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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Rootless Root The cosmic origin or womb of all, itself therefore necessarily without origin except itself — self-born, parentless. The name is applied to parabrahman, be-ness rather than being. “The One reality is Mulaprakriti (undifferentiated Substance) — the ‘Rootless root’ ” (ML 347).

From the Rootless Root spring forth into manifestation in ever succeeding and unending cosmic periods, the universes which are scattered like seeds over the limitless fields of space; but in and through this womb there is the ever living and working hiranyagarbha (golden germ or egg), signifying for each such manifesting universe its divine monad — its divine consciousness and intelligence. See also BOUNDLESS

Root-manu and Seed-manu Fourteen manus preside over our planetary chain during its life-cycle, there being two principal or round-manus for each round. The first of each pair, appearing at the beginning of a round, is called the root-manu; the second, appearing towards the end, before the intervening twilight or nirvana, is the seed-manu, who presides over the holding of the seeds of life until the coming of the life-waves at the beginning of the next round. The root-manu appears on globe A, the seed-manu on the seventh globe (globe G).

Root- and seed-manu, in certain relations, are spoken of as being respectively the prime cause and its accumulated final effect at the end of the round. As we are now in the middle of the fourth round, there have so far been seven principal or round-manus. By reason of nature’s analogical procedures, there is for each globe of a planetary chain a root-manu at the beginning of its several succeeding periods of activity, and a seed-manu at the end of the same; as being their spiritual offspring, the names are the same as those by which the principal or round-manus are known. This list of root- and seed-manus for each round is given in The Laws of Manu (cf SD 2:309): 1) Svayambhuva, Svarochi or Svarochisha; 2) Auttami, Tamasa; 3) Raivata, Chakshusha; 4) Vaivasvata (our progenitor), Savarna; 5) Daksha-savarna, Brahma-savarna; 6) Dharma-savarna, Rudra-savarna; and 7) Rauchya, Bhautya.

Vaivasvata is the primitive root-manu of our fourth human wave. Manu, insofar as the human life-wave is concerned, is not a man but collective humanity; yet it is likewise true that Manu is a spiritual individual — a difficult doctrine to grasp at first presentation. The name Vaivasvata is also used for one of the seven minor manus who preside over the seven root-races of our planet. It is this latter that among other peoples is called Xisuthrus, Deucalion, Noah, etc. See also MANU

Root-matter. See MULAPRAKRITI

Root-principle Generally, the spiritual or energic side of what is in its vehicular aspect called root-element, primordial matter or substance, mulaprakriti, or chaos.

Root-race The main serial divisions of the human life-wave on any globe of a planetary chain; for instance, the root-races on our globe D include the third or Lemurian, the fourth or Atlantean, and the present fifth. Each such root-race contains many and various races as the word is commonly understood. All the human beings alive today are part of the fifth root-race. Each life-wave when it has completed its cycle of seven root-races on one globe, transfers its life-energies to the next globe, whereupon begins the same sequence of seven root-races on that next globe. Thus each globe of a planetary chain has its seven root-races, which together constitute one globe-round, the whole set of seven globe-rounds completing one planetary round. See also RACE(S)

Root-race, First of the fourth round on globe D of our earth, composed of emanations of the lunar pitris produced by the processes of chhaya-birth — the ethereal lunar pitris emanated their own “shadows” or vehicles, as colossal ovoid bodies of tenuous astral substance, to us translucent, and having but rudiments or type of color. They were spiritual and ethereal within, and more condensedly ethereal outwardly, as yet possessing latent but not active intelligence, and therefore as yet having no speech; composed of all the elements, but as yet having no living intellectual fire manifest. Their habitat was the “Imperishable Sacred Land” around the region of the north pole, where they first appeared in seven more or less distinct but overlapping localities. Their method of reproduction in the earlier periods was by one form melting into its progeny. Later the race reproduced itself by fission; in all these cases there was no death to individuals, because the individuals became their own descendants, as is exemplified in certain elementary forms of life today. This race inhabited the globe when there was more water than land on the earth, and its destruction was by fire.

However, even in this first root-race in which individualized intelligence was not yet manifesting, because the forms were not yet ready to carry this intelligence, there were nevertheless certain representatives, the highest in the entire vast racial group, who were already intelligent because of unfolded manasic attributes, and who because of their more advanced state of evolution were enabled to build up an intermediary psychological apparatus of etherealized or tenuous character permitting the transmission of thought and intelligence from the monad into the physical frame. These intelligent entities, few as compared with the vast numbers of the mass, were the first manasaputric incarnations, and were therefore the highest and most evolved, and in consequence the leaders and guardians of the unintelligent multitudes of this race.

Root-race, Second Like the first root-race of the present round on globe D of the earth-chain, the second was astral, though somewhat more concreted, physicalized, or materialized. The bodies were unlike what is now regarded as human, bearing but vaguely the human outline of a gelatinous, filamentoid, jelly-like nature, as yet without evolved bones, organs, hair, or true skin. Reproduction was by budding, as occurs in some lower organisms today. About the middle of the race, these buds became numerous and the process became modified to one analogous to the casting off of spores or seeds, or to the exuding of drops of vital sweat. These beings were mindless and unmoral, innocent, guided unconsciously by their spiritual instincts, nevertheless largely under the sway of lower rather than spiritual impulses, somewhat like the animals of today. For as yet no intellectual fire from the manasaputras (sons of mind) had been communicated to them, so that as yet there was no working bridge of mentality between spirit and matter in them.

Root-race, Third A period when human evolution passed through a stage analogous to that of the third round, but qualified by the fact that it belonged to the fourth round. The date of the beginning of this third root-race is set at some 22 or 23 million years ago; and 18,000,000 years ago is given in theosophical writings as the date of the awakening of mind and the separation of the sexes at or somewhat after the midpoint of the third root-race. The latter date is collated, according to the geology of Blavatsky’s time, with the later Triassic and earlier Jurassic periods.

The geographical area was the enormous continent known as Lemuria and outlying islands, some even of semi-continental size; and, like the other odd-numbered races, in this geographical distribution the water-area predominated over the land-area, and its destruction finally came about through fire.

