This symbolical sentence, in its many-sided forms, is certainly most dangerous and iconoclastic in the face of all the dualistic later religions, or rather theologies, and especially so in the light of Christianity. Yet it is neither just nor correct to say that it is Christianity which has conceived and brought forth Satan. As an “Adversary,” the opposing Power required by the equilibrium and harmony of things in Nature, as Shadow is required to make still brighter the Eight, as Night to bring into greater relief the Day, and as Cold to make one appreciate the more the comfort of Heat, so has Satan ever existed. Homogeneity is one and indivisible. But if the homogeneous One and Absolute is no mere figure of speech, and if Heterogeneity, in its dualistic aspect, is its offspring, its bifurcous shadow or reflection, then even that divine Homogeneity must contain in itself the essence of both good and evil. If “God” is Absolute, Infinite, and the Universal Root of all and everything in Nature and its Universe, whence comes Evil or D'Evil if not from the same Golden Womb of the Absolute? Thus we are forced either to accept the emanation of good and evil, of Agathodæmon and Kakodæmon, as offshoots from the same trunk of the Tree of Being, or to resign ourselves to the absurdity of believing in two eternal Absolutes!
Having to trace the origin of the idea to the very beginnings of the human mind, it is but just, meanwhile, to give his due even to the proverbial Devil. Antiquity knew of no isolated, thoroughly and absolutely bad “God of evil.” Pagan thought represented good and evil as twin brothers, born from the same mother—Nature; so soon as that thought ceased to be archaic, Wisdom passed into Philosophy. In the beginning the symbols of good and evil were mere abstractions, Light and Darkness; later their types were chosen among the most natural and ever-recurrent periodical cosmic phenomena—the Day and Night, or the Sun and Moon. Then the Hosts of the Solar and Lunar Deities were made to represent them, and the Dragon of Darkness was contrasted with the Dragon of Light. The Host of Satan is a Son of God, no less than the Host of the B'ne Alhim, the Children of God who came to “present themselves before the Lord,” their Father.665 “The Sons of God” become the “Fallen Angels” only after perceiving that the daughters of men were fair.666 In the Indian philosophy, the Suras are among the earliest and the brightest Gods, and become Asuras only when dethroned by Brâhmanical fancy, Satan never assumed an anthropomorphic, individualized shape, until the creation by man, of a “one living personal God,” had been accomplished; and then merely as a matter of prime necessity. A screen was needed; a scape-goat to explain the cruelty, blunders, and but too-evident injustice, perpetrated by him for whom absolute perfection, mercy and goodness were claimed. This was the first Karmic effect of abandoning a philosophical and logical Pantheism, to build, as a prop for lazy man, “a merciful Father in Heaven,” whose daily and hourly actions, as Natura Naturans, the “comely Mother but stone cold,” belie the assumption. This led to the primal twins, Osiris-Typhon, Ormazd-Ahriman, and finally Cain-Abel and the tutti quanti of contraries.
Having commenced by being synonymous with Nature, “God,” the Creator, ended by being made its author. Pascal settles the difficulty very cunningly by saying:
Nature has perfections, in order to show that she is the image of God; and defects, in order to show that she is only his image.
The further back one recedes into the darkness of the prehistoric ages, the more philosophical does the prototypic figure of the later Satan appear. The first “Adversary,” in individual human form, that one meets with in old Purânic literature, is one of her greatest Rishis and Yogis—Nârada, surnamed the “Strife-maker.”
And he is a Brahmaputra, a son of Brahmâ, the male. But of him later on. Who the great “Deceiver” really is, one can ascertain by searching for him, with open eyes and an unprejudiced mind, in every old Cosmogony and Scripture.
It is the anthropomorphized Demiurge, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, when separated from the collective Hosts of his Fellow-Creators, whom, so to speak, he represents and synthesizes. It is now the God of Theologies. “The wish is father to the thought.” Once upon a time, a philosophical symbol left to perverse human fancy; afterwards, fashioned into a fiendish, deceiving, cunning, and jealous God.
