Aryasatyâni (Sk.). The four truths or the four dogmas, which are (1) Dukha, or that misery and pain are the unavoidable concomitants of sentient (esoterically, physical) existence; (2) Samudaya, the truism that suffering is intensified by human passions; (3) Nirôdha, that the crushing out and extinction of all such feelings are possible for a man “on the path”; (4) Mârga, the narrow way, or that path which leads to such a blessed result.
Aryavarta (Sk.). The “land of the Aryas”, or India. The ancient name for Northern India. The Brahmanical invaders (“ from the Oxus” say the Orientalists) first settled. It is erroneous to give this name to the whole,of India, since Manu gives the name of “the land of the Aryas” only to “the tract between the Himalaya and the Vindhya ranges, from the eastern to the western sea”.
Asakrit Samâdhi (Sk.). A certain degree of ecstatic contemplation. A stage in Samâdhi.
Âsana (Sk.). The third stage of Hatha Yoga, one of the prescribed postures of meditation.
Asat (Sk.). A philosophical term meaning “non-being”, or rather non-be-ness. The “incomprehensible nothingness”. Sat, the immutable, eternal, ever-present, and the one real “Be-ness” (not Being) is spoken of as being “ Born of Asat, and Asat begotten by Sat”. The unreal, or Prakriti, objective nature regarded as an illusion. Nature, or the illusive shadow of its one true essence.
Asathor(Scand.). The same as Thor. The god of storms and thunder, a hero who receives Miölnir, the “storm-hammer”, from its fabricators, the dwarfs. With it he conquer Alwin in a “battle of
words” breaks the head of the giant Hrungir, chastises Loki for his magic; destroys the whole race of giants in Thrymheim; and, as a good and benevolent god, sets up therewith land-marks, sanctifies marriage bonds, blesses law and order, and produces every good and terrific feat with its help. A god in the Eddas, who is almost as great as Odin. (See “Miölnir” and “Thor’s Hammer”.)
Asava Samkhaya (Pali). The “finality of the stream”, one of the six “Abhijnâs” (q.v.). A phenomenal knowledge of the finality of the stream of life and the series of re-births.
Asburj. One of the legendary peaks in the Teneriffe range. A great mountain in the traditions of Iran which corresponds in its allegorical meaning to the World-mountain, Meru. Asburj is that mount “at the foot of which the sun sets”.
Asch Metzareph (Heb.). The Cleansing Fire, a Kabbalistic treatise, treating of Alchemy and the relation between the metals and the planets. [w.w.w]
Ases (Scand.). The creators of the Dwarfs and Elves, the Elementals below men, in the Norse lays. They are the progeny of Odin; the same as the Æsir.
Asgard(Scand.). The kingdom and the habitat of the Norse gods, the Scandinavian Olympus ; situated “higher than the Home of the Light-Elves”, but on the same plane as Jotunheim, the home of the Jotuns, the wicked giants versed in magic, with whom the gods are at eternal war. It is evident that the gods of Asgard are the same as the Indian Suras (gods) and the Jotuns as the Asuras, both representing the conflicting powers of nature—beneficent and maleficent. They are the prototypes also of the Greek gods and the Titans.
Ash (Heb.). Fire, whether physical or symbolical fire; also found written in English as As, Aish and Esch.
Ashen and Langhan (Kolarian). Certain ceremonies for casting out evil spirits, akin to those of exorcism with the Christians, in use with the Kolarian tribes in India.
Asherah (Heb.). A word, which occurs in the Old Testament, and is commonly translated “groves” referring to idolatrous worship, but it is probable that it really referred to ceremonies of sexual depravity; it is a feminine noun. [w.w.w.]
Ashmog (Zend). The Dragon or Serpent, a monster with a camel’s neck in the Avesta; a kind of allegorical Satan, who after the Fall, “lost its nature and its name”. Called in the old Hebrew (Kabbalistic) texts the “flying camel”; evidently a reminiscence or tradition in both cases of the prehistoric or antediluvian monsters, half bird, half reptile,
Ashtadisa (Sk.). The eight-faced space. An imaginary division of space represented as an octagon and at other times as a dodecahedron.
