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 firstname.lastname@example.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 | 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 | 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
Sama, Saman (Sanskrit) Śama, Śāman [from the verbal root śam to be quiet, calm, resigned] Tranquility, calmness, equanimity, absence of passion, emancipation from all the illusions of existence; the fifth of the eight bhava-pushpas (flowers of being) of Buddhism: charity, self-restraint, impersonal affection, patience, resignation, selfless devotion, meditation, and veracity. Through the practice of the eight flowers, sama secures the conquest and final delivery from all kinds of mental and psychological agitation.
Samadhana (Sanskrit) Samādhāna [from sam-ā-dhā to put together, restore] The collection of all the principles of a person’s constitution into a single unity, thus restoring the person as an entitative being to the wholeness of the atmic reality. “That state in which a Yogi can no longer diverge from the path of spiritual progress; when everything terrestrial, except the visible body, has ceased to exist for him” (TG 286). It is true religious meditation, and profound intellectual absorption into and contemplation of pure spirit.
Samadhi (Sanskrit) Samādhi [from sam with, together + ā towards + the verbal root dhā to place, bring] To direct towards; to combine the mental faculties towards an object. Self-consciousness union with the spiritual monad by intense and profound spiritual contemplation or meditation. It implies “the complete abstraction of the percipient consciousness from all worldly, or exterior, or even mental concerns or attributes, and its . . . becoming the pure unadulterate, undilute super-consciousness of the god within. . . . Samadhi is the eighth or final stage of genuine occult Yoga, and can be attained at any time by the initiate without conscious recourse to the other phases or practices of Yoga enumerated in Oriental works, and which other and inferior practices are often misleading, in some cases distinctly injurious, and at the best mere props or aids in the attaining of complete mental abstraction from worldly concerns” (OG 150-1). The seeker on attaining samadhi becomes practically omniscient for his solar universe because his consciousness is functioning in the cosmic spiritual and causal worlds.
Bodhi (enlightenment) is a particular state of samadhi, during which the subject reaches the culmination of spiritual knowledge. Samadhi is the highest state on earth that can be reached while in the body; its highest stage or degree is called turiya. To attain beyond this, the initiate must have become a nirmanakaya.
Samadhindriya (Sanskrit) Samādhīndriya The root of meditation, the organ of meditation; “the fourth of the five roots called Pancha Indriyani, which are said in esoteric philosophy to be the agents in producing a highly moral life, leading to sanctity and liberation; when these are reached, the two spiritual roots lying latent in the body (Atma and Buddhi) will send out shoots and blossom. Samadhindriya is the organ of ecstatic meditation in Raj-yoga practices” (TG 286).
Samael (Hebrew) Sammā’ēl In the Hebreo-Chaldean Qabbalah, the Prince of Darkness, the Angel of Death or Poison, who rules the seven habitations called Sheba‘ Ha-yechaloth, zones of our globe, yet these seven habitations or infernal regions are the lower seven of the ten degrees which make the dwelling places of the beings inhabiting the fourth or lowest world of the Qabbalah, of which Samael is supposed to be the hierarch or prince. This fourth or lowest world of Qelippoth (shells) is divided into ten degrees forming the lowest hierarchy of the Qabbalistic system corresponding to the ten Sephiroth. These ten stages of the world of shells are again subdivided into three higher or relatively immaterial, and seven lower, material, or infernal ranges; and of these seven Samael is supposed to be the hierarch or ruler. The Talmud states, however, that “the evil Spirit, Satan, and Sama’el the Angel of Death, are the same” (Rabba Batra, 16a); and Samael is also there made equivalent to the Biblical serpent of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. He is also termed the chief of the Dragons of Evil, and is popularly made responsible for the hot scorching wind of the desert — the simoom. In conjunction with Lilith he is represented as the Evil Beast (hiwyai’ bisha’).
Thus Samael, “the dark aspect of the Logos — occupies only the rind of that tree, and has the knowledge of EVIL alone” (SD 2:216n), i.e., the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. In Explaining the Hebrew terms as applied to the theosophical sevenfold classification of the human principles, Blavatsky makes Samael equivalent to kama, the seat of desire and emotional energy (SD 2:378). Yet there is another aspect to Samael: “In the ‘Chaldean Book of Numbers’ Samael is the concealed (occult) Wisdom, and Michael the higher terrestrial Wisdom, both emanating from the same source but diverging after their issue from the mundane soul, which on Earth is Mahat (intellectual understanding), or Manas (the seat of Intellect). They diverge, because one (Michael) is influenced by Meschamah, while the other (Samael) remains uninfluenced. This tenet was perverted by the dogmatic spirit of the Church; which, loathing independent Spirit, uninfluenced by the external form (hence by dogma), forthwith made of Samael-Satan (the most wise and spiritual spirit of all) — the adversary of its anthropomorphic God and sensual physical man, the DEVIL!” (SD 2:378).
Precisely as all other cosmic forces or energies, then, Samael is dual, possessing in its higher aspects divine attributes, and in its lower aspects material or infernal attributes. Similarly, kama not only in nature but in man is in itself an abstract and impersonal natural principle, with its divine side as well as its material side, and therefore is per se neither good nor bad in the human sense, but becomes either when used or misused by the human mind. See also SHEMAL
Samajna (Sanskrit) Samājña The enlightened one; a name of the Buddha; the famous vihara near Kustana (China) is called the Sangharama-Samajna (the monastery of the luminous sage). Also spelled Samadjna.
Saman (Sanskrit) Sāman A particular kind of sacred text or verse intended to be chanted — one of the four kinds of Vedic composition. See also SAMA-VEDA
Samana (Sanskrit) Samāna [from sam together + the verbal root an to breathe, blow] The vital air or life-current which carries on the chemical action in the body and is connected with the functions of digestion and assimilation. One of the pranas or vital airs which build and sustain the manifested vehicle. Its physical seat is in the abdomen. See also UDANA
Samanera (Pali) Sāmaṇera A novice in Buddhism.
