ZOROASTER IN “HISTORY” AND ZARATHUSHTRA IN THE SECRET RECORDS
[The original manuscript of this incomplete essay in H. P. B.’s own handwriting exists in the Adyar Archives. It was transcribed for the first time in 1958, and published in the pages of The Theosophist in October and November 1958. By consulting Colonel Henry S. Olcott’s remarkable lecture on “The Spirit of the Zoroastrian Religion,” which he delivered at the Town Hall in Bombay on the 14th of February, 1882, it will be seen that portions of it are identical with H. P. B.’s manuscript. It is most likely that Colonel Olcott was given special help with his lecture, and H. P. B.’s text itself, though fragmentary and obviously unfinished, bears in more than one place the characteristics of a higher authority. This is perhaps especially the case in regard to a long footnote concerning Zoroaster which was appended to Colonel Olcott’s lecture when it was published in book form, together with other lectures, under the title of Theosophy, Religion and Occult Science: (London: George Redway, 1885). On the authority of several of the early members, this footnote was supplied at the time by H. P. B. It is reprinted herewith also.
The facts outlined above date H. P. B.’s manuscript as of the early part of 1882, or possibly even earlier. It is evident that it represents but a rough draft of an essay in preparation. Rather than to make any changes, we have left unaltered a number of peculiarities in style, uncertainties in the use of quotation marks, and occasional grammatical errors, which, however, are only of minor importance.—Compiler.]
Well-meaning blunders in history are often no better than willful misrepresentations in their effect, for they leave a false impression on the mind of the student difficult to efface. Thus some of our European philologists are unable to find a more philosophical meaning for Zend-A-Vesta, than that “it signifies a tinder box.”
Speaking of the religion of the great Aryan Reformer, in Nineteenth Century, Professor Monier Williams, after making the just observation that “perhaps few more remarkable facts have been revealed by the critical examination of non-Christian systems than the highly spiritual character of the ancient creed which it is usual to call the religion of Zoroaster,” makes it follow by some remarks, which, when analyzed*………….. false…………*; as usual—with Christian professors—the whole truth is cleverly screened, and the spirit of partizanship—ever on the watch to make the best of the few meagre facts on hand—attempts, were it but inferentially, to glorify the Jewish Bible at the expense of all the other religions. So, for instance, he says:
Only within the last few years has the progress of Iranian studies made it possible to gain an insight into the true meaning of the text of the Avesta—popularly known as the Zend Avesta—which is to Zoroastrianism what the Veda is to Brâhminism. The knowledge thus obtained has made it clear that contemporaneously with Judaism an unidolatrous and monotheistic form of religion, containing a high moral code and many points of resemblance to Judaism itself, was developed by, at least, one branch of the Aryan race.
Nor does the certainty of this fact rest on the testimony of the Zoroastrian scriptures only. It is attested by numerous allusions in the writings of Greek and Latin authors. We know that the father of history himself, writing about 450 years before the Christian era, said of the Persians that “it is not customary among them to make idols, to build temples and erect altars; they even upbraid with folly those who do.” The reason of this Herodotus declares to be that the Persians do not believe the gods to be like men, as the Hellenes do, but that they identify the whole celestial circle with the Supreme Being.
We know, too, that Cyrus the Great, who must have been 8 Zoroastrian, evinced great sympathy with the Jews; and was styled by Isaiah “the righteous one” (xli, 2), “the Shepherd of the Lord” (xliv, 28), “the Lord’s Anointed” (xlv, 1), who was commissioned to “perform all God’s pleasure” and carry out His decrees in regard to the rebuilding of the temple, and the restoration of the chosen people to their native land.†
* [Manuscript damaged.]
† “The Religion of Zoroaster,” Nineteenth Century, Vol. IX, January, 1881, p. 156.
Hundreds of students may read the above and yet not one of them notice the spirit of the inferences contained in those few lines. The Oxford professor would make his reader believe that the “nonidolatrous and monotheistic” Zoroastrianism was developed “contemporaneously with Judaism”; that is to say, if we understand the value of words at all, that the former system developed at the same period of history as the latter—than which statement nothing could be more erroneous or misleading. The religion of Zarathushtra is most undoubtedly attested by more than one well-known Greek and Latin author, in whose writings, by the way, one would vainly search for like reference to Judaism or the “chosen people,” so little were they known before the return (?) from the Babylonian captivity. Aristotle affirms that Zoroaster lived 6,000 years before Plato.* Hermippus of Alexandria, who claims to have read the genuine books of the Zoroastrians, shows the great Reformer as a pupil of Agonaces (Agon-ach or the Agon-God) and having flourished 5,000 years before the fall of Troy, his statement thus corroborating that of Aristotle, as Troy fell 1194 before our era and, on the testimony of Clement, some think that the Er or Erus, the son of Armenius, whose vision is related by Plato in his Republic, Book X, 614 ff., means no other than Zardosht.† On the other hand, we find Alexander Polyhistor saying of Pythagoras (who lived about 600 years B.C. ) that he was a disciple of the Assyrian Nazaratus;‡ Diogenes Laërtius†† affirming that the
* [Cf. Pliny, Nat. Hist., XXX, ii.]
