THEOSOPHY, Vol. 18, No. 1, November, 1929
(Pages 10-15; Size: 16K)
(Number 1 of a 12-part series)
[Compiler's Note: This series is entirely
"Collated from the writings of H.P.B."]
JESUS: INITIATE AND TEACHER
SOME STATEMENTS BY H. P. BLAVATSKY
FACTS are stronger, sometimes, than the strongest faith. All that the Jews learned, they had from older nations than themselves. The Chaldean Magi were their masters in the secret doctrine, and it was during the Babylonian captivity that they learned its metaphysical as well as practical tenets. The nazars were a class of Chaldean theurgists. We will show further that Jesus belonged to this class.
Pliny mentions three schools of Magi: one that he shows to have been founded at an unknown antiquity; the other established by Osthanes and Zoroaster; the third by Moses and Jambres. And all the knowledge possessed by these different schools, whether Magian, Egyptian, or Jewish, was derived from India, or rather from both sides of the Himalayas. Many a lost secret lies buried under wastes of sand, in the Gobi Desert of Eastern Turkestan, and the wise men of Khotan have preserved strange traditions and knowledge of alchemy.
Baron Bunsen shows that the origin of the ancient prayers and hymns of the Egyptian Book of the Dead is anterior to Menes, and belongs, probably, to the pre-Menite Dynasty of Abydos, between 3100 and 4500 B.C. The learned Egyptologist makes the era of Menes, or National Empire, as not later than 3059 B.C., and demonstrates that "the system of Osirian worship and mythology was already formed" before this era of Menes. ("Egypt's Place in Universal History," vol. v., p. 94.)
We find in the hymns of this scientifically-established pre-Edenic epoch (for Bunsen carries us back several centuries beyond the year of the creation of the world, 4004 B.C., as fixed by biblical chronology) precise lessons of morality, identical in substance, and nearly so in form of expression, with those preached by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount. We give the authority of the most eminent Egyptologists and hierologists for our statement. "The inscriptions of the twelfth Dynasty are filled with ritualistic formulæ," says Bunsen. Extracts from the Hermetic books are found on monuments of the earliest dynasties, and "on those of the twelfth (dynasty) portions of an earlier ritual are by no means uncommon.... To feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, bury the dead ... formed the first duty of a pious man.... The doctrine of the immortality of the soul is as old as this period." (Tablet, Brit. Mus., 562.)
And far older, perhaps. It dates from the time when the soul was an objective being, hence when it could hardly be denied by itself; when humanity was a spiritual race and death existed not.
The Koinobi lived in Egypt, where Jesus passed his early youth. They were usually confounded with the Therapeutae, who were a branch of this widely-spread society. Such is the opinion of Godfrey Higgins and De Rebold. After the downfall of the principal sanctuaries, which had already begun in the days of Plato, the many different sects, such as the Gymnosophists and the Magi -- from whom Clearchus very erroneously derives the former -- the Pythagoreans, the Sufis, and the Reshees of Kashmere, instituted a kind of international and universal Freemasonry, among their esoteric societies. "These Rashees," says Higgins, "are the Essenians, Carmelites, or Nazarites of the temple." ("Anacalypsis"). "That occult science known by ancient priests under the name of regenerating fire," says Father Rebold, "...a science that for more than 3,000 years was the peculiar possession of the Indian and Egyptian priesthood, into the knowledge of which Moses was initiated at Heliopolis, where he was educated; and Jesus among the Essenian priests of Egypt or Judea; and by which these two great reformers, particularly the latter, wrought many of the miracles mentioned in the Scriptures."
