Theosophical University Press Online Edition
[[This page continued from previous section]]
The Secret Doctrine points out, as a self-evident fact, that Mankind, collectively and individually, is, with all manifested nature, the vehicle (a) of the breath of One Universal Principle, in its primal differentiation; and (b) of the countless “breaths” proceeding from that One Breath in its secondary and further differentiations, as Nature with its many mankinds proceeds downwards toward the planes that are ever increasing in materiality. The primary Breath informs the higher Hierarchies; the secondary — the lower, on the constantly descending planes.
Now there are many passages in the Bible which prove on their face, exoterically, that this belief was at one time Universal; and the most convincing are the two chapters Ezekiel xxviii. and Isaiah xiv. Christian theologians are welcome to interpret both as referring to the great War before Creation, the Epos of Satan’s rebellion, etc., if they so choose, but the absurdity of the idea is too apparent. Ezekiel addresses his lamentations and reproofs to the King of Tyre; Isaiah — to King Ahaz, who indulged in the worship of idols, as did the rest of the nation, with the exception of a few Initiates (the Prophets, so called), who tried to arrest it on its way to exotericism, or idolatry, which is the same thing. Let the student judge.
In Ezekiel xxviii. it is said, “Son of Man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, thus saith the Lord God (as we understand it, the “god” Karma): Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said I am a God . . . . and yet thou art a man . . . . behold I shall bring strangers upon thee . . . . and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom . . . . and they shall bring thee down to the pit . . . .” or Earth-life.
The origin of the “prince of Tyrus” is to be traced to, and sought in
the “divine Dynasties” of the iniquitous Atlanteans, the Great Sorcerers (See last Comments, on Stanza XII., verses 47-49). There is no metaphor in the words of Ezekiel, but actual history, this time. For the voice in the prophet, the voice of the “Lord,” his own Spirit, which spake unto him, says: — “Because thou hast said, ‘I am a God, I sit in the seat of God(s) — (divine Dynasties), in the midst of the seas,’ yet thou art a man. . . . . Behold thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee: with thy wisdom . . . thou hast increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches. Behold therefore . . . strangers shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom . . . they shall bring thee down . . . and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas.” (Verses 3-8.) All such imprecations are not prophecy, but simply reminders of the fate of the Atlanteans, the “Giants on Earth.”
What can be the meaning of this last sentence if it is not a narrative of the fate of the Atlanteans? Verse 17 saying, “thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty,” may refer to the “Heavenly Man” in Pymander, or to the Fallen Angels, who are accused of having fallen through pride on account of the great beauty and wisdom which became their lot. There is no metaphor here, except in the preconceived ideas of our theologians, perhaps. These verses relate to the Past and belong more to the Knowledge acquired at the mysteries of Initiation than to retrospective clairvoyance! Says the voice, again: —
“Thou hast been in Eden, the garden of God (in the Satya Yuga); every precious stone was thy covering . . . . the workmanship of thy tabrets and thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day thou wast created. . . Thou art the anointed cherub . . . thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire . . . thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. Therefore I will cast thee out of the mountain of God and destroy thee. . . . ”
The “Mountain of God” means the “Mountain of the Gods” or Meru, whose representative in the Fourth Race was Mount Atlas, the last form of one of the divine Titans, so high in those days that the ancients believed that the heavens rested on its top. Did not Atlas assist the giants in their war against the gods? (Hyginus). Another version shows the fable as arising from the fondness of Atlas, son of Iapetus and Clymene, for astronomy, and from his dwelling for that reason on the highest mountain peaks. The truth is that Atlas, “the mountain of the gods,” and also the hero of that name, are the esoteric symbols of the Fourth Race, and his seven daughters, the Atlantides, are the symbols of its Seven Sub-races. Mount Atlas, according to all the legends, was three times as high as it is now; having sunk at two different times. It is of a volcanic origin, and therefore the voice
within Ezekiel says: “I will bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee,” etc. (v. 18). Surely it does not mean, as seems to be the case from the translated texts, that this fire was to be brought from the midst of the Prince of Tyrus, or his people, but from Mount Atlas, symbolising the proud race, learned in magic and high in arts and civilization, whose last remnant was destroyed almost at the foot of the range of those once gigantic mountains.