† Clement Alex., Stromateis, V. xiv.]
‡ Zoroaster is often called by the Greek writers the Assyrian Nazaratus. [Cf. Clement, Strom., I, xv.] The term comes from the word Nazar and Nazir (set apart, separated), a sect of adepts very ancient and which existed ages before Christ. “They were physicians, healers of the sick by the imposition of hands, and initiated into the Mysteries”—See Mishnah Nazir in the Talmud, which has 9 chapters and gives statutes concerning Nazarenes.—I. M. Jost, Israelite Indeed, II, 238. They let their hair and beards grow long, drank no wine and pronounced vows of chastity. John the Baptist was a Nazarene, and Elijah of whom it is said in II Kings (i, 8) that “he was an hairy man.”
†† [Lives: “Pythagoras,” § 3.]
philosopher of Samos was initiated into the mysteries “by the Chaldeans and Magi”; and finally Apuleius maintaining that it was Zoroaster who instructed Pythagoras. All those contradictions put together prove (1) that “Zoroaster” was a generic title and (2) that there were several prophets of that name. There was the primitive and pure Magianism, and one degraded later by priesthood, as is the case with every religion whose spirit is lost and the dead letter of it alone remains. Again we find the proof of it in Darius Hystaspes, shown in history to have crushed the Magi and introduced the pure religion of Zoroaster, that of Hormazd—he had, nevertheless, an inscription cut out on his tomb (recently found) stating that he, Darius, was “teacher and hierophant of Magianism.” But the greatest proof is found in the Zend-Avesta itself. Although not the oldest Zoroastrian Scripture, yet, like the Vedas in the case of the Deluge upon which they are completely silent*—these ancient writings do not show the slightest sign of its author having ever been acquainted with any of the nations that subsequently adopted his mode of worship, although there are several historical Zarathushtras: he who instituted sun worship among the Parsees; that other who appeared at the court of Gushtasp; and he, who was the instructor of Pythagoras . . .
Nor does the appellation bestowed by Isaiah upon Cyrus—”the Righteous One” and “the Shepherd of the Lord” prove much to any but those who believe in the divinity of Biblical prophecies;† for Isaiah lived 200 years earlier than Cyrus (from 760 to 710 B.C.) while the great Persian flourished and began his reign in 559. If Cyrus protected
* A fact going to well prove that the Vedas were in existence before the deluge, or that cataclysm which changed the face of Central Asia about 10,000 years B.C. Baron Bunsen places Zoroaster at Bactria and the emigration of Bactrians to the Indus 3784 B.C. and the historical and geological deluge at the date first mentioned, about 10,555 years before our era (Egypt’s Place in Universal History, Vol. V, pp. 77-78, 88).
† Many critics (Christian) suppose the latter portion of the book of Isaiah (chap. xl to lxvi) to be by some author of the time of the captivity, whose name is unknown.
them after conquering Babylon, it is because they had long before become converted to his own religious system; and if he sent them back (and many a learned archaeologist strongly doubts today whether the Jews were ever in Palestine before the days of Cyrus) it was for the same reason. The Jews then upon their return were simply a Persian colony imbued with all the ideas of Magianism and Zoroastrianism. Most of their forefathers had once agreed with the Sabaeans, in the Bacchic-worship, the adoration of the Sun, Moon and Five Planets, the SABAOTH of the realm of light. In Babylon they had learned the worship of the Seven-Rayed god—hence the Septenary System running throughout the Bible and the Heptaktys of the Book of Revelation; and the sect of the Pharisees (150 B.C.)—whose name might with far more reason be derived from “Pharsi” or Parsi than from the Aramaic Perîshîn (separated)—whose greatest rabbi was Hillel the Babylonian, and whose “beliefs and observances by succession from their fathers . . . are not written in the law of Moses,” says Josephus, a Pharisee himself (Antiquities, XIII, x, 5 and 6). By these the whole Angelology and Symbolism of the Persians or rather the Zoroastrians was adopted. And the Chaldean Kabala extensively read and studied by them at their secret Lodge, whose members were called the Kabirim from the Babylonian and Assyrian Kabeiri—the great mystery-gods, are good proofs of the above.* The present Jews are Talmudists holding to the later interpretations of the Mosaic Law,† and the few learned Rabbis-Kabalists remain alone to give the student an inkling into the true religion of the Jews of the two centuries preceding and the first century subsequent to Christ.
