Materializations In Spiritualism the word signifies the objective appearance of the so-called "spirits of the dead," who reclothe themselves occasionally in matter; i.e., they form for themselves out of the materials at hand found in the atmosphere and the emanations of those present, a temporary body bearing the human likeness of the defunct, as he appeared when alive. Theosophists accept the phenomenon of "materialization," but they reject the theory that it is produced by "Spirits," i.e., the immortal principles of disembodied persons. Theosophists hold that when the phenomena are genuine-which is a fact of rarer occurrence than is generally believed-they are produced by the larvae, the eidolons, or Kamalokic "ghosts" of the dead personalities. (See Kamaloka and Kamarupa.) As Kamaloka is on the earth-plane and differs from its degree of materiality only in the degree of its plane of consciousness, for which reason it is concealed from our normal sight, the occasional apparition of such shells is as natural as that of electric balls and other atmospheric phenomena. Electricity as a fluid, or atomic matter (for Occultists hold with Maxwell that it is atomic), is ever, though invisibly, present in the air and manifests under various shapes, but only when certain conditions are present to "materialize" the fluid, when it passes from its own onto our plane and makes itself objective. Similarly with the eidolons of the dead. They are present around us, but being on another plane do not see us any more than we see them. But whenever the strong desires of living men and the conditions furnished by the abnormal constitutions of mediums are combined together, these eidolons are drawn-nay pulled down from their plane onto ours and made objective. This is necromancy; it does no good to the dead, and great harm to the living, in addition to the fact that it interferes with a law of nature. The occasional materialization of the "astral bodies" or doubles of living persons is quite another matter. These "astrals" are often mistaken for the apparitions of the dead, since, chameleon-like, our own "elementaries" along with those of the disembodied and cosmic Elementals, will often assume the appearance of those images which are strongest in our thoughts. In short, at the so-called "materialization seances," it is those present and the medium who create the peculiar apparition. Independent "apparitions" belong to another kind of psychic phenomena.
Materialist Not necessarily only one who believes in neither God nor soul, nor the survival of the latter, but also any person who materializes the purely spiritual; such as believe in an anthropomorphic deity, in a soul capable of burning in hell fire, and a hell and paradise as localities instead of states of consciousness. American "Substantialists," a Christian sect, are materialists, as also the so-called Spiritualists.
Maya (Sans.) Illusion; the cosmic power which renders phenomenal existence and the perceptions thereof possible. In Hindu philosophy that alone which is changeless and eternal is called reality: all that which is subject to change through decay and differentiation, and which has, therefore, a beginning and an end, is regarded as Maya -illusion.
Mediumship A word now accepted to indicate that abnormal psycho-physiological state which leads a person to take the fancies of his imagination, his hallucinations, real or artificial, for realities. No entirely healthy person on the physiological and psychic planes can ever be a medium. That which mediums see, hear, and sense, is "real" but untrue; it is either gathered from the astral plane, so deceptive in its vibrations and suggestions, or from pure hallucinations, which have no actual existence, but for him who perceives them. "Mediumship" is a kind of vulgarized mediatorship in which one afflicted with this faculty is supposed to become an agent of communication between a living man and a departed "Spirit." There exist regular methods of training for the development of this undesirable acquirement.
A chariot. The Cabalists say that the Supreme, after he had established the ten Sephiroth-which, in their totality, are Adam Kadmon, the Archetypal Man, used them as a chariot or throne of glory in which to descend upon the souls of men.
Mesmerism The term comes from Mesmer, who rediscovered this magnetic force and its practical application toward the year 1775, at Vienna. It is a vital current that one person may transfer to another; and through which he induces an abnormal state of the nervous system that permits him to have a direct influence upon the mind and will of the subject or mesmerized person.
Metaphysics From the Greek meta, beyond, and physica, the things of the external material world. It is to forget the spirit and hold to the dead letter, to translate it beyond nature or supernatural, as it is rather beyond the natural, visible, or concrete. Metaphysics, in ontology and philosophy is the term to designate that science which treats of the real and permanent being as contrasted with the unreal, illusionary, or phenomenal being.
Microcosm The "little" Universe meaning man, made in the image of his creator, the Macrocosm, or "great" Universe, and containing all that the latter contains. These terms are used in Occultism and Theosophy.
Mishnah (Heb.) Lit., "a repetition" from the word Sh‚n‚h, "to repeat" something said orally. A summary of written explanations from the oral traditions of the Jews and a digest of the Scriptures on which the later Talmud was based.
Moksha (Sans.) The same as Nirvana; a postmortem state of rest and bliss of the "Soul-pilgrim."
Monad It is the Unity, the One; but in occultism it often means the unified duad, Atma-Buddhi-or that immortal part of man which incarnating in the lower kingdoms and gradually progressing through them to Man, finds thence way to the final goal-Nirvana.
Monas (Gr.) The same as the Latin Monad, "the only," a Unit. In the Pythagorean system the Duad emanates from the higher and solitary Monas, which is thus the First Cause.
Monogenes (Gr.) Literally, the "only-begotten," a name of Proserpine and other gods and goddesses, as also of Jesus.
Mundakya Upanishad (Sans.) Lit., the "Mundaka esoteric doctrine." A work of high antiquity; it has been translated by Raja Ram Mohun Roy.