Ashta Siddhis (Sk.). The eight consummations in the practice of Hatha Yoga.
Ashtar Vidyâ(Sk.). The most ancient of the Hindu works on Magic. Though there is a claim that the entire work is in the hands of some Occultists, yet the Orientalists deem it lost. A very few fragments of it are now extant, and even these are very much disfigured.
Ash Yggdrasil (Scand.). The “Mundane Tree”, the Symbol of the World with the old Norsemen, the “tree of the universe, of time and of life”. It is ever green, for the Norns of Fate sprinkle It daily with the water of life from the fountain of Urd, which flows in Midgard. The dragon Nidhogg gnaws its roots incessantly, the dragon of Evil and Sin; but the Ash Yggdrasil cannot wither, until the Last Battle (the Seventh Race in the Seventh Round) is fought, when life, time, and the world will all vanish and disappear.
Asiras (Sk.). Elementals without heads; lit., “headless” ; used also of the first two human races.
Asita (Sk.). A proper name; a son of Bharata; a Rishi and a Sage.
Ask (Scand.) or Ash tree. The “tree of Knowledge”. Together with the Embla (alder) the Ask was the tree from which the gods of Asgard created the first man.
Aski-kataski-haix-tetrax-damnameneus-aision. These mystic words, which Athanasius Kircher tells us meant “ Darkness, Light, Earth, Sun, and Truth”, were, says Hesychius, engraved upon the zone or belt of the Diana of Ephesus. Plutarch says that the priests used to recite these words over persons who were possessed by devils. [w.w.w.]
Asmodeus. The Persian Aêshma-dev, the Esham-dev of the Parsis, “the evil Spirit of Concupiscence”, according to Bréal, whom the Jews appropriated under the name of Ashmedai, “the Destroyer ”, the Talmud identifying the creature with Beelzebub and Azrael (Angel of Death), and calling him the “ King of the Devils ”.
Asmoneans. Priest-kings of Israel whose dynasty reigned over the Jews for 126 years. They promulgated the Canon of the Mosaic Testament in contradistinction to the “Apocrypha” (q.v.) or Secret Books of the Alexandrian Jews, the Kabbalists, and maintained the dead-letter meaning of the former. Till the time of John Hyrcanus, they were Ascedeans (Chasidim) and Pharisees; but later they became Sadducees or Zadokites, asserters of Sacerdotal rule as contradistinguished from Rabbinical.
Asoka (Sk.). A celebrated Indian king of the Môrya dynasty which
reigned at Magadha. There were two Asokas in reality, according to the chronicles of Northern Buddhism, though the first Asoka—the grand father of the second, named by Prof. Max Muller the “Constantine of India”, was better known by his name of Chandragupta. It is the former who was called, Piadasi (Pali) “the beautiful”, and Devânam-piya “the beloved of the gods”, and also Kâlâsoka; while the name of his grandson was Dharmâsôká—the Asoka of the good law-—on account of his devotion to Buddhism. Moreover, according to the same source, the second Asoka had never followed the Brahmanical faith, but was a Buddhist born. It was his grandsire who had been first converted to the new faith, after which he had a number of edicts inscribed on pillars and rocks, a custom followed also by his grandson. But it was the second Asoka who was the most zealous supporter of Buddhism; he, who maintained in his palace from 60 to 70,000 monks and priests, who erected 84,000 totes and stupas throughout India, reigned 36 years, and sent missions to Ceylon, and throughout the world. The inscriptions of various edicts published by him display most noble ethical sentiments, especially the edict at Allahahad, on the so-called “Asoka’s column ”, in the Fort. The sentiments are lofty and poetical, breathing tenderness for animals as well as men, and a lofty view of a king’s mission with regard to his people, that might be followed with great success in the present age of cruel wars and barbarous vivisection.
Asomatous (Gr.). Lit., without a material body, incorporeal; used of celestial Beings and Angels.
Asrama (Sk.). A sacred building, a monastery or hermitage for ascetic purposes. Every sect in India has its Ashrams.
