Esoteric Wisdom in the Bible (1)
Nevertheless, however disfigured for Rabbinical purposes is the original Elohistic version by Ezra, however repulsive at times even the esoteric meaning in the Hebrew scrolls, which is far more so than its outward veil or cloaking may be — once the Jehovistic portions are eliminated, the Mosaic Books are found full of purely occult and priceless knowledge, especially in the first six chapters.
Read by the aid of the Kabala one finds a matchless temple of occult truths, a well of deeply concealed beauty hidden under a structure, the visible architecture of which, its apparent symmetry notwithstanding, is unable to stand the criticism of cold reason, or to reveal its age, for it belongs to all the ages. There is more wisdom concealed under the exoteric fables of Puranas and Bible than in all the exoteric facts and science in the literature of the world, and more OCCULT true Science, than there is of exact knowledge in all the academies. Or, in plainer and stronger language, there is as much esoteric wisdom in some portions of the exoteric Puranas and Pentateuch, as there is of nonsense and of designed childish fancy in it, when read only in the dead-letter murderous interpretations of great dogmatic religions, and especially of sects.
Let anyone read the first verses of chapter i of Genesis and reflect upon them. There "God" commands to another "god", who does his bidding — even in the cautious English Protestant translation of James the First's authorised edition. — The Secret Doctrine, I, 335-6
The "fall of man" was no fall, for he was irresponsible. But "Creation" having been invented on the dualistic system as the "prerogative of God alone," the legitimate attribute patented by theology in the name of an infinite deity of their own making, this power had to be regarded as "Satanic," and as an usurpation of divine rights. Thus, the foregoing, in the light of such narrow views, must naturally be considered as a terrible slander on man, "created in the image of God," a still more dreadful blasphemy in the face of the dead-letter dogma. . . . The esoteric interpretation of the Bible, however, sufficiently refutes this slanderous invention of theology; . . .
The old doctrine about the true meaning of the "Fallen Angels", in its anthropological and evolutionary sense, is contained in the Kabala, and explains the Bible. It is found pre-eminent in Genesis when the latter is read in a spirit of research for truth, with no eye to dogma, and in no mood of preconception. . . . But what is, in reality, the "Book of Enoch" itself, from which the author of Revelation and even the St. John of the Fourth Gospel have so profusely quoted? (e. g., verse 8 in chapter 10, about all who have come before Jesus, being "thieves and robbers.") Simply a Book of Initiation, giving out in allegory and cautious phraseology the programme of certain archaic mysteries performed in the inner temples. . . .
The "Serpent" fallen from on high, "deorsum fluens," was credited with the possession of the Keys of the Empire of the Dead, to that day, when Jesus saw it "falling like lightning from heaven" (Luke x. 17, 18), the Roman Catholic interpretation of cadebat ut fulgur to the contrary, notwithstanding; and it means indeed that even "the devils are subject" to the Logos — who is WISDOM, but who, as the opponent of ignorance, is Satan or Lucifer at the same time. This remark refers to divine Wisdom falling like lightning on, and quickening the intellects of those who fight the devils of ignorance and superstition. Up to the time when Wisdom, in the shape of the incarnating Spirits of MAHAT, descended from on high to animate and call the Third Race to real conscious life, humanity — if it can be so called in its animal, senseless state — was of course doomed to moral as well as to physical death. The Angels fallen into generation are referred to metaphorically as Serpents and Dragons of Wisdom. On the other hand, regarded in the light of the LOGOS, the Christian Saviour, like Krishna, whether as man or logos, may be said to have saved those who believed in the secret teachings from "eternal death," to have conquered the Kingdom of Darkness, or Hell, as every Initiate does. This in the human, terrestrial form of the Initiates, and also because the logos is Christos, that principle of our inner nature which develops in us into the Spiritual Ego — the Higher-Self — being formed of the indissoluble union of Buddhi (the sixth) and the spiritual efflorescence of Manas, the fifth principle. — Op. cit., II, 228-31
. . . Thus the remark made by the great Initiate [in Luke, x, 18] — one that referred allegorically to the ray of Enlightenment and reason, falling like lightning from on high into the hearts and minds of the converts to that old wisdom-religion then presented in a new form by the wise Galilean Adept (2) — was distorted out of recognition (as was his own personality), and made to fit in with one of the most cruel as the most pernicious of all theological dogmas. — Op. cit., II, 231
The Book of Enoch, in short, is a resume, a compound of the main features of the History of the Third, Fourth and Fifth Races; a very few prophecies from the present age of the world; a long
