THE ROSICRUCIAN SOCIETY
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The Kabbalah – “The Soul of the Soul of the Law”
No one can really say what Kabbalah is, who invented it or how it originated. Many scholars describe it as “the secret doctrine of Israel” because of its close relation to the Hebrew or Jewish faith. However, to equate Kabbalah with Judaism, or even with the mystical core of Judaism, would be a gross misstatement. In Kabbalism, religion, race, culture, societal standing, gender and other distinctions have no bearing. Rich or poor, Jewish or non-Jewish, male or female, young or old, anyone who wishes to learn the secrets of existence and evolve spiritually – and is willing to pay the price through dedicated study and practice – can be a Kabbalist.
The Mystical Kabbalah
The Kabbalah explains the mechanics of creation, the architecture of the universe, the nature of beings seen and unseen (including angels), and the philosophical meaning of life and existence. This system of knowledge is considered by some scholars as the essence of the Hebrew faith. However, the roots of the Kabbalah predate Judaism, extending all the way back into the obscure beginnings of humanity. Advanced mystics agree that the Kabbalah is perhaps the highest and most erudite of all the ancient sciences.
Kabbalah is a body of knowledge that answers such questions as: Who am I? What is the universe? How was it created? How is it structured and what beings occupy it? What is my place in the divine scheme of things? What does it mean to be truly human? Who is God? How can man manifest divine qualities?
The answers to such weighty questions may be discovered through intellectual means. However, in Kabbalism, greater emphasis is placed on meditation and other techniques that lead to a spiritual knowing, seeing and experiencing of Truth. In this manner, the Kabbalist is not merely a reader of books or a receiver of ideas – nay, he is not even merely a thinker – but a direct perceiver of Truth Eternal.
If a person is not inclined to find the answers to the great questions of life, Kabbalah can still be of considerable use and benefit to him. The techniques of Kabbalah will teach him how to awaken his inner powers: powers that include clairvoyance (the “third eye”), prophecy, and psychic sensitivity or ESP. Kabbalistic techniques also awaken or strengthen compassion, empathy and moral virtues. On a more down-to-earth level, they promote good health, enhance creativity and mental alertness, stir up one’s zest for living, increase personal magnetism or charisma, enable the manifestation of one’s dreams and desire, and bring peace and greater meaning to life.
Given these benefits, many Kabbalists become men of power, wealth, success and brilliant achievement. As proof, below are a few of the world's most famous Rosicrucian Kabbalists:
The Arabic scholar, Jabir, founder of Algebra (721-776)
Charlemagne, king of the Franks (742-814)
Albertus Magnus, German scholar
Thomas Aquinas, Italian theologian(1225-1274)
Dante Alighieri, writer of the Divine Comedy (1265-1321)
Nicholas Flamel, French scientist (1330-1418)
Paracelsus, Swiss alchemist and physician (1493-1541)
Robert Boyle, British physicist and chemist (1627-1691)
Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677)
Thomas Jefferson, US president (1743-1826)
Louis Claude de Saint-Martin, French mystic and philosopher (1743-1803)
Michael Faraday, English chemist and physicist (1791-1867)
Honore de Balzac, French mystic and writer (1799- 1850)
Sir Isaac Newton, English Physicist
Claude Debussy, French composer (1862-1918)
Albert Einstein, author of the Relativity Theory
Origins of Kabbalah
There are various theories about the origin of Kabbalah. One popular theory associates Kabbalah with the prophet Moses. According to this theory, Moses climbed the sacred mountain three times. At each time, he stayed there for forty days, communing with the Lord and receiving His instructions for humanity. In the first forty days, Moses received the Law, which all the people of Israel later came to know about. In the next forty days, he received the Soul of the Law (called the Mishna), which was later revealed only to the holy priests and teachers. Finally, in his last forty days in the holy mountain, he received the Soul of the Soul of the Law, and this was the Kabbalah in its pristine form. Only the most advanced and most worthy initiates were taught the secret principles of this sublime body of wisdom.
As students of esotericism know, Moses was an initiate of the Egyptian mysteries. After completing years of instruction in an Egyptian mystery school, he in fact became its venerable high priest. Afterwards, Moses returned to his native land to propagate the high wisdom he learned from the Egyptians. Not surprisingly therefore, the Kabbalistic teachings which Moses transmitted contained elements of Egyptian philosophy, theology, magic and other Egyptian arts such as astronomy, healing and mathematics. Indeed, comparisons between Kabbalist thought and ancient Egyptian wisdom reveal close parallels between the two. All these give credence to the theory that Kabbalah originated from the ancient Egyptian mystery schools, thousands of years before the coming of Christ.
Another version has it that Kabbalah came into existence on the very creation of the universe. The earliest Kabbalists subscribed to this view. They believed that God first revealed the principles of Kabbalah to a group of His angels. After the fall of man, the angels taught Adam the Kabbalah in the hope that with its wisdom, man might rise and reclaim his lost status. It was the Angel Raziel who initiated Adam into the mysteries of Kabbalah. In the succeeding generations, the Angel Raphael taught the same to Isaac, the Angel Metatron to Moses, and the Angel Michael to David.
Teachings of Kabbalah
Kabbalah is, and has always been, a living tradition. While its core teachings remain unchanged, its practice has been enriched with the wisdom and experience of generations after generations of Kabbalists.
Two of the most important writings of Kabbalah are the Sepher Yetzirah (The Book of Formation), and Sepher ha Zohar (The Book of Splendor). The Book of Formation is the oldest Kabbalist treatise, whose original source, some scholars say, is the prophet Abraham. It mainly discusses creation. In so doing, it also reveals the mystical symbolism of the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Meanwhile, the Book of Splendor discourses on the Creator, angels, souls and cosmogony.
The study of Kabbalah is divided into three main areas. The first is called Dogmatic or Theoretical Kabbalah. It is concerned with the scholarly analysis of the principles revealed in the Zohar, the Sepher Yetzirah and other manuscripts. It studies creation, the architecture of the universe, angels and other spiritual beings, pre-existence and reincarnation, the Tree of Life, and philosophical questions on life, humanity and divinity.
Another area, called Practical Kabbalah, delves into the domains of white magic. It teaches techniques that can evoke supernatural powers using magical rituals, amulets, divine names, mantras and incantations. It also teaches the connection between letters and numbers and the modes of their interrelation.
A third area is called Meditative Kabbalah and this is a middle ground between Dogmatic and Practical Kabbalah. It encourages intellectual study, but relies more on meditative techniques for direct insight into divine wisdom as well as for the development of the practitioner’s physical, mental, psychic and spiritual constitution.
In Kabbalist study, a central them is the Tree of Life comprised of the Ten Sephiroth. It is used to explain how the universe was created; moreover, it is a key to understanding the architecture of the universe as well as the structure of the first or Heavenly Man, Adam Kadmon. The Tree of the Sephiroth represents both the vast universe around us (the macrocosm) and man (microcosm).