THE TRIAL OF THE SUN INITIATE
We will begin with the ancient Mysteries—those received from the Atlanteans by the primitive Âryans—whose mental and intellectual state Professor Max Müller has described with such a masterly hand, yet left so incomplete withal.
He says: We have in it [in the Rig-Veda] a period of the intellectual life of man to which there is no parallel in any other part of the world. In the hymns of the Veda we see man left to himself to solve the riddle of this world. . . . He invokes the gods around him, he praises, he worships them. But still with all these gods . . . . beneath him, and above him, the early poet seems ill at rest within himself. There, too, in his own breast, he has discovered a power that is never mute when he prays, never absent when he fears and trembles. It seems to inspire his prayers and yet to listen to them; it seems to live in him, and yet to support him and all around him. The only name he can find for this mysterious power is “Brahman;” for brahman meant originally force, will, wish, and the propulsive power of creation. But this impersonal brahman too, as soon as it is named, grows into something strange and divine. It ends by being one of many gods, one of the great triad, worshipped to the present day. And still the thought within him has no real name; that power which is nothing but itself, which supports the gods, the heavens, and every living being, floats before his mind, conceived but not expressed. At last he calls it “Âtman,” for âtman, originally breath or spirit, comes to mean Self and Self alone, Self, whether divine or human; Self, whether creating or suffering; Self, whether One or All; but always Self, independent and
free. “Who has seen the first-born?” says the poet, “when he who had no bones (i.e., form) bore him that had bones? Where was the life, the blood, the Self of the world? Who went to ask this from any one who knew it?” (Rig-Veda, 1, 164, 4.) This idea of a divine Self once expressed, everything else must acknowledge its supremacy; “Self is the Lord of all things; it is the King of all things; as all the spokes of a wheel are contained in the nave and circumference, all things are contained in this Self; all selves are contained in this Self.” (Brihadâranyaka, II, v. 15).*
This Self, the highest, the one, and the universal, was symbolised on the plane of mortals by the Sun, its life-giving effulgence being in its turn the emblem of the Soul—killing the terrestrial passions which have ever been an impediment to the re-union of the Unit Self (the Spirit) with the All-Self. Hence the allegorical mystery, only the broad features of which may be given here. It was enacted by the “Sons of the Fire-Mist” and of “Light.” The second Sun (the “second hypostasis” of Rabbi Drach) appeared as put on his trial, Viœvakarman, the Hierophant, cutting off seven of his beams, and replacing them with a crown of brambles, when the “Sun” became Vikartana, shorn of his beams or rays. After that, the Sun—enacted by a neophyte ready to be initiated—was made to descend into Pâtâla, the nether regions, on a trial of Tantalus. Coming out of it triumphant, he emerged from this region of lust and iniquity, to re-become Karmasâkshin, witness of the Karma of men,† and arose once more triumphant in all the glory of his regeneration, as the Graha-Râja, King of the Constellations, and was addressed as Gabhastiman, “re-possessed of his rays.”
The “fable” in the popular Pantheon of India, founded upon, and born out of the poetical mysticism of the Rig-Veda—the sayings of which were mostly all dramatised during the religious Mysteries—grew in the course of its exoteric evolution into the following allegory. It may be found now in several of the Purânas and in other Scriptures. In the Rig-Veda and its Hymns, Viœvakarman, a Mystery-God, is the Logos, the Demiourgos, one of the greatest Gods, and spoken of in two of the hymns
* Chips from a German Workshop, i, 69-70. [London, Longman’s, Green & Co., 1867-75, 5 vols.]
† Sûrya, the Sun, is one of the nine divinities that witness all human actions.
as the highest. He is the Omnificent (Viœvakarman), called the “Great Architect of the Universe,” the
All seeing God, . . . . the father, the generator, the disposer, who gives the gods their names, and is beyond the comprehension of mortals,
as is every Mystery-God. Esoterically, He is the personification of the creative manifested Power; and mystically He is the seventh principle in man, in its collectivity. For He is the son of Bhuvana, the self-created, luminous Essence, and of the virtuous, chaste and lovely Yoga-Siddhâ, the virgin Goddess, whose name speaks for itself, since it personified Yoga-power, the “chaste mother” that creates the Adepts. In the Rig-Vaidic Hymns, Viœvakarman performs the “great sacrifice” i.e., sacrifices himself for the world; or, as the Nirukta is made to say, translated by the Orientalists:
Viœvakarman first of all offers up all the world in a sacrifice, and then ends by sacrificing himself.
