The Nine Unknown Men According to occult lore, the Nine Unknown Men are a two millennia-old secret society founded by the Indian Emperor Asoka 273 BC. The legend of The Nine Unknown Men goes back to the time of the Emperor Asoka, who was the grandson of Chandragupta. Ambitious like his ancestor whose achievements he was anxious to complete, he conquered the region of Kalinga which lay between what is now Calcutta and Madras. The Kalingans resisted and lost 100,000 men in the battle. At the sight of this massacre Asoka was overcome and resolved to follow the path of non-violence. He converted to Buddhism after the massacre, the Emperor founded the society of the Nine to preserve and develop knowledge that would be dangerous to humanity if it fell into the wrong hands. It is said that the Emperor Asoka once aware of the horrors of war, wished to forbid men ever to put their intelligence to evil uses. During his reign natural science, past and present, was vowed to secrecy. Henceforward, and for the next 2,000 years, all researches, ranging from the structure of matter to the techniques employed in collective psychology, were to be hidden behind the mystical mask of a people commonly believed to be exclusively concerned with ecstasy and supernatural phenomena. Asoka founded the most powerful secret society on earth: that of the Nine Unknown Men. One can imagine the extraordinary importance of secret knowledge in the hands of nine men benefiting directly from experiments, studies and documents accumulated over a period of more than 2,000 years. What can have been the aim of these men? Not to allow methods of destruction to fall into the hands of unqualified persons and to pursue knowledge which would benefit mankind. Their numbers would be renewed by co-option, so as to preserve the secrecy of techniques handed down from ancient times. Each of the Nine is supposedly responsible for guarding and improving a single book. These books each deal with a different branch of potentially hazardous knowledge. Traditionally, the books are said to cover the following subjects: The Nine Books Propaganda and Psychological warfare is a concerted set of messages aimed at influencing the opinions or behavior of large numbers of people. Instead of impartially providing information, propaganda in its most basic sense presents information in order to influence its audience. It is the most dangerous of all sciences, as it is capable of moulding mass opinion. It would enable anyone to govern the whole world. Physiology is the study of the mechanical, physical, and biochemical functions of living organisms. The book of The Nine included instructions on how to perform the "touch of death (death being caused by a reversal of the nerve-impulse)." One account has Judo being a product of material leaked from this book. Microbiology, and, according to more recent speculation, Biotechnology. In some versions of the myth, the waters of the Ganges are purified with special microbes designed by the Nine and released into the river at a secret base in the Himalayas. Multitudes of pilgrims, suffering from the most appalling diseases, bathe in them without harming the healthy ones. The sacred waters purify everything. Their strange properties have been attributed to the fact that they contain bacteriophages. But why should these not be formed in the Bramaputra, the Amazon or the Seine? Alchemy, including the transmutation of metals. In India, there is a persistent rumor that during times of drought or other natural disasters temples and religious organizations receive large quantities of gold from an unknown source. The mystery is further deepened with the fact that the sheer quantity of gold throughout the country in temples and with kings cannot be properly accounted for, seeing that India has few gold mines. Communication, including communication with extraterrestrials. Gravitation. Book 6 The Vaiminaka sastra is said to contain the instructions necessary to build a Vimana, sometimes referred to as the "ancient UFOs of India." Cosmology, the capacity to travel at enormous speeds through spacetime fabric, and time-travel; including intra- and inter-universal trips. Light, the capacity to increase and decrease the speed of light, to use it as a weapon by concentrating it in a certain direction etc. Sociology, including rules concerning the evolution of societies and how to predict their downfall. Suspected Members Numerous figures who straddled the line between occultism and science fiction writing, most prominently (and apparently first) Louis Jacolliot, Talbot Mundy, and later Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier in their Morning of the Magicians, propagated the story of the Nine claiming that the society occasionally revealed itself to wise outsiders such as Pope Sylvester II who was said to have received, among other things, training in supernatural powers and a robotic talking head from the group. In more recent times, according to this circle, the Nine assisted humanity by revealing the secret of the Cholera vaccine. Among conspiracy theorists the Nine Unknown is often cited as one of the