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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Bhadra-kalpa (Sanskrit) Bhadra-kalpa [from bhadra auspicious, blessed + kalpa age] The time period of the sages; the present age, said exoterically to last 236 million years, so called because 1,000 buddhas or sages appear in the course of it. “The Bhadra Kalpa, or the ‘period of stability,’ is the name of our present Round, esoterically — its duration applying, of course, only to our globe (D), the ‘1,000’ Buddhas being thus in reality limited to but forty-nine in all” (TG 55-6).

Bhadravihara (Sanskrit) Bhadravihāra [from bhadra auspicious, blessed + vihāra temple] The name of a Buddhist monestary.  H. P. Blavatsky writes: “the Monastery of the Sages or Bodhisattvas. A certain Vihara or Matham in Kanyakubdja” (TG 55).

Bhagat (Hindi) A religious mendicant or devotee; “one who exorcises evil spirits” (TG 56).

Bhagavad-Gita (Sanskrit) Bhagavad-Gītā [from bhagavat illustrious, sacred, holy, lord (one of Krishna’s titles) + gītā song] The noble song, the Lord’s song; a portion of the Bhagavad-Gita Parvan, one subsection of the Bhishma Parvan, itself one of the principle sections of the Mahabharata. The Bhagavad-Gita consists of a dialogue in which Krishna and Arjuna have a discussion upon the highest spiritual philosophy. Krishna in this instance is the inner instructor or monitor, the higher self, advising the human self or Arjuna.

Bhagavat, Bhagavan (Sanskrit) Bhagavat, Bhagavān Glorious, revered, divine; hence gracious lord, patron. Used of gods, demigods, and highly revered beings such as Gautama Buddha, Krishna, and Vishnu.

Bhagavata Purana (Sanskrit) Bhāgavata Purāṇa One of the most celebrated and popular of the 18 principal Puranas, especially dedicated to the glorification of Vishnu-Krishna, whose history is given in the tenth book. It consists of 12 books or skandhas, of 18,000 slokas, and is narrated by Suka, the son of Vyasa, to King Parikshit, the grandson of Arjuna, one of the Pandava brothers and hero of the Bhagavad-Gita.

Bhagawan. See BHAGAVAT

Bhakti (Sanskrit) Bhakti [from the verbal root bhaj to divide, share, serve, love] As a noun, devotion or affectionate attachment; also one of the paths (margas) followed by the disciple or student, which might be translated as liberation by faith or love.

Bhakti Yoga (Sanskrit) Bhakti Yoga [from bhakti devotion + yoga union from the verbal root yuj to join] The form of yoga practice of attaining at-one-ment or union with the spiritual-divine essence within by means of devotion, faith, and love.

Bhao Price, value, friendship; “a ceremony of divination among the Kolarian tribes of Central India” (TG 56).

Bharata, Bharata-varsha (Sanskrit) Bharata, Bharata-varṣa [from the verbal root bhṛ to uphold, bear, carry, supporting, producing + varṣa plains, lowlands, land] The ancient Hindu name for India; Bharata was a name borne also by many divinities as well as great men, heroes, and men of less note. In the Mahabharata, the celebrated hero who was the son of Dushyanta and Sakuntala was named Bharata, the first of twelve Chakravartins.

In theosophical literature Bharata has also been applied to an ancient sacred land. “ ‘Happy are those who are born, even from the condition of gods, as men, in Bharata-Varsha!’ exclaim the incarnated gods themselves, during the Third Root-Race. Bharata is India, but in this case it symbolized the chosen land in those days, and was considered the best of the divisions of Jambu-dwipa, as it was the land of active (spiritual) works par excellence; the land of initiation and of divine knowledge” (SD 2:369).

Bharata (Sanskrit) Bhārata Son or descendant of Bharata, applied to any of the descendants of King Bharata.

Bharata-varsha. See BHARATA

Bhargava (Sanskrit) Bhārgava Descendant of Bhrigu, the great rishi; Sukra, regent of the planet Venus and preceptor of the Daityas; likewise an ancient people mentioned in the Mahabharata.

Bhashya (Sanskrit) Bhāṣya [from the verbal root bhāṣ to speak] Speaking, talking; an explanatory work or commentary, especially on technical Sutras; particularly Patanjali’s Commentary of the Sutras of Panini, also called the Mahabhashya (great commentary).

Bhaskara (Sanskrit) Bhāskara [from bhās light + the verbal root kṛ to do, make] A title of Surya, the sun; mystically, it signifies life-giver. As an adjective, shining, bright.

Bhaumika Pralaya, Bhaumika Manvantara (Sanskrit) Bhaumika-pralaya, -manvantara [from bhūmi earth, land from the verbal root bhū to become, grow] The terrestrial or planetary dissolution or manifestation. The bhaumika pralaya is similar to the naimittika pralaya (occasional pralaya) or Night of Brahma. When the last round of a planetary chain has been entered upon, the highest or first globe (A), followed by all the others in succession to the last, instead of entering upon a certain time of rest or obscuration, as in the previous rounds, begins to die out. The planetary dissolution or pralaya is then at hand, and when the last hour of that pralaya has struck, each globe has to transfer its life and energy to a new laya-center, to another globe, whereupon begins the bhaumika manvantara, the great life cycle of this new globe, the reimbodiment of the inner constitution or life essence of the former now dead and decaying globe.

Bhautya (Sanskrit) Bhautya One of the 14 manus of the earth-chain, the seed manu of the seventh round (SD 2:309).

Bhava (Sanskrit) Bhava [from the verbal root bhū to be, become] Being; coming into existence, birth, production, origin; worldly existence, the world. As used in Buddhist literature, the continuity of becoming, one of the links in the twelvefold chain of causation (nidanas), therefore also birth. As the third nidana, bhava is the karmic agent which leads every new sentient being to be born in this or another mode of existence in the trailokya and gatis.

As a proper noun, the name of a deity, also applied as a title to the gods Agni, Siva, and Rudra. See also ABHAVA

Bhavishya Purana (Sanskrit) Bhaviṣya Purāṇa [from bhaviṣya about to come to pass, future] One of the 18 principal Puranas, extant copies containing 7,000 slokas. While the original of this work is said to have been a revelation of future events by Brahma, it in main part is a treatise on various religious rites and observances, although containing other matter closely recalling portions of the Laws of Manu. Its chief deity is Siva.

Bhikkhu (Pali) Bhikkhu [cf Sanskrit bhikṣu] In Buddhism, a mendicant or monk, especially one who has donned the yellow robe and carries the begging bowl.

Bhikshu (Sanskrit) Bhikṣu [from the verbal root bhikṣ to beg] A religious mendicant who has completely renounced the distractions of worldly life; the feminine is bhikshuni.

