Theosophical University Press Online Edition
The early Gnostics claimed that their Science, the Gnosis, rested on a square, the angles of which represented respectively Sige (Silence), Bythos (depth), Nous (Spiritual Soul or Mind), and Aletheia (Truth).
It is they who were the first to introduce and reveal to the world that which had remained concealed for ages: namely, the Tau, in the shape of a Procrustean bed, and Christos as incarnating in Chrestos, he who became for certain purposes a willing candidate for a series of tortures, mental and physical.
For them the whole of the Universe, metaphysical and material, was contained within, and could be expressed and described by the digits of Number 10, the Pythagorean decade.
This Decade representing the Universe and its evolution out of Silence and the unknown Depths of the Spiritual Soul, or anima mundi, presented two sides or aspects to the student. It could be, and was at first so used and applied to the Macrocosm, after which it descended to the Microcosm, or Man. There was, then, the purely intellectual and metaphysical, or the “inner Science,” and the as purely materialistic or “surface science,” both of which could be expounded by and contained in the Decade. It could be studied, in short, from the Universals of Plato, and the inductive method of Aristotle. The former started from a divine comprehension, when the plurality proceeded from unity, or the digits of the decade appeared, but to be finally re-absorbed, lost in the infinite Circle. The latter depended on sensuous perception alone, when the Decade could be regarded either as the unity that multiplies, or matter which differentiates, its study being limited to the plane surface; to the Cross, or the Seven which proceeds from the ten — or the perfect number, on Earth as in heaven.
This dual system was brought, together with the Decade, by Pythagoras from India. That it was that of the Brachmans and Iranians, as they are called by the ancient Greek philosophers, is warranted to us by the whole range of Sanskrit literature, such as the Puranas and the laws of Manu. In these “Laws” or “Ordinances of Manu,” it is said that Brahma first creates “the ten lords of Being,” the ten Prajapati or creative Forces; which ten produce “seven” other Manus, or, rather, as some MSS. have it, Munin, instead of Manun = “devotees,” or holy Beings, which are the Seven Angels of the Presence in the
Western religion. This mysterious number Seven, born from the upper triangle , the latter itself born from the apex thereof, or the Silent Depths of the unknown universal soul (Sige and Bythos), is the sevenfold Saptaparna plant, born and manifested on the surface of the soil of mystery, from the threefold root buried deep under that impenetrable soil. This idea is fully elaborated in Vol. I. § “Primordial Substance and Divine Thought,” which the reader has to notice carefully, if he would grasp the metaphysical idea involved in the above symbol. In man as in nature, it is, according to the cis-Himalayan esoteric philosophy (which is that of the original Manu Cosmogony), the septenary division that is intended by Nature herself. The seventh principle (purusha) alone is the divine Self, strictly speaking; for, as said in Manu, “He (Brahma) having pervaded the subtile parts of those six of unmeasured brightness,” created or called them forth to “Self”-consciousness or the consciousness of that One Self (V. 16, ch. i. Manu). Of these six, five elements (or principles, or Tattva, as Medhatithi, the commentator thinks) “are called the atomic destructible elements” (v. 27); they are described in the above-named section.
We have now to speak of the Mystery language, that of the prehistoric races. It is not a phonetic, but a purely pictorial and symbolical tongue. It is known at present in its fulness to the very few, having become with the masses for more than 5,000 years an absolutely dead language. Yet most of the learned Gnostics, Greeks and Jews, knew it, and used it, though very differently. A few instances may be given.
On the plane above, the Number is no Number but a nought — a circle. On the plane below, it becomes one — which is an odd number. Each letter of the ancient alphabets having had its philosophical meaning and raison d’etre, the number I signified with the Alexandrian Initiates a body erect, a living standing man, he being the only animal that has this privilege. And, by adding to the I a head, it was transformed into a P, a symbol of paternity, of the creative potency; while R signified a “moving man,” one on his way. Hence Pater Zeus had nothing sexual or phallic either in its sound or form of letters; nor had [[pater Deus]] (vide Ragon). If we turn now to the Hebrew Alphabet, we shall find that while I or aleph, , has a bull or an Ox for its symbol, 10, the perfect number, or One of the Kabala is a Yodh (y, i, or j); and means, as the first letter of Jehovah, the procreative organ, et seq.
The odd numbers are divine, the even numbers are terrestrial, devilish, and unlucky. The Pythagoreans hated the binary. With them it was the origin of differentiation, hence of contrasts, discord, or matter, the beginning of evil. In the Valentinian theogony, Bythos and Sige (Depth, Chaos, matter born in Silence) are the primordial binary.
With the early Pythagoreans, however, the duad was that imperfect state into which the first manifested being fell when it got detached from the Monad. It was the point from which the two roads — the Good and the Evil — bifurcated. All that which was double-faced or false was called by them “binary.” One was alone Good, and Harmony, because no disharmony can proceed from one alone. Hence the Latin word Solus in relation to one and only God, the Unknown of Paul. Solus, however, very soon became Sol — the Sun.
