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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Ka (Egyptian) Ka plural kau. Equivalent to the astral double, model-body, or linga-sarira. The ancient Egyptians held that when a human being was born, the ka was born with him and remained with him throughout his life. Even after death it remained in the tomb with the corpse; it was popularly believed that the offerings placed on graves were made to perpetuate the ka. Furthermore, the gods possessed them, each deity being said to have many kau; thus in one text the god Ra is said to possess seven bau (souls) and 14 kau. Even cities were held to possess kau in the heaven world.

Ka (Sanskrit) Ka [Interrogative pronoun who; forms include kas, kim, ] Who — occasionally personified as a deity; “it has its esoteric significance and is a name of Brahma in his phallic character as generator or Prajapati” (TG 167). “Who” can also refer to the incomprehensible or ineffable, an expression of the speaker’s mental refusal to give a name to that which is unnamable and inexpressible, and is therefore equivalent to parabrahman.

Kaaba, Ka’ba, Kaabeh (Arabic) The edifice at Mecca sacred to Moslems. The celebrated black stone, the principal object of veneration, is placed in the black corner — the southeast corner (Safa). It is said to have come directly from heaven, originally being as white as snow, but subsequently becoming black because of the sins of mankind. The white stone, the reputed tomb of Ismael, is in the north side and the place of Abraham is to the east.

Kabala(h), Kabbala. See QABBALAH

Kabiri, Kabeiri, Kabeiroi, Kabarim, Kabirim, Kabiria (Greek) Cabiri (Latin) Plural name of certain very mysterious divinities, revered in nearly all the countries of the Near East. They were worshiped as divinities in Samothrace and on Lemnos (the island sacred to Vulcan) and were popularly represented as cosmic dwarves, the sons of Vulcan (Hephaestos), and masters of the art of working metals. Kabiri was a generic title: as the mighty they were of both sexes, gods and mortals, terrestrial, celestial, and kosmic. Blavatsky describes the kabiri as the seven divine titans identical with the seven rishis saved from the flood by Vaivasvata-Manu (SD 2:142). The “mighty men of renown” (gibborim) who date from the days of the earliest Atlantean subraces while yet Lemuria had not wholly disappeared — became in the fifth root-race the teachers whom the Egyptians and Phoenicians called kabiri, the Greeks titans, and the Hindus rakshasas and daityas.

In short, the kabeiroi, identical with the kumaras and rudras, classed with the dhyani-buddhas and with the ’elohim of Jewish theology, directing “the mind with which they endued men” to the arts and sciences that build civilization, and closely linked with solar and earthly fires, are no other than the kumara-agnishvatta-manasaputras of theosophy: kumaras in their unsoiled divinity; agnisvattas (those who have tasted the fire) or solar lhas; and manasaputras (sons of mind) who in pity took upon themselves the heavy cross of incarnation that they might help struggling humanity to come up higher. They are classed as three, four, or seven; the names of four being Axieros, Axiokersa, Axiokersos, and Kadmilos.

These very mysterious and powerful divinities of the archaic ages, whatever name may be given to them, are in the cosmic hierarchies the same as the dhyani-buddhas and the dhyanis of modern theosophy, equivalent to the archangels and angels of the Christian hierarchical scheme. Thus they are the children of cosmic spiritual fire, this fire in its turn being equivalent to the luminous and warming effulgence of action of the hierarchies of cosmic mind. They are the most occult divinities of the archaic wisdom-religion, and the worship of them under whatever name they were known was invariably marked by a high degree of spiritual and philosophic profundity and deep religious devotion.

Kadesh, Kadeshim, Kedeshuth. See QODESH

Kadim. See QEDEM

Kadmilos, Kadmos (Greek) One of the kabiri, ancestral god of the inhabitants of Samothrace; sometimes identified with Hermes. See also CADMUS

Kadmon (Hebrew) Qadmōn Eastern, first; when used with Adam, the compound means primeval cosmic man, the aggregate of the ten Sephiroth or the creative or Third Logos. See also ’ADAM QADMON

Kadosh [from Hebrew qodesh consecrated, holy] One of the degrees pertaining to Freemasonry, associated with the Knights Templars, instituted at Lyons, France, 1743. See also QODESH

Kadru, Kadra (Sanskrit) Kadrū, Kadrā Wife of Kasyapa and mother of Kapila; “there was a race of Nagas, said to be a thousand in number only, born or rather sprung from Kadra, Kasyapa’s wife, for the purpose of peopling Patala, which is undeniably America, . . .” (SD 2:132).

Kadush (Gnostic) [from Hebrew qādōsh holy, sacred] The holy one; one name of the sun in the Codex Nazaraeus.

Kadushu. See QODESH

Kaf, Kaph, Ghaf (Persian) Kāf, Kaph, Ghāf, Kaofa (Avestan) Kaofā, Kafor (Pahlavi) Mountain; in Persian tradition the sacred mythological mountain, comparable in many respects to the Hindu Mount Meru; regarded as the abode of the gods and the place whither heroes travel in order to reach the sacred land beyond these mountains. Hushenk, the hero, rode there on his twelve-legged horse, while Tahmurath went on his winged steed. It is the abode of Simorgh or Angha, the legendary bird of knowledge. In the “Aghre-Sorkh” (Red Intellect) of 12th century mystic philosopher Sohrevardi, Ghaf is referred to as the abode of intellect, surrounding the world with eleven peaks that only initiates can pass through. He says that the Night-Lightener Jewel (Gohar-e-Shab Afrooz) can be found in Mount Ghaf. This jewel receives its brilliance from the tree of Touba which is on Mount Ghaf.

Kah-dum-pas (Tibetan) bka’ gdams pa (Ka-dam-pa) The first “reformed” school of Tibetan Buddhism, founded by the Indian Buddhist teacher Dipamkara Srijnana or Atisa (982-1048), who came to Tibet in 1042. Tshong-kha-pa is viewed as a successor to Atisa, and the Gelukpa order is sometimes called the “New Kadampa.”

Kailasa (Sanskrit) Kailāsa A lofty mountain in the Himalayas; in mythology Siva’s paradise is placed upon Kailasa, north of Lake Manasasarovara. The god of wealth, Kuvera, also is said to have his palace there. Because of the occult history attached to Mount Kailasa, Hindu metaphysics not infrequently uses Kailasa for heaven or the abode of the gods.

Kailem. See KELIM

Kaimarath, Kaimurath. See KAYUMARS

Kain. See CAIN

Kakodaimon (Greek) [from kakos evil + daimon god, genius] Opposed to agathodaimon, the good genius. This Gnostic term denoted the nether pole of the dual serpent — in one sense Scorpio as contrasted with Virgo, lord of the lower kingdoms, tempter of man, but turned into an aid if he is withstood and overcome.

Kala (Sanskrit) Kāla [from the verbal root kal to calculate] Dark, dark-colored as black or dark blue; a name of Siva or Rudra, and of the planet Saturn.

Also time, a period of time, especially the period of the world (equivalent to yuga), hence the human period of time or life cycle and consequent death — often personified and represented with the attributes of Yama, regent of the dead. Philosophically, used for endless time in manifestation, infinite duration, in which occur the definite cyclical time periods.

Kala (Sanskrit) Kalā A small part of anything, especially a 16th part; also a cycle, variously given as 1/900 part of a day — 1.6 minutes; 1/1800 — 0.8 minutes; etc. Used for the seven substrata of the elements or dhatus of the human body (flesh, blood, fat, phlegm, urine, bile, semen) there being 3015 kalas or atoms in every one of the six dhatus.

