Encyclopedic Theosophical Glossary

editors’ note: This online version of the Encyclopedic Theosophical Glossary is a work in progress. For ease of searching, diacritical marks are omitted, with the exception of Hebrew and Sanskrit terms, where after the main heading a current transliteration with accents is given.

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Aam (Egyptian) [probably from ȧm to eat, devour] A name for the god Tem, regarded as a form of the sun god, especially at the city of Annu (Heliopolis). A verse from the Book of the Dead associates Aam with the sun god Ra: “I am Ra, I am Aam, I ate my heir”; Blavatsky adds, “an image expressing the succession of divine functions, the substitution from one form into another, or the correlation of forces. Aam is the electro-positive force, devouring all others as Saturn devoured his progeny” (SD 1:674n).

Aanroo, Aanre (Egyptian) Ȧanru, Ȧanre. More fully, Sekhet-Aanre (the fields of the reeds); more often called Aarru or Sekhet-Aarru; also Aanru, Aaru. The first region of the Afterworlds (Amenti) reached by the deceased in the afterdeath state, which he enters as a khu. “The second division of Amenti. The celestial field of Aanroo is encircled by an iron wall. The field is covered with wheat, and the ‘Defunct’ are represented gleaning it, for the ‘Master of Eternity’; some stalks being three, others five, and the highest seven cubits high. Those who reached the last two numbers entered the state of bliss (which is called in Theosophy Devachan); the disembodied spirits whose harvest was but three cubits high went into lower regions (Kamaloka). Wheat was with the Egyptians the symbol of the Law of Retribution or Karma. The cubits had reference to the seven, five and three human ‘principles’ ” (TG 1).

Beyond Aanroo, in Amenti, are seven halls with guardians, associated with kama-loka by Blavatsky: “Those only of the dead, who know the names of the janitors of the ‘seven halls,’ will be admitted into Amenti for ever; i.e., those who have passed through the seven races of each round — otherwise they will rest in the lower fields; and it represents also the seven successive Devachans, or lokas” (SD 1:674n). See also AMENTI

Aarea (Tahitian) Red soil from which, in Tahitian legends, the first men were made; similar to the red earth of Hebrew Adamic man and the Norse mud giant.

Aaron (Hebrew) ’Aharon [from the verbal root ’āhar to be enlightened, illuminated] The enlightened; reputedly the first high priest of the Hebrews (Exodus). As elder brother and the first initiate of Moses, Aaron “heads the line, or Hierarchy, of the initiated Nabim, or Seers” (TG 1-2). Benei ’Aharon (children of Aaron) are priests.

Aarru, Aaru. See AANROO

Ab (Hebrew) ’Āb [from the verbal root ’ābab to blossom, bear fruit] Father, hence founder, forefather, ancestor; by extension, teacher or counselor. Originally a Babylonian name.

Fifth month of the Hebrew ecclesiastical or sacred year, according to the system used after the Babylonian captivity; also the 11th month of the civil year. Likewise the 11th month of the Palmyrenes and Syrians, equivalent to July-August and the zodiacal sign Leo. See also ABBA.

Ababel (Arabic) [cf Hebrew ’āb father] The Father Tree or mystic Tree of Life in the Koran, that sends forth new branches and leaves at every rebirth of the kerkes or phoenix, up to seven times seven or 49 times — “an allusion to the forth-nine ‘Manus,’ the Seven Rounds, and the seven times seven human cycles in each Round on each globe” (SD 2:617).

Abacus (Latin) [from Greek abax slab from Hebrew ’abaq dust] Anciently a sand-strewn board or table used for writing, geometrical figures, etc.; a counting-board on which sums were worked with counters on the board or beads in vertical grooves; and also a calculating device consisting of balls strung on wires set in a frame.

In archaeology, abacus is the upper plinth of a capital of a column, supporting the architrave; also, the mystic staff carried by the Grand Master of the Templars.

Abaddon (Hebrew) ’Abaddōn [from the verbal root ’ābad to perish, be cut off] Destruction, abyss; the region of the dead, synonym of She’ol in the Old Testament. Equivalent to the Greek apollyon (destruction, laying waste — Rev 9:11). Thus Abaddon, Apollyon, Hades, and Orcus all signify the underworld — the kama-loka or region of disintegrating “shells,” human or other.

Abathur (Gnostic) [from Hebrew ’āb father] In the Nazarene or Bardesanian system, the father of the Demiurgus or architect of the visible universe. In the Codex Nazaraeus, Abathur opens a gate, walks to the dark water (chaos), and looks down into it. The darkness reflects his image, and a son is formed who becomes the Logos or Demiurge, Ptahil or Fetahil. After Ptahil finishes his work he reascends to his father.

Abathur, a mystery-figure, is sometimes called the Third Life, equivalent to the Third Logos because first of the third triad of “lives” in the Nazarene system, which correspond to the three Logoi. He is analogous to the Ancient of Days of the Qabbalah, the Hindu Narayana, and the Christian Holy Spirit, while his ideal counterpart is Abathur Rama (lofty Abathur). As weigher of souls after death, Abathur is equated with Thoth, lord of the scales in the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

Abba (Aramaic) ’Abbā. Father, origin, source, transliterated in the Greek text (Mark 14:36) as ’Abba. The phrase “Abba Father” has become a title of invocation to the first person of the Trinity; in Coptic and Syriac churches, Abba (father or master) is a title of the patriarch of bishops. In the Qabbalah, ’Abba is the original principle symbolized by Kether (the Crown).

Ab-e-Hayat or Ab-e-Zendegi (Persian) Āb-e-Hayat or Āb-e-Zendegi [from Persian āb, Avestan āp, Pahlavi āv, water, purity, brilliance, honor, bliss, fortune] Water of life or immortality; it is believed that the Water of Life is hidden in the most northern part of the earth in the dark. He who finds and drinks of it will become immortal. Some Persian allegories say that Alexander the Great sought after it in vain. It is also said Khezr, the prophet, found it and that is how he became immortal. Esoterically it represents the universal self and life’s principal substance. It corresponds to the use of “water” in Genesis 1:2. The ancient Iranians believed that the first created was Mithra (Mehr), the reflection of Being, the essence of light, in the water of life; so the creation was the synthesis of these two, named Mehrab. Mehrab later became the sacred place of worship in mosques among Moslems.

The water of life is also called Ab-e-Bagha (water of immortality), Ab-e-Heyvan (water of animation), and Ab-e-Khezr (water of Khezr).

Abel (Hebrew) Hebel [from the verbal root hābal, to breathe, blow, be vain, transitory] The second son of Adam and Eve, a “keeper of sheep,” slain by his brother Cain (Genesis 4). According to Blavatsky, Cain and Abel represent the third root-races or the “Separating Hermaphrodite,” who produce the fourth root-race, Seth-Enos. Abel (Hebel) is the female counterpart of the male Cain, and Adam is the collective name for man and woman. Abel is “the first natural woman, and sheds the Virgin blood,” during the separation of the sexes (SD 2:388); the “ ‘murdering’ is blood-shedding, but not taking life” (SD 2:273n; also 2:127, 134).