As the Dragons and other Fallen Angels are described in other parts of this work, a few words upon the much-slandered Satan will be sufficient. The student will do well to remember that, with every people, except the Christian nations, the Devil is to this day no worse an entity than the opposite aspect, in the dual nature of the so-called Creator. This is only natural. One cannot claim God as the synthesis of the whole Universe, as Omnipresent and Omniscient and Infinite, and then divorce him from Evil. As there is far more Evil than Good in the world, it follows on logical grounds that either God must include Evil, or stand as the direct cause of it, or else surrender his claims to Absoluteness. The Ancients understood this so well that their philosophers, now followed by the Kabalists, defined Evil as the “lining” of God or Good; Demon est Deus inversus, being a very old adage. Indeed, Evil is but an antagonizing blind force in Nature; it is reäction, opposition, and contrast—evil for some, good for others. There is no malum in se; only the Shadow of Light, without which Light could have no existence, even in our perceptions. If Evil disappeared, Good would disappear along with it from Earth. The “Old Dragon” was pure Spirit before he became Matter, passive before he became active. In the Syro-Chaldean Magic both Ophis and Ophiomorphos are joined in the Zodiac in the sign of the Androgyne Virgo-Scorpio. Before its fall on earth the Serpent was Ophis-Christos, and after its fall it became Ophiomorphos-Chrestos. Everywhere the speculations of the Kabalists treat of Evil as a Force, which is antagonistic, but at the same time essential, to Good, as giving it vitality and existence, which it could never have otherwise. There would be no Life possible (in the mâyâvic sense) without Death; no regeneration and reconstruction without destruction. Plants would perish in eternal sunlight, and so would man, who would become an automaton without the exercise of his free will, and his aspiring towards that sunlight, which would lose its being and value for him had he nothing but light. Good is infinite and eternal only in the eternally concealed from us, and this is why we imagine it eternal. On the manifested planes, one equilibrates the other. Few are those Theists, believers in a Personal God, who do not make of Satan the shadow of God; or who, confounding both, do not believe they have a right to pray to their idol, asking its help and protection for the exercise of and immunity for their evil and cruel deeds. “Lead us not into temptation” is addressed daily to “our Father, in Heaven,” and not to the Devil, by millions of Christian hearts. This they do, repeating the very words put into the mouth of their Saviour, and yet do not give one thought to the fact that their meaning is contradicted point blank by James, “the brother of the Lord”:
Let do man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.667
Why, then, say that it is the Devil who tempts us, when the Church teaches us, on the authority of Christ, that it is God who does so? Open any pious volume in which the word “temptation” is defined in its theological sense, and forthwith you find two definitions:
(1) Those afflictions and troubles whereby God tries his people; (2) Those means and enticements which the Devil makes use of to ensnare and allure mankind.668
Accepted literally, the teachings of Christ and James contradict each other, and what dogma can reconcile the two if the Occult meaning is rejected?
Between the alternative allurements, wise will be that philosopher who will be able to decide where God disappears to make room for the Devil! Therefore, when we read that “the Devil is a liar and the father of it,” that is an incarnate lie, and are also told in the same breath that Satan, the Devil, was a Son of God and the most beautiful of his Archangels, rather than believe that Father and Son are a gigantic, personified and eternal Lie, we prefer to turn to Pantheism and to Pagan philosophy for information.
Once that the key to Genesis is in our hands, the scientific and symbolical Kabalah unveils the secret. The Great Serpent of the Garden of Eden and the “Lord God” are identical, and so are Jehovah and Cain—that Cain who is referred to in Theology as the “murderer” and the Liar to God! Jehovah tempts the King of Israel to number the people, and Satan tempts him to do the same in another place. Jehovah turns into the Fiery Serpents to bite those he is displeased with; and Jehovah informs the Brazen Serpent that heals them.
These short, and seemingly contradictory, statements in the Old Testament—contradictory because the two Powers are separated instead of being regarded as the two faces of one and the same thing—are the echoes, distorted out of recognition by exotericism and theology, of the universal and philosophical dogmas in Nature, so well understood by the primitive Sages. We find the same groundwork in several personifications in the Purânas, only far more ample and philosophically suggestive.