Also any practical mechanical or fine art, 64 being enumerated.

Kalabhana. See KALANABHA

Kala Brahma (Gouri) Another name for the god Sabda Brahma, a mystic name for akasa or the astral light, the source of occult sounds and the power of mantras. Sabda Brahma’s “vehicle is called Shadja, and the latter is the basic tone in the Hindu musical scale. It is only after . . . passing through the study of preliminary sounds, that a Yogi begins to see Kala Brahma, i.e., perceives things in the Astral Light” (BCW 4:166; cf 4:164).

Kalagni (Sanskrit) Kālāgni [from kāla time + agni fire, flame] The flame of time, with reference to time’s ineluctable consuming or regeneration of manifested beings and things. A name of the god Hari, as the destroyer or regenerator of all things.

Kalahansa or Kalahamsa (Sanskrit) Kalahaṃsa The swan in eternity; in the pre-cosmogonical aspect, Kalahansa becomes Brahman or Brahma (neuter), darkness or the unknowable; and second, the swan in time and space when by analogy Kalahansa becomes Brahma (masculine). Rather than Brahma being the Hansa-vahana (the one using the swan as vehicle), it is Brahma who is Kalahansa, while Purusha, the emanation from Brahma, as one of its aspects as a creative power, is the Hansa-vahana or swan-carrier.

“The ‘Swan or goose’ (Hansa) is the symbol of that male or temporary deity, as he, the emanation of the primordial Ray, is made to serve as a Vahan or vehicle for that divine Ray, which otherwise could not manifest itself in the Universe, being, antiphrastically, itself an emanation of ‘Darkness’ — for our human intellect, at any rate” (SD 1:80).
“The ‘First Cause’ had no name in the beginnings. Later it was pictured in the fancy of the thinkers as an ever invisible, mysterious Bird that dropped an Egg into Chaos, which Egg becomes the Universe. Hence Brahm was called Kalahansa, ‘the swan in (Space and) Time.’ He became the ‘Swan of Eternity,’ who lays at the beginning of each mahamanvantara a ‘Golden Egg.’ It typifies the great Circle, or O, itself a symbol for the Universe and its spherical bodies” (SD 1:359).

Kalaka (Sanskrit) Kālakā One of the daughters of the Danava Vaisvanara. Kalaka and her sister Puloma were mothers of thirty millions of Danavas by Kasyapa. They are said to have lived in Hiranyapura (the golden city) which floats in the air: in one sense the sun, and in another sense the etheric regions of space interior to the physical universe. Their children were called Kalakanjas and Paulomas.

Kalanabha (Sanskrit) Kālanābha [from kāla black + nābha navel] One name of the asura Taraka.

Kalapa (Sanskrit) Kalāpa A place mentioned in the Vayu-Purana, said to be on the northern side of the Himalayas, hence in Tibet. The Matsya-Purana has it that from Kalapa (spelled Katapa) in due course will issue forth the Kalki-avatara.

Kalapani (Sanskrit) Kālapāni [from kāla black + pāna water] Also kālapāna or kālapānīya. Black water; a name given to the ocean.

Kalavingka. See KALAVINKA

Kalavinka (Sanskrit) Kalaviṅka An allegorical, sweet-voice bird of immortality, representing one of the noblest elements in the human constitution, the higher ego. Its voice is heard at a certain stage of dhyana in genuine yoga practice which is entirely spiritual-intellectual combined with rigid psychic control, and has naught to do with hatha yoga.

Kalavinka is said to have awakened King Bimbasara and thus saved him from the bite of a cobra — a legend signifying a sage saving himself from the assault of the lower serpent.

Kali (Sanskrit) Kālī The black; name of the seventh tongue of Agni, the fire god, which was a black fiery flame. Blackness and darkness have always been associated with the pre-cosmic night in its mystical sense, the pralaya preceding the awakening manifestations of life in the present universe. Hence kali represents pre-cosmic wisdom. By that strange inversion of fact which nature manifests nearly everywhere, the highest is reflected in the lowest as in a mirror, so that in this sense the black fiery flame is the condensed fiery magnetic vitality of the lowest material worlds; therefore in this sense kali often stands for wickedness and evil.

Later, Kali or Kali-devi became a title of the wife of Siva, Parvati, because of her fierce and destructive nature.

Kaliadovki (Russian) Christmas mystery-plays enacted in Russia, Poland, and Galicia (BCW 2:165). “It is but a few years since, during every Christmas week, Punch-and-Judy-boxes, containing the above named personages [Joseph, Mary, and the angel], an additional display of the infant Jesus in his manager, were carried about the country in Poland and Southern Russia” (IU 2:119).

Kalidasa (Sanskrit) Kālidāsa The greatest poet and dramatist of historic India, one of the “nine gems” that adorned the court of King Vikramaditya at Ujjayini. He is the true or reputed author (although the name Kalidasa has been given in Indian literature to several poets) of Sakuntala, Meghaduta, Malavikavnimitra, Vikramorvasi, etc. Whether all the works attributed to this Kalidasa are really to be ascribed to him or not, the fact remains that they are among the finest specimens of Indian poetry.

Kalikaraka (Sanskrit) Kalikāraka Strife-maker; a name of Narada, the divine rishi. In the Puranas, Narada is the first Adversary in individual human form, “the opposing Power required by the equilibrium and harmony of things in Nature — like Shadow to throw off still brighter the Light, like Night to bring into greater relief the Day, and like cold to make one appreciate the more the comfort of heat . . .” (SD 1:411).

Kaliya, Kaliya-naga (Sanskrit) Kāliya, Kāliya-nāga A serpent-king with five heads whose mouths vomited fire and smoke which devastated the country around, said to have lived in a deep pool of the Yamuna River. The Puranas relate that Krishna, one of the avataras of Vishnu, in his childhood overcame this serpent, then let him retreat into the ocean with his wives and offspring. This mythical monster symbolizes human passions, the river or water being a symbol of matter.

Kali Yuga (Sanskrit) Kali Yuga Iron age or black age; the fourth and last of the four great yugas constituting a mahayuga (great age), the other three being the krita or satya yuga, treta yuga, and dvapara yuga. The kali yuga is the most material phase of a being’s or group’s evolutionary cycle. The fifth root-race is at present in its kali yuga, which is stated to have commenced at the moment of Krishna’s death, usually given as 3102 BC. The Hindus also assert that at the first moment of kali yuga there was a conjunction of all the planets. Although the kali yuga is our present profoundly materialistic age, in which only one fourth of truth prevails among humanity, making a period often called an age black with horrors, its swift momentum permits one to do more with his energies, good or bad, in a shorter time than in any other yuga. This period will be followed by the krita yuga of the next root-race.

