... the conclusions or deductions of a philosophic writer may be entirely opposed to our views and the teachings we expound; yet, his premises and statements of facts may be quite correct, and other people may profit by the adverse philosophy, even if we ourselves reject it, believing we have something higher and still nearer to the truth.

<...> while every fact outside its perception can, as we have shown, be, at best, only a relative truth, a ray from the absolute truth can reflect itself only in the pure mirror of its own flame—our highest SPIRITUAL CONSCIOUSNESS. And how can the darkness (of illusion) comprehend the LIGHT that shineth in it?

H.P. Blavatsky. What is Truth?


In policy articles that were supposed to set the tone and standards for the work of the organized theosophical movement, H.P. Blavatsky somewhat departs from her immediate main life task of revealing the secrets of superhuman wisdom, in which she was helped by great spiritual mentors, and manifests herself as an independent mentor on the path to understanding the truth. So, in the article "What is Truth?" she writes:

“SELFISHNESS, the first-born of Ignorance, and the fruit of the teaching which asserts that for every newly-born infant a new soul, separate and distinct from the Universal Soul, is “created” – this Selfishness is the impassable wall between the personal Self and Truth. It is the prolific mother of all human vices...  <...>

A Scientist is as ready to suppress damaging evidence against a current scientific hypothesis in our times, as a missionary in heathen-land, or a preacher at home, to persuade his congregation that modern geology is a lie, and evolution but vanity and vexation of spirit. <...>

Theosophy is divine knowledge, and knowledge is truth; every true fact, every sincere word are thus part and parcel of Theosophy. One who is skilled in divine alchemy, or even approximately blessed with the gift of the perception of truth, will find and extract it from an erroneous as much as from a correct statement. <...> ... it is often as useful to know what a thing is not, as to learn what it is”[1].

Let us now see how the principles outlined by Blavatsky were applied in her life by the example of her article “The Crucifixion of Man”:

“The now dogmatically accepted words, so dramatic for being uttered at the crucial hour, are of a later date than generally supposed. Verse 46 in the XXVIITH chapter of Matthew stands now distorted by the unscrupulous editors of the Greek texts of the Evangel. Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani – never meant “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” but meant, indeed, originally, the reverse. They are the Sacramental words used at the final initiation in old Egypt, as elsewhere, during the Mystery of the putting to death of Chrêstos in the mortal body with its animal passions, and the resurrection of the Spiritual Man as an enlightened Christos in a frame now purified (the “second birth” of Paul, the “twice-born” or the Initiates of the Brahmans, etc., etc.). These words were addressed to the Initiate’s “Higher Self,” the Divine Spirit in him (let it be called Christ, Buddha, Chrishna, or by whatever name), at the moment when the rays of the morning Sun poured forth on the entranced body of the candidate and were supposed to recall him to life, or his new rebirth. They were addressed to the Spiritual Sun within, not to a Sun without, and ought to read, had they not been distorted for dogmatic purposes: “MY GOD, MY GOD, HOW THOU DOST GLORIFY ME!”

This is well proven now in the work above[2] quoted. Says the author: –

Of course, our versions are taken from the original Greek manuscripts (the reason why we have no original Hebrew manuscripts concerning these occurrences being because the enigmas in Hebrew would betray themselves on comparison with the sources of their derivation, the Old Testament). The Greek manuscripts, without exception, give these words as:– 'Ηλι 'Ηλι λαμα σαβαχθανι.

They are Hebrew words, rendered into the Greek, and in Hebrew are as follows: אלי אלי למה שׁבחתני׃. The Scripture of these words says, “that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” as their proper translation. Here then are the words, beyond all dispute; and beyond all question, such is the interpretation given of them by Scripture. Now the words will not bear this interpretation, and it is a false rendering. The true meaning is just the opposite of the one given, and is: My God, my God, how thou dost glorify me!

But even more, for while lama is why, or how, as a verbal it connects the idea of to dazzle, or adverbially, it could run “how dazzlingly,” and so on. To the unweary reader this interpretation is enforced and made to answer, as it were, to the fulfillment of a prophetic utterance, by a marginal reference to the first verse of the twenty-second Psalm, which reads: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

The Hebrew of this verse for these words is– "Eli, Eli, lamah azavthani?", as to which the reference is correct, and the interpretation sound and good, but with an utterly different word. The words are– Eli, Eli, lamah azabvtha-ni?

No wit of man, however scholarly, can save this passage from falseness of rendering on its face; and as so, it becomes a most terrible blow upon the proper first-face sacredness of the recital”[3].

Although Blavatsky prefaced this editorial note with the phrase “And did not Jesus, the Christ – the divine Man – an incarnation of the Spirit and type of the next phase of human evolution, cry out in the bitterness of his agony, “Father, why hast thou forsaken me?”,” in another article, which was posthumously published as section XVIII of the third volume of The Secret Doctrine, compiled not by herself, and had the title “Facts Underlying Adept Biographies,” she again develops the idea of falsification suggested by Skinner:

«For ten years or more, sat the revisers (?) of the Bible, a most imposing and solemn array of the learned of the land, the greatest Hebrew and Greek scholars of England, purporting to correct the mistakes and blunders, the sins of omission and of commission of their less learned predecessors, the translators of the Bible. Are we going to be told that none of them saw the glaring difference between the Hebrew words azabvtha-ni, in Psalms, xxii, and sabachthani in Matthew; that they were not aware of the deliberate falsification?

