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.

Quick Links: Aa-Adh | Adi-Ag | Ah-Al | Am-Ani | Anj-Arc | Ard-Asr | Ass-Atm | Ato-Az | Ba-Be | Bh-Bo | Br-Bz | Ca-Ce | Cha-Chy | Ci-Cz | Da-Der | Des-Dir | Dis-Dz | Ea-El | Em-Ez | F | Ga-Gl | Gn-Gz | Ha-Hh | Hi-Hz | I | J | Ka |Ke-Kz | La-Li | Lo-Lz | Ma-Mam | Man-Mar | Mas-Me | Mi-Mo | Mp-Mz | Na-Ne | Nf-Nz | O | Pa-Peq | Per-Pi | Pl-Pral | Pram-Prj | Pro-Pz | Q-Rec | Red-Roos | Root-Rz | Sa-Sal | Sam-Saq | Sar-Sec | Sed-Sez | Sh-Sir | Sis-Som | Son-Sq | Sr-Sum | Sun-Sz | Ta-Tel | Tem-Thn | Tho-Tre | Tri-Tz | U | Va-Vih | Vij-Vz | W-X | Y | Z


Ad-i Name given by the Aryans to “the first speaking race of mankind” in the fourth round (SD 2:452). The root ad is prominent in many ancient words: Sanskrit adi (first, primeval); Hebrew ’Adon (lord), ’Adonim (angels or planetary lords) — “the first spiritual and ethereal sons of the earth” (ibid.). The Sons of Adi (sons of the first) are often called Sons of the Fire-Mist (TG 6).

Adi (Sanskrit) Ādi First, beginning; used in compound words to signify original, prime, e.g., adi-buddhi, adi-sanat.

Adibhuta (Sanskrit) Ādibhūta [from ādi first, original + bhūta element from the verbal root bhū to be, become] The first, original, or primordial element in nature; the “primeval, uncreated cause of all worlds” (VP 4:1), sometimes called the Nameless in theosophical writings. Cause and source of the succeeding seven cosmic bhutas, it is the seed from which they emanate.

Adi-buddha (Sanskrit) Ādi-buddha [from ādi first, original + the verbal root budh to awaken, perceive, know] First or primeval buddha; the supreme being above all other buddhas and bodhisattvas in the later Mahayana Buddhism of Tibet, Nepal, Java, and Japan. In theosophical writings, the highest aspect or subentity of the supreme Wondrous Being of our universe, existing in the most exalted dharmakaya state.

“In the esoteric, and even exoteric Buddhism of the North, Adi-Buddha (Chogi dangpoi sangye), the One unknown, without beginning or end, identical with Parabrahm and Ain-Soph, emits a bright ray from its darkness.

“This is the Logos (the first), or Vajradhara, the Supreme Buddha (also called Dorjechang). As the Lord of all Mysteries he cannot manifest, but sends into the world of manifestation his heart — the ‘diamond heart,’ Vajrasattva (Dorjesempa)” (SD 1:571). Adi-buddha is the individualized monadic focus of adi-buddhi, primordial cosmic wisdom or intelligence, synonymous with mahabuddhi or mahat (universal mind). Otherwise expressed, adi-buddha is the supreme being heading the hierarchy of compassion and our solar universe; the fountain of light running through all subordinate hierarchies and thus the supreme lord and initiator of the wisdom side of our universe.

The Great Brotherhood of the mahatmas on earth, through their chief, the Mahachohan, is the representative on our globe of adi-buddha. Because of this, Tibetan Buddhism recognizes the continuous “reincarnations of Buddha” — not that Gautama Buddha is thus reimbodied but that adi-buddha through its human ray perpetuates itself by reflection in fit and chosen human beings. As adi-buddha is the individualized divine ideation of our universe, all-permeant and omnipresent, those individuals who raise themselves to become self-consciously at one with a ray from adi-buddha are de facto “reincarnations,” greater or minor imbodiments of the cosmic buddha. Adi-buddha manifests through the hierarchy of the celestial buddhas or dhyani-buddhas, these again manifest through the manushya-buddhas and in lesser degree through human individuals who, though great, are inferior to the manushya-buddhas.

Adi-buddhi (Sanskrit) Ādi-buddhi [from ādi first, original + buddhi from the verbal root budh to know, perceive, awaken] Original or primordial buddhi; the cosmic essence of divine intelligence imbodied in adi-buddha, the divine-spiritual head of the cosmic hierarchy of compassion, “the spiritual, omniscient and omnipotent root of divine intelligence” (SD 1:572). Adi-buddhi or dharmakaya is “the mystic, universally diffused essence . . . the all-pervading supreme and absolute intelligence with its periodically manifesting Divinity — ‘Avalokiteshvara’ . . . the aggregate intelligence of the universal intelligences including that of the Dhyan Chohans even of the highest order” (ML 90).

Adi-budha (Sanskrit) Ādi-budha [from ādi first + budh wisdom] Primordial wisdom; the first or nameless deity (SD 1:xix, 54n; 2:48)

Adikrit or Adikartri (Sanskrit) Ādikṛt, Ādikartṛ [from ādi first + kṛt doing (kartṛ doer, author, producer) from the verbal root kṛ to do, make, accomplish] The first produced or evolved, synonymous with adikara. In Hindu mythology, the creator; in the Puranas, the personified aspect of the formative or cosmically generative force, which in its root is eternal but periodic in its manifestations. During periods of manifestation adikrit is personified as Vishnu or Brahma (VP 6:4); during periods of rest it is represented as sleeping upon the ocean of space in the form of Vishnu. The term applies to any universe or hierarchy, great or small, whether a cluster of galaxies, a solar system, a planet, or a human being.

Adima (Sanskrit) Ādima In the Siva-Purana, the first man created by Siva, who with Heva is the ancestor of present humanity (IU 1:590, 579n).

Adinatha (Sanskrit) Ādinātha [from ādi primeval, first + nātha protector, lord from the verbal root nāth to seek aid] Primordial protector or lord; occasionally applied to adi-buddha and other cosmic hierarchs, such as Siva. Adinatha is also known as Rishabha, the first of the 24 Tirthankaras or Jain teachers.

Adinidana (Sanskrit) Ādinidāna [from ādi first + nidāna binding from ni down + dāna band, rope from the verbal root da to bind on, fasten] A binding, halter, fetter; the first and supreme causality or originating link in the succeeding chain of nidanas, called in Buddhist writings the twelve causes of manifested existence; otherwise a chain or concatenation of cause and effect throughout the range of manifested being.

Adinidana-svabhavat (Sanskrit) Ādinidāna-svabhavat [from ādi first, primordial + nidāna causation + svabhavat self-being, self-becoming from sva self + the verbal root bhū to be, become] Primordial causation of self-becoming; as in Buddhist thought nidana also signifies primal essence or substance and svabhavat is equated with the Father-Mother of manifestation, the term could be translated “primordial causality-essence Father-Mother.” It is the highest portion of the manifesting or Third Logos of our galaxy; and because the Third Logos of every solar system is a reflection of the galactic Third Logos, the adinidana-svabhavat of any solar system is in its reaches the adinidana-svabhavat of the galaxy.

The phrase occurs in the Stanzas of Dzyan: ” ‘Darkness’ the Boundless, or the no-number, Adi-Nidana Svabhavat” (SD 1:98) — which, as the summit of the Third Logos, can be rendered as darkness and no-number since it is darkness to human intellect and yet the beginning of numeration of all hierarchies that flow forth from it. Hence for all beneath it, adinidana-svabhavat may likewise be called the Boundless, signifying the cosmic essence or spiritual substance without restricting frontiers.