The ternary is thus the first of the odd numbers, as the triangle is the first of the geometrical figures. This number is truly the number of mystery par excellence. To study it on the exoteric lines one has to read Ragon’s Cours Interpretatif des Initiations; on the esoteric — the Hindu symbolism of numerals; as the combinations which were applied to it are numberless. It is on the occult properties of the three equal lines or sides of the Triangle that Ragon based his studies and founded the famous masonic society of the Trinosophists (those who study three sciences; an improvement upon the ordinary three masonic degrees, given to those who study nothing except eating and drinking at the meetings of their lodges). “The first line of the triangle offered to the apprentice for study,” writes the founder, — “is the mineral kingdom, symbolized by Tubalc . . . (Tubal-cain). The second side on which the ‘companion’ has to meditate, is the vegetable kingdom, symbolized by Schibb (Schibboleth). In this kingdom begins the generation of the bodies. This is why the letter G is presented radiant before the eyes of the adept (? !). The third side is left to the master mason, who has to complete his education by the study of the animal kingdom. It is symbolized by Maoben (Sun of putrefaction)” etc., etc.
The first solid figure is the Quaternary, symbol of immortality. It is the pyramid: for the pyramid stands on a triangular, square, or polygonal base, and terminates with a point at the top, thus yielding the triad and the quaternary or the 3 and 4. It is the Pythagoreans who taught the connection and relation between the gods and the numbers — in a Science called arithmomancy. The Soul is a number, they said, which moves of itself and contains the number 4; and spiritual and physical man is number 3, as the ternary represented for them not only the surface but also the principle of the formation of the physical body. Thus animals were ternaries only, man alone being a septenary, when virtuous; a quinary when bad, for: —
Number 5 was composed of a binary and a ternary, which binary threw everything in the perfect form into disorder and confusion. The
* The reason for it is simple, and was given in “Isis Unveiled.” In geometry, one line fails to represent a perfect body or figure, nor can two lines constitute a demonstratively perfect figure. The triangle alone is the first perfect figure.
perfect man, they said, was a quaternary and a ternary, or four material and three immaterial elements; which three spirits or elements we likewise find in 5, when it represents the microcosm. The latter is a compound of a binary directly relating to gross matter, and of three Spirits: “since 5 is the ingenious union of two Greek accents placed over vowels which have or have not to be aspirated. The first sign is called ‘Strong Spirit’ or superior Spirit, the spirit of God aspired (spiratus) and breathed by man. The second sign the lower, is the Spirit of Love, representing the secondary Spirit; the third embraces the whole man. It is the universal Quintessence, the vital fluid or Life.” (Ragon.)
The more mystic meaning of 5 is given in an excellent article by Mr. Subba Row, in “Five Years of Theosophy” (pp. 110, et seq.) — “The Twelve Signs of the Zodiac,” in which he gives some rules that may help the inquirer to ferret out “the deep significance of ancient Sanskrit nomenclature in the old Aryan myths and allegories.” Meanwhile, let us see what has been hitherto stated about the constellation Capricornus in theosophical publications, and what is known of it generally. Every one knows that is the tenth sign of the Zodiac into which the Sun enters at the winter solstice, about December 21st. But very few are those who know — even in India, unless they are initiated — the real mystic connection which seems to exist, as we are told, between the names Makara and Kumara. The first means some amphibious animal called flippantly ‘crocodile,’ as some Orientalists think, and the second is the title of the great patrons of Yogins (See “Saiva Puranas,”) the Sons of, and even one with, Rudra (Siva); a Kumara himself. It is through their connection with Man that the Kumaras are likewise connected with the Zodiac. Let us try to find out what the word Makara means.
The word Makara, says the author of “The Twelve Signs of the Zodiac,” “contains within itself the clue to its correct interpretation. The letter Ma is equivalent to No. 5, and Kara means hand. Now in Sanskrit Thribhujam means a triangle, bhujam or Karam (both synonyms) being understood to mean a side. So Makaram or Panchakaram means a Pentagon” — the five-pointed star or pentagon representing the five limbs of man.* Under the old system, we are told, Makara was the eighth instead of the tenth sign.† It is “intended to represent the faces of the Universe, and indicates that the Universe is bounded by Pentagons,” as the Sanskrit writers “speak also of
* What is the meaning and the reason of this figure? Because, Manas is the fifth principle, and because the pentagon is the symbol of Man — not only of the five-limbed, but rather of the thinking, conscious man.
† The reason for it becomes apparent when Egyptian symbology is studied. See further on.
Ashtadisa or eight faces bounding Space,” referring thus to the loka-palas, the eight points of the compass (the four cardinal and the four intermediate points) . . . “From an objective point of view the Microcosm is represented by the human body. Makaram may be taken to represent simultaneously both the microcosm and the macrocosm, as external objects of perception.” (pp. 113, 115).
But the true esoteric sense of the word “Makara,” does not mean “crocodile,” in truth, at all, even when it is compared with the animal depicted on the Hindu Zodiac. For it has the head and the fore-legs of an antelope and the body and tail of a fish. Hence the tenth sign of the Zodiac has been taken variously to mean a shark, a dolphin, etc.; as it is the vahan of Varuna, the Ocean God, and is often called, for this reason, Jala-rupa or “water-form.” The dolphin was the vehicle of Poseidon-Neptune with the Greeks, and one with him, esoterically; and this “dolphin” is the “sea-dragon” as much as the Crocodile of the Sacred Nile is the vehicle of Horus, and Horus himself. “I am the fish and seat of the great Horus of Kem-our,” says the mummy-form God with the crocodile’s head (ch. lxxxviii., 2, “Book of the Dead”). With the Peratae Gnostics it is Chozzar (Neptune), who converts into a sphere the dodecagonal pyramid, “and paints its gate with many colours.” He has five androgyne ministers — he is Makara, the Leviathan.
