Chapter Five – The Kabbalah and Comparative Religion
Chapter Five continues from the previous in presenting some ambitious comparative theology studies from an esoteric perspective with the idea to introduce a reformed universalist-based theological world view, from a Trinitarian-Logos-based conception. In this chapter, the Kabbalistic Ten Sefirots play a prominent part and so posits an early origin for the medieval Kabbalistic texts, something which gets less support today, but some studies are being done in that area and there have been recent breakthrough studies linking the Kabbalah to Near Eastern Cosmology.
When Blavatsky refers to Kabbalistic doctrines in the early Christian period, she most likely is referring to what is now termed Jewish Gnosticism. We are much better informed of today thanks to the Dead Sea Scroll and Nag Hammadi Gnostic Library discoveries which has made Jewish Gnosticism a major area of interest the academic field, and so Blavatsky’s stress on this area is all the more relevant. For her perennialist concerns, she favors a link between Jewish Gnosticism and the later Medieval-era Kabbalah tradition, a concept not greatly favored in academic studies, but again, some work has been done favoring this link, notably with the work of people like Moshe Idel.
She also presents a strong comparative study of the vexed question of the Savior/Avatar figure in apocalyptic contexts which she explains that the Avatar of apocalyptic literature is not coming any time soon and so she is not to blame for all the wild interpretations that have emerged, as she really tried to clarify that kind of confusion.
1- Sefirots compared
Sefiroths 212 / Hindu Cosmogony and Kabalah 214 / Sefiroths 215 / Genesis 216 / Emanations 219 / Zoroastrian Cosmogony 220
Thus, with the Hebrew kabalists, En-Soph is non-existent , for it is incomprehensible to our finite intellects, and therefore cannot exist to our minds. Its first emanation was Sephira, the crown . When the time for an active period had come, then was produced a natural expansion of this Divine essence from within outwardly, obedient to eternal and immutable law; and from this eternal and infinite light (which to us is darkness) was emitted a spiritual substance.*
This was the First Sephiroth, containing in herself the other nine Sephiroth, or intelligences. In their totality and unity they represent the archetypal man, Adam Kadmon, the [[protogonos]], who in his individuality or unity is yet dual, or bisexual, the Greek Didumos, for he is the prototype of all humanity. Thus we obtain three trinities, each contained in a “head.”
In the first head, or face (the three-faced Hindu Trimurti), we find Sephira, the first androgyne, at the apex of the upper triangle, emitting Hackama, or Wisdom, a masculine and active potency — also called Jah, — and Binah, , or Intelligence, a female and passive potency, also represented by the name Jehovah . These three form the first trinity or “face” of the Sephiroth.
This triad emanated Hesed, , or Mercy, a masculine active potency, also called El, from which emanated Geburah , or Justice, also called Eloha, a feminine passive potency; from the union of these two was produced Tiphereth , Beauty, Clemency, the Spiritual Sun, known by the divine name Elohim; and the second triad, “face,” or “head,” was formed.
These emanating, in their turn, the masculine potency Netzah, , Firmness, or Jehovah Sabaoth, who issued the feminine passive potency Hod,, Splendor, or Elohim Sabaoth; the two produced Jesod, , Foundation, who is the mighty living one El-Chai, thus yielding the third trinity or “head.”
The tenth Sephiroth is rather a duad, and is represented on the diagrams as the lowest circle. It is Malchuth or Kingdom, , and Shekinah , also called Adonai, and Cherubim among the angelic hosts. The first “Head” is called the Intellectual world; the second “Head” is the Sensuous, or the world of Perception, and the third is the Material or Physical world. 214
Swayambhuva, the unknown essence of the Brahmans, is identical with En-Soph, the unknown essence of the kabalists. As with the latter, the ineffable name could not be pronounced by the Hindus, under the penalty of death. In the ancient primitive trinity of India, that which may be certainly considered as pre-Vedic, the germ which fecundates the mother-principle, the mundane egg, or the universal womb, is called Nara, the Spirit, or the Holy Ghost, which emanates from the primordial essence. It is like Sephira, the oldest emanation, called the primordial point, and the White Head, for it is the point of divine light appearing from within the fathomless and boundless darkness.
