Copyright © 1999 by Theosophical University Press. All rights reserved.
EDITORS’ NOTE: This online version of the Encyclopedic Theosophical Glossary is a work in progress. The manuscript, originally produced in the 1930s and ’40s, is currently being revised and expanded, and will be updated periodically. Comments, corrections, and suggestions are welcome; please send to email@example.com
For ease of searching, diacritical marks are omitted, with the exception of Hebrew and Sanskrit terms, where after the main head a current transliteration with accents is given.
Quick links: Aa-Adh | Adi-Ag | Ah-Al | Am-Ani | Anj-Arc | Ard-Asr | Ass-Atm | Ato-Az | Ba-Be | Bh-Bo | Br-Bz | Ca-Ce | Cha-Chy | Ci-Cz | Da-Der | Dis-Dz | Ea-El | Em-Ez | F | Ga-Gl | Gn-Gz | Ha-Hh | Hi-Hz | I | J | Ka |Ke-Kz | La-Li | Lo-Lz | Ma-Mam | Man-Mar | Mas-Me | Mi-Mo | Mp-Mz | Na-Ne | Nf-Nz | O | Pa-Peq | Per-Pi | Pl-Pral | Pram-Prj | Pro-Pz | Q-Rec | Red-Roos | Root-Rz | Sa-Sal | Sam-Saq | Sar-Sec | Sed-Sez | Sh-Sir | Sis-Som | Son-Sq | Sr-Sum | Sun-Sz | Ta-Tel | Tem-Thn | Tho-Tre | Tri-Tz | U | Va-Vih | Vij-Vz | W-X | Y | Z
ETG Main Page
List of Abbreviations
Desatir (Persian) An old Persian work, filled with elements of enormous antiquity, expressed in places eloquently and poetically. In the words of its translator and publisher, Mulla Firuz, it “professes to be a collection of the writings of the different Persian Prophets, who flourished from the time of Mahabad to the time of the fifth Sasan, being fifteen in number; of whom Zerdusht, or Zoroaster was the thirteenth and the fifth Sasan the last. . . . The writings of these fifteen prophets are in a tongue of which no other vestige appears to remain, and which would have been unintelligible without the assistance of the ancient Persian translation” (Preface, p. i).
The contents have been criticized by several modern scholars, who do not grant it any standing as a work coming down from ancient times for linguistic reasons. However, it contains teachings which are not merely universal, but which run far back into the night of human history; for example, the first chapter suggests the seven sacred planets (vv. 15-21); each star and planet having an intelligence, a soul, and a body (23); the kingdoms of nature on the cosmic ladder of life (54-60); reincarnation (69-72); rounds (101-112); and the grand periods or manvantaras and pralayas (114-16).
Descending Arc. See ARC, ASCENDING AND DESCENDING
Desire A word whose shades of meaning range from mere animal desire to that of cosmic kama or eros which “first arose in It,” bringing spirit into union with matter and giving rise to the creation or emanation of various classes of beings. It can also be lofty spiritual aspiration, the yearning upwards with the undying desire for the divine, or impersonal love, or again, the urge to become united or one with others. Many words overlap it in meaning, such as will, attraction, love, and cupidity, and it is generally used as a translation of the Sanskrit kama.
Philosophically, it is often synonymous with abstract will, as when kama is called sometimes desire and sometimes will, so that will and desire seem to blend into one on the higher ranges. In the saying, behind will stands desire, will is a colorless force set in motion by desire, much as a current is set up by an electromotive force. From another viewpoint, will, as an abstract motor in the human constitution, arises from the higher or spiritual-intellectual ranges of the kama principle itself, for “Will and Desire are the higher and lower aspects of one and the same thing” (BCW 12:702). See also KAMA; EROS
Destiny. See KARMA; KARMA-NEMESIS; MOIRA
Destruction. See CATACLYSMS; PRALAYA
Deucalion, Deukalion (Greek) A son of Prometheus and Clymene, and king of Phthia in Thessaly. When Zeus resolved to destroy the degenerate human race, the only two left alive were Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha, on account of their piety. On his father’s advice, Deucalion built a ship, in which he and Pyrrha floated during the nine-days flood, until the ship finally rested on Mount Parnassus. On the advice of an oracle, they repeopled the earth by throwing stones behind them, which became human beings. See also ARK
Deus. See DEITY; GOD(S)
Deus Emnim et Circulus Est (Latin) “For God is indeed a circle”; a Hermetic axiom ascribed to Pherecydes, a Greek philosopher of the 6th century b.c., said to be the teacher of Pythagoras. The circle is a symbol of the Boundless and also of repetitive cycles; and circular motions and attitudes were prescribed in rituals by Pythagoras, Numa, and many others as being symbolic of divine and celestial concerns.
Deus Est Demon Inversus. See DAEMON EST DEUS INVERSUS
Deus Explicitus, Deus Implicitus (Latin) “God involved, God evolved” — the former in pralaya, the latter in manifestation.
Deus Lunus The moon god in masculine guise, the feminine being Dea Luna. Blavatsky connects him with the Hindu Soma and with Jehovah (SD 2:466). The moon is considered a feminine potency because its main function is one of generation, production, and likewise intimately connected with the vivification and feeding of seeds of life of whatever kind. Just as the human or animal mother on earth produces, nurses, and fosters her offspring, both for good and ill, such is the feminine function of the moon in those cosmic relations which connect the moon too intimately with the earth; on the other hand, the moon in its masculine aspect or potency represents its generative power as contrasted with its productive. Thus, it not only produces and fosters the seeds of life as a cosmic agent, but itself is that generative cosmic function which brings about the cyclic vital activities in the hosts of seed-lives, continuously sowing the seed-lives in the appropriate fields.
Deus Mundus (Latin) World God; the maker and ruler of the world. In one sense, the esoteric hierarchical head of the present world order; and in another, the divine aspect of this world order, as shown clearly by the word mundus, of which the primal etymological significance is clean, neat, orderly — corresponding with the Greek term kosmos, signifying orderliness and neatness in cosmical arrangement. It is thus both the world-divinity itself, abstracted from the more material plane in which it works, and this divinity identified with the hierarchical world-system through which it works.
Deus Non Fecit Mortem (Latin) “God made not death”; from The Wisdom of Solomon (Apocrypha), which in the English runs: “Seek not death in the error of you life: and pull not upon yourself destruction with the works of your hands. For God made not death: neither hath he pleasure in the destruction of the living. For he created all things, that they might have their being. . . . But ungodly men with their works called it unto them” (1:12-16).
In the Epistles, Paul speaks of death as created by man, adding that by man also shall death be overcome. “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor 15:21-2). Paul, by his own confession, was in the habit of speaking in parables and veiling mysteries under exoteric doctrines; as his Christos was in all men, it is logical to infer that his Adam was equally generic.
