The Theosophical Forum – November 1949

THE FOUR GOSPELS — Marion O. French

The textual variations in the versions of the Four Gospels regarding the incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection of the Christos have puzzled many people. Usually, they are attributed to presentation in accordance with a physical, intellectual, psychic, and spiritual point of view. This is symbolized by the bull, lion, man, and eagle that stand as their insignia. Amplification of this basic concept will serve to indicate what a wealth of religious, philosophic, and scientific information can be culled from the cryptic biblical texts. In a lecture before the Theosophical Convention of 1887 on "The Sankhya and Yogi Philosophy" (The Theosophist, IX, 342) H. P. Blavatsky is quoted (Isis Unveiled) as having made the following pertinent assertions:

All systems of religious mysticism are based on numerals. With Pythagoras, the Monas or unity, emanating the duad, and thus forming the trinity, and the quaternary or Arba-il (the mystic four), compose the number seven. The sacredness of numbers begins with the great First — the one, and ends only with the nought or zero — symbol of the infinite and boundless circle which represents the universe All the intervening figures, in whatever combination, or however multiplied, represent philosophical ideas, from vague outlines down to a definitely established scientific axiom, relating either to a moral or a physical fact in nature. They are a key to the ancient views on cosmogony, in its broad sense, including man and beings, and the evolution of the human race, spiritually as well as physically — II, 407

Furthermore, in Isis Unveiled, I, 9, H. P. B. states that:

The harmony and mathematical equiformity of the double evolution — spiritual and physical — are elucidated only in the universal numerals of Pythagoras, who built his system entirely upon the so-called "metrical speech" of the Hindu Vedas.

Also it is stated in this reference that:

All the powers and great symphonies of physical and spiritual nature lie inscribed within the perfect square, and the ineffaceable name of Him, which name otherwise, would remain unutterable, was replaced by this sacred number 4 the most binding and solemn oath with the ancient mystics — the Tetractys.

Under the subject "Four" in the index to The Secret Doctrine, much collateral information may be found regarding the aspects of the Tetractys mentioned herein. Four is the first rational, or formulate, number having an integral square root. Numerically, the circumference of a circle of diameter 4 is 12 52/81 and that is, also, the square area of that circle. In other words, the plane of representation is in equiformity with the circle of consciousness. The septenate of man's upper triad (Atma, Buddhi, Manas) and his lower quaternary (Kama-Rupa, Linga-Sarira, Prana, Sthula-Sarira) combine to initiate that series of ratios in which the middle term is the difference of the other two. Astronomically, the basis of the lower quaternary lies in the fact that there are 1 Central, 1 Polar, and 2 Equatorial Suns in the Galaxy (S. D., II, 240). The Central Sun is a laya center, or neutron, and the other three revolve around it on the polar orbit and equatorial orbits. This is the Kabbalistic doctrine and it is set forth hypothetically in Principia Nova Astronomica, by H. Pratt, M. D., Edinburgh, 1894. Above, or superior to, them are 3 Spiritual Suns of the Metagalaxy. Presumably, the 4 Suns are the "four living creatures" of Ezekiel, I. In any case, the description of them in that chapter may be construed as an adequate analysis of their electro-magnetic functioning in a manner similar to that of the electrons in an atom. Likewise, it may be assumed that they constitute the 4 "Bodies" of Brahma above which stand his 3 "Qualities." The 4 Royal stars Aldebaran, Regulus, Fomalhaut, and Antares mark the 4 cardinal points in the Earth's revolutionary course. There are 4 "Sacred Seasons," equinoctial and solstitial, and 4 "Great Circles," ecliptic, equator, and tropics. The Earth is the 4th sphere from the Sun, if the Intra-Mercurial Vulcan be counted, and there are 3 outside the Earth, if Saturn be accepted as outermost of the 7 "Sacred Planets" pertaining strictly to the solar system.

The Hindus of Hind state that there are 4 Truths and 4 Vedas; as there are 4 Gospels. In his Crest Jewel of Wisdom, Sankaracharya lists 4 Vestures for the encapsuled droplet of consciousness called the Monad. They are the Food-formed, the Vital Breath-formed, the Mind-formed, and the Intelligence-formed. In operation, their psychological motivation is through the 3 Potencies termed Substance, Force, and Darkness. It is based, functionally, upon the numerical interrelations of the triad and the tetrad within the hebdomad. Essentially, this is exemplified in music by the symphony diatesseron which is constituted in the sesquitertian ratio of 4 to 3. Within the septenate of the musical scale, it possesses the power of an element with respect to the other symphonies, or forms an harmonic proportion between the arithmetical and the geometrical.