Thus Pulastya, a “Son of God,” one of the first progeny, is made the progenitor of Demons, the Râkshasas, the tempters and the devourers of men. Pishâchâ, a female Demon, is a daughter of Daksha, a “Son of God” too, and a God, and the mother of all the Pishâchas.669 The Demons, so-called in the Purânas, are very extraordinary Devils when judged from the standpoint of European and orthodox views, since all of them, Dânavas, Daityas, Pishâchas, and Râkshasas, are represented as extremely pious, following the precepts of the Vedas, some of them even being great Yogins. But they oppose the clergy and ritualism, sacrifices and forms, just as the head Yogins do to this day in India, and are no less respected for it, though they are permitted to follow neither caste nor ritual; hence all those Purânic Giants and Titans are called Devils. The missionaries, ever on the watch to show, if they can, that the Hindû traditions are nothing better than a reflection of the Jewish Bible, have evolved a whole romance on the alleged identity of Pulastya with Cain, and of the Râkshasas with the Cainites, the “Accursed,” the cause of the “Noachian” Deluge. (See the work of Abbé Gorresio, who “etymologizes” Pulastya's name as meaning the “rejected,” hence Cain, if you please). Pulastya dwells in Kedara, he says, which means a “dug-up place,” a “mine,” and Cain is shown, in tradition and the Bible, as the first worker in metals and a miner thereof!
While it is very probable that the Gibborim, or Giants, of the Bible are the Râkshasas of the Hindûs, it is still more certain that both are Atlanteans, and belong to the submerged races. However it may be, no Satan could be more persistent in slandering his enemy, or more spiteful in his hatred, than the Christian Theologians are in cursing him as the father of every evil. Compare their vituperation and their opinions about the Devil with the philosophical views of the Purânic Sages and their Christ-like mansuetude. When Parâshara, whose father was devoured by a Râkshasa, was preparing himself to destroy, by magic arts, the whole race, his grandsire, Vasishtha, after showing the irate Sage, on his own confession, that there is Evil and Karma, but no “evil Spirits” speaks the following suggestive words:
Let thy wrath be appeased: the Râkshasas are not culpable; thy father's death was the work of Destiny [Karma]. Anger is the passion of fools; it becometh not a wise man. By whom, it may be asked, is any one killed? Every man reaps the consequences of his own acts. Anger, my son, is the destruction of all that man obtains ... and prevents the attainment ... of emancipation. The ... sages shun wrath: be not thou, my child, subject to its influence. Let no more of those unoffending spirits of darkness be consumed; let this thy sacrifice cease. Mercy is the might of the righteous.670
Thus, every such “sacrifice” or prayer to God for help is no better than an act of Black Magic. That which Parâshara prayed for, was the destruction of the Spirits of Darkness, for his personal revenge. He is called a Pagan, and the Christians have doomed him, as such, to Eternal Hell. Yet, in what respect is the prayer of sovereigns and generals, who pray before every battle for the destruction of their enemy, any better? Such a prayer is in every case Black Magic of the worst kind, concealed like a demon “Mr. Hyde” under a sanctimonious “Dr. Jekyll.”
In human nature, evil denotes only the polarity of Matter and Spirit, a “struggle for life” between the two manifested Principles in Space and Time, which Principles are one per se, inasmuch as they are rooted in the Absolute. In Cosmos, the equilibrium must be preserved. The operations of the two contraries produce harmony, like the centripetal and centrifugal forces, which, being mutually inter-dependent, are necessary to each other, “in order that both should live.” If one should be arrested, the action of the other would become immediately self-destructive.
Since the personification called Satan has been amply analyzed from its triple aspect, in the Old Testament, Christian Theology and the ancient Gentile attitude of thought, those who would learn more of the subject are referred to Isis Unveiled671 and the Second Part of Volume II of the present work. The subject is here touched upon, and fresh explanations are attempted, for a very good reason. Before we can approach the evolution of Physical and Divine Man, we have first to master the idea of Cyclic Evolution, to acquaint ourselves with the philosophies and beliefs of the four Races which preceded our present Race, and to learn what were the ideas of those Titans and Giants—Giants, verily, mentally, as well as physically. The whole of antiquity was imbued with that philosophy which teaches the involution of Spirit into Matter, the progressive, downward cyclic descent, or active, self-conscious evolution. The Alexandrian Gnostics have sufficiently divulged the secrets of Initiations, and their records are full of the “falling down of the Æons,” in their double qualification of Angelic Beings and Periods; the one the natural evolution of the other. On the other hand, Oriental traditions on both sides of the “Black Water,” the Oceans that separate the two “Easts,” are equally full of allegories about the downfall of the Plerôma, or that of the Gods and Devas. One and all, they allegorized and explained the Fall as the desire to learn and acquire knowledge—the desire to know. This is the natural sequence of mental evolution, the Spiritual becoming transmuted into the Material or Physical. The same law of descent into Materiality and of reäscent into Spirituality asserted itself during the Christian era, the reäction having only stopped just now, in our own special Sub-race.