The rising Sun being considered the Soul of the Gods sent to manifest itself to men every day, and the crocodile rising out of the water at the first sunbeam, that animal came finally to personify a Solar-fire devotee in India, as it personified that fire, or the highest soul with the Egyptians.
In the Puranas, the number of the Kumaras changes according to the exigencies of the allegory. For occult purposes their number is given in one place as seven, then as four, then as five. In the Kurma Purana it is said of them: “These five (Kumara), O Brahman, were Yogins who acquired entire exemption from passion.” Their very name shows their connection with the said constellation — the Makara, and with some other Puranic characters connected with the Zodiacal signs. This is done in order to veil what was one of the most suggestive glyphs of the primitive Temples. They are mixed up astronomically, physiologically, and mystically, in general, with a number of Puranic personages and events. Hardly hinted at in the “Vishnu,” they figure in various dramas and events throughout all the other Puranas and sacred literature; so that the Orientalists, having to pick up the threads of connection hither and thither, have ended by proclaiming the Kumaras “due chiefly to the fancy of the Puranic writers.” But —
Ma, — we are told by the author of the “Twelve Signs of the Zodiac” — is Five; kara, a hand with its five fingers, as also a five-sided sign or
a pentagon. The Kumara (in this case an anagram for occult purposes) are five in esotericism, as Yogis — because the last two names have ever been kept secret; they are the fifth order of Brahmadevas, and the fivefold Chohans, having the soul of the five elements in them, Water and Ether predominating, and therefore their symbols were both aquatic and fiery. “Wisdom lies concealed under the couch of him who rests on the golden lotos (padma) floating on the water.” In India it is Vishnu (one of whose avatars was Budha, as claimed in days of old). The Prachetasas, the worshippers of Narayana (who, like Poseidon moved or dwelt over not under the waters), plunged into the depths of the ocean for their devotions and remained therein 10,000 years; and the Prachetasas are ten exoterically, but five, esoterically. “Prachetas” is in Sanskrit, the name of Varuna, the water god, Nereus, an aspect of the same as Neptune, the Prachetasas being thus identical with the “five ministers” of [[CHOZZAR]] (Poseidon) of the Peratae Gnostics. These are respectively called [[AOT, AOAI, OTO, OTOB]], “the fifth, a triple name (making Seven) being lost”* — i.e., kept secret. This much for the “aquatic” symbol; the “fiery” connecting them with the fiery symbol — spiritually. For purposes of identity, let us remember that as the mother of the Prachetasas was Savarna, the daughter of the Ocean, so was Amphitrite the mother of Neptune’s mystic “ministers.”
Now the reader is reminded that these “five ministers” are symbolized both in the Dolphin, who had overcome the chaste Amphitrite’s unwillingness to wed Poseidon, and in Triton their son. The latter, whose body above the waist is that of a man and below a dolphin, a fish, is, again, most mysteriously connected with Oannes, the Babylonian Dag, and further also with the (fish) Avatar of Vishnu, Matsya, both teaching mortals Wisdom. The Dolphin, as every mythologist knows, was placed for his service by Poseidon among the constellations, and became with the Greeks, Capricornus, the goat, whose hind part is that of a dolphin, thus shown identical with Makara, whose head is also that of an antelope and the body and tail those of a fish. This is why the sign of the Makara was borne on the banner of Kama deva, the Hindu god of love, identified, in Atharva Veda, with Agni (the fire-god), the son of Lakshmi, as correctly given by Harivansa. For Lakshmi and Venus are one, and Amphitrite is the early form of Venus. Now Kama (the Makara-ketu) is “Aja” (the unborn), and “Atma-bhu” (the self-existent), and Aja is the Logos in the Rig-Veda, as he is shown therein to be the first manifestation of the One: “Desire first arose in It, which was the primal
* So is Brahma’s fifth head, said to be lost, burnt to ashes by Siva’s “central eye”; Siva being also panchanana “five faced.” Thus the number is preserved and secresy maintained on the true esoteric meaning.
germ of mind,” that “which connects entity with non-entity” (or Manas, the fifth, with Atma, the seventh, esoterically) say the Sages. This is the first stage. The second, on the following plane of manifestation, shows Brahma (whom we select as a representative for all the other first gods of the nations) as causing to issue from his body his mind-born sons, “Sanandana and others,” who, in the fifth “creation,” and again in the ninth (for purposes of blind) become the Kumara. Let us close by reminding the reader that goats were sacrificed to Amphitrite and the Nereids on the sea-shore, as goats are sacrificed to this day to Durga Kali, who is only the black side of Lakshmi (Venus), the white side of Sakti; and by suggesting what connection these animals may have with Capricornus, in which appear twenty-eight stars in the form of a goat, which goat was transformed by the Greeks into Amalthaea — Jupiter’s foster-mother. Pan, the god of Nature, had goat’s feet, and changed himself into a goat at the approach of Typhon. But this is a mystery which the writer dares not dwell upon at length, not being sure of being understood. Thus the mystical side of the interpretation must be left to the intuition of the student. Let us note one more thing in relation to the mysterious number five. It symbolizes at one and the same time the Spirit of life eternal and the Spirit of life and love terrestrial — in the human compound; and, it includes divine and infernal magic, and the universal and the individual quintessence of being. Thus, the five mystic words or vowels (vide infra) uttered by Brahma at “creation,” which forthwith became the Panchadasa (certain Vedic hymns, attributed to that God) are in their creative and magical potentiality, the white side of the black Tantrik five “makaras,” or the five m’s. “Makara,” the constellation, is a seemingly meaningless and absurd name. Yet, even besides its anagrammatical significance in conjunction with the term “Kumara,” the numerical value of its first syllable and its esoteric resolution into five has a very great and occult meaning in the mysteries of nature.
