Is Zoroaster a Generic Name

Therefore, it is but natural that we should see in the appellation of Zoroaster not a name but a generic term, whose significance must be left to philologists to agree upon. Guru, in Sanscrit, is a spiritual teacher; and as Zuruastara means in the same language he who worships the sun, why is it impossible, that by some natural change of language, due to the great number of different nations which were converted to the sun-worship, the word guru-astara, the spiritual teacher of sun-worship, so closely resembling the name of the founder of this religion, became gradually transformed in its primal form of Zuryastara or Zoroaster? The opinion of the

* Max Müller has sufficiently proved the case in his lecture on the "Zend-Avesta." He calls Gushtasp "the mythical pupil of Zoroaster." Mythical, perhaps, only because the period in which he lived and learned with Zoroaster is too remote to allow our modern science to speculate upon it with any certainty.

kabalists is that there was but one Zarathustra and many guruastars or spiritual teachers, and that one such guru, or rather huru-aster, as he is called in the old manuscripts, was the instructor of Pythagoras. To philology and our readers we leave the explanation for what it is worth. Personally we believe in it, as we credit on this subject kabalistic tradition far more than the explanation of scientists, no two of whom have been able to agree up to the present year.

Aristotle states that Zoroaster lived 6,000 years before Christ; Hermippus of Alexandria, who is said to have read the genuine books of the Zoroastrians, although Alexander the Great is accused of having destroyed them, shows Zoroaster as the pupil of Azonak (Azon-ach, or the Azon-God) and as having lived 5,000 years before the fall of Troy. Er or Eros, whose vision is related by Plato in the Republic, is declared by Clement to have been Zordusth. While the Magus who dethroned Cambyses was a Mede, and Darius proclaims that he put down the Magian rites to establish those of Ormazd, Xanthus of Lydia declares Zoroaster to have been the chief of the Magi!

Which of them is wrong? or are they all right, and only the modern interpreters fail to explain the difference between the Reformer and his apostles and followers? This blundering of our commentators reminds us of that of Suetonius, who mistook the Christians for one Christos, or Crestos, as he spells it, and assured his readers that Claudius banished him for the disturbance he made among the Jews.

Finally, and to return again to the nazars, Zaratus is mentioned by Pliny in the following words: "He was Zoroaster and Nazaret." As Zoroaster is called princeps of the Magi, and nazar signifies separated or consecrated, is it not a Hebrew rendering of mag? Volney believes so. The Persian word Na-zaruan means millions of years, and refers to the Chaldean "Ancient of Days." Hence the name of the Nazars or Nazarenes, who were consecrated to the service of the Supreme one God, the kabalistic En-Soph, or the Ancient of Days, the "Aged of the aged."

But the word nazar may also be found in India. In Hindustani nazar is sight, internal or supernatural vision; nazar band-i means fascination, a mesmeric or magical spell; and nazaran is the word for sightseeing or vision.

Professor Wilder thinks that as the word Zeruana is nowhere to be found in the Avesta, but only in the later Parsi books, it came from the Magians, who composed the Persian sacred caste in the Sassan period, but were originally Assyrians. "Turan, of the poets," he says, "I consider to be Aturia, or Assyria; and that Zohak (Az-dahaka, Dei-okes, or Astyages), the Serpent-king, was Assyrian, Median, and Babylonian — when those countries were united."

This opinion does not, however, in the least implicate our statement that the secret doctrines of the Magi, of the pre-Vedic Buddhists, of the hierophants of the Egyptian Thoth or Hermes, and of the adepts of whatever age and nationality, including the Chaldean kabalists and the Jewish nazars, were identical from the beginning. When we use the term Buddhists, we do not mean to imply by it either the exoteric Buddhism instituted by the followers of Gautama-Buddha, nor the modern Buddhistic religion, but the secret philosophy of Sakyamuni, which in its essence is certainly identical with the ancient wisdom-religion of the sanctuary, the pre-Vedic Brahmanism. The "schism" of Zoroaster, as it is called, is a direct proof of it. For it was no schism, strictly speaking, but merely a partially-public exposition of strictly monotheistic religious truths, hitherto taught only in the sanctuaries, and that he had learned from the Brahmans. Zoroaster, the primeval institutor of sun-worship, cannot be called the founder of the dualistic system; neither was he the first to teach the unity of God, for he taught but what he had learned himself with the Brahmans. And that Zarathustra and his followers, the Zoroastrians, "had been settled in India before they immigrated into Persia," is also proved by Max Müller. "That the Zoroastrians and their ancestors started from India," he says, "during the Vaidik period, can be proved as distinctly as that the inhabitants of Massilia started from Greece. . . . Many of the gods of the Zoroastrians come out . . . as mere reflections and deflections of the primitive and authentic gods of the Veda."*

If, now, we can prove — and we can do so on the evidence of the Kabala and the oldest traditions of the wisdom-religion, the philosophy of the old sanctuaries — that all these gods, whether of the Zoroastrians or of the Veda, are but so many personated occult powers of nature, the faithful servants of the

adepts of secret wisdom — Magic — we are on secure ground.

