abnormal magnetic condition which attracts to the
sufferer waves of astral light. It is these latter that furnish the various
hallucinations, which, however, are not always, as physicians would explain
them, mere empty and unreal dreams. No one can see that which does not exist --
i. e., which is not impressed -- in or on the astral waves. But a seer may
perceive objects and scenes (whether past, present or future) which have no
relation whatever to himself; and perceive, moreover, several things entirely
disconnected with each other at one and the same time, so as to produce the most
grotesque and absurd combinations. But drunkard and seer, medium and adept see
their respective visions in the astral light; only while the drunkard, the
madman, and the untrained medium, or one in a brain fever, see, because they
cannot help it, and evoke jumbled visions unconsciously to themselves without
being able to control them, the adept and the trained Seer have the choice and
the control of such visions. They know where to fix their gaze, how to steady
the scenes they wish to observe, and how to see beyond the upper outward layers
of the astral light. With the former such glimpses into the waves are
hallucinations; with the latter they become the faithful reproduction of what
actually has been, is, or will be taking place. The glimpses at random, caught
by the medium, and his flickering visions in the deceptive light, are
transformed under the guiding will of the adept and seer into steady pictures,
the truthful representation of that which he wills to come within the focus of
Hell. A term which the Anglo-Saxon race has evidently derived from the name of
the Scandinavian goddess, Hela, just as the word ad, in Russian and other
Slavonian tongues expressing the same conception, is derived from the Greek
Hades, the only difference between the Scandinavian cold Hell, and the hot Hell
of the Christians, being found in their respective temperatures. But even the
idea of these overheated regions is not original with the Europeans, many people
having entertained the conception of an under-world climate; as well we may, if
we localise our Hell in the centre of the earth. All exoteric religions -- the
creeds of the Brahmans, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, Mahomedans, Jews, and the rest,
made their Hells hot and dark, though many were more attractive than frightful.
The idea of a hot Hell is an afterthought, the distortion of an astronomical
allegory. With the Egyptians Hell became a place of punishment by fire not
earlier than the 17th or 18th Dynasty, when Typhon was transformed from a God
into a Devil. But at whatever time they implanted this dread superstition in the
minds of the poor ignorant masses, the scheme of a burning Hell and souls
tormented therein is purely Egyptian. Ra (the Sun) became the Lord of the
Furnace, in Karr, the Hell of the Pharaohs, and the sinner was threatened with
misery "in the heat of infernal fires." "A lion was there," says Dr. Birch, "and
was called the roaring monster." Another describes the place as "the bottomless
pit and lake of fire, into which the victims are thrown" (compare Revelation).
The Hebrew word gai-hinnom (gehena) had never really the significance given to
it in Christian orthodoxy.
Hermas, an ancient Greek writer, of whose works only a few fragments now remain
Hierogrammatists (Gr.) The title given to those Egyptian priests who were
entrusted with the writing and reading of the sacred and secret records. The
"scribes of the secret records" literally. They were the instructors of the
neophytes preparing for initiation.
Hierophant. From the Greek Hierophantes, literally "he who explains sacred
things"; a title belonging to the highest adepts in the temples of antiquity,
who were the teachers and expounders of the Mysteries, and the Initiators into
the final great Mysteries. The Hierophant stood for the Demiurge, and explained
to the postulants for Initiation the various phenomena of creation that were
produced for their tuition. "He was the sole expounder of the exoteric secrets
and doctrines. It was forbidden even to pronounce his name before an uninitiated
person. He sat in the East, and wore as symbol of authority, a golden globe,
suspended from the neck. He was also called Mystagogus." (Kenneth R. H.
Mackenzie, IX., F. T. S., in The Royal Masonic Cyclopoedia.)
Hillel. A great Babylonian Rabbi of the century preceding the Christian Era. He
was the founder of the sect of the Pharisees, a learned and a saintly man.
Hinayana (Sans.) The "Smaller Vehicle"; a Scripture and a School of the
Buddhists, contrasted with the Mahayana, "The Greater Vehicle." Both schools are
mystical. (See Mahayana.) Also in exoteric superstition, the lowest form of
Homogeneity. From the Greek words homos, "the same"; and genos, "kind." That
which is of the same nature throughout, undifferentiated, non-compound, as gold
is supposed to be.
Hypnotism (Gr.) A name given by Dr. Braid to the process by which one man of
strong will-power plunges another of weaker mind into a kind of trance; once in
such a state the latter will do anything suggested to him by the hypnotiser.
Unless produced for beneficial purposes, the Occultists would call it black
magic or sorcery. It is the most dangerous of practices, morally and physically,
as it interferes with the nerve fluids.
Iamblichus. A great Theosophist and an Initiate of the third century. He wrote a
great deal about the various kinds of demons who appear through evocation, but
spoke severely against such phenomena. His austerities, purity of life and
earnestness were great. He is credited with having been levitated ten cubits
high from the ground, as are some modern Yogis, and mediums.
Illusion. In Occultism everything finite (such as the Universe and all in it) is
called Illusion or Maya.
Individuality. One of the names given in Theosophy and Occultism to the human
Higher Ego. We make a distinction between the immortal and divine and the mortal
human Ego which perishes. The latter or "Personality" (personal Ego) survives
the dead body but for a time in Kama Loka: the Individuality prevails for ever.
Initiate. From the Latin Initiatus. The designation of anyone who was received
into and had revealed to him the mysteries and secrets of either Masonry or
Occultism. In times of antiquity they were those who had been initiated into the
arcane knowledge taught by the Hierophants of the Mysteries; and in our modern
days those who have been initiated by the adepts of mystic lore into the
mysterious knowledge, which, notwithstanding the lapse of ages, has yet a few
real votaries on earth.
Iswara (Sans.) The "Lord" or the personal god, divine spirit in man. Literally
Sovereign (independent) existence. A title given to Siva and other gods in
India. Siva is also called Iswaradeva, or sovereign deva.
Iu-Kabar Zivo, Gnostic term. The "Lord of the AEons" in the Nazarene system. He
is the procreator (Emanator) of the seven holy lives (the seven primal Dhyan
Chohans or Archangels, each representing one of the cardinal virtues), and is
himself called the third life (third Logos). In the Codex he is addressed as the
Helm and Vine of the food of life. Thus he is identical with Christ (Christos)
who says: "I am the true vine and my Father is the husbandman." (John xv. 1.) It
is well known that Christ is regarded in the Roman Catholic Church as the "Chief
of the AEons," as also is Michael, "who is as God." Such also was the belief of
Javidan Khirad (Pers.) A work on moral precepts.
Jhana (Sans.) or Jnana, Knowledge: Occult Wisdom.
Josephus Flavius. A historian of the first century; a Hellenized Jew who lived
in Alexandria and died at Rome. He was credited by Eusebius with having written
the 16 famous lines relating to Christ, which were most probably interpolated by
Eusebius himself, the greatest forger among the Church Fathers. This passage, in
which Josephus, who was an ardent Jew and died in Judaism, is nevertheless made
to acknowledge the Messiaship and divine origin of Jesus, is now declared
spurious both by most of the Christian Bishops (Lardner among others) and even
by Paley (see his Evidence of Christianity). It was for centuries one of the
weightiest proofs of the real existence of Jesus, the Christ.
