Isis unveiled, vol. I
Chapter XIV – EGYPTIAN WISDOM
Pages 539– 544
Continuing more illustrations of the claim of Adept Fraternity that the ancient world was not ignorant as believed by learned men of our times but had made great progress in arts and sciences, some of which were far in advance of the present times.
Wonderful art of preservation of mummies and the art of bandaging, which are now among the lost arts.
Mummies, if left in the dry climate of Egypt, seem to be practically imperishable; and even when removed after a repose of several thousand years, show no sign of change. None but those who have made special study of the subject, can estimate the amount of skill, patience, and knowledge exacted for the accomplishment of this indestructible work, which occupied several months. An expert who have made a study of it is cited as remarking : The body was filled with myrrh, cassia, and other gums, and after that, saturated with natron, then followed the marvellous swathing of the embalmed body, so artistically executed, that professional modern bandagists are lost in admiration at its excellency. Dr. Grandville remarks that there is not a single form of bandage known to modern surgery, of which far better and cleverer examples are not seen in the swathing of the Egyptian mummies; that the strips of linen are found without one single joint, extending to 1000 yards in length. There was not a fracture in the human body that could not be repaired successfully by the sacerdotal physician of those remote days.
Use of local anaesthesia in ancient Egypt
Modern discovery of anaesthesia is rightly considered a blessing to the suffering portion of humanity. It is proclaimed as the greatest discovery ever made. But the modern chemical formulae used in anaesthetics are not fool-proof, and many an accidental death has occurred and are occurring even today, though fatal accidents are more rare now than before. But the question is, is it the first discovery in history of mankind ?
Classical authors, Dioscorides and Pliny give a description of effective local anaesthesia Egyptian used. It was made from the stone of Memphis—lapis memphiticus. It is described as a sparkling small pebble, which was ground into a powder, and applied as an ointment to the part of the body which was to be subjected to surgical treatment, and the patent was immune to pain in the part operated upon. It was perfectly harmless to the constitution of the patient, who retained his consciousness throughout the operation, and it acted as long it was kept on the affected part. Pliny gives full description of it. (Historie naturelle” lib. Xxxviii, cap.vii)
Magical anaesthesia of ancient Brahmins
From immemorial times Brahmans possessed secrets which are invaluable. The widow who was bent on perfoming SATI—consigning herself to be consumed by the fire of cremation of her husband’s corpse. It was called sahamaranya. The widow did not dread of any suffering the least pain. The holy plant culled at the midnight hour on the spot where the Ganga and the Yamuna mingles their waters, and the process of anointing the body of the self-appointed victim with ghee and sacred oils
after she was bathed in all her clothes and finery, are so many magical anaesthetics. After going round the fire she cast herself on her husband’s body to be consumed in fire together, without the least pang of pain.
A missionary who witnessed one such ceremony reported that the ghee which was poured in the fire drugged the widow who died of suffocation before being consumed by the fire. H.P.B. says that was a misrepresentation, as missionaries decry every custom and tradition of ancient non-Christian peoples as devilish heathenism. She says widows were never drugged in the sense we understand it but only precautionary measures were taken against useless physical martyrdom. Her mind was free and clear as ever, firmly believing in the bliss of after-life, she died with a smile of heavenly rapture on her countenance.
It is important to note that no such rite was ever prescribed in the Vedas nor practiced but the widow enjoyed the freedom of remarriage and participating in normal life in Vedic times. It was only later that the crafty Brahmins, who had lost the secrets of their high minded ancestors, who interpolated certain verses in the scriptures to customise the practice. Oriental scholars, both native and European—Max Muller and Professor Wilson among the latter-- have shown how certain Rig Vedic verses was interpolated by the ambitious ignorant, and crafty priests and enforced it.
Egypt, the birth place of Chemistry
Egypt is the cradle of Chemistry. Egypt was known as Chemi or Chem. Chemistry of colours seems to have been thoroughly known to Egyptians. This is illustrated in the imperishable colours of their paintings in the halls of Karnak and Luxor still standing and fresh even after thousands of years. Embalming and mural painting were not a chance discovery by Egyptians but it was the result of research and development employing inductive sciences. Exquisite ancient Greek paintings were copies of the Egyptian art.
Titanic sculptures at Thebes.
There are no modern architecture comparable to the rock-cut temples of Ipsambul in Lower Nubia (south of Egypt and north of Sudan). These can be viewed on the sebwsite. The rock sculpted sitting human figures measure 70 feet high, carved out of a single rock. The torso of the statue of Ramses II at Thebes measures 60 feet around the shoulders and elsewhere in proportion. Besides these our own look like pigmies
Iron was known and used; metallurgy and chemistry were developed and included under Alchemy
Iron was known to Egyptians long before the construction of first pyramid which was not earlier that 20,000 years. Proof of it was hidden in the pyramid of cheops until Colonel Howrds Vyse found it in the shape of a piece of iron, in one of the joints, where it had evidently been placed at the time this pyramid was built. Ancients adduce many evidences that ancients were well acquainted with metallurgy in prehistoric times. The Col. Says that to this day we can find at Sinai heaps of scoriae produced by smelting. Metallurgy and chemistry in those days were known as Alchemy which was the foundation of prehistoric magic. Moses, who was instructed by the Egyptians proved his alchemical knowledge by pulverising the golden calf and strewn the powder on the water.