Abel thus is a generalizing term for womankind and Cain for mankind, when the sexes began separating in the third root-race but were not yet completely apart, before the androgynous humans became the present humanity with distinct sexes. A similar word, hebel (the pain of childbirth), is connected by some scholars with Abel. See also HABEL

Abhasvara (Sanskrit) Ābhāsvara [from ā near to, towards + the verbal root bhās to shine upon, illuminate] Brilliant, shining; a class of 64 devas or demigods representing a certain cycle of manifestation and the active phase of the evolutionary process set in motion by an act of will of Brahman, who remains transcendent while emanating forth the world.


Ab Hati (Egyptian) Ȧb Ḥāti. The animal soul, heart, or feelings in F. Lambert’s rendering of the Egyptian sevenfold human constitution (SD 2:633).  See also PRINCIPLES

Abhava (Sanskrit) Abhava [from a not + bhava being from the verbal root bhū to be, become] Nonbeing, destruction, end of the world. See also ABHĀVA; BHAVA

Abhava (Sanskrit) Abhāva [from a not + bhava being from the verbal root bhū to be, become] Nonexistence, nonentity, negation; applied to the material universe, noumenal substance, or subjectivity. In Kanada’s system of negation of individual beings or objects, abhava is classed as seventh in his categories. In Vedanta philosophy, first of the six pramanas (means of obtaining knowledge), and as such corresponds to the fifth pramana, abhava-pratyaksha, nonperception when applied to the physical, but more accurately apprehension of subjective or spiritual being.

Ordinary usage has attached the meaning of death or annihilation to abhava, but only because to the materialistic mind that which cannot be cognized by the sense organs has no existence. Like other philosophical terms, it has a dual meaning: nonbeing or nonexistence, when taken objectively; mystically, the only true being, that of spirit which is nonbeing to those who do not accept spiritual realms and their life.

According to Sankaracharya: “Those who say that there is such a thing as Abhava on earth, are neither Srotis (those who understand the Srutis), knowers of Sastras, knowers of Truth, nor Sadhus. Listen! both Bhava and Abhava (existence and nonexistence) are also Brahma” (Maha-vakyadarpanam, vv. 129-30). Thus Brahman is essentially the source or foundation of all that is: both becoming or being, and nonbecoming or nonbeing; and because bhava and abhava exist in the universe, both are Brahman.

A more subtle, deeply philosophical concept is the application of abhava to the unmanifest — that state of the cosmic essence before “becoming” began its work of differentiation into hierarchical orders, thus bringing about bhava. See also ASAT; BHAVA; SAT

Abhaya (Sanskrit) Abhaya [from a not + bhaya fear from the verbal root bhī to fear] Fearlessness, peace, mental serenity; a title of both Siva and Buddha; one of Dhritarashtra’s hundred sons; also reputedly a “son” of Dharma.

Abhayagiri (Sanskrit) Abhayagiri [from a not + bhaya fear + giri mountain, hill] Mount Fearless; a mountain in Sri Lanka. According to Fa-hien, the Chinese traveler, in 400 AD. Abhayagiri had an ancient Buddhist vihara (monastery) of some 5,000 priests and ascetics, whose studies comprised both the Mahayana and Hinayana systems, as well as Triyana (three paths), “the three successive degrees of Yoga. . . . Tradition says that owing to bigoted intolerance and persecution, they left Ceylon and passed beyond the Himalayas, where they have remained ever since” (TG 2-3).

Abhayagiri-vasinah (Sanskrit) Abhayagiri-vāsināḥ [from vas to dwell, inhabit] Dwellers on Mount Fearless; also a branch of Katyayana’s disciples (3rd century BC).

Abhichara (Sanskrit) Abhicāra [from abhi toward + the verbal root car to go, often used derogatorily as to act wrongly toward another, charm, enchant, possess] Exorcising; employing a charm or spell, usually for malevolent purposes, causing death or disease; mesmeric powers used by sorcerers in India.

Abhidhamma (Pali) Abhidhamma [from abhi towards, with intensified meaning + dhamma law, religion, duty from the verbal root dhr to hold fast, preserve, sustain] The supreme dhamma or law as expounded in the third and last portion of the Pali Tipitaka (Sanskrit Tripitaka) or “three baskets” of the canonical books of the Southern School of Buddhism. The Abhidhamma-pitaka, which deals with profound metaphysical themes, is believed to be the source from which the Mahayana and Hinayana got their fundamental doctrines.

Abhidhamma (Sanskrit abhidharma) is defined by Buddhaghosha as “that higher law (dharma) which goes beyond (abhi) the popular or common law.”

Abhidharma. See ABHIDHAMMA

Abhidina (Sanskrit) Abhiḍīna [from abhi towards + ḍīna flight from the verbal root ḍī to fly] One of the siddhis (occult powers) of a buddha; similar to khechara (skywalker, one who has the power of projecting his mayavi-rupa whither he will in the lower ranges of the cosmos), but on a more sublime scale. It is the power to transcend the limitations of the lower quaternary of the cosmos and to “fly” or ascend self-consciously into the spiritual planes of the universe and function there in full self-possession, with complete control of circumstances and time. One of the most mystical and least known teachings of esoteric Buddhism, it is closely connected with samma-sambodhi and nirvana.

Abhijit (Sanskrit) Abhijit [from abhi towards + the verbal root ji to conquer] Sometimes Abhijita. As a noun, a soma sacrifice, a lunar mansion, the principal star in the constellation Lyra, a name of Vishnu, etc. As an adjective, victorious, also referring to one born under the constellation Abhijit.

Equivalent to aghijin-muhurta, the eighth muhurta or period, comprising 24 minutes before and 24 minutes after midday — an auspicious period; Sankaracharya is said to have been born at this time.

Abhijna (Sanskrit) Abhijñā [from abhi towards + the verbal root jñā to know, have special knowledge of, mastery over; Pali abhiñña] Inner perception; in Buddhism the five or six transcendental powers, faculties, or superknowledges attained on reaching buddhahood. Gautama Buddha is said to have acquired the six abhijnas the night he attained enlightenment. Generally enumerated as: 1) divyachakshus (divine eye) instantaneous perception of whatever one wills to see; 2) divyasrotra (divine ear) instantaneous comprehension of all sounds on every plane; 3) riddhisakshatkriya, power of becoming visibly manifest at will, intuitive perception; 4) purvanivasajnana (power to know former existences) also called purvanivasanu-smritijnana (recollection of former existences); and 5) parachittajnana (knowledge of others’ thoughts) understanding of their minds and hearts.

