Theosophical University Press Online Edition
Names such as Adam-Adami, used by Mr. Chwolsohn in his “Nabathean Agriculture”* and derided by M. Renan, may prove little to the profane. To the Occultist, however, once that the term is found in a work of such immense antiquity as the above cited, it proves a good deal: for instance that Adami was a manifold symbol, originating with the Aryan people, as the root word shows, and having been taken from them by the Semites and the Turanians — as many other things were.
“Adam-Adami” is a generic compound name as old as languages are. The Secret Doctrine teaches that Ad-i was the name given to the first speaking race of mankind — in this Round — by the Aryans. Hence the Adonim and Adonai (the ancient plural form of the word Adon), which the Jews applied to their Jehovah and angels, who were simply the first spiritual and ethereal sons of the earth; and the god Adonis, who in his many variations stood for the “First Lord.” Adam is the Sanskrit Ada-Nath, also meaning first Lord, as Ad-Iswara, or any Ad (the first) followed by any adjective or substantive. The reason for this is that such truths were a common inheritance. It was a revelation received by the first mankind before that time which, in Biblical phraseology, is called “the period of one lip and word,” or speech; knowledge expanded by man’s own intuition later on, but still later hidden from profanation under an adequate symbology. The author of the “Qabbalah, (according to), the philosophical writings of Ibn Gebirol,” shows the Israelite using “Adonai,” (Lord) instead of Eh’yeh (I am) and YHVH, and adds that, while Adonai is rendered “Lord” in the Bible, “the lowest designation, or the Deity in Nature, the more general term Elohim, is translated God.” (p. 175.)
A curious work was translated in 1860 or thereabout, by the Orientalist Chwolsohn, and presented to ever-incredulous and flippant Europe under the innocent title of Nabathean Agriculture. In the opinion of the translator that archaic volume is “a complete initiation into the mysteries of the pre-Adamite nations, on the authority of undeniably authentic documents.” It is “an invaluable compendium, the full epitome of the Doctrines held, of the arts and sciences, not only of the Chaldeans, but also of the Assyrians and Canaanites of the prehistoric ages.” These
* Vide infra.
“Nabatheans” — as some critics thought — were simply the Sabeans, or Chaldean star-worshippers. The work is a retranslation from the Arabic, into which language it was at first translated from the Chaldean.
Masoudi, the Arabic Historian, speaks of those Nabatheans, and explains their origin in this wise: “After the Deluge (?) the nations established themselves in various countries. Among these were the Nabatheans, who founded the city of Babylon, and were those descendants of Ham who settled in the same province under the leadership of Nimrod, the son of Cush, who was the son of Ham, and great-grandson of Noah. . . . . This took place at the time when Nimrod received the governorship of Babylonia as the delegate of Dzahhak named Biurasp.”
The translator, Chwolsohn, finds that the assertions of this historian are in perfect accord with those of Moses in Genesis; while more irreverent critics might express the opinion that for this very reason their truth should be suspected. It is useless to argue this point, which is of no value in the present question. The weather-beaten, long-since-buried problem, and the difficulty of accounting, on any logical ground, for the phenomenal derivation of millions of people of various races, of many civilized nations and tribes, from three couples (Noah’s sons) in 346 years* after the Deluge, may be left to the Karma of the author of Genesis, whether he is called Moses or Ezra. That which is interesting in the work noticed is its contents, the doctrines enunciated in it, which are again, if read esoterically, almost all of them identical with the Secret Teachings.
Quatremere suggested that this book might have been simply a copy made under Nebuchadnezzar II., from some Hamitic treatise, “infinitely more ancient,” while the author maintains, on “internal and external evidence,” that its Chaldean original was written out from the oral discourses and teachings of a wealthy Babylonian landowner, named Qu-tamy, who had used for those lectures still more ancient materials. The first Arabic translation is placed by Chwolsohn so far back as the XIII. cent. B.C. On the first page of this “revelation,” the author, or amanuensis, Qu-tamy, declares that “the doctrines propounded therein, were originally told by Saturn to the Moon, who communicated them to her idol, which idol revealed them to her devotee, the writer — the adept Scribe of that work — Qu-tamy.
