T. lobsang rampa wisdom of the ancients

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SADHANA : This is a word which relates to various spiritual disciplines. Sadhanas are especially four means of attaining freedom from desires. It is also part of Dama (see under Dama).

The disciplines are freedom from lust and similar, and need not be detailed because this whole book is devoted to them !



SADHU : A holy man, maybe a hermit, but particularly a monk. A person who leaves a lamasery or monastery and wanders among the people is given the term ‘Sadhu’ in much the same way as among Christians a similar person would be called ‘Father’ or ‘Reverend.’

SAHASRARA : This is the highest of the physical centres of Yogic consciousness. It is the seventh, and although, as previously stated in this book, there are nine centres, only seven are named in the West.

Sahasrara is also called The Thousand-petalled Lotus, and a clairvoyant can see this emerging from the top of the head like a fountain of golden light, and all the ‘petals’ around the base are of every different colour imaginable.



SAMADHI : This is a special state of being more than acutely aware of ‘reality.’ In certain stages, when a person has progressed far, one gets to a ‘super-conscious' state in which one is aware of divine realities, which cannot be proven but of which one KNOWS that they are true.

It is also a special form of knowledge in which one receives spontaneous enlightenment. A person can be pondering upon the meaning of a word, and one can have a sudden flash of revelation which gives instantly and unexpectedly the whole meaning of that which had been pondered upon.


SAMANA : At the centre of the solar plexus there is what is usually termed ‘a vital force.’ It is an emanation which can clearly be seen by any developing clairvoyant. The colour is affected by the gastric secretions in the vicinity, and thus most times it is of a cloudy green, something like jade, or, when slight digestion is proceeding, it may be like a yellowish form of milk colour.


SAMATWA : Tranquillity of temperament, placidity of mind, an entire absence of discontent, dislike, or antagonism. A state of mind where one is able to consider dispassionately, without bias or rancor.

SAMSARA : People come to the Earth in a cycle of birth, living, death, planning, and rebirth time after time in an endless cycle which remains endless until one progresses through every sign and every quadrant of the zodiac, and learns that which has to be learned, learns that which liberates one from the ties of the flesh, and thus from the necessity of reincarnating.

SANCHITA KARMA : Many people regard Karma as cruel, relentless, implacable, but that is not so.

People can have a lot of their Karma ‘set aside,’ that is, put in cold storage to see how the unlucky possessor manages. Then, if the person makes progress and honestly tries to help others, his ‘stored Karma’ can be forgiven him, for as you forgive others their sins against you so shall others forgive you the sins you have committed against them.

The God of all is merciful and just, but with a justness tempered and modified by compassion. No one born of Earth is ever called upon to suffer more than is his or her limit. No one ever has to ‘pay back’ that which would be crippling. Thus it is that stored Karma can be voided, bypassed, discarded, if the person being saddled with such Karma proves that he or she is worthy of forgiveness.

As an illustration let us assume that a person has been very cruel indeed in the past. Karma does not mean that a person has to suffer cruelty because of that, because if a person is reborn and strives conscientiously to atone by kindness, then the Karmic cruelty is discarded.


SANNYAS : This actually refers to a life of complete self-denial. It is usually said in the case of a person who has entered a lamasery or a monastery and who has dedicated the whole of his life to the attainment of knowledge. Here again he cannot progress unless he freely gives, unless he is willing to sacrifice that which he wanted for himself and give it for the good of others. This is the last of the four stages into which the life of an individual is divided.

There is a second meaning of Sannyas, and it is an initiation during which a person preparing to be a monk takes the final vows of complete renunciation and withdrawal from the world.


SARASVATI : Most religions have ‘a Divine Mother.’ There is a Divine Mother of the Christian belief, a Divine Mother of the Lamastic belief, and a Divine Mother as a consort of Brahma.

Sarasvati is the Goddess of Learning and the Patron Saint of the Arts.



SAT : This in a Western term could be likened to absolute existence, or a pure Being not upon the Earth. It is the reality, the Overself, that which we shall become if we behave ourselves and wait long enough.