For “falsification” it was. And if we are asked the reason why the early Church Fathers resorted to it, the answer is plain: because the Sacramental words belonged in their true rendering to Pagan temple rites”[4].

It should be noted that Blavatsky had a very high opinion of the occult knowledge of the mason and Kabbalist J.R. Skinner and often quoted him in her “Secret Doctrine”[5]. However, their correspondence (including a large 36-page letter) began to be published only in the last ten years. It also reveals that she also noted his shortcomings, for example: “He is too enthusiastic about the Jews altogether & sacrifices history of facts to his preconceptions in favor of the Hebrew which is not an ancient language unless one accepts Bible Chronology.”[6]

The above is worth keeping in mind when reading the final passage of the article “The Crucifixion of Man”: “The Occultist, however, ought to ever bear in mind the words said by Ammian, that if “Truth is violated by falsehood,” it may be and is “equally outraged by silence.”.”

As for Skinner's fascination with Kabbalah, the range of methods he used probably included temurah – replacing some letters of the Hebrew alphabet with others in order to understand the hidden meaning – and gematria – a certain equalization of the meanings of different words having the same sum of numerical equivalents of their letters. But they do not seem to explain why, the verb לסמא [lesama] containing the letter ס (sameh) in all its forms and meaning “to dazzle,” turns into lamah – למה / למא. In any case, a number of basic dictionaries do not show the possibilities specified by Skinner.

Trying to briefly outline the hermeneutical circle of the gospel phrase used to illustrate Blavatsky's creative method, we can begin by listing how some of the main, most ancient handwritten codices transmit the text of the New Testament in Greek transcription:





έλωί έλωί λαμά σαβαχθάνι

(Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani)

ήλί ήλί λαμά σαβαχθάνι

(Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani)


ελωι ελωι λαμα ζαβαφθανει

ελωει ελωει λεμα σαβακτανεί


ελωι ελωι λεμα σαβακτανεί

ελωί ελωι λεμα σαβαχθανει


ελωι ελωι λεμα σαβακτανεί

ηλι ηλι λιμα σαβσχθανει


ηλει ηλει λαμα ζαφθανει

ηλει ηλει λαμα ζαφθανει


ηλει ηλει λαμα σαβαχθανι

ηλει ηλει λαμα σαβαχθανει



ηλι ηλι μα σαβαχθανει


It is immediately obvious that the Codex Washingtonianus (W) contains μα (מה/מָא), which just has the meaning of the exclamation particle “how,” so corresponding to Skinner's writing, in contrast to λαμα (למה) – “why.” But then one could also mention the Codex Boreelianus (Fp), which has, for example, the unintelligble σαβαχθαχθανι that repeats χθα once again for no reason, as well as other peculiar spellings. Apparently, one should not be surprised by this discord; it is not an exclusive phenomenon and is probably caused by copying errors. Variations of “the words from the Cross in Mt 27:46 are characteristic: ηλει αηλι (ἀἡλί) ελω(ε)ι(μ), λεμα λημα λ(ε)ιμα λaμa, σαβαχθαν(ε)ι σαβακτανει ζαφθανει (σαφθ-); in Mk 15:34 ελω(ε)ι ελωη ηλ(ε)ι, λεμα λαμ(μ)α λ(ε)ιμα, σαβαχθ- σαβακτ σιβακθανει ζα(βα)φθανει”[7].

In general, the Greek transliteration of Semitic words and names is rather inconsistent and arbitrary. In particular, it, for example, freely alternates Semitic -k- and -q-. In particular, in it, for example, the Semitic -k- and -q- alternate freely, and -k- (belonging to a group of consonants with double pronunciation: plosive and fricative, if after a vowel) is transliterated either as a plosive or as a fricative; The same is true for the other five consonants of the BeGaDKePaT group. Accordingly, it is difficult to rule out confusion between -k- and -q- in Hebrew-Greek transliteration. Regarding the phonetic inconsistencies of such transliteration, one can also recall how biblical names in modern European languages are translated, sometimes through the Greek medium – for example: Amorah becomes Gomorrah, Methushelah becomes Mathousalas, Atalya – Gotholia, and so on. In fact, the numerous spellings of the biblical expression that Blavatsky mentioned also suggest that the transliteration is not too consistent.

It is believed that the use of the Aramaic שְׁבַק [sh'vaq] rather than the Hebrew עֲזַבְ [azáv] from King David's similar exclamation in Ps. 22:1, is just one of the strong indications that Jesus' first language was Aramaic, although he certainly could understand the Hebrew language of the Torah and the more contemporary Mishnaic Hebrew. Why did this particular phrase have to be given not only in a Greek translation, but also in the Semitic sound? “In many cultures, sacramental words must be pronounced in a non-traditional language with connotations of “sacredness.” Is it true that for the evangelist Mark and his readers, spoken Aramaic was no longer a vernacular (in contrast to Hebrew), but – on the contrary – an attribute of Jesus as a miracle worker?”[8].

