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Daily Theosophy Glossary – T

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Daily Theosophy Glossary


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Tabula Smaragdina

The Smaragdine Tablet or Tabula Smaragdina is mystically alleged to be of the Egyptian Hermes or Thoth, on which was inscribed, according to the Hermeticists, “the whole of magic in a single page.” In a letter to the Sophists, Paracelsus says: “The ancient Emerald Table shows more art and experience in Philosophy, Alchemy, Magic, and the like than ever could be taught by you or your crowd of followers.” Masons and Christian Qabbalists alleged it to have been found on the dead body of Hermes by Sarai, Abraham’s wife; this allegory may mean that Sarasvati (wife of Brahma and a legendary prototype of Sarai) found much of the ancient wisdom latent in the dead body of humanity and revivified it. It is also said that the Emerald Tablet was found at Hebron, the city of the kabeiroi or cabiri (the gibborim, the Four Mighty Ones), by an Essenian initiate (TG 302, SD 2:556). It exists only in a late Latin form referred to in the 7th century.

Hermes was the Greek god of mystical thinking and interpretations, corresponding to the Egyptian Thoth, both divinities being overseers or hierophants of works of initiation concealing the archaic secrets of the god-wisdom. Thus the ascription to Hermes of profoundly mystical allegories is properly assigned, whoever their actual writers may have been.

A fundamental law of interpretation — analogy — is expressed in the Emerald Tablet in the famous aphorism, “That which is above is as that which is below; and that which is below, is as that which is above, for performing the marvels of the Kosmos. As all things are from the One, by the mediation of the One so all things arose out of this One Thing by evolving . . .”

A translation by Isaac Newton was found among his alchemical papers that are currently housed in King’s College Library, Cambridge University.

  1. Tis true without error, certain & most true.
  2. That which is below is like that which is above & that which is above is like that which is below to do the miracles of one only thing
  3. And as all things have been & arose from one by the mediation of one: so all things have their birth from this one thing by adaptation.
  4. The Sun is its father, the moon its mother, the wind hath carried it in its belly, the earth is its nurse.
  5. The father of all perfection in the whole world is here.
  6. Its force or power is entire if it be converted into earth.
  7. Separate thou the earth from the fire, the subtle from the gross sweetly with great industry.
  8. It ascends from the earth to the heaven & again it descends to the earth & receives the force of things superior & inferior.
  9. By this means you shall have the glory of the whole world
  10. & thereby all obscurity shall fly from you.
  11. Its force is above all force. For it vanquishes every subtle thing & penetrates every solid thing.
  12. So was the world created.
  13. From this are & do come admirable adaptations whereof the means (or process) is here in this. Hence I am called Hermes Trismegist, having the three parts of the philosophy of the whole world
  14. That which I have said of the operation of the Sun is accomplished & ended.


(Sanskrit) A word which is largely used in the metaphysical systems of India, both in contrast and at the same time in conjunction with loka. As the general meaning of loka is “place” or rather “world,” so the general meaning of tala is “inferior world.” Every loka has as its twin or counterpart a corresponding tala. Wherever there is a loka there is an exactly correspondential tala, and in fact the tala is the nether pole of its corresponding loka. Lokas and talas, therefore, in a way of speaking, may be considered to be the spiritual and the material aspects or substance-principles of the different worlds which compose and in fact are the kosmic universe. It is impossible to separate a tala from its corresponding loka — quite as impossible as it would be to separate the two poles of electricity.

The number of talas as generally outlined in the exoteric philosophies of Hindustan is usually given as seven, there being thus seven lokas and seven talas; but, as a matter of fact, this number varies. If we may speak of a loka as the spiritual pole, we may likewise call it the principle of any world; and correspondentially when we speak of the tala as being the negative or inferior pole, it is quite proper also to refer to it as the element of its corresponding loka or principle. Hence, the lokas of a hierarchy may be called the principles of a hierarchy, and the talas, in exactly the same way, may be called the elements or substantial or material aspects of the hierarchy.

It should likewise be remembered that all the seven lokas and all the seven talas are continuously and inextricably interblended and interworking; and that the lokas and the talas working together form the universe and its various subordinate hierarchies that encompass us around. The higher lokas with the higher talas are the forces or energies and substantial parts of the spiritual and ethereal worlds; the lowest lokas and their corresponding talas form the forces or energies and substantial parts of the physical world surrounding us; and the intermediate lokas with their corresponding talas form the respective energies and substantial parts of the intermediate or ethereal realms.

Briefly, therefore, we may speak of a tala as the material aspect of the world where it predominates, just as when speaking of a loka we may consider it to be the spiritual aspect of the world where it predominates. Every loka, it should be always remembered, is coexistent with and cannot be separated from its corresponding tala on the same plane.

As an important deduction from the preceding observations, be it carefully noted that man’s own constitution as an individual from the highest to the lowest is a hierarchy of its own kind, and therefore man himself as such a subordinate hierarchy is a composite entity formed of lokas and talas inextricably interworking and intermingled. In this subordinate hierarchy called man live and evolve vast armies, hosts, multitudes, of living entities, monads in this inferior stage of their long evolutionary peregrination, and which for convenience and brevity of expression we may class under the general term of life-atoms.


[from Arab from Greek telesma completion, initiation, incantation] A charm made by engraving, for instance, the seal or sigil of a certain planet on a disc of metal corresponding to that planet, the operation being done at a time when the influence of that planet is strong. This, being worn, secured the help or influence of the genius of the planet, and is thought to be protective against one or another evil influence. The application extends beyond the planets, and an indefinite number of signs might be used to propitiate or protect against various genii, evil or good.

