India in Primitive Christianity - Paulinism
St. Paul a puzzle—Was he an ascetic mystic, or the author of the theory of the "Atonement," "Original Sin," etc., in fact of priestly Christianity?—Up to the date of Irenæus there is no trace of his writings, nor even of his teachings—Did he convert Peter and James as described in "The Acts?"—James, Peter, John the Evangelist, and Matthew all Nazarites,—also Paul—Were they all instrumental in making the water drinking Essenes drink wine?—Valentinus—"Left-handed gods"—Early Zodiac of S’iva.
No problem is so difficult as the question of the Apostle Paul. Early Christianity; like other religions, had soon two sections, the religion of the individual and the religion by body corporate, the religion of the conscience and the religion of state ceremonial. It has been the fate of St. Paul to figure as the guiding spirit of both.
There are two Pauls, the one put forth by Catholics as the type of St. Vincent de Paul and Fénelon, as the ideal of the Christian ascetic. This Paul states that for the mystical life all men should be celibates. This Paul spent his life "in watchings often, in hunger, thirst, fastings" (2 Cor. ii. 27); "in tumults in labour, in fastings" (2 Cor. vi. 7). This Paul states that the spiritual drink of Christians in the Communion Service should be the water that flowed from the rock of Moses. This Paul had for motto "Walk in Sophia," a word with mystics for the interior life. He announces that he had as the resultant "spiritual gifts," "the inspired word," "healing," "miracle," "prophecy," the "discerning of spirits" (1 Cor. xii., et seq.). And as a crowning fact this Paul announces that he was a "Nazarite," separated from his mother's womb, that is, an Eremite vowed from birth to water drinking and desert communings (Gal. i. 15). The other Paul is credited with having brought back into religion under a new form the principle of forgiveness of sins by shedding of blood, which the Essenes and the Therapeuts were struggling hard to banish. He invented theories about "redemption," "expiation," "original sin." He induced the Essene celibates and vegetarian water drinkers to break their vows. This last feat is the more noticeable as we have seen that he himself was a Nazarite.
And these difficulties have much increased since modern scholarship has taken up St. Paul. Dr. Cheyne's "Encyclopædia Biblica" pronounces his epistles to be all spurious. Mr. W. J. Birch has written a clever book entitled "Paul an idea, not a Fact," which affirms that his theories are stolen bodily from Philo. The learned Dr. Giles maintains that there is no mention of the Pauline epistles in the authentic records of early Christianity until the date of Irenæus. This he says is very remarkable, as Justin Martyr can never have heard of them or he would certainly have used them in his attack on Marcion. Dr. Giles holds that the "most excellent Theophilus," mentioned by the author of the third Gospel and the Acts, must have been Theophilus, the sixth Bishop of Antioch, an opponent of Marcion. Mr. W. Glanville, in a powerful little work, "The Web Unwoven," has further damaged the Pauline theory. He holds that in chapters ix., x., xi. of the Acts we get a fictitious narrative intended to immensely ante-date the rise of what is now called Paulinism.
The story there narrated is certainly strange. The Maker of the hundred million starry systems visits earth in a bodily form to introduce an exceptional religion. He leaves behind him a trusted agent to carry on the great enterprise after his death. And yet in a few years this agent guided chiefly by a "dream" of a heathen, throws over all the regulations believed to be divine. Mr. Granville points out a certain shrewdness in the story. Peter is made to go to the house of a tanner, the most defiling of residences, in the mind of the Jews. The chief agent of the change, Cornelius, is made a Roman captain that the Roman magistrates might think that Christianity is an orthodox form of the Jew's religion, entitled in consequence to State toleration. The date of this great change is fixed at about the time of James’s martyrdom (44 A.D.). Is there any historical proof that such a change then took place?
