It has been the custom of many people to belittle the ancients by assuming that they knew but little of mechanics, certainly not so much as we do. The builders of the pyramids have been described by modern guessers as making their calculations and carrying on the most wonderful engineering operations with the aid of pools of water for obtaining levels and star angles: they could not, it was assumed, have instruments except the most crude. So also the old Chinese were mere rude workmen, although it is well known that they discovered the precession of the equinoxes over 2,000 years ago. Of late, evidence has been slowly coming out that tends to show the ancients as perhaps having as much, if not more, than we have. So the following from the New York Evening Sun, an influential daily paper, will be of interest. It says, on May 31, 1894:
An English officer by the name of Harrington has discovered in India a working telephone between two native temples which stand over a mile apart. The testimony of the Hindus, which, it is said, is backed up by documentary proof, shows that the system has been in operation for over 2,000 years. Scientists engaged in excavating the ruins of ancient Egyptian temples have repeatedly found unmistakable evidence of wire communication between some of the temples of the earlier Egyptian dynasties.
It will probably be found, in the course of time, that the oft-repeated statements of H. P. Blavatsky that the ancients had all of our arts and mechanical devices were true. She asserted that they had flying machines. In Buddhist books is a story of Buddha which refers to a flying machine or mechanical bird used in a former life of the Lord, and Indian tradition speaks also of air walking machines. Reading this item in the newspaper reminds me too of a conversation I had with H. P. Blavatsky in New York before the phonograph came out, in which she said that some Indian friends of hers had a machine by which they spoke with each other over distances of miles with great ease. Perhaps when the great West is convinced that the old Aryans had mechanical contrivances equaling our own, it will be ready to lead a readier ear than now to the philosophies the East has so long held in keeping.