The Historical Jesus
Dear Member of Blavatsky Net,
During this month of December, many minds and hearts will turn
their ideas of Jesus. Yet search as we may we do not find a single
valid reference to Jesus in the contemnor records of his time.
he really exist? If so, what can we say of him? And why are
there so few records of his existence? What did he "come here"
for? Was he a son of God? Theosophy has answers to these questions,
and more, about Jesus. I will be offering quotes from HPB to shed
some light on these puzzles.
JESUS OF THE SYNOTPIC GOSPELS
Blavatsky says the personality of Jesus "was distorted out
recognition" by the Biblical version. (SDii231)
Again she says:
"Under this unexpected garb his personality was all but lost.
the modern Jesus of the Christian Church, we find the ideal of the
imaginative Irenaeus, not the adept of the Essenes, the obscure
reformer from Galilee. We see him under the disfigured Plato-Philonean
mask, not as the disciples heard him on the mount." (IUii33-4)
But then she gives her explanation of the common story in the
"... his story, as told in the New Testament, is an allegory,
assuredly containing profound esoteric truths, but still an allegory.
. . . Every act of the Jesus of the New Testament, every word attributed
to him, every event related of him during the three years of the
mission he is said to have accomplished, rests on the programme
of the Cycle of Initiation, a cycle founded on the Precession of
the Equinoxes and the Signs of the Zodiac." (BCW 9:225)
THE HISTORICAL JESUS
In numerous other places Blavatsky makes statements that very
definitely imply the reality of a very specific individual. In this
next somewhat long, but very informative, quote she places the real
Jesus within the structure of other existing groups of the time.
"The oldest Nazarenes, who were the descendants of the Scripture
nazars, and whose last prominent leader was John the Baptist, although
never very orthodox in the sight of the scribes and Pharisees of
Jerusalem were, nevertheless, respected and left unmolested. Even
Herod “feared the multitude” because they regarded John
as a prophet (Matthew xiv. 5). But the followers of Jesus evidently
adhered to a sect which became a still more exasperating thorn in
their side. It appeared as a heresy within another heresy; for while
the nazars of the olden times, the “Sons of the Prophets,”
were Chaldean kabalists, the adepts of the new dissenting sect showed
themselves reformers and innovators from the first. The great similitude
traced by some critics between the rites and observances of the
earliest Christians and those of the Essenes may be accounted for
without the slightest difficulty. The Essenes, as we remarked just
now, were the converts of Buddhist missionaries who had overrun
Egypt, Greece, and even Judea at one time, since the reign of Asoka
the zealous propagandist; and 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.
“Jesus is Neb, the false Messiah, the destroyer of the old
religion,” says the Codex. He is the founder of the sect of
nazars, and, as the words clearly imply, a follower of the Buddhist
doctrine. In Hebrew the word naba means to speak of inspiration;
and [image] 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
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-Sakyamûni." (IUii132-3)
JESUS OF THE MYSTERY SCHOOL
The essential reason that Jesus was not noted by contemporary
records is that he was the teacher of a mystery school. Blavatsky
begins that explanation here.
"As we have elsewhere shown, the primitive Christian community
was composed of small groups scattered about and organized in secret
societies, with passwords, grips, and signs. To avoid the relentless
persecutions of their enemies, they were obliged to seek safety
and hold meetings in deserted catacombs, the fastnesses of mountains,
and other safe retreats. Like disabilities were naturally encountered
by each religious reform at its inception. From the very first appearance
of Jesus and his twelve disciples, we see them congregating apart,
having secure refuges in the wilderness, and among friends in Bethany,
and elsewhere. Were Christianity
not composed of “secret communities,” from the start,
history would have more facts to record of its founder and disciples
than it has." (IUii335)
Elsewhere Blavatsky goes into more detail emphasizing the nature
of that connection to the mystery schools.
"But the phraseology is unequivocal. These things “which
it is not lawful to repeat,” are hinted at in the same words,
and the reason for it assigned, is the same as that which we find
repeatedly expressed by Plato, Proclus, Iamblichus, Herodotus, and
other classics. “We speak WISDOM only among them who are PERFECT,”
says Paul; the plain and undeniable translation of
the sentence being: “We speak of the profounder (or final)
doctrines of the Mysteries (which were denominated wisdom) only
among them who are initiated.”" IUii146.
To elaborate on this she quotes from page 2 of “Eleusinian
“The profound or esoteric doctrines of the ancients were denominated
wisdom, and afterward philosophy, and also the gnosis, or knowledge.
