29 September 2014

THE MEANING OF THE SWASTIKA

Nazi Criminals Distorted Ancient
Ideas and Symbols of Eastern Philosophies


Joaquim Soares




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Joaquim Soares is a Portuguese associate of the
United Lodge of Theosophists, ULT. He is co-editor
of the websites www.Esoteric-Philosophy.com,
www.TheosophyOnline.com, and the Portuguese

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Sincere students of theosophy must fight prejudice and falsehood, especially when they involve the theosophical movement itself and its teachings.

In his text “Theosophy and the Second World War”, Carlos Cardoso Aveline wrote:

“In a world still partly dominated by bigotry and by ritualistic religions, it is only
natural that the theosophical movement  - being rather a non-violent extinguisher of
illusions - should be attacked in various ways, from within and from without. As an instance of such attacks we have a variety of baseless texts which accuse the theosophical movement of having had sympathy for Nazism or Fascism. There are various sources of disinformation around the subject of Theosophy and Hitlerism, and it seems proper to bring some evidence about the actual relationship between the two, including the period during the Second World War.” [1]

Students of theosophy are aware of the misappropriation and criminal use of Hindu sacred symbols by Nazism. As Aveline writes:

“Nazi leaders practiced some kind of anti-humanistic sorcery, and they had much in common with the disguised ‘mysticism of hatred and violence’ which was carefully developed by the Jesuits and used by the Vatican since the 16th century.” [2]

One of the best known examples of the use of a sacred symbol for criminal purposes and anti-evolutionary magic is that of the “Jain cross”, or Swastika.

This ancient and mystical symbol is widely commented in the work “The Secret Doctrine”, by Helena P. Blavatsky. It was used in antiquity by many nations around the world. It is one of the most popular divine symbols in Asia, as it belongs to both Hindu and Buddhist traditions.

H. P. Blavatsky says:

“Few world-symbols are more pregnant with real occult meaning than the Swastika.  It is symbolized by the figure 6; for, like that figure, it points in its concrete imagery, as the ideograph of the number does, to the Zenith and the Nadir, to North, South, West, and East; one finds the unit everywhere, and that unit reflected in all and every unit.  It is the emblem of the activity of Fohat, of the continual revolution of the wheels, and of the Four Elements, the Sacred Four, in their mystical, and not alone in their cosmic meaning; further, its four arms, bent at right angles, are intimately related, as shown elsewhere, to the Pythagorean and Hermetic scales.  One initiated into the mysteries of the meaning of the Swastika, say the Commentaries, can trace on it, with mathematical precision, the evolution of Kosmos and the whole period of Sandhya’.” [3]

The swastika is, par excellence, the symbol of cosmic evolution. It is an image represented in many temples in India, Tibet, China and other countries with Hindu and Buddhist influence (and indeed the very symbol of esoteric Buddhism). Moreover, it is present in the traditions of the Nordic peoples and in pre-colonial Americas.

Being a universal symbol, the swastika cross is also present in the symbol of the theosophical movement.  

The representations of Buddha with the Swastika cross on his chest, being called the ‘Seal of the Heart’, are well-known. The swastika is also present in many ancient Christian relics. About its universality, HPB states:

“[The] ansated Egyptian cross, or tau, the Jaina cross, or Swastika, and the Christian cross have all the same meaning”. [4]

Despite these facts, or maybe because of them, Christian missionaries tried to classify the swastika as “diabolical”, thus trying to destroy one of the oldest sacred symbols, which is also at the origin of “their” own Christian cross. Yet to honestly recognize the evolution of the cross as a symbol would be like accepting that Christianity illegitimately adopted religious images belonging to much earlier traditions.

The crimes committed since the 3rd  and 4th  century by Christian fanatics, and later by the Jesuits from the 16th century, were, in a sense, intensified in the first decades of the twentieth century by Nazi and fascist regimes.

“Christian” authoritarianism has submitted and persecuted Christian nations and tried to suppress the mystical and authentic Christianity while also making war on other religions. The same disrespect for life was adopted by the Nazis.

The betrayal and denial of the Master and his teachings are symbolized in the New Testament episodes involving Peter and Judas. They have been materialized and confirmed by the conduct of the Church of Rome for almost two thousand years. They are one more example of the denigration of the most sacred symbols of Esoteric Wisdom. Accordingly, the Vatican gave implicit political support to Nazism and Fascism. As noted by Carlos Aveline:

“Of course, the Vatican has always been against Theosophy, for Theosophy proposes universal brotherhood and denounces and fights every form of religious dogmatism.” [5]

The theosophical movement opposes any totalitarian ideology, and shows sympathy for the democratic processes.  Theosophy is an occult source and inspiration of movements that contribute to peace and unity among nations, such as the United Nations Organization. The U.N. Charter promulgates in its text the same theosophical ideal of universal brotherhood. [6]

The term “Aryan”

Nazism distorted the term “Aryan”. The word means “noble”, and it is used in “The Secret Doctrine” by Helena Blavatsky to designate the fifth stage of the evolutionary process, extending over a period of many millions of years. The concept of “Aryan race” refers to the fifth race and covers seven sub-races with a vast number of nations whose individuals have different physical appearances.

