Copyright © 1996 by Theosophical University Press. All rights reserved.
Absolute — Adept — Adi-Buddhi (see Svabhavat) — Advaita-Vedanta (see Vedanta) — Agnishvatta(s) — Ahankara — Akasa — Alaya — Ananda (see Sat) — Antaskarana — Anupapadaka (see Aupapaduka) — Arupa — Asana — Asat — Ascending Arc — Asrama — Astral Body — Astral Light — Astrology — Asvattha — Atman — Atom — Aum (see Om) — Aupapaduka — Aura — Auric Egg — Avalokitesvara — Avatara — Avichi — Avidya
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A term which unfortunately is much abused and often misused even in theosophical writings. It is a convenient word in Occidental philosophy by which is described the utterly unconditioned; but it is a practice which violates both the etymology of the word and even the usage of some keen and careful thinkers as, for instance, Sir William Hamilton in his Discussions (3rd edition, p.13n), who apparently uses the word absolute in the exactly correct sense in which theosophists should use it as meaning "finished," "perfected," "completed." As Hamilton observes: "The Absolute is diametrically opposed to, is contradictory of, the Infinite." This last statement is correct, and in careful theosophical writings the word Absolute should be used in Hamilton's sense, as meaning that which is freed, unloosed, perfected, completed.
Absolute is from the Latin absolutum, meaning "freed," "unloosed," and is, therefore, an exact English parallel of the Sanskrit philosophical term moksha or mukti, and more mystically of the Sanskrit term so commonly found in Buddhist writings especially, nirvana — an extremely profound and mystical thought.
Hence, to speak of parabrahman as being the Absolute may be a convenient usage for Occidentals who understand neither the significance of the term parabrahman nor the etymology, origin, and proper usage of the English word Absolute — "proper" outside of a common and familiar employment.
In strict accuracy, therefore, the student should use the word Absolute only when he means what the Hindu philosopher means when he speaks of moksha or mukti or of a mukta — i.e., one who has obtained mukti or freedom, one who has arrived at the acme or summit of all evolution possible in any one hierarchy, although as compared with hierarchies still more sublime, such jivanmukta is but a mere beginner. The Silent Watcher in theosophical philosophy is an outstanding example of one who can be said to be absolute in the fully accurate meaning of the word. It is obvious that the Silent Watcher is not parabrahman. (See also Moksha, Relativity)
The word means one who is "skilled"; hence, even in our ordinary life, a chemist, a physician, a theologian, a mechanic, an engineer, a teacher of languages, an astronomer, are all "adepts," persons who are skilled, each in his own profession. In theosophical writings, however, an Adept is one who is skilled in the esoteric wisdom, in the teachings of life.
(Sanskrit) A compound of two words: agni, "fire"; shvatta, "tasted" or "sweetened," from svad, verb-root meaning "to taste" or "to sweeten." Therefore, literally one who has been delighted or sweetened by fire. A class of pitris: our solar ancestors as contrasted with the barhishads, our lunar ancestors.
The kumaras, agnishvattas, and manasaputras are three groups or aspects of the same beings: the kumaras represent the aspect of original spiritual purity untouched by gross elements of matter. The agnishvattas represent the aspect of their connection with the sun or solar spiritual fire. Having tasted or been "sweetened" by the spiritual fire — the fire of intellectuality and spirituality — they have been purified thereby. The manasaputras represent the aspect of intellectuality — the functions of higher intellect.
The agnishvattas and manasaputras are two names for the same class or host of beings, and set forth or signify or represent two different aspects or activities of this one class of beings. Thus, for instance, a man may be said to be a kumara in his spiritual parts, an agnishvatta in his buddhic-manasic parts, and a manasaputra in his purely manasic aspect. Other beings could be called kumaras in their highest aspects, as for instance the beasts, but they are not imbodied agnishvattas or manasaputras.
