Gnosis Knows No Babel – Part 4

Speaking about primordial language - an esoteric approach

Gnosis Knows No Babel – Part 4

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Speculations about the identity of the primordial language have been made over the ages [1].

Even during the budding of the new Dutch language, the philologist and physician Johannes Goropius Becanus (1519-1572) also made a connection with the lost primordial language.  He tried to show by inventive reasoning that NewDutch was the most ancient language in the world, because it was the language of Adam and Eve in the earthly paradise. Becanus thought specifically of the language that was spoken at that time in the area around Antwerp and he didn’t hesitate to also place the earthly paradise there!  It will not be a surprise that this theory didn’t survive for long.

The Bulgarian wisdom teacher Peter Deunov (1864-1944) also referred to a primordial language, Vatan, a precursor to Sanskrit.  He derived his mystery name Beinsa Douno (meaning: bringer of the good through the word) from Vatan, whose original meaning is ‘Fatherland’.  Near the end of his life he repeatedly pointed to the return of the Golden Age – wherein Vatan was spoken – on this earth.

The old world order will be exchanged for a new one. 

Love shall reign on earth.

But Beinsa Douno doesn’t reveal much about Vatan as the primordial language.

We find more clues for the oldest language in the world in the Secret Doctrine, the science of ‘the hidden side of things’ by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (HPB, 1831-1891).  Herein she explains that this creation is on a path of evolution and that at one time it was in perfect spiritual-divine consciousness, one with what she calls God or Brahman.  She also explained that it will be thus again, once it has experienced all seven phases of the present evolutionary phase. During one of these seven stages – probably during the fourth one – the secret, holy language or rather the mystery language of the adepts came into being in the entire world:  Senzar [2].

Regarding Senzar, HPB states  that there was a period in which the whole world was

of one lip and one knowledge

and that

in the youth of humanity there existed one language, one knowing, one universal religion.

She regularly speaks of the ‘one priestly language’ or ‘the language of the hierophants’.  This mystery language is supposedly still preserved in some brotherhoods.  As a matter of fact, our only knowledge about it comes from Mrs. Blavatsky.

Senzar has its own alphabet but it can be written in different ways in codes that resemble ideographs, e.g. characters that symbolize an idea, like Chinese characters or the Egyptian hieroglyphs.  Numbers and colours are also used. Real letters do not seem to be present yet.  When she explains the birth of the cosmos she posits that the mystery language is also geometric in nature and she point to an ancient map full of lines, concentric circles and points.

She also connects Senzar with the pictograms of the American Native peoples.

Only just a few years ago the Native tribes of America begged the President of the United States to grant them possession of four small lakes, and the petition was written on the minuscule surface of a piece of cloth that was covered with barely a dozen images of animals and birds…  The American Natives have a number of such writings, but no scientist knows anything about them anymore.

(This quote is from Mrs. Blavatsky, written at the end of the nineteenth century, dvn)

It is said that a document in Senzar forms the Seven Stanza’s of Dzyan, a manuscript of palm leaves with luxuriant symbolism.  These ideographs should form a kind of ‘hieroglyphic code’ for Senzar.  We might compare it to the famous Rosetta stone with which the Egyptian hieroglyphic calligraphy was deciphered.

The symbols that HPB describes from the palm leaves manuscript are exactly the same as the symbols we find in Polynesia and in the caves of the Pyrenees; at the oldest inscribed petroglyphs in Africa and in present dream symbolism.  They must therefore be extremely universal.

One symbol attracts the special attention of Mrs. Blavatsky:  the wonderful Kumbum tree.  It is the tree in whose branches the universe is growing, the tree that produces as fruits the letters of the alphabet.  It can be compared to the well-known Yggdrasil from the nordic cosmology and the cabbalistic tree of life, in whose branches the letters of the Hebrew alphabet appear and who should contain in embryonic form the entire Torah.

That this Kumbum-tree would grow in Tibet and that it would bear the holy symbols of Senzar on its leaves and bark, is entirely in accordance with a view of Senzar as the language of the primordial symbolism of humanity.


Addendum: Two

Language is often wiser than the great masses, however even wiser than the wisest among the speakers of the language. Sometimes truths are hidden within it that used to be known to many, but now have been forgotten, writes Aldous Huxley. To illustrate this he refers to the fifteenth-century Indian mystical philosopher and poet Kabir:

View in all things the One, it is the second one that leads you astray.  [3]

Compare here the Gospel of Thomas, logion 22:

When you make the two one and make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside and the above like the below, and that you might make the male and the female be one and the same, so that the male might not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye and a hand in place of a hand and a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image – then you will enter the kingdom. [4]

It is noticeable that in the Indo-European languages the root of the word that means ‘two’ carries negative associations.  The Greek prefix dys (e.g. in dyslexia) and the Latin dis (e.g. in disharmony) are both derived from duo.  The related bis gives a negative meaning to modern French words like bévue (blunder, literally two-face).  Traces of this ‘second one that leads you astray’ (Kabir) can be found in the English words dubious and doubt, the German ‘Zweifel’ and the Dutch ‘twijfel’ (both meaning: doubt), after all doubting means that we are having an internal duel.  In modern American a cheat is called a two-timer.

The unique thinker Karl von Eckartshausen (1752-1803) views two however as extremely positive and necessary [5].  The harmony that has the highest perfection can according to him only be established through the second one in all natures:  the divine, spiritual and the physical nature.  In divine nature this pronounced second one is the divine word, Jesus Christ (wisdom and love).  In the spiritual nature this second one is formed by reason and will or rather through intellect and heart.  And last but not least in the physical nature there exists the duality (duo) through which everything is processed out of light and warmth, according to Karl von Eckartshausen.



[1] Nico de Glas, Van Adam tot Antwerpen – Een bloemlezing uit de Origines Antwerpianae en de Opera van Johannes Goropius Becanus (From Adam to Antwerp – An anthology from the Origines Antwerpianae and the Opera by Johannes Goropius Becanus) ,(Hilversum 2014)

S. Kroonenberg, De binnenplaats van Babel – Het raadsel van de spraakverwarring (The Courtyard of Babel – The Mystery of the Confusion of Tongues), (Amsterdam 2014)

[2] John Algeo, Senzar: The Mystery of the Mystery Language, London Theosophical History Centre 1988

Ali Ritsema, Beyond Language, The Theosophist, november 2008, p. 70-77, Vol130No02 Nov2008.pdf (

[3] Aldous Huxley, Eeuwige Wijsheid (The Perennial Philosophy) (Utrecht 2004); Kabir is cited from Huxley

[4] Logion 22 is from the LAYTON translation

[5] Karl von Eckartshausen, De Mysteriën der Ware Religie (The Mysteries of True Religion), p.151,  (Haarlem 1983)

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Date: February 9, 2021
Author: Dick van Niekerk (Netherlands)
Photo: Photo Jan Zatloukal via Pixabay

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