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 | 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 | Z
ETG Main Page
List of Abbreviations
Yadava (Sanskrit) Yādava A descendant of Yadu; also a great race of Hindustan in which Krishna was born. The founder of this race, Yadu, was the son of Yayati and Devayani, and ruled over the country west of the Jumna River, adjoining the Kurus. He was the half-brother of Puru, who became the founder of the Paurava line of the Chandravansa (lunar dynasty) — to which also belonged the Kurus and Pandus. The greatest of the Yadavas in Hindu story was Krishna (hence he is called Yadava, “son of Yadu”). He established the Yadavas in Gujarat, his capital city being Dvaraka, to which Krishna brought all the inhabitants of the city of Mathura after he had slain his wicked cousin Kansa who had usurped the throne. Sometime after Krishna’s death (3102 BC), a catastrophe occurred at Dvaraka in which the city and all its inhabitants were engulfed by the ocean. Only a few members of the race who were absent from the city were saved. The present rajas of Vijaya-nagara maintain that they are living descendants of the Yadavas.
Yadus. See YADAVA
Yah, Yaho (Hebrew) Yāh, Yāhō Yah is an abbreviation of Jehovah, but equally well Jehovah could be said to be merely an enlargement of the original form Yah. The Zohar says that the ’Elohim used this word to form the world.
“To screen the real mystery name of ain-soph — the Boundless and Endless No-Thing — the Kabalists have brought forward the compound attribute-appellation of one of the personal creative Elohim, whose name was Yah and Jah, the letters i or j or y being interchangeable, or Jah-Hovah, i.e., male and female; Jah-Eve an hermaphrodite, or the first form of humanity, the original Adam of Earth, not even Adam-Kadmon, whose ‘mind-born son’ is the earthly Jah-Hovah, mystically. And knowing this, the crafty Rabbin-Kabalist has made of it a name so secret, that he could not divulge it later on without exposing the whole scheme; and thus he was obliged to make it sacred” (SD 2:126).
Both Yah and Yaho were Hebrew mystery-names; Yah is “a later abbreviation [of Yaho] which, from containing an abstract ideal, became finally applied to, and connected with, a phallic symbol — the lingham of creation” (TG 374). Thus Yaho and Yah are two forms of the same original Shemitic god-name found throughout Asia Minor, and which appeared in its Greek form as Iao. The Gnostics revived the Chaldean and Phoenician mystery-god Iao, placing it above the seven heavens as representing spiritual light. Its ray was nous, standing for the Demiurge as well as the divine manas. “Y-ha-ho was a sacred word in the Egyptian mysteries, which signified ‘the one eternal and concealed deity’ in nature and in man; i.e., the ‘universal Divine Ideation,’ and the human Manas, or the higher Ego” (TG 375). Yaho in consequence must not be confused with Yehowah or Jehovah, for Jehovah was merely the inferior reflection in the higher material worlds of the spiritual light called Yaho. Yaho, therefore, is equivalent in type, standing, and character to atman, the universal, of theosophical literature.
Yah-Havvah, Yah-Hovah. See JEHOVAH
Yahweh. See YAH; JEHOVAH; TETRAGRAMMATON
Yajna (Sanskrit) Yajña In Vedic literature, worship, devotion, prayer, praise; in post-Vedic literature, an act of worship or devotion, an oblation, sacrifice, also sacrifice personified or fire.
” ‘The Yajna,’ say the Brahmans, ‘exists from eternity, for it proceeded from the Supreme, in whom it lay dormant from no beginning.’ It is the key to the Trai-Vidya, the thrice sacred science contained in the Rig-Veda verses, which teaches the Yajna or sacrificial mysteries. As Haug states in his Introduction to the Aitareya Brahmana — the Yajna exists as an invisible presence at all times, extending from the Ahavaniya or sacrificial fire to the heavens, forming a bridge or ladder by means of which the sacrificer can communicate with the world of devas, ‘and even ascend when alive to their abodes.’ It is one of the forms of Akasa, within which the mystic Word (or its underlying ‘Sound’) calls it into existence. Pronounced by the Priest-Initiate or Yogi, this Word receives creative powers, and is communicated as an impulse on the terrestrial plane through a trained Will-power” (TG 375).
Yajna-vidya (Sanskrit) Yajña-vidyā [from yajña sacrifice + vidyā knowledge] The knowledge or science of sacrificial rites. These religious rites are performed by the Brahmins to produce certain results, although the esoteric significance of the true yajna has been lost sight of. The four vidyas are yajna-vidya, maha-vidya (the great magic knowledge, now degenerated into Tantric worship), guhya-vidya (the science of mantras, etc.), and atma-vidya (true spiritual and divine wisdom), the last of which contains the keys to the other three.
Yajus (Sanskrit) Yajus A sacrificial prayer or formula, also particular mantras muttered in a special manner at a sacrifice, distinguished from the rich and saman verses also recited at sacrifices.
Yaldabaoth. See IALDABAOTH
Yaksha (Sanskrit) Yakṣa [from the verbal root yakṣ to devour] A class of ethereal, astral, or semi-astral beings, regarded as attendants of Kubera or Kuvera, the deity of riches; occasionally they are associated with Vishnu. The yakshas are variously described as the sons of Pulastya, Pulaha, Kasyapa, Khasa, or Krodha. One legend represents them as springing from the feet of Brahma, while one Puranic account shows them as springing from the body of Brahma with the rakshasas and immediately attempting to devour his body. However, frequently the yakshas are regarded as beings beneficent to humans. In Kalidasa’s Meghaduta, the hero is a yaksha, represented as a banished lover who employs a cloud to bear a message to his beloved.
In later popular folklore the yakshas are associated with and classed with the pisachas, and therefore regarded with dread and made responsible for many demoniacal obsessions. “In esoteric science they are simply evil (elemental) influences, who in the sight of seers and clairvoyants descend on men, when open to the reception of such influences, like a fiery comet or a shooting star” (TG 375).
Yama (Sanskrit) Yama [from the verbal root yam to subdue, control] A curb, rein, bridle; hence the act of curbing, suppression, self-control. Especially prominent in yoga as self-restraint: it is the first of the eight angas or means of attaining mental concentration.
As a proper name, the deity who rules over the shades of the dead in the Rig-Veda, corresponding to the Greek Hades or Roman Pluto. Hence Yama is the personification of the third root-race, because these were the first to taste death — the first self-consciously intellectual humans who died and departed after death to devachan. Hence also the ascription in Hindu mythology to Yama as the ruler of the pitris. In the Mahabharata, he is described as dressed in blood-red garments, with a glittering form, a crown on his head, glowing eyes and, like Varuna, he holds a noose with which he binds the spirit after drawing it from the body after death.