Suffice it to say, that as the sign of Makara is connected with the birth of the spiritual “microcosm,” and the death or dissolution of the physical Universe (its passage into the realm of the Spiritual)*; so the Dhyan Chohans, called in India Kumara, are connected with both. Moreover, in the exoteric religions, they have become the synonyms of the Angels of Darkness. Mara is the God of Darkness, the Fallen One, and Death†; and yet it is one of the names of Kama, the first god in the Vedas, the Logos, from whom have sprung the Kumaras, and this
* “When the Sun passes away behind the 30th degree of Makara and will reach no more the sign of the Meenam (pisces) then the night of Brahma has come.” . . .
† Death of every physical thing truly; but Mara is also the unconscious quickener of the birth of the Spiritual.
connects them still more with our “fabulous” Indian Makara, and the crocodile-headed God in Egypt.* The crocodiles in the Celestial Nile are Five, and the God Toum, the primordial deity creating the heavenly bodies and the living beings, calls forth these crocodiles in his fifth creation. When Osiris, “the defunct Sun,” is buried and enters into Amenti, the sacred crocodiles plunge into the abyss of primordial Waters — “the great Green One.” When the Sun of life rises, they re-emerge out of the sacred river. All this is highly symbolical, and shows how primeval esoteric truths found their expression in identical symbols. But, as Mr. T. Subba Row truly declares, “The veil, that was dexterously thrown over certain portions of the mystery connected with the (Zodiacal) signs by the ancient philosophers, will never be fully lifted up for the amusement or edification of the uninitiated public.”
Nor was number five less sacred with the Greeks. The five words (Panchadasa) of Brahma have become with the Gnostics the “Five Words” written upon the akasic (shining) garment of Jesus at his glorification: the words [[ZAMA ZAMA OZZA PAXAMA, OZAI]], translated by the Orientalists “the robe, the glorious robe of my strength.” These words were, in their turn, the anagrammatic blind of the five mystic powers represented on the robe of the “resurrected” Initiate after his last trial of three days’ trance; the five becoming seven only after his death, when the Adept became the full Christos, the full Krishna-Vishnu, i.e., merged in Nirvana. The E Delphicum, a sacred symbol, was the numeral five, again; and how sacred it was is shown by the fact that the Corinthians (according to Plutarch) replaced the wooden numeral in the Delphic Temple by a bronze one; and this one was transmuted by Livia Augusta into a fac-simile of gold.
It is easy to recognize in the two spirits — the Greek accents or signs () spoken of by Ragon (vide supra) — Atma and Buddhi, or “divine spirit and its vehicle” (spiritual soul).
The six or the “Senary” is dealt with later, while the Septenary will be fully treated in the course of this volume. (Vide the “Mysteries of the Hebdomad.”)
The Ogdoad or 8 symbolizes the eternal and spiral motion of cycles, the 8, , and is symbolized in its turn by the Caduceus. It shows the regular breathing of the Kosmos presided over by the eight great gods — the seven from the primeval Mother, the One and the Triad.
Then comes the number nine or the triple ternary. It is the number which reproduces itself incessantly under all shapes and figures in
* Osiris is called in the “Book of the Dead” “Osiris, the double Crocodile.” (See Chapter “On the Names of Osiris,” cxlii.) “He is the good and the bad Principle; the Day, and the Night Sun, the God, and the mortal man.” Thus far the Macrocosm and the Microcosm.
every multiplication. It is the sign of every circumference, since its value in degrees is equal to 9, i.e., to 3 + 6 + 0. It is a bad number under certain conditions, and very unlucky. If number 6 was the symbol of our globe ready to be animated by a divine spirit, 9 symbolized our earth informed by a bad or evil spirit.
Ten, or the Decade, brings all these digits back to unity, and ends the Pythagorean table. Hence this figure — , unity within zero — was the symbol of Deity, of the Universe, and of man. Such is the secret meaning of “the strong grip of the Lion’s paw, of the tribe of Judah” between two hands (the “master mason’s grip”), the joint number of whose fingers is ten.
