Basque Language Part II
Dear Member of Blavatsky Net,
This is the second part of a two part series on the origin of the Basque language - a mystery to traditional linguists. Blavatsky offers us a somewhat enigmatic quote on the subject.
Palæolithic European man of the Miocene and Pliocene times was a pure Atlantean, as we have previously stated. The Basques are, of course, of a much later date than this, but their affinities, as here shown, go far to prove the original extraction of their remote ancestors. The "mysterious" affinity between their tongue and that of the Dravidian races of India will be understood by those who have followed our outline of continental formations and shiftings. (SDii790)
The previous newsletter reported on the rather striking confirmation from a linguist that of all languages, Dravidian is the one closest to Basque. According to the measures used by the linguist, the two languages astonishingly measured at a rate of over 50% commonality thus giving a striking confirmation of Blavatsky's knowledge. This newsletter explores what connection she may have had in mind between Basque and Dravidian from a Theosophical point of view.
I have always assumed that she was referring to the notion that the Pyrenees, where the Basque live, was roughly connected to India by a horseshoe shaped land mass connecting Atlantis of the Atlantic Ocean with Lemuria of the Pacific Ocean. She says:
No confusion need arise as regards the postulation of a Northern "Lemuria." The prolongation of that great continent into the North Atlantic Ocean is in no way subversive of the opinions so widely held as to the site of the lost Atlantis, and one corroborates the other. It must be noted that the Lemuria, which served as the cradle of the Third Root-Race, not only embraced a vast area in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, but extended in the shape of a horse-shoe past Madagascar, round "South Africa" (then a mere fragment in process of formation), through the Atlantic up to Norway. (SDii333)
Blavatsky then references an old river bed to appeal to knowledge known to Science.
The great English fresh-water deposit called the Wealden—which every geologist regards as the mouth of a former great river—is the bed of the main stream which drained Northern Lemuria in the Secondary Age. The former reality of this river is a fact of science—will its votaries acknowledge the necessity of accepting the Secondary-age Northern Lemuria, which their data demand?
Since she wrote, Wealden has moved into its own kind of fame. In 1912, it was this Wealden river bed in England that she mentions that was chosen by the perpetrator's as the location for the planting of the Piltdown Man, now perhaps the most famous hoax in science. I guess it looked like the right kind of place for the "discovery" of an ancient man.
The respected site, Talk Origins, has a Piltdown page at http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/piltdown.html. It offers an interesting professional view.
In 1954, shortly after the exposure, Hinton wrote a revealing letter to Gavin de Beer director of the British Museum (Natural History): The temptation to invent such a 'discovery' of an ape-like man associated with late Pliocene Mammals in a Wealden gravel might well have proved irresistable to some unbalanced member of old Ben Harrison's circle at Ightham. He and his friends (of whom I was one) were always talking of the possibility of finding a late Pliocene deposit in the weald.
So her reference to Wealden does point to a very old-seeming geological area of England.
Professor Berthold Seeman not only accepted the reality of such a mighty continent, but regarded Australia and Europe as formerly portions of one continent—thus corroborating the whole "horse-shoe" doctrine already enunciated.
Viewing this as one continent is probably what she had in mind in the first quote at the beginning of this newsletter connecting Basque and Dravidian.
HER KNOWLEDGE OF THE OCEAN BOTTOM
What she says in her next few sentences is a very impressive confirmation of her knowledge so it is included here.
No more striking confirmation of our position could be given, than the fact that the ELEVATED RIDGE in the Atlantic basin, 9,000 feet in height, which runs for some two or three thousand miles southwards from a point near the British Islands, first slopes towards South America, then shifts almost at right angles to proceed in a SOUTH-EASTERLY line toward the African coast, whence it runs on southward to Tristan d'Acunha.
The internet certainly does facilitate research today. In the above quote she is building upon the results of the ship, The Challenger, in mapping the Atlantic Ocean bottom that was published in 1877. That report used to cost $5,000 to purchase. With that price it was not reasonable to acquire a copy of the report to study just what information was openly available at the time of her writing. Now, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has placed online what appears to be the crowning achievement of that Challenger's report. Their notation of it says:
The "Contour Map of the Atlantic" should be known as one of the classical maps of the Earth Sciences. This version of the map was published by Sir Wyville Thomson of the CHALLENGER Expedition in 1877 and is the first ever to show the continuity of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The N-S line in the south Atlantic followed the ridge and is among the most important survey lines ever run.
To find the map, visit http://www.photolib.noaa.govCollections/Voyage/History-of-Oceanography-Collection/Bathymetrics-Maps-Collection/emodule/1287/eitem72871. Follow the whiter areas to follow the description she is giving. If you check carefully you will see at the bottom of the map the island "Tristan d'Acnha" that she mentions above. My guess is that she expressed herself in the next quote as she does concerning Tristan d'Acunha due to its appearance at the bottom of that map.