Adisakti (Sanskrit) Ādiśakti [from ādi first + śakti power, energy] Primeval power; the divine force or direct energic emanation from mulaprakriti, hence the feminine aspect or clothing of any spiritually formative potency. Personified in the Hindu pantheon as the consort of a divinity, every divinity having its own sakti or formative power-substance. Also a name for maya, significant because illusion begins with manifestation (SD 1:10).

Adisanat (Sanskrit) Ādisanat [from ādi first + sanat from of old, always] The ever-primeval one, a name applied to Brahma. In the Stanzas of Dzyan, it expresses that which preceded svabhavat in cosmic evolution: first there was no-number; then adisanat, “the Number, for he is One”; then svabhavat, the numbers (SD 1:98). Comparable to the Qabbalistic ‘Attiqa’ de‘Attiqin (the Ancient of Ancients) of the Zohar; also to the Pythagorean cosmic monad which, born in and from the womb of the Ever-enduring or No-number, manifests itself as the source of the cosmos and retires into “silence and darkness,” retaining its own condition while acting as the ineffable source from which all manifestation hangs as a pendant in the spaces of space.

Again, adisanat is the ever-enduring germ of cosmic mind, and because it lasts from cosmic manvantara to cosmic manvantara, sinking merely into periods of nonmanifestation during the cosmic pralayas, it is named the Primeval Ancient, the Ever-primeval One.

Adisesha (Sanskrit) Ādiśeṣa [from ādi first + śeṣa from the verbal root śiṣ to leave remainders] Primeval residue; the mythological thousand-headed serpent (naga) upon which Vishnu “sleeps” during the pralayas (intervals between manifestations); also represented as supporting the seven patalas (hells) with the seven regions above them and therefore the entire world (VP 2:5). More often called simply Sesha; or Ananta, infinite; or Ananta-sesha.

As sesha means “remainder,” “what is left over,” the main significance is that during the pralayas Vishnu, representing the cosmic divinity, is conceived as sleeping upon the substance of a spiritual character remaining over after the dissolution of the worlds. Thus Adisesha (primeval substance or remainder) is the cosmic spatial ocean of consciousness-substance left over from the previous cosmic manvantara which acts as the mother-substance or chaos from and in which the future worlds of manifestation will be born when pralaya ends. See also ANANTA-SESHA

Aditattva (Sanskrit) Āditattva [from ādi first + tattva thatness, essence] Original principle; used in theosophical literature to denote the first or highest of seven tattvas or principles in the descending arc of nature’s structure; in the numeration of the kosmic principles aditattva corresponds to the First Logos.

Aditi (Sanskrit) Aditi [from a not + diti bound from the verbal root da to bind] Unbounded, free; as a noun, infinite and shoreless expanse. In the Vedas, Aditi is devamatri (mother of the gods) as from and in her cosmic matrix all the heavenly bodies were born. As the celestial virgin and mother of every existing form and being, the synthesis of all things, she is highest akasa. Aditi is identified in the Rig-Veda with Vach (mystic speech) and also with the mulaprakriti of the Vedanta. As the womb of space, she is a feminized form of Brahma. The line in the Rig-Veda: “Daksha sprang from Aditi and Aditi from Daksha” has reference to “the eternal cyclic re-birth of the same divine Essence” (SD 2:247n). In one of its most mystic aspects Aditi is divine wisdom.

Aditi has correspondences in many ancient religions: the highest Sephirah in the Zohar; the Gnostic Sophia-Achamoth; Rhea, mother of the Greek Olympians; Bythos or the great Deep; Amba; Surarani; Chaos; Waters of Space; Primordial Light; and the source of the Egyptian seven heavens. Sometimes she is linked with the Greek Gaia, goddess of earth, to denote dual nature or the mother of both the spiritual and physical: Aditi, cosmic expanse or space being the mother of all things; and Gaia, mother of earth and, on the larger scale, of all objective nature (cf SD 2:65, 269).

Aditi-prakriti (Sanskrit) Aditi-prakṛti [from aditi unbounded + prakṛti nature from pra forth + the verbal root kṛ to do, make] Spiritual-physical nature; Father-Mother within before it appeared in space, the universal matrix of kosmos personified in the dual character of the universe or of man. Aditi signifies infinity personified as a goddess; prakriti, nature considered as the evolver or producer in its original condition.

Aditi-Vach (Sanskrit) Aditi-Vāc [from aditi unbounded + vāc speech, voice from the verbal root vac to speak, utter] The cosmic Logos considered in its feminine aspect as the veil surrounding the evolving cosmic monad. “These feminine Logoi are all correlations, in their noumenal aspect, of Lights, and Sound, and Ether . . . ” (SD 1:431).

Adityas (Sanskrit) Āditya-s [belonging to, issuing from aditi unbounded expanse] Sons of Aditi, space; in the Vedas a name for the sun; also referred to variously as five, seven, eight, and twelve in number. The eighth aditya (Marttanda) was rejected by Aditi, leaving seven son-suns, each manifesting a particular solar energy (cf RV 10, 72, 8-9). “ ‘The Seven allow the mortals to see their dwellings, but show themselves only to the Arhats,’ says an old proverb, ‘their dwellings’ standing here for planets” (SD 1:100).

The Brahmanas and Puranas generally reckon twelve adityas. In a preceding manvantara they were called tushitas, but when the end of the cycle was near they entered the “womb of Aditi, that we may be born in the next Manwantara; for, thereby, we shall again enjoy the rank of gods.” Hence in the present seventh manvantara, they are known as adityas (VP 1:15). When the pralaya (dissolution) of the world comes, twelve suns will appear (MB 3:3, 26; Dict Hind 3). The twelve adityas are the twelve great gods of the Hindu pantheon; also, the twelve signs of the zodiac or twelve months of the year.

The adityas are the sustainers of the solar divine life which exists in all things, and in our present Vaivasvata manvantara they are the divine solar pitris (fathers) — not the lower or lunar pitris — which incarnated in early humanity. “The wise call our fathers Vasus; our paternal grandfathers Rudras, our paternal great grandfathers, Adityas . . . ” (Manu 3:284).

Adivamsa (Sanskrit) Ādivaṃśa [from ādi primeval, first + vaṃśa lineage, race] The first race; used in the Mahabharata for the primeval race, the original family.

Adivarsha (Sanskrit) Ādivarṣa [from ādi primordial, first + varṣa a division of the earth from the verbal root vṛṣ to rain, pour forth] The first land; used for the “Eden of the first Races” of humanity (SD 2:201).

Adm, Admi. See ADAM

Adon (Hebrew) ’Ādōn plural ’ādonīm [from ’ādan to fix, determine] Commander, lord, master, ruler; “The Adonim and Adonai . . . which the Jews applied to their Jehovah and angels . . . were simply the first spiritual and ethereal sons of the earth; and the god Adonis, who in his many variations stood for the ‘First Lord’ ” (SD 2:452). Used by Blavatsky also to signify the celestial or angelic hierarchy of the Codex Nazaraeus (IU 1:301).

Applied by the ancient Hebrews and Phoenicians not only to gods or divinities, but to kings and priests. See also ADONAI

Adonai (Hebrew) ’Adonāi [from ’ādōn lord] My Lords; through usage, Lord, a plural of excellence. Originally a sort of appeal or prayer to the hierarchical spiritual powers of the earth planetary chain, and more particularly of the planetary spirit of the earth itself; later it became a mere substitute for the unutterable name of God, usually for Tetragrammaton (YHVH).