If we now give our attention to the Egyptian cross, or the Tau, we may discover this letter, so exalted by Egyptians, Greeks, and Jews, to be mysteriously connected with the Decade. The tau is the Alpha and the Omega of secret divine Wisdom, which is symbolized by the initial and the final letter of Thot (Hermes). Thot was the inventor of the Egyptian alphabet, and the letter tau closed the alphabets of the Jews and the Samaritans, who called this character the “end” or “perfection,” “culmination” and “security.” Thence — Ragon tells us — the words terminus (end), and tectum (roof), are symbols of shelter and security, which is rather a prosaic definition. But such is the usual destiny of ideas and things in this world of spiritual decadence, if also of physical progress. Pan was at one time absolute nature, the one and Great-all; but when history catches a first glimpse of him, Pan has already tumbled down into a godling of the fields, a rural god; and history will not recognize him, while theology makes of him the devil. Yet his seven-piped flute, the emblem of the seven forces of nature, of the seven planets, the seven musical notes, of all the septenary harmony, in short, shows well his primordial character. So with the Cross. Far earlier than the Jews had devised their golden candlestick of the temple with three sockets on one side and four on the other, and made of number 7 a feminine number of generation,* thus introducing
* Reflecting on the Cross, the author of the “Source of Measures” shows that this candlestick in the temple “was so composed that counting on either side there were four candle-sockets; while at the apex, there being one in common to both sides, there were in fact three to be counted on the one side and four on the other, making in all number 7 upon the self-same idea of one in common with the cross display. Take a line of one unit in breadth by three units long, and place it on an incline; take another of four units long, and lean it upon this one, from an opposite incline, making the top unit of the four in length the corner or apex of a triangle. This is the display of the candlestick. Now take away the line of three units in length and cross it on the one of four units in length, and the cross form results. The same idea is conveyed in the six days of the week in Genesis, crowned by the seventh, which was used by itself as a base of circular measure” (p. 51).
the phallic element into religion, the more spiritually-minded nations had made of the cross (as 3, 4 = 7), their most sacred divine symbol. In fact, Circle, Cross, and Seven — the latter being made a base of circular measurement — are the first primordial symbols. Pythagoras, who brought his wisdom from India, left to posterity a glimpse into this truth. His school regarded number 7 as a compound of numbers 3 and 4, which they explained in a dual manner. On the plane of the noumenal world, the triangle was, as the first conception of the manifested Deity, its image: “Father-Mother-Son”; and the Quaternary, the perfect number, was the noumenal, ideal root of all numbers and things on the physical plane. Some students, in view of the sacredness of Tetraktis and the Tetragrammaton, mistake the mystic meaning of the Quaternary. The latter was with the ancients only a secondary “perfection,” so to speak, because it related only to the manifested planes. Whereas it is the Triangle, the Greek delta, , which was the “vehicle of the unknown Deity.” A good proof of it lies with the name of the Deity beginning with Delta. Zeus was written [[Deus]] by the Boeotians,* thence the Deus of the Latins. This, in relation to the metaphysical conception, with regard to the meaning of the Septenary in the phenomenal world, but for purposes of profane or exoteric interpretation, the symbolism changed. Three became the ideograph of the three material elements — air, water, earth; and four became the principle of all that which is neither corporeal nor perceptible. But this has never been accepted by the real Pythagoreans. Viewed as a compound of 6 and 1, the senary and the unity, number seven was the invisible centre, the spirit of everything (see further the explanation of 6), as there exists no body with six lines constituting its form without a seventh being found as the central point in it (see crystals and snow-flakes in so-called inanimate nature). Moreover, number seven, they said, has all the perfection of the Unit — the number of numbers. For as absolute unity is uncreated, and impartite (hence number-less) and no number can produce it, so is the seven: no digit contained within the decade can beget or produce it. And it is 4, which affords an arithmetical division between unity and seven, as it surpasses the former by the same number (three), as it is itself surpassed by the seven, since four is by as many numbers above one, as seven is above four. (From a MS. supposed to be by “St. Germain.”)
“With the Egyptians number 7 was the symbol of life eternal,” says Ragon, and adds that this is why the Greek letter Z, which is but a double 7 is the initial letter of Zao, “I live,” and of Zeus, “the father of all living.”
* See Liddell’s Greek-English Lexicon.
Moreover, figure 6 was the symbol of the Earth during the autumn and winter “sleeping” months, and figure 7 during spring and summer, — as the Spirit of life animated her at that time — the seventh or central informing Force. We find the same in the Egyptian mythos and symbol of Osiris and Isis, personifying Fire and Water metaphysically, and the Sun and the Nile physically. The number of the Solar year, 365 in days, is the numerical value of the word Neilos (Nile). This, together with the Bull, with the Crescent and the ansated cross between its horns, and the Earth under its astronomical symbol — — are the most phallic symbols of later antiquity.
“The Nile was the river of time with the number of a year, or year and a day (364 + 1 = 365). It represented the parturient water of Isis, or Mother Earth, the moon, the woman, and the cow, also the workshop of Osiris, representing the T’sod Olaum of the Hebrews. The ancient name of this river was Eridanus, or the Hebrew Iardan, with the Coptic or old Greek suffix. This was the door of the Hebrew word Jared, or ‘Source,’ or Descent . . . of the river Jordan, which had the same mythical use with the Hebrews that the Nile had with the Egyptians,* it was the source of descent, and held the waters of life” (Unpub. MS.) It was, to put it plainly, the symbol of the personified Earth, or Isis, regarded as the womb of that Earth. This is shown clearly enough; and Jordan — the river so sacred now to Christians — held no more sublime or poetical meaning in it than the parturient waters of the moon (Isis, or Jehovah in his female aspect). Now, as shown by the same scholar, Osiris was the sun, and the river Nile, and the tropical year of 365 days; while Isis was the moon, the bed of that river, or the mother earth “for the parturient energies, of which water was a necessity,” as also the lunar year of 354 days, “the time-maker of the periods of gestation.” All this then is sexual and phallic, and our modern scholars seem to find in these symbols nothing beyond a physiological or phallic meaning. Nevertheless, the three figures 365, or the number of days in a solar year, have but to be read with the Pythagorean Key to find in them a highly philosophical and moral meaning. One instance will be sufficient. It can read: —
The Earth — animated by — the Spirit of Life.
