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Daily Theosophy Glossary – R

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Daily Theosophy Glossary


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Ra (Egyptian) In the dynastic period, the deity of the sun, regarded as the maker of all visible things, of heaven and all its gods, and of the Underworld (Tuat) and its denizens. More generally, Ra was the cosmic formative activity of the universal soul or Logos, and therefore in one sense of the anima mundi in its highest parts. Hence another facet of its meaning is the everlasting light which dwells forever in the cosmic darkness which is — itself.

The worship of the sun was of very ancient origin in Egypt. Like Horus, Ra was depicted in a hawk-headed form known as Amen-Ra (Heru-khuti). The principal seat of the worship of Ra was at An or Heliopolis. The original deity of this city was Tem, but when the priests of Ra became more powerful during the 5th dynasty, they combined the two deities into one as Ra-Tem. In later dynastic times, although the priests of Ra were the most powerful in Egypt, the common people clung to their ideas of Osiris so tenaciously that eventually the priests placed Osiris as the deity of the sun — and this movement may have been initiated from within the sacerdotal sanctuary itself, because the attributes of Osiris and of Ra were alike, Osiris being a more limited entity than the abstract Ra of cosmic space.


During evolution on our earth (and on the other six manifest globes of the planetary chain of earth correspondentially), mankind as a life-wave passes through seven evolutionary stages called root-races. Seven such root-races form the evolutionary cycle on this globe earth in this fourth round through the planetary chain; and this evolutionary cycle through our globe earth is called one globe round. We are at the present time in the fourth subrace of our present fifth root-race, on globe D or our earth.

Each root-race is divided in our teachings into seven minor races, and each one of these seven minor races is again in its turn subdivided into seven branchlet or still smaller racial units, etc.

The student who is interested in the matter of tracing the evolutionary arrangement or history of the seven root-races on our globe earth is referred primarily to H. P. Blavatsky’s The Secret Doctrine, and secondarily to Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy.

Each one of the seven root-races reaches its maximum of material efflorescence and power at about its middle point. When half of the cycle of any one of the seven root-races is run, then the racial cataclysm ensues, for such is the way in which nature operates; and at this middle racial point, at the middle point of the fourth subrace of the mother-race or root-race, a new root-race begins or is born out of the preceding root-race, and pursues its evolution from birth towards maturity, side by side with, or rather in connection with, the latter half of the preceding mother-race or root-race. It is in this fashion that the root-races overlap each other, a most interesting fact in ethnological or racial history. This overlapping likewise takes place in the cases of the minor and branchlet races.

It will be between sixteen thousand and twenty thousand years more before the racial cataclysm will ensue which will cut our own fifth root-race in two — exactly as the same racial cataclysmic occurrence happened to the fourth-race Atlanteans who preceded us, and to the third-race Lemurians who preceded them; and as it will happen to the two root-races which will follow ours, the sixth and seventh — for we are now approaching the middle point of our own fifth root-race, because we are nearing the middle point of the fourth subrace of this fifth root-race. (See also Globe, Planetary Chain, Round)


(Sanskrit) One of the three guas or “qualities” in the correlations of force and matter, the other two being respectively sattva and tamas. Rajas is the gua or the “quality” of longing, passion, activity, one of the three divisions of nature. In a sense it is the result or consequence of the elementary urge in nature producing change and the longing therefor.


