[ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS]
[The Manuscript of this Fragment in H.P.B.’s handwriting is in the Adyar Archives. It consists of two sheets written on both sides. Some of the information contained therein runs parallel to what H.P.B. stated in Answers to “Some Inquiries Suggested by Mr. Sinnett’s Esoteric Buddhism” which may be found in Vol. V (1883) of the present Series.—Compiler.]
They are asked whether there is not “some confusion” in the letter quoted on p. 62 of Es. Buddhism regarding “the old Greeks and Romans said to have been Atlanteans.” They answer none at all. The word “Atlantean” is a generic name.
(Insert white small page.) [It is missing.]
Very naturally those interested in the Secret Doctrine have to make their choice; they have either to accept as their infallible guide (a) the modern philologist, the archaeologist, the ethnologist and the general historian; (b) those who are in their possession of the Secret Doctrine and will bring to light some day their authentic and irrefragable proofs; or (which would be the most reasonable) (c) try to follow truth between the two parallel paths—modern research and the Secret Doctrine. This is the course offered to them but they must have patience. Auguste Comte was not the first philosopher who found that before rebuilding one had to destroy. None feels a greater admiration and respect for hard working philologists and archaeologists than the “Adepts”—none sees more clearly their mistakes than the humble individuals last named. Indeed, it seems impossible to refrain from smiling at some of their speculations. Yet there is no help for it. How can one risk to bring forward an evidence based entirely upon the secrets of the Esoteric
doctrine, which doctrine, unless the whole of it is trusted into the hands of those whom it alone can enlighten, would be worse than useless; for, isolated proofs picked out [at] random, wide and apart, would do more harm than good. How, for instance, correct this most important mistake started by Prof. Max Müller who says that “before the time of Pânini [the grammarian], and before the first spreading of Buddhism in India, writing for literary purposes was absolutely unknown,” and “writing was practised in India before the time of Alexander’s conquest [?!]—though it may not have been used for literary purposes.”* Now on this solitary mistaken notion hangs the fate of nearly every chronological calculation relating to India and its antiquities. On its demonstration depends the rectification of a thousand errors; chief one of them—the correct date in the world’s chronologies of the Vedic age, and a number of most important works. What is Prof. M. Müller’s evidence showing that writing was unknown before the date assigned by him: (a) “There is not a single word in Pânini’s terminology which presupposes the existence of writing”; (b) “there is no mention of writing materials, whether paper, bark, or skins, at the time when the Indian Diaskeuasts collected the songs of their Rishis; nor is there any allusion to writing during the whole of the Brâhmana period”; (c) Megasthenes and Nearchus state that the laws of the Indians were not reduced to writing; (d) “the words for ink (masi, kâlî, mela, golâ) and pen (kalama), have all a modern appearance”; the words lipi, writing, and dharmalipi, a sacred writing, do not occur in any work of genuine antiquity; and (e) the Brahmans “never speak of their granthas or books,” and “we never meet with [the name of] a book, or a volume, or a page” in old Brâhmana writings; nor does Manu or “the whole of the Brâhmana literature, show one single vestige of the art of writing.”† There are the chief proofs. Having shown so much and stated
* [History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature, pp. 507, 515. See also article “Was Writing Known before Pânini?”, C.W. V, pp. 294-310.]
† [Op. cit., pp. 515, 514, 520, 512, 501.]
repeatedly that neither in Manu nor Pânini there is not one word relating to any object used in writing or reading, presupposing, we find the Professor confessing a few pages further: (1) In Manu’s Code of Laws (X.1) we read: “All the three castes may read the Veda, but the Brahman alone is allowed to proclaim it.” The authors of the ancient Sûtras knew nothing of the art of writing, nevertheless (2) one word in them seems to strengthen the supposition to the contrary: “several of the Sûtras are divided into chapters called patalas. This is a word . . . meaning . . . a covering, the surrounding skin or membrane . . . . . if so, it would seem to be almost synonymous with liber and biblos, and it would mean book,” etc.* (3) “There is another word in Pânini which might seem to prove that, not only the art of writing, but written books were known at his time. This is grantha . . . [which] occurs four times in our texts of Pânini . . .” (4) “The word Lipikara is an important word . . . in the Sûtras of Pânini . . . . [as it] can be legitimately adduced to prove that Pânini was acquainted with the art of writing.”† (5) In Manu’s Code of Laws (VIII, 168) we read: “What is given by force, what is by force enjoyed, by force caused to be written (lekhita) . . . Manu has pronounced void.” Now any unbiased person who would read the above pros and cons verbatim quotations from Prof. M. Müller’s A History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature—must see that the scales of evidence both ways are pretty well balanced. Yet the great Cambridge Sanskritist adds to the last quoted sentence the following most extraordinary remark, “But this is only another proof that this metrical paraphrase of the Laws of the Mânavas is later than the Vedic Age.”
