Category: Volume 3

THE LAST EXPLOITS OF HERACLES

Abilities required for accessing the supramental world:
‘Capacity for indefinite expansion of consciousness on all planes including the material.
Limitless plasticity, to be able to follow the movement of becoming.
Perfect equality abolishing all possibility of ego reaction.’

Mother’s Agenda, Volume 3, 12 January 1962

The preceding volume was left off with the last of Heracles’ twelve ‘labours’, the ‘athloi’. These adventures of the hero were followed by the ‘praxeis’, or free acts, which are not however temporally situated ‘after’ the labours.
In fact, it must be remembered that the hero had raised the famous pillars at the beginning of the tenth labour when journeying towards the ‘misty’ island of Erythia, situated at the confines of the ocean at the far reaches of the Occident, to bring back the Cattle of Geryon. The eleventh labour, the quest for the apples of the Garden of the Hesperides, involved an acquisition of Knowledge which proved to be an endless endeavour, and the twelfth labour, the Capture of Cerberus at the threshold of Hades, a preliminary groundwork for the work in the body, a becoming conscious of that which impedes its transformation into a supramentalised body.
The last three labours were therefore considered by the Elders of ancient times to be realisations of a future humankind, this being corroborated by their mythical settings. The last labour to be set within a geographically identifiable location was the ninth, that of the Girdle of the Queen of the Amazons.
As the initiates made forward progress, the experiences undergone on the path of these three last labours must have allowed them to give some complementary indications.
However, since no greater synthesis could be formulated the chronology of the corresponding myths remains very uncertain. We have attempted to organise them from the point of Heracles’ sack of Troy, which would have logically had to have taken place during his ninth labour. It must be remembered that the complete adventures of Heracles represent the theory of the process of purification and liberation till the ultimate point of what Sri Aurobindo refers to as ‘the liberation of Nature’.

The sack of Troy

We must resume our discussion of the adventures of this hero from the moment in which he returned to Troy with a fleet of six ships to pillage the city, an episode which has been discussed in its first elements in chapter 3 of this work.
Heracles sought to avenge himself on Laomedon, who had refused to grant him his recompense for the liberation of Hesione, consisting of the greatest horses on earth which his grandfather Tros had received from Zeus in exchange for Ganymedes ‘who cares for joy’. According to Apollodorus, all of Laomedon’s sons were killed except for Podarces, ‘he who sets aside incarnation’, who was bought again by his sister Hesione and took on the name Priam, ‘the repurchased’. Homer on the other hand names some of his sons still living during the War of Troy which took place later on.
This episode indicates that the seeker who has achieved joy in the spirit – for Ganymedes was abducted by Zeus to become the cup-bearer of the gods – is granted a second chance to find the right path, that of a yoga which does not separate spirit and matter, but rather one within which it is no longer the ego that is at the origin of action but the divine. This corresponds to the second phase of yoga described in the Gita, the first being based on attaching oneself to neither acts nor the fruits of such acts, and the second being to conclusively eliminate the ego which carries out action to instead allow the divine to take action through one’s individual self.
This episode also makes clear one of the reasons behind the coming Trojan War, which is that the seeker has remained within an erroneous evolutionary path due to a lack of consecration.

This sack of the city occurs roughly two generations before the Trojan War, for Hector was not yet born and at the time of the war, Priam will be too advanced in years to actively take part as a warrior.
This gap between generations places the sack of Troy at the same period as the Calydonian boar hunt, long before the war led by Agamemnon. It could be deduced that the initiates of ancient times wished to indicate either that that the Trojan error had its roots in a lack of purification of the deepest vital nature, or that the seeker could detect the coming Trojan error within the theoretical process of purification and liberation long before being capable of carrying out the yogic reversal described by the war.

If conversely initiates had taken the trouble of specifying that the adventures which had followed the labours were praxeis or ‘free acts’, it was to indicate that the corresponding level of realisation was that of a liberation in the spirit and psychicisation, and therefore a liberation from fear, desire and ego (of the mental and vital), the seeker having perfectly accomplished the nine first ‘labours’ of which the essential goal was defined by the Nemean Lion and the Lernaean Hydra. These ‘praxeis’ concern those seekers who have come to the end of the ancient forms of yoga and are on route towards the great reversal of the Trojan War. This chapter therefore covers a wide period spanning either side of the Trojan War, which is why it has seemed preferable to place it following the study of the war.
However, there is an episode which along with the sack of Troy can still be associated with the athloi, for it occurs two generations before the Trojan War: the detour at Kos.

The detour at Kos

Upon leaving Toy, Heracles was subjected to a storm unleashed by Hera with the aid of Boreas. The goddess bade Hypnos to cast Zeus into sleep while the hero was dragged towards Kos, far from his own people.
Upon awakening Zeus first turned his anger towards Hypnos, but the latter sought refuge by the side of Nyx. The king of the gods then suspended Hera within the ether, securing two anvils to her feet and tying together her hands with an unbreakable gold chain. When, taking pity for this sight, any of the other gods came near to set her free, Zeus would throw him upon the earth where he would lie immobilised.
When Heracles reached the island of Kos its inhabitants believed that they were under attack. The hero was then obliged to fight to disembark, and slew king Eurypylus in the ensuing fray. He was himself wounded by Chalcodon, but Zeus removed his son far from the site of conflict.
(Pindar mentions the defeat of the Meropes on this occasion).
Then, with the king’s daughter Chalciope Heracles fathered Thessalus, who in turn fathered two children, Pheidippus and Antiphos, who later led the contingent from Kos to Troy.

The beginning of this story reveals a battle within the supraconscient of the seeker between the movement which seeks an indefinite extension of consciousness on all the planes (Zeus) and that which ensures that nothing is left behind within divine laws (Hera).
During a first period it was Hera who persecuted Heracles with her hatred, for she is the force which compels the right movement that can only be obtained at this stage through a deep purification. This is why Boreas, the wind of asceticism, granted its support to the goddess to test the hero.
As part of this trial, the power of the extension of consciousness is first inhibited (Hypnos casts Zeus into a deep sleep).
The seeker is then pulled towards a new opportunity for the opening of consciousness which is far from his customary mode of functioning (he is pulled towards the island of Kos, governed by Eurypylus, ‘a vast doorway’, and led far from his own people). This opening is the result of a work of the subconscient in the establishment of ancient structures (for Eurypylus was a son of Poseidon and Astypalaea, ‘the ancient city’).
When the highest aspect of the seeker situated at the level of the overmind emerges from the slumber in which it had been plunged, it aspires from the highest part of his being to overcome this possibility of a return into the inconscient, but this struggle is still destined to fail for this ‘hypnotism’ is still powerfully linked to the night of the primordial inconscience (Hypnos sought refuge by the side of the daughter of night, Nyx or ‘Night’).
The movement of extension of consciousness then presses down with all its strength against that which continually counterbalances it so that a new possibility of evolution may finally be settled for (Zeus constrains Hera’s capacity for movement). It even puts a stop to any other power of the overmind which would wish to support that which ‘limits’ (Zeus stops the other gods from freeing Hera).
But this first contact with the new path reveals a lack of inner understanding, and the seeker misses the passage of the ‘great doorway’ (the inhabitants of the island believed that they were under attack, and king Eurypylus was killed).
(This event seems to be linked to the conclusive end of the intervention of the logical mind within the process of yoga, the Merops vanquished by Heracles being homonymously associated with the wife of Sisyphus).

Once this lack of understanding has been surmounted, this new opening offers ‘an incontestable and powerful vision’ (Chalciope, ‘a vision of bronze’) for the pursuit of the path (Thessalus). These are the results of the work of the hero in the accomplishment of this vision, associated to a greater humility and discretion despite the importance of his realisations, which will participate in the great movement of yogic reversal of yoga (the Trojan War): ‘a self-limitation in the recourse to one’s own power’ (Pheidippus) and ‘a veil that masks its light’ (Antiphos).

The murder of Cyknus and the wounding of Ares

Heracles came into conflict with a son of Ares named Cyknus, who had entered into a union with Themistonoe, daughter of Ceyx, to whose home the hero was travelling.
The encounter took place at the sanctuary of Apollo at Pagasai, where accompanied by his father, Cyknus, shining resplendently in his armour, stole the sacrificial victims bought by believers (according to Stesichorus, he beheaded travellers to build a temple to Apollo with their heads).
Iolaus, the coach-driver of Heracles’ chariot, drove Heracles’ horses towards Cyknus, amongst them the horse Areion. Just before the conflict began, Athena advised the hero to slay Cyknus and to then attack Ares without attempting to rob the former of his battle-gear. He was however neither permitted to seize the god’s horses, nor his battle-gear.
Heracles then reminded Cyknus that he had already thrice in sandy Pylos struck with his spear his father Ares, who had fallen face downwards to the ground.
The city of the Myrmidons and Iolcus, Arne, Helike and Antheia resounded with the clamour of battle, and Heracles slew Cyknus.
Athena could not restrain Ares who leapt forward to avenge his son, but she did however lessen the power of the god’s spear thrown against the hero’s shield.
Heracles then wounded Ares on the thigh, and he was transported to vast Olympus by his children Phobos and Deimos.

According to Stesichorus, Heracles was first defeated by Cyknus and was obliged to return to defeat him. Pindar only mentions his defeat however.

According to Apollodorus Heracles twice faced a character named Cyknus.
The first time was when he had gone in search of the Apples of the Hesperides on Atlas in the land of the Hyperboreans. On the way there he reached the river Echedoros where Cyknus, son of Ares and Pyrene, provoked him and was instantly killed.
To avenge his son, Ares set up a duel, but Zeus made lightning strike the ground between the two adversaries to put an end to their fighting.
A second encounter occurred following the attempted rape of Deianira by the centaur Nessus, when Heracles came face to face with Cyknus, in this instance the son of Ares and Pelopeia, and slew him.

Amongst the other characters by the name of Cyknus, one was a Trojan son of Poseidon and Calyce, and was killed at Troy by Achilles. (He is however not mentioned by Homer).

The episode recounted here is taken from Hesiod’s poem ‘Heracles’ shield’, which also describes the other great trials of the yogic path. His interpretation rests on an accurate understanding of the character Cyknus, ‘the swan’.
The swan is a bird emblematic of Apollo; at the time of the god’s birth, seven swans were said to fly above the island on which he was born. Although it is closely related to the psychic being (for Apollo is the son of Leto), it is not however its symbol, which is the rose.
White as a dove, the swan symbolises the intuitive and inspired luminous mind resulting from a purified vital, while the former is more closely associated with a pure mind established within a state of peace. This mental light is therefore associated with the manifestation of the psychic being which allows the evolution of yoga beyond asceticism; the swans assisted the birth of Apollo, and were then harnessed to his chariot to bring the god to Hyperborea, the country beyond Boreas, the Northern wind of asceticism.

However, within this myth this mental light originates from the spiritual power which works upon the renewal of forms and strives to develop right thought (Cyknus is a son of Ares, and is united with Themistonoe, ‘thought which follows the law of rectitude, that which is just’). This is not a psychic light but only a light from very high within the world of the spirit, which still belongs to the world of duality and claims to take the place of the light of the heart. It reclaims for its own glory and justification a number of potentialities and energies which in all good faith the seeker wishes to consecrate to psychic growth (the encounter takes place in the sanctuary of Apollo at Pagasai, where Cyknus stole away sacrificial victims). This is the same symbolism that is proposed when the seeker accumulates the ‘trophies’ marking what he has slain within himself whilst thinking that he is establishing a structure appropriate for developing the psychic being (Cyknus beheaded travellers to built from their skulls a temple to Apollo).

Here it is not only a matter of the realisation of mental silence which halts the discursive mind, but of the suppression within the seeker of all mental light still belonging to the world of duality.
The battle then draws near to the very origin of this duality, and the seeker succeeds in weakening its force within himself (Heracles is pitted against Ares, who is wounded on the thigh). This struggle between Ares and the hero also signals the seeker’s first establishment on the overmind plane of the gods and his ability to dominate the forces which rule there. But these forces which manage the world of forms cannot disappear; the seeker must in fact move beyond them and into the supramental.

There are other homonymous characters by the name of Cyknus, all slain by the hero at an advanced stage of the yoga and generally situated around the Trojan War. They symbolise ‘mental lights’ which still belong to the world of duality.

The first of these homonymous characters was a son of Poseidon and Calyce, and ruled over Troad. He was killed by Achilles in the Trojan War. In this instance he is associated with a great nascent light generated by the subconscient within the heights of the mental plane (Calyce, ‘a bud’, can be associated with a heroine who is a daughter of Aeolus within the genealogical lineage of Iapetus).

Another Cyknus described by Apollodorus is linked to the quest of the apples of Knowledge obtained beyond asceticism (in Hyperborea). This concerns the evolution of the inner fire through a work of the right evolution of forms within duality (in this instance, Cyknus is the son of Ares and Pyrene, ‘the evolution of fire’) in the extension of the acquisitions resulting from concentration (Cyknus challenges Heracles on the shores of the river Echedoros, ‘which has boons’, and is killed). If this imperfect light can be put out, time has not however come yet for a confrontation of the seeker with the movement of the destruction of forms (Zeus made lightning strike the ground between Ares and Heracles to put an end to their duel).

The second Cyknus alluded to by Apollodorus, a son of Ares and Pelopeia, intervenes after the attempted rape of Deianira, ‘detachment’, by the Centaur Nessus, ‘that which is not purified at the root of the human mental plane’, and therefore soon before the hero’s death. He too is killed by Heracles.

Hera and Hades wounded by Heracles

We find in the path followed by Heracles several indications that the seeker has at least partly attained the plane of the overmind, sometimes illustrated by the wounds which he inflicts upon the gods.
The wound to Ares’ thigh has already been mentioned here. In the Iliad it is also mentioned that the hero wounded Hera and Hades as well.

It is at Pylos, ‘the doorway’, that Hades was wounded at the shoulder. This event therefore refers to the ‘doorway of the gods’ (which is symbolically linked to the shoulder or clavicles), and therefore to the access to the supramental level.
There are within the yogic process several ‘doorways’ to be crossed, and therefore several cities by the name of Pylos. That of Messenia where Neleus, supported by his father Poseidon, fought Heracles, marks the entry point to the yogic process. It can of course not be identified as the one mentioned here, often referred to as ‘the sandy Pylos’ to indicate that no vital element subsists (linked to water and therefore to vegetation). Passing over the threshold of the gods in fact allows for a descent into the corporeal inconscient (into Hades’ abode) and the beginning of a realisation of unity at that level (the god’s wound).
This entry into the unity of spirit and matter is the source of great abundance and divine wealth. It explains why in certain representations Hades appears to be handing the horn of plenty to Heracles (while the hero is depicted holding the horn himself in other illustrations).

Although in the Iliad it is mentioned just before the wounding of Hades, the wounding of Hera, caused by a triple-tipped arrow to her breast, cannot be precisely situated. It corresponds to the end of the intervention of spiritual consciousness which watched over the right evolution in duality, implying a destruction of forms followed by a reconstruction through the work of her two sons Ares and Hephaestus. But the new movement of evolution, under the impulse of the supramental which must bring the power of Love when the rule of Truth will have been established, must allow for a transformation of forms without the need for their destruction. The equilibrium between the movement of expansion and the force of limitation will then be surpassed by the exactness and direct power of transformation.
In the entry from January 10th 1960 of Mother’s Agenda (Vol 2), one can read:
‘Love is obviously the mightiest, the most integral – integral in that it applies to all cases. It’s even mightier than the power of purification which dissolves bad wills and is, in a way, master over the adverse forces, but which doesn’t have the direct transforming power; because the power of purification must FIRST dissolve in order to form again later. It destroys one form to make a better one from it, while Love doesn’t need to dissolve in order to transform: it has the direct transforming power’.

The light brought into the being by purification and aspiration is however indispensable for attaining this exactness; this is the meaning of the story about Leto’s children Apollo and Artemis, who must become greater gods than Hera’s children and by this mark the first stage of evolution in the yoga of the future.

Eurytion

Eurytion, ‘a vast widening of the highest consciousness’, is a Centaur who carries the same name as the guardian of the herds of Geryon. It would therefore make sense to place this episode within the tenth labour. But in the second volume of this work we have seen that some writers recounted this episode as taking place during the fifth labour at Olenos in the dwelling of Dexamenos, ‘a receptive soul’, who was about to forcefully marry his daughter Mnesimache, ‘she who remains within the logic of battle’, to the Centaur Eurytion.
Irrespective of when it occurred, it is clear that Heracles killed a Centaur who was acting inappropriately, either by forcing himself upon the daughter of his host or by demanding a marriage by force.
It has been said that Centaurs express certain kinds of realisations, at times very advanced, and obtained despite the persistence of a part of the unpurified vital.
If we situate this myth among the last adventures of Heracles, it would also refer to the reversal of yoga.

Augeas and the Molions; the sack of Elis

Heracles sought to avenge himself on Augeas, who had refused to pay him the remuneration agreed upon for having cleaned his stables during the sixth labour.

He had to first face the twin brothers Eurytus and Cteatus, known as the Molionidae and the strongest of their generation, and kill them. Their divine father was Poseidon. They carried the name ‘Molionidae’ from their mother Molione, but were also known as the ‘Actorions’ after their mortal father Actor, brother of Augeas their uncle (in the tradition existing before Homer’s time they were described as Siamese twins, who some sources claim to have been born from a silver egg).
They had previously defeated the army of the hero at Elis. Nestor had faced them at Pylos and had mastered them, but they were then young boys not yet hardened by battle.
Being ill, Heracles first made a truce with the Molionidae. But the latter did not abide by the agreement and slew many amongst the hero’s companions. When came the time of the third round of the Isthmian Games, Heracles ambushed them near Cleonai and killed them. He then marched to Elis and seized the city. There he slew Augeas, king of the Epeians, and all of his sons with the exception of Phyleus, whom he installed back upon the throne.
According to Apollodorus and Pindar, Heracles then established the Olympic Games.

Like the two following ones, this exploit was carried out in the Peloponnese prior to the hero’s residence in Calydon with Deianira, and therefore refers to a process of yoga occurring before the reversal of the Trojan War.
In the sixth labour of Heracles the manure which had accumulated in Augeas’ stables has been interpreted as slag, caused by the ego, of the first ‘luminous experiences’ (Augeas, signifying ‘brilliant light’ or ‘flashes of light’).
Amongst this waste there can be found the consequences of the first great spiritual experience as it is recounted in the Quest of the Golden Fleece, consequences which the seeker must dispose of to avoid the error of the Minotaur and the labyrinth. However, even if within these first stages of the path the seeker agrees to partly purify the consequences of his experiences, he does not renounce reaping profit from these (Heracles agrees to the task in exchange for a certain remuneration). The will, even be it subconscient, of wishing to secure the ‘advantages’ of the spiritual path endures for a very long time under the form of more or less conscious ‘negotiations’ with the Divine.
Even if he cannot enjoy the ‘results’ of these first experiences the hero all the same keeps something of the order of this light, for the son of Augeas pledges allegiance to Heracles and leaves Elis with him (his name, Phyleus, seems to indicate a notion of solidarity, or could be associated with the root phil, ‘love’).
During a more advanced stage of yoga the seeker effaces even the memory of the importance of these first experiences and their repercussions, with the exception of that which causes him to grow in love or in the feeling of unity (Heracles killed Augeas and his sons, with the exception of Phyleus).
Augeas was the king of Elis, a city of the province of Elis to which also belonged the sanctuary of Olympia, symbolic of psychic and spiritual realisations. It therefore seems logical to follow the account of Apollodorus here, who places this anecdote after the sack of Troy.

To put an end to the glorification of past experiences the seeker must first vanquish two oppositions originating from the subconscient and, according to some, closely associated, the Molionides (or Moliones), whose divine father was Poseidon. These obstacles have grown in parallel with the experiences, for the Molionides are the nephews of Augeas, and Nestor, ‘the right evolution of rectitude’, had faced and defeated them when they were still young boys.

Poseidon ‘the force which governs the subconscient’ was their divine father, and Actor, ‘the leader of guide’ or ‘the right movement of the opening of consciousness towards the spirit’, their human father. These brothers therefore represent the indissociable and subconscious consequences of a potent impulse to establish a union in the spirit and in the heart. The first is a ‘vast opening of the spirit’ (Eurytus) probably associated here to a kind of will for power, and the second a will for conquest (Cteatus). When the seeker has achieved these two realisations, these two other movements must be defeated. But when they are but poorly established within the seeker the quest for rectitude is enough to master them (Nestor had defeated them when they were but young boys). On the other hand, having picked up strength the right movement cannot defeat them in a first confrontation, for they were ‘the mightiest of their generation’ (they challenged Heracles at Elis).
Once liberation has been accomplished they are eliminated by the right movement of liberation-purification, though not without having temporarily weakened specific forces of the seeker dedicated to the yoga (they were finally killed by the hero after having slain many of his companions).

The death of the Molionidae and that of Augeas, as well as the sack of Elis, marks the realisation of liberation in the spirit, and therefore the end of the personal yoga, for Heracles established the Olympic Games.
The yoga which had begun with the crossing of a narrow doorway or threshold (the Isthmian games founded by Sisyphus) had continued with the discovery of the task at hand and the entry into the process of purification (the Nemean Games established when the Seven leaders departed for Thebes), followed by the discovery and coming to the first place of the psychic being (the Pythian Games), here sees its accomplishment with the liberation in spirit, the associated experiences of the Self and the entry into the overmind (the Olympic Games).
But while this liberation constituted an apotheosis for most spiritual paths, Homer as well as several other authors probably considered it to only be the beginning of another adventure.

Hippocoon

This episode, which took place after to the sack of Elis, has been discussed in chapter 3 as part of the royal lineage of Sparta.

Auge and Telephus

Auge, ‘a brilliant light’, is the daughter of Aleos, ‘growth in the direction of freedom’, and belongs to the royal lineage of Arcadia which brings to light the developments of ‘endurance’ and ‘detachment’ in yoga.
Heracles entered into a union with her while returning to claim the horses of Laomedon, and she bore him a son by the name of Telephus.
Telephus therefore belongs to the fourth generation originating from Arcas, ‘he who endures’, united with Leanira, ‘who is free from attachment’.
In the preceding chapter we have seen that Telephus had followed his father on the Mysian throne, and had been wounded by Achilles during the first attempted expedition to Troy which led the Achaeans to disembark at Mysia two years after the abduction of Helen.
Here we will go over the main points again.
On their way to Troy, the Achaeans confused this city with the city of Mysia governed by Telephus. Having been wounded, the latter was healed after having indicated to them the path towards their destination.
Well before the reversal of yoga intervenes – for ten years separate one disembarkation from the other, which is to say a full symbolic cycle – the seeker believes that he is fighting against the structures which block evolution, but here it is actually only a matter of a secondary inner structure raised after a powerful experience of light which serves as an orientation for the work of purification-liberation (Heracles in a union with Auge). The seeker has in fact confused:
An inner construction originating from an ascension through the planes of consciousness which has turned back from a complete consecration or ‘surrender to the divine’ (the city of Troy governed by the royal Trojan lineage, symbolic of the illumined mind)
with an inner construction turned towards consecration (the city of Mysia), elaborated by the process of purification-liberation striving to illuminate the being (Telephus is a son of Heracles and Auge, a descendant of Taygete through Leanira who united Arkas).
This union has opened ‘a vast doorway’ which will be closed again during the tipping over of the yogic process (Eurypylus, son of Telephus and of the Trojan Astyoche, will be killed by Neoptolemus at Troy).

Union with Deianira

According to Bacchylides, Heracles wed Deianira upon the completion of his labours, in accordance to the promise made to her brother Meleagros at the time of the hero’s descent into Hades.
Other sources state that following his campaign against Hippocoon the hero decided to settle down in Aetolia in the province of Calydon, for he wished to wed Deianira, daughter of Oeneus and Althaea.
In both of these cases this anecdote can be placed, as it has been seen, in relation to the tenth labour.
The wedding of the hero consecrates the accomplishment of ‘detachment’, a fruit of the work carried out in view of joy (Deianira, ‘she who destroys attachment’ or ‘detachment’, daughter of Oeneus ‘the winegrower’, in a union with Althaea within the lineage of Protogenia), concomitant to the work of purification in the vital (Deianira is the sister of Meleager).
This episode is evocative of a passage from a letter written by Sri Aurobindo to his brother in 1920 and cited in Mother’s Agenda, Volume 3, 21 July 1962, in which he states:
‘So far I have been transforming all the objects and perceptions of the mind and the senses into delight on the mental level.’

But the hero had to first defeat the river Achelous, which had taken the form of a bull to court Deianira.

When the seeker draws near to detachment (to liberation), the movement of cosmic consciousness which aims to take humanity towards a liberation of the spirit of course wishes to take possession of this realisation for its own ends (Deianira was courted by the river Achelous, a current of energy-consciousness which could signify ‘advantageous pain’). The river Achelous was the eldest son of the Titan Oceanos, and therefore the very first current of energy-consciousness to intervene in an evolution in accordance with nature from the beginning of yoga, even before were opened the capacities for concentration which were to engage the process of purification-liberation. The ‘favourable pain’ could then be understood as a suffering which is the motor force of evolution as long as the seeker remains unawakened, and a tool for attaining detachment (when Achelous courts Deianira).
The Achelous River united with one of the muses, who consequently bore the Sirens, who were, it must be remembered, human-headed birds: this current therefore pulls towards the paradise of the spirit and its too-seductive ‘harmonies’.
If the Achelous is the river of ‘necessary suffering’, its union with a muse transforms the latter into a false harmony in the worlds of the spirit and lies outside incarnation (the Sirens). To accomplish a state of detachment, Heracles must therefore defeat the deep current which links man to suffering.

Hence the seeker who is liberated in the spirit must impede his ‘detachment’ from being pulled towards a rejection of the world and of incarnation, and therefore towards the risk of the Trojan error. The Achelous River having taken the form of a bull, this temptation imposes itself upon him as a realisation of the luminous mind to which the seeker must renounce if he wishes to pursue his yoga.
Some sources claim that when the river-bull had capitulated the hero had torn from it one of its horns, the famous ‘horn of plenty’: when the seeker renounces the illusion of such realisations he receives divine gifts in great abundance (it must be remembered that we have also seen in the study on Zeus that the broken horn was taken to be that of the goat which fed the child god, and which the latter offered to his nurse Amalthea).

Then, as the Centaur Nessus helped Deianira cross the Euenos River he attempted to rape her, and Heracles killed the Centaur with one of his arrows. The dying Centaur offered Deianira a little of his blood, which contained the venom of the hydra with which Heracles’ arrow had been coated, telling Deianira that it would serve as a love philtre.

If he wishes to continue within the path of ‘detachment’ the seeker can no longer remain within the frame of a ‘noble and acceptable evolution’ (Deianira must traverse the Euenos River).
But this crossing into unknown regions of yoga needs the intervention of the Centaur Nessus, who is linked to a progression of the circulation of the two currents (his name is formed from the characters Ν+ΣΣ, similarly as that of Ulysses, Δ+ΣΣ). But as all the Centaurs born from Ixion and the cloud of Hera, Nessus expresses a lack of purification in the depths, ‘that which is not purified at the root of the human mind’, and can therefore not master himself. This anecdote reveals the will of the seeker involved in this path of the reunion of spirit and matter to attain detachment in a forceful manner, which then becomes a renunciation. But the seeker halts this movement without realising that the seed of a new illusion has been sown (Heracles killed Nessus, who before dying gave a supposed love philtre to Deianira).
Before its death, this element of the quest which is not entirely purified perverts the will of detachment, making it gleam with a magical sheen which seems able to maintain it at the first plane of yoga; a poison made of the mixture of the essence of a quest for unity that is not perfectly purified and the root of the desire at the origin of life, or in other words the risk of a universal desire.
It must be remembered that Sri Aurobindo very seriously warns against the temptation of opening oneself to universal love ‘before the achievement of a union with the divine is confirmed in its supreme purity’, for then there always remains the risk that universal love may become universal desire.

Deianira bore several of Heracles’ sons, the most renowned of which were Hyllus, Glenus, Ktesippus and Onites.
It is sometimes said that Heracles spent several years in Calydon, for Hyllus was almost of adult age at the time of his father’s death.
Hyllus is ‘he who is very free’ or ‘the double liberation of the mind and the vital’. This episode in Calydon therefore concerns a deep purification within the depths of the vital initiated by the Calydonian boar hunt, a period which opens upon the widening of the energy centres or chakras (the Theban Wars that follow the hunt of a generation).
The hero’s time in Calydon therefore marks the accomplishment of certain realisations within the frame of ‘detachment’. The major realisation is symbolised by Hyllus, ‘a double or very great liberation, ΛΛ’, which is quite advanced at the time of the hero’s death, for Hyllus was then almost of adult age.
Here are also mentioned Glenus, ‘a shining object’ and therefore ‘luminous body or matter’, Ktesippus, ‘he who masters vital energy’, and Onites, ‘he who is efficient in the spirit’ or ‘he who possesses the higher power of the spirit’.
This very great liberation therefore opens upon possibilities for the most advanced realisations which can be attained by a seeker in the process of purification-liberation on the three planes of the physical, vital and mental (see Sri Aurobindo’s Record of Yoga).

Eurytus, Iphitos and Iole

Around the same period as his life with Deianira, Heracles travelled to Oechalia to visit Eurytus and ask for the hand of his daughter Iole in marriage. The latter arranged for an archery contest of which his daughter would be the prize. Heracles won, but the promised prize was denied to him. Thus when Eurytus’ son Iphitos travelled to Tiryns to search for the lost horses of Eurytus stolen by Autolycos, the hero avenged himself by killing him, even though Iphitos was his guest at that time.
Heracles attempted to purify himself of this crime by Neleus, who refused, but Hippolyte’s son Deiphobe accepted to do so.
Despite this the hero was afflicted by a terrible illness resulting from the murder, and travelled to Delphi to seek counsel. The oracle of Apollo answered that he would be cured if he freely accepted being sold into slavery.
(According to Apollodorus, as the Pythian refused to reply to his query Heracles seized the tripod and founded his own oracle. Apollo then attacked the hero, and Zeus was obliged to separate his two sons with a bolt of lightning. The Pythian then agreed to give an answer to his query.)
The hero thus became the slave of Omphale, queen of Lydia in Asia, for the duration of a year (or three according to certain variations). According to some sources, it was Hermes who was entrusted with this transaction into servitude.
From the moment he arrived Heracles was cured from his illness.

