Occult Glossary — G. de Purucker


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DaiviprakritiDeath — Descending or Shadowy Arc (see Ascending Arc) — DevachanDeva(s)DharanaDharmaDharmakayaDhyanaDhyan(i)-Chohan(s)Divine Soul — Dvapara-Yuga (see Yuga) — Dweller on the Threshold

EgoEidolonEighth SphereEkagrata or Ekagratva — Elemental(s)ElementariesEsoteric DoctrineEthicsEvolutionExoteric


A | B-C | G-H-I | J-K-L | M | N-O-P | Q-R | S | T-U-V-W-Y-Z



(Sanskrit) A compound signifying "divine" or "original evolver," or "original source," of the universe or of any self-contained or hierarchical portion of such universe, such as a solar system. Briefly, therefore, daiviprakriti may be called "divine matter," matter here being used in its original sense of "divine mother-evolver" or "divine original substance."

Now, as original substance manifests itself in the kosmic spaces as primordial kosmic light — light in occult esoteric theosophical philosophy being a form of original matter or substance — many mystics have referred to daiviprakriti under the phrase "the Light of the Logos." Daiviprakriti is, in fact, the first veil or sheath or ethereal body surrounding the Logos, as pradhana or prakriti surrounds Purusha or Brahman in the Sankhya philosophy, and as, on a scale incomparably more vast, mulaprakriti surrounds parabrahman. As daiviprakriti, therefore, is elemental matter, or matter in its sixth and seventh stages counting from physical matter upwards or, what comes to the same thing, matter in its first and second stages of its evolution from above, we may accurately enough speak of those filmy ethereal wisps of light seen in the midnight skies as a physical manifestation of daiviprakriti, because when they are not actually resolvable nebulae, they are worlds, or rather systems of worlds, in the making.

When daiviprakriti has reached a certain state or condition of evolutionary manifestation, we may properly speak of it under the term fohat. Fohat, in H. P. Blavatsky's words, is

"The essence of cosmic electricity. An occult Tibetan term for Daivi-prakriti, primordial light: and in the universe of manifestation the ever-present electrical energy and ceaseless destructive and formative power. Esoterically, it is the same, Fohat being the universal propelling Vital Force, at once the propeller and the resultant." — Theosophical Glossary, p. 121

All this is extremely well put, but it must be remembered that although fohat is the energizing power working in and upon manifested daiviprakriti, or primordial substance, as the rider rides the steed, it is the kosmic intelligence, or kosmic monad as Pythagoras would say, working through both daiviprakriti and its differentiated energy called fohat, which is the guiding and controlling principle, not only in the kosmos but in every one of the subordinate elements and beings of the hosts of multitudes of them infilling the kosmos. The heart or essence of the sun is daiviprakriti working as itself, and also in its manifestation called fohat, but through the daiviprakriti and the fohatic aspect of it runs the all-permeant and directive intelligence of the solar divinity. The student should never make the mistake, however, of divorcing this guiding solar intelligence from its veils or vehicles, one of the highest of which is daiviprakriti-fohat.


Death occurs when a general break-up of the constitution of man takes place; nor is this break-up a matter of sudden occurrence, with the exceptions of course of such cases as mortal accidents or suicides. Death is always preceded, varying in each individual case, by a certain time spent in the withdrawal of the monadic individuality from an incarnation, and this withdrawal of course takes place coincidently with a decay of the seven-principle being which man is in physical incarnation. This decay precedes physical dissolution, and is a preparation of and by the consciousness-center for the forthcoming existence in the invisible realms. This withdrawal actually is a preparation for the life to come in invisible realms, and as the septenary entity on this earth so decays, it may truly be said to be approaching rebirth in the next sphere.

Death occurs, physically speaking, with the cessation of activity of the pulsating heart. There is the last beat, and this is followed by immediate, instantaneous unconsciousness, for nature is very merciful in these things. But death is not yet complete, for the brain is the last organ of the physical body really to die, and for some time after the heart has ceased beating, the brain and its memory still remain active and, although unconsciously so, the human ego for this short length of time, passes in review every event of the preceding life. This great or small panoramic picture of the past is purely automatic, so to say; yet the soul-consciousness of the reincarnating ego watches this wonderful review incident by incident, a review which includes the entire course of thought and action of the life just closed. The entity is, for the time being, entirely unconscious of everything else except this. Temporarily it lives in the past, and memory dislodges from the akasic record, so to speak, event after event, to the smallest detail: passes them all in review, and in regular order from the beginning to the end, and thus sees all its past life as an all-inclusive panorama of picture succeeding picture.

