Isis Unveiled by H. P. Blavatsky — Vol. 2
Theosophical University Press Online Edition

[[Vol. 2, Page 289]]

CHAPTER VII.

"Of the tenets of the Druzes, nothing authentic has ever come to light; the popular belief amongst their neighbors is, that they adore an idol in the form of a calf." — KING: The Gnostics and their Remains.
"O ye Lords of Truth without fault, who are forever cycling for eternity . . . save me from the annihilation of this Region of the Two Truths." — Egyptian Ritual of the Dead.
"Pythagoras correctly regarded the 'Ineffable Name' of God . . . as the Key to the Mysteries of the universe." — PANCOAST: Blue and Red Light.

IN the next two chapters we shall notice the most important of the Christian secret sects — the so-called "Heresies" which sprang into existence between the first and fourth centuries of our era.

Glancing rapidly at the Ophites and Nazareans, we shall pass to their scions which yet exist in Syria and Palestine, under the name of Druzes of Mount Lebanon; and near Basra or Bassorah, in Persia, under that of Mendaeans, or Disciples of St. John. All these sects have an immediate connection with our subject, for they are of kabalistic parentage and have once held to the secret "Wisdom Religion," recognizing as the One Supreme, the Mystery-God of the Ineffable Name. Noticing these numerous secret societies of the past, we will bring them into direct comparison with several of the modern. We will conclude with a brief survey of the Jesuits, and of that venerable nightmare of the Roman Catholic Church — modern Freemasonry. All of these modern as well as ancient fraternities — present Freemasonry excepted — were and are more or less connected with magic — practically, as well as theoretically; and, every one of them — Freemasonry not excepted — was and still is accused of demonolatry, blasphemy, and licentiousness.

Our object is not to write the history of either of them; but only to compare these sorely-abused communities with the Christian sects, past and present, and then, taking historical facts for our guidance, to defend the secret science as well as the men who are its students and champions against any unjust imputation.

One by one the tide of time engulfed the sects of the early centuries, until of the whole number only one survived in its primitive integrity. That one still exists, still teaches the doctrine of its founder, still exemplifies its faith in works of power. The quicksands which swallowed up


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every other outgrowth of the religious agitation of the times of Jesus, with its records, relics, and traditions, proved firm ground for this. Driven from their native land, its members found refuge in Persia, and to-day the anxious traveller may converse with the direct descendants of the "Disciples of John," who listened, on the Jordan's shore, to the "man sent from God," and were baptized and believed. This curious people, numbering 30,000 or more, are miscalled "Christians of St. John," but in fact should be known by their old name of Nazareans, or their new one of Mendaeans.

To term them Christians, is wholly unwarranted. They neither believe in Jesus as Christ, nor accept his atonement, nor adhere to his Church, nor revere its "Holy Scriptures." Neither do they worship the Jehovah-God of the Jews and Christians, a circumstance which of course proves that their founder, John the Baptist, did not worship him either. And if not, what right has he to a place in the Bible, or in the portrait-gallery of Christian saints? Still further, if Ferho was his God, and he was "a man sent by God," he must have been sent by Lord Ferho, and in his name baptized and preached? Now, if Jesus was baptized by John, the inference is that he was baptized according to his own faith; therefore, Jesus too, was a believer in Ferho, or Faho, as they call him; a conclusion that seems the more warranted by his silence as to the name of his "Father." And why should the hypothesis that Faho is but one of the many corruptions of Fho or Fo, as the Thibetans and Chinese call Buddha, appear ridiculous? In the North of Nepaul, Buddha is more often called Fo than Buddha. The Book of Mahawansa shows how early the work of Buddhistic proselytism began in Nepaul; and history teaches that Buddhist monks crowded into Syria* and Babylon in the

[[Footnote(s)]]--------------------------------------------------

* Not only did the Buddhist missionaries make their way to the Mesopotamian Valley, but they even went so far west as Ireland. The Rev. Dr. Lundy, in his work on "Monumental Christianity," referring to an Irish Round Tower, observes: "Henry O'Brien explains this Round Tower Crucifixion as that of Buddha; the animals as the elephant and the bull, sacred to Buddha, and into which his soul entered after death; the two figures standing beside the cross as Buddha's virgin mother, and Kama his favorite disciple. The whole picture bears a close likeness to the Crucifixion, in the cemetery of Pope Julius, except the animals, which are conclusive proof that it cannot be Christian. It came ultimately from the far East to Ireland, with the Phoenician colonists, who erected the Round Towers as symbols of the life-giving and preserving power of man and nature, and how that universal life is produced through suffering and death."

When a Protestant clergyman is thus forced to confess the pre-Christian existence of the crucifix in Ireland, its Buddhistic character, and the penetration of the missionaries of that faith even to that then remote portion of the earth, we need not wonder that in the minds of the Nazarean contemporaries of Jesus and their descendants, he [[Footnote continued on next page]]


[[Vol. 2, Page]] 291 SECRET CHRISTIAN AND OTHER SECTS.

century preceding our era, and that Buddhasp (Bodhisatva) the alleged Chaldean, was the founder of Sabism or baptism.*

What the actual Baptists, el-Mogtasila, or Nazareans, do believe, is fully set forth in other places, for they are the very Nazarenes of whom we have spoken so much, and from whose Codex we have quoted. Persecuted and threatened with annihilation, they took refuge in the Nestorian body, and so allowed themselves to be arbitrarily classed as Christians, but as soon as opportunity offered, they separated, and now, for several centuries have not even nominally deserved the appellation. That they are, nevertheless, so called by ecclesiastical writers, is perhaps not very difficult to comprehend. They know too much of early Christianity to be left outside the pale, to bear witness against it with their traditions, without the stigma of heresy and backsliding being fastened upon them to weaken confidence in what they might say.

But where else can science find so good a field for biblical research as among this too neglected people? No doubt of their inheritance of the Baptist's doctrine; their traditions are without a break. What they teach now, their forefathers taught at every epoch where they appear in history. They are the disciples of that John who is said to have foretold the advent of Jesus, baptized him, and declared that the latchet of his shoe he (John) was not worthy to unloose. As they two — the Messenger and the Messiah — stood in the Jordan, and the elder was consecrating the younger — his own cousin, too, humanly speaking — the heavens opened and God Himself, in the shape of a dove, descended in a glory upon his "Beloved Son"! How then, if this tale be true, can we account for the strange infidelity which we find among these surviving Nazareans? So far from believing Jesus the Only Begotten Son of God, they actually told the Persian missionaries, who, in the seventeenth century, first discovered them to Europeans, that the Christ of the New Testament was "a false teacher," and that the Jewish system, as well as that of Jesus (?), came from the realm of darkness! Who knows better than they? Where can more competent living witnesses be found? Christian eccle-

[[Footnote(s)]] -------------------------------------------------

[[Footnote continued from previous page]] should not have been associated with that universally known emblem in the character of a Redeemer.

In noticing this admission of Dr. Lundy, Mr. Charles Sotheran remarked, in a lecture before the American Philological Society, that both legends and archaeological remains unite in proving beyond question "that Ireland, like every other nation, once listened to the propagandists of Siddhartha-Buddha."

* "The religion of multiplied baptisms, the scion of the still existent sect named the 'Christians of St. John,' or Mendaecans, whom the Arabs call el-Mogtasila and Baptists. The Aramean verb seba, origin of the name Sabian, is a synonym of [[Baptizm]]" (Renan: "Vie de Jesus").


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siastics would force upon us an anointed Saviour heralded by John, and the disciples of this very Baptist, from the earliest centuries, have stigmatized this ideal personage as an impostor, and his putative Father, Jehovah, "a spurious God," the Ilda-Baoth of the Ophites! Unlucky for Christianity will be the day when some fearless and honest scholar shall persuade their elders to let him translate the contents of their secret books and compile their hoary traditions! It is a strange delusion that makes some writers think that the Nazareans have no other sacred literature, no other literary relics than four doctrinal works, and that curious volume full of astrology and magic which they are bound to peruse at the sunset hour, on every Sol's day (Sunday).

This search after truth leads us, indeed, into devious ways. Many are the obstacles that ecclesiastical cunning has placed in the way of our finding the primal source of religious ideas. Christianity is on trial, and has been, ever since science felt strong enough to act as Public Prosecutor. A portion of the case we are drafting in this book. What of truth is there in this Theology? Through what sects has it been transmitted? Whence was it primarily derived? To answer, we must trace the history of the World Religion, alike through the secret Christian sects as through those of other great religious subdivisions of the race; for the Secret Doctrine is the Truth, and that religion is nearest divine that has contained it with least adulteration.

Our search takes us hither and thither, but never aimlessly do we bring sects widely separated in chronological order, into critical juxtaposition. There is one purpose in our work to be kept constantly in view — the analysis of religious beliefs, and the definition of their descent from the past to the present. What has most blocked the way is Roman Catholicism; and not until the secret principles of this religion are uncovered can we comprehend the iron staff upon which it leans to steady its now tottering steps.

We will begin with the Ophites, Nazareans, and the modern Druzes. The personal views of the author, as they will be presented in the diagrams, will be most decidedly at variance with the prejudiced speculations of Irenaeus, Theodoret, and Epiphanius (the sainted renegade, who sold his brethren), inasmuch as they will reflect the ideas of certain kabalists in close relations with the mysterious Druzes of Mount Lebanon. The Syrian okhals, or Spiritualists, as they are sometimes termed, are in possession of a great many ancient manuscripts and gems, bearing upon our present subject.

The first scheme — that of the Ophites — from the very start, as we have shown, varies from the description given by the Fathers, inasmuch as it makes Bythos or depth, a female emanation, and assigns her a place


[[Vol. 2, Page]] 293 THE OPHITES, NAZAREANS, AND DRUZES.

answering to that of Pleroma, only in a far superior region; whereas, the Fathers assure us that the Gnostics gave the name of Bythos to the First Cause. As in the kabalistic system, it represents the boundless and infinite void within which is concealed in darkness the Unknown Primal motor of all. It envelops HIM like a veil: in short we recognize again the "Shekinah" of the En-Soph. Alone, the name of [[IAO]], Iao, marks the upper centre, or rather the presumed spot where the Unknown One may be supposed to dwell. Around the Iao, runs the legend, [[CEMEC EILAM ABRASAX]]. "The eternal Sun-Abrasax" (the Central Spiritual Sun of all the kabalists, represented in some diagrams of the latter by the circle of Tiphereth).