In Manu it is “NARA, or the Spirit of God, which moves on Ayana (Chaos, or place of motion), and is called NARAYANA, or moving on the waters.”*** In Hermes, the Egyptian, we read: “In the beginning of the time there was naught in the chaos.” But when the “verbum,” issuing from the void like a “colorless smoke,” makes its appearance, then “this verbum moved on the humid principle.”**** And in Genesis we find: “And darkness was upon the face of the deep (chaos). And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” In the Kabala, the emanation of the primordial passive principle (Sephira), by dividing itself into two parts, active and passive, emits Chochma-Wisdom and Binah-Jehovah, and in conjunction with these two acolytes, which complete the trinity, becomes the Creator of the abstract Universe; the physical world being the production of later and still more material powers.*****
In the Hindu Cosmogony, Swayambhuva emits Nara and Nari, its bisexual emanation, and dividing its parts into two halves, male and female, these fecundate the mundane egg, within which develops Brahma, or rather Viradj, the Creator. “The starting-point of the Egyptian mythology,” says Champollion, “is a triad . . . namely, Kneph, Neith, and Phtah; and Ammon, the male, the father; Muth, the female and mother; and Khons, the son.” 214-15
2- Kabbalistic Trinity Compared
Kabalistic Trinity 222 / Shekinah 223 / Shekinah in Ginza and Ophite Systems 224 / Trinity in India and Egypt 226 / Three Trinities in Hindu, Egyptian and Ginza 227 Trinity in the Ginza 228
There are three trinities in the Nazarene system as well as in the Hindu philosophy of the ante and early Vedic period. While we see the few translators of the Kabala, the Nazarene Codex, and other abstruse works, hopelessly floundering amid the interminable pantheon of names, unable to agree as to a system in which to classify them, for the one hypothesis contradicts and overturns the other, we can but wonder at all this trouble, which could be so easily overcome. But even now, when the translation, and even the perusal of the ancient Sanscrit has become so easy as a point of comparison, they would never think it possible that every philosophy — whether Semitic, Hamitic, or Turanian, as they call it, has its key in the Hindu sacred works. Still facts are there, and facts are not easily destroyed. Thus, while we find the Hindu trimurti triply manifested as
Nara (or Para-Pouroucha), Agni, Brahma, the Father,
Nari (Mariama), Vaya, Vishnu, the Mother, Viradj (Brahma),
Surya, Siva, the Son,
and the Egyptian trinity as follows:
Kneph (or Amon), Osiris, Ra (Horus), the Father,
Maut (or Mut), Isis, Isis, the Mother,
Khons, Horus, Malouli, the Son;****
the Nazarene System runs,
Ferho (Ish-Amon), Mano, Abatur, the Father,
Chaos (dark water), Spiritus (female), Netubto, the Mother,
Fetahil, Ledhaio, Lord Jordan, the Son.
The first is the concealed or non-manifested trinity — a pure abstraction. The other the active or the one revealed in the results of creation, proceeding out of the former — its spiritual prototype. The third is the mutilated image of both the others, crystallized in the form of human dogmas, which vary according to the exuberance of the national materialistic fancy. 227-28
Mano is the chief of the seven AEons, who are Mano (Rex Lucis), Aiar Zivo, Ignis Vivus, Lux, Vita, Aqua Viva (the living water of baptism, the genius of the Jordan), and Ipsa Vita, the chief of the six genii, which form with him the mystic seven. The Nazarene Mano is simply the copy of the Hindu first Manu — the emanation of Manu Swayambhuva — from whom evolve in succession the six other Manus, types of the subsequent races of men. We find them all represented by the apostle-kabalist John in the “seven lamps of fire” burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God,”** and in the seven angels bearing the seven vials. Again in Fetahil we recognize the original of the Christian doctrine. 229
3- Four-Face Cherubim and World Saviours Compared
The Kabbalah and Christianity 230 / Four-Faced Cherubim compared 231 / Four-Faced Cherubim in Buddhism and Hinduism 232 / Kabbalah and Christ / The Logos Saviour in Various Systems 236 / Christian Dogmatism 238 / Resurrection of daughter of Jairus and Hari-Purana 241 / Divinity of Christ 242 / Gospel of John and Pastor of Hermas 243 / Christian Heresieology 248
We will not stop to discuss at length the special holiness of the four-faced Cherubim, although we might, perhaps, show their origin in all the ancient pagodas of India, in the vehans (or vehicles) of their chief gods; as likewise we might easily attribute the respect paid to them to the kabalistic wisdom, which, nevertheless, the Church rejects with great horror. But, we cannot resist the temptation to remind the reader that he may easily ascertain the several significances attributed to these Cherubs by reading the Kabala. “When the souls are to leave their abode,” says the Sohar, holding to the doctrine of the pre-existence of souls in the world of emanations, “each soul separately appears before the Holy King, dressed in a sublime form, with the features in which it is to appear in this world. It is from this sublime form that the image proceeds” (Sohar, iii., p. 104 ab). Then it goes on to say that the types or forms of these faces “are four in number — those of the angel or man, of the lion, the bull, and the eagle.” Furthermore, we may well express our wonder that Irenaeus should not have re-enforced his argument for the four gospels — by citing the whole Pantheon of the four-armed Hindu gods!