Maritime achievements of Egyptians
Necho II fitted out a fleet on the Red Sea and dispatched for exploration. The fleet was absent for over two years and instead of returning through the straits of Babelmandel, as was wont, it sailed back through the strait of Gibraltar. Herodotus was sceptical of the maritime achievements of Egyptians. He said that they claimed while the navigators were returning homewards d the sunrise on their right hand side, which, to Herodotus appeared incredible. But Co. Vyse said that the incredible assertion is now proved incontestable as they may well be understood to have doubled the Cape of Good Hope. It is proved that the feat which was attributed to Columbus was after all had been achieved ages ago y Egyptians. It is said that they anchored twice on theor way, sowed corn, reaped it, sailed back home through the pillars of Hercules, and eastward along the Mediterranean. Egyptians were far more deserving of the term veteris (veteran) than either Romans or Greeks.
Ancient Greece a mere infant before mighty older Egyptian civilization– admonition of Greeks by Egyptian Hierophants
Said the Egyptian Hierophants to Solon, the grand uncle, of Plato when he visited Egypt and confabulated with them, “O Solan, Solan, you Greeks are ever childish, having no ancient opinion, no discipline of any long standing !” Solon was surprised when he was told by them that the gods and goddesses of Grecian pantheon were but the disguised gods of Egypt. Ionnes (John) Zonara, historian and theologian of Constantinople, truly said : All these things came to us from Chaldea to Egypt, and from thence were derived to the Greeks.Gods of Greek pantheon are a disguised gods of Egypt.
Archytas, Plato’s teacher, was a mathematician and an inventor
Archytas, a native of Tarentum in Italy, instructed Plato. He was a philosopher distinguished for his mathematical achievements and achievements in practical mechanics, constructed a wooden dove. It must have been an extraordinary ingenious mechanism, as it flew, fluttered its wings, and sustained itself for considerable time in the air. He lived 400 B.C.E invented, besides wooden dove, the screw crane, and various hydraulic cranes.
Grape wine and glassware
Egyptians made grape wine, brewed her own beer and in quantity. The Ebers MSS prove Egyptians used beer 2000 years B.C.E. Glass was manufactured with all its varieties. In many Egyptian sculptures can be seen scenes of glass-blowing and bottles. Archaeological researches have revealed very beautifully fashioned glasses and glassware. Sir Gardener Wilkinson says Egyptians cut, ground and engraved glass, and possessed the art of introducing gold between the two surfaces of the substance. They imitated with glass, pearls, emeralds, and all the precious stones to a great perfection.
Great progress in musical art
They cultivated musical art, understood well the effect of musical harmony and influence on the human spirit. In their oldest sculptures and carvings can be seen scenes of musicians playing on various instruments. Music was used in the healing department of the temples for the cure of nervous disorders. On the monuments can be seen men playing in bands in concert, the leader beating time by clapping hands. They understood the laws of harmony, had their sacred music, domestic and military. The lyre, harp and flute were used for sacred music concerts; for festive occasions played the guitar, the single and the double pipes and castanets; for troops and during military service they had trumpets, drums and cymbals. The superiority of Egyptian lyre over the Grecian is an admitted fact. The material out of which were made such instruments was often of very costly and rare wood, some imported from far off lands, and they were beautifully carved, painted, inlaid with mother-of-pearl and ornamented with coloured leather. They used catgut for strings as in our days. Pythagoras learned music in Egypt and made a regular science of it in Italy. Egyptians are generally considered in antiquity the best music teachers in Greece. They understood thoroughly well how to extract harmonious sounds out of an instrument by adding strings to it, as well as multiplication of notes by shortening the strings upon its neck, which shows a great progress made in the musical art. Geometry, drawing, mechanics, and music were at the greatest perfection in Egypt.
On the walls of the palace of Amenoph II at Thebes, the king is represented as playing chess with his queen. The monarch reigned long before the Trojan war. In India chess was known to have been played at least 5000 years ago.
Knowledge of Medicine
One of the lost books of Hermes have been found and translated by Ebers, their knowledge of medicine is found in it to be in great advance. They understood the circulation of blood in the body, knew how to draw blood downward, stop its circulation for a while etc. A bas relief represents a scenes of healing in the halls of various temples. They had their dentists and oculists, and no doctor was allowed to practice more than one speciality—an indication that they lost fewer patients in those days that our own physicians do now. It is asserted by some authorities that the Egyptians were the first people in the world who introduced trisal by jury—though, H.P.B. says that this is doubted.
Subject of the next blog will dwell on other great civilizations of pre-historic Americas, the earliest navigators of the globe, Mexican ruins and myths, question of who built the ancient monuments of the Mayas.