by Josephine Ransom (Published in 1933)
In presenting my theme I must make it clear that I have drawn solely upon The Secret Doctrine for information. I have not sought elsewhere for corroboration or amplification of any point, save a few quotations from the Bible and have made but few comments myself. I leave it to the students to seek their own answers to the question that must inevitably arise in their minds as the story unfolds.
For the sake of a sequence these questions are essential:
(1) Who was the Christ?
(2) Who was Jesus? [Page 2]
(3) What were the Occult Teachings of the Christ?
(1) Who was the Christ?
The answer comes clearly:“The Logos is Christos.....” (S.D. 1, 241)
“......There are three kinds of Light in Occultism .....(1) The Abstract and Absolute Light, which is Darkness; (2) The Light of the Manifested — Unmanifested, called by some the Logos; and (3) The latter Light reflected in the Dhyân Chohans, the minor Logoi — the Elohim, collectively — who, in their turn, shed it on the objective Universe.....”
“The Occultists in the East call this Light Daiviprakriti, and in the West the Light of Christos. It is the Light of the Logos, the direct reflection of the ever Unknowable on the plane of Universal Manifestation”. (S.D. 2, 41)
From the “Occult and cosmical standpoint” this “Light of the Logos, becomes Fohat, the “Son of the Son”. The Life in the objective Universe. (S.D.1, 161)
“In its Unity, Primordial Light is the seventh, or highest principle, Daiviprakriti, the Light of the Unmanifested Logos. But in its differentiation,it becomes Fohat, or the “Seven Sons'. (S.D. 1, 236)
“It is through this Light that everything is created. This Root of mental SELF is also the Root of physical Self, for this Light is the [Page 3] permutation, in our physical world, of Mulaprakriti.... (S.D.1, 463]
“It is then only in this Light of consciousness, of mental and physical perception, that practical Occultism can thrown the Logos into visibility by geometrical figures, which, when closely studied, will yield not only a scientific explanation of the real objective existence of the “Seven Sons of the Divine Sophia', which is this Light of the Logos, but will show, by means of other yet undiscovered keys,that with regard to Humanity, these 'Seven Sons' and their numberless emanations, centres of energy personified, are an absolute necessity. 'Make away with them, and the Mystery of Being and Mankind will never be unriddled, nor even closely approached. (S.D.1, 463)
“....Regarded in the light of the Logos, the Christian Saviour, like Krishna, whether a man or Logos, may be said to have saved those who believed in the Secret Teachings from 'eternal death', and to have conquered the Kingdom of Darkness, or Hell, as every Initiate does. This is 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 — formed of the indissoluble union of Buddhi, the sixth, and the spiritual efflorescence of Manas, the fifth 'principle'. (S.D.2, 241)
“....The remark made by the great Initiate in Luke — referring allegorically to the way [Page 4] of enlightenment and reason, falling like lightning from on high into the hearts and minds of the converts to the old Wisdom-Religion, then presented in a new form by the wise Galilean Adept — was distorted out of all recognition. (S.D. 2, 241)
“... In Luke (anyone) 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) [And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name ] 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 on this that he has 'beheld Satan as lightning fall from Heaven”, it is a mere statement of his clairvoyant powers, notifying to them that he already knew it, and a reference to the Divine Ray — the Gods or Angels — which falls into generation ..... 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... The Initiates alone understood the secret meaning of the terms “Father and “Son and know that it referred to Spirit and Soul on the Earth.... Jesus repeated to his disciples that the “mystery of the Kingdom of God' was for them alone, not for the multitudes. (Mark 4, 11) [ And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the Kingdom of God; but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables] (S.D. 2, 241., Footnote)
Christos is the impersonal and true essence of Deity, (one's) own Âtma (or Christos) (S.D. 2, 504) [Page 5]
Gnostics called their Christos the “seven-fold Light” meaning Mercury which receives from the Sun seven times more light than any other planet. (S.D. 2, 570)
The Solar Chnouphis or Agathodaemon is the Christos of the Gnostics.... He is intimately connected with the Seven Sons of Sophia (Wisdom)..... which seven are the Seven Planetary Regents.... Therefore Chnouphis was the Spiritual Sun of Enlightenment of Wisdom, hence the patron of all the Egyptian Initiates.... (S.D. 2, 394]
.....“Clement, an initiated Neo-Platonist, knew ...the origin of the word 'Dragon and knew why the initiated Adepts were so called, as he knew the secret of the Agathodaemon, the Christ, the seven-vowelled Serpent of the Gnostics. (S.D.2, 293, Footnote)
“Thus, it is pretty well established that Christ, the Logos, or the Gods in Space and the Saviour on Earth is but one of the echoes of this .... Wisdom. (S.D. 2, 507)
To reach the Christ state or that of a Jivanmukta....we have to centre ourselves entirely in the highest (principle), the Seventh or the One. (S.D.2, 639, Footnote)
It will be found that the liberation of this inner Spiritual Ego is the real purpose of all Occult Teachings and the reason for the Mysteries.
The 'Seven Sons' mentioned above constitute a special host who are supreme agents of the One. First comes Universal Mind, or Father to the Christians, then the 'Heavenly Man' the great total of that host of Angels...[Page 6] .“This 'Heavenly man'.... is the 'Logos' or the 'Son' esoterically. (S.D. 247]
The manifested “Heavenly Man or “the Second Order of Celestial Beings, those of Fire and Ether, corresponding to Spirit and Soul, or Âtma Buddhi....are the Prototypes of the incarnating Jivas or Monads, and are composed of the Fiery Spirit of Life. It is through these that passes, like a pure solar beam, the Ray which is furnished by them with its future Vehicle, the Divine Soul, Buddhi. (S.D. 1, 236-237)
These are the Divine Âtma-Buddhi, and the Human reflections, which are the concern of the Mysteries, are to be educated and freed from the lower mind and its incessant occupations with external objects. The Christos is bound at Initiation and is later made free, and the liberated mortal took on the name Christos — he who had found the eternal Christ, or Light of the Logos — this he did through his “Father of the “Seven Sons'. The Divine Christos-Logos sacrifices his freedom in order to infuse his life into and maintain a Universe; the Human Initiate sacrifices his lower nature that he may become one with the divine Life or Christos. So, “He who loses his life shall find it. [ I lay down my life, that I might take it again. (John, x, 17) ]
We have seen that the Christ or Christos is the Logos, the Light of the Logos and the “Second [Page 7] Person of the Trinity, the “Son, the Host of the “Seven Sons”, Aeons, Angels, Flames, or Dhyân Chohans, who inform man with their Principles and are each in turn the “Father of immense classes of beings, the highest realisable spiritual state of which is at present, on earth, seen to be in mankind.
- II -
(2) Who was Jesus?
