The Secret Doctrine by H. P. Blavatsky — Vol. 1
Vol. 1, Page 424 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
THE THEOGONY OF THE CREATIVE GODS.
To thoroughly comprehend the idea underlying every ancient cosmology necessitates the study, in a comparative analysis, of all the great religions of antiquity; as it is only by this method that the root idea will be made plain. Exact science — could the latter soar so high, while tracing the operations of nature to their ultimate and original sources — would call this idea the hierarchy of Forces. The original, transcendental and philosophical conception was one. But as systems began to reflect with every age more and more the idiosyncracies of nations; and as the latter, after separating, settled into distinct groups, each evolving along its own national or tribal groove, the main idea gradually became veiled with the overgrowth of human fancy. While in some countries the Forces, or rather the intelligent Powers of nature, received divine honours they were hardly entitled to, in others — as now in Europe and the civilized lands — the very thought of any such Force being endowed with intelligence seems absurd, and is proclaimed unscientific. Therefore one finds relief in such statements as are found in the Introduction to “Asgard and the Gods: Tales and Traditions of our Northern Ancestors,” by W.S.W. Anson. The author remarks, on p. 3: “Although in Central Asia, or on the banks of the Indus, in the land of the Pyramids, and in the Greek and Italian peninsulas, and even in the North, whither Kelts, Teutons and Slavs wandered, the religious conceptions of the people have taken different forms, yet their common origin is still perceptible. We point out this connection between the stories of the gods, and the deep thought contained in them, and their importance, in order that the reader may see that it is not a magic world of erratic fancy which opens out before him, but that . . . Life and nature formed the basis of the existence and action of these divinities.” And though it is impossible for any Occultist or student of Eastern Esotericism to concur in the strange idea that “the religious con-
Vol. 1, Page 425 MYTH IS ORAL TRADITION.
ceptions of the most famous nations of antiquity are connected with the beginnings of civilization amongst the Germanic races,” he is yet glad to find such truths expressed as that: “These fairy tales are not senseless stories written for the amusement of the idle; they embody the profound religion of our forefathers . . .”
Precisely so. Not only their religion, but likewise their History. For a myth, in Greek [[mythos]], means oral tradition, passed from mouth to mouth from one generation to the other; and even in the modern etymology the term stands for a fabulous statement conveying some important truth; a tale of some extraordinary personage whose biography has become overgrown, owing to the veneration of successive generations, with rich popular fancy, but which is no wholesale fable. Like our ancestors, the primitive Aryans, we believe firmly in the personality and intelligence of more than one phenomenon-producing Force in nature.
As time rolled on, the archaic teaching grew dimmer; and those nations more or less lost sight of the highest and One principle of all things, and began to transfer the abstract attributes of the “causeless cause” to the caused effects — become in their turn causative — the creative Powers of the Universe: the great nations, out of the fear of profaning the idea, the smaller, because they either failed to grasp it or lacked the power of philosophic conception needed to preserve it in all its immaculate purity. But one and all, with the exception of the latest Aryans, now become Europeans and Christians, show this veneration in their Cosmogonies. As Thomas Taylor,* the most intuitional of all the translators of Greek Fragments, shows, no nation has ever conceived the One principle as the immediate creator of the visible Universe, for no sane man would credit a planner and architect with having built the edifice he admires with his own hands. On the testimony of Damascius ([[Peri archon]]) they referred to it as “the Unknown Darkness.” The Babylonians passed over this principle in silence: “To that god,” says Porphyry, in [[Peri apoches empsuchon]], “who is above all things, neither external speech ought to be addressed, nor yet that which is inward. . . . .” Hesiod begins his theogony with: “Chaos of all things was the first produced,”† thus allowing the inference that its cause or producer must be passed over in reverential silence. Homer in his poems ascends no higher than Night, whom he represents Zeus as reverencing. According to all the ancient theologists, and to the doctrines of Pythagoras and Plato, Zeus, or the
* See “Magazine” for April, 1797.
† [[Etoi men protista chaos genet; geneto]] being considered in antiquity as meaning “was generated” and not simply was. (See “Taylor’s Introd. to the Parmenides of Plato,” p. 260.)
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immediate artificer of the universe, is not the highest god; any more than Sir Christopher Wren in his physical, human aspect is the Mind in him which produced his great works of art. Homer, therefore, is not only silent with respect to the first principle, but likewise with respect to those two principles immediately posterior to the first, the AEther and Chaos of Orpheus and Hesiod, and the bound and infinity of Pythagoras and Plato.* . . . . Proclus says of this highest principle that it is. . . . “the Unity of Unities, and beyond the first adyte. . . . . more ineffable than all silence, and more occult than all Essence. . . . . concealed amidst the intelligible gods.” (Ibid.)
To what was written by Thomas Taylor in 1797 — namely, that the “Jews appear to have ascended no higher. . . . than the immediate artificer of the universe”; as “Moses introduces a darkness on the face of the deep, without even insinuating that there was any cause of its existence,”† one might add something more. Never have the Jews in their Bible (a purely esoteric, symbolical work) degraded so profoundly their metaphorical deity as have the Christians, by accepting Jehovah as their one living yet personal God.
This first, or rather one, principle was called “the circle of Heaven,” symbolized by the hierogram of a point within a circle or equilateral triangle, the point being the Logos. Thus, in the Rig Veda, wherein Brahma is not even named, Cosmogony is preluded with the Hiranyagharba, “the Golden Egg,” and Prajapati (Brahma later on), from whom emanate all the hierarchies of “Creators.” The Monad, or point, is the original and is the unit from which follows the entire numeral system. This Point is the First Cause, but that from which it emanates, or of which, rather, it is the expression, the Logos, is passed over in silence. In its turn, the universal symbol, the point within the circle, was not yet the Architect, but the cause of that Architect; and the latter stood to it in precisely the same relation as the point itself stood to the circumference of the Circle, which cannot be defined, according to Hermes Trismegistus. Porphyry shows that the Monad and the Duad of Pythagoras are identical with Plato’s infinite and finite in “Philebus” — or what Plato calls the [[apeiron]] and [[peras]]. It is the latter only (the mother) which is substantial, the former being the “cause of all unity and measure of all things” (Vit. Pyth. p. 47); the Duad (Mulaprakriti, the Veil) being thus shown to be the mother of the Logos and, at the same time, his daughter — i.e., the object of his perception — the produced
* It is the “bound” confused with the “Infinite,” that Kapila overwhelms with sarcasms in his disputations with the Brahman Yogis, who claim in their mystical visions to see the “Highest One.”
† See T. Taylor’s article in his Monthly Magazine quoted in the Platonist, edited by T. M. Johnson, F.T.S., Osceola, Missouri. (Feb. Number of 1887.)
Vol. 1, Page 427 THE CREATIVE LOGOI, ANDROGYNOUS.
producer and the secondary cause of it. With Pythagoras, the Monad returns into silence and Darkness as soon as it has evolved the triad, from which emanate the remaining seven numbers of the 10 (ten) numbers which are at the base of the manifested universe.