As a matter of fact, Jastrow’s dictionary for Targums, Talmuds and Midrash gives the following meanings שְׁבַק [sh'vaq]: “1) to leave, let go; to forsake, abandon; to leave behind; to bequeath. <…> 2) to remit, pardon, forgive. <…> 3) to let go, send away, divorce”.

The Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon (CAL), a dictionary of the Aramaic lexicon itself, gives some other meanings[9].

The choice of a particular meaning is determined by the context of the phrase, which, for almost everyone who adheres to the prevailing interpretation in science and society, has become, in fact, if not the most important, then quite a significant argument[10], which is a stumbling block in attempts to consider other interpretations. At the same time, it is often overlooked, even by researchers outside the Christian tradition, that there is no general acceptance of the historicity of what happened in the New Testament, and therefore the context is not commonly accepted.

Regarding the exclusively Aramaic origin of שְׁבַק [sh'vaq] (forsake), as perceived by the majority, one can note the following. “The root שבק is certainly found in Mishnaic Hebrew. [M. Jastrow, op. cit., p. 1516. Jastrow, however, cites only one example, and the word is not listed as Hebrew in G. Dalman, Aramäisch-Neuhebräisches Handwörterbuch (Göttingen, 1938), p. 414]. <...> [The verb עזב is also known in Aramaic; Jastrow, op. cit., p. 1061. However, an Aramaic version does not always translate a Hebrew word by its Aramaic cognate. Thus, the verb שבק is used in the Targum to Psalm xxii.2 in P. De Lagarde, Hagiographa Chaldaice (Leipzig, 1873), p. 11].”[11]

This is also consistent with Klein's comprehensive etymological dictionary of Hebrew:

«עזב to leave, forsake[12] <…>

שבק to leave, let alone, forsake, abandon[13]».

This dictionary also indicates that the verb שבק [sh'vaq] in Hebrew has a possible Akkadian origin, which makes it similar to the same three-letter stem in Aramaic.

If one further pays attention to the Greek transcriptions from the above codices one can note that the “Codex Bezae (D) – as well as some Old Latin Mss – reads ὠνείδισάς (= 'reproach') … <…> ζαφθανει <…> may be regarded as slightly corrupted transliterations of the azaḇtānī at Psalm 22:1.”[14]

As for “λαμα, which seems true in Mk, is not necessarily Hebrew as opposed to λεμα, which is certainly Aramaic, since α can represent an indistinct vowel <...> שׁבק may be Aramaic and Mishnaic Hebrew <...> It seems true that the form of Mc is έλωί while that of Mt is ήλί. Both can be Aramaic. <…> Mk appears to represent the oldest form. <...> Mk either did not understand the confusion like we do or did not try to explain it: ελωι seems in any hypothesis unmistakable with the name of Elias: אֵלִיָּהוּ (Hebrew and Aramaic), even reduced to אֵלִיָּה. That is why it is thought that Mt restores the original uttered by Jesus.”[15]

A. Guillaume contends that, drawing from his examination of the Dead Sea Scroll readings of Isaiah, the Hebrew language during the 2nd century B.C. might have sporadically employed the archaic Semitic first-person suffix -iya. Consequently, Jesus could have exclaimed “Eliya,” as onlookers might have misunderstood, thinking he was invoking Elijah[16].

As for the possibility of combining several languages in one phrase, then in Palestine there was diglossia (Hebrew and Aramaic) and bilingualism (including a combination of Aramaic and Greek), and people could speak alternating Aramaic and Hebrew, so compound phrases were quite common.

In Mt 27:47, the confusion with calling on the Lord and Elijah is conveyed as follows: “And some standing there who heard this were saying, “This man is calling Elijah.”” “This shows that the bystanders did not know Hebrew or Aramaic. The sign above Jesus’ head was written in three languages for good reason. Most Jews of that day (worldwide – they had travelled to Jerusalem for the pilgrim festival) could not read the scriptures in Hebrew, and so it is no surprise that they did not recognize this spoken form of the Hebrew name for God”[17].

Returning to the main controversial word – σαβαχθανει – it can be noted, that there are interpretations also with variants of the Hebrew, rather than Aramaic reading of the Greek transcription, including quite unpopular interpretation with the root סבך [svch] beginning with sameh, and not shin, and corresponding to the prepositional verb "tangle up", as about a ram tangled up in a thicket by its horns in Gen 22:13[18].

There is also an interpretation of a learned rabbi from the University of Kent, which coincides with Skinner's main idea[19]. It also turns out that in addition to Skinner's para-religious research, who, like many scholars after him (but virtually none now), did not seriously consider Aramaic as the language of the recorded utterances of Jesus, there was a quite religious source of the 19th century. Some writings in line with the newest quasi-world religion that asserts syncretism and unity of spiritual teachings, – The Baha'I Faith – also discussed the glorification of Jesus on the Cross.

“`Abdu'l-Bahā <…> transforms the “cry of dereliction” into a prayer of Jesus to God. The opening line of this prayer indicates that it was not that Jesus thought that God has abandoned him in his last hour but that God had abandoned him to a people <…> who rejected and crucified him.”[20]

Baha'i exegetes, like many generations of their Christian counterparts before, were embarrassed by the passage about Christ's dying phrase, which revealed him as a suffering man. And an English Baha'i follower, R. Backwell, also came to the conclusion that the verb “to glorify” is hidden behind the Greek transcription[21]. Naturally, the description of the essence of glorification was done in a different manner.

