ONLINE EDITION BASED ON ORIGINAL EDITION PUBLISHED IN NEW YORK, 1877
To avoid confusion that might easily arise by the frequent employment of certain terms in a sense different from that familiar to the reader, a few explanations will be timely. We desire to leave no pretext either for misunderstanding or misrepresentation. Magic may have one signification to one class of readers and another to another class. We shall give it the meaning which it has in the minds of its Oriental students and practitioners. And so with the words Hermetic Science, Occultism, Hierophant, Adept, Sorcerer, etc.; there has been little agreement of late as to their meaning. Though the distinctions between the terms are very often insignificant—merely ethnic—still, it may be useful to the general reader to know just what that is. We give a few alphabetically.
Æthrobacy, is the Greek name for walking or being lifted in the air; levitation, so called, among modern spiritualists. It may be either conscious or unconscious; in the one case, it is magic; in the other, either disease or a power which requires a few words of elucidation.
A symbolical explanation of æthrobacy is given in an old Syriac manuscript which was translated in the fifteenth century by one Malchus, an alchemist. In connection with the case of Simon Magus, one passage reads thus:
“Simon, laying his face upon the ground, whispered in her ear, ‘O mother Earth, give me, I pray thee, some of thy breath; and I will give thee mine; let me loose, O mother, that I may carry thy words to the stars, and I will return faithfully to thee after a while.’ And the Earth strengthening her status, none to her detriment, sent her genius to breathe of her breath on Simon, while he breathed on her; and the stars rejoiced to be visited by the mighty One.”
The starting-point here is the recognized electro-chemical principle that bodies similarly electrified repel each other, while those differently electrified mutually attract. “The most elementary knowledge of chemistry,” says Professor Cooke, “shows that, while radicals of opposite natures combine most eagerly together, two metals, or two closely-allied metalloids, show but little affinity for each other.”
The earth is a magnetic body; in fact, as some scientists have found, it is one vast magnet, as Paracelsus affirmed some 300 years ago. It is charged with one form of electricity—let us call it positive—which it evolves continuously by spontaneous action, in its interior or centre of motion. Human bodies, in common with all other forms of matter, are charged with the opposite form of electricity—negative. That is to say, organic or inorganic bodies, if left to themselves will constantly and involuntarily charge themselves with, and evolve the form of electricity opposed to that of the earth itself. Now, what is weight? Simply the attraction of the earth. “Without the attractions of the earth you would have no weight,” says Professor Stewart;1 “and if you had an earth twice as heavy as this, you would have double the attraction.” How then, can we get rid of this attraction? According to the electrical law above stated, there is an attraction between our planet and the organisms upon it, which holds them upon the surface of the ground. But the law of gravitation has been counteracted in many instances, by levitations of persons and inanimate objects; how account for this? The condition of our physical systems, say theurgic philosophers, is largely dependent upon the action of our will. If well-regulated, it can produce “miracles”; among others a change of this electrical polarity from negative to positive; the man’s relations with the earth-magnet would then become repellent, and “gravity” for him would have ceased to exist. It would then be as natural for him to rush into the air until the repellent force had exhausted itself, as, before, it had been for him to remain upon the ground. The altitude of his levitation would be measured by his ability, greater or less, to charge his body with positive electricity. This control over the physical forces once obtained, alteration of his levity or gravity would be as easy as breathing.
The study of nervous diseases has established that even in ordinary somnambulism, as well as in mesmerized somnambulists, the weight of the body seems to be diminished. Professor Perty mentions a somnambulist, Koehler, who when in the water could not sink, but floated. The seeress of Prevorst rose to the surface of the bath and could not be kept seated in it. He speaks of Anna Fleisher, who being subject to epileptic fits, was often seen by the Superintendent to rise in the air; and was once, in the presence of two trustworthy witnesses (two deans) and others, raised two and a half yards from her bed in a horizontal position. The similar case of Margaret Rule is cited by Upham in his History of Salem Witchcraft. “In ecstatic subjects,” adds Professor Perty, “the rising in the air occurs much more frequently than with somnambulists. We are so accustomed to consider gravitation as being a something absolute and unalterable, that the idea of a complete or partial rising in opposition to it seems inadmissible; nevertheless, there are phenomena in which, by means of material forces, gravitation is overcome. In several diseases—as, for instance, nervous fever—the weight of the human body seems to be increased, but in all ecstatic conditions to be diminished. And there may, likewise, be other forces than material ones which can counteract this power.”
A Madrid journal, El Criterio Espiritista, of a recent date, reports the case of a young peasant girl near Santiago, which possesses a peculiar interest in this connection. “Two bars of magnetized iron held over her horizontally, half a metre distant, was sufficient to suspend her body in the air.”
Were our physicians to experiment on such levitated subjects, it would be found that they are strongly charged with a similar form of electricity to that of the spot, which, according to the law of gravitation, ought to attract them, or rather prevent their levitation. And, if some physical nervous disorder, as well as spiritual ecstasy produce unconsciously to the subject the same effects, it proves that if this force in nature were properly studied, it could be regulated at will.
Alchemists.—From Al and Chemi, fire, or the god and patriarch, Kham, also, the name of Egypt. The Rosicrucians of the middle ages, such as Robertus de Fluctibus (Robert Fludd), Paracelsus, Thomas Vaughan (Eugenius Philalethes), Van Helmont, and others, were all alchemists, who sought for the hidden spirit in every inorganic matter. Some people—nay, the great majority—have accused alchemists of charlatanry and false pretending. Surely such men as Roger Bacon, Agrippa, Henry Kunrath, and the Arabian Geber (the first to introduce into Europe some of the secrets of chemistry), can hardly be treated as impostors—least of all as fools. Scientists who are reforming the science of physics upon the basis of the atomic theory of Demokritus, as restated by John Dalton, conveniently forget that Demokritus, of Abdera, was an alchemist, and that the mind that was capable of penetrating so far into the secret operations of nature in one direction must have had good reasons to study and become a Hermetic philosopher. Olaus Borrichias says, that the cradle of alchemy is to be sought in the most distant times.
