To thoroughly comprehend the idea underlying every ancient Cosmology necessitates the study and comparative analysis of all the great religions of antiquity; for it is only by this method that the root-idea can be made plain. Exact Science, could it soar so high, in tracing the operations of Nature to their ultimate and original sources, would call this idea the Hierarchy of Forces. The original, transcendental and philosophical conception was one. But as systems began to reflect more and more with every age the idiosyncrasies of nations, and as the latter, after separating, settled into distinct groups, each evolving along its own national or tribal groove, the main idea gradually became veiled by the overgrowth of human fancy. While in some countries the Forces, or rather the intelligent Powers of Nature, received divine honours to which they were hardly entitled, in others—as now in Europe and the other civilized lands—the very thought of such Forces being endowed with intelligence seems absurd, and is proclaimed unscientific. Therefore one finds relief in such statements as are found in the Introduction to Asgard and the Gods; “Tales and Traditions of our Northern Ancestors,” edited by W. S. W. Anson, who says:
Although in Central Asia, or on the banks of the Indus, in the Land of the Pyramids, and in the Greek and Italian peninsulas, and even in the North, whither Kelts, Teutons and Slavs wandered, the religious conceptions of the people have taken different forms, yet their common origin is still perceptible. We point out this connection between the stories of the Gods, and the deep thought contained in them, and their importance, in order that the reader may see that it is not a magic world of erratic fancy which opens out before him, but that ... Life and Natureformed the basis of the existence and action of these divinities.683
And though it is impossible for any Occultist or student of Eastern Esotericism to concur in the strange idea that, “the religious conceptions of the most famous nations of antiquity are connected with the beginnings of civilization amongst the Germanic races,”684 he is yet glad to find such truths expressed as that: “These fairy tales are not senseless stories written for the amusement of the idle; they embody the profound religion of our forefathers.”685
Precisely so. Not only their Religion, but likewise their History. For a myth, in Greek μ?θος, means oral tradition, passed from mouth to mouth from one generation to the other; and even in the modern etymology the term stands for a fabulous statement conveying some important truth; a tale of some extraordinary personage whose biography has become overgrown, owing to the veneration of successive generations, with rich popular fancy, but which is no wholesale fable. Like our ancestors, the primitive ryans, we believe firmly in the personality and intelligence of more than one phenomenon-producing Force in Nature.
As time rolled on, the archaic teaching grew dimmer; and the nations more or less lost sight of the Highest and One Principle of all things, and began to transfer the abstract attributes of the Causeless Cause to the caused effects, which became in their turn causative, the Creative Powers of the Universe; the great nations thus acted from fear of profaning the Idea; the smaller, because they either failed to grasp it, or lacked the power of philosophic conception needed to preserve it in all its immaculate purity. But one and all, with the exception of the latest ryans, now become Europeans and Christians, show this veneration in their Cosmogonies. As Thomas Taylor,686 the most intuitional of all the translators of the Greek Fragments, shows, no nation has ever conceived the One Principle as the immediate creator of the visible Universe, for no sane man would credit a planner and architect with having built with his own hands the edifice he admires. On the testimony of Damascius in his work, On First Principles (Περ? Πρ?των ?ρχ?ν), they referred to it as the “Unknown Darkness.” The Babylonians passed over this principle in silence. “To that God,” says Porphyry, in his On Abstinence (Περ? ?ποχ?ς τ?ν ?μψ?χων), “who is above all things, neither external speech ought to be addressed, nor yet that which is inward.” Hesiod begins his Theogony with the words, “Chaos of all things was the first produced,”687 thus allowing the inference that its Cause or Producer must be passed over in reverential silence. Homer in his poems ascends no higher than Night, which he represents Zeus as reverencing. According to all the ancient theologists, and the doctrines of Pythagoras and Plato, Zeus, or the immediate Artificer of the Universe, is not the highest God; any more than Sir Christopher Wren in his physical, human aspect is the Mind in him which produced his great works of art. Homer, therefore, is not only silent with respect to the First Principle, but likewise with respect to those two Principles immediately posterior to the First, the Æther and Chaos of Orpheus and Hesiod, and the Bound and Infinity of Pythagoras and Plato.688 Proclus says of this Highest Principle that it is “the Unity of Unities, and beyond the first Adyta ... more ineffable than all Silence, and more occult than all Essence ... concealed amidst the intelligible Gods.”689
To what was written by Thomas Taylor in 1797—namely, that the “Jews appear to have ascended no higher ... than the immediate Artificer of the Universe,” as “Moses introduces a darkness on the face of the deep, without even insinuating that there was any cause of its existence,”690 one might add something more. Never have the Jews in their Bible—a purely esoteric, symbolical work—so profoundly degraded their metaphorical deity as have the Christians, by accepting Jehovah as their one living yet personal God.
This First, or rather One, Principle was called the “Circle of Heaven,” symbolized by the hierogram of a Point within a Circle or Equilateral Triangle, the Point being the Logos. Thus, in the Rig Veda, wherein Brahmâ is not even named. Cosmogony is preluded with the Hiranyagarbha, the “Golden Egg,” and Prajâpati (later on Brahmâ), from whom emanate all the Hierarchies of “Creators.” The Monad, or Point, is the original and is the Unit from which follows the entire numeral system. This Point is the First Cause, but That from which it emanates, or of which, rather, it is the expression, the Logos, is passed over in silence. In its turn, the universal symbol, the Point within the Circle, was not yet the Architect, but the Cause of that Architect; and the latter stood to it in precisely the same relation as the Point itself stood to the Circumference of the Circle, which cannot be defined, according to Hermes Trismegistus. Porphyry shows that the Monad and the Duad of Pythagoras are identical with Plato's Infinite and Finite, in Philebus, or what Plato calls the ?πειρον and π?ρας. It is the latter only, the Mother, which is substantial, the former being the “Cause of all Unity and measure of all things”;691 the Duad, Mûlaprakriti, the Veil of Parabrahman, being thus shown to be the Mother of the Logos and, at the same time, his Daughter—that is to say, the object of his perception—the produced producer and the secondary cause of it. With Pythagoras, the Monad returns into Silence and Darkness, as soon as it has evolved the Triad, from which emanate the remaining 7 numbers of the 10 numbers which are at the base of the Manifested Universe.
