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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Ma (Sanskrit) In Hindu mythology a name of Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, goddess of prosperity, welfare, and happiness.

Maat (Egyptian) Maāt. The goddess personifying physical and moral law, order, and truth, regarded as the feminine counterpart of Thoth (Tehuti). She is represented as standing with Thoth in the boat of Ra when the sun god first rose above the waters of the primeval spatial abyss of Nu. She is called the daughter of Ra, the eye of Ra, lady of heaven, queen of the earth, and mistress of the Underworld, who guides the course of the sun. The type and symbol of the goddess is the ostrich feather; the word maat is represented by the hieroglyph of the feather and means primarily that which is orderly and direct, hence in a moral sense, right, truth, justice, including a reference to the fact that these supreme attributes weigh light as a feather in the scales of judgment, and yet are as weighty in importance as the universe itself. Maat was regarded by the Egyptians, in connection with her moral power, as the greatest of goddesses, for she was the chief lady of the Judgment Hall, into which the deceased must enter (called the Hall of Maati, “double truth”).

Mabbul (Hebrew) Mabbūl A flood, deluge, inundation. “Esoterically, the periodical outpourings of astral impurities on to the earth; periods of psychic crimes and iniquities, or of regular moral cataclysms” (TG 211).

Mabinogion (Welsh) A plural form invented by Lady Charlotte Guest and applied to the Mabinogi and other medieval or earlier romances which she translated from Welsh to English. The Mabinogi proper has four branches: the stories of Pwyll Pendefig Dyfed (Pwyll prince of Dyfed); Manawyddan fab Llyr (Manawyddan son of Llyr); Branwen ferch Llyr (Branwen daughter of Llyr); and Math fab Mathonwy. The tales as they come down to us were written down in South Wales some time before the Conquest — in the last two centuries of Welsh independence — and are marked by great beauty of style and literary finish. Matthew Arnold compares them to “peasants’ huts built of the stones of Ephesus”: the substance of them comes from a profound antiquity which, with its wisdom, the latest tellers of them did not fully understand. As to that antiquity: when Bran the Blessed invaded Ireland, we are told, there was no sea between Wales and Ireland, but only two small rivers. These being unbridged, the question arose, how should the hosts of the Island of the Mighty cross them? A question Bran solved by laying down his body from bank to bank, saying: “He who is Chief, let him be the Bridge,” a saying that contains a great part of the secret wisdom of the Druids.

Besides the Mabinogi, Lady Guest’s Mabinogion contains such stories as “Culhwch and Olwen” (a repository of relics of the lost mythology) and “The Dream of Rhonabwy,” both Arthurian, but Welsh and mythological. Other stories are “Peredur, the Lady of the Fountain,” “Geraint ab Erbin,” in which the Romance, Arthurianism, and Norman influence are beginning to appear. In “Peredur” we see the cauldron, symbol of initiation with the Druids, in process of becoming the Holy Grail: Peredur and Perceval are Pair-(g)edur and Pair-cyfaill — the “servant” and the “friend” of the cauldron.

Machagistia The divine theologic magic of ancient Persia and Chaldea; Magianism in its purest and highest form. Ammianus Marcellinus (4th Century) remarks that “Plato, that most learned deliverer of wise opinions, teaches us that Magiae is by a mystic name Machagistia, that is to say, the purest worship of divine beings; of which knowledge in olden times the Bactrian Zoroaster derived much from the secret rites of the Chaldaeans; and after him Hystaspes, a very wise monarch, the father of Darius” (Roman History 23, 6, 32).

Macrocosm [from Greek makros wide, large + kosmos universe] Kosmos considered in contradistinction from any one of its parts or microcosms.

Macroprosopus (Latin) [from Greek makros great + prosopon face] Also Long Face, Great or Vast Countenance. Coined by medieval Qabbalists to translate the Chaldee phrase ’Arich ’Anpin (great face), one of the names of the first emanation of the Sephirothal Tree, Kether the Crown. Generally regarded as the universe in its totality, “in the Chaldean Kabal, a pure abstraction; the Word or logos, or dabar (in Hebrew), which Word, though it becomes in fact a plural number, or ‘Words’ — d(a)B(a)Rim, when it reflects itself, or falls into the aspect of a Host (of angels, or Sephiroth, ‘numbers’) is still collectively One, and on the ideal plane a nought — 0, a ‘No-thing.’ It is without form or being, ‘with no likeness with anything else’ ” (SD 1:350). The originator of the succeeding nine emanated Sephiroth which, flowing forth from the Crown, are collectively called Microprosopus.

Madan (Tamil) One that looks like a cow; wicked elementals or other astral and subastral sprites or nature spirits, half-brutes or half-monsters. They are particularly helpful to sorcerers of evil intent, as they are used for striking people and cattle with sudden illness and even death.

Madbhava (Sanskrit) Madbhāva [from mad base of the first person singular pronoun + bhāva being, nature, essence] My essence, my nature.

Madhava (Sanskrit) Mādhava A name of Vishnu because of his slaying of the asura Madhu; applied to Krishna as an avataric manifestation of Vishnu; also the month corresponding to April-May.

As a feminine noun, Madhavi, a title of Lakshmi, consort of Vishnu.

Madhavacharya (Sanskrit) Mādhavācārya [from Mādhava + āchārya teacher, preceptor] Celebrated religious teacher and scholar of the 14th century, one of the main teachers of the Dvaita-Vedanta school of pronounced dualism. It teaches the existence or permanent reality of two fundamental principles in universal nature: spirit and matter, or divinity and the universe. This dualism is in direct contrast with the unity doctrine taught in the Advaita-Vedanta or nondualistic system of Sankaracharya.

Madhavas (Sanskrit) Mādhava-s In the plural, the descendants of Madhu, men of the race of Yadu, and hence often called Yadavas.

Madhavi (Sanskrit) Mādhavī A spring flower; a name of Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu. See also MADHAVA

Madhu (Sanskrit) Madhu An asura; in the Mahabharata and the Puranas, Madhu and Kaitabha sprang from the ear of Vishnu while he was asleep at the end of a kalpa. Brahma was also lying asleep on the lotus springing from Vishnu’s navel, and the two asuras were on the point of slaying Brahma, when Vishnu awoke and slew them — hence he was called Kaitabhajit and Madhusudana. The Harivansa relates that the bodies of the asuras were cast into the sea and produced an immense amount of marrow, out of which Narayana formed the earth. Krishna also killed a demon named Madhu.

As an adjective, delicious, sweet.

Madhusudana (Sanskrit) Madhusūdana The slayer of Madhu; a title of Vishnu, who slew the asura Madhu; and of Krishna as an avatara of Vishnu because he slew the demon Madhu.