The Vishnu-Purana says of the kali yuga that the barbarians will be masters of the banks of the Indus, of Chandrabhaga and Kasmira, that “there will be contemporary monarchs, reigning over the earth — kings of churlish spirit, violent temper, and ever addicted to falsehood and wickedness. They will inflict death on women, children, and cows; they will seize upon the property of their subjects, and be intent upon the wives of others; they will be of unlimited power, their lives will be short, their desires insatiable. . . . People of various countries intermingling with them, will follow their example; and the barbarians being powerful (in India) in the patronage of the princes, while purer tribes are neglected, the people will perish (or, as the Commentator has it, ‘The Mlechchhas will be in the centre and the Aryas in the end.’) Wealth and piety will decrease until the world will be wholly depraved. Property alone will confer rank; wealth will be the only source of devotion; passion will be the sole bond of union between the sexes; falsehood will be the only means of success in litigations; and women will be objects merely of sensual gratification. . . . a man if rich will be reputed pure; dishonesty (anyaya) will be the universal means of subsistence, weakness the cause of dependence, menace and presumption will be substituted for learning; liberality will be devotion; mutual assent, marriage; fine clothes, dignity. He who is the strongest will reign; the people, unable to bear the heavy burthen, Khara bhara (the load of taxes) will take refuge among the valleys. . . . Thus, in the Kali age will decay constantly proceed, until the human race approaches its annihilation (pralaya). . . . When the close of the Kali age shall be nigh, a portion of that divine being which exists, of its own spiritual nature . . . shall descend on Earth . . . (Kalki Avatar) endowed with the eight superhuman faculties. . . . He will re-establish righteousness on earth, and the minds of those who live at the end of Kali Yuga shall be awakened and become as pellucid as crystal. The men who are thus changed . . . shall be the seeds of human beings, and shall give birth to a race who shall follow the laws of the Krita age, the age of purity. As it is said, ‘When the sun and moon and the lunar asterism Tishya and the planet Jupiter are in one mansion, the Krita (or Satya) age shall return’ ” (SD 1:377-8). See also YUGA.

Kalki Avatara (Sanskrit) Kalkī (or Kalki) Avatāra [from kalkin white horse + avatāra divine descent] The white-horse avatara, the 10th and last descent of Vishnu, in the form of a white horse at the end of kali yuga. “When the close of the Kali-age shall be nigh, a portion of that divine being which exists, of its own spiritual nature . . . shall descend on Earth . . . endowed with the eight superhuman faculties. . . . He will re-establish righteousness on earth, and the minds of those who live at the end of Kali-Yuga shall be awakened and become as pellucid as crystal. The men who are thus changed . . . shall be the seeds of human beings, and shall give birth to a race who shall follow the laws of the Krita-age, the age of purity” (VP 4:24).

Equivalent to Maitreya-Buddha of Northern Buddhism, Sosiosh of the Zoroastrians, and the Faithful and True on the white horse of Revelations.

Kalmucks, Kalmuiks, or Calmucks A people of Mongolian race settled principally in Russia and China, but found in other parts of Central Asia. In China they are known as Olüts or Elocts: their language is akin to Mongolian, and they use the same alphabet. Their religious beliefs are similar in character to those of Lamaism.

Kalpa (Sanskrit) Kalpa [from the verbal root klṛp to be in order] A generalizing term for a period or cycle of time.

Kama (Sanskrit) Kāma [from the verbal root kam to desire] Desire; the fourth substance-principle of which the human constitution is composed: its desire principle or the driving, impelling force. Born from the interaction of atman, buddhi, and manas, kama per se is a colorless force, good or bad according to the way the mind and soul use it. It is the seat of the living electric impulses, desires, aspirations, considered in their energic aspect. When a person follows his lower impulses and centers his consciousness in the body and astral nature, he is directing that force downwards. When he aspires and opens his heart and mind to the influence of his higher manas and buddhi, he is directing that force upwards and thus progressing in evolution.

“This fourth principle is the balance principle of the whole seven. It stands in the middle, and from it the ways go up or down. It is the basis of action and the mover of the will. As the old Hermetists say: ‘Behind will stands desire.’ For whether we wish to do well or ill we have to first arouse within us the desire for either course. . . . On the material and scientific side of occultism, the use of the inner hidden powers of our nature, if this principle of desire be not strong the master power of imagination cannot do its work, because though it makes a mould or matrix the will cannot act unless it is moved, directed, and kept up to pitch by desire. . . .
“This fourth principle is like the sign Libra in the path of the Sun through the Zodiac; when the Sun (who is the real man) reaches that sign he trembles in the balance. Should he go back the worlds would be destroyed; he goes onward, and the whole human race is lifted up to perfection” (Ocean 45-7).

Cosmic kama or desire, equivalent to the Greek eros, is the source of fohat, the driving intelligent energies of the universe. It is impersonal compassion and sympathy.

Kamadeva (Sanskrit) Kāmadeva [from kāma desire + deva god, divinity] The Hindu god of love, one of the Visve-devas in the Hindu pantheon. As the Eros of Hesiod was connected in early Greek mythology with the world’s creation, and only afterwards became degraded into the passional Cupid, so was Kama in his original meaning as used in the Vedas, which gives the metaphysical and philosophical significance of his functions in the cosmos. Kama is the first conscious, all-embracing desire for universal good, love, and the first feeling of infinite compassion and mercy for all that lives and feels, needs help and kindness, that arose in the consciousness of the creative One Force, as soon as it came into life and being as a ray from the Absolute. Kama “is in the Rig-Veda (x. 129) the personification of that feeling which leads and propels to creation. He was the first movement that stirred the One, after its manifestation from the purely abstract principle, to create. ‘Desire first arose in It, which was the primal germ of mind; and which sages, searching with their intellect, have discovered to be the bond which connects Entity with Non-Entity’ ” (SD 2:176) — or manas with pure atma-buddhi. Only later did kama become the power that gratifies desire on the animal plane.

In the Puranas, Kama is the king and lord of the apsarases. He is pictured armed with a bow and arrows: the bow is often represented to be of sugar cane, the bowstring a line of bees, and each arrow is tipped with a distinct flower which is devoted to, and supposed to preside over, one of the senses. He is also often represented as a handsome youth riding on a parrot and attended by nymphs, one of whom bears his banner displaying the Makara, or a fish on a red background.

The attributes ascribed to Kamadeva in exoteric literature rarely depict the full sway of this cosmic force or entity in its multifarious ranges of activity. Kama is not only a cosmic principle or entity but also is inherent in every unit of the innumerable hosts of entities which compose the cosmos. Thus kama is the fourth principle in the human constitution; and, just as in its cosmic activities and relations, kama is both a superior and an inferior activity; indeed, it may be said to be divine in its higher aspects, just as it is physical in its lowest fields of action.

Kama-dhatu (Sanskrit) Kāmadhātu Desire world; first of the Buddhist trailokya (three regions), called kama (desire), rupa (form), and arupa (formless). In the theosophic scheme, kama-dhatu is composed of the seven manifested globes of the earth-chain on the four lowest cosmic planes. Rupa-dhatu (form or image world) is composed of the five superior globes on the higher three cosmic planes. Arupa-dhatu (formless or imageless world), composed of the three highest of the ten cosmic planes, is to us a purely subjective world, a state rather than a place. The dhatus correspond in meaning with the Hindu lokas.


Kamadhenu (Sanskrit) Kāmadhenu [from kāma desire, wish + dhenu milch cow] Also Kamaduha, Surabhi. The mythical cow belonging to the sage Vasishtha, produced by the gods at the churning of the cosmic ocean. She is supposed to grant all desires and hence is termed the cow of plenty. This allegory refers to the appearance of the earth in space as the mother of all that later is — at least so far as our globe is concerned — the earth being mythologically considered to be milked and thus producing food. Many archaic mythologies have such an emblem of generative fertility.

Kamaduh. See KAMADHENU

Kama-loka (Sanskrit) Kāma-loka [from kāma desire + loka world, sphere] Desire world; a semi-material plane, subjective and invisible to us, the astral region penetrating and surrounding the earth. It is the original of the Christian purgatory, where the soul undergoes purification from its evil deeds and the material side of its nature. It is equivalent to the Hades of the Greeks and the Amenti of the Egyptians, the land of Silent Shadows.

