New Testament Narratives and Hindu Legends

"Holy is God the Father of all being, holy is God, whose wisdom is carried out into execution by his own Powers! . . . Holy art Thou, who through the Word had created all! Therefore, I believe in Thee, and bear testimony, and go into the Life and Light."} Thus speaks Hermes Trismegistus, the heathen divine. What Christian bishop could have said better than that?

The apparent discrepancy of the four gospels as a whole, does not prevent every narrative given in the New Testament

J "Hermes Trismegistus," pp. 86, 87, 90.

— however much disfigured — having a ground-work of truth. To this, are cunningly adapted details made to fit the later exigencies of the Church. So, propped up partially by indirect evidence, still more by blind faith, they have become, with time, articles of faith. Even the fictitious massacre of the "Innocents" by King Herod has a certain foundation to it, in its allegorical sense. Apart from the now-discovered fact that the whole story of such a massacre of the Innocents is bodily taken from the Hindu Bhagavad-Gita, and Brahmanical traditions, the legend refers, moreover, allegorically, to an historical fact. King Herod is the type of Kansa, the tyrant of Madura, the maternal uncle of Christna, to whom astrologers predicted that a son of his niece Devaki would deprive him of his throne. Therefore he gives orders to kill the male child that is born to her; but Christna escapes his fury through the protection of Mahadeva (the great God) who causes the child to be carried away to another city, out of Kansa's reach. After that, in order to be sure and kill the right boy, on whom he failed to lay his murderous hands, Kansa has all the male newborn infants within his kingdom killed. Christna is also worshipped by the gopas (the shepherds) of the land.

Though this ancient Indian legend bears a very suspicious resemblance to the more modern biblical romance, Gaffarel and others attribute the origin of the latter to the persecutions during the Herodian reign of the kabalists and the Wise men, who had not remained strictly orthodox. The latter, as well as the prophets, were nicknamed the "Innocents," and the "Babes," on account of their holiness. As in the case of certain degrees of modern Masonry, the adepts reckoned their grade of initiation by a symbolic age. Thus Saul who, when chosen king, was "a choice and goodly man," and "from his shoulders upward was higher than any of the people," is described in Catholic versions, as "child of one year when he began to reign," which, in its literal sense, is a palpable absurdity. But in 1 Samuel x., his anointing by Samuel and initiation are described; and at verse 6th, Samuel uses this significant language: " . . . the Spirit of the Lord will come upon thee and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man." The phrase above quoted is thus made plain — he had received one degree of initiation and was symbolically described as "a child one year old." The Catholic Bible, from which the text is quoted, with charming candor says in a footnote: "It is extremely difficult to explain" (meaning that Saul was a child of one year). But undaunted by any difficulty the Editor, nevertheless, does take upon himself to explain it, and adds: "A child of one year. That is, he was good and like an innocent child." An interpretation as ingenious as it is pious; and which if it does no good can certainly do no harm.*

* It is the correct interpretation of the Bible allegories that makes the Catholic clergy so wrathful with the Protestants who freely scrutinize the Bible. How bitter this feeling has become, we can judge by the following words of the Reverend Father Parker of Hyde Park, New York, who, lecturing in St. Teresa's Catholic Church, on the 10th of December, 1876, said: "To whom does the Protestant Church owe its possession of the Bible, which they wish to place in the hands of every ignorant person and child? To monkish hands, that laboriously transcribed it before the age of printing. Protestantism has produced

If the explanation of the kabalists is rejected, then the whole subject falls into confusion; worse still — for it becomes a direct plagiarism from the Hindu legend. All the commentators have agreed that a literal massacre of young children is nowhere mentioned in history; and that, moreover, an occurrence like that would have made such a bloody page in Roman annals that the record of it would have been preserved for us by every author of the day. Herod himself was subject to the Roman law; and undoubtedly he would have paid the penalty of such a monstrous crime, with his own life. But if, on the one hand, we have not the slightest trace of this fable in history, on the other, we find in the official complaints of the Synagogue abundant evidence of dissension in Church, rebellions and outbreaks in State, unsoundness in social life, and will never be satisfied short of the downfall of the Bible! Protestants must admit that the Roman Church has done more to scatter Christianity and extirpate idolatry than all their sects. From one pulpit it is said that there is no hell, and from another that there is immediate and unmitigated damnation. One says that Jesus Christ was only a man; another that you must be plunged bodily into water to be baptized, and refuses the rites to infants. Most of them have no prescribed form of worship, no sacred vestments, and their doctrines are as undefined as their service is informal. The founder of Protestantism, Martin Luther, was the worst man in Europe. The advent of the Reformation was the signal for civil war, and from that time to this the world has been in a restless state, uneasy in regard to Governments, and every day becoming more skeptical. The ultimate tendency of Protestantism is clearly nothing less than the destruction of all respect for the Bible, and the disruption of government and society." Very plain talk this. The Protestants might easily return the compliment.

the persecution of the initiates. The Talmud also corroborates it.