“Yama is represented as the son of Vivaswat (the Sun). He had a twin-sister named Yami, who was ever urging him, according to another hymn, to take her for his wife, in order to perpetuate the species” (TG 375-6). Yama and his twin sister is a distinct reference to the androgynous character of the human race from the middle of the third root-race forward. The Rig-Veda
“nowhere shows Yama ‘as having anything to do with the punishment of the wicked.’ As king and judge of the dead, a Pluto in short, Yama is a far later creation. One has to study the true character of Yama-Yami throughout more than one hymn and epic poem, and collect the various accounts scattered in dozens of ancient works, and then he will obtain a consensus of allegorical statements which will be found to corroborate and justify the Esoteric teaching, that Yama-Yami is the symbol of the dual Manas, in one of its mystical meanings. For instance, Yama-Yami is always represented of a green colour and clothed with red, and as dwelling in a palace of copper and iron. Students of Occultism know to which of the human ‘principles’ the green and the red colours, and by correspondence the iron and copper, are to be applied. The ‘twofold-ruler’ — the epithet of Yama-Yami — is regarded in the exoteric teachings of the Chino-Buddhists as both judge and criminal, the restrainer of his own evil doings and the evil-doer himself. In the Hindu epic poems Yama-Yami is the twin-child of the Sun (the deity) by Sanjna (spiritual consciousness); but while Yama is the Aryan ‘lord of the day,’ appearing as the symbol of spirit in the East, Yami is the queen of the night (darkness, ignorance) ‘who opens to mortals the path to the West’ — the emblem of evil and matter. In the Puranas Yama has many wives (many Yamis) who force him to dwell in the lower world (Patala, Myalba, etc., etc.); and an allegory represents him with his foot lifted, to kick Chhaya, the handmaiden of his father (the astral body of his mother, Sanjna, a metaphysical aspect of Buddhi or Alaya). As stated in the Hindu Scriptures, a soul when it quits its mortal frame, repairs to its abode in the lower regions (Kamaloka or Hades). Once there, the Recorder, the Karmic messenger called Chitragupta (hidden or concealed brightness), reads out his account from the Great Register, wherein during the life of the human being, every deed and thought are indelibly impressed — and, according to the sentence pronounced, the ‘soul’ either ascends to the abode of the Pitris (Devachan), descends to a ‘hell’ (Kamaloka), or is reborn on earth in another human form” (TG 376).
Yamabooshee. See YAMABUSHI
Yamabushi (Japanese) A sect in Japan of ancient origin, but now inclining to Buddhism. Often regarded as the fighting monks, inasmuch as they have not hesitated to take up arms in case of necessity somewhat like certain yogis in Rajputana or the lamas in Tibet. They are perhaps most numerous near Kyoto, where they are famed for their healing powers. Yamabushi hold a “Japanese Secret Science of the Buddhist Mystics,” calling their seven mystery-teachings the seven precious things or jewels (SD 1:67).
Yamyad Yasht. See ZAMYAD YASHT
Yana (Sanskrit) Yāna [from the verbal root yā to go] Path, road, vehicle; there are two recognized paths of action in nature, the pratyeka-yana (the path of each one for himself) and the amrita-yana (the immortal vehicle or path of immortality). There are also two schools of philosophy in India using this term: the Hinayana (the lesser, inferior, or defective vehicle) and the Mahayana (the greater or superior vehicle).
This contrast is an exoteric rather than an esoteric one. It is a recognition of the fact that the religion of Gautama Buddha has separated into two general paths of action; but both the Hinayana and the Mahayana are recognized because known to possess each one its own particular value in training. The combination of the two is what one might call the esoteric path. The Hinayana is that portion of the esoteric path in which the mystic traveler takes the lower passional and elemental sides of himself into strict discipline and self-control, the while following certain simple rules of day-to-day procedure; whereas the Mahayana aspect includes rather the training of the spiritual, intellectual, and higher psychic parts of the human constitution, such as is brought about by a profound study of philosophy, of the truths of nature, the mystical side of religion, and the higher parts of kosmic philosophy — all these collected together around the heart of the Mahayana which is mystical study and aspiration.
Yang (Chinese) The bright aspect — as the sunny side of a hill — in contrast to yin, the dark side. In mystic Chinese literature and in Taoism, yang is associated with the masculine aspect, while yin refers to the feminine aspect. Thus tao is regarded as the interaction of the revolving changes produced by the yang and yin: yang referring to immaterial, celestial force and substance; yin, to material equivalents.
Popularly everything of a beneficial aspect is associated with yang, while everything of maleficent tendency is related to yin. However, this limits the original conception of yang and yin as forming the two contrasted sides of the universe, for one cannot exist without the other, and each in its own way is as important as the other.
Yao (Chinese) One of the ancient legends of China tells of a flood and of a hero, Yao, who escapes the deluge in a vessel. He carries with him seven figures, which he proceeds to animate when he lands, using them for human seeds. This is a version of the worldwide deluge tales, such as those of Noah and Xisuthrus.
Yasha. See ZAMYAD YASHT
Yasna (Pahlavi) Worship; also the name given to each of the 17 songs of the Gathas, known too as Haiti (hat in Zoroastrianism today). Other Yasnas have been added to the original Yasnas of Gathas, making 72 in total. It is the principle liturgical book of the Parsis, containing the texts read at the sacred ceremonies in honor of the Zoroastrian deities. The part of this book of particular interest, the Gathas (ch 28-54), contain the discourses of the prophet Zoroaster, written in a metrical style and in a dialect older than and differing from that in which the other portions of the extant Avesta are written.
Yasatas (Avestan) Yaztan (Pahlavi) Yazdan, Izad (Persian) The adorable ones, worthy of worship; pure celestial spirits, gods lower in order than the Amesha Spentas. Their opposers were the Drvants. According to the Avesta there were yasatas of the fire and of the water, between whom stood Apam-napat — both an Avestic and Vedic Sanskrit name — meaning son, descendant, or offspring of the waters, i.e., the waters of space or of cosmic aether. Therefore Apan-napat corresponds to fohat and is a Sanskrit name sometimes given to Agni or cosmic fire. The emanational procession gives 1) the waters of space; 2) their offspring or son, Apan-napat, fohat, or Agni; from whom again, 3) spring the yasatas of fire.
Speaking of the great antiquity of the Zoroastrian scriptures, Blavatsky remarks that the forefathers of “the Neo-Aryans of the post-diluvian age . . . had met before the Flood, and conversed with the pure ‘Yazathas’ (celestial Spirits of the Elements), whose life and food they had once shared” (SD 2:356).
