[In his article, "The Aryan-Arhat Esoteric Tenets on the Sevenfold
Principle in Man," in the Theosophist for January 1882, Subba
Row made statements which drew comment from H.P.B., printed as the Notes
of an editorial appendix following his article. Before each of these five
Notes by H.P.B., we give in brackets the statement by Subba Row to which
[Subba Row: Now it is extremely
difficult to show whether the Tibetans derived their doctrine from the
ancient Rishis of India, or the ancient Brahmans learned their occult science
from the adepts of Tibet; or again whether the adepts of both countries
professed originally the same doctrine and derived it from a common source.
In this connection it will be well to draw the reader's attention, to
the fact that the country called "Si-dzang" by the Chinese, and
Tibet by Western geographers, is mentioned in the oldest books preserved
in the province of Fo-kien (the chief head-quarters of the aborigines of
China) as the great seat of occult learning in the archaic ages. According
to these records, it was inhabited by the "Teachers of Light,"
the "Sons of Wisdom," and the "Brothers of the Sun."
The Emperor Yu the "Great" (2207 B.C.), a
pious mystic, is credited with having obtained his occult wisdom and the
system of theocracy established by him for he was the first one to unite
in China ecclesiastical power with temporal authority from Si-dzang. That
system was the same as with the old Egyptians and the Chaldees; that which
we know to have existed in the Brahmanical period in India, and to exist
now in Tibet: namely, all the learning, power, the temporal as well as the
secret wisdom were concentrated within the hierarchy of the priests and
limited to their caste. Who were the aborigines of Tibet is a question which
no ethnographer is able to answer correctly at present. They practise the
Bhon religion, their sect is a pre- and anti-Buddhistic one, and they are
to be found mostly in the province of Kam that is all that is known of
them. But even that would justify the supposition that they are the greatly
degenerated descendants of mighty and wise forefathers. Their ethnical type
shows that they are not pure Turanians, and their rites now those of sorcery,
incantations, and nature-worship, remind one far more of the popular rites
of the Babylonians, as found in the records preserved on the excavated cylinders,
than of the religious practices of the Chinese sect of Tao-sse (a religion
based upon pure reason and spirituality) as alleged by some. Generally,
little or no difference is made even by the Kyelang missionaries who mix
greatly with these people on the borders of British Lahoul and ought to
know better between the Bhons and the two rival Buddhist sects, the Yellow
Caps and the Red Caps. The latter of these have opposed the reform of Tzongka-pa
from the first and have always adhered to old Buddhism so greatly mixed
up now with the practices of the Bhons. Were our Orientalists to know more
of them, and compare the ancient Babylonian Bel or Baal worship with the
rites of the Bhons, they would find an undeniable connection between the
two. To begin an argument here, proving the origin of the aborigines of
Tibet as connected with one of the three great races which superseded each
other in Babylonia, whether we call them the Akkadians (invented by F. Lenormant),
or the primitive Turanians, Chaldees and Assyrians is out of question.
Be it as it may, there is reason to call the trans-Himalayan esoteric doctrine
Chaldeo-Tibetan. And, when we remember that the Vedas came agreeably to
all traditions from the Manssorowa Lake in Tibet, and the Brahmins themselves
from the far North, we are justified in looking on the esoteric doctrines
of every people who once had or still has it as having proceeded from one
and the same source; and, to thus call it the "Aryan-Chaldeo-Tibetan"
doctrine, or Universal WISDOM Religion. "Seek for the LOST WORD among the hierophants of Tartary, China and Tibet,"
was the advice of Swedenborg, the seer.
[SUBBA ROW: Your assertion
in "Isis Unveiled" that Sanskrit was the language of the inhabitants
of the said continent (Atlantis), may induce one to suppose that the Vedas
had probably their origin there, wherever else might be the birthplace
of the Aryan esotericism.