Mr. Newman, in his work "James and Paul," maintains that the former was plainly quite ignorant of what we now call Paulinism:—
In his Epistle "he has nothing about being good for example's sake. Concerning the Cross, or death, or blood of Christ we gather nothing from him, nor does Jesus appear as Saviour or Mediator." "It cannot be discovered that any acts of internal devotion towards Jesus were a part of James’s religion."*
But a passage from Eusebius carries the matter a step further, and shows that James, like St. Paul, could not have accepted Paulinism without gross perjury, for he, too, was consecrated from his mother's womb to the water-drinking life of the Nazarite or Nazareen.
"He was consecrated from his mother's womb. He drank neither wine nor strong drink, neither ate he any living thing. A razor never went upon his head. He anointed not himself with oil, nor did he use a bath. He alone was allowed to enter into the holies. He did not wear woollen garments but linen. And he alone entered the sanctuary and was found upon his knees praying for the forgiveness of the people, so that his knees became hard like a camel's through his constant bending and supplication before God, and asking for forgiveness of the people."*
There is also evidence that St. Peter was a Nazareen ascetic, subsequent to the dream of the Roman captain, Cornelius.
Says St. Peter in the "Clementine Homilies":—
"However such a choice has occurred to you, perhaps without your understanding my manner of life that I use only bread and olives and rarely pot herbs, and this my only coat and cloak which I wear . . . for those who have determined to accept the blessings of the future reign have no right to regard as their own the things that are here . . . with the exception of water and bread, and those things procured with sweat to maintain life."†
Epiphanius in commenting on the passage about James in Eusebius, adds the two sons of Zebedee to the list of water-drinking Nazarites; and Clement of Alexandria writes thus of St. Matthew:—
"It is far better to be happy than to have a demon dwelling with us. And happiness is found in the practice of virtue. Accordingly the Apostle Matthew partook of seeds and nuts and vegetables without flesh."
Up to the second century A.D. the early Christians were called "Nazareens" or "Nazarites"—Tatian, Tertullian and others treat the two words as identical. The Jews, the Moslem, the East generally, still employ the title Pilate wrote up on the cross, and all the early disciples were baptised by a Nazarite separated from his mother's womb. The Essenes and Therapeuts according to Philo and Josephus drank nothing but water, and we see from my present chapter that the most prominent of Christ's disciples, St. James, St. Matthew, St. John and St. Peter were water-drinking Nazarites, in deed as well as in name. How is it then that the Nazarite St. John has written a gospel which proclaims—according to its modern interpreters in Rome and Lambeth—that unless a Christian drinks wine at least once a year he will be punished everlastingly in the flames of hell. And the Nazarite St. Paul backs up the Nazarite St. John with an account—the earliest according to scholars—of the institution of the Sacrament of bread and wine by Jesus, an account which the Nazarite St. Matthew has copied into his gospel. All this points to a wholesale falsification rather than the chance modifications of a few zealous copyists. Irenæus, who first mentions the Fourth Gospel, tells us that it was the special gospel of the followers of Valentinus. Was
This question will have to be probed from many points of view. One statement of Tertullian may here be mentioned. He announces that the Valentinians maintained that it was necessary to worship the "left-handed" deities* as well as the right-handed. Here we have the Vâmâcharîs of S’iva. These "left-handed" deities, were on the left side of the Zodiac.
I tried to show in an early work, "Buddha and Early Buddhism," that almost every mansion in the Buddhist Zodiac seemed intentionally to suggest the two great Serpents, the Father and the Mother. This fact if it could be established, would be of far greater importance now that we are considering S’iva Buddha.
Fig. 1 Plate 17 is S’iva's Trisula. Outside of India it is called the Rod of Hermes. It is the holiest symbol of Buddhism, Mani, the Pearl.
Om Mani Padme Hum.