Bhon, Bhon-pas. See BON

Bhoot-dak, Bhut-dak [from Hindi bhūt ghost (cf Sanskrit bhūta) + ḍāk mail, post] Ghost-post; an Anglo-Indian English construction for a medium, bhuta here being synonymous with preta.

Bhoots. See BHUTA

Bhoutya. See BHAUTYA

Bhrantidarsana[tah] (Sanskrit) Bhrāntidarśana [from the verbal root bhram to wander + dṛṣ to see, know, perceive] False comprehension or false apprehension; perplexity or confusion in understanding due to false apprehension. Used to describe the illusions arising out of the egotistical, imperfect human mind in its attempts to understand reality, because this imperfectly evolved human mind is extremely apt to mistake illusions for verities, presentiments for realities, and appearances for the fundamental substratum of being. Any partially developed intellect or understanding can de facto have only an illusory conception of the manifestations of the supreme spirit.

Bhrigu (Sanskrit) Bhṛgu [from bhrajj to be hot, brilliantly glowing, or bhrāj to be shining] One of the most celebrated of the Vedic rishis (sages), regarded as the ancestor of the Bhargavas, enumerated as one of the ten primeval maharshis created by the first manu; he is also regarded as one of the seven or ten prajapatis (progenitors) of mankind and other beings, “which is equivalent to identifying him with one of the creative gods, placed by the Puranas in Krita Yug, or the first age, that of purity” (TG 57). Some hymns in the Rig-Veda are attributed to him. The planet Sukra (Venus) is associated with Bhrigu, being one of its names, and Bhrigu is often a term designating the equivalent of Friday, which is consecrated to the planet Venus. Venus is also sometimes called the son of Bhrigu.

The Bhargavas (descendants of Bhrigu): are commonly classed as gods of the middle region or aerial divinities, although in the Rig-Veda they are intimately connected with fire. They are represented as enclosing fire in wood and giving it to mankind; also placing fire in the navel or center of the world. Thus they are associated with the Atharvans (fire-priests), Angirasas (deities of luminous objects), and Ribhus.

Bhuja(m) (Sanskrit) Bhuja A curve or side; in geometry, one of the lines or sides of a mathematical figure, such as the base of a triangle; also an arm.

Bhuman (Sanskrit) Bhūman [from the verbal root bhū to become] Space; it “conveys the fundamental idea of becoming, of growth and progress by serial steps. It is that portion of the universal akasa comprised within any single Brahmanda or cosmic hierarchy, and therefore on this smaller scale applies to the aggregate of all beings and things within that hierarchy. As such, it can carry the meaning of Pleroma or Fullness” (FSO 76n).

Bhumi (Sanskrit) Bhūmi [from the verbal root bhū to become, grow into] The earth, land, ground; position, posture, attitude; metaphorically a step, degree, or stage in yoga, the Buddhists enumerating ten or more.

Our earth, or any similar celestial body on this cosmic plane, is looked upon as an entity which is becoming, growing, evolving, and is therefore a living being. Frequently, instead of Bhumi, the earth is called prithivi, because it is a manifestation of the guarding and guiding planetary spirit on the prithivi plane of the solar system.

Bhur (Sanskrit) Bhūr [from the verbal root bhū to become, spring forth] The act of becoming or arising; by extension the locus or place of such becoming, therefore a world or even a universe; likewise the earth and even the ground or bottommost portion of a cosmic hierarchy. Frequently it signifies the earth, particularly as the lowest of the seven lokas. Likewise, the first in serial order of the three great vyahritis or mystic utterances, the other two vyahritis being bhuvar (or bhuvah) and svar.

The plural, bhuvas, signifies the atmosphere, air, airy vast, or aerial expanse. See also BHUR BHUVAH SVAH

Bhuranyu (Sanskrit) Bhuraṇyu [from the verbal root bhṛ to support, uphold, give prominence to; to move rapidly, to flash from place to place] The rapid; an epithet of Agni, considered as the inspiring and inflaming element, the swiftly running power in the world, the fiery nature and cosmic life. Also a name of the sun, and a title of Vishnu.

Bhur Bhuvah Svah (Sanskrit) Bhūr Bhuvaḥ Svaḥ The names of the first three of the seven lokas (worlds) of this kosmos, meaning literally earth, midworld or astral world, and heaven world; the three great vyahritis or mystical utterances pronounced after Om by every Brahmin in commencing his daily prayers.

Bhur-loka (Sanskrit) Bhūr-loka [from bhūr earth + loka place, world] Earth world; the lowest of the seven lokas. The popular exoteric name of our earth when considered in terms of the cosmic lokas or planes. The corresponding tala is patala. The field of influence of bhurloka is said to extend little farther than our atmosphere. Our earth is patala if we look at it from the material standpoint, and bhurloka if we look at it from the energy-consciousness side.

Bhuta (Sanskrit) Bhūta [from the verbal root bhū to be, become] Has been; as an adjective become, been gone; as a noun, that which is or exists, any living being; entities that have lived and passed on. Applied specifically to “spooks, ghosts, simulacra, the reliquiae, of dead men; in other words, the astral dregs and remnants of human beings. They are the ‘shades’ of the ancients, the pale and ghostly phantoms living in the astral world, or the astral copies of the men that were; and the distinction between the bhuta and the kama-rupa is very slight.

“Bereft of all that pertains to the real entity, the genuine man, the bhuta is as much a corpse in the astral realms as is the decaying physical body left behind at physical death; and consequently, astral or psychical intercourse of any kind with these shells is productive only of evil. The bhutas, although belonging in the astral world, are magnetically attracted to physical localities similar in type to the remnants of impulses still inhering in them. The bhuta of a drunkard is attracted to wine-cellars and taverns; the bhuta of one who has lived a lewd life is attracted to localities sympathetic to it; the thin and tenuous bhuta of a good man is similarly attracted to less obnoxious and evil places” (OG 17-18).

Blavatsky also speaks of primitive humanity as relatively intellectually senseless bhutas or phantoms: “the word in India now means ghosts, ethereal or astral phantoms, while in esoteric teaching it means elementary substances, something made of attenuated, non-compound essence, and, specifically, the astral double of any man or animal. In this case these primitive men are the doubles of the first ethereal Dhyanis or Pitris” (SD 2:102n).

From another standpoint, bhuta applies in a general way to reproductions in a new existence of entities which “have been” in a former existence. This is the reason cosmic elements are occasionally called bhutas in their connection with the various tattvas, because the elements in any one manvantara are the derivatives or reproductions, and therefore the bhutas, of the same elements in the previous manvantara.