The filamentoid and boneless structure of the semi-astral human bodies at the end of the second root-race now thickened and condensed, separating itself upon a rapidly developing skeletal form into nervous, muscular, and other systems, combined with the appearance of definite organs, with specific functions, thus constituting the first truly physical human beings. The mode of reproduction at the beginning of the root-race was by the exudation from the surface of the body of vital “sweat” or cells, but with the hardening and specialization of the body itself, the production of the reproductive cells became localized in special organs and the mode of generation became oviparous; later these human eggs were no longer extruded as is the case with fowls today, but shrank greatly in size and were developed and fertilized within the body: first in a virginal manner, and then before true sex appeared there ensued a fairly long period of androgynous reproduction in which androgynous humans occasionally gave birth to individuals in whom one or the other sex predominated; and these occasional appearances, as time passed, became ever more frequent with the recession of androgyny, and the final appearance of true sex as it is understood today. This process extended over hundreds of thousands, and even a number of millions, of years.

More important, however, than these biological facts was the awakening of mind, of self-conscious thinking, inaugurated by the descent of the manasaputras who not only at first projected sparks of their own full self-consciousness into the innocent and unthinking humanity of that early time, but who likewise so stimulated the appearance of mind that the latter finally became common in differing degrees to the entire human stock. See also LEMURIA

Root-race, Fourth Often spoken of as the Atlantean, the name given in theosophic writings to the land-system which it occupied; it followed the third or so-called Lemurian race, not suddenly but with overlapping. During the fourth root-race humanity reached its greatest phases of materiality, especially since it occurred during the fourth round. The fourth root-race was roughly contemporaneous with what towards the end of the last century was called Tertiary times and came to an end in what was then known as the middle Miocene. Its total duration was millions of years.

The stature of the generality of the fourth root-race peoples was what would be gigantic to us today, which is one source of the universal tradition as to giants on the earth in far antiquity. Its earlier language was the monosyllabic type of the latter half of the third root-race, yet the characteristic speech during a large portion of its span was of the agglutinative type, inflected speech coming with the fifth root-race. The mode of reproduction was sexual, as it was in the latter half of the third root-race. After the fourth root-race had reached its zenith, certain unevolved tribes committed miscegenation with the most evolved of the then-existing simians, which were the descendants of a previous miscegenation of representatives of the third root-race with true monkey stocks. This second miscegenation produced a hybrid stock from which the anthropoid apes are descended.

There was an enmity lasting for ages between the benevolent and the selfish portions of the fourth root-race, which continued with the Aryan adepts of the nascent fifth root-race and finally ended in the triumph of the positive; but nevertheless the karma of Atlantean black magic even yet blights our own fifth root-race, for the people of today were imbodied as the humans of Atlantean times. Descendants of fourth root-race humanity even now are among the inhabitants of the earth, together with rapidly dying out remnants of the third root-race, and also various mixtures of all these.

During the fourth root-race on this globe D of the fourth round, evolution reached the middle of its course for this planetary manvantara, and the door to entry into the state of spiritual and intellectual evolution called the human kingdom was closed. All entities beneath the humans (and probably higher anthropoids who were in existence before that epoch) must await until the next succeeding round before even the highest representatives of the beast kingdom can pass on to the human stage. All subhuman kingdoms will show a tendency as time goes on to die out, because the monads of these kingdoms will go into latency for the remainder of the planetary manvantara; their chance for evolution into the human state will come again during the succeeding planetary manvantara. See also ATLANTEANS

Root-race, Fifth The human race at present on earth; the fifth root-race on this globe D in the fourth round originated from the seed-race of the middle fourth root-race and as the ages passed began to occupy the lands which have since gradually taken form in our present continental distribution. It is subdivided, like all other root-races, into seven subraces, and these again each into smaller divisions. The present predominant sub-subrace is the fifth of its fourth primary subrace, only a little beyond the point of greatest materiality of this root-race.

In one general sense, the fifth root-race actually comprises the many and extremely varied stocks which exist on the earth today, simply because they all live in the time period of the fifth root-race, although many of the stocks are lineal descendants of the last subrace of the fourth root-race more or less intermixed with what can be described as more characteristic fifth root-race stock. The Chinese, for example, although descended from the latest subrace of the fourth root-race, yet because of living in fifth root-race times are to be reckoned among fifth root-race peoples, of which indeed they are among the very oldest. The Semites in all their divisions are to be considered as an early offshoot of the fifth root-race, and not as a race essentially or radically distinct.

The fifth root-race is sometimes spoken of as the Aryan race, merely because the Aryans of India are an existing example of the earliest branches of the fifth, though the term Aryan is not in accordance with the various ethnological and linguistic distinction to which that name is commonly applied. The characteristic language of this root-race is inflectional, such as Sanskrit or Greek. The symbol of the fifth or Aryan race is “that which is its most sacred symbol to this day, the bull (and the cow)” (SD 2:533).

Root-race, Sixth The root-race which will succeed the present fifth root-race, sometimes called the Aryan race in theosophical literature because the Aryan Hindus were a part of the original first subrace of the fifth root-race. Care should be taken not to confuse the sixth root-race with the sixth subrace of the fifth root-race which was stated by Blavatsky to be in process of forming in America as seeds — the earliest pioneers, although already beginning to appear, will not be numerous for several thousand years. The preparation for the sixth root-race will take place during the sixth and seventh subraces of the fifth root-race in the Americas. When the time arrives, this future sixth root-race will be predominant on the earth, new lands will have appeared, and many of the present lands will be submerged. The surface of the globe will, in time of course, be entirely changed, and there will then be more land than water (as also was the case during the fourth root-race).

