H. P. BLAVATSKY
First Published 1892
U .—The twenty-first letter of the Latin alphabet, which has no equivalent in Hebrew. As a number, however, it is considered very mystical both by the Pythagoreans and the Kabbalists, as it is the product of 3 x 7. The latter consider it the most sacred of the odd numbers, as 21 is the sum of the numerical value of the Divine Name aeie, or eiea, or again aheihe—thus (read backward, aheihe)
he i he a
In Alchemy it symbolizes the twenty-one days necessary for the transmutation of baser metals into silver.
Uasar (Eg.). The same as Osiris, the latter name being Greek. Uasar is described as the “Egg-born ”, like Brahmâ. “He is the egg-sprung Eros of Aristophanes, whose creative energy brings all things into existence ; the demiurge who made and animates the world, a being who is a sort of personification of Amen, the invisible god, as Dionysos is a link between mankind and the Zeus Hypsistos” (The Great Dionysiak Myth, Brown). Isis is called Uasi, as she is the Sakti of Osiris, his female aspect, both symbolizing the creating, energising, vital forces of nature in its aspect of male and female deity.
Uchchaih-Sravas (Sk.). The model-horse; one of the fourteen precious things or Jewels produced at the Churning of the Ocean by the gods. The white horse of Indra, called the Râjâ of horses.
Uchnîcha, also Buddhôchnîcha (Sk.). Explained as “a protuberance on Buddha’s cranium, forming a hair-tuft ”. This curious description is given by the Orientalists, varied by another which states that Uchnîcha was “originally a conical or flame-shaped hair tuft on the crown of a Buddha, in later ages represented as a fleshy excrescence on the skull itself ”. This ought to read quite the reverse; for esoteric philosophy would say: Originally an orb with the third eye in it, which degenerated later in the human race into a fleshy protuberance, to disappear gradually, leaving in its place but an occasional flame- coloured aura, perceived only through clairvoyance, and when the exuberance of spiritual energy causes the (now concealed) “third eye to radiate its superfluous magnetic power. At this period of our racial development, it is of course the “Buddhas” or Initiates alone who enjoy in full the faculty of the “third eye” , as it is more or less atrophied in everyone else.
Udâna (Sk) Extemporaneous speeches; also Sűtras. In philosophy the term applies to the physical organs of speech, such as tongue, mouth, voice, etc. In sacred literature in general, it is the name of those Sűtras which contain extemporaneous discourses, in distinction to the Sűtras that contain only that subject matter which is introduced by questions put to Gautama the Buddha and his replies.
Udayana (Sk.). Modern Peshawer. “ The classic land of sorcery” according to Hiouen-Thsang.
Udayana Râjâ (Sk.). A king of Kausâmbî, called Vatsarâjâ, who was the first to have a statue of Buddha made before his death; in consequence of which, say the Roman Catholics, who build statues of Madonnas and Saints at every street corner—he “became the originator of Buddhist IDOLATRY”.
Udra Ramaputra (Sk.). Udra, the son of Râma. A Brahman ascetic, who was for some years the Guru of Gautama Buddha.
Udumbara (Sk.). A lotus of gigantic size, sacred to Buddha: the Nila Udumbara or “blue lotus”, regarded as a supernatural omen when ever it blossoms, for it flowers but once every three thousand years. One such, it is said, burst forth before the birth of Gautama, another, near a lake at the foot of the Himalayas, in the fourteenth century, just before the birth of Tsong-kha-pa, etc., etc. The same is said of the Udumbara tree (ficus glomerata) because it flowers at intervals of long centuries, as does also a kind of cactus, which blossoms only at extra ordinary altitudes and opens at midnight.
Ullambana (Sk.). The festival of “all souls”, the prototype of All Souls’ Day in Christian lands. It is held in China on the seventh moon annually, when both “ Buddhist and Tauist priests read masses, to release the souls of those who died on land or sea from purgatory, scatter rice to feed Prętas [ classes of demons ever hungry and thirsty] , consecrate domestic ancestral shrines, . . . . recite Tantras . . . accompanied by magic finger-play (műdra) to comfort the ancestral spirits of seven generations in Nâraka” (a kind of purgatory or Kama Loka) The author of the Sanskrit-Chinese Dictionary thinks that this is the old Tibetan (Bhon) “ Gtorma ritual engrafted upon Confucian ancestral worship,” owing to Dhamaraksha translating the Ullambana Sűtra and introducing it into China. The said Sűtra is certainly a forgery, as it gives these rites on the authority of Sâkyamuni Buddha, and “ supports it by the alleged experiences of his principal disciples, Ânanda being said to have appeased Prętas by food offerings ”. But as correctly stated by Mr. Eitel, “the whole theory, with the ideas of intercessory prayers, priestly litanies and requiems, and ancestral worship, is entirely foreign to ancient and Southern Buddhism ”. And to the Northern too, if we except the sects of Bhootan and Sikkim, of the Bhon or Dugpa persuasion—the red caps, in short. As the ceremonies of All Saints’ Day, or days, are known to have been introduced into China in the third century (265-292), and as the same Roman Catholic ceremonial and ritual for the dead, held on November 2nd, did not exist in those early days of Christianity, it cannot be the Chinese who borrowed this religious custom from the Latins, but rather the latter who imitated the Mongolians and Chinese.
Uller (Scand.). The god of archery, who “journeys over the silvery ice-ways on skates”. He is the patron of the chase during that period when the Sun passes over the constellation of Sagittarius; and lives in the “ Home of the Light-Elves” which is in the Sun and outside of Asgard.
