The Mysteries of the Qabalah (2)
THE MYSTERIES OF THE QABALAH.
The children of light delight in the words of the wise, because they are light unto their feet and direct their paths. "Why is a man ill?" asks the pupil. "By reason of his disobedience to the light," says the Rabbi. Ponder then on the words of the Holy Qabalah and let it heal all your infirmities.
—From an Ancient Commentary on Zohar.
Before entering into a study of the holy scriptures which shall be more profitable than that which has been entered into by the sectarian dogmatists of the past, it is necessary to obtain a sure foundation upon which may be built a stately edifice worthy the attention of men who value truth and wisdom more than mere argument.
To this end a knowledge of the methods used by the Qabalists of old to explain their sacred scriptures and mysteries is necessary, for it is this knowledge which will constitute the foundation of the edifice. It is essential that these methods be fully understood, for any new presentment of ancient truths must carry conviction with it, must, as it were, prove itself as it goes, and prove itself logically so that the student may pass step by step and stage by stage to a complete understanding of the mysteries.
The Qabalah, playing as it does such an important part in the unveiling of the Scriptures, must be understood by those who wish to enter into the details and comprehend fully the methods used by the Qabalists. Hence the first and most important question to be answered is "What is the Qabalah?"
It is easy to give an explanation of the meaning of the word itself, for its root is QBL, which means "to receive," hence the Qabalah is the "received" doctrine, the esoteric side of the scriptures, the Doctrine of the Heart, in contradistinction to the doctrine of the eye, the inner Truth as opposed to the outer form.
There is, however, no Book of the Qabalah, no manuscript called "The Qabalah," but many manuscripts and books have been written based upon qabalistic knowledge, and these different works are known collectively as the Qabalah. They are, however, merely opinions and statements embodying the ideas of the Hidden Wisdom, which has ever been taught to companies of students by the teachers of the Secret Doctrine though seldom written down. The
true innermost teachings are always given "in the house" or upon the hill, that is to say, "in Open Lodge."
We have, however, to remember, when entering upon a study of the Qabalah, that it is to be viewed in three ways, viz., historically, as regards the documents, etc., then again in reference to the qabalistic methods of teaching and unveiling the mysteries hidden in the scriptures, and finally, as the Qabalah, the Wisdom itself, or Spirit, Soul and Body, for everything in the whole universe must of necessity be threefold as will be proved later, and therefore the Qabalah is no exception to the rule.
It is well to remember these distinctions and to realize the difference between the Qabalistic Wisdom, the means of production and the product or appearance. The Qabalah, then, viewed from this point of view, is not a book as so often thought, just as the Occult Teaching, the Secret Doctrine is not a book, even though the Secret Doctrine happens to be the name of a book containing many of the teachings derived from that source.
What, then, is the Qabalah, and whence
does it originate? These are the questions which have puzzled the minds of many scholars in the past and may still continue to puzzle many in the future, especially those who endeavor to fix and tabulate the Ancient Wisdom, who do not look beyond the eye of flesh.
Hitherto nothing definite has been settled as to the origin of the Qabalah; as regards the documentary evidence there are few historical data of an exact kind upon which the intellectual writers could fall back, hence many have been driven into the realm of surmise and opinion. One declares, repeating the information given in a very old manuscript, that this wisdom was given by God himself to a company of angels, and esoterically speaking he may be correct, if we think of an Avatar in the place of a personal God and of Masters instead of Angels. Another declares the Qabalah or rather that part of it comprised under the title Zohar to be the work of Simeon ben Yochai, who lived at the time of the destruction of the second Temple, whilst others declare that it is a modern invention, the work of Moses de Leon. All seem to forget
that the Qabalah itself, being merely the expression of Cosmic Truth, can have had no actual beginning but must be as eternal as that truth itself. It is reasonable to suppose (although there are many Occultists who have a knowledge of the past and declare that there were always some Great Ones upon earth with a knowledge of the Secret Wisdom or Qabalah) that there were indeed always men who knew of these doctrines and that they were continually being given out to the world in different lands and at different epochs as required, sometimes in one form and at other times in another, but ever was the same Truth veiled in the teachings. The Qabalah or the vehicle for the Divine Wisdom is eternal, for it is the means of manifesting the knowledge stored up in the memory of Nature, the memory of God, the Akashic Records or Aether of Space.
