Theosophical University Press Online Edition
The “Sons of God” and the “Sacred Island.”
The legend given in Isis in relation to a portion of the globe which science now concedes to have been the cradle of humanity — though it is but one of the seven cradles, in truth — ran, condensed, and now explained, as follows: —
“Tradition says, and the records of the Great Book (the Book of Dzyan) explain, that long before the days of Ad-am, and his inquisitive wife, He-va, where now are found but salt lakes and desolate barren deserts, there was a vast inland sea, which extended over Middle Asia, north of the proud Himalayan range, and its western prolongation. An island, which for its unparalleled beauty had no rival in the world, was inhabited by the last remnant of the race which preceded ours.”
“The last remnant” meant the “Sons of Will and Yoga,” who, with a few tribes, survived the great cataclysm. For it is the Third Race which inhabited the great Lemurian continent, that preceded the veritable and complete human races — the fourth and the fifth. Therefore it was said in Isis that —
“This race could live with equal ease in water, air, or fire, for it had an unlimited control over the elements. These were the ‘Sons of God’; not those who saw the daughters of men, but the real Elohim, though in the oriental Kabala they have another name. It was they who imparted Nature’s most weird secrets to men, and revealed to them the ineffable, and now lost ‘word.’ ”
The “Island,” according to belief, exists to the present hour; now, as an oasis surrounded by the dreadful wildernesses of the great Desert, the Gobi — whose sands “no foot hath crossed in the memory of man.”
“This word, which is no word, has travelled once around the globe, and still lingers as a far-off dying echo in the hearts of some privileged men. The hierophants of all the Sacerdotal Colleges were aware of the existence of this island; but the ‘word’ was known only to the Java Aleim (Maha Chohan in another tongue), or chief lord of every college, and was passed to his successor only at the moment of death. There were many such colleges, and the old classic authors speak of them.
“There was no communication with the fair island by sea, but subterranean passages, known only to the chiefs, communicated with it in all directions.”*
Tradition asserts, and archaeology accepts the truth of the legend that there is more than one city now flourishing in India, which is built on
* There are archaeologists, who, like Mr. James Fergusson, deny the great antiquity of even one single monument in India. In his work, “Illustrations of the Rock-Cut Temples of India,” the author ventures to express the very extraordinary opinion that “Egypt had ceased to be a nation before the earliest of the cave-temples of India was excavated.” In short, he does not admit the existence of any cave anterior to the reign of Asoka, and seems anxious to prove that most of these rock-cut temples were executed during a period extending from the time of that pious Buddhist king until the destruction of the Andhra dynasty of Maghada, in the beginning of the fifth century. We believe such a claim perfectly arbitrary. Further discoveries will show that it is erroneous and unwarranted.
several other cities, making thus a subterranean city of six or seven stories high. Delhi is one of them; Allahabad another — examples of this being found even in Europe; e.g., in Florence, which is built on several defunct Etruscan and other cities. Why, then, could not Ellora, Elephanta, Karli, and Ajunta have been built on subterranean labyrinths and passages, as claimed? Of course we do not allude to the caves which are known to every European, whether de visu or through hearsay, notwithstanding their enormous antiquity, though that is so disputed by modern archaeology. But it is a fact, known to the Initiated Brahmins of India and especially to Yogis, that there is not a cave-temple in the country but has its subterranean passages running in every direction, and that those underground caves and endless corridors have in their turn their caves and corridors.
“Who can tell that the lost Atlantis — which is also mentioned in the Secret Book, but, again, under another name, pronounced in the sacred language — did not exist yet in those days?” —
we went on to ask. It did exist most assuredly, as it was fast approaching its greatest days of glory and civilization when the last of the Lemurian continents went down.
“The great lost continent might have, perhaps, been situated south of Asia, extending from India to Tasmania?* If the hypothesis (now so much doubted, and positively denied by some learned authors, who regard it as a joke of Plato’s) is ever verified, then, perhaps, will the scientists believe that the description of the god-inhabited continent was not altogether a fable.† And they may then perceive that Plato’s guarded hints and his attributing the narrative to Solon and the Egyptian priests, were but a prudent way of imparting the fact to the world, and, by cleverly combining truth and fiction, so disconnecting himself from a story which the obligations imposed at initiation forbade him to divulge.