From the point of view of esoteric philosophy, the same immortal soul, the Divine aspect of each human being, goes through (or incarnates into) each of the divisions of the evolutionary cycles, including races, globes, rounds and manvantaras.  Thus it makes no sense to relate the term “Aryan” or “Arya” with any specific hereditary or ethnological characteristic, or colour skin.

The word is also used in the spiritual sense, and in the “Theosophical Glossary” we find the following definition:

Arya (Sk.). Lit., ‘the holy’; originally the title of Rishis,  those who had mastered the ‘Aryasatyani’ and entered the Aryanimarga path to Nirvana or Moksha, the great ‘four-fold’ path. But now the name has become the epithet of a race, and our Orientalists, depriving the Hindu Brahmans of their birth-right, have made Aryans of all Europeans. In esotericism, as the four paths, or stages, can be entered only owing to great spiritual development and ‘growth in holiness’, they are called the ‘four fruits’. The degrees of Arhatship, called respectively Srotapatti, Sakridagamin, Anagamin, and Arhat, or the four classes of Aryas, correspond to these four paths and truths.” [7]

Let’s see now what the Glossary says about “Aryasatyani”:

“Aryasatyani (Sk.). The four truths or the four dogmas, which are (1) Dukha, or that misery and pain are the unavoidable concomitants of sentient (esoterically, physical) existence; (2) Samudaya, the truism that suffering is intensified by human passions; (3) Nirodha, that the crushing out and extinction of all such feelings are possible for a man ‘on the path’; (4) Marga, the narrow way, or that path which leads to such a blessed result.” [8]

It is evident that “Aryan” was the title of that Sage who, having travelled the path of the highest morality and selfless service to mankind, reached the sublime heights of Divine Wisdom and Compassion.

Something similar happened to the word “Brahamana”, which is conventionally used as corresponding to a social caste in India. The title of “Brahamana” was, originally, given to those who by their own merit and purity had reached the status of initiate or “twice born”, who conquered “every inclination to evil”. The Buddha himself is called Brahamana. This ideal of “virtue and knowledge” is beautifully described in the last chapter of the Buddhist classic “Dhammapada”. There we see the Enlightened One proclaiming, with no reference to caste or any form of social position:

“Him I call a Brahamana who is meditative, stainless, settled; whose duty is done and depravities gone; who has attained the highest end.” [9]

There is another interesting word with the prefix “Arya”:

“Aryavarta (Sk.). The ‘land of the Aryas’, or India. The ancient name for Northern India, where the Brahmanical invaders first settled.” [10]

The Nazis corrupted and then adopted the terms “Aryan” and “Arya”, thus depriving them of their real meaning. Christian authorities have done the same to many other terms, to sacred symbols and relics of ancient traditions, including the Jewish one.  Theosophy, on the other hand, has a deep affinity with the fraternal, peaceful and nonviolent action of mystics and philosophers of every nation, religion and cultural tradition.


NOTES:

[1] The text can be easily found at the List of Texts in Alphabetical Order , or at List of Texts by Authors, at the  website  www.TheosophyOnline.com .  It’s also in the blog  www.Esoteric-Philosophy.com   and at the website  www.FilosofiaEsoterica.com .

[2] In the text mentioned above.

[3] “The Secret Doctrine”, H. P. Blavatsky, Vol. II, Theosophy Company, Los Angeles, p.587.

[4] “The Secret Doctrine”, H. P. Blavatsky, Vol. I, Theosophy Company, Los Angeles, p. 657. 

[5] See the text “Theosophy and the Second World War”, which is mentioned at note [1] ,  above.

[6] Read the text “Blavatsky, United Nations and Democracy”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline, in the websites www.TheosophyOnline.com ,  www.Esoteric-Philosophy.com  and www.FilosofiaEsoterica.com .  

[7] “Theosophical Glossary”, H. P. Blavatsky, Theosophy Co., Los Angeles, 1990, see “Arya”, p. 32.

[8] “Theosophical Glossary”, H. P. Blavatsky, see p. 33.

[9] “The Dhammapada”, Theosophy Co., Los Angeles, 139 pp., see Chapter 26, verse 386, p. 89.  

[10] “Theosophical Glossary”, H. P. Blavatsky, see “Aryavarta”, at p. 33.

[7] The higher speed strengthens the challenges along the way.

