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world. They thus afford us a glimpse of some of the scientific attainments of the learned Maya priesthood. Their knowledge they communicated in the mysterious recesses of the tem

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ples, where the profane never penetrated, to initiates only. These were bound by the most solemn oaths never to make known the sacred mysteries there taught, except to those rightly entitled to receive them.

Science was then, as it is even to-day, the privilege of the few. In those remote ages the sacerdotal class and the nobility claimed it as their own; now it is that of the wealthy. True, in our times, knowledge is denied to none, provided the applicant can pay for it, and no one is under oath not to divulge what he has learned; but its acquirement is costly, and beyond reach of the majority.

The temples of the Maya sages are in ruins, slowly but surely crumbling to dust, gnawed by the relentless tooth of time; and, what is worse, recklessly destroyed by the iconoclastic hand of ignorance and avarice.

Sanctuaries have become Page 256.


the abode of bats, swallows, and serpents. Lairs of the wild beasts of the forests, they are not only deserted but shunned by human beings, who stand in awe of them. Where now are the sages who used to assemble within their sacred precincts to delve into the mysteries of creation, to wrest her secrets from the bosom of Mother Nature? Do their spirits still hover there, as the natives assert? Purified from all earthly defilement, have they been reabsorbed in the great ocean of intelligence, as Buddhists would have us believe? Are they enjoying the

? perfect repose of Nirvana, waiting to be summoned to begin another cycle of mundane existences in more advanced planetary worlds than ours ?

To-day I surely violate no oath if I reveal part of those very teachings that the adepts of old so carefully kept from the multitudes, whom they regarded as unworthy to participate in the divine light that had been vouchsafed to their minds; a principle practised, likewise, by the Egyptian priests, and that Clement of Alexandria, who had been initiated into their mysteries, proclaimed by asserting (Stromate XII.), “ The mysteries of the faith are not to be divulged to all.

It is requisite to hide in a mystery the wisdom spoken."

I will premise the explanation of the signs under consideration by stating that they teach precisely the same doctrine regarding creation that we find in “ Primander,” the most ancient and authentic of the first philosophical books of Egypt, attributed to Thoth, that is, Hermes Trismegistus. “Out of it [chaos] came forth the fire, pure and light, and rising it was lost in the air that, spirit-like, occupies the intermediate space between the water and the fire. The earth and the water were so mixed that the surface of the earth, covered by the water, appeared nowhere.”


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Again we read in the Hermetic books on the origin of things: For there were boundless darkness in the abyss, and water, and a subtile spirit, intellectual in power, existing in chaos.'

Berosus, recounting the Chaldean legend of creation, says: "In the beginning all was darkness and water."

In Genesis we read: “In the beginning darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."

The author of the“ Popol-vuh” tells us: “ This is the recital of how everything was without life, calm and silent; all was motionless and quiet; void was the immensity of the heavens, and the face of the earth did not manifest itself; yet only the tranquil sea was, and the space of the heavens.

In the “ Manava-Dharma-Sastra,” we are told: “ The visible universe in the beginning was nothing but darkness. Then the great, self-existing Power dispelled that darkness and appeared in all his splendor. He first produced the waters; and on them moved Narayana, the Divine Spirit.” As in Egyptian so in Maya, the sign is pronounced

corresponds to our Latin letter k, or ch, which in Maya with a peculiar hard accent, cha.

Cha is the radical of the verb chab, “to create," “to bring forth from nothing,” “to animate," "to give breath

” or life.” Also of the word chan, " a drop of water.”

Placed as it is in the inscription, it stands for its heading or epitome of its contents.

The next is a complex sign, as the world it represents. It is composed of a circumference, image of the horizon; of a central point, or boss, symbol of the sun; and of five radii, or rays, emanating from it. These rays are curved from right to left, to indicate the direction in which the sun



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