Madhva (Sanskrit) Madhva also Mādhava. The founder of a sect of Vaishnavas called Madhvas after their founder who lived in southern India. Regarded by his followers as an incarnation of Vayu, said to have been born about 1200, his doctrine is known by its chief characteristic called Dvaita (duality), and stands in opposition to the system of Advaita (nonduality) of Sankaracharya, a follower of the Siva-form of philosophic thought. He was a follower of the Vishnu-form of religious philosophy, and his special teaching of Dvaita was based on the supposition that the supreme soul of the universe and the human soul are distinct entities, thus being in sharp contrast with the Advaita, which teaches that the spiritual essence of individual beings is identic with that of the universe.

Madhya (Sanskrit) Madhya The middle; as an adjective, middle, center, interior as contrasted with outer; also intermediate as contrasted with either extreme or end. As a neuter noun, 10,000,000 trillions or 10 quintillion (10,000,000,000,000,000,000).

Madhyama (Sanskrit) Madhyama The fourth or middle tone of the seven primary notes of the Hindu musical scale.

Madhyama (Sanskrit) Madhyamā [feminine of madhyama] One of the states of vach (mystic speech), which is of four kinds according to its differentiation: para, pasyanti, madhyama, and vaikhari. The madhyama vach is the link between the mental form (in the Logos) and the manifested form (in matter). It corresponds mystically to the Light of the Logos. Vach, though often equivalent to Logos, is the feminine counterpart of Brahma, the masculine side of the Logos. Thus Vach is the spiritual aspect of prakriti.

Madhyamikas (Sanskrit) Mādhyamika-s Belonging to the middle way; a sect mentioned in the Vishnu-Purana, probably at first a sect of Hindu atheists. A school of the same name was founded later in Tibet and China, and as it adopted some of the esoteric principles taught by Nagarjuna, one of the great founders of the esoteric Mahayana system, it had certain elements of esoteric truth. But because of its tendency by means of thesis and antithesis to reduce everything into contrary categories, and then to deny both, it may be called a school of Nihilists for whom everything is an illusion and an error in the world of thought, in the subjective as well as in the objective universe. This school is a good example of the danger of wandering too far in mere intellectual disquisition from the fundamental bases of the esoteric philosophy, for such merely brain-mind activity will infallibly lead to a philosophy of barren negation.

Madim, Ma’adim (Aramaic) Ma’adīm. Strength, force, vehemence; also a Qabbalistic name for the planet Mars.

Madonna. See MARY

Maga (Sanskrit) Maga A Magian or priest of the sun; in India priests of a certain class serving Surya (the sun) were called Magas. In the plural, magas, a country in Sakadvipa, supposed to have been inhabited chiefly by Brahmins.

Magadha (Sanskrit) Magadha An ancient country in South Behar, India which after the establishment of Buddhism in India, was ruled by Buddhist kings.

Mage. See MAGI

Magha (Sanskrit) Maghā The 13th day in the dark half of the moon in the month of Bhadra (August-September).

Maghada. See MAGADHA

Maghayanti, Meghayanti (Sanskrit) Meghayantī One of the seven Pleiades.

Magi [plural of Old Persian magus a wise man from the verbal root meh great; cf Sanskrit maha; cf Avestan mogaha, Latin plural magus, Greek magos, Persian mogh, Pahlavi maga] An hereditary priesthood or sacerdotal caste in Media and Persia. Zoroaster, himself a member of the Society of the Magi, divides the initiates into three degrees according to their level of enlightenment: the highest were referred to as Khvateush (those enlightened with their own inner light or self-enlightened); the second were called Varezenem (those who practice); and the third, Airyamna (friends or Aryans). The ancient Parsis may be divided into three degrees of Magi: the Herbods or novitiates; the Mobeds or masters; and the Destur Mobeds or perfect masters — the “Dester Mobeds being identical with the Hierophants of the mysteries, as practised in Greece and Egypt” (TG 197).

Pliny mentions three schools of Magi: one founded at an unknown antiquity; a second established by Osthanes and Zoroaster; and a third by Moses and Jannes. “And all the knowledge possessed by these different schools, whether Magian, Egyptian, or Jewish, was derived from India, or rather from both sides of the Himalayas” (IU 2:361). According to Shahrestani (12th-century Islamic scholar) the Magi are divided into three sects: Gaeomarethians (Kayumarthians), Zarvanian (Zurvanian), and Zoroastrians. They all share the common belief that in this manifested universe the dualism of light and darkness is at work and that the final victory of the light is the day of resurrection.

Porphyry refers to the Magi as the learned men among the Persians who are in the service of the deity (Abst 4:16), while Philo Judaeus describes them as the most wonderful inquirers into the hidden mysteries of nature: holy men who set themselves apart from everything else on this earth, “contemplated the divine virtues and understood the divine nature of the gods and spirits, the more clearly; and so, initiated others into the same mysteries, which consist in one holding an uninterrupted intercourse with these invisible beings during life” (IU 1:94-5). It is likely that the use of the name and the order survived in times when their true dignity was no longer apparent.

In the Bible Magi is translated “wise men.” The term has also become familiar through the story of the three wise men who came to the infant Jesus bearing gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Magic, Magician [from Persian magus a wise man, great; cf magi] The great art; a knowledge of the mysteries of nature and the power to apply them. In its true sense it is gupta-vidya (divine knowledge), the aim of those who tread the path of wisdom; but in ages of decline its chief secrets are withdrawn from public access, and what remains passes through transformations and gradually degenerates.

The ancients believed in the power of man by magic practices to command the services of the gods: which gods, are in truth, but the occult powers or potencies of Nature, personified by the learned priests themselves, in which they reverenced only the attributes of the one unknown and nameless Principle. As Proclus the Platonist ably puts it: ‘Ancient priests, when they considered that there is a certain alliance and sympathy in natural things to each other, and of things manifest to occult powers, and discovered that all things subsist in all, fabricated a sacred science from this mutual sympathy and similarity. . . . and applied for occult purposes, both celestial and terrene natures, by means of which, through a certain similitude, they deduced divine virtues into this inferior abode.’ Magic is the science of communicating with and directing supernal, supramundane Potencies, as well as of commanding those of the lower spheres; a practical knowledge of the hidden mysteries of nature known to only the few, because they are so difficult to acquire, without falling into sins against nature” (TG 197).

