From the archives of some theosophical e-mail lists.


Young Theosophists


> Terence Price wrote: 
>Questions are definitely a way to conduct the search, at least so Socrates thought . I suppose what I'd mention would be what is the definition of Oversoul. Taken at face value, I'd say that the Oversoul is the same as Supersoul. Now whenever this appellation over or super is used I interpret it as higher, and by higher what is meant is the abstract form of a thing, its archetype, or its logos to use another word. In the same way that higher mind or supermind is concerned with abstract thinking. As the world is filled with a multitude or souls there is something higher upon which they base, have their origin, and toward which they aspire to fulfillment continously - if they are about fulfilling their destiny. What soul is, what soul does, the oversoul or supersoul is and does abstractly. The relationship between the soul and oversoul (which ultimately becomes a single logos for all life-forms possessed of soul, but such monarchy is not without an intervening oligarchy of logoi - who as conductors and transmuters of the monarchic logos sort of occupy the place many ascribe to angels). The word soul is neutral, because it can apply to the great soul as well as the small soul, the distinction is that between the cosmic for the great and the atomic for the small. What is not the world is not great, but the small. The broad Earth beneath our feet . . . an everlasting home for the immortal gods . . . belongs spatially to the small sphere and not the great. Brahman, the subtle flame is both the Maha-brahman, the ever-rolling flame that whirls throughout, pervades this world (at least in my experience) and the Hina-brahman, the numberless sparks that move about in the great. Ultimately Brahman while either great or small, and while both great and small, is neither great nor small. So when you say Oversoul I'd say you are talking about both the Super-maha-soul and the Super-hina-soul in their unity. Without making a reference to those individuals who claim to be mahat themselves I'd say that the great-soul would be the same as the animus mundi, the soul of the world. Therefore, super-mahasoul would be the same as super-animus mundi, which is an immediate reference to a soul that holds archetypal power over the cosmic souls of the omniverse or at least one with archetypal power over a set of multiverses. 

>Mahat, when I use it at least, is an aspect of the horizontal pole, not the vertical pole. The vertical pole rises upward to the archetypal and super-archetypal and pre-super-archetypal. The horizontal pole extends outward to the cosmic, pancosmic and monic. Could be wrong, but in my musings the pre-super-archetypal and monic are were the mergence to the ultimate unity behind things begins, this is a very simple statement belying the complexity and depth of everything I'm attempting to refer to with words. 

>Might buddhi be the faculty of learning and knowing sat, devoid of the awareness that the one who is knowing sat is sat. In otherwords the transition between transformative self-knowledge and self-ignorance? Another question. 


From:  Katinka Hesselink <mail@k...> 
Date:  Thu Oct 17, 2002  11:38 am
Subject:  Re: buddhi

 Hi Terence and Truth,

I have pondered the meaning of Buddhi for a long time. I think trying to answer stuff you just don't know yet, is dangerous - it may lead to selfdelusion. Asking questions is good, answering them may be premature. But anyhow, the one quote that has helped me get a feel for buddhi is the following, from Letters from the Masters of Wisdom, first
series, C. Jinarajadasa, letter 30, p. 73: 

>> To Laura C. Halloway: the lake in the mountain heights of your being is one day a tossing waste of waters, as the gust of caprice or temper sweeps through your soul; the next a mirror as they subside and peace reigns in the 'house of life'. One day you win a step forward; the next you fall two back. Chelaship admits none of these transitions; its prime and constant qualification is a calm, even, contemplative state of mind (not the mediumistic passivity) fitted to receive psychic impressions from without, and to transmit one's own from within. The mind can be made to work with electric swiftness in a high excitement; but the Buddhi-never. To its clear region calm must ever reign. >>

Katinka Hesselink

>From: t collins 
>Reply-To: Young-Theosophists@yah...
>To: Young-Theosophists@yah...
>Subject: Re: [Young Theosophists] Mahatic and the oversoul/ any conection? 
>Date: Wed, 16 Oct 2002 19:14:03 -0700 (PDT) 

>Cool. Thanks for posting these thoughts. I like questions too. 

>Terence>,"Might buddhi be the faculty of learning and knowing sat, devoid of the awareness that the one who is knowing sat is sat. In otherwords the transition between transformative self-knowledge and self-ignorance? Another question." 