The true history of Zoroaster and his religion was yet never written. The Parsees themselves have lost the keys to their faith and it is not to their learned men that they
* The Kabeiri were worshipped at Hebron, the city of Beri-Anak or Anakim.
† No Hebrew MS is known to be older than Kennicott’s No. 154 which belongs to A.D. 1106 (Donaldson). “The Masorah was committed to writing in 506 A.D.” (Elias Levita).
are to look for any information upon the subject. Whether we accept the time when Zarathushtra lived on the authority of Aristotle—6,000 years B.C.—or on the more modern ones of Naurozjî Farîdunjî of Bombay who fixes it in the 6th century B.C. (Tareekh-i-Zurtoshtee or “Discussion on the Era of Zoroaster”)—all is darkness and contradiction and every statement conflicts with insurmountable facts. Nor was the Rahnuma-e Mazdayasnan Sabha, the Society organized in 1851 for the restoration of the creed of Zoroaster to its original purity—any happier in its investigations. Can we wonder then at the discrepancies, often nonsense, given by our modern scholars, when these have no other authority to base their researches upon, than a few classical but for all that unreliable writers, who are found to have mentioned what they had heard in their days, about that grand prehistoric figure.
Aristotle, Diogenes Laërtius, Strabo, Philo Judaeus, Tertullian and finally Clemens Alexandrinus with a few others are the only guides that our European scholars have at hand. And how trustworthy are the latter patristic fathers may be inferred from what the Rev. Dr. H. Prideaux, treating of the Sad-dar says of the teachings of Zoroaster. The prophet—he tells us—preached incest! Zaratusht teaches “that nothing of this nature is unlawful; but that a man may not only marry his sister, or his daughter, but his mother”!!* The “Sage of remote Antiquity”—as Plato calls Zoroaster, is transformed by Christian bigots into a “slave of Daniel,” the very existence of the latter being now regarded by the men of science as a myth, and [they] accuse the “Prophet of the Persians” of having been “a false Prophet” and teaching “a doctrine stolen from the Jews”! (Dr. Prideaux.) Truly remarks Warburton in his Divine Legation that “the whole is a pure fable and contradicts all learned antiquity,” one Christian writer making Zoroaster “contemporary with Darius Hystaspes and servant to one of the Jewish Prophets—yet in another fit of lying, they
* An Universal History from the Earliest Accounts of Time to the Present, London, 1747-54. Vol. V, p. 405, quoting Prideaux.
place him as early as Moses, they even say he was Abraham, nay stick not to make him one of the builders of Babel.” The Zoroaster of Dr. Prideaux, says Faber, “seems to have been a totally different character from the most ancient Zoroaster.” (On the Mysteries of the Cabiri, II, 154.)
In this jungle of contradictions the point at issue is whether (1) there remains any possibility of obtaining anything like a correct information on the last, if not on the original Zarathushtra;* and (2) by what means is the true religion preached in the Avesta (with the older Gâthâs included in it) to be interpreted from the allegorical dialogues of the Vendidad. We know beforehand the answer: “The most learned Orientalists—Haug, Müller, etc.—having failed, there is no help for it.” The Avesta has become and must remain a sealed book to the Parsees, and the teachings of Zoroaster—a dead letter to the future generations.
We believe the notion is a mistaken one—at least as regards question the 2nd. If everything regarding the personality of the Founder himself, however well authenticated by identical traditions and material proofs in the shape of his statues in various parts of the world and especially in Central Asia, has to be regarded as simple tradition (and what else is History?) his religion at least could be restored as faultlessly as exact Science restores the shapes of the antediluvian animals from bits of fossile bones collected in a hundred different places. Time, Patience and especially sincere zeal, are the only requisites. Our Orientalists have never bethought themselves of the only sediment of genuine Zoroastrianism now left among the old records. Nay—till very lately they despised it and laughed to scorn its very name. Hardly half a century ago it was not yet translated, and up to this day is understood but by the
* It is said of Zarathushtra that he had a renewal of life. “I am he who lives and dies” is the inscription in the Avestan or old Bactrian language running around the waist of his gigantic statue which remains for ages in the circular cave in one of the Mountains of Bokhara. The cave is in a rock and consecrated to Mithr-Az—the invisible Deity produced from a cave hewn out of a rock . . .
