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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Paccera-yana. See PACHCHEKA-YANA

Paccham. See PACHCHHAM

Pachacamac (Peruvian) The ruins of an ancient wall in Peru, believed to be the remains of a temple, of Cyclopean style — large rocks of irregular size and shape fitted closely together, and similar to the ruins of Tiahuanaco (also in Peru) and masonry of Easter Island. “The oldest remains of Cyclopean buildings were all the handiwork of the Lemurians of the last sub-races” (SD 2:317), although the Atlanteans copied the Cyclopean style of the Lemurian buildings, so that some of the Cyclopean remnants are Lemurian in type, but of Atlantean handiwork.

Also “the name given by the Peruvians to the Creator of the universe, represented as a host of creators. On his altar only the first fruits and flowers were laid by the pious” (TG 245).

Pachcheka-yana (Pali) Pacceka-yāna [from pacceka for oneself or for the personal + yāna vehicle] Personal vehicle or personality, in contradistinction to the individuality (amita-yana); the Sanskrit is pratyeka-yana. In the sevenfold classification of the human principles, the personal ego or vehicle is a combination of the four lower principles illumined with as much of manas as the lower quaternary is capable of receiving and retaining.

Pachchham (Tamil) A period of 15 solar days, two pachchham forming one day of the pitris (or one month of mortals).

Pacis or Bacchis (Greek) Bakha (Egyptian) Bakha. The sacred bull of Hermonthis. Although not so celebrated as Apis and Mnevis, he was styled the bull of the Mountain of the Sunrise (Bakhau), and the lion of the Mountain of the Sunset. Like Mnevis he was depicted with the solar disk between his horns, the reference being not to the cosmic energy of the spatial Deeps represented by Mnevis, nor to the lunar energy represented by Apis, but to the opening (sunrise) and the closing (sunset) of the solar system.

Pada (Sanskrit) Pada [from the verbal root pad to turn the mind towards, observe, go or move forwards] A step, foot, sign, footing, abode; a part; a quarter.

Padartha (Sanskrit) Padārtha [from pada step, stride, foot + artha relating to a thing or object; purpose or object, motive or reason] The meaning of a word; also that which corresponds to the meaning of a word, hence a material object and even a man, a person. In philosophy and logic, used as a category or predicament, the Vaiseshika school and the Vedantins enumerating seven, while the Sankhyas enumerate 25. Blavatsky compares the seven padarthas of the Vaiseshikas to the seven attributes of the seven principles as follows: dravya to sthula-sarira; guna to jiva; karma to linga-sarira; samanya to kama; visesha to manas; samavaya to buddhi; abhava to atman (BCW 4:580).

Padma (Sanskrit) Padma The lotus, a flower which has been held sacred from remotest antiquity by the Aryan Hindus, as well as revered in other lands such as Egypt. Mystically, it was looked upon as an emblem of productive nature growing between the spiritual sunlight above and the water or the astral light below; or in a more general sense between spirit and matter. It has also other meanings, such as in India, of the prolific earth, and even of Mount Meru. The lotus is “a very ancient and favourite simile for the Kosmos itself, and also for man. The popular reasons given are, firstly, . . . that the Lotus-seed contains within itself a perfect miniature of the future plant, which typifies the fact that the spiritual prototypes of all things exist in the immaterial world before those things become materialised on Earth. Secondly, the fact that the Lotus plant grows up through the water, having its root in the Ilus, or mud, and spreading its flower in the air above. The Lotus thus typifies the life of man and also that of the Kosmos; . . . The root of the Lotus sunk in the mud represents material life, the stalk passing up through the water typifies existence in the astral world, and the flower floating on the water and opening to the sky is emblematical of spiritual being” (SD 1:57-8).

Padma-kalpa (Sanskrit) Padma-kalpa The lotus age; the last kalpa or preceding manvantara which lasted a Year of Brahma.

Padmapani (Sanskrit) Padmapāṇi The lotus-bearer; one name in Tibetan mysticism of the bodhisattva Chenrezi, equivalent to the Sanskrit Avalokitesvara. His female aspect is equivalent to the Chinese Kwan-yin. On the manifested planes Padmapani is “the progenitor (in a spiritual sense) of men. . . . He is, evidently, like Daksha, the synthesis of all the preceding Races and the progenitor of all the human Races after the Third, the first complete one . . .” (SD 2:178). Thus Padmapani has cosmic, terrestrial, and human meanings.

Padma Purana (Sanskrit) Padma Purāṇa The Lotus-Purana; one of the Hindu Puranas which contains an account of the period when the world was “as a golden lotus (padma).” The scripture, considered to be the second in importance of the 18 principle Puranas, consists of 55,000 slokas, and is divided into five books (khandas) treating of the creation, the earth, heaven (svarga), and patala, while the fifth book is a supplementary section.

Padmasana (Sanskrit) Padmāsana [from padma lotus + āsana seat, posture] The posture of a lotus; a yoga posture taken to develop concentration and religious meditation.

Padmayoni (Sanskrit) Padmayoni Lotus-born; applied to Brahma because legend says he sprang at the time of creation from a lotus which arose from the navel of Vishnu.

Paean (Greek) In Homer, the physician of the Olympian gods; in later times as Paion (Latinized as Paeon), transferred not only to Apollo as healer, but to his son, Aesculapius. Later it acquired a general meaning for a healer, then as a song of joy, praise, triumph, etc.

Pagan [from Latin paganus an inhabitant of the country, a villager; cf peasant] Heathen, the Germanic parallel in origin and meaning, was also used to distinguish an urban dweller or cultured man from a country dweller or rustic; and so both words became terms of inferiority and ultimately of reproach. Pagans and heathen, in recent European usage, are those who are not Christian, Jews, or Moslems.

Pahad (Hebrew) Paḥad Fear, terror; an alternative name for the fifth Sephirah, Geburah.

Pahans (Prakrit) Village priests in India.

Pahlavi (Persian) [from Old Persian parthawa Parthian] Also Pehlevi. The language into which the Zoroastrian archaic sacred books were translated. It was due to this that the Pahlavi literature was preserved, for, other than these religious books, very few works are extant, principally the Minoi-Khiradh and the Bundahish. It is also called Middle Persian, in contradistinction to New Persian and Old Persian, the language of the ancient Persians during the time of Darius the Great which already shows distinct changes from that in which the Avesta was written. Pahlavi was the language of the northeastern people of Iran (Parthians) who ruled over the country soon after the downfall of Achaemenids until 224 AD under the name of Arsacids. For about nine centuries this remained the language of the whole empire. Pahlavi belongs to the Iranian class of the southern division of Aryan languages.

Pai-wuen-yen-fu (Chinese) Also Pai-wen-yen-fu. A remarkable dictionary prepared in China: “the greatest in the world, full of quotations from every known writer, and containing all the phrases ever used” (ML 364).

Paksha (Sanskrit) Pakṣa One half of the lunar month, or 14 days. Two pakshas make a month of mortals, but only a day of the pitri-devatas (father-gods) or lunar pitris.

