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Daily Theosophy Glossary – S

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  1. Daily Theosophy Glossary

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S

Sa

Śabda-Brahman

(Sanskrit) A phrase literally signifying “Word-Brahman” — a curious analogy with the archaic Greek mystical teaching concerning the Logos. Śabda-brahman, therefore, may be rendered as the active unmanifest Logos of the solar system, and hence as the soul of Brahman expressing itself through its akasic veils as the divine Logos, or Word or Sound. This term is closely connected in meaning with the teaching concerning daiviprakṛti. H. P. Blavatsky in her posthumous Glossary speaks of the Śabda-Brahman as “Ethereal Vibrations diffused throughout Space.”

Saḍāyatana

(Sanskrit) [from ā towards + the verbal root yat to rest in or on, make effort in or on] Āyatana is a resting place, seat, or abode; an altar, place of the sacred fire; a sanctuary, inner or outer. In Buddhism, the six āyatanas (saāyatanas), enumerated as the five senses plus manas, are regarded as the inner seats or foci of the lower consciousness, functioning through the ordinary five sense organs plus the manasic organ in the body, the brain. They are therefore classed as one of the twelve nidānas (bonds, halters, links) composing the chain of causation or lower causes of existence.

Sakkāyadiṭṭhi

(Pali) [from sakkāya individuality + diṭṭhi belief, theory; cf Sanskrit sat-kāya true individuality + dṛṣti appearance] The delusion of personality, rather than heresy of individuality, for in theosophical literature the individuality is that part of man which reincarnates again and again, clothing itself with one personality or imbodiment after another. As “the erroneous idea that ‘I am I,’ a man or a woman with a special name, instead of being an inseparable part of the whole” (TG 284), the term signifies the sense of separateness and personality, as opposed to the idea that man is an inseparable part of the universe throughout all the ranges of his composite constitution. It means that the personality of the imbodied man has the appearance, and thereby brings about the delusion that the merely personal man is the spiritual man.

In the Buddhist sūtras, sakkāyadiṭṭhi is the first chain to be broken upon entering the path; when the path is really entered this chain is in fact recognized to be nonexistent.

Connected with one of the skandhas, Sakkāyadiṭṭhi together with attavada, “both of which (in the case of the fifth principle the soul) lead to the māyā of heresy and belief in the efficacy of vain rites and ceremonies; in prayers and intercession” (ML 111).

Śakti

(Sanskrit) A term which may be briefly defined to mean one of what in modern Occultism are called the seven forces of nature, of which six are manifest and the seventh unmanifest, or only partly manifest. Śakti in general may be described as universal energy, and is, as it were, the feminine aspect of fohat. In popular Hinduism the various śaktis are the wives or consorts of the gods, in other words, the energies or active powers of the deities represented as feminine influences or energies.

These anthropomorphic definitions are unfortunate, because misleading. The śaktis of nature are really the veils, or sheaths, or vehicular carriers, through which work the inner and ever-active energies. As substance and energy, or force and matter, are fundamentally one, as modern science in its researches has begun to discover, it becomes apparent that even these saktis or sheaths or veils are themselves energic to lower spheres or realms through which they themselves work.

The crown of the astral light, as H. P. Blavatsky puts it, is the generalized śakti of universal nature in so far as our solar system is concerned.

Salamander

The name given by the medieval fire-philosophers to the nature spirits of fire, the fire elementals. The Greek salamandra meant a lizard-like animal believed to have power over and hence to extinguish fire — or to produce it.

Samādhāna

(Sanskrit) [from sam-ādhā to put together, restore] The collection of all the principles of a person’s constitution into a single unity, thus restoring the person as an entitative being to the wholeness of the ātmic reality. “That state in which a Yogi can no longer diverge from the path of spiritual progress; when everything terrestrial, except the visible body, has ceased to exist for him” (TG 286). It is true religious meditation, and profound intellectual absorption into and contemplation of pure spirit.

Samādhi

(Sanskrit) A compound word formed of sam, meaning “with” or “together”; ā, meaning “towards”; and the verbal root dha, signifying “to place,” or “to bring”; hence samādhi, meaning “to direct towards,” generally signifies to combine the faculties of the mind with a direction towards an object. Hence, intense contemplation or profound meditation, with the consciousness directed to the spiritual. It is the highest form of self-possession, in the sense of collecting all the faculties of the constitution towards reaching union or quasi-union, long or short in time as the case may be, with the divine-spiritual. One who possesses and is accustomed to use this power has complete, absolute control over all his faculties, and is, therefore, said to be “completely self– possessed.” It is the highest state of yoga or “union.”

Samādhi, therefore, is a word of exceedingly mystical and profound significance implying the complete abstraction of the percipient consciousness from all worldly or exterior or even mental concerns or attributes, and its absorption into or, perhaps better, its becoming the pure unadulterate, undilute superconsciousness of the god within. In other words, samādhi is self-conscious union with the spiritual monad of the human constitution. Samādhi is the eighth or final stage of genuine occult yoga, and can be attained at any time by the initiate without conscious recourse to the other phases or practices of yoga enumerated in Oriental works, and which other and inferior practices are often misleading, in some cases distinctly injurious, and at the best mere props or aids in the attaining of complete mental abstraction from worldly concerns.

Bodhi (enlightenment) is a particular state of samādhi, during which the subject reaches the culmination of spiritual knowledge. Samādhi is the highest state on earth that can be reached while in the body; its highest stage or degree is called turīya. To attain beyond this, the initiate must have become a nirmāṇakāya.

The eight stages of yoga usually enumerated are the following: (1) yama, signifying “restraint” or “forbearance”; (2) niyama, religious observances of various kinds, such as watchings or fastings, prayings, penances, etc.; (3) asana (q.v.), postures of various kinds; (4) prāṇayama, various methods of regulating the breath; (5) pratyahara, a word signifying “withdrawal,” but technically and esoterically the “withdrawal” of the consciousness from sensual or sensuous concerns, or from external objects; (6) dhāraṇā (q.v.), firmness or steadiness or resolution in holding the mind set or concentrated on a topic or object of thought, mental concentration; (7) dhyāna (q.v.), abstract contemplation or meditation when freed from exterior distractions; and finally, (8) samādhi, complete collection of the consciousness and of its faculties into oneness or union with the monadic essence.

It may be observed, and should be carefully taken note of by the student, that when the initiate has attained samādhi he becomes practically omniscient for the solar universe in which he dwells, because his consciousness is functioning at the time in the spiritual-causal worlds. All knowledge is then to him like an open page because he is self-consciously conscious, to use a rather awkward phrase, of nature’s inner and spiritual realms, the reason being that his consciousness has become kosmic in its reaches.

Śambhala (Shambhala)

(Sanskrit) A town or village or kingdom mentioned in the Hindu Purāṇas as well as in Buddhist literature. Śambhala is an actual land or district, the seat of the greatest brotherhood of spiritual adepts and their chiefs on earth today. This Great Brotherhood has branches in various parts of the world, but Śambhala is the center or chief lodge. “We may tentatively locate it the high tablelands of central Asia, more particularly in Tibet. A multitude of airplanes might fly over the place without ‘seeing’ it, for its frontiers are very carefully guarded and protected against invasion, and will continue to be so until the karmic destiny of our present fifth root-race brings about a change of location to some other spot on the earth, which then in its turn will be as carefully guarded as Śambhala now is.”[1] From Śambhala at certain times in the history of the world – or more accurately of our own fifth root-race – come forth the messengers or envoys for spiritual and intellectual work among men.

The Hindus prophesize, that Kalki Avatāra will come from there at the end of Kali Yuga within the Fifth Root-race. Kali Yuga is our present iron age of materialism and forgetfulness about spirituality. Kalki is Viṣnu, i.e the tenth avatāra of Viṣnuthe Messiah on the White Horse – of the Brahmins. The Buddhists foresay the coming Maitreya Buddha (the next Buddha) out of Śambhala.

The idea is also represented by Sosiosh of the Parsis and Jesus of the Christians or the Pahana of the Hopi Indians in Arizona – to mention a few. All these ‘messengers’ are to appear ‘before the destruction of the world,’ say some; before the end of Kali Yuga say others.

The end of Kali Yuga, the ‘iron’ or ‘dark age’ which last 432,000 years, i.e. till about 427,000 years from now in the future, is also the end of a Great Yuga or cycle of ten times the length of Kaliyuga (i.e. 4,320,000 years). This period of transition is marked by a war and destruction in which the unjust people are destroyed and the just will continue to develop further in an immediately following Golden Age (Satya ot Kṛta Yuga). So it is in Śambhala that the future Messiah will be born.

Sambhogakāya

[Sanskrti, from sambhoga enjoyment together, delightful participation + kāya body] Participation body; the second of the trikāya (three glorious vestures) of Buddhism, the highest being dharmakāya, and the lowest nirmāṇakaya. A buddha in the sambhogakāya state still retains his individual self-consciousness and sense of egoity, and is able to be conscious to a certain extent of the world of men and its griefs and sorrows, but has little power or impulse to render aid. The buddha in the sambhogakāya state still participates in, still retains more or less, his self-consciousness as an individual, his egoship and his individual soul-sense, though he is too far above material or personal concerns to care about or to meddle with them. In consequence, a buddha in the sambhogakāya state would be virtually powerless here on our material earth.

Samothrace

An island in the north Aegean celebrated for a school of the Mysteries, more profound than the Mysteries of Eleusis, “perhaps the oldest [Mysteries] ever established in our present race” (TG 287). The island is of volcanic formation and connected with traditions of a deluge. Its Mysteries were related to the worship of the kabiri, the holy fires of the most occult powers of nature, which legend says formed on the seven localities of the island the kabir born of the Holy Lemnos sacred to Vulcan. It was colonized by Phoenicians and before them by the mysterious Pelasgians who came from the East, which indicates its connection with the ancient Mysteries of India. Here was enacted every seven years the Mysteries — what the Shemitic peoples of Asia Minor called the Sod. The sacred fire preserved at Samothrace was communicated to the candidates of initiation, who thus began a new life — the real meaning of baptism by fire and the spirit.

The Mysteries of Samothrace and of Eleusis were the two most famous in ancient Greek civilization, and it would be difficult to find which was held in greater reverence. Those at Samothrace were more scientific and philosophic, while those celebrated at Eleusis were more of a mystical and religious character.

Sañjñā, Saṃjñā

(Sanskrit)[from sam wholly, completely + the verbal root jñā to know] Full knowledge, understanding, comprehension; mystically, spiritual consciousness. According to the Purānas, the daughter of Viśvakarman and wife of Sūrya (the sun). In the Vishnu-Purāna (3:2) Sañjñā, “ ‘unable to endure the fervours of her lord,’ gave him her chhāya (shadow, image, or astral body), while she herself repaired to the jungle to perform religious devotions, or Tapas. The Sun, supposing the ‘chhāya’ to be his wife begat by her children, like Adam with Lilith — an ethereal shadow also, as in the legend, though an actual living female monster millions of years ago” (SD 2:174). This refers to the creation of the first root-race, the “chhāya-birth, or that primeval mode of sexless procreation, the first-race having eased out, so to say, from the body of the Pits . . .” (ibid).

Also the third of the skandhas (attributes), signifying abstract ideas (sanna in Pali).

Saṁkyā

[Sanskrit, from samkhyā to reckon, enumerate] The third of the six Darśanas or Hindu schools of philosophy, founded by Kapila, called thus because it divides the universe, and consequently man, into 25 tattvas (elementary principles), of which 24 represent the various more or less conscious vehicles or bodies in which lives and works the 25th, Purua or the true self. The whole purpose of this school is to teach the essential nature of the universe and of man as an inseparable part of the universe; so that this Purua — the ultimate thinking spiritual ego, composed in its essence of pure bliss, pure consciousness, and pure being — may be freed from the clinging bonds of the other 24 tattvas.

Blavatsky suggests that there was a succession of Kapilas; but that the Kapila who slew King Sagara’s 60,000 progeny was the founder of the Saṁkyā philosophy as stated in the Purāṇas. Further, the Sānkhya philosophy may have been brought down and taught by the first, and written out by the last, Kapila, the great sage and philosopher of the kali yuga (cf SD 2:571-2).

As concerns the 24 tattvas, all derivative from the spiritual originant Purua, they are divided into eight original praktis (producers), and 16 derivatives of these eight praktis called vikāras (productions). The eight praktis themselves spring forth from mūlaprakṛti (original nature or root-substance). In and through these 24 tattvas Purua manifests itself during the manvantaric period. This system of tattvas therefore is applicable either to the universe or to any entity as a component part of the universe, since the fundamental law of things repeats itself in the great and the small.

The Saṁkyā school is closely related both in system and philosophical substance to the Yoga school founded by Patañjali.

