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EDITORS’ NOTE: This online version of the Encyclopedic Theosophical Glossary is a work in progress. The manuscript, originally produced in the 1930s and ’40s, is currently being revised and expanded, and will be updated periodically. Comments, corrections, and suggestions are welcome; please send to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Keb. See SEB
Kebar-Zivo. See IUKABAR ZIVO
Kedara (Sanskrit) Kedāra A field, meadow, plain; a mountainous region in the Himalayas; also a name of Siva as worshiped in the Himalayas.
Keherpas, Karpas (Persian), Kalpadh (Pahlavi) Kālpadh. A cloth made of cotton; In Persian literature, used in the sense of a white cotton gown. It might symbolically allude to the aerial form, as a Parsi FTS wrote in Five Years of Theosophy, designating it as the third of seven human principles: “The word translated ‘aerial form’ [keherpas] has come down to us without undergoing any change in the meaning. It is the modern Persian word kaleb, which means a mould, a shape into which a thing is cast, to take a certain form and features” (p. 148).
Kelim (Hebrew) Kēlīm Vessels, utensils; in space the Qabbalists depicted a great source or fountain of life, which becomes the beginning of a number of cosmic vases or vessels — the kelim — which are the ten Sephiroth; through which all the energies, forms, and innumerable manifested objects come into being. This source of lives, the Crown or Kether, corresponds to the productive or generative Brahma, which just before the beginning of manvantaric manifestation was nonmanifest in the bosom of its higher essence, Brahman or parabrahman. When Brahma awakens to new activity and thus becomes what Western religion and philosophy call the Creator, the cosmic demiurge or former, then the various vessels or vases spring into being, and flow forth from Brahma, the Father-Mother. Being termed vessels simply signifies that the cosmic Sephiroth are the holders or containers of all the powers, faculties, forces, attributes, etc., which bring about the building of the manifested universe, enshrining as the Sephiroth do the unfolding of the energies of the Divine in the latter’s activity during manifestation.
Later Qabbalists regarded the kelim as being connected with the 22 canals — equivalent to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet; which with the ten Sephiroth make the 32 paths of wisdom.
Kena Upanishad or Kenopanishad (Sanskrit) Kenopaniṣad [from kena by whom + upaniṣad ] An Upanishad of the Sama-Veda, which opens with the question: “By whom commanded do mind, life, voice, eye, and ear go forth into being?”
Kerenhappuch (Hebrew) Qeren Happūkh Horn of paint, horn of antimony, or horn of Amalthea or plenty; in the Bible the third daughter of Job (42:14). HPB writes that this is a Pagan mythological name, not in its words but in its significance, and that it shows that the Book of Job is the work of an Initiate: “The presence in the Septuagint of this heroine of Pagan fable, shows the ingorance of the transcribers of its meaning as well as the exoteric origin of the Book of Job” (IU 2:496)
Kerkes [from Arabic] The Phoenix of the Koran, described as living for a thousand years and then consuming itself in a self-generated fire, from which it is reborn.
Kesarin (Sanskrit) Keśarin also Kesarin, Keśarī. Having a mane; a variant name of Anjana, the naga or initiate who was the mother of Hanuman, the monkey-god of the Ramayana. Hanuman’s father, the wind god (Pavana or Vayu), is at times also called Kesarin.
Keshara [Khaga]. See KHECHARA
Keshvar. See KARSHVAR
Kesil (Hebrew) Kĕsīl [from kāsal to be heavy, sluggish, stupid, foolish] Fool, dullard; the constellation Orion. In the plural, constellations.
Kesin (Sanskrit) Keśin A demon slain by Krishna, the eighth avatara of Vishnu.
Kether (Hebrew) Kether Crown; in the Qabbalah, the name of the first Sephirah which is regarded as the first condensation of spiritual substance around the monadic center, this gathering together being the first reflection — the number 1 — from manifested nonbeing or ’eyn soph, the mystical kosmic womb of being represented figuratively as the Zero. Kether is termed the Primordial Point (nequdah ri’shonah) and the Expanded or Evolved Point (nequdah peshutah) because when the first reflection from above or condensation from ’eyn soph occurred, it was figurated as a point or monadic garment.
This first Sephirah contains involved within itself all the other nine Sephiroth, which it proceeds in regular serial order to emanate forth. It is considered in the Qabbalah as a sexless yet androgynous potency. Kether is original spiritual Light in comparison with divine Darkness or the absolute Light of ’eyn soph, this divine Darkness being beyond human conception and hence termed the Concealed of the Concealed — a title also applicable to Kether itself. Being the oldest or first of the Sephiroth it is termed the Most Holy Ancient One (‘Attiqa’ Qaddisha’), the Ancient of Days (‘Attiq Yomin), and the White Head (Reisha’ Hiwwara’) as containing within itself all colors. As head of the Sephirothal Tree, Kether is termed the Great Aspect, Macroprosopus, or Long Face (’Arich ’Anpin) as it contains all the attributes of the other nine Sephiroth. Its Divine Name is ’Ehyeh (I am), the first manifested existence or cosmic being. Applied to man, Kether is represented by the head. Its first emanation became the second Sephirah, Hochmah.
Keto. See CETUS
Ketu (Sanskrit) Ketu The descending node of the moon in astronomy; in Hindu mythology, the tail of the celestial dragon who is supposed to attack the sun during eclipses; also a comet or meteor.
Kha or Khat (Egyptian) [from khaā to set aside, cast away] The physical body, whether alive or dead. It refers to the unimportance of the physical body in the human constitution, abandoned or cast off at death, or indeed temporarily abandoned in the case of initiates who were elsewhere than in the body.
Also the sacred plant of the Egyptians corresponding to the Hindu soma.
Kha (Sanskrit) Kha Ethery spaces, often applied to the earth’s atmosphere, sometimes used for akasa.
Khaba or Khaibit (Egyptian) Khaba or Khaibit. Shade, shadow; many of the deities are represented with two bodies, one often termed the thought-body, corresponding to the mayavi-rupa. There were other Egyptian terms for the mayavi-rupa. Blavatsky made khaba equivalent in the human constitution to the spiritual soul or buddhi, whereas Massey made it equivalent to astral body or linga-sarira (SD 2:632-3). See also KA
Khado. See KHADOMAS
Khadomas (Tibetan) mkha’ ’gro ma (kha-do-ma) [from mkha’ sky + ’gro going + ma female] Equivalent of Sanskrit dakini; in popular Tibetan folklore, deities having feminine characteristics, and hence often styled mothers, although regarded as demons. Blavatsky states that they are elementals, “occult and evil Forces of Nature,” and that Lilith is the Jewish equivalent: “Allegorical legends call the chief of these Liliths, Sangye Khado (Buddha Dakini, in Sanskrit); all are credited with the art of ‘walking in the air,’ and the greatest kindness to mortals; but no mind — only animal instinct” (TG 177; SD 2:285). Thus the khado or khadoma are equivalent to one of the classes of nature spirits recognized by the medieval Fire-philosophers.
Khaga. See KHECHARA
Khaldii, Khaldis. See CHALDEANS
Khamism [from chem, chemi the black land] Used by Bunsen for the Egyptian language, or old Coptic.
Khanda (Sanskrit) Khaṇḍa [from the verbal root khaṇḍ to divide] A partition, portion or part divided off from the whole; hence a section or chapter of Hindu scripture. Used in philosophy for divisional parts.
Khanda-kala (Sanskrit) Khaṇḍa-kāla [from khaṇḍa a portion, part + kāla period of time] Time as broken up into periods; hence finite or conditioned time in contradistinction to infinite time or eternity.
Khanoch. See ENOCH
Khat. See KHA
Khechara (Sanskrit) Khecara [from kha blue ether, heaven, sky + cara wanderer, goer] He who wanders in the spatial blue, or he who wanders along the roads of heaven. One who can leave his physical body and go to other places in his mayavi-rupa; “the body of the Yogi becomes as one formed of the wind; as ‘a cloud from which limbs have sprouted out,’ after which — ‘he (the Yogi) beholds the things beyond the seas and stars; he hears the language of the Devas and comprehends it, and perceives what is passing in the mind of the ant’ ” (Jnanesvari q in VS 77). Equivalent to the Tibetan hpho-wa and Sanskrit khaga.
