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Blavatsky Net - Theosophy

This site focuses on Madame Blavatsky and her teaching - Theosophy. It features an introduction to Theosophy, study aids, research tools, original text, supporting evidence, membership, and visitor interaction.


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The Historical Jesus

Dear Member of Blavatsky Net,

During this month of December, many minds and hearts will turn to their ideas of Jesus. Yet search as we may we do not find a single valid reference to Jesus in the contemnor records of his time. Did he really exist? If so, what can we say of him? And why are there so few records of his existence? What did he "come here" for? Was he a son of God? Theosophy has answers to these questions, and more, about Jesus. I will be offering quotes from HPB to shed some light on these puzzles.

JESUS OF THE SYNOTPIC GOSPELS

Blavatsky says the personality of Jesus "was distorted out of recognition" by the Biblical version. (SDii231)

Again she says:

"Under this unexpected garb his personality was all but lost. In the modern Jesus of the Christian Church, we find the ideal of the imaginative Irenaeus, not the adept of the Essenes, the obscure reformer from Galilee. We see him under the disfigured Plato-Philonean mask, not as the disciples heard him on the mount." (IUii33-4)

But then she gives her explanation of the common story in the synoptic gospels:

"... his story, as told in the New Testament, is an allegory, assuredly containing profound esoteric truths, but still an allegory. . . . Every act of the Jesus of the New Testament, every word attributed to him, every event related of him during the three years of the mission he is said to have accomplished, rests on the programme of the Cycle of Initiation, a cycle founded on the Precession of the Equinoxes and the Signs of the Zodiac." (BCW 9:225)

THE HISTORICAL JESUS

In numerous other places Blavatsky makes statements that very definitely imply the reality of a very specific individual. In this next somewhat long, but very informative, quote she places the real Jesus within the structure of other existing groups of the time.


"The oldest Nazarenes, who were the descendants of the Scripture nazars, and whose last prominent leader was John the Baptist, although never very orthodox in the sight of the scribes and Pharisees of Jerusalem were, nevertheless, respected and left unmolested. Even Herod “feared the multitude” because they regarded John as a prophet (Matthew xiv. 5). But the followers of Jesus evidently adhered to a sect which became a still more exasperating thorn in their side. It appeared as a heresy within another heresy; for while the nazars of the olden times, the “Sons of the Prophets,” were Chaldean kabalists, the adepts of the new dissenting sect showed themselves reformers and innovators from the first. The great similitude traced by some critics between the rites and observances of the earliest Christians and those of the Essenes may be accounted for without the slightest difficulty. The Essenes, as we remarked just now, were the converts of Buddhist missionaries who had overrun Egypt, Greece, and even Judea at one time, since the reign of Asoka the zealous propagandist; and while it is evidently to the Essenes that belongs the honor of having had the Nazarene reformer, Jesus, as a pupil, still the latter is found disagreeing with his early teachers on several questions of formal observance. He cannot strictly be called an Essene, for reasons which we will indicate further on, neither was he a nazar, or Nazaria of the older sect. What Jesus was, may be found in the Codex Nazaraeus, in the unjust accusations of the Bardesanian Gnostics.

“Jesus is Neb, the false Messiah, the destroyer of the old orthodox religion,” says the Codex. He is the founder of the sect of the new nazars, and, as the words clearly imply, a follower of the Buddhist doctrine. In Hebrew the word naba means to speak of inspiration; and [image] is nebo, a god of wisdom. But Nebo is also Mercury, and Mercury is Buddha in the Hindu monogram of planets. Moreover, we find the Talmudists holding that Jesus was inspired by the genius of Mercury.

The Nazarene reformer had undoubtedly belonged to one of these sects; though, perhaps, it would be next to impossible to decide absolutely which. But what is self-evident is that he preached the philosophy of Buddha-Sakyamûni." (IUii132-3)

JESUS OF THE MYSTERY SCHOOL

The essential reason that Jesus was not noted by contemporary records is that he was the teacher of a mystery school. Blavatsky begins that explanation here.

"As we have elsewhere shown, the primitive Christian community was composed of small groups scattered about and organized in secret societies, with passwords, grips, and signs. To avoid the relentless persecutions of their enemies, they were obliged to seek safety and hold meetings in deserted catacombs, the fastnesses of mountains, and other safe retreats. Like disabilities were naturally encountered by each religious reform at its inception. From the very first appearance of Jesus and his twelve disciples, we see them congregating apart, having secure refuges in the wilderness, and among friends in Bethany, and elsewhere. Were Christianity not composed of “secret communities,” from the start, history would have more facts to record of its founder and disciples than it has." (IUii335)

Elsewhere Blavatsky goes into more detail emphasizing the nature of that connection to the mystery schools.

"But the phraseology is unequivocal. These things “which it is not lawful to repeat,” are hinted at in the same words, and the reason for it assigned, is the same as that which we find repeatedly expressed by Plato, Proclus, Iamblichus, Herodotus, and other classics. “We speak WISDOM only among them who are PERFECT,” says Paul; the plain and undeniable translation of the sentence being: “We speak of the profounder (or final) esoteric doctrines of the Mysteries (which were denominated wisdom) only among them who are initiated.”" IUii146.

