BOTH robb’d of air, we both lie in one ground ;
Both whom one fire had burnt, one water drown’d.
The First Sestiad
Ἀφορμαὶ πεὸσ τὰ Νοητά 8.
“Whatever nature binds, nature again dissolves; and that which the soul conciliates into union, the soul disperses and dissolves.
Nature, indeed, bound the body to the soul; but the soul ties herself to the body. Hence, nature frees the body from the soul, but the soul by the exercise of philosophy, separates herself from the deadly bands of the body.”
“Death is of two kinds, the one equally known to all men, when the body is separated from the soul; but the other peculiar to philosophers, when the soul is separated from the body: nor does the one always attend the other.”
Now this two-fold death we must understand in the following manner: that though some particular body may be loosened from the soul, yet while material passions and affections reside in the soul, the soul will continually verge to another body, and as long as this inclination continues, remain connected with the body.
But when from the dominion of an intellectual nature, the soul is separated from material affections, it is truly liberated from the body; though the body at the same time verges and clings to the soul, as to the immediate cause of its support. And thus much for a Commentary on the Hymns or Initiations of Orpheus.
But before I conclude the present work, I beg leave to address a few words to the liberal and philosophical part of my readers.
You then, as the votaries of truth, will, I doubt not, unite with me in most earnest wishes, that every valuable work on the Platonic philosophy was well translated into our native tongue; that we might no longer be subject to the toil of learning the ancient languages.
The mischief, indeed, resulting from the study of words is almost too apparent to need any illustration; as the understanding is generally contra, its vigour exhausted; and the genius fettered to verbal criticism, and grammatical trifles.
Hence an opinion is gradually formed, that the Greek philosophy can alone be understood in the Greek tongue: and thus the books containing the wisdom of antiquity, are for the most part deposited, in the hands of men, incapable of comprehending their contents.
While an opinion so sordid prevails, amidst all our refinements in arts, and increasing mass of experiments, we must remain with respect to philosophy in a state of barbarous ignorance.
We may flourish, indeed, as a commercial people; and stretch the rod of empire over nations as yet unknown. The waters of Thames, heavy laden with the wealth of merchandize, and sonorous with the din of trade, may devolve abundance in a golden tide; but we must remember that the Dæmon of commerce is at the same time advancing with giant strides, to trample on the most liberal pursuits, and is preparing with his extended savage arm, to crush the votaries of truth, and depopulate the divine retreats of philosophy.
Rise then ye liberal few, and vindicate the dignity of ancient wisdom. Bring truth from her silent and sacred concealments, and vigorously repel the growing empire of barbaric taste; which bids fair to extinguish the celestial fire of philosophy in the rigid embraces of philology, and to bury the divine light of mind, in the sordid gloom of sense.
But if your labours should prove abortive; if the period is yet at a distance, when truth shall once more establish her kingdom; when another dream like that of Ilissus, shall become tuneful with the music of philosophy; and other cities like those of Athens and Alexandria, be filled with the sacred haunts of philosophers: there yet remains an inheritance
for the lovers of wisdom in the regions of intellect, those fortunate islands of truth, where all is tranquil and serene, beyond the of power of chance, and the reach of change. Let us then fly from hence my friends, to those delightful realms: for there, while connected with body, we may find a retreat from the storms and tempests of a corporeal life.
Let us build for ourselves the raft of virtue, and departing from this region of sense, like Ulysses from the charms of Calypso, direct our course by the light of ideas, those bright intellectual stars, through the dark ocean of a material nature, until we arrive at our father’s land.
For there having divested ourselves of the torn garments of mortality, as much as our union with body will permit, we may resume our natural appearance; and may each of us at length, recover the ruined empire of his soul.
HEAR me, O Death, whose empire unconfin’d,
Extends to mortal tribes of ev’ry kind.
On thee, the portion of our time depends,
Whose absence lengthens life, whose presence ends.
Thy sleep perpetual bursts the vivid folds,
By which the soul, attracting body holds:
Common to all of ev’ry sex and age,
For nought escapes thy all-destructive rage;
Not youth itself thy clemency can gain,
Vig’rous and strong, by thee untimely slain.
In thee, the end of nature’s works is known,
In thee, all judgment is absolv’d alone:
No suppliant arts thy dreadful rage controul,
No vows revoke the purpose of thy soul;
O blessed pow’r regard my ardent pray’r,
And human life to age abundant spare
It is for the divine soul to rule and govern and the mortal body to obey and serve.
The soul must master the lower forces.
But she will calm passion, and follow reason, and dwell in the contemplation of her, beholding the true and divine (which is not matter of opinion), and thence deriving nourishment. Thus she seeks to live while she lives, and after death she hopes to go to her own kindred and to that which is like her, and to be freed from human ills.
All Rights Reserved © mmartel∞
Please Listen Whilst you Read:
∇ ‘Immortal and indestructible,’
‘surrounds all and directs all.’
‘(To that they return when they are destroyed) of necessity; for he says that they suffer punishment and give satisfaction to one another for injustice’
“The Earth is cylindrical, three times as wide as it is deep, and only the upper part is inhabited. But this Earth is isolated in space, and the sky is a complete sphere in the center of which is located, unsupported, our cylinder, the Earth, situated at an equal distance from all the points of the sky.”
There is no beginning of the infinite, for in that case it would have an end. But it is without beginning and indestructible, as being a sort of first principle; for it is necessary that whatever comes into existence should have an end, and there is a conclusion of all destruction. Wherefore as we say, there is no first principle of this [i.e. the infinite], but it itself seems to be the first principle of all other things and to surround all and to direct all, as they say who think that there are no other causes besides the infinite (such as mind, or friendship), but that it itself is divine; for it is immortal and indestructible, as Anaximandros and most of the physicists say.
