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Zoroastrianism

And Occult Philosophy


   

Articles by HPB

 (The Theosophist, Vol. IV, No. 9, June 1883, pp. 224-226

The following letter having been sent to us from a Parsee gentleman, we publish the paragraphs containing his queries seriatim as in the original, but separating them with a view of making our answers more comprehensible. This arrangement, we hope, will always simplify the work and help the reader to a far clearer understanding of both the questions asked and the answers given, than it would, had we published the letter without any break whatever, or answered the queries as usually done, by referring the readers to footnotes. 

Will you or any of your contributors tell me whether Zoroastrianism, regarded from the standpoint of Occult philosophy, is in itself monotheism, pantheism, polytheism? I have not been able to ascertain it from the leaned lecture of Col. Olcott on the "Spirit of Zoroastrianism."* [Footnote: * Reference is here to Col. Olcott's remarkable lecture on "The Spirit of the Zoroastrian Religion," delivered at the Town Hall in Bombay, Feb. 14, 1882. Vide Vol. II, p. 449, of the present Series, for further data.—Compiler.]

The answer depends upon how the question is put. If we are asked what is Zoroastrianism—loosely and indifferently referred to as Magianism, Mazdaism, Fire-worship and Parseeism, then we answer—"it is all that, which you say." It is "monotheism, pantheism, polytheism," and even —"atheism." when placed in contradistinction to modern theism—its respective qualifications depending upon the epoch named. Thus, if we had to describe broadly the origin of this religion from the standpoint and upon the authority of the Occult teachings, we would call it by its original primitive name, that of Magianism. Locating it first development in those vast regions which would have to be described as the whole area between the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Okhotsk in it length, and that which stretches through the unexplored deserts between the Altai and the Himalayan mountains in its breadth, we would place it back at an epoch undreamt of by modern science and, therefore, rejected by all but the most speculative and daring anthropologists. We have no right to give out in this journal the correct number of years or rather of ages upon ages, since—according to the doctrines of the Secret Science—the first seeds of Magianism were sown by the hand of the BEING to whose duty it falls to rear, nurse, and guide the tottering steps of the renascent human races, that awake anew to life on every planet in its turn, after its periodical "obscuration," It goes as far back as the days of our local Manvantara, so that the seeds sown among the first "root-race" began sprouting in its infant brain, grew up, and commencing to bear fruit toward the latter part of the second race, developed fully during the third * [Footnote: * One who has studied the "Fragments of Occult Truth" knows that our present race is the fifth, and that we have two more to pass through before we reach our end—on this planet. into what is known among Occultists as the "Tree of Knowledge" and the "Tree of Life—the real meaning of both having been, later on, so sadly disfigured and misinterpreted by both Zoroastrians and Christians. But we can inform our correspondent of the following; Magianism, in the days of its full maturity and practice, † [Footnote: † "Throughout the Middle Ages nothing was known of Mazdaism, but the name of its founder, who from a Magus was converted into a magician and master of the hidden sciences," says James Darmesteter who knows as much as his exoteric science will permit him of the former; but being wholly ignorant of esoteric sciences, knows nothing of the latter at all and therefore blunders greatly. One could not be a Magha, a Magus-priest, without being, at the same time, what is now known under the vulgar terms of "Magician." But of this later on. and long ages before the first of the twelve great religions, its direct offshoots—mentioned and freely described by Muhsin-Fani in the Dabistan—ever saw light; and even much anterior to the appearance of the first devotees of the religion of Hushang, which, according to Sir. W. Jones, "was long anterior to that of Zeratusht, * [ Footnote: * Asiatic Researches (Calcutta, 1790), Vol. II. pp. 48-49 ] the prophet of the modern Parsees—that religion, as we can undeniably prove, was "Atheism." At any rate, it would be as regarded now, by those who call Kapila and Spinoza, BUDDHA and our MAHATMAS, Brihaspati (of the Charvaka) and the modern Advaitees, all alike, nastikas or atheists. Assuredly no doctrine about a personal God, a gigantic man and no more—(though a number of so-called divine beings were and are still recognized)—was ever taught by the true Magi. † [Footnote: † Let it not be understood that we here speak of the "Magi" in general, whether we view them as one of the Medean tribes (?) as some Orientalists (Darmesteter for one), relying upon a vague statement of Herodotus, believe, or a sacerdotal caste like the Brahmans—as we maintain. We refer but to their initiates. The origin of the Brahmans and Magi in the night of time—is one, the secret doctrine teaches us. First, they were a hierarchy of adepts, of men profoundly versed in physical and spiritual sciences and occult knowledge, of various nationalities, all celibates, and enlarging their numbers by the transmission of their knowledge to voluntary neophytes. Then when their numbers became too large to be contained in the "Airyana-Vaêgo," the adepts scattered far and wide, and we can trace them establishing other hierarchies on the model of the first in every part of the globe, each hierarchy increasing, and finally becoming so large as to have to restrict admission; the "half adepts" going back to the world, marrying and laying the first foundation of the "left-hand" science or sorcery, the misuse of the Holy Knowledge. In the third stage—the members of the True Ones become with every age more limited and secret, the admissions being beset now with new difficulties. We begin to see the origin of the Temple Mysteries. The hierarchy divides into two parts. The chose few, the hierophants—the imperium in imperio—remaining celibates, the exoteric priests make of marriage a law, an attempt to perpetuate adepts by hereditary descent, and fail sadly in it. Thus we find Brahmans and Magi, Egyptian priests and Roman hierarchs and Augurs enjoining married life and inventing religious clauses to prove its necessity. No need repeating and reminding the reader of that which is left to his own knowledge of history, and his intuitions. In our day we find the descendants, the heirs to the old wisdom, scattered all over the globe in small isolated and unknown communities, whose objects are misunderstood, and whose origin has been forgotten; and only two religions, the result of the teaching of those priests and hierophants of old. The latter are found in the sorry remains called respectively—Brahmans and Dasturs or Mobeds. But there is still the nucleus left, albeit so strenuously denied, of the heirs of the primitive Magi, of the Vedic Magha and the Greek Magos—the priests and gods of old, the last of whom manifested openly and defiantly during the Christian era in the person of Apollonius of Tyana. ] Hence Zoroaster—the seventh prophet (according to the Desatir, whose compilers mixed up and confused the fourteen Zaro-Ishtars, * {Footnote: * See Isis Unveiled, Vol. II. pp. 128-129. ] the high priests and initiates of the Chaldean worship of Magian Heirphants—the thirteenth)—would be regarded as an atheist in the modern sense of the word. All the Orientalists with Haug at their head agree to say that in the oldest, or the second part of the Yasna, nothing is said or fixed of the doctrine regarding God, nor of any theology.

The lecture has has elucidated many obscurities and absurdities in the Avesta, from the standpoint of Occult philosophy. But they are so few that the youths whom the Colonel took to task, have, I am convinced, become no wiser. Can anyone tell me whether the Colonel meant that in order to understand their religion, the Parsee youths should study Yogism and Occultism?

Our President never meant that they should practice "Yogism." All that he  urged upon them as, that before they scoffed at their own religion, of which they knew so little, and became either modern agnostics or out-and-out corporealists, they should study Zoroastrianism as a philosophy, and in the light of esoteric sciences—which alone could teach them the truth by giving the correct version of the meaning of the various emblems and symbolisms. 

The learned Colonel said the Parsees are the heirs of the Chaldean lore, and that the Chaldean and the Hebrew Kabala would throw considerable light on the meaning of the Avesta. Can anyone tell me where and in what language these books are to be found, and whether these works are not also so much allegorical as to require the aid of Occult philosophy to understand their true meaning?

The Lecturer stated a fact. More even than the Brahmans, are the Parsees heirs to Chaldean wisdom, since they are the direct, though the latest, offshoots of Aryan Magianism. The Occultists are very little concerned with the apparent difficulty that the Magian "Chaldees" with all their priests and initiates, whether of the Medes, the Scythians, or the Babylonians are regarded by the Orientalists as of Semitic origin, while the ancient Iranians are Aryans. The classification of those nations into Turanians, Akkadians, Semites and what not, is at best arbitrary. The word "Chaldean" does not refer merely to a native or an inhabitant of Chaldea, but to "Chaldeism," the oldest science of astrology and occultism. And in that sense the Zoroastrians are the true heirs to Chaldean wisdom, "the light which shineth in darkness," though (modern) "darkness comprehended it not," and Parsees themselves know nothing of it now. The Hebrew Kabala is but the loud echo of the Chaldea; an echo which passing through the corridors of Time picked up in its transit all kinds of alien sounds that got mixed up with the original keynotes struck beyond the epoch known to the present profane generations; and thus it reached the later student of Hebrew lore as a confused and somewhat distorted voice. Yet, there is much to learn in it, for him who has the patience and the perseverance required, since first of all he would have to learn the Gematria, Notaricon, and Themura. * [Footnote: *. The Jewish methods of examining the Scriptures for their hidden meaning. ] When speaking of the "Kabala," the Lecturer meant by it, the universal, not any special esoteric system, already adapted to a later exoteric creed as is at present the Jewish secret science. The word  "Kabala" is derived from a Hebrew root meaning reception of knowledge; and practically speaking it refers to all the old systems handed down by oral transmission, and is very nearly allied to the Sanskrit "Smriti" and "Šruti," and the Chaldaic "Zend." † [Footnote: † Of course, as found out by the Orientalists, the word "Zend" does not apply to any languages or dialects of ancient Persia. (See Farhang-i-Jahângiri the Persian dictionary.)  It means, as in one sense correctly stated, "a commentary or explanation," but it also means that which the Orientalists do not seem to have any idea about, viz., the "rendering of the esoteric into exoteric sentences," the veil used to conceal the correct meaning of the Zen-(d)-zar texts, the sacerdotal language in use among the initiates of archiac India. Found now in several undecipherable inscriptions, it is still used and studied unto this day in the secret communities of the Eastern adepts, and called by them—according to the locality—Zend-zar and Brahma or Deva-Bhashya. ] There would be little use for the Parsee or Hindu beginner to study only the Hebrew or even the Chaldean Kabala, since those works upon them which are now extant are written either in Hebrew or Latin. But there would be a great deal of truth unearthed were both to apply themselves to the study of identical knowledge veiled under the exoteric symbolisms of the the Zend-Avesta and the Brahmmical books. And this they can do by forming themselves into a small society of intelligent earnest students of symbolism, especially the Zend and Sanskrit scholars. They could get the esoteric meanings and the names of the works needed from some advanced chelas of our Society.

