SECRET OF THE ELEMENTS, TABERNACLE’S MEANING, DRAGONS OF SECRET WISDOM
Erle Frayne D. Argonza
Gracious day! May the Glad Tidings of divine wisdom pour unto thy minds and buddhis!
For this note, let us augment our understanding of the secret of the elements. To aid us in this process, we have the symbolisms of the ‘tabernacle’ and the ‘dragons of secret wisdom’ unveiled in their hidden meanings.
The spiritually Perfected Ones declared in Sloka 5 of Stanza 5, Book of Dzyan, the following:
FOHAT TAKES FIVE STRIDES (having already taken the first three) (a), AND BUILDS A WINGED WHEEL AT EACH CORNER OF THE SQUARE FOR THE FOUR HOLY ONES . . . . . . AND THEIR ARMIES (hosts) (b).
HPBlavatsky, magnanimous chela of the mahatmas & chohans, substantiated the sloka in her commentaries, Volume I, Secret Doctrine, as follows:
(a) The “strides,” as already explained (see Commentary on Stanza IV.), refer to both the Cosmic and the Human principles— the latter of which consist, in the exoteric division, of three (Spirit, Soul, and Body), and, in the esoteric calculation, of seven principles—three rays of the Essence and four aspects.* Those who have studied Mr. Sinnett’s “Esoteric Buddhism” can easily grasp the nomenclature. There are two esoteric schools—or rather one school, divided into two parts—one for the inner Lanoos, the other for the outer or semi-lay chelas beyond the Himalayas; the first teaching a septenary, the other a six-fold division of human principles.
From a Cosmic point of view, Fohat taking “five strides” refers here to the five upper planes of Consciousness and Being, the sixth and the seventh (counting downwards) being the astral and the terrestrial, or the two lower planes.
(b) “Four winged wheels at each corner . . . . . for the four holy ones and their armies (hosts)” . . . . . These are the “four Maharajahs” or great Kings of the Dhyan-Chohans, the Devas who preside, each over one of the four cardinal points. They are the Regents or Angels who rule over the Cosmical Forces of North, South, East and West, Forces having each a distinct occult property. These BEINGS are also connected with Karma, as the latter needs physical and material agents to carry out her decrees, such as the four kinds of winds, for instance, professedly admitted by Science to have their respective evil and beneficent influences upon the health of Mankind and every living thing. There is occult philosophy in that Roman Catholic doctrine which traces the various public calamities, such as epidemics of disease, and wars, and so on, to the invisible “Messengers” from North and West. “The glory of God comes from the way of the East” says Ezekiel; while Jeremiah, Isaiah, and the Psalmist assure their readers that all the evil under the Sun comes from the North and the West—which proposition, when applied to the Jewish nation, sounds like an undeniable prophecy for themselves. And this accounts also for St. Ambrose (On Amos, ch. iv.) declaring that it is precisely for that reason that “we curse the North-Wind, and that during the ceremony of baptism we begin by turning towards the West (Sidereal), to renounce the better him who inhabits it; after which we turn to the East.”
Belief in the “Four Maharajahs”—the Regents of the Four cardinal points—was universal and is now that of Christians,* who call them, after St. Augustine, “Angelic Virtues,” and “Spirits” when enumerated by themselves, and “Devils” when named by Pagans. But where is the difference between the Pagans and the Christians in this cause? Following Plato, Aristotle explained that the term FJ@4P,Ã" was understood only as meaning the incorporeal principles placed at each of the four great divisions of our Cosmical world to supervise them. Thus, no more than the Christians did, do they adore and worship the Elements and the cardinal (imaginary) points, but the “gods” that ruled these respectively. For the Church there are two kinds of Sidereal beings, the Angels and the Devils. For the Kabalist and Occultist there is but one; and neither of them makes any difference between “the Rectors of Light” and the Cosmocratores, or “Rectores tenebrarum harum,” whom the Roman Church imagines and discovers in a “Rector of Light” as soon as he is called by another name than the one she addresses him by. It is not the “Rector” or “Maharajah” who punishes or rewards, with or without “God’s” permission or order, but man himself—his deeds or Karma, attracting individually and collectively (as in the case of whole nations sometimes), every kind of evil and calamity. We produce CAUSES, and these awaken the corresponding powers in the sidereal world; which powers are magnetically and irresistibly attracted to—and react upon—those who produced these causes; whether such persons are practically the evil-doers, or simply Thinkers who brood mischief. Thought is matter,* we are taught by modern Science; and “every particle of the existing matter must be a register of all that has happened,” as in their “Principles of Science” Messrs. Jevons and Babbage tell the profane. Modern Science is drawn more every day into the maëlstrom of Occultism; unconsciously, no doubt, still very sensibly. The two main theories of science—re the relations between Mind and Matter—are Monism and Materialism. These two cover the whole ground of negative psychology with the exception of the quasi-occult views of the pantheistic German schools.†
(1.) MATERIALISM, the theory which regards mental phenomena as the product of molecular change in the brain: i.e., as the outcome of a transformation of motion into feeling (!). The cruder school once went so far as to identify mind with a “peculiar mode of motion” (!!), but this view is now happily regarded as absurd by most of the men of science themselves.
