Whence the Christian Sabbath

There are but two methods which, correctly explained, can help us to this result. They are — the Vedas, Brahmanical literature and the Jewish Kabala. The former has, in a most philosophical spirit, conceived these grandiose myths; the latter borrowing them from the Chaldeans and Persians, shaped them into a history of the Jewish nation, in which their spirit of philosophy was buried beyond the recognition of all but the elect, and under a far more absurd form than the Aryan had given them. The Bible of the Christian Church is the latest receptacle of this scheme of disfigured allegories which have been erected into an edifice of superstition, such as never entered into the conceptions of those from whom the Church obtained her knowledge. The abstract fictions of antiquity, which for ages had filled the popular fancy with but flickering shadows and uncertain images, have in Christianity assumed the shapes of real personages, and become accomplished facts. Allegory, metamorphosed, becomes sacred history, and Pagan myth is taught to the people as a revealed narrative of God's intercourse with His chosen people.

"The myths," says Horace in his Ars Poetica, "have been invented by wise men to strengthen the laws and teach moral truths." While Horace endeavored to make clear the very spirit and essence of the ancient myths, Euhemerus pretended, on the contrary, that "myths were the legendary history of kings and heroes, transformed into gods by the admiration of the nations." It is the latter method which was inferentially followed by Christians when they agreed upon the acceptation of euhemerized patriarchs, and mistook them for men who had really lived.

But, in opposition to this pernicious theory, which has brought forth such bitter fruit, we have a long series of the greatest philosophers the world has produced: Plato,

Epicharmus, Socrates, Empedocles, Plotinus, and Porphyry, Proclus, Damascenus, Origen, and even Aristotle. The latter plainly stated this verity, by saying that a tradition of the highest antiquity, transmitted to posterity under the form of various myths, teaches us that the first principles of nature may be considered as "gods," for the divine permeates all nature. All the rest, details and personages, were added later for the clearer comprehension of the vulgar, and but too often with the object of supporting laws invented in the common interest.

Fairy tales do not exclusively belong to nurseries; all mankind — except those few who in all ages have comprehended their hidden meaning and tried to open the eyes of the superstitious — have listened to such tales in one shape or the other and, after transforming them into sacred symbols, called the product Religion!

We will try to systematize our subject as much as the ever-recurring necessity to draw parallels between the conflicting opinions that have been based on the same myths will permit. We will begin by the book of Genesis, and seek for its hidden meaning in the Brahmanical traditions and the Chaldeo-Judaic Kabala.

The first Scripture lesson taught us in our infancy is that God created the world in six days, and rested on the seventh. Hence, a peculiar solemnity is supposed to attach to the seventh day, and the Christians, adopting the rigid observances of the Jewish sabbath, have enforced it upon us with the substitution of the first, instead of the seventh day of the week.

All systems of religious mysticism are based on numerals. With Pythagoras, the Monas or unity, emanating the duad, and thus forming the trinity, and the quaternary or Arba-il (the mystic four), compose the number seven. The sacredness of numbers begins with the great First — the ONE, and ends only with the nought or zero — symbol of the infinite and boundless circle which represents the universe. All the intervening figures, in whatever combination, or however multiplied, represent philosophical ideas, from vague outlines down to a definitely-established scientific axiom, relating either to a moral or a physical fact in nature. They are a key to the ancient views on cosmogony, in its broad sense, including man and beings, and the evolution of the human race, spiritually as well as physically.

The number seven is the most sacred of all, and is, undoubtedly, of Hindu origin. Everything of importance was calculated by and fitted into this number by the Aryan philosophers — ideas as well as localities. Thus they have the

Sapta-Rishi, or seven sages, typifying the seven diluvian primitive races (post-diluvian as some say).

Sapta-Loka, the seven inferior and superior worlds, whence each of these Rishis proceeded, and whither he returned in glory before reaching the final bliss of Moksha.*

* The Rishi are identical with Manu. The ten Pragapati, sons of Viradj, called Maritchi, Atri, Angira, Polastya, Poulaha, Kratu, Pratcheta, Vasishta, Brighu, and Narada, are euhemerized Powers, the Hindu

Sapta-Kula, or seven castes — the Brahmans assuming to represent the direct descendants of the highest of them.*

Then, again, the Sapta-Pura (seven holy cities); Sapta-Duipa (seven holy islands); Sapta-Samudra (the seven holy seas); Sapta-Parvata (the seven holy mountains); Sapta-Arania (the seven deserts); Sapta-Vruksha (the seven sacred trees); and so on.

In the Chaldeo-Babylonian incantation, this number reappears again as prominently as among the Hindus. The number is dual in its attributes, i.e., holy in one of its aspects it becomes nefast under other conditions. Thus the following incantation we find traced on the Assyrian tablets, now so correctly interpreted.

"The evening of evil omen, the region of the sky, which produces misfortune. . . .

"Message of pest.

Sephiroth. These emanate the seven Rishi, or Manus, the chief of whom issued himself from the "uncreated." He is the Adam of earth, and signifies man. His "sons," the following six Manus, represent each a new race of men, and in the total they are humanity passing gradually through the primitive seven stages of evolution.

