Glossary of Theosophical Terms
by Geoffrey A. Barborka
Extracted from Geoffrey A. Barborka's
H.P.Blavatsky - The Light Bringer

  Sk = Sanskrit Key
  Key - The Key to Theosophy by H.P. Blavatsky
  M.L = The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett
  S.D. = The Secret Doctrine by H.P. Blavatsky
  Th. Glos = Theosophical Glossary by H.P. Blavatsky

Ad, Sons of - Term used by Occultism for a group of beings who presided by hundreds of centuries what is called the Age of Iron.

Adept - Used with a great deal of latitude. Herein applicable to those superior human beings who compose the occult Brotherhood

Agnishāvatta Pitris - (Sk: compounded of agni, fire or inner essence, applied figuratively to the mind, hence the fire of mind; svatta from svad, meaning to taste or sweeten; pitris, fathers). The term may be explained in two ways: (1) Beings who have tasted of the fire of mind and who have become stimulated to achieve and conclude the evolutionary cycle (the Cycle of Necessity); (2) Beings who have been sweetened by the fire of suffering and experience in the Cycle of Necessity and have graduated therefrom. It was the Agnishvatta Pitris (also termed Mānasaputras or Sons of Mind) who awakened the dormant mind-principle of humanity during the fifth sub-race of the Third Root-Race.

Akāsa - (Sk) The Supersensuous spiritual essence which pervades all space; sometimes referred to as the Primordial Light manifesting through Divine Ideation. Best described as manifesting in seven degrees or aspects. In its highest aspect it is equivalent to the Root of All, for it is defined in Southern Buddhism as that from which everything in the universe comes into being. In this aspect Akāsa is equivalent to the Tibetan term Tho-og, Space, or Aditi in Hindu scriptures. Other equivalent terms: Adī-Buddhi in Northern Buddhism, or Alaya; Svabhavat in the Stanzas of Dzyan; Mūlaprakriti in the Vedāntin system; Pradhāna in the Brahmānical; Anima Mundi or the ‘Soul of the World’; Primordial Aether (in Western terminology). In its lowest aspect Akāsa is often referred to as the Astral Light.

Aquarian Age - Best explained by considering the precession of the equinoxes—the westward movement of the equinoxes on the ecliptic. The equinoxes (vernal and autumnal) do not occur at the same points of the ecliptic every solar year, for the plane of the ecliptic and the plane of the equator revolve in opposite directions. Therefore, the two planes make a complete revolution with respect to each other once every 25,868 years. As the twelve signs of the zodiac are regarded as being stationed along the ecliptic, and divided into 30 degrees each, the ‘entry of the equinox’ into another sign of the zodiac would occur every 2155 years. As the ‘entry of the equinox’ in the zodiacal sign of Pisces is described as having occurred in 255 BC, the entry of the equinox into the zodiacal sign of Aquarius represents the present epoch as the Aquarian Age.

Arhat - (Sk: derived from verbal root arh—to be worthy, to be entitled to—hence one who is entitled to the distinction of having achieved the goal). Herein used as an individual who is a member of the occult Brotherhood.

Astral Light - Used with much latitude for lack of suitable English equivalents. In connection with the Earth, the Astral Light acts as a receptacle for the vital energies or life-principle (cosmic Jīva) proceeding from the sun, thus acting as the conveyor of it to the Earth. In this aspect it is equivalent to the Linga-sarīra (pattern vehicle) in the sevenfold constitution of man, which likewise is the conveyor of Prāna (life-principle) to the physical body. In this capacity each planet, and for that matter each sun, has its specific Astral Light. Furthermore, the Astral Light also represents what may be regarded as the ‘picture gallery’ of Eternity, preserving the record of every event occurring on earth—whether on physical or astral plane. Also used as an equivalent for Kāma-loka, the region associated with the first after-death state.

Astral Soul - As used in H.P.Blavatsky’s narrative signifies the Māyāvi-rūpa, which by the use of Siddhis enables one to project one’s consciousness to any desired distance. She also referred to it as the ‘inner ego’.

Astral Vital Body - As here used signifies the Linga-sarīra (the model body or ethereal double) vitalized by the life-principle (Prāna), See Seven Principles.

Atom - In Occult Science thus : ‘Atoms fill the immensity of Space, and by their continuous vibration are that Motion which keeps the wheels of Life perpetually going.’ (Secret Doctrine I, 633 First Edition; II, 358; Adyar Edition; I, 694 Third ed.)

Black Magic - Term of the ancient Mystery-Schools, signifying the use of Siddhis (occult powers) for selfish or unholy purposes. ‘For this is black magic, abomination and spiritual sorcery’, to quote H.P. BLAVATSKY (Key p 68). She also refers to mediumship as ‘unconscious black magic.’