Mysteries, Sacred They were enacted in the ancient temples by the initiated Hierophants for the benefit and instruction of candidates. The most solemn and occult were certainly those which were performed in Egypt by "the band of secret-keepers," as Mr. Bonwick calls the Hierophants. Maurice describes their nature very graphically in a few lines. Speaking of the Mysteries performed in Philae (the Nile-island), he says:
It was in these gloomy caverns that the grand mystic arcana of the goddess (Isis) were unfolded to the adoring aspirant, while the solemn hymn of initiation resounded through the long extent of these stony recesses.
The word mystery is derived from the Greek mu , "to close the mouth," and every symbol connected with them had a hidden meaning. As Plato and many of the other sages of antiquity affirm, these mysteries were highly religious, moral, and beneficent as a school of ethics. The Grecian Mysteries, those of Ceres and Bacchus, were only imitations of the Egyptian, and the author of Egyptian Belief and Modern Thought informs us that our own word "chapel or capella is said to be the caph-el or college of El, the solar divinity." The well-known Cabiri are associated with the mysteries.
In short, the Mysteries were in every country a series of dramatic performances, in which the mysteries of Cosmogony and nature in general were personified by the priests and neophytes, who enacted the parts of various gods and goddesses, repeating supposed scenes (allegories) from their respective lives. These were explained in their hidden meaning to the candidates for initiation and incorporated into philosophical doctrines.
Mystery Language The sacerdotal secret "jargon" used by the initiated priests, and employed only when discussing sacred things. Every nation had its own "mystery" tongue, unknown to all save those admitted to the Mysteries.
Mystic From the Greek word mysticos. In antiquity, one belonging to those admitted to the ancient mysteries; in our own times, one who practices mysticism, holds mystic, transcendental views, etc.
Mysticism Any doctrine involved in mystery and metaphysics, and dealing more with the ideal worlds than with our matter-of-fact, actual universe.
Nazarene Codex The Scriptures of the Nazarenes and of the Nabotheans also. According to sundry Church Fathers, Jerome and Epiphanius especially, they were heretical teachings, but are in fact one of the numerous Gnostic readings of cosmogony and theogony, which produced a distinct sect.
Necromancy The raising of the images of the dead, considered in antiquity and by modern occultists as a practice of Black Magic. Iamblichus, Porphyry, and other theurgists deprecated the practice no less than Moses, who condemned the "witches" of his day to death, the said witches being often only mediums, e.g., the case of the Witch of Endor and Samuel.
Neo-Platonists A school of philosophy which arose between the second and third century of our era, and was founded by Ammonius Saccas, of Alexandria. The same as the Philaletheians, and the Analogeticists; they were also called Theurgists and by various other names. They were the Theosophists of the early centuries. Neo-Platonism is Platonic philosophy plus ecstasy, divine Rģja-Yoga.
Breath of Life, Anima, Mens Vitae, appetites. The term is used very loosely in the Bible. It generally means Prana, "life"; in the Cabala it is the animal passions and the animal soul. Therefore, as maintained in theosophical teachings, Nephesh is the Prana-Kama Principle, or the vital animal soul in man.
Nirmanakaya (Sans.) Something entirely different in esoteric philosophy from the popular meaning attached to it, and from the fancies of the Orientalists. Some call the Nirmanakaya body "Nirvana with remains" (Schlagintweit), on the supposition, probably, that it is a kind of Nirvanic condition during which consciousness and form are retained. Others say that it is one of the Trikaya (three bodies) with "the power of assuming any form of appearance in order to propagate Buddhism." Again, that "it is the incarnate Avatara of a deity." Occultism, on the other hand, says that Nirmanakaya, although meaning literally a transformed "body," is a state. The form is that of the Adept or Yogi who enters, or chooses, that postmortem condition in preference to the Dharmakaya or absolute Nirvanic state. He does this because the latter Kaya separates him forever from the world of form, conferring upon him a state of selfish bliss, in which no other living being can participate, the adept being thus precluded from the possibility of helping humanity, or even devas. As a Nirmanakaya, however, the adept leaves behind him only his physical body, and retains every other principle save the Kamic, for he has crushed this out forever from his nature during life, and it can never resurrect in his postmortem state. Thus, instead of going into selfish bliss, he chooses a life of self-sacrifice, an existence which ends only with the life cycle, in order to be enabled to help mankind in an invisible, yet most effective, manner. Thus a Nirmanakaya is not, as popularly believed, the body "in which a Buddha or a Bodhisattva appears on earth," but verily one who, whether a Chutuktu or a Khubilkhan, an adept or a Yogi during life, has since become a member of that invisible Host which ever protects and watches over humanity within Karmic limits. Mistaken often for a "Spirit," a Deva, God himself, etc., a Nirmanakaya is ever a protecting, compassionate, verily a guardian, angel to him who is worthy of his help. Whatever objection may be brought forward against this doctrine, however much it is denied, because, forsooth, it has never hitherto been made public in Europe, and therefore, since it is unknown to Orientalists, it must needs be a "myth of modern invention"-no one will be bold enough to say that this idea of helping suffering mankind at the price of one's own almost interminable self-sacrifice, is not one of the grandest and noblest that was ever evolved from the human brain.
