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raised such a magnificent temple in Cambodia, in the city of Angor-Thom, to their god, the seven-headed serpent, the Ahac-chapat of the Mayas, and afterward carried its worship to Akkad and to Babylon. In these cosmogonic notions we also find the reason why the number ten was held most sacred by all civilized nations of antiquity; and why the Mayas, who in their scheme of numeration adopted the decimal system, did not reckon by tens but by fives and twenties; and why they used the twenty-millionth part of half the meridian as standard of lineal measures.
In the following pages I simply offer to my readers the relation of certain facts I have learned from the sculptures, the monumental inscriptions carved on the walls of the ruined palaces of the Mayas; the record of which is likewise contained in such of their books as have reached us. I venture only such explanations as will make clear their identity with the conceptions, on the same subjects, of the wise men of India, Chaldea, Egypt, and Greece. I do not ask my readers to accept à priori my own conclusions, but to follow the sound advice contained in the Indian saying quoted at the beginning of this preface, "Verify by experience what you have learned; then, and only then, form your own opinion. When formed, hold fast to it, although it may be contrary to your preconceived ideas. In order to help in the verification of the facts herein presented, I have illustrated this book with photographs taken in situ, drawings and plans according to actual, careful surveys, made by me, of the monuments. The accuracy of said drawings and plans can be easily proved on the photographs themselves. I have besides given many references whose correctness it is not difficult to ascertain.
This is not a book of romance or imagination; but a work—
one of a series-intended to give ancient America its proper place in the universal history of the world.
I have been accused of promulgating notions on ancient America contrary to the opinion of men regarded as authorities on American archæology. And so it is, indeed. Mine is not the fault, however, although it may be my misfortune, since it has surely entailed upon me their enmity and its consequences. But who are those pretended authorities? Certainly not the doctors and professors at the head of the universities and colleges in the United States; for not only do they know absolutely nothing of ancient American civilization, but, judging from letters in my possession, the majority of them refuse to learn anything concerning it.
It may be inquired, On what ground can those who have published books on the subject, in Europe or in the United States, establish their claim to be regarded as authorities? What do they know of the ancient Mayas, of their customs and manners, of their scientific or artistic attainments? Do they understand the Maya language? Can they interpret one single sentence of the books in which the learning of the Maya sages, their cosmogonic, geographical, religious, and scientific attainments, are recorded? From what source have they derived their pretended knowledge? Not from the writings of the Spanish chroniclers, surely. These only
wrote of the natives as they found them at the time of, and long after, the conquest of America by their countrymen, whose fanatical priests destroyed by fire the only sources of information-the books and ancient records of the Maya philosophers and historians. Father Lopez de Cogolludo, in his "Historia de Yucathan,"1 frankly admits that in his time 'Cogolludo, Historia de Yucathan, lib. iv., cap. iii., p. 177.
no information could be obtained concerning the ancient history of the Mayas. He says: "Of the peoples who first settled in this kingdom of Yucathan, or their ancient history, I have been unable to obtain any other data than those which follow." The Spanish chroniclers do not give one reliable word about the manners and customs of the builders of the grand antique edifices, that were objects of admiration to them as they are to modern travellers. The only answer of the natives to the inquiries of the Spaniards as to who the builders were, invariably was, We do not know.
For fear of wounding the pride of the pseudo-authorities, shall the truth learned from the works of the Maya sages and the inscriptions carved on the walls of their deserted temples and palaces be withheld from the world? Must the errors they propagate be allowed to stand, and the propagators not be called upon to prove the truth of their statements?
The so-called learned men of our days are the first to oppose new ideas and the bearers of these. This opposition will continue to exist until the arrogance and self-conceit of superficial learning that still hover within the walls of colleges and universities have completely vanished; until the generality of intelligent men, taking the trouble to think for themselves, cease to accept as implicit truth the ipse dixit of any quidam who, pretending to know all about a certain subject, pronounces magisterially upon it; until intelligent men no longer follow blindly such self-appointed teachers, always keeping in mind that “to accept any authority as final, and to dispense with the necessity of independent investigation, is destructive of all progress. For, as Dr. Paley says: "There is a principle which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance; this principle is contempt prior to examination."
The question is often asked, "Of what practical utility can the knowledge that America was possibly the cradle of man's civilization be to mankind?" To some, of but little use truly; but many there are who would be glad to know the origin of man's primitive traditions recorded in sacred books in the shape of myths or legends, and what were the incidents that served as basis on which has been raised the fabric of the various religions that have existed and do exist among men, have been and still are the cause of so many wars, dissensions, and persecutions. This knowledge would also serve to disclose the source whence emanated all those superstitions that have been and are so many obstacles in the way of man's physical, intellectual, and moral progress; and to free his mind from all such trammels, and make of him, what he claims to be, the most perfect work of creation on earth; also to make known the fact that Mayach-not India-is the true mother of nations.
Then, perhaps, will be awakened, in the mind of those in whose power it is to do it, a desire to save and preserve what remains of the mural inscriptions carved on the walls of the ruined palaces and temples of the Mayas, that are being torn to pieces by individuals commissioned by certain institutions in the United States and other places to obtain curios to adorn their museums, regardless of the fact that they are destroying the remaining pages of ancient American history with the reckless hand of ignorance, thus making themselves guilty of the crime of leze-history as well as of iconoclasm.
Perhaps also will be felt the necessity of recovering the libraries of the Maya sages (hidden about the beginning of the Christian era to save them from destruction at the hands of the devastating hordes that invaded their country in those
times), and to learn from their contents the wisdom of those ancient philosophers, of which that preserved in the books of the Brahmins is but the reflection. That wisdom was no doubt brought to India, and from there carried to Babylon and Egypt in very remote ages by those Maya adepts (Naacal -"the exalted "), who, starting from the land of their birth as missionaries of religion and civilization, went to Burmah, where they became known as Nagas, established themselves in the Dekkan, whence they carried their civilizing work all over the earth.
At the request of friends, and to show that the reading of Maya inscriptions and books is no longer an unsolved enigma, and that those who give themselves as authorities on ancient Maya palæography are no longer justified in guessing at, or in forming theories as to the meaning of the Maya symbols or the contents of said writings, I have translated verbatim the legend accompanying the image, in stucco, of a human sacrifice that adorned the frieze of the celebrated temple of Kabul at Izamal.
This legend I have selected because it is written with hieratic Maya characters, that are likewise Egyptian.1 Any one who can read hieratic Egyptian inscriptions will have no difficulty in translating said legend by the aid of a Maya dictionary, and thus finding irrefutable evidence: 1. That Mayas and Egyptians must have learned the art of writing from the same masters. Who were these? 2. That some of the ruined monuments of Yucatan are very ancient, much anterior to the Christian era, notwithstanding the opinion to the contrary of the self-styled authorities on Maya civilization. 3. That
'See Le Plongeon's ancient Maya hieratic alphabet compared with the Egyptian hieratic alphabet, in Sacred Mysteries, Introduction, p. xii.