Bhutas are also rudimentary substances or elements. The Vendantists and Sankhyas, when speaking of the six original producers or elements of nature, called them bhutas or prakritis. These are the bases of objective nature, the vehicular or substantial side of the tattvas (the principles of nature) and therefore inseparable from them. The ancients always reckoned four elements, and sometimes five, and called them aether, fire, air, water, and earth. But esoterically there are seven: adi-bhuta (the primordial), anupapadaka-bhuta (the unevolved or parentless), akasa-bhuta (aether), taijasa-bhuta (fire), vayu-bhuta (air), apas-bhuta (water), and prithivi-bhuta (earth). These cosmic elements are not the familiar things which we know under these names, for the familiar physical substances were taken as symbols, through certain appropriate qualities which they possess, of the actual elements of cosmic being. These familiar physical substances of earth, water, air, and fire are the correspondences on earth, in a mystic sense, of the true cosmic elements.

“It is likewise the old Stoic doctrine, that the elements give birth one to another. Manifestation begins on the spiritual plane, and as the life impulses reach forth into grosser forms, into matter . . . the succeeding elements (bases, rudiments) are born, each one from the preceding one, and from all preceding ones. For instance, earth is born not merely from the element water, but likewise from fire, and air. Furthermore, the seven rounds of a planetary chain, the seven globes of a planetary chain, and the seven root-races of any globe thereof, has each its predominating correspondence with one of these seven elements” (Fund 348).

Bhutadi (Sanskrit) Bhūtādi [from bhūta cosmic element from the verbal root bhū to be, become + ādi primordial] Original or evolving source of all beings; applied to the supreme hierarch of our hierarchy: the supreme spirit, mahapurusha, or cosmic Brahma. In a more limited sense, applied in the Sankhya philosophy to the cosmic ahamkara (the producer of egos, hence the former of individualities), the source whence the elements are evolved or derived. Thus it “precedes Bhuta-sarga — the ‘creation’ or differentiation of those Elements in primordial ‘Akasa’ (Chaos or Vacuity)” (SD 1:452).

Bhutalipi (Sanskrit) Bhūtalipi “Writing of the elements;” an alphabet concerning the evolution of elements (BCW 5:306).

Bhutasarga (Sanskrit) Bhūtasarga [from bhūta has been + sarga creation, production] Elemental creation; the second of the seven creations or emanations, popularly given in the Hindu Puranas as mahat-tattva, bhutasarga, indriya or aindriyaka, mukhya, tairyagyonya or tiryaksrota, urdhvasrotas, and arvakstrotas. Bhutasarga cosmically is the first differentiation of universal indiscrete substance, or primordial akasa, the first stage of the differentiation of the pre-cosmic elements; the word bhutasarga itself suggests that this differentiation is according to seeds or germs (bhutas) reappearing anew from the preceding cosmic manvantara. “In astronomical and Cosmogonical language this Creation relates to the first stage of cosmic-life, the Fire-Mist Period after its Chaotic stage, when atoms issue from Laya” (SD 1:453).

The second hierarchy of the manus, the dhyani-chohans or fully self-conscious devas, who are the original producers of form (rupas), appear at this stage of cosmic emanational evolution. In the Vishnu-Purana these beings are called chitrasikandinas (bright-crested), the seven rishis who are the informing souls of the seven principal stars of the Great Bear. These seven rishis represent hierarchies of spiritual beings who preside over and guide the septenary stages of the evolution of the cosmos.

Bhutatman (Sanskrit) Bhūtātman [from bhūta has been + ātman self] The “self of that which has been,” the reincarnating ego. Composed of lower buddhi and higher manas, its range of consciousness is over the earth planetary chain and its vehicle is the higher human soul. In a more restricted sense bhutatman could logically be applied to the human ego, which makes its various reappearances as a new personality in each earth incarnation.

Bhutavat (Sanskrit) Bhūtavat [from the verbal root bhū to be, become] What has become; applicable to those seeds of cosmic being which through evolutionary unfolding in previous manvantaras remain as crystallized seeds through the cosmic pralaya, to blossom forth into the unfolding universe at the opening of the succeeding manvantara. As the term has reference to what is not pure unevolved spirit, in archaic mythology it often bears the meaning of limitation or restriction, and therefore is frequently looked upon as being evil because it is not pure spirit.

Bhuta-vidya or Bhuta-vijnana (Sanskrit) Bhūta-vidyā, Bhūta-vijñāna [from bhūta has been, kama-lokic spooks + vidyā, vijñāna knowledge] The knowledge of evil beings, demonology; hence, the art of exorcising, treating, and curing demoniac possession — one of the branches of ancient medicine. Bhuta in ancient usage, while including what medieval Europeans called demons, refers to what in theosophy is called elementaries and other denizens of the astral realms — commonly of human origination, but sometimes astral rejects of the animal kingdom. See also AYUR VEDA

Bhut-dak. See BHOOT-DAK

Bhutesa or Bhutesvara (Sanskrit) Bhūteśa, Bhūteśvara [from bhūta living being + īśa, īśvara lord] Lord of beings, lord of manifested entities and things; a name applied to each member of the Hindu Trimurti (Brahma, Vishnu, Siva). Siva in exoteric mythology and popular superstition is supposed to possess the special status of lord of the bhutas or kama-lokic spooks, and is the special patron of ascetics, students of occultism, and of those training themselves in mystical knowledge; so that this superstitious characterization of Siva is an entirely exoteric distortion of a profound esoteric fact. The real meaning is that Siva, often figurated as the supreme initiator, is the lord of those who “have been,” but who now are become regenerates through initiation — the mystical idea here being of the preservation of self-conscious effort through darkness into light, from ignorance to wisdom, and from selfishness into the divine compassion of the cosmic heart. In view of the karmic past of such progressed entities, their former selves in this cosmic time period are the bhutas (have-beens) of what now they are. Bhutesa is also applied to Krishna in this sense.

Bhuvana (Sanskrit) Bhuvana [from the verbal root bhū to become] A living being; man, mankind; the world; the earth — all as being living entities. Also Rudra in the Vishnu-Purana. When used in conjunction with 14 (chaturdasa-bhuvanas), the reference is to the 14 lokas.

Bhuvar-loka (Sanskrit) Bhuvar-loka [from bhuvas air, atmosphere from the verbal root bhū to become + loka world, place] World of development or growth — so called because it is one of the higher astral realms acting as one of the fields for the evolution of sentient beings. The sixth counting downwards of the seven lokas, popularly signifying the ethereal realm or sphere between the earth and the sun. The corresponding tala is mahatala. Bhuvarloka is often spoken of in Hindu literature as the middle region (referring to the triad of ethereal dwellings name bhur, bhuvas, and svar) and as the abode of the munis. While the exoteric statements about the various lokas and talas are based on truth, they are usually picturesque and allegorical, and commonly limit the ideas associated with them to some particular or outstanding characteristic, so while true enough when properly understood, they are almost always imperfect because incomplete.