The agnishvattas are the solar spiritual-intellectual parts of us, and therefore are our inner teachers. In preceding manvantaras, they had completed their evolution in the realms of physical matter, and when the evolution of lower beings had brought these latter to the proper state, the agnishvattas came to the rescue of these who had only the physical "creative fire," thus inspiring and enlightening these lower lunar pitris with spiritual and intellectual energies or "fires."
When this earth's planetary chain shall have reached the end of its seventh round, we, as then having completed the evolutionary course for this planetary chain, will leave this planetary chain as dhyan-chohans, agnishvattas; but the others now trailing along behind us — the present beasts — will be the lunar pitris of the next planetary chain to come.
While it is correct to say that these three names appertain to the same class of beings, nevertheless each name has its own significance in the occult teaching, which is why the three names are used with three distinct meanings. Imagine an unconscious god-spark beginning its evolution in any one solar or maha-manvantara. We may call it a kumara, a being of original spiritual purity, but with a destiny through karmic evolution connected with the realms of matter.
At the other end of the line, at the consummation of the evolution in this maha-manvantara, when the evolving entity has become a fully self-conscious god or divinity, its proper appellation then is agnishvatta, for it has been "sweetened" or purified by means of the working through it of the spiritual fires inherent in itself.
Now then, when such an agnishvatta assumes the role of a bringer of mind or of intellectual light to a lunar pitri which it overshadows and in which a ray from it incarnates, it then, although in its own realm an agnishvatta, functions as a manasaputra or child of mind or mahat. A brief analysis of the compound elements of these three names may be useful.
Kumara is from ku meaning "with difficulty" and mara meaning "mortal." The significance of the word therefore can be paraphrased as "mortal with difficulty," and the meaning usually given to it by Sanskrit scholars as "easily dying" is wholly exoteric and amusing, and doubtless arose from the fact that kumara is a word frequently used for child or boy, everybody knowing that young children "die easily." The idea therefore is that purely spiritual beings, although ultimately destined by evolution to pass through the realms of matter, become mortal, i.e., material, only with difficulty.
Agnishvatta has the meaning stated above, "delighted" or "pleased" or "sweetened," i.e., "purified" by fire — which we may render in two ways: either as the fire of suffering and pain in material existence producing great fiber and strength of character, i.e., spirituality; or, perhaps still better from the standpoint of occultism, as signifying an entity or entities who have become one in essence through evolution with the aethery fire of spirit.
Manasaputra is a compound of two words: manasa, "mental" or "intellectual," from the word manas, "mind," and putra, "son" or "child," therefore a child of the cosmic mind — a "mind-born son" as H. P. Blavatsky phrases it. (See also Pitris, Lunar Pitris)
(Sanskrit) A compound word: aham, "I"; kara, "maker" or "doer," from the verb-root kri, "to do," "to make"; egoism, personality. The egoistical and mayavi principle in man, born of the ignorance or avidya which produces the notion of the "I" as being different from the universal One-Self.
(Sanskrit) The word means "brilliant," "shining," "luminous." The fifth kosmic element, the fifth essence or "quintessence," called Aether by the ancient Stoics; but it is not the ether of science. The ether of science is merely one of its lower elements. In the Brahmanical scriptures akasa is used for what the northern Buddhists call svabhavat, more mystically Adi-buddhi — "primeval buddhi''; it is also mulaprakriti, the kosmical spirit-substance, the reservoir of Being and of beings. The Hebrew Old Testament refers to it as the kosmic "waters." It is universal substantial space; also mystically Alaya. (See also Mulaprakriti, Alaya)
(Sanskrit) A compound word: a, "not"; laya, from the verb-root li, "to dissolve"; hence "the indissoluble." The universal soul; the basis or root or fountain of all beings and things — the universe, gods, monads, atoms, etc. Mystically identical with akasa in the latter's highest elements, and with mulaprakriti in the latter's essence as "root-producer" or "root-nature." (See also Akasa, Buddhi, Mulaprakriti)
[NOTE: The Secret Doctrine (1:49) mentions Alaya in the Yogachara system, most probably referring to alaya-vijnana, but adds that with the "Esoteric 'Buddhists' . . . 'Alaya' has a double and even a triple meaning." — PUBLISHER]
(Sanskrit) Perhaps better spelled as antahkarana. A compound word: antar, "interior," "within"; karana, sense organ. Occultists explain this word as the bridge between the higher and lower manas or between the spiritual ego and personal soul of man. Such is H. P. Blavatsky's definition. As a matter of fact there are several antahkaranas in the human septenary constitution — one for every path or bridge between any two of the several monadic centers in man. Man is a microcosm, therefore a unified composite, a unity in diversity; and the antahkaranas are the links of vibrating consciousness-substance uniting these various centers.
