Description : Part 1. What is truth? Where is it to be searched for amid this multitude of warring sects? Each claims to be based upon divine revelation, and each to have the keys of the celestial gates. Society seems to have been ever balancing itself upon one leg, on an unseen tightrope stretched from our visible universe into the invisible one; uncertain whether the end hooked on faith in the latter might not suddenly break, and hurl it into final annihilation. Christian symbols have been pervaded by heathen phallicism. Neither Catholics nor Protestants have a right to talk of the “indecent forms” of heathen monuments so long as they ornament their own churches with the symbols of the Lingam and Yoni, and even write the laws of their God upon them. The torrents of human blood shed by the Vatican are unparalleled in the annals of Paganism. Christians were the first to make the existence of a fictitious devil a dogma of their Church. But what is the use of a Pope, if there is no devil? Paganism was converted wholesale and applied to Popery. The Romish Church has two far mightier enemies than the “heretics” and the “infidels” — Comparative Mythology and Philology. The voice of Truth is stronger than the voice of the mightiest thunder. When the Theurgists of the third Neo-platonic school, deprived of their ancient Mysteries, strove to blend the doctrines of Plato with those of Aristotle, and by combining the two philosophies added to their theosophy the primeval doctrines of the Oriental Kabbalah, then the Christians from rivals became persecutors. For once the metaphysical allegories of Plato were to be discussed in public, all the elaborate system of the Christian trinity would be unravelled and the divine prestige completely upset. Paganism was modified by Christianity, and vice versa. Either the Pagan worship and the Neo-platonic theurgy, with all ceremonial of magic, must be crushed out forever, or the Christians become Neo-Platonists. The original and pure forms of the most important ecclesiastical doctrines of Christianity are to be found only in the teachings of Plato. Part 2. Poor fools, hysterical women, and idiots were roasted alive, without mercy, for the crime of so-called “magic.” Yet magic and sorcery are rife among popes, bishops, and priests. In the latter part of the sixteenth century there was hardly a parish to be found in which the priests did not study magic and alchemy. Benedict IX, John XX, and Gregories VI and VII, are known magicians. The papal government realized much money by selling to the rich dispensations to secure them from the Inquisition. What room is there in a theology which exacts such holocausts as these to appease the bloody appetites of its priests? It has been admitted that the elimination of devil from theology would be fatal to the perpetuity of the Church. But this is only partially true. The Prince of Sin would be gone, but the sin itself would survive. If the devil were annihilated, the Articles of Faith and the Bible would remain. Vulgar magic in India is the work of the lowest clergy; in Rome, that of the highest Pontiffs. It is designed to hold the populace in a perpetual state of fear. The devil, asserts a Jesuit Father, is forced to submission before the holy minister of God — he dares not lie. Christianity being pure heathenism, and Catholicism with its fetish-worshipping, are far worse and more pernicious than Hinduism in its most idolatrous aspect. When the Roman Church is no longer able to deny that there have been fake relics, she resorts to sophistry, and replies that if false relics have wrought miracles it is “because of the good intentions of the believers, who thus obtained from God a reward of their good faith!” Pope fraternizing with Islam for his Church feels more sympathy for the Moslem than the schismatic. The identical evocations and incantations of the Pagan and Jewish Kabbalist are now repeated by the Christian exorcist, and the theurgy of Iamblichus is adopted word for word. The Latin Church despoiled Kabbalists and Theurgists of their magical rites and ceremonies, and hurled anathemas upon their devoted heads. Long before the sign of the Cross was adopted as a Christian symbol, it was employed as a secret sign of recognition among neophytes and adepts. The sign is absolutely and magnificently kabbalistic: it represents the perpetual opposition and quaternary equilibrium of the elements. Paul and Peter compared and contrasted. By Simon Magus we must understand apostle Paul, whose Epistles were secretly as well as openly calumniated by Peter, and charged with containing dysnoëtic learning. The Apostle of the Gentiles was brave, outspoken, sincere, and very learned; the Apostle of Circumcision, cowardly, cautious, insincere, and very ignorant. The ceremonial dress of the Christian clergy is identical with that of the old Babylonians, Assyrians, Phœnicians, Egyptians, and other Pagans of the hoary antiquity. The nimbus and tonsure of the Catholic priest and monk