Bhuvas (Sanskrit) Bhuvas [plural of bhūr from the verbal root bhū to become, grow into being, spring forth] The air, the atmosphere; the third of the four sacred words uttered by Brahmins when beginning their daily devotions: Om, bhur bhuvah svah.

Bible The Judeo-Christian holy book. The Bible is neither the literal word of God translated into the various languages, nor a collection of superstitious folklore, but a Jewish and late Greek version of the archaic wisdom expressed in the ancient mystery-language. Blavatsky classes it among the largely esoteric works whose secret symbolism is found also in the Indian, Chaldean, and Egyptian scriptures. The real Hebrew Bible is to a certain extent known only in small part to its Talmudic and Qabbalistic interpreters. The primeval faith of Israel was not what it was made to be by those who would have converted the secret doctrine into a national exoteric religion — by David, Hezekiah, and later the Talmudists. To trace the steps by which the ancient gnosis was handed down, adapted, transformed, perverted, and yet mysteriously preserved, is work to satisfy the most diligent scholar. “The real Hebrew Bible was a secret volume, unknown to the masses, and even the Samaritan Pentateuch is far more ancient than the Septuagint. As for the former, the Fathers of the Church never even heard of it” (IU 2:471).

Considered as history, the Bible is a patchwork of documents put together at different times, sometimes mere allegory, as in the creation story, or partly allegorical and partly literal, as in the story of the Flood, adapted to serve the purpose of embalming the sacred teachings. It is remarkable that Christians continue to preserve books like Ezekiel — so obviously an esoteric work and so incomprehensible on ordinary doctrinal lines — the Psalms of David, Ecclesiastes, and the Book of Job.

As regards the New Testament, the Gospels are esoteric books, in which the teachings of the ancient wisdom are built around the alleged story of the mission of Jesus, a teacher who lived at a somewhat earlier date than that assigned him. The epistles of Paul are the work of one with some claim to the title of an initiate, who speaks of Christ as the logos in man, and apparently knows naught of the life story of Jesus. The Revelation of St. John is a purely symbolic esoteric work, of a Qabbalistic character, curiously enough still retained in the Christian canon.

Bifrost, Bilrost, Bafrast (Icelandic, Scandinavian) [from bifast to tremble] Via tremula (the trembling way), the rainbow; the rainbow bridge in Norse mythology, also called the asbru (bridge of the aesir), separating the realm of the gods (Asgard) from that of men (Midgard), while giving access to it. Guarding the bridge is Heimdal, the whitest aesir, who will blow the gjallarhorn when the world comes to an end and the gods withdraw to their sacred ground (Ragnarok). Then Bifrost falls when the sons of Muspel storm over it. It is said that each day the gods cross Bifrost to meet in council at the fount of Urd (the norn that represents the past or causation), but Thor must ford the river, as his lightnings would set the bridge on fire.

Bija (Sanskrit) Bīja Sometimes Vīja. Seed or life-germ, whether of animals or plants; esoterically the original or causal source of the urge of life to express itself. “Whether it be a kosmos or universe, or the reappearance of god, deva, man, animal, plant, or mineral, or, indeed, elemental, the seed or life-germ from and out of which any one of these arises is technically called Bija, and the reference here is almost as much to the life-germ or vehicle itself, as it is to the self-urge for manifestation working through the seed or life-germ. Mystically and psychologically, the appearance of an Avatara, for instance, is due to an impulse arising in Maha-Siva, or in Maha-Vishnu (according to circumstances), to manifest a portion of the divine essence, . . . Or again, when from the chela is born the Initiate during the dread trials of initiation, the newly-arisen Master is said to have been born from the mystic Bija or Seed within his own being” (OG 18).

Bimba (Sanskrit) Bimba Sometimes Vimba, Vimva. An image or reflection; also frequently used for the disk of the sun or moon, and consequently for a ball or hemisphere.

Binah (Hebrew) Bīnāh Understanding; the third Sephirah, regarded in the Qabbalah as emanating from the second Sephirah, Hochmah — although it is also stated that both the second and third Sephiroth emanated conjointly. Binah is considered a passive potency or a feminine aspect, hence it is called the great Mother, the great productive Mother (’Imma) eternally conjoined with the Father (’Ab) for the maintenance of the universe; the supernal Mother as distinguished from Malchuth, the inferior Mother, Bride, and Queen; the upper Shechinah; and the great sea. Its Divine Name is YHWH or IHVH, which is the Tetragrammaton, while in the Angelic Order it is represented as the ’Er’elim (heroes) (Zohar ii, 43a).

Binah forms the head of the left pillar of the Sephirothal Tree; while in its application to the human body it is at times regarded as corresponding to the heart, and at others less correctly placed as corresponding to the left shoulder. From Binah is emanated the fourth Sephirah, Hesed, corresponding to the right arm.

Binary. See TWO

Biogenesis [from Greek bios life + genesis creation] That life can only proceed from life; the one Life is the source alike of mineral, vegetable, and animal entities and functions, and manifests itself on the various planes through appropriate vehicles — atoms or monads — in which it is more or less latent or active. Consequently, the modern scientific law of biogenesis is founded on misconception. See also SPONTANEOUS GENERATION

Bios (Greek) Life; sometimes equated with the Sanskrit prana in the list of human principles; yet the Greek zoe, with its significance of vitality or vital energy, rather than bios which often signifies a way of living, is perhaps more closely correspondential with the meaning of prana.

Birds Birds are regarded as originating from certain families of reptiles: “They of the long necks in the water, became the progenitors of the fowls of the air. . . . This is a point on which the teachings and modern biological speculation are in perfect accord. The missing links representing this transition process between reptile and bird are apparent to the veriest bigot, . . .

“So far as our present Fourth Round terrestrial period is concerned, the mammalian fauna are alone to be regarded as traceable to prototypes shed by Man. The amphibia, birds, reptiles, fishes, etc., are the resultants of the Third Round, astral fossil forms stored up in the auric envelope of the Earth and projected into physical objectivity subsequent to the deposition of the first Laurentian rocks” (SD 2:183, 684).

Birds have always had a prominent place in symbology, associated, for instance, with the deities of the ancient pantheons, generally as celestial messengers; and with the human and spiritual souls (buddhi and manas). Sometimes the bird in symbolism represented the atman. The ancient Persians at times also symbolized the human mind-soul as a bird, Karshipta.