In China a sixth is listed as asravakshaya (stream-mastery, pain destruction), destruction of all ignorance and the entering of the stream of supernal knowledge. While these abhijnas may be acquired in the process of achieving spiritual progress, the Buddha frowned upon any attempt to develop them; and if they should spontaneously become manifest, then one must avoid any display of such extranormal powers.

Abhimana (Sanskrit) Abhimāna [from abhi towards + the verbal root man to think; thinking towards oneself] Pride, arrogance, hence delusion. Covetousness manifesting in acquisitiveness, bringing about longing for what is thought about, in its turn inducing conceit. In Sankhya philosophy, a high or egotistic conception of oneself (usually therefore erroneous). It springs into action in the human constitution when awakened by the propulsive or impulsive energy of kama. Ahamkara, the human ego-function, is the prime motivator of abhimana.

Abhimanin, Abhimani (Sanskrit) Abhimānin, Abhimānī [from abhi towards + the verbal root man to think, reflect upon] Longing for, thinking upon; name of an Agni, eldest son of Brahma. By Svaha, Abhimanin had three sons of surpassing brilliancy: Pavaka, Pavamana, and Suchi, the personifications of the three fires that produced our earth and humanity (VP 1:10). Abhimanin, his three sons, and their 45 sons constitute the mystic 49 fires of the Puranas and the Esoteric Philosophy.

 As the eldest son of Brahma, Abhimanin represents the cosmic Logos, the first force produced in the universe at its evolution, the fire of cosmic creative desire. His three sons, according to the Vayu-Purana, stand for three different aspects of Agni (fire): Pavaka is the electric fire, Pavamana the fire produced by friction, and Suchi the solar fire. Interpreted on the cosmic and human planes, these three fires are “Spirit, Soul, and Body, the three great Root groups, with their four additional divisions” (SD 2:247). They are said to have been cursed by the sage Vasishtha to be born again and again (cf BP 4:24,4; SD 2:247-8).

“Every fire has a distinct function and meaning in the worlds of the physical and the spiritual. It has, moreover, in its essential nature a corresponding relation to one of the human psychic faculties, besides its well determined chemical and physical potencies when coming in contact with the terrestrially differentiated matter” (SD 1:521).

Abhimanyu (Sanskrit) Abhimanyu [from abhi towards + the verbal root man to think] Son of Arjuna by Subhadra, sister of Krishna. In the mystic interpretation of the Bhagavad-Gita, Abhimanyu represents high-mindedness, akin to dhyana (meditation). Abhimanyu killed Duryodhana’s son Lakshmana on the second day of the great battle of Kurukshetra, while he himself was slain on the thirteenth day. The Mahabharata tells of Abhimanyu’s previous birth as Varchas, son of Chandra, and the agreement entered into by Chandra with the devas to send his son to be born as the son of Arjuna in order to fight against the “wicked people.” Chandra imposed the condition, however, that Abhimanyu should be slain by the opposing forces so as to return to him in his sixteenth year.

Abhinivesa (Sanskrit) Abhiniveśa [from abhi towards + ni down + the verbal root viś to enter; to enter into completely] Application, intentness, devotion, tenacity, determination to effect a purpose or attain an object. In the Bhagavad-Gita, when used with manas (mind) and atman (self) it means to devote one’s attention to.

In the Sankhya and Yoga systems, abhinivesa or tenacity for life is the last of the five hindrances (klesas). W. Q. Judge defines it as “idle terror causing death” — a permissible extension of meaning (WG 1).

Abhinna. See ABHIJNA

Abhrayanti (Sanskrit) Abhrayantī [from abhra cloud] Forming clouds, bringing rain; one of the seven Krittikas (Pleiades).

Abhutarajas (Sanskrit) Abhūtarajas [from a not + the verbal root bhū to be born, produced + rajas passion] Those not produced by or born with the quality of passion; a class of 14 gods or divinities belonging to the “fifth manvantara,” the fifth Manu of which was Raivata (cf VP 3:1). The abhutarajasas are a hierarchy of divine beings, similar to the kumaras and manasaputras, who have passed through the material worlds in previous evolutionary periods. Having risen above all passional attractions to the lower spheres, these three classes of deities are reckoned as exempt from passion — in the sense of suffering passively, one of passion’s original connotations. These divinities are masters of themselves, not passive subjects.

In the theosophical scheme of rounds and races, the fifth manvantara of the Puranas refers to the first half or descending arc of the third round of our present planetary chain, and the fifth manu, Raivata, to the root-manu of this third round; further, the passage of the life-waves through each round of all the globes of the planetary chain — i.e. from globe A to globe G — consists of two “manvantaras,” and thus it is that the first half or descending arc of the third round is the fifth of these manvantaras. Moreover, just as in the third root-race on this globe in our present fourth round the manasaputras incarnated in the then relatively intellectually senseless humanity to awaken its self-conscious mind, so in their own way and on their own planes did the abhutarajasas act. In the descending arc of the third round they played the same part, albeit in a more diffuse and less active way, that they later did in the early part of the third root-race of the fourth round on this globe, when the human vehicles were evolutionally ready for a more intensive incarnation.

Abhyasana. See ABHYASA-YOGA

Abhyasa-yoga (Sanskrit) Abhyāsa-yoga [from abhi towards + the verbal root as to be, exist + yoga union from the verbal root yuj to join, yoke] Sometimes erroneously abhyasana. Repeated practice and application of yoga, meditation, or recollection; the effort of the mind to attain an unmodified condition of perfect serenity and quiet. One of the eight disciplines or requirements of yoga: persistent concentration of attention. When accompanied with physical postures, it is a form of hatha yoga, and practiced without the spiritual training of raja yoga, it has its dangers. As a system of mental concentration directed to impersonal, altruistic ends, it is beneficial. Krishna (BG 12:9-10) points out that abhyasa-yoga is not only useful for training in one life but, if performed for the sake of the Supreme, is likely to leave permanent helpful impulses in the soul which will aid it in future incarnations and lead it ultimately to union (yoga) with the divine.

Abib (Hebrew) ’Ābīb [from the verbal root ’abab to be fresh, green; to blossom, bear fruit] Ear or sprout (of grain); first month of the Hebrew sacred year, equivalent to March-April and beginning with the new moon. Hodesh ha-’abib was the “month of green corn”; later, after the exile, called Nisan during which the vernal equinox was celebrated.

Abiegnus Mons (Latin) [from abies fir-wood, a letter inscribed on a wooden tablet + mons mountain] Wooded mountain; according to Wynn Westcott, a mystic name “from whence, as from a certain mountain, Rosicrucian documents are often found to be issued — ‘Monte Abiegno.’ There is a connection with Mount Meru, and other sacred hills” (TG 3).

Abif, Hiram. See HIRAM ABIF

Ab-i-hayat. See AB-E-HAYAT

Abir (Hebrew) ’Ābīr, ’Abbīr [from the verbal root ’ābar to be strong] As an adjective, durable, strong; as a noun, protector, hero. Cognate in thought with kabbir (cf kabiri, kabeiroi) and geber (cf gibborim), all generally signifying power, might, strength, although each has its distinct connotation.

