THEOSOPHY, Vol. 18, No. 11, September, 1930
(Pages 497-501; Size: 16K)
(Number 11 of a 12-part series)
[Compiler's Note: This series is entirely
"Collated from the writings of H.P.B."]
JESUS: INITIATE AND TEACHER
IN the Symbolism of every nation, "the Deluge" stands for Chaotic unsettled matter -- Chaos itself: and the Water for the feminine principle -- the "Great Deep." ... Ark is also the mystic name of the divine spirit of life which broods over chaos... There is no use in expatiating upon the esoteric meaning of the word fish (See Payne Knight, Inman, Gerald Massey, etc.). Its theological meaning is phallic, but the metaphysical, divine. Jesus is called the "Fish," and so were Vishnu and Bacchus. Says St. Augustin of Jesus, "For he is a fish that lives in the midst of waters." Christians called themselves little fishes -- pisciculi --in their sacred mysteries. "So many fishes bred in the water, and saved by one great fish," says Tertullian of the Christians and Christ and the Church.
No occultist, no astrologer of Eastern birth, will ever agree with Christian mystics, or even with Kepler's mystical astronomy, his great science and erudition notwithstanding; simply because, if his premises are quite correct, his deductions therefrom are onesided and biased by Christian preconceptions. Why see in the Pisces a direct reference to Christ -- one of the several world-reformers, a Saviour but for his direct followers, but only a great and glorious Initiate for all the rest -- when that constellation shines as a symbol of all the past, present, and future Spiritual Saviours who dispense light and dispel mental darkness? Christian symbologists have tried to prove that it was that of Ephraim (Joseph's son), the elect of Jacob, that therefore, it was at the moment of the Sun entering into the sign of the Fish (Pisces) that "the Elect Messiah ... of the first Christians, had to be born. But, if Jesus of Nazareth was that Messiah -- was he really born at that "moment," or was he made to be so born by the adaptation of theologians, who sought only to make their preconceived ideas fit in with sidereal facts and popular belief? Everyone knows that the real time and year of the birth of Jesus are totally unknown ... And what of the further facts that Brahmins also connect their "Messiah," the eternal Avatar Vishnu, with a fish and the Deluge, and that the Babylonians made of their Dag-On, equally a fish and a Messiah, the Man-Fish and Prophet? There are those learned iconoclasts among Egyptologists, who say that "when the Pharisees sought a 'sign from heaven' Jesus said, 'there shall no sign be given but the sign of Jonas' (Matt. xvi. 4) ... The sign of Jonas is that of the Oan or fisherman of Ninevah... Assuredly there was no other sign than that of the Sun reborn in Pisces. The voice of the Secret Wisdom says those who are looking for signs can have no other than that of the returning fish-man Icthys, Oannes, or Jonas -- who could not be made flesh."
The Babylonians, who had all those cycles and taught them only at their great initiatory mysteries of astrological magic, got their wisdom and learning from India... In their secret computations, the Japanese have the same figures in their cycles. As to the Brahmins, their Purânas and Upanishads are a good proof of it.... Compare: in Pistis Sophia the disciple says to Jesus: "Rabbi, reveal unto us the Mysteries of the Light (i.e., the "Fire of Knowledge or Enlightenment") ... forasmuch as we have heard thee saying that there is another baptism of smoke, and another baptism of the Spirit of Holy Light," i.e., the Spirit of FIRE. "I baptize you with water, but ... he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire," says John of Jesus (Matt. iii. 2); meaning this esoterically. The real significance of this statement is very profound. It means that he, John, a non-initiated ascetic, can impart to his disciples no greater wisdom than the mysteries connected with the plane of matter (water being a symbol of it). His gnosis was that of exoteric and ritualistic dogma, of dead-letter orthodoxy; while the wisdom which Jesus, an Initiate of the higher mysteries, would reveal to them, was of a higher character, for it was the "FIRE" Wisdom of the true gnosis or the real spiritual enlightenment. One was FIRE, the other SMOKE.