Such symbols as the cross, the svastika, and the serpent may serve as talismans, for a true symbol is more than a mere arbitrary sign and actually plays its part in the evocation of certain influences — but only when intense faith is conjoined in the production of magical effects. Talismans are utterly useless and foolish unless intense faith operates because all such talismanic emblems depend for their efficacy upon the faith of the possessor of them. When a person believes beyond any shadow of doubt and is thoroughly worked up in such conviction, his will power through such faith when concentrated upon a talisman or similar object can actually bring about the functioning of a potent creative power. This is the root of all genuinely magical operations; but the true magician has no need for such exoteric paraphernalia or adventitious aids. He produces his effects through the sole power of his will combined with his wide knowledge of nature and natural laws.


(Sanskrit) One of the three gunas or qualities or essential attributes of manifested beings and things. Tamas is the quality of darkness, illusion, ignorance; it also means, in a quite different sense, quiescence, passivity, repose, rest, inertia. It becomes immediately obvious from the distinctions that these two series of words show, that there is both a good and an evil side to tamas, just as indeed there is a good and evil side to rajas, and even to sattva. The condition of manifested existence in the state of cosmic pralaya is in one sense of the word the tamasic condition, signifying quiescence or rest. When the universe is in the stage of active manvantaric manifestation, we may in a generalizing sense say that the universe is in the rajasic state or condition; and that aspect of the universe which we may call the divine-spiritual, whether in the universe itself or in the manvantara or in the pralaya of a globe, can be spoken of as the sattvic state or condition. From these observations it should be evident that the three gunas — sattva, rajas, tamas — not only can exist contemporaneously and coincidently, but actually do so exist, and that in fact the three are inextricably interblended. They are really three phases or conditions of imbodied consciousnesses, and each has its noble and each its “evil” side.


(Pali) Thirst; in Buddhism the thirst or longing for material existence, the desire to return to the familiar scenes of earth-life that brings the reincarnating ego back to earth-life. This yearning is more effectual as an individual cause for reincarnation, perhaps, than all else. It is “the lower Ego, or personal Self . . . with its fierce Selfishness and animal desire to live a Senseless life (Tanha), which is ‘the maker of the tabernacle,’ as Buddha calls it in Dhammapada” (SD 2:110). This desire to live and the clinging to life on earth is the effectual cause producing rebirth. Equivalent to the Sanskrit tṛṣṇa.

Tanjur Bstan-hgyur, bstan ’gyur (ten-gyur, ten-jur)

(Tibetan) Translation of the śāstras; the second part of the Tibetan Buddhist canon, the first part being the Kanjur (both words came into Western languages via Mongolian). The Tanjur is divided into three parts: a one-volume collection of hymns or praises to the Buddha, and two voluminous collections of śāstras: tantra commentaries and sutra commentaries. Although called commentaries, these also include independent treatises, and the sutra-commentaries section also includes miscellaneous works such as letters, dictionaries, grammars, medical works, etc. The Tanjur is even larger than the Kanjur, containing up to 225 volumes. Four editions are known in the West: Narthang, Peking, Derge, and Cone (cho-ne) — all 18th century blockprints, although the Tanjur is much older as a manuscript collection. The Tanjur contains works assumed to be Tibetan translations of the works of Indian Buddhist masters, other than the Buddha himself. Compositions by Tibetan masters, however authoritative, are not included in the Tanjur.


(Sanskrit) The subtle essences of the five elements, popularly given as earth, water, fire, air, and ether; and in one sense they are referred to as śabda (sound), sparśa (touch), rūpa (sight), rasa (taste), and gandha (smell). They are equivalent to the five mahābhūtas (foundation-substances of the world). The tanmātras are the abstract sources or originants, devoid of properties and qualities from our point of view, but when the tanmātras emanate what becomes the pertinent qualities and properties of nature, then they become the mahābhūtas. In the order of cosmic emanation, each of the seven logoi produces its vehicular expression which is the tanmātra, from which again is emanated the respective propertied and qualified mahābhūta or cosmic element.


(Sanskrit) A word literally meaning a “loom” or the warp or threads in a loom, and, by extension of meaning, signifying a rule or ritual for ceremonial rites. The Hindu Tantras are numerous works or religious treatises teaching mystical and magical formulae or formularies for the attainment of magical or quasi-magical powers, and for the worship of the gods. They are mostly composed in the form of dialogs between Siva and his divine consort Durga, these two divinities being the peculiar objects of the adoration of the Tantrins.

In many parts of India the authority of the Tantras seems almost to have superseded the clean and poetical hymns of the Vedas.

Most tantric works are supposed to contain five different subjects: (1) the manifestation or evolution of the universe; (2) its destruction; (3) the worship or adoration of the divinities; (4) the achievement or attainment of desired objects and especially of six superhuman faculties; (5) modes or methods of union, usually enumerated as four, with the supreme divinity of the kosmos by means of contemplative meditation.

Unfortunately, while there is much of interest in the tantric works, their tendency for long ages has been distinctly towards what in occultism is known as sorcery or black magic. Some of the rites or ceremonies practiced have to do with revolting details connected with sex.

Durgā, the consort of Siva, his sakti or energy, is worshiped by the Tantrins as a distinct personified female power.

The origin of the Tantras unquestionably goes back to a very remote antiquity, and there seems to be little doubt that these works, or their originals, were heirlooms handed down from originally debased or degenerate Atlantean racial offshoots. There is, of course, a certain amount of profoundly philosophical and mystical thought running through the more important tantric works, but the tantric worship in many cases is highly licentious and immoral.

Tāntrik or Tāntrika

(Sanskrit) The adjective corresponding to tantra. This adjective, however, is sometimes employed to signify one who is deeply versed in some study — a scholar; but more particularly the adjective concerns the Tantras and the doctrines


(Sanskrit) Warmth, fire, heat; abstraction, meditation. To perform tapas is to sit for contemplation or undergo some special observance. Occultly the inner fire or spiritual flame aroused by intense abstraction of thought or meditation. The Laws of Manu says tapas with the Brahmins is sacred learning; with the Kshatriyas, protection of subjects; with the Vaisyas, giving alms to Brahmins; with the Sudras, service.