Also, wing or pinion, implying flight or soaring.

Abjayoni (Sanskrit) Abjayoni [from abja lotus from ap water + the verbal root jan to be born, produced + yoni womb, spring, source] Lotus-born; applied to Brahma, said to have sprung at the time of creation from a lotus which arose from the navel of Vishnu.

Ablanathanalba (Gnostic) Used as a magical charm during the later Roman Empire when Gnosticism flourished in most great centers of population such as Alexandria. In Greek characters it is a palindrome. See also ABRACADABRA.

Abortion The destruction of the fetus in the uterus. The issues involved in the act are more vital and far-reaching than is generally suspected. Blavatsky in classifying feticide as unjustifiable murder, says: “yet it is neither from the standpoint of law, nor from any argument drawn from one or another orthodox ism that the warning voice is sent forth against the immoral and dangerous practice, but rather in occult philosophy both physiology and psychology show the disastrous consequence. . . . For, indeed, when even successful and the mother does not die just then, it still shortens her life on earth to prolong it with dreary percentage in Kamaloka, the intermediate sphere between the earth and the region of rest, . . . a necessary halting place in the evolution of the degree of life. The crime committed lies precisely in the wilful and sinful destruction of life, and interference with the operations of nature, hence — with Karma — that of the mother and the would-be future human being. The sin is not regarded by theosophists as one of a religious character, . . . But foeticide is a crime against nature” (BCW 5:107-8).

Abracadabra [possibly from Celtic abra or abar god + cad holy; Blavatsky from an elaboration of the Gnostic Abrasax or Abraxas, a corruption of a Coptic or Egyptian magic formula meaning “hurt me not”] Mystical word used as a charm by the Gnostic school of Basilides. The Gnostic physician Serenus Sammonicus (2nd-3rd century) prescribed it as a remedy for agues and fevers. On amulets the word is often inscribed as a triangle with the point down, beginning with all eleven letters, below which are the first ten, and so on down to the single letter at the point. The power of any charm lies, not in the word itself, but in the hidden science connecting sounds and symbols with the potencies in nature to which they correspond. See also ABLANATHANALBA

Abraham (Hebrew) ’Abrāhām Traditionally the founder of the Hebrew and South-Arabian peoples, whose original name was Abram. “Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee” (Genesis 17:5). Blavatsky holds that Abraham “belongs to the universal mythology. Most likely he is but one of the numerous aliases of Zeruan (Saturn), the king of the golden age, who is also called the old man (emblem of time)” (IU 2:216). Such figures are described in various ways: as historical characters, as mythoi, and as rulers of sidereal and terrestrial powers to be interpreted astronomically and cosmically.

Abrayanti. See ABHRAYANTI

Abraxas, Abrasax (Gnostic) Mystical term used by the Gnostics to indicate the supreme entity of our cosmic hierarchy or its manifestation in the human being which they called the Christos. Abraxas has the value of 365, based on numerical equivalents of the Greek alphabet. Because 365 represents the cycle of one revolution of our planet around the sun, they held that in Abraxas were mystically contained the full number of families of entities composing a hierarchy. These entities received from their supreme illuminator, Abraxas, the streams of life and inspiration governing their existence. Thus in a sense Abraxas is the cosmic Oversoul, the creative or Third Logos, Brahma. The Basilidean Gnostics taught that from this supreme God was created nous (mind). Abraxas also was identified with the Hebrew ’Adonai, the Egyptian Horus, and the Hindu Prajapati.

Gnostic amulets known as Abraxas gems depicted the god as a pantheos (all-god), with the head of a cock, herald of the sun, representing foresight and vigilance; a human body clothed in armor, suggestive of guardian power; legs in the form of sacred asps. In his right hand is a scourge, emblem of authority; on his left arm a shield emblazoned with a word of power. This pantheos is invariably inscribed with his proper name IAO and his epithets Abraxas and Sabaoth, and often accompanied with invocations such as SEMES EILAM, the eternal sun (Gnostics and Their Remains 246), which Blavatsky equates with “the central spiritual sun” of the Qabbalists (SD 2:214). Though written in Greek characters, the words SEMES EILAM ABRASAX are probably Semitic in origin: shemesh sun; ‘olam secret, occult, hid, eternity, world; Abrasax Abraxas. Hence in combination the phrase may be rendered “the eternal sun Abrasax.”

Abred, Cylch yr Abred (Welsh) Inchoation; the cycle of inchoation. The lowest of the three cycles of existence in Druidism, including the human kingdom and probably the animal and vegetable: “the Cycle of Abred, in which are all embodied and dead existences.” Abred has four stages: Annwn, Obryn, Cydfil, and Dyndeb. Hawl yr ail (the second examination) reads:

Q. Whence didst thou proceed? and what is thy beginning?
A. I came from the Great World, having my beginning in Annwn.
Q. Where art thou now? and how camest thou to where thou art?
A. I am in the Little World, whither I came, having traversed the circle of Abred, and now I am a man at its termination and extreme limits.
Q. What wert thou before thou didst become a man in the circle of Abred?
A. I was in Annwn the least possible that was capable of life, and the nearest possible to absolute death, and I came in every form, and through every form capable of a body and life, to the state of man along the circle of Abred, where my condition was severe and grievous during the age of ages, ever since I was parted in Annwn from the dead, . . .
Q. Through how many forms didst thou come? . . .
A. Through every form capable of life, in water, in earth, and in air. (Bard 227).

Absolute [from Latin ab away + solvere to loosen, dissolve] Freed, released, absolved; parallel to the Sanskrit moksha, mukti (set free, released), also to the Buddhist nirvana (blown out), all three terms signifying one who has obtained freedom from the cycle of material existence.

Absolute, in European philosophy, is used somewhat loosely for the unconditional or boundless infinitude. On the other hand, Sir W. Hamilton (Disc 13n) considers the Absolute as “diametrically opposed to, . . . contradictory of, the Infinite,” which is correct from the standpoint of both etymology and abstract philosophy. Blavatsky uses the term both ways: sometimes equating it with infinity, at other times with the first cause or one divine substance-principle.

Strictly speaking, absolute is a relative term. It is the philosophic One or cosmic originant, but not the mystic zero or infinitude. An absolute or a cosmic freed one is not That (infinity), for infinity has no attributes: it is neither absolute nor nonabsolute, conscious nor unconscious, because all attributes and qualities belong to manifested and therefore noninfinite beings and things (cf FSO 89-90). The boundless or infinite, in which exist innumerable absolutes, includes the cognizer, the cognized, and the cognition, and is both matter and spirit, subject and object; all egos and non-egos are included within it.