During the sixth root-race, humanity will not be gigantic in size (as were the fourth and third root-races), for spirituality will be on the ascendancy and materiality decreasing, so that at the end of the sixth root-race the development of spirituality will be parallel to what it was at the beginning of the second root-race plus, however, the added evolutionary experience gained during the preceding root-races. The characteristics of sex will gradually disappear, and humanity will be slowly once again becoming androgynous. Offspring will be born in a manner generally similar to that which prevailed during the second and early third root-race periods: toward the close of the sixth, mankind will begin to manifest the first appearances of reproduction by kriyasakti (propagation by means of will and imagination). Toward the close of the sixth root-race, humanity will be showing a steadily increasing tendency to evolve out of fleshly into more ethereal physical vehicles. These various changes are presentments of what will in the due course be established in relative perfection during the sixth round — coming events cast their shadows before. Indeed the sixth root-race will be as compared with our own fifth far in advance, spiritually, intellectually, psychically, and even physically; and the attainment by mankind of adeptship or mahatmaship will be notably more easy than is the case at present.

With the advent of each root-race a new cosmic element comes into proportionate manifestation, and a new physical sense apparatus appears: thus humanity in the sixth root-race will develop what is meant by a sixth sense. The fifth cosmic element (often named aether or akasa-tattva) will reach a development proportionate to the evolution of mankind during the fifth root-race in this fourth round; and after the same manner, a sixth cosmic element will make its appearance during the course of human evolution during the sixth root-race. Furthermore, just as a manushya-buddha comes to lead mankind in each root-race, so will one appear during the sixth root-race of the future.

Root-race, Seventh The seventh and last root-race of any round on any globe of a planetary chain. Reference is nearly always to the seventh root-race of the fourth round on globe D of the earth-chain. It characteristics are analogous on a smaller scale to those of the seventh round, modified by the fact that it belongs to the fourth round. There is a return to conditions of purity which prevailed at the beginning of the round; but this return does not mean a going backward but an emanative evolutionary unfolding to the point where the cyclic motion brings all things back to the same plane, but on a higher subdivision. The great adepts and initiates — referring here specifically to the seventh root-race on globe D of the fourth round — will once more produce mind-born sons immaculately, and there will be a race of buddhas, sons of god, the purity of the krita-age being reestablished (SD 2:274, 483). The invisible north polar continent will once more become visible, and the bodhisattva Maitreya will appear (SD 1:328, 470). A seventh element will appear as a presentment, not however to be fully manifested until the seventh round. In this race some of the greatest adepts will return.

Root-types In biology animal or plant species derive from seven, ten, or twelve primeval physico-astral root-types, being in the case of every kingdom the origins of the widely differentiated, greatly specialized individuals now found on earth. “Every new Manvantara brings along with it the renovation of forms, types and species; every type of the preceding organic forms — vegetable, animal and human — changes and is perfected in the next, even to the mineral, which has received in this Round its final opacity and hardness; its softer portions having formed the present vegetation; the astral relics of previous vegetation and fauna having been utilized in the formation of the lower animals, and determining the structure of the primeval Root-Types of the highest mammalia” (SD 2:730). Primeval astral man was the root-type of those early mammalians, from whom the anthropoids sprang by human miscegenation, although this does not apply to the animals beneath the mammals.

The point at issue between theosophic teachings and modern evolutionary theory is that species cannot be traced back to a unitary physical origin; instead, a number of types appeared on the physical planes, coming from the astral, through intermediate astro-physical stages, and each type proceeding to differentiate physically in response to physical conditions.

Ropt (Icelandic) [from hroptr crier, prophet (cf hroptatyr crier of the gods), slandered, maligned] In Norse mythology, the name by which Odin is known in Valhalla where his heroes, the One-harriers, are brought by the Valkyries when they have been “slain” on the field of battle. As the initiator or higher self of any human aspirant, Odin is said to be maligned for he not only instructs and inspires, he also subjects the soul to the severe testing it must undergo before it can be admitted to the Hall of the Elect (Valhalla). Hence only the successful initiate recognizes Odin as Ropt.

Rose-croix. See ROSICRUCIANS

Rosicrucians [from Latin rosa rose + crux cross] Rosy cross or rose cross, referring to the cross of the rose, the general medieval idea of the rose being an emblem of divine love, and the cross of renunciation and self-conquest. A medieval European mystical and quasi-occult fraternity, probably dating from about the mid-15th century. It represented one of the many cyclic attempts to reintroduce and keep alive the ancient wisdom, and its history is typical of most such enterprises. The name was first given to the disciples of a learned adept, Christian Rosenkreuz, the alleged surname itself being a German translation of rose-cross, leaving open whether Rosenkreuz was actually a family name or a surname mystically adopted to designate a particular body of mystical thought; the name Christian may be another such mystical name-adoption. At any rate, Rosenkreuz returned form a journey in Asia and founded a mystical order in Europe. He and his disciples encountered the determined opposition of the Christian Church which then held sway over so much of Europe. He dressed up his teachings in a Christian garb, using such names as Jehovah as screens for the real meaning, and communicating to his disciples the keys for an interpretation of his doctrines. He founded no formal association and built no colleges, for the utmost secrecy was necessary to escape persecution and even death. It is for these reasons that the true history of the Rosicrucians is so difficult to trace. The original Rosicrucians were fire-philosophers, successors of the theurgists and the Magi.

The symbol of a cross within a circle, supposed to represent a rose with a cross in it, is really a perversion by Western Christian Qabbalists, who call it the great mystery of occult generation, whereas the true symbol of the reawakening of the universe is a circle with a point in it, and the circle with a cross is the true mundane cross. The real symbol of the Rosicrucians is that of a pelican tearing open its breast to feed its seven little ones — the symbol of the 18th degree of the order. The rosy cross is the cube unfolded (cf SD 2:19, 80, 601). Many associations, since the disappearance of the medieval Rosicrucians, have existed and still exist, who have borrowed the name and apparently as much of the Rosicrucians’ teachings as they could understand. Blavatsky mentions Paracelsus as having been a true Rosicrucian, and Eliphas Levi as having had access to Rosicrucian manuscripts.

Ro-stan Re-stau (Egyptian) “Book of the Mysteries of Rostan; an occult work in manuscript” (TG 280).


