On this 123rd year after the original printing of the following, I was blessed to receive the copy I have scanned, proof read, and present below.
I have been an avid researcher, of the Zoroastrian religion, since my first introduction while researching the roots of Religion. The Lecture given is by another researcher with like interest, while he exposes the fact most religions today are but an empty shell with little of the original teaching, including the Zoroastrian religion.
He is, however, off the mark on his assumptions regarding the true spirit of the Zoroastrian religion. He did not have the expertise to cross enough fields of discovery, and without the Archeological proofs of today, that have proven conclusively the “Marijuana, a.k.a. Cannabis” is the lost, and thought to be extinct plant deity known in the Avesta in the Avestan language as “HAOMA”, in Sanskrit of the Veda’s as “Soma”, and likely as attested by the region of discovery “Huo Ma” of that region of China.
Had he this knowledge, I would hope, he would not have slandered this religions central, and essential element to achieving true enlightenment, and the true subject of the teachings he was claiming to be his desire to preserve; and to discover the hidden mystery!
I hope the reproduction of this information will provide addition information, to researches still trying to discover the remaining truths, hidden by millennia of time, oral tradition, linguistic shifts, conquest, conquering, inquisitions, and bull of Roman Popes against the “intoxication of Indian Hemp”.
Praise be to the Provider, the Enlightener, the Protector; Haoma, our “Marijuana Plant”, “the Averter of Death, and Conqueror of lies!”
Note: I have tried to assure All spellings of words, are as in the original, minus the diacritics, and the occasional unavailable character making it necessary to use the modern term. Some of the words may appear misspelled, but that was the spelling, of just that short time ago.
The following page is of the content from the Cover of this Document, with the addition of my copyright notice that I have included, not to deter the use with non-profit motive, but that of a commercial nature without first obtaining Permission.
A lecture delivered, by invitation, at the Town Hall,
Bombay, on the 14th of February, 1882,
before the Parsi Community.
By COL. HENRY S. OLCOTT;
PRESIDENT OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY.
PUBLISHED BY PUBLIC SUBSCRIPTION AND 5,000 COPIES
This reformatted digital edition copyright © 2005 by Danuel D. Quaintance.
All rights reserved.
ORIGINAL COPY SCANNED FOR REPRINTING APRIL 24th, 2005
BY ENLIGHTENED COGNISCENTI DANUEL D. QUAINTANCE
OF THE CHURCH OF COGNIZANCE CULTURAL INFORMATION CENTER, PIMA, ARIZONA
COPYRIGHT2005; ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
-THE attention of all lovers of fair-play is drawn to the following: -
A large meeting, chiefly composed of educated and respectable Parsi inhabitants of Bombay, was held in the Town Hall, on Tuesday the 14th inst., when Col. H. S. Olcott, the President-Founder of the Theosophical Society, delivered a lecture on “The Spirit of the Zoroastrian Religion." The Hall was densely crowded, there being upwards of 1,500 people present. In their issues of the next day, the Bombay Gazette. The Bombay Samachar, the Jam-e-Jamshed, and the Akhabar-e-Saudagar gave a pretty fair report of the proceedings of the meeting. On the Sunday following, the 19th idem, the Indian Spectator, the Bombay Chronicle, the Loke Mitre, the Kaiser-i-Hind, the Yezdan Parast, and the Satya Mitra, while reporting the substance of the lecture, did not make mention of any unusual occurrence in connection with the meeting. But an exception was taken only by the Gujarati weekly called the Rast Goftar (Truth Teller), the editor of which paper, who formed one of the audience, in a silly article calculated to mislead those who were not present at the meeting, tried to cast certain
aspersions on the character of the large gathering which he compared to a gathering of people at a tamasha or toddy-shop who had assembled to shout, laugh, and applaud. He also ran down the learned lecturer, doubted his motives, and predicted that it was a bad sign for the Parsis to have attended such a meeting. I then replied at length in the columns of the Bombay Samachar of the
23rd idem to his several unfounded allegations. The subjoined testimony of a very few of the many respectable gentlemen present in the audience will, I trust, be found sufficient to corroborate my statement:
BOMBAY, 27th February, 1882.
We, the undersigned, were present at the meeting held at the Town Hall, on the evening of Tuesday the 14th inst., when Col. H. S. Olcott delivered a lecture on "The Spirit of the Zoroastrian Religion." So far as we know the meeting was not mainly composed of schoolboys. The assemblage was a dignified and orderly one, and was entirely free from any disturbance or uproar. The unusually large gathering in the Hall listened patiently and quietly to the discourse of the learned lecturer;
BOMANJEE DINSHA PETIT.
RUSTOMJEE D. SETTNA.
JIVANJEE JAMSHEDJEE MODY.
EDULJEE BOMANJEE MORRIS.
CAWASJEE HORMUSJEE, G.G.M.C.
FRAMJEE SORABJEE BHAROOCHA.
HORMUSJEE D. PESIKAKA,
FURDOONJEE M. BANAJEE.
D. E. DUDLEY, M.D.
MUNCHERJEE D. CAMA.
DAJI RAJ, THAKORE SAHIB OF
PANDURANG GOPALL, G.G.M.C.
DINANATH RUGOONATH KHOTE.
ARDESEER PESTONJEE CAMA,
C. D. CAMBATA.
HORMUSJEE BYRAMJEE CAMA.
D. MANECKJEE (of Calicut).
I must declare that I have never read a more deliberate misrepresentation and untruthfulness in the columns of any newspaper than the article in question, which appeared in the columns of the East Goftar. I doubt after what has been said in it, the paper could any longer continue to assume the name of Rast. It was a fortunate circumstance that the editor of the paper was present at the meeting; so he only was responsible for the article, and was not at the mercy of his reporter. An attempt' was made to convince the readers that the meeting was a puerile affair, and that with the exception of a very few educated
men, it was entirely composed of school-boys. This assertion was entirely untrue, as I could name hundreds of men, adult and respectable, who formed the major portion of the audience. Then the writer endeavoured to make his readers believe that the lecturer, throughout his discourse, instead
of saying anything about the religion, indulged in the luxury of showering encomiums on the Parsis, and extolled this man or that man and one or two societies. I need hardly try to disprove this accusation, because the lecture speaks for itself. Of course the learned Colonel pointed out the beauties of the religion; and it was not the Parsis whom he praised, but the ancient Zoroastrian
faith. Even to say that he did so indiscriminately is absurd. At the same time the motives attributed to the lecturer by the editor were calculated to lower the former in the estimation of the public. This particularly was very unbecoming of a journalist.
But the last accusation, viz., that the meeting was boisterous and disorderly, and that its proceedings resembled the conduct of people in a grog-shop, was as unfounded as it was discreditable to the author of this invention. I had a hand in the formation of that meeting, and consequently I was much concerned as to its dignity and order. I have been in the habit of attending most of the public meetings in Bombay. It has also fallen to my lot to be present at many large meetings in England and America. I say from my experience in that line that I have seldom seen in Bombay such a large assemblage better managed, more dignified, quieter, and more solemn than the one at the Town Hall. I was present on the platform for full two hours and a half, and I had therefore the best opportunity of closely watching all the quarters of the Hall. Nothing surprised me more than the patience and interest with which the whole large audience listened to the lecture. Although 700 chairs
were provided, a larger number of people were standing in the Hall for want of seats. But those who stood and those who retained their seats were all so equally interested that hardly a dozen people left the Hall before the lecture was over. This in itself was a proof of how the lecturer had succeeded in riveting the attention of the audience. So the report that the meeting was noisy, turbulent, and so forth, could only emanate from intentional perversion of facts or from the morbid sensibility of one who could not bear to see and hear a foreigner dilating on the excellencies of the Parsi religion. .
Now, it is difficult to guess the reasons of the well known editor having thus misstated facts. At the utmost stretch of my imagination, only two causes of his conduct in this instance suggest themselves to me (1.) His seat was at a pretty good distance from the platform, and perhaps, owing to the defective accoustic arrangement of the Hall, he could not catch what fell from the lecturer; and hence his confused and misleading report. (2.) Also the editor is reputed to be by no means sufficiently acquainted with the English language, whatever his merit as a Gujarati writer may be. Therefore, it is guessed, he was not able to follow the learned lecturer, and reproduce faithfully the
substance of what he said. But if neither of these be true, and if the misrepresentation was intentional, it is simply lamentable.
Instead of any perversion of facts, if the editor of the Rast had noted his dissent from the opinions expressed by the lecturer, I should have had nothing to say; because opinions of those who think for themselves must and will generally differ. But my object in prefacing the lecture with this statement is to hold up before the public one whose writings they weekly read both in the city and in
the mofussil, and to show them that an editor is capable
of misrepresenting facts, and that the profession of a paper that goes by the name of Truth-teller is incompatible at times with the practice of one who conducts it.
In conclusion, I pity the man who entered the Hall for the purpose of hearing a lecture on his religion which has Manasni, Gavasni and Koonasni (pure thoughts, pure words, pure deeds) as the basis, and who, instead of being influenced by the sublimity of the precepts, had the audacity to go home only to set aside his Manasni and write out an article abounding in misrepresentations and lacking in that truthfulness which, above all, should characterize the writings of a journalist. I raise my feeble voice in favour of Truth, and for its sake, and for the sake of my friend and master, the lecturer, as well as for the sake of the meeting that was called at my instance, I can afford to disregard the claims of friendship which has existed between me and the editor of the Bast, and give this statement to the public.
