by H.P. BLAVATSKY
With a Foreword
The Blavatsky Pamphlets No 9
Published by the H.P.B Library, Toronto. Ontario. Canada
|BUDDHISM AND THE ESOTERIC PHILOSOPHY||Page|
|Distinction between Buddhism and Budhism||
Philosophy does not deny God in Nature
The Nature of Buddha's Reform
|Buddha taught Esoteric Philosophy to his Arhats||
|WHY SOME FUNDAMENTAL TRUTHS ARE NOW REVEALED|
|Growth of Materialism has to be checked
Verification of the Stanzas of Dzyan
Initiates possess all the Records
Hidden Libraries in Mountain Fastnesses
|ESOTERIC WORKS NEED KEY FOR INTERPRETATION||
|Lao-Tze's Doctrine veiled from all but his Initiates||
|Disappearance of Vast Numbers of Ancient Works|
|Chaldean and Aryan Records||
|Forgeries and Mutilations by Eusebius|
|Only a small portion of the voluminous Buddhist literature now available||
|MODERN IGNORANCE CONCERNING OLD RELIGIONS||
|Limitations of the Western Orientalists|
|Very little known of the Egyptian Religion|
|Professor Max Muller's conjectures||
|Scriptures hidden in Himalayan Crypts||
|PREHISTORIC CIVILIZATIONS IN CENTRAL ASIA||
|Buried Cities of the Gobi Desert|
|Relics of a Hundred Races and Nations||
|The Secret Doctrine once universally diffused||
|All the old Commentaries still exist||
|DANGEROUS SECRETS HAD TO BE GUARDED|
|Doctrine of Septenary System gives Clues||
|The Mysteries were a Discipline and a Stimulus to Virtue|
|The Real Nature of Keely's Inter-Etheric Force|
|Initiation of Russian Mystics in Tibet and Central Asia||
|ALL RELIGIOUS FOUNDERS ARE TRANSMITTERS|
|Truths revealed at intervals to the Masses||
|The Language of the Stanzas of Dzyan|
|Western Scholars do not take these Teachings seriously||
|Twentieth Century may see Further Revelations||
|ATTEMPTS TO OBLITERATE PRE-CHRISTIAN TEACHINGS||
|Wholesale destruction of Monuments and Literature|
|How Islam and Christianity won their Proselytes||
|“There is No Religion higher than Truth"||
|EVOLUTION OF COSMOS AND MAN IN ARCHAIC WORKS||
|Scriptures based on a very ancient Book||
|Senzar - the sacred sacerdotal language|
|A Book of Prophecies for the Black Age (Kali Yuga)||
|Early Christian Fathers who were Initiates|
|Days of Constantine the Turning-point in History||
|Fragments of the Parent Doctrine survive the Struggle|
In view of the growing realisation of the depth and value of Oriental thought, the time would seem to be ripe for a wider dissemination of the Introduction to H. P. Blavatsky's magnum opus, The Secret Doctrine. There are few who are aware of the importance and extent of the information which she, here, gives concerning the origins of religion and philosophy, especially before the historical era, both in the East and in the West.
With the exception of a few sentences, the first five paragraphs are omitted, as they deal with semi-personal questions raised at the time The Secret Doctrine was published, and mainly concern a misunderstanding which arose through the use of the term Buddhism (the religion of Gautama the Buddha) instead of Budhism (Wisdom or Knowledge). Three paragraphs at the end are also omitted as they are not essential to the main thesis. A Table of Contents, and a few cross-headings in the text have been added to facilitate reference to the various subjects dealt with. Explanatory footnotes by the editor are so designated.
In the present volumes [The Secret Doctrine - The Synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy. Volume I Cosmogenesis; Volume II. Anthropogenesis. - By H.P. Blavatsky, London, 1888] many fundamental and hitherto hidden teachings, from the SECRET DOCTRINE of the East, are given out; yet even these raise but a small corner of the dark veil. For no one, not even the greatest living adept, would be permitted to, or could — even if he would — give out promiscuously, to a mocking, unbelieving world, that which has been so effectually concealed from it for long ages.
In etymology Adi, and Adhi Budda, the one (or the First) and “Supreme Wisdom" is a term used by Aryâsanga in his Secret treatises, and now by all the mystic Northern Buddhists. It is a Sanskrit term, and an appellation given by the earliest Aryans to the Unknown Deity; the word “Brahmâ" not being found in the Vedas and the early works. It means the absolute Wisdom, and “Adi-Budda" is translated “the primeval uncreated cause of all" by Fitzedward Hall. Aeons of untold duration must have elapsed, before the epithet of Buddha was so humanized, so to speak, as to allow of the term being applied to mortals and finally appropriated to one whose unparalleled virtues and knowledge caused him to receive the title of the “Buddha of Wisdom unmoved". Bodha means the innate possession of divine intellect or “understanding"; “Buddha", the acquirement [Page 2] of it by personal efforts and merit; while Buddhi is the faculty of cognizing the channel through which divine knowledge reaches the “Ego,” the discernment of good and evil, “divine conscience” also; and “Spiritual Soul,” which is the vehicle of Atma. “When Buddhi absorbs our EGOTISM (destroys it) with all its Vikaras, Avalôkitêshvara becomes manifested to us, and Nirvana, or Mukti, is reached”, “Mukti” being the same as Nirvana, i.e., freedom from the trammels of 'Maya" or Illusion “Bodhi” is likewise the name of a particular state of trance condition, called Samâdhi, during which the subject reaches the culmination of spiritual knowledge.
BUDDHISM AND THE ESOTERIC PHILOSOPHY
are those who, in their blind and, in our age, untimely hatred of Buddhism,
and, by re-action, of “Budhism” deny its esoteric teachings (which are those also of the Brahmins), simply because
the name suggests what to them, as Monotheists, are noxious doctrines. Unwise is the correct term to use in their case. For the Esoteric philosophy is alone
calculated to withstand, in this age of crass and illogical materialism,
the repeated attacks on all and everything man holds most dear and sacred
in his inner spiritual life. The true philosopher, the student of the Esoteric
Wisdom, entirely loses sight of personalities, dogmatic beliefs and special
religions. Moreover, Esoteric philosophy reconciles all religions, strips
every one of its outward, human garments, and shows the root of each to be
identical with that of every other great religion. It proves the necessity
of an absolute Divine Principle in nature. It denies Deity no more than it
does the Sun. Esoteric philosophy has never rejected God in Nature, nor Deity
as the absolute and abstract Ens. It only refuses to accept any of the gods of the so called monotheistic religions,
gods created by man in his own image and likeness, a blasphemous and sorry
caricature of the Ever Unknowable. Furthermore, the records we mean to place
before the reader embrace the esoteric tenets of the whole world since [Page 3] the beginning of our humanity, and Buddhistic occultism occupies therein only
its legitimate place, and no more. Indeed, the secret portions of the “Dan" or “Jan-na" [Dan, now becomes in modern Chinese and Tibetan phonetics ch’an, is the general term for the esoteric schools, and their literature. In the
old books, the word Janna is defined as “to reform one’s self by meditation and knowledge,” a second inner birth. Hence Dzan, Djan phonetically, the “Book of Dzyan”] (“Dhyan") of Gautama's metaphysics — grand as they appear to one unacquainted with the tenets of the Wisdom Religion
of antiquity — are but a very small portion of the whole. The Hindu Reformer limited his public
teachings to the purely moral and physiological aspect of the Wisdom-Religion,
to Ethics and MAN alone. Things “unseen and incorporeal", the mystery of Being outside our terrestrial sphere, the great Teacher left
entirely untouched in his public lectures, reserving the hidden Truths for
a select circle of his Arhats. The latter received their Initiation at the
famous Saptaparna cave (the Sattapanni of Mahavansa) near Mount Baibhâr (the Webhâra of the Pali MSS.). This cave was in Rajagriha, the ancient capital of Mogadha,
and was the Cheta cave of Fa-hian, as rightly suspected by some archaeologists [Mr Beglor, the chief engineer of Buddhagaya, and a distinguished archaeologist,
was the first, we believe, to discover it.]