This teaching refers to the contest between the older formative or building gods who made the “senseless” humanity, and the informing or intellectual gods who kindled the spark of consciousness and moral sense in them, as symbolized in the myth of Prometheus. When spirit becomes linked with matter, matter is at first preponderant and death prevails; but when the broken harmony becomes reestablished, mankind will become again free. “When man understands that ‘Deus non fecit mortem’ (Sap. I, 13), but that man has created it himself, he will re-become the Prometheus before his Fall” (SD 2:422).
Dev. See DAEVA
Deva (Sanskrit) Deva [from the verbal root div to shine] A divinity, a resplendent deity. “A Deva is a celestial being — whether good, bad, or indifferent. Devas inhabit ‘the three worlds,’ which are the three planes above us. There are 33 groups or 330 millions of them” enumerated in the exoteric sacred scriptures of Hindustan, although these numbers should not be taken literally (TG 98).
Deva is a very general term for various classes of celestial beings. There are classes of ethereal or spiritual beings that are behind mankind in their evolution, unself-conscious god-sparks who have yet to go through the human stage in order to bring forth more fully the glory within them. Then there are the celestial beings who have passed through the human stage and are thus evolutionally higher than we; and beings higher than these, who have developed the most divine parts of their constitution. Considered as inhabitants of the three worlds or planes above us, devas is a generalized term for those evolving life-waves or hierarchies of sentient beings evolving on the six superior globes of earth’s planetary chain. See also ASURA
Deva-Brahman or Deva-Brahma (Sanskrit) Deva-brahman, Deva-brahmā A name given to Narada, considered to be like a Brahma among the devas.
Devachan bDe-ba-can de-wa-chen (Tibetan) [from bde-ba happiness + can possessing] The happy land; exoterically, a translation of the Sanskrit sukhavati, the happy Western Realm or Pure Land of the dhyani-buddha Amitabha of East Asian Buddhism. Certain Tibetan books contain glowing descriptions of devachan, such as the Mani Kambum (or Kumbum) and the Odpagmed kyi shing kod. The term was first employed in theosophical literature by the Mahatmas in their letters to A. P. Sinnett.
In theosophy, devachan is the interlude between earth-lives during which the strictly higher human part of the human composite constitution, the reincarnating ego or higher manas, rests in perfect bliss. Recurring time periods of manifestation and quiescence are fundamental in nature, and devachan is the subjective part of the cyclic rhythm of human evolution on this globe. It corresponds, post-mortem, to the sleeping state of the imbodied, but the devachanic “dreams” are far more vivid and real than ordinary dreams; as a matter of fact, earth life is more truly a dream — to many oftentimes a nightmare.
Devachan commences after the “second death” has taken place, when the lower quaternary of human principles (sthula-sarira, linga-sarira, prana, and kama) has separated from the reincarnating ego, which has drawn into itself the noblest thoughts, emotions, and the unrealized hopes of the past incarnation. Atma-buddhi and the more spiritual part of manas — the reincarnating higher human ego — become the spiritual monad for the time being, so that the human ego takes its devachan within the monad. The devachanic state applies only to the middle human principles, the purified personality. It has many degrees, and the ego finds its proper place in harmony with its karmic evolutionary stage.
Devachan is a state of peace and happiness beyond ordinary mental cognizance, and no disturbing element can enter until the reincarnating ego has finished resting and recuperating its energy for a new sojourn on earth. Because the reincarnating ego builds its own paradise out of the materials it gathered in the last incarnation, there are great varieties in the devachanic state. It is the product of every individual’s unfulfilled spiritual yearnings, longings, and aspirations: since these were not fulfilled or only partly so in earth life, during the interval between earth-lives the ego seeks to fulfill them, rehearsing its spiritual yearnings which, being mental visions or pictures, are thus real in a far truer sense that anything possible on earth, where the consciousness is so thickly enshrouded with the obscuring veils of lower attractions. It is the quality of these aspirations, however, which determines the length of the devachanic state: the more lofty and spiritual the aspirations, the longer the stay. Devachan is not a state of positive action and responsibility, and therefore not a field of retribution for wrong done in the past.
The purified ego is far beyond the reach of ordinary mediums whose contact is confined to far grosser entities and planes. Occasionally a sensitive can rise to the devachanic plane and enter into a spiritual communion with an ego with whom there is close sympathy, but even this is rare, and to retain it in the memory is perhaps rarer.
In considering devachan and nirvana, devachan appertains to the higher human ego, however sublimated it may be, of any particular incarnation; whereas nirvana is a far higher state in which the personality is completely transcended and dropped, or has become so thoroughly purified that it is identified with the higher self. The devachanic state is of an illusory nature (although real enough to the devachani, just as earth life is to us); but the nirvani has attained universal consciousness and experiences reality — sachchidananda, as expressed by the Vedantists.
Devachan and nirvana are not localities, but the states of consciousness of the beings in those respective spiritual conditions. Nirvana is the highest spiritual or superspiritual state; devachan is the intermediate or high psychological states; and avichi, popularly called the lowest of the hells, is the nether pole of the spiritual condition. These three are states of beings existing in the lokas or talas, the worlds of the cosmic egg; whereas paranirvana (“beyond nirvana,” a super-nirvana) is that divine state which is virtually identification with cosmic reality.
Devachani, Devachanee Coined by the Mahatmas when first presenting the theosophical teachings, to name the entity experiencing the state of devachan, consisting of the higher triad made one for the time being — atmana-buddhi-manas — after its separation from the lower quaternary in kama-loka.
Devagnanams. See DEVAJNANINS
Devajnanins (Sanskrit) Devajñānin-s [from deva god, divine + jñānin knower] The higher classes of divine beings who possess innate divine knowledge.
Devaki (Sanskrit) Devakī The mother of Krishna. She was shut up in a dungeon by her brother, King Kansa, for fear of the fulfillment of a prophecy that a son of hers would dethrone and kill him. Notwithstanding the strict watch kept, Devaki was overshadowed by Vishnu, the holy spirit, and thus gave birth to that god’s avatara, Krishna as the incarnated ray of the Logos.
In later mythology Devaki became the anthropomorphized form of Aditi or cosmic space, just as the Hebrew Mary became a celestial entity. The seven sons of Devaki killed by Karsa before the birth of Krishna symbolize the seven human principles. We must rise above them before reaching the ideal, Krishna, the Christ or the Buddha state, thus centering ourselves in the highest, the seventh or first.
Devakshi or Devakasha (Sanskrit) Devākṣi, Devākṣa [from deva spiritual, celestial + akṣi eye] The deva eye; the name given by Eastern occultists to the pineal gland, also called the Eye of the Dangma or the Eye of Siva.
Deva-laya (Sanskrit) Devalaya [from deva spiritual being + laya dissolving place from the verbal root lī to dissolve] The shrine of a spiritual being; all Brahmanical temples were called deva-layas. Laya has in this case the significance of a place where all the lower dissolves upwards into the higher.