Blavatsky, Helena Petrovna - (1831-91) Daughter of Capt. Peter Alexeyevich von Hahn and Helena Andreyevna de Fadeyev; granddaughter of Privy Councillor Andrey Mihailovich de Fadeyev and Princess Helena Dolgorukov. Born at Ekaterinoslav, Ukraine, Russia, August 11-12. Her first ten years were spent in a sequence of moves, accompanying her father who was in the horse artillery. When Helena’s mother died she lived with her grandparents, principally at Saratov and Tiflis, until her marriage (July 7, 1849) to N. V. Blavatsky, a State Official. The marriage was in name only, for within three months Mme. Blavatsky had left her homeland and began a series of travels, continuing for several years. The momentous event of her life occurred when she met her Master in London on her twentieth birthday. She never gave a sequential account of her journeys except for one notebook during the year of 1867. That she was in Tibet more than once is certain because she wrote: ‘I have lived at different periods in Little Tibet as in Great Tibet, and ... these combined periods form more than seven years.’ (Collected Writings, VI, 272)

It was during her stay in Tibet that she studies under her Teachers and was taught how to use the Siddhis which enabled her to produce her writings in a remarkable and unparalleled manner. On July 7, 1873, she arrived in New York; a year later she met Col. Olcott, and W. Q. Judge; these three with fourteen others founded The Theosophical Society in September, 1875, H.P.Blavatsky’s first work, Isis Unveiled, was published in 1877. In December 1878 Mme. Blavatsky left America for India, remaining there until 1885. In 1879 The Theosophist was established for which she wrote many articles. She began writing The Secret Doctrine in Wūrzburg in 1885, and then continued it in Ostend and London until its publication in 1888. The magazine Lucifer was established by her in 1887; it was published monthly until her death in 1891.

Bod-Las - Tibetan for the land of Tibet. Bod is derived from Bhota (Sk)—the land of Tibet.

Brotherhood - An occult fraternity whose origin may be traced to the Sons of Ad, the custodians of the Ancient Wisdom. H.P. BLAVATSKY affirmed that she was sent to the western world by this fraternity to present certain teachings of the esoteric doctrine. Members of this Brotherhood are known by various names: Māhatmās, Chohans, Chang-Chubs, Byanz-Tzyoobs, Bodhisattvas, Khubil-Khans, Adepts, Initiates. Arhats.

BUDDHISM - Usually defined as the religion founded by Gautama Buddha. However, there are two main divisions: Mahāyana Buddhism, referred to as the Doctrine of the Heart, or Northern Buddhism; Hinayana Buddhism, the Doctrine of the Eye, or Southern Buddhism. The principal factor in Buddhism is its ethical teachings presented as the Noble Eightfold Path: (1) Right Understanding; (2) Right Attitude of Mind; (3) Right Speech; (4) Right Action; (5) Right Livelihood; (6) Right Effort; (7) Right Recollection; (8) Samma Samadhi—ecstatic beatitude, or the highest state of yoga.

Chela - A term used in India for a disciple. Specifically, a personal disciple of a guru, or spiritual teacher. When used in connection with H.P. BLAVATSKY it signified an initiated disciple, even though her Teachers often referred to her as Upasika, signifying a female disciple.

Chiefs - As used herein signifies those who are in the superior stages of evolution in connection with the occult Brotherhood (q.v.)

Clairaudience - Faculty of hearing with the ‘inner ear’; or spiritual hearing of occult sounds at any distance.

Clairvoyance - Faculty of seeing with the ‘inner eye’; or spiritual sight. As defined by H.P.Blavatsky: ‘Real clairvoyance means the faculty of seeing through the densest matter (the latter disappearing at the will and before the spiritual eye of the Seer), and irrespective of time (past, present and future) or distance.’ (Th. Glos. p 85).

Cycle of Necessity - Also termed the Cycle of Incarnation, or the Circle of Necessity. It refers to the ancient doctrine which postulates the necessity for the immortal component of man—the Pilgrim or the Monad—to return again and again for incarnation on earth, in order to accomplish seven major evolutionary developments, each one of which represents a change of form and greater manifestation of potencies.

Dangma - The Eye of Dangma is also called the deva-eye, the eye of wisdom, the eye of Siva. This refers to the pineal gland, at present dormant. When awakened by occult process, the ‘Opened Eye of Dangma’ functions as ‘the faculty of spiritual intuition, through which direct and certain knowledge is obtainable.’ (Secret Doctrine, I, 46, First Edition; I, 118 Adyar Edition, I, 77 Third ed.)

Denton - W. Geologist and author of The Soul and Things: Psychometric Researches and Discoveries, Boston, 1873. He asserts that the images of the events are imbedded in that all-permeating universal and ever-retaining medium, which he terms the ‘Soul of Things’—which philosophers called Anima Mundi—the Soul of the World.

Dhyānis - (Sk) Used in Secret Doctrine in place of Dhyānins—an abbreviated form of Dhyāni-Chohans, literally ‘the Meditative Lords.’ Generalizing term for Divine Being, superior in status to the Human Kingdom: representing the Divine Intelligences who supervise a cosmos.

Enoch - In the Bible (Genesis iv and v) three Enochs are mentioned: the son of Cain, the son of Seth, the son of Jared. An interpretation of one of the meanings of Enoch is given by H.P.B: ‘Esoterically, Enoch is the “Sons of man,” the first; and symbolically, the first Sub-Race of the Fifth Root-Race. And if his name yields for purposes of numerical and astronomical glyphs the meaning of the solar year, or 365, in conformity to the age assigned to him in Genesis, it is because, being the seventh, he is, for Occult purposes, the personified period of the two preceding Races with their fourteen Sub-Races. Therefore, he is shown in the Book as the great grandfather of Noah who, in his turn, is the personification of the mankind of the Fifth, struggling with that of the Fourth Root-Race—the great period of the revealed and profaned Mysteries.’ (Secret Doctrine V. 106 Adyar Edition, III 90 Third ed.)

