Looking down from the watchtower of their hidden glory, the Nine Unknowns watched civilisation being born, destroyed and born again, tolerant rather than indifferent – and ready to come to the rescue – but always observing that rule of silence which is the mark of human greatness.
– Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier1
We live in the most exciting time in the history of humankind. Technology is developing in leaps and bounds, not only in the form of computers and mass communication, but also toward helping us understand the secrets of the human brain.
In the West, our traditions, institutions and power structures are challenged and crumbling. The rest of the world is also undergoing transformation in all these areas.
Has something brought us to this point? Could a group of enlightened people have guided humanity since time immemorial?
This idea has drifted through history for eons, and manifested in different forms. A prime example is the legend of the Nine Unknown Men, the keepers of sacred and celestial knowledge, sharing out as much in whimsy, as they are with will.
The best-known story about the origins of the Nine Unknown Men comes from India. The group’s formation is connected to the Indian Emperor Ashoka the Great, who reigned from 304 BCE–232 BCE.
Ashoka the Great, Emperor of India’s Maurya Dynasty, sought to propel his grandfather’s dreams of unification across the continent. Being the grandson of Chandragupta, the first known ‘Emperor’ of India, may well have left Ashoka with large shoes to fill, but fill them he did, and the lines he drew on the map of India are largely in place to this day. At the height of Maurya power, the borders of India stretched from Afghanistan to Pakistan, Iran to Bangladesh.
However, like most of human history, big changes are achieved with high costs, and the final war of Ashoka’s push for unity left the biggest impact on the fabled emperor.
Kalinga (modern day Orissa) is a region on the east coast of India, and was one of the last strongholds against Maurya power. The people of Kalinga had successfully repelled Ashoka’s father, but this fact did little to help them withstand the might of Ashoka’s army.
A huge battle lead to the death of 100,000 Kalinga, men, women and children, as well as 10,000 of Ashoka’s forces. The Daya River ran red with blood. Upon seeing this massive wave of death and destruction committed in his name, Ashoka vowed to take the path of non-violence and embraced Buddhism. Ashoka also vowed to place specific knowledge in the hands of a council of nine men who would not only guard but also dispense the knowledge at appropriate times along the course of human history.
Many interpretations and adaptations have been added to the legend of the Nine Unknown Men. One theory has the legend extending back to Atlantis, where the Nine supposedly ruled with their higher knowledge and consciousness.
Nine Sacred Books
For the sake of this article, let us stick to the Ashoka version, which also tells of the nine books of knowledge, each entrusted to individual members of the council.
The nine books contain knowledge deemed too powerful to be unleashed on the human psyche, except for when the time is right. The Nine literally teach humanity, seeding the information and watching it grow as the human species moves along its evolutionary road.
The secrets of psychology, sociology, physiology, microbiology and biotechnology, alchemy, communication on all levels, the cosmology of the universe, as well as mastery of gravity and light, are espoused on the pages of the nine sacred books.
Ancient, yet new developments, in all nine aspects covered by the books are drip-fed to the species over the course of time, leading to its eventual enlightenment and departure from this planet. So called ‘leaks’ of information are claimed to have occurred at various points along human history. In these cases, humans attained too much knowledge, too much power, way too soon.
The martial arts ‘Touch of Death’ technique, in which a practitioner can kill a human with one touch, is said to have been leaked from the sacred book centring on physiology. While still unknown to the vast majority of people, this lethal technique that stops energy and blood flow supposedly exists.
One can look upon the Touch of Death from two points of view, the first being purely scientific. It is possible to interfere with the timing of a person’s beating heart, such as striking it hard enough or applying a heart massage technique such as CPR to someone whose heart is beating. Both of these techniques can interrupt the heart’s natural rhythm, sending it into cardiac arrest that can lead to death.
The second is the mysterious Chinese martial arts practice known as Dim Mak. The system of Dim Mak relies on pressure points and chi energy centres, which ones to attack and in what order to be most effective. By successfully shutting down a chi passage in the human body, the build up of chi is said to stagnate which supposedly leads to death.
However, this is notoriously hard to verify, as practitioners of Dim Mak are nigh on possible to come by, let alone contact and learn from, apart from the occasional one that popped up in the 70’s and 80’s to demonstrate the Touch of Death, and almost immediately debunked as frauds.
While it is easy to postulate on examples of information that may have ‘leaked’ from these books, it is important to remember that no one on this planet, maybe not even on this plane of existence, knows the plan of the Nine Unknown Men, except the Nine Unknown Men themselves. Leaks can be perceived as no more than the Nine’s plan unfolding perfectly, even if humanity clearly suffers.
The Nine and Hitler
This group of Ashoka’s nine esoteric ones still continues because there are many conditions which help it continue. One is, it never comes directly in contact with the masses itself. It has still other groups in between. It always remains unknown, hidden, you can never know its whereabouts. And any person who is initiated in the group, the very moment he is initiated he disappears from your world – completely disappears.