(2.) MONISM, or the Single Substance Doctrine, is the more subtle form of negative psychology, which one of its advocates, Professor Bain, ably terms “guarded…
In the Egyptian temples, according to Clemens Alexandrinus, an immense curtain separated the tabernacle from the place for the congregation. The Jews had the same. In both, the curtain was drawn over five pillars (the Pentacle) symbolising our five senses and five Root-races esoterically, while the four colours of the curtain represented the four cardinal points and the four terrestrial elements. The whole was an allegorical symbol. It is through the four high Rulers over the four points and Elements that our five senses may become cognisant of the hidden truths of Nature; and not at all, as Clemens would have it, that it is the elements per se that furnished the Pagans with divine Knowledge or the knowledge of God.* While the Egyptian emblem was spiritual, that of the Jews was purely materialistic, and, indeed, honoured only the blind Elements and the imaginary “Points.” For what was the meaning of the square tabernacle raised by Moses in the wilderness, if it had not the same cosmical significance? “Thou shalt make an hanging . . . of blue, purple, and scarlet” and “five pillars of shittim wood for the hanging . . . four brazen rings in the four corners thereof . . . boards of fine wood for the four sides, North, South, West, and East . . . of the Tabernacle . . . with Cherubims of cunning work.” (Exodus, ch. xxvi., xxvii.) The Tabernacle and the square courtyard, Cherubim and all, were precisely the same as those in the Egyptian temples. The square form of the Tabernacle meant just the same thing as it still means, to this day, in the exoteric worship of the Chinese and Tibetans—the four cardinal points signifying that which the four sides of the pyramids, obelisks, and other such square erections mean. Josephus takes care to explain the whole thing. He declares that the Tabernacle pillars are the same as those raised at Tyre to the four Elements, which were placed on pedestals whose four angles faced the four cardinal points: adding that “the angles of the pedestals had equally the four figures of the Zodiac” on them, which represented the same orientation (Antiquities I., VIII., ch. xxii.).
The idea may be traced in the Zoroastrian caves, in the rock-cut temples of India, as in all the sacred square buildings of antiquity that have survived to this day. This is shown definitely by Layard, who finds the four cardinal points, and the four primitive elements, in the religion of every country, under the shape of square obelisks, the four sides of the pyramids, etc., etc. Of these elements and their points the four Maharajahs were the regents and the directors.
If the student would know more of them, he has but to compare the Vision of Ezekiel (chap. i.) with what is known of Chinese Buddhism (even in its exoteric teachings); and examine the outward shape of these “Great Kings.” In the opinion of the Rev. Joseph Edkins, they are “the Devas who preside each over one of the four continents into which the Hindus divide the world.”* Each leads an army of spiritual beings to protect mankind and Buddhism. With the exception of favouritism towards Buddhism, the four celestial beings are precisely this. They are the protectors of mankind and also the Agents of Karma on Earth, whereas the Lipika are concerned with Humanity’s hereafter. At the same time they are the four living creatures “who have the likeness of a man” of Ezekiel’s visions, called by the translators of the Bible, “Cherubim,” “Seraphim,” etc.; and by the Occultists, “the winged Globes,” the “Fiery Wheels,” and in the Hindu Pantheon by a number of different names. All these Gandharvas, the “Sweet Songsters,” the Asuras, Kinnaras, and Nagas, are the allegorical descriptions of the “four Maharajahs.” The Seraphim are the fiery Serpents of Heaven which we find in a passage describing Mount Meru as: “the exalted mass of glory, the venerable haunt of gods and heavenly choristers . . . . not to be reached by sinful men . . . . because guarded by Serpents.” They are called the Avengers, and the “Winged Wheels.”