very, very few true Occultists We speak of the Chaldean KABALA, whose very name is unknown to hundreds of educated men. Notwithstanding every denial of the ignorant, we say and repeat that the key to the right understanding of the Avesta and its subdivisions lies concealed at the bottom of the rightly interpreted books of the Kabala,* composed of the Zohar (Splendour) by Rabbi Shimon Ben Yohai; of Sepher Yetzirah or Book of the Creation† (attributed to the patriarch Abraham but written by a Chaldean priest); and of the Commentary of the Sephiroth—the latter being the creative Principles or powers identical with the Amshaspands. The whole of the Avesta is incorporated with the ethics and philosophy of Babylonia—hence must be sought for in the Chaldean Kabalistic lore, as the doctrines of Zoroaster spread through Zarathushtra the fifth Messenger (5,400 B.C.) from Bactria to Media and thence under the name of Magism (the Magavas or the “Mighty Ones”) became at one time the universal religion of the whole Central Asia. It is now called “monotheistic” on the same principle that vulgarized Magianism became the monotheism of the later Israelites. If the attributes of Ahuramazda or Ormazd are said to strongly resemble those of the Jewish Jehovah (albeit far more practical), it is not because either of the two was the true Mystery Deity—the INCOMPREHENSIBLE ALL but simply because both are human ideals evolved from the
* The Hebrew word Kabbalah comes from the root “to receive.” It is then the record of doctrines received by the Chaldean Magi, and the initiated Jews (Daniel was chief of the Magi) from Zarathushtra, whose teachings on account of their profound philosophy were meant but for the few, while the exoteric rites of Magianism dwindled down to popular vulgar magic, Judaism, and other degraded anthropomorphic and ritualistic systems.
† Rather Evolution. The book is the demonstration of a System whereby the universe is mathematically viewed, showing from the systematic development of “creation” and from the harmony reigning in all its laws that it must have proceeded from One Cause EN-SOPH—the Endless NO-THING. That it never had a beginning nor will it ever have an end; from which dead letter rendering in Genesis—incomprehensible without the help of the Kabalistic . . . . . [Manuscript cut off]
same stock. As Ormazd springing from Primordial Light, which itself emanated from a Supreme incomprehensible essence called “Zeruane-Akerene,” the Eternal or Boundless Time, comes but third in the deistic evolution; so Jehovah is shown in the Zohar as the third Sephiroth (moreover a feminine passive potency) denominated “Intelligence” (Binah) and represented by the divine name Jehovah and Àralim. Hence none of the two ever were the ONE “Supreme” God. With Jehovah it is EN-SOPH, the Boundless, the ONE from which emanates AUR—”Primordial Light” or the “Primordial Point” which, containing the all of the Sephiroth, emanates them one after the other, the totality representing the Archetypal man, Adam Kadmon. Jehovah then is but the tenth portion (seventh Kabalistically, for the first three are ONE) of Adam or the Intellectual world; whereas Ormuzd is at the head of the seven Amshaspands or their Spiritual totality—hence higher than Jehovah, yet —not the SUPREME.
Let us confess at once that, gross and material in our conceptions, we have anthropomorphized and, so to say, animalized every grand religious idea which has descended to us from the antiquity. Physically and intellectually we progress and grow in strength and wisdom, but lose daily in Spirituality. We may “wax in strength”—never in Spirit. It is but by studying the relics of old; by comparing, free from every sectarian bias and personal prejudice, the religious ideals of all nations, that we finally acquire the conviction that they are all streams from one and the same source. Many and various are the lights and shadows which our dazzled eye can hardly follow on a sunlit valley. The fool will exclaim: “That shadow is mine—it is cast by my house! . . .” The sage will lift his eyes heavenward, and calmly remark: “it is but an effect and temporary!” [and] will rivet his attention to the One Cause—the Great “Spiritual Sun.”
[An unfinished note in a handwriting different from H. P. B.’s, and obviously having to do with one of her footnotes in the above article.]
“I am he who lives and dies” is the inscription that runs around the waist-belt of his statue in the circular rock-temple of Bokhara. It was the old belief that Z renewed his life from time to time but whether or not in the same way as the Lamaists claim to return in the reincarnation of Buddha I cannot say. The brother who visited Armenia as I have told you, found near the Lake Van and the great mountain chain South of Bayazid, “a whole library of cylinders”—similar to the precious clay-cylinders exhumed by George Smith at Nineveh. And he says that these cylinders “may serve one day to strongly damage the wild theories and interpretations of the Anquetil-Duperrons, the Spiegels and Haugs.”*
As the Hindu pilgrims affirm that on approaching the temple at Badrinath one sometimes sees far up amid the snow, etc., so in Armenia is there a similar tradition. The rumour is that daily at sunset there appears, etc.
[The second portion of H. P. B.’s manuscript is as follows It may have been intended at one time to be the continuation of the previous portion:]
Parsees justly complain that the Mobeds themselves have forgotten truth about their religion, and there are some learned scholars among them who try to unravel the mysteries of Zoroastrianism, but how? Not by reading and studying Zend MSS or exercising their own brain, but by giving forth to what the Western scholars tell them. How
* [The “brother” referred to is the Adept known as Hillarion Smerdis. See Compiler’s footnote appended to the second portion of this manuscript.—Compiler.]