Eye of Siva - Conscious use of the pineal gland for clairvoyance is called by Hindu mystics the operation of the Eye of Šiva. Also referred to as the third eye. (See under Dangma.)

Fifth Circle - A specific grade or status of superior degree attained in the Occult Fraternity, achieved by initiation.

Fifth Race or Fifth Root Race - As described by Occult Science, represents the fifth major developmental evolution of the human kingdom. The term is specifically applicable to the Indo-European branch of humanity, which had its origin in northern Asia, in the vicinity of Lake Manasasarovara—a sacred lake in Tibet in the Himalayas. As a race sui generis it has already been in existence about one million years.

Fire-Mist, Sons of, or Children of - Equivalent to the Sons of Ad. These Beings are termed the Sons of Fire, or Fire-Mist, because they were the first humans in which ‘the Fire of Mind’ functioned. They were produced by Kriāšakti (by thought-power and yoga) in the first portion of the Third Race (q.v.).

Fifth-Rounders - Forerunners of the human race, such as the Māhatmās, having the ability to function in a superior degree of evolutionary development. They represent what the advanced members of the human race will be during the Fifth Round of the cyclical state of evolutionary development, whereas the mass of humanity on earth function as Fourth-Rounders.

Fourth Rounders - As explained by the Occult Sciences, the human race represents the stage of evolutionary development comparable to its Fourth Round, or fourth circuit of the required seven cyclical stages of evolutionary development. Each Round, or each circuit of the seven, represents a specific stage in the evolutionary development of the human race, in that one of the seven principles of man is developed to its fullest capacity. During the Fourth Round the fourth principle, Kāma, is in its phase of development.

Gebhard, Mary - (née L’Estrangge 1832-92). Best known in theosophical circles for the assistance given to Mme. Blavatsky during 1884 in Germany and 1886 in Belgium. Mme. Blavatsky lived with the Gebhards from August to October 1884, and again in May and June, 1886.

Of interest also is the fact that after Mary L’Estrange’s marriage to Consul Gustav Gebhard in 1852, she made the acquaintance of Eliphas Lévi and studied the Kabbala under his tuition until his death in 1875.

Great Breath - Symbol used to portray the coming into being of a universe, or a cosmos, for a period of manifestation and activity (termed a Manvantara)—the Outbreathing of the Great Breath. Similarly the dissolution (or Pralaya) of a cosmos is represented as the Inbreathing of the Great Breath. In the words of the Occult Catechism: ‘What is it that is ever coming and going?’ ‘The Great Breath.’

Guru - (SK) A spiritual teacher: one able to expound philosophical and metaphysical doctrines.

Hermes - Herein the reference is not to the Greek messenger of the gods but to a generic name of many ancient Greek writers on philosophy and alchemy. Then, too, there is Hermes Trismegistus, the ‘thrice great Hermes’ in Egypt. The Hermetic philosophy which arose in that land is due to him. ‘The forty-two Sacred Books of the Egyptians, mentioned by Clement of Alexandria as having existed in his time, were but a portion of the Books of Hermes (Stromata, II, 324) Iamblichus, on the authority of the Egyptian priest Abammon, attributes 1200 of such Books to Hermes, and Manetho, 36.000.’ (Secret Doctrine V 58 Adyar Edition; III 37, Third ed..)

Hierophant - Derived from Greek hieros, sacred; hence one who expounds sacred things; also an initiating priest, particularly in temples where the Mysteries were celebrated.

Hume, Allan Octavian, C.B. - (1829-1912) Secretary to the Government of India from 1870 to June 1879; was acquainted with metaphysical thought. Met Mme. Blavatsky in December 1879 and became interested in Theosophy. Wished to contact the source from which she obtained her knowledge, consequently wrote direct to Māhatmā K.H. and corresponded with him. For a time he was interested in the philosophical teachings which were presented to him; many of the letters he received were published in The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett. After a few years he lost touch with Theosophy. Later he became the prime mover in organizing the Indian National Congress and was called the ‘Father of the Congress.’

Initiation - When a candidate desired to be admitted into the ancient Mysteries he underwent a process termed initiation. This practice was observed in all the ancient religions. Plutarch, writing from knowledge, mentioned the joy that was experienced when one was initiated into the sacred Mysteries: it was the most sacred of all solemnities as well as the most beneficent and greatly promoted virtue. The clue to the esoteric significance of initiation was expressed in this passage: ‘ The degree of an Adept’s initiation mark the seven stages at which he discovers the secret of the sevenfold principles in nature and man and awakens his dormant powers.’ (M. L. p 99, First Edition; 97 Third ed.)

Inner Ego - Used in H.P. BLAVATSKY’s narrative to designate the Māyāvi-rūpa, which was projected by the Shaman. (See Astral Soul).