Just like Deianira, Eurytus and his children Iphitos and Iole belong to the movement of ascension of the planes of consciousness (or the traversing of the mind) which will determine the path of evolution beyond personal yoga. Everything which is till this point necessary in the yogic practice must give up its place to a new movement.
According to the Catalogue of Women, all of these characters originate from a just impulse, albeit a badly oriented one. In fact Eurytus, ‘a development on the plane of the spirit’, was the son of the ‘divine Melaneus’, who is an association of contradictory notions: ‘divine, just’, and ‘black’, and therefore ‘a badly oriented yoga’. The latter had united with Stratonice, ‘victory through combat’, herself a daughter of Porthaon and therefore the sister of Oeneus the winegrower. Eurytus is therefore the expression of a necessary but false movement which leads to an advanced stage of yoga through struggle and separation. He must therefore be transformed, and in fact he and his sons will later be killed.
Eurytus fathered Clytios, ‘a renowned work’, Toxeus, ‘he who aims for the goal’, Iphitos, ‘he who reaches powerfully towards the heights of the spirit’, and Iole, ‘the liberation of existence-consciousness’. He also fathered a son named Deioneus, whose name can probably be understood as ‘he who halts evolution’, being in relation with the accession to the impersonal Self which causes all will for evolution to cease.
During the first phase of yoga the seeker considers that the ascension is better able to bring him to his aim than is the psychic being (Eurytus claimed rivalry with Apollo in archery). But while ‘victory through combat’ brings about positive results (Clytios, Toxeus) as well as a liberation of consciousness (Iole), it also generates a ‘strong separation of spirit and matter (Iphitos) and a ‘halting of evolution’ (Deioneus).

Even if the work of purification-liberation is revealed to be better able to open the new direction of yoga and to contribute to its realisation (Heracles emerged victorious in the archery contest), the seeker from ‘his high consciousness’ cannot yet reach the resolution of evolving in this manner (Eurytus refused to give Iole to Heracles). He must nevertheless proceed to a number of purifications within the depths of his being (in Omphale’s home) before taking the new path.
But at this turning point of yoga the seeker renounces to pursuing the path of the spirit (Heracles slew Iphitos). However, Homer specifies that Ulysses inherited the bow from Iphitos, which suggests that the means of yoga which serve a concentration on the goal and an elimination of obstacles remain valid in the continuation of yoga.

If the ‘aspiration to liberation (in the spirit)’ does not allow the seeker to justify this reversal, ‘the cessation of all fear’ on the other hand originating from the fluidity of a ‘free vital’, supports the seeker and allows him to carry on with his path (Neleus, ‘that which works towards the liberation (in the spirit)’, refuses to purify, but Deiphobe, ‘he who has slain all fear within himself’, son of Hippolyte, ‘a free vital’, accepts). It must be remembered that the purification of an act which may seem despicable to us always indicates that it is just on the yogic plane.

If the seeker is henceforth liberated on the mental and vital planes, he is not yet so on the physical plane, and the reversal of yoga brings about some weakening (Heracles becomes ill).
In Apollodorus’ version, as the Pythian oracle remained silent Heracles decided to establish his own oracle: when the seeker does not receive any indication from his psychic being, he wishes to leap into the new yoga even without its guidance.
(The chronology given for this episode by Apollodorus has not been retained, for it leads to too many implausibilities.)

When the seeker renounces the pursuit of yoga towards the heights of the spirit he can no longer obey the one who had till then ordered the labours, Eurystheus, ‘a great inner force or a great determination’, or alternatively ‘the power of will’. Then, with the ultimate aim of a deepened purification he freely accepts to submit to the most central inner ‘voice’ at the level of the body that could be associated to the corporeal mind (Omphale). It is the psychic light (or the supraconscient) which shines a light upon the conditions for his ‘cure’ or recovery. He knows that once he is engaged in this servitude, there will be no means of escape (according to the revelations of Pythia, Heracles freely accepted servitude at the home of Omphale, ‘the navel’, or ‘the voice for freedom’).

At this turning point of yoga the psychic being does not seem to be able to guide the yogic process. This is perhaps due to the fact that it is linked to individuality, whereas the yoga of the body concerns humankind as a whole. While we cannot give a more extended explanation on this point, Mother’s Agenda gives abundant proof that the new yoga for which no path has yet been traced necessitates a blind groping of the way forwards.
It is a combination of information given by the psychic and an implementation by the overmind which allows the seeker to reposition himself (Apollo’s oracle informs the seeker and Hermes carries out the transaction).
Omphale was the queen of Lydia, ‘the unity which leads to liberation (Λ+Δ)’: henceforth it will be a work in the body and through the unity of body and spirit which will lead towards greater freedom, while till that point the path had been governed by the psychic being, with the dwelling of Apollo at Delos, ‘union through liberation (Δ+Λ)’. Lydia is the easternmost province of Asia Minor, situated to the south-east of Troad and therefore the symbol of the most advanced yoga.

In this phase, which symbolically lasts for a year, the seeker must still proceed to a number of purifications and transformations.
Heracles carried out several exploits during his servitude.
He razed to the ground the city of the Itonians and turned its inhabitants into slaves, for they were a disreputable, marauding band.
He killed Syleus, who had forced passersby to hoe his vineyard.
He then dealt with the dishonest Cercopes, a vagabond and pillaging group. Although warned by their mother against Melampygus, ‘the man of black buttocks’, the Cercopes attempted to rob the hero of his weapons. Heracles then captured them, suspended them by their heels and brought them as prisoners to Omphale.
Once his enslavement was over, he returned to Oechalia and sacked the city. He killed Eurytus’ other children, while the former fled to Euboea.
Homer adds that Eurytus was killed by Apollo for daring to claim that he rivalled the king in archery.
Then Heracles brought Iole back with him to Trachis, provoking Deianira’s wrath.

If we interpret the term ‘Itonians’ through the structuring characters (Τ+Ν), then this suggests that the seeker must eliminate all the structures which have allowed an evolution towards the liberation in spirit, and which henceforth deplete him of his energy (the Itonians were a marauding band).
He then puts a stop within himself to the constraints instituted upon certain parts of his being in view of purification (Heracles killed Syleus, ‘he who robs or despoils’, who forced passersby to hoe his vineyard).

He then deals with the falsehood at the roots of nature within the depths of the vital (the Cercopes, ‘deceitful men’). These lies strive to utilise the tools of yoga for their own profit (the Cercopes attempted to despoil the hero of his weapons).
In later texts Heracles is sometimes surnamed Melampygus, ‘the man of black or hairy buttocks’, which most probably refers to a powerful vital energy. The Cercopes are then imprisoned and brought to Omphale hung by their heels, which could indicate a possible reversal of this falsehood through its reversal.

Once all of this has been accomplished the seeker can put an end to the last structures and asceticisms linked to the liberation in the spirit (he sacks the city of Oechalia and slays the sons of Eurytus). On its side, the psychic light halts the movement towards the widening of the spirit (Eurytus was killed by Apollo for claiming to be the god’s rival in archery).

The battle of the gods and giants

Sources describing the battle between the gods and Giants are relatively unclear on the point of chronology, even without taking into account that later traditions often confused the Titans and the Giants.
Homer makes no mention of Deianira or of this battle, or even of the rendering divine of Heracles, except in the Nekuia (Canto XI of the Odyssey, which alludes to vanished souls).

It would seem that the term ‘Giant’ has been used in different contexts to describe either dominant forces before the apparition of mental consciousness or at its very earliest beginnings, or to describe specific phases of yoga.

Thus the Giants mentioned by Homer in the Odyssey VII.46 with which there was no question of a battle, evoke realisations obtained due to very advanced capacities or masteries (‘the ardent Giants’), but which must be surpassed for the yoga in incarnation has not reached completion:
‘Eurymedon was once king over the insolent Giants. But he brought destruction upon his presumptuous people and was himself destroyed. The youngest of his daughters was Periboea, the most beautiful of all women. With Periboea Poseidon begat a son, great-hearted Nausithous, who first ruled over the Phaeacians and lead his people to Scheria because he was being attacked by the Cyclops.
Nausithoos, in turn, became the father of Alcinoos who married Arete, daughter of his brother Rhexenor, who was killed by Apollo just after his wedding.
Alcinoos succeeded his father as king of the Phaeacians.

At the opening of this myth Homer in a few words alludes to the passage of a period in which the seeker has acquired powerful capacities governed by a vast mastery (the ardent Giants, of which Eurymedon is king). But this ardour is also linked to a certain degree of presumption, which puts an end to this realisation. However, the last consequence of mastery leads towards ‘all that concerns the process of incarnation’ and is therefore situated within the right path (Eurymedon’s youngest daughter was Periboea, ‘the most beautiful woman of her time’).
The process of yoga is then directed by the subconscient and brings about a fast-paced evolution, allowing for the appearance of forces whose role is to make the seeker cross ‘the barriers of inconscience’ (the son of Periboea and Poseidon is Nausithous, ‘he who sails or navigates swiftly’, first king of the Phaeacians).
At this point of the path the seeker must make a clear distinction between that which is revealed by his power for intuitive vision and by new ‘luminous perceptions’, which he must protect from the former ones by bringing them to the body (by bringing his people, the Phaeacians, ‘the luminous consciousness which opens’, into Scheria, ‘a firm earth’).
Two movements surge forth from this evolution.
‘A powerful intelligent will’ or ‘an indomitable spirit’ which will henceforth govern the passage towards ‘the new supramental light’ (Alcinoos, ‘a powerful spirit’, king of the Phaeacians).
A ‘piercing’ movement which is halted by the psychic light when one wishes to apply it to the yogic work, most probably because it leaves too much behind that is not sufficiently purified (Rhexenor, ‘he who pierces through enemy lines’, was killed by Apollo). However, this movement was to allow the goal of yoga to be identified, for Rhexenor fathered a daughter named Arete, ‘she who is exalted’, who married his brother Alcinoos.
This ‘exaltation of matter’ henceforth becomes the goal of the seeker gifted with an ‘indomitable will’ (Alcinoos married Arete).
The Giants mentioned in this passage of the Odyssey therefore have no relation with those who faced the gods in a battle, and refer to the most advanced movements of yoga.
A commentary on the Odyssey even affirms that ‘Homer did not know of the anecdotes retold by later poets, and did not know that the Giants were monstrous in appearance and had snake-shaped feet, nor that they dwelt in Phlegrae and battled against the gods’. If it is possible to argue against this statement – for we will see with the study on the Odyssey that many of Ulysses’ battles were fought against the Giants which will be discussed later in this study – one must turn towards other sources to find an account of this battle.

We will be following that of Apollodorus, even though this author placed this battle just after the war of the gods against the Titans, wrongly so according to our understanding for Heracles’ intervention would then be incomprehensible.
Other authors seem to place it after the apotheosis of the hero, which is to say when the hero had realized psychisation and accessed to non-duality considered to be an effacement of the ego (one who is imperturbable, unshakeable, free from attachment and aversion, beyond preference itself), which seems on the other hand to be quite logical.

The Giants were sons of Gaia and Ouranos born at Phlegrae.
They were unmatched in size and strength and frightening in appearance, and their lower limbs were covered with snake scales. Porphyrion and Alcyoneus were the most powerful amongst them. The latter was even immortal as long as he was fighting upon the land on which he was born. It was he who led out of Erythia the oxen of Helios the sun, which became the cause of the war.
There existed an oracle amongst the gods which stated that the Giants could only perish if a mortal allied with a god against them. When she learned this, Gaia went in search of a drug which would protect her children the Giants against death. She may have even begged Zeus himself to spare them. But the latter forbade Eos the Dawn, Selene the moon and Helios the sun to show themselves, and ahead of Gaia, he himself picked the plant while appealing through Athena to the alliance of Heracles.
The Giants hurled rocks and flaming oak trees into the sky.

Like the Titans, the Cyclops and the Hundred-Handed Giants, those Giants are entities of the second divine generation. However, they are set apart by the fact that they are not immortal. They do not therefore represent forces belonging to the world of unity, but rather elements which have been utilised at a given point of evolution but must disappear.
They appear at Phlegrae, ‘that which opposes itself to the fire (of evolution)’, or according to some upon the Pallene peninsula, ‘the maintenance of stability’, and it is in a plane of the latter that the battle took place.
According to some sources they represent forces or mechanisms which have come into play at the beginning of evolution and allow for the stabilisation of forms, principally corporeal ones. In the eyes of the seeker who aims not only at the descent of divine powers within himself but also at transformation (the ultimate phase of yoga according to Sri Aurobindo), they are therefore forces of gigantic stature ‘unmatched in size and strength’. These forces are still impregnated by the evolutionary power from which they originate, for their lower limbs are covered with snake scales.

Amongst these forces, two particularly powerful ones constitute the greatest resistance to transformation.
One of these is symbolised by Porphyrion, ‘that which rises up bubbling’, expressing the primordial quality of life erupting into matter through explosive eruptions. (Refer to Mother’s Agenda.)
The other is represented by Alcyoneus, ‘evolutionary power’ at the root of mentalised life, which is constituted by indefinite repetitions in circular or spiralling movements. This movement remains indestructible as long as its roots remain within matter (he remained immortal as long as he fought upon the land on which he was born). This Giant was so powerful in his opposition to transformation that he was able to reclaim for his own use the realisations of the supramental light (he was the one to lead the oxen of Helios out of Erythia). This detail does not appear in all manuscripts, and must therefore be considered with great prudence.

At this stage of yoga it is no longer a play of the forces of nature and of the spirit which must lead evolution, but rather an alliance of the powers of the spirit and of human consciousness: man must be allied to the gods to actively participate in his evolution for it then becomes a question of surpassing the laws of nature, the mind not being able to rise above himself. This is why ‘there existed amongst the gods an oracle which stated that the Giants could only perish under the alliance of a mortal with the gods’, which is also why none of the Giants perished without the hero’s involvement, as in their agony all were struck by Heracles’ arrows. While Heracles is almost always depicted by Zeus’ side, Dionysus’ involvement seems to have been introduced at a later time.
This participation of the pioneer of the species requires the progressive establishment of a complete transparency to the point of removing the least personal reaction, including from within the body.
But Nature submitted to the principle of stabilisation – and therefore of inertia – refuses transformation and opposes it through all possible means (Gaia went in search of a drug for her children the Giants so as to protect them from death).
The supraconscient then inhibits all higher lights which, because they are expressions of Truth, could allow what is in existence to find a way of maintaining itself due to an excessively swift transformation, and instead calls upon ‘human’ consciousness for transformation (Zeus forbids the manifestation or appearance of Eos, ‘the light which announces what is new’, Selene, ‘true individuality’, and Helios, ‘supramental light’, and calls for Heracles’ intervention). In fact, the seeker must ‘grope’ his way forward to open the new path, for the ‘powers of Truth’ only intervene where perfect transparency has been achieved.

Heracles then struck Alcyoneus with his arrows. When having fallen to the ground the latter was regaining strength, Heracles, following the advice of Athena, took him away from Pallene, and it is thus that he died.
Porphyrion having precipitated himself against Heracles and Hera, Zeus awoke within him a desire to possess the goddess. As the Giant tore away her garments and was on the point of raping her, Hera cried out for help. Zeus then struck Porphyrion down with a lightning bolt, and Heracles ended his life with his arrows.
Then Apollo shot an arrow into Ephialtes’ left eye, and Heracles another into his right.
Dionysus slew Eurytus with a blow of his thyrsus.
Hecate killed Clytios with her flaming torches.
Hephaestus killed Mimas with smouldering hot and red iron projectiles.
Athena flung the island of Sicily upon Enceladus, and then flayed Pallas alive, covering her body with his skin.
Poseidon pursued Polybotes across the sea. The latter reached Kos, and the god flung upon him a fragment of the island later known as Nisyros.
Wearing Hades’ helmet, Hermes slew Hippolytus.
Artemis killed Gration.
The Moirae killed Agrios and Thoon, who fought with bronze clubs.
The others were struck down by Zeus’ lightning bolts, and in agony were all struck by Heracles’ arrows.

The symbolism of the Giants’ deaths corresponds to very advanced yogic experiences. A description of this can be found in Mother’s Agenda, as well as in some of Sri Aurobindo’s works.
Here we will only attempt a cursory overview, as not being directly recorded by initiates the sources available on this topic must be approached with caution.

Alcyoneus, ‘evolutionary power’: above we have described the powerful force linked to the first mentalisation of life and locked within the necessity for the stabilisation of forms (Alcyoneus at Pallene: Pallas+N). At first the seeker vainly strives to come to an end of this, for what he believes he has defeated immediately reappears.
The Halcyon was a bird which nested on beaches just at the edge of the waves and sung in a plaintive tone. It is therefore the symbol of a mental habit situated at the boundary-line between matter and the vital world. The giant Alcyoneus can then probably be associated with the plane which Sri Aurobindo refers to as ‘the physical mind’, considered to be a great obstacle by the Greek masters of wisdom. This refers to the part of the mind involved in the interaction with the material world, and to which one normally pays little attention. It is characterised by defeatism, incredulity and anxiety about everything. The highest ‘witness consciousness’ (Athena) informs the seeker that the only means of defeating the Giant are to separate him from his stabilising base. It must be noted that Pindar discusses the battle of Heracles against Alcyoneus separately, and places it just after the defeat of the Merops at Kos and before the war against the Giants.

Porphyrion, ‘that which lifts up bubbling’, could be an expression of the fundamental nature of the manifestation of the force of life in matter, and no longer its modus operandi. This too must be transformed so as to allow another mode of functioning of the body and the transformation of its organs.
It would only be possible to put a stop to this force when the seeker succeeds in eliciting within it a desire to unite with the power of the overmind which watches over the evolution of the whole (Zeus awakened within Porphyrion the desire to possess Hera, which allowed him to strike him down with a bolt of his lightning). In other words, that which deeply blocks the transformation of the archaic vital processes can only be defeated if the seeker allows it to manifest itself in its full potency, probably risking the failure of the yogic endeavour as a whole and possibly even physical death.

Ephialtes, ‘that which oppresses’, which is to say ‘anxiety’: this Giant probably refers to a fundamental anxiety or fear of disappearance. To be able to defeat it one must impede it from perceiving what is provoking it, creating an absolute detachment within oneself (Apollo and Heracles blind him).

Eurytus: within this context, Eurytus is perhaps to be understood as a principle of separation. He is killed by the ecstasy resulting from union with the Divine (Dionysus killed Eurytus with a blow of his thyrsus).

Clytios ‘the renowned’: ‘well established’ processes are removed by the power which has ‘exited from error’, which is outside ‘the blinding of the spirit’ and handles the first glow of Truth (Hecate killed Clytios with the fire of burning torches).

Mimas, ‘the process of repetition’, is put an end to by the overmind force that creates forms (Hephaestus killed Mimas).

Enceladus, ‘the vibration of excitement’, disappears through the action of the inner master, who brings it face to face with a ‘lack of sincerity’ (Athena flings the island of Sicily at Encelade).

Pallas: if we understand this name in the sense of a force ensuring stability and cohesion, it must evidently cease to allow transformation to take place (Athena killed Pallas and covered her body with his skin). Only the inner master (and the witness consciousness) must maintain its stability, everything else being susceptible to transformation. The Giant Pallas must of course not be confused with Athena’s childhood playmate, who was inadvertently killed by the goddess.

Polybotes, ‘that which nourishes abundantly’ or ‘different modes of nourishment’: the subconscient tracks down within the vital the processes which feed the current structure till he is able to understand its mechanism (Poseidon pursued Polybotes across the sea till the island of Kos, and flung upon him a fragment of the island later known as Nisyros).

Hippolytus, ‘a constrained, or conversely, unbridled energy of life’: it is the overmind in its function of exact receptive intuition, manifesting itself through mental silence which leads the vital to its just expression (Hermes, wearing Hades’ helmet of invisibility, slew Hippolyte).
(The significance of the name of the Giant killed by Athena, Gration, remains a mystery.)

The Moirae, ‘powers which settle destiny’, put an end to the impetuousness and violence of the ruling forces at the roots of life (the Moirae killed Agrios, ‘wild and violent’, and Thoon, ‘prompt’, who fought with bronze clubs).

To the battle against the Giants must perhaps be added that of Heracles against Geras, ‘old age’, only depicted on fifth century BCE pottery. In fact, if access to the unity of matter and spirit is the essential goal of the most advanced yoga, a victory over the ageing of the cells of the body is a corollary which the ancient seers must have intuited.

The sack of Oechalia, the death of Heracles and his apotheosis

Looking at the end of the hero’s adventures, we will consider that the war of the gods against the Giants took place after his death and apotheosis.

Having reached the end of his period of servitude to Omphale, Heracles returned to Oechalia, burned down the city and bade the herald Lichas to bring Iole to him at Trachis.
It has been seen that Eurytus, ‘a great development on the plane of the spirit’, had refused to grant to the hero the hand of his daughter Iole, ‘the (integral) liberation of consciousness’, even though Heracles had won her as a prize in their archery contest. Heracles had then slain Eurytus’ son Iphitos. Although he had been cleansed from this murder by Deiphobe, he was beset by an illness from which he could not recover unless he submitted to a year of servitude under Omphale, queen of Lydia.
The seeker must in fact still undergo a lengthy period of purification within his body while following its orders, a purification to which he must willingly submit with the knowledge that there will be no way of interrupting this yoga once he is engaged in it (Heracles becomes Omphale’s slave).
Having completed this purification, he destroys ‘the structures previously established for a liberation in the spirit’ (once freed from this servitude the hero sacked Oechalia, the city over which ruled Eurytus).
It must be remembered that Eurytus had been Heracles’ teacher in the art of archery: a vast opening in the spirit had allowed a sharpened refinement of the direction of yoga. It is the psychic light which has unveiled this aim and the means of attaining it, which were to be transmitted till the conclusion of this yoga (Apollo had given him his bow, which was then passed on to Ulysses through his son Iphitos). But beyond the liberation in the spirit only the psychic is capable of leading the seeker on the path of evolution in keeping with truth (Eurytus was killed by Apollo).

It is Lichas, ‘concentration in view of liberty’, who led Iole to the dwelling of the hero at Trachis, ‘harsh’, announcing difficult tests or ordeals ahead.

From this episode onwards, accounts vary depending on the moment in which the different writers situate the death of Heracles during the three last labours, moving from a psychic and spiritual ransformation to the beginnings of a yoga in the body.
All however have taken up Homer’s version, who describes the hero’s apotheosis in company of the immortal gods and his union with Hebe, the principle of eternal youth. Daughter of Zeus and Hera, Hebe symbolises the highest level attained by the seeker, that of the liberated individual who has acceded to the overmind and to non-duality in the spirit. Having torn out the roots of desire and ego (of that which creates a sense of separation), the seeker attains the stage of the liberated individual and can live the present moment in joy.
The end of the hero’s life is described differently by various authors:

Homer
In the Iliad, Homer affirms that the powerful Heracles did not escape death, for Hera’s anger and his own destiny (moira) triumphed over him. Like Hesiod, he makes no mention of Iole nor of the death of the hero being caused by Nessus’ blood.
In the Odyssey it is understood that after his death the hero dwells in two different places; on Olympus, where he is united with Hebe and lives in the company of the gods, and in Hades, where his eidolon (or shadow double) converses with Ulysses. (We will leave aside the question of whether Canto XI, also known as the Nekuia, was a later addition. Writers commenting on this have deduced from this double self that it manifested itself with the nous or phren of the hero, which was for them surprising.)

From this double place of dwelling one can deduce that the seeker has not only completed his personal yoga, but that he has also begun the yoga of the body.
The union of the hero with Hebe, goddess of ‘eternal youth’, a symbol of an establishment within the instant and ‘a ceaseless adaptation to the movement of becoming’: eternal youth in the Spirit is realised, and from then on the hero searches for that of the body (the name Hebe is in fact formed from the character Beta, symbol of incarnation).

Sophocles
Sophocles and other writers after him presented a different image of the hero’s death, which they situate within an earlier phase of yoga.
Learning of Iole’s arrival, Deianira feared that Heracles would love Iole more than he loved her. To ensure his love she then poured over a tunic the love philtre which the Centaur Nessus had given her, and had it taken to Heracles.
As the poison consumed his flesh Heracles strove to tear the tunic from his body, but it adhered to his skin. He then ordered Hyllus, the eldest of his and Deianira’s sons who was then but an adolescent, to build him a funerary pyre atop Mount Oeta on which he could immolate himself (in another version of this tale, Heracles himself built the pyre). Then upon learning what she had brought about, Deianira committed suicide. Before climbing onto the pyre, the hero had asked Hyllus to wed Iole when he reached a mature age so that no other man could make her his wife.

At this stage the seeker has attained a high level of detachment (Deianira), but this liberation is tainted with the seed of a magical illusion which leads him to believe that he possesses the power of love (Deianira already possesses the love philtre given by Nessus).
He however feels obliged to no longer consider detachment as the principal aim of yoga if he wishes to advance towards greater freedom (Deianira fears that Iole may take her place in Heracles’ heart). For the later phase of yoga detachment in fact constitutes the greatest obstacle, for it can divert from action.
The Mother explains that in fact the state of endurance which does not allow itself to be shaken by anything becomes a very difficult obstacle to surmount even though it is an indispensable step:
‘But this particular state of endurance – this endurance that nothing can upset – is very dangerous. And yet it’s indispensable, for you must first accept everything before having the power to transform anything.
It’s what Sri Aurobindo always said: FIRST you must accept EVERYTHING – accept it as coming from the Divine, as the Divine Will; accept without disgust, without regret, without getting upset or impatient. Accept with a perfect equanimity; and only AFTER that can you say, “Now let’s get to work to change it.”
But to work to change it before having attained a perfect equanimity is impossible’. (Mother’s Agenda Vol 1, 17th December 1960.)
And so the seeker clings with all his strength to this ‘detachment’ and thus lives within a profound contradiction, an attachment to detachment that is seen as the supreme realisation of yoga. The seeker then imposes on to the yoga, without being entirely conscious of it, a combination of ‘the essence of an imperfectly purified quest for unity’, or in other words the danger of universal desire (Deianira offers Heracles a tunic impregnated with a poison made of the blood of Nessus and the venom of the Hydra).
The seeker cannot by his own strength alone free himself of this ‘poison impregnating his flesh’ (the tunic adhered to Heracles’ body). To conclude this phase of yoga, there is no other choice than that of accepting the test of the fusion with the process of destruction, the root of separation.
He then submits himself radically to the purifying fire which consumes him, thus eliminating the suffering that is associated with separation (the hero or his son builds the pyre upon which he immolates himself).
It is this ultimate purification which liberates the root of desire and ego which gives him access to the non-duality of the overmind and to the present moment (Heracles gains access to Olympus and enters into a union with Hebe).
Thus is concluded the journey of Heracles, ‘the glory of the right movement’ upon Mount Oeta, ‘an accomplished destiny’.
That which dies of its own will is attachment to detachment, which is also the last vestige of renouncement (Deianira commits suicide).
But the process of yoga cannot halt there, and the goal which must assert itself henceforth beyond ‘equality’ is an evolution towards a higher degree of freedom – the complete liberation of Nature in the sense given by Sri Aurobindo. This is why Iole, ‘integral liberation’, is given by the dying Heracles to his son Hyllus, ‘a very great freedom’.
No yoga but that of a quest for a perfect freedom through purification and consecration will be able to claim the right to conquer integral freedom (Hyllus will have to marry Iole so that no other man can claim her as his wife).
Thus even if the seeker has attained freedom from all judgement, preference, desire and movements of disgust or repulsion, he will still have to conquer freedom in the body.

The first generations of the Heraclides

The term Heraclides refers not only to the children of Heracles, but to his entire line of descent.
The word utilised by the ancient seers for the return to Thebes of the hero’s children is καθοδος, signifying not only ‘return’ but also ‘descent’. It is in fact no longer a question of an ascent towards the spirit but of a descent into matter with the aim of purification (Thebes).
Apollodorus gives a list of the numerous children which the hero fathered with different women: with the daughters of Thespius the king of Attica, himself the son of Erechtheus, with Deianira – Hyllus, Ctesippus, Glenus and Onites, to which group some authors add a daughter by the name of Macaria -, and finally with Megara and Omphale. Here we will only discuss the return to Thebes, followed by the reconquest of the Peloponnese by the descendants of Hyllus, Deianira’s eldest son.

Eurystheus became the king of Thebes and banished the children of Heracles, who sought refuge with Ceyx and then at Athens with the sons of Theseus, Acamas and Demophon. Eurystheus then threatened war upon Athens if the children were not handed over to him. But the Athenians refused to do so, and war broke out.
Despite his advanced years Iolaus took up arms, and Eurystheus was killed in the ensuing battle. His sons, Alexander, Iphimedon, Eurybios, Mentor and Perimedes, did not survive either, allowing the Heraclides to return to Thebes.
The death of Eurystheus, ‘a great force (or personal will)’ which set out Heracles’ labours marks the accomplishment of the personal yoga.
His children’s names express a desire to pursue the yoga on the same bases as before, which is to say mastery, liberation and the rejection of external nature: Alexander, ‘he who rebuffs man’, Iphimedon, ‘(that which works towards) a great mastery’, Perimedes, ‘(which aims at) everything that involves mastery’, and Eurybios, ‘a wide life (a purified vital)’ .

The new yoga seems to begin in a right direction; Heracles’ children seek refuge with a homonymous Ceyx, ‘consciousness opening to that which descends’, and then with the sons of Theseus, king of Athens: Demophon, ‘superior consciousness penetrating into the numerous parts of the being’, and Acamas, ‘the indefatigable’.
But the power of the preceding movement is still strongly present within the being (Eurystheus demands that the children be handed over to him), bringing about an inner conflict (the Athenians refuse to give in to this request).
The voice and/or vision of consciousness with used to direct the work of purification-liberation is again mobilised for battle (Heracles’ chariot driver Iolaus takes up arms again). The great inner strength or determination with carries out the personal yoga till the point of union in the spirit ends its course of action here, as does any desire to resume the ancient methods of yoga (Eurystheus and his sons are killed).

Regarding the continuation of this narrative we only possess later sources, principally those by Apollodorus which must be considered with all customary reserves. They include many names, but few elements to illuminate an understanding of them. We will however attempt to give an explanation of them below.

Following the death of Eurystheus the Heraclides attacked the Peloponnese and seized all of its cities. But a year after this an epidemic broke out, and the oracle interrogated about this outbreak declared that they had returned too early. Consequently they departed from the Peloponnese and settled in Marathon.
Heracles’ son Hyllus again consulted the oracle, who answered that they would have to wait for the third harvest to return. But he interpreted the oracle wrongly, believing that it referred to three years. Thus, when at the end of three years he carried out an offensive, his army was defeated and he was himself killed.
Aristomachos, grandson of Hyllus by Cleodaeus, also consulted the oracle, who replied that he would claim victory if he chose ‘the narrow passage’. But he was however defeated along with his army and killed, the Peloponnese being under the command of Tisamenos, son of Orestes.
Finally Aristomachos’ son Temenus again consulted the oracle, who gave him the same answer. He then lashed out against the oracle, who then revealed to him that his revelations were being wrongly interpreted; the third harvest did not allude to the third year but to the third generation, and the narrow passage did not refer to an Isthmus, but to the ‘oceanic depth’ to the right side of the Isthmus.
Temenus then prepared the army and built ships at Naupacte to form an expedition, which was to be led by himself and his two brothers Cresphontes and Aristodemos. But the latter was struck down by lightning, and his place taken by his two sons Procles and Eurysthenes.
A soldier-soothsayer began reciting oracles in fits of inspired transport, and as they believed that he might be a sorcerer sent by the enemy he was killed by Hippotes. Then calamity was again unleashed upon the army, the fleet was destroyed, the ground troops suffered famine and the army dispersed.
The oracle who was then consulted replied that this misfortune had been unleashed in consequence of the killing of the soldier-soothsayer, and advised Temenus to banish his murderer for the duration of three years and instead take as his guide ‘the three-eyed being’.
The leaders of the expedition then came across Oxylus riding a one-eyed horse, which they interpreted as the awaited sign and took him as their guide.
They then finally emerged victorious and slew Orestes’ son Tisamenos.

The seeker now wishes to resume the process of liberation-purification, and for this aim gathers under his banner the yogic methods elaborated by his aspiration (the Heraclides return to Thebes and seize all the cities of the Peloponnese, the land of Pelops, son of Tantalus).
But this undertaking is premature, and brings about physical disorder so that the seeker is obliged to retreat for a given period.
Then, due to an erroneous interpretation of the messages of his intuition, he provokes in his impatience a halt in the integral yoga (Hyllus, ‘the very free’, is killed).

A long time afterwards he again attempts to resume the yogic process by mobilising all of his best capacities. However he again interprets his intuitions wrongly. Although he is a warrior of light and has chosen the ‘narrow path’, he must in fact complete the purification of his karma (Aristomachos, ‘the excellent warrior’ is defeated by the army of Tisamenos, ‘he who pays his dues’, son of Orestes, ‘he who stands upon the mountain’, who was himself a son of Agamemnon.)
A generation later, which is to say in the fourth generation after Heracles, as the seeker still holds the same intuition of the path, he goes through the filter of his ‘spirit positioned at the highest point of consciousness’ (Temenus), finally understanding that he has lost his way on false paths.
For he was to go through the ‘ocean depth’, which is to say plunge into the depths of the vital.

It is then from the heights of his spirit that the seeker prepares himself for the new yoga, filling in all the weaker points of his nature (he builds his ships at Naupaktos, ‘that which caulks vessels’).
Although he receives extraordinary intuitions from his most ordinary nature, he mistakens their origin and believes them to have been sent by what is known in yoga as ‘adverse forces’ (they believed that the soldier-soothsayer who recited oracles in fits of inspired transport was a sorcerer sent by the enemy, and Hippotes slew him). In other words, the seeker believes that what is brought up to his consciousness through the action of yoga actually belongs to darkness and must be rejected. Through his high degree of mastery of the vital he then removes this source, and again the work accomplished is lost and must be begun again (calamitous events were unleashed upon the army, its fleet was destroyed, its ground troops subjected to famine and its army dispersed).

When he examines these events by the light of his psychic intuition the seeker understands that what has induced the error must be set aside from the path for a complete cycle of maturation (Hippotes must be banished for a duration of ten years).
He must take as his guide ‘a three-eyed being’, perhaps symbolically associated with the ‘third eye’ (Ajna).
He then understands that it is that which works at the ‘point of freedom’ (Oxylus) which can lead him on the path. It is in this way that the higher spirit can put a conclusive end to the personal karma then revealed to him (Temenus, ‘higher consciousness’, can slay Tisamenos, ‘he who pays his dues’, son of Orestes, ‘he who stands upon the mountain’). It is a confirmation of the passage from a personal yoga to a yoga for humankind as a whole. He is aided in this task by ‘the suspension of mental workings in a unilateral manner’ (Cresphontes), and also by ‘an incitement to go forward’ (Procles) and ‘a great power’ (Eurysthenes).

The last of the Heraclides

We lack reliable sources in attempting to analyse the last generations of the Heraclides. Except for their names we only have some succinct details given by the historian Pausanias in the second century AD, which must be considered with prudence even if it can be supposed that this author compiled his work from reliable sources.
Even though the number of generations cited by Pausanias is impressive – more than twenty after Heracles – we will limit ourselves here to the first five within the line of descent of Hyllus, ‘a great freedom’, through which we can perceive the lines of direction of the next stages of yoga.
In the study above we have seen that Hyllus fathered a son named Cleodaeus, ‘the renowned destroyer’, which most probably indicates the great cleansing which the adventurer of consciousness carries out in relation to his certainties on the nature of the yoga (Cleodaeus was the father of Aristomachos, ‘the best warrior’).
Hyllus and Aristomachos both perished in the attempted conquests of the Peloponnese due to not having correctly interpreted the oracle’s messages. However, as mentioned above the army of the Heraclides under the leadership of Temenus finally conquered the Peloponnese.

The victors then drew lots to decide to whom would be given the cities of Argos, Sparta and Messenia.
Thus were instituted three lineages or directions of yoga.

The first lineage is that of Temenus, ‘higher consciousness’, which established itself in Argos, and is therefore associated to light and Knowledge. As seen above, this hero put an end to personal karma.
He favoured the couple of his daughter Hyrnetho united with Deiphontes, to the disadvantage of his three sons: the seeker privileges ‘the right movement of inner growth’ which must henceforth be attained through a transformation that is free of destruction (Hyrnetho in union with Deiphontes is he who ‘kills what he destroys’) to the detriment of the other yogic movements. It is the principle of transformational Love as final goal.

The second lineage expresses the notion of the middle way, for its founder Cresphontes settled at Messene, ‘the evolution which holds itself in the middle’, but was killed along with his two sons by Polyphontes, ‘he who destroys to a great degree’ (he who undertakes numerous cleansings of what is ancient).
His youngest son Aepitus, ‘very elevated, inaccessible and/or very deep’, reclaimed the throne: a path of equilibrium, the right path of the middle way, allows the adventurer of consciousness who has proceeded to numerous cleansings in the ancient forms of yoga to lift himself into inaccessible heights to the same extent as he descends into the depths of consciousness.

Finally, this last lineage led by Aristodemos, ‘the best region’, or by his two sons, who could not be distinguished one from the other: Procles, ‘that which calls forward’, and Eurysthenes, ‘a great power’, expressing the necessities linked to this new yoga. In fact Procles united with Lathria, ‘she who hides herself’, who bore him a son named Sous, ‘he who is infallible’, and Eurysthenes wed Anaxandra, ‘the feminine which directs’, both daughters of Thersander, ‘burning man’ (the inner fire).
From what we have been able to comprehend, the power possessed by the seeker who has attained this level of evolution is such that he is obliged to veil it to the sight of others while maintaining an attitude of total receptivity and consecration.
In addition there appears within consciousness an infallible certainty and an attitude of complete consecration which allows the Divine to direct the being as a whole (Sous and Anaxandra).

This episode underlines the fact that the new yoga takes as its basis the most seemingly insignificant movements of corporeal consciousness and its habits within daily life.

THE TROJAN WAR (THE ILIAD)

Break the moulds of the past, but keep safe its gains and its spirit, or else thou hast no future’.

Sri Aurobindo, Aphorism 238

All division in the being is an insincerity.
The greatest insincerity is to carve an abyss between one’s body and the truth of one’s being.
When an abyss separates the true being from the physical being, Nature immediately fills it with all the hostile suggestions, of which the most deadly is fear and the most pernicious, doubt.
Allow nothing, nowhere, to deny the truth of your being: that is sincerity.

Mother’s Agenda, 17 October 1958

THE SEEKER’S REALISATIONS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE WAR

The legend of the Trojan War, handed down to us in detail in the Iliad, describes the challenge of carrying out a reversal between ancient forms of yoga – which do not consider the possibility of man being rendered divine, but aim to bring humankind forward solely through an individual liberation into the paradise of the spirit – and newer forms of yoga which reject this stance and aspire to an evolution of humankind as a whole, moving towards a divinised humanity through an integral transformation of human nature. This war illustrates the rejection of a sole personal accomplishment, represented by the Trojan coalition, and a quest for a higher truth incarnated by Helen, who was married to Menelaus, a hero of the Achaean coalition. While this illustrates an inner battle, it also probably expresses an opposition between different currents of Greek spirituality of that period.
It is probably useful to remember that the action is carried out in the tenth and last year of the Trojan War.

According to the masters of wisdom of ancient Greece, this reversal would occur when under the pressure of his aspiration the seeker seeks to rise to the plane of the intuitive mind.
In fact, the royal dynasty of Troy belongs to the plane of the illumined mind within the genealogical line of descent of the Pleiad Electra (Diagram 16). But as heroes placed within the genealogical lineage of Tantalus, ‘aspiration’ (diagram 15), the plane towards which Agamemnon and Menelas tend is the next plane of the intuitive mind, or intuition, for these two kings were respectively wed to Clytaemnestra, ‘a wisdom of great renown’, and Helen, ‘an evolution towards greater freedom’. Both sisters belong to the genealogical lineage of Taygete, which represents the intuitive mind (diagram 13). It must however be noted that the corresponding yoga represented by Agamemnon and Menelas has been established on a foundation of the higher mind, for Hippodamia, ‘vital mastery’, is their grandmother, her own mother or grandmother being Sterope, ‘the higher mind’.

The Trojan War is therefore representative of an inner battle with the aim of discerning the best path for reaching a greater freedom brought by the intuitive mind, that of the pursuit of yoga in the process of separation of spirit and matter (the Trojans), or that of aspiration allied to the purification of the depths (the Achaean coalition supported by Achilles’ Myrmidons).

It would therefore seem that the lack of consecration which has led to the separation of spirit and matter occurs when the seeker truly establishes himself within the illumined mind with a simultaneous lack of ‘surrender’ illustrated by Laomedon’s perjuries.

The first was to refuse to give the gods Apollo and Poseidon the agreed upon compensation for their aid in building the Trojan citadel. This is to say that the seeker has not yet accomplished the second stage of yoga as described in the Bhagavad Gita; even if he has renounced the results of action, he has not yet entirely dissociated himself from the conviction of being himself the author of these actions.

The second act of perjury consisted of refusing to give Heracles the immortal white horses which he had been promised as a prize for the liberation of Hesione, bound to a rock in the ocean as an offering to the sea monster. These immortal white horses symbolise powers acquired by the work of yoga. As Heracles is the hero who incarnates the yoga, or tapasya, to be followed till the point of being rendered divine, this second refusal or negation demonstrates that the seeker is not ready to abandon his past acquisitions, or rather to put them in the service of a deep consecration.
(While the Iliad is an essential source for this part of the path, we will also base ourselves on other texts, such as those put together by Timothy Gantz.)

To understand the complexity of this account it is necessary to remember the symbolism of the forces facing each other, with each claiming to be the sole form of yoga.
All the participants illustrate aspects of a seeker who has reached what is generally considered to be the limits of the spiritual experience, limits represented by states of wisdom and sainthood. It is only after the war, with the adventures of Ulysses on his journey back to his home in Ithaca, that there will be a definite renouncing to wisdom – to the power of intelligence – and to sainthood – to the force of life and its powers. These two realisations are respectively incarnated by the two main suitors of Ulysses’ wife Penelope, Antinoos and Eurymachos.

Helen, the stake of the war, belongs to the lineage of Sparta, that of the resurgence of what is new. Of her two brothers and two cousins, Idas, ‘a vision of the whole’, Lynkeus, ‘detailed vision or discernment’, ‘Castor, ‘the power conferred by mastery’, and Polydeuces, ‘he who fights with great softness’, only Polydeuces survives, indicating a great compassion. But even the latter is no longer alive when the Trojan War begins.
The disappearance of Idas and Lynkeus could indicate that the powers of vision which have been developed in the preceding yogic phases disappear before the reorientation of yoga is begun: the adventurer who readies himself to carry out a yoga in the body will then no longer be able to support himself on them to find his way.
This may perhaps also refer to what the Mother expresses in her Agenda of June 2nd 1961: ‘What is necessary is to abandon EVERYTHING. Everything: all power, all comprehension, all intelligence, all knowledge, everything. To become perfectly non-existent, that’s the important thing’.
On the other hand the power and gentleness symbolised by Castor and Polydeuces are still present and active, linking the corporeal inconscient with the conscious, and according to Homer ((Odyssey XI, 301-304) in alternation, for:
‘These two the earth, the giver of life, covers, albeit alive,
and even in the world below they have honour from Zeus.
One day they live in turn, and one day they are dead;
and they have won honour like unto that of the gods. ‘ 
Furthermore, these are the works of yoga situated at the level of the overmind, the level of the gods, as indicated by the last verse.

The Trojan side represents therefore the most advanced state of spiritual progression in the ascension of the planes of consciousness, that of the liberated in spirit (Ilos), which is near to equality (Assaracus) and to the state of joy (Ganymedes).This state allows a liberation of the vital to a certain degree, allowing access to non-duality in the vital or the perfection of sainthood, although this is not wholly acquired (for the horses of Tros are not immortal).
But there was a moment in which the consecration (the gift of self) was not integral, directing the yoga in an erroneous direction (Laomedon). Although the seeker attempted to come back to the right one (with Priam the ‘reclaimed’), he finally oriented himself towards the rejection of man in his external nature (Paris-Alexander), essentially focusing on an opening into the worlds of the spirit so as to acquire greater mastery (Hector wed Andromache, who bore him Astyanax).
Within the Trojan path, which has deviated by separating spirit from matter, there can no longer be an aspiration to ‘becoming’ as the goal is immutable being, non-temporal and impersonal, true Self or Brahman, or the Nirvana behind.
This path of ascension of the planes of consciousness, which is not in itself a dead end but also constitutes a fundamental marker for human evolution, will only be possible to continue after the redressing of error and the implementation of a state of truth.

The opposing camp is constituted by the Achaean coalition; supported by ‘aspiration’, ‘lack’ or ‘need’ (the branch of Tantalus), it represents the will of pursuing the process of liberation in action (Menelas of the lineage of Atreus was joined in marriage to Helen). But the directing movement, the strongest aspiration (Agamemnon), is still in search of a betterment of man towards a superior wisdom (Clytaemnestra), and is not able to conceive that the new yoga must orient itself towards a radical transformation. For it is in fact a question of a mutation towards a supramental humanity here, rather than a betterment of mental man, no matter how saintly and wise he may be.
This transformation must be carried out by diving deep into the roots of the consciousness at the origin of life so as to purify its evolutionary memories and to reach the Truth of Matter, of the body. Initially it must be the accomplishment of vital liberation, in view of the liberation of Nature and its modalities, the guna, to lead to a perfect ‘equality’ (through Achilles, son of the Nereid Thetis). But for a long time the seeker does not realise the degree of importance of the necessary transformation of the outer being (this is symbolised by Achilles’ ‘strike’, which lasted close to ten years).

Certain characters of the Achaean camp merit mention:
Diomedes, who represents a seeker who has established a degree of mental silence and, as a consequence of acquiring divine intoxication, the goal of merging entirely with the Absolute.
Nestor, symbol of rectitude, sincerity or integrity, one of the supporting pillars of the yogic word since its beginnings.
Patroclus, ‘glorious forefathers’, who incarnates past realisations of union with the Divine within the frame of the ascension of the planes of consciousness.

The work of the new yoga can only begin when the seeker accepts to descend into his depths to purify his external nature (when Achilles’ strike ceases), when he succeeds in putting in their places past realisations (the funeral rites of Patroclus), renounces the paradise of the spirit with the fall of Troy, successfully brings the psychic being to the forefront – a realisation signalled by perfect equality under all circumstances – and becomes familiar with the powers of the overmind.

To summarise, the seeker is one whom we would know as a liberated individual yet living in this world. He has had experiences of Self, of the Absolute, of states of Nirvana, of cosmic union, etc.
To a great degree he has also completed the ‘psychic’ transformation’ of the lower nature: ‘Psychicisation means the change of the lower nature bringing right vision into the mind, right impulse and feeling into the vital, right movement and habit into the physical’. (Letters on Yoga, Volume 3 Part 4, The Triple Transformation: Psychic – Spiritual – Supramental.) According to the Mother, tradition ruled that thirty years of sustained yoga are necessary for the psychic to come to the forefront of the being, ‘a realisation which consecrates the work of equality, for the most certain sign is a state of consciousness that is stable, immobile, and in which the being is perfectly unified’.
The seeker is already well engaged on the path of spiritual transformation, which, according to Sri Aurobindo, ‘is the descent, stabilised from above, of peace, light, knowledge, power, beatitude, a becoming conscious of the Self, the Divine, of a superior cosmic consciousness and within this the transformation of consciousness as a whole ’. (Letters on Yoga, Volume 3 Part 4, The Triple Transformation: Psychic – Spiritual – Supramental.)
While he is liberated from desire and ego, he is nonetheless not liberated from the laws of physical Nature (the assumed ‘impossibilities’ of transformation).
It is in fact the issue of the liberation of the submission to the three modes of action of nature, the gunas, which is posed here. For, as was said by Sri Aurobindo in his commentary on the 35th verse of the Bhagavad Gita, ‘the ego is there, concealed, in the mind of the saint as in that of the sinner’. (Essays on the Gita, The determinism of Nature.)

THE PREMISES OF THE WAR

For one ‘liberated in spirit’, the double refusal of honouring his spiritual commitments of total consecration to the Absolute is the first reason for an inner evolutionary conflict, the resolution of which must be a great reversal (the double refusal of Laomedon was said to have first incited the Trojan war). But we have seen that it is not the only one: an error had already occurred in the interpretation of a sign received from the supraconscient (Ate, ‘error’, was cast down upon the earth by Zeus at Troy at the same time as the Palladium when Ilos, father of Laomedon, founded the city). Furthermore, this error of ‘understanding’ was emphasised by the fact that an ‘illumination’ had materialised itself upon an erroneous foundation (Ilos had followed a cow which had come to rest on ‘the hilltop of error’, thus marking the spot on which the city of Troy was to be founded).
The Trojans persisted so strongly in these errors that Ilion (Troy) could not be conquered by the Achaeans as long as the Palladium remained within its walls. The ancient forms of yoga defended by awakened individuals (the Trojan heroes) had as their highest goal the ‘peace of liberation in the spirit’ (the Palladium),, and no evolution was possible as long as the seeker persisted in considering flight into the kingdoms of the spirit and the escape of worldly life as the only possibility for perfection.
This state is well described by the Mother (Mother’s Agenda Volume 1, p. 379): ‘For, you see, you can go right to the height of your consciousness and from there sweep away the difficulties (at a certain moment of the Sadhana, difficulties truly don’t exist, it’s only a matter of nabbing the undesirable vibration and it’s over, it’s reduced to dust). And everything is fine up above, but down below it’s swarming.(…) The mastery must be a TRUE mastery, a very humble and austere mastery which starts from the very bottom and, step by step, establishes control. As a matter of fact, it is a battle against small, really tiny things: habits of being, ways of thinking, feeling and reacting.’

The birth and youth of Paris-Alexander

Different sources suggest that the seeker intuitively knows that the ‘Trojan’ position, the certainty of having arrived at the end of the path, must be questioned, as illustrated by a vision beheld by Priam’s spouse.
Hecabe, who was pregnant, dreamed that she was giving birth to a burning torch or to a creature of a hundred arms that breathed out fire, incinerating the forests of Ida and Troy and entirely destroying the city. When the child was born, the soothsayers advised that the child was to be abandoned. A female bear fed him for five days, after which he was discovered by shepherds, who named him Paris and raised him.
Once he matured into an adult, he was gifted with remarkable strength and beauty. Later he was renamed Alexander because he was able to repel brigands and protect the flocks.
What within the seeker ”wishes to break away from incarnation’ (Hecabe), nonetheless intuits that the pillars of ancient forms of spirituality are to disappear if the seeker refuses to evolve. This is as much true of the structure which supports the ‘right movement towards the spirit’ as the energy which feeds this union (Troy will be razed to the ground and the forests of Ida burned).
That which surges forth in the being during this phase of the path expresses, through Paris, the realisation of a degree of ‘equality’. Widening out, this equality brings greater truth and power; Paris was gifted with remarkable beauty and strength.

Alexander, the new name given to Paris, can be interpreted in different ways but with the same final meaning. Either his name could signify ‘he who repels man’, symbol of a refusal to admit to an evolutionary possibility beyond the liberation of the spirit or ‘he who repels his external nature without seeking to master it’ (he repels or pushes away wild beasts), concerned only with protecting what he has acquired (he who ‘protects’ the flocks).
The order in which the child receives the two names varies according to the author, which is understandable as he represents two simultaneous movements, a growth in equality and a rejection of external nature (or a renouncement of transformation). Here we will use both words interchangeably.

Paris was breastfed by a bear for five days. From this image it can be extrapolated that one of the first movements to appear in the Trojan lineage borrows qualities from the Arcadian lineage which have amongst its last realisations ‘a vast mastery’ and ‘equality’ (Amphidamas and Atalanta). Arcas is in fact ‘he who resists, who holds firm’ (he who endures) and his name is very alike that of the bear, thus symbolising a combination of power and endurance.
 From the moment in which important changes linked to the yogic process and supported by the experiences and wisdom of the ‘glorious forefathers’ appear, the seeker distances them from his consciousness; so as not to provoke the ruin of Troy, the child is distanced from the royal lineage and abandoned to the mercy of wild beasts.
To entrust a young infant – an emerging movement – to a hostile environment and to put him through the trial of death marks a great rite of passage requiring a complete abandonment to the Absolute. The reply of the Divine is then given without the seeker’s awareness of it, and guides him ‘on the margins of his spiritual preoccupations’; as a usual procedure in myths, the child is rescued and raised by a shepherd.

The way in which Paris-Alexander found his place within the royal lineage is but rarely mentioned.
Having become a shepherd himself, he was part of Priam’s court and participated in the famous games in honour of the child believed dead (Paris himself). He in fact wished to reclaim the bull which had been taken from his flock to be given as a prize. He emerged triumphant against all the other contestants, and was then recognised by his sister Cassandra.
Thus, ‘that which from the heights of the spirit refuse the transformation of human nature ‘ (for Homer also refers to Cassandra as Alexandra, ‘she who rejects man’), is reconnecting with a similar but complementary energy (symbolised by Paris-Alexander); Cassandra-Alexandra and Paris-Alexander are therefore the yin and yang aspects of the same movement rejecting the possibility of the transformation of external nature.
To explain why this receptive and therefore intuitive yin energy is afterwards inefficient, the myths specify that once Cassandra having rejected Apollo’s advances, the god had taken away from her prophecies the power of convincing their hearers; as the seeker refuses to forge a link between his highest mental perception and the psychic light, the intuitive elements which could have better supported the supremacy of ancient forms of yoga are rejected by active consciousness (the prophecies of Cassandra were never taken seriously by the Trojan leaders).

Helen’s suitors and her marriage to Menelas

Homer mentions neither the other suitors nor their oaths to support Menelas.
It must be remembered that Helen is ‘ the most beautiful of mortals’, and therefore represents the ‘truest’ evolutionary path towards liberty. As a daughter of Leda, she belongs to the lineage of Protogenia, that of the ‘adventurers of consciousness’. She has Zeus as divine father and Tyndareus as human father, which places her within the lineage of the Pleiad Taygete, symbol of the plane of the intuitive mind or intuition which precedes the overmind, this last plane being incarnated by the Pleiad Maia, mother of the god Hermes. At this point in the yogic process, Helen therefore represents the highest conception of evolutionary truth accessible to the spirit, a truth which remains governed by the world of the gods, that of the overmind. It is only by the light of this last plane that the adventurer will become ‘a light to himself’, equal to that of the gods (Autolycos, ‘he who follows his own light’, is a son of the god Hermes).
A number of paths therefore seek to put themselves forward as the best able to lead to this greatest freedom: these are Helen’s suitors.

Fragments from the Catalogue of Women indicate the following names, but there may have been others that have been lost.
Ulysses, ‘he who strives for the union of the two currents which unite spirit and matter’ and therefore also ‘the equilibrium between the masculine and feminine polarities’.
Thoas, ‘evolutionary speed (in experiences)’.
Podarces, ‘he who advances swiftly upon the path’ (a son of the Achaean Iphiclos, who must not be confused with Podarces-Priam).
Protesilaos, ‘the best of vision’.
The great Ajax, ‘the widening of consciousness in incarnation’.
Elephenor, literally ‘the man of ivory’, symbolic of ‘a thorough purification down to the level of the body’.
Idomeneus, ‘he who desires union’ (a grandson of Minos, not to be confused with the homonymous Trojan).
Alcmaeon, ‘an ardent quest’ and/or ‘a powerful consecration’, and Amphilochus, ‘he who is watchful’, both sons of the seer Amphiaraos, ‘he who draws near to the right perception’.
Menelas is not mentioned in this list. The poem suggests that the Dioscuri would have given their sister’s hand in marriage to one of them if Agamemnon had not intervened in favour of his brother Menelas; despite some hesitation, it is ‘the greatest aspiration’, Agamemnon, who is alone able to discern the best path towards freedom, Helen, that is the one symbolised by Menelas, he who is ‘an unwavering will fixed on its goal’.

Apollodorus gives a list of thirty-one names indicating other realisation of the same kind. These are for the most part the same as those mentioned by Homer in the Catalogue of Ships (Iliad Canto 2), the canto from the Iliad in which are listed the contingents of the Achaeans setting out to Troy, as well as those of the defenders of Troy.

Tyndareus asked all of Helen’s suitors to take an oath by which they would swear to support whosoever amongst them would be chosen if he faced aggression due of his marriage.
Menelas won her, for he was ‘the wealthiest of the Achaeans’, but he would not have done so if Achilles had been amongst the suitors (some versions of this story claim that it was Tyndareus who made the decision, or even Helen herself).
Menelas therefore married Helen, and inherited the kingdom of Sparta at the death of his father-in-law Tyndareus.

The oath indicates that the seeker foresees a number of potential difficulties, and that his yogic work of progress towards greater freedom will not be possible with only one form of yoga but will require the support of others.
This is ‘what desires and aspires for greater freedom’, or ‘an unshakeable will fixed upon its goal’ that is put forward by the seeker to pursue his quest of freedom, for it is his most developed quality (Menelas, the wealthiest of the Achaeans, is chosen). It may appear surprising that Achilles is not listed as one of the suitors, but this is because he was too young at the time; the yoga of the depths of the being, striving for a complete purification in the depths of the vital through an attention given to the most minute movements of consciousness, had not yet begun.

The judgement of Paris

At the time of Thetis and Peleus’ marriage, Eris brought about a quarrel between Hera, Athena and Aphrodite, who wished to determine which amongst them was most beautiful. Zeus asked Hermes to lead the goddesses to Mount Ida, where Paris was to pick out the most beautiful (Paris is later described as a shepherd, but it can be assumed that he was more likely to have been a royal wandering shepherd who had found his place within the lineage again).
The goddesses all strove to be chosen: Athena offered Paris glory (success in battle), Hera absolute sovereignty (the governance over all of Asia), and Aphrodite promised him that she would make him the most handsome and desirable of men. According to certain sources, she also promised him Helen’s love.
As an outcome of this judgement Paris abandoned his lover Oenone.

Some early versions of this story claim that Zeus wished to trigger the Trojan War; when the right moment comes, it is an impulse of the supraconscient which opens new paths.
In the Iliad, Homer describes this as the madness of Paris, who had displeased Hera and Athena in favour of one who offered him an object of painful desire – for Aphrodite had promised Helen to him.
According to another version of the story, he chose ‘she who promised to make him the most desirable of men’, which would suggest that it may have been Helen who succumbed to the charms of Paris-Alexander rather than the inverse; it would then have to be understood that in his quest for truth, the seeker loses his way in the rejection of external human nature. This would explain the shift in Helen’s attitude, as can be seen in the Iliad when in the last year of the war she bitterly regrets her previous union with Menelas.
Whether Helen was the seduced or the seductress, she left for Troy out of her own free will, even bringing with her a number of Menelas’ belongings according to Homer. This indicates that at this point it is obvious for the seeker that the path towards greater freedom includes a rejection of the human dimension. Given this, it is therefore of little importance whether it was Helen or Paris who was first seduced.

This story suggests a third cause of the Trojan War following the seeker’s refusal to honour his spiritual commitments (Laomedon) and the introduction of a deviation at the moment in which peace resulting from both mental and vital liberation was established as a supreme goal of yoga (Ate was cast down onto the earth at the same time as the Palladium).
But when the right time has come and the seeker wishes to restore the just operating laws that lie at the roots of life (following the marriage of Thetis and Peleus), the supraconscient opens the new paths of evolution and pushes beyond the limits of earlier forms of spirituality (Zeus intended to provoke the war). But the power of separation intervenes simultaneously to distance the seeker from the path of transformation in the depths with which he was beginning to engage (Eris provoked a quarrel during the marriage of Thetis and Peleus). As long as the seeker is unready, obstacles obstruct his path so as to later strengthen an opposite movement; the obstacle works as a lever. Said in another way, the seeker who wishes to accelerate the evolutionary process comes up against forces which profit from what is existing, and wish to maintain their hold on the world.
It must be remembered that Eris, whose name is constructed around the character Rho as are the names Hera, Ares and Eros, can indicate both a right movement and its opposite, both of which exert pressure to arrive at the same result. This is why in Works and Days Hesiod identifies two goddesses who carry this name, an awful one abhorred by men, and another, ‘emulation’, the daughter of Nyx the night, given by Zeus as a form of stimulation.

During a first and rather lengthy phase, the supraconscient retreats into the background and puts the choice of the new orientation into the hands of ‘equality’, judging it to be sufficiently established (Zeus leaves the task of judgement to Paris). This equality is then in fact the highest spiritual realisation of the seeker, for Hector, the eldest brother of Paris, only symbolises the quest towards the heights of the spirit. But it also stems from the path most inclined to negate the possibility of the transformation of the lower nature (the Trojan lineage).
It is the overmind which guides the seeker towards the obligation of making a choice, with the goal of a deepening union within the spirit (Zeus dispatches Hermes to guide Paris towards Mount Ida).
The subject of the dispute is determining which of the spiritual powers of the overmind plane personified by the three goddesses is the appropriate one to lead closest to divine Truth: the inner guide striving towards discerning intelligence and mastery of external nature, the right movement in the spirit or love in evolution.