“As the inner nature of YHVH is hidden; therefore He (YHVH) is only named with the Name of the Shekhinah, Adonai, i.e., Lord; therefore the Rabbins say (of the name YHVH); Not as I am written (i.e., YHVH) am I read. In this world My Name is written YHVH and read Adonai, but in the world to come, the same will be read as it is written, so that Mercy (represented by YHVH) shall be from all sides” (Zohar iii 320a). Adonai is rendered Lord in the Bible, although it means “my Lords”; whereas ’elohim is translated God in the English Authorized Version.

In the Sephirothal scheme, the Divine Name of the Sephirah of Malchuth was ’Adonai. The Gnostics taught that Iurbo and Adonai were names of Iao-Jehovah, who is an emanation of Ilda Baoth. According to Origen the Gnostics considered Adonai the genius of the sun. Blavatsky writes: “Both Aidoneus and Dionysius [Dionysus] are the bases of Adonai, or ‘Jurbo Adonai,’ as Jehovah is called in Codex Nazaraeus. . . . Baal-Adonis of the sods or Mysteries of the pre-Babylonian Jews became the Adonai by the Massorah, the later-vowelled Jehovah” (SD 1:463). See also ’ADON; IAO; JEHOVAH

’Adonim. See ADON

Adonis [from Hebrew ’ādōn lord] Title of the Babylonian god Tammuz, whose cult was imported into Asiatic Greece. A beautiful youth beloved of Aphrodite, he was killed by a boar. Aphrodite was so grief-stricken that the gods of the lower world allowed him to spend half of every year with her on earth. His death and resurrection were symbolized in annual festivals.

He is one of many symbols of the mystic Christ, the God made man. Though the son of Father and Mother, he is identical with the Father. Adonis is identified with both Osiris and Horus; with the Semitic Thammuz in Ezekiel, Athamaz, Tamaz, and ’Adam Qadmon (SD 2:43-4); with the Indian Aditi; and the Hebrew Adon or ’Adonai. Adonis is spoken of as both a lunar and solar god, since what is solar from one point of view may be lunar from another — for instance, he may represent the sun in a lunar system. Adonis is connected with the solar year, as shown in the allegory of his six-months alternation.

Adrasteia (Greek) [from a not + didraskein to run away] That which cannot be escaped; a personification of one aspect of karma; a surname of Nemesis, not a synonym. Nemesis, Adrasteia, and Themis form a trinity: Adrasteia is the causes created by man himself, therefore inescapable; Nemesis personifies reverence for law, i.e., conscience; while Themis represents divine order and harmony, the inherent equilibrium in the cosmic structure. Adrasteia therefore signifies the effects that flow upon one sooner or later as the results of his good or evil doing.

Adrishta (Sanskrit) Adṛṣṭa [from a not + the verbal root dṛṣ to see, learn, perceive with the mind or intuition] Unseen, unforeseen, invisible; an unforeseen danger. In philosophy, that which is beyond the reach or observation of the percipient consciousness. W. Q. Judge defines it as “the merit or demerit attaching to a man’s conduct in a former incarnation, and the corresponding (apparently arbitrary) punishment or reward in the present or a future incarnation” (WG 2). This is clearly seen in the compound term adrishta-phala (unseen fruit), karma not yet come into force. Hence the connotation of fate, luck (sometimes bad luck) that is attached to adrishta. (BCW 5:580 with Kanada as “unseen force”; 4:61 with Nyayas as invisible principle)

Adunai (Gnostic) Used by the Ophites and Nazarenes in connection with Iurbo. “Iurbo and Adunai, according to the Ophites, are names of Iao-Jehovah, one of the emanations of Ilda-Baoth”; and Adunai “under the polishing hand of Ezra becomes finally the later-vowelled Adonai of the Massorah — the One and Supreme God of the Christians” (IU 2:185, 131).

Advaita (Sanskrit) Advaita [from a not + dvaita dual from dvi two] Nondual; the Advaita or nondualistic form of Vedanta [from veda knowledge + anta end] expounded by Sankaracharya teaches the oneness of Brahman or the paramatman of the universe with the human spirit-soul or jivatman, and the identity of spirit and matter; also that the divine spirit of the universe is the all-efficient, all-productive cause of the periodic coming into being, continuance, and dissolutions of the universe; and that this divine cosmic spirit is the ultimate truth and sole reality — hence the term advaita (without a second). All else is maya, in proportion to its distance from the divine source.

The greatest initiates and yogis since Sankaracharya’s time are reputed to have come from the ranks of the Advaita-Vedantists. “Yet the root philosophy of both Adwaita and Buddhist scholars is identical, and both have the same respect for animal life, for both believe that every creature on earth, however small and humble, ‘is an immortal portion of the immortal matter’ — for matter with them has quite another significance than it has with either Christian or materialist — and that every creature is subject to Karma” (SD 1:636; cf 2:637).

Advaitin (Sanskrit) Advaitin An adherent of the Advaita philosophy. Also written Advaitee or Advaita-Vedantist

Advaya (Sanskrit) Advaya [from a not + dvi two] Not two, without a second; unique. As a masculine noun, name of a buddha. As a neuter noun, nonduality, unity, identity — especially as applied to Brahman — with the universe, or of spirit and matter; hence ultimate truth.

Advent [from Latin ad to, toward + venio to come] Arrival; in Christianity a period of some four weeks preceding Christmas.

In pre-Christian Greece one of the great seats of initiation was Eleusis, a Greek word meaning coming or advent. All the Mystery schools of antiquity taught and dramatized doctrines dealing with that which is to come: the mysteries of death, rebirth, and initiation — the birth or awakening of the inner Buddha or Christos in the neophyte. This was called the coming or advent of the god within.

Advent may also be used to signify the serial comings into the human sphere of a nirmanakaya who imbodies a dhyani-buddha — a perfected human being from a preceding manvantara — in order to enlighten the humanity of the current cycle. Such nirmanakayas work in the sphere of our earth as invisible or occasionally visible helpers of mankind.

The “second advent,” referring to a second coming of Christ, was considered imminent by some early Christian sects, and is still expected by certain sects today. This echoes the archaic teaching concerning the advent of Maitreya-Buddha — the next great Buddha to appear in the long line of Buddha-succession — as well as the second coming of Elijah among the Jews, and the coming of the Kalki-avatara among the Hindus.

Adversary. See SATAN

Adwaita. See ADVAITA

Adytum (Latin) [from Greek adytos from a not + duo to enter] plural adyta. Not to be entered; the innermost shrine of a temple. The holy of holies or sanctum sanctorum was common in the architectural plan of the temples of all ancient nations. It frequently contained a sarcophagus and the image of the god to whom the temple was dedicated. A symbol of regeneration, resurrection, and initiation. The Jews, when they become exclusive and wholly exoteric in their religious beliefs and practices, made the adytum the symbol of their national monotheism, exoterically; and esoterically a symbol of mere generation rather than regeneration. Yet the true meaning can be read in the story of David dancing before the ark, for the dance was essentially a Bacchic rite, whose meaning was unfolded only in the Mysteries; and the ark is the symbol of that vehicle in which are preserved the germs of all living things destined to repeople the earth in a new cycle.

The King’s Chamber in the Pyramid of Cheops is an Egyptian adytum, in which the candidate for initiation, representing the solar god, descended into the sarcophagus, thus representing the energizing ray entering the fecund womb of nature; whence, after a mystic death, he rose again.

Aebel-Zivo (Gnostic) Employed by the Nazarene Gnostics in the Codex Nazaraeus, equivalent to the Hebrew Metatron, Shaddai in one of its forms, the angel Gabriel, and the Legatus (ambassador) who is sent by the Lord of Celsitude as the first messenger of light. A manifestation of the divinity in man, a conscious union of the personal man with his inner god, as in the case of an avatara like Jesus, or an illuminated leader like Moses (IU 2:154).