I embrace this opportunity of tendering my best thanks to certain members of the Parsi community for their having, according to their usual generosity, liberally responded to my appeal, and furnished me with enough funds to enable me to undertake the publication of the lecture, and to have five thousand copies for gratuitous distribution. A literal Gujarati translation of the lecture, also in five
thousand copies, will be ready for the public in a few days. The expenses of that publication will be defrayed by one Parsi gentleman.
K. M. SHROFF.
BOMBAY, 28th February, 1882.
COL. OLCOTT ON ZOROASTRIANISM.
“ COLONEL OLCOTT, President of the Theosophical Society, delivered a lecture on the Zoroastrian religion, at the Town Hall, on Tuesday the 14th February, 1882. The Hall was
packed in every part with Parsis. Mr. N. Byramjee Jeejeebhoy was called to the chair, upon the motion of Mr. Ragoonath Narayen Khote, seconded by Dr. D. E. Dudley.
“ The Chairman, while thanking the meeting for having elected him their Chairman, wished that their choice had fallen on one abler than himself, and sufficiently learned to do justice to the subject of the discourse. It was a remarkable circumstance that he, a Parsi, should be proposed to the chair, on the occasion of a lecture on his own religion, by a Hindu gentleman of respectability, supported by a Christian. Then, again, they must remember that the invitations to attend the meeting had been issued by a Hindu. The learned lecturer who would perhaps tell them some thing new about their ancient religion hailed from the far West, wherein quite different influences he had spent his life.
All the facts were in themselves a sufficient proof of a universal brotherhood without distinction of race, creed, or colour which formed one of the objects of the Theosophical Society, in connection with which they had an opportunity of meeting together that day. It was perhaps owing to a general ignorance of the ancient Eastern religions, literature, philosophy, and sciences, the revival of the study of which is one of the avowed objects of the Society, that they were not in a position to understand and appreciate the motives of the founders and the working of the body. Besides, the
contradictory reports that had appeared from time to time in the various leading papers in India concerning this organization did not yet enable them to form a correct estimate of the influence which the Society was likely to exercise on the minds of the educated classes in this country. But that was no reason why they should unfavourably criticise and condemn an apparently good work. Time was the proper test of many undertakings. If a cause was noble or ignoble, it would stand or fall accordingly. It was for them to patiently wait and watch the operations of the Society. If truth was at the bottom of the movement it would ultimately prevail in spite of all opposition. They saw that the Society was not a sectarian body. It did not work for this class of people or that, nor for one city or the other. If the founders of the Society succeeded in teaching the people of various castes and creeds in India to work together in harmony and in creating in them a taste for the study of the sublime religions of their forefathers they would lay the people of India under a great obligation. With these remarks, the Chairman called upon the lecturer, who was well known to them, to begin his discourse."- (The Bombay Gazette, February 15, 1882.)
Colonel Olcott, who on rising was received with loud and prolonged cheering, said :-
MR.CHAIRMAN, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,- With great diffidence I have accepted your invitation to address the Parsis upon the theme of the present discourse. The subject is so noble, its literature so rich, its ramifications so numerous, that no living man could possibly do it full justice in a single lecture. Happy, indeed, I will be, if I succeed in communicating to one or two of the learned Parsi scholars, who honour me with their presence, some of the deep interest which I have had for years
in the esoteric meaning of the Mazdiaznian faith. My hope is to attract your attention to the only line of research which can lead you towards the truth. That line was traced by Zoroaster and followed by the Magi, the Mobeds, and the Dasturs of old. Those great men have transmitted their thoughts to posterity under the safe cover of an external ritual. They have masked them under a symbolism
and ceremonies, that guard their mighty secrets from the prying curiosity of the vulgar crowd, but hide nothing from those who deserve to know all. Do not misunderstand me. I am not pretending that I know all, or a fraction of all: at best I have had but a glimpse of the reality. But even that little is quite enough to convince me that, within the husk of your modern religion, there is the shining soul of the old faith that came to Zardusht in his Persian name, and once illuminated the whole trans-Himalayan world. You --children of Iran, heirs of the Chaldean lore; you --who so loved your religion that neither the sword of Omar, nor the delights of home, nor the yearning of our common humanity to live among the memories of our ancestors, could make you deny that religion; you --who, for the sake of conscience, fled from your native land and erected an altar for the symbolical Sacred Fire in foreign countries, more hospitable than yours had become; you --men of intelligence, of an ancient character for probity, of enterprise in all good works --you are the only ones to lift the dark veil of this modern Parsiism, and let the “Hidden Splendor” again blaze forth. Mine is but the
office of the friendly wayfarer who points you to the mouth of the private road that leads through your own domain. I am not, if you please--a man, but only a VOICE. I need not even appeal to you to strip away the foreign excrescences that, during twelve centuries of residence among strangers, have fastened themselves upon primitive Zoroas-
trianism, nor to recite to you its simple yet all-sufficient code of morality, and ask you to live up to it more closely. This work has already been taken up by intelligent and public-spirited members of your own community. But I am to show you that your religion is in agreement with the most recent discoveries of modern science, and that the freshest graduate from Elphinstone College has no cause to blush for the “ignorance” of Zaratusht! And I am to prove to you that your faith rests upon the rock of truth, the living rock of Occult Science upon which the initiated progenitors of mankind built every one of the religions that have since swayed the thoughts and stimulated the aspirations of a hundred generations of worshippers. Let others trace back the history of Zoroastrianism to and beyond the time of the Bactrian King Vistasp; and reconcile the quarrels of Aristotle, Hermippers, Clement, Alexander, Polyhistor, and the other ancient as well as of modern critics, as to when Zaratusht lived and where was his birth place : these are non-essentials. It is of far less moment to know when and of what parentage a Religious reformer was born, than to be sure of what he taught and whether his teaching is calculated to bless mankind or not. Plotinus, the philosopher, so well knew this that he would not tell, even to Porphyry, his pupil and literary biographer, what was his native country, what his real name, or his parentage. As regards Zaratusht one thing is affirmed, viz., that about six centuries : B.C. one man of that name lived-whether or not several others preceded him, as several highly respectable authorities affirm is the fact-and that the religion he preached whether new or old, was of so noble a character that it indelibly stamped its impress upon the then chief school of Western philosophy, that of Greece.* It is also,
* In the oldest Iranian book called the Desatir - a collection of the teachings of the fourteen.oldest Iranian prophets. (to make the number
as I believe, certain that this man was an initiate in the sacred Mysteries, or, to put it differently-that he had, by a certain course of mystical study, penetrated all the hidden mysteries of man's nature and of the world about him. Zoroaster is by the Greek writers often called the Assyrian “Nazaret." This term comes from the word Nazar, or Nazir - set apart, separated. The Nazars were a sect of adepts, very ancient - existing ages before Christ. They are described as “physicians, healers of the sick by the imposition of the hands" and as initiated into the Mysteries
fifteen and include, among them, Simkendesh, or "Secander," is a grave error, as may be proved on the authority of Zarathusht himself in that book) - Zarthusht stands thirteenth in the list. The fact is significant. Respecting; the period of Zoroaster the First, or his personality, there is no trustworthy information given by any of the "Western, scholars; their authorities conflicting in the most perplexing manner. Indeed among the many discordant notices, I find the earliest Greek classic writers who tell us that Zarathusht lived from 600 to 5,000 years before the Trojan war, or 6,000 years before Plato. Again, it is declared by Berosus, the Chaldean priest, that Zoroaster was a founder of Indian dynasty in Bebylon 2200B.C.; while the later native traditions inform us that he was the son of Purushaspa, and a contemporary of Gustaspa, the father of Darius, which would bring him within 600B.C. Lastly. it is mentioned by Bunsen that he was born at Baktria before the emigration of the Baktrians to the Indus, which took place, as the learned Egyptologist shows us, 3784 B.C. Among this host of contradictions, what conclusion can one come to ~ Evidently, there is but one hypothesis left: and that is that they are all wrong, the reason for it being the one I find in the secret traditions of the esoteric doctrine namely, that there were several teachers of that name. Neither Plato nor Aristotle, so accurate in their statements, is likely to have transformed 200 years into 6,000, As to the generally accepted native tradition, which makes the great prophet a contemporary of Darius' father, it is absurd and wrong on the very face of it. Though the error is too palpable to need any elaborate confutation, I may say in regard to it a few words. The latest researches show that the Persian inscriptions point out to Vistasp as the last of the line of Kaianian princes who rnled in Baktria, while the
A syrian conquest of that country took place in 1200 B.C. Now this alone would prove that Zoroaster lived twelve or thirteen hundred years B.C., instead of the 600 assigned to him; and thus that he could not have been a contemporary of Darius Hystaspes, whose father was so carelessly and for such a length of time confounded in this connection with the Vistasp who flourished six centuries earlier. If we add to this the historical discrepancy between the statement of Ommianus Marcelinus - which makes Darius crush the Magi and introduce the worship of Ahurmazda - and the inscription on the tomb of that king which states that he was "teacher and hierophant of Magianism;” and that other no less significant and very important fact that the Zoroastrian Avesta shows no signs of the knowledge of its writer or
writers with either the Medes, the Persians, or the Assyrians, the ancient books Of the Parsis remaining silent upon and showing no acquaintance with any of the nations that have been known to have dwelt in or near the Western parts of Iran, - the accepted figure
(see treatise Nazir in the Talmud). The Jews returning from the Babylonian captivity were thoroughly imbued with Zoroastrian and Magian ideas; their forefathers had agreed with the Sabeans in the Bacctric worship, the adoration of the Sun, Moon, and Five Planets, the SABAOTH and realm of light. In Babylon they had learned to worship the Seven-Rayed God. And so we find running all throughout the Christian as well as the Jewish Scriptures, the septennary system, which culminates in the book of Revelation (the final pamphlet of the Bible) in the Heptaktis, and a prophecy of the coming of the Persian Soorish under the figure of the Christian Messiah, riding, like the former, upon a white horse. By the Jewish sect of the Pharisees, whose great teacher was Hillel, the whole angelology and symbolism of the Zoroastrians were accepted, and infused into Jewish thought; and their Hebrew Kabbal1ah, or secret book of Occult Wisdom, was the offspring of the Chaldean Kab~