Tārā, Tārakā The wife of Bṛhaspati (Jupiter). The Puranas relate that Soma, the moon, carried Tārā off with him, which brought about the great war in heaven between the gods and the asuras. Brahma put an end to the war and had Tārā restored to Bṛhaspati. She then gave birth to a son, Budha (esoteric wisdom), whom she claimed was the son of Soma.

“Soma is the moon astronomically; but in mystical phraseology, it is also the name of the sacred beverage drunk by the Brahmins and the Initiates during their mysteries and sacrificial rites. . . .

“Soma was never given in days of old to the non-initiated Brahman — the simple Ghasta, or priest of the exoteric ritual. Thus Bhaspati — ‘guru of the gods’ though he was — still represented the dead-letter form of worship. It is Tara his wife — the symbol of one who, though wedded to dogmatic worship, longs for true wisdom — who is shown as initiated into his mysteries by King Soma, the giver of that Wisdom. Soma is thus made in the allegory to carry her away. The result of this is the birth of Budha — esoteric Wisdom — (Mercury, or Hermes in Greece and Egypt.) He is represented as ‘so beautiful,’ that even the husband, though well aware that Budha is not the progeny of his dead-letter worship — claims the ‘new-born’ as his Son, the fruit of this ritualistic and meaningless forms. Such is, in brief, one of the meanings of the allegory” (SD 2:498-9).

Tārakāmaya, Tārāmaya

(Sanskrit) The war in heaven; the struggle between the gods and the asuras for the rescue of Tārā or Tārakā, the wife of Brihaspati, who had been carried off by Soma. This war may be interpreted in many ways. Spiritually, the gods with Brihaspati as their head represented ritualistic, ceremonial, and exoteric worship, and the asuras were the allies of Soma who was the parent of esoteric wisdom (SD 2:498-9).

Tartarus, Tartaros

(Greek) Son of Aether and Gaia (earth), who by his mother became father of the giants Typhoeus and Echidna. Other names for Tartarus as a deity are Pluto, Hades, Orcus, and Dis — all referring to the underworld. As a place, in the Iliad it was one of the four regions, as far below Hades as heaven or Olympus is above earth, and into which were thrust the titans who rebelled against Olympus. In later times it became synonymous with Hades. In theosophical literature it is sometimes equated with avici.

With the first appearance of Lemuria, the three polar giants were imprisoned by Kronos in the polar circle, where they were kept in by seas; but they were liberated by Zeus in order to overthrow Kronos, which points to the supersession of Lemuria by Atlantis.

contained in them.


(Sanskrit) A pronominal neuter particle which is often used as a noun having the signification THAT. By this word the Vedic sages and archaic scriptural writers of India described the unutterable principle from which all in a single kosmic universe sprang, contrasting it with the pronominal particle idam, meaning “this” and signifying the manifested universe. (See also Parabrahma)


(Sanskrit) [from tathā thus + gata gone; or + agata arrived, come] Thus come or thus gone; a title given to the long serial line of the Buddhas of Compassion as they appear each after his predecessor among mankind; likewise a title of Gautama Buddha, the last of this line of buddhas to have appeared thus far. It is a beautifully exact expression illustrating the common spiritual character of the great ones who have gone before ourselves as well as of those destined to come in the future. As a title of the buddhas, it signifies also “one who has followed the inward way, the inner pathway, the still small path coming down, so to say, from the universal self, passing through the human constitution onward until it disappears again in the heart of being from which we came” (Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy p. 625). (ETG)


(Sanskrit) A word the meaning of which is the elementary principles or elements of original substance, or rather the different principles or elements in universal, intelligent, conscious nature when considered from the standpoint of occultism. The word tattva perhaps may be literally translated or rendered as “thatness,” reminding one of the “quiddity” of the European Scholastics.

The number of tattvas or nature’s elemental principles varies according to different systems of philosophy. The Sankhya, for instance, enumerates twenty-five tattvas. The system of the Maheśvaras or worshipers of Śiva with his consort Durgā, reckons five principles, which are simply the five elements of nature found in all ancient literatures. Occultism, of course, recognizes seven tattvas, and, indeed, ten fundamental element-principles or element-substances or tattvas in universal nature, and each one of these tattvas is represented in the human constitution and active therein. Otherwise, the human constitution could not cohere as an organic entity.



(Egyptian) [from tef to be moist] Egyptian goddess inseparably connected with her twin brother Shu, being brought forth by the sun god Tem (later known as Ra). Tefnut was the goddess of moisture, of the gentle rain and soft wind. She is represented as a woman wearing upon her head the solar disk, or more often with the head of a lioness. Thus, Tefnut is the clothing or garment of Shu as pradhāna is to Brahman or mūlaprakṛti is to parabrahman.


(Tibetan) Persons who are, in Tibetan tradition discoverers of ancient hidden texts or terma. Many tertöns are considered to be incarnations of the twenty five main disciples of Padmasambhava, who brought Buddhism to Tibet, though it may have been there before him on a small scale. He is the probable author of the Bardo Thödol [“Tibetan Book of the Dead”] The following was taken from Wikipedia: Tibetan: གཏེར་སྟོན་Wylie: gter ston)[1] is a term within Tibetan Buddhism. It means a person who is a discoverer of ancient hidden texts or terma. Many tertöns are considered to be incarnations of the twenty five main disciples of Padmasambhava. A vast system of transmission lineages developed. Nyingma [the old sect] scriptures were updated by terma discoveries..

