and Proverbs of Solomon," personifies Wisdom by calling it
"the helper of the (Logos) creator," in the following
terms, (literally translated):
I (a) HV
(e) H* possessed me from the beginning.
But the first emanation in the eternities,
I appeared from all antiquity, the primordial.-
From the first day of the earth;
I was born before the great abyss.
And when there were neither springs nor waters,
When he traced the circle on the face of the deep,
I was with him Amun.
I was his delight, day by day.
This is exoteric, like all that has reference to the personal
gods of the nations. The INFINITE cannot be
known to our reason, which can only distinguish and define;--but
we can always conceive the abstract idea thereof, thanks to that
faculty higher than our reason,--intuition, or the spiritual
instinct of which I have spoken. Only the great initiates, who
have the rare power of throwing themselves into the state of Samadhi,--which
can be but imperfectly translated by the word ecstacy, a
state in which one ceases to be the conditioned and personal "I,"
and becomes one with the ALL,--only those
can boast of having been in contact with the infinite: but
no more than other mortals can they describe that state in words.
These few characteristics of true Theosophy and of its
practice, have been sketched for the small number of our readers
who are gifted with the desired intuition.
Do our benevolent critics always know what they are laughing at?
Have they the smallest idea of the work which is being performed
in the world and the mental changes that are being brought about
by that Theosophy at which they smile? The progress already due
to our literature is evident, and, thanks to the untiring labours
of a certain number of Theosophists, it is becoming recognized
even by the blindest. There are not a few who are persuaded that
Theosophy will be the philosophy and the law, if not the religion
of the future. The party of reaction, captivated by the dolce
far niente of conservatism, feel all this, hence come the
hatred and persecution which call in criticism to their aid. But
criticism, inaugurated by Aristotle, has fallen far away from
its primitive standard. The ancient philosophers, those sublime
ignoramuses as regards modern civilization, when they criticised
a system or a work, did so with impartiality, and with the sole
object of amending and improving that with which they found fault.
First they studied the subject, and then they analyzed it. It
was a service rendered, and was recognized and accepted as such
by both parties. Does modern criticism always conform to that
golden rule? It is very evident that it does not.
Our judges of today are far below the level even of the philosophical
criticism of Kant. Criticism, which takes unpopularity and prejudice
for its canons, has replaced that of "pure reason";
and the critic ends by tearing to pieces with his teeth everything
he does not comprehend, and especially whatever he does not care
in the least to understand. In the last century--the golden age
of the goose-quill--criticism was biting enough sometimes; but
still it did justice. Caesar's wife might be suspected, but she
was never condemned without being heard in her defence. In our
century Montyon prizes10 and public statues are for
him who invents the most murderous engine of war; today, when
the steel pen has replaced its more humble predecessor, the fangs
of the Bengal tiger or the teeth of the terrible saurian of the
Nile would make wounds less cruel and less deep than does the
steel nib (bec) of the modern critic, who is almost always
absolutely ignorant of that which he tears so thoroughly to pieces.
It is some consolation, perhaps, to know that the majority of
our literary critics, trans-atlantic and continental, are ex-scribblers
who have made a fiasco in literature, and are revenging themselves
now for their mediocrity upon everything they come across. The
small blue wine, insipid and doctored, almost always turns into
very strong vinegar. Unfortunately the reporters of the press
in general--hungry poor devils whom we would be sorry to grudge
the little they make, even at our expense--are not our only or
our most dangerous critics. The bigots and the materialists--the
sheep and goats of religions--having placed us in turn in their
index expurgatorius, our books are banished from their
libraries, our journals are boycotted, and ourselves subjected
to the most complete ostracism. One pious soul, who accepts literally
the miracles of the Bible, following with emotion the ichthyographical
investigations of Jonas in the whale's belly, or the trans-ethereal
journey of Elias, when like a salamander he flew off in his chariot
of fire, nevertheless regards the Theosophists as wonder-mongers
and cheats. Another--áme damnée of Hæckel,--while
he displays a credulity as blind as that of the bigot in his belief
in the evolution of man and the gorilla from a common ancestor
(considering the total absence of every trace in nature of any
connecting link whatever), nearly dies with laughing when he finds
that his neighbour believes in occult phenomena and psychic manifestations.