Time and human imagination made short work of the purity and philosophy of these teachings, once that they were transplanted from the secret and sacred circle of the Arhats, during the course of their work of proselytism, into a soil less prepared for metaphysical conceptions than India; i.e., once they were transferred into China, Japan, Siam, and Burmah. How the pristine purity of these grand revelations was dealt with may be seen in studying some of the so-called “esoteric" Buddhist schools of antiquity in their modern garb, not only in China and other Buddhist countries in general, but even in not a few schools in Tibet, left to the care of uninitiated Lamas and Mongolian innovators. [Page 4]
Thus the reader is asked to bear in mind the very important difference between orthodox Buddhism — i.e., the public teachings of Gautama the Buddha, and his esoteric Buddhism. His Secret Doctrine, however, differed in no wise from that of the initiated Brahmins of his day. The Buddha was a child of the Aryan soil, a born Hindu, a Kshatrya and a disciple of the “twice born" (the initiated Brahmins) or Dwijas. His teachings, therefore, could not be different from their doctrines, for the whole Buddhist reform merely consisted in giving out a portion of that which had been kept secret from every man outside of the “enchanted" circle of Temple-Initiates and ascetics. Unable to teach all that had been imparted to him — owing to his pledges — though he taught a philosophy built upon the ground-work of the true esoteric knowledge, the Buddha gave to the world only its outward material body and kept its soul for his Elect. Many Chinese scholars among Orientalists have heard of the “Soul Doctrine". None seem to have understood its real meaning and importance.
That doctrine was preserved secretly, — too secretly, perhaps — within the sanctuary. The mystery that shrouded its chief dogma and aspirations — Nirvana — has so tried and irritated the curiosity of those scholars who have studied it, that, unable to solve it logically and satisfactorily by untying the Gordian knot, they cut it through, by declaring that Nirvana meant absolute annihilation.
WHY SOME FUNDAMENTAL TRUTHS ARE NOW REVEALED
Toward the end of the first quarter of (this century, a distinct class of literature appeared in the world, which became with every year more defined in its tendency. Being based, soi-disant, on the scholarly researches of Sanskritists and Orientalists in general, it was held scientific. Hindu, Egyptian, and other ancient religions, myths, and emblems were made to yield anything the symbologist wanted them to yield, thus often giving out the rude outward form in place of the inner meaning. Works, most remarkable for their ingenious deductions and speculations, [Page 5] foregone conclusions generally changing places with premises as in the syllogisms of more than one Sanskrit and Pali scholar, appeared rapidly in succession, over-flooding the libraries with dissertations rather on phallic and sexual worship than on real symbology, and each contradicting the other.
This is the true reason, perhaps, why the outline of a few fundamental truths from the Secret Doctrine of the Archaic-ages is now permitted to see the light, after long millenniums of the most profound silence and secrecy. I say “a few truths", advisedly, because that which must remain unsaid could not be contained in a hundred such volumes, nor could it be imparted to the present generation of Sadducees. But, even the little that is now given is better than complete silence upon those vital truths. The world of to-day, in its mad career towards the unknown — which it is too ready to confound with the unknowable, whenever the problem eludes the grasp of the physicist– is rapidly progressing on the reverse, material plant of spirituality. It has now become a vast arena — a true valley of discord and of eternal strife — a necropolis, wherein lie buried the highest and the most holy aspirations of our Spirit-Soul. That soul becomes with every new generation more paralysed and atrophied. The “amiable infidels and accomplished profligates" of Society, spoken of by Greeley, care little for the revival of the dead sciences of the past; but there is a fair minority of earnest students who are entitled to learn the few truths that may be given to them now; and now much more than ten years ago, when “Isis Unveiled", or even the later attempts to explain the mysteries of esoteric science, were published.
One of the greatest, and, withal, the most serious objection to the correctness and reliability of the whole work will be the preliminary STANZAS: “How can the statements contained in them be verified?" True, if a great portion of the Sanskrit, Chinese, and Mongolian works quoted in the present volumes are known to some [Page 6] Orientalists, the chief work — that one from which the Stanzas are given — is not in the possession of European Libraries. The Book of Dzyan (or “Dzan") is utterly unknown to our Philologists, or at any rate was never heard of by them under its present name. This is, of course, a great drawback to those who follow the methods of research prescribed by official Science; but to the students of Occultism, and to every genuine Occultist, this will be of little moment. The main body of the Doctrines given is found scattered throughout hundreds and thousands of Sanskrit MSS., some already translated — disfigured in their interpretations, as usual, — others still! awaiting their turn. Every scholar, therefore, has an opportunity of verifying the statements herein made, and of checking most of the quotations. A few new facts (new to the profane Orientalist, only) and passages quoted from the Commentaries will be found difficult to trace. Several of the teachings, also, have hitherto been transmitted orally: yet even those are in every instance hinted at in the almost countless volumes of Brahminical, Chinese and Tibetan temple-literature.
However it may be, and whatsoever is in store for the writer through malevolent criticism, one fact is quite certain. The members of several esoteric schools — the seat of which is beyond the Himalayas, and whose ramifications may be found in China, Japan, India, Tibet, and even in Syria, besides South America — claim to have in their possession the sum total of sacred and philosophical works in MSS. and type: all the works, in fact, that have ever been written, in whatever language or characters, since the art of writing began; from the ideographic hieroglyphs down to the alphabet of Cadmus and the Devanagari.
It has been claimed in all ages that ever since the destruction of the Alexandrian Library (see Isis Unveiled, Volume II., p. 27), every work of a character that might have led the profane to the ultimate discovery and comprehension of some of the mysteries of the Secret Science, was, owing to the combined efforts of the members of the Brotherhoods, [Page 7] diligently searched for. It is added, moreover, by those who know, that once found, save three copies left and stored safely away, such works were all destroyed. In India, the last of the precious manuscripts were secured and hidden during the reign of the Emperor Akbar. [Prof Max Müller shows that no bribes or threats of Akbar could extort from the Brahmans the original text of the Veda; and boasts that European Orientalists have it (Lecture on the “Science of Religion,” p 23). Whether Europe has the Complete text is very doubtful, and the future may have very disagreeable surprises in store for the Orientalists]
It is maintained, furthermore, that every sacred book of that kind, whose text was not sufficiently veiled in symbolism, or which had any direct references to the ancient mysteries, after having been carefully copied in cryptographic characters, such as to defy the art of the best and cleverest paleographer, was also destroyed to the last copy. During Akbar's reign, some fanatical courtiers, displeased at the Emperor's sinful prying into the religions of the infidels, themselves helped the Brahmans to conceal their MSS. Such was Badáoni, who had an undisguised horror for Akbar's mania for idolatrous religions. [Badáoni wrote in his Muntakhab at Tawarikh. “His Majesty relished inquiries into the sects of these infidels (who cannot be counted, so numerous they are, and who have no end of revealed books) ... As they (the Sramana and Brahmins) surpass other learned men in their treatises on morals, on physical and religious sciences, and reach a high degree in their knowledge of the future, in spiritual power, and human perfection, they brought proofs based on reason and testimony, and inculcated their doctrines so firmly that no man could now raise a doubt in his Majesty even if mountains were to crumble to dust, or the heavens were to tear asunder. "This work was kept secret, and was not published till the reign of Jahângir". (Ain i Akbari, translated by Dr. Blochmann, p. 104, note.) ]
Moreover, in all the large and wealthy lamaseries, there are subterranean crypts and cave-libraries, cut in the rock, whenever the gonpa and the Ihakhang are situated in the mountains. Beyond the Western Tsaydam, in the [Page 8] solitary passes of Kuen-lun [Karakorum mountains, Western Tibet] there are several such hiding-places. Along the ridge of Altyn-Toga, whose soil no European foot has ever trodden so far, there exists a certain hamlet, lost in a deep gorge. It is a small cluster of houses, a hamlet rather than a monastery, with a poor-looking temple in it, with one old lama, a hermit, living near by to watch it. Pilgrims say that the subterranean galleries and halls under it contain a collection of books, the number of which, according to the accounts given, is too large to find room even in the British Museum, [ According to the same tradition the now desolate regions of the waterless land of Tarim - a true wilderness in the heart of Turkestan - were in the days of old covered with flourishing and wealthy cities. At present, hardly a few verdant cases relieve its dead solitude. One such, sprung on the sepulchre of a vast city swallowed by and buried under the sandy soil of the desert, belongs to no one, but is often visited by Mongolians and Buddhists. The same tradition speaks of immense subterranean abodes, or large corridors filled with tiles and cylinders. It may be an idle rumour, and it may be an actual fact.]
