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May 01, 2006 02:54 AM
by Kathy

Hello Folks
Did HPB state categorically that Jesus the Nazarene was the Christian
Messiah as I have read conflicting reports, hinting at him being
fictional, and at other times, actual???


The following article was obtained from the World Wide Web at an index
of articles by famed theosophist Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky of
St. Petersburg, Russia, who lived during the 19th Century. For a
complete listing of Madame Blavatsky's articles on the Web, check out
this URL.


In the "History of the Christian Religion to the year two hundred," by
Charles B. Waite, A.M., announced and reviewed in the Banner of Light
(Boston), we find portions of the work relating to the great
thaumaturgist of the second century A.D. -- Apollonius of Tyana, the
rival of whom had never appeared in the Roman Empire.

"The time of which this volume takes special cognizance is divided
into six periods, during the second of which, A.D. 80 to A.D. 120, is
included the 'Age of Miracles,' the history of which will prove of
interest to Spiritualists as a means of comparing the manifestations
of unseen intelligences in our time with similar events of the days
immediately following the introduction of Christianity. Apollonius
Tyanaeus was the most remarkable character of that period, and
witnessed the reign of a dozen Roman emperors. Before his birth,
Proteus, an Egyptian god, appeared to his mother and announced that he
was to be incarnated in the coming child. Following the directions
given her in a dream, she went to a meadow to gather flowers. While
there, a flock of swans formed a chorus around her, and, clapping
their wings, sung in unison. While they were thus engaged, and the air
was being fanned by a gentle zephyr, Apollonius was born."

This is a legend which in days of old made of every remarkable
character a "son of God" miraculously born of a virgin. And what
follows is history. "In his youth he was a marvel of mental power and
personal beauty, and found his greatest happiness in conversations
with the disciples of Plato, Chrysippus and Aristotle. He ate nothing
that had life, lived on fruits and the products of the earth; was an
enthusiastic admirer and follower of Pythagoras, and as such
maintained silence for five years. Wherever he went he reformed
religious worship and performed wonderful acts. At feasts he
astonished the guests by causing bread, fruits, vegetables and various
dainties to appear at his bidding. Statues became animated with life,
and bronze figures from their pedestals, took the position and
performed the labors of servants. By the exercise of the same power
dematerializaton occurred; gold and silver vessels, with their
contents, disappeared; even the attendants vanished in an instant from

"At Rome, Apollonius was accused of treason. Brought to examination,
the accuser came forward, unfolded his roll on which the accusation
had been written, and was astounded to find it a perfect blank.
"Meeting a funeral procession he said to the attendants, 'Set down the
bier, and I will dry up the tears you are shedding for the maid.' He
touched the young woman, uttered a few words, and the dead came to
life. Being at Smyrna, a plague raged at Ephesus, and he was called
thither. 'The journey must not be delayed,' he said, and had no sooner
spoken the words than he was at Ephesus.

"When nearly one hundred years old, he was brought before the Emperor
at Rome, accused of being an enchanter. He was taken to prison. While
there he was asked when he would be at liberty? 'To-morrow, if it
depends on the judge; this instant, if it depends on myself.' Saying
this, he drew his leg out of the fetters, and said, 'You see the
liberty I enjoy.' He then replaced it in the fetters.

"At the tribunal he was asked : 'Why do men call you a god?'

"'Because,' said he, 'every man that is good is entitled to the
appellation .'

"'How could you foretell the plague at Ephesus?'

"He replied : 'By living on a lighter diet than other men.'

"His answers to these and other questions by his accusers exhibited
such strength that the Emperor was much affected, and declared him
acquitted of crime; but said he should detain him in order to hold a
private conversation. He replied : 'You can detain my body, but not my
soul; and, I will add, not even my body. Having uttered these words he
vanished from the tribunal, and that same day met his friends at
Puteoli, three days' journey from Rome.

"The writings of Apollonius show him to have been a man of learning,
with a consummate knowledge of human nature, imbued with noble
sentiments and the principles of a profound philosophy. In an epistle
to Valerius he says :

"'There is no death of anything except in appearance; and so, also,
there is no birth of anything except in appearance. That which passes
over from essence into nature seems to be birth, and that which passes
over from nature into essence seems, in like manner, to be death;
though nothing really is originated, and nothing ever perishes; but
only now comes into sight, and now vanishes. It appears by reason of
the density of matter, and disappears by reason of the tenuity of
essence; but is always the same, differing only in motion and condition.'