From the zero emanate an infinite number of cosmic Ones or monads. Every absolute is not only the hierarch of its own hierarchy, the One from which all subsequent differentiations emanate, but is also a cosmic jivanmukta, a released monad freed from the pull of the lower planes. Every monad at the threshold of paranirvana reassumes its primeval essence and becomes at one with the absolute of its own hierarchy once more. The absolute is thus the goal of evolution as well as the source, the highest divinity or Silent Watcher of the hierarchy of compassion, which forms the light side of a universe or cosmic hierarchy.

Absoluter Geist (German) Absolute spirit; used by Eduard von Hartmann in his Philosophy of the Unconscious to signify the cosmic hierarch or originant of a hierarchy. See also ABSOLUTE.

Absolution [from Latin ab away + solvere to set free, loosen, dissolve] Release; in Christian usage, mainly Roman Catholic, remission of sins, the setting free by a priest of a person from guilt, the penalties of guilt, divine punishment, or the censure of the church.

In the Greek, remission (of sins) meant sending away, the intent being that the disciples and the assembled believers together were able to work a change of heart in the sinner so that he would sin no more (James 5:16), not a remission of the karmic penalty due. Only much later was the power of remission taken over by the priest. Moreover, for a thousand years the formula used was “May Christ absolve thee,” superseded by “I absolve thee.” While clearly a priest may release one from the penalties imposed by his church, he cannot release anyone from the natural consequences of his acts; yet Christians have attached extreme importance to death-bed absolution by a priest. Such death-bed repentance had its origin in the fact that the last thoughts of a dying person color his afterdeath experiences, and even his next incarnation. But though well-wishers and people of high attainment can help with their counsel and example, they cannot set aside the laws of nature. Real absolution must be emancipation from error and wrongdoing, not an escape from the demands of justice or karma.

Absolution also conveys the mystical significance of the Sanskrit moksha and mukti. When one’s whole being has been turned upwards and inwards to a more or less perfect union with the god within, one is absolved, released, or set free from the entanglements of the lower nature and, in this sense, one has absolution or freedom. See also ABSOLUTE.

Ab Soo. See APSU

Absorption [from Latin absorbere to suck up, swallow] In The Secret Doctrine, the reabsorption of all manifestation at the coming on of the Great Night or mahapralaya, “when Pralaya will have reduced not only material and psychical bodies, but even the spiritual Ego(s) to their original principle — the Past, Present, and even Future Humanities, like all things, will be one and the same. Everything will have re-entered the Great Breath” (1:265-6).

Likewise the reentering of the human into the divine, of the personality into the individuality, achieved in moments of samadhi even during the lifetime of the initiate on earth; also entrance of the individual into the nirvanic condition.

Abyss [from Greek a not + byssos, bythos deep, depth] Bottomless, unfathomable; chaos, space, the watery abyss which becomes the field of manifestation or cosmos — a concept found in all mythologies. With the Sumerians, Akkadians, and Babylonians the great Deep gave birth to Ea, the All-wise, unknowable infinite deity, while in the Chaldean cosmogony Tiamat, the female principle, is the imbodiment of chaos. The Abyss or chaos was the abode of cosmic wisdom. Egyptian cosmogony speaks of Nut as the celestial abyss while Scandinavian cosmogony tells of Ginnungagap (chasm of offspring of Ginn), the infinite void or the abyss of illusion (SD 1:367).

Acacia (Greek) akakia [from a not + kakia, kakos evil] Innocence, harmlessness; equivalent to Sanskrit ahimsa.

A leguminous plant bearing white or yellow flowers found in the warmer regions of the globe. In Freemasonry, acacia has a threefold symbolism: 1) immortality of the soul, as the plant continually renews itself; 2) innocence, purity, integrity; and 3) initiation or birth into a “new” life. The acacia seyal is the shrub believed to be the shittah-tree (Isaiah 41:19) that furnished the shittim-wood for the Ark of the Covenant and for the Tabernacle.

Acaitanya. See ACHAITANYA

Acala. See ACHALA

Acara. See ACHARA

Acarya. See ACHARYA

Accad(ia), Accadians. See AKKADIANS


Acervulus Cerebri Brain-sand; minute particles of a yellowish, semi-transparent, hard, brilliant substance found in the pineal gland in the human brain. Its exceptional absence occurs in congenital idiots, in young children, and in the senile aged. The physiologists report that this “sand” is composed of alkaline phosphates and carbonates and some animal matter, but they fail to account for its presence or purpose. The fact that this brain-sand is of mineral rather than of osseous character is in keeping with the occult history of the once external, active third eye of early humanity. The ancients knew that, with the racial evolutionary descent into gross matter, this spiritual eye, gradually becoming atrophied and petrified, retreated deeply within the developing brain when its course was run (SD 2:294&n). The pineal gland being the chief organ of spirituality in the human brain at present, this mysterious sand is the result of the work of mental electricity upon the surrounding matter. This is based on the ancient idea that every atom of matter is only a concretion of crystallized spirit or akasa, the universal soul. See also PINEAL GLAND.

Acetana. See ACHETANA

Achaitanya (Sanskrit) Acaitanya [from a not + the verbal root cit to be conscious of, understand] Void of intelligence and consciousness, lack of spirituality. An ancient Sanskrit verse runs: Achaitanyan na vidyate, Sarvan sarvatra sarvada (“A thing without intelligence or consciousness is not known. All is everywhere at all times”).

Achala (Sanskrit) Acala [from a not + the verbal root cal to be moved, agitated] Immovable, not moving. As a masculine noun, a mountain, rock; also the number seven. As a proper noun, a name of Siva. As a feminine noun, the earth; also one of the ten stages or degrees of a bodhisattva in his progress toward buddhahood. Used in the Bhagavad-Gita (2:24) to describe the self in contradistinction to the not-self: “He is eternal, all-pervading, unchanging and immovable (achala).” Also a heroic charioteer on the side of the Kurus slain by Arjuna.

Achara (Sanskrit) Ācāra [from ā towards + the verbal root car to approach, proceed, behave] Custom, behavior, practice; also an established rule of conduct, a precept, etc., often used in compound form for names of books dealing with the understanding and application of moral precepts.

Acharya (Sanskrit) Ācārya [from ā towards + the verbal root car to proceed, practice, conduct oneself] One who proceeds or practices; a teacher, instructor, or guide. Usually applied to a spiritual teacher or guru, such as Sankaracharya.

Achath. See ’AHATH

Achath-Ruach Elohim-Chiim. See ’AHATH-RUAH-’ELOHIM-HAYYIM

Acher (Hebrew) ’Aḥēr In an allegory in the Talmud (Hag 14b), one of four tanna’im (teachers) to enter the Garden of Delight, i.e., to seek initiation into the sacred science. His real name was ’Elisha‘ ben ’Abuyah. A famous Talmudic scholar before he “failed” the initiation, he became an apostate and was called Aher (stranger). Of the four that entered, Ben Asai looked — and died; Ben Zoma looked — and lost his reason; Aher made ravages in the plantation; and Aqiba, who had entered in peace, left in peace (Kab 67-8).