Kabbalah (Heb.), or Kabbala. "The hidden wisdom of the Hebrew Rabbis of the
middle ages derived from the older secret doctrines concerning divine things and
cosmogony, which were combined into a theology after the time of the captivity
of the Jews in Babylon." All the works that fall under the esoteric category are
Kamaloka (Sans.) The semi-material plane, to us subjective and invisible, where
the disembodied "personalities," the astral forms called Kama Rupa, remain until
they fade out from it by the complete exhaustion of the effects of the mental
impulses that created these eidolons of the lower animal passions and desires.
(See Kama Rupa.) It is the Hades of the ancient Greeks and the Amenti of the
Egyptians -- the land of Silent Shadows.
Kama Rupa (Sans.) Metaphysically and in our esoteric philosophy it is the
subjective form created through the mental and physical desires and thoughts in
connection with things of matter, by all sentient beings: a form which survives
the death of its body. After that death, three of the seven "principles" -- or,
let us say, planes of the senses and consciousness on which the human instincts
and ideation act in turn -- viz., the body, its astral prototype and physical
vitality, being of no further use, remain on earth; the three higher principles,
grouped into one, merge into a state of Devachan (q. v.), in which state the
Higher Ego will remain until the hour for a new reincarnation arrives, and the
eidolon of the ex-personality is left alone in its new abode. Here the pale copy
of the man that was, vegetates for a period of time, the duration of which is
variable according to the element of materiality which is left in it, and which
is determined by the past life of the defunct. Bereft as it is of its higher
mind, spirit and physical senses, if left alone to its own senseless devices, it
will gradually fade out and disintegrate. But if forcibly drawn back into the
terrestrial sphere, whether by the passionate desires and appeals of the
surviving friends or by regular necromantic practices -- one of the most
pernicious of which is mediumship -- the "spook" may prevail for a period
greatly exceeding the span of the natural life of its body. Once the Kama Rupa
has learnt the way back to living human bodies, it becomes a vampire feeding on
the vitality of those who are so anxious for its company. In India these
Eidolons are called Pisachas, -- and are much dreaded.
Kapilavastu (Sans.) The birthplace of the Lord Buddha, called the "yellow
dwelling," the capital of the monarch who was the father of Gautama Buddha.
Kardec, Allan. The adopted name of the Founder of the French Spiritists, whose
real name was Rivaille. It was he who gathered and published the trance
utterances of certain mediums and afterwards made a "philosophy" of them between
the years 1855 and 1870.
Karma (Sans.) Physically, action; Metaphysically, the LAW of RETRIBUTION; the
Law of Cause and Effect or Ethical Causation. It is Nemesis only in the sense of
bad Karma. It is the eleventh Nidana in the concatenation of causes and effects
in orthodox Buddhism; yet it is the power that controls all things, the
resultant of moral action, the metaphysical Samskara, or the moral effect of an
act committed for the attainment of something which gratifies a personal desire.
There is the Karma of merit and the Karma of demerit. Karma neither punishes nor
rewards; it is simply the one Universal LAW which guides unerringly and, so to
say, blindly, all other laws productive of certain effects along the grooves of
their respective causations. When Buddhism teaches that "Karma is that moral
Kernel (of any being) which alone survives death and continues in
transmigration" or reincarnation, it simply means that there remains nought
after each personality, but the causes produced by it, causes which are undying,
i. e., which cannot be eliminated from the Universe until replaced by their
legitimate effects, and so to speak, wiped out by them. And such causes, unless
compensated during the life of the person who produced them with adequate
effects, will follow the reincarnated Ego and reach it in its subsequent
incarnations until a full harmony between effects and causes is fully
re-established. No "personality" -- a mere bundle of material atoms and
instinctual and mental characteristics -- can, of course, continue as such in
the world of pure spirit. Only that which is immortal in its very nature and
divine in its essence, namely, the Ego, can exist for ever. And as it is that
Ego which chooses the personality it will inform after each Devachan, and which
receives through these personalities the effects of the Karmic causes produced,
it is, therefore, the Ego, that Self, which is the "moral Kernel" referred to,
and embodied Karma itself, that "which alone survives death."
Kether (Heb.) "The Crown, the highest of the ten Sephiroth; the first of the
supernal Triad. It corresponds to the Macroprosopus, Vast Countenance, or Arikh
Anpin, which differentiates into Chokmah and Binah."
Krishna (Sans.) The most celebrated Avatar of Vishnu, the "Saviour" of the
Hindus and the most popular god. He is the eighth Avatar, the son of Devaki, and
the nephew of Kansa, the Indian Herod, who while seeking for him among the
shepherds and cowherds who concealed him slew thousands of their newly-born
babes. The story of Krishna's conception, birth and childhood are the exact
prototype of the New Testament story. The missionaries, of course, try to show
that the Hindus stole the story of the Nativity from the early Christians who
came to India.
Kshetragna, or Kshetragneswara (Sans.)Embodied Spirit in Occultism, the
conscious Ego in its highest manifestations; the reincarnating Principle, or the
"Lord" in us.
Kumara (Sans.) A virgin boy or young celibate. The first Kumaras are the seven
sons of Brahma, born out of the limbs of the god in the so-called Ninth
Creation. It is stated that the name was given to them owing to their formal
refusal to "procreate" their species, and thus they "remained Yogis" according
to the legend.
Labro, St. A Roman Saint solemnly beatified a few years ago. His great holiness
consisted in sitting at one of the gates of Rome night and day for forty years,
and remaining unwashed through the whole of that time, the result of which was
that he was eaten by vermin to his bones.
Lao-Tze (Chin.) A great Sage, Saint, and Philosopher, who preceded Confucius.
Law of Retribution (vide Karma).
Linga Sharira (Sans.) "Astral body," i. e., the aerial symbol of the body. This
term designates the doppelganger, or the "astral body" of man or animal. It is
the eidolon of the Greeks, the vital and prototypal body, the reflection of the
man of flesh. It is born before man and dies or fades out with the disappearance
of the last atom of the body.
Logos (Gr.) The manifested deity with every nation and people; the outward
expression or the effect of the Cause which is ever concealed. Thus, speech is
the logos of thought; hence, in its metaphysical sense, it is aptly translated
by the terms "Verbum," and the "Word."
Long Face. A Kabalistic term, Areekh Anpeen in Hebrew; or "Long Face"; in Greek,
Macroprosopos, as contrasted with "Short Face," or Zeir Anpeen, the
Microprosopos. One relates to Deity, the other to man, the "little image of the
Longinus, Dionysius Cassius. A famous critic and philosopher, born in the very
beginning of the third century (about 213). He was a great traveller, and
attended at Alexandria the lectures of Ammonius Saccas, the founder of
Neoplatonism, but was rather a critic than a follower. Porphyry (the Jew Malek
or Malchus) was his pupil before he became the disciple of Plotinus. It is said
of him that he was a living library and a walking museum. Towards the end of his
life he became the instructor in Greek literature of Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra.
