Buddha Jesus and Apollonius of Tyana

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Apollonius, a contemporary of Jesus of Nazareth, was, like him, an enthusiastic founder of a new spiritual school. Perhaps less metaphysical and more practical than Jesus, less tender and perfect in his nature, he nevertheless inculcated the same quintessence of spirituality, and the same high moral truths. His great mistake was to confine them too closely to the higher classes of society. While to the poor and the humble Jesus preached "Peace on earth and good will to men," Apollonius was the friend of kings, and moved with the aristocracy. He was born among the latter, and himself a man of wealth, while the "Son of man," representing the people, "had not where to lay his head"; nevertheless, the two "miracle-workers" exhibited striking similarity of purpose. Still earlier than Apollonius had appeared Simon Magus, called "the great Power of God." His "miracles" are both more wonderful, more varied, and better attested than those either of the apostles or of the Galilean philosopher himself. Materialism denies the fact in both cases, but history affirms.

speeches, wanting every one to adore him, and finally caught in the snares of his enemies. Such was not Jesus, the Jewish philanthropist, the adept and mystic of a school now forgotten by the Christians and the Church — if it ever was known to her; the hero, who preferred even to risk death, rather than withhold some truths which he believed would benefit humanity. We prefer Strauss who openly names him an impostor and a pretender, occasionally calling in doubt his very existence; but who at least spares him that ridiculous color of sentimentalism in which Renan paints him.

Apollonius followed both; and how great and renowned were his miraculous works in comparison with those of the alleged founder of Christianity as the kabalists claim, we have history again, and Justin Martyr, to corroborate.*

Like Buddha and Jesus, Apollonius was the uncompromising enemy of all outward show of piety, all display of useless religious ceremonies and hypocrisy. If, like the Christian Saviour, the sage of Tyana had by preference sought the companionship of the poor and humble; and if instead of dying comfortably, at over one hundred years of age, he had been a voluntary martyr, proclaiming divine Truth from a cross,+ his blood might have proved as

f In a recent work, called the "World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors" (by Mr. Kersey Graves) which attracted our notice by its title, we were indeed startled as we were forewarned on the title-page we should be by historical evidences to be found neither in history nor tradition. Apollonius, who is represented in it as one of these sixteen "saviours," is shown by the author as finally "crucified . . . having risen from the dead . . . appearing to his disciples after his resurrection, and" — like Christ again — "convincing a Tommy (?) Didymus" by getting him to feel the print of the nails on his hands and feet (see note, p. 268). To begin with, neither Philostratus, the biographer of Apollonius, nor history says any such thing. Though the precise time of his death is unknown, no disciple of Apollonius ever said that he was either crucified, or appeared to them. So much for one "Saviour." After that we are told that Gautama-Buddha, whose life and death have been so minutely described by several authorities, Barthelemy St. Hilaire included — was also "crucified by his enemies near the foot of the Nepal mountains" (see p. 107); while the Buddhist books, history, and scientific research tell us, efficacious for the subsequent dissemination of spiritual doctrines as that of the Christian Messiah.

The calumnies set afloat against Apollonius, were as numerous as they were false. So late as eighteen centuries after his death he was defamed by Bishop Douglas in his work against miracles. In this the Right Reverend bishop crushed himself against historical facts. If we study the question with a dispassionate mind, we will soon perceive that the ethics of Gautama-Buddha, Plato, Apollonius, Jesus, Ammonius Sakkas, and his disciples, were all based on the through the lips of Max Müller and a host of Orientalists, that "Gautama-Buddha, (Sakya-muni) died near the Ganges. . . . He had nearly reached the city of Kusinagara, when his vital strength began to fail. He halted in a forest, and while sitting under a sal tree he gave up the ghost" (Max Müller, "Chips from a German Workshop," vol. i., p. 213). The references of Mr. Graves to Higgins and Sir W. Jones, in some of his hazardous speculations, prove nothing. Max Müller shows some antiquated authorities writing elaborate books " . . . in order to prove that Buddha had been in reality the Thoth of the Egyptians; that he was Mercury, or Wodan, or Zoroaster, or Pythagoras. . . . Even Sir W. Jones . . . identified Buddha first with Odin and afterwards with Shishak." We are in the nineteenth century, not in the eighteenth; and though to write books on the authority of the earliest Orientalists may in one sense be viewed as a mark of respect for old age, it is not always safe to try the experiment in our times. Hence this highly instructive volume lacks one important feature which would have made it still more interesting. The author should have added after Prometheus the "Roman," and Alcides the Egyptian god (p. 266) a seventeenth "crucified Saviour" to the list, "Venus, god of the war," introduced to an admiring world by Mr. Artemus Ward the "showman"!

