Theos-World FW: "Thin oblong squares" & THE VOICE
May 02, 2000 05:34 PM
by Peter Merriott
This is the follow up post to my message to Leon, and refered to earlier by
Daniel. It was posted originally by me to bn-study.
From: Peter Merriott
Sent: 11 April 2000 22:01
Subject: "Thin oblong squares" & THE VOICE
One of the things I first noticed, many years ago now, when looking at the
first page of the PROEM in the SECRET DOCTINE was the following. The first
few lines read:
"AN Archaic Manuscript - a collection of palm leaves made imperme-
able to water, fire, and air, by some specific unknown process - is before
the writer's eye....."
One couldn't help but notice that 3 lines down, 3 words in, and made up 3
letters, was the word "eye". It immediately evoked in me the idea that "the
writer's eye" referred to in the text was the "Third Eye". I hadn't
realised at the time that this was indeed how HPB wrote much of the SD (and
her other works). How curious, I wondered, that this process should be
reflected in the very layout of the words on the page.
But of course the faculty of clairvoyance that HPB used was not simply that
of seeing at a distance, but the faculty of INTUITION, for she was also an
'Initiate' of at least some standing albeit not ranking as 'high' as the
Masters M and KH. Further on in the SD we read:
"Alone the Initiate, rich with the lore acquired by numberless generations
of his predecessors, directs the "Eye of Dangma" toward the essence of
things in which no Maya can have any influence." (page 45)
Maybe its just coincidence(?) but page 45 = 4 + 5 = 9 (which may reflect
the 3+3+3 above, or even 3x3x3 = 27 = 9)
(As I write this now I am reminded of the statement made by the Master KH
that the SECRET DOCTRINE is a TRIPLE production of Himself, the Master M and
The three 3s and the 9 are interesting in that when we turn to THE VOICE OF
THE SILENCE - on page ix of the Preface ('ix' is another 9) - we find HPB
writing that the Book of Golden Precepts:
"...contains about ninety distinct little treatises. Of these I learnt
thirty-nine by heart..."
(again we see the 3 and 9 repeated,)
But what are the Golden Precepts referred to in the VOICE OF THE SILENCE and
where are they found? What does it mean to learn them "by heart"? HPB
"The original PRECEPTS are engraved on thin oblong squares"
(Original edition, page vii, caps added where italics put in original)
Unfortunately, in my view, the wording of this has been altered in the ULT
edition wherein the word "squares" has been removed thus rendering the
"The original Precepts are engraved on thin oblongs.." (ULT edition)
In the Collected Writings of HPB we find an article by her wherein we
discover that she has used the term OBLONG SQUARES before. So it is
somewhat puzzling why this phrase should have been altered (presumably
corrected?) in the ULT edition. Here is the other passage below:
".. the same reverence is paid in Christian and Masonic architecture to the
Orient (or the Eastern point) as in the days of Paganism. Ragon described
it fully in his destroyed volumes. The PRINCEPS PORTA, the door of the
World, and of the 'King of Glory,' by whom was meant at first the Sun and
now his human symbol, the Christ, is the door of the Orient, and faces the
East in every church and temple. It is through this 'door of life' - the
solemn pathway through which the daily entrance of the luminary into the
OBLONG SQUARE** of the earth or the Tabernacle of the Sun is effected every
morning - that the 'newly born' babe is ushered, and carried to the
baptismal font; and it is to the left of this edifice (the gloomy north
whither start the 'apprentices' and where the candidates got their TRIAL BY
WATER) that now the fonts, and in the days of old the well (PISCINA) of
lustral waters, were placed in the ancient churches, which had been pagan
(from CW XI: page 78. Words in caps were italicised in original article)
The words OBLONG SQUARE are italicised in the above article which suggests
HPB wished to draw our attention to its special significance. The footnote
to the text suggests that while there may be a literal significance to this
term it also has a much deeper meaning. In reference to, "OBLONG SQUARE",
HPB writes in the footnote:
"**A Masonic term; a symbol of the Arc of Noah, and of the Covenant, of the
Temples of Solomon, the Tabernacle, and the Camp of the Israelites, all
built as 'oblong squares'. Mercury and Apollo were repreesented by oblong
cubes and squares, and so is Kaaba, the great temple at Mecca."
(CW XI: 78, fn)
So there are also "oblong cubes" used in the symbolism as well as "oblong
squares". Clearly then, this is no mistake, no idle phrase or term that HPB
is using in the VOICE. So again, one might ask why change it in the VOICE
OF THE SILENCE, why remove the word "squares" to leave the phrase "thin
oblongs"? For to do so is to delete something very important in the text,
or so it seems to me.
In her throw away line HPB points out this is about Initiation (see
reference to CANDIDATE, 'APPRENTICES' in brackets in the passage above).
Thus we might suppose that the "newly born" is/was the 'apprentice' for
Initiation who started out at the gloomy north and is now ready to be
ushered in through the "door of life" into the next '...', or grade. At the
literal level in the church ritual the new babe has a godparent who assists
with the annointment and agrees to watch over and take responsibility for
the spiritual welfare of the child. This is the first initiation 'by
water'. The second, 'Confirmation' is through 'the holy ghost' (FIRE) and
will come later - normally seven years. The symbology is suggestive.
We might also reflect on the number 9 (three 3s) from our earlier passages.
The relationship of 9 (months) to the period of gestation followed by 'new
birth' is obvious at the physical level. Yet we should remember the
Initiate is also referred to as the 'twice born', there may will be
analogies here for the serious student to explore.
But who is the "godparent" of the "newly born", mentioned above, "who
assists with the annointment and agrees to watch over and take
responsibility for the spiritual welfare of the child"? Even at the
literal level of the church ritual it is not the physical parent of the
individual. It is the the 'god-parent'. Esoterically we might say it is
the spiritual parent, the 'GOD' parent, or more accurately speaking, the
GURU of the disciple, or chela.
And all of this takes place takes place in "the OBLONG SQUARE".
So where is the OBLONG SQUARE?
See now Bhavani Shankar's (a chela of Master KH) Doctrine of the Bhagavad
Gita where he refers to the disciple who:
"...at the proper times receives his first Initiation, It takes place, as
HPB says in the 'Voice of the Silence', neither in the physical body, which
she calls the hall of ignorance, nor in the astral body which is called by
her the hall of learning, but it is in the Karana-sharira, the hall of
wisdom, in his own Hridaya (heart), that the disciple sees Him for the first
time whose life and peace he was so long feeling in his heart. Therefore
does the VOICE OF THE SILENCE teach the aspirant: 'Seek for Him who is to
give thee birth in the hall of wisdom.'"
We might just pause and reflect on the last line for a moment and then look
back at the passage from the Collected Writings:
"It is through this 'door of life' - the solemn pathway through which the
daily entrance of the luminary into the OBLONG SQUARE** of the earth or the
Tabernacle of the Sun is effected every
morning - that the 'newly born' babe is ushered."
Do we perhaps get a sense that this term OBLONG SQUARE is an important one,
and should have remained untouched as HPB wrote it in her original VOICE OF
So again, one might ask, where do we find the "thin oblong squares" upon
which the original precepts in THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE are engraved? Is it
something to be discovered by a physical journey to a far off land, to a
temple room? Perhaps, if it is the "oblong square of the earth". But the
"oblong square.. of the Tabernacle of the Sun" appears to be that which lies
within the disciple's "own Hridaya (heart)" where s/he finds:
"... Him who is to give thee birth in the hall of wisdom.'"
Could this be something of what HPB meant when she said she had to learn the
PRECEPTS by heart?
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