are solar emblems. The “Black Virgins,” so highly reverenced in certain French cathedrals during the Middle Ages, were basalt figures of Isis. The Catholic bells were imported from Buddhist pagodas. Beads and rosaries were imported directly from the Buddhist Thibetans and Chinese. Donned in the despoiled garments of the victim, the Christian priest anathematizes the latter with rites and ceremonies learned from the Theurgists themselves. Underlying every ancient popular religion was the same Wisdom-doctrine, one and identical, professed and practiced by the initiates of every country, who alone were aware of its existence and importance. The Mysteries were instituted pure, and proposed the noblest ends by the worthiest means. The whispered secrets of initiation, when divulged, were punished with death. The final part of the mystic rites reveals the friendship and interior communion with God. The Lunar Pitris are our progenitors. They are identical with the Seven Elohim of the Hebrew Bible. They are not the ancestors of the present living men but those of the primitive races of mankind, the spirits of the early human races which preceded ours but which were physically, as well as spiritually, far superior to the modern pigmies. The Pitris must be included with the good genii, the daimons of the Greeks, or the inferior gods of the invisible world. The doctrine of the planetary and terrestrial Pitris was revealed entirely in ancient India, as well as now, only at the last moment of initiation, and to the adepts of superior degrees. The splendid imagery employed by Proclus and Apuleius in narrating the small portion of the final initiation, throws completely into the shade the plagiaristic tales of the Christian ascetics. AUM is the trinity of mortal man on his way to become immortal through the union of his outer self with his inner triune Self. When this trinity, in anticipation of the final triumphant reunion beyond the gates of corporeal death becomes a Unity, then the candidate is allowed, at the moment of initiation, to behold his future Self. Man cannot perceive, touch, and converse with pure spirit through any of his bodily senses. Only spirit alone can talk to and see spirit. Man’s highest duty (religion) is to acquire the knowledge of his universal self (paramatman) and then, by the annihilation of his worldly self (atman), to experience the infinity of happiness prevalent in Unconscious Immateriality. A deep longing toward our true and real home is legitimate; abuse of it is sorcery, witchcraft, black magic. He who fully recognizes the power of his immortal spirit, and never doubted for one moment its omnipotent protection, has naught to fear. It is not alone for the esoteric philosophy that we fight; nor for any modern system of moral philosophy, but for the inalienable right of private judgment, and especially for the ennobling idea of a future life of activity and accountability. True philosophy and divine truth are convertible terms. A religion which dreads the light cannot be a religion based on either truth or philosophy, hence, it must be false. As the dogmas of every religion and sect often differ radically, they cannot be true. And if untrue, what are they? Part 3. Gnostic Basilides was a philosopher devoted to the contemplation of divine things. On the other hand, the unintelligible dogmas, enforced by Irenæus, Tertullian, and others, are far more heretical than those they accused of apostasy. The Church of Rome was consistent in choosing as her titular founder the apostle who thrice denied his master at the moment of danger; and the only one, except Judas, who provoked Christ in such a way as to be addressed as the “Enemy.” When frightened at the accusation of the servant of the high priest, Peter thrice denied his master. Whosoever else might have built the Church of Rome it was not Peter. He invented a burning hell and threatened everyone with it; promised miracles, but worked none. The only thing absolutely necessary for man is Truth; and to that, and that alone, must our moral consciousness adapt itself. Zoro-Aster was the Nazar of Ishtar. There is another hypothesis possible, which is that Zoro-Ishtar was the high priest of the Chaldæan worship, a Magian hierophant. The Jewish Scriptures indicate two distinct religions: that of Bacchus-worship under the mask of Jehovah; and that of the Chaldæan initiates to whom belonged some of the Nazars, the Theurgists, and a few of the prophets. Nazarenes, a term nearly synonymous with Galileans, were a class of Chaldæan Theurgists that existed long ages before Christ. Jesus was a true reforming Nazarene. The Essenes were the converts of Buddhist missionaries who had overrun Egypt, Greece, and even Judæa at one time, since the reign of Ashoka. Jesus cannot strictly be called an Essene. Neither was he a Nazar, or Nazaria of the older sect. Jesus was inspired by the genius of Mercury. He preached the philosophy of Buddha-Shakyamuni. His motive was evidently like that of