Their mission and character being explained, let us see what the
Christian Bible-interpreters say of the Cherubim:—“The word signifies in Hebrew, fullness of knowledge; these angels are so called from their exquisite Knowledge, and were therefore used for the punishment of men who affected divine Knowledge.” (Interpreted by Cruden in his Concordance, from Genesis iii., 24.) Very well; and vague as the information is, it shows that the Cherub placed at the gate of the garden of Eden after the “Fall,” suggested to the venerable Interpreters the idea of punishment connected with forbidden Science or divine Knowledge—one that generally leads to another “Fall,” that of the gods, or “God,” in man’s estimation. But as the good old Cruden knew nought of Karma, he may be forgiven. Yet the allegory is suggestive. From Meru, the abode of gods, to Eden, the distance is very small, and from the Hindu Serpents to the Ophite Cherubim, the third out of the seven of which was the Dragon, the separation is still smaller, for both watched the entrance to the realm of Secret Knowledge. But Ezekiel plainly describes the four Cosmic Angels: “I looked, and behold, a whirlwind, a cloud and fire infolding it . . . also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures . . . they had the likeness of a man. And every one had four faces and four wings . . . the face of a man, and the face of a lion, the face of an ox, and the face of an eagle . . . ” (“Man” was here substituted for “Dragon.” Compare the “Ophite Spirits.”* ) . . . “Now as I beheld the living creatures behold one wheel upon the Earth with his four faces . . . as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel . . . for the support of the living creature was in the wheel . . . their appearance was like coals of fire . . .” etc. (Ezekiel, ch. i.)
There are three chief groups of Builders and as many of the Planetary Spirits and the Lipika, each group being again divided into Seven sub-groups. It is impossible, even in such a large work as this, to enter into a minute examination of even the three principal groups, as it would demand an extra volume. The “Builders” are the representatives of the first “Mind-Born” Entities, therefore of the primeval Rishi-Prajapati: also of the Seven great Gods of Egypt, of which Osiris is the chief: of the Seven Amshaspends of the Zoroastrians, with Ormazd at their head: or the “Seven Spirits of the Face”: the Seven Sephiroth separated from the first Triad, etc., etc.*
They build or rather rebuild every “System” after the “Night.” The Second group of the Builders is the Architect of our planetary chain exclusively; and the third, the progenitor of our Humanity—the Macrocosmic prototype of the microcosm.
The Planetary Spirits are the informing spirits of the Stars in general, and of the Planets especially. They rule the destinies of men who are all born under one or other of their constellations; the second and third groups pertaining to other systems have the same functions, and all rule various departments in Nature. In the Hindu exoteric Pantheon they are the guardian deities who preside over the eight points of the compass—the four cardinal and the four intermediate points—and are called Loka-Pâlas, “Supporters or guardians of the World” (in our visible Kosmos), of which Indra (East), Yama (South), Varuna (West), and Kuvera (North) are the chief; their elephants and their spouses pertaining of course to fancy and afterthought, though all of them have an occult significance.
The Lipika (a description of whom is given in the Commentary on Stanza IV. No. 6) are the Spirits of the Universe, whereas the Builders are only our own planetary deities. The former belong to the most occult portion of Cosmogenesis, which cannot be given here. Whether the Adepts (even the highest) know this angelic order in the completeness of its triple degrees, or only the lower one connected with the records of our world, is something which the writer is unprepared to say, and she would incline rather to the latter supposition. Of its highest grade one thing only is taught: the Lipika are connected with Karma—being its direct Recorders.†
[Philippines, 27 March 2012]
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