Palaemon (Greek) palaimon. The wrestler; applied to Herakles and Melicertes, a name of Phoenician origin, taken from the Phoenician divinity Melcart. Ino, daughter of Cadmus and wife of Athamas, flying from her husband, sprang with her child Melicertes into the sea; the gods out of compassion made her a sea goddess and her son a god under the name of Palaemon.

Paleocene Epoch. See GEOLOGICAL ERAS

Paleozoic Age, Era. See GEOLOGICAL ERAS

Palasa (Sanskrit) Pālāśa The tree butea frondosa, also called kanaka, “a tree with red blossoms of very occult properties” (TG 246).

Pali The language spoken in the north of India from and before the 7th century BC to about the 5th century AD. It is still the literary sacred language of Burma, Thailand, and Ceylon. There were two factors which made Pali one of the most important literary languages of the world: first, with the rise of the Kosalas into a kingdom, the language of its capital (Savatthi, in Nepal) become the form of speech almost universally adopted. Secondly, Gautama Buddha, being of Kosalan by birth, probably used the Pali language in giving forth his teachings, and therefore the subsequent philosophical writings of his disciples were similarly couched in this language.

Sanskrit, on the other hand, “was really the sacred language of the Brahmanas and held more or less private or secret by them. The Sanskrit even in those ancient times was the vehicle for the archaic Wisdom-teachings of the Aryan peoples of India, such as the Vedas, and the Puranas, and the Upanishads, and the great epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. But Pali was one of several other languages of culture in ancient India, all which were of so-called Prakrit character, although very little is known about these other literary languages. Pali has survived to the present time because . . . it became the linguistic vehicle in which were enshrined the teachings of Buddhism, i.e., of Southern Buddhism, much as Latin has survived because enshrining the teachings of early medieval Christianity. Just as there were in ancient Italy many other Italic tongues, each one having its literary or cultured form, and likewise its popular idiom, so was it in ancient India.

“Pali is not a ‘washed-out Sanskrit.’ Sanskrit was rather a mystery-language which was ‘composed’ or ‘builded up’ to perfection by initiates of the Sanctuaries; and because it was thus constructed into an almost perfect expression of human thought, at least for that day, it was called samskrita, which means ‘composed,’ ‘constructed.’ Thus Pali is not a true child of Sanskrit, but is and was the literary form of one of the ancient languages of India popularly spoken over an apparently wide stretch of the Indian Peninsula, . . .” (SOPh 694-5).

In the 3rd century BC the language used throughout Northern India was practically one, and it was derived directly from the speech of the Vedic Aryans, retaining many Vedic forms lost in the later classical Sanskrit. The basis of the language used in the Buddhist canon was that used in Ujjayini, the capital of the Avanti district. The chief doctrines of Buddhism are recorded in the works known as the Suttas (Sutras in Sanskrit) — there being four Nikayas consisting of 16 volumes; the fifth Nikaya being the Jatakas (birth stories of the Buddha).

Palingenesis [from Greek palin again + genesis becoming] One type of reimbodiment or self-generation, the transmission of an identic life in cyclically recurring phases, whereby at each transformation a new manifestation or result is produced. This result can also be called a palingenesis or new-becoming of the life-stream. The word is used similarly by Schopenhauer, who regards all phenomena as a continual and repeated palingenesis of one reality — the Will. Transmigration, however, means the reappearance of a living entity in different forms adapted to specific conditions.

Palingenesis does not occur in Greek literature, as far as is known; palingenesia is used in the New Testament for spiritual regeneration. With the alchemists the word meant the artificial reproduction of the spectrum of a plant from its ashes. In biology palingenesis means reappearance of ancestral characteristics, instead of new characteristics (cenogenesis).

Pallas Athene. See ATHENA

Pan (Greek) [from pa to feed, or pan all] Arcadian pastoral deity originally representing nature as a whole, about in later usage meaning the forms of terrestrial creative forces. In historical times, Pan was the local god of a pastoral people, venerated as giver of fertility to flocks and pastures; as guide to travelers; as healer, revealing medicine in dreams; as patron of song, music, and dance, as shown by the syrinx or pan pipes. Sometimes the name becomes generic, and in the plural becomes the Latin fauni. He was associated with the Roman god Faunus, and also Iunus.

Panchabhutas (Sanskrit) Pañcabhūta-s [from pañca five + bhūta element] The five elements — prithivi (earth), apas (water), vayu (air), tejas or taijasa (fire), akasa (aether) — in the exoteric classification, there being seven elements or mahabhutas in the esoteric reckoning. In the above sense, more properly called the panchamahabhutas (the five great elements).

Panchadasa (Sanskrit) Pañcadaśa Fifteen or fifteenth.

Pancha-kama (Sanskrit) Pañca-kāma [from pañca five + kāma desire, aspiration] The five desires or aspirations.

Panchakara (Sanskrit) Pañcakara [from pañca five + kara hand, side] Five-sided, five-handed; hence a pentagon. Synonymous with Makara (the tenth sign of the zodiac, Capricorn); “the five-pointed star or pentagon represented the five limbs of man” (Theos 3:42; BCW 3:327). The more common Sanskrit word for pentagon is paṇcakoṇa (five-angled).

Panchakosa (Sanskrit) Pañcakośa [from pañca five + kośa sheath] Five sheaths; according to the Vedantic classification of human principles there are five sheaths which enclose the divine monad or atman, which makes the sixth. The highest is the anandamaya-kosa, closely corresponding to the spiritual soul or buddhi; second is the vijnanamaya-kosa, the higher manas; third, the manomaya-kosa, lower manas with kama, making the human soul; fourth, the pranamaya-kosa, the vital-astral soul or prana and linga-sarira; and fifth, the annamaya-kosa, the physical body or sthula-sarira.

Pancha-krishtayas (Sanskrit) Pañca-kṛṣṭayas [from pañca five + kṛṣṭi race of men] The five races; referring to the five root-races of humanity which have thus far appeared during this fourth round on earth, our own being the fifth root-race. As krishti originally signified cultivated ground, then an inhabited land, and by extension its inhabitants, the term could likewise apply to continents; and in this sense the pancha-krishtayas would signify the five continental systems on which each of the five root-races found its respective home. See also PANCHA-PRADISAH

Panchama (Sanskrit) Pañcama The fifth of the seven primary musical notes of the Hindu scale. See also SHADJA

Panchanana (Sanskrit) Pañcānana [from pañca five + ānana the face] Five-faced; a title of Siva alluding to the five great root-races of mankind during this fourth round, which races Siva represents as the type of “the ever reincarnating Kumara throughout the [present] Manvantara” (TG 247). As this is the fifth root-race, the title also applies to Siva as the five-faced; and in the sixth root-race he will be called six-faced, for this reason.

Panchanga (Sanskrit) Pañcāṅga [from pañca five + aṅga division] Five parts, portions, or bodies; an almanac, calendar, the five divisions of such an almanac consisting of solar days; lunar days; nakshatras (the heavenly bodies); yogas (conjunctions); karanas — certain astrological divisions of the day, commonly reckoned as eleven in number, hence, calculations. One of the best known of the Hindu almanacs is the Tirukkanda Panchanga.