Gautama-Buddha: to benefit humanity at large by producing a religious reform which should give it a religion of pure ethics. The early plebeian Israelites were Canaanites and Phœnicians, with the same worship of the Phallic gods: Bacchus, Baal or Adon, Iacchos — Iao or Jehovah; but even among them there had always been a class of initiated adepts. Baptismal water, fire, and spirit, or Holy Ghost, have all their origin in India. If baptism is the sign of regeneration, and an ordinance instituted by Jesus, why do not Christians now baptize as Jesus did, with the Holy Ghost and with fire, instead of following the custom of the Nazarenes? From time immemorial the prophets of old had been thundering against the baptism of fire as practiced by their neighbours, which imparted the “spirit of prophecy,” or the Holy Ghost. The true, original Christianity, such as was preached by Jesus, is to be found only in the so-called Syrian heresies. Such also was the faith of Paul. 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 Chaldæan Kabbalists and the Jewish Nazars, were identical from the beginning. Zarathustra and his followers had been settled in India before they immigrated into Persia. The old gods, whether Zoroastrian or Vedic, are personifications of the occult powers of nature, the faithful servants of the adepts of secret wisdom. Buddhism is the doctrine of wisdom-religion, which by many ages antedates the metaphysical philosophy of Siddhartha Shakyamuni. By analogy and a close study of the hidden meaning of their rites and customs, we can now trace the kinship of the Pagan worshippers of Adonis, their neighbours, the Nazarenes, and the Pythagorean Essenes, the healing Therapeutai, the Ebionites, and other followers of the ancient theurgic Mysteries. The chiefs of the Essene communities were Kabbalists and Theurgists. The Essenes were Pythagoreans in all their doctrine and habits. Jesus expressed his thoughts in purely Pythagorean sentences. The descent to Hades signified the inevitable fate of each soul to be united for a time with a terrestrial body. This union, a dark prospect for the soul to find itself imprisoned within the bleak tenement of a body, was considered by all the ancient philosophers, and even by the modern Buddhists, as a punishment. In common with Pythagoras and other hierophant reformers, Jesus divided his teachings into exoteric and esoteric. He also divided his followers into “neophytes,” “brethren,” and the “perfect.” The civilized portion of the Pagans, who knew of Jesus and honoured him as a philosopher-adept, placed him on the same level with Pythagoras and Apollonius. If Jesus did wear his hair long, like Samson, parted in the middle of the forehead after the fashion of the Nazarenes, he must have belonged to the sect of the Nazarenes and been called Nazaria for this reason, and not because he was an inhabitant of Nazareth. The full significance of Christos and its mystic meaning revealed. Christos suffered spiritually for us, and far more acutely than did the illusionary Jesus while his body was being tortured on the cross. Hence, the meaning of the Gnostics who, by saying that “Christos” suffered spiritually for humanity, implied that his Divine Spirit suffered mostly. It was Ephesus, with her numerous collateral branches of the great college of the Essenes, which proved to be the hotbed of all the kabbalistic speculations brought by the Tannaïm from the captivity. Tertullian and Epiphanius vehemently reproach Marcion by erasing passages from the Gospel of Luke, which never were in Luke at all. What the Fathers fought for was not truth, but their own interpretations and unwarranted assertions. In the days of Marcion two factions divided the primitive Church: The one considering Christianity a mere continuation of the Law, and dwarfing it into an Israelitish institution, a narrow sect of Judaism; the other, representing the glad tidings as the introduction of a new system, applicable to all, and supplanting the Mosaic dispensation of the Law by a universal dispensation of grace. Marcion maintained that the mission of Jesus was to abrogate the Jewish “Lord,” who was opposed to the God and Father of Jesus Christ as matter is to spirit, and impurity to purity. In what particular does the jealous, wrathful, revengeful God of Israel resemble the unknown deity, the God of mercy preached by Jesus? The “Father who is in secret” alone is the God of spirit and purity. It is only through the doctrines of Pythagoras, Confucius, and Plato, that we can comprehend the idea which underlies the term “Father” in the New Testament. To compare Him with the subordinate and capricious Sinaitic Deity is an error. The divine injunctions of Matthew, the living up to which would purify and exalt humanity, are identical with the Ordinances of Manu. The Hindus taught to return good for evil, but the Jehovistic command was “an eye for an eye” and “a tooth for a tooth.” Jehovah and Bacchus are one the same. Would Christians still