ESOTERIC WORKS NEED KEY FOR INTERPRETATION
All this is very likely to provoke a smile of doubt. But then, before the reader rejects the truthfulness of the reports, let him pause and reflect over the following well known facts. The collective researches of the Orientalists, and especially the labours of late years of the students of comparative Philology and the Science of Religions have led them to ascertain as follows: An immense, incalculable number of MSS., and even printed works known to have existed, are now to be found no more. They have disappeared without leaving the slightest trace behind them. Were they works of no importance they might, in the natural course of time, have been left to perish, and their very names would have been obliterated from human memory. But it is not so; for, as now ascertained, most of them contained the true keys to works still extant, and entirely incomprehensible, for the greater portion of their readers, without those additional volumes of [Page 9] Commentaries and explanations. Such are, for instance, the works of Lao-tse, the predecessor of Confucius.[“If we turn to China, we find that the religion of Confucius is founded on the Five King [Books of Changes, Poetry, History, Rites, Annals] and the four Shu [Classics] in themselves of considerable extent and surrounded by voluminous Commentaries, without which even the most learned scholars would not venture to fathom the depth of their sacred canon.” (Lectures on the “Science of Religion.’ p 185 Max Müller.) But they have not fathomed it - and this is the complaint of the Confucianists, as a very learned member of that body, in Paris complained in 1881].
He is said to have written 930 books on Ethics and religions, and seventy on magic, one thousand in all. His great work, however, the heart of his doctrine, the “Tao-te-King", or the sacred scriptures of the Taosse, has in it, as Stanislas Julien shows, only “about 5,000 words" (Tao-te-King, p. xxvi.), hardly a dozen of pages, yet Professor Max Müller finds that “the text is unintelligible without commentaries, so that Mr. Julien had to consult more than sixty commentators for the purpose of his translation", the earliest going back as far as the year 163 B.C., not earlier, as we see. During the four centuries and a half that preceded this earliest of the commentators there was ample time to veil the true Lao-tse doctrine from all but his initiated priests. The Japanese, among whom are now to be found the most learned of the priests and followers of Lao-tse, simply laugh at the blunders and hypotheses of the European Chinese scholars; and tradition affirms that the commentaries to which our Western Sinologues have access are not the real occult records, but intentional veils, and that the true commentaries, as well as almost all the texts, have long since disappeared from the eyes of the profane.
If one turns to the ancient literature of the Semitic religions, to the Chaldean Scriptures, the elder sister and instructress, if not the fountain-head of the Mosaic Bible, the basis and starting-point of Christianity, what do the scholars find? To perpetuate the memory of the ancient [Page 10] religions of Babylon; to record the vast cycle of astronomical observations of the Chaldean Magi; to justify the tradition of their splendid and eminently occult literature, what now remains? — only a few fragments, said to be by Berosus.
These, however, are almost valueless, even as a clue to the character of what has disappeared. For they passed through the hands of his Reverence the Bishop of Caesaréa — - that self-constituted censor and editor of the sacred records of other men's religions — and they doubtless bear to this day the mark of his eminently veracious and trustworthy hand. For what is the history of this treatise on the once grand religion of Babylon ?
in Greek by Berosus, a priest of the temple of Belus, for Alexander the Great,
from the astronomical and chronological records preserved by the priests
of that temple, and covering a period of 200,000 years, it is now lost. In
the first century B. C. Alexander Polyhistor made a series of extracts from
it — also lost. Eusebius used these extracts in writing his Chronicon (270 — 340 A. D). The points of resemblance — almost of identity — between the Jewish and the Chaldean Scriptures, [Found out and proven only now, though the discoveries made by George Smith (vide his “Chaldean account of Genesis”), and which, thanks to this Armenian forger, have misled all the civilized nations for over 1,500 years into accepting Jewish derivations for direct Divine Revelation!] made the latter most dangerous to Eusebius, in his rôle of defender and champion of the new faith which had adopted the Jewish Scriptures,
and with them an absurd chronology. It is pretty certain that Eusebius did
not spare the Egyptian Synchronistic tables of Manetho — so much so that Bunsen [Bunsen’s “Egypt’s Place in History,” Volume i, p 200] charges him with mutilating history most unscrupulously. And Socrates, an historian
of the fifth century, and Syncellus, vice-patriarch of Constantinople (eighth
century), both denounce him as the most daring and desperate forger. [Page 11]
Is it likely, then, that he dealt more tenderly with the Chaldean records, which were already menacing the new religion, so rashly accepted?
So that, with the exception of these more than doubtful fragments, the entire Chaldean sacred literature has disappeared from the eyes of the profane as completely as the lost Atlantis. A few facts that were contained in the Berosian History are given in Part II. of Volume II., and may throw a great light on the true origin of the Fallen Angels, personified by Bel and the Dragon.
Turning now to the oldest Aryan literature, the Rig-Veda, the student will find, following strictly in this the data furnished by the said Orientalists themselves, that, although the Rig-Veda contains only “about 10,580 verses, or 1,028 hymns", in spite of the Brahmanas and the mass of glosses and commentaries, it is not understood correctly to this day. Why is this so ? Evidently because the Brahmanas, “the scholastic and oldest treatises on the primitive hymns", themselves require a key, which the Orientalists have failed to secure.
What do the scholars say of Buddhist literature? Have they got it in its completeness? Assuredly not. Notwithstanding the 325 volumes of the Kanjur and the Tanjur of the Northern Buddhists, each volume we are told, “weighing from four to five pounds", nothing, in truth, is known of Lamaism. Yet, the sacred canon of the Southern Church is said to contain 29,368,000 letters in the Saddharma Alankara, [Spence Hardy, “The Legends and Theories of the Buddhists, p 66] or exclusive of treatises and commentaries, “five or six times the amount of the matter contained in the Bible", the latter, in the words of Professor Max Müller, rejoicing only in 3,567,180 letters. Notwithstanding, then, these “325 volumes" (in reality there are 333, Kanjur comprising 108, and Tanjur 225 volumes), “the translators, instead of supplying us with correct versions, have interwoven [Page 12] them with their own commentaries, for the purpose of justifying the dogmas of their several schools". [ Schlagintweit: "Buddhism in Tibet". Page 78, London, 1868 ] Moreover, “according to a tradition preserved by the Buddhist schools, both of the South and of the North, the sacred Buddhist Canon comprised originally 80,000 or 84,000 tracts, but most of them were lost, so that there remained but 6,000", the professor tells his audiences. “Lost" as usual for Europeans. But who can be quite sure that they are likewise lost for Buddhists and Brahmins?
