THEOSOPHY, Vol. 13, No. 5, March, 1925
(Pages 213-216; Size: 18K)
(Number 3 of an 8-part series)
ANTIQUITY OF MAN
CENTERS OF CIVILIZATIONMax Müller, for instance, says: "Many things are still unintelligible to us, and the hieroglyphic language of antiquity records but half of the mind's unconscious intentions. Yet more and more the image of man, in whatever clime we meet him, rises before us, noble and pure from the very beginning; even his errors we learn to understand, even his dreams we begin to interpret. As far as we can trace back the footsteps of man, even on the lowest strata of history, we see the divine gift of a sound and sober intellect belonging to him from the very first, and the idea of a humanity emerging slowly from the depths of an animal brutality can never be maintained again." (Isis Unveiled  I, 4.)THE above quotations from Isis are not theory or speculation; they are verified prophecies. But of what avail are they to those who heed not past errors or present confutations? Spineless slaves of time that we are, identifying ourselves and our interests with the passing moment, the world changes unnoticed year by year into a new universe, and prophecies of those wiser than we pass unrecorded into limbo.
Unless we mistake the signs, the day is approaching when the world will receive the proofs that only ancient religions were in harmony with nature, and ancient science embraced all that can be known. Secrets long kept may be revealed; books long forgotten and arts long time lost may be brought out to light again; papyri and parchments of inestimable importance will turn up in the hands of men who pretend to have unrolled them from mummies, or stumbled upon them in buried crypts; tablets and pillars, whose sculptured revelations will stagger theologians and confound scientists, may yet be excavated and interpreted. (Isis Unveiled, I, 38.)
The roots of our present institutions reach back to the Miocene Age. (Prof. Donnelly.)
All that is known confirms, implies, and reinforces the fact that cultural changes, amalgamations of civilizations, the growth of religions and philosophies, all require aeons of time. The rise and fall of individual nations are only flashes on the screen of time. A sudden apparent advance and expansion, like that of the present United States, or the Aztecs before Cortez, is not new in history or in causation. Every nation has had its birth, growth, and death; this is written ominously across every page of universal history, and still every vigorous, heedless young population dreams of eternal life and undying empire; only to follow its ancestors into oblivion.
"White Indians" in Panama; strange Mongolians in Brazil; the uncovering of a hitherto unguessed civilization at Assiout; a submerged city lost even to tradition (except in the tale of the "lotus eaters") in the Mediterranean; civilization equal to Egypt in her best days disinterred from the Cambodian jungle; traces of a lost people in the California Sierras; Chinese hieroglyphics of the archaic period on Nevada stones; Chinese remains and Chinese-speaking Indians in Mexico; the Khara-Khoto discovery so definitely predicted by Madame Blavatsky; (see THEOSOPHY, December, 1923). [Note: A copy of this "Khara-Khoto" item, from the "On the Lookout" section, is found at the end of this article. --Compiler.] Masonic symbols up to the 32nd degree on Mexican ruins; modern remains 50,000 years old discovered in Siberia; and in Polynesia, traceable mixtures of Mongoloid, Caucasoid, and Indian types dating back hundreds of thousands of years, as Professor MacMillan Brown thinks: what are all these but errant, disconnected lightning flashes illuminating a weird field of primordial past history of an appalling scope?
The vast age of Theosophy itself is on the verge of proof; if it can be further shown that the primeval spaces through which its stream flows, were verdant with a knowledge coequal with our own, or superior thereto, a "stock" opposing argument will be once and for all done away with -- the argument powerful with the materialistic who hold that knowledge depends upon modern mechanical apparatus, even though it be based solely upon unthinking prejudice, as it is.
It is asked: Why, if civilization is so old and has been so powerful, why are not the records clear? Why has knowledge been lost? Where are the written chronicles? Where are the ruins? It so happens, however, that a move to establish this doctrine, is not a campaign to establish a theory or a speculation, but a campaign against prejudice and to gain recognition of the true bearing of the facts at hand.