>It depends on how you define buddhi. What buddhi are you talking about? Buddhi is a principle, not a power or faculty at your disposal like eyesight, as far as I understand it in theosophical liturature. It is called a faculty for discriptive purposes. Buddhi, could be said to be part of who you are. Buddhi, all by itself, does nothing. Atma is the informing principle of buddhi and buddhi the vehicle of atman. We are the ones who become more aware of buddhi. Atman is our self, and no faculty. It is atma that is the knower of the field. It is atma that is the nature of our souls(modern sense of the word) that is our selfs. That is who we are. I am that> atma. It is me, atma, who is the knower of transformative self-knowledge and self-ignorance, and it is 'me', atma, that will know the difference. A transition is just that, a change. I do not know what you mean by self. In what order do you mean the transition between transformative self-knowledge and self-ignorance in, in relation to Buddhi? Is it a change of becoming more self-knowledgeable or more self-ignorant that you attribute to the faculty of buddhi? Buddhi is direct knowledge and not self-ignorant. It is not the change or transition, nor the process. Atma-buddhi is sat. Buddhi is never seperate from atma, only as a story is it so, as we describe it that way. Atma is present in every word even, and it is untrue to imagine it otherwise. It is a play on words to do so. There is no sat without atma-buddhi. It depends upon what angle you are asking the question at, as far as what you want to know about sat. 

>So no, buddhi is not the faculty of learning and knowing sat. It is us who become more awake to buddhi and in effect learn and know sat. On what level do you mean sat? For sat and buddhi are inseperable, in essence two aspects of the same thing. 

>I may need to reword some of this. Here it is for now at least. 

>Best regards, Truth 

From:  "Terence Price" <kheper_ra7@h...> 
Date:  Thu Oct 17, 2002  5:27 am
Subject:  Re: [Young Theosophists] Mahatic and the oversoul/ any conection?

As best I can ascertain Truth the word buddhi is taken in Indian philosophy within the context of the Samkhyan school of thought.  In the Samkhyan school there is an implicit duality, the duality between purusa and prakriti.  Buddhi is viewed as a devolute or product of prakriti, not purusa.  To confound purusa and buddhi is something that has to be eliminated in order to attain atmajnana, 'self-knowledge'. 

The jagrat state of consciousness is not simply external, it is also internal, but it is mostly associated with awareness of what we call externals.  In the act of sensation there is clearly stimulation of the sensory field - the sensory field is always there, so what actually occurs is a modification of the sensory field.  This modification can occur even without our perception of the sensation (the external).  Clearly then the modification in the sensory field moves further inward to become an object that exist within perception.  There may be a stage between this I left out, not certain, but jumping to the perception facilitates the discussion. Sensation is not simply oriented to externals.  It is the same sensory power that is used to dream as is used to see and experience the world around us.  Hence the consciousness of svapna is more fundamental than jagrat consciousness.  In the Samkhyan system the five gross elements or mahabhutas correspond to the five tanmatras in a way and consequently to the five jnanendriyas.  It is a different cosmology that includes the observer in the picture by explicitly stating that such as appearance, sound, odor, flavor, and texture are parts of the universe - sounds strange at first, but it makes perfect sense, for instance, akasa is the element of sound, as opposed to the element of appearance, or the element of odors.  Yet both sound and odors are communicated through the medium of air.  Anyway starting to drift too far.  As the perception appears in the perceptive field it must somehow come into contact with the self.  Otherwise, we are not talking about purusa, because purusa is the observer, detached, but the ever-present observer.  Supposedly, buddhi as a product of prakriti is concerned with the self's descent into incarnation or involution and comes into activity again in the ascent from incarnation or evolution - could this mean the move toward nirvana or being a nirsamsarin?  In that case, then buddhi is a faculty, involved with the prakriti, that brings the self into intimate involvement with prakriti's fruit from that point forward in time.  The effort to escape samsara and to attain nirvana, any nirvana defined in a way that implies no future reincarnation, but an awakening to life beyond the cycle of birth and death seems to be the consciousness that is defined as buddhi.  Again I may be completely off the mark. 

