Spiritual and Yoga Glossary

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Adept – A Master, or human being who, having traversed the path of evolution and entered upon the final stage of the path, the Path of Initiation, has taken five of the Initiations, and has therefore passed into the Fifth, or Spiritual kingdom, having but two more Initiations to take. 

Adi – The First; the primeval; the atomic plane of the solar system; the highest of the seven planes. 

Agni – The Lord of Fire in the Vedas. The oldest and most revered of the Gods in India. One of the three great deities Agni, Vayu and Surya, and also all the three, as he is the triple aspect of fire; fire is the essence of the solar system. The Bible says: “Our God is a consuming fire.” It is also the symbol of the mental plane of which Agni is paramountly lord. 

Agnichaitans, Agnićaitans – A group of fire devas. 

Atlantis – The continent that was submerged in the Atlantic ocean, according to the occult teaching and Plato. Atlantis was the home of the Fourth Root Race, whom we now call the Atlanteans. 

Antahkarana. The path, or bridge, between higher and lower mind, serving as a medium of communication between the two. It is built by the aspirant himself in mental matter. 

Ashram, ashrama – The centre to which the Master gathers the disciples and aspirants for personal instruction. 

Atman, Atma (Aatmaa/n) – The true Soul or Spirit, Universal Spirit; the divine Monad; essence of human being, the seventh Principle; so called in the septenary constitution of man. Atman is from “Ati” means the Highest and from “Manas” – the Mind. 

Atomic Subplane – The matter of the solar system is divided by the occultists into seven planes or states, the highest of which is the atomic plane. Similarly, each of the seven planes is divided into seven subplanes, of which the highest is called the atomic subplane. There are therefore forty-nine subplanes, and seven of these are atomic. 

Aura – A subtle invisible essence or fluid which emanates from human and animal bodies, and even from things. It is a psychic effluvium, partaking of both mind and body. It is electro-vital, and also electro-mental. 

Auric egg – An appellation that has been given to the causal body owing to its form. 

– B – 

Bodhisattva – Literally, he whose consciousness has become intelligence, or buddhi. Those who need but one more incarnation to become perfect buddhas. As used in these letters the Bodhisattva is the name of the office which is at present occupied by the Lord Maitreya, Who is known in the occident as the Christ. This office might be translated as that of World Teacher. The Bodhisattva is the Head of all the religions of the world, and the Master of the Masters and of the angels. 

Buddha – The name given to Siddharta Gautama. Born in India about B.C. 621 he became a full Buddha in B.C. 592. The Buddha is one who is the “Enlightened,” and has attained the highest degree of knowledge possible for man in this solar system. 

Buddhi – The Universal Soul or Mind. It is the spiritual soul in man (the Sixth Principle) and therefore the vehicle of Atma, the Spirit, which is the Seventh Principle. 

Causal Body – This body is, from the standpoint of the physical plane, no body, either subjective or objective. It is, nevertheless, the centre of the egoic consciousness, and is formed of the conjunction of buddhi and manas. It is relatively permanent and lasts throughout the long cycle of incarnations, and is only dissipated after the fourth initiation, when the need for further rebirth on the part of a human being no longer exists. 

Chohan, Cohan (Ćohan) – Lord, Master, a Chief. In this book it refers to those Adepts who have gone on and taken the sixth occult initiation. 

– D –

Deva (or Angel), A god – In Sanskrit a resplendent deity. A Deva is a celestial being, always good, never bad, or indifferent. Devas are divided into many groups, and are called not only angels and archangels, but lesser and greater builders. 

– E –

Egoic Groups – On the third subplane of the fifth plane, the mental, are found the causal bodies of the individual men and women. These bodies, which are the expression of the Ego, or of the individualised self-consciousness, are gathered together into groups according to the ray or quality of the particular Ego involved. 

Elementals – The Spirits of the Elements; the creatures involved in the four kingdoms, or elements, Earth, Air,Fire, and Water. Except a few of the higher kinds and their rulers they are forces of nature more than ethereal men and women. 