(Sanskrit) A compound word meaning "formless," but this word formless is not to be taken so strictly as to mean that there is no form of any kind whatsoever; it merely means that the forms in the spiritual worlds (the arupa-lokas) are of a spiritual type or character, and of course far more ethereal than are the forms of the rupa-lokas.
Thus in the arupa-lokas, or the spiritual worlds or spheres or planes, the vehicle or body of an entity is to be conceived of rather as an enclosing sheath of energic substance. We can conceive of an entity whose form or body is entirely of electrical substance — as indeed our own bodies are in the last analysis of modern science. But such an entity with an electrical body, although distinctly belonging to the rupa worlds, and to one of the lowest rupa worlds, would merely, by comparison with our own gross physical bodies, seem to us to be bodiless or formless. (See also Rupa, Loka)
(Sanskrit) A word derived from the verbal root as, signifying "to sit quietly." Asana, therefore, technically signifies one of the peculiar postures adopted by Hindu ascetics, mostly of the hatha yoga school. Five of these postures are usually enumerated, but nearly ninety have been noted by students of the subject. A great deal of quasi-magical and mystical literature may be found devoted to these various postures and collateral topics, and their supposed or actual psychological value when assumed by devotees; but, as a matter of fact, a great deal of this writing is superficial and has very little indeed to do with the actual occult and esoteric training of genuine occultists. One is instinctively reminded of other quasi-mystical practices, as, for instance, certain genuflections or postures followed in the worship of the Christian Church, to which particular values are sometimes ascribed by fanatic devotees.
Providing that the position of the body be comfortable so that the mind is least distracted, genuine meditation and spiritual and actual introspection can be readily and successfully attained by any earnest student without the slightest attention being paid to these various postures. A man sitting quietly in his armchair, or lying in his bed at night, or sitting or lying on the grass in a forest, can more readily enter the inner worlds than by adopting and following any one or more of these various asanas, which at the best are physiological aids of relatively small value. (See also Samadhi)
(Sanskrit) A term meaning the "unreal" or the manifested universe; in contrast with sat, the real. In another and even more mystical sense, asat means even beyond or higher than sat, and therefore asat — "not sat." In this significance, which is profoundly occult and deeply mystical, asat really signifies the unevolved or rather unmanifested nature of parabrahman — far higher than sat, which is the reality of manifested existence.
This term, as employed in theosophical occultism, signifies the passage of the life-waves or life-streams of evolving mon ads upwards along, on, and through the globes of the chain of any celestial body, the earth's chain included. Every celestial body (including the earth) is one member in a limited series or group of globes. These globes exist on different kosmic planes in a rising series. The life-waves or life-streams during any manvantara of such a chain circle or cycle around these globes in periodical surges or impulses. The ascent from the physical globe upwards is called the ascending arc; the descent through the more spiritual and ethereal globes downwards to the physical globe is called the descending arc. (See also Planetary Chain)
(Sanskrit) A word derived from the root sram, signifying "to make efforts," "to strive"; with the particle a, which in this case gives force to the verbal root sram. Asrama has at least two main significations. The first is that of a college or school or a hermitage, an abode of ascetics, etc.; whereas the second meaning signifies a period of effort or striving in the religious life or career of a Brahmana of olden days. These periods of life in ancient times in Hindustan were four in number: the first, that of the student or brahmacharin; second, the period of life called that of the grihastha or householder — the period of married existence when the Brahmana took his due part in the affairs of men, etc.; third, the vanaprastha, or period of monastic seclusion, usually passed in a vana, or wood or forest, for purposes of inner recollection and spiritual meditation; and fourth, that of the bhikshu or religious mendicant, meaning one who has completely renounced the distractions of worldly life and has turned his attention wholly to spiritual affairs.
