Having raised the issue of confusion of Terms in 'The Sanatana Dharma', I wonder why early theosophy felt the need to use Greek terms: augoeides, amnion etc

Views: 1157

 Reply to This

Upload Files

Stop Following – Don't email me when people reply

Replies to This Discussion


I think that it's to each study group or lodge - there are a lot of synonymous terms in many cases, but I think that it is rare in discussions to freely use a wide variety of of synonymous terms. It's probably more practical to agree upon a set number of terms. I don't know if one can avoid learning the terminology, I think there is a bit of drudgery one has to go through to figure a certain amount of the terminology, although Sanskrit does seem to have a lot more available words for spiritual concepts, but Logos has a significant mystical pedigree beginning with the Gospel of John or gnositicism or Philo of Alexandria, sometime thereabouts.



I strongly agree and very rightly said. 

" We, in past incarnations, may have trod the Egyptian path or Platonic path or Jain path etc. Thus we respond strongly, in this lifetime, to one or two ancient ways"

This is very true.  I believe students of theosophy are able to greatly appreciate the line of spiritual continuity of ones own specific resonance with a school of thought.  Many theosophical texts use various teachings and vocabulary belonging to all types of schools, perhaps for this very reason; to provide the appropriate medium to awaken lifetimes of study and dormant knowledge awaiting fruition.  

In my experience I know this to be true.  I have tried to study "Thrice Greatest Hermes" and other texts, while I sense and appreciate the great esotericism, the presentation and method of study just doesn't take hold.  For this reason, I believe exploration is a must.  What is in Thrice Greatest Hermes is found in the Upanisads and Puranas, and what is found therein is too found in the Kabbalah etc., which is all presented so majestically in the Secret Doctrine. 


I guess I'll have to read Subba Rows lectures on the Gita again; maybe I will see why he used Logos (or was it Logoi? he seemed to be hedging his bits to satisfy the Mahatmas Budhism). As I understand Logos means word which in Sanskrit would be Vach. This seems very much a Christian concept. I don't see much of Vach in the 'Sanatana Dharma'. It seems to me that HPB etc were trying to communicate with Westerners 'on their own terms', which is understandable but nowadays very few people are familiar with Gnostic ideas when compared to Indian philosophies


Sure Logos means 'word', story, explanation hence 'logic', any 'ology', etc... it takes on metaphysical clothing later on - it's probably more gnostic and platonic - it seems more like 'smuggled goods' in the new testament - the Gospel of John having an obvious Platonic influence - Gnosticism may not be the massive cottage industry that the Baghavad Gita has become, but I think there's a surprising amount of Neo-Gnostic groups out there, from what I've seen - one amazingly theosophical logoistic text to come out is the Tripartite Tractate, Subba Row would have a field day with that one:-)



About to read Subba Row again I noticed a critique by Navroji Dorabji Khandalavala "THE BHAGAVAD GITA AND THE MICROCOSMIC PRINCIPLES" to which TSR did not reply and which refers several times to confusing statements re 'Logos/Logoi' by TSR as well as the disagreement on 'principles'. Consequently to seek clarification in TSRs writings would seem a fruitless quest.

The closest sanskrit term to Logos would seem to be Antaryamin which would seem to bypass 'A Logos' aka Ishwara.


Vâk, as you had mentioned, plays an important part in Hindu cosmology.  Matter of fact, it seems as if all philosophies share this same Esoteric Truth.  

Vâk, often called Saraswati, amongst many other titles, which is probably why you may have noticed it.  There are many manifestations of Vâk, thus many names.  If you are able, refer to Rgveda Samhita, 10th mandala, 71st sukta, or refer to Rgveda.10.126.  There you will find two hymns that are beautiful and convey some very deep contemplations.

Logos is to Iswara;  Sabdabrahman; is to The Word (Logos: Iswara).  All are referring to the same Principle.

There is a text called Sphotavada, which T. Subba Row spoke of in regards to referring to the Sabda Doctrine.  I have a copy, which I will type out a portion of the introduction by G. Srinivasa Murti;

"The doctrine of the Eternity of Sabda (Word) has a most fascinating and ancient history having its roots in the well known Rgvedic hymn to the Goddess of Speech- Vâgdevi.  The traditional formulator of this theory according to the grammarians is Shoptayana Rsi...  The theory of Shopta links up the transient phenomenon of the pronounced word to Brahman as Sabdabrahman, the eternal Noumenon of every form of significant sound or word and indeed of every manifested object of creation.  This is a view which strikingly brings up to our mind the conception of Platonic Logos (the Word) and in the saying of the Christian scripture, "In the beginning was the Word (logos); the Word was with God; and the Word was God."

"...This lofty and transcendental conception of Sabda (Word) does not relate, or corse, to the transient phenomenon of the spoken and audible word made up of letters pronounced one by one and dying the moment each letter is pronounced, but relates to the eternal Word Sphota (the Sabdabrahman)- The Permanent Noumenon indicated by and forming the root basis of all the transient words and word-phenomena of momentary existence."

It is one of my favorite studies and is unbelievably complicated.  T. Subba Row has done a great job in making this method of study, manifestation via Sabda or Word, understandable.

As for the Antaryamin, if I am correct, the upanisads regard this as a body inside the Sutratman.  The Iswara is the Logos as our texts teach us, we must trust that they are correct.  It is alright to use the two, The Logos and Iswara, as a synonym.


Here's a nice, short text on Vach by WQJ (p.335):



Well it seems Judge equates Logos with Vach - but which one? and Subba Row equates Logos with Ishwara. The waters are truly muddy now. As TSRs critic put it:

"There seems to be a Brahminical Logos and Buddhistic Logos, and there are innumerable Logoi and so forth. All the statements puzzle the mind; not because we cannot comprehend what is said, but because short statements are made here and there and no explanation is given of them."

could equally apply to all this 'Vedic' confusion.

The Antaryāmin, in terms of the Indian Philosophy, is related to the "inner-self", the "inner-controller" or the "inner-guidance" Wikipedia


"while there is only one Divine, we each have our own unique, personal Divine – an Antaryamin (which means “in-dwelling God”)."

but since 'Atman and Buddhi were never within man' the 'inner guidance' can only be heard? :

“Speech or Vach was regarded as the Son or the manifestation of the Eternal Self, and was adored under the name of Avalokitesvara, the manifested God.” This shows as clearly as can be that Avalokitesvara is both the the un-manifested Father and the manifested Son, the latter proceeding from, and identical with, the other; namely, the Parabrahm and Jiv~tman, the Universal and the individualized seventh Principle, — the Passive and the Active, the latter the Word, Logos, the Verb. Call it by whatever name, only let these unfortunate, deluded Christians know that the real Christ of every Christian is the Vach, the “mystical Voice,” ML 59 (my emphasis)

So my conclusion is that the use of 'Logos' and 'Ishwara' only bring theistic confusion into Theosophy: 

 "Avalokita Isvar literally interpreted means “the Lord that is seen,” “Iswara” implying moreover, rather the adjective than the noun, lordly, self-existent lordliness, not Lord."  ML 59


That is a fair definition of Antaryamin, actually quite accurate.  However, I do not believe it is belonging to the region of Iswara.  You may refer to the sarvasaropanisad.