Etheric body, Lingasharira – (Etheric double.) The physical body of a human being is, according to occult teaching, formed of two parts, the dense physical body, and the etheric body. The dense physical body is formed of matter of the lowest three subplanes of the physical plane. The etheric body is formed of the four highest or etheric subplanes of the physical plane.

– F –

Fifth Principle – The principle of mind; that faculty in man which is the intelligent thinking principle, and which differentiates man from the animals. 

Fohat – Cosmic electricity; primordial light; the ever-present electrical energy; the universal propelling vital forces the ceaseless destructive and formative power; the synthesis of the many forms of electrical phenomena.

– G-

Guru (Guruh) – Spiritual Teacher, Guide and Hierophant. A Master in metaphysical and ethical doctrines.

– H –

Hierarchy – That group of spiritual beings on the inner planes of the solar system who are the intelligent forces of nature, and who control the evolutionary processes. They are themselves divided into twelve Hierarchies. Within our planetary scheme, the earth scheme, there is a reflection of this Hierarchy which is called by the occultist the Occult Hierarchy. This Hierarchy is formed of chohans, adepts, and initiates working through their disciples, and, by this means, in the world. 

Himavan, Himavant, Himavat – spiritual maser known as El Moria (Morya), Hermes, Enoch, Idris Shah. The King of Mountains, the Lord of Himalayas and Devas living in Himalaya.

– I –

Initiations (Diksha, Dikshan) – From the Latin root meaning the first principles of any science. Process of penetrating into the mysteries of the science of the Self and of the one self in all selves. The Path of Initiation is the final stage of [Page 219] the path of evolution trodden by man, and is divided into five stages, called the Five Initiations.

– J –

Jiva (Jivah) – A separated unit of consciousness. Atman living in human body. 

– K –

Kali Yuga – “Yuga” is an age or cycle. According to the Indian philosophy our evolution is divided into four yugas or cycles. The Kali-yuga is the present age from Krishna times about 3102 BCE. It means the “Black Age,” a period of 432,000 years. 

Karma (Karman) – Physical action. Metaphysically, the law of retribution; the law of cause and effect, or ethical causation. There is the karma of merit and the karma of demerit. It is the power that controls all things, the resultant of moral action, or the moral effect of an act committed for the attainment of something which gratifies a personal desire. 

Kumaras – The highest seven self-conscious beings in the solar system. These seven Kumaras manifest through the medium of a planetary scheme in the same way as a human being manifests through the medium of a physical body. They are called by the Hindu “the mind-born sons of Brahma”, amongst other names. They are the sumtotal of intelligence and of wisdom. Within the planetary scheme the reflection of the systemic order is also seen. At the head of our world evolution stands the first Kumara, aided by six other Kumaras, three exoteric and three esoteric. Who are the focal points for the distribution of the force of the systemic Kumaras. 

Kundalini (Śakti, Devi, Himavanti) – The power of Life: one of the forces of nature. It is a power known only to those who practise concentration in yoga, and is centred within the spine.

– L –

Lemuria – A modern term first used by some naturalists and now adopted by Theosophists to indicate a continent that, according to the Secret Doctrine of the East, preceded Atlantis. It was the home of the third root race. 

Logos – The deity manifested through every nation and people. The outward expression, or the effect of the cause which is ever concealed. Thus, speech is the Logos of thought, hence it is aptly translated by the “verbum” and the “word” in its metaphysical sense. (See John 1:1-3.). 

Lord of Civilisation – (See Mahachohan.) 

Lords of the Flame – One of the great Hierarchies of spiritual beings who guide the solar system. They took control of the evolution of humanity upon this planet about 18 million years ago, during the middle of the Lemurian, or third root race.

– M –

Macrocosm – The great universe, literally; or God manifesting through His body, the solar system. 

Mahachohan (Mahaćohan) – The Head of the third great department of the Hierarchy. This great being is the Lord of Civilisation, and the flowering forth of the principle of intelligence. He is the embodiment on the planet of the third, or intelligence aspect of deity in its five activities. 

Mahamanvantara – The great interludes of time between two solar systems. This term is frequently applied to the greater solar cycles. It implies a period of universal activity. 