Truly, “thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more”; as the very name of the race and its fate is now annihilated from man’s memory. Bear in mind, that almost every ancient King and priest was an initiate; that from toward the close of the Fourth Race there had been a feud between the Initiates of the Right and those of the Left Path; finally, that the garden of Eden is referred to by other personages than the Jews of the Adamic race, since even Pharaoh is compared to the fairest tree of Eden by this same Ezekiel, who shows “all the trees of Eden, the choicest and best of Lebanon, . . . comforted in the nether parts of the earth . . . ,” for “they also went down into hell with him” (Pharaoh)* unto the nether parts, which are in fact the bottom of the ocean, whose floor gaped wide to devour the lands of the Atlanteans and themselves. If one bears all this in mind and compares the various accounts, then one will find out that the whole of chapters xxviii. and xxxi. of Ezekiel relate neither to Babylon, Assyria, nor yet Egypt, since none of these have been so destroyed, but simply fell into ruins on the surface, not beneath the earth — but indeed to Atlantis and most of its nations. And he will see that the “garden of Eden” of the Initiates was no myth, but a locality now submerged. Light will dawn upon him, and he will appreciate such sentences as these at their true esoteric value: “Thou hast been in Eden; . . . thou wast upon the holy mountain of God” — for every nation had and many still have holy mountains: some, Himalayan Peaks, others, Parnassus, and Sinai. They were all places of initiation and the abodes of the chiefs of the communities of ancient and even modern adepts. And again: “Behold, the Assyrian (why not Atlantean, Initiate?) was a cedar in Lebanon; . . . his height was exalted above all the trees; . . . . the cedars in the garden of God could not hide him, . . . so that all the trees of Eden . . . . envied him” (Ezekiel xxxi. 3-9).
Throughout all Asia Minor, the Initiates were called the “trees of Righteousness,” and the cedars of Lebanon, as also were some kings of Israel. So were the great adepts in India, but only the adepts of the
* The only Pharaoh whom the Bible shows going down into the Red Sea was the king who pursued the Israelites, and who remained unnamed, for very good reasons, perhaps. The story was surely made up from the Atlantean legend.
left hand. When Vishnu Purana narrates that “the world was overrun with trees,” while the Prachetasas — who “passed 10,000 years of austerity in the vast ocean” — were absorbed in their devotions, the allegory relates to the Atlanteans and the adepts of the early Fifth Race — the Aryans. Other “trees (adept Sorcerers) spread, and overshadowed the unprotected earth; and the people perished . . . unable to labour for ten thousand years.” Then the sages, the Rishis of the Aryan race, called Prachetasas, are shown “coming forth from the deep,”* and destroying by the wind and flame issuing from their mouths, the iniquitous “trees” and the whole vegetable kingdom; until Soma (the moon), the sovereign of the vegetable world, pacifies them by making alliance with the adepts of the Right Path, to whom he offers as bride Marisha, “the offspring of the trees.”† This means that which is given in the Stanzas and Commentaries, and what is also given in Part II. of Vol. I., “The Sacred Island.” It hints at the great struggle between the “Sons of God” and the Sons of the Dark Wisdom — our forefathers; or the Atlantean and the Aryan Adepts.
The whole History of that period is allegorized in the Ramayana, which is the mystic narrative in epic form of the struggle between Rama — the first king of the divine dynasty of the early Aryans — and Ravana, the symbolical personation of the Atlantean (Lanka) race. The former were the incarnations of the Solar Gods; the latter, of the lunar Devas. This was the great battle between Good and Evil, between white and black magic, for the supremacy of the divine forces, or of the lower terrestrial or cosmic powers. If the student would understand better the last statement, let him turn to the Anugita episode of the Mahabharata, chapter v., where the Brahmana tells his wife, “I have perceived by means of the Self the seat abiding in the Self — (the seat) where dwells the Brahman free from the pairs of opposites and the moon, together with the fire (or the sun), upholding (all) beings (as), the mover of the intellectual principle.” The moon is the deity of the mind (Manas) but only on the lower plane. “Manas is dual — lunar in the lower, solar in its upper portion,” says a commentary. That is to say, it is attracted in its higher aspect towards Buddhi, and in its
* Vishnu Purana, Book I., ch. xv.