There are very definite ethical and psychological reasons inhering in this process, for this process forms a reconstruction of both the good and the evil done in the past life, and imprints this strongly as a record on the fabric of the spiritual memory of the passing being. Then the mortal and material portions sink into oblivion, while the reincarnating ego carries the best and noblest parts of these memories into the devachan or heaven-world of postmortem rest and recuperation. Thus comes the end called death; and unconsciousness, complete and undisturbed, succeeds, until there occurs what the ancients called the second death.

The lower triad (prana, linga-sarira, sthula-sarira) is now definitely cast off, and the remaining quaternary is free. The physical body of the lower triad follows the course of natural decay, and its various hosts of life-atoms proceed whither their natural attractions draw them. The linga-sarira or model-body remains in the astral realms, and finally fades out. The life-atoms of the prana, or electrical field, fly instantly back at the moment of physical dissolution to the natural pranic reservoirs of the planet.

This leaves man, therefore, no longer a heptad or septenary entity, but a quaternary consisting of the upper duad (atma-buddhi) and the intermediate duad (manas-kama). The second death then takes place.

Death and the adjective dead are mere words by which the human mind seeks to express thoughts which it gathers from a more or less consistent observation of the phenomena of the material world. Death is dissolution of a component entity or thing. The dead, therefore, are merely dissolving bodies — entities which have reached their term on this our physical plane. Dissolution is common to all things, because all physical things are composite: they are not absolute things. They are born; they grow; they reach maturity; they enjoy, as the expression runs, a certain term of life in the full bloom of their powers; then they "die." That is the ordinary way of expressing what men call death; and the corresponding adjective is dead, when we say that such things or entities are dead.

Do you find death per se anywhere? No. You find nothing but action; you find nothing but movement; you find nothing but change. Nothing stands still or is annihilated. What is called death itself shouts forth to us the fact of movement and change. Absolute inertia is unknown in nature or in the human mind; it does not exist.


[Tibetan, bde-ba-can, pronounced de-wa-chen] A translation of the Sanskrit sukhavati, the "happy place" or god-land. It is the state between earth-lives into which the human entity, the human monad, enters and there rests in bliss and repose.

When the second death after that of the physical body takes place — and there are many deaths, that is to say many changes of the vehicles of the ego — the higher part of the human entity withdraws into itself all that aspires towards it, and takes that "all" with it into the devachan; and the atman, with the buddhi and with the higher part of the manas, become thereupon the spiritual monad of man. Devachan as a state applies not to the highest or heavenly or divine monad, but only to the middle principles of man, to the personal ego or the personal soul in man, overshadowed by atma-buddhi. There are many degrees in devachan: the highest, the intermediate, and the lowest. Yet devachan is not a locality, it is a state, a state of the beings in that spiritual condition.

Devachan is the fulfilling of all the unfulfilled spiritual hopes of the past incarnation, and an efflorescence of all the spiritual and intellectual yearnings of the past incarnation which in that past incarnation have not had an opportunity for fulfillment. It is a period of unspeakable bliss and peace for the human soul, until it has finished its rest time and stage of recuperation of its own energies.

In the devachanic state, the reincarnating ego remains in the bosom of the monad (or of the monadic essence) in a state of the most perfect and utter bliss and peace, reviewing and constantly reviewing, and improving upon in its own blissful imagination, all the unfulfilled spiritual and intellectual possibilities of the life just closed that its naturally creative faculties automatically suggest to the devachanic entity.

Man here is no longer a quaternary of substance-principles (for the second death has taken place), but is now reduced to the monad with the reincarnating ego sleeping in its bosom, and is therefore a spiritual triad. (See also Death, Reincarnating Ego)


(Sanskrit) A word meaning celestial being, of which there are various classes. This has been a great puzzle for most of our Occidental Orientalists. They cannot understand the distinctions that the wonderful old philosophers of the Orient make as regards the various classes of the devas. They say, in substance: "What funny contradictions there are in these teachings, which in many respects are profound and seem wonderful. Some of these devas or divine beings are said to be less than man; some of these writings even say that a good man is nobler than any god. And yet other parts of these teachings declare that there are gods higher even than the devas, and yet are called devas. What does this mean?"