This Aether of Space is according to Occultists a veritable Picture Gallery, or rather a Kinemetograph which when wound up and contacted by the initiated Seer shows picture after picture of the Past, as veil after veil is lifted, for these pictures are the
true memory of Nature impressed upon the Aether or Akasha, just as the memory of the past is said by scientists to be impressed upon the matter of the brain. If the one statement be found reasonable then the other is not a whit less so.
In this sense, then, the Qabalah had no beginning except as the world itself had a beginning, and man himself had a beginning, for the Divine Wisdom is Eternal in the Heavens.
"But there must have been a time when the wisdom was first promulgated, when these Qabalistic doctrines were first given out to students," says the reader. True, but then we have to consider that our knowledge of history does not take us far back into the tune-stream. Wherever we look, apart from the ordinary historical records, we find that this inner teaching has existed. We see it hidden in the ancient writings of South America, in the Temples and on the stones and monuments of Egypt, and elsewhere. The same wisdom is to be read in the Sacred Writings the world over, in Sanskrit, in Greek, in Latin, in Chinese, and in fact in any sacred writing which is
truly sacred, that is, which is capable of teaching Truth to man. In the Vedas it looms large, it is to be found upon the papyri of the Priests of Egypt, on the stones of Assyria and Babylon, in the writings of the ancient Persians and Sassanians, in all countries and in all climes. In Peru and in other parts of America, in China, in Japan and throughout Asia, Africa, Europe and Australia, everywhere are traces of this Ancient Wisdom to be found. The Occultists tell us likewise in various works, notably the Secret Doctrine, Isis Unveiled, Man; Whence, How and Whither, and many others, that the Ancient Wisdom was ever known to the Teachers of men and continually given out by them as time and occasion called it forth. All this may be seen in the pictures of the Kinemetograph of Nature, the Akashic records. It is, however, useless to offer evidence of this description where the historical facts are required and for this latter purpose a history of the written Qabalah will be necessary.
There exist certain manuscripts of a certain date and from these we deduce certain facts: this is the method usually followed
by the historians. In the case of the "history" of the Qabalah, it is but a will-o’-the-wisp, which leads us nowhere, although it is necessary in order to have a general idea of the subject to chase this will-o’-the-wisp until it can lead us no farther, and then we shall have to depend upon the voice of Intuition. And here it may be necessary to say that in addition to the Bibliography at the end of this volume, there are other sources and other authorities upon which these writings are based, and these authorities have been consulted during the course of the studies. The careful student always likes to have before him chapter and verse of the "authority." "Where," he asks, "did you obtain this knowledge?" "What is the authority for the statements?" and so forth. The answer is easy. A certain knowledge of the efforts made by others in the past to unravel the Qabalistic mysteries is necessary to all students, but need not long be dwelt upon, for the only thing that matters is the knowledge of the Qabalah itself and not what men think of it. This book knowledge then constitutes a part of the "authority," for all that will be given
out in these pages, but the chief Authority is the knowledge applied and the "sweet reasonableness" inherent in the teaching itself. With the different Keys, of which a description will shortly be given, it is possible for all students to apply the knowledge of the Qabalah to the unraveling of the scriptures and their mysteries. Apart, then, from the books to which reference is made at the end of this number, there are other "books" used in the compiling of these writings, and it may be well to name them. The first "book" is called "The Volume of the Aural Knowledge," the second is "The Book of the Intuition," the third is "The Voice of the Earthly Guru," and finally, there is the "book" to which all students may refer, "The Book of the Akashic Records." Unfortunately, however, these are all "out of print," and cannot be read even at the British Museum. The reader, therefore, who cannot read these works, will have to be content with the use of his Balance, he will be able to weigh in that all that is here set forth and judge all that is written in the calm light of Reason. Faith and knowledge must go hand in
hand in studies such as these, although every effort will be made to satisfy the critical mind.