Pancha-pradisah (Sanskrit) Pañca-pradiśaḥ [from pañca five + pradiś continent, region] The five regions; the hymns of the Rig-Veda speak of these five great continents of the five great races or root-races of mankind.

Panchasikha (Sanskrit) Pañcaśikha [from pañca five + śikha crest] One of the seven kumaras who paid worship to Vishnu on the island of Sveta-dvipa, according to the Puranic allegory.

Panchasya (Sanskrit) Pañcāsya [from pañca five + āsya face] Five-faced, five-headed, five-pointed; as a noun, a lion, synonym for the zodiacal sign Simha or Leo, showing that the sign is intended to represent the five Buddhas or Brahmas — Isana, Aghora, Tatpurusha, Vamadeva, and Sadyojata (5YT 108).

Panchatantra (Sanskrit) Pañcatantra [from pañca five + tantra book] A collection in five books of philosophical and moral instruction often given in the form of dialogs between birds and beasts as well as humans. It was compiled by Vishnusarman about the end of the 5th century and is the original of the better-known Hitopadesa. The source of many familiar stories and doubtless the remote ancestor of Aesop’s Fables. It was translated into Pahlavi by order of Naushirvan in the 6th century; in the 9th century it appeared in Arabic as Kalila o Damna; it was translated into Hebrew, Syriac, Turkish, and Greek. From these, versions were made into all the languages of Europe, and it became familiar in England as Pilpay’s Fables (Fables of Bidpai).

Panchayatanapuja (Sanskrit) Pañcāyatana pūjā [from pañca five + yatana effort + pūjā worship] Five-effort worship; a ceremonial observance practiced by some Advaita Vedantists.

Panchen Rimpoche or Rimboche (Tibetan) [from panchen abbreviation for pandita chenpo from Sanskrit pandita pundit + Tibetan chen po great + Tibetan rin po che precious one] Precious great teacher; the title of the Tashi or Panchen Lama, the spiritual ruler of Tibet, who had his seat at Tashi Lhunpo. The second great incarnation (along with the Dalai Lama) of the Gelukpa sect.

Panchi-krita (Sanskrit) Pañcīkṛta [from pañca five + the verbal root kṛ to make, do] Made into five; used in Vedanta philosophy for an element which is combined with small portions of the four other elements. See also ELEMENT; TATTVA

Pandavarani (Sanskrit) Pāṇḍavāraṇi [from Pāṇḍava son of Pāṇḍu + araṇi figuratively mother] Matrix or mother of the Pandavas; a title given to Kunti in the Mahabharata. Similar to surarani (matrix or mother of the gods) because surarani is used for Aditi (space).

Pandavas (Sanskrit) Pāṇḍava-s [descendants of Pāṇḍu] The five well-known Pandavas were Yudhishthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula, and Sahadeva. Also Pandus.

Pandita (Sanskrit) Paṇḍita Often anglicized to pandit or pundit; a scholar, learned man, teacher, or philosopher.

Pandora (Greek) All-gifted; in Greek mythology, after Prometheus enlightened man by bringing him the celestial fire, the enraged Zeus revenges himself by seducing man, for which purpose he has Hephaestos create a woman, Pandora, endowed with gifts from the great gods. She is brought to Epimetheus, the brother of Prometheus (“after-thought,” the brother of “fore-thought”), bringing with her a locked box containing all human ills, which she opens from curiosity, and the ills spread over the earth. Hesiod calls her the first woman, sent as a punishment to man for his theft of the divine fire. It evidently means that as soon as he quits his passive irresponsible state and acquires active will and intellect, man subjects himself to temptations from the lower world. Pandora is an earthly aspect of all-bounteous nature; a later interpretation of the story of the box makes it the container of blessings, which however fly away when it is opened, leaving behind only hope.

Pandu (Sanskrit) Pāṇḍu The pale one; a son of Vyasa by the wife of Vichitra-virya. The brother of Dhritarashtra and Vidura, and the father of the five Pandava princes of the Mahabharata.

Pandus. See PANDAVAS

Panini (Sanskrit) Pāṇini The most eminent of all Sanskrit grammarians of whatever age, the author of the Ashtadhyayi, Paniniya, and several other works. Panini was considered a rishi who received his inspiration from the god Siva. Orientalists are not certain in what epoch he lived, some guessing 600 BC, others about 300 AD; he is said to have been born in Salatura in Gandhara, an Indian district west of the Indus. His grammar is composed in the form of 3,996 slokas or sutras arranged in eight chapters, the aphorisms extremely brief, and long study is often required in order to ascertain Panini’s meanings. Grammar with him was a science studied for its own sake, and investigated with the most minute criticism.

Pansil [from Sanskrit pañca-śīla from pañca five + śīla practice, behavior] The five moral precepts imbodied in practice which every Buddhist, layman and bhikkhu (or bhikshu), promises to observe. Taking pansil publicly is tantamount to becoming a Buddhist. It consists of undertaking abstinence from 1) injuring or killing any living thing (panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami); 2) theft or taking that which is not given (adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami); 3) immoral sensual enjoyment (kamesu michchhachara veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami); 4) false speech or lying (musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami); and 5) intoxication as tending to becloud and weaken the mind (sura-meraya-majja-pamada-tthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami).

Pansophia [from Greek pan all + sophia wisdom] All-wisdom, omniscience.

Panspermic, Panspermy [from Greek pan all + sperma seed] The theory that the so-called spontaneous generation of life is due to the omnipresence of vital germs. In theosophy, panspermy is the doctrine that every atom of the material world is essentially a life-atom, an entity possessing virtually unlimited powers of development or evolutionary unfolding, each individual entity according to its own inner characteristics or svabhava. See also SPONTANEOUS GENERATION

Pantacle or Pentacle An amulet, talisman, a geometrical figure so used. There is much confusion as to the derivation of this word, but it seems most likely that it comes through Italian and French from the root pend- “to hang,” and so is equivalent to a pendant or charm hung about the neck. From the fact that one form of pentacle was the pentagram or star-pentagon, the word itself has been connected with the Greek pente (five). The word is used specially in The Secret Doctrine to denote the pentagram or pentalpha. The Solomon’s seal is another pentacle, and there are many others, including the sigils of the seven planets.

Pantheism [from Greek pan all + theos god] According to Plato, theos is derived from theein (to move); hence pantheism may be defined as belief in an all-moving or all-living principle. It is the doctrine that the root-essence of the universe is utter divinity, that divinity pervades throughout and is the substratum, the inmost, of all beings and things — every atom, sun, universe, man, god. Theosophic pantheism excludes the idea that deity is separate from the universe; and while denying monotheism and polytheism when these two are regarded as being exclusive of each other, theosophy recognizes both as complementary albeit partial statements of truth. Everything that is, is a manifestation, in one degree or another, of the all-permeant, divine essence.

Pantheism, in its root-meaning, is thus the basis and cause of evolution, by which the inner divinity, the monadic essence, or the hosts of monads progressively evolve from lower to higher manifestation, because the same ultimate essence is the very heart of each.