White magic or theurgy is knowledge used for impersonal and beneficent purposes, the bringing into human life of the pattern and powers of nature as these exist on the spiritual planes. Black magic or goetia is knowledge used for selfishly personal or evil purposes. Natural magic is the knowledge and employment of the natural powers, forces, and substances of nature — practically what today is called science. If the knowledge gained through the study of natural science is distorted in its use to selfish or ignoble ends, it becomes de facto black magic. While a hard and fast distinction may not be applicable to all cults of magic, where the student or practitioner has not yet made a conscious choice between the two paths, yet in the end he must choose the one or the other. For nature’s forces must be controlled, either by a pure or an impure will, if the practicer is not to fall victim to them. The motive and use that a person makes of his faculties and will are the deciding factors as to whether the magic is beneficent or maleficent. Any selfish, self-seeking, or selfishly restricted use of nature’s laws or powers is against the impersonality and universality of nature: “The smallest attempt to use one’s abnormal powers for the gratification of self makes of these powers sorcery or Black Magic” (Key 346).

In theosophical writings, advanced students of occultism who have acquired some knowledge and use of spiritual powers but misuse them for selfish purposes are called black magicians, Brothers of the Shadow, followers of the left-hand path, or sometimes dugpas. In their highest class they are adepts in spiritual evil. Whenever the forces of nature are used for selfish purposes, such misuse by anyone marks such person as a black magician, whether conscious or unconscious. Those who follow the pathway of self-renunciation, self-sacrifice, self-conquest, and an expansion of the heart, mind, and consciousness in love and service for all that lives are called white magicians or Sons of Light.

Magnale Magnum (Latin) The great Great; used by Van Helmont for a natural occult principle which connects the souls of men, enabling them to influence each other mutually. It is anima mundi in one restricted, localized sense.

Magna Mater (Latin) The Great Mother, the mother of the gods, a title given to many Asiatic goddesses at the time when the Romans were in Asia; identified by the Greeks with Rhea, daughter of Ouranos and Gaia, wife of Kronos, and mother of Zeus and other gods. In Asia the name was given specially to Cybele, whose worship later became degraded into licentious rites. Every nation had its own chief goddess, or mother goddess, who was called Great Goddess, exactly as the Latins did with their own Magna Mater.

Magne (Icelandic) [from magn main, strength] Thor, Norse god of thunder and lightning, in his capacity as electromagnetism in the infinite reaches of space, has two sons: Mode and Magne. Both mean power, though Mode has the connotation of anger, suggesting a repelling force, whereas Magne connotes power that is granted one. These two sons of Thor may represent attraction and repulsion, or gravitation and radiation on the cosmic level.

Magnes (Latin, Greek) Loadstone; used by Paracelsus, medieval theosophists, and alchemists for a mysterious and potent fluid, the spirit of light, whose description answers to the akasa, aether, or the most spiritual parts of the astral light. It thus corresponds to the anima mundi.

Magnetic Healing Introduced to the West by Mesmer; in it the pranas or general vital powers of the healer are able to help, in many cases, a sufferer to throw off an ailment or disease by arousing the sufferer’s own powers of resistance to vital inharmony or disease. The success of magnetic healing arises from the fact that human or animal magnetism is a fluid, and hence an emanation flowing from the healer to the sufferer. The existence of such human or animal magnetism has now been established by the researches of a multitude of investigators during the last century or more. All human beings have this magnetic fluid, but some natural-born healers have the instinctive power of projecting or emitting their own magnetism, which flows from different parts of the body, but especially from the tips of the fingers, the eyes, or the hands.

To animal magnetism likewise are to be ascribed the cause of the so-called antagonisms or repulsions, or again affinities and attractions, between human beings.

Magnetism [from Greek lithos magnetes Magnesian stone, magnetic oxide of iron, found in Magnesia in Thessaly] Scientifically, magnetic force is due to the movement of electric charges. While physics is concerned only with mineral magnetism, older thought saw the analogy between the various planes of nature and used magnetism in a wiser sense. The term animal magnetism is not so fanciful: The Secret Doctrine speaks of biune creative magnetism as acting in the constitution of man and animals in the form of the attraction of contraries as in sexual polarization; of there being seven forms of kosmic magnetism; of electricity and magnetism being manifestations of kundalini-sakti; of the world-soul as represented by a sevenfold cross whose arms are light, heat, magnetism, etc.

Magnetism, like other forces, is a manifestation of the activities of living beings. These forces are at the same time the physical counterparts, reflections, or phases of the universal cosmic electromagnetism, life-energy, or fohat. Magnetism, which is the alter ego of electricity, is that aspect or functioning of cosmic electromagnetism, mainly known to us as causing attraction and repulsion, and distinguished by bipolarity.

Both physical and physiological analogies suggest that terrestrial magnetism is inherent in some of the ultra-physical constituents of our globe, and that it must be powerfully influenced by the magnetism of other globes of the earth-chain, as well as by cosmic sources belonging to the solar system and even beyond. The position of the magnetic poles of the earth varies, and with this variation go variations in the magnetic inclination, declination, intensity, and distribution; which variations have cycles that are under study by scientists. What is called the north pole of a magnet should be called its south pole, since it is attracted and not repelled by the north pole of the earth; thus some writers call the north pole of a magnet the north-seeking pole.

“We know of no phenomenon in nature entirely unconnected with either magnetism or electricity . . . All the phenomena of earth currents, terrestrial magnetism and atmospheric electricity, are due to the fact that the earth is an electrified conductor, whose potential is ever changing owing to its rotation and its annual orbital motion, the successive cooling and heating of the air, the formation of clouds and rain, storms and winds, etc. . . . Science would be unwilling to admit that all these changes are due to akasic magnetism incessantly generating electric currents which tend to restore the disturbed equilibrium” (ML 160).

All electromagnetism is rooted in or takes its rise from the akasa, and the bipolarity of magnetism and electricity is simply a reproduction in our sphere — and even in human beings when they manifest themselves — of the fundamental bipolarity in cosmic structure inherent in the akasa, out of the womb of which the worlds are born. Magnetism might be considered the more subtle part of electricity, and electricity the grosser aspect of the fundamental force which is both. Both are fluids, emanations, from the akasa, and are really two aspects of the underlying fohat.

Magnetization Influences which one person may exercise on another akin to mesmerism whether of a gross physical nature, to which the term animal magnetism is applied, or of a loftier nature, the action of mind upon mind. Metallic magnetism is itself one manifestation of subtle natural forces, of which personal magnetism is another manifestation. Magnetism, whether diffuse or localized or in the form of animal magnetism, is an emanation from the beings which produce it from their own inner vital power, and hence magnetism is a fluid. Those who are especially endowed with the faculty of arousing it in themselves and projecting it, mainly through the tips of the fingers or the eyes, can use it for either corrective, or for evil and destructive, purposes; while all other beings, even inanimate objects, possess it but do not emanate it willfully or consciously. It flows forth from them as an aura, usually unconsciously. Thus magnetism has an auric efflux or fluid, which finds its foundation in the vitality or pranic sources of the beings or things from which it flows.