Manas, or manasic Principle – Literally, the Mind, the mental faculty; that which distinguishes man from the mere animal. It is the individualising principle; that which enables man to know that he exists, feels, and knows. It is divided in some schools into two parts, higher or abstract mind, and lower or concrete mind. 

Mantrams – Verses from the Vedas. In the exoteric sense a mantram (or that psychic faculty or power that conveys perception or thought) is the older portion of the Vedas, the second part of which is composed of the Brahmanas. In esoteric phraseology mantram is the word made flesh, or rendered objective through divine magic. A form of words or syllables rhythmically arranged, so that when sounded certain vibrations are generated. 

Manu – The representative name of the great Being Who is the Ruler, primal progenitor and chief of the human race. It comes from the Sanskrit root “man”-to think. 

Manvantara – A period of activity as opposed to a period of rest, without reference to any specific length of cycle. Frequently used to express a period of planetary activity and its seven races. 

Maya – Sanskrit, “Illusion.” Of the principle of form or limitation. The result of manifestation. Generally used in a relative sense for phenomena or objective appearances that are created by the mind. 

Mayavi rupa – Sanskrit, “Illusive Form.” It is the body of manifestation created by the adept by an act of will for use in the three worlds. It has no material connection with the physical body. It is spiritual and ethereal and passes everywhere without let or hindrance. It is built by the power of the lower mind, of the highest type of astral matter. Avataras body – it is Mayavirupa. 

Microcosm – The little universe, or man manifesting through his body, the physical body. 

Monad (Monada) – The One. The threefold spirit on its own plane. In occultism it often means the unified triad—Atma, Buddhi, Manas; Spiritual Will, Intuition and Higher [Page 222] mind,—or the immortal part of man which reincarnates in the lower kingdoms and gradually progresses through them to man and thence to the final goal.

– N –

Nirmanakaya – Those perfected beings who renounce Nirvana (the highest state of spiritual bliss) and choose a life of self-sacrifice, becoming members of that invisible host which ever protects humanity within karmic limits.

– P –

Permanent atom – Those five atoms, with the mental unit, one on each of the five planes of human evolution (the mental unit being also on the mental plane) which the monad appropriates for purposes of manifestation. They form a stable centre and are relatively permanent. Around them the various sheaths or bodies are built. They are literally small force centres.

Planetary Logos – This term is generally applied to the seven highest spirits corresponding to the seven archangels of the Christian. They have all passed through the human stage and are now manifesting through a planet and its evolutions, in the same way that man manifests through his physical body. The highest planetary spirit working through any particular globe is, in reality, the personal God of the planet. 

Prakriti (Prakrti) – Derives its name from its function as the material cause of the first evolution of the universe. It may be said to be composed of two roots, “pra” to manifest, and “krita” to make; meaning, that which caused the universe to manifest itself. 

Prana (Pranah) – The Life Principle, the breath of Life. The occultist believes the following statement: “Life we look upon as the one form of existence, manifesting in what is called matter, or what, incorrectly separating them; [Page 223] we name Spirit, Soul, and Matter in man. Matter is the vehicle for the manifestation of soul on this plane of existence; soul is the vehicle for the manifestation of spirit, and these three as a trinity are synthesised by Life, which pervades them all.” 

Purusha – The spiritual self. The embodied self. The word literally means “The dweller in the city” – that is, in the body. It is derived from the Sanskrit “pura” which means city or body, and “usha” a derivative of the verb “vas,” to dwell or from Ushas means planet Venus or the Dawn.

– Q –

Quaternary – The fourfold lower self, or man, in the three worlds. There are various divisions of this, but perhaps for our purpose the best is to enumerate the four as follows:

1. Lower mind.

2. Emotional or kamic body.

3. Prana, or the Life Principle.

4. The etheric body, or the highest division of the twofold physical body.

– R –

Raja Lord – The word “Raja” simply means King or Prince; the word has been applied to those great angels or entities who ensoul the seven planes. These are great devas who are the sumtotal and the controlling intelligence of a plane. 

Raja Yoga (Uro Yoga) – Very ancient lineage of traditional Yoga. The true system of developing psychic and spiritual powers and union with one’s higher self or the divine Ego. It involves the exercise, regulation, and concentration of thought. To start Raja Yoga you have to find competent Guru and take an Initiation! 