Concerning your question what do I mean by self.  This is where semantics gets involved.  Originally what we call the mayakoshas were called mayatmans, the word atman was removed and replaced by kosha.  I hold to the opinion that there are many selves for us, what is being sought by many is the unborn self, the pratyagatman.  But just think what we call pranamayakosha was originally called pranamayatman - this is because there is a sense of self involved with each of these.  The distinction is subtle.  I am a thinker.  I think, I cause thoughts to come into being.  Already I'm aware of a distinction between myself as thinker and the myriads of thoughts I form within my mind.  I am not the thoughts, but I am the thinker.  Identifying myself as a thinker involves me in being manomayatman (or what is called manomayakosha).  If I were just on the mental level in self identity then it would be inappropriate for me to call that manomayatman, it would be manatman - my attempt at using Sanskrit to mean 'mental self'.  It is only deemed a false self, or a sheath, from a higher vantage point, once self-awareness has risen to the point of distinguishing the fact that while I am being a thinker I am actually not a thinker.  I am something other than a thinker being a thinker.  From that vantage point the mental self is a false self, it is not my real self, my true self.  If my mental self were destroyed I'd not be destroyed.  The same applies to the physical body annatman which became annamayakosha (the food sheath) and also to actions (the ego-proper, in the strict Greek sense of the word, the causal).  Only when I become aware of the truth and fact that I am not a doer, by which I mean that I am a non-doer that is being a doer, can the aspect of self that once made me associate with doing something be deemed as a kosa to me.  From the higher vantage point I can use the lower as a vehicle to operate through in the realm to which it belongs.  So too, in the relation between purusa and prakriti, which places purusa in the position of being the ever-present observer, I'd have to say that there is a self that is a non-senser, or non-observer, and that self is involved in being an observer.  So this is what I mean by self knowledge and self ignorance.  There can be varying quantities of this in different individuals and in different species, or different objects in the world.  Some people identify themselves with their jobs or their money and are even willing to kill themselves if they lose these things.  Ask some people who or what they are and they will throw back at you a woman a man, a teacher, a janitor, a bum, or something of that sort.  Quite possibly this is as far as their consciousness goes in terms of self-awareness.  Some will more smartly identify with the pure body, nude, the actor in the plays of the world's many stages, more constant than anything else in someone's life.  Some will not identify with the body even, but identify themselves as spirits inhabiting bodies.

Did I speak to what you addressed to me?

Terence :o

The rainbow is a circlet of color whose rays fill the worlds with endless splendor.  Facing the sun with eyes closed the aware behold the spinning hoop of rainbow light.  The unexamined life is never worth living, too much is missed when we bump through life half-asleep!

    From: Katinka Hesselink <mail@kat...>
Subject: Re: Re: buddhi

Hi Terence and all,

Getting home after writing what I wrote on the limitations of the mind in understanding Buddhi, I looked up various references to the word in theosophical and (some) non-theosophical works. So here goes:

In my opinion H.P. Blavatsky disagrees with herself. In one place (the Key to Theosophy) she says (p. 323):
>> Universal Soul or Mind. Mahabuddhi is a name of Mahat; als the Spiritual Soul in man (the sixth principle exoterically), the vehicle of Atma, the seventh, according to esoteric enumeration.>>
This fits Terences definition of both Buddhi and Mahat remarkably well, I may add.

But it becomes a less good fit (though I'll let Terence himself be the judge of that) if you turn to the material of Vol XII of the Collected Writings, in this case also in Volume III of the Secret Doctrine. I use the pagination of the former. This is from instructions III of the Esoteric
School, CW p. 629, 630.
p. 629:
>> Thus, Buddhi and Manas being both primordial rays of the One Flame - the former the vehicle (upadhi or vahana), of the one eternal Essence, the latter the vehicle of Mahat or Divine Ideation (Maha-Buddhi in the purana's), the Universal Intelligent Soul>>
p. 630:
>> Now what are the functions of Buddhi? On this plane it has none, unless it is united with manas, the Conscious Ego. Buddhi stands to the divine Root Essence in the same relation as Mulaprakriti to Parabrahman, in the Vedanta School; or as Alaya, the Universal Soul, to the One Eternal Spirit, or that which is beyond Spirit. It is its human vehicle, on remove from the Absolute which can have no relationship whatever to the finite and the conditioned.>>

My sanskrit dictionary (M. Monier-Williams) says, on p. 733

>> Buddhi (f) - the power of forming and retaining conceptions and general notions, intelligence, reason, intellect, mind, discernment, judgment.>> (and then it says a lot more which all comes down to the same thing)

This is IMO clearly what I would call (higher) manas. Then we have "Sanskrit Keys to the Wisdom Religion," by Judith Tyberg, who was a collegue of G. de Purucker, published by Point Loma Publications. p. 32:
>> Buddhi: the Spiritual Soul of man; the channel through which Atman may send its divine inspirations to the Human Ego. A man in whom Buddhi is awakened shines with the qualities of discrimination, intuition, spiritual vision, love without bounds, and compassion. Buddhi comes from the verb-root budh, 'to know', 'to enlighten.'>>

Which pulls all the previous stuff nicely together, but it leaves the experience of buddhi nicely up to each reader. 
Looking again at the Monier-Williams dictionary for the root budh, it first mentions a long list of sources and then proceeds with the meaning. I leave out various sources and replace them with ...
>> To wake, wake up, be awake" 
>> To recover consciousness (after a swoon)" ...
>> To observe, heed, attend to" ... " to perceive, notice, learn, understand, become or be aware of or acquanted with"

After that meanings follow which are even more down to earth and on the level of manas (IMO). Of course enlightenment is also said to be a state of awakening, so that links buddhi to the state of a Buddha, which are both from the root budh. 