same mystic philosophy. That all worshipped one God, whether they considered Him as the "Father" of humanity, who lives in man as man lives in Him, or as the Incomprehensible Creative Principle; all led God-like lives. Ammonius, speaking of his philosophy, taught that their school dated from the days of Hermes, who brought his wisdom from India. It was the same mystical contemplation throughout, as that of the Yogin: the communion of the Brahman with his own luminous Self — the "Atman." And this Hindu term is again kabalistic, par excellence. Who is "Self"? is asked in the Rig-Veda; "Self is the Lord of all things . . . all things are contained in this Self; all selves are contained in this Self. Brahman itself is but Self,"* is the answer. Says Idra Rabba: "All things are Himself, and Himself is concealed on every side."+ The "Adam Kadmon of the kabalists contains in himself all the souls of the Israelites, and he is himself in every soul," says the Sohar 4 The groundwork of the Eclectic School was thus identical with the doctrines of the Yogin, the Hindu mystics, and the earlier Buddhism of the disciples of Gautama. And when Jesus assured his disciples that "the spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him," dwells with and in them, who "are in Him and He in them,"§ he but expounded the same tenet that we find running through every philosophy worthy

* "Khandogya-Upanishad," viii., 3, 4; Max Müller, "Veda."

of that name.

Laboulaye, the learned and skeptical French savant, does not believe a word of the miraculous portion of Buddha's life; nevertheless, he has the candor to speak of Gautama as being only second to Christ in the great purity of his ethics and personal morality. For both of these opinions he is respectfully rebuked by des Mousseaux. Vexed at this scientific contradiction of his accusations of demonolatry against Gautama-Buddha, he assures his readers that "ce savant distingué n'a point etudié cette question."**

"I do not hesitate to say," remarks in his turn Barthelemy St. Hilaire, "that, except Christ alone, there is not among the founders of religions, a figure either more pure or more touching than that of Buddha. His life is spotless. His constant heroism equals his convictions. . . . He is the perfect model of all the virtues he preaches; his abnegation, his charity, his unalterable sweetness of disposition, do not fail him for one instant. He abandoned, at the age of twenty-nine, his father's court to become a monk and a beggar . . . and when he dies in the arms of his disciples, it is with the serenity of a sage who practiced virtue all his life, and who dies convinced of having found the truth."++ This deserved panegyric is no stronger than the one which Laboulaye himself pronounced, and which occasioned des Mousseaux's wrath. "It is more than difficult," adds the former, "to

** "Les Hauts Phénomènes de la Magie," p. 74.

ff Barthelemy St. Hilaire, "Le Buddha et sa Religion," Paris, 1860.

understand how men not assisted by revelation could have soared so high and approached so near the truth."* Curious that there should be so many lofty souls "not assisted by revelation"!

And why should any one feel surprised that Gautmna could die with philosophical serenity? As the kabalists justly say, "Death does not exist, and man never steps outside of universal life. Those whom we think dead live still in us, as we live in them. . . . The more one lives for his kind, the less need he fear to die."+ And, we might add, that he who lives for humanity does even more than him who dies for it.

The Ineffable name, in the search for which so many kabalists — unacquainted with any Oriental or even European adept — vainly consume their knowledge and lives, dwells latent in the heart of every man. This mirific name which, according to the most ancient oracles, "rushes into the infinite worlds acoimhtw srofaligni ," can be obtained in a twofold way: by regular initiation, and through the "small voice" which Elijah heard in the cave of Horeb, the mount of God. And "when Elijah heard it he wrapped his face in his mantle and stood in the entering of the cave. And behold there came the voice."