the sacredness for the Buddhists of every line written upon Buddha or his
“Good Law", the loss of nearly 76,000 tracts does seem miraculous. Had it been vice versa, every one acquainted with the natural course of events would subscribe to the
statement that, of these 76,000 five or six thousand treatises might have been destroyed during the persecutions in, and emigrations from India. But as it
is well ascertained that Buddhist Arhats began their religious exodus, for
the purpose of propagating the new faith beyond Kashmir and the Himalayas,
as early as the year 300 before our era, [Lassen, (“Ind Altertumskunde” Volume II, p 1,072) shows a Buddhist monastery erected in the Kailas range in
137 BC; and General Cunningham, earlier than that.] and reached China in the year 61 AD. [Reverend T Edkins, “Chinese Buddhism” 1880] when Kâshyapa, at the invitation of the Emperor Ming-ti, went there to acquaint the
“Son of Heaven" with the tenets of Buddhism, it does seem strange to hear the Orientalists speaking
of such a loss as though it were really possible. They do not seem to allow
for one moment the possibility that the texts may be lost only for the West and for themselves; or, that the Asiatic people should have the unparalleled boldness to keep their
most sacred records out of the reach of foreigners, thus refusing to deliver
them to the profanation and misuse of races even so “vastly superior" to themselves. [Page 13]
MODERN IGNORANCE CONERNING OLD RELIGIONS
to the expressed regrets and numerous confessions of almost every one of
the Orientalists (See Max Müller's Lectures for example) the public may feel sufficiently sure (a) that the students of
ancient religions have indeed very few data upon which to build such final
conclusions as they generally do about the old religions, and (b) that such
lack of data does not prevent them in the least from dogmatising. One would
imagine that, thanks to the numerous records of the Egyptian theogony and
mysteries preserved in the classics, and in a number of ancient writers,
the riles and dogmas of Pharaonic Egypt ought to be well understood at least;
better, at any rate, than the too abstruse philosophies and Pantheism of
India, of whose religion and language Europe had hardly any idea before the
beginning of the present century. Along the Nile and on the face of the whole
country, there stand to this hour, exhumed yearly and daily, fresh relics
which eloquently tell their own history. Still it is not so. The learned Oxford philologist himself confesses the truth by saying that “Though
... we see still standing the Pyramids, and the ruins of temples and labyrinths,
their walls covered with hieroglyphic inscriptions, and with the strange
pictures of gods and goddesses.....On rolls of papyrus, which seem to defy
the ravages of time, we have even fragments of what may be called the sacred
books of the Egyptians; yet, though much has been deciphered in the ancient
records of that mysterious race, the mainspring of the religion of Egypt
and the original intention of its ceremonial worship are far from being fully disclosed to us". [So little acquainted are our greatest Egyptologists with the funerary rites of
the Egyptians and the outward marks of the difference of sexes made on the
mummies, that it has led to the most ludicrous mistakes. Only a year or two
since, [i.e. about 1886] one of that kind was discovered at Boulaq, Cairo.
The mummy of what had been considered the wife of an unimportant Pharaoh,
has turned out, thanks to an inscription found on an amulet hung on his
neck, to be that of Sesostris– the greatest King of Egypt !] Here again the mysterious hieroglyphic documents remain, but the keys by which
alone they become intelligible have disappeared. [Page 14]
Nevertheless, having found that “there is a natural connection between language and religion"; and, secondly, that there was a common Aryan religion before the separation of the Aryan race; a common Semitic religion before the separation of the Semitic race; and a common Turanian religion before the separation of the Chinese and the other tribes belonging to the Turanian class; having, in fact, only discovered “three ancient centres of religion" and “three centres of language", and though as entirely ignorant of those primitive religions and languages, as of their origin, the professor does not hesitate to declare “that a truly historical basis for a scientific treatment of those principal religions of the world has been gained"!
A “scientific treatment" of a subject is no guarantee for its “historical basis"; and with such scarcity of data on hand, no philologist, even among the most eminent, is justified in giving out his own conclusions for historical facts. No doubt, the eminent Orientalist has proved thoroughly to the world's satisfaction, that according to Grimm's law of phonetic rules, Odin and Buddha are two different personages, quite distinct from each other, and he has shown it scientifically. When, however, he takes the opportunity of saying in the same breath that Odin “was worshipped as the supreme deity during a period long anterior to the age of the Veda and of Homer" (Compar. Theol, p. 318), he has not the slightest “historical basis" for it. He makes history and fact subservient to his own conclusions, which may be very “scientific", in the sight of Oriental scholars, but yet very wide of the mark of actual truth. The conflicting views on the subject of chronology, in the case of the Vedas, of the various eminent philologists and Orientalists, from Martin Haug down to Prof. Max Müller himself, are an evident proof that the statement has no historical basis to stand upon, “internal evidence" being very often a Jack-o'-lantern, instead of a safe beacon to follow. Nor [Page 15] has the Science of modern Comparative Mythology any better proof to show, that those learned writers, who have insisted for the last century or so that there must have been “fragments of a primeval revelation, granted to the ancestors of the whole race of mankind . . . . preserved in the temples of Greece and Italy", were entirely wrong. For this is what all the Eastern Initiates and Pundits have been proclaiming to the world from time to time. While a prominent Cinghalese priest assured the writer that it was well known that the most important Buddhist tracts belonging to the sacred canon were stored away in countries and places inaccessible to the European pundits, the late Swami Dayanand Sarasvati, the greatest Sanskritist of his day in India, assured some members of the Theosophical Society of the same fact with regard to ancient Brahmanical works. When told that Professor Max Müller had declared to the audiences of his “Lectures" that the theory .... “that there was a primeval preternatural revelation granted to the fathers of the human race, finds but few supporters at present", — the holy and learned man laughed. His answer was suggestive. “If Mr. Moksh Mooller", as he pronounced the name, “were a Brahmin, and came with me, I might take him to a gupta cave (a secret crypt) near Okhee Math, in the Himalayas, where he would soon find out that what crossed the Kalapani (the black waters of the ocean) from India to Europe were only the bits of rejected copies of some passages from our sacred books". There was a 'primeval revelation,' and it still exists; nor will it ever be lost to the world, but will reappear; though the Mlechchhas [i.e. Westerners] will of course have to wait".
Questioned further on this point, he would say no more. This was at Meerut, in 1880.
No doubt the mystification played, in the last century at Calcutta, by the Brahmins upon Colonel Wilford and Sir William Jones was a cruel one. But it had been well deserved, and no one was more to be blamed in that affair than the missionaries and Colonel Wilford themselves. [Page 16] The former, on the testimony of Sir William Jones himself (see Asiat. Res., Volume I., p. 272), were silly enough to maintain that “the Hindus were even now almost Christians, because their Brahmâ, Vishnu and Mahesa were no other than the Christian trinity".[See Max Müller’s “Introduction to the Science of Religion” lecture On False Analogies in Comparative Theology, pp 288 and 296 et seq. This relates to the clever forgery (on leaves inserted in old Purânic MSS.) in correct and archaic Sanskrit, of all that the Pundits of Col Wilford had heard from him about Adam and Abraham, Noah and his three sons, etc, etc.] It was a good lesson. It made the Oriental scholars doubly cautious; but perchance it has also made some of them too shy, and caused, in its reaction, the pendulum of foregone conclusions to swing too much the other way. For “that first supply on the Brahmanical market", made for Colonel Wilford, has now created an evident necessity and desire in the Orientalists to declare nearly every archaic Sanskrit manuscript so modern as to give to the missionaries full justification for availing themselves of the opportunity. That they do so and to the full extent of their mental powers, is shown by the absurd attempts of late to prove that the whole Purânic story about Krishna was plagiarized by the Brahmins from the Bible! But the facts cited by the Oxford Professor in his Lectures on the “Science of Religion", concerning the now famous interpolations, for the benefit, and later on to the sorrow, of Col. Wilford, do not at all interfere with the conclusions to which one who studies the Secret Doctrine must unavoidably come. For, if the results show that neither the New nor even the Old Testament borrowed anything from the more ancient religion of the Brahmans and Buddhists, it does not follow that the Jews have not borrowed all they knew from the Chaldean records, the latter being mutilated later on by Eusebius. As to the Chaldeans, they assuredly got their primitive learning from the Brahmans, for Rawlinson shows an undeniably Vedic influence in the early mythology of Babylon; and Col. Vans Kennedy has long since justly declared that Babylonia was, from her origin, the seat of [Page 17] Sanskrit and Brahman learning. But all such proofs must lose their value, in the presence of the latest theory worked out by Prof. Max Müller. What it is everyone knows. The code of phonetic laws has now become a universal solvent for every identification and “connection" between the gods of many nations. Thus, though the Mother of Mercury (Budha, Thoth-Hermes, etc.), was Maïa, the mother of Buddha (Gautama), also Mâyâ, and the mother of Jesus, likewise Mâyâ (illusion, for Mary is Mare, the Sea, the great illusion symbolically) — yet these three characters have no connection, nor can they have any, since Bopp has “laid down his code of phonetic laws".