Aed-en. See EDEN

Aegir (Icelandic) Ager (Scandinavian) An old mythical word, whose root is much older than the Norse languages; possibly akin to the Greek okeanos, both derived from an Indo-European root; it may be related to the Old Gothic ahwa (water). In Anglo-Saxon eagor is the sea, also the bore on rivers.

Aegir represents the waters of space in all their various aspects. In Norse myths he is the giant who brews the mead for the gods when they feast at the stellar and planetary “tables” — when they imbody in worlds. He and his consort Ran have nine daughters who are the waves. Aegir has two servants, Eldr (fire) and Fimafeng or Funafeng (spark), possibly St. Elmo’s fire and phosphorescence in the sea. An aspect of Aegir is Hler (lee, shelter). Blavatsky regards Ogir (Aegir) or Hler as “the highest of the Water-gods, and the same as the Greek Okeanos” (TG 239).

A E I O V These five vowels (V is the classic U) were often inscribed on Roman temples, after the manner of the Greeks, who recorded the number of the root-races in their temples “by the seven vowels, of which five were framed in a panel in the Initiation halls of the Adyta” (SD 2:458).

These five vowels have the same essential meaning as the Oeaohoo of The Secret Doctrine. They are symbolic of the seven kosmic breathings of the universal spirit or primal logos; in other words, of the seven kosmic original fires or energies whose breathings throughout the universe are the life or streams of lives which form the background of the universe. Consonants were mystically considered to be the vehicles of sounds or breathings or “voices” which were the vowels. Consonants gave the vowels body, in the same way as spirit expresses itself through the rigid structural framework of entities. “The manner of pronunciation depends on the accent. This is an esoteric term for the six in one or the mystic seven. The occult name for the ‘seven-vowelled’ ever-present manifestation of the Universal Principle” (TG 239).

These five- or seven-voweled voices, sounds, or breathings also represent the seven fundamental fires or energies of the human constitution. All ancient mystical schools had their own way of viewing and explaining these vowels.

Aeolians [from Latin Aeolis, Aeolia an ancient country in Asia Minor from Greek Aiolis] A people who in early prehistoric times were settled in Thessaly and Boeotia, occupied some parts of the Peloponnesus before the Achaeans, and colonized Lesbos and the adjacent coast of Asia Minor. One of the connecting tribal links between a remnant of Atlantis and the early Aryans (BCW 5:215-19). Traditions represent them sailing through the Pillars of Hercules and settling in parts of northern Greece, adding that, though from the last islands of Atlantis, they were not Atlanteans but Aryan settlers of abandoned Atlantean islands who had acquired Atlantean affinities.

Aeolus (Greek) In Greek and Roman mythology, son of Hippotes, appointed by Zeus as guardian of the winds. He lived on the island of Aeolia in the far west, its steep cliffs encircled by a brazen wall. There he kept the winds confined in a cave, letting them out as he pleased or as he was commanded by the gods. Later he was said to dwell on an island north of Sicily.

Also a grandson of Deucalion and son of Hellen and the nymph Orseis, who was king of Magnesia in Thessaly and mythic ancestor of the Aeolian race. See also WIND

Aeon(s) (Latin) Aion (Greek) [from aion time] An age, a period of time; used alone, equivalent to the word logos, but the usual meaning includes a spiritual being considered as an emanation from the divine essence and also a period of time which is brought about by the existence of this spiritual being.

In the Gnostic systems it signified the various creative powers issuing from the demiurgic Logos, and varying in degree from the most spiritual or ethereal planes to the most gross. Valentinus held that a perfect aion called Propator, equivalent to the First Logos, existed before bythos or the spatial deep (equivalent to the Second Logos). Blavatsky explains that it is “Aion, who springs as a Ray from Ain-Soph (who does not create), and Aion, who creates, or through whom, rather, everything is created, or evolves” (SD 1:349). This twofold use of a word to denote a period of time and a deific power, also appears in Manu, and in the names of the Biblical patriarchs and the periods assigned to their respective lifetimes. (See FSO 194-5 for more detail)

The adjective aeonios occurs frequently in the New Testament, where it is mistranslated as eternal or everlasting.

Aeonology of the Marcians Given by Blavatsky in her “Commentary on the Pistis Sophia” (BCW 13:53) as: First Tetractys — 1) Arrhetos (ineffable) with 7 elements; 2) Sige (silence) with 5 elements; Pater (father) with five elements; and 4) Aletheia (truth) with 7 elements, for a total of 24 elements. Second Tetractys — 1) Logos (word) with 7 elements; 2) Zoe (life) with five elements; 3) Anthropos (man) with five elements; and 4) Ekklesia (assembly) with 7 elements, for a total of 24 elements, which together with Christos gives a total of 49 elements.

Aerial Fire Every element being dual in nature, there is a celestial and a terrestrial fire; while between them is what may be called aerial fire, which is the intermediate stage through which celestial fire pours forth its energies on the physical plane, producing the terrestrial fire. Aerial fire is a lower kabir (creative power).

Aeriform Having the form or nature of air; used by Blavatsky to describe one of seven fundamental transformations of the constituent particles of matter of the globes (SD 1:205). Also used to describe primeval man on this earth during the fourth round, who was aeriform, devoid of compactness, and mindless (SD 2:80).

Aerobes and Anaerobes [from Greek aer air + bios life] Bacteria which need free oxygen for their sustenance, and those which do not, respectively. Each division includes some forms which can adapt themselves to either condition. When free oxygen is not obtainable, oxygen is obtained by decomposition of the surrounding substance, and the bacteria become destructive — destruction means recombination, as death is rebirth. Also connected with the processes of fermentation. Pasteur’s researches in fermentation are mentioned by Blavatsky as showing how so-called vital processes shade off indistinguishably into so-called inorganic or chemical processes. These physical builders and destroyers are analogous to their prototypes on the higher planes.

Aerolites. See METEORITES

Aesar An ancient Irish god, philosophically analogous to Isvara; also an old Etruscan word meaning god (SD 2:114).

Aeschylus One of the three greatest Greek tragic poets, born at Eleusis (525-456 BC), the seat of the Mysteries of Demeter, into which he undoubtedly was initiated. Of his perhaps 90 plays, only seven survive. Plato accuses him of impiety and Cicero describes him as almost a Pythagorean. He profaned the Mysteries in the eyes of the Athenians (e.g. in the real meaning of the allegories present in Prometheus Bound and The Eumenides) and has been accused of introducing antagonism among the celestial powers, transferring the political radicalism and demagogy of Athens from the agora to Olympus. His works introduced a second actor, thus creating true dramatic dialogue; he also introduced masks and imposing headdresses and costumes for the actors.

His portrayal of Zeus in different dramas is inconsistent, since there were two Zeuses: the abstract deity of Grecian thought, and the Olympic Zeus. While the former represents the head of the hierarchy of divinities, the latter is, in man, the human soul or kama-manas. Prometheus, who steals fire from heaven and brings it to mankind in a fennel-stalk, is buddhi-manas, mankind’s savior. Zeus is the serpent, the intellectual tempter of humanity, which nevertheless begets in due time the man-savior, the solar Dionysus (SD 2:419-20). Harmony results from the equilibrium of contraries, and the drama of evolution as depicted in man shows the clash of descending and reascending cycles, the antimony of law and free will. These dramas have been immortalized for all generations by Aeschylus who, in his daring and self-sacrificing enthusiasm, may himself be styled a Prometheus offending the powers that be in order to bring light to mankind.