Assassins. A masonic and mystic order founded by Hassan Sabah in Persia, in the eleventh century. The word is a European perversion of “Hassan”, which forms the chief part of the name. They were simply Sufis and addicted, according to the tradition, to hascheesl-eating, in order to bring about celestial visions. As shown by our late brother, Kenneth Mackenzie, “they were teachers of the secret doctrines of Islamism; they encouraged mathematics and philosophy, and produced many valuable works. The chief of the Order was called Sheik-el-Jebel, translated the ‘Old Man of the Mountains’, and, as their Grand Master, he possessed power of life and death.’
Assorus (Chald.). The third group of progeny (Kissan and Assorus) from the Babylonian Duad, Tauthe and Apason, according to the Theogonies of Damascius. From this last emanated three others, of which series the last, Aus, begat Belus—“the fabricator of the World, the Demiurgus”.
Assur (Chald.). A city in Assyria ; the ancient seat of a library from which George Smith excavated the earliest known tablets, to which he assigns a date about 1500 B.C., called Assur Kileh Shergat.
Assurbanipal (Chald.). The Sardanapalus of the Greeks, “the greatest of the Assyrian Sovereigns, far more memorable on account of his magnificent patronage of learning than of the greatness of his empire”, writes the late G. Smith, and adds: “Assurbanipal added more to the Assyrian royal library than all thekings who had gone before him”. As the distinguished Assyriologist tells us in another place of his “Babylonian and Assyrian Literature” (Chald. Account of Genesis) that “the majority of the texts preserved belong to the earlier period previous to B.C. 1600”, and yet asserts that “it is to tablets written in his (Assurbanipal’s) reign (B.C. 673) that we owe almost all our knowledge of the Babylonian early history”, one is well justified in asking, “How do you know?”
Assyrian Holy Scriptures. Orientalists show seven such books: the Books of Mamit, of Worship, of Interpretations, of Going to Hades; two Prayer Books (Kanmagarri and Kanmikri: Talbot)
and the Kantolite, the lost Assyrian Psalter.
Assyrian Tree of Life. “Asherah” (q.v.). It is translated in the Bible by “grove ” and occurs 30 times. It is called an “idol”; and Maachah, the grandmother of Asa, King of Jerusalem, is accused of having made for herself such an idol, which was a lingham. For centuries this was a religious rite in Judæa. But the original Asherah was a pillar with seven branches on each side surmounted by a globular flower with three projecting rays, and no phallic stone, as the Jews made of it, but a metaphysical symbol. “Merciful One, who dead to life raises! was the prayer uttered before the Asherah, on the banks of the Euphrates. The “Merciful One”, was neither the personal god of the Jews who brought the “grove” from their captivity, nor any extra- cosmic god, but the higher triad in man symbolized by the globular flower with its three rays.
Asta-dasha(Sk.). Perfect, Supreme Wisdom; a title of Deity.
Aster’t (Heb.). Astarte, the Syrian goddess the consort of Adon, or Adonai.
Astræa (Gr.). The ancient goddess of justice, whom the wickedness of men drove away from earth to heaven, wherein she now dwells as the constellation Virgo.
Astral Body, or Astral “Double”. The ethereal counterpart or shadow of man or animal. The Linga Sharira, the “Doppelgäinger”. The reader must not confuse it with the ASTRAL SOUL, another name for the lower Manas, or Kama-Manas so-called, the reflection of the HIGHER EGO.
