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Dhyan Chohan or Dhyāni-Chohan is a generic term for all Devas, Angels or celestial beings,[1] of which are several hierarchies and degrees. The Sanskrit word dhyani means "contemplative, one who meditates" while the origin of the word chohan is unknown. According to H. P. Blavatsky it is a Tibetan word meaning "'Lord' or 'Master'; a chief". "Thus," she continues, "Dhyan-Chohan would answer to 'Chief of the Dhyanis', or celestial Lights--which in English would be translated Archangels".[2] The Dhyan Chohans are the agents of the Karmic and Cosmic Laws.[3] Some of the Dhyāni-Chohan in The Secret Doctrine are the Primordial Seven, Lipikas, Mānasaputras, Kumāras, Manus, etc.

General Definition

The Dhyāni-Chohan are the host of celestial beings that impress upon matter the ideas found in the cosmic ideation. In this sense, the universal mind is seen as the "architect" providing the plan for the building and functioning of the universe, while the celestial beings are the "masons":

[The Secret Doctrine] admits a Logos or a collective "Creator" of the Universe; a Demi-urgos-in the sense implied when one speaks of an "Architect" as the "Creator" of an edifice, whereas that Architect has never touched one stone of it, but, while furnishing the plan, left all the manual labour to the masons; in our case the plan was furnished by the Ideation of the Universe, and the constructive labour was left to the Hosts of intelligent Powers and Forces. But that Demiurgos is no personal deity,-i.e., an imperfect extra-cosmic god,-but only the aggregate of the Dhyan-Chohans and the other forces.[4]

The whole Kosmos is guided, controlled, and animated by almost endless series of Hierarchies of sentient Beings, each having a mission to perform, and who—whether we give to them one name or another, and call them Dhyan-Chohans or Angels—are “messengers” in the sense only that they are the agents of Karmic and Cosmic Laws.[5]

They are the Intelligent Forces that give to and enact in Nature her “laws,” while themselves acting according to laws imposed upon them in a similar manner by still higher Powers; but they are not “the personifications” of the powers of Nature, as erroneously thought. This hierarchy of spiritual Beings, through which the Universal Mind comes into action, is like an army - a "Host," truly - by means of which the fighting power of a nation manifests itself, and which is composed of army corps, divisions, brigades, regiments, and so forth, each with its separate individuality or life, and its limited freedom of action and limited responsibilities; each contained in a larger individuality, to which its own interests are subservient, and each containing lesser individualities in itself.[6]

Their nature

In the "Summing Up" of the first volume of the The Secret Doctrine, Mme. Blavatsky describes their nature:

They vary infinitely in their respective degrees of consciousness and intelligence; and to call them all pure Spirits without any of the earthly alloy “which time is wont to prey upon” is only to indulge in poetical fancy. For each of these Beings either was, or prepares to become, a man, if not in the present, then in a past or a coming cycle (Manvantara). They are perfected, when not incipient, men; and differ morally from the terrestrial human beings on their higher (less material) spheres, only in that they are devoid of the feeling of personality and of the human emotional nature—two purely earthly characteristics. The former, or the “perfected,” have become free from those feelings, because (a) they have no longer fleshly bodies—an ever-numbing weight on the Soul; and (b) the pure spiritual element being left untrammelled and more free, they are less influenced by maya than man can ever be, unless he is an adept who keeps his two personalities—the spiritual and the physical—entirely separated. The incipient monads, having never had terrestrial bodies yet, can have no sense of personality or EGO-ism. That which is meant by “personality,” being a limitation and a relation, or, as defined by Coleridge, “individuality existing in itself but with a nature as a ground,” the term cannot of course be applied to non-human entities; but, as a fact insisted upon by generations of Seers, none of these Beings, high or low, have either individuality or personality as separate Entities, i.e., they have no individuality in the sense in which a man says, “I am myself and no one else; “in other words, they are conscious of no such distinct separateness as men and things have on earth. Individuality is the characteristic of their respective hierarchies, not of their units; and these characteristics vary only with the degree of the plane to which those hierarchies belong: the nearer to the region of Homogeneity and the One Divine, the purer and the less accentuated that individuality in the Hierarchy. They are finite, in all respects, with the exception of their higher principles—the immortal sparks reflecting the universal divine flame—individualized and separated only on the spheres of Illusion by a differentiation as illusive as the rest.[7]