Admirers of modern "progress" assume that our works, our records, our inventions, are permanent and enduring. Modern egotism notwithstanding, ours is essentially a "gimcrack" civilization. Paper vanishes within a few years (our Declaration of Independence is on the verge of being lost forever, literally as well as metaphorically); metals rust; stones weather and disintegrate; even ferro-concrete, our most substantial invention -- and our one radical improvement over ancient building materials -- fails by steel corrosion and spalling, to become indistinguishable in a few hundred years from conglomerate natural stone. Stand upon a roof in New York, in London, Paris, or Los Angeles, and envisage the scene after a hundred thousand years of neglect. What would be recognized as a work of Man underneath the accumulation of debris?
The question, Why have civilizations perished? is now an academic one, for it is a condition and not a theory which faces us; they have perished, and some of our best brains are working night and day to discover the causes and apply the remedy to our own before it is too late. And some few have seen the cause rightly, in moral decadence.
Written records? Bunsen, studying Egyptian records, was forced to concede 70,000 years to that civilization. Iamblichus testifies that the Assyrians had recorded 270,000 years, and recently discovered Indian tablets go back 30,000 years.
The misunderstanding of these things, the classification of them as "fairy-tales," began with the days when the Ussher biblical chronology dominated even science, and continued under Darwinism because it fitted the "animal descent" theory. Hence such queer prejudices as those of Prof. Sayce, who says that the latest discoveries have set Indian history back to 3000 B.C., whereas less prejudiced authorities have taught for many years that the Kali Yuga, 3102 B.C., was established both historically and astronomically.
Records have been destroyed, like the Alexandrian manuscripts and the Central American records; for the brutality of the latter cultural massacre Bishop Landa was censured even by his Spanish Catholic superiors. Other records are still undiscovered or untranslated; like the Khara-Khoto literature. Many more will be forthcoming under fortuitous circumstances, like some of those discovered already of late.
Ancient wisdom is vast and deep; only prejudice blinds us to its scope. The Edwin Smith manuscript, just translated, shows the correct physiological wisdom of old Egypt; the passages in the Great Pyramid are admitted to have been transit instruments for catching the meridian, and the shadows of the pyramids recorded the day of year and hour of day. The Rhind Papyrus proves that Egypt 3000 years B.C. (then in its decadence) possessed a highly scientific mathematics; and in 2830 Egypt instituted the first (historical) food-control system.
In the ruins of Carthage (in its decline when destroyed by Rome) there were found check books, paper money, mirrors, cosmetics and powders, to say nothing of magnifying spectacles.
European "cave drawings" prove that "primitive men" knew of stars in the Pleiades visible only to powerful telescopes; and the mystery of the naming of the constellation "Ophiuchus" is still intriguing science.
Dr. Edward R. Hume demonstrates the precise and detailed medical knowledge of the ancient Chinese, and their anticipation of modern practice -- in many respects their great superiority therein. Ts'ai-lun made the first paper by modern methods in 75 A.D. -- ages after progress had ceased in China. The Chinese also anticipated us with the compass, the printing press, glass, the seismograph, the first metallic astronomical instruments, and a number of alloys.
As to India, there seem almost enough facts recorded in Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine; but time continually adds. On the walls of caves have been found diagrams of flying machines to go with the terminology of aviation found in ancient Sanskrit; Col. James Churchward discovered, and in part published, 125 manuscripts, some going back 30,000 years, wherein are described the destruction of "Mu," Theosophically known as Atlantis, according to the Theosophical doctrine of the geologic causes; and in some of these tablets are described air vessels. Dr. Kassim's Indian library contains recipes which, if workable, will demonstrate that Indian physical science possessed secrets unguessed by modern science; what courageous savant will dare the laughter of his colleagues by testing them?
It has been found that in Yucatan at some undetermined period, there were scientists worthy to take rank with any modern. (New York Times, January, 1913.) These men, among other feats, constructed a clock which kept time for 2000 years, until destroyed by "Enlightened Christianity."
Prof. Curt Sachs has deciphered a manuscript of pre-Babylonian Sumeria which proves that some 4000 years ago music had reached its present stage of development -- and incidentally the hymn referred to was an allegorical account of the true origin of mankind by correlation of pre-existing intelligencies of various grades. Even backward and mysterious Abyssinia contributes, with an account in the Kebra Nagast of Solomon's flying machines, power boats, and (electric?) lights.
