Indian thought

Indian Thought in Greek and Roman Schools

“Any direct influence of Indian thought on the conceptions and practices of some of these religious communities and philosophic schools of the Græco-Roman Empire, and although in any particular case similarity of ideas need not necessarily be assigned to direct physical transmission, nevertheless the highest probability, if not the greatest assurance, remains that even prior to the days of Apollonius there was some private knowledge in Greece of the general ideas of the Vedānta and Dharma; while in the case of Apollonius himself, even if we discount nine-tenths of what is related of him, his one idea seems to have been to spread abroad among the religious brotherhoods and institutions of the Empire some portion of the wisdom which he brought back with him from India. When, then, we find at the end of the first and during the first half of the second century, among such mystic associations as the Hermetic and Gnostic schools, ideas which strongly remind us of the theosophy of the Upaniṣhads or the reasoned ethics of the Suttas, we have always to take into consideration not only the high probability of Apollonius having visited such schools, but also the possibility of his having discoursed at length therein on the Indian wisdom.” ~George Robert Stowe Mead

Indian Thought Shared

It is a common assumption that since the Ancient Greek and Roman spiritual teachings were very similar to those found in India, they must have been learned by Greeks or Romans who studied in India. While that is a possibility, it is also possible that something else accounts for the similarity.

Mr. Stowe also seems to left another important country to two out of his equation: Egypt and Babylon. Most experts say that a definite trail can be found between the mystery schools of Egypt and those of Greece. The Romans definitely learned Greek and studied in Greek schools, including the mystery schools and schools of philosophy. The Egyptian schools probably were descendants of those in Babylon. But did the Egyptians or the Babylonians learn from India? Probably, in some cases. There were undoubtedly a few individuals who traveled to India and brought some Indian thought back with them. But that is not the only way these things could have been learned. Continue reading “Indian Thought in Greek and Roman Schools”

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libraries

Libraries of Ancient Wisdom, Lost and Found

“In the containers, I have gathered together all the books given into my care, and I have done all the things I was instructed to do, and the work of my father is now complete. The metal will stand the test of age, and the cutting is the finest workmanship.

“The five great book boxes contain one hundred and thirty-two scrolls and five ring-bound volumes. There are sixty-two thousand, four hundred and eighty three words in The Greater Book of the Egyptians. …

“The Book of Magical Concoctions has six thousand, eight hundred and ten words, and this was the most difficult to remit, for it was a work of mystery and hidden things. …

“The Book Of Secret Lore and the Book of Decrees are joined into the Great Book of the Sons of Fire and they, too, are enabled to last forever.

“The metal is as our masters desired, made cunningly by the secret methods of our tribe, and it will never perish. The marks are cut in it so that when seen in the right light, they stand out clearly. …

“Read carefully the sacred words, which are written, and may they be a lodestone to a greater life.” ~The Kolbrin Bible (SOF:24:1-10)

The Library

The writer of this quote has identified himself as the one responsible for the preservation of a great library of ancient books. I didn’t list all the books he mentions by name as that is unnecessary and would make the quote too long.

The description indicates that this library consisted of many scrolls made of thin sheets of metal and five ring-bound books also made of metal. We don’t know what this metal is, but the writer says it is indestructible. Of course, we know in this day that noting is indestructible, but we can assume these books were made to last quite a long time. It addition, he tells us he stored the library in boxes also made of metal, probably thicker and stronger than the metal used to make the books themselves. He doesn’t tell us what was done with this library after he carefully sealed it in the great boxes, but it was probably hidden in a cave or buried. He does indicate that this was being done to provide information to people in the future, so it can reasonably be assumed this library was hidden away.

The Eqyptians

The creator of this library references several of the books as coming from the Egyptians. This tells us two things about the people who wrote the Kolbrin Bible or at least this section of it. One, they were not Egyptian. Two, they had great regard for the teachings of the ancient mystery schools of Egypt. They may have been people who once lived in Egypt, but had left that land for some reason. Continue reading “Libraries of Ancient Wisdom, Lost and Found”

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false limitations

False Limitations and the Two Worlds

“During the course of initiation, the candidate passed through two gates. The first led downward into the lower worlds and symbolized his birth into ignorance. The second led upward into a room brilliantly lighted by unseen lamps, in which was the statue of Ceres and which symbolized the upper world, or the abode of Light and Truth. …

“Ceres, or Demeter, was the daughter of Kronos and Rhea, and by Zeus the mother of Persephone. … In the mysteries, Ceres is represented riding a chariot drawn by winged serpents. …

“In the initiation of the Bacchic Mysteries, the role of Bacchus is played by the candidate who, set upon by priests in the guise of the Titans, is slain and finally restored to life amidst great rejoicing. The Bacchic Mysteries were given every three years, and like the Eleusinian Mysteries were divided into two degrees. The initiates were crowned with mistletoe and ivy, plants which are sacred to Bacchus.” ~Manly P. Hall

Two Gates, Two Worlds

Having the initiate pass through two gates was probably common in the initiation ceremonies of mystery schools. Of course, each school had its own ceremonies, but what they symbolized was the same. The initiate was embarking on a path to lead from the fallen, dark realm of matter to the realm of spirit, truth, and light. Putting the initiate in a dark room, cave, or coffin-like container was a way of reminding them that they were living in the world of darkness. Then bringing them into bright light showed where they were headed. Hall says the room with bright lights had no visible lamps. That could be because the lamps were hidden. It could also be because it was sunlight that was channeled to the underground room through tunnels with the aid of mirrors. In any case, the idea that matter is darkness and spirit is light was visually supplied to the student.