Ulom (Pśnic.) The intelligible deity. The objective or material Universe, in the theogony of Mochus. The reflection of the ever-concealed deity; the Plerôma of the Gnostics.
Ulphilas (Scand.). A schoolman who made a new alphabet for the Goths in the fourth century—a union of Greek letters with the form of the runic alphabet, since which time the runes began to die out and their secret was gradually lost. (See “ Runes”.) He translated the Bible into Gothic, preserved in the Codex Argenteus.
Ulűpî (Sk.). A daughter of Kauravya, King of the Nâgas in Pâtâla (the nether world, or more correctly, the Antipodes, America). Exoterically, she was the daughter of a king or chief of an aboriginal tribe of the Nâgas, or Nagals (ancient adepts) in pre-historic America—Mexico most likely, or Uruguay. She was married to Arjuna, the disciple of Krishna, whom every tradition, oral and written, shows travelling five thousand years ago to Pâtâla (the Antipodes). The Purânic tale is based on a historical fact. Moreover, Ulűpi, as a name, has a Mexican ring in it, like “ Atlan ”, “ Aclo ”, etc.
Umâ-Kanyâ (Sk.). Lit., “Virgin of Light”; a title ill-befitting its possessor, as it was that of Durgâ Kâli, the goddess or female aspect of Siva. Human flesh was offered to her every autumn; and, as Durgâ, she was the patroness of the once murderous Thugs of India, and the special goddess of Tântrika sorcery. But in days of old it was not as it is now. The earliest mention of the title “Umâ-Kanyâ is found in the Kena-Upanishad; in it the now blood-thirsty Kâlî, was a benevolent goddess, a being of light and goodness, who brings about reconciliation between Brahmâ and the gods. She is Saraswati and she is Vâch. In esoteric symbology, Kâlî is the dual type of the dual soul—the divine and the human, the light and the dark soul of man,
Umbra (Lat.). The shadow of an earth-bound spook. The ancient Latin races divided man (in esoteric teachings) into seven principles, as did every old system, and as Theosophists do now. They believed that after death Anima, the pure divine soul, ascended to heaven, a place of bliss; Manes (the Kâma Rűpa) descended into Hades (Kâma Loka); and Umbra (or astral double, the Linga Sharîra) remained on earth hovering about its tomb, because the attraction of physical, objective matter and affinity to its earthly body kept it within the places which that body had impressed with its emanations. Therefore, they said that nothing but the astral image of the defunct could be seen on earth, and even that faded out with the disintegration of the last particle of the body which had been so long its dwelling.
Una (Sk.). Something underlying; subordinate; secondary also, and material.
Undines (Lat.). Water nymphs and spooks. One of the four principal kinds of elemental spirits, ‘which are Salamanders (fire), Sylphs (air), Gnomes (earth), and Undines (water).
Upâdâna (Sk.). Material Cause; as flax is the cause of linen.
Upâdâna Kâranam (Sk.). The material cause of an effect.
Upâdhi (Sk.). Basis; the vehicle, carrier or bearer of something less material than itself: as the human body is the upâdhi of its spirit, ether the upâdhi of light, etc., etc.; a mould; a defining or limiting substance.
Upadvîpas (Sk.). The root (underlying) of islands; dry land.
Upanishad (Sk.). Translated as “esoteric doctrine ”, or interpretation of the Vedas by the Vedânta methods. The third division of the Vedas appended to the Brâhmanas and regarded as a portion of Sruti or “revealed” word. They are, however, as records, far older than the Brâhmanas the exception of the two, still extant, attached to the Rig -Veda of the Aitareyins. The term Upanishad is explained by the Hindu pundits as “that which destroys ignorance, and thus produces liberation” of the spirit, through the knowledge of the supreme though hidden truth; the same, therefore, as that which was hinted at by Jesus, when he is made to say, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free ” (John viii. 32). It is from these treatises of the Upanishads—themselves the echo of the primeval Wisdom-Religion―that the Vedânta system of philosophy has been developed. (See “Vedânta”.) Yet old as the Upanishads may be, the Orientalists will not assign to the oldest of them more than an antiquity of 600 years B.C. The accepted number of these treatises is 150, though now no more than about twenty are left unadulterated. They treat of very abstruse, metaphysical questions, such as the origin of the Universe; the nature and the essence of the Unmanifested Deity and the manifested gods the connection, primal and ultimate, of spirit and matter ; the universality of mind and the nature of the human Soul and Ego.
The Upanishads must be far more ancient than the days of Buddhism, as they show no preference for, nor do they uphold, the superiority of the Brahmans as a caste. On the contrary, it is the (now) second caste, the Kshatriya, or warrior class, who are exalted in the oldest of them. As stated by Professor Cowell in Elphinstone’s History of India——“they breathe a freedom of spirit unknown to any earlier work except the Rig Veda. . . The great teachers of the higher knowledge and Brahmans are continually represented as going to Kshatriya Kings to become their pupils.” The “ Kshatriya Kings” were in the olden times, like the King Hierophants of Egypt, the receptacles of the highest divine knowledge and wisdom, the Elect and the incarnations of the primordial divine Instructors—the Dhyâni Buddhas or Kumâras. There was a time, ćons before the Brahmans became a caste, or even the Upanishads were written, when there was on earth but one “lip ”, one religion and one science, namely, the speech of the gods, the Wisdom-Religion and Truth. This was before the fair fields of the latter, overrun by nations of many languages, became overgrown with the weeds of intentional deception, and national creeds invented by ambition, cruelty and selfishness, broke the one sacred Truth into thousands of fragments.