The details given by the God for the benefit and instruction of mortals, show periods of incalculable duration and a series of numberless kingdoms and Dynasties that preceded the appearance on Earth of
* See Genesis and the authorised Chronology. In Chapt. ix. “Noah leaveth the Ark” “B.C. 2348.” Chapter x. “Nimrod the first Monarch,” stands over “B.C. 1998.”
Adami (the “red-earth”). These periods have aroused, as might have been expected, the defenders of the chronology of the Biblical dead-letter meaning almost to fury. De Rougemont was the first to make a levee-in-arms against the translator. He reproaches him* with “sacrificing Moses to an anonymous author.” Berosus, he urges, “however great were his chronological errors, was at least in perfect accord with the prophet with regard to the first men, since he speaks of Alorus-Adam, of Xisuthrus-Noah, and of Belus-Nimrod,” etc. “Therefore,” he adds, “the work must be an Apocrypha to be ranged with its contemporaries — the fourth book of Esdras, that of Enoch, the Sibylline Oracles, and the Book of Hermes — every one of these dating no further back than two or three centuries B.C.” Ewald came down still harder on Chwolsohn, and finally M. Renan. In the “Revue Germanique,”† the ex-pupil pulls down the authority of his master, by asking him to show a reason why his Nabathean Agriculture should not be the fraudulent work of some Jew of the third or fourth century of our era? It can hardly be otherwise — argues the romancer of the “Life of Jesus.” Since, in this in-folio on astrology and Sorcery “we recognise in the personages introduced by Qu-tamy, all the patriarchs of the Biblical legends, such as Adam-Adami, Anouka-Noah, and his Ibrahim-Abraham etc., etc.”
This is no reason, since Adam and others are generic names. Meanwhile it is humbly submitted that, all things considered, an apocrypha — if even of the third century A.D., instead of the thirteenth century B.C., as suggested by Quatremere — is old enough to appear genuine as a document, and so satisfy the demands of the most exacting archaeologist and critic. For, even admitting, for argument’s sake, that this literary relic has been compiled by “some Jew of the third century of our era” — what of that? Leaving the credibility of its doctrines for a moment aside, why should it be less entitled to a hearing, or less instructive as reflecting older opinions, than any other religious work, also a “compilation from old texts” or oral tradition — of the same or even a later age? In such case we should have to reject and call “apocryphal” the Kuran — two centuries older, though we know it to have sprung, Minerva-like, direct from the brain of the Arabian prophet; and we should have to pooh-pooh all the information we can get from the Talmud, which, in its present form, was also compiled from older materials, and is not earlier than the IX. century of our era.
The curious “Bible” of the Chaldean adept, and the various criticisms upon it (as in the Chwolsohn’s translation), are noticed, because it has an important bearing upon a great portion of the present work.
* Annales de Philosophie, June 1860, p. 415.
† April 30, 1860.
With the exception of M. Renan, an iconoclast by principle — so pointedly called by Jules Lemaitre “le Paganini du Neant” — the worst fault found with the work is, it would seem, that the “apocrypha” pretends to have been communicated as a revelation to an adept by, and from, the “idol of the moon,” who received it from “Saturn.” Hence, very naturally, it is “a fairy tale all round.” To this there is but one answer: it is no more a fairy tale than the Bible, and if one falls, the other must follow it. Even the mode of divination through “the idol of the moon” is the same as practised by David, Saul, and the High Priests of the Jewish Tabernacle by means of the Teraphim. In Volume III., Part II. of this present work, the practical methods of such ancient divination will be found.