Kama-loka is the abode of the disimbodied astral forms called kama-rupas and of the still highly vitalized astral entities who quit physical existence as suicides and executed criminals who, thus violently hurled out of their bodies before the term of natural death, are as fully alive as ever they were on earth, lacking only the physical body and its linga-sarira. In addition the kama-loka contains elementaries and lost souls tending to avichi. All these entities remain in kama-loka until they fade out from it by the complete exhaustion of the effects of the mental and emotional impulses that created these eidolons of human and animal passions and desires. The second death takes place in kama-loka, after the upper duad frees itself of the lower, material human elements before entering devachan. “If, contrariwise, the entity in the kama-loka is so heavy with evil and is so strongly attracted to earth-spheres that the influence of the monad cannot withdraw the Reincarnating Ego from the Kama-rupa, then the latter with its befouled ‘soul’ sinks lower and lower and may even enter the Avichi. If the influence of the monad succeeds, as it usually does, in bringing about the ‘second death,’ then the kama-rupa becomes a mere phantom or kama-rupic spook, and begins instantly to decay and finally vanishes away, its component life-atoms pursuing each one the road whither its attractions draw it” (OG 76). The highest regions of kama-loka blend into the lowest regions of devachan, while the grossest and lowest regions of kama-loka bend into the highest regions of avichi.

Kama-manas (Sanskrit) Kāma-manas [from kāma desire + manas mind] The lower or intermediate duad, the human soul or personal ego. In our present state of evolution, human consciousness is almost wholly in this intermediate duad, one part of which consists of the upward-aspiring manas which in connection with its parent buddhi is called the reincarnating ego. The lower part of manas in conjunction with kama is attracted below to material things, and in human life is commonly called the personal ego. This personal ego is mortal, although the monad of which it is the expression lasts through the ages.

Kama-manas in the human constitution is conditionally immortal or mortal: if the kama-manas aspires successfully upwards and makes intellectual and emotional union with the buddhi over-enlightening it, the immortality for the manvantara is relatively certain. If, however, the kama-manas is insufficiently illuminated to withstand successfully the attractions of the lower astral and material realms of feeling and thought, it is attracted downwards and becomes enchained in these lower realms, and immortality in this case is lost, for the time being at least.

Kama-rupa (Sanskrit) Kāma-rūpa [from kāma desire + rūpa body, form] The desire body; the portion of the human inner constitution in which inhere the various mental and psychic energies. After death it becomes the vehicle in the kama-loka of the usually unconscious higher principles of the person that was.

“After death . . . there occurs what is called the ‘second death,’ which is the separation of the immortal part of the second or intermediate Duad from the lower portions of this Duad, which lower portions remain as the kama-rupa in the etheric or higher astral spheres which are intermediate between the devachanic and the earthly spheres. In time this kama-rupa gradually fades out in its turn, its life-atoms at such dissolution passing on to their various and unceasing peregrinations.
“It is this kama-rupa which legend and story in the various ancient world-religions or philosophies speak of as the ‘shade,’ and which it has been customary in the Occident to call the ‘spook,’ or ‘ghost.’ It is, in short, all the mortal elements of the human soul that was. The kama-rupa is an exact astral duplicate, in appearance and mannerism, of the man who died; it is his eidolon or ‘image’ ” (OG 76-7).
“Bereft as it is of its higher mind, spirit and physical senses, if left alone to its own senseless devices, it will gradually fade out and disintegrate. But, if forcibly drawn back into the terrestrial sphere whether by the passionate desires and appeals of the surviving friends or by regular necromantic practices — one of the most pernicious of which is mediumship — the ‘spook’ may prevail for a period greatly exceeding the span of the natural life of its body. Once the Kamarupa has learnt the way back to living human bodies, it becomes a vampire, feeding on the vitality of those who are so anxious for its company. In India these eidolons are called Pisachas, and are much dreaded . . .” (TG 172).

Kamic [from Sanskrit kāma desire] An anglicized form of kamika, meaning desirous, pertaining to desire.

Kamsa, Kansa (Sanskrit) Kaṃsa, Kaṃśa A tyrannical king of Mathura in ancient India, evil uncle of Krishna. When it was foretold that the eighth child of Devaki would kill him, he endeavored to destroy all of her children; so the parents fled with Krishna, their eighth child. Then Kansa ordered all male children of the land to be killed, but Krishna escaped — a legend paralleling the massacre of the infants by King Herod of Palestine in the New Testament. In the legends surrounding great religious figures, “everyone of them, whether at their birth or afterwards, is searched for, and threatened with death (yet never killed) by an opposing power (the world of Matter and Illusion), whether it be called a king Kamsa, king Herod, or king Mara (the Evil Power)” (BCW 14:141). Thus Kamsa in one aspect stands for the opposing power in initiation rites. Krishna, as it was predicted, finally killed his persecutor.(SD 2:48, 504n, 604n; BCW 8:378)

Kanada (Sanskrit) Kaṇāda The sage who founded the Vaiseshika or atomist school of Hindu philosophy. Like the Greek atomists Democritus and Epicurus, Kanada was no materialist for, just as they did, he believed in divinities or intelligent cosmic entities as the primal causes and governors in the universe. See also ATOMISTS.

Kandu (Sanskrit) Kaṇḍu In the Puranas, a sage and yogi whose holiness and pious austerities awakened the jealousy of the gods. Kamadeva, as lord of the gods, sent one of his apsarasas, Pramlocha, to tempt the sage. He lived with her for several centuries, which seemed to him only as one day. Finally the sage, returning to his senses, repudiated her and chased her away, whereupon she gave birth to a daughter, Marisha, in an extraordinary manner. Blavatsky compares this legend to the temptation of Merlin by Vivien, and Sarah’s temptation of Pharaoh in the Old Testament (SD 2:174-5&n).

Kandu represents the age of ethereal or astral humanity, of early nascent, physical first root-race, still mindless and senseless. He, as a race, gives birth to the second root-race, called the sweat-born, through Pramlocha.

Kangalin (Hindi) Kaṅgālīn. Witches; those who practice sorcery or necromancy, feared by the populace because of the results which can be achieved through their expert skill.

Kanishka (Sanskrit) Kaniṣka A celebrated ruler or king in Northern India who reigned around the first century. Next to Asoka, he was among the greatest patrons and supporters of Indian Buddhism, building some of the finest stupas or dagobas in Northern India and Kabulistan.

Kanishtha (Sanskrit) Kaniṣṭha The youngest; a class of gods which will manifest in the 14th or last manvantara of our world.

Kaniya. See KANYA

Kanjur (Tibetan) bka’ ’gyur (kang-gyur, kan-jur) [from bka’ sacred word + ’gyur translation] The portion of the Tibetan Buddhist canon containing the sutras, the texts ascribed to the Buddha himself and called the “Buddha Word” (Sanskrit buddha-vachana). The second part of the Tibetan Buddhist cannon, the Tanjur, contains sastras or commentaries and other scholastic works. The Kanjur consists almost entirely of works translated from Sanskrit or other Indian languages. Although the texts contained in the Kanjur are overwhelmingly of Indian origin, the compilation of the Kanjur was done in Tibet, and in structure it differs greatly from the old Indian Tripitakas. Four more or less complete recensions of the Buddhist canon survive: the Pali, the Chinese, the Tibetan, and the Mongolian, this last, however, being a translation of the Tibetan. The first three recensions differ from each other in content and arrangement. The overall arrangement of the Kanjur is in three sections, giving the Sanskrit names: Vinaya (monastic discipline), Sutra (discourses of the Buddha), and Tantra (esoteric and ritual texts). The Sutra section is divided into several subsections. Each section or subsection contains numerous individual texts.