Ezekiel in representing his four animals, now called Cherubim, as types of the four symbolical beings, which, in his visions support the throne of Jehovah, had not far to go for his models. The Chaldeo-Babylonian protecting genii were familiar to him; the Sed, Alap or Kirub (Cherubim), the bull, with the human face; the Nirgal, human-headed lion; Oustour the Sphinx-man; and the Nathga, with its eagle’s head. The religion of the masters — the idolatrous Babylonians and Assyrians — was transferred almost bodily into the revealed Scripture of the Captives, and from thence came into Christianity. 231
It is in the Buddhistic representations of Mount Meru, called by the Burmese Mye-nmo, and by the Siamese Sineru, that we find one of the originals of the Adam Kadmon, Seir-Anpin, the “heavenly man,” and of all the AEons, Sephiroth, Powers, Dominions, Thrones, Virtues, and Dignities of the Kabala. Between two pillars, which are connected by an arch, the key-stone of the latter is represented by a crescent. This is the domain in which dwells the Supreme Wisdom of A’di Buddha, the Supreme and invisible Deity. Beneath this highest central point comes the circle of the direct emanation of the Unknown — the circle of Brahma with some Hindus, of the first avatar of Buddha, according to others. This answers to Adam Kadmon and the ten Sephiroth. Nine of the emanations are encircled by the tenth, and occasionally represented by pagodas, each of which bears a name which expresses one of the chief attributes of the manifested Deity. Then below come the seven stages, or heavenly spheres, each sphere being encircled by a sea. These are the celestial mansions of the devatas, or gods, each losing somewhat in holiness and purity as it approaches the earth. Then comes Meru itself, formed of numberless circles within three large ones, typifying the trinity of man; and for one acquainted with the numerical value of the letters in biblical names, like that of the “Great Beast,” or that of Mithra [[Mithras abraxas]], and others, it is an easy matter to establish the identity of the Meru-gods with the emanations or Sephiroth of the kabalists. Also the genii of the Nazarenes, with their special missions, are all found on this most ancient mythos, a most perfect representation of the symbolism of the “secret doctrine,” as taught in archaic ages. 233
The whole is surrounded by the Maha Samut, or the great sea — the astral light and ether of the kabalists and scientists; and within the central circles appears “the likeness of a man.” He is the Achadoth of the Nazarenes, the twofold unity, or the androgyne man; the heavenly incarnation, and a perfect representation of Seir-Anpin (short-face), the son, of Arich Anpin (long-face).* This likeness is now represented in many lamaseries by Gautama-Buddha, the last of the incarnated avatars. Still lower, under the Meru, is the dwelling of the great Naga, who is called Rajah Naga, the king-serpent — the serpent of Genesis, the Gnostic Ophis — and the goddess of the earth, Bhumay Nari, or Yama, who waits upon the great dragon, for she is Eve, “the mother of all that live.” Still lower is the eighth sphere, the infernal regions. The uppermost regions of Brahma are surrounded by the sun, moon, and planets, the seven stellars of the Nazarenes, and just as they are described in the Codex. 234
The same in the case of the numerous Logoi. While the Zoroastrian Sosiosh is framed on that of the tenth Brahmanical Avatar, and the fifth Buddha of the followers of Gautama; and we find the former, after having passed part and parcel into the kabalistic system of king Messiah, reflected in the Apostle Gabriel of the Nazarenes, and AEbel-Zivo, the Legatus, sent on earth by the Lord of Celsitude and Light; all of these —
