Isis unveiled, vol. I
Chapter XIV – EGYPTIAN WISDOM
Continuing her extensive and authentic citations from various authorities on the evidence of unsurpassed knowledge, skills and wisdom of ancient Egyptians, H.P.B. gives us glimpses in to the pre-historic past. She thus illustrates that races of men progress in cycles , age of civilization, learning and enlightenment alternating with cycles of intellectual decline and almost entire oblivion of knowledge and progress of the past ages, to rise again. Progress this civilization of ours prides itself to have achieved is shown not only to have been anticipated thousands of years ago but far exceeded the present day progress in every field of human endeavour.
An evidence of the astronomical erudition of Egyptians
Professor Draper admits it. He is supported by singular facts quoted by Mr. J.M. Peebles from a lecture delivered in Philadelphia, by Mr. O.M. Mitchell, the astronomer. On the coffin of a mummy, now lying in the British Museum, bore inscriptions of the Zodiac with exact positions of planets at the time of autumnal equinox in the year 1722 B.C. (“Around the World,” by Mr. J.M. Peebles)
Greece owes everything to Egypt
Prof. Draper in his History of the Intellectual Development of Europe gives historical evidence of this fact , and thus augments the theory of cyclic rise and fall of civilizations. He refers the best part of Greek culture to the Egyptian source. He was criticized by Prof. John Fiske for exalting non-European civilization. But then the latter criticism is nullified by the well-known historical confessions of great historians of ancient Greeks themselves. Herodotus, the father of History, confesses that Greece owes everything to Egypt.
Prof. Fiske’s criticism of the theory of cycles is again shown to be unwarranted by the plainly evident historical facts of many glorious nations which have passed away, ie., reached the end of their national cycle. Egypt of glorious past with its wondrous monuments, art, sciences, religion, its swarming population, bear no comparison with the present day Egypt, peopled with strangers. Says Gliddon that philologists, astronomers, chemists, painters, architects, physicians must return to Egypt to learn the origin of language and writing, of calendar and solar motion, the art of cutting granite with a copper chisel, giving elasticity to copper sword, making glass with variegated hues of the rainbow, of moving single blocks of polished syenite 900 tons in weight for any distance by land and water, building arches with Masonic precision antecedent by 2000 years to the ‘Gloaca Magna’ of Rome, of fresco painting in imperishable colours, practical knowledge of anatomy, of time defying pyramid etc., etc. Mr. Peebles says that temples and tombs of Ramses were as much a marvel to the Grecian Herodotus as they are to us.
But for the Books of Hermes and Herodotus the very memory of wondrous Egypt would have been swept away.
Cramped by the bias in favour of biblical chronology of 6000 years since the ‘creation’ of the world, clergy and scientists alike dreaded to trespass the limit of that time period in their estimation of the age of prehistoric remains.
Herodotus gives a description of the awesome labyrinth which was already in ruins before his time. He regarded it as more marvellous than the pyramids themselves. He found 3000 chambers, half subterranean and half over-ground. He said he examined them in detail as much as he was permitted by the keepers of the building permitted him to explore as they contained sepulchres of the kings who built the labyrinth. He says they excelled all human productions. Isis vo. I. p. 522-523 gives the account left by Herodotus. Can be read on line.
The wondrous Karnak stood as much testimony to the glory of Thebe which was in ruins when Memphis was in flower.
Champollion gives a description of Karnak. In one of its halls the cathedral of Notre Dame might stand and appear as a small ornament. He says one is astounded and overcome by the grandeur of the sublime remnants, the prodigy and magnificence of workmanship to be seen everywhere. French and English travellers confess to indescribably glory of Egyptian art, skill and monuments. Modern history gets the first glimpse of ancient Egypt when the latter was already in the evening of its glory.
Prejudiced scholars were always ready to discredit the achievements of the ancients. Fiske was one such who concluded that Egyptian monuments betoken of a barbarous civilization. His argument cuts both ways. If mega structures civilizations build are token of barbarity, then archaeologists of future millennia, finding remnants of skyscrapers of America might as well conclude that Americans were barbarians who built their mega structures through labours of slaves.
Illustration of law of cycles by which civilizations rise and fall
Nearly 700 years B.C. in the school of Thales and Pythagoras was taught the doctrine of the true motion of the earth, its form, and the whole heliocentric system. In A.D. 317 we find Lantantius, the preceptor of Crispus Caeser, son Constantine the Great, teaching his pupil that the earth was plane surrounded by sky, which is composed of fire and water, and warning him against the heretical doctrine of earth’s globular form.
NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN
HPB shows that in the pride of some new discovery, we throw a look in to the past, we find, to our dismay, certain vestiges which indicate the possibility, if not certainty, that the alleged discovery was not totally unknown to ancients.
In the next study class report some examples will be given to illustrate this point.