“To continue the tradition, we have to add that the class of hierophants was divided into two distinct categories:‡ those who were instructed by the ‘Sons of God,’ of the island, and who were initiated in the divine doctrine of pure revelation; and others who inhabited the lost Atlantis — if such must be its name — and who, being of another race, (born sexually but of divine parents), were born with a sight, which embraced all living things, and was independent of both distance and material obstacle. In short, they were the Fourth Race of men mentioned in the Popol-Vuh, whose sight was unlimited, and who knew all things at once.”
In other words, they were the Lemuro-Atlanteans, the first who had
* America when discovered, was called Atlanta by some native tribes.
† Since then Donnelly’s Atlantis has appeared, and soon its actual existence will have become a scientific fact.
‡ It is so divided to this day, and theosophists and Occultists, who have learned something of the Occult but undeniable power of Dugpaship at their own expense, know this but too well.
a dynasty of Spirit-Kings, not of Manes, or “ghosts,” as some believe (See “Pneumatologie”), but of actual living Devas (or demi-gods or Angels, again) who had assumed bodies to rule over them, and who, in their turn, instructed them in arts and sciences. Only, as they were rupa or material Spirits, these Dhyanis were not always good. Their King Thevetata was one of the latter, and it is under the evil influence of this King-Demon that . . . . the Atlantis-race became a nation of wicked magicians.
“In consequence of this, war was declared, the story of which would be too long to narrate; its substance may be found in the disfigured allegories of the race of Cain, the giants, and that of Noah and his righteous family. The conflict came to an end by the submersion of the Atlantis, which finds its imitation in the stories of the Babylonian and Mosaic flood. The giants and magicians ‘. . . and all flesh died . . . and every man.’ All except Xisuthrus and Noah, who are substantially identical with the great Father of the Thlinkithians in the Popol-Vuh, or the sacred book of the Guatemaleans, which also tells of his escaping in a large boat like the Hindu Noah — Vaivasvata.
“If we believe the tradition at all, we have to credit the further story that, from the intermarrying of the progeny of the hierophants of the island and the descendants of the Atlantean Noah, sprang up a mixed race of righteous and wicked. On the one side the world had its Enochs, Moseses, various Buddhas, its numerous ‘Saviours,’ and great hierophants; on the other hand, its ‘natural magicians’ who, through lack of the restraining power of proper spiritual enlightenment, . . . perverted their gifts to evil purposes. . . .”
We may supplement this by the testimony of some records and traditions. In the “Histoire des Vierges: Les Peuples et les Continents Disparus,” the author says: —
“One of the most ancient legends of India, preserved in the temples by oral and written tradition, relates that several hundred thousand years ago there existed in the Pacific Ocean an immense continent which was destroyed by geological upheaval, and the fragments of which must be sought in Madagascar, Ceylon, Sumatra, Java, Borneo, and the principal isles of Polynesia.”
“The high plateaux of Hindustan and Asia, according to this hypothesis, would only have been represented in those distant epochs by great islands contiguous to the central continent. . . . . According to the Brahmans, this country had attained a high civilization, and the peninsula of Hindustan, enlarged by the displacement of the waters, at the time of the grand cataclysm, has but continued the chain of the primitive traditions born in this place. These traditions give the name of Rutas to the peoples which inhabited this immense equinoctial continent, and from their speech was derived the Sanscrit . . . . . And the Indo-Hellenic tradition, preserved by the most intelligent population which emigrated from the plains of India, equally relates the existence of a continent and a people to which it gives the name of Atlantis and Atlantides, and which it locates in the Atlantic in the northern portion of the Tropics.”
“Apart from this fact, the supposition of an ancient continent in those latitudes, the vestiges of which may be found in the volcanic islands and moun-
tainous surface of the Azores, the Canaries and Cape de Verdes, is not devoid of geographical probability. The Greeks, who, moreover, never dared to pass beyond the pillars of Hercules, on account of their dread of the mysterious ocean, appeared too late in antiquity for the stories preserved by Plato to be anything else than an echo of the Indian legend. Moreover, when we cast a look on a planisphere, at the sight of the islands and islets strewn from the Malayan Archipelago to Polynesia, from the straits of Sunda to Easter Island, it is impossible, upon the hypothesis of continents preceding those which we inhabit, not to place there the most important of all.
“A religious belief, common to Malacca and Polynesia, that is to say, to the two opposite extremes of the Oceanic world, affirms ‘that all these islands once formed two immense countries, inhabited by yellow men and black men, always at war; and that the gods, wearied with their quarrels, having charged Ocean to pacify them, the latter swallowed up the two continents, and, since, it has been impossible to make him give up his captives. Alone, the mountain-peaks and high plateaux escaped the flood, by the power of the gods, who perceived too late the mistake they had committed.’