S. Lambden suggested that the source of such a guess is the acquaintance of the Iranian Baha'u'llah, the founder of Baha'iism, with Arabic and Persian translations of the Gospels and, accordingly, with the transcription of the cry of God's abandonment – “شبقتني / سبقتنی = shabaqtanī / sabaqtanī” – for “Thou hast forsaken me.” In Arabic it is very similar to “سبَحتَنِي sabaḥtanī” for “Thou hast glorified me.” This is the same root as in tasbih, a form of dhikr (prayer) that involves the glorification of God in Islam by saying: “Subhan Allah” (سُبْحَانَ ٱللَّٰهِ; literally “Glory be to Allah”). “While this 'rewrite' might be acceptable to such as can accept a textually free 'spiritual' hermeneutic, from what has been said it should be obvious that it is essentially eisegetical. It involves an unacceptable exchange of consonants…”[22]

Some Semitic philologists have doubts about the grammatical correctness of the use of the root שׁבח [šəb̲aḥ], corresponding to the Aramaic version of the verb “to glorify,” which is used in some psalms. It is thought to be characterized by the inflectional form Pa''el in Aramaic[23], so gemination (consonant doubling) is to be expected: the correct Greek transliteration of שבחתני would probably be σαββαθανι, following the example of the Aramaic word “father” reflected in the New Testament as αββα.

However, Y. Breuer writes [24] that gemination is characteristic of Western Aramaic in an emphatic form, which, unlike Eastern Aramaic, was preserved along with the non-emphatic form for the word ἄββα, which created variations in the spelling of the word through the final alaph and he: אבא and אבה. The propagation of gemination to a wider range of words and forms, incl. verbs are not in question, for example, in the Galilean version of Aramaic, which is usually attributed to Jesus. In addition, it is difficult to completely exclude the existence of an unattested variant of the use of שׁבח meaning “to glorify” in the derived stem Qal.

There are other options for recognizing the verb form hidden in Greek transcription:

k (Codex Bobiensis): maledixisti (“taunted”);

c (Codex Colbertinus): maledixisti (“taunted”);

i (Codex Vindoboensis): maledixisti (“taunted”);

Porphyry (Macarius Magnes, Apocriticus): (“reproached”);

Peshitta New Testament: (“spared”);

Other witnesses (not specified by NEB): (“shamed”)[25].

A famous researcher of the Peshitta - the Syriac translation of the Bible, in use since the first half of the 5th century – was the native of Kurdistan G. Lamsa, whose mother tongue was a Neo-Aramaic language. He held the belief that the Gospel texts were corrupted, contending that the passage under study should be rendered as “Eli, Eli, lemana shabaqthani.” According to his translation, this Aramaic phrase is understood as “My God, my God, for this I was spared!” In his translation of Peshitta into English he implies that Jesus's intended meaning was “This was my destiny.”

However, CAL is not quite in accord with this Lamsa's assertion: the term שבקתני [shvaqtani] in Aramaic represents the perfect 2nd person singular form of the verb שבק [shvaq], meaning “to leave,” “to leave something left over,” “to abandon,” or “to permit” when affixed with the 1st person singular pronoun. Consequently, this would lead to the translations “why have you [past participle of a chosen verb] me?”

Now Lamsa's arguments that the New Testament was in fact originally written in Aramaic and then translated into Greek do not correspond to scientific consensus (which, as the history of science shows, is not a constant). At the same time, Lamsa’s knowledge and focus made it possible to discover a number of inaccuracies in the translation of the Bible that have been entrenched over the centuries. Including one that ultimately cannot be fully called a mistake. The famous biblical passage from Mt 19:24 says: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Lamsa believed that instead of a camel there should be a rope, because... These are homonyms or homographs that were incorrectly translated from Aramaic into Greek. Now Lamsa's arguments that the New Testament was in fact originally written in Aramaic and then translated into Greek do not correspond to scientific consensus (which, as the history of science shows, is not a constant). At the same time, Lamsa’s knowledge and focus made it possible to discover a number of inaccuracies in the translation of the Bible that have been entrenched over the centuries. Including one that ultimately cannot be fully called a mistake. The famous biblical passage from Mt 19:24 says: “… it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Lamsa believed that instead of a camel there should be a rope, because these are homographs (or homonyms) that were incorrectly translated from Aramaic into Greek. Saint Cyril asserts that the term “camel” used in the scripture is a nautical term referring to a thick rope. By making this observation, he affirms that “camel” is the correct term, and its intended meaning is that of a rope, not the animal. This implies that Lamsa's translation of "rope" aligns more accurately with the intended meaning, while “camel” serves as a more fitting argotic translation in the context of the 1st century.

S. Groom in “Linguistic Analysis of Biblical Hebrew” previses: “There is no way of knowing whether modem scholars’ reconstruction of semantic fields and sense relations in an ancient dead language are merely a reflection of their own intuition, or their own native language, or whether those fields existed in CH [classical Hebrew – E.T.].”[26].

