Occult Glossary by G. de Purucker

Copyright © 1996 by Theosophical University Press. All rights reserved.


J | K | L


Kabala (see Qabbalah) — Kali Yuga (see Yuga) — KalpaKamaKama-LokaKama-RupaKarana-SariraKaranopadhiKarmaKhe-CharaKosmic LifeKosmos — Krita Yuga or Satya Yuga (see Yuga) — Kshatriya — Kumara(s) (see Agnishvattas) — KumbhakaKundalini

Ladder of LifeLanooLaya-Center — Left-hand Path (see Right-hand Path) — Life-AtomLife AtomsLife-WaveLinga-SariraLipika(s)LogosLoka — Lost Soul (see Eighth Sphere; Soulless Beings) — Lower Quaternary (see Higher Triad) — Luminous Arc (see Ascending Arc) — Lunar Pitri(s)

A | B-C | D-E-F | G-H-I | M | N-O-P | Q-R | S | T-U-V-W-Y-Z



(Sanskrit) The state of consciousness when awake, as opposed to svapna, the dreaming-sleeping state of consciousness, and different again from sushupti when the human consciousness is plunged into profound self-oblivion. The highest of all the states into which the consciousness may cast itself, or be cast, is the turiya ("fourth"), which is the highest state of samadhi, and is almost a nirvanic condition.

All these states or conditions of the consciousness are affections or phases of the constitution of man, and of beings constructed similarly to man. The waking state, or jagrat, is the state or condition of consciousness normal to the imbodied human being when not asleep. Svapna is the state of consciousness more or less freed from the sheath of the body and partially awake in the astral realms, higher or lower as the case may be. Sushupti is the state of self-oblivion into which the human being is plunged when the percipient consciousness enters into the purely manasic condition, which is self-oblivion for the relatively impotent brain-mind; whereas the turiya state, which is a practical annihilation of the ordinary human consciousness, is an attainment of union with atma-buddhi overshadowing or working through the higher manas. Actually, therefore, it is becoming at one with the monadic essence.


(Sanskrit) This is a word meaning essentially a living being per se, apart from any attributes or qualities that such living being may have or possess. It therefore is the exactly proper equivalent of the theosophical term monad. In one sense, therefore, jiva could be also used for a life-atom, provided that the emphasis be laid on the word life, or rather life-entity — not an "atom of life," but a being whose essence is pure living individuality. Monad in its divine-spiritual essence, and life-atom in its pranic-astral-physical being — such is a jiva; and between these two extremes are the numerous planes or sheaths on and in which the individualized consciousness works.


(Sanskrit) A highly mystical and philosophical word which means "a freed jiva," signifying a human being, or an entity equivalent in evolutionary development to a human being, who has attained freedom or release as an individualized monad from the enthralling chains and attractions of the material spheres.

A jivanmukta is not necessarily without body; and, as a matter of fact, the term is very frequently employed to signify the loftiest class of initiates or Adepts who through evolution have risen above the binding attractions or magnetism of the material spheres. The term is frequently used for a mahatma, whether imbodied or disimbodied, and also occasionally as a descriptive term for a nirvani — one who has reached nirvana during life. Were the nirvani "without body," the mystical and technical meaning of jivanmukta would hardly apply. Consequently, jivanmukta may briefly be said to be a human being who lives in the highest portions of his constitution in full consciousness and power even during earth-life.


(Sanskrit) An expressive word having much the same significance as jiva, but with emphasis laid upon the last element of the compound, atman, "self." Jivatman is perhaps a better term for monad even than jiva is, because it carries the clear idea of the monad in which the individual self is predominant over all other monadic attributes. One may perhaps describe it by a paraphrase as "the essential self or individuality of the monad."