We must always seek for more than one meaning in every mystery allegorically revealed, especially in those in which the number seven and its multiplication seven by seven, or forty-nine, appear. Now when the Rabbi Jesus is requested (in Pistis Sophia) by his disciples to reveal to them, "the mysteries of the Light of thy (his) Father" (i.e., of the higher SELF enlightened by Initiation and Divine knowledge), Jesus answers: "Do ye seek after these mysteries? No mystery is more excellent than they which shall bring your souls unto the Light of Lights, unto the place of Truth and Goodness, unto the place where there is neither male nor female, neither form in that place but Light, everlasting, not to be uttered. Nothing therefore is more excellent than the mysteries which ye seek after, saving only THE MYSTERY of the seven vowels and their FORTY AND NINE POWERS, and their numbers thereof; and no name is more excellent than all these vowels." "The Seven Fathers and the Forty-nine Sons blaze in DARKNESS, but they are the LIFE and LIGHT and the continuation thereof through the Great Age" -- says the Commentary speaking of the "Fires." Let those who are satisfied with the Smoke of the FIRE remain wherein they are, that is to say within the Egyptian darkness of theological fictions and dead-letter interpretations.
The figure of the Hindu Wittoba -- (Wittoba -- a form of Vishnu -- as said already) even to the nail-marks on the feet, is that of Jesus crucified, in all its details save the Cross; and that MAN was meant is proved to us further by the fact of the Initiate being reborn after his crucifixion on the TREE OF LIFE. This "tree" has now become exoterically, through its use by the Romans as an instrument of torture, and the ignorance of the early Christian schemers, the tree of death! Thus, one of the seven esoteric meanings implied in this mystery of the Crucifixion by the mystic inventors of the system -- the original elaboration and adoption of which dates back to the very establishment of the MYSTERIES -- is discovered in the geometrical symbols containing the history of the evolution of man. The symbol of the "Tree" standing for various Initiates was almost universal. Jesus is called "the tree of Life," as also all the adepts of the good Law, while those of the left Path are referred to as the "withering trees" (Matth. iii. 10); and the King of Assyria's armies are called trees (Isaiah x. 19).
The Pagans have always shown a philosophical discrimination in their symbols. The primitive symbol of the serpent symbolised divine Wisdom and Perfection, and had always stood for psychical Regeneration and Immortality... Yet they all made a difference between the good and the bad Serpent (the Astral Light of the Kabalists) -- between the former, the embodiment of divine Wisdom in the region of the Spiritual, and the latter, Evil, on the plane of matter. Jesus accepted the serpent as a synonym of Wisdom, and this formed part of his teaching: "Be ye wise as serpents," he says.
It is in the religious doctrines of the Gnostics that the real meaning of the Dragon, the Serpent, the Goat, and all those symbols of powers now called Evil, can be seen the best; as it is they who divulged the esoteric nature of the Jewish Substitute for AIN-SOPH in their teachings; of the true meaning of which, while the Rabbins concealed it, the Christians, with a few exceptions, knew nothing. Surely Jesus of Nazareth would have hardly advised his apostles to show themselves as wise as the serpent, had the latter been a symbol of the Evil one; nor would the Ophites, the learned Egyptian Gnostics of "the Brotherhood of the Serpent," have reverenced a living snake in their ceremonies as the emblem of WISDOM, the divine Sophia (and a type of the all-good, not the all-bad), were that reptile so closely connected with Satan. The fact is, that even as a common ophidian it has ever been a dual symbol; and as a Dragon it had never been anything else than a symbol of the manifested Deity in its great Wisdom.
The serpent has ever been the symbol of the adept, and of his powers of immortality and divine knowledge... Every people of antiquity reverenced this symbol, with the exceptions of Christians, who chose to forget the brazen Serpent of Moses, and even the implied acknowledgment of the great wisdom and prudence of the Serpent by Jesus himself, "Be ye wise as serpents and harmless as doves."