“All the Avatâras are one and the same; the 'Sons' of their 'Father' in a direct descent and line, the 'Father' or one of the seven Flames becoming, for the time being, the Son, and these two being one — in Eternity. What is the Father? Is it the absolute Cause of all? — the fathomless Eternal? No, most decidedly. It is Karanâtma, the 'Causal Soul' which, in its general sense, is called by the Hindus Îshvara, the Lord, and by Christians, 'God', the One and Only. (S.D. 3, 363)
“Cerinthus, taught that the world and Jehovah having fallen off from virtue and primitive dignity the Supreme permitted one of his glorious Aeons, whose name was the 'Anointed' (Christ) to incarnate in the man Jesus. Basilides denied the reality of the body of Jesus, and calling it an 'illusion' held that it was Simon of Cyrene who suffered on the Cross in his stead. ( S.D. 3, 363 Footnote )
“Everyone is aware the the real time and year of the birth of Jesus are totally unknown. (S.D. 1, 717) [Page 8]
“....Jesus, the Initiate (or Jehoshua) — the type from whom the 'historical' Jesus was copied — was not of pure Jewish blood and thus recognised no Jehovah; nor did he worship any planetary God beside his own 'Father', who he knew, and with whom he communed, as every high Initiate does, 'Spirit to Spirit and Soul to Soul'. (S.D.1, 631)
The spiritual descent of Jesus is traced from the Dhyân Chohans the “Serpents of Wisdom”, who are also the “Angels of the Stars of the Christians ...... or again the seven Planets (including the Sun) of every religion”. On the spiritual plane they are the Divine Powers but on the astral or psychic (cosmic) plane, “they are the 'Builders, the 'Watchers', the 'Pitris', or Fathers, and the first Preceptors of Mankind”. When sufficiently spiritualised men will know “that there never yet was a great world-reformer whose name has passed into our generation who (a) was not a direct emanation of the Logos (under whatever name known to us), i.e., an essential incarnation of one of the 'Seven' of the 'Divine Spirit who is sevenfold', and (b) who had not appeared before, in past Cycles.....”. They will understand “why Jesus (in Hebrew, Joshua) of Nazareth is recognised, Kabalistically, in Joshua, the son of Nun as well as in other personages. The esoteric Doctrine explains all this by saying that each of these, as also many [Page 9] others, had first appeared on Earth as one of the Seven Powers of the Logos, individualized as a God or Angel (Messenger); then, mixed with Matter, they had reappeared in turn as great Sages and Instructors who 'taught' the Fifth Race, after having instructed the two preceding Races, had ruled during the Divine Dynasties and had finally sacrificed themselves, to be reborn under various circumstances for the good of Mankind and for its salvation at certain critical periods; until in their last incarnations they had become truly only the 'parts of a part' on Earth, though de facto the One Supreme in Nature. (S.D. 2, 374-375)
The romance of the vicarious atonement and mission of Jesus as it now stands, was borrowed by some too liberal Initiates from the mysterious and weird tenet of the earthly experience of the reincarnating Ego. “The Christos, or Buddhi-Manas of each man is not quite an innocent and sinless God, though in one sense it is the 'Father', being of the same essence with the Universal Spirit, and at the same time the 'Son', for Manas is the second remove from the 'Father' . By incarnation the Divine Son makes itself responsible for the sins of all the personalities which it will inform'. (S.D. 3, 524)
This relation of the human and the angel Monad is indissoluble and “was know to every high Initiate in every age and in every country; [Page 10] 'I and my Father ae One', said Jesus. (John X.30) When he is made to say elsewhere, 'I ascend to my Father, and your Father'. (John, XX.19) it means that which has just been stated. The identity, and at the same time the illusive differentiation of the Angel — Monad and the Human — Monad is shown in the sentences: 'My Father is greater than I'. (John, XIV, 28) [ Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away and come again unto you. If ye loved me ye would rejoice, because I said I go unto the Father; for my Father is greater than I. ] 'Glorify your Father which is in Heaven'. (Matt. V.16) [Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven ] “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father' (not our Father). (Matt. XIII, 43) [Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear ] So again Paul Asks 'Know ye not ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you?' All this was simply meant to show that the group of disciples and followers attracted to him belonged to the same Dhyâni-Buddha, Star of Father, and that this again belonged to the same planetary realm and division as he did. (S.D. 1, 627-628)
This “mystic Father of Jesus (S.D. 2, 536) is shown again and again as not to be confused with the Jehovah of the Pharisees whom Jesus so [Page 11] strikingly denounced in John (VIII, 37, 38, 41, 44)
[ I know that ye are Abraham's seed, but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath not place in you
I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.
Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.
Ye are of your father the devil and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and above not in the truth because there is not truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, the speaketh of his own; for he is a liar and the father of it.]
who was of another Planetary Order, Cain, Saturn, Vulcan (S.D. 1, 632), while he was of the Planetary Order under Mercury, the messenger, the angel-man, Jesus-Christ, with the Archangel Michael as the Planetary Spirit or “Father”.
Michael, Father-Soul, is the “Angel of the Sun, the first of the Aeons, called by the Gnostics, the Saviour. (S.D. 2, 399) Michael is “The Angel of the face of the Lord, ' the Guardian of the Planets' and the living image of God. Mikael is the 'Angel of the Face of God' or he who represents his Master”. (S.D. 3, 388)
“Where is that God or Hero whose origin, biography, and genealogy were more hazy, or more difficult to define and finally agree upon than those of Jesus? How was the now irrevocable dogma with regard to His true nature settled at last? (S.D. 3, 144) [Page 12]
Mme Blavatsky then summarises the points of view and “heresies propounded concerning His nature,and the quarrels about it and the findings of the Councils which resulted in “the present living paradoxes called Church dogmas”. (S.D. 3, 145-146)
Quoting from Isis Unveiled she says “The Essenes of Carmel were reproduced in the Theraputae of Egypt, who, in turn, were declared by Eusebius to 'be identical with the Christians, though they actually existed long before the Christian era”. (S.D. 3, 308)
“If Jesus were not an Initiate, why should all these allegorical incidents of his life be given? Why should such extreme trouble be taken, so much time wasted trying to make the above (a) answer and dovetail with purposely picked out sentences in the Old Testament, to show them as prophecies; and (b) to preserve in them the initiatory symbols, emblems so pregnant with Occult meaning and all of these belonging to Pagan mystic Philosophy?: (S.D. 3, 153)
“There was a great difference between the words Chrestos and Christos, a difference having a profound and Esoteric meaning. While Christos means 'to live' and 'to be born into a new life' , Chrestos in 'Initiation' phraseology, signified the death of the inner, lower, or personal nature in man; thus is given the key to the Brahmanical title, the twice-born; and finally [Page 13]
“There were Chrestians long before the era of Christianity, and the Essenes belonged to them. (S.D. 3, 288)
H.P.B. persistently asserts that Jesus was an Initiate, this “martyred Adept” (S.D. 3, 146), and therefore a Chrestos in the Mysteries.
“The Gnostics entertained many of the Essenian ideas; and the Essenes had their greater and minor Mysteries at least two centuries before our era. They were the Isarim or Initiates, the descendants of the Egyptian Hierophants, in whose country they had been settled for several centuries before they were converted to Buddhistic monasticism by the missionaries of King Asoka, and amalgamated later with the earliest Christians; and they existed, probably, before the old Egyptian temples were desecrated and ruined in the incessant invasions of Persians, Greeks and other conquering hordes. The hierophants had their atonement enacted in the Mystery of Initiations ages before the Gnostics, or even the Essenes had appeared .....” (S.D. 3, 273, Footnote.)