Hindu and Persian, Buddhist and Jewish, the Christos of the Gnostics and the Philonean Logos — are found combined in “the Word made flesh” of the fourth Gospel. Christianity includes all these systems, patched and arranged to meet the occasion. Do we take up the Avesta — we find there the dual system so prevalent in the Christian scheme. The struggle between Ahriman,* Darkness, and Ormazd, Light, has been going on in the world continually since the beginning of time. When the worst arrives and Ahriman will seem to have conquered the world and corrupted all mankind, then will appear the Saviour of mankind, Sosiosh. He will come seated upon a white horse and followed by an army of good genii equally mounted on milk-white steeds.** And this we find faithfully copied in the Revelation: “I saw heaven opened, and beheld a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called faithful and true. . . . And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses” (Revelation xix. 11, 14).
Sosiosh himself is but a later Persian permutation of the Hindu Vishnu. The figure of this god may be found unto this day representing him as the Saviour, the “Preserver” (the preserving spirit of God), in the temple of Rama. The picture shows him in his tenth incarnation — the Kalki avatar, which is yet to come — as an armed warrior mounted upon a white horse. Waving over his head the sword destruction, he holds in his other hand a discus, made up of rings encircled in one another, an emblem of the revolving cycles or great ages,*** for Vishnu will thus appear but at the end of the Kaliyug, answering to the end of the world expected by our Adventists. “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword . . . on his head were many crowns” (Revelation xix. 12). Vishnu is often represented with several crowns superposed on his head. “And I saw an angel standing on the Sun” (17). The white horse is the horse of the Sun.**** Sosiosh, the Persian Saviour, is also born of a virgin,***** and at the end of days he will come as a Redeemer to regenerate the world, but he will be preceded by two prophets, who will come to announce him.****** Hence the Jews who had Moses and Elias, are now waiting for the Messiah. “Then comes the general resurrection, when the good will immediately enter into this happy abode — the regenerated earth; and Ahriman and his angels (the devils),* and the wicked, be purified by immersion in a lake of molten metal. . . . Henceforward, all will enjoy unchangeable happiness, and, headed by Sosiosh, ever sing the praises of the Eternal One.”** The above is a perfect repetition of Vishnu in his tenth avatar, for he will then throw the wicked into the infernal abodes in which, after purifying themselves, they will be pardoned — even those devils which rebelled against Brahma, and were hurled into the bottomless pit by Siva,*** as also the “blessed ones” will go to dwell with the gods, over the Mount Meru. 236-37
Jesus, as Messiah, was not manifested at the last of the days; for the latter are yet to come, notwithstanding a number of divinely-inspired prophecies, followed by disappointed hopes, as a result, to testify to his immediate coming. The belief that the “last times” had come, was natural, when once the coming of King Messiah had been acknowledged. The second peculiarity is found in the fact that the prophecy could have been accepted at all, when even its approximate determination is a direct contradiction of Mark, who makes Jesus distinctly state that neither the angels, nor the Son himself, know of that day or that hour.*** We might add that, as the belief undeniably originated with the Apocalypse, it ought to be a self-evident proof that it belonged to the calculations peculiar to the kabalists and the Pagan sanctuaries. It was the secret computation of a cycle, which, according to their reckoning, was ending toward the latter part of the first century. It may also be held as a corroborative proof, that the Gospel according to Mark, as well as that ascribed to John, and the Apocalypse, were written by men, of whom neither was sufficiently acquainted with the other. The Logos was first definitely called petra (rock) by Philo; the word, moreover, as we have shown elsewhere, means, in Chaldaic and Phoenician, “interpreter.” Justin Martyr calls him, throughout his works, “angel,” and makes a clear distinction between the Logos and God the Creator. 246