In later Zoroastrianism some of these yasatas are equivalent to the archangels. The best known among these divine beings represent the three aspects of truth in action; Atar (the life-giving force and consciousness); Sraosha (the awakening voice within); and Ashi (the resulting bliss). The number of Yasatas including the Amesha Spentas is often 33.
Yasodhara (Sanskrit) Yaśodharā [from yaśas glory, splendor + dhāra bearing from the verbal root dhṛ to bear, support] Bearer of glory. The wife of Prince Siddhartha who became Gautama Buddha, and the mother of his son Rahula. She was the daughter of a Koliyan chief and was wedded to her cousin in his 19th year. Subba Row states that the name stands for one of three mystical powers (cf utpala-varna).
Yati (Oriental) A measure of three feet.
Yatus, Yatudhanas (Sanskrit) Yātu-s, Yātudhāna-s A kind of spirit corresponding to the Greek daimon, one of the hierarchies of spiritual, semi-spiritual, and ethereal entities — among many other similar classes, such as the nagas, gandharvas, devas, rishis, apsarasas, and yakshas. In the human constitution, those elemental or semi-elemental beings which are instrumental in carrying out the mandates of the higher parts of man; in the solar system they perform a similar function of cosmic character. Along with the other classes, they are the “Sun’s attendants throughout the twelve solar months; in theogony, and also in anthropological evolution, they are gods and men — when incarnated in the nether world” (SD 2:211).
Ya-va, Yave. See YAH; JEHOVAH
Yavana (Sanskrit) Yavana The name by which the Greeks were designated in India. In later times the word was applied to the Moslems and to Europeans in general; hence in Sanskrit literature often equivalent to foreigner.
Yazatas. See YASATAS
Year There are several years — the sidereal, tropical, lunar, and others — known to astronomy and calendrical science. Among nations we find numerous artificial years used for purposes of adapting civil requirements to celestial necessities, or for carrying out particular methods of computation: e.g., the year of 365 days, the Julian year of 365 1/4 days, an ancient Mexican year of 260 days, and a variety of Hindu years. There is also the occult year of 360 days, which may be looked upon as a year based upon a deep knowledge of astronomy and celestial principles. The year of 360 days may likewise be considered as an average, i.e., the year which the earth hovers around and attempts through the evolving cycles of time to attain and to hold. The lunar year of twelve lunations has been widely used in ancient times, and is still used by some nations; and there is a large number of intercalary devices for accommodating this to the solar year. Blavatsky speaks of years of six months and of two months (SD 2:621), and uses the word year as synonymous with cycle as applicable to various periods, known or secret, and even to so long a cycle as that of the precession.
The solstices and equinoxes are found in history as starting points for the year among different nations. Our own was intended for the winter solstice, but confusions of the calendar have shifted the date. The 4th of January is mentioned in theosophical writings as being the right time for the beginning of the civil year, as marking the date of the first full moon after a winter solstice coincident with a new moon. This has relation to initiatory rites.
The solar year has sometimes been used correctly enough as a symbol of solar gods and powers. Its length in full days, 365, is given by the letters in certain names, taken as numerals in accordance with the rules of the Greek alphabet: Abraxas, Meithras, Neilos, all add up to 365. This is often contrasted with the lunar year of 354 days, for which similar symbolism may be found.
The actual mysteries connected with the computations of the annual cycle of the sun are very numerous, yet all have a common background of identic fact, though the details vary considerably from people to people. As an example of the many ideas connected with the year, what is now popularly but rather mistakenly called the Babylonian method of dividing the circle or a cycle of time into 360 divisions called degrees, and each such degree again into 60 minutes, and each minute again into 60 seconds, was itself based on the occult year of 360 days, each day consisting of 12, or indeed 24, hours, each hour consisting of 60 minutes, and each minute again comprising 60 seconds.
Year of Brahma. See BRAHMA’s DAY
Ye-damma, Ye-dhamma (Pali) Ye-dharmah (Sanskrit) Ye-dhammā, Ye-dharmāḥ Generally, laws or established procedures in nature, meaning by extension the phenomenal world.
Yeheedah. See YEHIDAH
Yehidah (Hebrew) Yĕḥīdāh [from masculine yāḥīd the one, the only, the unique from the verbal root yāḥad oneness, union; cognant with the Hebrew ’eḥād one] In the Qabbalah, the highest human principle, as being the unique or single and indivisible individuality of the constitution, and therefore corresponding to the spiritual monad. Blavatsky places this term in context of the entire person, as presented in the Qabbalistic system: yehidah is
“esoterically, the highest individuality or Atma-Buddhi-Manas, when united in one. . . . At the time of the conception, the Holy ‘sends a d’yook-nah, or the phantom of a shadow image’ like the face of a man. It is designed and sculptured in the divine tzelem, i.e., the shadow image of the Elohim. ’Elohim created man in his (their) tzelem’ or image, says Genesis (i. 27). It is the tzelem that awaits the child and receives it at the moment of its conception, and this tzelem is our linga sharira. ‘The rua’h forms with the Nephesh the actual personality of the man,’ and also his individuality, or, as expressed by the Kabbalist, the combination of the two is called, if he (man) deserves it, Yeheedah. This combination is that which the Theosophist calls the dual Manas, the higher and the Lower Ego, united to Atma-Buddhi and become one. For as explained in the Zohar (i., 205b, 206a, Brody Ed.): ‘Neshamah, soul (Buddhi), comprises three degrees, and therefore she has three names, like the mystery above: that is, Nephesh, Rua’h, Neshamah,’ or the Lower Manas, the Higher Ego, and Buddhi, the Divine Soul. ‘It is also to be noted that the Neshamah has three divisions’; says Myer’s Qabbalah, ‘the highest is the Ye-hee-dah’ — or Atma-Buddhi-Manas, the latter once more as a unit; ‘the middle principle is Hay-yah’ — or Buddhi and the dual Manas; ‘and the last and third, the Neshamah, properly speaking’ — or Soul in general. ‘They manifest themselves in Ma’hshabah, thought, Tzelem, phantom of the image, Zurath, prototypes (mayavic forms, or rupas), and the D’yooknah, shadow of the phantom image. The D’mooth, likeness or similitude (physical body), is a lower manifestation’ (p. 392)” (TG 377-8; cf SD 2:633).
Ye-hou-vih, Yaheweh, Yahaweh (Hebrew) Yahĕweh, Yahaweh He will cause to be; a rendering for Jehovah (YHVH) given by Prof. Gibbs; Blavatsky cites this detail with some approval, stating that Gibbs, in the thought behind his rendering, had cut the Gordian knot of its true occult meaning (SD 2:129).