Khem (Egyptian) Khem. A deity presiding over the districts of Herui and Khem in Upper Egypt; being an aspect of Horus the Younger (Heru-merti). He is especially connected with the fish in the city of Sekhem in the Underworld: “Se-khen is the residence or loka of the god Khem (Horus-Osiris, or Father and Son), hence the ‘Devachan’ of Atma-Buddhi.
“ . . . Khem is Horus avenging the death of his father Osiris, hence punishing the Sins of man when he becomes a disembodied Soul. Thus the defunct ‘Osirified’ became the god Khem, who ‘gleans the field of Aanroo,’ i.e., he gleans either his reward or punishment, as that field is the celestial locality (Devachan) where the defunct is given wheat, the food of divine justice” (SD 1:220-21).
Khensu or Khonsu (Egyptian) Khensu or Khonsu [from khens to travel, move about] The third of the triad of deities worshiped especially at Thebes, where he was regarded as the moon god, son of Amen-Ra and Mut. As Nefer-hetep (lord of joy of heart) he is depicted with the head of a hawk, surmounted by the crescent moon and the disk, and bearing the flailed staff and the ankh. As the moon he ruled over the month and possessed complete power over evil (or lunar) beings bringing disease and suffering, regarded as infesting earth, air, sea, and sky. Thus Khensu was addressed as the healer of diseases and the banisher of evil. Khensu was also associated with Horus as Harpocrates (Heru-pa-khart — Horus the babe) and with Ra, the sun god. At Hermopolis (Khemennu) he was associated with Thoth and called Khensu-Tehuti.
Khepera (Egyptian) Kheperȧ [from kheper to become, be born, arise into manifestation] Originally one of three aspects of the sun: “I am Khepera in the morning, and Ra at noon-day, and Temu in the evening.” Later each of these aspects developed into a separate deity. Khepera was the god of regeneration and development in growth, a spiritual power regulating reimbodiments and transmigrations and the deity presiding over the Egyptian form of the creation, where he is the only thing in existence besides the watery abyss, Nu. The deity of the universe, Nebertcher (a form of Ra) says: “I am he who came into being in the form of the god Khepera,” the hieroglyphic text representing the word by the scarab surmounted by a circle. The universe, then, is but the re-manifestation of a previous universe: the scarab standing for rebirth and regeneration, and the circle for karmic destiny in the universe as containing the seeds of life, brought into activity through reimbodiment or rebirth. The primeval deities Shu and Tefnut were brought forth by Khepera, who was the developer of everything which comes into manifested being from latency. In The Book of the Dead Khepera is called the father of the gods.
Khi (Chinese) Also Ch’i. Breath; “The khi is the full manifestation of the shen” (I Ching), “while the bones and the flesh moulder in the ground, and imperceptibly become the earth of the fields, the khi departs to move on high as a shinning light” (Tsi i 11). Blavatsky compares it in its essential meaning to buddhi in the human constitution; in other ways it is equivalent to the Hindu prana.
Khiu-te, Book of. See KIU-CHE, BOOK OF
Khnoom, Khnoum, Khoom. See KHNUM
Khnum, Khnumu, or Khnemu (Egyptian) Khnum, Khnumu, or Khnemu [from khnem to join, unite] The chief member of the triad of deities revered at Abu or Elephantine, their worship extending from Thebes to Philae. Khnemu was the Father who was in the beginning, who fashioned the first egg from which sprang the sun, raiser up of the heaven upon its four pillars, and supporter of the same in the firmament, builder of gods and men, maker of all things which are, evolver of things which shall be, the source of things which exist. Thus Khnemu is intimately connected with Khepera, perhaps the latter in his active creative functions. His attributes are those of a water deity, one of the recondite cosmic powers in the waters of space; later he became associated with the Nile god, Hapi, taking on the name Hap-ur, and with Nu, the primeval god of the watery abyss or space. But at Abu he united the characteristics of Ra, Shu, Seb, and Osiris. Even in Christian times his worship flourished, for Gnostic gems bear testimony to his popularity. Sometimes pictured as a ram-headed deity fashioning a man on a potter’s wheel.
Khobilgan (Mong) Also Khubilkhan. One spelling of the title given in Central Asia to the supposed incarnations of the Buddha-influence.
Khoda (Persian) Khōda, Khvataya, Khvatadha (Avestan) Khvatāya, Khvatādha [from khvat self + aya come to be, or dhata creating, law] Khvataya is similar to the Sanskrit svata-ayu (self-existing), while khvatadha means self-created. In modern Persian khoda means “God.”
Khons, Khonsu, Khonsoo. See KHENSU
Khopirron, Khopri, Khoprod, Khopron. See KHEPERA
Khou. See KHU
Khu (Egyptian) Khu. The human spirit-soul, closely connected with the heart (ab), and considered to be everlasting; usually depicted in hieroglyphics in the form of a heron. Massey makes it equivalent with manas, but Lambert makes it equivalent to divine spirit (SD 2:632-3). Elsewhere Blavatsky emphasizes the duality of the khu: the “justified” khu, absolved of sin by Osiris after death, which continues to live a second life; and the khu “which died a second time,” doomed to wander about and torture the living, as they are able to assume any form and enter into living bodies. This first type is equivalent to the reincarnating ego or immortal human soul. The second type is identical with the Roman larvae, lares, simulacrum, or shade, the Chinese houen, the theosophical elementary, and the necromantic “spirit” (cf BCW 7:155-17, 190-3).
Khubilkhan. See KHOBILGAN
Khuddaka-patha (Pali) Khuddaka-pāṭha [from khuddaka little one + pāṭha reading, text] A Buddhist scripture given to neophytes upon joining the Samgha (the Buddhist brotherhood); first book in the Khuddaka-Nikaya — a collection of short canonical Buddhist books. This brief text contains some of the most beautiful poems in Buddhist literature, and the reverential feelings evoked by reading it are unquestionably the principal reason for its use. It opens with a profession of faith in the Buddha, in the Doctrine, and in the Order.
Khutuktu. See CHUTUKHTU
Khuniras, Khuniras Bami (Pahlavi) Havaniratha, Xvaniraos (Avestan) The middle of the seven keshvars and the seventh in order. Abu Mansuri’s Shah-Nameh states that whatever existed in the four corners from one end to the other was bestowed upon this earth and divided into seven parts, each part called a keshvar (Avest Kareshvar), the seventh which is in the middle being called Khuniras Bami. This is where we live, which the kings called Iranshahr, consisting of all the known countries of the time including China, India, Barbar, etc.
Khutukhtu. See CHUTUKHTU
Kieou-tche. See KIU-CHE, BOOK OF
Kimah (Hebrew) Kīmāh [from kūm to heap, cluster together; or from kāmah to long for, be in love with something cf Sanskrit the verbal root kam] The Pleiades, known as the seven stars; mentioned in the Bible as bringing a sweet and gentle influence upon earth and men (Job 38:31).
Kimnaras. See KINNARA
Kimpurusha (Sanskrit) Kimpuruṣa Also kimpūruṣa. “What sort of a man?”; according to the Brahmanas, an evil being resembling a man. In later times, identified with kinnaras, beings in which the figure of a man and of an animal are combined. One class of celestial beings regarded as attendants of Kubera.
In the Vishnu-Purana, Kimpurusha is one of the nine khandas (portions) into which the earth is divided, described as the region between the mountains Himachala and Hemakuta; occasionally therefore called Kimpurusha-varsha.
