Great is the self-satisfaction of modern science,
and unexampled its achievements. Pre-christian and mediæval
philosophers may have left a few landmarks over unexplored mines:
but the discovery of all the gold and priceless jewels is due
to the patient labours of the modern scholar. And thus
they declare that the genuine, real knowledge of the nature
of the Kosmos and of man is all of recent growth. The luxuriant
modern plant has sprung from the dead weeds of ancient superstitions.
Such, however, is not the view of the students of
Theosophy. And they say that it is not sufficient to speak
contemptuously of "the untenable conceptions of an uncultivated
past," as Mr. Tyndall and others have done,
to hide the intellectual quarries out of which the reputations
of so many modern philosophers and scientists have been hewn.
How many of our distinguished scientists have derived honour and
credit by merely dressing up the ideas of those old philosophers,
whom they are ever ready to disparage, is left to an impartial
posterity to say. But conceit and self-opinionatedness
have fastened like two hideous cancers on the brains of the average
man of learning; and this is especially the case with the
Orientalists Sanskritists, Egyptologists and Assyriologists.
The former are guided (or perhaps only pretend to be guided) by
post-Mahâbhâratan commentators; the latter
by arbitrarily interpreted papyri, collated with what this
or the other Greek writer said, or passed over in silence,
and by the cuneiform inscriptions on half-destroyed clay tablets
copied by the Assyrians from "Accado-" Babylonian records.
Too many of them are apt to forget, at every convenient
opportunity, that the numerous changes in language,
the allegorical phraseology and evident secretiveness of old mystic
writers, who were generally under the obligation never
to divulge the solemn secrets of the sanctuary, might have
sadly misled both translators and commentators. Most of
our Orientalists will rather allow their conceit to run away with
their logic and reasoning powers than admit their ignorance,
and they will proudly claim like Professor Sayce1 that
they have unriddled the true meaning of the religious symbols
of old, and can interpret esoteric texts far more correctly
than could the initiated hierophants of Chaldæa and Egypt.
This amounts to saying that the ancient hierogrammatists and priests,
who were the inventors of all the allegories which served as veils
to the many truths taught at the Initiations, did not possess
a clue to the sacred texts composed or written by themselves.
But this is on a par with that other illusion of some Sanskritists,
who, though they have never even been in India,
claim to know Sanskrit accent and pronunciation, as also
the meaning of the Vedic allegories, far better than the
most learned among the greatest Brahmânical pundits and
Sanskrit scholars of India.
After this who can wonder that the jargon and blinds of our mediæval
alchemists and Kabalists are also read literally by the modern
student; that the Greek and even the ideas d Aeschylus
are corrected and improved upon by the Cambridge and Oxford
Greek scholars, and that the veiled parables of Plato are
attributed to his "ignorance." Yet if the students
of the dead languages know anything, they ought to know
that the method of extreme necessitarianism was practiced in ancient
as well as in modern philosophy; that from the first ages
of man, the fundamental truths of all that we are permitted
to know on earth were in the safe keeping of the Adepts of the
sanctuary; that the difference in creeds and religious
practice was only external; and that those guardians of
the primitive divine revelation, who had solved every problem
that is within the grasp of human intellect, were bound
together by a universal freemasonry of science and philosophy,
which formed one unbroken chain around the globe. It is
for philology and the Orientalists to endeavour to find the end
of the thread. But if they will persist in seeking it in
one direction only, and that the wrong one, truth
and fact will never be discovered. It thus remains the
duty of psychology and Theosophy to help the world to arrive at
them. Study the Eastern religions by the light of Eastern not
Western philosophy, and if you happen to relax correctly
one single loop of the old religious systems, the chain
of mystery may be disentangled. But to achieve this,
one must not agree with those who teach that it is unphilosophical
to enquire into first causes, and that all that we can
do is to consider their physical effects. The field of
scientific investigation is bounded by physical nature on every
side; hence, once the limits of matter are reached,
enquiry must stop and work be re-commenced. As the Theosophist
has no desire to play at being a squirrel upon its revolving wheel,
he must refuse to follow the lead of the materialists.