Each of the spiritual powers is then perceived in relation to the present realisation, and expresses the advantages which the seeker could acquire from each if he followed the corresponding path:
Athena promises him success in battle; by relying completely on the force which supports the development of the discerning intelligence for mastery, the seeker could emerge victorious from all yogic combat which aims at a development of the inner being and full mastery.
Hera promises him absolute power (according to some sources dominion over Asia, or over what is New); it is perhaps not only a question here of the power given by Knowledge through identity, but of direct Power over matter originating from an identification with the latter (See Mother’s Agenda Volume 2, 23rd December 1961).
Aphrodite promises him that she will make him the most handsome and desirable of men, suggesting that no woman could then resist his charms, not even the most beautiful amongst them. In other words, the truth of evolution, Helen, would automatically associate herself with the equality which he represents, an equality achieved through the path of the ascension of the planes of consciousness that rejects the rendering divine of matter. That is to say that at the evolutionary stage of love in man during that period of ancient Greece (representative of a certain stage of yoga), there was no better evolutionary path towards Love than a perfect equality, for Paris, ‘the just movement towards equality’, is associated with the rejection of the perfecting of external nature.
On the other hand, Aphrodite’s promise of giving Helen to Paris (or, according to the summary given by the Cyprian Odes, when she led Helen and Paris to the same bed) suggests that the goddess, who represents love in evolution, leads the seeker into error by supporting the Trojan path. It would then be fitting for the seeker to accept that for a length of time a rejection of the perfecting of the lower nature is the right path for an evolution towards love, unless this promise aims only at seeing through a purification leading to sainthood.

Since the marriage of Helen and Menelas, the ‘evolutionary truth towards greater freedom’ became the object of an ‘unshakeable will’ of the seeker within the lineage of aspiration, of his will for progress and his capacity for endurance (Menelas belongs to the lineage of Tantalus).
At this stage of the quest the seeker, considering on the one hand that his realisation of equality in the separation of spirit and matter is the highest achievement of yoga and the most conducive to evolution, and on the other hand that Love transcends all, chooses love as an expression of the highest evolutionary truth (Paris declares that Aphrodite is the most beautiful of the three goddesses).
As we understand it, it is not the choice which is erroneous, but the lack of a perfect consecration which brings about a deviation. This has led Sri Aurobindo to affirm that Truth must be incarnated in humankind before divine Love is able to take its place within it. For corporeal matter itself could not resist the descent of Love in its original intensity, and man would be annihilated by it instantaneously.

The abduction of Helen

When Menelas and Helen’s daughter Hermione was nine years of age, Paris-Alexander set off for Attica. He was first welcomed by the Dioscuri and then set off for Sparta, which Menelas had inherited through his marriage with Helen. Menelas celebrated his arrival during nine days, and then left Sparta for Crete for the funeral rites of his grandfather Katreus. Aphrodite then led Paris and Helen to the same bed. Paris persuaded Helen to leave with him, and both embarked for Troy during the night with many of Menelas’ treasures, leaving Hermione in Sparta. Helen’s participation was fully consensual, for she later admitted to having been blinded by love.
During their voyage, Hera sent forth a storm which obliged them to come to port at Sidon. They were later joined in marriage on the island of Cranae, and celebrated their wedding upon their arrival in Troy.

It must be remembered that Helen was first abducted by Theseus when she was not yet nubile, indicating a relatively unadvanced stage in the process of liberation.
The second abduction by a Trojan prince demonstrates that the seeker has chosen to consider that the evolution towards greater freedom must cease to be the object of an aspiration expressing itself though an unshakeable endurance and will for purification so as to henceforth be sought outside of incarnation (Helen of the Spartan lineage leaves Menelas of the lineage of Tantalus to unite with Alexander). This work of aspiration in action had however been maintained for a full cycle, if we consider the time of Hermione’s growth towards puberty, nine years being indicative of a cycle of gestation. It must also be noted that the name Hermione is built from the same word root Rho-Mu (ΡΜ) as the name Hermes, with the Nu indicating evolution, and suggesting an evolution in the overmind.
The affirmations of the Cyprian Odes, according to which Alexander was first welcomed by the Dioscuri, has no other aim than that of indicating that the seeker has not yet achieved non-duality in the spirit, for the conflict between the two brothers with Idas and Lynkeus has not yet taken place.

Menelas welcomed Paris-Alexander generously, but was obliged to leave temporarily to attend the funeral of his grandfather Katreus, son of Minos. This reminds us that the lineage of the Atrides is moving from Atreus towards more purification because the wife of Atreus is Aerope, daughter of Katreus, himself son of Minos in the lineage of Océanos. The death of Katreus indicates that the path towards the heights of the spirit is completed.
Katreus had four children: a son named Althaimenes, ‘he who causes the soul to grow’, and three daughters, Apemosyne, ‘she who is without suffering’, Aerope, ‘a mental vision’, and Clymene, ‘she who is of great renown’.
For reasons explained below, the seeker who ‘rejects’ or pushes away man but is concerned with making love blossom within himself considers himself to be on the correct evolutionary path (under the influence of Aphrodite, Paris-Alexander and Helen come together and set off for Troy).

The change of orientation took place within a certain degree of inconscience (they eloped at night), but the seeker maintains a number of realisations obtained through his yoga of action (they carried away with them a good portion of the treasures of Menelas, son of Atreus).
At this stage he is however obliged to deepen his understanding of divine love, for Hera brings about a storm which obliges the lovers to stop at Sidon, its name signifying pomegranate fruit. It must be remembered that the ancient Greeks considered the pomegranate, a fruit consecrated to the goddess Aphrodite, to be a symbol of love and fertility, and that according to the Mother it is a symbol of ‘Divine love spreading upon the earth’ (Mother’s Agenda, Volume 9, 2nd November 1968).
According to Homer (Iliad III:443), this new orientation does not begin without difficulties; the lovers are joined in marriage on the island of Cranae, an island that is ‘rough and rocky’.

In a seemingly quite ancient version of this tale, it was only an ‘eidolon’ of Helen, an ‘image’ or ‘reflection’, which was taken to Troy, while the real Helen spent the duration of the Trojan War with Proteus or else in Egypt.
Like Nereus, Proteus is a divinity of the archaic vital, an ‘old man of the sea’. He therefore also symbolises the forces active in the extreme depths of the vital.
These authors must have considered that ‘the most rightful evolution towards truth’, Helen, could not be misled. It was therefore only her image which engaged itself in the Trojan error, while the quest for truth continued its work in the depths of vital consciousness down to the level of the body, if we keep in mind the omega included in the name Proteus.

The first gathering at Aulis and the first expedition to Mysia.

The two Atrides, Agamemnon and Menelas, were informed of the flight of Helen and Paris by Iris, and consequently organised an expedition and brought together the heroes in Aulis. In fact, due to their promise, Helen’s former suitors were obliged to support Menelas in the offence brought upon his marriage.
Just before the gathering together of the heroes there took place the conflict between the Dioscuri Castor and Polydeuces and the Apharetides Idas and Lynkeus (This conflict is explained in the preceding chapter and mentioned again earlier in this chapter).
Agamemnon and Menelas first sought out Nestor, who accompanied them to assemble the heroes and their troops. Two notable events marked this endeavour: Ulysses’ ‘madness’ and the ‘disguising’ of Achilles.

The battle for the reorientation of yoga which has been led astray into an erroneous direction cannot take place without the participation of a hero present from the beginning of the great epics; Nestor, symbolising the work of ‘integrity’ or of ‘the just evolution of rectitude’ (and perhaps also of the ‘integration of experience’). He represents the only tool of an active yoga present from the beginning (he was the only one of the twelve children of Neleus, grandson of Salmoneus, not to be slain by Heracles). It is not a question of maintaining a virtuous position here, but of providing consistency between the inner being and the external nature, which is a growth of sincerity.

Ulysses’ feigned insanity

When Agamemnon and Menelas reached Ithaca, they found Ulysses feigning insanity in order not to set off to war, even though he had taken the oath to support Menelas.
Palamedes unmasked him using a variety of tricks which vary according to different sources, but which most often include threats of slaying his son Telemachus.
Several sources mention that as a part of his pretence of madness, Ulysses had harnessed animals of different kinds to his chariot.

Within the lineage of Deion, Ulysses (or Odysseus) represents that aspect of the seeker which struggles with all its might, and with the support of the light of the overmind, to achieve a transparency of being through ‘the action of the two currents uniting spirit and matter’. However, there are not many details in this myth which can help us understand Ulysses’ refusal to collaborate. Hyginus alone specifies that Ulysses was informed by a prophecy that he would be absent for all of twenty years, an indication of the premonition of a very long inner struggle.
This shirking away from duty is perhaps simply a stepping back on the part of the seeker who intuits a very challenging yoga ahead, akin to Arjuna’s refusal in the Bhagavad Gita to engage in a war against members of his own family.
To convince this part of himself, the seeker must therefore appeal to a ‘logical intelligence’ applied to the path (Palamedes, son of Nauplios), who makes him understand that if he persists in his refusal, the battles of the future yoga will not be able to occur (Telemachus, ‘he who combats in the far distance’, would die). We will in fact see that Palamedes represents ‘the intelligence of the path’ which contributes to discernment.

Achilles’ disguise

When the expedition to Troy was first planned, Thetis (or Peleus) concealed his young son Achilles at Skyros, disguising him as a girl in the midst of the women of king Lycomedes’ court. According to some sources, the young women of the palace nicknamed him Pyrrha after his fiery-coloured hair. It was Ulysses who unmasked him by drawing out his deeply ingrained warrior nature.
During his time at Skyros, Achilles fathered a son, Neoptolemus, with the king’s daughter Deidameia.
(According to another version – the author of which most probably considered the young man’s female disguise to be incompatible with the act of fathering a son – this episode takes place only after the first missed departure for Troy, when it is said that Achilles was swept away till Skyros by a storm following the disembarkation at Mysia).

While the seeker mentally balks before his commitments (Ulysses feigns insanity), he also does not hasten to carry out a work in the depths of the vital. In fact, the spiritual power (or that which works in darkness if it is Peleus who brings Achilles to Skyros) which has undertaken this work in the depths of the being is aware that if he participates in the movement of reversal, the ‘glory’ obtained by his complete mental and vital liberation will not endure (Thetis knew that his son would enjoy a glorious but short life if he took part in the Trojan War). It therefore hides from conscious awareness the movement which will allow the reversal to take place (it hides Achilles away from sight).
The seeker therefore has the choice of remaining for a long time a liberated yet living individual, without bringing new elements to evolution. But if he engages in battle he will be unable to profit for long from the advantages resulting from the access to non-duality and the liberation of the spirit, for another kind of yoga awaits him, one more challenging than he can yet imagine at that moment.
Thus this movement is dissimulated among the potential realisations of what ‘concerns itself with the light’; the task of the ‘accomplishment of liberation’ is maintained, oriented towards the heights of the spirit amongst the objectives of realisation of an ‘illuminated’ spirit (and thus inoperative for the transformation of the outer being).
According to Hyginus, from this stage onward the seeker in fact possesses a very strong connection with the light issued from the overmind, for Achilles is red-headed. This at least in part confirms the establishment of the seeker in the overmind, for it must be remembered that the other great hero, Ulysses, is associated with this plane by his great-grandfather Hermes, and Homer describes him as characterised by ‘a mind equal to that of Zeus’.

But the fundamental nature of the warrior-seeker prevails; once he has taken the irrevocable decision of consecrating his life to yoga, he can no longer ignore the power of his commitment (Achilles cannot resist the call to arms, even when he is tempted to distance himself from the field of battle). This part of the myth is more coherent if Peleus is the perpetrator of the dissimulation.
At this stage of the path the seeker is in the process of concluding his work of mastery; with Deidameia, ‘she who passes beyond mastery’ (she who kills that which submits to the yoke)’, he fathered Neoptolemus, ‘the new battles’, a hero who participated in the final destruction of Troy. This birth therefore symbolises the end of the personal yoga and the beginning of the direct action of the spiritual forces within a vitally and mentally transparent being.

The first disembarkment at Mysia

We will later on discuss the Achaean leaders and their military contingents, described in detail in the second book of the Iliad known as the Catalogue of Ships. Each leader represents a specific task necessary for this stage of the path, and the number of boats and of men probably indicates the degree of completion necessary.

The Achaeans launched the first expedition about two years after the abduction of Helen. Upon reaching the shores of Asia Minor, the heroes mistook a city of Mysia for Troy. Telephus was its king.

It must first be noted that neither of these two failed attempts for setting out for Troy are mentioned by Homer. They were probably added later on to explain certain initial meanderings in the great change of yoga.

The account of the first expedition is quite complex, as it brings in the intervention of several lineages and stages of the great reversal.
It is closely associated with the seeker’s confusion regarding the nature of the ‘lights’ he can perceive. This misunderstanding is in fact linked to the story of king Telephus, of which several versions exist. Here we will discuss the most simple of these versions.

Heracles entered into a union with Auge, daughter of Aleos in the royal Arcadian lineage, who bore the hero a son named Telephus. In anger, Aleos shut away his daughter Auge and her child in a trunk, which he cast into the ocean. It drifted till the shores of Mysia, where it was found by king Teuthras, who married Auge and raised the child.

Once he had grown to adulthood, Telephus took Teuthras’ place on the throne.
When the Achaeans disembarked and attacked the city Telephus pushed them back, slaying Thersander, son of Polynices, and was himself wounded by Achilles.
When they set sail again the Achaeans were hit by a storm which dispersed their ships and brought Achilles to Skyros.
As Telephus was advised by an oracle that only the one to have inflicted his wound would be able to heal it, he left for Argos in search of Achilles. He was healed after promising the Achaeans to show them the way to Troy and pledging not to support the Trojans, even though he was married to a Trojan woman himself (identified by certain authors as Laodice, daughter of Priam, or Astyoche, daughter of Laomedon). However, his son Eurypylus would later on take the side of the Trojans against the Achaeans, and was subsequently slain by Neoptolemus the son of Achilles.
Dispersed at Mysia, the Achaeans only regrouped at Argos two years later. Eight more years passed before they launched their second campaign against Troy.

We can only understand the general sense of this period in the following way:
The seeker is aware that it is a matter of bringing an end to the domination of the mind in the orientation of the quest; the Trojan lineage in fact belongs to the plane of the illumined mind within the descendance of Electra.
However, because of his power of endurance he has experienced ‘flashes of light’ which push him to orient the process of purification and liberation in the direction indicated by these flashes of lights in view of a distant light or truth (Heracles entered a union with Auge, who bore Telephus). But if we consider the union with Astyoche mentioned by Apollodorus, this quest for truth is linked at first with ancient yogic truths which build the foundations of sainthood and wisdom (Telephus unites with a Trojan woman, Astyoche, ‘the concentrated personality’ or Laodice, ‘the just manner of acting in all parts of the being).
During the first attempts at a reorientation of yoga, the seeker mistakes the ‘lights’ of the mind – those in which he must cause a reversal – with those he seeks and experiences as results of his purification, but which have become associated with past conceptions. A lengthy maturation period must therefore elapse before a new attempt can be made.
There is every reason for assuming that the lights resulting from purification are linked to the psychic being, especially as Apollo and Artemis support the Trojans in the war (although no connection is drawn with these two divinities in this particular myth).

However, during this first attempt there occurs a remarkable phenomenon; the extinguishing of the powerful inner fire which marks the conclusion of a long process of purification and liberation (the death of Thersander, ‘the burning man’). The Catholic contemplative Bernadette Roberts attributes this to the possibility that the Divine henceforth occupies the entire space once the ego has given in. However, no confirmation of this supposition has been found in Mother or Sri Aurobindo’s works.
This task, directed towards a ‘distant light’, oriented towards the heights of the spirit and ignorant of matter, leads to a ‘great threshold’, most probably the one from beyond which spiritual traditions claim it is not possible to return (Eurypylus, ‘a vast doorway’, son of Telephus and of a Trojan princess). It is the ‘battles of the future’ which will put an end to this path (when Neoptolemus slays Eurypylus at the end of the war).

Detailed analysis

Telephus belongs to the royal lineage of Arcadia, the principal figures of which can be outlined again here. Arcas, ‘the power of endurance’, son of Callisto ‘the most beautiful’ and of Zeus ‘the supraconscient’, wed Leanira, ‘she who is attached to liberty’. From this union is born Aphidas, ‘he who severs’, and Elatus, ‘he who adapts’. Aphidas fathers a son named Aleos, ‘the task of liberation’. This work, being allied to a strong incarnation (Stheneboea, sister of Aleos), generates a powerful aspiration for light: Auge, ‘flash of light’, and Lycurgus, ‘he who desires the nascent light’, grandfather of Atalanta, ‘equality’, a heroine who participates in the Calydonian Boar Hunt. Auge entered into a union with Heracles and engendered Telephus, ‘that which shines in the distance’.

However, because of his power of endurance the seeker has experienced ‘flashes of light’ which encourage him to direct the process of purification and liberation in their direction with the goal of a distant light or truth (Heracles came together with Auge, who bore Telephus). But at that moment of the quest the task of liberation appears to him to be primary (Aleos is in fact angered by this birth). He therefore rejects those ‘flashes of truth’ till a movement in the direction of consecration takes the initiative of deepening them (Auge is abandoned with her son to the tides of the ocean, till she is washed ashore and claimed by the king of Mysia as his bride. It is sometimes said that Aleos gave them to Nauplios, who in turn presented them to Teuthras, which would hold the same symbolic meaning.)
Later versions add that Aleos feared that his own sons would be killed by his daughter’s child if she became a mother; the fact that the seeker places liberation above all else is thus underlined, for he fears that his realisations in the domain of purification and liberation may disappear in favour of the quest for truth.

During the first attempts at a reorientation of yoga, the seeker mistakes the ‘lights’ of the mind – the very ones in which he must cause a reversal – with those he seeks and experiences as results of his purification, but which have become associated with past conceptions (the heroes had mistaken the city of Mysia governed by Telephus and his Trojan consort with Troy itself).
The inner fire will then disappear under the effects of an aspiration for a greater light, signalled by the death of Thersander, ‘the burning man’, son of Polynices, ‘he who wages numerous battles’, killed by Telephus, ‘that which shines in the far distance’.
This fire is replaced by an aspiration for the truth of the future represented by Telephus. But here aspiration is tied to the ancient truths of yoga, those which establish the foundation of sainthood and wisdom (Telephus is married to a Trojan woman, Astyoche, ‘the concentrated personality’, or Laodice, ‘just action in all parts of the being’). She is therefore herself undermined by a work of consciousness on the most minute of daily events for deep purification (due to his marriage, Telephus was obliged to fight against the Achaeans, and was wounded by Achilles).
This aspiration can only establish itself again when the suspicion of what had undermined it is replaced by an alliance with a work on the depths of the being (Telephus has been warned by an oracle that only he who had inflicted the wound could heal it, and so left for Argos to find Achilles). But even while being attached to it, it must also avoid supporting the division of spirit and matter (Telephus must not himself bring aid to the Trojans, even though he is associated to them through marriage).
It is nonetheless this aspiration which must allow the seeker to orient himself towards the higher truths of yoga which are impeding the process of evolution and must undergo a reversal. Nevertheless, this vision accepts to no longer serve the goal which it had set for itself (Telephus must guide the Achaeans till Troy while renouncing to defend the city, despite his union with a Trojan woman). What is being described here is of course an inner dialogue and evolution.
This aspiration for light at the heights of the spirit leads to the ‘great threshold’ alluded to earlier in this text.

This first departure is also the subject of a myth in which appears Anios, a son of Apollo.
Anios invited the Achaeans to remain in Delos for nine years till a day fixed by destiny for the fall of Troy, knowing that his daughters, Oeno, ‘wine’, Spermo, ‘seed’, and Elais, ‘the olive tree’, would take care of them, for they possessed the power of materialising wine, grain and oil at will. The Achaeans declined this invitation.
According to some sources, the three sisters followed the Achaeans to Troy and saved them from starvation.

From this myth it can be understood that the seeker may be tempted to delay the task of the great reversal, for if he remains in contact with his psychic being (if he remains in Delos) he will have at his disposal a number of overwhelming realisations, for Anios, ‘he who heals’, is a son of Apollo and can furnish what is represented by the three universal symbols of wine, oil and grain. These can be understood as the joy of union or of ‘presence’ (wine), the power of creation of new forms (grain or seed), and that which brings light to darkness and also symbolises peace, strength and wisdom (oil).
Nonetheless, the seeker refuses to pause at the benefits afforded by the psychic light, a halt which would distance him from a deeper purification of his nature in view of the great reversal ahead. But he does not reject the benefits as such, for the king’s three daughters accompany the Achaeans to Troy.
Eight more years are to go by before the second assembly at Aulis which therefore took place ten years after Helen’s departure.

The second gathering at Aulis, the sacrifice of Iphigenia.

Much time therefore passes before the seeker engages himself in a reorientation of yoga. He must undergo a lengthy period of purification, ten years in total, which is to say the totality of a cycle of evolution which will culminate with the sacrifice of Iphigenia.

Homer does not mention Iphigenia at any point. The first version of this myth is given in the Catalogue of Women, or what it has been possible to reconstruct of it from a manuscript riddled with gaps and omissions. The heroine identified as Iphigenia in the abstract of the Cypria by Proclus is named Iphimedeia in the Catalogue of Women.

With Clytaemnestra Agamemnon had fathered Iphimedeia (or Iphigenia) with slender ankles, and Electra, whose beauty rivalled that of the goddesses.
The Achaeans assembled at Aulis could not set sail due to strong winds, the cause of which was revealed by the seer Calchas; Agamemnon had claimed to be Artemis’ superior as a hunter, provoking the goddess’ wrath. To appease her the Achaeans had to sacrifice Iphigenia.
They slaughtered the young woman on Artemis’ altar, or rather slaughtered her ‘eidolon’, Artemis having substituted her with a deer.
Then the goddess granted Iphigenia immortality and eternal youth and brought her amongst the Taures, where she became one of her followers.
(Euripides was the first to write that she was brought back from Tauridae by her brother Orestes and his friend Pylades)
Apollodorus adds that Iphigenia was the most beautiful amongst her sisters.

Aside from the realisations listed in the Catalogue of Ships, which describe the necessary preparation for the great yogic reversal, we are here dealing with a myth which evokes another imperative: ‘a powerful aspiration’ for deep purification still oriented towards ‘renowned wisdom’ must give up following this path, tending towards ‘that which is born with force’ and is seeking to manifest itself (married to Clytaemnestra, Agamemnon must accept the sacrifice of his daughter Iphigenia). It is not in fact a question of the betterment of present man towards greater wisdom, but rather of his transformation.
As long as the seeker lacks humility and consecration and believes himself to be the only one able to achieve purification in the depths of the vital, he cannot engage in the quest of the paths of the future (Agamemnon rests in an enclosure consecrated to Artemis, or else boasts of being a greater huntsman than the goddess, or in other versions is punished for his father Atreus’ failure to sacrifice the golden lamb). But the highest intuition leads him to understand that the process has not yet been completed.

In fact, the seer Calchas ‘the purple or crimson one’, son of Thestor, ‘sincerity’, was acquainted with the present, the future and the past. He is to be the soothsayer of Achaean camp till their return from Troy, when Mopsus will take his place. He represents a state of intuition of great purity linked to the ascension of the planes of consciousness and associated with a certain proximity to the psychic being. Mopsus, who is the son of Apollo himself, symbolises a direct transmission by the psychic light.

This indicates that the seeker must still purify an essential element of his nature.
It is not the ‘radiant truth of the illumined mind’ (symbolised by Electra, whose beauty rivals that of the goddesses themselves), but rather ‘that which desires to be born with force’, Iphigenia, or ‘that which wishes to put into effect a great purpose’ (Iphimedeia). It can be understood that the seeker must give way to the expression of a great task which pushes for its manifestation, a task of the order of a creation of the overmind rather than a simple project. This encompasses the establishment of a religion, or of any work aiming at the evolution of mankind.

The authors who recount that only an image of the young woman was sacrificed, suggest that only the personal form of the task must be abandoned while its essence must be preserved and given up to the Divine. A perfect consecration is required; that which must appear must belong to non-duality and constantly adapt to the movement of becoming, which is to say that it must belong to the eternal present (Iphigenia is granted immortality and eternal youth).
In addition, this task or purpose which seeks to emerge must in the first place put itself in the service of the power watching over purification (Iphigenia is taken to Tauridae to become a follower of Artemis).

All the same, Pindar and Aeschylus agree in stating that Iphigenia died at Aulis. They therefore opted for a pure and simple abandonment of any personal plan, of any aspiration to accomplish a work other than that of following the divine plan at each moment. Sophocles, who adheres to the same version, affirms that the young woman was drawn to Aulis by the false promise of marriage with Achilles, thus clearing Agamemnon; the seeker must not only acquire a greater humility, but must also cease to believe that he could satisfy a personal goal through his work on the depths of the being.

The voyage towards Troy – Philoctetes

According to early sources, the journey towards Troy was marked only by a single notable event.
Philoctetes, son of Poeas, participated in the expedition at the head of a contingent of seven ships and fifty archers from Magnesia. But he was bitten by a snake on the island of Tenedos. As his wound would not heal and emitted a nauseating smell, he was abandoned on the island of Lemnos, where he remained for the ten years of the war’s duration. He possessed Heracles’ bow, which either he or his father had inherited at the time of the hero’s death.
However a campaign would bring him back to Troy to participate in the Achaeans’ last offensive, for the city could not be seized without Heracles’ bow.

Philoctetes, ‘he who loves that which can be acquired’, son of Poeas, ‘he who builds’, is associated with a powerful aspiration (he is a native of Magnesia, and is accompanied by seven times fifty archers), and represents the will of implementing the ‘powers’ of the vital plane which have been revealed by the yogic work. In fact Poeas is himself a son of Thaumacus, ‘he how opens himself to the true vital in a wondrous way’. (Let us recall that Thaumas is the second son of Pontos).
Philoctetes possesses Heracles’ bow, which is to say the power of aspiration stretched towards a given goal in the process of purification and liberation. This bow is most probably also linked to the power of realisation, for like Ulysses’ bow it required great strength to be strung.

But from the moment in which begins the process of yogic reversal (the beginning of the war), the seeker must abandon his highest plans and renounce the use of power if he wishes to carry on with an evolution towards the unity of spirit and matter (Philoctetes is bitten by a snake on the island of Tenedos, ‘that which strives towards union’).
At this point the use of power interferes too strongly with the other active elements of the yogic work, which leads the seeker to turn away from them (the snake bite does not heal, and emits a nauseating smell which leads the Achaeans to leave Philoctetes behind). As long as the union of spirit and matter (or that of the opposing principles of masculine and feminine or separation and fusion) is not realised, and as long as the seeker moves forward through exclusion rather than integration, he will be unable to utilise these powers: Philoctetes is abandoned on the island of Lemnos – an island symbolic of the union of opposing polarities at every level – till the very last stages of the war.
It must in fact be remembered that during the ‘Quest of the Golden Fleece’, the Argonauts had sailed past this island and had formed unions with the women who inhabited it. The latter had slain their husbands, who had rejected them because of the distasteful odour they emitted. In this phase it is therefore the beginnings of the yogic process which are at stake; the seeker must position himself clearly both in relation to the forms of spirituality which are his heritage, as well as to more ‘exotic’ forms foreign to his own culture.

But as Philoctetes possessed Heracles’ bow, symbol of a ‘tension extended towards the goal’, his presence was necessary for the final conquest of Troy, which is to say for the new orientation of the process of purification and liberation towards matter. It is in fact indispensable that the transformation of the vital be a complete one, which is to say that a complete adherence of the vital to the yoga must be realized rather than maintaining one’s own demands such as sympathies, antipathies, attractions, repulsions, etc.

Arrival at the Trojan shores, and death of Protesilaos and Cyknus.

Thetis had advised his son Achilles not to disembark before the other warriors, for the first to set foot on the land would also be the first to die. The first was Protesilaos, who was to be slain by Hector. He would leave behind him an unfinished house.
Then Achilles slew Cyknus, a son of Poseidon who according to some was practically invulnerable. Other sources add that his skin and head were white.
The Trojans then took flight. The Achaeans caused many deaths in the enemy’s camp, and brought their ships to shore.

The meaning of the name Protesilaos is not clear. It seems to indicate ‘a putting forward of the mental personality’, the perfection of which is not wholly realised, for, according to Homer, Protesilaos left behind him an unfinished house. According to Apollodorus this is a matter of mastery, for he names his wife Laodamia ‘the mastery of the people’.
This episode suggests that the pursuit of perfection in the mind must cease in the process of reversal towards the future yoga.
This evokes the moment in which Sri Aurobindo and the Mother cease to work on the perfecting of the mind and the vital, having realised that a total perfection could only by possible after the transformation of physical matter.

A Trojan hero, Cyknus ‘the swan’, was also to lose his life in this first encounter. This bird is usually associated with Apollo, but here he is associated with the subconscient for Cyknus is a son of Poseidon. The Trojan campaign has till this point received the support of the psychic light acting through the subconscient to allow the realisation of sainthood. Radically changing the yogic orientation and occupying oneself with a deep purification – through a yoga in the depths of the being by the study of the most minute of the movements of consciousness – will cause the cessation of this subconscious help.
In other words, the realisation of sainthood is no longer helpful in the process of the reversal of the future yoga.
This is evocative of a passage from the Mother’s Agenda (Volume 2), in an entry from 15th July 1961: ‘For example, as I was saying at the beginning, the body’s formation has a very minimal, a quite subordinate importance for a saint or a sage. But for this supramental work, the way the body is formed has an almost crucial importance, and not at all in relation to spiritual elements nor even to mental power: these aspects have no importance AT ALL. The capacity to endure, to last is the important thing.’

The delegation to Troy

The Achaeans then sent a delegation to Troy, in which took part Menelas and Ulysses, to request the return of Helen and Menelas’ treasures. Some sources claim that the delegation was sent during their stay at the island of Tenedos, prior even to their arrival on Trojan shores.
The two heroes received a warm welcome from the Trojan Antenor, husband of Theano, a priestess of Athena. The latter brought the demands of the Achaeans before the Trojan assembly, considering them legitimate and not warranting the outbreak of war. But his opponents, led by Antimachos, received greater general support.
According to Homer the latter even proposed to have Menelas slain on the spot, but this was vetoed. Antimachos had been manipulated by Paris-Alexander, who had influenced him with magnificent gifts of gold. But he paid a heavy price, for both his sons were immediately killed by Agamemnon.

