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  • Jean Paul

Pythagoras

Bijgewerkt op: 13 jun 2019

Let me first describe to you, fellow traveller, the scene in which this imaginable dialogue is happening.

We are walking towards the temple of Hera, on top of a cape, west of the bay of Crotona. He is extremely gentle, clad in common white garments, surrounded by a silence that seems nearly palpable to me. Not at all a talker, that wants to give me a lecture about his philosophy. He is very present, but not as a god, emitting light and power. No, on the contrary. He is just human, fragile, very attentive to his surrounding, enjoying the beauty of the sea and the freshness of the breeze, stroking his long hair. He has consented to speak to me with a gentle smile. Very early we have left the town in a small boat, until we reached the shore at the feet of the cape. We had to wade through the water and started the climb towards the top when the sun arose in the east. The path doesn’t allow us to walk all the time beside eachother, so he is just a few meters ahead of me. Then he turns around, again with a smile, indicating a rock, suitable for sitting and looking out over the sea. His face beams in the colours of the sun. Here our conversation begins.

‘Look at that sun! Magnificent place, isn’t it? Hera must be pleased to be worshipped here, right in the middle of nature.’

‘In your Golden Verses you advise us to start by honouring the gods. How do you see the gods and what is the purpose of honouring them?’

‘I understand your question. You come from a different age in which the gods no longer exist. For me that’s a pity. Communicating with them is a great joy to me, not an obligation. To feel their presence is connecting me with the creative powers of the universe.’

‘I thought Numbers were that for you.’

‘For me the gods and numbers are the same. For some people it is easier to connect to the gods, because they may appear to us in human form, whereas numbers are for the scientific minds among us. So Apollo, the number one and the light of the sun are the same creative power.’

‘And Hera?’

‘Hera is the mother god. She is the mother of every creature, living in this world and having a mother. Even the orphans, having lost their human mother, still have Hera as their divine mother.’

‘And what does it mean to worship the gods?’

‘Their temples and statues are just symbols. The brothers of the inner circle don’t need those symbols anymore. The real worshipping is inside, mostly in the heart.’

‘Please explain that a little further.’

‘Remember that words are not sufficient for real understanding. Real understanding takes place in the silence of the thinking mind. That’s why we start our learning process in our School with a long period of silence. The silence of the heart understands love. Real understanding is love, that can be felt in the heart. So only love is capable of worshipping. Entering the temple of Hera means entering the loving heart inside of us, that loves it’s creatures as a mother.’

‘They say you are Apollo incarnated in a human being. Is that true?’

Yes, but I am not unique in this respect. Every human being can be an expression of this creative power of Apollo, not just this person. We are the light of the sun. We are the oneness of pure consciousness. The rising of the sun and the awakening of consciousness as the I AM-ness in us each morning is the same. It’s not difficult at all, isn’t it? ’

‘I am afraid it is, at least to me.’

‘That’s because your thinking mind is trying to grasp it. Perhaps music would be a better way for you. Apollo plays the lyra and invites you just to listen and to enjoy listening. You don’t have to play as an effort. Just listen and enjoy listening, that’s the way Apollo teaches us.’

And so we sat in silence for a long time, listening tot he sounds of the gentle breeze, the humming bees and the distant waves on the ocean.

When we moved on to enter the temple of Hera new questions arose in me. But he kept his silence. And entering the temple, there were no questions anymore. Just a loving silence…

* * *

Let’s start these Dialogues with the father of spiritual teachers in the West: Pythagoras. Everyone has heard of him as an old Greek mathematician. But he was much more than that. He was a great thinker and the first to call himself a philosopher: a friend of wisdom. No philosophical books of him have been left, just a long poem, which is as a summary of his teaching.

For me it still shines like a Tower of Light, or the one still standing pillar of the temple of Hera that is left of it. You’ll find it’s text if you look under the Golden Verses of Pythagoras. You’ll be amazed to find out for yourself how deeply practical and to-the-point these Verses still are. For 2.500 years they are a source of inspiration for people and like a beacon in the dark night of ignorance.

Pythagoras travelled the world for the first half of his life, visiting Syria, Egypt and Persia, to study the old mystery schools. Before his birth his father had been announced at the Oracle in Delphi, that he would get a son in which the light of Apollo himself would be born.

So in these Verses is the wisdom of the East and the West, who’s flame later on was carried further by different groups in the gnostic christian, manichean, islamic and cabbalistic schools of esoteric wisdom. It is indeed as if the voice of Hermes and Apollo speak through them. In essence they say: Know yourself. All that is outside of you in the macrocosm, is also inside of you in your microcosm. So look inside and find out what you really are.