That which was allegorized in Pymander, perhaps ten millenniums ago, for a triune mode of interpretation, and intended for a record of an astronomical, anthropological, and even alchemical fact, namely, the allegory of the Seven Rectors breaking through the Seven Circles of Fire, was dwarfed into one material and anthropomorphic interpretation—the Rebellion and Fall of the Angels. The multivocal, profoundly philosophical narrative, under its poetical form of the “Marriage of Heaven with Earth,” the love of Nature for Divine Form, and the Heavenly Man enraptured with his own beauty mirrored in Nature, that is to say, Spirit attracted into Matter, has now become, under theological handling, the Seven Rectors disobeying Jehovah, self-admiration generating Satanic pride, followed by their Fall, Jehovah permitting no worship to be lost save upon himself. In short, the beautiful Planet-Angels, the glorious Cyclic Æons of the Ancients, have become synthesized in their most orthodox shape in Samael, the Chief of the Demons in the Talmud, “that Great Serpent with Twelve Wings that draws down after himself, in his Fall, the Solar System, or the Titans.” But Schemal—the alter ego and the Sabean type of Samael—in his philosophical and esoteric aspect, meant the “Year,” in its astrological evil aspect, with its twelve months or “Wings” of unavoidable evils, in Nature. In Esoteric Theogony both Schemal and Samael represented a particular divinity.672 With the Kabalists they are the “Spirit of the Earth,” the Personal God that governs it, and therefore de facto identical with Jehovah. For the Talmudists themselves admit that Samael is a god-name of one of the seven Elohim. The Kabalists, moreover, show the two, Schemal and Samael, as a symbolical form of Saturn, Cronus; the “Twelve Wings” standing for the twelve months, and the symbol in its collectivity representing a racial cycle. Jehovah and Saturn are also glyphically identical.
This leads, in its turn, to a very curious deduction from a Roman Catholic dogma. Many renowned writers belonging to the Latin Church admit that a difference exists, and should be made, between the Uranian Titans, the antediluvian Giants, who were also Titans, and those post-diluvian Giants, in whom the Roman Catholics persist in seeing the descendants of the mythical Ham. In clearer words, there is a difference to be made between the cosmic, primordial opposing Forces, guided by Cyclic Law, the Atlantean human Giants, and the post-diluvian great Adepts, whether of the Right or the Left-hand. At the same time they show that Michael, “the generalissimo of the fighting Celestial Host, the bodyguard of Jehovah,” as it would seem, according to de Mirville, is also a Titan, only with the adjective of “divine” before the cognomen. Thus those “Uranides” who are called everywhere “Divine Titans”—and who, having rebelled against Cronus, or Saturn, are therefore also shown to be the enemies of Samael, also one of the Elohim, and synonymous with Jehovah in his collectivity—are identical with Michael and his Host. In short, the rôles are reversed, all the combatants are confused, and no student is able to distinguish clearly which is which. Esoteric explanation may, however, bring some order into this confusion, in which Jehovah becomes Saturn, and Michael and his Army, Satan and the Rebellious Angels, owing to the indiscreet endeavours of the too faithful zealots to see a Devil in every Pagan God. The true meaning is far more philosophical, and the legend of the first “Fall” of the Angels assumes a scientific colouring when correctly understood.
Cronus stands for endless, and hence immovable Duration, without beginning, without end, beyond divided Time and beyond Space. Those Angels, Genii, or Devas, who were born to act in space and time, that is, to break through the Seven Circles of the super-spiritual planes into the phenomenal, or circumscribed, super-terrestrial regions, are said allegorically to have rebelled against Cronus, and fought the Lion who was then the one living and highest God. When Cronus, in his turn, is represented as mutilating Uranus, his father, the meaning of the allegory is very simple. Absolute Time is made to become the finite and conditioned; a portion is robbed from the whole, thus showing that Saturn, the Father of the Gods, has been transformed from Eternal Duration into a limited period. Cronus with his scythe cuts down even the longest and, to us, seemingly endless cycles, which, for all that, are limited in Eternity, and with the same scythe destroys the mightiest rebels. Aye, not one will escape the scythe of Time! Praise the God or Gods, or flout one or both, that scythe will not tremble one millionth of a second in its ascending or descending course.