Nevertheless, neither the bigot nor the man of science, nor even
the academician, counted among the number of the "Immortals,"
can explain to us the smallest of the problems of existence. The
metaphysicians who for centuries have studied the phenomena of
being in their first principles, and who smile pityingly when
they listen to the wanderings of Theosophy, would be greatly embarrassed
to explain to us the philosophy or even the cause of dreams. Which
of them can tell us why all the mental operations,--except reasoning,
which faculty alone finds itself suspended and paralysed,--go
on while we dream with as much activity and energy as when we
are awake? The disciple of Herbert Spencer would send anyone to
the biologist who squarely asked him that question. But he, for
whom digestion is the alpha and omega of every dream,--like
hysteria, that great Proteus with a thousand forms, which is present
in every psychic phenomenon--can by no means satisfy us. Indigestion
and hysteria are, in fact, twin sisters, two goddesses, to whom
the modern psychologist has raised an altar at which he has constituted
himself the officiating priest. But this is his business so long
as he does not meddle with the gods of his neighbours.
From all this it follows that, since the Christian characterises
Theosophy as the "accursed science" and the forbidden
fruit; since the man of science sees nothing in metaphysics but
"the domain of the crazy poet" (Tyndall); since the
"reporter" touches it only with poisoned forceps; and
since the missionaries associate it with idolatry and "the
benighted Hindu,"--it follows, we say, that poor Theo-Sophia
is as shamefully treated as she was when the ancients called
her the TRUTH,--while they relegated her to
the bottom of a well Even the "Christian" Kabbalists,
who love so much to mirror themselves in the dark waters of this
deep well, although they see nothing there but the reflection
of their own faces, which they mistake for that of the Truth,--even
the Kabbalists make war upon us. Nevertheless, all that is no
reason why Theosophy should have nothing to say in its own defence,
and in its favour; or that it should cease to assert its right
to be listened to, or why its loyal and faithful servants should
neglect their duty by acknowledging themselves beaten.
"The accursed science," you say, good Ultramontanes?
You should remember, nevertheless, that the tree of science is
grafted on the tree of life. That the fruit which you declare
"forbidden," and which you have proclaimed for sixteen
centuries to be the cause of the original sin that brought death
into the world,--that this fruit, whose flower blossoms on an
immortal stem, was nourished by that same trunk, and that therefore
it is the only fruit which can insure us immortality. You also,
good Kabbalists, ignore,--or wish to ignore,--that the allegory
of the earthly paradise is as old as the world, and that the tree,
the fruit and the sin had once a far profounder and more philosophic
signification than they have today,--when the secrets of initiation
Protestantism and Ultramontanism are opposed to Theosophy, just
as they are opposed to everything not emanating from themselves;
as Calvinism opposed the replacing of its two fetishes, the Jewish
Bible and Sabbath, by the Gospel and the Christian Sunday; as
Rome opposed secular education and Free-masonry. Dead-letter and
theocracy have, however, had their day. The world must move and
advance under penalty of stagnation and death. Mental evolution
progresses pari passu with physical evolution, and both
advance towards the ONE TRUTH,--which
is the heart of the system of Humanity, as evolution is the blood.