In the notes taken by a traveller -- whose episode with the monks on Mount Athos we have mentioned elsewhere -- we find that, during his early life, Jesus had frequent intercourse with the Essenes belonging to the Pythagorean school, and known as the Koinobi.... It is an abuse of privilege, when an author, who claims to write historical facts, draws convenient deductions from hypothetical premises, and then calls it a biography -- a Life of Jesus. No more than any other compiler of legends concerning the problematical history of the Nazarene prophet, has Renan one inch of secure foothold upon which to maintain himself; nor can anyone else assert a claim to the contrary, except on inferential evidence. And yet, while Renan has not one solitary fact to show that Jesus had never studied the metaphysical tenets of Buddhism and Parsism, or heard of the philosophy of Plato, his opponents have the best reasons in the world to suspect the contrary. When they find that -- 1, all his sayings are in a Pythagorean spirit, when not verbatim repetitions; 2, his code of ethics is purely Buddhistic; 3, his mode of action and walk in life, Essenean; and 4, his mystical mode of expression, his parables, and his ways, those of an initiate, whether Grecian, Chaldean, or Magian (for the "Perfect," who spoke the hidden wisdom, were of the same school of archaic learning the world over), it is difficult to escape from the logical conclusion that he belonged to that same body of initiates.
In the very first remark made by Jesus about John the Baptist, we find him stating that he is "Elias, which was for to come." This assertion, if it is not a later interpolation for the sake of having a prophecy fulfilled, means again that Jesus was a kabalist; unless indeed we have to adopt the doctrine of the French spiritists and suspect him of believing in reincarnation. Except the kabalistic sects of the Essenes, the Nazarenes, the disciples of Simeon Ben Iochai, and Hillel, neither the orthodox Jews, nor the Galileans, believed or knew anything about the doctrine of permutation. Thus, Jesus hinting that John was the revolutio, or transmigration of Elias, seems to prove beyond any doubt the school to which he belonged.
While it is evidently to the Essenes that belongs the honor of having had the Nazarene reformer, Jesus, as a pupil, still the latter is found disagreeing with his early teachers on several questions of formal observance. He cannot strictly be called an Essene, for reasons which we will indicate further on, neither was he a nazar, or Nazaria of the older sect. What Jesus was, may be found in the Codex Nazaraeus, in the unjust accusations of the Bardesanian Gnostics.
"Jesu is Nebu, the false Messiah, the destroyer of the old orthodox religion," says the Codex. He is the founder of the sect of the new nazars, and, as the words clearly imply, a follower of the Buddhist doctrine. In Hebrew the word naba means to speak of inspiration; and is nebo, a god of wisdom. But Nebo is also Mercury, and Mercury is Buddha in the Hindu monogram of planets. Moreover, we find the Talmudists holding that Jesus was inspired by the genius of Mercury.
The Nazarene reformer had undoubtedly belonged to one of these sects; though, perhaps, it would be next to impossible to decide absolutely which. But what is self-evident is that he preached the philosophy of Buddha-Sakyamuni. Denounced by the later prophets, cursed by the Sanhedrim, the nazars -- they were confounded with others of that name "who separated themselves unto that shame," they were secretly, if not openly persecuted by the orthodox synagogue. It becomes clear why Jesus was treated with such contempt from the first, and deprecatingly called "the Galilean." Nathaniel inquires -- "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?" (John, i.46) at the very beginning of his career; and merely because he knows him to be a nazar. Does not this clearly hint, that even the older nazars were not really Hebrew religionists, but rather a class of Chaldean theurgists? Besides, as the New Testament is noted for its mistranslations and transparent falsifications of texts, we may justly suspect that the word Nazareth was substituted for that of nasaria or nozari. That it originally read, "Can any good thing come from a nozari, or Nazarene;" a follower of St. John the Baptist, with whom we see him associating from his first appearance on the stage of action, after having been lost sight of for a period of nearly twenty years. The blunders of the Old Testament are as nothing to those of the gospels. Nothing shows better than these self-evident contradictions the system of pious fraud upon which the superstructure of the Messiahship rests. "This is Elias which was for to come," says Matthew of John the Baptist, thus forcing an ancient kabalistic tradition into the frame of evidence (xi. 14). But when addressing the Baptist himself, they ask him (John i. 16), "Art thou Elias?" "And he saith I am not!" Which knew best -- John or his biographer? And which is divine revelation?
