Nine Unknown Men
Secret Society started by Emperor Ashoka
In occult lore, the Nine Unknown Men are a millennia-old
secret society founded by the Indian Emperor Asoka c. 270
BCE. According to the legend, upon his conversion to Buddhism
after a massacre during one of his wars, 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. The Nine were also charged by Asoka with manipulating
the culture of India to present an image of a backwards and
mystically-oriented people to the outside world in order to
conceal the advanced scientific knowledge that was being accumulated
within. Some versions of the story include an additional motivation
for the Emperor to conceal scientific knowledge: remnants
of the Rama Empire, an Indian version of Atlantis, which according
to Hindu scripture was destroyed by advanced weaponry 15000
years ago. Theories have also begun to surface claiming that
Rama and Atlantis might have had war using Nuclear technology,
and destroyed each other.
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
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
were said to believe in or even to be members of the Nine
although documentation on this issue is predictably scant.
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:
- Propaganda and Psychological warfare.
- Physiology, including instructions on how to perform the
"touch of death." 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.
- 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.
- Communication, including intercourse with extraterrestrials.
- Gravitation. Book 6 is said to contain the instructions
necessary to build a Vimana, sometimes referred to as the
"ancient UFOs of India."
- Sociology, including rules concerning the evolution of
societies and how to predict their downfall.
THE NINE UNKNOWN MEN
From The Morning Of The Magicians
By Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier
Published by Avon Books. 1968. pp 67 - 71.
This [legend] goes back to the time of the Emperor Asoka,
who reigned in India from 273 B.C. He was the grandson of
Chandragupta who was the first to unify India. 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. Forever
after he experienced a horror of war. He renounced the idea
of trying to integrate the rebellious people, declaring that
the only true conquest was to win men's hearts by observance
of the laws of duty and piety, because the Sacred Majesty
desired that all living creatures should enjoy security, peace
and happiness and be free to live as they pleased.
A convert to Buddhism, Asoka, by his own virtuous example,
spread this religion throughout India and his entire empire
which included Malaya, Ceylon and Indonesia. Later Buddhism
penetrated to Nepal, Tibet, China and Mongolia. Asoka nevertheless
respected all religious sects. He preached vegetarianism,
abolished alcohol and the slaughter of animals. H.G. Wells,
in his abridged version of his _Outline Of World History_
wrote: "Among the tens of thousands of names of monarchs
accumulated in the files of history, the name of Asoka shines
almost alone, like a star."
It is said that the Emperor Asoka, 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 ectasy and supernatural
phenomena. Asoka founded the most powerful secret society
on earth: that of the Nine Unknown Men.
It is still thought that the great men responsible fro the
destiny of modern India, and scientists like Bose and Ram
believe in the existence of the Nine, and even receive advice
and messages from them.
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
Examples of the Nine Unknown Men making contact with the
outer world are rare. There was, however, the 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
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? It was not until the nineteenth century that
this mystery was referred to again in the works of the French
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, 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 story of the Nine Unknown Men was popularized for the
first time in 1927 in a book by Talbot Mundy who for twenty-five
years was a member of the British police force in India. His
book is half-fiction, half scientific inquiry. The Nine apparently
employed a synthetic language, and each of them was in possession
of a book that was constantly being rewritten and containing
a detailed account of some science.
The first of these books is said to have been devoted to
the technique of propaganda and psychological warfare. "The
most dangerous of all sciences," wrote Mundy, "is
that of moulding mass opinion, because it would enable anyone
to govern the whole world."
It must be remembered that Korjybski's _General Semantics_
did not appear until 1937 and that it was not until the West
had the experience of the last World War that the techniques
of psychology of language, i.e., propaganda, could be formulated.
The first American college of semantics only came into being
in 1950. In France almost the only book that at all well known
is Serge Tchocotine's _Le Viol des Foules_ which has had a
considerable influence in intellectual polical circles, although
it deals only superficially with the subject.
The second book was on physiology. It explained, among other
things, how it is possible to kill a man by touching him,
death being caused by a reversal of the nerve-impulse. It
is said that Judo is a result of "leakages" from
The third volume was a study on microbiology, and dealt especially
with protective colloids.
The fourth was concerned with the transmutation of metals.
There is a legend that in times of drought temples and religious
relief organizations received large quanities of fine gold
from a secret source.
The fifth volume contains a study of all means of communication,
terrestial and extra-terrestial.
The sixth expounds the secrets of gravitation.
The seventh contains the most exhaustive cosmogony known
The eighth deals with light.
The ninth volume, on sociology, gives the rules for the evolution
of societies, and means of foretelling their decline.
Connected with the Nine Unknown Men is the mystery of the
waters of the Ganges. 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? Jacolliot in his
book advances the theory of sterilization by radiation, a
hundred years before such a thing was thought to be possible.
These radiations, he says, probably come from a secret temple
hollowed out in the bed of the Ganges.
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?