Kinaras. See KINNARA
King Arthur. See ARTHUR, KING
Kingdom(s) In natural history, a large group, department, or domain, marked off from others by characteristic qualities, three being generally recognized: animal, vegetable, and mineral, with mankind at the summit of the animal kingdom. Ancient thought as a whole, however, took account of vast spheres of cosmic inner space and inner consciousness inhabited by numerous hierarchies of all-various evolving, intelligent, and semi-intelligent beings. Hence it is that mankind was a separate kingdom; and, if we consider human nature as a whole, humanity is more sharply distinguished from the lower kingdoms than they are from each other. To these four in theosophy are added three kingdoms below the mineral called elemental kingdoms, thus making a septenate. Above the human may be enumerated three dhyani-chohanic or god kingdoms, but the word “man” has often been used so as to include these kingdoms. These divisions correspond to the other septenary and denary divisions in the cosmos.
The more highly each kingdom is specialized along its peculiar lines, the more sharply is it differentiated from the other kingdoms; but the distinction tends to disappear and merge into a continuity when the entities in the different kingdoms are in an elementary or germinal stage. The entities in any kingdom higher than the lowest must pass in brief recapitulation through all the stages represented by the preceding kingdoms, before they can develop the features characteristic of their own kingdom.
In another sense, kingdom is sometimes used in theosophy to signify the life-waves circling around a planetary chain, or the various individualized hierarchies in universal nature, each one comprising the kingdom or domain of its own characteristic species, topped by its hierarch.
Kingdom of Heaven, Kingdom of God In the New Testament, used by John the Baptist, Jesus, and St. Paul; it indicates a state of relative spiritual completion and attainment, not merely the afterdeath state of the “righteous” or “saved,” as seen in the statement, “the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). Blavatsky interprets the answer in the Gospel of the Egyptians as to when the kingdom of heaven will come — “When the Two has been made One, and the Outward has become as the Inward, and the Male with the Female neither Male nor Female” — as signifying among other things, 1) the union of lower manas with the higher manas, the self-conscious raising of the personality to the individuality; and 2) the return of humankind to the androgynous state in future root-races. “Thus this Kingdom may be attained by individuals now, and by mankind in Races to come” (BCW 13:48-9; 14:55).
King’s Chamber (Pyramid of Cheops) An initiation chamber and holy of holies of the Egyptian Mysteries, a symbol of the womb of nature and of regeneration through rebirth. “On the days of the Mysteries of Initiation, the candidate, representing the solar god, had to descend into the Sarcophagus, and represent the energizing ray, entering into the fecund womb of Nature. Emerging from it on the following morning, he typified the resurrection of life after the change called Death. In the great Mysteries his figurative death lasted two days, when with the Sun he arose on the third morning, after a last night of the most cruel trials. While the postulant represented the Sun — the all-vivifying Orb that ‘resurrects’ every morning but to impart life to all — the Sarcophagus was symbolic of the female principle” (SD 2:462; cf. SD 2:466&n). See also INITIATION
Kings of Edom. See EDOM
Kinnara, Kimnara (Sanskrit) Kinnara, Kiṃnara [from kim what + nara man] “What sort of a man?” — a mythical being supposed to have a human figure with the head of a horse; or sometimes a horse’s body having the head of a man. In later times, like the naras, they are reckoned with the gandharvas (celestial choristers), and are likewise frequently connected with the kimpurushas. Some accounts say that they sprang from the toe of Brahma; but they were the product of the earth at the commencement of the kalpa, the early attempts of formation of quasi-conscious beings leading to self-conscious beings.
In a larger sense, the kinnaras, kimpurushas, etc., are entities belonging to our planetary chain who partake partly of the nature of matter or form, and partly of spirit. They have a definite place in the economy of the planetary chain and perform their functions very much as the human hierarchy does. They are more advanced than the mere nature sprites or elementals, but yet are inferior to humankind, and are to be classed generally with the hosts of quasi-astral beings.
Kinvad or Chinvad (Avestan?) In the Vendidad, the holy bridge made by Ahura-Mazda extending over hell and leading to Paradise. For the souls of the righteous it widens to the breadth of nine javelins; for the souls of the wicked it narrows to a thread, and they fall down into hell, according to later Persian mythology. It corresponds to the Sirath bridge of the Moslems.
In the Avesta (Yasht 22), on the fourth day after death, the soul of the defunct finds itself in the presence of a maid of divine beauty or of fiendish ugliness according as he himself was good or bad, and she leads him into heaven or hell. This holy bridge and this maid are naught but karma; and as a person is essentially his own karma, the maid he meets after death is himself, divine in beauty or fiendish in ugliness; or again his constitution itself after death is the holy bridge which in the good and noble person can be traversed safely, but in the case of the wicked person who has starved his spiritual nature to a mere thread, his constitution becomes like the edge of a razor, and if there is not sufficient good and decency in the defunct to traverse this razor bridge, he falls into the lower regions.
Kioo-tche. See KIU-CHE, BOOK OF
Kiratarjuniya (Sanskrit) Kirātārjunīya A poem by Bharavi describing the combat of Arjuna with the God Siva in the form of the wild mountaineer Kirata; the story is derived from the Mahabharata.
Kismet (Turkish) [from Arab qismat from qasama to divide] Fate, destiny; used by Moslems to designate all the incidents and details that occur to a person during life — what is commonly called one’s lot, but implying that this is foreordained and irrevocable. As such it is not identical with karma.
Kistophoros (spelled by Blavatsky Kistophores) The fourth degree in the Egyptian Mysteries. The neophyte received this title when he had successfully passed the trial by judgment — similar to that described in the double hall of truth in the Egyptian Book of the Dead. In this degree the mystery-name Iao was communicated to the candidate.
Kiver-Shans. See KWEI SHEN
Kiu-che, Book of (Chinese) [Tibetan rgyud-sde] A large occult astronomical and astrological work known in certain parts of China and Tibet, but unknown in the Occident.
Kiu-te, Kiu-ti. See KIU-CHE, BOOK OF
Kiyun, Kiyyun. See CHIUM
Klesa (Sanskrit) Kleśa [from the verbal root kliś to molest, torment, suffer] Pain, suffering, involving nevertheless love of physical existence. Philosophically, the love of life, the cleaving to existence, the love of pleasure or of worldly enjoyment, evil or good. In the Yoga philosophy there are five klesa-karins (causes of pain): avidya (ignorance or nescience); asmita (egoism); raga (passion); dvesha (hatred); and abhinevesa (attachment, devotion).
Klesha. See KLESA
Klikoosha, Klikoucha (Russian) A crier out, screamer; those so possessed by the Evil One at times crow like cocks, neigh, and prophesy (TG 178).
Klippoth. See QELIPPOTH
Klotho. See CLOTHO
Kneph or Knouphis (Egyptian) Kneph or Knouphis. An alternative form of the deity Khnum or Khnemu, associated with Egyptian cosmogony. One of the gods of creative force: “as Chnoumis-Kneph, who represents the Indian Narayana, the Spirit of God moving on the waters of space, as Eichton or Ether he holds in his mouth an Egg, the symbol of evolution; and as Av he is Siva, the Destroyer and the Regenerator; for as Deveria explains: ‘His journey to the lower hemispheres appears to symbolize the evolutions of substances, which are born to die and to be reborn.’ Esoterically, however, . . . Chnoumis-Kneph was pre-eminently the god of reincarnation” (TG 82-3). All these solar gods are the personification of the attributes of one god, representing various aspects of the phases of generation and impregnation.
Knights Templars A religio-military order, a brotherhood in arms, founded in the 12th century by Hugh de Payens and Geoffrey de St. Omer (Godfrey de St. Aldemar), and seven other knights for the purpose of protecting the Holy Sepulcher of the Christians, taking its name from the palace of the Latin kings in Jerusalem, which was called Solomon’s Temple. The Order being partly monastic, the knights took the usual vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. The Order spread rapidly throughout Europe and the Near East, the Order being under the governance of an elected Grand Master, the first being Hugh de Payens elected in 1118, and the last, the 22nd, being Jacques de Molay, elected in 1297.
“The Temple was the last European secret organization which, as a body, had in its possession some of the mysteries of the East” (IU 2:380). The Order of the Temple was linked with the earlier Essenes and Gnostics, and the true Rosicrucians of the Middle Ages, and Freemasonry in its highest and oldest degrees, notably the third or Master Mason’s degree.