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On the role of the esoteric movement in the ethical awakening of mankind during the 21st century, see the book “The Fire and Light of Theosophical Literature”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline.


  
Published in 2013 by The Aquarian Theosophist, the volume has 255 pages and can be obtained through Amazon Books.

On Facebook, see the pages The Aquarian Theosophist  and  E-Theosophy.



In order to have access to a daily study of theosophy, visit the page of  E-Theosophy e-group in YahooGroups and join it directly from there.

The link to the e-group is - https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/E-Theosophy/info. You can also write to   lutbr@terra.com.br and ask for information on E-Theosophy

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28 September 2014

THE SEVEN CLAUSES OF A PLEDGE

Examining the Original Vow of the
Esoteric School Founded by Helena Blavatsky

Carlos Cardoso Aveline


The seventh, unnumbered clause of the esoteric vow corresponds to
the invisible center of the six-point star of Jewish and Eastern traditions. 



An article was published by H. P. Blavatsky in 1888 which reveals the contents of the pledge taken by the members of the Esoteric School of theosophy founded that year in London.  It was later reproduced in publications edited by associates of the ULT. [1]

Signed by “One Who Is Pledged”, the text is especially important for those students of esoteric philosophy who wish to understand the process of aspiration to discipleship and don’t want to follow the esoteric frauds created after 1895 by Mrs. Annie Besant.  

Of course Mrs. Besant was not alone in breaking her vows of loyalty to the search for truth. Many other pseudo-theosophical leaders adopted the path of esoteric phantasy.

If seen from a non-bureaucratic point of view, the original 1888 pledge of the esoteric school created by Helena Blavatsky is as valid as ever in the 21st century, and will remain so in the future. It was never valid in a dead-letter perspective.

In order to understand the point of view from which the following commentaries are made, the reader should remember one fact: according to the teachings of Helena Blavatsky and the Mahatmas of the Himalayas, it is only by individual merit and self-preparation - not through joining any self-styled “esoteric school” - that an individual may obtain the qualifications necessary to lay discipleship. 

The only temple valid for theosophists who have discernment is located in one’s own heart and mind. It is in such a temple that pledges can be made. However, no earnest student is ever isolated from a higher and wider context. This is clearly stated by the Masters in “The Mahatma Letters”. 

We will now examine the original pledge with its seven clauses, the seventh of which remained unnumbered.[2] 

In the first item, the student says to his own conscience:  

1. I pledge myself to endeavour to make Theosophy a living factor in my life.

In the beginning one must examine what theosophy is, and is not. It does not consist merely of its written teachings, although these teachings point to it and - if properly studied - are an accurate roadmap to it. 

Theosophy is the living universal wisdom present under various forms in every nation and cultural tradition. It is also the philosophy of altruism and of love for eternal boundless Life. 

One’s ability to understand and live Theosophy depends on one’s effectiveness in renouncing lower goals, and seeing how one’s essential unity with the Universe unfolds. The first esoteric pledge is therefore to endeavour to LIVE the teaching in one’s daily existence.

The effort must not be short term. Nothing spectacular should occur if a student makes a serious decision regarding his spiritual life. Tests will come in all sizes, in due time, just as help from one’s own higher self, according to one’s merit and to the karmic conditions under which one lives. 

The second clause of the vow taken by the student says:

2. I pledge myself to support, before the world, the Theosophical movement, its leaders and its members.

The theosophical movement is no corporation and no bureaucracy. William Q. Judge defined it as the community of those beings who aim at a better and brotherly future for our mankind.[3] It includes, but is not limited to, the earnest and sincere students of modern theosophy.

An axiom says that there are real theosophists who are not members of the visible theosophical movement, and members of the organized theosophical movement who are not really theosophists.

Why should I, in order to aspire to a higher ethical learning, try to help the partially invisible community of those good-willing souls who help mankind? The answer is epistemological: it deals with the nature of the knowledge one is looking for.

The substance of theosophical knowledge is not in words. The very territory where it exists and lives is altruism. Discipleship can only occur in a universal or planetary dimension of altruism. And discipleship also implies probation.

I must support before the world the real Theosophical movement and its true teachings. I may have to fight ritualistic illusion and other forms of organized ignorance. In doing this, I will face a number of obstacles and tests by which I can purify my motives and gradually eliminate my own spiritual ignorance, while helping others do the same.

The path to wisdom is uphill and it is challenging. Comfortable paths use to lead elsewhere.

An intelligent self-sacrifice for a noble cause expands the influence of one’s higher self in daily life. It also entitles one to deserve inner help and to attain direct knowledge about the laws of the universe. 

In the third clause, the student says:

3. I pledge myself never to listen without protest to any evil thing spoken of a Brother Theosophist and to abstain from condemning others.