Yellow Caps. See GELUKPAS
Yellow-faced Used in an archaic commentary on the Book of Dzyan (q SD 2:427-8), referring to people on Atlantis, the continent of the fourth root-race, who remained true to their teachers, in contradistinction to the Black-faced — those who followed their sorcerer-leaders in practices of black magic — who were engulfed in the cataclysm which submerged Atlantis. The Yellow-faced, the ancestors of the succeeding fifth root-race, were led to safety by their teachers, the Sons of Wisdom. Thus the fifth root-race — sometimes referred to as Aryans because the Aryan Hindus are the descendants of the first subrace of the fifth root-race — are said to be the descendants of “the yellow Adams, the gigantic and highly civilized Atlanto-Aryan race”; “they ‘of the yellow hue’ are the forefathers of those whom Ethnology now classes as the Turanians, the Mongols, Chinese and other ancient nations; and the land they fled to was no other than Central Asia. There entire new races were born; there they lived and died until the separation of the nations. . . . Nearly two-thirds of one million years have elapsed since that period” (SD 2:426, 425).
The foregoing does not mean that the modern Chinese, for instance, are the first subrace of the fifth root-race; for actually the true Chinese are the remains existing today of the last or seventh subrace of the fourth root-race, although indeed, due to many millennia of intermarriage with more truly Aryan stocks, the Chinese today are to be classed as part of the fifth root-race.
There is an old legend prevalent among many peoples that the color of human skin changes from light to dark as the ages slowly pass by: the legend stating that the first in any new great racial group or stock is light-colored or moon-colored, slowly changing to a more ruddy shade verging into cream or yellow, becoming gradually brown and darker brown, and ending with chocolate or what is called black. Yet the meaning is not that every race runs through these changing tints from light to dark during the course of its evolution, but that the different minor racial groupings, appearing each in its day during the course of the slow evolution of a root-race, gradually range from the root-race’s beginning from the light, and passing gradually through the different stages to the chocolate. Nor is it again to be understood that theosophy teaches that all mankind sprang either from an original pair, as metaphorically taught in the Bible, but that in the beginnings of time seven primary seed-groupings appeared on earth from inner realms, each with its own tint or color as we would now say, and each of the seven having its own karmically defined position on the ladder of evolution.
The Negroes or people of chocolate-tinted skin are nevertheless not to be understood as being the seventh or last subrace of the fourth root-race, for the Chinese were these last. The chocolate-skinned men arose as a racial group at the very close of the Atlantean cycle, and are thus racially not degenerated from a previous higher evolutionary state, but are a human seed-stock born at the end of Atlantean development, destined in time through racial miscegenation to be one of the racial contributories to the humanity of the future. See also YELLOW RACE
Yellow Father. The sun, in the Stanzas of Dzyan.
Yellow Race(s) The intermingling of races is very complicated, and has been an ethnological fact for almost innumerable millennia in the past, so that we can only use the term in the plural and say yellow races, in reference to peoples in which a yellow or near-yellow skin is predominant and characteristic. Even during the fourth root-race on Atlantis “there were brown, red, yellow, white and black Atlanteans,” “who represented several humanities, and almost a countless number of races and nations”; “The present yellow races are the descendants, however, of the early branches of the Fourth Race” (SD 2:433; 199). Certain European ethnologists say that three fundamental colors enter into the human complexion — red, yellow, and black — and that these mingle in various proportions, giving the numerous other shades.
The first physical or “solid” race (in contradistinction to the previous ethereal or astral races) appeared after the middle of the third root-race after the fall into generation. In its very beginnings, its color was light yellow or golden cream. This race gave birth to the fourth, and Siva transformed that part of humanity which became black with sin into red-yellow, whose descendants are Amerindians and Mongolians; and finally into brown-white races, which together with the yellow races, form the great bulk of present humanity (SD 2:250).
Yene, Anganta Obsession; used in India for mediumship.
Yesod (Hebrew) Yĕsōd [plural yĕsōdōth] Foundation, basis; the name of the ninth Sephirah, regarded as the union of Netsah and Hod, being classed as androgynous. Not counting the summit, Kether the Crown, it is the second in the central pillar of the Sephirothal Tree. Its Divine Name is ’El Hai (the living one) or occasionally Shaddai (the mighty one); in the Angelic Order it is represented as the ’Ishim (flames). In its application to the human body, as representative of ’Adam Qadmon, the cosmic man, Yesod stands for the generative organs; applied to the classification of the seven globes of a planetary chain it represents globe C (SD 1:200). From this Sephirah is emanated the tenth, Malchuth.
Yesod together with the preceding five or six Sephiroth are often considered to form the Microprosopus (the inferior Countenance or Small Face, Ze‘eir ’Anpin).
Yetsirah (Hebrew) Yĕtsīrāh [from the verbal root yātsar to form, fashion] Also Yetzirah, Jesirah, Jetzirah. ‘Olam hay-yetsirah is the sphere of formation, the third of the four worlds or ‘olam of the Qabbalah. It is an emanation or continuation of the second world, ‘olam hab-beri’ah. It is considered as the abode of the angels or intelligences which preside over the celestial bodies, including the sun and planets; further, on earth, over all the manifestations of nature such as fire, light, wind, rain, change of seasons, etc. It is also called the world of the builders, constructive as opposed to ideally planning architects, reminiscent of the architects and builders of The Secret Doctrine; therefore ‘olam hay-yetsirah is frequently referred to by its Chaldean name for angels (messengers or builders) — Mal’achayya’.
Following the division into ten, as is the case in the superior spheres, the angelic hosts are grouped into ten classes as:
Mal’achim Messengers, Angels, Builders
’Er’elim Heroes or Mighty Ones
Seraphim Fiery Ones
Hashmallim Shining Ones
’Elim Imbodied Divinities
Benei ’Elohim Sons of the Gods
’Ishim Men (cf Zohar ii, 43a)
In this ‘olam there is little taint of the earthly matter found in the world of action, the fourth world, ‘olam ha-‘asiyyah, emanated from the yetsiratic world.
Yeu. See YU
Yezidis (Arabic) [possibly from Persian yazdan god; or the 2nd ‘Omayyad Caliph, Yezid (720-4); or Persian city Yezd] A sect dwelling principally in Kurdistan, Armenia, and the Caucasus, who call themselves Dasni. Their religious beliefs take on the characteristics of their surrounding peoples, inasmuch as, openly or publicly, they regard Mohammed as a prophet, and Jesus Christ as an angel in human form. Points of resemblance are found with ancient Zoroastrian and Assyrian religion. The principal feature of their worship, however, is Satan under the name of Muluk-Taus. However, it is not the Christian Satan, nor the devil in any form; their Muluk-Taus is the hundred- or thousand-eyed cosmic wisdom, pictured as a bird.