Closely related to the phenomena of polysemy is paronomasia, which in ancient times the languages of the Near East, including Hebrew and Aramaic, actively used to make speech more diverse. There is, for example, a PhD thesis devoted to the phenomenon of paronomasia in the Old Testament.[27]. This technique involves using words or phrases that sound the same but have different meanings. In oral communication, subtle changes in tone of voice help distinguishing between different meanings, but writing does not provide any indication of changes in intonation that would help understanding the meaning of what is written. Thus, modern Bible students, as well as those who studied the Bible in the past, are forced to guess the meaning of many words based on their own preconceptions and understanding of the context.

Wordplay can be found, for example, both in the Old Testament and in Christ’s words. “In the Hebrew of Leviticus 19:18 we see the famous second half of The Great Commandment very closely related to the Golden Rule:

וְאָֽהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ

ve-ahavat le-re’aka ka-moka

“And you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” <…>

Very often puns and alliteration are used as a means to remember things. It makes them memorable and easy to recall (sometimes even get stuck in your head).

If you were to render “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” into early Galilean Aramaic, it would come out similarly to:

תירכם למגירך כגרמך

tirham le-magirak ke-garmak.

“Neighbor” is from the root MGR where “self” was from GRM. Quite alliterative, and quite an interesting oratory twist on the traditional commandment with a slight re-shuffling of the root.”[28]

Biblical scholars often have to make such linguistic guesses with only manuscripts or fragments of them translated in Greek (or Latin) before their eyes. The previously mentioned Codex Bezae is an example of an uncial manuscript written in large letters, inscribed in square shapes and almost not extending beyond the line. In Latin, uncialis can mean either “an inch high” or “an ounce heavy,” and it is possible that wordplay is also hidden here. There is also a possible connection with uncia – a twelfth part, since in a column of some scrolls about 12 letters were placed.

Now, ancient manuscripts conceal the possibility of different interpretations, and even before Christianity became the dominant religion in the vast expanse of the Roman Empire, philosophers were perfectly reconciled to the centuries-old “Why hast Thou forsaken Me?” Thus, the Gnostics (Valentinians) interpreted the cry of Jesus on the Cross as the abandonment of Sophia (the lower Sophia) by the “Light” (φωτός) and her containment by Horos ('Ορου), i.e., the “Limit.”[29]. A Gnostic trace is also visible in Tertullian: the words “Why hast Thou forsaken Me?” mark the separation of Jesus as man from Christ as God [30].

Lessons of the Teachings of the Temple continue the Gnostic line.

“The average idea of the great sacrifice as associated with Jesus is based upon wrong premises; it clings about the surrender of the physical body, which is but one feature of that sacrifice. The breaking forth of that first petal-the separation from the Father – the heart-breaking cry, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me !" indicates the positive aspect of that great sacrifice, as the words, "It is finished", indicate the negative aspect of the same, and we must not lose sight of the truth that the rendering of this great sacrifice was no more requisite for the final perfecting of Jesus than it is for the perfecting of every disciple of the White Lodge.”[31]

“As the soul hangs between the two thieves of lust and avarice, the cry, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me!" pierces the heavens; for alas! it is at such an hour that many a soul passes the dividing line between eternal life, and eternal death. The hour when, in mental or physical torture, the demons of doubt, uncertainty, disloyalty, and what is mistakenly believed to be self-preservation at any cost sweep over the soul. Figuratively speaking, the light of the sun is darkened, the veil of the Temple is rent in twain, and the earth rocks – the results of the terrible upheavals of the underworld of the soul.

It is in some such hour that the great, the final test comes to every man. The test will show whether the incarnating ego – the Higher Self – must break loose forever from the enveloping media of the lower principles and seek some other sphere of action. Leaving the lower embodiment which it has been overshadowing to the fate it has earned or whether as a result of the power won by struggle and patient endurance in all its desolation and suffering, the Higher Self, the individual Christ, will clothe both the soul and its vehicle with the ineffable Light of the Logos, thus uniting them eternally in that last Initiation service, wherein the Nirmanakaya Robe is won and full recognition of its eternal destiny has dawned upon it.”[32]

In Book Two of Leaves of Morya’s Garden from the Agni Yoga series the dereliction cry is given this perspective: “... Truly did Christ say, “You know neither the day nor the hour.” He revealed another truth in asking, “Why have you forsaken me, Lord?” This refers to the knowledge of the spirit, for at the last moment we sink into a vacuum, as it were, just before the end of the earthly cycle, so that all the fires accumulated may blaze forth. The leap over the abyss is made possible by restraining the consciousness of the past.”[33]

The Gospel of John, which differs significantly from the three synoptic gospels, can clarify the interpretation of the Teachings of the Temple and Agni Yoga. It sort of corrects the rest of the Gospels' words. H. Roerich wrote about it as follows: “The Gospel of John was written by Mary Magdalene, who alone was a highly educated disciple among the followers of Christ. If it were not for Mary Magdalene, it is unlikely that any of the authentic words of Christ would have come down to us.”[34]

Indeed, after the archaeological finds at Nag Hammadi, which were published after Roerich's death, and in the wake of the reinterpretation of Gnostic literature, for the first time the hypothesis was more thoroughly elaborated that the true author of the Gospel of John is the great initiate Mary Magdalene, who had been forgotten for many years due to the androcentric foundations and the envy of less successful disciples of Christ.

