Encyclopedic Theosophical Glossary: Dis-Dz

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 eglossary@theosociety.org

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 | Des-Dir | 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


Dis (Greek) The shining one; an older form of Zeus.

Dis (Icelandic) Sister; in Norse myths an attendant spirit or constant companion. Possibly the astral double of a living entity for when one’s dis is absent, it presages death. Another companion entity, superior to the dis, is the hamingja, the higher self or guardian angel which protects and encourages the evolving soul, making the human monad in effect an asmegir — a god-maker or potential ase.

Dis (Latin) [contraction of dives rich] Name for Pluto, god of the underworld. The expression “rich” arises in the fact that the presiding deity of the underworld gathers in through the rolling ages whatever is, thus implying a constantly accumulating store of all things that once were, but now belong to the past. There is a distinct mystical similarity between the Greek and Latin Dis.

Dis (Sanskrit) Diś [from the verbal root diś to show, point out, direct] A direction or point of space, a cardinal point or quarter; the four cardinal points: prachi (east); dakshina (south); pratichi (west); and udichi (north). The noun disa likewise means direction, region, quarter, or point of space.

Used as a philosophical term, dis means space.

Disasters. See CATACLYSMS


Disciple. See CHELA

Disease Broadly stated, disease is a disordered or inharmonious vital state of the organism, with more of less excess, defect, or perversion of functional activity. The condition may be some chemical or mechanical wrong which renders the body unable to respond naturally to the psychoelectric and other forces which play through and sustain the physical person. Moreover, the material and immaterial elements of the human constitution react upon each other for health or disease, because the mind and emotions on the one hand, and the organs and their functions on the other, are interrelated parts of the same entity. As a rule, this interplay between the material and the conscious person becomes a vicious circle in disease. Mental or emotional shock or strain can so affect function as to result in organic disease. Long continued selfish emotions cause a distorted and inharmonious interaction of the pranic or vital currents of the body, resulting in one or another disorder, according to the type of the emotions and the individual karma.

In view of the electric nature of matter, physical disorder may be regarded as an electrical disharmony or wrong, since disease always changes the polarity of the body, more or less. The vital currents of human electricity connect the conscious person with his body by the living wires of nerves. The rhythmic motion or natural harmony vibrating in each cell and organ at its own rate, is responsive to the universal vibration or Great Breath which in other modes of motion manifests as heat, light, sound, density, etc. But beyond the electrical and vibrational states of the body, and above the mental influence, is the essential self, the source of all harmony or rhythmic procedures in all below it, keyed to harmony and striving to raise the lower nature to act in unison with its finer and greater powers. When the instinct of the animal body, the mental reasoning faculties, and the reimbodying ego’s intuition are functioning together, the person is keyed to health, sanity, and wisdom. Otherwise, the real inner conflict manifests in some form of disorder.

As the human being, then, is a dynamo of balanced forces, some disorder in their operation is the basic wrong in human diseases. Moreover, as all matter is alive, conscious in some degree, and vibrationally responsive to the laws of nature, the same general principle applies also to disease in the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms. In mankind, the organic vital fluid of the reimbodying ego is the cohering factor for the entire constitution, dominating over all minor vital expressions of the life-atoms. The intense and ceaseless activity of these life-atoms builds and composes the body, and as age comes on, and the physical vehicle naturally and normally weakens, the uninterrupted activity of the vital power becomes too strong to be held in check by the gripping influence of the vital-electrical field. Thus the atomic forces, really the vital energies, continuing unabated within the body structure, slowly weaken it and finally destroy it, and this is death.

“It is likewise these internal vital activities of the life-atoms held in insufficient check by the organic vitality which bring about many if perhaps not all of the various forms of disease of a lasting character. Cases of malignant disease are due to the same general cause but on account of specific and unusual circumstances are localized in some portion of the body where the power or control of the organic vitality becomes greatly weakened” (ET 813n).

Disk Worship Another form of sun worship; however, the ancients, especially whose who had been initiated in the Mystery schools, did not worship the physical sun but reverenced the central source of life and vivifying power of which the sun is the focus in its own kingdom, and which it therefore represents.

In ancient Egypt the various forms of the disk were favorite symbols, representing either the sun or moon. The deities specially connected with the solar disk were Amen-Ra, Aten, and Horus. In ancient India the disk or chakra was frequently associated with Vishnu; with the Buddhists it appears in the symbol of the wheel which every buddha is represented as turning or setting in motion.

The winged disk is a symbol of the soul or reincarnating ego. The wings represent the movement of the peregrinating ego through space and time, drifting by karmic destiny and its own inner impulses. The disk carried by the wings is the emblem of the ego itself.

Dissolution. See PRALAYA

Diti (Sanskrit) Diti As Aditi [from a not + diti] is cosmic space in general, so Diti is cosmically what may be called the first sheath or integument of Aditi. If Aditi is generalized space, Diti becomes the more or less divine spatial extent of a cosmic unit, such as a universe, solar system, etc.; but the significance of Diti points directly to lofty spirit. “Diti . . . is the sixth principle of metaphysical nature, the Buddhi of Akasa. Diti, the mother of the Maruts, is one of her terrestrial forms, made to represent, at one and the same time, the divine Soul in the ascetic, and the divine aspirations of mystic Humanity toward deliverance from the webs of Maya, and final bliss in consequence” (SD 2:613-14).

Diu Aryan root meaning “god,” corresponding to the Chaldean Iao (BCW 2:90).

Div. See DAEVA

Diva triformis. See DIANA

Divination [from Latin divination a soothsayer from divus spiritual being, god] The art of obtaining hidden knowledge by the aid of spiritual or ethereal beings. It is divisible into two main kinds: the inducing of seership or clairvoyance, and the interpretation of signs. Under the former come the oracular responses of the Pythian priestess, of the Cumaean Sibyl, and many similar instances, including all cases where the diviner induces trance or clairvoyance, whether in himself by natural power or by incantations, drugs, or other preparations; or in a subject, as when ink is poured into the palm of a child, who sees visions in it, or by some kind of hypnotism. Under the second head come geomancy, augury, the reading of the marks on the liver of a slaughtered animal, reading cards, Chinese throwing-sticks, predictive astrology, palmistry, numerology, and a great variety of other forms. Between the two classes are ranged such practices as gazing into crystal or water, where external means and interior vision both play a part in the result. Often it is a means of utilizing one’s own inner faculties, whether by natural or induced clairvoyance, or by employing the agencies which regulate events apparently casual such as the fall of the cards, the marks in the sand, the drawing of lots; and this last is related to the subject of omens.