Before the battle for reversal begins, the seeker attempts a last reconciliation between the two paths, through which he could profit from his earlier realisations and lead a quest for the perfecting of man in his present state – a quest for wisdom considered to be the only evolutionary truth -, and according to this hope could have been pursued alongside a yoga of the higher planes (the delegation sent to request the return of Helen and of Menelas’ treasures).
The inner initiative is incited by Menelas, ‘the will of liberation in incarnation’, and Ulysses, he who works to realise ‘the union of the two currents linking spirit and matter’ and the perfecting of the process of liberation from the overmind level.

But the seeker forgets that the liberation acquired at this stage rests on an imperfect equality, which had supported itself from the beginning on one of the three gunas, giving privilege to ‘heroic endurance, wise indifference or pious resignation’. But it is a much vaster spiritual equality which is henceforth called upon beyond the equality maintained by the discerning intelligent will (the buddhi). It cannot be satisfied by realisations such as impersonality or beatitude, which, when the seeker does not concern himself with the world of dualities, do not claim a perfect equality. (On this topic, refer to Sri Aurobindo’s Essays on the Gita, Chapter II, The Divine Teacher).

If a part of the being which aspires to union is ready for reconciliation (Antenor, ‘the man who goes forward to the encounter’, is joined with Theano, ‘the evolution of contemplation’), another more ‘persuasive’ one is deeply linked to the separation of spirit and matter (Antimachos, ‘he who fights against’, who in addition has received strong support from Paris-Alexander, a level of an incomplete realisation of ‘equality’. Following both paths simultaneously is then revealed to be impossible, and inner conflict becomes inevitable.
It would even seem that the seeker undergoes an inner attack, and is tempted to renounce a higher evolution of yoga (Antimachos asked that Menelas, ‘an unwavering will extended towards its goal’, be killed on the spot).

Achilles’ capture of Aeneas’ cattle, the sack of cities in Asia, the murder of Troilus and the capture of Lycaon.

The nine first years of the war are quite sparse in details of notable events, and few accounts of this time have been preserved till our days.
It is generally said that the Trojans remained within their walls, hoping that the assailant would exhaust himself. Some sources claim that this did almost occur, and that Achilles was obliged to keep back the troops which wished to leave the battle.

However, it must be noted that all of the noteworthy events of this period were brought about by Achilles, although it is the latter’s refusal to act which constitutes the turning point of the Trojan War. In other words, this would indicate that the seeker initiates a work in the depths of the vital, and then pauses for a lengthy period, the lapse of Achilles’ ‘strike’, to allow the other parts of the being to bring themselves to the same point of evolution.

According to a later source which bases itself on the Cypria, Achilles captured Aeneas’ cattle on Mount Ida. This means that a realisation of ‘that which seeks to pursue an evolution towards the realisation of love’ towards the heights of a union in consciousness (Ida), are claimed by the movement of ‘purification of the depths of the being’, which interests itself with the most minute movements of consciousness and holds the destiny of the future evolution of yoga in its hands. In other words, the seeker progressively transfers the acquisitions of yoga to the side of a deepened purification.

The sack of the cities of Asia (the preliminary purification of a great reversal).

Achilles raided a great number of cities in Asia, eleven by land and eleven by sea. He brought back the booty to Agamemnon, who remained in the vicinity of the ships and only redistributed a small part of the treasures. Among these cities, let us cite Thebes in Cillicia, where perished the magnanimous Eetion, father of Andromache, Hector’s wife, and his seven sons. Achilles did not rob him of his property, but made him a funeral pyre with his weapons and gave him a dignified burial. Mountain nymphs, daughters of Zeus, planted elm trees around his grave.

These first years of war served to purify the most external blockages of the Trojan ‘evolutionary lock’.
It was Achilles, ‘he who must end the process of liberation’, who is here the movement acting on yoga. Situated not far from Troy, the cities which he ransacks in Asia symbolise the secondary structures established by the most advanced early forms of yoga, which must first be demolished either in the vital (those attacked by sea) or in their bodily habits (those attacked by land), before the seeker is able to begin working on the central knot.
(Apollodorus cites by name only fifteen of these cities, but alludes to there having been more than a hundred).

The sack of Thebes through the high door could indicate that it is the moment for the halting of the personal yoga of purification and liberation. This city is situated on the coast of Asia Minor, and must not be confused with its homonym in Boeotia, nor with Thebes in Egypt. However it shares a similar symbolism, representing ‘a structure of incarnation of the inner being’ aiming at exactness. It may therefore symbolise an accomplishment (the high door) of the purification which was the object of the two ‘wars’ in view of a widening of the centres of consciousness or chakras (the war of Seven against Thebes, and that of the Epigoni).

It is also at this point that are halted the active movements which result from ‘the highest mental consciousness’, and have as their object ‘a yoga of combat’ (Achilles slays Eetion and his seven sons). All the same, this active movement of the warrior of light who has allowed access to a union in the spirit deserves due consideration (even the muses of the mountains, the daughters of Zeus, paid their respects to Eetion and his sons).
But the very principle represented by Andromache, ‘the man who combats’, must be maintained (Andromache is safe). Although the seeker is at first oriented towards greater mastery (according to the name of her son Astyanax, ‘the master of the city’ within the process of the opening of consciousness towards the spirit, for she is the wife of Hector), he must henceforth pursue this in another way in the attitude of self-giving, consecration and abandon to the Absolute. This is why she will become the wife of Neoptolemus, ‘numerous battles’, upon the fall of Troy.

The murder of Troilus (the transcendence of the state of sainthood).

Troilus was a son of Priam, renowned for his beauty and the ‘glow of love shining on his blushing cheeks’. According to some authors he was a son of Apollo and Hecabe. Others claim that Achilles first fell in love with Troilus, but then pursued and killed him in a place consecrated to Apollo, where he had gone in the company of his sister Polyxena (many illustrations depict him with two horses).
Plautus affirms that the death of Troilus was one of the necessary preliminaries for the conquest of Troy.

Troilus represents ‘liberation through the right movement towards the heights of the spirit’. As a son of Priam, he is the symbol of a realisation of the illumined mind, and as a son of Apollo also that of a psychic realisation. He represents the movement towards the spirit which leads to the state of ‘realisation’, that of the ‘liberated living individual’ glowing with a very pure love (the glow of love shone on his cheeks). However, as beautiful as this realisation may be the seeker must not consider it as an ultimate accomplishment nor follow this path if he is searching for a greater freedom for humankind as a whole, which is why his death conditions the fall of Troy. This has led Sri Aurobindo to affirm that Truth must be incarnated in humankind for divine Love to be able to take its place within it. Nonetheless, realising a state of sainthood as a preliminary step is indispensable for the yogic progress, hence Achilles’ initial love for Troilus.
The presence of his sister Polyxena indicates that this state is accompanied by ‘numerous strange occurrences’, which is to say numerous powers.

The capture of Lycaon (the state of wisdom is constrained to limit its dominating influence)

Lycaon was a son of Priam and Laothoe, daughter of Altes. A lengthy passage in the Odyssey recounts how in the first years of war Achilles had taken him prisoner during a nocturnal raid and had sold him to Euenos of Lemnos, son of Jason. In exchange, Euenos had given him a resplendent silver bowl.
He was subsequently bought by Eetion of Imbros, who sent him to the divine city of Arisbe.
He escaped and returned to Troy at the very end of the war, twelve days before being recognised and slain by Achilles.

Lycaon, ‘the light preceding dawn’, represents an element of ‘true wisdom’, but which has been acquired on the path of the refusal of the divinisation of man (he was born of the Trojan lineage). This causes a division within the seeker, who supports himself on this luminous higher knowledge and strives to elaborate ‘a knowledge originating from the Emptiness which contains all’ according to the symbolism of the fig tree (which is analysed later on in this text) and on which he could support his yoga (he builds a ramp for a chariot from the wood of the fig tree).
The movement which pursues a total liberation then attempts to redress through force the orientation of this emerging ‘knowledge of truth’ appearing at the heart of the Trojan conception (Achilles takes Lycaon as his prisoner).
But after having been constrained to submit himself to the ‘just evolution’ in ‘the assembling of opposites’ (Lycaon was bought by Euenos of Lemnos), and subsequently to that of the ‘highest mental consciousness’ (Eetion), this element of ‘true knowledge’ will ally itself again on the side of its first orientation in the separation of spirit and matter, which will eventually cause its disappearance (Lycaon escaped and returned to Troy, where he was killed by Achilles some years later at the end of the war). But it is actually much more difficult to put an end to ‘knowledge’ than to ‘sainthood’.
This ‘knowledge’ assists through its work of union that of Ulysses (Lemnos), and then that of the ‘highest mental consciousness’ (Eetion). In the Agenda, the Mother repeatedly alludes to the need of renouncing the desire to be virtuous, which she specifies as renouncing the wish of appearing virtuous and renouncing to be ‘intelligent’ so as to accept to appear ‘stupid’ or ‘foolish’, which is much more difficult.

The death of Palamedes (the end of the aspect of the mind which transcribes divine laws through fixing them)

Palamedes, son of Nauplios and Hesione (and according to some, grandson of Poseidon and of the Danaid Amymone), was known as an inventor and a benefactor of the Achaeans. His inventions included weights, numbers, measures, the interpretation of the movement of heavenly bodies, and most importantly, writing.
Diomedes and Ulysses (or according to some accounts only the latter) were responsible for his death, the precise reasons for which remain unexplained. Some say that they hatched a plot against him, accusing him of having hidden some gold so that he was consequently stoned to death by the army for his betrayal.
His father Nauplios avenged him by first persuading the wives of several Greek heroes to be unfaithful to their husbands, such as Clytaemnestra with Aegisthus, and then by attempting to sink their ships upon the return of the Achaeans at the end of the war.

It must be remembered that Palamedes ‘the ingenious’ participated in the unmasking of Ulysses through a crafty strategy. He symbolises a logical mental capacity which brings its support to the seeker in the domains of organisation, evaluation, prevision, the memory of the path and the knowledge of symbols, all capacities which reveal logical intelligence, a form of reason which bases itself on memory and supports itself on the separative current necessary for individuation.
It is he who ‘skilfully navigates the path’ (his father is Nauplios) who has generated this superior state of understanding that is sometimes known as ‘wisdom’, and which is based on the experience of knowledge (sophia).
But in this work we reserve the term ‘wisdom’ for the highest state of the intuitive mind, which has required a pause of the habitual functioning of this separative logical mind. This is why Pindar recounts that Palamedes surpassed Ulysses in the domain of ‘sophia’, for Ulysses’ intuitive and integrative intelligence is far superior to this ‘sophia’ and reduces it to silence. Ulysses eventually slays Palamedes.

Palamedes’ mother is also known in different instances as Philyra, ‘she who loves the just movement’, Clymene, ‘she who is renowned, or who has followed a recognised path’, or as Hesione, ‘balanced consciousness or serenity’.
(As a grandson of Poseidon and Amymone ‘the irreproachable’, this hero expresses a powerful intervention of the subconscient)

But the points of reference are nevertheless a necessity, for without them the seeker runs great risks: Nauplios later carried out his revenge in every way possible, striving to deviate the yogic work either by giving it other aims and thus provoking instability and lack of perseverance, or by generating ‘false lights’ which prove catastrophic for the yogic progress (by persuading the women to be unfaithful to their husbands or by causing shipwreck).

THE TROJAN WAR (THE ILIAD)

The Iliad does not limit itself to a description of the conflict but incorporates numerous elements of the path, often simple allusions meant for a public who is already familiar with these stories. We have already encountered a number of these but will not be able to fit a detailed study of the text here for it would take several volumes.
For instance, the second book, also known as the Catalogue of Ships, lists the contingents which left for Troy along with the names of their leaders, their provinces and cities of origin, as well as the number of ships and of men on board. A similar but less detailed description of the Trojan troops is also given. If we consider that no detail is given randomly, this constitutes a structure of over six hundred names to be decoded and interpreted, and which probably describe the state to be attained by the seeker if he wishes to embark upon the adventure of the great reversal of yoga.
There are several aspects which we will therefore only be able to treat briefly in this discussion.

Book I: Achilles’ rage

The first book of the Iliad explains the reason for Achilles’ anger and for his consequent ‘strike’, or abstention from action, which is the main topic of the poem. In fact, as long as the seeker has not concluded the vital liberation and abstains from diving into the depths of the being for a deeper purification and engagement in an attentive observation of the most minute movements of consciousness, no decisive reversal can take place (Achilles is the king of the Myrmidons, ‘the ants’)
The war takes place in Asia minor, which is to say in the province of the most advanced seekers (in eastern Greece), and this episode takes place during the tenth year of the siege, at the end of an endless inner fight.

When Achilles returned to the Achaean encampment after sacking Thebes (a homonymous city located in Troad), ‘the saintly city’ governed by Eetion, he brought back numerous captives. Amongst these was Chryseis, daughter of the priest Apollo Chryses, who was given to Agamemnon.
But the priest sought out Agamemnon and asked him to give back his daughter to him in exchange for a sizeable ransom. Although the Achaean troops understood and approved the request, Agamemnon rejected it.
Chryses then appealed to Apollo, who cast a plague onto the army and thus claimed many men’s lives. As the soothsayer Calchas revealed the reason for this request, Agamemnon capitulated and agreed to return Chryseis against a compensation, and on the condition of claiming one of the women taken by Achilles, Ajax or Ulysses.
As Achilles reacted most violently to the demand of Agamemnon, who was known as ‘the most greedy of all’, the latter chose to claim Achilles’ share, the captive Briseis.
Achilles had brought her back from the sack of Lyrnessus, and at Agamemnon’s request drew his sword, incensed. But he was calmed by Athena, who had been sent by Hera. Having recognised the goddess and acting on the promise that he would be amply compensated for his loss, he obeyed and regained a hold on himself, but declared before all present that neither he nor his men would henceforth fight for Agamemnon.
In addition, he announced that the Atrides would suffer heavy losses. To be sure that this curse would be realised, he bade his mother Thetis to speak to Zeus to ensure that he would support the Trojans till Agamemnon understood his error.
In the meantime, the latter had sent his heralds to bring Briseis to him, and had asked Ulysses to lead Chryseis back to her father.
Zeus agreed with Thetis’ request, which elicited Hera’s wrath, for she guessed the motive of Thetis’ intervention.

Till the symbolic moment of the departure for Troy, the aspiration is turned towards the highest intuitive mental realisation, that which precedes the overmind and confers a ‘renowned wisdom’, which is to say one tending towards the bettering of man in his current state (Agamemnon is in fact married to Clytaemnestra, who belongs to the lineage of Taygete).
The war expresses at its beginnings the inner conflict between two paths, each of which claims evolutionary truth (Helen); the Trojan path which refuses to consider the possibility of integral human perfection but pursues mastery from the heights of consciousness, and that of the Achaeans, which aims towards a higher perfection of man but cannot yet accept that it is necessary to institute a radical transformation rather than simply an amelioration.
It must be remembered that Agamemnon is the king of the Mycenaean people, signifying ‘a violent ardour’. The city was founded by Perseus, who vanquished fear, and symbolises an inner elaboration which opposes itself to lukewarm half-heartedness. He therefore symbolises a seeker ‘free’ of any fear.
In the preliminary ‘cleansing’ of the neighbouring areas of Troy, that which fights for this amelioration strives to claim for itself certain realisations which concern the psychic light (Chryseis, ‘golden’, daughter of the priest Apollo Chryses), obtained through the process of purification and incarnation of the inner being (Thebes, the sacred city).

But once the fundamentals of the conflict are clearly defined, the ‘powerful aspiration’ of the seeker who aspires for perfection in action recognises that it is preferable to wish to acquire a psychic light rather than an intuitive mental one turned upon the bettering of man, irrespective of the wisdom gained by the latter (in the first years of war, Agamemnon had come to prefer the captive Chryseis, daughter of the priest of Apollo, to his own wife Clytaemnestra). But at this stage, the expression of the psychic being at the overmind level, which we refer to as ‘psychic light’, still supports the ancient yogic forms which separated spirit from matter (Apollo, son of Zeus and Leto, supports the Trojans).
The seeker will therefore no longer be able to ask for his support in combat (Agamemnon must give Chryseis back to him). Aspiring to a perfecting of the external being, he cannot keep this as a means (she is in fact a slave). He is doubtless still not sufficiently purified to act from the psychic being in all the details of daily life, even if the intuitive mind communicates a certain degree of light (Agamemnon belongs to the lineage of Pelops, who has a single ivory shoulder). Only he who pursues a purification and liberation in the depths of the being through the observation of the most minute movements of his being would be deserving this golden psychic light(Achilles had ‘won’ her in his first battles against Troy).

In an initial stage, the seeker believes himself to be more advanced than he truly is, and refuses to give in. He will have to undergo numerous reversals before admitting reality and listening to his inner being (Calchas). But the remains of ego keep him from submitting, and that which leads the process of reversal of the ancient forms of yoga pretends to be better able to utilise the realisation which must normally support the process of liberation in the vital, the extension of consciousness in incarnation or the realisation of transparency (Agamemnon requests Achilles’, Ajax’s or Ulysses’ booty as his own to make up for his loss). Ultimately it is ‘the power (of transformation through a union with the Absolute at the psychic level)’, Briseis, that he chooses.
Some authors describe Briseis ‘power’ as a daughter of a priest of Apollo like Chryseis, in which case she would represent a force originating from the psychic light. But Homer only mentions that she dwelt in the city of the soothsayer Mynes, ‘the evolution of consecration’, and that she was comparable to the golden Aphrodite. She therefore represents ‘a power of transformation through union with the Divine’ which can only be acquired through a work on the depths of the being, for Patroclus had promised her as a bride to Achilles.
This power of transformation can therefore not be acquired through an aspiration turned towards the perfecting of actual man towards greater wisdom. This would remain the cause of the Achaeans’ defeat till the end of Achilles’ refusal to fight.

The seeker is then warned by a communication issued from the heights of the overmind which is attentive to the right movement (Hera) through the force which watches over the yoga of discerning intelligence (Athena) to allow free play to this erroneous movement with the knowledge that he would be duly recompensed (Delegated by Hera, Athena bids Achilles to control his anger): the seeker knows that he must play out every possible error before the right movement can manifest itself.

Achilles insults Agamemnon by describing him as the most greedy of men, who never had the heart to arm himself and fight alongside his troops; the seeker is still firmly established in the heights of the liberation of the spirit, in the Self, and does not yet accept to return to the level of the common and everyday life where true transformation must occur.
The adjective ‘greedy’ often used to describe Agamemnon may therefore not only be an epithet to describe the intense aspiration which has led the yogic process till this advanced stage of personal liberation, but also describes in the seeker that which demands, justified by this great aspiration, a power of transformation at the collective level without carrying out the corresponding work.
On the other hand, the aspect of the seeker which pursues the process of liberation in the depths of the vital (Achilles) is wholly conscious of the means to be attributed to each of the parts collaborating in the yogic process, and does not wish to alter this, ‘the redistribution of that which we have pillaged’.

At this stage the seeker therefore cannot, or does not wish to, recognise the right path which will allow him to progress beyond this liberation in the spirit even though the movement in this direction is already engaged.
It must also be noted that Achilles does not in any way reproach the Trojans, which is to say that the seeker recognises the value of the ancient forms of yoga which have allowed both an evolution in the higher planes of consciousness and a psychic opening and transformation.

From this moment onward, a part of the seeker knows that work on the depths of vital consciousness cannot be continued as long as the erroneous movement has not been exhausted till it breaks down by itself (when the Trojans will be abreast of the Achaean fleets, and the situation will appear to be hopeless).
In addition he mobilises within himself the forces which rule over the most archaic vital (Thetis), bringing them in contact with the supraconscient in order that the latter put a stop to the actions which seek the bettering of man through personal power, although the separator movement might prevail for some time (Achilles asks Thetis to intervene to secure Zeus’ support of the Trojans).
Even Hera, the right divine law of evolution which supports the Achaeans, allows this to carry on for she knows that this is necessary at that moment. She is displeased however, for she is angered by anything which diverges from what is just.
The situation is therefore an accord between the deep vital and the supraconscient to allow the ancient movement to dominate till the last moment. Within the yogic process, the seeker will often come across desperate situations which unbalance the situation at the last moment.
It is probable that the entirety of the Trojan War being carried out under the influence of personal ‘power’ refers to what is described by the Mother when she outlines the accomplishment of the three conditions which shape the access to the supramental, and must be successively realised in the mind and the vital before the yoga of the body and their application to this plane can begin. This includes:
‘Capacity for indefinite expansion of consciousness on all planes including the material.
Limitless plasticity to be able to follow the movement of becoming.
Perfect equality abolishing all possibility of ego reaction.’
(Mother’s Agenda, Volume 3, 12 January 1962.)
If we consider that all three conditions are already fulfilled on the mental plane, it would here be a question of a corresponding realisation on the vital plane, a realisation which gives formidable power with the ability of upturning the history of the Earth, a power which the seeker must “sacrifice” (offer to the divine) if he wishes to progress any further. The fact that Aphrodite and Apollo had supported the Trojans till the very end is most probably so that the emotional affect may be widened into the Supreme dimension.
(Mother’s Agenda Volume 3, 12 January 1962: ‘For thought, it’s elementary, very simple. It’s not difficult for the feelings either;for the heart, the emotional being, to expand to the dimensions of the Supreme is relatively easy. But this body! It’s very difficult, very difficult to do without the body losing its center. ” ‘And when I did it, I understood what people here in India mean when they say: he surrendered his experience .I had never really understood what that meant.When I did it, I understood. ‘No,’ I said,’I don’t want to stop there; I am giving it all to You, that I may go on to the end.’ Then I understood what it meant.Had I kept it, oh – I would have become one of those world-renowned phenomena, turning the course of the earth’s history upside down!’)

Book II: The forces present at Troy

Zeus sent Oniros to Agamemnon under the guise of Nestor to incite an offensive. The latter then, with the advice of the elders, put into practice a strategy to motivate the troops; while he himself encouraged them to return to their homes, the members of the counsel were to on the contrary encourage them to fight.
Agamemnon appeared before the troops and addressed them accordingly, holding the royal sceptre in his hands. It had been given by Zeus to Hermes, who had then given it to Pelops, after which it was in turn inherited by Atreus, Thyestes and Agamemnon.
Convinced by Agamemnon’s words, the troops were ready to turn back home, but Hera then bid Athena to hold them back. The latter appeared before Ulysses, who recognised her. The hero then received the sceptre from Agamemnon’s hands, and harangued the troops to remain and fight. Thersites alone blamed the kings and sought a quarrel with Agamemnon, but Ulysses soon put him in his place.

Then Nestor reminded all that Zeus had promised them a victory at the time of the assembly at Aulis which was to be announced ‘by an inscrutable sign’.
Certain that the troops would now follow him, Agamemnon invited the Panachaean leaders to a sacrifice: Nestor, Idomeneus, the two Ajax, Diomedes, Ulysses and Menelas.
The omniscient Muses then describe the leaders and contingents of the two camps.

This first phase (of the end of the movement of reorientation, for it is the tenth year of the war) is initiated by the supraconscient, which sends an erroneous intuitive perception so as to establish the will for transformation (following the agreement given in support of the Trojans, Zeus sent Oniros to Agamemnon). It is not in this case a fault of perception on the part of the seeker, but rather an erroneous movement induced by the supraconscient without his knowledge. In fact, the dream comes to Agamemnon under the most respectable form of yoga, Nestor, ‘the evolution of rectitude (coherence of the external and inner being)’.

According to Hesiod, Oniros is a son of the Night, of the ‘darkness’ of consciousness. While the aspiration believes itself to be spreading out in integrity, it is in fact being misled. It must consequently use certain strategies to mobilise its powers while a profound exhaustion fills it. This in fact constitutes the end of a lengthy period of gestation, ‘for nine years of the great Zeus had passed’. For this, the ‘intelligent will applied to perfection’ followed by ‘the movement of realisation of transparency’ must reaffirm their legitimacy in directing the yogic process (the emblem of power is given by Agamemnon to Ulysses). Inherited by the overmind for a work on the depths of the being, this direction has successively allowed a ‘victory over fear’, the ‘realisation of integrity’, ‘ecstatic submission’, and finally ‘the aspiration for a perfecting bettering in action’ (the sceptre was given by Hermes to Pelops, ‘he who has vision over darkness’, and was then handed down to Atreus, ‘he who is without fear’, Thyestes ‘the perfumer’, and finally Agamemnon, ‘a strong aspiration’ associated to an ‘intelligent will for perfection’).

Hera, ‘the right movement of evolution according to the spirit’ who has not been informed of the strategy by Zeus, could not allow the evolution to be interrupted (the departure of the Achaean troops), and bade Athena, the power which directs the quest, to intervene.
Only Thersites, ‘inflamed spirit or mind’, opposed this. He is described as the ugliest man in Ilion, hunchbacked and lame, for whom everything was good as long as he made people laugh in Argos’: Here Homer denounces the last mind’s tendency to become inflamed, manifested by a lack of balance and harmony as well as a need for recognition (a search for approval). But at this stage this tendency cannot cause major damage (Ulysses put him firmly back in his place).
Then the movement of aspiration, assured of its ultimate success, reassembles ‘that which has given everything within itself for the sake of accomplishment’ so as ‘express gratitude’ (Nestor gives a reminder of the indisputable sign of victory, and Agamemnon invites the Panachaean leaders to a sacrifice to the gods). The leaders include:
Nestor, ‘the evolution of rectitude in incarnation’, or that of ‘integrity’ or ‘sincerity’.
Idomeneus, ‘he who aspires for union’.
The lesser Ajax, ‘the little consciousness of the personality’, son of Oileus, ‘free consciousness’. He is an incarnation of the first ‘liberation of consciousness’, that which free from the ideas about good and evil not simply by giving them license but through a vaster demand and vision.
The great Ajax, ‘higher consciousness’
Diomedes, ‘he who concerns himself with a total union of consciousness, and who plans to be a seer’ (he represents an intuitive functioning, for his ancestor is Endymion, ‘mental silence’)
Ulysses, ‘he who strives to realise a union with the two currents which link spirit and matter’, or ‘he who realises within himself the union of polarities’, or ‘the union of opposites’ through the light of the overmind.
Menelas, ‘he who has an unshakeable will’, or ‘he who remains faithful to his vision’.

The Catalogue of Ships (the Achaean coalition).

This list, which occupies an important part of the second book, still keeps many of its secrets. It would seem that Homer attempted to make an as detailed description as possible of the qualities and realisations indispensable for accessing that phase of the path. From this time onward, it is no longer a question of a yoga carried out by personal effort alone, but of a progressive and integral submission allowing the powers of the spirit to descend into the different planes to illuminate and then transform them. The number of ships indicated specify the ratio of realisations necessary for each of the directions of yoga, identified by the name of each province. The names of the cities and their leaders helps elucidate the nuances.
A small number of ships does not indicate that the work involved is of lesser importance, but only that it is not a priority at this point or else has not moved into its full power yet.

For example Nireus, ‘the evolution of the right movement of exactness’, son of Aglaia, ‘splendour, joy’, and of Charops, ‘he whose gaze is clear’, is ‘the most handsome of the Danaeans to have arrived at Ilion after Achilles’. As the most handsome after Achilles, he represents the second truest realisation, the exactness which originates from transparency in an aspiration for Joy. However this only provides a reduced and limited power, for the seeker has not extended this exactness to the whole being. (‘Nireus only goes to battle with three ships’, and ‘does not exert great power for he has too few men under his command’).

To cite another example, we find Medon, ‘the true power’, replacing Philoctetes, ‘he who loves that which can be acquired, the will of realisation’. He commands only seven ships of fifty men each; the true power is still in an embryonic state, for it is necessary for all attachments to ancient forms of yoga to disappear. Let us remember that Philoctetes was abandoned in Lemnos for almost all of the war, Lemnos being the location in which the transformation of exclusion into integration must be carried out. The new yoga in fact implies a reversal of the combative attitude to abolish that which is against the divine in creation so as to replace it with acceptance (See Mother’s Agenda Volume 3, 21st January 1962).
Philoctetes joins the campaign much later on, for he possesses Heracles’ bow, without which Troy could not be conquered.

Here we must also mention a son of Heracles, Tlepolemos, ‘the warrior of endurance’ (in the same sense as Atlas, which includes the two same structuring characters ΤΛ and holds up the heavens with patience and endurance). He was from Rhodes, ‘the island of the rose’, and commanded nine ships; the transition to the foreground of the psychic being is not yet complete.

If we consider the leaders by the number of ships in their possession, they can be ordered in the following way:
Agamemnon, ‘a powerful aspiration’, commanding a hundred ships.
Nestor, ‘the evolution of rectitude’, or ‘integrity’, commanding ninety ships.
Diomedes, ‘he who has the goal of being divine’, coming from Argolis and assisted by Sthenelus, ‘a powerful individuation or autonomy’, son of Capaneus, ‘the consciousness opening itself to everything’, who was one of the Seven leaders against Thebes, most often mentioned as fighting before the gate of Electra, symbolising ‘the opening of the heart’. Euryale, ‘a vast liberation’, also accompanied him, symbolising one who draws close to the plane of the gods for he is ‘a mortal equal to the gods ‘, son of Mecisteus, ‘the great’, himself born of Talaos, ‘that which endures’. These three leaders describe a vast and powerful freedom, an indomitable will, a great psychic opening and a no lesser capacity for endurance.
Idomeneus, ‘he who desires union’, and Merion, ‘the right movement of consciousness towards receptivity’. They sailed from Crete with eighty ships.
Menelas, ‘an unwavering will (for freedom) who has ‘a powerful battle cry’, coming from Lacedaemon (Sparta) with sixty ships, thus symbolising a powerful will supported by the vital and extended towards what is New.
Agapenor, ‘external nature opening itself to evolution in true love’, son of Ancaeus, ‘he who holds tight’, coming from Arcadia with sixty ships given by Agamemnon.

The list given below is complete, and includes the other leaders who came with fifty ships or less.
While the different provinces seem to clearly designate the stages of the path, many uncertainties remain in what concerns the cities named by Homer. The names of several amongst them can be deciphered through the methods of interpretation used here.
Nevertheless, this suggests that the cities were renamed to fit into the mythological narratives, which seems difficult to accomplish in the case of a whole country. However, if, according to current estimates, Greece included less than a million inhabitants in the Homeric era, a partial modification of the names is more plausible.