Nirvana (Sans.) According to the Orientalists, the entire "blowing-out," like the flame of a candle, the utter extinction of existence. But in the exoteric explanations it is the state of absolute existence and absolute consciousness, into which the Ego of a man who had reached the highest degree of perfection and holiness during life, goes after the body dies, and occasionally, as is the case of Gautama Buddha and others, during life.
Nirvanee (Sans.) One who has attained Nirvana-an emancipated Soul. That Nirvana means something quite different from the puerile assertions of Orientalists, every scholar who has visited India, China, or Japan, is well aware. It is "escape from misery," but only from that of matter, freedom from Klesha, or Kama, and the complete extinction of animal desires. If we are told that Abhidharma defines Nirvana as "a state of absolute annihilation" we concur, adding to the last word the qualification "of everything connected with matter or the physical world," and this simply because the latter (as also all in it) is illusion or Maya . Sakyamuni Buddha said in the last moments of his life: "the spiritual body is immortal." As Mr. Eitel, the scholarly Sinologist, explains it:
The popular exoteric systems agree in defining Nirvana negatively as a state of absolute exemption from the circle of transmigration; as a state of entire freedom from all forms of existence, to begin with, freedom from all passion and exertion; a state of indifference to all sensibility.
-and he might have added "death of all compassion for the world of suffering." And this is why the Bodhisattvas who prefer the Nirmanakaya to the Dharmakaya vesture stand higher in the popular estimation than the Nirvanees. But the same scholar adds that:
Positively (and esoterically) they define Nirvana as the highest state of spiritual bliss, as absolute immortality through absorption of the Soul (Spirit rather) into itself, but preserving individuality, so that, e.g., Buddhas, after entering Nirvana, may reappear on earth-i.e., in the future Manvantara.
Noumena (Gr.) The true essential nature of Being as distinguished from the illusive objects of sense.
Nous (Gr.) A Platonic term for the Higher Mind or Soul. It means Spirit as distinct from animal-Soul, Psyche; divine consciousness or mind in man. The name was adopted by the Gnostics for their first conscious Aeon, which, with the Occultists, is the third logos, cosmically, and the third principle (from above) or Manas, in man. (See Nout.)
Nout (Eg.) In the Egyptian Pantheon it meant the "One-only-One," because it does not proceed in the popular or exoteric religion higher than the third manifestation which radiates from the Unknowable and the Unknown in the esoteric philosophy of every nation. The Nous of Anaxagoras was the Mahat of the Hindus-Brahm‚ , the first manifested deity-"the Mind or spirit Self-potent." This creative principle is the primum mobile of everything to be found in the Universe-its Soul or Ideation. (see "Seven Principles" in man.)
Occultism See Occult Sciences.
Occult Sciences The science of the secrets of nature-physical and psychic, mental and spiritual; called Hermetic and Esoteric Sciences. In the west, the Cabala may be named; in the east, mysticism, magic, and Yoga philosophy. The latter is often referred to by the Chelas in India as the seventh "Darshana" (school of philosophy), there being only six Darshanas in India known to the world of the profane. These sciences are, and have been for ages, hidden from the vulgar, for the very good reason that they would never be appreciated by the selfish educated classes, who would misuse them for their own profit, and thus turn the Divine science into black magic, nor by the uneducated, who would not understand them. It is often brought forward as an accusation against the Esoteric Philosophy of the Cabala, that its literature is full of "a barbarous and meaningless jargon," unintelligible to the ordinary mind. But do not exact Sciences-medicine, physiology, chemistry, and the rest-plead guilty to the same impeachment? Do not official scientists veil their facts and discoveries with a newly-coined and most barbarous Graeco-Latin terminology? As justly remarked by our late Brother, Kenneth Mackenzie,
. to juggle thus with words, when the facts are so simple, is the art of the Scientists of the present time, in striking contrast to those of the seventeenth century, who called spades, and not "agricultural implements."
Moreover, whilst their "facts" spades would be as simple, and as comprehensible if rendered in ordinary language, the facts of Occult Science are of so abstruse a nature, that in most cases no words exist in European languages to express them. Finally our "jargon" is a double necessity-(a) for describing clearly these facts to one who is versed in the occult terminology; and (b) for concealing them from the profane.
Occultist One who practices Occultism, an adept in the Secret Sciences, but very often applied to a mere student.
Occult World, The The name of the first book which treated of Theosophy, its history, and certain of its tenets. Written by A.P. Sinnett, then editor of the leading Indian paper, The Pioneer, of Allahabad, India.
Olympiodorus The last Neo-platonist of fame and celebrity in the school of Alexandria. He lived in the sixth century under the Emperor Justinian. There were several writers and philosophers of this name in pre-Christian as in post-Christian periods. One of these was the teacher of Proclus, another a historian in the eighth century, and so on.
Origen A Christian Churchman, born at the end of the second century, probably in Africa, of whom little, if anything, is known, since his biographical fragments have passed to posterity on the authority of Eusebius, the most unmitigated falsifier that has ever existed in any age. The latter is credited with having collected upwards of one hundred letters of Origen (or Origenes Adamantius), which are now said to have been lost. To Theosophists, the most interesting of all the works of Origen is his Doctrine of the Preexistence of Souls. He was a pupil of Ammonius Saccas, and for a long time attended the lectures of this great teacher of philosophy.
Panaenus A Platonic philosopher in the Alexandrian school of the Philaletheians.