Deva-loka (Sanskrit) Devaloka [from deva spiritual being + loka world, sphere] A world or sphere of any divinity; in the plural, refers sometimes to the seven worlds enumerated under the seven lokas.
Deva-Man (Sanskrit-English) Men of lofty spiritual and intellectual attainments who are possessed of equivalent spiritual and intellectual powers, whether latent or manifest.
Devamata (Sanskrit) Devamata A rishi who held a dialogue with Narada. See also ANUGITA
Devamatri (Sanskrit) Devamātṛ Mother of the gods; a title of Aditi, kosmic or mystic space. Aditi is the Vedic Goddess-Mother from whose matrix the sun and planets were born, identical with the higher ranges of akasa, the spiritual essence pervading the space of any solar system; primordial kosmic substance in its highest or spiritual parts. Aditi therefore is the mystic womb of nature out of which all comes for the period of a kosmic manvantara, and into which again all sinks after the kosmic period of evolution has ceased and pralaya begins.
Devanagari (Sanskrit) Devanāgarī “Divine city writing,” the alphabetic script of Aryan India, in which the Sanskrit language is usually written. The Devanagari alphabet and the art of writing it were kept secret for ages, and the dvijas (twice-born) and the dikshitas (initiates) alone were originally permitted to use this literary art. In India, as in many other countries which have been the seat of archaic civilizations, sacred and secret records were committed to the tablets of the mind, rather than to material tablets. Alone the priesthood invariably had, in addition to the mnemonic records, an ideographic or syllabic script which was used when considered convenient or necessary, mainly for intercommunication between themselves and brother-initiates speaking other tongues. This applied to ideographic characters which can be read with equal facility by those acquainted with them, whatever their spoken mother-tongue may be, and to written characters imbodying an archaic or sacred language, as was the case with the ancient Sanskrit. This is the main reason why these ancient peoples have so few allusions — and sometimes no allusions at all — to writing; in the civilizations of those far past times writing was not found to be a need and was kept as a sacred art for the temple scribes.
“Devanagari is as old as the Vedas, and held so sacred that the Brahmans, first under penalty of death, and later on, of eternal ostracism, were not even allowed to mention it to profane ears, much less to make known the existence of their secret temple libraries” (Five Years of Theosophy 360).
“Real Devanagari — non-phonetic characters — meant formerly the outward symbols, so to say, the signs used in the inter-communication between gods and initiated mortals. Hence their great sacredness and the silence maintained throughout the Vedic and the Brahmanical periods about any object concerned with, or referring to, reading and writing. It was the language of the gods” (ibid. 423).
The Devanagari characters as first used among initiates and privileged men were symbolic and ideographic in form. But these outlines by use gradually lost their mere picture-form, or idea-suggesting power, and through constant use and rapid writing continuously lost more and more of the details of the picture, until they finally became merely conventional signs or letters of the alphabet. The word devanagari is synonymous with the Hermetic and Hieratic Neter-Khari (divine speech) of the Egyptians.
Devapi (Sanskrit) Devāpi [from deva god + āpi friend] Friend of the god; a rishi mentioned in the Rig-Veda as the son of Rishti-shena. In the Mahabharata and the Puranas he is described as a son of King Pratipa of the Kurus, who resigns his kingdom and retires into the woods, where he is still alive, awaiting with the sage Maru, at Kalapa or Katapa, the coming of Maitreya Buddha, the avatara who will come at the close of the kali yuga, according to legend.
Devaputra-Rishayah (Sanskrit) Devaputra-ṛṣayaḥ [from deva spiritual being + putra son + ṛṣi sage] Sages who are sons of spiritual ancestors; a title applied to various classes of the higher pitris or spiritual and intellectual ancestors of the human race.
In a more restricted sense, applied to those rare but periodic appearances of spiritual beings in the human race, called by the ancient Hindus rishis, who are distinguished from avataras on the one hand and buddhas on the other hand — so that the compound in these last cases may be translated as rishis who are sons of devas or spiritual beings.
Deva-Rishi. See DEVARSHI
Devarshi (Sanskrit) Devarṣi [from deva divine being + ṛṣi sage] A divine or godlike sage; a son of dharma or yoga. A class of sages, such as Atri; those human sages who through striving, aspiration, and self-conquest attain a divine nature while on earth.
Devasarga (Sanskrit) Devasarga [from deva divine + sarga emanation, emission, creation] Divine emanation or emission; the creation of the gods, the last of the first series of creations enumerated in the Vishnu-Purana. It “has a universal reference; namely, the Evolutions in general, not specifically to our Manvantara; but the latter begins with the same over and over again, showing that it refers to several distinct Kalpas. For it is said ‘at the close of the past (Padma) Kalpa the divine Brahma awoke from his night of sleep and beheld the universe void.’ Then Brahma is shown going once more over the ‘seven creations’ in the secondary stage of evolution, repeating the first three on the objective plane” (SD 1:454).
Devasarman (Sanskrit) Devaśarman Author and quasi-sage (5th century BC) said to have written the Vijnana-kaya-sastra. “He wrote two famous works, in which he denied the existence of both Ego and non-Ego, the one as successfully as the other” (TG 99).
Devasena (Sanskrit) Devasena A Buddhist arhat; the feminine, Devasenā, is a host of spiritual or celestial beings, and a name given to Vach as an aspect of Sarasvati, goddess of occult wisdom.
Devata (Sanskrit) Devatā [from deva divine being] A divine or spiritual being; a generalizing term, often identical with deva. In the plural, a class of celestial beings that waged war with the daityas, according to the Puranas.
Devavardhaki (Sanskrit) Devavardhaki Architect of the gods; a title given to Visvakarman, who according to Hindu mythology was the cosmic demiurge or world-former.
Deva Vardhika. See DEVAVARDHAKI
Devayana (Sanskrit) Devayāna [from deva spiritual being + yāna path] The way of the gods.
Devi Bhagavata Purana. See BHAGAVATA PURANA
Devi-Durga (Sanskrit) Devī-Durgā Spiritual and inaccessible goddess; also called Kali (the black one), she is a warlike, bloodthirsty goddess who destroys and devours her enemies without pity. She is “raw power, energy untamed by discipline or direction” (Classical Hindu Mythology 226). Sometimes considered an independent deity, at others an aspect of Siva’s consort, whose benign aspect is named Parvati.
The feminine consorts of the various divinities of ancient peoples represent the vehicular or encompassing substances and powers surrounding the emanating monad itself; and because these powers and substances are in incessant action, they are often grouped under the name sakti, active universal energy, which is septenary, denary, or duodenary in hierarchical construction, according to the manner of counting. Thus these spiritual or divine consorts are equivalent to the theosophical elements or principle-elements, whether of the cosmos or of any individual, which surround the individual monad and furnish the field of action through which it expresses itself.