Saṁsāra

(Sanskrit) [prefix sam + the verbal root sṛ to go, proceed; to wander about] The word Saṁsāra is commonly rendered as the wandering of the human monad under karmic impulsions through enormously varying successions of states, and in different spheres or worlds of the manifested as well as unmanifest universe — the processes of metempsychosis and transmigration with particular application to human monads and the doctrine of reincarnation.

From another more general standpoint Saṁsāra is the passage through the three worlds as commonly given in Buddhism: physical, astral, and mental; and from a more esoteric viewpoint the word could embrace the entire whirlings or wanderings of the monadic centers of beings through the seven Worlds.

Saṁskāra

(Sanskrit) [prefix sam together + the verbal root kṛ to make, to do; to compose, to impress] In philosophy the term is used to denote the impressions left upon the mind by individual actions or external circumstances capable of being developed on future occasion.

Saṁskāra is intimately connected with causative action and its consequences, i.e., with karma.  It is the creative mind continually weaving together new ideas and new notions in action which develops the propensities and impulses to consequent reactions or effects.  As a metaphysical term Saṁskāra is defined variously: as illusion, as notion, or as a species of discrimination.  As the eleventh Nidāna, it is action on the plane of illusion with the essential significance as the causative impulses which impel to action on the plane of illusion.

Saṁskāra is also the fourth of the Skandhas or attributes, the “tendencies of mind.”

Śaṅkarācārya (Shankaracharya or Shankara)

The beneficent teacher; one of the greatest initiates of India. The Upaniṣads, Gautama Buddha, and Śaṅkarācārya  are considered by many to be the three lights of the wisdom of India. In a very mystical way Śaṅkarācārya  was Buddha’s esoteric successor. He was an avatāra, as was Jesus. Śaṅkarācārya  set himself to preserve the wisdom previously lighted, or brought to men, by Gautama Buddha. By his pure living and high thinking, causing an outpouring of lofty spiritual and intellectual thought from his very soul-life, he kindled the truth in the hearts of many who had lost it through following dogmatic trends of religion, rather than holding to the inner spirit of the ancient teachings. Śaṅkarācārya  worked mostly with the Brahmin order — the highest caste in India — where the advantages of heredity, of ages of high ideals and rigid discipline, could most easily, if accepted, receive the pure truths, and also could best supply a body of men fitted by character and training to master the higher knowledge, sustain it, and pass it on.

Śaṅkarācārya  did this in three ways: first by writing commentaries on the great Upaniṣads and the Bhagavad-Gītā which revealed the original message of these old writings; secondly, by himself composing a series of original works, such as Ātma-bodhaĀnanda-lahariJñāna-bodhini, and Mani-ratna-mala, as well as catechisms and manuals for students wishing to follow the path of wisdom; thirdly, by a system of reform and discipline within the Brahmin order itself, which if accepted and faithfully followed would so purify and clarify the mind and body, that his disciples finally became fit to receive his precepts.

Śaṅkarācārya  was also the founder of the Advaitavendānta school of philosophy. The story of his life is very remarkable. He was born according to tradition in the 6th century BC, probably about 510. He lived, to be only 32 years old, but owing to his extraordinary capacities he accomplished many great and spiritual works for humanity. Probably most of the marvelous episodes recorded about his life are allegories of certain of his spiritual experiences and conquests, written in this form — as was the custom of students of the Mystery schools — in order to veil the deep mysteries of his life.

Sannyāsin

(Sanskrit) One who renounces (a renouncer); from sannyāsa, “renunciation,” abandonment of worldly bonds and attractions. Resignation to the service of the spiritual nature.

Śarīra

(Sanskrit) From a root which can best be translated by saying that it means what is easily dissolved, easily worn away; the idea being something transitory, foam-like, full of holes, as it were. Note the meaning hid in this — it is very important. A term which is of common usage in the philosophy of Hindustan, and of very frequent usage in modern theosophical philosophy. A general meaning is a composite body or vehicle of impermanent character in and through which an ethereal entity lives and works. (See also Liṅga-śarīra and Sthūla-śarīra)

Sat

(Sanskrit) A word meaning the real, the enduring fundamental essence of the world. In the ancient Brahmanical teachings the terms sat, chit, ānanda, were used to signify the state of what one may call the Absolute: sat meaning “pure being”; chit, “pure thought”; ānanda, “bliss,” and these three words were compounded as sachchidānanda. (See also Asat)

Satan

[from Hebrew śāṭān adversary, opposer from the verbal root śāṭan to lie in wait, oppose, be an adversary; or possibly from the verbal root shut to whip, scourge, run hither and thither on errands; Greek satan, satanas] Adversary; with the definite article (has-satan) the adversary in the Christian sense, as the Devil. This Satan of the exoteric Jewish and Christian books is a mere figment of the monkish theological imagination. From the second possible derivation many eminent Shemitic scholars have held that the Satan of the Book of Job was a good angel arranged by God to try the characters of men in order to help them; and therefore supposedly to be different from the Satan of other books of the Bible. The theosophist would not limit the good angel to the Book of Job alone, but would look upon the adversative or contrary forces of nature as being the means upon which each one tries his will, resolution, and determination to evolve and grow spiritually and intellectually. The Satan of this hypothesis is in a sense our own lower character combined with the lower forces of nature surrounding earth and elsewhere. According to H.P. Blavatsky:

“Satan,” once he ceases to be viewed in the superstitious, dogmatic, unphilosophical spirit of the Churches, grows into the grandiose image of one who made of terrestrial a divine man; who gave him, throughout the long cycle of Mahā-kalpa [the total cycle of (human) evolution -Ed.] the law of the Spirit of Life, and made him free from the Sin of Ignorance, hence of death. (The Secret Doctrine 1: 198).

Sattva

(Sanskrit) One of the triguas or “three qualities,” the other two being rajas and tamas. Sattva is the quality of truth, goodness, reality, purity. These three guas or qualities run all through the web or fabric of nature like threads inextricably mingled, for, indeed, each of these three qualities participates likewise of the nature of the other two, yet each one possessing its predominant (which is its own svabhāva) or intrinsic characteristic. One who desires to gain some genuine understanding of the manner in which the archaic wisdom looks upon these three phases of human intellectual and spiritual activity must remember that not one of these three can be considered apart from the other two. The three are fundamentally three operations of the human consciousness, and essentially are that consciousness itself.

Satya Yuga

(Sanskrit) [from satya reality, truth + yuga age] The age of purity, reality, and truth, sometimes called the kṛta yuga, lasting 1,728,000 years. The first of the four great yugas constituting a mahāyuga (great age). “The Kṛta is the age in which righteousness is eternal, when duties did not languish nor people decline. No efforts were made by men, the fruit of the earth was obtained by their mere wish. There was no malice, weeping, pride, or deceit; no contention, no hatred, cruelty, fear, affliction, jealousy, or envy. The castes alike in their function fulfilled their duties, were unceasingly devoted to one deity, and used one formula, one rule, and one rite. Though they had separate duties, they had but one Veda and practised one duty” (MB abrig Muir, 1:144).

What exist as the four great ages forming a great age, occur because of analogical repetitions. There is a greater age of immensely longer duration than even the mahāyuga mentioned above: the same series of four immense periods — of length respectively in the ratios of 4, 3, 2, 1 — is likewise found in the manvantaric history of a globe as well as of a round. Every root-race has likewise its mahāyuga; and it is evident that the satya yuga of the seventh root-race will be a far more advanced one than is the satya yuga of the fourth root-race, because in the former everything will be more evolved and on a higher plane. Consequently, there is not one single satya yuga, but many, both on lower and higher planes.

Sāvitrī or Gāyatrī

(Sanskrit) A verse of the gVeda (iii.62.10) which from immemorial time in India has been surrounded with the attributes of quasi-divinity. The Sanskrit words of this verse are: (Om bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ) Tat savitur vareṇ(i)yaṃ Bhargo devasya dhīmahi Dhiyo yo naḥ prachodayāt. Every orthodox Brahmana is supposed to repeat this archaic hymn, at least mentally, at both his morning and evening religious exercises or devotions. A translation in explanatory paraphrase, giving the essential esoteric meaning of the Gāyatrī or Savitrī, is the following: “Oh thou golden sun of most excellent splendor, illumine our hearts and fill our minds, so that we, recognizing our oneness with the Divinity which is the heart of the universe, may see the pathway before our feet, and tread it to those distant goals of perfection, stimulated by thine own radiant light.”

Sc

Scarab, Scarabeus

[from Latin scarabaeus cf Greek karabos a beetle, Sanskrit sarabha a locust, Egyptian khepera from kheper to become, come into being anew] The Egyptian symbol of the god Khepera — the urgent spiritual impulse of creation, or regenerative revolving and reimbodiment. In modern times applied to the beetle Scarabaeus sacer or aegyptorum — the sacred scarab. Orientalists generally regard the scarab as the symbol of resurrection because the beetle rolls a ball of dung containing its eggs, which it leaves to be hatched by the sun’s rays. This is said to represent in the small what was believed to take place in the great, that the sun was moving across the heavens holding within itself the germs which in course of stellar time evolve forth and remanifest in the solar cosmos. “Khem, ‘the sower of seed,’ is shown on a stele in a picture of Resurrection after physical death, as the creator and the sower of the grain of corn, which, after corruption, springs up afresh each time into a new ear, on which a scarabaeus beetle is seen poised; and Deveria shows very justly that ‘Ptah is the inert, material form of Osiris, who will become Sokari (the eternal Ego) to be reborn, and afterwards be Harmachus,’ or Horus in his transformation, the risen god. The prayer so often found in the tumular inscriptions, ‘the wish for the resurrection in one’s living soul’ or the Higher Ego, has ever a scarabaeus at the end, standing for the personal soul. The scarabaeus is the most honoured, as the most frequent and familiar, of all Egyptian symbols” (TG 293).

“This mystical symbol shows plainly that the Egyptians believed in reincarnation and the successive lives and existences of the Immortal entity. Being, however, an esoteric doctrine, revealed only during the mysteries by the priest-hierophants and the Kings-Initiates to the candidates, it was kept secret” (SD 2:552).

Science

An operation of the human spirit-mind in its endeavor to understand the how of things — not any particular science whatsoever, but the thing in itself, science per se — ordered and classified knowledge. One phase of a triform method of understanding the nature of universal nature and its multiform and multifold workings; and this phase cannot be separated from the other two — philosophy and religion — if we wish to gain a true picture of things as they are in themselves.

Science is the aspect of human thinking in the activity of the mentality in the latter’s inquisitive, researching, and classifying functions.

Se

Seb

(Egyptian) One of the older Egyptian deities, the son of Shu and Tefnut, brother and husband of Nut, father of Osiris and Isis, Set and Nephthys. A goose (seb) was held sacred to the god. One popular legend states that Seb first appeared flying through the air in the form of a goose — reminiscent of the Sanskrit kala-haṅsa (bird of eternity). Seb was the vitalizing divinity of cosmic space, often called earth: the earth was described as being formed of Seb’s cosmic body, and hence was in turn called the house of Seb. Being so closely associated with the earth, through popular misunderstanding he was regarded as the custodian of the dead in their tombs, and therefore held a prominent place in the scenes of the Underworld depicted in The Book of the Dead.

Heliopolis was the principal seat of his worship, it being held that at that spot, with his consort Nut, he produced the great Egg of Space, out of which emerged the sun god in the shape of a phoenix (bennu). Because of this he was styled the Great Cackler. Another of his titles was Erpat (chief of the gods), as he is more like the Hindu parabrahman than even Brahma, and hence the womb of cosmic being. A favorite representation of Seb is that of a prostrated man, one hand pointing to heaven, the other to earth — the prostrated form representing the earth — over whom bends a woman, Nut, her body being spangled with stars — representing the sky.

In Gerald Massey’s series of seven principles of the Egyptians, Seb is enumerated as the fifth (ancestral soul) (SD 2:632). In the individual person Seb stands for the reincarnating ego or monadic root with its accumulated wisdoms of each human imbodiment, and hence the source and urgent impulse for future imbodiments. “Manas corresponds precisely with Seb, the Egyptian fifth principle, for that portion of Manas, which follows the two higher principles, is the ancestral soul, indeed, the bright, immortal thread of the higher Ego, to which clings the Spiritual aroma of all the lives or births” (SD 2:632n).

