isis unveiled, vol 2: chapter iii (religious sects)

“At Byblos, the neophytes as well as the hierophants were, after participating in the Mysteries, obliged to fast and remain in solitude for some time. There was strict fasting and preparation before as well as after the Bacchic, Adonian, and Eleusinian orgies; and Herodotus hints, with fear and veneration about the LAKE of Bacchus, in which “they, (the priests), made at night exhibitions of his life and sufferings.”

In the Mithraic sacrifices, during the initiation, a preliminary scene of death was simulated by the neophyte, and it preceded the scene showing him himself “being born again by the rite of baptism.” A portion of this ceremony is still enacted in the present day by the Masons, when the neophyte, as the Grand Master Hiram Abiff, lies dead, and is raised by the strong grip of the lion’s paw. The priests were circumcised. The neophyte could not be initiated without having been present at the solemn Mysteries of the LAKE. The Nazarenes were baptized in the Jordan; and could not be baptized elsewhere; they were also circumcised and had to fast before as well as after the purification by baptism. Jesus is said to have fasted in the wilderness for forty days, immediately after his baptism.

To the present day, there is outside every temple in India, a lake, stream, or a reservoir full of holy water, in which the Brahmans and the Hindu devotees bathe daily. Such places of consecrated water are necessary to every temple. The bathing festivals, or baptismal rites, occur twice every year, in October and April. Each last ten days; and, as in ancient Egypt and Greece, the statues of their gods, goddesses, and idols are immersed in water by the priests; the object of the ceremony being to wash away from them the sins of their worshippers which they have taken upon themselves, and which pollute them, until washed off by holy water.

During the Aratty, the bathing ceremony, the principal god of every temple is carried in solemn procession to be baptized in the sea. The Brahman priests, carrying the sacred images, are followed generally by the Maharajah – barefoot, and nearly naked. Three times the priests enter the sea; the third time they carry with them the whole of the images. Holding them up with prayers repeated by the whole congregation, the Chief Priest plunges the statues of the gods thrice in the name of the mystic trinity, into the water; after which they are purified. The Orphic hymn calls water the greatest purifier of men and gods.”

H. P. Blavatsky

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