He, at any rate, knows that the revolutions of the
physical world are, according to the ancient doctrine,
attended by like revolutions in the world of intellect,
for the spiritual evolution in the universe proceeds in cycles,
like the physical one. Do we not see in history a regular
alternation of ebb and flow in the tide of human progress? Do
we not see in history, and even find this within our own
experience, that the great kingdoms of the world,
after reaching the culmination of their greatness, descend
again, in accordance with the same law by which they ascended?
till, having reached the lowest point, humanity
reasserts itself and mounts up once more, the height of
its attainment being, by this law of ascending progression
by cycles, somewhat higher than the point from which it
had before descended. Kingdoms and empires are under the
same cyclic laws as plants, races and everything else in
The division of the history of mankind into what the Hindus call
the Sattva, Tretya, Dvâpara and Kali Yugas,
and what the Greeks referred to as "the Golden, Silver,
Copper, and Iron Ages" is not a fiction. We
see the same thing in the literature of peoples. An age
of great inspiration and unconscious productiveness is invariably
followed by an age of criticism and consciousness. The
one affords material for the analyzing and critical intellect
of the other. "The moment is more opportune than ever
for the review of old philosophies. Archæologists,
philologists, astronomers, chemists and physicists
are getting nearer and nearer to the point where they will be
forced to consider them. Physical science has already reached
its limits of exploration; dogmatic theology sees the springs
of its inspiration dry. The day is approaching when the
world will receive the proofs that only ancient religions were
in harmony with nature, and ancient science embraced all
that can be known." Once more the prophecy already
made in Isis Unveiled twenty-two years ago is reiterated.
"Secrets long kept may be revealed; books long forgotten
and arts long time lost may be brought out to light again;
papyri and parchments of inestimable importance will turn up in
the hands of men who pretend to have unrolled them from mummies,
or stumbled upon them in buried crypts; tablets and pillars,
whose sculptured revelations will stagger theologians and confound
scientists, may yet be excavated and interpreted.
Who knows the possibilities of the future? An era of disenchantment
and rebuilding will soon begin nay, has already begun.
The cycle has almost run its course; a new one is about
to begin, and the future pages of history may contain full
evidence, and convey full proof of the above."
The chronology of the Hindu Purânas, reproduced in
The Secret Doctrine, is now derided,
but the time may come when it will be universally accepted.
This may be regarded as simply an assumption, but it will
be so only for the present. It is in truth but a question
of time. The whole issue of the quarrel between the defenders
of ancient wisdom and its detractors lay and clerical rests
(a) on the incorrect comprehension of the old philosophies,
for the lack of the keys the Assyriologists boast of having discovered;
and (b) on the materialistic and anthropomorphic tendencies
of the age. This in no wise prevents the Darwinists and
materialistic philosophers from digging into the intellectual
mines of the ancients and helping themselves to the wealth of
ideas they find in them; nor the divines from discovering
Christian dogmas in Plato's philosophy and calling them "presentiments,"
as in Dr. Lundy's Monumental Christianity, and
other like modern works.
Of such "presentiments" the whole literature or what
remains of this sacerdotal literature of India, Egypt,
Chaldæa, Persia, Greece and even of Guatemala
(Popul Vuh), is full. Based on the
same foundation-stone the ancient Mysteries the primitive religions,
all without one exception, reflect the most important of
the once universal beliefs, such, for instance,
as an impersonal and universal divine Principle, absolute
in its nature, and unknowable to the "brain"
intellect, or the conditioned and limited cognition of
man. To imagine any witness to it in the manifested universe,
other than as Universal Mind, the Soul of the universe
is impossible. That which alone stands as an undying and
ceaseless evidence and proof of the existence of that One Principle,
is the presence of an undeniable design in kosmic mechanism,
the birth, growth, death and transformation of everything
in the universe, from the silent and unreachable stars
down to the humble lichen, from man to the invisible lives
now called microbes. Hence the universal acceptation of
"Thought Divine," the Anima Mundi of all antiquity.
