FOOTNOTES TO “THE SRADDHA”
[Lucifer, Vol. II, Nos. 9, 10, 11, 12, May, June, July, August, 1888,
pp. 185-93, 296-302, 403-407, 435-441, respectively]
[Andrew T. Sibbald contributes to the pages of Lucifer a lengthy and scholarly essay on the origin and significance of the ancient ceremony of the Śraddha. H. P. B. appended the following footnotes to various portions of the text:]
“Śraddha” is a Brahmanical rite, of which there are several kinds. Gautama describes seven kinds of each of the three sorts of Śraddha, generally translated as “devotional rites” to the manes of one’s progenitors. Manu speaks of four varieties—the offering of food to the Viśvadharas (gods, collectively, mystic deities), to spirits, to departed ancestors and to guests (iii, 86). But Gautama specifies them as offerings to progenitors, on certain eight days of the fortnight, at the full and change of the moon, to Śraddhas generally, and to the manes on the full moon of four different months. It is a very occult rite involving various mystic results.
[the friction of the branches of trees] The Svastika, by means of which celestial fire was obtained. A stick used for this purpose and called matha and pramatha (suggestive of Prometheus, indeed!) from the prefix pra giving the idea of forcing the fire to descend, added to that contained in the verb mathami—“to produce by friction.” The oldest rite in India, much speculated upon, but very little understood.
[every Brahmin . . . . commences by drawing the figure of a cross] Spirit and Matter, also the symbols of the male and female lines, or the vertical and the horizontal.
* [Divina Commedia, Canto III, 1, Inferno.]
[flesh . . . . . of the long-eared white goat] Now animals are not often sacrificed in India; only occasionally the goat, to Kali, the blood-thirsty consort of Śiva—and in a very few temples.
[the Pitris . . . . . are applied to as intercessors. . . . . As fire was worshipped as their messenger, so was the moon as their abode] This has a very occult meaning, however.
There are seven classes of Pitris enumerated in the Purânas—but only three classes are composed of the progenitors (from pitar, father) of primeval man; one class creates the form of man—nay, is, or rather becomes, that form (or physical man) itself; the other two are the creators of our souls and minds. It is a very complicated tenet—but the Pitris are surely not the “Spirits” of the dead, as believed by some spiritualists.
[twelve species of Śraddha] Manu speaks of four only, and Gautama of seven. Twelve species are enumerated only in Nirnaya Sindhu, by Kamalakara (see Asiat. Researches, Vol. VII, 232), a work on religious ceremonies. But all these are exoteric and later rites.
[how . . . . . could the notion of sustaining the gods by sacrifice have ever arisen?] Because esoteric teaching maintains that the Pitris are the “primeval human race, the fathers and progenitors of later men, who developed into the present physical man.”
[. . . the distinction between gods and ancestors had been lost] It was lost indeed, and long before the day of Gautama Buddha, who tried to restore Brahmanism to its original purity but—failed, and had to separate the two religious systems. The “Pitris” is a generic and collective name, and man has other progenitors more exalted and spiritual. Manu says (Chap. iii, 284), “The wise [the Initiated Adepts] call our fathers Vasus, our paternal grandfathers, Rudras; our paternal great grandfathers, Adityas; agreeably to a text of the Vedas,” these three classes have a direct reference in Esotericism (a) to the creators of man in his three chief aspects (or principles), and (b) to the three primeval and serial races of men who preceded the first physical and perfect Race, which the Eastern Occultists call the Atlanteans.
[the Sraddha . . . . . . is attributed to several personages, but especially to Pururavas, son of Buddha, chief of the Lunar Line, a line marked throughout by religious innovation, and presenting, if not the fleshly body, at least the “ferver” of Buddhism] This is a mistake on the part of the author. The name of the Son of Soma (the moon) by Târâ, Brihaspati’s wife whose infidelity led to the war of the Gods with the Asuras—is Budha (Intelligence) with one d, not Buddha, the Enlightened.
The Buddhists have never had among their religious beliefs that of “Ferwer,” if this word is meant by “Ferver.” It is a term, meaning the double, or copy body, a Sosia, and belongs to the Zoroastrian religion.
[Ekkodishto] Ekoddishta, is a Sanskrit word—with one k, and two d’s.
[The great annual oblation is called Sapindana . . . . if we write the word Sab-i-dana, we have, in Turkish, “the master and the cow.”] This might be so, if the word “Sapindana” had not been a mistake of Wilson’s, who made many, and of other scholars. In the original Sanskrit MSS. the term used is Sapindikarana. See Vishnu-Purâna. Wilson’s translation, edited and corrected by Fitzedward Hall. (Vol. III, p. 154.) Curious etymology. What can the “master and cow” or Sab-i-dana in Turkish, which is no ancient tongue, have to do with the Sanskrit Sapipindikarana?
[the triangle . . . . was one of the forms of the earth-elevation or altar constructed for that purpose. It was a square in ordinary cases; but for a person recently deceased, and apparently during the season of mourning, it was a triangle] All this is occult, and has an esoteric meaning. The triangle (or symbol of the three higher principles) is all that remains of the mortal septenary, whose quaternary remains behind him. Every theosophist knows this.
[the Cross] The Cross was, from the highest antiquity, a spiritual, a psychic, and a phallic symbol, meta-physical, astronomical, numerical and occult. (Vide Mr. Gerald Massey’s The Natural Genesis, Vol. I, pp. 422 et seq.)