*[Op. cit., pp. 509, 524. For all the above quotations see also pp. 468-480 of the revised edition by Dr. Surendra Nâth Sâstrî of Müller’s work as part of the Chowkhamba Sanskrit Studies, Vol. XV, Varanasi, Vidyavilas Press, 1968.—Compiler.]
† [Op. cit., p. 520.]
It is on such evidence that the respective works . . . . . assign. To this we can say but the following: Were there not one single word in the whole range of Indian sacred literature, which would show the slightest reference to the arts of reading, writing or to any idea of authorship, we would still maintain that this is no proof; simply because that which is adduced by the Professor as a proof against, is the strongest evidence in favour of the pending question. When he quotes such sentences as “we nowhere meet in the Buddhist literature, etc.” (519), he ought to be the first one to perceive that which he does not; namely, that for ages the Vedas as all our sacred literature were deemed too holy to be put in writing and that the act was at one time punished by death. First the initiated Brahmans, more than all the Brahmans in general, had alone the right to “proclaim” or speak out whether the Vedas or the sacred Mantras. . . . Were they open for it we would cite hundreds of ślokas to that effect. When they were put into writing, for a long time, the Brahmans alone had custody over them. Why? Because the whole of the sacred literature is a series of occult treatises; of doctrines and practical teaching of the science of sciences, expressly couched in a conventional language, such sentences generally meaning quite the opposite that they were made to say, and several thousands of words having one exoteric and one esoteric meaning, absurd and repellent when understood in that dead letter, sublime and grand when interpreted with the help of the secret Code. No initiate could or can be one unless he has committed this code to memory. Even when written out in their exoteric language the four Vedas were a forbidden work to the three lower castes. One example given on p. 283 of the August issue of The Theosophist, 1883 [Vol. III], is sufficient to show how careful were the initiates to conceal their real meaning. It is given in the Reply by Tara Nath to the Query in article: “Narcotics versus Occultism.” In it he shows that the word “Râmarasapanam” recommended as necessary for the Yogis—and which in the profane Telugu means a kind of spirituous liquor, means in
EDWARD BURROUGHS RAMBO
Reproduced from the Path, New York, Vol. VII, February, 1893.
CONVENTION OF THE T.S., LONDON, 1891
the esoteric language a certain kind of meditation for occult purposes. No wonder if your Orientalists do not find such words as volume, book or paper in the older works; nothing more natural than that the first scribes who committed these works to writing should have avoided adding one single word to either what was Smriti or Śruti, since all such words in sacred literature were avoided as blasphemous and sacriligeous, considered as dragging down holy works on the level with the profane ones. Yet it does seem puzzling to understand how a Brahman-scribe, not a Kayastha, the name of the writer “caste,” whose name does not occur in Manu just for the reason given), should be charged with having no idea of writing while actually performing that process with the oldest texts. Had not such a restriction been placed upon the Brahmans who were the first to reduce the sacred literature to writing, the Kayasthas—the despised writer caste, the progeny of a Kshatriya father and a Śûdra mother, would have never failed to add many a foreign element to the original text as they have actually done later. Nor can one feel surprised to find such obsolete words as adhyâya, lectures, praœnas, queries, and others the meaning of which is dual and the key to which is the secret Code and replaced finally by the purely exoteric terms such as we find in the later works; and which led Max Müller into the erroneous supposition that there was no writing and for literary purposes before Buddha’s time. Quite true, the Kayastha caste was small, and sprung only a few centuries before the Buddhists. But this is no reason why there should have been no writing before their time. The relative antiquity of various works of the so-called (by the Orientalists) second period of Sanskrit turn in a vicious circle [more] upon works in common than in Aryan bhâsha. The Brahmans alone spoke both the tongue of the Gods (Sanskrit and its hieratic supplement, the Senzar), the Sanskrit bhâsha and the Prakriti bhâsha. The tongue of the gods was unknown to all but themselves. Metal plates mentioned in Yajnavalkya’s lawbooks are not spoken of in Manu’s Code, yet there are fourteen plates in existence with engraved mantras preceding the particular Code spoken of by seven centuries.
. . . The idea that while a small . . . . . tribe of presumably Egyptian runaway slaves are shown on the authority (!) of their scriptures to have been . . . . .