The Colonel recommends the translating of prayers. Does he mean that the translations of prayers in their present state will better enlighten the youths? If not, then does he imply that the meaning of the whole Zend-Avesta can be made intelligible and philosophical by the aid of a thorough Occultist?

It is precisely what he meant. By a correct translation or rather a correct explanation of their liturgical prayers, and a preliminary knowledge of the true meaning of even a few of the most important symbolisms—generally those that appear the most meaningless and absurd in the sight of the modern Zend scholars, as the dog, e.g., which plays such an important part in Parsee ceremonies * [Footnote: *. Compare the so-called "Akkadian formulae of exorcism" of the earliest, period known to the Orientalists to which the collection of charms and amulets belong (in truth very late periods) with most of the injunctions found in Vendida (Fargard XIII) concerning the dog. It seems almost incredible that even the dullest among the Zend scholars should not perceive that verse 49(163) of the same Fargard, for instance, which says: "For no house could subsist on the earth made by Ahura [in this case the "house" —not the earth—made by Ahura], but for those two dogs of mine, the shepherd's dog and the house dog" —cannot refer really to these animals. The commentary made on it (Saddar, 31) is absurd and ridiculous. It is not, as it says, that "not a single head of cattle would remain in existence but for the dogs"— but that all humanity, endowed as it is with the highest intellect among the intelligences of the animal kingdom, would, under the leadership of Angra-Mainyu, mutually destroy themselves physically and spiritually, but for the presence of the "dogs"—the two highest spiritual principles. The dog Vanghâpara (the hedgehog, says the commentator!)  "the good of creature among the creatures of the Good Spirit that from midnight [our time of ignorance] till the sun is up [spiritual enlightenment] goes and kills thousands of the creatures of the Evil Spirit" (Farg. XIII,1) is our spiritual conscience. He who "kills it" (stifles its voice within himself) shall not find his way over the Chinvat bridge (leading to paradise). Then compare these symbolisms with those of the Akkadian tlismans. Even as translated by G. Smith, distorted as they are, still the seven dogs described—as the "blue," the "yellow," the "spotted," etc., can be shown to have all of them reference to the same seven human principles as classified by Occultism. The whole collection of the "formulae of exorcism" so-called of the Akkadians is full of references to the seven evil and the seven good spirits which are our principles in their dual aspect. —the "Parsee youth" would acquire thereby the key to the true philosophy that underlies their "wretched superstitions and myths," as they are called by the missionaries who would fain force upon the world their own instead.

Prayer is repugnant to the principles of atheists. How then does the learned Colonel reconcile his advice to the Parsees to throw better heart into their prayers? Does he also mean that Occult philosophy will justify the prayers in Zend-Avesta, offered to the sun, the moon and almost all the supposed pure things of the creation? If he thinks that the fixing of attention upon such objects is conducive to being freed from worldly desires and thoughts, does he think also that these views or prayers will be believed in, or acted upon, by the present generation?

Colonel Olcott was never an atheist "to our knowledge," but an esoteric Buddhist, rejecting  a personal God. Nor was genuine prayer—i.e., the exercise of one's intense will over events (commonly brought about by blind chance) to determine their direction—ever repugnant to him. Even prayers as commonly understood, are not "repugnant" in his sight, but simply useless, when not absurd and ridiculous as in the case of prayers to either stop or bring about rain, etc. By "prayer" he means—WILL, the desire or command magnetically expressed that such and such a thing beneficent to ourselves or others should cocme to pass. The Sun, the moon and the stars in the Avesta are all emblematical representations—the Sun, especially—the latter being the concrete and most appropriate emblem of the one universal life-giving principle, while the stars are part and parcel of the Occult sciences, Yima never "prayed" but went to "meet the sun" in the vast space of heavens, and bringing down with him "the science of the stars, pressed the earth with the golden seal" and forced (thereby) the Spenta Ârmaiti (the Genius of the Earth) to stretch asunder and to bear flocks and herds and men (Fargard II, 10).

But since not everyone knows in our day, "the science of the stars," nor are there many Zend scholars, the best course to be pursued is to make at least a beginning by having the "prayers" translated. The Lecturer, as far as we are aware, did not mean to advise anyone to believe in, or "act upon," the modern prayers in their present liturgic, exoteric form, remaining incomprehensible to the great majority, that they have to be either correctly rendered, or bringing on finally indifference and disgust, that they have to be abandoned very soon to utter oblivion. The word "prayer" received its modern significance of a supplication to a Supreme or some inferior divine being, only when its once widely known and real exoteric veil; after which it soon disappeared enshrouded beneath the impenetrable shell of a badly digested anthropomorphism. The Magian knew not of any Supreme "personal" individuality. He recognized but Ahura—the "lord"—the 7th Principle in man—and "prayed," i.e., made efforts during the hours of meditation, to assimilate with, and merge his other principles—that are dependent on the physical body and ever under the sway of Angra-Mainyu (or matter)—into the only pure, holy and eternal principle in him, his divine monad. To whom else could he pray? Who was "Ormuzd" if not the chief Spenta-Mainyu, the monad, our own god-principle in us? How can Parsees consider him now in the light of the "one Supreme God" independent of man, since even in the sorry remnants of the sacred books of Mazdaism there is enough to show that he was never so considered. They are full of his shortcomings, lack of power (during his dependent individuality in connection with man), and his frequent failings. He is addressed as the "make of the material world: in every question put him by Zarathushtra. He invokes Vayu (the Holy Ghost of the Mazdeans), "the god-conqueror of light (or true knowledge and spiritual enlightenment), the smiter of fiends (passions) all made of light,"* [Footnote. *. Yashts, XV.3. ] for help against Angra-Mainyu; and, at the birth of Zarathushtra he entreats Ardvî-Sûra Anâahita † [Footnote. † . Begging the pardon of our European Sanskritists and Zend scholars, we would ask them to tell, if they know, who was the Mazdean goddess Ardvî-Sûra Anâhita? We maintain and can prove what we say, that the said personage implored by Ahura, and Sarasvati (the Brahmanical goddess of Secret or Occult wisdom) are identical. where is the philosophy of the Supreme God, "the omnipotent and omniscient ALL" seeking for the help of his own creature? ] that the newly-born should not abandon but stand by him in his eternal struggles with Ahriman

(The Theosophist, Vol. IV. No. 19, July 1883, pp.240-244)

The offers made by Ahura-Mazda to Yima (the first man) to receive instruction from him are rejected. Why? "Because," as he answers, "I was not born, I was not taught to be the preacher and the bearer of thy Religion" ‡ [Footnote: ‡. Yashts, XV, 3 (7) ] No, he was not born, the Occult Science tells us, for from whom could he have been born since he was the first man (let the modern anthropologists and physiologists explain if they can). But he was evoluted from a pre-existing form, and such had no need as yet of the laws and teachings of his 7th Principle. The "Supreme" and the "Almighty" remains satisfied! He makes him only promise that he will take care of his creatures and make them happy, which promise is fulfilled by "the son of Vîrangvant." Does not this show that Ahura-Mazda is something which can be explained and defined only by the Occult Doctrine? And wisely does it explain to us that Ahura is our own inner, truly personal God and that he is our Spiritual light and the "Creator of the material world"—i.e., the architect and shaper of the Microcosm—Man, when the latter knows how to resist Angra-Mainyu, or Karma—lust or material desires—by relying on him who overshadows him, the Ahura-Mazda or Spiritual Essence. The latter invokes "Vâyu," who in the Mazdean occult sense, is the Universal, as he is, the Individual, light of man. Hence his prayer to "Vayu," that Zarathushtra, the being who will teach truth to his followers, should side with him, Ahura, and help him to fight Ahriman, without which help even "He" (our 7th Principle) is powerless to save man from himself; for Ahriman is the allegorical representation of the lower human principles, as Ahura-Mazda is that of the higher. Then, think of the symbolical allegory in Yima, the representative of the first unborn human race of this, our Fourth Round. * [Footnote. *. See "Fragments of Occult Truth." ] It is too spiritual, too unacquainted with evil upon its first reawakening to life, to be yet in need of the truths of the sacred science, the common foundation of all the great religions. Hence, "the great shepherd," Yima, refuses Ahura's instructions, for Ahriman is so far powerless over the innocence of infancy, irresponsible and unconscious of moral and physical danger. He "keeps (spiritual) death and disease away" from his people, and "enlarges three times the earth"; for the root-race multiplies and "shoots off seventy times seven branch-races." But Zarathushtra accepts and worships Ahura-Mazda in the Vendida and elsewhere, because this prophet in the generic sense of the name is the representative of the latter portion of the second race. And now let the Parsee mathematicians calculate how long ago lived the first Zara-Ishtar, or Zoroaster; and let them study the real Mazdaim, not the later excrescenses with which it became overgrown throughout the cycles of the ages and races. Which of the Zarathushtras was the real lawgiver of the Chaldean Mazdaism? Surely not he, to whom Ahura-Mazda says: "The fair Yima...O holy Zarathushtra, he was the first mortal, before thee...with whom I, Ahura-Mazda, did converse, whom I taught the Religion of Ahura, the Religion of Zarathushtra." * [Footnote. *. Fargard, II, 2(4) ] Teaching the law of Zarathushtra to the same Zarathushtra, and ages before that Zarathushtra as born, reminds one of Moses made to narrate in his Pentateuch his own death and burial. In the Vendida, if Ahura is "the Creator of the material world," i.e., the Microcosm man, Yima is the real creator of the earth. There, he is shown—master of Spenta Ârmaiti, the Genius of the Earth, and he, by the power of his innate untaught light and knowledge, simply for the absence of Angra-Mainyu—who came later on—forces "the earth to grow larger and to bear flocks and herds and men at their will and wish, as many as he wished." † [Footnote. †.  Fargard II, 11. ) Ahura-Mazda is also the Father of Tistrya, the rain-bestowing god (the 6th Principle) that fructifies the parched soil of the 5th and 4th, and helps them to bear good fruit through their own exertions, i.e., by tasting of Haoma, the tree of eternal life, through spiritual enlightenment. Finally and undeniably Ahura-Mazda being called the chief and father of the six "Ameshâ Spentas"—or of the six principles of which he is the seventh, the question is settled. He is "Ahura" or rather Asura—the "living spirit in man," the first of whose twenty different names he gives us as "Ahmi", "I am." It was to impress upon his audience the full importance of the recognition of, and reliance upon (hence that of addressing it in "prayer"), this one God from whom proceed and in whom are centered Humate, Hukhte, and Huvareshte‡ [Footnote. ‡. Purity of speech, purity of action, purity of thought. ] the sublime condensation of all human and social law, that Colonel Olcott recommended to the "Parsee youths," the study of their prayers. It is very likely, as Demesteter thinks, that "Heredotus may have heard the Magi  sing, in the fifth century B.C. the very same gathas which are sung nowadays by the Mobeds in Bombay"; but it is most unlikely, that sung as they are now, they are anything better than the "shells" of the old gathas, the animating spirit having fled from them, never to return unless forcibly recalled by the resurrecting potentiality of the "Occult Sciences." 