The Titans of Hesiod's Theogony were copied in Greece from the Suras and Asuras of India. These Hesiodic Titans, the Uranides, which were once upon a time numbered as only six, have been recently discovered, in an old fragment relating to the Greek myth, to be seven, the seventh being called Phoreg. Thus their identity with the Seven Rectors is fully demonstrated. The origin of the War in Heaven and the Fall has, in our mind, to be traced unavoidably to India, and perhaps far earlier than the Purânic accounts thereof. For the Târakâmaya was in a later age, and there are accounts of three distinct Wars to be traced in almost every Cosmogony.
The first War happened in the night of time, between the Gods and (A)-suras, and lasted for the period of one Divine Year.673 On this occasion the Deities were defeated by the Daityas, under the leadership of Hrâda. But afterwards, owing to a device of Vishnu, to whom the conquered Gods applied for help, the latter defeated the Asuras. In the Vishnu Purâna no interval is found between the two Wars. In the Esoteric Doctrine, however, one War takes place before the building of the Solar System; another, on Earth, at the “creation” of man; and a third War is mentioned as taking place at the close of the Fourth Race, between its Adepts and those of the Fifth Race; that is, between the Initiates of the “Sacred Island” and the Sorcerers of Atlantis. We shall notice the first contest, as recounted by Parâshara, and endeavour to separate the two accounts, which are purposely blended together.
It is there stated that as the Daityas and Asuras were engaged in the duties of their respective Orders (Varnas) and followed the paths prescribed by holy writ, practising also religious penance—a queer employment for Demons if they are identical with our Devils, as it is claimed—it was impossible for the Gods to destroy them. The prayers addressed by the Gods to Vishnu are curious, as showing the ideas involved in an anthropomorphic Deity. Having, after their defeat, “fled to the northern shore of the Milky Ocean [Atlantic Ocean],”674 the discomfited Gods address many supplications “to the first of Beings, the divine Vishnu,” and among others the following:
Glory to thee, who art one with the Saints, whose perfect nature is ever blessed, and traverses, unobstructed, all permeable elements. Glory to thee, who art one with the Serpent-Race, double-tongued, impetuous, cruel, insatiate of enjoyment and abounding with wealth.... Glory to thee, ... O Lord, who hast neither colour nor extension, nor bulk (ghana), nor any predicable qualities, and whose essence (rûpa), purest of the pure, is appreciable only by holy Paramarshis [the greatest of Sages or Rishis]. We bow to thee, in the nature of Brahma, uncreated, undecaying (avyaya); who art in our bodies, and in all other bodies, and in all living creatures; and beside whom nothing exists. We glorify that Vâsudeva, the lord (of all), who is without soil, the seed of all things, exempt from dissolution, unborn, eternal; being, in essence, Paramapadâtmavat [beyond the condition of Spirit], and, in substance (rûpa), the whole of this (Universe).675
The above is quoted as an illustration of the vast field offered by the Purânas to adverse and erroneous criticism, by every European bigot who forms an estimate of an alien religion on mere external evidence. Any man accustomed to subject what he reads to thoughtful analysis, will see at a glance the incongruity of addressing the accepted “Unknowable,” the formless, and attributeless Absolute, such as the Vedântins define Brahman, as being “one with the Serpent-Race, double-tongued, cruel and insatiable,” thus associating the abstract with the concrete, and bestowing adjectives on that which is free from any limitations, and conditionless. Even Professor Wilson, who, after living surrounded by Brâhmans and Pandits in India for so many years, ought to have known better—even that scholar lost no opportunity of criticizing the Hindû Scriptures on this account. Thus, he exclaims:
The Purânas constantly teach incompatible doctrines! According to this passage,676 the Supreme Being is not the inert cause of creation only, but exercises the functions of an active providence. The Commentator quotes a text of the Vedain support of this view: “Universal Soul entering into men, governs their conduct.”Incongruities, however, are as frequent in the Vedas as in the Purânas.