In the pantheons of all religions the names vary, but the functional figures remain the same. There are 4 Devas, or "Watchers," at the 4 corners of the cardinal points. They observe the evolutionary progress of the 4 castes of humanity during the cyclical repetition of the 4 Yugas. There are 4 active or operative Kumaras and 3 others. Similarly, there are 4 principal Archangels: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel, with the 3 other traditional ones, Chamuel, Jophiel, and Zadkiel. Gautama is called the Kumara of the Kshattriyas and Michael is the hierarch of the heavenly hosts. There have been 4 Buddhas and Maitreya will be the 5th for the 6th Race. The present 5th Race is in its 4th Round on the 4th Globe D of the dual evolution of spirit and matter. We have 4 fingers opposed by 1 thumb on each hand, and 4 senses synthesized in sound as the primary one of audition. So, in the tetrahedron, there are four faces, with 3 edges to each face. It is circumscribed by the 4 other symmetrical solids: cube, octahedron, dodecahedron, and icosahedron. Sequentially, there are 4 Natures in Nature: Akasic, Ethereal, Watery and Fiery. By correspondence, there are 4 Elements: Fire, Water, Air, and Earth. They are embodied in the 5th, which is Ether. The 4 gases of Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, and Carbon are their immediate prototypes. There are 4 Sons of Fohat functionally operative in the 4 Kingdoms of Mineral, Vegetable, Animal and Human dynamism. In arithmetic there are the 4 operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Correspondingly, there are 4 steps in the formulation of concepts: genesis from cosmical source, mathematical or geometrical symbolization, categorical generalization, and formative classification.

Psychologically, there are 4 "Worlds": Archetypal, Intellectual, Formative, and Physical. Pertaining to them are the 4 states of consciousness that we experience every day. They are Waking, Waking-Dreaming, Sleeping-Dreaming and Deep Sleep. Transcendent correspondences are Jagrat, Svapna, Sushupti, Turiya-Samadhi. (See Occult Glossary, 82, 89). In Job, xxxiii, 14-16 we may read:

For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed. Then he openeth the ears of men and sealeth their instruction.

As indicated on page 104, Mahatma Letters, the 4 states of consciousness are: consciousness per se, self-consciousness, full individual consciousness, and absolute consciousness. The basis of these states lies in the 4 "Principles" of the Kosmos that find their expression in the 4 forms of Vach, or Voice as the enunciated "Word" of "In the beginning." These 4 states of consciousness have been called dimensional as related to the 3 static dimensions of space as becoming kinetic in time. A very suggestive tabulation of the forms that they take is appended to Tertium Organum by P. D. Ouspensky. There are 4 rows of precious stones of 3 each in the breast-plate of the Hebraic high-priest.

If the entries under Four in a comprehensive concordance be consulted many more references will be discovered that biblical exegetes can apply to elucidate the occult philosophy of the Four Gospels.

In the Bhagavad-Gita, the battlefield that confronts Arjuna is his own soul. It is "God's Acre," a square measure of 4 roods. Upon it, the equiformity in the dual evolution of spirit and matter must be accomplished by "squaring the account" between the pairs of opposites. As the soul, it links the spirit and the flesh. As an area, it is the Champ de Mars upon which the Kshattriya must wage the conflict that will decide the issue. If you wish to solve the equation in so far as the space-time continuum of terrestrial existence is concerned, consult page 63 of Key to Hebrew-Egyptian Mystery by Ralston Skinner, that is referred to frequently in The Secret Doctrine. One acre, 4 roods, equals 6,272,640 square inches and there are 5,184,000 sixtieths of a second in 24 hours. The area is exactly divisible by the time and the quotient is 1.21 and this is the square of 1.1, and 11 is 4 plus 7, or the lower quaternary plus the complete septenate of man's principles.

If you prefer to solve it another way, 4 square yards, or Jareds, equal 5,184 square inches. There are 1440 minutes in 24 hours and 5,184 divided by 1440 equals 3.6, or the digits for 360° in a circle. The 144 refers to the 144,000 "saved" of the Bible. The "luck" in "come seven, come eleven" of dice consists in this "solution" when we cast the "dice" of life. That game, like the Tarot cards and dominoes, was invented to perpetuate correct numerical nomenclature in the minds of men. So, also was the game of chess and there are 64 "acres" on the board and 640 in one square mile. In the brain are 4 ventricles and there are 4 compartments, 2 auricles and 2 ventricles, in the heart. Mind and heart function in conjunction and the pure of heart think pure thoughts.

In the words of an ancient Persian inscription, "O, square thyself for use; a stone that may fit in the wall is not left in the ways." That "wall" is the "Guardian Wall of Humanity."

Theosophical University Press Online Edition