H P Blavatsky
The Key to Theosophy Glossary
H P Blavatsky
Nazarene Codex. The Scriptures of the Nazarenes and of the Nabotheans also. According to sundry Church Fathers, Jerome and Epiphanius especially, they were heretical teachings, but are in fact one of the numerous Gnostic readings of cosmogony and theogony, which produced a distinct sect.
Necromancy. The raising of the images of the dead, considered in antiquity and by modern occultists as a practice of Black Magic. Iamblichus, Porphyry and other theurgists deprecated the practice no less than Moses, who condemned the “witches” of his day to death, the said witches being often only mediums, e.g., the case of the Witch of Endor and Samuel.
school of philosophy which arose between the second and third century of our
era, and was founded by Ammonius Saccas, of
Nirmanakaya (Sans.) Something entirely different in esoteric philosophy from the popular meaning attached to it, and from the fancies of the Orientalists. Some call the Nirmanakaya body “Nirvana with remains” (Schlagintweit), on the supposition, probably, that it is a kind of Nirvanic condition during which consciousness and form are retained. Others say that it is one of the Trikaya (three bodies) with “the power of assuming any form of appearance in order to propagate Buddhism” (Eitel’s idea); again, that “it is the incarnate avatara of a deity” (ibid.)Occultism, on the other hand, says (“Voice of the Silence”) that Nirmanakaya, although meaning literally a transformed “body,” is a state. The form is that of the Adept or Yogi who enters, or chooses, that post-mortem condition in preference to the Dharmakaya or absolute Nirvanic state. He does this because the latter Kaya separates him for ever from the world of form, conferring upon him a state of selfish bliss, in which no other living being can participate, the adept being thus precluded from the possibility of helping humanity, or even devas. As a Nirmanakaya, however, the adept leaves behind him only his physical body, and retains every other “principle” save the Kamic, for he has crushed this out for ever from his nature during life, and it can never resurrect in his post-mortem state. Thus, instead of going into selfish bliss, he chooses a life of self-sacrifice, an existence which ends only with the life-cycle, in order to be enabled to help mankind in an invisible, yet most effective, manner. (See “Voice of the Silence,” third Treatise, “The Seven Portals.”) Thus a Nirmanakaya is not, as popularly believed, the body “in which a Buddha or a Bodhisattva appears on earth,” but verily one who, whether a Chutuktu or a Khubilkhan, an adept or a Yogi during life, has since become a member of that invisible Host which ever protects and watches over humanity within Karmic limits. Mistaken often for a “Spirit,” a Deva, God himself, &c., a Nirmanakaya is ever a protecting, compassionate, verily a guardian, angel to him who is worthy of his help. Whatever objection may be brought forward against this doctrine, however much it is denied, because, forsooth, it has never hitherto been made public in Europe, and therefore, since it is unknown to Orientalists, it must needs be a “myth of modern invention”—no one will be bold enough to say that this idea of helping suffering mankind at the price of one’s own almost interminable self-sacrifice, is not one of the grandest and noblest that was ever evolved from the human brain. Nirvana (Sans.) According to the Orientalists, the entire “blowing-out,” like the flame of a candle, the utter extinction of existence. But in the exoteric explanations it is the state of absolute existence and absolute consciousness, into which the Ego of a man who had reached the highest degree of perfection and holiness during life, goes after the body dies, and occasionally, as is the case of Gautama Buddha and others, during life.
One who has attained Nirvana—an emancipated Soul. That Nirvana means something
quite different from the puerile assertions of Orientalists, every scholar who
“the spiritual body is immortal.” (Vide “Sans.-Chin. Dict.”) As Mr. Eitel, the scholarly Sinologist, explains it: “The popular exoteric systems agree in defining Nirvana negatively as a state of absolute exemption from the circle of transmigration; as a state of entire freedom from all forms of existence, to begin with, freedom from all passion and exertion; a state of indifference to all sensibility”—and he might have added “death of all compassion for the world of suffering.” And this is why the Bodhisattvas who prefer the Nirmanakaya to the Dharmakaya vesture stand higher in the popular estimation than the Nirvanees. But the same scholar adds that “Positively (and esoterically) they define Nirvana as the highest state of spiritual bliss, as absolute immortality through absorption of the Soul (Spirit rather) into itself, but preserving individuality, so that, e. g., Buddhas, after entering Nirvana, may re-appear on earth—i. e., in the future Manvantara.”
Noumena (Gr.) The true essential nature of Being as distinguished from the illusive objects of sense.
Nous (Gr.) A Platonic term for the Higher Mind or Soul. It means Spirit as distinct from animal-Soul, Psyche; divine consciousness or mind in man. The name was adopted by the Gnostics for their first conscious AEon, which, with the Occultists, is the third logos, cosmically, and the third “principle” (from above) or Manas, in man. (Vide infra, “Nout.”) Nout (Eg.) In the Egyptian Pantheon it meant the “One-only-One,” because it does not proceed in the popular or exoteric religion higher than the third manifestation which radiates from the Unknowable and the Unknown in the esoteric philosophy of every nation. The Nous of Anaxagoras was the Mahat of the Hindus -- Brahma, the first manifested deity—“the Mind or spirit Self-potent.” This creative principle is the primum mobile of everything to be found in the Universe—its Soul or Ideation. (Vide “Seven Principles” in man.)
Occultism. See OCCULT SCIENCES.
The science of the secrets of nature—physical and psychic, mental and
spiritual; called Hermetic and Esoteric Sciences. In the west, the Kabbala may
be named; in the east, mysticism, magic, and Yoga philosophy. The latter is
often referred to by the Chelas in
The name of the first book which treated of Theosophy, its history, and certain
of its tenets. Written by A. P. Sinnett, then editor of the leading Indian
paper, the Pioneer, of
Origen. A Christian Churchman, born at the end of the second century, probably in Africa, of whom little, if anything, is known, since his biographical fragments have passed to posterity on the authority of Eusebius, the most unmitigated falsifier that has ever existed in any age. The latter is credited with having collected upwards of one hundred letters of Origen (or Origenes Adamantius), which are now said to have been lost. To Theosophists, the most interesting of all the works of Origen is his “Doctrine of the Pre-existence of Souls.” He was a pupil of Ammonius Saccas, and for a long time attended the lectures of this great teacher of philosophy.
Panaenus. A Platonic philosopher in the Alexandrian school of the Philalethians.
Pandora. In Greek Mythology, the first woman on earth, created by Vulcan out of clay to punish Prometheus and counteract his gift to mortals. Each God having made her a present of some virtue, she was made to carry them in a box to Prometheus, who, however, being endowed with foresight, sent her away, changing the gifts into evils. Thus, when his brother Epimetheus saw and married her, when he opened the box, all the evils now afflicting humanity issued from it, and have remained since then in the world.
Pantheist. One who identifies God with nature and vice versa. If we have to regard Deity as an infinite and omnipresent Principle, this can hardly be otherwise; nature being thus simply the physical aspect of Deity, or its body. Parabrahm (Sans.) A Vedantin term meaning “beyond Brahma.” The Supreme and the absolute Principle, impersonal and nameless. In the Veda it is referred to as “THAT.”
Paranirvana. In the Vedantic philosophy the highest form of nirvana—beyond the latter.
Parsis). The present Persian followers of Zoroaster, now settled in
teachings of Occultism divide man into three aspects—the divine, the thinking
or rational, and the irrational or animal man. For metaphysical purposes also
he is considered under a septenary division, or, as it is agreed to express it
in theosophy, he is composed of seven “principles,” three of which constitute
the Higher Triad, and the remaining four the lower Quaternary. It is in the
latter that dwells the Personality which embraces all the characteristics,
including memory and consciousness, of each physical life in turn. The
Individuality is the Higher Ego (Manas) of the Triad considered as a Unity. In
other words the Individuality is our imperishable Ego which reincarnates and
clothes itself in a new Personality at every new birth. Phallic Worship, or Sex Worship; reverence
and adoration shown to those gods and goddesses which, like Siva and Durga in
Philadelphians. Lit., “those who love their brother-man.” A sect in the seventeenth century, founded by one Jane Leadly. They objected to all rites, forms, or ceremonies of the Church, and even to the Church itself, but professed to be guided in soul and spirit by an internal Deity, their own Ego or God within them.
Philalethians. (Vide “Neoplatonists.”)
Philo-Judaeus. A Hellenized Jew of Alexandria, a famous historian and philosopher of the first century, born about the year 30 B. C., and died between the years 45 and 50 A. D. Philo’s symbolism of the Bible is very remarkable. The animals, birds, reptiles, trees, and places mentioned in it are all, it is said, “allegories of conditions of the soul, of faculties, dispositions, or passions; the useful plants were allegories of virtues, the noxious of the affections of the unwise and so on through the mineral kingdom; through heaven, earth and stars; through fountains and rivers, fields and dwellings; through metals, substances, arms, clothes, ornaments, furniture, the body and its parts, the sexes, and our outward condition.” (Dict. Christ. Biog.) All of which would strongly corroborate the idea that Philo was acquainted with the ancient Kabbala.
Philosopher’s Stone. A term in Alchemy; called also the Powder of Projection, a mysterious “principle” having the power of transmuting the base metals into pure gold. In Theosophy it symbolises the transmutation of the lower animal nature of man into the highest divine.
Phren. A Pythagorean term denoting what we call the Kama-manas, still overshadowed by Buddhi-Manas.
Plane. From the Latin Planus (level, flat), an extension of space, whether in the physical or metaphysical sense. In Occultism, the range or extent of some state of consciousness, or the state of matter corresponding to the perceptive powers of a particular set of senses or the action of a particular force. Planetary Spirits. Rulers and governors of the Planets. Planetary Gods. Plastic. Used in Occultism in reference to the nature and essence of the astral body, or the “Protean Soul.” (Vide “Plastic Soul” in the Theosophical Glossary.)
“Fulness”; a gnostic term used also by
(Porphyrius). His real name was Malek, which led to his being regarded as a
Jew. He came from
Pot Amun. A Coptic term meaning “one consecrated to the god Amun,” the Wisdom-god. The name of an Egyptian priest and occultist under the Ptolemies. Pragna, or Prajna (Sans.) A term used to designate the “Universal Mind.” A synonym of Mahat.
Pralaya (Sans.) Dissolution, the opposite of Manvantara, one being the period of rest and the other of full activity (death and life) of a planet, or of the whole universe.
Prana (Sans.) Life Principle, the breath of life, Nephesh. Protean Soul. A name for Mayavi rupa or thought-body, the higher astral form which assumes all forms and every form at the will of an adept’s thought. (Vide “Plastic Soul” in the Theos. Gloss.)
Psychism. The word is used now to denote every kind of mental phenomena, e.g., mediumship as well as the higher form of sensitiveness. A newly-coined word. Puranas (Sans.) Lit., “the ancient,” referring to Hindu writings or Scriptures, of which there is a considerable number.
Pythagoras. The most famous mystic philosopher, born at Samos about 586 B. C., who taught the heliocentric system and reincarnation, the highest mathematics and the highest metaphysics, and who had a school famous throughout the world. (See for fuller particulars, Theos. Gloss.)
Quaternary. The four lower “principles in man,” those which constitute his personality (i.e., Body, Astral Double, Prana or life, organs of desire and lower Manas, or brain-mind), as distinguished from the Higher Ternary or Triad, composed of the higher Spiritual Soul, Mind and Atman (Higher Self).
