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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.”
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
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 cħaħ, "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
apparently travels every day. These same five radii stand for the numerical "five," ho, in the Maya language, radical of hool, the "head," "that which is above," hence the Deity, and also the universe. As to the five parts into which the circle is divided, they probably stood for the five great continents-North America, South America, Asia, Africa, and Europe.
The whole sign is therefore symbolical of the world, with the Deity, "the sun," shedding its beneficent rays over it, as it travels from east to west.
We have just seen that in the cosmogonies of all civilized nations of antiquity, in Asia and Africa, as well as in America, water is not only regarded as the primordial element, but is said to have covered the whole surface of the earth. The Mayas, the Chaldeans, and the Egyptians also called it "A," probably because that is the first sound uttered without constraint by the vocal organs of infants.
The Mayas graphically represented that name of the water by a circumference ○, the shape of a drop of water, or of the horizon, sometimes with, sometimes without, a central point, indicating the sun.
When inventing the characters of their alphabet, which are mostly images of objects surrounding them, they naturally assigned it the first place. Thus "A" became the first letter in the alphabets of all nations with which they had communications, and it is yet the first letter of the majority of alphabets
The Egyptians were not the inventors of their own alphabet. They attributed it to Thoth, their god of letters. Did they learn from the Mayas the name and shape of their first letter?