* In days of old, when the Brahmans studied more than they do now the hidden sense of their philosophy, they explained that each of these six distinct races which preceded ours had disappeared. But now they pretend that a specimen was preserved which was not destroyed with the rest, but reached the present seventh stage. Thus they, the Brahmans are the specimens of the heavenly Manu, and issued from the mouth of Brahma; while the Sudra was created from his foot.

"Deprecators of Nin-Ki-gal.

"The seven gods of the vast sky.

"The seven gods of the vast earth.

"The seven gods of blazing spheres.

"The seven gods of celestial legion.

"The seven gods maleficent.

"The seven phantoms of maleficent flames. . . .

"Bad demon, bad alal, bad gigim, bad telal . . . bad god, bad maskim.

"Spirit of seven heavens remember . . . Spirit of seven earths remember . . . etc."

This number reappears likewise on almost every page of Genesis, and throughout the Mosaic books, and we find it conspicuous (see following chapter) in the Book of Job and the Oriental Kabala. If the Hebrew Semitics adopted it so readily, we must infer that it was not blindly, but with a thorough knowledge of its secret meaning; hence, that they must have adopted the doctrines of their "heathen" neighbors as well. It is but natural, therefore, that we should seek in heathen philosophy for the interpretation of this number, which again reappeared in Christianity with its seven sacraments, seven churches in Asia Minor, seven capital sins, seven virtues (four cardinal and three theological), etc.

Have the seven prismatic colors of the rainbow seen by Noah no other meaning than that of a covenant between God and man to refresh the memory of the former? To the kabalist, at least, they have a significance inseparable from the seven labors of magic, the seven upper spheres, the seven notes of the musical scale, the seven numerals of Pythagoras, the seven wonders of the world, the seven ages, and even the seven steps of the Masons, which lead to the Holy of Holies, after passing the flights of three and five.

Whence the identity then of these enigmatical, ever-recurring numerals that are found in every page of the Jewish Scriptures, as in every ola and sloka of Buddhistic and Brahmanical books? Whence these numerals that are the soul of the Pythagorean and Platonic thought, and that no unilluminated Orientalist nor biblical student has ever been able to fathom?

And yet they have a key ready in their hand, did they but know how to use it. Nowhere is the mystical value of human language and its effects on human action so perfectly understood as in India, nor any better explained than by the authors of the oldest Brahmanas. Ancient as their epoch is now found to be, they only try to express, in a more concrete form, the abstract metaphysical speculations of their own ancestors.

Such is the respect of the Brahmans for the sacrificial mysteries, that they hold that the world itself sprang into creation as a consequence of a "sacrificial word" pronounced by the First Cause. This word is the "Ineffable name" of the kabalists, fully discussed in the last chapter.

The secret of the Vedas, "Sacred Knowledge" though they may be, is impenetrable without the help of the Brahmanas.

Properly speaking, the Vedas (which are written in verse and comprised in four books) constitute that portion called the Mantra, or magical prayer, and the Brahmanas (which are in prose) contain their key. While the Mantra part is alone holy, the Brahmana portion contains all the theological exegesis, and the speculations and explanations of the sacerdotal. Our Orientalists, we repeat, will make no substantial progress toward a comprehension of Vedic literature until they place a proper valuation upon works now despised by them; as, for instance, the Aitareya and Kaushitaki Brahmanas, which belong to the Rig-Veda.

Zoroaster was called a Manthran, or speaker of Mantras, and, according to Haug, one of the earliest names for the Sacred Scriptures of the Parsis was Manthra-spenta. The power and significance of the Brahman who acts as the Hotri-priest at the Soma-Sacrifice, consists in his possession and full knowledge of the uses of the sacred word or speech — Vach. The latter is personified in Sara-isvati, the wife of Brahma, who is the goddess of the sacred or "Secret Knowledge." She is usually depicted as riding upon a peacock with its tail all spread. The eyes upon the feathers of the bird's tail, symbolize the sleepless eyes that see all things. To one who has the ambition of becoming an adept of the "Secret doctrines," they are a reminder that he must have the hundred eyes of Argus to see and comprehend all things.

And this is why we say that it is not possible to solve fully the deep problems underlying the Brahmanical and Buddhistic sacred books without having a perfect comprehension of the esoteric meaning of the Pythagorean numerals. The greatest power of this Vach, or Sacred Speech, is developed according to the form which is given to the Mantra by the officiating Hotri, and this form consists wholly in the numbers and syllables of the sacred metre. If pronounced slowly and in a certain rhythm, one effect is produced; if quickly and with another rhythm, there is a different result. "Each metre," says Haug, "is the invisible master of something visible in this world; it is, as it were, its exponent and ideal. This great significance of the metrical speech is derived from the number of syllables of which it consists, for each thing has (just as in the Pythagorean system) a certain numerical proportion. All these things, metres (chhandas), stomas, and prishthas, are liable to be as eternal and divine as the words themselves they contain. The earliest Hindu divines did not only believe in a primitive revelation of the words of the sacred texts, but even in that of the various forms. These forms, along with their contents, the everlasting Veda-words, are symbols expressive of things of the invisible world, and in several respects comparable to the Platonic ideas."

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