Devil [from Greek diabolos slanderer, adversary; cf Italian diavolo, French diable] The Devil of the New Testament and Christian theology is an evil personality, ruling over a kingdom of evil spirits, the inveterate foe of both God and man; a fallen angel, one of the celestial host who rebelled against God and was cast out from heaven. The conception of an evil individuality is a necessary counterpart to the conception of a good personal God: evil exists, God is good and could not have made evil; therefore the devil made it, but eventually he will be overthrown, and in the meantime he fulfills God’s purpose by trying and testing mankind.
The older Hebrews had no such devil; the word Satan is nearly always used in the ordinary sense of adversary. In Job, Satan is an emissary of God, one of his sons, charged with a mission to test Job. The original Hebrew God is supreme, author of both good and evil. But with the later Hebrews the idea underwent modification, and the notion of an evil deity arose, possibly from an adoption of Persian dualism acquired during the captivity. At the time the Gospels were written it is evident that the idea of a prince of darkness was very real and ever-present, though the story of the temptation of Jesus is evidently a picture of the triumph of an initiate over the forces of terrestrial nature.
In cosmic evolution, no sooner does duality in evolutionary manifestation supervene, than matter of necessity appears as the other pole or alter ego of spirit, from the dual nature of manifestation itself. It is only by the interaction of polar forces that evolution can proceed, a process everywhere mystically or theologically typified by the various wars in heaven. The same duality is present in human nature: the adversary is the lower quaternary manifesting through the terrestrial nature, which first dominates, and then eventually is dominated by, the upper triad or spirit. In many old myths, Satan under various names appears as the benefactor of mankind, e.g., Prometheus, Venus-Lucifer, and the Serpent of Genesis. Christian theology, through misunderstanding of and loss of the keys to its own sacred writings, has perverted several symbols: the Fall of the angels in one of its aspects is really the descent of the manasaputras; the Serpent of Eden was not the devil; and the sin of mankind was not sexual generation but the abuse of spiritual and intellectual as well as of psychic powers.
By some sects in early Christian times the doctrine of the Demiourgos or secondary creator prevailed, assuming a variety of forms, more of less philosophical and approximating the esoteric teachings; but the spirit of the times demanded a cruder conception. In the Middle Ages the idea of a personified devil and devils inflicting trials upon mankind become a veritable obsession: the idea has persisted up the present time in many churches.
Devils may denote various kinds of evil or partially evil entities in nature, evil because not yet sufficiently evolved to express the spiritual light within them; or entities generated from human thoughts and inhabiting the lower regions of the astral light. In the singular it may stand as a wide generalization for human selfishness and passions. Sensitives seeing these thought-impression in the astral light, may be inclined to view them as realities. See also DRAGON; LUCIFER; SATAN; SERPENT
Devonian Age. See GEOLOGICAL ERAS
Dgyu, Dgyu-mi. See DZYU
Dhairya (Sanskrit) Dhairya [from the verbal root dhṛ to hold, maintain] Fortitude.
Dhaivata (Sanskrit) Dhaivata The sixth of the seven primary musical notes of the Hindu scale. See also SHADJA
Dhaman (Sanskrit) Dhāman [from the verbal particle dha to put, set, lay down as a rule, fix upon] An abode; a state; the members of a class, e.g. of a family, tribe, or race; a law or rule; manner or form; strength, faculty, splendor, majesty, dignity; also wealth in property.
Dhammapada (Pali) Dhammpada [from dhamma law, moral conduct (cf Sanskrit dharma) + pada a step, line, stanza] A fundamental text of Southern Buddhism: a collection of 423 verses believed to be the sayings of Gautama Buddha, gathered from older sources and strung together on 26 selected topics. Dealing with a wide range of philosophic and religious thought, with particular emphasis on ethics, they are often couched in beautiful imagery, so that they make a ready and profound appeal to the reader. Self-culture and self-control are forcibly inculcated, and when the precepts are followed they lead to the living of an exalted as well as useful life.
Dhanus (Sanskrit) Dhanus Bow; the ninth zodiacal sign, Sagittarius. According to some Hindu mystical thinkers, this sign represents the nine Brahmas or prajapatis who assisted in building the material universe. Nine is the number of becoming or change.
Dharaka (Sanskrit) Dhāraka A receptacle, vessel; secondarily, equivalent to dhara, the highest point, summit. Subba Row speaks of the sacred dharaka as equivalent to the sacred Hebrew Tetragram or the four matras of Pranava, the four measures or quantities of the mystical and sacred syllable Om.
Dharana (Sanskrit) Dhāraṇā [from the verbal root dhṛ to hold, carry, maintain, resolve] Intense concentration of the mind when directed to “some one interior object, accompanied by complete abstraction from everything pertaining to the external Universe, or the world of the Senses” (VS 73). It is the sixth stage of spiritual yoga, the effort to unite the human with the divine within, in which training “every sense as an individual faculty has to be ‘killed’ (or paralyzed) on this plane, passing into and merging with the Seventh sense, the most spiritual” (VS 78-9).
Dharani (Sanskrit) Dhāraṇī [from the verbal root dhṛ to bear, support] In Buddhism, a mystical verse or mantra; in Hinduism, verses from the Rig-Veda. “In days of old these mantras or Dharani were all considered mystical and practically efficacious in their use. At present, however, it is the Yogacharya school alone which proves the claim in practice. When chanted according to given instructions a Dharani produces wonderful effects. Its occult power, however, does not reside in the words but in the inflexion or accent given and the resulting sound originated thereby” (TG 100).
Also, any tubular vessel of the body; the earth.
Dharma (Sanskrit) Dharma [from the verbal root dhṛ to bear, support] Equity, justice, conduct, duty; right religion, philosophy, and science; the law per se; the rules of society, caste, and stage of life. Secondarily, an essential or characteristic quality or peculiarity, approaching closely to the meaning of svabhava.
Also a sage who married ten or thirteen daughters of Daksha, a judge of the dead; the personification of law and justice. In the Mahabharata, the father of Yudhishthira, chief of the Pandavas.
Dharmachakra, (Sanskrit) Dharmacakra [from dharma law + cakra wheel] The wheel of the law, or the range of the law. “The emblem of Buddhism as a system of cycles and rebirths or reincarnations” (TG 100), it also applies to the Buddha as the holder of the wheel of the law: he who sets a new cycle in motion and in consequence changes the course of destiny through his expounding of the teachings.