In the mystical representations of his character, Viúvakarman is often called Vithobâ, and is pictured as the “Victim,” the “Man-God,” or the Avatâra crucified in space: [At this point the WMS. (pp. 207-09) reads as follows:
In the secret work upon the Mysteries and rites of initiation, in which very rough but correct points are given in the sacramental postures and trials to which the postulant was subjected—together with the test, the following details are found. (1) The neophyte representing the sun as Sahasra-Kirana— “he of the thousand rays”—is shown kneeling before the hierophant. The latter is in the act of cutting off seven locks of the neophyte’s long hair,* and, in the following (2) illustration, the postulant’s bright crown of golden beams is thrown off and replaced by a wreath of sharp ligneous spines, symbolizing the loss.† This was enacted in India.
* See Judges, Ch. xvi, 19, where Samson, also a symbolic personification of the sun, as Hercules speaks of hair, which, if cut off, will deprive him of his strength, of “seven green withes,” etc.
† No need of explaining that Sanjñâ, pure spiritual conscience is the inner perception of the neophyte (or chela) and initiate; the scorching of it by the most ardent beams of the sun being symbolical of the terrestrial passions. Hence the seven locks symbolical of the seven cardinal sins. As to the seven cardinal virtues, in order to be regained by the sakridâgâmin (the candidate “for new birth”) they could be attained by him only through severe trials and suffering.
In trans-Himalayan regions it was the same.
In order to become a “Perfect” one the sakridâgâmin (“he who will receive new birth,” lit.) had, among other trials to descend into pâtâla, the “nether world,” after which process only he could hope to become an anâgâmin—”one who will be reborn no more.” The full initiate had the option of either entering this (second) Path by appearing at will in the world of men under a human form, or he could choose to first rest in the World of Gods (the Devachan of the initiate), and then only to be reborn on this our earth. Thus the next stage shows the postulant preparing for this journey—(3 ) .
Every kind of temptation (we have no right to enumerate these or speak of them) was being placed in his way. If he came out victorious from these, then one more initiation was proceeded with; if he fell—it was delayed, and often entirely lost for him. These rules lasted seven days. During the first three, as said, he was tried and examined as to his proficiency in Occult learning. On the fourth day—(4) he was tied, extended full length, and with his arms stretched out on a wooden lathe, symbolical of purification, his impurities having to be smoothed off, like a piece of rough, unfashioned wood. After this he was left alone in a subterranean crypt, in utter darkness, for two days and two nights . . .]
In Egypt, the entranced neophyte was placed in an empty sarcophagus in the Pyramid, where the initiatory rites took place. In India and Central Asia, he was bound on a lathe, and when his body had become like that of one dead (entranced), he was carried into the crypt. Then the Hierophant kept watch over him “guiding the apparitional soul (astral body) from this world of Samsâra (or delusion) to the nether kingdoms, from which, if successful, he had the right of releasing seven suffering souls” (Elementaries). Clothed with his Anandamayakoúa, the body of bliss—the Srotâpanna remained there where we have no right to follow him, and upon returning—received the Word, with or without the “heart’s blood” of the Hierophant.*
* In Isis Unveiled, 11, pp. 41-42, a portion of this rite is referred to. Speaking of the dogma of Atonement, it is traced to ancient “heathendom” again. We say: “This cornerstone of a church which had believed herself built on a firm rock for long centuries, is now excavated by science and proved to come from the Gnostics. Professor Draper shows it as hardly known in the days of Tertullian, and as having ‘originated among the Gnostic heretics’ (see The History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science, p. 224). . . . [But there are sufficient proofs to show] that it originated among them no more than did their ‘anointed’ Christos and Sophia. The former they modelled on the original of the ‘King Messiah’,
Only in truth the Hierophant was never killed—neither in India nor elsewhere, the murder being simply feigned—unless the Initiator had chosen the Initiate for his successor and had decided to pass to him the last and supreme WORD, after which he had to die—only one man in a nation having the right to know that word. Many are those grand Initiates who have thus passed out of the world’s sight, disappearing
As mysteriously from the sight of men as Moses from the top of Mount
the male principle of wisdom, and the latter on the third Sephîrôth, from the Chaldean Kabalah, and even from the Hindu Brahmâ and Sarasvati, and the Pagan Dionysus and Demeter. And here we are on firm ground, if it were only because it is now proved that the New Testament never appeared in its complete form, such as we find it now, till 300 years after the period of the apostles, and the Zohar and other Kabalistic books are found to belong to the first century before our era, if not to be far older still.