She repaid his services by accusing him before the Emperor Aurelius of having
advised her to rebel against the latter, a crime for which Longinus, with
several others, was put to death by the Emperor in 273.
Macrocosm (Gr.) The "Great Universe" or Kosmos, literally.
Magic. The "great" Science. According to Deveria and other Orientalists, "Magic
was considered as a sacred science inseparable from religion" by the oldest and
most civilised and learned nations. The Egyptians, for instance, were a most
sincerely religious nation, as were, and are still, the Hindus. "Magic consists
of, and is acquired by, the worship of the gods," says Plato. Could, then, a
nation which, owing to the irrefragable evidence of inscriptions and papyri, is
proved to have firmly believed in magic for thousands of years, have been
deceived for so long a time? And is it likely that generations upon generations
of a learned and pious hierarchy, many among whom led lives of self-martyrdom,
holiness and asceticism, would have gone on deceiving themselves and the people
(or even only the latter) for the pleasure of perpetuating belief in "miracles"?
Fanatics, we are told, will do anything to enforce belief in their god or idols.
To this we reply: -- In such cases Brahmans and Egyptian Rekhget-amens or
Hierophants, would not have popularised the belief in the power of man by magic
practices, to command the services of the gods: which gods are in truth but the
occult powers or potencies of Nature, personified by the learned priests
themselves, who reverenced only in them the attributes of the one unknown and
nameless Principle. As Proclus, the Platonist, ably puts it: "Ancient priests,
when they considered that there is a certain alliance and sympathy in natural
things to each other, and of things manifest to occult powers, and discovered
that all things subsist in all, fabricated a sacred science from this mutual
sympathy and similarity. . . . and applied for occult purposes both celestial
and terrene natures, by means of which, through a certain similitude, they
deduced divine natures into this inferior abode." Magic is the science of
communicating with, and directing supernal supramundane potencies, as well as
commanding those of lower spheres; a practical knowledge of the hidden mysteries
of nature which are known only to the few, because they are so difficult to
acquire without falling into sin against the law. Ancient and mediaeval mystics
divided magic into three classes -- Theurgia, Goetia and Natural Magic.
"Theurgia has long since been appropriated as the peculiar sphere of the
Theosophists and metaphysicians," says Kenneth Mackenzie. "Goetia is black
magic, and 'natural' or white magic has risen with healing in its wings to the
proud position of an exact and progressive study." The remarks added by our late
learned brother are remarkable: "The realistic desires of modern times have
contributed to bring magic into disrepute and ridicule. . . . Faith (in one's
own self) is an essential element in magic, and existed long before other ideas
which presume its pre-existence. It is said that it takes a wise man to make a
fool; and a man's idea must be exalted almost to madness, i. e., his brain
susceptibilities must be increased far beyond the low miserable status of modern
civilisation, before he can become a true magician, for a pursuit of this
science implies a certain amount of isolation and an abnegation of self." A very
great isolation certainly, the achievement of which constitutes a wonderful
phenomenon, a miracle in itself. Withal, magic is not something supernatural. As
explained by Iamblichus, "they, through the sacerdotal theurgy, announce that
they are able to ascend to more elevated and universal essences, and to those
that are established above fate, viz., to god and the demiurgos: neither
employing matter, nor assuming any other things besides, except the observation
of a sensible time." Already some are beginning to recognise the existence of
subtle powers and influences in nature, in which they have hitherto known
nought. But, as Dr. Carter Blake truly remarks, "the nineteenth century is not
that which has observed the genesis of new, nor the completion of old, methods
of thought"; to which Mr. Bonwick adds, that "if the Ancients knew but little of
our mode of investigation into the secrets of Nature, we know still less of
their mode of research."
Magic, Black (vide supra). Sorcery, abuse of powers.
Magic, Ceremonial. Magic, according to Kabalistic rites worked out, as alleged
by the Rosicrucians and other mystics, by invoking Powers higher spiritually
than Man, and commanding Elementals who are far lower than himself on the scale
Magic, White, or "Beneficent Magic," so called, is divine magic, devoid of
selfishness, love of power, of ambition or lucre, and bent only on doing good to
the world in general and one's neighbour in particular. The smallest attempt to
use one's abnormal powers for the gratification of self makes of these powers
sorcery or Black Magic.
Mahamanvantara (Sans.) Lit., the great interludes between the Manus -- the
period of universal activity. Manvantara here implies simply a period of
activity as opposed to Pralaya or rest -- without reference to the length of the
Mahat (Sans.) Lit. "The Great One." The first principle of Universal
Intelligence and consciousness. In the Puranic philosophy, the first product of
root-nature or Pradhana (the same as Mulaprakriti); the producer of Manas the
thinking principle, and of Ahankara, Egotism or the feeling of "I am I" in the
Mahatma (Sans.) Lit., "Great Soul." An adept of the highest order. An exalted
being, who having attained to the mastery over his lower principles, is
therefore living unimpeded by the "man of flesh." Mahatmas are in possession of
knowledge and power commensurate with the stage they have reached in their
spiritual evolution. Called in Pali Rahats and Arthas.
Mahayana (Sans.) A school of Buddhistic philosophy; lit., the "Great Vehicle." A
mystical system founded by Nagarjuna. Its books were written in the second
century B. C.
Manas (Sans.) Lit., the "Mind." The mental faculty which makes of a man an
intelligent and moral being, and distinguishes him from the mere animal; a
synonym of Mahat. Esoterically, however, it means, when unqualified, the Higher
Ego or the sentient reincarnating Principle in man. When qualified it is called
by Theosophists Buddhi-Manas, or the spiritual soul, in contradistinction to its
human reflection -- Kama-Manas.
Manasaputra (Sans.) Lit., the "Sons of Mind" or mind-born Sons; a name given to
our Higher Egos before they incarnated in mankind. In the exoteric though
allegorical and symbolical Puranas (the sacred and ancient writings of Hindus),
it is the title given to the mind-born Sons of Brahma, the Kumara.
Manas Sutratma (Sans.) Two words meaning "mind" (Manas) and "Thread Soul"
(Sutratma). It is, as said, the synonym of our Ego, or that which reincarnates.
It is a technical term of Vedantic philosophy.
Manas Taijasi(Sans.) Lit., the "radiant" Manas; a state of the Higher Ego which
only high metaphysicians are able to realize and comprehend. The same as "Buddhi
Taijasi," which see.
Mantras (Sans.) Verses from the Vedic works, used as incantations and charms. By
Mantras are meant all those portions of the Vedas which are distinct from the
Brahmanas, or their interpretation.
Manu (Sans.) The great Indian legislator. The name comes from the Sanskrit root
man to think, MAN really standing only for Swayambhuva, the first of the Manus,
who started from Swayambhu, the Self-Existent, who is hence the Logos and the
progenitor of mankind. Manu is the first legislator -- almost a divine being.
Manvantara (Sans.) A period of manifestation, as opposed to Pralaya (dissolution
or rest); the term is applied to various cycles, especially to a Day of Brahma
-- 4,320,000,000 Solar years -- and to the reign of one Manu -- 308,448,000.
