THE Logos or Creative deity, the "Word made Flesh," of every religion, has to be traced to its ultimate source and Essence. In India, it is a Proteus of 1,008 divine names and aspects in each of its personal transformations, from Brahma-Purusha down through the Seven divine Rishis and ten semi-divine Prajapati (also Rishis) to the divine-human Avatars.
The same puzzling problem of the "One in many" and the multitude in One, is found in other Pantheons, in the Egyptian, the Greek and the Chaldeo-Judaic, the latter having made confusion still more confused by presenting its Gods as euhemerizations, in the shapes of Patriarchs. The latter are now accepted by those who reject Romulus as a myth, and are represented as living and historical Entities. Verbum satis sapienti.
In the Zohar, En-Soph is also the ONE, and the infinite Unity. This was known to the very few learned Fathers of the Church, who were aware that Jehovah was but a third rate potency and no "highest" God. But while complaining bitterly of the Gnostics and saying . . . "our Heretics hold . . . that PROPATOR is known but to the Only begotten Son* (who is Brahma among the rest) that is to the mind" (nous), Irenaeus never mentioned that the Jews did the same in their real secret books. Valentinus, "the profoundest doctor of the Gnosis," held that "there was a perfect AION who existed before Bythos, or Buthon (the first father of unfathomable nature, which is the second Logos) called Propator." It is thus AION, who springs as a Ray from Ain-Soph (who does not create), and AION, who creates, or through whom, rather, everything is created, or evolves.
For, as the Basilidians taught, "there was a supreme god, Abraxas, by whom was created mind" (Mahat, in Sanskrit, Nous in Greek). "From Mind proceeded the word, Logos, from the word, Providence (Divine Light, rather), then from it Virtue and Wisdom in Principalities, Powers, Angels, etc., etc." By these (Angels) the 365 AEons were created. "Amongst the lowest, indeed, and those who made this world, he (Basilides) sets last of all the God of the Jews, whom he denies to be God (and very rightly), affirming he is one of the angels" (Ibid.). Here, then, we find the same system as in the Puranas, wherein the Incomprehensible drops a seed, which becomes the golden egg, from which Brahma is produced. Brahma produces Mahat, etc., etc. True Esoteric philosophy, however, speaks neither of "creation" nor of "evolution" in the sense the exoteric religions do.
All these personified Powers are not evolutions from one another, but so many aspects of the one and sole manifestation of the ABSOLUTE all. The same system as the gnostic prevails in the Sephirothal aspects of Ain-Soph, yet, as these aspects are in Space and Time, a certain order is maintained in their successive appearances. Therefore, it becomes impossible not to take notice of the great changes that the Zohar has undergone under the handling of generations of Christian Mystics.
For, even in the metaphysics of the Talmud, the "lower Face" (or "Lesser Countenance"), the microprosopus, in fact, could never be placed on the plane of the same abstract ideal as the Higher, or "Greater Countenance," macroprosopus. The latter is, in the Chaldean Kabala, a pure abstraction; the Word or LOGOS, or DABAR (in Hebrew), which Word, though it becomes in fact a plural number, or "Words" -- D(a)B(a)RIM, when it reflects itself, or falls into the aspect of a Host (of angels, or Sephiroth, "numbers") is still collectively ONE, and on the ideal plane a nought -- 0, a "No-thing." IT is without form or being, "with no likeness with anything else." (Franck, "Die Kabbala," p. 126.)
And even Philo calls the Creator, the Logos who stands next God, "the SECOND GOD," and "the second God who is his (Highest God's) WISDOM" (Philo. Quaest. et Solut). Deity is not God. It is NOTHING, and DARKNESS. It is nameless, and therefore called Ain-Soph -- "the word Ayin meaning nothing." See Franck "Die Kabbala," p. 153. See also Section XII., "Theogony of the Creative Gods." The "Highest God" (the unmanifested LOGOS) is its Son.
Nor are most of the gnostic systems, which come down to us mutilated by the Church Fathers, anything better than the distorted shells of the original speculations. Nor were they open to the public or reader, at any time; i.e., had their hidden meaning or esotericism been revealed, it would have been no more an esoteric teaching, and this could never be. Alone Marcus (the chief of the Marcosians, 2nd century), who taught that deity had to be viewed under the symbol of four syllables, gave out more of the esoteric truths than any other Gnostic. But even he was never well understood. For it is only on the surface or dead letter of his Revelation that it appears that God is a quaternary, to wit: "the Ineffable, the Silence, the Father, and Truth," -- in reality it is quite erroneous, and divulges only one more esoteric riddle.