Judge, William Quan - (1831-96) Theosophist and author: born in Ireland; came to Brooklyn, America, with his parents while in his teens became a US citizen in 1872. Met H.P.Blavatsky in 1874 and was a constant visitor at her residence during her stay in New York. On the occasion of the founding of The Theosophical Society in September, 1875, Judge proposed that Col. Olcott should be elected chairman of the Society. Later, when the officers of the Society were elected in October, Judge became Counsel. In the spring of 1884 he went to Paris and worked with H.P. BLAVATSKY on a projected revision of Isis Unveiled, which was later abandoned and superseded by the writing and publishing of The Secret Doctrine in 1888. In June 1886 Judge was elected General Secretary of the T.S. in America, having already founded earlier in the year a theosophical magazine entitled The Path. He wrote many articles for it and continued its publication until his death in 1896. Judge is best known for his writings in his magazine as well as through his books, principally The Ocean of Theosophy, his recension of the Bhagavad-Gītā and Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali.

Kali-Yuga - (SK: kali, the die with one dot; yuga, a cycle, an age). The length of the Kali-yuga is stated to be 432,000 years. As figured in India it is the current cycle, for it began in 3102. B.C., coincident with the death of Krishna. It is referred to as the Black Age, because it is an era when strife and vice are predominant.

Kāma - (SK: from the verbal root kam, to desire). Applied in the sevenfold classification of principles in the human constitution to the desire principle as well as the energetic principle. In the Occult Sciences Kāma is regarded as the Will-principle (The Theosophist, IV 295)

Kapila, The Rishi - A great sage; a great adept of antiquity; author of the Sankhya philosophy.

Kapila - Also the generic name of the Kumāras, the celestial ascetics and virgins; therefore the very fact of Bhagavata-Purāna calling that Kapila—which it showed just before as a portion of Vishnu—the author of Sankhya philosophy, ought to have warned the reader of a ‘blind’ containing an esoteric meaning. Whether the Son of Vitatha, as Harivansa shows him to be, or of anyone else, the author of Sankhya cannot be the same as the Sage of the Satya-Yuga’ (Secret Doctrine II, 572 First Edition; IV, 142 Adyar Edition; II, 604 Third ed.)

‘The Sankhya philosophy may have been brought down and taught by the first, and written out by the last Kapila.’ (Ibid.) ‘ The Kapila of the Satya-Yuga, and the Kapila of the Kali-yuga, may be one and the same individuality, without being the same personality.’ (Ibid)

Keightley, Archibald - (1859-1930) physician and Theosophist: practised in New York. Joined The Theosophical Society in 1884 and met Mme. Blavatsky. In 1887 he assisted H.P.B in moving from Ostend to London and settling, first at Norwood, then at 17 Lansdowne Road. It was while living at the latter house that he with his uncle Bertram helped H.P.B in preparation and typing The Secret Doctrine, as well as seeing it through the press.

Kingsland, William - (1855-1936) engineer, scientist, Theosophist and author; employed with early installation of telephone and electricity in England and Scotland. In 1888 Kingsland contacted Theosophy, became a member of the Society and met Mme. Blavatsky. In January, 1889, he was elected President of Blavatsky Lodge, London, holding that office for almost two years. Was also a member of H.P.B’s Inner Group.

Kriyāšakti - (SK) The power of creative thought, especially when energized by willpower. One of the seven great powers which yogins are able to make manifest, i.e.., one of the Siddhis.

Life-Atom - The essential element of life associated with an atom, or the indwelling spark vitalizing an atom. Life-atoms may be classified in two categories: (1) atoms that are moved by kinetic energy—hence always in motion; (2) atoms that are temporarily passive, although they contain invisible, potential energy. These are termed ‘sleeping atoms.’ ‘Each atom is of course a soul, a monad, a little universe endowed with consciousness hence with memory.’ (Secret Doctrine II, 672 First Edition; IV 241, Adyar Edition; II 710 Third ed.)

Lucifer - (Latin). Literally the light-bearer, therefore used by H.P. BLAVATSKY as the title for her magazine which she founded in September 1887 and continued monthly until May 1891. Published posthumously until 1897. A passage in Rev. xvi, 22 reads: ‘I am ... the bright morning star,’ signifying Lucifer, or Phosphor in Greek, the planet Venus. The first issue, which appeared on September 15, 1887, bore this message on the title-page. ‘A Theosophical Magazine, designed to bring to light the hidden things of darkness.’

Lycomidae - The word is derived from the Greek luke, light: hence signifying the light-bearers—those who carried torches in the processions of the Mysteries.

Mahā Guru - (SK) Literally the ‘Great Teacher.’ Herein signifies the Wondrous Being, the Great Watcher.

Māhatmā - (SK: māhatmān, compound of māha, great ātman, the divine self). Usually rendered a ‘great soul.’ Herein the term signifies a member of the occult Brotherhood. Specifically applicable to the two individuals who were instrumental in sending H.P. Blavatsky as a messenger from the Brotherhood to the western world, namely Māhatmā M. (Morya—H.P.B’s spiritual guru), and Māhatmā K.H. (Koot-Hoomi). The correspondence between Sinnett and these two Māhatmās is published in The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett.

Manas - (SK) Derived from the verbal root man, to think. Applied to the mind principle, in the sevenfold classification of principles in the human constitution. The ability to use the mind principle marks the difference between the human and the animal kingdoms.

