Theosophical glossary:

Brahman, is the impersonal, supreme and uncognizable Principle of the Universe from the essence of which all emanates, and into which all returns, which is incorporeal, immaterial, unborn, eternal, beginningless and endless. It is all-pervading, animating the highest god as well as the smallest mineral atom

Atmâ (or Atman) (Sk.). The Universal Spirit, the divine Monad, the 7th Principle, so-called, in the septenary constitution of man. The Supreme Soul. 

Jiva (Sk.). Life, as the Absolute; the Monad also or “Atma-Buddhi”.
Theos glossary

So far so good but with Purusha things are not so clear:

Purusha (Sk.). “Man”, heavenly man. Spirit, the same as Nârâyana in another aspect. “The Spiritual Self.” 

eg Chatterji in the Vivekachudemani:

2 This word is not to be understood here as the absolute self, but merely the embodied self. Purusa literally means the dweller in the city, that is in the body. It is derived from pura which means the city or body, and usa a derivative of the verb vas to dwell. 
This purusa, the essential ātman (1) is primeval, perpetual, unconditioned, absolute happiness, eternally having the same form and being knowledge itself—impelled by whom speech (vāk) and the vital airs move, (133)

The definition of Prakriti in Theosophical glossary may help

Prakriti (Sk.). Nature in general, nature as opposed to Purusha--spiritual nature and Spirit, which together are the “two primeval aspects of the One Unknown Deity”. (Secret Doctrine, I. 51.)

In the Mahatma letters emphasis is placed on Purusha as the inseparable partner of Prakriti so it seems to me that it would be clearer to restrict the use of Purusha as latent Atman in the Unmanifested (Brahman, 'That', Avyakta, Pradhana)?

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In short, they are all aspects of Parambrahm (Brahm).  The esoteric axiom; "spirit and matter are one" must be considered when trying to understand these technical terms.  Each word (AtmanJiva, Prakrti, and Purusa) convey an array of ideas, meanings, and understandings.  

Excluding Brahm, Atma, Jiva, Prakrti, and Purusa are use very liberally through out traditional texts, however, from what I've noticed, they change depending on the subject matter, school of philosophy, and numerous times within text themselves.  It will be very difficult to gain a deeper understanding of texts when these terms have been classified with an iron-fisted definition. 

You will notice when you look at Theosophical definitions found in the glossary, they will often be quite different from the the definitions given in vedic texts.  Atman and Jiva are both perfect examples.  I recall an article, it is written in a foot note;

"...Both Prakrti and Jiva are indivisible abstractions, to be divided only out of condescension for the weakness of our human intellect.  Therefore, also, whether we divide it into four, five, or seven principles matters in reality very little."
("The Life Principle.")

Purusa and Prakrti are the most grand of all subjects.  It is difficult to approach the "correct definition" of these words, as I do not believe one should make them isolated from each other.  However, we are encouraged to find out how they are interlaced.  I believe sometimes the etymology of the word itself, how and when it is used, holds some very esoteric meaning.

It is the lower mind to isolate, polarize, and define... to make ideas concrete.  Let us not focus on bringing the sacred texts down, but perhaps rising ourselves to their level.  We may be all the better to understand the definitions of the above words consist of a simple and very general outline of what the basic meaning is.  All four are subject to change, which they very often do.  The four definitions you have listed above are worth remembering, not at all worth memorizing, in my opinion.

In the Mahatma letters emphasis is placed on Purusha as the inseparable partner of Prakriti so it seems to me that it would be clearer to restrict the use of Purusha as latent Atman in the Unmanifested (Brahman, 'That', Avyakta, Pradhana)

This is correct.  However restricting the use of Purusa as only the latent Atman will land you with some difficulty.  As Purusa also is used in place of Iswara in some texts, for example the Purusa suktam, a hymn of the Rg Veda (10.90)


Non duality, not one-not two applies to the truth in my opinion but its not the lower mind that discriminates nor even the higher, but Buddhi - which is the highest, thats its very essence. So vagueness is its opposite. I've already mentioned the Mahatma KH statement that Atman and Buddhi were never within man; compare the Gita:

2.30 O descendant of Bharata, this embodied Self
existing in everyone's body can never be killed.
Therefore you ought not to grieve for all (these)

Both statements can't be true, compare Kapilas analogy of Purusha being like a red rose reflected in a crystal, echoed by Adi Shankara:

"Therefore all relative conditions in the transcendent Self are only possible through the limiting adjuncts of name and form.... The relative conditions of the self is not inherent in it. It is not true, but erroneous, like the notion that a crystal is red or of any other colour owing to its association with limiting adjuncts such as a red cotton pad." 

P306 Brahadaranyaka Upanishad Madhavaananda

Both these authorities emphasise that knowledge is the cause of liberation.

The Vedas are not authority for me (nor even for the sages of the Upanishads)


Came across this today

"It is high time then, that we should think of making a “metaphysico-spiritual vocabulary.” If we adopt Eastern beliefs and accept their system of thought under whatever name—we must take care that they be not disfigured through our carelessness and misunderstanding of the real meaning of the terms."


The Theosophist, Vol. III, No. 7, April, 1882, pp. 167-168