Rotae (Latin) Wheels, referring to the animating principles of the stars and planets; the Hebrew is ’ophanim (wheels), much used in Ezekiel in relation to cosmogony. Absolute motion, which during pralaya is consciousness pulsating in every atom, tends at the awakening of a new cosmic Day to become circular, thus becoming a center of force and called a wheel, the nuclei around which worlds are built. This would indicate that the circular motions of heavenly bodies are primary and intrinsic and not a result of rectilinear forces alone, which are merely components into which the circular motion has been resolved, agreeably to a proposed dynamical system. See also ROTATION

Rotation Circular motion seems to be a primary attribute of monads — cosmic, planetary, or atomic. The modern dynamic system of the universe will not solve the problem until it is recognized that physical forces are but manifestations of the intelligence of living beings — intracosmic and not extracosmic — forming the body of nature itself. The speed of the earth’s axial rotations has varied concurrently with changes in the inclination of its axis — which suggests gyroscopic action due to force external to the earth, but not external in the sense of being systemically distinct. Such a slackening of rotational speed caused the break-up of the Lemurian continent into smaller pieces. This cannot be the same as the alleged exceedingly slow secular retardation due to tidal friction.

Round In connection with a planetary chain, when the life-wave of any planet passes through the seven root-races of one of its globes, this is called a globe-round. But the life-wave also passes in turn through the seven or twelve globes, beginning with globe A, and after an interglobal rest, passes to globe B, on the next lower subplane, then to globe C in similar manner, and following it, to globe D, which is on the lowest plane for that planetary chain. Rising then it in like manner passes through the three higher globes, E, F, and G. The circuit of these seven or twelve globes is called a planetary round, after which there is a planetary or chain-nirvana before the second round begins, which is made on a more advanced degree of evolution than was the first round.


Seven planetary rounds equal one kalpa, manvantara, or Day of Brahma. When seven planetary rounds (49 globe-rounds) have been thus accomplished, there ensues a still higher nirvana than that occurring between globes G and A after each planetary round. This higher nirvana is coincident with what is called a pralaya of that planetary chain, which lasts until a new planetary chain forms, containing the same hosts of living beings as on the preceding chain.

When seven such planetary chains with their various kalpas or manvantaras and pralayas have passed away, this sevenfold grand cycle is one solar manvantara, and then the solar system sinks into the solar or cosmic pralaya.

There are outer rounds and inner rounds. An inner round comprises the passage of the life-wave in any one planetary chain once from globe A to G, or from the first globe to the twelfth, and this takes place seven or twelve times in a planetary manvantara. The outer round comprises the passage of the entirety of a life-wave of a planetary chain along the circulations of the solar system, from one of the seven sacred planets to another, and in a specific serial order; and this seven or twelve times. Outer round can refer to two different events: the grand outer round, during which the spiritual monad makes a stay of varying length in each planetary chain; and the minor or small outer round, which is the post-mortem journey of the monad, after the death of an individual, to each of the planetary chains, but in this latter case its stay in each chain is relatively short. See also INNER ROUND; OUTER ROUND

Round, First The first evolutionary cycling of the monadic hosts through all the globes of the planetary chain. A globe-round consists of seven respective circlings by the life-wave on one of the globes of the planetary chain: in the case of the human life-wave these circlings are termed the root-races.

In the case of the first round, the evolutionary procedure is different from all later rounds because the monadic hosts must themselves fashion the outlines of their houses of life — these houses becoming the globes of the planetary chain. Thus, when the first host has completed its seven circlings on globe A, the greater portion of the monads — termed the surplus of lives — descend from globe A by attraction to the waiting laya-center on the second cosmic plane. Through this laya-center globe B comes into the first phases of manifestation, as the first host proceeds to go through its seven evolutionary circlings there. When the seventh turn is completed, then the surplus of lives of this first monadic host descends to the laya-center on a still lower cosmic plane, where globe C-to-be begins its first outlines of manifestation. In like manner the remaining globes of the chain are formed — globes D, E, F, . . . Z. Each of the ten hosts individually thus leaves its own characteristic pattern or attribute in and on each globe.

In the first round, the highest monadic host works with the lowest monadic kingdom to produce the initial framework of each globe in turn, laying the foundations for all the intermediate monadic hosts to build upon in completing what finally becomes the fully manifested globes. Thus every monadic host contributes its own characteristic elements to every one of the globes during the first round, as the monadic hosts or life-waves follow each other in serial order in passing through the waiting laya-centers. In this way, the globes themselves become fit habitats for their respective classes of dwellers or life-waves.

The monads of the human kingdom passed through all the forms and kingdoms during the first round. In the first root-race of the first round on globe D (our earth), man was highly ethereal and, although necessarily what we would call non-intellectual, nevertheless spiritual.

The globes of the earth-chain during their first round were in their first or elementary rupa stage, a condition entirely different from anything commonly known today. For during the first round — which followed upon three preliminary elemental rounds — one cosmic element was developed, namely that of fire. Manifested material fire as we know it had not appeared, but this first fire could be described as cool and luminous. Thus even the grossest globe (globe D), although formed into a sphere, was without solidity or other quality than a cold radiance. The other cosmic elements developed in similar fashion in succeeding rounds.

Round, Second The evolutionary course of the life-waves once around the entire planetary chain is termed a round. A noteworthy difference between the first round and all succeeding rounds is that during the first round all the vestures of various kinds used by the evolving monads, whether grouped as life-waves or not, were constructed as elementary outlines, the monads pursuing their first cycling by building forms of a spiritual-ethereal character. This applies not only the globes of a planetary chain themselves, but to the various bodies in which the individual monads of the life-waves manifest. Some of these bodies remain on each globe of the chain and become sishtas (remainders) when their respective life-waves pass to the next succeeding globe; and this procedure began during the first round. These remaining vestures or sishtas are ready as evolutionary type-forms when the incoming monads of the life-waves re-enter the different globes after having passed around the chain. These returning monads of the life-waves imbodying themselves in and through the sishtas, are the beginnings of the different root-races on each globe. Evolution proceeds through this process after the end of the first round, thus avoiding what would have otherwise been the need of the monads of the incoming life-waves to build bodies from the ground up — the sishtas being relatively highly evolved vehicles waiting for the pioneer monads of the various life-waves.

Referring to the status of the human kingdom in the second round, man “is still gigantic and ethereal, but growing firmer and more condensed in body — a more physical man, yet still less intelligent than spiritual; for mind is a slower and more difficult evolution than the physical frame and the mind would not develop as rapidly as the body” (ML 87).