Aesculapius, Asklepios God of healing and medicine, son of Apollo by Coronis, educated by the centaur Chiron. When Aesculapius brought the dead back to life, Zeus at the behest of Hades killed him with a thunderbolt.

He is often identified with Mercury, the divine healer or cosmic serpent, represented by the caduceus of Mercury; and in some of his functions he is the same as Ptah in Egypt, creative intellect or wisdom, and as Apollo, Baal, Adonis, and Hercules (SD 2:208; 1:353). Also called the serpent and the savior: “Esculapius, Serapis, Pluto, Knoum, and Kneph, are all deities with the attributes of the serpent. Says Dupuis, ‘They are all healers, givers of health, spiritual and physical, and of enlightenment’ ” (SD 2:26). Thus Aesculapius is mystically the divine healer or healing power, the ray of divine wisdom emanating from the spiritual sun in man.

Aeser. See AESIR

Aeshma-Daeva (Avestan) Aēshma-Daēva Eesham-Diev, Hesham-Diev (Pahlavi) [from aēshma wrath, ill wish, anger from the verbal root ish desire, passion + daēvas evil spirits (originally gods); cf Sanskrit deva, Persian dievs] The fiend of the wounding spear in the Avesta. The Aryan gods or daevas having become anthropomorphic, they were denounced by the Aryan initiates who had settled in Airya-Vaeja (Eran or Iran). Zarathustra in the Gathas refers to Kavis and Karpans, the leaders of the ancient Aryan faith, as daevas because they had polluted the abstraction of Mazdean philosophy with ritualistic ceremonies.

In Pahlavi and Pazand writing Aeshma-Daeva changed form to Heshm-Diev, from which Asmodeus, the medieval evil spirit, is derived. Aeshma is known to be Sraush’s opponent.

Aeses. See AESIR

Aesir (Icelandic) [from ass the ridgepole supporting a roof] plural ases; feminine asynja, feminine plural asynjor. Creative gods of the Norse Eddas, inhabiting Asgard (gard, yard or estate), where they retire to feast on the “mead” of experience gained in spheres of life. The twelve deities who build their mansions on various “shelves” of our universe are: Odin Allfather, who occurs on every level of life and is inherent in every living thing; his consort, Frigga; Thor, the power of life and electromagnetism, who corresponds to the Tibetan fohat and in one aspect corresponds to Jove; Balder, the sun god; Njord, the Norse Saturn; Tyr, the Norse Mars; Frey, the deity of planet Earth; Freya, of Venus; Hermod (an aspect of Odin), of Mercury. Heimdall, “the whitest Ase,” is the watcher on the rainbow bridge who sounds the gjallarhorn (loud horn) at Ragnarok when a world ends. Brage is poetic inspiration. The most mysterious and lofty ase is Ull, a cold, wintry (unmanifest) world. Paradoxically, “blessed is he who first touches the fire” of that sphere. Forsete is the god of justice who corresponds to the lipikas, agents of karma.

In the Eddas the aesir are in perpetual opposition to the jotunn (giants; Icelandic jotnar), as energy is opposed to inertia. When the gods withdraw at Ragnarok, the universe ceases to be. The aesir’s reign or life was preceded by a period of quiescence, during which nothing existed. This was Ymir, the frostgiant, the transformed Bargalmer (Icelandic Bergelmir), fruitage of a previous cycle of universal life, who was “saved on a boatkeel” or “ground on the mill” to furnish substance for the succeeding world. This was to be created by All-father Odin and his two brothers, Vile and Vi (or Ve). The frost giant is killed — transformed — by the three gods, and from his substance (Orgalmer) the worlds are created. They are sustained by Trudgalmer until the gods again withdraw. In his capacity of creator Odin is named Ofner (opener), energic counterpart of Orgalmer, while at the end of a cosmic life he becomes Svafner (closer) and paired with Bargalmer.

The aesir are not the highest gods, even though cosmic Odin in his capacity of Allfather is the father of gods and men by virtue of being descended from a previous era of evolution. “All the creative gods, or personal Deities, begin at the secondary stage of Cosmic evolution” (SD 1:427). The aesir were ousted from Asgard by the vaner, superior gods who remain in their high realms while the aesir dwell in living spheres. Nevertheless even the aesir receive a “hostage” (in one interpretation an avatara) from the vaner and in exchange furnish the mind and matter which enable these exalted beings to evolve.

“The brew of the as,” “Odin’s brew,” or the “bardic mead” is inspired poetry, the runes of ancient wisdom sought by Odin in the giant worlds. The “driving of the as” or Tordon (Thor’s din) is thunder.

Aether, Ether (Greek) [from aitho shining, fire] The upper or purer air as opposed to aer, the lower air; the clear sky; the abode of the gods. In Classical antiquity it denoted primordial substance, Proteus or protyle, the unitary source both of all substances and energies, the mask of all kosmic phenomena. Often used loosely to embrace a domain which extends from the All-Father himself down to the atmosphere of our earth. Vergil speaks of “Jupiter omnipotens aether,” and Cicero describes aether as the ultimate zone of heaven encircling, embracing, and permeating all things. At one time a member of the pantheon and object of veneration, at another the quest of the alchemist in search of the “absolute element” which would give him power over nature, and finally a hypothetical medium of science for conveying light waves.

Sometimes aether is used in translating the Sanskrit akasa, which has the same etymological and philosophical meaning. Here it is an element or principle coming after manas and kama and before the astral light and ether. Again, it is a high aspect of akasa, having itself also seven subordinate aspects. There are in kosmic space at least seven aethers or prakritis, which exist one within the other in a rising scale of spirituality. Collectively they may be called spirit-aether or akasa.

Generally in The Secret Doctrine it is the fifth kosmic element from below, a link between kosmic mind or mahat and the lower manifested world, the vehicle of the former and the parent of the latter. Looking at aether in a more general kosmic way, it is the field of activity of the kosmic Third Logos, Brahma-prakriti, and therefore the great womb of manifested being, the treasure house of all kosmic types, forth from which they flow at the opening of manifestation and back into which they will again be ingathered at the beginning of kosmic pralaya. It is in consequence the great mother-substance out of which all the hierarchies are built. It interpenetrates everything, lasting from the beginning of the universal manvantara to its end, and indeed, may be said to continue, in its most spiritualized form throughout kosmic pralaya as the seed-house or storehouse from which everything will flow into manifestation again when the new period of kosmic activity arrives. Considered as the cosmic mother of all things, aether in its highest feminine aspect is the same as the Vedic Aditi or the Hera or Juno of Greece and Rome. Thus in one sense it is also mulaprakriti, the generator or producer of the seeds of beginnings and things. The Old Testament refers to aether as the kosmic waters. In its highest parts it is mystically alaya (the kosmic spirit-soul) or what in Northern Buddhism is called svabhavat, more mystically adi-buddhi. See also ACTIO IN DISTANS; AKASA

Aethiopians, Ethiopians An undefined but powerful group of peoples, generally placed south of Egypt and east of Babylon; often spoken of as being at one time a monarchy and able to contribute kings to the Egyptian throne. Blavatsky shows the archaic racial connection between Egypt and India (SD 2:417; IU 1:569-70). Migrants from northwestern India to Africa took with them the names of their great river, variously called Aethiops or Nila, now called the Indus. These immigrants were the so-called Sons of Horus or Blacksmiths of Egyptian records, mighty builders but somewhat later than the Atlantean descendants who built the first pyramids. This makes the Aethiopians — and also, therefore, some of the Egyptians — Aryans. A highly advanced urban civilization of Mohenjo-Daro has been discovered on the Indus “between Attock and Sind,” exactly the location mentioned in The Secret Doctrine as the abode of the Aethiopians.