The devas or celestial beings, one class of them, are the unself-conscious sparks of divinity, cycling down into matter in order to bring out from within themselves and to unfold or evolve self-consciousness, the svabhava of divinity within. They then begin their reascent always on the luminous arc, which never ends, in a sense; and they are gods, self-conscious gods, henceforth taking a definite and divine part in the "great work," as the mystics have said, of being builders, evolvers, leaders of hierarchies. In other words, they are monads which have become their own innermost selves, which have passed the ring-pass-not separating the spiritual from the divine.


(Sanskrit) A state in the practice of yoga as taught in Hindustan when the mind or percipient intelligence is held with inflexible firmness, with fortitude of soul, and with indomitable resolution upon the object of investigation to be attained through this form of yoga practice. (See also Samadhi)


(Sanskrit) A noun derived from the verbal root dhri. The meaning is right religion, right philosophy, right science, and the right union of these three; hence the Law per se. It also means equity, justice, conduct, duty, and similar things. It has also a secondary meaning of an essential or characteristic quality or peculiarity; and here its significance approaches closely to that of svabhava. The duty of a man, for instance, is his dharma, that which is set or prescribed or natural to him to do.


(Sanskrit) This is a compound of two words meaning the "continuance body," sometimes translated equally well (or ill) the "body of the Law" — both very inadequate expressions, for the difficulty in translating these extremely mystical terms is very great. A mere correct dictionary-translation often misses the esoteric meaning entirely, and just here is where Occidental scholars make such ludicrous errors at times.

The first word comes from the root dhri, meaning "to support," "to sustain," "to carry," "to bear," hence "to continue"; also human laws are the agencies supposed to carry, support, sustain, civilization; the second element, kaya, means "body." The noun thus formed may be rendered the "body of the Law," but this phrase does not give the idea at all. It is that spiritual body or state of a high spiritual being in which the restricted sense of soulship and egoity has vanished into a universal (hierarchical) sense, and remains only in the seed, latent — if even so much. It is pure consciousness, pure bliss, pure intelligence, freed from all personalizing thought.

In the Buddhism of Central Asia, the dharmakaya is the third and highest of the trikaya. The trikaya consists of (1) nirmanakaya, (2) sambhogakaya, and (3) dharmakaya. We may look upon these three states, all of them lofty and sublime, as being three vestures in which the consciousness of the entity clothes itself. In the dharmakaya vesture the initiate is already on the threshold of nirvana, if not indeed already in the nirvanic state. (See also Nirmanakaya, Sambhogakaya)


(Sanskrit) A term signifying profound spiritual-intellectual contemplation with utter detachment from all objects of a sensuous and lower mental character. In Buddhism it is one of the six paramitas of perfection. One who is adept or expert in the practice of dhyana, which by the way is a wonderful spiritual exercise if the proper idea of it be grasped, is carried in thought entirely out of all relations with the material and merely psychological spheres of being and of consciousness, and into lofty spiritual planes. Instead of dhyana being a subtraction from the elements of consciousness, it is rather a throwing off or casting aside of the crippling sheaths of ethereal matter which surround the consciousness, thus allowing the dhyanin, or practicer of this form of true yoga, to enter into the highest parts of his own constitution and temporarily to become at one with and, therefore, to commune with the gods. It is a temporary becoming at one with the upper triad of man considered as a septenary, in other words, with his monadic essence. Man's consciousness in this state or condition becomes purely buddhi, or rather buddhic, with the highest parts of the manas acting as upadhi or vehicle for the retention of what the consciousness therein experiences. From this term is drawn the phrase dhyani-chohans or dhyani-buddhas — words so frequently used in theosophical literature and so frequently misconceived as to their real meaning. (See also Samadhi)


A compound word meaning "lords of meditation" — kosmic spirits or planetary spirits. There are three classes of dhyan-chohans, each of which is divided into seven subclasses. The dhyan-chohans collectively are one division of that wondrous host of spiritual beings who are the full-blown flowers of former world periods or manvantaras. This wondrous host are the men made perfect of those former world periods; and they guide the evolution of this planet in its present manvantara. They are our own spiritual lords, leaders, and saviors. They supervise us now in our evolution here, and in our own present cyclic pilgrimage we follow the path of the general evolution outlined by them.

Man in his higher nature is an embryo dhyan-chohan, an embryo lord of meditation. It is his destiny, if he run the race successfully, to blossom forth at the end of the seventh round as a lord of meditation — a planetary spirit — when this planetary manvantaric kalpa is ended, this Day of Brahma, which is the seven rounds, each round in seven stages.