This Trisula of S’iva is everywhere. It is conspicuous on the summit of the great Sanchi Tope (Fig 3). It makes up the conventional head of Buddha (Fig. 4). It is on a charm in Tibet (Fig. 2). We see from the Catacombs the meaning of the descending dove (Fig. 5). Now this outline is plainly to be seen in the Crab, the Scorpion, the Taurine or Bull, and also the Scales which according to Ptolemy are simply the claws of the Scorpion.* Then the Serpent is certainly suggested in the tail of the Lion, and the trunk of the Elephant (Capricorn). An elephant and a serpent have the same name in Sanskrit—Naga. Here we get eight serpent symbols, but two I completely overlooked in my early work. For the Twins (they are male and female in India), I give a design which I took from some Buddhist sculptures, given in the "Tree and Serpent Worship" of Mr. Fergusson, the male twin holds up a lotus (See Indian Zodiac (Plate 18) in next page). Plainly the outline purposely makes the head of a cobra, an Indian virile symbol. That I have not made a mistake is evident, for the same outline is repeated in the hand of Virgo, who again is S’iva the great Father-Mother. For the Ram there is a horse with two snakes on his head.† It is also from Fergusson's "Tree and Serpent Worship." In the Indian epic the Mahabharata there is an episode, the "Churning of the Ocean." Almost all mythical poetry in all languages is a mixing up of astronomical signs, kaleidoscopical fashion. In this little story Nârayana, to gain for mortals the amrita or immortal drink, coils the Serpent Vâsukhi (the ecliptic) round the Mountain Mandar (the Kosmos) and makes it spin round and "churn" the ocean (unfashioned fluidic matter). In this little story the signs of the Zodiac are brought in a little clumsily.
The sign for the fish is Chakra.
What is Chakra?
The little myth, the Churning of the Ocean, answers the question.
"Beneath the trenchant Chakra he saw guarding the Amrita two immense and terrible serpents, strong, venom-darting, with fiery eyes and throats, and tongues of forked lightning."*
Here is another passage:—
"Here dwell two serpents the terror of enemies Arvouda and Sakravapi. Here are the sublime palaces of Swastika and Maninâga."†
Plainly Chakra, the Fish of the Zodiac, is the wheel called Swastika in India,‡ and Cancer the Serpents of the mani or pearl. And the palaces of these two are the black and white halves of the Zodiac.
It is, oddly enough, the only cross in the catacombs, and it was the only symbol on the drapery of the high altar when the Japanese constructed a model Japanese temple in Knightsbridge a few years ago. It is called the "Seal of the heart of Buddha."
In the Rig Veda, India's terrible Vajra or bolt is called Chaturasri (the four angled). This is plainly the Swastika.
(3) The Twins. This is the Sowing Festival, the Epoch of the Lesser Mysteries. Buddha, Rama, Krishna and the Sons of Pandu, of the Mahabharata, marry now, after showing their animal strength at its culminating point at Olympian games. Rama bends the bow of S’iva, a constellation that is shining at midnight at this very moment. The Asvins or Twins are sometimes male and female in the Rig Veda. Plainly if the S’ivan designs on the punch marked coins are zodiacal, we get here the "Jew's harp." It explains the splendid bas relief of the Marriage of S’iva and Durga at Elora. Opposite this marriage is "the Bow" in the sky, Life confronted with Death.
(4) The Crab. This is plainly the Maninaga of the Mahabharata, S’iva's Trisula, the trident which heads the yogi's staff as he treads along the mystical "way." Opposite is Gaṇes’a, the Elephant, the definite God, detaching himself from the Great Fish in the Great Ocean.
(5) The Lion. This is Durga's carrier, and her pet sign. The two together form the Sphinx, the great enigma which man must guess to live. Buddha on the lion throne near the tree of Knowledge was guessing it. Lions and sphinxes abound in Elora, and other rock cut temples.
(6) Virgo. We now come to the Virgin of the Sky, the "Mother who delivers the World" as the Buddhists call her, the much abused Durgâ who gave agriculture to Greece and Babylon, and sent her son Ganes’a to give it to the Romans. To this day she presides at the Festival of Plenty in India, and the Brahmin polytheists and her other theological opponents crowd to it quite as eagerly as her own votaries. Her symbol is also a tree—the tree of the ascetic.