Jivatman is also a term sometimes used for the universal life; but this definition, while correct in a way, is rather confusing because suggesting similarity if not identity with paramatman. Paramatman is the Brahman or universal spirit of a solar system, for instance; and paramatman is therefore the converging point of a kosmic consciousness in which all the hosts of jivatmans unite as in their hierarchical head. The jivatmans of any hierarchy are like the rays from the paramatman, their divine-spiritual sun. The jivatman, therefore, in the case of the human being, or indeed of any other evolving entity, is the spiritual monad, or better perhaps the spiritual ego of that monad.



(Sanskrit) This word comes from a verb-root klrip, meaning "to be in order"; hence a "period of time," or a "cycle of time." Sometimes a kalpa is called the period of a mahamanvantara — or "great manvantara" — after which the globes of a planetary chain no longer go into obscuration or repose, as they periodically do, but die utterly. A kalpa is also called a Day of Brahma, and its length is 4,320,000,000 years. Seven rounds form a Day of Brahma, or a planetary manvantara. (See also Brahma, Manvantara)

Seven planetary manvantaras (or planetary cycles, each cycle consisting of seven rounds) form one solar kalpa (or solar manvantara), or seven Days of Brahma — a week of Brahma.

The difficulty that many Western students have had in understanding this word lies in the fact that it is unavoidably a "blind," because it does not apply with exclusive meaning to the length of one time period alone. Like the English word age, or the English phrase time period, the word kalpa may be used for several different cycles. There is likewise the maha-kalpa or "great kalpa," which frequently is the name given to the vast time period contained in a complete solar manvantara or complete solar pralaya.


(Sanskrit) "Desire"; the fourth substance-principle of which man's constitution is composed. Kama is the driving or impelling force in the human constitution; per se it is colorless, neither good nor bad, and is only such as the mind and soul direct its use. It is the seat of the living electric impulses, desires, aspirations, considered in their energic aspect. Usually however, although there is a divine kama as well as an infernal one, this word is restricted, and wrongly so, to evil desire almost exclusively.


(Sanskrit) A compound which can be translated as "desire world," which is accurate enough, but only slightly descriptive. It is a semi-material plane or rather world or realm, subjective and invisible to human beings as a rule, which surrounds and also encloses our physical globe. It is the habitat or dwelling-place of the astral forms of dead men and other dead beings — the realm of the kama-rupas or desire-bodies of defunct humans. "It is the Hades," as H. P. Blavatsky says, "of the ancient Greeks, and the Amenti of the Egyptians, the land of Silent Shadows."

It is in the kama-loka that the second death takes place, after which the freed upper duad of the human being that was enters the devachan. The highest regions of the kama-loka blend insensibly into the lowest regions or realms of the devachan; and, conversely, the grossest and lowest regions of the kama-loka blend insensibly into the highest regions of the avichi.

When the physical body breaks up at death, the astral elements of the excarnate entity remain in the kama-loka or "shadow world," with the same vital centers as in physical life clinging within them, still vitalizing them; and here certain processes take place. The lower human soul that is befouled with earth-thought and the lower instincts cannot easily rise out of the kama-loka, because it is foul, it is heavy; and its tendency is consequently downwards. It is in the kama-loka that the processes of separation of the monad from the kama-rupic spook or phantom take place; and when this separation is complete, which is the second death above spoken of, then the monad receives the reincarnating ego within its bosom, wherein it enjoys its long rest of bliss and recuperation. If, contrariwise, the entity in the kama-loka is so heavy with evil and is so strongly attracted to earth spheres that the influence of the monad cannot withdraw the reincarnating ego from the kama-rupa, then the latter with its befouled soul sinks lower and lower and may even enter the avichi. If the influence of the monad succeeds, as it usually does, in bringing about the second death, then the kama-rupa becomes a mere phantom or kama-rupic spook, and begins instantly to decay and finally vanishes away, its component life-atoms pursuing each one the road whither its attractions draw it.


