The animal never rises above the sphere of its sensuous desires; but man only finds true happiness and contentment in the contemplation of that which is above that sphere. He feels an inward necessity to satisfy his desires for the Divine and to give this satisfaction is the object of religion. Man rises up to God by means of his religious aspirations, and man's nature becomes elevated in the same proportion as his religious ideas become elevated, expanded and pure. An investigation into the relationship existing between man and religion, leads to the adoption of the following points:
1. Religion is natural and necessary for man, and an examination of ancient and modern history will prove the truth of this assertion.
2. Religion is as old as mankind. The principles of religious systems cannot be a result of invention or arbitrary presumption; their germ must be necessarily regarded as from divine origin. It has withstood all the revolutions of nature and only its aspect has changed according to the various necessities or capacities of the people and the condition of their civilisation; but true religion is more than simply a code of morals.
3. True religion can be only one, and there can be only one true religion, because there is only one principle of perfection. Unity, - the law of true religion - requires a perfect harmony between sensuous and intellectual man. The divine light, which illuminate man, is for every man one and the same, and the differences between the various religious systems, are caused by the different aspects by which this light is seen by different people. The truth is one, but the forms in which it appears, differ. Every individual man, no matter where he lives or what he believes, can be a temple in which the divine spirit will reside. Wisdom is attainable to all, and the attainment of wisdom by all re-establishes unity.
4. Man rises up to the divine light of love and wisdom by means of his religious ideas, and becomes thereby more and more susceptible to beneficent influences. Man, like every other thing in nature, is subject to natural laws, and according to these he partakes to a certain extent of the nature of the influences with which he associates. There have been at all times men who rose higher than others to the divine source, and to whom we may look as upon our guides and teachers. The revelations and traditions which we have received from such men are laid down in the history and religions of all nations, and in all of them can a certain similarity and unity be traced. We may therefore look upon each men as divine
5. Divinity can become accessible to man by means of these divine agents, or, in other words, the divine ray by passing through those media or agents becomes tinctured with the color which is appropriate to each of them, else it would for ever remain incomprehensible to man. Some of the angels and prophets may have existed as human beings, but they all are representations or symbols of forces or perfections which primordial man originally possessed.
6. By means of these divine agents a communication of thought has been established from the highest to the lowest. A mode of instruction was thereby possible, by which those who did not possess sufficient power to rise, could be lifted up by their guides , and by which they could receive information in regard to the nature of things and the history of mankind.
7. The divine agents or messengers selected in all times certain men, to whom they communicated their knowledge, and through those men the various colored light was shed over the different parts of the globe; partly by oral instruction, partly by tradition by means of symbols, arts or usages. These traditions have in the course of time become so perverted as to be often almost unrecognizable, and giving rise to innumerable sectarian differences.
8. The science and history of man comprise therefore the origin and object of Mythology and Symbolism. Much is fanciful in these systems, but in those of the oldest nation an identity can be traced.
A large part of these mythologies have their origin in superstition, and in others the true original meaning has been lost; but sufficient truth remains to show that the oldest inhabitants of our globe conceived the destiny of man to be a higher one, than simply to pass through certain chemical and physical processes. They are all relating to the origin of man, the laws of his existence and his destiny, and give us a more or less correct history of the visible and the invisible universe.
9. The celebrated ancient mysteries with their doctrines and initiations took their origin from these old traditions, handed down from antiquity by the sages and their disciples. The perpetuation of these mysteries was necessary, and the secrecy by which they were surrounded was due to the desire of guarding them against profanation and to keep them intact in their original purity.
10. One of the oldest and most reliable of the histories of antiquity is that of the Hebrews . The Cabala gives a very clear conception of cosmology, and the esoteric meaning of their symbolism is extremely beautiful. Unfortunately its esoteric sense is at present very little understood even by the Hebrews themselves or their Rabbis, and has been still more perverted and obscured by the imperfect translations made from the original text.
The retrocession of Man, from the true source of light, has rendered it more difficult for him to obtain true knowledge, because to obtain that knowledge he must have the light of truth as a guide. Nevertheless a certain degree of true knowledge must be attainable to man, because every being is subject to a certain and unchangeable law.
The possibility of this attainment finds its basis not only in the intellectual germ  in man, which is an unchangeable in its intrinsic nature as the principle from which it originated, but also in the fact that man, in consequence of his two-fold nature, resembles a mirror, in which all the laws of the sensual and intellectual realms are concentred. Therefore the knowledge of man is the basis of every other knowledge; he who perfectly understands man, understands the laws of the Intellectual and Sensual and can explain everything. In the study of man, however, we must be careful not to confound the Sensual with the Intellectual, and to ascribe to the one that which belongs to the other.