Remembrance, Reminiscence. Occultists make a difference between these three
functions. As, however, a glossary cannot contain the full explanation of every
term in all its metaphysical and subtle differences, we can only state here
that these terms vary in their applications, according to whether they relate to
the past or the present birth, and whether one or the other of these phases of
memory emanates from the spiritual or the material brain; or, again, from the
“Individuality” or the “Personality.” Reincarnation, or Re-birth; the once
universal doctrine, which taught that the Ego is born on this earth an
innumerable number of times. Now-a-days it is denied by Christians, who seem to
misunderstand the teachings of their own gospels. Nevertheless, the putting on
of flesh periodically and throughout long cycles by the higher human Soul
(Buddhi-Manas) or Ego is taught in the Bible as it is in all other ancient
scriptures, and “resurrection” means only the rebirth of the Ego in another
form. (Vide Theos. Gloss.) Reuchlin, John. A great German philosopher and philologist,
Kabbalist and scholar. He was born at Pfortzheim in
The epithet given to the occult sciences in general, and by the Rosicrucians to
the Kabbala, and especially to the Hermetic philosophy. Samadhi. The name in
“Tendencies of mind.”
The sudden remembrance of all one’s past incarnations, a phenomenon of memory
obtained through Yoga. A Buddhist mystic term.
Sanna. One of the five Skandhas, or attributes, meaning “abstract ideas.”
Seance. A term now used to denote a sitting with a medium for sundry phenomena.
Used chiefly among the spiritualists.
Self. There are two Selves in men—the Higher and the Lower, the Impersonal and the Personal Self. One is divine, the other semi-animal. A great distinction should be made between the two.
Sephiroth. A Hebrew Kabalistic word, for the ten divine emanations from Ain-Soph, the impersonal, universal Principle, or DEITY. (Vide Theos. Gloss.) Skandhas. The attributes of every personality, which after death form the basis, so to say, for a new Karmic reincarnation. They are five in the popular or exoteric system of the Buddhists: i.e., Rupa, form or body, which leaves behind it its magnetic atoms and occult affinities; Vedana, sensations, which do likewise; Sanna, or abstract ideas, which are the creative powers at work from one incarnation to another; Samkhara, tendencies of mind; and Vinnana, mental powers.
Somnambulism. “Sleep walking.” A psycho-physiological state, too well known to need explanation.
same as the above, with the difference that the Spiritualists reject almost
unanimously the doctrine of Reincarnation, while the Spiritists make of it the
fundamental principle in their belief. There is, however, a vast difference
between the views of the latter and the philosophical teachings of Eastern
Occultists. Spiritists belong to the
Spiritualism. The modern belief that the spirits of the dead return on earth to commune with the living. (See “Spiritism.”)
(Count). A mysterious personage, who appeared in the last century and early in
the present one in
*Sthulopadhi. The physical body in its waking, conscious state (Jagrat). *Sukshmopadhi. The physical body in the dreaming state (Svapna), and Karanopadhi, “the causal body.”
belong to the teachings of the
(Emanuel). A famous scholar and clairvoyant of the past century, a man of great
learning, who has vastly contributed to Science, but whose mysticism and
transcendental philosophy placed him in the ranks of hallucinated visionaries.
He is now universally known as the Founder of the Swedenborgian sect, or the
New Jerusalem Church. He was born at
Taijas (Sans.) From tejas “fire”; meaning the “radiant,” the “luminous,” and referring to the manasa rupa, “the body of Manas,” also to the stars, and the star-like shining envelopes. A term in Vedanta philosophy, having other meanings besides the Occult signification just given.
Taraka Raj Yoga (Sans.) One of the Brahmanical Yoga systems, the most philosophical, and in fact the most secret of all, as its real tenets are never given out publicly. It is a purely intellectual and spiritual school of training.
Tetragrammaton (Gr.) The deity-name in four letters, which are in their English form IHVH. It is a kabalistical term and corresponds on a more material plane to the sacred Pythagorean Tetraktys. (See Theos. Gloss.) Theodidaktos (Gr.) The “God taught,” a title applied to Ammonius Saccas.
Theogony. From the Greek theogonia, lit., the “Genesis of the Gods.” Theosophia (Gr.) Lit., “divine wisdom or the wisdom of the gods.” [For a fuller explanation of such words as “Theosophy,” “Theosophists,” “Theosophical Society,” etc., vide the Theos. Gloss.]
