THEOSOPHY, Vol. 11, No. 2, December, 1922
(Pages 80-84; Size: 20K)
INITIATES AND INITIATION(1)
[Part 2 of an 8-part series]
EASTERN Initiates maintain that they have preserved records of racial development and of events of universal import ever since the beginning of the Fourth Race -- their knowledge of events preceding that epoch being traditional.
The Secret Doctrine is the accumulated Wisdom of the Ages, and its cosmogony alone is the most stupendous and elaborate of all the systems, even as veiled in the exotericism of the Puranas. But such is the mysterious power of Occult symbolism, that the facts which have actually occupied countless generations of initiated seers and prophets to marshal, set down and explain, in the bewildering series of evolutionary progress, are all recorded on a few pages of geometrical signs and glyphs. The flashing gaze of those seers has penetrated into the very kernel of matter, and recorded the soul of things there, where an ordinary profane observer, however learned, would have perceived but the external work of form. The system in question is no fancy of one or several isolated individuals; it is an uninterrupted record, covering thousands of generations of seers, whose respective experiences were made to test and verify the traditions, passed on orally by one early race to another, of the teachings of higher and exalted Beings, who watch over the childhood of Humanity; for long ages the "Wise Men" of the Fifth Race, of the stock saved and rescued from the last cataclysm and the shifting the continents, passed their lives in learning, not teaching. How did they do so? It is answered: by checking, testing, and verifying, in every department of Nature, the traditions of old, by the independent visions of great Adepts; that is to say, men who have developed and perfected their physical, mental, psychic, and spiritual organizations, to the utmost possible degree. No vision of one Adept was accepted till it was checked and confirmed by the visions -- so obtained as to stand as independent evidence -- of other Adepts, and by centuries of experience.
One feels serious doubt whether, with all its intellectual acuteness, our age is destined to discover in each Western nation even one solitary uninitiated Scholar or Philosopher capable of fully comprehending the Spirit of Archaic Philosophy. The Ancient Adepts have solved the great problems of Science, however unwilling modern Materialism may be to admit the fact. The mysteries of Life and Death were fathomed by the great master-minds of antiquity; and if they have preserved them in secrecy and silence it is because these problems formed part of the Sacred Mysteries, which must have remained incomprehensible to the vast majority of men then, as they do now.
As remarked by the wise Cicero: "Time destroys the speculations of man, but it confirms the judgment of nature." And as Theology and materialism have combined together to destroy the old Gods of antiquity and seek to disfigure every old philosophical conception, it is but just that lovers of the Old Wisdom should defend their position, by proving that the whole arsenal of the two is, at best, formed of new weapons made out of very old material.
The first law in nature is uniformity in diversity, and the second is analogy. "As above, so below." The time is gone by forever when our pious ancestors believed that our Earth was in the centre of the Universe, and the Church and her arrogant servants could insist that the supposition that any other planet could be inhabited should be regarded as blasphemy. Adam and Eve, the Serpent and Original Sin, followed by Atonement through Blood have been too long in the way of progress, and universal truth has thus been sacrificed to the insane conceit of us little men. Still the fact remains that most of the Planets, like the Stars beyond our System, are inhabited, a fact which has been admitted by the men of Science themselves. The old Initiates knew of no "miraculous creation," but taught the evolution of the Atoms, on our physical plane, and their first differentiation from Laya into Protyle, as Mr. Crookes has suggestively named Matter, or primordial substance, beyond the zero-line -- there where we place Mulaprakiti, the Root-Principle of the World Stuff and of all in the World.
All Esoteric truths were given out to the public by the Initiates of the temples under the guise of allegories. The whole essence of truth cannot be transmitted from mouth to ear. Nor can any pen describe it, not even that of the Recording Angel, unless man finds the answer in the sanctuary of his own heart, in the innermost depths of his divine intuition. It is the great Seventh Mystery of Creation, the first and the last; and those who read St. John's Apocalypse may find its shadow lurking under the seventh seal. It can be represented only in its apparent, objective form, like the eternal riddle of the Sphinx. If the Sphinx threw herself into the sea and perished, it is not because OEdipus had unriddled the secret of the ages, but because, by anthropomorphizing the ever-spiritual and subjective, he had dishonored the great truth forever. Therefore, we can give it only from its philosophical and intellectual planes, unlocked with three keys respectively -- for the last four of the seven that throw wide open the portals to the Mysteries of Nature are in the hands of the highest Initiates, and cannot be divulged to the masses at large -- not in this century, at any rate.
The religious and esoteric history of every nation was imbedded in symbols; it was never expressed literally in so many words. All the thoughts and emotions, all the learning and knowledge, revealed and acquired, of the early Races, found their pictorial expression in allegory and parable. Why? Because the spoken word has a potency not only unknown to, but even unsuspected and naturally disbelieved in, by the modern "sages." Because sound and rhythm are closely related to the four Elements of the Ancients; and because such or another vibration in the air is sure to awaken the corresponding Powers, union with which produces good or bad results, as the case may be. No student was ever allowed to recite historical, religious, or real events of any kind, in so many unmistakable words, lest the Powers connected with the event should once more be attracted. Such events were narrated only during Initiation, and every student had to record them in corresponding symbols, drawn out of his own mind and examined later by his Master, before they were finally accepted.