Brahmasrama. In modern esoteric or occult literature, the compound term Brahmasrama is occasionally used to signify an initiation chamber or secret room or adytum where the initiant or neophyte is striving or making efforts to attain union with Brahman or the inner god.
This is the popular term for the model-body, the linga-sarira. It is but slightly less material than is the physical body, and is in fact the model or framework around which the physical body is builded, and from which, in a sense, the physical body flows or develops as growth proceeds. It is the vehicle of prana or life-energy, and is, therefore, the container of all the energies descending from the higher parts of the human constitution by means of the pranic stream. The astral body precedes in time the physical body, and is the pattern around which the physical body is slavishly molded, atom by atom. In one sense the physical body may be called the deposit or dregs or lees of the astral body; the astral body likewise in its turn is but a deposit from the auric egg.
The astral light corresponds in the case of our globe, and analogically in the case of our solar system, to what the linga-sarira is in the case of an individual man. Just as in man the linga-sarira or astral body is the vehicle or carrier of prana or life-energy, so is the astral light the carrier of the cosmic jiva or cosmic life-energy. To us humans it is an invisible region surrounding our earth, as H. P. Blavatsky expresses it, as indeed it surrounds every other physical globe; and among the seven kosmic principles it is the most material excepting one, our physical universe.
The astral light therefore is, on the one hand, the storehouse or repository of all the energies of the kosmos on their way downwards to manifest in the material spheres — of our solar system in general as well as of our globe in particular; and, on the other hand, it is the receptacle or magazine of whatever passes out of the physical sphere on its upward way.
Thirdly, it is a kosmic "picture-gallery" or indelible record of whatever takes place on the astral and physical planes; however, this last phase of the functions of the astral light is the least in importance and real interest.
The astral light of our own globe, and analogically of any other physical globe, is the region of the kama-loka, at least as concerns the intermediate and lower parts of the kama-loka; and all entities that die pass through the astral light on their way upwards, and in the astral light throw off or shed the kama-rupa at the time of the second death.
The solar system has its own astral light in general, just as every globe in the universal solar system has its astral light in particular, in each of these last cases being a thickening or materializing or concreting around the globe of the general astral substance forming the astral light of the solar system. The astral light, strictly speaking, is simply the lees or dregs of akasa and exists in steps or stages of increasing ethereality. The more closely it surrounds any globe, the grosser and more material it is. It is the receptacle of all the vile and horrible emanations from earth and earth beings, and is therefore in parts filled with earthly pollutions. There is a constant interchange, unceasing throughout the solar manvantara, between the astral light on the one hand, and our globe earth on the other, each giving and returning to the other.
Finally, the astral light is with regard to the material realms of the solar system the copy or reflection of what the akasa is in the spiritual realms. The astral light is the mother of the physical, just as the spirit is the mother of the akasa; or, inversely, the physical is merely the concretion of the astral, just as the akasa is the veil or concretion of the highest spiritual. Indeed, the astral and physical are one, just as the akasic and the spiritual are one.
The astrology of the ancients was indeed a great and noble science. It is a term which means the "science of the celestial bodies." Modern astrology is but the tattered and rejected outer coating of real, ancient astrology; for that truly sublime science was the doctrine of the origin, of the nature, of the being, and of the destiny of the solar bodies, of the planetary bodies, and of the beings who dwell on them. It also taught the science of the relations of the parts of kosmic nature among themselves, and more particularly as applied to man and his destiny as forecast by the celestial orbs. From that great and noble science sprang up an exoteric pseudo-science, derived from the Mediterranean and Asian practice, eventuating in the modern scheme called astrology — a tattered remnant of ancient wisdom.