[from the verbal root rakṣ to protect] The preservers; in modern popular superstition in India, commonly associated with evil spirits and demons. Esoterically they are the gibborim (giants) of the Bible, the fourth root-race or Atlanteans: “When Brahmā created the demons, Yakṣas (from Yakṣ, to eat) and the Rākṣasas, both of which kinds of demons, as soon as born, wished to devour their creator, those among them that called out ‘Not so! oh, let him be saved (preserved)’ were named Rakshasas (Vishnu Purana Book I, ch. v.). The Bhagavata Purāṇa (III, 20, 19-21) renders the allegory differently. Brahmā transformed himself into night (or ignorance) invested with a body, upon which the Yakṣas and Rākṣasas seized, exclaiming ‘Do not spare it; devour it.’ Brahmā then cried out, ‘Do not devour me, spare me.’ This has an inner meaning of course. The ‘Body of Night’ is the darkness of ignorance, and it is the darkness of silence and secrecy. Now the Rākṣasas are shown in almost every case to be Yogis, pious Saddhus and Initiates, a rather unusual occupation for demons. The meaning then is that while we have power to dispel the darkness of ignorance, ‘devour it,’ we have to preserve the sacred truth from profanation. ‘Brahma is for the Brahmins alone,’ says that proud caste. The moral of the fable is evident” (SD 2:165n).

The Rākṣasas or men-demons of Lanka, the opponents conquered by Rāma in the Rāmāyaṇa, are some of the latest representatives of the Atlanteans in their last days. These rākṣasas correspond to the Greek titans, the Egyptian colossal heroes, the Chaldean izdubars, the Jewish ’eimim (terrifiers) of the land of Moab, and with the famous giants anakim (‘anaqim) mentioned in Numbers 13:33.


The seventh avatāra or incarnation of Viṣṇu and the eldest son of King Daśaratha of the solar race. Hero of the Rāmāyaṇa, his full name is Rāmachandra, and tradition makes him the first king of the divine or earliest dynasties as given in the Hindu epics. He married Sītā, a feminine avatāra of Lakṣmī (Viṣṇu’s consort), who was carried away by Rāvaṇa, the demon-king of the rakṣasas of Lanka, a remnant of Atlantis. This act led to the famous war related in the Rāmāyaṇa


(Sanskrit)[from Rāma an avatāra of Viṣṇu + ayana goings, adventures] One of the famous epic poems of India, relating the adventures of Rāma, an avatāra of Viṣṇu, in 48,000 lines. It is often termed the Iliad of the East.

“The whole History of that period [the struggle between the Atlantean and the Aryan adepts] is allegorized in the Rāmāyaṇa, which is the mystic narrative in epic form of the struggle between Rāma — the first king of the divine dynasty of the early Āryans — and Rāvaṇa, the symbolical personation of the Atlantean (Lanka) race. The former were the incarnations of the Solar Gods; the latter, of the lunar Devas. This was the great battle between Good and Evil, between white and black magic, for the supremacy of the divine forces, or of the lower terrestrial, or cosmic powers. . . . The Rāmāyaṇa — every line of which has to be read esoterically — discloses in magnificent symbolism and allegory the tribulations of both man and soul” (SD 2:495-6).

The siege and subsequent surrender of Lanka (whose remnant is Ceylon or Sri Lanka) to Rāma is placed by Hindu chronology — based upon the zodiac — at many hundreds of thousands of years ago, and the statement that the present island of Ceylon [Sri Lanka] is the northern headland of ancient Lanka gives a hint as to how far back these events are to be placed.


The giant king-demon of the rākṣasas, sovereign of Lanka (Ceylon or Sri Lanka), a remnant of Atlantis. One of the remaining ruling black magicians of the last days of the Atlantis period, he carried away Sītā, Rāma’s wife, which led to the great war described in the Rāmāyaṇa



One of the several aspects or branches of the general doctrine of reimbodiment. A word of large and generalized significance. Signifying merely a succession of rebirths, the definition becomes generalized, excluding specific explanations as to the type or kind of reimbodiment. The likeness between the idea comprised in this word and that belonging to the term reincarnation is very close, yet the two ideas are quite distinct. (For this difference see Reincarnation; also Preexistence, Metempsychosis, Transmigration, Reimbodiment.)

Recaka (Rechaka)

(Sanskrit) One of the practices used in the hahā yoga system for the regulation of the breath. The breath is expelled or expired from one of the nostrils while the other nostril is held closed with the finger, and then the operation is repeated with the other nostril. These operations, as observed under Kumbhaka, are extremely dangerous to health and mental balance, and cannot be encouraged. Indeed, they should be unequivocally discouraged.