Let the circulation stop for one moment and the heart stops at
the same time, and it is all up with the human machine! And it
is the servants of Christ who wish to kill, or at least paralyze,
the Truth by the blows of a club which is called "the letter
that kills!" But the end is nigh. That which Coleridge said
of political despotism applies also to religious. The Church,
unless she withdraws her heavy hand, which weighs like a nightmare
on the oppressed bosoms of millions of believers whether they
resent it or not, and whose reason remains paralyzed in the clutch
of superstition, the ritualistic Church is sentenced to give
up its place to Religion and--to die. Soon it will have but
a choice. For once the people become enlightened about the truth
which it hides with so much care, one of two things will happen,
the Church will either perish by the people; or else, if
the masses are left in ignorance and in slavery to the dead letter,
it will perish with the people. Will the servants of eternal
Truth,--out of which Truth they have made a squirrel that runs
round an ecclesiastical wheel,--will they show themselves sufficiently
altruistic to choose the first of these alternative necessities?
I say it again; it is only theosophy, well understood, that can
save the world from despair, by reproducing social and religious
reform--a task once before accomplished in history, by Gautama,
the Buddha: a peaceful reform, without one drop of blood spilt,
each one remaining in the faith of his fathers if he so chooses.
To do this he will only have to reject the parasitic plants of
human fabrication, which at the present moment are choking all
religions and churches in the world. Let him accept but the essence,
which is the same in all: that is to say, the spirit which gives
life to man in whom it resides, and renders him immortal. Let
every man inclined to go on find his ideal,--a star before him
to guide him. Let him follow it, without ever deviating from his
path; and he is almost certain to reach the Beacon-light of life--the
TRUTH: no matter whether he seeks for and
finds it at the bottom of a cradle or of a well.
Laugh, then, at the science of sciences without knowing the first
word of it! We wi11 be told, perhaps, that such is the literary
right of our critics. With all my heart. If people always talked
about what they understood, they would only say things that are
true, and--that would not always be so amusing. When I read the
criticisms now written on Theosophy, the platitudes and the stupid
ridicule employed against the most grandiose and sublime philosophy
in the world,--one of whose aspects only is found in the noble
ethics of Philalethes,--I ask myself whether the Academies of
any country have ever understood the Theosophy of the Philosophers
of Alexandria better than they understood us now? What does any
one know, what can he know, of Universal Theosophy, unless he
has studied under the masters of wisdom? and understanding so
little of Iamblicus, Plotinus and even Proclus, that is to say,
of the Theosophy of the third and fourth centuries, people yet
pride themselves upon delivering judgment on the Neo-Theosophy
of the nineteenth!
Theosophy, we say, comes to us from the extreme Last, as did the
Theosophy of Plotinus and Iamblicus and even the mysteries of
ancient Egypt. Do not Homer and Herodotus tell us, in fact, that
the ancient Egyptians were "Ethiopians of the East,"
who came from Lanka or Ceylon, according to their descriptions?
For it is generally acknowledged that the people whom those two
authors call Ethiopians of the East were no other than
a colony of very dark skinned Aryans, the Dravidians of Southern
India, who took an already existing civilization with them to
Egypt. This migration occurred during the prehistoric ages which
Baron Bunson calls pre-Menite (before Menes) but which
ages have a history of their own, to be found in the ancient annals
of Kalouka Batta. Besides, and apart from the esoteric teachings,
which are not divulged to a mocking public, the historical researches
of Colonel Vans Kennedy, the great rival in India of Dr. Wilson
as a Sanskritist, show us that pre-Assyrian Babylonia was the
home of Brahmanism, and of the Sanskrit as a sacerdotal language.
We know also, if Exodus is to be believed, that Egypt had, long
before the time of Moses, its diviner, its hierophants and its
magicians, that is to say, before the XIX dynasty. Finally Brugsh
Bey sees in many of the gods of Egypt, immigrants from beyond
the Red Sea--and the great waters of the Indian Ocean.