In this very Gospel, the Son's conversion to the Father, which is being studied, is completely absent. But there is something else: “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (Jn 12:23).

The central theme of the Gospel of John is God's glorification through the death of Christ: “Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”” (Jn 12:28).

“Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once” (Jn 13:31,32) – on the Cross.

“And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you ...” (Jn 17:5).

“I have made your name known to them [men]” (Jn 17:26) – on the Cross.

From the statement in Jn 19:30, which says “it is finished” some theologians understand that the glorification of God by Christ was not an instantaneous process. They believe that Christ was perfected through suffering, becoming “the source of eternal salvation,” and was “crowned with glory and honor” after death, as stated in Heb 5:8,9; 2:9. Therefore, Christ died at the moment when He fully revealed the Father in Himself.

Another Abrahamic scripture, obtained in some form through another great initiate, Muhammad, does not mention the event on the Cross, nor does it refer to the dereliction cry of Jesus:

“And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s messenger – they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain. But Allah took him up unto Himself...”[35]

Although the context of other Quranic surahs confirms the murder and resurrection of Christ, the poor wording of the an-Nisa has led many Muslims to believe that Christ was not physically crucified. This, for example, echoes the belief that there is a real tomb of Isa in the Himalayan Srinagar, where he allegedly married, had children and died in old age. However, there are testimonies that Jesus may have had a wife (some cite particulars in the description of the Wedding at Cana as evidence that Jesus himself got married) and that he may have passed through Kashmir on his way to Ladakh, where his paths crossed centuries later with those of Gautama. It is no wonder that they are intertwined in the legend of the tomb.

As for the divine afflation of the Holy Scriptures, which many confuse with the accuracy and infallibility of their presentation that asserts the absolute truth, it is appropriate to recall explanations by F. LaDue, who was receiving the Teachings of the Temple:

“Students who have some knowledge of the mystery-language, the language of symbolism, can understand how absolutely necessary it is, that any true transmitter shall have a fairly accurate knowledge of that language; and as every objective form in manifestation is a symbol of some spiritual aspect or some form in other states of consciousness, it is easily understood how exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, it is for one to carry all those symbols constantly in mind. If a message or instruction is issued in the mystery language, (it may be partly in symbol and partly in words), there is no subsequent opportunity for correction or repetition ; and if the transmitter is conscientious, he or she will not presume to alter a sentence or a word, unless perfectly sure a mistake has been made in interpretation, and therefore will let the sentence stand as received, believing it better to run the risk of criticism rather than possibly to lose some more interior meaning which would not be evident in a casual reading. <…>

… when it is understood that such symbolic messages may come in color, sound, number and form, it will be seen that the difficulties in the way of perfect translation are greatly increased.”[36]

Returning to the specific biblical phrase, we can again recall that “when the sayings of Jesus are translated back into his mother-tongue they display to an unusual degree” alliterations of alliterations, assonances, and examples of paronomasia (combinations of words that are close in sound, but far in meaning)[37]. This and other features of expression of the symbolic through speech make possible a polyphonic meaning hidden by the Greek transcription. Sometimes this leads to the introduction of meanings that did not have the possibility of literal implementation.

The great initiate, early Christian theologian Origen recognized the historical inaccuracy of a number of biblical episodes. However, in his exegesis, he taught us to see three semantic levels of the Bible: the bodily, the most literal, the spiritual (the most philosophical and sacred, symbolic), and between them – the soul, rather moral, rarely distinguished by him in comparison with the literal and spiritual ones.

Origen asserts that the abandonment of the Son by the Father commenced when the Father caused him to take on the form of a servant. This abandonment persisted through the crucifixion, the insults, the humiliation of being counted among wrongdoers, and reached its pinnacle with the symbolic darkening of the sun.

“... forsitan autem et videns peccata hominum, pro quibus patiebatur, dicebat: quare me dereliquisti, ut fierem »quasi qui colligit stipulam in messe, et sicut qui colligit racemos in vindemia, сum non sit botrio ad manducandum primitiva ?« et haec dico, »quia periit timoratus a terra, et qui corrigat inter homines non est«. unde non aestimes humano more salvatorem ista dixisse propter calamitatem, quae conprehenderat eum in cruce. si enim ita acceperis, non eris audiens magnam vocem in qua ista locutus est, nec digna voce divina requires. ergo »tenebrae quidem a sexta hora factae sunt super omnem terram usque ad nonam«; prius autem quam finiatur nona, clamavit dominus circa eam voce magna, dicens quae scripta sunt, quasi postulans ut oriatur sol terrae, solvens in ea tenebras trium horarum secundum quod tradidimus supra.”[38]

Origen writes that while considering it one has to envisage room for something worthy of divine utterance. One has to take into account that Christ not only bore our sins in his own body on the tree but also endured the repercussions of sin, including separation from God, which was profound desolation for him. Therefore, the cry is not just a circumlocution for death, neither is it a simple quotation from a psalm. Instead, it signifies a genuine moral experience, which, in this context, holds perhaps greater significance than metaphysical considerations.

In order to understand Origen's approach to the interpretation of the Bible and what he meant about the episode on the Cross, it makes sense to keep in mind his considerations in the book “On the First Principles”.