This term means that the living and migrating entity takes upon itself a new body at some time after death. Its meaning, therefore, is a highly generalized one, and the specific significance is that of assuming new imbodiments periodically. It teaches something more than that the soul merely preexists, the idea being that the soul takes unto itself a succession of new bodies — on whatever plane it may happen to be. This particular aspect or branch of the general doctrine of the migration of living entities tells us not what kind of body the soul newly assumes, nor whether that body be taken here on earth or elsewhere, that is to say, whether the new body is to be a visible body or an invisible one in the invisible realms of nature. It simply says that the life-center reimbodies itself; and this is the essence of the specific meaning of this word. (See also Preexistence, Rebirth, Metempsychosis, Reincarnation, etc.)

Reincarnating Ego

In the method of dividing the human principles into a trichotomy of an upper duad, an intermediate duad, and a lower triad — or distributively spirit, soul, and body — the second or intermediate duad, manaskāma, or the intermediate nature, is the ordinary seat of human consciousness, and itself is composed of two qualitative parts: an upper or aspiring part, which is commonly called the reincarnating ego or the higher manas, and a lower part attracted to material things, which is the focus of what expresses itself in the average man as the human ego, his everyday ordinary seat of consciousness.

When death occurs, the mortal and material portions sink into oblivion; while the reincarnating ego carries the best and noblest parts of the spiritual memory of the man that was into the devachan or heaven world of postmortem rest and recuperation, where the 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, constantly reviewing and improving upon in its own blissful imagination all the unfulfilled spiritual yearnings and longings of the life just closed that its naturally creative faculties automatically suggest to the entity now in the devachan.

But the monad above spoken of passes from sphere to sphere on its peregrinations from earth, carrying with it the reincarnating ego, or what we may for simplicity of expression call the earth-child, in its bosom, where this reincarnating ego is in its state of perfect bliss and peace, until the time comes when, having passed through all the invisible realms connected by chains of causation with our own planet, it slowly “descends” again through these higher intermediate spheres earthwards. Coincidently does the reincarnating ego slowly begin to reawaken to self-conscious activity. Gradually it feels, at first unconsciously to itself, the attraction earthwards, arising out of the karmic seeds of thought and emotion and impulse sown in the preceding life on earth and now beginning to awaken; and as these attractions grow stronger, in other words as the reincarnating ego awakens more fully, it finds itself under the domination of a strong psychomagnetic attraction drawing it to the earth-sphere.

The time finally comes when it is drawn strongly to the family on earth whose karmic attractions or karmic status or condition are the nearest to its own characteristics; and it then enters, or attaches itself to, by reason of the psychomagnetic attraction, the human seed which will grow into the body of the human being to be. Thus reincarnation takes place, and the reincarnating ego reawakens to life on earth in the body of a little child.


An anglicized word of Latin derivation, meaning “reinfleshment,” the coming again into a human body of an excarnate human soul. The repetitive reimbodiment of the reincarnating human ego in vehicles of human flesh — this being a special case of the general doctrine of reimbodiment. This general doctrine of reimbodiment applies not solely to man, but to all centers of consciousness whatsoever, or to all monads whatsoever — wheresoever they may be on the evolutionary ladder of life, and whatsoever may be their particular developmental grade thereon.

The meaning of this general doctrine is very simple indeed. It is as follows: every life-consciousness-center, in other words, every monad or monadic essence, reincorporates itself repeatedly in various vehicles or bodies, to use the popular word. These bodies may be spiritual, or they may be physical, or they may be of a nature intermediate between these two, i.e., ethereal. This rule of nature, which applies to all monads without exception, takes place in all the different realms of the visible and invisible universe, and on all its different planes, and in all its different worlds.