G. de Purucker, in his occult glossary defines buddhi close to manas again, as follows:
>> (Sanskrit) Buddhi comes from a Sanskrit root budh, commonly translated "to enlighten," but a better translation is "to perceive," "to cognize," "to recover consciousness," hence "to awaken," and therefore "to understand." The second counting downwards, or the sixth counting upwards, of the seven principles of man. Buddhi is the principle or organ in man which gives to him spiritual consciousness, and is the vehicle of the most high part of man -- the atman -- the faculty which manifests as understanding, judgment, discrimination, an inseparable
veil or garment of the atman. 

From another point of view, buddhi may truly be said to be both the seed and the fruit of manas. 

Man's ordinary consciousness in life in his present stage of evolution is almost wholly in the lower or intermediate duad (manas-kama) of his constitution; when he raises his consciousness through personal effort to become permanently one with the higher duad (atma-buddhi), he becomes a mahatma, a master. At the death of the human being, this higher duad carries away with it all the spiritual essence, all the spiritual and intellectual aroma, of the lower or intermediate duad. Maha-buddhi is one of the names given to the kosmic principle mahat. (See also Alaya) >>

All this leaves a definition to be desired - for the question remains: which HPB quote was closest to the truth? Since all this sort of contradicts itself it is still up to each of us to get to the essence of buddhi ourselves. It may be the fruit of manas, or it may be its seed, or it may be something which lights up manas, but with none of the manasic qualities. Personally, I would think the latter. Though the line differentiating between manas and buddhi may be as arbitrary as the line differentiating between the colours green and blue. 

Still it seems to me that in order for the definitions to make any sense, that which we call buddhi has to be beyond mind, the way manas is beyond emotion. This does not mean that a person who has an "active" buddhi (it is said to be a passive principle) does not also have ordinary emotions and thoughts (though both would be cleaned up compared to most people) - but that aside from thought and emotion there is also something else there - my guess is it is that calm we talked about earlier. Which is why I gave that quote about the calm of buddhi:

>> To Laura C. Halloway: the lake in the mountain heights of your being is one day a tossing waste of waters, as the gust of caprice or temper sweeps through your soul; the next a mirror as they subside and peace reigns in the 'house of life'. One day you win a step forward; the next you fall two back. Chelaship admits none of these transitions; its prime and constant qualification is a calm, even, contemplative state of mind (not the mediumistic passivity) fitted to receive psychic impressions from without, and to transmit one's own from within. The mind can be made to work with electric swiftness in a high excitement; but the Buddhi-never. To its clear region calm must ever reign. >>
Letters from the Masters of Wisdom, first series, C. Jinarajadasa, letter 30, p. 73

Well, this is my best shot, and nicely related to various literatures. I hope it clarifies some of my previous remarks.
Katinka Hesselink

From:  "Terence Price" <kheper_ra7@h...> 
Date:  Sun Nov 17, 2002  12:54 am
Subject:  As Promised #1

As indicated so long ago, please do forgive the extreme tardiness of this reply, we were discussing the definition of buddhi.  Since buddhi is considered to be an aspect of self-awareness with which the self is entwined, in the same way that manas is the self entwined in the matrix of mental reality.  As there is mental consciousness so there is also buddhic consciousness.  Buddhic consciousness is the consciousness that characterizes buddhi.  Please consider this only the first of propably two posts in response to your posts Katinka.  I'm concerned to define such a word as buddhi correctly.  Below are quotes that are taken primarily from Theosophical literature with respect to buddhi and the definition of buddhic consciousness.  Most of this information is taken from A.E. Powell's work, which is itself supposed to be a compendium of other Theosophical writers.