Ray – One of the seven streams of force of the Logos; the seven great lights. Each of them is the embodiment of a great cosmic entity. The seven Rays can be divided into the three Rays of Aspect and the four Rays of Attribute, as follows: 

Rays of Aspect

1. The Ray of Will, or Power.

2. The Ray of Love-Wisdom.

3. The Ray of Activity or Adaptability. 

Rays of Attribute 

4. The Ray of Harmony, Beauty, Art, or Unity.

5. The Ray of Concrete Knowledge or Science.

6. The Ray of Abstract Idealism or Devotion.

7. The Ray of Ceremonial Magic, or Law.

The above names are simply some chosen from among many, and embody the different aspects of force by means of which the Logos manifests. 

Ring-Pass-not – This is at the circumference of the manifested solar system, and is the periphery of the influence of the sun, both esoterically and exoterically understood. The limit of the field of activity of the central life force. 

Root Race – One of the seven races of man which evolve upon a planet during the great cycle of planetary existence. This cycle is called a world period. The Aryan root race, to which the Hindu, European, and modern American races belong, is the fifth, the Chinese and Japanese belonging to the fourth race.

– S –

Sanat Kumara – spelled “Sanat Kumar” or sometimes “Sanath Kumar” – appears as a rishi in the Hindu religious text the Chandogya Upanishad, and he is also a deity in the Jain religion. Sanatkumara is well known in Estern as Lord Karttikeya, Muruga, Subrahmanya, Skanda or Shanmukhi – an elder Son of God Shiva. A shrine to Sanat Kumar which attracts and unites people of all religions and faiths is situated in the town of Kataragama, Sri Lanka. In Sanskrit Sanat means “eternal”, Kumara means a “youth”, which would make “Sanat Kumar” the “eternal youth” in Sanskrit. According to esoterics, Sanat Kumara came to Earth milions years ago from the etheric plane of the planet Venus and is the Pleyadan Master called Karttikeya. 

Sensa, or Senzar – The name for the secret sacerdotal language, very old Sanskrit, or the “mystery speech” of the initiated adepts all over the world. It is a universal language, and largely a hieroglyphic cypher. 

Shamballa (Shambhala, Shambala, Śambhalah) – The City of the Gods, Devas, which is in the West to some nations, in the East to others, in the North or South to yet others. It is the sacred island in the Gobi Desert and the sacred place in Himalayas. It is the home of mysticism and the Secret Doctrine.

Shiva (Siva, Śiva, Śivah) – the Lord God in Shaivita and Tantrika esoteric doctrines. Main sours of Yoga and Tantra. Shiva (Sanskrit: शिवŚiva, meaning “auspicious one”) is a primary Vedic and Hindu deity, and the Destroyer or transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. Lord Shiva is usually worshipped in the abstract form of Shiva Linga, cosmic egg and as Vedic Yahvah. 

– T –

Triad – The Spiritual Man; the expression of the monad. It is the germinal spirit containing the potentialities of divinity. These potentialities will be unfolded during the course of evolution. This Triad forms the individualised or separated self, or Ego.

– V –

Viveka – The Sanskrit “discrimination.” The very first step in the path of occultism……is the discrimination between the real and the unreal, between substance and phenomenon, between the Self and the Not-self, between spirit and matter.

– W –

Wesak, Vesak – A festival which takes place in the Himalayas at the full moon of May, in Taurus. It is said that at this festival, at which all the members of the Hierarchy are present, the Buddha, for a brief period, renews his touch and association with the work of our planet.

– Y –

Yoga – Union. 1. One of the six schools of India, said to be founded by Patanjali, but really of much earlier origin. 2. The practice of Meditation as a means of leading to spiritual liberation.

Note: This glossary does not undertake fully to explain all the above terms. It is simply an attempt to render into English certain words used in spirituality, yoga, tantra and esoterics, so that the reader may understand their connotation. The majority of the definitions have been culled from the Theosophical glossary, The Secret Doctrine, and the Voice of the Silence.


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