600 B.C. as the period in which the prophet is alleged to have flourished becomes absolutely improbable.
It is therefore safe to come to the following conclusions :-(1.) That there were several (in all seven say the Secret Records) Ohuru--asters or spiritual teachers of Ahurmazda, an office corrupted later into Guru—asters and Zuru--asters from" Zera-Ishtar," the title of the Chaldean or Magian priests; and (2) that the last of them was Zarathusta of the Desatir, the thirteenth of the prophets, and the seventh of that name. It was he who was the contemporary of Vistasp, the last of the Kaianian princes, and the Compiler of Vendidad, the Commentaries upon which are lost, there remaining now but the dead letter. Some of the facts given in the Secret Records, though to the exact scholar merely traditional,
are very interesting. They are to the effect that there exists a certain hollow rock – full of tablets in a gigantic cave bearing the name of the first Zarathust under his Magian appellation, and that the tablets may yet be rescued some day. This cave with its rock and tablets and its many inscriptions on the walls is situated at the summit of one of the peaks of the Thian Shan mountains, far beyond their junction with the Belor Tagh, somewhere along their Eastern. Course. One of the half-pictorial and half-written prophecies and teachings attributed to Zarathust himself, relates to that deluge which has transformed an inland sea into the dreary desert called Shamo or Gobi Desert. The esoteric key to the mysterious creeds flippantly called, at one time the Sabian or Planetary Religion, at another, the Solar or Fire-Worship, " hangs in that cave," says the legend. In it the great Prophet is represented with a golden star on his heart and as belonging to that
race of Ante-diluvian giants mentioned both in the sacred books of the Chaldeans and the Jews. It matters little whether this information is accepted or rejected. .Since the rejection of it would not make the other hypothesis more trustworthy, it may just as well be mentioned here,
ballah. This deathless Work is the receptacle of all the ancient lore of Chaldea, Persia, Media, Bactria, and the pre-Iranian period. The name by which its students in the secret lodges of the Jewish Pharisees (or Pharsis) were known was Kabirim - from Kabeiri, the Mystery Gods of Assyria. Zoroastrianism and Magianism proper were, then, the chief source of both esoteric Judaism and esoteric Christianity. But not only has this subtle spirit left the latter religion, under the pressure of worldliness and skeptical enquiry; it also long ago left Judaism. The modern Hebrews are not Kabalists but Talmudist, holding to the later interpretations of the Mosaic canon : only here and there can we now find a real Kabalist, who knows what is the true religion of his people and whence it was derived.
The real history of Zoroaster and his religion has never been written. The Parsis have lost the key, as the Jews and Christians have lost that of their respective faiths, and as I find the Southern Buddhists have lost that of theirs. Not to the living pandits or priests of either of those religions can the laity look for light. They can only quote the opinions of ancient Greek and Roman, or modern German, French, or English writers. This very day nearly all that your most enlightened scholars know about your religion is what they have collated from European sources, and that is almost exclusively about its literature and external forms. And see what ridiculous mistakes some of
those authorities make at times! The Rev, Dr. Prideaux, treating of the Sad-der, says that Zaratusht Preached incest! -that “nothing of this nature is unlawful, a man may not only marry his Sister or his daughter, but even his mother!" (Ancient Universal History, iv. 296). He quotes no Zend authority, nothing written by a Parsi, but only Jewish and Christian authorities, such as Philo, Tertul1ian, and
Clement Alexandrinus. Eutychius, a priest and archi-
mandrite at Constantinople, writes, in the 5th century, on Zoroastrianism as follows: “Nimrod beheld a fire rising out of the earth and he worshipped it, and from that time forth the Magi worshipped fire. And he appointed a man named Andeshan to be the priest and servant of the Fire. The Devil shortly after that spoke out of the midst of the fire (as did Jehovah to Moses?) saying ‘No man can serve the Fire or learn Truth in my Religion, unless first he shall commit incest with his mother, sister, and daughter' ! He did as he was commanded, and from that time the priests of the Magians practised incest; but Andeshan was the first inventor of that doctrine." I quote this as a sample of the wretched stuff that has .always been written against the Zoroastrian religion by its enemies. The above words are simply the dead letter mistranslation of secret doctrine, of which portions are to be found in certain rare old MSS. possessed by the Armenians at Etchmiadzine, the oldest monastery in Russian Caucasus. They are known as the Mesrobian MSS. Should the Bombay Parsis show any real
general interest in the rehabilitation of their religion, I think I may promise them the unpaid but, all the same, friendly assistance of Madame :Blavatsky, whose friend of, thirty-seven years standing, the Prince Dondoukoff Korsakoff, has just notified her of his appointment by His Majesty the Czar, as Viceroy of the Caucasus.
In one of such old MSS., then, it is said of the Initiate, or Magus, “He who would penetrate the secrets of (sacred) Fire, and unite with it [as the Yogi ‘unites himself with the Universal Soul'] must first unite himself soul and body to the Earth, his mother., to Humanity, his sister, and Science, his daughter." Quite a different thing, you perceive, from the abhorrent precept ascribed to the Founder of your Mazdiasnian faith. And this example should serve as a warning to your so-called educated youth,
against turning up his classical nose, at his ancestral religion as ‘unscientific' and nonsensical.
A curious and sad thing, indeed, it is to see how completely the old life has gone out of Zoroastrianism. Originally a highly spiritual faith - I know of none more so- represented by sages and adepts of the highest rank among initiates, it has shrunk into a purely exoteric creed; full of ritualistic practices not understood, taught by a numerous body of priests as a rule ignorant of the first elements of spiritual philosophy; represented in prayers of which not a word has a meaning to those who recite them daily: the shrivelled shell that once held a radiant soul. Yet all that Zoroastrianism ever was it might be made again. The light still shines, though in darkness,
enclosed in the clay vessel of materialism. Whose shall be the holy hand to break the jar of clay and let the hidden glory be seen? Where is the mobed who shall in our day and generation rise to the ancient dignity of his profession, and redeem it from degradation.* One so great as to Qblige even a Parsi author (Mr. Dosabhoy Framjee, see his able work on The Parsees, &c., p. 277) say they "recite parrot like all the chapter's requiring to be repeated on occasions of religious ceremonies. . . . Ignorant and unlearned as these priests are, they do not and cannot command the respect of the laity.” . . . "the position of the so-called spiritual guides has fallen into contempt;" and to add that some priests have "given up a profession which has ceased to be honorable and. . . become contractors for constructing railroads in the Bombay Pre-
* Not before he learns the true meaning of his own name, and strives once more to become worthy of it. How many among the modern priests know that their title of "Mobed or "Mogbed" comes from Mag, a word used by the prophet Zeremiah to designate a Babylonian Initiate, which, in its turn, is an abbreviation of Maginsiah - the great and wise ?, Maghistom" was once the title of Zoroaster's highest disciples, and the synonym of wisdom. Speaking of them Cicero says: " Sapientium et doctorum genus magorum habebatur in Persis.
sidency." Some of the present -dastur's "are intelligent and well-informed men, possessing a considerable knowledge of their religion; but the mass of the priesthood are profoundly ignorant of its first principles." (Ibid, 279.)
I ask you, men of practical sense, what is the certain fate of a religion that has descended so low that its priests are regarded by the Behedin as fit only to be employed in menial services, such as bringing things to you from the bazar, and doing household jobs of work. What is it? I put it to you. Do you suppose that such a dried corpse will be left long above ground by the fresh and critical minds you are educating at College? Nay, do you not see how they are already treating it; how they abstain from visiting your temples; how sullenly they “make kusti,” and go through their other daily
ceremonies; how they avoid as much as possible every attention to the prescribed ordinances; how they are gathering in clubs to drink pegs and play cards; how they are defiling themselves by evil associations, smoking in secret, and some even openly, and prating glibly the most skeptical sophistries they have read in European books, written by deluded modern theorists? Yes, -the cloud gathers over the fire-altar, the once fragrant wood of Truth is wet with the deadly dews of doubt, a pestilential vapour fills the Atash Behram, and unless some Regenator is raised up among you, the name of Zaratusht may, before many generations, be known only as that of the Founder of an extinct faith. . . . .