Pandora In Greek Mythology, the first woman on earth, created by Vulcan out of clay to punish Prometheus and counteract his gift to mortals. Each God having made her a present of some virtue, she was made to carry them in a box to Prometheus, who, however, being endowed with foresight, sent her away, changing the gifts into evils. Thus, when his brother Epimetheus saw and married her, when he opened the box, all the evils now afflicting humanity issued from it, and have remained since then in the world.
Pantheist One who identifies God with nature and vice versa. If we have to regard Deity as an infinite and omnipresent Principle, this can hardly be otherwise; nature being thus simply the physical aspect of Deity, or its body.
Parabrahm (Sans.) A Vedantin term meaning "beyond Brahm‚ ." The Supreme and the absolute Principle, impersonal and nameless. In the Vedas it is referred to as That.
Paranirvana (Sans.) In the Vedantic philosophy the highest form of Nirvana-beyond the latter.
Parsis or Parsees The present Persian followers of Zoroaster, now settled in India, especially in Bombay and Guzerat; sun and fire worshipers. One of the most intelligent and esteemed communities in the country, generally occupied with commercial pursuits. There are between 50,000 and 60,000 now left in India where they settled some 1,000 years ago.
Personality The teachings of Occultism divide man into three aspects-the divine, the thinking or rational, and the irrational or animal man. For metaphysical purposes also he is considered under a septenary division, or, as it is agreed to express it in Theosophy, he is composed of seven principles, three of which constitute the Higher Triad, and the remaining four the lower Quaternary. It is in the latter that dwells the Personality which embraces all the characteristics, including memory and consciousness, of each physical life in turn. The Individuality is the Higher Ego (Manas) of the Triad considered as a Unity. In other words the Individuality is our imperishable Ego which reincarnates and clothes itself in a new Personality at every new birth.
Phallic Worship or Sex Worship; reverence and adoration shown to those gods and goddesses which, like Shiva and Durga in India, symbolize respectively the two sexes.
Philadelphians Lit., "those who love their brother-man." A sect in the seventeenth century, founded by one Jane Leadly. They objected to all rites, forms, or ceremonies of the Church, and even to the Church itself, but professed to be guided in soul and spirit by an internal Deity, their own Ego or God within them.
Philaletheians See Neo-Platonists.
Philo Judaeus A Hellenized Jew of Alexandria, a famous historian and philosopher of the first century, born about the year 30 bc, and died between the years 45 and 50 ad Philo's symbolism of the Bible is very remarkable. The animals, birds, reptiles, trees, and places mentioned in it are all, it is said,
.allegories of conditions of the soul, of faculties, dispositions, or passions; the useful plants were allegories of virtues, the noxious of the affections of the unwise and so on through the mineral kingdom; through heaven, earth, and stars; through fountains and rivers, fields and dwellings; through metals, substances, arms, clothes, ornaments, furniture, the body and its parts, the sexes, and our outward condition.
All of which would strongly corroborate the idea that Philo was acquainted with the ancient Cabala.
Philosopher's Stone A term in Alchemy; called also the Powder of Projection, a mysterious principle having the power of transmuting the base metals into pure gold. In Theosophy it symbolizes the transmutation of the lower animal nature of man into the highest divine.
Phren A Pythagorean term denoting what we call the Kama-Manas, still overshadowed by Buddhi-Manas.
Plane From the Latin Planus (level, flat), an extension of space, whether in the physical or metaphysical sense. In Occultism, the range or extent of some state of consciousness, or the state of matter corresponding to the perceptive powers of a particular set of senses or the action of a particular force.
Planetary Spirits Rulers and governors of the Planets. Planetary Gods.
Plastic Used in Occultism in reference to the nature and essence of the astral body, or the "Protean Soul." (See "Plastic Soul" in the Theosophical Glossary.)
Pleroma "Fullness," a gnostic term used also by St. Paul. Divine world or the abode of gods. Universal space divided into metaphysical Aeons.
Plotinus A distinguished Platonic philosopher of the third century, a great practical mystic, renowned for his virtues and learning. He taught a doctrine identical with that of the Vedantins, namely, that the spirit soul emanating from the One Deific Principle was after its pilgrimage on earth reunited to it. (See Theosophical Glossary.)
Porphyry (Porphyrius). His real name was Malek, which led to his being regarded as a Jew. He came from Tyre, and having first studied under Longinus, the eminent philosopher-critic, became the disciple of Plotinus, at Rome. He was a Neo-Platonist and a distinguished writer, specially famous for his controversy with Iamblichus regarding the evils attending the practice of Theurgy, but was, however, finally converted to the views of his opponent. A natural-born mystic he followed, like his master Plotinus, the pure Indian Raja-Yoga system, which, by training, leads to the union of the soul with the oversoul of the universe, and of the human with its divine soul, Buddhi-Manas. He complains, however, that in spite of all his efforts, he reached the highest state of ecstasy only once, and that when he was sixty-eight years of age, while his teacher Plotinus had experienced the supreme bliss six times during his life. (See "Porphyry," in the Theosophical Glossary)
Pot-Amun A Coptic term meaning "one consecrated to the god Amun," the Wisdom-god. The name of an Egyptian priest and occultist under the Ptolemies.
PrajŮa (Sans.) A term used to designate the "Universal Mind." A synonym of Mahat.