Samantabhadra (Sanskrit) Samantabhadra The universal sage, the wholly auspicious one; a name of Gautama Buddha, and also of one of the four bodhisattvas of the Yogacharya school of Mahayana philosophy. A Yogacharya legend states that there are three celestial and four terrestrial bodhisattvas — an allusion to the upper triad and the lower quaternary of the seven human principles. The four terrestrial bodhisattvas act only in the present races, yet in the middle of the fifth root-race has appeared the fifth terrestrial bodhisattva, the Buddha Siddhartha-Gautama. It is said that he appeared somewhat before his periodic time and was obliged to disappear bodily from the world for a while. The four terrestrial bodhisattvas refer to the four rounds thus far appearing in our present planetary chain — three rounds having been completed, and the fourth about half run. The three celestial bodhisattvas mentioned refer to the spiritual forces or powers of the three rounds still to come — the fifth, sixth, and seventh rounds. These bodhisattvas are in celestial spheres awaiting their turn to take their place in the septenary line of cosmic teachers. Once they appear on earth they become terrestrial bodhisattvas, although remaining nevertheless celestial or transcendent — as the four bodhisattvas who have already appeared have done or are.
Samantaprabhasa (Sanskrit) Samantaprabhāsa Universal or perfect splendor; according to Buddhist legend, this is the general name by which each of the 500 perfected arhats will reappear as individuals on our earth as a buddha.
Samanya (Sanskrit) Sāmānya As a noun, that which is common, general, universal; a community or the commingling of qualities; also an abstract notion of genus, such as humanity. As an adjective, inclusive, whole, entire, general, or universal as opposed to specific or particular.
Samanya-sarira (Sanskrit) Sāmānya-śarīra [from sāmānya whole, entire, inclusive + śarīra body, vehicle] The inclusive body or vehicle; referring to the elements in which the different human principles work — which thus become upadhis when considered as a unity. The aggregate of the transmitting elements in the human constitution conveying the light from atma-buddhi, the spiritual monad. It is the light from this spiritual monad which, traversing the aggregate of the elements of the human constitution (samanya-sarira) is called the light of the Logos, so far as man is concerned; the Logos here being the individuals.
Samanyas (Sanskrit) Sāmanya-s Brahmins conversant with the Sama-Veda and trained to chant and recite the sacred hymns.
Samapatti (Sanskrit) Samāpatti [from sam-ā-pad to progress to perfect fulfillment from the verbal root pad to go, progress] In Buddhism, a subdivision of the fourth stage of abstract meditation (there being eight samapattis); “perfect concentration” in the raja yoga system of occult training, a state of intellectual, spiritual, and psychic unfolding in which meditation becomes vision, and there ensues perfect indifference to things of this world. Said to be the final degree of development, upon reaching which the possibility of entering into samadhi is attained.
Samaritans The Shemitic people inhabiting a restricted portion of central Palestine west of the Jordan, Hebrews with their own special doctrinal beliefs and perhaps practices. Following Josephus and the New Testament, the term covers that portion of the Israelites who regarded themselves as descendants of the ten tribes of Israel, claiming to possess the orthodox religion of Moses in their manuscripts of the Pentateuch. The Samaritans, however, regarded the Jewish temple as well as the Jewish priesthood as having broken off from the orthodox law of Moses which they represented: they declared, further, that Mt. Gerizim overhanging Shechem was the true choice for the sanctuary of God, and not Zion.
The idea familiarly connected in the West with the term of a compassionate, humanitarian person, as in the good Samaritan, is based upon the parable in the New Testament (Luke 10:30-37).
Samavaya (Sanskrit) Samavāya [from sam together + ava down + the verbal root i to go] Coming together, meeting together; a concourse, assembly, etc. In philosophy, perpetual co-inherence, or an inner or intimate relation — one of the seven padarthas or categories of the Vaiseshika system founded by Kanada. The relation which exists between a substance and its qualities, or a whole and its parts; e.g., the relation between a piece of cloth and the threads composing it. Blavatsky compares the seven padarthas to the seven qualities of the seven principles.
Sama-Veda (Sanskrit) Sāma-veda The Veda of chants (samans); one of the three principal Vedas. Many of the hymns of the Rig-Veda are found in the Sama-Veda, modified so as to be better adapted for chanting, especially during the ceremonies of the soma sacrifices. The rhythms to be chanted to the arrangement of verses found in the Sama-Veda are given in a special treatise.
The Sama-Veda is mystically described as having come forth from or been inspired by the sun. It is said by Hindu Vedic specialists to have reference to the pitris (ancestors), while the Rig-Veda has the gods as its object, and the Yajur-Veda men as its object.
Samaya (Sanskrit) Samaya [from sam together + the verbal root i (aya) to go] A coming together, meeting together, a compact, treaty, agreement. Also convention, law, rule, practice, precept, doctrine. In a religious sense, a regular ritualistic observance or religious obligation, combined with the accompanying precepts or instruction.
Samba or Samba (Sanskrit) Sāmba, Śāmba The reputed son of Krishna by Jambavati. According to esoteric tradition Krishna had no son; therefore Samba is symbolic of some power attained by Krishna. Through a curse of some holy sages, Samba was condemned to produce offspring in the shape of a terrific iron club for the destruction of the race of Yadu. Samba accordingly brought forth as iron club which was pounded and cast into the sea. But one piece which could not be crushed was subsequently found in the belly of a fish, and was used to tip an arrow used by the hunter Jaras (old age) to unintentionally kill Krishna. Thus old age finally overtakes and gathers in all things; and our future karma flows forth from our emotional and mental offspring, and sooner or later overtakes us all through time or old age. The iron club may represent the blows of destiny, based upon the kama of which iron is often a symbol; we may attempt to destroy the effects of our feelings and thoughts, but always there will be one little portion which cannot be crushed, and which is the seed of the future destiny, at least of our lower self.
Sambhala, Shambhala (Sanskrit) Śambhala A mystical and unknown locality, mentioned in the Puranas and elsewhere, from which will appear in due course the Kalki-avatara of Vishnu. Sometimes spelled Shambala. Buddhists state that out of Sambhala will come the next buddha, Maitreya. Sambhala
“is an actual land or district, the seat of the greatest Brotherhood of spiritual Adepts, of great Sages and Seers, on the Earth today. It is the secret home of the Brotherhood of the theosophical Mahatmans and their Chiefs; and from Sambhala at certain times in the history of the world, or more accurately of our own Fifth Root-race, come forth the Messengers or Envoys of the Great Brotherhood has branches or Subordinate Lodges in various parts of the world, but Sambhala is the center of Chief Lodge. We may tentatively locate it . . . in a little known and remote distract of the high table-lands of central Asia, more particularly in what is now called Tibet. A multitude of aeroplanes might fly over the place without ‘seeing’ it, for its frontiers are very carefully guarded and protected against invasion, and will continue to be so until the karmic destiny of our present Fifth Root-race brings about a change of location to some other spot on the Earth, which then in its turn will be as carefully guarded as Sambhala now is” (OG 152).
