CONCLUSION: THE PROLOGUE TO ESOTERIC TRUTH
And now to conclude.
We have concerned ourself with the ancient records of the nations, with the doctrine of chronological and psychic cycles, of which these records are the tangible proof; and with many other subjects, which may, at first sight, seem out of place in this volume.
But they were necessary in truth. In dealing with the secret annals and traditions of so many nations, whose very origins have never been ascertained on more secure grounds than inferential suppositions, in giving out the beliefs and philosophy of more than prehistoric races, it is not quite as easy to deal with the subject matter as it would be if only the philosophy of one special race, and its evolution, were concerned. The Secret Doctrine is the common property of the countless millions of men born under various climates, in times with which History refuses to deal, and to which esoteric teachings assign dates incompatible with the theories of Geology and Anthropology. The birth and evolution of the Sacred Science of the Past are lost in the very night of Time; and that, even, which is historic – i.e., that which is found scattered hither and thither throughout ancient classical literature – is, in almost every case, attributed by modern criticism to lack of observation in the ancient writers, or to superstition born out of the ignorance of antiquity. It is, therefore, impossible to treat this subject as one would the ordinary evolution of an art or science in some well-known historical nation. It is only by bringing before the reader an abundance of proofs all tending to show that in every age, under every condition of civilization and knowledge, the educated classes of every nation made themselves the more or less faithful echoes of one identical system and its fundamental traditions – that he can be made to see that so many streams of the same water must have had a common source from which they started. What was this source? If coming events are said to cast their shadows before, past events cannot fall to leave their impress behind them. It is, then, by those shadows of the hoary Past and their fantastic silhouettes on the external screen of every religion and philosophy, that we can, by checking them as we go along, and comparing them, trace out finally the body that produced them. There must be truth and fact in that which every people of antiquity accepted and made the foundation of its religions and its faith. Moreover, as Haliburton said, “Hear one side, and you will be in the dark; hear both sides, and all will be clear.” The public has hitherto had access to, and heard but one side – or rather the two one-sided views of two diametrically opposed classes of men, whose prima facie propositions or respective premises differ widely, but whose final conclusions are the same – Science and Theology. And now our readers have an opportunity to hear the other – the defendants’ – justification on and learn the nature of our arguments.
Were the public to be left to its old opinions: namely, on one side, that Occultism, Magic, the legends of old, etc., were all the outcome of ignorance and superstition; and on the other, that everything outside the orthodox groove was the work of the devil, what would be the result? In other words, had no theosophical and mystic literature obtained a hearing for the few last years, the present work would have had a poor chance of impartial consideration. It would have been proclaimed – and by many will still be so proclaimed – a fairy tale woven out of abstruse problems, poised in, and based on the air; built of soap bubbles, bursting at the slightest touch of serious reflection, with no foundation, as it would be alleged, to stand upon. Even “the ancient superstitious and credulous classics” have no word of reference to it in clear and unmistakable terms, and the symbols themselves fail to yield a hint at the existence of such a system. Such would be the verdict of all. But when it becomes undeniably proven that the claim of the modern Asiatic nations to a Secret Science and an esoteric history of the world, is based on fact; that, though hitherto unknown to the masses and a veiled mystery even to the learned, (because they never had the key to a right understanding of the abundant hints thrown out by the ancient classics), it is still no fairy tale, but an actuality – then the present work will become but the pioneer of many more such books. The statement that hitherto even the keys discovered by some great scholars have proved too rusty for use, and that they were but the silent witnesses that there do exist mysteries behind the veil which are unreachable without a new key – is borne out by too many proofs to be easily dismissed. An instance may be given as an illustration out of the history of Freemasonry.
In his “Franc-maconnerie Occulte,” rightly or wrongly, Ragon, an illustrious and learned Belgian Mason, reproaches the English Masons with having materialized and dishonoured Masonry, once based upon the Ancient Mysteries, by adopting, owing to a mistaken notion of the origin of the craft, the name of Free Masonry and Free Masons. The mistake is due, he says, to those who connect Masonry with the building of Solomon’s Temple, deriving its origin from it. He derides the idea, and says: . . “The Franc Mason (which is not macon libre, or free masonry) knew well when adopting the title, that it was no question of building a wall, but that of being initiated into the ancient Mysteries veiled under the name of Francmaconnerie (Freemasonry); that his work was only to be the continuation or the renovation of the ancient mysteries, and that he was to become a mason after the manner of Apollo or Amphion. And do not we know that the ancient initiated poets, when speaking of the foundation of a city, meant thereby the establishment of a doctrine? Thus Neptune, the god of reasoning, and Apollo, the god of the hidden things, presented themselves as masons before Laomedon, Priam’s father, to help him to build the city of Troy – that is to say, to establish the Trojan religion.” (Maconnerie Orthodoxe, p. 44.)
