- 8. Where was the germ, and where was now darkness ? Where is the spirit of the flame that burns in thy lamp, oh Lanoo ? The germ is that, and that is light ; the white brilliant son of the dark hidden father (a).
(a) The answer to the first question, suggested by the second, which is the reply of the teacher to the pupil, contains in a single phrase one of the most essential truths of occult philosophy. It indicates the existence of things imperceptible to our physical senses which are of far greater importance, more real and more permanent, than those that appeal to these senses themselves. Before the Lanoo can hope to understand the transcendentally metaphysical problem contained in the first question he must be able to answer the second, while the very answer he gives to the second will furnish him with the clue to the correct reply to the first.
In the Sanscrit Commentary on this Stanza, the terms used for the concealed and the unrevealed Principle are many. In the earliest MSS. of Indian literature this Unrevealed, Abstract Deity has no name. It is called generally “ That ” (Tad in Sanskrit), and means all that is, was, and will be, or that can be so received by the human mind.
Among such appellations, given, of course, only in esoteric philosophy, as the “ Unfathomable Darkness,” the “ Whirlwind,” etc. — it is also called the “ It of the Kalahansa, the Kala-ham-sa,” and even the “ Kali Hamsa,” (Black swan). Here the m and the n are convertible, and
both sound like the nasal French an or am, or, again, en or em (Ennui, Embarras, etc.) As in the Hebrew Bible, many a mysterious sacred name in Sanscrit conveys to the profane ear no more than some ordinary, and often vulgar word, because it is concealed anagrammatically or otherwise. This word of Hansa or esoterically “ hamsa ” is just such a case. Hamsa is equal to a-ham-sa, three words meaning “ I am he ” (in English), while divided in still another way it will read “ So-ham,” “ he (is) I ” — Soham being equal to Sah, “ he,” and aham, “ I,” or “ I am he.” In this alone is contained the universal mystery, the doctrine of the identity of man’s essence with god-essence, for him who understands the language of wisdom. Hence the glyph of, and the allegory about, Kalahansa (or hamsa), and the name given to Brahma neuter (later on, to the male Brahmâ) of “ Hansa-Vahana,” he who uses the Hansa as his vehicle.” The same word may be read “ Kalaham-sa ” or “ I am I ” in the eternity of Time, answering to the Biblical, or rather Zoroastrian “ I am that I am.” The same doctrine is found in the Kabala, as witness the following extract from an unpublished MS. by Mr. S. Liddell McGregor Mathers, the learned Kabalist : “ The three pronouns היא, אתה, אני, Hoa, Atah, Ani ; He, Thou, I ; are used to symbolize the ideas of Macroprosopus and Microprosopus in the Hebrew Qabalah. Hoa, “ He,” is applied to the hidden and concealed Macroprosopus ; Atah, “ Thou,” to Microprosopus ; and Ani, “ I,” to the latter when He is represented as speaking. (See Lesser Holy Assembly, 204 et seq.) It is to be noted that each of these names consists of three letters, of which the letter Aleph א, A, forms the conclusion of the first word Hoa, and the commencement of Atah and Ani, as if it were the connecting link between them. But א is the symbol of the Unity and consequently of the unvarying Idea of the Divine operating through all these. But behind the א in the name Hoa are the letters י and ה, the symbols of the numbers Six and Five, the Male and the Female, the Hexagram and the Pentagram. And the numbers of these three words, Hoa Atah Ani, are 12, 406, and 61, which are resumed in the key numbers of 3, 10, and 7, by the Qabalah of the Nine Chambers, which is a form of the exegetical rule of Temura.”
It is useless to attempt to explain the mystery in full. Materialists and the men of modern Science will never understand it, since, in order
to obtain clear perception of it, one has first of all to admit the postulate of a universally diffused, omnipresent, eternal Deity in Nature ; secondly, to have fathomed the mystery of electricity in its true essence ; and thirdly, to credit man with being the septenary symbol, on the terrestrial plane, of the One Great Unit (the Logos), which is Itself the Seven-vowelled sign, the Breath crystallized into the Word. * He who believes in all this, has also to believe in the multiple combination of the seven planets of Occultism and of the Kabala, with the twelve zodiacal signs ; to attribute, as we do, to each planet and to each constellation an influence which, in the words of Ely Star (a French Occultist), “ is proper to it, beneficent or maleficent, and this, after the planetary Spirit which rules it, who, in his turn, is capable of influencing men and things which are found in harmony with him and with which he has any affinity.” For these reasons, and since few believe in the foregoing, all that can now be given is that in both cases the symbol of Hansa (whether “ I,” “ He,” Goose or Swan) is an important symbol, representing, for instance, Divine Wisdom, Wisdom in darkness beyond the reach of men. For all exoteric purposes, Hansa, as every Hindu knows, is a fabulous bird, which, when given milk mixed with water for its food (in the allegory) separated the two, drinking the milk and leaving the water ; thus showing inherent wisdom — milk standing symbolically for spirit, and water for matter.