† This is pure allegory. The waters are a symbol of wisdom and of occult learning. Hermes represented the sacred Science under the symbol of fire; the Northern Initiates, under that of water. The latter is the production of Nara, the “Spirit of God,” or rather Paramatman, the “Supreme Soul,” says Kulluka Bhatta, Narayana, meaning “he who abides in the deep” or plunged in the Waters of Wisdom — “water being the body of Nara” (Vayu). Hence arises the statement that for 10,000 years they remained in austerity “in the vast Ocean”; and are shown emerging from it. Ea, the God of Wisdom, is the “Sublime Fish,” and Dagon or Oannes is the Chaldean man-fish, who emerges from the waters to teach wisdom.
lower descends into, and listens to the voice of its animal soul full of selfish and sensual desires; and herein is contained the mystery of an adept’s as of a profane man’s life, as also that of the post-mortem separation of the divine from the animal man. The Ramayana — every line of which has to be read esoterically — discloses in magnificent symbolism and allegory the tribulations of both man and soul. “Within the body, in the midst of all these life-winds (? principles), which move about in the body, and swallow up one another,* blazes the Vaishvana fire† sevenfold, of which ‘I’ am the goal,” says the Brahmana.‡
But the chief “Soul” is Manas or mind; hence, Soma, the moon, is shown as making an alliance with the solar portion in it, personified as the Prachetasas. But of the seven keys that open the seven aspects of the Ramayana, as of every other Scripture, this is only one — the metaphysical.
The symbol of the “Tree” standing for various Initiates was almost universal. Jesus is called “the tree of Life,” as also all the adepts of the good Law, while those of the left Path are referred to as the “withering trees.” John the Baptist speaks of “the axe” which “is laid to the root of the trees” (Matth. iii. 10); and the King of Assyria’s armies are called trees (Isaiah x. 19).
The true meaning of the Garden of Eden was sufficiently given in “Isis Unveiled.”
The writer has more than once heard surprise expressed that Isis should contain so few of the doctrines now taught. This is quite erroneous. For the allusions to such teachings are plentiful, even if the teachings themselves were still withheld. The time had not arrived then, as the hour has not struck now to say all. “No Atlanteans, or the Fourth Race which preceded our Fifth Race, are mentioned in ‘Isis Unveiled,’ ” a critic on “Esoteric Buddhism” wrote one day. I, who wrote Isis Unveiled, maintain that the Atlanteans are mentioned as our predecessors, namely, in Volume I., p. 133, when speaking of the Book of Job. For what can be plainer than this: “In the original text, instead of ‘dead things,’ it is written dead Rephaim, giants, or mighty primitive men, from whom ‘Evolution’ may one day trace our present race.” It is invited to do so now, now that this hint is explained quite openly; but Evolutionists are as sure to
* This is explained by the able translator of Anugita in a foot-note (p. 258) in these words: “The sense appears to be this; the course of worldly life is due to the operations of the life-winds which are attached to the SELF, and lead to its manifestations as individual souls.
† “Vaisvanara (or Vaishvanara) is a word often used to denote the Self” — explains Nilakantha.
‡ Translated by Kashinath Trimbak Telang, M.A., Bombay.
decline nowadays as they did ten years ago. Science and theology are against us: therefore we question both, and have to do so in self-defence. On the strength of hazy metaphors scattered throughout the prophets, and in St. John’s Revelation, a grand but re-edited version of the Book of Enoch, on these insecure grounds Christian theology built its dogmatic Epos of the War in Heaven. It did more: it used the symbolical visions, intelligible only to the Initiates, as pillars upon which to support the whole bulky edifice of its religion; and now the pillars have been found very weak reeds, and the cunning structure is foundering. The entire Christian scheme rests upon these Jakin and Boaz — the two contrary forces of good and evil, Christ and Satan the [[agathai kai kakai dunameis]]. Take away from Christianity its main prop of the Fallen Angels, and the Eden Bower vanishes with its Adam and Eve into thin air; and Christ, in the exclusive character of the One God and Saviour, and the victim of Atonement for the Sin of animal-man, becomes forthwith a useless, meaningless myth.
In an old number of the Revue Archaeologique for the year 1845 (p. 41), a French writer, M. Maury, remarks: — “This universal strife between good and bad spirits seems to be only the reproduction of another more ancient and more terrible strife, that, according to an ancient myth, took place before the creation of the universe, between the faithful and the rebellious legions.”
Once more, it is a simple question of priority. Had John’s Revelation been written during the Vedic period, and were not one sure now of its being simply another version of the Book of Enoch and the Dragon legends of pagan antiquity — the grandeur and the beauty of the imagery might have biased the critics’ opinion in favour of the Christian interpretation of that first war, whose battle field was starry Heaven, and the first slaughterers — the Angels. As the matter stands now, however, one has to trace Revelation, event by event, to other and far older visions. For the better comprehension of the Apocalyptic allegories and of the esoteric epos we ask the reader to turn to Revelation, and to read chapter xii., from verse 1 to verse 7.