(7) Libra is the Firebird and probably the dismembered S’iva. S’iva, Indra, Osiris, Saturn, were all dismembered; and Durgâ in the Mysteries wailed and made the temples resound with her grief that the Kosmos had lost its productive energy. The legend of the flying Mahadeo burning up the Tripura, the three cities (Earth, Kailas, and Pandemonium) means a starving Kosmos.
(8) Scorpio. It is plain, too, also, that Scorpio, or S’iva as Bhairava with a gaping mouth that breathes out flames, is the same destructive energy. He is the Ialdibaoth of the Gnostics, the inexplicable confusion in the world's harmony.
(9) Sagittarius. This sign is called the "Bow of S’iva" in the Ramâyâna, and the young Râma is the only competitor at the jousts that can bend it. The arrows that fly from that bow become serpents and kill their foes, and then return to the sender.
(10) Capricorn. The zodiacal signs sometimes represent the sun-god in his annual cruise, and sometimes his victims. Durga kills Mahishasura, and S’iva kills an elephant named Gaya, he kills Kama (the Twins, the erotic principle), he kills Tripurasura (the Brahmanic hierarchy figuring as Scorpio), he dominates the serpent that is sent against him and the antelope (Aries) and seizes the Dwarf's "Club" (Virgo, the Tree), and he smashes the head of his own son, being angry that he was born as an elephant. Then, by a clumsy myth, he restores him to life, but the head being smashed an elephant's head had to be substituted. The Elephant represents the Holy Spirit in India. The Indian sign for Capricorn is an elephant emerging from a Makara, the definite from the chaotic, the Buddhist Padmapâni and the S’ivan Ganes’a from Îswara the Unthinkable.
The last two signs, the Yogi with the pot of immortal food (Aquarius) and the Chakra of Dharma (Pisces), terminate the career of the ideal man. At first the entanglements of the animal life—and then dream- land with its angels and hobgoblins, and the crucial puzzle of all philosophies and all religions, the origin of evil. The yogis of S’iva and Buddha when first united must have had many such dreams before the Cosmism of the Nirisvara school swamped up the Aiswarikas. I mention this here because in treating S’iva-Buddhism I am forced to consider chiefly the side that it shows to the world.
Suggestions for Further Reading
- Hinduism and Christianity, Jesus in India
- The Advaita Vedanta - Non Duality
- Introduction to Hinduism - Prakriti
- The Kapila And The Pâtañjala Samkhya Yoga
- Brahman According to Advaita and Dvaita in Hinduism
- Atheism and Materialism in Ancient India
- Solving the Hindu Caste System
- Emptiness or Sunyavada in Buddhism
- Buddhism - A Discourse on Ignorance
- The Working of Maya or Illusion - A Buddhist Perspective
- Buddhism - The Middle Way or the Middle Path
- What Samsara Means in Buddhism
- The Chaos Theory and Nirvana in Buddhism
- Hinduism and Caste System
- Dealing with Chance, Fate and Acts of God
- Death and Afterlife in Hinduism
- What is Hinduism?
- Hinduism and Diversity
- Hinduism and Judaism
- Hinduism and Same-sex Marriage
- Significance of Happiness in Hinduism
- Redirect - Symbolism Hinduism
- The Meaning and Purpose of Yoga
227:* Newman, "James and Paul," p. 18.
228:* Eusebius, "Hist.," Eccl. ii. 23.
228:† Clem., "Homilies," XII., 6.
229:* Tertullian, "Adversus Valent," C. XXVI.
230:* Arago, "Popular Astronomy," p. 204.
231:* Mahabharata, "Adi parva," vv. 1500-1501.
231:† Mahabharata, "Sabha Parva," p. 806.
231:‡ See "Bhilsa Topes," p. 31.
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