Upanita.(Sk.). One who is invested with the Brahmanical thread; lit., “brought to a spiritual teacher or Guru”.
Uparati (Sk) Absence of outgoing desires; a Yoga state.
Upâsaka (Sk.). Male chelas or rather devotees. Those who without entering the priesthood vow to preserve the principal commandments.
Upâsikâ (Sk.). Female chelas or devotees.
Upasruti (Sk.). According to Orientahists a “supernatural voice which is heard at night revealing the secrets of the future ”. According to the explanation of Occultism, the voice of any person at a distance—— generally one versed in the mysteries of esoteric teachings or an adept—— endowed with the gift of projecting both his voice and astral image to any person whatsoever, regardless of distance. The upasruti may “reveal the secrets of the future ”, or may only inform the person it addresses of some prosaic fact of the present; yet it will still be an upasruti—the “double” or the echo of the voice of a living man or woman.
Upekshâ (Sk.). Lit., Renunciation. In Yoga a state of absolute indifference attained by self-control, the complete mastery over one’s mental and physical feelings and sensations.
Ur (Chald.). The chief seat of lunar worship; the Babylonian city where the moon was the chief deity, and whence Abram brought the Jewish god, who is so inextricably connected with the moon as a creative and generative deity.
Urćus (Gr.). In Egyptian Urhek, a serpent and a sacred symbol. Some see in it a cobra, while others say it is an asp. Cooper explains that “the asp is not a urćus but a cerastes, or kind of viper, i.e., a two- horned viper. It is the royal serpent, wearing the pschent . . . the naya hâje.” The urćus is “round the disk of Horus and forms the ornament of the cap of Osiris, besides overhanging the brows of other divinities” (Bonwick). Occultism explains that the urćus is the symbol of initiation and also of hidden wisdom, as the serpent always is. The gods were all patrons of the hierophants and their instructors.
Uragas (Sk.). The Nâgas (serpents) dwelling in Pâtâla the nether world or hell, in popular thought ; the Adepts, High Priests and Initiates of Central and South America, known to the ancient Aryans; where Arjuna wedded the daughter of the king of the Nâgas—Ulűpî. Nagalism or Nâga-worship prevails to this day in Cuba and Hayti, and Voodooism, the chief branch of the former, has found its way into New Orleans. In Mexico the chief “sorcerers ”, the “ medicine men ”, are called Nagals to this day; just as thousands of years ago the Chaldean and Assyrian High Priests were called Nargals, they being chiefs of the Magi (Rab.Mag), the office held at one time by the prophet Daniel. The word Nâga, “ wise serpent ”, has become universal, because it is one of the few words that have survived the wreck of the first universal language. In South as well as in Central and North America, the aborigines use the word, from Behring Straits down to Uruguay, where it means a “chief”, a “teacher and a “ serpent ”. The very word Uraga may have reached India and been adopted through its connection, in prehistoric times, with South America and Uruguay itself, for the name belongs to the American Indian vernacular. The origin of the Uragas, for all that the Orientalists know, may have been in Uruguai, as there are legends about them which locate their ancestors the Nâgas in Pâtâla, the antipodes, or America.
Uranides (Gr.). One of the names of the divine Titans, those who rebelled against Kronos, the prototypes of the Christian “fallen” angels.
Urim (Heb.). See“ Thummim”. The“ Urim and Thummim ”originated in Egypt, and symbolized the Two Truths, the two figures of Ra and Thmei being engraved on the breastplate of the Hierophant and worn by him during the initiation ceremonies. Diodorus adds that this necklace of gold and precious stones was worn by the High Priest when delivering judgment. Thme (plural Thmin) means “ Truth” in Hebrew. “ The Septuagint translates thummim, as Truth ” (Bonwick). The late Mr. Proctor, the astronomer, shows the Jewish idea “derived directly from the Egyptians”. But Philo Judćus affirms that Urim and Thummim were “the two small images of Revelation and Truth, put between the double folds of the breastplate ”, and passes over the latter, with its twelve stones typifying the twelve signs of the Zodiac, without explanation.
Urlak (Scand.). The same as “Orlog” (q.v.). Fate; an impersonal power bestowing gifts “blindly” on mortals; a kind of Nemesis.
Urvasî(Sk.). A divine nymph, mentioned in the Rig-Veda, whose beauty set the whole heaven ablaze. Cursed by the gods she descended to earth and settled there. The loves of Purűravas (the Vikrama), and the nymph Urvasî are the subject of Kâlidâsa's world-famous drama, the Vikramorvasî.
Usanas (Sk.). The planet Venus or Sukra; or rather the ruler and governor of that planet.
Ushas (Sk.). The dawn, the daughter of heaven; the same as the Aurora of the Latins and the hjwvd of the Greeks. She is first mentioned in the Vedas, wherein her name is also Ahanâ and Dyotanâ (the illuminator), and is a most poetical and fascinating image. She is the ever-faithful friend of men, of rich and poor, though she is believed to prefer the latter. She smiles upon and visits the dwelling of every living mortal. She is the immortal, ever-youthful virgin, the light of the poor, and the destroyer of darkness.
Uttara Mîmânsâ (Sk.). The second of the two Mîmânsâs—the first being Pűrva (first) Mîmânsâ, which form respectively the fifth and sixth of the Darshanas or schools of philosophy. The Mîmânsâ are included in the generic name of Vedânta, though it is the Uttara (by Vyâsa) which is really the Vedânta.