In the Norse cosmogony it is again the same. “In the beginning was a great abyss (Chaos), neither day nor night existed; the abyss was Ginnungagap, the yawning gulf, without beginning, without end. All Father, the Uncreated, the Unseen, dwelt in the depth of the ‘Abyss’ (Space) and willed, and what was willed came into being.” (See “Asgard and the Gods.”) As in the Hindu cosmogony, the evolution of the universe is divided into two acts: called in India the Prakriti and Padma Creations. Before the warm rays pouring from the “Home of Brightness” awake life in the Great Waters of Space, the Elements of the first creation come into view, and from them is formed the Giant Ymir (also Orgelmir) — primordial matter differentiated from Chaos (literally seething clay). Then comes the cow Audumla, the nourisher,* from whom is born Buri (the Producer) who, by Bestla, the daughter of the “Frost-Giants” (the sons of Ymir) had three sons, Odin, Willi and We, or “Spirit,” “Will,” and “Holiness.” (Compare the Genesis of the Primordial Races, in this work.) This was when Darkness still reigned throughout Space, when the Ases, the creative Powers (Dhyan Chohans) were not yet evolved, and the Yggdrasil, the tree of the universe of Time and of Life, had not yet grown, and there was, as yet, no Walhalla, or Hall of Heroes. The Scandinavian legends of creation, of our earth and world, begin with time and human life. All that precedes it is for them “Darkness,” wherein All-Father, the cause of all, dwells. As observed by the editor of “Asgard and the Gods,” though these legends have in them the idea of that All-Father, the original cause of all, “he is scarcely more than mentioned in the poems,” not because, as he thinks, before the preaching of the gospel, the idea “could not rise to distinct conceptions of the Eternal,” but on account of its great esoteric character. Therefore, all the creative gods, or personal Deities, begin at the secondary stage of Cosmic evolution. Zeus is born in, and out of Kronos — Time. So is Brahma the production and emanation of Kala, “eternity and time,” Kala being one of the names of Vishnu. Hence we find Odin, the father of the gods and of the Ases, as Brahma is the father of the gods and of the Asuras, and hence also the androgyne character of all the chief creative gods, from the second Monad of the Greeks down to the Sephiroth Adam Kadmon, the Brahma or Prajapati-Vach of the Vedas, and the androgyne of Plato, which is but another version of the Indian symbol.
* Vach — the “melodious cow, who milks sustenance and water,” and yields us “nourishment and sustenance” as described in Rig-Veda.
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The best metaphysical definition of primeval theogony in the spirit of the Vedantins may be found in the “Notes on the Bhagavat-Gita,” by Mr. T. Subba Row. (See “Theosophist” for February, 1887.) Parabrahmam, the unknown and the incognisable, as the lecturer tells his audience:
“. . . . . Is not Ego, it is not non-ego, nor is it consciousness . . . . . it is not even Atma” . . . . . “but though not itself an object of knowledge, it is yet capable of supporting and giving rise to every kind of object and every kind of existence which becomes an object of knowledge. It is the one essence from which starts into existence a centre of energy . . . . .” which he calls Logos.
This Logos is the Sabda Brahmam of the Hindus, which he will not even call Eswara (the “lord” God), lest the term should create confusion in the people’s minds. But it is the Avalokiteswara of the Hindus, the Verbum of the Christians in its real esoteric meaning, not in the theological disfigurement.
“It is,” he says, “the Gnatha or the Ego in the Kosmos, and every other Ego . . . . . . is but its reflection and manifestation. . . . . . It exists in a latent condition in the bosom of Parabrahmam at the time of Pralaya. . . .” (During Manvantara) “it has a consciousness and an individuality of its own . . . . .” (It is a centre of energy, but) . . . . . such centres of energy are almost innumerable in the bosom of Parabrahmam . . . . .” “It must not be supposed, that even the logos is the Creator, or that it is but a single centre of energy . . . . . . their number is almost infinite.” “This Ego,” he adds, “is the first that appears in Kosmos, and is the end of all evolution. It is the abstract Ego” . . . . . “this is the first manifestation (or aspect) of Parabrahmam.” “When once it starts into conscious being . . . . . . from its objective standpoint, Parabrahmam appears to it as Mulaprakriti.” “Please bear this in mind,” observes the lecturer, “for here is the root of the whole difficulty about Purusha and Prakriti felt by the various writers on Vedantic philosophy. This Mulaprakriti is material to it (the Logos), as any material object is material to us. This Mulaprakriti is no more Parabrahmam than the bundle of attributes of a pillar is the pillar itself; Parabrahmam is an unconditioned and absolute reality, and Mulaprakriti is a sort of veil thrown over it. Parabrahmam by itself cannot be seen as it is. It is seen by the Logos with a veil thrown over it, and that veil is the mighty expanse of Cosmic matter. . . .” “Parabrahmam, after having appeared on the one hand as the Ego, and on the other as Mulaprakriti, acts as the one energy through the Logos.”
And the lecturer explains what he means by this acting of something which is nothing, though it is the all, by a fine simile. He compares the Logos to the sun through which light and heat radiate, but whose energy, light and heat, exist in some unknown condition in Space and are diffused in Space only as visible light and heat, the sun being only the agent thereof. This is the first triadic hypostasis. The quaternary is made up by the energizing light shed by the Logos.
The Hebrew Kabalists give it in a shape which esoterically is
Vol. 1, Page 429 THE ONE IS KNOWN BY THE MANY.
identical with the Vedantic. Ain-Soph, they taught, could not be comprehended, could not be located, nor named, though the causeless cause of all. Hence its name — Ain-Soph — is a term of negation, “the inscrutable, the incognizable, and the unnameable.” They made of it, therefore, a boundless circle, a sphere, of which human intellect, with the utmost stretch, could only perceive the vault. In the words of one who has unriddled much in the Kabalistical system, in one of its meanings thoroughly, in its numerical and geometrical esotericism: — “Close your eyes, and from your own consciousness of perception try and think outward to the extremest limits in every direction. You will find that equal lines or rays of perception extend out evenly in all directions, so that the utmost effort of perception will terminate in the vault of a sphere. The limitation of this sphere will, of necessity, be a great Circle, and the direct rays of thought in any and every direction must be right line radii of the circle. This, then, must be, humanly speaking, the extremest all-embracing conception of the Ain-Soph manifest, which formulates itself as a geometrical figure, viz., of a circle, with its elements of curved circumference and right line diameter divided into radii. Hence, a geometrical shape is the first recognisable means of connection between the Ain-Soph and the intelligence of man.”*
This great circle (which Eastern Esotericism reduces to the point within the Boundless Circle) is the Avalokiteswara, the Logos or Verbum of which Mr. Subba Row speaks. But this circle or manifested God is as unknown to us, except through its manifested universe, as the one, though easier, or rather more possible to our highest conceptions. This Logos which sleeps in the bosom of Parabrahmam during Pralaya, as our “Ego is latent (in us) at the time of sushupti, sleep”; which cannot cognize Parabrahmam otherwise than as Mulaprakriti — the latter being a cosmic veil which is “the mighty expanse of cosmic matter” — is thus only an organ in cosmic creation, through which radiate the energy and wisdom of Parabrahmam, unknown to the Logos, as it is to ourselves. Moreover, as the Logos is as unknown to us as Parabrahmam is unknown in reality to the Logos, both Eastern Esotericism and the Kabala — in order to bring the Logos within the range of our conceptions — have resolved the abstract synthesis into concrete images; viz., into the reflections or multiplied aspects of that Logos or Avalokiteswara, Brahma, Ormazd, Osiris, Adam-Kadmon, call it by any of these names — which aspects or Manvantaric emanations are the Dhyan Chohans, the Elohim, the Devas, the Amshaspends, &c., &c. Metaphysicians explain the root and germ of the latter, according to Mr. Subba Row, as the first manifestation of Parabrahmam, “the highest trinity that we
* From the Masonic Review for June, 1886.