In the Norse Cosmogony it is again the same.
In the beginning was a great Abyss (Chaos), neither Day nor Night existed; the Abyss was Ginnungagap, the yawning gulf, without beginning, without end. All-Father, the Uncreated, the Unseen, dwelt in the Depth of the Abyss (Space) and willed, and what was willed came into being.692
As in the Hindû Cosmogony, the evolution of the Universe is divided into two acts, which are called in India the Prâkrita and Pâdma Creations. Before the warm rays pouring from the Home of Brightness awaken life in the Great Waters of Space, the Elements of the First Creation come into view, and from them is formed the Giant Ymir, or Örgelmir (literally, Seething Clay), Primordial Matter differentiated from Chaos. Then comes the Cow Audumla, the Nourisher,693 from whom is born Buri, the Producer, whose son Bör (Born), by Bestla, the daughter of the Frost-Giants, the sons of Ymir, had three sons, Odin, Willi and We, or Spirit, Will, and Holiness. This was when Darkness still reigned throughout Space, when the Ases, the Creative Powers, or Dhyân Chohans, were not yet evolved, and the Yggdrasil, the Tree of the Universe of Time and of Life, had not yet grown, and there was, as yet, no Walhalla, or Hall of Heroes. The Scandinavian legends of Creation, of our Earth and World, begin with Time and human Life. All that precedes it is for them Darkness, wherein All-Father, the Cause of all, dwells. As observed by the editor of Asgard and the Gods, though these legends have in them the idea of that All-Father, the original cause of all, “he is scarcely more than mentioned in the poems,” not, as he thinks, because before the preaching of the Gospel, the idea “could not rise to distinct conceptions of the Eternal,” but on account of its deep esoteric character. Therefore, all the Creative Gods, or Personal Deities, begin at the secondary stage of Cosmic Evolution. Zeus is born in, and out of Cronus—Time. So is Brahmâ the production and emanation of Kâla, “Eternity and Time,” Kâla being one of the names of Vishnu. Hence we find Odin, the Father of the Gods and of the Ases, as Brahmâ is the Father of the Gods and of the Asuras; and hence also the androgyne character of all the chief Creative Gods, from the second Monad of the Greeks down to the Sephira Adam Kadmon, the Brahmâ or Prajâpati-Vâch of the Vedas, and the androgyne of Plato, which is but another version of the Indian symbol.
The best metaphysical definition of primeval Theogony, in the spirit of the Vedântins, may be found in the “Notes on the Bhagavad Gîtâ”, by T. Subba Row. Parabrahman, the Unknown and the Incognizable, as the lecturer tells his audience:
Is not Ego, it is not Non-Ego, nor is it consciousness ... it is not even tmâ ... but though not itself an object of knowledge, it is yet capable of supporting and giving rise to every kind of object and every kind of existence which becomes an object of knowledge.... [It is] the one essence from which starts into existence a centre of energy ... [which he calls the Logos].694
This Logos is the Shabda Brahman of the Hindûs, which he will not even call Îshvara (the “Lord” God), lest the term should create confusion in the people's minds. It is the Avalokiteshvara of the Buddhists, the Verbum of the Christians in its real esoteric meaning, not in its theological disfigurement.
It is, the first Jñâta, or the Ego in the Kosmos, and every other Ego ... is but its reflection and manifestation.... It exists in a latent condition in the bosom of Parabrahman, at the time of Pralaya.... [During Manvantara] it has a consciousness and an individuality of its own.... [It is a centre of energy, but] such centres of energy are almost innumerable in the bosom of Parabrahman. It must not be supposed, that [even] this Logos is [theCreator, or that it is] but a single centre of energy.... Their number is almost infinite.... [This] is the first Ego that appears in Kosmos, and is the end of all evolution. [It is the abstract Ego].... This is the first manifestation [or aspect] of Parabrahman.... When once it starts into existence as a conscious being, ... from its objective standpoint, Parabrahman appears to it as Mûlaprakriti. Please bear this in mind ... for here is the root of the whole difficulty about Purusha and Prakriti felt by the various writers on Vedântic philosophy.... This Mûlaprakriti is material to it [the Logos], as any material object is material to us. This Mûlaprakriti is no more Parabrahman than the bundle of attributes of a pillar is the pillar itself; Parabrahman is an unconditioned and absolute reality, and Mûlaprakriti is a sort of veil thrown over it. Parabrahman by itself cannot be seen as it is. It is seen by the Logos with a veil thrown over it, and that veil is the mighty expanse of Cosmic Matter.... Parabrahman, after having appeared on the one hand as the Ego, and on the other as Mûlaprakriti, acts as the one energy through the Logos.695
And the lecturer explains what he means by this acting of Something which is Nothing, though it is the All, by a fine simile. He compares the Logos to the Sun through which light and heat radiate, but whose energy, light and heat, exist in some unknown condition in Space and are diffused in Space only as visible light and heat, the Sun being only the agent thereof. This is the first triadic hypostasis. The quaternary is made up by the energizing light shed by the Logos.