Such veiled sentences with double meaning abound in ancient classical writers. Therefore, had an attempt been made to show that, e.g., Laomedon was the founder of a branch of archaic mysteries in which the earth-bound material soul (the fourth principle), was personified in Menelaus’ faithless wife (the fair Helen), if Ragon had not come to corroborate what we asserted, we might be told that no classical author speaks of it, and that Homer shows Laomedon building a city, not an esoteric worship or MYSTERIES! And who are those left now, save a few Initiates, who understand the language and correct meaning of such symbolical terms?
But after having pointed to many a misconceived symbol bearing on our thesis, there still remains more than one difficulty to be overcome. Most important among several such obstacles is that of chronology. But this could hardly be helped.
Wedged in between theological chronology and that of the geologists, backed by all the materialistic Anthropologists who assign dates to man and nature which fit in with their own theories alone – what could the writer do except what is being done? Namely, since theology places the Deluge 2448 B.C., and the World’s Creation only 5890 years ago; and since the accurate researches by the methods of exact Science, have led the geologists and physicists to assign to the incrusted age of our Globe between 10 million and 1,000 million of years 1 (a trifling difference, verily!): and the Anthropologists to vary their divergence of opinion as to the appearance of man – between 25,000 and 500,000 of years – what can one who studies the Occult doctrine do, but come out and bravely present the esoteric calculations before the world?
But to do this, corroboration by even a few “historical” proofs was necessary, though all know the real value of the so-called “historical evidence.” For, whether man had appeared on earth 18,000 or 18,000,000 years ago, can make no difference to profane History, since it begins hardly a couple of thousand years before our era, and since, even then, it grapples hopelessly with the clash and din of contradictory and mutually-destroying opinions around it. Nevertheless, in view of the respect the average reader has been brought up in for exact science, even that short Past would remain meaningless, unless the esoteric teachings were corroborated and supported on the spot – whenever possible – by references to historical names of a so-called historical period. This is the only guide that can be given to the beginner before he is permitted to start among the (to him) unfamiliar windings of that dark labyrinth called the pre-historic ages. This necessity has been complied with. It is only hoped that the desire to do so, which has led the writer to be constantly bringing ancient and modern evidence as a corroboration of the Archaic and quite unhistoric Past, will not bring on her the accusation of having sorely jumbled up without order or method the various and widely-separated periods of history and tradition. But literary form and method had to be sacrificed to the greater clearness of the general exposition.
To accomplish the proposed task, the writer had to resort to the rather unusual means of dividing each volume or Book into three Parts; the first of which only is the consecutive, though very fragmentary, history of the Cosmogony and the Evolution of Man on this globe. But these two volumes had to serve as a PROLOGUE, and prepare the reader’s mind for those which shall now follow. In treating of Cosmogony and then of the Anthropogenesis of mankind, it was necessary to show that no religion, since the very earliest, has ever been entirely based on fiction, as none was the object of special revelation; and that it is dogma alone which has ever been killing primeval truth. Finally, that no human-born doctrine, no creed, however sanctified by custom and antiquity, can compare in sacredness with the religion of Nature. The Key of Wisdom that unlocks the massive gates leading to the arcana of the innermost sanctuaries can be found hidden in her bosom only, and that bosom is in the countries pointed to by the great seer of the past century Emanuel Swedenborg. There lies the heart of nature, that shrine whence issued the early races of primeval Humanity, and which is the cradle of physical man.
Thus far have proceeded the rough outlines of the beliefs and tenets of the archaic, earliest Races contained in their hitherto secret Scriptural records. But our explanations are by no means complete, nor do they pretend to give out the full text, or to have been read by the help of more than three or four keys out of the seven-fold bunch of esoteric interpretation, and even this has only been partially accomplished. The work is too gigantic for any one person to undertake, far more to accomplish. Our main concern was simply to prepare the soil. This, we trust we have done. These two volumes only constitute the work of a pioneer who has forced his way into the well-nigh impenetrable jungle of the virgin forests of the Land of the Occult. A commencement has been made to fell and uproot the deadly upas trees of superstition, prejudice, and conceited ignorance, so that these two volumes should form for the student a fitting prelude for Volumes III and IV. Until the rubbish of the ages is cleared away from the minds of the Theosophists to whom these volumes are dedicated, it is impossible that the more practical teaching contained in the Third Volume should be understood. Consequently, it entirely depends upon the reception with which Volumes I and II will meet at the hands of Theosophists and Mystics, whether these last two volumes will ever be published, though they are almost completed.
Satyat Nasti paro dharmah.
THERE IS NO RELIGION HIGHER THAN TRUTH.
End of Vol. II.
1 Vide Sir W. Thomson and Mr. Huxley.
The Secret Doctrine, ii 794–798
H. P. Blavatsky