So many minds, so many ideas. One historian, copying from another, tells us that the Qabalah was given. by God to a company of Angels, another says that it was handed from Abraham to his son and so on unto the present. This latter, we may feel sure, is correct, though chapter and verse cannot be quoted to prove such a statement. A. E. Waite speaks of the book called Sepher Yetzirah, in which certain Qabalistic doctrines are written as probably being the work of Rabbi Akiba, and as supposed to have been written down during the second century. We cannot accept the idea that Rabbi Akiba was the actual author of this work, but certainly as a Qabalist, which assuredly he was according to his esoteric writings, he certainly may have been one of those who were led to write down some of the knowledge which had come to him, as was done in the time of the great Rabbi Simeon ben Yechai by his disciples. It is certain that the Qabalistic doctrines were commonly known to students
as far back as the first century, and also that there were manuscripts which could be read by Christians who had access to them, for the doctrine relating to the inner meanings of the Hebrew Alphabet, which is the most important Qabalistic teaching, the true Key to the scriptures, is mentioned by St. Agobard, in the following words:
"Further, they believe the letters of their alphabet to have existed from everlasting, and before the beginning of the world to have received diverse offices, in virtue of which they should preside over created things."
This quotation is from a letter of St. Agobard, and in mentioning it in his Doctrine and Literature of the Kabalah, Waite does not seem to have noticed in passing by this evidence of the antiquity of the written Qabalah, the fact that St. Agobard is himself quoting from the Book of the Zohar, or Splendour, in which it is stated that all the Hebrew letters were used by God to prepare for the creation of the world. To this fact we refer later on, when the letters themselves will be explained and their true significance be shown. It is sufficient to
know from this quotation alone that the Qabalistic works date back considerably before the first century, for here we have a writer quoting from them as from old-established doctrines well known to all. The date can be placed even farther back by those who study the doctrines of the ancient Egyptians, and indeed it may be said in the opinion of many students that the Qabalistic teachings are undoubtedly of Egyptian and Chaldaic origin as far as the Jews are concerned. This might well be proved by a comparison of the meanings and values of the Hebrew and Egyptian letters, but that must be left until a later period.
The Book of the Zohar is said to have originated with Rabbi Simeon ben Yochai, but this is not accepted by the different scholars, who claim that the writer of the Sepher Ha-Zohar was merely a very much more modern writer who lived some centuries after the Rabbi Simeon. This writer, Moses de Leon, who died in the year 1305, is said to have sold the book himself, calling it the work of Simeon ben Yochai. Some have called him harsh names for this so-called mis-statement, but it is not so false
as it would appear. It is beyond doubt that this same Moses de Leon was the compiler and writer of the Book of the Zohar as such, but he, according to the "Book of Intuition," merely wrote down the ideas which certainly were given out by the Rabbi Simeon as a consecutive narrative or book and issued it as the work of the Rabbi Simeon ben Yochai which, strictly speaking, it was, although Moses de Leon was the compiler. Who knows but what Moses de Leon himself was a reincarnation of one of the disciples of the Rabbi Simeon and that he was overshadowed in the work of compilation by the great and blessed Rav himself as others since have been. But this by the way, such evidence not being fitting for the eyes and ears of scholars.
The book of the Zohar is said by its compiler to have been discovered in a cavern where it had lain many years, and it is not an unlikely tale, although scoffed at by modern critics. It is quite reasonable to suppose that Moses de Leon did find some old manuscripts written by the disciples of the Rabbi Simeon in the second century, and that he edited them and re-arranged
their teachings and added some of his own wisdom of which we may be sure he had an abundance. But it is not correct to declare that he pretended that these were doctrines of an ancient time whilst writing them himself.
The mention of Saint Agobard and his writings by A. E. Waite, is truly strange, for he, although rejecting the idea that the work called the Zohar was a forgery of Moses de Leon, and being inclined to believe that the doctrines treated of therein were far older than time of writing, does not notice that Saint Agobard himself, who lived between the year 779 and 840, makes clear reference to the very same doctrines of which Moses de Leon is accused of being the forger. The quotation of Saint Agobard is taken from the book of the Zohar or, rather, from the teachings included in that work, as all may see on referring thereto. Hitherto there has been no writer or scholar who has noticed this striking refutation of the attack upon Moses de Leon which is remarkable, to say the least of it, for here is ample proof that the doctrines in question are far older even than the time of
[paragraph continues] Rabbi Moses de Leon who is in some quarters believed to have been their author. Saint Agobard then makes references to doctrines which have been said by some to have been invented in the 13th century, though lie himself lived in the first century.
Dr. Schiller-Szinessy in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, 9th edition, says that the Zohar "was begun in Palestine late in the second or third century, a.d., and finished at the latest in the sixth or seventh century. It is impossible that it should have been composed after that time and before the renaissance, as both language and contents show."
This does not, however, dispose of the fact that the Qabalah itself is of infinitely greater antiquity even though some of its doctrines may have been written down in the second century.