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are capable of understanding,” which is Mulaprakriti (the veil), the Logos, and the conscious energy “of the latter,” or its power and light*; or — “matter, force and the Ego, or the one root of self, of which every other kind of self is but a manifestation or a reflection.” It is then only in this “light” (of consciousness) of mental and physical perception, that practical Occultism can throw this into visibility by geometrical figures; which, when closely studied, will yield not only a scientific explanation of the real, objective, existence† of the “Seven sons of the divine Sophia,” which is this light of the Logos, but show by means of other yet undiscovered keys that, with regard to Humanity, these “Seven Sons” and their numberless emanations, centres of energy personified, are an absolute necessity. Make away with them, and the mystery of Being and Mankind will never be unriddled, not even closely approached.
It is through this light that everything is created. This root of mental self is also the root of physical Self, for this light is the permutation, in our manifested world, of Mulaprakriti, called Aditi in the Vedas. In its third aspect it becomes Vach,‡ the daughter and the mother of the Logos, as Isis is the daughter and the mother of Osiris, who is Horus; and Mout, the daughter, wife, and mother of Ammon, in the Egyptian Moon-glyph. In the Kabala, Sephira is the same as Shekinah, and is, in another synthesis, the wife, daughter, and mother of the “Heavenly man,” Adam Kadmon, and is even identical with him, just as Vach is identical with Brahma, and is called the female Logos. In the Rig-Veda, Vach is “mystic speech,” by whom Occult Knowledge and Wisdom are communicated to man, and thus Vach is said to have “entered the Rishis.” She is “generated by the gods;” she is the divine Vach — the “Queen of gods”; and she is associated — like Sephira with the Sephiroth — with the Prajapati in their work of creation. Moreover, she is called “the mother of the Vedas,” “since it is through her power (as mystic speech) that Brahma revealed them, and also owing to her power that he produced the universe” — i.e., through speech, and words (synthesized by the “word”) and numbers.§
But Vach being also spoken of as the daughter of Daksha — “the god who lives in all the Kalpas” — her Mayavic character is thereby shown:
* Called, in the Bhagavat-Gita, Daiviprakriti.
† Objective — in the world of Maya, of course; still as real as we are.
‡ “In the course of cosmic manifestation, this Daiviprakriti, instead of being the mother of the Logos, should, strictly speaking, be called his daughter.” (“Notes on the Bhagavat-Gita,” p. 305, Theosophist.)
§ The wise men, like Stanley Jevons amongst the moderns, who invented the scheme which makes the incomprehensible assume a tangible form, could only do so by resorting to numbers and geometrical figures.
Vol. 1, Page 431 THE FEMALE LOGOI.
during the pralaya she disappears, absorbed in the one, all-devouring Ray.
But there are two distinct aspects in universal Esotericism, Eastern and Western, in all those personations of the female Power in nature, or nature — the noumenal and the phenomenal. One is its purely metaphysical aspect, as described by the learned lecturer in his “Notes on the Bhagavat-Gita;” the other terrestrial and physical, and at the same time divine from the stand-point of practical human conception and Occultism. They are all the symbols and personifications of Chaos, the “Great Deep” or the Primordial Waters of Space, the impenetrable veil between the incognisable and the Logos of Creation. “Connecting himself through his mind with Vach, Brahma (the Logos) created the primordial waters.” In the Kathaka Upanishad it is stated still more clearly: “Prajapati was this Universe. Vach was a second to him. He associated with her . . . she produced these creatures and again re-entered Prajapati.”*
And here we may incidentally point out one of the many unjust slurs thrown by the pious and good missionaries in India on the religion of the land. This allegory — in the “Satapatha Brahmana” — namely, that Brahma, as the father of men, performed the work of procreation by incestuous intercourse with his own daughter Vach, also called Sandhya (twilight), and Satarupa (the hundred formed), is incessantly thrown into the teeth of the Brahmins, as condemning their “detestable, false religion.” Besides the fact, conveniently forgotten by the Europeans, that the Patriarch Lot is shown guilty of the same crime under the human form, whereas Brahma, or rather Prajapati, accomplished the incest under the form of a buck with his daughter, who had that of a hind (rohit), the esoteric reading of Genesis (ch. iii.) shows the same. Moreover, there is certainly a cosmic, not a physiological meaning attached to the Indian allegory, since Vach is a permutation of Aditi and Mulaprakriti (Chaos), and Brahma a permutation of Narayana, the Spirit of God entering into, and fructifying nature; therefore, there is nothing phallic in the conception at all.
As already stated, Aditi-Vach is the female Logos, or the “word,” Verbum; and Sephira in the Kabala is the same. These feminine Logoi are all correlations, in their noumenal aspect, of Light, and Sound, and Ether, showing how well-informed were the ancients both in
* This connects Vach and Sephira with the goddess Kwan-Yin, the “merciful mother,” the divine voice of the soul even in Exoteric Buddhism; and with the female aspect of Kwan-Shai-yin, the Logos, the verbum of Creation, and at the same time with the voice that speaks audibly to the Initiate, according to Esoteric Buddhism. Bath Kol, the filia Vocis, the daughter of the divine voice of the Hebrews, responding from the mercy seat within the veil of the temple is — a result.
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physical science (as now known to the moderns), and as to the birth of that science in the Spiritual and Astral spheres.
“Our old writers said that Vach is of four kinds . . . . para, pasyanti, madhyama, vaikhari (a statement found in the Rig-Veda and the Upanishads) . . . . Vaikhari Vach is what we utter.” It is sound, speech, that again which becomes comprehensive and objective to one of our physical senses and may be brought under the laws of perception. Hence: “Every kind of Vaikhari-Vach exists in its Madhyama . . . . Pasyanti and ultimately in its Para form. . . . . The reason why this Pranava* is called Vach is this, that these four principles of the great Kosmos correspond to these four forms of Vach. . . . . The whole Kosmos in its objective form is Vaikhari Vach; the light of the Logos is the madhyama form; and the Logos itself the pasyanti form; while Parabrahmam is the para (beyond the noumenon of all Noumena) aspect of that Vach.” (Notes on the Bhagavad-Gita).
