Mysteries of the Qabalah, by Elias Gewurz, , at sacred-texts.com
In the previous chapter the Qabalah has been considered from the historical point of view, the written Qabalah being referred to throughout. This may be called the body, the physical embodiment of the Ancient Wisdom, which is the true Spiritus, the Ruach Elohim. For the better understanding of the doctrines, however, a link is required, a soul which shall connect us with the Spirit behind the writings, and this soul we may think of as formed by the different methods called Qabalistic, the methods of unveiling the writings and enigmatical conversations of the Rabbis.
There are various modes of interpretation used for the purposes of unravelling the mysteries of the Scriptures, some of which are of an extraordinary nature, but it will be found difficult to put them aside as fanciful until after due trial and strict examination.
The different methods are as follows:
1. The key to the scriptures, the meaning
of the Hebrew letters themselves in addition to their meaning collectively, i.e., as words. Each letter has many meanings according to the plane of manifestation, from the Human foetus and its surroundings to the Cosmic foetus and its surroundings. These meanings will be explained at length in a later part of this work. It is sufficient to say, for the present that they constitute a veritable mine of great wisdom and are collectively the true Key to the Scriptures.
2. Each of the Hebrew letters besides the meanings spoken of above, has in common with the letters of many other languages, notably the Greek, a numerical value. These values are often written down in place of the letters of a word which they represent and this constitutes the numerical value of that word. From this method wonderful teachings can be derived, given the aid of one who has had some experience in these Qabalistic studies. It is called GMTRIA or Gematria, said to be a synonym for the Greek word Grammateia [Isaac Myer], which means literally "the amounting to," words of similar values being used
to explain the deep truths hidden in the combinations of letters called words. Thus the word Besheim, in the Name (of God), which is written BSHM or 2300 and 40, has the same value as the word MQRB which means "to draw near," and also is equivalent to the word BTZRIM, meaning "fortified."
3. The third method is called Temura which means "to change," and is called by Christian Qabalists "permutation." This is an anagrammatical method in which the letters of a word are changed about in order to form another word, or reversed, as the case may be, and in this way many mysteries are brought to light. Examples of Temura will be given in a later chapter.
4. Notariqon is a method by which the initials of words are taken to form other words, the most notable and the simplest example being that of the Chochmah Nestirah, which means the "Hidden Wisdom." We ask "what is this hidden wisdom and what its purpose?" The answer is shewn us by the teacher who points to its initial letters, viz. Cheth and Nun, and these two letters form the words NCH and CHN, the former
referring to Rest, or Pralaya and the latter to "Grace," both being symbols showing the result of a study of the Hidden Wisdom or Chochmah Nestirah, the latter being supposed to bring Grace and lead to rest and to the ultimate perfection of man. In a sense this is the human condition of Pralaya, the condition of Heaven upon Earth. The meaning of Notariqon is simply quick-writing, or shorthand.
5. Finally there are the "Four Ways," i.e. the four ways of interpreting the Sacred Scriptures, of which it will be well to have a clear idea before proceeding to examples of the methods already spoken of.
There is no special authority for all these statements, but they are well-known and accepted by Qabalistic students, having been handed down from father to son throughout the ages, further they can be read in very many different works too numerous to mention, although each writer gives an explanation of a different kind according to his predilections. Qabalistic teachers seem to be acquainted with all these methods, and that which is not taught by one may be learned from another and
moreover the methods which we are now to consider will lead to a greater insight of the Scriptures without the aid of any teacher except the intuition.
The four ways of reading the sacred Scriptures according to Qabalists, as mentioned in the Book of the Zohar are:
First PShT, or Pshat, the plain or simple literal rendering, the superficial knowledge which he who runs may read. The second method is called RMZ or Ramaz, literally "a hint," and is intended for students who are developing intellect and who do not care to be taught by those who see no other than the literal meaning of the scriptures. The third, DRSh or Darash, is the inferential method of reading, in which the eye of intuition, the eye of the Spirit, is opened and the man soars far above the lower mind, far beyond the intellect. The Intuition being something beyond the intellectual reasoning of the brain consciousness, as is well known to all occult students, though it should not be thought that either is to be dispensed with by those who seek a true Balance. Finally there is the fourth and most important method, called SUD or Sod,
literally "secret." This method is taught by initiates to their beloved disciples only and they are careful to whom they divulge the deepest mysteries, knowing that "those who hunt what the Gods hide have trouble for their pay."
The four ways of reading the Sacred Scriptures correspond to the Four Initiations of life, the lessons which man has to learn whilst passing through the experiences of the physical, emotional, mental and higher planes. These experiences have to be gained chiefly whilst in the dense physical body. The man who has mastered all these four ways, who has passed the initiations of Earth, Water, Air and Fire, rises above them and becomes a Pure One (Tahar). Now it is curious to note the same teaching in the Sanskrit, for in that wonderful language the word Tahar or Arhat means a Perfected One, or Mahatmaa Master in Israel.
A Master is one who has passed these four initiations, but this does not mean merely that he has learned to read the Sacred Scriptures which are written upon paper, in these four ways, for there are indeed
other scriptures, the scriptures formed in the hearts of men as well as in the Mind of God. Those who would be perfect have to learn to read these "Sacred Scriptures" in the "four ways," have to learn to view life in the four manners corresponding to Pshat, Ramaz, Darash and SUD.
This then is the goal set before us, this is the Law: "Be Perfect, even as the Father in Heaven is perfect." By conquering all the worlds, by experiencing all things, by reading the Sacred Books, whether in the hearts of men, or whether in the records of man or Nature, we rise above the necessity for earthly lessons and become free from our bonds, perfect masters of the Arts and Crafts. Thus viewing life, the Qabalist attains to Paradise, which secret is hidden in the four words, Pshat, Ramaz, Darash and Sud, the initials of which yield Prds (viz., Paradise).
What is Paradise? Is it a beautiful Garden of Eden, a materialistic heaven, such as is dreamed of by so many? Not at all, Paradise or Nirvana is a state of Consciousness, a condition, in which man becomes all that is, in which he feels himself
to be at one with all that is, in which he is at one with God and man and henceforth has no further lessons to learn upon earth, for he has attained the Goal set before humanity. He may then pass on to higher realms and enter a new order of Beings or He may remain to help in the great work on earth, that is to uplift and benefit His younger brothers. During this time of helping, that condition which is symbolized by Paradise is always with him.
All this is hidden in the words Pshat, Ramaz, Darash and Sud, as has been said, for as the man progresses through the different experiences of life and passes the initiations represented by these four words, the "four ways," he extracts from each the essence and adds it to his store of experience.
This then is the secret of the "Four Ways." Using these methods in addition to those already mentioned, we are here attempting to unravel some of the mysteries of the Scriptures but before continuing it will be well to have some examples of the methods already mentioned, Gematria, Temura, etc. To this is devoted a separate chapter.