Prominent tertöns were, according to generally accepted history, Sangye Lama (1000–1080). Tertöns of outstanding importance were Guru Chowang (1212–1270), Rigdzin Gödem (1307–1408), Dorje Lingpa (1346–1405), Ratna Lingpa (1403–1478), Pema Lingpa (1450–1521), Namchö Mingyur Dorje (1645–1667), and Jigme Lingpa (1729–1798), Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (1820–1892) and Orgyen Chokgyur Lingpa (1829–1870). The Five Tertön Kings

are five tertön kings were widely recognized as very important ones and called the “five tertön kings”, viz. Nyangral Nyima Özer (1124–1192); Guru Chökyi Wangchuk (1212–1270); Dorje Lingpa (1346–1405); Pema Lingpa (1445/50–1521); Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (1820–1892)

The Eight Great Lingpas (Tibetan: གླིང་པ་བརྒྱད་Wylie: gling pa brgyad) were eight important tertöns in the Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. They are listed as: Rinchen Lingpa (1295–1375); Sangye Lingpa (1340–1396); Dorje Lingpa (1346–1405); Ratna Lingpa (1403–1471); Kunkyong Lingpa (1408–1489); Pema Lingpa (or Padma Lingpa) (1445/50–1521); Tennyi Lingpa Padma Tsewang Gyalpo (1480–1535); Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (1820–1892) (Source: Wikipedia)

Tetragrammaton [from Greek tetra four + gramma letter] Used by Qabbalists to designate the four Hebrew characters Hebrew characters — variously rendered in Roman letters YHVH, IHVH, JHVH, etc. — forming the word Jehovah (Yehovah). Present-day scholars regard this rendition of the four letters as erroneous, and some suggest that the proper reading should be Yahveh or Yahweh — depending on another manner of applying the vowel-points to the consonants. The Jews themselves, however, never pronounced the name when reading their sacred scriptures, but utter ’Adonai (the Lord) in its place. Nevertheless, the Qabbalists (more particularly medieval and modern authors) have attached special importance and significance to this four-lettered word, particularly to the Hebrew equivalent for Tetragrammaton, Shem-ham-Mephorash, sometimes called the mirific name.

The four letters themselves do not hold any especially occult significance, nor their sequence nor numerical value (10, 5, 6, 5, totaling 26), nor to which of the ten Sĕfīrōth it is to be applied.

“The name [Jehovah] is a circumlocution, indeed, a too abundant figure of Jewish rhetoric, and has always been denounced by the Occultists. To the Jewish Kabalists, and even the Christian Alchemists and Rosicrucians, Jehovah was a convenient screen, unified by the folding of its many flaps, and adopted as a substitute: one name of an individual Sĕfīrōth being as good as another name, for those who had the secret. The Tetragrammaton, the Ineffable, the sidereal ‘Sum Total,’ was invented for no other purpose than to mislead the profane and to symbolize life and generation. The real secret and unpronounceable name — ‘the word that is no word’ — has to be sought in the seven names of the first seven emanations, or the ‘Sons of the Fire,’ in the secret Scriptures of all the great nations, and even in the Zohar . . . This word, composed of seven letters in each tongue, is found embodied in the architectural remains of every grand building in the world . . .” (SD 1:438-9).

“Some students, in view of the sacredness of Tetraktis and the Tetragrammaton, mistake the mystic meaning of the Quaternary. The latter was with the ancients only a secondary ‘perfection,’ so to speak, because it related only to the manifested planes. Whereas it is the Triangle, the Greek delta, delta, which was the ‘vehicle of the unknown Deity’ ” (SD 2:582).

Other forms of this same name were current among the nations surrounding the Jews, as among the Syrians, some sects of whom worshiped their Iao, sometimes spelled Iaho or Yaho. Iao was one of the most sacred divinities of the Phoenicians and was supposed to be the spiritual light understandable only by the highest human intellectual faculty, and this is the idea or spiritual light of the spiritual sun. The Gnostics likewise had a mystery-god of the same name, and with the same variations in spelling, and with the same significance that it had with the Phoenicians as representing the intellectual power or potency of the solar system.



A compound Greek word: theos, a “divine being,” a “god”; sophia, “wisdom”; hence divine wisdom. Theosophy is the majestic wisdom-religion of the archaic ages and is as old as thinking man. It was delivered to the first human protoplasts, the first thinking human beings on this earth, by highly intelligent spiritual entities from superior spheres. This ancient doctrine, this esoteric system, has been passed down from guardians to guardians to guardians through innumerable generations until our own time. Furthermore, portions of this original and majestic system have been given out at various periods of time to various races in various parts of the world by those guardians when humanity stood in need of such extension and elaboration of spiritual and intellectual thought.

Theosophy is not a syncretistic philosophy-religion-science, a system of thought or belief which has been put together piecemeal and consisting of parts or portions taken by some great mind from other various religions or philosophies. This idea is false. On the contrary, theosophy is that single system or systematic formulation of the facts of visible and invisible nature which, as expressed through the illuminated human mind, takes the apparently separate forms of science and of philosophy and of religion. We may likewise describe theosophy to be the formulation in human language of the nature, structure, origin, destiny, and operations of the kosmical universe and of the multitudes of beings which infill it.

It might be added that theosophy, in the language of H. P. Blavatsky (Theosophical Glossary, p. 328), is “the sub-stratum and basis of all the world-religions and philosophies, taught and practiced by a few elect ever since man became a thinking being. In its practical bearing, Theosophy is purely divine ethics; the definitions in dictionaries are pure nonsense, based on religious prejudice and ignorance.” (See also Universal Brotherhood)

Theosophy, Divine wisdom, the knowledge of things divine; often described as attainable by direct experience, by becoming conscious of the essential, divine part of our nature, self-identification with the inner god, leading to communion with other similar divine beings. Theosophy actually is the “substratum and basis of all the world-religions and philosophies, taught and practised by a few elect ever since man became a thinking being” (Theosophical Glossary 328). Also called by such names as the secret doctrine and the esoteric tradition, its teachings have been preserved, checked and rechecked with every new generation of its guardians and adepts.