Province or city
Leaders
Ships(each ship carrying a hundred and twenty soldiers)
Boeotia
Peneleos, Leitus, Archesilaus, Prothoenor and Clonius
50
Boeotia (Aspledon and Orchomenus of the Minyans)
Ascalaphos and Ialmenus, son of Ares.
30
Phocys
Schedius and Epistrophe, sons of Iphitos.
40
Locris (beyond Euboea)
Ajax son of Oileus, the most skilled in javelin throw
40
Euboea
Elephenor, son of Ares
40
Athens
Menestheus, son of Peteos (the best at ordering and storing)
50
Salamis
Ajax son of Telamon
12
Argolis (Argos and Tiryns)
Diomedes, Sthenelus son of Capaneus, and Euryale, ‘a mortal equal to the gods’, son of Mecisteus, himself born of Talaos
80
Argolis (Mycenae, Corinth, Cleone, etc.)
Agamemnon
100
Laconia (Lacedemonia)
Menelas
60
Messenia (Pylos, etc.)
Nestor, ‘the old carriage driver’.
90
Arcadia
Agapenor, son of Ancaeus
60 (given by Agamemnon)
Elis (Epeans)
Amphimachus and Thalpius, grandson of Actor, Diores and Polyxenos, ‘same as the gods’
40
Ionian Sea (Dulichium)
Meges, comparable to Ares
40
Ionian Sea (Dulichium)
‘Ulysses whose thought is equal to Zeus’.
12
Aetolia
Thoas, son of Andraemon
40
Crete
Idomeneus, Merion
80
Rhodes
Tlepolemos the Heraclid
9
Islands of Asia Minor (Syme)
Nireus, son of Aglaia and Charops, ‘the most handsome of the Danaeans arriving in Ilion after Achilles’
3
Islands of Asia Minor (Syme)
Phidippus, Antiphos
30
Pelasgian Argos, Phthia and Hellada :The Myrmidons, Hellenes and Achaeans
Achilles
50
Thessaly (Phylacus, etc.)
Elephenor, son of Ares
40
Thessaly (Phylacus, etc.)
Eumelos, son of Admete
11
Thessaly
Medon (Philoctetes)
7 (each ship carrying fifty soldiers)
Thessaly (Oechalia)
Podalirius, Machaon
30
Thessaly
Eurypylus
40
Thessaly
Polypoetes, son of Pirithoos and Hippodamia, Leonteus
40
Thessaly
Guneus
22
Thessaly (the Magnetes)
Prothoos
40

The Trojan coalition

Homer gives much fewer details of the Trojan side. He only mentions that the Achaeans numbered more than ten to one Trojan, but he does not give exact figures for the troops.

The first to be cited is the greatest of the Trojans, the divine Hector, ‘he who strives for a right movement of the opening of consciousness towards the spirit’. He is the greatest amongst the sons of Priam, ‘the redeemed, he who is given a second chance’, king of Troy, ‘the organisation of a just development on the plane of the spirit’.

The second is Aeneas, son of Anchise and Aphrodite. He is the symbol of ‘a future evolution towards Love’. His name can also be understood as ‘the terrible’ or inversely as ‘praise, the action of grace’. He does not belong to the main Trojan lineage of Ilos which strives for a ‘liberation’ of the spirit, but rather to that of Assaracus, ‘he who dwells in peace’ or ‘he who strives for the unification in the right path. He is an incarnation of the future path towards Love, opening when the seeker will have reunified within himself spirit and matter towards a higher Truth. He originates from Dardania, the province of the ‘right movement towards unity’.

The third is Pandareus, ‘he who gives everything to the just movement towards union’, son of Lycaon, ‘he who exists within the nascent light’. He is from Mount Ida, representing the ascension of a ‘union’ in spirit. We will see that this is only an intention which is not followed by a mobilisation of the corresponding forces (for he did not listen to his father, but left his chariots behind).

Then follow their allies from different regions of Asia Minor: Phrygia, Lydia, Mysia, Ionia, Lycia, the coasts of Hellespont and of oriental Thrace, as well as nearby islands. Their leaders were named Adrastos, ‘he who possesses unwavering courage’, or is ‘fearless’, Acamas ‘the tireless’, Euphemos, ‘he whose predictions are correct’ (based on a correct intuitive receptivity), Phorcys, ‘he who bears the opening of consciousness’, Ascanius, who is the same as the gods , ‘he who is without protection (who is completely open)’, (a homonym of the son of Aeneas and Creusa), etc.

City or region
Leaders
Troy
Hector, son of Priam
Dardania
Aeneas, son of Anchise and Aphrodite, Achelous and Acamas, sons of Antenor
Zelys (Mount Ida)
Pandareus, son of Lycaon
Adraste, Apaesus, Pityeia, Tereis
Adraste and Amphius, sons of Merops, ‘he who knows the art of divination better than anybody’.
Percote, Practicus, etc.
Asius
Pelasgus
Hippothoos, Pyleus, son of Ares
Thracians
Acamas, Pireus
Kikones
Euphemos, son of Troesen
Paeonians
Pyraechmes
Paphlagonia
Pylemenus
Halizones
Odius, Epistrophe
Mysia
Chromis, Ennomus
Phrygia
Phorcys, Ascanius ‘similar to the gods’
Meonia
Mesthles, Antiphos
Caria
Nastes, Amphimachus
Lycia
Sarpedon, Glaucus

The gods supporting the two camps

To complete this description of the forces present, one must add the powers of the overmind which support these two orientations. It is in fact the first time that they will come up against each other within the seeker, who at this stage of yoga sees them at play within himself for the heroes recognise them more often.
Even if some of them remain initially disengaged from the conflict, Homer clearly indicates the gods supporting either side. (Ref Book XX, 30)

In the Achaean camp:
There are first and foremost Hera, ‘the right movement of evolution’ (according to the divine order), and Athena, an emanation from the heights of the overmind which aids in the evolution of the inner being towards the vastest consciousness (higher wisdom or intelligence) and the mastery of the outer being through the battles of yoga, which we associate with the ‘master of yoga’. These deities can of course do nothing but support the movement which puts forward the union of spirit and matter. In this myth their engagement is motivated by the choice of Aphrodite’s in the famous judgement of Paris.
Hephaestus, the god who forges new forms, is logically also on the Achaean side.

Even if Poseidon, the god of the subconscient, seems to often create obstacles on the path, these ultimately only act as leverage for evolution. As long as vital purification has not been completed, this god must work for a liberation in the spirit and the bringing forward of the psychic being. This is the reason for his indecisive position at the beginning of the war, and of the support which he seems to offer the Trojans. It must be remembered that he had assisted Laomedon in the construction of the walls of Troy. Moreover, we will see him complaining to Zeus of the wall which the Achaeans will build before their ships to shield themselves from Trojan attacks. But when this last year of war was well underway, he took pity on the Achaeans and took their side definitively. (Ref Book XIII.)

Finally Hermes, the god of the highest Knowledge of the overmind, supports the Achaeans as well even though he does not take part in the beginning of the conflict. Representing the most elevated plane of the mind, he must forge a link with the supramental and therefore intervene at the end of the conflict to bring about a definitive reversal. However, as his aim is a complete unity without any exclusion, he is sympathetic to the Trojans’ cause. Specifically, he will help Priam seek out Achilles’ clemency.

In the Trojan camp:

Ares seems indifferent at the beginning of the war. He then promises the goddesses Hera and Athena to support the Achaeans, but soon breaks this promise by joining the side of his lover Aphrodite.
The name Ares is built around the letter Rho (Ρ), which is a double character. Ares is therefore both a force which ‘severs’, and also one which ‘maintains’ when the right time has not yet come. This is why, even when he promises to support the right evolutionary movement, the Achaean side, he eventually gives his support to the Trojans as does his lover Aphrodite, and initially supports the side of those who separate spirit and matter. Wounded by Diomedes in the first period of the war, he will have to withdraw from battle, allowing a final reversal to be carried out.

Aphrodite, the goddess of love, also grants her support to the Trojans. Homer describes her as a daughter of Zeus and Dione, and a symbol of ‘love in evolution’. Nevertheless Troy represents one of the greatest accomplishments of the ancient forms of yoga in the domains of love and devotion, and is therefore a real symbol of Love in evolution. This is why the descendants of Aeneas, sons of Aphrodite and Anchise, will become the founders of the future city of Troy. It is Aphrodite whom Paris-Alexander identifies as the most beautiful of all, and therefore the truest. He thus chooses the primacy of love (yet imperfect) over the right evolution in truth and over the direction given by the inner master for the growth of mastery and of discerning intelligence. A state of perfect, integral and universal compassion must be achieved before the reversal can be operated. But as Sri Aurobindo has written, Love will only be able to truly establish itself on the earth in a world of Truth. Aphrodite had to accordingly leave the field of battle after having been violently defeated by Athena.

The Trojans also receive the support of Leto and her two children, Apollo and Artemis, whom we have associated with the growth of the psychic being. The psychic centre is situated at the level of the heart behind the emotional centre, and prepares Divine Love in incarnation beyond the achievement of exactness.
Apollo is therefore like Aphrodite turned towards true Love, and Troy is his true nation. He will only leave the city with regret and return with the descendants of Aeneas when the process of evolution will permit, in new forms, for Truth to be sufficiently established in man.

On the side of the Trojans must also be mentioned the river-god of the Trojan plain, the Xanthos, or ‘yellow’ (a golden yellow going towards red), the double current of energy-consciousness which unites spirit and matter but which men only perceive a single sense of. (See the explanation later in this text.)

While appearing to lie outside the conflict, Zeus, symbol of the supraconscient at the frontier of space-time, predicts the outcome notwithstanding. His actions, apparently long in disfavour of the Achaeans, only translate an obedience to the laws of creation, one being that any movement must develop till its eternally predestined end. But it can be supposed that for the seeker this is still of the supraconscient domain, unless he can perceive that in the initial impulse of any movement is included a development to its end.

The last two deities of Mount Olympus remain neutral. In fact, Hestia never leaves the centre of the being. Demeter, ‘the mother of union’, who through her daughter Persephone aids in drawing together the conscient and inconscient, can never be an advocate, for it supports both the work of liberation in Spirit and that of liberation in Nature.

In any case it must be noted that Homer affirms that the responsibility of the war lies with the gods, and more specifically with Apollo, for Agamemnon had shown contempt to his priest Chryses by refusing to return his daughter Chryseis to him. This is to say that the movement which triggers the great reversal originates from the psychic light translated by the overmind. (Iliad I, 8.)

Book III : Duel of Paris and Menelas

While the two armies stood facing each other, Menelas challenged Alexander, who in fear retreated and hid amongst his men. Hector then reproached him in great anger. Alexander then offered to fight against Menelas in single combat, a proposition which Hector immediately communicated to the Achaeans. If Alexander emerged triumphant, the Trojans would keep Helen and all her husband’s treasures which she had taken away with her, and the Achaeans would turn back. If the opposite took place, the Achaeans would take back Helen and the treasures of Menelas and would be additionally compensated.
Iris presented herself before Helen to inform her of the proposition of this single combat, and this reawakened Helen’s forgotten love for Menelas.
The council of elders wished for Helen’s departure but Priam stood up for her, asserting that it was not she but the gods who were responsible for the conflict.
Then Helen described to Priam the leaders who appeared in the distance and whom he could not recognise due to his advanced age: Agamemnon and Ulysses, ‘who was smaller than he was but broader of chest, and a master of tricks and wiles’, Ajax, ‘the bulwark of the Achaeans’, and Idomeneus.

Priam then went forth to meet Agamemnon to settle the agreement. Once this was done, he returned within his palace not to run the risk of witnessing the death of his son.
The duel began with javelin throwing, which each adversary skilfully avoided. Menelas then attacked with his sword, but it unexpectedly shattered into four pieces. Then, as he dragged Alexander by the strap of his helmet, Aphrodite caused it to shatter and created a thick fog to hide Alexander from sight, transporting him to his chamber and informing Helen of his return. Recognising the goddess even in her guise as an old woman, Helen was initially angered but eventually obeyed her and joined Alexander, whom Menelas was searching for amongst the soldiers. There she mocked her second husband’s boastfulness as he invited her to join him.
Agamemnon then announced to all assembled the victory of Menelas, and asked for the agreement to be fulfilled.

This first single combat illustrates the will of the seeker to find the right evolutionary path (Helen), either on the side of Alexander, ‘he who rejects or pushes away man’ outside of incarnation, or on the side of Menelas, ‘an unwavering will extended towards its aim’ or ‘fidelity to his vision’ in incarnation. The nine years of war preceding these events allowed the heart of the problem to be accessed (through the sacking of the cities of Asia by Achilles).

The seeker who does not confront duality is not vulnerable as long as he remains in the heights of the spirit, but when he leaves them he becomes conscious of his weakness (Alexander sought refuge amongst his men).
Evidently, the seeker has become conscious that it cannot be his evolutionary aim towards a greater freedom (Helen) which is responsible for his inner conflict even if an erroneous movement has taken hold of it, but rather the supraconscient within himself (the gods). The first duel thus demonstrates his lack of decisiveness; even if the ancient adequacy between the yogic works carried out under the aegis of his unwavering will extended towards its aim in a yoga of action and an evolution towards greater freedom, returns to his consciousness, he cannot bring himself to return to it (even though Helen remembers with nostalgia her former love for Menelas, the two heroes face each other in combat with no clear outcome).
A clear reversal of the situation then occurs, first with the surprising shattering of Menelas’ sword, and then with the intervention of Aphrodite who causes Alexander to disappear from the battlefield. None of the other gods dares oppose this goddess, although she is wounded much later on. At this moment all the gods are therefore in agreement to not limit this battle to certain parts of the being alone; a yogic reversal implies an engagement of the whole being which will bring about many other changes, and the personal will alone cannot be sufficient to do it.
The seeker can therefore not remove himself from the deep imprint made on his spirit when, already deeply engaged on the path of equality, he had chosen to consider love in evolution as the most just of the yogic works (Aphrodite removed from the scene of battle Paris-Alexander, who had chosen her amongst the three goddesses).
He however becomes aware that what in himself rejects human perfection in its entirety is not able to put a stop to the movement of yogic reorientation, even if the break is not yet consumed (Helen mocked Alexander’s pretentiousness, but went to his side).

Book IV: Breach of the pledge

From Book IV onwards Homer describes a great number of deaths on both sides of the conflict without giving much detail to explain the experiences depicted. Only the names and sometimes the genealogies can therefore give us the necessary details here. Each of these ‘deaths’ would merit an analysis which we will not be able to carry out here even supposing that a correct interpretation would be possible. Therefore only some of the deaths will be described, but they will all be indicated in the summaries of the next books.

While the gods assembled on Olympus, Zeus gave in to Hera’s anger, who demanded the destruction of Ilion while affirming that the city had always been her favourite. In return, Hera gave Zeus license to destroy cities which were under her protection, namely Argos, Sparta and Mycenae. Both then agreed to cause the war to break out again, and hastened Athena to the Trojans’ side to incite them to break their agreement.
In disguise Athena went to the Trojan Pandareus, and incited him to shoot an arrow at Menelas. However she deviated the arrow, so that the wound inflicted was very light. It was at the level of the navel, and Machaon, son of Asclepius, tended his wound.
The two camps then prepared for battle.
Agamemnon reviewed the troops and honoured Idomeneus, the two Ajax and Nestor who encouraged humility and determination in his troops. He urged on the men of Menestheus, son of Peteos, as well as those of Ulysses, who had not yet heard the signal for battle, and even treat harshly the latter.
He then mocked Diomedes, celebrating before him the exploits of his father Tydeus, who had aided Polynices in assembling the army during the war of Seven against Thebes. Diomedes kept quiet, but the son of Capaneus, Sthenelus, replied that the Epigoni had showed more courage than their fathers.
While the Achaeans advanced united and silent, the Trojans met them in noisy confusion like that of bleating sheep with a multitude of languages and accents, pushed forwards by the god Ares. On their side the Achaeans were supported by Athena, Deimos, ‘terror’, Phobos, ‘fear’, and Eris, ‘separating discord’, Ares’ follower. She grew ceaselessly, till her forehead touched the sky, and the two armies charged against each other.
The first Trojan to be killed was Echepolus, slain by Antilochos. Elephenor, son of Chalcodon, attempted to rob his corpse, but Agenor killed him before he could do so.
The divine Ajax then slew Simoisius, son of Anthemion and of a woman descended from Ida.
Antiphos, son of Priam, killed Leucus while aiming at Ajax. Ulysses was deeply grieved and angered; aiming his spear, he slew Democoon, an illegitimate son of Priam.
Then were killed the Trojan Peiros, leader of Thracians, and the Achaean Diores, leader of the Epeans.

This book marks a decisive turning point in the process of yogic reversal, and the supraconscient strives for a mobilisation of the whole being in keeping with the preceding book (Hera, ‘the just movement’, took the decision of making the war carry on, and Zeus dispatched Athena to trigger the breaching of the agreement made between Trojans and Achaeans).
The inner guide then ensures that the movement be carried out with the least possible damage: ‘the unwavering will extended towards its aim’ is questioned in the vital (a wound at the level of the second chakra, and therefore eliciting a loss of joy), by that which in the seeker has the intention of ‘giving everything to the just movement towards union’, but which is without real strength (Menelas is wounded in the abdomen by Pandaros, who had gone to war leaving his horses behind). But the inner guide attentively ensures that this test is not a grievous one, so that the seeker is relatively unaffected by it (Athena ensured that he was only lightly wounded). This is evocative of a passage from the Agenda in which the Mother explains to Satprem that her work is to prepare humankind for the transition towards supermanhood with the least destruction possible.
Menelas was healed by Machaon, ‘he who combats in matter’, an expression of a conscious action on the body.

Homer stresses the fact that the liberated seeker has not entirely unified his being in the heights of the spirit (the different parts of himself are not in agreement): there is a multitude of languages and accents spoken amongst the Trojan troops) while everything which supports ‘aspiration’ and advanced purification moves forward in a unified order (the Achaeans advance as a united and silent whole).
The Trojan camp is supported by the power of separation and destruction which acts so as to allow a crossing of obstacles (Ares).
The passage in which it is mentioned that the Achaean camp is supported by forces which generate doubt, fear and terror (Phobos and Deimos), as well as the consciousness of the fundamental separation which then develops to its fullest potential (Eris grew incessantly, and soon her forehead touched the sky) indicates that some forces strive to make the seeker experience the consequences induced by the separation of spirit and matter. In fact these forces support the Achaeans and elicit doubt, fear and terror amongst the Trojans.
This passage is doubtlessly also a revelation of the fundamental differences between older forms of yoga which enter into conflict (by rejection and suppression) and newer ones which work through integration.
It must also be remembered that impersonality, absence of desire and joy do not necessarily mean the establishment of a perfect equality in the being, for the seeker holds himself above the state within which duality is born.

In the current context it is necessary to make disappear the ‘nascent power’, the outcome of the yogic work on the path of Self (Echepolus, son of Thalysius). The seeker must therefore renounce the powers of the saint and the wise man. It is a vigilance originating from ‘the right evolution of rectitude’ which puts an end to it (he is slain by Antilochos, a son of Nestor); this renunciation is carried out naturally without the need for a specific asceticism and as a natural consequence of the yoga of the past (for Nestor is very advanced in years at the time of the war).
While the quest for purity wishes to utilise the weapons acquired by these powers (Elephenor, ‘the man of ivory’, wishes to rob Echepolus’ corpse), the soul’s nobility puts an end to this quest (the magnanimous Agenor slays Elephenor).

Then the seeker must close his receptivity to the spirit and open himself to matter to an even greater degree; the widening of consciousness in incarnation acquired during the process of purification and liberation must put an end to the receptivity originating from the ‘blossoming of consciousness’ which aims to establish an union in spirit (Ajax kills Simoisius, son of Anthemion and of a woman from Ida).

Then, effort on the path of ascension of the planes of consciousness ceases, as do the specific movements of yoga aiming at equality (Piros, ‘he who strives’, leader of the Thracians on the Trojan side, and Diores, leader of the Epeans on the Achaean side, are both killed).

Book V: Diomedes’ deeds

Athena wished to bring distinction upon Diomedes, the son of Tydeus, and breathed passion and boldness into him. He then leaped forward into battle against the two sons of Dares and killed Phegeus, priest of Hephaestus, but his brother Idaeus was saved by this father.
Once Athena had pulled Ares out of the battle, the Achaeans gained the upper hand.
Agamemnon slew the great Odius.
Idomeneus brought down Phaestus.
Menelas killed Scamander, son of Strophius.
Merion slaughtered Phereclus.
Meges killed Pedaeus.
Eurypylus killed the divine Hypsenor.

While Diomedes took part in the battle, Pandaros, son of Lycaon, wounded him on the shoulder with an arrow later removed by Sthenelus. Having prayed to Athena to give him back strength, Diomedes was revived by the goddess with the passion and inner fire of his father Tydeus, and the darkness veiling his sight was lifted. In addition, she counselled him to abstain from fighting with the immortal gods, except for Aphrodite whom he was to strike with his spear.

We must remember some details about Diomedes, ‘he who intends of being divine’, or rather ‘the goal or design of achieving non-duality in the spirit’, for he belongs to the lineage of Iapetus. He is a son of Tyndareus, ‘he who aspires to a union in spirit’, himself a son of Oeneus the winegrower in the lineage of Protogenia, ‘those who walk at the forefront’, and Iapetus. His ancestor is Endymion, he who has achieved mental silence (he has obtained the boon of eternal sleep from his lover Selene). This ‘intention’ is therefore not a project of the intellect but rather an independent aspiration of the mind in contrast to what characterises the descendants of Tantalus.
When the seeker has almost achieved non-duality he ‘discourages’ the forces of the supraconscient (while Athena wished to confer immortality on Tydeus, he had devoured Melanippos’ brains, eliciting her disgust and causing her to renounce granting him this gift). But he does not renounce for good, begging his inner guide to grant him non-duality indirectly in the future (on his deathbed, Tydeus asked for this gift to be granted to his son).This request probably explains Athena’s continued support of Diomedes.

The hero also participated in the campaign of the Epigoni, who successfully launched the second assault against Thebes, and therefore represents an indispensable element in the process of purification. He also numbered amongst Helen’s suitors, but ‘the will for accessing non-duality’ could not prove worthier than ‘an unwavering will extended towards its aim’ of greater freedom (it was Menelas who won Helen’s hand in marriage).

Described in the Iliad as ‘the bravest of the heroes after Achilles’, Diomedes played a very important role in the Trojan war, in which he commanded eighty ships. He would even wound Aphrodite and Ares during the war. This will to access non-duality is supported by the inner guide, or the power which ‘watches over the growth of the inner being’ (Athena pushes Diomedes to the forefront).

The seeker then undergoes a lowering of intensity in his ‘intention for union’ (a plan or aim resulting from inner silence, joy and the closeness of non-duality) brought about by that which wishes to ‘give everything to the right movement towards union’ without first acquiring the means to do so (Lycaon’s son Pandaros wounds Diomedes).
We have already come across Pandaros, who, according to Homer, did not listen to his father’s advice when he left for Troy and only took his bow, leaving behind him his eleven chariots for he feared that his horses would suffer starvation. He thus represents an intention which is not followed by a mobilisation of corresponding forces. If the vision of the goal to be attained (a total vision) is present (Pandaros is a proficient archer and has taken his bow with him), he fears the unknown and refuses to test his strength. This element which supports the yoga of separation corresponds to the fear of the seeker of being incapable of facing the challenges of the new yoga and the fear of exhausting his capacities.

But the inner guide then brings him a superior strength and light (Athena dissipates the darkness which veiled his vision) and at the same time makes him understand that he is not yet ready to face the deities of the overmind, except for that which incarnates love and has been chosen as a path of evolution to the detriment of the paths of growth of the inner being and of truth (Athena advises Diomedes to avoid a confrontation with the gods, except for Aphrodite). This recommendation demonstrates that the seeker has attained a level very close to that of the overmind.

Diomedes killed numerous Trojans:
Astynous and Hyperion
Abas and Polyidus, son of Eurydamas
Xanthe and Thoon
Echemmon and Chromios, sons of Priam, humiliated by being forced to step down from their chariots and having their weapons taken from them.

Witnessing Diomedes’ action in combat, Aeneas again sought out Pandaros to shoot a new arrow. As the latter retorted that he had left for Troy without his eleven chariots Aeneas invited him to climb into his own, to which were hitched the horses which Zeus had given Tros in exchange for Ganymede. Aeneas allowed him to choose his place, and he chose that of the warrior rather than the driver.
Having drawn close to Diomedes’ chariot Pandaros threw his javelin but was not able to wound him. Diomedes then killed him with his spear and with a huge rock crushed Aeneas’ hip. While Aphrodite hastened to bring support to her son in battle, Diomedes pursued her and wounded her on the wrist so that she dropped Aeneas. It was then Apollo who carried him away from the battlefield.
The wounded Aphrodite implored her brother Ares to give her his chariot to return to Olympus. There her mother Dione bade her to resign herself to the test, arguing that other gods before her had already suffered for the sake of mortals, such as Ares trapped for thirteen months in an urn by Otos and Ephialtes, or like Hera and Hades wounded by Heracles’ arrows.

Aeneas (Αινειας) ‘consciousness in evolution’ towards Love which ‘considers man as a whole’ (Aeneas is the son of Aphrodite and Anchise), belongs to the genealogical branch of Assaracus, ‘he who is untroubled’. He will symbolically resume leading the quest after the deaths of the principal descendants of the brother of the latter, Ilos, ‘the movement towards liberation’: Hector, Alexander and Astyanax (Aeneas is to rule over Troy in the future). He therefore represents a resumption of yoga for the growth of love once the unity of spirit and matter is realised. Symbolising a future evolution of humankind, he must necessarily survive the war.

But at this stage this will of evolution towards love is still inhibited by the certainty of an impossible rendering divine of the archaic vital and the body. In this Iliad’’s book, it nevertheless seeks to impose itself by allying with what wishes to ‘give everything to the right movement towards union’ but lacks strength (Aeneas seeks out Pandaros). This claim to love strives to distance that which wishes to realise non-duality (Diomedes), but as the movement with which it unites lacks strength this fails. Diomedes, ‘that which aims for unity’, simultaneously redirects the yoga towards the primacy of union: Aeneas is wounded at the hip and Aphrodite at the wrist, leading to their temporary withdrawal from the field of battle.
Aeneas’ wound to the hip signifies a weakness at the level of the link with the lower vital, symbolising an imperfect transformation of the vital, and the wound to Aphrodite’s wrist expresses a temporary stop to the possibility of acting in the name of love.

Diomedes sought out Aeneas in battle several more times, but the latter was being protected by Apollo. In anger, the god warned him not to ever attempt to be the equal of the gods again, and transported Aeneas into the Trojan citadel where Leto and Artemis gave him back strength and glory. Then Apollo created a ghostlike image of Aeneas which he placed within the battle, and requested Ares to take Diomedes away from the battlefield.
Sarpedon, who came from faraway Lycia where the river Xanthos flows to support the Trojans, called Hector into battle. To aid the Trojans Ares enveloped the battlefield in a sudden darkness, and encouraged the troops as Apollo had bid him to do. Having recovered from his wound, Aeneas returned to the battlefield.
(Sarpedon’s Lycia is not that of Pandaros, but both symbolise higher knowledge acquired in the process of the liberation of the spirit.)
Agamemnon killed Deicoon, son of Pergasos.
Aeneas killed Crethon and Orsilochus, sons of Diocles, himself a son of Ortilochus.
Menelas killed Pylemenes, ‘he who is the equal of Ares’.
Antilochos killed Mydon, son of Atymnius.

Having disguised himself as a mortal, Ares marched to the Trojan battlefront. Catching sight of him Diomedes retreated, and bade his men not to engage in open combat with the gods.
Hector killed Menestheus and Anchialos.
Ajax slew Amphius, son of Selagus, but was not able to seize his weapons.
Tlepolemos, son of Heracles, faced Sarpedon, leader of the Lycians. Gravely wounded, they were both taken away from the scene of combat by their companions.
Ulysses killed Coeranus, Alastor, Chromios, Alcander, Halius, Noemon, and Prytanis.
Hector then helped Ares slay Teuthras, a homonymous Orestes, Trechus, Oenomaus, Helenus and Oresbius.

Hera and Athena prepared for battle while Hebe prepared Hera’s chariot. Then the Hours opened the doors of heaven to the two goddesses. Once upon the field of battle, Hera asked from her heavenly husband permission to attack Ares, but Zeus bade her send Athena against him as she was more experienced in such hardship. After having aroused Diomedes’s ardour against Ares Athena stepped into his chariot.
Ares killed Periphas, son of Ochesius.
Wearing Hades’ helmet, Athena diverted the spear which Ares had thrown at Diomedes.
The latter then aimed his spear at Ares, and Athena pushed it into the god’s abdomen. Wounded, Ares gave a terrible cry and sought refuge on Olympus, where he brought his complaints before Zeus. But Zeus did not give him any sympathy although he asked Paeon to heal him.

‘The future evolution towards Love’ could not however remain weak for long, and in its purificatory role the psychic being reintroduces it as a fundamental element, the place of which must be clarified in the yoga of the future (Aeneas is nursed back to health by Leto and Artemis). However, at this moment of the battle the ‘psychic light’ considers that the seeker must never be deprived of this awareness of the necessary progression towards love even when deprived of any possibility for action (Apollo places a ghost image of Aeneas in the midst of the battle until he is ready to return).
While a certain ‘wisdom’ originating from ‘the nascent light’ at the heights of the spirit stimulates the ‘right movement of opening of consciousness towards the spirit’ (Sarpedon has come from Lycia, where flows the River Xanthos, and pushes Hector into battle), a force which ‘destroys outdated forms’ originating from the supraconscient provokes the fall of a ‘night’. It is an event which as we have seen occurred repeatedly throughout the seeker’s path (Ares filled the battlefield with sudden darkness). The one mentioned here does not seem more terrible or of greater length than the others, but appears to indicate a deep-seated meandering or incertitude about the path to be followed, for the battle cannot be carried on within this night from which benefits ‘love in evolution’ reintroducing itself into the inner conflict (Aeneas returns to battle).
The power of the supraconscient ‘which destroys outdated forms’ but also ‘preserves those which are not ready for change’ then becomes very active in supporting the ancient paths of yoga (Ares then becomes active on the side of the Trojans, as ordered by Apollo). Even if the seeker becomes aware of this he does not feel ready to face the forces which still support the separation of spirit and matter (Diomedes recognising Ares and Enyo shuddering and retreating).
But other forces from the supraconscient then become involved: ‘she who expresses what is just within the limits of incarnation’ (Hera) and ‘she who watches over the growth of the inner being (Athena, the inner master)’. This intervention can occur only when equality, purity and exactness in action are firmly established within the being (these are the hours – Eirene (equanimity), Dike (just action), and Eunomia (a vast order), who open the doors to the skies).

At this stage the seeker is conscious of the majority of spiritual forces which have come to his aid, but it is only from the inconscient that the inner guide brings its aid to action (while Ares for instance can be seen by Diomedes, Athena wears Hades’ helmet of invisibility).
The power which supports separation (the destruction of forms) is then weakened (Ares is wounded).

Book VI: Hector’s speech

The great Ajax slew Acamas, son of Eusorus, the bravest of all Thracians.
Diomedes killed Axylus, son of Teuthras.
Euryale, son of Mecisteus, killed Dresus, Opheltes, Esepe and Pedasus.
Polypoetes slew Astyalus.
Ulysses brought down Pidytes,
Teucer killed Aretaon.
Antiloche struck Ablere.
Agamemnon brought about Elatus’ death.
Leitus killed Phylacus.
Eurypylus annihilated Melanthos.
Agamemnon killed Adraste (not to be confused with the Argive Adraste).

Nestor encouraged the Achaeans, who made the Trojans retreat. But Helenus, son of Priam, addressed Hector and Aeneas and asked them to stop the Trojans’ rout while Hector went to his mother Hecabe’s side to ask her to bid Athena to pull Diomedes away from battle.
Diomedes was then readying himself to confront Glaucus, son of Hippolochos and Lycia, and enquired about his adversaries’ identity. Glaucus introduced himself as a descendant of Bellerophon, the murderer of Chimera, who was himself a descendant of Sisyphus through another homonymous Glaucus. At these words Diomedes lay down his weapons, for his grandfather Oeneus had welcomed Bellerophon into his home, which made Glaucus his hereditary guest. They even exchanged weapons, trading Glaucus’ gold weapons against Diomedes’s brazen ones.
Hector went to Priam’s palace, which included fifty rooms for his sons and twelve for his daughters, so as to carry out what had been decided by the Trojan leaders. He asked his mother Hecabe to make an offering to the goddess Athena so that she would take Diomedes away from the battlefield, but she refused to do so.
‘Loved by Zeus’, Hector then went to Paris-Alexander and reproached him for not having yet become involved in battle. To this Helen replied that her husband was without will (Phren).
Hector then went to his wife Andromache, daughter of Eetion and of her son Astyanax. Having reminded him that her father and seven brothers had been killed by Achilles, Andromache begged her husband to remain on the ramparts and to gather his troops below it, close to a wild fig tree. Andromache added that three assaults had already been carried out by the Achaean leaders on the side of this fig tree where the wall was most fragile. Hector answered that he knew the fall of Troy to be unavoidable, but was more strongly motivated by the shame and dishonour which would be cast on his family if he did not return to the battlefield.
He therefore returned to it in the company of Paris-Alexander, ‘resplendent as a sun’, and told to the latter: ‘Brother, no one could justly criticize your work in battle, for you fight bravely. But you deliberately hold yourself back and do not wish to fight. It pains my heart when I hear shameful things about you from Trojans, who are suffering much distress because of you.’ (Iliad, book VI, line 634.)

It is again Diomedes, ‘he who has the design of being divine’, who is the central figure in this book. The Trojans feared him much more than Achilles, and in fact he represents that which after having realised union in the spirit does not wish to separate spirit from matter and is most apt at annihilating obstacles to change. It is certainly not ‘that which wishes to escape from incarnation’, Hecabe, which can make this movement cease by imploring the aid of the inner guide, Athena, even if the request results from a work of the opening of spirit (Hector).

Diomedes prepared himself for facing Glaucus ‘the shining’, son of Hippoloches, ‘the nascent power’ which originates from a true knowledge (he is a native of Lycia, ‘the nascent light’). This is however only a mental knowledge originating from the loss of illusions, for the grandfather of Glaucus is Bellerophon, who vanquished Chimera and is of the lineage of Sisyphus.
But the grandfather of Diomedes, ‘he who has the design of being divine’, Oeneus, ‘he who strives for joy’, had welcomed the grandfather of the second, Bellerophon, ‘he who vanquishes illusion’, creating a strong link between these two progressions within yoga, the work on joy which originates from the annihilation of oneself (Oeneus, ‘the winegrower’, son of Porthaon, ‘he who is devastated’), gives an important support to the battle against illusions. This link could not be broken within their respective developments, at any rate at the beginning of the process of reversal, for Glaucus, representing the clarity issued from the logical mind, will ultimately be killed later on by Ajax, ‘the work of the widening of consciousness in incarnation’.
This event indicates that the use of the intellect must not be put aside prematurely.
However it proves possible at this stage to transfer towards the work of union the most perfected means of action elaborated by the logical mind with the aim of mental clarity (the gold weapons of Glaucus), the latter accepting a lesser power (brazen weapons). Diomedes is in fact linked to an entirely intuitive functioning, for his ancestor Endymion had already achieved mental silence (he had asked his lover Selene to give him eternal sleep).

There then occurs within the movement of ascension an attempt for the ‘opening towards the spirit’ through combat to bring about a transformation towards greater abandon in the hands of the Absolute. But the seeker is not ready to loosen his hold, still believing himself to be the solely responsible for his yoga (Andromache, ‘she who incites combat’, pushes Hector to adopt a purely defensive position, but the latter refuses on the pretext of avoiding future shame).
Achilles had already greatly weakened this attitude of ‘active combat’ by killing Andromache’s father Eetion, ‘the highest mental consciousness’, as well as his seven sons, while recognising their past utility (he had honoured Eetion by not taking away his weapons).
That which maintains the separation already feels the weakening of its position, for the aspect of the seeker which reaches supreme Knowledge originating from emptiness and a Unity from which is born duality is close to abolishing the beliefs which support this separation (Andromache adds that three attacks had already been led by the Achaeans on the side of the fig tree, where the city’s wall was weakest). The fig tree is in fact a symbol of the highest Knowledge originating from the Emptiness which contains all, and its fruits symbolise unity in diversity; when the warrior succeeds in settling down in this place the foundations of separation are automatically annulled. The wall which protects the separation is therefore necessarily weak near the fig tree.
(In the Tree of the Sephiroth, the fig tree symbolises the occult Sephirah Daat, a centre of consciousness over which are extended the wings of supreme Knowledge which are the starting point of duality. This centre is also above the heads of the two serpents.)

The last part of this section makes it clear that the seeker knows at this moment that a reversal is inevitable (Hector confides to his wife that he had always known that the fall of Troy was unavoidable) but also that his lack of interest in worldly affairs weighs heavily on his defence of the ancient yoga (as Helen had said, Alexander had no will -phren). This lack of interest characterises one who is immersed in the Self and possesses the means of working on his external nature but has lost all motivation for doing so. One must in fact remember that Alexander represents a work on ‘equality’ which is interrupted when Paris becomes Alexander.

Book VII: Hector and Ajax’s duel

Alexander killed Menestheus, son of Areithous.
Hector killed Eioneus.
Glaucus slew Iphinous

Watching this massacre of the Achaeans, Athena came down to the battlefield, and Apollo immediately appeared before her and proposed a day’s truce. To obtain it both gods stimulated Hector’s ardour against the Danaeans, who in turn sent one of their champions against him. The seer Helenus understood within his heart the plan of the gods, and communicated this to Hector who gladly carried out their will.
The armies then ceased fighting, and Athena and Apollo then settled upon Zeus’ oak tree to enjoy the scene. Hector then challenged the Achaeans, purely for the sake of glory and the taking of adversary’s weapons. Menelaus wanted to take up the challenge but Agamemnon dissuaded him, considering that his chances of defeating Hector were too weak.
Nine heroes then stepped forward to face the Trojan leader: Agamemnon, Diomedes, the two Ajax, Idomeneus, Merion, Eurypylus, Thoas and Ulysses. The great Ajax was chosen by a drawing of lots.
After a battle of uncertain outcome when the warriors were on the verge of resorting to their swords, the heralds Talthybius (of the Achaeans) and Idaeus (of the Trojans), messengers of Zeus and men, proposed an end to the fighting as night was approaching swiftly. Hector accepted, and invited the great Ajax to exchange gifts with him so that their friendship would be one of renown. Then the two heroes returned to their respective encampments to general festivities.
In the Achaean camp Nestor proposed the construction of fortifications, a proposition which was approved by all.
In the Trojan camp, Antenor proposed returning Helen and Menelas’ treasures, but Alexander was opposed to this and only agreed to return Menelas’ treasures and adding his own possessions to them if necessary. Priam therefore decided to send the herald Idaeus to the Achaeans to put forward Alexander’s proposition and to ask for a truce to bury the dead.
The Achaeans rejected the first proposition but accepted the truce and after having buried their dead built fortifications as suggested by Nestor.
Poseidon complained to Zeus that the Achaeans had not offered the prescribed hecatombs to the gods before beginning to build their fortifications. Furthermore, he feared that the future glory of this wall might eclipse that of the wall he had built with Apollo for Laomedon. But Zeus gave him permission to bring it down only after the end of the war.
Then, while the Achaeans revelled Zeus brought down a terrifying peal of thunder. terrorised, they ceased drinking and offered a libation to the god. They then all fell asleep.

The forces of the supraconscient then ensured that there would be a pause in the movement of the reorientation of the yoga (Apollo and Athena decided to hold a truce).
The work of intuitive truth carried out in the spirit orients the movement of separation into an opposition more clearly aimed against that which reorients the yoga, which has the advantage of not exhausting its forces uselessly (Helenus informed Hector of the gods’ plan for single combat).
The seeker does not exactly know what within him can put a stop to the ‘separative yoga’, but he knows that ‘loyalty to his vision’ is insufficient (Menelas cannot gain victory, and it is Ajax who is chosen in a random draw).
In this battle, the two most fully developed realisations of consciousness – that of an opening towards the heights of the spirit with Hector and that of its expansion in incarnation with Ajax- are of equal forces. The seeker then comes to understand that the two movements of yoga are of equal value and have been till that point both indispensable even if one of them must henceforth give way (Hector and the great Ajax settle their friendship through the exchange of gifts).

Within the frame of ‘the right evolution of rectitude’ which he has long pursued, the seeker establishes within himself the necessary ‘protections’ to support the new direction of yoga (following the advice of Nestor, who is of a very advanced age, the Achaeans build their fortifications). The new yoga in fact implies a conscious participation of man, while the ancient yoga was conducted solely by the forces of Spirit and Nature.
The seeker then hopes that a partial giving up of some of the fruits of the realisations obtained through his aspiration and his ‘unwavering will’ will suffice in appeasing his inner conflict without having to abandon his separative conception of spirit and matter (Alexander proposed to only return Menelas’ treasures to him). But the reversal of yoga demands a complete abandon of the ancient structures and their fruits (the offer is rejected by the Achaeans).

The subconscient, whose aid most often consists in a form of opposition, demands the destruction of the Achaean wall, for it fears that the seeker will tend to forget the ‘protections’ which have allowed him an access to liberation in the spirit for the benefit of new paths (Poseidon fears that the glory of the Achaean wall will efface that of Troy, which he and Apollo had built).
But the supraconscient only allows the destruction of the new protective structures once a definite reversal of yoga has taken place (Zeus authorises Poseidon to destroy the wall only at the end of the war).
It is difficult to rightly describe these ‘protections’ which only last for the duration of yogic reversal, for Homer does not give any details and we know very little about the subject. They doubtlessly originate from occultism, but this can also relate to specific yogic methods like mantra.
The future destruction of the Achaean wall by Poseidon demonstrates that these protections will either no longer be necessary or else will become obstacles for the future yoga, which will work on the consciousness of the body and the cells.

The seeker then experiences the power of the supramental forces through the supermind (Zeus brought about a terrifying peal of thunder). Let us recall that the thunder and lightning has been given to Zeus by the Cyclops.

Book VIII: A pause in the war

While ‘Dawn in her saffron robes glowed over all the earth’, Zeus assembled the gods and forbade them to intervene in the war. Nevertheless, he allowed Athena to give counsel to the Argives, admitting that he had not spoken ‘from an entirely sincere heart’. He then retreated to Mount Ida on the peak of Gargara, ‘mother of wild animals’ where his sanctuary was situated, observing the bloody battle from its heights. In the middle of the day he lifted his golden scale, which dipped in favour of the Trojans, ‘the tamers of horses’. He then spread a flaming glow over the Argives which broke down the courage of their leaders. Nestor would have then lost his life if he had not been protected from the attack of Hector by Diomedes, who uttered a terrible scream. The latter then vainly attempted to hold back Ulysses, who was running towards the ships. He then took Nestor to drive his chariot, to which were tied the horses of Tros taken from Aeneas, so as to be himself ready for combat. He twice missed Hector but killed his chariot driver Eniopeus, son of Thebe, who was instantly replaced by Archeptolemus, son of Iphitos.
Zeus then brought down lightning before Diomedes’s chariot, causing panic amongst the horses. Seized by fear, Nestor then counselled Diomedes to return to the ships. Despite his shame, Diomedes turned back. He was plagued by Hector’s mockeries, who made the most of his luck and stimulated the ardour of his men. He then asked his horses Xanthe, Podarces, Aethon and the divine Lampos to repay the care lavished upon them by his wife Andromache.
While the Trojans brought down the Achaean lines Hera inspired Agamemnon, who with a crimson banner in his hand stimulated his troops in turn. He prayed to Zeus, and the king of the gods heard his prayer and sent his eagle to place a fawn upon the sacrificial altar. All those assembled there understood the origin of this sign.
Diomedes then killed Agelaos, son of Phradmon.
Teucer, the illegitimate son, brought down with his arrows Orsilochus, Ormenus, Opheltes, Daetor, Chromios, Lycophontes, Amopaon, Melanippos and Gorgythion, sons of Priam.

Diomedes also slew Archeptolemus, Hector’s new chariot driver, who was instantly replaced by his brother Cebriones. Hector then wounded Teucer with a stone, but his half-brother Ajax protected him and ensured that he was brought back to his ships to be healed.
Then the Trojans forced the Achaeans to their ships. Seeing this, Hera and Athena decided to disrespect the orders of Zeus and prepared themselves for battle. Hera equipped her horses, while Athena put on Zeus’ tunic and took her weapons. But Zeus spotted them as they exited Olympus, and greatly angered, he sent Iris to stop them with terrible threats.
Once again assembled on Mount Olympus, Zeus ignored the anger of the two goddesses and announced the events which were to occur; the Achaeans would fight for Patroclus’ body and bring about Achilles’ return to battle.
Night then brought an end to the fighting, and Hector ordered the lighting of fires in all directions so that none of the Achaeans could escape under the night’s cover.

The personification of dawn alluded to at the beginning of this book is dressed in saffron-coloured robes, which indicates a detachment fitting to one who has developed the great consecration of the renouncing sannyasin. ln the Odyssey, Eos is known as the ‘rosy-fingered goddess’ in reference to the delicateness with which the Divine guides evolution.

At this stage the seeker crosses a phase in which he loses close contact with the forces of the spirit (Zeus’ prohibition to the other gods to become involved in the war). He who till then rested in his superior perception of what is just and on his inner contact can henceforth only count on his own strength.
The supraconscient ‘observes from the heights’ from a place of union, Mount Ida, but on a peak which contradicts the just sense of the evolutionary impulse of the highest consciousness to the benefit of instinctive nature (the peak of Gargara, the name of which is built like Tartarus; here ΡΓ, that which moves in the opposite direction to the impulse of the spirit, and is ‘the mother of wild beasts’). From this vantage point, the scale can only move in favour of the Trojans, and is in fact what occurs (Zeus consulted his golden scale, which indicated a favour for the Trojans).
The seeker then almost loses his ‘rectitude’, which is saved at the last moment by ‘that which has the design of being divine’ when the work of union of the polarities ceases its participation to asceticism (Nestor is succoured by Diomedes while Ulysses returns to his fleet). This ‘goal of divinisation’ also allows to end that which maintains the energies turned towards the heights of the spirit (Diomedes killed the chariot driver of Hector, Eniopeus, ‘he who holds the reins’), but a will still predominantly turned towards separation instantly takes its place (it is replaced by Archeptolemus, ‘the logic of battle’, originating from a ‘profound separation’ of he who holds himself in spirit whilst refusing matter, Iphitos).
That which strives for union within the seeker is then obliged to give way, while an opening towards the spirit is stimulated (Zeus forced Diomedes to retreat from battle while Hector encouraged his men). The yoga of old also asks for the support of certain vital forces which were developed by ‘which rejects incarnation’ (Hector asks for the support of the horses raised and fed by Andromache). These were: Xanthus, golden-yellow, ‘renouncement’ (Xanthus is also another name of the river Scamander, the Trojan river), Podarces ‘he who refuses incarnation’, Aethon ‘the inflamed’, and the divine Lampos, ‘the illumined’, who were all nourished by Andromache, ‘she who combats man’s nature’.

On the other hand, in response to his aspiration the seeker receives through a precise inspiration an answer to his prayer; the supraconscient indicates to him the necessary sacrifice in view of a greater purity and integrity (Agamemnon implored Zeus for his support, who sent him his eagle with a fawn for his sacrificial altar). This sign allows a vast progression in different domains (Diomedes and Teucer kill numerous Trojans), and most importantly the end of a perverted vital energy which supports a flight into the spirit (Melanippe). (The chariot driver of Hector is again killed and replaced by his brother, the meaning of whose name remains unclear).
Then Hector wounds Teucer, a hero who through his parents forms a bridge between the two camps; he is the son of Hesione, sister of Priam, and of Telamon, son of Aeacus, who is also Ajax’s father. (It must be remembered that it was Heracles who had given the captive Hesione to Telamon during his campaign against Troy). With this wound the division between the two paths is conclusively established. But Teucer, who fights for the Achaeans, must not die, for through the structuring characters of his name he represents ‘a just opening towards the heights of consciousness’.
The seeker then fearing the failure of the transformation of yoga, spiritual forces prepare themselves for intervention (the Trojans forced the Achaeans back to their fleet, and seeing this Hera and Athena decided to transgress the orders of Zeus). But the highest element of the supraconscient puts a stop to this mobilisation, and indicates that one must first decide on the fate to be ascribed to former yogic forms and revive the movement which concerns itself with the purification at the root of the vital through an examination of the most minute movements of consciousness in view of terminating the process of liberation (the two sides must fight for the body of Patroclus, and Achilles must return to battle).

Book IX: Delegation to Achilles

The Achaeans were routed, and a great discouragement filled Agamemnon. As Diomedes mocked him for his cowardice, Nestor encouraged them to retire to rest, reflect and discuss. He then encouraged Agamemnon to make up for the offence done to Achilles, which the Achaean chief agreed to do. He offered not only to return Briseis to him, even swearing that he had never visited her bed, but also promised to gift Achilles great wealth, women, cities and even one of his daughters in marriage.
A delegation was therefore designated by Nestor to approach Achilles. It included Phoenix, Ajax and Ulysses, with an escort made up of Eurybates and Odius.
Achilles received them graciously. By his side stood his uncle Patroclus, son of Menoetius, who was ‘equal to the gods’. Ulysses informed him of Agamemnon’s offer, reminding Achilles of the words of his grandfather Peleus upon embarking for war, the latter having stated that victory would be granted to him by Athena and Hera if they so wished, but that he must master his anger for softness was preferable.
Achilles, who did not believe Agamemnon capable of recognising his worth and repairing the wrong done to him, reiterated his grievances and refused Agamemnon’s offer. He then remembered the destiny which his mother had predicted for him; he would either die on the battlefield and would gain undying fame, or else would enjoy a long life at home and enjoy his wealth but be deprived of glory.
Consequently he announced that he would set off on the morrow, and bade Phoenix to accompany him. The latter had sought refuge in Peleus’ palace to escape a hard quarrel with his father. He had watched over Achilles’ childhood, and had instructed him in both the use of the right word and the right act.
Phoenix strove to bend Achilles’ will by telling him of a similar case in the war between the Curetes and the Aetolians, to which Meleagros long refused to participate, before entering the battle and finally ending the danger. But he could not bring himself to part from the one whom he had raised.
Achilles sent back the Achaean delegation, informing Ajax that he would not mobilise till Hector would have reached the fortifications and fleet of the Myrmidons. Then all retired to bed in his settlement. By his side slept the beautiful Diomede, daughter of Phorbas, and Iphis lay near Patroclus.
The delegation returned to Agamemnon, and told him of Achilles’ decision. Diomedes then gained everybody’s agreement when he concluded that Achilles must be left to his own choices.

The ‘powerful aspiration’ which is also an ‘intelligent will which aspires for the perfecting of man’ seems finally ready to recognise its error, which was ‘a defect of humility’, and to admit that only ‘a work in the depths of the being’ would allow him to acquire ‘the power of transformation (through a union with the Divine)’ or ‘the power of compassion’ (Agamemnon offered to return Briseis to Achilles). But the seeker still refuses to engage in this work, even if it has already allowed him to win a number of secondary victories (Achilles’ conquest of the Troadian cities), for he awaits the signal that his being as a whole recognises its fundamental importance (Achilles waits for Agamemnon to fully make amends for his insult).
The seeker is even ready to transfer the best of his realisation to this yoga, which must put an end to the vital liberation (Agamemnon is ready to give Achilles his daughter’s hand in marriage). He then finally understands that the only ‘intelligent will’ (buddhi) which strongly aspires to a bettering of man in his present state is not only insufficient for the realisation of a yogic reversal, but has also not yet entirely renounced its goal (Agamemnon, husband of Clytaemnestra and descendant of Pelops and Hippodamia, has not yet made up for his insult).

It is the work of rectitude which strives to find a higher balance amongst the forces involved in the reversal, without nevertheless considering a radical change (it is Nestor who convinced Agamemnon and organised the delegation). He had been one of the supporting pillars of yoga since the beginning, and had allowed the development of equilibrium of the gunas, that which is founded at the mental level (sattva) and brings wisdom. In other words, the seeker would like to introduce the new yoga without letting go of certain modalities which have become ineffective.
For this attempt at ‘reconciliation’, the seeker calls upon:
Phoenix, ‘the crimson one’ (in the preceding section, Agamemnon motivated his men with a crimson banner in his hand). He symbolises one of the first realisations brought about by the psychic, for he had raised Achilles in both the right speech and the right action, and possibly a ‘power in the vital’ as well.
The great Ajax, ‘the work of the widening of consciousness’ in incarnation.
Ulysses, ‘he who strives to realise a union with the two currents which link spirit and matter’, or ‘the union of the two polarities’ through the light of the overmind.
During this movement he strives to convince himself of the supremacy of ‘balance’, sattva (Ulysses reminds Achilles that his mother had advised him to acquire greater softness). It must be remembered that the sattvic realisation – a state of equilibrium – is a stage of yoga which must be surmounted. But at this stage, it is still Ulysses’ work.

At this point the seeker also remembers having received the intuition that he would only be able to enjoy the ‘accomplishment of liberation on the mental and vital planes’ – which is to say a complete realisation of the states of wisdom and sainthood – for a short time only if he wished to follow the path towards an integral union of spirit and matter (he in fact only renounces to the highest wisdom, for he has already renounced sainthood). In the opposite case, his progression would end on the spot and his soul would be disappointed even if it he had the freedom of benefiting for a long time from numerous realisations (he could enjoy a long life in his home and enjoy his wealth, but would not win glory).

The seeker then indefinitely delays his engagement with a complete yoga till the moment in which ‘the highest opening in the domain of the spirit’ has to confront ‘the quest for complete liberty in the vital’, the complete abolition of ego (when Hector will come face-to-face with Achilles). Hector is in fact symbolic of a state of sufficient purity and beauty to forego the perception of ugliness and evil, to not be affected by it and therefore remain detached, for the seeker remains in the heights of the spirit.
In the meantime, ‘that which wishes to pursue the movement of liberation’ through purification is stretched towards ‘that which has the design of being divine’ or ‘the will for a total perfection’ in incarnation (Achilles lays with Diomede, daughter of Phorbas), while the ‘glorious realisations of the past’ in the process of purification are still strongly present, and shine powerfully (Patroclus is tied to Iphis). This suggests that till the death of Patroclus, the seeker can support himself on the ancient processes of purification.

Book X: Surveying the enemy’s camp

Agamemnon gathered the Achaean leaders to hold counsel: Menelas, Ajax, Idomeneus, Ulysses ‘whose thought is equal to that of Zeus’, as well as Diomedes, Merion, Nestor and his son Thrasymedes.
When Nestor had solicited their help to spy on the Trojans, Diomedes was the first to volunteer, and chose Ulysses to accompany him from amongst all those who had presented themselves. The latter wore a leather helmet studded with boar’s teeth, which had been passed down by Autolycos to Amphidamas, then to Mole and finally to Merion. They both offered a prayer to the goddess Athena, who heeded their plea.
Meanwhile, in the Trojan camp Hector also called up his leaders, for he was in search of a warrior to spy upon the Achaeans. Dolon, son of Eumede, offered his services on the condition that Achilles’ horses be given to him following his victory. He clothed himself with a wolf-skin, and slipped into the enemy’s lines. But he was instantly spotted by Ulysses, who, accompanied by Diomedes, tracked him down and killed him after having extorted from him every useful detail about the Trojan army and their allies. Amongst these was included the Thracian contingent, which had but recently arrived at Troy and rested exhausted and unguarded. Their king Rhesus, son of Eioneus, was the master of two remarkable white horses of great size and of massive hooves, and his formidable weapons were made of gold. Making the most of this information, Ulysses and Diomedes entered the Thracian encampment. There Diomedes wreaked a veritable carnage, even killing the king, while Ulysses tied together the king’s horses to lead them away. While Diomedes was still contemplating further destruction, he was warned by the goddess Athena to leave immediately. Alerted by Hippocoon, who had been awakened by Apollo, the Trojans grieved the atrocious carnage bitterly while Ulysses and Diomedes sped away taking with them the two extraordinary, giant-hoofed horses.

This Book describes each party’s desire to evaluate the inner forces of the opposing movement so as to gain an advantage in battle.
This exploration gives place to two distinct movements of consciousness: one in the clarity of the consciousness of the overmind striving for union (with Diomedes and Ulysses), and the other in the certainty of a liberation which follows its movements towards the height of the spirit without concerning itself with the transcendence of dualities.
The movement which strives for the union of the currents dons a protection which calls upon the most archaic vital energies (Ulysses was equipped with a helmet of leather studded with boar’s teeth) reclaimed by the highest mental light aiming at greater mastery, and then for a liberation through submission and finally towards the acquisition of strength and power (communicated by Autolycos to Amphidamas, then to Mole and finally to Merion).

There is first of all an attempt of infiltration by the movement which separates spirit and matter under a misleading guise; it appears in the guise of light, but is certainly not free from a quest for higher powers (Dolon dons a wolf-skin, and asks to be given Achilles’ horses in recompense for his collaboration). But the seeker instantly unmasks this inner falsity and puts an end to it.
He then reclaims for his own use these remarkable techniques, as well as the powerful and pure powers over matter acquired through asceticism (the gold weapons and the great-hoofed horses of the Thracian king Rhesus). In other words, everything which has been developed beforehand by the practice of asceticism is not lost, but can be useful in serving the following stages of yoga as long as the seeker has attained pure disinterestedness (the death of Dolon).

Book XI: Agamemnon’s exploits

Zeus sent forth Eris the goddess of discord to encourage the Achaeans. Agamemnon then donned the cuirass gifted to him at the time of his departure for Troy. It was made up of ten bands of dark blue, twelve of gold and twenty of pewter, with dark blue snakes, three on each side, which leapt forward towards the neck.
Meanwhile the Trojans too readied themselves for battle.
Then followed the terrible battle for which only Eris was present.
Agamemnon slew Bienor and Oileus, then Isus and Antiphos, sons of Priam whom Achilles had captured and returned as ransom, and then Pisander and Hippolochus, sons of Antimache.

Zeus then protected Hector from javelins, and sent Iris with golden wings to him bearing the following message: he was to fight and allow Agamemnon to emerge victorious till the latter was wounded, and Zeus would then grant him the power to vanquish him.
Agamemnon killed Iphidamas, son of Antenor of Thrace, who had wed Theano. His brother Coon then wounded Agamemnon on the elbow, and was subsequently killed by the latter. But suffering from his wound, Agamemnon was obliged to withdraw from the field of battle.
Hector then came forward and slew Asies, Autonous, Opites, Dolops, Opheltius, Agelaus, Aesymnus, Horous and Hipponous.
Diomedes killed Thymbraeus and the sons of Merops, as well as Agastrophus and the son of Peon. On his side Ulysses slew Molion, equal to the gods, as well as Hippodamus and Hyperochus.
Diomedes narrowly missed Hector, his javelin striking his helmet. Then Alexander wounded Diomedes on the foot with an arrow. Ulysses found himself alone, isolated amongst the Trojans.
He wounded Deiopites and then slew Thoon, Ennomus and Chersidamas.
Then Ulysses wounded Charops son of Hippasus and killed his brother, the wealthy Socus, who was equal to the gods and who had just wounded him with his javelin. Ajax and Menelas came forth to their rescue.
Ajax killed Doryclus and wounded Pandocus, Lysander, Pyrasus and Pylartes.
Alexander wounded Machaon, son of Asclepius, whom Nestor brought back to their fleet to be attended to.

Cebriones then drove Hector’s chariot towards the Achaean army, where Hector caused great ravage and bloodshed. Zeus caused fear to grip Ajax, but despite this the hero kept back the Trojans single-handedly with alternating waves of bravery and dismay.
Eurypylus son of Euemon came to his aid and slew Apisaon, but was soon killed by Alexander. He then called upon the Achaeans to protect Ajax, which allowed the latter to reassemble his men.

Watching the battle scene, Achilles sent forth Patroclus to identify the wounded.
Nestor then told Patroclus of his exploits against the Epeans and against the two Molionidae, whose human father was Actor and whose divine father was Poseidon. He strove to convince Achilles to fight, or to allow him to himself don his weapons so as to trick and cow the Trojans.
Departing towards Achilles’ fleet, Patroclus crossed Eurypylus, who was wounded and felt that the end of the Achaeans was drawing near. Taking pity on him he brought him into his camp, and removed the arrow that was piercing his thigh.

Agamemnon’s weapons and battle-gear constitute a collection of symbols still to be deciphered. It is possible to liken the colours of his breastplate with what the Mother had been able to perceive of a great Tantric master who wielded great power in the physical mind: ‘this dark blue light of power in matter was there, shot through with streaks of white and gold’. This colour could also relate to the supramental light. (Ref Mother’s Agenda Volume 1, 20 September 1960.)

In this stage of the path the seeker must fight with the very forces of his nature with no external aid from spiritual forces. The structures which must change within himself – beliefs, rigid fixations, etc. – are modified only through a confrontation with what is Real. Only the goddess Eris, the principle of separation, is present. According to Hesiod she is the daughter of Nyx, the inconscient, and according to Homer the daughter of Zeus, sister and companion of Ares, and does not cease to grow, ‘so that soon her forehead touched the skies, while her feet still stood upon the ground’: if she encourages the Achaeans while Ares supports the Trojans, it is to demonstrate that the first stand within a movement which searches for a complete integration of spirit to matter, while the second still follows the separative movement necessary for the renewal of forms.