Manvantaras - (SK: Manu, a divine being and antara, between: hence literally a period between two Manus). Herein used as a cyclic period of activity comprising 7 Rounds of evolutionary development. Equivalent to a Day of Brahma, or 1,000 revolutions of the Mahā-yugas, or 4,320,000,000 years.

Master - The individual referred to by H.P.B as ‘my Master’ is known as the Māhatmā Morya (or M:) her Guru. She relates that she first met him in the physical body in London in 1851, although she had known him in his astral form during her childhood and had regarded him as her guardian. She underwent tuition and training under his tutelage in Tibet and under his direction went to America, where she met Col. Olcott and founded the Theosophical Society in 1875.

Masters - H.P.Blavatsky referred to her Teachers as Elder Brothers, because of their association with the occult Brotherhood (q.v.); or again as Masters or Māhatmās. Two members of the Fraternity who were particularly instrumental in the founding of the T.S. were known as K.H. (Koot Hoomi) and M : (or Morya), her specific guru or spiritual teacher.

Messianic Cycle - As used herein the Messianic Cycle represents the period associated with the advent of a Messiah. It is a cycle of 2155 or 2160 solar years. The significance of the number 2160 is this: it is just one half of 4320—4-3-2 being the key-figures of esoteric reckoning. The Messiah of the present Messianic Cycle was represented as coming through H.P. BLAVATSKY, who acted as the channel. Hence it is asserted that she acted in the capacity of a Light-Bringer.

Mundane Egg - The symbol of an egg is used in connection with the coming into birth of a new world. Just as the egg-cell is the point within the egg which eventually brings to birth a new being, so the Point within the World-Egg represents the Logos, which enables a new cosmos to come into manifestation.

Munis - (SK) Usually rendered Seers or Sages. Herein used for Divine Beings from previous Manvantaras (q.v) who associated with the Sons of Will and Yoga (q.v).

Mysteries - Derived from Greek muo, to be shut, or closed referring to the lips and eyes. Those initiated into the Mysteries were instructed to keep their lips sealed regarding what happened in the temples. The Mysteries consisted of dramatic portrayals of episodes connected with the deities represented in the mythologies of ancient nations. The hidden meanings of the myths and allegories were then explained to the initiated candidates. The three principal Mysteries were the Orphic, the Eleusinian and the Dionysiac.

Nadyejda - Given name of Nadyezhda Andreyevna Fadeyev (1829-1919) sister of H.P.B’s mother and youngest daughter of Andrey Mihailovich de Fadeyev and Princess Helena Pavlovna Dolgorukova. She was H.P.B ‘s favourite aunt and corresponded with her through the years. She was the recipient of the first known Māhatmā letter, receiving it at the time that H.P. BLAVATSKY was undergoing tuition in Tibet. The letter was delivered to her in person by Māhatmā M.

Occult Doctrine - The Secret Doctrine, which forms the basis of Theosophy as transmitted by H.P. BLAVATSKY to the western world.

Occult Science - One of the names by which the custodians of the Ancient Wisdom refer to it. A rendering of the Sanskrit Gupta-Vidyā.

Olcott, Henry Steel - (1832-1907) For distinguished service as Special Commissioner for the War Department as well as in the Navy Department during the Civil War in America, Olcott was awarded the rank of Colonel. In 1874, while acting as a special reporter for the New York Daily Graphic, covering the spiritualistic phenomena appearing at the Eddy farmhouse at Chittenden, Vermont, he met H.P. BLAVATSKY, who had been sent there by her Teacher. As a result of this meeting and the interest Col. Olcott showed in Spiritualism, as well as the explanations of the phenomena which Mme. Blavatsky herself demonstrated, a close association followed which in due time led to the founding of The Theosophical Society in New York in 1875. Olcott devoted the rest of his life to the cause of Theosophy, being President of the Society until his death in 1907.

Omnipresent Principle - (See Principle, an Omnipresent).

One Life - The Causeless Cause of Spirit and Matter—which are the cause of Kosmos—is called the One Life, or the Intra-Cosmic Breath, in esoteric philosophy. ‘From the ONE LIFE formless and uncreate, proceeds the Universe of lives.’ (Secret Doctrine I 250 First Edition; I 294 Adyar Edition; I 269 Third ed.)

Orpheus - As used herein refers not to the Greek mythological singer and player of the lyre (son of Apollo and Calliope), but to the great founder of a religio-philosophical system or school as well as the Orphic Mysteries. Herodotus stated that the Mysteries were brought from India by Orpheus. Pausanias relates that there was a sacerdotal family who committed to memory all the Orphic Hymns and that they were thus transmitted from one generation to another; hence they were not written down. This is why references to the Orphic Hymns are so scarce.

Over-Soul, The Universal - A rendering of the Sanskrit Paramātman, signifying the originating source of Ātman, inasmuch as ‘Soul’ is one of the translations of Ātman, as used in the phrase ‘the fundamental identity of all Souls with the Universal Over-Soul.’

Pilgrim - As here used the Pilgrim signifies the immortal component in the sevenfold constitution of a human being. As defined in the Occult Science, ‘the Pilgrim is the appellation given to our Monad (the two in one) during its cycle of incarnations.’ (Secret Doctrine I 16 First Edition; I 82 Adyar Edition; I 45 Third Edition) The ‘two in one’ signifies the union of Atman, the divine spirit, with Buddhi, the discriminating principle. The reference to the eternity of the Pilgrim calls attention to the immortality of the Monad, which takes on a new vesture for each one of its incarnations on earth.