The coluber tortuosus, "the tortuous snake," a qualification said to have originated with the Jews, had quite another meaning before the Roman Church distorted it:-- among others, a purely astronomical meaning. The "Serpent" fallen from on high, "deorsum fluens," was credited with the possession of the Keys of the Empire of the Dead ... to that day, when Jesus saw it "falling like lightning from heaven" (Luke x. 17, 18), the Roman Catholic interpretation of cadebat ut fulgur to the contrary, notwithstanding; and it means indeed that even "the devils are subject" to the Logos --who is WISDOM, but who, as the opponent of ignorance, is Satan or Lucifer at the same time. This remark refers to divine Wisdom falling like lightning on, and quickening the intellects of those who fight the devils of ignorance and superstition... The Angels fallen into generation are referred to metaphorically as Serpent and Dragons of Wisdom. On the other hand, regarded in the light of the LOGOS, the Christian Saviour, like Krishna, whether as man or logos, may be said to have saved those who believed in the secret teachings from "eternal death," to have conquered the Kingdom of Darkness, or Hell, as every Initiate does.
Thus the remark made by the great Initiate (in Luke x. 18) -- one that referred allegorically to the ray of Enlightenment and reason, falling like lightning from on high into the hearts and minds of the converts to that old wisdom-religion then presented in a new form by the wise Galilean Adept -- was distorted out of recognition (as was his own personality), and made to fit in with one of the most cruel as the most pernicious of all theological dogmas. One who reads that passage in Luke, will see that the remark follows the report of the seventy, who rejoice that "even the devils (the spirit of controversy and reasoning, or the opposing power, since Satan means simply "adversary" or opponent) are subject unto us through thy name." (Luke x. 17 ). Now, "thy name" means the name of Christos, or Logos, or the spirit of true divine wisdom, as distinct from the spirit of intellectual or mere materialistic reasoning -- the HIGHER SELF in short. And when Jesus remarks to this that he has "beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven," it is a mere statement of his clairvoyant powers, notifying them that he already knew it, and a reference to the incarnation of the divine ray (the gods or angels) which falls into generation. For not all men, by any means, benefit by that incarnation, and with some the power remains latent and dead during the whole life. Truly "No man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son" as added by Jesus then and there (Ibid. v. 22) -- the Church "of Christ" less than any one else. The Initiates alone understood the secret meaning of the term "Father and the Son," and knew that it referred to Spirit and Soul on the Earth. For the teachings of Christ were occult teachings, which could only be explained at the initiation. They were never intended for the masses, for Jesus forbade the twelve to go to the Gentiles and the Samaritans (Matt. x. 8), and repeated to his disciples that the "mysteries of Heaven" were for them alone, not for the multitudes (Mark iv. 11).
The Mystery of Agathadaemon, whose legend states, "I am Chnumis, Sun of the Universe, 700," can alone solve the mystery of Jesus, the number of whose name is 888. It is not the key of St. Peter, or the Church dogma, but the narthex --the wand of the candidate for initiation -- that has to be wrenched from the grasp of the long-silent Sphinx of the ages. "Christos" with the Gnostics meant the impersonal principle, the Atman of the Universe, and the Atma within every man's soul -- not Jesus; though in the old Coptic MSS. in the British Museum "Christos" is almost constantly replaced by "Jesus." The five words (Panchadasa) of Brahmâ have become with the Gnostics the "Five Words" written upon the akasic (shining) garment of Jesus at his glorification ... translated by the Orientalists "the robe, the glorious robe of my strength." These words were, in their turn, the anagrammatic blind of the five mystic powers represented on the robe of the "resurrected" Initiate after his last trial of three days' trance; the five becoming seven only after his death, when the Adept became the full CHRISTOS, the full KRISHNA-VISHNU, i.e., merged in Nirvana.
(Collated from the writings of H.P.B.)
(To be continued)
JESUS: INITIATE AND TEACHER
(Part 12 of a 12-part series)
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