Thus Vach, Shekinah, or the “music of the spheres” of Pythagoras, are one, if we take for our example instances in the three most (apparently) dissimilar religious philosophies in the world — the Hindu, the Greek and the Chaldean Hebrew. These personations and allegories may be viewed under four (chief) and three (lesser) aspects or seven in all, as in Esotericism. The para form is the ever subjective and latent Light and Sound, which exist eternally in the bosom of the incognisable; when transferred into the ideation of the Logos, or its latent light, it is called pasyanti, and when it becomes that light expressed, it is madhyama.
Now the Kabala gives the definition thus: “There are three kinds of light, and that (fourth) which interpenetrates the others; (1) the clear and the penetrating, the objective light, (2) the reflected light, and (3) the abstract light. The ten Sephiroth, the three and the Seven, are called in the Kabala the 10 words, d-brim (Dabarim), the numbers and the Emanations of the heavenly light, which is both Adam Kadmon and Sephira, or (Brahma) Prajapati-Vach. Light, Sound, Number, are the three factors of creation in the Kabala. Parabrahmam cannot be known except through the luminous Point (the Logos), which knows not Parabrahmam but only Mulaprakriti. Similarly Adam Kadmon knew only Shekinah, though he was the vehicle of Ain-Soph. And, as Adam Kadmon, he is in the esoteric interpretation the total of the number ten, the Sephiroth (himself a trinity, or the three attributes of the
* Pranava, like Om, is a mystic term pronounced by the Yogis during meditation; of the terms called, according to exoteric Commentators, Vyahritis, or “Om, Bhur, Bhuva, Swar” (Om, earth, sky, heaven) — Pranava is the most sacred, perhaps. They are pronounced with breath suppressed. See Manu II. 76-81, and Mitakshara commenting on the Yajnavahkya-Suriti, i. 23. But the esoteric explanation goes a great deal further.
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incognisable Deity in One).* “When the Heavenly man (or Logos) first assumed the form of the Crown† (Kether) and identified himself with Sephira, he caused seven splendid lights to emanate from it (the Crown),” which made in their totality ten; so the Brahma-Prajapati, once he became separated from, yet identical with Vach, caused the seven Rishis, the seven Manus or Prajapatis to issue from that crown. In Exotericism one will always find 10 and 7, of either Sephiroth or Prajapati; in Esoteric rendering always 3 and 7, which yield also 10. Only when divided in the manifested sphere into 3 and 7, they , the androgyne, and , or the figure X manifested and differentiated.
This will help the student to understand why Pythagoras esteemed the Deity (the Logos) to be the centre of unity and “Source of Harmony.” We say this Deity was the Logos, not the monad that dwelleth in Solitude and Silence, because Pythagoras taught that unity being indivisible is no number. And this is also why it was required of the candidate, who applied for admittance into his school, that he should have already studied as a preliminary step, the Sciences of Arithmetic, Astronomy, Geometry and Music, held as the four divisions of Mathematics.‡ Again, this explains why the Pythagoreans asserted that the doctrine of Numbers — the chief of all in Esotericism — had been revealed to man by the celestial deities; that the world had been called forth out of Chaos by Sound or Harmony, and constructed according to the principles of musical proportion; that the seven planets which rule the destiny of mortals have a harmonious motion “and intervals corresponding to musical diastemes, rendering various sounds, so perfectly consonant, that they produce the sweetest melody, which is inaudible to us, only by reason of the greatness of the sound, which our ears are incapable of receiving.” (Censorinus.)
In the Pythagorean Theogony the hierarchies of the heavenly Host and Gods were numbered and expressed numerically. Pythagoras had studied Esoteric Science in India; therefore we find his pupils saying “The monad (the manifested one) is the principle of all things. >From the Monad and the indeterminate duad (Chaos), numbers; from
* It is this trinity that is meant by the “three steps of Vishnu”; which means: (Vishnu being considered as the Infinite in exotericism) — that from the Parabrahm issued Mulaprakriti, Purusha (the Logos), and Prakriti: the four forms (with itself, the synthesis) of Vach. And in the Kabala — Ain-Soph, Shekinah, Adam Kadmon and Sephirah, the four — or the three emanations being distinct — yet one.
† Chaldean Book of Numbers. In the current Kabala the name Jehovah replaces Adam Kadmon.
‡ Justin Martyr tells us that, owing to his ignorance of these four sciences, he was rejected by the Pythagoreans as a candidate for admission into their school.
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numbers, Points; from points, Lines; from lines, Superficies; from superficies, Solids; from these, solid Bodies, whose elements are four — Fire, Water, Air, Earth; of all which transmuted (correlated), and totally changed, the world consists.” — (Diogenes Laertius in Vit. Pythag.)
And this may also, if it does not unriddle the mystery altogether, at any rate lift a corner of the veil off those wondrous allegories that have been thrown upon Vach, the most mysterious of all the Brahmanical goddesses, she who is termed “the melodious cow who milked forth sustenance and water” (the Earth with all her mystic powers); and again she “who yields us nourishment and sustenance” (physical Earth). Isis is also mystic Nature and also Earth; and her cow’s horns identify her with Vach. The latter, after having been recognised in her highest form as para, becomes at the lower or material end of creation — Vaikhari. Hence she is mystic, though physical, Nature, with all her magic ways and properties.
Again, as goddess of Speech and of Sound, and a permutation of Aditi — she is Chaos, in one sense. At any rate, she is the “Mother of the gods,” and it is from Brahma (Iswara, or the Logos) and Vach, as from Adam Kadmon and Sephira, that the real manifested theogony has to start. Beyond, all is darkness and abstract speculation. With the Dhyan Chohans, or the gods, the Seers, the Prophets and the adepts in general are on firm ground. Whether as Aditi, or the divine Sophia of the Greek Gnostics, she is the mother of the seven sons: the “Angels of the Face,” of the “Deep,” or the “Great Green One” of the “Book of the Dead.” Says the Book of Dzyan (Knowledge through meditation) —
“The great mother lay with , and the , and the , the second and the in her bosom, ready to bring them forth, the valiant sons of the (or 4,320,000, the Cycle) whose two elders are the and the . (Point).”
At the beginning of every cycle of 4,320,000, the Seven (or, as some nations had it, eight) great gods, descended to establish the new order of things and give the impetus to the new cycle. That eighth god was the unifying Circle or Logos, separated and made distinct from its host, in exoteric dogma, just as the three divine hypostases of the ancient Greeks are now considered in the Churches as three distinct personae. “The Mighty Ones perform their great works, and leave behind them everlasting monuments to commemorate their visit, every time they penetrate within our mayavic veil (atmosphere),” says a
* 31415, or [[pi]]. The synthesis, or the Host unified in the Logos and the Point called in Roman Catholicism the “Angel of the Face,” and in Hebrew “who is (like unto, or the same) as God” — the manifested representation.