Will the learned Colonel be so kind as to say whether in his opinion, it does not appear that the Zend Avesta represents the genuine dictates of Zoroaster, or that it contains extreme mutilations and additions made before it was written and after it was written?

We think we can, for the Colonel's opinions are ours, having studied under the same Master and knowing that he shares in the same views, namely, that the Zend-Avensta represents now only the general system, the dead letter, so to say, of the dictates of Zoroaster. If the Orientalists agree that the bulk of the Avesta is pre-Sassanian, nevertheless they do not, nor can they, fix a definite period for its origin..

As well expressed by Darmsteter, the Parsee "sacred books are the ruins of a religion." The Avesta revised and translated into Pahlavi by Ardeshir Babagan is not the Avesta of modern Parseeism, with its numberless interpolations and arbitrary commentaries that lasted until the last days of the Sassanian dynasty; nor was the Avesta of Ardeshir identical with that which was brought out and given to Gushtasp by Zara-Ishtar )the 13th prophet of the Desatir); nor that of the latter quite the same as the original Zend, although even this one was but the exoteric version of the Zen-Zara doctrines. As shown by Burnouf, the Pahlavi version is found nearly in every case to wander strangely from the true meaning of the original (?) Zend text, while that "true-meaning" wandered (or shall we say—was veiled?) as greatly from the esoteric text. This, for the good reason that the Zend text is simply a secret code of certain words and expressions agreed upon by the original compilers, and the key to which is but with the initiates. The Western scholars may say: "the key to the Avesta is not the Pahlavi but the Vedas"; but the Occultist's answer is: "aye; but the key to the Vedas is the Secret Doctrine." The former assert correctly enough that, "the Vedas come from the same source as the Avesta'; the students of Occultism ask: "Do you know even the A B C of that source?"

To show that the Occultists are justified in their disrespectful remark, it suffices to give one instance. In §7 of the Introduction (ch. iv) to Part I of the Zend-Avesta—the Vendida, Mr. J. Darmsteter has the following remark: "The Ancestors of the Indo-Iranians had been let to speak of seven worlds, the Supreme God was often made sevenfold, as well as the worlds over which he ruled...The seven worlds became in Persia the seven KARSHVARE of the earth; the earth is divided into seven KARSHVARE, only one of which is known and accessible to man, the one on which we live, namely "hvaniratha"; which amounts to saying that there are seven earths." The latter belief is attributed, of course, to ignorance and superstition. Nor do we feel quite certain that this opinion will not be shared by those of our readers who neither are Chelas nor have read the "Fragments of Occult Truths." But we leave it with the "lay chelas" and others to judge whether this sevenfold division (See Fargard IX) is not the A B C  of the Occult Doctrines. The agreement found between the statements of Plutarch and Anquetil's translation of the Avesta, only shows the correctness of the latter; it does not at all prove that Plutarch gave the true version of the secret meaning of the Zoroastrian religion. Well may Sir W. Jones have exclaimed that the Avesta of Anquetil, so full of silly tales, and laws so absurd, could not be the work of such a sage as Zoroaster! 

The first Zara-Ishtar was a Median, born in Rae, say the Greeks, who place the epoch in which he flourished five or six thousand years before the Trojan war; while according to the teachings of the Secret Doctrine this "first" was the "last" or seventh Zarathushtra (the 13th of the Desatir)—though he was followed by one more Zaruastara or Suryâchâria (later, owing to a natural change of language transformed into Zuryater and again into Zarathushtra), who lived in the days of the first Gushtasp (not the father of Darius though, as imagined by some scholars). * [Footnote. *. It is now an exploded theory that showed King Vistaspa—(or Gushtasp) as identical with the father of Darius, hence as flourishing 600 B.C. Vistaspa was the last of the line of the Kalanian princes who ruled in Bactriana: and Bactriana was conquered by the Assyrians 1200 B.C. Our earlier Zend scholars are guilty of more than one such gross mistake. Thus Hystaspes is made in History to crush the Magi, and reintroduce the pure religion of Zoroaster, as though those were two distinct religions; and at the same time an inscription is found on the tomb of Darius or Darayavush, stating that he (the crusher of Magianism!) was himself, "teacher and hierophant of magic," or Magianism! (See Isis Unveiled, Vol. II, pp. 141-142). ] The latter is very improperly called "the founder" of modern Monotheistic Parseeism, for besides being only a revivalist and the exponent of the modern philosophy, he was the last to make a desperate attempt at the restoration of pure Magianism. He is known to have gone from Shiz to Mt. Zebilan in the cave, whither proceeded the initiates of the Magi; an upon emerging from it to have returned with the Zend-Avesta re-translated once more and commented upon by himself. This original commentary, it is claimed exists till now among other old works in the secret libraries. But its copies—now in the possession of the profane world, bears as much resemblance to it as the Christianity of today to that of its Founder. And now, if we are asked, as we have been repeatedly, if there are indeed men in whose power it is to give the correct version of true Zoroastrianism, then why do they not do so? We answer; "because—very few will believe it in this our age." Instead of benefiting men they would but hurt the devotees of those truths. And as to giving the world more information about the locality known as Airyana-Vaego, we need to point but to the sentence in Fargard I, in which we find Ahura-Mazda saying to Spitama "the most benevolent—that he had made every land—even though it had no charms whatever in it—dear to its dwellers, since otherwise the "whole living world would have invaded the Airyana-Vaêgo" (I, 2.) * [Footnote. *. Why do we find Zoroaster in the Bundahish offering a sacrifice in "Irân-Vêg"—distorted name for Airyana-Vaêgo, and where or what was this country? Though some Orientalists call it "no real country," and others identify it with the basin of the Aras, the latter has nothing to do with Airyana-Vaêgo. The last Zarathusht may have chosen, and he has so chosen, the banks of the Aras for the cradle of his newly reborn religion; only that cradle received a child reborn and suckled elsewhere, namely, in Airyana-Vaêgo (the true "seed of the Aryas," who were then all that was noble and true) which place is identical with the Sambhala of the Hindus and the Arhats, a place now regarded also as mystical. In Fargard II, 21 (42), Ahura-Mazda call together "a meeting of the celestial Yazatas," and Yima, the first man, of the excellent mortals," in the Airyana-Vaêgo—"in the far-off lands of the rising sun," says the Book of Numbers of the Chaldees, written on the Euphrates. Those of the Parsees who have ears, let them hear, and—draw their inferences; and, perchance it may be also found that the Brahmans who came from the North to India bringing with them all the learning of secret wisdom, came from a place still more northward than lake Mânasa-sarovara ]. Hence unable to satisfy entirely our readers, we can say but very little. If our opinion can in any way help our correspondent, we are ready to share it with him and say, that Zend scholars and Orientalists notwithstanding, it is our belief that not only the the Persian theologians of the latter portion of the Sassanian dynasty disfigured entirely their sacred books, but, that owing to the  presence of the pharisaical element and the Rabbis during the pre-Christian as well as post-Christian periods in Persia and Babylonia, they have borrowed from the Jews at least as much as the latter have borrowed from them. If the sacred books of the Pharisees owe their angelology and other  speculations to the Babylonians, the modern Avesta commentaries owe the Jews undeniably their anthropomorphic creator, as well as their crude notions about Heaven and Hell. 

The learned Colonel will be doing a great favor to the Parsees, if he will consent to say what he  thinks of the following from The History of the Conflict between Religion and Science, by W. Draper: 
"Persia, as is the case with all empires of long duration, had passed through many changes of religion. She had followed the Monotheism of Zoroaster; had then accepted Dualism, and exchanged that for Magianism. At the time of the Macedonia expedition, she recognized one universal Intelligence, the Creator, Preserver and Governor of all things the most holy essence of truth, the giver of all good. He was not to be represented by any image or any graven form.