retrospective, introspective and prophetic summary of universal and quite historical events — geological, ethnological, astronomical, and psychic — with a touch of theogony out of the antediluvian records. The Book of this mysterious personage is referred to and quoted copiously in the Pistis Sophia, and also in the Zohar and its most ancient Midrashim. Origen and Clement of Alexandria held it in the highest esteem. . . . From the XVIIIth to the Lth chapter, the Visions of Enoch are all descriptive of the Mysteries of Initiation, one of which is the Burning Valley of the "Fallen Angels." — Op. cit., II, 535
[Solomon] Whose 700 wives and 300 concubines, by the bye, are merely the personations of man's attributes, feelings, passions and his various occult powers: the Kabalistic numbers 7 and 3 showing it plainly. Solomon himself, moreover, being, simply, the emblem of SOL — the "Solar Initiate" or the Christ-Sun, is a variant of the Indian "Vikarttana" (the Sun) shorn of his beams by Vis-wakarma, his Hierophant-Initiator, who thus shears the Chrestos-candidate for initiation of his golden radiance and crowns him with a dark, blackened aureole — the "crown of thorns." (See the "Secret Doctrine" for full explanation.) Solomon was never a living man. As described in Kings, his life and works are an allegory on the trials and glory of Initiation. — Lucifer, Nov. 1888
According to the Kabalists, the three Kings or Magi were white, black, and brown. The White presented gold, the symbol of Life, and Light. The Black presented myrrh, the symbol of Death and Night; and the Brown presented the frankincense, the symbol of Divinity and of the dogma which reconciles the antagonistic duads of the Universe. — The Complete Works of H. P. Blavatsky, IV, 120
It is a fact worthy of remark, that so long as the initiate kept silent "on what he knew," he was perfectly safe. So was it in days of old, and so it is now. As soon as the Christian God, emanating forth from Silence, manifested himself as the Word or Logos, the latter became the cause of his death. The serpent is the symbol of wisdom and eloquence, but it is likewise the symbol of destruction. "To dare, to know, to will, and be silent," are the cardinal axioms of the kabalist. Like Apollo and other gods, Jesus is killed by his Logos; he rises again, kills him in his turn, and becomes his master. Can it be that this old symbol has, like the rest of ancient philosophical conceptions, more than one allegorical and never-suspected meaning? The coincidences are too strange to be results of mere chance. — Isis Unveiled, II, 510
. . . The "Man" of chapter i. [the book of Genesis] is radically different from the "Adam" of chapter ii., for the former was created "male and female" — that is, bi-sexed — and in the image of God; while the latter, according to verse seven, was formed of the dust of the ground, and became "a living soul," after the Lord God "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life." Moreover, this Adam was a male being, and in verse twenty we are told that "there was not found a helpmeet for him." The Adonai, being pure spiritual entities, had no sex, or rather had both sexes united in themselves, like their Creator; and the ancients understood this so well that they represented many of their deities as of dual sex. The Biblical student must either accept this interpretation, or make the passages in the two chapters alluded to absurdly contradict each other. . . . Not only are these two races of beings thus clearly indicated in Genesis, but even a third and a fourth one are ushered before the reader in chapter iv., where the "sons of God" and the race of "giants" are spoken of. — Op. cit., I, 303
There is one more important emblem connected with the sloughing of the serpent's skin, which, so far as we are aware, has never been heretofore noticed by our symbolists. As the reptile upon casting his coat becomes freed from a casing of gross matter, which cramped a body grown too large for it, and resumes its existence with renewed activity, so man, by casting off the gross material body, enters upon the next stage of his existence with enlarged powers and quickened vitality. Inversely, the Chaldean Kabalists tell us that primeval man, who, contrary to the Darwinian theory was purer, wiser, and far more spiritual, as shown by the myths of the Scandinavian Bur, the Hindu Dejotas, and the Mosaic "sons of God," — in short, of a far higher nature than the man of the present Adamic race, became despiritualized or tainted with matter, and then, for the first time, was given the fleshly body, which is typified in Genesis in that profoundly significant verse: "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skin, and clothed them." Unless the commentators would make of the First Cause a celestial tailor, what else can the apparently absurd words mean, but that the spiritual man had reached, through the progress of involution, to that point where matter, predominating over and conquering spirit, had transformed him into the physical man, or the second Adam, of the second chapter of Genesis? . . .