“Whatever there may be in these traditions, and whatever may have been the place where a civilization more ancient than that of Rome, of Greece, of Egypt, and of India was developed, it is certain that this civilization did exist, and it is highly important to science to recover its traces, however feeble and fugitive they may be” (pp. 13-15).
This last tradition corroborates the one given from the “Records of the Secret Doctrine.” The war mentioned between the yellow and the black men, relates to a struggle between the “sons of God” and the “sons of giants,” or the inhabitants and magicians of Atlantis.
The final conclusion of the author, who personally visited all the islands of Polynesia, and devoted years to the study of the religion, language, and traditions of nearly all the peoples, is as follows:
“As to the Polynesian continent which disappeared at the time of the final geological cataclysms, its existence rests on such proofs that to be logical we can doubt no longer.
“The three summits of this continent, the Sandwich Islands, New Zealand, Easter Island, are distant from each other from fifteen to eighteen hundred leagues, and the groups of intermediate islands, Viti, Samoa, Tonga, Foutouna, Ouvea, the Marquesas, Tahiti, Poumoutou, the Gambiers, are themselves distant from these extreme points from seven or eight hundred to one thousand leagues.
“All navigators agree in saying that the extreme and the central groups could never have communicated in view of their actual geographical position, and with the insufficient means they had at hand. It is physically impossible to cross such distances in a pirogue . . . without a compass, and travel months without provisions.
“On the other hand, the aborigines of the Sandwich Islands, of Viti, of New Zealand, of the central groups, of Samoa, Tahiti, etc., had never known each other, had never heard of each other, before the arrival of the Europeans. And yet each of these people maintained that their island had at one time formed part of an
immense stretch of land which extended towards the West on the side of Asia. And all, brought together, were found to speak the same language, to have the same usages, the same customs, the same religious belief. And all to the question, ‘Where is the cradle of your race?’ for sole response, extended their hand toward the setting sun” (Ibid., p. 308).
Geographically, this description clashes slightly with the facts in the Secret Records; but it shows the existence of such traditions, and this is all one cares for. For, as there is no smoke without fire, so a tradition must be based on some approximate truth.
In its proper place we will show modern Science fully corroborating the above and the traditions of the Secret Doctrine with regard to the two lost continents. The Easter Island relics are, for instance, the most astounding and eloquent memorials of the primeval giants. They are as grand as they are mysterious; and one has but to examine the heads of the colossal statues, that have remained unbroken on that island, to recognise in them at a glance the features of the type and character attributed to the Fourth Race giants. They seem of one cast though different in features — that of a distinctly sensual type, such as the Atlanteans (the Daityas and “Atalantians”) are represented to have in the esoteric Hindu books. Compare these with the faces of some other colossal statues in Central Asia — those near Bamian for instance — the portrait-statues, tradition tells us, of Buddhas belonging to previous Manvantaras; of those Buddhas and heroes who are mentioned in the Buddhist and Hindu works, as men of fabulous size,* the good and holy brothers of their wicked co-uterine brothers generally, as Ravana, the giant King of Lanka was the brother of Kumbhakarna; all descendants of the gods through the Rishis, and thus, like “Titan and his enormous brood,” all “heaven’s first born.” These “Buddhas,” though often spoilt by the symbolical representation of the great pendent ears, show a suggestive difference, perceived at a glance, between the expression of their faces and that of the Easter Isle statues. They may be of one race — but the former are “Sons of Gods”; the latter the brood of mighty sorcerers. All these are re-incarnations, however, and apart from unavoidable exaggerations in popular fancy and tradition, they are historical characters.† When did they live? How long ago lived the
* An approach to the statues at Bamian — also a Buddha 200 feet high — is found near a Jain settlement in Southern India, and appears to be the only one that remains at present.