To elaborate on this she quotes from page 2 of “Eleusinian Mysteries”.

“The profound or esoteric doctrines of the ancients were denominated wisdom, and afterward philosophy, and also the gnosis, or knowledge. They related to the human soul, its divine parentage, its supposed degradation from its high estate by becoming connected with “generation” or the physical world, its onward progress and restoration to God by regenerations or . . . transmigrations.”

Then she locates for us a rare moment - Jerome, the Christian translator, squirms as he reveals the secret nature of some information.

"That the apostles had received a “secret doctrine” from Jesus, and that he himself taught one, is evident from the following words of Jerome, who confessed it in an unguarded moment. Writing to the Bishops Chromatius and Heliodorus, he complains that “a difficult work is enjoined, since this translation has been commanded me by your Felicities, which St. Matthew himself, the Apostle and evangelist, DID NOT WISH TO BE OPENLY WRITTEN."
(IUii182)

MOTIVE

So what did Jesus teach? There are a variety of statements on this. Here are two.

"The motive of Jesus was evidently like that of Gautama-Buddha, to benefit humanity at large by producing a religious reform which should give it a religion of pure ethics; the true knowledge of God and nature having remained until then solely in the hands of the esoteric sects, and their adepts." (IUii133)

"There is quite enough in the four gospels to show what was the secret and most fervent hope of Jesus; the hope in which he began to teach, and in which he died. In his immense and unselfish love for humanity, he considers it unjust to deprive the many of the results of the knowledge acquired by the few. This result he accordingly preaches — the unity of a spiritual God, whose temple is within each of us, and in whom we live as He lives in us — in spirit. This knowledge was in the hands of the Jewish adepts of the school of Hillel and the kabalists. But the “scribes,” or lawyers, having gradually merged into the dogmatism of the dead letter, had long since separated themselves from the Tanaïm, the true spiritual teachers; and the practical kabalists were more or less persecuted by the Synagogue. Hence, we find Jesus exclaiming: “Woe unto you lawyers! For ye have taken away the key of knowledge [the Gnosis]: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering ye prevented” (Luke xi. 52). The meaning here is clear. They did take the key away, and could not even profit by it themselves, for the Masorah (tradition) had become a closed book to themselves as well as to others." (IUii561)

THEOSOPHICAL PERSPECTIVE

Here is a prediction from Blavatsky on the long run future. Perhaps it will bring some cheer.

"All this points undeniably to the fact, that except a handful of self-styled Christians who subsequently won the day, all the civilized portion of the Pagans who knew of Jesus honored him as a philosopher, an adept whom they placed on the same level with Pythagoras and Apollonius. Whence such a veneration on their part for a man, were he simply, as represented by the Synoptics, a poor, unknown Jewish carpenter from Nazareth? As an incarnated God there is no single record of him on this earth capable of withstanding the critical examination of science; as one of the greatest reformers, an inveterate enemy of every theological dogmatism, a persecutor of bigotry, a teacher of one of the most sublime codes of ethics, Jesus is one of the grandest and most clearly-defined figures on the panorama of human history. His age may, with every day, be receding farther and farther back into the gloomy and hazy mists of the past; and his theology — based on human fancy and supported by untenable dogmas may, nay, must with every day lose more of its unmerited prestige; alone the grand figure of the philosopher and moral reformer instead of growing paler will become with every century more pronounced and more clearly defined. It will reign supreme and universal only on that day when the whole of humanity recognizes but one father — the UNKNOWN ONE above — and one brother — the whole of mankind below." (IUii150-1)

Perhaps the most inspiring quote in all this series is the next. It comes from BCW vol 8 p 401-2 and shows the Theosophical perspective on Jesus - placing him in a broader context. That section is headed with this note.

"This is an account written by Charles Johnston concerning his conversation with H. P. B. when he met her for the first time in London, in the Spring of 1887, soon after her arrival from Ostende. Even though this text is not from H. P. B.’s own pen, it is published here as it contains a great many points of teaching, and bears obvious marks of authenticity.—Compiler."

Then the exact quote:

"At certain regular periods, they [the masters] try to give the world at large a right understanding of spiritual things. One of their number comes forth to teach the masses, and is handed down to tradition as the Founder of a religion. Krishna was such a Master; so was Zoroaster; so were Buddha and Shankara Acharya, the great sage of Southern India. So also was the Nazarene. He went forth against the counsel of the rest, to give to the masses before the time, moved by a great pity, and enthusiasm for humanity; he was warned that the time was unfavorable, but nevertheless he elected to go, and so was put to death at the instigation of the priests.”

“Have the adepts any secret records of his life?”

“They must have,” she answered; “for they have records of the lives of all Initiates. Once I was in a great cave-temple in the Himalaya mountains, with my Master,” and she looked at the picture of the splendid Rajput; “there were many statues of adepts there; pointing to one of them, he said: ‘This is he whom you call Jesus. We count him to be one of the greatest among us.’ "
_____________

Hope you have found these quotes enlightening on a part of the Theosophical view of Jesus.

Reed Carson

 



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