Therapeuts (Gr.)A school of Jewish mystic healers, or esotericists, wrongly
referred to, by some, as a sect. They resided in and near
Thread Soul. The same as Sutratma, which see.
Thumos (Gr.) A Pythagorean and Platonic term; applied to an aspect of the human soul, to denote its passionate Kamarupic condition: -- almost equivalent to the Sanskrit word tamas: “the quality of darkness,” and probably derived from the latter.
Timaeus (of Locris). A Pythagorean philosopher, born at Locris. He differed somewhat from his teacher in the doctrine of metempsychosis. He wrote a treatise on the Soul of the World and its nature and essence, which is in the Doric dialect and still extant.
Triad or Trinity. In every religion and philosophy—the three in One.
Universal Brotherhood. The sub-title of the Theosophical Society, and the first of the three objects professed by it.
Upadhi (Sans.) Basis of something, substructure; as in Occultism—substance is the upadhi of Spirit.
Upanishad (Sans.) Lit., “Esoteric Doctrine.” The third Division of the Vedas, and classed with revelations (Sruti or “revealed word”). Some 150 of the Upanishads still remain extant, though no more than about twenty can be fully relied upon as free from falsification. These are all earlier than the sixth century B. C. Like the Kabala, which interprets the esoteric sense of the Bible, so the Upanishads explain the mystic sense of the Vedas. Professor Cowell has two statements regarding the Upanishads as interesting as they are correct. Thus he says: (1) These works have “one remarkable peculiarity, the total absence of any Brahmanical exclusiveness in their doctrine. . . . They breathe an entirely different spirit, a freedom of thought unknown in any earlier work except the Rig Veda hymns themselves; and (2) the great teachers of the higher knowledge (Gupta Vidya), and Brahmans, are continually represented as going to Kshatriya Kings to become their pupils” (chelas). This shows conclusively that (a) the Upanishads were written before the enforcement of caste and Brahmanical power, and are thus only second in antiquity to the Vedas; and (b) that the occult sciences or the “higher knowledge,” as Cowell puts it, is far older than the Brahmans in India, or even of them as a caste. The Upanishads are, however, far later than Gupta Vidya, or the “Secret Science” which is as old as human philosophical thought itself.
Vahan (Sans.) “Vehicle,” a synonym of Upadhi.
Sect (Sans.), or the “Sect of the Maharajas;” a licentious phallic-worshipping
community, whose main branch is at
Vidya (Sans.) Knowledge, or rather “Wisdom Knowledge.” Vinnana (Sans.) One of five Skandhas; meaning literally, “mental powers.” (See “Skandhas.”)
Wisdom-Religion. The same as Theosophy. The name given to the secret doctrine which underlies every exoteric scripture and religion.
Yoga (Sans.) A school of philosophy founded by Patanjali, but which existed as a distinct teaching and system of life long before that sage. It is Yajnawalkya, a famous and very ancient sage, to whom the White Yajur Veda, the Satapatha Brahmana and the Brihak Aranyaka are attributed and who lived in pre-Maha-bharatean times, who is credited with inculcating the necessity and positive duty of religious meditation and retirement into the forests, and who, therefore, is believed to have originated the Yoga doctrine. Professor Max Muller states that it is Yajnawalkya who prepared the world for the preaching of Buddha. Patanjali’s Yoga, however, is more definite and precise as a philosophy, and embodies more of the occult sciences than any of the works attributed to Yajnawalkya.
Yogi or Yogin
(Sans.) A devotee, one who practises the Yoga system. There are various grades
and kinds of Yogis, and the term has now become in
Zenobia. The Queen of Palmyra, defeated by the Emperor Aurelianus. She had for her instructor Longinus, the famous critic and logician in the third century A. D. (See “Longinus.”)
Zivo, Kabar (or
Yukabar). The name of one of the creative deities in the Nazarene Codex. (See
Zohar (Heb.) The “Book of Splendour,” a Kabalistic work attributed to Simeon Ben Iochai, in the first century of our era. (See for fuller explanation Theos. Gloss.)
Zoroastrian. One who follows the religion of the Parsis, sun, or fire-worshippers.
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