Astral Light.—The same as the sidereal light of Paracelsus and other Hermetic philosophers. Physically, it is the ether of modern science. Metaphysically, and in its spiritual, or occult sense, ether is a great deal more than is often imagined. In occult physics, and alchemy, it is well demonstrated to enclose within its shoreless waves not only Mr. Tyndall’s “promise and potency of every quality of life,” but also the realization of the potency of every quality of spirit. Alchemists and Hermetists believe that their astral, or sidereal ether, besides the above properties of sulphur, and white and red magnesia, or magnes, is the anima mundi, the workshop of Nature and of all the cosmos, spiritually, as well as physically. The “grand magisterium” asserts itself in the phenomenon of mesmerism, in the “levitation” of human and inert objects; and may be called the ether from its spiritual aspect.
The designation astral is ancient, and was used by some of the Neoplatonists. Porphyry describes the celestial body which is always joined with the soul as “immortal, luminous, and star-like.” The root of this word may be found, perhaps, in the Scythic aist-aer—which means star, or the Assyrian Istar, which, according to Burnouf has the same sense. As the Rosicrucians regarded the real, as the direct opposite of the apparent, and taught that what seems light to matter, is darkness to spirit, they searched for the latter in the astral ocean of invisible fire which encompasses the world; and claim to have traced the equally invisible divine spirit, which overshadows every man and is erroneously called soul, to the very throne of the Invisible and Unknown God. As the great cause must always remain invisible and imponderable, they could prove their assertions merely by demonstration of its effects in this world of matter, by calling them forth from the unknowable down into the knowable universe of effects. That this astral light permeates the whole cosmos, lurking in its latent state even in the minutest particle of rock, they demonstrate by the phenomenon of the spark from flint and from every other stone, whose spirit when forcibly disturbed springs to sight spark-like, and immediately disappears in the realms of the unknowable.
Paracelsus named it the sidereal light, taking the term from the Latin. He regarded the starry host (our earth included) as the condensed portions of the astral light which “fell down into generation and matter,” but whose magnetic or spiritual emanations kept constantly a never-ceasing intercommunication between themselves and the parent-fount of all—the astral light. “The stars attract from us to themselves, and we again from them to us,” he says. The body is wood and the life is fire, which comes like the light from the stars and from heaven. “Magic is the philosophy of alchemy,” he says again.2 Everything pertaining to the spiritual world must come to us through the stars, and if we are in friendship with them, we may attain the greatest magical effects.
“As fire passes through an iron stove, so do the stars pass through man with all their properties and go into him as the rain into the earth, which gives fruit out of that same rain. Now observe that the stars surround the whole earth, as a shell does the egg; through the shell comes the air, and penetrates to the centre of the world.” The human body is subjected as well as the earth, and planets, and stars, to a double law; it attracts and repels, for it is saturated through with double magnetism, the influx of the astral light. Everything is double in nature; magnetism is positive and negative, active and passive, male and female. Night rests humanity from the day’s activity, and restores the equilibrium of human as well as of cosmic nature. When the mesmerizer will have learned the grand secret of polarizing the action and endowing his fluid with a bisexual force he will have become the greatest magician living. Thus the astral light is androgyne, for equilibrium is the resultant of two opposing forces eternally reacting upon each other. The result of this is Life. When the two forces are expanded and remain so long inactive, as to equal one another and so come to a complete rest, the condition is Death. A human being can blow either a hot or a cold breath; and can absorb either cold or hot air. Every child knows how to regulate the temperature of his breath; but how to protect one’s self from either hot or cold air, no physiologist has yet learned with certainty. The astral light alone, as the chief agent in magic, can discover to us all secrets of nature. The astral light is identical with the Hindu akâsa, a word which we will now explain.
Akâsa.—Literally the word means in Sanscrit sky, but in its mystic sense it signifies the invisible sky; or, as the Brahmans term it in the Soma-sacrifice (the Gyotishtoma Agnishtoma), the god Akâsa, or god Sky. The language of the Vedas shows that the Hindus of fifty centuries ago ascribed to it the same properties as do the Thibetan lamas of the present day; that they regarded it as the source of life, the reservoir of all energy, and the propeller of every change of matter. In its latent state it tallies exactly with our idea of the universal ether; in its active state it became the Akâsa, the all-directing and omnipotent god. In the Brahmanical sacrificial mysteries it plays the part of Sadasya, or superintendent over the magical effects of the religious performance, and it had its own appointed Hotar (or priest), who took its name. In India, as in other countries in ancient times, the priests are the representatives on earth of different gods; each taking the name of the deity in whose name he acts.
The Akâsa is the indispensable agent of every Kritya (magical performance) either religious or profane. The Brahmanical expression “to stir up the Brahma”—Brahma jinvati—means to stir up the power which lies latent at the bottom of every such magical operation, for the Vedic sacrifices are but ceremonial magic. This power is the Akâsa or the occult electricity; the alkahest of the alchemists in one sense, or the universal solvent, the same anima mundi as the astral light. At the moment of the sacrifice, the latter becomes imbued with the spirit of Brahma, and so for the time being is Brahma himself. This is the evident origin of the Christian dogma of transubstantiation. As to the most general effects of the Akâsa, the author of one of the most modern works on the occult philosophy, Art-Magic, gives for the first time to the world a most intelligible and interesting explanation of the Akâsa in connection with the phenomena attributed to its influence by the fakirs and lamas.
Anthropology.—The science of man; embracing among other things:
Physiology, or that branch of natural science which discloses the mysteries of the organs and their functions in men, animals, and plants; and also, and especially,
Psychology, or the great, and in our days, so neglected science of the soul, both as an entity distinct from the spirit and in its relations with the spirit and body. In modern science, psychology relates only or principally to conditions of the nervous system, and almost absolutely ignores the psychical essence and nature. Physicians denominate the science of insanity psychology, and name the lunatic chair in medical colleges by that designation.
Chaldeans, or Kasdim.—At first a tribe, then a caste of learned kabalists. They were the savants, the magians of Babylonia, astrologers and diviners. The famous Hillel, the precursor of Jesus in philosophy and in ethics, was a Chaldean. Franck in his Kabbala points to the close resemblance of the “secret doctrine” found in the Avesta and the religious metaphysics of the Chaldees.
Dactyls (daktulos, a finger).—A name given to the priests attached to the worship of Kybelé (Cybelè). Some archæologists derive the name from davktulo”, finger, because they were ten, the same in number as the fingers of the hand. But we do not believe the latter hypothesis is the correct one.
Dæmons.—A name given by the ancient people, and especially the philosophers of the Alexandrian school, to all kinds of spirits, whether good or bad, human or otherwise. The appellation is often synonymous with that of gods or angels. But some philosophers tried, with good reason, to make a just distinction between the many classes.