. . . While some Kabalists, and even archaeologists say that "Adam, Enoch, and Noah might, in outward appearance, be different men, but they were really the selfsame divine person." Others explain that between Adam and Noah there intervened several cycles. That is to say, that every one of the antediluvian patriarchs stood as the representative of a race which had its place in a succession of cycles; and each of which races was less spiritual than its predecessor. Thus Noah, though a good man, could not have borne comparison with his ancestor, Enoch, who "walked with God and did not die." Hence the allegorical interpretation which makes Noah have this coat of skin by inheritance from the second Adam and Enoch, but not wear it himself, for if otherwise, Ham could not have stolen it. . . . The coat of skin worn by Cush "in secret," — i. e., when his spiritual nature began to be tainted by the material — is placed on Nimrod, the most powerful and strongest of physical men on this side of the flood — the last remnant of the antediluvian giants. — Op. cit., I, 149-50
The exoteric plan of the Bible was made to answer also to four ages. Thus, they reckon the Golden Age from Adam to Abraham; the silver, from Abraham to David; copper, from David to the Captivity; thenceforward, the iron. But the secret computation is quite different, and does not vary at all from the zodiacal calculations of the Brahmans. We are in the Iron Age, or Kali-Yug, but it began with Noah, the mythical ancestor of our race. — Op. cit., II, 443
The animals shut up in the ark are the human passions. They typify certain ordeals of initiation, and the mysteries which were instituted among many nations in commemoration of this allegory. (3) — Op. cit., II, 447
1. As in other instances of this series, only a very few of the many, many allusions to the occult significance of the Bible and its various books have been chosen. The extracts here given are merely an indication to the student of what can be found. Many people unfortunately have the impression that H. P. B. cast aspersions on the Bible and Christianity, whereas if one really reads what she says, one finds that she illuminates the Biblical teachings, and gives them great dignity. — Eds. (return to text)
2. To make it plainer, any one who reads that passage in Luke, will see that the remark follows the report of the seventy, who rejoice that "even the devils (the spirit of controversy and reasoning, or the opposing power, since Satan means simply "adversary" or opponent) are subject unto us through thy name." (Luke x 17 ) Now, "thy name" means the name of Christos, or Logos, or the spirit of true divine wisdom, as distinct from the spirit of intellectual or mere materialistic reasoning — the HIGHER SELF in short. And when Jesus remarks to this that he has "beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven," it is a mere statement of his clairvoyant powers, notifying them that he already knew it, and a reference to the incarnation of the divine ray (the gods or angels) which falls into generation. For not all men, by any means, benefit by that incarnation, and with some the power remains latent and dead during the whole life. Truly "No man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son" as added by Jesus then and there (Ibid x, 22) — the Church "of Christ" less than any one else. The Initiates alone understood the secret meaning of the term "Father and the Son," and knew that it referred to Spirit and Soul on the Earth. For the teachings of Christ were occult teachings, which could only be explained at the initiation. They were never intended for the masses, for Jesus forbade the twelve to go to the Gentiles and the Samaritans (Matt. x. 8), and repeated to his disciples that the "mysteries of Heaven" were for them alone, not for the multitudes (Mark iv. II). — Ibid., II, 231 (return to text)
3. The "animals" referred to by H. P. B. here in connexion with Noah and the Ark, refer not to the allegory of the Cosmic Noah and the Cosmic Ark, but to that phase of the Arkite theory or story in connexion with Man alone. If the student is interested in other branches or aspects of the story of Noah and the Ark, consult H. P B.'s writings on the subject, not only in Isis Unveiled, but in The Secret Doctrine. — Eds. (return to text)
The Theosophical ForumTHEOSOPHICAL UNIVERSITY PRESS ONLINE