Theosophical Encyclopedia

Manichaeism

TE 9 manichaeism

A Gnostic religion taught by Mani (also called Manes or Manichaeus) in the third century CE. Helena P. Blavatsky has suggested that the Manicheans were originally Samanas (Sramanas), who were Buddhist ascetics; she thus claims a distinct link between Manichaeism and Buddhism. Blavatsky considered that the fact that Manichaeism was more closely allied to Buddhism than to early Christianity was the root cause of the enmity which occurred between the two religions (CW X:67).

Mani held that true religion had been taught by many prophets such as Adam, Enoch, Buddha, Zoroaster and others, but that local conditions and language differences resulted in considerable corruption of the teachings. This point of view coincides with that held by many theosophists who have maintained that there is a golden thread of truth in all the major religions and these have a common origin.

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Sabaeans

TE 11 Sabaeans

Ancient blocks with Sabaean Inscription in Ethiopia

(Sabeans; Sabians). The name of two different groups of people. The first is a people that inhabited southern Arabia and modern Yemen, called Saba in Arabic, hence they are more properly called Sabaeans. The second is a group of Chaldean star worshippers, which is the one of main theosophical interest.

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Therapeutic Touch

TE 10 Therapeuthic Touch

A method of healing employing a knowledge of human energy fields. The system was developed by Dr. Dolores Krieger and Dora Van Gelder Kunz. Krieger was for many years head of the New York University’s School of Nursing, and Dora Van Gelder Kunz grew up with clairvoyant power which allowed her to see, with the aid of this faculty, areas of energy imbalance in the human body.

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Tarot Cards

TE 8 Tarot Cards

Playing cards that are used either as a card game or for divination and character reading.

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Darkness

TE 6 Darkness

Darkness is the absence of light and light is caused by the presence of radiation in the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Helena P. BLAVATSKY and other writers have, however, used the word “darkness” with more subtle implications.

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Chaos

TE 4 Chaos

A term found in Theosophical writings equivalent to Primordial Space or Akasa. In Greek mythology it refers to the “Great Deep” or “Abyss” in cosmogony. It is the pre-cosmic substance before the universe came into manifestation, equivalent to the MULAPRAKRTI of the Hindus, the BYTHOS of the Gnostics and the “Waters” of Genesis. The Oxford Dictionary defines chaos as “the formless void of primordial matter.” The word is now encountered in a number of different contexts and with different connotations. There is of course the common usage with the meaning “without order;” then there is the meaning ascribed to it in theosophical writings; finally, it has emerged in the expression “chaos theory” used in physics.

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Baptism

 

TE 2 Baptism

The application of water to a person by immersion, pouring, or sprinkling, as a religious rite, symbolical of purification or regeneration, and betokening initiation into the church.

The most important baptism in Christian church history is undoubtedly John the Baptist’s baptism of Jesus. On this Helena P. BLAVATSKY quotes from the N.T.:

“I baptize you with water, but . . . he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire,” says John of Jesus (Matt. iii, 2); meaning this esoterically. The real significance of this statement is very profound. It means that he, John, a non-initiated ascetic, can impart to his disciples no greater wisdom than the mysteries connected with the plane of matter (water being a symbol of it). His gnosis was that of exoteric and ritualistic dogma, of dead-letter orthodoxy; while the wisdom which Jesus, an Initiate of the higher mysteries, would reveal to them, was of a higher character, for it was the “Fire” Wisdom of the true gnosis or the real spiritual enlightenment. (SD II:566)

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