The high purposes for which the Order was founded were, however, gradually lost sight of due to the adoption of certain purely ecclesiastical rites and ceremonies. In the early years of the 14th century the Order, which had gained greatly in power and wealth, especially in France, was suppressed by Philip IV acting under the authority of Pope Clement V. In 1310 54 of the knights were publicly burnt, and in 1313 Jacques de Molay, the last Grand Master of the Order, suffered the same fate.
The Knight Templar degree of modern Freemasonry claims descent from the original Order.
Knoum. See KHNUM
Knouph. See KNEPH
Knower. See JNATA
Koah hag-Guph (Hebrew) Kōaḥ hag-Gūf [from kōaḥ power, strength, aptness + gūf body, vehicle, shell] Also Choach-ha-guf, ko’h-ha-guph, etc. The body of (vital) strength; equivalent to the model-body or linga-sarira in the sevenfold classification of human principles (cf SD 2:633).
Kobold The German name for the fairy of the hearth or the elemental beings or nature sprites of the character of the earth element. Popularly believed to inhabit mines and other underground places, corresponding to the gnomes. When such a being dwells in a house it is sometimes mistakenly called a poltergeist or racket sprite.
Koeus. See KOIOS
Koh-kaf. See KAF
Koinoboi (Greek) A body of mystics in Egypt of the early Christian era, often confused with the Therapeutae.
Koios (Greek) One of the seven titans as enumerated by Orpheus.
Kokab (Hebrew) Kōkhāb A shining celestial body, stars or planets, with the implication of a living being of celestial character; hence stellar light. In the Qabbalah and elsewhere in ancient Hebrew writings, frequently used for the planet Mercury.
Kol. See QOL
Kol-arbas (Hebrew) Qōl-’arba‘ Voice of the (sacred) four, voice of the Holy Tetrad; the sacred number four in the Valentinian Gnostic system — equivalent in many respects to the Pythagorean sacred tetrad, cosmogonically or pneumatologically as the higher four principles in the human constitution.
Kolarian The indigenous non-Aryan races of India are divided into three great classes: Tibeto-Burmese, Kolarian, and Dravidian. Although generally regarded as aboriginal, the Kolarians are known to have entered Bengal by means of the northeastern passes: they encountered the Dravidians in central India, who broke up the Kolarians and pushed them towards the east and west. Thus when the Aryans entered India, the Kolarians again succumbed to the invaders and were still more scattered into smaller groups. There are nine principal languages of the Kolarian group of which the most important is Santali. It is not akin to the Sanskrit, nor does it employ the Devanagari alphabet.
Interestingly, the Kolarians count by 20 rather than by 10, the same method employed by the Mayas in Central America.
Koldoun, Koldun (Russian) A magician or sorcerer; one having more power and knowledge than a znachar (wizard).
Koliadovki. See KALIADOVKI
Kolob. In Mormon writings, a planet nearest the throne of God: “[Abraham] saw the stars, that they were very great, and that one of them was nearest unto the throne of God; . . . and the name of the great one is Kolob, because it is near unto me, for I am the Lord thy God: I have set this one to govern all those which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest. . . . And thus there shall be the reckoning of the time of one planet above another, until thou come nigh unto Kolob, which Kolob is after the reckoning of the Lord’s time; which Kolob is set nigh unto the throne of God, to govern all those planets which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest.” (The Pearl of Great Price, The Book of Abraham 3:2-3, 9)
Kols A tribe in central India “much addicted to magic. They are considered to be great sorcerers” (TG 179).
Kon-ton, Konton (Japanese) The primordial chaotic essence of the Shinto cosmogony.
Konx-om-pax (Greek) Mystic words used in the Eleusinian Mysteries, said to be an imitation of Egyptian words used in the mystical Isiac rites, whose meaning is still unknown. Possibly an ancient Atlantean phrase brought over into Egypt from the Atlantic island which Plato calls Atlantis, when Atlantean emigrants left their island for the purpose of colonizing the Egyptian delta and brought their mysteries with them.
Koorgan, Kurgan (Russian) A mound, generally artificially made; an old tomb. Popular tradition attaches magical or so-called supernatural occurrences to such mounds or their vicinity.
Koo-soongs. See KU-SUM
Koot-Hoomi. See KUTHUMI
Koran al-Qur’ān (Arabic) [from qārā to read] Book, reading; the holy scripture of Islam, regarded by Moslems as the word of God (Allah) as delivered to his prophet Mohammed. The Koran explains that in heaven there is the mother of the book, well concealed. Piece by piece it was sent down to the prophet by means of an angel, spirit, or the angel Gabriel. Mohammed issued these revelations serially, each one being called a reading (qur’an) or a writing (kitab), and each particular one was also called a sura (a series) — a word now used for each section or chapter, of which there are 114.
Mohammed dictated these suras to his immediate followers, who memorized them. But when some of these original reciters had lost their lives in the conflicts which occurred after the death of Mohammed, Omar suggested to Caliph ’Abu-Bekr (the successor of Mohammed) that they be reduced to writing. The commission to collect as many as possible of the narrations or parts of the revelations was given to Zaid, a native of Medina who had often acted as an amanuensis to Mohammed. This collection became the first Koran, which Azid wrote down in Arabic. Some years later a second redaction was made and all previous parts or manuscripts were burned: Zaid dictated the work to four scribes, and these four copies have come down to our own day.
The contents of the Koran are varied both in style and material: a declaratory style predominates; denunciations abound; idolatry and deification of any beings or things are condemned — especially in regard to the worship of Jesus as the son of God, although Jesus and Moses are both regarded as holy prophets. A similarity to the Jewish Bible is observable, even to attributing customs of the Jews to the Arabs. Allah is glorified as the one, all-powerful God, and Mohammed as his prophet. Believers receive special instruction, and terrible punishments are threatened for nonbelievers. The doctrines of heaven and hell in the Moslem conception are forcefully presented.
Kore-Persephone (Greek) [from kore maiden cf Ionic koure] The name under which Persephone was worshiped in Attica; one of the three aspects of the earth goddess Demeter, who appears as wife, mother, and daughter. Kore-Persephone was one of the three great Eleusianian deities, the other two being Demeter and Zagreus-Iacchos, her child. As one of the chief divinities in the Mysteries, Kore (as Demeter-Kore) was fit consort of the dragon god (Zeus who wooed her in the form of a dragon).
Proclus, quoting Orpheus, says that when Persephone is united with the celestial Zeus she is then Demeter-Kore, but that when united with Pluto or Hades she is Kore-Persephone.
It was by Kore as the spouse of Hades that the bright side of death was revealed. She thus belonged preeminently to the Eleusinian Mysteries and one of the mystical dramas enacted for the instruction of neophytes was the rape of Persephone in which she was represented as in possession of the third eye. Blavatsky places her among the kabiria (SD 2:363).
Kore is also symbolized as the celestial weaver, who when carried off to the underworld by Hades is said to have left her webs unfinished. Proclus speaks of her as “weaving the diacosm of life” (Cratylus), and Claudianus tells of her weaving a robe for Demeter in which “she marks out the procession of the elements and the paternal seats with her needle, according to the laws of Mother Nature.”
Koros. See KURIOS
Kosa (Sanskrit) Kośa [from the verbal root kuś to hold, enclose, embrace] A sheath or covering; its primary meaning is of enfoldment or containment. Philosophically, it is generally rendered sheath or encasement, also sometimes principle by Blavatsky. Five are enumerated in Vedantic philosophy (the panchakosa), corresponding very closely with the theosophical sevenfold classification of human principles, as seen in the following table made by Subba Row:
|3.||Vehicle of Prāṇa [Liṅga-śarīra]|
|5.||Mind [Manas]||(a) Volitions & feelings|
|(b) Vijñāna (Intellect)||Vijñānamaya-kośa|
|6.||Spiritual Soul [Buddhi]||Ānandamaya-kośa||Kāraṇopādhi|
Kosha(s). See KOSA
Kosmocratores. See COSMOCRATORES
Kosmos [from Greek kosmos order, universe] The universe, equivalent to the Latin mundus. Theosophy contemplates an infinite series of successive wholes or universes, each sufficiently complete to entitle it to be called a kosmos or universe, and yet each included within a larger whole. As there are no absolutes or final limits, this being contrary to nature, no sense of finality should be given to the word kosmos, which includes the invisible planes as well as the visible universe. Some theosophical writers use kosmos to refer to our home universe or galactic system, and cosmos for the solar system.