This idea of Mahat (the great) Akâshâ or Brahma's
aura of transformation with the Hindus, of Alaya,
"the divine Soul of thought and compassion" of the trans-Himâlayan
mystics; of Plato's "perpetually reasoning Divinity,"
is the oldest of all the doctrines now known to, and believed
in, by man. Therefore they cannot be said to have
originated with Plato, nor with Pythagoras, nor
with any of the philosophers within the historical period.
Say the Chaldæan Oracles: "The works
of nature co-exist with the intellectual spiritual Light of
the Father. For it is the Soul which adorned the great
heaven, and which adorns it after the Father."
"The incorporeal world then was already completed,
having its seat in the Divine Reason," says Philo,
who is erroneously accused of deriving his philosophy from Plato.
In the Theogony of Mochus, we find Æther first,
and then the air; the two principles from which Ulom,
the intelligible God (the visible universe of matter) is
In the Orphic hymns, the Eros-Phanes evolves from the Spiritual
Egg, which the æthereal winds impregnate,
wind being "the Spirit of God," who is said to
move in æther, "brooding over the Chaos" the
Divine "Idea." In the Hindu Kathopanishad,
Purusha, the Divine Spirit, stands before the
original Matter; from their union springs the great Soul
of the World, "Mahâ-Âtmâ,
Brahm, the Spirit of Life;" these latter appellations
are identical with the Universal Soul, or Anima Mundi,
and the Astral Light of the Theurgists and Kabalists.
Pythagoras brought his doctrines from the eastern sanctuaries,
and Plato compiled them into a form more intelligible than the
mysterious numerals of the Sage whose doctrines he had fully
embraced to the uninitiated mind. Thus, the Kosmos
is "the Son" with Plato, having for his father
and mother the Divine Thought and Matter. The "Primal
Being" (Beings, with the Theosophists,
as they are the collective aggregation of the divine Rays),
is an emanation of the Demiurgic or Universal Mind which contains
from eternity the idea of the "to be created world"
within itself, which idea the unmanifested LOGOS
produces of Itself. The first Idea "born in darkness
before the creation of the world" remains in the unmanifested
Mind; the second is this Idea going out as a reflection
from the Mind (now the manifested LOGOS),
becoming clothed with matter, and assuming an objective
Lucifer, September, 1896
H. P. Blavatsky
l See the Hibbert Lectures for 1887,
pages 14-17, on the origin and growth of the religion of
the ancient Babylonians, where Prof. A. H.
Sayce says that though "many of the sacred texts were so
written as to be intelligible only to the initiated [italics
mine . . . provided with keys and glosses,"
nevertheless, as many of the latter, he adds,
"are in our hands," they (the Orientalists) have
"a clue to the interpretation of these documents which
even the initiated priests did not possess." (p.17.) This "clue" is the modern craze,
so dear to Mr. Gladstone, and so stale in its monotony
to most, which consists in perceiving in every symbol of
the religions of old a solar myth, dragged down,
whenever opportunity requires, to a sexual or phallic emblem.
Hence the statement that while "Gisdhubar was but a champion
and conqueror of old times," for the Orientalists,
who "can penetrate beneath the myths" he is but a solar
hero, who was himself but the transformed descendant of
a humbler God of Fire (loc. cit. p.17). back to text
2 Sargon, the first "Semitic" monarch
of Babylonia, the prototype and original of Moses,
is now placed 3,750 years B.C.
(p. 21), and the Third Dynasty of Egypt "some
6,000 years ago," hence some years before the
world was created, agreeably to Biblical chronology.
(VideHibbert Lectures on Babylonia, by A.
H. Sayce, 1887, pp. 21 and 33.) back to text