In the later years of the empire, the principle of Magianism had gradually prevailed more and more over those of Zoroaster. Magianism was essentially a worship of the elements. Of these, fire was considered the most worthy representative of the Supreme Being." (Pages 15-16.)

Colonel Olcott would probably answer that Professor Draper was right with regard to the many phases which the great religion of Persia—if we have to call it thus—had passed. But Draper mentions by name only Monotheism, Dualism, Magianism—a kind of refined Višishtadvaitism—and Fire or element worship, whereas he might have enumerated the gradual changes by the dozen. Moreover, he begins his enumeration at the wrong end. If Monotheism has ever been the religion of the Parsees at any time, it is so now, not then, namely in the Zoroaster period. 

The Zend-Avesta, with some exceptions, contains nothing essentially different from what the Vedas contain. The gods, the rishis, the ceremonies, the modes of prayers, and the prayers themselves, are but a reflex of the Vedas. Surely then when Zoroaster dissented from the Brahmans, it could not be merely to adopt the same pantheism or polytheism in a different language. The teachings of Zoroaster must necessarily be something quite different. Some may say he dissented from the idol worship of the Brahmans; but I think history can prove that the Brahmans were idolaters before they left Ariana. Does it not rather appear that the Magians who followed Zoroastrianism, copied everything from their close neighbours the Brahmans and muddles it perhaps, under the sway of altered popular superstitions of the age, the true teachings of Zoroaster. The learned Colonel or yourself, or any of your contributors, whose learning is, I may say without flattery, very enviable, will be doing a great service to the Parsees, if he will kindly say what he thinks the true teaching of Zoroaster was.

Enough is said, we believe, in our preceding statements to show what we honestly think of "the true teaching of Zoroaster." It is only in such rare non-liturgical fragments as the Hâdhôhkt Nask fior instance, that the true teachings of Zarathushtra Spitana, or those of primitive Magianism may yet  be found, and even these have to be read as a  sacred code to which a key has to be applied. Thus, every word in the tenets given in the Hâdhôkht and relating to the fate of the soul after death, has its occult meaning. It is not correct to say even of the latter version of the Zend-Avesta that its gods, prayers, and rites are all "but a reflex of the Vedas." Neither the Brahmans, nor the Zoroastrians have copied one from the other. With the exception of the word Zeruana in its later meaning of "Boundless" time, instead of "Boundless" Spirit, The "One eternity," explained in the sense of the Brahmanical chakra or endless circle, there is nothing borrowed from the Vedas. Both the Vedas and the Zend-Avesta originating from the same school, have naturally the same symbols, only very differently explained, still—having the same esoteric significance. Professor Max Muller, speaking of the Parsees, calls them "the disinherited sons of Manu"; and declares elsewhere, that the Zoroatrians and their ancestors started from India during the Vaidik period, which "can be proved as distinctly as that the inhabitants of Massilia started from Greece." * [Footnote. *. Chips from a German Workshop, Vol. I, p. 84 (ed. 1881). We certainly do not mean to question the hypothesis, though as he gives it, it is still but a personal opinion. The Zoroastrians have, undoubtedly, been "settled in India before they immigrated into Persia" as they have ages later, returned again to Aryavarta, when they got indeed "under the sway of altered popular superstitions, and forgot the true teachings of Zoroaster." But this theory cuts both ways. For, it neither proves that they have not entered India together and at the same time as the first Brahmans who came to if from the far north; nor that the latter had not been "settled" in Persia, Media, Babylonia and elsewhere before they immigrated into the land of the Seven Rivers. Between Zoroaster, the primeval institutor of "Sun" worship, and Zarathushtra, the primeval expounder of the occult properties and transcendental powers of the divine (Promethean) Fire, there lies the abyss of ages. The latter was one of the earliest hierophants, one of the first Athravans (priests, or teachers of "fire"), while the Zoroaster of :Gushtasp" was living some 4,000 years B.C. Indeed Bunsen places Zoroaster at Bactria and the emigration of the Bactrians to the Indus at 3784 B.C. And this Zoroaster taught, not what he had learned "from," but with, the Brahmans, i.e., at Airyana-Vaêgo, since what is identical with Brahmanical symbology is found but in the earlier Vedas, not in any latter Commentaries; it may be even said of the Vedas themselves, that though compiled in the land of the Seven Rivers, they existed ages before in the north. Thus if anyone is to be blamed for getting under "the sway of altered superstitions" of the Brahmans, it is not the Zoroastrians of that age, but indeed Hystaspes, who, after visiting "the Brahmans of Upper India," as Ammianus tells us † [Footnote.†. Ammiahus Mecellinust, History, Bk XXIII, ch. vi, 32.—and having been instructed by them, infused their latter rites and ideas into the already disfigured Magian worship.

Hargrave Jennings, a mystic, has eulogized fire as being the best symbol of worship, but he says nowhere that the fire symbol, directly worshipped in its own name and as one of the created elements, as is done in the Zend-Avesta, is in any way defensible. The learned Colonel, in his lecture on the Spirit of Zoroatrianism, defends fire-worshippers, but does he really understand them as offering direct prayer as above stated? Fire-worship is borrowed from the Vedas.

We think not. Fire-worship, or rather reverence for fire, was in the remote ages universal. Fire and water are the elements in which Occult Science teaches, the active and passive productive powers of the universe are respectively centered. Says Hippocrates (De Diate, Book I, iii); "All living creatures...animals and men originate from the two Principles, differing in potency but agreeing in purpose. I mean Fire and Water...Father fire gives life to all things, but Mother water nourishes them." Has our friend who seems to show such an evident scorn for the emblems of his own religion, ever studied those of other people? Has he ever been told, that there never was a religion but paid reverence to the Sun and Fire, as fittest emblems of Life, hence—of the life-giving principle; nay, that there is not, even at present, one single creed on our globe (including Christianity) but has preserved this reverence in its ritualism, though the emblems with time have been changed and disfigured? The only essential difference between the modern Parsee Mobeds and the Christian Clergy lies in this: the devotees of the former being profoundly attached to the old religion—though they may have forgotten its origin—have honestly left exoteric Zoroatrianism standing before the jury of the world, who judges on mere appearances—unveiled in its apparent nakedness; while Christian theologians less unsophisticated, kept perpetually modifying Christianity in exact proportion as science advanced and the world became more enlightened, until finally their religion now stands under a thick, withal very insecure mask. All the religions from the old Vaidik, the Zoroastrian and the Jewish creeds down to modern Christianity, the illegitimate and repudiated progeny of the last, sprang from archaic Magianism, or the Religion based upon the knowledge of Occult nature, called sometimes Sabaeanism—the "worship" (?) of the Sun, moon, and stars. See what Evan Powell Meredith in his Correspondence, touching the Divine Origin of the Christian Religion, with the Vicar of Whaplode says: 

Your Sacred Books, Sir, are replete with phrases used in fire-worship and with narrations of the appearance of a fire-god. It was as a flame of fire, that the Jewish Deity first appeared to Moses. it was as fire he gave the law on Mount Sinai. It was the God that answered as fire, who was to be the true God in the contest held between Elijah and the prophets of Baal. It was as fire the same God answered his servant David. The altar of incense displayed this fire. The same fire, with incense—a perfume used by heathens in their worship—was carried by the priests in their censers; and this fire, once, miraculously killed some of them... All the burnt-offerings of the Jews, like those of other nations, originated in fire-worship, the worshippers supposing that the god of fire devoured their sacrifices, as food, whether vegetable or animal, human or bestial. In "a chariot of fire, and horses of fire," precisely like the heathen chariot and horses of the sun, Elijah went up to heaven. We are told that Jehovah went before the Jews "as a consuming fire"; and we are assured, not only by the Jews, that his Jehovah Aleim is "a consuming fire" even a jealous God (or, as some translate the latter expression, even the burning God...) but also by the Christian, that his Theos of Zeus (Ioue, Iove, Jove, Jupiter, etc.) is a consuming fire! We find hat the sacred fire of Jehovah was in Zion, as well as in the temple of Vesta, or of Minerva (Isa., xxxi, 9), and as a still more remarkable proof of the identity of the Jewish fire-worship, with that of the Gentiles, we find that the fire of Jehovah, on the brazen altar was to be kept always burning—was never to be allowed to go out (Lev., vi, 13).Precisely in like manner was the sacred fire kept burning in the temple of Diana, among the Persians. The Magi of Persia and Chaldea had the care of preserving this holy fire. In the temple of Ceres and of Apollo the sacred fire was always kept burning. The preservation of the fire in the temple of Minerva was entrusted to a number of young women, just as the vestal Virgins were charged with the preservation of the sacred fire in the temple of Vesta under penalty of death, if they allowed this precious fire to be extinguished. The custom of preserving the sacred fire is much older than the Hebrew mythology, Diodorus Siculus tells us that it was derived by the Romans from the Greeks, and by them from the Egyptians (who borrowed it from the Chaldeans). There is very little doubt that it is nearly as old as Sun-worship, and that fire, when worshipped, was originally regarded as an emblem of the Solar Deity. All the ancints imaged the god to b a body of fire. By all his worshippers he was considered to have existed from Eternity, and to have created, not only all other luminous bodies but the whole universe. He was thought to be the "father of lights," and to have all other luminaries, such as the Moon, stars, and so on under his control and guidance. As a Creator, he was called Helios Demiourgos—the Sun-creator or the Solar Creator. In the Psalms, as well as in other parts of the Bible, the creation and government of the world are attributed to the Solar Deity in a vast numbr of instances which you will find in the sequel (Vide Vossius, De org. ac progr. idol., lib ii, c, 5. Bochart, Canaan, lib., ii, c. 5). As Governor of the Celestial Bodies, thought be the ancients inferior gods, the Helio-Deity of the Bible is constantly called "God of Hosts,"  "Lord of Hosts," "Lord the God of Hosts," etc. (Jehovah Tsabaoth, Alei Tsabaoth.) Wherever the God of Hosts is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, there can be no room for doubt that the writer meant the Sun (the Lord of the Hosts of Stars). We often read of the light, glory, and shining of the God of Hosts, such as—"O Lord God of Hosts, cause thy face to shine" (Psalms, lxxx, 3, 4, 7).