(Sanskrit) A compound word signifying "desire body." It is that part of man's inner constitution in which dwell or inhere the various desires, affections, hates, loves — in short, the various mental and psychical energies. After death it becomes the vehicle in the astral worlds of the higher principles of the man that was. But these higher principles are nevertheless scarcely conscious of the fact, because the rupture of the golden cord of life at the moment of the physical death plunges the cognizing personal entity into a merciful stupor of unconsciousness, in which stupor it remains a longer or shorter period depending upon its qualities of spirituality or materiality. The more spiritual the man was the longer the period of merciful unconsciousness lasts, and vice versa.

After death, as has been frequently stated elsewhere, there occurs what is called the second death, which is the separation of the immortal part of the second or intermediate duad from the lower portions of this duad, which lower portions remain as the kama-rupa in the etheric or higher astral spheres which are intermediate between the devachanic and the earthly spheres. In time this kama-rupa gradually fades out in its turn, its life-atoms at such dissolution passing on to their various and unceasing peregrinations.

It is this kama-rupa which legend and story in the various ancient world religions or philosophies speak of as the shade, and which it has been customary in the Occident to call the spook or ghost. It is, in short, all the mortal elements of the human soul that was. The kama-rupa is an exact astral duplicate, in appearance and mannerism, of the man who died; it is his eidolon or "image." (See also Second Death)


(Sanskrit) A compound signifying "cause body" or "causal body," the instrument or principle or causal element in man's constitution, and inferentially in the constitution of any other reimbodying entity, which brings about not merely the reproduction in imbodied form of such entity, but likewise its evolution during a manvantara through an unending series of reimbodiments. (See also Karanopadhi)


(Sanskrit) A compound meaning the "causal instrument" or "instrumental cause" in the long series of reimbodiments to which human and other reimbodying entities are subject. Upadhi, the second element of this compound, is often translated as "vehicle"; but while this definition is accurate enough for popular purposes, it fails to set forth the essential meaning of the word which is rather "disguise," or certain natural properties or constitutional characteristics supposed to be the disguises or clothings or masks in and through which the spiritual monad of man works, bringing about the repetitive manifestations upon earth of certain functions and powers of this monad, and, indeed, upon the other globes of the planetary chain; and, furthermore, intimately connected with the peregrinations of the monad through the various spheres and realms of the solar kosmos. In one sense of the word, therefore, karanopadhi is almost interchangeable with the thoughts set forth under the term maya, or the illusory disguises through which spirit works, or rather through which spiritual monadic entities work and manifest themselves.

Karanopadhi, as briefly explained under the term "causal body," is dual in meaning. The first and more easily understood meaning of this term shows that the cause bringing about reimbodiment is avidya, nescience rather than ignorance; because when a reimbodying entity through repeated reimbodiments in the spheres of matter has freed itself from the entangling chains of the latter, and has risen into self-conscious recognition of its own divine powers, it thereby shakes off the chains or disguises of maya and becomes what is called a jivanmukta. It is only imperfect souls, or rather monadic souls, speaking in a general way, which are obliged by nature's cyclic operations and laws to undergo the repetitive reimbodiments on earth and elsewhere in order that the lessons of self-conquest and mastery over all the planes of nature may be achieved. As the entity advances in wisdom and knowledge, and in the acquiring of self-conscious sympathy for all that is, in other words, as it grows more and more like unto its divine-spiritual counterpart, the less is it subject to avidya. It is, in a sense, the seeds of kama-manas left in the fabric or being of the reincarnating entity, which act as the karana or reproducing cause, or instrumental cause, of such entity's reincarnations on earth.

The higher karanopadhi, however, although in operation similar to the lower karanopadhi, or karana-sarira just described, nevertheless belongs to the spiritual-intellectual part of man's constitution, and is the reproductive energy inherent in the spiritual monad bringing about its re-emergence after the solar pralaya into the new activities and new series of imbodiments which open with the dawn of the solar manvantara following upon the solar pralaya just ended. This latter karanopadhi or karana-sarira, therefore, is directly related to the element-principle in man's constitution called buddhi — a veil, as it were, drawn over the face or around the being of the monadic essence, much as prakriti surrounds Purusha, or pradhana surrounds Brahman, or mulaprakriti surrounds and is the veil or disguise or sakti of parabrahman. Hence, in the case of man, this karanopadhi or causal disguise or vehicle corresponds in a general way to the buddhi-manas, or spiritual soul, in which the spiritual monad works and manifests itself.