PRINCE HARISINGHJI RUPSINGHJI OF BHAVNAGAR
Staunch Friend and Supporter of the Founders in the early days of the Movement in India.
GROUP AT CROW’S NEST, BOMBAY, 1881
Colonel H.S. Olcott seated in the center, and H.P.B. standing behind him; on Olcott’s right is Dâmodar K. Mâvalankar; standing to the left of H.P.B., in white turban, is Tukaram Tatya.
misrepresented is the religion of Zarathushtra can be inferred by a few instances. The Rev. Dr. H. Prideaux, for instance, commenting upon Sad-dar assures his readers that Zaratusht taught his people incest! “Zaratusht,” he says, “teaches that nothing of this nature is unlawful; but that a man may not only marry his sister, or his daughter, but his mother.” Only in support of his argument he quotes no Zend work, nothing written by a Parsee, but such Christian and Jewish authorities as Philo Judaeus, Tertullian, Clemens Alexandrinus (See An Universal History, as quoted above). Eutychius, a priest and archimandrite of the 5th century, of a cloister at Constantinople, writes on Zoroastrianism as follows: “Nimrod beheld a fire rising out of the earth, and he worshipped it, and from that time forth the Magi worshipped fire. And he appointed a man named Ardeshan to be the priest and servant of the Fire. The Devil shortly after that spoke out of the midst of the fire [as Jehovah to Moses out of the burning bush?]—saying, no man can serve the Fire, or learn Truth in my religion, unless first he shall commit incest with his mother, sister and daughter as he was commanded, and from that time the priests of the Magians practiced incest, but Ardeshan was the first inventor of that doctrine.”
Now what does that mean? Simply a dead letter misconstruction. In the secret doctrine, portions of which are committed to writing in old Armenian MSS or so-called Mesrobian MSS (until the year 312 the Armenians were Parsees) preserved to this day at Etchmiadzin, the oldest monastery in Armenia, it is said of the Initiate or Magi:—”He who would penetrate the secrets of (sacred) Fire, and unite with it (as the yogi unites his soul to the Universal Soul) must first unite himself soul and body to Earth, his mother, humanity, his sister, and Science, his daughter.” No need of explaining the symbolic meaning of this. Everyone knows in what respect Zarathushtra held Earth, how he taught kindness to all; and Knowledge or Science will never become the daughter or progeny of man, never evolve out of his brain in its purity, unless he studies the secrets of Nature and man which beget Science or Knowledge.
ON THE TREES OF LIFE
As Yggdrasill is the Tree of Life of the Sandinavian Edda, so Haoma is the sacred Tree of Life of Zaratusht, which we may see represented in the Assyrian monuments (see Layard, Nineveh , p. 472). The Deity or God is Fire. The Rosicrucians understood it well and took it from the Magi, the successors of Zaratusht. There were several Zaratushts (a generic name). This is proved by himself in saying: “I am he who lives and dies”; but the Zoroaster of the Parsees appeared 5,400 B.C . and Persepolis (the City of Splendour) was founded according to the tradition of the secret records 5,000 B.C . by a Gian Jin, a priest of Oannes or Dagon (see Illarion's letter in Theosophist) . * Its ancient name was Ista-char, the place sacred to Ista, or Ashtar, or Esta, who finally became Vesta to whom the Romans burnt inextinguishable fire. Vesta was the divine anthropomorphic Divine Fire or Holy Spirit. Char means on the Assyrian monuments the Sun and Istar or Ista-Char the Vesta of the Sun and throne of the Sun translated by the Greeks Perse-polis . “Char-is” is the City of Fire . Ceres was also the Deity of Fire, of Heat fecundating Nature, and at Cnidus she was called Kura, a title of the Sun, her Roman name Keres, not Ceres (as Cicero — Kikero), originally the name of a city, Charis . In Arabic the meaning of the radical word Char-is is to preserve, and of haris, “guardian,” “preserver” (of the fire.) Hence the name of Cyrus which is the male name of Ceres, the female. But the name is Indian (for Heres is the same as Char-is) and Hara or Hari is a name of Hara-Deva, Hari meaning Saviour, I think. Koros is a name of Bacchus the son of Keres or Ceres, and Koros is Divine Wisdom or the Holy Spirit. In the first Vol. of Father Bernard de Montfaucon's Antiquity Explained, on a plate representing the Mother of Gods,
* [This has reference to The Theosophist, Vol. II, July, 1881, pp. 213-15, where was published the greater part of a letter signed X. . . . F.T.S. It was entitled “A Letter from Surb Ohannes.” See pages 211218 in the present Volume. — Compiler .]