The Tibetan Kanjur was originally collected in manuscript, perhaps in the early 14th century. Beginning in 1410, the Kanjur has been published in numerous editions printed from woodblocks. Over twenty manuscript and blockprint editions are known to have existed. The following five blockprint editions are the best known in the West, and can give an idea of the immense extent of the Kanjur: 1) The Peking editions of 1700-37 — about 1055 texts in 106 volumes; 2) The Narthang edition of 1730-32 — about 761 texts in 100 volumes; 3) The Derge editon of 1729-33 — about 1108 texts in 102 volumes; 4) the Cone (cho-ne) edition of 1721-31 — 1055 texts in 107 volumes; and 5) The Lhasa edition of 1934 — 808 texts in 99 volumes.

Kansa. See KAMSA

Kanya (Sanskrit) Kanyā Virgin; the sixth zodiacal sign, Virgo, which may represent mahamaya or sakti. The saktis or six primary forces in nature (parasakti, jnanasakti, ichchhasakti, kriyasakti, kundalinisakti, and mantrikasakti) together are represented by the astral light, called the heavenly or celestial Virgin by Kabalists and Hermetic philosophers.

Kaph. See KAF

Kapila, Kapila-rishi (Sanskrit) Kapila, Kapila-ṛṣi A great sage and adept of antiquity who flourished before the middle of the 6th century BC, considered to be the founder of the Sankhya philosophy. These archaic teachers, such as Zoroaster and Hermes, were several in number, it having been a habit in archaic times for the later heads of a school to use the name of the school’s founder as their own, the name thus becoming in some cases a title.

Kapila is also one of the three secret kumaras who are the progenitors of the true spiritual self in the physical human being. In many of the old writings Kapila is also symbolic of cosmic spirit, or of the individual spiritual self who represents the highest state reached on earth. Hence the Puranas and the Ramayana relate that Sagara’s 60,000 sons were reduced to ashes by a mere glance of Kapila’s eye. This allegory symbolizes the personifications of human emotions, both passional and mental, being completely reduced to inactivity by the spiritual wisdom and purity of the sage — here the personification of wisdom itself.

Kapila is also a primeval sage of the satya yuga who imparted true wisdom to all creatures. See also SANKYA.

Kapilaksha (Sanskrit) Kapilākṣa Kapila’s eye; an allegorical name for certain spiritual and intellectual powers evoking vibratory forces which neutralize and bend to their will all the lower human mentations and emotions. In the Puranas, Ramayana, and other Hindu works, the sage Kapila’s very glance made a mountain of ashes of King Sagara’s 60,000 sons, who were the personifications of the human mental and emotional attributes.

Kapilasthen, Kapilasthan [possibly Sanskrit Kapilasthāna] Kapila’s seat; the place where tradition says that Kapila sat in meditation for a number of years.

Kapilavastu (Sanskrit) Kapilavastu [from kapila yellow, golden + vastu substance] Golden substance; the birthplace of Gautama Buddha, the capital of his father, King Suddhodana. Mystically the birthplace of the inner buddha within each person, the home of our individual Father in heaven, and cosmically applying to our spiritual alliance in and with the sun — here called Kapilavastu. The whole legend of the Buddha’s life may be mystically interpreted through studying the symbolic meaning of the various names used there, because whatever actual historical fact may have been imbodied in these various names of his birth and later career, the names themselves were chosen likewise to portray his mystical birth. Thus his mother is called Mayadevi (goddess of illusion) or Mahamaya (great illusion), as every initiate, buddhas included, in a mystical sense is born from and out of cosmic illusion into the supernal truth of buddhahood.

Kapi-vaktra (Sanskrit) Kapi-vaktra Monkey-faced; a name of Narada, the divine rishi.

Kara (Sanskrit) Kara [from the verbal root kṛ to do; cf. Latin cerus a former] A maker, causer; hence a hand. Also the side of a polygon.

Karabtanos (Gnostic) In the Codex Nazaraeus, the spirit of blind or animal desire, son of Spiritus (Anima Mundi or the astral light), and generator, by the astral light as mother, of seven other spirits of his own kind: pure spirit fails at creation, so that it is only when Karabtanos “consents to help his mother, that the ‘Spiritus’ conceives and brings forth ‘Seven Figures,’ and again ‘Seven’ and once more ‘Seven’ (the Seven Virtues, Seven Sins and Seven Worlds” (BCW 6:192n). He is a symbol of matter; also of kama-rupas in the astral world, said to be without sense or judgment.

Karaim Jews “Jews of the Crimea — who call themselves the descendants of the true children of Israel, i.e., of the Sadducees — reject the Torah and the Pentateuch of the Synagogue, reject the Sabbath of the Jews (keeping Friday), will have neither the Books of the Prophets nor the Psalms — nothing but their own Books of Moses and that they call his one and real Law” (BCW 14:174).

Karana (Sanskrit) Kāraṇa Cause, metaphysically speaking, invariably associated with intelligence. There are various kinds of karanas, all closely similar in type and attributes, such as karana-sarira and karanopadhi.

Karana-sarira (Sanskrit) Kāraṇa-śarīra [from kāraṇa cause + śarīra body, bodily frame] Cause-body or causal body; the principle or causal element which brings about not only the reimbodiment of an entity, but also its evolution during a manvantara through an endless series of reimbodiments.

“The human Ego is neither Atman nor Buddhi, but the higher Manas: the intellectual fruition and the efflorescence of the intellectual self-conscious Egotism — in the higher spiritual sense. The ancient works refer to it as Karana Sarira on the plane of Sutratma, which is the golden thread on which, like beads, the various personalities of this higher Ego are strung” (SD 2:79).

It is the reproducing agent, principle, or instrument in the constitution of a being such as man, which brings about the repetitive reimbodiments that such being is impelled, and in one sense compelled, by karma to undergo. Such a reimbodiment can be of two types: if the causal instrument is on a high plane, such as buddhi-manas — the treasury of all ingathered seeds of being which will reproduce themselves in future existences as the higher parts of an individual — then in such case it is the buddhi-manas which is the karana-sarira; on the other hand, if the main causal instrument or principle bringing about such repetitive imbodiments is of a lower type, and reproduces existences for the reincarnating entity in lower vehicles, then we can say it is the kama-manas or lower manas which is the karana-sarira. Thus there are in the composite human constitution at least two such karanic or causal elements, one of a higher and one of a lower character. However, neither the karana-sarira nor the karanopadhi is, strictly speaking, the inner god of man which is the atman or fundamental self of our reimbodying monad, called the karanatman.

Karanatman (Sanskrit) Kāraṇātman [from kāraṇa cause + ātman self] The causal self; the divine source of one’s being, from which flow forth in a descending scale in continuously less ethereal grades and qualities the various elements which form the human compound constitution. It is the causal self because from it as the primordial fountain of consciousness and being flow forth all the elements, principles, qualities, characteristics — the svabhava — of any entity undergoing its long evolutionary peregrination in the realms of the manifested universe. It is equivalent to atman, called in Hindu literature Isvara (Lord). The various monads in the human constitution — divine, spiritual, human, animal, and astral-vital — are derivatives from this fundamental or supreme atman in the constitution, its children or offspring. These various monads by their reproductive action actually are the causal principles or instruments of the various and unending series of reimbodiments that any entity during the kosmic manvantara is under karmic necessity of undergoing; and it is, therefore, these various monads in their outer or vehicular aspect which are the respective karanopadhis or karana-sarira.