Demiurgos, or Demiurge.—Artificer; the Supernal Power which built the universe. Freemasons derive from this word their phrase of “Supreme Architect.” The chief magistrates of certain Greek cities bore the title.
Dervishes, or the “whirling charmers,” as they are called. Apart from the austerities of life, prayer and contemplation, the Mahometan devotee presents but little similarity with the Hindu fakir. The latter may become a sannyasi, or saint and holy mendicant; the former will never reach beyond his second class of occult manifestations. The dervish may also be a strong mesmerizer, but he will never voluntarily submit to the abominable and almost incredible self-punishment which the fakir invents for himself with an ever-increasing avidity, until nature succumbs and he dies in slow and excruciating tortures. The most dreadful operations, such as flaying the limbs alive; cutting off the toes, feet, and legs; tearing out the eyes; and causing one’s self to be buried alive up to the chin in the earth, and passing whole months in this posture, seem child’s play to them. One of the most common tortures is that of Tshiddy-Parvâdy.3 It consists in suspending the fakir to one of the mobile arms of a kind of gallows to be seen in the vicinity of many of the temples. At the end of each of these arms is fixed a pulley over which passes a rope terminated by an iron hook. This hook is inserted into the bare back of the fakir, who inundating the soil with blood is hoisted up in the air and then whirled round the gallows. From the first moment of this cruel operation until he is either unhooked or the flesh of his back tears out under the weight of the body and the fakir is hurled down on the heads of the crowd, not a muscle of his face will move. He remains calm and serious and as composed as if taking a refreshing bath. The fakir will laugh to scorn every imaginable torture, persuaded that the more his outer body is mortified, the brighter and holier becomes his inner, spiritual body. But the Dervish, neither in India, nor in other Mahometan lands, will ever submit to such operations.
Druids.—A sacerdotal caste which flourished in Britain and Gaul.
Elemental Spirits.—The creatures evolved in the four kingdoms of earth, air, fire, and water, and called by the kabalists gnomes, sylphs, salamanders, and undines. They may be termed the forces of nature, and will either operate effects as the servile agents of general law, or may be employed by the disembodied spirits—whether pure or impure—and by living adepts of magic and sorcery, to produce desired phenomenal results. Such beings never become men.4
Under the general designation of fairies, and fays, these spirits of the elements appear in the myth, fable, tradition, or poetry of all nations, ancient and modern. Their names are legion—peris, devs, djins, sylvans, satyrs, fauns, elves, dwarfs, trolls, norns, nisses, kobolds, brownies, necks, stromkarls, undines, nixies, salamanders, goblins, ponkes, banshees, kelpies, pixies, moss people, good people, good neighbors, wild women, men of peace, white ladies—and many more. They have been seen, feared, blessed, banned, and invoked in every quarter of the globe and in every age. Shall we then concede that all who have met them were hallucinated?
These elementals are the principal agents of disembodied but never visible spirits at seances, and the producers of all the phenomena except the subjective.
Elementary Spirits.—Properly, the disembodied souls of the depraved; these souls having at some time prior to death separated from themselves their divine spirits, and so lost their chance for immortality. Eliphas Levi and some other kabalists make little distinction between elementary spirits who have been men, and those beings which people the elements, and are the blind forces of nature. Once divorced from their bodies, these souls (also called “astral bodies”) of purely materialistic persons, are irresistibly attracted to the earth, where they live a temporary and finite life amid elements congenial to their gross natures. From having never, during their natural lives, cultivated their spirituality, but subordinated it to the material and gross, they are now unfitted for the lofty career of the pure, disembodied being, for whom the atmosphere of earth is stifling and mephitic, and whose attractions are all away from it. After a more or less prolonged period of time these material souls will begin to disintegrate, and finally, like a column of mist, be dissolved, atom by atom, in the surrounding elements.
Essenes—from Asa, a healer. A sect of Jews said by Pliny to have lived near the Dead Sea “per millia sæculorum”—for thousands of ages. Some have supposed them to be extreme Pharisees; and others—which may be the true theory—the descendants of the Benim-nabim of the Bible, and think they were “Kenites” and “Nazarites.” They had many Buddhistic ideas and practices; and it is noteworthy that the priests of the Great Mother at Ephesus, Diana-Bhavani with many breasts, were also so denominated. Eusebius, and after him De Quincey, declared them to be the same as the early Christians, which is more than probable. The title “brother,” used in the early Church, was Essenean: they were a fraternity, or a koinobion or community like the early converts. It is noticeable that only the Sadducees, or Zadokites, the priest-caste and their partisans, persecuted the Christians; the Pharisees were generally scholastic and mild, and often sided with the latter. James the Just was a Pharisee till his death; but Paul or Aher was esteemed a schismatic.
Evolution.—The development of higher orders of animals from the lower. Modern, or so-called exact science, holds but to a one-sided physical evolution, prudently avoiding and ignoring the higher or spiritual evolution, which would force our contemporaries to confess the superiority of the ancient philosophers and psychologists over themselves. The ancient sages, ascending to the unknowable, made their starting-point from the first manifestation of the unseen, the unavoidable, and from a strict logical reasoning, the absolutely necessary creative Being, the Demiurgos of the universe. Evolution began with them from pure spirit, which descending lower and lower down, assumed at last a visible and comprehensible form, and became matter. Arrived at this point, they speculated in the Darwinian method, but on a far more large and comprehensive basis.
In the Rig-Veda-Sanhita, the oldest book of the World5 (to which even our most prudent Indiologists and Sanscrit scholars assign an antiquity of between two and three thousand years b.c.), in the first book, “Hymns to the Maruts,” it is said:
“Not-being and Being are in the highest heaven, in the birthplace of Daksha, in the lap of Aditi” (Mandala, i, Sukta 166).
“In the first age of the gods, Being (the comprehensible Deity) was born from Not-being (whom no intellect can comprehend); after it were born the Regions (the invisible), from them Uttânapada.”
“From Uttânapad the Earth was born, the Regions (those that are visible) were born from the Earth. Daksha was born of Aditi, and Aditi from Daksha” (Ibid.).