This ridge is a remnant of an Atlantic continent, and, could it be traced further, would establish the reality of a submarine horse-shoe junction with a former continent in the Indian Ocean. (Cf. chart adapted from the "Challenger" and "Dolphin" soundings in Mr. Donnelly's, Atlantis, the "Antediluvian World," p. 47.)
She is asserting where the ocean ridge would go if the map were continued. Very dramatically - she was exactly correct! Today we know for a certainty, without concern for future changing of information, that the ridge does indeed go exactly as she described.
How did she know what was on the ocean bottom? Perhaps more importantly, why did she know that?
Presumably she knew it because it was significant in understanding the migration over land of the descendants of the Lemurians and of the history of humanity.
The Atlantic portion of Lemuria was the geological basis of what is generally known as Atlantis. The latter, indeed, must be regarded rather as a development of the Atlantic prolongation of Lemuria, than as an entirely new mass of land upheaved to meet the special requirements of the Fourth Root-Race.
One more thing. The ridge she is describing, all the way from North Atlantic to Indian Ocean, is exactly the path of part of what is today called the plate tectonic boundary.
SOUTH AMERICAN CONNECTION
We are not yet quite done with understanding her starting quote on Basque and Dravidian.
I have always assumed that what she meant is explained by reference to the horseshoe continent of Atlantis and Lemuria as detailed above. But I wonder, did she possibly also have in mind the following:
Science also refuses to sanction the wild hypothesis that there was a time when the Indian peninsula at one end of the line, and South America at the other, were connected by a belt of islands and continents. The India of the pre-historic ages . . . . was doubly connected with the two Americas. The lands of the ancestors of those whom Ammianus Marcellinus calls the 'Brahmans of Upper India' stretched from Kashmir far into the (now) deserts of Schamo. A pedestrian from the north might then have reached—hardly wetting his feet—the Alaskan peninsula, through Manchooria, across the future Gulf of Tartary, the Kurile and Aleutian islands; while another traveller, furnished with a canoe, and starting from the South, could have walked over from Siam, crossed the Polynesian Islands and trudged into any part of the continent of South America." (But see "Five years of Theosophy," art. "Leaflets from "Esoteric History," pp. 338 and 340.) This was written from the words of a MASTER—a rather doubtful authority for the materialists and the sceptics. (SDii327)
It may be worth mentioning as an aside that science today finds an underwater land mass that matches her description of the northern passage across the Pacific. That land mass is named "Beringia' by science today. (The full explanation for the sinking of Atlantis - which is way too much for this newsletter - will also very readily account for the submergence of Beringia which appears to have happened about the same time. Also there is at least a string of seamounts - that is, submerged mountains - extending underwater off the coast of South America and westward into the Pacific that is supportive of her claim of a southerly way to cross the Pacific.
With her assertion of these two ways of crossing the Pacific, there is a second conceivable way for Basque and Dravidian to be related. Conceivably the language crossed the Pacific and from the western hemisphere passed across Atlantis and finally reached the Pyrenees. There is at least a little bit of rare information that is supportive of this possibility.
According to Farrar ("Families of Speech") the "isolated language" of the Basques has no affinities with the other languages* of Europe, but with "the aboriginal languages of the vast opposite continent (America) and those alone." Professor Broca is also of the same opinion. (SDii790)
The above is footnoted:
* For further facts as to the isolation of the Basques in Europe and their ethnological relations cf. Joly, "Man before Metals," p. 316.
Maybe Joly should also be investigated some day.
With these statements she appears to be commenting favorably on the connection of Basque to the western hemisphere.
The Atlantologist Joseph adds an additional remark by Farrar.
As the linguist Farrar writes, "The fact is indisputable and is eminently noteworthy, that while the affinities of the Basque roots have never been conclusively elucidated, there has never been any doubt that this isolated language, preserving its identity in a western corner of Europe, between two mighty kingdoms, resembles, in its grammatical structure, the aboriginal languages of the vast opposite continent [ America]" ( p. 29) (from Edgar Cayce's Atlantis and Lemuria by Frank Joseph p.34) (Louis Farrar's book is A Modern Survival of Ancient Linguistics, 1922.)
Based on the long-ago year of publishing, 1922, I am assuming this is the same Farrar that is quoted in the Secret Doctrine.
Alexander Braghine was a well studied Atlantologist and wrote The Shadow of Atlantis in 1940 which is still kept in print today. He wrote:
When in Guatemala, I often heard about one Indian tribe, living in the Peten district (Northern Guatemala): this tribe speaks a language resembling Basque, and I have heard of an occasion when a Basque missionary preached in Peten in his own idiom with great success.
So the connection to Central America is also confirmed.
Now the puzzle gets a little deeper and begins to pass across the Pacific.