No perfect gods

The collective Mind—the Universal—composed of various and numberless Hosts of Creative Powers, however infinite in manifested Time, is still finite when contrasted with the unborn and undecaying Space in its supreme essential aspect. That which is finite cannot be perfect. Therefore there are inferior Beings among those Hosts, but there never were any devils or “disobedient Angels,” for the simple reason that they are all governed by Law.[8]

As that process is not always perfect; and since, however many proofs it may exhibit of a guiding intelligence behind the veil, it still shows gaps and flaws, and even results very often in evident failures—therefore, neither the collective Host (Demiurgos), nor any of the working powers individually, are proper subjects for divine honours or worship. All are entitled to the grateful reverence of Humanity, however.[9]

Men as future Dhyan Chohans

Ordinarily, a man is said to reach Nirvana when he evolutes into a Dhyan Chohan. The condition of a Dhyan Chohan is attained in the ordinary course of Nature, after the completion of the 7th round in the present planetary chain. After becoming a Dhyan Chohan, a man does not, according to the Law of Nature, incarnate in any of the other planetary chains of this Solar system. The whole Solar system is his home. He continues to discharge his duties in the Government of this Solar system until the time of Solar Pralaya, when his monad, after a period of rest, will have to overshadow in another Solar system a particular human being during his successive incarnations, and attach itself to his higher principles when he becomes a Dhyan Chohan in his turn. There is progressive spiritual development in the innumerable Solar systems of the infinite cosmos. Until the time of Cosmic Pralaya, the Monad will continue to act in the manner above indicated, and it is only during the inconceivable period of cosmic sleep which follows the present period of activity, that the highest condition of Nirvana is realized.[10]

Dhyan Chohans associated to human evolution

Madame Blavatsky wrote:

The passage of humanity into a planet and its going therefrom to another—are two critical junctures, necessitating the appearance of a Dhyan Chohan. At its first appearance, the seed of "spiritual wisdom" has to be implanted and then carried on to the next planet, when the period of obscuration of the inhabited planet approaches. The intervening disturbances, caused by racial cataclysms, on the globe, do not destroy that seed and its growth is ensured by the appearance of the intermediate Buddhas.[11]

In a letter to Dr. Buck, she wrote that James Ralston Skinner had been aided by a Dhyan Chohan:

He is the grandest man & mind (in the direction of the occult) I know of at present; a natural born genius & helped beyond any doubt. I don't say "helped" mind you, in discovering in his independent research what he has, but helped from the lethal effects & influences of his discoveries. He would have become, uninitiated as he is, insane long ago, or dead or strangled at night under the pretext of an apoplexy – had it not been for the helping & watching hand above him; not of one of our masters but of a Dhyan Chohan, a Planetary - the rarest thing possible, & whom I verily fear he mistakes for God instead of a god-partie & conditioned on his plane. This I know from masters who spoke of him when I was yet at Adyar, referring to him as the "Ohio-Kabbalist & mathematician" – & that I had never heard his name even. Funny I should have never heard of him or his book when in America. His intuitional powers are as marvelous as his mathematical knowledge, indeed.[12]

See also

Additional resources




  1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1964), 340.
  2. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1918), 83.
  3. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I (London: The Theosohpical Publishing House, 1978), 274.
  4. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I (London: The Theosohpical Publishing House, 1978), 279-280.
  5. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I (London: The Theosohpical Publishing House, 1978), 274
  6. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I (London: The Theosohpical Publishing House, 1978), 38
  7. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I (London: The Theosohpical Publishing House, 1978), 274-5
  8. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. II (London: The Theosohpical Publishing House, 1978), 487.
  9. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I (London: The Theosohpical Publishing House, 1978), 280
  10. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. VI (Los Angeles, CA: Blavatsky Writings Publication Fund, 1954), 248-249.
  11. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. VI (Los Angeles, CA: Blavatsky Writings Publication Fund, 1954), 267-268.
  12. Blavatsky Letter to J. Ralston Skinner at Blavatsky News 2.0