Not necessarily we say. The Vedas, Brahmanism, and along with these,
Sanskrit, were importations into what we now regard as India. They were
never indigenous to its soil. There was a time when the ancient nations
of the West included under the generic name of India many of the countries
of Asia now classified under other names. There was an Upper, a Lower, and
a Western India, even during the comparatively late period of Alexander;
and Persia Iran is called Western India in some ancient classics. The countries
now named Tibet, Mongolia, and Great Tartary were considered by them as
forming part of India. When we say, therefore, that India has civilized
the world and was the Alma Mater of the civilizations, arts and sciences
of all other nations (Babylonia, and perhaps even Egypt, included) we mean
archaic, prehistoric India. India of the time when the great Gobi was a
sea and the lost "Atlantis" formed part of an unbroken continent
which began at the Himalayas and ran down over Southern India Ceylon, Java,
to far-away Tasmania.
[SUBBAROW: . . . the knowledge
of the occult powers of nature possessed by the inhabitants of the
lost Atlantis was, learned by the ancient adepts of India and was appended
by them to the esoteric doctrine taught by the residents of the sacred
To ascertain such disputed questions, one has to look into and study
well the Chinese sacred and historical records a people whose era begins
nearly 4,600 years back (2697 B.C.). A people so accurate
and by whom some of the most important inventions of modern Europe
and its so much boasted modern science, were anticipated such as the compass,
gun-powder, porcelain, paper, printing, &c. known, and practised thousands
of years before these were rediscovered by the Europeans ought to receive
some trust for their records. And from Lao-tze down to Hiouen-Thsang their
literature is filled with allusions and references to that island and the
wisdom of the Himalayan adepts. In the Catena of Buddhist Scriptures
from the Chinese by the Rev. Samuel Beal, there is a chapter "On
the TIAN-TA'I School of Buddhism"
(pp. 244-258) which our opponents ought to read. Translating the rules of
that most celebrated and holy school and sect in China founded by Chin-che-Khae,
called Che-chay (the wise one) in the year 575 of our era, when coming to
the sentence which reads: "That which relates to the one garment (seamless)
worn by the GREAT TEACHERS OF THE SNOWY MOUNTAINS,
the school of the Haimavatas" (p. 256) the European translator places
after the last sentence a sign of interrogation, as well he may. The statistics
of the school of the "Haimavatas" or of our Himalayan Brotherhood,
are not to be found in the General Census Records of India. Further, Mr.
Beal translates a Rule relating to "the great professors of the higher
order who live in mountain depths remote from men," the Aranyakas,or hermits.
So, with respect to the traditions concerning this island, and apart
from the (to them) historical records of this preserved in the Chinese
and Tibetan Sacred Books: the legend is alive to this day among the people
of Tibet. The fair Island is no more, but the country where it once bloomed
remains there still, and the spot is well known to some of the "great
teachers of the snowy mountains," however much convulsed and changed
its topography by the awful cataclysm. Every seventh year, these
teachers are believed to assemble in SCHAM-CHA-LO, the "happy land." According to the general
belief it is situated in the north-west of Tibet. Some place it within the
unexplored central regions, inaccessible even to the fearless nomadic tribes;
others hem it in between the range of the Gangdisri Mountains and the northern
edge of the Gobi Desert, South and North, and the more populated regions
of Khoondooz and Kashmir, of the Gya-Pheling (British-lndia), and
China, West and East, which affords to the curious mind a pretty large latitude
to locate it in. Others still place it between Namur Nur and the Kuen-Lun
Mountains but one and all firmly believe in Scham-bha-la, and speak of
it as a fertile, fairy-like land, once an island, now an oasis of incomparable
beauty, the place of meeting of the inheritors of the esoteric wisdom of
the god-like inhabitants of the legendary Island.
In connection with the archaic legend of the Asian Sea and the Atlantic
Continent, is it not profitable to note a fact known to all modern geologists that
the Himalayan slopes afford geological proof, that the substance of those
lofty peaks was once a part of an ocean floor?
[SUBBA ROW: You said that
in cases where tendencies of a man's mind are entirely material, and all
spiritual aspirations and thoughts were altogether absent from his mind,
the seventh principle leaves him either before or at the time of death,
and the sixth principle disappears with it. Here, the very proposition
that the tendencies of the particular individual's mind are entirely material, involves the assertion that there is no spiritual intelligence
or spiritual Ego in him. You should then have said that, whenever
spiritual intelligence should cease to exist in any particular individual
the seventh principle ceases to exist for that particular individual for
all purposes. Of course, it does not fly off anywhere. There can never
be anything like a change of position in the case of Brahmam.