Plato - This most famous of the ancient Greek philosophers, was stated to be a ‘Fifth Rounder.’ (q.v—Secret Doctrine I 161-2; First Edition; I 216 Adyar Edition; I 185 Third ed. Also M.L. 84 First Edition; 83 Third Edition).

Point Within a Circle - One of the most important symbols used in Occult Sciences to explain the process of manifestation: the appearance of the Point (i.e. the First Logos) on the infinite and shoreless expanse of the Boundless—Space. The latter is represented by the Circle, i.e. the Circle of Infinitude, ‘whose centre is everywhere and circumference nowhere.’ The Point thus represents the germ of primeval differentiation.

Pralaya - (SK) Literally a ‘dissolving away’, hence a period of dissolution—following upon a period of manifestation. But the dissolution applies to the forms which are no longer manifested. It does not apply to the immortal principles, which in no wise are dissolved away.

Precipitation - The ability to make writing appear on paper (or other substance) by spiritual powers, without pen, pencil, crayon or brush. Also included is the ability to deliver the message—whether written or precipitated—to any desired location.

Principle, An Omnipresent - Whereas the concept of an Omnipresent Principle—which is also Eternal, Boundless and Immutable—may be baffling to the Western mind, the reason for presenting such a concept in connection with the Secret Doctrine of antiquity is easily explained. As soon as the mind has a fixed idea concerning a principle, it has immediately limited the comprehension of that principle. Therefore by postulating that this Boundless may not be limited by the mind, one can ever strive to obtain a clearer knowledge of immutability and boundless reaches of Infinitude.

Principles, The Seven - (See under Seven Principles).

Projectivity - Using one of the Siddhis (q.v). This signifies employing Tulku or the ability to project one’s consciousness—technically termed the Māyavi-rūpa. In other words, the conscious withdrawal of the ‘inner self’ from the ‘outer self.’

Psychometer - One who has the power of psychometry (q.v).

Psychometry - Ability to receive from any object—held in the hand or against the forehead—impressions of the characteristics or appearance of a person or objects with which it has previously been in contrast.

Ptolemy - When used generalizingly (as in the quoted passage), applies to any one of the Macedonian rulers of Egypt.

Pyatigorsk - Town south of Kislovodsk, Russia, north of the Caucasus Mountains, not far from the Black Sea.

Receptivity - Here signifies the ability to place oneself en rapport with individuals by means of spiritual powers. Such individuals have the power to transmit messages to any desired distance by occult means.

Rishis - Term used with a great deal of latitude; commonly regarded as singers of sacred hymns; inspired poets or sages. Also applied to seven great sages who composed the Vedic hymns. Herein referred to as Divine Beings from previous Manvantaras who associated with the Sons of Will and Yoga.

Rootless Root - Also the Unknown Root. Term associated with the Omnipresent Principle (q.v), of which this concept is but an aspect. The explanation given for the Omnipresent Principle also applies here; for how can the human mind which is finite, grasp Infinity? How can one conceive of all that ever was, all that is, or all that ever shall be? Hence the expression ‘the Rootless Root.’

Samādhi - (SK) In the Hindu classification of the four states of consciousness, the fourth and highest state: a beatific state of contemplative yoga. Also defined as the eighth and final state of yoga, signifying intense and supreme concentration of the mental and spiritual faculties: a state in which one loses consciousness of every individuality, including one’s own, and becoming conscious of the ALL.

Sang-Gyas - (Tibetan sans-rgyas: pronounced sang-gyas, literally perfect, holy). Tibetan name of Gautama the Buddha.

Seers - As used herein refers particularly to those who can see into the records preserved in the Akāsa (q.v.)

Senzar - Name of the ancient ‘Mystery-speech’ of initiated Adepts. A secret, sacerdotal language; hence also called a Mystery Language; preceding the Sanskrit language.

Seven Principles - Also referred to as the sevenfold constitution of man, or the septenary classification of man’s principles. In Theosophy the constitution of a human being is composed of seven principles, or is classified as consisting of seven components. These are enumerated in Sanskrit, with English equivalents:

1        Stūla-šarīra—Physical Body, regarded as the carrier of the six components.

2        Linga-šarīra—Model Body, also termed etheric body, ethereal double, astral body: the conveyor or:

3        Prāna—Life Principle, representing the vital fluid.

4        Kāma—Desire Principle, representing the energetic principle.

5        Manas—Mind Principle, representing the functions of the lower mind, especially in conjunction with desire.

6        Buddhi—Discriminating Principle, representing the functioning of the higher mind by noble thoughts and deeds.

7        Ātman—Divine Principle, or spirit, conveying immortality to the sixth and fifth principles.

Seven Satellites - A symbolic manner of referring to the Seven Principles (q.v) of the human constitution.

Seventh Sense - As the Occult Science postulates further development of faculties and powers now dormant in man, of greater potency than the five senses which function at the present time, the culmination of the evolutionary development of the human race on this globe will bring into use both the sixth and the seventh senses. H.P. BLAVATSKY describes what will occur when the sixth sense works in consonance with the seventh: ‘The light which radiates from this seventh sense illumines the fields of infinitude. For a brief space of time man becomes omniscient; the Past and the Future, Space and Time, disappear and become for him the Present.’ (Secret Doctrine V 482 Adyar Edition; III 505 Third ed.)