There is in fact only one science, it includes the Intellectual and the Sensual; and both realms have to be studied together. The arbitrary separation of the two parts of that one science has given rise to the birth and growth of so many false systems and doctrines and contradictory conclusions. Whenever man desires to arrive at the truth in regard to the intellectual without using the means given to him by nature for that purpose, he invariably falls into error; and it is no less dangerous to attempt to study the sensual without the light of the intellect. If we desire to use our reason properly, we must "divinise" our own heart and thereby enable it to approach the source of all light, which is higher than human reasoning.
The false study of the sensual gives rise to materialism and the false study of the intellectual leads to superstition; but true science must deal more with principles than merely with the phenomenal aspect of things. Both extremes are dangerous; because in one case we crawl like a worm over our path without seeing to where it leads; in the other case we soar above it and become lost in the clouds. True knowledge can only be obtained by right discrimination and by taking into consideration the laws of the Sensuous, the Intellectual and the Divine, by which alone can become free and return to the universal source of Light and Truth.
The Science of Numbers.
The entire system of the universe rests upon certain primordial and basic principles, from which result the substance, shape and action of everything that exists. These basic principles are called the numbers of nature. Whoever comprehends them, understands the laws by which nature exists, the proportions of her component part, the manner and measure of her activity, the connecting link of all causes and the mechanism of the Cosmos.
Those numbers are not arithmetic symbols, but true principles; they are the basis of all true science and of all intellectual understanding.
The subject under our consideration is of infinite extent and can only be understood by the finite Mind, who encompasses within itself the chain of all causes, proportions and effects, and human language is too imperfect to fully express the same. Every effect is the result of an energy, and that energy the expression of a power. The quantity of power expended, corresponds to the essential, and the quality of energy to the potential number. Principle and Form are two poles, which are united by the link of Number. By our senses we receive certain impressions from the sensuous action of things, and by our reason we receive ideas of their invisible positions and terminations, if we are able to grasp them. The Intellectual as well as the Sensuous has number, measure and weight, but they can only be comprehended by our reason or intuition.
The numbers of the universe are infinite, but their movement is simple and straight, because everything rests upon the primal numbers: 1 to 10. These numbers are contained in the four basic numbers (1+2+3+4=10) which fact indicates the sanctity of the square, the symbol of the divinity of man.
A few remarks about the meaning of numbers
I. The number 1 represents: 1. Absolute unity, the essence and the universal centre of all Beings. 2. The centres or principles of all individual unities, which are not absolute and necessary; but only direct or indirect eradiations of the absolute unity.
1. The absolute unity in a state of motion or progression, as an eradication or reflection of 1.
2. Light, or an emanating ray.
3. The origin of all things, the projection of the Divine into the Intellectual.
4. The double law of action and reaction, male and female, positive and negative, etc..
III. Is the number of results.
1. Without Three there can be no result, either in the Intellectual or physical. From the 1, the real possibility of existence, and the 2, the energy and reaction, results 3, the product or form.
2. The constitution of the bodies, formed (a) of the bases of the three elements: Earth, Water and Fire; (b) the three actions: Action, Reaction and Cause.
3. The immaterial, but not thinking universal principle . The number of unthinking, but immaterial beings  is represented by 3x3=9.
IV. Is the number of perfection.
1. It is the symbol of the divine square, the thinking universe. 2. The representation of the intellectual man in his primordial condition; and 4. the symbol of the universe, North, South, East and West.
V. This number may be regarded as 1+4, or as 2+3, or as 4+1, and its aspect differs accordingly. Five is necessarily for the harmony of a perfect accord; but in another aspect it is terrible and represents the principle of evil in its battle with the good. It is the symbol of idolatry, superstition and fear, which can only become moderated by the combination with 6. It is the number of suffering and death, and whoever remains with it becomes a victim of the terrible power of 65.
VI. Is not a perfect number, but good for sensuous results. By 6 as the symbol of 2x3 visible nature came into existence. It is the symbol of temporal and changeable existence.
VII. Consists of 3+4; 4+3; or 6+1. It represents the seven principles in their different combinations, the seven planets and many other things. Like 16 (4x4) and 9 (3x3) so is 49 (7x7) of great importance.
VIII. (2x4) Is the number of the double square of time and eternity; of the Intellectual and Sensuous and contains the connection and antiphony of the same.
IX. (3x3) Is the number of the Sensuous, of Sensuality and Degradation; of everything circular and material. 4+9 is the number of nature. The relation 1-3-6-9 and of 1-4-6-16 are very important.
X. Is the completion of every thing that exists. In it are combined all the double, ternary and quaternary relations, and it is the result of 1+2+3+4.
Occult Mathematics, or the application of basic numbers to the spiritual and physical world.
True mathematics is the basis of all true science. Ordinary mathematics is its shadow, and is only infallible as long as it occupies itself with material conceptions. All forms and images of sensuosity are the result of simple principles, and the origin of mathematics is therefore to be found in something on which the laws of the Sensuous, of Matter and Form depend; but which in itself is not material but intellectual. A man may be a very good mathematician on the ordinary plane, and yet incapable of solving an intellectual or physical problem as to its genetic cause. The true axioms of Mathematics are intellectual, and only by such can the regularity of all sensuous products be explained. In true Geometry we need a scale which can be applied to all kinds of dimensions; but such a scale can have no extension in itself. It can therefore not be found in ordinary Geometry, but must be searched for in the intellectual principle of extension; and consequently it will be impossible for ordinary Geometry to solve such problems, as for instance the squaring of the circle.