“The Gnostics entertained many of the Essenean ideas; and the Essenes had their greater and minor Mysteries at least two centuries before our era. They were the Ozarim or Initiates, the descendants of the Egyptian hierophants, in whose country they had been settled for several centuries before they were converted to Buddhistic monasticism by the missionaries of King Aœoka, and amalgamated later with the earliest Christians; and they existed, probably, before the old Egyptian temples were desecrated and ruined in the incessant invasions of Persians, Greeks, and other conquering hordes. The hierophants had their atonement enacted in the Mystery of Initiation ages before the Gnostics, or even the Essenes, had appeared. It was known among hierophants as the BAPTISM OF BLOOD, and was considered not as an atonement for the ‘fall of man’ in Eden, but simply as an expiation for the past, present, and future sins of ignorant, but nevertheless polluted mankind. The hierophant had the option of either offering his pure and sinless life as a sacrifice for his race to the gods whom he hoped to rejoin, or an animal victim. The former depended entirely on their own will. At the last moment of the solemn ‘new birth,’ the Initiator passed ‘the word’ to the initiated, and immediately after that the latter had a weapon placed in his right hand, and was ordered to strike. This is the true origin of the Christian dogma of atonement.”
As Ballanche says, quoted by Ragon: “Destruction is the great God of the World,” justifying therefore the philosophical conception of the Hindu Śiva. According to this immutable and sacred law, the Initiate was compelled to kill the Initiator: otherwise initiation remained incomplete. . . . It is death that generates life.” Orthodoxie maçonnique, p. 104. All that, however, was emblematic and exoteric. Weapon and killing must be understood in their allegorical sense.
Pisgah (Nebo, oracular Wisdom), after he had laid his hands upon Joshua, who thus became “full of the spirit of wisdom”, i.e., initiated.
But he died, he was not killed. For killing, if really done, would belong to black, not to divine Magic. It is the transmission of light, rather than a transfer of life, of life spiritual and divine, and it is the shedding of Wisdom, not of blood. But the uninitiated inventors of theological Christianity took the allegorical language à la lettre; and instituted a dogma? the crude, misunderstood expression of which horrifies and repels the spiritual “heathen.”
All these Hierophants and Initiates were types of the Sun and of the Creative Principle (spiritual potency) as were Viœvakarman and Vikartana, from the origin of the Mysteries. Ragon, the famous Mason, gives curious details and explanations with regard to the Sun rites. He shows that the biblical Hiram, the great hero of Masonry (the “widow’s son”), a type taken from Osiris, is the Sun-God, the inventor of arts, and the “architect,” the name Hiram, meaning the “elevated,” a title belonging to the Sun. Every Occultist knows how closely related to Osiris and the Pyramids are the narratives in Kings concerning Solomon, his Temple and its construction; he knows also that the whole of the Masonic rite of Initiation is based upon the Biblical allegory of the construction of that Temple, Masons conveniently forgetting, or perhaps ignoring, the fact that the latter narrative is modelled upon Egyptian and still earlier symbolisms. Ragon explains it by showing that the three companions of Hiram, the “three murderers,” typify the three last months of the year; and that Hiram stands for the Sun—from its summer solstice downwards, when it begins decreasing—the whole rite being an astronomical allegory.