Dharmakaya (Sanskrit) Dharmakāya [from dharma law, continuance from the verbal root dhṛ to support, carry, continue + kāya body] Continuance-body, body of the law. One of the trikaya of Buddhism, which consists of 1) nirmanakaya, 2) sambhogakaya, and 3) dharmakaya. “It is that spiritual body or state of a high spiritual being in which the restricted sense of soulship and egoity has vanished into a universal (hierarchical) sense, and remains only in the seed, latent — if even so much. It is pure consciousness, pure bliss, pure intelligence, freed from all personalizing thought” (OG 38). In the dharmakaya vesture the initiate is on the threshold of nirvana or in the nirvanic state. Sometimes the dharmakaya is called the “nirvana without remains,” for once having reached that state the buddha or bodhisattva remains entirely outside of every earthly condition; he will return no more until the commencement of a new manvantara, for he has crossed the cycle of births. Dharmakaya state is that of parasamadhi, where no progress is possible — at least as long as the entity remains in it. Such entities may be said to be for the time being crystallized in purity and homogeneity. This is, likewise, one of the states of adi-buddha, and as such is called the mystic, universally diffused essence, the robe or vesture of luminous spirituality. See also TRIKAYA; TRISARANA
Dharmaprabhasa (Sanskrit) Dharmaprabhāsa [from dharma law + prabhāsa illuminator] Illuminator of the law; the name of a buddha who will appear during the seventh root-race (TG 100).
Dharmaraja (Sanskrit) Dharmarāja Just and righteous king; a title given to Gautama Buddha, and to Yama, the god of the dead, in the latter instance signifying the strict and utterly impartial justice karmically encountered by those who die.
Dharma-Savarni (Sanskrit) Dharmasāvarṇi One of the 14 manus overseeing the earth-chain, the root-manu of the sixth round (SD 2:309).
Dharma-Smriti-Upasthana (Sanskrit) Dharma-smṛti-upasthāna [from dharma law + smṛti remembrance + upasthāna the act of placing oneself] In Buddhism, the act of placing oneself in remembrance of the Law. Blavatsky paraphrases the term from another angle: “Remember, the constituents (of human nature) originate according to the Nidanas, and are not originally the Self” (TG 100). The nidanas are the chain of causal concatenation, the 12 causes of existence or manifestation which developed each one by itself, usually in serial and periodic order and strictly in accordance with stored-up karmic seeds of various kinds. Equally important is the fact that the atmic core of selfhood clothes itself in the various sheaths of consciousness, which therefore actually are the seeds or, in one sense, the very being of these nidanas; so that the nidanas may be referred back to the self as their originators. The idea is the same as that imbodied in the Christian statement: “As a man thinks so is he.”
Dharmasoka (Sanskrit) Dharmāśoka The Asoka of the dharma; a name given King Asoka, the grandson of King Chandragupta, because he devoted his life to the dharma, or law of the Buddha, and its propaganda.
Dhatu (Sanskrit) Dhātu Constituent part, ingredient; an equivalent to mahabhuta (element), the range or plane of primeval matter, five usually being reckoned: kha or akasa (ether); anila (wind); tejas (fire); jala (water); bhu (earth); but esoterically there are seven. “As there are seven Dhatu (principal substances in the human body) so there are seven Forces in Man and in all Nature” (SD 1:290).
In Southern Buddhism, the word also means residue, relics (that which remains after the body has been cremated), and applied especially to the relics of the Buddha’s body alleged to have been collected after its cremation.
In theosophy, the globes of the planetary chain are distributed in the three dhatus thus:
See also KAMA-DHATU
Dhimat (Sanskrit) Dhīmat As an adjective, wise, intelligent; as a noun, an epithet of spirituality.
Dhriti (Sanskrit) Dhṛti [from the verbal root dhṛ to hold, preserve, be steady] Firmness, constancy, resolution; as a proper noun, an epithet of a daughter of Daksha and wife of Dharma.
Dhruva (Sanskrit) Dhruva [from the verbal root dhru to be firm, fixed] The pole star; “the heavenly form of the mighty lord Hari is made of stars and shaped like a porpoise with Dhruva in its tail. This constellation makes the planets, moon, sun and so on revolve, and the nakshatras circle him like a wheel. . . . on Dhruva rests the sun, upholder the world with its gods, demons and human beings.
“all the planets, constellations, stars and meteors are without exception tied to Dhruva with wind cords and move in their proper courses, O Maitreya” (Classical Hindu Mythology 45-6).
“The occult sciences show that the founders (the respective groups of the seven Prajapatis) of the Root Races have all been connected with the Pole Star. In the Commentary we find: —
‘He who understands the age of Dhurva who measures 9090 mortal years, will understand the times of the pralayas, the final destiny of nations, O Lanoo’ ” (SD 2:768).
Also the name of an ancient Aryan sage, a Kshatriya, who through continuous religious austerities and philosophical meditation, became a rishi, and whose name was given to the pole star. In the Puranas, the son of Uttanapada, who was raised to the pole star by Vishnu.
Dhulkarnayn (Arabic) The two-horned one; title given by the Arabs to those conquerors, whether spiritual or material, who in their conception have subdued the world from East to West. It is thus in a sense parallel to the Hindu chakravartin.
Dhyan(s). See DHYANI-CHOHANS
Dhyana (Sanskrit) Dhyāna [from the verbal root dhyai to contemplate, meditate] Profound spiritual-intellectual contemplation, with utter detachment from all objects of sense and of a lower mental character; one of the six paramitas in Buddhism. See also JHANA
Dhyana-marga (Sanskrit) Dhyāna-mārga [from dhyāna meditation + mārga path] The path of meditation or profound spiritual-intellectual contemplation.
Dhyana Yoga (Sanskrit) Dhyāna Yoga Profound spiritual mediation on the divinity within, imbodying six or seven stages of advancement, accompanied by the simultaneous abstraction of thought from external existence; the sixth chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita treats of dhyana yoga. Likewise, one of the paramitas of Buddhism.
Dhyan-chohans, Dhyani(s). See DHYANI-CHOHANS
Dhyani-bodhisattva (Sanskrit) Dhyāni-bodhisattva [from the verbal root dhyai to meditate, contemplate + bodhisattva he whose essence is bodhi (wisdom)] A bodhisattva of meditation or contemplation; the sixth in the descending series of the Hierarchy of Compassion, the mind-born sons of the dhyani-buddhas.
“There is a dhyani-bodhisattva for this globe, and also for each of the three globes which precede this globe on the downward arc, and likewise a bodhisattva for each of the three globes which follow this globe on the upward arc — one bodhisattva for each. This dhyani-bodhisattva is the spiritual head of the spiritual-psychological hierarchy of each globe. . . . Our dhyani-bodhisattva is the Wondrous Being, the Great Initiator, the Silent Watcher of our globe . . .” (Fund 275).
Dhyani-buddha (Sanskrit) Dhyāni-buddha [from the verbal root dhyai to meditate, contemplate + buddha awakened one] Buddhas of contemplation or meditation; the fifth in the descending series in the enumeration of the Hierarchy of Compassion. Two general hierarchies of spiritual beings brought forth our cosmos: the dhyani-buddhas or architects who in their aggregate form the higher and more spiritual side, and actually compose the line of the luminous arc; and the dhyani-chohans or the builders or constructors who form the lower and relatively more material side, the line (from this viewpoint only) of the shadowy arc. Often the term dhyani-chohans is used for both these lines of beings.