Astral Light (Occult) The invisible region that surrounds our globe, as it does every other, and corresponding as the second Principle of Kosmos (the third being Life, of which it is the vehicle) to the Linga Sharira or the Astral Double in man. A subtle Essence visible only to a clairvoyant eye, and the lowest but one (viz., the earth), of the Seven Akâsic or Kosmic Principles. Eliphas Levi calls it the great Serpent and the Dragon from which radiates on Humanity every evil influence. This is so; but why not add that the Astral Light gives out nothing but what it has received; that it is the great terrestrial crucible, in which the vile emanations of the earth (moral and physical) upon which the Astral Light is fed, are all converted into their subtlest essence, and radiated back intensified, thus becoming epidemics— moral, psychic and physical. Finally, the Astral Light is the same as the Sidereal Light of Paracelsus and other Hermetic philosophers. “Physically, it is the ether of modern science. Metaphysically, and in its spiritual, or occult sense, ether is a great deal more than is often imagined. In occult physics, and alchemy, it is well demonstrated to enclose within its shoreless waves not only Mr. Tyndall’s ‘promise and potency of every quality of life’, but also the realization of the potency of every quality of spirit. Alchemists and Hermetists believe that their astral, or sidereal ether, besides the above properties of sulphur, and white and red magnesia, or magnes, is the anima mundi, the workshop of Nature and of all the Kosmos, spiritually, as well as physically. The ‘grand magisterium’ asserts itself in the phenomenon of mesmerism, in the ‘levitation’ of human and inert objects; and may be called the ether from its spiritual aspect. The designation astralis ancient, and was used by some of the Neo-platonists, although it is claimed by some that the word was coined by the Martinists. Porphyry describes the celestial body which is always joined with the soul as ‘immortal, luminous, and star-like’. The root of this word may be found, perhaps, in the Scythic Aist-aer—which means star, or the Assyrian Istar, which, according to Burnouf has the same sense.” (Isis Unveiled.)
Astrolatry(Gr.). Worship of the Stars.
Astrology (Gr.) The Science which defines the action of celestial bodies upon mundane affairs, and claims to foretell future events from the position of the stars. Its antiquity is such as to place it among the very earliest records of human learning. It remained for long ages a secret science in the East, and its final expression remains so to this day, its exoteric application having been brought to any degree of perfection in the West only during the period of time since Varaha Muhira wrote his book on Astrology some 1400 years ago. Claudius Ptolemy, the famous geographer and mathematician, wrote his treatise Tetrabiblos
about 135 A.D., which is still the basis of modern astrology. The science of Horoscopy is studied now chiefly under four heads: viz., (1) Mundane, in its application to meteorology, seismology, husbandry, etc. (2) State or civic, in regard to the fate of nations, kings and rulers. (3) Horary, in reference to the solving of doubts arising in the mind upon any subject. (4) Genethliacal, in its application to the fate of individuals from the moment of their birth to their death. The Egyptians and the Chaldees were among the most ancient votaries of Astrology, though their modes of reading the stars and the modern practices differ considerably. The former claimed that Belus, the Bel or Elu of the Chaldees, a scion of the divine Dynasty, or the Dynasty of the king-gods, had belonged to the land of Chemi, and had left it, to found a colony from Egypt on the banks of the Euphrates, where a temple ministered by priests in the service of the “lords of the stars” was built, the said priests adopting the name of Chaldees. Two things are known: (a) that Thebes (in Egypt) claimed the honour of the invention of Astrology; and (b) that it was the Chaldees who taught that science to the other nations. Now Thebes antedated considerably not only “Ur of the Chaldees”, but also Nipur, where Bel was first worshipped—Sin, his son (the moon), being the presiding deity of Ur, the land of the nativity of Terah, the Sabean and Astrolatrer, and of Abram, his son, the great Astrologer of biblical tradition. All tends, therefore, to corroborate the Egyptian claim. If later on the name of Astrologer fell into disrepute in Rome and elsewhere, it was owing to the fraud of those who wanted to make money by means of that which was part and parcel of the sacred Science of the Mysteries, and, ignorant of the latter, evolved a system based entirely upon mathematics, instead of on transcendental metaphysics and having the physical celestial bodies as its upadhi or material basis. Yet, all persecutions notwithstanding, the number of the adherents of Astrology among the most intellectual and scientific minds was always very great. If Cardan and Kepler were among its ardent supporters, then its later votaries have nothing to blush for, even in its now imperfect and distorted form. As said in Isis Unveiled (1. 259): “Astrology is to exact astronomy what psychology is to exact physiology. In astrology and psychology one has to step beyond the visible world of matter, and enter into the domain of transcendent spirit.” (See “ Astronomos.”)