Uzza (Heb.). The name of an angel who, together with Azrael, opposed, as the Zohar teaches, the creation of man by the Elohim, for which the latter annihilated both.
V.—The twenty-second letter of the Latin alphabet. Numerically it stands for 5; hence the Roman V (with a dash) stands for 5,000. The Western Kabbalists have connected it with the divine Hebrew name IHVH. The Hebrew Vau, however, being number 6, it is only by being identical with the W, that it can ever become a proper symbol for the male-female, and spirit-matter. The equivalent for the Hebrew Vau is YO, and in numerals 6.
Vâch (Sk.). To call Vâch “speech” simply, is deficient in
clearness. Vâch is the mystic personification of speech, and the female Logos,
being one with Brahmâ, who created her out of one-half of his body, which he
divided into two portions; she is also one with Virâj (called the “female”
Virâj) who was created in her by Brahmâ. In one sense Vâch is “speech” by which
knowledge was taught to man; in another she is the
“mystic, secret speech” which descends upon and enters into the primeval Rishis, as the “tongues of fire” are said to have “sat upon” the apostles. For, she is called “the female creator ”, the “mother of the Vedas ”, etc., etc. Esoterically, she is the subjective Creative Force which, emanating from the Creative Deity (the subjective Universe, its “privation ”, or ideation) becomes the manifested “world of speech ”, i.e., the concrete expression of ideation, hence the “Word” or Logos. Vâch is “the male and female” Adam of the first chapter of Genesis, and thus called “Vâch-Virâj” by the sages. (See Atharva Veda.) She is also “the celestial Saraswatî produced from the heavens ”, a “voice derived from speechless Brahmâ” (Mahâbhârata); the goddess of wisdom and eloquence. She is called Sata-rűpa, the goddess of a hundred forms.
Vacuum (Lat.). The symbol of the absolute Deity or Boundless Space, esoterically.
Vâhana (Sk.). A vehicle, the carrier of something immaterial and formless. All the gods and goddesses are, therefore, represented as using vâhanas to manifest themselves, which vehicles are ever symbolical. So, for instance, Vishnu has during Pralayas, Ânanta the infinite” (Space), symbolized by the serpent Sesha, and during the Manvantaras—Garuda the gigantic half-eagle, half-man, the symbol of the great cycle; Brahma appears as Brahmâ, descending into the planes of manifestations on Kâlahamsa, the “swan in time or finite eternity”; Siva (phonet, Shiva) appears as the bull Nandi; Osiris as the sacred bull Apis; Indra travels on an elephant; Kârttikeya, on a peacock; Kâmadeva on Makâra, at other times a parrot; Agni, the universal (and also solar) Fire-god, who is, as all of them are, “a consuming Fire”, manifests itself as a ram and a lamb, Ajâ, “the unborn”; Varuna, as a fish; etc., etc., while the vehicle of MAN is his body.
Vaibhâchikas (Sk.). The followers of the Vibhâcha Shâstra, an ancient school of materialism ; a philosophy that held that no mental concept can be formed except through direct contact between the mind, via the senses, such as sight, touch, taste, etc., and external objects. There are Vaibhâchikas, to this day, in India.
Vaidhâtra (Sk.). The same as the Kumâras.
Vaidyuta (Sk.). Electric fire, the same as Pâvaka,
one of the three fires which, divided, produce
forty-nine mystic fires.
Vaihara (Sk.). The name of a cave-temple near Râjagriha, whereinto the Lord Buddha usually retired for meditation.
Vaijayantî (Sk.). The magic necklace of Vishnu, imitated by certain Initiates among the temple Brahmans. It is made of five precious stones, each symbolizing one of the five elements of our Round; namely, the pearl, ruby, emerald, sapphire and diamond, or water, fire, earth, air and ether, called “the aggregate of the five elemental rudiments”— the word “powers” being, perhaps, more correct than “rudiments ”.
Vaikhari Vâch (Sk.). ‘That which is uttered; one of the four forms of speech.
Vaikuntha (Sk.). One of the names of the twelve great gods, whence Vaikunthaloka, the abode of Vishnu.
Vairâjas (Sk.). In the popular belief, semi-divine beings, shades of saints, inconsumable by fire, impervious to water, who dwell in Tapo loka with the hope of being translated into Satya-loka—a more purified state which answers to Nirvâna. The term is explained as the aerial bodies or astral shades of “ascetics, mendicants, anchorites, and penitents, who have completed their course of rigorous austerities”. Now in esoteric philosophy they are called Nirmânakâyas, Tapo-loka being on the sixth plane (upward) but in direct communication with the mental plane. The Vairâjas are referred to as the first gods because the Mânasa putras and the Kumâras are the oldest in theogony, as it is said that even the gods worshipped them (Matsya Purâna); those whom Brahmâ “with the eye of Yoga beheld in the eternal spheres, and who are the gods of gods” (Vâyu Purâna).
(Sk.). “All-enlightening”. A
mystic symbol, or rather a generic personification of a class of spiritual
beings described as the embodiment of essential wisdom (bodhi) and
absolute purity. They dwell in the fourth Arűpa Dhâtu (formless world)
or Buddhakshetra, and are the first or the highest hierarchy of the five
orthodox Dhyâni Buddhas. There was a Sramana (an Arhat) of this name
(see Eitel’s Sansk. Chin. Dict.) a native of Kashmir, “who introduced
Buddhism into Kustan and lahoured in Tibet” (in the seventh century of our
era). He was the best translator of the semi-esoteric Canon of Northern
Buddhism, and a contemporary of the great Samantabhadra (q.v.).