In one most important sense the dhyan-chohans are actually our own selves. We were born from them. We are the monads, we are the atoms, the souls, projected, sent forth, emanated, by the dhyanis.

Divine Soul

In occultism the divine soul is the garment of the divine ego, as the divine ego is the garment or child of the divine monad. The divine monad we may call the inner god, and this would mean that the divine ego, its offspring, is the inner Buddha, or the inner Christ; and hence the divine soul is the expression of the inner Buddha or of the inner Christ in manifestation on earth as the manushya-buddha or christ-man.

It should be stated here that of the several monads which in their combination form the entire septenary constitution of man each such monad has its own ego-child, and this latter has its own soul. It is this combination, mystic, wonderful, mysterious, which makes of man the complex entity he is, and which entitles him to the term which the occultism of the archaic ages has always given to him: the microcosm, a reflection or copy in the small of the macrocosm or kosmic entity.

Dweller on the Threshold

A literary invention of the English mystic and novelist Sir Bulwer Lytton, found in his romance Zanoni. The term has obtained wide currency and usage in theosophical circles. In occultism the word "dweller," or some exactly equivalent phrase or expression, has been known and used during long ages past. It refers to several things, but more particularly has an application to what H. P. Blavatsky calls "certain maleficent astral Doubles of defunct persons." This is exact. But there is another meaning of this phrase still more mystical and still more difficult to explain which refers to the imbodied karmic consequences or results of the man's past, haunting the thresholds which the initiant or initiate must pass before he can advance or progress into a higher degree of initiation. These dwellers, in the significance of the word just last referred to are, as it were, the imbodied quasi-human astral haunting parts of the constitution thrown off in past incarnations by the man who now has to face them and overcome them — very real and living beings, parts of the "new" man's haunting past. The initiant must face these old "selves" of himself and conquer or — fail, which failure may mean either insanity or death. They are verily ghosts of the dead men that the present man formerly was, now arising to dog his footsteps, and hence are very truly called Dwellers on the Threshold. In a specific sense they may be truly called the kama-rupas of the man's past incarnations arising out of the records in the astral light left there by the "old" man of the "new" man who now is.



(Latin) A word meaning "I." In theosophical writings the ego is that which says "I am I" — indirect or reflected consciousness, consciousness reflected back upon itself as it were, and thus recognizing its own mayavi existence as a "separate" entity. On this fact is based the one genuine "heresy" that occultism recognizes: the heresy of separateness.

The seat of the human ego is the intermediate duad — manas-kama: part aspiring upwards, which is the reincarnating ego; and part attracted below, which is the ordinary or astral human ego. The consciousness is immortal in the reincarnating ego, and temporary or mortal in the lower or astral human ego.

Consider the hierarchy of the human being's constitution to grow from the immanent Self: this last is the seed of egoity on the seven (or perhaps better, six) planes of matter or manifestation. On each one of these seven planes (or six), the immanent Self or paramatman develops or evolves a sheath or garment, the upper ones spun of spirit, and the lower ones spun of "shadow" or matter. Now each such sheath or garment is a "soul"; and between the self and such a soul — any soul — is the ego.

Thus atman is the divine monad, giving birth to the divine ego, which latter evolves forth the monadic envelope or divine soul; jivatman, the spiritual monad, has its child which is the spiritual ego, which in turn evolves forth the spiritual soul or individual; and the combination of these three considered as a unit is buddhi; bhutatman, the human ego — the higher human soul, including the lower buddhi and higher manas; pranatman, the personal ego — the lower human soul, or man. It includes manas, kama, and prana; and finally the beast ego — the vital-astral soul: kama and prana.


(Greek; plural eidola) A word meaning "image" of the man that was. After death there remains in the astral world — which is on the other side of the threshold of physical life, the etheric world — the "shadow" of the man that was. The ancients called these human shadows, shades; modern children and nursemaids call them ghosts and spooks; and each such shade is but an eidolon, or astral image or pale copy of the physical man that was. This eidolon coheres for a while in the astral realms or in the superphysical ether, and its particles are magnetically held more or less coherent as long as the physical corpse is not fully dissolved into its component elements; but these eidola in a comparatively short time fade out, for they decay in a manner closely resembling the disintegration of the physical body.