As to the resemblance of the Japanese and Basque languages, I once saw a list of analogous words with the same significance in both tongues and I was stupefied by the quantity of such words. The word "iokohama", for instance, signifies in Basque "a seashore city," and everybody knows the great port of Yokohama in Japan. Both nations, the Basques and Japanese, are of low stature, both possess a square-built and strong constitution and both are black-haired. [Braghines last point is clearly wrong. The Basques are known for being tall. RC.] ... A very interesting Indian tribe called the Otomis lives in the neighbourhood of Tula in Mexico: these Indians speak the old Japanese idiom, and once when the Japanese ambassador to Mexico visited this tribe he talked with them in this old dialect. Taking into consideration all these facts and observations, I would like to offer the following conjecture. It is likely that the emigration from Atlantis developed in two directions, eastwards and westwards ... ( Shadow of Atlantis p. 187-188)
But could a linguist actually substantiate something as unusual as a connection between Japanese and Basque? Remember the quote in the previous newsletter?
However, the ease with which Edo Nyland assembled the long list of related Basque-Ainu words, makes it likely that Ainu could even be closer to early Basque than Dravidian. A student of Lexico-Statistical Method should test this possibility.
Coming from the direction of Ainu (roughly: ancient Japanese) we find an interesting passage declaring Ainu as another language isolate:
The Ainu language is significantly different from Japanese in its syntax, phonology, morphology, and vocabulary. Although there have been attempts to show that they are related, the vast majority of modern scholars reject that the relationship goes beyond contact, i.e., mutual borrowing of words between Japanese and Ainu. In fact, no attempt to show a relationship with Ainu to any other language has gained wide acceptance, and Ainu is currently considered to be a language isolate. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ainu_people)
Case closed. Unusual connections demonstrated. The next time you hear "language isolate" - maybe it isn't.
HOW DID SHE KNOW?
How did she know about the very strong affinities between Basque and Dravidian? The official sources all say Basque is a language isolate. All the Atlantologists I quoted are quite interested in Basque, particularly anything having to do with origins. Yet none of them mention Dravidian. The current Dravidian dictionary was not published until the 20th century so she could not have used that.
Certainly she did not use mitochondrial DNA analysis to reach her conclusions. DNA wasn't discovered yet. She did not use the language comparison technique used by some of these linguists.
Actually it appears the masters have a different approach that relies upon a fact of nature. I cannot remember any Theosophist ever quoting from "Five Years of Theosophy" yet that book is filled with unusual information. This last quote is from that source and is a little longer because the information bears on our subject, is inherently interesting, and is never quoted.
While the Western historian puts together the mutilated, incomplete records of various nations and people, and makes them into a clever mosaic according to the best and most probable plan and rejects entirely traditional fables, the Occultist pays not the slightest attention to the vain self-glorification of alleged conquerors or their lithic inscriptions. Nor does he follow the stray bits of so-called historical information, often concocted by interested parties and found scattered hither and thither in the fragments of classical writers, whose original texts themselves have not seldom been tampered with. The Occultist follows the ethnological affinities and their divergences in the various nationalities, races and sub-races, in a more easy way; and he is guided in this as surely as the student who examines a geographical map. As the latter can easily trace by their differently coloured outlines the boundaries of the many countries and their possessions; their geographical superficies and their separations by seas, rivers and mountains; so the Occultist can by following the (to him) well distinguishable and defined auric shades and gradations of colour in the inner-man unerringly pronounce to which of the several distinct human families, as also to what special group, and even small sub-group of the latter, belongs any particular people, tribe, or man. This will appear hazy and incomprehensible to the many who know nothing of ethnic varieties of nerve-aura, and disbelieve in any "inner-man" theory, scientific but to the few. The whole question hangs upon the reality or unreality of the existence of this inner-man whom clairvoyance has discovered, and whose odyle or nerve-emanations Von Reichenbach proves. If one admits such a presence and realizes intuitionally that being closer related to the one invisible Reality, the inner type must be still more pronounced than the outer physical type, then it will be a matter of little, if any, difficulty to conceive our meaning. For, indeed, if even the respective physical idiosyncrasies and special characteristics of any given person make his nationality usually distinguishable by the physical eye of the ordinary observer--let alone the experienced ethnologist: the Englishman being commonly recognizable at a glance from the Frenchman, the German from the Italian, not to speak of the typical differences between human root-families* in their anthropological division--there seems little difficulty in conceiving that the same, though far more pronounced, difference of type and characteristics should exist between the inner races that inhabit these "fleshly tabernacles."
Another approach for knowing these things is the information contained in "documentary records".
Besides this easily discernible psychological and astral differences, there are the documentary records in their unbroken series of chronological tables and the history of the gradual branching off of races and sub-races from the three geological primeval Races, the work of the Initiates of all the archaic and ancient temples up to date, collected in our "Book of Numbers," and other volumes. (Five Years of Theosophy p. 327-329)
SOURCES FOR THIS NEWSLETTER
Secret Doctrine 1888 - the magnum opus of Madame Blavatsky.
Five Years of Theosophy - a collection of rare, interesting, and valuable Theosophical material
The Shadow of Atlantis by Alexander Braghine 1940. A well studied Atlantologist who's work is still kept in print today.
Edgar Cayce's Atlantis and Lemuria by Frank Joseph 2001
A Modern Survival of Ancient Linguistics, Louis Farrar, 1922 currently out of print.