The Hebrew Kabalists stated it in a manner which is esoterically identical with the Vedântic. Ain Suph, they taught, could not be comprehended, could not be located, nor named, though the Causeless Cause of all. Hence its name, Ain Suph, is a term of negation, “the Inscrutable, the Incognizable, and the Unnameable.” They made of it, therefore, a Boundless Circle, a Sphere, of which human intellect, with the utmost stretch, could only perceive the vault. In the words of one who has unriddled much in the Kabalistical system most thoroughly, in one of its meanings, in its numerical and geometrical esotericism:
Close your eyes, and from your own consciousness of perception try and think outward to the extremest limits in every direction. You will find that equal lines or rays of perception extend out evenly in all directions, so that the utmost effort of perception will terminate in the vault of a sphere. The limitation of this sphere will, of necessity, be a great Circle, and the direct rays of thought in any and every direction must be right line radii of the circle. This, then, must be, humanly speaking, the extremest all-embracing conception of the Ain Suph manifest, which formulates itself as a geometrical figure, viz., of a circle, with its elements of curved circumference and right line diameter divided into radii. Hence, a geometrical shape is the first recognizable means of connection between the Ain Suph and the intelligence of man.696
This Great Circle, which Eastern Esotericism reduces to the Point within the Boundless Circle, is the Avalokiteshvara, the Logos, or Verbum, of which T. Subba Row speaks. But this Circle or manifested God is as unknown to us, except through its manifested Universe, as is the One, though easier, or rather more possible to our highest conceptions. This Logos which sleeps in the bosom of Parabrahman, during Pralaya, as our “Ego is latent [in us] at the time of Sushupti,” or sleep, which cannot cognize Parabrahman otherwise than as Mûlaprakriti—the latter being a Cosmic Veil which is “the mighty expanse of Cosmic Matter”—is thus only an organ in Cosmic Creation, through which radiate the Energy and Wisdom of Parabrahman, unknown to the Logos, as it is to ourselves. Moreover, as the Logos is as unknown to us as Parabrahman is unknown in reality to the Logos, both Eastern Esotericism and the Kabalah, in order to bring the Logos within the range of our conceptions, have resolved the abstract synthesis into concrete images; viz., into the reflections or multiplied aspects of that Logos, or Avalokiteshvara, Brahmâ Ormazd, Osiris, Adam Kadmon, call it by any of such names you will; which aspects, or manvantaric emanations, are the Dhyân Chohans, the Elohim, the Devas, the Amshaspends, etc. Metaphysicians explain the root and germ of the latter, according to T. Subba Row, as the first manifestation of Parabrahman, “the highest trinity that we are capable of understanding,” which is Mûlaprakriti, the Veil, the Logos, and the Conscious Energy of the latter, or its Power and Light, called in the Bhagavad Gîtâ, Daiviprakriti; or “Matter, Force and the Ego, or the one root of Self, of which every other kind of self is but a manifestation or a reflection.” It is then only in this Light of consciousness, of mental and physical perception, that practical Occultism can throw the Logos into visibility by geometrical figures, which, when closely studied, will yield not only a scientific explanation of the real, objective, existence697 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.
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 permutation, in our manifested world, of Mûlaprakriti, called Aditi in the Vedas. In its third aspect it becomes Vâch,698 the Daughter and the Mother of the Logos, as Isis is the Daughter and the Mother of Osiris, who is Horns, and Moot, the Daughter, Wife, and Mother, of Ammon, in the Egyptian Moon-glyph. In the Kabalah, Sephira is the same as Shekinah, and is, in another synthesis, the Wife, Daughter, and Mother of the Heavenly Man, Adam Kadmon, and is even identical with him, just as Vâch is identical with Brahmâ, and is called the female Logos. In the Rig Veda, Vâch is “Mystic Speech,” by whom Occult Knowledge and Wisdom are communicated to man, and thus Vâch is said to have “entered the Rishis.” She is “generated by the Gods”; she is the Divine Vâch, the “Queen of Gods”; and she is associated, like Sephira with the Sephiroth, with the Prajâpatis in their work of creation. Moreover, she is called the “Mother of the Vedas,” “since it is through her powers, [as Mystic Speech] that Brahmâ revealed them, and also owing to her power that he produced the Universe”; that is to say, through Speech, and words, synthesized by the “Word” and numbers.699
But when Vâch is also spoken of as the daughter of Daksha, “the God who lives in all the Kalpas,” her mâyâvic character is shown; during the Pralaya she disappears, absorbed in the One, all-devouring Ray.
But there are two distinct aspects in universal Esotericism, Eastern and Western, in all these personations of the female Power in Nature, or Nature the noumenal and the phenomenal. One is its purely metaphysical aspect, as described by the learned lecturer in his “Notes on the Bhagavad Gîtâ”; the other terrestrial and physical, and at the same time divine from the stand-point of practical human conception and Occultism. They are all the symbols and personifications of Chaos, the Great Deep, or the Primordial Waters of Space, the impenetrable Veil between the Incognizable and the Logos of Creation. “Connecting himself through his mind with Vâch, Brahmâ [the Logos] created the Primordial Waters.” In the Katha Upanishad it is stated still more clearly:
Prajâpati was this Universe. Vâch was a second to him. He associated with her ... she produced these creatures and again reëntered Prajâpati.
This connects Vâch and Sephira with the Goddess Kwan-Yin, the “Merciful Mother,” the Divine Voice of the Soul, even in exoteric Buddhism, and with the female aspect of Kwan-Shai-Yin, the Logos, the Verbum of Creation, and at the same time with the Voice that speaks audibly to the Initiate, according to Esoteric Budhism. Bath Kol, the Filia Vocis, the Daughter of the Divine Voice of the Hebrews, responding from the Mercy Seat within the Veil of the Temple is—a result.
And here we may incidentally point out one of the many unjust slurs thrown by the “good and pious” missionaries in India on the religion of the land. The allegory, in the Shatapatha Brâhmana, that Brahmâ, as the Father of men, performed the work of procreation by incestuous intercourse with his own daughter Vâch, also called Sandhyâ, Twilight, and Shatarûpâ, of a hundred forms, is incessantly thrown in the teeth of the Brâhmans, as condemning their “detestable, false religion.” Besides the fact, conveniently forgotten by the Europeans, that the Patriarch Lot is shown guilty of the same crime under the human form, whereas it was under the form of a buck that Brahmâ, or rather Prajâpati, accomplished the incest with his daughter, who had that of a hind (rohit), the esoteric reading of the third chapter of Genesis shows the same. Moreover, there is certainly a cosmic, and not a physiological, meaning attached to the Indian allegory, since Vâch is a permutation of Aditi and Mûlaprakriti, or Chaos, and Brahmâ a permutation of Nârâyana, the Spirit of God entering into, and fructifying Nature; and, therefore, there is nothing phallic in the conception at all.