SATYA : This means truthfulness, and abstention from deceiving others. It is known as the Second of the Abstinencies. One must be completely truthful, completely honest with oneself, as with others, if one is to make progress.

SATYA YUGA : This is the first of the four-world periods. Various religions divide world periods into a certain number of years, and Satya Yuga, also known as Krita, divides the periods into 1,728,000 years.

SEANCES : It is surprisingly easy to get in touch with ‘the Other Side.’ It is surprisingly easy to get in touch with elementals who pretend to be one's dearly departed friend or relative.

There are certain people, not necessarily evolved, not necessarily good, not necessarily bad, but certain people who, through some quirk of metabolism, can raise their vibrations so that it approximates to the harmonic of a fundamental vibration of some entity in the astral world. It may be that the person, who is then called ‘a medium’ (a medium for communication), receives information from some person who has recently, or not so recently, left the world.

It is highly dangerous to use such messages unless the medium is extremely well known, that is, unless you know that the medium is beyond suspicion. By this it is not meant that the medium will necessarily cheat you, but she may not have the intellectual or educational attainments which will enable her to discriminate between that which is fraudulent and that which is genuine.

In general people who have passed beyond this life are far too busy to send senseless messages, they have a job to do, perhaps preparing for a fresh incarnation. So Aunt Fanny will not come back and remind you to water the flowers, or tell you that her long-lost Will is in the third drawer down of the old tallboy !


SHAKTI : Here again we have the Mother of the Universe. The Mother is the principle of Primal Energy. She is that which creates, preserves and ends the Universe. It is, also, the forces seen in the manifested Universe.

The world here is a negative world, so the negative principle is the feminine principle. When we move beyond this world we move to a positive world, we move, in terms of esoteric lore, to the God-world. Here on Earth we are in the Goddess-world, the negative principle.

The powers which come from the Goddess principle are those to do with clairvoyance, clairaudience, telepathy, psychometry, and similar, and these powers also embrace those which are thought pictures which arise without thought activity.

A third power which comes from the female principle here, is the power of sound, the power of vocal expression, the power of composing music.

It is a Hindu belief that one has to know of the grace of the God-Mother before the true aspect of God becomes apparent.

SHANTI : In lamaseries and Buddhist monasteries the word Shanti, which means peace, will be repeated at the end of a discourse.

In Tibetan lamaseries those who are having a meal are read to so that their thoughts may be distracted from the merely physical aspect of food. At the end of the reading the Lector will often say three times, ‘Om, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.’ It merely means that it is an exhortation to peace much as in certain Christian monasteries the words, ‘Pax vobiscum’ are repeated, meaning ‘Peace be with you.’



SHATSAMPATTI : A person who is studying with an advanced Guru, with the aim of securing liberation from the lusts and desires of the flesh, will be taught in the main six things, which are :

1. Shama, which is the ability to remain tranquil and to direct one's thoughts, to control the mind so that the lusts of the body are set aside.

2. Dama. This is a system of Disciplines which enables one to control the body after the mind has been raised to a state when body desires can be exorcised.

3. Uparati. This system teaches one not to desire the possessions of one's neighbour. It teaches one to become circumspect in choosing one's associates and one's possessions ; it teaches one to be content with what one has.

4. Titiksha. This is the ability to endure cheerfully and patiently the difficulties which are thrust upon us by our evolving Karma.

5. Shraddha. Under this system one has to be sincere and honest with oneself and with others. One must tear away the illusions and the falsity which surround one. In Western terms it implies that one should cease to be a ‘Walter Mitty.’

6. Samadhana. Here one is able to concentrate one's forces, one’s abilities, to a single purpose. One is not turned aside by temporary distractions. Instead, one pursues a steadfast path straight ahead to secure freedom from reincarnating.

SHENG JEN : This is what the Chinese call a wise man, one who has studied much, a sage, a good man, one who can control others with kindness and maintain discipline by kindness rather than by force. From it we have :

SHENG WANG : Which is an ideal ruler, one who has inner wisdom together with the ability to be a good ruler.

SHIH FEI : This is the opposites, right and wrong, truth and lies or errors. That which is correct and that which is incorrect.