We invite our correspondent, if he wants to trace in the Ritualism or modern Christian theology the of Fire-worship—to read The Rosicrucians, by Hargrave Jennings, with more attention than he had hitherto done. Fire is the essence of all active power in nature. Fire and water are the elements to which all organized and animated beings owe their existence on our Earth, at any rate, the sun is the only visible and undeniable Creator and Regenerator of life. 

If one should take a cursory glance through the Spiegel-Bleeck translation of Zend-Avesta, he will find that the portions in languages other than Zend are marked in italics. He will also find that in common with several others, all the penitential portions in the Avesta, without exception, are also in italics, indicating that the portions and the doctrine they contain, were introduced at a very late period. Will the learned Colonel or yourself, or any of your contributors, kindly say what Zoroastrianism looks like when divested of the doctrine of penitence? And when further divested of all that has been copied by the Magians from the Vedas, I think nothing worth knowing remains. 

 We would put the last sentence otherwise, and say that "divested of its few remaining non-liturgical fragments," and a few Fargards and Yashts explained esoterically, nothing worth knowing can be found in the Avesta as it stands at present. Prodicus and some of the early Gnostics were the last who had in their possession some of the secret books of Zoroaster. That those "secret" books were not the Avesta in present form, can be proved by the non-attractiveness of its texts which have nothing in them as  explained now, to fascinate the mystic. Prodicus had the secret code as well as the key to it. A few of the adpts of ancient Magianism existed and were known publicly in those days since Clemens Alexandrinus speaks of those sho follow the heresy of Prodicus and "boast of possessing the secret books of Zoroaster." * [Footnote. *  Strom., Book I, Ch. xv.]

You have often said, and your Theosophist brothers have also said, that the Christians live in a house of glass, and that the Theosophists know what the Christians are. The same is said of Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. But we are never told what the Christians really are or what their true teachings should be. Do Theosophists think that such general remarks without the slightest attempt to support them by proofs better than those furnished by ordinary histories, will in any way serve any purpose? If the arguments should be any other than founded upon Occult philosophy, then I think the difficulties in your way should prove similar to those that have beset and deterred the Christian missionaries in India. 

The followers of every one of the present great exoteric religions "live in a house of glass." The impeachment is pretty well proved, we should say, by their respective inhabitants having nigh broken by this time all the windowpanes of their neighbours, who have returned the compliment. It is sufficient, we believe, to study Christianity, and compare its hundreds of mutually conflicting and destroying sects, to find out what they are, or rather what they are not; for surely a true Christlike Christian is rarer in our days than a white cow. It is not, however in the columns of this journal that we can undertake to show all that "they really are," nor have we hitherto shown any signs—whenever occasion presented itself—of limiting our charges to "general remarks"; but, since truth is very unpalatable, and as they are showing by their actions better than we can ever do so in words, their real moral standard—we regard it as a loss of time to be ever presenting before them a mirror. It is the task undertaken and carried out in a most excellent way by the freethinkers, in whose current literature one can find everything one may desire in the shape of proof. Our business is to winnow by the means of Occult philosophy the grain from the chaff, to show what a thing is not, and thus allow the profane an opportunity to judge for themselves and see what it is. 

The above are the questions that have been embarrasing me for months, and I do hope that diffuse though they are, you will do me the favour to insert them in the next issue of The Theosophist. If they will only serve to stir the Parsee scholars (unfortunately I am not a scholar) I shall be satisfied.

We have done our best to satisfy our correspondent. The subject is of a tremendous interest to every thinking Parsee, but he has to help himself if he would learn more. His religion is not dead yet; and under the lifeless mask of modern Zoroastrianism the pulse of the Magi of old still beats. We have endeavoured as briefly as possible to give a correct, though very superficial, view of the purport and spirit of true Magianism. There is not a sentence in this for which authority cannot be shown. 

Articles by H. P. Blavatsky


  

Articles by HPB

Full text online of 238 articles

hpbyoung

From 1875 to about 1891 HPB wrote volumes worth of articles, all intended to explain the major principles of the Widsom Religion that were expounded in her seminal work, "The Secret Doctrine." Although archaic in phraseology, we recommend the student read her articles for insights into the doctrine that so caught the world that today she is called "The mother of modern spiritualty."

We are in the process of correcting typos and uploading them as we can. Hope to have it completed by year end.

You will also notice that where she writes in another language, we have furnished you with the translation.


A Brief Introduction to the Articles

"H.P. Blavatsky (1831-1891) was the principal founder of the Theosophical Society in 1875, and the major inspiration of the resulting Theosophical Movement. Her best known works are Isis Unveiled (1877) and The Secret Doctrine (1888). Of almost equal importance were her voluminous perodical writings, contributed to the Theosophist, which she founded in India in 1879. to Lucifer, begun in 1887, to the Path, edited by William Q. Judge (the third founder of the Theosophical Movemnet) in the United States, to some less known Theosophical journals, and a few other nineteenth-centruy periodicals. - Foreword, from Theosophical Articles".

As you can see on the right panel, the articles are listed in alphabetical order. Most of these articles are available in hardback book form in the 3 volume set "Theosophical Articles: Reprinted from the Theosophist, Lucifer and Other Nineteenth-Century Journals". These articles are marked in Articles" . The remaining articles are also available in hardback book form in "A Modern Panarion"  and they are marked "In Panarion". In the coming months we will be posting her other writings as they appeared in various journals, newspapers, anthologies.

1888

From H. P. Blavatsky Theosophical Articles, Vol. I.


  

Articles by HPB

PEOPLE usually wish that their friends shall have a happy new year, and sometimes "prosperous" is added to "happy." lt. is not likely that much happiness or prosperity can come to those who are living for the truth under such a dark number as 1888; but still the year is heralded by the glorious star Venus-Lucifer, shining so resplendently that it has been mistaken for that still rarer visitor, the star of Bethlehem. This too, is at hand; and surely something of the Christos spirit must be born upon earth under such conditions. Even if happiness and prosperity are absent, it is possible to find something greater than either in this coming year. Venus-Lucifer is the sponsor of our magazine, and as we chose to come to light under its auspices so do we desire to touch on its nobility. This is possible for us all personally, and instead of wishing our readers a happy or prosperous New Year, we feel more in the vein to pray them to make it one worthy of its brilliant herald. This can be effected by those who are courageous and resolute. Thoreau pointed out that there are artists in life, persons who can change the colour of a day and make it beautiful to those with whom they come in contact. We claim that there are adepts, masters in life who make it divine, as in all other arts. Is it not the greatest art of all, this which affects the very atmosphere in which we live? That it is the most important is seen at once, when we remember that every person who draws the breath of life affects the mental and moral atmosphere of the world, and helps to colour the day for those about him. Those who do not help to elevate the thoughts and lives of others must of necessity either paralyse them by indifference, or actively drag them down. When this point is reached, then the art of life is converted into the science of death; we see the black magician at work. And no one can be quite inactive. Although many bad books and pictures are produced, still not everyone who is incapable of writing or painting well insists on doing so badly. Imagine the result if they were to! Yet so it is in life. Everyone lives, and thinks, and speaks. If all our readers who have any sympathy with LUCIFER endeavoured to learn the art of making life not only beautiful but divine, and vowed no longer to be hampered by disbelief in the possibility of this miracle, but to commence the Herculean task at once, then 1888, however unlucky a year, would have been fitly ushered in by the gleaming star. Neither happiness nor prosperity are always the best of bedfellows for such undeveloped mortals as most of us are; they seldom bring with them peace, which is the only permanent joy. The idea of peace is usually connected with the close of life and a religious state of mind. That kind of peace will however generally be found to contain the element of expectation. The pleasures of this world have been surrendered, and the soul waits contentedly in expectation of the pleasures of the next. The peace of the philosophic mind is very different from this and can be attained to early in life when pleasure has scarcely been tasted, as well as when it has been fully drunk of. The American Transcendentalists discovered that life could be made a sublime thing without any assistance from circumstances or outside sources of pleasure and prosperity. Of course this had been discovered many times before, and Emerson only took up again the cry raised by Epictetus. But every man has to discover this fact freshly for himself, and when once he realised it he knows that he would be a wretch if he did not endeavour to make the possibility a reality in his own life. The stoic became sublime because he recognised his own absolute responsibility and did not try to evade it; the Transcendentalist was even more, because he had faith in the unknown and untried possibilities which lay within himself. The occultist fully recognises the responsibility and claims his title by having both tried and acquired knowledge of his own possibilities.

The Theosophist who is at all in earnest, sees his responsibility and endeavours to find knowledge, living, in the meantime, up to the highest standard of which he is aware. To all such, Lucifer gives greeting! Man's life is in his own hands, his fate is ordered by himself. Why then should not 1888 be a year of greater spiritual development than any we have lived through? It depends on ourselves to make it so. This is an actual fact, not a religious sentiment. In a garden of sunflowers every flower turns towards the light. Why not so with us?

And let no one imagine that it is a mere fancy, the attaching of importance to the birth of the year. The earth passes through its definite phases and man with it; and as a day can be coloured so can a year. The astral life of the earth is young and strong between Christmas and Easter. Those who form their wishes now will have added strength to fulfill them consistently.

--H. P. BLAVATSKY

Lucifer, January, 1888

A REPLY TO OUR CRITICS

OUR FINAL ANSWER TO SEVERAL OBJECTIONS.

From A Modern Panarion


  

Articles by HPB

[Vol. II No. 10, July, 1881.]