Sambhogakaya (Sanskrit) Sambhogakāya [from sambhoga enjoyment together, delightful participation + kāya body] Participation body; the second of the trikaya (three glorious vestures) of Buddhism, the highest being dharmakaya, and the lowest nirmanakaya. A buddha in the sambhogakaya state still retains his individual self-consciousness and sense of egoity, and is able to be conscious to a certain extent of the world of men and its griefs and sorrows, but has little power or impulse to render aid. See also TRIKAYA; TRISARANA; TRAILOKYA
Sambhu (Sanskrit) Śambhu [from śam auspiciously, happily + bhu being, existing] Benevolent, causing happiness, kind, a title given to many of the Hindu gods.
Sankaracharya in his Saundarya-lahari addresses the light in which the Logos makes its appearance as “the body of Sambhu” (Notes on the BG 76).
Sambhuti (Sanskrit) Sambhūti Combination, conjunction, co-union; one of the daughters of Daksha, and consort of Marichi (light, light-monad), the father of the agnishvattas.
Samdhi. See SANDHI
Samdhya. See SANDHI
Samdhyansa. See SANDHYANSA
Samdhyabandana. See SANDHYAVANDANA
Samika (Sanskrit) Śamīka In the Vishnu-Purana Parasara tells his disciple Maitreya that at the end of the kali yuga Maitreya will teach to Samika the whole of the Purana as it has just been related to him. Hence Samika represents some sage to come in the far future.
Samjna. See SANJNA
Samkalpa (Sanskrit) Saṃkalpa [from sam-klṛp to bring about, be desirous] A conception or idea formed in the mind or heart, especially will or purpose; also considered as the will personified.
Samkhya. See SANKHYA
Samma-sambuddha (Pali) Sammā-sambuddha Used by mystic Buddhists and raja-yogins to signify the complete or perfected knowledge of the whole series of one’s past lives, a phenomenon of memory obtained through the practice of true inner yoga or self-control. More generally, full or complete awaking, in the sense that all the higher nature of the individual is thoroughly awakened and active, thus conferring virtual omniscience as regards our solar system; it likewise brings with it great spiritual and psychic powers. It is the full efflorescence and self-conscious activity of the spiritual monad in and through the one who has attained to this sublime degree in spiritual unfoldment, the becoming at one with the cosmic Logos.
Also a title of Gautama Buddha referring to his perfect inner illumination.
Samnaddha. See SANNADDHA
Samnati (Sanskrit) Saṃnati [from sam-nam to bend together, bow] Reverence.
Samothrace An island in the north Aegean celebrated for a school of the Mysteries, more profound than the Mysteries of Eleusis, “perhaps the oldest [Mysteries] ever established in our present race” (TG 287). The island is of volcanic formation and connected with traditions of a deluge. Its Mysteries were related to the worship of the kabiri, the holy fires of the most occult powers of nature, which legend says formed on the seven localities of the island the kabir born of the Holy Lemnos sacred to Vulcan. It was colonized by Phoenicians and before them by the mysterious Pelasgians who came from the East, which indicates its connection with the ancient Mysteries of India. Here was enacted every seven years the Mysteries — what the Shemitic peoples of Asia Minor called the Sod. The sacred fire preserved at Samothrace was communicated to the candidates of initiation, who thus began a new life — the real meaning of baptism by fire and the spirit.
The Mysteries of Samothrace and of Eleusis were the two most famous in ancient Greek civilization, and it would be difficult to find which was held in greater reverence. Those at Samothrace were more scientific and philosophic, while those celebrated at Eleusis were more of a mystical and religious character.Sampa-jnana (Sanskrit) Sampa-jñāna [possibly from sam + the verbal root pat to fall or fly, to rush together (sometimes given as śampā, lightning) + jñāna, wisdom] “Wisdom acting with lightning swiftness,” and hence a power of internal illumination.
Samsara (Sanskrit) Saṃsāra [prefix sam + the verbal root sṛ to go, proceed; to wander about] The word Samsara is commonly rendered as the wandering of the human monad under karmic impulsions through enormously varying successions of states, and in different spheres or worlds of the manifested as well as unmanifest universe — the processes of metempsychosis and transmigration with particular application to human monads and the doctrine of reincarnation.
From another more general standpoint Samsara is the passage through the three worlds as commonly given in Buddhism: physical, astral, and mental; and from a more esoteric viewpoint the word could embrace the entire whirlings or wanderings of the monadic centers of beings through the seven Worlds.
Samskara (Sanskrit) Saṃskāra [prefix sam together + the verbal root kṛ to make, to do; to compose, to impress] In philosophy the term is used to denote the impressions left upon the mind by individual actions or external circumstances capable of being developed on future occasion.
Samskara is intimately connected with causative action and its consequences, i.e., with karma. It is the creative mind continually weaving together new ideas and new notions in action which develops the propensities and impulses to consequent reactions or effects. As a metaphysical term Samskara is defined variously: as illusion, as notion, or as a species of discrimination. As the eleventh Nidana, it is action on the plane of illusion with the essential significance as the causative impulses which impel to action on the plane of illusion.
Samskara is also the fourth of the Skandhas or attributes, the “tendencies of mind.”
Samtati (Sanskrit) Saṃtati [prefix sam together + the verbal root tan to stretch, extend] Continuity, uninterruptedness.
Samvara (Sanskrit) Saṃvara [prefix sam + the verbal root vṛ to enclose, to surround; to restrain or check] A name of a deity worshiped by the Tantrikas. Also applied to the preserving, continuative, or upholding functions of Vishnu.
Samvarta (Sanskrit) Saṃvarta [prefix sam + the verbal root vṛt, to roll forwards] A minor Age or Kalpa A period in creation after which a partial annihilation of the world occurs.
Samvat (Sanskrit) Saṃvat [a contraction of sam + vatsara year] A full year, having twelve (or sometimes thirteen) months. In later times, it referred especially to the Vigrama Era which commenced 58 BC as contrasted with the Śaka Era.
Samvriti (Sanskrit) Saṃvṛti [prefix sam + the verbal root vṛt to enclose; to cover, to involve] The holding of “false conception,” because the percipient ego is enclosed or covered or involved with material energies and powers. Samvriti hence may be called the origin of all illusion or maya. “One has to acquire true Self-Consciousness in order to understand Samvriti or the ‘origin of delusion’.” (SD 1:44)
For the student of the Esoteric Philosophy, initiation is the casting aside of the enclosing or involving sheaths of consciousness and psychic integuments freeing the spiritual glory within.