SHIVA : This is a word with many meanings. In the Hindu trinity of Gods it means the God who dissolves us from the Earth, the power called the destroyer which releases humans from the earth-body. It is a ‘God’ venerated by Yogis who seek release from the flesh.

We have three forms, which is birth, life, and death. There is a ‘God’ which determines when we shall be born. There is a ‘God’ which supervises us during life, and there is a ‘God’ (Shiva) which gives us release from Earth in the form of death.



SIDDHA : This is one who has progressed through the various cycles of incarnations, and is now a 'Perfect Soul,' one who has not yet reached the stage of actual Divinity, but who is progressing and is therefore at the stage of semi-Divinity.

From this we have :



SIDDHI : This means spiritual perfection. It also means that one has considerable occult power.

SILVER CORD : Just as the new-born child is connected to its mother by the umbilical cord, so are we connected to our Overself by the Silver Cord. Just as the puppet is connected to the puppet master by a bit of string, so are we connected to our puppet master by the Silver Cord.

The Silver Cord has its name because, being composed of rapidly rotating particles of all the colours in existence, it appears to be silver. The myriad colours reflect to the clairvoyant as a pure bluish-white silver.

This cord is infinitely extensible, and it has no limitations. When a person is doing astral travel, the inner body separates from the outer sheath of flesh and floats away at the end of the Silver Cord in much the same way that you can let a kite up at the end of a cord. When the body demands the astral body, the latter is reeled in just the same way as a kite is reeled in.

Everything that we do on Earth is transmitted to the Overself by way of the Silver Cord. Anything the Overself wants to tell us is transmitted downwards to the sub-conscious, where the information is stored until we want it, transmitted downwards by way of the Silver Cord.

When we come to death, then the Silver Cord thins and parts ; just as a baby ‘dies’ to its mother when the umbilical cord is severed, so does the flesh body die to the Overself when the Silver Cord be severed ‘and the Golden Bowl be shattered.’ The Golden Bowl, of course, is the nimbus or higher etheric force which surrounds the head during life and departs at the moment of death.


SIN : What is sin ? Sin is that which a group of priests at any time consider to be undesirable. Actually it is a rather meaningless term. At present procreation seems to be rather a sin, because it is stated that children are born in sin. How can they be ? Without procreation there would be no race and no priests.

'Sins' include pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and laziness. These are the main sins, the parent sins, and all others derive from them.

Pride, of course, is only a misunderstanding of our abilities. Covetousness disappears when the coveted article has been obtained. Lust is another name for the sexual drive without which the race would not continue, and sex was held out in days of old as a reward by the priests for those who obeyed the priests.

Sex, in fact, now regarded as a major sin, used to be much favoured by the priesthood for attracting the populace to the temples. The priests used to stage shows which would make anyone's eyes fairly stick out nowadays. The priests also used to make it a law that every unmarried woman in the land should once a year prostitute herself to any man who in the temple grounds offered her money.

Sin is that which has been adjudged by the priesthood to be something which can weaken their own force, weaken their own power. The best way to avoid sin is to rigidly adhere to the rule ‘Do as you would be done by.’ If you wouldn't like it to be done to you, then don't do it to anyone else. Do that, live by that, and you are safe.

SOUL : A much misunderstood word. It is our Ego, our Overself, our puppet master, the real ‘I.’ That spirit which is using our flesh body in order to learn things on Earth which could not be learnt in the spirit world.

SPHOTA : This is something, perhaps a thought, or some special sound (such as ‘Om’), which makes the mind open like a blossom in the sunlight. It is something which stimulates our mind to unexpected awareness. It is that for which we strive upon Earth in order that we may become enlightened beings.


SPONGES : You may wonder what sponges have to do in a Dictionary like this, but there are many people who are just human sponges, they suck up information which remains as an undigested mass inside the brain. It is useless information.

Human sponges are often ‘do-gooders.’ They know everything in theory, but they lack the application. They can only 'do good' in theory, they are not able or sufficiently evolved to really do anything to help.

Human sponges suck up information without obtaining any knowledge. They are tragic creatures who make a hard shell of selfishness around them, and then wonder why the world does not bow down in veneration.

