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?

Page  409

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

Page  410

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.”

Pin It on Pinterest