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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Popol Vuh

The sacred book of the Quiché Indians, a branch of the Mayan people, who lived in what is now Guatemala. It contains the cosmology, mythology, traditions and history of the Quiché people. The only remaining manuscript of the book is a copy made in Latin script but in Quiché language, by a Dominican priest, Fr. Francisco Ximenez, at the end of the 17th century, and was translated and published by Brasseur de Bourbourg in 1861. The copy made by Fr. Ximenez is now in the Newberry Library, Chicago.

Popol Vuh means the “Book of the People [or Community].” It begins with the story of creation, and contains the story of two gods who were brothers and who were killed by another adversary. They were reborn later to triumph over their opponents. The book also lists the names of the Quiché kings up to the 16th century.

Helena P. BLAVATSKY as well as the MAHATMA LETTERS consider the Popol Vuh to be a work that contains the esoteric history of mankind, including the early ROOT RACES. HPB states that it parallels the creation accounts of Genesis and Kabbalah.

. . . is it not barely possible that these “four ancestors” of the Quiché race typify in their esoteric sense the four successive progenitors of men, mentioned in Genesis i., ii., and vi.? In the first chapter, the first man is bi-sexual — “male and female created he them” — and answers to the hermaphrodite deities of the subsequent mythologies; the second, Adam, made out of “the dust of the ground” and uni-sexual and answering to the “sons of God” of chapter vi.; the third, the giants, or nephilim, who are only hinted at in the Bible, but fully explained elsewhere; the fourth, the parents of men “whose daughters were fair” (IU I:559).

She further states that

. . . in the fragments left of the original Popol-Vuh, there is sufficient evidence that the religious customs of the Mexicans, Peruvians, and other American races are nearly identical with those of the ancient Phœnicians, Babylonians, and Egyptians (IU I:551).

For more information, see MAYAN RELIGION.

V.H.C.

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