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THE AHKOOND OF SWAT

THE FOUNDER OF MANY MYSTICAL SOCIETIES.


 

[From the New York Echo, 1878.]

OF the many remarkable characters of this century, Ghafur was one of the most conspicuous.

If there be truth in the Eastern doctrine that souls, powerful whether for good or bad, who had not time in one existence to work out their plans, are reïncarnated, the fierceness of their yearnings to continue on earth thrusting them back into the current of their attractions, then Ghafur was a rebirth of that Felice Peretti, who is known in history as Pope Sixtus V., of crafty and odious memory. Both were born in the lowest class of society, being ignorant peasant boys and beginning life as herdsmen. Both reached the apex of power through craft and stealth and by imposing upon the superstitions of the masses. Sixtus, author of mystical books and himself a practitioner of the forbidden sciences to satisfy his lust for power and ensure impunity, became Inquisitor-General. Made Pope, he hurled his anathemas alike against Elizabeth of England, the King of Navarre, and other important personages. Abdul Ghafur, endowed with an iron will, had educated himself without colleges or professors except through association with the "wise men" of Khuttuk. He was as well versed in the Arabic and Persian literature of alchemy and astronomy as Sixtus was in Aristotle, and like him knew how to fabricate mesmerized talismans and amulets containing either life or death for those to whom they were presented. Each held millions of devotees under the subjection of their psychological influence, though both were more dreaded than beloved.

Ghafur had been a warrior and an ambitious leader of fanatics, but becoming a dervish and finally a pope, so to say, his blessing or curse made him as effectually the master of the Ameers and other Mussulmans as Sixtus was of the Catholic potentates of Europe.

Only the salient features of his career are known to Christendom. Watched, as he may have been, his private life, ambitions, aspirations for temporal as well as religious power, are almost a sealed book. But the one certain thing is, that he was the founder and chief of nearly every secret society worth speaking of among Mussulmans, and the dominant spirit in all the rest. His apparent antagonism to the Wahabees was but a mask, and the murderous hand that struck Lord Mayo was certainly guided by the old Abdul. The Biktashee Dervishes* and the howling, dancing, and other Moslem religious mendicants recognize his supremacy as far above that of the Sheik-ul-Islam of the faithful. Hardly a political order of any importance issued from Constantinople or Teheran—heretics though the Persians are—without his having a finger in the pie directly or indirectly. As fanatical as Sixtus, but more cunning yet, if possible, instead of giving direct orders for the extermination of the Huguenots of Islam, the Wahabees, he directed his curses and pointed his finger only at those among them whom he found in his way, keeping on the best, though secret, terms with the rest.

The title of Nasr-ed-Din (defender of the faith) he impartially applied to both the Sultan and the Shah, though one is a Sunnite and the other a Shiah. He sweetened the stronger religious intolerance of the Osman dynasty by adding to the old title of Nasr-ed-Din those of Saif-ed-Din (scimitar of faith) and Emir-el-Mumminiah (prince of the faithful). Every Emir-el-Sourey, or leader of the sacred caravan of pilgrims to Mekka, brought or sent messages to, and received advice and instructions from, Abdul, the latter in the shape of mysterious oracles, for which was left the full equivalent in money, presents and other offerings, as the Catholic pilgrims have recently done at Rome.

In 1847-8 the Prince Mirza, uncle of the young Shah and ex-governor of a great province in Persia, appeared in Tiflis, seeking Russian protection at the hands of Prince Woronzof, Viceroy of the Caucasus. Having helped himself to the crown jewels and ready money in the treasury, he had run away from the jurisdiction of his loving nephew, who was anxious to put out his eyes. Popular rumour asserted that his reason for what he had done was that the great dervish, Ahkoond, had thrice appeared to him in dreams, prompting him to take what he had and share his booty with the protectors of the faith of his principal wife (he brought twelve with him to Tiflis), a native of Cabul. The secret, though, perhaps, indirect influence he exercised on the Begum of Bhopal, during the Sepoy rebellion of 1857 was a mystery only to the English, whom the old schemer knew so well how to hoodwink. During his long career of Macchiavellism, friendly with the British, and yet striking them constantly in secret; venerated as a new prophet by millions of orthodox, as well as heretic Mussulmans; managing to preserve his influence over friend and foe, the old "Teacher" had one enemy whom he feared, for he knew that no amount of craft would ever win it over to his side. This enemy was the once mighty nation of the Sikhs, ex-sovereign rulers of the Punjab and masters of the Peshawur Valley. Reduced from their high estate, this warrior people are now under the rule of a single Maharajah—Puttiala—who is himself the helpless vassal of the British. From the beginning the Ahkoond had continually encountered the Sikhs in his path. Scarce would he feel himself conqueror over one obstacle, before his hereditary enemy would appear between him and the realization of his hopes. If the Sikhs remained faithful to the British in 1857, it was not through hearty loyalty or political convictions, so much as through sheer opposition to the Mohammedans, whom they knew to be secretly prompted by the Ahkoond.

Since the days of the great Nanak, of the Kshattriya caste, founder of the Sikh Brotherhood in the second half of the fifteenth century, these brave and warlike tribes have ever been the thorn in the side of the Mogul dynasty, the terror of the Moslems of India. Originating, as we may say, in a religious Brotherhood, whose object was to make away alike with Islamism, Brâhmanism, and other isms, including later Christianity, this sect evolved a pure monotheism in the abstract idea of an ever unknown Principle, and elaborated it into the doctrine of the "Brotherhood of Man." In their view, we have but one Father-Mother Principle, with "neither form, shape, nor colour," and we ought all to be, if we are not, brothers irrespective of distinctions of race or colour. The sacerdotal Brâhman, fanatical in his observance of dead-letter forms, thus became in the opinion of the Sikh as much the enemy of truth as the Mussulman wallowing in a sensual heaven with his houris, the joss-worshipping Buddhist grinding out prayers at his wheel, or yet the Roman Catholic adoring his jewelled Madonnas, whose complexion the priests change from white to brown and black to suit climates and prejudices. Later on, Arjuna, son of Ramdas, the fourth in the succession after Nanak, gathering together the doctrines of the founder and his son Angad, brought out a sacred volume, called Adi-garunth, and largely supplemented it with selections from forty-five Sûtras of the Jains. While adopting equally the religious figures of the Vedas and Koran, after sifting them and explaining their symbolism, the Âdi-garunth yet presents a greater similarity of ideas respecting the most elaborate metaphysical conceptions with those of the Jain school of Gurus. The notions of Astrology, or the influence of the starry spheres upon ourselves, were evidently adopted from that most prominent school of antiquity. This will be readily ascertained by comparing the commentaries of Abhayadeva Surî upon the original forty-five Sûtras in the Magadhi or Balabasha language† with the Âdi-garunth. An old Jain Guru, who is said to have drawn the horoscope of Runjeet Singh, at the time of his greatest power, had foretold the downfall of the kingdom of Lahore. It was the learned Arjuna who retired into Amritsir, changed the sect into a politico-religious community, and instituted within the same another and more esoteric body of Gurus, scholars and metaphysicians, of which he became sole chief. He died in prison, under torture, by the order of Aurungzebe, into whose hands he had fallen, at the beginning of the seventeenth century. His son Govinda, a Guru (religious teacher) of great renown, vowed revenge against the race of his father's murderers, and after various changes of fortune the Afghans were finally driven from the Punjab by the Sikhs in 1764. This triumph only made their hatred more bitter still, and from that moment until the death of Runjeet Singh, in 1839, we find them constantly aiming their blows at the Moslems. Mahâ Singh, the father of Runjeet, had set off the Sikhs into twelve mizals or divisions, each having its own chief (Sirdar), whose secret Council of State consisted of learned Gurus. Among these were Masters in spiritual Science, and they might, if they had had a mind, have exhibited as astonishing "miracles" and divine legerdemain as the old Mussulman Ahkoond. He knew it well, and for this reason dreaded them even more than he hated them for his defeat and that of his Ameer by Runjeet Singh.