“Treating on the difference between the terms Chrest and Christ he (author of Source of Measures) ends by saying that:
'There were two Messiahs; one who went down in to the pit for the salvation of this world; this was the Sun shorn of his golden rays, and crowned with blackened ones (symbolising this loss) as the thorns; the other was the triumphant Messiah mounting up to the summit of the arch of Heaven, and personified as the [Page 14] Lion of the Tribe of Judah. In both instances he had the cross; once in humiliation and one holding it in his control as the law of creation, He being Jehovah'.
“.....And this — leaving the divine and mystic character and claim for Jesus entirely independent of this event of his mortal life — shows him, beyond any doubt, as an Initiate in the Egyptian Mysteries, where the same rite of Death and spiritual Resurrection for the neophyte, or the suffering Chrestos in his trial and new birth by Regeneration was enacted — for this was a universally adopted rite. (S.D. 3, 289)
“Jesus of Nazareth was an Initiate, a holy, grand and noble character, but withal human, though truly a 'Son of God'.
“If Humanity is to accept a so-called super-natural Religion, how far more logical to the Occultist and Psychologist seems the transparent allegory given of Jesus by the Gnostics. They, as Occultists, and with Initiates for their Chiefs, differed only in their renderings of the story and in their symbols, and not at all in substance. What say the Oophites, the Nazarenes and other 'heretics'? Sophia 'the celestial Virgin' is prevailed upon to send Christos, her emanation, to the help of perishing humanity, from whom Ilda-Boath (the Jehovah of the Jews) and his six Sons of Matter (the lower terrestrial Angels) are shutting out the divine light. Therefore Christos, the perfect. [Page 15]
'uniting himself with Sophia (divine Wisdom) descended through the seven planetary regions, assuming in each an analogous form....(and) entered into the man Jesus at the moment of his baptism in the Jordan. From this time forth Jesus began to work miracles; before that he had been entirely ignorant of his own mission. (Quoted from Gnostics and their Remains)
“Ilda-Boath, discovering that Christos was bringing to an end his kingdom of matter, stirred up the Jews, his own people, against Him, and Jesus was put to death. When Jesus was on the Cross Christos and Sophia left his body and returned to their own sphere. The material body of Jesus was abandoned to the earth, but he Himself, the Inner Man was clothed with a body made up of aether. (S.D. 3, 158)
“Let any Eastern Occultist read with careful attention the above-named chapter (LXXXVIII) in the book of Enoch and he will find that the 'Lord of the Sheep', in whom Christians and Europeans mystics see Christ, is the Hierophant Victim whose name in Sanskrit we dare not give”. (S.D. 3, 88)
“From Prometheus to Jesus, and from Him to the highest Adept as to the lowest disciple, every revealer of mysteries has had to become a Chrestos, a 'man of Sorrow', and a martyr. (S.D. 3, 89)
“...The New Testament, the Acts and the Epistles — however much the historical figure of Jesus may be true — all are symbolical and allegorical sayings, and that 'it was not Jesus but Paul who was the real founder of Christianity'; [Page 16] but it was not the official Church Christianity at any rate. 'The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch', the Acts of the Apostles (XI,26) [ And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.] tell us, and they were not so called before, nor for a long time after, but simply Nazarenes. ( S.D. 3, 122)
“And Paul was undeniably an Initiate. (S.D. 3, 123)
Quoting from Isis Unveiled, H.P.B. writes:
“Take Paul, read the little of the original that is left of him in the writings attributed to this brave, honest, sincere man, and see whether anyone can find a word therein to show that Paul meant by the word Christ anything more than the abstract ideal of the personal divinity indwelling in man. For Paul, Christ is not a person, but an embodied idea. 'If any man is in Christ he is a new creation, 'he is reborn, as after initiation, for the Lord is a Spirit — the spirit of man. Paul was the only one of the apostles who had understood the secret ideas underlying the teachings of Jesus, although he had never met him.
“But Paul himself was not infallible or perfect.
“Bent upon inaugurating a new and broad reform, one embracing the whole of humanity, he sincerely set his own doctrines far above the wisdom of the ages, above the ancient mysteries and final revelation to the Epoptae....” (S.D. 3, 123-124)
....“The Nazars — or set apart — were a class of Chaldean Theurgists or Initiates. (S.D. 3, 124)
“It is shown in Isis Unveiled that Jesus belonged to this class. (S.D. 3, 124) [Page 17]
“The early Nazarenes and Chrestians”, “as Justin Martyr calls them, “were the followers of Jesus, of the true Chrestos and Christos of Initiation”. (S.D. 3, 87)
.......“The Nazarenes, who although they existed long before the days of Christ and even before the laws of Moses, were Gnostics, and many of them Initiates. They held their 'Mysteries of Life' in Nazara (ancient and modern Nazareth) and their doctrines are a faithful echo of the teachings of The Secret Doctrine....” (S.D. 2, 101)
- III -
(3) What were the Occult Teachings of the Christ?
As an Initiate, a Chrestos, what would Jesus know and teach? What are the Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven?
Initiation was found necessary as long ago as the Third Root Race when, as was said in Enoch [One of the books of the Apocrypha ] (Chap. V, 10):
“All those who are in it shall be darkened, the hearts of all of them shall be forgetful of wisdom (the divine knowledge will be dying out) and in it a man shall ascend.
“This 'Man' .... is in reality the first Hierophant of the purely human race (after the allegorical Fall into generation) selected to perpetuate the dying Wisdom of the Devas [Page 18] (Angels or Elohim). He is the first 'Son of Man' — the mysterious appellation given to the divine Initiates of the first human school of the Manushi (men) at the very close of the Third Root Race. He is also called the 'Saviour', as it was He with the other Hierophants, who saved the Elect and the Perfect from the geological conflagration, leaving to perish in the cataclysm of the Close (of the Root Race) those who forgot the primeval wisdom in sexual sensuality. (S.D. 3, 86)
“There were no Mysteries in the beginning, we are taught. Knowledge (Vidya) was common property, and it reigned universally through the Golden Age (Satya Yuga). As says the commentary:
'Men had not created evil yet in those days of bliss and purity, for they were of God-like more than human nature'.
“But when mankind, rapidly increasing in numbers, increased also in variety of idiosyncrasies of body and mind, then incarnated Spirit showed its weakness,natural exaggerations, and along with these superstitions arose in less cultured and healthy minds. Selfishness was born out of desires and passions hitherto unknown, and but too often knowledge and power were abused, until finally it became necessary to limit the number of those who knew. Thus arose Initiation. (S.D. 3, 260-261)
“Initiation, though it contained neither rules nor principles, nor any special teaching of Science [Page 19] — as now understood — was nevertheless Science, and the Science of sciences. And though devoid of dogma, of physical discipline, and of exclusive ritual, it was yet the one true Religion — that of eternal truth. Outwardly it was a school, a college, wherein were taught sciences, arts, ethics, legislating, philanthropy, the cults of the true and real nature of cosmic phenomena; secretly, during the Mysteries, practical proofs of the latter were given. Those who could learn truth on all things — i.e., those who could look the great Isis in her unveiled face and bear the awful majesty of the Goddess — became Initiates. But the children of the Fifth Race had fallen too deeply into matter always to do so with impunity .....