Whether that be so or not, Theosophy is a descendant in direct
line of the great tree of universal GNOSIS,
a tree the luxuriant branches of which, spreading over the whole
earth like a great canopy, gave shelter at one epoch--which biblical
chronology is pleased to call "antediluvian"--to all
the temples and to all the nations of the earth. That gnosis represents
the aggregate of all the sciences, the accumulated wisdom (savoir)
of all the gods and demi-gods incarnated in former times upon
the earth. There are some who would like to see in these, the
fallen angels and the enemy of mankind; these sons of God who,
seeing that the daughters of men were beautiful, took them for
wives and imparted to them the secrets of heaven and earth. Let
them think so. We believe in Avatars and in divine dynasties,
in the epoch when there were, in fact, "giants upon the earth,"
but we altogether repudiate the idea of "fallen angels"
and of Satan and his army.
"What then is your religion or your belief?" we are
asked. "What is your favourite study?"
"The TRUTH," we reply. The truth
wherever we can find it; for, like Ammonius Saccas, our greatest
ambition would be to reconcile the different religious systems,
to help each one to find the truth in his own religion, while
obliging him to recognize it in that of his neighbour. What does
the name signify if the thing itself is essentially the same?
Plotinus, Iamblicus and Apollonius of Tyana, had all three, it
is said, the wonderful gifts of prophecy, of clairvoyance, and
of healing, although belonging to three different schools. Prophecy
was an art that was cultivated by the Essenes and the B'ni
Nebim among the Jews, as well as by the priests of the pagan
oracles. Plotinus's disciples attributed miraculous powers to
their master; Philostratus has claimed the same for Apollonius
while Iamblicus had the reputation of surpassing all the other
Eclectics in Theosophic theurgy. Ammonius declared that all moral
and practical WISDOM was contained in the
books of Thoth or Hermes Trismegistus. But Thoth means "a
college," school or assembly, and the works of that name,
according to the Theodidactos, were identical with the
doctrines of the sages of the extreme East. If Pythagoras acquired
his knowledge in India (when even now he is mentioned in old manuscripts
under the name of Yavanachárya,11 the
Greek Master), Plato gained his from the books of Thoth-Hermes. How
it happened that the younger Hermes, the god of the shepherds,
surnamed "the good shepherd," who presided over divination
and clairvoyance became identical with Thoth (or Thot) the deified
sage, and the author of the Book of the Dead,--the esoteric
doctrine only can reveal to Orientalists.
Every country has had its saviours. He who dissipates the darkness
of ignorance by the help of the torch of science, thus discovering
to us the truth, deserves that title as a mark of our gratitude
quite as much as he who saves us from death by healing our bodies.
Such an one awakens in our benumbed souls the faculty of distinguishing
the true from the false, by kindling a divine flame, hitherto
absent, and he has the right to our grateful worship, for he has
become our creator. What matters the name or the symbol that personifies
the abstract idea, if that idea is always the same and is true!
Whether the concrete symbol bears one title or another, whether
the saviour in whom we believe has for an earthly name Krishna,
Buddha, Jesus or Æsculapius,--also called "the saviour
god" ,--we have
but to remember one thing: symbols of divine truths were not invented
for the amusement of the ignorant; they are the alpha and
omega of philosophic thought.
Theosophy being the way that leads to truth, in every religion,
as in every science, occultism is, so to say, the touchstone and
universal solvent. It is the thread of Ariadne given by the master
to the disciple who ventures into the labyrinth of the mysteries
of being; the torch that lights him through the dangerous maze
of life, for ever the enigma of the Sphinx. But the light thrown
by this torch can be discerned only by the eye of the awakened
soul--by our spiritual senses; it blinds the eye of the materialist
as the sun blinds that of the owl.