To search for the "author" of the Qabalah as scholars have done for so long, is in fact a vain attempt, for it would be just as wise to search for the origin of Religion itself. As H. P. Blavatsky says in her Theosophical Glossary, no two writers are "agreed upon the origin of the Kabala, the Zohar, Sepher Yetzirah. Some show them as coming from
the Biblical Patriarchs, Abraham and even Seth: others from Egypt, others again from Chaldea. The system is certainly very old: but like all the rest of the systems, whether religious or philosophical, the Kabala is derived directly from the primeval Secret Doctrine of the East. * . . . Whatever its source, its substratum is at any rate identical with that of all the other ancient systems, from the Book of the Dead, down to the later Gnostics."
Hence the student is again reminded that the study of Qabalah is no mere Jewish work, but must be the work of occult students whose ideas are beyond the reach of sectarian differences, although they may be working within a sect or born into the environment of a special religion, for the occult student is not bound by forms even whilst he follows the ceremonies and ritual of his forefathers. Indeed it is wise that
he should follow them, from an occult point of view.
For those who are interested in dates and descriptions it will be helpful to refer to the works mentioned at the end of this volume, but it is not essential to the study of the true doctrine. Let it suffice to quote one of the best and most intuitive men who has ever translated the Qabalistic writings, before passing from this section of our study.
Isaac Myer, in his erudite and intuitive work called Qabbalah, page 170, says that the Gnostics, and others, the so-called heretical sects, copied from the Qabalah, which is not perfectly correct, for it would be better to say that the Gnostics were acquainted with the Secret Wisdom which is Qabalah, but this is of no moment. He goes on to state, "we may find many of the Hebrew Qabbalistic ideas in the Aryan writings, in the Vedas, especially in their Upanishads, in the Bhagavadgita, the Tantras, etc. Among the Chinese, in the Yih-King, the writings attributed to Laou Tze’, and other secret philosophical books. We may also find them in the Zend, and other early Persian writings, in the cuneiform
texts of the early inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Chaldea, Babylonia, and Assyria: on the monuments and papyrus of Egypt, and among the remains of the archaic Buddhists and Dravidian races of India, among others in the cave temples of Ellora, Elephanta, and the Sanchi and Amravati topes. It is extremely probable that many reminiscences of them are in Thibet, in the possession of the Buddhists."
Thus standing the ravages of time what can this wisdom be but truly Divine and Eternal.
The history of books is not important after all, it is the "Thing-in-itself" that matters to the truth seeker. Let us then, leave these dates and data, for the history of the Qabalah has not yet been nor will ever be written by any scholar, whose knowledge is of the head only.
The various books called "Qabalistic" or purporting to be the "Qabalah" are many. Few of them have been translated and the most important has not yet been thoroughly translated into the English tongue, although there is a splendid version in French of the Zohar, translated by De Pauly and posthumously
issued by his friend Lafume-Giraud to both of whom the greatest gratitude is due, for there is no better translation extant. It is not, however, perfect, for there are many interpolations introduced for the sake of clearness, which may have the opposite effect. However, if read, with the eye of the Spirit an infinite amount of knowledge may be gained by students. Most of the Zoharic quotations of this series are from that work.
The following are the works in question: The Book of the Zohar, or Sepher Ha-Zohar, which includes within it many treatises and books, all called generically Zohar, but known separately by other names. The book of Zohar proper is a commentary of rare worth upon the Pentateuch, in which is concealed a vast amount of learning, though it is not easy to follow its reasoning except with a key and also with the aid of a knowledge of the Eastern doctrines, and the Sanskrit writings. Many editions of this work have been issued partly in Hebrew, but mainly in Aramaic and Chaldaic.
The next in importance is the Sepher
[paragraph continues] Yetzirah *, or book of formation, which is not mentioned by all writers, though it has been translated into French and English. It refers mystically to the "creation by number," and requires much thought for the unravelling of the mysteries there "explained," especially in the English translation. It is also noted for its treatment of the "thirty-two paths." It is a very short treatise though its wisdom is infinite. There is a difficulty in judging the age of the different manuscripts, but probably this is the oldest of all. There is, however, no definite authority for these statements, for all writers differ, so that we shall have to be content merely with the Qabalah itself, and leave the dates to those who care for them.