It should be said in passing that the doctrine concerning the functions and operations of buddhi in the human constitution is extremely recondite, because in buddhi lie the causal impulses or urges bringing about the building of the constitution of man, and which, when the latter is completed, and when forming man as a septenary entity, express themselves as the various strata or qualities of the auric egg.

Finally, the karana-sarira, the karanopadhi or causal body, is the vehicular instrumental form or instrumental body-form, produced by the working of what is perhaps the most mysterious principle or element, mystically speaking, in the constitution not only of man, but of the universe — the very mysterious spiritual bija.

The karanopadhi, the karana-sarira or causal body, is explained with minor differences of meaning in various works of Hindu philosophy; but all such works must be studied with the light thrown upon them by the great wisdom-teaching of the archaic ages, esoteric theosophy. The student otherwise runs every risk of being led astray.

I might add that the sushupti state or condition, which is that of deep dreamless sleep, involving entire insensibility of the human consciousness to all exterior impressions, is a phase of consciousness through which the adept must pass, although consciously pass in his case, before reaching the highest state of samadhi, which is the turiya state. According to the Vedanta philosophy, the turiya (meaning "fourth") is the fourth state of consciousness into which the full adept can self-consciously enter and wherein he becomes one with the kosmic Brahman. The Vedantists likewise speak of the anandamaya-kosa, which they describe as being the innermost disguise or frame or vehicle surrounding the atmic consciousness. Thus we see that the anandamaya-kosa and the karana-sarira, or karanopadhi, and the buddhi in conjunction with the manasic ego, are virtually identical.

The author has been at some pains to set forth and briefly to develop the various phases of occult and esoteric theosophical thought given in this article, because of the many and various misunderstandings and misconceptions concerning the nature, characteristics, and functions of the karana-sarira or causal body.


(Karman, Sanskrit) This is a noun-form coming from the root kri meaning "to do," "to make." Literally karma means "doing," "making," action. But when used in a philosophical sense, it has a technical meaning, and this technical meaning can best be translated into English by the word consequence. The idea is this: When an entity acts, he acts from within; he acts through an expenditure in greater or less degree of his own native energy. This expenditure of energy, this outflowing of energy, as it impacts upon the surrounding milieu, the nature around us, brings forth from the latter perhaps an instantaneous or perhaps a delayed reaction or rebound. Nature, in other words, reacts against the impact; and the combination of these two — of energy acting upon nature and nature reacting against the impact of that energy — is what is called karma, being a combination of the two factors. Karma is, in other words, essentially a chain of causation, stretching back into the infinity of the past and therefore necessarily destined to stretch into the infinity of the future. It is unescapable, because it is in universal nature, which is infinite and therefore everywhere and timeless; and sooner or later the reaction will inevitably be felt by the entity which aroused it.

It is a very old doctrine, known to all religions and philosophies, and since the renascence of scientific study in the Occident has become one of the fundamental postulates of modern coordinated knowledge. If you toss a pebble into a pool, it causes ripples in the water, and these ripples spread and finally impact upon the bank surrounding the pool; and, so modern science tells us, the ripples are translated into vibrations, which are carried outward into infinity. But at every step of this natural process there is a corresponding reaction from every one and from all of the myriads of atomic particles affected by the spreading energy.

Karma is in no sense of the word fatalism on the one hand, nor what is popularly known as chance, on the other hand. It is essentially a doctrine of free will, for naturally the entity which initiates a movement or action — spiritual, mental, psychological, physical, or other — is responsible thereafter in the shape of consequences and effects that flow therefrom, and sooner or later recoil upon the actor or prime mover.