“The noble precepts taught by the Initiates of the early races passed into India, Egypt and Greece, to China and Chaldea, and thus spread all over the world. All that is good, noble and grand in human nature, every divine faculty and aspiration, were cultured by the Priest-Philosophers who sought to develop them in their Initiates. Their codes of ethics, based on altruism, has become universal....
“Said Clemens Alexandrinus, referring to the Mysteries:
'Here ends all teaching. One sees Nature and all things'.
“That which the Gods and Angels had revealed, exoteric religions, beginning with that of Moses, [Page 20] reveiled and hid for ages from the sight of the world....... (S.D. 3, 266-267)
No Teacher or Initiate committed anything to writing for public use; they all invariably recommended silence and secrecy on certain facts and deeds down to Jesus, who charged his disciples to tell no man that he was Christ (Matt., XVI, 20) [“Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ ] (Chrestos) the 'man of sorrows' and trials before his supreme and last Initiation or that he had produced a 'miracle' of resurrection. (S.D. 3, 44)
The Truth about God and Man was taught in Mysteries from time immemorial. If the first appearance of those institutions is a matter of historical tradition with regard to some of the later nations, their origin must certainly be assigned to the time of the Fourth Root Race. The Mysteries were imparted to the elect of that Race when the average Atlantean had begun to fall too deeply into sin to be entrusted with the secrets of Nature. Their establishment is attributed in the secret works to the King-Initiates of the divine dynasties, when the 'Sons of God' had gradually allowed their country to become Kookarma-des (the land of vice). (S.D. 3, 258)
From this point H.P.B. traces how the knowledge imparted in the Mysteries passed on through the ages, through priests (which word meant of old “philosopher or “sage) deriving their [Page 21] “governing powers” ... by “direct inheritance from the Initiates of the great Atlantis”. This pure “cult of Nature.....” became the heirloom of those alone who could discern the noumenon beneath the phenomenon. Later the Initiates transmitted their knowledge to the human Kings, as their divine Masters had passed it to their forefathers. It was their prerogative and duty to reveal the secrets of Nature that were useful to mankind — the hidden virtues of plants, the art of healing the sick, and of bringing about brotherly love and mutual help among mankind. No Initiate was one of he could not heal — aye, recall to life form apparent death (coma) those who too long neglected would have indeed died during their lethargy. Those who showed such powers were forthwith set above the crowds and were regarded as Kings and Initiates .... Jesus and Apollonius were healers and were both addressed as Kings by their followers. Had they failed to raise those who were to all events and purposes the dead, none of their names would have passed down to posterity, for this was the first and crucial test, the certain sign that the Adept had upon him the invisible hand of a primordial divine Master, or was an incarnation of one of the “Gods. (S.D. 3, 263-264)
The early Initiates were called also Philosophers, and H.P.B. emphasizes that this meant not “love of wisdom but “wisdom of love”. [Page 22]
“Now it is in the last word 'love' that lies hidden the esoteric significance, for 'love' ..... is the term used for Eros, that primordial principle in divine creation ..... the abstract desire in Nature for procreation, resulting in an everlasting series of phenomena. It means 'divine love' that universal element of divine omnipresence spread throughout Nature and which is at once chief cause and effect. The 'wisdom of love' (or 'philosophia') meant attraction to and love of everything hidden beneath objective phenomena and the knowledge thereof. Philosophy meant the highest Adeptship — love of and assimilation with Deity. (Footnote, S.D. 3, 265-266)
What was the precious secret of the Mysteries?
It was the story of the SELF to be set free by conquest of knowledge of all existent things.
“This Self, the highest, the one, and the universal, was symbolised on the plane of mortals by the sun, its life giving effulgence being in its turn the emblem of the Soul — killing the terrestrial passions which have ever been an impediment to the re-union of the Unit Self (the Spirit) with the All-Self. Hence the allegorical mystery ..... It was enacted by the Sons of the 'Fire-Mist' and of 'Light'. The second Sun appeared as put on his trial, Vishvakarma, the Hierophant, cutting off his seven beams, and replacing them with a crown of brambles,when the 'Sun' became Vikarttana, shorn of his beams or rays .... After that the Sun — enacted by a neophyte ready to be initiated — was made to descend into Pâtâla, the nether regions, on a trial of Tantalus. Coming out of it triumphant, he emerged from this region of lust and iniquity to re-become Karmasâkshin, [Page 23] witness of the Karma of men, and arose once more triumphant in all the glory of his re-generation, as Graha-Rajah, King of the Constellations, and was addressed as Gabhastimân 'repossessed of his rays'. (S.D. 3, 27)
“Clothed with his Ânandamaya Kosha, the body of bliss, the Strotâpanna remained where we have no right to follow him, and upon returning received the Word, with or without the 'heart's blood' of the Hierophant.
“Only in truth the Hierophant was never killed — neither in India nor elsewhere, the murder being simply feigned — unless the Initiator had chosen the Initiate for his successor and had decided to pass to him the last and supreme Word, after which he had to die — only one man in a nation having the right to know that word. Many are those grand Initiates who have thus passed out of the world's sight, disappearing.
“As mysteriously from the sight of men as Moses from the top of Mount Pisgah (Nebo, oracular Wisdom), after he had laid his hands upon Joshua who thus became 'full of the spirit of Wisdom', i.e., initiated”.
“But he died, he was not killed. For killing, if really done, would belong to black, not to divine Magic. It is the transmission of light, rather than a transfer of life, of life spiritual and divine, and it is the shedding of wisdom, not of blood. But the uninitiated inventors of theological Christianity took the allegorical language â la lettre; and [Page 24] instituted a dogma, the crude, misunderstood expression of which horrifies and repels.... (S.D. 3, 273)
Unhappily the great Mysteries gradually “lost their primitive grandeur and solemnity. Their rites had fallen into desuetude and they had to a great degree degenerated into mere priestly speculations and had become religious shams. (S.D. 3, 277)
“Nevertheless in some secret places the Mysteries were still enacted in all their primitive purity. The 'Sun of Righteousness' still blazed high on the midnight sky' and, while darkness was upon the face of the profane world, there was eternal light in the Adyta on the nights of Initiation. The true Mysteries were never made public ..... (S.D. 3, 278)
What is the object of all this Initiation?
To give to every student “the proof of the immortality of his Spirit, and the survival of his Soul”. (S.D. 3, 283)
What then would Jesus, the Chrestos, teach his disciples, his pupils in the Mystery School?
“Plain truths (were) taught during Initiations to the Elect and these “plain truths” were the knowledge of the primeval laws of nature and the methods of human growth and continuance.
- IV -
(1) The New Birth.
