Mahatma (devanāgarī: महात्मन् mahātma) is a Sanskrit term meaning "Great Soul". This epithet is commonly applied to saints, spiritual teachers, and even prominent people.
In Theosophical literature the term is used in a specific way, to refer to exalted beings who have attained great power and knowledge:
Mahâtma. Lit., “great soul”. An adept of the highest order. Exalted beings who, having attained to the mastery over their lower principles are thus living unimpeded by the “man of flesh”, and are in possession of knowledge and power commensurate with the stage they have reached in their spiritual evolution. Called in Pali Rahats and Arhats.
- Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 201.