Aditi is the Infinite, and Daksha is dakska-pitarah, literally meaning the father of gods, but understood by Max Müller and Roth to mean the fathers of strength, “preserving, possessing, granting faculties.” Therefore, it is easy to see that “Daksha, born of Aditi and Aditi from Daksha,” means what the moderns understand by “correlation of forces”; the more so as we find in this passage (translated by Prof. Müller):
“I place Agni, the source of all beings, the father of strength” (iii., 27, 2), a clear and identical idea which prevailed so much in the doctrines of the Zoroastrians, the Magians, and the mediæval fire-philosophers. Agni is god of fire, of the Spiritual Ether, the very substance of the divine essence of the Invisible God present in every atom of His creation and called by the Rosicrucians the “Celestial Fire.” If we only carefully compare the verses from this Mandala, one of which runs thus: “The Sky is your father, the Earth your mother, Soma your brother, Aditi your sister” (i., 191, 6),6 with the inscription on the Smaragdine Tablet of Hermes, we will find the same substratum of metaphysical philosophy, the identical doctrines!
“As all things were produced by the mediation of one being, so all things were produced from this one thing by adaptation: ‘Its father is the sun; its mother is the moon’ . . . etc. Separate the earth from the fire, the subtile from the gross. . . . What I had to say about the operation of the sun is completed” (Smaragdine Tablet).7
Professor Max Müller sees in this Mandala “at last, something like a theogony, though full of contradictions.”8 The alchemists, kabalists, and students of mystic philosophy will find therein a perfectly defined system of Evolution in the Cosmogony of a people who lived a score of thousands of years before our era. They will find in it, moreover, a perfect identity of thought and even doctrine with the Hermetic philosophy, and also that of Pythagoras and Plato.
In Evolution, as it is now beginning to be understood, there is supposed to be in all matter an impulse to take on a higher form—a supposition clearly expressed by Manu and other Hindu philosophers of the highest antiquity. The philosopher’s tree illustrates it in the case of the zinc solution. The controversy between the followers of this school and the Emanationists may be briefly stated thus: The Evolutionist stops all inquiry at the borders of “the Unknowable”; the Emanationist believes that nothing can be evolved—or, as the word means, unwombed or born—except it has first been involved, thus indicating that life is from a spiritual potency above the whole.
Fakirs.—Religious devotees in East India. They are generally attached to Brahmanical pagodas and follow the laws of Manu. A strictly religious fakir will go absolutely naked, with the exception of a small piece of linen called dhoti, around his loins. They wear their hair long, and it serves them as a pocket, as they stick in it various objects—such as a pipe, a small flute called vagudah, the sounds of which throw the serpents into a cataleptic torpor, and sometimes their bamboo-stick (about one foot long) with the seven mystical knots on it. This magical stick, or rather rod, the fakir receives from his guru on the day of his initiation, together with the three mantrams, which are communicated to him “mouth to ear.” No fakir will be seen without this powerful adjunct of his calling. It is, as they all claim, the divining rod, the cause of every occult phenomenon produced by them.9 The Brahmanical fakir is entirely distinct from the Mussulman mendicant of India, also called fakirs in some parts of the British territory.
Hermetist.—From Hermes, the god of Wisdom, known in Egypt, Syria, and Phœnicia as Thoth, Tat, Adad, Seth, and Sat-an (the latter not to be taken in the sense applied to it by Moslems and Christians), and in Greece as Kadmus. The kabalists identify him with Adam Kadmon, the first manifestation of the Divine Power, and with Enoch. There were two Hermes: the elder was the Trismegistus, and the second an emanation, or “permutation” of himself; the friend and instructor of Isis and Osiris. Hermes is the god of the priestly wisdom, like Mazeus.
Hierophant.—Discloser of sacred learning. The Old Man, the Chief of the Adepts at the initiations, who explained the arcane knowledge to the neophytes, bore this title. In Hebrew and Chaldaic the term was Peter, or opener, discloser; hence, the Pope, as the successor of the hierophant of the ancient Mysteries, sits in the Pagan chair of “St. Peter.” The vindictiveness of the Catholic Church toward the alchemists, and to arcane and astronomical science, is explained by the fact that such knowledge was the ancient prerogative of the hierophant, or representative of Peter, who kept the mysteries of life and death. Men like Bruno, Galileo, and Kepler, therefore, and even Cagliostro, trespassed on the preserves of the Church, and were accordingly murdered.
Every nation had its Mysteries and hierophants. Even the Jews had their Peter—Tanaïm or Rabbin, like Hillel, Akiba,10 and other famous kabalists, who alone could impart the awful knowledge contained in the Merkaba. In India, there was in ancient times one, and now there are several hierophants scattered about the country, attached to the principal pagodas, who are known as the Brahma-âtmas. In Thibet the chief hierophant is the Dalay, or Taley-Lama of Lha-ssa.11 Among Christian nations, the Catholics alone have preserved this “heathen” custom, in the person of their Pope, albeit they have sadly disfigured its majesty and the dignity of the sacred office.
Initiates.—In times of antiquity, those who had been initiated into the arcane knowledge taught by the hierophants of the Mysteries; and in our modern days those who have been initiated by the adepts of mystic lore into the mysterious knowledge, which, notwithstanding the lapse of ages, has yet a few real votaries on earth.
Kabalist, from Kabala; an unwritten or oral tradition. The kabalist is a student of “secret science,” one who interprets the hidden meaning of the Scriptures with the help of the symbolical Kabala, and explains the real one by these means. The Tanaim were the first kabalists among the Jews; they appeared at Jerusalem about the beginning of the third century before the Christian era. The Books of Ezekiel, Daniel, Henoch, and the Revelation of St. John, are purely kabalistical. This secret doctrine is identical with that of the Chaldeans, and includes at the same time much of the Persian wisdom, or “magic.”
Lamas.—Buddhist monks belonging to the Lamaic religion of Thibet, as, for instance, friars are the monks belonging to the Popish or Roman Catholic religion. Every lama is subject to the grand Taley-Lama, the Buddhist pope of Thibet, who holds his residence at Lha-ssa, and is a reincarnation of Buddha.
Mage, or Magian; from Mag or Maha. The word is the root of the word magician. The Maha-âtma (the great Soul or Spirit) in India had its priests in the pre-Vedic times. The Magians were priests of the fire-god; we find them among the Assyrians and Babylonians, as well as among the Persian fire-worshippers. The three magi, also denominated kings, that are said to have made gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh to the infant Jesus, were fire-worshippers like the rest, and astrologers; for they saw his star. The high priest of the Parsis, at Surat, is called Mobed, others derived the word from Megh; Meh-ab signifying something grand and noble. Zoroaster’s disciples were called Meghestom, according to Kleuker.