The word became familiar to Greeks in the 3rd century with Ammonius Saccas and the Alexandrian Neoplatonists or Theurgists, who taught of divine emanations, whereby the entire universe as well as humans and all other beings are shown to be descendants of the highest gods. Theosophist is also applied to mystics in later times such as Eckhart, Boehme, and Paracelsus. It was adopted in 1875 by H. P. Blavatsky and others associated with her at the founding of the Theosophical Society as the name for the modern form of the archaic wisdom-religion which she promulgated. This wisdom-religion “was ever one and being the last word of possible human knowledge, was, therefore, carefully preserved. It preceded by long ages the Alexandrian Theosophists, reached the modern, and will survive every other religion and philosophy” (Key to Theosophy 7-8).

“The Secret Doctrine is the accumulated Wisdom of the Ages, and its cosmogony alone is the most stupendous and elaborate system: e.g., even in the exotericism of the Purāṇas. But such is the mysterious power of Occult symbolism, that the facts which have actually occupied countless generations of initiated seers and prophets to marshal, to set down and explain; in the bewildering series of evolutionary progress, are all recorded on a few pages of geometrical sign and glyphs. The flashing gaze of those seers has penetrated into the very kernel of matter, and recorded the soul of things there, where an ordinary profane, however learned, would have perceived but the external work of form. But modern science believes not in the ‘soul of things,’ and hence will reject the whole system of ancient cosmogony. It is useless to say that the system in question is no fancy of one or several isolated individuals. That it is the uninterrupted record covering thousands of generations of Seers whose respective experiences were made to test and to verify the traditions passed orally by one early race to another, of the teachings of higher and exalted beings, who watched over the childhood of Humanity. That for long ages, the ‘Wise Men’ of the Fifth Race, of the stock saved and rescued from the last cataclysm and shifting of continents, had passed their lives in learning, not teaching. How did they do so? It is answered: by checking, testing, and verifying in every department of nature the traditions of old by the independent visions of great adepts; i.e., men who have developed and perfected their physical, mental, psychic, and spiritual organisations to the utmost possible degree. No vision of one adept was accepted till it was checked and confirmed by the visions — so obtained as to stand as independent evidence — of other adepts, and by centuries of experiences” (SD 1:272-3).

G. de Purucker wrote: “There has existed in the world for almost innumerable ages, a completely coherent and fully comprehensive system of religious philosophy, or of philosophical, scientific religion, which from time to time has been given out to man when the world needed a fuller revealing of spiritual truth than it then at such time had. Further, this wonderful system has been for all those past ages in the safe guardianship of the relatively perfected men . . . [the mahatmas]; and, still further, the present Theosophical Movement is, in our age, one of such fuller revelations or renewals of that wonderful System” (ET 33-4).

One of the mahatmas referring to the guardianship of the divine wisdom, wrote: “For countless generations hath the adept builded a fane of imperishable rocks, a giant’s Tower of Infinite Thought, wherein the Titan dwelt, and will yet, if need be, dwell alone, emerging from it but at the end of every cycle, to invite the elect of mankind to co-operate with him and help in his turn enlighten superstitious man. And we will go on in that periodical work of ours; we will not allow ourselves to be baffled in our philanthropic attempts until that day when the foundations of a new continent of thought are so firmly built that no amount of opposition and ignorant malice guided by the Brethren of the Shadow will be found to prevail” (The Mahatma Letters 51).

Thought Transference

The power of transferring one’s thoughts without a word — voiceless speech. This is no psychical power. Its psychical aspect, commonly called thought transference or telepathy, is but a feeble manifestation of a truly sublime power, and is illusory, because it is but a reflected light of the real spiritual power within. True thought transference is a spiritual faculty. Having this spiritual power you can transfer your thought and your consciousness and your will to any part of the earth — and actually be there, see what goes on, know what is happening there. No merely psychical power will ever enable you to do that. In Tibet this power is called by the generalizing name hpho-wa. Having this power your conscious and percipient inner self can pass through stone walls as easily as the electric current runs along or through the copper wire. (See also Māyāvi-Rūpa)


Tiau, Tiaou, see Tuat

Tīrthaṅkara. Literally ‘Fordmaker’ (through a river) or creator of a holy site. In every downward and every upward half cycle of the Jain time cucle (kalachakra) 24 tīrthaṅkaras manifest. They can be called the ‘buddhas’ of Jainism, and according to H.P Blavatsky they coincide with the former 23 buddhas of Buddhism. They reach final enlightenment during their last life on earth and teach humanity. Leaving their universal teachings they enter nirvāṇa to never return and will remain in Siddhaloka (the realm of accomplishment) situated above all possible heavens.  The first tīrthaṅkara of the present downward cycle (utsarpinī) was Adinātha (‘the First Lord) or abha (litt. ‘Bull’). He lived thousands of years at the beginning off the Fifth Rootrace, and was the son of the 14th Manu of this cycle (Nabhiraj). The most recent tīrthaṅkara (nr. 24) was Mahāvīra, probably a contemporary of Gautama Buddha.

Titan (Greek) In Greek mythology, builders of worlds, often called cosmocratores, and as microcosmic entities the progenitors of human races; as such, of various orders, so that in mythology they were considered good or bad, as angels or entities of matter. Hesiod’s original heaven-dwelling titans, six sons and six daughters of Ouranos and Gaia (heaven and earth), were Oceanos, Coios, Creios, Hyperion, Iapetos, Kronos, Theia, Rheia, Themis, Mnemosyne, Phoebe, and Tethys, but other names were later included, such as Prometheus and Epimetheus; and later still the name was given to any descendant of Ouranos and Gaia. Rebellions taking place against the rulers of heaven, followed by falls and castings out, refer to the descent of creative powers to form new worlds and races. In the rebellion of titans, first against Ouranos in favor of Kronos, then against Kronos in favor of Zeus, the titans are mixed up with other sons of heaven and earth — Hecatoncheires (hundred-handed), Cyclopes, etc. — and the accounts in detail are extremely intricate and confused.