One must examine what precisely is an “evil thing” spoken about a brother or sister.  

An evil thing is a slander, a falsehood and any idea whose intention is destructive. The person who does this usually avoids responsibility for the words said.  Falsehood can be clearly stated or presented as an innocent, passing commentary, whose poison is hard to see. Disguised attacks are often severe tests to one’s discernment. Destructive criticism can be subtly suggested under the cover of mutual friendship and thus avoid being submitted to a rational analysis. A sincere criticism, on the other hand, is open to examination; it is   based on facts, and it allows one to defend oneself and clarify his viewpoint.  

The third clause does not forbid diversity of opinions. If a companion is in error, he or she will only benefit from my saying so. Free dialogue and a group-openness to mutual sincerity prevent hypocrisy. Sincerity must be managed with care. It is not a license to personal criticism, which must be avoided.

Each student has brighter and darker aspects of personal karma. In an association of truth-seekers, people must be human and humble about their shortcomings. We do not need whited sepulchres. On the other hand, a constant eye to the ideal of human progression and perfection [4] is of the essence.

Thinking too much of other people’s faults - which are sometimes imaginary - is an expression of one’s inability to concentrate on his own duty and his own potentialities. Criticism must be limited to philosophical matters. As long as there is goodwill and honesty in a student, he is OK and his positive qualities must be stimulated even if probation makes some of his faults seem too visible.

The key to mutual help along the way is to concentrate on the philosophy of universal truth and compassion and think well of each other, while keeping a severe eye to human failings and using such severity with care.

No slanders against the founders of the theosophical movement can be accepted, not even indirectly, in any circumstances. Disguised or not, such slanders directly attack the center of the magnetic aura of the movement, leading it astray and making its leaders absorb the unfortunate karma of disloyalty to sacred teachers.

An intelligent, heartfelt loyalty to the Teachers keeps the aura of the movement healthy and creates an atmosphere conducive to correct learning. A feeling of gratitude produces harmony among co-students. It is also a karmic privilege and a blessing on the individual plane.

The fourth clause says:

4. I pledge myself to maintain a constant struggle against my lower nature, and to be charitable to the weaknesses of others.

Our lower nature or instinctive and subconscious self deserves deep respect. It constitutes our valuable instrument in physical and emotional life. We do not need to stimulate neurotic conflicts along the theosophical path.

I must pledge myself to maintain a constant struggle against the unwise impulses and habits in my lower nature.

This is not a commitment to “annihilate”, disrespect or abuse my lower self and physical body through any undue asceticism.[5] Sadomasochism is not philosophical.

Theosophy and Buddhism point to the middle way of moderation. A calm approach to self-purification makes the struggle constant and durable and leads to sustainable victories. If I see my own self-purification as a priority, I will have enough to do in attaining such a goal. Meddling in other people’s lives won’t be a priority. I may try to help other people along the road, just as they are invited to help me.

The student must be charitable therefore to the weaknesses of others. However, it is his duty to fight any unnecessary harm being caused to innocent beings. Nazism, Anti-Semitism, and other forms of criminal, fraudulent or anti-ethical behaviour cannot be accepted under the pretext of the charity mentioned in the fourth clause.

Compassion for to the weaknesses of others means each student will stimulate the best potentialities in them. This actually includes stimulating them to see their mistakes. At the same time, the student must make it clear that his own perspective is ever unfolding and needs improvement all the time. An honest and constructive dialogue is of the essence among true friends and co-disciples as they all learn from each other in various ways.

The fifth clause says:

5. I pledge myself to do all in my power, by study or otherwise, to fit myself to help and teach others.

This is about the Pedagogy of theosophical learning. I must expand my knowledge and prepare myself in various ways so that I can teach others through words and by example.

From a technical point of view, it means that since all beings are in karmic unity, it is by helping my fellow beings that I can truly help myself. The way to make progress myself is to aim as a long term goal at helping others in their quest for inner happiness.

If I wish to attain bliss, I must be selfless. The consciousness in me that obtains spiritual liberation is impersonal. Such a perception of reality is freedom already: my lower self has but to be in harmony with it.

Another important aspect in clause five is that in preparing myself to help others, I must “do all in my power”.

The quality of one-pointedness or concentration has to be developed. A divided mind is of little service. Self-contradictory aspects of my mind must therefore be identified, understood and alchemically transformed.

Concentration means giving up or adapting all that is of secondary importance or hinders the attainment of our central goal. As we seek for light, dark points will present themselves and challenge us to learn better and transform them. As we try to see, blind spots will be directly or indirectly revealed.

Obstacles may seem at first invincible. They are not. Patience in doing our best at each moment constitutes one of the decisive keys to victory, for real progress is long term and often invisible.