From this region of unfathomable Depth, issues forth a circle formed of spirals; which, in the language of symbolism, means a grand cycle, [[kuklos]], composed of smaller ones. Coiled within, so as to follow the spirals, lies the serpent — emblem of wisdom and eternity — the Dual Androgyne: the cycle representing Ennoia or the Divine mind, and the Serpent — the Agathodaimon, Ophis — the Shadow of the Light. Both were the Logoi of the Ophites; or the unity as Logos manifesting itself as a double principle of good and evil; for, according to their views, these two principles are immutable, and existed from all eternity, as they will ever continue to exist.

This symbol accounts for the adoration by this sect of the Serpent, as the Saviour, coiled either around the Sacramental loaf or a Tau. As a unity, Ennoia and Ophis are the Logos; when separated, one is the Tree of Life (Spiritual); the other, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Therefore, we find Ophis urging the first human couple — the material production of Ilda-Baoth, but which owed its spiritual principle to Sophia-Achamoth — to eat of the forbidden fruit, although Ophis represents Divine Wisdom.

The Serpent, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the Tree of Life, are all symbols transplanted from the soil of India. The Arasa-Maram, the banyan tree, so sacred with the Hindus, since Vishnu, during one of his incarnations, reposed under its mighty shade, and there taught humanity philosophy and sciences, is called the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life. Under the protective umbrage of this king of the forests, the Gurus teach their pupils their first lessons on immortality and initiate them in the mysteries of life and death. The Java-ALEIM of the Sacerdotal College are said, in the Chaldean tradition, to have taught the sons of men to become like one of them. To the present day Foh-tchou,* who lives in his Foh-Maeyu, or temple of Buddha, on the

[[Footnote(s)]] -------------------------------------------------

* Foh-Tchou, literally, in Chinese, meaning Buddha's lord, or the teacher of the doctrines of Buddha — Foh.


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top of "Kouin-long-sang,"* the great mountain, produces his greatest religious miracles under a tree called in Chinese Sung-Ming-Shu, or the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life, for ignorance is death, and knowledge alone gives immortality. This marvellous display takes place every three years, when an immense concourse of Chinese Buddhists assemble in pilgrimage at the holy place.

Ilda-Baoth, the "Son of Darkness," and the creator of the material world, was made to inhabit the planet Saturn, which identifies him still more with the Jewish Jehovah, who was Saturn himself, according to the Ophites, and is by them denied his Sinaitic name. From Ilda-Baoth emanate six spirits, who respectively dwell with their father in the seven planets. These are Saba — or Mars; Adonai — Sol, or the Sun;** Ievo — the Moon; Eloi — Jupiter; Astaphoi — Mercury (spirit of water); and Ouraios — Venus, spirit of fire.***

In their functions and description as given, these seven planets are identical with the Hindu Sapta-Loca, the seven places or spheres, or the superior and inferior worlds; for they represent the kabalistic seven spheres. With the Ophites, they belong to the lower spheres. The monograms of these Gnostic planets are also Buddhistic, the latter differing, albeit slightly, from those of the usual astrological "houses." In the explanatory notes which accompany the diagram, the names of Cirenthius (the disciple of Simon Magus), of Menander, and of certain other Gnostics, whose names are not to be met with in the Patristic writings, are often mentioned; such as Parcha (Ferho), for instance.****

The author of the diagram claims, moreover, for his sect, the greatest antiquity, bringing forward, as a proof, that their "forefathers" were the builders of all the "Dracontia" temples, even of those beyond "the great waters." He asserts that the "Just One," who was the mouth-piece of the Eternal AEon (Christos), himself sent his disciples into the world, placing them under the double protection of Sige (Silence, the

[[Footnote(s)]] -------------------------------------------------

* This mountain is situated south-west of China, almost between China and Thibet.

** SOL, being situated, on the diagram, exactly in the centre of the solar system (of which the Ophites appear to have been cognizant) — hence, under the direct vertical ray of the Higher Spiritual Sun — showers his brightness on all other planets.

*** Speaking of Venus, Placidus, the astrologer, always maintained that "her bluish lustre denotes heat." As to Mercury, it was a strange fancy of the Ophites to represent him as a spirit of water, when astrologically considered he is as "a cold, dry, earthy, and melancholy star."

**** The name which Norberg translates, in his Onomasticon to the "Codex Nazaraeus," as Ferho, stands, in the original, Parcha Rabba. In the "Life of Manes," given by Epiphanius, in his "Haer.," lxvi., is mentioned a certain priest of Mithras, a friend of the great Haeresiarch Manes, named Parchus.


[[Vol. 2, Page]] 295 TWO COSMOGONIES COMPARED.

Logos), and Ophis, the Agathodaemon. The author alludes no doubt, to the favorite expression of Jesus, "be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." On the diagram, Ophis is represented as the Egyptian Cnuphis or Kneph, called Dracontiae. He appears as a serpent standing erect on its tail, with a lion's head, crowned and radiated, and bearing on the point of each ray one of the seven Greek vowels — symbol of the seven celestial spheres. This figure is quite familiar to those who are acquainted with the Gnostic gems,* and is borrowed from the Egyptian Hermetic books. The description given in the Revelation, of one "like unto the Son of Man," with his seven stars, and who is the Logos, is another form of Ophis.

The Nazarene diagram, except in a change of names, is identical with that of the Gnostics, who evidently borrowed their ideas from it, adding a few appellations from the Basilidean and Valentinian systems. To avoid repetition, we will now simply present the two in parallel.

Thus, we find that, in the Nazarene Cosmogony, the names of their powers and genii stand in the following relations to those of the Gnostics:

[[Column 1]]
NAZARENE.
First Trinity.
Lord FERHO — the Life which is no Life — the Supreme God. The Cause which produces the Light, or the Logos in abscondito. The water of Jordanus Maximus — the water of Life, or Ajar, the feminine principle. Unity in a Trinity, enclosed within the ISH AMON.
Second Trinity.
(The manifestation of the first.)
1. Lord MANO — the King of Life and Light — Rex Lucis. First LIFE, or the primitive man.
2. Lord Jordan — manifestation or emanation of Jordan Maximus — the waters of grace. Second LIFE.
3. The Superior Father — Abatur. Third LIFE.
This Trinity produces also a duad — Lord Ledhoio, and Fetahil, the genius (the former, a perfect emanation, the latter, imperfect). [[Column continued on next page]]
_____________
[[Column 2]]
GNOSTIC-OPHITE.
First Unity in a Trinity.
IAO -- the Ineffable Name of the Unknown Deity — Abraxas, and the "Eternal Spiritual Sun." Unity enclosed within the Depth, Bythos, feminine principle — the boundless circle, within which lie all ideal forms. From this Unity emanates the
Second Trinity.
(Idem.)
1. Ennoia — mind.
2. Ophis, the Agathodaemon.
3. Sophia Androgyne — wisdom; who, in her turn — fecundated with the Divine Light — produces
Christos and Sophia-Achamoth (one perfect, the other imperfect), as an emanation.

[[Footnote(s)]] -------------------------------------------------

* Its description is found in one of the magic books of the Egyptian King Nechepsos, and its use prescribed on green jasper stones, as a potent amulet. Galen mentions it in his work, "De Simp. Med.," c. ix.


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[[Column 1 continued]]
Lord Jordan — "the Lord of all Jordans," manifests NETUBTO (Faith without Works).*
____________
[[Column 2 continued]]
Sophia-Achamoth emanates Ilda-Baoth — the Demiurge, who produces material and soulless creation. "Works without Faith" (or grace).*

Moreover, the Ophite seven planetary genii, who emanated one from the other, are found again in the Nazarene religion, under the name of the "seven impostor-daemons," or stellars, who "will deceive all the sons of Adam." These are Sol; Spiritus Venereus (Holy Spirit, in her material aspect),** the mother of the "seven badly-disposed stellars," answering to the Gnostic Achamoth; Nebu, or Mercury, "a false Messiah, who will deprave the ancient worship of God";*** SIN (or Luna, or Shuril); KIUN (Kivan, or Saturn); Bel-Jupiter; and the seventh, Nerig, Mars (Codex Nazaraeus, p. 57).

The Christos of the Gnostics is the chief of the seven AEons, St. John's seven spirits of God; the Nazarenes have also their seven genii or good Eons, whose chief is Rex Lucis, MANO, their Christos. The Sapta Rishis, the seven sages of India, inhabit the Sapta-Poura, or the seven celestial cities.

What less or more do we find in the Universal Ecclesia, until the days of the Reformation, and in the Roman Popish Church after the separation? We have compared the relative value of the Hindu Cosmogony; the Chaldeo, Zoroastrian, Jewish Kabala; and that of the so-termed Haeretics. A correct diagram of the Judaico-CHRISTIAN religion, to enforce which on the heathen who have furnished it, are expended such great sums every year, would still better prove the identity of the two; but we lack space and are also spared the necessity of proving what is already thoroughly demonstrated.

In the Ophite gems of King (Gnostics), we find the name of Iao repeated, and often confounded with that of Ievo, while the latter simply represents one of the genii antagonistic to Abraxas. In order that these names may not be taken as identical with the name of the Jewish Jehovah we will at once explain this word. It seems to us surpassingly strange that so many learned archaeologists should have so little insisted that there was more than one Jehovah, and disclaimed that the name origin-

[[Footnote(s)]] -------------------------------------------------

* Consider those two diametrically-opposed doctrines — the Catholic and the Protestant; the one preached by Paul, the semi-Platonist, and the other by James, the orthodox Talmudist.

** The material, bad side of Sophia-Achamoth, who emanates from herself Ilda-Baoth and his six sons.

*** See Norberg's translation of "Codex Nazaraeus," Preface. This proves once more the identification of Jesus with Gautama-Buddha, in the minds of the Nazarene Gnostics, as Nebu or Mercury is the planet sacred to the Buddhas.