But it is not possible that infinite matter is one and simple; either, as some say, that it is something different from the elements, from which they are generated, or that it is absolutely one. For there are some who make the infinite of this character, but they do not consider it to be air or water, in order that other things may not be blotted out by the infinite; for these are mutually antagonistic to one another, inasmuch as air is cold, water is moist, and fire hot; if one of these were infinite, the rest would be at once blotted out; but now they say that the infinite is something different from these things, namely, that from which they come.
In order that generation may actually occur, it is not necessary to prove that the infinite should actually be matter that sense can perceive; for it is possible that destruction of one thing is generation of another, provided the all is limited.
Please listen again:
For some say that there is only one underlying substance; and of these some say that it is water, some that it is air, some that it is fire, and some that it is more rarefied than water and denser than air; and these last say that being infinite it surrounds all the heavens.
It is natural that this very thing should be unintelligible to those who say that at first when the earth was moist and the universe including the earth was warmed by the sun, then air was formed and the whole heavens were dried, and this produced the winds and made the heavens revolve.
So not only is it very properly admitted that all things are generated from not-being, but also that they all come from being:—potentially from being, actually from not-being; and this is the unity of Anaxagoras (for this is better than to say that all things exist together [ομοὓ πάντα]), and it is the mixture [μιγμα] of Empedokles and Anaximandros.
Anaximandros was a pupil of Thales. He was a Milesian, son of Praxiades. He said that the first principle of things is of the nature of the infinite, and from this the heavens and the worlds in them arise. And this (first principle) is eternal and does not grow old, and it surrounds all the worlds. He says of time that in it generation and being and destruction are determined. He said that the first principle and the element of beings is the infinite, a word which he was the earliest to apply to the first principle. Besides this, motion is eternal, and as a result of it the heavens arise. The earth is a heavenly body, controlled by no other power, and keeping its position because it is the same distance from all things; the form of it is curved, cylindrical like a stone column; it has two faces, one of these is the ground beneath our feet, and the other is opposite to it. The stars are a circle of fire, separated from the fire about the world, and surrounded by air. There are certain breathing-holes like the holes of a flute through which we see the stars; so that when the holes are stopped up, there are eclipses. The moon is sometimes full and sometimes in other phases as these holes are stopped up or open. The circle of the sun is twenty-seven times that of the moon, and the sun is higher than the moon, but the circles of the fixed stars are lower. Animals come into being through vapours raised by the sun. Man, however, came into being from another animal, namely the fish, for at first he was like a fish. Winds are due to a separation of the lightest vapours and the motion of the masses of these vapours; and moisture comes from the vapour raised by the sun from them; and lightning occurs when a wind falls upon clouds and separates them. Anaximandros was born in the third year of the forty-second Olympiad.
… and again:
that lightning is due to wind; for when it is surrounded and pressed together by a thick cloud and so driven out by reason of its lightness and rarefaction, then the breaking makes a noise, while the separation makes a rift of brightness in the darkness of the cloud.
The soul is like air in its nature.
that the first animals were generated in the moisture, and were covered with a prickly skin; and as they grew older, they became drier, and after the skin broke off from them, they lived for a little while.
that gods have a beginning, at long intervals rising and setting, and that they are the innumerable worlds. But who of us can think of god except as immortal?
On the occasion of every accident that befalls you, remember to turn yourself and inquire what power you have for turning it to use.
One knows not the power they occupy…lest one forget the forces which they control. The control of which illusions are placed upon them.
We carry the keys of ultimate mirth in illusion, utter despondent illusion. There are forces unknown which live within the earth abounding us…
forces that draw us to truth…forces that draw us into darkness.
Forces that draw us into light. For in dark and light, twain… remain in visible verity.
Whence we place our feet…where we scatter and gain, is only relative to the illusion which we have forged and the illusion that will anywise , be destroyed.
Whether through our own hands, terminated through the breath of our being…there are forces that will guide us, away from the certainty of nothingness.
It is within our function to synchronize with these forces, yet recognizing the potency of nothingness and all that may be constructed to shade us from the light of the shadows
All Rights Reserved © mmartel∞
Most of what passes for legitimate entertainment is inferior or foolish and only caters to or exploits people’s weaknesses. Avoid being one of the mob who indulges in such pastimes. Your life is too short and you have important things to do. Be discriminating about what images and ideas you permit into your mind. If you yourself do not choose what thoughts and images you expose yourself to, someone else will, and their motives may not be the highest. It is the easiest thing in the world to slide imperceptibly into vulgarity. But there is no need for that to happen if you determine not to waste your time and attention on mindless pap.
As a youth, this song struck me deeply. Power in a peaceful aggression. It wasn’t until the years had past, I came to know some of the meaning behind the chants.
Please take some time to consider…all the power within your every pore.
Just what that means in the grand scheme of illusions that surround us…
shankar shiv mahadev
har har shiv mahadev,
trishul pati mahadev
parvati pati mahadev
There is a god within us all. We hold and release immense power.
The illusion destroyer.*
*Not a translation of the song.
This site contains some interesting points on the Ancient Greek/Sanskrit connection:
All Rights Reserved © mmartel∞
A wonderful post on self-reflection.
That sometimes our antipathy towards others, is truly a reflection of the antipathy we carry for ourselves.
Take time to reflect on the things you have an aversion towards, for they may have already become you.
All Rights Reserved © mmartel∞