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Re: theos-talk FOHAT in Tibetan Dictonaries - by Richard P. Taylor

Jan 15, 2011 08:19 PM
by John W

Thanks for the info re "fohat". The complete pages of Taylor's "Blavatsky And Buddhism" (1999, University of California Berkeley) can be downloaded as a series of linked HTML pages, from the links on this main URL: .
However, it has not yet been made into a PDF or CHM or DOC file.

John W.

--- On Sun, 16/1/11, M. Sufilight <> wrote:
From: M. Sufilight <>
Subject: theos-talk FOHAT in Tibetan Dictonaries - by Richard P. Taylor
Date: Sunday, 16, January, 2011, 12:12 PM



      Dear friends

My views are:

The following page by Taylor written in 1999 might be of interest to some Seekers after truth and altruism:

Blavatsky and Buddhism

Chapter Two: Blavatsky and 'Esoteric Buddhism'


Blavatsky first writes of this term in 1885 while discussing the several souls in Chinese philosophy: "At death the hwan [hun] or spiritual soul wanders away, ascending, and the pho [p'o] (the root of the Tibetan word Pho-hat) descends and is changed into a ghostly shade (the shell)." (32) Afterwards, however, she consistently spells the term as Fohat. In her posthumous Theosophical Glossary, (1892) HPB writes,

Fohat (Tib.) A term used to represent the active (male) potency of the Sakti (female reproductive power) in nature. The essence of cosmic electricity. An occult Tibetan term for Daiviprakriti, primordial light; and in the universe of manifestation the ever-present electrical energy and ceaseless destructive and formative power.(33)

Of course there is no mention of a Sanskrit Daiviprakriti in any Sanskrit texts, even today-another mystery term. But the connection between Fohat and primordial light is an important one to keep in mind. In her occult cosmogony, The Secret Doctrine, Blavatsky elaborates,

He is, metaphysically, the objectivised thought of the gods; the "Word made flesh," on a lower scale, and the messenger of Cosmic and human ideations: the active force in Universal Life.â In India, Fohat is connected with Vishnu and Surya in the early character of the (first) God; for Vishnu is not a high god in the Rig Veda. The name Vishnu is from the root vish, "to pervade," and Fohat is called the "Pervader" and the Manufacturer, because he shapes the atoms from crude material..(34)

The spelling of this 'Fohat' misled Theosophists for over a century, but I have now identified it as the Tibetan verb '2ÃâÃ3 ('phro-wa) and/or the noun form cuâ/à (spros-pa). These two terms are listed in JÃschke's Tibetan English Dictionary (1881) but with inadequate translations. For the verb form 'phro-wa, JÃschke gives "to proceed, issue, emanate from, to spread, in most cases from rays of light â"(35) while for the noun spros-pa he gives "business, employment, activity."(36) JÃschke's definition of the verb certainly corresponds well with one sense of HPB's definition, that of "pervading" like Vishnu, but leaves untouched the mental and creative aspects of the term. But a comprehensive search of 20th century Tibetan dictionaries, word lists and Sanskrit translations has turned up a wealth of information that would appear to validate HPB's understanding of a cosmic, psycho-creative force. Most importantly, Lokesh Chandra in his
 Tibetan-Sanskrit Dictionary, gives for spros-pa several Sanskrit equivalents, including 1. sarga 2. prapaÃca. According to the most authoritative Sanskrit dictionary, that of Monier-Williams, Sarga is defined as "Emission or creation of matter, primary creation â creation of the world (as opposed to its pralaya, 'dissolution,' and sthiti, 'maintainence in existence')."(37) From the same source, we find PrapaÃca: "Expansion, development, manifestations (MÃË?Âkya Upani?ad) â (in philosophy) the expansion of the universe, the visible world (cited in Upani?ads; Kapila's SÃÂkhya-pravacana; SarvardarÃana-saÂgraha)." But in Buddhist philosophy, prapaÃca is much more than this: it is the mental fabrication of dualistic consciousness which literally creates the world as the non-enlightened perceiver experiences it. In seeing the activity of dualistic consciousness on a cosmic scale, HPB sees prapaÃca as many Tantric texts do. This 'Tantric'
 worldview will be investigated more fully in chapter three."

M. Sufilight



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