Since everything is interlocked and interlinked and interblended with everything else, and no thing and no being can live unto itself alone, other entities are of necessity, in smaller or larger degree, affected by the causes or motions initiated by any individual entity; but such effects or consequences on entities, other than the prime mover, are only indirectly a morally compelling power, in the true sense of the word moral.

An example of this is seen in what the theosophist means when he speaks of family karma as contrasted with one's own individual karma; or national karma, the series of consequences pertaining to the nation of which he is an individual; or again, the racial karma pertaining to the race of which the individual is an integral member. Karma cannot be said either to punish or to reward in the ordinary meaning of these terms. Its action is unerringly just, for being a part of nature's own operations, all karmic action ultimately can be traced back to the kosmic heart of harmony which is the same thing as saying pure consciousness-spirit. The doctrine is extremely comforting to human minds, inasmuch as man may carve his own destiny and indeed must do so. He can form it or deform it, shape it or misshape it, as he wills; and by acting with nature's own great and underlying energies, he puts himself in unison or harmony therewith and therefore becomes a co-worker with nature as the gods are.


(Khecara, Sanskrit) "Ether-goer" or sometimes rendered as "sky-walker." The name used in the mystical and philosophical literature of Hindustan to signify one of the siddhis or psychospiritual powers that belong to yogis of advanced grade, or to initiates. It is, in fact, nothing more than what in Tibet is called hpho-wa, the projection of the mayavi-rupa to any part of the earth's surface or, indeed, farther than that, and the doing of this at will.

Kosmic Life

All the great religions and philosophies of past times, all the ancient sciences likewise, taught the fact of the existence of inner, invisible, intangible, but causal realms, as the foundation and background of these various systems. According to them all, our physical world is but the outer shell or garment or veil of other worlds which are inner, vital, alive, and causal, which in their aggregate imbody the kosmic life. This kosmic life is not a person, not an individualized entity. It is far, far different from any such merely human conception, because it is infinite, boundless, beginningless, endless, coextensive with infinity, coextensive with eternity. The kosmic life is in very truth the ultimate reality behind and within all that is.

All the energies and matters in our world are really only various and innumerable manifestations of the kosmic life existing in truly infinitely large variety. The kosmic life, therefore, is, as said, the reality behind all the infinitely varied hosts of entities and things. But this reality is no personal or individualized Deity. It is precisely what theosophy calls it: the boundless and, in its totality, incomprehensible life-substance-consciousness.


(Greek) A word meaning "arrangement"; that which was arranged and kept along the lines and rules of harmony, the arrangement of the universe. Kosmos, therefore, is virtually interchangeable with universe. It must be distinctly understood that kosmos and universe, when employed in the esoteric philosophy, signify above everything else the indwelling boundless life expressing itself in its multimyriad entities and forms producing the amazing variety, and unity in diversity, that we see around us. (See also Cosmos)


(Sanskrit) The warrior, the administrator, the king, the prince, in short, the world of officialdom, etc.; the second of the four grades or classes, social and political, of the early civilizations of Hindustan in the Vedic Period. (See also Brahmana, Vaisya, Sudra)


(Sanskrit) An extremely dangerous practice belonging to the hatha yoga system. It consists in retaining the breath by shutting the mouth and holding the nostrils closed with the fingers of the right hand. All these breathing exercises of whatever kind are attended with the utmost physiological danger to those who attempt to practice them, unless under the skilled guidance of a genuine Adept; and their practice is virtually forbidden, at least in the first few degrees, to all chelas of genuinely occult or esoteric schools. Indeed, except in rare instances, and for extraordinary reasons, the chela of a true Master of Wisdom will have no need to practice these hatha yoga exercises, for the whole purpose of esoteric training is to evolve forth the faculties and powers of the inner divinity, and not to gain minor and often misleading powers of small range which are occasionally acquired by following the hatha yoga physiologic and physical practices.