SRI : This merely means ‘Reverend,’ or ‘Holy,’ when it is used as a prefix to a holy personality or a sacred book. Otherwise it is used in much the same sense as English people use the word ‘Esquire,’ or the Americans use ‘Mr.’

SRIMATI : A form of address prevalent in India. It is the equivalent of ‘Miss’ or ‘Mrs.’ or ‘Senorita’ or ‘Senora.’ There is nothing mystical, nothing religious about it, it is just a generic form of address for ladies with or without culture.

SSU TUAN : This is the four essentials to humanity :
1. Being ‘human.’

2. Having the right sort of ‘righteousness.’

3. Having a correct sense of propriety.

4. Having mature wisdom.


STAGES OF LIFE : There are four main divisions of life. The first :

1. A child has been born, and through experience it develops and learns. The whole faculties of the body are being developed and improved. At this stage the person is able to learn fairly rapidly and without great effort.

2. This second stage is a stage during which a person takes employment, and gets married. The learning here is enough to keep the job, to get promotion, to raise a family, and to make enough money in order to prepare for stage three.

3. In stage three the person has retired, or is about to retire. There is more cultural activity, and more time to devote to the things which have not been attended to before.

4. In the fourth stage one ‘digests’ the experiences of the lifetime, and is able to send impressions along the Silver Cord to the Overself of all the gleanings of the life to date. The Higher Self does not start to profit greatly until the fourth stage.

STONES : Stones are materials which can exert a very great influence upon us, upon our thoughts, upon our health, and upon our fortunes. Thus it is that at the end of this Dictionary there is a special Supplement (Supplement B) devoted exclusively to stones, their nature, their influence, etc., and it is advised that you carefully read Supplement B.

SUB-CONSCIOUS : The sub-conscious has the greater part of one's make-up. We are only one-tenth conscious, and nine-tenths sub-conscious. The average human is not able to tap the knowledge of the sub-conscious, but when the average human ceases to be average and becomes an Adept, the whole of the sub-conscious can be examined for knowledge, and everything that has happened in human life is contained within the sub-conscious.

SUBTLE BODY : The Subtle Body consists of seventeen complete components. They are :
1. Sight.

2. Hearing.

3. Smell.

4. Taste.

5. Touch.

6. Tongue.

7. Hands.

8. Feet.


9. Organ of Excretion.

10. Organ of Generation.


The other seven include various items such as breath control, digestion control, mind, and intellect.

SUSHUMNA : When the Kundalini becomes awakened it passes through the centres of conscientious which are actually located in the Sushumna.

The Sushumna is a channel in the subtle body which is straight through the interior of the spine. It starts right at the bottom of the spine and goes right up to the top. The spine in effect, then, is a tube, the hollow part of which is the Sushumna.

Outside the Sushumna are two other channels ; the one on the right is the Pingala, and the one on the left is the Ida. They coil upwards and later unite.

These three channels give rise to the Trinity which is common to most religions.


SUTRA : This is a terse sentence containing a general doctrine. It is a system whereby much truth is compressed into little space.

In the East the Vedanta and Yoga Sutras are the best-known illustrations.



SVAHA : This is a mantra uttered after a prayer or during parts of a religious ceremony. It means the same as ‘Amen.’ In other words — ‘So be it !’

SWADHISHTHANA CHAKRA : This is located around the area of the reproductory organs. It is in the shape of a Lotus containing six petals. In a poorly evolved, lustful person, the colour of the petals will be a very dark-brown red, a most unpleasant colour indeed. As the person becomes more evolved, the brownish part of the red disappears and becomes brighter red.

When a person is evolved the colour changes to orange-red, and the greater the degree of spirituality the more yellow there is and less red.

There is a hollow centre to the flower in which appears radiations, the exact form of which depends upon the state of evolution of the person to whom it is attached.

SWAMI : This is much the same as a Guru. It is a Master or a Spiritual Teacher. It is used preceding the name of the person — Swami So-and-So — and is merely the same as ‘Professor,’ ‘Holiness,’ or similar. It is a title which is given when one has reached the stage at which it is deserved. If you want to be very respectful to a Swami you will call him Swamiji.




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