As already stated, Aditi-Vâch is the female Logos, or Verbum, the Word; and Sephira in the Kabalah is the same. These feminine Logoi are all correlations, in their noumenal aspect, of Light, and Sound, and Æther, showing how well-informed were the Ancients both in Physical Science, as now known to the moderns, and also as to the birth of that Science in the Spiritual and Astral spheres.
Our old writers said that Vâch is of four kinds. These are called Parâ, Pashyantî, Madhyamâ, Vaikharî. This statement you will find in the Rig Veda itself and in several of the Upanishads. Vaikharî Vâch is what we utter.
It is Sound, Speech, that again which becomes comprehensive and objective to one of our physical senses and may be brought under the laws of perception. Hence:
Every kind of Vaikharî Vâch exists in its Madhyamâ ... Pashyantî and ultimately in its Parâ form.... The reason why this Pranava700 is called Vâch is this, that these four principles of the great Kosmos correspond to these four forms of Vâch.... The whole Kosmos in its objective form is Vaikharî Vâch; the Light of the Logos is the Madhyamâ form; and the Logos itself the Pasyantî form; while Parabrahman is the Parâ [beyond the Noumenon of all Noumena] aspect of that Vâch.701
Thus Vâch, Shekinah, or the “Music of the Spheres” of Pythagoras, are one, if we take for our example instances in the three most (apparently) dissimilar religious philosophies in the world, the Hindû, the Greek and the Chaldean Hebrew. These personations and allegories may be viewed under four chief and three lesser aspects, or seven in all, as in Esotericism. The Parâ form is the ever subjective and latent Light and Sound, which exist eternally in the bosom of the Incognizable; when transferred into the ideation of the Logos, or its latent Light, it is called Pasyantî, and when it becomes that Light expressed, it is Madhyamâ.
Now the Kabalah gives the definition thus:
There are three kinds of Light, and that [the fourth] which interpenetrates the others; (1) the clear and the penetrating, the objective Light, (2) the reflected Light, and (3) the abstract Light.
The ten Sephiroth, the Three and the Seven, are called in the Kabalah the Ten Words, dbrim (Dabarim), the Numbers and the Emanations of the Heavenly Light, which is both Adam Kadmon and Sephira, Prajâpati-Vâch, or Brahmâ. Light, Sound, Number, are the three factors of creation in the Kabalah. Parabrahman cannot be known except through the luminous Point, the Logos, which knows not Parabrahman but only Mûlaprakriti. Similarly Adam Kadmon knew only Shekinah, though he was the Vehicle of Ain Suph. And, as Adam Kadmon, he is, in the Esoteric interpretation, the total of the Number Ten, the Sephiroth, himself being a Trinity, or the three attributes of the Incognizable Deity in One.702 “When the Heavenly Man (or Logos) first assumed the form of the Crown703 [Kether] and identified himself with Sephira, he caused Seven splendid Lights to emanate from it [the Crown],” which made in their totality Ten; so Brahmâ-Prajâpati, once he became separated from, yet identical with Vâch, caused the seven Rishis, the seven Manus or Prajâpatis, to issue from that Crown. In exotericism one will always find 10 and 7, of either Sephira or Prajâpati; in esoteric rendering always 3 and 7, which yield also 10. Only when divided, in the manifested sphere, into 3 and 7, they form [circle with vertical line], the androgyne, and [circle containing an X], or the figure X manifested and differentiated.
This will help the student to understand why Pythagoras esteemed the Deity, the Logos, to be the Centre of Unity and Source of Harmony. We say this Deity was the Logos, not the Monad that dwelleth in Solitude and Silence, because Pythagoras taught that Unity being indivisible is no number. And this is also why it was required of the candidate, who applied for admittance into his school, that he should have already studied as a preliminary step, the sciences of Arithmetic, Astronomy, Geometry and Music, which were held to be the four divisions of Mathematics.704 Again, this explains why the Pythagoreans asserted that the doctrine of Numbers, the chief of all in Esotericism, had been revealed to man by the Celestial Deities; that the World had been called forth out of Chaos by Sound, or Harmony, and constructed according to the principles of musical proportion; that the seven planets which rule the destiny of mortals have a harmonious motion and, as Censorinus says:
Intervals corresponding to musical diastemes, rendering various sounds, so perfectly consonant, that they produce the sweetest melody, which is inaudible to us, only by reason of the greatness of the sound, which our ears are incapable of receiving.
In the Pythagorean Theogony, the Hierarchies of the Heavenly Host and Gods were numbered, and also expressed numerically. Pythagoras had studied Esoteric Science in India; therefore we find his pupils saying:
The Monad [the manifested One] is the principle of all things. From the Monad and the indeterminate Duad (Chaos), Numbers; from Numbers, Points; from Points, Lines; from Lines, Superficies; from Superficies, Solids; from these, Solid Bodies, whose elements are four, Fire, Water, Air, Earth; of all which transmuted [correlated], and totally changed, the World consists.705
And this, if it does not unriddle the mystery altogether, may at any rate lift a corner of the veil off those wondrous allegories that have been thrown over Vâch, the most mysterious of all the Brâhmanical Goddesses; she who is termed “the melodious Cow who milked forth sustenance and Water”—the Earth with all her mystic powers; and again she “who yields us nourishment and sustenance”—the physical Earth. Isis is also mystic Nature and also Earth; and her cow's horns identify her with Vâch, who, after being recognized in her highest form as Parâ, becomes, at the lower or material end of creation, Vaikharî. Hence she is mystic, though physical, Nature, with all her magic ways and properties.