Acheron (Greek) [probably from achos pain, distress; Etrusc. Acceruns] The River of Woe, one of five rivers surrounding Hades. The others were Cocytus (river of wailing), Styx (the hateful), Pyriphlegethon (the fiery), and Lethe (forgetfulness).

In later traditions, a son of the sun (Helios) and Demeter who supplied the titans with drink when they were fighting against Zeus, and was therefore transformed into a river of the underworld. These rivers have reference to the circulations of the universe, and in this connection the ancient Greeks and Romans had certain mystical rites relating to the “deification” of souls after death and their passage into other spheres.

Achetana (Sanskrit) Acetana [from a not + the verbal root cit to be conscious of, understand] Without consciousness, inanimate, insensible. See also ACHAITANYA

Achidrupa (Sanskrit) Acidrūpa [from a not + cit intelligence + rūpa form, body] A form or body without an intelligence; the negative or opposite of chidrupa, pure intelligence and consciousness, which is applied to the hierarch or supreme being of a hierarchy. Achidrupa signifies whatever entity or thing is not yet self-consciously cognizant of the chit (intelligence) within itself, i.e., without an atman or conscious self. Hence achidrupa could apply to the material spheres, or even to intelligences greatly inferior to the chidrupa. Like most Oriental philosophical terms, the meaning shifts in connection with the framework of thought in which it is used.

Achit (Sanskrit) Acit [from a not + the verbal root cit to perceive, understand] Unperceptive, unthinking; used as a noun and applied to the cosmos, absolute nonintelligence in contrast to chit, absolute intelligence. In theosophical writings, achit frequently stands for the unintelligent, material, or vehicular side of nature.

Achod. See ’EHAD

Achyuta (Sanskrit) Acyuta [from a not + the verbal root cyu to move to and fro, fall, fade] Unfalling, undecaying; the imperishable or indestructible, as applied to Brahman (BG 2:21, VP 1:2); also used as a title of Vishnu and Krishna.

The reverse of chyuta, the fallen or perishable, achyuta refers not so much to an individualized divinity, however sublime, because such divinity would be an entity and therefore limited; but rather to a condition of essential cosmic Being, consciousness-life-substance, the source and final destiny of all entities and things.

Acidrupa. See ACHIDRUPA

Acit. See ACHIT

Acthna An invisible subterrestrial fire, sometimes causing volcanic eruptions, an “element in the life of the ‘great snake’ Vasuki, that according to Hindu mythology encircles the world, and by whose movements earthquakes may be produced” (BCW 7:283). Also “a certain state of the ‘soul’ of the earth, a mixture of astral and material elements, perhaps of an electric or magnetic character” (F. Hartmann, ibid.).

Actio in Distans (Latin) Action at a distance. Can force be transmitted across an empty space? On the automechanical theory of the universe, such action is inexplicable and yet inevitable, for if the universe consists entirely of matter made of atoms separated from each other by empty spaces, the transmission of force from one atom to another cannot be explained except by supposing some medium to intervene. If this medium is atomic, the old difficulty reappears; if it is continuous, there is no reason for supposing it, since matter might in the first place have been supposed to be continuous. Thus if we choose to represent reality as a system of points in space, we must assume actio in distans as an axiom. The difficulty that a body cannot act where it is not, may be gotten over by stating that wherever it can act, there it is. Scientific theories, carried to a logical conclusion, support the idea that all things in the universe are connected with each other, so that whatever affects one part affects every other part. Notions of physical space do not enter to the realm of mind, thought, and feeling.

To meet this difficulty of action at a distance, early European scientists invented various kinds of ethers to bridge the supposed gap of nothingness between atom and atom or body and body. These finally were abandoned, with the exception of the luminiferous or light-carrying ether, which remained until the Michelson-Morley experiment, after which it was abandoned.

Nevertheless, theosophy postulates the existence of atomic and subatomic ethers of various degrees of tenuity, ranging from physical to spiritual. Collectively these ethers are the different planes or ranges of akasa, the fundamental substratum of the universe and the garment in which the kosmic divinity clothes itself — the various prakritis as outlined especially in the Sankhya philosophy. Any scientific ether is not the akasa or aether, but solely the lowest plane of the akasic plenum, some of the ranges of the astral light, which in one sense is the highest principle of the earth’s atmosphere — a subtle ethereal energy-stuff permeant through and interpenetrating physical matter of all kinds. See also Aether; Ether

Acyuta. See ACHYUTA

Ad or Adad, Hadad (Semitic) [from ’adad to be powerful, strong] Powerful, mighty; the primeval One, similar to the Sanskrit ad (first, primeval). In the Babylonian system, according to Blavatsky, Ad or Ad-ad is the great first cause “who is never named, but only acknowledged in thought as the Hindu Swayambhuva. From this he becomes manifest as Anu or Ana — the one above all — Monas” (IU 2:170). Ad or Adad is without attributes and therefore viewed as the source from which the Demiurge or world builder came into manifestation.

Adad is a national and guardian deity of the Syrian races and the Edomites, found as early as 3000 BC in Syrian cuneiform tablets. In the Babylo-Assyrian pantheon ’Adad is named in the second divine triad, that of the life-giving nature forces, with Shamash (the sun god) and Sin (the moon deity), and is always represented with a bull. In the Babylonian flood myth Adad is the god of storms, rains, and harvests, whose emblem is the thunderbolt, apparently the Semitic equivalent of the Greek Zeus, Roman Jupiter, and Norse Thor. His consort is Atargatis (Astarte, Asthoreth, Ishtar) who at times takes his place. See also AD, SONS OF

Ad-ah (Hebrew) ‘Ādāh [from ‘ādāh to pass over, march along, continue, advance in perpetuity] Progress in time and space; eternal change. Adopted by Blavatsky to designate the races of early mankind — the first root-race of our globe and, by analogy, the first great subrace of our present fifth root-race — both being referred to as the “sons of Ad-ah” (SD 2:203).

In Genesis (4:19-20) ‘Adah, the first of the two wives of Lamech, gave birth to Jabal (Yabal), meaning a flowing or streaming, as of a river, and hence, like ‘Adah his mother, transitory in time and/or space. Jabal is said to stand for the nomadic Aryan race, whose homeland stretched from the Euxine to Kashmere and beyond (IU 1:579). Used in Isaiah (45:17) with ‘olam (world, age, aeon) to signify eternity of eternities.

Ad, Sons of Used by Mahatma KH in response to a question asked by Sinnett whether there had ever been civilizations “as great as our own in regard to intellectual development”: “Do you know that the Chaldees were at the apex of their Occult fame before what you term as the ‘bronze Age’? That the ‘Sons of Ad’ or the children of the Fire Mist preceded by hundreds of centuries the Age of Iron, which was an old age already, when what you now call the Historical Period . . . had hardly begun” (ML 145, 153).