The motive of Jesus was evidently like that of Gautama-Buddha, to benefit humanity at large by producing a religious reform which should give it a religion of pure ethics; the true knowledge of God and nature having remained until then solely in the hands of the esoteric sects, and their adepts. As Jesus used oil and the Essenes never used aught but pure water, he cannot be called a strict Essene. ("The Essenes considered oil as a defilement," says Josephus: "Wars," ii, p. 7). On the other hand, the Essenes were also "set apart;" they were healers (assaya) and dwelt in the desert as all ascetics did.
But although he did not abstain from wine he could have remained a Nazarene all the same. For in chapter vi. of Numbers, we see that after the priest has waved a part of the hair of a Nazorite for a wave-offering before the Lord," "after that a Nazarene may drink wine" (v. 20). The bitter denunciation by the reformer of the people who would be satisfied with nothing is worded in the following exclamation: "John came neither eating nor drinking and they say: 'He hath a devil.' ... The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say: 'Behold a man gluttonous and a wine-bibber.'" And yet he was an Essene and Nazarene, for we not only find him sending a message to Herod, to say that he was one of those who cast out demons, and who performed cures, but actually calling himself a prophet and declaring himself equal to the other prophets.
The author of Sod shows Matthew trying to connect the appellation of Nazarene with a prophecy, (Matthew ii) -- and inquires "Why then does Matthew state that the prophet said he should be called Nazaria?" Simply "because he belonged to that sect, and a prophecy would confirm his claims to the Messiahship.... Now it does not appear that the prophets anywhere state that the Messiah will be called a Nazarene." The fact alone that Matthew tries in the last verse of chapter ii. to strengthen his claim that Jesus dwelt in Nazareth merely to fulfil a prophecy, does more than weaken the argument, it upsets it entirely; for the first two chapters have sufficiently been proved later forgeries. (We must bear in mind that the Gospel according to Matthew in the New Testament is not the original Gospel of the apostle of that name. The authentic Evangel was for centuries in the possession of the Nazarenes and the Ebionites, as we show further on the admission of St. Jerome himself, who confesses that he had to ask permission of the Nazarenes to translate it).
To assure ourselves that Jesus was a true Nazarene -- albeit with ideas of a new reform -- we must not search for the proof in the translated Gospels, but in such original versions as are accessible. Tischendorf, in his translation from the Greek of Luke iv. 34, has it "Iesou Nazarene;" and in the Syriac it reads "Iasoua, thou Nazaria." Thus, if we take in account all that is puzzling and incomprehensible in the four Gospels, revised and corrected as they now stand, we shall easily see for ourselves that the true, original Christianity, such as was preached by Jesus, is to be found only in the so-called Syrian heresies. Only from them can we extract any clear notions about what was primitive Christianity.
When the metaphysical conceptions of the Gnostics, who saw in Jesus the Logos and the anointed, began to gain ground, the earliest Christians separated from the Nazarenes, who accused Jesus of perverting the doctrines of John, and changing the baptism of the Jordan. "Directly," says Milman, "as it (the Gospel) got beyond the borders of Palestine, and the name of 'Christ' had acquired sanctity and veneration in the Eastern cities, he became a kind of metaphysical impersonation, while the religion lost its purely moral cast and assumed the character of a speculative theogony." The only half-original document that has reached us from the primitive apostolic days, is the Logia of Matthew. The real, genuine doctrine has remained in the hands of the Nazarenes, in this Gospel of Matthew containing the "secret doctrine," the "Sayings of Jesus," mentioned by Papias. These sayings were, no doubt, of the same nature as the small manuscripts placed in the hands of the neophytes, who were candidates for the Initiations into the Mysteries, and which contained the Aporrheta, the revelations of some important rites and symbols. For why should Matthew take such precautions to make them "secret" were it otherwise?
(To be continued)
JESUS: INITIATE AND TEACHER
(Part 2 of a 12-part series)
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