The universal correspondences in nature, the interrelation of all things, imply that the most apparently casual and trivial events have of necessity connection with other events, so that the one can be interpreted by means of the other, provided only that the diviner knows the rules and has the insight and skill. Thus, in cartmancy, one deals the cards with a mind concentrated on the knowledge desired, and their fall is determined by these unseen and little understood influences. It is evident, however, that the condition and capacities of the diviner play an essential part in the success of the operation; hence the instructions as to fasting, continence, and the like, so often laid down as preliminaries.

The art of divining is and always has been universally diffused. Today this art, in common with many other items of ancient lore, has fallen into disrepute on account of the great abuse to which it has been subjected, as in the case of the abuses of black magic and sorcery. The same remarks would apply as are made in the case of psychism, seances, etc. — that a large proportion of humanity is neither wise enough nor well-balanced enough to meddle with such methods; and there is too much tendency to use the methods for the gratification of mere personal desires or curiosity. We do far better to attend to the cultivation of our spiritual faculties, incomparably more powerful and effective, such as intuition.

It may be added that such practices as the slaughter of animals in order to read the entrails can scarcely be regarded, in any age, as pertaining to divine or white magic.

Divine Dynasties. See DYNASTIES


Divine Instructors. See MANASAPUTRAS

Divine Pymander. See PYMANDER

Divine Right of Kings A tradition originating in the priest-kings of the divine dynasties — now forgotten and therefore legendary history — that ruled mankind in its earlier stages; and these again represented those semi-divine beings who came to our globe in this round from a previous round to be revealers to early mankind. As humanity sank into materialism, these initiated and illuminated priest-kings were replaced by schools or priest-colleges. Succeeding ages have witnessed a still further degeneration of the institution. Although the lofty idea imbodied in this phrase has been degraded, legend and tradition tell of a time when its dignity shall be again restored upon the earth, and its institutions shall inaugurate a new and grander age. See also DYNASTIES

Divine Soul The vehicle or garment of the divine ego, which in its turn is the field or vehicle of the divine monad — terms referring to the human monadic centers. As the inner god corresponds to the divine monad and the inner buddha to the divine ego, so the divine soul may be said to be the expression of the buddha in manifestation on earth.

Divine Thought. See IDEATION; LOGOS

Divine Year. See BRAHMA’s DAY

Divo-rajas (Sanskrit) Divo-rajas [from divas celestial realm + rajas firmament] The upper stratum of the heaven-worlds.

Divyachakshus, (Sanskrit) Divyacakṣus [from divya divine + cakṣus eye] The divine eye; in Buddhism the first of the divine faculties attained by a buddha: the power of seeing any object in any loka or plane of consciousness. It is one of the six or seven abhijnas (inner powers or faculties), divyachakshus being real spiritual clairvoyance, enabling one to see any object in the universe at whatever distance.

Divyasrotra (Sanskrit) Divyaśrotra [from divya divine + śrotra ear] The divine ear; in Buddhism the second of the abhijnas (powers attained by a buddha or high initiate), that of understanding all sounds on whatever loka or plane, including the understanding of all languages. It corresponds to real clairaudience.

Diyyuqna’ (Chaldean) Diyyūqnā’ A Qabalistic term for the image or shadow of a spiritual counterpart, although this image itself may be highly ethereal or even spiritual; the vehicle in which the more real or spiritual enshrines itself — its shadow on a lower plane. Thus a human soul is the diyyuqna’ of the human monad. “All the creatures of the world which have existed in each generation, before they came to this world, have existed before Him in their true Diyyuqna’” (Zohar, iii, 61a).

It corresponds to the Angels of the Presence or archangels, the Zoroastrian Ferouer, and even the mayavi-rupa.

Djnana. See JNANA

Djati. See JATI

Djinn. See JINN

Docetae [Latin from Greek dokein to seem] Illusionists; applied to certain Gnostics, regarded by the early Christian Church as heretics, who taught that the death of Christ was an illusion, some saying that he did not have a body of real matter but only an apparent body, and others explaining their belief in similar ways. The Gnostic teaching is that the Christ is the nous or Son of the spirit, overshadowing all mankind, his death being symbolic of its voluntary entrance into the murky mists of the body. Some of these Gnostics would seem to have been trying to achieve an accommodation with the creed of the then growing Christian Church, which had transformed this mystical crucifixion into a literal and historical death of Jesus.

Dodecad. See DUODENARY

Dodecahedron The regular solid with twelve pentagonal faces, or the rhombic dodecahedron of crystallography; in The Secret Doctrine usually a synonym of dodecad, a group of twelve or the number twelve. Plato in Phaedo says that the world, if seen from above, would look like a ball covered with twelve differently colored pieces of leather. The Pythagoreans investigated regular solids, attaching great importance to them as symbols, including the regular dodecahedron which was a symbol of the universe in full manifestation.

Dodecaped. See HUSHANG

Dodona (Greek) The most ancient oracle in Greece, situated in Epirus and founded by the Pelasgians. The will of Zeus was oracularly signified to the appointed seers by the rustling of the wind in the trees, or by the sounds of a spring arising from the roots of the sacred oak. This oracle, famous in Homeric times, was in later historic times superseded by that of Delphi.

Dog Star. See SIRIUS

Dolmas sGrol-ma (Tibetan) Two virgins, said to have been incarnations of the blue light from the left eye of Amitabha Buddha, as Padmapani was the incarnation of the ray from the right eye, and who together abide within mankind. These virgins were given the power to enlighten the minds of living beings (BCW 12:518).

Dolmen [from Celtic] A rude stone monument consisting of two or more upright monoliths supporting a capstone. Such monuments are found in various parts of the world, notably in Carnac, Brittany. They are symbolic records of the world’s history, designed to be enduring, the work of giants.

“There are records which show Egyptian priests — Initiates — journeying in a North-Westerly direction, by land, via what became later the Straits of Gibraltar; turning North and travelling through the future Phoenician settlements of Southern Gaul; then still further North, until reaching Carnac (Morbihan) they turned to the West again and arrived, still travelling by land, on the North-Western promontory of the New Continent.
“What was the object of their long journey? . . . The archaic records show the Initiates of the Second Sub-race of the Aryan family moving from one land to the other for the purpose of supervising the building of menhirs and dolmens, of colossal Zodiacs in stone, and places of sepulchre to serve as receptacles for the ashes of generations to come” (SD 2:750).

Dominions One of the orders of angels in the celestial hierarchy of Dionysius the pseudo-Areopagite; it corresponds with Bel or Jupiter. In Ephesians (1:21) the word translates the Greek Kyriotes. See also ANGELOLOGY

Donar (Germanic) Also Thunar. The god of thunder in Germanic mythology, equivalent to Thor of the Scandinavian Eddas.