This has several meanings, most of which have been found out with regard to the astronomical and numerical keys of this universal myth. That which may be given now, is a fragment, a few hints as to its secret meaning, as embodying the record of a real war, the struggle between the Initiates of the two schools. Many and various are the still existing allegories built on that same foundation stone. The true narrative, that which gives the full esoteric meaning, is in the Secret books, but the writer has had no access to these.
In the exoteric works, however, the episode of the Taraka war, and some esoteric commentaries, may offer a clue perhaps. In every Purana
the event is described with more or less variations, which show its allegorical character.
In the Mythology of the earliest Vedic Aryans as in the later Puranic narratives, mention is made of Budha, the “Wise”; one “learned in the Secret Wisdom,” and who is the planet Mercury in his euhemerization. The Hindu Classical Dictionary credits Budha with being the author of a hymn in the Rig Veda. Therefore, he can by no means be “a later fiction of the Brahmins,” but is a very old personation indeed.
It is by inquiring into his genealogy, or theogony, rather, that the following facts are disclosed. As a myth, he is the son of Tara, the wife of Brihaspati the “gold coloured,” and of “Soma” the (male) Moon, who, Paris-like, carries this new Helen of the Hindu sidereal Kingdom away from her husband, which causes a great strife and war in Swarga (Heaven). The episode brings on a battle between the gods and the Asuras: King Soma, finds allies in Usanas (Venus), the leader of the Danavas; and the gods are led by Indra and Rudra, who side with Brihaspati. The latter is helped by Sankara (Siva), who, having had for his guru Brihaspati’s father, Angiras, befriends his son. Indra is here the Indian prototype of Michael, the Archistrategus and the slayer of the “Dragon’s” angels — since one of his names is Jishnu “leader of the (celestial) Host.” Both fight, as some Titans did against other Titans in defence of revengeful gods, one — of Jupiter tonans (in India, Brihaspati is the planet Jupiter, which is a curious coincidence); the other, in support of the ever-thundering Rudra Sankara. During this war, he is deserted by his body-guard, the storm-gods (Maruts). The story is very suggestive in some of its details.
Let us examine some of them, and seek to discover their meaning.
The presiding genius, or “regent” of the planet Jupiter is Brihaspati, the wronged husband. He is the instructor or spiritual guru of the gods, who are the representatives of the procreative powers. In the Rig Veda, he is called Brahmanaspati, a name meaning “the deity in whom the action of the worshipped upon the gods is personified.” Hence Brahmanaspati represents the materialization of the divine grace, so to say, by means of ritual and ceremonies, or the exoteric worship.
“Tara”* — his wife — is on the other hand the personification of the powers of one initiated into Gupta Vidya (secret knowledge), as will be shown.
Soma is the moon astronomically; but in mystical phraseology, it is also the name of the sacred beverage drunk by the Brahmins and the Initiates during their mysteries and sacrificial rites. The “Soma” plant is the asclepias acida, which yields a juice from which that mystic beverage,
* See Dowson’s Classical Dictionary.
the Soma drink, is made. Alone the descendants of the Rishis, the Agnihotri (the fire priests) of the great mysteries knew all its powers. But the real property of the true Soma was (and is) to make a new man of the Initiate, after he is reborn, namely once that he begins to live in his astral body (See “The Elixir of Life”*); for, his spiritual nature overcoming the physical, he would soon snap it off and part even from that etherealized form.†
Soma was never given in days of old to the non-initiated Brahman — the simple Grihasta, or priest of the exoteric ritual. Thus Brihaspati — “guru of the gods” though he was — still represented the dead-letter form of worship. It is Tara his wife — the symbol of one who, though wedded to dogmatic worship, longs for true wisdom — who is shown as initiated into his mysteries by King Soma, the giver of that Wisdom. Soma is thus made in the allegory to carry her away. The result of this is the birth of Budha — esoteric Wisdom — (Mercury, or Hermes in Greece and Egypt). He is represented as “so beautiful,” that even the husband, though well aware that Budha is not the progeny of his dead-letter worship — claims the “new-born” as his Son, the fruit of his ritualistic and meaningless forms.‡ Such is, in brief, one of the meanings of the allegory.