one of her names is Suria, the Hindu name for Sun . On another plate she is called Mater Suriae, black with long hair (hence Syria the land). The red dress of the Roman Cardinals has the same origin as the bronze-red yellow dress of the Sannyasi and Buddhists, from Divine Fire—knowledge. As Zerah in Hebrew means rising of Light, so Surya means Sun and the name of Zarathushta is a combination of the Indian and Hebrew appellations. Sir William Drummond shows that Hyde has most erroneously placed Zoroaster as contemporary with Darius. Suidas fixes his era at 500 years before the Trojan war; Plutarch at 5,000 before that time and Pliny many thousands before Moses. All these contradictions show that there were several Zoroasters, one of which, he of the Parsees, was an historical personage, an Initiate, and Sir Wm. Drummond in his Oedipus Judaicus places Zoroaster many centuries before Moses. After calling him the greatest mathematician and the greatest philosopher of the age, Rev. H. Prideaux forthwith calls Zoroaster an “imposter and juggler” as the Christian newspapers call us.
Abul-Faraj [Bar-Hebraeus] in the Book of Dynasties (p. 54) states that Zaratusht taught the Persians the manifestation of the Wisdom (the Lord's anointed Son or Logos), “Honover” (the living manifested Word, or Deific Wisdom), and predicted that a Virgin should conceive (Saoshyant) immaculately and that at the birth of that Messenger a six-pointed star would appear which should shine in the noonday, in the center of which would appear the figure of a Virgin. In the Kabala the Virgin is Astral Light or Akasa and the six-pointed star the emblem of the Macrocosm. The Logos or Saoshyant born means the Secret Knowledge or Science which divulges the Wisdom of God. The prophecy of the Epiphany is in the Zend-Avesta .
Into the hand of the Messenger Prophet Zaratusht were delivered many gifts when filling the censer with fire from the sacred altar as the Parsee Mobed did in ancient times (and the Roman Catholic does now, only getting his burning
coals and fire for his censer out of the kitchen grate)—the fire meant heavenly truth, and the smoke of incense waved into the faces of the worshippers— imparting the knowledge thereof : the everlasting Fire-Word of Zaratusht. “The mortal who approaches Fire will receive a light from Divinity.” Krishna informs Arjuna in the Gita that God is in the fire of the altar. “I am the Fire; I am the Victim.” The Flamens (priests of the Etruscans) were so named because they were supposed to be illuminated by the tongues of Fire (Holy Ghost) and the Christians took the hat, the scarlet robes of the Cardinals symbolizing this Fire of Esoteric Divine Knowledge. “Pure and happy are they,” says Firdousi, the Persian poet, “who while worshipping One Supreme Wisdom, contemplate in sacred flame the symbol of Divine Light”—the Hiranyagarbha (ask Dâmodar for Sanskrit name) of the Vedas . “A mages,” says Pausanias, “when entering the temple performs an incantation and when finished, all the wood on the altar becomes enkindled without fire and emits a very splendid flame ” ( Elis , I, xxvii, 6). Prometheus, or “Pra-Ma-Tha-Issa,” the divine Son of Issa in Sanskrit, brought fire from heaven . In an ancient Irish MSS Zaratusht is called Airgiod-Lamh, or the “Golden Hand,” the hand which received and scattered celestial fire (Sir Wm. Ouseley's Oriental Collections, I, p. 303). He is also called Mogh Nuedhat , the Magus of the New Ordinance or Dispensation. Zaratusht was one of the first reformers who revealed what he had obtained at his initiation, the six periods, or Gâhambârs, or the periodical evolution of the world. The first is Maidyôizaremaya in which the heavens or canopy were formed; the second, Maidyôisema in which the moisture from the clouds became the origin of the waters; the third, Paitishahya when the earth became consolidated out of primeval cosmic atoms; the fourth, Ayâthrima in which earth gave birth to vegetation; the fifth Maidyâirya when the earth slowly evoluted into animal life; the sixth, Hamaspathaêdaya when lower animals culminated in man; the seventh period comes after the end of a certain cycle, after which will appear the Persian Messiah, seated on a Horse
—i . e . , the Sun of our Solar System will be snuffed out— PRALAYA.