Dondampai-denpa don dam pa’i bden pa (don-dam-pe den-pa) (Tibetan) Absolute or universal truth or reality, equivalent to the Sanskrit paramarthasatya; hence in the individual being, the highest spiritual perception and self-consciousness. The opposite of this term is kundzabchi-denpa (kun rdzob kyi bden pa, kun-dzob-kyi den-pa — illusion-creating appearance), samvritti-satya in Sanskrit — the origin of illusion or maya.

Door to the Human Kingdom Theosophical term expressing the idea that no more entities below the human stage will evolve into human beings in this round. The reason for this is that

“when Globe A of the new chain is ready, the first class or Hierarchy of Monads from the Lunar chain incarnate upon it in the lowest kingdom, and so on successively. The result of this is, that it is only the first class of Monads which attains the human state of development during the first Round, since the second class, on each planet, arriving later, has not time to reach that stage. Thus the Monads of Class 2 reach the incipient human stage only in the Second Round, and so on up to the middle of the Fourth Round. But at this point — and on this Fourth Round in which the human stage will be fully developed — the ‘Door’ into the human kingdom closes; and henceforward the number of ‘human’ Monads, i.e., Monads in the human stage of development, is complete. For the Monads which had not reached the human stage by this point will, owing to the evolution of humanity itself, find themselves so far behind that they will reach the human stage only at the close of the seventh and last Round” (SD 1:173).

The “door” was closed into the human kingdom in the middle of the fourth round because the turning point had been reached between the monadic evolution of matter, or descent into matter on the downward arc, and the reverse process of involution, which automatically replaced it on the upward arc of the great light cycle. Thus, as we are now past the middle of the fourth round, none of the monads now working in and through the animal kingdom can enter the human kingdom during the remainder of this round; with one probably exception, however: that of the anthropoid apes.

Doppelganger (German) Double-goer; usually, a species of real phantom, seen before, after, or at the time of the death of an individual, and serving as a notification or warning of the death. In some cases the double seen is that of the seer himself, though this is not the true doppelganger. The doppelganger is most often the mayavi-rupa which can be seen at even immense distances from the individual whose presentation it is, yet the term doppelganger can likewise incorrectly be applied to the very occasional projections of the astral body which, however, can at no time wander far from its physical frame. The true doppelganger or mayavi-rupa, whether seen or unseen, falls into two classes, without counting the rare cases involving the linga-sarira mentioned above: the mayavi-rupa projected by hpho-wa, by will and with the consciousness of the ego; and the occasional automatic or involuntary projections of the mayavi-rupa due to intense concentration of the mind upon something or someone.

Dorje rdo rje (Tibetan) Equivalent to the Sanskrit vajra, meaning both thunderbolt and diamond. As a thunderbolt, it is represented in the hands of some of the Tibetan gods, especially the dragshed — deities who protect human beings — and is thus equivalent to the weapons of Indra and Zeus. Dorje is the scepter of power, whether spiritual or temporal, and appears on the altars of the Gelukpas together with the bell and cymbals: “It is also a Mudra, a gesture and posture used in sitting for meditation. It is, in short, a symbol of power over invisible evil influences, whether as a posture or a talisman. The Bhons or Dugpas, however, having appropriated the symbol, misuse it for purposes of Black Magic. . . . With the Dugpas, it is like the double triangle reversed, the sign of sorcery” (VS 90).

One aspect of its use by the gods is the purification that ensues in those against whom the bolt is cast, as well as the gods meting out justice by its means. A more mystical reference to dorje, however, alludes to the higher triad of the human constitution which, if continually held in view, purifies the lower quaternary as the thunderstorm does the earth’s atmosphere.

As diamond, dorje has a direct mystical reference to the supposedly indestructible nature of the diamond. It is the symbol of possession of siddhis or supernormal powers spiritual, intellectual, and astral. Those who wield this wand of power or diamond-thunderbolt are called vajra-panins.

Dorjechang rdo rje ’chang (Tibetan) Equivalent of the Sanskrit vajradhara (wielder of the thunderbolt). The supreme buddha or adi-buddha; also the title of a buddha having reference to his highest or most spiritual part.

Dorjesempa rdo-rje sems-dpa’ (Tibetan) Equivalent to the Sanskrit vajrasattva, diamond-soul, diamond-being; referring to the soul’s indestructibility in the hereafter. Also a name of the celestial buddha.

Dorjeshang. See DORJECHANG

Dosha (Sanskrit) Doṣa [from the verbal root duṣ to become bad or corrupted, to commit a fault, sin] Fault, vice; wickedness, damage, harm. Also evening, darkness; as a fem noun, night personified.


Double Image Qabalistic term for dual ego, the higher called Metatron and the lower called Samael. They are pictured as a person’s guardian angel and evil demon.


Double Triangle. See SIX-POINTED STAR

Dove Bird symbols play a prominent part in cosmogonic systems. In the Biblical deluge, as a blend of cosmic and precosmic allegories, Noah sends out first a raven, symbolizing darkness which was regarded as prior to light; and then a dove. In the Chaldean version, Noah is represented by Ishtar or Ashtoreth — a lunar goddess corresponding in some respects to Artemis and in others to Venus — and the dove is a symbol of Venus, which is also found in Greek mythology. In several nations the dove also symbolizes the soul.

In Christianity, the dove is a symbol of the Holy Ghost, who appears in that form to Jesus at his baptism. It is also often one of the four sacred animals which denote four important human principles along with the bull, the eagle, and the lion. These four animals in Greek mystic mythology are symbols respectively of the planets Venus, the Moon, Mercury (or Jupiter), and the Sun; but it is more properly here a seraph or cherub, the fiery-winged serpent or Agathodaimon. As a symbol of gentleness and love it is frequent in the Hebrew scriptures.


Draco [from Greek drakon dragon] The dragon; a northern circumpolar constellation, within which is the pole of the ecliptic. But the name seems to have had different applications at different times and places; we hear it spoken of as a vast constellation extending through seven signs of the zodiac; also as the seven-headed Draco, each of whose heads is a star of Uras Minor; and again as the pole star. Draco was a symbol of the good serpent, the Messiah of the Naaseni. See also DRAGON

Dracontia Temples dedicated to the Dragon, emblem of the sun, of life, wisdom, and cycles. Once they covered the globe; all that remains are those colossal upreared monoliths, or combinations of monoliths, seen at Stonehenge, Carnac, and other places. The Serpent Mounds, such as those in Ohio, symbolize the same thing. Besides being mute historic witnesses of a knowledge of the mysteries of the cosmic or mundane serpent, these temples were used as means of divination by the priests who understood their secrets.