[[Vol. 2, Page]] 297 NEITHER DAVID NOR SOLOMON MOSAIC JEWS.

ated with Moses. Iao is certainly a title of the Supreme Being, and belongs partially to the Ineffable Name; but it neither originated with nor was it the sole property of the Jews. Even if it had pleased Moses to bestow the name upon the tutelar "Spirit," the alleged protector and national deity of the "Chosen people of Israel," there is yet no possible reason why other nationalities should receive Him as the Highest and One-living God. But we deny the assumption altogether. Besides, there is the fact that Yaho or Iao was a "mystery name" from the beginning, and never came into use before King David. Anterior to his time, few or no proper names were compounded with iah or jah. It looks rather as though David, being a sojourner among the Tyrians and Philistines (2 Samuel), brought thence the name of Jehovah. He made Zadok high-priest, from whom came the Zadokites or Sadducees. He lived and ruled first at Hebron , Habir-on or Kabeir-town, where the rites of the four (mystery-gods) were celebrated. Neither David nor Solomon recognized either Moses or the law of Moses. They aspired to build a temple to , like the structures erected by Hiram to Hercules and Venus, Adon and Astarte.

Says Furst: "The very ancient name of God, Yaho, written in the Greek [[Iao]], appears, apart from its derivation, to have been an old mystic name of the Supreme deity of the Shemites. (Hence it was told to Moses when initiated at HOR-EB — the cave, under the direction of Jethro, the Kenite or Cainite priest of Midian.) In an old religion of the Chaldeans, whose remains are to be found amongst the Neo-platonists, the highest divinity enthroned above the seven heavens, representing the Spiritual Light-Principle (nous)* and also conceived as Derniurgus,** was called [[Iao]] , who was, like the Hebrew Yaho, mysterious and unmentionable, and whose name was communicated to the initiated. The Phoenicians had a Supreme God whose name was trilateral and secret, and he was [[Iao]]."***

But while Furst insists that the name has a Semitic origin, there are other scholars who trace it farther than he does, and look back beyond the classification of the Caucasians.

In Sanscrit we have Jah and Jaya, or Jaa and Ja-ga, and this throws light on the origin of the famous festival of the car of Jaga-nath, commonly called Jaggernath. Javhe means "he who is," and Dr. Spiegel traces even the Persian name of God, "Ahura," to the root ah,**** which

[[Footnote(s)]] -------------------------------------------------

* Nous, the designation given by Anaxagoras to the Supreme Deity, was taken from Egypt, where he was styled NOUT.

** By very few though, for the creators of the material universe were always considered as subordinate deities to the Most High God.

*** Lydus, 1. c., Ledrenus, 1. c.

**** "Eran das Land zwischen dem Indus und Tigris."


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in Sanscrit is pronounced as, to breathe, and asu, became, therefore, in time, synonymous with "Spirit."* Rawlinson strongly supports the opinion of an Aryan or Vedic influence on the early Babylonian mythology. We have given, a few pages back, the strongest possible proofs of the identity of Vishnu with Dag-on. The same may be adduced for the title of [[Iao]], and its Sanscrit root traced in every country. JU or Jovis is the oldest Latin name for God. "As male he is Ju-piter, or Ju, the father, pitar being Sanscrit for father; as feminine, Ju-no or Ju, the comforter — being the Phoenician word for rest and comfort."** Professor Max Muller shows that although "Dyaus," sky, does not occur as a masculine in the ordinary Sanscrit, yet it does occur in the Veda, "and thus bears witness to the early Aryan worship of Dyaus, the Greek Zeus" (The Veda).

To grasp the real and primitive sense of the term [[IAO]], and the reason of its becoming the designation for the most mysterious of all deities, we must search for its origin in the figurative phraseology of all the primitive people. We must first of all go to the most ancient sources for our information. In one of the Books of Hermes, for instance, we find him saying that the number TEN is the mother of the soul, and that the life and light are therein united. For "the number 1 (one) is born from the spirit, and the number 10 (ten) from matter";*** "the unity has made the TEN, the TEN the unity."****

The kabalistic gematria — one of the methods for extracting the hidden meaning from letters, words, and sentences — is arithmetical. It consists in applying to the letters of a word the sense they bear as numbers, in outward shape as well as in their individual sense. Moreover, by the Themura (another method used by the kabalists) any word could be made to yield its mystery out of its anagram. Thus, we find the author of Sepher Jezira saying, one or two centuries before our era:***** "ONE, the spirit of the Alahim of Lives."****** So again, in the oldest kabalistic diagrams, the ten Sephiroth are represented as wheels or circles, and Adam Kadmon, the primitive man, as an upright pillar. "Wheels and

[[Footnote(s)]] -------------------------------------------------

* Asi means, moreover, "Thou art," in Sanscrit, and also "sword," "Asi," without the accent on the first vowel.

** Professor A. Wilder.

*** These sacred anagrams were called "Zeruph."

**** "Book of Numbers, or Book of the Keys."

***** The "Jezira," or book of the creation, was written by Rabbi Akiba, who was the teacher and instructor of Simeon Ben Iochai, who was called the prince of the kabalists, and wrote the "Sohar." Franck asserts that "Jezira" was written one century B.C. ("Die Kabbala," 65), but other and as competent judges make it far older. At all events, it is now proved that Simeon Ben Iochai lived before the second destruction of the temple.

****** "Jezira," p. 8.


[[Vol. 2, Page]] 299 IAO, THE TRILATERAL NAME.

seraphim and the holy creatures" (chioth), says Rabbi Akiba.* In another system of the same branch of the symbolical Kabala, called Athbach — which arranges the letters of the alphabet by pairs in three rows — all the couples in the first row bear the numerical value ten; and in the system of Simeon Ben-Shetah,** the uppermost couple — the most sacred of all, is preceded by the Pythagorean cipher, one and a nought, or zero — 10.

If we can once appreciate the fact that, among all the peoples of the highest antiquity, the most natural conception of the First Cause manifesting itself in its creatures, and that to this they could not but ascribe the creation of all, was that of an androgyne deity; that the male principle was considered the vivifying invisible spirit, and the female, mother nature; we shall be enabled to understand how that mysterious cause came at first to be represented (in the picture-writings, perhaps) as the combination of the Alpha and Omega of numbers, a decimal, then as IAO, a trilateral name, containing in itself a deep allegory.

IAO, in such a case, would — etymologically considered — mean the "Breath of Life," generated or springing forth between an upright male and an egg-shaped female principle of nature; for, in Sanscrit, as means "to be," "to live or exist"; and originally it meant "to breathe." "From it," says Max Muller, "in its original sense of breathing, the Hindus formed 'asu,' breath, and 'asura,' the name of God, whether it meant the breathing one or the giver of breath."*** It certainly meant the latter. In Hebrew, "Ah" and "Iah" mean life. Cornelius Agrippa, in his treatise on the Preeminence of Woman, shows that "the word Eve suggests comparison with the mystic symbols of the kabalists, the name of the woman having affinity with the ineffable Tetragrammaton, the most sacred name of the divinity." Ancient names were always consonant with the things they represented. In relation to the mysterious name of the Deity in question, the hitherto inexplicable hint of the kabalists as to the efficacy of the letter H, "which Abram took away from his wife Sarah" and "put into the middle of his own name," becomes clear.

It may perhaps be argued, by way of objection, that it is not ascertained as yet at what period of antiquity the nought occurs for the first time in Indian manuscripts or inscriptions. Be that as it may, the case presents circumstantial evidence of too strong a character not to carry a conviction of probability with it. According to Max Muller "the two words 'cipher' and 'zero,' which are in reality but one . . . are sufficient

[[Footnote(s)]] -------------------------------------------------

* Ibid. See the constancy with which Ezekiel sticks in his vision to the "wheels" of the "living creatures" (ch. 1., passim).

** He was an Alexandrian Neo-platonic under the first of the Ptolemies.

*** "Chips," vol. i.


[[Vol. 2, Page]] 300 ISIS UNVEILED.

to prove that our figures are borrowed from the Arabs."* Cipher is the Arabic "cifron," and means empty, a translation of the Sanscrit name of the nought "synya," he says. The Arabs had their figures from Hindustan, and never claimed the discovery for themselves.** As to the Pythagoreans, we need but turn to the ancient manuscripts of Boethius's Geometry, composed in the sixth century, to find in the Pythagorean numerals*** the 1 and the nought, as the first and final cipher. And Porphyry, who quotes from the Pythagorean Moderatus,**** says that the numerals of Pythagoras were "hieroglyphical symbols, by means whereof he explained ideas concerning the nature of things."

Now, if the most ancient Indian manuscripts show as yet no trace of decimal notation in them, Max Muller states very clearly that until now he has found but nine letters (the initials of the Sanscrit numerals) in them — on the other hand we have records as ancient to supply the wanted proof. We speak of the sculptures and the sacred imagery in the most ancient temples of the far East. Pythagoras derived his knowledge from India; and we find Professor Max Muller corroborating this statement, at least so far as allowing the Neo-Pythagoreans to have been the first teachers of "ciphering" among the Greeks and Romans; that "they, at Alexandria, or in Syria, became acquainted with the Indian figures, and adapted them to the Pythagorean abacus" (our figures). This cautious allowance implies that Pythagoras himself was acquainted with but nine figures. So that we might reasonably answer that although we possess no certain proof that the decimal notation was known to Pythagoras, who lived on the very close of the archaic ages,***** we yet have sufficient evidence to show that the full numbers, as given by Boethius, were known to the Pythagoreans, even before Alexandria was built.****** This evidence we find in Aristotle, who says that "some philosophers hold that ideas and numbers are of the same nature, and amount to TEN in all."******* This, we believe, will be sufficient to show that the decimal notation was known among them at least as early as four centuries B.C., for Aristotle does not seem to treat the question as an innovation of the "Neo-Pythagoreans."