Pralaya (Sans.) Dissolution, the opposite of Manvantara, one being the period of rest and the other of full activity (death and life) of a planet, or of the whole universe.
Prana (Sans.) Life Principle, the breath of life, Nephesh.
Protean Soul A name for Mayavi-Rupa or thought-body, the higher astral form which assumes all forms and every form at the will of an adept's thought. (See "Plastic Soul" in the Theosophical Glossary)
Psychism The word is used now to denote every kind of mental phenomena, e.g., mediumship as well as the higher form of sensitiveness. A newly-coined word.
Pur‚nas (Sans.) Lit., "the ancient," referring to Hindu writings or Scriptures, of which there is a considerable number.
Pythagoras The most famous mystic philosopher, born at Samos about 586 bc, who taught the heliocentric system and reincarnation, the highest mathematics and the highest metaphysics, and who had a school famous throughout the world. (See for fuller particulars, Theosophical Glossary)
Quaternary The four lower "principles in man," those which constitute his personality (i.e., Body, Astral Double, Prana or life, organs of desire, and lower Manas, or brain-mind), as distinguished from the Higher Ternary or Triad, composed of the higher Spiritual Soul, Mind, and Atma (Higher Self).
Recollection, Remembrance, Reminiscence Occultists make a difference between these three functions. As, however, a glossary cannot contain the full explanation of every term in all its metaphysical and subtle differences, we can only state here that these terms vary in their applications, according to whether they relate to the past or the present birth, and whether one or the other of these phases of memory emanates from the spiritual or the material brain; or, again, from the "Individuality" or the "Personality."
Reincarnation or Rebirth The once universal doctrine, which taught that the Ego is born on this earth an innumerable number of times. Now-a-days it is denied by Christians, who seem to misunderstand the teachings of their own gospels. Nevertheless, the putting on of flesh periodically and throughout long cycles by the higher human Soul (Buddhi-Manas) or Ego is taught in the Bible as it is in all other ancient scriptures, and "resurrection" means only the rebirth of the Ego in another form. (See Theosophical Glossary)
Reuchlin, John A great German philosopher and philologist, Cabalist and scholar. He was born at Pfortzheim in Germany, in 1455, and early in youth was a diplomat. At one period of his life he held the high office of judge of the tribunal at Tubingen, where he remained for eleven years. He was also the preceptor of Melancthon, and was greatly persecuted by the clergy for his glorification of the Hebrew Cabala, though at the same time called the "Father of the Reformation." He died in 1522, in great poverty, the common fate of all who in those days went against the dead-letter of the Church.
Sacred Science The epithet given to the occult sciences in general, and by the Rosicrucians to the Cabala, and especially to the Hermetic philosophy.
Samadhi The name in India for spiritual ecstasy. It is a state of complete trance, induced by means of mystic concentration.
Samkhara One of the five Buddhist Skandhas or attributes. (See Skandhas.) "Tendencies of mind."
Samma -Sambuddha The sudden remembrance of all one's past incarnations, a phenomenon of memory obtained through Yoga. A Buddhist mystic term.
Samothrace An island in the Grecian Archipelago, famous in days of old for the mysteries celebrated in its temples. These mysteries were world-renowned.
Samyuttaka-Nikaya One of the Buddhist Sutras.
Sanna (Pali ) One of the five Skandhas, or attributes, meaning "abstract ideas."
Seance A term now used to denote a sitting with a medium for sundry phenomena. Used chiefly among the Spiritualists.
Self There are two Selves in men-the Higher and the Lower, the Impersonal and the Personal Self. One is divine, the other semi-animal. A great distinction should be made between the two.
Sephiroth A Hebrew Cabalistic word, for the ten divine emanations from Ain-Soph, the impersonal, universal Principle, or Deity. (See Theosophical Glossary)
Skandhas The attributes of every personality, which after death form the basis, so to say, for a new Karmic reincarnation. They are five in the popular or exoteric system of the Buddhists: i.e., Rupa, form or body, which leaves behind it its magnetic atoms and occult affinities; Vedana , sensations, which do likewise; Sanjna , or abstract ideas, which are the creative powers at work from one incarnation to another; Samkhara, tendencies of mind; and VijŮana, mental powers.
Somnambulism "Sleep walking." A psycho-physiological state, too well known to need explanation.
Spiritism The same as the above, with the difference that the Spiritualists reject almost unanimously the doctrine of Reincarnation, while the Spiritists make of it the fundamental principle in their belief. There is, however, a vast difference between the views of the latter and the philosophical teachings of Eastern Occultists. Spiritists belong to the French School founded by Allan Kardec, and the Spiritualists of America and England to that of the "Fox girls," who inaugurated their theories at Rochester, U.S.A. Theosophists, while believing in the mediumistic phenomena of both Spiritualists and Spiritists, reject the idea of "spirits."
Spiritualism The modern belief that the spirits of the dead return on earth to commune with the living. (See Spiritism.)
St. Germain, Count A mysterious personage, who appeared in the last century and early in the present one in France, England, and elsewhere.
Sthula-Sharira The Sanskrit name for the human physical body, in Occultism and Vedanta philosophy.
Sthulopadhi The physical body in its waking, conscious state (Jagrat).
Sukshmopadhi The physical body in the dreaming state (Svapna), and Karanopadhi, "the causal body."