Samvriti-Satya (Sanskrit) Saṃvṛti-satya [from saṃvṛti concealment, covering + satya truth] The congnizance of minor or relative truths. The student-initiate’s enlarging consciousness progressively demonstrates to itself the illusive character or mayavi emptiness of all mere things. Samvriti-satya is relative truth in contrast with Paramartha-satya, the Absolute Reality or Truth.
Samyag-Ajiva (Sanskrit) Samyagājīva [from samyak perfect, correct + ājīva livelihood] “Right Livelihood,” in Buddhism one Path of the Holy Eightfold Path, also mendicancy for religious purposes, and the vow of poverty obligatory on every Arhat.
Samyag-Drishti (Sanskrit) Samyagdṛṣṭi [from samyak, perfect, correct + dṛṣṭi vision, insight] “Right Insight,” in Buddhism one Path of the Holy Eightfold Path. The ability to understand and discuss truth.
Samyak-Karmanta (Sanskrit) Samyakkarmānta [from samyak perfect + karmānta accomplishment, conclusion of a sacred action] Literally, “working out perfectly the very end of one’s karmic destiny.” In Buddhism, “Right Action,” one Path of the Holy Eightfold Path.
Samyak-Samadhi (Sanskrit) Samyaksamādhi Perfect or complete meditation. As “Right Concentration,” one Path of the Holy Eightfold Path of Buddhism.
Samyak-Sambuddha (Sanskrit) Samyaksambuddha [from samyak, perfect + the verbal root budh to awaken with the prefix sam meaning excellence] One who is “fully awakened” and hence a “teacher of perfection.” One of the titles of excellence and reverence given to Gautama the Buddha.
Samyak-Sambuddhi (Sanskrit) Samyaksambuddhi The state of perfect enlightenment.
Samyama (Sanskrit) Saṃyama [from sam together + the verbal root yam to hold, to sustain; self-restraint, self-control, forbearance] Samyama is explained in Patanjali’s Yoga Aphorisms as follows: “When this fixedness of attention [dhāraṇā], contemplation [dhyāna], and meditation [samādhi] are practiced with respect to one object, they together constitute what is called Samyama. By rendering Samyama — or the operation of fixed attention, contemplation, and meditation — natural and easy, an accurate discerning power is developed.” (Bk. III, śl. 4,5)
Samyama is a very technical word that can vary with meaning according to the school. It does include more, though, than merely “fixed attention, contemplation, and meditation,” i.e., the idea of the restraining or controlling or checking of the ever-active, volatile, uncertain, and fleeting activities of the mind.
Samyutta-Nikaya (Pali) Saṃyutta-Nikāya One of the principal Buddhist works: one of five parts of the Suttanta-Pitaka — a collection of Suttas (dialogs between the Buddha and his disciples). Also spelled Samyuttaka-Nikaya.
Sanaischara (Sanskrit) Śanaiścara [from śanaiḥ slowly + cara moving] “The slowly moving one:” the planet Saturn, or of its regent. Also given as a name for the sun or other slowly moving heavenly bodies.
Sana, Sanaka, Sananda, Sanatana. See SANAT-KUMARA
Sanat-kumara (Sanskrit) Sanat-kumāra [from sanat from of old, always + kumāra youth from ku with difficulty + māra mortal] Eternal youth; the most important of the four groups of kumaras, the mind-born sons of Brahma who “refused to create.” These purely spiritual beings, being cosmically youthful, were destined by evolution to pass through the realms of matter. The four groups of kumaras — Sanat, Sananda, Sanaka, and Sanatana — as names, “are all significant qualifications of the degrees of human intellect” (TG 289). Personified, Sanat is the oldest of the progenitors of mankind. Although Hindu literature usually speaks of four kumaras, nevertheless it frequently hints at there being seven such mind-born sons. The four kumaras named above are considered exoteric, while three others are considered esoteric, and their names are given as Sana, Kapila, and Sanat-sujata.
Sanat-sujata (Sanskrit) Sanat-sujāta Always beautiful, perpetually and primevally well-born — well-born signifying original derivation from spirit rather than from the realms of matter. One of the three groups of esoteric kumaras, “which contains the mystery of generation and reincarnation” (TG 289). See also SANAT-KUMARA
Sanatsujatiya (Sanskrit) Sanatsujātīya One episode in the Udyoga Parva of the Mahabharata, consisting of a dialogue between Sanatsujuata and Dhritarashtra; a philosophical treatise of high distinction, commented on by Sankaracharya.
Sancha-dvipa. See SANKHA-DVIPA
Sanchoniathon or Sanchuniathon (Phoenician) An ancient writer, said to have lived before the Trojan War. Fragments of his work were translated by Philo Byblius (1st-2nd century) whose writings are known to us only through the works of Eusebius. Scholars differ in regard to the extracts made from Sanchoniathon: some hold that they are translations from the Phoenician cosmogony; others maintain that Philo simply used this statement as a means for adding weight to his own writings, because the fragments appear to be a gathering together of information, showing great knowledge of Egyptian, Greek, and even Persian ideas, which are not believed to have been the original form of the Phoenician religion.
Sanchita (Sanskrit) Saṃcita [from sam-ci to unite, accumulate] That which is piled together or gathered; sanchita-karma is that accumulated karma which is not yet worked out, and is therefore unripe, waiting for expression in manifestation. Prarabdha-karma is that karma which is ripe, which has arisen from the past and is expressing itself.
Sanctum Sanctorum (Latin) Holy of Holies. See also ADYTUM
Sandalphon (Hebrew) Sandalfōn Qabbalistic term alleged to be the name of the chief of angels: “the Kabbalistic Prince of Angels, emblematically represented by one of the Cherubim of the Ark” (TG 289). In the Zohar the name of the “supreme chief” of the seventh heaven who “introduces the prayer into the seven palaces, to wit, the Palaces of the King” (Sperling’s trans 4:185); again Sandalphon is described as the “angel in charge of the prayers of Israel,” who “takes up all those prayers and weaves out of them a crown for the Living One of the worlds” (ibid., 2:143).