One highly dramatic incident in the life of the "Pope of Sydoo" is the following well-authenticated case, which was much commented upon in his part of India about twenty years ago. One day, in 1858, when the Ahkoond, squatting on his carpet, was distributing amulets, blessings and prophecies among his pious congregation of pilgrims, a tall Hindû, who had silently approached and mingled in the crowd without having been noticed, suddenly addressed him thus: "Tell me, prophet, thou who prophesiest so well for others, whether thou knowest what will be thine own fate, and that of the 'Defender of the Faith,' thy Sultan of Stamboul, twenty years hence?"

The old Ghafur, overcome with violent surprise, stared at his interlocutor, but no answer came. In recognizing the Sikh he seemed to have lost all power of speech, and the crowd was under a spell.

"If not," continued the intruder, "then I will tell thee. Twenty years more and your 'Prince of the Faithful' will fall by the hand of an assassin of his own house. Two old men, one the Dalai Lama of the Christians, the other the great prophet of the Moslems—thyself—will be simultaneously crushed under the heel of death. Then, the first hour will strike of the downfall of those twin foes of truth—Christianity and Islam. The first, as the more powerful, will survive the second, but both will soon crumble into fragmentary sects, which will mutually exterminate each other's faith. See, thy followers are powerless, and I might kill thee now, but thou art in the hands of Destiny, and that knows its own hour."

Before a hand could be lifted the speaker had disappeared. This incident of itself sufficiently proves that the Sikhs might have assassinated Abdul Ghafur at any time had they chosen so to do. And it may be that The Mayfair Gazette, which in June, 1877, prophetically observed that the rival pontiffs of Rome and Swat might die simultaneously, had heard from some "old Indian" this story, which the writer also heard from an informant at Lahore.

H. P. BLAVATSKY.


 

* To this day, no Biktashee would be recognized as such unless he could claim possession of a certain medal with the seal of this " high-pontiff" of all the Dervishes, whether they belong to one sect or the other.
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† This valuable work is now being republished by Ookerdhabhoy Shewgee, and has been received by the Theosophical Society from the Editor through the President of the Bombay branch. When finished it will be the first edition of the Jain Bible, Sûtra-Sangraha or Vihiva Punnuttî Sûtra, in existence, as all their sacred books are kept in secret by the Jains.
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AN ASTRAL PROPHET


 

EVERY educated Englishman has heard the name of General Yermoloff, one of the great military heroes of this age; and if at all familiar with the history of the Caucasian wars, he must be acquainted with the exploits of one of the chief conquerors of the land of those impregnable fastnesses where Shamil and his predecessors have defied for years the skill and strategy of the Russian armies.

Be it as it may, the strange event herein narrated by the Caucasian hero himself, may interest students of psychology. That which follows is a verbatim translation from V. Potto's Russian work "The War in Caucasus." In volume II, chapter The period of Yermoloff (pp. 829-30-3I and 832) one reads these lines:

Silently and imperceptibly glided away at Moscow the last days allotted to the hero. On April the 19th, 1861, he died in his 85th year, seated in his favorite arm-chair, with one hand on the table, the other on his knee; but a few minutes before, in accordance with an old habit of his, he was tapping the floor with his foot.

It is impossible to better express the feelings of Russia at the news of this death than by quoting the obituary notice from the (Russian) Daily "Caucasus," which did not say a word more than was deserved.

On April the 12th, at 11¼ a.m., at Moscow, the Artillery General, famous throughout Russia--Alexéy Petrovitch Yermoloff, breathed his last. Every Russian knows the name; it is allied with the most brilliant records of our national glory: Valutino, Borodino, Kulm, Paris, and the Caucasus, will be ever transmitting the name of the hero,--the pride and ornament of the Russian army and nation. We will not enumerate the services of Yermoloff. His name and titles are: a true son of Russia, in the full significance of the term.

It is a curious fact that his death did not escape its own legend, one of a strange and mystical character. This is what a friend who knew Yermoloff well, writes of him:

Once, when leaving Moscow, I called on Yermoloff to say good bye, and found myself unable to conceal my emotion at parting.

"Fear not," he said to me, "we will yet meet; I shall not die before your return."

This was eighteen months before his death.

"In life and death God alone is the Master!" I observed.

"And I tell you most positively that my death will not occur in a year, but a few months later"--he answered, "Come with me"--and with these words he led me into his study; where, getting out of a locked chest a written sheet of paper, he placed it before me, and asked--"whose handwriting is this?" "Yours," I said. "Read it then." I complied.

It was a kind of memorandum, a record of dates, since the year when Yermoloff was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, showing, as in a programme, every significant event that was to happen in his life, so full of such events. He followed me in my reading, and when I was at the last paragraph, he covered the last line with his hand. "This you need not read," he said. "On this line, the year, the month, and the day, of my death are given. All that you have read was written by me beforehand, and has come to pass to the smallest details, and this is how I came to write it.

"When I was yet a young Lieutenant-Colonel I was sent on some business to a small district town. My lodging consisted of two rooms--one for the servants, the other for my personal use. There was no access into the latter but through the former. Once, late at night, as I sat writing at my desk, I fell into a reverie, when suddenly on lifting my eyes I saw standing before me across the desk a stranger, a man, judging by his dress, belonging to the lower classes of society. Before I had time to ask him who he was or what he wanted, the stranger said, 'Take your pen and write.' Feeling myself under the influence of an irresistible power, I obeyed in silence. Then he dictated to me all that was going to happen to me during my whole life, concluding with the date and hour of my death. With the last word he vanished from the spot. A few minutes elapsed before I regained my full consciousness, when, jumping from my seat, I rushed into the adjoining room, which the stranger could not by any means avoid passing through. Opening the door, I saw my clerk writing by the light of a candle, and my orderly lying asleep on the floor across the entrance door, which door was securely locked and bolted. To my question 'who was it who has just been here?'--the astonished clerk answered, 'No one.' To this day I have never told this to any one. I knew beforehand that while some would suspect me of having invented the whole thing, others would see in me a man subject to hallucinations. But for myself, personally, the whole thing is a most undeniable fact, an objective and palpable fact, the proof of which is in this very written document."

The last date found on the latter proved, after the death of the General, to be the correct one. He died on the very day and hour of the year recorded in his own handwriting.

Yermoloff is buried at Orel. An inextinguishable lamp, made of a fragment of a bomb-shell, burns before his tomb. On the cast-iron of the shell these words are wrought by an unskilled hand, "The Caucasian soldiers who served on the Goonib."l The ever burning lamp is established through the zeal and grateful love of the lower ranks of the Caucasian Army, who collected among themselves from their poor pittance (copeck by copeck, verily!) the needed sum. And this simple monument is more valued and admired than would be the richest mausoleum. There is no other monument to Yermoloff in Russia. But the proud and lofty rocks of the Caucasus are the imperishable pedestal on which every true Russian will always behold the majestic image of General Yermoloff, surrounded by the aureole of an everlasting and immortal glory.

And now for a few words about the nature of the apparition.

No doubt every word of General Yermoloff's concise and clear narrative is true to a dot. He was pre-eminently a matter-of-fact, sincere, and clear-headed man, with not the slightest taint of mysticism about him, a true soldier, honorable, and straightforward. Moreover, this episode of his life was testified to by his elder son, known to the present writer and her family personally, for many years during our residence at Tiflis. All this is a good warrant for the genuineness of the phenomenon, testified to furthermore by the written document left by the General, bearing the correct and precise date of his death. And now what about the mysterious visitor? Spiritualists will, of course, see in it a disembodied Entity, a "materialized Spirit." It will be claimed that a human Spirit alone could prophecy a whole series of events and see so clearly in Futurity. So we say, too. But having agreed on that point, we diverge in all the rest; i.e., while Spiritualists would say that the apparition was that of a Spirit distinct from and independent of the Higher Ego of the General, we maintain precisely the reverse, and say it was that Ego. Let us argue dispassionately.