Second Death

This is a phrase used by ancient and modern mystics to describe the dissolution of the principles of man remaining in kāma-loka after the death of the physical body. For instance, Plutarch says: “Of the deaths we die, the one makes man two of three, and the other, one out of two.” Thus, using the simple division of man into spirit, soul, and body: the first death is the dropping of the body, making two out of three; the second death is the withdrawal of the spiritual from the kāma-rupic soul, making one out of two. See also: Death

The second death takes place when the lower or intermediate duad (manaskāma) in its turn separates from, or rather is cast off by, the upper duad; but preceding this event the upper duad gathers unto itself from this lower duad what is called the reincarnating ego, which is all the best of the entity that was, all its purest and most spiritual and noblest aspirations and hopes and dreams for betterment and for beauty and harmony. Inherent in the fabric, so to speak, of the reincarnating ego, there remain of course the seeds of the lower principles which at the succeeding rebirth or reincarnation of the ego will develop into the complex of the lower quaternary. (See also Kāma-Rūpa)

Self

Man is a sheaf or bundle of forces or energies and material elements combined; and the power controlling all and holding them together, making out of the composite aggregate a unity, is what theosophists call the Self — not the mere ego, but the Self, a purely spiritual unit, in its essence divine, which is the same in every man and woman on earth, the same in every entity everywhere in all the boundless fields of limitless space, as we understand space. If one closely examine his own consciousness, he will very soon know that this is the pure consciousness expressed in the words, “I am” — and this is the Self; whereas the ego is the cognition of the “I am I.”

Consider the hierarchy of the human being growing from the Self as its seed — ten stages: three on the arupa or immaterial plane; and seven (or perhaps better, six) on the planes of matter or manifestation. On each one of these seven planes (or six planes), the Self or paramātman develops a sheath or garment, the upper ones spun of spirit, or light if you will, and the lower ones spun of shadow or matter; and each such sheath or garment is a soul; and between the Self and a soul — any soul — is an ego.

Sĕfīrāh (Sephira(h))

(Hebrew, Chaldean) [from sāfar to mark, scrape, write, engrave, count or number, plural sĕfīrōth; cf Sanskrit verbal root lip as in lipika] The emanations proceeding from ’eyn soph, these ten emanations being frequently called the Sephirothal Tree or the Qabbalistic Tree of (Cosmic) Life.

The primitive Qabbalists conceived the universe as coming into manifestation by a process of mathematical or numerical emanations, proceeding out of the bosom of ’eyn soph (no limit) in a series of nine or ten Sĕfīrōth — imbodying the idea of cosmic mathematical quantities on the one hand, and of cosmic karmic consequences from previous universes as being thus written or numbered from a former universe. Thus the universe is envisaged as a karmic picture of destiny unrolling itself from ’eyn soph in form or number, and therefore as being based on strictly mathematical relations derivative from destiny.

Sĕfīrāh is especially applied to the first emanation, Kether (the Crown), the other nine Sĕfīrōth being involved or held in germ within the first emanation, and emanating therefrom one by one in serial order as “nine splendid lights” (Zohar 111 288a). The first Sĕfīrāh is also called ’eyn soph ’or (boundless light). “The Spiritual substance sent forth by the Infinite Light is the first Sĕfīrāh or Shekinah: Sĕfīrāh exoterically contains all the other nine Sĕfīrōth in her. Esoterically she contains but two, Chochmah or Wisdom, a masculine, active potency whose divine name is Jah (יה), and Binah, a feminine passive potency, Intelligence, represented by the divine name Jehovah (יהוה); which two potencies form, with Sĕfīrāh the third, the Jewish trinity or the Crown, Kether” (SD 1:355).

Sĕfīrōth (Sephiroth)

(Hebrew) [plural of sĕfīrāh] Emanations; applicable to the ten powers or potencies which compose the Qabbalistic Tree of Life, named Kether (the Crown); Hochmah (wisdom); Binah (understanding); Hesed (compassion); Geburah (strength); Tiph’ereth (beauty); Netsah (triumph); Hod (majesty); Yesod (foundation); and Malchuth (kingdom). The higher ones of this series of cosmic emanations imbody functions in cosmogony which exactly parallel the functions and attributes of the lipika in theosophical thought.

The Qabbalah states that when the Boundless (’eyn soph), driven by ineluctable destiny, wished to portray an aspect of itself, it caused a Point to appear in the bosom of space, and this primordial point expanded into the Sĕfīrāh Kether — the mother of the remaining nine Sĕfīrōth. This primal point or Kether was therefore the first emanation of the universe, and is often called Sĕfīrāh. Having thus come into manifestation, the first Sĕfīrāh unrolled or emanated from itself a second Sĕfīrāh, Hochmah, which in its turn unrolled the third Sĕfīrāh, Binah; then the third unrolled the fourth, and so forth, each newly appearing Sĕfīrāh — though having its own individual characteristics — containing within itself the potencies and characteristics of all the preceding Sĕfīrōth; and this process continued until the nine Sĕfīrōth which had been inrolled within Kether all came into manifestation. Together the ten Sĕfīrōth represent the cosmic Archetypal Man (’Ādām Qadmōn), — cosmic Purua in Hindu thought. “The Sĕfīrōthal Tree is the Universe, and Ādām Qadmōn represents it in the West as Brahmā represents it in India” (SD 1:352).

The ten Sĕfīrōth are often referred to in the Qabbālāh as the members or limbs of the manifested body of ’Ādām Qadmōn, and the parts were named as: 1) the head; 2) the right shoulder; 3) the left shoulder; 4) the right arm; 5) the left arm; 6) the heart; 7) the right thigh; 8) the left thigh; 9) the generative organs; and 10) the basis or feet.

The Sĕfīrōth are often divided into three pillars, beginning as spiritual cosmic light and ending in matter by a process of increasing materiality. These three pillars represent three vertical streams of vitality or three currents of energy: the right pillar, considered to be the masculine stream and termed the Pillar of Mercy, consists of Hochmah, Hesed, and Netsah. The left stream or pillar is the feminine potency, called the Pillar of Judgment, and comprises Binah, Geburah, and Hod. The Middle Pillar is the stream of spiritual stability and consists of Kether, Tiph’ereth, Yesod, and Malchuth. Although the currents of the Middle Pillar run from the topmost to the lowest, nevertheless the potencies of the right and of the left pillars are interconnected so that the streams of vitality flow uninterruptedly through all of the ten Sĕfīrōth.

Another way of viewing the Sĕfīrōth is by a series of three triads, running from the uppermost downwards, known as three Faces or the three Qabbalistic Heads. The first Face, often termed the Supernal Triad or invisible triad, consists of the three highest Sĕfīrōth Kether, Hochmah, and Binah; the second Face is emanated or produced from the first and comprises Hesed, Geburah, and Tiph’ereth; the third Face, the emanation of the first two triads, is formed of Netsah, Hod, and Yesod; and the three Faces find their base or fulfillment in Malchuth, the world as humans view it. The first Face or Head is called in the Qabbalah the spiritual or intellectual world; the second is the formative world or world of perception; and the third is known as the basic world, often called the material or physical world, but more accurately comprising the lower ranges of the anima mundi. The three Faces then conjointly emanate the truly physical world around us, which thus contains the productive essences of all, and hence is the carrier or vehicle of all, precisely as the physical body with its vitality is the carrier of the other six principles of the human constitution.

In the case of the solar system the ten Sĕfīrōth correspond to the lokas and talas of Brahmanical philosophy. There is a direct correspondence between the twelve globes of a planetary chain and the ten Sĕfīrōth plus Malchuth (the earth) and the highest globe of that chain:

diagram

 

Semele, Semele-Thyone

(Greek) In Greek mythology, daughter of Cadmus, founder of Thebes, and of Harmonia, a daughter of Ares and Aphrodite. The Orphic myth is a permutation of Demeter-Kore the divine spouse, who becomes Semele the mortal maid and mother of Zagreus, later Zagreus-Dionysos, the third of the great Eleusinian deities in later times. Semele is beloved by Zeus, which excites the jealousy of Hera, who accordingly contrives a plot to destroy Semele. Appearing to her in the form of her nurse, Hera insinuates that the lover is not really Zeus, and persuades Semele to ask her lover to prove his identity by appearing to her in his divine panoply and form. Reluctantly Zeus does so, foreseeing the result yet bound by his pledge to her. Semele is reduced to ashes at the sight, and the babe which she had carried for seven months is snatched from the flames by Zeus himself who, that it might complete its term, sewed it up in his thigh. The babe Zagreus was born from the thigh of Zeus as Zagreus-Dionysos, the Savior. Identified with Iacchus, the divine son of Demeter-Kore in the later Eleusinian Mysteries, he visits the Underworld and brings his mother Semele back to earth, now as Thyone (the inspired) to reign with Demeter-Kore as the radiant queen and divine mother in the Orphic Mysteries.

Semele is a representative or type of the aspiring human soul which in its higher parts so passionately longs for complete union with the inner divinity, that when this unity of comprehension and being is once attained, the human soul is reduced to ashes and the son, the soul’s self in its higher and newer form, is saved by the divinity within as the newly born dvija (initiate).

Śĕrāfīm (Seraphim)

(Hebrew) Śĕrāfīm [from the verbal root śāraf to burn; plural of śārāf] Fiery, burning, venomous, poisonous. The word came to have the significance of serpents, referring to those beings described in Isaiah 6:2 as possessing six wings, guarding the divine throne, and endowed with a voice with which they praise the deity; “they are the symbols of Jehovah, and of all the other Demiurgi who produce out of themselves six sons or likenesses — Seven with their Creator” (SD 2:387n). In later Jewish writings they are associated with the Kĕrūbīm (Cherubim) and ’Ophannim (wheels) of Ezekiel. They parallel the Hindu nāgas — semi-divine beings of serpent character. “The Śĕrāfīm are the fiery Serpents of Heaven which we find in a passage describing Mount Meru as: ‘the exalted mass of glory, the venerable haunt of gods and heavenly choristers. . . . not to be reached by sinful men. . . . because guarded by Serpents.’ They are called the Avengers, and the ‘Winged Wheels’ ” (SD 1:126) — avengers in the sense of being the agents of karma. They are the Flames, a class of dhyāni-chohans who dried the “turbid dark waters” with which the earth was covered in an early stage of its development (SD 2:16).

In the Qabbalistic hierarchy of angels, the Seraphim correspond to the fifth Sĕfīrāh, Geburah. In the ancient Syrian system they are equivalent to the sphere of the nebulae and comets. The celestial hierarchy adopted by Dionysius the pseudo-Aeropagite ranks them first.

In the hierarchy of emanations proceeding from the cosmic monad, the Śĕrāfīm precede the kĕrūbīm in emanational order, because in the hierarchical scheme the Śĕrāfīm stand for the formative or creative fires, the spiritual archetypes, whereas the cherubim are the builders of forms and hence are of the rūpa class themselves. Thus the Śĕrāfīm belong to the arūpa class which works through and in the Kĕrūbīm (Cherubim) or rūpa class. Thus the Śĕrāfīm, whose color is the spiritual red or spiritual fire, precede both in time and in hierarchical dignity the Cherubim whose color is blue — the idea being that before manifestation of both mind and of forms can take place there must be in the cosmic monad the awakening of divine desire, signified as fiery or flamy color, spiritual red. As the Veda has it: “desire first arose in It.”

Set or Seth

(Egyptian) According to the Heliopolitan mythology, the son of Seb and Nut, is the brother of Osiris, Isis, and Nephthys; and the father of Anubis by Nephthys. In later times he became associated with Typhon. The attributes of the god underwent several changes: he is described as very closely connected with Aroeris (Heru-ur or Horus the Elder), his chief office being that of helper and friend to the deceased; in this association a twin-god is pictured, having the hawk head of Horus (light) and the Set animal (darkness) upon one human body. Furthermore, Horus was the god of the sky by day, while Set was god of the sky by night: in this sense were they opposite yet identic deities in earliest times, one the shadow of the other.

Later the mythological account describes warlike combats between the two. Horus popularly represented the bright, upward motion of the sun — resulting in spring and summer; Set represented the downward motion, the mythologic account dwelling upon the fact that Set stole the light from the sun, resulting in autumn and winter. The combats engaged in by Set are rendered in four themes: against Horus, resulting in night coming upon day; against Ra, the sun god; against his brother, Osiris, resulting in the latter’s death; and against Horus the Younger who was striving to avenge the death of his father, Osiris. In the fight between Osiris and Set (or Typhon), Typhon is in one sense the shadow, and hence the material aspect of Osiris, “Osiris is the ideal Universe, Śiva the great Regenerative Force, and Typhon the material portion of it, the evil side of the god, or the Destroying Śiva” (TG 90).

In late dynastic times, all forms of evil and darkness were attributed to Set as well as all the storms of nature. His kingdom was placed in the northern sky in the constellation of the Great Bear — the north being designated as the realm of darkness, originally mystically meaning the darkness of recondite spirit. When Typhon or Set is allied with earth and matter, these refer not to physical matter but to the body of space itself, the garments or wraps of space, and hence the clothing of the inscrutable darkness of spirit which is boundless light.