Sandhi, Samdhi (Sanskrit) Saṃdhi [from sam together + the verbal root dhā to place] That which combines or unites; the interval between day and night, twilight; also the period at the expiration of each yuga (age), or between two manvantaras or kalpas. Equivalent to 1/10 the duration of the yuga and lasts until the commencement of the next yuga. Such is the way the time periods of the yugas are calculated, whether according to divine years or solar years. However, when attention is concentrated solely on the dawns and twilights (there being a dawn and a twilight for each such time period in a yuga), every dawn and twilight conjoined is 1/6 of the length of each such time period: in other words, a dawn or twilight is 1/12 of the length of such period. As an example, a mahayuga of 4,320,000 solar years (or 12,000 Divine Years, 360 solar years making one Divine Year) consists of four minor yugas — the krita, treta, dvapara, and kali, decreasing in length by the Pythagorean scale of 4, 3, 2, 1 respectively. Thus counting in Divine Years, the krita is 4800 such years long, the treta 3600 such years, the dvapara 2400 such years, and the kali 1200 such years. Otherwise phrased, the krita is 4000 years long plus 1/10 thereof — 400 years for its dawn and 400 years for its twilight. The treta is 3000 years long plus 1/10 that period or 300 years for its dawn and 300 years for its twilight. The dvapara and the kali are calculated by the same rule. With solar years, the system can be illustrated by stating that the kali yuga is 360,000 solar years long, 1/10 of that period or 36,000 years each for its dawn and its twilight, the total comprising the full duration of 432,000 years. Thus the 2/10 when added are 72,000, which is 1.6 of the total duration; and either the dawn or twilight is 1/12 of the total or 36,000.
Another form of the term is sandhya; whereas sandhyansa is often specifically used for the period ending or closing a yuga and is 1/10 of the length of the age that it closes.
Sandhya or Samdhya. See SANDHI
Sandhyansa or Samdhyansa (Sanskrit) Saṃdhyāṃśa [from saṃdhyā a transition period, twilight, dawn + aṃśa part] Part of the transition period, the period of a sandhya immediately following or preceding a yuga, and thus either a twilight or dawn. It is often customary in ancient Hindu writings to speak of sandhyansa as the last portion of a sandhi, the end of a twilight; but this is taking only one of the two main junction periods as standing for both, because the end of dawn would be a sandhyansa likewise. See also SANDHI
Sandhyavandana or Samdhyabandana (Sanskrit) Saṃdhyāvandana [from saṃdhyā twilight, dawn + vandana salutation, worship, praise, prayer from the verbal root vand to greet, worship, praise] The morning and evening hymns and acts of worship.
Sandracottos. See CHANDRAGUPTA
Sanga (Sanskrit) Saṅga [from the verbal root sañj to adhere, attach] Worldly or selfish attachment or affection; “the Sankhyas say: give up Sangam, that desire to do Karma, which alone seems to connect the soul with it, and renounce this connection, which alone renders the soul responsible for the Karma” (N on BG 114).
Sangbai Dag-po (Tibetan) [from sang ba to remove (impurity), cleanse, be freed from (or sang sbad hidden, concealed) + bdag po (dak-po) lord] The concealed lord; applied to one who has entered nirvana; a title of “those who have merged into, and identified themselves with, the Absolute” (TG 289). Equivalent to the Sanskrit jivanmukta and nirvani.
Sanggyas sangs rgyas (sang gye) (Tibetan) Equivalent of Sanskrit buddha; one name of Gautama Buddha with a philosophical connection with Sanghai Dag-po. Sometimes panchen (the great ocean, great teacher) is added.
Sangha, Samgha (Sanskrit) Sangha (Pali) Saṅgha, Saṃgha, Sangha [from sam together + han to strike together, unite] Assemblage, gathering, convocation; in Buddhism, popularly applied to the assemblage of Buddhist priests (sangha-bhikkhu) and often rendered incorrectly as the Buddhist church. The Order or Brotherhood are also translations.
The idea conveyed is the unity of all who accept the doctrine of the Lord, i.e., Buddhists. More mystically applied by Buddhist initiates to signify likewise the unity or universal brotherhood of all human beings at any time or place, who through knowledge or natural intuition follow the law of the Buddhas, the law of right and compassion.
Sanguis (Latin) Blood; in alchemical symbolism, a member of the trinity spiritus, aqua, sanguis — spirit, water (soul), blood (body) — or sulfur, mercury, salt.
Sanhedrin (Hebrew) Sanhedrīn [from Greek synedrion assembly, cf Latin synedrium] An assembly, especially the gathering of the Jewish elders for judiciary purposes; originally the Jewish municipal council, called in the Mishnah the Great Council of 71 members and the Great Court of Justice.
Sani (Sanskrit) Śani The planet Saturn or its regent; in the Hindu pantheon, the son of Surya (the sun) and of either Sanjna (spiritual consciousness), the daughter of Visvakarman, or Chhaya (shadow), the spiritual shadow thrown off or left behind by Sanjna. Sani is almost invariably represented as a black individual clothed in black, and his titles include Saptarchi (seven-rayed one) and Asita (dark or obscure). The influence of Saturn, spiritually and astrologically, is enormous, and though commonly considered the great malefic in astrology, this is but a one-sided view, for Saturn’s influence often is as helpful as it is dangerous upon occasions.
Sanjna, Samjna (Sanskrit) Sañjñā, Saṃjñā [from sam wholly, completely + the verbal root jñā to know] Full knowledge, understanding, comprehension; mystically, spiritual consciousness. According to the Puranas, the daughter of Visvakarman and wife of Surya (the sun). In the Vishnu-Purana (3:2) Sanjna, “ ‘unable to endure the fervours of her lord,’ gave him her chhaya (shadow, image, or astral body), while she herself repaired to the jungle to perform religious devotions, or Tapas. The Sun, supposing the ‘chhaya’ to be his wife begat by her children, like Adam with Lilith — an ethereal shadow also, as in the legend, though an actual living female monster millions of years ago” (SD 2:174). This refers to the creation of the first root-race, the “chhaya-birth, or that primeval mode of sexless procreation, the first-race having eased out, so to say, from the body of the Pitris . . .” (ibid).
Also the third of the skandhas (attributes), signifying abstract ideas (sanna in Pali).
Sanjna-veshin (Sanskrit) Sañjñā-veṣin One who wears the robe of understanding or spiritual consciousness, the initiation robe donned by these entering nirvana.
Sankalpa or Samkalpa (Sanskrit) Saṅkalpa, Saṃkalpa [from sam-klṛp to be brought into existence, wish, produce] A conception or idea formed in the mind or heart; thought, ideation, desire. The Vedas say that the whole universe is evolved through sankalpa — the ceaselessly acting impulsions of karma driven by cosmic kama — and hence it is only through sankalpa that the universe retains its karmic structure, appearances, and continuance.