Having neither dogma nor ritual,--these two being but fetters,
the material body which suffocates the soul,--we do not employ
the "ceremonial magic" of the Western Kabalists; we
know its dangers too well to have anything to do with it. In the
T.S. every Fellow is at liberty to study what he pleases, provided
he does not venture into unknown paths which would of a certainty
lead him to black magic,--the sorcery against which Eliphas
Lévi so openly warned the public. The occult sciences are
dangerous for him who understands them imperfectly. Any one who
gave himself up to their practice by himself, would run the risk
of becoming insane; and those who study them would do well to
unite in little groups of from three to seven. These groups ought
to be uneven in numbers in order to have more power; a group,
however little cohesion it possesses, forming a single united
body, wherein the senses and perceptions of those who work together
complement and mutually help each other, one member supplying
to another the quality in which he is wanting,--such a group will
always end by becoming a perfect and invincible body. "Union
is strength." The moral of the fable of the old man bequeathing
to his sons a bundle of sticks which were never to be separated
is a truth which will forever remain axiomatic.
"The disciples (Lanous) of the law of the Heart of Diamant
(magic) will help each other in their lessons. The grammarian
will be at the service of him who looks for the soul of the metals
(chemist)" etc.--(Catechism of the Gupta-Vidja).
The ignorant would laugh if they were told that in the Occult
sciences, the alchemist can be useful to the philologist and vice
versa. They would understand the matter better, perhaps, if
they were told that by this substantive (grammarian or philologist),
we mean to designate one who makes a study of the universal language
of corresponding symbols, although only the members of the Esoteric
Section of the Theosophical Society can understand clearly what
the term "philologist" means in that sense. All things
in nature have correspondences and are mutually interdependent.
In its abstract sense, Theosophy is the white ray, from which
arise the seven colours of the solar spectrum, each human being
assimilating one of these rays to a greater degree than the other
six. It follows that seven persons, each imbued with his special
ray, can help each other mutually. Having at their service the
septenary bundle of rays, they have the seven forces of nature
at their command. But it follows also that, to reach that end,
the choosing of the seven persons who are to form a group, should
be left to an expert,--to an initiate in the science of occult rays.
But we are here upon dangerous ground, where the Sphinx of esotericism
runs the risk of being accused of mystification. Still, orthodox
science furnishes a proof of the truth of what we say, and we
find a corroboration in physical and materialistic astronomy.
The sun is one, and its light shines for every one; it warms the
ignorant as well as the astronomers. As to the hypotheses about
our luminary, its constitution and nature,--their name is legion.
Not one of these hypotheses contains the whole truth, or even
an approximation to it. Frequently they are only fictions soon
to be replaced by others. For it is to scientific theories more
than to anything else in this world below that the lines of Malherbe
. . . Et rose, elle a vècu ce que vivent les roses,
L'espace d'un matin.
Nevertheless, whether they adorn or not the altar of Science,
each of these theories may contain a fragment of truth. Selected,
compared, analysed, pieced together, all these hypotheses may
one day supply an astronomical axiom, a fact in nature, instead
of a chimera in the scientific brain.
This is far from meaning that we accept as an increment of truth
every axiom accepted as true by the Academies. For instance, in
the evolution and phantasmagorical transformations of the sun
spots,--Nasmyth's theory at the present moment,--Sir John Herschell
began by seeing in them the inhabitants of the sun, beautiful
and gigantic angels. William Herschell, maintaining a prudent
silence about these celestial salamanders, shared the opinion
of the elder Herschell, that the solar globe was nothing but a
beautiful metaphor, a maya--thus announcing an occult axiom.
The sun spots have found a Darwin in the person o£ every
astronomer of any eminence. They were taken successively for planetary
spirits, solar mortals, columns of volcanic smoke (engendered,
one must think, in brains academical), opaque clouds, and finally
for shadows in the shape of the leaves of the willow tree, ("willow
leaf theory"). At the present day the sun is degraded. According
to men of science it is nothing but a gigantic coal, still aglow,
but prepared to go out in the grate of our solar system.
Even so with the speculations published by Fellows of the Theosophical
Society, when the authors of these, although they belong to the
Theosophical fraternity, have never studied the true esoteric
doctrines. These speculations can never be other than hypotheses,
no more than coloured with a ray of truth, enveloped in a chaos
of fancy and sometimes of unreason. By selecting them from the
heap and placing them side by side, one succeeds, nevertheless,
in extracting a philosophic truth from these ideas. For, let it
be well understood, theosophy has this in common with ordinary
science, that it examines the reverse side of every apparent truth.