There are a number of reasons, mainly derivative from the life habits and characteristics of birds, which account for their selection as symbols of spiritual things, chief perhaps among these the fact that birds lay eggs, the source of new lives, whence sprang the idea of the cosmic egg appearing in and from the womb of cosmic spirit. For instance, in the Finnish Kalevala, a bird lays six golden eggs and one iron egg — the last becoming our earth — a clear reference to the seven globes of the planetary chain; and there was the cosmic egg of the Orphics in Greece and the hiranyagarbhas of Hindustan, etc.

Virtually all ancient religions comprised references to birds, sacred and otherwise — for example, the phoenix, the simorgh of the ancient Persians, the ancient Egyptian ibis, golden hawk, and bennu, and Garuda and the kalahansa of ancient India. This last is the white swan of eternity, born in and from the Eternity or the Timeless: “The Nest of the eternal Bird, the flutter of whose wings produces life, is boundless space . . .” (SD 2:293).

Birs-Nimrud Modern name of an ancient Babylonian ziggurat or temple-tower of ancient Borsippa. Even today it is the most conspicuous and striking ruin in Iraq, situated on the top of a hill over a hundred feet high. A pyramidal, stepped structure called “the house of the seven divisions of heaven and earth,” it was dedicated to Nebo, the ancient Chaldean god of wisdom. Each of the seven divisions or stages was dedicated to one of the seven planets and was faced with bricks of the color appropriate to the planet.


Black Fire Qabbalistic term signifying absolute light-wisdom: “ ‘black’ because it is incomprehensible to our finite intellects” (TG 58).

Black Age. See KALI YUGA

Black Magic. See MAGIC

Black Magicians. See MAGIC

Blood The vital fluid circulating through the heart, arteries, and veins, supplying nutritive materials to all parts of the body, and receiving elements of waste for later discharge from the system. Occultism enlarges upon the truism that the blood is the life, by relating it to the spiritual and psychic life-forces circulating in the solar system. Blavatsky says

“that (a) the Sun is the store-house of Vital Force, which is the Noumenon of Electricity; and (b) that it is from its mysterious, never-to-be-fathomed depths, that issue those life currents which thrill through Space, as through the organisms of every living thing on Earth. . . .
“Thus, there is a regular circulation of the vital fluid throughout our system, of which the Sun is the heart — the same as the circulation of the blood in the human body — during the manvantaric solar period, or life; . . . Could the human heart be made luminous, and the living and throbbing organ be made visible . . . then every one would see the Sun-spot phenomenon repeated every second — due to its contraction and the rushing of the blood” (SD 1:531, 541-2).

The analogy is seen in these streams of solar living fire stepped down into vital electricity on earth, and also in the psychic and astral-physical currents of lunar life which influence generation and all terrestrial growth. In chemical composition, the plasma or fluid part of the blood is said to be identical with that of primordial sea water, ocean water having since become more concentrated.

The blood is actively protean in representing on this plane the streams of higher vitality manifesting in body, soul, and spirit. Thus, its pranic oxygen is the agent of the solar fire; its white and red corpuscles represent the psychic life-force and the red kamic energies, all acting together in their material forms. The leucocytes or white corpuscles are formed in the lymphatic glands, in the spleen, and in bone marrow. They correspond in a sense to the lunar chhayas or builders of the ethereal forms of the second and early third root-races which “needed no warm blood, no atmosphere, no feeding” (SD 1:609). These spherical ameboid cells have both the primordial, changeable pudding-bag form and the autogenerative type of propagation. Their relation to the formation of the red cells typifies that of the early astral forms which, gradually becoming physicalized, evolved into the red-blooded, bisexual, manas-endowed beings of the later third root-race. The red cells, without autogenerative nuclei, are born in special leucocyte cells of red bone marrow, where they are produced at the rate the effete red cells are destroyed.

In human beings the pranic life-currents become impregnated with the manasic quality conferred by the agnishvattas. The lower elements of kama-prana are used in the blood offerings and sacrifices of voodoo rites and other forms of black magic:

“Blood begets phantoms. . . . Paracelsus writes that with the fumes of blood one is enabled to call forth any spirit we desire to see; for with its emanations it will build itself an appearance, a visible body — only this is sorcery” (IU 2:567).

The old Greeks said that a divine fluid or ichor ran in the veins of the gods. It is also our physical destiny in the far distant future to evolve into bodies without blood as we understand it, in which nobler currents of conscious life will circulate.

Blood Rites Ceremonies, covenants, and observances in which blood is used as part of the rites or performances. “The arcane doctrine teaches that the ‘blood’ rites are as old as the Third-Root race, being established in their final form by the Fourth Parent race in commemoration of the separation of androgynous mankind, their forefathers, into males and females” (BCW 8:251). Whatever sacred meaning may have entered into this primary memorial of the ethereal forms and forces of androgynous humanity becoming separate, physicalized, warm-blooded bodies, has been forgotten, misunderstood, or perverted in the exoteric rites which have come down to us.

In the ancient Mysteries and in esoteric teachings of the great religions, references to partaking of flesh and blood are purely symbolic figures of speech, the mystical idea being that of partaking of wisdom and gaining understanding through union with the divinity whose name was used, such union being achieved during initiation, the communicant thereby acquiring spiritual strength and nobler life in common with the initiator.

The antithesis of these lofty ideas underlies the widespread prevalence of blood rites. In fact, the many blood ceremonials which mark and mar the records of so many peoples are often gross, cruel, and perverted, violating the sacredness of life by offering animal and human sacrifices. Several groups regard blood as one of the essential elements used in their numerous forms of initiations, oblations, invocations to ancestors and to spirits of various kinds. Their fixed belief that the demons or spirits invoked by these ceremonies are harmful if not propitiated, but will be gratified and nourished by the immaterial essence, savor, or fumes of the foods, alcohols, and blood offerings is not without some basis of fact; for the earth-bound kama-rupic entities and astral elementaries are attracted by, and do abstract the impalpable kama-pranic life-force from, the fumes and emanations of such offerings. These beliefs are consistent with much in the tribal customs and rites which attracts and revivifies evil entities in their own astral atmosphere. Customs like poison ordeals for so-called witches, and evil use of nature forces for injuring or destroying personal enemies, added to frequent evocations, make a vicious circle of cause and effect.