Again, as Goddess of Speech and of Sound, and a permutation of Aditi, she is Chaos, in one sense. At any rate, she is the “Mother of the Gods,” and it is from Brahmâ, Îshvara or the Logos, and Vâch, as from Adam Kadmon and Sephira, that the real manifested Theogony has to start. Beyond, all is Darkness and abstract speculation. With the Dhyân Chohans or the Gods, the Seers, the Prophets and the Adepts in general are on firm ground. Whether as Aditi, or the Divine Sophia of the Greek Gnostics, she is the mother of the Seven Sons, the Angels of the Face, of the Deep, or the Great Green One of the Book of the Dead. Says the Book of Dzyan, or Real Knowledge, obtained through meditation:
The Great Mother lay with the [triangle], and the |, and the [square], the second | and the [five-pointed star],706 in her Bosom, ready to bring them forth, the valiant Sons of the [square] [triangle] || [or 4,320,000, the Cycle], whose two Elders are the [circle] [Circle] and the · [Point].
At the beginning of every Cycle of 4,320,000, the Seven, or as some nations had it Eight, Great Gods, descend to establish the new order of things and to give the impetus to the new cycle. That eighth God was the unifying Circle, or Logos, separated and made distinct from its Host, in exoteric dogma, just as the three divine hypostases of the ancient Greeks are now considered in the Churches as three distinct personæ. As a Commentary says:
The Mighty Ones perform their great works, and leave behind them everlasting monuments to commemorate their visit, every time they penetrate within our mâyâvic veil [atmosphere].707
Thus we are taught that the great Pyramids were built under their direct supervision, “when Dhruva [the then Pole-star], was at his lowest culmination, and the Krittikâs [Pleiades] looked over his head [were on the same meridian but above] to watch the work of the Giants.” Thus, as the first Pyramids were built at the beginning of a Sidereal Year, under Dhruva (Alpha Polaris), it must have been over 31,000 years (31,105) ago. Bunsen was right in admitting for Egypt an antiquity of over 21,000 years, but this concession hardly exhausts truth and fact in this question. As Mr. Gerald Massey says:
The stories told by Egyptian priests and others of time-keeping in Egypt are now beginning to look less like lies in the sight of all who have escaped from biblical bondage. Inscriptions have lately been found at Sakkarah, making mention of two Sothiac cycles ... registered at that time, now some 6,000 years ago. Thus when Herodotus was in Egypt, the Egyptians had—as now known—observed at least five different Sothiac cycles of 1,461 years....
The priests informed the Greek enquirer that time had been reckoned by them for so long that the sun had twice risen where it then set, and twice set where it then arose. This ... can only be realized as a fact in nature by means of two cycles of Precession, or a period of 51,736 years.708
Mor Isaac709 shows the ancient Syrians defining their World of the “Rulers” and “Active Gods” in the same way as the Chaldeans. The lowest World was the Sublunary—our own—watched by the Angels of the first or lower order; the one that came next in rank, was Mercury, ruled by the Archangels: then came Venus, whose Gods were the Principalities; the fourth was that of the Sun, the domain and region of the highest and mightiest Gods of our system, the solar Gods of all nations; the fifth was Mars, ruled by the Virtues; the sixth, that of Bel or Jupiter, was governed by the Dominions; the seventh, the World of Saturn, by the Thrones. These are the Worlds of Form. Above come the Four higher ones, making Seven again, since the Three highest are “unmentionable and unpronounceable.” The eighth, composed of 1,122 stars, is the domain of the Cherubs; the ninth, belonging to the walking and numberless stars on account of their distance, has the Seraphs; as to the tenth, Kircher, quoting Mor Isaac, says that it is composed “of invisible stars that could be taken, they said, for clouds, so massed are they in the zone that we call Via Straminis, the Milky Way”; and he hastens to explain that “these are the stars of Lucifer, engulfed with him in his terrible shipwreck.” That which comes after and beyond the ten Worlds (our Quaternary), or the Arûpa World, the Syrians could not tell. “All they knew was that it is there that begins the vast and incomprehensible Ocean of the Infinite, the abode of the True Divinity, without boundary or end.”
Champollion shows the same belief among the Egyptians. Hermes having spoken of the Father-Mother and Son, whose Spirit—collectively the Divine Fiat—shapes the Universe, says: “Seven Agents [Media] were also formed, to contain the Material [or manifested] Worlds within their respective Circles, and the action of these Agents was named Destiny.” He further enumerates seven and ten and twelve orders, but it would take too long to detail them here.
As the Rig Vidhâna together with the Brahmânda Purâna and all such works, whether describing the magic efficacy of the Rig Vedic Mantras, or the future Kalpas, are declared by Dr. Weber and others to be modern compilations “belonging probably only to the time of the Purânas,” it is useless to refer the reader to their mystic explanations; and one may as well simply quote from the archaic books utterly unknown to the Orientalists. These works explain that which so puzzles the scholars, namely that the Saptarshis, the “Mind-born Sons” of Brahmâ, are referred to in the Shatapatha Brâhmana under one set of names; in the Mahâbhârata under another set; and that the Vâyu Purâna makes even nine instead of seven Rishis, by adding the names of Bhrigu and Daksha to the list. But the same occurs in every exoteric Scripture. The Secret Doctrine gives a long genealogy of Rishis, but separates them into many classes. Like the Gods of the Egyptians, who were divided into seven, and even twelve, Classes, so are the Indian Rishis in their Hierarchies. The first three Groups are the Divine, the Cosmical and the Sublunary. Then come the Solar Gods of our System, the Planetary, the Submundane, and the purely Human—the Heroes and the Mânushi.