Sanskrit is very confusing, everyone will agree.  The efforts of early Theosophists are absolutely unmatched.  They were truly venturing into untrodden ground with absolute selflessness and devotion to the Masters, struggling to present these complexities in a way so others may have a chance at understanding.

From T. Subba Row, Notes on the Gita, first lecture;

"This Logos may be called in the language of old writers either Eswara or Pratyagatma or Sabda Brahmam. It is called the Verbum or the Word by the Christians, and it is the divine Christos who is eternally in the bosom of his father. It is called Avalokiteswara by the Buddhists; at any rate, Avalokiteswara in one sense is the Logos in general, though no doubt in the Chinese doctrine there are also other ideas with which it is associated. In almost every doctrine they have formulated the existence of a centre of spiritual energy which is unborn and eternal, and which exists in a latent condition in the bosom of Parabrahmam at the time of pralaya, and starts as a centre of conscious energy at the time of cosmic activity. It is the first gnatha or the ego in the cosmos, and every other ego and every other self, as I shall hereafter point out, is but its reflection or manifestation."

I have no knowledge of the Buddhist doctrine, so I am unable to contribute regarding any technicalities of that particular school. All I can tell you is that Iswara simply means Lord, Supreme Being/ Soul.  I dont know what Avalokit means.  Perhaps that might be something noteworthy, which I have just found to be extremely interesting regardingsound;


The name Avalokiteśvara is made of the following parts: the verbal prefix ava, which means "down"; lokita, a past participle of the verb lok ("to notice, behold, observe"), here used in an active sense (an occasional irregularity of Sanskrit grammar); and finally īśvara, "lord", "ruler", "sovereign" or "master". In accordance with sandhi (Sanskrit rules of sound combination), a+iśvara becomes eśvara. Combined, the parts mean "lord who gazes down (at the world)". 
However, the original form was indeed Avalokitasvara[2][3] with the ending a-svara ("sound, noise"), which means "sound perceiver", literally "he who looks down upon sound" (i.e., the cries of sentient beings who need his help; a-svara can be glossed as ahr-svara, "sound of lamentation").[4]

The original meaning of the name fits the Buddhist understanding of the role of a bodhisattva. The reinterpretation presenting him as an īśvara shows a strong influence of Hinduism, as the term īśvara was usually connected to the Hindu notion of Krishna (in Vaisnavism) or Śiva (in Śaivism) as the Supreme Lord, Creator and Ruler of the world. Some attributes of such a god were transmitted to the bodhisattva, but the mainstream of those who venerated Avalokiteśvara upheld the Buddhist rejection of the doctrine of any creator god.[6]



I must say that this is the better translation I have found, which I believe the link should send you right at the start.


I believe it is on page 60, under "balabodhini."  Or just click this horribly long link;


May I politely suggest that Wikipedia, with all due appreciation for its great contribution to general knowledge, is often not the most reliable source for topics such as Sanskrit terms and ideas. The question of Avalokiteśvara is quite complex, and it is misleading for Wikipedia contributors to cite views giving only part of the picture. It is by no means certain that the original form was avalokita plus svara, "sound," rather than avalokita plus īśvara, "lord." There exist old Sanskrit fragments from central Asia in which the word ends with svara, "sound." These became the basis of an early translation of the Lotus Sutra into Chinese, which became extremely influential. Thus, the name is usually understood in China as avalokitasvara, "perceiver of the sounds [of the world]." However, there also exist old Sanskrit fragments from Gilgit in which the word ends with īśvara, "lord." When Xuanzang went to India in the early 600s C.E., he found nothing but the word ending with īśvara. It is unrealistic to suppose that the form ending with svara disappeared without a trace and was completely replaced by the form ending with īśvara in only a postulated couple hundred years. The idea of "strong influence of Hinduism" as the cause of this alleged happening is even more unrealistic.

Then, the often-repeated idea that avalokita means "looked down" has a long history of one Western scholar copying another Western scholar, starting with Eugène Burnouf in 1844 to T. W. Rhys Davids in 1877 to Edward Conze in 1958 and then through other writers to Wikipedia, until this has become widely accepted as an established fact. It is not an established fact. While the prefix "ava" can mean "down," it does not mean this in the great majority of words to which it is prefixed. It does not mean this when prefixed to the root "lok," meaning "see." The past passive participle made from this root and this prefix, avalokita, means "is seen." The idea that this passive form is abnormally used in an active sense in this name is based on the accounts of what Avalokiteśvara does. This was Burnouf's initial assumption. Then to this assumed meaning, "looked down," Rhys Davids added "from on high." Edward Conze, who was the world's leading translator of the Perfection of Wisdom texts, followed by adopting "looked down from on high" in his translation of the Heart Sutra. Thus this meaning became established in Western writings.

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on May 26, 2015 at 3:24am

Very interesting David.  I had no idea of the history behind Avalokitesvara being so complexed, but I wouldn't have guessed otherwise.  Wiki information was spur of the moment, I suppose I was excited to see that one possible translation linked Avalokitesvara with sound, further exciting me thinking about a possible correlation to the philosophy behind the sphota doctrine and posted it without going too far into it. 

I am not at all familiar with the term, besides it being mentioned here and there in some texts. But I am now very interested in the etymology. Perhaps this is what T. Subba Row was referring to in his lecture;

"...Avalokiteswara in one sense is the Logos in general, though no doubt in the Chinese doctrine there are also other ideas with which it is associated."

Could you recommend a site where there is reliable information regarding Avalokitesvara?

Permalink Reply by David Reigle on May 27, 2015 at 6:53am

I do not know of sites giving reliable information on Avalokiteśvara, since I mostly use printed sources. I may try to post scans of these many articles, mostly collected from Indological journals. This question has long been of interest to me, firstly because Mahatma letter #59 (cited here earlier by Keith) specifically addresses the alleged meaning, "the Lord who looks down from on high," and secondly because some of its synonyms are used in the stanzas from the Book of Dzyan. Subba Row was probably referring to the fact that Avalokiteśvara as Kuan yin in China transformed from a male deity to a female deity, and as the latter became a much-worshiped patron deity. A very good source on this is the book by Chun-fang Yu titled, Kuan-yin: The Chinese Transformation of Avalokiteśvara.

I may add that Wikipedia is only the last in a long series of sources that include unverified information as facts. The book by Alexander Studholme that is cited there was his PhD thesis. Many, many books originate in this way. The difficulty is that, even though PhD candidates are studying their subject full-time for years, they are often too young to have yet fully mastered the needed languages for their research. No one is to blame for this situation; it is simply the situation we have. As readers, we just need to be aware of this. We all do the best we can with the information that is available to us, and we simply do not yet have enough information to say for certain what the original form or meaning of Avalokiteśvara was.