Pantheon (Greek) A temple dedicated to all the gods; also, figuratively, the totality of the gods.

Panthera or Pandira According to the apocryphal Jewish writing Sepher Toledoth Yeshua‘ (book of the genealogy of Jesus), Jesus was the son of Joseph Panthera, supposed by tradition to have been a Roman soldier, and Mary; hence he was known as Ben Panthera (Panthera’s son).

Panthomorphos [from Greek panto all + morphe shape] Having all shapes, and therefore mystically the totality of manifested nature as including all beings, things, and shapes.

Papapurusha (Sanskrit) Pāpapuruṣa [from pāpa wicked, sinful + puruṣa man] A wicked man; used as a personification of all sin, or the type of a sinner. Esoterically “one who is reborn, or reincarnated from the state of Avitchi — hence ‘Soulless’ ” (TG 248). See also SOULLESS BEINGS

Para (Sanskrit) Para In philosophy, infinite, supreme; the final limit.

Para (Sanskrit) Parā Supreme, the ultimate bound or limit, applied to Vach (mystic speech). Vach is of four kinds: para, pasyanti, madhyama, and vaikhari. Para-vach is the heart and origin of every vaikhari or uttered speech. Para-vach corresponds to Brahman in the cosmos, for the cosmological and cosmogonical significance of Vach very closely approximates the Greek cosmic Logos (cosmic Word).

Parabrahmadharaka (Sanskrit) Parabrahmadhāraka [from parabrahman the nameless universal spiritual principle + dhāraka containing, bearing] Coined by Subba Row for that cosmic carrier or container of the divine, the link between parabrahman and any cosmic hierarchy. Thus dharaka here is equivalent to the cosmic hierarch.

Parabrahman (Sanskrit) Parabrahman [from para beyond + brahman (neuter) universal self or spirit] That which is beyond Brahman; the self-enduring, eternal, self-sufficient cause of all, the one essence of everything in the kosmos. It is before all things in the kosmos, and is the one sole limitless life-consciousness-substance from which starts into existence a center of force which may be called the Logos. In the Vedic cycle of writing it is referred to as tat (that) as opposed to the world of manifestation called idam (this).

“Parabrahman is intimately connected with Mulaprakriti. Their interaction and intermingling cause the first nebulous thrilling, if the words will pass, of the Universal Life when spiritual desire first arose in it in the beginnings of things. . . . Parabrahman is no entity, is no individual, or individualized being. It is a convenient technical word with conveniently vague philosophical significancy, implying whatever is beyond the Absolute or Brahman of any hierarchy. Just as Brahman is the summit of a kosmic Hierarchy, so, following the same line of thought, the Parabrahman is ‘whatever is beyond Brahman’ ” (OG 121).

The parabrahman of the Vedantists is likewise conceived of as an eternal and periodical law which causes an active and creative force to emanate from the ever-concealed and incomprehensible one principle at the beginning of every mahamanvantara or new cycle of cosmic life.

Parabrahmam is an unconditioned and absolute reality, and Mulaprakriti is a sort of veil thrown over it. Parabrahmam by itself cannot be seen as it is. It is seen by the Logos with a veil thrown over it, and that veil is the mighty expanse of cosmic matter. It is the basis of material manifestations in the cosmos” (Notes on BG 21). Parabrahman has the same relation to the Logos as our atman does to our karana-sarira; and parabrahman is the very foundation of the highest self.

Parabrahman is identical with the ’eyn-soph of the Chaldean Qabbalah.

Paradesa (Sanskrit) Paradeśa [from para beyond, above + deśa region, country] The region above or beyond; said to be the highlands to which the first Sanskrit-speaking people have supposedly been traced. More truly, the cradleland of the first thinking man. It is also the sacred land in Central Asia inhabited by the Dragons of Wisdom or initiates, and in this sense is synonymous with Sambhala.

Paradise [from Greek paradeisos from Old Persian pairidaeza from Sanskrit paradesa region beyond] Applied in Persian and Greek to a pleasure park or royal domain. A Hebrew version (pardes) is found in the Bible, translated “orchard” (Eccl 2:5, Cant 4:3) and “forest” (Neh 2:8). An equivalent is the Hebrew eden (delight). Stories of a Paradise or Eden are universal; and while the general idea is simple, its applications are complex. It is the state of innocence and bliss from which there is departure, and to which there is eventual return. This may apply to the human race as a whole, to particular races, to the lands they inhabit, or to the pilgrimage of the individual human soul.

Persian tradition places a Garden of Delight far to the north of Caucasus in the Arctic regions, where was the Imperishable Sacred Land whence issued a stream from the earth’s fount of life. Adi-varsha was the Eden of the first races and specifically of the primeval third root-race; the Eden of the fifth root-race is but its faint reminiscence. The Garden of Eden or of God (Ezek 31:3-9) was a home of initiates of Atlantis, now submerged.

The Eden in Genesis is a marvelous fusion of many meanings into one narrative, where the Adams of the various root-races are made into one. Eden was an ancient name for Mesopotamia and adjacent regions; and under that one name are comprised the meanings of an abode of initiates, a sacred land from which races emerged, and a goal of bliss in the future. The Eden of the Hebrew books, which Judaism, Christianity, and Islam alike have located in Mesopotamia and in the now sandy lands of Persia and Afghanistan, refers also to what was in prehistoric times a great and highly developed center of culture and the civilization which there had its seat, including a number of Mystery schools. When the changing cycles brought about a degeneration and final breakup of this seat of archaic wisdom, it was represented as the loss by the then human Adam — the then race — of the Paradise in which he had dwelt. Edens and Paradises always contain trees; and these, by one interpretation, signify the initiates in the sacred land, and by another they are the Tree of Life and the Tree of Wisdom for man himself. In the Qabbalah, Eden is a place of initiation.

In later times, the symbol of Paradise has come to mean a bliss of sensual pleasure, like the Moslem Paradise of the Houris, the Olympus of the Greeks, or Indra’s Heaven (svarga).

Parama (Sanskrit) Parama The highest or supreme in any series or hierarchical division.

Paramapada (Sanskrit) Paramapada Highest state or position; that which is not material but loftily spiritual, in and to which appertain jivanmuktas or monads who have attained freedom from karma; thus they attain the highest condition or state in any hierarchical sense. See also PARAMAVADHI

Paramapadatmavat (Sanskrit) Paramapadātmavat [from paramapada highest, supreme + ātmavat selfhood, partaking of the characteristics of selfhood] That which is of the very essence or nature of high spirit, bordering on the unconditioned nature of the hierarch. See also PARAMAVADHI

Paramapadha. See PARAMAVADHI

Paramarshis (Sanskrit) Paramarṣi-s [from parama highest + ṛṣi sage] The highest sages.

Paramartha (Sanskrit) Paramārtha [from parama highest, sublime + artha comprehension, aim] True or supreme self-consciousness; also a great mystic work, which according to legend is said to have been delivered to Nagarjuna by ancient initiates.

