Occult Science in India, by Louis Jacoilliot, , at sacred-texts.com
"Having divided his body into two parts, the sovereign ruler became half male and half female, and uniting with the female portion, begot Viradj the son." (Manu, sloca 34, book i.)
"I, Viradj, desiring to give birth to the human race, first produced the Ten Pradjapatis, who are the Lords of all created beings, after having practised the greatest austerities." (Manu, sloca 34, book i.)
In such terms as these, the venerable legislator of the Hindus first spake of the primitive triad, from which sprang the ten superior spirits, who first manifested themselves in creation.
We have already seen in what affecting language the Book of the Pitris speaks of the love of the husband for his spouse, and how the universe sprang from that celestial union. In all the pagodas of India, that symbolical trinity is represented by three heads, carved from a single block of granite or marble, in the form of a single head.
It is extraordinary to see how closely this idea, which sprang up on the banks of the Ganges, was copied in the teachings of the Jewish Cabalists.
We are free to confess that what we have said about the Cabala is not derived from our own knowledge upon that subject. All our information about the Hebrews is taken from Mr. Franck of the Institute, and the reader will understand that thereon rests the whole weight of our argument.
After this digression, we will now go on with our proofs. They seem like demonstrations in mathematics. We proposed to show that the Hebraic Cabala sprang originally from the Hindu temples. The best means at our command, in order to elucidate this problem, which is also interesting from an ethnographic point of view, is simply to confront the doctrine of the Pitris, as we have unfolded it, and the Hindu text, as we have given it, with the Hebraic texts themselves. We have also given the views of an eminent author, who certainly was not thinking of India when he was explaining the mysteries of the Zohar and the Sepher Jeszireh, and who too was wondering what could have been the birthplace of these extraordinary doctrines, which, in spite of certain points of similarity, never grew out of the Grecian or Arabic philosophies.
The following are the exact words of the Zohar, as given by the author in question, accompanied by his comments thereon. They lead from unity to the dyad, and from the dyad to the triad, by the same path which the thinkers in the Hindu pagodas had previously explored:
"In the beginning, was the Ancient. Seen face to face, he is the supreme head, the source of all light, the principle of all wisdom. The only definition that can be applied to him is, unity."
From the bosom of this absolute unity, of which, however, variety is a distinguishing feature, and from all relative unity, issue two principles in parallel lines, which are apparently opposed to each other, but in reality are not incompatible. The male, or active principle is called wisdom; the female, or passive principle is designated by a word that is commonly translated as intelligence.
"Everything that exists," says the Zohar, "everything that has been formed by the Ancient, whose name be sanctified, can only subsist through a male and a female."
From their eternal and mysterious union springs a son,
who, according to the original expression, takes after his father and mother together, and bears witness to both of them.
This son of wisdom and intelligence, called, on account of his double inheritance, the elder son of God, is knowledge, or science. These three persons contain and include everything that is, but they are united, in their turn, in the White Head, in the Ancient of ancients, for all is he and he is all.
Sometimes he is represented with three heads forming a single one. Sometimes he is compared to the brain, which, without losing its unity, is divided into three parts, and by means of thirty-two pairs of nerves is in communication with every part of the body, as, by the aid of the thirty-two methods of wisdom, the divinity is diffused throughout the universe.
"The Ancient," says the Zohar, "whose name be sanctified, exists with three heads forming a single one, and this head is the most elevated of all elevated things, and because the Ancient is represented by the number three, all the other lights, or, in other words, the ten Zephiroth, are also comprised within the number three."
In another part of the same work we read:
"There are three heads carved one within the other, and one above the other. In this number we reckon first hidden wisdom, which is never without a veil. This mysterious wisdom is the supreme principle of all other wisdom. Above this first head is the Ancient; whatever is most mysterious among mysteries. Finally comes the head which towers above all others, and which is no head. What it contains no one knows, or can know, for it equally escapes our knowledge and our ignorance. That is the reason why the Ancient is called the non-being."
Sometimes the terms or, if it is preferred, the persona of this trinity are represented as three successive and absolutely necessary phases of existence, as well as of thought, as a deduction or evolution which, at the same time, constitutes
the generation of the world. However surprising it may seem, there can be no doubt about it, when we read the following lines taken from the Zohar:
"Come and see; thought is the principle of everything; but it is at first ignorant and self-contained. When thought succeeds in diffusing itself abroad it has reached that stage when it becomes spirit. When it has arrived at that point it is called intelligence, and is no longer contained within itself as before. The spirit develops itself, in its turn, among the mysteries by which it is surrounded, and a voice comes from it, which is like a reunion of the celestial choirs, a voice which is distinctly heard in articulate words, for it comes from the spirit, but when we think of all these degrees, we see that thought and intelligence, this voice and this language, are one and the same thing; that thought is the principle of everything that is, and that no interruption can exist therein. Thought itself is united to the non-being, and is never separated from it. Such is the meaning of the words; Jehovah is one and his name is one.