PREHISTORIC CIVILIZATIONS IN CENTRAL ASIA
In their efforts to collect together the many skeins of unwritten history, it is a bold step for our Orientalists to take, to deny, a priori, everything that does not dovetail with their special conclusions. Thus, while new discoveries are daily made of great arts and sciences having existed far back in the night of time, even the knowledge of writing is refused to some of the most ancient nations, and they are credited with barbarism instead of culture. Yet the traces of an immense civilization, even in Central Asia, are still to be found. This civilization is undeniably prehistoric. And how can there be civilization without a literature, in some form, without annals or chronicles? Common sense alone ought to supplement the broken links in the history of departed nations. The gigantic, unbroken wall of the mountains that hem in the whole table-land of Tibet, from the upper course of the river Khuan-Khé down to the Kara-Korum hills, witnessed a civilization during milleniums of years, and would have strange secrets to tell mankind. The Eastern and Central portions of those regions — the Nan-Shan and the Altyn-Taga — were once upon a time covered with cities that could well vie with Babylon. A whole geological period has swept over the land, since those cities breathed their last, as the mounds of shifting sand, and the sterile and now dead soil of the immense central plains of the basin of Tarim testify. The [Page 18] borderlands alone are superficially known to the traveler. Within those table-lands of sand there is water, and fresh oases are found blooming there, wherein no European foot has ever yet ventured, or trodden the now treacherous soil. Among these verdant oases there are some which are entirely inaccessible even to the native profane traveler. Hurricanes may “tear up the sands and sweep whole plains away", they are powerless to destroy that which is beyond their reach. Built deep in the bowels of the earth, the subterranean stores are secure; and as their entrances are concealed in such oases, there is little fear that anyone should discover them, even should several armies invade the sandy wastes where -
Not a pool, not a bush, not a house is seen,
And the mountain-range forms a rugged screen
Round the parch’d flats of the dry, dry desert. . .
But there is no need to send the reader across the desert, when the same proofs of ancient civilization are found even in comparatively populated regions of the same country. The oasis of Tchertchen, for instance, situated about 4,000 feet above the level of the river Tchertchen-D'arya, is surrounded with the ruins of archaic towns and cities in every direction. There, some 3,000 human beings represent the relics of about a hundred extinct nations and races — the very names of which are now unknown to our ethnologists. An anthropologist would feel more than embarrassed to class, divide and subdivide them; the more so, as the respective descendants of all these antediluvian races and tribes know as little of their own forefathers themselves, as if they had fallen from the moon. When questioned about their origin, they reply that they know not whence their fathers had come, but had heard that their first (or earliest) men were ruled by the great genii of these deserts. This may be put down to ignorance and superstition, yet in view of the teachings of the Secret Doctrine, the answer may be based upon primeval tradition. Alone, the tribe of Khoorassan claims to have come from what is now known as Afghanistan long before the [Page 19] days of Alexander, and brings legendary lore to that effect as corroboration. The Russian traveler., Colonel (now General) Prjevalsky, found quite close to the oasis of Tcher-tchen, the ruins of two enormous cities, the oldest of which was, according to local tradition, ruined 3,000 years ago by a hero and giant; and the other by the Mongolians in the tenth century of our era. “The emplacement of the two cities is now covered, owing to shifting sands and the desert wind, with strange and heterogeneous relics; with broken china and kitchen utensils and human bones. The natives often find copper and gold coins, melted silver, ingots, diamonds, and turquoises, and what is the most remarkable — broken glass. . . . Coffins of some undecaying wood, or material, also, within which beautifully preserved embalmed bodies are found. . . . The male mummies are all extremely tall powerfully built men with long waving hair .... A vault was found with twelve dead men sitting in it. Another time, in a separate coffin, a young girl was discovered by us. Her eyes were closed with golden discs, and the jaws held firm by a golden circlet running from under the chin across the top of the head. Clad in a narrow woolen garment, her bosom was covered with golden stars, the feet being left naked". (From a lecture by N. M. Prjevalsky.) To this, the famous traveler. adds that all along their way on the river Tchertchen they heard legends about twenty-three towns buried ages ago by the shifting sands of the deserts. The same tradition exists on the Lob-nor and in the oasis of Kerya.
The traces of such civilizations, and these and like traditions, give us the right to credit other legendary lore warranted by well educated and learned natives of India and Mongolia, when they speak of immense libraries reclaimed from the sand, together with various reliques of ancient MAGIC lore, which have all been safely stowed away.
To recapitulate. The Secret Doctrine was the universally diffused religion of the ancient and prehistoric world. Proofs of its diffusion, authentic records of its history, [Page 20] a complete chain of documents, showing its character and presence in every land, together with the teaching of all its great adepts, exist to this day in the secret crypts of libraries belonging to the Occult Fraternity.
This statement is rendered more credible by a consideration of the following facts: the tradition of the thousands of ancient parchments saved when the Alexandrian library was destroyed; the thousands of Sanskrit works which disappeared in India in the reign of Akbar; the universal tradition in China and Japan that the true old texts with the commentaries, which alone make them comprehensible — amounting to many thousands of volumes — have long passed out of the reach of profane hands; the disappearance of the vast sacred and occult literature of Babylon; the loss of those keys which alone could solve the thousand riddles of the Egyptian hieroglyphic records; the tradition in India that the real secret commentaries which alone make the Veda intelligible, though no longer visible to profane eyes, still remain for the Initiate, hidden in secret caves and crypts; and an identical belief among the Buddhists, with regard to their secret books.
DANGEROUS SECRETS HAD TO BE GUARDED
The Occultists assert that all these exist, safe from Western spoliating hands, to re-appear in some more enlightened age, for which, in the words of the late Swami Dayanand Sarasvati, “the Mlechchhas (outcasts, savages, those beyond the pale of Aryan civilization) will have to wait".
it is not the fault of the Initiates that these documents are now “lost" to the profane; nor was their policy dictated by selfishness, or any desire
to monopolise the life-giving sacred lore. There were portions of the Secret
Science that for incalculable ages had to remain concealed from the profane
gaze. But this was because to impart to the unprepared multitude secrets
of such tremendous importance, was equivalent to giving a child a lighted
candle in a powder magazine.[Page 21]
The answer to a question which has frequently arisen in the minds of students, when meeting with statements such as this, may be outlined here.
“We can understand", they say, “the necessity for concealing from the herd such secrets as the Vril, or the rock-destroying force, discovered by J. W. Keely, of Philadelphia, [In Volume I, Part III, Section X: “The Coming Force : Its Possibilities and Impossibilities", the author goes thoroughly into Keely's theory and practice from the standpoint of Eastern Occultism, and explains why he would not succeed in commercialising his discovery. She states (p. 558) that some twelve years previously [i.e. about 1876] in Philadelphia, she said in reply to the earnest queries of one of his admirers that “he was and would remain unconscious of the full range of his powers, and would work out merely those which he had found out and ascertained in his own nature - firstly, because, attributing them to a wrong source, he could never give them full sway; and secondly, because it was beyond his power to pass to others that which was a capacity Inherent in his special nature. Hence the whole secret could not be made over permanently to anyone for practical purposes or use . . . (p. 563). If the question is asked why Mr. Keely was not allowed to pass a certain limit, the answer is easy: because that which he has unconsciously discovered is the terrible sidereal Force, known to, and named by the Atlanteans MASH-MAK, and by the Aryan Rishis in their Ashtar Vidya [their most ancient work on high magical knowledge, of which only a few disfigured fragments are extant] by a name we do not like to give . . The discovery in its completeness is by several thousand — or shall we say hundred thousand? — years too premature. It will be at its appointed place and time only when the great roaring flood of starvation, misery, and underpaid labour ebbs back again — as it will when happily at last the just demands of the many are attended to; when the proletariat exists but in name, and the pitiful cry for bread, that rings throughout the world unheeded, has died away .“Since these lines were written we have had the great War followed by revolutions and an ever increasing unemployment problem. Soon after the author's death in 1891, the Keely Motor Co. failed for the reason she predicted, and he was effectually discredited by the charge that his results were obtained by the use of hidden machinery. — ED.] but we cannot understand how any danger could arise from the revelation of such a purely philosophic doctrine, as, e.g. the evolution of the planetary chains”.