The preparation for the first Initiation, for the birth that is to take place in the “cave of [Page 25] Initiation, the “heart” or Initiation Halls where secrets were revealed. The candidate had to pass through the “narrow gate leading to the Secret Chamber in the Pyramids, “leading to the Secret Chamber in the Pyramids, “the same 'straight gate' which 'leadeth unto life' or the new spiritual re-birth alluded to by Jesus in Matthew (VII, 13, et seq) [Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat; Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. ] and that it was of this gate in the Initiation Temple that the writer, who recorded the words, alleged to have been spoken by an Initiate, was thinking. (Isis Unveiled — 1, 337-338)
All Initiates took this 'mystic birth' during the Mystery of Initiation, and this was also the “immaculate origin. Later at each stage they are all “tempted, persecuted, and finally said to have been murdered at the end of the rite of Initiation, i.e., in their physical personalities, of which they are supposed to have been rid for ever after spiritual 'resurrection' or 'birth'. And having thus come to an end by this supposed violent death, they all descend to the Nether World, the Pit or Hell — the Kingdom of Temptation, Lust and Matter, therefore of Darkness, whence returning, having overcome the 'Chrest-condition', they are glorified and become Gods”. (S.D. 3, 141-142)
This is the birth from the “unreal into the “real. [Page 26]
“One just initiated is called the 'first-born' and in India he becomes dwija 'twice-born' only after his final and supreme initiation. Every Adept is a 'Son of God' and a 'Son of Light' after receiving the 'Word' when he becomes the 'Word' himself, after receiving the seven divine attributes or the 'lyre of Apollo' . (S.D. 3, 278 - Footnote )
“The earliest mysteries recorded in history are those of Samothrace. After the distribution of pure Fire, a new life began. This was the new birth of the Initiate, after which, like the Brahmans of old in India, he became a dwija — a 'twice-born' . (S.D. 3, 281)
“Except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God. [Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily Verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God ]
“ 'Born' from above, viz., from his Monad or divine Ego, the seventh Principle, which remains till the end of the Kalpa, the nucleus of, and at the same time the over-shadowing Principle as the Kâranâtma (Causal Soul) of the personality in every rebirth. In this sense the sentence 'born anew' means 'descends from above', the last two words having no reference to heaven or space....” (S.D. 3, 65 - Footnote)
“Most of the references that the 'little ones' in the Gospels, relate to the Initiates, of whom Jesus was one” (S.D. 2, 530)
“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 40,000 'Innocents'. There is a legend to this effect, and the event which took place almost a century B.C. [Page 27] shows the origin of the tradition blended at the same time with that of Krishna and his uncle Kansa. In the case of the New Testament — Herod stands for Alexander Jannaeus (of Lyda) whose persecution and murder of hundreds and thousands of Initiates led to the adoption of the Bible story. (S.D. 3, 530 Footnote)
“The Baptism in the Jordan is the Rite of Initiation, the final purification, whether in sacred pagoda, tank, river, or temple lake in Egypt or Mexico. The perfect Christos and Sophia — divine Wisdom and Intelligence — enter the Initiate at the moment of the mystical rite, by transference from Guru to Chela, and leave the physical body, at the moment of the death of the latter, to re-enter the Nirmânakâya, or the astral Ego of the Adept. (S.D. 3, 159)
“As John says of Jesus,
“I indeed baptize you with water; .... but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire”. [Matthew, 3, 11]
“The real significance of this statement is very profound. It means that John, a non-initiated ascetic, can impart to his disciples no greater wisdom than the Mysteries connected with the plane of matter, of which Water is the Symbol. His gnosis was that of exoteric and ritualistic dogma, of dead letter orthodoxy; while the wisdom which Jesus, and Initiate of the Higher Mysteries, would reveal to them was of a higher character, for it was the 'Fire' of Wisdom of the true [Page 28] gnosis or real Spiritual Enlightenment. One was Fire, the other the Smoke”. (S.D. 2, 598)
“In the Cycle of Initiation, which was very long, water represented the first and lower steps towards purification, while trials connected with Fire came last. Water could regenerate the Body of Matter; Fire alone that of the Inner Spiritual Man. ( S.D. 2, 598, Footnote)
Baptisms were variously named to be through water (astral) fire (mind) and spirit (Buddhic) and finally of Blood — the atonement or Nirvânic, when the Initiate died to the world, as was noted above.
Baptism by fire records the ancient descent of the Lords of the Fire Mist to endow and bless humanity with mind, the fire of intellect. (S.D. 3, 330)
To begin to know the worlds of Buddhi and Âtma is the object of these two Initiations.
In the Third Degree of Initiation the candidate is taught concerning the true unfolding of the Races of Mankind — the hierarchical order of Beings from God to Man was part of early mystery teaching as was the doctrine of the Septenary Chain and the simultaneous evolution of seven Humanities of Men. The true evolution of seven Humanities of Men. The true chronology of the Races was also taught, as was the nature of their future and the method of developing the qualities which would be characteristic of them. [Page 29]
The true nature of our place in the Racial scheme, the physical, emotional and mental, and Spiritual history of the Races, was especially taught and the candidate trained to have of them truthful visions which “were produced through a regular disciple of gradual Initiations, and the development of psychical powers. In Europe and Egypt the Mystae were brought into close union with those whom Proclus calls “mystical natures, “resplendent Gods...”.
As to the East, “The Doctrine of planetary and terrestrial Pitris was revealed entirely in ancient India, as well as now, only at the last moment of Initiation, and to the Adepts of superior degrees. (Isis Unveiled, 2, 114)
“The word Pitris may now be explained and something else added. In India, the chela of the third degree of Initiation has two Gurus: one the living Adept, the other the disembodied and glorified Mahâtma, who remains the advisor and instructor of even the high Adepts. Few are the accepted Chelas who even see their living Master, their Guru, till the day and hour of their final and for ever binding vow ....... (S.D. 3, 284)
This Initiation takes place upon a Mountain — the Himâlaya, Parnassus, Sinai, and so on. “They were all places of Initiation and the abodes of the Chiefs of the communities of ancient and even modern Adepts”. (S.D. 2, 519) During part of this Initiation the candidate was brought into a vast subterranean chamber, thickly furnished [Page 30] with mummies lying in state, he was placed in presence of the coffin which contained the mutilated body of Osiris. This was the hall called the “Gates of Death, whence the verse in Job:
“Have the gates of Death been opened to thee, or
Hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?'
[ Job, XXXVIII, 17 ]
“Thus asks the 'Lord', the Hierophant, the Al-om-jah, the Initiator of Job, alluding to this third degree of Initiation. For the Book of Job is the poem of Initiation par excellence.
“When the neophyte had conquered the terrors of this trial he was conducted to the 'Hall of Spirits' to be judged by them. Among the rules in which he was instructed, he was commanded:
“Never to either desire or seek revenge; to be always ready to help a brother in danger, even unto the risk of his own life; to bury every dead body; to honour his parents above all; to respect old age, and protect those weaker than himself; and finally, to ever bear in mind the hour of death and that of resurrection in a new and imperishable body.
“Purity and chastity were highly recommend, and adultery was threatened with death. Thus the Egyptian neophyte was made a Kristophoros”. [“Christ-light ] (S.D. 3, 294)
(4) Arhatship — Crucifixion.
(In Egypt) “on the days of Initiation, the candidate, representing the Solar God, had to descend into the Sarcophagus and represent the energizing ray, entering into the fecund womb [Page 31] of Nature. Emerging from it on the following morning, he typified the resurrection of Life after the change called Death. In the Great Mysteries his figurative 'death' last two days, when with the sun he arose on the third morning, after a last night of the most cruel trials. (S.D. 2, 484)
The cross of this crucifixion was in the form of a X and not the later cross.