In his Preface to the translation of the Vendidad, the learned Dr. Darmesteter (vol. iv. of The Sacred Books of the East, edited by Professor F. Max Milner) says, “The key to the Avesta is not the Pahlavi, but the Veda. The Avesta and the Veda are two echoes of one and the same voice, the reflex of one and the same thought: the Vedas,
therefore, are both the best lexicon and the best commentary to the Avesta" (p. xxvi.) This he defines as the extreme view of the Vedic scholars, and while personally he does not subscribe to them entirely, he yet holds that we cannot perfectly comprehend the Avesta without utilising the discoveries of the Vedic pandits. But neither Darmesteter, nor Anquetil Duperron, nor Haug, nor
Spiegel, nor Sir William Jones, nor Rapp (whose work has been 80 perfectly translated into English by your eminent Parsi scholar, Mr. K. R. Cama), nor Koth, nor any philological critic whose works I have read, has named the true key to Zaratushta's doctrine. For it, we must not search among the dry bones of words. No, it hangs within the door of the Kaballah --the Chaldean secret volume, where
under the mask of symbols and misleading phrases, it is kept for the use of the pure searcher after arcane knowledge. The entire system of ceremonial purifications which in itself is so perfect that a modern Parsi - a friend of mine – has remarked that Zoroaster was the best of Health Officers-'
js, as it seems to me, typical of the moral purification required of him who would either, while living, attain the Magian's knowledge of hidden laws of nature and his power to wield them for good purposes or, after a well ordered life, to attain by degrees to the state of spiritual beatitude, called Mokska by the Hindus and Nirvana by the Buddhists. The defilements by touch of various objects
that you are warned against, are not visible defilements, like that of the person by contact with filth, but psychic defilements, through the influence of their bad magnetic aura – a subtle influence proceeding from certain living organisms and inert substances, which is antipathetic, to development
as an adept. If you will compare your books with the Yoga sutras of the Hindus, and the Triptikas of the Buddhist You will see that each exact for the student and prac-
titioner of Occult Science, a place, an atmosphere, and surroundings that are perfectly pure. Thus the Magus (or Yozdathraigur) the Yogi, and the Arahat all retire, either to the innermost or topmost chambers of a temple, where no stranger is permitted to enter (bringing his impure magnetism with him), to the heart of a forest, a secluded cave, or a mountain height. In the tower of Belus at Babylon, virgin seeresses gazed into magical mirrors and aerolites, to see their prophetic visions; the Yogi retires to his subterranean gupha, or to the jungle fastnesses; and the Chinese books tell us that the" Great Nachus " of their sacred doctrine dwell in the" Snowy Range of the Himavat." The books alleged to have been inspired by God, or by him or his angels delivered to man, have always, I believe, been delivered on mountains. Zaratusht got the Avesta on Ushidarinna, a mountain by the river Daraga (Vendidad xlix.); Moses received the tables of the Law on Mount Sinai (Exodus, xxxiv;); Mahommed was given the Koran on "Mount Hara ( Am.Cyc. vol. xi, 612); and the Hindu Rishis lived in the Himalayas. Sakya Muni left no inspired books but, although he received the illumination of the Buddhaship in the plains, under a Bo-tree, he had prepared himself by years of austerities in the mountains near Rajagriha. The obstructive power of foul human, animal, vegetable, and even mineral auras, or magnetisms, has always been understood by occult students, from the remotest times. This is the true reason why none but initiated and consecrated priests have ever been allowed to step within the precincts of the holiest places. The custom is not at all the offspring of any feeling of selfish exclusiveness, but based upon known psycho-physiological laws. Even the modern spiritualists and mesmerists know this; and the latter, at least, 'carefully avoid "mixing magnetisms," which always hurts a sensitive subject. All nature is a compound of conflict-
ing, hence counterbalancing and equilibrating forces. Without this there could be no such thing as stability. Is it not the contest of the centrifugal and centripetal attractions that keeps our earth and every other orb of heaven revolving in its orbit? The law of the Universe is a distinct Dualism while the creative energy is at work, and of a compound Unism when at rest. And the personification of these opposing powers by Zaratusht was but the perfectly scientific and philosophical statement of a profound truth. The secret laws of this war of forces are taught in the Chaldean Kabbalah. Every neophyte who sets himself to study for initiation is taught these secrets, and he is made to prove them by his own experiments, step by step, as his powers and knowledge increase. Zoroastrianism has two sides - the open, or patent, and the concealed, or secret. Born out of the mind of a Bactrian seer, it partakes of the nature of the primitive Iranian national religion and of the near spirituality that was poured into it, from the source of all truth, through the superb lens of Zoroaster's mind.
The Parsis have been charged with being worshippers of the visible fire. This is wholly false. They face the fire, as also they do the sun and the sea, because in them they picture to themselves the Hidden Light of Lights, source of all Life, to which they give the name of Ormazd. How well and how beautifully is this expressed in the writings of Robert Fludd) the English mystic of the 17th century (see Hargreave Jennings' The Rosicrucians) p. 69 et seq) . " Regard Fire, then, with other eyes than with those soulless, in curious ones with which thou hast looked upon it as the most ordinary thing. Thou hast forgotten what it is - or rather thou hast never known. Chemists are silent
about it * * * Philosophers talk of it as anatomists discourse of the constitution (or the parts) of the human body * * * it is made for man and this world, and it
is greatly like him-that is, mean, they would add * * * But is this all? Is this the sum of that casketed lamp of the human body? - thine own body, thou unthinking world's machine-thou man? Or, in the fabric of this clay lamp [what a beautiful simile!] burneth there not a Light? Describe that, ye Doctors of Physics! * * * Note the goings of the Fire * * * Think that this thing is bound up in matter-chains. Think that He is outside of all things, and deep in the inside of all things; and that thou and thy world are only the thing between: and that outside and inside are both identical, couldst thou understand the supernatural truths! Reverence Fire (for its meaning) and tremble- at it * * * Avert the face from it, as the Magi turned, dreading, and (as the Symbol) bowed askance * * * Wonder no longer then if, rejected so long as an idolatry, the ancient Persians, and their Masters, the Magi-concluding that they saw' All' in this supernaturally magnificent element-fell down and worshipped it ; making of it the visible representation of the very truest; but yet, in man's speculation, and :in his philosophies-nay, in his commonest reason-impossible God,"
And, mind you, this is the language, not of a Parsi or one of your faith, but of an English scholar who followed the shining path marked out by the Chaldean Magi, and obtained, like them, the true meaning; of your Mysteries. Occult Science is the Vindicator of Zoroastrianism, and there is none other. Modern physical Science is blind herself to spiritual laws and spiritual phenomena. She cannot guide, being herself in need of a helping hand-the hand of the Occultist and the Hierophant Chaldean sage.
Have yon thought why the Fire is kept ever burning on your altars? Why is it? Why may not the priest suffer it to go out and re-kindle it again each morning?
Ah ! there is a great secret hidden. And why must the flames of one thousand different fires be collected-from the smithy, the burning-kiln, the funeral pyre, the goldsmith's furnace, and every other imaginable source. Why? because this spiritual element of Fire pervades an nature, is its life and soul, is the cause of the motion of its molecules which produces the phenomenon of physical
heat. And the fires from all these thousand hearths are collected, like so many fragments of the universal life, into one sacrificial blaze which shall be as perfectly as possible the complete and collective type of the light of Hormazd. -See the precautions taken to gather only the spirit or quintessence, as it were, of these separate flames. The priest takes not the crude coals from the various hearths and furnaces and pits; but at each flame he lights a bit of sulphur, a ball of cotton, or some other inflammable substance; from this secondary blaze he ignites a second quantity of fuel; from this a third; from the third a fourth, and so on: taking in some cases a ninth, in others a twentieth flame, .until the first grossness of the defilement of the fire in the base use to which it was put has been purged, and only the purest essence remains, Then only is it fit to be placed upon the altar of Ormazd. And even then the flame is not ready to be the type of that Eternal Brightness:
it is as yet but a body of earthly flame, a body which lacks its noblest soul. When your forefathers gathered at Sanjan to light the fire for the Indian exiles, the holy Dastur Darab, who had come with them from Persia, gathered his people and the strangers of the country about him in the jungle.
Upon a stone block the dried sandlewood was laid, Four priests stood at the four cardinal points. The Gathas am intoned, the priests bow their faces in reverential awe. The Dastur raises his eyes to heaven, he recites the mystical words of power: lo! the fire from the upper
world of space descends, and with its silvery tongues, laps round the fragrant wood, which bursts into a blaze. This is the missing spirit evoked by the adept Prometheus. When this is added to the thousand other dancing flames the Symbol is perfected, and the face of Ormazd shines before his worshippers. Lighted thus at Sanjan, that historic fire has been kept alive for more than seven hundred years, and until another Darab appears among you, to draw the flames of the ambient ether upon your altar, let it be fed continuously.
