Bardesanes or Bardaisan. A Syrian Gnostic, erroneously regarded as a Christian theologian, born at Edessa (Edessene Chronicle) in 155 of our era (Assemani Bibl.. Orient. i. 389). He was a great astrologer following the Eastern Occult System. According to Porphyry (who calls him the Babylonian, probably on account of his Chaldeeism or astrology), “Bardesanes . . . . held intercourse with the Indians that had been sent to the Cæsar with Damadamis at their head” (De Abst. iv. 17), and had his information from the Indian gymnosophists. The fact is that most of his teachings, however much they may have been altered by his numerous Gnostic followers, can be traced to Indian philosophy, and still more to the Occult teachings of the Secret System. Thus in his Hymns he speaks of the creative Deity as “Father-Mother”, and elsewhere of “Astral Destiny” (Karma) of “Minds of Fire” (the Agni-Devas) &c. He connected the Soul (the personal Manas) with the Seven Stars, deriving its origin from the Higher Beings (the divine Ego); and therefore “admitted spiritual resurrection but denied the resurrection of the body”, as charged with by the Church Fathers. Ephraim shows him preaching the signs of the Zodiac, the importance of the birth-hours and “proclaiming the seven”. Calling the Sun the “Father of Life” and the Moon the “Mother of Life”, he shows the latter “laying aside her garment of light (principles) for the renewal of the Earth”. Photius cannot understand how, while accepting “the Soul free from the power of genesis (destiny of birth)” and possessing free will, he still placed the body under the rule of birth (genesis). For “they (the Bardesanists) say, that wealth and poverty and sickness and health and death and all things not within our control are works of destiny” (Bibl. Cod. 223, p.221—f). This is Karma, most evidently, which does not preclude at all free-will. Hippolytus makes him a representative of the Eastern School. Speaking of Baptism, Bardesanes is made to say (loc. cit. pp. 985-ff “It is not however the Bath alone which makes us free, but the Knowledge of who we are, what we are become, where we were before, whither we are hastening, whence we are redeemed; what is generation (birth), what is re-generation (re.birth)”. This points plainly to the doctrine of re-incarnation. His conversation (Dialogue) with Awida and Barjamina on Destiny and Free Will shows it. “What is called Destiny, is an order of outflow given to the Rulers (Gods) and the Elements, according to which order the Intelligences (Spirit-Egos) are changed by their descent into the Soul, and the Soul by its descent into the body”. (See Treatise, found in its
Syriac original, and published with English translation in 1855 by Dr. Cureton, Spicileg. Syriac. in British Museum.)
Bardesanian (System). The “Codex of the Nazarenes”, a system worked out by one Bardesanes. It is called by some a Kabala within the Kabala; a religion or sect the esotericism of which is given out in names and allegories entirely sui-generis. A very old Gnostic system. This codex has been translated into Latin. Whether it is right to call the Sabeanism of the Mendaїtes (miscalled St. John’s Christians),
contained in the Nazarene Codex, “the Bardesanian system”, as some do, is doubtful; for the doctrines of the Codex and the names of the Good and Evil Powers therein, are older than Bardaisan. Yet the names are identical in the two systems.
Baresma(Zend). A plant used by Mobeds (Parsi priests) in the fire- temples, wherein consecrated bundles of it are kept.
Barhishad (Sk.). A class of the “lunar” Pitris or “Ancestors”, Fathers, who are believed in popular superstition to have kept up in their past incarnations the household sacred flame and made fire-offerings. Esoterically the Pitris who evolved their shadows or chhayas to make there-with the first man. (See Secret Doctrine, Vol. II.)
Basileus (Gr.). The Archon or Chief who had the outer super-vision during the Eleusinian Mysteries. While the latter was an initiated layman, and magistrate at Athens, the Basileus of the inner Temple was of the staff of the great Hierophant, and as such was one of the chief Mystæ and belonged to the inner mysteries.