“With the pre-christian symbologists it was.... 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. (S.D. 2, 620, Footnote)
Of this X shaped Cross, H.P.B said:
“Few world-symbols are more pregnant with real Occult meaning than the Swastika. It is symbolized by the figure 6. Like that figure it points, in its concrete imagery, as does the ideograph of the number, 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 ..... to the Pythagorean and Hermetic scales. One initiated into the mysteries of the meaning of the Swastika.. can trace on it with mathematical precision, the evolution of [Page 32] Kosmos and the whole period of Sandhya. Also 'the relation of the Seen to the Unseen' and 'the first procreation of man and species” . (S.D. 2, 621)
To a select circle of his Arhats the Buddha taught “things unseen and incorporeal”, the mysteries of Being outside our terrestrial sphere .... These Arhats received their Initiation at the famous Saptaparna Cave ... near Mt. Baibhâr in Râjagriha, the ancient capital of Magadha (S.D. 1, 4)
There is a tradition among the Âryans “that Gautama Buddha had two doctrines: one for the masses and his lay disciples, the other for his 'elect', the Arhats. His policy and after him that of His Arhats was, it appears, to refuse no one admission into the ranks of candidates for Arhatship, but never to divulge the final mysteries except to those who had proved themselves, during long years of probation, to be worthy of Initiation. These once accepted were consecrated and initiated without distinction of race, caste or wealth, as in the case of His Western successor .... (S.D. 3, 361)
The “Arhats of the Four Truths of the twenty-eight Faculties, or attributes, also learn that “each week has a distinct Occult character in the lunar month; each day of the twenty-eight has its special characteristics; for each of the twelve constellations, whether separately or in [Page 33] combination with other signs, has an Occult influence, either for good or for evil. This represents the sum of knowledge tha men can acquire on this earth; yet few are those who acquire it, and still fewer are the wise men who get to the root of knowledge symbolized by the great Root-Dragon, the spiritual Logos of these visible signs”. (S.D. 1, 440)
An Arhat must be able to penetrate to the absolute knowledge free of all errors of perception. Arhats have to bring again into activity the Third Eye physically represented by the Pineal Gland and during “spiritual consciousness sees an feels it and regulates his action accordingly”.
“It is a fundamental law in Occultism that there is no rest or cessation of motion in Nature”. (S.D. 1, 124)
“It is the knowledge of this law that permits and helps the Arhat to perform his Siddhis, or various phenomena, such as the disintegration of matter, the transport of objects from one place to another, etc.. (S.D. 1, 124, Footnote)
The seven Planetary Gods show themselves only to the Arhats but allow mortals to see “their dwellings (the planets)”. (S.D. 1, 126)
Man the crucified on the procrustean bed of Nature or torture when he rose from it became reborn as an Immortal or Adept.
“For Fire and Flame destroy the body of an Arhat, their essence makes him immortal”. (S.D. 1, 35) [Page 34]
“The Worlds, to the profane, are built up of the known Elements. To the conception of an Arhat, these elements are themselves, collectively a Divine Life; distributively on the planes of manifestations, the numberless and countless crores of Lives”. (S.D. 1, 269)
(5) Adeptship — ascension.
The Candidate for Adeptship has to struggle with his (by Magic) personified human passions, “when the enlightened Inner Man had to either slay them or fail. Succeeding, he “cast off his old skin and being born in a new body becoming a Son of Wisdom and Immortality in Eternity. (S.D. 2, 397)
We get strange glimpses of what happens to the high Initiates preparatory to their trials for Adeptship. They are nigh in powers to the divine Trinity, the workings of Life in the subtlest realms of a universe, and their relationship to all Âtmic, Egoic and personal qualities, and their Karma seems to be outside the range of ordinary comprehension. The “powers” they wield are directed from a source beyond the mind to reckon upon or cognise. Nirvâna is their normal state of consciousness and there is still to come to pass the ascension into the Sun of Life itself.
“The 'Five Words' of Brahma have become with the Gnostics the 'Five Words' written upon the Akâshic (shining) garments of Jesus at his glorification — the words Zama Zama Ozza Rachama Ozai ...[Page 35] 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 rope 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 Nirvâna. (S.D. 2, 613)
The Adept is entrusted with the secrets of the Elements and their correlations (S.D. 1, 324); with the power to change his visible form (S.D. 2, 745); with the gift of appearing to his seers without being visible to other persons present (S.D. 2, 814); he knows that “though Matter is eternal .... yet Atoms are born at every new Manvantara, or reconstruction of the universe” (S.D. 1, 595); his knowledge of certain starry constellations and his interpretation of them all combined reveal to him the greatest mysteries of Occult Nature (S.D. 2, 580); he has to become a Raja Yogi and understand the true nature of the “Seven Principles” of man (S.D. 1, 182) he can, through his spiritual faculties, trace the physical phenomena of the senses back to their transcendental set of causes (S.D. 1, 618); the “point” or atom “invisible on our plane of perception and matter is quite visible to the eye of the Adept who can follow and see it present on other planes” (S.D. 1, 531); he can claim thorough acquaintance with the nature and appearance of Planets and their [Page 36] inhabitants belonging to our Solar System (S.D. 2, 741); he knows all the Occult properties of light “every combination and correlation of it with other forces,mental, psychic and spiritual” (S.D. 1, 562); to him is divulged the last word of the mystery of the Lunar Chain (S.D. 1, 202); he has solved the great problems of science (S.D. 2, 471); the adepts have known that “the Moon guides the Occult side of terrestrial nature, while the Sun is the regulator and factor of manifested life” (S.D. 2, 629); they check, test and verify “in every department of Nature the traditions of old, by the independent visions of great Adepts; that is to say, men who have developed and perfected their physical, mental, psychic and spiritual organisations, to the utmost possible degree. No vision of one Adept was accepted till it was checked and confirmed by the visions — so obtained as to stand as independent evidence — of other Adepts, and by centuries of experience”. (S.D. 1, 294)
“.... The case of Jesus covers the ground for the same possibility as an Adept in the cases of all Adepts and Avataras, such as Buddha, Shankarâchârya, Krishna, etc., — all of these as great and as historical for their respective followers and in their countries, as Jesus of Nazareth is now for Christians and in this land.....”