Summerland The fancy name given by the Spiritualists to the abode of their disembodied "Spirits," which they locate somewhere in the Milky Way. It is described on the authority of returning "Spirits" as a lovely land, having beautiful cities and buildings, a Congress Hall, Museums, etc., etc.
Swedenborg, Emanuel A famous scholar and clairvoyant of the past century, a man of great learning, who has vastly contributed to Science, but whose mysticism and transcendental philosophy placed him in the ranks of hallucinated visionaries. He is now universally known as the Founder of the Swedenborgian sect, or the New Jerusalem Church. He was born at Stockholm (Sweden) in 1688, from Lutheran parents, his father being the Bishop of West Gothland. His original name was Swedberg, but on his being ennobled and knighted in 1719 it was changed to Swedenborg. He became a Mystic in 1743, and four years later (in 1747) resigned his office (of Assessor Extraordinary to the College of Mines) and gave himself up entirely to Mysticism. He died in 1772.
Taijas (Sans.) From tejas "fire," meaning the "radiant," the "luminous," and referring to the Manasa-Rupa, "the body of Manas," also to the stars, and the star-like shining envelopes. A term in Vedanta philosophy, having other meanings besides the Occult signification just given.
Taraka Raja-Yoga (Sans.) One of the Brahmanical Yoga systems, the most philosophical, and in fact the most secret of all, as its real tenets are never given out publicly. It is a purely intellectual and spiritual school of training.
Tetragrammaton (Gr.) The deity-name in four letters, which are in their English form IHVH. It is a Cabalistic term and corresponds on a more material plane to the sacred Pythagorean Tetraktys. (See Theosophical Glossary)
Theodidaktos (Gr.) The "God taught," a title applied to Ammonius Saccas.
Theogony From the Greek theogonia, lit., the "Genesis of the Gods."
Theosophia (Gr.) Lit., "divine wisdom or the wisdom of the gods."
Therapeutae, or Therapeuts (Gr.) A school of Jewish mystic healers, or esotericists, wrongly referred to, by some, as a sect. They resided in and near Alexandria, and their doings and beliefs are to this day a mystery to the critics, as their philosophy seems a combination of Orphic, Pythagorean, Essenian, and purely Cabalistic practices. (See Theosophical Glossary)
Theurgy From the Greek theiourgiŠ. Rites for bringing down to earth planetary and other Spirits or Gods. To arrive at the realization of such an object, the Theurgist had to be absolutely pure and unselfish in his motives. The practice of theurgy is very undesirable and even dangerous in the present day. The world has become too corrupt and wicked for the practice of that which such holy and learned men as Ammonius, Plotinus, Porphyry, and Iamblichus (the most learned Theurgist of all) could alone attempt with impunity. In our day theurgy or divine, beneficent magic is but too apt to become goŽtic, or in other words Sorcery. Theurgy is the first of the three subdivisions of magic, which are theurgic, goŽtic, and natural magic.
Thread Soul The same as Sutratman (see above).
Thumos (Gr.) A Pythagorean and Platonic term; applied to an aspect of the human soul, to denote its passionate Kamarupic condition: almost equivalent to the Sanskrit word tamas: "the quality of darkness," and probably derived from the latter.
Timaeus of Locris A Pythagorean philosopher, born at Locris. He differed somewhat from his teacher in the doctrine of metempsychosis. He wrote a treatise on the Soul of the World and its nature and essence, which is in the Doric dialect and still extant.
Triad or Trinity In every religion and philosophy-the three in One.
Universal Brotherhood The subtitle of the Theosophical Society, and the first of the three objects professed by it.
Upadhi (Sans.) Basis of something, substructure; as in Occultism-substance is the Upadhi of Spirit.
Upanishad (Sans.) Lit., "Esoteric Doctrine." The third Division of the Vedas, and classed with revelations (sruti or "revealed word"). Some 150 of the Upanishads still remain extant, though no more than about twenty can be fully relied upon as free from falsification. These are all earlier than the sixth century bc. Like the Cabala, which interprets the esoteric sense of the Bible, so the Upanishads explain the mystic sense of the Vedas. Professor Cowell has two statements regarding the Upanishads as interesting as they are correct. Thus he says:
These works have (1) . one remarkable peculiarity, the total absence of any Brahmanical exclusiveness in their doctrine . They breathe an entirely different spirit, a freedom of thought unknown in any earlier work except the Rig-Veda hymns themselves; and (2) the great teachers of the higher knowledge (Gupta-Vidya ), and Brahmins, are continually represented as going to Kshatriya Kings to become their pupils (Chelas).
This shows conclusively that (a) the Upanishads were written before the enforcement of caste and Brahmanical power, and are thus only second in antiquity to the Vedas; and (b) that the occult sciences or the "higher knowledge," as Cowell puts it, is far older than the Brahmins in India, or even of them as a caste. The Upanishads are, however, far later than Gupta-Vidya , or the "Secret Science" which is as old as human philosophical thought itself.
Vahan (Sans.) "Vehicle," a synonym of Upadhi.
Vallabhach‚ryas Sect (Sans.), or the "Sect of the Mahar‚jas," a licentious phallic-worshipping community, whose main branch is at Bombay. The object of the worship is the infant Krishna. The Anglo-Indian Government was compelled several times to interfere in order to put a stop to its rites and vile practices, and its governing Mahar‚ja, a kind of High Priest, was more than once imprisoned, and very justly so. It is one of the blackest spots of India.