Thus, whether we say that Kabalism and Gnosticism proceeded from Masdeanism or Zoroastrianism, it is all the same, unless we meant the exoteric worship — which we do not. Likewise, and in this sense, we may echo King, the author of the Gnostics, and several other arch^ologists, and maintain that both the former proceeded from Buddhism, at once the simplest and most satisfying of philosophies, and which resulted in one of the purest religions of the world. it is only a matter of chronology to decide which of these religions, differing but in external form, is the oldest, therefore the least adulterated. But even this bears but very indirectly, if at all, on the subject we treat of. Already some time before our era, the adepts, except in india, had ceased to congregate in large communities; but whether among the Essenes, or the Neo-platonists, or, again, among the innumerable struggling sects born but to die, the same doctrines, identical in substance and spirit, if not always in form, are encountered. By Buddhism, therefore, we mean that religion signifying literally the doctrine of wisdom, and which by many ages antedates the metaphysical philosophy of Siddhartha Sakyamuni.

After nineteen centuries of enforced eliminations from the canonical books of every sentence which might put the investigator on the true path, it has become very difficult to show, to the satisfaction of exact science, that the "Pagan" worshippers of Adonis, their neighbors, the Nazarenes, and the Pythagorean Essenes, the healing Therapeutes,* the Ebionites, and other sects, were all, with very slight differences, followers of the ancient theurgic Mysteries. And yet by analogy and a close study of the hidden sense of their rites and customs, we can trace their kinship.

It was given to a contemporary of Jesus to become the means of pointing out to posterity, by his interpretation of the oldest literature of Israel, how deeply the kabalistic philosophy agreed in its esoterism with that of the profoundest Greek thinkers. This contemporary, an ardent disciple of Plato and Aristotle, was Philo Jud^us. While explaining the Mosaic books according to a purely kabalistic method, he is the famous Hebrew writer whom Kingsley calls the Father of New Platonism.

It is evident that Philo's Therapeutes are a branch of the Essenes. Their name indicates it — Essai'oi , Asaya, physician. Hence, the contradictions, forgeries, and other desperate expedients to reconcile the prophecies of the Jewish canon with the Galilean nativity and god-ship.

Luke, who was a physician, is designated in the Syriac texts as Asaia, the Essaian or Essene. Josephus and Philo Jud^us have sufficiently described this sect to leave no doubt in our mind that the Nazarene Reformer, after having received his education in their dwellings in the desert, and been duly initiated in the Mysteries, preferred the free and independent life of a wandering Nazaria, and so separated or

inazarenized himself from them, thus becoming a travelling Therapeute, a Nazaria, a healer. Every Therapeute, before quitting his community, had to do the same. Both Jesus and St. John the Baptist preached the end of the Age;+ which proves their knowledge of the secret computation of the priests and kabalists, who with the chiefs of the Essene communities alone had the secret of the duration of the cycles. The latter were kabalists and theurgists; "they had their mystic books, and predicted future events," says Munk.}

Dunlap, whose personal researches seem to have been quite successful in that direction, traces the Essenes, Nazarenes, Dositheans, and some other sects as having all existed before Christ: "They rejected pleasures, despised riches, loved one another, and more than other sects, neglected wedlock, deeming the conquest of the passions to be virtuous," § he says.