Besides, as we have remarked above, the representations of the archaic deities, on the walls of the temples, are of themselves quite suggestive enough. So, for instance, Vishnu is represented in the Kurmavatara (his second avatar) as a tortoise sustaining a circular pillar, on which the semblance of himself (Maya, or the illusion) sits with all his attributes.

[[Footnote(s)]] -------------------------------------------------

* See Max Muller's "Our Figures."

** Ibid.

*** See King's "Gnostics and their Remains," plate xiii.

**** "Vita Pythagor."

***** 608 B. C.

****** This city was built 332 B. C.

******* "Metaph.," vii. F.


[[Vol. 2, Page]] 301 THE "LORD GOD" OF THE HEBREWS.

While one hand holds a flower, another a club, the third a shell, the fourth, generally the upper one, or at the right — holds on his forefinger, extended as the cipher 1, the chakra, or discus, which resembles a ring, or a wheel, and might be taken for the nought. In his first avatar, the Matsyavatam, when emerging from the fish's mouth, he is represented in the same position.* The ten-armed Durga of Bengal; the ten-headed Ravana, the giant; Parvati — as Durga, Indra, and Indrani, are found with this attribute, which is a perfect representation of the May-pole.**

The holiest of the temples among the Hindus, are those of Jaggarnath. This deity is worshipped equally by all the sects of India, and Jaggarnath is named "The Lord of the World." He is the god of the Mysteries, and his temples, which are most numerous in Bengal, are all of a pyramidal form.

There is no other deity which affords such a variety of etymologies as Iaho, nor a name which can be so variously pronounced. It is only by associating it with the Masoretic points that the later Rabbins succeeded in making Jehovah read "Adonai" — or Lord. Philo Byblus spells it in Greek letters [[IEUO]] — IEVO. Theodoret says that the Samaritans pronounced it Iabe (Yahva) and the Jews Yaho; which would make it as we have shown I-ah-O. Diodorus states that "among the Jews they relate that Moses called the God [[Iao]]." It is on the authority of the Bible itself, therefore, that we maintain that before his initiation by Jethro, his father-in-law, Moses had never known the word Iaho. The future Deity of the sons of Israel calls out from the burning bush and gives His name as "I am that I am," and specifies carefully that He is the "Lord God of the Hebrews" (Exod. iii. 18), not of the other nations. Judging him by his own acts, throughout the Jewish records, we doubt whether Christ himself, had he appeared in the days of the Exodus, would have been welcomed by the irascible Sinaitic Deity. However, "The Lord God," who becomes, on His own confession, Jehovah only in the 6th chapter of Exodus (verse 3) finds his veracity put to a startling test in Genesis xxii. 14, in which revealed passage Abraham builds an altar to Jehovah-jireh.

It would seem, therefore, but natural to make a difference between the mystery-God [[Iao]], adopted from the highest antiquity by all who participated in the esoteric knowledge of the priests, and his phonetic counterparts, whom we find treated with so little reverence by the Ophites and other Gnostics. Once having burdened themselves like the Azazel of the

[[Footnote(s)]] -------------------------------------------------

* See drawings from the Temple of Rama, Coleman's "Mythology of the Hindus." New York: J. W. Bouton, Publisher.

** See Hargrave Jennings: "Rosicrucians," p. 252.


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wilderness with the sins and iniquities of the Jewish nation, it now appears hard for the Christians to have to confess that those whom they thought fit to consider the "chosen people" of God — their sole predecessors in monotheism — were, till a very late period, as idolatrous and polytheistic as their neighbors. The shrewd Talmudists have escaped the accusation for long centuries by screening themselves behind the Masoretic invention. But, as in everything else, truth was at last brought to light. We know now that Ihoh must be read Iahoh and Iah, not Jehovah. Iah of the Hebrews is plainly the Iacchos (Bacchus) of the Mysteries; the God "from whom the liberation of souls was expected — Dionysus, Iacchos, Iahoh, Iah."* Aristotle then was right when he said: "Joh was Oromasdes and Ahriman Pluto, for the God of heaven, Ahura-mazda, rides on a chariot which the Horse of the Sun follows."** And Dunlap quotes Psalm lxviii. 4, which reads:

"Praise him by his name Iach (),
Who rides upon the heavens, as on a horse,"

and then shows that "the Arabs represented Iauk (Iach) by a horse. The Horse of the Sun (Dionysus)."*** Iah is a softening of Iach, "he explains." ch and h interchange; so s softens to h. The Hebrews express the idea of LIFE both by a ch and an h; as chiach, to be, hiah, to be; Iach, God of Life, Iah, "I am."**** Well then may we repeat these lines of Ausonius:

"Ogugia calls me Bacchus; Egypt thinks me Osiris;
The Musians name me Ph'anax; the Indi consider me Dionysus;
The Roman Mysteries call me Liber; the Arabian race Adonis!"

And the chosen people Adoni and Jehovah — we may add.

How little the philosophy of the old secret doctrine was understood, is illustrated in the atrocious persecutions of the Templars by the Church, and in the accusation of their worshipping the Devil under the shape of the goat — Baphomet! Without going into the old Masonic mysteries, there is not a Mason — of those we mean who do know something — but has an idea of the true relation that Baphomet bore to Azaze, the scapegoat of the wilderness,***** whose character and meaning are entirely per-

[[Footnote(s)]] -------------------------------------------------

* K. O. Muller: "History of Greek Literature," p. 283; "Movers," pp. 547-553; Dunlap: "Sod, the Mysteries of Adoni," p. 21.

** See "Universal History," vol. v., p. 301.

*** "Spirit. Hist.," pp. 64, 67, 78.

**** "Sod, the Mysteries of Adoni," p. 21.

***** See Leviticus xvi. 8, 10, and other verses relating to the biblical goat in the original texts.


[[Vol. 2, Page]] 303 VISHNU THE LIFE-GIVER.

verted in the Christian translations. "This terrible and venerable name of God," says Lanci,* librarian to the Vatican, "through the pen of biblical glossers, has been a devil, a mountain, a wilderness, and a he-goat." In Mackenzie's Royal Masonic Cyclopaedia, the author very correctly remarks that "this word should be divided into Azaz and El," for "it signifies God of Victory, but is here used in the sense of author of Death, in contrast to Jehovah, the author of Life; the latter received a dead goat as an offering."** The Hindu Trinity is composed of three personages, which are convertible into one. The Trimurti is one, and in its abstraction indivisible, and yet we see a metaphysical division taking place from the first, and while Brahma, though collectively representing the three, remains behind the scenes, Vishnu is the Life-Giver, the Creator, and the Preserver, and Siva is the Destroyer, and the Death-giving deity. "Death to the Life-Giver, life to the Death-dealer. The symbolical antithesis is grand and beautiful," says Gliddon.*** "Deus est Daemon inversus" of the kabalists now becomes clear. It is but the intense and cruel desire to crush out the last vestige of the old philosophies by perverting their meaning, for fear that their own dogmas should not be rightly fathered on them, which impels the Catholic Church to carry on such a systematic persecution in regard to Gnostics, Kabalists, and even the comparatively innocent Masons.

Alas, alas! How little has the divine seed, scattered broadcast by the hand of the meek Judean philosopher, thrived or brought forth fruit.

He, who himself had shunned hypocrisy, warned against public prayer, showing such contempt for any useless exhibition of the same, could he but cast his sorrowful glance on the earth, from the regions of eternal bliss, would see that this seed fell neither on sterile rock nor by the way-side. Nay, it took deep root in the most prolific soil; one enriched even to plethora with lies and human gore!

"For, if the truth of God hath more abounded, through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?" naively inquires Paul, the best and sincerest of all the apostles. And he then adds: "Let us do evil, that good may come!" (Romans iii. 7, 8). This is a confession which we are asked to believe as having been a direct inspiration from God! It explains, if it does not excuse, the maxim adopted later by the Church that "it is an act of virtue to deceive and lie, when by such means the interests of the Church might be promoted."**** A maxim

[[Footnote(s)]] -------------------------------------------------

* "Sagra Scrittura," and "Paralipomeni."

** Article "Goat," p. 257.

*** "Types of Mankind," p. 600; "Royal Masonic Cyclopaedia."

**** "Ecclesiastical History," vol. i., pp. 381, 382. Read the whole quotations to appreciate the doctrine in full.


[[Vol. 2, Page]] 304 ISIS UNVEILED.

applied in its fullest sense by that accomplished professor in forgery, the Armenian Eusebius; or yet, that innocent-looking bible-kaleidoscopist — Irenaeus. And these men were followed by a whole army of pious assassins, who, in the meanwhile, had improved upon the system of deceit, by proclaiming that it was lawful even to kill, when by murder they could enforce the new religion. Theophilus, "that perpetual enemy of peace and virtue," as the famous bishop was called; Cyril, Athanasius, the murderer of Arius, and a host of other canonized "Saints," were all but too worthy successors of Saint Constantine, who drowned his wife in boiling water; butchered his little nephew; murdered, with his own pious hand, two of his brothers-in-law; killed his own son Crispus, bled to death several men and women, and smothered in a well an old monk. However, we are told by Eusebius that this Christian Emperor was rewarded by a vision of Christ himself, bearing his cross, who instructed him to march to other triumphs, inasmuch as he would always protect him!

It is under the shade of the Imperial standard, with its famous sign, "In hoc signo vinces," that "visionary" Christianity, which had crept on since the days of Irenaenus, arrogantly proclaimed its rights in the full blaze of the sun. The Labarum had most probably furnished the model for the true cross, which was "miraculously," and agreeably to the Imperial will, found a few years later. Nothing short of such a remarkable vision, impiously doubted by some severe critics — Dr. Lardner for one — and a fresh miracle to match, could have resulted in the finding of a cross where there had never before been one. Still, we have either to believe the phenomenon or dispute it at the risk of being treated as infidels; and this, notwithstanding that upon a careful computation we would find that the fragments of the "true Cross" had multiplied themselves even more miraculously than the five loaves in the invisible bakery, and the two fishes. In all cases like this, where miracles can be so conveniently called in, there is no room for dull fact. History must step out that fiction may step in.