If we wish to measure a curve, it is above all necessary to have a correct idea about a straight and a curved line. The attempt to explain a curved line by forming a combination of indefinitely small straight lines, is inadmissible and irrational and conflicting with the true laws of nature; for besides the moral proofs of infinite unity and perfection, there are other reasons, why two such opposites as a straight line and a curved one never can be united and why such attempt should never be made. Every thing in nature has a number of differentiation, and this is also the case with both of these lines. Emanation into infinity is the object of one and detraction from infinite progression the aim of the other. Both are opposing each other, their numbers and actions must be different; their numbers are in the proportion 4-9 and in all their gradations and potencies this proportion remains the same. This law explains the generic and individual difference between intellectual and sensuous natures, which although differing from each other, yet are nevertheless derived from the same source, possess the same original number, and are governed by the same law. We refer the student to the footnotes on page 82 of the "Theosophical Miscellanies" (unpublished writings of Eliphas (Levi), which speaks especially about the sacred number seven.
The arbitrary scale used in common Geometry is extremely useful for the purpose of common life, because it deals with proportions of matter; but if we attempt to apply the same for the measurements of essential truths, we are likely to be led into errors, the least of which may grow into extensive dimensions, while the numbers 4 and 9, as representations of the straight and curved lines will in their proportions remain unchanged, and they therefore constitute the proper scale for such thruths. It would be impractical to apply occult mathematics and geometry to the measurement of sensuous perceptions and ordinary combinations of matter, neither can common Mathematics be applied to spiritual things. Matter exists only by and through motion, but matter is not the source of motion.
This source must necessarily exist in an immaterial principle, and the phenomena of extension and sensuosity are only the result caused by the action of that principle. If the principles of matter are dependant on a higher action or reaction, how much more must this be the case with the evolution of such principles.
Although in the realm of the sensuous there is no motion without extension, still even the sensuous indicates a motion without extension; that is, an attraction of the bodies towards a common centre. The Sensuous is always guided by the Intellectual, and it follows that in the latter the cause of motion must exist. Both motions, taking an inverse direction, are guided by the number 4, which is the number of all motion. Therefore no arithmetical progression exists in the realm of the living nature, and the geometrical progression of the square is the only guiding one, because it is the principle of life and the activity of living beings.
The number of extension and also of the curved line is 9, because everywhere in nature, where we find extension, we also find curved lines and both are therefore equivalent.. Every form in its last analysis approaches the form of an oval or a sphere. The number of the straight lines belongs to causes and principles; that of curves to products and results.
The number 4 and 9, the straight and curved line, represent therefore the two principal laws of nature, and the two should never be mistaken for each other. Man, ever since he ceased to be perfect, has vainly tried to unite the same and thereby unsuccessfully attempted to square the circle; or to understand a fourth dimension of space, problems which can be intellectually grasped, but cannot be demonstrated on the physical plane. There must be a distinction made between the natural circle and the artificial one. The first one does not consist of a periphery of connecting points, but is formed by an expansion of energy from the centre.
The square is not to be regarded as a geometrical extension, but as a symbol of a universal creative principle. This principle only reveals itself by the triangle formed by the three immaterial principles which cause forms and bodies, and this triangle in combination with the unity of the first principle forms the basis of all possible phenomena in the realm of the Sensuous. The action of the principle however is a straight line.
The four allegorical sides of the square represent: The first one, the basis and root of the others, is the symbol of the first and only cause, whose number is absolute unity.
The second, emanating from the first, is the first ray, the Adam Kadmon or primordial man, who in his double capacity is symbolized by two number, also called the "Son of God".
The third completes the trinity of all existing forms in the visible and invisible universe; and the jourth represents the essences of all classes and kinds, whether they are possessed of intellectual powers or restricted to the realm of the sensuous, and it finally stands in intimate relation with the mysterious nature of man.
Note 1 from the Editor of The Theosophist:
[ These agents are the Dhyan Chohans. The first teacher who taught the principles of the ancient Wisdom-Religion on this planet, says the occult doctrine, was a Dhyan Chohan. A Dhyan Chohan will appear again on this planet as a teacher and guru at the end of the 7th root-race. - T.S. ].
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Note 2 from the Editor of The Theosophist:
[ At the time this book was written, the mythology and traditions of the Hindus and Egyptians were little known, - Ed. ].
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Note 3 from the Editor of The Theosophist:
[ The germ is in fact the 6th principle in man, in which his higher individuality resides. - T.S. ]
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Note 4 from the Editor of The Theosophist:
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Note 5 from the Editor of The Theosophist: