isis unveiled: chapter xv (knowledge is power)

“We do not feel in the least astonished that a materialist, and even an orthodox Christian, is unable to read either the old Brahmanical works or their progeny, the Kabala, the Codex of Bardesanes, or the Jewish Scripture without disgust at their immodesty and apparent lack of what the uninitiated reader is pleased to call “common sense”.

But if we can hardly blame them for such a feeling, especially in the case of the Hebrew, and even the Greek and Latin literature, and are quite ready to agree with Professor Fiske that “it is a mark of wisdom to be dissatisfied with imperfect evidence”; on the other hand we have a right to expect that they should recognize that it is no less a mark of honesty to confess one’s ignorance in cases where there are two sides to the question, and in the solution of which the scientist may as easily blunder as any ignoramus.

When we find Professor Draper, in his definition of periods in the Intellectual Development of Europe, classifying the time from the days of Socrates, the precursor and teacher of Plato, to Karneades, as “the age of faith”; and that from Philo to the destruction of the Neo-platonic schools by Justinian, the “age of decrepitude”, we may be allowed to infer that the learned professor knows as little about the real tendency of Greek philosophy and the Attic schools as he understood the true character of Giordano Bruno.

So, when we see one of the best of Sanscrit scholars stating on his own unsupported authority that the “greater portion of the Brahmanas is simply theological twaddle”, we deeply regret to think that Professor Muller must be far better acquainted with the old Sanscrit verbs and nouns than with Sanscrit thought; and that a scholar so uniformly disposed to do justice to the religions and the men of old, should so effectually play into the hands of Christian theologians.

“What is the use of Sanscrit?”, exclaims Jacquemont, who alone has made more false statements about the East than all the Orientalists put together. At such a rate there would be none indeed. If we are to exchange one corpse for another, then we may as well dissect the dead letter of the Jewish Bible as that of the Vedas. He who is not intuitionally vivified by the religious spirit of old, will never see beyond the exoteric “twaddle”.”

H. P. Blavatsky

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