Blood Transfusion The introducing of blood from the vascular system of one animal or person into the blood vessels of another. Selecting a person for a donor whose blood matches that of the recipient takes no account of the subtle personal and karmic qualities, both active and latent, which are carried over from the donor’s lifestream. The protean influence of personalized blood, thus directly transmitted, is conveyed to the other person with greater potency than would result even from drinking it. No laboratory findings of supposedly healthy blood can ever reveal the latent seeds of karmic disease, or of mental or psychological disorder, which will manifest in due time unless destroyed, even when transplanted into a different vital culture-medium. Moreover, transfusion may result in an increased or abnormal activity of such germinating seeds which thus have been involved with the physical conditions and the life issues of another person. W. Q. Judge, speaking of the esoteric teaching on the influence of the body’s tissues on the soul, says:

“We say that the blood cells and the fluid they float in receive and transmit sensation.
“Each sub-division among the physical sheaths performs not only the duty of receiving and transmitting sensations, but also has the power of retaining a memory of them which is registered in the appropriate ganglions of the body, and continually, from there, implanted in the corresponding center of sensation and action in the astral body. At the same time the physical brain has always the power, as is of course a common fact, of collecting all the physical sensations and impressions” (Echoes of Orient 2:37).

The transfusion of blood is an unconscious reminiscence of Atlantean practices.

Bne’ Alhim, B’ne Aleim, Bnei (ha-)Elohim. See BENEI ’ELOHIM

Bnei-Shamash. See BENEI SHEMESH

Boar One of the avataras of Vishnu or Brahma as Prajapati; in Hindu symbology the boar “which plunges into the ‘waters’ of space and lifts up the earth upon his tusks, and so bears it for the remainder of the manvantara, signifies not only the fourth-plane physical vitality, but likewise the cosmical vitality which infills and sustains the earth, rooted as this vitality is in the spiritual life of the god of our solar system” (FSO 493). See also AVATARA

Boat of the Sun, Seker Boat, Hennu (Egyptian) Ḥennu. A frequent Egyptian representation is the boat in which the god Seker is seated. In its center is placed a large coffer, representing the covering of the dead body of the sun god Af or of Osiris. Oftentimes a hawk, a symbol of the sun, is represented hovering over it with outstretched wings, and the boat was said to be steered by the dead — a reference both to the spiritual power of those who have passed on to other planes and to the idea of cycles, in that the past or dead produces the present, which in its turn is both the parent and self of the future.

On the day of the festival of Seker, the coffer was lifted off at the moment of sunrise by the High Priest of Memphis, and carried in a procession circling the temple of the deity. This represented the common rotational or revolving movements of all celestial bodies, whether of the sun or planets.

Boaz (Hebrew) Bo‘az [from in + ‘oz might, strength, majesty] Strength, majesty; the name of an individual in the Old Testament, as well as of the left-hand pillar which was erected by the widow’s son, Hiram, before the temple of Solomon (1 Kings 7:21). From the standpoint of the Qabbalah, Boaz stands for the third Sephirah, Binah (intelligence or mind). The right-hand pillar was named Jachin (firmness, stability). The two pillars were commonly represented as white and black (or dark green) respectively, and correspond to the higher and lower ego or the dual manas.

Boddhisatwa. See BODHISATTVA

Bodha (Sanskrit) Bodha [from the verbal root budh to acquire understanding, awaken, know] Wisdom, knowledge, perception, consciousness. As an adjective, knowing, understanding, awakening; as a proper noun, knowledge personified as a son of Buddhi.

Bodhi (Sanskrit) Bodhi [from the verbal root budh to acquire understanding, awaken] Perfect wisdom or enlightenment; true divine wisdom. A state of consciousness in which one has so emptied the mind that it is filled only with the selfless selfhood of the eternal. In this state one realizes the ineffable visions of reality and of pure truth. Bodhi is a name for the enlightened intellect of buddha. “ ‘Bodhi’ is likewise the name of a particular state of trance condition, called Samadhi, during which the subject reaches the culmination of spiritual knowledge” (SD 1:xix). The bodhi state is called a buddha, and the organ in and by which it is manifested is termed buddhi.

Bodhi is also a name for the mystical tree under which legend says Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment, known as the sacred fig tree of India. See also Asvattha

Bodhidharma (Sanskrit) Bodhidharma [from bodhi wisdom + dharma law, spiritual ethics] Wisdom-religion, the wisdom involved in the teachings concerning reality.

Also a great arhat Kshatriya (460?-534) who traveled to China, and was instrumental in disseminating Buddhist teachings there. His guru, Panyatara, is said to have given him the name Bodhidharma to mark his understanding (bodhi) of the Law (dharma) of the Buddha.

Bodhi-druma. See BODHI TREE

Bodhisattva (Sanskrit) Bodhisattva [from bodhi wisdom + sattva essence] He whose essence has become intelligence; exoterically, one who in one or a few more incarnations will become a buddha. Occultly, when

“a human being, has reached the state where his ego becomes conscious, fully so, of its inner divinity, becomes clothed with the buddhic ray; where, so to say, the personal man has put on the garments of inner immortality in actuality, on this earth, here and now — that man is a Bodhisattva. His higher principles have nearly reached Nirvana. When they do so finally, such a man is a Buddha, a human Buddha, a Manushya-Buddha. Obviously, if such a Bodhisattva were to reincarnate, in the next incarnation or in a very few future incarnations thereafter, he would be a Manushya-Buddha. A Buddha, in the esoteric teaching, is one whose higher principles can learn nothing more. They have reached Nirvana and remain there; but the spiritually awakened personal man, the Bodhisattva, the person made semi-divine to use popular language, instead of choosing his reward in the Nirvana of a less degree, remains on earth out of pity and compassion for inferior beings, and becomes what is called a Nirmanakaya . . . a Bodhisattva is the representative on earth of a Dhyani-Buddha or Celestial Buddha — in other words one who has become an incarnation or expression of his own Divine Monad” (OG 19).

The dhyani-buddhas who each watch over one of the rounds and the great root-races on the different globes of our planetary chain, are said to send their bodhisattvas, their spiritual or human correspondents, during every round and race.

“These Dhyani Buddhas emanate, or create from themselves, by virtue of Dhyana, celestial Selves — the super-human Bodhisattvas. These incarnating at the beginning of every human cycle on earth as mortal men, become occasionally, owing to their personal merit, Bodhisattvas among the Sons of Humanity, after which they may re-appear as Manushi (human) Buddhas” (SD 1:571).
“The exoteric teaching which says that every Dhyani-Buddha has the faculty of creating from himself, an equally celestial son — a Dhyani-Bodhisattva — who, after the decease of the Manushi (human) Buddha, has to carry out the work of the latter, rests on the fact that owing to the highest initiation performed by one overshadowed by the ‘Spirit of Buddha’ . . . a candidate becomes virtually a Bodhisattva, created such by the High Initiator” (SD 1:109).