Shaberon - Tibetan equivalent of Chutuktu, which H.P. BLAVATSKY explained as: ‘an incarnation of Buddha or of some Bodhisattva, as believed in Tibet, where there are generally five manifesting and two secret Chutuktus among the high Lamas. (Th. Glos p 85)

Shaman - Medicine-man or priest-doctor among the tribes of Siberia; regarded as a conjurer and an exorcist.

Siddhis - (SK) Literally attainments: phenomenal powers, associated with psychic faculties. ‘There are two kinds of Siddhis. One group which embraces the lower, coarse, psychic and mental energies; the other is one which exacts the highest training of Spiritual powers.’ (The Voice of the Silence, Fragment I, footnote I).

Sinnett, Alfred Percy - (1840-1921) Editor of the Anglo-Indian paper The Pioneer when H.P. BLAVATSKY arrived in India in 1879. In December of that year, in response to Sinnett’s invitation, Mme. Blavatsky visited him at Allahabad. He became interested in the message she brought, and wished to contact those from whom she derived her knowledge. He wrote to a Māhatmā and received a reply, which led to a remarkable correspondence, published after the editor’s death as The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett. As a result of the correspondence, Sinnett wrote and published The Occult World, Esoteric Buddhism and other theosophical books. The letters he received from Mme. Blavatsky—a whole volume of them—were published posthumously as The Letters of H.P. BLAVATSKY to A. P. Sinnett. From these letters Sinnett wrote a biography entitled Incidents in the Life of Mme. Blavatsky.

Sixth Sense - The sense to be brought to function in the Sixth Root-Race: spiritual clairvoyance. It will be brought about when Manas (the mind-principle) is consciously merged with the sixth sense, resulting in the use of Jnana-šaktī—one of the Siddhis described as the power of real wisdom.

Skins - A graphic expression, referring to one of the seven principles of the human constitution. (See Seven Principles).

Sleeping Atoms - Life atoms endowed with potential invisible energy but temporarily passive. (See Life-Atoms)

Šloka - (SK) Usually rendered ‘verse’. In Sanskrit works a sloka generally consists of two metrical lines.

Sons of Will and Yoga - The Divine Beings produced by Kriyā-šakti (q.v) (See Fire-Mist, Sons of or Children of.)

Sons of Wisdom - The Sons of Ad, or Sons of the Fire-Mist (q.v)

Soumay - A lamasery, a Buddhist monastery or convent of Tibet, also of Mongolia. Usually under the direction of a chief lama (equivalent is an abbot or abbess).

Space - Used in the Secret Doctrine for the boundless, frontierless ALL—the One Eternal Element, dimensionless in every sense. The equivalent Sanskrit term is Parabrahman, or the Vedic TAT—That.

Stanzas of Dzyan - These Stanzas from the Book of Dzyan form the basis of the Secret Doctrine The original was written in Senzar, but extracts are also made from Chinese, Tibetan and Sanskrit translations. The Book of Dzyan—from the Sanskrit word Dhyāna (mystic meditation)—is the first volume of the Commentaries upon the seven secret folios of Kiu-te and a Glossary of the public works of the same name.’ (Secret Doctrine V 389 Adyar Edition; III 405 Third ed.) The Stanzas ‘are the records of a people unknown to ethnology; it is claimed that they are written in a tongue absent from the nomenclature of languages and dialects with which philology is acquainted; they are said to emanate from a source (Occultism) repudiated by science.’ (Secret Doctrine I, xxxvii First Edition; I 59 Adyar Edition; I 24 Third ed.)

Svastika - (SK literally well-being). Has been used in both Old and New Worlds from prehistoric times. ‘In Esoteric Philosophy, the most mystic and ancient diagram. It is the originator of the fire by friction and of the Forty-nine Fires.’ (Th. Glos p 315).

Tamasha - East Indian word of Arabian or Persian origin signifying spectacle, entertainment. By extension, applied to a psychic phenomenon.

Terrestrial Chain - Best explained by one of the postulates in the Secret Doctrine; ‘every sidereal body, every planet, whether visible or invisible, is credited with six companion globes.’ (I 158 -9 First Edition; I 213 Adyar Edition; I 182 Third Edition) The seven globes comprising the Earth-system are therefore termed the Terrestrial Chain or the Earth Chain.

Third Race or Third Root-Race - Used in the Secret Doctrine for a specific evolutionary development of the human race on this globe. This ‘Race’ was preceded by two major evolutionary developmental stages (the First and Second Root-Races), each of which underwent seven minor developmental stages termed Sub-races. During the early portion of this Third Race the Sons of the Fire-Mist were produced by Kriyāsšakti. The Third Race is divided into three distinct divisions: (1) the Sweat-Born—the primary developmental aspect of this Race; (2) the twofold—referring to the androgynous state of humanity; (3) the two sexes of humans (as at present) which occurred during the fifth sub-race of this Third Race, 18 million years ago.