There are seven dhyani-buddhas, so that for each round of a septenary planetary chain there is a presiding dhyani-buddha or causal buddha. Our present fourth round is under the care and supervision of the dhyani-buddha belonging to the fourth degree of this celestial hierarchy. The dhyani-bodhisattvas who watch over the globes of the planetary chain in each round are rays from the dhyani-buddha of the round.
“It is this dhyani-buddha of our fourth round, our Father in Heaven, who is the Wondrous Being, the Great Initiator, the Sacrifice, . . . The Ray running through all our individual being, from which we draw our spiritual life and spiritual sustenance, comes direct to us from this hierarchical Wondrous Being in whom we all are rooted. He to us, psychologically and spiritually, holds exactly the same place that the human ego, the man-ego, holds to the innumerable multitudes of elemental entities which compose his body . . .” (Fund 237-8).
These dhyani-buddhas furnished humankind with divine kings and leaders, who taught humanity the arts and sciences, and who “revealed to the incarnated Monads that had just shaken off their vehicles of the lower Kingdoms — and who had, therefore, lost every recollection of their divine origin — the great spiritual truths of the transcendental worlds” (SD 1:267).
Further, each human monad has sprung from the essence of a dhyani-buddha.
“The ‘triads’ born under the same Parent-planet, or rather the radiations of one and the same Planetary Spirit (Dhyani Buddha) are, in all their after lives and rebirths, sister, or ‘twin-souls,’ on this Earth.
“This was known to every high Initiate in every age and in every country: ‘I and my Father are one,’ said Jesus (John x. 30). When He is made to say, elsewhere (xx. 17): ‘I ascend to my Father and your Father,’ . . . It was simply to show that the group of his disciples and followers attracted to Him belonged to the same Dhyani Buddha, ‘Star,’ or ‘Father,’ again of the same planetary realm and division as He did” (SD 1:574).
Dhyani-chohans (Sanskrit-Tibetan) [from Sanskrit dhyāni contemplation + Tibetan chohan lord] Lords of meditation. In theosophical literature, dhyani-buddhas are the intellectual architects, the higher and more spiritual beings of the god-world. Dhyani-chohans, as a generalizing term, includes both the higher classes which take a self-conscious, active part in the architectural ideation of the universe, and the lower classes, some of which are self-conscious, but in their lower representations progressively less on on a descending scale. The lowest of these builders are little more than merely conscious or semi-conscious beings following almost servilely the ideation of the cosmic spirit transmitted to them by the higher class of the architects.
Dhyani-chohan is likewise synonymous in one sense with the Sanskrit manu. The seven principal classes of dhyani-chohans are intimately connected, each to each, respectively, with the seven sacred planets of our solar system, and likewise with the globes of the earth planetary chain. Furthermore, there is a class of dhyani-chohans at the head of every department of nature in our solar system. These dhyani-chohans, as the summit of the Hierarchy of Light, imbody in themselves as individuals the ideation of the cosmic Logos, thus forming the laws according to which nature exists and works. These laws, therefore, are really the automatic spiritual activities of the highest classes of the dhyani-chohans.
The dhyani-chohans have their bodhisattvas, intellectual offspring, or representatives on and in each descending cosmic plane, so that every being has as its highest portion one such dhyani-chohan as its egoic individuality. Hence, “the dhyani-chohans are actually in one most important sense our own selves. We were born from them; we were the monads, we were the atoms, the souls, projected, sent forth, emanated, by the dhyanis . . .” (Fund 407).
Dhyanipasa (Sanskrit) Dhyānipāśa [from dhyānin divine being + pāśa rope] The rope of the gods (dhyanis); another way of referring to a great Ring-pass-not which hedges off the phenomenal world from the noumenal kosmos.
Dhyanis. See DHYANI-CHOHANS
Diabolos. See DEVIL
Diakka Coined by Andrew Jackson Davis (1826-1910), a prominent American Spiritualist, to denote kama-lokic elementaries and astral spooks or shells generally. In his A Stellar Key to the Summer Land he describes these spooks as amoral, deceptive beings existing in a shady corner of the Summer Land. Blavatsky cites Porphyry in connection with the Diakka: “It is with the direct help of these bad demons, that every kind of sorcery is accomplished . . . These spirits pass their time in deceiving us, with a great display of cheap prodigies and illusions; their ambition is to be taken for gods, and their leader demands to be recognized as the supreme god” (IU 1:219).
These shells, spooks, elementaries, and evil phantoms of the astral light were known throughout antiquity, universally abhorred and often feared by human beings because of their evil effects on human life. Hebrew and early Christian demonologists personalized them under the head of Belial and his army of imps.
Diameter of the Circle In cosmology the horizontal diameter in the circle symbolizes the first manifestation, immaculate Mother Nature who gives birth to the universe. It also represents the hermaphrodite third root-race of humanity. “The diameter, when found isolated in a circle, stands for female nature, for the first ideal world, self-generated and self-impregnated by the universally diffused Spirit of Life — referring thus to the primitive Root-Race also” (SD 2:30). The unmanifest deity is symbolized by the circle or nought, and the manifest deity by the diameter of that circle. The circle empty represents the boundless or unmanifest; the point within the circle the first differentiation, “potential Space within abstract Space,” while the horizontal diameter represents the third stage of manifestation, the divine mother or nature, and the cross in the circle is the manifested world. The vertical diameter is male, and alone in the circle represents mankind after the separation of the sexes (SD 1:4-5).
Diamond, Diamond-heart The diamond is a symbol signifying the imperishable attributes of the cosmic quinta essentia — the fifth essence of medieval mystics. In Northern Buddhism, the unmanifest Logos, being too spiritual to manifest in material realms directly, sends into the world of manifestation its heart, the diamond heart (vajrasattva, dorjesempa) which is the manifest Logos, from which emanate the Third Logos which collectively is the seven cosmic dhyani-buddhas. Manushya-buddhas, when their personality has become merged in atma-buddhi, are also called diamond-souled because of their spiritual approach to their cosmic prototype; otherwise they are mahatmas of the highest class.
Diana (Latin) [archaic fem of Janus] Goddess of light; an old Italian divinity, later identified with the Greek Artemis as daughter of Zeus and Latona, and sister of Apollo. Goddess of the moon and queen of the night, she presided over the chase, open country, forests, war, and water. As the moon goddess, identified in one aspect with Hecate. She was worshiped in her form of Lucina as presiding over births; as goddess of the night she was worshiped with torches, and was beloved as the protectress of the outcast and slave.
The moon “stands in closer relations to Earth than any other sidereal orb. The Sun is the giver of life to the whole planetary system; the Moon is the giver of life to our globe; and the early races understood and knew it, even in their infancy. She is the Queen and she is the King, and was King Soma before she became transformed into Phoebe and the chaste Diana. . . . For, if Artemis was Luna in Heaven, and, with the Greeks, Diana on Earth, who presided over child-birth and life: with the Egyptians, she was Hekat (Hecate) in Hell, the goddess of Death, who ruled over magic and enchantments. More than this: as the personified moon, whose phenomena are triadic, Diana-Hecate-Luna is the three in one. For she is Diva triformis, tergemina, triceps — three heads on one neck, like Brahma-Vishnu-Siva. See also ARTEMIS; HECATE; MOON
Dianoia (Greek) [from dianoia thought] Used by Plato and Aristotle often in contrast with soma (body); synonymous with logos, it is divine ideation and the root of all thought.
