isis unveiled: chapter xv (knowledge is power)

“According to local tradition, the tomb of Ghengiz Khan still exists near Lake Tabasun Nor. Within lies the Mongolian Alexander, as though asleep. After three more centuries he will awake and lead his people to new victories and another harvest of glory. Though this prophetic tradition be received with ever so many grains of salt, we can affirm as a fact that the tomb itself is no fiction, nor has its amazing richness been exaggerated.

The district of the Gobi wilderness, and in fact, the whole area of independent Tartary and Thibet, is jealously guarded against foreign intrusion. Those who are permitted to traverse it are under the particular care and pilotage of certain agents of the chief authority, and are in duty, bound to convey no intelligence respecting places and persons to the outside world. But for this restriction, even we might contribute to these pages, accounts of exploration, adventure, and discovery that would be read with interest.

The time will come, sooner or later, when the dreadful sand of the desert will yield its long-buried secrets, and then there will indeed be unlooked-for mortifications for our modern vanity.

“The people of Pashai”, says Marco Polo, the daring traveler of the thirteenth century, “are great adepts in sorceries and the diabolic arts.” And his learned editor adds: “This Pashai, or Udyana, was the native country of Padma Sambhava, one of the chief apostles of lamaism, i.e., of Thibetan Buddhism, and a great master of enchantments.

The doctrines of Sakya, as they prevailed in Udyana in old times, were probably strongly tinged with Sivaitic magic, and the Thibetans still regard the locality as the classic ground of sorcery and witchcraft.”

The “old times” are just like the “modern times”; nothing is changed as to magical practices, except that they have become still more esoteric and arcane, and that the caution of the adepts increases in proportion to the traveler’s curiosity.

Hiouen-Thsang says of the inhabitants: “The men…are found of study but pursue it with no ardor. The science of magical formulae has become a regular professional business with them.” We will not contradict the venerable Chinese pilgrim on this point and are willing to admit that in the seventh century some people made “a professional business” of magic; so, also, do some people now, but certainly not the true adepts.

It is not Hiouen-Thsang, the pious, courageous man, who risked his life a hundred times to have the bliss of perceiving Buddha’s shadow in the cave of Peshawer, who would have accused the holy lamas and monkish thaumaturgists of “making a professional business” of showing it to travelers. The injunction of Gautama, contained in his answer to King Prasenajit, his protector, who called on him to perform miracles, must have been ever present to the mind of Hiouen-Thsang.

“Great king”, said Gautama, “I do not teach the law to my pupils, telling them ‘go, ye saints, and before the eyes of the Brahmans and householders perform, by means of your supernatural powers, miracles greater than any man can perform.’ I tell them, when I teach them the law, ‘Live, ye saints, hiding your good works, and showing your sins.'””

H. P. Blavatsky

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