Karanda. See KALAVINKA

Karanopadhi (Sanskrit) Kāraṇopādhi [from kāraṇa cause + upādhi base, vehicle, disguise] Causal instrument, or instrumental cause in the long series of reimbodiments to which reimbodying entities are subject. An upadhi is certain natural properties or constitutional characteristics supposed to be the disguises, clothing, or masks in and through which the spiritual monad works, bringing about the repetitive manifestations upon the earth-chain of certain of its functions and powers, and intimately connected with the peregrinations of the monad through the various spheres of the solar kosmos. In one sense, therefore, karanopadhi is almost interchangeable with maya or the illusory disguises through which spiritual monadic entities work and manifest themselves.

The lower karanopadhi or cause bringing about reimbodiment is avidya (nescience). When a reimbodying entity through repeated reimbodiments in material spheres rises into self-conscious recognition of its own divine powers, it shakes off the disguises of maya and becomes a jivanmukta. As an entity grows more and more like its divine-spiritual counterpart, it is less subject to avidya. “It is, in a sense, the seeds of Kama-manas left in the fabric or being of the reincarnating entity, which act as the karana or reproducing cause, or instrumental cause, of such entity’s reincarnations on earth” (OG 78).

The higher karanopadhi, belonging to the spiritual-intellectual part of the human constitution, is the reproductive impulse in the spiritual monad which causes it to reemerge into a new series of imbodiments at the dawn of the solar manvantara. This karanopadhi is directly related to buddhi or buddhi-manas, the spiritual soul as a veil or vehicle of the monadic essence or spiritual monad. Its role is similar to that of prakriti with Purusha, or pradhana surrounding Brahman, or mulaprakriti with parabrahman. The karanopadhi is also the vehicle produced by the spiritual bija (seed).

Though there are seven human principles, there are but three distinct upadhis, in each of which the atman may work independently of the rest. These three upadhis can be separated by an adept without killing himself, but he cannot separate the seven principles from each other without destroying his constitution. According to the Taraka-Raja-Yoga, these three upadhis are karanopadhi, sukshmopadhi, and sthulopadhi. Karanopadhi corresponds to the anandamaya-kosa of the Vedantic classification and to the sushupti or deep dreamless sleeping state. The avatara doctrine is closely connected with these various human upadhis.

Karest (Egyptian) Karest. Mummy; Massey identifies it with Christ: “the author of the Christian name is the Mummy-Christ of Egypt, called the Karest, which was a type of the immortal spirit in man, the Christ within (as Paul has it), the divine offspring incarnated, the Logos, the Word of Truth, the Makheru of Egypt. It did not originate as a mere type! The preserved mummy was the dead body of any one that was Karest, or mummified, to be kept by the living; and, through constant repetition, this became a type of the resurrection from (not of!) the dead” (quoted BCW 188n). Blavatsky comments that this interpretation is too materialistic. (BCW 8: 197-200, 203)

Kargyutpas (Tibetan) bka’ rgyud pa (kar-gyu-pa) Succession; a sect of semi-reformed Buddhists founded by Marpa in the last half of the 11th century and continued under his successor Milarepa. The adherents of this sect, in common with many other semi-ascetic bodies, believe in a successive order of teachers.

Karkata or Karkataka (Sanskrit) Karkaṭa, Karkaṭaka A crab; the fourth zodiacal sign, Cancer. This sign represents the sacred Tetragram, and completes the first quaternary.

Karli A village about 45 miles southeast of Bombay, famous for its rock-cut cave-temple, the finest of its kind in India.

Karma (Sanskrit) Karma [from the verbal root kṛ to do, make, denoting action] Action, the causes and consequences of action; that which produces change. One of the primary postulates of every comprehensive system of philosophy, described as a universal law, unceasingly active throughout universal nature and rooted in cosmic harmony, in its operations existing from eternity, inevitable, inherent in the very nature of things. It is action, absolute harmony, the adjuster; it preserves equilibrium by compensating and adjusting all actions, excessive or defective. Hence it is called the law of retribution, implying neither reward nor punishment, based on nature’s own urge of harmonious equilibrium. As such it has been personalized as Nemesis and by many other names, a practice which lends itself to popular imagining of avenging deities, such as God or Gods, Furies, Fates, Destiny, etc. As there are no such things as inanimate beings in the universe, it is not surprising to hear of karmic agents and of scribes or lipika who record karma. Karma must necessarily be transmitted by living beings of one grade or another, because there is no other means possible, and universal nature is but a vast, virtually frontierless being whose entire structure, laws, and operations are the innumerable hierarchies of beings in all-various grades, which thus not only condition nature, but are in fact universal nature itself. By our acts we create living beings which act upon other people and ultimately react upon ourselves. These beings, then, are agents of karma on one plane; on higher planes other orders of beings are such agents.

“An Occultist or a philosopher will not speak of the goodness or cruelty of Providence; but, identifying it with Karma-Nemesis, he will teach that nevertheless it guards the good and watches over them in this, as in future lives; and that it punishes the evil-doer — aye, even to his seventh rebirth. So long, in short, as the effect of his having thrown into perturbation even the smallest atom in the Infinite World of harmony, has not been finally readjusted. For the only decree of Karma — an eternal and immutable decree — is absolute Harmony in the world of matter as it is in the world of Spirit. It is not, therefore, Karma that rewards or punishes, but it is we, who reward or punish ourselves according to whether we work with, through and along with nature, abiding by the laws on which that Harmony depends, or — break them.
“Nor would the ways of Karma be inscrutable were men to work in union and harmony, instead of disunion and strife. For our ignorance of those ways — which one portion of mankind calls the ways of Providence, dark and intricate; while another sees in them the action of blind Fatalism; and a third, simple chance, with neither gods nor devils to guide them — would surely disappear, if we would but attribute all these to their correct cause. With right knowledge, or at any rate with a confident conviction that our neighbours will no more work to hurt us than we would think of harming them, the two-thirds of the World’s evil would vanish into thin air. Were no man to hurt his brother, Karma-Nemesis would have neither cause to work for, nor weapons to act through. . . . We stand bewildered before the mystery of our own making, and the riddles of life that we will not solve, and then accuse the great Sphinx of devouring us. But verily there is not an accident in our lives, not a misshapen day, or a misfortune, that could not be traced back to our own doings in this or in another life” (SD 1:643-4).

The effect of karma on human beings is merely the natural reaction from their actions, which may be described as only half-actions, for they are not completed until the reaction has ensued. Since the consequences of acts do not necessarily ensue immediately, it follows that at any stage of our career we may experience the results of actions performed a long time in the past.

Karma does not obviate free will or imply fatalism or mechanistic determinism. It is not merely a mechanical or mechanistic chain of linked cause and effect, by which every act is predetermined by some previous act and by no other cause. Man is a divine spark expressing itself through a series of vehicles, forming by means of these vehicles a series of egos, each conscious and operative on its own plane. Through his contract with higher planes, he has the power of bringing new forces into operation, so he is not inexorably bound in a mechanistic sense by his karma. On the other hand, to speak of an absolutely free will is meaningless; the will becomes more and more emancipated from conditions as we penetrate deeper into the recesses of our nature; but it must always be actuated by motive of some kind, and hence, being conditioned by motive, it comes under the operation of the universal law of karma.