IN the ordinary run of daily life speech may be silver, while "silence is gold." With the editors of periodicals devoted to some special object "silence" in certain cases amounts to cowardice and false pretences. Such shall not be our case.

We are perfectly aware of the fact that the simple presence of the word "Spiritualism" on the title-page of our journal "causes it to lose in the eyes of materialist and sceptic fifty per cent of its value"—for we are repeatedly told so by many of our best friends, some of whom promise us more popularity, hence an increase of subscribers, would we but take out the "contemptible" term and replace it by some other, synonymous in meaning, but less obnoxious phonetically to the general public. That would be acting under false pretences. The undisturbed presence of the unpopular word will indicate our reply.

That we did not include "Spiritualism" among the other subjects to which our journal is devoted ' in the hopes that it should do us good service among the Spiritualists" is proved by the following fact: From the first issue of our Prospectus to the present day, subscribers from "spiritual" quarters have not amounted to four per cent on our subscription list. Yet, to our merriment, we are repeatedly spoken of as "Spiritualists" by the press and our opponents. Whether really ignorant of, or purposely ignoring our views, they tax us with belief in spirits. Not that we would at all object to the appellation—too many far worthier and wiser persons than we firmly believing in "Spirits"—but that would be acting under "false pretences" again. And so we are called a "Spiritualist" by persons who foolishly regard the term as a "brand," while the orthodox Spiritualists, who are well aware that we attribute their phenomena to quite another agency than spirits, resent our peculiar opinions as an insult to their belief, and in their turn ridicule and oppose us.

This fact alone ought to prove, if anything ever will, that our journal pursues an honest policy. That, established for the one and sole object, namely, for the elucidation of truth, however unpopular, it has remained throughout true to its first principle—that of absolute impartiality. And that as fully answers another charge, viz., that of publishing views of our correspondents with which we often do not concur ourselves. "Your journal teems with articles upholding ridiculous superstitions and absurd ghost-stories," is the complaint in one letter. "You neglect laying a sufficient stress in your editorials upon the necessity of discriminating between facts and error, and in the selection of the matter furnished by your contributors," says another. A third one accuses us of not sufficiently rising "from supposed facts to principles, which would prove to our readers in every case the former no better than fictions." In other words, as we understand it, we are accused of neglecting scientific induction. Our critics may be right, but we also are not altogether wrong. In the face of the many crucial and strictly scientific experiments made by our most eminent savants, it would take a wiser sage than King Solomon himself to decide now between fact and fiction. The query, "What is truth?" is more difficult to answer in the nineteenth than in the first century of our era. The appearance of his "evil genius" to Brutus in the shape of a monstrous human form, which, entering his tent in the darkness and silence of the night, promised to meet him in the plains of Philippi, was a fact to the Roman tyrannicide; it was but a dream to his slaves, who neither saw nor heard anything on that night. The existence of an antipodal continent and the heliocentric system were facts to Columbus and Galileo years before they could actually demonstrate them; yet the existence of America, as that of our present solar system, was as fiercely denied several centuries back as the phenomena of Spiritualism are now. Facts existed in the "pre-scientific past," and errors are as thick as berries in our scientific present. With whom then is the criterion of truth to be left? Are we to abandon it to the mercy and judgment of a prejudiced society, constantly caught trying to subvert that which it does not understand; ever seeking to transform sham and hypocrisy into synonyms of "propriety" and "respectability"? Or shall we blindly leave it to modern exact science, so-called? But science has neither said her last word nor can her various branches of knowledge rejoice in their qualification of exact but so long as the hypotheses of yesterday are not upset by the discoveries of to-day. "Science is atheistic, phantasmagorical, and always in labour with conjecture. It can never become knowledge per se. Not to know is its climax," says Prof. A. Wilder, our New York Vice-President, certainly more of a man of science himself than many a scientist better known than he is to the world. Moreover, the learned representatives of the Royal Society have as many cherished hobbies, and are as little free of prejudice and preconception as any other mortals. It is perhaps to religion and her handmaid theology, with her "seventy-times seven" sects, each claiming and none proving its right to the claim of truth, that in our search for it we ought to humbly turn? One of our severe Christian Areopagites actually expresses the fear that "even some of the absurd stories of the Purânas have found favour with The Theosophist." But let him tell us, Has the Bible any less "absurd ghost-stories" and "ridiculous miracles" in it than the Hindu Purânas and Buddhist Mahâ Jâtaka, or even one of the most "shamefully superstitious publications" of the Spiritualists? (We quote from his letter.) We are afraid in one and all it is but

Faith, fanatic faith, once wedded fast
To some dear falsehood, hugs it to the last . . .

and—we decline accepting anything on faith. In common with most of the periodicals we remind our readers in every number of The Theosophist that its "Editors disclaim responsibility for opinions expressed by contributors," with some of which they (we) do not agree. And that is all we can do. We never started out in our paper as teachers, but rather as humble and faithful recorders of the innumerable beliefs, creeds, scientific hypotheses, and—even "superstitions" current in the past ages and now more than lingering yet in our own. Never having been a sectarian—i.e., an interested party—we maintain that in the face of the present situation, during that incessant warfare, in which old creeds and new doctrines, conflicting schools and authorities, revivals of blind faith and incessant scientific discoveries, running a race as though for the survival of the fittest, swallow up and mutually destroy and annihilate each other—daring indeed were that man who would assume the task of deciding between them! Who, we ask, in the presence of those most wonderful and most unexpected achievements of our great physicists and chemists would risk to draw the line of demarcation between the possible and the impossible? Where is the honest man who, conversant at all with the latest conclusions of archæology, philology, palæography and especially Assyriology, would undertake to prove the superiority of the religious "superstitions" of the civilized Europeans over those of the "heathen," and even of the fetish-worshipping savages?

Having said so much, we have made clear, we hope, the reason why, believing no mortal man infallible, nor claiming that privilege for ourselves, we open our columns to the discussion of every view and opinion, provided it is not proved absolutely supernatural. Besides, whenever we make room for "unscientific" contributions it is when these treat upon subjects which lie entirely out of the province of physical science—generally upon questions that the average and dogmatic scientist rejects à priori and without examination, but which the real man of science finds not only possible, but after investigation very often fearlessly proclaims the disputed question as an undeniable fact. In respect to most transcendental subjects the sceptic can no more disprove than the believer prove his point. Fact is the only tribunal we submit to, and recognize it without appeal. And before that tribunal a Tyndall and an ignoramus stand on a perfect par. Alive to the truism that every path may eventually lead to the highway as every river to the ocean, we never reject a contribution simply because we do not believe in the subject it treats upon, or disagree with its conclusions. Contrast alone can enable us to appreciate things at their right value; and unless a judge compares notes and hears both sides he can hardly come to a correct decision. Dum vitant stulti vitia in contraria is our motto; [Translation: When fools try to avoid errors...BNet Editors] and we seek to walk prudently between the many ditches without rushing into either. For one man to demand from another that he shall believe like himself, whether in a question of religion or science, is supremely unjust and despotic. Besides, it is absurd. For it amounts to exacting that the brains of the convert, his organs of perception, his whole organization, in short, be reconstructed precisely on the model of that of his teacher, and that he shall have the same temperament and mental faculties as the other has. And why not his nose and eyes, in such a case? Mental slavery is the worst of all slaveries. It is a state over which brutal force having no real power, it always denotes either an abject cowardice or a great intellectual weakness.

Among many other charges, we are accused of not sufficiently exercising our editorial right of selection. We beg to differ and contradict the imputation. As every other person blessed with brains instead of calves' feet jelly in his head we certainly have our opinions upon things in general, and things occult especially, to some of which we hold very firmly. But these being our personal views, and though we have as good a right to them as any, we have none whatever to force them for recognition upon others. We do not believe in the activity of "departed spirits"—others, and among these many of the Fellows of the Theosophical Society, do, and we are bound to respect their opinions so long as they respect ours. To follow every article from a contributor with an Editor's Note correcting "his erroneous ideas" would amount to turning our strictly impartial journal into a sectarian organ. We decline such an office of "Sir Oracle."

The Theosophist is a journal of our Society. Each of its Fellows being left absolutely untrammelled in his opinions, and the body representing collectively nearly every creed, nationality and school of philosophy, every member has a right to claim room in the organ of his Society for the defence of his own particular creed and views. Our Society being an absolute and an uncompromising Republic of Conscience, preconception and narrow-mindedness in science and philosophy have no room in it. They are as hateful and as much denounced by us as dogmatism and bigotry in theology; and this we have repeated usque ad nauseam.

Having explained our position, we will close with the following parting words to our sectarian friends and critics. The materialists and sceptics who upbraid us in the name of modern science—the dame who always shakes her head and finger in scorn at everything she has not yet fathomed—we would remind of the suggestive but too mild words of the great Arago: "He is a rash man who outside of pure mathematics pronounces the word 'impossible.'" And to theology, which under her many orthodox masks throws mud at us from behind every secure corner, we retort by Victor Hugo's celebrated paradox: "In the name of Religion we protest against all and every religion!"

H. P. BLAVATSKY

 

1890!

ON THE NEW YEAR'S MORROW

From H. P. Blavatsky Theosophical Articles, Vol. II.


  

Articles by HPB

The veil which covers the face of futurity is woven by the hand of Mercy. --BULWER LYTTON

A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL! This seems easy enough to say, and everyone expects some such greeting. Yet, whether the wish, though it may proceed from a sincere heart, is likely to be realized even in the case of the few--is more difficult to decide. According to our theosophical tenets, every man or woman is endowed, more or less, with a magnetic potentiality, which when helped by a sincere, and especially by an intense and indomitable will--is the most effective of magic levers placed by Nature in human hands--for woe as for weal. Let us then, Theosophists, use that will to send a sincere greeting and a wish of good luck for the New Year to every living creature under the sun--enemies and relentless traducers included. Let us try and feel especially kindly and forgiving to our foes and persecutors, honest or dishonest, lest some of us should send unconsciously an "evil eye" greeting instead of a blessing. Such an effect is but too easily produced even without the help of the occult combination of the two numbers, the 8 and the 9, of the late departed, and of the newly-born year. But with these two numbers staring us in the face, an evil wish, just now, would be simply disastrous!