In the sixth item the student says:

6. I pledge myself to give what support I can to the movement in time, money, and work.

The truth-seeker must dedicate his life to a noble cause. Many spend their time in trying to attain personal goals and feel the heavy, asphyxiating price of having narrow horizons.

There is a direct relation between the substance of one’s soul and the nature of one’s goals in life. Generous objects expand and liberate one’s mind. They show our limitless spiritual possibilities, and realism is necessary.

In any incarnation, we need many kinds and levels of objects to pursue. The lower self is decisively important. Its horizons are legitimate as long as one’s soul is honest and sincere. However, the value of the lower self goals increase as they become part of a greater view of life and get to be in harmony with a noble, impersonal purpose.

It is not enough to say to myself that I will give “what support I can” to the project of helping mankind take steps towards universal brotherhood. I still have to decide what is it that I actually can do and cannot do in that direction.

At the beginning my possibilities will be small. That does not matter. Simple acts of kind cooperation are safe and good. We must use our discernment as to the actions to be performed. Through calmly supporting an altruistic purpose which we consider effective, our inner potentialities develop. The horizon gets wider little by little. We are then increasingly protected by the good karma of right action, and the process of unconditional Peace expands as much as the need for constant vigilance.

The seventh item of the Pledge made to one’s own higher conscience remained unnumbered in the text as published in 1888. Referring to the six previous clauses, it says:

7. So help me my Higher Self.

The final clause establishes the inner nature of the vow, and indicates “before whom” it is made.

The pledge is not a promise made to any particular god or guru. It is not made to some director of an esoteric school.

It is an individual decision made before one’s own conscience, higher self and spiritual soul. One’s companions along the road may be witnesses of such a decision. Yet the temple before which the vow is taken consists of one’s own heart; it is the sacred Temple of Self-Responsibility.[6]

The seventh clause evokes Antahkarana, the living bridge between one’s lower and higher selves. The contact with the highest is more quickly expanded by the daily practice of the six previous clauses.[7]

In Geometry, such a seven-clause pledge has a relation with the six-pointed star of Eastern and Jewish traditions.

The seventh clause of the pledge is occult, or essential, hence, unnumbered. The occult and essential, seventh point of the six-pointed star is at its center and is invisible to superficial logic.

The dynamism of the Eastern-Jewish star contains the wheel of life, whose center is everywhere. The dynamism of the six numbered clauses of the theosophical pledge is granted by its seventh and central clause, which evokes one’s spiritual soul.

Our higher self is beyond geographical locations or situations in time. It is universal, impersonal and has no sense of separation: it is the divine light in ourselves. To try and listen to it is a correct decision. The task includes a long series of tests to our discernment and determination. One must learn under probation. The inner blessings of wisdom must be received while facing outer difficulties.  

NOTES: 

[1] The text “The Meaning of a Pledge”, was first printed by H. P. Blavatsky in her “Lucifer” magazine for September, 1888. It was published in “Theosophy” magazine, Los Angeles, in the editions of November 1914 (pp. 25-29) and December 1953 (pp. 53-58); and by “The Aquarian Theosophist”, in January 2013. The article is available at  
www.TheosophyOnline.com and its associated websites. 

[2] On the aspiration to true discipleship, examine the section “Mahatmas, Disciples and the Search for Discipleship”, in 
www.TheosophyOnline.com and its associated websites.

[3] See in our websites the article “The Theosophical Movement”, by William Q. Judge.

[4] “A constant eye to the ideal of human progression and perfection”; see item 13 of the article “Commentaries to the Golden Stairs”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline, which is available in our associated websites.

[5] Read the article “Respect for the Lower Self”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline, which can be found in  
www.TheosophyOnline.com and its associated websites.

[6] Read the article “Pledges in Theosophy, Real and Phony”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline. It can be found at  www.TheosophyOnline.com  and its associated websites.

[7] The higher speed strengthens the challenges along the way.

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On the role of the esoteric movement in the ethical awakening of mankind during the 21st century, see the book “The Fire and Light of Theosophical Literature”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline.


  
Published in 2013 by The Aquarian Theosophist, the volume has 255 pages and can be obtained through Amazon Books.

On Facebook, see the pages The Aquarian Theosophist  and  E-Theosophy.



In order to have access to a daily study of theosophy, visit the page of  E-Theosophy e-group in YahooGroups and join it directly from there.

The link to the e-group is - https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/E-Theosophy/info. You can also write to   lutbr@terra.com.br and ask for information on E-Theosophy

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27 September 2014

EASTERN SOURCES OF PYTHAGORAS

A Few Selected Fragments From H.P.B.’s Writings

Helena P. Blavatsky


H. P. Blavatsky (1831-1891)


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The following selections and references
are but a few among others. Students are
invited to make further research on what
H.P. Blavatsky had to say about Pythagoras.