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on May 26, 2015 at 4:46am

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

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on May 26, 2015 at 9:45am

There may be a benefit to having many terms, and many cultures and many traditions from which to draw from and point to the Esoteric Teachings (The Secret Doctrine)   There is a strong tendency among all of us that are  unenlightened to concretize, crystalize, shrink, box and package the teachings.  Once this happens then others come along and create their own packaged version of what they think the teachings are saying and you get divisions, debates and eventually conflict (see the Christian Church or modern Islam).  The Teachings are by definition multi-faceted, fluidic and  hidden.  The different terms and cultures gives us multiple vantage points from which to probe what cannot be ultimately tied down. It works against the tendency of kama-manas to force an idea into a rigid form.

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on May 26, 2015 at 10:40am

Nicely put Gerry.

Let us remember that these terms are concepts, some of which are beyond the scope of our intellectual development, racially, and karmically. 

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on May 27, 2015 at 4:43am

There can only be one truth although we can only expect to come closer to it; Plato said somewhere that the most that mortals can expect to learn and know is what is most reasonable and probable - the rest is the province of the gods. 

The Esoteric Teachings that have been given to us are not fluidic or Hidden although HPB was given to confuse matters (cf the Mahatmas frequent comments in this respect and their dissatisfaction with 'Isis'). Personally speaking these teachings are more reasonable and probable. Other Traditions have value if they contribute to clarification or confirmation of these teachings. Gnosticism and the Vedas don't fit the bill

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on May 27, 2015 at 10:11am

The written and spoken teachings that we have  is like an iceberg.  What is exoteric, public if you will, is above the water.  What is Esoteric (Hidden by definition I might add) is below the water.  The Esoteric Philosophy has many exoteric expressions which are useful and practical, but their hidden roots can only be grasped by higher faculties which we must develop over time.

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on May 28, 2015 at 4:02am

Agreed, but in the meantime...

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on May 28, 2015 at 4:44am

HPB on Vedantin idea of the Logos (my emphasis)

SD THE THEOGONY OF THE CREATIVE GODS. (which are not accepted in 'Budhism KJ)

The best metaphysical definition of primeval theogony in the spirit of the Vedantins may be found in the “Notes on the Bhagavat-Gita,” by Mr. T. Subba Row.:

This Logos is the Sabda Brahmam of the Hindus, which he will not even call Eswara (the “lord” God), lest the term should create confusion in the people’s minds. But it is the Avalokiteswara of the Hindus, the Verbum of the Christians in its real esoteric meaning, not in the theological disfigurement.

In her own words:

Occultism....recognizes that in the ultimate analysis even the Logos and Mûlaprakriti are one; and that there is but One Reality behind the Mâyâ of the universe. But in the manvantaric circuit, in the realm of manifested being, the Logos (spirit), and Mûlaprakriti (matter or its noumenon), are the dual contrasted poles or bases of all phenomena—subjective and objective. The duality of spirit and matter is a fact, so long as the Great Manvantara lasts. Beyond that looms the darkness of the “Great Unknown,” the one Parabrahman. PSYCHOLOGY, THE SCIENCE OF THE SOUL 


the “Unknowable,” may be essentially the same as that of the Consciousness which wells up within us: in short, that the impersonal reality pervading the Kosmos is the pure noumenon of thought. This advance on his part brings him very near to the esoteric and Vedantin tenet.*
The “first” cannot be the absolute, for it is a manifestation. Therefore, Eastern Occultism calls the Abstract All the “Causeless One Cause,” the “Rootless Root,” and limits the “First Cause” to the Logos, in the sense that Plato gives to this term.   PROEM.

As I understand it, for Plato Logos is reason, intelligence....which echoes other teachings re Sat/Chit. 

So logos in the esoteric doctrine means the manifested spirit, the Purusa of the Purusa/Prakriti duad which at this stage is an abstraction and must become embodied (and since 'Budhism' is pantheistic means Purusas?):

A noumenon can become a phenomenon on any plane of existence only by manifesting on that plane through an appropriate basis or vehicle; and during the long night of rest called Pralaya, when all the existences are dissolved,  STANZA I

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on May 28, 2015 at 4:14pm

(1.) The ABSOLUTE; the Parabrahm of the Vedantins or the one Reality, SAT, which is, as Hegel says, both Absolute Being and Non-Being.  

 (2.) The first manifestation, the impersonal, and, in philosophy, unmanifested Logos, the precursor of the "manifested." This is the "First Cause," the "Unconscious" of European Pantheists.    

(3.) Spirit-matter, LIFE; the "Spirit of the Universe," the Purusha and Prakriti, or the second Logos.

Just a quick thought regarding this.  There are I believe, generally speaking, two Trinities.  

Parabrahm is the 4th- the "ever concealed"
Iswara is The Logos. [noumenon] (+3)
Sabdabrahman etc., is the Logos.  [phenomenon] (+4)

This is how I understand it.  Obviously a lot can be said, and has been said regarding the depth topic being simply presented.  As Gerry said, "The written and spoken teachings that we have is like an iceberg."  

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on June 19, 2015 at 9:39am

Noting that HPB uses 'ESWARA', and the term Avalokiteśvara"

and reading today:


"ESWARA, who is the presiding Diety in every being"

"Eswara (universal Consciousness)"

This ties in with Antaryamin the "inner-controller" or the "inner-guidance"

and Platos Reason/intelligence (or rather Nous?)

But not with Subba Rows 'Ishvara' which has theistic overtones whichever way he cut it.

cf David Reigle God’s Arrival in India where he points out that Isavara became equivalent to a person God:

The fact that Isvara is found in the Yoga system at all is seen by some scholars as a concession to growing theism.

M. D. Shastri’s important study, “History of the Word Isvara’ and Its Idea,” shows that Isvara did not mean God in any of India’s oldest texts,.....It instead only meant a ruler, master,

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on June 20, 2015 at 7:35am

Iswara, or rather an aspect of Iswara is called the antaryamin in the brhadaranyaka upanisad III.vii.1-23, no doubt in other texts as well.  This however, from what I understand, is dealing with the 2nd Logos, not the unmanifested ISWARA or the LOGOS proper.  

There are apparently a few ways ways to understand this doctrine of the Logos/Iswara.   What is typically called the personal god, is by all means an entity as it has an individuality of its own, being the first manifest Ego of the cosmos.  This is indeed a being, or at least a series of individualities that have become sympathetically attracted resonate together to form One Entity, as it were.  This is a phenomenal condition of the Eternal Impersonal Noumenon;

SD.i.16 Proem;

1.) The ABSOLUTE; the Parabrahm of the Vedantins or the one Reality, SAT, which is, as Hegel says, both Absolute Being and Non-Being.

2.) The first manifestation, the impersonal, and, in philosophy, unmanifested Logos,the precursor of the "manifested." This is the "First Cause," the "Unconscious" of European Pantheists.

[note]; "the first manifestation" I find to be somewhat misleading as this impersonal unmanifested Logos, can never be manifest in the literal sense of the definition, otherwise, its essence would be subject to modification.  Here, I believe we have a tranquil and homogeneous state of spirit and matter (purusa and prakriti) in absolute harmony.  What we see isn't an Entity becoming manifest but (mûla)prakrti in a state of equipoise subject to future modification pending initial activity.]