Bodhisatwa. See BODHISATTVA

Bodhi Tree or Bo Tree The tree of wisdom or knowledge; the tree (Pippala or Ficus religiosa) “under which Sakyamuni meditated for seven years and then reached Buddhaship. It was originally 400 feet high, it is claimed; but when Hiouen-Tsang saw it, about the year 640 of our era, it was only 50 feet high. Its cuttings have been carried all over the Buddhist world and are planted in front of almost every Vihara or temple of fame in China, Siam, Ceylon, and Tibet” (TG 59).

This legend of the enormous height attained by the fig tree under which the Buddha obtained enlightenment, illustrates how soon the spiritual vision of the real meaning of the bodhi tree became involved in mythologic wonder.

While the historical legend of the Buddha obtaining omniscience under the bodhi tree may be correct historically, it is also a usage of the mystical language of the Mysteries — Gautama attaining supreme wisdom and knowledge under the “wisdom tree” is but another way of saying that through initiation into the highest grades of the Mysteries, he reached the stage of buddhahood because he was already a buddha through inner evolution. Again, in India adepts of both the right- and left-hand were often referred to as trees, the path indicated by whether the tree named was beneficent or maleficent. See also ASVATTHA

Bodhyanga (Sanskrit) Bodhyaṅga [from bodhi wisdom + aṅga limb, portion, division] Limb or division of essential wisdom; often used collectively to signify the branches of esoteric knowledge or understanding, usually enumerated as seven: 1) smriti (memory); 2) dharma-pravichaya (investigation — hence correct understanding or discrimination of the Law); 3) virya (energy); 4) priti (spiritual joy); 5) prasrabdhi (confidence, tranquillity); 6) samadhi (absorption of the consciousness in a high spiritual and intellectual objective); and 7) upeksha (absolute indifference). Esoterically these correspond to seven states of consciousness (TG 59).

Bod-lhas (Tibetan) [from bod (bö) Tibet + lha spirit, divine being (cf Sanskrit deva)] A name of the civil capital of Tibet, Lhasa [Tib lha-sa place of the gods].

Bod-pa (Tibetan) [from bod (bö) Tibet + pa a person connected with] An inhabitant of Tibet.


Boehme, Jacob or Bohme, Jakob (1575-1624). Great German mystic philosopher, one of those individuals who, showing unusual spiritual insight due to excellent past karma, are especially watched over by the Great Lodge in preparation for future work. A shepherd as a boy, he became a shoemaker after learning to read and write.

“He was a natural clairvoyant of most wonderful powers. With no education or acquaintance with science he wrote works which are now proved to be full of scientific truths; but then, as he says himself, what he wrote upon, he ‘saw it as in a great Deep in the Eternal.’ He had ‘a thorough view of the universe, as in a chaos,’ which yet ‘opened itself in him, from time to time, as in a young plant.’ He was a thorough born Mystic, and evidently of a constitution which is most rare; one of those fine natures whose material envelope impedes in no way the direct, even if only occasional, intercommunion between the intellectual and the spiritual Ego. It is this Ego which Jacob Boehme, like so many other untrained mystics, mistook for God; ‘Man must acknowledge,’ he writes, ‘that his knowledge is not his own, but from God, who manifests the Ideas of Wisdom to the Soul of Man, in what measure he pleases.’ Had this great Theosophist mastered Eastern Occultism he might have expressed it otherwise. He would have known then that the ‘god’ who spoke through his poor uncultured and untrained brain, was his own divine Ego, the omniscient Deity within himself, and that what that Deity gave out was not in ‘what measure he pleased,’ but in the measure of the capacities of the mortal and temporary dwelling IT informed” (TG 60).

Boker, Boqer. See SANDHI; DAWN

Bon, Bön (Tibetan) [possible variation of bod Tibet, or an ancient word meaning invoker] Also pon and bhon. The Tibetan religion before the introduction of Buddhism in the latter half of the 8th century. The priest and adherents of Bon are called Bonpos (bon po), the ancient invokers for the pre-Buddhist and non-Buddhist kings and nobles of Tibet. The Bon religion, which survives today, seems based on at least four sources: 1) the ancient folk religions of the Tibetan people; 2) the tradition of the ancient “invokers”; 3) a conscious competition with Buddhism in terms of doctrine, texts, institutions, pantheon, and ritual; and 4) a number of non-Tibetan influences, including Hindu, Iranian, Central Asian, and other elements. Bon has been influenced by Buddhism to the extent that it has its own Kanjur and Tanjur, its own monks and monasteries, and its own “Buddha,” Shen-rab (gshen rab). All existing Bon literature was produced after the introduction of Buddhism, and shows the influence of and competition with Buddhism. Bon has also influenced Tibetan Buddhism, especially the Nyingmapa and Kargyupa sects.

Bona Dea A Roman divinity called Fauna, Fatua, and Oma: the sister, wife, or daughter of Faunus. Reverenced as chaste and prophetic, revealing her oracles to women only (as Faunus did to men), her festival being on the first of May and no male person being allowed to be present. A goddess of agriculture and shepherds, she revealed certain truths of nature to those approaching her in a harmonious, synchronizing state of mind. In general Bona Dea is the goddess of fecundity and productivity, the generative spirit of motherhood. Because she was considered to be the great producer holding the seeds of all things in her mighty womb, she was frequently identified with Ops, the goddess of plenty, fertility, and riches. The ideas regarding her are intimately related with Saturnus or Saturn.

Boneless Race. See ROOT-RACE, SECOND

Bones The hard tissues that constitute the framework or skeleton of the physical body. They have an organic matrix for the inorganic mineral salts, which go through cycles of dissolution, changed location, crystallization, and reconstruction. Mineral molecules dissolving in their matrix and re-forming themselves anew occurs at that zero-point of transition between the living mineral matter and that of the live animal tissue. This transformation of the mineral atom through crystallization is “the same function, and bears the same relation to its inorganic (so-called) upadhi (or basis) as the formation of cells to their organic nuclei, through plant, insect and animal into man” (SD 2:255). The bones also furnish blood cells and mineral content to the blood stream. In the embryonic resume of racial imbodiments, the process of ossification appears after the progressive stages of its protoplasmic, gelatinous, and cartilaginous frames, analogous to those forms through which nascent humanity passed in the first two and one-half root-races. With the deposit of bones in the fetal framework, and its functional relation to the blood, and with the development of the placenta and of the organs in the mesoderm, the conditions review the gradual physicalization of the gelatinous androgynes of the early third root-race into the bisexual humanity with organized functions like the present mammalian type.

The functions, physiological and other, that the bones play in the human body are really far more than acting as the skeletal framework. There are vital, psychomagnetic, and even electromagnetic currents passing in life through the entire bone structure of the body, and hence a constant interchange, not only by osmosis but also by action and reaction, between the bony structure of the body and the soft compact of flesh, nerves, veins, etc.