There are many types of karma, such as human, racial, national, family, individual, etc. A chain of causation, stretched out in time, will be intersected by any given present moment; so that in speaking of a person, we may say he sums up in himself both his past and his future, he is his own karma. Since the whole universe and all the beings which compose it are linked and blended together, it follows that no person can have exclusive interests and that the karma of all beings is linked and, in a profound sense, identical. Karma in its moral aspect is cosmic justice. It should not interfere in any way with helping others, nor does it render futile the exercise of compassion, for we incur as much responsibility by refraining from action as by acting. “Sow kindly acts and thou shalt reap their fruition. Inaction in a deed of mercy becomes an action in a deadly sin” (VS 31).

Karmabandha (Sanskrit) Karmabandha [from karma action, activity + bandha bond, fetter] The bonds of karma or action; the repeated existences of an entity brought about by the karmic bonds of continuation, born of thought, feeling, and action. A being which has no karmabandha has attained freedom from the enthralling chains and attractions of material existence; but such a jivanmukta nevertheless has karma belonging to and suitable to the plane on which it then is. Thus a jivanmukta can rise above karma relative to the lower realms of being; but as long as any entity, however high, endures as an individualized monadic center, it inevitably produces karma of some kind appropriate to its own high sphere of life and activity. For the meaning of karma is action or activity of any kind — spiritual, intellectual, psychological, astral, or physical. We human beings, living in the lower planes, produce karma corresponding to us and our environment; but the gods, because individualized and active beings in their own spheres, produce of necessity karma corresponding with their own lofty state.

Karmakanda (Sanskrit) Karmakāṇḍa That part of the Sruti or Vedic writings which relates to ceremonial acts and sacrificial rites; Blavatsky holds them to be unimportant spiritually (BCW 4:366). Also one of the scriptures of the Jains.

Karma-Nemesis [from Sanskrit karma action, cause and effect + Greek Nemesis goddess of harmony or retribution] The appointed karmic lot or destiny of any entity, latent in the entity’s germinal existence and unfolded progressively in the course of its growth or evolution. The universe as a whole fulfills, in the course of its cyclic evolution, all that is contained in the germ at the dawn of its manifestation; and the individual, who in essence is a spark of the divine life, follows the same inscrutable law of destiny, as do also the worlds and all the beings in and on them.

The destiny which lies in the germ is the destiny which belongs to the spiritual entity in its various attributes behind that germ, and these attributes as a whole — in other words the svabhava of the entity — are born of that entity’s portion of free will leading it off into strange bypaths during the ages-long course of its evolutionary growth. The incarnate person, having the power of choice, can wander temporarily far astray from the path of his divine destiny, lured by the attractions of the lower planes of manifestation. This stirring up of karmic results which actually becomes Karma-Nemesis, that which cannot be avoided and must be worked out, is the beneficent but inexorable adjuster and restorer of harmony.

Thus destiny is not fatalism, but emphatically supports the idea of intrinsically spiritual free will. The stirring up of these seeds of Karma-Nemesis are the consequences or results of the entity’s own will in act, feeling, and consequent result. Thus destiny is of two kinds: that which the evolving entity has stored up as character, propensities, biases, and svabhava in other lives; and that which the entity, using its modicum of free will, is now storing up for its future, but in accordance with its own exercise of will or choice. See also FREE WILL; KARMA; NEMESIS

Karmasannyasa Yoga (Sanskrit) Karmasannyāsa-yoga The attaining of at-one-ment with the highest by means of renunciation of action for personal benefit, treated in the fifth chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita. An ascetic who seeks nothing for self and rejects nothing for self, who is free from the influence of the pairs of opposites, is thereby released from the bonds forged by action or karma; but renunciation of action and devotion through action are both means of final emancipation, and of the two, devotion through action or karma yoga is superior to renunciation. Thus it is better for the personal man to act, and if necessary to act strongly, for spiritual things and causes, than to renounce personal action of any kind and thereby sink into fruitless quietism.

Karma-vadins (Sanskrit) Karma-vādin-s Karma-preachers; applied to the followers of the Karma-Mima-nsa-Darsana, one name of the Purva-Mima-nsa school founded by Jaimini, which taught a merely critical interpretation of the text of the Veda.

Karma Yoga (Sanskrit) Karma-yoga [from karma action + yoga union] One of the methods or stages of yoga practice and training, involving attaining at-one-ment or union with the spiritual-divine essence within by means of unselfish action or works.

Karmendriyas (Sanskrit) Karmendriya-s Organs of action; the innate astral-vital-physical organs of sensation and action on the physical plane — the generative organs, hands, feet, excretory organs, and mouth. They form one of the three classes of indriyas (organs, channels, instruments) given in Hindu philosophy, the others being buddhindriyas (organs of spiritual consciousness, sense, and action) and jnanendriyas (organs of intellectual and psychological consciousness) (FSO 275-6). The karmendriyas also have correspondences with the tanmatras (rudiments), bhutas (elements), and jnanendriyas (sense organs) as well as with the lokas, rupas, and human principles and senses (BCW 12:660-1, 12:667). See also INDRIYA

Karna (Sanskrit) Karṇa [from the verbal root kṛ to pour forth, scatter, throw out] Radiant; a son of Kunti by Surya, the sun, before her marriage to Pandu. Therefore, Karna was a half-brother of the Pandava princes, but sided with the Kurus in the great conflict of the Mahabharata.

Karnaim. See QEREN

Karnak The ancient Egyptian temple at Thebes, situated on the eastern bank of the Nile, called the Temple of Karnak after a modern village in the vicinity named El-Karnak.

Karneios (Greek) Carneus (Latin) Title of Apollo; like Krishna, who is also mystically an imbodiment of a solar spiritual force, this deity refers to mystical matters connected with the sun and its spiritual effluvia radiating throughout the solar system. Apollo Karneios was celebrated at Sparta in the great festival of the Karneia, held during nine days of the Attic month Metageitnion (August).

Karshipta, Karshift (Pahlavi) The holy bird of the Zoroastrians who brought the law of Mazda into the Vara (man). “Karshipta is the human mind-soul, and the deity thereof, symbolized in ancient Magianism by a bird, as the Greeks symbolized it by a butterfly. No sooner had Karshipta entered the Vara or man, than he understood the law of Mazda, or Divine Wisdom. . . . With the Kabalists it was a like symbol. ‘Bird’ was a Chaldean, and has become a Hebrew synonym and symbol for Angel, a Soul, a Spirit, or Deva; and the ‘Bird’s Nest’ was with both Heaven, and is God’s bosom in the Zohar” (SD 2:292). The Egyptians also spoke of the spiritual swallow, the soul-bird — manas.

This allegory describes the descent of the manasaputras during the third root-race: a high intelligence able to wing its way in the celestial realms entering man’s constitution and awakening the faculty enabling him to understand and to recite “the Law” as imbodied in the highest divinities to and for the human species.

Karshvar (Avestan) Kishvar (Pahlavi) Keshvar (Persian) Also karshvare(s). A globe of the earth-chain, seven being enumerated in the Vendidad: Arzahe and Savahe; Fradadhafshu and Vidadhafshu; Vourubaresti and Vouruzaresti; and Hvaniratha. They are enumerated as being in three strata or layers, with a fourth single karshvare, while the Gathas speak of the septempartite earth (bumi haptaiti). These three strata refer to the cosmic planes, on which the globes are located two by two, with our earth alone on the lowest plane. Each karshvares is surrounded by an ocean, making it impossible to pass from one to another, the ocean being space.

“Karshvares in their seven applications refer equally to the seven spheres of our planetary chain, to the seven planets, the seven heavens, etc., according to whether the sense is applied to a physical, supra-mundane, or simply a sidereal world” (SD 2:384-5).