There are eight words used in the theosophical philosophy in connection with reimbodiment, which are not all synonymous, although some of these eight words have almost the same specific meaning. They are: preexistence, rebirth, reimbodiment, palingenesis, metensomatosis, metempsychosis, transmigration, reincarnation (see under each word for definition). Of these eight words, four only may be said to contain the four different basic ideas of the general doctrine of reimbodiment, and these four are preexistence, reimbodiment, metempsychosis, and transmigration.

In no case is the word reincarnation identical with any of the other seven words, though of course it has grounds of strong similarity with them all, as for instance with preexistence, because obviously the entity preexists before it reincarnates; and on the same grounds it is similar to rebirth, reimbodiment, and metensomatosis.

The meaning of the word reincarnation differs specifically from rebirth in this, that the latter word simply means rebirth in human bodies of flesh on this earth; while the former term also contains the implication, tacit if not expressed, of possible incarnations in flesh by entities which have finished their earthly pilgrimage or evolution, but who can and sometimes do return to this earth in order to incarnate for the purpose of aiding their less evolved brothers.


The modern scientific doctrine of relativity, despite its restrictions and mathematical limitations, is extremely suggestive because it introduces metaphysics into physics, does away with purely speculative ideas that certain things are absolute in a purely relative universe, and brings us back to an examination of nature as nature is and not as mathematical theorists have hitherto tacitly taken it to be. The doctrine of relativity in its essential idea of relations rather than absolutes is true; but this does not mean that we necessarily accept Einstein’s or his followers’ deductions. These latter may or may not be true, and time will show. In any case, relativity is not what it is often misunderstood to be — the naked doctrine that “everything is relative,” which would mean that there is nothing fundamental or basic or real anywhere, whence other things flow forth; in other words, that there is no positively real or fundamental divine and spiritual background of being. The relativity theory is an adumbration, a reaching out for, a groping after, a very, very old theosophical doctrine — the doctrine of māyā.

The manner in which theosophy teaches the conception of relativity is that while the universe is a relative universe and all its parts are therefore relative — each to each, and each to all, and all to each — yet there is a deathless reality behind, which forms the substratum or the truth of things, out of which the phenomenal in all its myriad relative manifestations flows. And there is a way, a road, a path, by which men may reach this reality behind, because it is in man as his inmost essence and therefore primal origin. In each one is fundamentally this reality of which we are all in search. Each one is the path that leads to it, for it is the heart of the universe.

In a sense still more metaphysical, even the heart of a universe may be said to exist relatively in connection with other universes with their hearts. It would be quite erroneous to suppose that there is one Absolute Reality in the old-fashioned European sense, and that all relative manifestations flow forth from it, and that these relative manifestations although derived from this Absolute Reality are without links of union or origin with an Absolute even still more essential and fundamental and vaster. Once the conception of boundless infinitude is grasped, the percipient intelligence immediately realizes that it is simply hopeless, indeed impossible, to postulate ends, absolute Absolutes, as the divine ultima thule. No matter how vast and kosmic an Absolute may be, there are in sheer frontierless infinitude always innumerable other Absolutes equal to or greater than it.


[from Latin religare to bind back, implying obligation; or from relegere to select, distinguish among various elements for the choosing of the best; ponder] In theosophy individual religion of conduct means faith in his own essential divinity as a source of wisdom and an unerring and infallible guide in conduct; an ever-growing realization of that truth, an ever-growing consciousness of one’s spiritual identity with the divine in nature; and constant devotion to the ideals thus inspired. Religion means a self-sacrificing devotion to truth, a resolve to live in harmony with all other lives, a sacrificing of the personal self to the greater self.

In theosophy there is no divorce between the devotional and speculative functions of the mind; science and philosophy do not conflict with the innate sense of rectitude. Ethics are not based on expediency, a social compact, or a special revelation, but are inherent in the laws of the universe.

The ancient wisdom is the quintessence of all religions, the universal parent-source of all faiths; and in proportion as each great world religion rises to the height of its own possibilities, so will the external divergences among the different faiths of mankind blend into the original fundamental unity.