Vedanta (Sans.) Meaning literally, the "end of all knowledge." Among the six Darshanas or the schools of philosophy, it is also called Uttara Mimansa , or the "later" Mimansa. There are those who, unable to understand its esotericism, consider it atheistical; but this is not so, as Shankaracharya, the great apostle of this school, and its popularizer, was one of the greatest mystics and adepts of India.
Vidya (Sans.) Knowledge, or rather "Wisdom-Knowledge."
VijŮana (Sans.) One of five Skandhas; meaning literally, "mental powers." (See Skandhas.)
Wisdom-Religion The same as Theosophy. The name given to the secret doctrine which underlies every exoteric scripture and religion.
Yoga (Sans.) A school of philosophy founded by PataŮjali, but which existed as a distinct teaching and system of life long before that sage. It is YajŮavalkya, a famous and very ancient sage, to whom the White Yajur-Veda, the Satapatha-Brahmana and the Brihak-Aranyaka are attributed and who lived in pre-Mahabharatean times, who is credited with inculcating the necessity and positive duty of religious meditation and retirement into the forests, and who, therefore, is believed to have originated the Yoga doctrine. Professor Max MŁller states that it is YajŮavalkya who prepared the world for the preaching of Buddha. PataŮjali's Yoga, however, is more definite and precise as a philosophy, and embodies more of the occult sciences than any of the works attributed to YajŮavalkya.
Yogi or Yogin (Sans.) A devotee, one who practices the Yoga system. There are various grades and kinds of Yogis, and the term has now become in India a generic name to designate every kind of ascetic.
Yuga (Sans.) An age of the world of which there are four, which follow each other in a series, namely, Krita (or Satya) Yuga, the golden age; Treta -Yuga, Dvapara-Yuga, and finally Kali-Yuga, the black age-in which we now are.
Zenobia The Queen of Palmyra, defeated by the Emperor Aurelianus. She had for her instructor Longinus, the famous critic and logician in the third century ad (See Longinus.)
Zivo, Kabar (or Yukabar) The name of one of the creative deities in the Nazarene Codex. (See Isis Unveiled.)
Zohar (Heb.) The Book of Splendor, a Cabalistic work attributed to Simeon Ben Iochai, in the first century of our era. (See for fuller explanation Theosophical Glossary)
Zoroastrian One who follows the religion of the Parsis, sun, or
The Theosophical Society: Information for Inquirers
The Theosophical Society was formed at New York, November 17th, 1875. Its founders believed that the best interests of Religion and Science would be promoted by the revival of Sanskrit, Pali, Zend, and other ancient literature, in which the Sages and Initiates had preserved for the use of mankind truths of the highest value respecting man and nature. A Society of an absolutely unsectarian character, whose work should be amicably prosecuted by the learned of all races, in a spirit of unselfish devotion to the research of truth, and with the purpose of disseminating it impartially, seemed likely to do much to check materialism and strengthen the waning religious spirit. The simplest expression of the objects of the Society is the following:
1. To form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or color.
2. To promote the study of ryan and other Eastern literatures, religions, and sciences.
3. A third object-pursued by a portion only of the members of the Society-is to investigate unexplained laws of nature and the psychical powers of man.
No person's religious opinions are asked upon his joining, nor is interference with them permitted, but everyone is required, before admission, to promise to show towards his fellow-members the same tolerance in this respect as he claims for himself.
The headquarters, offices, and managing staff are at Adyar, a suburb of Madras, where the Society has a property of twenty-seven acres and extensive buildings, including one for the Oriental Library, and a spacious hall wherein the General Council meets annually in Convention, on the 27th of December.
The Society is not yet endowed, but there is a nucleus of a Fund, the income from the investment of which will go towards defraying the current expenses; these have hitherto been met by the proceeds of entrance-fees, donations, and a small annual subscription from each member. But by the Revised Rules of 1889, the Society has been placed upon a basis of voluntary contributions, and is therefore entirely dependent for maintenance upon the generosity of its Fellows and others, as Entrance Fees and Annual Dues are abolished. No salaries are paid; all work is done by volunteers, who receive simple food and necessary clothing, when their private circumstances require such allowances.
The Official Trustee for all Society property is the President for the time being, and legacies and bequests should invariably be made in his name, in the legal phraseology of the Code of the country where the testator executes his Will. If left to the Society by name, the bequest becomes void in law. The President's full address is Henry Steel Olcott, Adyar, Madras, India.
The Society, as a body, eschews politics and all subjects outside its declared sphere of work. The Rules stringently forbid members to compromise its strict neutrality in these matters.
Many Branches of the Society have been formed in various parts of the world, and new ones are constantly being organized. Each branch frames its own bylaws and manages its own local business without interference from Headquarters; provided only that the fundamental rules of the Society are not violated. Branches lying within certain territorial limits (as for instance, America, British Islands, Ceylon, etc., have been grouped for purposes of administration in territorial Sections). For particulars, see the Revised Rules of 1889, where all necessary information with regard to joining the Society, etc., will also be found.