Dragon [from Greek drakon, serpent, the watchful] Known to scholarship as a mythical monster, a huge lizard, winged, scaly, fire-breathing, doubtless originating in the memory of an actual prehistoric animal. Dragon is often synonymous with serpent. The dragon and serpent, whether high or low, are types of various events in cosmic or world history, or of various terrestrial or human qualities, for either one can at different times signify spiritual immortality, wisdom, reimbodiment, or regeneration. In the triad of sun, moon, and serpent or cross, it denotes the manifested Logos, and hence is often said to be seven-headed. As such it is in conflict with the sun, and sometimes with the moon; but this conflict is merely the duality of contrary forces essential to cosmic stability. The dragon itself is often dual, and it may be paired with the serpent, as with Agathodaimon and Kakodaimon, the good and evil serpents, seen in the caduceus. Again the dragon is two-poled as having a head and a tail, Rahu and Ketu in India, commonly described as being the moon’s north and south nodes, the moon thus being a triple symbol in which a unity conflicts with a duality.

A universal myth is that of the sun god fighting the dragon and eventually worsting it, which represents the descent of spirit into matter and the eventual sublimation of matter by spirit in the ascending arc of evolution. There are Bel (and later Merodach) and the dragon Tiamat in Babylonia and with the Hebrews; Fafnir in Scandinavia; Chozzar with the Peratae Gnostics; among the Greeks Python conquered by Apollo and the two serpents killed by Hercules at his birth; the fight between Ahti and the evil serpent in the Kalevala; and many other such stories. In the Christian Apocalypse the dragon plays a great part, but it has been often misinterpreted as evil just as Satan or the Devil has been imagined as the foe of divinity and humanity. Cosmologically, all dragons and serpents slain by their adversaries are the unregulated or chaotic cosmic principles bought to order by the spiritual sun gods or formative cosmic powers. The dragon is the demiurge, the establisher or former of our planet and of all that pertains to it — neither good nor bad, but its differentiated aspects in nature make it assume one or the other character.

The dragon symbol, then, is both cosmic and human in its applications: it may stand for powers of nature, which first overcome man, but which he must eventually overcome, as well as the monad atma-buddhi, which through the manasic principle seeks imbodiment, but needs the help of the still lower principles in order to effect a union with the principles of earth. Cosmologically analogies are drawn between the north polar constellation Draco and one or the other of the great floods, and the word dragon is sometimes used to denote such a flood; for the position of this constellation relative to that of the earth’s axis of rotation is intimately connected with cataclysms. The dragon in its higher or superior sense means among other things divine wisdom, especially where the serpent is used for terrestrial wisdom; and adepts or initiates were frequently called dragons. The dragon may be the symbol of a cycle; and the sevenfold dragon may mean the seven minor cycles in a great cycle.

Dragon of Wisdom Commonly an adept, one of the wise; also popularly a skilled magician — whether of the right or left path. Referring to the earliest stages of cosmogony, dragon is a term often used for the sun in its various cosmologic functions, also for the One or Logos. An important significance of the phrase is that the real initiator of humanity, or of the individual neophyte, is the person’s own higher ego.

In Chinese Buddhism the term is used for the genii of the four quarters, called in China the Black Warrior, the White Tiger, the Vermilion Bird, and the Azure Dragon — the Four Hidden Dragons of Wisdom. In her rendering of the Stanzas of Dzyan, Blavatsky uses Dragon of Wisdom as an equivalent of Oeaohoo the Younger — the germ and overseer of all things to the end of the life cycle.

Dragshed drag dshed (Tibetan) “Wrathful” deities; protective deities in a terrifying form, represented as bearing the dorje, the diamond scepter of the gods. Also applied to high initiates who represent on the human plane the same type of power of a wholly beneficent character that the kindly and powerful divinities are supposed to wield.

Drakon. See DRAGON

Draupadi (Sanskrit) Draupadī The wife in common of the five Pandava princes and brothers. In the allegory of the Mahabharata, she stands for the terrestrial life of the personality and, as such, she is made very little of and is allowed by Yudhistthira to be insulted and even taken into slavery during a wager at a game of dice. Yudhishthira was the eldest of the Pandava brothers and Draupadi’s chief lord. In this relation he represents the higher ego.

Draupnir (Icelandic) Dropner (Scandinavian) [from Icelandic drjupa, Swedish drypa to drip] In Norse myths, the magic ring wrought for Odin by the dwarfs Brock (minerals) and Sindre (vegetation), sons of Ivalde (the moon), at the fashioning of the earth. From Draupnir drop eight rings like itself every ninth night, symbolizing the succession of cycles within larger cycles.

On the death of Balder, the sun god, at the hands of his blind brother Hoder, Odin laid Draupnir on his son’s funeral pyre; Hermod, sent as messenger of Odin to the realm of Hel, queen of the dead, received it back and returned it to Odin.

Dravidian One of the three great groups of non-Aryan races in India, regarded as indigenous, along with the Tibeto-Burmese and the Kolarian. The Dravidians entered the Punjab through the northwestern passes, and after subjugating the peoples they encountered, eventually settled in the southern portion of India where they are still situated in large numbers. Although subjugated by the Aryans, they were so strongly entrenched that they were not broken up as were the other non-Aryans. The five principal Dravidian languages are: Tamil, Telugu, Kanarese, Malayalam (or Malabar), and Tulu. See also TAMIL

Dravya (Sanskrit) Dravya [from the verbal root dru to run, be in motion, become fluid, melt] Substance, thing, object; in philosophy, elementary substance, of which nine are mentioned in the Nyaya system: prithivi, ap, tejas, vayu, akasa, kala, dis, manas, and atman; in the Jain system there are only six: jiva, dharma, adharma, pudgala, kala, and akasa.

In the seven padarthas (catagories of existing things) of the Vaiseshika system, dravya is enumerated as the first and corresponds to sthula-sarira in the theosophical sevenfold classification of the human principles.

Dream Commonly applied to the chaotic impressions which memory transmits to our consciousness at the moment of waking, which are but a small part of the dreaming which goes on during the sleeping period and which is not recollected. To a large extent dreams are a reflex of our sensory impressions and of our thoughts during the waking state; the principles concerned in these cases being kama and the lower aspect of manas, which act and react with the various nerve centers and the organs at the base of the brain. But if the word dream is to be distinguished from dreamless sleep on the one hand and waking consciousness on the other, it must include a far higher kind of dream which is the experiences of the higher aspect of manas. These experiences, being so different from those of the waking state, cannot be transmitted to the latter except symbolically or in distorted form.