At present, however, we are only concerned with the Pre-cosmic, Divine Gods, the Prajâpatis, or the Seven Builders. This Group is found unmistakably in every Cosmogony. Owing to the loss of Egyptian archaic documents, since, according to M. Maspero, “the materials and historical data on hand to study the history of the religious evolution in Egypt are neither complete nor very often intelligible,” the ancient Hymns and inscriptions on the tombs must be appealed to, in order to have the statements brought forward from the Secret Doctrine partially and indirectly corroborated. One such shows that Osiris, like Brahmâ-Prajâpati, Adam Kadmon, Ormazd, and so many other Logoi, was the chief and synthesis of the Group of “Creators” or Builders. Before Osiris became the “One” and the Highest God of Egypt, he was worshipped at Abydos as the Head, or Leader, of the Heavenly Host of the Builders belonging to the higher of the three Orders. The Hymn engraved on the votive stele of a tomb from Abydos (3rd register) addresses Osiris thus:
Salutations to thee, O Osiris, elder son of Seb; thou the greatest over the six Gods issued from the Goddess Noo [Primordial Water], thou the great favourite of thy father Ra; Father of Fathers, King of Duration, Master in the Eternity ... who, as soon as these issued from thy Mother's Bosom, gathered all the Crowns and attached the Uræus [serpent or naja]710 on thy head; multiform God, whose name is unknown and who has many names in towns and provinces.
Coming out from the Primordial Water crowned with the Uræus, which is the serpent-emblem of Cosmic Fire, and himself the seventh over the six Primary Gods, issued from Father-Mother, Noo and Noot, the Sky, who can Osiris be, but the chief Prajâpati, the chief Sephira, the chief Amshaspend, Ormazd! That this latter Solar and Cosmic God stood, in the beginning of religious evolution, in the same position as the Archangel, “whose name was secret,” is certain. This Archangel was Michael, the representative on earth of the Hidden Jewish God; in short, it is his “Face” that is said to have gone before the Jews like a “Pillar of Fire.” Burnouf says: “The seven Amshaspends, who are most assuredly our Archangels, designate also the personifications of the Divine Virtues.”711 And these Archangels, therefore, are as certainly the Saptarshis of the Hindus, though it is next to impossible to class each with its Pagan prototype and parallel, since, as in the case of Osiris, they have all so “many names in towns and provinces.” Some of the most important, however, will be shown in their order.
One thing is thus undeniably proven. The more we study their Hierarchies and find out their identity, the more proofs we acquire that there is not one of the past or present personal Gods, known to us from the earliest days of history, that does not belong to the third stage of cosmic manifestation. In every religion we find the Concealed Deity forming the ground work; then the Ray therefrom, that falls into primordial Cosmic Matter, the first manifestation; then the Androgyne result, the dual Male and Female abstract Force personified, the second stage; this finally separates itself, in the third, into Seven Forces, called the Creative Powers by all the ancient religions, and the Virtues of God by the Christians. The later explanations and abstract metaphysical qualifications have not prevented the Roman and Greek Churches from worshipping these “Virtues” under the personifications and distinct names of the Seven Archangels. In the Book of Druschim,712 in the Talmud, a distinction between these groups is given which is the correct Kabalistical explanation. It says:
There are three Groups (or Orders) of Sephiroth. 1st. The Sephiroth called the “Divine Attributes” [abstract]. 2nd. The Physical or Sidereal Sephiroth [personal]—one group of seven, the other of ten. 3rd. The metaphysical Sephiroth, or periphrasis of Jehovah, who are the first three Sephiroth [Kether, Chokmah and Binah], the rest of the seven being the (personal) seven Spirits of the Presence [also of the planets].
The same division has to be applied to the primary, secondary and tertiary evolution of Gods in every Theogony, if one wishes to translate the meaning esoterically. We must not confuse the purely metaphysical personifications of the abstract attributes of Deity, with their reflection—the Sidereal Gods. This reflection, however, is in reality the objective expression of the abstraction; living Entities and the models formed on that divine Prototype. Moreover, the three metaphysical Sephiroth, or the “periphrasis of Jehovah,” are not Jehovah. It is the latter himself, with the additional titles of Adonai, Elohim, Sabbaoth, and the numerous names lavished on him, who is the periphrasis of the Shaddai (???), the Omnipotent. The name is a circumlocution, indeed, a too abundant figure of Jewish rhetoric, and has always been denounced by the Occultists. To the Jewish Kabalists, and even the Christian Alchemists and Rosicrucians, Jehovah was a convenient screen, unified by the folding of its many panels, and adopted as a substitute; one name of an individual Sephira being as good as another name, for those who had the secret. The Tetragrammaton, the Ineffable, the Sidereal “Sum Total,” was invented for no other purpose than to mislead the profane and to symbolize life and generation.713 The real secret and unpronounceable Name, the “Word that is no word,” has to be sought in the seven names of the first Seven Emanations, or the “Sons of the Fire,” in the secret Scriptures of all the great nations, and even in the Zohar, the Kabalistic lore of the smallest of all of them, viz., the Jewish. This word, composed of seven letters in every tongue, is found embodied in the architectural remains of every great sacred building in the world; from the Cyclopean remains on Easter Island—part of a Continent buried under the seas nearer 4,000,000 years ago714 than 20,000—down to the earliest Egyptian pyramids.
We shall have to enter more fully into this subject later on, and to bring practical illustrations to prove the statements made in the text.