War in Heaven refers to several events of that kind on various and different planes of being. The first is a purely astronomical and cosmical fact pertaining to cosmogony. Mr. John Bentley thought that with the Hindus war in Heaven is only a figure referring to their calculations of time periods (see Bentley’s Hindu Astronomy).§
* See “Five Years of Theosophy.”
† The partaker of Soma finds himself both linked to his external body, and yet away from it in his spiritual form. The latter, freed from the former, soars for the time being in the ethereal higher regions, becoming virtually “as one of the gods,” and yet preserving in his physical brain the memory of what he sees and learns. Plainly speaking, Soma is the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge forbidden by the jealous Elohim to Adam and Eve or Yah-ve, “lest Man should become as one of us.”
‡ We see the same in the modern exoteric religions.
§ “Historical Views of Hindu Astronomy.” Quoting from the work in reference to Aryachatta, who is said to give a near approach to the true relation among the various values for the computations of the value of [[pi]], the author of the “Source of Measures” reproduces a curious statement. Mr. Bentley, it is said, “was greatly familiar with the Hindu astronomical and mathematical knowledge . . . this statement of his then may be taken as authentic: the same remarkable trait, among so many Eastern and ancient nations of sedulously concealing the arcana of this kind of knowledge, is a marked one among the Hindus. That which was given out to be popularly taught and to be exposed to public inspection, was but the approximate of a more exact but hidden knowledge. And this very formulation of Mr. Bentley will strangely exemplify the assertion; and explained, will show that it (the Hindu exoteric astronomy and sciences) was derived from a system exact beyond the European one, in which Mr. Bentley himself, of [[Footnote continued on next page]]
This served as a prototype, he thinks, for the Western nations to build their war of the Titans upon. The author is not quite wrong, but neither is he quite right. If the sidereal prototype refers indeed to a pre-manvantaric period, and rests entirely on the Knowledge claimed by the Aryan Initiates of the whole programme and progress of cosmogony,* the war of the Titans is but a legendary and deified copy of the real war that took place in the Himalayan Kailasa (heaven) instead of in the depths of Cosmic interplanetary Space. It is the record of the terrible strife between the “Sons of God” and the “Sons of the Shadow” of the Fourth and the Fifth Races. It is on these two events, blended together by legends borrowed from the exoteric account of the war waged by the Asuras against the gods, that every subsequent national tradition on the subject has been built.
Esoterically, the Asuras, transformed subsequently into evil Spirits and lower gods, who are eternally at war with the great deities — are the gods of the Secret Wisdom. In the oldest portions of the Rig Veda, they are the spiritual and the divine, the term Asura being used for the Supreme Spirit and being the same as the great Ahura of the Zoroastrians. (See Darmesteter’s Vendidad). There was a time when the gods Indra, Agni, and Varuna themselves belonged to the Asuras.
In the Aitareya Brahmana, the breath (asu) of Brahma-Prajapati became alive, and from that breath he created the Asuras. Later on, after the war, the Asuras are called the enemies of the gods, hence — “A-suras,” the initial “A” being a negative prefix — or “no-gods” — the “gods” being referred to as “Suras.” This then connects the Asuras and their “Hosts,” enumerated further on, with the “Fallen Angels” of the Christian Churches, a hierarchy of spiritual Beings to be found in every Pantheon of ancient and even modern nations — from the Zoroastrian down to that of the Chinaman. They are the sons of the primeval Creative Breath at the beginning of every new Maha Kalpa, or Manvantara; in the same rank as the Angels who had remained “faithful.” These were the allies of Soma (the parent of the Esoteric Wisdom) as against Brihaspati (representing ritualistic or ceremonial
[[Footnote continued from previous page]] course, trusted as far in advance of the Hindu Knowledge, at any time, in any generation.”
Which is Mr. Bentley’s misfortune, and does not take away from the glory of the ancient Hindu astronomers, who were all Initiates.
* The Secret Doctrine teaches that every event of universal importance, such as geological cataclysms at the end of one race and the beginning of a new one, involving a great change each time in mankind, spiritual, moral and physical — is pre-cogitated and preconcerted, so to say, in the sidereal regions of our planetary system. Astrology is built wholly upon this mystic and intimate connection between the heavenly bodies and mankind; and it is one of the great secrets of Initiation and Occult mysteries.
worship). Evidently they have been degraded in Space and Time into opposing powers or demons by the ceremonialists, on account of their rebellion against hypocrisy, sham-worship, and the dead-letter form.