“But, as we had begun to observe, the way which seems to us the correct one for the understand­ing of the Scriptures, and for the investigation of their meaning, we consider to be of the following kind: for we are instructed by Scripture itself in re­gard to the ideas which we ought to form of it. In the Proverbs of Solomon we find some such rule as the following laid down, respecting the consideration of holy Scripture: And do, he says, de­scribe these things to yourself in a threefold manner, in counsel and knowledge, and that you may an­swer the words of truth to those who have proposed them to you. Each one, then, ought to describe in his own mind, in a threefold manner, the under­standing of the divine letters – that is, in order that all the more simple individuals may be edified, so to speak, by the very body of Scripture; for such we term that common and historical sense: while, if some have commenced to make considerable prog­ress, and are able to see something more (than that), they may be edified by the very soul of Scripture. Those, again, who are perfect, and who resemble those of whom the apostle says, We speak wisdom among them that are perfect, but not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, who will be brought to nought; but we speak the wisdom of God, hidden in a mystery, which God has decreed before the ages unto our glory; – all such as these may be edified by the spiritual law itself (which has a shadow of good things to come), as if by the Spirit. For as man is said to consist of body, and soul, and spirit, so also does sacred Scripture, which has been granted by the divine bounty for the salva­tion of man. <…>

By an admirable discipline of wisdom, too, the law of truth, even of the prophets, is implanted in the Scriptures of the law, each of which is woven by a divine art of wisdom, as a kind of covering and veil of spiritual truths; and this is what we have called the body of Scripture, so that also, in this way, what we have called the covering of the letter, woven by the art of wisdom, might be capable of edifying and profiting many, when others would derive no benefit. <…>

… as the chief object of the Holy Spirit is to preserve the coherence of the spiritual meaning, either in those things which ought to be done or which have been already performed, if He anywhere finds that those events which, according to the history, took place, can be adapted to a spiritual meaning, He composed a texture of both kinds in one style of narration, always concealing the hidden meaning more deeply; but where the historical narrative could not be made appropriate to the spiritual coherence of the occur­rences, He inserted sometimes certain things which either did not take place or could not take place; sometimes also what might happen, but what did not: and He does this at one time in a few words, which, taken in their bodily meaning, seem inca­pable of containing truth, and at another by the in­sertion of many. And this we find frequently to be the case in the legislative portions, where there are many things manifestly useful among the bodily precepts, but a very great number also in which no principle of utility is at all discernible, and some­times even things which are judged to be impossi­bilities. Now all this, as we have remarked, was done by the Holy Spirit in order that, seeing those events which lie on the surface can be neither true nor useful, we may be led to the investigation of that truth which is more deeply concealed, and to the ascertaining of a meaning worthy of God in those Scriptures which we believe to be inspired by Him. <…>

… with respect to holy Scripture, our opinion is that the whole of it has a spir­itual, but not the whole a bodily meaning, because the bodily meaning is in many places proved to be impossible. <…>

Let every one, then, who cares for truth, be little concerned about words and language, seeing that in every nation there prevails a different usage of speech; but let him rather direct his attention to the meaning conveyed by the words, than to the nature of the words that convey the meaning…”[39]

Just as in different schools of Buddhist philosophy absolute and relative truths represent the duality of emptiness (shunyata), and samsara is indistinguishable from nirvana in its absoluteness, so for Origen the words “truth” and “mystery” are interchangeable. He believed, as did many initiates before and after him, that mystery is the real, main reality, that it represents the truth in its own special and independent way. For those who do not seek to understand the truth (who “do not ask for the Gods or philosophers”), “God, intending to train human wisdom everywhere … made man to learn.”[40]

And what was Blavatsky's attitude to the question of truth and mystery? She acted with the understanding that her mission was entrusted by highly developed Teachers. She didn't have time to read a great many primary sources, and she was easily content with secondary ones. For Blavatsky, who was trying to piece together an ancient tradition of wisdom scattered across various sources, the academic approach was not very important, which led to many critical works that pointed out her obvious omissions and mistakes, while the main thing remained hidden by a veil of unwillingness to accept the first such grandiose experience of studying the single source of all the innermost knowledge on earth as an effective tool for establishing universal brotherhood[41]. On the same occasion, Blavatsky wrote in the introductory of “The Secret Doctrine”: “But to the public in general and the readers of the Secret Doctrine I may repeat what I have stated all along, and which I now clothe in the words of Montaigne Gentlemen, “I have here made only a nosegay of culled flowers, and have brought nothing of my own but the string that ties them”. Pull the "string" to pieces and cut it up in shreds, if you will. As for the nosegay of facts – you will never be able to make away with these. You can only ignore them, and no more.”[42]

Blavatsky with her life, full of hard work and misunderstandings by those around her about the essence of the level she reached, was going to the realization of absolute Truth in her special way, worthy of study and admiration, trusting the promise of Christ: "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." Her path is unique, as is the path of the great ones, but everyone can take from the legacy of Blavatsky that valuable thing that their skills, knowledge and aspirations allow them to discover, and move forward on their own path towards Truth.

