WHEN WE DIE - Exploring the Great Beyond.

Geoffrey Farthing

hpb seal

book cover When We Die - Exploring the Great Beyond

A Description of the After-Death States and Processes
'A unique, authentic, detailed account'

I Contents I


This Glossary gives the meanings of some non-English words and some English ones used in a special sense in the text.  No accents are used and in some cases the spelling is anglicized. The definitions and meanings have been taken mostly from the Theosophical Glossary (H.P. Blavatsky) and Glossary of Sanskrit Terms (G. Barborka).

Akasa: The subtle, supersensuous spiritual essence which pervades all space, primordial substance.

Alaya: lit. indissoluble; equivalent to Akasa.  The Universal Soul.  The name belongs to the Tibetan system of the contemplative Mahayana School.  Identical with Akasa in its mystic sense, and with Mulaprakriti, in its essence, as it is the basis or root of all things.

Arhat: (Buddhism).  A high initiated disciple.

Arupa: "Bodiless", formless, as opposed to rupa, "body", or form.

Astral Body: The ethereal counterpart or phantom or shadow of man and animal, the Linga-sarira, the second principle of man's constitution; sometimes called the astral double.

Astral Light: The invisible region that surrounds our globe, corresponding to the Linga-sarira in man; the vehicle of the life principle (third principle in Cosmos), Prana; the highest principle of the terrestrial atmosphere though undetectable physically.

Atma(n): The seventh principle in Cosmos and man.  Spirit. The ONE SELF.  The God above, rather than in man.


Auric Envelope (Egg): Demarks a man, or anything, as an entity, from the generality of Cosmos, by an akashic sheath. Contains, and is directly related to both the divine and the physical man.  It is:

a) the preserver of every karmic record
b) the storehouse of all the good and evil powers of man  c) furnishes man with his Astral form, etc.

Avitchi: "Hell", a state; not necessarily after death only or between two births, but on this earth also, for those who become totally spiritually bereft ... "the perfect antithesis of Devachan" (The Secret Doctrine, Vol.III, 494/5).

Bodishattva: lit. One whose essence is wisdom; one who renounces Nirvana.

Buddhi: Universal Soul or Mind.  Mahabuddhi is a name of Mahat (see Alaya); also the spiritual Soul in man (the sixth principle), the vehicle of Atma, esoterically the seventh.

Chain: In Esotericism our Earth is said to have six invisible (to us) companion globes on three subjective planes above the physical.  These correspond to man's principles and also to evolutionary developmental stages.  Three, A, B, C, are said to be on the descending (spirit to matter) arc, and three, E, F, G, on the ascending arc (returning to spirituality).  The whole series of globes of which the 4th, D, is our earth, comprise a chain (sometimes referred to as a Ring).

Chiliocosm: Comprises several states of being within Devachan.

Cosmos: The ordered Universe generally - as opposed to chaos. Used in various orders of magnitude, e.g. our Solar System or the visible universe about us.

Deva: A god, a "resplendent" deity.  Deva-Deus, from the root div, "to shine".  A Deva is a celestial being - whether good, bad, or indifferent.  Devas inhabit "the three worlds", which are the three planes above us.

Devachan: The "dwelling of the gods".  A state intermediate between two earth-lives, into which the Ego (Atma, Buddhi, Manas, or Trinity made One)


enters, after its separation from Kama-rupa, and the disintegration of the lower principles on earth.

Dhyan Chohans: The "Lords of Light".  The highest gods, answering to the Roman Catholic Archangels.  The divine Intelligences charged with the supervision of Cosmos; sometimes the denizens of the three superhuman kingdoms.

Eighth Sphere: See Avitchi.

Elementals: Spirits of the Elements.  The creatures evolved in the four Kingdoms or Elements.  Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. Except for a few of the higher kinds and their rulers they are rather forces of Nature.  These Forces, as servile agents of the Occultists, may produce various effects; but if employed by "Elementaries" (see next) - in which they enslave the mediums - they will deceive the credulous.

Elementaries: The phantoms or spooks of disembodied persons; elementary "spirits" who have been men; souls divorced from their higher triads and their physical bodies, existing in kama-rupic envelopes and irresistibly drawn to earth amid elements congenial to their gross natures.  The duration of their stay in Kama-loka varies but ends invariably in disintegration.  See also Kama-rupa. 