Religion is an operation of the human spiritual mind in its endeavor to understand not only the how and the why of things, but comprising in addition a yearning and striving towards self-conscious union with the divine All and an endlessly growing self-conscious identification with the cosmic divine-spiritual realities. One phase of a triform method of understanding the nature of nature, of universal nature, and its multiform and multifold workings; and this phase cannot be separated from the other two phases (science and philosophy) if we wish to gain a true picture of things as they are in themselves.

Human religion is the expression of that aspect of man’s consciousness which is intuitional, aspirational, and mystical, and which is often deformed and distorted in its lower forms by the emotional in man.

It is usual among modern Europeans to derive the word religion from the Latin verb meaning “to bind back” — religare. But there is another derivation, which is the one that Cicero chooses, and of course he was a Roman himself and had great skill and deep knowledge in the use of his own native tongue. This other derivation comes from a Latin root meaning “to select,” “to choose,” from which, likewise, we have the word lex, “law,” i.e., the course of conduct or rule of action which is chosen as the best, and is therefore followed; in other words, that which is the best of its kind, as ascertained by selection, by trial, and by proof.

Thus then, the meaning of the word religion from the Latin religio, means a careful selection of fundamental beliefs and motives by the higher or spiritual intellect, a faculty of intuitional judgment and understanding, and a consequent abiding by that selection, resulting in a course of life and conduct in all respects following the convictions that have been arrived at. This is the religious spirit.

To this the theosophist would add the following very important idea: behind all the various religions and philosophies of ancient times there is a secret or esoteric wisdom given out by the greatest men who have ever lived, the founders and builders of the various world religions and world philosophies; and this sublime system in fundamentals has been the same everywhere over the face of the globe.

This system has passed under various names, e.g., the esoteric philosophy, the ancient wisdom, the secret doctrine, the traditional teaching, theosophy, etc. (See also Science, Philosophy)

Ṛg, Ri

Ṛg-Veda [from ṛc verse, hymn of praise + veda knowledge] The first and most important of the four Vedas; so named because it is the Veda composed of 1,028 suktas or hymns of praise addressed to the various entities and powers of nature. To this Veda also belong various subordinate commentaries and treatises of different classes: the Brāhmaṇas, Āraṇyakas, and Upaniads.

“Thus, the Ṛg-veda, the oldest of all the known ancient records, may be shown to corroborate the occult teachings in almost every respect. Its hymns — the records written by the earliest Initiates of the Fifth (our race) concerning the primordial teachings — speak of the Seven Races (two still to come) allegorising them by the ‘seven streams’ (I, 35, 8); and of the Five Races (‘pañca kriṣṭhaya’) which have already inhabited this world (ibid) on the five regions ‘pañca pradicaḥ’ (IX, 86, 29), as also of the three continents that were” (SD 2:606).

Rig-Veda see Ṛg-veda (Sanskrit)

Right-hand Path

From time immemorial, in all countries of the earth, among all races of men, there have been existent two opposing and antagonistic schools of occult or esoteric training, the one often technically called the Path of Light, and the other the Path of Darkness or of the Shadows. These two paths likewise are much more commonly called the right-hand path and the left-hand path, and although these are technical names in the rather shaky occultism of the Occident, the very same expressions have prevailed all over the world, and are especially known in the mystical and esoteric literature of Hindustan. The right-hand path is known in Sanskrit writings by the name dakina-mārga, and those who practice the rules of conduct and follow the manner of life enjoined upon those who follow the right-hand path are technically known as dakshināc(h)ārins, and their course of life is known as dakinācāra. Conversely, those who follow the left-hand path, often called Brothers of the Shadow, or by some similar epithet, are called vāmācārins, and their school or course of life is known as vāmācāra. An alternative expression for vāmācāra is savyācāra. The white magicians or Brothers of Light are therefore dakinācārins, and the black magicians or Brothers of the Shadow, or workers of spiritual and intellectual and psychical evil, are therefore vāmācārins.