Where is the raison d'être, the rationale of such apparition of prophecy; and why should you or I, for instance, once dead, appear to a perfect stranger for the pleasure of informing him of that which was to happen to him? Had the General recognized in the visitor some dear relative, his own father, mother, brother, or bosom friend, and received from him some beneficent warning, slight proof as it would have been, there would still be something in it to hang such theory upon. But it was nothing of the kind: simply "a stranger, a man, judging by his dress, belonging to the lower classes of society." If so, why should the soul of a poor disembodied tradesman, or a laborer, trouble itself to appear to a mere stranger? And if the "Spirit" only assumed such appearance, then why this disguise and masquerading, such post-mortem mystification, at all? If such visits are made of a "Spirit's" free will; if such revelations can occur at the sweet pleasure of a disembodied Entity, and independently of any established law of intercourse between the two worlds--what can be the reason alleged for that particular "Spirit" playing at soothsaying Cassandra with the General? None whatever. To insist upon it, is simply to add one more absurd and repulsive feature to the theory of "Spirit-visitation," and to throw an additional element of ridicule on the sacredness of death. The materializing of an immaterial Spirit--a divine Breath--by the Spiritualists, is on a par with the anthropomorphizing of the Absolute, by the Theologians. It is these two claims which have dug an almost impassable abyss between the Theosophist-Occultists and the Spiritualists on the one hand, and the Theosophists and the Church Christians on the other.

And now this is how a Theosophist-Occultist would explain the vision, in accordance with esoteric philosophy. He would premise by reminding the reader that the Higher Consciousness in us, with its sui generis laws and conditions of manifestation, is still almost entirely terra incognita for all (Spiritualists included) and the men of Science pre-eminently. Then he would remind the reader of one of the fundamental teachings of Occultism. He would say that besides the attribute of divine omniscience in its own nature and sphere of action, there exists in Eternity for the individual immortal Ego neither Past nor Future, but only one everlasting PRESENT. Now, once this doctrine is admitted, or amply postulated, it becomes only natural that the whole life, from birth to death, of the Personality which that Ego informs, should be as plainly visible to the Higher Ego as it is invisible to, and concealed from, the limited vision of its temporary and mortal Form. Hence, this is what must have happened according to the Occult Philosophy.

The friend is told by General Yermoloff that while writing late in the night he had suddenly fallen into a reverie, when he suddenly perceived upon lifting the eyes a stranger standing before him. Now that reverie was most likely a sudden doze, brought on by fatigue and overwork, during which a mechanical action of purely somnambulic character took place. The Personality becoming suddenly alive to the Presence of its Higher SELF, the human sleeping automaton fell under the sway of the Individuality, and forthwith the hand that had been occupied with writing for several hours before resumed mechanically its task. Upon awakening the Personality thought that the document before him had been written at the dictation of a visitor whose voice he had heard, whereas, in truth, he had been simply recording the innermost thoughts--or shall we say knowledge--of his own divine "Ego," a prophetic, because all-knowing Spirit. The "voice" of the latter was simply the translation by the physical memory, at the instant of awakening, of the mental knowledge concerning the life of the mortal man reflected on the lower by the Higher consciousness. All the other details recorded by the memory are as amenable to a natural explanation.

Thus, the stranger clothed in the raiments of a poor little tradesman or laborer, who was speaking to him outside of himself, belongs, as well as the "voice," to that class of well-known phenomena familiar to us as the association of ideas and reminiscences in our dreams. The pictures and scenes we see in sleep, the events we live through for hours, days, sometimes for years in our dreams, all this takes less time, in reality, than is occupied by a flash of lightning during the instant of awakening and the return to full consciousness. Of such instances of the power and rapidity of fancy physiology gives numerous examples. We rebel against the materialistic deductions of modern science, but no one can controvert its facts, patiently and carefully recorded throughout long years of experiments and observations by its specialists, and these support our argument. General Yermoloff had passed several days previously holding an inquest in a small town, in which official business he had probably examined dozens of men of the poorer classes; and this explains his fancy--vivid as reality itself--suggesting to his imagination the vision of a small tradesman.

Let us turn to the experiences and explanations of a long series of philosophers and Initiates, thoroughly acquainted with the mysteries of the Inner Self, before we father upon "departed spirits" actions, motives for which could never be explained upon any reasonable grounds.

H. P. Blavatsky
Lucifer, June, 1890


 

1 "Goonib" is the name of the last stronghold of the Circassians, on which the famous Murid Shamil the Priest-Sovereign of the Mountaineers was conquered and captured by the Russians, after years of a desperate struggle. Goonib is a gigantic rock, deemed for a long time impregnable but finally stormed and ascended by the Russian soldiers at an enormous sacrifice of life. Its capture put virtually an end to the war in the Caucasus. a struggle which had lasted for over sixty years, and assured its conquest. [Ed.]
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ANCIENT DOCTRINES VINDICATED
BY MODERN PROPHECY


 

THE German press has recently attempted in numerous editorials to solve what seems a mystery to the ordinary and sceptical public. They feel that they are evidently betrayed by one of their own camp--a materialist of exact science. Treating at length of the new theories of Dr. Rudolph Falb--the editor of the Leipzig "popular astronomical journal," the Sirius--they are struck with the faultless accuracy of his scientific prognostications, or rather to be plain, his meteorological and cosmological predictions. The fact is, that the latter have been shown by the sequence of events, to be less scientific conjectures than infallible prophecies Basing himself upon some peculiar combinations and upon a method of his own, which, as he says, he has worked out after long years of researches and labour, Dr. Falb is now enabled to foretell months and even years in advance every earthquake, remarkable storm, or inundation. Thus, for example, he foretold last year's earthquake at Zagrel. At the beginning of 1868 he prophesied that an earthquake would occur on August 13, in Peru, and it did take place on that very day. In May 1869 he published a scientific work entitled The Elementary Theory of Earthquakes and Volcanic Eruptions, in which, among other prophecies, he foretold violent earthquakes at Marseilles, at Utach, along the shores of the Austrian possessions in the Adriatic Sea, in Columbia and the Crimea, which five months later--in October--actually took place. In 1873, he predicted the earthquake in Northern Italy, at Belluno, which event occurred in the very presence of Dr. Falb, who had gone there to witness it himself, so sure was he of its taking place. In I 874, he notified to the world the then unforeseen and quite unexpected eruptions of Etna; and notwithstanding the chaff of his colleagues in science, who told him there was no reason to expect such a geological disturbance, he went to Sicily and was able to take his desired notes on the spot, when it did happen. He also prognosticated the violent storms and winds between the 23rd and the 26th of February 1877, in Italy, and that prediction was also corroborated by fact. Soon after that, Dr. Falb went to Chile, to observe the volcanic eruptions in the Andes which he had expected and predicted two years before and--he did observe them. Immediately upon his return, in 1875, appeared his most remarkable work known as Thoughts on, and Investigations of, the Causes of Volcanic Eruptions--and which was immediately translated into Spanish and published at Valparaiso in 1877. After the predicted event at Zagrel had taken place, Dr. Falb was immediately invited to lecture in that city, where he delivered several remarkable discourses in which he once more warned the inhabitants of other forthcoming smaller earthquakes which, as is well known, did take place. The fact is that as was recently remarked by the Novoye Vremya, he has really "worked out something, knows something additional to what other people know, and is better acquainted with these mysterious phenomena of our globe than any other specialist the world over."