Note what TSR states in his article Prakrti and Purusa;

b) Mûlaprakṛti is not dead or jadam, as Purusa- the one life- always exists in it. It is in fact caitanya dîpta (shining with life) as stated in Uttaratapinî. 
(c) Mûlaprakṛti is not temporary but eternal.
(d) When subject to change it always loses its name, reassuming it after returning to its original undifferentiated condition.
(e) It is not partial but co-extensive with space.
(f) It eternally exists in the universe in whatever Avasthâ (conditioned state) a particular human being may be.

So my personal opinion is that this (first) Logos, or Iswara is absolutely Cidrupam- the "form" of consciousness only, nothing else.  Matter (mûlaprakrti) adopts this same state.  Impersonal Absolute state of Sat; Be-ness.

3.) Spirit-matter, LIFE; the "Spirit of the Universe," the Purusha and Prakriti, or thesecond Logos.

This is the pivotal point, I believe.  We have 3 aspects here; though two are technically one, plus the third, completes the Absolute Trinity i.e., "spirit-matter (2), LIFE (3)."  Three aspects. From this, I believe we have the "second" emanation of the Logos, which technically speaking, it should be seen as the first, because the former IS.  This is generally where we see the ideas of the personal iswara develop or the Cosmic Ego, which is absolutely correct from one point of view, but it is not by any means the "end" as this emanation occurs at the start of every manvantara, that is, it initiates the manvantara, which should give the student very good idea of what this iswara technically is.  

4.) Cosmic Ideation, MAHAT or Intelligence, the Universal World-Soul; the Cosmic Noumenon of Matter, the basis of the intelligent operations in and of Nature, also called MAHA-BUDDHI.

This correlates with the following forms of Vâk as if we were to consider further unfoldment and manifestations;

(Pâra), Psyantî, Madhyamâ, and Vaikharî.  

I dont think it is necessary I should continue from this point.  But I hope what I have written above will be understandable, and not too confusing.  This is a very esoteric subject, which I doubt any student, or rather uninitiated student can gather and formulate on their own...  

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by barbaram on June 20, 2015 at 8:14pm

I just read in the Mahatma Letters, pg 90

..Call it the Sakti of Parabrahma, if you like, and say with the Adwaitees (Subba Row is one) that Parabrahm plus Maya becomes Iswar, the creative principle - a power commonly called God, which disappears and dies with the rest when pralaya comes. 

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on June 21, 2015 at 5:16am

But "we are not adwaitees" and he adds;

"Or you may hold with the northern Buddhist philosophers and call it Adi-Buddhi, the all-pervading supreme and absolute intelligence with its periodically manifesting Divinity — “Avalokiteshvara” (a manwantaricintelligent nature crowned with humanity) — the mystic name given by us to the hosts of the Dhyan Chohans (N.B., the solar Dhyan Chohans or the host of only our solar system) taken collectively, which host represents the mother source, the aggregate amount of all the intelligences that were, are or ever will be"

So here Avalokiteshvara is categorically stated to be the mystic namegiven to the hosts of the Dhyan Chohans which host represents the mother source, the aggregate amount of all the intelligences

not crowned with some 'original Ego'. Intelligence steeped in Maya is no intelligence

To add AdiShankaras contribution:

"Therefore when the Brahman is known as the witness of all states of consciousness, then it is known well. Being the witness of all states  of consciousness, it will be clear that it is intelligence in its essence"

Kena Upanishad

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on June 21, 2015 at 5:56am

Please provide a reference to the Kenopanisad.

Also, consider the third and fourth section of the upanisad itself in regards to intelligence. Note very carefully this Yaksa that makes an appearance before Indra, Vayu and Agni.

Can you kindly elaborate what you propose when you wrote:

"intelligence steeped in Maya is no intelligence"

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on June 21, 2015 at 6:37am



To say that 'Parabrahm plus Maya becomes Iswar' is to say that Parabrahm is fooled by Maya and becomes deluded (along with the aggregate amount of all the intelligences presumably). The doctrine of Maya is a later theistic invention like Ishvara and there is ample evidence that neither was taught by AdiShankara 

And what is concerned with seeing differences is the subject­ matter of ignorance, as indicated in the passage, '(He who worships another god thinking) , "He is one , and I am another," does not know' 

BrahadaranyakaUpanishad comm. Madhavaananda p252

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on June 21, 2015 at 12:24pm

Thank you for stating your general opinion on this matter.  Though I would respectfully disagree.

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on June 21, 2015 at 5:37am

Good quotation Barbara.  

Sakti is the driving force behind all the Cosmos.  This is often times called "The Light of the Logos" or the "Light of Iswara."  It is this very principle I was referring to when I had written; "not the unmanifested ISWARA or the LOGOS proper ... Eternal Impersonal Noumenon"

William Q. Judge writes a nice 3 paged article on this in Theosophical Articles vol.1 "Commentary on the Gayatri."

Permalink Reply by Casady on June 21, 2015 at 12:20pm

For an example of this use of Sakti in cosmology, see Woodrofe'sIntroduction to Tantra Sastra:


Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on June 21, 2015 at 5:36pm

Thanks Casady, 
I am glad to read in the first few pages the mention of Parabrahman being both sakala and niskala. This is expanded in the Devi Purana and our Theosophical texts at large.  I dont know much about Woodrofe's writings, but I have seen a few translations of Tantric texts under his name, or rather his nom de plume; Arthur Avalon.

Yet another quotation from T. Subba Row in his article "A personal and Impersonal God."

"... Expressions implying the existence of a conscious Iswar which are to be found here and there in the Upanishads should not therefore be literally construed...

..The latent design exists in the one unborn eternal atom, the centre which exists everywhere and nowhere; and this is the one life that exists everywhere. Now, it will be easily seen that the undifferentiated Cosmic matter, Purush, and the ONE LIFE of the Arhat philosophers, are the Mulaprakriti, Chidakasam and  Chinmatra of the Adwaitee philosophers. As regards Cosmogony, the Arhat stand-point is objective, and the Adwaitee stand-point is subjective. The Arhat Cosmogony accounts for evolution of the manifested solar system from undifferentiated Cosmic matter, and Adwaitee Cosmogony accounts for the evolution of Bahipragna from the original Chinmatra. As the different conditions of differentiated Cosmic matter are but the different aspects of the various conditions of Pragna, the Adwaitee Cosmogony is but the complement of the Arhat Cosmogony. The eternal principle is precisely the same in both the systems, and they agree in denying the existence of an extra-Cosmic God

The Arhats call themselves Atheists, and they are justified in doing so if theism inculcates the existence of a conscious God governing the universe by his will-power. Under such circumstance the Adwaitee will come under the same denomination. Atheism and theism are words of doubtful import, and until their meaning is definitely ascertained it would be better not to use them in connection with any system of philosophy."