Magician.—This term, once a title of renown and distinction, has come to be wholly perverted from its true meaning. Once the synonym of all that was honorable and reverent, of a possessor of learning and wisdom, it has become degraded into an epithet to designate one who is a pretender and a juggler; a charlatan, in short, or one who has “sold his soul to the Evil One”; who misuses his knowledge, and employs it for low and dangerous uses, according to the teachings of the clergy, and a mass of superstitious fools who believe the magician a sorcerer and an enchanter. But Christians forget, apparently, that Moses was also a magician, and Daniel, “Master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers” (Daniel, v. II).
The word magician then, scientifically speaking, is derived from Magh, Mah, Hindu or Sanscrit Maha—great; a man well versed in the secret or esoteric knowledge; properly a Sacerdote.
Manticism, or mantic frenzy. During this state was developed the gift of prophecy. The two words are nearly synonymous. One was as honored as the other. Pythagoras and Plato held it in high esteem, and Socrates advised his disciples to study Manticism. The Church Fathers, who condemned so severely the mantic frenzy in Pagan priests and Pythiæ, were not above applying it to their own uses. The Montanists, who took their name from Montanus, a bishop of Phrygia, who was considered divinely inspired, rivalled with the manteis or prophets. “Tertullian, Augustine, and the martyrs of Carthage, were of the number,” says the author of Prophecy, Ancient and Modern. “The Montanists seem to have resembled the Bacchantes in the wild enthusiasm that characterized their orgies,” he adds. There is a diversity of opinion as to the origin of the word Manticism. There was the famous Mantis the Seer, in the days of Melampus and Prœtus, King of Argos; and there was Manto, the daughter of the prophet of Thebes, herself a prophetess. Cicero describes prophecy and mantic frenzy by saying that “in the inner recesses of the mind is divine prophecy hidden and confined, a divine impulse, which when it burns more vividly is called furor” (frenzy, madness).
But there is still another etymology possible for the word mantis, and to which we doubt if the attention of the philologists was ever drawn. The mantic frenzy may, perchance, have a still earlier origin. The two sacrificial cups of the Soma-mystery used during the religious rites, and generally known as grahas, are respectively called Sukra and Manti.12
It is in the latter manti or manthi cup that Brahma is said to be “stirred up.” While the initiate drinks (albeit sparingly) of this sacred soma-juice, the Brahma, or rather his “spirit,” personified by the god Soma, enters into the man and takes possession of him. Hence, ecstatic vision, clairvoyance, and the gift of prophecy. Both kinds of divination—the natural and the artificial—are aroused by the Soma. The Sukra-cup awakens that which is given to every man by nature. It unites both spirit and soul, and these, from their own nature and essence, which are divine, have a foreknowledge of future things, as dreams, unexpected visions, and presentiments, well prove. The contents of the other cup, the manti, which “stirs the Brahma,” put thereby the soul in communication not only with the minor gods—the well-informed but not omniscient spirits—but actually with the highest divine essence itself. The soul receives a direct illumination from the presence of its “god;” but as it is not allowed to remember certain things, well known only in heaven, the initiated person is generally seized with a kind of sacred frenzy, and upon recovering from it, only remembers that which is allowed to him. As to the other kind of seers and diviners—those who make a profession of and a living by it—they are usually held to be possessed by a gandharva, a deity which is nowhere so little honored as in India.
Mantra.—A Sanskrit word conveying the same idea as the “Ineffable Name.” Some mantras, when pronounced according to magical formula taught in the Atharva-Veda, produce an instantaneous and wonderful effect. In its general sense, though, a mantra is either simply a prayer to the gods and powers of heaven, as taught by the Brahmanical books, and especially Manu, or else a magical charm. In its esoteric sense, the “word” of the mantra, or mystic speech, is called by the Brahmans Vâch. It resides in the mantra, which literally means those parts of the sacred books which are considered as the Sruti, or direct divine revelation.
Marabut.—A Mahometan pilgrim who has been to Mekka; a saint, after whose death his body is placed in an open sepulchre built on the surface, like other buildings, but in the middle of the streets and public places of populated cities. Placed inside the small and only room of the tomb (and several such public sarcophagi of brick and mortar may be seen to this day in the streets and squares of Cairo), the devotion of the wayfarers keeps a lamp ever burning at his head. The tombs of some of these marabuts have a great fame for the miracles they are alleged to perform.
Materialization.—A word employed by spiritualists to indicate the phenomenon of “a spirit clothing himself with a material form.” The far less objectionable term, “form-manifestation,” has been recently suggested by Mr. Stainton-Moses, of London. When the real nature of these apparitions is better comprehended, a still more appropriate name will doubtless be adopted. To call them materialized spirits is inadmissible, for they are not spirits but animated portrait-statues.
Mazdeans, from (Ahura) Mazda. (See Spiegel’s Yasna, xl.) They were the ancient Persian nobles who worshipped Ormazd, and, rejecting images, inspired the Jews with the same horror for every concrete representation of the Deity. “They seem in Herodotus’s time to have been superseded by the Magian religionists. The Parsis and Ghebers geberim, mighty men, of Genesis vi. and x. 8) appear to be Magian religionists. . . . By a curious muddling of ideas, Zoro-Aster (Zero, a circle, a son or priest, Aster, Ishtar, or Astarte—in Aryan dialect, a star), the title of the head of the Magians and fire-worshippers, or Surya-ishtara, the sun-worshipper, is often confounded in modern times with Zara-tustra, the reputed Mazdean apostle” (Zoroaster).
Metempsychosis.—The progress of the soul from one stage of existence to another. Symbolized and vulgarly believed to be rebirths in animal bodies. A term generally misunderstood by every class of European and American society, including many scientists. The kabalistic axiom, “A stone becomes a plant, a plant an animal, an animal a man, a man a spirit, and a spirit a god,” receives an explanation in Manu’s Manava-Dharma-Sastra, and other Brahmanical books.
Mysteries.—Greek teletai, or finishings, as analogous to teleuteia or death. They were observances, generally kept secret from the profane and uninitiated, in which were taught by dramatic representation and other methods, the origin of things, the nature of the human spirit, its relations to the body, and the method of its purification and restoration to higher life. Physical science, medicine, the laws of music, divination, were all taught in the same manner. The Hippocratic oath was but a mystic obligation. Hippocrates was a priest of Asklepios, some of whose writings chanced to become public. But the Asklepiades were initiates of the Æsculapian serpent-worship, as the Bacchantes were of the Dionysia; and both rites were eventually incorporated with the Eleusinia. We will treat of the Mysteries fully in the subsequent chapters.