It tests and analyses every fact put forward by physical science,
looking only for the essence and the ultimate and occult constitution
in every cosmical or physical manifestation, whether in the domain
of ethics, intellect, or matter. In a word, Theosophy begins its
researches where materialists finish theirs.
"It is then metaphysics that you offer us!" it may be
objected, "Why not say so at once."
No, it is not metaphysics, as that term is generally understood,
although it plays that part sometimes. The speculations of Kant,
of Leibnitz, and of Schopenhauer belong to the domain of metaphysics,
as also those of Herbert Spencer. Still, when one studies the
latter, one cannot help dreaming of Dame Metaphysics figuring
at a bal masqué of the Academical Sciences, adorned
with a false nose. The metaphysics of Kant and of Leibnitz--as
proved by his monads--is above the metaphysics of our days, as
a balloon in the clouds is above a pumpkin in the field below.
Nevertheless this balloon, however much better it may be than
the pumpkin, is too artificial to serve as a vehicle for the truth
of the occult sciences. The latter is, perhaps, a goddess too
freely uncovered to suit the taste of our savants, so modest.
The metaphysics of Kant taught its author, without the help of
the present methods or perfected instruments, the identity of
the constitution and essence of the sun and the planets; and Kant
affirmed, when the best astronomers, even during the first
half of this century, still denied. But this same metaphysics
did not succeed in proving to him the true nature of that essence,
any more than it has helped modern physics, notwithstanding its
noisy hypotheses, to discover that true nature.
Theosophy, therefore, or rather the occult sciences it studies,
is something more than simple metaphysics. It is, if I may be
allowed to use the double terms, meta-metaphysics, meta-geometry,
etc., etc., or a universal transcendentalism. Theosophy rejects
the testimony of the physical senses entirely, if the latter be
not based upon that afforded by the psychic and spiritual perceptions.
Even in the case of the most highly developed clairvoyance and
clairaudience, the final testimony of both must be rejected,
unless by those terms is signified the of Iamblicus, or the
ecstatic illumination, the of Plotinus and of Porphyry. The
same holds good for the physical sciences; the evidence of the reason
upon the terrestrial plane, like that of our five senses, should
receive the imprimatur of the sixth and seventh senses of the
divine ego, before a fact can be accepted by the true occultist.
Official science hears what we say and--laughs. We read its "reports,"
we behold the apotheoses of its self-styled progress, of its great
discoveries,--more than one of which, while enriching the more
a small number of those already wealthy, have plunged millions
of the poor into still more terrible misery--and we leave it to
its own devices. But, finding that physical science has not made
a step towards the knowledge of the real nature and constitution
of matter since the days of Anaximenes and the Ionian school,
we laugh in our turn.
In that direction, the best work has been done and the most valuable
scientific discoveries of this century have, without contradiction,
been made by the great chemist Mr. William Crookes.12
In his particular case, a remarkable intuition of occult truth
has been of more service to him than all his great knowledge of
physical science. It is certain that neither scientific methods,
nor official routine, have helped him much in his discovery of
radiant matter, or in his researches into protyle, or primordial
That which the Theosophists who hold to orthodox and official
science try to accomplish in their own domain, the Occultists
or the Theosophists of the "inner group" study according
to the method of the esoteric school. If up to the present this
method has demonstrated its superiority only to its students,
that is to say, to those who have pledged themselves by oath not
to reveal it, that circumstance proves nothing against it. Not
only have the terms magic and theurgy been never
even approximately understood, but even the name Theosophy
has been disfigured. The definitions thereof which are given
in dictionaries and encyclopædias are as absurd as they
are grotesque. Webster, for instance, in explanation of the word
Theosophy assures his readers that it is "a direct
connection or communication with God and superior spirits";
and, further on, that it is "the attainment of superhuman
and supernatural knowledge and powers by physical
processes(!?) as by the theurgic operations of some
ancient Platonists, or by the chemical processes of the German
fire philosophers." This is nonsensical verbiage. It is precisely
as if we were to say that it is possible to transform a crazy
brain into one of the calibre of Newton's, and to develop in it
a genius for mathematics by riding five miles every day upon a wooden horse.