Lit., Manuantara -- "between Manus." (See Secret Doctrine, Vol. 11, p. 68, et
Master. A translation from the Sanskrit Guru, "Spiritual teacher," and adopted
by the Theosophists to designate the Adepts, from whom they hold their
Materialisations. In Spiritualism the word signifies the objective appearance of
the so-called "spirits of the dead," who re-clothe themselves occasionally in
matter; i. e., they form for themselves out of the materials at hand found in
the atmosphere and the emanations of those present, a temporary body bearing the
human likeness of the defunct, as he appeared when alive. Theosophists accept
the phenomenon of "materialisation," but they reject the theory that it is
produced by "Spirits," i. e., the immortal principles of disembodied persons.
Theosophists hold that when the phenomena are genuine -- which is a fact of
rarer occurrence than is generally believed -- they are produced by the larvae,
the eidolons, or Kamalokic "ghosts" of the dead personalities. (See "Kamaloka"
and "Kamarupa.") As Kamaloka is on the earth-plane and differs from its degree
of materiality only in the degree of its plane of consciousness, for which
reason it is concealed from our normal sight, the occasional apparition of such
shells is as natural as that of electric balls and other atmospheric phenomena.
Electricity as a fluid, or atomic matter (for Occultists hold with Maxwell that
it is atomic), is ever, though invisibly, present in the air and manifests under
various shapes, but only when certain conditions are present to "materialise"
the fluid, when it passes from its own on to our plane and makes itself
objective. Similarly with the eidolons of the dead. They are present around us,
but being on another plane do not see us any more than we see them. But whenever
the strong desires of living men and the conditions furnished by the abnormal
constitutions of mediums are combined together, these eidolons are drawn -- nay
pulled down from their plane on to ours and made objective. This is necromancy;
it does no good to the dead, and great harm to the living, in addition to the
fact that it interferes with a law of nature. The occasional materialisation of
the "astral bodies" or doubles of living persons is quite another matter. These
"astrals" are often mistaken for the apparitions of the dead, since,
chameleon-like, our own "elementaries" along with those of the disembodied and
cosmic Elementals, will often assume the appearance of those images which are
strongest in our thoughts. In short, at the so-called "materialisation seances,"
it is those present and the medium who create the peculiar apparition.
Independent "apparitions" belong to another kind of psychic phenomena.
Materialist. Not necessarily only one who believes in neither God nor soul, nor
the survival of the latter, but also any person who materializes the purely
spiritual; such as believe in an anthropomorphic deity, in a soul capable of
burning in hell fire, and a hell and paradise as localities instead of states of
consciousness. American "Substantialists," a Christian sect, are materialists,
as also the so-called Spiritualists.
Maya (Sans.) Illusion; the cosmic power which renders phenomenal existence and
the perceptions thereof possible. In Hindu philosophy that alone which is
changeless and eternal is called reality: all that which is subject to change
through decay and differentiation, and which has, therefore, a beginning and an
end, is regarded as MAYA -- illusion.
Mediumship. A word now accepted to indicate that abnormal psycho-physiological
state which leads a person to take the fancies of his imagination, his
hallucinations, real or artificial, for realities. No entirely healthy person on
the physiological and psychic planes can ever be a medium. That which mediums
see, hear, and sense, is "real" but untrue; it is either gathered from the
astral plane, so deceptive in its vibrations and suggestions, or from pure
hallucinations, which have no actual existence, but for him who perceives them.
"Mediumship" is a kind of vulgarised mediatorship in which one afflicted with
this faculty is supposed to become an agent of communication between a living
man and a departed "Spirit." There exist regular methods of training for the
development of this undesirable acquirement.
Mercavah, or Mercabah (Heb.) "A chariot. The Kabbalists say that the Supreme,
after he had established the ten Sephiroth -- which, in their totality, are Adam
Kadmon, the Archetypal Man, used them as a chariot or throne of glory in which
to descend upon the souls of men."
Mesmerism. The term comes from Mesmer, who rediscovered this magnetic force and
its practical application toward the year 1775, at Vienna. It is a vital current
that one person may transfer to another; and through which he induces an
abnormal state of the nervous system that permits him to have a direct influence
upon the mind and will of the subject or mesmerized person.
Metaphysics. From the Greek meta, beyond, and physica, the things of the
external material world. It is to forget the spirit and hold to the dead letter,
to translate it beyond nature or supernatural, as it is rather beyond the
natural, visible, or concrete. Metaphysics, in ontology and philosophy is the
term to designate that science which treats of the real and permanent being as
contrasted with the unreal, illusionary or phenomenal being.
Microcosm. The "little" Universe meaning man, made in the image of his creator,
the Macrocosm, or "great" Universe, and containing all that the latter contains.
These terms are used in Occultism and Theosophy.
Mishnah (Heb.) Lit., "a repetition" from the word Shanah, "to repeat" something
said orally. A summary of written explanations from the oral traditions of the
Jews and a digest of the Scriptures on which the later Talmud was based.
Moksha (Sans.) The same as Nirvana; a post-mortem state of rest and bliss of the
Monad. It is the Unity, the ONE; but in occultism it often means the unified
duad, Atma-Buddhi, -- or that immortal part of man which incarnating in the
lower kingdoms and gradually progressing through them to Man, finds thence way
to the final goal -- Nirvana.
Monas (Gr.) The same as the Latin Monad; "the only," a Unit. In the Pythagorean
system the Duad emanates from the higher and solitary Monas, which is thus the
Monogenes (Gr.) Literally, the "only-begotten"; a name of Proserpine and other
gods and goddesses, as also of Jesus.
Mundakya Upanishad (Sans.) Lit., the "Mundaka esoteric doctrine." A work of high
antiquity; it has been translated by Raja Ram Mohun Roy.
Mysteries (Sacred). They were enacted in the ancient temples by the initiated
Hierophants for the benefit and instruction of candidates. The most solemn and
occult were certainly those which were performed in Egypt by "the band of
secret-keepers," as Mr. Bonwick calls the Hierophants. Maurice describes their
nature very graphically in a few lines. Speaking of the Mysteries performed in
Philae (the Nile-island), he says: -- "It was in these gloomy caverns that the
grand mystic arcana of the goddess (Isis) were unfolded to the adoring aspirant,
while the solemn hymn of initiation resounded through the long extent of these
stony recesses." The word "mystery" is derived from the Greek muo, "to close the
mouth," and every symbol connected with them had a hidden meaning. As Plato and
many of the other sages of antiquity affirm, these mysteries were highly
religious, moral, and beneficent as a school of ethics. The Grecian Mysteries,
those of Ceres and Bacchus, were only imitations of the Egyptian, and the author
of "Egyptian Belief and Modern Thought" informs us that our own word "chapel or
capella is said to be the caph-el or college of El, the solar divinity." The
well-known Kabeiri are associated with the mysteries.
In short, the Mysteries were in every country a series of dramatic performances,
in which the mysteries of Cosmogony and nature in general were personified by
the priests and neophytes, who enacted the parts of various gods and goddesses,
repeating supposed scenes (allegories) from their respective lives. These were
explained in their hidden meaning to the candidates for initiation and
incorporated into philosophical doctrines.