The Sepher Sephiroth, or book of the Becomings, treats of the Emanation of the different Cosmic Beings, the evolution of the Many from the One, or rather the description of the Many who themselves constitute the One. This is the book from which most of the "intellectual" writers cull their riddles when they speak of the Ten
[paragraph continues] Sephiroth, but seldom give any explanation of the true meaning of these "Emanations" which is left to Theosophical writers who have given out the same doctrines in simple language. Those students who are interested in this subject and wish to know the details of these emanations are referred to The Kabbalah Unveiled, by S. L. McGregor Mathers. The introduction to that work is the best that has been written within the last fifty years, and deserves the greatest attention on the part of the student, the next in order of merit being a work written in English by Isaac Myer called Qabbalah and privately published by him in 1888 at Philadelphia, there being but 350 copies issued. In some respects this latter work is of greater importance than the previous one, as it covers such a vast field, and moreover it is only the introduction of Mathers which is important, for the text itself, the translations of parts of the collected works called Zohar, leaves much to be desired. Further, the Zoharistic commentary itself is not touched, this being left to Jean de Pauly's French version.
Finally we have the Aish Metzraph, that
is, "the Fire which purified," but this work is deeply mystical and little understood except by Alchemists, containing secrets of alchemy which were known to the Jews of old.
As one of the Zoharistic works, the Sepher Dzyaniouta must be mentioned, especially for its likeness to the Stanzas of Dzyan of the "Secret Doctrine." This treats of what is called the "Concealed Mystery," the doctrine of the "Balance," an Egyptian survival, probably taken from the Egyptians together with the other jewels of which the Israelites are said to have spoiled them. There are also other minor works of importance, but these are generally bound up with the Zohar. These treat of various matters, the emanations of the Deity, or "Creation," the doctrine of Reincarnation, or Gilgool, that is, "revolutions of the soul," and also the doctrine of Karma, or as it is called in Hebrew, Judgments or Mischpotim. Other treatises are of a more difficult and perhaps more dangerous character, treating of demons, and obsessing entities, etc., as well as of Angels and elementals, and such-like creatures.
69:* The "East" being of course the "Place of Light" and not a mere physical "east," for the Wisdom is no more eastern than western, in fact the East is indebted to the West and vice-versa, according to the time when the qabalistic knowledge was given out or re-presented, sometimes in the west and at others in the east.
73:* Compiled probably by a certain Rabbi Abraham (and not as some misread it The Patriarch).
THE SOUL OF THE QABALAH.
In the previous chapter the Qabalah has been considered from the historical point of view, the written Qabalah being referred to throughout. This may be called the body, the physical embodiment of the Ancient Wisdom, which is the true Spiritus, the Ruach Elohim. For the better understanding of the doctrines, however, a link is required, a soul which shall connect us with the Spirit behind the writings, and this soul we may think of as formed by the different methods called Qabalistic, the methods of unveiling the writings and enigmatical conversations of the Rabbis.
There are various modes of interpretation used for the purposes of unravelling the mysteries of the Scriptures, some of which are of an extraordinary nature, but it will be found difficult to put them aside as fanciful until after due trial and strict examination.
The different methods are as follows:—
1. The key to the scriptures, the meaning
of the Hebrew letters themselves in addition to their meaning collectively, i.e., as words. Each letter has many meanings according to the plane of manifestation, from the Human foetus and its surroundings to the Cosmic foetus and its surroundings. These meanings will be explained at length in a later part of this work. It is sufficient to say, for the present that they constitute a veritable mine of great wisdom and are collectively the true Key to the Scriptures.
2. Each of the Hebrew letters besides the meanings spoken of above, has in common with the letters of many other languages, notably the Greek, a numerical value. These values are often written down in place of the letters of a word which they represent and this constitutes the numerical value of that word. From this method wonderful teachings can be derived, given the aid of one who has had some experience in these Qabalistic studies. It is called GMTRIA or Gematria, said to be a synonym for the Greek word Grammateia [Isaac Myer], which means literally "the amounting to," words of similar values being used
to explain the deep truths hidden in the combinations of letters called words. Thus the word Besheim, in the Name (of God), which is written BSHM or 2—300 and 40, has the same value as the word MQRB which means "to draw near," and also is equivalent to the word BTZRIM, meaning "fortified."
3. The third method is called Temura which means "to change," and is called by Christian Qabalists "permutation." This is an anagrammatical method in which the letters of a word are changed about in order to form another word, or reversed, as the case may be, and in this way many mysteries are brought to light. Examples of Temura will be given in a later chapter.