Eighth Sphere or Planet of Death

A term used in the more esoteric or inner part of the teachings about which little can be said, for over this part of the doctrine there has always been drawn a thick veil of secrecy and silence.

Frequently the term is confused with avichi, but this is incorrect, because the two, while closely connected, are nevertheless quite distinct. While avichi is a state where very evil human beings "die and are reborn without interruption," yet not without hope of final redemption — something which can actually take place even on our physical plane in the cases of very evil or soulless men — the Eighth Sphere represents a degree of psychomental degeneration still more advanced. As just hinted, even in avichi there is a possibility of reinsoulment by the ray of the spiritual monad; whereas in the Eighth Sphere or Planet of Death such possibility finally vanishes, and the entity which has sunk to the Planet of Death is what is technically called in the esoteric philosophy a "lost soul." In the Eighth Sphere the lost souls are ground over and over in nature's laboratory, and are finally dissipated into their component psycho-astral elements or life-atoms. The Eighth Sphere or Planet of Death is an actual globe. It is also of course a state or condition of being; whereas the avichi is almost exclusively a state or condition in which an entity may find itself, although obviously this entity must have position or place and therefore locality in space — on our earth or elsewhere.

Ekagrata or Ekagratva

(Sanskrit) A term signifying "onepointedness" or "absolute intentness" in the mental contemplation of an object of meditation. The perfect concentration of the percipient mind on a single point of thought, and the holding of it there.


Nature-spirits or sprites. The theosophical usage, however, means beings who are beginning a course of evolutionary growth, and who thus are in the elemental states of their growth. It is a generalizing term for purposes of convenient expression for all beings evolutionally below the minerals. Nevertheless, the minerals themselves are expressions of one family or host or hierarchy of elemental beings of a more evolved type. The vegetable kingdom likewise manifests merely one family or host of elemental beings happening to be in the vegetable phase of their evolution on this earth. Just so likewise is it as regards the beasts. The beasts are highly evolved elemental beings, relatively speaking. Men in far distant aeons of the kosmic past were elemental beings also. We have evolved from that elemental stage into becoming men, expressing with more or less ease, mostly very feebly, the innate divine powers and faculties locked up in the core of the core of each one of us.

An elemental is a being who has entered our universe on the lowest plane or in the lowest world, degree, or step on the rising stairway of life; and this stairway of life begins in any universe at its lowest stage, and ends for that universe in its highest stage — the universal kosmic spirit. Thus the elemental passes from the elemental stage through all the realms of being as it rises along the stairway of life, passing through the human stage, becoming superhuman, quasi-divine — a quasi-god — then becoming a god. Thus did we humans first enter this present universe.

Every race of men on earth has believed in these hosts of elemental entities — some visible, like men, like the beasts, like the animate plants; and others invisible. The invisible entities have been called by various names: fairies, sprites, hobgoblins, elves, brownies, pixies, nixies, leprechauns, trolls, kobolds, goblins, banshees, fawns, devs, jinn, satyrs, and so forth. The medieval mystics taught that these elemental beings were of four general kinds: those arising in and frequenting the element of fire — salamanders; those arising in and frequenting the element air — sylphs; those arising in and frequenting the element water — undines; those arising in and frequenting the element earth — gnomes.


"Properly, the disembodied souls of the depraved; these souls having at some time prior to death separated from themselves their divine spirits, and so lost their chance for immortality" (Theosophical Glossary, H. P. Blavatsky).

Strictly speaking, the word "elementaries" should be used as H. P. Blavatsky defines it in this quotation from her. But in modern theosophical literature the word has come to signify more particularly the phantoms or eidola of disembodied persons, these phantoms or eidola really being the kama-rupic shades, with especial application to the cases of grossly materialistic ex-humans whose evil impulses and appetites still inhering in the kama-rupic phantom draw these phantoms to physical spheres congenial to them. They are a real danger to psychical health and sanity, and literally haunt living human beings possessing tendencies akin to their own. They are soulless shells, but still filled with energies of a depraved and ignoble type. Their destiny of course is like that of all other pretas or bhutas — ultimate disintegration; for the gross astral atoms composing them slowly dissolve through the years after the manner of a dissolving column of smoke or a wisp of dark cloud on a mountainside.