Thought Transference - The power of transferring one’s thoughts without words. As explained by H.P. BLAVATSKY: ‘When two minds are sympathetically related, and the instruments through which they function are tuned to respond magnetically and electrically to one another, there is nothing which will prevent the transmission of thoughts from one to the other at will.’ (Key p 2910

Tiruvalluvar - A yogi or fakir who attains the goal of yoga, represented by Samadhi (q.v). In addition H.P. BLAVATSKY’s precipitated portrait the yogi is portrayed in that state of consciousness.

Tsong-Kha-Pa - (1358-1419) Great reformer of Buddhism, both exoteric and esoteric, in Tibet in 14th century. Instituted a purified form of Buddhism, freeing it from the Bon worship, which had crept into it from the Order of the Red Caps. To distinguish the Reformed Buddhists from the other Orders, Tsong-Kha-pa instituted the Yellow Caps (Gelugpas). He also founded the monasteries of Sera and Ganden and was the presiding hierarch of the latter. Tsong-Kha-pa ‘is the founder of the secret school near Tji-gad-ji, attached to the private retreat of the Teshu-Lama. It is with Him that began the regular system of Lamaic incarnations of Buddhas (Sang-gyas)’ (Secret Doctrine V 391 Adyar Edition; III 407 Third Edition).

Tulku - (Tibetan sprul-sku, pronounced tulku). Literally ‘to appear in a body.’ Has the popular connotation of an ‘incarnation of the Buddha,’ whereas the esoteric significance implies the use of one of the Siddhis, namely the ability to project one’s consciousness by means of an illusory vehicle.

Wachtmeister, Constance (née de Bourbel—1838—1910) Born at Florence, Italy, but reared in England. In 1863 married Count Karl Wachtmeister, then Swedish and Norwegian Minister at the Court of St. James’s, later at Copenhagen and Stockholm. The Countess lived with H.P. BLAVATSKY, first at Würzburg, Germany, then at Ostend, Belgium. She related her experiences in Reminiscences of H.P. BLAVATSKY and ‘The Secret Doctrine,’ published in 1893. Many of her letters written at the time she was with H.P.B are published in a section of the book Letters of H.P. BLAVATSKY to A.P. Sinnett.

Witte, Count Serguey Yulyevich - (1849-1915) Statesman who became Prime Minister of Russia. In 1892 was appointed Minister of Communications. In 1903 became President of the Committee of Ministers. The Count’s outstanding accomplishment was the negotiation of the terms of peace closing the Russo-Japanese War in 1905. He was related to Mme. Blavatsky through his mother, Katherine, who was a younger sister of H.P.B’s mother: Katherine was married to Yuliy Feodorovich de Witte. As Count Witte was born just one month before his cousin Helena was married to N.V. Blavatsky, his account published in his Memoirs is based on gossip rather than factual knowledge. In spite of slanderous statements in those Memoirs, Count Witte at least testified to Mme. Blavatsky’s great writing ability: ‘She could write pages of smoothly flowing verse without the slightest effort, and she could compose essays in prose on every conceivable subject.’ (Quoted in Corson’s—q.v—prose on every conceivable subject.’ (Quoted in Corson’s book, pages 19-20).

Wondrous Being - Name for the Supreme Hierarch of the Earth, represented as the ‘Root Base’ of this globe, to which a name is applied in translation: ‘the ever-living-human-Banyan.’ This Great Being descended from a high region in the early part of the Third Age. Other names are: the Initiator, the Nameless one, the Great Sacrifice, the Mahā-Guru, the Silent Watcher.

Yogasūtras - (SK) Sūtra signifies a thread, but when applied to a written work means a rule, a principle. In the West the sūtras on yoga by Patanjali are known under the name of Yoga Aphorisms. Little is known about Patanjali; what has come down to our day is legendary. His aphorisms indicate that he possessed wisdom and imparted it in his work. He expects the practitioners of his system of yoga to acquire right knowledge of what is and what is not real and to practice all virtues. The opening sloka gives the keynote of Patanjali’s sūtras: ‘Assuredly, the exposition of Yoga or Concentration, is now to be made.’

Yogi - (SK: yogin—the nominative case is yogi). A practitioner of yoga. One who aims to attain union of the human spirit with the Universal Spirit. One of the methods pursued by the practitioner is that of the withdrawal of the senses from all external objects.

Zhelihovsky, Vera de - H.P.B’s younger sister, born 1835 at Odessa, died 1896. Married first Nikolay de Yahontov (1827-58) and secondly Vladimir de Zhelihovsky. Became widely known in Russia as writer of children’s stories; also contributed to Russian periodicals. Of special interest are her essays concerning her sister, Helena; the first one entitled ‘ The Truth about H.P. BLAVATSKY’ published serially in Rebus in 1883, and later in book form. H.P.B herself translated the series. In 1884 Vera wrote a series entitled ‘The Inexplicable or the Unexplained: From Personal and Family Reminiscences,’ also published by Rebus. Yet another series was written for the Russian Review on ‘H.P. BLAVATSKY: A Biographical Sketch,’ and published in 1891. Another biographical sketch in Russian was added to the Russian edition of H.P.B’s book ‘Mysterious Tribes of the Blue Hills (published 1893). Vera also wrote two books concerning her sister’s and her own childhood: When I Was Small and My Adolescence published in 1893 and 1894.