Mystery Language. The sacerdotal secret "jargon" used by the initiated priests,
and employed only when discussing sacred things. Every nation had its own
"mystery" tongue, unknown to all save those admitted to the Mysteries.
Mystic, from the Greek word mysticos. In antiquity, one belonging to those
admitted to the ancient mysteries; in our own times, one who practises
mysticism, holds mystic, transcendental views, etc.
Mysticism. Any doctrine involved in mystery and metaphysics, and dealing more
with the ideal worlds than with our matter-of-fact, actual universe.
Nazarene Codex. The Scriptures of the Nazarenes and of the Nabotheans also.
According to sundry Church Fathers, Jerome and Epiphanius especially, they were
heretical teachings, but are in fact one of the numerous Gnostic readings of
cosmogony and theogony, which produced a distinct sect.
Necromancy. The raising of the images of the dead, considered in antiquity and
by modern occultists as a practice of Black Magic. Iamblichus, Porphyry and
other theurgists deprecated the practice no less than Moses, who condemned the
"witches" of his day to death, the said witches being often only mediums, e.g.,
the case of the Witch of Endor and Samuel.
Neoplatonists. A school of philosophy which arose between the second and third
century of our era, and was founded by Ammonius Saccas, of Alexandria. The same
as the Philalethians, and the Analogeticists; they were also called Theurgists
and by various other names. They were the Theosophists of the early centuries.
Neo-Platonism is Platonic philosophy plus ecstasy, divine Raj-yoga.
Nephesh (Heb.) "Breath of Life, Anima, Mens Vitae, appetites. The term is used
very loosely in the Bible. It generally means Prana, 'life'; in the Kabbalah it
is the animal passions and the animal soul." Therefore, as maintained in
theosophical teachings, Nephesh is the Prana-Kamic Principle, or the vital
animal soul in man.
Nirmanakaya (Sans.) Something entirely different in esoteric philosophy from the
popular meaning attached to it, and from the fancies of the Orientalists. Some
call the Nirmanakaya body "Nirvana with remains" (Schlagintweit), on the
supposition, probably, that it is a kind of Nirvanic condition during which
consciousness and form are retained. Others say that it is one of the Trikaya
(three bodies) with "the power of assuming any form of appearance in order to
propagate Buddhism" (Eitel's idea); again, that "it is the incarnate avatara of
a deity" (ibid.)Occultism, on the other hand, says ("Voice of the Silence") that
Nirmanakaya, although meaning literally a transformed "body," is a state. The
form is that of the Adept or Yogi who enters, or chooses, that post-mortem
condition in preference to the Dharmakaya or absolute Nirvanic state. He does
this because the latter Kaya separates him for ever from the world of form,
conferring upon him a state of selfish bliss, in which no other living being can
participate, the adept being thus precluded from the possibility of helping
humanity, or even devas. As a Nirmanakaya, however, the adept leaves behind him
only his physical body, and retains every other "principle" save the Kamic, for
he has crushed this out for ever from his nature during life, and it can never
resurrect in his post-mortem state. Thus, instead of going into selfish bliss,
he chooses a life of self-sacrifice, an existence which ends only with the
life-cycle, in order to be enabled to help mankind in an invisible, yet most
effective, manner. (See "Voice of the Silence," third Treatise, "The Seven
Portals.") Thus a Nirmanakaya is not, as popularly believed, the body "in which
a Buddha or a Bodhisattva appears on earth," but verily one who, whether a
Chutuktu or a Khubilkhan, an adept or a Yogi during life, has since become a
member of that invisible Host which ever protects and watches over humanity
within Karmic limits. Mistaken often for a "Spirit," a Deva, God himself, &c., a
Nirmanakaya is ever a protecting, compassionate, verily a guardian, angel to him
who is worthy of his help. Whatever objection may be brought forward against
this doctrine, however much it is denied, because, forsooth, it has never
hitherto been made public in Europe, and therefore, since it is unknown to
Orientalists, it must needs be a "myth of modern invention" -- no one will be
bold enough to say that this idea of helping suffering mankind at the price of
one's own almost interminable self-sacrifice, is not one of the grandest and
noblest that was ever evolved from the human brain.
Nirvana (Sans.) According to the Orientalists, the entire "blowing-out," like
the flame of a candle, the utter extinction of existence. But in the exoteric
explanations it is the state of absolute existence and absolute consciousness,
into which the Ego of a man who had reached the highest degree of perfection and
holiness during life, goes after the body dies, and occasionally, as is the case
of Gautama Buddha and others, during life.
Nirvanee (Sans.) One who has attained Nirvana -- an emancipated Soul. That
Nirvana means something quite different from the puerile assertions of
Orientalists, every scholar who has visited India, China, or Japan, is well
aware. It is "escape from misery," but only from that of matter, freedom from
Klesha, or Kama, and the complete extinction of animal desires. If we are told
that Abhidharma defines Nirvana as "a state of absolute annihilation" we concur,
adding to the last word the qualification "of everything connected with matter
or the physical world," and this simply because the latter (as also all in it)
is illusion or Maya. Sakyamuni Buddha said in the last moments of his life: --
"the spiritual body is immortal." (Vide "Sans.-Chin. Dict.") As Mr. Eitel, the
scholarly Sinologist, explains it: "The popular exoteric systems agree in
defining Nirvana negatively as a state of absolute exemption from the circle of
transmigration; as a state of entire freedom from all forms of existence, to
begin with, freedom from all passion and exertion; a state of indifference to
all sensibility" -- and he might have added "death of all compassion for the
world of suffering." And this is why the Bodhisattvas who prefer the Nirmanakaya
to the Dharmakaya vesture stand higher in the popular estimation than the
Nirvanees. But the same scholar adds that "Positively (and esoterically) they
define Nirvana as the highest state of spiritual bliss, as absolute immortality
through absorption of the Soul (Spirit rather) into itself, but preserving
individuality, so that, e. g., Buddhas, after entering Nirvana, may re-appear on
earth -- i. e., in the future Manvantara."
Noumena (Gr.) The true essential nature of Being as distinguished from the
illusive objects of sense.
Nous (Gr.) A Platonic term for the Higher Mind or Soul. It means Spirit as
distinct from animal-Soul, Psyche; divine consciousness or mind in man. The name
was adopted by the Gnostics for their first conscious AEon, which, with the
Occultists, is the third logos, cosmically, and the third "principle" (from
above) or Manas, in man. (Vide infra, "Nout.")
Nout (Eg.) In the Egyptian Pantheon it meant the "One-only-One," because it does
not proceed in the popular or exoteric religion higher than the third
manifestation which radiates from the Unknowable and the Unknown in the esoteric
philosophy of every nation. The Nous of Anaxagoras was the Mahat of the Hindus
-- Brahma, the first manifested deity -- "the Mind or spirit Self-potent." This
creative principle is the primum mobile of everything to be found in the
Universe -- its Soul or Ideation. (Vide "Seven Principles" in man.)
Occultism. See OCCULT SCIENCES.