Theosophy is synonymous with Gnanâ-Vidya, and with
the Brahmâ-Vidya14 of the
Hindus, and again with the Dzyan of the trans-Himalayan adepts,
the science of the true Raj-Yogas, who are much more accessible
than one thinks. This science has many schools in the East. But
its offshoots are still more numerous, each one having ended by
separating itself from the parent stem,--the true Archaic Wisdom,--and
varying in its form.
But, while these forms varied, departing further with each generation
from the light of truth, the basis of initiatory truths remained
always the same. The symbols used to express the same idea may
differ, but in their hidden sense they always do express the same
idea. Ragon, the most erudite mason of all the "Widow's sons,"
has said the same. There exists a sacerdotal language, the "mystery
language," and unless one knows it well, he cannot go far
in the occult sciences. According to Ragon "to build or found
a town" meant the same thing as to "found a religion";
therefore, that phrase when it occurs in Homer is equivalent to
the expression in the Brahmins, to distribute the "Soma juice."
It means, "to found an esoteric school," not "a
religion" as Ragon pretends. Was he mistaken? We do not think
so. But as a Theosophist belonging to the esoteric section dare
not tell to an ordinary member of the Theosophical Society the
things about which he has promised to keep silent, so Ragon found
himself obliged to divulge merely relative truths to his pupils.
Still, it is certain that he had made at least an elementary study
of "THE MYSTERY LANGUAGE."
"How can one learn this language?" we may be asked.
We reply: study all religions and compare them with one another.
To learn thoroughly requires a teacher, a guru; to succeed
by oneself needs more than genius: it demands inspiration like
that of Ammonius Saccas. Encouraged in the Church by Clement of
Alexandria and by Athenagoras, protected by the learned men of
the synagogue and of the academy, and adored by the Gentiles,
"he learned the language of the mysteries by teaching
the common origin of all religions, and a common religion."
To do this, he had only to teach according to the ancient canons
of Hermes which Plato and Pythagoras had studied so well, and
from which they drew their respective philosophies. Can we be
surprised if, finding in the first verses of the gospel according
to St. John the same doctrines that are contained in the three
systems of philosophy above mentioned, he concluded with every
show of reason that the intention of the great Nazarene was to
restore the sublime science of ancient wisdom in all its primitive
integrity? We think as did Ammonius. The biblical narrations and
the histories of the gods have only two possible explanations:
either they are great and profound allegories, illustrating universal
truths, or else they are fables of no use but to put the ignorant
Therefore the allegories,--Jewish as well as Pagan,--contain all
the truths that can only be understood by him who knows the mystical
language of antiquity. Let us see what is said on this subject
by one of our most distinguished Theosophists, a fervent Platonist
and a Hebraist, who knows his Greek and Latin like his mother
tongue, Professor Alexander Wilder,15 of New
The root idea of the Neo-Platonists was the existence of one only
and supreme Essence. This was the Diu, or "Lord of the Heavens"
of the Aryan nations, identical with the
(Iao) of the Chaldeans and Hebrews, the Iabe of
the Samaritans, the Tiu or Tuiseo of the Norwegians, the
Duw of the ancient tribes of Britain, the Zeus of
those of Thrace, and the Jupiter of the Romans. It was
the Being--(non-Being), the Facit, one and
supreme. It is from it that all other beings proceeded by emanation.