Magnum Opus (Latin) The great work; in medieval and modern times an alchemical term for the making of the philosopher’s stone and the elixir of life; an achievement which, as with alchemy generally, may be regarded as being accomplished either in the laboratory of human nature among the elements of man’s constitution, or in a brick and mortar laboratory with chemicals.

Magnus Aether (Latin) Great aether, also called Pater Omnipotens Aether (almighty father aether).

Magnus Annus. See ANNUS MAGNUS

Magus. See MAGI

Mahabharata (Sanskrit) Mahābhārata One of the two great epic poems of ancient India, the largest poetic work known to literature, consisting of 220,000 lines. The masses of tradition and tales in this epic make it the national treasury from which bards, poets, dramatists, and artists, as from an inexhaustible source, draw their themes. It contains the history of the family of the Bharatas in addition to a great many beautiful truly mystical and occult teachings, and a few really splendid minor episodes like the Bhagavad-Gita and Anugita. Tradition makes Vyasa — a generic name of high literary authority, used by at least several archaic writers — the author of this grand poem. The main theme of the epic is the great struggle between the Kauravas and the Pandavas, descendants through Bharata from Puru, the great ancestor of one branch of the Lunar race. The object of the struggle was the kingdom whose capital was Hastinapura (elephant city), the ruins of which are said to be traceable 57 miles northeast of Delhi, on an old bed of the Ganges.

Mahabhashya (Sanskrit) Mahābhāṣya [from mahā great + bhāṣya commentary on technical sutras, usually in the vernacular] Great commentary; Patanjali’s Commentary on the Sutras (Grammar) of Panini and the Varttikas of Katyayana (Katyayana’s critical annotations of Panini’s Sutras). Sometimes referred to simply as the Bhashya, it is one of the three known writings of Patanjali.

Mahabhautic [anglicization of Sanskrit mahābhautika] Adjective of mahabhutas, the elementary substantial principles of the universe.

Mahabhutas (Sanskrit) Mahābhūta-s [from mahā great + bhūta element from the verbal root bhū to be, become] Great or primordial element; the gross or vehicular cosmic elements in contradistinction from the subtle or causative cosmic elements (tanmatras) out of which the mahabhutas are evolved. Five are enumerated exoterically — aether, fire, air, water, and earth — but in the esoteric enumeration there are seven, ten, or twelve. Also an adjective meaning being great, or relating to the gross elements.

The mahabhutas are so called because they are the karmic fruits or resultants from the preceding cosmic manvantara, so that even these great cosmic elements begin their evolutionary courses in the new cosmic manvantara at the exact point in development which they had acquired when the preceding pralaya began.

The tanmatras are the inner vital cosmic principles, the causal rudiments, which evolve forth the mahabhutas. The distinction between them may be seen by an analogy drawn from the human constitution: the difference between sense as a faculty or power and sense organ as the vehicle of the sense faculty. The five senses hitherto developed in the human being — hearing, sight, touch, taste, and smell — have their five corresponding sense organs, the senses producing through evolution and time their respective organs. Similarly on the cosmic scale, the tanmatras correspond to the senses in the human constitution, while the mahabhutas correspond to the sense organs in the human body.

Mahabuddhi (Sanskrit) Mahābuddhi [from mahā great + buddhi consciousness, spiritual soul] Great buddhi or consciousness; synonym of mahat (cosmic mind or intelligence).

Mahachaitanya (Sanskrit) Mahācaitanya [from mahā great + caitanya consciousness, intelligence] The living consciousness or intelligence of the universe or of all nature. Daiviprakriti is, strictly speaking, the mahachaitanya “of the whole cosmos, the one energy, or the only force from which spring all force manifestations” (N on BG 71), this one energy or force being essentially and inherently conscious and intelligent.

Maha-chohan (Sanskrit-Tibetan) [from Sanskrit mahā great + Tibetan chohan lord] The great lord; “the chief of a spiritual Hierarchy, or of a school of Occultism; the head of the trans-Himalayan mystics” (TG 200).

Mahadeva (Sanskrit) Mahādeva [from mahā great + deva deity] The great god; a title of Siva.

Mahaguru (Sanskrit) Mahāguru [from mahā great + guru teacher] The great teacher; a name of the great initiator or awakener of the spiritual nature in man, also called the Great Being or Great Sacrifice.

“The ‘BEING’ . . . is the Tree from which, in subsequent ages, all the great historically known Sages and Hierophants, such as the Rishi Kapila, Hermes, Enoch, Orpheus, etc., etc., have branched off. As objective man, he is the mysterious (to the profane — the ever invisible) yet ever present Personage about whom legends are rife in the East, especially among the Occultists and the students of the Sacred Science. It is he who changes form, yet remains ever the same. And it is he again who holds spiritual sway over the initiated Adepts throughout the whole world. He is, as said, the ‘Nameless One’ who has so many names, and yet whose names and whose very nature are unknown. He is the ‘Initiator,’ called the ‘Great sacrifice.’ For, sitting at the threshold of light, he looks into it from within the circle of Darkness, which he will not cross; nor will he quit his post till the last day of this life-cycle. . . . Because he would fain show the way to that region of freedom and light, from which he is a voluntary exile himself, to every prisoner who has succeeded in liberating himself from the bonds of flesh and illusion. . . .
“It is under the direct, silent guidance of this Maha — (great) — Guru that all the other less divine Teachers and instructors of mankind became, from the first awakening of human consciousness, the guides of early Humanity. It is through these ‘Sons of God’ that infant humanity got its first notions of all the arts and sciences, as well as of spiritual knowledge; and it is they who have laid the first foundation-stone of those ancient civilizations that puzzle so sorely our modern generation of students and scholars” (SD 1:207-8).

Mahajvala (Sanskrit) Mahājvāla [from mahā great + jvāla flame] A large flame; name of one of the hells in Hindu philosophy.

Mahakala (Sanskrit) Mahākāla [from mahā great + kāla time] Great time; a name of Siva as the destroyer, and of Vishnu as the preserver.

Mahakalpa (Sanskrit) Mahākalpa [from mahā great + kalpa age] Great age; lifetime of Brahma consisting of 100 Divine Years, equivalent to 311,040,000,000,000 years. The time period between the beginning and end of a complete solar manvantara — the entire lifetime of our solar system.

Mahakasa (Sanskrit) Mahākāśa [from mahā great + ākāśa ether, space] Great akasa; endless space, the seventh universal principle. Equivalent to pradhana or even mulaprakriti, which describe the boundless space or womb of all being which, in connection with the central point or Brahman, is the cosmic source of all.