Paramartha, in the view of Buddhist initiates, is that final or ultimate goal possible of attainment in the present sevenfold planetary manvantara by the striving and advancing adept. When he has overcome, subdued, and transformed the characteristics of the lower quaternary of his sevenfold constitution so that he lives in the highest part of the upper triad — when he has attained self-conscious living in his own monadic essence — he thereupon attains paramartha or that absolute consciousness which, because of its freedom from all human qualifications or characteristics, can equally be called absolute unconsciousness. Expressed in another way, it is conscious existence as a nirvani. It is the state into which the upper triad of the buddha passes, once the buddha state has been reached. This entrance of the buddha’s higher triad into nirvana by no means inhibits his lower quaternary from active service in the world, for his lower quaternary, being washed of all the characteristics of ordinary personality and overshadowed by the buddha’s higher triad, is a nirmanakaya of high degree.

Paramartha-satya (Sanskrit) Paramārtha-satya [from paramārtha sublime comprehension + satya truth, reality] Absolute or sublime truth or reality; from another standpoint, the path of pure wisdom-knowledge, bringing individual freedom to the adept, in contrast with samvriti-satya (relative truth). When the adept has reached the first stages of paramartha-satya he becomes a jivanmukta (freed monad), delivered thenceforward from the unceasing round of peregrinating reimbodiments until the end of the kalpa. The Tibetan equivalent is dondampai-denpa.

Paramarthika (Sanskrit) Pāramārthika [from parama highest + ārthika true substance of a thing, real] Relating to a high or spiritual object or to supreme truth; real, essential verity; in Vedantic philosophy, one of the three kinds of existence: the only real or true existence. See also PRATIBHASIKA; VYAVAHARIKA

Paramatman (Sanskrit) Paramātman [from parama highest + ātman self] Supreme self; the self which is higher than the self of the human ego. In the human constitution, the paramatman is the three highest principles, with special emphasis on the atman; hence this arupa triad is collectively called the paramatman, the summit or flower of the hierarchy that is man. It is likewise the root-base or source of the atman of the arupa triad. Thus paramatman is that which is beyond or above even the atman (highest self) of any hierarchy, the First or Unmanifest Logos of the universe.

Paramavadhi (Sanskrit) Paramāvadhi [from parama highest + avadhi a termination, limit] Highest ranges; a place or loka of purely spiritual character where, according to Visishtadvaita Vedantists, bliss is enjoyed by those who reach moksha or freedom in spirit and complete liberation from the manifested worlds. This place “is not material but made . . . ‘of Suddhasatwa, the essence of which the body of Iswara,’ the lord, ‘is made’ ” (TG 249).

Paramita (Sanskrit) Pāramitā [from pāram beyond + ita gone from the verbal root i to go] Gone or crossed to the other shore; derivatively, virtue or perfection. The paramitas vary in number according to the Buddhist school: some quoting six, others seven or ten; but they are the glorious or transcendental virtues — the keys to the portals of jnana (wisdom). Blavatsky gives these seven keys as (VS 47-8): 1) dana “the key of charity and love immortal”; 2) sila (good character), “the key of Harmony in word and act, the key that counterbalances the cause and the effect, and leaves no further room for Karmic action”; 3) kshanti, “patience sweet, that nought can ruffle”; 4) viraga, “indifference to pleasure and to pain, illusion conquered, truth alone perceived”; 5) virya (strength, power), “the dauntless energy that fights its way to the supernal TRUTH, out of the mire of lies terrestrial”; 6) dhyana (profound spiritual-intellectual contemplation, with utter detachment from all objects of sense and of a lower mental character), human consciousness in the higher reaches of this state becomes purely buddhic, with the summit of the manas acting as vehicle for the retention of what the percipient consciousness experiences; once the golden gate of dhyana is opened, the pathway stretching thence leads towards the realm of “Sat eternal”; and 7) prajna (understanding, wisdom), that part of the mind that functions when active as the vehicle of the higher self; “the key to which makes of man a god, creating him a Bodhisattva, son of the Dhyanis.”

The six, seven, or ten paramitas have reference to the three fundamental grades of training in discipleship: six for the beginner, seven for the one who is more advanced, and ten which are practiced by the adept. A faithful following of these virtues is incumbent upon every disciple, and fidelity and perseverance in performance mark progress along the mystic way. The other three paramitas, making ten, are adhishthana (inflexible courage) that goes forward to meet danger or difficulty; upeksha (discrimination) which seeks and finds the right way of applying the paramitas; and prabodha (awakened inner consciousness) or sambuddhi (complete or perfect illumination).

Paranatellon (Greek) Rising up with; an astrological term applied to certain extra-zodiacal constellations which rise at the same time as the respective 36 decanates of the zodiac.

Parnassus (Greek) A range of mountains in central Greece, but especially its summits near Delphi, seat of Apollo and the Muses, sacred to Dionysos. Like other holy mountains, it was the abode of the chiefs of the communities of adepts. See also MOUNTAINS, MUNDANE; OLYMPUS

Paranirvana, Parinirvana (Sanskrit) Paranirvāṇa, Parinirvāṇa [from para or pari + nirvāṇa blown out from nir out + the verbal root to blow] That which is beyond nirvana; the period of kosmic rest (mahapralaya or Great Night of Brahma), lasting 311,040,000,000,000 terrestrial years. Likewise called the great Day Be-With-Us; the Egyptian Day of Come-To-Us; and the Christian Day of the Last Judgment which, however, has been materialized by modern dogmatism.

“The day when ‘the spark will re-become the Flame (man will merge into his Dhyan Chohan) myself and others, thyself and me,’ as the Stanza has it — means this: In Paranirvana — when Pralaya will have reduced not only material and psychical bodies, but even the spiritual Ego(s) to their original principle — the Past, Present, and even Future Humanities, like all things, will be one and the same. Everything will have re-entered the Great Breath. In other words, everything will be ‘merged in Brahma’ or the divine unity” (SD 1:265-6).

The kosmic pralaya is analogous to the death of the human being. The spiritual monads are drawn into higher ranges of being, to live and evolve, while the lower elements or bodies of the universe disperse as does our physical and lower psychological vehicles after death. See also PARANISHPANNA

Paranishpanna, Parinishpanna (Sanskrit) Paraniṣpanna, Pariniṣpanna [from para or pari + niṣpanna finished, completed from nis + the verbal root pad to come forth, ripen, accomplish] The state of having gone forwards beyond; philosophically, the absolute perfection to which all existences attain at the close of a great period of activity (mahamanvantara). It is identical in meaning with paranirvana, and corresponds to the Tibetan yond-grub.

Parardha (Sanskrit) Parārdha [from para away + ardha one-half] The half of a period which has passed away; the period of one-half of the Age of Brahma or a mahakalpa, which has already expired — Age of Brahma and mahakalpa being general terms of differing time lengths.