Esoteric Doctrine

The body of mystical and sacred teachings reserved for students of high and worthy character. This body of teachings has been known and studied by highly evolved individuals in all ages. The esoteric doctrine is the common property of mankind, and it has always been thus. In all the various great religions and philosophies of the world, the student will find fundamental principles in each which, when placed side by side and critically examined, are easily discovered to be identic. Every one of such fundamental principles is in every great world religion or world philosophy; hence the aggregate of these world religions or world philosophies contains the entirety of the esoteric doctrine, but usually expressed in exoteric form.

However, no one of these world religions or world philosophies gives in clear and explicit shape or form the entirety of the body of teachings which are at its heart; some religions emphasize one or more of such fundamental principles; another religion or philosophy will emphasize others of these principles; in either case others again of the principles remaining in the background. This readily accounts for the fact that the various world religions and world philosophies vary among themselves and often, to the unreflecting mind, superficially seem to have little in common, and perhaps even to be contradictory. The cause of this is the varying manner in which each such religion or philosophy has been given to the world, the form that each took having been best for the period in which it was promulgated. Each such religion or philosophy, having its own racial sphere and period of time, represents the various human minds who have developed it or who, so to say, have translated it to the world in this or in that particular promulgation.

These manners or mannerisms of exoteric thinking we may discard if we wish; but it is the fundamental principles behind every great religion or great philosophy which in their aggregate are the universal esoteric doctrine. In this universal esoteric doctrine lies the mystery-field of each great religion or philosophy — this mystery-teaching being always reserved for the initiates. The esoteric philosophy or doctrine has been held from time immemorial in the guardianship of great men, exalted seers and sages, who from time to time promulgate it, or rather portions of it, to the world when the spiritual and intellectual need for so doing arises. The origins of the esoteric doctrine are found in the mystery-teachings of beings from other and spiritual spheres, who incarnated in the early humanity of the third root-race of this fourth round of our globe, and taught the then intellectually nascent mankind the necessary certain fundamental principles or truths regarding the universe and the nature of the world surrounding us.


The theosophical teachings are essentially and wholly ethical. It is impossible to understand the sublime wisdom of the gods, the archaic wisdom-religion of the ancients, without the keenest realization of the fact that ethics run like golden threads throughout the entire system or fabric of doctrine and thought of the esoteric philosophy. Genuine occultism, divorced from ethics, is simply unthinkable because impossible. There is no genuine occultism which does not include the loftiest ethics that the moral sense of mankind can comprehend, and one cannot weigh with too strong an emphasis upon this great fact.

Ethics in the theosophical philosophy are not merely the products of human thought existing as a formulation of conventional rules proper for human conduct. They are founded on the very structure and character of the universe itself. The heart of the universe is wisdom-love, and these are intrinsically ethical, for there can be no wisdom without ethics, nor can love be without ethics, nor can there be ethics deprived of either love or wisdom.

The philosophic reason why the ancients set so much store by what was commonly known as virtus among the Latins, from which we have our modern word "virtue," is because by means of the teaching originating in the great Mystery schools, they knew that virtues, ethics, were the offspring of the moral instinct in human beings, who derived them in their turn from the heart of the universe — from the kosmic harmony. It is high time that the Occidental world should cast forever into the limbo of exploded superstitions the idea that ethics is merely conventional morality, a convenience invented by man to smooth the asperities and dangers of human intercourse.

Of course every scholar knows that the words morals and ethics come from the Latin and Greek respectively, as signifying the customs or habits which it is proper to follow in civilized communities. But this fact itself, which is unquestionable, is in a sense disgraceful, for it would almost seem that we had not yet brought forth a word adequately describing the instinct for right and truth and troth and justice and honor and wisdom and love which we today so feebly express by the words ethics or morals. "Theosophist is who Theosophy does," wrote H. P. Blavatsky, and wiser and nobler words she never wrote. No one can be a theosophist who does not feel ethic-ally and think ethically and live ethically in the real sense that is hereinbefore described. (See also Morals)


As the word is used in theosophy it means the "unwrapping," "unfolding," "rolling out" of latent powers and faculties native to and inherent in the entity itself, its own essential characteristics, or more generally speaking, the powers and faculties of its own character: the Sanskrit word for this last conception is svabhava. Evolution, therefore, does not mean merely that brick is added to brick, or experience merely topped by another experience, or that variation is superadded on other variations — not at all; for this would make of man and of other entities mere aggregates of incoherent and unwelded parts, without an essential unity or indeed any unifying principle.