maintain the identity of the “Father” of Jesus and Jehovah, if evidence sufficiently clear could be adduced that the “Lord God” was no other than the Pagan Bacchus, Dionysos? Part 4. Ageless Wisdom is the only religion of reason and free thought, of truth and impartiality, not authority. The sorely-abused communities compared with the Christian sects, and the Secret Science, its students and champions defended against unjust imputation. We will begin with a quick glance at the Ophites and Nazareans, their scions in Syria and Palestine that still exist today under the name of Druzes of Mount Lebanon, and near Basra under that of Mandæans or Disciples of St. John. And we will conclude with a brief survey of the Jesuits, and of that venerable nightmare of the Roman Catholic Church, modern Freemasonry. The work of Buddhistic proselytism began in Nepal. Not only did they make their way to the Mesopotamian Valley, but they even went so far west as Ireland. The encircled cross came from the far East with the Phœnician colonists, who erected the Round Towers as symbols of the life-giving and preserving power of man and nature, and of universal life that is produced through suffering and death. For Ireland, like every other nation, once listened to the proponents of Siddhartha-Buddha. The scheme of the Ophites varies from the description given by the Fathers, inasmuch as it makes Bythos or depth a female emanation, and assigns her a place answering to that of Pleroma, only in a far superior region; whereas, the Fathers assure us that the Gnostics gave the name of Bythos to the First Cause. The Ophite Serpent, emblem of wisdom and eternity, is androgyne manifesting itself as the double Principle of Good and Evil. The Serpent, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the Tree of Life, are all symbols transplanted from the soil of India. The Nazarene and Gnostic-Ophite Cosmogonies are one and the same. Neither King David nor Solomon recognized either Moses or the law of Moses. IA? is a title of the Supreme Being and belongs partially to the Ineffable Name; but it neither originated with, nor was it the sole property, of the Jews. The First Cause is manifesting itself in its creatures as a hermaphrodite deity: the male principle is the vivifying invisible spirit; the female, mother nature. The two are the Alpha and Omega, moved by the Hierarchy of Compassion, making IA? the trilateral name of the mystery-God, a breath of life. But Yaho IA?, the supreme deity of the Semites, is not the Lord God of other nations. The numerals of Pythagoras are hieroglyphical symbols, by means whereof he explained ideas concerning the nature of things. The first is I, and the final ?-mega. It is only by associating Yaho with the Masoretic points that the later Rabbins succeeded in making Jehovah read Adonai, or “Lord.” The future Deity of the sons of Israel calls out from the burning bush, gives His name as “I am that I am,” and specifies carefully that He is the “Lord God of the Hebrews,” not of the other nations. The scapegoat of Israel was a sacrificial martyr, symbol of the greatest mystery in heaven and on earth, the “fall” into generation. Eusebius, Irenæus, Theophilus, Cyril, Athanasius, and a host of other canonized “saints,” were followed by an army of pious assassins who had improved upon the system of deceit by proclaiming that it was lawful even to kill, when by murder they could enforce the new religion. Constantine, the Emperor of Darkness, drowned his wife in boiling water, butchered his little nephew, murdered with his own pious hand two of his brothers-in-law, killed his own son Crispus, bled to death several men and women, and smothered in a well an old monk. What a record! How determined Irenæus was to crush Truth and build up a Church of his own on the mangled remains of the seven primitive churches mentioned in the Revelation, may be inferred from his quarrel with Ptolemæus. Neither falsehood, nor sophistry, was too much for the bishop of Lugdunum. The mystic Magian religion, also known as Machagistia, is the most uncorrupted form of worship in things divine. Later, the mysteries of the Chaldæan sanctuaries were added to it by one of the Zoroasters and Darius Hystaspes, a hierophant and initiated Magian himself. Secrecy was preserved by the one and supreme great lodge as well as other sub-lodges. The mysterious Druzes of Mount Lebanon are the descendants of all these. Well over 80,000 Syrian Druzes are scattered from the plain east of Damascus to the western coast. There never was a case of an initiated Druze becoming a Christian. These people do not accept the name of Druzes but regard the appellation as an insult. They call themselves the “disciples of H’amsa,” their Messiah, who came to them in the eleventh century from the “Land of the Word of God.” The characteristic dogma of the Druzes is absolute unity with God. He is the essence of life and, although incomprehensible and invisible, He is to be known through occasional manifestations