Seven Principles of Man

Every one of the seven principles of man, as also every one of the seven elements in him, is itself a mirror of the universe. (See also Principles of Man)

Seven Sacred Planets

The ancients spoke of seven planets which they called the seven sacred planets, and they were named as follows: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, and Moon.

Each one of these seven globes is a body like our own Earth in that each is a septenary chain, sevenfold in composition: six other superior globes of finer and more ethereal matter above the physical sphere or globe. Only those globes which are on the same cosmic plane of nature or being are physically visible to each other. For instance, we can see only the fourth-plane planetary globe of each of the other planetary or sidereal chains, because we ourselves are on the fourth cosmic plane, as they also are. There is a very important and wide range of mystical teaching connected with the seven sacred planets which it would be out of place to develop here.

Sh

Shu

(Egyptian) [from shu dry, parched] The Egyptian god of light, popularly associated with heat and dryness, and the ethereal spaces existing between the earth and the vault of the sky; often depicted as holding up the sky with his two hands, one at the place of sunrise, the other of sunset. The phonetic value of shu is the feather, which is the symbol of this deity, and appears above his headdress. Shu is manifest during the day in the beams of the sun, and at night in the beams of the moon; the solar disk is his home. He is likewise one of the chief deities of the underworld, the gate of the pillars of Shu (tchesert) marking the entrance to this region, the pillars representing the four cardinal points said to hold up the sky. Although the twin brother of Tefnut — often alluded to as the twin lion-deities — Shu is more often represented with Seb and Nut (deities of cosmic space and of its garment of ethereal substance) in his position of holding up the sky, because in theosophical terminology cosmic light as well as cosmic intelligence (the Logos) is born from Brahman and pradhāna, or parabrahman and mūlaprakṛti.

Shu on the smaller scale is solar energy (SD 1:360).

Si

Siddha

[Sanskrit, from the verbal root sidh to attain] Perfected one, one who has attained relative perfection in this manvantara through self-devised efforts lasting through many embodiments towards that end. A buddha is in this sense at times called a siddha. Generally, a hierarchy of dhyāni-chohans who, according to Hindu mythology, inhabit the space between the earth and heaven (bhuvar-loka); the Viṣṇu-Purāna states that there are 88,000 of them occupying the regions of the sky north of the sun and south of the seven rishis (the Great Bear). In later mythology they are confused with or take the place of the sadhyas, but in the Vedas the siddhas are those who are possessed from birth of superhuman powers — the eight siddhis — as also of knowledge and indifference to the world (Śvetāsvatāra-Upaniṣad).

“According to the Occult teachings, however, Siddhas are the Nirmāṇakāyas or the ‘spirits’ (in the sense of an individual, or conscious spirit) of great sages from spheres on a higher plane than our own, who voluntarily incarnate in mortal bodies in order to help the human race in its upward progress. Hence their innate knowledge, wisdom and powers” (SD 2:636n). In this sense siddhas may be applied to the highest class of mānasaputras who incarnated in the first but best prepared human protoplasts in the early part of the third root-race in order to bring mind to nascent mankind.

Also applied to any inspired sage, prophet, or seer (e.g., Vyāsa, Kapila), especially to one who has attained a state of beatitude; or to any great adept (who has acquired the siddhis. (From: ETG)

In Jainism Siddhas are regarded as the completely accomplished (=liberated) human being who live in Siddhaloka, above all heavens, and have no more active connection with humanity and will not incarnate again. This contrasts with the Occult Theosophical view that the Siddhas are “Nirmāṇakāyas or the individual, or conscious spirits of great sages from spheres on a higher plane than our own, who voluntarily incarnate in mortal bodies in order to help the human race in its upward progress. [-Ed DTh]

Silent Watcher

A term used in modern theosophical esoteric philosophy to signify a highly advanced spiritual entity who is, as it were, the summit or supreme chief of a spiritual-psychological hierarchy composed of beings beneath him and working under the Silent Watcher’s direct inspiration and guidance. The Silent Watchers, therefore, are relatively numerous, because every hierarchy, large or small, high or low, has as its own particular hierarch or supreme head a Silent Watcher. There are human Silent Watchers, and there is a Silent Watcher for every globe of our planetary chain. There is likewise a Silent Watcher of the solar system of vastly loftier state or stage, etc.

“Silent Watcher” is a graphic phrase, and describes with fair accuracy the predominant trait or characteristic of such a spiritual being — one who through evolution having practically gained omniscience or perfect knowledge of all that he can learn in any one sphere of the kosmos, instead of pursuing his evolutionary path forwards to still higher realms, remains in order to help the multitudes and hosts of less progressed entities trailing behind him. There he remains at his self-imposed task, waiting and watching and helping and inspiring, and so far as we humans are concerned, in the utter silences of spiritual compassion. Thence the term Silent Watcher. He can learn nothing more from the particular sphere of life through which he has now passed, and the secrets of which he knows by heart. For the time being and for ages he has renounced all individual evolution for himself out of pure pity and high compassion for those beneath him.

Śiṣṭa(s)

iṣṭa, Sanskrit) This is a word meaning “remainders,” or “remains,” or “residuals” — anything that is left or remains behind. In the especial application in which this word is used in the ancient wisdom, the Śiṣṭas are those superior classes — each of its own kind and kingdom — left behind on a planet when it goes into obscuration, in order to serve as the seeds of life for the inflow of the next incoming life-wave when the dawn of the new manvantara takes place on that planet.

When each kingdom passes on to its next globe, each one leaves behind its śiṣṭas, its lives representing the very highest point of evolution arrived at by that kingdom in that round, but leaves them sleeping as it were: dormant, relatively motionless, including life-atoms among them. Not without life, however, for everything is as much alive as ever, and there is no “dead” matter anywhere; but the śiṣṭas considered aggregatively as the remnants or residuals of the life-wave which has passed on are sleeping, dormant, resting. These śiṣṭas await the incoming of the life-waves on the next round, and then they re-awaken to a new cycle of activity as the seeds of the new kingdom or kingdoms — be it the three elemental kingdoms or the mineral or vegetable or the beast or the next humanity.

In a more restricted and still more specific sense, the śiṣtas are the great elect, or sages, left behind after every obscuration.

Śiva

(Sanskrit) The third god of the Hindu Trimurti (trinity): Brahmā the evolver; Viṣṇu the preserver; and Śiva the regenerator or destroyer. Śiva is one of the three loftiest divinities of our solar system, and in his character of destroyer stands higher than Viṣṇu for he is “the destroying deity, evolution and PROGRESS personified, who is the regenerator at the same time; who destroys things under one form but to recall them to life under another more perfect type” (SD 2:182). As the destroyer of outward forms he is called Vāmadeva. Endowed with so many powers and attributes, Śiva possesses a great number of names, and is represented under a corresponding variety of forms. He corresponds to the Palestinian Ba‘al or Moloch, Saturn, the Phoenician El, the Egyptian Seth, and the Biblical Chiun of Amos, and Greek Typhon.

“In the Rig Veda the name Śiva is unknown, but the god is called Rudra, which is a word used for Agni, the fire god . . .”; “In the Vedas he is the divine Ego aspiring to return to its pure, deific state, and at the same time that divine ego imprisoned in earthly form, whose fierce passions make of him the ‘roarer,’ the ‘terrible’ ” (SD 2:613, 548).

Śiva is often spoken of as the patron deity of esotericists, occultists, and ascetics; he is called the Mahāyogin (the great ascetic), from whom the highest spiritual knowledge is acquired, and union with the great spirit of the universe is eventually gained. Here he is “the howling and terrific destroyer of human passions and physical senses, which are ever in the way of the development of the higher spiritual perceptions and the growth of the inner eternal man — mystically . . . Śiva-Rudra is the Destroyer, as Viṣṇu is the preserver; and both are the regenerators of spiritual as well as of physical nature. To live as a plant, the seed must die. To live as a conscious entity in the Eternity, the passions and senses of man must first die before his body does. ‘To live is to die and to die is to live,’ has been too little understood in the West. Śiva, the destroyer, is the creator and the Saviour of Spiritual man, as he is the good gardener of nature. He weeds out the plants, human and cosmic, and kills the passions of the physical, to call to life the perceptions of the spiritual, man” (SD 1:459&n).

Though Śiva is often called Mahā-kala (great time) which, while being the great formative factor in manvantara is also the great dissolving power, to the Hindu mind destruction implies reproduction; so Śiva is also called Śaṅkara (the auspicious), for he is the reproductive power which is perpetually restoring that which has been dissolved, and hence is also called Mahādeva (the great god). Under this character of restorer he was often represented by the symbol of the liṅga or phallus: “the Liṅgham and Yoni of Śiva-worship stand too high philosophically, its modern degeneration notwithstanding, to be called a simple phallic worship” (SD 2:588). It is under the form of the liṅga, either alone or combined with the yoni (female organ, the representative of his śakti or female energy), that Śiva is so often worshiped today in India.

In the Liṅga-Purāṇa, Śiva is said to take repeated births, in one kalpa possessing a white complexion, in another that of a black color, in still another that of a red color, after which he becomes four youths of a yellow color. This allegory is an ethnological account of the different races of mankind and their varying types and colors (cf SD 1:324).

Śiva is known under more than a thousand names or titles and is represented under many different forms in Hindu writings. As the god of generation and of justice, he is represented riding a white bull; his own color, as well as that of the bull, is generally white, referring probably to the unsullied purity of abstract justice. He is sometimes seen with two hands, sometimes with four, eight, or ten; and with five faces, representing among other things his power over the five elements. He has three eyes, one placed in the centre of his forehead, and shaped as a vertical oval. These three eyes are said to denote his view of the three divisions of time: past, present, and future. He holds a trident in his hand to denote his three great attributes of emanator, destroyer, and regenerator, thus combining all the usual qualities or functions attributed to the Trimurti. In his character of time, he not only presides over its beginning and its extinction, but also over its present functioning as represented in astronomical and astrological calculations. A crescent or half-moon on his forehead indicates time measured by the phases of the moon; a serpent forms one of his necklaces to denote the measure of time by cycles, and a second necklace of human skulls signifies the extinction and succession of the races of mankind. He is often pictures as entirely covered with serpents, which are at once emblems of spiritual immortality and his standing as the patron of the nāgas or initiates. He is often mystically personated by Mount Meru, which esoterically is both the cosmic and terrestrial axis with their respective poles.

According to the belief of most AdvaitaVedantists, Śaṅkarācārya, the great Indian philosopher and sage, is held to be an avatāra of Śiva.

Sk

Skandha (Sanskrit) Bundles, groups of various attributes forming the compound constitution of the human being. They are the manifested qualities and attributes forming the human being on all six planes of Being, beneath the spiritual monad or ātmabuddhi, making up the totality of the subjective and objective person. They have to do with everything that is finite in the human being, and are therefore inapplicable to the relatively eternal and absolute. Every vibration of whatever kind, mental, emotional, or physical, that an individual has undergone or made, is derivative of and from one of the skandhas composing his constitution. Skandhas are the elements of limited existence. The five skandhas of every human being are: rūpa (form), the material properties or attributes; vedanā (sensations, perceptions); sanjñā (consciousness, abstract ideas); saṁskāra (action), tendencies both physical and mental; vijñāna (knowledge), mental and moral predispositions. Two further, unnamed skandhas “are connected with, and productive of Sakkayaditthi, the ‘heresy or delusion of individuality’ and of Attavada ‘the doctrine of Self,’ both of which (in the case of the fifth principle the soul) lead to the māyā of heresy and belief in the efficacy of vain rites and ceremonies; in prayers and intercession”; “The ‘old being’ is the sole parent — father and mother at once — of the ‘new being.’ It is the former who is the creator and fashioner, of the latter, in reality; and far more so in plain truth, than any father in flesh. And once that you have well mastered the meaning of Skandhas you will see what I mean” (ML 111). The human skandhas are the causal activities which by their action and interaction attract the reincarnating ego back to earth-life. The exoteric skandhas have to do with objective man; the esoteric with inner and subjective man.

At death the seeds of causes sown which have not yet been realized remain latent in our inner principles as “psychological impulse-seeds” awaiting expression in future lives. The skandhas “unite at the birth of man and constitute his personality. After the death of the body the Skandhas are separated and so remain until the Reincarnating Ego on its downward path into physical incarnation gathers them together again around itself, and thus reforms the human constitution considered as a unity” (OG 158).

Similarly with suns and planets: at pralaya, the lower principles of such a cosmic body exist latent in space in a laya-condition while its spiritual principles are active in higher realms. “When a laya-center is fired into action by the touch of wills and consciousnesses on their downward way, becoming the imbodying life of a solar system, or of a planet of a solar system, the center manifests first on its highest plane, and later on its lower plane. The Skandhas are awakened into life one after another: first the highest ones, next the intermediate ones, and lastly the inferior ones, cosmically and qualitatively speaking” (ibid.).