During the second round even globe D of the earth-chain had not attained its present coarse consistency but was of an ethereal nature, although more dense and heavy than during the first round. Its characteristic was airy — that element, “the purity of which would ensure continuous life to him who would use it. . . . From the second Round, Earth — hitherto a foetus in the matrix of Space — began its real existence: it had developed individual sentient life, its second principle” (SD 1:260).

“Matter in the second Round . . . may be figuratively referred to as two-dimensional. . . . equivalent to the second characteristic of matter corresponding to the second perceptive faculty or sense of man. But these two linked scales of evolution are concerned with the processes going on within the limits of a single Round” (SD 1:252). There is also a correspondence between the evolutionary development of the human principles and the rounds, so that the second round sees the development of the second human principle in its sevenfold or twelvefold aspects.

Round, Third During the third cycling of the monadic hosts or life-waves around the globes of a planetary chain, the same general trend is pursued as in the second round, but with the added development of a third factor in the evolutionary pilgrimage. Globe D of the earth-chain had not yet attained its present coarse consistency, for the third element-principle (water) was in process of evolutionary development; thus the globe was characteristically of a watery nature.

At that period even the more evolved monads of the lunar chain, representing and leading the human kingdom, had but reached the state of “presentments of men,” having huge ape-like forms; yet they were not apes in any sense of the word, for what we know now as monkeys and apes were of far later development as partial offsprings from the human stock, which took place during the present fourth round. These third round men were “no fit rupa for the Brothers of the Fifth” (SD 2:57) — referring to the fifth class of monads or manasaputras.

At the end of the third round, there were forerunning monads who were already human in nature and characteristic, and who were leading the way towards the true humanity of the fourth round, and therefore were the guides of the less progressed human monads when it became the latter’s turn to incarnate during the fourth round. These advance-guard monads are sometimes termed the Sons of Yoga. As intellectual and moral responsibility appears in the evolving human monads only when mind enters the picture — which occurred for the majority of the human monads only during the third root-race of the fourth round — during the third round few monads had reached the stage of true intellectual and moral responsibility; and during the second round even these forerunners were themselves unfolding the powers and responsibilities of mind and of choice. During the third round: “He had now a perfectly concrete or compacted body; at first the form of a giant ape, and more intelligent (or rather cunning) than spiritual. For in the downward arc he has now reached the point where his primordial spirituality is eclipsed or over-shadowed by nascent mentality. In the last half of this third round his gigantic stature decreases, his body improves in texture . . . and he becomes a more rational being — through still more an ape than a Deva man” (ML 87-8) — that is, manas (mind) was not yet functioning. Thus while the third-round forerunners may be considered truly human, the great bulk of the human kingdom was still but in the elemental stages of intellectual and moral responsibility. Mind was only just beginning to show itself, and hence the humans were rather cunning than intellectual, instinctual rather than spiritual.

Another phase of evolution of the life-waves during the third round was the great outflow of differing animal forms which took place, due to the immense pressure of the inner urge of the various life-centers to express themselves in their respective phases of evolutionary unfolding. However, what we now call the mammalian stocks were a much later development, for these appeared during the fourth round; though there were forerunners even of the mammalia during the last part of the third round. Furthermore, all of these various stocks or groups of evolving beings originated in astral types thrown off by third round man. The present “amphibia, birds, reptiles, fishes, etc., are the resultants of the Third Round, astral fossil forms stored up in the auric envelope of the Earth and projected into physical objectivity subsequent to the deposition of the first Laurentian rocks” (SD 2:684) when this took place during the fourth round.

Round, Fourth The circling of each life-wave around the globes of a planetary chain for the fourth time is its fourth round. The midpoint of the fourth round is the turning point for this planetary manvantara. Before this point the monadic hosts pursue their gyrations downwards on the descending arc, karmically evolving material vestures from within the womb of spirit. During the fourth round on globe D, during the fourth root-race, the midway point of this manvantara is reached, for the lowest point in the descent of the life-waves then takes place, and thereafter the monads begin evolving upwards on the ascending arc: the involution of matter and evolution of spirit.

What are termed the geologic eras are the product of nature’s evolutionary forces at work during our present fourth round; and every one of the globes of the chain, including globe D, was of characteristically somewhat different aspect and consistency during each of the three previous rounds. Each round develops a cosmic principle, and the fourth principle, earth, is in process of developing during the fourth round (the three previous rounds having developed fire, air, and water) — these elements are not to be understood in their popular meaning, but in the sense in which they are used in archaic philosophy. Thus the fourth round “transformed the gaseous fluids and plastic form of our globe into the hard, crusted, grossly material sphere we are living on” (SD 1:260).

Naturally the geologic changes which the globe underwent up to our own time, took many, many millions of years; for example, sedimentation on globe D in this round began more than 320 million years ago. Sedimentation refers to the appearance of the mineral life-wave on globe D after preliminary work during the fourth round had been accomplished by the three preceding elemental kingdoms. After the mineral kingdom had run through its septenary cycling, then its surplus of life passed to the succeeding globe E, and the life-wave of the vegetable kingdom made its appearance on globe D; after the vegetable life-wave came the animal; and after the animal appeared the human, which in its turn will be followed by the life-waves of the three dhyani-chohanic kingdoms.

At the beginning of the human stage of the fourth round on globe D, the lunar pitris or human monads projected their astral doubles from the bodies which these pitris had evolved during the third round, and “it is this subtle, finer form, which serves as the model round which Nature builds physical man” (SD 1:180). The human life-wave has completed its fourth root-race on this globe and has now reached the midpoint of its fifth root-race. The point of man’s grossest physical development has already been passed and his body henceforth will evolve along the lines of increasing refinements and ethereality.

During the fourth round the fourth principle kama (desire) will be fully developed, both in man and in the world. Man became truly human with the intellectual enlightenment of early mankind in this round through the descent of the manasaputras. This great event occurred during the third root-race.