True from the standpoint of Aryan Esotericism, and the
Upanishads; not quite so in the case of the Arahat or Tibetan esoteric
doctrine; and it is only on this one solitary point that the two teachings
disagree, as far as we know. The difference is very trifling though, resting,
as it does, solely upon the two various methods of viewing the one and the
same thing from two different aspects.
We have already pointed out that, in our opinion, the whole difference
between Buddhistic and Vedantic philosophies was that the former was a kind
of Rationalistic Vedantism, while the latter might be regarded as transcendental Buddhism. If the Aryan esotericism applies the term jívátma to the seventh principle, the pure and per
se unconscious spirit it is because the Vedanta postulating three kinds
of existence (1) the pâramârthika (the true, the only real one), (2) the vyavahârika (the practical),
and (3) the pratibhâsika (the apparent or illusory life) makes
the first life or jiva, the only truly existent one.
Brahma or the ONE'S SELF is its only representative
in the universe, as it is the universal Life in toto while the other
two are but its "phenomenal appearances," imagined and created
by ignorance, and complete illusions suggested to us by our blind senses.
The Buddhists, on the other hand, deny either subjective or objective reality
even to that one Self-Existence. Buddha declares that there is neither Creator
nor an ABSOLUTE Being. Buddhist rationalism was ever
too alive to the insuperable difficulty of admitting one absolute consciousness,
as in the words of Flint "wherever there is consciousness there is
relation, and wherever there is relation there is dualism." The ONE LIFE is either "MUKTA"
(absolute and unconditioned) and can have no relation to anything nor to
any one; or it is "BADDHA" (bound and conditioned),
and then it cannot be called the ABSOLUTE; the limitation,
moreover, necessitating another deity as powerful as the first to account
for all the evil in this world. Hence, the Arahat secret doctrine on cosmogony,
admits but of one absolute, indestructible, eternal, and uncreated UNCONSCIOUSNESS (so to translate), of an element (the word
being used for want of a better term) absolutely independent of everything
else in the universe; a something ever present or ubiquitous, a Presence
which ever was, is, and will be, whether there is a God, gods, or none;
whether there is a universe, or no universe; existing during the eternal
cycles of Maha Yugs, during the Pralayas as during the periods of Manvantara: and this is SPACE, the field
for the operation of the eternal Forces and natural Law, the basis (as
our correspondent rightly calls it) upon which take place the eternal intercorrelations
of Akása-Prakriti, guided by the unconscious regular pulsations of Sakti the breath or power of a conscious deity, the theists would
say the eternal energy of an eternal, unconscious Law, say the Buddhists.
Space then, or "Fan, Bar-nang" (Mâha Sûnyatâ)
or, as it is called by Lao-tze, the "Emptiness" is the nature
of the Buddhist Absolute. (See Confucius' "Praise of the Abyss.")
The word jiva then, could never be applied by the Arahats to the Seventh Principle, since it is only through its correlation or contact
with matter that Fo-hat (the Buddhist active energy) can develop
active conscious life; and that to the question "how can Unconsciousness generate consciousness?" the answer would be: "Was
the seed which generated a Bacon or a Newton self-conscious?"
[SUBBA ROW: The term Jivatma is generally applied by our philosophers to the seventh principle when
it is distinguished from Paramatma or Parabrahmam.
The impersonal Parabrahmam thus being made to merge or separate itself
into a personal "jivatma," or the personal god of every
human creature. This is, again, a difference necessitated by the Brahmanical
belief in a God whether personal or impersonal, while the Buddhist Arahats,
rejecting this idea entirely, recognise no deity apart from man.
To our European readers: Deceived by the phonetic similarity, it must
not be thought that the name "Brahman" is identical in this connection
with Brahma or Iswara the personal God. The Upanishads the
Vedanta Scriptures mention no such God and, one would vainly seek in them
any allusions to a conscious deity. The Brahmam, or Parabrahm, the ABSOLUTE of the Vedantins, is neuter and unconscious, and
has no connection with the masculine Brahmâ of the Hindu Triad, or Trimûriti. Some Orientalists rightly believe the name
derived from the verb "Brih," to grow or increase,and to be, in this sense, the universal expansive force of nature,the vivifying and spiritual principle, or power, spread throughout the
universe and which in its collectivity is the one Absoluteness, the one
Life and the only Reality.