The skandhas are likewise closely connected with the karmic pictures in the astral light, which also is the medium as well as the register of impressions.

Sl

Śloka

(Sanskrit) “The Sanskrit epic meter formed of thirty-two syllables: verses in four half lines of eight, or in two lines of sixteen syllables each” (H. P. Blavatsky, Theosophical Glossary).

If the student will remember the fact that when a human being is filled with the living spiritual and intellectual fiery energies flowing into his brain-mind from his inner god, he is then an insouled being, he will readily understand that when these fiery energies can no longer reach the brain-mind and manifest in a man’s life, there is thus produced what is called a soulless being. A good man, honorable, loyal, compassionate, aspiring, gentle, and true-hearted, and a student of wisdom, is an “insouled” man; a buddha is one who is fully, completely insouled; and there are all the intermediate grades between.

So

Solar System

Commonly, the Sun with the nine principal planets — Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto — their satellites, and the minor planets, comets, and meteors; in theosophy, however, the solar system is a far more complex entity, for many of its worlds manifest on planes of being invisible to our senses.

The planets are individual manifestations of conscious intelligences, their distances from the sun being generally in rhythmical progression and their motions directed by mind and volition, as Kepler declared in his doctrine of Rectors, following the ancient teachings. The nebular hypothesis, once so popular in European scientific thought and now more or less rejected, was first suggested by Swedish seer Swedenborg and German philosopher Kant, and around the beginning of the 19th century was worked out in mathematical detail by the Frenchman Laplace. Though the nebular hypothesis as scientifically presented was unacceptable to theosophical thinkers, it nevertheless was based upon facts of cosmic evolution accepted by the ancient wisdom-religion and approximated somewhat more closely to what theosophy teaches as the facts of cosmogony than do the later tidal or planetesimal theories.

In theosophy the universe is the product of cosmic mind or intelligence, whose all-permeant activities manifest on our material plane as the laws of nature. The universe and all in it, proceeding from cosmic consciousness, is imbued throughout with the qualities and attributes of its divine originators; and as there is but one primordial fundamental life — and therefore one fundamental law — energizing and guiding all, the ancient teaching of analogy is the master key to understanding universal nature.

Calling the primordial origins of every being and thing by the term monads, as Leibniz did following Pythagoras, these monads may be looked upon as the seeds of cosmic life, life-centers or energy points, and in such case naught in the universe is the product of chance, but is the offspring of mind. Thus the solar system itself sprang from such a cosmic seed or monad; and the same holds true for the planets, nebulae, comets, and all other individually enduring cosmic bodies.

Comets are coordinated with earlier and later stages of nebular evolution, playing an activating part in the formation of individual celestial bodies. The planets did not emerge from the sun, but the sun is their “co-uterine brother” with the same nebular origin. The sun is the great distributor of light and other radiations, including vital energy, throughout the solar system, and is itself a member of a hierarchy of solar beings.

The ancient wisdom speaks of seven sacred planets which are especially connected with the earth, as indeed our own earth is likewise especially connected with various planetary chains, which mutually assisted in the formation of the seven or twelve globes of the planetary chains. These sacred planets are: the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn — the Sun and Moon being substitutes for esoteric and invisible planets. The complete number of the planets of a solar system is twelve, which is the number of globes composing a planetary chain. These twelve sacred planets are closely linked with the twelve houses of the zodiac, these links of unity being the energic coordinates tying our solar system in with the life and structure of the galaxy.

Theosophy makes a distinction between the solar system and the universal solar system — the former has especial reference to the twelve sacred planets, while the universal solar system refers to all bodies belonging to and revolving around a master- or king-sun (raja-sun) and within the latter’s far-flung realm on seven or more planes of being. It therefore contains planets and suns invisible to our present range of sense perception. Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are said not to belong to the solar system (nor are they included among the twelve sacred planets), but are members of the universal solar system.

In the Brahmanical system the solar system was regarded as an Egg of Brahmā (brahmāṇḍa), the praktic or pṛthivī-form of Brahmā, so that its life span is equivalent to the length of Brahmā’s manifested life. A Day of Brahmā for a planetary chain consists of a planetary manvantara — seven rounds of the various life-waves around that chain — a period of 4,320,000,000 terrestrial years. The ensuing pralaya or Night of Brahmā is of an equivalent length, together equaling 8,640,000,000 terrestrial years. Forty-nine such planetary Days and Nights equal one solar manvantara, equivalent to a Year of Brahmā; and each such year of Brahmā is figured as being 360 of his Days; and 100 such Years of Brahmā equal Brahmā’s Life, a period of 311,040,000,000,000 terrestrial years — including in this vast time period the various twilights and dawns. Theosophic philosophy states that one-half of Brahmā’s Life has been spent, or 50 Years of Brahmā. At the end of Brahmā’s Life, the final consummation of the solar system, so far as the planetary chain is concerned, will occur, and everything within the bounds of this system will vanish, and the succeeding solar pralaya will commence.

Soma

(Sanskrit) In Hinduism, the moon astronomically; mystically, a sacred beverage of initiates, “made from a rare mountain plant by initiated Brahmans” (TG 304). As the moon, Soma is an occult mystery, for the moon as a symbol stands for both good and evil, yet more often a symbol of evil than of good. Astrologically, Soma is the regent of the invisible or occult moon, while Indu represents the physical moon. “Soma is the mystery god and presides over the mystic and occult nature in man and the Universe” (SD 2:45). Soma or lunar worship was once purely occult and its rites were based upon a minute and profound knowledge of nature.

According to Hindu tradition, Soma as a sacred juice gave mystic visions and trance-revelations, the result of which union was Budha (esoteric wisdom). This sacred beverage was drunk by Brahmins and initiates during their mysteries and sacrificial rites.

“The ‘Soma’ plant is the Asclepias acida, which yields a juice from which that mystic beverage, the Soma drink, is made. Alone the descendants of the Ṛṣis, the Agnihotri (the fire priests) of the great mysteries knew all its powers. But the real property of the true Soma was (and is) to make a new man of the Initiate, after he is reborn, namely once that he begins to live in his astral body . . .; for, his spiritual nature overcoming the physical, he would soon snap it off and part even from that etherealized form. . . .

“The partaker of Soma finds himself both linked to his external body, and yet away from it in his spiritual form. The latter, freed from the former, soars for the time being in the ethereal higher regions, becoming virtually ‘as one of the gods,’ and yet preserving in his physical brain the memory of what he sees and learns. Plainly speaking, Soma is the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge forbidden by the jealous Elohim to Adam and Eve or Yah-ve, ‘lest Man should become as one of us’ ” (SD 2:498-9&n).

“A ‘soma-drinker’ attains the power of placing himself in direct rapport with the bright side of the moon, thus deriving inspiration from the concentrated intellectual energy of the blessed ancestors. . . .

“This which seems one stream (to the ignorant) is of a dual nature — one giving life and wisdom, the other being lethal. He who can separate the former from the latter, as Kalahaṅsa separated the milk from the water, which was mixed with it, thus showing great wisdom — will have his reward” (BCW 12:203-4).

“This Hindu sacred beverage answers to the Greek Ambrosia or nectar, drunk by the gods of Olympus. A cup of kykeon was also quaffed by the mysta at the Eleusinian initiation. He who drinks it easily reaches Brahma, or the place of splendor (Heaven). The soma-drink known to Europeans is not the genuine beverage, but its substitute; for the initiated priests alone can taste of the real soma; and even kings and rajas, when sacrificing, receive the substitute. . . . We were positively informed that the majority of the sacrificial priests of the Dekkan have lost the secret of the true soma. It can be found neither in the ritual books nor through oral information. The true followers of the primitive Vedic religion are very few; these are the alleged descendants from the Ṛṣis, the real Agnihotris, the initiates of the great Mysteries. The soma-drink is also commemorated in the Hindu Pantheon, for it is called King-Soma. He who drinks of it is made to participate in the heavenly king, because he becomes filled with it, as the Christian apostles and their converts became filled with the Holy Ghost, and purified of their sins. The soma makes a new man of the initiate; he is reborn and transformed, and his spiritual nature overcomes the physical; it gives the divine power of inspiration, and develops the clairvoyant faculty to the utmost. According to the exoteric explanation the soma is a plant, but, at the same time it is an angel. It forcibly connects the inner, highest ‘spirit’ of man, which spirit is an angel like the mystical soma, with his ‘irrational soul,’ or astral body, and thus united by the power of the magic drink, they soar together above physical nature and participate during life in the beatitude and ineffable glories of Heaven.

“Thus the Hindu soma is mystically, and in all respects the same that the Eucharist supper is to the Christian. The idea is similar. By means of the sacrificial prayers — the mantras — this liquor is supposed to be transformed on the spot into real soma — or the angel, and even into Brahma himself” (IU 1:xl-xli).

The mystical drink has been known in all ages and among all peoples. The ancient Teutonic tribes, whether of the Germanic or Anglo-Saxons, spoke of their divine mead, the drink of the gods. The Hindus spoke of Soma, the direct distillation from the moon and from the overseeing and guiding eye of the sun; the Greeks of the Homeric age spoke of ambrosia or nectar, a drink of the gods which renewed their understanding and gave them inspiration as well. Another branch of the Greeks belonging to the Dionysian and Orphic branches of mystical thought, spoke equally mystically of the mystic wine, and also of the mystic cereal, partaken of during the Mysteries, and it is from this last that the mystical wine and cereal or bread of the Christians was taken over almost completely from the Dionysian Eucharist, only among Christians even from quite early times it became degraded into actual blood and flesh of Jesus.

The evident meaning must be connected with the old occult thought that wine, or the mead of the northern peoples where the grape and soma were unknown or uncultivated, all had the meaning of the inspiration of initiation, a kind of ecstasy of vision and knowledge brought about through initiation, of which the physical intoxication of wine, mead, or the soma juice has all the lower and materialized aspect, every spiritual thing having its material counterpart, every right-hand thought or rule in occultism having its left-hand or sorcerer perversion or counterpart. Thus in the highest initiation, even today and from immemorial time, the holy drink or potation was entirely mystical, and had a dozen of these significances, all bound up together; yet despite this fact, for some of the lower initiations where a student found difficulty in throwing off the physical and astral influences, a harmless — when administered rightly — drug or drink was given which temporarily stupefied the lower quaternary; but it is to be noted that this substitute of the physical drink came about when neophytes began to find it very difficult to do what their more spiritual forerunners had done: raising themselves solely by inner aspiration up to inspiration, by inner insight up to the epopteia or vision.

Thus the question whether the mystical drink was an actual drink, or merely a mystical one, cannot be answered by a simple yes or no. Originally it was entirely mystical, later it remained as mystical as ever, but the body with its grossness, and the astral influences with their terrible power over the men and women of the time, were temporarily reduced to quiescence by a preparation known to initiates to have the power of bringing about the condition required, without any permanent or even long after-effect, very much as a sedative will be given by a physician today. It is of course true that if this drink, however relatively innocent in a single instance, were to be constantly repeated, it would have developed into a drug habit.

Some of the later peoples in their initiations actually did use a kind of physical soma which had the effect of bringing about a dulling of the restless brain-mind for the time being, so that the inner powers were temporarily freed from the clogging influences of the astral light and the body.

The use of drugs in initiatory ceremonies of any kind, however, is a relatively late and degenerate practice, and has never at any time been, nor will it ever be, introduced by the Mother-Lodge coming down to us even from the middle of the third root-race. With it the old tradition burns more brightly than ever that the true soma, the true mead of the gods or wine of the spirit, is the raising of the human into the spiritual by aspiration, training, and strict following of the traditional laws of discipleship, so that finally the neophyte feels the sunlight from above stealing through the moon of his mind.

So strongly is this the case, that even today in theosophical occult studies, drug taking of any kind is strictly forbidden, including alcohol, for alcohol is a drug, a product of natural decay and decomposition, and while less spectacular and violent as a rule than drugs such as opium and its derivatives, it is far more easily procurable and is therefore more specifically pointed to as objectionable. The idea of the occult student is to have the body absolutely normal, healthy, clean, and functioning in the smoothness of health, so that even overeating is seen to be a harmful thing, because it clogs the body, dulls the mind, and could even actually lead to physical disability.