That this allegory is very ancient and dates from the very earliest archaic period, is shown by the mention (in Bhagavata Purâna) of a certain caste named “ Hamsa ” or “ Hansa,” which was the “ one caste ” par excellence ; when far back in the mists of a forgotten past there was among the Hindus only “ One Veda, One Deity, One Caste.” There is also a range in the Himalayas, described in the old books as being situated north of Mount Meru, called “ Hamsa,” and connected with episodes pertaining to the history of religious mysteries and initiations. As to the name of Kâla-Hansa being the supposed vehicle of Brahmâ-Prajâpati, in the exoteric texts and translations of the
* This is again similar to the doctrine of Fichte and German Pantheists. The former reveres Jesus as the great teacher who inculcated the unity of the spirit of man with the God-Spirit (the Adwaita doctrine) or universal Principle. It is difficult to find a single speculation in Western metaphysics which has not been anticipated by Archaic Eastern philosophy. From Kant to Herbert Spencer, it is all a more or less distorted echo of the Dwaita, Adwaita, and Vedantic doctrines generally.
Orientalists, it is quite a mistake. Brahma, the neuter, is called by them Kala-Hansa and Brahmâ, the male, Hansa-Vahana, because forsooth “ his vehicle or Vahan is a swan or goose ” (vide “ the Hindu Classical Dictionary.”) This is a purely exoteric gloss. Esoterically and logically, if Brahma, the infinite, is all that is described by the Orientalists, namely, agreeably with the Vedantic texts, an abstract deity in no way characterised by the description of any human attributes, and it is still maintained that he or it is called Kala-Hansa — then how can it ever become the Vahan of Brahmâ, the manifested finite god ? It is quite the reverse. The “ Swan or goose ” (Hansa) is the symbol of that male or temporary deity, as he, the emanation of the primordial Ray, is made to serve as a Vahan or vehicle for that divine Ray, which otherwise could not manifest itself in the Universe, being, antiphrastically, itself an emanation of “ Darkness ” — for our human intellect, at any rate. It is Brahmâ, then, who is Kâla-Hansa, and the Ray, the Hansa-Vahana.
As to the strange symbol chosen, it is equally suggestive ; the true mystic significance being the idea of a universal matrix, figured by the primordial waters of the “ deep,” or the opening for the reception, and subsequently for the issue, of that one ray (the Logos), which contains in itself the other seven procreative rays or powers (the logoi or builders). Hence the choice by the Rosecroix of the aquatic fowl — whether swan or pelican, * with seven young ones for a symbol, modified and adapted to the religion of every country. En-Soph is called the “ Fiery Soul of the Pelican ” in the Book of Numbers. † (See Part II. “ The Hidden Deity and its Symbols and Glyphs.”) Appearing with every Manvantara as Narâyan, or Swayambhuva (the
* Whether the genus of the bird be cygnus, anser, or pelecanus, it is no matter, as it is an aquatic bird floating or moving on the waters like the Spirit, and then issuing from those waters to give birth to other beings. The true significance of the symbol of the Eighteenth Degree of the Rose-Croix is precisely this, though poetised later on into the motherly feeling of the Pelican rending its bosom to feed its seven little ones with its blood.
† The reason why Moses forbids eating the pelican and swan, classing the two among the unclean fowls, and permits eating “ bald locusts, beetles, and the grasshopper after his kind ” (Leviticus xi. and Deuteronomy xiv.) is a purely physiological one, and has to do with mystic symbology only in so far as the word “ unclean,” like every other word, ought not to be read and understood literally, as it is esoteric like all the
Self-Existent), and penetrating into the Mundane Egg, it emerges from it at the end of the divine incubation as Brahmâ or Prajâpati, a progenitor of the future Universe into which he expands. He is Purusha (spirit), but he is also Prakriti (matter). Therefore it is only after separating himself into two halves — Brahmâ-vâch (the female) and Brahmâ-Virâj (the male), that the Prajâpati becomes the male Brahmâ.
rest, and may as well mean “ holy ” as not. It is a blind, very suggestive in connection with certain superstitions — e.g., that of the Russian people who will not use the pigeon for food ; not because it is “ unclean,” but because the “ Holy Ghost ” is credited with having appeared under the form of a Dove.