This ancient art of drawing fire from heaven was taught in the Samothracian and Kabiric mysteries. Numa, who introduced the Vestal mysteries into Rome, thus kindled a fire which was under the care of consecrated Vestal Virgins, whose duty it was, under penalty of death for neglect, to constantly maintain it. It was, as Schweigger shows, the Hermes fire, the Elmes-fire of the ancient Germans; the lightning of Cybele; the torch of Apollo; the fire of Pan's altar; the fire-flame of Pluto's, helm; the inextinguishable fire in the temple of the Grecian Athene, on the Acropolis of Athens; and the mystical fires of many different worships and symbols. The Occult Science, of which I spoke, was shared by the initiates of the Sacred Science all over the ancient world. The knowledge was first gained in Chaldea, and was thence spread through Greece to more Western and Northern countries. Even to-day the Fire-Cult survives among the rude Indian tribes of Arizona -- a far Western portion of my native America. Major Calhoun, of the U. S. Army, who commanded a surveying party sent out by our Government, told me that in that remote corner of the world, and among, those rude people, he found them keeping alight their Sacred Fire in their teocalis, or holy enclosures. Every morning their priests go out, dressed in the sacerdotal robes of their
forefathers, to-salute the rising sun, in the hopes that Montezuma, their promised Redeemer and Liberator, will appear. The time of his coming is not foretold, but from generation to generation they wait, and pray, and hope.
In her Isis Unveiled, Madam Blavatsky has shown us that this heavenly fire however and whenever manifested, is a correlation of the Akasa, and that the art of "the Magician and Priest enables him to develop and attract it down.* But to do this he must be absolutely pure--pure in body, in thought, in deed. And these are the three pillars upon which Zaratusht erected the stately edifice of his religion. I have always considered. it as a great test of the merit of any religion that its essence can be compressed into a few words that a child can understand. Buddhism, with its noble comprehensiveness, "was distilled by its Founder into seven words; Zoroastrianism is reduced to three -- Hamute, Hukhte, Vurushte.
A Parsi gentleman, with whom I conversed the other day, explained the fact of your having no wonder-working priests at present, by saying that none living were pure enough. He was right, and until you can find such a pure celebrant, your religion will never be again ensouled. An impure man who attempts the magical ceremonies is liable to be made mad or destroyed. This is a scientific necessity. The law of nature is, you know, that action and reaction are equal. If, therefore, the operator in the Mysteries propels from himself a current of will-power directed against a certain object, and- either because of feebleness of will, or deviation caused by impure motives, he misses his mark, his current rebounds from the whole
* Occult sound as well as light emanate from" Akasa "; but the true Brahman and Buddhist initiates make a great distinction between Astral Fire and Astral Light. Occult sounds and lights are heard and seen by the Yogi, and he knows that they proceed from his own Moola Atharam -- the first of the six centres of force taught in Yoga philosophy- "The centre whose name means 'the chief foundation or basis is the seat of ‘Astral Fire’ ” they say.
body of the Akasa (as the ball rebounds from the wall against which it is thrown to the thrower's hand) and reacts upon himself. Thus, we are told that they who did not know how to manage the miraculous fire in the Vestal and Kabiric mysteries " were destroyed by it, and were punished by the Gods" (Eunemoser. Hist. of Magic, II. 32). Pliny relates (Histor. Nat. xxviii., 2) that Tullus Hostilius had sought from the books of Numa "Jovem devocare &.coelo " ; but as he did not correctly follow the rules of Numa, he was struck by the lightning. This same rule applies equally to the attempt to use the black art unskillfully. The old English proverb says" Curses, like fowls, come home to Roost." He who would use the powers of Sorcery, or Black Magic, is sure to be destroyed by them first or last. The old fables about sorcerers being carried off by the mocking" devils" whom, for a
time, they had employed to gratify their unlawful desires, are all based upon fact. And, in Zoroastrianism, the Parsi is as carefully taught to eschew and fight against the powers of Ahriman, or the Evil Spirits of Darkness, as to cultivate intimacy with and win the protecting favour of the Amesha-spentas and Yazatas--the personified good principles of Nature. You will not find any of your European authorities speaking of these personifications with decent respect, any more than of the nature-gods of the Aryans. To their minds these are but the childish fancies of a florid Persian or Aryan imagination, begotten in the infancy of our race. For a good reason too; not one of these' spectacled pandits has the least practical reason to believe that there are such good and evil powers warring about us. But I am not afraid to say to them all in my individual, not official, capacity, that I do believe in them; nay, that I actually know they exist. And this is why you bear me, a Western man, taught in a Western University
nursed on the traditions 'Ofmadern civilization, say that Zaratushta knew more about nature than Tyndall does, more about the laws of Force than Balfour Stewart, more about the origin of species than Darwin or Haeckel, more about the human mind and its potentialities than Maudsley or Bain. And so did Buddha, and some other, ancient proficients in Occult Science. Pshaw! Young man
of the Bombay University, when you have taken your degree, and learned all your professors can teach you, go to the hermit and the recluse of the jungle and ask him to prove to you where to begin your real study of the world into which you have been born! Your professors can make you learned but not wise, can teach you about the shell of Nature, but those silent and despised unravelers of the tangled web of existence, can evoke for you the soul that lurks within that husk. Three centuries before Christ the united kingdom of Persia and Media exercised a dominion extending over an area of three or four millions of square miles, and had a population of several hundred millions of people. And do you mean to tell me that the Zoroastrian religion could have dominated the minds of this enormous mass of people--nearly twice the present population of India--and could have also swayed the religious thought of the cultured Greeks and Romans, if it had not had a spiritual life in it that its poor remnant of to-day completely lacks? I tell you that if you could put that ancient life back into it, and if you had your Darabs and your Abads to show this ignorant age the proof of the reality of the old Chaldean wisdom, you would spread your religion all over the world. For the age is spiritually dying for want of a religion that can show just such signs, and for lack of them two crores of intel1igent Western people have become Spiritualists and are following the lead of mediums. And not only your religion is
soulless, Hinduism is so, Southern Buddhism is so, Judaism and Christianity are so likewise. We see following the Missionaries none of the" signs" that Jesus said should follow those who were really his disciples: they neither raise the dead, nor heal the sick, nor give sight to the blind, nor cast out devils, nor dare they drink any deadly thing in the faith that it will not harm them. There are a few true wonder-workers in our time, but they are among the Lamaists of Tibet, the Copts of Egypt, the Sufis and Durveshes of Arabia and other Mahomedan countries. The great body of the people, in
all countries, are become so sensual, so avaricious, so materialistic and faithless, that their moral atmosphere is like a pestilential wind to the Yozdathraigur (those adepts whom we have made known to India under the name of BROTHERS),
The meaning of your Haoma, you doubtless know. In the IXth Yasna of the Avesta, Haoma is spoken of both as a god-a Yazata--and the plant, or the juice of the plant, which is under his especial protection, and so is the Soma of the" Aitareya Bramana."
" At the time of the morning-dawn came
1. Haoma to Zarathustra,
2. As he was purifying the fire and reciting the Gathas.
3. Zarathustra asked him: Who, O man, art thou?
4. Thou, who appearest to me as the most beautiful in the whole corporeal world, endued with
Thine own life, majestic and immortal?
5. Then answered me Haoma, the pure, who is far from death.
6. Ask me,' thou Pure one, make me ready for food."
Thus in the same line, is Haoma spoken of in his personified form and as a plant to be prepared for food.
Farther on he is described as
52. "Victorious, golden, with moist stalks."
This is the sacred Soma of the Aryans-by them also elevated into a deity. This, is that wondrous juice which lifted the mind of him who quaffed it to the splendours of the higher heavens, and made him commune with, the gods. It was not stupifying like opium, not maddening like the Indian hemp, but exhiliarating, illuminating, the begetter of divine visions. It was given to the candidate in the
Mysteries, and drank with solemn ceremony by the Hierophant. Its ancient use is still kept in your memories, by the mobeds drinking, in the Yasna ceremony, a decoction of dried Haoma stalks, that have been pounded with bits of pomegranate root in a mortar, and afterwards had water thrice poured over them.
The Baresma twigs--among you represented by a bunch, of brass wires! --are a reminiscence of the divining-rods anciently used by an practitioners of ceremonial magic. The rod or staff was also given to the fabled gods of Mythology. In the fifth book of the Odyssey, Jupiter in the council of the gods, bids Hermes go upon a certain mission, and, the verse says--
Forth sped he * *. * * * *
Then taking his staff, with which he the eyelids of
Closes at will, and the sleeper, at will, reawakens."
The rod of Hermes was a magic-staff; so was that, of AEsculapios, the healing wand that had power over disease. The Bible has many references to the magic-rod, notably, in the story of the contest of Moses with the Egyptian Magicians, in the presence of Pharaoh, in that of the magical
bidding of Aaron's rod, the laying of Elisha's staff on the face of the, dead Shunamite boy, &c. The Hindu gossein of our day carries with him a bamboo rod having seven knots, or joints, that has been given to him by his Guru
and contains the concentrated magnetic will-power of the Guru. All magic-rods should be hollow, that the magnetic power may be stored in them. In the Yasna II., note that the Priest, holding the Baresma rods in his hand, repeats constantly the words "I wish "--properly, I will--so and so. By the ceremony of consecration of the sacred twigs a magical power had been imparted to them, and with the help of this to fortify his own will-force, the celebrant seeks the attainment of his several good desires. The heavenly Fire, the good spirits, all good influences through out the several Kingdoms of Nature, and the law or WORD. In the middle ages of Europe, divining rods were in general use, not only to discover subterranean waters and springs, and veins of metal, but also fugitive thieves and murderers. I could devote an entire lecture to this subject and prove to you that this phenomenon is a strictly scientific one. In Baring-Gould's Curious Myths of the Middle Ages will be found highly interesting accounts of these trials of the mystical power of the rods which time forbids my quoting.