There is and has been a great deal of confusion, not only at present but throughout the ages, about these matters, and several mystical schools have even chosen the language of the tavern and drinking house as the cloak for conveying occult or semi-occult teaching. A noted example is the Sufi school with its poems lauding the flowing bowl and the joys of the tavern and the bosom friends therein, and the beloved’s breast. Here the tavern was the universe, the flowing cup or wine was the wine of the spirit bringing inner ecstasy, the bosom of the beloved was the raising oneself into inner communion with the god within, of which the Jewish bosom of Abraham is a feeble correspondence. The friends of the tavern are those perfect human relations brought about by a community of spiritual and intellectual interests, and the associations of the tavern are the mysteries of the world around us with their marvels and arcana. Nevertheless in various countries as the fourth root-race ran toward its evil culmination, the mystic became translated into the material, the spiritual degenerated into the teaching of matter, so that indeed in later Atlantean times the drugging of initiates was common, and the results always disastrous, this being one of the sorceries for which the Atlanteans in occult history have remained infamous. Yet even in the fifth root-race, due to the heavy Atlantean karma still weighing on us, many nations as late as historic times employed more or less harmless potations to bring about a temporary dulling or stupefying of the brain and nervous system — a procedure always vigorously opposed by the theosophic occult school which has never at any time allowed it.

Sosiosh, Soshyos

(Persian) In Zoroastrianism, the deliverer of the world, who shall come on a white horse in a tornado of fire. According to the Avesta (Yas 19:89), he will be born from a maid near Lake Kasava; he will come from the region of the dawn to free the world from death and decay, from corruption and rottenness — ever living and ever thriving, the dead shall rise and immortality commence. This prophecy corresponds to that of the coming of Maitreya-Buddha, or of the Kalki-avatāra of Viṣṇu, also repeated in the Christian Revelation of St. John.

Soul

This word in the ancient wisdom signifies “vehicle,” and upādhi — that vehicle, or any vehicle, in which the monad, in any sphere of manifestation, is working out its destiny. A soul is an entity which is evolved by experiences; it is not a spirit, but it is a vehicle of a spirit — the monad. It manifests in matter through and by being a substantial portion of the lower essence of the spirit. Touching another plane below it, or it may be above it, the point of union allowing ingress and egress to the consciousness, is a laya-center — the neutral center, in matter or substance, through which consciousness passes — and the center of that consciousness is the monad. The soul in contradistinction with the monad is its vehicle for manifestation on any one plane. The spirit or monad manifests in seven vehicles, and each one of these vehicles is a soul.

On the higher planes the soul is a vehicle manifesting as a sheaf or pillar of light; similarly with the various egos and their related vehicle-souls on the inferior planes, all growing constantly more dense, as the planes of matter gradually thicken downwards and become more compact, into which the monadic ray penetrates until the final soul, which is the physical body, the general vehicle or bearer or carrier of them all.

Our teachings give to every animate thing a soul — not a human soul, or a divine soul, or a spiritual soul — but a soul corresponding to its own type. What it is, what its type is, actually comes from its soul; hence we properly may speak of the different beasts as having one or the other, a “duck soul,” an “ostrich soul,” a “bull” or a “cow soul,” and so forth. The entities lower than man — in this case the beasts, considered as a kingdom, are differentiated into the different families of animals by the different souls within each. Of course behind the soul from which it springs there are in each individual entity all the other principles that likewise inform man; but all these higher principles are latent in the beast.

Speaking generally, however, we may say that the soul is the intermediate part between the spirit which is deathless and immortal on the one hand and, on the other hand, the physical frame, entirely mortal. The soul, therefore, is the intermediate part of the human constitution. It must be carefully noted in this connection that soul as a term employed in the esoteric philosophy, while indeed meaning essentially a “vehicle” or “sheath,” this vehicle or sheath is nevertheless an animate or living entity much after the manner that the physical body, while being the sheath or vehicle of the other parts of man’s constitution, is nevertheless in itself a discrete, animate, personalized being. (See also Vāhana)

Soulless Beings

“We elbow soulless men in the streets at every turn,” wrote H. P. Blavatsky. This is an actual fact. The statement does not mean that those whom we thus elbow have no soul. The significance is that the spiritual part of these human beings is sleeping, not awake. They are animate humans with an animate working brain-mind, an animal mind, but otherwise “soulless” in the sense that the soul is inactive, sleeping; and this is also just what Pythagoras meant when he spoke of the “living dead.” They are everywhere, these people. We elbow them, just as H. P. Blavatsky says, at every turn. The eyes may be physically bright, and filled with the vital physical fire, but they lack soul; they lack tenderness, the fervid yet gentle warmth of the living flame of inspiration within. Sometimes impersonal love will awaken the soul in a man or in a woman; sometimes it will kill it if the love become selfish and gross. The streets are filled with such “soulless” people; but the phrase soulless people does not mean “lost souls.” The latter is again something else. The term soulless people therefore is a technical term. It means men and women who are still connected, but usually quite unconsciously, with the monad, the spiritual essence within them, but who are not self-consciously so connected. They live very largely in the brain-mind and in the fields of sensuous consciousness. They turn with pleasure to the frivolities of life. They have the ordinary feelings of honor, etc., because it is conventional and good breeding so to have them; but the deep inner fire of yearning, the living warmth that comes from being more or less at one with the god within, they know not. Hence, they are “soulless,” because the soul is not working with fiery energy in and through them.

A lost soul, on the other hand, means an entity who through various rebirths, it may be a dozen, or more or less, has been slowly following the “easy descent to Avernus,” and in whom the threads of communication with the spirit within have been snapped one after the other. Vice will do this, continuous vice. Hate snaps these spiritual threads more quickly than anything else perhaps. Selfishness, the parent of hate, is the root of all human evil; and therefore a lost soul is one who is not merely soulless in the ordinary theosophical usage of the word, but is one who has lost the last link, the last delicate thread of consciousness, connecting him with his inner god. He will continue “the easy descent,” passing from human birth to an inferior human birth, and then to one still more inferior, until finally the degenerate astral monad — all that remains of the human being that once was — may even enter the body of some beast to which it feels attracted (and this is one side of the teaching of transmigration, which has been so badly misunderstood in the Occident); some finally go even to plants perhaps, at the last, and will ultimately vanish. The astral monad will then have faded out. Such lost souls are exceedingly rare, fortunately; but they are not what we call soulless people.

Sp

Space

Our universe, as popularly supposed, consists of space and matter and energy; but in theosophy we say that space itself is both conscious and substantial. It is in fact the root of the other two, matter and energy, which are fundamentally one thing, and this one fundamental thing is SPACE — their essential and also their instrumental cause as well as their substantial cause — and this is the reality of being, the heart of things.

Our teaching is that there are many universes, not merely one, our own home-universe; therefore are there many spaces with a background of a perfectly incomprehensible greater SPACE inclosing all — a space which is still more ethereal, tenuous, spiritual, yes, divine, than the space-matter that we know or rather conceive of, which in its lowest aspect manifests the grossness of physical matter of common human knowledge. Space, therefore, considered in the abstract, is BEING, filled full, so to say, with other entities and things, of which we see a small part — globes innumerable, stars and planets, nebulae and comets.

But all these material bodies are but effectual products or results of the infinitudes of the invisible and inner causal realms — by far the larger part of the spaces of Space. The space therefore of any one universe is an entity — a god. Fundamentally and essentially it is a spiritual entity, a divine entity indeed, of which we see naught but what we humans call the material and energic aspect — behind which is the causal life, the causal intelligence.

The word is likewise frequently used in theosophical philosophy to signify the frontierless infinitudes of the Boundless; and because it is the very esse of life-consciousness-substance, it is incomparably more than the mere “container” that it is so often supposed to be by Occidental philosophers.

Sparśa

(Sanskrit) [from the verbal root spṛś to touch] The sense of touch; as one of the active energies or seats of action or sense in the human constitution, the seventh nidāna; looked upon distributively and as a thing in itself, it is also one of the tanmātras or essential senses.

Spirit

In the theosophical philosophy there is a distinct and important difference in the use of the words spirit and soul. The spirit is the immortal element in us, the deathless flame within us which dies never, which never was born and which retains throughout the entire mahā-manvantara its own quality, essence, and life, sending down into our own being and into our various planes certain of its rays or garments or souls which we are.

The divine spirit of man is linked with the All, being in a highly mystical sense a ray of the All.

A soul is an entity which is evolved by experiences; it is not a spirit because it is a vehicle of a spirit. It manifests in matter through and by being a substantial portion of the lower essence of the spirit. Touching another plane below it, or it may be above it, the point of union allowing ingress and egress to the consciousness is a laya-center. The spirit manifests in seven vehicles, and each one of these vehicles is a soul; and that particular point through which the spiritual influence passes in the soul is the laya-center, the heart of the soul, or rather the summit thereof — homogeneous soul-substance, if you like.

In a kosmical sense spirit should be applied only to that which belongs without qualifications to universal consciousness and which is the homogeneous and unmixed emanation from the universal consciousness. In the case of man, the spirit within man is the flame of his deathless ego, the direct emanation of the spiritual monad within him, and of this ego the spiritual soul is the enclosing sheath or vehicle or garment. Making an application more particularly and specifically to the human principles, when the higher manas of man which is his real ego is indissolubly linked with buddhi, this, in fact, is the spiritual ego or spirit of the individual human being’s constitution. Its life term before the emanation is withdrawn into the divine monad is for the full period of a kosmic manvantara.

Spirit (in reference to Matter)

The theosophist points out that what men call spirit is the summit or acme or root or seed or beginning or noumenon — call it by any name — of any particular hierarchy existing in the innumerable hosts of the kosmic hierarchies, with all of which any such hierarchy is inextricably interblended and interworking.

When theosophists speak of spirit and substance, of which matter and energy or force are the physicalized expressions, we must remember that all these terms are abstractions, generalized expressions for certain entities manifesting aggregatively.

Spirit, for instance, is not essentially different from matter, and is only relatively so different, or evolutionally so different: the difference not lying in the roots of these two where they become one in the underlying consciousness-reality, but in their characters they are two evolutional forms of manifestation of that underlying reality. In other words, to use the terminology of modern scientific philosophy, spirit and matter are, each of them, respectively an “event” as the underlying reality passes through eternal duration.

Spiritual Soul

The spiritual soul is the vehicle of the individual monad, the jīvātman or spiritual ego; in the case of man’s principles it is essentially of the nature of ātma-buddhi. This spiritual ego is the center or seed or root of the reincarnating ego. It is that portion of our spiritual constitution which is deathless as an individualized entity — deathless until the end of the mahā-manvantara of the cosmic solar system.

The spiritual soul and the divine soul, or ātman, combined, are the inner god — the inner buddha, the inner christ.

Sra

Śramaṇa

(Sanskrit) [from the verbal root śram to exert] Making effort or exertion; toiling, laboring; one who performs acts of penance and mortification — an ascetic of such type. Particularly applied to Buddhist monks or mendicants, to Buddha, or to a Jain ascetic. When a śrāvaka from theory goes into the actual practice of self-control in all its senses, he becomes a śrāmaṇa, a practicer of the esoteric instructions. Mere asceticism, however, apart from strict spiritual aspiration and intellectual training, is of little value, and too often distracts the attention of the student merely to care for the body and its appetites. The story of the Buddha himself well illustrates this, for the time came when he abandoned ascetic mortification of the body and turned his entire attention to the far greater and more difficult spiritual and intellectual discipline and evolution. (ETG)

Śrāvaka

(Sanskrit) [from the verbal root śrū to hear] One who listens or attends to the esoteric instructions, a disciple or chela. In Buddhism, a student of the exoteric teaching of Gautama Buddha, and a practicer of the four great truths of Buddhism. In Jainism: listener, student.

St

Stanzas of Dzyan

Archaic verses of philosophical and cosmogonical content drawn from the Book of Dzyan, which form the basis of The Secret Doctrine. They present the esoteric teachings in regard to cosmogenesis and anthropogenesis, and are the ancient heritage of humanity as preserved by the brotherhood of mahatmas. Every race and nation has drawn from this source through the medium of its initiated or inspired teachers and saviors. Only portions of the original verses are given in The Secret Doctrine, and Blavatsky’s presentation there represents the first time that they have been set down in a modern European language; her endeavor always was to represent the meaning rather than to give a merely literal rendering of the words: “it must be left to the intuition and the higher faculties of the reader to grasp, as far as he can, the meaning of the allegorical phrases used. Indeed it must be remembered that all these Stanzas appeal to the inner faculties rather than to the ordinary comprehension of the physical brain” (SD 1:21).

Especially is this the case when the Stanzas refer to events and conditions of cosmic or human life of which mankind today has virtually lost all memory, except for the scattered fragments of archaic writings which have reached us out of the darkness of prehistory. Only deep meditation and contemplation upon the mystical symbols used will awaken the faculty to comprehend them:

“The history of cosmic evolution, as traced in the Stanzas, is, so to say, the abstract algebraical formula of that Evolution. . . ..