The “Nabathean Agriculture” is a compilation indeed; it is no apocrypha, but the repetition of the tenets of the Secret Doctrine under the exoteric Chaldean form of national symbols, for the purpose of “cloaking” the tenets, just as the Books of Hermes and the Puranas are Egyptian and Hindu attempts at the same. The work was as well known in antiquity as it was during the Middle Ages. Maimonides speaks of it, and refers more than once to this Chaldeo-Arabic MS., calling the Nabatheans by their co-religionary name, i.e., “star-worshippers,” or Sabeans, but yet failing to see in this disfigured word “Nabatheans” the mystic name of the caste devoted to Nebo (god of secret wisdom), which shows on its face that the Nabatheans were an occult Brotherhood.* The Nabatheans who, according to the Persian Yezidi, originally came to Syria from Busrah, were the degenerate members of that fraternity; still their religion, even at that late day, was purely Kabalistic.† Nebo is the deity of the planet Mercury, and Mercury is the god of Wisdom or Hermes, and Budha, which the Jews called “the Lord on high, the aspiring,” . . . and the Greeks Nabo, [[Nabo]], hence Nabatheans. Notwithstanding that Maimonides calls their doctrines “heathenish foolishness” and their archaic literature “Sabaeorum foetum,” he places their “agriculture,” the Bible of Qu-tamy, in the first rank of Archaic literature; and Abarbinel
* “I will mention to thee the writings . . . respecting the belief of the Sabeans,” he says. “The most famous is the Book ‘The Agriculture of the Nabatheans,’ which has been translated by Ibn Wahohijah. This book is full of heathenish foolishness. . . . It speaks of preparations of Talismans, the drawing down of the powers of the Spirits, Magic, Demons, and ghouls, which make their abode in the desert.” (Maimonides, quoted by Dr. D. Chwolsohn, “Die Ssabier und der Ssabismus,” II., p. 458.) The Nabatheans of Mount Lebanon believed in the Seven Archangels, as their forefathers had believed in the Seven Great Stars, the abodes and bodies of these Archangels, believed in to this day by the Roman Catholics, as is shown elsewhere.
† See “Isis Unveiled,” Vol. II., p. 197.
praises it in unmeasured terms. Spencer, quoting the latter, speaks of it as that “most excellent Oriental work,” adding (vol. 1., p. 354) that by Nabatheans, the Sabeans, the Chaldeans, and the Egyptians, in short all those nations against whom the laws of Moses were most severely enacted, have to be understood.
Nebo, the oldest God of Wisdom of Babylonia and Mesopotamia, was identical with the Hindu Budha and Hermes-Mercury of the Greeks. A slight change in the sexes of the parents is the only alteration. As Budha was the Son of Soma (the Moon) in India, and of the wife of Brihaspati (Jupiter), so Nebo was the son of Zarpa-nitu (the Moon deity) and of Merodach, who had become Jupiter, after having been a Sun God. As Mercury the planet, Nebo was the “overseer” among the seven gods of the planets; and as the personification of the Secret Wisdom he was Nabin, a seer and a prophet. The fact that Moses is made to die and disappear on the mount sacred to Nebo, shows him an initiate and a priest of that god under another name; for this God of Wisdom was the great creative deity, and was worshipped as such, not alone at Borsippa in his gorgeous Temple, or planet-tower. He was likewise adored by the Moabites, the Canaanites, the Assyrians, and throughout the whole of Palestine: then why not by the Israelites? “The planetary temple of Babylon” had “its holy of holies” within the shrine of Nebo, the prophet god of Wisdom. We are told in the Hibbert Lectures, “The ancient Babylonians had an intercessor between men and the gods . . . and Nebo, was the ‘proclaimer’ or ‘prophet,’ as he made known the desire of his father Merodach.”
Nebo is a creator, like Budha, of the Fourth and also of the Fifth Race. For the former starts a new race of Adepts, and the latter, the Solar-Lunar Dynasty, or the men of these Races and Round. Both are the Adams of their respective creatures. Adam-Adami is a personation of the dual Adam: of the paradigmic Adam-Kadmon, the creator, and of the lower Adam, the terrestrial, who, as the Syrian Kabalists have it, had only nephesh, “the breath of life,” but no living soul, until after his Fall.
If, therefore, Renan persists in regarding the Chaldean Scriptures — or what remains of them — as apocryphal, it is quite immaterial to truth and fact. There are other Orientalists who may be of a different opinion; and even were they not, it would still really matter very little. These doctrines contain the teachings of Esoteric philosophy, and this must suffice. To those who understand nothing of symbology it may appear astrolatry, pure and simple, or to him who would conceal the esoteric truth, even “heathenish foolishness.” Maimonides, however, while expressing scorn for the esotericism in the religion of other nations, confessed esotericism and symbology in his own, preached
silence and secresy upon the true meaning of Mosaic sayings, and thus came to grief. The Doctrines of Qu-tamy, the Chaldean, are, in short, the allegorical rendering of the religion of the earliest nations of the Fifth Race.
Why then should M. Renan treat the name “Adam-Adami” with such academical contempt? The author of the “Origins of Christianity” evidently knows nothing of the “origins of pagan symbolism” or of Esotericism either, otherwise he would have known that the name was a form of universal symbol, referring, even with the Jews, not to one man, but to four distinct humanities or mankinds. This is very easily proven.
