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A Sanskrit word with a number of different meanings, one of which is “element” (especially a basic element, such as earth, water, fire, etc). It is a noun formed from the root bhū (“become,” “come into being,” “arise,” etc.) therefore suggests a dynamic process rather than a static thing. In the Purāṇas, the second of seven creations mentioned is termed bhūta or bhūtasarga and involved the manifestation of the rudimentary elements or tanmātras, the first differentiation of the universal, undifferentiated Substance. The term bhūta is also used to refer both to a living being and a ghost. In early theosophical literature, it was used to refer to the first Root Race which did not yet have a physical body; such beings were also referred to as shadows (chāyas) and were considered a failure in creation because they did not have intelligence.



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