isis unveiled: chapter xv (knowledge is power)

“Still, no traveler has shown himself fairer in the main, or more impartial to India than Jacolliot. If he is severe as to her present degradation, he is still severer to those who were the cause of it, the sacerdotal caste of the last few centuries, and his rebuke is proportionate to the intensity of his appreciation of her past grandeur.

He shows the sources whence proceeded the revelations of all the ancient creeds, including the inspired Books of Moses, and points at India directly as the cradle of humanity, the parent of all other nations, and the hot bed of all the lost arts and sciences of antiquity, for which old India, herself, was lost already in the Cimmerian darkness of the archaic ages. “To study India”, he says, “is to trace humanity to its sources.”

“In the same way as modern society jostles antiquity at each step”, he adds, “as our poets have copied Homer and Virgil, Sophocles and Euripides, Plautus and Terence; as our philosophers have drawn inspiration from Socrates, Pythagoras, Plato, and Aristotle; as our historians take Titus Livius, Sallust, or Tacitus, as models; our orators, Demosthenes or Cicero; our physicians study Hippocrates, and our codes transcribe Justinian, so had antiquity’s self also an antiquity to study, to imitate, and to copy. What more simple and more logical?

Do not people precede and succeed each other? Does not the knowledge, painfully acquired by one nation, confine itself to its own territory, and die with the generation that produced it? Can there be any absurdity in the suggestion that the India of 6,000 years ago, brilliant, civilized, overflowing with population, impressed upon Egypt, Persia, Judea, Greece, and Rome, a stamp as ineffaceable, impressions as profound, as these last have impressed upon us?

It is time to disabuse ourselves of those prejudices which represent the ancients as having almost spontaneously-elaborated ideas, philosophic, religious, and moral, the most lofty, those prejudice that in their naive admiration explain all in the domain of science, arts, and letters, by the intuition of some few great men, and in the realm of religion by revelation.”

We believe that the day is not far off when the opponents of this fine and erudite writer will be silenced by the force of irrefutable evidence. And when facts shall once have corroborated his theories and assertions, what will the world find? That it is to India, the country less explored, and less known than any other, that all the other great nations of the world are indebted for their languages, arts, legislature, and civilization.

Its progress, impeded for a few centuries before our era, for, as this writer shows, at the epoch of the great Macedonian conqueror, “India had already passed the period of her splendor, was completely stifled in the subsequent ages. But the evidence of her past glories lies in her literature. What people in all the world can boast of such literature, which, were the Sanscrit less difficult, would be more studied than now?

Hitherto the general public has had to rely for information on a few scholars who, notwithstanding their great learning and trustworthiness, are unequal to the task of translating and commenting upon more than a few books out of the almost countless number that, notwithstanding the vandalism of the missionaries, are still left to swell the mighty volume of Sanscrit literature. And to do even so much is the labor of a European’s lifetime. Hence, people judge hastily, and often make the most ridiculous blunders.”

H. P. Blavatsky

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