Now what is the real character of all those who fought along with them? They are (1) the Usanas, or the “host” of the planet Venus, become now in Roman Catholicism — Lucifer, the genius of the “morning star” (see Isaiah xiv., 12), the tsaba, or army of “Satan.” (2) The Daityas and Danavas are the Titans, the demons and giants whom we find in the Bible (Gen. vi.) — the progeny of the “Sons of God” and the “Daughters of Men.” Their generic name shows their alleged character, and discloses at the same time the secret animus of the Brahmins: for they are the Krati-dwishas — the “enemies of the sacrifices” or exoteric shams. These are the “hosts” that fought against Brihaspati, the representative of exoteric popular and national religions; and Indra — the god of the visible heaven, the firmament, who, in the early Veda, is the highest god of Cosmic heaven, the fit habitation for an extra-Cosmic and personal God, higher than whom no exoteric worship can ever soar.
(3) Then come the Nagas,* the Sarpa (serpents or Seraphs). These, again, show their character by the hidden meaning of their glyph. In Mythology they are semi-divine beings with a human face and the tail of a Dragon. They are therefore, undeniably, the Jewish seraphim (from Serapis and Sarpa, Serpent); the plural being saraph, “burning, fiery” (See Isaiah, vi. 23). Christian and Jewish angelology distinguishes between the Seraphim and the Cherubim or Cherubs, who come second in order; esoterically, and Kabalistically, they are identical; the cherubim being simply the name for the images or likenesses of any of the divisions of the celestial hosts. Now, as said before, the Dragons and Nagas were the names given to the Initiates-hermits, on account of their great Wisdom and Spirituality and their living in caves. Thus, when Ezekiel applies the adjective of Cherub to the King of Tyre, and tells him that by his wisdom and his understanding there is no secret that can be hidden from him (v. 3, 4, xxviii.), he shows to an Occultist that it is a “prophet,” perhaps, still a follower of exoteric worship, who fulminates against an Initiate of another school and not against an imaginary Lucifer, a fallen cherub from the stars, and then from the garden of Eden. Thus the so-called “war” is, in one of its many meanings, also an allegorical record of the strife between the two classes of adepts — of the right and of the left path. There were three classes of Rishis in India, who were
* The Nagas are described by the Orientalists as a mysterious people whose landmarks are found abundantly in India to this day, and who lived in Naga dwipa one of the Seven continents or divisions of Bharatavarsha (old India), the town of Nagpur being one of the most ancient cities in the country.
the earliest adepts known; the royal, or Rajarshis, kings and princes, who adopted the ascetic life; the Devarshis, divine, or the sons of Dharma or Yoga; and Brahmarshis, descendants of those Rishis who were the founders of gotras of Brahmans, or caste-races. Now, leaving the mythical and astronomical keys for one moment aside, the secret teachings show many Atlanteans who belonged to these divisions; and there were strifes and wars between them, de facto and de jure. Narada, one of the greatest Rishis, was a Devarishi; and he is shown in constant and everlasting feud with Brahma, Daksha, and other gods and sages. Therefore we may safely maintain that whatever the astronomical meaning of this universally accepted legend, its human phase is based on real and historical events, disfigured into a theological dogma only to suit ecclesiastical purposes. As above so below. Sidereal phenomena, and the behaviour of the celestial bodies in the heavens, were taken as a model, and the plan was carried out below, on earth. Thus, space, in its abstract sense, was called “the realm of divine knowledge,” and by the Chaldees or Initiates Ab Soo, the habitat (or Father, i.e., the source) of knowledge, because it is in space that dwell the intelligent Powers which invisibly rule the Universe.*
In the same manner and on the plan of the Zodiac in the upper Ocean or the heavens, a certain realm on Earth, an inland sea, was consecrated and called “the Abyss of Learning”; twelve centres on it in the shape of twelve small islands representing the Zodiacal signs — two of which remained for ages the “mystery signs”† and were the abodes of twelve Hierophants and masters of wisdom. This “sea of knowledge” or learning‡ remained for ages there, where now stretches the Shamo or Gobi desert. It existed until the last great glacial period, when a
* Not less suggestive are the qualities attributed to Rudra Siva, the great Yogi, the forefather of all the Adepts — in Esotericism one of the greatest Kings of the Divine Dynasties. Called “the Earliest” and the “Last,” he is the patron of the Third, Fourth, and the Fifth Root-Races. For, in his earliest character, he is the ascetic Dig-ambara, “clothed with the Elements,” Trilochana, “the three-eyed”; Pancha-anana, “the five-faced,” an allusion to the past four and the present fifth race, for, though five-faced, he is only “four-armed,” as the fifth race is still alive. He is the “God of Time,” Saturn-Kronos, as his damaru (drum), in the shape of an hour-glass, shows; and if he is accused of having cut off Brahma’s fifth head, and left him with only four, it is again an allusion to a certain degree in initiation, and also to the Races.