For the present it is sufficient to show, by a few instances, the truth of what has been asserted at the beginning of this work, namely, that no Cosmogony, the world over, with the sole exception of the Christian, has ever attributed to the One Highest Cause, the Universal Deific Principle, the immediate creation of our earth, or man, or anything connected with these. This statement holds as well for the Hebrew or Chaldean Kabalah as it does for Genesis, had the latter been ever thoroughly understood and, what is still more important, correctly translated.715 Everywhere there is either a Logos—a “Light shining in Darkness,” truly—or the Architect of the Worlds is esoterically in the plural number. The Latin Church, paradoxical as ever, while applying the epithet of Creator to Jehovah alone, adopts a whole Kyriel of names for the working Forces of the latter, names which betray the secret. For if the said Forces had nought to do with “Creation” so-called, why call them Elohim (Alhim), a plural word; Divine Workmen and Energies (?ν?ργειαι), incandescent celestial stones (lapides igniti cœlorum); and especially Supporters of the World (Κοσμοκρ?τορες), Governors or Rulers of the World (Rectores Mundi), Wheels of the World (Rotæ), Auphanim, Flames and Powers, Sons of God (B'ne Alhim), Vigilant Counsellors, etc.?
It is often asserted, and unjustly, as usual, that China, nearly as old a country as India, had no Cosmogony. It was unknown to Confucius, and the Buddhists extended their Cosmogony without introducing a Personal God,716 it is complained. The Yi-King, “the very essence of ancient thought and the combined work of the most venerated sages,” fails to show a distinct Cosmogony. Nevertheless, one existed, and a very distinct one. Only as Confucius did not admit of a future life717 and the Chinese Buddhists reject the idea of One Creator, accepting one Cause and its numberless effects, they are misunderstood by the believers in a Personal God. The “Great Extreme,” as the commencement of “changes” (transmigrations), is the shortest and, perhaps, the most suggestive of all Cosmogonies for those who, like the Confucianists, love virtue for its own sake and try to do good unselfishly without perpetually looking to reward and profit. The “Great Extreme” of Confucius produces “Two Figures.” These Two produce in their turn the “Four Images”; these again the “Eight Symbols.” It is complained that though the Confucianists see in them “heaven, earth and man in miniature,” we can see in them anything we like. No doubt, and so it is with regard to many symbols, especially those of the latest religions. But they who know something of Occult numerals, see in these “Figures” the symbol, however rude, of a harmonious progressive Evolution of Kosmos and its Beings, both Heavenly and Terrestrial. And any one who has studied the numerical evolution in the primeval Cosmogony of Pythagoras—a contemporary of Confucius—can never fail to find in his Triad, Tetraktys and Decad, emerging from the One and solitary Monad, the same idea. Confucius is laughed at by his Christian biographer for “talking of divination,” before and after this passage, and is represented as saying:
The eight symbols determine good and ill fortune, and these lead to great deeds. There are no imitable images greater than heaven and earth. There are no changes greater than the four seasons [meaning North, South, East and West, etc.]. There are no suspended images brighter than the sun and moon. In preparing things for use, there is none greater than the sage. In determining good and ill-luck there is nothing greater than the divining straws and the tortoise.718
Therefore, the “divining straws” and the “tortoise,” the “symbolic sets of lines,” and the great sage who looks at them as they become one and two, and two become four, and four become eight, and the other sets “three and six,” are laughed to scorn, only because his wise symbols are misunderstood.
So the author of the volume cited and his colleagues will no doubt scoff at the Stanzas given in our text, for they represent precisely the same idea. The old archaic map of Cosmogony is full of lines in the Confucian style, of concentric circles and dots. Yet all these represent the most abstract and philosophical conceptions of the Cosmogony of our Universe. At all events it may, perhaps, answer better to the requirements and the scientific purposes of our age, than the cosmogonical essays of St. Augustine and the Venerable Bede, though these were published over a millennium later than the Confucian.
Confucius, one of the greatest sages of the ancient world, believed in ancient magic, and practised it himself, “if we take for granted the statements of Kià-yü” and “he praised it to the skies in the Yi-king,” we are told by his reverend critic. Nevertheless, even in his age, 600 b.c., Confucius and his school taught the sphericity of the earth and even the heliocentric system; while, at about thrice 600 years after the Chinese philosopher, the Popes of Rome threatened and even burnt “heretics” for asserting the same. He is laughed at for speaking of the “Sacred Tortoise.” No unprejudiced person can see any great difference between a Tortoise and a Lamb as candidates for sacredness, as both are symbols and no more. The Ox, the Eagle,719 and the Lion, and occasionally the Dove are the “sacred animals” of the Western Bible; the first three are found grouped round the Evangelists; the fourth, associated with these, a human face, is a Seraph, i.e., a “fiery serpent,” the Gnostic Agathodæmon probably.
The choice is curious, and shows how paradoxical were the first Christians in their selections. For why should they have chosen these symbols of Egyptian Paganism, when the Eagle is never mentioned in the New Testament save once, when Jesus refers to it as a carrion eater,720 and in the Old Testament it is called unclean; when the Lion is made a point of comparison with Satan, both roaring for men to devour; and the Oxen are driven out of the Temple? On the other hand the Serpent, brought in as an exemplar of wisdom, is now regarded as the symbol of the Devil. The esoteric pearl of Christ's religion, degraded into Christian theology, may indeed be said to have chosen a strange and unfitting shell to be born in and evolved from.
As explained, the Sacred Animals and the Flames or Sparks, within the Holy Four, refer to the Prototypes of all that is found in the Universe in the Divine Thought, in the Root, which is the Perfect Cube, or the Foundation of the Kosmos, collectively and individually.
They have all an occult reference to primordial Cosmic Forms, and the first concretions, work, and evolution of Kosmos.
In the earliest Hindû exoteric Cosmogonies, it is not even the Demiurge who creates. For it is said in one of the Purânas:
The great Architect of the World gives the first impulse to the rotatory motion of our planetary system by stepping in turn over each planet and body.
It is this action “that causes each sphere to turn around itself, and all around the Sun.” After which action, “it is the Brahmândika,” the Solar and Lunar Pitris, the Dhyân Chohans, “who take charge of their respective spheres [earths and planets], to the end of the Kalpa.” The Creators are the Rishis, most of whom are credited with the authorship of the Mantras, or Hymns, of the Rig Veda. They are sometimes seven, sometimes ten, when they become Prajâpati, the Lord of Beings; then they rebecome the seven and the fourteen Manus, as the representatives of the seven and fourteen Cycles of Existence, or Days of Brahmâ, thus answering to the seven Æons, when, at the end of the first stage of Evolution, they are transformed into the seven stellar Rishis, the Saptarshis; while their human Doubles appear as Heroes, Kings and Sages on this earth.