Kundalini or Kundalini-Sakti

(Sanskrit) A term whose essential meaning is "circular" or "winding" or "spiral" or "coiling" action, or rather energy, and signifies a recondite power in the human constitution. Kundalini-sakti is derivative of one of the elemental forces of nature. It works in and through, in the case of man, his auric egg, and expresses itself in continuous action in many of the most familiar phenomena of existence even when man himself is unconscious of it. In its higher aspect Kundalini is a power or force following winding or circular pathways carrying or conveying thought and force originating in the higher triad. Abstractly, in the case of man it is of course one of the fundamental energies or qualities of the pranas. Unskilled or unwise attempts to interfere with its normal working in the human body may readily result in insanity or malignant or enfeebling disease.


Ladder of Life

A term frequently found in theosophical literature, briefly and neatly expressing the ascending grades or stages of manifested existences in the universe. In one sense the term ladder of life is interchangeable with the other terms, the Hermetic Chain or the Golden Chain.

The universe is imbodied consciousnesses; and these imbodied consciousnesses exist in a practically infinite gradation of varying degrees of perfection — a real ladder of life, or stair of life, stretching endlessly in either direction, for our imagination can conceive of no limits except a hierarchical one; and such hierarchical limitation is but spacial and not actual, qualitative and formal. This ladder of life is marked at certain intervals by landing places, so to say, which are what theosophists call the different planes of being — the different spheres of consciousness, to put the thought in another manner.


A word used in old Asiatic mystical training-schools for "disciple." (See also Chela)


A "point of disappearance" — which is the Sanskrit meaning. Laya is from the Sanskrit root li, meaning "to dissolve," "to disintegrate," or "to vanish away." A laya-center is the mystical point where a thing disappears from one plane and passes onwards to reappear on another plane. It is that point or spot — any point or spot — in space, which, owing to karmic law, suddenly becomes the center of active life, first on a higher plane and later descending into manifestation through and by the laya-centers of the lower planes. In one sense a laya-center may be conceived of as a canal, a channel, through which the vitality of the superior spheres pours down into, and inspires, inbreathes into, the lower planes or states of matter, or rather of substance. But behind all this vitality there is a directive and driving force. There are mechanics in the universe, mechanics of many degrees of consciousness and power. But behind the pure mechanic stands the spiritual-intellectual mechanician.

Finally, a laya-center is the point where substance rebecomes homogeneous. Any laya-center, therefore, of necessity exists in and on the critical line or stage dividing one plane from another. Any hierarchy, therefore, contains within itself a number of laya-centers. (See also Hierarchy)


A learning, evolving entity, each one a unit in one or other of the numberless hosts or hierarchies of them which exist. A life-atom is a vital individualized vehicle or body of a spiritual monad, which latter is the consciousness-center, the ultimate, noblest, highest, finest part of us. The heart of every life-atom is a spiritual monad. Life-atoms are young gods, embryo gods, and are, therefore, in a continuous process of self-expressing themselves on the planes of matter.

A life-atom may be briefly said to be the ensouling power in every primary or ultimate particle. An atom of physical matter is ensouled by such a life-atom, which is its pranic-astral-vital primary, the life-atom of it. The life-atom is not the physical atom, which latter is but its garment or vehicle and is compounded of physical matter only, which breaks up when its term of life has run, and which will return again in order to reimbody itself anew through the instrumentality and by the innate force or energy latent in its ensouling primary, the life-atom.

In other words, the life-atom has a house of life, and this house of life is its body or physical atom; and the life-atom itself is the lowest expression of the monadic light within that atomic house.


The physical body is composed essentially of energy, of energies rather, in the forms that are spoken of in modern physical science as electrons and protons. These are in constant movement; they are incessantly active, and are what theosophists call the imbodiments or manifestations of life-atoms. These life-atoms are inbuilt into man's body during the physical life which he leads on earth, although they are not derivative from outside, but spring forth from within himself — at least a great majority of them are such. This is equivalent to saying that they compose both his physical as well as his intermediate nature, which latter is obviously higher than the physical.