Parasakti (Sanskrit) Parāśakti The supreme force or great power. The entire universe is built of seven or ten prakritis, with their corresponding seven or ten purushas or cosmic energies. Parasakti, which in one sense is the highest of these seven forces, acts, like all the other saktis, not only on its own plane or in its own specific prakriti, but likewise extends itself throughout all the other six saktis or prakritis. For this reason every kosmic plane has its own dominant energy or prakriti or sakti; and yet at the same time contains those above it, and in undeveloped form those below it which flow forth from it in the procession of unfolding powers as evolution continues through the manvantara. Thus parasakti, which includes on the physical plane what we call light and heat, on its own primordial plane likewise produces the metaphysical origins of light and heat — the intelligent activity of the buddhi principle, signifying light combined with the vital warmth of kama or cosmic love (the Greek Eros).

Parasara (Sanskrit) Parāśara The Vedic rishi called the narrator of the Vishnu-Purana, also considered the writer of some of the hymns of the Rig-Veda. His commentaries on the Dharmasastras are often cited in The Secret Doctrine. He is said to be the father of Vyasa, who was the arranger of the Vedas.

Parasu-rama-avatara (Sanskrit) Paraśu-rāma-avatāra The avatara or descent of Vishnu known as Rama with the Axe who, according to the purely theological interpretation, terminated the Kshattriyas (warrior castes), which were disturbing and overruling the Brahmins (priestly and learned castes). Legends of avataras are based on cosmogonic, planetary, and even human history, and also on the principles of analogical repetitives in the unfolding aeons of time.

Paratantra (Sanskrit) Paratantra Used by the Yogacharyas to signify “that which has no existence of, or by itself, but only through a dependent or causal connection” (TG 250).

Parikalpita (Sanskrit) Parikalpita [from pari around + kalpita fixed from the verbal root klṛp to arrange, contrive, fix] That which is limitedly encompassed, that which is limited; error, the fruit of illusion. Parakalpita is spoken of as one of the great enemies of absolute knowledge.

Parinamin (Sanskrit) Pariṇāmin [from pari + the verbal root nam to change, be modified into] Changing, altering, subject to modifications.

The noun parinamana means bringing to full development, in relation to karma. See also APARINAMIN

Parinirvana. See PARANIRVANA

Parinishpanna. See PARANISHPANNA

Paroksha (Sanskrit) Parokṣa [from paras beyond + akṣa eye] Beyond the range of sight, invisible. As a noun, the intellectual or intuitive apprehension of truth by means of inner faculties.

Parthenogenesis [from Greek parthenos a virgin + genesis birth] A kind of reproduction, neither sexual nor asexual, where offspring is produced from a female ovum or gamete with no fertilization either by the individual itself or by another individual. It occurs even at present in certain primitive animals as a stage in a process of alternation of generation. An imperfect female individual is hatched from an egg laid by a perfect female after impregnation, and continues to reproduce its kind for several generations without further fertilization. Males may also be reproduced in the same way, thus affording the means for renewed sexual reproduction. An analogous process is known in botany, where a perfect embryo is produced without the intervention of pollen. As is the case with other methods of reproduction, processes which presently are restricted to organisms lower then man, were in earlier cycles normal for those beings which then formed the human life-wave.

Partsuphin (Aramaic) Partsūfīn. Faces, visages, aspects; used in the Qabbalah as an equivalent for ’Anaph (plural ’Anpin), signifying manifested worlds, because each manifested world is an aspect or face of an indwelling spiritual, psychological, and material group of hierarchical entities. It thus stands for the globes, collectively, of a planetary chain.

Parvan (Sanskrit) Parvan Also parva (nominative singular). A division or section of a book, such as the Mahabharata.


Pasa (Sanskrit) Pāśa [from the verbal root paś to fasten, bind] A snare, noose, tie, bond, chain, fetter — both literally and figuratively. Especially used in connection with Yama, the Hindu god of death, represented as carrying a noose. The Jains and Buddhists use the term for anything that binds or fetters the soul, e.g., the outer world of matter and sense. “As an emblem of ‘door, gate, mouth, the place of outlet’ it signifies the ‘strait gate’ that leads to the kingdom of heaven, far more than the ‘birth-place’ in a physiological sense.

“It is a Cross in a Circle and Crux Ansata, truly; but it is a Cross on which all the human passions have to be crucified before the Yogi passes through the ‘strait gate,’ the narrow circle that widens into an infinite one, as soon as the inner man has passed the threshold” (SD 2:549).

Pasht or Pakht (Egyptian) Pasht or Pakht [from pakat, pasht tearer, destroyer] The goddess of Pekhit, called the Lady of Ant and of Set, popularly looked upon as the punisher of guilt and remover of defilement. She was the female aspect of the lower cosmic Ptah — the intellectually creative principle — represented, because of her lunar attributes, as being a cat-headed or lioness-headed goddess, similar to Bast. As Lady of Sept (the star Sirius) she was identified with forms of Isis, Hathor, and Sekhet.

Pashut (Hebrew) Pāshūṭ [from pāshaṭ to uncover, strip] Stripped, uncovered; one of the four methods used by the Jews in interpreting the Bible.

Pass-not. See RING-PASS-NOT


Pastophori (Greek) Shrine-bearers; a class of candidates for initiation, especially in ancient Egypt, who bore the coffin containing the defunct — the sun god killed and resurrected — in the ceremony at which a candidate for higher initiation has to pass through the portals of death.

Pasu (Sanskrit) Paśu Any tethered or sacrificial animal.

Pasyanti (Sanskrit) Paśyantī One of the four kinds of mystic speech or vach, the other three called para, madhyama, and vaikhari. The pasyanti-form is cosmologically the cosmic Logos first made manifest.

Patala (Sanskrit) Pātāla [possibly from the verbal root pat to sink, fly down or alight] Nethermost, farthest underneath; the reference being not so much to locality or position in space, as to quality — grossness, heaviness, or material substance. The seventh, lowest, and most material tala. It is used in Hindu literature to signify the hells, underworlds, or infernal regions, or the antipodes or Myalba. The corresponding loka or pole is bhurloka. “Meru — the abode of the gods — was placed . . . in the North Pole, while Patala, the nether region, was supposed to lie in the South. As each symbol in esoteric philosophy has seven keys, geographically, Meru and Patala have one significance and represent localities; while astronomically, they have another, and mean ‘the two poles,’ which meaning ended by their being often rendered in exoteric sectarianism — the ‘Mountain’ and the ‘Pit,’ or Heaven or Hell” (SD 2:357).

Patala, from one aspect, corresponds to the lower hierarchies of the Gandha, elementals ruling the sense and organ of smell. This lowest tala is the sphere of irrational beings, including animals, having little or no sense or feeling save that of self-preservation and the gratification of the senses — attributes of materiality which might include a vast number of the human species. Patala is also the sphere of intensely human as contrasted with human-spiritual beings, and is likewise the abode of the animal dugpas, elementals of animals, and multitudes of nature spirits, all belonging to the bipolar planes of bhurloka-patala.

In Atlantean times, America was the patala or antipodes of Jambu-dvipa, geographically. In the Mahabharata, Arjuna as Krishna’s chela is said to have descended into Patala, the antipodes, and there married Ulupi, the daughter of the King of the Nagas or initiates.