In theosophy evolution means that man has in him (as indeed have all other evolving entities) everything that the cosmos has because he is an inseparable part of it. He is its child; one cannot separate man from the universe. Everything that is in the universe is in him, latent or active, and evolution is the bringing forth of what is within; and, furthermore, what we call the surrounding milieu, circumstances — nature, to use the popular word — is merely the field of action on and in which these inherent qualities function, upon which they act and from which they receive the corresponding reaction, which action and reaction invariably become a stimulus or spur to further manifestations of energy on the part of the evolving entity.

There are no limits in any direction where evolution can be said to begin, or where we can conceive of it as ending; for evolution in the theosophical conception is but the process followed by the centers of consciousness or monads as they pass from eternity to eternity, so to say, in a beginningless and endless course of unceasing growth.

Growth is the key to the real meaning of the theosophical teaching of evolution, for growth is but the expression in detail of the general process of the unfolding of faculty and organ, which the usual word evolution includes. The only difference between evolution and growth is that the former is a general term, and the latter is a specific and particular phase of this procedure of nature.

Evolution is one of the oldest concepts and teachings of the archaic wisdom, although in ancient days the concept was usually expressed by the word emanation. There is indeed a distinction, and an important one, to be drawn between these two words, but it is a distinction arising rather in viewpoint than in any actual fundamental difference. Emanation is a distinctly more accurate and descriptive word for theosophists to use than evolution is, but unfortunately emanation is so ill-understood in the Occident, that perforce the accepted term is used to describe the process of interior growth expanding into and manifesting itself in the varying phases of the developing entity. Theosophists, therefore, are, strictly speaking, rather emanationists than evolutionists; and from this remark it becomes immediately obvious that the theosophist is not a Darwinist, although admitting that in certain secondary or tertiary senses and details there is a modicum of truth in Charles Darwin's theory adopted and adapted from the Frenchman Lamarck. The key to the meaning of evolution, therefore, in theosophy is the following: the core of every organic entity is a divine monad or spirit, expressing its faculties and powers through the ages in various vehicles which change by improving as the ages pass. These vehicles are not physical bodies alone, but also the interior sheaths of consciousness which together form man's entire constitution extending from the divine monad through the intermediate ranges of consciousness to the physical body. The evolving entity can become or show itself to be only what it already essentially is in itself — therefore evolution is a bringing out or unfolding of what already preexists, active or latent, within. (See also Involution)


This word, when applied particularly to the great philosophical and religious systems of belief, does not mean false. The word merely means teachings of which the keys have not been openly given. The word seems to have originated in the Peripatetic School of Greece, and to have been born in the mind of Aristotle. Its contrast is "esoteric."

Exotericism — that is to say, the outward and popular formulation of religious and philosophic doctrines — reveils the truth; the self-assurance of ignorance, alas, always reviles the truth; whereas esotericism reveals the truth.



An extremely mystical term used in the occultism of Tibet for what in Sanskrit is called daiviprakriti, which means "divine nature" or "primordial nature," and which also can be called "primordial light." In one sense of the word fohat may be considered as almost identical with the old mystical Greek eros, but fohat as a technical term contains within itself a far wider range of ideas than does the Greek term.

Fohat may be considered as the essence of kosmic electricity, provided, however, that in this definition we endow the term electricity with the attribute of consciousness; or, to put it more accurately, provided that we understand that the essence of electricity is indeed consciousness. It is ever-present and active from the primordial beginnings of a manvantara to its last end, nor does it then actually pass out of existence, but becomes quiescent or latent as it were, sleeping or dormant during the kosmic pralaya. In one sense of the word it may be called kosmic will, for the analogy with the conscious will in human beings is exceedingly close. It is the incessantly active, ever-moving, impelling or urging force in nature, from the beginning of the evolution of a universe or of a solar system to its end.

H. P. Blavatsky, quoting one of the ancient mystically occult works, says in substance: "Fohat is the steed and thought is the rider." If, however, we liken fohat to what the conscious will is in the human being, we must then think only of the lower or substantial parts — the pranic activities — of the human will, for behind the substantial parts stands always the directing and guiding consciousness. Fohat being incessantly active is therefore both formative and destructive, because it is through the ceaseless working of fohat that unending change continues — the passing of one phase of manifested existence to another phase, whether this manifested existence be a solar system or a planetary chain or a globe or human being or, indeed, any entity.

Fohat is as active among the electrons of an atom and among the atoms themselves as it is among the suns. In one sense it may be called the vital force of the universe, corresponding from this viewpoint to the pranic activity on all the seven planes of the human constitution.

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