Maha-loka. See MAHARLOKA

Mahamanvantara (Sanskrit) Mahāmanvantara [from mahā great + manvantara period of manifestation] A great cycle of cosmic manifestation and activity, whether of a universe, solar system, or planet. The mahamanvantara of a solar system or Life of Brahma is a period of 311,040,000,000,000 terrestrial years. A mahamanvantara of the earth-chain is a Day of Brahma or a period of seven rounds of the planetary chain. We have lived somewhat more than one-half of our planetary mahamanvantara; and again 50 Years of Brahma (one half of the Life of Brahma) have also passed away. We have thus reached the first Divine Day of the first Divine Month of the ascending cycle of the second cosmic period of fifty Divine Years of the cosmic mahamanvantara.

The day after the mahamanvantara is the Day-Be-With-Us or the Christian Day of Judgment. Then all individualities are merged into one, each still possessing essential or intrinsic knowledge of itself. But at that time, what to us now is nonconscious or the unconscious, will be absolute consciousness.

Mahamara (Sanskrit) Mahāmāra [from mahā great + māra death from the verbal root mṛ to die] The great destroyer; the king of the maras (temptations), and often called the Great Ensnarer. This character is usually represented “with a crown in which shines a jewel of such lustre that it blinds those who look at it, this lustre referring of course to the fascination exercised by vice upon certain natures” (VS 76). It is due to the power of maya or seductive illusion that mahamara or the different maras possess their sway over sentient beings.

Mahamaya (Sanskrit) Mahāmāyā [from mahā great + māyā illusion] The great illusion; the manifested universe in its totality. “Esoteric philosophy, teaching an objective Idealism — though it regards the objective Universe and all in it as Maya, temporary illusion — draws a practical distinction between collective illusion, Mahamaya, from the purely metaphysical stand-point, and the objective relations in it between various conscious Egos so long as this illusion lasts” (SD 1:631). The belief in the separateness of the universe, and everything in it, from the absolute divine All is one of the greatest delusions of mahamaya.

Maha-Parinibbana-Sutta or Suttanta (Pali) Mahā-Parinibbāna-Sutta [from mahā great + parinibbāna complete nirvana + sutta, suttanta text, book] The Book of the Great Decease of the Buddhist Pali canon, “one of the most authoritative of the Buddhist sacred writings” (TG 200).

A scripture of the same name of the Mahayana school of Northern Buddhism, supposed by some to be of later date, is written in Sanskrit: the Maha-paranirvana-sutra (Paradise Sutra).

Mahapralaya (Sanskrit) Mahāpralaya The great dissolution; sometimes applied to a planetary pralaya (bhaumika or naimittika pralaya), but usually applied to the pralaya of the solar system (saurya or Brahma pralaya). During a mahapralaya or Brahma pralaya, not only will material and psychic bodies be reduced to their original principles, but even the spiritual egos: the past, present, and future humanities, like all other entities and things, will be free to enter into their own divine essences. Everything then will have reentered the Great Breath and be merged in Brahman or the divine unity, so to remain until the mahapralaya is ended and a mahamanvantara begins a cycle of cosmic evolution.

Mahapurusha (Sanskrit) Mahāpuruṣa [from mahā great + puruṣa man, cosmic Ideal Man] The supreme spirit of the universe; paramatman or Brahman. Also a name of Vishnu.

Maharaja (Sanskrit) Mahārāja [from mahā great + rāja king] Great king; in Hindu literature four are spoken of as the mystical regents and protectors of the four quarters of the earth — north, south, east, and west — because they are the mystical regents and guardians of cosmic space in our solar system.

In Egyptian temples the parti-colored curtain separating the holy recess from the place for the congregation was drawn over the five pillars symbolizing our five senses as well as the five root-races, while the four colors of the curtain represented the four cardinal points and the four as yet evolved cosmico-terrestrial elements. This grouping, among other things, thus symbolized that it is through the four high rulers of the four cosmic quarters that our five senses become cognizant of the hidden truths of nature. The same mystic symbolism is found in the Tabernacle and the square courtyard prepared by Moses in the wilderness, “in the Zoroastrian caves, in the rock-cut temples of India, as in all the sacred square buildings of antiquity that have survived to this day. This is shown definitely by Layard, who finds the four cardinal points, and the four primitive elements, in the religion of every country, under the shape of square obelisks, the four sides of the pyramids . . . Of these elements and their points the four Maharajahs were the regents and the directors” (SD 1:126).

The four Maharajas correspond to the cherubim, seraphim, the winged globes, fiery or winged wheels, the gandharvas (sweet singers), asuras, kinnaras, and celestial nagas. In Chinese Buddhism the Maharajas are called the four hidden dragons of wisdom: the Regent of the North is called the Black Warrior, of the East the White Tiger, of the South the Vermilion Bird, and of the West the Azure Dragon.

There are profound, highly mystical differences which distinguish the Maharajas from the lipikas. The Maharajas, who are both the protectors of mankind on earth and the agents of karma, are those highly evolved spiritual powers or individualized cosmic beings who belong to the light-side of universal nature, to the hierarchies of compassion representing beings of unfolded evolutionary development who by the very nature of their essence become almost the automatic guardians of light and cosmic order which the semi-intelligent and so-called unintelligent forces and energies of nature automatically obey.

The lipikas, on the other hand, are cosmic spiritual entities who might almost be called the viceroys of the sublime cosmic hierarch of our galaxy. For this reason their actions or functions are of so widely impersonal a character, for they operate not so much from power and consciousness belonging solely to the solar system, but in obedience to the spiritual vital mandates of the galactic sphere, to which they are wholly subservient and of whose flow of intelligent impersonal forces they are but impartial ministers in almost instinctual obedience. They represent what might be called the impersonal flow of cosmic destiny.


Maharajikas (Sanskrit) Mahārājika-s [from mahārāja king] The kingly; in Buddhist philosophy a class of gods inhabiting the lowest heaven. Their number is variously given, e.g., 236 or 220.

Maharloka (Sanskrit) Maharloka [from the verbal root mah to be great, also pleasure, delight + loka world, plane] Great world; the fourth of the seven lokas. The corresponding tala and nether pole is rasatala. Maharloka is the abode of certain classes of pitris, certain of the manus, and the seven rishis, as well as of orders of celestial spirits and gods. Its sphere of influence is exoterically said to extend to the utmost limits of the solar system. See also LOKA; RASATALA

Maharshi (Sanskrit) Maharṣi [from mahā great + ṛṣi sage, seer] Also Maharishi. A great sage or seer, especially referring to the ten maharshis who were the mind-born sons of Prajapati or Manu Svayambhuva: Marichi, Atri, Angras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Prachetas, Vasishtha, Bhrigu, and Narada. They are also called the ten (or seven) prajapatis. See also MUNI

Mahasabha (Sanskrit) Mahāsabhā [from mahā great + sabhā assembly, gathering, collection, bundle] The bundle of wonderful (mayavi or illusionary) things given to the Pandavas by Mayasura, the architect of the daityas who was versed in magic, astronomy, and military science.