The Hindu rishi Narada, representing one of the most recondite and still living spiritual influences on earth, is said to have descended in bygone times into the regions of Patala, and to have been delighted with what he found there. On his return to the celestial regions, he gave to the gods a glowing account of the beauties of the hells, stating that they abounded in everything ministering to luxury and sensuous delight. For precisely these reasons, Patala as the lowest of the talas, has been called the infernal regions or hell. To beings evolving in the spheres of matter, these spheres are extremely pleasant despite the pain and suffering that invariably accompany sojourn in all astral spheres, which the talas are. What the evolving entities lose in spiritual power, intellectual bliss, and higher faculty, is compensated for by the attachments and bonds of a sensuous character, tying them temporarily to these realms.

Pataliputra (Sanskrit) Pāṭaliputra The ancient capital of Magadha, a kingdom of Eastern India near the confluence of the Sona and Ganges rivers, identified with the modern city of Patna.

Patanjala (Sanskrit) Pātañjala The Yoga philosophy of Patanjali, which is classed as the fourth of the six schools or darsanas of Hindu philosophy. Patanjali’s Yoga Aphorisms contains many excellent precepts and much excellent advice, although a hatha yoga work, by reason of its reference to physical processes. When carefully studied, it brings about no evil consequences, but it should not be studied apart from the other elements of Patanjali’s philosophic work.

Patanjali (Sanskrit) Patañjali [from pata fallen + añjali palm] The founder of Yoga philosophy, also considered by many to have been the author of the Mahabhashya, a celebrated commentary on the Grammar of Panini. His date is assigned by some scholars as around 700 BC, and tradition considers him a contemporary of Panini.

Pater (Greek, Latin) Father; the seventh and last degree of initiation in the Mithraic Brotherhood.

Path. See MARGA

Paths of Wisdom or Ways of Wisdom Used in the Hebrew Qabbalah, especially in the Sepher Yetsirah (the book of formation) in which formation or creation is set forth in a series of numbers. The Zohar (iii, 290a), as well as the Sepher Yetsirah (1, i), state that Wisdom (Hochmah) generates or arranges all things by means of “thirty-two wonderful paths of wisdom.” The number 32 consists of the ten Sephiroth added to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet — the latter represented in the Zohar as the 22 utterances of the Divine Speech. Again man is regarded as being the synthesis of the 22 letters, which with the addition of the ten Sephiroth makes the complete synthesis of creation.

The idea in this curious mixing of alphabetic characters and numbers with living beings, such as the world or man, is that just as alphabetic characters are the structure of vocal speech, words, sounds, and therefore of the communication of intelligence made by words built of the alphabetic characters, so these characters symbolically stand for the elements of the universe: in either case in, above, and around the elements and principles of the universe there is the divine hierarchy, of which the element-principles are the outward manifestations or expressions.

Patriarchs One of the names given to rulers over men and racial periods. Chaldeo-Judaism has presented its gods as patriarchs. In the Qabbalah, the Sephiroth become the creators and afterwards temporal patriarchs, both of time and space. Mankind from the first root-race to the beginning or even middle of the third root-race, is ruled by watchers or guides; after, by patriarchs or demigods, heroes, etc., the names given to these different classes of overseeing entities varying in different countries. But the word patriarch has special reference to the genealogies in Genesis: Adam to Noah, the descendants of Noah’s three sons, the sons of Jacob. Those from Adam to Noah are given in two ways which do not agree; but, as is the case with Indian rishis, they are at times convertible and interchangeable. They represent, among other things, pre-diluvian races and ages; and if Adam be regarded as pertaining to the fifth root-race only, to pre-Adamic races. They are at different times chronological data, symbols of solar and lunar years, of astronomical periods, and even of physiological functions when applied to races, as in other symbolic systems of mythological belief. The number for Enoch is 365, which is recognizable; the sons of Jacob stand for the signs of the zodiac. We have here a fragment of the ancient mystery-language with its seven keys; a single name, for instance, standing for a person, a race, or an age, etc. The Sanskrit prajapatis (progenitors) is parallel in one sense, as are the Mazdean Ameshaspentas.

Paul A man by legend said to be of pure Jewish birth, of the tribe of Benjamin, at first a persecutor of Christians but who underwent a mystic enlightenment of which he speaks. His various letters prove that he was an initiate. He recognizes Christ — the Christos — as being principally the higher self in man, and strives to convey this truth to the minds of many congregations, adapting it to their power of comprehension. He evidently does his best to promote as high an interpretation of Christianity as might be possible among the varied and unpromising, and often indeed refractory, elements which he found at hand. His failure to mention the familiar gospel stories is due to the fact that the Gospels are of much later date. The brand of Christianity which has prevailed during the centuries would have been very different if Paul’s philosophic teachings had been taken more seriously, for they are in the main clear enough even without any esoteric key. Often they have been disfigured in interpretation, as in the doctrine of justification by faith and not by works, attributed to him. On reading Romans 3 with an unprejudiced eye, we find him insisting that man is not made virtuous by following the letter of the law and doing pious deeds alone, but also by pistis — a full realization of the truth and determination to follow it. This has become perverted into the dogma that man cannot be saved by any amount of good deeds alone, but must believe that Jesus died in propitiation for his sins.

A contrast has been made between the teachings of Paul and of Peter — respectively often referred to as the Pauline and Petrine theology — as representing pagan and Jewish Christianity respectively; and these two have been the occasion of controversies and attempted reconcilements.

Paurusha Pralaya or Manvantara (Sanskrit) Pauruṣa-pralaya, -manvantara [from pauruṣa human from puruṣa man] The death, or the life, of a human being.

Pavaka (Sanskrit) Pāvaka [from the verbal root to purify] One of the three personified fires, whether kosmic or human; one of the three sons of Agni-Abhimani and Svaha. Agni-Abhimani, his three sons — Pavaka, Pavamana, and Suchi — and their 45 sons, constitute the mystic 49 fires of occultism. Pavaka is the electric fire, or vaidyuta [from vidyut lightning], and is the parent of Kavyavahana, the fire of the pitris. See also ABHIMANI

Pavamana (Sanskrit) Pavamāna [from the verbal root to purify] One of the three personified fires, whether of the kosmos or man; one of the three sons of Agni-Abhimani and Svaha. Agni-Abhimani, his three sons — Pavaka, Pavamana, and Suchi — and their 45 sons, constitute the mystic 49 fires of occultism. Pavamana is the fire produced by friction, sometimes called nirmathya, and is the parent of saharaksha, the fire of the asuras. “In the metaphysical sense the ‘Fire of friction’ means the Union between Buddhi, the sixth, and Manas, the fifth, principles, which thus are united or cemented together; the fifth merging partially into and becoming part of the monad; in the physical, it relates to the creative spark, or germ, which fructifies and generates the human being” (SD 2:247).

Pavana (Sanskrit) Pavana [from the verbal root to purify] The purifier; often used for the wind. Pavana, as the god of wind, is said to be the father of Hanumat or Hanuman, the monkey king who becomes Rama’s helper in the Ramayana.