If the alleged founder of the Christian religion is now, after the lapse of nineteen centuries, preached — more or less unsuccessfully however — in every corner of the globe, we are at liberty to think that the doctrines attributed to him would astonish and dismay him more than any one else. A system of deliberate falsification was adopted from the first. How determined Irenaeus was to crush truth and build up a Church of his own on the mangled remains of the seven primitive churches mentioned in the Revelation, may be inferred from his quarrel with Ptolemaeus. And this is again a case of evidence against which no blind faith can prevail. Ecclesiastical history assures us that Christ's


[[Vol. 2, Page]] 305 WHO TAUGHT JESUS ABOUT GOD?

ministry was but of three years' duration. There is a decided discrepancy on this point between the first three synoptics and the fourth gospel; but it was left for Irenaeus to show to Christian posterity that so early as A.D. 180 — the probable time when this Father wrote his works against heresies — even such pillars of the Church as himself either knew nothing certain about it, or deliberately lied and falsified dates to support their own views. So anxious was the worthy Father to meet every possible objection against his plans, that no falsehood, no sophistry, was too much for him. How are we to understand the following; and who is the falsifier in this case? The argument of Ptolemaeus was that Jesus was too young to have taught anything of much importance; adding that "Christ preached for one year only, and then suffered in the twelfth month." In this Ptolemaeus was very little at variance with the gospels. But Irenaeus, carried by his object far beyond the limits of prudence, from a mere discrepancy between one and three years, makes it ten and even twenty years! "Destroying his (Christ's) whole work, and robbing him of that age which is both necessary and more honorable than any other; that more advanced age, I mean, during which also, as a teacher, he excelled all others." And then, having no certain data to furnish, he throws himself back on tradition, and claims that Christ had preached for over TEN years! (book ii., c. 22, pp. 4, 5). In another place he makes Jesus fifty years old.

But we must proceed in our work of showing the various origins of Christianity, as also the sources from which Jesus derived his own ideas of God and humanity.

The Koinobi lived in Egypt, where Jesus passed his early youth. They were usually confounded with the Therapeutae, who were a branch of this widely-spread society. Such is the opinion of Godfrey Higgins and De Rebold. After the downfall of the principal sanctuaries, which had already begun in the days of Plato, the many different sects, such as the Gymnosophists and the Magi — from whom Clearchus very erroneously derives the former — the Pythagoreans, the Sufis, and the Reshees of Kashmere, instituted a kind of international and universal Freemasonry, among their esoteric societies. "These Rashees," says Higgins, "are the Essenians, Carmelites, or Nazarites of the temple."* "That occult science known by ancient priests under the name of regenerating fire," says Father Rebold, " . . . a science that for more than 3,000 years was the peculiar possession of the Indian and Egyptian priesthood, into the knowledge of which Moses was initiated at Heliopolis, where he was educated; and Jesus among the Essenian priests of Egypt or Judea;

[[Footnote(s)]] -------------------------------------------------

* "Anacalypsis."


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and by which these two great reformers, particularly the latter, wrought many of the miracles mentioned in the Scriptures."*

Plato states that the mystic Magian religion, known under the name of Machagistia, is the most uncorrupted form of worship in things divine. Later, the Mysteries of the Chaldean sanctuaries were added to it by one of the Zoroasters and Darius Hystaspes. The latter completed and perfected it still more with the help of the knowledge obtained by him from the learned ascetics of India, whose rites were identical with those of the initiated Magi.** Ammian, in his history of Julian's Persian expedition, gives the story by stating that one day Hystaspes, as he was boldly penetrating into the unknown regions of Upper India, had come upon a certain wooded solitude, the tranquil recesses of which were "occupied by those exalted sages, the Brachmanes (or Shamans). Instructed by their teaching in the science of the motions of the world and of the heavenly bodies, and in pure religious rites . . . he transfused them into the creed of the Magi. The latter, coupling these doctrines with their own peculiar science of foretelling the future, have handed down the whole through their descendants to succeeding ages."*** It is from these descendants that the Sufis, chiefly composed of Persians and Syrians, acquired their proficient knowledge in astrology, medicine, and the esoteric doctrine of the ages. "The Sufi doctrine," says C. W. King, "involved the grand idea of one universal creed which could be secretly held under any profession of an outward faith; and, in fact, took virtually the same view of religious systems as that in which the ancient philosophers had regarded such matters."**** The mysterious Druzes of Mount Lebanon are the descendants of all these. Solitary Copts, earnest students scattered hither and thither throughout the sandy solitudes of Egypt, Arabia, Petraea, Palestine, and the impenetrable forests of Abyssinia, though rarely met with, may sometimes be seen. Many and various are the nationalities to which belong the disciples of that mysterious school, and many the side-shoots of that

[[Footnote(s)]] -------------------------------------------------

* Quoted in the "Seers of the Ages," by J. M. Peebles.

** We hold to the idea — which becomes self-evident when the Zoroastrian imbroglio is considered — that there were, even in the days of Darius, two distinct sacerdotal castes of Magi: the initiated and those who were allowed to officiate in the popular rites only. We see the same in the Eleusinian Mysteries. Belonging to every temple there were attached the "hierophants" of the inner sanctuary, and the secular clergy who were not even instructed in the Mysteries. It is against the absurdities and superstitions of the latter that Darius revolted, and "crushed them," for the inscription of his tomb shows that he was a "hierophant" and a Magian himself. It is also but the exoteric rites of this class of Magi which descended to posterity, for the great secresy in which were preserved the "Mysteries" of the true Chaldean Magi was never violated, however much guess-work may have been expended on them.

*** xxiii., 6.

**** "The Gnostics and their Remains," p. 185.


[[Vol. 2, Page]] 307 THE HERMETIC BROTHERS OF EGYPT.

one primitive stock. The secresy preserved by these sub-lodges, as well as by the one and supreme great lodge, has ever been proportionate to the activity of religious persecutions; and now, in the face of the growing materialism, their very existence is becoming a mystery.*

But it must not be inferred, on that account, that such a mysterious brotherhood is but a fiction, not even a name, though it remains unknown to this day. Whether its affiliates are called by an Egyptian, Hindu, or Persian name, it matters not. Persons belonging to one of these sub-brotherhoods have been met by trustworthy, and not unknown persons, besides the present writer, who states a few facts concerning them, by the special permission of one who has a right to give it. In a recent and very valuable work on secret societies, K. R. H. Mackenzie's Royal Masonic Cyclopaedia, we find the learned author himself, an honorary member of the Canongate Kilwinning Lodge, No. 2 (Scotland), and a Mason not likely to be imposed upon, stating the following, under the head, Hermetic Brothers of Egypt:

"An occult fraternity, which has endured from very ancient times, having a hierarchy of officers, secret signs, and passwords, and a peculiar method of instruction in science, religion, and philosophy. . . . If we may believe those who, at the present time, profess to belong to it, the philosopher's stone, the elixir of life, the art of invisibility, and the power of communication directly with the ultramundane life, are parts of the inheritance they possess. The writer has met with only three persons who maintained the actual existence of this body of religious philosophers, and who hinted that they themselves were actually members. There was no reason to doubt the good faith of these individuals — apparently unknown to each other, and men of moderate competence, blameless lives, austere manners, and almost ascetic in their habits.

[[Footnote(s)]] -------------------------------------------------

* These are truths which cannot fail to impress themselves upon the minds of earnest thinkers. While the Ebionites, Nazarites, Hemerobaptists, Lampseans, Sabians, and the many other earliest sects which wavered later between the varying dogmatisms suggested to them by the esoteric and misunderstood parables of the Nazarene teacher, whom they justly regarded as a prophet, there were men, for whose names we would vainly search history, who preserved the secret doctrines of Jesus as pure and unadulterated as they had been received. And still, even all these above-mentioned and conflicting sects were far more orthodox in their Christianity, or rather Christism, than the Churches of Constantine and Rome. "It was a strange fate that befell these unfortunate people" (the Ebionites), says Lord Amberley, "when, overwhelmed by the flood of heathenism that had swept into the Church, they were condemned as heretics. Yet, there is no evidence that they had ever swerved from the doctrines of Jesus, or of the disciples who knew him in his lifetime. . . . Jesus himself was circumcised . . . reverenced the temple at Jerusalem as 'a house of prayer for all nations.' . . . But the torrent of progress swept past the Ebionites, and left them stranded on the shore" ("An Analysis of Religious Beliefs," by Viscount Amberley, vol. i., p. 446).


[[Vol. 2, Page]] 308 ISIS UNVEILED.

They all appeared to be men of forty to forty-five years of age, and evidently of vast erudition . . . their knowledge of languages not to be doubted. . . . They never remained long in any one country, but passed away without creating notice."*

Another of such sub-brotherhoods is the sect of the Pitris, in India. Known by name, now that Jacolliot has brought it into public notice, it yet is more arcane, perhaps, than the brotherhood that Mr. Mackenzie names the "Hermetic Brothers." What Jacolliot learned of it, was from fragmentary manuscripts delivered to him by Brahmans, who had their reasons for doing so, we must believe. The Agrouchada Parikshai gives certain details about the association, as it was in days of old, and, when explaining mystic rites and magical incantations, explains nothing at all, so that the mystic L'om, L'Rhum, Sh'hrum, and Sho-rim Ramaya-Namaha, remain, for the mystified writer, as much a puzzle as ever. To do him justice, though, he fully admits the fact, and does not enter upon useless speculations.