Permalink Reply by Casady on June 26, 2015 at 12:10pm

My pleasure, Kristan - nice TSR passage on the complementary aspect of Arhat/Advaita cosmogonies. Woodroffe's not bad - he makes interesting connections between eastern and western philosophy -  a bio on him came out recently - he has some TS connections:


I like this passage (p.5):

As Śruti says: “He saw” (Sa aikṣata, ahaṃ bahu syām prajāyeya). He thought to Himself “May I be many.” “Sa aikṣata” was itself a manifestation of Śakti, the Paramāpūrva-nirvāṇa-śakti of Brahman as Śakti.3 From the Brahman, withŚakti (Parahaktimaya) issued Nāda (Śiva-Śakti as the “Word” or “Sound”), and from Nāda, Bindu appeared. Kālicharana in his commentary on the Ṣaṭcakra-nirūpaṇa4 says that Śiva and NirvāṇaŚakti bound by a māyik bond and covering, should be thought of as existing in the form of Paraṃ Bindu.

3 Ṣaṭ-cakra-nirupaṇ a. Commentary on verse 37,

4 Ṣaṭ-cakra-nirupaṇ verse 49.

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on June 26, 2015 at 6:04pm


Thought you might like this link, that is, if you haven't seen it already ;)

Those above quoted portions are very interesting, and can defiantly be read into.  The phrase which catch my attention is;

| From the Brahman, with Śakti (Parahaktimaya) issued Nāda (Śiva-Śakti as the “Word” or “Sound”), and from Nāda, Bindu appeared |

At first glance, Nâda and Bindu appear to be used in a very mystical sense here.  Typically it is seen on the sacred syllable ॐ.  There are defiantly a few upanisads that speak of this topic, along with other texts that directly relate to the sphota (sound) theory.  

Though, what this particular phrase suggests, "From the Brahman, with S'akti issued Nâda" suggests a state perfect harmony of three qualities, Brahman (Parabrahmam), Sakti (daiviprakrti) and Nâda, which might be understood as the reverberation sound at the end of AUM.  Though, these three states have not yet become manifest, so we have a resonation within the metaphysical Absolute Abstract Space.  Resonation being nothing more than Vibration prior to manifest sound... Truly metaphysical if you consider it from the sphota doctrine! However, there was never an end to be known. Endings and beginnings are linear, in metaphysics linear conceptions are to be cast aside, nothing more than organizations and polarizations of the lower mind. 

It appears that the combination of these three, via rousing the latent Purusa (S'iva) by means of S'akti, the Bindu (Isvara/Logos/Ego) (re)appeared/became endowed, hence Light of (denoting a source of which the Light is shining though) the Logos.

Defiantly a loaded line, but it defiantly suggests that both spirit and matter, which ever name one assigns, are facets of Parabrahmam.  Thanks for sharing!

Permalink Reply by Casady on July 3, 2015 at 10:53am

Thanks for the link Kristan - nice to have the whole series grouped together ...

There you go - I think you cashed out Woodroffe's Logos reference quite nicely - (similar perhaps to hpb's explanation of Brahma-Vach-Viraj)  I do think that the Logos concept is intimately linked to the metaphysics of Mantra -   - ps - wikiosophy has a gives a good overview of the logos -http://www.theosophy.wiki/mywiki/index.php?title=Logos

but I agree with Keith to the extent that I don't think that the concept is particurlarly clear in the writings - the basic notions are given, with good details, but there's a lot of fragments here and there, often cryptic and suggestive that would need fleshing out... there's work to do in that area, imo...

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on July 3, 2015 at 2:51pm

The Theosophy Wiki article on the Logos is very good, it has all the essentials grouped together.

I've always assumed when speaking of the Logos as Iswara, we're referring to the second One.  

"Moreover, in Occult metaphysics there are, properly speaking, two “ONES”—the One on the unreachable plane of Absoluteness and Infinity, on which no speculation is possible, and the Second “One” on the plane of Emanations. The former can neither emanate nor be divided, as it is eternal, absolute, and immutable. The Second, being, so to speak, the reflection of the first One (for it is the Logos, or Eswara, in the Universe of Illusion), can do all this. It emanates from itself . . . the seven Rays or Dhyan Chohans."

I do agree that often times it become a little vague at which Logos is generally referred to, but to my knowledge if Logos is used in the context as the agent of action, the Initiator, one assumes that is regarding the "second One", Iswara, which appears to be used often when speaking about the Manifested Cosmos on the plane of Illusion only. 

Only when understanding what Iswara is, can we take note of what lays beyond this Trinity. 

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by Casady on June 21, 2015 at 12:43pm

Here's a quote for some of the synomyms for Logos:

"Simultaneously with the evolution of the Universal Mind, the concealed Wisdom of Adi-Buddha — the One Supreme and eternal — manifests itself as Avalokiteshwara (or manifested Iswara), which is the Osiris of the Egyptians, the Ahura-Mazda of the Zoroastrians, the Heavenly Man of the Hermetic philosopher, the Logos of the Platonists, and the Atman of the Vedantins.*

* Mr. Subba Row seems to identify him with, and to call him, the Logos. (See his four lectures on the “Bhagavadgita” in the Theosophist.)" (SD I 110)

This of course is a large topic - my understanding is that, in general, the term Logos can refer to the first logos or the first three combined, or all seven together. There's about 50 pages in hpb's writings that deal with the Logos in various aspects.

Wikipedia's article is not bad (except later neoplatonism is not covered, for example Proclus's explanations of the logos seems very similar to Blavatsky's)https://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Logos

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on June 22, 2015 at 9:43am

So we can see what confusion prevails with this Greek import. Having clarified that in Budhism it refers to pure 'intellligence' but that Subba Row confused matters with his Gita lectures there is still the question of why it is used in the context of Eastern teaching. Sanskrit is said to be THE language for spirituality and Antaryamin is a rare term so what did they do before Greek/Western philosophy arrived on their shores?

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on July 4, 2015 at 4:27am

So far no one has answered the question: Why no logos in Sanskrit? So I will have another try: Dharma (Law). Theosophy Wiki only seems to muddy the waters more but there is nothing there to support a divine ego aka Ishwara, on the contrary:

It is important to keep in mind that the phrase "Divine Thought" neither implies the idea of a Divine thinker nor of a process of thinking: It is hardly necessary to remind the reader once more that the term “Divine Thought,” like that of “Universal Mind,” must not be regarded as even vaguely shadowing forth an intellectual process akin to that exhibited by man.

Wikipedia on Logos:

Despite the conventional translation as "word", it is not used for a word in the grammatical sense; instead, the term lexis (λέξις) was used.[8] However, both logos and lexis derive from the same verb legō (λέγω), meaning "to count, tell, say, speak"

Mahatma KH specifically stated that the Universal Mind Mahat has no cerebrum. So if it 'speaks' it could only be Dharma/Law or nonsense and since the manifested cosmos is not nonsensical it must be the former. The problem with Greek word is its implication of 'reason' which implies a 'reasoner' and therefore a cerebrum:

Wikipedia on Nous:

Anaxagoras of Clazomenae, born about 500 BC, is the first person who is definitely known to have explained the concept of a nous (mind), which arranged all other things in the cosmos in their proper order, started them in a rotating motion, and continuing to control them

and Pythagoras and Heraclitus, attributed the cosmos with "reason" (logos)


Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on July 4, 2015 at 6:32am

Why no logos in Sanskrit?