What is then his wonderful theory and new combinations? To give an adequate idea of them would require a volume of comments and explanations. All we can add is, that Falb has said all he could say upon the subject in a huge work of his, called Die Umwälrungen, im Welt All, in three volumes. In Vol. I, he treats of the revolutions in the stellar world; in Vol. II, of the revolutions in the regions of clouds, or of the meteorological phenomena; and in Vol. III of the revolutions in the bosom of the earth, or earthquakes. According to Dr. Falb's theory our Universum is neither limitless nor eternal, but is limited to a certain time and circumscribed within a certain space. He views the mechanical construction of our planetary system and its phenomena in quite a different light than the rest of the men of science. "He is very original, and very interesting (eccentric) in some respects, though we cannot trust him in everything"--seems the unanimous opinion of the press. Evidently, the doctor is too much of a man of science to be treated as a "visionary" or a "hallucinated enthusiast"; and so he is cautiously chaffed. Another less learned mortal would surely be, were he to expound the undeniably occult and cabalistic notions upon the Cosmos that he does. Therefore, while passing over his theories in silence as if to avoid being compromised in the propagation of his "heretical" views, the papers generally add.--"We send the reader who may be curious to fathom the doctrines of Dr. Rudolph Falb to the latest work of this remarkable man and prophet." Some add to the information given the fact that Dr. Falb's theory carries Eback the "Universal" deluge to 4000 years B.C., and presages another one for about the year 6,500 of the Christian era.

It appears that the theories and teaching of Dr. Falb are no new thing in this department of science, as two hundred years ago, the theory was propounded by a Peruvian named Jorie Baliri, and about a century ago by an Italian called Toaldo. We have, therefore, a certain right to infer that Dr. Falb's views are cabalistic, or rather those of the mediaeval Christian mystics and fire-philosophers, both Baliri and Toaldo having been practitioners of the "secret sciences." At the same time--though we have not yet been so fortunate as to have read his work--that calculation of his, in reference to the Noachian deluge and the period of 6500 A.D allotted for its recurrence, shows to us as plain as figures can speak that the learned doctor accepts for our globe the "Heliacal," Great year, or cycle of six sars, at the close and turning point of which our planet, is always subjected to a thorough physical revolution. This teaching has been propounded from time immemorial and comes to us from Chaldea through Berosus, an astrologer at the temple of Belus at Babylon. Chaldea, as is well known, was the one universal centre of magic, from which radiated the rays of occult learning into every other country where the mysteries were enacted and taught. According to this teaching,--believed in by Aristotle if we may credit Censorinus--the "great year" consists of 21,000 odd, years (the latter varying) or six Chaldean sars consisting of 3,500 years each. These two decimillenniums are naturally halved, the first period of 10,500 years bringing us to the top of the cycle and a minor cataclysm; the latter decimillennium to a terrible and universal geological convulsion. During these 21,000 years the polar and equatorial climates gradually exchange places, "the former moving slowly towards the line and the tropical zone: . . . replacing the forbidding wastes of the icy poles. This change of climate is necessarily attended by cataclysms, earthquakes and other cosmical throes. As the beds of the ocean are displaced, at the end of every decimillennium and about one neros (600 years) a semi-universal deluge like the legendary Bible flood is brought about" (see Isis Unveiled, Vol. I, pp. 30-31).

It now remains to be seen how far Dr. Falb's theory and the old antediluvian teaching mentioned by the author of Isis Unveiled agree. At all events, as the latter work antedated by three years, his Die Umwälrungen im Welt All which was published in 1881 (but two months ago), the theory was not borrowed from the Leipzig astronomer's work. We may add that the constant verification of such geological and meteorological predictions besides its scientific value is of the utmost philosophical importance to the student of theosophy. For it shows: (a) that there are few secrets in nature absolutely inaccessible to man's endeavours to snatch them from her bosom; and (b) that Nature's workshop is one vast clock-work guided by immutable laws in which there is no room for the caprices of special providence. Yet he, who has fathomed the ultimate secrets of the Proteus-nature--which changes but is ever the same--can, without disturbing the LAW, avail himself of the yet unknown correlations of natural Force to produce effects which would seem miraculous and impossible, but to those who are unacquainted with their causes. "The law which moulds the tear also rounds the planet." There exists a wealth of chemic force--in heat, light, electricity and magnetism--the possibilities of whose mechanical motions are far from being all understood. Why then should the theosophist who believes in natural (though occult) law be regarded as either a charlatan or a credulous fool in his endeavours to fathom its secrets? Is it only because following the traditions of ancient men of science the methods he has chosen differ from those of modern learning?

H. P. Blavatsky

Theosophist, May, 1881

AN UNSOLVED MYSTERY


 

THE circumstances attending the sudden death of M. Delessert, inspector of the Police de Sûreté, seem to have made such an impression upon the Parisian authorities that they were recorded in unusual detail. Omitting all particulars except what are necessary to explain matters, we produce here the undoubtedly strange history.

In the fall of 1861 there came to Paris a man who called himself Vic de Lassa, and was so inscribed upon his passports. He came from Vienna, and said he was a Hungarian, who owned estates on the borders of the Banat, not far from Zenta. He was a small man, aged thirty-five, with pale and mysterious face, long blonde hair, a vague, wandering blue eye, and a mouth of singular firmness. He dressed carelessly and unaffectedly, and spoke and talked without much empressement. His companion, presumably his wife, on the other hand, ten years younger than himself, was a strikingly beautiful woman, of that dark, rich, velvety, luscious, pure Hungarian type which is so nigh akin to the gypsy blood. At the theatres, on the Bois, at the cafés, on the boulevards, and everywhere that idle Paris disports itself, Madame Aimée de Lassa attracted great attention and made a sensation.

They lodged in luxurious apartments on the Rue Richelieu, frequented the best places, received good company, entertained handsomely, and acted in every way as if possessed of considerable wealth. Lassa had always a good balance chez Schneider, Ruter et Cie, the Austrian bankers in Rue Rivoli, and wore diamonds of conspicuous lustre.

How did it happen then, that the Prefect of Police saw fit to suspect Monsieur and Madame de Lassa, and detailed Paul Delessert, one of the most rusé inspectors of the force, to "pipe" him? The fact is, the insignificant man with the splendid wife was a very mysterious personage, and it is the habit of the police to imagine that mystery always hides either the conspirator, the adventurer, or the charlatan. The conclusion to which the Prefect had come in regard to M. de Lassa was that he was an adventurer and charlatan too. Certainly a successful one, then, for he was singularly unobtrusive and had in no way trumpeted the wonders which it was his mission to perform, yet in a few weeks after he had established himself in Paris the salon of M. de Lassa was the rage, and the number of persons who paid the fee of 100 francs for a single peep into his magic crystal, and a single message by his spiritual telegraph, was really astonishing. The secret of this was that M. de Lassa was a conjurer and deceiver, whose pretensions were omniscient and whose predictions always came true.

Delessert did not find it very difficult to get an introduction and admission to De Lassa's salon. The receptions occurred every other day—two hours in the forenoon, three hours in the evening. It was evening when Inspector Delessert called in his assumed character of M. Flabry, virtuoso in jewels and a convert to Spiritualism. He found the handsome parlours brilliantly lighted, and a charming assemblage gathered of well-pleased guests, who did not at all seem to have come to learn their fortunes or fates, while contributing to the income of their host, but rather to be there out of complaisance to his virtues and gifts.

Mme. de Lassa performed upon the piano or conversed from group to group in a way that seemed to be delightful, while M. de Lassa walked about or sat in his insignificant, unconcerned way, saying a word now and then, but seeming to shun everything that was conspicuous. Servants handed about refreshments, ices, cordials, wines, etc., and Delessert could have fancied himself to have dropped in upon a quite modest evening entertainment, altogether en règle, but for one or two noticeable circumstances which his observant eyes quickly took in.

Except when their host or hostess was within hearing the guests conversed together in low tones, rather mysteriously, and with not quite so much laughter as is usual on such occasions. At intervals a very tall and dignified footman would come to a guest, and, with a profound bow, present him a card on a silver salver. The guest would then go out, preceded by the solemn servant, but when he or she returned to the salon—some did not return at all—they invariably wore a dazed or puzzled look, were confused, astonished, frightened, or amused. All this was so unmistakably genuine, and De Lassa and his wife seemed so unconcerned amidst it all, not to say distinct from it all, that Delessert could not avoid being forcibly struck and considerably puzzled.

