Words for God


In HINDU mysticism, Brahman is the transcendent and immanent Spirit of the cosmos; neutral, static, life energy; God as Absolute, Unmanifest Being; cosmic unity. It is close to what the neo-platonists called Universal Mind.
The aim of the mystic is to achieve union between ATMAN, the individual Self, and the divine Brahman, to realize as it states in the Upanishads that ‘the “I” within me is one with Brahman’.
“This UNIVERSE before it was created existed as a spirit, as Brahman. When spirit created the universe his innermost spirit entered into all that had been created. It is given to man, rare among created beings, to know this. If a man dies without realizing the unity of the Self with Brahman he has not reached the true goal of life. He must return again.” (Upanishads)


In KABBALISM, God as Absolute Being, the Infinite, is known as En-Sof (Hebrew, ‘No thing’). This aspect of the Divinity is similar to Brahman in Hindu mysticism, although En-Sof is essentially transcendent, standing behind the phenomenal world, whilst Brahman is bothe transcendendent and immanent.


In Greek logos can mean ‘word’, ‘speech’ or ‘thought’ in one sense, and as a mathematical term ‘ratio’ or ‘balance’.  For the philosopher Heraclitus, the Logos represented a universal principle of stability in a changing world. The Stpoic philosophers adapted this as the Divine Reason behind the universe. The Hellenic concept was incorporated into early Christian ideas as the power and wisdom of the Word of God. John’s gospel opens with the words ‘In the beginning was the Logos,’ and the Christian Logos became identified with Christ.
In esoteric traditions the Logos is God the Creator. Some teachings speak of a hierarchy of Logoi – a universal Logos, a solar Logos, and a planetary Logos. In mystical terms the divine Logos is usually regarded as a masculine creative energy, the feminine counterpart being wisdom, Sophia. The Gnostics looked forwards to the eventual union of Logos and Sophia, which would mark the end of the Acon, the apocatastatis, when all things would be restored to their primal state of unity.


Emerson used the term Oversoul to refer to the Soul of the World, Anima Mundi. Theosophy teaches that there is a fundamental identity of all souls with the Universal Oversoul. In the Universeal Mind of God, all souls eventually fuse as this one Soul, the Oversoul. In the bhagavad Gita oversoul or adhyatma is the principle of SELF, by which we are made conscious of Self, but the theosophical concept of the Oversoul as the world of all souls is closed to Brahman.


In GNOSTICISM, the Supreme Divinity is known as the Pleroma (Greek: ‘fullness’). This is ‘the fullness of the Godhead’, not the Demiurge who created the material world. The Pleroma consists of thirty spiritual beings known as aeons arranged in pairs, the first four being Abyss and Silence, Mind and Truth, Word and Life, and Man and Church.
According to the Gnostic system of Valentinus (second century AD) the last and weakest of these thirty aeons was Sophia (Wisdom), who has an incestuous desire to know the Father of all and creates formless matter. IN an attempt to resist the approaches of Sophia, Abyss and Mind produce the first redeemer, Horus. In retaliation Sophia then produces Iadabaoth, Child of Chaos, the demiurge and creator-god of the Old Testament, Yehwah. He tries to imitate the perfection of the eternal Pleroma in the world of time and matter. But all of this creation is in need of redemption, so Mind produces two more aeons, the divine Saviour Jesus and the Holy Spirit. It is the task of the Saviour to redeem the souls of the Gnostics, marry Sophia and bring her back to the Pleroma, where the (feminine) souls of the Gnostics will also be united with (male) angels.
— A Dictionary of Mind and Spirit, DONALD WATSON

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