The term “aryan” is used quite often in Buddhism to describe a type of being who has, in some measure, realized the spiritual world having, so to speak, stepped beyond the pale of the mundane. In the Vedas, where the term is first used, an aryan is “one who is radiating light” (jyotir-agrah). In this respect, the Buddhist aryan is one who has been initiated into the fundamental teachings of Buddhism which has to do with experiencing the pure Mind, which is also described as being radiant.
Aryanism, if one might put it so, is the belief that man has an eternal spiritual nature that animates the corporeal body. Man, in other words, is not mere flesh. Those who sense this spiritual nature, in some degree; who are drawn to it so they might partake of it, are the true aryans. Aryanism is, therefore, not a racial term. There is no such thing as an aryan race. Knowing one’s spiritual nature transcends race and DNA. To live as an aryan is to care about one’s higher self so that one is always engaged with it rather than with the lower self which is the limited corporeal being (satkaya).
In contrast with the aryan are the materialists. Materialists can only perceive the absence of light, that is, the dark. Dark, in this sense, is the non-animating thing-world which is in a state of want being forever incomplete. The spiritual sense of light and darkness is expressed best in the Christian Gospel of John where the pericope reads: “And the light (phos) in the darkness shines and the darkness apprehended it not.” It should be mentioned, too, that the Buddhist devil, i.e., Mara the Evil One, is also described as being dark (kanha); who is the lord of the material world in which the cycle of birth and death continues without cessation. Of Mara, it can be said that he performs non-aryan deeds that bind sentient beings in ‘thick darkness’.