In view of the fact that the First Initiation involves experiencing the buddhic consciousness, it is desirable to amplify what was said in the preceding chapter regarding the nature of consciousness on the buddhic plane.  (Chapter XXXII, 'Buddhic Consciousness', The Causal Body and the Ego, p. 278)

It will now be seen that the buddhic consciousness of each individual and seperate "man," overlaps that of other seperate consciousnesses on either side of him.  This is a graphic illustration of the "overlapping" aspect of buddhic consciousness, where a sense of union with others is experienced.  As the consciousness rises still further up into the higher planes, it will be seen that it overlaps those on either side of it more and more, until eventually, when the "centre" is reached, there is practically a complete merging of consciousness.  Nevertheless, each seperate spoke still exists, and has its own individual direction and outlook. (Chapter XXXII, 'Buddhic Consciousness', The Causal Body and the Ego, p. 279)

The sense of union is characteristic of the buddhic plane.  On this plane, all limitiations begin to fall away, and the consciousness of man expands until he realises, no longer in theory only, that the consciousness of his fellows is included within his own, and he feels and knows and experiences, with an absolute perfection of sympathy, all that is in them, because it is in reality a part of himself. (Chapter XXXII, 'Buddhic Consciousness', The Causal Body and the Ego, p. 280)

On this plane a man knows, not by mere intellectual appreciation, but by definite experience, the fact that humanity is a brotherhood, because of the spiritual unity which underlies it all.  Though he is still himself, and his consciousness is his own, yet is has widened out into such perfect sympathy with the consciousness of others that he realises he is truly only part of a mighty whole.  (Chapter XXXII, 'Buddhic Consciousness', The Causal Body and the Ego, p. 280)

Hence the buddhic body is called by the Vedantins the Anandamayakosha, or bliss-sheath.  This ist he "house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens," of which St. Paul, the Christian Initiate, spoke.  He raised charity, pure love, above all other virtues, because by that alone can man on earth contribute to that glorious dwelling.  (Chapter XXXII, 'Buddhic Consciousness', The Causal Body and the Ego, p. 280)

There is no seperation on the buddhic plane.  On that plane, as said, consciousnesses do not necessarily merge instantly at the lowest level, but they gradually grow wider and wider until, when the highest level is reached, a man finds himself consciously one with humanity.  That is the lowest level at which the seperateness is absolutely non-existent; in its fullness the conscious unity with all belongs to the atmic or nirvanic plane.  (Chapter XXXII, 'Buddhic Consciousness', The Causal Body and the Ego, p. 281)

To each ego, who can reach this state of consciousness, it would seem that he had absorbed or included all others; he perceives that all are facets of a greater Consciousness; he has, in fact, arrived at the realisation of the ancient formula: "Thou art That."  (Chapter XXXII, 'Buddhic Consciousness', The Causal Body and the Ego, p. 281)