Sankaracharya (Sanskrit) Śaṅkarācārya, Śaṃkarācārya [from Saṅkara a personal name + ācarya teacher] The beneficent teacher; one of the greatest initiates of India. The Upanishads, Gautama Buddha, and Sankaracharya are considered by many to be the three lights of the wisdom of India. In a very mystical way Sankaracharya was Buddha’s esoteric successor. He was an avatara, as was Jesus. Sankaracharya set himself to preserve the wisdom previously lighted, or brought to men, by Gautama Buddha. By his pure living and high thinking, causing an outpouring of lofty spiritual and intellectual thought from his very soul-life, he kindled the truth in the hearts of many who had lost it through following dogmatic trends of religion, rather than holding to the inner spirit of the ancient teachings. Sankaracharya worked mostly with the Brahmin order — the highest caste in India — where the advantages of heredity, of ages of high ideals and rigid discipline, could most easily, if accepted, receive the pure truths, and also could best supply a body of men fitted by character and training to master the higher knowledge, sustain it, and pass it on.
Sankaracharya did this in three ways: first by writing commentaries on the great Upanishads and the Bhagavad-Gita which revealed the original message of these old writings; secondly, by himself composing a series of original works, such as Ata-bodha, Ananda-lahari, Jnana-bodhini, and Mani-ratna-mala, as well as catechisms and manuals for students wishing to follow the path of wisdom; thirdly, by a system of reform and discipline within the Brahmin order itself, which if accepted and faithfully followed would so purify and clarify the mind and body, that his disciples finally became fit to receive his precepts.
Sankaracharya was also the founder of the Advaita-vendanta school of philosophy. The story of his life is very remarkable. He was born according to tradition in the 6th century BC, probably about 510. He lived, to be only 32 years old, but owing to his extraordinary capacities he accomplished many great and spiritual works for humanity. Probably most of the marvelous episodes recorded about his life are allegories of certain of his spiritual experiences and conquests, written in this form — as was the custom of students of the Mystery schools — in order to veil the deep mysteries of his life.
Sankha-dvipa (Sanskrit) Śaṅkha-dvīpa Spoken of in the Puranas as one of the nine divisions of Bharata-varsha or India. Blavatsky identifies it with the Poseidonis of Plato’s Atlantis, which Solon declared to have reached its end some 9,000 years before his time. All the history given in the Puranas about Sankha-dvipa and Sankhasura is geographically and ethnologically Plato’s Atlantis in Hindu dress. The Puranic account speaks of the island as still existing.
Sankhara (Pali) Samskara (Sanskrit) Saṅkhāra, Saṃskāra Tendencies (both physical and mental), former impressions, former dispositions; the fourth of the skandhas (bundles of attributes) enumerated in Buddhism.
Sankhasura (Sanskrit) Śaṅkhāsura A daitya said in Hindu legend to have waged war against the gods and to have conquered them, upon which he stole the Vedas and hid them at the bottom of the sea, whence they were rescued by Vishnu in the form of a fish. There are also vague references in connection with one of the dvipas (Sankha-dvipa) and it is tempting to suppose that they are connected. Another Hindu legend mentions the killing of Sankhasura by Krishna — another instance of the way in which this avatara is placed in many different ages as the Krishna spirit in the world rather than as any incarnated avatara of that name: the death of Krishna is stated as having begun the kali yuga in 3102 BC, whereas Sankha-dvipa was one of the great islands of the Atlantean continental system of several million years ago.
Sankhya or Samkhya (Sanskrit) Sāṃkhya [from sam-khyā to reckon, enumerate] The third of the six Darsanas or Hindu schools of philosophy, founded by Kapila, called thus because it divides the universe, and consequently man, into 25 tattvas (elementary principles), of which 24 represent the various more or less conscious vehicles or bodies in which lives and works the 25th, Purusha or the true self. The whole purpose of this school is to teach the essential nature of the universe and of man as an inseparable part of the universe; so that this Purusha — the ultimate thinking spiritual ego, composed in its essence of pure bliss, pure consciousness, and pure being — may be freed from the clinging bonds of the other 24 tattvas.
Blavatsky suggests that there was a succession of Kapilas; but that the Kapila who slew King Sagara’s 60,000 progeny was the founder of the Sankhya philosophy as stated in the Puranas. Further, the Sankhya philosophy may have been brought down and taught by the first, and written out by the last, Kapila, the great sage and philosopher of the kali yuga (cf SD 2:571-2).
As concerns the 24 tattvas, all derivative from the spiritual originant Purusha, they are divided into eight original prakritis (producers), and 16 derivatives of these eight prakritis called vikaras (productions). The eight prakritis themselves spring forth from mulprakriti (original nature or root-substance). In and through these 24 tattvas Purusha manifests itself during the manvantaric period. This system of tattvas therefore is applicable either to the universe or to any entity as a component part of the universe, since the fundamental law of things repeats itself in the great and the small.
The Sankhya school is closely related both in system and philosophical substance to the Yoga school founded by Patanjali.
Sankhya-karika or Sankhya-saptati (Sanskrit) Sāṃkhya-kārikā, Sāṃkhya-saptati A well-known textbook of the Sankhya philosophy; a collection of 72 verses by Isvara-Krishna, perhaps the oldest extant systematic exposition of the Sankhya system.
Sankhya-sara (Sanskrit) Sāṃkhya-sāra A work on the Sankhya philosophy by Vijnana-bhikshu.
Sankhya Yoga, Samkhya Yoga (Sanskrit) Sāṃkhya-yoga The realization, union, or at-one-ment with the higher self by the methods of the Sankhya system of philosophy. It is treated of in the second chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita.
Sanna. See SANJNA
Sannaddha or Samnaddha (Sanskrit) Saṃnaddha [from sam + the verbal root nah to be bound, covered, armed] The armed one, the equipped one; one of the seven principal rays or logoi of the sun.
Sannyasa (Sanskrit) Saṃnyāsa [from sam together with + ni-as to reject, resign worldly life] Putting or throwing down, laying aside, abandonment; particularly renunciation of the world and material affairs and the assumption of the path leading to mystic knowledge. The practitioner is called a sannyasin.
Sannyasin (Sanskrit) Saṃnyāsin [from sam together with + ni-as to reject, resign worldly life] One who abandons or sets aside worldly affairs and fixes his mind upon the attainment of mystic knowledge; more commonly, a devotee, ascetic, one who has renounced all worldly concerns and devotes himself to spiritual meditation and the study of the Upanishads, as also does a Brahmin in the fourth stage of his life. The sannyasin is one who practices sannyasas.