He who would unravel the mysteries of the sacred Parsee books has to study alike the Scriptures of other people and especially of the Hindus. Then he will find the mystery of the Sun, Fire and Horse . As his own Saoshyant, the Saviour of mankind, has to appear seated upon a white horse and followed by an army of good genii mounting milk-white steeds, so John in Revelation beholds a white horse with the “faithful and true” upon it and the armies that follow him are seated upon white horses, so Vishnu as the Kalki Avatara will appear as a warrior seated upon a white horse, etc., etc. The white horse is the horse of the Sun . “And I saw an angel standing in the Sun,” says John ( Rev ., xix , 17). “And he took away the horses that the kings of Judah had given to the Sun” ( II Kings, xxiii, 11)—”the fiery source of Spirit-Life.” The sacrifice of the Horses and the Sun, Asvamedha . The horses of the Sun are famous in all religions (Phaeton the Greek, driving the Chariot). The high priest or Mobed riding every morning to meet and salute the rising Sun is typical as the Chariot represents the body, the Horse the animating Principle and the four legs of the Horse—the four races of the world—the Black, the Russet, the Yellow and White, or Negro, Indian, the Mongolian and Caucasian (the four castes of Manu come from that); and the Chinese show it in their four orders of priests clothed in black, red, yellow and white; John saw these very colours in the symbolic horses of the Revelation .
There exists among the Persian Parsees a volume older than the Zoroastrian present writings. The title is Javidan Kherad,* or Eternal Wisdom, a work on practical
* [In The Theosophist, Vol. III, April, 1882, pp. 180-81, there is an unsigned review of a work entitled The Javidan Kherad, or “ Eternal Wisdom, ” a Practical Manual of the Philosophy of Magic, a book written in Persian and presented to the Theosophical Society by the Editor, a learned Parsee gentleman of Teheran, Mr. Manekje Limji Hooshang Haturia.
Tradition says that the Javidan Kherad was written by King Hû-
philosophy of magic with natural explanations Thos. Hyde speaks of it in his Preface to the Historia Religionis Veterum Persarum . The four Zoroastrian ages are the four races. Speaking of Zoroaster of whom he speaks as one possessed of an extensive knowledge of all the Science and philosophy then known in the world, Rev. George Oliver gives an account of the Cave-Temples of which much is said in the Zoroastrian doctrines.
[Zoroaster] retired to a circular cave or grotto in the mountains of Bokhara, which he ornamented with a profusion of symbolical and astronomical decorations, and solemnly consecrated it to the middle god or Mediator, Mithr-As, or as he was elsewhere denominated, the invisible deity, the parent of the universe, who was himself said to be born, or produced from a cave hewn out of a rock. Here the Sun
shang, one of the Peshdadian Kings of Persia; that it was buried in the Palace of King Nashirvan in Baghdad, and was dug up at the request of the philosopher Zouban, who received the permission to do so from Ma'mûn al-Rashîd, the son of Hârûn al-Rashîd. Zouban allowed only a small portion of this work to be read and translated by one of the scholars of the time. This is the fragment which has descended to us under the name of Javidan Kherad . It was first translated into Arabic, with the addition of various teachings from other ancient philosophers. The book presented to the T.S. is the Persian translation from this Arabic compilation.
At the end of the review giving the historical background of this work, there is a note which, to judge by its style, may have been written by H.P.B., although its authorship is not certain. To quote:
“As to the contents of this book, it would take a volume to comment even briefly upon them. In the first place, the hidden meaning of the original has been altogether neglected by the later translators. But even the outward meaning given to the words is full of precepts, moral and philosophical. In the whole compilation there is not a single sentence which can be pointed out as less important than the rest. If space would allow, we could quote passages after passages which may be read with benefit even by the most advanced moralists and theologians of the present day. This book alone is sufficient to show the learning and acquirements of the much-abused Ancients. If those, whom we are taught to look upon as primitive men in semibarbarity, could write such works on theology, morality, and even politics, as are hardly rivalled by any work of the present so-called age of Progress and Civilization, we must confess that we would like to follow in the steps of such semi-barbarous men, and leave the much. vaunted civilization to its own deluded followers.”
was represented by a splendid gem, which, with an insupportable lustre occupied a conspicuous situation in the centre of the roof ; the planets were displayed in order round him, in studs of gold glittering on a ground of azure; the zodiac was richly chased in embossed gold, in which the constellations Leo, and Taurus, with a Sun and Lunette emerging from their back in beaten gold, were peculiarly resplendent. The four ages of the world were represented by so many globes of gold, silver, brass, and iron.*
These “ages” were taught to the disciples as the 4 Races of men—the gold being the Mongolian, the silver the white or Caucasian; the brass—the Red Indian, and the iron the Negro. Minos received the laws from heaven in a Cavern on the Mount; Egeria gave his stabula to Numa in a grotto or cave on a hill; Moses receives on Sinai, etc.
Daghdai is the name of Zarathushtra's mother and Vallancey shows it with this spelling to mean Holy Spirit (or Wisdom); and Faber who writes it Day-dae says it is Divine Fish— so the Parsees accept it, I think. Ask why did Zoroaster consecrate during the sacred rites—wine ( truth ) extracted from vine (parable of Jesus?), a rose (a phallus), a cup (the womb) and the kernel of a pomegranate (the Messenger). The rose was sacred to the Sun. Zoroaster retired to a mountain of Armenia (Ariman) to speak with Hormuzd; and when the mountain burnt with fire he was unhurt. Then on the Gordian mountain he wrote the first Zend-a-vesta .