The moderns have, it seems, substituted for this their theory
of evolution. Perchance some day a wiser man than they
will combine these systems in a single one. The names of these
different divinities seem often to have been invented with little
or no regard to their etymological meaning, but chiefly on account
of some particular mystical signification attached to the numerical
value of the letters employed in their orthography.
This numerical signification is one of the branches of
the mystery language, or the ancient sacerdotal language.
This was taught in the "Lesser Mysteries," but the language
itself was reserved for the high initiates alone. The candidate
must have come victorious out of the terrible trials of the Greater
Mysteries before receiving instruction in it. That is why Ammonius
Saccas, like Pythagoras, obliged his disciples to take an oath
never to divulge the higher doctrines to any one to whom the preliminary
ones had not already been imparted, and who, therefore, was not
ready for initiation. Another sage, who preceded him by three
centuries, did the same by his disciples, in saying to them that
he spoke "in similes" (or parables) "because to
you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven,
but to them it is not given . . . because in seeing they see not,
and in hearing they hear not, neither do they understand."
Therefore the "similes" employed by Jesus were part
of the "language of the mysteries," the sacerdotal tongue
of the initiates. Rome has lost the key to it: by rejecting theosophy
and pronouncing her anathema against the occult sciences,--she
loses it for ever.
La Revue Theosophique, May, 1889 and
Theosophist, July , August, September, 1889
* "The Beacon-Light of the Unknown."
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1 Acquired under a Guru.
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2 The great serpent conquered by Krishna and
driven from the river Yanuma into the sea, where the Serpent Kaliya
took for wife a kind of Siren, by whom he had a numerous family.
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3 The illusion of the personality of the Ego, placed
by our egotism in the first rank.
In a word, it is necessary to assimilate the whole of humanity,
live by it, for it, and in it, in other terms, cease to be "one,"
and become "all" or the total.
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4 A Vedic expression. The senses, counting in
the two mystic senses, are seven in Occultism; but an Initiate
does not separate these senses from each other, any more than
he separates his unity from Humanity. Every sense contains all
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5 Symbology of colours. The Language of the prism,
of which "the seven mother colours have each seven sons,"
that is to say, forty-nine shades or "sons" between
the seven which graduated tints are so many letters or alphabetical
characters. The language of colours has, therefore, fifty-six
letters for the Initiate. Of these letters each septenary is absorbed
by the mother colour, as each of the seven mother colours is absorbed
finally in the white ray, Divine Unity symbolized by these colours.
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6 By Iamblicus, who used the name of his master, the
Egyptian priest Abammon as a pseudonym.
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7 Samâdhi is a state of abstract
contemplation, defined in Sanskrit terms that each require a whole sentence to
explain them. It is a mental, or, rather, spiritual state, which
is not dependent upon any perceptible object, and during which
the subject, absorbed in the region of pure spirit, lives
in the Divinity.
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8 He lived in Rome for 28 years, and was so
virtuous a man that it was considered an honour to have him as
guardian for the orphans of the highest patricians. He died without
having made an enemy during those 28 years.
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9 A celebrated Grecian monastery.
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* JHVH, or Jahveh (Jehovah) is the Tetragrammaton,
consequently the Emanated Logos and the creator the ALL,
without beginning or end,--AIN-SOPH--not being able to create nor wishing to create in its quality of the
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10Prizes instituted in France during the last century
by the Baron de Montyon for those who, in various ways, benefitted
their fellow men.--Ed.
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11 A term which comes from the words Yavana or
"the Ionian." And achârya, "professor or master."
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12 Member of the Executive Council of the London Lodge
of the Theosophical Society, and President of the Chemical Society
of Great Britain.
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13The homogeneous, non-differentiated element which
he calls meta-element.
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14The meaning of the word Vidya can only be
rendered by the Greek term Gnosis, the knowledge of hidden and
spiritual things; or again, the knowledge of Brahm, that is to
say, of the God that contains all the gods.
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15 The first Vice-President of the Theosophical Society
when it was founded.
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