The reason classical Greek and Roman writers speak of the Egyptian Aethopians was that the Aethiopians of southern Egypt were then considered to be the last remnants of an Aryan immigration from South India, which took place in prehistoric antiquity, and Greek and Roman writers not infrequently contrasted and identified the Aethiopians of Egypt with the Eastern Aethiopians. It was originally these Eastern Aethiopians who were known to the prehistoric Greek nations as the Aethiopians — the only ones then considered as rightfully bearing this name. These Eastern Aethiopians inhabited the central and especially the southern part of the Indian peninsula including Ceylon, and therefore were the descendants of one of the last subraces of that portion of Atlantis existing earlier on a land south of India called Lanka, of which Ceylon, then one of its northern highlands, is the only present geological remnant.

Aethrobacy. See LEVITATION

Aetna, Mount A frequently active volcanic mountain in northeastern Sicily, the highest volcano in the Mediterranean region (c 10,900 feet). In Greek mythology, Zeus is said to have hurled Mt. Aetna at Typhon, who lies beneath the mountain, sending up smoke and flames; also Hephestos is sometimes said to have a forge there. See also MOUNTAINS, HOLY

Affinity In physics, an unknown force which manifests in cohesion, chemical action, etc. In any particle theory of the universe, affinity has to be assumed, but the assumptions necessary to a mechanical interpretation of nature cannot be defined in terms of mechanism. In the physical world it is but a manifestation of that universal force which tends to bring diversity into unity, the counterpart of the force of repulsion, the two forces cooperating in cosmic harmony. Fohat in its highest aspect as divine love — eros, the electric power of affinity and sympathy — brings spirit into union with subtle nature, producing in man the soul, in nature the first link between the unconditioned and the manifested (SD 1:119).

Leucippus taught that space is filled with atoms — really monads — in ceaseless motion, and Epicurus and Lucretius added the idea of affinity, though doubtless Leucippus had the same idea in mind. The life-atoms discarded after incarnation return to the same individuality by affinity at the next rebirth.

Afrit (Arabic) [from ifrit demon] A class of nature spirits or elementals represented in Arabic mythology as a powerful evil jinn.

Agade or Akkad [from aga crown + de fire] Also Agadi. The ancient city of the Babylonian ruler Sargon I (2637-2587 BC), the word referring to the city’s patron deity, Ishtar or Anunit.

Agama (Sanskrit) Āgama [from ā toward, near + the verbal root gam to come, go] Coming near, approaching. As a masculine noun, approach, appearance; studying, reading, acquisition of knowledge, science. In philosophy, traditional teaching handed down; likewise a collection of sacred doctrines such as the Brahmanas.

Saivites (devotees of Siva) recognize 28 agamas as continuing the full doctrine; Saktas list 77 agamas or tantras; Vaishnavas (followers of Vishnu) regard the Pancharatra Agamas as their sacred books; and the Jain agamas as a whole constitute the Jain canon.

Agamin (Sanskrit) Āgāmin [from ā toward + the verbal root gam to come, go] Coming, approaching; when applied to karma, impending, future; when applied to auguries, casual, changeable, as opposed to sthira (fixed).

Agami-karma is the karmic seeds that would be sown were one to pursue one’s life normally, i.e., karma not yet contracted.

Agapae (Greek) [plural of agape brotherly love, loving kindness, charity] Love feasts; not only the love for God, but the love of Christians for each other as being members of a divinely inspired communion. The agapae were meetings for prayer, song, reading, exhortation, exchange of news, and ended with the brotherly kiss. With the lapse into worldliness, abuses crept into these love-feasts, which in time became so notorious that they were finally abolished.

Agasti, Agastya (Sanskrit) Agasti, Agastya [from aga mountain + the verbal root as to throw, cast off] Mountain-thrower; a celebrated muni and the reputed author of a number of hymns in the Rig-Veda; he also appears in the Mahabharata and Ramayana. Agastya is said to have been born in a water jar, to have been of short stature, to have swallowed the ocean, and compelled the Vindhya Mountain to prostrate itself before him. Hence his name: mountain-thrower.

In Tamil literature, Agastya is traditionally held to have brought literature and science to Southern India and to have instructed the Dravidians in medicine, astrology, and magic arts.

Agastya is also the name of the regent Canopus (cf VP 2:8).

Agathodaemon, Agathodaimon (Greek) The good genius (represented as a youth holding a horn of plenty and a bowl, or a poppy and ears of corn) to whom at Athens a cup of pure wine was drunk at dinner; in one of his many forms, the kosmic Christos, the serpent of eternity — which in the human mind becomes the serpent of Genesis — which after the fall of Mediterranean civilizations became Satan. Brahma, in order to create hierarchies, becomes fourfold and emanates successively daemons, angels, pitris, and men. Agathodaimon refers to the first of these emanations, sons of kosmic darkness, signifying incomprehensible light which is prior to manifested light. Christian theology has recognized this in making Satan’s host the first sons of God, but has unconsciously perverted their descent in order to enlighten man into a rebellion against Almighty Power. Thus in later times Agathodaimon became the enemy of divine goodness. The same has happened in the case of the asuras in India, and of the kosmic serpent. In Gnostic gems it appears under the name Chnouphis or Chnoubis.

Clement of Alexandria, as an initiated Neoplatonist, knew that Agathodaimon was the kosmic Christos and the true spiritual savior of mankind, like Prometheus — an early form of the Agathodaimon teaching applied to the enlightening of the human race through the influence of an incarnating spiritual power. Opposite to him stands a Kakodaimon, the evil genius or lower serpent, the Satan who bids Christ worship him and “I will give thee all the kingdoms of the earth.” Kakodaimon is the nether or inferior aspect of Agathodaimon, kama-manas the deluder as opposed to buddhi-manas the redeemer.

Agathon, To (Greek) The good (principle), the highest or supreme good in a moral sense, summum bonum; Plato’s name for that aspect of the divine otherwise called the unmanifest or First Logos. Although sometimes equated with atman, which corresponds to the Greek pneuma, paramatman is a better equivalent for to agathon. It is likewise equivalent to the Buddhist alaya (the indissoluble or everlasting).

Age(s). See YUGAS; AEONS

Aged of the Aged. See ANCIENT OF THE ANCIENT

Agel, Egel. See GOLDEN CALF

Agent, Universal. See PHILOSOPHER’s STONE

Agham. See OGHAM

Aghora (Sanskrit) Aghora [from a not + the verbal root ghur to frighten] Nonterrifying; as a masculine noun, a title of Siva in the Mahabharata; also of a devotee of Siva and his consort Durga. As a feminine noun, the fourteenth day of the dark half of Bhadra (a rainy month in August-September) sacred to Siva.

Agneya (Sanskrit) Āgneya [from agni fire] Belonging to or consecrated to fire or the god of fire, Agni. A name of the god of war (Skanda, Karttikeya, etc.); also, the son of Agni.

The Agni- or Agneya-Purana is so named because Agni imparted to the sage Vasishtha the twofold knowledge of Brahman: that acquired through study of the “word,” the Vedas; and that higher apprehension attained through mystical contemplation (cf VP preface lviii; also 6:5).

Agneyastra (Sanskrit) Āgneyāstra [from āgneya fiery weapon from agni fire + astra missile weapon, arrow] Fiery weapon; one of the magic weapons used by some of the gods and heroes of the Mahabharata and Ramayana. The Vishnu-Purana (3:8) recounts that the agneyastra was given by the sage Aurva to his disciple King Sagara. A magic weapon said to have been “wielded by the adept-race (the fourth), the Atlanteans” (TG 9), and to have been built of “seven elements” (SD 2:629). It can signify a weapon of fiery character used in physical warfare, or on a cosmic scale can denote the employment of a force of nature by an intelligent being either for offensive or defensive purposes. In archaic thought fire, in its abstract sense, is almost equivalent to spirit, and permeates the sevenfold nature of the universe.