The Jewish version of the birth of Jesus is recorded in the Sepher-Toldos Jeshu in the following words:

"Mary having become the mother of a Son, named Jehosuah, and the boy growing up, she entrusted him to the care of the Rabbi Elhanan, and the child progressed in knowledge, for he was well gifted with spirit and understanding.

"Rabbi Jehosuah, son of Perachiah, continued the education of Jehosuah (Jesus) after Elhanan, and initiated him in the secret knowledge"; but the King, Janneus, having given orders to slay all the initiates, Jehosuah Ben Perachiah, fled to Alexandria, in Egypt, taking the boy with him.

While in Alexandria, continues the story, they were received in the house of a rich and learned lady (personified Egypt). Young Jesus found her beautiful, notwithstanding "a defect in her eyes," and declared so to his master. Upon hearing this, the latter became so angry that his pupil should find in the land of bondage anything good, that "he cursed him and drove the young man from his presence." Then follow a series of adventures told in allegorical language, which show that Jesus supplemented his initiation in the Jewish Kabala with an additional acquisition of the secret wisdom of Egypt. When the persecution ceased, they both returned to Judea.*

The real grievances against Jesus are stated by the learned author of Tela Ignea Satanx (the fiery darts of Satan) to be two in number: 1st, that he had discovered the great Mysteries of their Temple, by having been initiated in Egypt; and 2d, that he had profaned them by exposing them to the vulgar, who misunderstood and disfigured them. This is what they say:+

"There exists, in the sanctuary of the living God, a cubical stone, on which are sculptured the holy characters, the combination of which gives the explanation of the attributes and powers of the incommunicable name. This explanation is the secret key of all the occult sciences and forces in nature. It is what the Hebrews call the Scham hamphorash. This stone is watched by two lions of gold, who roar as soon as it is approached.} The gates of the temple were never lost sight of, and the door of the sanctuary opened but once a year, to admit the High Priest alone. But Jesus, who had learned in Egypt the 'great secrets' at the initiation, forged for himself invisible keys, and thus was enabled to penetrate into the sanctuary unseen. . . . He copied the characters on the cubical

* Eliphas Levi ascribes this narrative to the Talmudist authors of "Sota" and "Sanhedrin," p. 19, book of "Jechiel."

f This fragment is translated from the original Hebrew by Eliphas Levi in his "La Science des Esprits."

J Those who know anything of the rites of the Hebrews must recognize in these lions the gigantic figures of the Cherubim, whose symbolical monstrosity was well calculated to frighten and put to flight the profane.

stone, and hid them in his thigh;§ after which, emerging from the temple, he went abroad and began astounding people with his miracles. The dead were raised at his command, the leprous and the obsessed were healed. He forced the stones which lay buried for ages at the bottom of the sea to rise to the surface until they formed a mountain, from the top of which he preached." The Sepher Toldos states further that, unable to displace the cubical stone of the sanctuary, Jesus fabricated one of clay, which he showed to the nations and passed it off for the true cubical stone of Israel.

This allegory, like the rest of them in such books, is written "inside and outside" — it has its secret meaning, and ought to be read two ways. The kabalistic books explain its mystical meaning. Further, the same Talmudist says, in substance, the following: Jesus was thrown in prison,** and kept there forty days; then flogged as a seditious rebel; then stoned as a blasphemer in a place called Lud, and finally allowed to expire upon a cross. "All this," explains Levi, "because he revealed to the people the truths which they (the Pharisees) wished to bury for their own use. He had divined the occult theology of Israel, had compared it with the wisdom of Egypt, and found thereby the reason for a universal religious synthesis."++

§ Arnobius tells the same story of Jesus, and narrates how he was accused of having robbed the sanctuary of the secret names of the Holy One, by means of which knowledge he performed all the miracles.