At this day the rods are employed to discover springs, and the Cornish miners carry sprigs of hazel or other wood in their caps. The author of the work named, while ascribing the strange results he is obliged to record principally to the imagination, is yet constrained to add that "The powers of Nature are so mysterious and inscrutable that we must be cautious in limiting them, under abnormal conditions, to the ordinary laws of experience." And in this he is backed up by the experience of many generations of witnesses, in many different countries.
We have mentioned the invocation of the divine WORD or Name in the Yasna. All the ancient authorities affirm that there is a certain Word of Power by pronouncing which the adept subjugates all the forces of Nature to his will. It is mentioned by many authors. One of the latest is the
atmospheric particles whose undulations beget light, sound, heat and electricity, but in the latent spiritual principle or Force--about the nature of which Modern Science knows scarcely anything. No words whatever have the slightest efficacy unless uttered by one who, is perfectly Free from all weakening doubt or hesitancy, is- for the moment wholly absorbed in the thought of uttering-them, and has a cultivated power of will which makes him send out from himself a conquering impulse. Spoken prayer is, in fact, an incantation, and when Spoken by the “Heart,” as well as by the lips, has a power to attract good and repel bad, influences. But to patter off prayers so many times a day while your thoughts are roving over your landed estates, fumbling your money-bags, or straying away among any other worldly things, is but mere waste of breath. The Bible says, "the prayer of the righteous availeth much"; and so it does. There is the case of George Mueller, of Bath, England, who
for thirty years has supported the entire expenses of his orphanage--now a very large institution of charity—by the voluntary gifts of unknown passers-by at the door, who drop into his charity-boxes the exact sum he prays for to meet the day's necessities. History does not contain a more curious or striking example than this. This man prays with such faith and fervency, his. motives are so pure, his labours so beneficient, that he attracts, to him an the good influences: of Nature, although he knows neither the" Ahura Vairya," nor the Aryan Mantras, nor the Buddhistic Pirit. Use what words you may, if the heart is clean, the thought intense, and the will concentrated, the powers of Nature will come at your bidding and be your slaves. Says the Dabistan (p. 2) :-
" Having the heart in the body fun of thy remembrance,
the novice, as well as the adept, in contemplation
" Becomes a supreme king of beatitude, and the throne
of the kingdom of gladness.
“ Whatever road I took, it joined the street which leads
“ The desire to know thy being is also the life of the
" He who found that there is nothing but Thee, has
found the final knowledge;
The mobed is the teacher of thy truth, and the world a
But this mobed was not a mere errand-runner, or droner of Gathas perfunctorily without understanding a word he was saying, but a real mobed. So high an ideal of human perfectibility had he to live up to, Cambyses is said to have commanded the execution of a priest who had allowed
himself to be bribed, and had his skin stretched over the chair in which his son and successor sat in" his judicial capacity. (Hist. Magic. 1.,2.) “Mobed” is derived from Mogbed--from the Persian Mog, and means a true priest. Ennemoser truly says that the renowned wisdom of the Magi in Persia, Media, and the neighbouring countries, " contained also the secret teachings of philosophy and the sciences, which were only communicated to priests, who were regarded as mediators between God and Man, and as such, and on account of their knowledge, were highly respected." (Ibid.) The priests of a people are exactly what the people require them to be. Remember that, friends, and blame yourselves only for the state "'of religion among you. You have just what you are entitled to. If you yourselves were more pure, more spiritual-minded, more religious, your priesthood would be so. You are merchants, not idolaters, but-as Prof. Monier Williams pithily remarks in the Nineteenth Century (March 1881)-worshippers of the solid rupee. The genuine Parsi, he says, "turns with ,disgust
p.56.) Say it is a vision, if you "will, yet nevertheless it mirrors an awful truth. The worship of the silver image of Victoria on the rupee is even more degrading than the Hindu's worship of Ganesha or Hari; for he, at least, is animated by a pious thought, whereas the greedy money-getter is but defiling himself with the filth of selfishness. .
The Parsi community is already half-way along the road to apostacy. Gone is the fiery enthusiasm that made your forefathers give up everything they prized rather than repudiate their faith; that supported them during a whole century in the sterile mountains of Khurasan or the out lying deserts; that comforted them in their exile at Sanjan, and gave them hope after the battle with their hereditary, enemy Aluf Khan. Formerly, it was Religion first and Rupee last; now it is Rupee first and everything else after it. See, I, a stranger, point with one finger to your palatial bungalows, your gorgeous equipages, and your ostentatious annual squandering of twelve lakhs of money at festivals; with the other to the wretched subscriptions of Rs. 16,000 towards the support of the Rahanu Mai Mazdiasni Sabha—a good society for the promotion of your religion among your own children, and of Rs. 10,000 to the orthodox Parsi Society of Khetwady ! The proverb says, " Figures cannot lie," and in this instance they do not. If I wanted the best test to apply to your real religious zeal, I should look at the sum of your expenditures for vain show and sensual enjoyment, as compared with what you do for the maintenance of your religion in its purity, and to the sort of conduct you tolerate in your priests. That is the mirror that impartial justice holds up before you; behold your own image, and converse with conscience in your private moments! What but conscience is personified in the "maid, of divine beauty or fiendish ugliness," according as the soul
that approaches the Kinvad bridge was good or bad in life? (Yasht. XXII.)
She, “the well-shapen, strong and tall-formed maid,
with the dogs at her sides, one who can distinguish
* ** and is of high understanding."
(Avesta, Fargard XIX) ?
You have asked me to tell you about the spirit of your religion. I have only the truth to tell--the exact truth, without fear or favour. And I repeat, you are already halfway towards religious repudiation. You have already set money in the niche of faith; it only remains for you to throw the latter out of doors. For hypocrisy will not last for ever. Men weary of paying even lip-service to a religion they no longer respect. You may deceive yourselves, you cannot deceive that maiden at the bridge. Let three or four more generations of skeptics be passed through the educational mint of the College; and let the teaching of your religion be neglected as it now is; and the time will have come when it will be only the occasional brave heart that will dare call himself a Mazdiasnian. Let that stand as a prophecy if you choose: it is one, and it is based upon the experience of the human race. A black page will it be indeed, in the record of human events, when the last vestiges of the once splendid faith of Zarathusta has be blotted from it, the last spark of the heavenly fire that shone from the Chaldean watch-towers of the sages be extinguished. And the more so, when that last extinction shall be caused, not by the sword of tyranny, nor by the crafty scheming of civil administrators, but by the beastly worldliness of its own hereditary custodians in those to whom the lighted torch had been handed down through the ages, and who dropped it into the quenching black waters of
Time fails me to enter into detailed explanation of the Zoroastrian symbols as perhaps I might --though I certainly am not able to do the subject full justice. The sudra and kusti with which you invest your children at the age of six years and three months have, of course, a magical significance.
They pass through the hands of the Dastur, who, as we have seen, was formerly an initiate, and he imparted to them magnetic properties which converted them into talismans against evil influences. After that a set formula of prayers and incantations is regularly prescribed for the whole life. The wearer's thoughts are directed towards the talismanic objects constantly, and when faith is present his or her will-power, or magnetic aura, is at such times infused into them. This is the secret of all talismans; the object worn whatever it may be, need have no innate protective property, for that can be given to any rag, or stone, or bit of paper) by an adept. Those of you who have read the Christian bible will remember that from the body of Paul, the Apostle, "were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them." (Acts XIX., 12.) In the Ormazd-Yasht of the Khordah-Avesta (25) it is written “ by day and night, standing or sitting, sitting, or standing, grit with the Aiwyaonhana (kusti) or drawing off the Aiwyaonhana,
" Going forwards out of the house, going forwards
out of the confideracy, going forwards out of
the region, coming into a region,
" Such a man the points of the Drukhs-souled, proceeding
from Aeshma, will Dot injure in that day
or that night, not the slings, not the arrows, not
knives, not clubs; the missiles will not penetrate
(and) he be injured” (Hang's Avesta, p. 24,
Khordah-Avesta, Eng. Ed. of 1864). Similar
protective talismans are given by every adept to
each new pupil.
The use of Nirang for libations and ablutions is a survival of very ancient--probably pre-Iranian--mythic conceptions. There is nothing in the fluid itself of a disinfectant or purificatory character, but a magical property is given to it by ceremonial magical formulas, as a glass of common water may be converted into a valuable medicine by a mesmerizer by his holding it in his left hand and making circular passes over it with his right. The subject is treated in Darwesteter's Introduction to the Vendidad (lxxx.iii.) “The storm floods that cleanse the sky of the dark fiends in it were described in a class of myths as the urine of a gigantic animal in the heavens. As the floods from the bull above drive away the fiend from the god, so they do from man here below, they make him ‘free from the
death-demon' (franasu), and the death fiend flees away hellwards, pursued by 'the fiend-smiting spell: (Perish thou, O Drug. . . never more to give over to Death the living world of the good spirit!’” It may be that there is a more valid reason for the use of Nirang, but I have not yet discovered it. That an occult property is imparted to the fluid by the ceremonial is clear, since, if it be exposed to
certain influences not in themselves putrefactive it will speedily become putrid; while, on the other hand, it may be kept for years in a fresh condition without the admixture of antiseptic substances, and notwithstanding its occasional exposure to the air, if certain ceremonial rules be followed
(of course, I have this from Parsi friends and not from my own observation: I would not express an unqualified opinion before investigating the subject). I recommend some Parsi chemist to analyze specimens of different ages, especially to determine the relative quantities of nitrogenous constituents,
When Professor Monier Williams vents his Oxonian, scorn upon the ceremonies of the Pars is, he thereby only provokes the pity of such as have looked deeper than he into the meaning of ancient symbolism. "Here and there," says he, "lofty conceptions of the Deity, deep philosophical thoughts, and a pure morality are discoverable in the Avesta like green spots in the desert; but they are more
than neutralised by the silly puerilities and degrading superstitious ideas which crop up as plentifully in its pages as thorns and thistles in a wilderness of sand." (XIXth Century Mag. Jan.1881, p.176). Mr. Jeseph Cook, the other day, in this Hall, said the same. The good portions of the Vedas were so few as compared with the trashy residuum, that he likened them to the fabled jewel in the head of a filthy trad! It is really very kind of these white pandits to admit that there is anything whatever except rottenness and puerility in the old religions. Give each a statue!