...... 3. .................. 6. ........................ 5.
Simply because 3 is equivalent to the Greek gamma, or [[G]], which letter is the symbol of gaia (the Earth); while the figure 6 is the symbol of the animating or informing principle, and the 5 is the universal quintessence which spreads in every direction and forms all matter. (St. Germain’s MS.)
* It had no such meaning in the beginnings; nor during the earlier dynasties.
The few instances and examples brought forward reveal only one small portion of the methods used to read the symbolical ideographs and numerals of antiquity. The system being of an extreme and complex difficulty, very few, even among the Initiates, could master all the seven keys. Is it to be wondered, then, that the metaphysical gradually dwindled down into the physical nature; that the Sun, once upon a time the symbol of Deity, became, as aeons glided by, that of its creative ardour only; and that thence it fell into a glyph of phallic significance? But surely, it is not those whose method was (like Plato’s) to proceed from the universals down to the particulars, who could ever have begun by symbolizing their religions by sexual emblems! It is quite true, though uttered by that incarnated paradox, Eliphas Levi, that “man is God on Earth, and God is man in Heaven.” But this could not, and never did apply to the One Deity, only to the Hosts of Its incarnated beams, called by us Dhyan Chohans, by the ancients, Gods; and now transformed by the Church into devils on the left, and into the Saviour on the right side!
But all such dogma grew out of the one root, the root of wisdom, which grows and thrives on the Indian soil. There is not an Archangel that could not be traced back to its prototype in the sacred land of Aryavarta. These “prototypes” are all connected with the Kumaras who appear on the scene of action by refusing — as Sanatkumara and Sananda — to “create progeny.” Yet they are called the “creators” of (thinking) man. More than once they are brought into connection with Narada — another bundle of apparent incongruities, yet a wealth of philosophical tenets. Narada is the leader of the Gandharvas, the celestial singers and musicians; esoterically, the reason for it is explained by the fact that the latter (the Gandharvas) are “the instructors of men in the secret sciences.” It is they, who “loving the women of the Earth,” disclosed to them the mysteries of creation; or, as in the Veda — the “heavenly Gandharva” is a deity who knew and revealed the secrets of heaven and divine truths, in general. If we remember what is said of this class of Angels in Enoch and in the Bible, then the allegory is plain: their leader, Narada, while refusing to procreate, leads men to become gods. Moreover, all of these, as stated in the Vedas, are Chhandaja (will-born) or incarnated (in different Manvantaras) of their own will; — and they are shown in exoteric literature as existing age after age; some being “cursed to be re-born,” others, incarnating as a duty. Finally, as the Sanakadikas, the seven Kumaras who went to visit Vishnu on the “White Island” (Sveta-dwipa) the island inhabited by the Maha Yogins — they are connected with Sakadwipa and the Lemurians and Atlanteans of the Third and Fourth Races.
In Esoteric Philosophy, the Rudras (Kumaras, Adityas, Gandharvas, Asuras, etc.) are the highest Dhyan Chohans or Devas as regards intellectuality. They are those who, owing to their having acquired by self-development the five-fold nature — hence the sacredness of number five — became independent of the pure Arupa devas. This is a mystery very difficult to realize and understand correctly. For, we see that those who were “obedient to law” are, equally with the rebels, doomed to be reborn in every age. Narada, the Rishi, is cursed by Brahma to incessant peripateticism on Earth, i.e., to be constantly reborn. He is a rebel against Brahma, and yet has no worse fate than the Jayas — the twelve great creative gods produced by Brahma as his assistants in the functions of creation. For the latter, lost in meditation, only forgot to create; and for this, they are equally cursed by Brahma to be born in every manvantara. And still they are termed — together with the rebels — Chhandajas, or those born of their own will in human form!
All this is very puzzling to one who is unable to read and understand the Puranas except in their dead letter sense.* Hence we find the Orientalists refusing to be puzzled, and cutting the Gordian knot of perplexity by declaring the whole scheme “figments” “of Brahminical fancy and love of exaggeration.” But to the student of occultism, the whole is pregnant with deeply philosophical meaning. We willingly leave the rind to the Western Sanskritist, but claim the essence of the fruit for ourselves. We do more: we concede that in one sense much in these so-called “fables” refers to astronomical allegories about constellations, asterisms, stars, and planets. Yet, while the Gandharva of the Rig-Veda may there be made to personify the fire of the Sun, the Gandharva devas are entities both of a physical and psychic character; while the Apsarasas (with other Rudras) are both qualities and quantities. In short, if ever unravelled, the theogony of the Vedic Gods will reveal fathomless mysteries of Creation and being. Truly says Parasara: “These thirty-three divinities exist age after age, and their appearance and disappearance is in the same manner as the sun sets and rises again.” (Book I., xv.)