In actual fact, genuine archaic astrology was one of the branches of the ancient Mysteries, and was studied to perfection in the ancient Mystery schools. It had throughout all ancient time the unqualified approval and devotion of the noblest men and of the greatest sages. Instead of limiting itself as modern so-called astrology does to a system based practically entirely upon certain branches of mathematics, in archaic days the main body of doctrine which astrology then contained was transcendental metaphysics, dealing with the greatest and most abstruse problems concerning the universe and man. The celestial bodies of the physical universe were considered in the archaic astrology to be not merely time markers, or to have vague relations of a psychomagnetic quality as among themselves — although indeed this is true — but to be the vehicles of starry spirits, bright and living gods, whose very existence and characteristics, individually as well as collectively, made them the governors and expositors of destiny.
(Sanskrit) The mystical tree of knowledge, the mystical tree of kosmical life and being, represented as growing in a reversed position: the branches extending downwards and the roots upwards. The branches typify the visible kosmical universe, the roots the invisible world of spirit.
The universe among the ancients of many nations was portrayed or figurated under the symbol of a tree, of which the roots sprang from the divine heart of things, and the trunk and the branches and the branchlets and the leaves were the various planes and worlds and spheres of the kosmos. The fruit of this kosmic tree contained the seeds of future "trees," being the entities which had attained through evolution the end of their evolutionary journey, such as men and the gods — themselves universes in the small, and destined in the future to become kosmic entities when the cycling wheel of time shall have turned through long aeons on its majestic round. In fact, every living thing, and so-called inanimate things also, are trees of life, with their roots above in the spiritual realms, with their trunks passing through the intermediate spheres, and their branches manifesting in the physical realms.
(Sanskrit) The root of atman is hardly known; its origin is uncertain, but the general meaning is that of "self." The highest part of man — self, pure consciousness per se. The essential and radical power or faculty in man which gives to him, and indeed to every other entity or thing, its knowledge or sentient consciousness of selfhood. This is not the ego.
This principle (atman) is a universal one; but during incarnations its lowest parts take on attributes, because it is linked with the buddhi, as the buddhi is linked with the manas, as the manas is linked to the kama, and so on down the scale.
Atman is also sometimes used of the universal self or spirit which is called in the Sanskrit writings Brahman (neuter), and the Brahman or universal spirit is also called the paramatman.
Man is rooted in the kosmos surrounding him by three principles, which can hardly be said to be above the first or atman, but are, so to say, that same atman's highest and most glorious parts.
The inmost link with the Unutterable was called in ancient India by the term "self,'' which has often been mistranslated "soul." The Sanskrit word is atman and applies, in psychology, to the human entity. The upper end of the link, so to speak, was called paramatman, or the "self beyond,'' i.e., the permanent SELF — words which describe neatly and clearly to those who have studied this wonderful philosophy, somewhat of the nature and essence of the being which man is, and the source from which, in beginningless and endless duration, he sprang. Child of earth and child of heaven, he contains both in himself.
We say that the atman is universal, and so it is. It is the universal selfhood, that feeling or consciousness of selfhood which is the same in every human being, and even in all the inferior beings of the hierarchy, even in those of the beast kingdom under us, and dimly perceptible in the plant world, and which is latent even in the minerals. This is the pure cognition, the abstract idea, of self. It differs not at all throughout the hierarchy, except in degree of self-recognition. Though universal, it belongs (so far as we are concerned in our present stage of evolution) to the fourth kosmic plane, though it is our seventh principle counting upwards.
This word comes to us from the ancient Greek philosophers Democritus, Leucippus, and Epicurus, and the hundreds of great men who followed their lead in this respect and who were therefore also atomists — such, for instance, as the two Latin poets Ennius and Lucretius. This school taught that atoms were the foundation-bricks of the universe, for atom in the original etymological sense of the word means something that cannot be cut or divided, and therefore as being equivalent to particles of what theosophists call homogeneous substance. But modern scientists do not use the word atom in that sense any longer. Some time ago the orthodox scientific doctrine concerning the atom was basically that enunciated by Dalton, to the general effect that physical atoms were hard little particles of matter, ultimate particles of matter, and therefore indivisible and indestructible.