Basilidean (System). Named after Basilides; the Founder of one of the most philosophical gnostic sects. Clement the Alexandrian speaks of Basilides, the Gnostic, as “a philosopher devoted to the contemplation of divine things”. While he claimed that he had all his doctrines from the Apostle Matthew and from Peter through Glaucus, Irenaeus reviled him, Tertullian stormed at him, and the Church Fathers had not sufficient words of obloquy against the “heretic”. And yet on the authority of St. Jerome himself, who describes with indignation what he had found in the only genuine Hebrew copy of the Gospel of Matthew (See Isis Unv., ii., 181) which he got from the Nazarenes, the statement of Basilides becomes more than credible, and if accepted would solve a great and perplexing problem. His 24 vols. of Interpretation of theGospels, were, as Eusebius tells us, burnt. Useless to say that these gospels were not our present Gospels. Thus, truth was ever crushed.
Bassantin, James. A Scotch astrologer. He lived in the 16th century and is said to have predicted to Sir Robert Melville, in 1562, the death and all the events connected therewith of Mary, the unfortunate Queen of Scots.
Bath (Heb.). Daughter.
Bath Kol (Heb.). Daughter of the Voice: the Divine afflatus, or inspiration, by which the prophets of Israel were inspired as by a voice from Heaven and the Mercy-Seat. In Latin Filia Vocis. An analogous ideal is found in Hindu exoteric theology named Vâch, the voice, the female essence, an aspect of Aditi, the mother of the gods and primæval Light; a mystery. [ w.w.w.]
Batoo (Eg.). The first man in Egyptian folk-lore. Noum, the heavenly artist, creates a beautiful girl—the original of the Grecian Pandora—and sends her to Batoo, after which the happiness of the first man is destroyed.
Batria (Eg.). According to tradition, the wife of the Pharaoh and the teacher of Moses.
Beel-Zebub (Heb.). The disfigured Baal of the Temples. and more correctly Beel-Zebul. Beel-Zebub means -literally “god of flies” ; the derisory epithet used by the Jews, and the incorrect and confused rendering of the “god of the sacred scarabæi”, the divinities watching the mummies, and symbols of transformation, regeneration and immortality. Beel-Zeboul means properly the “ God of the Dwelling:’ and is spoken of in this sense in Matthew x. 25. As Apollo, originally not a Greek but a Phenician god, was the healing god, Paiàn, or physician, as well as the god of oracles, he became gradually transformed as such into the “Lord of Dwelling”, a household deity, and thus was called Beel-Zeboul. He was also, in a sense, a psychopompic god, taking care of the souls as did Anubis. Beelzebub was always the oracle god, and was only confused and identified with Apollo latter on.
Bel (Chald.). The oldest and mightiest god of Babylonia, one of the earliest trinities,—Anu (q.v.) ; Bel,
“Lord of the World”, father of the gods, Creator, and “Lord of the City of Nipur’; and Hea, maker of fate, Lord of the Deep, God of Wisdom and esoteric Knowledge, and “Lord of the city of Eridu”. The wife of Bel, or his female aspect (Sakti), was Belat, or Beltis, “the mother of the great gods”, and the “Lady of the city of Nipur”. The original Bel was also called Enu, Elu and Kaptu (see Chaldean account of Genesis, by G. Smith). His eldest son was the Moon God Sin (whose names were also Ur, Agu and Itu), who was the presiding deity of the city of Ur, called in his honour by one of his names. Now Ur was the place of nativity of Abram (see “Astrology”). In the early Babylonian religion the Moon was, like Soma in India, a male, and the Sun a female deity. And this led almost every nation to great fratricidal wars between the lunar and the solar worshippers—e.g., the contests between the Lunar and the Solar
Dynasties, the Chandra and Suryavansa in ancient Aryavarta. Thus we find the
same on a smaller scale between the Semitic tribes. Abram and his father Terah are shown migrating from Ur and carrying their lunar god (or its scion) with them ; for Jehovah Elohim or El—another form of Elu—has ever been connected with the moon. It is the Jewish lunar chronology which has led the European “civilized” nations into the greatest blunders and mistakes. Merodach, the son of Hea, became the later Bel and was worshipped at Babylon. His other title, Belas, has a number of symbolical meanings.
Bela-Shemesh (Chald. Heb.). “The Lord of the Sun”, the name of the Moon during that period when the Jews became in turn solar and lunar worshippers, and when the Moon was a male, and the Sun a female deity. This period embraced the time between the allegorical expulsion of Adam and Eve from Eden down to the no less allegorical Noachian flood. (See Secret Doctrine, I. 397.)