The triple deity Chaos-Theos-Cosmos is the containment of the space, both subjective and objective, of any hierarchy, however great or small, these in each case making a tetraktys.
Kothnoth ‘Or (Hebrew) Kothnōth ‘Ōr [from kuthoneth undergarment, tunic, close coat + ‘ōr skin, whether human or animal] Also Chitonuth-our. Coats of skin; used in Genesis (3:21): “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skin, and clothed them,” referring to the third root-race when truly astral humanity became physicalized or carnalized, thus receiving a body of flesh or coat of skin.
Kottos (Greek) Also Cottus. In Greek mythology, a son of Ouranos and Gaia (heaven and earth), one of the Hecatonchires — three gigantic brothers each with 100 arms and 50 heads — who were banished to Tartarus by Ouranos and who under Zeus became assistants to Hephaistos.
Koueis. See KWEI
Kounboum, Kunbum, Kumbum [from Tibetan sku-‘bum] The sacred tree of Tibet, called the tree of the ten thousand images and characters. Tibetan tradition has it that this tree grew from the long hair of Tsong-kha-pa (14th century) who was buried in an enclosure of the lamasery of Kunbum where the tree is still growing. Said to be the only specimen of its kind to be found anywhere, although others deny this. Each of its leaves is said by some to bear a letter or a religious sentence written in perfect sacred characters. More recent travelers state that the tree is a noteworthy one whose leaves, twigs, or branches contain innumerable instances of strange lines or markings, though not alphabetic.
Krasis di Holou (Greek) [from krasis interblending, intermingling + di’, dia through + holou of the whole] A mingling through everything or all; used by the Stoics for the doctrine of the intermingling of all essences in the universe, which arise out of the primordial root-substance.
Kratidvishas. See KRATUDVISH
Kratu (Sanskrit) Kratu One of the mind-born sons of Brahma, a prajapati or emanator and progenitor of hierarchical entities. Kratu’s consort, Samnati, was the mother of the 60,000 Valikhilyas described as chaste, resplendent, glorious sages of pygmy size, attendants upon the sun.
Kratudvish (Sanskrit) Kratudviṣ In Hindu mythology, an enemy of all ritualistic and ceremonial worship and exoteric sham; the spiritual beings which represented, in their human aspect, the adepts of esoteric wisdom in opposition to the multitude who followed exoteric and popular religious forms, mummeries, and sacrifices. The kratusvishas were often called the asuras, daityas, danavas, kinnaras, etc., who fought against Brihaspati, the prototype of exoteric and ritualistic worship in the Tarakamaya (war in heaven). All the kratudvishas are represented as being yogis and ascetics of great spiritual and intellectual power.
Kratudwishas. See KRATUDVISH
Krauncha-dvipa (Sanskrit) Krauñca-dvīpa According to the Puranas, the fifth of the seven dvipas (continents or islands) which make up the world. Esoterically these seven dvipas represent, among other things, our globe and its six invisible companion globes. Jambu-dvipa represents our globe D, while Plaksha, Salmala, Kusa, Krauncha, Saka, and Pushkara represent the six higher and invisible globes of our planetary chain. These dvipas also correspond to the geographical continents of the seven great root-races and even to the dry-land divisions of the earth during the period of one root-race. Hence Krauncha-dvipa, as the fifth, would correspond to our fifth root-race continent.
Kravyad (Sanskrit) Kravyād A flesh-eater; a carnivorous man or animal; also a title for the consuming fire of the funeral pyre, hence a name of Agni in one of his destructive or regenerative forms.
Kreios (Greek) One of the seven titans named by Orpheus.
Krios (Greek) A ram; the Latin Aries. Also one of the seven titans of Orpheus.
Krisasva (Sanskrit) Kṛśāśva Having lean horses; allegorical name of the father of the agneyastra, the magical weapons and missiles of Brahma which are spoken of in the Ramayana as weapons endued with life and elemental intelligence.
Krisaswas. See KRISASVA
Krishna (Sanskrit) Kṛṣṇa Black, dark, dark blue; the most celebrated and eighth avatara of Vishnu. Hindus consider him their savior, and he is worshiped as the most popular of their gods. Krishna was born some 5000 years ago, the incarnated human spiritual power that closed the dvapara yuga — his death in 3102 BC marked the beginning of kali yuga. He was the son of Devaki and the nephew of Kansa, who parallels King Herod.
The life of Krishna bears interesting and occasionally striking similarities to the legends of other spiritual teachers. The lives of all those great spiritual messengers were recorded by initiates in the language of symbol and allegory. Krishna’s conception, birth, and childhood are in essentials a prototype of the New Testament story.
One portion of the Mahabharata, the Bhagavad-Gita, contains the teachings given by Krishna to Arjuna as his guide and spiritual instructor, teachings which are the quintessence of the highest yoga. The details of Krishna’s life are symbolically given in the Puranas.
Krishna-kirana (Sanskrit) Kṛṣṇa-kiraṇa The radiant Krishna; one of his titles.
Krishnapaksha(m) (Sanskrit) Kṛṣṇapakṣa [from kṛṣṇa dark, black + pakṣa the half of a month] The dark half of a month, the 15 days during which the moon in waning.
Kristophores. See KISTOPHOROS
Krita Yuga (Sanskrit) Kṛta Yuga [from kṛta well-done from the verbal root kṛ to do, make + yuga age] The first of the four great yugas which constitute a mahayuga (great age). In the krita or satya yuga, virtue or intrinsic goodness is said to reign supreme. It is often called the Golden Age of mankind, lasting 1,728,000 years. See also YUGA
Krittika (Sanskrit) Kṛttikā [from kṛtti pelt, hide on which a disciple sits from the verbal root kṛt to divide into portions] plural krittikas. The Pleiades; originally the first lunar mansion, in later times the third, having Agni as its regent. The constellation is sometimes represented as a flame, sometimes as a knife. In mythology there are six krittikas represented as nymphs, who became the nurses of the god of war, Karttikeya.
Kriya-sakti (Sanskrit) Kriyā-śakti [from kriyā action + śakti power] The power of action; mystically the power of active thought or spiritual will power,
“that mysterious and divine power latent in the will of every man, and which, if not called to life, quickened and developed by Yogi-training, remains dormant in 999,999 men out of a million, and gets atrophied. . . .
“ ‘Kriyasakti — the mysterious power of thought which enables it to produce external, perceptible, phenomenal results by its own inherent energy. The ancients held that any idea will manifest itself externally if one’s attention (and Will) is deeply concentrated upon it; similarly, an intense volition will be followed by the desired result’ ” (SD 2:173).
In the early part of the third root-race before the complete separation of the sexes, certain holy sages who were the most intellectually evolved of the then humanity, produced the first nagas, called the Sons of Will and Yoga, by the power of kriyasakti. In the distant future, human reproduction will be through this spiritual will power and imagination.
Kroeus. See KREIOS
Kronos (Greek) In Greek mythology, the youngest of the titans, son of Ouranos (heaven) and Gaia (earth). His mother gave him a sickle, emblem of karmic reapings in the course of time, when he led the war against his father. After castrating his father, he became ruler of the gods and, so he would not suffer a similar fate, he swallowed all his children by his wife-sister, Rhea. Eventually, however, he was overthrown by his youngest son, Zeus. In some accounts he was imprisoned in Tartarus, in others he was reconciled with Zeus and reigned with Rhadamanthys on the Islands of the Blessed.