The titans, in one respect, are fourth root-race giants, the Hindu daityas, who at one time obtain the sovereignty of earth and defeat the minor gods; they are thus fallen beings — Python, suras and asuras, corybantes, curetes, Dioscuri, anaktes, dii magni, idaei dactyli, lares, penates, manes, aletae, kabeirio, manus, rishis, and dhyani-chohans — who watched over and incarnated in the elect of the third and fourth root-races.



This word is grossly misunderstood in the modern Occident, as also is the doctrine comprised under the old Greek word metempsychosis, both being modernly supposed to mean, through the common misunderstanding of the ancient literatures, that the human soul at some time after death migrates into the beast realm and is reborn on earth in a beast body. The real meaning of this statement in ancient literature refers to the destiny of what theosophists call the life-atoms, but it has absolutely no reference to the destiny of the human soul, as an entity.

Theosophy accepts all aspects of the ancient teaching, but explains and interprets them. Our doctrine in this respect unless, indeed, we are treating of the case of a “lost soul, “is “once a man, always a man.” The human soul can no more migrate over and incarnate in a beast body than can the psychical apparatus of a beast incarnate in human flesh. Why? Because in the former case, the beast vehicle offers to the human soul no opening at all for the expression of the spiritual and intellectual and psychical powers and faculties and tendencies which make a man human. Nor can the soul of the beast enter into a human body, because the impassable gulf of a psychical and intellectual nature, which separates the two kingdoms, prevents any such passage from the one up into another so much its superior in all respects. In the former case, there is no attraction for the man beastwards; and in the latter case there is the impossibility of the imperfectly developed beast mind and beast soul finding a proper lodgment in what to it is truly a godlike sphere which it simply cannot enter.

Transmigration, however, has a specific meaning when the word is applied to the human soul: the living entity migrates or passes over from one condition to another condition or state or plane, as the case may be, whether these latter be in the invisible realms of nature or in the visible realms, and whether the state or condition be high or low. The specific meaning of this word, therefore, implies nothing more than a change of state or of condition or of plane: a migrating of the living entity from one to the other, but always in conditions or estates or habitudes appropriate and pertaining to its human dignity.

In its application to the life-atoms, to which are to be referred the observations of the ancients with regard to the lower realms of nature, transmigration means briefly that the particular life-atoms, which in their aggregate compose man’s lower principles, at and following the change that men call death migrate or transmigrate or pass into other bodies to which these life-atoms are attracted by similarity of development — be these attractions high or low, and they are usually low, because their own evolutionary development is as a rule far from being advanced. Nevertheless, it should be remembered that these life-atoms compose man’s inner — and outer — vehicles or bodies, and that in consequence there are various grades or classes of these life-atoms, from the physical upwards (or inwards if you please) to the astral, purely vital, emotional, mental, and psychical.

This is, in general terms, the meaning of transmigration. The word means no more than the specific senses just outlined, and stops there. But the teaching concerning the destiny of the entity is continued and developed in the doctrine pertaining to the word metempsychosis.

Tretā Yuga

(Sanskrit) [from tretā triad, triple + yuga age] The second of the four great yugas which constitute a mahāyuga (great age). It is said that during this age three parts of truth prevail; its duration is 1,296,000 years.

In the Mahābhārata Hanuman, the learned monkey [vanar = forest-dweller- a human tribe rather than a true monkey] chief, gives a description of the tretā yuga: “In the Tretā Yuga sacrifice commenced, righteousness decreased by one-fourth; men adhered to truth, and were devoted to a righteousness dependent on ceremonies. Sacrifices prevailed with holy acts and a variety of rites. Men acted with an object in view, seeking after reward for their rites and their gifts, and were no longer disposed to austerities and to liberality from a simple feeling of duty”


[Sanskrit, from tri three + kāya vesture, body] The three glorious vestures or states in which the consciousness of an adept clothes itself: 1) the nirmāṇakāya (Tibetan pru-lpai-ku) in which the bodhisattva after entering the path to nirvana by the six pāramitās appears to mankind in order to teach and which thus is associated with the Buddhas of Compassion; 2) the sambhogakāya (Tibetan dzog-pai-ku) the body of bliss impervious to all material sensations assumed by one who has fulfilled the three conditions of spiritual, intellectual, and moral perfection; and 3) the dharmakāya (Tibetan chos-ku) the nirvāṇic body or robe in which all nirvāṇis and full Pratyeka Buddhas exist.

The Wondrous Being or hierarch manifests in three forms, the highest being in direct spiritual intercommunion with cosmic ādi-buddha, and this highest aspect or form is the dharmakāya state in which, at least in the inferior portions of it, the dhyāni-buddha abides; the second form or state is that of the dhyāni-bodhisattva, who is in the sambhogakāya state in direct intercommunion with the lower part of the dhyani-buddha just above it in abstruse power and consciousness; the third and lowest form or aspect, yet in one sense the highest morally on account of the immense, willing self-sacrifice involved, is the manuṣa-buddha [=human buddha] who lives and works in the nirmāṇakāya state.