Occult Sciences. The science of the secrets of nature -- physical and psychic,
mental and spiritual; called Hermetic and Esoteric Sciences. In the west, the
Kabbala may be named; in the east, mysticism, magic, and Yoga philosophy. The
latter is often referred to by the Chelas in India as the seventh "Darshana"
(school of philosophy), there being only six Darshanas in India known to the
world of the profane. These sciences are, and have been for ages, hidden from
the vulgar, for the very good reason that they would never be appreciated by the
selfish educated classes, who would misuse them for their own profit, and thus
turn the Divine science into black magic, nor by the uneducated, who would not
understand them. It is often brought forward as an accusation against the
Esoteric Philosophy of the Kabbala, that its literature is full of "a barbarous
and meaningless jargon," unintelligible to the ordinary mind. But do not exact
Sciences -- medicine, physiology, chemistry, and the rest -- plead guilty to the
same impeachment? Do not official scientists veil their facts and discoveries
with a newly-coined and most barbarous Graeco-Latin terminology? As justly
remarked by our late Brother, Kenneth Mackenzie, "to juggle thus with words,
when the facts are so simple, is the art of the Scientists of the present time,
in striking contrast to those of the seventeenth century, who called spades
spades, and not 'agricultural implements.'" Moreover, whilst their "facts" would
be as simple, and as comprehensible if rendered in ordinary language, the facts
of Occult Science are of so abstruse a nature, that in most cases no words exist
in European languages to express them. Finally our "jargon" is a double
necessity -- (a) for describing clearly these facts to one who is versed in the
occult terminology; and (b) for concealing them from the profane.
Occultist. One who practises Occultism, an adept in the Secret Sciences, but
very often applied to a mere student.
Occult World. The name of the first book which treated of Theosophy, its
history, and certain of its tenets. Written by A. P. Sinnett, then editor of the
leading Indian paper, the Pioneer, of Allahabad, India.
Olympiodorus. The last Neoplatonist of fame and celebrity in the school of
Alexandria. He lived in the sixth century under the Emperor Justinian. There
were several writers and philosophers of this name in pre-Christian as in
post-Christian periods. One of these was the teacher of Proclus, another a
historian in the eighth century, and so on.
Origen. A Christian Churchman, born at the end of the second century, probably
in Africa, of whom little, if anything, is known, since his biographical
fragments have passed to posterity on the authority of Eusebius, the most
unmitigated falsifier that has ever existed in any age. The latter is credited
with having collected upwards of one hundred letters of Origen (or Origenes
Adamantius), which are now said to have been lost. To Theosophists, the most
interesting of all the works of Origen is his "Doctrine of the Pre-existence of
Souls." He was a pupil of Ammonius Saccas, and for a long time attended the
lectures of this great teacher of philosophy.
Panaenus. A Platonic philosopher in the Alexandrian school of the Philalethians.
Pandora. In Greek Mythology, the first woman on earth, created by Vulcan out of
clay to punish Prometheus and counteract his gift to mortals. Each God having
made her a present of some virtue, she was made to carry them in a box to
Prometheus, who, however, being endowed with foresight, sent her away, changing
the gifts into evils. Thus, when his brother Epimetheus saw and married her,
when he opened the box, all the evils now afflicting humanity issued from it,
and have remained since then in the world.
Pantheist. One who identifies God with nature and vice versa. If we have to
regard Deity as an infinite and omnipresent Principle, this can hardly be
otherwise; nature being thus simply the physical aspect of Deity, or its body.
Parabrahm (Sans.) A Vedantin term meaning "beyond Brahma." The Supreme and the
absolute Principle, impersonal and nameless. In the Veda it is referred to as
Paranirvana. In the Vedantic philosophy the highest form of nirvana -- beyond
Parsees (or Parsis). The present Persian followers of Zoroaster, now settled in
India, especially in Bombay and Guzerat; sun and fire worshippers. One of the
most intelligent and esteemed communities in the country, generally occupied
with commercial pursuits. There are between 50,000 and 60,000 now left in India
where they settled some 1,000 years ago.
Personality. The teachings of Occultism divide man into three aspects -- the
divine, the thinking or rational, and the irrational or animal man. For
metaphysical purposes also he is considered under a septenary division, or, as
it is agreed to express it in theosophy, he is composed of seven "principles,"
three of which constitute the Higher Triad, and the remaining four the lower
Quaternary. It is in the latter that dwells the Personality which embraces all
the characteristics, including memory and consciousness, of each physical life
in turn. The Individuality is the Higher Ego (Manas) of the Triad considered as
a Unity. In other words the Individuality is our imperishable Ego which
reincarnates and clothes itself in a new Personality at every new birth.
Phallic Worship, or Sex Worship; reverence and adoration shown to those gods and
goddesses which, like Siva and Durga in India, symbolise respectively the two
Philadelphians. Lit., "those who love their brother-man." A sect in the
seventeenth century, founded by one Jane Leadly. They objected to all rites,
forms, or ceremonies of the Church, and even to the Church itself, but professed
to be guided in soul and spirit by an internal Deity, their own Ego or God
Philalethians. (Vide "Neoplatonists.")
Philo-Judaeus. A Hellenized Jew of Alexandria, a famous historian and
philosopher of the first century, born about the year 30 B. C., and died between
the years 45 and 50 A. D. Philo's symbolism of the Bible is very remarkable. The
animals, birds, reptiles, trees, and places mentioned in it are all, it is said,
"allegories of conditions of the soul, of faculties, dispositions, or passions;
the useful plants were allegories of virtues, the noxious of the affections of
the unwise and so on through the mineral kingdom; through heaven, earth and
stars; through fountains and rivers, fields and dwellings; through metals,
substances, arms, clothes, ornaments, furniture, the body and its parts, the
sexes, and our outward condition." (Dict. Christ. Biog.) All of which would
strongly corroborate the idea that Philo was acquainted with the ancient
Philosopher's Stone. A term in Alchemy; called also the Powder of Projection, a
mysterious "principle" having the power of transmuting the base metals into pure
gold. In Theosophy it symbolises the transmutation of the lower animal nature of
man into the highest divine.
Phren. A Pythagorean term denoting what we call the Kama-manas, still
overshadowed by Buddhi-Manas.
Plane. From the Latin Planus (level, flat), an extension of space, whether in
the physical or metaphysical sense. In Occultism, the range or extent of some
state of consciousness, or the state of matter corresponding to the perceptive
powers of a particular set of senses or the action of a particular force.
Planetary Spirits. Rulers and governors of the Planets. Planetary Gods.
Plastic. Used in Occultism in reference to the nature and essence of the astral
body, or the "Protean Soul." (Vide "Plastic Soul" in the Theosophical Glossary.)
Pleroma. "Fulness"; a gnostic term used also by St. Paul. Divine world or the
abode of gods. Universal space divided into metaphysical AEons.
Plotinus. A distinguished Platonic philosopher of the third century, a great
practical mystic, renowned for his virtues and learning. He taught a doctrine
identical with that of the Vedantins, namely, that the spirit soul emanating
from the One Deific Principle was after its pilgrimage on earth reunited to it.
(Vide Theosophical Glossary.)