Bembo, Tablet of; or Mensa Isiaca. A brazen tablet inlaid with designs in Mosaic (now in the Museum at Turin) which once belonged to the famous Cardinal Bembo. Its origin and date are unknown. It is covered with Egyptian figures and hieroglyphics, and is supposed to have been an ornament in an ancient Temple of Isis. The learned Jesuit Kircher wrote a description of it, and Montfaucon has a chapter devoted to it.
The only English work on the Isiac Tablet is by Dr. W. Wynn Westcott, who gives a photogravure in addition to its history, description, and occult significance.
Ben (Heb.). A son; a common prefix in proper names to denote the son of so-and-so, e.g., Ben Solomon, Ben Ishmael, etc.
Be-ness. A term coined by Theosophists to render more accurately the essential meaning of the untranslatable word Sat. The latter word does not mean “Being” for it presupposes a sentient feeling or some consciousness of existence. But, as the term Sat is applied solely to the absolute Principle, the universal, unknown, and ever unknowable Presence, which philosophical Pantheism postulates in Kosmos, calling it the basic root of Kosmos. and Kosmos itself— “Being” was no fit word to express it. Indeed, the latter is not even, as translated by some Orientalists, “the incomprehensible Entity”; for it is no more an Entity than a non-Entity, but both. It is, as said, absolute Be-ness, not Being, the one secondless, undivided, and indivisible All—the root of all Nature visible and invisible, objective and subjective, to be sensed by the highest spiritual intuition, but’ never to be fully comprehended.
Ben Shamesh(Heb.). The children or the “Sons of the Sun”. The
term belongs to the period when the Jews were divided into sun and moon worshippers—Elites and Belites. (See “Bela- Shemesh”.)
Benoo (Eg.). A word applied to two symbols, both taken to mean “Phœnix”. One was the Shen-shen (the heron), and the other a nondescript bird, called the Rech (the red one), and both were sacred to Osiris. It was the latter that was the regular Phœnix of the great Mysteries, the typical symbol of self-creation and resurrection through death—a type of the Solar Osiris and of the divine Ego in man. Yet both the Heron and the Rech were symbols of cycles; the former, of the Solar year of 365 days; the latter of the tropical year or a period covering almost 26,000 years. In both cases the cycles were the types of the return of light from darkness, the yearly and great cyclic return of the sun-god to his birth-place, or—his Resurrection. The Rech-Benoo is described by Macrobius as living 660 years and then dying; while others stretched its life as long as 1,460 years. Pliny, the Naturalist, describes the Rech as a large bird with gold and purple wings, and a long blue tail. As every reader is aware, the Phœnix on feeling its end approaching, according to tradition, builds for itself a funeral pile on the top of the sacrificial altar, and then proceeds to consume himself thereon as a burnt-offering. Then a worm appears in the ashes, which grows and developes rapidly into a new Phœnix, resurrected from the ashes of its predecessor.
Berasit (Heb.). The first word of the book of Genesis. The English established version translates this as “In the beginning,” but this rendering is disputed by many scholars. Tertullian approved of “In power”; Grotius “When first”; but the authors of the Targum of Jerusalern, who ought to have known Hebrew if anyone did, translated it “In Wisdom”. Godfrey Higgins, in his Anacalypsis, insists on Berasit being the sign of the ablative case, meaning “in” and ras, rasit, an ancient word for Chokmah, “wisdom”. [ w. w.w.]
Berasit or Berasheth is a mystic word among the Kabbalists of Asia Minor.
Bergelmir (Scand.). The one giant who escaped in a boat the general slaughter of his brothers, the giant Ymir’s children, drowned in the blood of their raging Father. He is the Scandinavian Noah, as he, too, becomes the father of giants after the Deluge. The lays of the Norsemen show the grandsons of the divine Bun—Odin, Wili, and We— conquering and killing the terrible giant Ymir, and creating the world out of his body.