Whoever desires to assure himself that there now exists a religion which has baffled, for centuries, the impudent inquisitiveness of missionaries, and the persevering inquiry of science, let him violate, if he can, the seclusion of the Syrian Druzes. He will find them numbering over 80,000 warriors, scattered from the plain east of Damascus to the western coast. They covet no proselytes, shun notoriety, keep friendly — as far as possible — with both Christians and Mahometans, respect the religion of every other sect or people, but will never disclose their own secrets. Vainly do the missionaries stigmatize them as infidels, idolaters, brigands, and thieves. Neither threat, bribe, nor any other consideration will induce a Druze to become a convert to dogmatic Christianity. We have heard of two in fifty years, and both have finished their careers in prison, for drunkenness and theft. They proved to be "real Druzes,"** said one

[[Footnote(s)]] -------------------------------------------------

* What will, perhaps, still more astonish American readers, is the fact that, in the United States, a mystical fraternity now exists, which claims an intimate relationship with one of the oldest and most powerful of Eastern Brotherhoods. It is known as the Brotherhood of Luxor, and its faithful members have the custody of very important secrets of science. Its ramifications extend widely throughout the great Republic of the West. Though this brotherhood has been long and hard at work, the secret of its existence has been jealously guarded. Mackenzie describes it as having "a Rosicrucian basis, and numbering many members" ("Royal Masonic Cyclopaedia," p. 461). But, in this, the author is mistaken; it has no Rosicrucian basis. The name Luxor is primarily derived from the ancient Beloochistan city of Looksur, which lies between Bela and Kedgee, and also gave its name to the Egyptian city.

** These people do not accept the name of Druzes, but regard the appellation as an insult. They call themselves the "disciples of Hamsa," their Messiah, who came to them, in the tenth century, from the "Land of the Word of God," and, together with his disciple, Mochtana Boha-eddin, committed this Word to writing, and entrusted it [[Footnote continued on next page]]


[[Vol. 2, Page]] 309 THE BROTHERHOOD OF LUXOR.

of their chiefs, in discussing the subject. There never was a case of an initiated Druze becoming a Christian. As to the uninitiated, they are never allowed to even see the sacred writings, and none of them have the remotest idea where these are kept. There are missionaries in Syria who boast of having in their possession a few copies. The volumes alleged to be the correct expositions from these secret books (such as the translation by Petis de la Croix, in 1701, from the works presented by Nasr-Allah to the French king), are nothing more than a compilation of "secrets," known more or less to every inhabitant of the southern ranges of Lebanon and Anti-Libanus. They were the work of an apostate Dervish, who was expelled from the sect Hanafi, for improper conduct — the embezzlement of the money of widows and orphans. The Expose de la Religion des Druzes, in two volumes, by Sylvestre de Sacy (1828), is another net-work of hypotheses. A copy of this work was to be found, in 1870, on the window-sill of one of their principal Holowey, or place of religious meeting. To the inquisitive question of an English traveller, as to their rites, the Okhal,* a venerable old man, who spoke English as well as French, opened the volume of de Sacy, and, offering it to his interlocutor, remarked, with a benevolent smile: "Read this instructive and truthful book; I could explain to you neither better nor more correctly the secrets of God and our blessed Hamsa, than it does." The traveller understood the hint.

Mackenzie says they settled at Lebanon about the tenth century, and "seem to be a mixture of Kurds, Mardi-Arabs, and other semi-civilized tribes. Their religion is compounded of Judaism, Christianity, and Mahometanism. They have a regular order of priesthood and a kind of hierarchy . . . there is a regular system of passwords and signs. . . . Twelve month's probation, to which either sex is admitted, preceded initiation."

We quote the above only to show how little even persons as trustworthy as Mr. Mackenzie really know of these mystics.

Mosheim, who knows as much, or we should rather say as little, as any others, is entitled to the merit of candidly admitting that "their religion is peculiar to themselves, and is involved in some mystery." We should say it was — rather!

That their religion exhibits traces of Magianism and Gnosticism is natural, as the whole of the Ophite esoteric philosophy is at the bottom of it. But the characteristic dogma of the Druzes is the absolute unity

[[Footnote(s)]] -------------------------------------------------

[[Footnote continued from previous page]] to the care of a few initiates, with the injunction of the greatest secresy. They are usually called Unitarians.

* The Okhal (from the Arabic akl — intelligence or wisdom) are the initiated, or wise men of this sect. They hold, in their mysteries, the same position as the hierophant of old, in the Eleusinian and others.


[[Vol. 2, Page]] 310 ISIS UNVEILED.

of God. He is the essence of life, and although incomprehensible and invisible, is to be known through occasional manifestations in human form.* Like the Hindus they hold that he was incarnated more than once on earth. Hamsa was the precursor of the last manifestation to be (the tenth avatar)** not the inheritor of Hakem, who is yet to come. Hamsa was the personification of the "Universal Wisdom." Bohaeddin in his writings calls him Messiah. The whole number of his disciples, or those who at different ages of the world have imparted wisdom to mankind, which the latter as invariably have forgotten and rejected in course of time, is one hundred and sixty-four (164, the kabalistic s d k). Therefore, their stages or degrees of promotion after initiation are five; the first three degrees are typified by the "three feet of the candlestick of the inner Sanctuary, which holds the light of the five elements"; the last two degrees, the most important and terrifying in their solemn grandeur belonging to the highest orders; and the whole five degrees emblematically represent the said five mystic Elements. The "three feet are the holy Application, the Opening, and the Phantom," says one of their books; on man's inner and outer soul, and his body, a phantom, a passing shadow. The body, or matter, is also called the "Rival," for "he is the minister of sin, the Devil ever creating dissensions between the Heavenly Intelligence (spirit) and the soul, which he tempts incessantly." Their ideas on transmigration are Pythagorean and kabalistic. The spirit, or Temeami (the divine soul), was in Elijah and John the Baptist; and the soul of Jesus was that of H'amsa; that is to say, of the same degree of purity and sanctity. Until their resurrection, by which they understand the day when the spiritual bodies of men will be absorbed into God's own essence and being (the Nirvana of the Hindus), the souls of men will keep their astral forms, except the few chosen ones who, from the moment of their separation from their bodies, begin to exist as pure spirits. The life of man they divide into soul, body, and intelligence, or mind. It is the latter which imparts and communicates to the soul the divine spark from its H'amsa (Christos).

They have seven great commandments which are imparted equally to all the uninitiated; and yet, even these well-known articles of faith have been so mixed up in the accounts of outside writers, that, in one of the best Cyclopaedias of America (Appleton's), they are garbled after the fashion that may be seen in the comparative tabulation below; the spurious and the true order parallel:

[[Footnote(s)]] -------------------------------------------------

* This is the doctrine of the Gnostics who held Christos to be the personal immortal Spirit of man.

** The ten Messiahs or avatars remind again of the five Buddhistic and ten Brahmanical avatars of Buddha and Christna.


[[Vol. 2, Page]] 311 THE DRUZES OF MOUNT LEBANON.
[[Column 1]]
CORRECT VERSION OF THE COMMANDMENTS AS IMPARTED ORALLY BY THE TEACHERS.*
1. The unity of God, or the infinite oneness of Deity.
2. The essential excellence of Truth.
3. Toleration; right given to all men and women to freely express their opinions on religious matters, and make the latter subservient to reason.
4. Respect to all men and women according to their character and conduct.
5. Entire submission to God's decrees.
6. Chastity of body, mind, and soul.
7. Mutual help under all conditions.
___________
[[Column 2]]
GARBLED VERSION REPORTED BY THE CHRISTIAN MISSIONARIES AND GIVEN IN PRETENDED EXPOSITIONS.**
1. (2) " 'Truth in words,' meaning in practice, only truth to the religion and to the initiated; it is lawful to act and to speak falsehood to men of another creed."***
2. (7) "Mutual help, watchfulness, and protection."
3. (?) "To renounce all other religions."****
4. (?) "To be separate from infidels of every kind, not externally but only in heart."*****
5. (1) "Recognize God's eternal unity."
6. (5) "Satisfied with God's acts."
7. (5) "Resigned to God's will."

As will be seen, the only expose in the above is that of the great ignorance, perhaps malice, of the writers who, like Sylvestre de Sacy, undertake to enlighten the world upon matters concerning which they know nothing.

"Chastity, honesty, meekness, and mercy," are thus the four theological virtues of all Druzes, besides several others demanded from the initiates: "murder, theft, cruelty, covetousness, slander," the five sins, to which several other sins are added in the sacred tablets, but which we must abstain from giving. The morality of the Druzes is strict and

[[Footnote(s)]] -------------------------------------------------

* See, farther on, a letter from an "Initiate."

** In this column the first numbers are those given in the article on the Druzes in the "New American Cyclopaedia" (Appleton's), vol. vi., p. 631. The numbers in parentheses show the sequence in which the commandments would stand were they given correctly.

*** This pernicious doctrine belongs to the old policy of the Catholic Church, but is certainly false as regards the Druzes. They maintain that it is right and lawful to withhold the truth about their own tenets, no one outside their own sect having a right to pry into their religion. The okhals never countenance deliberate falsehood in any form, although the laymen have many a time got rid of the spies sent by the Christians to discover their secrets, by deceiving them with sham initiations. (See the letter of Prof. Rawson to the author, p. 313.)

**** This commandment does not exist in the Lebanon teaching.

***** There is no such commandment, but the practice thereof exists by mutual agreement, as in the days of the Gnostic persecution.


[[Vol. 2, Page]] 312 ISIS UNVEILED.

uncompromising. Nothing can tempt one of these Lebanon Unitarians to go astray from what he is taught to consider his duty. Their ritual being unknown to outsiders, their would-be historians have hitherto denied them one. Their "Thursday meetings" are open to all, but no interloper has ever participated in the rites of initiation which take place occasionally on Fridays in the greatest secresy. Women are admitted to them as well as men, and they play a part of great importance at the initiation of men. The probation, unless some extraordinary exception is made, is long and severe. Once, in a certain period of time, a solemn ceremony takes place, during which all the elders and the initiates of the highest two degrees start out for a pilgrimage of several days to a certain place in the mountains. They meet within the safe precincts of a monastery said to have been erected during the earliest times of the Christian era. Outwardly one sees but old ruins of a once grand edifice, used, says the legend, by some Gnostic sects as a place of worship during the religious persecutions. The ruins above ground, however, are but a convenient mask; the subterranean chapel, halls, and cells, covering an area of ground far greater than the upper building; while the richness of ornamentation, the beauty of the ancient sculptures, and the gold and silver vessels in this sacred resort, appear like "a dream of glory," according to the expression of an initiate. As the lamaseries of Mongolia and Thibet are visited upon grand occasions by the holy shadow of "Lord Buddha," so here, during the ceremonial, appears the resplendent ethereal form of Hamsa, the Blessed, which instructs the faithful. The most extraordinary feats of what would be termed magic take place during the several nights that the convocation lasts; and one of the greatest mysteries — faithful copy of the past — is accomplished within the discreet bosom of our mother earth; not an echo, nor the faintest sound, not a glimmer of light betrays without the grand secret of the initiates.