Fohat: (A Tibetan word)  The active (male) potency of the female reproductive power (Sakti) in nature; the essence of cosmic electricity; in the manifest universe the ever-present electrical energy and ceaseless destructive and formative power; the universal propelling Vital Force, at once the propeller and the resultant.

Globe: See Chain.

Individuality: One of the names given in Theosophy and Occultism to the Human Higher Ego.  The immortal and divine Ego as distinct from the mortal human ego which perishes.  The latter, or "personality" (personal ego) survives the dead body only for a time in the Kama Loka; the Individuality prevails for ever.

Jiva: Life, as the Absolute; the Monad also or "Atma-Buddhi".


Jivatma: The ONE universal life, generally; but also the divine Spirit in Man. 

Kabala: A cosmological and psychological system deriving from the Ancient Wisdom of the East, but committed to writing in its present form by a learned Rabbi in the Middle Ages.

Kalpa: A period of time; a 'day' and 'night' of Brahma - many millions of earth years.

Kama: Desire, the passional nature of man; the fourth principle in his constitution, associated with his emotions and desires, the cleaving to existence; volition.

Kama Loka: The semi-material plane, to us subjective and invisible, where the disembodied "personalities", the astral forms, called Kama-rupa (fourth and part of man's fifth principle) remain until they fade out from it by the complete exhaustion of the effect of the mental impulses that created these eidolons of human and animal passions and desires.

Karma: Action; metaphysically the Law of Retribution, the Law of Cause and Effect or Ethical Causation; it is the power that controls all things, the resultant of moral action, the moral effect of an act committed for the attainment of something which gratifies a personal desire. 

Linga-Sarira (Sharira): The "astral body" of man or animal. The eidolon, the vital and prototypal body; the reflection of the man of flesh.  It is born before, and dies or fades out with the disappearance of the last atom of the body.

Loka (Loca): A region or circumscribed place.  In metaphysics, a world or sphere or plane.  The Puranas in India speak incessantly of seven and fourteen Lokas, above, and below our earth; of heavens and hells.

Manas: The mind, the mental faculty which makes of man an intelligent and moral being and distinguishes him from the mere animal.  Esoterically it means, when unqualified, the Higher Ego, or the sentient reincarnating Principle in man.  When qualified it is Buddhi-manas or the Spiritual Soul in contradistinction to its human reflection, Kama-manas.


Manvantara: A period of manifestation, as opposed to Pralaya (dissolution, or rest), applied to various cycles, especially to a Day of Brahma, 4,320,000,000 Solar years - and to the reign of one Manu - 308,448,000.

Maya: That which is subject to change.  Commonly, "illusion".

Mayavi-rupa: Illusive form; the body of "astral" projection, formed from the thought, as distinct from the emotional elements of the kama-manasic mortal soul (fourth and lower fifth principles) of man; it is to be distinguished also from the astral body, the Linga-Sarira, man's second principle, which cannot be separated far from his physical body.  From the Mayavi-rupa can be formed a semi-material apparitional likeness of a man even while he lives, similar to a materialized "spook" at a seance.

Minor Cycle: The completion of Seven Rounds q.v. (See also ML 195:198)

Monad: The Unity, the One; in Occultism often applied to the higher duad, Atma-Buddhi; in man, in conjunction with the higher mind principle, Manas, it becomes the Ego, the reincarnating entity.  Without an association with Manas, Monad is unconscious in any sense in which we understand that word.

Necromancy: The raising of the images of the dead, considered in antiquity and by modern Occultists as a practice of black magic.  Many witches were necromancers and were condemned as such.

Nirvana: According to the Orientalists, the entire "blowing out", like the flame of a candle, the utter extinction of existence.  But in the esoteric explanations it is the state of absolute existence and absolute consciousness, into which the Ego of a man who has reached the highest degree of perfection and holiness during life goes, after the body dies, and occasionally, as in the case of Gautama Buddha and others, during life.

Para-Brahm: lit. beyond Brahman.  The Boundless All; Absoluteness; Eternal, Boundless, Immutable Principle.

Para-Nirvana: Absolute Non-Being, which is equivalent to absolute Being or "Be-ness", the state reached by the human Monad at the end of the great cycle.


Personality: In Occultism - which divides man into seven principles, considering him under the three aspects: 1) the divine, 2) the thinking or rational, and 3) the animal man, the lower four principles, the Quaternary or the purely astrophysical being.  Individuality is the Higher Triad, considered as a Unity.  Thus the Personality embraces all the characteristics and memories of one physical life, while the Individuality is the imperishable Ego which reincarnates and clothes itself in one personality after another.