Mahasaurya Manvantara and Pralaya [from Sanskrit mahā great + saurya solar] The life period or period of manifestation of the solar system, or its death and dissolution. See also MANVANTARA; PRALAYA (FSO)

Mahasunya or Mahasunyata (Sanskrit) Mahāśūnya, Mahāśūnyatā [from mahā great + śūnyatā emptiness] The great void; when considered in its positive aspect, boundless space, including all the spaces of space, and therefore the universe and all that is in it considered from the spiritual and divine standpoints, which to intelligences living in lower realms seem to be the great Void. When considered from its negative aspect, cosmic illusion (mahamaya) because the entire boundless objective universe with all its visible or invisible planes is, from the standpoint of the divine-spiritual, unreal and illusive, i.e., impermanent and transitory, although lasting spans which to human comprehension might seem almost an eternity. Thus both the positive and negative significances are based upon the fundamental idea of the utter reality of the divine-spiritual, and the unreality, impermanence, and fleeting character of all that is objective.

Mahasura (Sanskrit) Mahāsura [from mahā great + asura demon from a not + sura god] The great asura; the Hindu Lucifer. Exoterically, Mahasura has been rendered by some Europeans as comparable with the Christian Satan; but esoterically he is the Great Spirit. The word sura is usually translated “god” and asura, “not-god,” demons or evil beings; but they are precisely the opposite when properly understood. In the Vedas the suras are always connected with Surya (the sun), and hence regarded as somewhat inferior divinities or devas. As the asuras are the opposites of these, they are superior beings of the highest character — a subtle and yet true distinction.

Mahat (Sanskrit) Mahat [from the verbal root mah to be great] The great; cosmic mind or intelligence, the basis and fundamental cause of the intelligent operations in and of nature considered as an organism. Blavatsky called it the first product of pradhana, the first-born of the Logos, universal mind limited by manvantaric duration, the cosmic noumenon of matter, the one impersonal architect of the universe, the great manvantaric principle of intelligence, the Third Logos, and the divine mind in active operation.

Eternal in its essence and periodical in its manifestations, mahat combines the ideal plans and prototypes of all beings and things in the manifested objective and subjective world. In another sense it is the entire aggregate of the dhyani-chohanic host, and therefore the source of the active organic cosmic intelligence controlling and directing the operations of fohat; it is likewise the direct source of the manasaputras, a class of the dhyani-chohanic host.

In Brahmanical philosophy, mahat is the father-mother of manas. In Sankhya philosophy, it corresponds to kosmic buddhi or mahabuddhi and is called the first of the seven prakritis or productive creation, the other six being ahamkara and the five tanmatras.

When a ray from mahat expresses itself as the human manas (or even as the manasic attribute of the finite gods), it then because of surrounding maya involves the quality of egoity or aham-ship. Thus it is said that the great Tree of Life has parabrahman as its seed, mahat as its trunk, and ahamkara as its spreading branches.

Mahatala (Sanskrit) Mahātala [from mahā great + tala sphere, place] Great place, pointing to prevalence or dominance of astral substance; the sixth in the descending scale of the seven talas. The corresponding loka or pole is bhuvarloka. Mahatala among other things corresponds to the elemental beings who are connected with taste, and therefore includes the state of consciousness appertaining to this class. It corresponds in one sense to the pranic activity in man, and in nature to the salamanders and gnomes of the Rosicrucians. Mahatala is the next to the grossest of the cosmic spheres or realms; the grossest or most material of all being patala.

Mahatma (Sanskrit) Mahātman [from mahā great + ātman self] Great soul or self; relatively perfected human beings, also called teachers, elder brothers, Masters, sages, seers, etc. They are human beings who, through self-directed evolution and spiritual striving over many lifetimes, have attained a lofty spiritual and intellectual state. They are farther advanced evolutionarily than the majority of people, possessing great knowledge and powers; but their primary duty is the instruction and protection of mankind. From this body of advanced human beings, which has existed since humanity attained self-consciousness, have come the great teachers and the wisdom at the root of the world’s great religious, philosophic, and scientific systems.

Used in India as an honorary title for any great or revered man.

Mahatmya (Sanskrit) Māhātmya Magnanimity; exalted state; the virtue of any divinity or sacred shrine. Also refers to a work which gives an account of the legends and merits of any holy place or object.

Mahatoruvat (Sanskrit) Mahatoruvat [from mahat cosmic mind + uruvat spaciousness] As spacious as cosmic mind, with the implication of the encompassing Boundless or parabrahman.

Mahatorvavat. See MAHATORUVAT

Mahat-tattva (Sanskrit) Mahat-tattva The first of the seven creations or emanations, the primordial self-evolution of that which had to become manifested cosmic mahat, the universal mind or infinite intellect — the collective hosts and aggregates of spiritual intelligences such as Brahma, the manus, the dhyani-chohans, etc. The Puranas enumerate the other six creations as 2) bhutasarga; 3) indriya or aindriyaka; 4) mukhya; 5) tairyagyonya or tiryaksrotas; 6) urdhvasrotas; and 7) arvaksrotas.

Mahavansa, Mahavamsa (Sanskrit) Mahāvaṃśa [from mahā great + vaṃśa lineage, race] Great lineage; a Pali work written by the monk Mahanama in the 5th century, treating of Buddhist history and its spread in Ceylon; regarded as an authoritative historical work.

Mahavidya (Sanskrit) Mahāvidyā [from mahā great + vidyā knowledge] The great knowledge, magic knowledge “now degenerated into Tantrika worship” (SD 1:169). This great esoteric science is possessed in its relative fullness by the highest initiates alone, as it embraces almost universal wisdom.