To speak in the mystical language of ancient Greece, the dakinācārins or Brothers of Light pursue the winding ascent to Olympus, whereas the vāmācārins or Brothers of the Left-hand follow the easy but fearfully perilous path leading downwards into ever more confusing, horrifying stages of matter and spiritual obscuration. The latter is the faciles descensus averno (Aeneid, 6.126) of the Latin poet Virgil. Woe be to him who, refusing to raise his soul to the sublime and cleansing rays of the spiritual sun within him, places his feet upon the path which leads downwards. The warnings given to students of occultism about this matter have always been solemn and urgent, and no esotericist should at any moment consider himself safe or beyond the possibilities of taking the downward way until he has become at one with the divine monitor within his own breast, his own inner god.


A profoundly mystical and suggestive term signifying the circle or bounds or frontiers within which is contained the consciousness of those who are still under the sway of the delusion of separateness — and this applies whether the ring be large or small. It does not signify any one especial occasion or condition, but is a general term applicable to any state in which an entity, having reached a certain stage of evolutionary growth of the unfolding of consciousness, finds itself unable to pass into a still higher state because of some delusion under which the consciousness is laboring, be that delusion mental or spiritual. There is consciously a ring-pass-not for every globe of the planetary chain, a ring-pass-not for the planetary chain itself, a ring-pass-not for the solar system, and so forth. It is the entities who labor under the delusion who therefore actually create their own rings-pass-not, for these are not actual entitative material frontiers, but boundaries of consciousness.

A ring-pass-not furthermore may perhaps be said with great truth to be somewhat of the nature of a spiritual laya-center or point of transmission between plane and plane of consciousness.

The rings-pass-not as above said, however, have to do with phases or states of consciousness only. For instance, the ring-pass-not for the beasts is self-consciousness, i.e., the beasts have not yet been enabled to develop forth their consciousness to the point of self-consciousness or reflective consciousness except in minor degree. A dog, for example, located in a room which it desires to leave, will run to a door out of which it is accustomed to go and will sit there whining for the door to be opened. Its consciousness recognizes the point of egress, but it has not developed the self-conscious mental activity to open the door.

A general ring-pass-not for humanity is their inability to self-consciously participate in spiritual self-consciousness.



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

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



[Sanskrit] An adept, seer, inspired person; in Vedic literature, used for the seers through whom the various mantras or hymns of the Veda were revealed. In later times the ṛṣis were regarded as a particular class of beings, distinct from gods and men, the patriarchs or creators: thus there were the ten mahāṛṣis — the mind-born sons of Prajāpati. In the Mahābhārata, the seven ṛṣias of the first manvantara are enumerated as Marīchi, Atri, Aṅgiras, Pulaha, Kratu, Pulastya, and Vaśiṣṭha. In Śatapatha-Brāhmaṇa the Vedic ṛṣis are named as: Gotama, Bharadvāja, Viśvamitra, Jamadagni, Vaśiṣṭha, Kaśyapa, and Atri. The seven ṛṣis (saptaṛṣis) are especially associated with the constellation of the Great Bear. (From ETG)


Root-manu and Seed-manu

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

Root- and seed-manu, in certain relations, are spoken of as being respectively the prime cause and its accumulated final effect at the end of the round. As we are now in the middle of the fourth round, there have so far been seven principal or round-manus. By reason of nature’s analogical procedures, there is for each globe of a planetary chain a root-manu at the beginning of its several succeeding periods of activity, and a seed-manu at the end of the same; as being their spiritual offspring, the names are the same as those by which the principal or round-manus are known. This list of root- and seed-manus for each round is given in The Laws of Manu (cf SD 2:309): The manus can be arranged in seven pairs. “These pairs of manus … are given as: 1) Svāyaṁbhuva, Svārociṣa; 2) Auttami, Tāmasa; 3) Raivata, Cākṣuṣa; 4) Vaivasvata (our progenitor), Sāvarṇi; 5) Dakṣa-sāvarṇi, Brahmā-sāvarṇi; 6) Dharma-sāvarṇi, Rudra-sāvarṇi; 7) Raucya, Bhautya” (ETG / Mitchiner1 53-8). “… the seed-manu at the end of a life-wave’s evolution on a globe is virtually identic with the root-manu on that same globe when the life-wave reaches again to begin on that globe a new course of racial development or evolution. The difference between root- and seed-manus being that the root-manus are really the seed-manus plus the most evolved monads of the life-waves reaching the globe first, conjoining with the seed-manus and thus slightly modifying things.”