Yezod. See YESOD
Yggdrasil (Scandinavian, Icelandic) [from ygr fierce, awesome, brooding + drasill steed, gallows] The Norse Tree of Life, on which Odin, Allfather of the universe, is mounted or hanged during a period of manifestation. From the tree drops the honeydew which feeds all creatures. The squirrel Ratatosk (intelligence) runs up and down its trunk, while on its topmost bough perches an eagle with a hawk seated between its eyes.
The tree has three roots watered by three wells. One is in Asgard, home of the gods, where it is watered by the three norns: the past (Urd, origin), the present (Verdandi, becoming), and the future which is created by them — owing (Skuld, debt). A second root penetrates the world of matter, where it is watered from the well of the giant Mimer whose waters are experience of life. Odin gave one eye as forfeit in order to receive a draft of that well, while Mimer has the use of Odin’s eye which is sunk in the bottom of the well. The third root is watered by Hvergelmir, source of all the rivers of lives (kingdoms of nature) which rises in Niflheim, the world of mists (nebulae) where worlds are born.
Yggdrasil is not immortal. Its lifetime is coeval with the hierarchy the tree is used to represent. Its leaves are constantly being eaten by four stags, its bark is nibbled by two goats, and its roots are gnawed by the serpent Nidhogg which, in due course, will topple the “noble ash tree.” During the first half of its life, the tree is named Mjotvidr (measure increasing); during the latter half Mjotudr (measure diminishing). When in due course the tree dies, its indwelling consciousnesses (Life and Lifthrasir), the human race, will be secreted in the “memory hoard of the sun” until their next emergence into a new existence.
Y Ching, Yi King. See I CHING
Yih-sin The atman, “the child of Dharmakaya (the universally diffused Essence), both male and female” (ML 346). The seventh principle of any being, whether cosmic, microcosmic, or infinitesimal; the spiritual germ-point from which is emanated the subsequent karmically necessary septenary being. It is the spiritual seed or atmic center, beginning its manifested activity as a septenary or duodenary entity.
YHVH. See TETRAGRAMMATON
Yima (Avestan) Yam (Pahlavi) Yama (Sanskrit) Jam, Jamshid (Persian) The son of Vivanghan (the brilliant light of the good, father of duality, consciousness, or knowledge of good and evil), Yama has been mentioned in Vasna 30:3 in the sense of twins, and in the Gathas as one who made earthly things attractive and did not strive for the uplift of the spirit. Sometimes incorrectly called the first man of the Avesta. In the Vendidad, the first mortal before Zoroaster with whom Ahura-Mazda conversed, asking him to be a preacher and the bearer of his law; but Yima replied that he was not born or taught to do this. As Zoroaster is the third intellect and the bearer of the divine law, Yima is the second intellect, not yet developed for that task. Blavatsky explains that
“Yima . . . as much as his twin-brother Yama, the Son of Vaivasvata Manu, belongs to two epochs of the Universal History. He is the ‘Progenitor’ of the Second human Race, hence the personification of the shadows of the Pitris, and the father of the postdiluvian Humanity. The Magi said ‘Yima,’ as we say ‘man’ when speaking of mankind. The ‘fair Yima,’ the first mortal who converse with Ahura-Mazda, is the first ‘man’ who dies or disappears, not the first who is born. The ‘Son of Vivanghat,’ was, like the Son of Vaivasvata, the symbolical man, who stood in esotericism as the representative of the first three races and the collective Progenitor thereof. Of these races the first two never died but only vanished, absorbed in their progeny, and the third knew death only towards its close, after the separation of the sexes and its ‘Fall’ into generation” (SD 2:609).
In the Vendidad Ahura-Mazda informs Yima of a severe winter that will destroy life on earth and tells him to make a vara (enclosure) known as Var-jam-kard (enclosure built by Jam) and bring the seeds of men and women of the greatest, best, and finest kinds on this earth, as well as the seeds of every kind of cattle, bird, trees, and fruit, and the sweetest of the odors, along with the red, blazing fires, excluding any deformity, impotency, lunacy, poverty, falsehood, meanness, jealousy, etc.
In later Persian literature, Jamshid has often been interchangeably taken for King Solomon, while some Islamic scholars consider him identical with Lamech in the Old Testament. Jamshid in Shah-Nameh is the Yima of the Avesta who, as a blessed king, ruled for 700 years over seven keshvars, created civilization, and categorized the people and their tasks into four groups. He built palaces and colossal monuments by channeling the savage powers of demons, discovered the secrets of nature, and cured all maladies. Such innovation and achievements called for festivities and celebration, called the New Age (Nou-Rouz). From then on, this day — which coincides with the entrance of the sun into the sign of Aries; also the day that Gayomarth, the first man, became king of earth — has been celebrated by the Iranians. For 300 years Jamshid gloriously ruled with justice, during which period death, pain, and evil disappeared, until vanity and narcissism blinded him and caused his downfall. Azi-Dahak, who takes over Jamshid’s throne, then appears on the scene by murdering his own father.
Yin (Chinese) The dark aspect, as the shady side of a hill, while yang means the bright or sunny side. In Taoist and mystic Chinese literature, used philosophically as the opposite of the light side of nature or yang; thus yin is said to be the female aspect, often mistakenly called the weak side. Chinese scholars have described tao as the annual revolution of changes produced by the yin and yang. The yin is popularly assimilated with the earth, which is cold and dark. Yin is considered as the binary, while yang is the unitary (SD 2:554).
Yi-shu-lu-chia-lun (Chinese) The Chinese translation of the Ekasloka-sastra of Nagarjuna (Lung-shu). See also YU
Y-King. See I CHING
Yliaster Used by Paracelsus for primordial matter, the universal matrix of the kosmos, identical with the highest part of the anima mundi, alaya, and akasa. These highest parts are, so far as consciousness goes, nirvana; whereas the lowest parts of the anima mundi or yliaster are the astral light.
Ymir (Icelandic, Scandinavian) In the Norse creation tale, the primeval frostgiant from whose substance the worlds are formed by the aesir (gods) at the beginning of time. According to the Voluspa (sibyl’s prophecy) in the Edda, Ymir was “slain” — transformed — by the creative deities Odin Allfather (spirit), Vile (will), and Vi or Ve (awe, sanctity) into the substances that form the worlds in space.