Mystics.—Those initiated. But in the mediæval and later periods the term was applied to men like Bœhmén the Theosophist, Molinos the Quietist, Nicholas of Basle, and others who believed in a direct interior communion with God, analogous to the inspiration of the prophets.
Nabia.—Seership, soothsaying. This oldest and most respected of mystic phenomena, is the name given to prophecy in the Bible, and is correctly included among the spiritual powers, such as divination, clairvoyant visions, trance-conditions, and oracles. But while enchanters, diviners, and even astrologers are strictly condemned in the Mosaic books, prophecy, seership, and nabia appear as the special gifts of heaven. In early ages they were all termed Epoptai, the Greek word for seers, clairvoyants; after which they were designated as Nebim, “the plural of Nebo, the Babylonian god of wisdom.” The kabalist distinguishes between the seer and the magician; one is passive, the other active; Nebirah, is one who looks into futurity and a clairvoyant; Nebi-poel, he who possesses magic powers. We notice that Elijah and Apollonius resorted to the same means to isolate themselves from the disturbing influences of the outer world, viz.: wrapping their heads entirely in a woolen mantle; from its being an electric non-conductor we must suppose.
Occultist.—One who studies the various branches of occult science. The term is used by the French kabalists (See Eliphas Levi’s works). Occultism embraces the whole range of psychological, physiological, cosmical, physical, and spiritual phenomena. From the word occult, hidden or secret; applying therefore to the study of the Kabala, astrology, alchemy, and all arcane sciences.
Pagan Gods.—This term gods is erroneously understood by most of the reading public, to mean idols. The idea attached to them is not that of something objective or anthropomorphical. With the exception of occasions when “gods” mean either divine planetary entities (angels), or disembodied spirits of pure men, the term simply conveys to the mind of the mystic—whether Hindu Hotar, Mazdean Mage, Egyptian hierophant, or disciple of the Greek philosophers—the idea of a visible or cognized manifestation of an invisible potency of nature. And such occult potencies are invoked under the appellation of various gods, who, for the time being, are personating these powers. Thus every one of the numberless deities of the Hindu, Greek, and Egyptian Pantheons, are simply Powers of the “Unseen Universe.” When the officiating Brahman invokes Aditya—who, in her cosmic character, is the goddess-sun—he simply commands that potency (personified in some god), which, as he asserts, “resides in the Mantra, as the sacred Vâch.” These god-powers are allegorically regarded as the divine Hotars of the Supreme One; while the priest (Brahman) is the human Hotar who officiates on earth, and representing that particular Power becomes, ambassador-like, invested with the very potency which he personates.
Pitris.—It is generally believed that the Hindu term Pitris means the spirits of our direct ancestors; of disembodied people. Hence the argument of some spiritualists that fakirs, and other Eastern wonder-workers, are mediums; that they themselves confess to being unable to produce anything without the help of the Pitris, of whom they are the obedient instruments. This is in more than one sense erroneous. The Pitris are not the ancestors of the present living men, but those of the human kind or Adamic race; the spirits of human races which, on the great scale of descending evolution, preceded our races of men, and were physically, as well as spiritually, far superior to our modern pigmies. In Manava-Dharma-Sastra they are called the Lunar ancestors.
Pythia, or Pythoness.—Webster dismisses the word very briefly by saying that it was the name of one who delivered the oracles at the Temple of Delphi, and “any female supposed to have the spirit of divination in her—a witch,” which is neither complimentary, exact, nor just. A Pythia, upon the authority of Plutarch, Iamblichus, Lamprias, and others, was a nervous sensitive; she was chosen from among the poorest class, young and pure. Attached to the temple, within whose precincts she had a room, secluded from every other, and to which no one but the priest, or seer, had admittance, she had no communications with the outside world, and her life was more strict and ascetic than that of a Catholic nun. Sitting on a tripod of brass placed over a fissure in the ground, through which arose intoxicating vapors, these subterranean exhalations penetrating her whole system produced the prophetic mania. In this abnormal state she delivered oracles. She was sometimes called ventriloqua vates,13 the ventriloquist-prophetess.
The ancients placed the astral soul of man, ψυχη, or his self-consciousness, in the pit of the stomach. The Brahmans shared this belief with Plato and other philosophers. Thus we find in the fourth verse of the second Nabhânedishtha Hymn it is said: “Hear, O sons of the gods (spirits) one who speaks through his navel (nâbhâ) for he hails you in your dwellings!”
Many of the Sanscrit scholars agree that this belief is one of the most ancient among the Hindus. The modern fakirs, as well as the ancient gymnosophists, unite themselves with their Âtman and the Deity by remaining motionless in contemplation and concentrating their whole thought on their navel. As in modern somnambulic phenomena, the navel was regarded as “the circle of the sun,” the seat of internal divine light.14 Is the fact of a number of modern somnambulists being enabled to read letters, hear, smell, and see, through that part of their body to be regarded again as a simple “coincidence,” or shall we admit at last that the old sages knew something more of physiological and psychological mysteries than our modern Academicians? In modern Persia, when a “magician” (often simply a mesmerizer) is consulted upon occasions of theft and other puzzling occurrences, he makes his manipulations over the pit of his stomach, and so brings himself into a state of clairvoyance. Among the modern Parsis, remarks a translator of the Rig-vedas, there exists a belief up to the present day that their adepts have a flame in their navel, which enlightens to them all darkness and discloses the spiritual world, as well as all things unseen, or at a distance. They call it the lamp of the Deshtur, or high priest; the light of the Dikshita (the initiate), and otherwise designate it by many other names.
Samothraces.—A designation of the Fane-gods worshipped at Samothracia in the Mysteries. They are considered as identical with the Kabeiri, Dioskuri, and Korybantes. Their names were mystical—denoting Pluto, Ceres or Proserpina, Bacchus, and Æsculapius or Hermes.
Shamans, or Samaneans.—An order of Buddhists among the Tartars, especially those of Siberia. They are possibly akin to the philosophers anciently known as Brachmanes, mistaken sometimes for Brahmans.15 They are all magicians, or rather sensitives or mediums artificially developed. At present those who act as priests among the Tartars are generally very ignorant, and far below the fakirs in knowledge and education. Both men and women may be Shamans.
