VI. LANGUAGE AND WRITING.
Primordial man was possessed of the superior advantage of being able to cognise the natures, qualities, powers, and motions of things directly. His connection with the world of spirit and the world of matter was so intimate that he could read and understand the most secret thoughts of those that were superior as well as of those that were inferior to him; and man, even in his present state of degradation, is still in possession of that power, but in an extremely small degree. This primordial power or language is known as the power of intuition.
It is man's duty to strive to regain this primordial language, by cultivating his intuitional powers and by the use of that small ray of light, which, in his present condition of darkness, only appears like the polar star instead of being his sun. He must do this by habitually collecting the primordial symbols and the true characters of things and grasping them with the powers of his mind. That means to meditate about the nature of things, to mentally penetrate into their centres and to understand their true meaning . This was the true object of the ancient hieroglyphic and of the picture writing of the schools of secret science. The farther the true symbols have receded from the true forms of nature, the more do they render it difficult to express the truth. But they have been at all times men who were able to read and write the original symbolic signs, and the true hieroglyphics are up to the present day in the possession and care of such men .
1. Nature and Origin of Language.
Man's actions are his writings. By putting his thoughts into action he expresses them and records them in the book of life.
The source of language is in man; but the manner of its birth cannot be explained simply by organisation, tradition or instruction; the original language of the spirit is as old as man's intellectual powers and its source lies far back in the night of time, when man yet existed in his original purity. Man cannot use his intellectual powers without the influence or stimulus of a higher re-action; if left to himself, he would have no occasion to speak. If by "language" we simply mean the expression and revelation of his powers, then we find that everything in nature has its language ; because not only are the powers of each being intimately connected with the means of their expression; bur between both exists the most exact proportion in regard to measure and condition; but to avoid mistakes and confusion, it is convenient to call "language" the expression of intellectual and moral powers, and in this aspect it can only belong to intellectual beings.
2. Original Language.
There is only one genuine language for man, the symbols of which are natural for man, the symbols of which are natural and must be intelligible to all, and it is either an interior direct communication of thought, or an exterior expression through and for the senses.
This interior language is the parent of the exterior one, and being caused by the irradiation of the supreme, which is unity and with whom all men are one, it follows that if that original irradiation of the supreme ray had remained unchanged in all men, all men would understand the same interior language and also the same exterior one, as the latter is only the sensuous expression of the former. Such is in fact the case. This original language, formerly spoken by all, but now lost to nearly all, is still in the possession of a few men, whose high degree of purity renders them capable of understanding the same. This language breathes, so to say, spirit, where common language only use letters. This language consists of non-ambiguous indubitable symbols, which are no arbitrary creations, but which are inherent in the nature of things and expressed by truth, and can be communicated by sound and signs.
He who understands that language can interpret not only the Divine, but he can unite all spaces and look into the distant past. A knowledge of that primitive language would at once explain the process of evolution of secondary languages and the intimate connection existing between the development of the various languages and the progress of evolution of the various nations; and this will be the language of a certain but far distant future. Man in his present condition hears the voice which speaks that language, but does not understand it; he sees the sacred symbols, but does not comprehend them; his ear is accustomed to human words, he seeks for human writings in books, and is blind to the hieroglyphics of the divine. The key to that language is contained in the divine logos, the Christ (or the seventh principle of the Occultists). Each word in that language is the character of the thing itself, a sign and symbol which men cultivate without knowing; the centre of each being, which is expressed by an indelible symbol, and whoever reaches that centre is in possession of the word and the sign. These symbols are the essential characteristics which distinguish men as such from other existences. An artist understands another artist by beholding the products of his art, without speaking with him in words, or meeting him personally. True spirit unites all distances of time and space and is independent of accidental relations. There is a universal light which contains the light of all beings, and this light is the living organ of that universal language, the universal symbol and sound, the types and harmonies of which are offered by nature herself. Men have ever been desiring an universal language. Such a universal language cannot be arbitrarily established, or, if so established, would be more difficult to learn than any other. True language must express the harmony of our soul with the nature of things, and as long as there is disharmony, there cannot be one universal harmonious language. There are many signs by which this language can be recognized, and many traces which lead us to the same. To study it, we need not go outside of visible nature, we must only seek its source in the same. There is a threefold word of God; a physical, an intellectual and divine. The first is the language of nature, the second that of the divine agents, and the third the language of the logos or Christ. Those signs are moreover contained in the nature of men, their products and imitations, and are pre-eminently visible in the creations of Genius as the expressions of the higher thoughts of poetry, music and art, and many therefore be considered as constituting the dialect of heroes and gods. 3. Arbitrary Languages. As long as the light, which illuminated primordial man, continued in its original purity and perfection, his interior language could be expressed by corresponding symbols, in a plain and unmistakeable manner; but as man's reason became involved in material pursuits, an endless variety of ambiguous, uncertain and unreliable inferior languages came into existence. All of them, however, have certain points of similarity which proves their common origin; but it is not our object to investigate this subject at present. 4. Divine and Natural Writing. Supreme wisdom uses certain invariable symbols to express certain ideas and each divine thought is represented by a certain allegorical sign. Besides this, there is another fixed original language, consisting in the collective characters of nature, which, like an open book, are before our eyes. The first language relates to divine things and its alphabet consists allegorically of four letters, which are the four primitive numbers (1+2+3+4=10.) The second relates to intellectual and sensuous products and has 22 letters . Each being is a characteristic symbol and living exterior image of its interior, and the universe is a collection of such symbols, representing the natures, qualities, proportions, compositions, activities and passivities of things. Each body is the symbol of an invisible and corresponding power, and man, according to his origin, is the most noble expression of God and a perfect copy of his invisible divinity. Man is the most beautiful letter of the alphabets of earth, and he who is able to read and understand that letter has nothing further to learn; for he will have obtained the wisdom of the ages and be himself a God. VII. Explanations of some of the principal allegories.