Bon-po. See BON

Boodhasp (Chaldean) “An alleged Chaldean; but in esoteric teaching a Buddhist (a Bodhisattva), from the East, who was the founder of the esoteric school of Neo-Sabeism, and whose secret rite of baptism passed bodily into the Christian rite of the same name. For almost three centuries before our era, Buddhist monks overran the whole country of Syria, made their way into the Mesopotamian valley and visited even Ireland” (TG 61).

Book of Changes. See I CHING

Book of Concealed Mystery. See SIPHRA DI-TSENI‘UTHA’

Book of Dzyan [probably from Sanskrit dhyana intense spiritual meditation, wisdom, divine knowledge] An archaic work of enormous antiquity upon which Blavatsky based her Secret Doctrine. Dzyan has been variously spelled or transliterated, and under this form is a derivative of the Tibetan. Dzyan, dzen, or ch’an is the general term for the esoteric schools and their literature.

Blavatsky describes the Book of Dzyan, saying: “An Archaic Manuscript — a collection of palm leaves made impermeable to water, fire, and air, by some specific unknown process — is before the writer’s eye. On the first page is an immaculate white disk within a dull black ground. On the following page, the same disk, but with a central point” (SD 1:1).

“The ‘very old Book’ is the original work from which the many volumes of Kiu-ti were complied. Not only this latter and the Siphrah Dzeniouta but even the Sepher Jezirah, the work attributed by the Hebrew Kabbalists to their Patriarch Abraham (!), the book of Shu-king, China’s primitive Bible, the sacred volumes of the Egyptian Thoth-Hermes, the Puranas in India, and the Chaldean Book of Numbers and the Pentateuch itself, are all derived from that one small parent volume. Tradition says, that it was taken down in Senzar, the secret sacerdotal tongue, from the words of the Divine Beings, who dictated it to the sons of Light, in Central Asia, at the very beginning of the 5th (our) race; for there was a time when its language (the Sen-zar) was known to the Initiates of every nation, when the forefathers of the Toltec understood it as easily as the inhabitants of the lost Atlantis, who inherited it, in their turn, from the sages of the 3rd Race, the Manushis, who learnt it direct from the Devas of the 2nd and 1st Races. . . . The old book, having described Cosmic Evolution and explained the origin of everything on earth, including physical man, after giving the true history of the races from the First down to the Fifth (our) race, goes no further” (SD 1:xliii).



Book of Numbers, Chaldean An ancient Chaldean work no longer popularly extant.

“A work which contains all that is found in the Zohar of Simeon Ben-Jochai, and much more. It must be the older by many centuries, and in one sense its original, as it contains all the fundamental principles taught in the Jewish Kabbalistic works, but none of their blinds. It is very rare indeed, there being perhaps only two or three copies extant, and these in private hands” (TG 75).
“It is one of the ‘Books of Hermes,’ and it is referred to and quotations are made from it in the works of a number of ancient and mediaeval philosophical authors. Among these authorities are Arnoldo di Villanova’s ‘Rosarium philosoph.’; Francesco Arnolphim’s ‘Lucensis opus de lapide,’ Hermes Trismegistus’ ‘Tractatus de transmutatione metallorum,’ ‘Tabula smaragdina,’ and above all in the treatise of Raymond Lulli, ‘Ab angelis opus divinum de quinta essentia’ ” (IU 1:254n).

Book of Splendour. See ZOHAR

Book of the Dead, Egyptian The name given to certain ancient papyri of the Egyptian, more correctly called Pert em hru (coming forth into day or light). They have been discovered in many of the tombs, interred with the mummies. Although by no means the only text of importance coming down from the ancient Egyptians, it is a work of extreme antiquity, containing the system expounded by the priests, and is far older than the two other extant works known as the Book of the Pylons and the Book of the Tuat. The work depicts in symbolic form the afterdeath state, as presented by the priests to the populace of Egypt. The soul is depicted in the guise of a pilgrim, journeying through various halls, at the portals of each of which he was obliged to give a correct answer — an account of the life he had lived upon earth. The pilgrim eventually reached the judgment hall, within which he was tried by the company of gods and goddesses. Before Osiris his heart was placed in a balance to testify for or against him. If he passed the test satisfactorily, he was permitted by Osiris to enter his domain and become as one of the deities.

In a mystical sense, the Book of the Dead is a veiled rendition of the passage of the defunct through the various tests and trials of kama-loka before entering devachan; and of the trials of initiation which were but copies, at least in its lower degrees, of the postmortem pilgrimage of the dead.

Book of the Dead, Tibetan. See BARDO

Books of Kiute. See KIU-CHE, BOOK OF

Bopadeva, Vopadeva (Sanskrit) Bopadeva Author of several Sanskrit works, according to some author or collator of the Bhagavata-Purana.

Bordj. See BORJ

Boreas (Greek) The north wind in Greek mythology, connected with the Hyperborean continent of the first root-race.

Borj or Borz (Persian), Bereznaiti (Avestan) [from the verbal root baresa to grow upright] The mystical mundane mountain holding relatively the same place in Persian theology and mythology that Mount Meru does in ancient Indian literature. In later mystic Persian literature Mount Ghaph (Kaf) takes the place of Borj or Alborz and becomes the abode of the Simorgh, the legendary bird of ancient knowledge and creative life-force. See also MOUNTAINS, MUNDANE

Borsippa. See BIRS-NIMRUD

Both-al (Irish) The oracular or magical stones of ancient Ireland; equivalent to the Greek betylos.

Bo-tree. See BODHI TREE

Boundless, The The infinitude of living space and unconditioned time, termed parabrahman, parabrahman-mulaprakriti, tat, or Aditi in Sanskrit; in the Chaldean Qabbalah, ’eyn soph; and with the Greeks, to apeyron. The non-existent, because nonmanifested, and therefore the concealed unity; sometimes called darkness in a mystic sense, no-number because not subject to computation, also the rootless root. Having no relation to the bounded and conditioned which are contained within it, it is the unknown and unknowable cosmic motion, absolute consciousness, and absolute motion, and therefore to our limited minds unconsciousness and immobility. Its symbol is the circle or zero, denoting the absence of everything that can be predicated as imbodying limitation.

All worlds and universes spring forth from it, run their various manvantaric periods, and sink back into it for their rest; so that what we call space is but one of its manifestations or appearances, and what we call unending duration is its aspect when we consider it under the light of eternity. It is everything because everything is included within it, and it is nothing because it is no-thing — thing implying limitation or condition. See also PARABRAHMAN; THAT

Boustrophedon (Greek) Ox-turning; a method of writing found in some old inscriptions, such as Solon’s Laws, which ran from left to right and then back from right to left, or vice versa, as in plowing.

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