4. Notariqon is a method by which the initials of words are taken to form other words, the most notable and the simplest example being that of the Chochmah Nestirah, which means the "Hidden Wisdom." We ask "what is this hidden wisdom and what its purpose?" The answer is shewn us by the teacher who points to its initial letters, viz. Cheth and Nun, and these two letters form the words NCH and CHN, the former
referring to Rest, or Pralaya and the latter to "Grace," both being symbols showing the result of a study of the Hidden Wisdom or Chochmah Nestirah, the latter being supposed to bring Grace and lead to rest and to the ultimate perfection of man. In a sense this is the human condition of Pralaya, the condition of Heaven upon Earth. The meaning of Notariqon is simply quick-writing, or shorthand.
5. Finally there are the "Four Ways," i.e. the four ways of interpreting the Sacred Scriptures, of which it will be well to have a clear idea before proceeding to examples of the methods already spoken of.
There is no special authority for all these statements, but they are well-known and accepted by Qabalistic students, having been handed down from father to son throughout the ages, further they can be read in very many different works too numerous to mention, although each writer gives an explanation of a different kind according to his predilections. Qabalistic teachers seem to be acquainted with all these methods, and that which is not taught by one may be learned from another and
moreover the methods which we are now to consider will lead to a greater insight of the Scriptures without the aid of any teacher except the intuition.
The four ways of reading the sacred Scriptures according to Qabalists, as mentioned in the Book of the Zohar are:—
First PShT, or Pshat, the plain or simple literal rendering, the superficial knowledge which he who runs may read. The second method is called RMZ or Ramaz, literally "a hint," and is intended for students who are developing intellect and who do not care to be taught by those who see no other than the literal meaning of the scriptures. The third, DRSh or Darash, is the inferential method of reading, in which the eye of intuition, the eye of the Spirit, is opened and the man soars far above the lower mind, far beyond the intellect. The Intuition being something beyond the intellectual reasoning of the brain consciousness, as is well known to all occult students, though it should not be thought that either is to be dispensed with by those who seek a true Balance. Finally there is the fourth and most important method, called SUD or Sod,
literally "secret." This method is taught by initiates to their beloved disciples only and they are careful to whom they divulge the deepest mysteries, knowing that "those who hunt what the Gods hide have trouble for their pay."
The four ways of reading the Sacred Scriptures correspond to the Four Initiations of life, the lessons which man has to learn whilst passing through the experiences of the physical, emotional, mental and higher planes. These experiences have to be gained chiefly whilst in the dense physical body. The man who has mastered all these four ways, who has passed the initiations of Earth, Water, Air and Fire, rises above them and becomes a Pure One (Tahar). Now it is curious to note the same teaching in the Sanskrit, for in that wonderful language the word Tahar or Arhat means a Perfected One, or Mahatma—a Master in Israel.
A Master is one who has passed these four initiations, but this does not mean merely that he has learned to read the Sacred Scriptures which are written upon paper, in these four ways, for there are indeed
other scriptures, the scriptures formed in the hearts of men as well as in the Mind of God. Those who would be perfect have to learn to read these "Sacred Scriptures" in the "four ways," have to learn to view life in the four manners corresponding to Pshat, Ramaz, Darash and SUD.
This then is the goal set before us, this is the Law: "Be Perfect, even as the Father in Heaven is perfect." By conquering all the worlds, by experiencing all things, by reading the Sacred Books, whether in the hearts of men, or whether in the records of man or Nature, we rise above the necessity for earthly lessons and become free from our bonds, perfect masters of the Arts and Crafts. Thus viewing life, the Qabalist attains to Paradise, which secret is hidden in the four words, Pshat, Ramaz, Darash and Sud, the initials of which yield Prds (viz., Paradise).
What is Paradise? Is it a beautiful Garden of Eden, a materialistic heaven, such as is dreamed of by so many? Not at all, Paradise or Nirvana is a state of Consciousness, a condition, in which man becomes all that is, in which he feels himself
to be at one with all that is, in which he is at one with God and man and henceforth has no further lessons to learn upon earth, for he has attained the Goal set before humanity. He may then pass on to higher realms and enter a new order of Beings or He may remain to help in the great work on earth, that is to uplift and benefit His younger brothers. During this time of helping, that condition which is symbolized by Paradise is always with him.