Vol. 1, Page 435 ANTIQUITY OF THE PYRAMIDS.
Commentary.* Thus we are taught that the great Pyramids were built under their direct supervision, “when Dhruva (the then Pole-star) was at his lowest culmination, and the Krittika (Pleiades) looked over his head (were on the same meridian but above) to watch the work of the giants.” Thus, as the first Pyramids were built at the beginning of a Sidereal year, under Dhruva (Alpha Polaris), it must have been over 31,000 years (31,105) ago. Bunsen was right in admitting for Egypt an antiquity of over 21,000 years, but this concession hardly exhausts truth and fact in this question. “The stories told by Egyptian priests and others of time-keeping in Egypt, are now beginning to look less like lies in the sight of all who have escaped from biblical bondage,” writes the author of “The Natural Genesis.” “Inscriptions have lately been found at Sakkarah, making mention of two Sothiac cycles . . . registered at that time, now some 6,000 years ago. Thus when Herodotus was in Egypt, the Egyptians had — as now known — observed at least five different Sothiac cycles of 1,461 years. The priests informed the Greek inquirer that time had been reckoned by them for so long that the sun had twice risen where it then set, and twice set where it then arose. This . . . can only be realized as a fact in nature by means of two cycles of Precession, or a period of 51,736 years,” (vol. ii, p. 318. But see in our Book II., “Chronology of the Brahmins.”)
Mor Isaac (See Kircher’s OEdipus, vol. ii., p. 425) shows the ancient Syrians defining their world of the “Rulers” and “active gods” in the same way as the Chaldeans. The lowest world was the Sublunary — our own — watched by the “Angels” of the first or lower order; the one that came next in rank, was Mercury, ruled by the “Archangels”; then came Venus, whose gods were the Principalities; the fourth was that of the Sun, the domain and region of the highest and mightiest gods of our system, the solar gods of all nations; the fifth was Mars, ruled by the “Virtues”; the sixth — that of Bel or Jupiter — was governed by the Dominions; the seventh — the world of Saturn — by the Thrones. These are the worlds of form. Above come the four higher ones, making seven again, since the three highest are “unmentionable and unpronounceable.” The eighth, composed of 1,122 stars, is the domain of the Cherubs; the ninth, belonging to the walking and numberless stars on account of their distance, has the seraphs; as to the tenth — Kircher, quoting Mor Isaac, says that it is composed “of invisible stars that could be taken, they said, for clouds — so massed are they in the zone that we call Via Straminis, the
* Appearing at the beginning of Cycles, as also of every sidereal year (of 25,868 years) therefore the Kabeiri or Kabarim received their name in Chaldea, as it means the measures of Heaven from Kob — measure of, and Urim — heavens.
Vol. 1, Page 436 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
Milky Way”; and he hastens to explain that “these are the stars of Lucifer, engulfed with him in his terrible shipwreck.” That which comes after and beyond the tenth world (our Quaternary, or the Arupa world), the Syrians could not tell. “All they knew was that it is there that begins the vast and incomprehensible ocean of the infinite, the abode of the true divinity without boundary or end.”
Champollion shows the same belief among the Egyptians. Hermes having spoken of the Father-Mother and Son, whose spirit (collectively the divine fiat) shapes the Universe, says: — “Seven Agents (mediums) were also formed, to contain the material (or manifested) worlds, within their respective circles and the action of these agents was named destiny.” He further enumerates seven and ten and twelve orders, which would take too long to detail here.
As the “Rig Vidhana” together with the “Brahmanda Purana” and all such works, whether describing the magic efficacy of the Rig-Vedic Mantras or the future Kalpas, are declared by Dr. Weber and others to be modern compilations “belonging probably only to the time of the Puranas,” it is useless to refer the reader to their mystic explanations; and one may as well quote simply from the archaic books utterly unknown to the Orientalists. These works explain that which so puzzles the scholars, namely that the Saptarshi, the “mind-born sons” of Brahma, are referred to in the Satapatha Brahmana under one set of names; in the Mahabharata under another set; and that the Vayu Purana makes even nine instead of seven Rishis, by adding the names of Bhrigu and Daksha to the list. But the same occurs in every exoteric Scripture. The secret doctrine gives a long genealogy of Rishis, but separates them into many classes. Like the Gods of the Egyptians, who were divided into seven, and even twelve, classes, so are the Indian Rishis in their Hierarchies. The first three groups are the Divine, the Cosmical and the Sub-lunary. Then come the Solar Gods of our system, the Planetary, the Sub-Mundane, and the purely human — the heroes and the Manoushi.
At present, however, we are only concerned with the pre-cosmic, divine gods, the Prajapati or the “Seven Builders.” This group is found unmistakably in every Cosmogony. Owing to the loss of Egyptian archaic documents — since, according to M. Maspero, “the materials and historical data on hand to study the history of the religious evolution in Egypt are neither complete nor very often intelligible” — in order to have the statements brought forward from the Secret Doctrine corroborated partially and indirectly, the ancient hymns and inscriptions on the tombs must be appealed to. One such, at any rate, shows that Osiris was, like Brahma-Prajapati, Adam Kadmon, Ormazd, and so many other Logoi, the chief and synthesis of the
Vol. 1, Page 437 COSMIC GODS.
group of “Creators” or Builders. Before Osiris became the “One” and the highest god of Egypt he was worshipped at Abydos as the head or leader of the Heavenly Host of the Builders belonging to the higher of the three orders. The hymn engraved on the votive stela of a tomb from Abydos (3rd register) addresses Osiris thus: “Salutations to thee, Osiris, elder son of Sib; thou the greatest over the six gods issued from the goddess Noo (primordial Water), thou the great favourite of thy father Ra; father of fathers, King of Duration, master in the eternity . . . who, as soon as these issued from thy mother’s bosom, gathered all the crowns and attached the Uraeus (serpent or naja)* on thy head; multiform god, whose name is unknown and who has many names in towns and provinces. . .” Coming out from the primordial water crowned with the uraeus, which is the serpent emblem of Cosmic fire, and himself the seventh over the six primary gods issued from Father-Mother, Nou and Nout (the sky), who can Osiris be, but the chief Prajapati, the chief Sephiroth, the chief Amshaspend-Ormazd! That this latter solar and cosmic god stood, in the beginning of religious evolution, in the same position as the archangel “whose name was secret,” is certain. This Archangel was the representative on earth of the Hidden Jewish God, Michael, in short: it is his “Face” that is said to have gone before the Jews like a “Pillar of Fire.” Burnouf says, “The seven Amshaspends, who are most assuredly our archangels, designate also the personifications of the divine Virtues.” (Comment on the Yacna, p. 174.) And these archangels, therefore, are as “certainly” the Saptarishi of the Hindus, though it is next to impossible to class each with its pagan prototype and parallel, since, as in the case of Osiris, they have all so “many names in towns and provinces.” Some of the most important, however, will be shown in their order.