Pehlevi. See PAHLAVI

Peiru-un (Chinese) The traditional founder of China and progenitor of the Chinese peoples. According to legend this king, beloved of the gods, was warned by two oracles of the impending catastrophe awaiting the island-continent of Ma-li-ga-si-ma, which because of the iniquity of its giants sank to the bottom of the sea. He therefore set out with his family on the ocean and arrived on the shores of China. This is the Chinese version of the sinking of the continent of Atlantis.

Peling (Tibetan) Foreigner in general, but applied by Tibetans particularly to Englishmen; according to Mme. David-Neel, the Tibetans apply the term urusso and not “philing” to the Russians.

Penates (Latin) The household gods, or sometimes gods of the State, among the Romans. They were represented by images, to which honors were paid, and supposedly protected the hearth, home, and family. Aeneas transfers with great solicitude and piety the penates from Troy to his new Italian settlement. The universe is filled with hierarchies of intelligent beings, ranging from the highest to the lowest, in addition to those representing the organic kingdoms of nature. No nation of antiquity, indeed no people today outside Western civilization, but had or has its protective divinities of the home, field, mart, etc. Even in Western civilization the same undying belief finds expression in a thousand habits, customs, and ceremonies.

The idea of the penates underwent progressive change and possible degeneration; however, they undoubtedly belong to the great class of genii, whether of a family or of a State, and genius is anything from a planetary spirit to what the simple fancy of Medieval Europe called a fairy. Hence it is easy to understand how names originating in the ancient Mystery schools may pass down into times when people are more concerned with their immediate physical needs, as at present. The consistent testimony of all Roman antiquity shows that the penates were the guardian angels supposed to watch over and, if possible, protect the individuals to whom these guardian angels were attached by karmic bonds.

As men individually and collectively are integral parts of nature, they are connected with spiritual powers of which mankind is not only the offspring, but in a certain sense the representative on earth. The reverence paid to the penates by the Romans is a manner of tacitly stating that every individual and group, such as a people, is under the watchful supervision of their spiritual prototypes in the celestial realms.

Penetralia (Latin) [from pen within] The inner parts of a house, etc.; hence also a shrine or sacred chamber, a Holy of Holies. The original conception of the Holy of Holies was of a place of such purity and sacredness that none might enter save the high priest, and he only on rare and special occasions. It might contain no image or concrete representation of a divinity. Later, this pure conception was degraded to phallicism.

The origin of the reverence and often worship paid to the Holy of Holies by some ancient peoples lay in Atlantean religious magic. For among them, there were actual places of earth, or penetralia, of particular sanctity; because by working of magic these were actually filled or infilled with a presence of spiritual-divine character. Indeed, these penetralia among the Atlanteans were of two classes: places in which the presence of a divinity was actually there, so that it could be felt by sensitives and communication had with it by trained adepts; and similar penetralia but of the left-hand path, in which dark spirits of the earth were enchained and were consulted by adepts of evil. In later times when the secrets of Atlantean magic were largely lost, the custom of building a Holy of Holies continued to be as common as in Atlantean times.

Pentacle. See PANTACLE

Pentagon A five-sided figure, usually meaning the regular pentagon. Pentagon, pentacle, and pentagram are not always properly distinguished, and sometimes pentagon is used for the star pentagon or five-pointed star; but the symbolic meaning is the same. It is among other mystical references, a glyph for the number 5.

Pentagram, Pentalpha The five-pointed star, or star pentagon, called pentalpha by Pythagoreans because its corners are like five (pente) alphas (A). It combines the two and the three, or the first even number and the first odd number after unity, representing therefore on the universal plane the union of cosmic substance with cosmic intellect. As a union or unity of five elements it stands for the heavenly or macrocosmic man, and its five points correspond to the head and limbs of the human body; the same general idea lies behind the five wounds which Christians ascribe to the crucified Jesus. Sometimes the five-pointed star is drawn with a point down and two horns up, signifying the polar opposite of the preceding, the nether or material pole of cosmic life, an emblem of matter and black magic. The decad is produced by a combination of these two; and thus we may obtain a still more profound emblem of man’s dual nature.

It is likewise used for the number five, and thus represents the five root-races which have so far been manifested, and their corresponding five elements. The numbers of pi are given the form of geometrical figures, among which the 5 is shown as the pentagram. The number five plays an important part in mensuration and the proportions of the regular polyhedra, giving rise to the ratio of the golden section.

Finally, in theosophic symbology the pentalpha is frequently employed as the emblem of the true ego, the higher manas or buddhi-manas. It is likewise one of the emblematic figures containing one of the keys to the correct calculation of time periods, whether these be cosmic or terrestrial. It is quite a mistake to suppose that accurate computations of time periods may be arrived at by the simple arithmetical use of the number seven, whether by division, multiplication, or by a simple addition or subtraction; all such time periods are calculable solely on the basis of a correct knowledge of the respective uses of the five, six, and one.

Pentateuch [from Greek pente five + teuchos books] A work in five books; the first five books of the Bible, containing stories of creation, of a flood, of the wanderings and settlement of the Hebrews, and the so-called Law of Moses. To these is sometimes added Joshua, sometimes also Judges and Ruth. Jewish belief in the authorship of Moses was adopted by the Christian Church, but internal evidence has now caused this to be rejected; and the form in which we have the present Pentateuch is usually attributed to Ezra, who reestablished the Jewish religion after the return of the Jews from the Babylonian captivity. If he did not write it, he certainly rewrote it. For Christians, the literal acceptance of this work as being divinely inspired has thrown a dark cloud over their faith.

The Pentateuch forms part of one of the world’s sacred scriptures, being preceded by the Hindu, Mazdean, Egyptian, and Chaldean, counting only some of those well known to modern scholarship; so that we find the ancient teachings as they have reached us in a very confused and altered form. The Pentateuch is, exoterically, a collection of allegorical legends; but, in the light of the Zohar, the main book of the modern Jewish Qabbalah, the first four chapters at least of Genesis are a fragment of a highly philosophical page in archaic cosmogony. “Left in their symbolical disguise, they are a nursery tale, an ugly thorn in the side of science and logic, an evident effect of Karma. To have let them serve as a prologue to Christianity was a cruel revenge on the part of the Rabbis, who knew better what their Pentateuch meant” (SD 1:11).

If the Jehovistic portions are eliminated, the Mosaic books are found full of occult and priceless knowledge, especially in the first six chapters, even changed as they are and often veiled with thick garmentings of allegory. The Elohistic texts were written, according to the ideas of some Biblical scholars, 500 years after the date of Moses, and the Jehovistic 800 years. But these dates seem to be wholly arbitrary and repose upon modern Biblical speculation. Archeological excavations on the Biblical sites may or may not support to some extent the Bible narratives, but such narratives, at least those of the early part of Genesis, are merely the raw material for the later allegory constructed around them.

Pentecost [from Greek pentekoste fiftieth day] The seven weeks, or fifty days counting inclusively, after the Hebrew Passover. First fruits of the harvest were offered, and later the day came to be regarded as commemorative of the reception of the law by the Children of Israel fifty days after the departure from Egypt. The Christian churches have taken it over and regard it as commemorative of the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the apostles in tongues of fire, as recorded in the New Testament; and they have made it the seventh Sunday after Easter.

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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