So this wisdom that Pythagoras loved so much starts with the deep urge to know yourself. This wisdom can’t be found by the active rationalistic mind alone. You can’t think it out by reading books or studying philosophy. That’s only at the beginning of the way. Sophia is female. Passive. Her wisdom can only be revealed to you. So if any prerequisite is necessary it is sensitivity, receptivity, deep listening.

Well that’s difficult in the West right now. We are trained to think, not to listen. In Pythagoras School in southern Italy you first had to keep your mouth, be still and just listen for two years. That wouldn’t be popular at universities in these days. A loss of time. Know thyself, okay. Studying interesting psychology, yes. Meditating upon stillness, no. You can’t make a good career out of that.

This dichotomy, this split, started already in Pythagoras time. You have the outer school for the outer studies like mathematics, astronomy, medicine and music, and you have the inner school. The political tyrant of Crotona, his city, wanted admission to his inner school. Pythagoras denied him this. The tyrant got angry and in the end burned his School down. And it has stayed like this. The inner and the outer school have difficulty with each other, at universities, in politics and in religions. Traditional belief-systems tend to see esoteric schools as heretic and a threat that has to be erased. This goes on to this day in any fundamentalist environment, that has the power and the justification to eliminate people loving this inner wisdom.

So remember, this inner school is about deep Self-Knowledge, that you can’t learn out of books or teachers, holy or not. Teachers of this inner school can only point at an inner path that you have to go on yourself, without following any autority outside of yourself. Of course this is a threat for an autority, depending on followers. They want to make you belief you just need an autority, guiding you on your path and that it is very dangerous and impossible for someone with the arrogance of believing he or she might go this path completely alone.

You understand? Here, in this first of the Communications of my spiritual friends, is already a fork in the road. At the fork you must choose: follow a good Guide, renowned by tradition, or follow only your inner Light. Red or Blue, what do you choose?

On the Red Path you are admonished to ask yourself this one question. Relentlessly. Who – or what – Am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going to?

And those simple questions form the background of all these Communications. No one will be telling you the Truth – or what to think or do for your own salvation. To whom are you going to ask these questions?

These Communications are no Instructions. They only point out to Self Discovery. If they suggest something, please feel free to experiment a little with it and then forget about it. There is no Ten Steps Method to getting to know your Essence. And also this you don’t have to believe. In the inner School all learning seems very paradoxical.

Here is a theory. It’s not the absolute Truth. Anything that can be formulated in words is not Truth itself. It’s a construct or concept of the Mind and Truth is beyond the Mind. But it can be fun to entertain your mind with a good theory. So why not? The theory is this: The whole universe is putting this already mentioned big question to you. Who Am I? What is it that really is, inside and outside of you? And is there any difference between what really is inside of you and outside of you? Are there two separate realities: you and the world – or is there just one reality, One Life, One Isness.

In Zen Buddhism a question like this could be see as a Koan: a question impossible for the Mind to answer it. At the end the Mind is exhausted and gives up. Then the necessary condition of the mind is there: the naked or receptive mind in which some Light, or Ray of Truth itself, may fall.

Or like the old Rosicrucians of the Middle Ages said: the highest form of thinking is not to think.

Here are some quotes of Pythagoras

“As long as Man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower living beings, he will never know health or peace. For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.”

“Be silent or let thy words be worth more than silence.”

“If there be light, then there must be darkness also; if cold, heat; if height, depth; if solid, fluid; if hard, soft; if rough, smooth; if calm, tempest; if prosperity, adversity; if life, death.”

“No one is free who has not obtained the empire of himself. No man is free who cannot command himself.”

“Rest satisfied with doing well, and leave others to talk of you as they please.”

“There is geometry in the humming of the strings. There is music in the spacing of the spheres. ”

“Educate the children and it won't be necessary to punish the men.”

“In anger we should refrain both from speech and action.”

“The oldest, shortest words— "yes" and "no"— are those which require the most thought.”

“A man is never as big as when he is on his knees to help a child.”

“It is only necessary to make war with five things; with the maladies of the body, the ignorances of the mind, the passions of the body, the seditions of the city and the discords of families.”

“Many men and women, by birth or nature, lack the means to advance in wealth or power, but all have the ability to advance in knowledge.”

“Above all things, respect yourself.”

“Number rules the universe.”

“Declining from the public ways, walk in unfrequented paths.”

“We ought so to behave to one another as to avoid making enemies of our friends, and at the same time to make friends of our enemies.”

“As soon as laws are necessary for men, they are no longer fit for freedom.”


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