“From the days of the earliest antiquity, the Brahmans were known to be possessed of wonderful knowledge in every kind of magic arts. From Pythagoras, the first philosopher who studied wisdom with the Gymnosophists, and Plotinus, who was initiated into the mystery of uniting one’s self with the Deity through abstract contemplation, down to the modern adepts, it was well known that in the land of the Brahmans and Gautama-Buddha the sources of “hidden” wisdom are to be sought after.
It is for Future ages to discover this grand truth, and accept it as such, whereas now it is degraded as a low superstition. What did anyone, even the greatest scientists, know of India, Tibet, and China, until the last quarter of this century?
That most untiring scholar, Max Muller, tells us that before then not a single original document of the Buddhist religion had been accessible to European philologists; that fifty years ago “there was not a single scholar who could have translated a line of the Veda, a line of the Zend-Avesta, or a line of the Buddhist Tripitaka”, let alone other dialects or languages.
And even now, that science is in possession of various sacred texts, what they have are but very incomplete editions of these works, and nothing, positively nothing of the secret sacred literature of Buddhism. And the little that our Sanscrit scholars have got hold of, and which at first was termed by Max Muller a dreary “jungle of religious literature – the most excellent hiding-place for Lamas and Dalai-Lamas”, is now beginning to shed a faint light on the primitive darkness.
We find this scholar stating that that which appeared at the first glance into the labyrinth of the religions of the world, all darkness, self-deceit, and vanity begin to assume another form. “It sounds”, he writes, “like a degradation of the very nature of religion, to apply it to the wild ravings of Hindu Yogins, and the blank blasphemies of Chinese Buddhists. …But, as we slowly and patiently wend our way through the dreary prisons, our own eyes seem to expand, and we perceive a glimmer of light, where all was darkness at first.””
H. P. Blavatsky