Two or three little incidents, which came under Delessert's own immediate observation, will suffice to make plain the character of the impressions made upon those present. A couple of gentlemen, both young, both of good social condition, and evidently very intimate friends, were conversing together and tutoying one another at a great rate, when the dignified footman summoned Alphonse. He laughed gaily, "Tarry a moment, cher Auguste," said he, "and thou shalt know all the particulars of this wonderful fortune!" "Eh bien!" A minute had scarcely elapsed when Alphonse returned to the salon. His face was white and bore an appearance of concentrated rage that was frightful to witness. He came straight to Auguste, his eyes flashing, and bending his face toward his friend, who changed colour and recoiled, he hissed out: "Monsieur Lefebure, vous êtes un lâche!" "Very well, Monsieur Meunier," responded Auguste, in the same low tone, "tomorrow morning at six o'clock!" "It is settled, false friend, execrable traitor! A la mort!" rejoined Alphonse, walking off. "Cela va sans dire!" muttered Auguste, going towards the hat-room.

A diplomatist of distinction, representative at Paris of a neighbouring state, an elderly gentleman of superb aplomb and most commanding appearance, was summoned to the oracle by the bowing footman. After being absent about five minutes he returned, and immediately made his way through the press to M. de Lassa, who was standing not far from the fireplace, with his hands in his pockets and a look of utmost indifference upon his face. Delessert standing near, watched the interview with eager interest.

"I am exceedingly sorry," said General Von—— , "to have to absent myself so soon from your interesting salon, M. de Lassa, but the result of my séance convinces me that my dispatches have been tampered with." "I am sorry," responded M. de Lassa, with an air of languid but courteous interest; "I hope you may be able to discover which of your servants has been unfaithful." "I am going to do that now," said the General, adding, in significant tones, "I shall see that both he and his accomplices do not escape severe punishment." "That is the only course to pursue, Monsieur le Comte." The ambassador stared, bowed, and took his leave with a bewilderment in his face that was beyond the power of his tact to control.

In the course of the evening M. de Lassa went carelessly to the piano, and, after some indifferent vague precluding, played a remarkably effective piece of music, in which the turbulent life and buoyancy of bacchanalian strains melted gently, almost imperceptibly away, into a sobbing wail of regret, and languor, and weariness, and despair. It was beautifully rendered, and made a great impression upon the guests, one of whom, a lady, cried, "How lovely, how sad! Did you compose that yourself, M. de Lassa?" He looked towards her absently for an instant, then replied: "I? Oh, no! That is merely a reminiscence, madame." "Do you know who did compose it, M. de Lassa?" enquired a virtuoso present. "I believe it was originally written by Ptolemy Auletes, the father of Cleopatra," said M. de Lassa, in his indifferent musing way; "but not in its present form. It has been twice re-written to my knowledge; still, the air is substantially the same." "From whom did you get it, M. de Lassa, if I may ask?" persisted the gentleman. "Certainly, certainly! The last time I heard it played was by Sebastian Bach; but that was Palestrina's—the present—version. I think I prefer that of Guido of Arezzo—it is ruder, but has more force. I got the air from Guido himself." "You—from—Guido!" cried the astonished gentleman. "Yes, monsieur," answered De Lassa, rising from the piano with his usual indifferent air. "Mon Dieu!" cried the virtuoso, putting his hand to his head after the manner of Mr. Twemlow, "Mon Dieu! that was in Anno Domini 1022." "A little later than that—July, 1031, if I remember rightly," courteously corrected M. de Lassa.

At this moment the tall footman bowed before M. Delessert, and presented the salver containing the card. Delessert took it and read: "On vous accorde trente-cinq secondes M. Flabry, tout au plus!" Delessert followed; the footman opened the door of another room and bowed again, signifying that Delessert was to enter. "Ask no questions," he said briefly; "Sidi is mute." Delessert entered the room and the door closed behind him. It was a small room, with a strong smell of frankincense pervading it; the walls were covered completely with red hangings that concealed the windows, and the floor was felted with a thick carpet. Opposite the door, at the upper end of the room near the ceiling was the face of a large clock, under it, each lighted by tall wax candles, were two small tables, containing, the one an apparatus very like the common registering telegraph instrument, the other a crystal globe about twenty inches in diameter, set upon an exquisitely wrought tripod of gold and bronze intermingled. By the side of the door stood a man jet black in colour, wearing a white turban and burnous, and having a sort of wand of silver in one hand. With the other he took Delessert by the right arm above the elbow, and led him quickly up the room. He pointed to the clock, and it struck an alarum; he pointed to the crystal. Delessert bent over, looked into it, and saw—a facsimile of his own sleeping-room, everything photographed exactly. Sidi did not give him time to exclaim, but still holding him by the arm, took him to the other table. The telegraph-like instrument began to click-click. Sidi opened the drawer, drew out a slip of paper, crammed it into Delessert's hand, and pointed to the clock, which struck again. The thirty-five seconds were expired. Sidi, still retaining hold of Delessert's arm, pointed to the door and led him towards it. The door opened, Sidi pushed him out, the door closed, the tall footman stood there bowing—the interview with the oracle is over. Delessert glanced at the piece of paper in his hand. It was a printed scrap, capital letters, and read simply: "To M. Paul Delessert: The policeman is always welcome, the spy is always in danger!"

Delessert was dumbfounded a moment to find his disguise detected, but the words of the tall footman, "This way if you please, M. Flabry," brought him to his senses. Setting his lips, he returned to the salon, and without delay sought M. de Lassa. "Do you know the contents of this?" asked he, showing the message. "I know everything, M. Delessert," answered De Lassa, in his careless way. "Then perhaps you are aware that I mean to expose a charlatan, and unmask a hypocrite, or perish in the attempt?" said Delessert. "Cela m'est égal, monsieur." replied De Lassa. "You accept my challenge then?" "Oh! it is a defiance, then?" replied De Lassa, letting his eye rest a moment upon Delessert, "mais oui, je l'accepte!" And thereupon Delessert departed.

Delessert now set to work, aided by all the forces the Prefect of Police could bring to bear, to detect and expose this consummate sorcerer, whom the ruder processes of our ancestors would easily have disposed of—by combustion. Persistent enquiry satisfied Delessert that the man was neither a Hungarian nor was named De Lassa; that no matter how far back his power of "reminiscence" might extend, in his present and immediate form he had been born in this unregenerate world in the toy-making city of Nuremburg; that he was noted in boyhood for his great turn for ingenious manufactures, but was very wild, and a mauvais sujet. In his sixteenth year he escaped to Geneva and apprenticed himself to a maker of watches and instruments. Here he had been seen by the celebrated Robert Houdin, the prestidigitateur. Houdin recognizing the lad's talents, and being himself a maker of ingenious automata, had taken him off to Paris and employed him in his own workshops, as well as for an assistant in the public performances of his amusing and curious diablerie. After staying with Houdin some years, Pflock Haslich (which was De Lassa's right name) had gone East in the suite of a Turkish Pasha, and after many years' roving, in lands where he could not be traced under a cloud of pseudonyms, had finally turned up in Venice, and come thence to Paris.

Delessert next turned his attention to Mme. de Lassa. It was more difficult to get a clue by means of which to know her past life; but it was necessary in order to understand enough about Haslich. At last, through an accident, it became probable that Mme. Aimée was identical with a certain Mme. Schlaff, who had been rather conspicuous among the demi-monde of Buda. Delessert posted off to that ancient city, and thence went into the wilds of Transylvania to Mengyco. On his return, as soon as he reached the telegraph and civilization, he telegraphed the Prefect from Kardszag: "Don't lose sight of my man, nor let him leave Paris. I will run him in for you two days after I get back."

It happened that on the day of Delessert's return to Paris the Prefect was absent, being with the Emperor at Cherbourg. He came back on the fourth day, just twenty-four hours after the announcement of Delessert's death. That happened, as near as could be gathered, in this wise: The night after Delessert's return he was present at De Lassa's salon with a ticket of admittance to a séance. He was very completely disguised as a decrepit old man, and fancied that it was impossible for any one to detect him. Nevertheless, when he was taken into the room, and looked into the crystal, he was utterly horror-stricken to see there a picture of himself, lying face down and senseless upon the side-walk of a street; and the message he received read thus: "What you have seen will be, Delessert, in three days. Prepare!" The detective, unspeakably shocked, retired from the house at once and sought his own lodgings.