"The highest tribute paid to Apollonius was by the Emperor Titus. The
philosopher having written to him, soon after his accession,
counselling moderation in his government, Titus replied :

"'In my own name and in the name of my country I give you thanks, and
will be mindful of those things. I have, indeed, taken Jerusalem, but
you have captured me.'

[Comment: Emperor Titus, who reigned 79-81 CE, was the son of Emperor
Vespasian, both of whom were admirers and friends of Apollonius. It
was Titus, as a general in Vespasian's army, who directed the
successful campaign to capture Jerusalem, once and for all, for the
Romans. Why would Titus mention Jerusalem in a comparison with
Apollonius, if Apollonius were not in some way connected with the
events in Jerusalem? If Apollonius met with Vespasian in Alexandria in
69, then Apollonius was in the vicinity of Jerusalem in the year prior
to the big battle; and in the opinion of this writer, Apollonius was
probably one of the leading advisors of the anti-Jewish forces there
in 70 CE.]

"The wonderful things done by Apollonius, thought to be miraculous,
the source and producing cause of which Modern Spiritualism clearly
reveals, were extensively believed in, in the second century, and
hundreds of years subsequent; and by Christians as well as others.

"Simon Magus was another prominent miracle-worker of the second
century, and no one denied his power. Even Christians were forced to
admit that he performed miracles. Allusion is made to him in the Acts
of the Apostles, viii: 9-10. His fame was world-wide, his followers in
every nation, and in Rome a statue was erected in his honor. He had
frequent contests with Peter, what we in this day would call
miracle-matches in order to determine which had the greater power. It
is stated in 'The Acts of Peter and Paul' that Simon made a brazen
serpent to move, stone statues to laugh, and himself to rise in the
air; to which is added: 'as a set-off to this, Peter healed the sick
by a word, caused the blind to see, &c.' Simon, being brought before
Nero, changed his form : suddenly he became a child, then an old man;
at other times a young man. 'And Nero, beholding this, supposed him to
be the Son of God.' "In 'Recognitions,' a Petrine work of the early
ages, an account is given of a public discussion between Peter and
Simon Magus, which is reproduced in this volume.

"Accounts of many other miracle-workers are given, showing most
conclusively that the power by which they wrought was not confined to
any one or to any number of persons, as the Christian world teaches,
but that mediumistic gifts were then, as now, possessed by many.
Statements quoted from the writers of the first two centuries of what
took place will severely tax the credulity of the most credulous to
believe, even in this era of marvels. Many of those accounts may be
greatly exaggerated, but it is not reasonable to suppose that they are
all sheer fabrications, with not a moiety of truth for their
foundation; far less so with the revealments made to men since the
advent of Modern Spiritualism. Some idea of the thoroughness with
which every subject is dealt with in this volume may be formed when we
state that in the index there are two hundred and thirteen references
to passages relating to 'Jesus Christ'; from which, also, it may be
justly inferred that what is given must be of great value to those
seeking information that will enable them to determine whether Jesus
was 'Man, Myth, or God.' 'The Origin and History of Christian
Doctrines,' also 'The Origin and Establishment of the Authority of the
Church of Rome over other Churches,' are fully shown, and much light
thrown upon many obscure and disputed questions. In a word, it is
impossible for us, without far exceeding the limits prescribed for
this article, to render full justice to this very instructive book;
but we think enough has been said to convince our readers that it is
one of more than ordinary interest, and a desirable acquisition to the
literature of this progressive age."

Some writers tried to make Apollonius appear a legendary character,
while pious Christians will persist in calling him an impostor. Were
the existence of Jesus of Nazareth as well attested by history and he
himself half as known to classical writers as was Apollonius no
sceptic could doubt to-day the very being of such a man as the Son of
Mary and Joseph. Apollonius of Tyana was the friend and correspondent
of a Roman Empress [sic] and several Emperors, while of Jesus no more
remained on the pages of history than as if his life had been written
on the desert sands. His letter to Agbarus, the prince of Edessa, the
authenticity of which is vouchsafed for by Eusebius alone -- the Baron
Munchausen of the patristic hierarchy -- is called in the Evidences of
Christianity "an attempt at forgery" even by Paley himself, whose
robust faith accepts the most incredible stories. Apollonius, then, is
a historical personage; while many even of the Apostolic Fathers
themselves, placed before the scrutinizing eye of historical
criticism, begin to flicker and many of them fade out and disappear
like the "will-o'-the-wisp" or the ignis fatuus.

Theosophist, June, 1881


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