Considered originally a harvest god, his name became interpreted as equivalent to Chronos (time) and many of his characteristics imply this. He was pictured as an old man with a mantle over the back of his head, holding a sickle in his hand. The Romans identified him with Saturnus, a harvest god. He is also identified in various ways with Jehovah, Saturn, and Kala, and sometimes made father of the seven titans. Blavatsky remarks that he personifies the Lemurians or third root-race humanity.
Krura-lochana (Sanskrit) Krūra-locana The evil-eyed, a title of Sani, the regent of the planet Saturn, and to the planet itself.
Kshana (Sanskrit) Kṣaṇa An extremely short period of time; the 90th part of a thought, the 4500 part of a minute, the 75th part of a second, during which from 90 to 100 births and as many deaths occur on this earth, according to Hindu legends.
Kshanti (Sanskrit) Kṣānti [from the verbal root kṣam to be patient] Patience; one of the six Buddhist paramitas.
Kshara (Sanskrit) Kṣara [from the verbal root kṣar to flow or stream away, melt away, perish, wane] That which is perishable; applied to the manifested universe or to a body of any kind, because of its transitory, perishable, and impermanent character. Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita divides all existing entities into two classes, the kshara (those not permanent) and the akshara (the imperishable) — the latter being a common title of the higher gods.
Kshatra. See KSHETRA
Kshattriya, Kshatriya (Sanskrit) Kṣattriya, Kṣatriya The warrior, administrator, ruler; the second of the four Hindu castes. See also CHATUR-VARNA
Kshayatithis or Tithi-Kshaya (Sanskrit) Kṣayatithis, Tithikṣaya The day of the new moon, used in Sanskrit astronomical works.
Kshetra (Sanskrit) Kṣetra A sphere of action; a field. In the Bhagavad-Gita, used for the compounded constitution of the knower or conscious entity (also kshetrajna). Not only the constitution of a being which thus provides the field in which the spiritual knower works within himself, but in another sense applied to the field of action of a being in which it works and manifests its faculties and powers. Thus the constitution of a human being is the kshetra in which the monad lives and acts; similarly the solar system is the kshetra of the hierarch of the solar system.
Kshetrajna (Sanskrit) Kṣetrajña [from kṣetra field (body) + jña knower] The knower in or of the field; imbodied spirit, the conscious ego in its highest manifestations. Regarded as the sphere of action, or compounded constitution, of the knower or conscious entity; hence the spiritual ego, the human soul’s spiritual parent, buddhi-manas. Kshetrajna often refers to the combination of atma-buddhi-manas called the reincarnating ego, or the Lord, in us. As imbodied ego, it is the cognizing and recognizing element in the human constitution.
“This perishable body, O son of Kunti, is known as Kshetra; those who are acquainted with the true nature of things call the soul who knows it, the Kshetrajna. . . .
“Know, O chief of the Bharatas, that whenever anything, whether animate or inanimate, is produced it is due to the union of the Kshetra and Kshetrajna — body and the soul” (BG ch 13).
See also AJA
Kshetrajnesvara (Sanskrit) Kṣetrajñeśvara [from kṣetra field (body) + jña knower + īśvara lord] The cognizing egoic self in the individual, the same as kshetrajna plus the suggestion of individual power implied in the word Lord.
Kshetrajneswara. See KSHETRAJNESVARA
Kshetram. See KSHETRA
Kshira (Sanskrit) Kṣīra Milk; mystically, the curds of space, or the nebulous matter of the spatial deeps, out of which universes, solar systems, or planets are evolved.
Kshira-samudra (Sanskrit) Kṣīra-samudra The ocean of milk, which was churned by the gods, according to Puranic legend. The sea of milk and curds is the Milky Way and the various congeries of nebulae. The allegory of the churning of the ocean of milk refers to a time before the kosmos was evolved. Vishnu, who here stands for aeonic preservation of karmically developed kosmic stuff or matter, is its intelligent preserver, and churns out of the primitive ocean (the chaos of a universe in pralaya) the amrita or immortal essence which is reserved only for the gods. See also KURMA-AVATARA
Kuan. See KWAN
Kuan Tzu (Chinese) The most voluminous Taoist work that has come down to our day. It treats of the ethical and political philosophy of tao with regard to the universe and man. Its authorship is assigned to Kuan tzu (also Kaun Chung or Kwan-twu, Kwan-tsze, Kwan-tse, etc.) of the 7th century BC. He is regarded as one of the three patriarchs of Tao — the other two being Lao tzu and Chuang Tzu. The work bears evidence of having been added to by other and later authors.
Kuch-ha-guf. See KOAH HAG-GUPH
Kuei. See KWEI
Kuen-lun-shan (Chinese) One of the sacred mountains in China, situated in the southwest between China and Tibet in the Keun-lun range which divides Tibet on the south from Eastern Turkestan. Every three years Buddhists assembled there, their observances climaxed by religious marvels produced by the hierophant (styled Foh-chu, “buddha-teacher”) under the Tree of Knowledge and Life (Sung-ming-shu).
Kukkuta-pada-giri (Sanskrit) Kukkuṭa-pāda-giri [from kukkuṭa cock + pāda foot + giri mountain] Also called Guru-pada-giri, the teacher’s mountain; a mountain situated about seven miles from Gaya, famous owing to a persistent report that the Buddhist arhat Mahakasyapa even to this day dwells in its caves.
Kuklos (Greek) A circle, wheel; in philosophy, a cycle. The ancients divided the duration of our world or universe into a large number of cycles, the small within the great, somewhat after the fashion of the vision of Ezekiel who saw wheels within wheels, cycles within cycles.
Kuklos Anankes, Kuklos Anagkes (Greek) The circle or wheel of necessity; may stand for the journey of the disimbodied entity to the state of devachan and back to earth, which was at times symbolized by the serpent-mounds, the serpent swallowing his tail, and other emblems of the dragon, all of which among other things denote cyclic time. In the subterranean crypts of Thebes and Memphis were celebrated the sacred Mysteries of kuklos anankes, in which the candidates for initiation were given actual instructions in the inexorable laws traced for every disimbodied soul.
In addition, the circle of necessity refers to the wheel of time in its many intricate cyclings or whirlings, and to the peregrination or rounding through both the visible and invisible spheres of the hosts of monads during a cosmic manvantara, these taking place not only upwards and downwards, so to speak, but likewise having a distinct reference to the growth through unfolding by the monads of what is latent within them.
Kulluka or Kulluka-bhatta (Sanskrit) Kullūka, Kullūka-bhaṭṭa A writer supposed to be of the 15th century, well known because of his commentary upon The Laws of Manu, for which he received the title bhatta (learned man).
Kumaras (Sanskrit) Kumāra-s [from ku with difficulty + māra mortal] Mortal with difficulty; often used for child or youth; and philosophically, pure spiritual beings, unself-conscious god-sparks uninvolved with matter who, destined by evolution to pass through the realms of matter, become mortal, i.e., material, only with difficulty because of their lofty spirituality. They are the classes of arupa or solar pitris, along with the agnishvattas and manasaputras. Of all the seven great divisions of dhyani-chohans, there is none with which humanity is more concerned than with the kumaras, the mind-born sons of Brahma-Rudra or Siva, the inveterate destroyer of human passions: “it is they who, by incarnating themselves within the senseless human shells of the two first Root-races, and a great portion of the Third Root-race — create, so to speak, a new race: that of thinking, self-conscious and divine men” (SD 1:456-7). In the Puranas their number varies, given as seven, four, and five. They are often called the Four, because Sanaka, Sanada, Sanatana, and Sanat-Kumara are the names of four important groups of kumaras as they spring from the fourfold mystery. The three secret names of the seven are variously given: Sana, Sanat-Sujata, and Kapila; or Kapila, Ribhu, and Panchasikha; or Jata, Vodhu, and Panchasikha, all of which are but aliases. The patronymic name of the kumaras is Vaidhatra [from vidhatri a title of Brahma as creator of the universe].