1. The impenetrable armor. - By this is meant the ethereal body of man, which surrounded his spiritual principle, before his immersion into matter made it necessary for him to be protected by a physical body. That primitive body was and still is indestructible, immortal and not subject to the inimical influences of the elements. It is not said whether that body corresponds to the shape of man's present form; but some philosophers consider it in its perfection as representing a radiant sphere (the sphere being the most perfect form) whose circumference however is without limits.
2. The fiery sword refers to his spiritual power, expressed through the living word or the irresistible force of his Will , when put into action.
3. The forest of seven trees, symbolizes the seven primordial emanations or evolutions of the divine "logos", by whose influence everything lives and exists.
4. The ten leaves of the book of life represent the universe, or the abundance and completeness of everything. They are called ten leaves on account of the occult signification of that word. Primordial man could see and understand all the ten leaves at once, but we have to study painfully one leaf after another.
5. The intellectual square symbolizes the totality of all intellectual beings and their powers. In it everything is spirit and life and power. It is the throne of him, who is called the alpha and omega, the highest which thinking beings can obtain, a temple of activity and rest, pure light and enjoyment. It is also called the paradise with its four rivers (or Nirvana).
6. The destroyer and to be reconstructed temple of the spirit, means human nature in its original purity and the great work of reconstructing or regenerating the same. The columns of that temple are represented by the sages of all nations, those that are illuminated by the true light; and the altar with the inextinguishable lamps refers to man's ever present power to exercise his divine rights of adoration, meditation and the practice of charity and self-sacrifice.
7. The great name of the Hebrews refers to the Logos or Christ, the first emanation from deity, and the holy names represent the seven divine powers, which are the sources from which all life flows into the beings, and which are the first approaches to the inexpressible name, the supreme source of everything that comes into existence. -- --
Note 1 from the Editor of The Theosophist:
[ In other words, he must learn how to write, before he can read. - Ed. ].
Note 2 from the Editor of The Theosophist:
[ The Mahatmas. - Ed. ].
Note 3 from the Editor of The Theosophist:
[ It would be an interesting study to investigate the relationship which exists between the faculties or attributes of beings, and the means with which they have to express their feelings. - Ed. ].
Note 4 from the Editor of The Theosophist:
[ The word "language" must here be looked upon as conveying a higher sense than what is usually implied by it. "Language" means in this case an irradiation of divine light into the human mind and an eradiation from the same into the intellectual and physical realms. Man in a state of purity being an image and external expression of divinity, must be able to reflect and to reproduce divine truth in its original purity, and man's expressions therefore ought to be a perfect reproduction or echo of the divine impressions which he receives; but as man has become immersed in matter, he receives the divine rays only in a state of refraction and can therefore reproduce them only in an imperfect or refracted condition. The act or speaking presupposes an act of thinking, and one method of thinking will be found to be better than another method, but the best among all the methods of thinking is the most perfect one, being a pure reflection of the divine light. Thinking and speaking being closely related to each other and depending for their expression on certain symbols, it follows that the existence of a universal method of expression by symbols must be possible, and if we are capable of having thoughts and feelings, which we cannot express by symbols, it does not follow that such symbols do not exist, but only that we are not acquainted with them.
As the moon reflects the light of the sun, so does the mind of man reflects the supreme mind. The human soul is not a musical instrument which merely plays itself, but may be compared to a harp which is made to sound harmoniously, if touched by the hand of a master; she may be compared to a "smaragdine tablet", upon which the thoughts of the Supreme are engraved in letters of light. The seers and prophets of all ages have heard an understood that divine language; but they could only reproduce it imperfectly through the imperfect languages of their times. - H.].
Note 5 from the Editor of The Theosophist:
[ That means allegorically 2+2, or the intellectual and the sensuous. A new degradation of man would produce an alphabet of 88 letters; that is 8+8 signify a four times multiplied sensuality, which would remove man four degrees farther from the source of light.
These three true languages are opposed by three false ones, of which the first one contains 2, the second one 5, and the third one would have 10 (2 and 5 are the division of 4 and 10, and by division evil and darkness was created.) The third number relates as well to 5 as to 22. - H.]
Note 6 from the Editor of The Theosophist:
[ Bulwer Lytton in his "Coming Race" calls it the "Vril." - Ed. ].