† Even Wilson admits that Rama and Ravana were personages founded on historical facts: — “The traditions of Southern India uniformly ascribing its civilization and the settlement of civilized Hindus (the Fifth Race) to the conquest of Lanka by Rama” (Vishnu Purana, iii., p. 318) — the victory of the “Sons of God” over the Atlantean sorcerers, says the true tradition.
two races, the Third and Fourth, and how long after did the various tribes of the Fifth begin their strife, the wars between Good and Evil? We are assured by the Orientalists that chronology is both hopelessly mixed and absurdly exaggerated in the Puranas and other Hindu Scriptures. We feel quite prepared to agree with the accusation. Yet, if Aryan writers did allow their chronological pendulum to swing too far one way occasionally, beyond the legitimate limit of fact; nevertheless, when the distance of that deviation is compared with the distance of the Orientalists’ deviation in the opposite direction, moderation will be found on the Brahminical side. It is the Pundit who will in the long run be found more truthful and nearer to fact than the Sanskritist. Surely, it is not because the curtailing of the latter — even when proven to have been resorted to in order to fit a personal hobby — is regarded by Western public opinion as “a cautious acceptance of facts,” whereas the Pundit is brutally treated in print as a liar, that everyone has to see this in the same light. An impartial observer may judge it otherwise. He may either proclaim both unscrupulous historians, or justify both, each on his respective ground, and say: Hindu Aryans wrote for their Initiates, who read truth between the lines, not for the masses. If they did mix up events and confuse Ages intentionally, it was not in view of deceiving any one, but to preserve their knowledge from the prying eye of the foreigner. Otherwise, to him who can count the generations from the Manus, and the series of incarnations specified in the cases of some heroes,* the meaning and chronological order are very clear in the Puranas. As for the Western Orientalist, he must be excused, on account of his undeniable ignorance of the methods used by archaic Esotericism.
But such existing prejudices will have to give way and disappear very soon before the light of new discoveries. Already Dr. Weber’s and Mr. Max Muller’s favourite theories — namely, that writing was not known in India, even in the days of Panini (!); that the Hindus had all their arts and sciences — even to the Zodiac and their architecture (Ferguson) — from the Macedonian Greeks; these and other such cock-and-bull hypotheses, are threatened with ruin. It is the ghost of old Chaldea that comes to the rescue of truth. In his third Hibbert
* Thus we are shown one hero, to give an instance, first born as the “unrighteous but valiant monarch” (Purusha) of the Daityas, Hiranyakasipu, slain by the Avatar Nara-Sinha (Man-lion). Then he was born as Ravana, the giant king of Lanka, and killed by Rama; after which he is reborn as Sisupala, the son of Rajarishi (King Rishi) Damaghosha, when he is again killed by Krishna, the last incarnation of Vishnu. This parallel evolution of Vishnu (spirit) with a Daitya, as men, may seem meaningless, yet it gives us the key not only to the respective dates of Rama and Krishna but even to a certain psychological mystery.
lecture (1887) Professor Sayce of Oxford, speaking of newly-discovered Assyrian and Babylonian cylinders, referred at length to Ea, the God of Wisdom, now identified with the Oannes of Berosus, the half-man, half-fish, who taught the Babylonians culture and the art of writing. This Oannes, to whom, thanks only to the Biblical Deluge, an antiquity of hardly 1,500 B.C. had been hitherto allowed, is now spoken of in these terms: —
“His city was Eridu, which stood 6,000 years ago on the shores of the Persian Gulf. The name means ‘the good city,’ a particularly holy spot, since it was the centre from which the earliest Chaldean civilization made its way to the north. As the culture-god was represented as coming from the sea, it was possible that the culture of which Eridu was the seat was of foreign importation. We now know that there was intercourse at a very early period between Chaldea and the Sinaitic peninsula, as well as with India. The statues discovered by the French at Tel-loh (dating from at latest B.C. 4,000) were made of the extremely hard stone known as diorite, and the inscriptions on them stated the diorite to have been brought from Mazan — i.e., the Sinaitic peninsula, which was then ruled by the Pharaohs. The statues are known to resemble in general style the diorite statue, Kephren, the builder of the second Pyramid, while, according to Mr. Petrie, the unit of measurement marked on the plan of the city, which one of the Tel-loh figures holds on his lap, is the same as that employed by the Pyramid builders. Teak wood has been found at Mugheir, or Ur of the Chaldees, although that wood is an Indian special product; add to this that an ancient Babylonian list of clothing mentions sindhu, or ‘muslins,’ explained as ‘vegetable cloth.’ ”
Muslin, best known now as Dacca muslin, known in Chaldea as Hindu (Sindhu), and teak wood used 4,000 years B.C.; and yet the Hindus, to whom Chaldea owes its civilization (as well proven by Colonel vans Kennedy), were ignorant of the art of writing before the Greeks taught them their alphabet — if we have to believe Orientalists!