The danger was this: Doctrines such as the planetary [Page 22] chain, or the seven races, at once give a clue to the sevenfold nature of man, for each principle is correlated to a plane, a planet, and a race; and the human principles are, on every plane, correlated to seven-fold occult forces — those of the higher planes being of tremendous power. So that any septenary division at once gives a clue to tremendous occult powers, the abuse of which would cause incalculable evil to humanity. A clue, which is, perhaps, no clue to the present generation — especially the Westerns — protected as they are by their very blindness and ignorant materialistic disbelief in the occult; but a clue which would, nevertheless, have been very real in the early centuries of the Christian era, to people fully convinced of the reality of occultism, and entering a cycle of degradation, which made them ripe for abuse of occult powers and sorcery of the worst description.
The documents were concealed, it is true, but the knowledge itself and its actual existence had never been made a secret of by the Hierophants of the Temple, wherein MYSTERIES have ever been made a discipline and stimulus to virtue. This is very old news, and was repeatedly made known by the great adepts, from Pythagoras and Plato down to the Neo-Platonists. It was the new religion of the Nazarenes that wrought a change for the worse — in the policy of centuries.
Moreover, there is a well-known fact, a very curious one corroborated to the writer by a reverend gentleman attached for years to a Russian Embassy — namely, that there are several documents in the St. Petersburg Imperial Libraries to show that, even so late as during the days when Freemasonry, and Secret Societies of Mystics flourished unimpeded in Russia, i.e., at the end of the last and the beginning of the present century, more than one Russian Mystic travelled to Tibet via the Ural mountains in search of knowledge and initiation in the unknown crypts of Central Asia. And more than one returned years later, with a rich store of such information as could never have been given him [Page 23] anywhere in Europe. Several cases could be cited, and well-known names brought forward, but for the fact that such publicity might annoy the surviving relatives of the said late Initiates. Let any one look over the Annals and History of Freemasonry in the archives of the Russian metropolis, and he will assure himself of the fact stated.
This is a corroboration of that which has been stated many times before, and, unfortunately, too indiscreetly. Instead of benefiting humanity, the virulent charges of deliberate invention and imposture with a purpose thrown at those who asserted but a truthful, if even a little known fact, have only generated bad Karma for the slanderers. But now the mischief is done, and truth should no longer be denied, whatever the consequences. Is it a new religion, we are asked? By no means; it is not a religion, nor is its philosophy new; for, as already stated, it is as old as thinking man. Its tenets are not now published for the first time, but have been cautiously given out to, and taught by, more than one European Initiate — especially by the late J.M.Ragon.
ALL RELIGIOUS FOUNDERS ARE TRANSMITTERS
More than one great scholar has stated that there never was a religious founder, whether Aryan, Semitic or Turanian, who had invented a new religion, or revealed a new truth. These founders were all transmitters not original teachers. They were the authors of new forms and interpretations, while the truths upon which the latter were based were as old as mankind. Selecting one or more of those grand verities — actualities visible only to the eye of the real Sage and Seer — out of the many orally revealed to man in the beginning, preserved and perpetuated in the adyta of the temples through initiation, during the MYSTERIES and by personal transmission — they revealed these truths to the masses. Thus every nation received in its turn some of the said truths, under the veil of its own local and special symbolism; which, as time went on, developed into a more or less philosophical cultus, a Pantheon [Page 24] in mythical disguise. Therefore is Confucius, a very ancient legislator in historical chronology, though a very modern Sage in the World's History, shown by Dr. Legge [Lün-yü (§ I a ) Schott. “Chinesische Literatur,” p 7] who calls him “emphatically a transmitter, not a maker" — as saying: “I only hand on: I cannot create new things. I believe in the ancients and therefore I love them". [ "Life of Confucius" page 96 ] (Quoted in “Science of Religions" by Max Müller.)
The writer loves them too, and therefore believes in the ancients, and the modern heirs to their Wisdom. And believing in both, she now transmits that which she has received and learnt herself to all those who will accept it. As to those who may reject her testimony, — i.e., the great majority — she will bear them no malice, for they will be as right in their way in denying, as she is right in hers in affirming, since they look at TRUTH from two entirely different stand-points. Agreeably with the rules of critical scholarship, the Orientalist has to reject a priori whatever evidence he cannot fully verify for himself. And how can a Western scholar accept on hearsay that which he knows nothing about? Indeed, that which is given in these volumes is selected from oral, as much as from written teachings. This first installment of the esoteric doctrines is based upon Stanzas, which are the records of a people unknown to ethnology; it is claimed that they are written in a tongue absent from the nomenclature of languages and dialects with which philology is acquainted; they are said to emanate from a source (Occultism) repudiated by science; and, finally, offered through an agency, incessantly discredited before the world by all those who hate unwelcome truths, or have some special hobby of their own to defend. Therefore, the rejection of these teachings may be expected, and must be accepted beforehand. No one styling himself a “scholar", in whatever department of exact science, will be permitted to regard these teachings seriously. They will be derided and rejected a priori in this century; but only in this one. [Page 25] For in the twentieth century of our era scholars will begin to recognize that the Secret Doctrine has neither been invented nor exaggerated, but, on the contrary, simply outlined; and finally, that its teachings antedate the Vedas. [This is no pretension to prophecy, but simply a statement based on the knowledge of facts. Every century an attempt is being made to show the world that Occultism is no vain superstition. Once the door is permitted to be kept a little ajar, it will be opened wider with every new century. The times are ripe for a more serious knowledge than hitherto permitted, though still very limited, so far.]Have not the latter been derided, rejected, and called “a modern forgery" even so recently as fifty years ago? Was not Sanskrit proclaimed at one time the progeny of, and a dialect derived from, the Greek, according to Lempriere and other scholars? About 1820, Prof. Max Müller tells us, the sacred books of the Brahmans, of the Magians, and of the Buddhists, “were all but unknown, their very existence was doubted, and there was not a single scholar who could have translated a line of the Veda ... of the Zend Avesta, or ... of the Buddhist Tripitaka, and now the Vedas are proved to be the work of the highest antiquity whose 'preservation amounts almost to a marvel' " (Lecture on the Vedas).
The same will be said of the Secret Archaic Doctrine, when proofs are given of its undeniable existence and records. But it will take centuries before much more is given from it. Speaking of the keys to the Zodiacal mysteries as being almost lost to the world it was remarked by the writer in “Isis Unveiled" some ten years ago that: “The said key must be turned seven times before the whole system is divulged. We will give it but one turn, and thereby allow the profane one glimpse into the mystery. Happy he who understands the whole!"
The same may be said of the whole Esoteric system. One turn of the key, and no more, was given in “Isis". Much more is explained in these volumes. In those days the language in which the work was written, and the disclosure of many things, freely spoken about now, was forbidden. In Century the Twentieth some disciple more [Page 26] informed, and far better fitted, may be sent by the Masters of Wisdom to give final and irrefutable proofs that there exists a Science called Gupta-Vidya; and that, like the once-mysterious sources of the Nile, the source of all religions and philosophies now known to the world has been for many ages forgotten and lost to men, but is at last found.
Such a work as this has to be introduced with no simple Preface, but with a volume rather; one that would give facts, not mere disquisitions, since the SECRET DOCTRINE is not a treatise, or a series of vague theories, but contains all that can be given out to the world in this [19th.] century.