“This is a most abstruse teaching which, however, once understood, explains the mystery of every triad or trinity, and is a true key to every three-fold metaphysical symbol. In its most simple and comprehensive form it is found in the human Entity in its triple division into spirit, soul, and body, and in the universe regarded pantheistically, as a unity composed of a Deific, purely spiritual Principle, Supernal Beings — its direct rays — and Humanity. The origin of this is found in the teachings of the prehistoric Wisdom Religion, or Esoteric Philosophy. The grand Pantheistic ideal, of the unknown and unknowable Essence being transformed first into subjective, and then into objective matter, is at the root of all these triads and triplets (Theosophical Glossary 338-9). (From ETG)

Trailokya, Triloka

(Sanskrit) [from tri three + loka world, sphere] The three worlds — heaven, earth, and the lower regions (esoterically the spiritual, psychic or astral, and terrestrial spheres); as ordinarily given in Brahmanical philosophy as Bhūr (earth), Bhuvah (firmament, heaven), and Svar (sky, atmosphere). The Buddhist trailokya or division into three worlds is somewhat different, being from lowest to highest: kāma-dhātu or -loka (desire world), rūpa-dhātu (form world), and arūpa-dhātu (formless world).

The trailokya are all, in each case, nonphysical spheres, and pertain to the postmortem states of entities. These three worlds are wholly exoteric groupings — not meaning false, but not sufficiently explained in the exoteric literature to develop the real significances. In theosophy there are seven or ten groupings of the postmortem realms or states. These states cannot be grouped under the Brahmanical three worlds, but under the three Buddhist dhātus or lokas. Rūpa-dhātu and arūpa-dhātu may be called dhyānas (contemplation), thus designating the deeply contemplative character of the excarnate egos sunken in the profound deeps of consciousness.



(Sanskrit) The meaning of this word is “thirst” or “longing,” but it is a technical term imbodying the idea that it is this “thirst” for the things which the human ego formerly knew, and which it wills and desires to know again — things familiar and akin to it from past experiences — which draws the intermediate nature or human ego of man back again to incarnation in earth-life. It is attracted anew to what is to it old and familiar worlds and scenes; it thirsts for the manifested life comprising them, for the things which it formerly made akin to itself; and thus is it attracted back to those spheres which it left at some preceding period of its evolutionary journey through them, when death overtook it. Its attraction to return to earth is naught but an operation of a law of nature. Here the intermediate nature or human ego sowed the seeds of thought and of action in past lives, and here therefore must it of necessity reap their fruits. It cannot reap where it has not sown, as is obvious enough. It never goes whither it is not attracted or drawn.

After death has released the intermediate nature, and during long ages has given to it its period of bliss and rest and psychical recuperation — much as a quiet and reposeful night’s sleep is to the tired physical body — then, just as a man reawakens by degrees, so does this intermediate nature or human ego by degrees recede or awaken from that state of rest and bliss called devachan. And the seeds of thoughts, the seeds of actions which it had done in former lives, are now laid by in the fabric of itself — seeds whose natural energy is still unexpended and unexhausted — and inhere in that inner psychical fabric, for they have nowhere else in which to inhere, since the man produced them there and they are a part of him. These seeds of former thoughts and acts, of former emotions, desires, loves, hates, yearnings, and aspirations, each one of such begins to make itself felt as an urge earthwards, towards the spheres and planes in which they are native, and where they naturally grow and expand and develop.

In this our present life, all of us are setting in motion causes in thought and in action which will bring us back to this earth in the distant future. We shall then reap the harvest of the seeds of thought and action that we are in this present life planting in the fields of our human nature. In the Pāli books of the Orient this word is called taṇhā.

Tsong-kha-pa (Tibetan) “The man from Tsong-kha,” a district in Amdo — his personal name was Blo bzang grags pa (Lo-zang Dag-pa); a great teacher and reformer of Tibetan Buddhism (1357-1419), founder of the Gelukpa school. For details about his life and writings see Wikipedia


Tuat, Tiau, Tiaou

(Egyptian) Also Tiau, Tiaou. The region of the underworld or of the dead, though it was not situated under the earth, or answer to the popular conception of the Christian hell, even though the Tuat is often described as a place of retribution. One of the post-mortem states described in The Egyptian Book of the Dead as being situated in the region of the moon.

In popular mythology the Tuat was separated from the world by a range of mountains and consisted of a great valley, shut in by mountains, through which ran a river (the counterpart of the Nile, reminding one of the Jordan of the Jews and Christians), the banks of which were the abode of evil spirits and monstrous beasts. As the sun passed through the Tuat great numbers of souls were described as making their way to the boat of the sun, and those that succeeded in clinging to the boat were able to come forth into new life as the sun rose from the eastern end of the valley to usher in another day. Tuat was also depicted as the region where the soul went during night, returning to join the living on earth during the day.

Originally it was described as the abode of the night-sun, through which the sun god Ra passed during the night, only to arise renewed in the morning. “What is the Tiaou? The frequent allusion to it in the ‘Book of the Dead’ contains a mystery. Tiaou is the path of the Night Sun, the inferior hemisphere, or the infernal region of the Egyptians, placed by them on the concealed side of the moon. The human being, in their exotericism, came out from the moon (a triple mystery — astronomical, physiological, and psychical at once); he crossed the whole cycle of existence and then returned to his birth-place before issuing from it again. Thus the defunct is shown arriving in the West, receiving his judgment before Osiris, resurrecting as the god Horus, and circling round the sidereal heavens, which is an allegorical assimilation to Ra, the Sun; then having crossed the Noot (the celestial abyss), returning once more to Tiaou: an assimilation to Osiris, who, as the God of life and reproduction, inhabits the moon” (SD 1:227-8).

The Tuat was divided into twelve regions, called fields (sekhet), corresponding to the number of hours of the night; or again it was described as being composed of seven circles (arrets), each under the guardianship of a watcher. The realm of Osiris is represented as Sekhet-Aarru or -Aanre (the fields of Aanroo), which was divided into 15 Aats (houses), having 21 Pylons. One of the regions of the Tuat was known as Amenti (Egyptian Amentet, “the hidden place”], a term often applied to the whole region of the dead.