These are all virtues preached by Jesus; and if we are to take the gospels as a standard of truth, Christ was a metempsychosist "or re-incarnationist" — again like these same Essenes, whom we see were Pythagoreans in all their f The real meaning of the division into ages is esoteric and Buddhistic. So little did the uninitiated Christians understand it that they accepted the words of Jesus literally and firmly believed that he meant the end of the world. There had been many prophecies about the forthcoming age. Virgil, in the fourth Eclogue, mentions the Metatron — a new offspring, with whom the iron age shall end and a golden one arise. J "Palestine," p. 525, et seq. § "Sod," vol. ii., Preface, p. xi.

doctrine and habits. Iamblichus asserts that the Samian philosopher spent a certain time at Carmel with them. * In his discourses and sermons, Jesus always spoke in parables and used metaphors with his audience. This habit was again that of the Essenians and the Nazarenes; the Galileans who dwelt in cities and villages were never known to use such allegorical language. Indeed, some of his disciples being Galileans as well as himself, felt even surprised to find him using with the people such a form of expression. "Why speakest thou unto them in parables?"+ they often inquired. "Because, it is given unto you to know the Mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given," was the reply, which was that of an initiate. "Therefore, I speak unto them in parables; because, they seeing, see not, and hearing, they hear not, neither do they understand." Moreover, we find Jesus expressing his thoughts still clearer — and in sentences which are purely Pythagorean — when, during the Sermon on the Mount, he says:

"Give ye not that which is sacred to the dogs, Neither cast ye your pearls before swine; For the swine will tread them under their feet And the dogs will turn and rend you."

Professor A. Wilder, the editor of Taylor's Eleusinian

* "Vit. Pythag." Munk derives the name of the Iessaens or Essenes from the Syriac Asaya — the healers, or physicians, thus showing their identity with the Egyptian Therapeute. "Palestine," p. 515.

f Matthew xiii. 10.

Mysteries, observes "a like disposition on the part of Jesus and Paul to classify their doctrines as esoteric and exoteric, the Mysteries of the Kingdom of God 'for the apostles,' and 'parables' for the multitude. 'We speak wisdom,' says Paul, 'among them that are perfect' (or initiated)."}

In the Eleusinian and other Mysteries the participants were always divided into two classes, the neophytes and the perfect. The former were sometimes admitted to the preliminary initiation: the dramatic performance of Ceres, or the soul, descending to Hades.§ But it was given only to the "perfect" to enjoy and learn the Mysteries of the divine Elysium, the celestial abode of the blessed; this Elysium being unquestionably the same as the "Kingdom of Heaven." To contradict or reject the above, would be merely to shut one's eyes to the truth.

The narrative of the Apostle Paul, in his second Epistle to the Corinthians (xii. 3, 4), has struck several scholars, well versed in the descriptions of the mystical rites of the initiation given by some classics, as alluding most undoubtedly to the final Epopteia.** "I knew a certain man — whether in body or outside of body, I know not: God knoweth — who was rapt

J "Eleusinian Mysteries," p. 15.

§ This descent to Hades signified the inevitable fate of each soul to be united for a time with a terrestrial body. This union, or dark prospect for the soul to find itself imprisoned within the dark tenement of a body, was considered by all the ancient philosophers and is even by the modern Buddhists, as a punishment.

** "Eleusinian Mysteries," p. 49, foot-note.

into Paradise, and heard things ineffable appexa prmaxa, which it is not lawful for a man to repeat." These words have rarely, so far as we know, been regarded by commentators as an allusion to the beatific visions of an "initiated" seer. But the phraseology is unequivocal. These things "which it is not lawful to repeat," are hinted at in the same words, and the reason for it assigned, is the same as that which we find repeatedly expressed by Plato, Proclus, Iamblichus, Herodotus, and other classics. "We speak Wisdom only among them who are Perfect," says Paul; the plain and undeniable translation of the sentence being: "We speak of the profounder (or final) esoteric doctrines of the Mysteries (which were denominated wisdom) only among them who are initiated."* So in relation to the "man who was rapt into Paradise" — and who was evidently Paul himselft — the christian word Paradise having replaced that of Elysium. To complete the proof, we might recall the words of Plato, given elsewhere, which show that before an initiate could see the gods in their purest light, he had to become liberated from his body; i.e., to separate his astral soul from it.} Apuleius also describes his initiation into the Mysteries in the same way: "I

* "The profound or esoteric doctrines of the ancients were denominated wisdom, and afterward philosophy, and also the gnosis, or knowledge. They related to the human soul, its divine parentage, its supposed degradation from its high estate by becoming connected with "generation" or the physical world, its onward progress and restoration to God by regenerations or . . . transmigrations." Ibid, p. 2, foot-note. f Cyril of Jerusalem asserts it. See vi. 10. J "Phxdrus," 64.

approached the confines of death; and, having trodden on the threshold of Proserpina, returned, having been carried through all the elements. In the depths of midnight I saw the sun glittering with a splendid light, together with the infernal and supernal gods, and to these divinities approaching, I paid the tribute of devout adoration. "§

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