The present number of this series demonstrates how the Mystery-language, the language of symbol and allegory, if studied with a competent Teacher, will reveal under the exoteric forms of all religions and philosophies the one Universal Truth, the Gupta-Vidya. One of H. P. Blavatsky's most brilliant writings, it appeared originally in the French magazine, La Revue Theosophique, 1889, under the title "Le Phare de L'Inconnu" and was first published in translation in The Theosophist, Volume X. The editors had hoped to combine numbers VI and VII in the present issue of the Forum, thus closing the series. For lack of space, however, the seventh and last instalment will have to be held over until February.
That which the Theosophists who hold to orthodox and official science try to accomplish in their own domain, the Occultists or the Theosophists of the "inner group" study according to the method of the esoteric school. If up to the present this method has demonstrated its superiority only to its students, i. e., to those who have pledged themselves by oath not to reveal it, that circumstance proves nothing against it. Not only have the terms magic and theurgy never been even approximately understood, but even the name Theosophy has been disfigured. The definitions thereof which are given in dictionaries and encyclopedias are as absurd as they are grotesque. Webster, for instance, in explanation of the word Theosophy assures his readers that it is "a direct connexion or communication with God and superior spirits"; and, further on, that it is "the attainment of superhuman and supernatural knowledge and powers by physical processes (!?) as by the theurgic operations of some ancient Platonists, or by the chemical processes of the German fire philosophers." This is nonsensical verbiage. It is precisely as if we were to say that it is possible to transform a crazy brain into one of the caliber of Newton's, and develop in it a genius for mathematics by riding five miles every day on a wooden horse. Theosophy is synonymous with the Jnana-Vidya, and with the Brahma-Vidya (1) of the Hindus, and again with the Dzyan of the trans-Himalayan adepts, the science of the true Raj-Yogis, who are much more accessible than one thinks. This science has many schools in the East. But its offshoots are still more numerous, each one having ended by separating itself from the parent stem — the true Archaic Wisdom — and changing its form.
But while these forms varied, departing further with each generation from the light of truth, the basis of initiatory truths remained always the same. The symbols used to express the same ideas may differ; but in their hidden sense they always do express the same idea. Ragon, the most erudite Mason of all the "Widow's sons," has said the same. There exists a sacerdotal language, the "mystery language," and unless one knows it well, he cannot go far in the occult sciences. According to Ragon, "to build or found a town" meant the same thing as to "found a religion'; therefore, that phrase when it occurs in Homer is equivalent to the expression of the Brahmins, to distribute the "Soma Juice." It means, "to found an esoteric school," not "a religion," as Ragon pretends. Was he mistaken? We do not think so. But just as a Theosophist belonging to the esoteric section dare not tell to an ordinary member of the Theosophical Society the things about which he has promised to keep silent, so Ragon found himself obliged to divulge merely relative truths to his pupils. Still, it is certain that he had made at least an elementary study of The Mystery Language.
How can one learn this language? we may be asked. We reply: Study all religions and compare them with one another. To learn thoroughly requires a teacher, a guru; to succeed by oneself needs more than genius: it demands inspiration like that of Ammonius Saccas. Encouraged in the Church by Clement of Alexandria and by Athenagoras, protected by the Gentiles, "he learned the language of the mysteries by teaching the common origin of all religions, and a common religion." To do this he had only to teach according to the ancient canons of Hermes which Plato and Pythagoras had studied so well, and from which they drew their respective philosophies. Can we be surprised if, finding in the first verses of the Gospel according to St. John the same doctrines that are contained in the three systems of philosophy above mentioned, he concluded with every show of reason that the intention of the great Nazarene was to restore the sublime science of ancient wisdom in all its primitive integrity? We think as did Ammonius. The biblical narrations and the histories of the gods have only two possible explanations: either they are great and profound allegories, illustrating universal truths, or else they are fables of no use but to put the ignorant to sleep.
Therefore the allegories — Jewish as well as Pagan — contain all the truths that can only be understood by him who knows the mystic language of antiquity. Let us quote what is said on this subject by one of our most distinguished Theosophists, Professor Alexander Wilder (2) of New York, a fervent Platonist and a Hebraist, who knows his Greek and Latin like his mother tongue:
The root-idea of the Neo-Platonists was the existence of one only and supreme Essence. This was the Din, or "Lord of the Heavens" of the Aryan nations, identical with the Iao of the Chaldeans and Hebrews, the Iabe of the Samaritans, the Tiu or Tuiseo of the Norwegians, the Duw of the ancient tribes of Britain, the Zeus of the tribes of Thrace, and the Jupiter of the Romans. It was the Being (non-Being), the Facit, one and supreme. It is from it that all other beings proceeded by emanation. The moderns have, it seems, substituted for this their theory of evolution. Perchance some day wiser men than they will combine these systems in a single one. The names of these different divinities seem often to have been invented with little or no regard to their etymological meaning, but chiefly on account of some particular mystical signification attached to the numerical value of the letters employed in their orthography.
This numerical signification is one of the branches of the mystery language, or the ancient sacerdotal language. It was taught in the "Lesser Mysteries," but the language itself was reserved for the high initiates alone. The candidate must have come victorious out of the terrible trials of the Greater Mysteries before receiving instruction in it. That is why Ammonius Saccas, like Pythagoras, obliged his disciples to take an oath never to divulge the higher doctrines to any one to whom the preliminary ones had not yet already been imparted, and who, therefore, was not ready for initiation. Another sage, who preceded him by three centuries, did the same by his disciples when he said to them that he spoke "in similes [or parables] because to you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven, but to them it is not given. . . because in seeing they see not, and in hearing they hear not, neither do they understand." Therefore the "similes" employed by Jesus were part of the "language of the mysteries," the sacerdotal tongue of the initiates. Rome has lost the key to it: by rejecting Theosophy and pronouncing her anathema against the occult sciences — she loses it forever.
1. The meaning of the word Vidya can only be rendered by the Greek term Gnosis, the knowledge of hidden and spiritual things; or again, the knowleddge of Brahm, i. e., of the God that contains all the gods. (return to text)
2. The first Vice-President of the T. S. at the time of its founding. (return to text)