Ceres and her Chariot

Ceres was the goddess of grains, but she also represented the climb from ignorance to truth, darkness to light. Having a chariot drawn by two serpents goes along with that. While Christians generally think of a serpent as representing Satan, it represented wisdom to many of the ancients. Serpents represented rebirth and renewal. Twin serpents represent opposites. Dark and light, matter and spirit, etc. Two serpents working together creates a powerful path forward. Thus the two serpents pulled the chariot forward.

Death of False Limitations

One of the biggest things holding us back is limitations. Not all limitations, but false ones. As oxygen breathers, we can’t live in a place with no oxygen. That is an actual limitation. Our parents were poor, our grandparents were poor, therefore we are doomed to a life of poverty. That is a false limitation.

Hall says that in the rites of Bacchus, the initiate played Bacchus and was symbolically murdered by the priests of the temple. But he is then restored and everyone rejoices. This is often interpreted to mean that one must completely desert his physical life, have nothing more to do with it, before he can be reborn as a spiritual being. That is not an accurate interpretation. All it means is that we must give up the false limitations of the physical self if we are to awaken our spiritual self. We have to stop believing that while we are on Earth, we must function as purely physical beings. That is a false limitation. We must stop thinking that there is nothing spiritual and the soul is just a part of the brain-mind. Those too are false limitations. So the death acted out is not the death of the physical self, but the death of false limitations and beliefs.

Initiation

These rites of the initiate were initiations. They were not intended to make any major changes in the initiate by themselves. They were only intended to prepare him for the real teachings and exercises to come. In many cases, we don’t know exactly what those teachings and exercises were. They were never put in writing unless codified with allegory, or some other method of hiding their meaning. We do know some things. We know that most, if not all, of the mystery schools had the students gaze at the sun. Not so much the physical sun, but the spiritual sun. When the divine soul is awakened by the spiritual sun, you have a true death of false limitations. Then you are ready to be a warrior of truth and light.

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Eleusinian school , Eleusinian mysteries

Eleusinian School Initiations and Mysteries

“In The Obelisk in Freemasonry, John A. Weisse describes the officiating personages of the Eleusinian Mysteries as consisting of a male and a female hierophant who directed the initiations; a male and a female torchbearer; a male herald; and a male and a female altar attendant. He states that, according to Porphyry, the hierophant represents Plato’s Demiurgus or Creator of the World; the torch bearer, the Sun; the altar man, the moon; the herald, Hermes or Mercury, and the other officials, minor stars.

“From the records available, a number of strange and apparently supernatural phenomena accompanied the rituals. Many initiates claim to have actually seen the living gods themselves. Whether this was the result of religious ecstasy or the actual cooperation of invisible powers with the visible priests must remain a mystery. …

“Women and children were admitted to the Eleusinian Mysteries, and at one time there were literally thousands of initiates. Because this vast host was not prepared for the highest spiritual and mystical doctrines, a division necessarily took place within the society itself. The higher teachings were given to only a limited number of initiates.” ~Manly P. Hall

Mystery Schools

The Eleusinian school of Greece was probably typical of the ancient mystery schools. While details differed, the main teachings of most of them was identical. Certain other facts were also common. First, initiates who were accepted into the school took an oath of secrecy. The teaching were not to bee shared with the general public. Second, the initiate was accepted on a trial basis, and probably had to be recommended by someone who was already in the school. Third, in most schools, the initiate had to turn over all his material wealth to the treasurer of the school. If he failed the trial period and was asked to leave, hi money was returned to him. If he stayed with the school, his money was used, along with all the other students, for the benefit of the entire school.

Male and Female

In the available histories of mystery schools, you don’t find many mentions of women. Usually these schools were exclusively for men. At least that is what we were led to believe. In actual fact, however, many such schools did have both men and women in them. We see in the above quote that the Eleusinian school not only allowed women, but that in their initiations and other ceremonies, women played an important part. Most mystic schools recognized that women and men are different, but that doesn’t make one sex better than the other. Both sexes have their strengths and weaknesses, and the best schools accounted for those differences, while still treating all as equals.

Some histories of the Essenes, one of the best known of the spiritual groups and schools, indicate that only men were allowed within their communities. But what some Essene groups actually did is separate men and women into separate camps. They accepted both, but in different places. Other Essene groups, however, had men and women together. The Essenes were also known to adopt unwanted children in whom they saw spiritual potential, and raise them within their communities. Continue reading “Eleusinian School Initiations and Mysteries”

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