Less frequent, in sober truth, than in the Mosaic Bible. But prejudice is great in the hearts of our Orientalists, especially in those of “reverend” scholars. Universal Soul is not the inert Cause of Creation or (Para) Brahman, but simply that which we call the Sixth Principle of Intellectual Kosmos, on the manifested plane of being. It is Mahat, or Mahâbuddhi, the Great Soul, the Vehicle of Spirit, the first primeval reflection of the formless Cause, and that which is even beyond Spirit. So much for Professor Wilson's uncalled-for fling at the Purânas. As for the apparently incongruous appeal to Vishnu by the defeated Gods, the explanation is there, in the text of Vishnu Purâna, if Orientalists would only notice it. There is Vishnu as Brahmâ, and Vishnu in his two aspects, philosophy teaches. There is but one Brahman, “essentially Prakriti and Spirit.”
This ignorance is truly and beautifully expressed in the praise of the Yogins to Brahmâ, “the upholder of the earth,” when they say:
Those who have not practised devotion conceive erroneously of the nature of the world. The ignorant, who do not perceive that this Universe is of the nature of Wisdom, and judge of it as an object of perception only, are lost in the ocean of spiritual ignorance. But they who know true Wisdom, and whose minds are pure, behold this whole world as one with Divine Knowledge, as one with thee, O God! Be favourable, O universal Spirit!677
Therefore, it is not Vishnu, “the inert cause of creation,” which exercised the functions of an Active Providence, but the Universal Soul, that which, in its material aspect, Éliphas Lévi calls Astral Light. And this Soul is, in its dual aspect of Spirit and Matter, the true anthropomorphic God of the Theists; for this God is a personification of that Universal Creative Agent, both pure and impure, owing to its manifested condition and differentiation in this Mâyâvic World—God and Devil, truly. But Professor Wilson failed to see how Vishnu, in this character, closely resembles the Lord God of Israel, “especially in his policy of deception, temptation, and cunning.”
In the Vishnu Purâna this is made as plain as can be. For it is said there, that:
At the conclusion of their prayers (stotra) the Gods beheld the Sovereign Deity Hari (Vishnu) armed with the shell, the discus, and the mace, riding on Garuda.
Now Garuda is the Manvantaric Cycle, as will be shown in its place. Vishnu, therefore, is the Deity in Space and Time, the peculiar God of the Vaishnavas. Such Gods are called in Esoteric Philosophy tribal or racial; that is to say, one of the many Dhyânis or Gods, or Elohim, one of whom was generally chosen for some special reason by a nation or a tribe, and thus became gradually a “God above all Gods,”678 the “highest God,” as Jehovah, Osiris, Bel, or any other of the Seven Regents.
“The tree is known by its fruit”; the nature of a God by his actions. We must either judge these actions by the dead-letter narratives, or must accept them allegorically. If we compare the two—Vishnu, as the defender and champion of the defeated Gods; and Jehovah, the defender and champion of the “chosen” people, so called by antiphrasis, no doubt, as it is the Jews who had chosen that “jealous” God—we shall find that both use deceit and cunning. They do so on the principle of “the end justifying the means,” in order to have the best of their respective opponents and foes—the Demons. Thus while, according to the Kabalists, Jehovah assumes the shape of the tempting Serpent in the Garden of Eden, sends Satan with a special mission to tempt Job, harasses and wearies Pharaoh with Saraï, Abraham's wife, and “hardens” another Pharaoh's heart against Moses, lest there should be no opportunity for plaguing his victims “with great plagues,” Vishnu is made in his Purâna to resort to a trick no less unworthy of any respectable God.
The defeated Gods addressed Vishnu as follows:
Have compassion upon us, O Lord, and protect us, who have come to thee for succour from the Daityas (Demons)! They have seized upon the three worlds, and appropriated the offerings which are our portion, taking care not to transgress the precepts of the Veda. Although we, as well as they, are parts of thee679 ... engaged [as they are] ... in the paths prescribed by the holy writ ... it is impossible for us to destroy them. Do thou, whose wisdom is immeasurable (Ameyâtman) instruct us in some device by which we may be able to exterminate the enemies of the Gods!