One thing is thus undeniably proven. The more one studies their Hierarchies and finds out their identity, the more proofs one acquires that there is not one of the past and present personal gods, known to us from the earliest days of History, that does not belong to the third stage of Cosmic manifestation. In every religion we find the concealed deity forming the ground work; then the ray therefrom, that falls into primordial Cosmic matter (first manifestation); then the androgyne result, the dual Male and Female abstract Force, personified (second stage); this separates itself finally, in the third, into seven Forces, called the creative Powers by all the ancient Religions, and the
* This Egyptian word Naja reminds one a good deal of the Indian Naga, the Serpent-God. Brahma and Siva and Vishnu are all crowned with, and connected with Nagas — a sign of their cyclic and cosmic character.
Vol. 1, Page 438 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
“Virtues of God” by the Christians. The later explanation and metaphysical abstract qualifications have never prevented the Roman and Greek Churches from worshipping these “Virtues” under the personifications and distinct names of the seven Archangels. In the Book of Druschim (p. 59, 1st Treatise) in the Talmud, a distinction between these groups is given which is the correct Kabalistical explanation. It says:
“There are three groups (or orders) of Sephiroth. 1st. The Sephiroth called “the divine attributes” (abstract). 2nd. The physical or sidereal Sephiroth (personal) — one group of seven, the other of ten. 3rd. The metaphysical Sephiroth, or periphrasis of Jehovah, who are the first three Sephiroth (Kether, Chochma and Binah), the rest of the seven being the (personal) seven spirits of the Presence” (also of the planets).
The same division has to be applied to the primary, secondary and tertiary evolution of gods in every theogony, if one wishes to translate the meaning esoterically. We must not confuse the purely metaphysical personifications of the abstract attributes of Deity, with their reflection — the sidereal gods. This reflection, however, is in reality the objective expression of the abstraction: living Entities and the models formed on that divine prototype. Moreover, the three metaphysical Sephiroth or “the periphrasis of Jehovah” are not Jehovah; it is the latter himself with the additional titles of Adonai, Elohim, Sabbaoth, and the numerous names lavished on him, who is the periphrasis of the Shaddai, , the Omnipotent. The name is a circumlocution, indeed, a too abundant figure of Jewish rhetoric, and has always been denounced by the Occultists. To the Jewish Kabalists, and even the Christian Alchemists and Rosicrucians, Jehovah was a convenient screen, unified by the folding of its many flaps, and adopted as a substitute: one name of an individual Sephiroth being as good as another name, for those who had the secret. The Tetragrammaton, the Ineffable, the sidereal “Sum Total,” was invented for no other purpose than to mislead the profane and to symbolize life and generation.* The real secret and unpronounceable name — “the word that is no word” — has to be sought in the seven names of the first seven emanations, or the “Sons of the Fire,”
* Says the translator of Avicebron’s “Qabbalah” (Mr. Isaac Myer, LL.B., of Philadelphia) of this “Sum Total”: “The letter of Kether is (Yod), of Binah (Heh), together YaH, the feminine Name; the third letter, that of Hokhmah, is (Vau), making together, YHV of YHVH, the Tetragrammaton, and really the complete symbols of its efficaciousness. The last (Heh) of this Ineffable Name being always applied to the Six Lower and the last, together the Seven remaining Sephiroth.” . . . Thus the Tetragrammaton is holy only in its abstract synthesis. As a quaternary containing the lower Seven Sephiroth, it is phallic.
Vol. 1, Page 439 INCREDIBLE, BUT TRUE.
in the secret Scriptures of all the great nations, and even in the Zohar, the Kabalistic lore of that smallest of all, the Jewish. This word, composed of seven letters in each tongue, is found embodied in the architectural remains of every grand building in the world; from the Cyclopean remains on Easter Island (part of a continent buried under the seas nearer four million years ago* than 20,000) down to the earliest Egyptian pyramids.
We shall have to enter more fully upon this subject, and bring practical illustrations to prove the statements made in the text.
For the present it is sufficient to show, by a few instances, the truth of what was asserted at the beginning of this Monograph, namely, that no Cosmogony, the world over, with the sole exception of the Christian, has ever attributed to the One Highest cause, the universal Deific Principle, the immediate creation of our Earth, man, or anything connected with these. This statement holds as good for the Hebrew or Chaldean Kabala as it does for Genesis, had the latter been ever thoroughly understood, and — what is still more important — correctly translated.† Everywhere there is either a logos — a “Light shining
* The statement will, of course, be found preposterous and absurd, and simply laughed at. But if one believes in the final submersion of Atlantis 850,000 years ago, as taught in “Esoteric Buddhism” (the gradual first sinking having begun during the Eocene age), one has to accept the statement for the so-called Lemuria, the continent of the Third Root Race, first nearly destroyed by combustion, and then submerged. This is what the Commentary says: “The first earth having been purified by the forty-nine fires, her people, born of Fire and Water, could not die . . . etc.; the Second Earth (with its race) disappeared as vapour vanishes in the air . . . the Third Earth had everything consumed on it after the separation, and went down into the lower Deep (the Ocean). This was twice eighty-two cyclic years ago.” Now a cyclic year is what we call a sidereal year, and is founded on the precession of the equinoxes, or 25,868 years each, and this is equal, therefore, in all to 4,242,352 years. More details will be found in the text of Book II. Meanwhile, this doctrine is embodied in the “Kings of Edom.”
† The same reserve is found in the Talmud and in every national system of religion whether monotheistic or exoterically polytheistical. From the superb religious poem by the Kabalist Rabbi Solomon Ben Gabirol in “the Kether Malchuth,” we select a few definitions given in the prayers of Kippur. . . . “Thou art one, the beginning of all numbers, and the foundation of all edifices; Thou art One, and in the secret of Thy unity the wisest of men are lost, because they know it not. Thou art one, and Thy Unity is never diminished, never extended, and cannot be changed. Thou art one, but not as an element of numeration; for Thy Unity admits not of multiplication, change or form. Thou art existent; but the understanding and vision of mortals cannot attain to thy existence, nor determine for thee the Where, the How, and the Why. Thou art Existent, but in thyself alone, there being none other that can exist with thee. Thou art Existent, before all time and without Place. Thou art Existent, and thy existence is so profound and secret that none can penetrate and discover thy secrecy. Thou art Living, but within no time that can be fixed or known; Thou art Living, but not by a spirit or a soul, for Thou art thyself, the soul of all souls,” etc., etc. There is [[Footnote continued on next page]]
Vol. 1, Page 440 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
in Darkness,” truly — or the Architect of the Worlds is esoterically a plural number. The Latin Church, paradoxical as ever, while applying the epithet of Creator to Jehovah alone, adopts a whole Kyriel of names for the working forces of the latter, those names betraying the secret. For if the said Forces had nought to do with “Creation” so-called, why call them Elohim (Alhim) in plural; “divine workmen” and Energies ([[’Energeia]]), incandescent celestial stones (lapides igniti coelorum), and especially, “supporters of the World” ([[Kosmokratores]]), governors or rulers of the World (rectores mundi), the “Wheels” of the World (Rotae), Ophanim, Flames and Powers, “Sons of God” (B’ne Alhim), “Vigilant counsellors,” etc., etc.