Astronomos (Gr.). The title given to the Initiate in the Seventh Degree of the reception of the Mysteries. In days of old, Astronomy was synonymous with Astrology; and the great Astrological Initiation took place in Egypt at Thebes, where the priests perfected, if they did not wholly invent the science. Having passed through the degrees
of Pastophoros, Neocoros, Melanophoros, Kistophoros, and Balahala (the degree of Chemistry of the Stars), the neophyte was taught the mystic signs of the Zodiac, in a circle dance representing the course of the planets (the dance of Krishna and the Gopis, celebrated to this day in Rajputana); after which he received a cross, the Tau (or Tat), becoming an Astronomos and a Healer. (See Isis Unveiled. Vol. II. 365). Astronomy and Chemistry were inseparable in these studies. “Hippocrates had so lively a faith in the influence of the stars on animated beings, and on their diseases, that he expressly recommends not to trust to physicians who are ignorant of astronomy.’ (Arago.) Unfortunately the key to the final door of Astrology or Astronomy is lost by the modern Astrologer; and without it, how can he ever be able to answer the pertinent remark made by the author ofMazzaroth, who writes: “people are said to be born under one sign, while in reality they are born under another, because the sun is now seen among different stars at the equinox ”? Nevertheless, even the few truths he does know brought to his science such eminent and scientific believers as Sir Isaac Newton, Bishops Jeremy and Hall, Archbishop Usher, Dryden, Flamstead, Ashmole, John Milton, Steele, and a host of noted Rosicrucians.
Asura Mazda(Sk.). In the Zend,Ahura Mazda. The same as Ormuzd or Mazdeô; the god of Zoroaster and the Parsis.
Asuramaya (Sk.) Known also as Mayâsura. An Atlantean astronomer, considered as a great magician and sorcerer, well-known in Sanskrit works.
Asuras(Sk.). Exoterically, elementals and evil, gods—considered maleficent; demons, and no gods. But esoterically—the reverse. For in the most ancient portions of the Rig Veda, the term is used for the Supreme Spirit, and therefore the Asuras are spiritual and divine It is only in the last book of the
Rig Veda, its latest part, and in the Atharva Veda, and the Brâhmanas, that the epithet, which had been given to Agni, the greatest Vedic Deity, to Indra and Varuna, has come to signify the reverse of gods. Asu means breath, and it is with his breath that Prajâpati (Brahmâ) creates the Asuras. When ritualism and dogma got the better of the Wisdom religion, the initial letter a was adopted as a negative prefix, and the term ended by signifying “not a god”, and Sura only a deity. But in the Vedas the Suras have ever been connected with Surya, the sun, and regarded as inferior deities, devas.
Aswamedha (Sk.) The Horse-sacrifice; an ancient Brahmanical ceremony.
Aswins (Sk.), or Aswinau, dual ; or again, Aswinî-Kumârau, are the most mysterious and occult deities of all; who have “puzzled the oldest commentators”. Literally, they are the “Horsemen”, the “divine charioteers”, as they ride in a golden car drawn by horses or birds or animals, and “are possessed ofmany forms”. They are two Vedic deities, the twin sons of the sun and the sky, which becomes the nymph Aswini. In mythological symbolism they are “the bright harbingers of Ushas, the dawn”, who are “ever young and handsome, bright, agile, swift as falcons”, who “prepare the way for the brilliant dawn to those who have patiently awaited through the night”. They are also called time “physicians of Swarga” (or Devachan), inasmuch as they heal every pain and suffering, and cure all diseases. Astronomically, they are asterisms. They were enthusiastically worshipped, as their epithets show. They are the “Ocean-born” (i.e., space born) or Abdhijau, “crowned with lotuses” or Pushhara-srajam, etc., etc. Yâska, the commentator in the Nirukta, thinks that “the Aswins represent the transition from darkness to light ”—cosmically, and we may add, metaphysically, also. But Muir and Goldstücker are inclined to see in them ancient “horsemen of great renown”, because, forsooth, of the legend “that the gods refused the Aswins admittance to a sacrifice on the ground that they had been on too familiar termswith men”. Just so, because as explained by the same Yâska “they are identified with heaven and earth”, only for quite a different reason. Truly they are like the Ribhus, “originally renowned mortals (but also non-renowned occasionally) who in the course of time are translated into the companionship of gods”; and they show a negative character, “the result of the- alliance of light with darkness”, simply because these twins are, in the esoteric philosophy, the Kumâra-Egos, the reincarnating “Principles” in this Manvantara.