Soma.—This Hindu sacred beverage answers to the Greek ambrosia or nectar, drunk by the gods of Olympus. A cup of kykeon was also quaffed by the mysta at the Eleusinian initiation. He who drinks it easily reaches Bradhna, or place of splendor (Heaven). The soma-drink known to Europeans is not the genuine beverage, but its substitute; for the initiated priests alone can taste of the real soma; and even kings and rajas, when sacrificing, receive the substitute. Haug shows by his own confession, in his Aytareya Brahmanan, that it was not the Soma that he tasted and found nasty, but the juice from the roots of the Nyagradha, a plant or bush which grows on the hills of Poona. We were positively informed that the majority of the sacrificial priests of the Dekkan have lost the secret of the true soma. It can be found neither in the ritual books nor through oral information. The true followers of the primitive Vedic religion are very few; these are the alleged descendants from the Rishis, the real Agnihôtris, the initiates of the great Mysteries. The soma-drink is also commemorated in the Hindu Pantheon, for it is called the King-Soma. He who drinks of it is made to participate in the heavenly king, because he becomes filled with it, as the Christian apostles and their converts became filled with the Holy Ghost, and purified of their sins. The soma makes a new man of the initiate; he is reborn and transformed, and his spiritual nature overcomes the physical; it gives the divine power of inspiration, and develops the clairvoyant faculty to the utmost. According to the exoteric explanation the soma is a plant, but, at the same time it is an angel. It forcibly connects the inner, highest “spirit” of man, which spirit is an angel like the mystical soma, with his “irrational soul,” or astral body, and thus united by the power of the magic drink, they soar together above physical nature, and participate during life in the beatitude and ineffable glories of Heaven.
Thus the Hindu soma is mystically, and in all respects the same that the Eucharistic supper is to the Christian. The idea is similar. By means of the sacrificial prayers—the mantras—this liquor is supposed to be transformed on the spot into real soma—or the angel, and even into Brahma himself. Some missionaries have expressed themselves very indignantly about this ceremony, the more so, that, generally speaking, the Brahmans use a kind of spirituous liquor as a substitute. But do the Christians believe less fervently in the transubstantiation of the communion-wine into the blood of Christ, because this wine happens to be more or less spirituous? Is not the idea of the symbol attached to it the same? But the missionaries say that this hour of soma-drinking is the golden hour of Satan, who lurks at the bottom of the Hindu sacrificial cup.16
Spirit.—The lack of any mutual agreement between writers in the use of this word has resulted in dire confusion. It is commonly made synonymous with soul; and the lexicographers countenance the usage. This is the natural result of our ignorance of the other word, and repudiation of the classification adopted by the ancients. Elsewhere we attempt to make clear the distinction between the terms “spirit” and “soul.” There are no more important passages in this work. Meanwhile, we will only add that “spirit” is the νοῦς of Plato, the immortal, immaterial, and purely divine principle in man—the crown of the human Triad; whereas, Soul is the ψυχη, or the nephesh of the Bible; the vital principle, or the breath of life, which every animal, down to the infusoria, shares with man. In the translated Bible it stands indifferently for life, blood, and soul. “Let us not kill his nephesh,” says the original text: “let us not kill him,” translate the Christians (Genesis xxxvii. 21), and so on.
Theosophists.—In the mediæval ages it was the name by which were known the disciples of Paracelsus of the sixteenth century, the so-called fire-philosophers or Philosophi per ignem. As well as the Platonists they regarded the soul (ψυχη) and the divine spirit, nous (νοῦς) as a particle of the great Archos—a fire taken from the eternal ocean of light.
The Theosophical Society, to which these volumes are dedicated by the author as a mark of affectionate regard, was organized at New York in 1875. The object of its founders was to experiment practically in the occult powers of Nature, and to collect and disseminate among Christians information about the Oriental religious philosophies. Later, it has determined to spread among the “poor benighted heathen” such evidences as to the practical results of Christianity as will at least give both sides of the story to the communities among which missionaries are at work. With this view it has established relations with associations and individuals throughout the East, to whom it furnishes authenticated reports of the ecclesiastical crimes and misdemeanors, schisms and heresies, controversies and litigations, doctrinal differences and biblical criticisms and revisions, with which the press of Christian Europe and America constantly teems. Christendom has been long and minutely informed of the degradation and brutishness into which Buddhism, Brahmanism, and Confucianism have plunged their deluded votaries, and many millions have been lavished upon foreign missions under such false representations. The Theosophical Society, seeing daily exemplifications of this very state of things as the sequence of Christian teaching and example—the latter especially—thought it simple justice to make the facts known in Palestine, India, Ceylon, Cashmere, Tartary, Thibet, China, and Japan, in all which countries it has influential correspondents. It may also in time have much to say about the conduct of the missionaries to those who contribute to their support.
Theurgist.—From Θεος, god, and εργον, work. The first school of practical theurgy in the Christian period was founded by Iamblichus among the Alexandrian Platonists; but the priests attached to the temples of Egypt, Assyria, and Babylonia, and who took an active part in the evocations of the gods during the Sacred Mysteries, were known by this name from the earliest archaic period. The purpose of it was to make spirits visible to the eyes of mortals. A theurgist was one expert in the esoteric learning of the Sanctuaries of all the great countries. The Neoplatonists of the school of Iamblichus were called theurgists, for they performed the so-called “ceremonial magic,” and evoked the “spirits” of the departed heroes, “gods,” and Daimonia (δαιμονια, divine, spiritual entities). In the rare cases when the presence of a tangible and visible spirit was required, the theurgist had to furnish the weird apparition with a portion of his own flesh and blood—he had to perform the theopœa, or the “creation of gods,” by a mysterious process well known to the modern fakirs and initiated Brahmans of India. This is what is said in the Book of Evocations of the pagodas. It shows the perfect identity of rites and ceremonial between the oldest Brahmanic theurgy and that of the Alexandrian Platonists:
“The Brahman Grihasta (the evocator) must be in a state of complete purity before he ventures to call forth the Pitris.”