In regard to the beast kingdom, at the midway point in the manvantara, the “door” to the human kingdom automatically closed, for then began the ascending arc: i.e., all monads not reaching the evolutionary status where they were able to pursue their evolution by entering the human kingdom must thereafter remain in the lower kingdoms for the three and one-half rounds still to come. The mammalian beasts all appeared in this round, but the first mammal on this globe was man himself, as the mammalian beasts were very early off-throwings or specializations from offthrowings originating in the human stock.

As to the vegetable kingdom, vegetation began in its ethereal form before what is termed the Primordial Epoch, continuing on through the Primary Era, during which it condensed, to our own time. It reached its fullest physical efflorescence in the early part of the Secondary, and probably even during the middle and later Primary, where the great coal deposits are now found.

Round, Fifth The fifth circling of the monadic hosts around the globes of a planetary chain. As mankind is now in the fifth root-race of the fourth round, on the fourth or globe D of the seven manifested globes of the earth-chain, the period before the beginning of the fifth round is hundreds of millions of years in the future. Nevertheless a few fifth rounders have been able to manifest on our globe as forerunners, the most evolved individuals of the human life-wave. Sixth rounders, however, are excessively rare.

Every round brings about a new evolutionary development on every one of the globes of the earth-chain, and a fundamental change in the physical, psychic, mental, intellectual, and spiritual constitution of man. The manas principle (the fifth or intellectual principle) will be fully developed at the end of the fifth round, and corresponding aspects of the human constitution will be evolved in minor degree during the sixth and seventh root-races of the fourth round. Although the vast majority of human beings in that future round will be far more evolved than is the present-day or fourth round mankind, nevertheless during the fifth round on this globe will occur what theosophical literature calls the moment of choice. At that time the monads which will continue to rise on the ascending arc must have reached a certain point in their unfolding evolution enabling them successfully to pursue their upward evolutionary journey towards spirit. Those monads who shall not have reached this evolutionary status, and who therefore are not able to continue the upward arc, must perforce wait for the future manvantara, a loss in evolutionary opportunity and in time of many hundreds of millions of years.

Every round also brings forth in evolutionary development a cosmic element-principle, and the fifth round will bring into manifestation the fifth cosmic element, aether, which will at that time even be semi-manifest in the globe’s atmosphere. Then will permeability characterize the matter of our globe so that the then dense forms will appear to human perceptions somewhat as of the nature of a close and dense fog. The fifth element will then be the dominating influence of the fifth round.

Round, Sixth The sixth circling of the life-waves around the globes of a planetary chain. Following the serial evolution of the cosmic element-principles which have been developed on the five previous rounds, the sixth cosmic element will come into manifestation; but no hint as to its nature is given other than its name — purusha-sakti (ML 91). “From the second Round, Earth — hitherto a foetus in the matrix of Space — began its real existence: it had developed individual sentient life, its second principle [air]. The second corresponds to the sixth (principle); the second is life continuous, the other, temporary” (SD 1:260).

In the humanity of that far-off time, the sixth principle (buddhi) will come into relatively full development. Mankind then will become a family of buddhas — for Gautama Buddha is known as a sixth rounder. Even the human physical body will have become greatly changed, and towards the end of the round will be an ovoid or globe emitting light.

Round, Seventh The final manifested round in the evolutionary life cycle of the life-waves coursing around a planetary chain. While little can be said regarding the condition of mankind in the seventh round, humans of the seventh round will have successfully become one with their sixth principle (buddhi); and as the seventh principle (atman) will be predominant in the seventh round, life on earth should then be glorious beyond present understanding. Only in the seventh root-race and in the seventh round will human beings truly and finally have become fully evolved septenary beings: then will they have attained the evolutionary status of dhyani-chohanship.

As each of the six previous rounds developed a cosmic element-principle, the seventh element will come into manifestation; we can obtain some conception of its nature by calling it adi-tattva. “Earth will reach her true ultimate form — (inversely in this to man) — her body shell — only toward the end of the manvantara after the Seventh Round” (SD 1:260). Long before the earth shall have reached her seventh round, our moon, the earth’s mother, will have dissolved into cosmic ether and dust. In its turn, long after the seventh round, the earth will be a moon to the planetary chain-to-be.

As the hosts of monads complete their cycling on the seven manifested globes of a planetary chain, one by one (commencing with globe A) each globe enters the state of pralaya, and the forces and higher substances comprising each globe are transferred to a laya-center, there to remain in statu quo until the time strikes for the new planetary chain to come into manifestation. These laya-centers are the focal points respectively for the birth of the globes of the new chain.

Round-Manvantara Period of one circulation of the life-waves around the planetary chain from the first globe to the last globe, a period of 308,448,000 years. It is one-seventh of a Day of Brahma. (Fund)

Rowhanee. See ROHANEE

Rshabha. See RISHABHA

Rsi. See RISHI

Rsi-manus. See RISHI-MANUS

Rsi-yogins. See RISHI-YOGIS

Ru (Egyptian) Ru. A gate, outlet; when referred to the heavens, that place in the northern sky in which the sun is said to be reborn; mystically, that place whence proceeded the primeval light, “synonymous with ‘cosmic womb’ ” (TG 279).

Also the circle surmounting the cross in the ankh or Egyptian ansated cross.


Ruach Hajan, Ruach Hayan. See RUAH HAY-YOM

Ruah (Hebrew) Rūaḥ Also ruahh. Vital breath, wind, air, very much in the sense that the Greek pneuma means spirit, wind, air, and breath; a breath, exhalation; the rational soul or mind, possessing counsel, purpose, and will — often confused with the vital principle placed in the breath and with the principle of life.

In connection with ’elohim, ruah denotes the rational and purposive mental quality of the gods — the mental breath or power appearing mainly in humans, feebly in animals. It was regarded in Genesis as moving over the chaos at the creation, and operating in and through the universe, producing that which is noble and good in man and leading him to virtue. Cosmic ruah is in many respects equivalent to the Third Logos of Greek philosophy. A similar meaning implied exceptional soul powers, as in the inspired ruler and the prophet; hence the prophetic spirit — which was often represented as passing from one person and resting in another.