“Why then wonder at the doubts that assail every scholar who studies all these lives? The Church herself knew all these doubts in her early [Page 37] stages.... This 'mystery', for mystery indeed it is to those who, not being Initiates, fail to find the Key of the perfect similitude between the lives of Pythagoras, Buddha, Apollonius, etc., — is only a natural result for those who know that all these great characters were Initiates of the same school. For them there is neither 'travesty' nor 'copy' of one from the other; for them they are all 'originals' only painted to represent one and the same subject; the mystic, and at the same time the public life of the Initiates, sent to the world to save portions of humanity, if they could not save the whole bulk. Hence the same programme for all. The assumed 'immaculate origin' for each, referring to their 'mystic birth' during the Mystery of Initiation, and accepted literally by the multitudes ... Thus the mother of each one of them was declared a virgin, conceiving her son directly by the Holy Spirit of God; and the Sons, in consequence, were the 'Son of God', though in truth none of them was any more entitled to such recognition than were the rest of his brother Initiates, for they were all — so far as their mystic lives were concerned — only 'the epitomisers of the history of the same Sun', which epitome is another mystery within the Mystery. The biographies of the external personalities bearing the names of such heroes have nothing to do with, and are quite independent of, the private lives of the heroes, being only the mystic records [Page 38] of their public, and parallel therewith, of their inner lives, in their characters as Neophytes and Initiates. Hence the manifest sameness of the means of construction of their respective biographies. From the beginning of Humanity the Cross, or man with his arms out horizontally, typifying his Kosmic origin, was connected with his psychic nature and with the struggles which lead to Initiation. But if it is once shown that (a) every true Adept had, and still has, to pass through the seven and twelve trials of Initiation, symbolised by the twelve labours of Hercules; (b) that the day of his real birth is regarded as that day when he is born into the world spiritually, his very age being counted from the hour of his second birth,which makes of him a 'twice-born', a Dvija or Initiate, on which day he is indeed born of a God from an immaculate Mother; and (c) that the trials of all these personages are made to correspond with the Esoteric significance of initiatory rites — all of which corresponded to the twelve zodiacal signs — then every one will see the meaning of the travels of all these heroes through the signs of the Sun in Heaven; and that they are in each individual case a personification of the 'sufferings, triumphs and miracles' of an Adept, before and after his Initiation”. (S.D. 3, 140-141)
“The Adepts have each their Dhyâni-Buddha, their elder “Twin Soul', and they know it, calling it “Father Soul' and “Father Fire'. It is only at [Page 39] the last and supreme Initiation, however, when placed face to face with the bright “Image' that they learn to recognise it .... (S.D. 1, 626)
H.P.B. quotes from the book Sources of Measures that the great words
“My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me?
said to be uttered in the supreme hour of loneliness when the Adept is born, and knows that high and awful moment of being face to face with God, should have these:
“My God, My God, how thou does glorify me! (S.D. 3, 147)
As to the learned revisers and translators of the Bible “are we going to be told that none of them saw the glaring difference between the Hebrew words in Psalm XXII, azabvtha-ni, and sabacthani in Matthew; that they were not aware of the deliberate falsification?
“For 'falsification' it was. And if we are asked the reason why the early Church Fathers resorted to it, the answer is plain; Because the Sacramental words belonged in their true rendering to Pagan Temple rites. They were pronounced after the terrible trials of Initiation, and where still fresh in the memory of some of the 'Fathers' when the Gospel of Matthew was edited into the Greek language. Because, finally, many of the Hierophants of the Mysteries, and many more of the Initiates, were still living in those days, and the sentence rendered in its true words would class [Page 40] Jesus directly with the simple Initiates. The word 'My God, my Sun, thou has poured thy radiance upon me!' were the final words that concluded the thanksgiving prayer of the initiate, 'the Son and the glorified Elect of the Sun'. In Egypt we find to this day carvings and paintings that represent the rite. The candidate is between two divine sponsors; one 'Osiris-Sun' with the head of a hawk, representing life, the other Mercury - the ibis-headed, psychopompic genius, who guides the Souls after death to their new above, Hades —standing for the death of the physical body, figuratively. Both are shown pouring the 'stream of life', the water of purification, on the head of the Initiate, the two streams of which, interlacing, form a cross....” (S.D. 3, 147-148)
What caused the disappearance of these great Mysteries?
Not that they really ever disappeared, for they were kept before the public in the pageantry of the lesser mysteries, and in the parables and prophecies of seers, teachers and prophets, and the consciousness of the masses was kept uneasy and therefore progressive by the warnings uttered by the teachers as to the results of unwise thought, feeling and action. Egypt was nearest to the new Western world with all its promise of lower critical mind and its attempts to make mystery teaching to conform to the conceptions of the least informed, [Page 41] and it was in Egypt that the mysteries began to die out.
“As was predicted by the great Hermes in his dialogue with Aesculapius, the time had indeed come when impious foreigners accused Egypt of adoring monsters, and naught but the letters engraved in stone upon her monuments survived — enigmas unintelligible to posterity. Her sacred Scribes and Hierophants became wanderers upon the face of the earth. Those who had remained in Egypt found themselves obliged for fear of profanation of the Sacred Mysteries to seek refuge in deserts and mountains, to form and establish secret societies and brotherhoods — such as the Essenes; those who had crossed the oceans to India and even to the (now-called) New World, bound themselves by solemn oaths to keep silent, and to preserve secret their Sacred Knowledge and Science; thus they were buried deeper than ever out of human sight. In Central Asia and on the Northern borderlands of India, the triumphant sword of Aristotle's pupil swept away from his path of conquest every vestige of once pure Religion; and its Adepts receded further and further from that path into the most hidden spots of the globe. The cycle ****** being at its close, the first hour for the disappearance of the Mysteries struck on the clock of the Races, with the Macedonian conqueror. The first strokes of its last hour sounded in the year 47 B.C.. Alesia, the [Page 42] famous city in Gaul, the Thebes of the Kelts, so renowned for its ancient rites of Initiation and Mysteries, was, as R.M. Ragon well describes it:
'The ancient metropolis of the tomb of Initiation, of the religion of the Druids and of the freedom of Gaul'.
“It was during the first century before our era that the last and supreme hour of the great Mysteries had struck. History shows the population of Central Gaul revolting against the Roman yoke The country was subject to Caesar, and the revolt was crushed; the result was the slaughter of the garrison of Alesia (or Alisa), and of all its inhabitants, including the Druids, the college-priests, and the neophytes; after this the whole city was plundered and razed to the ground.