To prove the case, what needs to be elucidated is the origin and the mysterious, yet scientifically proven, connection between these cultures; the reasons for their subsidence; and to square up dates and prove Theosophic chronology authoritative, a geological correlation.
Material for all these we have; and with it propose to illuminate the path of mankind by reflecting upon it the lights of the past.
COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:
EVOLUTION AN ANCIENT DOCTRINE
It is an easy task to show that the cosmogonical legends all over the world are based on a knowledge by the ancients of those sciences which have allied themselves in our days to support the doctrine of evolution; and that further research may demonstrate that they were far better acquainted with the fact of evolution itself, embracing both its physical and spiritual aspects, than we are now. With the old philosophers, evolution was a universal theorem, a doctrine embracing the whole, and an established principle; while our modern evolutionists are enabled to present us merely with speculative theoretics; with particular, if not wholly negative theorems. It is idle for the representatives of our modern wisdom to close the debate and pretend that the question is settled, merely because the obscure phraseology of the Mosaic account clashes with the definite exegesis of "exact science."--H. P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled.
[Note: Here is the copy of the item that was referred to by the Editors in the above article. This "On the Lookout" section of THEOSOPHY magazine is in every issue, and always reviews and comments on various subjects. Only the specific part referred to is copied and presented here. --Compiler.]
THEOSOPHY, Vol. 12, No. 2, December, 1923
ON THE LOOKOUT
HOW DID SHE KNOW? A DOUBLE VINDICATION
In view of a recent discovery, we quote from The Secret Doctrine:The traces of an immense civilization, even in Central Asia, are to be found. This civilization is undeniably prehistoric. And how can there be a civilization without a literature, in some form; without annals or chronicles? ... The gigantic, unbroken wall of the mountains that hem in the whole table-land of Tibet ... witnessed a civilization during millenniums of years, and would have strange secrets to tell mankind.... Built deep in the bowels of the earth, the subterranean stores are secure.... The Russian traveler, Colonel Prjevalsky, found quite close to the oasis of Cherchen, the ruins of two enormous cities ... the traces of such civilization, and these and like traditions, give us the right to credit ... when they speak of immense libraries reclaimed from the sand.... The Secret Doctrine was the universally diffused religion of the ancient and prehistoric world. Proofs of its diffusion, authentic records of its history, a complete chain of documents ... exist....We now learn that a Russian explorer, after much running down of traditions, has unearthed the city of Kharakota in the Mongolian desert (the exact region referred to), and uncovered great stores of archaeological remains, including a cone-shaped monument outside the walls containing 20,000 books written in seven Oriental languages.
This statement is rendered more credible by a consideration of the following facts: the tradition of the thousands of ancient parchments saved when the Alexandrian library was destroyed; the thousands of Sanskrit works which disappeared in India in the reign of Akbar; the universal tradition in China and Japan that the true old texts with the commentaries, which alone make them comprehensible -- amounting to many thousands of volumes -- have long passed out of the reach of profane hands; the disappearance of the vast sacred and occult literature of Babylon; the loss of those keys which alone could solve the thousand riddles of the Egyptian hieroglyphic records; the tradition in India that the real secret commentaries which alone make the Veda intelligible ... still remain for the initiate, hidden in secret caves and crypts; and an identical belief among the Buddhists, with regard to their secret books.
The Occultists assert that these exist, safe from Western spoliation, to re-appear in some more enlightened age.
The explorer was for a time unable to make headway because of the opposition of the natives to guiding him; being caught in a sandstorm and passing the night unexpectedly in the neighborhood of the lost city, discovered it. This being regarded as a favorable omen by the natives, his work was thereafter facilitated. We have heard of these "coincidences" before, and H.P.B. wrote regarding their significance.
Whether this is sufficiently the "more enlightened age" for these to be the remains spoken of, we do not know; but we suspect that these books are a part of the mass spoken of, and confess to considerable curiosity as to their contents.
How long those contents will be doubly immured in the dusty crypts and minds of professional archaeologists utterly incapable by experience and training of understanding their real significance, we have no way of predicting. If not useful before then, we opine that they may come into their own in the neighborhood of 1975; unless by some happy chance archaeologists in general may be impelled in the meantime to an earnest, respectful and open investigation of the meaning of the old texts.
ANTIQUITY OF MAN
(Part 4 of an 8-part series)
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