These kumaras are sometimes also called rudras, adityas, gandharvas, asuras, maruts, and vedhas. The seven kumaras — both as groups and as aggregated individuals — are intimately connected with the dhyani-buddhas who watch over the seven rounds of our planetary chain. The four groups of kumaras generally spoken of are connected equally intimately with the four celestial bodhisattvas of the four globes of our round, and by correspondence with the four completed root-races of our earth. They are identical with the angels of the seven planets, and their name shows their connection with the constellation Makara or Capricorn. Makara is connected with the birth of the spiritual microcosm, and the death or dissolution of the physical universe (its passage into the realm of the spiritual) as are the kumaras. Mara is the god of darkness, the Fallen one, and death, i.e., death of every physical thing; but through the karmic lessons learned also the quickener of the birth of the spiritual. The kumaras are connected also with the sage Narada. An allegory in the Puranas says that the kumaras, the first progeny of Brahma, were without desire or passion, inspired with the holy wisdom, and undesirous of progeny. They refused to create, but were compelled later on to complete divine man by incarnating in him. The barhishads or lunar pitris formed the “senseless” astral-physical humanity of the early root-races. Those beings possessing the living spiritual fire were the agnishvattas or solar pitris. The sons of Brahma, the kumaras, being originally themselves unconscious (in our sense) could be of no use in supplying the mental and kamic principles, as they did not possess them: they had attained no individual karmic elevation in merit of their own as had the agnishvattas. The perfection of the kumaras was passive and negative (nirguna). The kumaras eventually “sacrifice” themselves by incarnating in mankind, thus corresponding to the manasaputras and fallen angels cast into hell (material spheres, our earth).
Kumara-budhi (Sanskrit) Kumāra-budhi The human buddhic or spiritual monad, mystically signifying utterly pure monadic wisdom, with all its lofty attributes.
Kumara-guha (Sanskrit) Kumāra-guha The virgin-youth of mystery; title of the Hindu god Karttikeya.
Kumbha (Sanskrit) Kumbha Watering pot; the eleventh zodiacal sign, Aquarius. “When represented by numbers, the word is equivalent to 14. It can be easily perceived then that the division in question is intended to represent the ‘Chaturdasa Bhuvanam,’ or the 14 lokas spoken of in Sanskrit writings” (Subba Row, Theos 3:44).
Kumbhaka (Sanskrit) Kumbhaka An extremely dangerous practice belonging to the hatha yoga system, consisting in retaining the breath by shutting the mouth and holding the nostrils closed with the fingers of the right hand. Such breathing exercises are attended with the utmost physiological danger unless practiced under the guidance of a genuine adept.
Kumbhakarna (Sanskrit) Kumbhakarṇa Brother of King Ravana of Lanka, then far larger than the Sri Lanka (Ceylon) of modern days which is but the great northern headland of the large island of ancient times. Kumbhakarna, under a curse of Brahma, slept for six months, and then remained awake one day to fall asleep again, and so on, for many hundreds of years. He was awakened to take part in the war between Rama and Ravana.
Kumbum Tree. See KOUNBOUM
Kumil-Madan (Tamil) Blowing like a bubble; the elemental associated with water, called undine in the Occident. A merry imp in popular tales, assisting people in the proximity of water, even causing a rain shower. To those who resort to divination by water, the Kumil-Madan lends his aid by showing the present or the future.
Kumuda-pati (Sanskrit) Kumuda-pati Lord of the lotus; title of the moon, the earth’s parent.
Kunbum. See KOUNBOUM
Kundalini, Kundalini-sakti (Sanskrit) Kuṇḍalinī, Kuṇḍalinī-śakti [from kuṇḍalinī circular, spiral + śakti power, force] The circular power; one of the mystic, recondite powers in the human constitution. It “is called the ‘Serpentine’ or the annular power on account of its spiral-like working or progress in the body of the ascetic developing the power in himself. It is an electric fiery occult or Fohatic power, the great pristine force, which underlies all organic and inorganic matter”; “it is Buddhi considered as an active instead of a passive principle (which it is generally, when regarded only as the vehicle, or casket of the Supreme Spirit Atma). It is an electro-spiritual force, a creative power which when aroused into action can as easily kill as it can create” (VS 77-8, 76-7). Kundalini works in and through the human auric egg on all levels: “In its higher aspect Kundalini is a power or force following winding or circular pathways carrying or conveying thought and force originating in the Higher Triad. Abstractly, in the case of man it is of course one of the fundamental energies or qualities of the Pranas. Unskilled or unwise attempts to interfere with its normal working in the human body may readily result in insanity or malignant or enfeebling disease” (OG 83).
Kundzabchi-denpa kun rdzob kyi bden pa (kun-dzob-kyi den-pa) Illusion-creating appearance; Tibetan equivalent of Sanskrit samvritti-satya. See also DONDAMPAI-DENPA
Kunlun Mts. See KUEN-LUN-SHAN
Kunti (Sanskrit) Kuntī Wife of Pandu and mother of three of the Pandavas, foes of their cousins, the Kauravas, in the Mahabharata.
Kun-ttag, Kun-tag (Tibetan) kun brtags. Imagined, projected; particularly applied to illusion. Equivalent to the Sanskrit parikalpita (to be arranged or distributed). The connection arises from the fact that the homogeneous breaks up into the heterogeneous, and in this sense becomes parikalpita, and heterogeneity is the nursery or womb of illusion.
Kuran. See KORAN
Kurma-avatara (Sanskrit) Kūrma-avatāra The Tortoise avatara; a descent of Vishnu, the sustainer of life, in the form of a tortoise. In the Puranas, a portion of cosmic Vishnu descended as the kurma to restore to mankind the mystic nectar (amrita), the essence of life and truth, as well as other holy and precious things needful to humanity, which had been lost. Vishnu ordered the gods to churn the sea of milk that they might procure once more these precious things, and he promised to become the tortoise on which the mountain Mandara as a churning stick should rest. Out of the sea of churned milk arose the 14 precious things, and with these the gods won their authority over the demons once more. Cosmically this churning of the sea of milk relates to a period before the earth’s formation, the sea of milk being the expanse of space populated by the nebulae and diffuse star-stuff, the seeds and substance of future worlds and their hierarchies.
Kurma Purana (Sanskrit) Kūrma Purāṇa [from kūrma tortoise] One of the 18 principal Hindu Puranas, so named because it deals with the avataric incarnation of Vishnu in the form of a tortoise. The scripture was recited by Janardana (Vishnu) in the regions under the earth to Indradyumna and the rishis in the proximity of Sakra. It tells about the Lakshmi Kalpa, and treats of the objects of life: duty, wealth, pleasure, and liberation.
Kuru (Sanskrit) Kuru The ancestor of Dhritarashtra, father of the Kauravas and the brother of Pandu, the father of the Pandavas. According to modern scholars, he ruled in the northwest of India around Delhi.
Kurukshetra (Sanskrit) Kurukṣetra The plain upon which the great battle between the Kurus and Pandavas took place, as told in the Mahabharata. Modern scholars place it in northwest India near Delhi, where there is a plain which to this day is called the Plain of Kurukshetra.
Kurukshetra Rite An ancient initiatory rite, still performed in Nepal, which “originated with the Mysteries of the first Krishna, passed to the First Tirthankara and ended with Buddha, . . . being enacted as a memorial of the great battle and death of the divine Adept. It is not Masonry, but an initiation into the Occult teachings of that Hero — Occultism, pure and simple” (BCW 14:75n).
Kurus (Sanskrit) Kuru-s The foes and cousins of the Pandavas, as related in the Mahabharata. See also KAURAVAS
Kusa (Sanskrit) Kuśa The sacred grass (Poa cynosuroides, a grass with long pointed stalks) used in India at certain religious ceremonies, commonly called darbha by Brahmins.
Kusa-dvipa (Sanskrit) Kuśa-dvīpa One of the seven dvipas (island-continents) into which the globe is divided, according to the occult geography of the Puranas. It was said to be surrounded by a sea of liquefied butter. Cosmically, one of the globes of the earth planetary chain.
Kusadwipa. See KUSA-DVIPA
Kusala or Kusala (Sanskrit) Kuśala, Kusala Merit, virtue.
Kusa-nagara (Sanskrit) Kuśa-nagara The town in which Gautama Buddha is said to have died.