"The name, which signifies I am, indicates to us the union of everything that is, the degree where all the methods of wisdom are still hidden, and placed together, without our being able to distinguish one from the other, but when a line of demarkation is once established, when it is desired to distinguish the mother, carrying all things in her womb, and upon the point of giving birth to them, in order to reveal the supreme name; then God says, speaking of himself: I who am. Finally, when all is carefully formed and has issued from the maternal womb, when everything is in its place, and it is proposed both to designate the individual and existence, God calls himself Jehovah, or I am that which is."
We will conclude the present sketch by presenting a most extraordinary resemblance between the doctrine of the Pitris and that of the Jewish Cabalists.
In the Hindu system, as we have seen, there were three trinities which proceeded successively from Swayambhouva, the self-existent being, and were mingled in him in a supreme union. They are:
First, the initial trinity, which gave birth to the divine thought:
Nari, the mother,
Viradj, the son.
Second, the trinity, as manifested, from which spring the primitive elements, which aid in the formation of the universe.
Third, the creating trinity:
Franck informs us, upon the authority of the Zohar, that a precisely similar doctrine was held by the Cabalists. He says:
"The ten Zephiroth were divided into three classes. Each presents the divinity to us under a different aspect, but always under the aspect of an invisible trinity.
"The first three Zephiroth are purely intellectual. As a matter of metaphysics, they express the absolute identity of thought and existence, and form what modern Cabalists call the intelligible world. It is the first manifestation of the Deity.
"The three that succeed them have a moral character: on the one hand, they make us conceive of God as identical with goodness and wisdom; on the other hand, they exhibit the Supreme Being as the origin of beauty and magnificence in creation. For this reason, they have been called the virtues, or the sensible world.
"Finally, we learn by the last three Zephiroth that the universal providence, or the Supreme Artist, is also absolute force or all-powerful cause, and that this cause is, at the same time, the generating element of everything that is. It is the last Zephiroth that constitutes the natural world or nature, in its essence and active principle, natura naturans."
Upon prosecuting our inquiries as to the original source of the philosophical ideas of mankind, it is highly suggestive, to say the least of it, that the Brahminical and Cabalistic notion of the three trinities was almost identically the same.
First, there was an unrevealed God, the primordial and universal germ, the Ancient of Days, as he was called by the Hindus, the Ancient of Ancients, according to the Cabalistic philosophy.
Second, there was then a first trinity, begotten of thought and will.
Third, there was in either case a second trinity, which was the origin of the elements, of the virtues, and of the forces of the sensible world.
Fourth, according to the Hindus, a third trinity had charge of the work of creation; according to the Cabalists, it represents the generative element of everything that is.
Finally, in both doctrines, the active generative element, by perpetual union with the passive or mother element, was continually shooting into space the rays of life, from which souls escape and accomplish their progressive destinies in the universe, and gradually ascend and are absorbed in the immortal source from which they originally spring, or, in other words, in unity.
In order to give a clearer idea of this notion of the Great All, with its two-fold nature, continually begetting everything that exists, and of the universe which is the product, or offspring, perpetually ascending to unity, like
the links of an endless chain, or a self-feeding flame, the Zohar makes use of the following comparison:
"In order to master the science of the sacred unity, look at the flame which rises from a brightly burning fire, or from a lighted lamp; first we see two lights, the one brilliantly white, the other black or blue. The white light is above the other, and rises in a straight line. The black light is underneath and seems to be the source of the former. They are, however, so closely united to each other that they form but one flame, but the foundation, formed by the blue or black light, in its turn, is connected with the burning matter which is still farther beneath. It should be known that the white light never changes; it always preserves its peculiar color, but several shades are distinguished in that which is beneath. The latter besides tends in two opposite directions. On top it is connected with the white light and below with the burning flame, but this matter is being continually absorbed in its bosom, and is continually ascending toward the superior light. In this manner everything returns to unity."
In view of the extraordinary similarity which we have shown to exist between the doctrines held by the Hindus and those of the Jewish Cabalists, what becomes of the claims of those Semitists who, in imitation of Renan, adopt every method to disseminate their peculiar views, independently of the fact that identically the same opinions were held by other people in Asia and the East.