Porphyry (Porphyrius). His real name was Malek, which led to his being regarded
as a Jew. He came from Tyre, and having first studied under Longinus, the
eminent philosopher-critic, became the disciple of Plotinus, at Rome. He was a
Neo-Platonist and a distinguished writer, specially famous for his controversy
with Iamblichus regarding the evils attending the practice of Theurgy, but was,
however, finally converted to the views of his opponent. A natural-born mystic
he followed, like his master Plotinus, the pure Indian Raj-Yoga system, which,
by training, leads to the union of the soul with the over-soul of the universe,
and of the human with its divine soul, Buddhi-Manas. He complains, however, that
in spite of all his efforts, he reached the highest state of ecstasy only once,
and that when he was sixty-eight years of age, while his teacher Plotinus had
experienced the supreme bliss six times during his life. (Vide "Porphyry," in
the Theos. Gloss.)
Pot Amun. A Coptic term meaning "one consecrated to the god Amun," the
Wisdom-god. The name of an Egyptian priest and occultist under the Ptolemies.
Pragna, or Prajna (Sans.) A term used to designate the "Universal Mind." A
synonym of Mahat.
Pralaya (Sans.) Dissolution, the opposite of Manvantara, one being the period of
rest and the other of full activity (death and life) of a planet, or of the
Prana (Sans.) Life Principle, the breath of life, Nephesh.
Protean Soul. A name for Mayavi rupa or thought-body, the higher astral form
which assumes all forms and every form at the will of an adept's thought. (Vide
"Plastic Soul" in the Theos. Gloss.)
Psychism. The word is used now to denote every kind of mental phenomena, e.g.,
mediumship as well as the higher form of sensitiveness. A newly-coined word.
Puranas (Sans.) Lit., "the ancient," referring to Hindu writings or Scriptures,
of which there is a considerable number.
Pythagoras. The most famous mystic philosopher, born at Samos about 586 B. C.,
who taught the heliocentric system and reincarnation, the highest mathematics
and the highest metaphysics, and who had a school famous throughout the world.
(See for fuller particulars, Theos. Gloss.)
Quaternary. The four lower "principles in man," those which constitute his
personality (i.e., Body, Astral Double, Prana or life, organs of desire and
lower Manas, or brain-mind), as distinguished from the Higher Ternary or Triad,
composed of the higher Spiritual Soul, Mind and Atman (Higher Self).
Recollection, Remembrance, Reminiscence. Occultists make a difference between
these three functions. As, however, a glossary cannot contain the full
explanation of every term in all its metaphysical and subtle differences, we can
only state here that these terms vary in their applications, according to
whether they relate to the past or the present birth, and whether one or the
other of these phases of memory emanates from the spiritual or the material
brain; or, again, from the "Individuality" or the "Personality."
Reincarnation, or Re-birth; the once universal doctrine, which taught that the
Ego is born on this earth an innumerable number of times. Now-a-days it is
denied by Christians, who seem to misunderstand the teachings of their own
gospels. Nevertheless, the putting on of flesh periodically and throughout long
cycles by the higher human Soul (Buddhi-Manas) or Ego is taught in the Bible as
it is in all other ancient scriptures, and "resurrection" means only the rebirth
of the Ego in another form. (Vide Theos. Gloss.)
Reuchlin, John. A great German philosopher and philologist, Kabbalist and
scholar. He was born at Pfortzheim in Germany, in 1455, and early in youth was a
diplomat. At one period of his life he held the high office of judge of the
tribunal at Tubingen, where he remained for eleven years. He was also the
preceptor of Melancthon, and was greatly persecuted by the clergy for his
glorification of the Hebrew Kabbala, though at the same time called the "Father
of the Reformation." He died in 1522, in great poverty, the common fate of all
who in those days went against the dead-letter of the Church.
Sacred Science. The epithet given to the occult sciences in general, and by the
Rosicrucians to the Kabbala, and especially to the Hermetic philosophy.
Samadhi. The name in India for spiritual ecstasy. It is a state of complete
trance, induced by means of mystic concentration.
Samkhara. One of the five Buddhist Skandhas or attributes. (Vide "Skandhas.")
"Tendencies of mind."
Samma Sambuddha. The sudden remembrance of all one's past incarnations, a
phenomenon of memory obtained through Yoga. A Buddhist mystic term.
Samothrace. An island in the Grecian Archipelago, famous in days of old for the
mysteries celebrated in its temples. These mysteries were world-renowned.
Samyuttaka Nikaya. One of the Buddhist Sutras.
Sanna. One of the five Skandhas, or attributes, meaning "abstract ideas."
Seance. A term now used to denote a sitting with a medium for sundry phenomena.
Used chiefly among the spiritualists.
Self. There are two Selves in men -- the Higher and the Lower, the Impersonal
and the Personal Self. One is divine, the other semi-animal. A great distinction
should be made between the two.
Sephiroth. A Hebrew Kabalistic word, for the ten divine emanations from
Ain-Soph, the impersonal, universal Principle, or DEITY. (Vide Theos. Gloss.)
Skandhas. The attributes of every personality, which after death form the basis,
so to say, for a new Karmic reincarnation. They are five in the popular or
exoteric system of the Buddhists: i.e., Rupa, form or body, which leaves behind
it its magnetic atoms and occult affinities; Vedana, sensations, which do
likewise; Sanna, or abstract ideas, which are the creative powers at work from
one incarnation to another; Samkhara, tendencies of mind; and Vinnana, mental
Somnambulism. "Sleep walking." A psycho-physiological state, too well known to
Spiritism. The same as the above, with the difference that the Spiritualists
reject almost unanimously the doctrine of Reincarnation, while the Spiritists
make of it the fundamental principle in their belief. There is, however, a vast
difference between the views of the latter and the philosophical teachings of
Eastern Occultists. Spiritists belong to the French School founded by Allan
Kardec, and the Spiritualists of America and England to that of the "Fox girls,"
who inaugurated their theories at Rochester, U. S. A. Theosophists, while
believing in the mediumistic phenomena of both Spiritualists and Spiritists,
reject the idea of "spirits."
Spiritualism. The modern belief that the spirits of the dead return on earth to
commune with the living. (See "Spiritism.")
St. Germain (Count). A mysterious personage, who appeared in the last century
and early in the present one in France, England and elsewhere.
Sthula Sharira. The Sanskrit name for the human physical body, in Occultism and
*Sthulopadhi. The physical body in its waking, conscious state (Jagrat).
*Sukshmopadhi. The physical body in the dreaming state (Svapna), and
Karanopadhi, "the causal body."
*These terms belong to the teachings of the Taraka Raj Yoga School.
Summerland. The fancy name given by the Spiritualists to the abode of their
disembodied "Spirits," which they locate somewhere in the Milky Way. It is
described on the authority of returning "Spirits" as a lovely land, having
beautiful cities and buildings, a Congress Hall, Museums, etc., etc. (See the
works of Andrew Jackson Davis.)
Swedenborg (Emanuel). A famous scholar and clairvoyant of the past century, a
man of great learning, who has vastly contributed to Science, but whose
mysticism and transcendental philosophy placed him in the ranks of hallucinated
visionaries. He is now universally known as the Founder of the Swedenborgian
sect, or the New Jerusalem Church. He was born at Stockholm (Sweden) in 1688,
from Lutheran parents, his father being the Bishop of West Gothland. His
original name was Swedberg, but on his being ennobled and knighted in 1719 it
was changed to Swedenborg. He became a Mystic in 1743, and four years later (in
1747) resigned his office (of Assessor Extraordinary to the College of Mines)
and gave himself up entirely to Mysticism. He died in 1772.