† G. Seiffarth’s idea that the signs of the Zodiac were in ancient times only ten is erroneous. Ten only were known to the profane; the initiates, however, knew them all, from the time of the separation of mankind into sexes, whence arose the separation of Virgo-Scorpio into two; which, owing to a secret sign added and the Libra invented by the Greeks, instead of the secret name which was not given, made 12. (Vide Isis Unveiled, Vol. II., p. 456.)
‡ The above is, perhaps, a key to the Dalai-lama’s symbolical name — the “Ocean” lama, meaning the Wisdom Ocean. Abbe Huc speaks of it.
local cataclysm, which swept the waters south and west and so formed the present great desolate desert, left only a certain oasis, with a lake and one island in the midst of it, as a relic of the Zodiacal Ring on Earth. For ages the watery abyss — which, with the nations that preceded the later Babylonians, was the abode of the “great mother” (the terrestrial post-type of the “great mother chaos” in heaven), the parent of Ea (Wisdom), himself the early prototype of Oannes, the man-Fish of the Babylonians — for ages, then, the “Abyss” or Chaos was the abode of wisdom and not of evil. The struggle of Bel and then of Merodach, the Sun-god, with Tiamat, the Sea and its Dragon, a “war” which ended in the defeat of the latter, has a purely cosmic and geological meaning, as well as an historical one. It is a page torn out of the History of the Secret and Sacred Sciences, their evolution, growth and death — for the profane masses. It relates (a) to the systematic and gradual drying up of immense territories by the fierce Sun at a certain pre-historic period; one of the terrible droughts which ended by a gradual transformation of once fertile lands abundantly watered into the sandy deserts which they are now; and (b) to the as systematic persecution of the Prophets of the Right Path by those of the Left. The latter, having inaugurated the birth and evolution of the sacerdotal castes, have finally led the world into all these exoteric religions, invented to satisfy the depraved tastes of the “hoi polloi” and the ignorant for ritualistic pomp and the materialization of the ever-immaterial and Unknowable Principle.
This was a certain improvement on the Atlantean sorcery, the memory of which lingers in the remembrances of all the literary and Sanskrit-speaking portion of India, as well as in the popular legends. Still it was a parody on, and the desecration of the Sacred Mysteries and their science. The rapid progress of anthropomorphism and idolatry led the early Fifth, as it had already led the Fourth Race, into sorcery once more, though on a smaller scale. Finally, even the four “Adams” (symbolizing under other names the four preceding races) were forgotten; and passing from one generation into another, each loaded with some additional myths, got at last drowned in that ocean of popular symbolism called the Pantheons. Yet they exist to this day in the oldest Jewish traditions, as the Tzelem, “the Shadow-Adam” (the Chhayas of our doctrine); the “model” Adam, the copy of the first, and the “male and female” of the exoteric genesis (chap. i.); the third, the “earthly Adam” before the Fall, an androgyne; and the Fourth — the Adam after his fall, i.e., separated into sexes, or the pure Atlantean. The Adam of the garden of Eden, or the forefather of our race — the fifth — is an ingenious compound of the above four. As stated in Zohar (iii., fol. 4, col. 14, Cremona Ed.) Adam, the first man, is not found
now on earth, he “is not found in all, below.” Because, “where does the lower earth come from? From the chain of the Earth, and heaven above,” i.e., from the superior globes, those which precede and are above our Earth. “And there came out from it (the chain) creatures of all kinds. Some of them in (solid) skins, some in shells (Klippoth) . . . some in red shells, some in black, some in white, and some of other colours . . . ” (See Qabbalah).
As in the Chaldean Cosmogony of Berosus and the Stanzas just given, some treatises on the Kabala speak of creatures with two faces, some with four, and some with one face: for “the highest Adam did not come down in all the countries, or produce progeny and have many wives,” but is a Mystery.