“Bibractis, a city as large and as famous, not far, from Alesia, perished a few years later. J.M.Ragon described her end as follows:
'Bibractis, the mother of sciences, the soul of the early nations (in Europe), a town equally famous for its sacred college of Druids, its civilization, its schools, in which 40,000 students were taught philosophy, literature, grammar, jurisprudence, medicine, astrology, occult sciences, architecture, etc.. Rival of Thebes, of Memphis, of Athens and of Rome, it possessed an amphitheatre, surrounded with colossal statues, and accommodating 100, 000 spectators, gladiators, a capital, temples of Janus, Pluto, Proserpine, Jupiter, Apollo, Minerva, Cybele, Venus and Anubis; and in the midst of these sumptuous edifices the Naumachy, with is vast basin, an incredible construction, a gigantic work wherein floated boats and galleys devoted to naval games; then a Champ de Mars, an aqueduct, fountains, public baths; finally fortifications and walls, the construction of which dated from the heroic ages'. [Page 43]
Such was the last city in Gaul wherein died for Europe the secrets of the Initiations of the Great Mysteries, the Mysteries of Nature, and of her forgotten Occult truths. The rolls and manuscripts of the famous Alexandrian Library were burned and destroyed by the same Caesar, but while history deprecates the action of the Arab general, Amrus, who gave the final touch to this act of vandalism perpetrated by the great conqueror, it has not a word to say to the latter for his destruction of nearly the same amount of precious rolls in Alesia, nor to the destroyer of Bibractis. While Sacrovir — chief of the Gauls, who revolted against Roman despotism under Tiberius, and was defeated by Silius in the year 21 of our era — was burning himself alive with his fellow conspirators on a funeral pyre before the gates of the city, as Ragon tells us, the latter was sacked and plundered, and all her treasures of literature on the Occult Sciences perished by fire. The once majestic city, Bibractis, has now become Autun, Ragon explains. (S.D. 3, 298-299)
“The Eleusinian Mysteries were no more. Yet it was these which gave their principal features to the Neo-platonic school of Ammonius Saccas, for the Eclectic System was chiefly characterised by its Theurgy and ecstasis. It was Iamblichus who added to it the Egyptian doctrine of Theurgy with its practices, and Porphyry, the Jew, who opposed this new element. The school, however, [Page 44] with but few exceptions, practised asceticism and contemplation, its mystics passing through a discipline as rigorous as that of the Hindu devotee. Their efforts never tended so much to develop the successful practice of thaumaturgy, necromancy or sorcery — such as they are now accused of — as to evolve the higher faculties of the inner man, the Spiritual Ego. The school held that a number of spiritual beings, denizens of spheres, quite independent of the earth of the human cycle, were mediators between the 'Gods' and men, and even between man and the Supreme Soul. To put it in plainer language, the soul of man became, owing to the help of the planetary Spirits, 'recipient of the soul of the world' as Emerson puts it. Apollonius of Tyana asserted his possession of such a power in these words (quoted by Prof. Wilder in his Neo-Platonism):
'I can see the present and the future in a clear mirror. The sage (Adept) need not wait for the vapours of the earth and the corruption of the air to foresee plagues and fevers; he must know them later than God, but earlier than the people. The theoi or gods see the future; common men the present; sages that which is about to take place. My peculiar abstemious mode of living produces such an acuteness of the senses, or creates some other faculty, so that the greatest and most remarkable things may be performed” . (S.D. 3, 303)
“The Philaletheians ha their division into neophytes (chelas) and Initiates, or Masters; and the eclectic system was characterised by three distinct features, which are purely Vedântic; a [Page 45] Supreme Essence, One and Universal; the eternity and indivisibility of the human spirit; and Theurgy, which is Mantricism. So also as we have seen, they had their secret or esoteric teachings like any other mystic school. Nor were they allowed to reveal anything of their secret tenets, any more than were the Initiates of the Mysteries. Only the penalties incurred by the revealers of the secrets of the latter were far more terrible, and this prohibition has survived to this day, not only in India, but even among the Jewish Kabalist in Asia.
“One of the reasons for such secrecy may be the undoubtedly serious difficulties and hardships of chelaship, and the dangers attending Initiation. The modern candidate has, like his predecessor of old, to either conquer or die, when, which is still worse, he does not lose his reason. There is no danger to him who is true and sincere, and, especially, unselfish. For he is thus prepared beforehand to meet any temptation.
“He who fully recognised the power of his immortal spirit, and never doubted for one moment its omnipotent protection, had naught to fear. But woe to the candidate in whom the slightest physical fear — sickly child of matter — made him lose sight and faith in his own invulnerability. He who was not wholly confident of his moral fitness to accept the burden of these tremendous secrets was doomed.' (Isis Unveiled, 2, 119)
“There were no such dangers in Neo-Platonic Initiations. The selfish and unworthy failed in their object, and in the failure was the punishment. [Page 46] The chief aim was 'reunion of the part with the all '. This All was One, with numberless names. Whether called Dui, the 'bright Lord of Heaven' by the Aryan; Iao, by the Chaldean and Kabalist; Iabe by the Samaritan; the Tiu or Tuisco by the Northman; Duw, by the Briton; Zeus, by the Thracian or Jupiter by the Roman — it was the Being, the Facit, One and Supreme, the unborn and the inexhaustible source of every emanation, the fountain of life and light eternal, a Ray of which every one of us carries in him on this earth. The knowledge of this Mystery had reached the Neo-Platonists from India through Pythagoras, and still later through Apollonius of Tyana, and the rules and methods of producing ecstasy had come from the same lore of the divine Vidya, the Gnosis. For Aryavarta, the bright focus into which had been poured in the beginning of time the flames of Divine Wisdom, had become the centre from which radiated the 'tongues of fire' into every portion of the globe”. (S.D. 3, 310-312)
We have now traced, somewhat briefly, the wonderful purpose of Occult Teaching throughout the ages. As one takes these scattered references from the Secret Doctrine and thus pieces them together, there is created in one's own mind an illuminating vision of the vast high design in what is called Occultism. [Page 47]
Whether man is primitive or civilized,there is the constant care on the part of the Wise, the Sages, the Hierophants, from whatever quarter of the Universe they may arrive, to instruct him the meaning of his true destiny. He is never allowed to be so immersed in externals that his soul, his Self or God within, is stifled. Teacher after teacher exhorts, warns, loves and encourages him to be up and learning that it is not for the sake of the senses that the worlds are created, but that the Inner Ruler Immortal shall indeed be such, through love, through wisdom born of contacts which bring the realization of what are called pleasure and pain.
Occult teachings are given in words with hidden meanings, in parable and in ceremony,but in each case the object is the same, to release the Self, that it may be a glory of light unto the world, and not veiled.
The Path of Initiation is always the same in essentials — outer preparation and inner effort. The two go hand in hand. With each stage go secrets that are no secrets,but only power to serve further, as all do and must who set their feet upon the ancient and narrow path of one's own Divinity.
The exalted end of that Path when Man and God meet is best summed up in those thrilling words just quoted:
“My God, My God, how Thou dost glorify me! [Page 48]
I should like to draw a few conclusions:
Trouble arose, I imagine, in the days of Jesus because he divulged these Occult Teachings of the Arcane Schools of which he was a high Initiate. His disciples were clearly of the ranks of pupils or Initiates in the same Schools and knew of the true meaning of the words “Christos and “Chrestos. They knew of Jesus (or Jehoshua or Joshua) who strove to put before the public of his day, in symbol and parable, the mystery religion, and suffered all the hatreds that such daring ones meet with when they try to arouse men's minds from the lethargy of belief, orthodoxy and superstitions to new aspects of Life and Truth. I find for myself in the Gospels not food for controversy about dates, history or dogma, but the most amazingly fine and dramatic statement of the unvarying story of the growth of the individual from the point where that individuality begins to transcend the human process and takes on the superhuman and spiritual training, the birth that ends in Death, birth of the Self as Atma, death even of the Atma that Godhead may be left free to know itself as One — the perfected dewdrop slips into the shining sea of Life Eternal
Such teaching was secret: Jesus gave it openly and it has remained open to all who care to take it and find Salvation, the “farther shore (of the Buddhist), the Liberation of the Hindu; [Page 49] for the way of true Cross, and way of Ascension, of fulfilment, is for all.
As I watch the celebration of the Eucharist in various Christian sects I see this story repeated. Through verbiage, gesture, vestment, and all non-essential yet reverent elements, there is revealed the age-long teaching of the approach, the ascent, the at-one-ment of the Son of Man with his Godhead, and this is the Occult Teaching of the Christ, the mystery story, the Initiation of the Self into the full blaze of Divinity.
Very rightly does the Eucharist ceremony end with the solemn words:
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