Adam (Hebrew) ’Ādām [from ’ādām to be red, ruddy] Used in Genesis for man, original mankind; the Qabbalah enumerates four Adams. The Archetypal or Heavenly Man (’Adam Qadmon) is the prototype for the second, androgyne Adam. From these two emanates the third Adam, preterrestrial and innocent, though still further removed from the divine prototype Adam Qadmon. The fourth Adam is “the Third Adam as he was after the Fall,” the terrestrial Adam of the Garden of Eden, our earthly sexual humanity (Qabbalah Myer 418).

With regard to the elohim bringing man forth “in their own image” (tselem), Blavatsky says: “The sexless Race was their first production, a modification of and from themselves, the pure spiritual existences; and this as Adam solus. Thence came the second Race: Adam-Eve or Jod-Heva, inactive androgynes; and finally the Third, or the ‘Separating Hermaphrodite,’ Cain and Abel, who produce the Fourth, Seth-Enos, etc.” (SD 2:134). Again, “finally, even the four ‘Adams’ (symbolizing under other names the four preceding races) were forgotten; and passing from one generation in to another, each loaded with some additional myths, got at last drowned in that ocean of popular symbolism called the Pantheons. Yet they exist to this day in the oldest Jewish traditions, as the Tzelem, ‘the Shadow-Adam’ (the Chhayas of our doctrine); the ‘model’ Adam, the copy of the first, and the ‘male and female’ of the exoteric genesis (chap. i); the third, the ‘earthly Adam’ before the Fall, an androgyne; and the Fourth — the Adam after his fall, i.e. separated into sexes, or the pure Atlantean. The Adam of the garden of Eden, or the forefather of our race — the fifth — is an ingenious compound of the above four” (SD 2:503). See also ‘OLAM; SEPHIRAH

Adam-Adammi (Hebrew) ’Ādām ’Adāmī [’ādam mankind + ’adāmī fortress] Used by Chwolsohn in his Nabathean Agriculture and regarded by Blavatsky as “a generic compound name as old as languages are” (SD 2:452). Adam-Adami, like Adam, was not a man but a race, specifically the “dark Race” which was “the first to fall into generation” in contradistinction with Sarku, or the light Race, which remained pure much longer (SD 2:5). “Adam-Adami is a personation of the dual Adam: of the paradigmic Adam-Kadmon, the creator, and of the lower Adam, the terrestrial . . .” (SD 2:456). See also ADAM; ’ADAM QADMON.

Adamas (Greek) Adamant, inflexible; used by Greek and Latin writers for a stone (as a diamond) of impenetrable hardness. One of the main mystical type-figures of the Gnostic system. In The Gospel of the Egyptians (3: 2), “the incorruptible man Adamas” is a light which radiated from the light; he is “the eye of the [light]. For [this is] the first man, he through whom and to whom everything became, (and) without whom nothing became” (Nag Hammadi Library 198n).

Adamic Earth or Adam’s Earth The “original matter” of alchemy; undifferentiated matter on our plane. Called the true oil of gold or the primal element in alchemy, “it is but one remove from the pure homogeneous element” (TG 6). It is the “next-door neighbor to the alkahest, and one of the most important secrets of the alchemists. . . . ‘it would explain the eagles of the alchemists, and how the eagles’ wings are clipped,’ a secret that it took Thomas Vaughan (Eugenius Philalethes) twenty years to learn” (IU 1:51).

Adamic Races Early humanity after the incarnation of the manasaputras and the full separation of the sexes several million years ago (SD 1:406-7, 2:91n, 289n, 315; IU 1:305).

’Adam ‘Illa’ah (Hebrew) ’Ādām ‘Illā’āh [from ’ādām mankind + ‘ālāh to ascend, rise] Superior Adam; in the Qabbalah the spiritual Adam as contrasted with the terrestrial Adam; equivalent to ’Adam Qadmon (the Heavenly Adam): cosmic man, cosmic spirit.

Adam Kadmon. See ’ADAM QADMON


’Adam Qadmon (Hebrew) ’Ādām Qadmōn [’ādām mankind + qadmōn to be before, precede] Primordial man, Adam Primus; in the Qabbalah macrocosmic man in contrast to the earthly Adam, the microcosm. Often called the Heavenly Man because symbolically he is the Sephirothal Tree of Life, each of the Sephiroth having its correspondence with a part of the body, the head being Kether (Crown), and the feet standing for Malchuth (Kingdom). ’Adam Qadmon corresponds mystically to the Hindu Purusha: both are generalizing terms used to represent the cosmic Logos or hierarch of their respective hierarchies.

Blavatsky compares ’Adam Qadmon to the first manu, Svayambhuva, “the synthesis of the fourteen Manus” (TG 206); also to the Greek Prometheus and the divine Pymander of the Hermetica — the power of the thought divine “in its most spiritual aspect” (IU 1:298).

’Adam Ri’shon (Hebrew) ’Ādām Ri’shōn [’ādām mankind + ri’shōn first, primeval, original] The first Adam, Adam Primus; used in Job (15:7): “Art thou the first man that was born? or wast thou made before the hills?” Blavatsky says that “Adam Rishoon is the lunar Spirit (Jehovah, in a sense, or the Pitris) and his three Sons — Ka-yin [Cain], Habel [Abel], and Seth — represent the three races” of mankind (SD 2:397). See also ’ADAM QADMON

Adam’s Earth. See ADAMIC EARTH

Adanari. See ARDHANARI

Ad-ar-gat. See ASTARTE

Adbhitanya [possibly corruption of Sanskrit adbhutama or adbhutva from adbhuta marvelous, wonderful] In the Vishnu-Purana (3:2), adbhuta is the name of the Indra of the ninth manvantara. Commentary quoted by Blavatsky refers to the first continent once “inhabited by the Sons of Sveta-dwipa [the White Island], the blessed, and Adbhitanya, east and west, the first, the one and the pure . . .” (SD 2:319). Another name for this land or primevally inhabited part of the earth is Adi-varsha.

Adbhuta-Brahmana (Sanskrit) Adbhuta-brāhmaṇa [from adbhuta wonderful, marvelous + brāhmaṇa portion of the Vedas treating of ritual, prayer, sacrifices, and mantra] One of the eight Brahmanas belonging to the Sama-Veda, dealing with omens, auguries, and extraordinary wonders.

Adbhuta-dharma (Sanskrit) Adbhuta-dharma [from adbhuta wonderful, marvelous + dharma law, truth, religion] One of the nine angas (divisions of Buddhist texts) that treats of marvels and wonders.

Adept [from Latin adeptus from ad toward + apiscor to reach, attain] One who has attained; in theosophical literature, one who has attained mastery in the art and science of living, an initiate or mahatma.

Adharma (Sanskrit) Adharma [from a not + dharma law, justice, morality, truth from the verbal root dhṛ to bear, sustain, resolve] Untruth, unrighteousness, immorality; in the Bhagavad-Gita (4:7) Krishna says: “O Bharata, whenever there is in the world a decline of dharma and spread of adharma I reproduce myself.”