Karta, Kartta. See PURUSHA

Kartikeya. See KARTTIKEYA

Karttika (Sanskrit) Kārttika [from kṛttikā the Pleiades] A month corresponding to October-November. Also the ancient Hindu god of war, given the name Karttika or Karttikeya because mythologically he is said to have been nursed and reared by the six Krittikas or Pleiades.

Karttikeya (Sanskrit) Kārttikeya [from kṛttikā the Pleiades] The ancient Hindu god of war, given the name Karttika or Karttikeya because mythologically he is said to have been nursed and reared by the six Krittikas or Pleiades. Astronomically he is the planet Mars. He was born from fire and water out of a seed of Rudra-Siva, a phase of the cosmic Logos, via Agni, who dropped the seed into the Ganges. Like the Pleiades, he is represented with six heads, corresponding to the six visible stars of the constellation: Karttikeya is said to be the seventh or hidden Pleiad.

Karttikeya was born for the purpose of killing Taraka, the too holy and wise deva-daimon, who had obtained through austerity all the knowledge and yoga powers of the gods. Karttikeya is equivalent to Michael, Indra, and Apollo. See also GHARMA-JA

Karuna-bhavana (Sanskrit) Karuṇā-bhāvanā [from karuṇā compassion + the verbal root bhū to become] The act of causing meditation or compassion to come into being. The meditation or thought given to cultivating pity and compassion in yoga practices.

Karuna-bhawana. See KARUNA-BHAVANA

Kasdim (Aramaic) Kaśdīm [plural of kaśdī Chaldean] Chaldeans; the Hebrew word kashdim means the inhabitants of Babylonia, also astrologers.

Kashaya-vastra (Sanskrit) Kaṣāya-vastra Red-colored cloth; in the Puranas, the rishi Vaisishtha was asked by the gods to bring the sun, Surya, to satyaloka. The sun told him the worlds would be destroyed if he left, but the sage offered to place his kashaya-vastra in place of the sun’s disk, which he did. This red-colored cloth is the visible body of the sun. Blavatsky comments that “the ascetic’s dress being, as all know, dyed expressly into a red-yellow hue, a colouring matter with pinkish patches on it, rudely representing the vital principle in man’s blood, — the symbol of the vital principle in the sun, or what is now called chromosphere” (BCW 5:157).

Kashyapa. See KASYAPA

Kasi (Sanskrit) Kāśī [from kāśi shining, splendid] One ancient name of Benares, India.

Kasi-khanda (Sanskrit) Kāśi-khaṇḍa The section of the Skanda-Purana treating of the city of Benares, India.

Kaspar One of the three Magi or wise men in Christian legend. In Egypt the scribe of the gods or the recorder was Tehuti (Thoth), who was also the god of wisdom, equivalent to Hermes or Mercury: always present at initiations, and the presiding influence, as initiator, at all ancient initiations. Looking at the Christian story in this context, infant is a name for a “newly born” initiate, who thus is a twice-born (Sanskrit dvija). The star refers to the esoteric wisdom which taught the wise men of the time that the cycle in its turning had brought about the birth of an avatara, a manifestation on this earth of a certain starry or solar divinity. See also BALTHAZAR; MELCHIOR

Kasyapa (Sanskrit) Kaśyapa A sage often mentioned in the Vedas. The son of Marichi, Brahma’s mind-born son; the father of Vivasvat, the father of Manu, the progenitor of mankind; husband of Aditi, chief and father of the adityas — who are the powers of the sun — and one of the seven great cosmic rishis. Father by Aditi’s sisters of demons, nagas, reptiles, birds, and all living things. The Atharva-Veda says that the “self-born Kasyapa sprang from Time,” time often being identified with Vishnu, the preserver. Thus Kasyapa represents one of the primordial spiritual-intellectual powers of the solar system, and is one of the main original solar logoi. Especially in his function as chief of the solar adaityas, cosmically he is the sun itself.

Being thus the cosmic head of his hierarchy — a hierarchy necessarily represented on earth — there is likewise in humanity a group of human beings who are, as it were, by spiritual-psychological affinity descendants of Kasyapa in the direct line, and in whom the powers of Kasyapa from time to time become strongly manifest. When such strongly manifested Kasyapika powers appear in a person by all occult right and customary usage, such imbodiment of the powers of the hierarch Kasyapa is likewise called Kasyapa.

Kasyapa-aditya or Kasyap-aditya. See KASYAPA

Katakopanishad. See KATHA UPANISHAD

Katapa. See KALAPA

Katha (Sanskrit) Kathā [from the verbal root kath to tell, relate] A story, tale, fable.

Katharsis. See CATHARSIS

Katha Upanishad or Kathopanishad (Sanskrit) Kaṭhopaniṣad One of the Upanishads of the Yajur-Veda, named after the sage Katha; commented upon by Sankaracharya, founder of the Advaita-Vedanta school.

Kaumari (Sanskrit) Kaumārī Virgin, virginal; the active female energy or sakti of Karttikeya. Also an adjectival form of kumara.

Kauravas (Sanskrit) Kaurava-s The adjectival noun of Kurus, the opponents of the Pandavas in the Mahabharata. In a similar way Pandavas is derived from Pandu (light-colored, pale, blond). As light has always been taken as a synonym of spirit, some writers have argued that the Kauravas represent the material or evil forces, and the Pandavas the spiritual and light forces, both in cosmic and human natures; yet such analogies can be pressed too far. There was good and bad on both sides in the famous Indian epic.

Kauravya (Sanskrit) Kauravya King of the nagas or initiates in Patala (geographically the Americas) at least some 5000 years ago. Krishna’s disciple, Arjuna, is said in the Mahabharata to have traveled to Patala and to have married Ulupi, the daughter of King Kauravya.

Kavyas (Sanskrit) Kavya-s, Kāvya-s [from kavi intelligent, wise] A class of pitris, the descendants of Kavi, closely connected with Sukra, regent of the planet Venus. Connected intimately with the manasaputras or solar pitris, monads of intrinsically spiritual-intellectual type or descent, as opposed to the barhishads or lunar pitris, the lower human ancestors. As the various descents of mind governed by cyclic law are connected with the manasaputras, we see the reason the kavyas are often represented as intimately connected with the whirling cycles of evolutionary time, and as presiding over these cycles.

Kavyavahana (Sanskrit) Kavyavāhana [from kavya a class of pitris + vāhana vehicle, carrier] The vehicle or carrier of the kavyas, the transmitter of kavya influence or power. It often stands for the intellectual fire or vitality of the solar pitris. In Hinduism this conception becomes the sacrificial fire which receives and translates offerings to the pitris. In the Puranas, pavaka (electric fire) is made parent to kavyavahana, but it is not the coarse electric substance of prithivi (the physical world), but the electric vivifying vitality of mind or intelligence.


Ka-yin. See CAIN

Kayumars (Persian), Gayomard (Pahlavi) Gayōmard, Gayo-maretan (Avestan) Gayō-maretan [from gayō life + maretan to become mortal and mutable] The first legendary king of Shah-Nameh, Ferdausi of the Pishdadian Dynasty [from para-dhata primeval law], who was not aware of the existence of evil until his son Siamak was killed by Diev. This corresponds to the Biblical Adam before Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. He is identified with ’Adam Qadmon or the aggregate logos comprehending within itself the ten classes of spiritual beings or Sephiroth; also the representative of the last individuals of the pitric dynasties on earth which preceded the truly human races.

His grandson Hushang (Arabic Ushhanj) is the king who discovers fire and brings civilization to man, becomes king of seven keshvars, and establishes the ancient religion, worshiping fire as the symbol of knowledge.

Kchana. See KSHANA

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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