The many-sided facets of the Mystery Language have led to the adoption of widely varied dogmas and rites in the exotericism of the Church rituals. It is these, again, which are at the origin of most of the dogmas of the Christian Church; for instance, the seven Sacraments, the Trinity, the Resurrection, the seven Capital Sins, and the seven Virtues. The seven keys to the Mystery Tongue, however, having always been in the keeping of the highest among the initiated Hierophants of antiquity; it is only the partial use of a few out of the seven which passed, through the treason of some of the early Church Fathers -- ex-Initiates of the Temples -- into the hands of the new sect of the Nazarenes. Some of the early Popes were Initiates, but the last fragments of their knowledge have now fallen into the power of the Jesuits, who have turned them into a system of sorcery.
It is maintained that India, not confined to its present limits -- but including its ancient boundaries -- is the only country in the world which still has among her sons Adepts, who have the knowledge of all the seven sub-systems and the key to the entire system.
The mystery veiling the origin and religion of the Druids is as great as that of their supposed fanes to the modern Symbologist, but not to the initiated Occultists. Their priests were the descendants of the last Atlanteans, and what is known of them is sufficient to allow the inference that they were Eastern priests, akin to the Chaldeans and Indians, though little more. It may be inferred that they symbolized their deity as the Hindus do their Vishnu, as the Egyptians did their Mystery God, and as the builders of the Ohio great Serpent Mound worshipped theirs -- namely, under the form of the "Mighty Serpent," the emblem of the eternal deity Time -- the Hindu Kala. Pliny called them the "Magi of the Gauls and Britons." But they were more than that. The author of Indian Antiquities finds much affinity between the Druids and the Brahmans of India. Dr. Borlase points to a close analogy between them and the Magi of Persia; others will see an identity between them and the Orphic priesthood of Thrace -- simply because they were connected in their Esoteric Teachings, with the Universal Religion, and thus presented affinities with the exoteric worship of all.
But the Magi of Persia were never Persians -- not even Chaldeans. They came from a far-off land, the Orientalists being of opinion that the said land was Media. This may be so, but from what part of Media? To this we receive no answer. Like the Hindus, the Greeks and Romans -- we speak of Initiates -- the Chaldees and the Egyptians, the Druids believed in the doctrine of a succession of "worlds," as also in that of seven "creations" (of new continents) and the transformations of the face of the Earth, and in a seven-fold night and day for each Earth or Globe. Wherever the serpent with the egg is found, there this tenet was surely present.
Now all the gods of Olympus, as well as those of the Hindu Pantheon and the Rishis, were the septiform personations (1) of the Noumena of the Intelligent Powers of Nature; (2) of Cosmic Forces; (3) of Celestial Bodies; (4) of Gods or Dhyan Chohans; (5) of Psychic and Spiritual Powers; (6) of Divine Kings on Earth, or the incarnations of the Gods; and (7) of Terrestrial Heroes or Men. The knowledge how to discern among these seven forms the one that is intended, belonged at all times to the Initiates, whose earliest predecessors had created this symbolical and allegorical system.
Bear in mind that almost every ancient king and priest was an Initiate; that from toward the close of the Fourth Race there had been a feud between the Initiates of the Right and those of the Left Path; finally that the Garden of Eden is referred to by other personages than the Jews of the Adamic Race, since even Pharaoh is compared to the fairest tree of Eden by this same Ezekiel, who shows: "All the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, ... comforted in the nether parts of the earth. (For) they also went down into hell with him (Pharaoh)" unto the nether parts, which are in fact the bottom of the ocean, whose floor gaped wide to devour the lands of the Atlanteans and themselves. (The only Pharaoh whom the Bible shows going down into the Red Sea was the king who pursued the Israelites, and who remained unnamed, for very good reasons, perhaps. The story was surely made up from the Atlantean legend.) If one bears all this in mind and compares the various accounts, then one will find out that chapters xxviii and xxxi of Ezekiel do not relate to Babylon, Assyria, nor yet to Egypt, since none of these have been so destroyed, having simply fallen into ruins on the surface, not beneath the earth -- but indeed to Atlantis and most of its nations. And he will see that the "Garden of Eden" of the Initiates was no myth, but a locality now submerged. Light will dawn upon him, and he will appreciate such sentences as these at their true value: "Thou hast been in Eden; ... thou wast upon the holy mountain of God" -- for every nation had and many still have holy mountains; some Himalayan Peaks, others Parnassus and Sinai. They were all places of Initiation and the abodes of Chiefs of the communities of ancient and even modern Adepts.