Diapason Harmony (Greek) e dia pason chordon symphonia The harmony throughout the whole range of the seven strings of the ancient Greek heptachord or seven-stringed lyre — the octave. The Pythagoreans, teaching that numbers and their ratios underlie manifestation, traced the analogy between the seven-stringed lyre and the heavenly heptachord of the seven manifested planets of the ancients. Numbers were assigned to express the relative distances of the planets from the central body (sun or earth); and numbers were assigned to denote the lengths of the strings or their pitch (SD 2:601). It is impracticable to reach an exact judgment as to the details of this analogy; the stringing of the lyre differed in different times and places, and it is difficult to adapt the Greek scale to the diatonic scale. But details apart, the important point is that the universal harmony, based on numbers, prevails throughout cosmos and expressed in the phrase music of the spheres.
Diasteme or Diastrem diastema (Greek) An interval; used in Platonic philosophy to signify the intervals between musical tones.
Dictynra, Dictynna (Greek) [from diktyon net] A sea goddess worshipped in Crete, an aspect of Britomartis (sweet maid), a goddess worshiped throughout the Mediterranean islands and coast, often identified with Artemis. Britomartis dispensed happiness and was a patroness of hunters, fishermen, and sailors, a goddess of health and birth. Dictynna, a daughter of Zeus and Artemis, seems to have originally been a moon goddess. She is said to “wear a wreath made of the magic plant diktamnon, or dictamnus, the evergreen shrub whose contact is said, at the same time, to develop somnambulism and cure it finally . . .” (IU 1:264).
Dido Also Elissa. Queen of Carthage in North Africa and traditionally its founder. According to Timaeus, her actual name was Theiosso, in Phoenician Helissa or Elissa; and Dido, the Phoenician equivalent of the Greek planes (wanderer), was given her because of her wanderings; Dido is also said to be the name of a Phoenician goddess and can be translated “the beloved.” After her husband was killed by her brother, Dido fled to Africa and founded a city which became Carthage. Rather than marry a local chieftain against her will, she killed herself; in the Aeneid she is said to have killed herself after being deserted by Aeneas.
Dido was “the patroness of the Phoenician mariners; and together with Venus and other lunar goddesses — the moon having such a strong influence over the tides — was the ‘Virgin of the Sea.’ . . . the Phoenicians, those bold explorers of the ‘deep,’ carried, fixed on the prow of their ships, the image of the goddess Astartè, who is Elissa, Venus Erycina of Sicily, and Dido, whose name is the feminine of David” (IU 2:446&n).
Differentiation The process of passing from the simple to the complex or, in its use in philosophy, from homogeneity to heterogeneity, from unity to multiplicity. This does not mean that the unity is less than the multiplicity or diminished by it, for the unity contains all that comes from it. The word is used in much the same sense as manifestation; the process of evolution on the downward arc is one of continuous differentiations, and the inverse process takes place on the upward arc. The Pythagoreans condemned the duad because it represented the beginning of differentiation or departure from cosmic simplicity and wholeness. In theosophical philosophy differentiation begins after zero, from which the One is the first differentiation. Spirit is the first differentiation from space, and primordial matter is the first differentiation from spirit.
Differentiation also implies specialization of function, as is seen in biology in connection with the evolution of the cell.
Digambara (Sanskrit) Digambara [from diś a quarter or region of the heavens + ambara sky, atmosphere; also clothes, apparel] Sky-clothed, clothed with the elements; often applied to Siva, but likewise to advanced adepts or ascetics. Customarily Orientalists render it “without clothes,” i.e., naked, applying the term to Siva in his character of an ascetic. But while the word, especially among the Jains, has come to have the significance of a naked mendicant, when applied to Siva, the third aspect of the Hindu Trimurti who permeates all things in all directions, it means “clothed with the sky.”
Digambara likewise applies to adepts and high chelas because of their ability to project the percipient consciousness to a distance employing the power which in Tibet is called hpho-wa. They are then mystically considered to be free of all physical trappings, clothed with the sky or atmosphere and wandering in it free and at will. See also KHECHARA
Dii Magni or Di Magni (Latin) The great gods; referring specifically to the twelve great deities of the Latin pantheon. Identified with the kabiri, dhyani-chohans, etc. (SD 2:360), the twelve great deities are easily discoverable in Greek and other mythologies; they were particularly cultivated in the ancient Etrurian mythology. They are directly connected with the twelve signs of the zodiac, as being the twelve great deific spirits of the cosmos, of which divinities the twelve zodiacal signs are representations.
Dii Majores. See DII MAGNI
Dii Minores (Latin) Lesser gods; in the Greek and Latin pantheons, certain deities coming after the twelve great deities of Olympus. Likened to the twelve patriarchs, Gnostic aeons, the Sephiroth, etc. (IU 2:450), their number is said to vary from ten to twelve, like the signs of the zodiac. They belong to the second class of emanations and are the terrestrial reflections of the superior hierarchy represented by the cosmic dii magni.
Dii Termini. See DEI TERMINI
Dik (Sanskrit) Dik [nominative of diś] Space, vacuity.
Diksha (Sanskrit) Dīkṣā [from the verbal root dīkṣ to consecrate or dedicate oneself] Preparation or consecration in exoteric matters for a religious ceremony; or the undertaking, equally in exoteric matters, of religious observances for a specific purpose, as well as the observances themselves; also initiation. As a proper noun, Diksha or initiation is personified as the wife of Soma (the Moon). Diksha again signifies preparatory training of the neophyte for initiation.
Dikshita (Sanskrit) Dīkṣita [past participle of the verbal root dīkṣ to consecrate or dedicate oneself] Consecrated, initiated; to dedicate oneself in training for initiation, which is exoterically alluded to in Hindu works as training for the performance of the soma sacrifice; hence as a noun, an initiate.
Diktamnon or Diktamnos (Greek) [from diktyon a hunting-net from dikein to throw, caste] A plant growing in abundance in Greece on Mounts Ida and Dicte, celebrated in classical antiquity for its sedative properties and for its marvelous healing power for wounds. Now applied botanically to Fraxinella, a different plant. The word is connected with Dictynna or Diktynna, an epithet of the lunar Artemis (IU 1:264). See also DICTYNRA
Diktynna. See DICTYNRA
Dimensions. See THREE-DIMENSIONAL; SPACE
Dingir (Akkad) The chief deity of the Akkadians; one of the forms of the creative powers as recognized by the earlier Akkadians. Every one of these demiurgic powers is the chief or first in his or her own field of activity in the universe, so that in one mythology may be found several such chief or first divinities, each being the chief or hierarch in his or her own hierarchy, but all nevertheless subordinate to the karmic mandates of the inclusive, all-enclosing, cosmic primordial elements. These chief divinities are the cosmic elements originating in and from the primordial element, which because of the extreme reverence in which it was held by archaic thought is often not mentioned, it being part of the teaching of the sanctuary.