E. Turley

[1] Blavatsky H.P. What is Truth? Lucifer, 1888, vol. I, № 6, pp. 425–433

[2] Skinner J.R. Key to the Hebrew-Egyptian mystery in the source of measures originating the British inch and the ancient cubit. Philadelphia: David McKay Company, 1876, pp. 300-301

[3] Blavatsky H.P. The Crucifixion of Man. Lucifer, vol. II, 888, № 9, pp. 243–250

[4] Blavatsky H.P. Facts Underlying Adept Biographies / Blavatsky Collected Writings, Vol. 14. Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House; Wheaton, Ill.: Theosophical Publishing House, 1985. P. 137–162

[5] Santucci J. Editor’s comments // Theosophical History, 2016, Vol. XVIII, No. 1–2

[6] H.P. Blavatsky to J. Ralston Skinner on March 3rd, 1887

[7] Blass F., Debrunner A., Funk R.W. A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. Chicago: The University Of Chicago Press, 1961, p. 20

[8] Loesov S. Aramaic as the mother tongue of Jesus of Nazareth [in Russ.] // Troitsky variant, 2020, No. 314, pp. 14–15

[9] https://cal.huc.edu/oneentry.php?lemma=%24bq%20V&cits=all

[10] Williams P.J. The Linguistic Background to Jesus' Dereliction Cry (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34) / The New Testament in its first century setting. Williams P.J.; ed. Grand Rapids, Mich., Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004. Pp. 1–12.

[11] Emerton А. Did Jesus speak Hebrew? // The Journal of Theological Studies New Series, 1961, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 189–202

[12] Klein E. עזב / A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary Of The Hebrew Language. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1987, p. 486

[13] שבק / Ibid, p. 637

[14] Lambden S. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" or "My God, my God, how thou hast glorified me!"? // Bahai Studies Bulletin, 1982, Vol.1, No. 1, pp. 27–42

[15] Scheifler J.R. El Salmo 22 y la Crucifixion del Señor // Estudios Biblicos, 1965, vol. 24, pp. 5-83

[16] Guillaume A. Mt. XXVIII, 46 In the Light of the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah // Palestine Exploration Quarterly, 1951, no. 1, 78–80

[17] Palmer D.R. The Gospel of Matthew part of The Holy Bible: A new translation from the Greek. October 2023 edition

[18] Berel D.L. Untangling σαβαχθανι (Matt 27:46 and Mark 15:34) // Novum Testamentum, 2014, № 56 (2), pp. 196–197

[19] Сohn-Sherbok D. Jesus' Cry on the Cross: an Alternative View // Expository Times, 1982, No. 93/7, pp. 215–217

[20] Lambden

[21] Backwell R. The Christianity of Jesus. Portlaw, Ireland: Volturna Press, 1972

[22] Lambden

[23] In Classical Hebrew the derived stem (binyan) Pa''el corresponds to Pi''el, and it can be juxtaposed with the simple (qal in Hebrew) derived stem:

“1. Qal (Kal), the most common and basic of all the forms. It denotes simple action or a state of being. There is no causation or specification implied. <…>

3. Piel, this form is active and expresses the bringing about of an action into a state of being. The basic meaning of the Qal stem is developed or extended into a state of being” (Utley A. “You Can Understand the Bible”. Seminar Textbook. Revised. Marshall, TX: Bible Lessons International, 2023. P. 165)

[24] Breuer Y. Rabba and Rava, ʾAbba and ʾAva: spelling, pronunciation and meaning / Heijmans S. Ed., Studies in Rabbinic Hebrew. Cambridge: Open Book Publishers, University of Cambridge, 2020, p. 5–24

[25] Buck Ch. Letter to the Editor: A Note by Christopher Buck on Jesus’ Cry from the Cross // Bahai Studies Bulletin, 1983, Vol. 1, no. 4, pp. 111–113

[26] Groom S. Linguistic Analysis of Biblical Hebrew. Carlisle, UK: Paternoster Press, 2003. P. 128

[27] Lifshits A. Paronomasia in the Old Testament. PhD thesis. Moscow, 2006

[28] Caruso S. Potential Jesus Saying Pun. 2012

[29] Quot. by Evans E. Tertullian's Treatise against Praxeas. London: S.P.C.K., 1948. P. 329

[30] Ibid, p. 328

[31] Teachings of the Temple. Vol. 1. The Glory of the Lord. Lesson 71

[32] Teachings of the Temple. Vol. 2. Easter Day

[33] Leaves of Morya’s Garden. Book Two, §165

[34] Letter from H. Roerich to S. and D. Fosdick on November 13, 1948

[35] Surah an-Nisa 157–158 by M. Pickthall

[36] LaDue F. Mistranslation and Misinterpretation. The Temple Artisan, 1916–1917, Vol. XVII, pp. 166–167

[37] Jeremias J. New Testament Theology. NY: Scribner, 1971. P. 27

[38] Origenes Werke. Bd. 11: Origenes Matthäuserklärung. Leipzig J.C. Hinrichs’sche Buchhandlung, 1933, s. 278–280

[39] Origen. On the First Principles. Book IV

[40] Origen. Contra Celsum. Book 4, chapter 76

[41] Turley E. On False and True Quests for Truth. 2022

[42] Blavatsky H.P. The Secret Doctrine. Vol. I. Introductory