Vaisâkha (Sk.). A celebrated female ascetic, born at Srâvastî, and called Sudatta, “virtuous donor”. She was the mother-abbess of a Vihâra, or convent of female Upâsikâs, and is known as the builder of a Vihâra for Sâkyamuni Buddha. She is regarded as the patroness of all the Buddhist female ascetics.
Vaisheshika (Sk.). One of the six Darshanas or schools of philosophy, founded by Kanâda. It is called the Atomistic School, as it teaches the existence of a universe of atoms of a transient character, an endless number of souls and a fixed number of material principles, by the correlation and interaction of which periodical cosmic evolutions take place without any directing Force, save a kind of mechanical law inherent in the atoms; a very materialistic school.
Vaishnava (Sk.). A follower of any sect recognising and worshipping Vishnu as the one supreme God. The worshippers of Siva are called Saivas.
Vaivaswata (Sk.). The name of the Seventh Manu, the
forefather of the post-diluvian race, or our own fifth humankind. A reputed son
of Sűrya (the Sun), he became, after having been saved in an ark (built by the
order of Vishnu) from the Deluge, the father of Ikshwâku, the founder of the
solar race of kings.
Vajra (Sk.). Lit., “diamond club” or sceptre. In the Hindu works, the sceptre of Indra, similar to the thunderbolts of Zeus, with which this deity, as the god of thunder, slays his enemies. But in mystical Buddhism, the magic sceptre of Priest-Initiates, exorcists and adepts—the symbol of the possession of Siddhis or superhuman powers, wielded during certain ceremonies by the priests and theurgists. It is also the symbol of Buddha’s power over evil spirits or elementals. The possessors of this wand are called Vajrapâni (q.v.).
Vajrâchârya (Sk.). The spiritual achârya (guru, teacher) of the Yogâchâryas, The “Supreme Master of the Vajra”.
Vajradhara (Sk.). The Supreme Buddha with the Northern Buddhists.
Vajrapâni (Sk.), or Manjushrî, the Dhyâni-Bodhisattva (as the spiritual reflex, or the son of the Dhyâni.Buddhas, on earth) born directly from the subjective form of existence; a deity worshipped by the profane as a god, and by Initiates as a subjective Force, the real nature of which is known only to, and explained by, the highest Initiates of the Yogâchârya School.
Vajrasattva (Sk.). The name of the sixth Dhyani-Buddha (of whom there are but five in the popular Northern Buddhism)—in the Yogâchârya school, the latter counting seven Dhyâni-Buddhas and as many Bodhisattvas—the “mind-sons” of the former. Hence, the Orientalists refer to Vajrasattva as “a fictitious Bodhisattva”.
Vallabâchârya (Sk.). The name of a mystic who was the chela (disciple) of Vishnu Swâmi, and the founder of a sect of Vaishnavas. His descendants are called Goswâmi Mahârâj, and have much landed property and numerous mandirs (temples) in Bombay. They have degenerated into a shamefully licentious sect.
Vâmana (Sk.). The fifth avatar of Vishnu, hence the name of the Dwarf whose form was assumed by that god.
Vara (Mazd.). A term used in the Vendîdâd, where Ahura-mazda commands Yima to build Vara. It also signifies an enclosure or vehicle, an ark (argha), and at the same time MAN (verse 30). Vara is the vehicle of our informing Egos, i.e. the human body, the soul in which is typified by the expression a “window self-shining within”.
Varâha (Sk.). The boar-avatar of Vishnu; the third in number.
Varna (Sk.). Caste; lit., “colour”. The four chief castes named by Manu—the Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Sűdra—are called Chatur-varna.
Varsha (Sk.). A region, a plain; any stretch of country situated between the great mountain-ranges of the earth.
Varuna (Sk). The god of water, or marine god, but far different from Neptune, for in the case of this oldest of the Vedic deities, Water means the “ Waters of Space”, or the all-investing sky, Akâsa, in one sense. Varuna or Ooaroona (phonetically), is certainly the prototype of the Ouranos of the Greeks. As Muir says : “ The grandest cosmical functions are ascribed to Varuna. Possessed of illimitable knowledge he upholds heaven and earth, he dwells in all worlds as sovereign ruler. . . He made the golden . . . sun to shine in the firmament. The wind which resounds through the atmosphere is his breath. . . . Through the operation of his laws the moon walks in brightness and the stars . . . mysteriously vanish in daylight. He knows the flight of birds in the sky, the paths of ships on the ocean, the course of the far travelling wind, and beholds all the things that have been or shall be done. . . . He witnesses men’s truth and false hood. He instructs the Rishi Vasishta in mysteries ; but his secrets and those of Mitra are not to be revealed to the foolish.” . . “ The attributes and functions ascribed to Varuna impart to his character a moral elevation and sanctity far surpassing that attributed to any other Vedic deity.”
Vasishta (Sk.). One of the primitive seven great Rishis, and a most celebrated Vedic sage.
Vasudeva (Sk.). The father of Krishna. He belonged to the Yâdava branch of the Somavansa, or lunar race.
Vasus (Sk.). The eight evil deities attendant upon Indra. Personified cosmic phenomena, as their names show.