Berosus(Chald.). A priest of the Temple of Belus who wrote for Alexander the Great the history of the Cosmogony, as taught in the
Temples, from the astronomical and chronological records preserved in that temple. The fragments we have in the soi-disant translations of Eusebius are certainly as untrustworthy as the biographer of the Emperor Constantine—of whom he made a saint (!!)—could make them. The only guide to this Cosmogony may now be found in the fragments of the Assyrian tablets, evidently copied almost bodily from the earlier Babylonian records; which, say what the Orientalists may, are undeniably the originals of the Mosaic Genesis, of the Flood, the tower of Babel, of baby Moses set afloat on the waters, and of other events. For, if the fragments from the Cosmogony of Berosus, so carefully re-edited and probably mutilated and added to by Eusebius, are no great proof of the antiquity of these records in Babylonia—seeing that this priest of Belus lived three hundred years after the Jews were carried captive to Babylon, and they may have been borrowed by the Assyrians from them—later discoveries have made such a consoling hypothesis impossible. It is now fully ascertained by Oriental scholars that not only “Assyria borrowed its civilization and written characters from Babylonia,” but the Assyrians copied their literature from Babylonian sources. Moreover, in his first Hibbert lecture, Professor Sayce shows the culture both of Babylonia itself and of the city of Eridu to have been of foreign importation; and, according to this scholar, the city of Eridu stood already “6,000 years ago on the shores of the Persian gulf,” i.e., about the very time when Genesis shows the Elohim creating the world, sun, and stars out of nothing.
Bes (Eg.). A phallic god, the god of concupiscence and pleasure. He is represented standing on a lotus ready to devour his own progeny (Abydos). A rather modern deity of foreign origin.
Bestla(Scand.). The daughter of the “Frost giants”, the sons of Ymir; married to Bun, and the mother of Odin and his brothers (Edda).
Beth (Heb.). House, dwelling.
Beth Elohim (Heb.). A Kabbalistic treatise treating of the angels, souls of men, and demons. The name means “House of the Gods".
Betyles (Phœn.). Magical stones. The ancient writers call them the “animated stones” ; oracular stones, believed in and used both by Gentiles and Christians. (See S.D. II. p. 342).
Bhadra Vihara (Sk.). Lit., “the Monastery of the Sages or Bodhisattvas”. A certain Vihara or Matham in Kanyâkubdja.
Bhadrakalpa (Sk.). Lit., “The Kalpa of the Sages”. Our present period is a Bhadra Kalpa, and the exoteric teaching makes it last 236 million years. It is “so called because 1,000 Buddhas or sages appear in the course of it”. (Sanshrit Chinese Dict.) “Four Buddhas have already appeared” it adds; but as out of the 236 millions, over 151
million years have already elapsed, it does seem a rather uneven distribution of Buddhas. This is the way exoteric or popular religions confuse everything. Esoteric philosophy teaches us that every Root- race has its chief Buddha or Reformer, who appears also in the seven sub-races as a Bodhisattva (q.v.). Gautama Sakyamuni was the fourth, and also the fifth Buddha: the fifth, because we are the fifth root-race; the fourth, as the chief Buddha in this fourth Round. The Bhadra Kalpa, or the “period of stability”, is the name of our present Round, esoterically—its duration applying, of course, only to our globe (D), the “1,000” Buddhas being thus in reality limited to but forty-nine in all.
Bhadrasena(Sk.). A Buddhist king of Magadha.
Bhagats (Sk.). Also called Sokha and Sivnath by the Hindus; one who exorcises evil spirits.
Bhagavad-gita (Sk.). Lit., “the Lord’s Song”. A portion of the Mahabharata, the great epic poem of India. It contains a dialogue wherein Krishna—the “Charioteer”—and Arjuna, his Chela, have a discussion upon the highest spiritual philosophy. The work is pre-eminently occult or esoteric.
Bhagavat(Sk.). A title of the Buddha and of Krishna. “The Lord” literally.
Bhao(Sk.). A ceremony of divination among the Kolarian tribes of Central India.
Bhârata Varsha (Sk.). The land of Bharata, an ancient name of India.
Bhargavas(Sk.). An ancient race in India; from the name of Bhrigu, the Rishi.
Bhâshya(Sk) A commentary.
Bhâskara (Sk). One of the titles of Surya, the Sun; meaning “life- giver” and “light-maker”.
Bhava (Sk.). Being, or state of being; the world, a birth, and also a name of Siva.