Sanskrit [from Sanskrit saṃskṛta] The ancient sacred language of the Aryans, originally the sacred or secret language of the initiates of the fifth root-race. The Sanskrit language possesses voluminous and valuable works in prose and in verse, some of which, like the Vedas, date back, in the opinion of certain scholars, to the years 30,000 BC or even far beyond. Almost every phase of philosophic thought, expressed and studied in the West, is represented in one form or another in ancient Hindu literature. Besides this, these old Sanskrit writings are replete with recondite subjects dealing with the wondrous potentialities of the human spirit and mind, the building and destruction of worlds and universes, etc.
The Sanskrit language, derives from one of the earliest of the Aryan tongues, a lineal descendant of an Atlantean progenitor.
“In ancient times in India, and in the homeland of the Aryans before they reached India by way of Central Asia, this very early Aryan speech was used not only by the Aryan populace, but in the sanctuaries of the Temples was taken in hand and developed or composed or builded to be a far finer vehicle for expressing abstract religious and philosophic conceptions and thoughts. This tongue thus composed or developed by initiates of the Aryan stock, because of this formative work upon it was finally given the name Sanskrita, signifying an original natural language which had become perfected by initiates for the purpose of expressing far more subtle and profound distinctions than ordinary people would ever find needful. So great was the admiration in which the Sanskrit language thus perfected was held, that it was commonly said of it that it was the work of the Gods, because it had thus become capable of expressing godlike thoughts: profound spiritual subtleties and philosophical distinctions. Thus it was that Sanskrit is really the mystery-language of the initiates of the Aryan race; as the Senzar of very similar history was the mystery-language of the later Atlanteans; and is still used as the noblest mystery-language by the Mahatmas.
“Sanskrit was not known as a spoken tongue to the Atlanteans in their prime, but in the degenerate or later times of Atlantis, when the earliest Aryans already had appeared on the scene of history, this early Aryan speech above alluded to, was already in existence; and the Aryan initiates were then in the course of perfecting it as their temple-language or mystery-tongue . . . Thus Sanskrit was not spoken among the Atlanteans, nor can it therefore be called an Atlantean language; although its verbal roots of course go back to earliest Atlantean times, but only its verbal roots” — G. de Purucker
“The Vedas, Brahmanism, and along with these, Sanskrit, were importations into what we now regard as India. They were never indigenous to its soil. There was a time when the ancient nations of the West included under the generic name of India many of the countries of Asia now classified under other names. There was an Upper, a Lower, and a Western India, even during the comparatively late period of Alexander; and Persia (Iran) is called Western India in some ancient classics. The countries now named Tibet, Mongolia, and Great Tartary were considered by them as forming part of India. When we say, therefore, that India has civilized the world, and was the Alma Mater of the civilizations, arts, and sciences of all other nations (Babylonia, and perhaps even Egypt, included) we mean archaic, pre-historic India, India of the time when the great Gobi was a sea, and the lost ‘Atlantis’ formed part of an unbroken continent which began at the Himalayas and ran down over Southern India, Ceylon, and Java, to far-away Tasmania” (Five Years of Theosophy 179).
Blavatsky states that Sanskrit has never been known nor spoken in its true systematized form except by the initiated Brahmins. This form of Sanskrit was called — as well as by other names — Vach, the mystic speech, which resides in the sounds of the mantra. “The chanting of a Mantra is not a prayer, but rather a magical sentence in which the law of Occult causation connects itself with, and depends on, the will and acts of its singer. It is a succession of Sanskrit sounds, and when its strings of words and sentences is pronounced according to the magical formulae in the Atharva Veda, but understood by the few, some Mantras produce an instantaneous and very wonderful effect” (BCW 14:428n). This Vach, or the mystic self of Sanskrit, was the sacerdotal speech of the initiated Brahmins and was studied by initiates from all over the world.
“It is admitted that, however inferior to the classical Sanskrit of Panini, the language of the oldest portions of Rig Veda, notwithstanding the antiquity of its grammatical forms, is the same as that of the latest texts. Every one sees — cannot fail to see and to know — that for a language so old and so perfect as the Sanskrit to have survived alone, among all languages, it must have had its cycles of perfection and its cycles of degeneration. And, if one had any intuition, he might have seen that what they call a ‘dead language’ being an anomaly, a useless thing in Nature, it would not have survived, even as a ‘dead’ tongue, had it not its special purpose in the reign of immutable cyclic laws; and that Sanskrit, which came to be nearly lost to the world, is now slowly spreading in Europe, and will one day have the extension it had thousands upon thousands of years back — that of a universal language. The same as to the Greek and the Latin: there will be a time when the Greek of Aeschylus (and more perfect still in its future form) will be spoken by all in Southern Europe, while Sanskrit will be resting in its periodical pralaya; and the Attic will be followed later by the Latin of Virgil. Something ought to have whispered to us that there was also a time — before the original Aryan settlers among the Dravidian and other aborigines, admitted within the fold of Brahmanical initiation, marred the purity of the sacred Sanskrita Bhasha — when Sanskrit was spoken in all its unalloyed subsequent purity, and therefore must have had more than once its rise and fall. The reason for it is simply this: classical Sanskrit was only restored, if in some things perfected, by Panin. Panini, Katyayana, or Patanjali did not create it; it has existed throughout cycles, and will pass through other cycles still” (Five Years of Theosophy 419-20).
See also DEVANAGARI
Santa (Sanskrit) Śānta [from the verbal root śam to cease, be extinguished] Placidity, quiet, “the primeval quality of the latent, undifferentiated state of elementary matter” (TG 290) — equivalent to tamas, one of the three gunas (qualities of nature).
Santati, Santhathi, Samtati (Sanskrit) Saṃtati [from the prefix sam together + the verbal root tan to stretch or extend] Continuous connection, progeny, lineage. Subba Row states in his Notes on the Bhagavad-Gita that each Root-Race is considered as the Santati of a particular Manu. (cf SD 2:140n)
Saoshyant (Avestan) Soshyans, Soshans, Soshyosh (Pahlavi) Used in the Gathas in the sense of a benefactor who renovates the world and brings salvation to mankind. In Avestic literature, there are three Sosyans named Hushydar, Hushydar-Mah, and Sushyant, who will come in succession at periods of one thousand years (Bundahesh 32). See SOSIOSH
Saphar. See SEPHER
Sapphire Many ancient peoples knew how to avail themselves of the magical virtues of precious stones. The sapphire was especially valued because supposed to enshrine some of the influences of Venus as transmitted through other attributes to Luna or the higher aspect of the Moon, and so to be able to induce equanimity and banish evil thoughts. ” ‘The sapphire,’ say the Buddhists, ‘will open barred doors and dwellings (for the spirit of man); it produces a desire for prayer, and brings with it more peace than any other gem; but he who would wear it must lead a pure and holy life’ ” (IU 1:265). Modern authorities surmise that the sappheiros of the Greeks and the sappir of the Bible were our lapis lazuli, while our sapphire was called hyacinthus. The same qualities are attributed to the color blue.
