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Sanskrit for secret, hidden, or esoteric (gupta) wisdom or knowledge (vidya); from the root gup (guard, protect; hide, conceal) and the root vid(know, understand, perceive). The word vidya is sometimes translated “science,” but perhaps could more appropriately be translated “wisdom,” since it is cognate with the German “wissen” from which the English word “wisdom” is derived. The Upanisads are called guptavidya (or guhyavidya, which means essentially the same thing), suggesting a private, secret, or esoteric doctrine. In this sense, Helena P. BLAVATSKY’s The Secret Doctrine may appropriately be called Guptavidya. In fact, the term is used in that sense in a diagram of that book (SD I:200), where the “Eastern Gupta-Vidyā” is compared with the teaching of the “Chaldaean Kabbalah.” HPB also translates the word as “secret knowledge” (SDII:498).

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