"Hulloo!" we hear some casual readers exclaiming. "Here's a new superstition of the theosophic cranks: let us hear it. . . ."

You shall, dearly beloved critics, though it is not a new but a very old superstition. It is one shared, once upon a time, and firmly believed in, by all the Cæsars and World-potentates. These dreaded the number 8, because it postulates the equality of all men. Out of eternal unity and the mysterious number seven, out of Heaven and the seven planets and the sphere of the fixed stars, in the philosophy of arithmetic, was born the ogdoad. It was the first cube of the even numbers, and hence held sacred. 1 [Footnote: 1. As shown by Ragon, the Mason-Occultist, the gnostic ogdoad had eight stars representing the 8 cabiri of Samothrace, the 8 principles of the Egyptians and Phœnicians, the 8 gods of Xenocrates, the 8 angles of the cubic stone. ] In Eastern philosophy number eight symbolises equality of units, order and symmetry in heaven, transformed into inequality and confusion on earth, by selfishness, the great rebel against Nature's decrees.

"The figure 8 or indicates the perpetual and regular motion of the Universe," says Ragon. But if perfect as a cosmic number it is likewise the symbol of the lower Self, the animal nature of man. Thus, we augur ill for the unselfish portion of humanity from the present combination of the year-numbers. For the central figures 89 in the year 1890, are but a repetition of the two figures in the tail-end of 1889. And nine was a digit terribly dreaded by the ancients. With them it was a symbol of great changes, cosmic and social, and of versatility, in general; the sad emblem of the fragility of human things. Figure 9 represents the earth under the influence of an evil principle; the Kabalists holding, moreover, that it also symbolises the act of reproduction and generation. That is to say that the year 1890 is preparing to reproduce all the evils of its parent 1889, and to generate plenty of its own. Three times three is the great symbol of corporisation, or the materialisation of spirit according to Pythagoras--hence of gross matter.2 [Footnote: 2. The reason for this is because according to the Pythagoreans each of the three elements that constitute our bodies is a ternary: water. containing earth and fire: earth containing aqueous and igneous particles; and fire being tempered by aqueous globules and terrestrial corpuscles serving it as food. Hence the name given to matter, the "nonagous envelope." ] Every material extension, every circular line was represented by number 9, for the ancient philosophers had observed that, which the philosophicules of our age either fail to see, or else attribute to it no importance whatever. Nevertheless, the natural depravity of this digit and number is awful. Being sacred to the spheres it stands as the sign of circumference, since its value in degrees is equal to 9--i.e., to 3+6+0. Hence it is also the symbol of the human head--especially of the modern average head, ever ready to be parading as 9 when it is hardly a 3. Moreover, this blessed 9 is possessed of the curious power of reproducing itself in its entirety in every multiplication and whether wanted or not; that is to say, when multiplied by itself or any other number this cheeky and pernicious figure will always result in a sum of 9--a vicious trick of material nature, also, which reproduces itself on the slightest provocation. Therefore it becomes comprehensible why the ancients made of 9 the symbol of Matter, and we, the modern Occultists, make of it that of the materialism of our age--the fatal nineteenth century, now happily on its decline.


If this antediluvian wisdom of the ages fails to penetrate the "circumference" of the cephaloid "spheres" of our modern Scientists and Mathematicians--then we do not know what will do so. The occult future of 1890 is concealed in the exoteric past of 1889 and its preceding patronymical eight years.

Unhappily--or shall we say, happily--man in this dark cycle is denied, as a collective whole, the faculty of foresight. Whether we take into our mystic consideration the average business man, the profligate, the materialist, or the bigot, it is always the same. Compelled to confine his attention to the day's concern, the business man but imitates the provident ant by laying by a provision against the winter of old age; while the elect of fortune and Karmic illusions tries his best to emulate the grasshopper in his perpetual buzz and summer-song. The selfish care of the one and the utter recklessness of the other make both disregard and often remain entirely ignorant of any serious duty towards Human kind. As to the latter two, namely the materialist and the bigot, their duty to their neighbours and charity to all begin and end at home. Most men love but those who share their respective ways of thinking, and care nothing for the future of the races or the world; nor will they give a thought, if they can help it, to post-mortem life. Owing to their respective psychical temperaments each man expects death will usher him either through golden porches into a conventional heaven, or through sulphurous caverns into an asbestos hell, or else to the verge of an abyss of non-existence. And lo, how all of them--save the materialist--do fear death to be sure! May not this fear lie at the bottom of the aversion of certain people to Theosophy and Metaphysics? But no man in this century--itself whirling madly towards its gaping tomb--has the time or desire to give more than a casual thought either to the grim visitor who will not miss one of us, or to Futurity.

They are, perhaps, right as to the latter. The future lies in the present and both include the Past. With a rare occult insight Rohel made quite an esoterically true remark, in saying that "the future does not come from before to meet us, but comes streaming up from behind over our heads." For the Occultist and average Theosophist the Future and the Past are both included in each moment of their lives, hence in the eternal PRESENT. The Past is a torrent madly rushing by, that we face incessantly, without one second of interval; every wave of it, and every drop in it, being an event, whether great or small. Yet, no sooner have we faced it, and whether it brings joy or sorrow, whether it elevates us or knocks us off our feet, than it is carried away and disappears behind us, to be lost sooner or later in the great Sea of Oblivion. It depends on us to make every such event non-existent to ourselves by obliterating it from our memory; or else to create of our past sorrows Promethean Vultures--those "dark-winged birds, the embodied memories of the Past," which, in Sala's graphic fancy wheel and shriek over the Lethean lake." In the first case, we are real philosophers; in the second--but timid and even cowardly soldiers of the army called mankind, and commanded in the great battle of Life by "King Karma." Happy those of its warriors by whom Death is regarded as a tender and merciful mother. She rocks her sick children into sweet sleep on her cold, soft bosom but to awake them a moment after, healed of all ailing, happy, and with a tenfold reward for every bitter sigh or tear. Post-mortem oblivion of every evil--to the smallest--is the most blissful characteristic of the "paradise" we believe in. Yes: oblivion of pain and sorrow and the vivid recollection only, nay once more the living over of every happy moment of our terrestrial drama; and, if no such moment ever occurred in one's sad life, then, the glorious realization of every legitimate, well-earned, yet unsatisfied desire we ever had, as true as life itself and intensified seventy-seven times sevenfold. . . .


Christians--the Continental especially--celebrate their New Year days with special pomp. That day is the Devachan of children and servants, and every one is supposed to be happy, from Kings and Queens down to the porters and kitchen-malkins. The festival is, of course, purely pagan, as with very few exceptions are all our holy days. The dear old pagan customs have not died out, not even in Protestant England, though here the New Year is no longer a sacred day--more's the pity. The presents, which used to be called in old Rome strenœ (now, the French étrennes), are still mutually exchanged. People greet each other with the words: Annum novum faustum felicemque tibi, as of yore; the magistrates, it is true, sacrifice no longer a white swan to Jupiter, nor priests a white steer to Janus. But magistrates, priests and all devour still in commemoration of swan and steer, big fat oxen and turkeys at their Christmas and New Year's dinners. The gilt dates, the dried and gilt plums and figs have now passed from the hands of the tribunes on their way to the Capitol unto the Christmas trees for children. Yet, if the modern Caligula receives no longer piles of copper coins with the head of Janus on one side of them, it is because his own effigy replaces that of the god on every coin, and that coppers are no longer touched by royal hands. Nor has the custom of presenting one's Sovereigns with strenœ been abolished in England so very long. D'Israeli tells us in his Curiosities of Literature of 3,000 gowns found in Queen Bess's wardrobe after her death, the fruits of her New Year's tax on her faithful subjects, from Dukes down to dustmen. As the success of any affair on that day was considered a good omen for the whole year in ancient Rome, so the belief exists to this day in many a Christian country, in Russia pre-eminently so. Is it because instead of the New Year, the mistletoe and the holly are now used on Christmas day, that the symbol has become Christian? The cutting of the mistletoe off the sacred oak on New Year's day is a relic of the old Druids of pagan Britain. Christian Britain is as pagan in her ways as she ever was.

But there are more reasons than one why England is bound to include the New Year as a sacred day among Christian festivals. The 1st of January being the 8th day after Christmas, is, according to both profane and ecclesiastical histories, the festival of Christ's circumcision, as six days later is the Epiphany. And it is as undeniable and as world-known a fact as any, that long before the advent of the three Zoroastrian Magi, of Christ's circumcision, or his birth either, the 1st of January was the first day of the civil year of the Romans, and celebrated 2,000 years ago as it is now. It is hard to see the reason, since Christendom has helped itself to the Jewish Scriptures, and along with them their curious chronology, why it should have found it unfit to adopt also the Jewish Rosh-Hashonah (the head of the year), instead of the pagan New Year. Once that the 1st Chapter of Genesis is left headed in every country with the words, "Before Christ, 4004," consistency alone should have suggested the propriety of giving preference to the Talmudic calendar over the pagan Roman. Everything seemed to invite the Church to do so. On the undeniable authority of revelation Rabbinical tradition assures us that it was on the 1st day of the month of Tisri, that the Lord God of Israel created the world--just 5,848 years ago. Then there's that other historical fact, namely that our father Adam was like wise created on the first anniversary of that same day of Tisri--a year after. All this is very important, pre-eminently suggestive, and underlines most emphatically our proverbial western ingratitude. Moreover, if we are permitted to say so, it is dangerous. For that identical first day of Tisri is also called "Yom Haddin," the Day of Judgment. The Jewish El Shaddai, the Almighty, is more active than the "Father" of the Christians. The latter will judge us only after the destruction of the Universe, on the Great Day when the Goats and the Sheep will stand, each on their allotted side, awaiting eternal bliss or damnation. But El Shaddai, we are informed by the Rabbins, sits in judgment on every anniversary of the world's creation--i.e. on every New Year's Day. Surrounded by His archangels, the God of Mercy has the astro-sidereal minute books opened, and the name of every man, woman and child is read to Him aloud from these Records, wherein the minutest thoughts and deeds of every human (or is it only Jewish?) being are entered. If the good deeds outnumber the wicked actions, the mortal whose name is read lives through that year. The Lord plagues for him some Christian Pharaoh or two, and hands him over to him to shear. But if the bad deeds outweigh the good--then woe to the culprit; he is forthwith condemned to suffer the penalty of death during that year, and is sent to Sheol.