Sapta (Sanskrit) Sapta The numerical adjective seven.
Sapta-buddhaka (Sanskrit) Sapta-buddhaka The title of an “account in Mahanidana Sutra of Sapta Buddha, the seven Buddhas of our Round, of which Gautama Sakyamuni is esoterically the fifth, and exoterically, as a blind, the seventh” (TG 290).
Sapta-dvipa (Sanskrit) Sapta-dvīpa [from sapta seven + dvīpa island, continent] The seven islands or continents of the world as described in the Vishnu-Purana. Esoterically, the seven great continental systems each one lasting many millions of years, which come successively into existence as the respective homes of the seven root-races. On a greater scale they also may represent the seven globes of the planetary chain.
Sapta-loka (Sanskrit) Sapta-loka [from sapta seven + loka world, sphere, place] The seven great spheres or cosmic planes of manifested life.
Saptaparna (Sanskrit) Saptaparṇa Seven-leaves, sevenfold; the man-plant, sevenfold man, or seven-principled human being. The “mysterious number Seven, born from the upper triangle, the latter itself born from the apex thereof, or the Silent Depths of the unknown universal soul (Sige and Bythos), is the sevenfold Saptaparna plant, born and manifested on the surface of the soil of mystery, from the threefold root buried deep under that impenetrable soil” (SD 2:574).
Also a sacred plant spoken of in Buddhist legends; and a name of a famous cave of seven chambers where Gautama Buddha taught esoteric truths to his select circle of arhats, located near Mount Baibhar in Rajagriha, the ancient capital of Mogadha; it was the Cheta cave of Fa-hian (SD 1:xx).
Saptaparna can apply to the entire range of the manifested universe in its seven manifesting planes, hanging like a seven-leaved pendant or jewel from the uppermost triad of the superspiritual, the seven plus the three of the uppermost triad thus forming the sacred cosmic ten. In its human application it signifies the entire range of the sevenfold or seven-principled human constitution, hanging in its turn like a seven-leaved or -faceted pendant from the uppermost triad or divine monad.
It is the unfolding of these seven leaves during manvantara that furnishes the whole course of evolutionary development, from the beginning of the kosmic manvantara to its end, and from the beginning of the cycle of human evolution to its end in buddhahood or human divinity.
Sapta-ratnani (Sanskrit) Sapta-ratnāni [from sapta seven + ratnāni jewels] Seven jewels; applied by the ancient esoteric schools of the Orient to seven key teachings or master keys, a knowledge of which gives one a relatively complete understanding of nature and its operations, being a synopsis of all possible human knowledge on this earth during this present fourth round. These seven key teachings when properly understood in all their ramifications and recognized to be absolutely interconnected in meanings, supply the student with a relatively complete picture of the sevenfold nature in both its spiritual and material aspects.
In modern theosophy, the seven jewels are given as reimbodiment, karma, hierarchies, svabhava, evolution, the two paths, and atma-vidya (self-knowledge, the One and the many).
Saptarshis (Sanskrit) Saptarṣi-s [from sapta seven + ṛṣi sage] Seven sages or rishis; the seven great planetary spirits intimately connected with the constellation Ursa Major. Their names are commonly given as Marichi, Atri, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, and Vasishtha. “By the seven great Rishis, the seven great rupa hierarchies or classes of Dhyan Chohans, are meant. Let us bear in mind that the Saptarshi (the seven Rishis) are the regents of the seven stars of the Great Bear, therefore, of the same nature as the angels of the planets, or the seven great Planetary Spirits. They were all reborn, all men on earth in various Kalpas and races. Moreover, ‘the four preceding Manus’ are the four classes of the originally arupa gods — the Kumaras, the Rudras, the Asuras, etc.: who are also said to have incarnated. They are not the Prajapatis, as the first are, but their informing principles — same of which have incarnated in men, while others have made other men simply the vehicles of their reflections” (SD 2:318n). The seven rishis are also said to mark the time and the duration of events in our septenary life cycle.
The stars of our entire galaxy are all intimately connected together, spiritually, intellectually, psychically, vitally, and physically, which means a connection extending back to a unity of origin in a past so greatly remote that its period can be reckoned only in astronomical figures. In an exactly similar way all the planets of our solar system, especially the so-called seven sacred planets of the ancients, are connected in origin in a distant past, although in a past greatly nearer than the former.
Saptasati (Sanskrit) Saptaśatī Seven hundred; the feminine of Saptasata; the name of several works composed of 700 verses.
Sapta-sindhavas (Sanskrit) Sapta-sindhavas [from sapta seven + sindhu river from the verbal root syand to flow, trickle, pour forth] The seven sacred rivers spoken of in the Vedas, connected with the sapta-samudra (seven oceans). From the standpoint of the planetary chain, the oceans or seas of space which surround the different globes are intimately interconnected by similar lines of communication, which likewise can be called circulations. In Avestic works these sacred streams are called Hapta Heando. See also CIRCULATIONS OF THE COSMOS
Sapta-Surya (Sanskrit) Sapta-Sūrya The seven suns; the seven fundamental solar logoi of our own sun; as well as the seven suns of our Universal Solar System. They are likewise connected to the hierarchies of intelligent beings or dhyani-chohans of various classes which enter into creative functions or action when the central sun emits creative light preceding the later periods of manvantaric activity. Those classes of the dhyani-chohans who are the cosmic architects open the manvantaric drama by entering upon their respective functions, and once the lines of structure are thus laid, the lower classes of dhyani-chohans — high though they may be in spirituality and intellectuality — begin thereupon their work as builders, which is ceaseless until the manvantaric end. References to these two general classes of ideative cosmic spirits, the architects and the cosmic masons or builders, are found in nearly all of the ancient religio-philosophic scriptures of the world.
Sapta-tathagatas (Sanskrit) Sapta-tathāgata-s [from sapta seven + tathāgata thus come and gone, name applied to the Buddha] “The chief seven Nirmanakayas among the numberless ancient world-guardians. Their names are inscribed on a heptagonal pillar kept in a secret chamber in almost all Buddhist temples in China and Tibet. The Orientalists are wrong in thinking that these are ‘the seven Buddhist substitutes for the Rishis of the Brahmans’ ” (TG 290). See also TATHAGATHA-GUPTA
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