But, on the buddhic plane, it no longer leaps to greet him from without, for it is already enshrined in his heart.  He is that consciousness, and it is his.  There is no longer the "you" and the "I," for both are one - facets of something which transcends, and yet includes them both.
The above quote is also taken from Powell's book and concerns the nature of the consciousness that is called buddhic - this is the empirical basis of mystical logic, the transcendent logics wherein A that is A and not B, and B that is B and not A, are also equal to each other by the mediation and immanence of a given C, such that C is also A and B, and C is A that is A and not B, and C is B that is B and not A.  However, it should be noted that A is not C, and B is not C, although, C is A and C is B.
The full development of the buddhic vehicle, however, belongs to the stage of the Arhat, though those who are as yet far from that level can gain in various ways touches of the buddhic consciousness.  Buddhi in the human spirit is the pure and compassionate Reason, which is the Wisdom Aspect, the Christ in man.  In the normal course of evolution, the buddhic consciousness will be gradually unfolded in the six sub-race of the Fifth Root Race, and still more so in the Sixth Root Race itself.  (Chapter XXXII, 'Buddhic Consciousness', The Causal Body and the Ego, p. 287)
A question that I have here is whether or not that which is called buddhi or buddhic consciousness pertains to a sense of being one with all that human or all that is alive, or does it include all things in the universe, even the Great Spirit, or the Great Flame that pervades everything, or the countless sparks that fill the Great Flame (that some theosophists interpret as prana globules)
Next post I wish to deal with additional definitions of buddhi, those that equate it to mahat.  My own mind can ascertain and comprehend a difference between the expansion of one's self (to the point of possessing a great persona - which is the world itself - the very avenue to the grand mysterium of Christianity and all Avatarism, i.e., the incarnation and manifestation of the greater than human in and with humanity - I refer to Ludwig Feurbach with respect to the humanization of God and the deification of man, and also would refer to Hegel in his expectation of the advent of deified men in the future (future from his perspective)) and the contraction and annihilation of one's self and the contraction of the Greater Other so that one sees one's self as not a self at all, but a manifestation of a Greater Self.  The field seems to be the same, but there is a qualitative difference between the two.  One I call a mage, the other I suppose is what is typically meant by mystic.  Theosophy seems to be concerned with the mystical route, which is fine, but I've seen a lot of bad mouthing of the mage's way - which my great fear is this, for what I feel will happen in the future - for many mages are returning here, and how this world is oriented now they would be chided for their supposed overwhelming egoism - unfortunately, just as is the case with gays who have an inbuilt sexual orientation and deny themselves to their detriment and harm, and eventually must accept themselves and take on the task of being true to themselves in order to be happy and to grow in spirituality and sophistication, so the same will happen with the mages, and I can guarantee that this has the possibility of being very, very bad - because where is the guidance for the like, when most around you don't understand you or view you through the lenses of illusion and project their concepts of what you are about upon your person.  The situation is set up for the rise of very powerful negative forces in the mages, and this is not how it has to be, and if it does become this way, then the resulting negativity will be just as much a manifestation of the karma of the non-mages as the mages.  My hope, sincerest hope, is that I'm being paranoid and not seeing the danger of the future - and that misunderstanding can be avoided and the future offer hope and growth for everyone together!
Below is a quote dealing with Samadhi that seems close to Mahat, and relates it to Nirodha, which Powell relates to Buddhi.
What is the state of mind in Samadhi and Nirodha?  Is it a state of perfect quiescence of the mental body?  As regards the mental body it is a state of perfect stillness so far as the vehicle is concerned, but it is a state of great molecular motion in the mental body itself.  The molecules of the mental body are thrown in a very high state of vibration, though the body in all appearance is in perfect calm.  This vibration of the molecules of the mental body, becomes by practice, rhythmic and this rhythmic flow is the mental peace of Samadhi.  The swing of the vibration lies between one-pointedness and all-pointedness - between the contraction to a point and expansion to embrace a whole universe. ('Introduction', Patanjali's Yoga Sutra, p. ix - translated by Rama Prasada)

From:  "Terence Price" <kheper_ra7@h...> 
Date:  Mon Nov 18, 2002  3:59 pm
Subject:  As Promised #2

Regarding mahat:

My argument is that maha/t is typically used, and is best suited by reference to its meaning in the lexicon of Sanskrit, which has several well established brachiations into other Indo-European branches, for example in the Greek words megas and megala, the latter of which bears very close association to maha (the word typically defined as 'great'), and in the related language of Latin, which also has the words magnum, magna, and magnus.  Although speculation I'd argue that maha must be a very old word in the Indo-European lexicon and in the past, at the time prior to the seperation of the Indo-European peoples into those branches that developed into Indo-Iranians (typically called Aryans) and Greco-Romans, prior to the composition of the Rg Veda, and possibly even the Gathas, the 'h' sound of maha may have be a gutteral 'h' similar to the Hebrew cheth, accounting for consequent changes of the 'h' in maha to a 'g', and possibly in preservation of that initial gutteral 'h' sound, but also possessing a little ellipsis to the 'g', with the resultant 'gh' that characterizes the names used by the magi of old in Medo-Persia, i.e., mogh, as in the 'ashmoghs', and the 'rab mogh' which is a word used in the Hebrew scriptures to describe Daniel who was taken captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, and is defined as 'chief of the magi', the 'rab', being somewhat equivalent to the word 'rabbi' with which anyone familar with Judaism today would probably be aware.

This is the clearest definition of what is meant by mahat in theosophical literature.  Because it basically clarifies and qualifies what is meant by mahat.  Mahat is defined as mahabuddhi.

(4.) Cosmic Ideation, MAHAT or Intelligence, the Universal World-Soul; the Cosmic Noumenon of Matter, the basis of the intelligent operations in and of Nature, also called Maha-Buddhi. (Proem., Cosmogenesis I, The Secret Doctrine, p. 17)

I understand that there is not an aspect of human consciousness, nor the consciousness of any entity in this world that is not supported by and involved with a plane of consciousness, i.e., with a cosmic continuum of consciousness, which allows for the element of the individuality (which even has its own plane) to operate through the matter of those various planes. I am able to see all the objects around me, in so far as they are objects because I accept them as objects, because there is a plane of consciousness in what is deemed the world which itself possesses a subject object duality, the world divided in itself, observing itself within the dichotomy of subject and object.  I experience emotions in this vehicle (as opposed to the dream vehicle - which may be capable of transcending the continuum of worlds, but I'll not go into that) because there exist a plane of emotions in the world, possessed of all the emotional materium I or anyone else may require to manifest and express emotions.  Consequently, as there is a sthula sharira, which corresponds to the annamayakosha, so there is a mahasthula, which is the wide and expansive world of physical matter.  Likewise, there is mahaprana and mahakama, there is even mahamanas, and if there is a mahabuddhi, is this mahabuddhi expressed in aham-consciousness, or in maha-aham consciousness? - the mega-ego.  