Kusinara. See KUSA-NAGARA
Kutastha (Sanskrit) Kūṭastha [from kūṭa the highest, summit + stha standing] Standing at the summit; in philosophy holding the highest position, the primordial divinity; hence often a synonym for Isvara (the divine-spiritual monad) or akshara (the imperishable). Also used for akasa and mulaprakriti. Thus whether in the galaxy, solar system, or a monadic individual such as man, it stands for the indwelling highest monad.
Kuthumi, Koot Hoomi The name assumed by one of the mahatmas, a teacher of Blavatsky, who played an important part in the founding of the Theosophical Society, and whose correspondence formed the basis of A. P. Sinnett’s works and of The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett. It was not his own proper personal name.
Kutti Shattan (Tamil) An elemental being popularly regarded as an imp and associated with fire.
Kuvera, Kubera (Sanskrit) Kuvera, Kubera In Hindu mythology the regent of the north, also the chief of various spirits of nature whose abode is the underworld or Hades. Like the Greek Pluto-Plutus, he is said to be possessed of great wealth and to be the keeper of all the treasures on earth.
Kwan, Kuan (Chinese) Taoist term equivalent to the Sanskrit dhyana (meditation). “Kuan means originally to ‘watch’ for omens, and in the dictionaries it is defined as ‘looking at unusual things,’ as opposed to ordinary seeing or looking. Hence, in accordance with the general ‘inward-turning’ of Chinese thought and vocabulary, it comes to mean ‘what one sees when one is in an abnormal state’; and in Taoist literature it is often practically equivalent to our own mystic world ‘Vision.’ The root from which dhyana comes has however nothing to do with ‘seeing’ but means simply ‘pondering, meditating’; and it was only because kuan already possessed a technical sense closely akin to that of dhyana that it was chosen as an equivalent, in preference to some such word as nien, or ssu, which are the natural equivalents” (Waley, The Way and Its Power 119-20).
Kwan-shai-yin, Kuan-shi-yin (Chinese) Equivalent to the Sanskrit Avalokitesvara, both being the seventh kosmic principle. Mystically, the kosmic Logos or Word, and in common with all the logoi referred to as a kosmic Dragon of Wisdom; the first universal manus or kosmic dhyan-chohans.
Kwan-shai-yin is often confused with Kwan-yin, the Chinese goddess of compassion, the feminine Logos and counterpart of Kwan-shai-yin; but “Kwan-shai-yin — or the universally manifested voice ‘is active — male; and must not be confounded with Kwan-yin, or Buddhi the Spiritual Soul (the sixth Pr.) and the vehicle of its “Lord.” ’ It is Kwan-yin that is the female principle or the manifested passive, manifesting itself ‘to every creature in the universe, in order to deliver all men from the consequences of sin’ . . . while Kwan-shai-yin, ‘the Son identical with his Father’ is the absolute activity, hence — having no direct relation to objects of sense is — Passivity” (ML 344).
Kwan-shai-yin, the Voice or Logos, is “the germ point of manifested activity; — hence — in the phraseology of the Christian Kabalists ‘the Son of the Father and Mother,’ and agreeably to ours — ‘the Self manifested in Self — Yih-sin, the ‘one form of existence,’ the child of Dharmakaya (the universally diffused Essence), both male and female” (ML 346).
In man it is the atman when working through — as it always does during imbodiment — its veil buddhi, thus enabling the atman to send down and distribute the atmic rays throughout the other five principles of the human constitution.
Kwan-yin, Kuan-yin (Chinese) The Chinese Buddhist goddess of compassion, the female aspect of Kwan-shai-yin, referred to in the Stanzas of Dzyan as the triple of Kwan-shai-yin, residing in Kwan-yien-tien, “because in her correlations, metaphysical and cosmical, she is the ‘Mother, the Wife and the Daughter’ of the Logos, just as in the later theological translations she became ‘the Father, Son and (the female) Holy Ghost’ — the Sakti or Energy — the Essence of the three. Thus in the Esotericism of the Vedantins, Daiviprakriti, the Light manifested through Eswara, the Logos, is at one and the same time the Mother and also the Daughter of the Logos or Verbum of Parabrahmam; while in that of the trans-Himalayan teachings it is — in the hierarchy of allegorical and metaphysical theogony — ‘the Mother’ or abstract, ideal matter, Mulaprakriti, the Root of Nature . . . a correlation of Adi-Bhuta, manifested in the Logos, Avalokiteshwara; and from the purely occult and Cosmical, Fohat, the ‘Son of the Son,’ the androgynous energy resulting from this ‘Light of the Logos’ ” (SD 1:136-7).
Kwan-yin is the Chinese counterpart from one point of view of the Egyptian Isis, the Hebrew Bath-Qol — the “daughter of the (Divine) Voice” — and of the Hindu Vach. “She is male and female ad libitum, as Eve is with Adam. And she is a form of Aditi — the principle higher than Ether — in Akasa, the synthesis of all the forces in Nature; thus Vach and Kwan-Yin are both the magic potency of Occult sound in Nature and Ether — which ‘Voice’ calls forth Sien-Tchan, the illusive form of the Universe out of Chaos and the Seven Elements” (SD 1:137).
Kwan-yin-tien, Kuan-yin-t’ien (Chinese) The melodious heaven of sound, the abode of Kwan-yin, the range of action of the Logos and of the minor logoi on their own planes.
Kwei (Chinese) Also Kuei. Generally, evil spirits or demons; used in Taoism in connection with yin, referring to beings supposed to be connected with the dark side of nature. Yin is regarded as a universal kwei divisible into myriads of particles. Union of the kwei and shen causes life, activity; their separation causes death. Man is likewise composed of a kwei and shen, the kwei representing the dark side of his nature.
Kwei Shen, Kuei Shen (Chinese) “Man is a product of the beneficial operation of Heaven and Earth, or of the copulation of the Yin and the Yang, and the union of a kwei with a shen; he consists of the finest breath which the five elements contain” (Li yun 3). The mayavi-rupa, which is the combination by the power of thought (or the inner kriyasakti) of the manasic faculty with a tenuous astral garment. The mayavi-rupa, however, is more often made to contain the complete human being minus the lowest triad (body, physical vitality, and linga-sarira); thus only in one sense does the mayavi-rupa correspond with the kwei shen. In the lower parts of the human constitution, it becomes vehicular rather than related to active self-consciousness, and can signify the vital body or linga-sarira.
Kyriel kyrielle (French) [from Greek kyrie eleeson Lord have mercy, opening invocation used in the Christian churches] A litany, a long list of words or names.
BCW - H. P. Blavatsky: Collected Writings
BG - Bhagavad-Gita
BP - Bhagavata Purana
cf - confer
ChU - Chandogya Upanishad
Dial, Dialogues - The Dialogues of G. de Purucker, ed. A. L. Conger
Echoes - Echoes of the Orient, by William Q. Judge (comp. Dara Eklund)
ET - The Esoteric Tradition, by G. de Purucker
FSO - Fountain-Source of Occultism, by G. de Purucker
Fund - Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy, by G. de Purucker
IU - Isis Unveiled, by H. P. Blavatsky
MB - Mahabharata
MIE - Man in Evolution, by G. de Purucker
ML - The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, ed. A. Trevor Barker
MU - Mundaka Upanishad
N on BG - Notes on the Bhagavad Gita, by T. Subba Row
OG - Occult Glossary, by G. de Purucker
Rev - Revelations
RV - Rig Veda
SBE - Sacred Books of the East, ed. Max Müller
SD - The Secret Doctrine, by H. P. Blavatsky
SOPh - Studies in Occult Philosophy, by G. de Purucker
TBL - Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge (Secret Doctrine Commentary), by H. P. Blavatsky
TG - Theosophical Glossary, by H. P. Blavatsky
Theos - The Theosophist (magazine)
VP - Vishnu Purana
VS - The Voice of the Silence, by H. P. Blavatsky
WG - Working Glossary, by William Q. Judge
ZA - Zend-Avesta