Kindly explain to us your opinion of the Logos, in your own words please.  I think we may all greatly benefit to understand what you mean by this statement.  

There are many Logoi in sanskrit. Though, it is a very confusing topic approaching it from Hindu Metaphysics, which may very well assign, as they do, double or triple possible meanings depending on context and presentation, to any given name.  I am hardly a master of sanskrit texts, let alone even a seasoned student, but I do know enough to know that there is a major process to understand esoteric sanskrit texts.  T. Subba Rao gives some of the best advice regarding this;

"... very often Samskrt words are made to convey a certain hidden meaning by means of certain well-known prearranged methods and a tacit convention, while their literal significance is something quite different from the implied meaning. The following are some of the rules which may help an inquirer in ferreting out the deep significance of the ancient Samskrt nomenclature used in the old Âryan myths and allegories:

1. Find out the synonyms of the word used which have other meanings.
2. Find out the numerical value of the letters composing the word according to the methods given in ancient Tântric works.
3. Examine the ancient myths or allegories, if there are any, which have any special connection with the word in question.
4. Permute the different syllables composing the word and examine the new combinations that will thus be formed and their meanings, etc."  

In my very humble opinion, unless we are able to do this step by step, we are not to speak out in vain. We shouldn't accuse others of causing confusion or "muddying the waters" Keith, especially high ranking Chelas.  This is a very unfair and unjust statement.  The confusion is with  our humble attempts to understand the Ancient Doctrines. We share what we think we understand by an ever developing inner faculty.  


Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on July 4, 2015 at 7:09am

HPB always said that the Eastern teachings were the superior source and therefore they can  have no need of Greek/Western terminology. Dharma is a superior term.

My preliminary investigation shows that the use of Logos and logoi and all this talk of first, second etc did not occur prior to Subba Rows Gita lectures which are a confused and theistic 'transplant'. Prior to this all references to Logos are with reference to Western beliefs: mainly Greek, Jewish and Christian. Subsequent to TSRs Gita lectures HPB seems to have gone out of her way to 'please' TSR in spite of the fact that in those lectures the 'high ranking Chela' reneged on the core teachings that he had previously supported; doing much damage and subsequently withdrawing his support. His legacy is the confusion displayed in this thread

Permalink Reply by Casady on September 15, 2015 at 1:30pm

Here's Woodroffe's book on Mantra, pretty Theosophy-friendly:


Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on July 4, 2015 at 9:22am

The concept of the Logos suggests an organizing principle in Nature.  Does not Karma also suggest the same idea?

Furthermore there is no competition between East and West.   And in fact there is no East or West ultimately, just one humanity, one world, one Teaching.  The Secret Doctrine points to all the cultures of antiquity and uses a variety of terms to point to their Esoteric Source.

Both Pythagoras and Plato had training from "Eastern Teachers".  Whitehead said all of western philosophy are merely footnotes to Plato.

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on July 5, 2015 at 7:16am


In this context have a look at Theoria Apophasis video 

Uncovered Lost Pythagorean Grand Unified Theory Equation, Platos Divided Line & Pentagram Part 2


I confess to having no familiarity whatsoever with Pythagoras teaching but I recall HPB making many references thereto (and Subba Row denigrating them). Ken Williams makes some very enlightening observations in this video. One of them is the antinomical (he calls it monist but I disagree) observation regarding the inseparability of essence and attribute: what the absolute is is what the absolute does, illumination is light etc. This reinforces my hunch that Sat/Chit are not two which agrees with many non-dual statements that the self is awareness/intelligence. Another comment is his rejection of creationism and materialism and emphasis on emanation. He relates this to his claim that the Pythagorean mathematical formula he discovered and the derivation from the pentagram are the basis for a 'Grand Unified Theory' - 'God' mathemitizes and geometricizes. Even more interesting is a possible elaboration of Mahatma KH explanation re Mahat only having a cerebellum. Williams seems to be implying that all emanation is the result/action of a mathematical formula - aka 'immutable Law'. Can we see this as 'Universal reasoning' without a 'Reasoner'?

Williams says he is a Platonist not a Buddhist but he admits that he does not know where Pythagoras learnt his knowledge: queue HPB and Eastern Wisdom Tradition

Permalink Reply by Casady on July 5, 2015 at 9:00am

I agree that theism is problematic - look at the situation with Dayanand Sarasvati - but I suggest looking a bit at Isis vol. 2 - there's plenty of material on the Logos there, with comparisons with the Trimurti, mantra, etc... at the same time a basic theosophical concept is a perennialist approach based on comparative and symbolic studies - so one would do well to consider it from that perspective...although not dogmatically so of course, everyone is perfectly entitled to present their opinions....

Here's something from the point loma glossary, a lot of good Sanskritists over there:

Sabda (Sanskrit) Śabda A sound, word, or tone; sometimes used mystically to mean the cosmic Word, thus equivalent to the Greek Logos.

that might be a viable Sanskrit option - very literal, Sabda=Logos=Word

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on July 6, 2015 at 6:32am

Doing a quick search in Isis I find all headings relate to western religious traditions. I accept your Sabda as the nearest Sanskrit equivalent to 'word'. But word, speech is always subsequent to thought in man so if we take as above so below (not always applicable I know) then Sabda is mere expression of Dharma. 

You may have guessed I'm not a great fan of the perennialist approach based on comparative and symbolic studies except insofar as it bolsters Budhist Theosophy. One of the reasons why Theosophy is not taken seriously these days is the existence of important unresolved issues such as the renegade statements by Subba Row in his Gita lectures; Edward Maitlands claims for the superiority of Western Theosophy (and Subba rows contemtuous refutal). The split between Kingsford and Sinnett

Again you may guess that I am a Sinnett partisan


Permalink Reply by Casady on July 7, 2015 at 3:30pm

Interesting points - I still think highly of Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism - I wasn't sure if you wanted to replace the term "logos" with a Sanskrit equivalent or get rid the concept entirely - anyway, you raise some valid critiques - so for the early statements on the logos and it's Hindu correlations you check the beginning of Isis chapter 4, vol. 2 - (the trimurti compared to trinity, etc...) and for the mantra aspect there's a pithy passage on page 409 (I'll leave to your discretion to track down the remaining references that can be found in the index) - of course the passage below is very esoteric, perennialistic, and comparative, which you are free to reject it (and I know a lot of people who do reject it), but that's the way they substantiate their claims, mainly. If you want to consider theosophy as a multi-modal ontology, as they say nowadays, then you could say that this method is a logical proof strategy by accumulation of compatible evidence:

"Such is the respect of the Brahmans for the sacrificial mysteries, that they hold that the world itself sprang into creation as a consequence of a "sacrificial word" pronounced by the First Cause. This word is the "Ineffable name" of the kabalists, fully discussed in the last chapter.