Vâyu (Sk.). Air: the god and sovereign of the air; one of the five states of matter, namely the gaseous; one of the five elements, called, as wind, Vâta. The Vishnu Purâna makes Vâyu King of the Gandharvas. He is the father of Hanumân, in the Râmâyana. The trinity of the mystic gods in Kosmos closely related to each other, are “ Agni (fire) whose place is on earth; Vâyu (air, or one of the forms of Indra), whose place is in the air ; and Sűrya (the sun) whose place is in the air (Nirukta.) In esoteric interpretation, these three cosmic principles, correspond with the three human principles, Kâma, Kâma-Manas and Manas, the sun of the intellect.
Vedanâ (Sk.). The second of the five Shandhas (perceptions, senses). The sixth Nidâna.
Vedânta (Sk.). A mystic system of philosophy which has developed from the efforts of generations of sages to interpret the secret meaning of the Upanishads (q.v.). It is called in the Shad-Darshanas (six schools or systems of demonstration), Uttara Mîmânsâ, attributed to Vyâsa, the compiler of the Vedas, who is thus referred to as the founder of the Vedânta. The orthodox Hindus call Vedânta_a term meaning literally the “end of all (Vedic) knowledge ”—Brahmâ-jnâna, or pure and spiritual knowledge of Brahmâ. Even if we accept the late dates assigned to various Sanskrit schools and treatises by our Orientalists, the Vedânta must be 3,300 years old, as Vyâsa is said to have lived I,400 years B.C. If, as Elphinstone has it in his History of India, the Brahmanas are the Talmud of the Hindus, and the Vedas the Mosaic books, then the Vedânta may be correctly called the Kabalah of India. But how vastly more grand! Sankarâchârya, who was the popularizer of the Vedântic system, and the founder of the Adwaita philosophy, is sometimes called the founder of the modern schools of the Vedânta.
Vedas (Sk.). The “revelation”. the scriptures of the Hindus, from the root vid, “to know ”, or “divine knowledge”. They are the most ancient as well as the most sacred of the Sanskrit works. The Vedas on the date and antiquity of which no two Orientalists can agree, are claimed by the Hindus themselves, whose Brahmans and Pundits ought to know best about their own religious works, to have been first taught orally for thousands of years and then compiled on the shores of Lake Mânasa-Sarovara (phonetically, Mansarovara) beyond the Himalayas, in Tibet. When was this done? While their religious teachers, such as Swami Dayanand Saraswati, claim for them an antiquity of many decades of ages, our modern Orientalists will grant them no greater antiquity in their present form than about between 1,000 and 2,000 B.C. As compiled in their final form by Veda-Vyâsa, however, the Brahmans themselves unanimously assign 3,100 years before the Christian era, the date when Vyâsa flourished. Therefore the Vedas must be as old as this date. But their antiquity is sufficiently proven by the fact that they are written in such an ancient form, of Sanskrit, so different from the Sanskrit now used, that there is no other, work like them in the literature of this eldest sister of all the known languages, as Prof. Max Muller calls it. Only the most learned of the Brahman Pundits can read the Vedas in their original. It is urged that Colebrooke found the date 1400 B.c. corroborated absolutely by a passage which he discovered, and which is based on astronomical data. But if, as shown unanimously by all the Orientalists and the Hindu Pundits also, that (a) the Vedas are not a single work, nor yet any one of the separate Vedas; but that each Veda, and almost every hymn and division of the latter, is the production of various authors; and that (b) these have been written (whether as sruti, “revelation ”, or not) at various periods of the ethnological evolution of the Indo-Aryan race, then—what does Mr. Colebrooke’s discovery prove? Simply that the Vedas were finally arranged and compiled fourteen centuries before our era; but this interferes in no way with their antiquity. Quite the reverse; for, as an offset to Mr. Colebrooke’s passage, there is a learned article, written on purely astronomical data by Krishna Shâstri Godbole (of Bombay), which proves as absolutely and on the same evidence that the Vedas must have been taught at least 25,000 years ago. (See Theosophist, Vol. II., p. 238 et seq., Aug., 1881.) This statement is, if not supported, at any rate not contradicted by what Prof. Cowell says in Appendix VII., of Elphinstone’ History of India: “ There is a difference in age between the various hymns, which are now united in their present form as the Sanhitâ of the Rig Veda; but we have no data to determine their relative antiquity, and purely subjective criticism, apart from solid data, has so often failed in other instances, that we can trust but little to any of its inferences in such a recently opened field of research as Sanskrit literature. [ a fourth part of the Vaidik literature is as yet in print, and very little of it has been translated into English (1866).] The still unsettled controversies about the Homeric poems may well warn us of being too confident in our judgments regarding the yet earlier hymns of the Rig -Veda. . . . When we examine these hymns . . . they are deeply interesting for the history of the human mind, belonging as they do to a much older phase than the poems of Homer or Hesiod.” The Vedic writings are all classified in two great divisions, exoteric and esoteric, the former being called Karma-Kânda, “division of actions or works ”, and the Jnâna Kânda, “division of (divine) knowledge”, the Upanishads (q.v.) coming under this last classification. Both departments are regarded as Sruti or revelation. To each hymn of the Rig -Veda, the name of the Seer or Rishi to whom it was revealed is prefixed. It, thus, becomes evident on the authority of these very names (such as Vasishta, Viswâmitra, Nârada, etc.), all of which belong to men born in various manvantaras and even ages, that centuries, and perhaps millenniums, must have elapsed between the dates of their composition.
Veda-Vyâsa (Sk.). The compiler of the Vedas (q.v.).
Veddhas (Sing.). The name of a wild race of men living in the forests of Ceylon. They are very difficult to find.