There was a time, when the Eastern symbol of the Cross and Circle, the Swastica, was universally adopted. With the esoteric (and, for the matter of that, exoteric) Buddhist, the Chinaman and the Mongolian, it means “the 10,000 truths.” These truths, they say, belong to the
* Yet this sense, if once mastered, will turn out to be the secure casket which holds the keys to the Secret Wisdom. True, a casket so profusely ornamented that its fancy work hides and conceals entirely any spring for opening it, and thus makes the unintuitional believe it has not, and cannot have, any opening in it. Still the Keys are there, deeply buried, yet ever present to him who searches for them.
mysteries of the unseen Universe and primordial Cosmogony and Theogony. “Since Fohat crossed the Circle like two lines of flame (horizontally and vertically), the hosts of the Blessed Ones have never failed to send their representatives upon the planets they are made to watch over from the beginning.” This is why the Swastica is always placed — as the ansated Cross was in Egypt — on the breasts of the defunct mystics. It is found on the heart of the images and statues of Buddha, in Tibet and Mongolia. It is the seal placed also on the hearts of the living Initiates, burnt into the flesh, for ever, with some. This, because they have to keep those truths inviolate and intact, in eternal silence and secrecy to the day these are perceived and read by their chosen successors — new Initiates — “worthy of being entrusted with the ten thousand perfections.” So degraded, however, has it now become, that it is often placed on the headgear of the “gods,” the hideous idols of the sacrilegious Bhons, the Dugpas (Sorcerers) of the Tibetan borderlands; until found out by a Galukpa and torn off together with the head of the “god;” though it would be better were it that of the worshipper which was severed from the sinful body. Still, it can never lose its mysterious properties. Throw a retrospective glance, and see it used alike by the Initiates and Seers, as by the priests of Troy (found by Schliemann on the site of that old city). One finds it with the old Peruvians, the Assyrians, Chaldeans, as well as on the walls of the old-world cyclopean buildings; in the catacombs of the New world, and in those of the Old (?), at Rome, where, because the first Christians are supposed to have concealed themselves and their religion, it is called Crux Dissimulata.
“According to de Rossi, the Swastica from an early period was a favourite form of the cross employed with an occult signification, which shows the secret was not that of the Christian cross. One Swastica cross in the catacombs is the sign of an inscription which reads ‘[[ZOTIKO ZOTIKE]],’ ‘Vitalis Vitalia,’ or ‘life of life.’ ”*
But the best evidence to the antiquity of the cross is that which is brought forward by the author of Natural Genesis on page 433.
“The value of the cross,” says Mr. Massey, “as a Christian symbol, is supposed to date from the time when Jesus Christ was crucified. And yet in the ‘Christian’ Iconography of the Catacombs no figure of a man appears upon the Cross during the first six or seven centuries. There are all forms of the cross except that — the alleged starting-point of the new religion. That was not the initial but the final form of the Crucifix.† During some six
* Quoted in “The Natural Genesis” (p. 427, Vol. I.).
† With the Christians, most undeniably. With the pre-Christian symbologists it was, as said, the Bed or Couch of Torture during the Initiation Mystery, the “Crucifix” being placed horizontally, on the ground, and not erect, as at the time when it became the Roman gallows.
centuries after the Christian era the foundation of the Christian religion in a crucified Redeemer is entirely absent from Christian art! The earliest known form of the human figure on the cross is the crucifix presented by Pope Gregory the Great to Queen Theodolinde of Lombardy, now in the Church of St. John at Monza, whilst no image of the Crucified is found in the Catacombs at Rome earlier than that of San Giulio, belonging to the seventh or eighth century. . . . There is no Christ and no Crucified; the Cross is the Christ even as the Stauros cross was a type and a name of Horus, the Gnostic Christ. The Cross, not the Crucified, is the essential object of representation in its art, and of adoration in its religion. The germ of the whole growth and development can be traced to the cross. And that cross is pre-Christian, is pagan and heathen, in half a dozen different shapes. The cult began with the cross, and Julian was right in saying he waged a ‘Warfare with the X’; which he obviously considered had been adopted by the A-Gnostics and Mytholators to convey an impossible significance.* During centuries the cross stood for the Christ, and was addressed as if it were a living being. It was made divine at first, and humanized at last.”
Few world-symbols are more pregnant with real occult meaning than the Swastica. It is symbolized by the figure 6; for, like that figure, it points in its concrete imagery, as the ideograph of the number does, to the Zenith and the Nadir, to North, South, West, and East; one finds the unit everywhere, and that unit reflected in all and every unit. It is the emblem of the activity of Fohat, of the continual revolution of the “wheels,” and of the Four Elements, the “Sacred Four,” in their mystical, and not alone in their cosmical meaning; further, its four arms, bent at right angles, are intimately related, as shown elsewhere, to the Pythagorean and Hermetic scales. One initiated into the mysteries of the meaning of the Swastica, say the Commentaries, “can trace on it, with mathematical precision, the evolution of Kosmos and the whole period of Sandhya.” Also “the relation of the Seen to the Unseen,” and “the first procreation of man and species.”
To the Eastern Occultist the Tree of Knowledge in the Paradise of man’s own heart, becomes the Tree of Life eternal, and has nought to do with man’s animal senses. It is an absolute mystery that reveals itself only through the efforts of the imprisoned Manas and the Ego to liberate themselves from the thraldom of sensuous perception and see, in the light of the one eternal present Reality. To the Western Kabalist, and now far more to the superficial Symbologist, nursed in the lethal atmosphere of materialistic science, there is but one chief explanation of the mysteries of the Cross — its sexual element. Even the otherwise spiritualistic modern commentator discerns in the Cross and Swastica, this feature before all others.
* So it was, and could not be otherwise. Julian (the Emperor) was an Initiate, and as such knew well the “mystery-meaning,” both metaphysical and physical.
