Theosophical Encyclopedia


TE 2 Sikhism

Guru Nanak

A religion which started in the Punjab in northwest India in the late 15th century by Nanak (1469-1539), now called by his followers Guru Nanak Dev, the title guru meaning “teacher,” but having the connotation of deep respect or reverence, and dev being the Punjabi form of deva or “god,” “divinity.” The name Sikh is Punjabi for Sanskrit sisya or “pupil.” Nanak is identified in Theosophical literature as a genuine Prophet or Saint (cf. Besant, Sikhism, 1920, p.4) and a bas relief placard commemorating Sikhism is on the wall of the main hall of the headquarters building of The Theosophical Society (TS) in Adyar, Chennai (formerly Madras), India. The religion numbers some 6 million adherents. They are found mainly in the Punjab, but are also in other parts of India (especially the northern states) and in many other countries of the world where Sikhs have built temples, called gurudwaras (“gateways to the teacher”). Their spiritual center is the beautiful Golden Temple located in Amritsar.

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TE 5 mithrarockbirth


The worship of the Indo-Iranian god of light Mithra (in Sanskrit Mitra). The religion originated in Persia from where it spread to Asia minor and then to Rome and much of the Roman empire. It was the chief rival to Christianity. The Avestan hymns, particularly in Yasht, depict Mithra as the god of heavenly light, all-seeing, protector of the virtuous in this world and the next and, most importantly, the foe of the powers of evil and darkness.

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TE 7 Druze

Druze;Anglicized forms of Arabic Durüz). The name of a community of hill people that live in Southern Lebanon, Syria and Israel. The outstanding feature of these people has been their ability to preserve their closed culture and religious beliefs for a thousand years; never big in number (probably about 250,000), they have survived the Crusades and local persecution.

The Druzes permit no intermarriage or conversion to other faiths, nor do they admit any who are not born into the community. Most commentators suggest that the religion was first taught in Cairo, about 1017 CE, by a tribal chief named Hamza ibn ‘Ali ibn Ahmad and a follower named Darazi, from whom the Druzes derived their name. The Druzes believe that al-Hakim, as he was called, did not die, but vanished, and will one day return to begin a new golden age.

The Druze religion is kept secret from all outsiders and detailed descriptions are not available, but it appears that they have close affinity with early Gnosticism and teach reincarnation.

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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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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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