The Mahat (Understanding, Universal Mind, Thought, etc.,) before it manifest itself as Brahma or Siva, appears as Vishnu, says Sankhya Sara (p. 16); hence Mahat has several aspects, just as the logos has.  Mahat is called the Lord, in the primary Creation, and is, in this sense Universal Cognition or Thought Divine; but, "That Mahat which was first produced is (afterwards) called Ego-ism, when it is born as "I," that is said to be the second Creation (Anugita, ch. xxvi.). . . "i.e., when Mahat develops into the feeling of Self-Consciousness - I _ then it assumes the name of Egoism," which translated into our esoteric phraseology, means when Mahat is transformed into the human Manas (or even that of the finite gods), and becomes Aham-ship.(Noumenal and Phenomenal Light, Cosmogenesis, The Secret Doctrine, vol. I, p. 75)

As indicated just prior, there is pattern, a tattva, that relates the microcosm and macrocosm by means of consciousness principles and cosmic planes, how can there be even one single aham consciousness without there being a maha-aham consciousness that is a devolute of maha-buddhi (or mahat).  This is therefore the entirety of my argument - I don't like using mahat to describe just mahabuddhi, because buddhi is not the only thing that is cosmic.  As such, the only thing I can see as being consistent with properly using mahat (as a word within its own right) is to use a definition for mahat that includes absolutely everything that can fall within the category of being 'great' i.e., cosmic, which can include all those things I just named above, sthula, prana, kama, manas, buddhi, and even atma (as the name mahatma makes reference and which is the state of Krsna's existence, as observed by the blessed Arjuna) 

If thousands of suns were in the sky at once, it might resemble the shining glory of the Supreme Being [mahatman].  Then Arjuna saw the entire universe, infinitely divided, but as one deity in a universal form.  Overwhelmed and awe-struck, hair standing on end, Arjuna bowed his head to the shining One, and folded his hands to pray.  Arjuna said: "Lord Krishna, I see that you are hierarchy of gods.  I see Brahma on his lotus-throne, the celestial serpent, and all of the teachers." "I see countless beings in your universal form.  They appear unlimited.  There is no beginning, middle, or end that I can see." "You have brilliant disks, glowing spears and shinning crows all around.  It's hard to see through the blazing fire of infinite sunlight."  Bhagavad-Gita 11:12-17 (The Universal Form)

Although Arjuna was not the same as Krsna, and his experience of Krsna's majesty did not result in a translation of Arjuna to that same state, nevertheless Arjuna possessed something that few in this world have ever had, wherefore I call him blessed.  He was capable of seeing and recognizing that majesty of Krsna - what does that say about Arjuna?  Some will argue that Krsna revealed himself and this indeed may be the case, but you can take a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink.  You can immerse people in anything, unless they have the power of recognition they will not know at all what they are looking at - how was he able to relate this vision of the infinite to that tiny little man (by comparison to the universal/great form) standing in front of him on the battle field named Krsna.  Why was he not just seeing God, why did he relate that vision to Krsna?  Interesting question to ponder in terms of how he may have recognized.

The Siva Sutras speak of the attainment of a level of consciousness in which one is not only united, but actually in identification with the world (who among mankind today is able to see directly such an individual or individuals as may be in such a state, as Arjuna could see according to the Gita) - I'd even argue, from my experience with some people in earlier YT groups, that some are actually mahats, i.e., using the definition of great, but not necessarily possessed of mahabuddhi, but they themselves possess only limited self-awareness, but not awareness of other mahatmans, resulting in profound "Me-Only am Great" awareness - or for those that equate the mahatic state with godhood "I am God and nobody else is God".  It seems to me that the continuum of mahat is not recognized - it exist on even very primitive levels, and parallels the non-mahat or hinat (I suppose that is a word, not sure), in dealing with the opposite pole of the cosmic, the anu, or atom.  I'm speaking of the dichotomy between cosmos and atom - again the one-pointedness and all-pointedness mentioned in my previous post.  