So is the Dragon a mystery. Truly, says Rabbi Simeon Ben-Iochai, that to understand the meaning of the Dragon is not given to the “Companions” (students, or chelas), but only to “the little ones,” i.e., the perfect Initiates.* “The work of the beginning the companions understand; but it is only the little ones who understand the parable on the work in the Principium by the mystery of the serpent of the Great Sea.”† And those Christians, who may happen to read this, will also understand by the light of the above sentence who their “Christ” was. For Jesus states repeatedly that he who “shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein”; and if some of his sayings have been meant to apply to children without any metaphor, most of what relates to the “little ones” in the Gospels, related to the Initiates, of whom Jesus was one. Paul (Saul) is referred to in the Talmud as “the little one.”
That “Mystery of the Serpent” was this: Our Earth, or rather terrestrial life, is often referred to in the Secret Teachings as the great Sea, “the sea of life” having remained to this day a favourite metaphor. The Siphrah Dzeniouta speaks of primeval chaos and the evolution of the Universe after a destruction (pralaya), comparing it to an uncoiling serpent: — “Extending hither and thither, its tail in its mouth, the head twisting on its neck, it is enraged and angry. . . It watches and conceals itself. Every thousand Days it is manifested.” (I., § 16).
* Such was the name given in ancient Judea to the Initiates, called also the “Innocents” and the “Infants,” i.e., once more reborn. This key opens a vista into one of the New Testament mysteries; the slaughter by Herod of the 40,000 “Innocents.” There is a legend to this effect, and the event which took place almost a century B.C., shows the origin of the tradition blended at the same time with that of Krishna and his uncle Kansa. In the case of the N. T., Herod stands for Alexander Janneus (of Lyda), whose persecution and murder of hundreds and thousands of Initiates led to the adoption of the Bible story.
† Zohar ii., 34.
A commentary on the Puranas says: “Ananta-Sesha is a form of Vishnu, the Holy Spirit of Preservation, and a symbol of the Universe, on which it is supposed to sleep during the intervals of the Days of Brahma. The seven heads of Sesha support the Universe. . . . ”
So the Spirit of God “sleeps,” is “breathing” (meracha’ pheth’) over the Chaos of undifferentiated matter, before each new “Creation.” (Siphrah Dzeniouta). Now one “Day” of Brahma is composed, as already explained, of one thousand Mahayugas; and as each “Night” or period of rest is equal in duration to this “day,” it is easy to see to what this sentence in Siphrah Dzeniouta refers, viz.: — that the serpent manifests “once in a thousand days.” Nor is it more difficult to see whither the initiated writer of the Siphrah is leading us, when he says:—“Its head is broken in the waters of the great sea, as it is written: ‘Thou dividest the sea by thy strength, thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters’ ” (lxxiv. 13). It refers to the trials of the Initiates in this physical life, the “sea of sorrow,” if read with one key; it hints at the successive destruction of the seven spheres of a chain of worlds in the great sea of space, when read with another key: for every sidereal globe or sphere, every world, star, or group of stars, is called in symbolism “the Dragon’s head.” But however it may read, the Dragon was never regarded as Evil, nor was the Serpent either — in antiquity. In the metaphors, whether astronomical, cosmical, theogonical or simply physiological, i.e., phallic — the Serpent was always regarded as a divine symbol. When it is said “The (Cosmic) Serpent which runs with 370 leaps” (Siphrah Dzeniouta, § 33) it means the cyclic periods of the great Tropical year (25,868 years), divided in the esoteric calculation into 370 periods or cycles, as one solar year is divided into 365 days. And if Michael was regarded by the Christians as the Conqueror of Satan, the Dragon, it is because in the Talmud this fighting personage is represented as the Prince of Waters, who had seven subordinate Spirits under him — a good reason why the Latin Church made him the patron Saint of every promontory in Europe. In the Kabala (Siph. Dzen.) the creative Force “makes sketches and spiral lines of his creation in the shape of a Serpent.” It “holds its tail in its mouth,” because it is the symbol of endless eternity and of cyclic periods. Its meanings, however, would require a volume, and we must end.
Thus the reader may now see for himself what are the several meanings of the “War in Heaven,” and of the “great dragon.” The most solemn and dreaded of church dogmas, the alpha and omega of Christian faith, and the pillar of its Fall and Atonement, dwindles down to a pagan symbol, in the many allegories about those prehistoric struggles.