Root Race

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


The doctrine concerning our planetary chain commonly called that of the seven rounds means that the life cycle or life-wave begins its evolutionary course on globe A, the first of the series of seven (or ten) globes; then, completing its cycles there, runs down to globe B, and then to globe C, and then to globe D, our earth; and then, on the ascending arc, to globe E, then to globe F, and then to globe G. These are the manifest seven globes of the planetary chain. This is one planetary round. After the planetary round there ensues a planetary or chain nirvāṇa, until the second round begins in the same way, but in a more “advanced” degree of evolution than was the first round.

A globe round is one of the seven passages of a life-wave during its planetary round, on any one (and therefore on and through each) of the globes. When the life-wave has passed through globe D, for instance, and ends its cycles on globe D, this is the globe round of globe D for that particular planetary round; and so with all the globes respectively. Seven root-races make one globe round. There are seven globe rounds therefore (one globe round for each of the seven globes) in each planetary round.

Seven planetary rounds equal one kalpa or manvantara or Day of Brahmā. When seven planetary rounds have been accomplished, which is as much as saying forty-nine globe rounds (or globe manvantaras), there ensues a still higher nirvāṇa than that occurring between globes G and A after each planetary round. This higher nirvana is coincident with what is called a pralaya of that planetary chain, which pralaya lasts until the cycle again returns for a new planetary chain to form, containing the same hosts of living beings as on the preceding chain, and which are now destined to enter upon the new planetary chain, but on and in a higher series of planes or worlds than in the preceding one.

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

There are outer rounds and inner rounds. An inner round comprises the passage of the life-wave in any one planetary chain from globe A to globe G once around, and this takes place seven times in a planetary manvantara.

The outer round comprises the passage of the entirety of a life-wave of a planetary chain along the circulations of the solar system, from one of the seven sacred planets to another; and this for seven (or ten) times.

A (Planetary) Round is the pilgrimage of all embodying beings of a planet – which in reality consists of one visible globe – such as the Earth, or Mars or Venus etc. we can see) and six invisible, i.e. more subtly material globes to each of the visible planets – through or within these seven globes. There are seven subsequent Planetary Rounds during the life of a planet (i.e. chain of seven planets).



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rudra-kumāras. See RUDRA


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


(Sanskrit) A word meaning “form,” “image,” “similitude,” but this word is employed technically, and only rarely in the popular sense in which it is commonly used in English. It signifies rather an atomic or monadic aggregation about the central and indwelling consciousness, forming a vehicle or body thereof.

Thus the rūpa-lokas are lokas or worlds where the body-form or vehicle is very definitely outlined in matter; whereas the arūpa-lokas are worlds where the body-forms or “images” are outlined in a manner which to us humans is much less definite. It should be noted that the word rūpa applies with equal force to the bodies or vehicles even of the gods, although these latter to us are purely subjective or arūpa. (See also Loka)


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

Thus the rūpa-lokas are lokas or worlds where the body-form or vehicle is very definitely outlined in matter; whereas the arūpa-lokas are worlds where the body-forms or “images” are outlined in a manner which to us humans is much less definite. It should be noted that the word rūpa applies with equal force to the bodies or vehicles even of the gods, although these latter to us are purely subjective or arūpa. (See also Loka)


  1. Mitchiner: The Tradition of the Seven Rishis ….. []