“The Stanzas, therefore, give an abstract formula which can be applied, mutatis mutandis, to all evolution: to that of our tiny earth, to that of the chain of planets of which that earth forms one, to the solar Universe to which that chain belongs, and so on, in an ascending scale, till the mind reels and is exhausted in the effort.

“The seven Stanzas given in this volume represent the seven terms of this abstract formula. They refer to, and describe the seven great stages of the evolutionary process, which are spoken of in the Purānas as the ‘Seven Creations,’ and in the Bible as the ‘Days’ of Creation” (SD 1:20-1).

These archaic stanzas are written preeminently in symbolic language, with the intention of giving, perhaps, a sevenfold meaning; “as there are seven keys of interpretation to every symbol and allegory, that which may not fit a meaning, say from the psychological or astronomical aspect, will be found quite correct from the physical or metaphysical” (SD 2:22n).

SthūlaŚarīra

(Sanskrit) Sthūla means “coarse,” “gross,” not refined, heavy, bulky, fat in the sense of bigness, therefore, conditioned and differentiated matter; śarīra, “form,” generally speaking. The lowest substance-principle of which man is composed, usually classified as the seventh in order — the physical body.

The sthūla-śarīra or physical hierarchy of the human body is builded up of cosmic elements, themselves formed of living atomic entities which, although subject individually to bewilderingly rapid changes and reimbodiments, nevertheless are incomparably more enduring in themselves as expressions of the monadic rays than is the transitory physical body which they temporarily compose.

The physical body is composed mostly of porosity, if the expression be pardoned; the most unreal thing we know, full of holes, foamy as it were. At death the physical body follows the course of natural decay, and its various hosts of life-atoms proceed individually and collectively whither their natural attractions call them.

Strictly speaking, the physical body is not a principle at all; it is merely a house, man’s carrier in another sense, and no more is an essential part of him — except that he has excreted it, thrown it out from himself — than are the clothes in which his body is garmented. Man really is a complete human being without the sthūla-śarīra; and yet this statement while accurate must be taken not too literally, because even the physical body is the expression of man’s constitution on the physical plane. The meaning is that the human constitution can be a complete human entity even when the physical body is discarded, but the sthūla-śarīra is needed for evolution and active work on this subplane of the solar kosmos.

Su

Śūdra

(Sanskrit) In ancient India a man of the servile or fourth or lowest caste, social and political, of the early civilizations of Hindustan in the Vedic and post-Vedic periods. The other three grades or classes are respectively the Brahmana or priest-philosopher; the Kshatriya, the administrator — king, noble — and soldier; and third, the Vaisya, the trader and agriculturist.

Suicide

As an inseparable part of the universe, whether considered as an organism or as a huge animated machine, we cannot violently remove ourselves from the pattern without interfering with the harmonious working of the other parts; and just here enters the immense moral or ethical import of the evil of suicide. But even had we a right to destroy our life, it would be futile. We may destroy the body, but we cannot destroy the mind. The suicide, after the temporary but complete unconsciousness which succeeds death, awakes in kāma-loka the same person, in the same state of consciousness, minus only the physical triad (body, astral body, and gross physical vitality). His state of consciousness is one of torture, the repetition over and over of his suicidal act and the emotions that induced and accompanied it; this happens automatically because the mind, like an automaton repeats incessantly perforce the controlling or dominating impulses that governed it when the person took his physical life. And as the higher ego has its own life term, he has to remain in that condition until what would have been the natural term of life on earth is ended, body or no body.

When that period ends he passes again into unconsciousness, undergoes the second death, and all that is spiritual in him passes on to devachan, leaving the lower parts to pursue their own transmigrations. Aside from extremes of mental suffering which he would not otherwise have had to endure, the suicide is deprived of the full fruitage of bliss in devachan, for the latter is in direct ratio to the extent of earthly experiences and their spiritual quality. As he is still alive, his punishment is largely due to the very intensity of that life and to his longing to enjoy earthly contacts. If his life on earth was evil and sensual, this longing tempts them to find some living being or creature through whom he can make contacts that to him were pleasures — to live again by proxy, as it were. Many crimes, obsessions, and manias, such as dipsomania, find their explanation here. Mediums and sensitives are open doors to such contacts; and these suicided astral beings, who are often called earth-walkers and who in many cases actually astral reliquiae, having by their own act severed their connection for the time with their highest principles — the spiritual soul (buddhi) and inner god (ātman) — deprived thus of the urge and counsel of these highest principles, too often rush into these “open doors,” and “by so doing, at the expiration of the natural term, they generally lose the monad for ever” (ML 109).

Because self-destruction, so called, is always wrong, and an unwarrantable and violent interference with the orderly processes of nature, the act is bound to bring disharmony and trouble for all concerned. But in laying down general laws we must always allow for specific instances, for there is no dogmatic hard-and-fast rule in these matters. Suicides among themselves differ enormously as between the cowardly and selfish act of an evil person, the uncontrolled act of the insane, and the utterly mistaken but perhaps even compassionate act of one who thinks that by suicide he can aid others. These extremes are simply enormous, and nature which in its actions is perfect justice, albeit automatic, watches over and protects, as far as natural laws permit, these last cases of sincere but erroneous belief or thought, born of ignorance. We dare not judge in default of full knowledge of the karmic heritage, or the deeper causes which culminated in the act.

In a world that is almost rent asunder in certain aspects, by selfishness, fear, and hatred, with a mounting suicide toll in all countries capable of statistical review, the truth about suicide and the fate of the suicide is not a subject for sentiment but for persistent reiteration.

Sukhavatī, Sukhāvatī  XXXXXXXLLLLLLL

(Sanskrit) The heaven of Buddha-Amitābha, exoterically situated in the West; equivalent to devachan (cf ML 99-100).

Sumeru

Exalted Meru (the mystical mountain of Hindus, Jains and Buddhists, referred to indirectly in other cultures, such as the Greeks, the Navaho and many others).

Sun

The central focus of radiating energy, physical and spiritual, of any solar system. In our solar system the sun is one of several suns subordinate to the more central sun of the universal solar system. In the solar cosmos as a whole it is the Logos, the head of the septenary hierarchy of creative forces, corresponding to the Christos, Abraxas, Mithras, Dionysos, etc., in man. Its names among the many peoples of the earth are countless: Osiris, Ormazd, Apollo, Phoebus, Ammon-Ra, Helios, Sūrya, etc. Symbolized by the circle with a central point, it is for its own system the All-Father. Sun worship, in the occult sense, was once the universal foundation of religion, but it has mostly given place to what is really lunar worship. The sun is often found contrasted with the moon as spiritual is with material; and solar magic means white magic as contrasted with the dark lunar magic. Thus we find deities classed as solar and lunar, or particular deities have both a solar and a lunar aspect. As Father and Son he is seen in Osiris and Horus, ātman and buddhi-manas, God and Christos.

Our visible sun, though the center of its system, is not the father of the planets but their “co-uterine brother,” one of the “eight sons of Aditi.” It is not the creator of the fohatic forces, but their radiating focus. Nor is it an incandescent and cooling body; it is nature’s great laboratory of intelligently vital and electromagnetic forces for our system. “The Sun is the heart of the Solar World (System) and its brain is hidden behind the (visible) Sun. From thence, sensation is radiated into every nerve-centre of the great body, and the waves of the life-essence flow into each artery and vein. . . . The planets are its limbs and pulses” (SD 1:541). Physiologically, the sun pulsates life through the solar system, in connection with the 11 and 22 year sunspot phenomena — the solar spots being due to the contraction of the solar heart.

The sun is a vitally electric glowing sphere; what our eyes see is a reflection, the shell of the real sun, which is hidden behind this reflection. Further, the sun is the storehouse of the vital force of the solar system, which is the “Noumenon of Electricity”; it issues forth from the sun as life currents not only for the earth and every organism upon it, but for all the planets of the solar system (SD 1:531). The production of this vital energy will not cease until the end of the solar manvantara when the sun will instantaneously disappear, after certain long-standing premonitory symptoms.

The sun, like each of the planets, is a chain of globes, of which we see only the globe on the fourth cosmic plane — a highly ethereal body composed of the fifth, sixth, and seventh, states of matter (counting upwards) of the fourth cosmic plane.

Regarding the elements which scientists state are present in the sun, because such elements are present in spectroscopic observations, theosophy holds that no element on the earth is missing in the sun, and there are other elements there which are unknown to science, yet which are present in the sun. The enormous importance which the sun assumes in nature is based on its being the spiritual and intellectual head of solar system, as well as the general physical and psychological life-giver.

In the enumeration of the seven sacred planets the sun is used as a substitute for an esoteric planet close to the Sun [the Sun, nor the moon are planets themselves, but in astrological and other literature these are put as substituted certain invisible planets – Ed]. 

Śunyatā

[Sanskrit] A void, vacuum, emptiness; the Boundless or Void. In mystical philosophy, especially Mahayana Buddhism, illusory being or existence, the emptiness of cosmic manifestation when compared with the nonmanifest reality. This recognizes that all manifested existence, high or low, on whatever plane, as compared with essential reality is after all illusory deception and therefore relatively false by comparison. Being false and unreal it is therefore empty of essential significance, although possessing a very positive relative reality, so to speak.

In a still more profoundly mystical sense, the word by inversion has come to signify the utter fullness of cosmic reality, which is a seeming emptiness to our imperfect human vision, and yet is the only Real.

The objective idealism which the theosophic philosophy teaches when considering the noumena and phenomena of existence shows a fundamental reality behind these, above and beyond all manifestations whatsoever, as the root and basis of all entities and things, which although relatively unreal in themselves because products merely, or because based on the various praktis, nevertheless because so based have a relative reality derivative from this basic root. (From: ETG) See also the article Śunyatā and Pleroma by G de Purucker on this site.

Suṣumṇā, Suṣumnā

(Sanskrit) [probably from su excellent, excellence, excelling + sumna musical hymn, happiness, joy] Perfect harmony; one of the three channels forming the spinal column of the body. These three channels are the main avenues not only for the psychovital economy of the body, but for spiritual and intellectual currents between the head and the body. In occultism the spinal column plays many physiological roles, but is especially threefold in its functions. The central channel or nādi, the Suṣumnā-nādi, is the especial carrier of the “solar ray,” which comprises not merely physiological forces and attributes, but the spiritual and intellectual qualities and powers. The two other channels are the idā and pigalā; exoteric Hindu works vary in regard to the positions of these, some place the pigalā on the left and the idā on the right, and others the reverse. The Suṣumnā connects the heart with the brahmarandhra and plays an important part in yoga practices.

Suṣupti

(Sanskrit) [from su well, good, fine + supti sleep] Fast asleep, deep sleep; the deep sleeping state when human consciousness is plunged into profound self-oblivion, “when the percipient consciousness enters into the purely manasic condition . . .” (OG 72). Suṣupti is the third of the four states of consciousness mentioned in yoga philosophy, the others being jagrat, svapna, and turīya.

Sura(s)

(Sanskrit) Used in the Vedas for gods in general, equivalent to devas; originally solar deities, as is shown by the name Sūrya (sun), and correspond in many instances to the mānasaputras and agnivāttas of theosophy. Later by the Indian exotericists the suras arbitrarily became asuras (not suras), yet “the ‘Ancestors’ breathed out the first man, as Brahmā is explained to have breathed out the Suras (Gods), when they became ‘Asuras’ (from Asu, breath)” (SD 2:86).

Surāraṇi

(Sanskrit) [from sura god, divinity + araṇi the disk in which fire is kindled] The matrix of the gods; applied to Aditi, the mother of the gods. A somewhat similar term, Surāvani [from avani the earth, whether as the cosmic element or our grossly material globe] is applied to the earth as the mother of the gods or Aditi. The term sura, equivalent to deva, shows that these beings are in intimate connection with Sūrya (the sun), and thus are solar entities.

Sūrya

(Sanskrtit) The sun, its regent or informing divinity; in the Vedas, the sun god, the most concrete of the solar gods, generally distinguished, at least in name, from Sāvitrī and Aditya. He was regarded as one of the original Vedic triad: Indra or Vāyu presiding over the atmosphere; Agni, over the earth; and Sūrya, over the space of the solar system. In Vedic literature, Sūrya is also called Loka-chakṣuh (eye of the world). He is considered the son of Dyaus, the cosmic spirit — pictured as the spatial extent of cosmic mind — and of Aditi (space). He is represented as moving through the celestial sphere in a chariot drawn by seven ruddy horses or by one horse with seven heads, referring to the seven principles or elements of the solar system, or to his own seven principles as a unit with their seven different logoi or heads; or the former refers to the seven logoi as manifested in the regents of the seven sacred planets, the latter to their common origin from the one cosmic element, often figuratively called fire (SD 1:101).