Pisachas: In the Puranas, goblins or demons created by Brahma.  In the southern Indian folk-lore, ghosts, demons, larvae, and vampires - generally female - who haunt men.  Fading remnants of human beings in Kama Loca, as shells and Elementaries.

Plane: As used in Occultism, the range or extent of some state of consciousness or of the perceptive power of a particular set of senses, or the action of a particular force, or the state of matter (physical or otherwise) corresponding to any of the above.  There are seven main planes, each of which has seven sub-planes, and each of these is of a nature corresponding to the particular one of a main plane.  Our terrestrial main planes together constitute the lowest one of seven corresponding cosmic planes. 
Pralaya: A period of obscuration or repose - planetary, cosmic or universal - the opposite of Manvantara.

Prana: The life principle, the third in man's constitution; the breath of life; vitality, the vital fluid.  When it is absent from a body or organism that body is "dead", and the coordinating and controlling functions of other principles cannot then operate.

Races, Root: In Esotericism humanity is said to progress in its physical, psychical, and spiritual development by stages.  There are seven main stages represented by Seven Root Races and each Root Race has seven Sub-Races which are themselves further divided.  The physical characteristics (not the psychical nor spiritual) of the Root Races are roughly represented by colour, black (3rd), brown (4th) and white (5th); the earlier Races were not fully physical until the middle of the 3rd Root Race.


Round: In Esotericism a Round is the name given to the passage of the Life Wave round all the seven Globes of a Chain. On Earth it represents the time taken for all seven Root Races to develop.

Rupa: Form.  Sometimes associated with the sense of sight.

Sakti: Power; the active female energy of a deity; universal energy.

Sakwala: This is a bana or "word" uttered by Gautama Buddha in his oral instructions.  Sakwala is a mundane, or rather a solar system, of which there is an infinite number in the universe, and which denotes that space to which the light of every sun extends.  Each Sakwala contains earth, hells and heavens (meaning good and bad spheres, our earth being considered as hell, in Occultism); attains its prime, then falls into decay and is finally destroyed at regularly recurring periods, in virtue of one immutable law. 

Samadhi: A state of ecstatic and complete trance.  The term comes from the words Sam-adha, "self-possession".  He who possesses this power is able to exercise an absolute control over all his faculties, physical or mental; it is the highest state of Yoga.

Skandhas: Bundles, or groups of attributes; everything finite, inapplicable to the eternal and absolute.  In Occultism there are seven "predispositions and tendencies" in every human living being.  Five of these are, as usually translated: form, perception, consciousness, action, and knowledge.  These unite at the birth of a man and constitute his personality.  After the maturity, they begin to separate and weaken, and this is followed by decrepitude and death of the physical body.

Sthula-Sarira: The physical body.

Sukhavati: The Western Paradise of the uneducated.  The popular notion is that there is a Western Paradise of Amitabha, wherein good men and saints revel in physical delights until they are carried once more by Karma into the circle of rebirth.  This is an exaggerated and mistaken notion of Devachan.


Tanha: The thirst for life.  Desire to live and the clinging to life on this earth, causing rebirth or reincarnation.

Tathagata: "One who is like the coming"; he who is, like his predecessors (the Buddhas) and successors, the coming future Buddha or World-Saviour.  One of the titles of Gautama Buddha, and the highest epithet, since the first and the last Buddhas were the direct immediate avatars of the One Deity.

Triad: Atma-Buddhi and the "Envelope" which reflects their light, the three in one.  Also applied to Atma, Buddhi, and Manas, and in the Kabala to the three supernal Sephiroth of the Tree of Life, Kether, Chokmah, and Binah, the One and its two aspects, male and female.

Tribuvana: The three worlds - Swarga, Bhumi, Patala - or Heaven, Earth and Hell in popular beliefs; esoterically, these are the Spiritual and Psychic (or Astral) regions, and the Terrestrial sphere. 

Trishna: See Tanha.

Upadana: (Lit. acquiring) material cause ; specifically clinging to earth life.

Upadhi: Basis; the vehicle, carrier or bearer of something less material than itself; as the human body is the upadhi of its spirit; a mould, a defining or limiting substance.  Literally, a substitute, a disguise, hence a "veil of spirit"; e.g., Buddhi is the upadhi of Atma.

Vijnana: Consciousness, intelligence; one of the Nidanas.


Button to return to top