They related to the human soul, its divine parentage, its supposed
degradation from its high estate by becoming connected with “generation”
or the physical world,
its onward progress and restoration to God by regenerations or .
Then she locates for us a rare moment - Jerome, the Christian translator,
squirms as he reveals the secret nature of some information.
"That the apostles had received a “secret doctrine”
from Jesus, and that he himself taught one, is evident from the
following words of Jerome, who confessed it in an unguarded moment.
Writing to the Bishops Chromatius and Heliodorus, he complains that
“a difficult work is enjoined, since this translation has
been commanded me by your Felicities, which St. Matthew himself,
the Apostle and evangelist, DID NOT WISH TO BE OPENLY WRITTEN."
So what did Jesus teach? There are a variety of statements on
this. Here are two.
"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." (IUii133)
"There is quite enough in the four gospels to show what was
the secret and most fervent hope of Jesus; the hope in which he
began to teach, and in which he died. In his immense and unselfish
love for humanity, he considers it unjust to deprive the many of
the results of the knowledge acquired by the few. This result he
accordingly preaches — the unity of a spiritual God, whose
temple is within each of us, and in whom we live as He lives in
us — in spirit. This knowledge was in the hands of the Jewish
adepts of the school of Hillel and the kabalists. But the “scribes,”
or lawyers, having gradually merged into the dogmatism of the dead
letter, had long since separated themselves from the Tanaïm,
the true spiritual teachers; and the practical kabalists were more
or less persecuted by the Synagogue. Hence, we find Jesus exclaiming:
“Woe unto you lawyers! For ye have taken away the key of knowledge
[the Gnosis]: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering
ye prevented” (Luke xi. 52). The meaning here is clear. They
did take the key away, and could not even profit by it themselves,
for the Masorah (tradition) had become a closed book to themselves
as well as to others." (IUii561)
Here is a prediction from Blavatsky on the long run future. Perhaps
it will bring some cheer.
"All this points undeniably to the fact, that except a handful
self-styled Christians who subsequently won the day, all the civilized
portion of the Pagans who knew of Jesus honored him as a philosopher,
an adept whom they placed on the same level with Pythagoras and
Apollonius. Whence such a veneration on their part for a man, were
he simply, as represented by the Synoptics, a poor, unknown Jewish
carpenter from Nazareth? As an incarnated God there is no single
record of him on this earth capable of withstanding the critical
examination of science; as one of the
greatest reformers, an inveterate enemy of every theological dogmatism,
a persecutor of bigotry, a teacher of one of the most sublime codes
of ethics, Jesus is one of the grandest and most clearly-defined
figures on the panorama of human history. His age may, with every
day, be receding farther and farther back into the gloomy and hazy
mists of the past; and his theology — based on human fancy
and supported by untenable dogmas may, nay, must with every day
lose more of its unmerited prestige; alone the grand figure of the
philosopher and moral reformer instead of growing paler will become
with every century more pronounced and more clearly defined. It
will reign supreme and universal only on that day when the whole
of humanity recognizes but one father — the UNKNOWN ONE above
— and one brother — the whole of mankind below."
Perhaps the most inspiring quote in all this series is the next.
It comes from BCW vol 8 p 401-2 and shows the Theosophical perspective
on Jesus - placing him in a broader context. That section is headed
with this note.
"This is an account written by Charles Johnston concerning
conversation with H. P. B. when he met her for the first time in
London, in the Spring of 1887, soon after her arrival from Ostende.
Even though this text is not from H. P. B.’s own pen, it is
published here as it contains a great many points of teaching, and
bears obvious marks of authenticity.—Compiler."
Then the exact quote:
"At certain regular periods, they [the masters] try to give
the world at large a right understanding of spiritual things. One
of their number comes forth to teach the masses, and is handed down
to tradition as the Founder of a religion. Krishna was such a Master;
so was Zoroaster; so were Buddha and Shankara Acharya, the great
sage of Southern India. So also was the Nazarene. He went forth
against the counsel of the rest, to give to the masses before the
time, moved by a great pity, and enthusiasm for humanity; he was
warned that the time was unfavorable, but nevertheless he elected
to go, and so was put to death at the instigation of the priests.”
“Have the adepts any secret records of his life?”
“They must have,” she answered; “for they have
records of the lives of all Initiates. Once I was in a great cave-temple
in the Himalaya mountains, with my Master,” and she looked
at the picture of the splendid Rajput; “there were many statues
of adepts there; pointing to one of them, he said: ‘This is
he whom you call Jesus. We count him to be one of the greatest among
Hope you have found these quotes enlightening on a part of the
Theosophical view of Jesus.
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