(Carlos Cardoso Aveline)

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[1. On The Pythagorean Decade]

Quotation A:

The 10, being the sacred number of the universe, was secret and esoteric, both as the unit and cipher, or zero, the circle. Moreover, Professor Max Muller says that “the two words cipher and zero, which are but one, are sufficient to prove that our figures are borrowed from the Arabs. (See Max Muller’s “Our Figures”.) Cipher is the Arabic “cifron”, and means empty, a translation of the Sanscrit name of nought “sunya”, he says. The Arabs had their figures from Hindustan, and never claimed the discovery for themselves. As to the Pythagoreans, we need but turn to the ancient manuscripts of Boethius’s Geometry, composed in the sixth century, to find among the Pythagorean numerals the 1 and the nought, as the first and final ciphers. And Porphyry, who quotes from the Pythagorean Moderatus, (“Vita Pythag.”) says that the numerals of Pythagoras were “hieroglyphical symbols, by means whereof he explained ideas concerning the nature of things”, or the origin of the universe.

Now, if, on the other hand, the most ancient Indian manuscripts show as yet no trace of decimal notation in them, and Max Muller states very clearly that until now he has found but nine letters (the initials of the Sanscrit numerals) in them; on the other hand, we have records as ancient to supply the wanted proof. We speak of the sculptures and the sacred imagery in the most ancient temples of the far East. Pythagoras derived his knowledge from India; and we find Professor Max Muller corroborating this statement, at least so far as to allow the Neo-Pythagoreans to have been the first teachers of “ciphering”, among the Greeks and Romans; that “they at Alexandria, or in Syria, became acquainted with the Indian figures, and adapted them to the Pythagorean abacus” (our figures). This cautious admission implies that Pythagoras himself was acquainted with but nine figures. Thus we might reasonably answer that, although we possess no certain proof (exoterically) that the decimal notation was known by Pythagoras, who lived on the very close of the archaic ages (608 B.C.),  we have yet sufficient evidence to show that the full numbers, as given by Boethius, were known to the Pythagoreans, even before Alexandria was built. (This city was built 332 B.C.) This evidence we find in Aristotle, who says that “some philosophers hold that ideas and numbers are of the same nature, and amount to TEN in all.” (Metaph. vii, F.) This, we believe, will be sufficient to show that the decimal notation was known among them at least as early as four centuries B.C., for Aristotle does not seem to treat the question as an innovation of the “Neo-Pythagoreans”. [1]

Quotation B:

Space is the real world, while our world is an artificial one. It is the One Unity throughout its infinitude: in its bottomless depths as on its illusive surface; a surface studded with countless phenomenal Universes, systems and mirage-like worlds. Nevertheless, to the Eastern Occultist, who is an objective Idealist at the bottom, in the real world, which is a Unity of Forces, there is “a connection of all matter in the plenum”, as Leibnitz would say. This is symbolized in the Pythagorean Triangle.

It consists of ten points inscribed pyramid-like (from one to the last four) within its three lines, and it symbolizes the Universe in the famous Pythagorean Decad. The upper single dot is a Monad, and represents a Unit-Point, which is the Unity from whence all proceeds, and all is of the same essence with it. While the ten dots within the triangle represent the phenomenal world, the three sides of the equilateral triangle which enclose the pyramid of dots are the barriers of noumenal Matter, or Substance, that separate it from the world of Thought. “Pythagoras considered a point to correspond in proportion to unity; a line to 2; a superficies to 3; a solid to 4; and he defined a point as a Monad having position, and the beginning of all things; a line was thought to correspond with duality, because it was produced by the first motion from indivisible nature, and formed the junction of two points. A superficies was compared to the number three because it is the first of all causes that are found in figures; for a circle, which is the principal of all round figures, comprises a triad, in centre - space - circumference. But a triangle, which is the first of all rectilineal figures, is included in a ternary, and receives its form according to that number; and was considered by the Pythagoreans to be the creator of all sublunary things. The four points at the base of the Pythagorean triangle correspond with a solid or cube, which combines the principles of length, breadth, and thickness, for no solid can have less than four extreme boundary points.” (Pythag. Triangle, p. 19.)