The secret of the Vedas, "Sacred Knowledge" though they may be, is impenetrable without the help of the Brahmanas. Properly speaking, theVedas (which are written in verse and comprised in four books) constitute that portion called the Mantra, or magical prayer, and theBrahmanas (which are in prose) contain their key. While the Mantra part is alone holy, the Brahmana portion contains all the theological exegesis, and the speculations and explanations of the sacerdotal. Our Orientalists, we repeat, will make no substantial progress toward a comprehension of Vedic literature until they place a proper valuation upon works now despised by them; as, for instance, the Aitareya andKaushitaki Brahmanas, which belong to the Rig-Veda.

Zoroaster was called a Manthran, or speaker of Mantras, and, according to Haug, one of the earliest names for the Sacred Scriptures of the Parsis was Manthra-spenta. The power and significance of the Brahman who acts as the Hotri-priest at the Soma-Sacrifice, consists in his possession and full knowledge of the uses of the sacred word or speech — Vach. The latter is personified in Sara-isvati, the wife of Brahma, who is the goddess of the sacred or "Secret Knowledge." She is usually depicted as riding upon a peacock with its tail all spread. The eyes upon the feathers of the bird's tail, symbolize the sleepless eyes that see all things. To one who has the ambition of becoming an adept of the "Secret doctrines," they are a reminder that he must have the hundred eyes of Argus to see and comprehend all things.

And this is why we say that it is not possible to solve fully the deep problems underlying the Brahmanical and Buddhistic sacred books without having a perfect comprehension of the esoteric meaning of the Pythagorean numerals. The greatest power of this Vach, or Sacred Speech, is developed according to the form which is given to the Mantra by the officiating Hotri, and this form consists wholly in the numbers and syllables of the sacred metre. If pronounced slowly and in a certain rhythm, one effect is produced; if quickly and with another rhythm, there is a different result. "Each metre," says Haug, "is the invisible master of something visible in this world; it is, as it were, its exponent and ideal. This great significance of the metrical speech is derived from the number of syllables of which it consists, for each thing has (just as in the Pythagorean system) a certain numerical proportion. All these things, metres (chhandas), stomas, and prishthas, are liable to be as eternal and divine as the words themselves they contain. The earliest Hindu divines did not only believe in a primitive revelation of the words of the sacred texts, but even in that of the various forms. These forms, along with their contents, the everlasting Veda-words, are symbols expressive of things of the invisible world, and in several respects comparable to the Platonic ideas."

This testimony from an unwilling witness shows again the identity between the ancient religions as to their secret doctrine. The Gayatri metre, for example, consists of thrice eight syllables, and is considered the most sacred of metres. It is the metre of Agni, the fire-god, and becomes at times the emblem of Brahma himself, the chief creator, and "fashioner of man" in his own image. Now Pythagoras says that "The number eight, or the Octad, is the first cube, that is to say, squared in all senses, as a die, proceeding from its base two, or even number; so is man four-square or perfect." Of course few, except the Pythagoreans and kabalists, can fully comprehend this idea; but the illustration will assist in pointing out the close kinship of the numerals with the VedicMantras."

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on July 6, 2015 at 11:26am

In one of the earlier posts I had referred to a 17th century work by a sanskrit grammarian Nagesa Bhatta.  Though the sanskrit text is very complicated, a great introduction was attached by a commenter;

I'll post something that I had posted before, an introduction from a text by sanskrit grammarian Nagesa Bhatta (17th century);

"The doctrine of the Eternity of Sabda (Word) has a most fascinating and ancient history having its roots in the well known Rgvedic hymn to the Goddess of Speech- Vâgdevi.  The traditional formulator of this theory according to the grammarians is Shoptayana Rsi...  The theory of Shopta links up the transient phenomenon of the pronounced word to Brahman as Sabdabrahman, the eternal Noumenon of every form of significant sound or word and indeed of every manifested object of creation.  This is a view which strikingly brings up to our mind the conception of Platonic Logos (the Word) and in the saying of the Christian scripture, "In the beginning was the Word (logos); the Word was with God; and the Word was God."

"...This lofty and transcendental conception of Sabda (Word) does not relate, of corse, to the transient phenomenon of the spoken and audible word made up of letters pronounced one by one and dying the moment each letter is pronounced, but relates to the eternal Word Sphota (the Sabdabrahman)- The Permanent Noumenon indicated by and forming the root basis of all the transient words and word-phenomena of momentary existence."

T. Subba Rao uses this methodology in his lectures on the Bhagavadgita, as we're all familiar or perhaps vaguely familiar with it.  However he has given a very general explanation to a overwhelmingly complexed method of metaphysics via sabda/sphota.   I personally feel, one must study his words carefully, and then trace them back to the source (of which is almost impossible to find an english translation of), and then to other commentators of said works and references, then a verifiable conclusion must be drawn.  

Simply saying Logos doesn't exist in Sanskrit is a very blanketed statement, and a very untrue one at that.  The Logos can be found along with a very descriptive, systematic, and enormously layered approach to Sound and Vibration.  Dharma is a very important understanding closely connected to the LOGOS and the beings that are found within/make up Its Glory.

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on July 6, 2015 at 12:50pm

A link to book title, "The Sphota Theory of Language; A Philosophical Analysis" by a Harold G. Coward can be found at the bottom of this post. 

It is not a complete text as only portions have been uploaded, though, one can develop a seed idea regarding the very great doctrine of Sphota from what is merely presented.  I haven't myself read the completed text, but will eventually do so.  From what I have read, it appears to be well written and quite relevant, though hinting at the depths and beauty of the Sphota Philosophy.

I've notice while skimming the pages;

"The fact that logos stands for an idea as well as a word wonderfully approximates to the concept of sphota."

" Patanjali recognized three prominent characteristics of sphota, namely, unity, indivisibility, and eternity."

How true does this ring to teachings found in the SD.


Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on July 6, 2015 at 5:31pm
Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on July 6, 2015 at 9:33am

Howdy Keith.  Can you take us to the place where Subba Row has trouble with Pythagoras?

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on July 6, 2015 at 11:02am

Along with Gerry's request, please do refer to said "renegade statements" you mentioned regarding T. Subba Rao. 

Please be very elaborate stating your reasons. 

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on July 7, 2015 at 8:58am


You have to be  joking - have you read TSRs Gita lectures lately? I will post some preliminary comments but they revolve around his long subsequent debate with HPB on the 7 principles and his 'Taraka Yoga' which  as I recall only he new anything about.

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on July 7, 2015 at 1:46pm

There are actually few obscure upanisads and commentaries attached, which I believe amongst others, deal with the Taraka formula as vague as it may be.  Though it is very esoteric, and I doubt they can be easily interpreted without a key or an initiated teacher.  Taraka Raja Yoga was a system that TSR noted as,

"...TSR describes this system of philosophy as one very magnificent. According to him, ‘it is the center and heart of Vedanta philosophy and in its higher aspects, the most important portion of the ancient Wisdom-religion.’ He further states, ‘at present (1887) very little of it is known in India. What is generally seen of it in the books ordinarily read gives a very inadequate idea of its scope or importance. It is one of the seven main branches into which the whole of the Occult Science is divided, and is derived according to all accounts from the “children of the fire-mist” of the mysterious land of Shamballah.’"
(A Recondite Scholar of Intelligence)

Note from a footnote found on page 592 SD.ii. read what She writes;

" There are learned Brahmins who have protested against our septenary division. They are right from their own standpoint, as we are right from ours. Leaving the three aspects, or adjunct principles out of calculation, they accept only four Upadhis (bases) including the Ego — the reflected image of the Logos in the "Karana Sarira" — and even "strictly speaking . . . . only three Upadhis." For purely theoretical metaphysical philosophy, or purposes of meditation, these three may be sufficient, as shown by the Taraka Yoga system; but for practical occult teaching our septenary division is the best and easiest. It is, however, a matter of school and choice. "
A matter of school and choice.  Hmmm... Very important. 