Mahavihara-Vasinah (Sanskrit) Mahāvihāra-vāsinaḥ [from mahā great + vihāra monastery + vāsinaḥ plural of vāsin dweller] Dwellers of the great monastery; a highly mystical Buddhist school of Ceylon, founded by Katyayana, according to tradition a pupil of Gautama Buddha. One of the three divisions of an early Buddhist school called the Sthavirakaya. See also JETAVANIYA

Mahavishnu (Sanskrit) Mahāviṣṇu Great Vishnu; a title of Vishnu. Source of the avataras of Vishnu. See also BIJA

Mahayana (Sanskrit) Mahāyāna [from mahā great + yāna vehicle] Great vehicle; a highly mystical system of Northern Buddhist philosophy and learning, in the main founded by Nagarjuna. Of the two schools of Buddhism, usually classed under the Mahayana and Hinayana or Theravada respectively, the Mahayana is usually called the esoteric and the Hinayana the exoteric. But due to human weakness, love of the eye doctrine, and misunderstanding of the rites and ceremonials enjoined, the exoteric teaching of the Mahayana in its popular aspects is stressed today; while its deeper, more mystical teaching has to a large extent been withdrawn into the charge of initiated adepts.

The Hinayana school is the oldest, while the Mahayana is of a later period, having originated after the death of Buddha. Yet the tenets of the latter are ancient indeed, and both schools in reality teach the same doctrine. The Mahayana system exists in different schools varying among themselves to a greater or less degree as regards interpretation of fundamental tenets which all these subordinate schools nevertheless accept.

Mahayana Sraddhotpada Sastra (Sanskrit) Mahāyāna Śraddhotpāda-śāstra Usually translated as “The Awakening Faith in Mahayana.” However, the word sraddha means more than simple faith — it means a certainty or confidence based on an unfoldment of inner experience.(FSO 45-6)

Mahayana-Sutra (Sanskrit) Mahāyāna-sūtra [from Mahāyāna great vehicle + sūtra textbook] Writings which treat of the Buddhist teachings as they were promulgated originally by Nagarjuna.

Mahayogin (Sanskrit) Mahāyogin [from mahā great + yogin a devotee of yoga, ascetic] A great yogi or ascetic; an especial title of Siva, although given to other Hindu divinities.

Mahayuga (Sanskrit) Mahāyuga [from mahā great + yuga age, period of time] Great age; in Hindu works, the 1000th part of a kalpa or Day of Brahma. The aggregate of the series of four yugas — satya or krita yuga, treta yuga, dvapara yuga, and kali yuga — constitute a mahayuga or an age whose duration is 4,320,000 terrestrial years. Seventy-one mahayugas form the reign of one manu, or 306,720,000 years. Taking the reign of one manu, or of a manvantara, and multiplying it by 14 (which represents the 14 manus who exist in one kalpa) gives 4,294,080,000 years. To this figure should be added the sandhyas (dawn) and sandhyansas (twilight) — 25,920,000 (there being a dawn and twilight between each manu), and the result is 4,320,000,000 years, or a Day of Brahma, which is one kalpa or 1000 mahayugas.

As used in theosophy, the progress of the life-wave through the globes of a planetary chain, from its first globe to its last, the life-wave passing through a series of seven smaller yugas or root-races upon each of the seven manifest globes of the planetary chain. The period comprises 4,320,000,000 years. Mahayuga frequently refers also to time periods less than that of the great cycle or chain-round above alluded to. For instance, the period of the seven root-races which form the passage of the life-wave through any one of the globes, is often called a mahayuga.

Mahesa (Sanskrit) Maheśa [from mahā great + īśa lord, master] The great lord, a title of Siva.

Mahesvara (Sanskrit) Maheśvara [from mahā great + īśvara lord, master] The great lord; a title of Siva. “The spirit in the body is called Mahesvara, the Great Lord, the spectator, the admonisher, the sustainer, the enjoyer, and also the Paramatma, the highest soul” (BG 96).

Mahoraga (Sanskrit) Mahoraga [from mahā great + uraga serpent] Great serpent; a name of Sesha, the great serpent of eternity, infinite time.

Maia (Greek) The daughter of Atlas and the mother of Hermes by Zeus; identified by the Romans with the goddess of spring, Maia Maieslas, also called Fauna, Bona Dea, Ops.

Maitra or Maitreya (Sanskrit) Maitra, Maitreya [from mitra friend, a name of the spiritual sun] As an adjective, friendly, benevolent, kind; the masculine noun refers to various individuals: a bodhisattva and future buddha; the god Mitra; with reference to human beings, a friend of all creatures — one who has arrived at the highest state of human perfection. It signified one of the perfect states of Buddhism, sometimes enumerated as one of the ten paramitas.

Maitreya is also a well-known Buddhist arhat.

Maitreya-Buddha (Sanskrit) Maitreya-Buddha Equivalent to the Kalki (white horse) avatara of Vishnu, to Sosiosh, and other Messiahs. Popular teaching states that Gautama Buddha visited him in a celestial abode and commissioned him to come to earth as his successor 5,000 years after the Buddha’s death. Theosophic philosophy teaches that the next buddha will appear during the seventh subrace of this round.

Makara (Sanskrit) Makara A kind of sea animal; the tenth zodiacal sign, Capricorn. Makara likewise represents a pentagon. The figure of the complete material universe is a dodecahedron, a figure bounded by pentagons. Makara represents both the microcosm and macrocosm, as external objects of perception. See also CAPRICORN

Makara-ketu (Sanskrit) Makara-ketu [from makara fish + ketu banner] The banner of Makara or fish-banner; a name of the god Kama because his banner bore a representation of Makara, the zodiacal Capricorn.

Makaras (Sanskrit) Makara-s The five words beginning with M that concern the lower tantric practices: madya (wine); mamsa (flesh); matsya (fish); mudra (mystic gesticulations); and maithuna (sexual intercourse).

Mal’achim (Hebrew) Mal’ākhīm Mal’achayya’ (Aramaic) Mal’ākhayyā’ [plural of mal’ākh messenger] Also mal’akhim. A generalizing term for messengers, ministrants, ministers, or angels in the original sense of intermediaries or mediators between the spiritual and the more material realms; hence it is applicable to all the ten classes of angelic beings of the Qabbalistic hierarchy. Applied especially to the messengers of God in the Bible, generally rendered angels, also termed Benei-’Elohim (sons of the gods). See also ’ISHIM

Malayak. See MAL’ACHIM

Malchuth, Malkuth, Malkhuth (Hebrew) Malkhūth Kingdom, dominion; the tenth Sephirah in the Qabbalah, the carrier or container of the nine preceding Sephiroth and the final and lowest emanation which includes all the potencies of the preceding nine. It is regarded as the base of the central pillar of the Sephirothal Tree. Its Divine Name is ’Adonai; in the Angelic Order it is represented as the Cherubim (Kerubim). In the application to the human body, as representative of the cosmic body, it is placed in or under the feet; while in the application to the seven globes of our planetary chain it is globe D. This Sephirah is termed Matrona’ or Matronitha’, the inferior Mother, the Queen and Bride of Microprosopus — the six or nine preceding Sephiroth. In one aspect it is the lower Shechinah [from the Hebrew and Chaldean verbal root shachan to dwell in, abide in] meaning dwelling or abode; whence the term kingdom as the dwelling or abode of all the inner authorities and powers of the entire Tree of Life or Sephirothal scheme. There is a divine or spiritual Shechinah, which is the veil of, as well as the abode or kingdom of, the spiritual monad; it is equivalent to the mulaprakriti of parabrahman, or on a somewhat lower plane the prakriti of Purusha, or again the pradhana of Brahman. Hence there is a good deal in genuinely Qabbalistic writings on the Divine Light or Life, which is the splendorous veil inclosing, covering, and manifesting the glory of the Hid One — what the Qabbalah calls the Ancient of Ancients or Ancient of Days, or what in theosophical philosophy is called the spiritual monad.