It is argued that “the human mind cannot conceive an indivisible unit short of the annihilation of the idea with its subject”. This is an error, as the Pythagoreans have proved, and a number of Seers before them, although there is a special training for it, and although the profane mind can hardly grasp it. But there are such things as metamathematics and metageometry. Even mathematics pure and simple proceed from the Universal to the particular, from the mathematical, hence indivisible Point, to solid figures. The teaching originated in India, and was taught in Europe by Pythagoras, who, throwing a veil over the Circle and the Point - which no living man can define except as incomprehensible abstractions - laid the origin of the differentiated Cosmic matter in the basic or horizontal line of the Triangle. Thus the latter became the earliest of geometrical figures.[2]

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[ Editorial Note:  On  this topic, another quotation which is too large  to reproduce here will be found  at  pp. 573-605  in the  volume II of “The Secret Doctrine” (original editions). (C.C.A.) ]

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[2.On Pherecydes, Pythagoras and Reincarnation]


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Editorial Note:

Boris de Zirkoff, the compiler of the “H. P.
Blavatsky Collected Writings”, wrote about the
following  fragment: “The original manuscript of
this brief account in H.P.B.’s own handwriting was
among the papers of her old and trusted friend, John
M. Watkins of London. It is now in the hands of his son,
Geoffrey Watkins. Because of the way the text starts,
this item may have been intended for a Glossary.” [3]

(CCA)

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PHERECYDES (Gr.). A Greek philosopher from Syros, the teacher of Pythagoras. Like the latter he is credited on the concurrent testimony of antiquity, to have travelled many years in the East, to have visited India and Chaldea, and lived in Egypt, where he was the disciple of the initiated priests of the two latter countries. On the other hand, such writers as Clemens Alexandrinus and Philo Biblius, assert that “Pherecydes did not receive instruction in philosophy from any master, but obtained his knowledge from the secret books of the Phoenicians.” [4]

The latter assertion cannot, however, interfere in any way with the former statement, that which is most interesting in it being the fact that the Phoenicians like all other ancient races had secret books, i.e., an exoteric religion for the profane and masses, and an esoteric system for those who aspired to initiation into the mysteries. Pherecydes is denied by modern Encyclopaedists the title of philosopher, because, as alleged, “he lived at the time at which men began to speculate on cosmogony and the nature of the gods, but had hardly yet commenced the study of true philosophy.” [5]

This is an error as great as so many others. Real philosophy dates from Pythagoras only in Greece, but was pursued millenniums earlier in other countries; nor would Pythagoras, the “lover of truth” ( . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ) that which he called philosophy, in the insanely materialistic albeit scientific speculations and theories of our modern philosophy, so-called.

However it may be, Theosophists may well look up to Pherecydes as one of their earliest Western teachers and authorities, since his work Eptamuchos - which others call Theokrasia and others again Theologia - is the first in classical literature which speaks of reincarnation, or metempsychosis, now so falsely understood; but which was synonymous with the ancients, with rebirth or the immortality of the soul. It is by the latter name that Suidas calls the doctrine taught by Pherecydes, and says that it was contained in two books, in which moreover, the septenary principle was plainly taught, though, of course, in more or less symbolical and allegorical languages. Thus he states in Kosmos there are three high principles, which he designates as Chthona (Chaos), Aether (Zeus) and Chronos (Time), and four lower principles, the elements of fire, water, air and the earth.

Of these everything visible and invisible in the Universe was formed. He was a great collector of Orphic writings, and his own were extant in the days of the Alexandrian Neo-Platonists. He is referred to by Aristotle as a mythological, and by Plutarch as a theological writer; and mentioned in a great number of classics. Diogenes Laertius calls him a rival of Thales, and some credit him with having been the first writer in Greece in prose, which he used to explain philosophical subjects. There was another Pherecydes of Athens, often confused with Pherecydes of Syros. But while the latter was a contemporary of Servius Tullius (cf. Cicero and Diogenes Laertius), the sixth King of Rome, and must have lived, therefore, according to the Olympiads, in the sixth century B.C., Pherecydes the Athenian lived a century later being a contemporary of Herodotus. He was a logographer, and has done nothing to merit a place in this work. It is curious that Democritus hints at, and Cicero denounces, the philosophy of Pherecydes and Pythagoras as being “cribbed” wholly from the Eastern systems. The charge is strange since both Pherecydes and Pythagoras never made a secret of the Eastern origin of their doctrines.

[3. On the Origin of the Pythagorean System]


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The following paragraph is also reproduced
from the “H.P.B. Collected Writings”. Boris
de Zirkoff reports: “This fragment in H.P.B.’s
handwriting exists in the Adyar Archives and is
reproduced here from a faithful transcript of the original.”