Di-nur (Hebrew) Dī-nūr In the Qabbalah, part of a famous phrase which fully written is Nehar di-nur (the river or stream which is light or fire).
“When the man comes near his time to go away from this world, . . . when the herald calls out (the decree), at once, a flame comes forth from the North side and goes in and ignites the river Dinur, (i.e., the river of fire, comp. Dan. vii, 10) and spreads itself out to four sides of the world and burns the souls of the guilty, and that flames goes forth and comes down on the world, etc.”
“And the Neshamoth souls, when they ascend, cleanse themselves in that river D’e-noor [Di-nur] and do not burn, they only cleanse themselves . . .” (Zohar i 218b; ii, 211b — from Myer’s Qabbala pp.405, 394)
Dionysia Festivals sacred to Dionysos, especially those held in Attica and Attic-Ionic settlements. The inferior Dionysia were celebrated in December in country places where the vine was grown; the greater, in Athens for six days at the spring equinox. At this festival the new plays were performed for three consecutive days before immense number of citizens and strangers. The Lenaea (festival of vats) in February-March, the Oschophoria in October-November, and the Anthesteria for three days in February-March were also part of the Athenian cycle of Dionysia. The Dionysiac or Bacchic Mysteries became peculiarly liable to corruption in later times, owing to literal interpretation of the symbolism and the substitution of psychospiritual excitement for pure spiritual inspiration.
Dionysos (Greek) [from dio from dis old form of Zeus + Nysa] Also Dionysius. Zeus of Nysa, a mountain variously placed in Thrace, Boeotia, Arabia, India, Asia Minor, and Libya; another name is Bacchos, a form of Iacchos [from ’iachein to shout] in allusion to the Bacchic invocation. Among the Romans he is called Liber, which some connect with liber (free), calling him the liberator (cf labarum, the later mystic emblem of the Christ). He was worshiped in Athens at the Dionysia, held a position at Delphi almost equal to Apollo, and appears in the Eleusinian Mysteries.
The son of Zeus and Semele, sun and moon — hence bisexual in character and so able to be regarded at different times as a solar or lunar deity. His meaning overlaps those of Krishna, Brahma, Christos, Adonai, Mithras, and Prometheus, for he is a savior, mediator between God and man, the celestial and the terrestrial. He was also the god who sprang from the world egg, and from whom mortals in their turn sprang, uniting in himself the nature of either sex.
The principal symbols of Dionysos are wine, the vine, and the grape which also typify the double meaning implied in the true Mysteries and their perversion. For wine is a symbol of the spirit of the Christ, as bread is of the body; and both were administered in the mystic rite from which the Christian sacrament is derived. When his inner god becomes manifest to the qualified initiate, his whole nature is illumined and vivified. But one who seeks the afflatus unprepared is driven mad or destroyed by his inner god. The Bacchic orgies and Dionysiac frenzy were a later profanation.
In his cosmic aspect, Dionysos is the demiourgos or world-former. As Dionysos Chthonios, he is the son of Demeter or Persephone, and one of his names is Zagreus; he was torn to pieces and devoured by titans, but his heart was saved and given to Zeus. The same chthonian aspect is seen in the Dionysios Sabazios of Thrace and Phrygia. This allegory parallels the Hindu Padmapani, and his dismemberment by the cosmic titans signifies the processes of evolutive cosmic differentiation into the main hierarchies of the universe. He was likewise a personification of the sun, in its spiritual and material aspects. The esoteric Greek significance of this was taught in the Orphic Mysteries. See also ZAGREUS
Dionysius the pseudo-Areopagite (florished 6th century) Author of the Celestial and Ecclesiastical Hierarchies, influential Neoplatonic, neo-Pythagorean texts attributed to Dionysius the Areopagite of the New Testament. The mystical hierarchical ideas imbodied in these texts exercised a profound spiritualizing influence on later Christian thought.
Dioscuri Dioskouroi (Greek) In Greek mythology, Castor and Pollux (Greek Polydeuces), Spartan twin sons of Tyndareus and Leda; their sisters were Helen and Clytemnestra. In Homer all but Helen were considered mortal, but after the twins’ death they lived and died on alternate days. Later one, usually Pollox, was the son of Zeus and shared his immortality after Castor’s death. Usually Zeus as a swan is said to have seduced Leda, who brought forth two eggs, one containing Helen and the other Castor and Pollox. The twins rescued Helen from Theseus and went with the Argonauts. Castor and Pollox are associated with the zodiacal sign Gemini, and sometimes with the morning and evening stars.
Originally they were seven cosmic gods, for in the days of Lemuria there were seven egg-born dioscuri or dhyani-chohans (agnishvatta-kumaras), who incarnated in the seven elect of the third root-race. These are identified with corybantes, curetes, dii magni, titans, etc. (SD 2:360-2). Later they were made into three and four, as male and female, the four being the four kabiri usually enumerated; and finally restricted, as were also the kabiri, to two.
Dipamkara (Sanskrit) Dīpaṃkara [from dīpa light + kara maker, doer] Light-maker, a former buddha, regarded by Orientalists as mythical. Referring to the former buddha or to a high adept, the word signifies the bringer or maker of light — the typical initiator.
Top of File
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
BCW - H. P. Blavatsky: Collected Writings
BG - Bhagavad-Gita
BP - Bhagavata Purana
cf - confer
ChU - Chandogya Upanishad
Dial, Dialogues - The Dialogues of G. de Purucker, ed. A. L. Conger
Echoes - Echoes of the Orient, by William Q. Judge (comp. Dara Eklund)
ET - The Esoteric Tradition, by G. de Purucker
FSO - Fountain-Source of Occultism, by G. de Purucker
Fund - Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy, by G. de Purucker
IU - Isis Unveiled, by H. P. Blavatsky
MB - Mahabharata
MIE - Man in Evolution, by G. de Purucker
ML - The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, ed. A. Trevor Barker
MU - Mundaka Upanishad
OG - Occult Glossary, by G. de Purucker
Rev - Revelations
RV - Rig Veda
SD - The Secret Doctrine, by H. P. Blavatsky
SOPh - Studies in Occult Philosophy, by G. de Purucker
TBL - Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge (Secret Doctrine Commentary), by H. P. Blavatsky
TG - Theosophical Glossary, by H. P. Blavatsky
Theos - The Theosophist (magazine)
VP - Vishnu Purana
VS - The Voice of the Silence, by H. P. Blavatsky
WG - Working Glossary, by William Q. Judge
ZA - Zend-Avesta
Theosophical Society Homepage