In the morning he came to the office in a state of extreme dejection. He was completely unnerved. In relating to a brother inspector what had occurred, he said: "That man can do what he promises, I am doomed!"

He said that he thought he could make a complete case out against Haslich alias De Lassa, but could not do so without seeing the Prefect and getting instructions. He would tell nothing in regard to his discoveries in Buda and in Transylvania—said he was not at liberty to do so—and repeatedly exclaimed: "Oh! if M. le Préfet were only here!" He was told to go to the Prefect at Cherbourg, but refused upon the ground that his presence was needed in Paris. He time and again averred his conviction that he was a doomed man, and showed himself both vacillating and irresolute in his conduct, and extremely nervous. He was told that he was perfectly safe, since De Lassa and all his household were under constant surveillance; to which he replied, "You do not know the man." An inspector was detailed to accompany Delessert, never to lose sight of him night and day, and guard him carefully; and proper precautions were taken in regard to his food and drink, while the guards watching De Lassa were doubled.

On the morning of the third day, Delessert, who had been staying chiefly indoors, avowed his determination to go at once and telegraph to M. le Préfet to return immediately. With this intention he and his brother officer started out. Just as they got to the corner of the Rue de Lanery and the Boulevard, Delessert stopped suddenly and put his hand to his forehead.

"My God!" he cried, "the crystal! the picture!" and fell prone upon his face, insensible. He was taken at once to a hospital, but only lingered a few hours, never regaining his consciousness. Under express instruction from the authorities, a most careful, minute, and thorough autopsy was made of Delessert's body by several distinguished surgeons, whose unanimous opinion was, that the cause of his death was apoplexy, due to fatigue and nervous excitement.

As soon as Delessert was sent to the hospital, his brother inspector hurried to the Central Office, and De Lassa, together with his wife and everyone connected with the establishment, were at once arrested. De Lassa smiled contemptuously as they took him away. "I knew you were coming; I prepared for it; you will be glad to release me again."

It was quite true that De Lassa had prepared for them. When the house was searched it was found that every paper had been burned, the crystal globe was destroyed, and in the room of the séances was a great heap of delicate machinery broken into indistinguishable bits. "That cost me 200,000 francs," said De Lassa, pointing to the pile, "but it has been a good investment." The walls and floors were ripped out in several places, and the damage to the property was considerable. In prison neither De Lassa nor his associates made any revelations. The notion that they had something to do with Delessert's death was quickly dispelled, in a legal point of view, and all the party but De Lassa were released. He was still detained in prison, upon one pretext or another, when one morning he was found hanging by a silk sash to the cornice of the room where he was confined—dead. The night before, it was afterwards discovered, Madame de Lassa had eloped with a tall footman, taking the Nubian Sidi with them. De Lassa's secrets died with him.

———

"It is an interesting story, that article of yours in to-day's Scientist. But is it a record of facts, or a tissue of the imagination? If true, why not state the source of it, in other words, specify your authority for it."

The above is not signed, but we would take the opportunity to say that the story, "An Unsolved Mystery," was published because we considered the main points of the narrative—the prophecies, and the singular death of the officer—to be psychic phenomena, that have been, and can be, again produced. Why quote "authorities"? The Scriptures tell us of the death of Ananias, under the stern rebuke from Peter; here we have a phenomenon of a similar nature. Ananias is supposed to have suffered instant death from fear. Few can realize this power governed by spiritual laws, but those who have trod the boundary line and know some few of the things that can be done, will see no great mystery in this, nor in the story published last week. We are not speaking in mystical tones. Ask the powerful mesmerist if there is danger that the subject may pass out of his control?—if he could will the spirit out, never to return? It is capable of demonstration that the mesmerist can act on a subject at a distance of many miles; and it is no less certain that the majority of mesmerists know little or nothing of the laws that govern their powers.

It may be a pleasant dream to attempt to conceive of the beauties of the spirit-world; but the time can be spent more profitably in a study of the spirit itself, and it is not necessary that the subject for study should be in the spirit-world.

H. P. Blavatsky

ANCIENT MAGIC IN MODERN SCIENCE


 

PAULTHIER, the French Indianist, may, or may not, be taxed with too much enthusiasm when saying that India appears before him as the grand and primitive focus of human thought, whose steady flame has ended by communicating itself to, and setting on fire the whole ancient world1--yet, he is right in his statement. It is Aryan metaphysics2 that have led the mind to occult knowledge--the oldest and the mother science of all, since it contains within itself all the other sciences. And it is occultism--the synthesis of all the discoveries in nature and, chiefly, of the psychic potency within and beyond every physical atom of matter--that has been the primitive bond that has cemented into one cornerstone the foundations of all the religions of antiquity.

The primitive spark has set on fire every nation, truly, and Magic underlies now every national faith, whether old or young. Egypt and Chaldea are foremost in the ranks of those countries that furnish us with the most evidence upon the subject, helpless as they are to do as India does--to protect their paleographic relics from desecration. The turbid waters of the canal of Suez carry along to those that wash the British shores, the magic of the earliest days of Pharaonic Egypt, to fill up with its crumbled dust the British, French, German and Russian museums. Ancient, historical Magic is thus reflecting itself upon the scientific records of our own all-denying century. It forces the hand and tires the brain of the scientist, laughing at his efforts to interpret its meaning in his own materialistic way, yet helps the occultist better to understand modern Magic, the rickety, weak grandchild of her powerful, archaic grandam. Hardly a hieratic papyrus exhumed along with the swathed mummy of King or Priest-Hierophant, or a weather-beaten, indecipherable inscription from the tormented sites of Babylonia or Ninevah, or an ancient tile-cylinder--that does not furnish new food for thought or some suggestive information to the student of Occultism. Withal, magic is denied and termed the "superstition" of the ignorant ancient philosopher.

Thus, magic in every papyrus; magic in all the religious formulæ; magic bottled up in hermetically-closed vials, many thousands of years old; magic in elegantly bound, modern works; magic in the most popular novels; magic in social gatherings; magic--worse than that, SORCERY--in the very air one breathes in Europe, America, Australia: the more civilized and cultured a nation, the more formidable and effective the effluvia of unconscious magic it emits and stores away in the surrounding atmosphere . . .

Tabooed, derided magic would, of course, never be accepted under her legitimate name; yet science has begun dealing with that ostracised science under modern masks, and very considerably. But what is in a name? Because a wolf is scientifically defined as an animal of the genus canis, does it make of him a dog? Men of science may prefer to call the magic inquired into by Porphyry and explained by Iamblichus hysterical hypnosis, but that does not make it the less magic. The result and outcome of primitive Revelation to the earlier races by their "Divine Dynasties" the kings-instructors, became innate knowledge in the Fourth race, that of the Atlanteans; and that knowledge is now called in its rare cases of "abnormal" genuine manifestations, mediumship. The secret history of the world, preserved only in far-away, secure retreats, would alone, if told unreservedly, inform the present generations of the powers that lie latent, and to most unknown, in man and nature. It was the fearful misuse of magic by the Atlanteans, that led their race to utter destruction, and--to oblivion. The tale of their sorcery and wicked enchantments has reached us, through classical writers, in fragmentary bits, as legends and childish fairy-tales, and as fathered on smaller nations. Thence the scorn for necromancy, goëtic magic, and theurgy. The "witches" of Thessaly are not less laughed at in our day than the modern medium or the credulous Theosophist. This is again due to sorcery, and one should never lack the moral courage to repeat the term; for it is the fatally abused magic that forced the adepts, "the Sons of Light," to bury it deep, after its sinful votaries had themselves found a watery grave at the bottom of the ocean; thus placing it beyond the reach of the profane of the race that succeeded to the Atlanteans. It is, then, to sorcery that the world is indebted for its present ignorance about it. But who or what class in Europe or America, will believe the report? With one exception, none; and that exception is found in the Roman Catholics and their clergy; but even they, while bound by their religious dogmas to credit its existence, attribute to it a satanic origin. It is this theory which, no doubt, has to this day prevented magic from being dealt with scientifically.