** This is a translation of Eliphas Levi. ff "La Science des Esprits," p. 37.

However cautious one ought to be in accepting anything about Jesus from Jewish sources, it must be confessed that in some things they seem to be more correct in their statements (whenever their direct interest in stating facts is not concerned) than our good but too jealous Fathers. One thing is certain, James, the "Brother of the Lord," is silent about the resurrection. He terms Jesus nowhere "Son of God," nor even Christ-God. Once only, speaking of Jesus, he calls him the "Lord of Glory," but so do the Nazarenes when writing about their prophet Iohanan bar Zacharia, or John, son of Zacharias (St. John Baptist). Their favorite expressions about their prophet are the same as those used by James when speaking of Jesus. A man "of the seed of a man," "Messenger of Life," of light, "my Lord Apostle," "King sprung of Light," and so on. "Have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory," etc., says James in his epistle (ii. 1), presumably addressing Christ as God. "Peace to thee, my Lord, John Abo Sabo, Lord of Glory!" says the Codex Nazar^us (ii., 19), known to address but a prophet. "Ye have condemned and killed the Just," says James (v. 6). "Iohanan (John) is the Just one, he comes in the way of justice," says Matthew (xxi. 32, Syriac text).

James does not even call Jesus Messiah, in the sense given to the title by the Christians, but alludes to the kabalistic "King Messiah," who is Lord of Sabaoth* (v. 4), and repeats several times that the "Lord" will come, but identifies the latter nowhere with Jesus. "Be patient, therefore, brethren,

unto the coming of the Lord . . . be patient, for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh" (v. 7, 8). And he adds: "Take, my brethren, the prophet (Jesus) who has spoken in the name of the Lord for an example of suffering, affliction, and of patience." Though in the present version the word "prophet" stands in the plural, yet this is a deliberate falsification of the original, the purpose of which is too evident. James, immediately after having cited the "prophets" as an example, adds: "Behold . . . ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord" — thus combining the examples of these two admirable characters, and placing them on a perfect equality. But we have more to adduce in support of our argument. Did not Jesus himself glorify the prophet of the Jordan? "What went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. . . . Verily, I say unto you, among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist."

And of whom was he who spoke thus born? It is but the Roman Catholics who have changed Mary, the mother of Jesus, into a goddess. In the eyes of all other Christians she was a woman, whether his own birth was immaculate or otherwise. According to strict logic, then, Jesus confessed John greater than himself. Note how completely this matter is disposed of by the language employed by the Angel Gabriel when addressing Mary: "Blessed art thou among women." These words are unequivocal. He does not adore her as the Mother of God, nor does he call her goddess; he does not even address her as "Virgin," but he calls her woman, and only distinguishes her above other women as having had better fortune, through her purity.

The Nazarenes were known as Baptists, Sabians, and John's Christians. Their belief was that the Messiah was not the Son of God, but simply a prophet who would follow John. "Johanan, the Son of the Abo Sabo Zachariah, shall say to himself, 'Whoever will believe in my justice and my Baptism shall be joined to my association; he shall share with me the seat which is the abode of life, of the supreme Mano, and of living fire' " (Codex Nazarxus, ii., p. 115). Origen remarks "there are some who said of John (the Baptist) that he was the anointed" (Christus).* The Angel Rasiel of the kabalists is the Angel Gabriel of the Nazarenes, and it is the latter who is chosen of all the celestial hierarchy by the Christians to become the messenger of the 'annunciation.' "The genius sent by the 'Lord of Celsitude' is ^bel Zivo, whose name is also called Gabriel Legatus."+ Paul must have had the sect of the Nazarenes in mind when he said: "And last of all he (Jesus) was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time" (1 Corinth., xv. 8), thus reminding his listeners of the expression usual to the Nazarenes, who termed the Jews "the abortions, or born out of time." Paul prides himself of belonging to a heresy.}

When the metaphysical conceptions of the Gnostics, who saw in Jesus the Logos and the anointed, began to gain ground, the earliest Christians separated from the Nazarenes, who accused Jesus of perverting the doctrines of John, and changing the baptism of the Jordan.§ "Directly," says Milman, "as it (the Gospel) got beyond the borders of Palestine, and the name of 'Christ' had acquired sanctity and veneration in the Eastern cities, he became a kind of metaphysical impersonation, while the religion lost its purely moral cast and assumed the character of a speculative theogony."** The only half-original document that has reached us from the primitive apostolic days, is the Logia of Matthew. The real, genuine doctrine has remained in the hands of the Nazarenes, in this Gospel of Matthew containing the "secret doctrine," the "Sayings of Jesus," mentioned by Papias. These sayings were, no doubt, of the same nature as the small manuscripts placed in the hands of the neophytes, who were candidates for the Initiations into the Mysteries, and which contained the Aporrheta, the revelations of some important rites and symbols. For why should Matthew take such precautions to make them "secret" were it otherwise?

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