During the summer solstice, the Sun provokes songs of gratitude from all that breathes; hence Hiram, who represents it, can give to whomsoever has the right to it, the sacred Word, that is to say life. When the Sun descends to the inferior signs all Nature becomes mute, and Hiram can no longer give the sacred Word to the companions, who represent the three inert months of the year. The first companion strikes Hiram feebly with a rule twenty-four inches long, symbol of the twenty-four hours which make up each diurnal revolution; it is the first distribution of time, which after the exaltation of the mighty star, feebly assails his existence, giving him the first blow. The second companion strikes him with an iron square,
symbol of the last season, figured by the intersections of two right lines, which would divide into four equal parts the Zodiacal circle, whose centre symbolises Hiram’s heart, where it touches the point of the four squares representing the four seasons; second distribution of time, which at that period strikes a heavier blow at the solar existence. The third companion strikes him mortally on his forehead with a heavy blow of his mallet, whose cylindrical form symbolises the year, the ring or circle; third distribution of time, the accomplishment of which deals the last blow to the existence of the expiring Sun. From this interpretation it has been inferred that Hiram, a founder of metals, the hero of the new legend with the title of architect, is Osiris (the Sun) of modern initiation; that Isis, his widow, is the Lodge, the emblem of the Earth (loka in Sanskrit, the world) and that Horus, son of Osiris (or of light) and the widow’s son, is the free Mason, that is to say, the Initiate who inhabits the terrestrial lodge (the child of the Widow, and of Light.) *
And here again, our friends the Jesuits have to be mentioned, for the above rite is of their making. To give one instance of their success in throwing dust into the eyes of ordinary individuals to prevent their seeing the truths of Occultism, we will point out what they did in what is now called Freemasonry.
This Brotherhood does possess a considerable portion of the symbolism, formulae, and ritual of Occultism, handed down from time immemorial from the primeval Initiations. To render this Brotherhood a mere harmless negation, the Jesuits sent some of their most able emissaries into the Order, who first made the simple brethren believe that the true secret was lost with Hiram Abiff; and then induced them to put this belief into their formularies. They then invented specious but spurious higher degrees, pretending to give further light upon this lost secret, to lead the candidate on and amuse him with forms borrowed from the real thing but containing no substance, and all artfully contrived to lead the aspiring Neophyte to nowhere. And yet men of good sense and abilities, in other respects, will meet at intervals, and with solemn face, zeal and earnestness, go through the mockery of revealing “substituted secrets” instead of the real things.
If the reader turns to a very remarkable and very useful work called The Royal Masonic Cyclopaedia, art. “Rosicrucianism,”
* Orthodoxie Maçonnique . . ., pp. 102-04.
he will find its author, a high and learned Mason, showing what the Jesuits have done to destroy Masonry. Speaking of the period when the existence of this mysterious Brotherhood (of which many pretend to know “something” if not a good deal, and know in fact nothing) was first made known, he says:
There was a dread among the great masses of society in byegone days of the unseen—a dread, as recent events and phenomena show very clearly, not yet overcome in its entirety. Hence students of Nature and mind were forced into an obscurity not altogether unwelcome. . . . The Kabalistic reveries of a Johann Reuchlin led to the fiery action of a Luther, and the patient labours of Trittenheim produced the modern system of diplomatic cipher writing. . . . It is very worthy of remark, that one particular century, and that in which the Rosicrucians first showed themselves, is distinguished in history as the era in which most of these efforts at throwing off the trammels of the past [Popery and Ecclesiasticism) occurred. Hence the opposition of the losing party, and their virulence against anything mysterious or unknown. They freely organised pseudo-Rosicrucian and Masonic societies in return, . . . and these societies were instructed to irregularly entrap the weaker brethren of the True and Invisible Order, and then triumphantly betray anything they might be so inconsiderate as to communicate to the superiors of these transitory and unmeaning associations. Every wile was adopted by the authorities fighting in self-defence against the progress of truth, to engage, by persuasion, interest or terror, such as might be cajoled into receiving the Pope as Master—when gained, as many converts to that faith know, but dare not own, they are treated with neglect, and left to fight the battle of life as best they may, not even being admitted to the knowledge of such miserable aporrheta as the Romish faith considers itself entitled to withhold.