One version relates that sparks from Muspellsheim (realm of fire) fell among the droplets of water vapor in Niflheim (realm of mists or nebulae) creating vapor in Ginnungagap (the yawning void). From this arose the likeness of a man, Ymir, who was nourished by the four streams of milk flowing from the udder of the cow Audhumla — symbol of fertility. Ymer represents the frozen immobility of non-existence when the universe is not. The Vala (sibyl) relates in Voluspa that the frostgiant’s two feet mated with each other and that from them arose all the matter-giants from which all physical creation was formed. She describes poetically how the blood of Ymir became the oceans of water, his bones became mountains, his skull the heavenly vault, but “from his brain were surely all dark skies created.” Midgard (central court), the earth, is surrounded and protected by his eyebrows and each quarter of space is governed by one of the four ruling powers, named for the four cardinal points, North, South, East, and West.
Yo (Japanese) The male ethereal essence or substance of Shinto cosmogony, which in conjunction with In, the female essence, produces manifestation. Equivalent to the Chinese yang.
Yod, Yodh (Hebrew) Yōd The tenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet representing the number 10. A great deal has been written about this Hebrew character by Jewish Qabbalists because it is the first character in the name of the Hebrew God (IHVH) transliterated as Jehovah or Yahweh. The pronunciation of this name for ages past has been lost, and the Jews, when coming upon it in the Bible, have either mentally or aloud substituted the word ’Adonai (my Lords).
The Jewish IHVH was but the ancient Hebrew form of the deity equally recognized, although with far less reverence, by other ancient nations of the Near East, called Yaho among the Phoenicians, Iao among the Gnostics, etc. It was an androgynous deity, recognized as existing in nature, and mystically having an intimate magnetic connection with the planet Saturn. The influence of this cosmic bipolar force is known everywhere, expressing itself as positive and negative or in human beings as male and female. This deity is by no means one of the highest or most spiritual in the solar system, being one of the manifested cosmic powers rather than one of the unmanifest spiritualities. In fact the four-lettered name, IHVH or Tetragrammaton, from one view is as Blavatsky remarks, “pre-eminently phallic.” Ancient Jewish initiates equally with initiates of other countries turned to their ’eyn soph as the loftiest encompassing universal life-wisdom, very much as the ancient Hindus turned to parabrahman for the same reasons.
Yodcheva. See YOD-HEVA
Yod-heva, Yodh-heva, Yod-hewa, Yod-havvah (Hebrew) Yōd-ḥawwāh [from yōd a Hebrew letter, the number 10, and the masculine generative power + heva (ḥawwāh) from the verbal root hāwāh to have life, breathe, desire or long for, signifying the feminine generative power] A Qabbalistic phallic term used by Blavatsky to allow theosophy to represent the androgynous aspect of the Hebrew creative deity Jehovah (Yehovah). It also in a sense represents the Tetragrammaton. See also YOD
Yoga (Sanskrit) Yoga Union; one of the six Darsanas or schools of philosophy of India, founded by Patanjali, but said to have existed as a distinct teaching and system of life before that sage. Yajnavalkya, a famous and very ancient sage of pre-Mahabharatan times, to whom the White Yajur-Veda, the Satapatha-Brahmana, and the Brihadaranyaka are attributed, is credited with inculcating the positive duty of religious meditation and retirement into the forests, and therefore is believed to have originated the yoga doctrine. Patanjali’s yoga, however, is more definite and precise as a philosophy, and imbodies more of the occult sciences than any of the extant works attributed to Yajnavalkya.
The objective of the Yoga school is attaining union or at-one-ness with the divine-spiritual essence within which is virtually identical with the spiritual essence or Logos of the universe. True yoga is genuine psychology based on a complete philosophical understanding of the entire inner human constitution.
There are several states leading to spiritual powers and perception. The eight stages of yoga usually enumerated are: 1) yama (restraint, forbearance); 2) niyama, religious observances such as fastings, prayer, penances; 3) asana, postures of various kinds; 4) pranayama, methods of regulating the breath; 5) pratyahara (withdrawal), withdrawal of the consciousness from external objects; 6) dharana (firmness, steadiness, resolution) mental concentration, holding the mind on an object of thought; 7) dhyana, abstract contemplation or meditation freed from exterior distractions; and 8) samadhi, complete collection of the consciousness and its faculties into union with the monadic essence.
There are several types of yoga such as karma yoga, hatha yoga, bhakti yoga, raja yoga, and jnana yoga. “Similar religious aspirations or practices likewise exist in Occidental countries, as, for instance, what is called ‘Salvation by Works,’ somewhat equivalent to the Hindu Karma-Yoga, or, again, ‘Salvation by Faith — or Love,’ somewhat similar to the Hindu Bhakti-Yoga; while both Orient and Occident have, each one, its various forms of ascetic practices which may be grouped under the term Hatha-Yoga.
“No system of Yoga should ever be practiced unless under the direct teaching of one who knows the dangers of meddling with the psycho-mental apparatus of the human constitution, for dangers lurk at every step, and the meddler in these things is likely to bring disaster upon himself, both in matters of health and as regards sane mental equilibrium. The higher branches of Yoga, however, such as the Raja-Yoga and Jnana-Yoga, implying strict spiritual and intellectual discipline combined with a fervid love for all beings, are perfectly safe. It is, however, the ascetic practices, etc., and the teachings that go with them, wherein lies the danger to the unwary, and they should be carefully avoided” (OG 183).
The various forms of yoga from the standpoint of theosophy when properly understood are not distinct, separable means of attaining union with the god within; and it is a divergence of the attention into one or several of these forms to the exclusion of others that has brought about so much mental confusion and lack of success even in those who are more or less skilled. Every one of these forms of yoga, with the probable exception of the lower forms of hatha yoga, should be practiced concurrently by the one who has set his heart and mind upon spiritual success. Thus one should carefully watch and control his acts, acting and working unselfishly; he should live so that his daily customs distract attention as little as possible away from the spiritual purpose; his heart coincidentally should be filled with devotion and love for all things; and he should cultivate, all at the same time, his will, his capacity for self-sacrifice and self-devotion to a noble cause, and his ability to stand firm and undaunted in the face of difficulties whatever they may be; and, finally, in addition and perhaps most importantly, he should do everything in his power to cultivate his intuition and intellectual faculties, exercising not merely his ratiocinative mind, but the higher intuitive and nobly intellectual parts. Combining all these he is following the chela path and is using all the forms of yoga in the proper way. Yet the chela will never obtain his objective if his practice of yoga is followed for his own individual advancement. He will never reach higher than the superior planes of the astral world even in consciousness; but when his whole being follows this yoga as thus outlined with a desire to lay his life and all he is on the altar of service to the world, he is then indeed on the path.