It was often premised (and as unjustly as usual) that China, nearly as old a country as India, had no cosmogony. “It was unknown to Confucius, and the Buddhists extended their Cosmogony without introducing a personal God,”* it is complained. The Yi-King, “the very essence of ancient thought and the combined work of the most venerated sages, fails to show a distinct cosmogony.” Nevertheless, there is one, and a very distinct one. Only as Confucius did not admit of a future life† and the Chinese Buddhists reject the idea of One Creator, accepting one cause and its numberless effects, they are misunderstood by the believers in a personal God. The “great Extreme” as the commencement “of changes” (transmigrations) is the shortest and perhaps the most suggestive of all Cosmogonies, for those who, like the Confucianists, love virtue for its own sake, and try to do good unselfishly without perpetually looking to reward and profit. The “great Extreme” of Confucius produces “two figures.” These “two” produce in their turn “the four images”; these again “the eight symbols.” It is complained that though the Confucianists see in them “Heaven, Earth and man in miniature,” . . . we can see in them anything we like. No doubt, and so it is with regard to many symbols, especially in those of the latest religions. But they who know something of Occult numerals, see in these “figures” the symbol, however rude, of a harmonious progressive Evolution of Kosmos and its beings, both the Heavenly and the Terrestrial. And any one who has studied the numerical evolution in the primeval cosmogony of Pythagoras (a contemporary of Confucius) can never fail to find in his Triad, Tetractis and
[[Footnote continued from previous page]] a distance between this Kabalistical Deity and the Biblical Jehovah, the spiteful and revengeful God of Abram, Isaac, and Jacob, who tempted the former and wrestled with the last. No Vedantin but would repudiate such a Parabrahm.
* Rev. Joseph Edkins “On Cosmogony,” p. 320. And very wisely they have acted.
† If he rejected it, it was on the ground of what he calls the changes — in other words, rebirths — of man, and constant transformations. He denied immortality to the personality of man — as we do — not to man.
Vol. 1, Page 441 THE SAME IDEA IN CONFUCIANISM.
Decade emerging from the one and solitary Monad, the same idea. Confucius is laughed at by his Christian biographer for “talking of divination” before and after this passage, and is represented as saying: “The eight symbols determine good and ill fortune, and these lead to great deeds. There are no imitable images greater than heaven and earth. There are no changes greater than the four seasons (meaning North, South, East and West, et seq.). There are no suspended images brighter than the sun and moon. In preparing things for use, there is none greater than the sage. In determining good and ill-luck there is nothing greater than the divining straws and the tortoise.”*
Therefore, the “divining straws” and the “tortoise,” the “symbolic sets of lines,” and the great sage who looks at them as they become one and two, and two become four, and four become eight, and the other sets “three and six,” are laughed to scorn, only because his wise symbols are misunderstood.
So the author and his colleagues will scoff no doubt at the Stanzas given in our text, for they represent precisely the same idea. The old archaic map of Cosmogony is full of lines in the Confucian style, of concentric circles and dots. Yet all these represent the most abstract and philosophical conceptions of the Cosmogony of our Universe. At all events it may answer, perhaps, better to the requirements and the scientific purposes of our age, than the cosmogonical essays of St. Augustine and the “Venerable Bede,” though these were published over a millennium later than the Confucian.
Confucius, one of the greatest sages of the ancient world, believed in ancient magic, and practised it himself “if we take for granted the statements of Kin-yu” . . . . and “he praised it to the skies in Yi-kin,” we are told by his reverend critic. Nevertheless, even in his age — i.e., 600 b.c., Confucius and his school taught the sphericity of the Earth and even the heliocentric system; while, at about thrice 600 years after the Chinese philosopher, the Popes of Rome threatened and even burnt “heretics” for asserting the same. He is laughed at for speaking of the “Sacred Tortoise.” No unprejudiced person can see any great difference between a tortoise and a lamb as candidates for sacredness, as both are symbols and no more. The Ox, the Eagle,† the Lion, and occasionally
* He may be laughed at by the Protestants; but the Roman Catholics have no right to mock him, without becoming guilty of blasphemy and sacrilege. For it is over 200 years since Confucius was canonized as a Saint in China by the Roman Catholics, who have thereby obtained many converts among the ignorant Confucianists.
† The animals regarded as sacred in the Bible are not few: the goat for one, the Azaz-el, or God of Victory. As Aben Ezra says: “If thou art capable of comprehending the mystery of Azazel, thou wilt learn the mystery of His (God’s) name, for it has similar associates in Scriptures. I will tell thee by allusion one portion of the mystery; [[Footnote continued on next page]]
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the Dove, are “the sacred animals” of the Western Bible, the first three being found grouped round the Evangelists; and the fourth (the human face) is a Seraph, i.e., a fiery serpent, the Gnostic Agathodaemon probably.* As explained, the “sacred animals” and the Flames or “Sparks” within the “Holy Four” refer to the prototypes of all that is found in the Universe in the Divine Thought, in the Root, which is the perfect cube, or the foundation of the Kosmos collectively and individually. They have all an occult reference to primordial Cosmic forms and its first concretions, work, and evolution.
In the earliest Hindu exoteric cosmogonies, it is not even the Demiurge who creates. For it is said in one of the Puranas that: “The great Architect of the World gives the first impulse to the rotatory motion of our planetary system by stepping in turn over each planet and body.” It is this action “that causes each sphere to turn around itself, and all around the Sun.” After which action, “it is the Brahmandica, the Solar and Lunar Pitris (the Dhyani-Chohans)” who take charge of their respective spheres (earths and planets), to the end of the Kalpa.” The Creators are the Rishis; most of whom are credited with the authorship of the mantras or Hymns of the Rig Veda. They are sometimes seven, sometimes ten, when they become prajapati, the “Lord of Beings”; then they rebecome the seven and the fourteen Manus, as the representatives of the seven and fourteen cycles of Existence (“Days of Brahma”); thus answering to the seven AEons, when at the end of the first stage of Evolution they are transformed into the seven stellar Rishis, the Saptarishis; while their human doubles appear as heroes, Kings and Sages on this earth.
[[Footnote continued from previous page]] when thou shalt have thirty three years of age thou wilt comprehend me.” So with the mystery of the tortoise. Rejoicing over the poetry of Biblical metaphors, associating with the name of Jehovah, “incandescent stones,” “sacred animals,” etc., and quoting from the Bible de Vence (Vol. XIX. p. 318) a French pious writer says: “Indeed all of them are Elohim like their God; for, these Angels assume, through a holy usurpation, the very divine name of Jehovah each time they represent him.” (Pneumatologie, Vol. II., p. 294). No one ever doubted that the name must have been assumed, when under the guise of the Infinite, One Incognizable, the Malachim (messengers) descended to eat and drink with men. But if the Elohim (and even lower Beings), assuming the god-name, were and are still worshipped, why should the same Elohim be called devils, when appearing under the names of other Gods?