It would be worse than useless to publish in these pages even those portions of the esoteric teachings that have now escaped from confinement, unless the genuineness and authenticity - at any rate, the probability - of the existence of such teachings was first established. Such statements as will now be made, have to be shown warranted by various authorities: those of ancient philosophers, classics and even certain learned Church Fathers, some of whom knew these doctrines because they had studied them, had seen and read works written upon them; and some of whom had even been personally initiated into the ancient Mysteries, during the performance of which the arcane doctrines were allegorically enacted. The writer will have to give historical and trustworthy names, and to cite well-known authors, ancient and modern, of recognized ability, good judgment, and truthfulness, as also to name some of the famous proficients in the secret arts and science, along with the mysteries of the latter, as they are divulged, or, rather, partially presented before the public in their strange archaic form.
How is this to be done? What is the best way for achieving such an object? was the ever-recurring question. To make our plan clearer, an illustration may be attempted. When a tourist coming from a well-explored country, suddenly reaches the borderland of a terra incognita, hedged in, and shut out from view by a formidable barrier of impassable rocks, he may still refuse to acknowledge himself baffled in his exploratory plans. Ingress beyond is forbidden [Page 27] But, if he cannot visit the mysterious region personally, he may still find a means of examining it from as short a distance as can be arrived at. Helped by his knowledge of landscapes left behind him, he can get a general and pretty correct idea of the trans-mural view, if he will only climb to the loftiest summit of the altitudes in front of him. Once there, he can gaze at it, at his leisure, comparing that which he dimly perceives with that which he has just left below, now that he is, thanks to his efforts, beyond the line of the mists and the cloud-capped cliffs.
Such a point of preliminary observation, for those who would like to get a more correct understanding of the mysteries of the pre-archaic periods given in the texts cannot be offered to them in these two volumes. But if reader has patience, and would glance at the present state of beliefs and creeds in Europe, compare and check it with what is known to history of the ages directly preceding and following the Christian era, then he will find all this in Volume III of this work.
In that volume a brief recapitulation will be made of all the principal Adepts known to history, and the downfall of the Mysteries will be described; [The Secret Doctrine MS. was originally divided into four volumes. The first two, dealing with Cosmic and Human Evolution (to which this is the Introduction), being published in 1888. In her Preface the author says: “Should the present volumes meet with a favourable reception, no effort will be spared to carry out the scheme of the work in its entirely. The third volume is entirely ready; the fourth almost so". Neither was published before her death in 1891, but in 1897 what purported to be Volume Ill appeared. This proved to be a great disappointment, for it was described in the editor's Preface as consisting of a collection of papers which “were quite un-arranged and had no obvious order". Clearly this could not be the volume here referred by the author, for it contains only brief references to the Mysteries and a few of the Adepts. As for Volume IV, (which Dr. Archibald and Mr. Bertram Keightley, who helped her prepare the whole of the MS. for the printer, testify to have dealt with Practical Occultism), it has completely disappeared, and therefore nearly half of this wonderful work is lost to the world. — Ed.] after which began the disappearance and final and systematic [Page 28] elimination from the memory of men of the real nature of Initiation and the Sacred Science. From that time its teachings became Occult, and Magic sailed but too often under the venerable but frequently misleading name of Hermetic philosophy. As real Occultism had been prevalent among the Mystics during the centuries that preceded our era, so Magic, or rather Sorcery, with its Occult Arts, followed the beginning of Christianity.
ATTEMPTS TO OBLITERATE PRE-CHRISTIAN TEACHINGS
However great and zealous the fanatical efforts, during those early centuries, to obliterate every trace of the mental and intellectual labour of the Pagans, it was a failure; but the same spirit of the dark demon of bigotry and intolerance has perverted systematically and ever since, every bright page written in the pre-Christian periods. Even in her uncertain records, history has preserved enough of that which has survived to throw an impartial light upon the whole. Let, then, the reader tarry a little while with the writer, on the spot of observation selected. He is asked to give all his attention to that millennium which divided the pre-Christian and the post - Christian periods, by the year ONE of the Nativity. This event — whether historically correct or not — has nevertheless been made to serve as a first signal for the erection of manifold bulwarks against any possible return of, or even a glimpse into, the hated religions of the Past; hated and dreaded — because throwing such a vivid light on the new and intentionally veiled interpretation of what is now known as the “New Dispensation".
However superhuman the efforts of the early Christian fathers to obliterate the Secret Doctrine from the very memory of man, they all failed. [ For the latest collection of data see Forgery in Christianity: A Documented Record of the Foundation of the Christian Religion. By Joseph Wheless, Judge Advocate. New York: Alfred A, Knopf, 1930 - Ed]. Truth can never be killed; hence the failure to sweep away entirely from the face of the earth every vestige of that ancient Wisdom, and to [Page 29] shackle and gag every witness who testified to it. Let one only think of the thousands, and perhaps millions, of MSS. burnt; of monuments, with their too indiscreet inscriptions and pictorial symbols, pulverised to dust; of the bands of early hermits and ascetics roaming about among the ruined cities of Upper and Lower Egypt, in desert and mountain, valleys and highlands, seeking for and eager to destroy every obelisk and pillar, scroll or parchment they could lay their hands on, if it only bore the symbol of the tau, or any other sign borrowed and appropriated by the new faith; and he will then see plainly how it is that so little has remained of the Past. Verily, the fiendish spirits of fanaticism, of early and mediaeval Christianity and of Islam, have from the first loved to dwell in darkness and ignorance; and both have made
- the sun like blood, the earth a tomb,
The tomb a hell, and hell itself a murkier gloom!
Both creeds have won their proselytes at the point of the sword; both have built their churches on heaven-kissing hecatombs of human victims. Over the gateway of Century I. of our era, the ominous words “the KARMA OF ISRAEL", fatally glowed. Over the portals of our own, the future seer may discern other words, that will point to the Karma for cunningly made-up HISTORY, for events purposely perverted, and for great characters slandered by posterity, mangled out of recognition, between the two cars of Jagan-nâtha — Bigotry and Materialism ; one accepting too much, the other denying all. Wise is he who holds to the golden mid-point, who believes in the eternal justice of things. Says Faigi Diwan, the “witness to the wonderful speeches of a free-thinker who belongs to a thousand sects" : “In the assembly of the day of resurrection, when past things shall be forgiven, the sins of the Ka'bah will be forgiven for the sake of the dust of Christian churches". To this, Professor Max Müller replies: “The sins of Islam are as worthless as the dust of Christianity. On the day of resurrection both Muhammedans and Christians will see the vanity of their religious doctrines. Men fight about [Page 30] religion on earth; in heaven they shall find out that there is only one true religion — the worship of God's SPIRIT". [“Lectures on the Science of Religion”, by F. Max Müller, p 257].
In other words — “THERE IS NO RELIGION (OR LAW) HIGHER THAN TRUTH" — “SATYÂT NÂSTI PARO DHARMAH" - the motto of the Maharajah of Benares.
As already said in the Preface, the Secret Doctrine is not a version of “Isis Unveiled" — as originally intended. It is a volume explanatory of it rather, and though entirely independent of the earlier work, an indispensable corollary to it. Much of what was said in Isis could hardly be understood in those days. The Secret Doctrine will now throw light on many a problem left unsolved in the first work, especially on the opening pages, which have never been understood.
EVOLUTION OF COSMOS AND MAN IN ARCHAIC WORKS
simply with the philosophies within our historical times and the respective
symbolism of the fallen nations, only a hurried glance could be thrown at
the panorama of Occultism in the two volumes of Isis. In the present work,
detailed Cosmogony and the evolution of the four races that preceded our
Fifth race Humanity are given, and now two large volumes explain that which
was stated on the first page of ISIS UNVEILED alone, and in a few allusions scattered hither and thither throughout that work.
