Isis unveiled, vol. I
Chapter XIV – EGYPTIAN WISDOM
Pages 530 – 539
The previous study closed with the remark :
“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.”
H.P.B. illustrates this point with copious historical and other evidences. Some of them are here considered.
The proficiency of the ancient Egyptians in healing had been of the highest order. Orpheus, Plato, Pythagoras, Herodotus were all instructed by the Egyptians. These owe their philosophy and learning to the same temple in which the wise Solon was instructed by the priests. Pliny cites Antiklides that letters were invented in Egypt by an Egyptian by name Menon 15 centuries before the most ancient king of Greece, Phoroneus.
Jablonski proves that the heliocentric and earth’s sphericity were known for immemorial ages in Egypt. Wilkinson shows that the Egyptians knew the length of the year, the precession of the equinoxes, and the accurate astronomical cycles, and astrological influences emanating from the relative positions, groupings and conjunctions of heavenly bodies.
Several thousand years B.C. Chinese and Chaldean astronomers predicted eclipses. As far back as 1722 B.C. they delineated the zodiac with the exact positions of planets at the time of autumnal equinox.
Wendell Phillips delivered a series of most delightful lectures on Lost Arts in Boston in the last quarter of the 19th century—which are available on line even today—in which he shows that modern science and progress is just a partial rediscovery of ancient learning and wisdom which surpassed ours. He spoke of ignorance of modern men of learning in their estimation of the marvellous achievements of ancients.
The glory of Chaldea, Persia, Babylone have no parallel in history
The pillared halls of Persopolis were filled with miracles of art—carvings, sculptures, enamels, alabaster libraries, obelisks, sphinxes, colossal bulls. Ecbatana, in Media, the cool summer retreat of the Persian kings, was defended by several encircling walls of hewn and polished blocks, the interior ones in succession of increasing height, and of different colours, in astrological accordance with the seven planets. The palace was roofed with silver tiles, the beams were plated with gold. At midnight, in the halls, the sun was rivalled by many a row of naphtha cressets. The Persian empire was truly the garden of the world.
John William Draper in his The history of the conflict between religion and science, in chapter 1, in pages 10 and 11, says : In Babylon there still remained its walls, once more than 60 miles in compass, and after ravages of three centuries and three conquerors, still more than 80 feet in height. There were still the ruins of the temple of the cloud-encompassed Bel. On its top was planted the observatory wherein the weird Chaldean astronomers had held nocturnal communion with the stars. Still there were vestiges of the two palaces with their hinging gardens in which were trees growing in mid-air, and of the wreck of the hydraulic machinery that has supplied them from the river. Into the artificial lake, with its vast apparatus of aqueducts and sluices, the melted snow of the Armenian mountains found their way and were confined in their course through the city by the embankments of Euphratus. The most wonderful of all was the tunnel under the river bed.
Modern commentators of ancient achievements are misled by the outward symbols and rituals (exotericism) of the ancient temples which they cannot penetrate :
They are either unwilling or unable to discern the inner significance (Esotericism) of the outer symbols. The Hierophants of the temples instructed their pupils in the hidden significance of the outer worship. There was a vast difference between the true worship taught to those who showed themselves worthy. Ignorant of their Esoteric knowledge, the modern researchers accuse the ancient magians of all kinds of superstitions.
They ascertained the true meridian, measured time, had standard measures and weights and were proficient in algebra.
The meridian was correctly ascertained before the Pyramids were built, They had clocks and dials to measure time. Their cubit was the established unit of linear measure, being 1707 feet of the English measure. Herodotus has recorded that the unit of weight was known to Egyptians, they had the decimal and duodecimal modes of calculation from the earliest times, and were proficient in algebra. How could they otherwise bring into operation such immense mechanical powers, if they had not thoroughly understood the philosophy of what we term mechanical powers ?
Their art of making linen is one of the lost arts.
(p. 536) The art of making linen and fine fabric is proved to have been one of the branches of their knowledge. The Bible speaks of it. Joseph was presented by Pharao with a vesture of fine linen, a golden chain and many more things. The linen of Egypt was famous throughout the world. The mummies wrapped in it is beautifully preserved. Herodotus speaks of the beauty and admirable softness of the linen worn by the priests in the performances of Mysteries in honour of Isis.
Jews adopted the rites and ceremonies of Egyptians
The special dress of Levites was from Egypt. Clemens Alexandrinus, Origen and other Fathers of the Church reluctantly acknowledge it, but they attribute it to coincidence and clever trick of Satan in anticipation of events. Proctor, the astronomer, says in one of his books that the remarkable breastplate worn by the Jewish high Priest was derived directly from the Egyptians. The word Thummim itself is evidently of Egyptian origin, borrowed by Moses, like the rest.
Ornamental arts of the Egyptians
Their jewellery of gold, silver, and precious stones were beautifully wrought. So was the cutting, polishing and setting by their lapidaries in the finest style. The finger ring of an Egyptian mummy was pronounced the most artistic piece of jewellery in the London exhibition of 1851. The imitation of precious stone in glass is far above anything done at the present day, and emerald may be said to have been imitated to perfection.
Marvels of glass works
Mr. Wendell Phillips discovered in Pompeii a room full of glass. There were ground glass, window-glass, cut-glass and coloured glass of every variety. Catholic priests who broke into China 200 years ago (ie. 200 before 1870) were shown glass , transparent and colourless, which was filled with a liquor which appeared to be colourless like water. The liquor poured into the glass and then looking through, it seemed to be filled with fishes. The liquor was turned it out and repeated the experiment and again it was filled with fishes.
Great skill of the ancients in metals works
Wendell Phillips speaking of the skill of the ancients in metal works narrates that when the English plundered the summer palace of the Emperor of China the European artists were surprised at seeing the curiously wrought metal vessels of every kind, far exceeding the skill of the European workmen. African tribes in the interior of the country gave the travellers better razors than they had. Phillips goes on to say that George Thompson relating to him of the incident in which he saw a man in Calcutta throwing up a handful of floss silk into the air and a Hindu severing it into pieces with his sabre of native steel. He concludes with the significant remark : “Steel is the great triumph of metallurgy and metallurgy is the glory of chemistry.” So with the Egyptians and Semitic races. They dug gold and separated it with the utmost skill. Copper, iron, lead were found in abundance near the Red Sea.
Civilization in the East preceded that of the West by many centuries. Arts and sciences flowed from East to West. Remnants of iron furnaces are to be found on lonely mountain places.
Professor Albercht Muller says that introduction of bronze manufacture in Europe may be ascribed to a great race immigrants from Asia some 6000 years ago, called Aryan or Aryas; that there are many proofs that a considerable degree of culture existed at its very beginning. Bronze and iron were in use. Pottery was not only shaped on lathe but burned a good red. Manufacture s in glass, gold and silver existed. In lonely mountain places where the dross and the remains of iron furnaces are to be found. The dross are not volcanic ash as volcanic action is absent in places where the remnants were found.
A few other evidences of wonderful arts of the ancient world, now lost, will be considered in the next blog.