All this is hidden in the words Pshat, Ramaz, Darash and Sud, as has been said, for as the man progresses through the different experiences of life and passes the initiations represented by these four words, the "four ways," he extracts from each the essence and adds it to his store of experience.
This then is the secret of the "Four Ways." Using these methods in addition to those already mentioned, we are here attempting to unravel some of the mysteries of the Scriptures but before continuing it will be well to have some examples of the methods already mentioned, Gematria, Temura, etc. To this is devoted a separate chapter.
EXAMPLES OF PERMUTATION AND NUMERICAL VALUATION.
In ancient times the world was not so overburdened with literature as in the unfortunate present, when millions of books which all treat of the same unimportant matters, things which come and go, mere illusions of the moment, are produced in such numbers. In those days man depended more upon the oral teachings and when ready received his due from a teacher to whom he was led often seemingly by chance. The method of teaching followed was generally the Qabalistic one of using the sacred scrolls, upon which were written glyphs and symbols, and upon this foundation building up a solid structure of knowledge which there is nothing in the modern world to excel. The teachings related to the Macrocosmos, the large world or the Universe, and to the Microcosmos, the reflection of that larger world, called Man. From the teachings hidden in these glyphs
and symbols a universal science may be obtained, as is agreed by all who have studied these things, notably by H. P. Blavatsky, a science which treats of the Becoming of the Universe, of flux and efflux of Manvantara and Pralaya, from the generation of the "Gods" to the perfection of man.
One of the methods used to unravel the mysteries hidden in these sacred writings or scrolls is that of Temura or permutation, the anagrammatical method of changing the position of the letters forming a word to create a new word which explains the original. A striking example of this method, which should be of interest to all who are concerned with occult development and to those who are interested in the writings of the Alchemists, is the following:
The writers on Alchemy speak of a mysterious substance to which no name is given. It is said to be the cheapest thing in the world and costs nothing, it cannot be bought, but is actually given "for nothing" to all who are entitled to it. What is this mysterious thing? Let the Qabalist answer. It is grace.
This strange teaching was known ages before the Alchemists gave it out to their disciples, being hidden in the sacred writings of old, to be discovered by this method of Temura or permutation. Let us endeavour to gain some idea as to the method of giving out the hidden wisdom in the days of old.
The Hebrew word MChN, Mechein, meaning literally "from grace," has six permutations of great significance, viz., MChN, "from grace," MNCh, "from the one who rests," CHMn, meaning "rich oil," NChM, "to comfort," NMCh, "to obliterate," and finally, ChNM, "for nothing."
In these permutations is hidden a teaching of the deepest significance.
He who has passed through the fires of life and seen the emptiness of carnal things, of things transitory, those things which at the utmost last but for a life-time, even if that limit be reached, he who has reached this stage becomes MNCh, the one who rests from action. He has discovered after bitter lessons, after repeated trials and tests, that all mundane things are useful only because of the lessons which they teach the Soul.
[paragraph continues] Having thus learned from long experience that nothing in the world of man may bind him, he becomes MNCh. He goes out into the world a disciple doing the work of his Master, doing his Master's will, seeking to bring anew to earth the mighty truths so long hidden from a materialistic world, seeking ever to serve his brethren unto whom the same light has not yet been vouchsafed, ever in the midst of great activity, yet himself inactive within. Whatever storm there may be without, however much it may pour with hailstones, however fearful the lightning and thunder in the world of man, he stands calmly by, ready to serve those who are sent to him, ready to do the will of God, for he has learned from the Silence and become MNCh.
Thus, he acquires GRACE, MChN, that grace which is his due through resting from effort, whilst ever in the midst of the fight.
This grace, or MChN, is like unto "rich oil," which is ChMN, pouring down upon him, anointing him and opening up a wider field of consciousness to him, which tells of perfect unity and at-one-ment, that plane or condition of being known in the East
as the Buddhic and spoken of in the West as Cosmic Consciousness. Entering into this condition of Buddhic consciousness through the anointing, all his doubts and fears are dispelled. Never again can he complain that there is no purpose in life, nevermore will he rail at the gods for the faults of man, for now he knows, he realises and understands the reason, and sees the Purpose shining even in the darkest night of misery. Thus knowing much he is enabled to forgive all, and sets his feet firmly upon the path of Attainment.