When the man dies — that is to say, when the physical body dies — its elements pass, each and all, into their respective and appropriate spheres: some into the soil, to which those that go there are drawn by magnetic affinity, an affinity impressed upon their life-energies by the man when alive, whose overshadowing will and desires, whose overlordship and power, gave them that direction. Others pass into the vegetation from the same reason that the former are impelled to the mineral kingdom; others pass into the various beasts with which they have, at the man's death, magnetic affinity, psychic affinity more accurately, an affinity which the man has impressed upon them by his desires and various impulses; and those which take this path go to form the interior or intermediate apparatus of the beasts into which they pass. So much for the course pursued by the life-atoms of the man's lowest principles.

But there are other life-atoms belonging to him. There are life-atoms, in fact, belonging to the sphere of each one of the seven principles of man's constitution. This means that there are life-atoms belonging to his intermediate nature and to his spiritual nature and to all grades intermediate between these two higher parts of him. And in all cases, as the monad "ascends" or "rises" through the spheres, as he goes step by step higher on his wonderful postmortem journey, on each such step he discards or casts off the life-atoms belonging to each one of these steps or stages of the journey. With each step, he leaves behind the more material of these life-atoms until, when he has reached the culmination of his wonderful postmortem peregrination, he is, as Paul of the Christians said, living in "a spiritual body" — that is to say, he has become a spiritual energy, a monad.

Nature permits no absolute standing still for anything, anywhere. All things are full of life, full of energy, full of movement; they are both energy and matter, both spirit and substance; and these two are fundamentally one — phases of the underlying reality, of which we see but the maya or illusory forms.

The life-atoms are actually the offspring or the off-throwings of the interior principles of man's constitution. It is obvious that the life-atoms which ensoul the physical atoms in man's body are as numerous as the atoms which they ensoul; and there are almost countless hosts of them, decillions upon decillions of them, in practically incomputable numbers. Each one of these life-atoms is a being which is living, moving, growing, never standing still — evolving towards a sublime destiny which ultimately becomes divinity.


This is a term which means the collective hosts of monads, of which hosts there are seven or ten, according to the classification adopted. The monad is a spiritual ego, a consciousness-center, being in the spiritual realms of the universal life what the life-atoms are in the lower planes of form. These monads and life-atoms collectively are the seven (or ten) life-waves — these monads with the life-atoms in and through which they work; these life-atoms having remained, when the former planetary chain went into pralaya, in space as kosmic dust on the physical plane, and as corresponding life-atoms or life-specks of differentiated matter on the intermediate planes above the physical. Out of the working of the monads as they come down into matter — or rather through and by the monadic rays permeating the lower planes of matter — are the globes builded. The seven (or ten) life-waves or hosts of monads consist of monads in seven (or ten) degrees of advancement for each host.

When the hosts of beings forming the life-wave — the life-wave being composed of the entities derived from a former but now dead planet, in our case the moon — find that the time has arrived for them to enter upon their own particular evolutionary course, they cycle downwards as a life-wave along the planetary chain that has been prepared for them by the three hosts of elementary beings, of the three primordial elementary worlds, the forerunners of the life-wave, yet integral parts of it. This life-wave passes seven times in all around the seven spheres of our planetary chain, at first cycling down the shadowy arc through all the seven elements of the kosmos, gathering experience in each one of them; each particular entity of the life-wave, no matter what its grade or kind — spiritual, psychic, astral, mental, divine — advancing, until at the bottom of the arc, when the middle of the fourth round is attained, they feel the end of the downward impulse. Then begins the upward impulse, the reascent along the luminous arc upwards, towards the source from which the life-wave originally came.


(Sanskrit) Linga is a word which means "characteristic mark," hence "model," "pattern." Sarira, "form," from a verb-root sri, meaning "to molder" or "to waste away," the word thus signifying "impermanence."

The sixth substance-principle, counting downwards, of which man's constitution is composed. The model-body, popularly called astral body, because it is but slightly more ethereal than 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.