“The cross was used in Egypt as a protecting talisman and a symbol of saving power. Typhon, or Satan, is actually found chained and bound to the cross. In the Ritual, the Osirian cries, ‘The Apophis is overthrown, their cords bind the South, North, East, and West, their cords are on him. Har-ru-bah has knotted him.’* These were the cords of the four Quarters, or the cross. Thor is said to smite the head of the Serpent with his hammer . . . a form of Swastica or four-footed Cross. . . . In the primitive sepulchres of Egypt the model of the Chamber had the form of a Cross.† The pagoda of Mathura . . . the birth-place of Krishna, was built in the form of a Cross . . . . ‡
This is perfect and no one can discern in this “sexual worship,” with which the Orientalists love to break the head of Paganism. But how about the Jews, and the exoteric religions of some Hindu sects, especially the rites of the Vallabacharyas? For, as said, the Lingham and Yoni of Siva-worship stand too high philosophically, its modern degeneration notwithstanding, to be called a simple phallic worship. But the tree or Cross-worship§ of the Jews, as denounced by their own Prophets, can hardly escape the charge. The “Sons of Sorcerers,” “the seed of the adulterer,” as Isaiah calls them (lvii.), never lost an opportunity of “enflaming themselves with idols under every green tree,” which denotes no metaphysical recreation. It is from these monotheistic Jews that the Christian nations have derived their religion, their “God of gods, the One living God,” while despising and deriding the worship of the Deity of the ancient philosophers. Let such believe in and worship the physical form of the Cross, by all means.
But to the follower of the true Eastern archaic Wisdom, to him who worships in spirit nought outside the Absolute Unity, that ever-pulsating great Heart that beats throughout, as in every atom of nature, each such atom contains the germ from which he may raise the Tree of Knowledge, whose fruits give life eternal and not physical life alone. For him the Cross and Circle, the Tree or the Tau, are, after every symbol relating to these has been applied to, and read one after another, still a profound mystery in their Past, and it is to that Past alone that he directs his eager gaze. He cares little whether it be the seed from
* Apophis or Apap is the Serpent of evil, symbol of human passions. The Sun (Osiris-Horus), destroys him, when Apap is thrown down, bound and chained. The god Aker, “the chief of the gate of the Abyss,” of Aker, the realm of the Sun (xv. 39) binds him. Apophis is the enemy of Ra (light), but the “great Apap has fallen!” exclaims the defunct. “The Scorpion has hurt thy mouth,” he says to the conquered enemy (xxxix. v. 7). The Scorpion is the “worm that never dies” of the Christians. Apophis is bound on the Tau or Tat, “the emblem of stability.” (See the erection of Tat in Tatoo, Ritual xviii.).
† So have the crypts in cis-Himalayan regions where Initiates live, and where their ashes are placed for seven lunar years.
‡ The Natural Genesis, Vol. I. p. 432.
§ The Cross and the Tree are identical and synonymous in symbolism.
which grows the genealogical Tree of Being, called the Universe. Nor is it the Three in One, the triple aspect of the seed — its form, colour, and substance — that interest him, but rather the Force which directs its growth, the ever mysterious, as the ever unknown. For this vital Force, that makes the seed germinate, burst open and throw out shoots, then form the trunk and branches, which, in their turn, bend down like the boughs of the Aswattha, the holy Tree of Bodhi, throw their seed out, take root and procreate other trees — this is the only Force that has reality for him, as it is the never-dying breath of life. The pagan philosopher sought for the Cause, the modern is content with only the effects and seeks the former in the latter. What is beyond, he does not know, nor does the modern A-gnostic care: thus rejecting the only knowledge upon which he can with full security base his Science. Yet this manifested Force has an answer for him who seeks to fathom it. He who sees in the cross, the decussated circle of Plato, the Pagan, not the antitype of circumcision, as Christian (St.) Augustine did,* is forthwith regarded by the Church as a heathen: by Science, as a lunatic. This because, while refusing to worship the god of physical generation, he confesses that he can know nothing of the Cause which underlies the so-called First Cause, the causeless Cause of this Vital Cause. Tacitly admitting the All-Presence of the boundless Circle and making of it the universal Postulate upon which the whole of the manifested universe is based, the Sage keeps a reverential silence concerning that upon which no mortal men should dare to speculate. “The Logos of God is the revealer of man, and the logos (the verb) of man is the revealer of God,” says Eliphas Levi in one of his paradoxes. To this, the Eastern Occultist would reply: — “On this condition, however, that man should be dumb on the cause that produced both God and its logos. Otherwise, he becomes invariably the reviler, not the ‘revealer,’ of the incognizable Deity.”
We have now to approach a mystery — the Hebdomad in nature. Perchance, all that we may say, will be attributed to coincidence. We may be told that this number in nature is quite natural (so we say too), and has no more significance than the illusion of motion which forms the so-called “Strobic circles.” No great importance was given to these “singular illusions” when Professor Sylvanus Thompson exhibited them at the meeting of the British Association in 1877. Nevertheless we should like to learn the scientific explanation why seven should ever form itself as a pre-eminent number — six concentric circles around a seventh, and seven rings within one another round a central point, etc., etc. — in this illusion, produced by a swaying saucer, or any other vessel. We give the solution refused by science in the section which follows.
* Sermon the 160th.