This teaching of Marcus was that of the early Kabalists and ours. For he makes of Deity, the number 30 in 4 syllables, which, translated esoterically, means a Triad or Triangle, and a Quaternary or a square, in all seven, which, on the lower plane made the seven divine or secret letters of which the God-name is composed. This requires demonstration. In his "Revelation," speaking of divine mysteries expressed by means of letters and numbers, Marcus narrates how the "Supreme Tetrad came down unto me (him) from the region which cannot be seen nor named, in a female form, because the world would have been unable to bear her appearing under a male figure," and revealed to him "the generation of the universe, untold before to either gods or men."
This first sentence already contains a double meaning. Why should a female figure be more easily borne or listened to by the world than a male figure? On the very face of it this appears nonsensical. Withal it is quite simple and clear to one who is acquainted with the mystery-language. Esoteric Philosophy, or the Secret Wisdom, was symbolized by a female form, while a male figure stood for the Unveiled mystery. Hence, the world not being ready to receive, could not bear it, and the Revelation of Marcus had to be given allegorically. Then he writes:
"When first the Inconceivable, the Beingless and Sexless (the Kabalistic Ain-Soph) began to be in labour (i.e., when the hour of manifesting Itself had struck) and desired that Its Ineffable should be born (the first LOGOS, or AEon, or Aion), and its invisible should be clothed with form, its mouth opened and uttered the word like unto itself. This word (logos) manifested itself in the form of the Invisible One. The uttering of the (ineffable) name (through the word) came to pass in this manner. He (the Supreme Logos) uttered the first word of his name, which is a syllable of four letters. Then the second syllable was added, also of four letters. Then the third, composed of ten letters; and after this the fourth, which contains twelve letters. The whole name consists thus of thirty letters and of four syllables.
Each letter has its own accent and way of writing, but neither understands nor ever beholds that form of the whole Name, -- no; not even the power of the letter that stands next to Itself (to the Beingless and the Inconceivable.)*
All these sounds when united are the collective Beingless, This is as plain as ancient esoteric secrecy would make it. It is as Kabalistic, but less veiled than the Zohar in which the mystic names or attributes are also four syllabled, twelve, forty-two, and even seventy-two syllabled words! The Tetrad shows to Marcus the TRUTH in the shape of a naked woman, and letters every limb of that figure, calling her head [[omega]], her neck [[psi]], shoulders and hands [[gamma]], and [[chi]], etc., etc. In this Sephira is easily recognised, the Crown (Kether) or head being numbered one; the brain or Chochmah, 2; the heart, or Intelligence (Binah), 3; and the other seven Sephiroth representing the limbs of the body. The Sephirothal Tree is the Universe, and Adam Kadmon represents it in the West as Brahma represents it in India.
Throughout, the 10 Sephiroth are represented as divided into the three higher, or the spiritual Triad, and the lower Septenary. The true Esoteric meaning of the sacred number seven is cleverly veiled in the Zohar; yet was betrayed by the double way of writing "in the beginning" or Be-resheeth, and Be-raishath, the latter the "Higher, or Upper Wisdom." As shown by Mr. Macgregor Mathers in his Kabbalah (p. 47), and in the Qabbalah of Mr. T. Myer (p. 233), both of these Kabalists being supported by the best ancient authorities, these words have a dual and secret meaning. Braisheeth bara Elohim means that the six, over which stands the seventh Sephiroth, belong to the lower material class, or, as the author says: "Seven . . . . are applied to the Lower Creation, and three to the spiritual man, the Heavenly Prototypic or first Adam."
When the Theosophists and Occultists say that God is no BEING, for IT is nothing, No-Thing, they are more reverential and religiously respectful to the Deity than those who call God a HE, and thus make of Him a gigantic MALE.
He who studies the Kabala will soon find the same idea in the ultimate thought of its authors, the earlier and great Hebrew Initiates, who got this secret Wisdom at Babylonia from the Chaldean Hierophants, while Moses got his in Egypt. The Zohar cannot well be judged by its after translations in Latin and other tongues, as all those ideas were, of course, softened and made to fit in with the views and policy of its Christian arrangers; but in truth its ideas are identical with those of all other religious systems. The various Cosmogonies show that the Archaic Universal Soul was held by every nation as the "Mind" of the Demiurgic Creator; and that it was called the "Mother," Sophia with the Gnostics (or the female Wisdom), the Sephira with the Jews, Saraswati or Vach, with the Hindus, the Holy Ghost being a female Principle.