In the Hebrew Qabbalah, ruah had the same general meaning, equivalent to buddhi-manas in the theosophical classification of human principles. But modern Western Qabbalists have confused ruah with the kama-rupa, or even sometimes with kama-manas, precisely as they have confused it with nephesh, the animal vitality connected with appetitive desire or kama.

Ruah Hay-yom, Ruah Hayyah (Hebrew) Rūaḥ Hayyōm The breath or wind of the day, or the cool part, the evening. See also RUAH

Rudimental Kingdoms. See ELEMENTAL(S)

Rudimentary or Vestigial Organs These include a number of different tissue-remnants or organs of primitive type, some of which are only transients in the developing fetus, while others persist in the bodies of animals or man, where they are dwarfed, atrophied, or functionless as far as is known. The vermiform appendix, the ear muscles, the gill clefts, pineal gland, rudimentary tail of the embryo, etc., are referred to as affording silent testimony to the reality of functions which were vitally active in primeval life, but which have long since atrophied in the course of animal and human progress (SD 2:119). The fact of such organs in the human body is adduced in support of the Darwinian theory, but it can equally well support the theory that the mammals came from man. Again, we know that, though man did not evolve from the apes, there was a time when his form somewhat resembled that which the apes now have. The possession of distinct traces in each sex of the reproductive apparatus of the other sex is biological evidence of ancient hermaphroditism. The undifferentiated sex of the embryo during its early growth also reviews the asexual character of the first root-races. The present routine process of maturation or reduction of chromosomes in the fertilized cell, and the death of the polar cells, appear to biologists as somehow unnaturally involved. This process, however, apparently in some degree, echoes distantly the change in the third root-race from an androgynous reproductive method to that of the separated sexes. The law of retardation which operates when a higher type has been evolved, now “preserves hermaphroditism as the reproductive method of the majority of plants and many lower animals” (SD 2:172n). Thus, man is not the copy but the evolutionary prototype, for “the potentiality of every organ useful to animal life is locked up in Man — the microcosm of the Macrocosm” (SD 2:685). The human form is the repertory of all mammalian forms, and nature preserves organs and functions in vestigial condition against a future time when, if these organs and functions be latent and not merely in process of disappearance, they will become active again. This accounts for the occasional reversion to utterly unknown primeval types as noted in teratology. A general unity of type has been preserved throughout the ages all through the multitude of organisms which grew out of a few basic types. “The economy of Nature does not sanction the co-existence of several utterly opposed ‘ground plans’ of organic evolution on one planet” (SD 2:683).

Rudra(s) (Sanskrit) Rudra-s [from the verbal root rud to weep] A class of monads or dhyani-chohans belonging to the upper worlds of nature, whether of our solar system or planetary chain; virtually identical to the higher manasaputras or kumaras who refuse to create, i.e., imbody themselves in the then unprepared human vehicles. Certain individuals from among the highest of the class, however, were among the very first to obey karmic law, and they incarnated in chosen human vehicles of the third root-race during this present fourth round. The rudras are therefore equivalent to the solar lhas or pitris as contrasted with the lower four classes of monads, the lunar pitris.

The rudras are highly intellectual and spiritual entities, having through previous evolutionary periods attained self-consciousness by individually passing through the equivalent of the human kingdom. The rudras represent an aggregate of entities in the primary formation of worlds, as well as the intellectually informing principles of man. They are mythologically said to be at war with the shadowy entities and powers of the lower spheres, and hence are sometimes spoken of as the destroyers of outward forms. The Vishnu-Purana states that “at the end of a thousand periods of four ages, which complete a day of Brahma, the earth is almost exhausted. The eternal Avyaya (Vishnu) assumes then the character of Rudra (the destroyer, Siva) and re-unites all his creatures to himself. He enters the Seven rays of the Sun and drinks up all the waters of the globe; he causes the moisture to evaporate, thus drying up the whole Earth. . . . Thus fed with abundant moisture the seven solar rays become seven suns by dilation, and they finally set the world on fire. Hari, the destroyer of all things, who is ‘the flame of time, Kalagni,’ finally consumes the Earth. Then Rudra, becoming Janardana, breathes clouds and rain” (6:3).

The rudras here are collectively spoken of as an individual equivalent to Siva, who has always been recognized as the patron or chief of initiates and of occult training. He is often spoken of as the destroyer, whereas regenerator would be a better term. Rudra is truly the Siva of the Rig-Veda, and in many respects the Agni of later writings. Like Siva, Rudra is a beneficent deity (because regenerating), and a mistaken maleficent deity (because destroying falsehoods and imperfections at the same time). As the beneficent one or spiritual healer, Rudra is the higher human ego aspiring to its own spiritual pure state; and as the destroyer he is the same imprisoned higher human ego whose war against imperfection, evil, and sin make him the “roarer” or the “terrible.”

Rudra is sometimes called the father of the maruts or Vedic storm gods. “To receive a name Rudra is said to have wept for it. Brahma called him Rudra; but he wept seven times more and so obtained seven other names — of which he uses one during each ‘period’ ” (SD 2:615n). The various names refer to the seven subordinate classes of the one generalized class.

“With regard to the origin of Rudra, it is stated in several Puranas that his (spiritual) progeny, created in him by Brahma, was not confined to either the seven Kumaras or the eleven Rudras, etc., but ‘comprehends infinite numbers of beings in person and equipments like their (virgin) father. Alarmed at their fierceness, numbers, and immortality, Brahma desires his son Rudra to form creatures of a different and mortal nature.’ Rudra refusing to create, desists, etc., hence Rudra is the first rebel” (SD 2:613n).

Thus the rudras are the sevenfold manifestations of Rudra-Siva, the seven subclasses of which Rudra-Siva is the hierarch; or again the seven intelligent subhierarchies of intellectual character in nature which reform or destroy in order to regenerate. They are also one of the classes of the “fallen” or intellectually incarnating gods, the progenitors of the true intellectual-spiritual self in man.

These extremely occult and important beings are connected with the kabeiroi because they are the intellectual offspring of these planetary deities; identical also with the ’elohim. Sometimes they are called in the ancient writings tushitas, jayas, adityas, asuras, vasus, rishis, kumaras, manus, and the spiritual rebels. They are even referred to as the ten vital breaths or pranas because these ten vital breaths are the ten varieties of intellectual energies or forces flowing from them, and which on the intellectual plane may be spoken of as the mental pranas.