* The choice is curious, and shows how paradoxical were the first Christians in their selections. For why should they have chosen these symbols of Egyptian paganism, when the eagle is never mentioned in the New Testament save once, when Jesus refers to it as a carrion eater? (Matt. xxiv. 28); and in the Old Testament it is called unclean; that the Lion is made a point of comparison with Satan, both roaring for men to devour; and the oxen are driven out of the Temple. On the other hand the Serpent, brought as an exemplar of wisdom to follow, is now regarded as the symbol of the Devil. The esoteric pearl of Christ’s religion degraded into Christian theology, may indeed be said to have chosen a strange and unfitting shell to be born in and evolved from.
Vol. 1, Page 443 THE MYSTERY OF BLACKNESS.
The Esoteric doctrine of the East having thus furnished and struck the key-note — which is as scientific as it is philosophical and poetical, as may be seen, under its allegorical garb — every nation has followed its lead. It is from the exoteric religions that we have to dig out the root-idea before we turn to esoteric truths, lest the latter should be rejected. Furthermore, every symbol — in every national religion — may be read esoterically, and the proof furnished for its being correctly read by transliterating it into its corresponding numerals and geometrical forms — by the extraordinary agreement of all — however much the glyphs and symbols may vary among themselves. For in the origin those symbols were all identical. Take, for instance, the opening sentences in various cosmogonies: in every case it is either a circle, an egg, or a head. Darkness is always associated with this first symbol and surrounds it, — as shown in the Hindu, the Egyptian, the Chaldeo-Hebrew and even the Scandinavian systems — hence black ravens, black doves, black waters and even black flames; the seventh tongue of Agni, the fire-god being called “Kali,” “the black,” as it was a black flickering flame. Two black doves flew from Egypt and settling on the oaks of Dodona, gave their names to the Grecian gods. Noah lets out a black raven after the deluge, which is a symbol for the Cosmic pralaya, after which began the real creation or evolution of our earth and humanity. Odin’s black ravens fluttered around the Goddess Saga and “whispered to her of the past and of the future.” What is the real meaning of all those black birds? They are all connected with the primeval wisdom, which flows out of the pre-cosmic Source of all, symbolised by the Head, the Circle, the Egg; and they all have an identical meaning and relate to the primordial Archetypal man (Adam Kadmon) the creative origin of all things, which is composed of the Host of Cosmic Powers — the Creative Dhyan-Chohans, beyond which all is darkness.
Let us inquire of the wisdom of the Kabala — even veiled and distorted as it now is, — to explain in its numerical language an approximate meaning, at least of the word “raven.” This is its number value as given in the “Source of Measures.”
“The term Raven is used but once, and taken as eth-h’orebv , = 678, or 113 x 6; while the Dove is mentioned five times. Its value is 71, and 71 x 5 = 355. Six diameters, or the raven, crossing, would divide the circumference of a circle of 355 into 12 parts or compartments; and 355 subdivided for each unit by 6, would equal 213-0, or the head (“beginning”) in the first verse of Genesis. This divided or subdivided, after the same fashion, by 2, or the 355 by 12, would give 213-2, or the word B’rash, , or the first word of Genesis, with its prepositional prefix, signifying the same concreted general form
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astronomically, with the one here intended.” Now the secret reading of the first verse of Genesis being: “In Rash (B’rash) or head, developed gods, the Heavens and the Earth” — it is easy to comprehend the esoteric meaning of the raven, once that the like meaning of the Flood (or Noah’s Deluge) is ascertained. Whatever the many other meanings of this emblematical allegory may be, its chief meaning is that of a new cycle and a new Round (our Fourth Round.)* The “Raven,” or the Eth-H’Orebv, yields the same numerical value as the “Head,” and returned not to the ark, while the dove returned, carrying the olive-branch, when Noah, the new man of the new Race (whose prototype is Vaivasvata Manu), prepared to leave the ark, the womb (or Argha) of terrestrial nature, is the symbol of the purely spiritual, sexless and androgyne man of the first three Races, who vanished from earth for ever. Numerically Jehovah, Adam, Noah, are one in the Kabala: at best, then, it is Deity descending on to Ararat (later on Sinai), to incarnate in man his image, through the natural process, henceforth: the mother’s womb, whose symbols are the ark, the mount (Sinai), etc., in Genesis. The Jewish allegory is at once astronomical, and purely physiological rather than anthropomorphic.
And here lies the abyss between the two systems (Aryan and Semitic), though built on the same foundation. As shown by an expounder of the Kabala, “the basic idea underlying the philosophy of the Hebrews was that God contained all things within himself and that man was his image; man, including woman (as Androgynes);” and that “geometry and numbers (and measures applicable to astronomy) are contained in the terms man and woman; and the apparent incongruity of such a mode was eliminated by showing the connection of man and woman with a particular system of numbers and measures and geometry, by the parturient time-periods, which furnished the connecting link between the terms and the facts shown, and perfected the mode used.” It is argued that, the primal cause being absolutely incognizable, “the symbol of its first comprehensible manifestation was the conception of a circle with its diameter line, so as at once to carry the idea of geometry, phallicism, and astronomy;” and this was finally applied to the “signification of simply human generative organs.”† Hence the whole cycle of events
* Bryant is right in saying “Druid Bardesin says of Noah that when he came out of the ark (the birth of a new cycle), after a stay therein of a year and a day, that 364 + 1 = 365 days, he was congratulated by Neptune upon his birth from the waters of the Flood, who wished him a happy New Year.” The “Year,” or cycle, esoterically, was the new race of men born from woman after the separation of the sexes, which is the secondary meaning of the allegory: its primary meaning being the beginning of the Fourth Round, or the new Creation.
† Unpubl. MSS. (But see “Source of Measures.”)
Vol. 1, Page 445 GOD IS OUR HIGHER SELF.
from Adam and the Patriarchs down to Noah is made to apply to phallic and astronomical uses, the one regulating the other, as the lunar periods, for instance. Hence, too, their genesis begins after their coming out of the Ark, and the close of the flood — at the Fourth Race. With the Aryan people it is different.
Eastern Esotericism has never degraded the One Infinite Deity, the container of all things, to such uses; and this is shown by the absence of Brahma from the Rig Veda and the modest positions occupied therein by Rudra and Vishnu, who became the powerful and great Gods, the “Infinites” of the exoteric creeds, ages later. But even they, “Creators” as the three may be, are not the direct creators and “forefathers of men.” The latter are shown occupying a still lower scale, and are called Prajapatis, the Pitris (our lunar ancestors), etc., etc. — never the “One Infinite God.” Esoteric philosophy shows only physical man as created in the image of the Deity: but the latter is but “the minor gods.” It is the Higher-Self, the real Ego who alone is divine and god.