Still, nolens volens, science has to take it in hand. Archæology in its most interesting department--Egyptology and Assyriology--is fatally wedded to it, do what it may. For magic is so mixed up with the world's history that, if the latter is ever to be written at all in its completeness, giving the truth and nothing but the truth, there seems to be no help for it. If Archæology counts still-upon discoveries and reports upon hieratic writings that will be free from the hateful subject, then HISTORY will never be written, we fear.

One sympathises profoundly with, and can well imagine, the embarrassing position of the various savants and "F.R.S.'s" of Academicians and Orientalists. Forced to decipher, translate and interpret old mouldy papyri, inscriptions on steles and Babylonian rhombs, they find themselves at every moment face to face with MAGIC! Votive offerings, carvings, hieroglyphics, incantations--the whole paraphernalia of that hateful "superstition"--stare them in the eyes, demand their attention, fill them with the most disagreeable perplexity. Only think what must be their feelings in the following case in hand. An evidently precious papyrus is exhumed. It is the post-mortem passport furnished to the osirified soul3 of a just-translated Prince or even Pharaoh, written in red and black characters by a learned and famous scribe, say of the IVth Dynasty, under the supervision of an Egyptian Hierophant--a class considered in all the ages and held by posterity as the most learned of the learned, among the ancient sages and philosophers. The statements therein were written at the solemn hours of the death and burial of a King-Hierophant, of a Pharaoh and ruler. The purpose of the paper is the introduction of the "soul" to the awful region of Amenti, before its judges, there where a lie is said to outweigh every other crime. The Orientalist carries away the papyrus and devotes to its interpretation days, perhaps weeks, of labour, only to find in it the following statement: "In the XIIIth year and the second month of Schomoo, in the 28th day of the same, we, the first High-priest of Ammon, the king of the gods, Penotman, the son of the delegate (or substitute)4 for the High-priest Pion-ki-moan, and the scribe of the temple of Sosser-soo-khons and of the Necropolis Bootegamonmoo, began to dress the late Prince Oozirmari Pionokha, etc., etc., preparing him for eternity. When ready, the mummy was pleased to arise and thank his servants, as also to accept a cover worked for him by the hand of the "lady singer," Nefrelit Nimutha, gone into eternity the year so and so--"some hundred years before!" The whole in hieroglyphics.

This may be a mistaken reading. There are dozens of papyri, though, well authenticated and recording more curious readings and narratives than that corroborated in this, by Sanchoniathon and Manetho, by Herodotus and Plato, Syncellus and dozens of other writers and philosophers, who mention the subject. Those papyri note down very often, as seriously as any historical fact needing no special corroboration, whole dynasties of Kings-manes, viz., of phantoms and ghosts. The same is found in the histories of other nations.

All claim for their first and earliest dynasties5 of rulers and kings, what the Greeks called Manes and the Egyptians Ourvagan, "gods," etc. Rossellius has tried to interpret the puzzling statement, but in vain. "The word manes meaning urvagan," he says, "and that term in its literal sense signifying exterior image, we may suppose, if it were possible to bring down that dynasty within some historical period--that the word referred to some form of theocratic government, represented by the images of the gods and priests"!!6

A dynasty of, to all appearance, living, at all events acting and ruling, kings turning out to have been simply mannikins and images, would require, to be accepted, a far wider stretch of modern credulity than even "kings' phantoms."

Were these Hierophants and Scribes, Pharaohs and King-Initiates all fools or frauds, confederates and liars, to have either believed themselves or tried to make other people believe in such cock and bull stories, if there were no truth at the foundation? And that for a long series of millenniums, from the first to the last Dynasty?

Of the divine Dynasty of Manes, the text of the "Secret Doctrine" will treat more fully; but a few such feats may be recorded from genuine papyri and the discoveries of archæology. The Orientalists have found a plank of salvation: though forced to publish the contents of some famous papyri, they now call them Romances of the days of Pharaoh so-and-so. The device is ingenious, if not absolutely honest. The literary Sadducees may fairly rejoice.

One of such is the so-called "Lepsius Papyrus" of the Berlin Museum, now purchased by the latter from the heirs of Richard Lepsius. It is written in hieratic characters in the archaic Egyptian (old Coptic) tongue, and is considered one of the most important archæological discoveries of our age, inasmuch as it furnishes dates for comparison, and rectifies several mistakes in the order of dynastical successions. Unfortunately its most important fragments are missing. The learned Egyptologists who had the greatest difficulty in deciphering it have concluded that it was "an historical romance of the XVIth century B.C.,7 dating back to events that took place during the reign of Pharaoh Cheops, the supposed builder of the pyramid of that name, who flourished in the XXVIth (?) century before our era." It shows Egyptian life and the state of society at the Court of that great Pharaoh, nearly 900 years before the little unpleasantness between Joseph and Mrs. Potiphar.

The first scene opens with King Cheops on his throne, surrounded by his sons, whom he commands to entertain him with narratives about hoar antiquity and the miraculous powers exercised by the celebrated sages and magicians at the Court of his predecessor. Prince Chefren then tells his audience how a magus during the epoch of Pharaoh Nebkha fabricated a crocodile out of wax and endowed him with life and obedience. Having been placed by a husband in the room of his faithless spouse, the crocodile snapped at both the wife and her lover, and seizing them carried them both into the sea. Another prince told a story of his grandfather, the parent of Cheops, Pharaoh SENEFRU. Feeling seedy, he commanded a magician into his presence, who advised him as a remedy the spectacle of twenty beautiful maidens of the Court sporting in a boat on the lake near by. The maidens obeyed and the heart of the old despot was "refreshed." But suddenly one of the ladies screamed and began to weep aloud. She had dropped into the water, 120 feet deep in that spot, a rich necklace. Then a magician pronounced a formula, called the genii of the air and water to his help, and plunging his hand into the waves brought back with it the necklace. The Pharaoh was greatly struck with the feat. He looked no more at the twenty beauties, "divested of their clothes, covered with nets, and with twenty oars made of ebony and gold"; but commanded that sacrifices should be made to the manes of those two magicians when they died. To this Prince Gardadathu remarked that the highest among such magicians never die, and that one of them lived to that day, more than a centenarian, at the town of Deyd-Snefroo; that his name was Deddy; and that he had the miraculous power of reuniting cut-off heads to their bodies and recalling the whole to life, as also full authority and sway over the lions of the desert. He, Deddy, knew likewise where to procure the needed expensive materials for the temple of the god Thoth (the wisdom deity), which edifice Pharaoh Cheops was anxious to raise near his great pyramid. Upon hearing this, the mighty king Cheops expressed desire to see the old sage at his Court! Thereupon the Prince Gardadathu started on his journey, and brought back with him the great magician.

After long greetings and mutual compliments and obeisance, according to the papyrus, a long conversation ensued between the Pharaoh and the sage, which goes on briefly thus:--

"I am told, oh sage, that thou art able to reunite heads severed from their bodies to the latter."

"I can do so, great King,"--answered Daddy.

"Let a criminal be brought here, without delay," quoth the Pharaoh.

"Great King, my power does not extend to men. I can resurrect only animals,"--remarked the sage.

A goose was then brought, its head cut off and placed in the east corner of the hall, and its body at the western side. Deddy extended his arm in the two directions in turn and muttered a magic formula. Forthwith the body of the bird arose and walked to the centre of the hall, and the head rolled up to meet it. Then the head jumped on the bleeding neck; the two were reunited; and the goose began to walk about, none the worse for the operation of beheading.

The same wonderful feat was repeated by Deddy upon canaries and a bull. After which the Pharaoh desired to be informed with regard to the projected temple of Thoth.