But modern science  has a totally new view of the physical atom, for it knows now that the atom is not such, but is composite, builded of particles still more minute, called electrons or charges of negative electricity, and of other particles called protons or charges of positive electricity, which protons are supposed to form the nucleus or core of the atomic structure. A frequent picture of atomic structure is that of an atomic solar system, the protons being the atomic sun and the electrons being its planets, the latter in extremely rapid revolution around the central sun. This conception is purely theosophical in idea, and adumbrates what occultism teaches, though occultism goes much farther than does modern science.
One of the fundamental postulates of the teachings of theosophy is that the ultimates of nature are atoms on the material side and monads on the energy side. These two are respectively material and spiritual primates or ultimates, the spiritual ones or monads being indivisibles, and the atoms being divisibles — things that can be divided into composite parts.
It becomes obvious from what precedes that the philosophical idea which formed the core of the teaching of the ancient initiated atomists was that their atoms or "indivisibles" are pretty close to what theosophical occultism calls monads; and this is what Democritus and Leucippus and others of their school had in mind.
These monads, as is obvious, are therefore divine-spiritual life-atoms, and are actually beings living and evolving on their own planes. Rays from them are the highest parts of the constitution of beings in the material realms.
(Sanskrit) A compound term meaning "self-produced," "spontaneously generated." It is a term applied in Buddhism to a class of celestial beings called dhyani-buddhas; and because these dhyani-buddhas are conceived of as issuing forth from the bosom of Adi-buddhi or the kosmic mahat without intermediary agency, are they mystically said to be, as H. P. Blavatsky puts it, "parentless" or "self-existing," i.e., born without any parents or progenitors. They are therefore the originants or root from which the hierarchy of buddhas of various grades flows forth in mystical procession or emanation or evolution.
There are variants of this word in Sanskrit literature, but they all have the same meaning. The term aupapaduka is actually a key word, opening a doctrine which is extremely difficult to set forth; but the doctrine itself is inexpressibly sublime. Indeed, not only are there aupapaduka divinities of the solar system, but also of every organic entity, because the core of the core of any organic entity is such an aupapaduka divinity. It is, in fact, a very mystical way of stating the doctrine of the "inner god."
[NOTE: Later research shows that anupapadaka, as found in Monier-Williams' Sanskrit-English Dictionary, is a misreading of aupapaduka. Cf. Franklin Edgerton, Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Grammar and Dictionary, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1953, 2:162. — PUBLISHER]
An extremely subtle and therefore invisible essence or fluid that emanates from and surrounds not only human beings and beasts, but as a matter of fact plants and minerals also. It is one of the aspects of the auric egg and therefore the human aura partakes of all the qualities that the human constitution contains. It is at once magneto-mental and electrovital, suffused with the energies of mind and spirit — the quality in each case coming from an organ or center of the human constitution whence it flows. It is the source of the sympathies and antipathies that we are conscious of. Under the control of the human will it can be both life-giving and healing, or death-dealing; and when the human will is passive the aura has an action of its own which is automatic and follows the laws of character and latent impulses of the being from whom it emanates. Sensitives have frequently described it in more or less vague terms as a light flowing from the eyes or the heart or the tips of the fingers or from other parts of the body. Sometimes this fluid, instead of being colorless light, manifests itself by flashing and scintillating changes of color — the color or colors in each case depending not only upon the varying moods of the human individual, but also possessing a background equivalent to the character or nature of the individual. Animals are extremely sensitive to auras, and some beasts even descry the human being surrounded with the aura as with a cloud or veil. In fact, everything has its aura surrounding it with a light or play of color, and especially is this the case with so-called animated beings.