At death the linga-sarira or model-body remains in the astral realms and finally fades out, dissolving pari passu, atom by atom, with the atoms of the physical corpse. These astral realms are not one single plane, but a series of planes growing gradually more ethereal or spiritual as they approach the inward spheres of nature's constitution or structure. The linga-sarira is formed before the body is formed, and thus serves as a model or pattern around which the physical body is molded and grows to maturity; it is as mortal as is the physical body, and disappears with the physical body.


(Sanskrit) This word comes from the verb-root lip, meaning "to write"; hence the word lipikas means the "scribes." Mystically, they are the celestial recorders, and are intimately connected with the working of karma, of which they are the agents. They are the karmic "Recorders or Annalists, who impress on the (to us) invisible tablets of the Astral Light, 'the great picture-gallery of eternity,' a faithful record of every act, and even thought, of man [and indeed of all other entities and things], of all that was, is, or ever will be, in the phenomenal Universe" (The Secret Doctrine 1:104).

Their action although governed strictly by kosmic consciousness is nevertheless rigidly automatic, for their work is as automatic as is the action of karma itself. They are entities as a matter of fact, but entities which work and act with the rigid automatism of the kosmic machinery, rather than like the engineer who supervises and changes the running of his engines. In one sense they may perhaps better be called kosmic energies — a most difficult matter to describe.


(Greek) In old Greek philosophy the word logos was used in many ways, of which the Christians often sadly misunderstood the profoundly mystical meaning. Logos is a word having several applications in the esoteric philosophy, for there are different kinds or grades of logoi, some of them of divine, some of them of a spiritual character; some of them having a cosmic range, and others ranges much more restricted. In fact, every individual entity, no matter what its evolutionary grade on the ladder of life, has its own individual logos. The divine-spiritual entity behind the sun is the solar logos of our solar system. Small or great as every solar system may be, each has its own logos, the source or fountainhead of almost innumerable logoi of less degree in that system. Every man has his own spiritual logos; every atom has its own logos; every atom likewise has its own paramatman and mulaprakriti, for every entity everywhere has its own highest. These things and the words which express them are obviously relative.

One meaning of the Greek logos is "word" — a phrase or symbol taken from the ancient Mysteries meaning the "lost word," the "lost" logos of man's heart and brain. The logos of our own planetary chain, so far as this fourth round is concerned, is the Wondrous Being or Silent Watcher.

The term, therefore, is a relative and not an absolute one, and has many applications.


(Sanskrit) A word meaning "place" or "locality" or, as much more frequently used in theosophy, a "world" or "sphere" or "plane."

The lokas are divided into rupa-lokas and arupa-lokas — "material worlds" and "spiritual spheres." There is a wide range of teaching connected with the lokas and talas which belongs to the deeper reaches of the esoteric philosophy. (See also Arupa, Rupa, Tala)

Lunar Pitri(s)

Lunar of course means "belonging to the moon," while pitri is a Sanskrit word meaning "father." It is a term used in theosophy to signify the seven or ten grades of evolving entities which at the end of the lunar manvantara pass into a nirvanic state, to leave it aeons later as the seven or tenfold hierarchy of beings which inform the planetary chain of earth. In a general sense lunar pitris means all entities which originally came from the moon-chain to the earth-chain; but in a more particular and restricted sense it refers to those elements of the human constitution beneath the evolutionary standing of the agnishvattas.

Another term for lunar pitris is lunar ancestors or barhishads. These lunar ancestors are usually given as of seven classes, three being arupa, incorporeal, and four being rupa or corporeal. There is a vast body of teaching connected with the lunar pitris, of which the best modern exposition thus far given is to be found in H. P. Blavatsky's The Secret Doctrine. Briefly, the earth-chain including our own globe Terra was populated from the moon-chain, because all entities now on earth, whatever their grade in evolution, came from the chain of the moon. (See also Pitris, Agnishvattas)

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