Vehicle of Life (Mystic). The “Septeriary” Man among the Pythagoreans, “number seven” among the profane. The former “explained it by saying, that the human body consisted of four principal elements (principles), and that the soul is triple (the higher triad)” . (See Isis Unveiled, Vol. II., p. 418, New York, 1877.) It has been often remarked that in the earlier works of the Theosophists no septenary division of man was mentioned. The above quotation is sufficient warrant that, although with every caution, the subject was more than once approached, and is not a new-fangled theory or invention.
Vendîdâd (Pahlavi). The first book (Nosk) in the collection of Zend fragments usually known as the Zend-Avesta. The Vendidâd is a corruption of the compound-word “Vidaęvo-dâtern”, meaning “the anti- demoniac law ”, and is full of teachings how to avoid sin and defilement by purification, moral and physical—each of which teachings is based on Occult laws. It is a pre-eminently occult treatise, full of symbolism and often of meaning quite the reverse of that which is expressed in its dead-letter text. The Vendîdâd, as claimed by tradition, is the only one of the twenty-one Nosks (works) that has escaped the auto-da-fé at the hands of the drunken Iskander the Rűmi, he whom posterity calls Alexander the Great— though the epithet is justifiable only when applied to the brutality, vices and cruelty of this conqueror. It is through the vandalism of this Greek that literature and knowledge have lost much priceless lore in the Nosks burnt by him. Even the Vendidâd has reached us in only a fragmentary state. The first chapters are very mystical, and therefore called “mythical” in the renderings of European Orientalists. The two “creators” of “spirit-matter” or the world of differentiation—Ahura- Mazda and Angra-Mainyu (Ahriman)—are introduced in them, and also Yima (the first man, or mankind personified). The work is divided into Fargards or chapters, and a portion of these is devoted to the formation of our globe, or terrestrial evolution. (See Zend-Avesta.)
Vetâla (Sk.). An elemental, a spook, which haunts burial grounds and animates corpses.
Vetâla Siddhi (Sk.). A practice of sorcery; means of obtaining power over the living by black magic, incantations, and ceremonies performed over a dead human body, during which process the corpse is desecrated. (See “Vetâla ”.)
Vibhâvasu (Sk.). A mystic fire connected with the beginning of pralaya, or the dissolution of the universe.
Vibhűtayah (Sk.). The same as Siddhis or magic powers.
Vidyâ (Sk.). Knowledge, Occult Science.
Vidyâ-dhara (Sk.). And Vidyâ-dharî, male and female deities. Lit., “possessors of knowledge”. They are also called Nabhas-chara, “moving in the air”, flying, and Priyam-vada, “sweet-spoken ”. They are the Sylphs of the Rosicrucians; inferior deities inhabiting the astral sphere between the earth and ether; believed in popular folk-lore to be beneficent, but in reality they are cunning and mischievous, and intelligent Elementals, or “Powers of the air ”. They are represented in the East, and in the West, as having intercourse with men (“ intermarrying ”, as it is called in Rosicrucian parlance; see Count de Gabalis). In India they are also called Kâma-rűpins, as they take shapes at will. It is among these creatures that the “spirit-wives” and “ spirit-husbands” of certain modern spiritualistic mediums and hysteriacs are recruited. These boast with pride of having such pernicious connexions (e.g., the American “Lily ”, the spirit-wife of a well-known head of a now scattered community of Spiritualists, of a great poet and well-known writer), and call them angel-guides, maintaining that they are the spirits of famous disembodied mortals. These “ spirit-husbands” and “wives” have not originated with the modern Spiritists and Spiritualists, but have been known in the East for thousands of years, in the Occult philosophy, under the names above given, and among the profane as—Pishâthas.
Vihâra (Sk.). Any place inhabited by Buddhist priests or ascetics; a Buddhist temple, generally a rock-temple or cave. A monastery, or a nunnery also. One finds in these days Vihâras built in the enclosures of monasteries and academies for Buddhist training in towns and cities; but in days of yore they were to be met with only in unfrequented wild jungles, on mountain tops, and in the most deserted places.
Vihâraswâmin (Sk.). The superior (whether male or female) of a monastery or convent, Vihâra. Also called Karmadâna, as every teacher or guru, having authority, takes upon himself the responsibility of certain actions, good or bad, committed by his pupils or the flock entrusted to him.
Vijnânam (Sk.). The Vedântic name for the principle which dwells in the Vijnânamaya Kosha (the sheath of intellect) and corresponds to the faculties of the Higher Manas.
Vikârttana (Sk.). Lit., “shorn of his rags”; a name of the Sun, and the type of the initiated neophyte. (See Secret Doctrine, I., p. 322, n.)
Vimoksha (Sk.). The same as Nirvâna.
Vînâ (Sk.). A kind of large guitar used in India and Tibet, whose invention is attributed variously to Siva, Nârada, and others.
Vinatâ (Sk.). A daughter of Daksha and wife of Kashyapa (one of the “seven orators” of the world). She brought forth the egg from which Garuda the seer was born.
Viprachitti (Sk.). The chief of the Dânavas—the giants that warred with the gods: the Titans of India.
(Sk.). A thousand-headed and
thousand-armed monster, “born of the breath” of Siva Rudra, a symbol having
reference to the “sweat-born ”, the second race of mankind
(Secret Doctrine, II., p. 182).
Virâj (Sk.). The Hindu Logos in the Purânas; the male Manu, created in the female portion of Brahmâ’s body (Vâch) by that god. Says Manu: “ Having divided his body into two parts, the lord (Brahmâ) became with the one half a male and with the other half a female; and in her he created Virâj”. The Rig -Veda makes Virâj spring from Purusha, and Purusha spring from Virâj. The latter is the type of all male beings, and Vâch, Sata-rűpa (she of the hundred forms), the type of all female forms.