This would imply that the Jews regard the gift of life as something very precious indeed. Christians are as fond of their lives as Jews, and both are generally scared out of their wits at the approach of Death. Why it should be so has never been made clear. Indeed, this seems but a poor compliment to pay the Creator, as suggesting the idea that none of the Christians care particularly to meet the Unspeakable Glory of the "Father' face to face. Dear, loving children!

A pious Roman Catholic assured us one day that it was not so, and attributed the scare to reverential awe. Moreover, he tried to persuade his listeners that the Holy Inquisition burnt her "heretics" out of pure Christian kindness. They were put out of the way of terrestrial mischief in this way, he said, for Mother Church knew well that Father God would take better care of the roasted victims than any mortal authority could, while they were raw and living. This may be a mistaken view of the situation, nevertheless, it was meant in all Christian charity.

We have heard a less charitable version of the real reason for burning heretics and all whom the Church was determined to get rid of; and by comparison this reason colours the Calvinistic doctrine of predestination to eternal bliss or damnation with quite a roseate hue. It is said to be stated in the secret records of the Vatican archives, that burning to the last atom of flesh, after breaking all the bones into small fragments, was done with a predetermined object. It was that of preventing the "enemy of the Church," from taking his part and share even in the last act of the drama of the world--as theologically conceived--namely in "the Resurrection of the Dead," or of all flesh, on the great Judgment Day. As cremation is to this hour opposed by the Church on the same principle--to wit, that a cremated "Sleeper" will upon awakening at the blast of the angel's trumpet, find it impossible to gather up in time his scattered limbs--the reason given for the auto da fé seems reasonable enough and quite likely. The sea will give up the dead which are in it, and death and hell will deliver up their dead (Vide "Revelation" xx. 13); but terrestrial fire is not to be credited with a like generosity, nor supposed to share in the asbestosian characteristics of the orthodox hellfire. Once the body is cremated it is as good as annihilated with regard to the last rising of the dead. If the occult reason of the inquisitorial autos da fé rests on fact--and personally we do not entertain the slightest doubt of it, considering the authority it was received from--then the Holy Inquisition and Popes would have very little to say against the Protestant doctrine of Predestination. The latter, as warranted in Revelation, allows some chance, at least, to the "Damned" whom hell delivers at the last hour, and who may thus yet be pardoned. While if things took place in nature as the theology of Rome decreed that they should, the poor "Heretics" would find themselves worse off than any of the "damned." Natural query: which of the two, the God of the Calvinists or the Jesuit of God, he who first invented burning, beats the other in refined and diabolical cruelty? Shall the question remain in 1890, sub judice, as it did in 1790?


But the Inquisition, with its stake and rack and diabolical tortures, is happily abolished now, even in Spain. Otherwise these lines would never have been written; nor would our Society have such zealous and good theosophists in the land of Torquemada and the ancient paradise of man-roasting festivals, as it has now. Happy NEW YEAR to them, too, as to all the Brethren scattered all over the wide globe. Only we, theosophists, so kindly nicknamed the "sevening lunatics," would prefer another day for our New Year. Like the apostate Emperor, many of us have still a strong lingering love for the poetical, bright gods of Olympus and would willingly repudiate the double-faced Thessalonian. The first of Januarius was ever more sacred to Janus than Juno; and janua, meaning "the gate that openeth the year," holds as good for any day in January. January 3, for instance, was consecrated to Minerva-Athene the goddess of wisdom and to Isis, "she who generates life," the ancient lady patroness of the good city of Lutetia. Since then, mother Isis has fallen a victim to the faith of Rome and civilization. and Lutetia along with her. Both were converted in the Julian calendar (the heirloom of pagan Julius Cæsar used by Christendom till the XIIIth century). Isis was baptized Geneviéve, became a beatified saint and martyr, and Lutetia was called Paris for a change, preserving the same old patroness but with the addition of a false nose.3 [Footnote: 3. This festival remains thus unchanged as that of the lady Patroness of Lutetia=Paris, and to this day Isis is offered religious honours in every Parisian and Latin church. Life itself is a gloomy masquerade wherein the ghastly danse Macabre is every instant performed; why should not calendars and even religion in such case be allowed to partake in the travesty?

To be brief, it is January the 4th which ought to be selected by the Theosophists--the Esotericists especially--as their New Year. January is under the sign of Capricornus, the mysterious Makara of the Hindu mystics--the "Kumaras," it being stated, having incarnated in mankind under the 10th sign of the Zodiac. For ages the 4th of January has been sacred to Mercury-Budha,4 [Footnote: 4. The 4th of January being sacred to Mercury, of whom the Greeks made Hermes the R. Catholics have included St. Hermes in their Calendar. Just in the same way, the 9th of that month having been always celebrated by the pagans as the day of the "conquering sun" the R. Catholics have transformed the noun into a proper name, making, of it St. Nicanor (from the Greek nican, to conquer), whom they honour on the 10th of January. ] or Thoth-Hermes. Thus everything combines to make of it a festival to be held by those who study ancient Wisdom. Whether called Budh or Budhi by its Aryan name, Mercurios, the son of Cœlus and Hecate truly, or of the divine (white) and infernal (black) magic by its Hellenic, or again Hermes or Thoth its Greco-Egyptian name, the day seems in every way more appropriate for us than January 1, the day of Janus, the double-faced "god of the time"--servers. Yet it is well named, and as well chosen to be celebrated by all the political Opportunists the world over.

Poor old Janus! How his two faces must have looked perplexed at the last stroke of midnight on December 31! We think we see these ancient faces. One of them is turned regretfully toward the Past, in the rapidly gathering mists of which the dead body of 1889 is disappearing. The mournful eye of the God follows wistfully the chief events impressed on the departed Annus: the crumbling Eiffel tower; the collapse of the "monotonous"--as Mark Twain's "tenth mule"--Parnell-Pigot alliteration; the sundry abdications, depositions and suicides of royalty; the Hegira of aristocratic Mahomeds, and such like freaks and fiascos of civilization. This is the Janus face of the Past. The other, the face of the Future, is enquiringly turned the other way, and stares into the very depths of the womb of Futurity; the hopeless vacancy in the widely open eye bespeaks the ignorance of the God. No; not the two faces, nor even the occasional four heads of Janus and their eight eyes can penetrate the thickness of the veils that enshroud the karmic mysteries with which the New Year is pregnant from the instant of its birth. What shalt thou endow the world with, O fatal Year 1890 with thy figures between a unit and a cipher, or symbolically between living man erect, the embodiment of wicked mischief-making, and the universe of matter! 5 [Footnote: 5. It is only when the cipher or nought stands by itself and without being preceded by any digit that it becomes the symbol of the infinite Kosmos and--of absolute Deity. ] The "influenza" thou hast already in thy pocket, for people see it peeping out. Of people daily killed in the streets of London by tumbling over the electric wires of the new "lighting craze," we have already a premonition through news from America. Dost thou see, O Janus, perched like "sister Anne" upon the parapet dividing the two years, a wee David slaying the giant Goliath, little Portugal slaying great Britain, or her prestige, at any rate. on the horizons of the torrid zones of Africa? Or is it a Hindu Soodra helped by a Buddhist Bonze from the Empire of the Celestials who make thee frown so? Do they not come to convert the two-thirds of the Anglican divines to the worship of the azure coloured Krishna and of the Buddha of the elephant-like pendant ears, who sits cross-legged and smiles so blandly on a cabbage-like lotus? For these are the theosophical ideals--nay, Theosophy itself, the divine Wisdom--as distorted in the grossly materialistic, all-anthropomorphizing mind of the average British Philistine. What unspeakable new horrors shalt thou, O year 1890, unveil before the eyes of the world? Shall it though ironclad and laughing at every tragedy of life sneer too, when Janus, surnamed on account of the key in his right hand, Janitor, the door-keeper to Heaven--a function with which he was entrusted ages before he became St. Peter--uses that key? It is only when he has unlocked one after the other door of every one of the 365 days (true "Blue Beard's secret chambers") which are to become thy future progeny, O mysterious stranger, that the nations will be able to decide whether thou wert a "Happy," or a Nefast Year.

Meanwhile, let every nation, as every reader, fly for inquiry to their respective gods, if they would learn the secrets of Futurity. Thus the American, Nicodemus-like, may go to one of his three living and actually reincarnated Christs, each calling himself Jesus, now flourishing under the star-bespangled Banner of Liberty. The Spiritualist is at liberty to consult his favorite medium, who may raise Saul or evoke the Spirit of Deborah for the benefit and information of his client. The gentleman-sportsman can bend his steps to the mysterious abode of his rival's jockey, and the average politician consult the secret police, a professional chiromancer, or an astrologer, etc., etc. As regards ourselves we have faith in numbers and only in that face of Janus which is called the Past. For--doth Janus himself know the future?--or

. . . perchance himself he does not know.

--H. P. Blavatsky
Lucifer, January, 1890

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