Male Principle or Masculine Principle One member of the primordial, universal duality which characterizes all manifestation, its correlative being the feminine principle. Other terms for this duality are Purusha and prakriti, spirit and matter, positive and negative, active and passive. Male or female, masculine or feminine, are attributed to cosmic principles merely because these principles, being universal and bipolar, express themselves throughout all the ranges of cosmic life. Since human beings and animals belong to the ranges of cosmic life, and in their present evolutionary stage are passing through the period of quasi-unipolar development which is called sex, its terms have been somewhat arbitrarily used in attempting to describe the bipolarity of the cosmic principles. Strictly speaking, these cosmic principles are non-male and non-female. The same descriptive habit runs throughout all theology, as when deities were described as gods and goddesses. In the Qabbalistic Sephirothal Tree some of the Sephiroth are paired, as are the aeons in the system of Simon Magus and Valentinus.

Ma-li-ga-si-ma (Chinese) The continent which legend relates formerly sank beneath the ocean’s waves. As related in a legend, owing to the iniquity of the giants in Ma-li-ga-si-ma, it was submerged with all its inhabitants, except the king, Peiru-un, who was able to escape from the deluge with his family, having been warned by the gods of the impending catastrophe through two idols. This king and his descendants peopled China.

Malkhuth, Malkuth. See MALCHUTH

Mallet One of the tools or insignia of the Masonic Fraternity; perhaps a survival of the svastika.

Maluk. See MAL’ACHIM

Malum in se (Latin) Evil in itself; inherently evil by its own nature, rather than by its accidents or relationships. The traditional Satan of theology is in fact not an inherently evil power, but a power antagonistic in its functions, and so called by the early Christians Adversary, corresponding to the Greek word diabolos. In theosophy nothing is considered evil in itself, the contrast between good and evil being a manifestation of duality. But this does not mean that there is no evil at all — that good and evil are indifferent, that we may adopt a neutral attitude in our conduct. In fact, to deny that evil is inherent is to affirm that it is relative; and as long as we live in a world of contrasts we have before us the choice of two paths, one of which is right and the other wrong. If it is true that all is comprised within the scheme of eternal justice and wisdom, it is also true that we cannot yet arrogate to ourselves the power to dispense such omniscience.

Mamitu (Chaldean) The goddess of fate.

Mammals The highest class of animals produced from man, himself a mammal, in this fourth round. The evolutionary plan, as regards the passing of life-waves around the planetary chain entails that so far as the human and animal kingdoms are concerned, in the fourth round man shall appear before the mammals on globe D of the earth-chain. The other stocks of the animal kingdom were at the beginning of this round represented by their various sishtas, as in fact man himself was. In each round after the first, each one of the kingdoms or life-waves on entering a globe of the chain, does so in its regular serial order.

The man of the second and early third root-race, though distinctly belonging to the human kingdom, was different from the truly human man of today, as much in his inner psychical apparatus as in his astral-vital-physical body. This body was then much more astral or tenuous than that of today, composed of life-atoms of all kinds, seeking manifestation and finding a temporary habitat in the human body, which thus becomes their host. These atoms were continuously entering and leaving the body, just as happens in the human body today, but with this difference — that the atoms which the human body throws off today are far more stamped with the person’s own svabhava (individual, personal characteristics) than formerly, and they are in consequence strongly and continuously attracted back to their human host, who is often their source. But in those early races the various monadic entities, which in their evolution were far inferior to the human monad, and each of which expressed itself through a life-atom, were in consequence far more free from the human dominating, almost tyrannical control, for then man had not yet acquired his present power of strongly impressing his own stamp on these life-atoms. The result was that in these early times each of these evolving monads with its life-atom vehicle on this plane could, when thrown off from the human entity, become the origin of a line of an animal stock, according to its own innate characteristics and potentialities. Thus were from time to time through the geologic ages generated the various mammalian stocks or phyla, each different according to the nature of the monad-germ thus thrown off, many of which were then able to pursue a course of evolutionary differentiation and specialization along its own particular line — each one unfolding from within its characteristics, expressing themselves in form and shape.

Thus it is seen how man precedes the mammals in the fourth round; but this does not apply to the non-mammalian animals, which were nevertheless evolved from the human stock in more or less the same manner during the preceding third and second rounds.

Occult biology also teaches that every monad which now has unfolded itself into the human stage, did at some remote cosmic period pass through all the lower kingdoms of nature as they then existed; even as the monads now finding expression in the elemental, mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms are undergoing the same process of evolutionary unfolding from within outwards and therefore are on their way upwards to a state equivalent in characteristic powers to what the human now has reached.

“The mammalia, whose first traces are discovered in the marsupials of the Triassic rocks of the Secondary Period, were evolved from purely astral progenitors contemporary with the Second Race. They are thus post-Human, and, consequently, it is easy to account for the general resemblance between their embryonic stages and those of Man, who necessarily embraces in himself and epitomizes in his development the features of the group he originated” (SD 2:684; cf MIE ch 12).

Mamo-chohans (Tibetan?) In theosophy, the lords of darkness and of the forces of pure matter — the dark and sinister spirits and operations of nature which are the activities of hosts of cosmic monads climbing slowly upward but as yet still sunken in the deep spiritual sleep of material existence. Hence mamo-chohans are unprogressed or unevolved planetaries or monads. The dhyani-chohans correspond to light, knowledge, and evolution; the mamo-chohans to darkness, ignorance, destruction, etc. “The Dhyan Chohans answer to Buddh, Divine Wisdom and Life in blissful knowledge, and the Ma-mos are the personification in nature of Shiva, Jehovah and other invented monsters with Ignorance at their tail” (ML 463). The dhyani-chohans preside at the opening and throughout every manvantara, while the mamo-chohans preside at the opening and throughout the pralayas.

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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