The Esoteric Doctrine of the East having thus furnished and struck the key-note, which, under its allegorical garb, is, as may be seen, as scientific as it is philosophical and poetical, every nation has followed its lead. It is from the exoteric religions that we have to dig out the root-idea before we turn to esoteric truths, lest the latter should be rejected. Furthermore, every symbol, in every national religion, may be read esoterically; and the proof of its being correctly read when transliterated into its corresponding numerals and geometrical forms, may be obtained from the extraordinary agreement of all glyphs and symbols, however much they may externally vary among themselves. For in the origin those symbols were all identical. Take, for instance, the opening sentences in various Cosmogonies; in every case it is a Circle, an Egg, or a Head. Darkness is always associated with this first symbol and surrounds it, as is shown in the Hindû, the Egyptian, the Chaldeo-Hebrew and even the Scandinavian systems. Hence black ravens, black doves, black waters and even black flames; the seventh tongue of Agni, the Fire-God being called Kâlî, the “Black,” since it was a black flickering flame. Two “black” doves flew from Egypt and, settling on the oaks of Dodona, gave their names to the Grecian Gods. Noah sends out a “black” raven after the Deluge, which is a symbol for the Cosmic Pralaya, after which began the real creation or evolution of our Earth and Humanity. Odin's “black” ravens fluttered round the Goddess Saga and “whispered to her of the past and of the future.” Now what is the inner meaning of all those black birds? It is that they are all connected with the primeval Wisdom, which flows out of the pre-cosmic Source of All, symbolized by the Head, the Circle or the Egg; and they all have an identical meaning and relate to the primordial Archetypal Man, Adam Kadmon, the Creative Origin of all things, which is composed of the Host of Cosmic Powers—the Creative Dhyân Chohans, beyond which all is Darkness.
Let us enquire of the wisdom of the Kabalah, even veiled and distorted as it now is, to explain in its numerical language an approximate meaning, at least of the word “raven.” This is its number value as given in the Source of Measures:
The term Raven is used but once, and taken as Eth-h' orebv ???????=678, or 113 × 6; while the Dove is mentioned five times. Its value is 71, and 71 × 5=355. Six diameters, or the Raven, crossing, would divide the circumference of a circle of 355 into 12 parts or compartments; and 355 subdivided for each unit by 6, would equal 213-0, or the Head [“beginning”] in the first verse of Genesis. This divided, or subdivided, after the same fashion, by 2, or the 355 by 12, would give 213-2, or the word B'râsh, ?????, or the first word of Genesis, with its prepositional prefix, signifying the same concreted general form, astronomically, with the one here intended.
Now the secret reading of the first verse in Genesis being: “In Râsh (B'râsh) or Head, developed Gods, the Heavens and the Earth”—it is easy to comprehend the esoteric meaning of the Raven, once that the like meaning of the Flood, or Noah's Deluge, is ascertained. Whatever the many other meanings of this emblematical allegory may be, its chief meaning is that of a new Cycle and a new Round—our Fourth Round.721 The Raven, or the Eth-h' orebv, yields the same numerical value as the Head, and returned not to the Ark, while the Dove returned, carrying the olive-branch; when Noah, the new man of the new Race—whose prototype is Vaivasvata Manu, prepared to leave the Ark, the Womb, or Argha, of terrestrial Nature, he is the symbol of the purely spiritual, sexless and androgyne man of the first three Races, who vanished from Earth for ever. Numerically, in the Kabalah, Jehovah, Adam, Noah, are one. At best, then, it is Deity descending on Ararat and later, on Sinai, to incarnate henceforth in man, his image, through the natural process, the mother's womb, whose symbols are the Ark, the Mount (Sinai), etc., in Genesis. The Jewish allegory is astronomical and physiological, rather than anthropomorphic.
And here lies the abyss between the ryan and Semitic systems, though both are built on the same foundation. As shown by an expounder of the Kabalah:
The basic idea underlying the philosophy of the Hebrews was that God contained all things within himself and that man was his image; man, including woman [as androgynes; and that] geometry (and numbers and measures applicable to astronomy) are contained in the terms man and woman; and the apparent incongruity of such a mode was eliminated by showing the connection of man and woman with a particular system of numbers and measures and geometry, by the parturient time-periods, which furnished the connecting link between the terms used and the facts shown, and perfected the mode used.722
It is argued that, the primal cause being absolutely incognizable, “the symbol of its first comprehensible manifestation was the conception of a circle with its diameter line, so as at once to carry the idea of geometry, phallicism, and astronomy”; and this was finally applied to the “signification of simply human generative organs.” Hence the whole cycle of events from Adam and the Patriarchs down to Noah is made to apply to phallic and astronomical uses, the one regulating the other, as the lunar periods, for instance. Hence, too, the Genesis of the Hebrews begins after their coming out of the Ark, and the end of the Flood, i.e., at the Fourth Race. With the Aryan people it is different.
Eastern Esotericism has never degraded the One Infinite Deity, the Container of all things, to such uses; and this is shown by the absence of Brahmâ from the Rig Veda and the modest positions occupied therein by Rudra and Vishnu, who became the powerful and great Gods, the “Infinites” of the exoteric creeds, ages later. But even they, “Creators” as they all three maybe, are not the direct “Creators” and “forefathers of men.” The latter are shown occupying a still lower scale, and are called the Prajâpatis, the Pitris, our Lunar Ancestors, etc., but never the One Infinite God. Esoteric Philosophy shows only physical man as created in the image of the Deity; which Deity, however, is only the “minor Gods.” It is the Higher-Self, the real Ego, who alone is divine and God.
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