After having prepared a lamp, some sandal, incense, etc., and having traced the magic circles taught to him by the superior guru, in order to keep away bad spirits, he “ceases to breathe, and calls the fire to his help to disperse his body.” He pronounces a certain number of times the sacred word, and “his soul escapes from his body, and his body disappears, and the soul of the evoked spirit descends into the double body and animates it.” Then “His (Grihasta’s) soul reënters into his body, whose subtile particles have again been aggregating, after having formed of their emanations an aërial body to the spirit he evoked.”
And now, that he has formed for the Pitri a body with the particles the most essential and pure of his own, the grihasta is allowed, after the ceremonial sacrifice is over, to “converse with the souls of the ancestors and the Pitris, and offer them questions on the mysteries of the Being and the transformations of the imperishable.”
“Then after having blown out his lamp he must light it again, and set at liberty the bad spirits shut out from the place by the magical circles, and leave the sanctuary of the Pitris.”17
The school of Iamblichus was distinct from that of Plotinus and Porphyry, who were strongly against ceremonial magic and practical theurgy as dangerous, though these two eminent men firmly believed in both. “The theurgic or benevolent magic, the Goëtic, or dark and evil necromancy, were alike in preëminent repute during the first century of the Christian era.”18 But never have any of the highly moral and pious philosophers, whose fame has descended to us spotless of any evil deed, practiced any other kind of magic than the theurgic, or benevolent, as Bulwer-Lytton terms it. “Whoever is acquainted with the nature of divinely luminous appearances (φασματα) knows also on what account it is requisite to abstain from all birds (animal food), and especially for him who hastens to be liberated from terrestrial concerns and to be established with the celestial gods,” says Porphyry.19
Though he refused to practice theurgy himself, Porphyry, in his Life of Plotinus, mentions a priest of Egypt, who, “at the request of a certain friend of Plotinus (which friend was perhaps Porphyry himself, remarks T. Taylor), exhibited to Plotinus, in the temple of Isis at Rome, the familiar daimon, or, in modern language, the guardian angel of that philosopher.”20
The popular, prevailing idea was that the theurgists, as well as the magicians, worked wonders, such as evoking the souls or shadows of the heroes and gods, and doing other thaumaturgic works by supernatural powers.
Yajna.—“The Yajna,” say the Brahmans, exists from eternity, for it proceeded forth from the Supreme One, the Brahma-Prajapâti, in whom it lay dormant from “no beginning.” It is the key to the traividya, the thrice sacred science contained in the Rig verses, which teaches the Yagus or sacrificial mysteries. “The Yajna” exists as an invisible thing at all times; it is like the latent power of electricity in an electrifying machine, requiring only the operation of a suitable apparatus in order to be elicited. It is supposed to extend from the Ahavaniya or sacrificial fire to the heavens, forming a bridge or ladder by means of which the sacrificer can communicate with the world of gods and spirits, and even ascend when alive to their abodes.21
This Yajna is again one of the forms of the Akâsa, and the mystic word calling it into existence and pronounced mentally by the initiated Priest is the Lost Word receiving impulse through will-power.
1. “The Sun and the Earth.”
2. “De Ente Spirituali,” lib. iv.; “de Ente Astrorum,” book i.; and opera omnia, vol. i., pp. 634 and 699.
3. Or more commonly chārkh pūjā.
4. Persons who believe in the clairvoyant power, but are disposed to discredit the existence of any other spirits in nature than disembodied human spirits, will be interested in an account of certain clairvoyant observations which appeared in the London Spiritualist of June 29, 1877. A thunder-storm approaching, the seeress saw “a bright spirit emerge from a dark cloud and pass with lightning speed across the sky, and, a few minutes after, a diagonal line of dark spirits in the clouds.” These are the Maruts of the “Vedas” (See Max Müller’s “Rig-Veda Sanhita”).
The well-known and respected lecturer, author, and clairvoyant, Mrs. Emma Hardinge Britten, has published accounts of her frequent experiences with these elemental spirits.
5. Translated by Max Müller, Professor of Comparative Philology at the Oxford University, England.
6. “Dyarih vah pitâ, prithivi mâtâ sômah bhrâtâ âditih svasâ.”
7. As the perfect identity of the philosophical and religious doctrines of antiquity will be fully treated upon in subsequent chapters, we limit our explanations for the present.
8. “Rig-Veda-Sanhita,” p. 234.
9. Philostratus assures us that the Brahmins were able, in his time, to perform the most wonderful cures by merely pronouncing certain magical words. “The Indian Brahmans carry a staff and a ring, by means of which they are able to do almost anything.” Origenes states the same (“Contra Celsum”). But if a strong mesmeric fluid—say projected from the eye, and without any other contact—is not added, no magical words would be efficacious.
10. Akiba was a friend of Aher, said to have been the Apostle Paul of Christian story. Both are depicted as having visited Paradise. Aher took branches from the Tree of Knowledge, and so fell from the true (Jewish) religion. Akiba came away in peace. See 2d Epistle to the Corinthians, chapter xii.
11. Taley means ocean or sea.
12. See “Aytareya Brahmanan,” 3, I.
13. See Pantheon: “Myths,” p. 31; also Aristophanes in “Vœstas,” i., reg. 28.
14. The oracle of Apollo was at Delphos, the city of the δελφυς, womb or abdomen; the place of the temple was denominated the omphalos or navel. The symbols are female and lunary; reminding us that the Arcadians were called Proseleni, pre-Hellenic or more ancient than the period when Ionian and Olympian lunar worship was introduced.
15. From the accounts of Strabo and Megasthenes, who visited Palibothras, it would seem that the persons termed by him Samanean, or Brachmane priests, were simply Buddhists. “The singularly subtile replies of the Samanean or Brahman philosophers, in their interview with the conqueror, will be found to contain the spirit of the Buddhist doctrine,” remarks Upham. (See the “History and Doctrine of Buddhism;” and Hale’s “Chronology,” vol. iii, p. 238.)
16. In their turn, the heathen may well ask the missionaries what sort of a spirit lurks at the bottom of the sacrificial beer-bottle. That evangelical New York journal, the “Independent,” says: “A late English traveller found a simple-minded Baptist mission church, in far-off Burmah, using for the communion service, and we doubt not with God’s blessing, Bass’s pale ale instead of wine.” Circumstances alter cases, it seems!
17. “Book of Brahmanical Evocations,” part iii.
18. Bulwer-Lytton: “Last Days of Pompeii,” p. 147.
19. “Select Works,” p. 159.
20. Ibid., p. 92.
21. “Aitareya Brahmanan,” Introduction.