The sage-magician knew all about the old remains of the temple, hidden in a certain house at Heliopolis: but he had no right to reveal it to the king. The revelation had to come from the eldest of the three triplets of Rad-Dedtoo. The latter is the wife of the priest of the Sun, at the city of Saheboo. She will conceive the triplet-sons from the sun-god, and these children will play an important part in the history of the land of Khemi (Egypt), inasmuch as they will be called to rule it. The eldest, before he becomes a Pharaoh, will be High-priest of the Sun at the city of Heliopolis.

"Upon hearing this, Pharaoh Cheops rent his clothes in grief: his dynasty would thus be overthrown by the son of the deity to whom he was actually raising a temple!"

Here the papyrus is torn; and a large portion of it being missing, posterity is denied the possibility of learning what Pharaoh Cheops undertook in this emergency.

The fragment that follows apprizes us of that which is evidently the chief subject of the archaic record--the birth of the three sons of the sun-god. As soon as Rad-Dedtoo felt the pangs of childbirth, the great sun-god called the goddesses Isis, Nephthys, Mesehentoo, and Hekhtoo, and sent them to help the priestess, saying: "She is in labour with my three sons who will, one day, be the rulers of this land. Help her, and they will raise temples for you, will make innumerable libations of wine and sacrifices." The goddesses did as they were asked, and three boys, each one yard long and with very long arms,8 were born. Isis gave them their names and Nephthys blessed them, while the two other goddesses confirmed on them their glorious future. The three young men became eventually kings of the Vth Dynasty, their names being Ouserkath, Sagoorey and Kakäy. After the goddesses had returned to their celestial mansions some great miracles occurred. The corn given the mother-goddesses returned of itself into the corn-bin in an out-house of the High-priest, and the servants reported that voices of invisibles were singing in it the hymns sung at the birth of hereditary princes, and the sounds of music, and dances belonging to that rite were distinctly heard. This phenomenon endangered, later on, the lives of the future kings--the triplets.

A female slave having been punished once by the High priestess, the former ran away from the house, and spoke thus to the assembled crowds: "How dare she punish me, that woman who gave birth to three kings? I will go and notify it to Pharaoh Cheops, our lord."

At this interesting place, the papyrus is again torn; and the reader left once more in ignorance of what resulted from the denunciation, and how the three boy-pretenders avoided the persecution of the paramount ruler.9

Another magical feat is given by Mariette Bey (Mon. Dir. pl. 9, Persian epoch) from a tablet in the Bulak Museum, concerning the Ethiopian kingdom founded by the descendants of the High-priests of Ammon, wherein flourished absolute theocracy. It was the god himself, it appears, who selected the kings at his fancy, and "the stele 114 which is an official statement about the election of Aspalout, shows how such events took place." (Gebel-Barkal.) The army gathered near the Holy Mountain at Napata, choosing six officers who had to join other delegates of state, proposed to proceed to the election of a king.

"Come," reads the inscribed legend, "come, let us choose a master who would be like an irresistible young bull." And the army began lamenting, saying--"Our master is with us, and we know him not!" And others remarked, "Aye, but we can know him, though till now no one save Râ (the god) does so: may the great God protect him from harm wherever he be" . . . . Forthwith the whole army cried out--"But there is that god Ammon-Râ, in the Holy Mountain, and he is the god of Ethiopia! Let us to him; do not speak in ignorance of him, for the word spoken in ignorance of him is not good. Let him choose, that god, who is the god of the kingdom of Ethiopia, since the days of Râ . . . . He will guide us, as the Ethiopian kings are all his handiwork, and he gives the kingdom to the son whom he loves." "This is what the entire army saith: 'It is an excellent speech, in truth . . . a million of times'."

Then the narrative shows the delegates duly purified, proceeding to the temple and prostrating themselves before the huge statue of Ammon-Râ, while framing their request. "The Ethiopic priests are mighty ones. They know how to fabricate miraculous images and statues, capable of motion and speech, to serve as vehicles for the gods; it is an art they hold from their Egyptian ancestors."

All the members of the Royal family pass in procession before the statue of Ammon-Râ--still it moveth not. But as soon as Aspalout approaches it, the huge statue seizes him with both arms, and loudly exclaims--"This is your king! This is your Master who will make you live!": and the army chiefs greet the new Pharaoh. He enters into the sanctuary and is crowned by the god, personally, and with his own hands; then joins his army. The festival ends with the distribution of bread and beer." (Gebel-Barkal.)

There is a number of papyri and old inscriptions proving beyond the slightest doubt that for thousands of years High-priests, magicians and Pharaohs believed--as well as the masses--in magic, besides practising it; the latter being liable to be referred to clever jugglery. The statues had to be fabricated; for, unless they were made of certain elements and stones, and were prepared under certain constellations, in accordance with the conditions prescribed by magic art, the divine (or infernal, if some will so have it) powers, or FORCES, that were expected to animate such statues and images, could not be made to act therein. A galvanic-battery has to be prepared of specific metals and materials, not made at random, if one would have it produce its magical effects. A photograph has to be obtained under specific conditions of darkness and certain chemicals, before it can result in a given purpose.

Some twenty years ago, archæology was enriched with a very curious Egyptian document giving the views of that ancient religion upon the subject of ghosts (manes) and magic in general. It is called the "Harris papyrus on Magic" (Papyrus Magique). It is extremely curious in its bearing upon the esoteric teachings of Occult Theosophy, and is very suggestive. It is left for our next article--on Magic.

H.P. BLAVATSKY

OSTENDE, July, 1886

Theosophist, October, 1886


 

1ESSAY. PREFACE by Colebrooke.
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2 It is only through Mr. Barthelemy St. Hilaire that the world has learned that with regard to metaphysics, the Hindu genius has ever remained in a kind of infantile under-development"!!
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3 The reader need not be told that every soul newly-born into its cycle of 8000 years after the death of the body it animated, became, in Egypt, an "Osiris," was osirified, viz., the personality became reduced to its higher principles, a spirit.
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4 "Substitute" was the name given to the father of the "Son" adopted by the High-priest Hierophant; a class of these remaining unmarried, and adopting "Sons" for purposes of transmission of power and succession.
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5 The Secret Doctrine teaches that those dynasties were composed of divine beings, "the ethereal images of human creatures," in reality, "gods," in their luminous astral bodies; the Sishta of preceding manvantaras.
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6 Rossellius (vol. i, "Storia degli Monumenti dell Egitto," (p. 8). He adds that Manetho and the old Chronicles agree in translating the word manes by nekhues. In the Chronicles of Eusebius Pamphilius, discovered at Milan and annotated by Cardinal Mai, the word nekhues is also translated urvagan, "the exterior shadow" or "ethereal image of men"; in short, the astral body.
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7 Suppositiously--during the XVIIIth Dynasty of kings, agreeably to Manetho's Synchronistic Tables, disfigured out of recognition by the able Eusebius, the too clever Bishop of Cæsarea.
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8 Long arms in Egypt meant as now in India, a sign of mahatmaship, or adeptship.
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9 This is the more to be regretted--says the translator of the papyrus--that "legendary details, notwithstanding the contents of the Lepsius papyrus are evidently based upon the most ancient traditions; and as a matter of fact emanate from eye-witnesses and first-hand evidence." The data in the papyrus are absolutely coincident with facts known, and agree with the discoveries made by Egyptology and the undeniable information obtained concerning the history and far away events of that "1and of mystery and riddle," as Hegel called it. Therefore we have no cause whatever to doubt the authenticity of the general narrative contained in our papyrus. It reveals to us, likewise, entirely new historical facts. Thus, we learn, first of all, that (Kefren) or Chephren was the son of Cheops; that the Vth Dynasty originated in the town of Saheboo; that its first three Pharaohs were three brothers--and that the elder of the triplets had been a solar High-priest at Heliopolis before ascending to the throne. Meagre as the details appear, they become quite important in the history of events removed from us by more than forty centuries. Finally, the Lepsius papyrus is an extremely ancient document, written in the old Egyptian tongue, while the events narrated therein may, for their originality (magic?), be placed on a par with the best Egyptian narratives translated and published by the famous Egyptologist and Archæologist, Mr. Maspero, in his work called "Contes de l'ancienne Egypte."
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