Throughout all Asia Minor the Initiates were called the "Trees of Righteousness," and the Cedars of Lebanon, as also were some kings of Israel. So were the great Adepts in India, but only the Adepts of the Left Hand. The symbol of the "Tree" standing for various Initiates was almost universal. Jesus is called the "Tree of Life," as are also all the Adepts of the Good Law, while those of the Left Path are referred to as "withering trees."
For the better comprehension of the apocalyptic allegories and of the Esoteric epochs we ask the reader to turn to Revelation, and to read chapter xii, from verse 1 to verse 7. This has several meanings, and much has been found out with regard to the astronomical and numerical keys of this universal myth. That which may now be given is a fragment, a few hints as to its secret meaning, as embodying the record of a real war, the struggle between the Initiates of the two schools. Many and various are the still-existing allegories built on this same foundation stone.
Shall one, for fear of incurring the penalty of being called a superstitious fool, and even a liar, abstain from furnishing proofs -- as good as any existent -- only because that day, when all the Seven Keys shall be delivered unto Science, or rather the men of learning and research in the department of symbology, has not yet dawned? Not so, so long as it is known that the Secret Records hold the said Seven Keys to the mystery of the genesis of man. Faulty, materialistic, and biased as the scientific theories may be, they are a thousand times nearer the truth than the vagaries of Theology. The latter are in their death agony for every one but the most uncompromising bigot and fanatic. Or rather, some of its defenders must have lost their reason.
One of the most unconquerable obstacles to initiation, with the Egyptians as with the Greeks, was any degree of murder. The Egyptian Mysteries, so imperfectly known by the world, and only through the few brief allusions to them in the Metamorphosis of Apuleius, taught the greatest virtues. They unveiled to the aspirant in the "higher" mysteries of initiation that which many of our modern Hermetic students vainly search for in the kabalistic books, and which no obscure teachings of the Church, under the guidance of the Order of the Jesuits, will ever be able to unveil.
It is the Esoteric Teachings, and the Initiates of the Future, whose mission it is, and will be, to redeem and ennoble once more the primitive conception, so sadly profaned by its crude and gross application to exoteric dogmas and personations, by theological and ecclesiastical religionists. The silent worship of abstract or noumenal Nature, the only divine manifestation, is the one ennobling religion of Humanity.
The Cycles of Matter will be succeeded by Cycles of Spirituality and a fully developed mind. On the law of parallel history and races, the majority of the future mankind will be composed of glorious Adepts. Humanity is the child of Cyclic Destiny, and not one of its Units can escape its unconscious mission, or get rid of the burden of its cooperative work with Nature. Thus will mankind, race after race, perform its appointed Cyclic Pilgrimage. Climates will, and have already begun to, change, each Tropical year after the other dropping one sub-race, only to beget another higher race on the ascending cycle; while a series of other less favored groups -- the failures of Nature -- will, like some individual men, vanish from the human family without even leaving a trace behind.
Such is the course of Nature under the sway of Karmic Law; of Ever-present and Ever-becoming Nature. For, in the words of a Sage, known only to a few Occultists:
"The Present is the child of the Past: the Future, the begotten of the Present. And yet, O present moment! knowest thou not that thou hast no parent, nor canst thou have a child; that thou art ever begetting but thyself? Before thou hast even begun to say, 'I am the progeny of the departed moment, the child of the past,' thou hast become that past itself. Before thou utterest the last syllable, behold! thou art no more the Present, but verily that Future. Thus are the Past, the Present, and the Future the Ever-living Trinity in One -- the Mahamaya of the Absolute 'IS'."
(To be Continued)
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:
THE MYSTERY OF LIGHT(2)
"Darkness is Father-Mother; light their son," says an old Eastern proverb. Light is inconceivable except as coming from some source which is the cause of it; and as, in the instance of primordial light, that source is unknown, though as strongly demanded by reason and logic, therefore it is called "Darkness" by us, from an intellectual point of view. As to borrowed or secondary light, whatever its source, it can be but of a temporary mayavic character. Darkness, then, is the eternal matrix in which the sources of light appear and disappear. Nothing is added to darkness to make of it light, or to light to make it darkness, on this our plane. They are interchangeable, and scientifically light is but a mode of darkness and vice versâ. Yet both are phenomena of the same noumenon -- which is absolute darkness to the scientific mind, and but a gray twilight to the perception of the average mystic, though to that of the spiritual eye of the Initiate it is absolute light. How far we discern the light that shines in darkness depends upon our powers of vision.
INITIATES AND INITIATION
[Part 3 of an 8-part series]
Back to the complete list of the
GROUPING OF HUNDREDS OF "COLLATED ARTICLES"
Back to the full listing containing all of the
"Additional Categories of Articles".
TWO (2) FOOTNOTES LISTED BELOW:
(1) Collated from Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine.
Back to text.
(2) From the Original Edition, Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, pp. 40-41.
Back to text.