The astral light also plays an enormous part in most dreams. We may witness scenes which cannot have formed part of our waking experience, and evidently in this case are seeing pictures in the astral light which we correctly or erroneously connect with our own personality. Again, with prophetic dreams our vision, untrammeled by physical senses, perceives in the astral light the image of what will later happen on the physical plane, and we may occasionally carry a recollection of what has been seen into the waking state.

The Sanskrit term for this state of sleeping consciousness is svapna.

Dreamless Sleep The state of human consciousness in which a person is wrapped in profound self-oblivion, a state quite distinct from the waking state as also from the dreaming state. It is used in theosophical writings as an equivalent for the Sanskrit sushupti.

Drishti (Sanskrit) Dṛṣṭi [from the verbal root dṛṣ to see, behold with the mind’s eye] Seeing, the faculty of sight; also the mind’s eye, hence wisdom, intelligence. In Buddhism, not only a theory, doctrine, or visioning, but by contrast a wrong philosophical view of things.

Drought, Drouth A cyclic condition of the earth’s astral light reacting upon the atmosphere and cooperating with other meteorological causes bringing about periods of dryness over larger or smaller portions of the earth; in extreme form, it brings about a state of periodic ekpyrosis or burning, resulting in the reduction of fertile areas into deserts. The opposite of this condition, resulting in extraordinary rains and floods of longer duration, and sometimes extending over wide surfaces of the earth, is called cataclysm. The dragon is said by the Chinese to be able to affect climate, producing droughts, rain, etc., a direct reference to the astral light in its cyclic workings upon earth; in history, the human application of the dragon is made to magicians of the fourth or early fifth root-race. Samael, Satan, or the Red Dragon, the Simoom, and the Vedic Vritra are drought producers, as is the Babylonian Tiamat, the dragon slain by Bel or by Merodach.

Drshti. See Drishti

Druids Members of a priestly hierarchy among the ancient Celts of Britain, Gaul, and Ireland, composed of the three Orders of Druids, Bards, and Ovates. According to the Gaulish reports mentioned by Julius Caesar, Druidism was founded in Britain, which remained in his time its headquarters, candidates for the priesthood being sent to that island from Gaul for their training. The Welsh tradition confirms this, stating the The Wisdom had always existed; that in remote times it was known simply as Gwyddoniaeth (science) and its teachers as the Gwyddoniaid (sing., Gwyddon); that knowledge of it had declined until at some unknown period a wiseman named Tydain Tad Awen arose and taught it to his three disciples, Plenydd, Gwron, and Alawn, who in their turn taught it to the race of the Cymry. From that time forth it was known as Derwyddoniaeth or Druidism, “the wisdom taught in oak groves.”

Classical references to the Druids are many, coming from about 200 b.c. until about 200 a.d. Those written before Caesar made his attack on Gaul speak of the Druids as possessors of a high wisdom; the very first reference says that it was held in Greece that philosophy came to the Greeks from the barbaroi or foreigners: the Brahmins of India, the Magi of Persia, the Egyptian priesthood, and the Druids.

While the Romans were fighting the Celts, writers, beginning with Caesar, repeat more or less what has been said before about the wisdom of the Druids but, following Caesar, have much to say about their atrocities. When the Romans were no longer at war with the Druidic Celts, however, the references to the Druids are similar to the early ones, with no mention of atrocities. Blavatsky stated that Druidism was the one branch of the sacred Mysteries of antiquity in the Western world which had not degenerated; and that during the campaigns of Caesar and his forces in Gaul, three million Gauls were killed and Druidism virtually wiped out there. It is Caesar who is responsible for the current notion that the Gauls and Britons were crude savages and the Druids barbarous and cruel. He stated first that the Druids of Gaul, who were judges as well as priests, inflicted excommunication as their severest sentence, passed even on the worst criminals. Excommunication was their capital punishment. Later on in his book he describes the famous wicker cages filled with criminals (with just men added when there were not criminals enough) who were then burnt. The two statements are contradictory. The later statement is entirely unsupported; the former is not only compatible with the Druids’ reputation for profound wisdom and great humanity, but is supported indirectly by practically every classical reference which mentions the Druids at all.

In Gaul in Caesar’s time Druidism was very highly organized and controlled the whole civilization, a fact Caesar is known to have deliberately understated, for in many respects Gaulish civilization was more advanced than Roman. We know nothing of Druidism in Britain from the classical writers, except that Britain was its headquarters and place of origin, and that the Druids were massacred in Mona (Anglesea), an island in northwest Wales which seems to have been the Druids headquarters in Britain.

Of Druidism in Ireland we know even less: the Irish Sagas do not indicate that the Druids there were either priests or jurists, or indeed very important people; they appear rather as necromancers at the royal courts, astrologers, magicians, etc. Had Druidism been an organized system, as in Gaul and presumably in Britain, Patrick, the Christian missionary, could hardly have converted the whole island with the little trouble he had. In Britain, however, as soon as the Romans with their proscription of Druidism had departed in 410, there is every reason to think that Druidism flamed up again: Welsh literature, from the 6th to the end of the 15th century, is full of interesting references.

Greek and Roman authors all make much of the Druidic belief in reincarnation. One of them relates that you could always borrow money to be repaid in such and such a future life on earth — showing that it was reincarnation, the coming back as a human being, and not transmigration, the coming back as an animal, that was taught. The likeness between Druidism and Pythagoreanism is often mentioned, which perhaps suggested the legend that Pythagoras studied not only under Eastern but also under Western or Druidic teachers; and that other belief, that philosophy came to Greece not only from the East, but also from the Druids.


Druses A sect calling themselves Disciples of Hamsa, living mainly on Mt. Lebanon in Syria, with offshoots in neighboring regions. Its origin is a puzzle to scholars. It seems to have preserved an esoteric school and to have guarded it successfully by exclusiveness towards other peoples. They believe that the Deity, ordinarily inscrutable, manifests himself from time to time in avataric Messiahs. The fact that their faith seems to scholars to have affinity with so many different sources is proof of its eclecticism.

Dryad (Greek) [from drys oak, tree] Nymphs — nature spirits or elementals — pertaining especially to trees. Their life as individuals was said to be bound up with that of the tree to which it was attached and to perish when the tree perished. To modern views they were spirits in trees; to the ancients they were the tree itself considered as a living soul, viewed not only apart from but also in connection with the physical framework of the tree.