[ANSWER ON THE SUN’S HEAT:]
. . . . . that “no earthly substance with which we are acquainted—no substance which the fall of meteors has landed on the Earth would be at all competent to maintain the Sun’s combustion,” only may be excused for asking—whence then this mirific theory of the Sun’s “fires” and slow yet incessant combustion? Thus the “Adepts” answer: When one has learned the true constitution of the Sun, [one] will not stop to think that this manvantara of any duration “seems largely to exceed the probable time during which the sun can retain heat” for—it is not “merely a cooling mass.” And thus the “Adepts” have answered Question 2, as far as the ability of men utterly unacquainted with modern Science would permit them; and they now dismiss it with a last remark. Truly modern solar physics is far more worthy of a poem, a fiction full of “conceptions which beggar those of Milton” than of a sober treatise upon the mathematical facts of Astronomy. And there is a true occultist ring, the Key-note of all upon which future speculation ought to be solidly based upon, in these words of the great poet physicist. (See Proctor p. 412).*
Answer to Question . No such nonsense was ever postulated. The cataclysm that nearly annihilated the Atlanteans was slowly preparing for ages (See page 54 of Esoteric Buddhism) and other parts of that continent and inhabited isles by the 4th race had sunk long before it culminated in the final catastrophe spoken about and known in history. Their civilization was of a quite different character to that
*[The Sun Ruler, Fire, Light and Life of the Planetary Systems, by Richard A. Proctor, London, Longmans & Green, 1871.]
of which the West now boasts of. The civilization of Egypt and especially its learning was quite as great as that of the later Atlanteans, and, in one direction, at any rate, far superior to that of the present Europeans. And yet, while its imperishable monuments in stone, etc., monoliths, its Sphinx and statues, and its pyramids with a number of Sarcophagi full of papyri and yielding evidences of a later civilization already degenerating and on the wane, is being daily exhumed, where are the traces of its earlier and far more remote glory, where the records of that civilization which made Baron Bunsen say
[Two lines empty for the quotation which is missing.]
And yet the land of Egypt has never been carried down into the depths of the Ocean bed. Nor has it been covered, owing to repeated earthquakes which have convulsed over and over again that sandy bed upon which the ill-fated Poseidonis was plunged in its last physical sleep—until the soil was reduced for ages after into a slimy mud slowly sucking in the lost remnants of that civilization. Nevertheless, owing ever to the yearly increase, amounting but to a few inches in a century—of alluvium brought down by the Nile, the old Hapimu, the traces of the oldest Egyptian civilization, one that was as superior to the latest or the one with which the Egyptologists claim acquaintance with, as your own is now superior to that of Tibet—is hidden for ever from the knowledge of your sub-races. How many millenniums have rolled over pyramids surpassing the present ones, each millennium throwing its 50 or 60 inches of earth over entombed ruined cities, still older Sphinxes and palaces, it is for you—the latest conquerors of Egypt to calculate. Dig deeper and deeper into the sand and slime of the ages, and perchance you may find; and then cast and sum up your figures. No; it is not “supposed” but rather known to a certainty that your present European civilization which has been Cyclopean, though it may have finer and more elaborate works to boast of, will be destroyed as well; for such is the invariable law of nature. And it is far easier for a conflagration to devour without leaving a trace behind telegraphic and electric works, railways and theatre buildings,
ephemeral newspapers and books, restaurants and gin-palaces than it was for flood or inundation to destroy any of the seven world-wonders and labyrinths, Semiramidean gardens and colossuses of Rhodes as well as old indestructible papyri and parchments—nevertheless time and the elements have performed the task to a perfection Can one recognize in the drunken cowardly Copts the descendants of the once invincible Sons of Osiris’ “Arts and languages”? The present arts are doomed to perish long before the final catastrophe to make room for more perfected arts, as the old harpsichord, the clavicord, and clavecin disintegrated to make room for the modern piano, the old viola for the violin, and some of the arts and sciences of Egypt, Rome and Chaldea far superior to the present, are now lost to be revived at future ages. The immortal marbles of Phidias had good reason to survive and yet are nearly lost—but why should yours? As to languages, without entering upon a useless controversy with your philologists who can find no traces of the Sanskrit before a miserable couple of thousand years before your era, they are respectfully asked to surmise what was the language of the learned Atlanteans? The Adepts say that the older Sanskrit and what is now called Tamil are reliquiae, of what a European would call antedeluvian, and, we might term ante-Poseidonian languages. In this connection the writer must be permitted to blend Question 6 with Question 3 to which the former properly belongs . . .
[End of the Fragment]