in human form. Chastity, honesty, meekness, and mercy, are the four theological virtues of all Druzes. Murder, theft, cruelty, covetousness, and slander are the five main sins. H’amsa, like Jesus, was a mortal man, and yet H’amsa and Christos are synonymous terms as to their inner meaning: they stand for Nous, the divine and higher soul of man, his Spirit. Buddhistic philosophy does not teach annihilation. Nirvana implies impersonal life-eternal in Spirit, not in Soul. But even this actionless state is maya-illusion. It was the Christian missionaries in China and India, who first started this falsehood about Nirvana. Students of Esoteric Philosophy see in the Nazarene Sage a Bodhisattva with the spirit of Buddha Himself in Him. Gautama Buddha was moved by that generous feeling which locks the whole humanity within one embrace, inviting the poor, the lame, and the blind to the King’s festival table, from which he excluded those who had hitherto sat alone, in haughty seclusion. All this he did six centuries before another reformer, as noble and as loving, though less favoured by opportunity, in another land. If both, aware of the great danger of furnishing an uncultivated populace with the double-edged weapon of knowledge which gives power, left the innermost corner of the sanctuary in the profoundest shade, who that is acquainted with human nature can blame them for it? But while one was actuated by prudence, the other was forced into such a course. While the mythical birth and life of Jesus are a faithful copy of those of the Brahmanical Krishna, his historical character of a religious reformer in Palestine is the true type of Buddha in India. What the Nazarene did as a consequence of his humble birth and position, Buddha did as a voluntary penance. The most important element of Buddhist reform has always been its social and moral code, one of the most perfect which the world has ever known, not just its metaphysical theories. It is curious that three dissenting and inimical religions, Brahmanism, Buddhism, and Jainism, should agree so perfectly in their traditions and chronology, as to Buddhism. There is a perfect identity of philosophical thought and popular rites between the Jainas and the Buddhists. Christianity is fraudulent through and through. The myths of “miraculous,” immaculate conception are now debunked. Even the annunciation by an angel to Joseph “in a dream,” the Christians copied from the message of Apollo to Ariston, Perictione’s husband, that the child to be born from her was the offspring of that god. Times have changed now, and even the once all-powerful clergy have to either bridle their tongues, or prove their slanderous accusations. Irenæus did not furnish one single valid proof of the claims that he so audaciously advanced against every Gnostic sect which had the temerity to claim the right to think for itself, and who resorted to endless forgeries. He gives authority neither for his dates nor his assertions. This Smyrniote worthy has not even the brutal but sincere faith of Tertullian, for he contradicts himself at every step, and supports his claims solely on acute sophistry. Eusebius, another champion for the propagation of Apostolic Succession, was attacked by George Syncellus for falsifying the Egyptian chronology. Nine reasons for rejecting a preposterous incongruity by Josephus, supported by Renan are given. Rough, rude, and brutal was Tertullian, the patristic firebrand. Thus the whole pyramid of Roman Catholic dogmas rests not upon proof, but upon assumption. Nearly everything in Christianity is mere baggage brought from the Pagan Mysteries. But the Church can claim one invention as thoroughly original with her, namely, the doctrine of eternal damnation, and one custom — that of the anathema. Even primitive Christian art is nothing but Pagan art in its decay, or in its lower departments. Forcing upon Jesus four gospels, in which there is not a single narrative, sentence, or peculiar expression, whose parallel may not be found in some older doctrine or philosophy, is a poor compliment paid to the Supreme. Drop out from Christianity the personality of Jesus, so sublime, because of its unparalleled simplicity, and what remains? History and comparative theology echo back the melancholy answer, “A crumbling skeleton formed of the oldest Pagan myths!” Apollonius was the friend of kings and moved with the aristocracy, while Jesus, representing the people, “had nowhere to lay his head.” But like Buddha and Jesus, Apollonius was the uncompromising enemy of all outward show of piety, all display of useless religious ceremonies and hypocrisy. The calumnies set afloat against him, were as numerous as they were false. Gautama Buddha 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 who lives for humanity does even more than him who dies for it. The groundwork of the Eclectic School was identical with the doctrines of the Yogins, the Hindu mystics, and the earlier Buddhism of the disciples of Gautama.