[The following is H.P.B.'s footnote appended to the printed text of Colonel Olcott's lecture on “The Spirit of the Zoroastrian Religion.”]
In the oldest Iranian book called the Desatir— a collection of the teachings of the fourteen oldest Iranian prophets (to make the number fifteen and include, among them, Simkendesh, or “Secander,” is a grave error, as may be proved on the authority of Zaratusht himself in that book)—Zaratusht stands thirteenth in the list. The fact is
* The History of Initiation, London , 1841, pp. 94-95.
significant. Respecting the period of Zoroaster the First, or his personality, there is no trustworthy information given by Western scholars; their authorities conflict in the most perplexing manner. Indeed among the many discordant notices I find the earliest Greek classic writers, who tell us that Zaratusht lived from 600 to 5,000 years before the Trojan war, or 6,000 years before Plato. Again it is declared by Berosus, the Chaldean priest, that Zoroaster was the founder of an Indian dynasty in Babylon 2,200 B.C .; while the later native traditions inform us that he was the son of Purushaspa, and a contemporary of Gushtasp, the father of Darius, which would bring him within 600 B.C . Lastly, it is asserted by Bunsen that he was born at Bactria before the emigration of the Bactrians to the Indus, which took place, as the learned Egyptologist shows us, 3,784 B.C . Among this host of contradictions, what conclusion can one come to? Evidently, there is but one hypothesis left: and that is that they are all wrong, the reason for it being the one I find in the secret traditions of the esoteric doctrine—namely, that there were several teachers of that name. Neither Plato nor Aristotle, so accurate in their statements, is likely to have transformed 200 years into 6,000. As to the generally accepted native tradition, which makes the great prophet a contemporary of Darius' father, it is absurd on the very face of it. Though the error is too palpable to need any elaborate confutation, I may say a few words in regard to it. The latest researches show that the Persian inscriptions point to Vistasp as the last of the line of Kaianian princes who ruled in Bactria , while the Assyrian conquest of that country took place in 1,200 B.C . Now this alone would prove that Zoroaster lived twelve or thirteen hundred years B.C ., instead of the 600 assigned to him; and thus that he could not have been a contemporary of Darius Hystaspes, whose father was so carelessly and for such a length of time confounded in this connection with the Vistasp who flourished six centuries earlier. If we add to this the historical discrepancy between the statement of Ammianus Marcellinus—which makes Darius crush the Magi and
introduce the worship of Ahuramazda—and the inscription on the tomb of that king which states that he was “teacher and hierophant of Magianism”; and that other no less significant and very important fact that the Zoroastrian Avesta shows no signs of the knowledge by its writer or writers of either the Medes, the Persians, or the Assyrians, the ancient books of the Parsees remaining silent upon and showing no acquaintance with any of the nations that are known to have dwelt in or near the Western parts of Iran —the date, 600 B.C ., accepted as the period in which the prophet is alleged to have flourished, becomes absolutely impossible.
It is therefore safe to come to the following conclusions: (1) That there were several (in all seven, say the Secret Records) Ahuru-asters, or spiritual teachers, of Ahuramazda, an office corrupted later into Guru-asters and Zuru-asters from “Zera-Ishtar,” the title of the Chaldean or Magian priests; and (2) that the last of them was Zaratusht of the Desatir, the thirteenth of the prophets, and the seventh of that name. It was he who was the contemporary of Vistasp, the last of the Kaianian princes, and the compiler of Vendidad, the Commentaries upon which are lost, there remaining now but the dead letter. Some of the facts given in the Secret Records, though to the exact scholar merely traditional, are very interesting. They are to the effect that there exists a certain hollow rock, full of tablets, in a gigantic cave bearing the name of Zarathushtra, under his Magian appellation, and that the tablets may yet be rescued some day. This cave, with its rock and tablets and its many inscriptions on the walls, is situated at the summit of one of the peaks of the Tien-Shan mountains far beyond their junction with the Belor Tagh, somewhere along their Eastern course. One of the half-pictorial and half-written prophecies and teachings attributed to Zaratusht himself, relates to that deluge which has transformed an inland sea into the dreary desert called Shamo or Gobi Desert. The esoteric key to the mysterious creeds flippantly called, at one time, the Sabaean or Planetary Religion, at another, the Solar or Fire Worship, “hangs in that cave,”
says the legend. In it the great Prophet is represented with a golden star on his heart and as belonging to that race of Antediluvian giants mentioned in the sacred books of both the Chaldeans and the Jews. It matters little whether this hypothesis be accepted or rejected. Since the rejection of it would not make the other more trustworthy, it was as well to mention it.