– Osho (1931–1990)
The Indian mystic and spiritual teacher Osho (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh) claimed that the Nine orchestrated the rise and fall of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. Perhaps they exposed Hitler to esoteric ideas and devices of power.
“Hitler was just a vehicle for other forces… He was just a means, he was used. Someone else was behind him, some other forces were working,” explains Osho in I Am The Gate.
Witnesses claim to have seen Hitler almost possessed at the height of his powers. He was able to make vast audiences eat from the palm of his hand, and make implausible yet brilliant military manoeuvres while his generals scoffed at the ideas.
But then the power driving Hitler started failing. Again, witnesses say he became a different man. His armies in retreat, battles being lost on all fronts, while Hitler shrank, sweated, mumbled and shuffled towards his doom.
In his 1925 work Mein Kampf, Hitler explained how he chose the swastika that was to become the infamous symbol of Nazism:
I myself, meanwhile, after innumerable attempts, had laid down a final form; a flag with a red background, a white disk, and a black swastika in the middle.
Significantly, the Nazis reversed this ancient and powerful symbol that is widely used throughout Asia. Osho says “…the swastika was chosen and used in reverse. It had never existed in this way before, but due to this, events took altogether a new shape.”2
Why the Nine Unknown Men, supposedly benevolent and desiring to take the best course of action to enlighten the human race, chose to send the species through one of its darkest periods, is a mystery. Perhaps it was just another in the long line of ‘Dark Nights of the Soul’ for humanity. Maybe these stages are necessary to speed up our development – wiping the slate clean so to speak – and bring about new conditions conducive to the hidden plans of the Nine.
Where are the Nine Unknown Men?
Legends abound as to where the Nine could reside or exist. Talk to David Icke and he will tell you they are deep underground, living in partnership with shape-shifting lizard people. Nicholas Roerich or G.I. Gurdjieff may have said they reside in the mythical kingdom of Shambhala, somewhere in Central Asia.
The idea of a hidden city, secret paradise or Invisible College has entranced humans for hundreds of years, and especially occult experts in the West, once the East truly opened up to exploration.
The Greek-Armenian mystic and spiritual teacher George Gurdjieff reported that he contacted secret masters while journeying through Central Asia. It is said he was given access to secret knowledge and then sent back to ‘civilisation’ with it. He never revealed the identity of these men, the school they may or may not have belonged to, and of course, he did not disclose their secret location. Many people postulate that Gurdjieff visited the kingdom of Shambhala, hidden somewhere in Inner Asia.
The Russian painter, philosopher, and writer Nicholas Roerich also explored the area in the 1920s and 30s, making many expeditions to Central Asia, but primarily focusing on the Himalayas. Nicholas and his wife Helena acted as conduits for a ‘Wise Man of the East’, known as Mahatma Morya. El Morya, as he was called, directed the founding of the Agni Yoga Society and dictated the Agni Yoga book series through Helena.
El Morya gives hints in his work about Shambhala, and ended up becoming quite literal regarding the mythical paradise, even describing some of the trials one must go through to gain access to the hidden kingdom. Andrew Tomas writes:
At a certain spot not to be mentioned to outsiders, there is a chasm spanned by a frail bridge of woven grasses and with a raging torrent underneath. The bravest member of your Alpine clubs would scarcely dare to venture the passage, for it hangs like a spider’s web and seems to be rotten and impassable. Yet it is not: and he who dares the trial and succeeds – as he will if he is right that he should be permitted – comes into a gorge of surpassing beauty of scenery, to one of our places and to some of our people, of which and whom there is no note or minute among European geographers.3
Thus, access to Shambhala is gained by permission of the Nine, but more importantly, the worthy aspirant can only penetrate the veil.
The Christian idea of Heaven, we are lead to believe, is an actual place where our souls go if we have been ‘good’ in life. Clouds, harps, Angels, the Palace of God – this sounds very similar to the paradise known as Shambhala. A place of spiritual comfort and bliss, where time stops because time has no meaning to the enlightened.
One of the best descriptions on gaining access to Shambhala is found in Andrew Tomas’ book, Shambhala: Oasis of Light:
They have renounced all, yet they possess the world… The disciple’s heart is aflame with compassion for mankind. His mind is illuminated by an unseen light from cosmic depths. A cold mind, a warm heart and a fiery will – these are the passwords to Shambhala…4
The Number 9
The number 9 has a long history, so it should not come as much of a surprise that it still pops up in places where you least expect it. There are Nine Unknown Men, controlling sacred information, and letting it loose upon the world at appropriate times in order to facilitate the evolution of humankind.
Why 9? 9 is the number with the highest numerical value within the Base Ten numerical system we currently follow, therefore symbolising perfection and completeness. It is at an almost instinctual level and can affect us as such.
The number 9 is revered in Hinduism and considered a complete, perfected and divine number because it represents the end of a cycle in the decimal system, which originated from the Indian subcontinent as early as 3000 BCE.