Dualism In theology, the doctrine that there are two independent and opposing deific powers conjointly ruling the universe as, for instance, in the Zoroastrian system when it teaches that Ormazd and Ahriman, the good and evil deities, divide between them the supremacy. It is opposed to monotheism, but not necessarily to polytheism. In philosophy, the doctrine that there are two fundamental principles underlying all manifestation, such as spirit and matter, force and matter, mind and matter and in a more extended sense good and evil, high and low, black and white; in fact the doctrine has its origin in the so-called pairs of opposites in nature. Here, it is opposed to monism but not necessarily to pluralism. These oppositions of ideas in both theology and philosophy are often quite unnecessary, and rise from the tendency of the mind to keep conceptions in rigidly thought-tight compartments, without that intermingling of principle to principle, based on a fundamental unity, which is demonstrated to be true by all we know of even physical nature.

Theosophy teaches that unity and duality, with their development as plurality in manifestation, subsist throughout the universe, every duality being comprised in a unity existing on a higher plane of being than its dual manifestation — and the duality reproducing itself in the webwork of pluralities composing the manifested universe. This is on the principle of the Pythagorean Monad producing the Duad, which produces the Triad, the last again reproducing itself in incomputable hierarchical numbers. Thus, light and dark are the dual manifestations of that which is called at once absolute light and darkness; spirit and matter are the dual manifestations of the one life; the most fundamental duality being the alternation between manvantara and pralaya, which are aspects of the ever-productive ineffable source. Monistic and dualistic philosophies merely accentuate each its own side of the question, and in reality each view more or less implies the other. The Zoroastrian doctrine, for example, in its esoteric side recognized that dualism applies only to the planes of manifestation which flow forth from it.

Duck In the opening runes of the ancient Finnish epic, the Kalevala, the earth is represented as coming into being by means of a duck or teal; in other Finnish legends it is an eagle. The duck makes her nest upon the knees of Ilmatar, the great water-mother, and lays six golden eggs and a seventh of iron. When the eggs hatch, fire is enkindled within Ilmatar, which causes her to shake herself, and in doing so she shakes the eggs into the great waters.

The primeval duck is very similar in idea to kalahansa, the primeval goose of ancient Hindustan, and also the Egyptian goose and Seb “the great Cackler”; although this ancient Finnish epic preserves the ancient wisdom-teaching of the seven globes which comprise the earth planetary chain, and also on a larger field of action, the solar system itself in its various inner and outer planes, and the surrounding and comprehending universe or galaxy.

Dudaim (Hebrew) Dūdā’īm The mandrake, the atropea mandragora, mentioned in Genesis 30:14-17. As used in the Qabbalah, it “is the Soul and Spirit; any two things united in love and friendship (dodim). ‘Happy is he who preserves his dudaim (higher and lower Manas) inseparable’” (TG 105).

Dugpadrug pa dug-pa (Tibetan) Adherents of the Buddhist religion of Tibet who, previous to the reform by Tsong-kha-pa in the 14th century, followed sorcery and other more or less tantric practices, which are entirely foreign to the pure teachings of Buddhism. In theosophical literature dugpa has been used as a synonym for Brother of the Shadow — especially in The Mahatma Letters.

The four surviving schools of Tibetan Buddhism are the Rnying ma pa (Nying-ma-pa), the Bka’ rgyud pa (Kar-gyu-pa), the Sa skya pa (sa-kya-pa), and the Dge lugs pa (Ge-lug-pa). The Kar-gyu-pa, the lineage of Marpa and Milarepa, is more than the others divided into many subschools. One of these is the Dugpa sect, dominant in the Indo-Tibetan border areas of Ladakh in the west and Bhutan in the east. The Bhutanese and Tibetan name of Bhutan is ’brug yul (dug-yul), “country of the thunder-dragon” (’Brug means both thunder and dragon). One explanation for the name of the sect refers to an experience of the sect’s founder, Tsand-pa Gya-re (Gtsang pa rgya ras, 1161-1211). In the course of establishing a monastery he was either startled by intense thunder or witnessed a flight of dragons, and named the monastery thunder-dragon (’brug). The sect and its adherents were named after the monastery, and the country where they prevailed was named after the sect. The dugpa subschool is further subdivided into three branches, known as Middle Dugpa (’bar ’brug), Lower Dugpa (smad ’brug), and Upper Dugpa (stod ’brug). See also DAD-DUGPA

Duhkha (Sanskrit) Duḥkha [from dus + kha; or from duḥ-stha standing badly, unsteady, unhappy] Painful, difficult; as a noun, pain, affliction, trouble, personified as the son of Naraka and Vedana.

Dukkha. See DUHKHA

Dula (Sanskrit) Dulā One of the seven Pleiades.

Dumah (Hebrew) Dūmāh The land of silence, the regions of the dead; in the Qabbalah used for the Angel of Silence or of Death. It has somewhat the same significance as the Greek Hades; another term for the same astral regions is She’ol.

Dunamis (Greek) Potency; used by Aristotle in contrast to energeia (act), for the invisible aspect of the universe as opposed to the visible or manifest; equivalent to Plato’s noeton (intelligible) and aistheton (sensible) (FSO 194).

Duodenary (or Dodecad) The number 12, or a group of 12. A most important number in cosmic symbology, as in the 12 signs of the zodiac, the 12 apostles, the 12 great gods of Olympus and other theogonies, the 12 sons of Jacob, and 12 months of the year. The Olympian gods are six male and six female, showing dual aspects of each of the six rays of the logos (not including the synthesizing seventh); and the signs of the zodiac in astrology are similarly divided into masculine and feminine. In Buddhist cosmogony are the 12 nidanas — the chief causes of manifested existence, effects generated by a concatenation of causes, ending on this our physical plane. In theosophy the 12 globes, principles, etc., are distributed on seven planes, five on the three arupa planes, and seven on the four rupa planes.


Duration As used in theosophy, clearly distinguished from time. Duration is; it has neither beginning nor end, nor is it broken up into cyclic periods as time is. Time may be called its representation in the manifested universe, and therefore time is finite. Duration is outside of both manifested time and space; it is here that the distinction between time and space, both being manifestations, may be said to disappear, and we may say that abstract space and duration are one. Thus boundless duration divides into what may be called eternal, universal, unconditioned time and a conditioned time — the former the noumenon and the latter phenomenon.

Durga (Sanskrit) Durgā The inaccessible; the sakti or so-called feminine potency or powers of a spiritual being, hence often used as a name of the consort of Siva. See also DEVI-DURGA

Duscharita or Duscharitra (Sanskrit) Duścarita, Duścāritra [from the verbal root duś-car to act wrongly, behave badly] Misbehavior, ill-conduct, wickedness. In Buddhism, the ten chief sins: three performed by the senses acting through the body (murder, theft, and adultery), four of the mouth (lying, calumny, lewd gossip, and evil speech), and three of the mind or lower manas (covetousness, envy, and wrong belief).