Henceforth, as the looks around him and studies the Sacred Scriptures written in the hearts of men, he sees nothing evil, except in a relative sense. There are only lessons to be learned and a something beyond all forms which is Real and Everlasting. Nothing that is human is evil in his sight, nothing that is human is wrong, there is no sin but what he might himself have committed, no stage but what he himself has passed in his upward climb and knowing the effect of these lessons upon himself he realises that all is for the best and that God in truth, is indeed in his heaven, and that
all is, as the poet says, right with the world.
The word NChM, "to comfort," shews us that after arriving at this stage the man is comforted with the knowledge gained, comforted by the Divine Grace which through resting he has attained. And now a new stage has been reached shewn in the word NMCh, meaning "to obliterate," the lower man is obliterated and the god appears in all his glory. It is now that the disciple attains to perfection and receives the great Arcanum, the true Philosopher's Stone which is given him literally "for nothing" (CHNM). He brings with him only grace (MChN), which permuted is ChNM, meaning literally "for nothing."
This then is the meaning of the Alchemists when they assert that the, sacred fire cannot be bought but is to be had "for nothing," but this "nothing" is a very precious "something," for it is grace without which no man can safely be entrusted with the Grand Secret.
We may read the lessons contained in these Temuras in a shorter way thus:—
The grace of God is like unto rich oil pouring out from the Heavens, coming "to
comfort" the "one who rests" from strife and serving "to obliterate" all evil, so that nothing is left but the Perfected One, the Tahar or Arhat.
This is an illustration of the method called Temura. Let us now study that of Gematria or numerical valuation and incidentally learn the secret of the wonderful number thirty-three, a secret especially interesting to Freemasons.
The struggler, the disciple, it is well known, has to be thrown down into the Pit into the depths of matter, to learn the lessons which only can be learned through bitter experience. In the midst of his trials when for a time the Light is shut out from him he cries aloud: "Woe is me, my pain is greater than I can bear."
This pain is felt only by the lower man who is being crushed and the teacher reminds the disciple of this and instructs him by means of the perfect number thirty-three.
The value of the Hebrew word KABI which means "my pain" is exactly thirty-three, the number well-known to Occultists and Free-Masons. Why is this called the
perfect number? How many Free-masons can answer? Few indeed of those who specialise in the "fourth degree," the banqueting degree, in any case, can throw even a faint glimmer of light upon the subject. Oh! that we might be permitted to pour the "Chochmah Nistorah" into the empty Masonic vessels and purify the Craft of its defilements. Idol with feet of clay! Let us leave the proud holders of this degree in the hands of the earth-spirit who will awaken them all in good time.
KABI then, which means "my pain" is numerically thirty-three and contains a teaching well worth of study. When the teacher hears this cry and recognises the man as an aspirant, when the disciple thinks that his pain is too great to be borne then is help vouchsafed him. He is instructed to centre himself in God to rise from the Pit into which he has been thrown.
The word BAL which means "in God" has the same numerical value (33) as KABI (my pain). We see that the symbol of the Higher Self (A) is centered in this word pointing out to the disciples the goal to which he must attain.
When this centring has been effected the disciple is told that now he will have to meet his real Self and become one with his Father, the Master within. "In God" says the Teacher, "shalt thou find thy Father, through pain and by the destruction of pain shalt thou rise from the Pit."
The word pain as we have seen it is numerically 33. From this we get the word BAL in God, also 33. In God the Father is to be found, by union the Self is to be known, as we see by changing the letters to those of the same numerical value, viz., ABIKh, literally thy Father (33).
These lessons learned, the disciple rises from the Pit and having become one with God returns to the Mount from whence he came and receives the Law as all true Initiates have to do. Then it is said that he will live for ever.
These teachings are also found in studying the perfect number 33, for not only does it refer to the Pain of the Disciple, the Father, the centring of the self in God but it shows us that the man returns to the heights after these struggles and really begins to live in the eternal. The word GL means
[paragraph continues] Mountain and has the numerical value of 33, whilst YChIH has the same value and means he will live (in the eternal).
Thus in this number 33 is hidden the secret which tells how the risen one escapes for ever from the connection which he has been forced to make with Asmodeus and enters into that state in which Goodness and Light are predominating characteristics. Anything the treader of the Path possesses of these qualities is owing to individual advancement, but the popular or uninstructed world is not yet out of the hands of Asmodeus nor likely to be for ages to come. From all these teachings we should learn infinite patience and tolerance with our less progressed brothers, remembering the jewels from the Hall of Wisdom as set down in Light on the Path.