Yogacharya (Sanskrit) Yogācārya [from yoga union + ācārya teacher] A teacher of yoga; a mystic and highly esoteric school founded by the original Aryasangha, who lived at a date long preceding the pseudo-Aryasangha of the 5th or 6th century who taught the doctrines of the Tantra besides some of the elements of the Yogacharya system. The earlier Aryasangha was an arhat and founded the original Yogacharya school, a thoroughly esoteric institution; the latter’s school is a branch of the Mahayana, and is of a truly spiritual type, its teachings being identical in essence with those of theosophy. This Yogacharya school must not be confused with the Mahatantra school which was founded by Samantabhadra, whose teachings were later collected and glossed around the 6th century by the pseudo-Aryasangha in connection with litanies, formularies, spells, etc. This school is wholly exoteric, popular, and its works are largely composite of Tantric worship and ritualism that can lead the student only to black magic and sorcery.
Yoga Vidya (Sanskrit) Yoga vidyā [from yoga union + vidyā knowledge, science] Spiritual knowledge, the attaining of liberation, moksha, or initiation. Practically identical with jnana-vidya.
Yogi, Yogini (Sanskrit) Yogin, Yoginī A devotee who practices a full yoga system; the yogi state is that which, “when reached, makes the practitioner thereof absolute master of his six ‘principles,’ he now being merged in the seventh. It gives him full control, owing to his knowledge of Self and Self, over his bodily, intellectual and mental states, which, unable any longer to interfere with, or act upon, his Higher Ego, leave it free to exist in its original, pure, and divine state” (TG 381).
More commonly, a practitioner of one or more various subordinate branches of yoga. There are many grades and kinds of yogis, and the term has become in India a generic name for every kind of ascetic. “In some cases, yogins are men who strive in various ways to conquer the body and physical temptations, for instance by torture of the body. They also study more or less some of the magnificent philosophical teachings of India coming down from far-distant ages of the past; but mere mental study will not make a man a Mahatma, nor will any torture of the body bring about the spiritual vision — the Vision Sublime” (OG 183).
Yojana (Sanskrit) Yojana [from the verbal root yuj to join, yoke] A harnessing or yoking; the distance traveled in one harnessing or without unyoking of horses, variously computed as equivalent to four or five English miles, or to nine krosas or nine English miles.
Yom (Hebrew) Yōm A day; by extension an age or time period. The Jews reckoned the days of the week by number instead of by name, thus yom ’ehad (day first); yom sheni (day second); yom shelishi (day third); yom rebi‘i (day fourth); yom hamishi (day fifth); yom shishshi (day sixth); and yom shebi‘i (day seventh) — which last is likewise the Sabbath (shabbath).
Yong Grub yons-grub (Tibetan) [from yongs wholly + grub anything accomplished or done by itself without any agent] That which is completed, equivalent to absolute or the Latin absolutum, and the Sanskrit paranishpanna: the absolute freedom from the limitations of manifestation to which all beings attain at the close of a great period of cosmic activity (mahamanvantara). It signifies attaining and identifying with the seventh principle of nature; when applied to monads, the state attained by the fully liberated jivanmuktas. Hence yong grub means nirvana, or in its largest sense the still more sublime condition of paranirvana.
Yoni (Sanskrit) Yoni The womb; more generally, the female principle. In ancient India the yoni was the common female symbol of the universal Mother of the gods. This symbol corresponds to Noah’s ark, and to the navis or shiplike form of the crescent, the sidereal vessel. The ancient Hindu interpretation of the linga and yoni is entirely metaphysical and psychological, but the once highly philosophical and sublime worship of the linga and yoni of Siva worship has degenerated in modern times to mere phallic worship. The Hebrew interpretation of these same symbols likewise finally became realistic and physiological (cf SD 2:469-70). However, as Monier-Williams wrote in Folklore Record (vol 3, pt 1, p. 118): “[The linga and yoni are] mystical representations, and perhaps the best possible impersonal representatives, of the abstract expressions of paternity and maternity.”
Yourodevoy (Russian) A person suffering from mental deficiencies, such as a half-wit or idiot.
Youths English translations of the Sanskrit kumaras (virgins), applied mainly in ancient Hindu writings to spiritual, semi-spiritual, and occasionally ethereal beings, who follow evolutionary courses very different from those of present greatly materialized mankind, and who are looked upon as students of divine wisdom. Youths is applied to the dhyani-chohans, kumaras, or agnishvattas who “refused to incarnate.”
In a more restricted sense, applied to the kumara-births of Siva, representative of spiritual beings in each root-race which are mythologically referred to in India as four youths: four white, four red, four yellow, four dark or brown. It means that in every root-race there are a number of karmically elect who strike the keynotes of evolution and succeeding civilizations in a root-race, and thus labor to keep alive and to increase the spiritual and intellectual fires during that race’s evolutionary course.
Yowahous (African) The name given by some tribes to specters or apparitions.
Yu (Chinese) Being; according to the Yi-shu-lu-chia-lun (translation of Nagarjuna’s Ekasloka-sastra), “ ‘the Substance giving substance to itself,’ also explain . . . as meaning ‘without action and with action,’ ‘the nature which has no nature of its own’ ” (SD 1:61). Chinese mystics have made it the synonym of svabhavat or Father-Mother, corresponding to the Second Logos of theosophy.
Yu evidently refers to the primordial spiritual substance of the universe, which is at once intelligence and spiritual matter, life and consciousness, from which all proceeds as a fountain or source, and into which all will ultimately return when the great cosmic world period or manvantara reaches its end, and the cosmic pralaya begins. Yet this is not the highest in the cosmic hierarchical scale, because over, in, and throughout yu is the super-essential cosmic primordial abstract being, which the Pythagoreans spoke of as the all-embracing cosmic monad.
Yu Emperor of China, called “the Great” and considered a national hero. Founder of the Hsia dynasty, his reign has been assigned by scholars to the years 2205-2198 BC; he is one of the three so-called Good Emperors of the Shu Ching; son of Kun, his labors and feats are extolled in the Confucian account known as the Yu-kung (tribute to Yu).
Blavatsky mentions him as being “a pious mystic and great adept,” said “to have obtained his knowledge from the ‘great teachers of the Snowy Range’ in Si-dzang” (Hsi Tsang or Tibet), these great teachers being called “brothers of the Sun in the Chinese records” (SD 1:271n).