Rudra-kumaras. See RUDRA

Rudra-Siva (Sanskrit) Rudra-Śiva Siva in the form of the regenerating god; also “the great Yogi, the forefather of all the Adepts — in Esotericism one of the greatest Kings of the Divine Dynasties. Called ‘the Earliest’ and the ‘Last,’ he is the patron of the Third, Fourth, and the Fifth Root-Races. For, in his earliest character, he is the ascetic Dig-ambara, ‘clothed with the Elements,’ Trilochana, ‘the three-eyed’; Pancha-anana, ‘the five-faced,’ an allusion to the past four and the present fifth race, for, though five-faced, he is only ‘four-armed,’ as the fifth race is still alive. He is the ‘God of Time,’ Saturn-Kronos, as his damaru (drum), in the shape of an hour-glass, shows; and if he is accused of having cut off Brahma’s fifth head, and left him with only four, it is again an allusion to a certain degree in initiation, and also to the Races” (SD 2:502n). See also RUDRA

Ruhani. See ROHANEE

Rulers, Divine The nations of antiquity, such as the Egyptians, Chaldeans, and Greeks, had traditions of early racial divine rulers and spiritual dynasties which preceded their human kings. In the later races, these rulers stood for the dynasties of the gods, rishis, pitris, manus, etc., who are said in theosophy to have incarnated themselves in the third root-race on this globe during our present round, and to be born again and again as spiritual teachers in succeeding cycles for the instruction of nations, among whom they appear from time to time.

Rune, Runa [from Swedish runa, Icelandic run] Originally a mystery, equivalent to the Greek theo-sophia (divine wisdom), which is the goal of human existence and the aim of evolution; later used for a sign or character which, inscribed on a stick, stone, or even furniture, was believed to have magical properties. A grammarian or one versed in the art of language was called runa-meistari (rune-master), one who knew how to read and write runes correctly.

In Havamal — a long poem of the Elder Edda — Odin relates how he “hung nine nights in the windtorn tree” (of life), seeking runes of wisdom (in the material worlds), and that he “raised them with song.” It is said that Odin first invented runes and carved them on various beneficent agencies that safeguard human life on earth. One is carved on the shield Grimnismal that “stands before the shining god; mountain and billion would burn away should he fall aside.” Another rune is inscribed on the ear of Arvakrand one on the hoof of Allsvinn (the horses that draw the solar disk across the sky); one is on the reins of Sleipnir, Odin’s steed, one on the paw of the bear, another on the tongue of Bragi (poetic inspiration), on the claws of the wolf and on the eagle’s beak, on the rainbow bridge (Bifrost); on glass, on gold, on wine, on herb; on Vili’s heart and Odin’s spear, on the nails of the Norns, etc. All were later scraped off, mixed with the holy mead of wisdom, and distributed throughout the three worlds for the benefit of gods and men.

Rupa (Sanskrit) Rūpa Form, image, similitude; body, vehicle; contrasted with arupa (formless). Also the first skandha, the material properties or attributes in relation to the skandhas.

Rupa-devas (Sanskrit) Rūpa-deva-s [from rūpa form + deva divinity] Celestial beings having form; that class of celestial beings or lower dhyani-chohans still having forms who “are the intelligent Rulers of this world of Matter, and who, with all this intelligence are but the blindly obedient instruments of the One; the active agents of a Passive Principle” (ML 107-8). These rupa-devas have completed their cycling as monads in the human stage and have graduated into the class next superior to mankind. See also ARUPA-DEVAS

Rupa-loka (Sanskrit) Rūpa-loka [from rūpa form, body + loka world] Form-world; planes of existence where the substance or vehicles are more material and definite, in contrast to the arupa-lokas (formless worlds) where the body-forms are less definite from our current perspective and sense faculties. In theosophical literature, the four lowest cosmic planes with the seven globes are usually called rupa worlds, while the three higher cosmic planes with their five globes are called arupa.


Ruta (Sanskrit) Ruta One of the last islands of the great Atlantean system which disappeared some 850,000 years ago — ages before Poseidonis, the last island-remnant of Atlantis (which sank about 11,500 years ago). Ruta is known as the White Island in Hindu mythology. A large “equinoctial” island of nearly continental size, it was in the waters of what is now the Pacific Ocean. In Hindu tradition, from the speech of its inhabitants, the Rutas, the origins of the Sanskrit language were derived.

Top of File


BCW - H. P. Blavatsky: Collected Writings

BG - Bhagavad-Gita

BP - Bhagavata Purana

cf - confer

ChU - Chandogya Upanishad

Dial, Dialogues - The Dialogues of G. de Purucker, ed. A. L. Conger

Echoes - Echoes of the Orient, by William Q. Judge (comp. Dara Eklund)

ET - The Esoteric Tradition, by G. de Purucker

FSO - Fountain-Source of Occultism, by G. de Purucker

Fund - Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy, by G. de Purucker

IU - Isis Unveiled, by H. P. Blavatsky

MB - Mahabharata

MIE - Man in Evolution, by G. de Purucker

ML - The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, ed. A. Trevor Barker

MU - Mundaka Upanishad

M-Wms Dict - Sanskrit-English Dictionary, by Monier Williams

N on BG - Notes on the Bhagavad Gita, by T. Subba Row

OG - Occult Glossary, by G. de Purucker

Rev - Revelations

RV - Rig Veda

SBE - Sacred Books of the East, ed. Max Müller

SD - The Secret Doctrine, by H. P. Blavatsky

SOPh - Studies in Occult Philosophy, by G. de Purucker

TBL - Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge (Secret Doctrine Commentary), by H. P. Blavatsky

TG - Theosophical Glossary, by H. P. Blavatsky

Theos - The Theosophist (magazine)

VP - Vishnu Purana

VS - The Voice of the Silence, by H. P. Blavatsky

WG - Working Glossary, by William Q. Judge

ZA - Zend-Avesta

Theosophical University Press Online Edition