(CCA)

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(. . . . . ) Asiatics say, that owing to the Zodiac, used for thousands of years in our temples, and leaving psychological claims entirely out of question - we have the means of seeing in, and of thoroughly penetrating through that Cymmerian darkness that stretches back for the Westerners in an indefinite and impenetrable series of prehistoric ages. And this, the Asiatics say fearlessly, and to the face of Prof. Weber who would persuade on his scientific authority the credulous public that the Aryan Brahmins had no knowledge of the Zodiac before the first century of his era; and that the Hindus are “in any case indebted for the Zodiacal signs and the names of the planets to Greek influence.” For if he can show that Varâha-Mihira (in Pulisa) “employed a great mass of Greek words in his writings”, the Hindus can prove on as good authority, that while Varâha-Mihira lived in the sixth century of the Christian era, Pythagoras who flourished in precisely the same century (570 B.C.) eleven centuries earlier, got his astronomical and astrological education (including the knowledge of the Zodiac), his system of chelaship and religious brotherhood, for which he translated the Sanskrit terms of esoteric and exoteric into Greek, and even his knowledge of the heliocentrical system from the initiated Brahmins. His prohibition of animal food and certain vegetables and his doctrine of the transmigration of souls comes from India; as also it is from the Sramans that he got his System of inculcating unbounded reverence on the part of the disciple for their master or Guru, and for the matter of that even his doctrine of Numbers in their relation to the musical scale, and of the Universe as one harmonious whole. Our zodiacal signs have a common origin with those of the Egyptians, and for a good cause as may be one day proved. And to their Zodiac even European Egyptologists assign an antiquity of 4000 years before our era.  ( . . . . . ) [6]

[4. Plato Made Pythagoras More Intelligible]

Pythagoras brought his doctrines from the eastern sanctuaries, and Plato compiled them into a form more intelligible than the mysterious numerals of the Sage - whose doctrines he had fully embraced - to the uninitiated mind. Thus, the Kosmos is “the Son” with Plato, having for his father and mother the Divine Thought and Matter. The “Primal Being” (Beings, with the Theosophists, as they are the collective aggregation of the divine Rays), is an emanation of the Demiurgic or Universal Mind which contains from eternity the idea of the “to be created world” within itself, which idea the unmanifested LOGOS produces of itself. The first Idea “born in darkness before the creation of the world” remains in the unmanifested Mind; the second is this Idea going out as a reflection from the Mind (now the manifested LOGOS), becoming clothed with matter, and assuming an objective existence. [7]

[5. On Pythagoras, Plato and the East]

[Referring to the creation of the firmament “in the midst of waters”:]

The Hindus have an endless series of allegories to express this idea. In the primordial Chaos, before it became developed into the Seven Oceans (Sapta Samudra) - emblematical of the seven gunas (conditioned qualities) composed of trigunas (Satwa, Rajas and Tamas, see Puranas) - lie latent both Amrita (immortality) and Visha (poison, death, evil). This allegory is found in the “Churning of the Ocean” by the gods. Amrita is beyond any guna, for it is UNCONDITIONED per se; yet when fallen into the phenomenal creation it got mixed up with EVIL, Chaos, with latent theos in it, and before Kosmos was evolved. Hence, one finds Vishnu - standing here for eternal Law - periodically calling forth Kosmos into activity - “churning out of the primitive Ocean (boundless Chaos) the Amrita of Eternity, reserved only for the gods and devas; and he has to employ in the task Nagas and Asuras - demons in exoteric Hinduism. The whole allegory is highly philosophical, and we find it repeated in every philosophical System. Plato, having fully embraced the ideas of Pythagoras - who had brought them from India - compiled and published them in a form more intelligible than the mysterious numerals of the Greek Sage. Thus the Kosmos is “the Son” with Plato, having for his father and mother the Divine Thought and Matter (Plutarch, “Isis and Osiris”, I,vi.) [8]

NOTES:

[1] “The Secret Doctrine”, H. P. Blavatsky, Theosophy Co., vol. I, pp. 360-361.  We include in this quotation most of HPB’s footnotes (not all of them).  They are included in parenthesis within the text. (CCA)

[2] “The Secret Doctrine”, H. P. Blavatsky, Theosophy Co., Los Angeles, 1982, vol. I, pp. 615-616. (CCA)

[3] The text is reproduced from “H.P.B. Collected Writings”, T.P.H., 1982, volume XIII, pp. 282-285. (CCA)

[4] F. W. Sturtz, “Pherecydis Fragmenta”, Lips., 1824, 2nd ed. (Note by Boris de Zirkoff)

[5] Wm. Smith, “Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology”, London, 1849, S.V. Pherecydes. (Note by Boris de Zirkoff)

[6] Transcribed from “H.P.B. Collected Writings”, T.P.H., 1982, volume XIII, pp. 324-325. (CCA)

[7] Reproduced from the text “The Mind in Nature”, by H.P. Blavatsky, which can be found in www.TheosophyOnline.com and its associated websites. (CCA)

[8] “The Secret Doctrine”, H. P. Blavatsky, Theosophy Co., Los Angeles, 1982, see vol. I, p. 348. (CCA)

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On the role of the esoteric movement in the ethical awakening of mankind during the 21st century, see the book “The Fire and Light of Theosophical Literature”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline.  


Published in 2013 by The Aquarian Theosophist, the volume has 255 pages and can be obtained through Amazon Books.

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