As a proper noun, name of a prajapati (progenitor); also of an attendant of the sun. Its feminine form, adharma, personifies the bride of death.

Adhi (Sanskrit) Adhi Above, over; by extension supreme, paramount.

Adhi (Sanskrit) Ādhi [from ā near, towards + the verbal root dhi to hold] Place, foundation, site; a pledge or deposit.

Adhi (Sanskrit) Ādhī [from ā near, towards + the verbal root dhi to mind, care for] Mental anxiety, meditation, thought, concern.

Adhibhautika (Sanskrit) Ādhibhautika [from adhi above + bhūta has been from the verbal root bhū to be, become] Belonging or relating to elementary beings, to what is produced or derived from primordial elements; elemental. When applied to pain (duhkha), it is the second of the three kinds of afflictions (klesa) classified in Hinduism as “that affliction proceeding from material objects or external things,” such as from human beings or animals (cf VP 5:23; 6:5).

Adhidaiva, Adhidaivata (Sanskrit) Adhidaiva, Adhidaivata [from adhi over, above, superior + deva god] The original or primordial deity; also the divine agent manifesting through beings and objects. A generalizing term applicable to the divine part of any being; hence to adhyatman or primordial atman (cf BG 7:29-30; 8:3).

Adhidaivika (Sanskrit) Ādhidaivika [from adhi above, over + deva god] Heavenly or shining one, relating to or proceeding from the devas; celestial or spiritual beings or gods, also divine influences. When combined with duhkha (pain) the third of the three kinds of klesa (afflictions) in Hinduism: that proceeding from “divine” agencies or from nature, such as wind, rain, or sunstrokes; also unexpected accidents such as the falling of houses (cf VP 6:5). See also ADHIBHAUTIKA; ADHYATMIKA

Adhikamasa, Adhimasa (Sanskrit) Adhikamāsa, Adhimāsa [from adhika additional, intercalated + māsa moon] An intercalated month.

Adhima See Adima

Adhipa (Sanskrit) Adhipa, Adhipā [from adhi over, above, superior + the verbal root pat to rule, master] A chief ruler, governor, king, or sovereign.

Adhipati. See ADHIPA

Adhishthana (Sanskrit) Adhiṣṭhāna [from adhi over, upon + the verbal root sthā to stand upon] A basis, seat, or focus of action (cf BG 3:40, 18:14). Often applied to a principle or element which inheres in another principle; i.e., the active agent working in prakriti would be adhishthana. Also, precedent, rule, as when used as a name for one of the ten paramitas (rules of conduct).

Adhishthana-deha or -sarira (-body) is a subtle intermediate body with which the departed is clothed after death.

Adhiyajna (Sanskrit) Adhiyajña [from adhi above, paramount + the verbal root yaj to consecrate, offer, sacrifice] Paramount sacrifice or sacrifice from above; synonymous with the cosmic Logos which, by coming into manifestation, “sacrifices” itself for the benefit of all sentient beings, thereby giving an opportunity to the waiting hosts of monads to undergo their own evolutionary course as they live and move and have their being within the Logos.

Every avatara repeats in the small the primordial history of the cosmic Logos: the divinity sacrificing itself for the sake of all the hierarchies within it. This is the sacrifice which took place “before the beginning of the world,” the core of the mythologic story of the Christos, the Logos or cosmic Word incarnate as man.

Adhyaropa (Sanskrit) Adhyāropa [from adhi above, over + āropa superimposition from ā-rup to confound, disturb] Usually, erroneous deduction. In Vedantic philosophy, a wrong attribution or misconception, e.g., to conceive of silver as being innate in mother-of-pearl, the sheen common to both being an adhyaropa. The mind in its absorption in the unreal (avidya, “ignorance”) superimposes a world of duality and plurality on the real — on Brahman — and as a result there is a multiplicity of confusing and often conflicting goals.

Adhyasa, Adhyasika (Sanskrit) Adhyāsa, Adhyāsika [from adhi above, over + the verbal root as to throw, cast; throwing over or casting upon] Misconception or erroneous attribution, the significance being that the mind casts upon facts, which are misunderstood, certain mistaken notions; hence false or erroneous attribution. Equivalent to adhyaropa.

Adhyatma-jnana (Sanskrit) Adhyātma-jñāna [from adhi over, superior + ātman self + jñāna knowledge from the verbal root jnā to know, understand] Knowledge of the supreme self, equivalent to adhyatma-vidya.

Adhyatman (Sanskrit) Adhyātman [from adhi over, above + ātman self] The supreme or original self, equivalent to paramatman (cf BG 7:29; 8:3).

Adhyatma-vidya (Sanskrit) Adhyātma-vidyā [from adhi over, above + ātman self + vidyā knowledge from the verbal root vid to know, perceive, learn] Knowledge of the supreme atman or self; used interchangeably with adhyatma-jnana.

Adhyatmika (Sanskrit) Ādhyātmika [from adhi above + ātman self] Relating to the supreme self or atman; more abstractly, pertaining to original atman.

Adhyatmika-duhkha (Sanskrit) Ādhyātmika-duḥkha [from adhi above + ātman self; duḥkha trouble, difficulty from dush to be defiled] The first of the three kinds of klesa (affliction) or worldly pain (cf VP 6:5). Those arising from oneself, generally classed as bodily ailments (headaches, fevers, diseases, etc.), but more properly those pains or troubles originating from mental and other inner causes such as weakness of will, vagrant and misleading emotions, and imperfect mentation, which lead to physical ailments. The other two klesas are adhibhautika and adhidaivika.

Adhyaya (Sanskrit) Adhyāya [from adhi over, above + the verbal root i to go, move] A chapter, division, or section of a book; the adhyayas or divisions of music are eight in number.

Top of File


BCW - H. P. Blavatsky: Collected Writings

BG - Bhagavad-Gita

BP - Bhagavata Purana

cf - confer

ChU - Chandogya Upanishad

Dial, Dialogues - The Dialogues of G. de Purucker, ed. A. L. Conger

Echoes - Echoes of the Orient, by William Q. Judge (comp. Dara Eklund)

ET - The Esoteric Tradition, by G. de Purucker

FSO - Fountain-Source of Occultism, by G. de Purucker

Fund - Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy, by G. de Purucker

IU - Isis Unveiled, by H. P. Blavatsky

MB - Mahabharata

MIE - Man in Evolution, by G. de Purucker

ML - The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, ed. A. Trevor Barker

MU - Mundaka Upanishad

M-Wms Dict - Sanskrit-English Dictionary, by Monier Williams

N on BG - Notes on the Bhagavad Gita, by T. Subba Row

OG - Occult Glossary, by G. de Purucker

Rev - Revelations

RV - Rig Veda

SBE - Sacred Books of the East, ed. Max Müller

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 University Press Online Edition