There have been founded up to date (1889) 173 Branches of the Society. For particulars see the Rules, etc., of the Theosophical Society, to be had on application to the Recording Secretary of the Theosophical Society, Adyar, Madras; or to the General Secretaries of the Sections.
In England, Dr. A. Keightley, 7 Duke Street, Adelphi, London. In
America, William Q. Judge, P.O. Box 2659, New York.
The Legal Status of the Theosophical Society
The following Official Report, on which was granted a Decree of
Incorporation to the St. Louis Theosophical Society, is an important
document, as putting on record the view taken of the Theosophical
Society-after a careful examination of witnesses on oath-by an American
Court of Law.
1. The petitioner is not a religious body. I report this negative finding for the reason that the word Theosophical contained in petitioners' name conveys a possible religious implication. The statutory phrase "society formed for religious purposes" applies, I suppose, only to an organization formed in part for worship, worship being an individual act involving adoration and perhaps emotional power, both being of necessity individual acts, or else to an organization formed for a propagation of a religious faith. Merely to teach a religion as one may teach algebra, is not, I think, a religious work, as the word religious is used in the Statute and the Constitution. A man may occupy a collegiate chair of Professor of Religions and as such teach the tenets of many religions. These different religions being variant and antagonistic, the Professor could not by any possibility worship under all. Nay, he might even be irreligious. Hence, merely teaching religions is not a religious work in the statutory sense. It will be noted that in article two of this society's constitution, the word religion is used in the plural. To teach religions is educational, not religious. "To promote the study of religions" is in part to promote the study of the history of man. I add the subordinate finding that the society has no religious creed and practices no worship.
2. The petitioner proposes to promote the study of literature and sciences. These objects are expressly within the terms of the Statute.
3. Cognate with the last objects is that of investigating "unexplained laws of nature and psychical powers latent in man." These two phrases, taken in their apparent meaning, are unobjectionable. But there is reason to believe that they form a meaning other than the apparent one.
The court will take notice of the commonly accepted meaning of the word Theosophy. Though I am ignorant of Theosophy, I think it is supposed to include among other things manifestations and phenomena, physical and psychical, that are violations of the laws now known by physicists and metaphysicians, and perhaps not explained or claimed to be explained or understood even by Theosophists themselves. In this group may be included Spiritualism, mesmerism, clairvoyance, mind-healing, mind-reading and the like. I took testimony on this question, and found that while a belief in any one of these sorts of manifestations and phenomena is not required, while each member of the society is at liberty to hold his own opinion, yet such questions form topics of inquiry and discussion, and the members as a mass probably believers individually in phenomena that are abnormal and in powers that are superhuman as far as science now knows. It is undoubtedly the right of any citizen to hold whatever opinions he pleases on these subjects, and to endeavor at his pleasure to investigate the unexplained and to display the latent. But the question here is: Shall the Court grant a franchise in aid of such endeavor? Voodooism is a word applied to the practices of guileful men among the ignorant and superstitious who inflict impostures upon guileless men among the ignorant and superstitious. No Court would grant a franchise in furtherance of such practices. The Court then will stop to inquire into the practices and perhaps the reputation of the enterprise which seeks judicial aid. I am not meaning to make a comparison between voodooism and this group of phenomena which for convenience (though I know not whether accurately) I will call occultism. I only take voodooism as a strong case to show the Court ought to inquire. If we now inquire into occultism we shall find that it has been occasionally used, as is reported, for the purposes of imposture. But this goes for nothing against its essential character. Always and everywhere bad men will make a bad use of anything for selfish ends. The object of this society, whether attainable or not, is undeniably laudable, assuming that there are physical and psychical phenomena unexplained, and that Theosophy seeks to explain them. Assuming that there are human powers yet latent, it seeks to discover them. It may be that absurdities and impostures are in fact incident to the nascent stage of its development. As to an understanding like that of occultism, which asserts powers commonly thought superhuman, and phenomena commonly thought supernatural, it seemed to me that the Court, though not assuming to determine judicially the question of their verity, would, before granting to occultism a franchise, inquire whether at least it had gained the position of being reputable or whether its adherents were merely men of narrow intelligence, mean intellect, and omnivorous credulity. I accordingly took testimony on that point, and find that a number of gentlemen in different countries of Europe, and also in this country, eminent in science, are believers in occultism. Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, a writer of large and varied learning, and of solid intellect, is asserted to have been an occultist, an assertion countenanced by at least two of his books. The late President Wayland, of Brown University, writing of abnormal mental operations as shown in clairvoyance, says:
The subject seems to me well worthy of the most searching and candid examination. It is by no means deserving of ridicule, but demands the attention of the most philosophical inquiry.
Sir William Hamilton, probably the most acute and, undeniably, the most learned of English metaphysicians that ever lived, said at least thirty years ago:
However astonishing, it is now proved beyond all rational doubt that in certain abnormal states of the nervous organism perceptions are possible through other than the ordinary channels of the senses.
By such testimony Theosophy is at least placed on the footing of
respectability. Whether by further labor it can make partial truths
complete truths, whether it can eliminate extravagances and purge
itself of impurities, if there are any, are probably questions upon
which the Court will not feel called upon to pass. I perceive no
other feature of the petitioners' constitution that is obnoxious
to legal objection, and accordingly I have the honor to report that
I show no cause why the prayer of the petitioners should not be
- AUGUST W. ALEXANDER,