Hamsa, like Jesus, was a mortal man, and yet "Hamsa" and "Christos" are synonymous terms as to their inner and hidden meaning. Both are symbols of the Nous, the divine and higher soul of man — his spirit. The doctrine taught by the Druzes on that particular question of the duality of spiritual man, consisting of one soul mortal, and another immortal, is identical with that of the Gnostics, the older Greek philosophers, and other initiates.

Outside the East we have met one initiate (and only one), who, for some reasons best known to himself, does not make a secret of his initiation into the Brotherhood of Lebanon. It is the learned traveller and artist, Professor A. L. Rawson, of New York City. This gentleman has passed many years in the East, four times visited Palestine, and has trav-


[[Vol. 2, Page]] 313 A LETTER FROM AN INITIATE.

elled to Mecca. It is safe to say that he has a priceless store of facts about the beginnings of the Christian Church, which none but one who had had free access to repositories closed against the ordinary traveller could have collected. Professor Rawson, with the true devotion of a man of science, noted down every important discovery he made in the Palestinian libraries, and every precious fact orally communicated to him by the mystics he encountered, and some day they will see the light. He has most obligingly sent us the following communication, which, as the reader will perceive, fully corroborates what is above written from our personal experience about the strange fraternity incorrectly styled the Druzes:

"34 BOND ST., NEW YORK, June 6, 1877.
". . . Your note, asking me to give you an account of my initiation into a secret order among the people commonly known as Druzes, in Mount Lebanon, was received this morning. I took, as you are fully aware, an obligation at that time to conceal within my own memory the greater part of the 'mysteries,' with the most interesting parts of the 'instructions'; so that what is left may not be of any service to the public. Such information as I can rightfully give, you are welcome to have and use as you may have occasion.
"The probation in my case was, by special dispensation, made one month, during which time I was 'shadowed' by a priest, who served as my cook, guide, interpreter, and general servant, that he might be able to testify to the fact of my having strictly conformed to the rules in diet, ablutions, and other matters. He was also my instructor in the text of the ritual, which we recited from time to time for practice, in dialogue or in song, as it may have been. Whenever we happened to be near a Druze village, on a Thursday, we attended the 'open' meetings, where men and women assembled for instruction and worship, and to expose to the world generally their religious practices. I was never present at a Friday 'close' meeting before my initiation, nor do I believe any one else, man or woman, ever was, except by collusion with a priest, and that is not probable, for a false priest forfeits his life. The practical jokers among them sometimes 'fool' a too curious 'Frank' by a sham initiation, especially if such a one is suspected of having some connection with the missionaries at Beirut or elsewhere.
"The initiates include both women and men, and the ceremonies are of so peculiar a nature that both sexes are required to assist in the ritual and 'work.' The 'furniture' of the 'prayer-house' and of the 'vision-chamber' is simple, and except for convenience may consist of but a strip of carpet. In the 'Gray Hall' (the place is never named, and is underground, not far from Bayt-ed-Deen) there are some rich decorations and valuable pieces of ancient furniture, the work of Arab silversmiths five or six centuries ago, inscribed and dated. The day of initiation must be a continual fast from daylight to sunset in winter, or six o'clock in summer, and the ceremony is from beginning to end a series of trials and temptations, calculated to test the endurance of the candidate under physical and mental pressure. It is seldom that any but the young man or woman succeeds in 'winning' all the 'prizes,' since nature will sometimes exert itself in spite of the most stubborn will, and the neophyte fail of passing some of the tests. In such a case the probation is extended another year, when another trial is had.
"Among other tests of the neophyte's self-control are the following: Choice pieces

[[Vol. 2, Page]] 314 ISIS UNVEILED.
of cooked meat, savory soup, pilau, and other appetizing dishes, with sherbet, coffee, wine, and water, are set, as if accidentally, in his way, and he is left alone for a time with the tempting things. To a hungry and fainting soul the trial is severe. But a more difficult ordeal is when the seven priestesses retire, all but one, the youngest and prettiest, and the door is closed and barred on the outside, after warning the candidate that he will be left to his 'reflections,' for half an hour. Wearied by the long-continued ceremonial, weak with hunger, parched with thirst, and a sweet reaction coming after the tremendous strain to keep his animal nature in subjection, this moment of privacy and of temptation is brimful of peril. The beautiful young vestal, timidly approaching, and with glances which lend a double magnetic allurement to her words, begs him in low tones to 'bless her.' Woe to him if he does! A hundred eyes see him from secret peep-holes, and only to the ignorant neophyte is there the appearance of concealment and opportunity.
"There is no infidelity, idolatry, or other really bad feature in the system. They have the relics of what was once a grand form of nature-worship, which has been contracted under a despotism into a secret order, hidden from the light of day, and exposed only in the smoky glare of a few burning lamps, in some damp cave or chapel under ground. The chief tenets of their religious teachings are comprised in seven 'tablets,' which are these, to state them in general terms:
"1. The unity of God, or the infinite oneness of deity.
"2. The essential excellence of truth.
"3. The law of toleration as to all men and women in opinion.
"4. Respect for all men and women as to character and conduct.
"5. Entire submission to God's decrees as to fate.
"6. Chastity of body and mind and soul.
"7. Mutual help under all conditions.
"These tenets are not printed or written. Another set is printed or written to mislead the unwary, but with these we are not concerned.
"The chief results of the initiation seemed to be a kind of mental illusion or sleep-waking, in which the neophyte saw, or thought he saw, the images of people who were known to be absent, and in some cases thousands of miles away. I thought (or perhaps it was my mind at work) I saw friends and relatives that I knew at the time were in New York State, while I was then in Lebanon. How these results were produced I cannot say. They appeared in a dark room, when the 'guide' was talking, the 'company' singing in the next 'chamber,' and near the close of the day, when I was tired out with fasting, walking, talking, singing, robing, unrobing, seeing a great many people in various conditions as to dress and undress, and with great mental strain in resisting certain physical manifestations that result from the appetites when they overcome the will, and in paying close attention to the passing scenes, hoping to remember them — so that I may have been unfit to judge of any new and surprising phenomena, and more especially of those apparently magical appearances which have always excited my suspicion and distrust. I know the various uses of the magic-lantern, and other apparatus, and took care to examine the room where the 'visions' appeared to me the same evening, and the next day, and several times afterwards, and knew that, in my case, there was no use made of any machinery or other means besides the voice of the 'guide and instructor.' On several occasions afterward, when at a great distance from the 'chamber,' the same or similar visions were produced, as, for instance, in Hornstein's Hotel at Jerusalem. A daughter-in-law of a well-known Jewish merchant in Jerusalem is an initiated 'sister,' and can produce the visions almost at will on any one who will

[[Vol. 2, Page]] 315 THE "MOTHER LODGE" AND ITS BRANCHES.
live strictly according to the rules of the Order for a few weeks, more or less, according to their nature, as gross or refined, etc.
"I am quite safe in saying that the initiation is so peculiar that it could not be printed so as to instruct one who had not been 'worked' through the 'chamber.' So it would be even more impossible to make an expose of them than of the Freemasons. The real secrets are acted and not spoken, and require several initiated persons to assist in the work.
"It is not necessary for me to say how some of the notions of that people seem to perpetuate certain beliefs of the ancient Greeks — as, for instance, the idea that a man has two souls, and many others — for you probably were made familiar with them in your passage through the 'upper' and 'lower chamber.' If I am mistaken in supposing you an 'initiate,' please excuse me. I am aware that the closest friends often conceal that 'sacred secret' from each other; and even husband and wife may live — as I was informed in Dayr-el-Kamar was the fact in one family there — for twenty years together and yet neither know anything of the initiation of the other. You, undoubtedly, have good reasons for keeping your own counsel,
"Yours truly,
"A. L. RAWSON."

Before we close the subject we may add that if a stranger ask for admission to a "Thursday" meeting he will never be refused. Only, if he is a Christian, the okhal will open a Bible and read from it; and if a Mahometan, he will hear a few chapters of the Koran, and the ceremony will end with this. They will wait until he is gone, and then, shutting well the doors of their convent, take to their own rites and books, passing for this purpose into their subterranean sanctuaries. "The Druzes remain, even more than the Jews, a peculiar people," says Colonel Churchill,* one of the few fair and strictly impartial writers. "They marry within their own race; they are rarely if ever converted; they adhere tenaciously to their traditions, and they baffle all efforts to discover their cherished secrets. . . . The bad name of that caliph whom they claim as their founder is fairly compensated by the pure lives of many whom they honor as saints, and by the heroism of their feudal leaders."

And yet the Druzes may be said to belong to one of the least esoteric of secret societies. There are others far more powerful and learned, the existence of which is not even suspected in Europe. There are many branches belonging to the great "Mother Lodge" which, mixed up with certain communities, may be termed secret sects within other sects. One of them is the sect commonly known as that of Laghana-Sastra. It reckons several thousand adepts who are scattered about in small groups in the south of the Dekkan, India. In the popular superstition, this sect is dreaded on account of its great reputation for magic and sorcery. The Brahmans accuse its members of atheism and sacrilege, for none of them

[[Footnote(s)]] -------------------------------------------------

* "Mount Lebanon," vol. 3. London, 1853.