When Apollonius of Tyana desired to hear the "small voice," he used to wrap himself up entirely in a mantle of fine wool, on which he placed both his feet, after having performed certain magnetic passes, and pronounced not the "name" but an invocation well known to every adept. Then he drew the mantle over his head and face, and his translucid or astral spirit was free. On ordinary occasions he wore wool no more than the priests of the temples. The possession of the secret combination of the "name" gave the hierophant supreme power over every being, human or otherwise, inferior to himself in soul-strength. Hence, when Max Müller tells us of the Quiche "Hidden majesty which was never to be opened by human hands," the kabalist perfectly understands what was meant by the expression, and is not at all surprised to hear even this most erudite philologist exclaim: "What it was we do not know!"

We cannot too often repeat that it is only through the doctrines of the more ancient philosophies that the religion preached by Jesus may be understood. It is through Pythagoras, Confucius, and Plato, that we can comprehend the idea which underlies the term "Father" in the New Testament. Plato's ideal of the Deity, whom he terms the one everlasting, invisible God, the Fashioner and Father of all things,} is rather the "Father" of Jesus. It is this Divine Being of whom the Grecian sage says that He can neither be envious nor the originator of evil, for He can produce nothing but what is good and just,§ is certainly not the Mosaic Jehovah, the "jealous God," but the God of Jesus, who "alone is good."

§ "Timxus," 29; "Phxdrus," 182, 247; "Repub.," ii., 379, B.

He extols His all-embracing, divine power,* and His omnipotence, but at the same time intimates that, as He is unchangeable, He can never desire to change his laws, i.e., to extirpate evil from the world through a miracle.t He is omniscient, and nothing escapes His watchful eye.} His justice, which we find embodied in the law of compensation and retribution, will leave no crime without punishment, no virtue without its reward;§ and therefore he declares that the only way to honor God is to cultivate moral purity. He utterly rejects not only the anthropomorphic idea that God could have a material body,** but "rejects with disgust those fables which ascribe passions, quarrels, and crimes of all sorts to the minor gods."tt He indignantly denies that God allows Himself to be propitiated, or rather bribed, by prayers and sacrifices.}}

The Ph^drus of Plato displays all that man once was, and that which he may yet become again. "Before man's spirit sank into sensuality and was embodied with it through the loss of his wings, he lived among the gods in the airy [spiritual] world where everything is true and pure." In the Tim&us he says that "there was a time when mankind did not

f "Repub.," ii., 381; "Thxt.," 176, A.

§ "Laws," iv., 716, A.; "Repub.," x., 613, A.

** "Phxdrus," 246, C. ff E. Zeller, "Plato and the Old Academy." JJ "Laws," x., 905, D.

perpetuate itself, but lived as pure spirits." In the future world, says Jesus, "they neither marry nor are given in marriage," but "live as the angels of God in Heaven."

The researches of Laboulaye, Anquetil Duperron, Colebrooke, Barthelemy St. Hilaire, Max Müller, Spiegel, Burnouf, Wilson, and so many other linguists, have brought some of the truth to light. And now that the difficulties of the Sanscrit, the Thibetan, the Singhalese, the Zend, the Pehlevi, the Chinese, and even of the Burmese, are partially conquered, and the Vedas, and the Zend-Avesta, the Buddhist texts, and even Kapila's Sutras are translated, a door is thrown wide open, which, once passed, must close forever behind any speculative or ignorant calumniators of the old religions. Even till the present time, the clergy have, to use the words of Max Müller — "generally appealed to the deviltries and orgies of heathen worship . . . but they have seldom, if ever, endeavored to discover the true and original character of the strange forms of faith and worship which they call the work of the devil."§§ When we read the true history of Buddha and Buddhism, by Müller, and the enthusiastic opinions of both expressed by Barthelemy St. Hilaire, and Laboulaye; and when, finally, a Popish missionary, an eye-witness, and one who least of all can be accused of partiality to the Buddhists — the Abbé Huc, we mean — finds occasion for nothing but admiration for the high individual character of these "devil-worshippers"; we

§§ Max Müller, "Buddhism," April, 1862.

must consider Sakyâ-muni's philosophy as something more than the religion of fetishism and atheism, which the Catholics would have us believe it. Huc was a missionary and it was his first duty to regard Buddhism as no better than an outgrowth of the worship of Satan. The poor Abbé was struck off the list of missionaries at Rome,* after his book of travels was published. This illustrates how little we may expect to learn the truth about the religions of other people, through missionaries, when their accounts are first revised by the superior ecclesiastical authorities, and the former severely punished for telling the truth.