Tulku sprul sku

(Tibetan) [short for sprul pa’i sku (tul-pe-ku) from sprul pa phantom, disembodied spirit; cf Sanskrit nirmāṇakāya body of magical transformation] Applied to a lama of high rank, often to the head abbot of a monastery; specifically, to those lamas who have proved their ability of remembering their office and standing in a former incarnation, e.g., by selecting articles belonging previously to themselves, describing details of a former life, surroundings, etc. The two most important tulkus in the Tibetan Buddhist hierarchy are the Tashi and Dalai Lamas. Tulku is often referred to as an incarnation but, outside of the many varieties of an incarnating or imbodying power or energy, incarnation in popular usage is the direct continuance of a previous imbodiment. These so-called living buddhas of Tibet are one kind of tulku — the transmission of a spiritual power or energy from one Buddha-lama of a Tibetan monastery when he dies, to a child or adult successor. If the transmission is successful, the result is tulku.

Tulku is of many different kinds and very closely parallels the Hindu doctrine of avatara. Taking Jesus as an example: here was a life-long tulku, a ray from a divinity; a tulku of that divinity so far as that ray goes, a divine manifestation, and hence a true avatara in the Brahmanical sense. Again, Gautama Buddha was tulku of his own inner buddha or inner god. The average person, however, is merely overshadowed occasionally, if he really aspires, by a touch of the divine flame from within the higher parts of his own constitution, and yet even for these fugitive instants such person is tulku. But when Gautama attained buddhahood, he was relatively infilled with his own inner buddha, and therefore was that god’s human tulku. That was for Siddhartha the man, nirvana; he then entered dharmakaya and this portion of him was then known of men no more: that portion of him was a man become divine.

Another kind of tulku is where a human mahatma will send a ray from himself, or a part of himself, to take imbodiment, perhaps only temporarily, perhaps almost for a lifetime, in a neophyte-messenger that this mahatma is sending out into the world to teach. The messenger in this instance acts as a transmitter of the spiritual and divine powers of the mahatma. Blavatsky was such a tulku, imbodying frequently the very life of, and hence guided by, her own teacher. While this incarnation of the teacher’s higher essence lasted, she was tulku. When for one reason or another the influence or ray was withdrawn for a longer or shorter period, tulku then and there became nonexistent.

Still another aspect of the tulku doctrine is illustrated by the case of Blavatsky. Where is she now? Blavatsky has not yet again reincarnated — she has not yet been born as a child — but she has at certain times, and for one certain individual, with that individual’s consent, organized as it were tulku for that individual. For the time being, therefore, we can say that Blavatsky has partially imbodied in that chosen individual for the purpose of special transmission. In all cases of tulku, they are incarnations or appearances. If Blavatsky, for instance, were to make tulku of a person for a month or a year, for the time being that person would be tulku, but when that particular work was done, the influence would be withdrawn and tulku would stop.

There is again another kind of avatāric incarnation or tulku, a temporary physical appearance of an adept in the māyāvi-rūpa. Certain Tibetan lamas are known to be able to perform this feat, and thus they too have been properly called tulkus, which is the type of tulku that certain Orientalists have referred to as “an appearance.”

Another type of tulku of an opposite and essentially evil character is that brought about by a hypnotist who temporarily displaces the psychological nature of his entranced subject through psychologization or even hypnosis plus mesmerism. This, however, is more often than not an act of black magic and fraught with grave dangers, both to the hypnotist and the one entranced. Every clever hypnotist actually makes a tulku of his victim in a black magic sense. When he puts an idea into the brain of his victim, that one week from now at three o’clock in the afternoon he is going to do some essentially foolish or undignified act — for the time being that hypnotist is working a black magic tulku on that victim, and every psychologist and hypnotist knows the possibility of this fact, though the scientific explanation of the term may be strange to him. A key example of black magic tulku was what the medieval Europeans used to call werewolves. This doctrine of the tulku, however, is at heart beautiful and sublime, and hence highly reverenced by the Tibetans.


(Sanskrit) The fourth; the state of consciousness which the Buddhas and Christs, and occasionally great but less evolved people, reach in their times of spiritual ecstasy — high samādhi. It is the fourth state of the famous Taraka-Raja-Yoga system in India, equivalent to a raising and temporary coalescence of the human consciousness with the atman, otherwise called nirvana. In this turīya state the divine self is perceived by the individual entitative self as its parent; and the atman thus is realized to be in its essence free of any mayavi distinction from its universal divine source. Turīya , the highest of all the states into which the consciousness may cast itself or be cast, “which is a practical annihilation of the ordinary human consciousness, is an attainment of union with atma-buddhi overshadowing or working through the higher manas. Actually, therefore, it is becoming at one with the monadic essence” (OG 72).

Turīya is a state or condition of consciousness which to the eye of an observer seems to be that of the deepest abstraction from things of the material world — that state which to most people would seem to be a complete or perfect trance, physically speaking. The higher consciousness of the human being, often unconsciously to the brain-mind consciousness, enters into turīya and brings about for the physical person a condition of perfectly dreamless sleep; however, it is a state of the highest or most exalted spiritual and intellectual activity.

“In Pralaya, or the intermediate period between two manvantaras, it [the monad] loses its name, as it loses it when the real ONE self of man merges into Brahm in cases of high Samādhi (the Turīya state) or final Nirvāa; ‘when the disciple’ in the words of Śakara, ‘having attained that primeval consciousness, absolute bliss, of which the nature is truth, which is without form and action, abandons this illusive body that has been assumed by the ātma just as an actor (abandons) the dress (put on)’ ” (SD 1:570).

Tuṣita [from the verbal root tuṣ to become calm, be satisfied or pleased] One name of the Hindu adityas, planetary regents because of their intimate connection with the sun, the son of Aditi, called Mārtāṇḍa or Mārttāṇḍa. Hence in esoteric Northern Buddhism, the tuṣitas are a class of divinities of great purity said to have a deva-loka (celestial region) of their own, but in the highest parts of the material plane where all the bodhisattvas are reborn before they descend on this earth as future buddhas.