Nor could the vast catalogue of the Archaic Sciences be attempted in the
present volumes, before we have disposed of such tremendous problems as Cosmic
and Planetary Evolution, and the gradual development of the mysterious Humanities
and races that preceded our “Adamic" Humanity, Therefore, the present attempt to elucidate some mysteries of the
Esoteric philosophy has, in truth, nothing to do with the earlier work. As
an instance, the writer must be allowed to illustrate what is said. [Page 31]
Volume I. of “Isis" begins with a reference to “an old book" -
So very old that our modern antiquarians might ponder over its pages an indefinite time, and still not quite agree as to the nature of the fabric upon which it is written. It is the only original copy now in existence. The most ancient Hebrew document on occult learning - the Siphrah Dzenionta - was compiled from it, and that at a time when the former was already considered in the light of a literary relic. One of its illustrations represents the Divine Essence emanating from ADAM [The name is used in the sense of the Greek word αγθρωπσs] like a luminous arc proceeding to form a circle; and then, having attained the highest point of its circumference, the ineffable glory bends back again, and returns to earth, bringing a higher type of humanity in its vortex. As it approaches nearer and nearer to our planet, the Emanation becomes more and more shadowy, until upon touching the ground it is as black as night.
The “very old Book" is the original work from which the many volumes of Kiu-ti were compiled. Not only this latter and the Siphrah Dzeniouta but even the Sepher Jezirah, [Rabbi Jehoshua Ben Chananea, who died about A.D. 72, openly declared that he had performed “miracles” by means of the Book of Sepher Jezirah, and challenged every sceptic, Franck, quoting from the Babylonian Talmud, names two other thaumaturgists, Rabbis Chanina and Oshoi. (See “Jerusalem Talmud, Sanhedrin. ”c 7, etc; and Franck,” pp 55, 56) Many of the Mediaeval Occultists, Alchemists, and Kabalists claimed the same; and even the late modern Magus, Eliphas Lévi, publicly asserts it in print in his books on Magic.] the work attributed by the Hebrew Kabalists to their Patriarch Abraham (!), the book of Shu-king, [About 5000 years old, written in the earliest “Seal” characters (Chuan-tze) on bamboo. See also footnote ante p 9 - Ed] China's primitive Bible, the sacred volumes of the Egyptian Thoth-Hermes, the Puranâs in India, the Chaldean Book of Numbers, and the Pentateuch itself, are all derived from that one small parent volume. Tradition says, that it was taken down in Senzar, the secret sacerdotal tongue, from the words of the Divine Beings, who dictated it to the Sons of Light, in Central Asia, at the very beginning of the 5th (our) race; for there was a time when its language (the Sen-zar) was known to the Initiates of every nation, when the forefathers of the Toltec understood it as easily [Page 32] as the inhabitants of the lost Atlantis, who inherited it, in their turn, from the sages of the 3rd Race, the Manushis, who learnt it direct from the Devas of the 2nd and 1st Races. The “illustration" spoken of in “Isis" relates to the evolution of these Races and of our 4th and 5th Race Humanity in the Vaivasvata Manvantara or “Round"; each Round being composed of the Yugas of the seven periods of Humanity; four of which are now passed in our life cycle, the middle point of the 5th being nearly reached. The illustration is symbolical, as every one can well understand, and covers the ground from the beginning. The old book, having described Cosmic Evolution and explained the origin of everything on earth, including physical man, after giving the true history of the races from the First down to Fifth (our) race, goes no further. It stops short at the beginning of the Kali Yuga just 4989 years ago [in 1888] at the death of Krishna, the bright “Sun-god", the once hero and living reformer.
But there exists another book. None of its possessors regard it as very ancient, as it was born with, and is only as old as the Kali Yuga or Black Age, namely, about 5,000 years. In about nine years hence [in 1897] the first cycle of the first five millenniums, that began with the great cycle of the Kali Yuga will end. And then the last prophecy contained in that book (the first volume of the prophetic record for the Black Age) will be accomplished. We have not long to wait, and many of us will witness the Dawn of the New Cycle, at the end of which not a few accounts will be settled and squared between the races. Volume II of the Prophecies is nearly ready, having been in preparation since the time of Buddha's grand successor, Sankarâchârya.
One more important point must be noticed, one that stands foremost in the series of proofs given of the existence of one primeval, universal, Wisdom — at any rate for the Christian Kabalists and students. The teachings were, at least, partially known to several of the [Page 33] Fathers of the Church. It is maintained, on purely historical grounds, that Origen, Synesius, and even Clemens Alexandrinus, had been themselves initiated into the mysteries before adding to the Neo-Platonism of the Alexandrian school, that of the Gnostics, under the Christian veil. More than this, some of the doctrines of the Secret schools — though by no means all — were preserved in the Vatican, and have since become part and parcel of the mysteries, in the shape of disfigured additions made to the original Christian programme by the Latin Church. Such is the now materialised dogma of the Immaculate Conception. This accounts for the great persecutions set on foot by the Roman Catholic Church against Occultism, Masonry, and heterodox mysticism generally.
days of Constantine were the last turning-point in history, the period of
the Supreme struggle that ended in the Western world throttling the old religions
in favour of the new one, built on their bodies. From thence the vista into
the far distant Past, beyond the “Deluge" and the Garden of Eden, began to be forcibly and relentlessly closed by every
fair and unfair means against the indiscreet gaze of posterity. Every issue
was blocked up, every record that hands could be laid upon, destroyed. Yet
there remains enough, even among such mutilated records, to warrant us in
saying that there is in them every possible evidence of the actual existence
of a Parent Doctrine. Fragments have survived geological and political cataclysms
to tell the story; and every survival shows evidence that the now Secret Wisdom was once the one fountain head, the ever-flowing perennial source, at
which were fed all its streamlets — the later religions of all nations — from the first down to the last. This period, beginning with Buddha and Pythagoras
at the one end and the Neo-Platonists and Gnostics at the other, is the only
focus left in History wherein converge for the last time the bright rays
of light streaming from the aeons of time gone by, unobscured by the hand
bigotry and fanaticism. [Page 34]
This accounts for the necessity under which the writer has laboured to be ever explaining the facts given from the hoariest Past by evidence gathered from the historical period. No other means was at hand, at the risk even of being once more charged with a lack of method and system. The public must be made acquainted with the efforts of many World-adepts, of initiated poets, writers, and classics of every age, to preserve in the records of Humanity the Knowledge of the existence, at least, of such a philosophy, if not actually of its tenets. The Initiates of 1888 would indeed remain incomprehensible and ever a seemingly impossible myth, were not like Initiates shown to have lived in every other age of history. This could be done only by naming Chapter and Verse where may be found mention of these great characters, who were preceded and followed by a long and interminable line of other famous Antediluvian and Post-diluvian Masters in the arts. Thus only could be shown, on semi-traditional and semi-historical authority, that knowledge of the Occult and the powers it confers on man, are not altogether fictions, but that they are as old as the world itself.
To my judges, past and future, therefore — whether they are serious literary critics, or those howling dervishes in literature who judge a book according to the popularity or unpopularity of the author's name, who, hardly glancing at its contents, fasten like lethal bacilli on the weakest points of the body — I have nothing to say. Nor shall I condescend to notice those crack-brained slanderers -fortunately very few in number — who, hoping to attract public attention by throwing discredit on every writer whose name is better known than their own, foam and bark at their very shadows. These, having first maintained for years that the doctrines taught had been all invented by the present writer, have finally turned round, and denounced “Isis Unveiled" and the rest as a plagiarism from Eliphas Levi (!), Paracelsus (!!), and, mirabile dictu, Buddhism and Brahmanism (!!!). As well charge Renan with having stolen his Vie de Jésus from the Gospels, and [Page 35] Max Müller his “Sacred Books of the East" or his “Chips" from the philosophies of the Brahmins and Gautama, the Buddha. But to the public in general and the readers of the “Secret Doctrine" I may repeat what I have stated all along, and which I now clothe in the words of Montaigne: “ Gentlemen, I HAVE HERE MADE ONLY A NOSEGAY OF CULLED FLOWERS, AND HAVE BROUGHT NOTHING OF MY OWN BUT THE STRING THAT TIES THEM".
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