when these men who have been and still are often termed "the obscene ascetics," the devotees of different sects of India in short, generally termed "Yogi," were asked by Marco Polo, "how it comes that they are not ashamed to go stark naked as

* Of the Abbé Huc, Max Müller thus wrote in his "Chips from a German Workshop," vol. i., p. 187: "The late Abbé Huc pointed out the similarities between the Buddhist and Roman Catholic ceremonials with such a naïveté, that, to his surprise, he found his delightful 'Travels in Thibet' placed on the 'Index.' 'One cannot fail being struck,' he writes, 'with their great resemblance with the Catholicism. The bishop's crosier, the mitre, the dalmatic, the round hat that the great lamas wear in travel . . . the mass, the double choir, the psalmody, the exorcisms, the censer with five chains to it, opening and shutting at will, the blessings of the lamas, who extend their right hands over the head of the faithful ones, the rosary, the celibacy of the clergy, the penances and retreats, the cultus of the Saints, the fasting, the processions, the litanies, the holy water; such are the similarities of the Buddhists with ourselves.' He might have added tonsure, relics, and the confessional."

they do?" they answered the inquirer of the thirteenth century as a missionary of the nineteenth was answered. "We go naked," they say, "because naked we came into the world, and we desire to have nothing about us that is of this world. Moreover, we have no sin of the flesh to be conscious of, and therefore, we are not ashamed of our nakedness any more than you are to show your hand or your face. You who are conscious of the sins of the flesh, do well to have shame, and to cover your nakedness."t

One could make a curious list of the excuses and explanations of the clergy to account for similarities daily discovered between Romanism and heathen religions. Yet the summary would invariably lead to one sweeping claim: The doctrines of Christianity were plagiarized by the Pagans the world over! Plato and his older Academy stole the ideas from the Christian revelation — said the Alexandrian Fathers!! The Brahmans and Manu borrowed from the Jesuit missionaries, and the Bhagaved-gita was the production of Father Calmet, who transformed Christ and John into Christna and Arjuna to fit the Hindu mind!! The trifling fact that Buddhism and Platonism both antedated Christianity, and the Vedas had already degenerated into Brahmanism before the days of Moses, makes no difference. The same with regard to Apollonius of Tyana. Although his thaumaturgical powers could not be denied in the face of the testimony of emperors, their courts, and the populations of several cities; and f "Crawford's Mission to Siam," p. 182.

although few of these had ever heard of the Nazarene prophet whose "miracles" had been witnessed by a few apostles only, whose very individualities remain to this day a problem in history, yet Apollonius has to be accepted as the "monkey of Christ."

If of really pious, good, and honest men, many are yet found among the Catholic, Greek, and Protestant clergy, whose sincere faith has the best of their reasoning powers, and who having never been among heathen populations, are unjust only through ignorance, it is not so with the missionaries. The invariable subterfuge of the latter is to attribute to demonolatry the really Christ-like life of the Hindu and Buddhist ascetics and many of the lamas. Years of sojourn among "heathen" nations, in China, Tartary, Thibet, and Hindustan have furnished them with ample evidence how unjustly the so-called idolators have been slandered. The missionaries have not even the excuse of sincere faith to give the world that they mislead; and, with very few exceptions, one may boldly paraphrase the remark made by Garibaldi, and say that: "A priest knows himself to be an impostor, unless he be a fool, or have been taught to lie from boyhood."

"Christian and Catholic sons may accuse their fathers of the crime of heresy . . . although they may know that their parents will be burnt with fire and put to death for it. . . . And not only may they refuse them food, if they attempt to turn them from the Catholic faith, But They May Also Justly Kill Them." Jesuit Precept (F. Stephen Fagundez, in Pmcepta Decalogi. Lugduni, 1640)

"Respect. K. S. Warden. — It is the first hour of the day, the time when the veil of the temple was rent asunder, when darkness and consternation were spread over the earth — when the light was darkened — when the implements of Masonry were broken — when the flaming star disappeared — when the cubic stone was broken — when the 'word' was lost."

Magna est Veritas et Prsvalebit

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