The essential nature of the aura usually seen is astral and electrovital. The magnificent phenomena of radiation that astronomers can discern at times of eclipse, long streamers with rosy and other colored light flashing forth from the body of the sun, are not flames nor anything of the sort, but are simply the electrovital aura of the solar body — a manifestation of solar vitality, for the sun in occultism is a living being, as indeed everything else is.
A term which appertains solely to the more recondite teachings of occultism, of the esoteric philosophy. Little can be said here about it except to state that it is the source of the human aura as well as of everything else that the human septenary constitution contains. It is usually of an oviform or egg-shaped appearance, whence its name. It ranges from the divine to the astral-physical, and is the seat of all the monadic, spiritual, intellectual, mental, passional, and vital energies and faculties of the human septiform constitution. In its essence it is eternal, and endures throughout the pralayas as well as during the manvantaras, but necessarily in greatly varying fashion in these two great periods of kosmic life.
(Sanskrit) A compound word: avalokita, "perceived," "seen"; Isvara, "lord"; hence "the Lord who is perceived or cognized," i.e., the spiritual entity, whether in the kosmos or in the human being, whose influence is perceived and felt; the higher self. This is a term commonly employed in Buddhism, and concerning which a number of intricate and not easily understood teachings exist. The esoteric or occult interpretation, however, sees in Avalokitesvara what Occidental philosophy calls the Third Logos, both celestial and human. In the solar system it is the Third Logos thereof; and in the human being it is the higher self, a direct and active ray of the divine monad. Technically Avalokitesvara is the dhyani-bodhisattva of Amitabha-Buddha — Amitabha-Buddha is the kosmic divine monad of which the dhyani-bodhisattva is the individualized spiritual ray, and of this latter again the manushya-buddha or human buddha is a ray or offspring.
(Sanskrit) The noun-form derived from a compound of two words: ava, prepositional prefix meaning "down," and tri, verb-root meaning to "cross over," to "pass"; thus, avatri — to "pass down," or to "descend." Hence the word signifies the passing down of a celestial energy or of an individualized complex of celestial energies, which is equivalent to saying a celestial being, in order to overshadow and illuminate some human being — but a human being who, at the time of such connection of "heaven with earth," of divinity with matter, possesses no karmically intermediate or connecting link between the overshadowing entity and the physical body: in other words, no human soul karmically destined to be the inner master of the body thus born.
The intermediate link necessary, so that the human being-to-be may have the human intermediate or psychological apparatus fit to express the invisible splendor of this celestial descent, is supplied by the deliberate and voluntary entrance into the unborn child — and coincidently with the overshadowing of the celestial power — of the psychological or intermediate principle of one of the Greater Ones, who thus "completes" what is to be the pure and lofty human channel through which the "descending" divinity may manifest, this divinity finding in this high psychological principle a sufficiently evolved link enabling it to express itself in human form upon earth.
Hence an avatara is one who has a combination of three elements in his being: an inspiring divinity; a highly evolved intermediate nature or soul, which is loaned to him and is the channel of that inspiring divinity; and a pure, clean, physical body.
(Sanskrit) A word, the general meaning of which is "waveless," having no waves or movement, suggesting the stagnation of life and being in immobility; it also means "without happiness" or "without repose." A generalized term for places of evil realizations, but not of punishment in the Christian sense; where the will for evil, and the unsatisfied evil longings for pure selfishness, find their chance for expansion — and final extinction of the entity itself. Avichi has many degrees or grades. Nature has all things in her; if she has heavens where good and true men find rest and peace and bliss, so has she other spheres and states where gravitate those who must find an outlet for the evil passions burning within. They, at the end of their avichi, go to pieces and are ground over and over, and vanish away finally like a shadow before the sunlight in the air — ground over in nature's laboratory. (See also Eighth Sphere)
(Sanskrit) A compound word: a, "not"; vidya, "knowledge"; hence nonknowledge, ignorance — perhaps a better translation would be nescience — ignorance or rather lack of knowledge of reality, produced by illusion or maya.
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