oldest and most powerful secret societies in the world. Unusually for the conspiracy subculture, the image of the group is largely though not entirely benign. Theosophists also believe the Nine to be a real organization that is working for the good of the world. Some modern Indian scientists such as Jagdish Chandra Bose, a pioneer in Radio and Microwave Optics and Vikram Sarabhai, the man behind the Indian space and missile defense programs, were said to believe in or even to be members of the Nine although documentation on this issue is predictably scant. Believers in the Nine also point to the mysterious Delhi iron pillar, which is said to have been constructed at a time before the technology. Indian scientists are occasionally rumored to be members of the Nine Unknown Men, and from time to time, if a Westerner should visit India and then do something astounding, he is considered to have had their help (as was the case with Pope Sylvester II, and also Alexandre Emile John Yersin, who knew Louis Pasteur and Pierre Paul Emile Roux, who respectively created vaccines for Rabbies and Dyphtheria). Pope Sylvester II There is an extraordinary case of one of the most mysterious figures in Western history: the Pope Sylvester II, known also by the name of Gerbert d'Aurillac. Born in the Auvergne in 920 (d. 1003) Gerbert was a Benedictine monk, professor at the University of Rheims, Archbishop of Ravenna and Pope by the grace of Ortho III. He is supposed to have spent some time in Spain, after which a mysterious voyage brought him to India where he is reputed to have aquired various kinds of skills which stupified his entourage. For example, he possessed in his palace a bronze head which answered YES or NO to questions put to it on politics or the general position of Christianity. According to Sylvester II this was a perfectly simple operation corresponding to a two-figure calculation, and was performed by an automaton similar to our modern binary machines. This "magic" head was destroyed when Sylvester died, and all the information it imparted carefully concealed. No doubt an authorized research worker would come across some interesting things in the Vatican Library. In the cybernetics journal, "Computers and Automation" of October 1954, the following comment appeared: "We must suppose that he (Sylvester) was possessed of extraordinary knowledge and the most remarkable mechanical skill and inventiveness. This speaking head must have been fashioned 'under a certain conjunction of stars occring at the exact moment when all the planets were starting on their courses.' Neither the past, nor the present nor the future entered into it, since this invention apparently far exceeded in its scope its rival, the perverse "mirror on the wall" of the Queen, the precursor of our modern electronic brain. Naturally it was widely asserted that Gerbert was only able to produce such a machine head because he was in league with the Devil and had sworn eternal allegiance to him." Had other Europeans any contact with the society of the Nine Unknown Men? Jacolliot It was not until the nineteenth century that this mystery was referred to again in the works of the French writer Jacolliot. Jacolliot was French Consul at Calcutta under the Second Empire. He wrote some quite important prophetic works, comparable, if not superior to those of Jules Verne. He also left several books dealing with the great secrets of the human race. A great many occult writers, prophets and miracle-workers have borrowed from his writings which, completely neglected in France, are well known in Russia. Jacolliot states catagorically that the Soceity of Nine did actually exist. And, to make it all the more intriguing, he refers in the this connection to certain techniques, unimaginable in 1860, such as, for example, the liberation of energy, sterilization by radiation and psychological warfare. Yersin Yersin, one of Pasteur and de Roux's closest collaborators, was entrusted, it seems, with certain biological secrets when he visited Madras in 1890, and following the instructions he received was able to prepare a serum against cholera and the plague. The Nine came to the rescue of the civilization from these deadly diseases which they knew if not kiboshed would bring the human race to extinction. Food for Thought Avoiding all forms of religious, social or political agitations, deliberately and perfectly concealed from the public eye, the Nine were the incarnation of the ideal man of science, serenely aloof, but conscious of his moral obligations. Having the power to mold the destiny of the human race, but refraining from its exercise, this secret society is the finest tribute imaginable to freedom of the most exalted kind. Looking down from the watch-tower of their hidden glory, these Nine Unknown Men watched civilizations being born, destroyed and re-born again, tolerant rather than indifferent, and ready to come to the rescue -- but always observing that rule of silence that is the mark of human greatness. Myth or reality? A magnificent myth, in any case, and one that has issued from the depths of time -- a harbinger, maybe, of the future?