[[Vol. 2, Page]] 316 ISIS UNVEILED.

will consent to recognize the authority of either the Vedas or Manu, except so far as they conform to the versions in their possession, and which they maintain are professedly the only original texts; the Laghana-Sastra have neither temples nor priests, but, twice a month, every member of the community has to absent himself from home for three days. Popular rumor, originated among their women, ascribes such absences to pilgrimages performed to their places of fortnightly resort. In some secluded mountainous spots, unknown and inaccessible to other sects, hidden far from sight among the luxurious vegetation of India, they keep their bungalows, which look like small fortresses, encircled as they are by lofty and thick walls. These, in their turn, are surrounded by the sacred trees called assonata, and in Tamul arassa maram. These are the "sacred groves," the originals of those of Egypt and Greece, whose initiates also built their temples within such "groves" inaccessible to the profane.*

It will not be found without interest to see what Mr. John Yarker, Jr., has to say on some modern secret societies among the Orientals. "The nearest resemblance to the Brahmanical Mysteries, is probably found in the very ancient 'Paths' of the Dervishes, which are usually governed by twelve officers, the oldest 'Court' superintending the others by right of seniority. Here the master of the 'Court' is called 'Sheik,' and has his deputies, 'Caliphs,' or successors, of which there may be many (as, for instance, in the brevet degree of a Master Mason). The order is divided into at least four columns, pillars, or degrees. The first step is that of 'Humanity,' which supposes attention to the written law, and 'annihilation in the Sheik.' The second is that of the 'Path,' in which the 'Murid,' or disciple, attains spiritual powers and 'self-annihilation' into the 'Peer' or founder of the 'Path.' The third stage is called 'Knowledge,' and the 'Murid' is supposed to become inspired, called 'annihilation into the Prophet.' The fourth stage leads him even to God, when he becomes a part of the Deity and sees Him in all things. The first and second stages have received modern subdivisions, as 'Integrity,' 'Virtue,' 'Temperance,' 'Benevolence.' After this the Sheik confers upon him the grade of 'Caliph,' or Honorary Master, for in their mystical language, 'the man must die before the saint can be born.' It will be seen that this kind of mysticism is applicable to Christ as founder of a 'Path.' "

To this statement, the author adds the following on the Bektash Dervishes, who "often initiated the Janizaries. They wear a small marble cube spotted with blood. Their ceremony is as follows: Before reception a year's probation is required, during which false secrets are

[[Footnote(s)]] -------------------------------------------------

* Every temple in India is surrounded by such belts of sacred trees. And like the Koum-boum of Kansu (Mongolia) no one but an initiate has a right to approach them.


[[Vol. 2, Page]] 317 INITIATION AMONG THE BEKTASH DERVISHES.

given to test the candidate; he has two godfathers and is divested of all metals and even clothing; from the wool of a sheep a cord is made for his neck, and a girdle for his loins; he is led into the centre of a square room, presented as a slave, and seated upon a large stone with twelve escallops; his arms are crossed upon his breast, his body inclined forward, his right toes extended over his left foot; after various prayers he is placed in a particular manner, with his hand in a peculiar way in that of the Sheik, who repeats a verse from the Koran: 'Those who on giving thee their hand swear to thee an oath, swear it to God, the hand of God is placed in their hand; whoever violates this oath, will do so to his hurt, and to whoever remains faithful God will give a magnificent reward.' Placing the hand below the chin is their sign, perhaps in memory of their vow. All use the double triangles. The Brahmans inscribe the angles with their trinity, and they possess also the Masonic sign of distress as used in France."*

From the very day when the first mystic found the means of communication between this world and the worlds of the invisible host, between the sphere of matter and that of pure spirit, he concluded that to abandon this mysterious science to the profanation of the rabble was to lose it. An abuse of it might lead mankind to speedy destruction; it was like surrounding a group of children with explosive batteries, and furnishing them with matches. The first self-made adept initiated but a select few, and kept silence with the multitudes. He recognized his God and felt the great Being within himself. The "Atman," the Self,** the

[[Footnote(s)]] -------------------------------------------------

* John Yarker, Jr.: "Notes on the Scientific and Religious Mysteries of Antiquity," etc.

** This "Self," which the Greek philosophers called Augoeides, the "Shining One," is impressively and beautifully described in Max Muller's "Veda." Showing the "Veda" to be the first book of the Aryan nations, the professor adds that "we have in it a period of the intellectual life of man to which there is no parallel in any other part of the world. In the hymns of the "Veda" we see man left to himself to solve the riddle of this world. . . . He invokes the gods around him, he praises, he worships them. But still with all these gods . . . beneath him, and above him, the early poet seems ill at rest within himself. There, too, in his own breast, he has discovered a power that is never mute when he prays, never absent when he fears and trembles. It seems to inspire his prayers, and yet to listen to them; it seems to live in him, and yet to support him and all around him. The only name he can find for this mysterious power is 'Brahman'; for brahman meant originally force, will, wish, and the propulsive power of creation. But this impersonal brahman, too, as soon as it is named, grows into something strange and divine. It ends by being one of many gods, one of the great triad, worshipped to the present day. And still the thought within him has no real name; that power which is nothing but itself, which supports the gods, the heavens, and every living being, floats before his mind, conceived but not expressed. At last he calls it 'Atman,' for Atman, originally breath or spirit, comes to mean Self, [[Footnote continued on next page]]


[[Vol. 2, Page]] 318 ISIS UNVEILED.

mighty Lord and Protector, once that man knew him as the "I am," the "Ego Sum," the "Ahmi," showed his full power to him who could recognize the "still small voice." From the days of the primitive man described by the first Vedic poet, down to our modern age, there has not been a philosopher worthy of that name, who did not carry in the silent sanctuary of his heart the grand and mysterious truth. If initiated, he learnt it as a sacred science; if otherwise, then, like Socrates repeating to himself, as well as to his fellow-men, the noble injunction, "O man, know thyself," he succeeded in recognizing his God within himself. "Ye are gods," the king-psalmist tells us, and we find Jesus reminding the scribes that the expression, "Ye are gods," was addressed to other mortal men, claiming for himself the same privilege without any blasphemy.* And, as a faithful echo, Paul, while asserting that we are all "the temple of the living God,"** cautiously adds, that after all these things are only for the "wise," and it is "unlawful" to speak of them.

Therefore, we must accept the reminder, and simply remark that even in the tortured and barbarous phraseology of the Codex Nazaraeus, we detect throughout the same idea. Like an undercurrent, rapid and clear, it runs without mixing its crystalline purity with the muddy and heavy waves of dogmatism. We find it in the Codex, as well as in the Vedas, in the Avesta, as in the Abhidharma, and in Kapila's Sankhya Sutras not less than in the Fourth Gospel. We cannot attain the "Kingdom of Heaven," unless we unite ourselves indissolubly with our Rex Lucis, the Lord of Splendor and of Light, our Immortal God. We must first conquer immortality and "take the Kingdom of Heaven by violence," offered to our material selves. "The first man is of the earth earthy; the second man is from heaven. . . . Behold, I show you a mystery," says Paul (1 Corinthians, xv. 47). In the religion of Sakya-Muni, which learned commentators have delighted so much of late to set down as purely nihilistic, the doctrine of immortality is very clearly defined, notwithstanding the European or rather Christian ideas about Nirvana. In the sacred Jaina books, of Patuna, the dying Gautama-

[[Footnote(s)]]--------------------------------------------------

[[footnote continued from previous page]] and Self alone; Self, whether Divine or human; Self, whether creating or suffering; Self, whether one or all; but always Self, independent and free. 'Who has seen the first-born,' says the poet, when he who had no bones (i.e., form) bore him that had bones? Where was the life, the blood, the Self of the world? Who went to ask this from any one who knew it?" ("Rig-Veda," i., 164, 4). This idea of a divine Self, once expressed, everything else must acknowledge its supremacy; "Self is the Lord of all things, Self is the King of all things. As all the spokes of a wheel are contained in the nave and the circumference, all things are contained in this Self; all Selves are contained in this Self. Brahman itself is but Self" (Ibid., p. 478; "Khandogya-upanishad," viii., 3, 3, 4); "Chips from a German Workshop," vol. i., p. 69.

* John x. 34, 35.

** 2 Corinthians, vi. 16.


[[Vol. 2, Page]] 319 THE ESOTERIC DOCTRINE OF BUDDHISM.

Buddha is thus addressed: "Arise into Nirvi (Nirvana) from this decrepit body into which thou hast been sent. Ascend into thy former abode, O blessed Avatar!" This seems to us the very opposite of Nihilism. If Gautama is invited to reascend into his "former abode," and this abode is Nirvana, then it is incontestable that Buddhistic philosophy does not teach final annihilation. As Jesus is alleged to have appeared to his disciples after death, so to the present day is Gautama believed to descend from Nirvana. And if he has an existence there, then this state cannot be a synonym for annihilation.

Gautama, no less than all other great reformers, had a doctrine for his "elect" and another for the outside masses, though the main object of his reform consisted in initiating all, so far as it was permissible and prudent to do, without distinction of castes or wealth, to the great truths hitherto kept so secret by the selfish Brahmanical class. Gautama-Buddha it was whom we see the first in the world's history, moved by that generous feeling which locks the whole humanity within one embrace, inviting the "poor," the "lame," and the "blind" to the King's festival table, from which he excluded those who had hitherto sat alone, in haughty seclusion. It was he, who, with a bold hand, first opened the door of the sanctuary to the pariah, the fallen one, and all those "afflicted by men" clothed in gold and purple, often far less worthy than the outcast to whom their finger was scornfully pointing. All this did Siddhartha six centuries before another reformer, as noble and as loving, though less favored by opportunity, in another land. If both, aware of the great danger of furnishing an uncultivated populace with the double-edged weapon of knowledge which gives power, left the innermost corner of the sanctuary in the profoundest shade, who, that is acquainted with human nature, can blame them for it? But while one was actuated by prudence, the other was forced into such a course. Gautama left the esoteric and most dangerous portion of the "secret knowledge" untouched, and lived to the ripe old age of eighty, with the certainty of having taught the essential truths, and having converted to them one-third of the world; Jesus promised his disciples the knowledge which confers upon man the power of producing far greater miracles than he ever did himself, and he died, leaving but a few faithful men, only half way to knowledge, to struggle with the world to which they could impart but what they half-knew themselves. Later, their followers disfigured truth still more than they themselves had done.

It is not true that Gautama never taught anything concerning a future life, or that he denied the immortality of the soul. Ask any intelligent Buddhist his ideas on Nirvana, and he will unquestionably express himself, as the well-known Wong-Chin-Fu, the Chinese orator, now


Chapter 7, part 2

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