Duty. See DHARMA

Dvadasa-kara (Sanskrit) Dvādaśa-kara The twelve-handed one; title of the Hindu god Karttikeya not only because the 12 signs of the zodiac are said to be hidden on his body, but because these 12 signs work more or less powerfully through this divinity, each sign being viewed as an organ or instrument of activity. Actually, all the divinities are organs or channels through which the 12 zodiacal influences pour and work.

Karttikeya is also called Dvadasaksha (the twelve-eyed one) for the same reason.

Dvaita (Sanskrit) Dvaita Duality; applied to a Vedanta sect, also called Madhvas after their founder, Madhva (born c. 1200). The chief doctrine of this school is duality, standing in opposition to the teachings of Sankaracharya, whose system is known as the Advaita (non-duality). The Dvaita Vedantists assert that there are two principles in the universe: the supreme Being, and the innumerable multitudes of other beings among which are mankind — and that these are distinct one from the other. See also RAMANUJACHARYA.

Dvalin (Icelandic) [from dvala delay; or Swed dvala coma] A dwarf in ancient Norse mythology, the comatose or entranced human nature corresponding to the lesser elements of character; not entirely animal but not completely evolved as a human being, he accurately describes the imperfect, growing, and changing human self. Together with the skilled intelligence of Loki, Dvalin created appropriate gifts for the gods Odin, Thor, and Frey. See also DWARFS

Dvandva (Sanskrit) Dvandva [from dva two] A pair, couple; a pair of opposites; a contest or conflict between two people. In grammar, a couple of names used together, or any compound in which the two parts or words if unjoined would remain in the same case and be connected by the conjunction and (e.g., deva-gandharvas).

Applied also to the third sign of the zodiac, Gemini.

Dvapara Yuga (Sanskrit) Dvāpara Yuga [from dvāpra twain, double + yuga age] The third of the four great yugas which constitute a mahayuga (great age). Its duration is 864,000 human years. The Mahabharata gives a description of the dvapara yuga:

“In the Dwapara Yuga righteousness was diminished by a half. The Veda became fourfold. Some men studied four Vedas, other three, others two, others one, and some none at all. Ceremonies were celebrated in a great variety of ways. From the decline of goodness only few men adhered to truth. When men had fallen away from goodness, many diseases, desires, and calamities, caused by destiny, assailed them, by which they were severely afflicted and driven to practise austerities. Others desiring heavenly bliss offered sacrifices. Thus men declined through unrighteousness” (abridged by Muir, 1:144)

Dvesha (Sanskrit) Dveṣa [from the verbal root dviṣ to hate] Hatred, dislike, enmity, anger; “One of the three principle states of mind (of which 63 are enumerated), which are Raga — pride or evil desire, Dwesa — anger, of which hatred is a part, and Moha — the ignorance of truth. These three are to be steadily avoided” (TG 107).

Dvija (Sanskrit) Dvija [from dvi two + the verbal root jan to be born] Twice-born; nowadays in India used for any man of the first three of the four castes who has undergone a certain ceremony; specifically used of a Brahman (Dvija-Brahmana) who is said to be reborn after investiture with the sacred thread, but in older times this term was used only the initiated Brahmins.

In theosophical literature, generally used for an initiate in the original sense of the word: one who really and actually is twice-born — the first time physically, the second time spiritually and intellectually through initiation. The modern-day purely ceremonial and ritualistic observance of “passing through a silver or golden cow” (TG 107) is a faithful but purely physical emblematic ceremony of which even among most modern Brahmins the real and original meaning has been utterly forgotten. Just as in ancient Egypt, from archaic times in Hindustan the cow has always been considered the symbol of Mother Nature, who brings to birth all things out of her ever fertile and continuously productive womb; gold has always stood for the sun, the parent of the human spiritual and intellectual faculties, while silver stood for the moon, parent of the lower human mind. Thus, just as human beings through repeated rebirths through the womb of nature grows through evolution in all parts of their constitution, so through initiation does a person become a twice-born or dvija, by being reborn from either the sun or the moon — both of them organs of Mother Nature.

Dvipa (Sanskrit) Dvīpa A zone, region, land, or continent; those in Hindu mythology refer esoterically to the seven globes of the earth’s planetary chain, as well as to the seven great continents which come successively into existence as the homes of the seven root-races. These seven dvipas are given in Sanskrit works as Jambu, Plaksha, Kusa, Krauncha, Saka, Salmala, and Pushkara.

Dwaita. See DVAITA

Dwapara Yuga. See DVAPARA YUGA

Dwarf(s) (Icelandic) [from dvergr, Anglo-Saxon dveorg, German zwerg, Swedish dvarg] Popularly thought to be “little people,” in Norse mythology they are described as mindre (which can mean either “smaller” or “less”) than human; hence dwarfs may be regarded as creatures smaller than or less evolved than human beings. The word may also connote “middle,” which can describe the position of the so-called dwarf kingdoms in our universe.

Among the dwarf names in the Eddas are typical animal characteristics, such as Antlered or Speedy. There are also more general names such as Sindre (vegetation) and Brock (the mineral world). At the formation of our globe earth Sindre and Brock, sons of Ivaldi, regent of the former earth — now the moon — created suitable gifts for the gods Odin, Thor, and Frey in competition with Loki and Dvalin (human nature). Their respective gifts were:

Artisans: Sindre and Brock // Loki and Dvalin
for Odin: Draupnir - - - - - - // - - Gungnir
for Thor: Mjolnir - - - - - - - // - - Sif’s hair
for Frey: Gullinbursti - - - - // - - Skidbladnir

Thus the vegetable and animal world produce for Odin the cyclic progression of events, for Thor electric power and life force, and for Frey (the earth deity) the golden boar (earth) on which he rides through space; the gifts of Loki (intelligence) and Dvalin (unawakened human soul) are: for Odin the spear which never fails its mark (spiritual will), for Thor they restore the golden hair of Sif (the harvest, spiritual and material), and for Frey the ship which contains all seeds of life but which can be folded up like a kerchief when its age is over.

Dwarf of Death. See DAINN

Dweller on the Threshold (Dweller of the Threshold) Coined by Bulwer-Lytton in his romance Zanoni, where it represents a malevolent entity of awful and terrifying aspect awaiting to menace and tempt the aspirant to occultism. The author, by means of this vivid portrayal, has expressed the mystical fact that when one has taken a stand to overcome a certain weakness in one’s nature, or even a habit, such resolution seems to array all the opposing forces against the aspirant. Thus it may readily be understood that when one seeks to enter the domain of the occult, a similar experience awaits the candidate; but the forces or energies thus aroused are of one’s own making, and they must be met and conquered by their originator before progress may be successfully made. “The real Dweller on the Threshold is formed of the despair and despondency of the neophyte, who is called upon to give up all his old affections for kindred, parents and children, as well as his aspirations for objects of worldly ambition, which have perhaps been his associates for many incarnations. When called upon to give up these things, the neophyte feels a kind of blank, before he realizes his higher possibilities.” (Subba Row, Theos 7:284).