Bhikshu (Sk.). In Pâli Bihkhu. The name given to the first followers of Sâkyamuni Buddha. Lit., “mendicant scholar”. The Sanskrit Chinese Dictionary explains the term correctly by dividing Bhikshus into two classes of Sramanas (Buddhist monks and priests), viz., “esoteric mendicants who control their nature by the (religious) law, and exoteric mendicants who control their nature by diet;” and it adds, less correctly: “every true Bhikshu is supposed to work miracles”.
Bhons(Tib.). The followers of the old religion of the Aborigines of Tibet; of pre-buddhistic temples and ritualism; the same as Dugpas,
“red caps”, though the latter appellation usually applies only to sorcerers.
Bhrantidarsanatah (Sk.). Lit., “false comprehension or apprehension”; something conceived of on false appearances as a mayavic, illusionary form.
Bhrigu (Sk.). One of the great Vedic Rishis. He is called “Son” by Manu, who confides to him his Institutes. He is one of the Seven Prajâpatisor progenitors of mankind, which is equivalent to identifying him with one of the creative gods, placed by the Purânas in Krita Yug, or the first age, that of purity. Dr. Wynn Westcott reminds us of the fact that the late and very erudite Dr. Kenealy (who spelt the name Brighoo), made of this Muni (Saint) the fourth, out of his twelve, “divine messengers” to the World, adding that he appeared in Tibet, A.N. 4800 and that his religion spread to Britain, where his followers raised the megalithic temple of Stonehenge. This, of course, is a hypothesis, based merely on Dr. Kenealy’s personal speculations.
Bhûmi(Sk.). The earth, called also Prithivî.
Bhur-Bhuva (Sk). A mystic incantation, as Om, Bhur, Bhuva, Swar, meaning “Om, earth, sky, heaven, This is the exoteric explanation.
Bhuranyu (Sk.). “The rapid” or the swift. Used of a missile— an equivalent also of the Greek Phoroneus.
Bhur-loka (Sk). One of the 14, lokas or worlds in Hindu Pantheism; our Earth.
Bhutadi(Sk.). Elementary substances, the origin and the germinal essence of the elements.
Bhutan. A country of heretical Buddhists and Lamaists beyond Sikkhim, where rules the Dharma Raja, a nominal vassal of the Dalaї Lama.
Bhûhta-vidyâ (Sk.). The art of exorcising, of treating and curing demoniac possession. Literally, “Demon” or “Ghost-knowledge”.
Bhûta-sarga(Sk.). Elemental or incipient Creation, i.e., when matter was several degrees less material than it is now.
Bhûtesa(Sk.) Or Bhûteswara; lit., “Lord of beings or of existent lives”. A name applied to Vishnu, to Brahmâ and Krishna.
Bhûts (Sk.). Bhûta.: Ghosts, phantoms. To call them “demons”, as do the Orientalists, is incorrect. For, if on the one hand, a Bhûta is “a malignant spirit which haunts cemeteries, lurks in trees, animates dead bodies, and deludes and devours human beings”, in popular fancy, in India in Tibet and China, by Bhûtas are also meant “heretics” who besmear their bodies with ashes, or Shaiva ascetics (Siva being held in India for the King of Bhûtas).
Bhuya-loka (Sk.). One of the 14 worlds.
Bhuvana (Sk). A name of Rudra or Siva, one of the Indian Trimurti (Trinity).
Bifröst (Scand.). A bridge built by the gods to protect Asgard. On it “the third Sword-god, known as Heimdal or Riger”, stands night and day girded with his sword, for he is the watchman selected to protect Asgard, the abode of gods. Heimdal is the Scandinavian Cherubim with the flaming sword, “which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life”.
Bihar Gyalpo(Tib.). A king deified by the Dugpas. A patron over all their religious buildings.
Binah (Heb.). Understanding. The third of the 10 Sephiroth, the third of the Supernal Triad; a female potency, corresponding to the letter hé of the Tetragrammaton IHVH. Binah is called AIMA, the Supernal Mother, and “the great Sea”. [ w.w.w.]
Birs Nimrud (Chald.). Believed by the Orientalists to be the site of the Tower of Babel. The great pile of Birs Nimrud is near Babylon. Sir H. Rawlinson and several Assyriologists examined the excavated ruins and found that the tower consisted of seven stages of brick-work, each stage of a different colour, which shows that the temple was devoted to the seven planets. Even with its three higher stages or floors in ruins, it still rises now 154 feet above the level of the plain. (”See Borsippa”.)