In later mythology Sūrya is particularly identified with Sāvitrī as one of the twelve adityas of the sun in the twelve months of the year, and his seven-horsed chariot is described as driven by Aruna (dawn). Sūrya was represented also as the husband of Sanjñā (spiritual consciousness, cosmic or human), and the offspring of Aditi (space), mother of all the gods. One legend represents Sūrya as crucified on a lathe by Viśvakarman — his father-in-law, the creator of gods and men, and their carpenter — and having an eighth part of his rays cut off, which deprives his head of its effulgency, creating round it a dark aureole — “a mystery of the last initiation, and an allegorical representation of it” (TG 313).

Sanjñā is the śakti of Sūrya, just as a human spiritual consciousness or buddhi is the śakti of ātman, at once its vehicle, its manifestation, and itself in action. This is the reason the sun is considered the patron, parent, and governor of all the mānasaputras, and therefore in a generalized sense the source of mind — sanjñā, spiritual intellect or consciousness.

The names of the seven principal rays of the sun are: Suṣumna, Harikeśa, Viśvakarman, Viśvatryarcas, Sannaddha, Sarvavasu, and Svaraj. “These seven rays are the entire gamut of the seven occult forces (or gods) of nature, as their respective names well prove. . . . As each stands for one of the creative gods or Forces, it is easy to see how important were the functions of the sun in the eyes of antiquity, and why it was deified by the profane” (TG 315). These principal rays of Sūrya are from another standpoint the seven solar logoi, each one of the seven having its respective home in the seven sacred planets; equally, there may be said to be twelve rays of the sun, and twelve sacred planets, each one a home or mansion of one of the solar logoi.

Sūrya is only the appearance on this cosmic plane of the solar heart or central spiritual sun; although in a more mystical sense, Sūrya, our sun, is one of the reflections of a galactic center, which astronomically is the prototype, albeit far more advanced in cosmic evolution than is the sun itself. The visible reflection of the sun is composed of highly ethereal matter belonging to the fifth, sixth, and seventh substrates of the lowest cosmic plane or prithivī. Within and above all these rise in ever more sublime steps six other cosmic planes, on and in which are the other globes of the solar chain. The sun’s primary essence belongs to the highest division of the seventh state of mother-substance (ādi-tattva). This primary sun, of which our visible sun is the reflection, is concealed from the gaze of all but the very highest dhyāni-chohans.

Sūtra

(Sanskrit) Sūtra [from siv to sew] A string, thread; the sūtras are strings of rules or aphorisms written in serve form, composed in terse and symbolic language with the obvious intention of their being committed to memory. This was a favorite form among the Hindus, Buddhists and Jains, as among all ancient peoples, of imbodying and transmitting rules of ancient religious and philosophic thought. There are sūtras written upon almost every subject of spiritual and scientific interest.

Sūtrātman

(Sanskrit) A compound word meaning “thread-self,” the golden thread of individuality — the stream of self-consciousness — on which all the substance-principles of man’s constitution are strung, so to say, like pearls on a golden chain. The sūtrātman is the stream of consciousness-life running through all the various substance-principles of the constitution of the human entity — or indeed of any other entity. Each such pearl on the golden chain is one of the countless personalities which man uses during the course of his manvantara-long evolutionary progress. The sūtrātman, therefore, may be briefly said to be the immortal or spiritual monadic ego, the individuality which incarnates in life after life, and therefore is rightly called the thread-self or fundamental self.

It is this sūtrātman, this thread-self, this consciousness-stream, or rather stream of consciousness-life, which is the fundamental and individual selfhood of every entity, and which, reflected in and through the several intermediate vehicles or veils or sheaths or garments of the invisible constitution of man, or of any other being in which a monad enshrouds itself, produces the egoic centers of self-conscious existence. The sūtrātman, therefore, is rooted in the monad, the monadic essence.

Sv

Svabhāva

[Sanskrit, from sva self + bhū to become, grow into] Self-becoming, self-generation, self-growing into something; the unfolding of the self or monadic essence by inner impulse, rather than by merely mechanical activity in nature — self-becoming or self-directed evolution. Each entity is the result of what it is in its own higher nature. “Its Svabhāva can bring forth only that which itself is, its essential characteristic, its own inner nature. Svabhāva, in short, may be called the essential Individuality of any monad, expressing its own characteristics, qualities, and type, by self-urged evolution. . . . Consequently, each individual Svabhāva brings forth and expresses as its own particular vehicles its various svarupas, signifying characteristic bodies or images or forms” (OG 166-7). The essential self, like a sun, sends a ray from itself into manifestation, and the vehicles formed by this ray express its own unique individual essence and path of evolutionary growth and experience. Every entity, in all ranges of its being, reflects its own essential individuality which is stamped on its inmost essence.

A parallel thought is the Stoic spermatikoi logoi (seed-reasons or -causes), “which were the fruits or results, the karmas, of former periods of activity. Having attained a certain stage of evolution or development, or quality, or characteristic, or individuality in the preceding manvantara, when the next period of evolution came, they could produce nothing else but that which they were themselves, their own inner natures, as seeds do. The seed can produce nothing but what it itself is, what is in it; and this is the heart and essence of the doctrine of svabhāva” (Fund 149).

Svabhavat

(Sanskrit) The neuter present participle of a compound word derived from the verb-root bhu, meaning “to become,” from which is derived a secondary meaning “to be,” in the sense of growth.

Svabhavat is a state or condition of cosmic consciousness-substance, where spirit and matter, which are fundamentally one, no longer are dual as in manifestation, but one: that which is neither manifested matter nor manifested spirit alone, but both are the primeval unity — spiritual ākāśa — where matter merges into spirit, and both now being really one, are called “Father-Mother,” spirit-substance. Svabhavat never descends from its own state or condition, or from its own plane, but is the cosmic reservoir of being, as well as of beings, therefore of consciousness, of intellectual light, of life; and it is the ultimate source of what science, in our day, so quaintly calls the energies of nature universal.

The northern Buddhists call svabhavat by a more mystical term, Adi-buddhi, “primeval buddhi”; the Brahmanical scriptures call it ākāśa; and the Hebrew Old Testament refers to it as the cosmic “waters.”

The difference in meaning between svabhavat and svabhāva is very great and is not generally understood; the two words often have been confused. Svabhāva is the characteristic nature, the type-essence, the individuality, of svabhavat — of any svabhavat, each such svabhavat having its own svabhāva. Svabhavat, therefore, is really the world-substance or stuff, or still more accurately that which is causal of the world-substance, and this causal principle or element is the spirit and essence of cosmic substance. It is the plastic essence of matter, both manifest and unmanifest. (See also Akāśa)

Svarga

(Sanskrit) In Hindu philosophy, a heavenly abode — also often called Indraloka, or Svarloka, said to be (exoterically) situated on Mount Meru. It corresponds in theosophical writings to devachan.

Svapna

(Sanskrit). The dreaming-sleeping state of consciousness, “the state of consciousness more or less freed from the sheath of the body and partially awake in the astral realms, higher or lower as the case may be”.

The second of the four states of consciousness mentioned in Yoga philosophy, the others being jagrat, suśupti, and turīya. Svapnavastha is the dreaming-sleeping state.

Svarloka

(Sanskrit) [from svar heaven + loka world, place] Heaven-world; the fifth counting downwards of the seven lokas. The corresponding tala and nether pole is talatala. Svarloka is also exoterically said to be a paradise situated on Mount Meru, the abode of Brahma and Vishnu, and the Hindu Olympus, “described geographically as ‘passing through the middle of the earth-globe, and protruding on either side.’ On its upper station are the gods, on the nether (or South pole) is the abode of the demons (hells)” (SD 2:404). The sphere of influence of svarloka is said to reach to the pole star.

Svastika

(Sanskrit) An auspicious or lucky object; especially applied to the mystic symbol — a cross with four equal arms, the extremities of which are bent sharply at right angles, all in the same direction — marked upon persons and things in order to denote good luck, although originally the symbol had a far deeper significance. Sometimes the arms are bent to the left, sometimes to the right. The symbol is very widespread, and extremely ancient, engraved on every rock-temple and prehistoric building in India, and wherever Buddhists have flourished, as well as in Greece, among the ancient Scandinavians, and in ancient America. It has been called the Jaina Cross; Fylfot, Mjolnir, or Thor’s Hammer by the Scandinavian peoples; and in the Chaldean Book of Numbers the Worker’s Hammer.

One of the most comprehensive, important, and philosophically scientific symbols, it is a symbolic summary of the whole work of evolution in cosmos and man, from Brahman down to the smallest biological unit. “Few world-symbols are more pregnant with real occult meaning than the Svastika. It is symbolized by the figure 6; for, like that figure, it points in its concrete imagery, as the ideograph of the number does, to the Zenith and the Nadir, to North, South, West, and East; . . . It is the emblem of the activity of Fohat, of the continual revolution of the ‘wheels,’ and of the Four Elements, the ‘Sacred Four,’ in their mystical, and not alone in their cosmical meaning; further its four arms, bent at right angles, are intimately related . . . to the Pythagorean and Hermetic scales. One initiated into the mysteries of the meaning of the Svastika, say the Commentaries, ‘can trace on it, with mathematical precision, the evolution of Kosmos and the whole period of Sandhya.’ Also ‘the relation of the Seen to the Unseen,’ and ‘the first procreation of man and species’ ” (SD 2:587). The bent arms also signify the continual revolution of the invisible cosmos of forces, which on our plane becomes the revolution in time of the world’s axes and their equatorial belts. In alchemy its shows that by the unceasing revolution of the four elements, equilibrium about a stable center is attained, the circle is generated out of straight lines, the complex and changeful nature becomes one. The two crossed lines represent spirit and matter, male and female, positive and negative. It shows man to be a link between heaven and earth, for the horizontal arm having one hook pointing up, the other down. In its applicability to all planes it contains the key to the seven great mysteries of kosmos.

Svayambhū, Svayambhuva

(Sanskrit) Self-generating, self-evolving; in Hindu metaphysics the cosmic primordial beginnings of the solar system from the womb on Aditi, or the spatial Deeps. Less accurately, the Self-existent, or Self-manifesting. A name applied to Brahmā, issuing from the still more abstract essence of Brahman, equivalent to universal spirit, not the Boundless or infinitude, but the self-manifesting spiritual essence in the beginnings of its cosmic appearance, which lies at the root of any solar system.

“Each Cosmic Monad is ‘Svayambhuva,’ the self-born, which becomes the Centre of Force, from within which emerges a planetary chain (of which chains there are seven in our system), and whose radiations become again so many Manus Swayambhuva (a generic name, mysterious and meaning far more than appears), each of these becoming, as a Host, the Creator of his own Humanity” (SD 2:311). Thus svayambhū means the primordial or self-evolving monad of a celestial entity, whether solar system or an individual body such as a planetary chain.

Not to be confused with the Svayambhuva who was the first manu.

Svayambhū-śunyatā

(Sanskrit)[from svayambhū self-becoming + śūnyatā void] The self-becoming void of infinitude; in Hindu and Buddhist metaphysics, śunyatā means that which is empty or void to human eye or understanding because of feebleness of penetrating vision, but otherwise the absolute fullness of spirit. “Spontaneous self-evolution; self-existence of the real in the unreal, i.e., of the Eternal Sat in the periodical Asat” (TG 315).

Svāyambhuva [from svayambhū self-becoming] The self-becoming one; a name of the first manu.

Svedaja

(Sanskrit) [from the verbal root svid to sweat, perspire, exude + the verbal root jan to be born] Sweat-born, born by exudation or gemmation; according to theosophy the second root-race reproduced its individuals by what today is called budding or gemmation — a swelling appeared on the outer surface of the body of one of these entities. This swelling then grew in size, and as it grew became constricted near the point of junction with the parent-body, until at length the bond of union became a mere filament, which finally broke, thus freeing the bud, which the grew into another entity in all respects like its parent. This method of reproduction is represented today both in the lower animal and vegetable kingdom and also in certain processes of cell division.

Sylph

The nature sprites or elemental beings inhabiting the element air, defined by Paracelsus for instance as holding a place between immaterial and material beings. “In space there are millions of beings, not literally spiritual, for they have all, like the animalculae [animacula] unseen by the naked eye, certain forms of matter, though matter so delicate, air-drawn, and subtile, that it is, as it were, but a film, a gossamer, that clothes the spirit. . . . Yet, in truth, these races differ most widely . . . some of surpassing wisdom, some of horrible malignity; some hostile as fiends to men, others gentle as messengers between earth and heaven” (Bulwer-Lytton, Zanoni; italics Blavatsky’s).

 

  1. Occult Glossary p. 152 in CTG [<<]