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on July 7, 2015 at 8:54am


not without a great deal of work I suspect. I'm relying on memory and I may even be mistaken. I would like to tackle this at some point.....

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on July 7, 2015 at 9:45am

Keith I think I might have found what you might have mistaken for a disagreement between Pythagoras and Subba Row.

"The real Sankya philosophy is identical with the Pythagorean system of numerals, and the philosophy embodied in the Chaldean system of numbers. The philosopher's object was to represent all the mysterious powers of nature by a few simple formulae, which he expressed in numerals. The original book is not to be found, though it is possible that it still exists. The system now put forward under this name contains little beyond an account of the evolution of the elements and a few combinations of the same which enter into the formation of the various tatwams."   page 7 Notes on the Bhagavad-Gita

I think it is incorrect to claim that these comments could be characterized as Subba Row "denigrating" Pythagoras.

In Theosophy we start with the premise that the Great Teachers of humanity are on the same page, not the other way around.

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on July 9, 2015 at 7:02am


I thought it might have cropped up in TSRs debate with HPB over the 7 principles and saw that but its not what I recall. 

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on July 7, 2015 at 9:29am

Re TSRs renegade statements:

If you look back at my early comments in this thread you will see that at one point I express an intention to look to TSRs Gita lectures for clarification.

At that point I encountered KRANDALVALAs criticism which started me on a train of doubt re TSRs 'authority. So you will find some arguments in there:


at the end. also see this:


A preliminary scan of the Gita lectures:

starts with  a clear rejection of centrist 'perennialist approaches'

At the present time we are not at all agreed upon any particular philosophy which could be preached as the philosophy of our Society. This is no doubt a very safe position to take at the commencement, But from all this it does not follow that we are to be enquirers and enquirers only

Re logos

It is the first gnatha or the ego in the cosmos,

then quotes his logos (Krishna)

Here he calls himself the unborn: he had no beginning: he is the Eswara of the cosmos

Now he makes some statements which to me are just plain wrong:

Of these two paths a considerable number of modern Vedantists, and all Sankhyas and all Buddhists—except those who are acquainted with the occult doctrine—have chosen the one that leads to Mulaprakriti, hoping thus to reach Parabrahmam ultimately.

, the result would be the complete extinction of man’s self and a final layam in this avyaktam or Parabrahmam.
This is also the view of a considerable number of persons in India, who call themselves Adwaitis. It is also the view put forward as the correct Vedantic view. It was certainly the view of the ancient Sankhya philosophers, and is the view of all those Buddhists who consider Nirvana to be the layam of the soul in Parabrahmam.

this may be true of some vedantists but with regard to Sankhya I don't hesitate to say that he does not know what he is talking about. (try posting his claim re Buddhists on one of their forums!) 

Personally I see the Gita as a populist synthesis and no-one can seriously believe it is the work of Krishna.

I also believe that the nireswara Sankhya is really the teaching of the sage Kapila just as the Buddhist teaching is the discovery of Gautama. Not on any basis of 'faith' but of sheer originality and rational integrity with which the Gita cannot compare

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on July 7, 2015 at 1:32pm

Thank you Keith for you opinions.   We are all welcome to have our own understandings regarding information given to us, this is expected. 

I am not too sure what you have suggested by sending me to the "katinkahesselink" website, as  I have read and studied the Bhagavadgita (with additional commentaries), the Gita Lectures and "The Bhagavad-Gita and the Microcosmic Principles" a number of times and have compiled my owns notes on this topic, of which are strictly opinions, thus not holding an authority on any grounds but my own personal understanding.

Some topics cannot, or rather should not be brought down to the lower mind, so I've heard.  It would then be very wise, I would assume, to keep the study of the Logos as metaphysical and abstract as possible without letting the lower mind crystalize and polarize the very complexed teachings.  If we allow the lower mind to divide and isolate this doctrine, then it will be a doctrine of the lower mind.  Let us master the workings of the lower mind by exercising the very likely possibility that we might not understand all we think we do.  This isn't directed at you Keith, but is just a statement, an opinion as it were. 

"Re logos

It is the first gnatha or the ego in the cosmos,

then quotes his logos (Krishna)

Here he calls himself the unborn: he had no beginning: he is the Eswara of the cosmos"

In light of this, please refer to the following pages of the Secret Doctrine.i; 98-107, 118, 126-32, 192, 294fn. and look into all the following information that may be connected with these references and topics presented therein.  I believe these references might provide some insight what is actually being said regarding the above quotation.  Casady mentioned about 50+ pages that HPB wrote upon this topic that might be worth checking out.  Casady, would you please remind us where to find these?

One might consider Agni's seven black flames, which can also be found in various portions of the SD if not from the Rk Hymn themselves.  The Artharaveda Samhita (kanda 1. sukta 31 plus many others) can be consulted as well.  Again, it is a large topic, and all philosophical traditions have elaborate information regarding its Sacredness.  It should not be easy to simply "get it"- this is my opinion. 

Warmest Regards.


Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on July 9, 2015 at 7:24am


I'm sorry but again you can't seriously expect me to trawl thru the SD (which quite frankly itself "ought to be re-written for the sake of the family honour." ML 70c) in order to find a refutal of a very basic principle in the wisdom teachings: that there is no 'first'.

The katinkahesselink shows a thinly veiled challenge to TSR to defend himself from KRANDALVALAs criticism. (presumably by HPB?)


Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by Peter on July 10, 2015 at 2:50am

The Mahata KH is referring to 'Isis Unveiled' - not 'The Secret Doctrine' - when he states, "It really ought to be re-written for the sake of the family honour."   (Mahatma Letters to Sinnett - no. 20c, Barker Edition; no 70c, Chronological Edition)

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on July 10, 2015 at 3:41am

note the word 'itself'

Permalink Reply by Peter on July 10, 2015 at 3:53am

What are you referring to, Keith?

Permalink Reply by KEITH JACKSON on July 10, 2015 at 4:17am

Perhaps I should summarize my conclusions regarding the 'import' of Logos:

  1. I'm not questioning its validity in its 'home' contexts although these are not consistent. Its use in Platonism is likely of the greatest integrity.
  2. TSR seems the first to introduce it into Indian contexts - resulting in distortion of its meaning (as Ishvara/Eswaras - take your pick) and confusion. Is it likely that he was expert in the Western contexts? There is no evidence to affirm this - even in the West real understanding of Platonism seems to be in doubt.
  3. TSRs authority is now highly questionable for me - the Gita lectures especially.