THE BHAGAVAD-GITA AND ESOTERIC BUDDHISM
[The Theosophist, Vol. V, No. 5 (53), February, 1884, p. 122]
The only fault I have to find with Mr. Sinnett’s book is that he too often says that: “this knowledge is now being given out for the first time.” He does not do this because he wants glory for himself, but because he makes a mistake.
Nearly all the leading portions of the doctrine are to be found broadly stated in the Bhagavad-Gita.
The obscuration periods are most clearly spoken of (chap. VIII, p. 42):* “Those men who know the day of Brahma, which ends after a thousand ages, and the night which comes on at the end of those thousand ages, know day and night indeed . . . This collective mass itself of existing things, thus existing again and again, is dissolved at the approach of that night. At the approach of that day it emanates spontaneously.”
And in chap. IX, p. 44: “At the conclusion of a Kalpa all existing things re-enter nature which is cognate with me. But I cause them to come forth again at the beginning of a Kalpa.”
Dhyan-Chohan state is given in the same chapter. “This they call the highest walk. Those who obtain this never return. This is my supreme abode.”
Re-incarnation is stated at chap. IV, p. 24: “I and thou have passed through many transmigrations.” And the return of Buddha in the same. “For whenever there is a relaxation of duty, I then reproduce myself for the protection of the good, and the destruction of evil doers.”
Devachan is to be found in chap. IX, p. 45: “These, obtaining their reward . . . Having enjoyed this great world of heaven, they re-enter the world of mortals, when the reward is exhausted . . . they indulge in their desires, and obtain a happiness which comes and goes.
* It is not known what particular edition of the Gîtâ is quoted. —Comp.]
That knowledge is more important than mere religious devotion, see chap. IV, p. 26, “If thou wert even the most sinful of all sinners, thou wouldst cross over all sin in the bark of spiritual knowledge.”
For those who will see, it is all in this wonderful book.
EDITOR’S NOTE.—We do not believe our American brother is justified
in his remarks. The knowledge given out in Esoteric Buddhism is, most
decidedly, “given out for the first time,” inasmuch as the allegories
that lie scattered in the Hindu sacred literature are now for the first
time clearly explained to the world of the profane. Since the birth of
the Theosophical Society and the publication of Isis, it is being
repeated daily that all the Esoteric Wisdom of the ages lies concealed
in the Vedas, the Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita. Yet, unto the day of
the first appearance of Esoteric Buddhism, and for long centuries back,
these doctrines remained a sealed letter to all but a few initiated
Brahmans who had always kept the spirit of it to themselves. The
allegorical text was taken literally by the educated and the
uneducated, the first laughing secretly at the fables and the latter
falling into superstitious worship, and owing to the variety of the
interpretations—splitting into numerous sects. Nor would W. Q. Judge
have ever had the opportunity of comparing notes so easily and,
perhaps, even understanding many a mystery, as he now evidently shows
he does by citing relevant passages from the Bhagavad-Gita, had it not
been for Mr. Sinnett’s work and plain explanations. Most undeniably,
not “nearly all”—but positively all the doctrines given in Esoteric
Buddhism and far more yet untouched, are to be found in the Gita, and
not only there but in a thousand more known or unknown MSS. of Hindu
sacred writings. But what of that? Of what good to W. Q. Judge or any
other is the diamond that lies concealed deep underground? Of course
every one knows that there is not a gem, now sparkling in a jeweller’s
shop but pre-existed and lay concealed since its formation for ages
within the bowels of the earth. Yet, surely, he who
got it first from its finder and cut and polished it, may be permitted to say that this particular diamond is “given out for the first time” to the world, since its rays and lustre are now shining for the first in broad day-light.