The Kabalists teach the existence of four distinct Adams, or the transformation of four consecutive Adams, the emanations from the Dyooknah (divine phantom) of the Heavenly Man, an ethereal combination of Neschamah, the highest Soul or Spirit: this Adam having, of course, neither a gross human body, nor a body of desire. This “Adam” is the prototype (tzure) of the second Adam. That they represent our Five Races is certain, as everyone can see by their description in the Kabala: the first being the “perfect, Holy Adam”; . . . “a shadow that disappeared” (the Kings of Edom) produced from the divine Tzelem (Image); the second is called the protoplastic androgyne Adam of the future terrestrial and separated Adam; the third Adam is the man made of “dust” (the first, innocent Adam); and the fourth, is the supposed forefather of our own race — the Fallen Adam. See, however, the admirably clear description of these in Mr. Isaac Myer’s “Qabbalah,” p. 418, et seq. He gives only four Adams, because of the Kings of Edom, no doubt. “The fourth Adam,” he writes, “ . . . . was clothed with skin, flesh, nerves, etc. This answers to the Lower Nephesch and Guff, i.e., body, united. He has the animal power of reproduction and continuance of species,” and this is the human Root-Race.
It is just at this point that the modern Kabalists — led into error by the long generations of Christian mystics who have tampered with the Kabalistic records wherever they could — diverge from the Occultists in their interpretations, and take the later thought for the earlier idea. The original Kabala was entirely metaphysical, and had no concern with animal, or terrestrial sexes; the later Kabala has suffocated the divine ideal under the heavy phallic element. The Kabalists say: — “God made man male and female.” “Among the Qabbalists, the necessity to continued creation and existence is called the Balance,” says the author of Qabbalah; and being without this “Balance,” connected with Ma-qom (mysterious place),* even the First Race is not,
* Simply, the womb, the “Holy of Holies” with the Semites.
as we have seen, recognized by the Sons of the Fifth Adam. From the highest Heavenly Man, the upper Adam who is “male female” or Androgyne, down to the Adam of dust, these personified symbols are all connected with sex and procreation. With the Eastern Occultists it is entirely the reverse. The sexual relation they consider as a “Karma” pertaining only to the mundane relation of man, who is dominated by Illusion, a thing to be put aside, the moment that the person becomes “wise.” They considered it a most fortunate circumstance if the Guru (teacher) found in his pupil an aptitude for the pure life of Brahmacharya. Their dual symbols were to them but the poetical imagery of the sublime correlation of creative Cosmic forces. And this ideal conception is found beaming like a golden ray upon each idol, however coarse and grotesque, in the crowded galleries of the sombre fanes of India and other Mother lands of cults.
This will be demonstrated in the following Section.
Meanwhile, it may be added that, with the Gnostics, the second Adam also emanates from the Primeval Man, the Ophite Adamas, in “whose image he is made”; the third, from this second — an Androgyne. The latter is symbolized in the 6th and 7th pairs of the male-female AEons, —Amphian-Essumene, and Vannanin-Lamer (Father and Mother; vide Valentinian Table, in Epiphanius) — while the fourth Adam, or Race, is represented by a Priapean monster. The latter — a post-Christian fancy — is the degraded copy of the ante-Christian Gnostic symbol of the “Good One,” or “He, who created before anything existed,” the Celestial Priapus — truly born from Venus and Bacchus when that God returned from his expedition into India, for Venus and Bacchus are the post-types of Aditi and the Spirit. The later Priapus, one, however, with Agathodaemon, the Gnostic Saviour, and even with Abraxas, is no longer the glyph for abstract creative Power, but symbolizes the four Adams, or Races, the fifth being represented by the five branches cut off from the Tree of Life on which the old man stands in the Gnostic gems. The number of the Root-Races was recorded in the ancient Greek temples by the seven vowels, of which five were framed in a panel in the Initiation halls of the Adyta. The Egyptian glyph for it was a hand with five fingers spread, the fifth or little finger being only half-grown, and also five “N’s” — hieroglyphs standing for that letter. The Romans used the five vowels A E I O V in their fanes; and this archaic symbol was adopted during the middle ages as a motto by the House of the Hapsburgs. Sic transit gloria!