In what has been said I have, you must remember, been speaking from the standpoint of a Parsi. I have tried to sink my personality and my personal religious preferences for the moment, and put myself in your place. That is the cardinal policy of the Theosophical Society. It has itself no sectarian basis, but its mottoe is the Universal Brotherhood of Man. It was organized to bring to light the long buried truths of not one, but all the world's Archaic religions. Its members are of all respectable castes, all faiths and races. It has many intelligent Parsis among them.
For thier sake and that of their co-religionists this 'lecture has been given. I have tried most earnestly to induce one of them or some other Parsi to come forward, and show you that no religion has profounder truths, deeper spiritual truths, concealed under its familiar mask, than yours. That I am the incompetent, though willing, spokesman for the ancient Yozdathraigurs is your fault, not mine. If
I have spoken truth, if I have suggested new thoughts, if I have given any encouragement to the pious or pleasure to the learned, my reward is ample.
“ Zatha ahu Sairyo :-The riches of Vohumano shall be given to him who works in this world for Mazda * * * ” is the promise of the Avesta (Fargard XXI.) Bear it in mind, ye Mazdiasnians, and remember the maiden and her dogs by the Chinvat bridge. I say this especially to my Parsi brothers in our Society, for I have the right to speak to them as an elder to his junior. As Parsis they have a
paramount duty to their co-religionists, who are retrograding morally for want of the pure light. As Theosophists their interest embraces all their fellow-men of whatever creed. For we read in one of the most valuable of all books for the thoughtful Parsi --the Datrotan,or School of Manners: -
" The world is a book full of knowledge and of justice,
The binder of which book is destiny, and the binding
the beginning and the end;
The future of it is the law, and the leaves are the reli.
gious persuasions. * *"
For three years we have been preaching this idea of mutual toleration and Universal Brotherhood here in Bombay. Some have listened but more have turned the deaf ear. Nay, they have done worse-they have spread lies and calumnies about us, until we were made to appear to you in false light. But the tide is turning at last, and public sympathy is slowly setting in our favour. It has been a dark night for us; it is now sunrise. If you can see a good motive behind us, and an honest purpose to do good by spreading truth, will you not join us as you have other societies; and help to make us strong? We can perhaps be
of service in aiding you to learn something more than you know about the spirit of Zoroastrianism. As I said before there are many important secrets to be extracted from ancient MMS. in Armenia. Perhaps they may be got at if you will join together and send some thoroughly competent Parsi scholars to make the search, in cooperation with the Tiflis Archaeological Society. See how the Christians have organised a Palestine Exploration Society to search for anything in the shape of proof that can be found to corroborate their Bible. For years they have kept engineers and archeologists at work. Is your religion less important to you? Or do you mean to sit on your guineas until the last old MMS. has been burned to kindle Armenian fires, or torn to wrap medicines and sweets in, as I have seen bibles utilised in India and Ceylon by heathen boras? One of our members (see Theosophist for July 1881) went over the most important ground a few months ago. At the monastery of Soorb Ovanness in Armenia there were in 1877 three superannuated priests: now there remains but one. The “library of books and old manuscripts heaped up as waste paper in every corner of the pillar-cells, tempting no Kurd, are scattered over the rooms!' And he says that "For the consideration of a dagger and a few silver abazes I got several precious manuscripts from him "-the old priest. Now does not this suggest to you that through the friendly intermediation of our Society, and the help of Madame Blavatsky, you may be able to secure exceptional advantages in the matter of archaeological and philological research connected with Zoroastrianism? We do not ask you to join us for our benefit, but for your own. I have thrown out the idea; act upon it or not as you choose. Beaten with Parsi children's shoes ought the Parsi to be who next gives a gaudy nautch or wedding tamasha unless he has previously
subscribed as liberally as his means allow towards a fund for the promotion of his religion. At the fifth annual meeting (in September last) of the Archaeological Society of Tiflis Caucasus a very valuable report was made by Count Ouvarof, the Nestor of Russian Archaelogists and Founder of the Society, upon the recent explorations and discoveries in the districts formerly inhabited by the Mazdiasnians. This Caucasian Viceroyalty was once the heart of ancient Parsiism. It includes Armenia, Derbent, Osetiya, and the land of the Khabardines, besides other countries that should be explored by your agents. Among other curious facts brought to light was that the old Mazdiasnians had two kinds of burial structures --one for use in the hot weather, the other for the winter season. They found proofs that your faith was not less than 11,000 years old: which bears rather hard upon those authors (among them your own Mr. Dosabhoy Framjee) who date its birth from the time of the appearance, in the 6th century B.C., of a certain Zarathusta at the court of Darius Hystaspes. The learned Count Ouvarof says that the Ossetines, a warlike mountain tribe of half Christianized Mahomedans, formerly Masdiasnians, to this day bring a dog to look at the corpse before sepulture. In Tibet, too, towards the Northern border, the corpse is exposed to the view of a dog and a djak -a bird of prey, perhaps of the vulture species. Throughout Tibet the corpses of all but Lamas of the higher grades are given to be eaten by a breed of sacred dogs bred for the purpose. The Lamas above
referred to are either burned or embalmed and entombed in a sitting-posture. I have been unable to learn from any Parsi; even the most intelligent whom I have consulted with, what is the explanation of this ancient custom of exposing the corpse to inspection by dogs. Upon enquiry in another direction, however, I am told that its original
purpose was to show the dog that here was food for him, and that immediately after seeing it, the animal would rush off to its fellows and bring the whole pack to share in the repast. His instinct (or shall we not rather say his mesmeric sensitiveness) told him when life had actually quit the cadaver. This seems to me a very clear and sensible explanation of a long-veiled practice. Moreover, I read in Mr. K. R. Cama's translation of Prof. Duncker's Geschichte des Alterthums, that in the time of Agathias the Persians carried their dead outside the gates of a town and exposed them to be eaten by dogs and birds: regarding it as a most clear proof that the deceased had led an impure life if the corpse was not directly consumed. What more likely, then, than that the relatives showed the corpse to the one or two dogs at the house, so that by the time the procession should reach the place of exposure, the pack would be there ready to complete their work? As for the theory that the glance of a dog frightens away the Drnkhs-Nagu, it appears to be a mere hypothesis. In the Secret Doctrine it is taught that the most fatal current in the ether of space (Akasa,) sets in from the North. This is the current of terrestrial magnetism. Experience has also warned mesmeric practitioner’s to make their subject sit with his back to the North and feet towards the South. The Hindus lay their dead in the
same direction. Baron Reichenbach also discovered that his odylic sensitives could not sleep East and West, but would instinctively turn North and South, even when their beds had been purposely placed in the transverse way. In Occult Science the North is the habitat of the worst “elemental spirits" (a very clumsy name for the occult forces of nature), and in Eliphas Levi's books (Dogme et
Rituel de la Haute Magie, and others) are given instructions to guard against their irruption. If a corpse be traversed by this boreal current, the latter takes up certain psychically
bad influences, which, if absorbed by the living who are sensitive to them, have a very evil effect. The Drukhs Nagu is this boreal current, and contains in itself a number of varieties of malignant influences. This, I am told, is the Secret Doctrine.
I told you in commencing that this subject of the spirit of Zoroastrianism is limitless. In consulting my authorities I have been perplexed to choose from the abundance of material, rather than troubled by any lack of it. There are a few more facts that I would like to mention before closing.