Generally speaking, because of their menacing aspects, the term Dweller on the Threshold might be applied to the denizens of kama-loka, specifically to the past kama-lokic or astral remnants of a former incarnation which haunt the new imbodiment of that reincarnating ego. A person who gives way to strongly material impulse and desires forms for himself a kama-rupa which, when the person dies, can persist without undergoing complete dissolution until the quick return of such materially-minded human soul to reincarnation, when the kama-rupa is then strongly attracted to the person thus reimbodied and haunts him as an evil genius, continually instilling by automatic psychomagnetic action thoughts and impulses of evil, temptations, and suggestions of fear and terror — all of which the person himself was responsible for in his last life.

There is even such a dweller for globes of a planetary chain of strongly material characteristic. Our moon is such a dweller to the earth. All planetary chains in the solar system probably have or have had their moons, but not in all have such moon-dwellers lasted long after the planetary chain undergoes imbodiment anew.

Dwesa. See DVESHA

Dwija. See DVIJA

Dwipa. See DVIPA

Dyanisis. See DAYYAN’ISHI

Dyaus (Sanskrit) Dyaus [nominative of div, dyu heaven, sky from div day, brightness from the verbal root div to shine] Heaven, sky; in the Vedas the sky was regarded as descending in three divisions, named from below upwards avama, madhyama, and uttama or tritiya. The sky was designated the father (dyaush-pita); the earth, the mother (dyava-prithivi); and ushas (dawn) the daughter. The term stands for “the unrevealed Deity, or that which reveals Itself only as light and the bright day — metaphorically” (TG 97).

Dyfed (Welsh) Modern Pembrokeshire, called Gwlad Hud a Lledrith (Land of Illusion and Phantasy). Closely associated with the family of gods, Pwyll, Rhianon, Pryderi — gods of the underworld or Otherworld — and in some way regarded as being close to the Otherworld. The builders of Stonehenge brought one of their circles of stones from the Preselen Mountains in Dyfed; one suspects their motive to have been to give a certain consecration to the place with stones from the Land of the Gods of the Otherworld.

Dynasties Among ancient peoples almost worldwide there have always been two types of dynastic government, the divine and the human. Ancient religious philosophy taught that government should try to follow the pattern set in the heavens or in the hierarchies of nature; and it was upon this fact that arose the early teaching of what became later known as the divine right of kings. In fact, early human history taught of the former existence of dynasties which ruled the various peoples of earth by the right of spiritual wisdom and knowledge, first through demigods, then heroes, and finally before the system passed into the merely human dynasties as we now know them, the dynasties of initiate-kings.

In ancient Hindustan there were two principal dynasties of kings, as given in the epics and the Puranas, named the Suryavansa (the Solar Dynasty) and the Chandravansa (the Lunar Dynasty). The former was said to have been descended from the sun through Ikshvaku, who according to mythology was the son or grandson of the sun, Vaivasvata-Manu, the progenitor of our present humanity. The Chandravansa was said to have sprung from Atri, the maharshi (great rishi), whose son again was Soma or the moon, whence the name lunar given to the dynasty.

In ancient Egypt there were thirty Dynasties of kings, as enumerated by the historian Manetho. But the Egyptian priests told Herodotus that there were three divine dynasties which preceded the reign of the human kings: that of the gods, of the demigods, and of the heroes. China too had its divine dynasties which preceded the human dynasties: thus the Chow rulers are placed at 1100 BC, but they were again preceded by the Sheng and the still earlier Hea (or Hia) dynasties. The Greeks taught the existence of divine dynasties followed by human, and Plato tells of divine and semi-divine instructors who first taught mankind the arts, sciences, and agriculture. The same general tradition is found in ancient America. The ancient Chaldeans used the figures 4 3 2 in their calculations concerning the time periods of their dynasties, which they said extended backwards from themselves for a length of 432,000 years.

The Secret Doctrine states that the earliest human races were instructed and guided by divine and semi-divine beings. Thus, the fourth or Atlantean race originally received its knowledge of cycles and astronomy, as well as of the arts and sciences, from divine and semi-divine dynasts. Before the Atlanteans, the Lemuro-Atlanteans were the first who had a dynasty of spirit-kings — actual living dhyanis or demigods who had assumed bodies to teach and guide humankind; and they also instructed mankind in arts and sciences (SD 2:222).

An ancient Egyptian zodiac has been found which represented three Virgins: “The three ‘Virgins,’ or Virgo in three different positions, meant . . . the record of the first three ‘divine or astronomical Dynasties,’ who taught the Third Root-Race; and after having abandoned the Atlanteans to their doom, returned (or redescended, rather) during the third Sub-Race of the Fifth, in order to reveal to saved humanity the mysteries of their birth-place — the sidereal Heavens. The same symbolical record of the human races and the three Dynasties (Gods, Manes — semi-divine astrals of the Third and Fourth, and the ‘Heroes’ of the Fifth Race), which preceded the purely human kings, was found in the distribution of the tiers and passages of the Egyptian Labyrinth” (SD 2:435-6).

Dyookna(h), Dyoqna, D’yuqnah. See DIYYUQNA’

Dzyan (Senzar) Closely similar to the Tibetan dzin (learning, knowledge). Although Blavatsky states that dzyan is “a corruption of the Sanskrit Dhyan and Jnana . . . Wisdom, divine knowledge” (TG 107), there is also a Chinese equivalent dan or jan-na, which in “modern Chinese and Tibetan phonetics ch’an, is the general term for the esoteric schools, and their literature. In the old books, the word Janna is defined as ‘to reform one’s self by meditation and knowledge,’ a second inner birth. Hence Dzan, Djan phonetically, the ‘Book of Dzyan’ ” (SD 1:xx). This term then is connected directly with the ancient mystery-language called Senzar, with Tibetan and Chinese mystical Buddhism mostly of the Mahayana schools, and thirdly with the Sanskrit dhyana of which indeed it was probably originally a corruption.

Dzyu (Senzar) Real knowledge; “the one real (magical) knowledge, or Occult Wisdom; which, dealing with eternal truths and primal causes, becomes almost omnipotence when applied in the right direction. Its antithesis is Dzyu-mi, that which deals with illusions and false appearances only, as in our exoteric modern sciences. . . . Dzyu is the expression of the collective Wisdom of the Dhyani-Buddhas” (SD 1:108).

Dzyu-mi. See DZYU

Top of File


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

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