Yudhishthira (Sanskrit) Yudhiṣṭhira One of the principal heroes of the Mahabharata, eldest of the five Pandavas, son of Kunti by the god of justice, Dharma. Because he possessed virtuous character and all the attributes of a model ruler, he was selected as heir apparent to the throne of Hastinapura by his uncle Dhritarashtra: this choice led to the enmity of his cousin Duryodhana and his followers (the Kauravas or Kurus), and eventually to the great conflict on the field of Kurukshetra described in the opening chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita. The Pandavas were victorious in this struggle, and Yudhishthira was crowned king.
One section of the Mahabharata is devoted to the attainment of svarga (heaven) by Yudhishthira. He set out on this pilgrimage with his dog, four brothers, and their wife Draupadi, who one by one fell by the way. Alone Yudhishthira and the dog ascended to svarga to be met by Dharma, who said the dog was not permitted to enter. Yudhishthira refused to enter without his dog and turned away from the goal, but Dharma explained that it was only a test of his compassion. Yudhishthira also descended into the underworld successfully, aiding his brothers and wife whom he found there, and they all ascended to svarga.
Orientalists have speculated as to whether there was a monarch named Yudhishthira at the time of the commencement of the kali yuga (3102 BC). The computation of periods in Hindu accounts, however, applied to cosmic events as well as to terrestrial catastrophes, and names were used in the same manner. Thus Yudhishthira, “the first King of the Sacea, who opens the Kali Yuga era, which has to last 432,000 years — ‘an actual King and man who lives 3,102 years BC,’ applies also, name and all, to the great Deluge at the time of the first sinking of Atlantis. He is the ‘Yudishthira born on the mountain of the hundred peaks at the extremity of the world beyond which nobody can go’ and ‘immediately after the flood’ ” (SD 1:369-70). About the time of the reign of Yudhishthira the epic tells of a small flood which destroyed the Yadavas. Yudhishthira is both an eponymous hero, and an epic hero, an historical character, such as were also Arjuna, Krishna, and the many other heroes mentioned in the Mahabharata, stated to have lived when kali yuga began, now some 5,000 years ago.
Yuga(s) (Sanskrit) Yuga Age; an age of the world, of which there are four — satya yuga, treta yuga, dvapara yuga, and kali yuga — which proceed in succession during the manvantaric cycle. Each yuga is preceded by a period called in the Puranas, sandhya (twilight, transition period, dawn) and followed by another period of like duration often called sandhyansa (a portion of twilight). Each of these transition periods is one-tenth of its yuga. The group of four yugas is first computed by the divine years or years of the gods — each such year being equal to 360 years of mortal men. Thus we have, in divine years:
1. Krita or Satya Yuga.. 4,000
Sandhya. . . .. . . . 400
Sandhyansa. . . . . . 400
4,800 or 1,728,000 mortal years
2. Treta Yuga. . . . . .. 3,000
Sandhya. . . .. . . . 300
Sandhyansa. . . . . .. 300
3,600 or 1,296,000 mortal years
3. Dvapara Yuga. . . . . . 2,000
Sandhya. . . .. . . . 200
Sandhyansa. . . . . .. 200
2,400 or 864,000 mortal years
4. Kali yuga. . . . . .. 1,000
Sandhya. . . .. . . . 100
Sandhyansa. . . . . . 100
1,200 or 432,000 mortal years
Total: 12,000 a Mahayuga or 4,320,000 mortal years
Of these four yugas, our present racial period is the kali yuga (black age), often called the Iron Age, said to have commenced at the moment of Krishna’s death, usually given as 3102 BC. These yugas do not affect all mankind at the same time, as some races, because of their own special cycles in running, are in one or in another of the yugas, while other races are in a different cycle. This series of 4, 3, 2, 1, with ciphers added or not according to circumstances, are among the sacred computations of archaic esotericism, which shows that all the various kinds of yugas, the small being included within the great, are each governed by the same periodic and regular series — all of which makes calculation no easy thing.
“All races have their own cycles, which fact causes a great difference. For instance, the Fourth Sub-Race of the Atlanteans was in its Kali-Yug, when destroyed, whereas the Fifth was in its Satya or Krita Yuga. The Aryan Race is now in its Kali Yuga, and will continue to be in it for 427,000 years longer, while various ‘family Races,’ called the Semitic, Hamitic, etc., are in their own special cycles. The forthcoming 6th Sub Race — which may begin very soon — will be in its Satya (golden) age while we reap the fruit of iniquity in our Kali Yuga” (SD 2:147n).
The four yugas refer to any root-race, although indeed a root-race from its individual beginning to its individual ending is about double the length of the great yuga as set forth in the above chart. The racial yugas, however, overlap because each new great race is born at about the middle period of the parent race, although the individual length of any one race is as above stated. Thus it is that by the overlapping of the races, a race and its succeeding race may for a long time be contemporaneous on the face of the globe.
As the four yugas are a reflection in human history of what takes place in the evolution of the earth itself, and also of the planetary chain, the same scheme of yugas applies on larger scales: there exist the four yugas in the time periods of the evolution of a planetary chain, as well as in the general time period of a globe manvantara. These cosmic yugas are very much longer than the racial yugas, but the same general scheme of 4, 3, 2 applies throughout.
“The sacredness of the cycle of 4320, with additional cyphers, lies in the fact that the figures which compose it, taken separately or joined in various combinations, are each and all symbolical of the greatest mysteries in Nature. Indeed, whether one takes the 4 separately, or the 3 by itself, or the two together making 7, or again the three added together and yielding 9, all these numbers have their application in the most sacred and occult things, and record the workings of Nature in her eternally periodical phenomena. They are never erring, perpetually recurring numbers, unveiling, to him who studies the secrets of Nature, a truly divine System, an intelligent plan in Cosmogony, which results in natural cosmic divisions of times, seasons, invisible influences, astronomical phenomena, with their action and reaction on terrestrial and even moral nature; on birth, death, and growth, on health and disease. All these natural events are based and depend upon cyclical processes in the Kosmos itself, producing periodic agencies which, acting from without, affect the Earth and all that lives and breathes on it, from one end to the other of any Manvantara. Causes and effects are esoteric, exoteric, and endexoteric, so to say” (SD 2:73-4).
Yuh-kai (Tibetan) Also chikhai. Equivalent to the Sanskrit kama-loka; although a state or condition of entities, it is also a locality for it is “the abode of Elementaries” (ML 105).
Yu-posah Used by KH as equivalent to the Sanskrit upasika (chela, disciple) (ML 236).
Yurbo-adonai. See IURBO ADONAI; ADONAI
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
N on BG - Notes on the Bhagavad Gita, by T. Subba Row
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