Vishnu (Sk.). The second person of the Hindu Triműrti (trinity), composed of Brahmâ, Vishnu and Siva. From the root vish, “to pervade”. in the Rig -Veda, Vishnu is no high god, but simply a manifestation of the solar energy, described as “striding through the seven regions of the Universe in three steps and enveloping all things with the dust (of his beams ”.) Whatever may be the six other occult significances of the statement, this is related to the same class of types as the seven and ten Sephiroth, as the seven and three orifices of the perfect Adam Kadmon, as the seven “principles” and the higher triad in man, etc., etc. Later on this mystic type becomes a great god, the preserver and the renovator, he “of a thousand names—Sahasranâma ”.
Vishwakarman (Sk.). The “Omnificent”. A Vedic god, a personification of the creative Force, described as the One “all-seeing god, . . . the generator, disposer, who . . . is beyond the comprehension of (uninitiated) mortals”. In the two hymns of the Rig -Veda specially devoted to him, he is said “to sacrifice himself to himself ”. The names of his mother, “the lovely and virtuous Yoga-Siddha” (Purânas) and of his daughter Sanjnâ (spiritual consciousness), show his mystic character. (See Secret Doctrine, sub voc.) As the artificer of the gods and maker of their weapons, he is called Karu, “workman”, Takshaka “carpenter”, or “wood-cutter”, etc., etc.
Vishwatryarchas (Sk.) The fourth solar (mystic) ray of the seven. (See Secret Doctrine, I., p. 515, n.)
Vivaswat (Sk.). The “bright One”, the Sun.
Viwan (Sk.). Some kind “of air-vehicle”, like a balloon, mentioned but not described in the old Sanskrit works, which the Atlanteans and the ancient Aryas seem to have known and used.
Voluspa (Scand.). A poem called “The Song of the Prophetess”, or “Song of Wala ”.
Voodooism, or Voodoos. A system of African sorcery; a sect of black magicians, to which the New Orleans negroes are much addicted. It flourishes likewise in Cuba and South America.
Voordalak (Slav.). A vampire; a corpse informed by its lower principles, and maintaining a kind of semi-life in itself by raising itself during the night from the grave, fascinating its living victims and sucking out their blood. Roumanians, Moldavians, Servians, and all the Slavonian tribes dwelling in the Balkans, and also the Tchechs (Bohemians), Moravians, and others, firmly believe in the existence of such ghosts and dread them accordingly.
Votan (Mex.). The deified hero of the Mexicans, and probably the same as Quetzal-Coatl; a “son of the snakes”, one admitted “to the snake’s hole ”, which means an Adept admitted to the Initiation in the secret chamber of the Temple. The missionary Brasseur de Bourbourg, seeks to prove him a descendant of Ham, the accursed son of Noah. (See Isis Unveiled, I., pp. 545 et seq.)
Vrata (Sk) Law, or power of the gods.
Vratâni (Sk.). Varuna’s “active laws”, courses of natural action. (See Rig -Vedic Hymns, X., 90-1.
Vriddha Garga (Sk.). From Vriddha, “old”, and Garga, an ancient sage, one of the oldest writers on astronomy.
Vriddha Mânava (Sk.) The laws of Manu.
Vritra (Sk.). The demon of drought in the Vedas, a great foe of Indra, with whom he is constantly at war. The allegory of a cosmic phenomenon.
Vritra-han (Sk.) An epithet or title of Indra, meaning “the slayer of Vritra”.
Vyahritis (Slav.). Lit., “ fiery ”, words lit by and born of fire. The three mystical, creative words, said by Manu to have been milked by the Prajâpati from the Vedas: bhűr, from the Rig -Veda; bhuvah, from the Vajur-Veda; and Swar, from the Sama-Veda (Manu II., 76). All three are said to possess creative powers. The Satapatha Brâhmana explains that they are “the three luminous essences” extracted from the Vedas by Prajâpati (“lords of creation ”, progenitors), through heat. “He (Brahmâ) uttered the word bhűr and it became the earth; bhuvah, and it became the firmament; and swar, which became heaven”. Mahar is the fourth “luminous essence ”, and was taken from the Atharva-Veda. But, as this word is purely mantric and magical, it is one, so to say, kept apart.
(Sk.).. Lit., one who
expands or amplifies; an interpreter, or rather a revealer; for that
which he explains, interprets and amplifies is a mystery to the profane. This term
was applied in days of old to the highest Gurus in India. There were many
Vyâsas in Aryavarta; one was the compiler and arranger of the Vedas; another,
the author of the Mahâbhârata—the twenty-eighth Vyâsa or revealer in
the order of
succession—and the last one of note was the author of Uttara Mîmânsâ, the sixth school or system of Indian philosophy. He was also the founder of the Vedânta system. His date, as assigned by Orientalists (see Elphinstone, Cowell, etc.), is 1,400 B.C., but this date is certainly too recent. The Purânas mention only twenty-eight Vyâsas, who at various ages descended to the earth to promulgate Vedic truths—but there were many more.
Find out more about
Theosophy with these links
Cardiff Theosophical Society meetings are informal
and there’s always a cup of tea afterwards
One liners and quick explanations
About aspects of Theosophy
Classic Introductory Theosophy Text
A Text Book of Theosophy By
Try these if you are looking for a
Local Theosophy Group or Centre