When the mighty Vishnu heard their request, he emitted from his body an illusory form (Mâyâmoha, the “deluder by illusion”) which he gave to the Gods and thus spake: “This Mâyâmoha shall wholly beguile the Daityas, so that, being led astray from the path of the Vedas, they may be put to death.... Go then and fear not. Let this delusive vision precede you. It shall this day be of great service unto you, O Gods!”
After this, the great Delusion (Mâyâmoha) having proceeded (to earth), beheld the Daityas, engaged in ascetic penances, and approaching them, in the semblance of a Digambara (naked mendicant) with his head shaven ... he thus addressed them, in gentle accents: “Ho, lords of the Daitya race, wherefore is it that you practise these acts of penances?” etc.680
Finally the Daityas were seduced by the wily talk of Mâyâmoha, as Eve was seduced by the advice of the Serpent. They became apostates to the Vedas. As Dr. Muir translates the passage:
The great Deceiver, practising illusion, next beguiled other Daityas, by means of many other sorts of heresy. In a very short time, these Asuras (Daityas), deluded by the Deceiver [who was Vishnu] abandoned the entire system founded on the ordinances of the triple Veda. Some reviled the Vedas; others, the ceremonial of sacrifice; and others, the Brâhmans. This (they exclaimed), is a doctrine which will not bear discussion: the slaughter (of animals, in sacrifice), is not conducive to religious merit. (To say, that) oblations of butter consumed in the fire produce any future reward, is the assertion of a child.... If it be a fact that a beast slain in sacrifice is exalted to heaven, why does not the worshipper slaughter his own father?... Infallible utterances do not, great Asuras, fall from the skies; it is only assertions founded on reasoning that are accepted by me and by other [intelligent] persons like yourselves! Thus by numerous methods the Daityas were unsettled by the great Deceiver [Reason].... When the Daityas had entered on the path of error, the Deities mustered all their energies and approached to battle. Then followed a combat between the Gods and the Asuras; and the latter, who had abandoned the right road, were smitten by the former. In previous times they had been defended by the armour of righteousness which they bore; but, when that had been destroyed, they, also, perished.681
Whatever may be thought of the Hindûs, no enemy of theirs can regard them as fools. A people, whose holy men and sages have left to the world the greatest and most sublime philosophies that ever emanated from the minds of men, must have known the difference between right and wrong. Even a savage can discern white from black, good from bad, and deceit from sincerity and truthfulness. Those who had narrated this event in the biography of their God, must have seen that in this case it was that God who was the Arch-Deceiver, and the Daityas, who “never transgressed the precepts of the Vedas,” who had the sunny side in the transaction, and who were the true “Gods.” Thence there must have been, and there is a secret meaning hidden under this allegory. In no class of society, in no nation, are deceit and craft considered as divine virtues—except perhaps in the clerical classes of Theologians and modern Jesuitism.
The Vishnu Purâna,682 like all other works of this kind, passed at a later period into the hands of the Temple-Brâhmans, and the old MSS. have, no doubt, been further tampered with by sectarians. But there was a time when the Purânas were esoteric works, and so they are still for the Initiates who can read them with the key that is in their possession.
Whether the Brâhman Initiates will ever give out the full meaning of these allegories, is a question with which the writer is not concerned. The present object is to show that, while honouring the Creative Powers in their multiple forms, no philosopher could have, or ever has, accepted the allegory for its true spirit, except, perhaps, some philosophers belonging to the present “superior and civilized” Christian races. For, as shown, Jehovah is not one whit the superior of Vishnu on the plane of ethics. This is why the Occultists, and even some Kabalists, whether or not they regard those creative Forces as living and conscious Entities—and one does not see why they should not be so accepted—will never confuse the Cause with the Effect, and accept the Spirit of the Earth for Parabrahman, or Ain Suph. At all events they know well the true nature of what was called by the Greeks Father-Æther, Jupiter-Titan, etc. They know that the Soul of the Astral Light is divine, and its Body—the Light-waves on the lower planes—infernal. This Light is symbolized by the “Magic Head” in the Zohar, the Double Face on the Double Pyramid; the black Pyramid rising against a pure white ground, with a white Head and Face within its black Triangle; the White Pyramid, inverted—the reflection of the first in the dark Waters—showing the black reflection of the white Face.
This is the Astral Light, or Demon est Deus Inversus.
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