Dag Hammarakjold called the altar a reminder of that "cornerstone ... on which all human endeavor must be based." The Meditation Room faces north north-east. To enter the room one must proceed from darkness to light. With these facts in mind note the cabalistic symbolism of the following description of the cornerstone by an authority:9 "In its situation it lies between the north, the place of darkness, and the east, the place of light; and hence this position symbolizes .. . progress from darkness to light, and from ignorance to knowledge. The permanence and durability of the corner-stone ... is intended [to remind us that long after our death we have within ourselves] a sure foundation of eternal life — a corner-stone of immortality — an emanation ... which pervades all nature, and which, therefore, must survive the tomb." (Emphasis supplied)
On a "higher" level of "esoteric knowledge" the metal altar or stone can be likened to the ancient Stone of Foundation, which, according to the same authority cited above, was supposed "'to have been ... placed at one time within the foundations of the Temple of Solomon, and afterwards, during the building of the second Temple, transported to the Holy of Holies. It was in the form of a perfect cube, and had inscribed upon its upper face, within a delta or triangle, the sacred Tetragrammaton, or ineffable name of God."
In a "scurrilous book of the Middle Ages . ,. the Life of Jesus" there waa another account of the stone: ''At that time there was in the Temple the ineffable name of God, inscribed upon the Stone of Foundation." This scandalous book proceeded to state that Our Saviour "cunningly obtained a knowledge of the Tetragrammaton from the Stone of Foundation, and by its mystical influence was enabled to perform his miracles [Cf.*Mark 3:22] .. . there waa a very general prevalence among the earliest nations of antiquity of the worship of stones as the representative of Deity ... in almost every ancient temple there was a legend of a sacred or mystical stone.. . the mystical stone there has received the name of the 'Stone of Foundation.' "10 (""And the Scribes who had come down from Jerusalem said, 'He has Beelzebub,' and, 'By the prince of devils he casts out devils.' ")
Alfred Edward Waite, in his study of the Zohar (the cabalistic textbook of the 14th century), entitled The Secret Doctrine of Israel (Occult Research Press, N. Y., 191-), wrote (p. 62) of "a mysterious stone called Schethiya" which was cast by Jehovah "into the abyss, so to form the basis of the world and give birth thereto. One might say otherwise that it was like a cubical stone or altar, for its extremity was concealed in the depth, while its surface or summit rose above the chaos. It was the central point in the immensity of the world, the cornerstone [Zohar, Pt. I, folio 231a; II, 511; Job xxxviii, 6], the tried stone, the sure foundation, but also that stone which the builders rejected."
But what, really, in the Christian meaning, is the cornerstone? Isaias said (Isa. 28, verse 16): "Therefore thus saith the Lord God: Behold I will lay a stone in the foundations of Sion, a tried stone, a corner stone, a precious stone, founded in the foundation. He that believeth, let him not hasten." The corner stone is Jesus Christ, "the stone which the builders rejected." (Cf. Ps. 118, 22; Mt. 21, 42ff; Acts 4,11; Romans 9, 33; Eph. 2, 20; 1 Pe. 2, 6ff.)
One need go no further than the inner entrance of the Meditation Room to see concrete evidence of the Godlessness of the U.N. The "stone," the metal altar, in its stark setting in that Room is in itself a symbol of idolatry. "Stone worship was perhaps the earliest form of Fetichism. . .. Eussebius cites Porphyry as saying that the ancients represented the Deity by a black stone, because his nature is obscure and inscrutable. The reader here will be reminded of the black stone, Hadsjar el Aswad, placed in the south-west corner of the Kaaba at Mecca, which was worshipped by the ancient Arabians. ... The Druids, it is well known, had no other images of their gods but cubical or sometimes columnar stones ... to use the language of Dudley, the pillar or stone 'was adapted as a symbol of strength and firmness — a symbol, also, of the divine power, and, by a ready inference, a symbol or idol of the Deity himself.'.. . the god Hermes [Mercury] was represented without hands or feet, being a cubical stone, because the cubical figure betokened his solidity and stability."11 (Emphasis supplied)
Hammarskjold, in the speech quoted earlier, said: "In this case we wanted this massive 'altar' to give the impression of something more than temporary.,.. We had another idea ... we thought we could bless by our thoughts the very material out of which arms are made." The description of the altar as a "natural talisman'' by the World Goodwill group also is significant. Talisman is a term which means a stone, or other object, engraven with figures or characters to which is attributed (he occult powers of the planetary influences and celestial configurations under which it was made.
Altars, "among the ancients, were generally made of turf or stone . .. usually in a cubical form. Altars were erected long before temples."12 The shaft of light upon ihe altar in the Meditation Room casts a shadow to the north. 'The use of the north as a symbol of darkness (is). .. a portion of the old sun worship, of which we find so many relics in Gnosticism, in Hermetic philosophy... The east was the place of the sun's daily birth, and hence highly revered; the north the place of his annual death."13
Finally, it must be emphasized above all that the altar in the Meditation Room is unsanctified and unhallowed. It has no sacred meaning, can inspire no reverence, and is not inviolable. This altar cannot be used for sacrifice in any other than an unholy sense.
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