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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.[1]

Theosophical teacher Vonda Urban said the Mahatmas are human beings "who have reached the full maturity of their humanhood."[2]

The Mahatmas are usually referred to as Adepts and Masters of the Wisdom in Theosophical literature.

See also

Online resources


  1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 201.
  2. Vonda Urban responding to an audience question following Helena P. Blavatsky, Messianic Messenger. 1991 at Theosophical Society in America.