Simon Magus, the father of Gnosticism, was called a magus, to the extent that he is now known by the name, in the same way that a title became part of the name of the Jesus, i.e., Jesus Christ.  The book of Acts records that Simon Magus was called 'The Great', or 'that power of God that is called 'Great'.  Was Simon indeed the same as Krsna in his self-awareness, and did someone recognize Simon in the same way that Krsna was recognized by Arjuna, wherefore, maybe the eyes of the apostles did not see as Arjuna's eyes saw, so that they could not see Simon's majesty - in no wise following the wise proverb of Jesus, to not judge least you be judge, and to remove first the beam in your own eye so that you can see clearly to remove the mote in your brothers.  Simon was not the only man in history to claim this level of magnitude, yet I'm certain many would feel slighted and consider the fact that I compare Krsna to Simon as sheer blasphemy, such is the religious mindset.

All mahats in this world start off hinats, not because they are hinats that expand to mahat-level, but because they are always mahats, mahats yoked with hinat vehicles, uniting in themselves the whole of the duality - to transcend it (yes to transcend even being a mahat, or what some might say to overcome even being a God).  In each type of consciousness the move to mahat is primarily horizontal and secondarily vertical.  The super status of mahat arises not from the fact that it is utterly above and disconnected from hinat, but that hinat exist within the context of mahat.  Consequently, as the old theologians have explained with their cosmological and etiological arguments, hinat is contingent in its exist upon mahat, but other than that contingency, they are qualitatively similar in substance.

By the action of the manifested Wisdom, or Mahat, represented by these innumerable centres of spiritual Energy in the Kosmos, the reflection of the Universal Mind, which is Cosmic Ideation and the intellectual Force accompanying such ideation, becomes objectively the Fohat of the Buddhist esoteric philosopher.  Fohat, running along the seven principles of Akasa, acts upon manifested substance or the One Element, as declared above, and by differentiating it into various centres of Energy, sets in motion the law of Cosmic Evolution, which, in obedience to the Ideation of the Universal Mind, brings into existence all the various states of being in the manifested Solar System. (The Protean Spirit-Substance, Cosmogenesis, The Secret Doctrine, vol I, p. 110)

The primary Element, Consciousness, combined with tamasa (spiritual darkness) is itself disintegrated by MAHAT (The Universal Intellect), whose characteristic property is Buddhi, and earth and Mahat are the inner and outer boundaries of the Universe."  Thus as (in the beginning) "were the seven forms of Prakriti (nature) reckoned from Mahat to earth, so these seven successively re-enter into each other." . . . the Bhutadi (the origin, or rather the cause, of the primary element) devours the ether and is (itself) destroyed by Mahat (the Great, the Universal mind), which along with all these is seized upon by Prakriti and disappears. (The Dissolution of the Egg, Cosmogenesis, The Secret Doctrine, vol. I, p. 373

A note at the bottom of this page reads as follows:

As it is the Maha, the Great, or so-called final Pralaya which is here described, every thing is re-absorbed into its original ONE Element - the "Gods themselves, Brahma and the rest" being said to die and disappear during the long Night. (The Dissolution of the Egg, Cosmogenesis, The Secret Doctrine, vol. I, p. 373)

This addresses mahat, our focus is, however, buddhi.  I believe the quotes above have delineated, or at least I have tried to delineate the difference between mahat and buddhi, by stating that mahabuddhi is a part of mahat, but is not the sum total of it.  Consequently, my next post, sorry this is taking so long, will deal with the definitions of buddhi.  From what can be ascertained in the quotes above from the Secret Doctrine, buddhi is equated with the intellect.  What is notable in this definition, and how we should identify or relate the word to our own personal experience and findings of what lies within our selves and own, highly intimate and personal experience, is that intellect seems to be treated as a form of the personality.  In the same way that manas is the thinker and not the mind (as the field in which thought occurs).  However, I remember reading years ago how some Indian philosophers treat the mind as an element, which I believe would be better to call an elemental (a living form of an element, as an elemental with which self-identity and awareness can become enmeshed and "trapped" - I am the reflection in the mirror, without being aware of being that which is causing the reflection.  So too, buddhi seems to be defined as intellect.  Does this refer to Platonism's continuum of intelligibility, which is not the field in which the ideas exist, but is the ideator - and given Powell's quotes from the prior post, is an ideator that is in a type of union with the ideated.  More on that later.