Agni (Sanskrit) Agni [from the verbal root ag to move tortuously, wind] Fire; as god of fire, one of the most revered of Vedic deities. As mediator between gods and humans, from whose body issue “a thousand streams of glory and seven tongues of flame,” Agni represents the divine essence or celestial fire present in every atom of the universe. Often used synonymously with the adityas. The three chief gods of Vedas are Agni, Vayu, and Surya — fire, air, and the sun — whose elements respectively are earth, air, and sky. One of the four lokapalas or world-protectors, Agni is guardian of the southeast quarter, and in the Rig-Veda as Matarisvan, messenger of Vivasvat, the sun, Agni brought down the “hidden fire” for humankind. To “kindle a fire,” therefore, is synonymous to evoking one of the three great fire-powers or “to call on God” (SD 2:114).

Fire is spoken of as the Primary in the Stanzas of Dzyan: “The Spirit, beyond manifested Nature, is the fiery breath in its absolute Unity. In the manifested Universe, it is the Central Spiritual Sun, the electric Fire of all Life. In our System it is the visible Sun, the Spirit of Nature, the terrestrial god. And in, on, and around the Earth, the fiery Spirit thereof — air, fluidic fire; water, liquid fire; Earth, solid fire. All is fire — ignis, in its ultimate constitution, or I, the root of which is 0 (nought) in our conceptions, the All in nature and its mind. Pro-Mater is divine fire. It is the Creator, the Destroyer, the Preserver. The primitive names of the gods are all connected with fire, from Agni, the Aryan, to the Jewish god who ‘is a consuming fire’ ” (ibid.).

In the Puranas, Agni is variously a rishi of the fourth manvantara, the name of a kalpa, and also a star. See also FIRE.

Agni Abhimanin (Sanskrit) Agni Abhimānin The oldest son of Brahma who had three sons, who in turn had 45 sons, and these with Brahma made the 49 fires or agnis (cf VP index).

Agnibahu (Sanskrit) Agnibāhu [from agni fire + bāhu arm from bahu much, abundant] Arm of fire, smoke; as a proper noun, a son of Svayambhuva, the first manu, called law-giver because he laid down the sacred laws that should govern the soul as well as rules for harmonious and orderly living. Agnibahu, who adopted the religious life, is also named as one of the ten sons of Svayambhuva’s son Priyavarta by Kamya (cf VP 2:1).

Agnibahu or Agnivahu is given as the first of seven rishis who will live in the fourteenth manvantara yet to come (our present world period being the seventh or Vaivasvata).

Agnibhu (Sanskrit) Agnibhū [from agni fire + the verbal root bhū to be, become] Fireborn; one of the names of Karttikeya or Skanda, god of war; applied to the Kshatriyas or warrior caste, whose ancestors were said to have sprung from fire (TG 10). Also a Vedic teacher.

Agnibuva See AGNIBHU

Agnidagdha (Sanskrit) Agnidagdha [from agni fire + dagdha burnt from the verbal root dah to burn] Consumed by fire; a class of pitris (fathers, ancestors) who when living regularly maintained the household fires and offered oblations with fire. Those who refrained from doing so were called anagnidagdhas (not consumed by fire).

The agnidagdhas, corresponding to the lunar pitris of The Secret Doctrine, are as mysterious as the higher or arupa classes of kumaras or agnishvattas. The agnidagdhas are the vehicles of the arupa classes and, because of their grosser or more materialized essences, are able to coalesce with the forces and substances of nature on more material planes of the solar system. Known also as barhishads, they “kept up the household flame,” and thus were conversant with and living with flames of the material or quasimaterial realms. Such “material” flames are the fiery or magneto-electric forces and substances of the lower worlds, which include the flame of desire and passion as well as the electric fire of the physical universe. They not only equipped man with the lower parts of his constitution, but likewise projected their chhayas (shadows or astral vehicles), thus furnishing the astral-physical vehicle of early humanity.

The anagnidagdhas are the more spiritual and intellectual classes of pitris who provided nascent humanity with its spiritual, intellectual, and higher psychic principles. Blavatsky writes: “The first or primordial Pitris, the ‘Seven Sons of Fire’ or of the Flame, are distinguished or divided into seven classes . . . [VP 3:14; Manu 3:199] three of which classes are Arupa, formless, ‘composed of intellectual not elementary substance,’ and four are corporeal. The first are pure Agni (fire) or Sapta-jiva (‘seven lives,’ now become Sapta-jihva, seven-tongued, as Agni is represented with seven tongues and seven winds as the wheels of his car). As a formless, purely spiritual essence, in the first degree of evolution, they could not create that, the prototypical form of which was not in their minds, as this is the first requisite. They could only give birth to ‘mind-born’ beings, their ‘Sons,’ the second class of Pitris (or Prajapati, or Rishis, etc.), one degree more material; these, to the third — the last of the Arupa class. It is only this last class that was enabled with the help of the Fourth principle of the Universal Soul (Aditi, Akasha) to produce beings that became objective and having a form. But when these came to existence, they were found to possess such a small proportion of the divine immortal Soul or Fire in them, that they were considered failures. . . . The three orders of Beings, the Pitri-Rishis, the Sons of Flame, had to merge and blend together their three higher principles with the Fourth (the Circle), and the Fifth (the microcosmic) principle before the necessary union could be obtained and result therefrom achieved” (BCW 6:191-3).

Agni Dhatu Samadhi (Sanskrit) Agni Dhātu Samādhi A type of yogic contemplation where kundalini is excited and “the infinitude appears as one sheet of fire.” (TG 10)

Agnidhra (Sanskrit) Agnīdhra [from agnīdh kindler from the verbal root agni fire + the verbal root indh to kindle, light] Fire kindler; eldest of the ten sons of Priyavarta, the eldest son of Svayambhuva Manu. Three of Priyavarta’s sons became mendicants, the other seven became kings famed for valor and wisdom. Priyavarta divided the earth into seven dvipas or continental islands, giving one of each of his king-sons to administer. Agnidhra ruled over Jambu-dvipa which he in turn apportioned among his nine sons (VP 2:1). Blavatsky correlates the Puranic allegory to the seven globes of a planetary chain, Jambu-dvipa being equivalent to globe D in the theosophical scheme.

Sometimes spelled Agnidhra, especially with reference to the priest who kindles the sacrificial fire (RV 2:36:4).

Agnihotra (Sanskrit) Agnihotra [from agni fire + hotra oblation from the verbal root hu to sacrifice] Fire offering; an important Vedic sacrifice to Agni, consisting of milk, oil, and sour gruel, which the head of the family is expected to observe twice a day, before sunrise and after sunset. The priest who kindles the sacred fire is called agnihotri, also agnidhra.

Agniputra (Sanskrit) Agniputra [from agni fire + putra son, offspring] Son of Agni, fire; a name of the god of war, Skanda or Karttikeya (cf MB, skanda 9). While every individual of the numerous hierarchies which infill, and indeed are, space, is an offspring or “son” of the cosmic spirit or fire, Agniputra particularly designates one whose characteristic qualities make him an active instead of a passive or quasi-passive agent in the cosmic drama. Thus it is that the planet Mars and its influences — or Skanda, the god of war of the Mahabharata — because of their characteristic intense activity of a fiery type are referred to as Agniputra.