[. . . . It would be well perhaps, if the Jesuits contented themselves with making dupes of Freemasons, and converting that order into a mere convivial Benefit-Club, which allures members by the prospect of refined Banquets in the Societies of Princes, statesman and eloquent orators in speech and song. Their lethal plottings, however, have a much wider scope, and embrace a minuteness of detail and care of which the world in general has no idea. Everything must be done by them to bring the mass of mankind again to the state of passive ignorance and superstition which, they well know is the only one which can help them to the consumation of their purpose of Universal Despotism. Little the Protestant Missionaries know that they have been made more than once to serve their hereditary enemy the Roman Catholic Padre as the “cats’ paw” to draw the
chestnuts for them out of the fire, especially in India and China. The proofs of it are at hand and they are carefully preserved to be made public when the day of squaring the account between the Occultists and their Roman Catholic and Protestant detractors, their mortal enemies, arrives at last.
The greatest statesman in Europe, the illustrious Prince Bismarck, knows accurately all their secret plottings, and that it has ever been the aim of the Jesuit priestcraft to stir up disaffection and rebellion in all countries with the view to the advancement of its own interest. That greatest and most far-seeing of men in addressing the German Parliament on the 5th Dec., 1874, stated that in a conversation which passed between the Wurtenberg Envoy and the Nuncio, the latter insolently and arrogantly said, “The Roman Church had to look to revolution as the sole means of securing her rightful position.” (Times, Dec. 7th, 1874.) Several historians of the so-called “Indian Mutiny” have accused the Protestant Missionaries of having been the direct and indirect means of breeding discontent and leading to the outburst of national feeling. We do not write political history. Therefore, it will suffice to say that in this case as in many others the reformed Church and its members had been made a stepping stone and a convenient because unconscious agent. There never was an Occult Society, however open and sincere, that has not felt the hand of the Jesuit trying to pull it down by every secret means. If the reader interested in the question takes the trouble of recapitulating such Societies, in England alone, and thinks of their fate, he will recognize the truth of the assertion. Protestantism is losing ground among the richest and the most illustrious of the land. A few years more, and the greatest of Protestant nations will stand face to face with WHITE and BLACK MAGIC. Which will the English choose?
But all efforts of the greatest craft are doomed to failure on the day they are discovered.] *
But if Masonry has been spoiled, none is able to crush the
* [The above bracketed section and the section closing this chapter have been added from pp. 219-23 of the original Würzburg manuscript. —Compiler. ]
real, invisible Rosicrucian and the Eastern Initiate. The symbolism of Viúvakarman and Sûrya-Vikartana has survived, where Hiram Abiff was indeed murdered, and we will now return to it. It is not simply an astronomical, but is the most solemn rite, an inheritance from the Archaic Mysteries that has crossed the ages and is used to this day. It typifies a whole drama of the Cycle of Life, of progressive incarnations, and of psychic as well as of physiological secrets, of which neither the Church nor Science knows anything, though it is this rite that has led the former to the greatest of its Christian Mysteries. [. . . . . the newest Initiate, the proud Rome of the Catacombs, has given the death-blow to her HIEROPHANT-INITIATOR, indeed—but only in Europe. Only, she has done it so too hastily! The Hierophant died, before he had been given the time to pass his would-be Successor the WORD. The sacrifice has thus proved useless and the initiation but too “incomplete.” The Hierophant of the Sapta Śindham (seven rivers) and of the SAPTARSHI (the seven great Rishis) is not killed and may have something to say to the modern Initiates of the “Seven Hills.” It is only a question of time and patience; more details will be found in “Some Reasons for Secrecy.” (pp. 47-59.)]