Abul Pharaj, in the Book of Dynasties (p. 54) states that Zarathust taught the Persians the manifestation of the Wisdom (the Lord's Anointed Son, or Logos, the Persian “Hanover" ). This is the living manifested word of Deific Wisdom. He predicted that a Virgin should conceive immaculately, and that at the birth of that future messenger a six-pointed star would appear, and shine at noonday. In its centre would appear the figure of a Virgin. This six-pointed star you see engraved on the seal of the Theosophical Society. In the Kabballah the Virgin is the Astral Light or Akasa, and the six pointed star the emblem of the Macrocosm. The Logos, or Sosiosh to be born, means the secret knowledge or science which reveals the “Wisdom of God." Into the hand of the Prophet Messenger Zarathusht were delivered many gifts. When filling the censer with .fire
from the sacred altar, as the mobed did in ancient days, the act was symbolical of imparting to the worshipper’s, the knowledge of Divine truth. In the' Gita,' Krishna informs Arjun that God is in the fire of the altar. “I am the Fire; I am the Victim." The Flamens, or Etruscan priests, were so called because they were supposed to be illuminated by the tongues of Fire (Holy Ghost) I and the
Christians took the hint--(Acts II). The scarlet robe of the Roman Catholic cardinal symbolizes the heavenly Fire. In an ancient Irish MS. Zarathust is called Airgiod-Lamh or he of the Golden Hand--the hand which received and scattered celestical Fire (Ousley's Oriental Collections I, 303). He is also called Mogh Nuadhat, the Magus of the New Ordinance, or dispensation. Zarathust was one
of the first reformers who taught to the people a portion of that which he had learned at his initiation, viz., the six periods or gahambars in the successive evolution of the world. The first is Midyuzeram, that in which the heaven1y canopy was formed; the second, Mid-yirshan, in which the collected moisture formed the steamy clouds from which the waters were finally precipitated; the third, Piti-shahim, when the earths became consolidated out of primeval cosmic atoms; the fourth, Iyaseram, in which earth gave birth to vegetation; the fifth Midiyarim, when the latter slowly evoluted into animal life; the sixth, Hamespitamidan, when the lower animals culminated in man. The seventh period--to come at the end of a certain cycle—is prefigured in the promised coming of the Persian Messiah,
seated on a horse; i.e. the sun of our solar system will be extinguished and the “Pralaya," will begin. In the Christian Apocalypse of St. John you will find the Persian symbolical prophecy closely copied; and the Aryan Hindu awaits the coming of his Kalanki Avatar when the celestial
White Horse will come in the heavens, bestridden by Vishnu. The horses of the sun figure in all other religions.
There exists among the Persian Parsis a volume older than the present Zoroastrian writings. Its title is Gjavidan Chrad, or Eternal Wisdom. It is a work on the practical philosophy of Magic, with natural explanations. Hyde mentions it in his preface to the Peligo Veterum
Persarum. The .four Zoroastrian Ages are the four races of men--the Black, the Russet, the Yellow, the White. The four castes of Manu are alleged to have typified this, and the Chinese show the same idea in their four orders of priests clothed in black, red, yellow, and white robes., St. John sees these same colours in the symbolic horses, of his Revelation. Speaking of Zoroaster, whom he admits to have possessed all the sciences and philosophy then known in the world, the Rev. Oliver gives an account of the cave temple of which so much is said in Zoroastrian literature. " Zoroaster;" he writes, "retired to a circular cave or grotto in the mountains of Bokhara, which he ornamented with a profusion of symbolical and astronomical decorations, consecerating it to Methr-Az; . . . Here the sun was represented by a splendid gem . . . in a conspicuous part of the roof. . . and the four ages of the world were represented by so many gloves of gold, silver, brass, and iron. (History of Initiation, p. 9.)
And now, gentlemen –orthodox and heterodox"—leaders among the Parsi community-a word with you on practical matters before we part. In three days more I shall leave Bombay on a long journey and the accidents of travel, to which we are all liable, may prevent my ever addressing you again. I pray you, therefore, to listen to what a sincere friend has to say: a friend who is none the less one in that he never asked you for a pice of your money for himself and never will. I have lived among you for three years. During this whole time I have been associating on terms of confidential
intimacy with some of your most intelligent young men. I have admitted them, and in some cases their wives with them, into our Society. Thus I have perhaps had exceptional opportunities to learn the real state of your people and religion. I find both in sore need of an organized,
unselfish and persistent effort among yourselves. Your people 1ook up to you as their best advisers, the mobeds respect your Influence and court your favour. You have it in your power to do a world of good. Will you do it? You now spend annually from twelve to fifteen lakhs of. rupees upon stupid tamashas --that do not belong to your own religion at all; that give you no real pleasure; that crush many poorer than you to the very ground with debt; that defile your own natures with disgusting pride and conceit; that, encourage intemperate habits in the young; and that weaken pious inclinations. The burden upon the community is so sore, and common sense of your best men so revolts at them, that years ago you would have returned to the simpler pleasures of your forefather's, but that you lacked the moral courage to combine. A reform like this is never to be effected alone; the leaders must combine. Take two of the fifteen lakhs you now worse than waste and put it aside as a Fund for the Promotion of the Mazdiasnian Religion, and see what you might do for your children and children's children. Do not tell me you cannot afford to create such a Fund, when the whole world knows that you are ready to give thousands to every object suggested by a European for the benefit or flattery of some one of his race, and even to rear statues to those who are not the friends of your religion. “Charity begins at home;" give, then, first for your own people, and of your remaining surplus to outside objects.
There is a fatal inactivity growing apace among you. Not only are you not the religionists you once were, you are not the old time merchants. You are being elbowed out of commerce, and. it is not very uncommon to see your sons going from door to door in search of employment at salaries of from fifty to seventy-five rupees per month, with their pockets full of matriculation papers or F.E.A, and
B.A. diplomas. And instead of your being as in the olden time the kings of Indian trade and commerce you are jostled by successful Bhattias, Borahs, Maimans and Khojahs who have accumulated fortunes. You are making no proper effort to impart a practical knowledge of your religious principles and tenets to the educated rising generation; hence very naturally they are largely becoming skeptics and infidels. They do not as yet actually despise it en masse --the time for that has not quite arrived. But on account of your neglect to show them its sublimity and make them deeply respect it, they have reached the stage of indifference. One needed step would be to have your prayer-books translated into the vernacular and English, with foot notes to explain the text, and especially, commentaries to show the reconciliation of Mazdiasian philosophy with modern science. It is worse tnan useless --it is highly injurious to one's faith-- to chatter off prayers in an unknown tongue, encouraging the hypocricy of pretending to be pious while one has not the food at hand for a single pious thought. I have watched both priests and behedin at their prayers, morning and evening, and seen more that were not attending to the business in hand than that were.
If you wish to revive your religion, you should, besides organising the exploring expeditions and archaeological surveys I previously spoke of, also rear a class of Parsi preachers who would be able to expound it thoroughly, and maintain it against all critics and enemies. These men should be highly
educated, and versed in Sanscrit, Zend, Pehlvi, Persian, and English. Some should know German and French --like my honoured friend, Mr. Cama. With Western literature they should be familiar. Some should. be taught oratory, so as to expound in a popular style the sacred theme. It might also be well to found travelling scholarships, as the Europeans have, to he given to especially meritorious students,
A stricter moral example should be set by you to your youth, who have, as I said above, fa1len in too many cases into evil ways. They do not regard truth, nor show as much respect to elders as formerly.
As your understanding of the spirit of your religion has decreased, you have been growing more and more superstitious; essentials are neglected, and non-essentials given an exaggerated consequence.
Finally, and chiefly, the priestly class needs a thorough reformation. There are more than you need to perform the offices of religion, and the profession being overcrowded, their influence is continually decreasing, and they have come, as a Parsi gentleman once remarked to me—to be looked upon as licensed beggars. A state of things which must certainly grieve your really learned Dasturs more than anyone else.
The foregoing thoughts are submitted to you with great deference and in the hope that they will be pardoned in view of the kindly interest which prompts them. Before embodying them in this discourse I have taken the counsel of one of my most respected Parsi friends; so that you may regard them as in fact the views of one of your own community.
And now I ask you, as a final word, if the crisis has not arrived when every man of you is called upon, by all he holds sacred, to be up and doing. Shall the voice of Chaldean Fathers, which whispers to you across the ages be heard in vain? Shall the example of Zarathust and Adab be forgotten? Must the memory of your hero-forefathers be dishonoured? Shall there never more arise
among you a Darab Dastur to draw down the celestial flame from the azure vault upon your temple-altar? Is the favour of Ahura-Mazda no longer a boon precious enough to strive for and to deserve? The Hindu pilgrims
to the temple-shrine of Jotir Math at Badrinath, affirm that some, more favoured than the rest, have sometimes seen far up amid the snow and ice of Mount Dhavalagiria --a Himalayan peak-- the venerable figures of Mahatmas perhaps of rishes-- who keep their watch and ward over the fallen Aryan faith, and wait the time for its resuscitation. So too --our travelling Brother in Armenia writes there is a cave up near the crest of Allah-Dag,* where at each setting of the sun, appears at the cave's mouth a stately figure holding a book of records in his hand. The people say that this is Mathan, last of the great Magian priests; whose body died some sixteen centuries ago. His anxious shade watches from thence the fate of Zoroaster's faith. And shall he stand in vain? Is he to see that faith die out for want of spiritual refreshment? Ye Sons of Sohrab and of Rustam rouse! Awaken 'ere it is too late! The Hour is here; where are the men ?
After the lecture was over, Mr. K. R. Kama, the distinguished Parsi scholar, came on the platform and addressed the audience, expressing a hope that the good advice given by the lecturer had not fallen upon a barren soil, and the enthusiasm infused into the audience by the lecturer would not die away but take root and bear good results. After him stepped in Mr. Jevunjee, a graduate of the Bombay University, and a Dastur conuected with the Colaba Fire Temple, who delivered a short but impressive speech expressive of the profound satisfaction he had experienced. in common with the rest of the audience.
The Chairman then proposed a vote of thanks to Col. Olcott, which was carried amidst loud applause, after which the meeting separated.
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