In the plural, used in The Secret Doctrine (2:363) for those spiritual-intellectual entities who brought intellectual light to the world and endowed humanity with intellect and reason. Thus they are linked to the manasaputras.

Agniratha (Sanskrit) Agniratha [from agni fire + ratha chariot from the verbal root to go] Fire-chariot; archaic flying vehicles, allegorized in the Ramayana and ancient works on magic. “This vibratory Force, which, when aimed at an army from an Agni Rath fixed on a flying vessel, . . . reduced to ashes 100,000 men and elephants, as easily as it would a dead rat” (SD 1:563).

Agnishtoma (Sanskrit) Agniṣṭoma [from agni fire + stoma praise, a hymn from the verbal root stu to praise, eulogize] Praise of Agni, fire; an ancient Vedic ceremony or sacrifice performed by a Brahmin desirous of obtaining svarga (heaven), who himself maintained the sacred fire. The offering to Indra and other deities was the soma. The ceremonies continued for five days, with 16 priests officiating. Although in later times it may have become merely a matter of form, originally the agnishtoma was connected with the initiation rites of the soma Mysteries.

In the Puranas, Agnishtoma is given as the seventh son of Manu Chakshusa, the sixth manu descended from the first manu, Svayambhuva (cf VP 1:177).

Agnishvatta (Sanskrit) Agniṣvātta [from agni fire + the verbal root svad to sweeten, taste] Tasted or sweetened by fire; one of the higher of the seven classes of pitris or progenitors spoken of in the Puranas as those “devoid of fire.” They are thus popularly represented as grihasthas or householders who in previous births failed to keep up their domestic fires and to offer burnt sacrifices, etc. In contrast, the pitris “possessed” of fire are the barhishads, those who kept up their household fires (cf VP 1:10).

Mystically the agnishvattas are far higher beings than are the barhishads because they are devoid of the fire of creative passion. Being too divine and pure for this, they are devoid (i.e., freed) of the grosser creative fire, and thus unable to form physical man. They are, on the other hand, possessed of spiritual-intellectual fire and are the endowers of the human conscious, spiritually immortal ego or selfhood. Hence the agnishvatta-pitris are those who are “purified by fire” — which may be interpreted as either 1) the fire of suffering and pain in material existence producing great fiber and strength of character or spirituality; or 2) from the esoteric standpoint as signifying those entities who have through evolution become one in essence with the aethery fire of spirit.

The agnishvattas signify our ancestral solar selves in contradistinction to the barhishads, our lunar ancestors. The agnishvattas are variously spoken of in The Secret Doctrine as the fashioners of the inner man, manasa-dhyanis (lords of mind), solar devas, sons of the flame of wisdom, givers of human intelligence and consciousness, and fire-dhyanis. In ancient Greece they were collectively personified by the epic figure of Prometheus, and in China by the Fiery Dragons of Wisdom.

The agnishvattas, our solar spiritual-intellectual parts, are those who in preceding manvantaras completed their evolution in the realms of matter; and when evolution had brought the nascent human stock to the state where they had only the physical creative fire, the agnishvattas came to their rescue by inspiring and enlightening these lower lunar pitris with spiritual and intellectual energies or fires (OG 14-15; SD 2:91-2).

In the Puranas, the agnishvattas are identified with the seasons, and are spoken of as one of the classes of deities presiding over the cyclic divisions of the year.

Agni-Vishnu-Surya (Sanskrit) Agni-Viṣṇu-Sūrya [from agni fire + viṣṇu from the verbal root viś or the verbal root viṣ to pervade + sūrya sun] Fire-pervader-solar deity; this triad of gods is probably a permutation of the original Vedic triad Agni-Indra-Surya, having their influence and place respectively on earth, in the atmosphere, and in the sky. Agni-Vishnu-Surya has been called the “synthesis and head, or the focus whence emanated in physics as in metaphysics, from the Spiritual as from the physical Sun, the Seven Rays, the seven fiery tongues, the seven planets or gods” (SD 2:608).

Agnoia or Anoia (Greek) [cf Sanskrit jna; Latin gnosco, nosco; English know, etc.] Mindlessness, folly; the opposite of nous. In Plato the soul (psyche) attaches itself either to nous or to anoia, which is analogous to the theosophical teaching regarding buddhi-manas and kama-manas.

Agnosticism [from Greek a not + gnostos known] The mental attitude denying the possibility of the real knowledge of truth and hence of the ultimate or fundamental nature of the universe. The term was coined by T. H. Huxley to denote his own attitude, in contrast to Gnosticism which implies the possibility of knowing truth and the inner and invisible realities of the universe. It differs from atheism in not denying the existence of God or cosmic divinities.

Agnostos (Greek) Unknown or unknowable in the sense of the unknowable Divine (cf Acts 17:23-8).

Agnus-Castus Plant A species of Vitex, a willow-like tree sometimes called the chaste tree [from hagnos chaste vs agnos willow-like]. “Prometheus is represented as crowned with the Agnus-Castus plant (logos), the leaves of which formed the Crown of the Victors in the ‘Agonia’ of the Olympic games; . . . This Agnus-Castus plant was used also in the fete of the Thesmophoria, in honour of Demeter — the law — ‘nomos’ — bringer, whose priestesses slept on its leaves as encouraging chaste desires. In Christian times this custom survived among Nuns, who used to drink a water distilled from its leaves, and Monks used knives with handles made of its wood with the same intention of encouraging chastity” (BCW 9:267, 10:90)

Agnus Dei (Latin) [from agnus lamb + deus god] Lamb of God; originating in the New Testament: “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). It is applied to various emblems, cakes, anthems, etc., used in the services of the orthodox Christian churches. As a lamb was sacrificed and partaken of in the Jewish feast of the Passover, John said in effect: behold the true divine Paschal Lamb. However, the original idea that impurity is burnt out by the divine fire from the radiant source within each person was perverted, both in the case of agni and the Lamb of God, into the idea of vicarious atonement (cf SD 2:383).

Agrae A small town on the banks of the Ilissus near Athens, where in ancient Greece in the spring were celebrated the Minor Mysteries, preliminary to the Greater Mysteries held in the autumn at Eleusis. Those at Agrae were associated with Kore-Persephone and were held about the middle of the month Anthesterion, when the grain crop was young.

Agrammachamareg (Gnostic) In the Pistis Sophia, one of the Triad of Invisibles, which also included Barbelo and Bdelle, in the Region of the Left (Hyle) where is the thirteenth aeon. (BCW 13:24)

Agrasamdhani (Sanskrit) Agrasaṃdhānī [from agra foremost, beginning + sam together, with + the verbal root dhā to fasten, unite] That which is fastened or strung together from the beginning; the register of human actions kept by Yama, Hindu god of the dead; linked with Chitragupta, scribe of Yama, who records in the Agrasamdhani the deeds and thoughts of every human being (cf MB 13). See also LIPIKA

Agruerus (Phoenician) The great god of the Phoenicians, identical with Kronos or Saturn. His seven sons were analogous to the titans or kabiri “connected with the Flood and the seven Rishis” (SD 2:142).

Aguna (Sanskrit) Aguṇa [from a not + guṇa quality] Devoid of qualities or attributes (gunas); applied particularly to the supreme divinity — nirguna (without qualifying attributes). As a noun, a fault — devoid of good qualities.

Agyrmos (Greek) A collection of men, assembly; referred to initiation into the Mysteries, synonymous with synaxis. Hesychius called the first day of the initiation into the Mysteries of Ceres, goddess of the harvest, by these terms. The term synaxis was eventually dropped by Christians in favor of missa or mass. (BCW 11:99&n)

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