Taijas (Sans.) From tejas "fire"; meaning the "radiant," the "luminous," and
referring to the manasa rupa, "the body of Manas," also to the stars, and the
star-like shining envelopes. A term in Vedanta philosophy, having other meanings
besides the Occult signification just given.
Taraka Raj Yoga (Sans.) One of the Brahmanical Yoga systems, the most
philosophical, and in fact the most secret of all, as its real tenets are never
given out publicly. It is a purely intellectual and spiritual school of
Tetragrammaton (Gr.) The deity-name in four letters, which are in their English
form IHVH. It is a kabalistical term and corresponds on a more material plane to
the sacred Pythagorean Tetraktys. (See Theos. Gloss.)
Theodidaktos (Gr.) The "God taught," a title applied to Ammonius Saccas.
Theogony. From the Greek theogonia, lit., the "Genesis of the Gods."
Theosophia (Gr.) Lit., "divine wisdom or the wisdom of the gods." [For a fuller
explanation of such words as "Theosophy," "Theosophists," "Theosophical
Society," etc., vide the Theos. Gloss.]
Therapeutae, or Therapeuts (Gr.)A school of Jewish mystic healers, or
esotericists, wrongly referred to, by some, as a sect. They resided in and near
Alexandria, and their doings and beliefs are to this day a mystery to the
critics, as their philosophy seems a combination of Orphic, Pythagorean,
Essenian and purely Kabalistic practices. (See Theos. Gloss.)
Theurgy (from the Greek theiourgia). Rites for bringing down to earth planetary
and other Spirits or Gods. To arrive at the realization of such an object, the
Theurgist had to be absolutely pure and unselfish in his motives. The practice
of theurgy is very undesirable and even dangerous in the present day. The world
has become too corrupt and wicked for the practice of that which such holy and
learned men as Ammonius, Plotinus, Porphyry and Iamblichus (the most learned
Theurgist of all) could alone attempt with impunity. In our day theurgy or
divine, beneficent magic is but too apt to become goetic, or in other words
Sorcery. Theurgy is the first of the three subdivisions of magic, which are
theurgic, goetic and natural magic.
Thread Soul. The same as Sutratma, which see.
Thumos (Gr.) A Pythagorean and Platonic term; applied to an aspect of the human
soul, to denote its passionate Kamarupic condition: -- almost equivalent to the
Sanskrit word tamas: "the quality of darkness," and probably derived from the
Timaeus (of Locris). A Pythagorean philosopher, born at Locris. He differed
somewhat from his teacher in the doctrine of metempsychosis. He wrote a treatise
on the Soul of the World and its nature and essence, which is in the Doric
dialect and still extant.
Triad or Trinity. In every religion and philosophy -- the three in One.
Universal Brotherhood. The sub-title of the Theosophical Society, and the first
of the three objects professed by it.
Upadhi (Sans.) Basis of something, substructure; as in Occultism -- substance is
the upadhi of Spirit.
Upanishad (Sans.) Lit., "Esoteric Doctrine." The third Division of the Vedas,
and classed with revelations (Sruti or "revealed word"). Some 150 of the
Upanishads still remain extant, though no more than about twenty can be fully
relied upon as free from falsification. These are all earlier than the sixth
century B. C. Like the Kabala, which interprets the esoteric sense of the Bible,
so the Upanishads explain the mystic sense of the Vedas. Professor Cowell has
two statements regarding the Upanishads as interesting as they are correct. Thus
he says: (1) These works have "one remarkable peculiarity, the total absence of
any Brahmanical exclusiveness in their doctrine. . . . They breathe an entirely
different spirit, a freedom of thought unknown in any earlier work except the
Rig Veda hymns themselves; and (2) the great teachers of the higher knowledge
(Gupta Vidya), and Brahmans, are continually represented as going to Kshatriya
Kings to become their pupils" (chelas). This shows conclusively that (a) the
Upanishads were written before the enforcement of caste and Brahmanical power,
and are thus only second in antiquity to the Vedas; and (b) that the occult
sciences or the "higher knowledge," as Cowell puts it, is far older than the
Brahmans in India, or even of them as a caste. The Upanishads are, however, far
later than Gupta Vidya, or the "Secret Science" which is as old as human
philosophical thought itself.
Vahan (Sans.) "Vehicle," a synonym of Upadhi.
Vallabacharyas Sect (Sans.), or the "Sect of the Maharajas;" a licentious
phallic-worshipping community, whose main branch is at Bombay. The object of the
worship is the infant Krishna. The Anglo-Indian Government was compelled several
times to interfere in order to put a stop to its rites and vile practices, and
its governing Maharajah, a kind of High Priest, was more than once imprisoned,
and very justly so. It is one of the blackest spots of India.
Vedanta (Sans.) Meaning literally, the "end of all knowledge." Among the six
Darsanas or the schools of philosophy, it is also called Uttaramimansa, or the
"later" Mimansa. There are those who, unable to understand its esotericism,
consider it atheistical; but this is not so, as Sankaracharya, the great apostle
of this school, and its populariser, was one of the greatest mystics and adepts
Vidya (Sans.) Knowledge, or rather "Wisdom Knowledge."
Vinnana (Sans.) One of five Skandhas; meaning literally, "mental powers." (See
Wisdom-Religion. The same as Theosophy. The name given to the secret doctrine
which underlies every exoteric scripture and religion.
Yoga (Sans.) A school of philosophy founded by Patanjali, but which existed as a
distinct teaching and system of life long before that sage. It is Yajnawalkya, a
famous and very ancient sage, to whom the White Yajur Veda, the Satapatha
Brahmana and the Brihak Aranyaka are attributed and who lived in
pre-Maha-bharatean times, who is credited with inculcating the necessity and
positive duty of religious meditation and retirement into the forests, and who,
therefore, is believed to have originated the Yoga doctrine. Professor Max
Muller states that it is Yajnawalkya who prepared the world for the preaching of
Buddha. Patanjali's Yoga, however, is more definite and precise as a philosophy,
and embodies more of the occult sciences than any of the works attributed to
Yogi or Yogin (Sans.) A devotee, one who practises the Yoga system. There are
and kinds of Yogis, and the term has now become in
generic name to designate every kind of ascetic.
Yuga (Sans.) An age of the world of which there are four, which follow each
other in a series, namely, Krita (or Satya) Yuga, the golden age; Treta Yuga,
Dwapara Yuga, and finally Kali Yuga, the black age -- in which we now are. (See
Secret Doctrine for a full description.)
her instructor Longinus, the famous critic and logician in the third century A.
D. (See "Longinus.")
Zivo, Kabar (or Yukabar). The name of one of the creative deities in the
Zohar (Heb.) The "Book of Splendour," a Kabalistic work attributed to Simeon Ben
Iochai, in the first century of our era. (See for fuller explanation Theos.
Zoroastrian. One who follows the religion of the Parsis, sun, or
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