In the Bahá’í Faith, a 9-pointed star is used to symbolise the religion. Nine is important in Islam also. The holiest month, that of Ramadan, is the ninth month on the Islamic calendar. The Qur’an was revealed to Mohammad in the ninth month of the year. In observance with Mohammad’s own fasting, fervent prayer and eventual contact with Allah, all Muslims are expected to do the same.
It is not only an important number in religion, but also in popular culture. John Lennon, arguably one of the most gifted songwriters of last century, incorporated the number into one of the Beatles more esoteric tracks, ‘Revolution 9’, on the immortal ‘White’ album, produced in 1968. The primary vocals throughout the song are the repeating phrase, ‘number nine’. Given that Lennon wrote this song after spiritual activities in India, using sounds like a mashed up remix of a radio being tuned, it is more than likely that he came to understand the significance of nine as the number of completion/perfection, incorporating it not only in this song, but also a solo recording he completed named ‘#9 Dream’.
Numbers do have vibrational power, they are ‘something’ that can be relied on in this world, they spell out certain secrets of reality and existence, but we must also be careful of the meanings we thrust upon them.
The Power of Conspiracy
People like to think they are not in control of their lives. Ask any one of the 1.9 billion Christians, or the 1.1 billion Muslims on this planet, whom they think is running everything, and they will say ‘God’ or ‘Allah’. Ask a banker who they think is in charge, and they may reply, ‘the market’; a politician might say that the prime minister or president is in charge, but really mean the banker.
Yes, people love to shift the blame around. We love to run from responsibility, just as much as we love to run senselessly into situations when these blame-centres are called to account.
Many conspiracy theories lead up to an ‘End of the World’ scenario. Western society was run on the idea of M.A.D (Mutually Assured Destruction) since the nuclear bombing of Japan in 1945 up until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Unlike almost every other doomsday, with M.A.D. we see how our world can end by our own hands. The power this held over populations was unlike anything ever experienced before, and its spectre still hangs over humanity to this day with the invention of new and more efficient weapons.
Have we grown numb to the idea? That it has not happened yet only adds to our confusion, explains Sufi-anarchist Hakim Bey in T.A.Z.: The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism:
What does it mean that we have invented a way to destroy all life on earth? Nothing much. We have dreamed this as an escape from the contemplation of our own individual deaths. We have made an emblem to serve as the mirror image of a discarded immorality. Like demented dictators we swoon at the thought of taking it all down with us into the Abyss.5
Seeing that finally we are more than capable of taking out not only our own species, but all life on the planet, has clearly done something to our collective psyche. For the last 70 years we have ridden this wave of reckless self-destruction, trying to get as much as we can before we die, or we all die. Running a race where the winners have not only already finished, but are making bets on who else is going to make it over the finish line. Or scampering, hoping to get clear of the blast zone. These ideas have driven Western society over the last century, but again, Bey helps us clear things up:
The A.O.A (Association for Ontological Anarchy), declares itself bored with the End of the World. The canonical version has been used since 1945 to keep us cowering in fear of Mutual Assured Destruction and in snivelling servitude to our superhero politicians… We suggest that the End of the World be declared a fiat accompli; the exact date is unimportant. The ranters in 1650 knew that the millennium comes now into each soul that wakes to itself, to its own certainty and divinity. ‘Rejoice, fellow creature’, was their greeting. ‘All is ours!’6
Something new must be born. Not new in the sense that is just a copy of an old idea, clad in a new guise of ‘hope-it-works-this-time’. Beware those espousing the importance of freedom. Beware of the groups saying they have the answers, and that you must believe them.
The youth of today, like all youth, are in revolt against society, and that is a good thing in itself, but revolt is a reaction and that reaction sets up its own pattern and you get caught in that pattern. You think it is something new. It is not; it is the old in a different mold. Any social or political revolt will inevitably revert to the good old bourgeois mentality.7
In the early years of the 20th century, Jiddu Krishnamurti was groomed for messianic purposes by the Theosophical Society. Brought up within the Society, he was to usher in a new religion to a world lost on the faded ideals of bygone traditions. In a surprise turn of events, he turned his back on his master’s plans and followed his own path, which perhaps is the simplest way to find the new.
So, dear reader, do not spend too much time thinking about the Nine Unknown Men, who they are, where they could be, and what they may or may not be doing to make your life better or worse. Simply step back, take stock, some deep breaths, and know that life is truly what you make it.
Victoria LePage, author of the highly regarded book Shambhala: The Fascinating Truth Behind the Myth of Shangri-La, concludes:
So who are the Nine, really? A dense veil falls over these mysterious Beings the more we seek to penetrate it. Many of the current myths about them can be discounted. The truth is that we know almost nothing about these shadowy Guides of humanity. They remain a mystery, an X factor in the story of human evolution, an elusive presence that Sufis call the Hidden Directorate, but about whose hierarchy – or even existence – we can only speculate.8