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Synopsis

Occult Science in India
By Louis Jacolliot

This book was written in the 1860s, when reliable information about Hinduism was just starting to filter back to the west. Jacolliot was searching for the roots of western esoteric traditions in the far East. The high point of this book is the travelogue of his encounters in India with a fakir, who demonstrates his siddis (yogic powers) exuberantly. There is also an extensive discourse on Kabbalah, and its relationship to Eastern mystical beliefs. Jacolliot was a diffusionist, and he believed that many western esoteric traditions, specifically Egyptian, Jewish and Christian, had their origin in India.

Jacolliot, the author (1837-1890) was a French lawyer who worked as a judge in India and Tahiti. He subsequently became a prolific author. Although he apparently had enough familiarity with Sanskrit to do some desultory translations of the Laws of Manu, Jacolliot was not an academic. He quotes extensively here from a text called the "Agrouchada-Parikchai," which appears to be a pastiche of the Upanishads, Hindu law books, and a bit of Freemasonry. This text does not seem to exist except in Jacolliot's imagination. Jacolliot also believed in a lost Pacific continent, and was quoted by Helena Blavatsky in Isis Unveiled in support of Lemuria.

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