That which in the seeker allies itself with the ancient yoga intuitively understands that his position must become more flexible if he wishes to maintain it (Zeus tells Hector that he must retreat before being able to advance into a more advantageous position). It is therefore a kind of vision which believes that the lower nature cannot be altered, and which seems to be predominant in early stages, the corresponding powers of action being hindered on the plane symbolically defined by the specific wounds of the Achaean chiefs, wounds which also represent a point of weakness. Thus Agamemnon was wounded on the elbow (aspiration can no longer guide the seeker), Diomedes on the foot (union can no longer be carried out within incarnation), Ulysses on the side (one of the currents joining spirit and matter is interrupted), Machaon on the shoulder (that which severs is no longer operational on a higher plane), and Eurypylus on the thigh (the great ‘opening’ of consciousness no longer has the strength of eliciting the growth of the yogic process). Even ‘higher consciousness’ loses its bearings, for it is the medium chosen by the supraconscient to ensure that nothing is forgotten in the yogic work (Zeus caused fear to rise in Ajax’ s breast). It is a moment within the yogic process in which despite moments of doubt the widening of consciousness in incarnation can alone still take action (there are alternating waves of bravery and recoil or apprehension).

The movement which must carry out the reversal (which for the moment stands apart from the process of yoga whilst following its development) supports itself on earlier realisations, in the quest for an integration striving to make a final evaluation (Achilles sends Patroclus, son of Menoetius within the lineage of Deion).
Then the seeker recalls the path trodden with the purpose of evaluating the application of the ancient methods to the new path. If he cannot yet decisively commit to leading a battle in the depths of the vital, he nevertheless proposes to support himself on the spirit of the ancient realisations, which aimed to carry out integration through the mind, but utilising new methods which alone were likely to break down existing beliefs on the nature of the future yoga (while he cannot convince Achilles to fight, Nestor proposes that Patroclus don his weapons and thus terrify the Trojans).

Book XII: Battle by the Achaean ramparts

The wall built by the Achaeans had not received the sanction of the gods, for no sacrifices had been offered to them before its construction. But some time was still to pass following the fall of Troy till Apollo and Poseidon would unite their efforts to destroy it. Apollo would then make the rivers of Troad converge: the Ida, the Rhesus, the Heptaporus, the Caresus, the Rhodius, the Granicus, the Aesepus, the divine Scamander and the Simois. During nine days the rivers would strive to bring down the wall, aided by Poseidon who would remove stones and tree trunks from their waters while Zeus would unleash a ceaseless downpour. Then Poseidon would level the ground, and bring the rivers back to their original beds.
But this occurred much later on. For the time being the battle was still raging in the vicinity of the city’s walls. Polydamas advised Hector to renounce his idea of crossing the fortified ditch with chariots. Hector approved of this, and consequently it was five lines of Trojan soldiers on foot who charged forward, led by Hector, Paris, Helenus and Deiphobe, Aeneas and finally Sarpedon, who led the contingent of the Trojan allies.
It is at this moment that Idomeneus killed Asius.
Leonteus and Polypoetes, son of Pirithoos, stood protecting a breach in the wall (it would seem that this fortification, which was constituted in the very least of a wall and a ditch, also included five gateways which were attacked by the five groups). Around the wall raged a great fire.

Polypoetes killed Damasus, Pylon and Ormenus.
Leonteus killed Hippomachus, Antiphates, Menon, Iamenus and a homonymous Orestes.

At that moment an eagle holding a huge crimson snake in his talons flew over the Trojan army. The snake, which was still living and had not given up its struggle, stung the eagle near its neck, and the latter let it drop from its grip.
Hector refused to heed the warnings of Polydamas, who was respected for his wise counsel, and encouraged his troops to attack. Zeus himself aided him by casting a spell over the spirit of the Achaeans.
But while the two Ajax encouraged the Achaean defenders, Sarpedon, son of Zeus, brought Glaucus and the Lycians into the battle. Their peoples believed in both of these leaders as if they were gods. They advanced towards the position held by Menestheus, who called the two Ajax and Teucer to lend their support. The great Ajax, his brother Teucer and Pandion rushed forward.

Ajax slew Epicles.
Teucer wounded Glaucus on the arm.
Sarpedon killed Alcmaeon, and then faced Ajax and Teucer.

Then Hector lifted and flung against the doors an enormous stone which Zeus had rendered light for him, and the doors gave way. He then gave the Trojans the order to follow him towards the Achaean fleet.

For conclusively putting an end to the temporary structures put in place to protect the energies striving for reversal, some more time would have to pass after the reversal (the Achaean fortifications were to be destroyed following the departure of the armies). It has already been mentioned that their nature remained unknown, but they must in any case protect the seeker who is in a state of heightened sensitivity, whether they do so through material or occult means.
It will only later on become an alliance of the powers of the overmind – those of the psychic light and the subconscient assisted by the supraconscient (Apollo and Poseidon aided by Zeus) – which will allow the orientation of all the energies which nourish the illumined mind (the rivers which flow in the Trojan region) to erase all traces of these ‘fortifications’. These cleansing energies include ‘the vision of the whole’ (Ida), ‘the right word’ (Rhesus), ‘the seven energy centres’ (the Heptaporus), ‘the mind’ (the Caresus), ‘the psychic’ (the Rhodius), ‘that which deals with what is ancient’ (the Granicus), ‘detachment’ (the Scamander), as well as energies which carry a more obscure meaning (the Aesepus and the Simois, perhaps signifying ‘receptivity’). These forces, which gathered to cleanse all memories of the battle in duality for the reversal, were to then regain their proper function (the rivers would eventually return to their usual courses).

But for this phase in the progression of yoga, that which rejects the possibility of perfecting the external nature chooses to renounce the use of vital forces and powers in its battle to definitively eliminate all desires of the rendering divine of matter (the Trojans and their allies decided to leave behind their horses to cut across the fortifications). This then immediately comes up against a ‘powerful will for experimentation’ and ‘an indomitable courage’ (Leonteus and Polypoetes, sons of Pirithoos).

The seeker then receives a sign destined for the movement which refuses to move forward in perfection (a sign is given to the Trojan army): the heights of the mind to which he has acceded hold in their grip the spiritual evolution, and keep it out of its usual field of action (an eagle holding an enormous crimson snake in its talons flies over the Trojan army). But the force of evolution liberates itself from the hold of the mind by ‘attacking’ the link which ties the physical body to the mind, and the latter is obliged to admit that it is no longer able to control the process of evolution (the eagle was bitten on the neck by the snake, and was obliged to let it go).
Even though the seeker is thus ‘spiritually’ warned that he has committed an error by remaining in a state of refusal of integral perfection, he does not heed that within himself which knows exactly at which point he is at within the process of mastery (Polydamas, ‘he who tames to a great degree’, is not heeded).
He therefore continues on his way, supported in his error by the forces of the supraconscient which ensure that nothing is left behind, or in other words push each movement, however erroneous it may be, to its full development (Zeus casts a spell upon the Achaeans).
In fact, the supraconscient is not only there to keep him from falling into traps, but also to put him through certain tests. (According to Mother’s Agenda Volume 1, 12 November 1957), there are three categories of examiners; spiritual forces are one of them, the others being hostile forces and the forces of nature).
The seeker is then faced with his ‘illuminations’ (the Lycians, ‘those of the nascent light’, led by Glaucus ‘the luminous’ and Sarpedon ‘the wise’). It must be remembered that the Trojans are situated on the branch of the Pleiad Electra, that of the illumined mind). To develop his discernment there must be an opposition from ‘the power of one’s intention’, which is to say that of realising the Divine upon the earth (Menestheus) which appeals to ‘ordinary consciousness’ or ‘the lesser self’ (Ajax the Lesser), ‘the consciousness that is most extended in incarnation’ (the Great Ajax) and ‘the widest consciousness in the spirit’ (Teucer), as well as ‘a complete consecration to the Divine’ (Pandion).
This section ends with a temporary victory of the path which separates spirit and matter.

Book XIII: Battles by the fleets

Poseidon took pity on the Achaeans. Upon reaching his sea palace Aigas, he hitched up his brazen-hoofed horses and spoke to both Ajax the lesser and Ajax the Great under the guise of Calchas, filling them with courage and making their limbs more supple. Ajax the Lesser recognised the god, who then stimulated the ardour of the Achaean troops so thoroughly that they put an abrupt stop to Hector’s momentum.
Teucer slew Imbrius.
Hector killed Amphimachus, which provoked Poseidon’s anger as he was the grandfather of the former. The god then appeared before Idomeneus under the form of Thoas, and gave him strength. Idomeneus then entered the battle, followed by Merion.

Poseidon lent his support to the Achaeans, being directed by Zeus to do so.
Idomeneus then killed Othyoneus, who had come to ask for Cassandra’s hand in marriage, and then killed Asius.
Deiphobe killed Hypsenor. Idomeneus then slew Alcathoos, who was the son-in-law of Anchise, having married his daughter Hippodamia.
Deiphobe called upon Aeneas to come to their rescue, and Idomeneus and Aeneas both called upon their men to support them. Idomeneus slew Oenomaus. Deiphobe slew Hypsenor. Aeneas slew Aphareus. Antilochos slew Thoon. Merion slew Adamas. Helenus slew Deipyrus. Helenus was wounded on the hand by Menelas, who then killed Pisander. Harpalion was killed by Merion. Euchenor, son of the divine Polyidus, was killed by Paris.

Polydamas advised Hector to assemble the Trojans, so as to discuss the strategy to be followed. Then, Ajax and Hector challenged each other verbally.

At this stage of the path, the subconscient is mobilised in favour of a reversal of the direction of the yogic process (Poseidon definitively takes the side of the Achaeans) and reveals himself to the seeker by taking on the appearance of an intuition originating from the psychic light (in the guise of the seer Calchas, ‘the crimson’). This action of the subconscient is first perceived by ‘the lesser self’ (the Lesser Ajax), which lends the seeker confidence in his pursuit of yogic reversal, which then seems almost a desperate endeavour.
Finally, two fundamental movements of yoga are clearly brought forward into the awareness.
The first, represented by Hector, symbolises the right movement of the opening of mental consciousness towards the spirit which had led the seeker to the illumined mind (he belongs to the lineage of the Pleiad Electra). He supports himself on the work of ‘mastery’ (Polydamas, ‘he who tames’, is respected for his wise counsel).
the second, represented by Ajax the Great, Achilles’ first cousin in the lineage of Aeacus and Asopos, symbolises the widening of consciousness which ceaselessly goes forward and strives to descend into the depths of the vital and the body so as to transform it.
The subconscient then dynamises the forces of the seeker, even though the link between subconscient and supraconscient has not yet been established (Poseidon acts without Zeus’ knowledge).

Book XIV : Outwitting Zeus

Nestor came out of his encampment, and saw that the Achaean wall had not held up against the onslaught. He then decided to join Agamemnon’s forces. The mass of warriors was indescribable before the sterns of the ships, which had been hauled onto the plain and against which the walls had been built.
Agamemnon suggested that the ships closest to the shore be brought back to the water and utilised for refuge, which infuriated Ulysses. Remembering his glorious origins, Diomedes in contrast encouraged the wounded leaders to go forth to encourage their armies. They and their men were then encouraged by Poseidon, who, under the guise of an elderly man, gave a great cry.
Hera then decided to cast Zeus into deep slumber. To do so, under the pretext of uniting Oceanos and Thetys who in anger were refusing to give themselves to one another, she asked Aphrodite for a love-philter, which the latter could not refuse to give. Then she bade Hypnos, the god of sleep, to cast Zeus into a deep sleep when she would be in his arms. As Hypnos was reticent, remembering a similar experience following the sack of Troy by Heracles, she promised him in exchange to grant him as his wife Pasithea, one of the Charites (or Graces), whom he had long desired.

Hypnos then made his way to the top of the highest pine tree on mount Ida, ‘like the musical bird’ which the gods knew as Chalcis (of the colour of bronze), and men as Cyminde (a kind of owl).
Then Hera joined Zeus, and at the top of Mount Ida, at the summit of Gargarus, they came together. Zeus enveloped them both with a golden cloud, so as to remain invisible to all, even Helios. Beneath them sprung up a gentle layer of turf, made of lotus blossoms covered in dew, saffron and hyacinths. Then, by Hypnos’ intervention Zeus fell asleep in the arms of his spouse.

The god of sleep then went to inform Poseidon, who harangued the Danaeans and marched forth as their leader against the Trojans.
Ajax succeeded in striking Hector on the chest, just below his throat, with a stone. As the best amongst the Trojan men carried him far from the battle, he coughed up blood and fainted.
Ajax then wounded Satnius. Polydamas wounded Prothoenor. In reprisal, Ajax killed Archelochus. Acamas wounded Promachos. Peneleos slew Ilioneus. Ajax wounded Hyrtius. Antilochos killed Phalces and Mermerus. Teucer killed Prothoon and Periphetes. Menelas killed Hyperenor.

Once again the seeker is filled with discouragement as he feels that the defences which he has developed to protect himself from the onslaught of the movement of separation give way when faced with hardship (the Achaean wall gives way under the onslaught). While the aspiration for perfecting man weakens, that which in him remembers the path trodden with the intention of a complete union resists this weakening, and is strongly supported by the subconscient (recalling his glorious origin Diomedes opposes Agamemnon, and, supported by Poseidon, called for all forces into battle). It must be remembered that Diomedes is placed within the lineage of Protogenia, ‘those who walk at the forefront’, of her grandson Endymion, ‘he who is filled with a consecrated consciousness and has achieved mental silence’, and that of his grandfather Oeneus, ‘the winegrower, he who strives to attain an ecstatic state’.

Then the supraconscient forces which watch over the right path of evolution mobilise themselves to bring about a reversal of the yogic process (Hera planned to cast Zeus into a deep sleep). They call upon the forces which watch over the development of love (Aphrodite), claiming a blockage of the forces of evolution of the inner being which normally undergoes a process of purification and liberation (Oceanos and his spouse Thetys no longer lay together. Note that this Thetys must not be confused with the Nereid Thetis, mother of Achilles.). This is to say that the yogic processes of the past have reached an evolutionary impasse with regards to the fundamental growth of love within the seeker. Here, Hera’s act implies that the movement of reorientation must receive the approval not only of the forces of expansion (Zeus), but also of those which limit consciousness as it works in the overmind plane (Hera). For it is here a question of a shift in evolutionary paradigms; not a betterment of man in his current state but rather a moving beyond his current state.

These forces of limitation at this moment request the action of the force which brings about a retreat and temporary suspension of the vigilance of the supraconscient. Hypnos in fact represents non-consciousness or the loss of the memory during the night, while his brother Thanatos represents non-consciousness or the complete loss of the memory in death, both of which are different from the fundamental inconscience of corporeal matter represented by Hades and Nescience as represented by Tartarus. The seeker desires a complete continuity of consciousness, and therefore aspires to the disappearance of this nocturnal loss of memory (Hypnos desires Pasithea, ‘she who has the vision of the whole’, a union promised to him by Hera).

This ‘loss of memory’ in sleep is the vehicle of dreams, visual expressions which from the point of view of the overmind are linked with a vision of indestructible truth, but from the point of view of the ordinary dual mind are only very imperfect and questionable visions; the melodiously-singing bird known by the gods as chalcis (of the colour of indestructible bronze and by men as cyminde, a kind of owl, symbol of nocturnal vision). At the overmind level, these ‘visions’ are realities which lie outside of time, which is to say which include the future without all of the distortions induced by the layers of the mind and the vital when these visions appear in our dreams.
Zeus is then settled atop Mount Gargarus, one of the peaks of Ida, the place in which ‘the evolutionary impulse is blocked’ within the frame of ‘the highest union within the spirit’. The supraconscient then exhibits the first signs of its ‘acceptance’ of the coming of the time for reversal (Zeus falls asleep in Hera’s arms).

Homer specifies that even Helios was not able to glimpse their union, for Zeus had enveloped both himself and his divine spouse in a golden cloud; the supramental not only never imposes itself, but it would even seem that the overmind is capable of blocking its vision.
The acceptance of the supraconscient then liberates the action of the subconscient in favour of a reversal, an action which the seeker then becomes entirely conscious of (Poseidon takes the side of the Achaeans, advances at the head of their troops and commands them). It is at this turning point of the yogic process that a serious breach is first formed in that which opposes the reversal movement; Hector, ‘an opening towards the heights of the spirit’, was wounded by Ajax, ‘the work of the widening of consciousness in incarnation’.

Book XV: The counter-offensive of the Achaeans

Upon awakening on Mount Ida Zeus witnessed the routing of the Trojans and reprimanded Hera, suspecting that his spouse had brought about this development. He decided to send forth Iris to put a stop to the involvement of Poseidon, ‘ground-shaker with azure locks’, and to send forth Apollo to encourage the Trojans’ ardour in battle. He then predicted a series of future events and how they were to occur till the time of the fall of Troy so as to honour his promise to Achilles, beginning with interdiction the gods to come to the aid of the Danaeans (the Achaeans).
When Hera ‘with the dark blue brows’ had regained her place on Olympus, Ares announced that he would descend into the scene of battle only to avenge the death of his son Ascalaphos, but Athena stopped him before he could do so.
Then Hera passed on Zeus’ orders to Iris and Apollo.
Meanwhile over the Gargarus a perfumed cloud formed a halo around the king of the gods.
Poseidon consented to leave the battlefield and rejoined his oceanic domain, although he resented Zeus for this order as he considered himself to be his equal, the three brothers holding equal dominion over the earth and the summits of Mount Olympus.
Apollo then went down to Hector’s side, and revealing himself filled him with renewed martial ardour.
As the Achaeans stood back in alarm before the reappearance of the Trojan hero, Thoas advised the retreat of the largest part of the armies towards their fleet, while the most courageous of the soldiers protected the rear.
Led by Hector, the Trojans then advanced. Apollo preceded them, his shoulders encircled by a cloud and brandishing Zeus’ aegis.

Hector slew Stichius and Archesilaus. Aeneas killed Medon and Iasus. Polydamas slew Mecisteus. Polytes slew Echius. Agenor slew Clonius. Paris slew Deiochus.

So as to open a passage for the Trojans Apollo filled the ditch and made the wall crumble down. Pushed back till their ships the Achaeans prayed to the gods, and Zeus heard the prayer of Nestor. Patroclus then left Eurypylus’ encampment to find Achilles.
Ajax slew Caletor. Hector slew Lycophron. Teucer slew Cleitus.
Hector slew Schedius. Ajax slew Laodamas. Polydamas slew Otus. Meges slew Croesmus. Menelas slew Dolops.
Hector brought forth Melanippos, a mortal equal to the gods, but Antilochos killed him. Hector slew Periphetes.

While the Trojans attacked the first line of ships brought onto the land, Athena concealed from sight the Achaeans with ‘a miraculous cloud of mist’.
While Ajax encouraged the Achaeans, Hector, pushed by Zeus, rushed towards the ships.
Protesilaos’ ship then became the center of a fierce struggle. Hector gave the order to set the ships aflame, but Ajax slew all those who drew near.

The regaining of confidence due to the mobilisation of the subconscient invoked in the preceding section proves to be ephemeral. A very intense pressure weighs down again upon the seeker, who has not yet accepted to give up the leadership of the yogic process to a work of deepened purification (Achilles has not yet entered the battle). In his highest consciousness he is however perfectly acquainted with the development of this phase of yoga (the events foreseen by Zeus); the supraconscient ensures that the last resistances are vanquished, not allowing the reversal to be carried out until the purification of the depths is prioritised.
The aid of the subconscient is withdrawn – the seeker ceases to receive any guidance or indications – while the psychic light brings its aid to the movement which dissociates spirit and body: the psychic light, which has allowed a maturation of the phase of yoga which leads to a union in the spirit (it has built the walls of Troy), will also be the last to accept the reversal, pushing the seeker of the spirit to his limits. The supraconscient then weakens the seeker’s resistance in his will and concentration (the Achaeans) and in his aspiration for a complete union (the Danaeans).

‘The soul of ancient yoga’ (and of the realisations obtained on the path of union supported by the mental plane) cease to be preoccupied with the higher passage towards the Divine so as to mobilise the yoga of the purification of the depths of the being (Patroclus of the lineage of Deion leaves Eurypylus, ‘the vast gateway’, and rejoins Achilles’ camp).
The seeker then becomes clearly conscious of that which fights or desists within himself (Athena removed a thick fog from before the Achaeans’ eyes, as well as from before those of the warriors who had retreated towards the ships).
It is the seat of a decisive battle which strives to discern the right path (by the ship of Protesilaos, ‘the best for vision’) while that which in himself turns towards the spirit is ready to conclusively put aside the new path (Hector wishes to destroy the Achaean ships with fire).

Book XVI: Patroclus’ Exploits

As suggested by Nestor (see book XI), Patroclus begged Achilles to fight or to allow him to use his battle-gear himself and lead the Myrmidons into battle. Achilles accepted this proposal and encouraged Patroclus, whilst asking him not to eclipse his own glory but only to put a stop to the Trojans’ advance. He even wished for the death of all the soldiers, not only of the Trojans but also of the Argians (Achaeans).
While Ajax was in the heat of battle his spear was shattered by Hector, and fire was then set to the ship which he was defending.
Patroclus then donned Achilles’ battle-gear, with the exception of the spear which Chiron had gifted to his father Peleus, and which Achilles alone could use. Then Automedon, Achilles’ chariot-driver, brought forth the immortal horses Xanthos and Balius, gifted by the gods to Peleus and born of the union of the Harpy Podarge and the wind Zephyr. By their sides he harnessed Pedasus, a mortal horse brought by Achilles from Eetion, which was capable of keeping pace with the immortal horses.

Achilles had come from Troy with fifty ships carrying fifty men each. Patroclus and Automedon led the contingent, which was divided into five groups led by Menestheus (son of Sperchius and Polydorus), Eudore (son of Hermes and Polymelus), Pisander (son of Memalus), Phoenix and Alcimedon (son of Laerces).
Achilles then offered a libation to Zeus and in return asked for the safe return of Patroclus, but Zeus refused to grant this.

Patroclus slew Pyraechmes and put out the fire on the ship. He then slew Areilycus. Menelas slew Thoas. Antilochos slew Atymnius. Thrasymedes slew Maris (Atymnius and Maris were the sons of Amisodarus, who had fed the Chimera, claiming the lives of many men). Ajax the Lesser killed Cleobule. Peneleos slew Lycon. Merion slew Acamas. Idomeneus slew Erymas.
Patroclus then killed Pronous, Thestor, Erylaus, Erymas, Amphoterus, Epaltes, Tlepolemus, Echius, Pyris, Ipheus, Euippus and Polymelus.

Zeus was tempted to remove his son Sarpedon, king of the Lycians, from the battlefield, for he knew that Patroclus would kill him. But Hera bid him to refrain to avoid eliciting jealousy.
Patroclus then put to the sword Sarpedon’s chariot driver Thrasymedes. Then Sarpedon unintentionally killed the horse Pedasus, before being himself slain by Patroclus. Before his death he urged on Glaucus, another Lycian leader who had been wounded on the arm by Teucer. Glaucus invoked Apollo to heal him, which the god agreed to do. He then took leadership of the Lycians and asked Aeneas and Hector to ensure that the burial rites of Sarpedon be carried out in accordance to his will.
The two sides then faced one another around the body of Sarpedon, the Achaeans striving to seize his weapons and the Trojans attempting to defend it against outrage and robbery.

Hector slew Epigeus. Patroclus slew Sthenelus. Glaucus slew Bathycles. Merion slew Laogonus.

Zeus first weakened the vigilance of Hector, who had beheld ‘the scale of Zeus’ tilting in favour of the Achaeans. When the Lycians’ guard was down, the Achaeans seized Sarpedon’s weapons. Zeus then sent forth Apollo to remove Sarpedon’s body from the battleground so that he could be washed and taken to Lycia by Hypnos and Thanatos, where he would be buried and honoured according to custom.
But Patroclus did not heed Achilles’ order, and constrained by the will of Zeus exhorted his horses and Automedon – Achilles’ squire who had accompanied him -, to pursue the Trojans and the Lycians till the walls of Troy.

Patroclus then killed Adraste, Autonous, Echeclus, Perimus, Epistor, Melanippe, Elasus, Mulius and Pylartes.

Thrice Patroclus attacked the ramparts, and thrice he was pushed back by Apollo. At the fourth attempt the god’s voice against him was so terrible that Patroclus retreated far back. Under the guise of Asius, brother of Hecabe, Apollo incited Hector to rejoin the battle, provoking a terrible tumult amongst the Argians. While Hector precipitated himself upon Patroclus, the latter killed his charioteer Cebriones. Hector and Patroclus fought over Cebriones’ body, and then the struggle spread.
The Achaeans finally seized the weapons of the charioteer, while Patroclus slew numerous Trojans.
Patroclus’ destiny was then sealed: Apollo drew close to him from behind and struck him with his open hand, sending his helmet flying, breaking his spear and causing his shield and breastplate to fall. Then Euphorbus, son of Prothous, wounded him on the back with a spear and Hector ended his life with a blow to his side. In the agony of death he predicted Hector’s imminent death. The latter then attempted to strike Automedon, Achilles’ charioteer, but the latter managed to escape on the chariot drawn by the immortal horses.

Here there is a turning point towards the yoga which seeks to pursue purification, initiated by one of the most ancient yogic movements (Nestor, ‘the right evolution of rectitude’). In this attempt, it is still ‘the spirit of ancient yoga’ which is at play, but new methods are introduced (Patroclus enters the battle wearing Achilles’ weapons). Before being distanced from the yogic process the ancient realisations in union seem indispensable for ensuring a transition which utilises for its reversal new means of investigation of the depths of consciousness (Achilles’ weapons), but they must not overuse this aid to further they own power (Patroclus, whose death is announced, must not eclipse Achilles’ glory or defy Apollo, who watches over the Trojans). This movement must only prepare the work of reversal (Patroclus must return to Achilles’ side after having put a stop to the Trojan assault).
The seeker aspires to fully clear all the elements which from both sides participate in the inner conflict by their mere presence the ones in front of the others (according to Achilles’ wish, the soldiers would eventually wipe each other out).

It is a perfect mastery which can lead the energies which bring about the reversal (Automedon, ‘he who masters himself’, Achilles’ chariot-driver and squire). This mastery allows a sourcing from the reservoir of vital energies which are not tied to duality, forces originating from detachment and liberation which emerge from the turning of the vital towards yoga and the asceticism of purification (the immortal horses Xanthos and Balius, born of the Harpie Podarge and the western wind Zephyr).
It can be noticed that Hector and Achilles both possess a horse by the name of Xanthos, ‘the golden-yellow’, symbolic of detachment. But Hector’s horse is not immortal, due to the ‘renouncement’ which most often adds itself to the process of detachment within the Trojan path, and of its belonging to the path of duality. The new path represented by Achilles does not in fact require renouncement, but rather an integral acceptance within a complete consecration.
In addition to the vital forces originating from non-duality the seeker who advances in accordance with the ancient ways can also utilise an impulse linked to the dual personality (represented by the mortal horse Pedasus, ‘he who lunges forward’).

The description of the contingent of the Myrmidons reveals a movement which is completely accomplished in its form (only the figures five and fifty are present). It describes a liberated seeker endowed with a strong will (Menestheus), rightly consecrated (Eudore), who has full trust in the Divine (Peisandros), who has access to a vital power of regeneration (the ‘crimson’ Phoenix), and who exerts great mastery over himself.
The supraconscient then reluctantly accepts to sacrifice the ‘mental wisdom’ of which he is the origin (Zeus balks at contemplating his son Sarpedon’s imminent death). This wisdom in fact originates from the will of the supraconscient to achieve a degree of mastery over vision through the struggle of the logical intellect against illusion (Sarpedon is the son of Zeus and Laodamia, herself the daughter of Bellerophon, ‘he who vanquishes Chimera’, and therefore a descendant of Sisyphus). This wisdom has till today supported and directed the ‘illuminations’ of the ancient paths of yoga, but must henceforth give up its place to a light of a higher order (Sarpedon, who leads the Lycians and is allied with the Trojans, must die). These are ‘the ancient realisations within union’ equipped with new methods which simultaneously annul this knowledge-wisdom and that which served it, ‘he who concerns himself with asceticism’ (Patroclus slew Sarpedon and Thrasymedes). From this moment onwards, it is in fact no longer a matter of a personal act of asceticism oriented towards a quest for Knowledge, but of an integral submission to the Divine who Himself directs the course of yoga.
In associating Sarpedon with Knowledge it must be understood here in the sense defined by Sri Aurobindo when he stated that the Triple path of Knowledge, Love and Work is in fact a path of knowledge. The ancient forms of yoga can be considered as paths of knowledge even though they give greater importance to feeling or action as a means for their work.

Before it disappears, the wisdom acquired in ancient times ensures that it is no longer an ordinary vital force, no matter how purified it maybe, which supports the yogic process, but only a force originating from the non-dual vital plane (Sarpedon slew Pedasus).
If the seeker renounces the mental ‘knowledge’ which supported the ancient forms of yoga, he cannot help but replace it with a knowledge originating from the vital and equally resulting from a victory over illusions (Sarpedon and Glaucus were in fact grandsons of Bellerophon, Sarpedon being born of Zeus and Hippodamia and Glaucus of Hippolochus , ‘he who bears power’). It is the psychic light, already active since some time in the Trojan camp, which ensures the transition and returns strength to a power which the seeker has been obliged to leave aside (Apollo heals Glaucus). No longer able to feed upon intellectual arguments, the opposition to this new yoga calls upon the established forces and ‘truths’ of the vital-mental to bring forward the impossibilities. Obviously, this limited light will also have to eventually disappear (Glaucus will later on be killed by Ajax, ‘the most extended consciousness’ within incarnation).

Of course, the ancient form of yoga wishes to maintain the structure of this wisdom intact within the seeker (the pillaging of Sarpedon’s body), while the new form wishes to seize only its genius (his weapons). The battle is won by that which aspires to transformation (the Achaeans seize Sarpedon’s weapons).
But Homer affirms that the acquisition of this wisdom is a mandatory passage, and the psychic light ensures the safeguarding of its memory; it is actually first ‘forgotten’ before being definitively ‘moved away’ from the yogic process (Apollo removed Sarpedon’s body, which was later given all due honours in Lycia thanks to the intervention of Hypnos and Thanatos).

The ‘past realisations which support themselves on the mind’ with the aid of new tools then put an end to numerous yoga practices and behaviours which block the transition towards new forms in both negative and positive ways. In fact, Patroclus slew numerous Trojans, including Adraste, ‘he who does not attempt to flee’ (that which upholds its own truth without weakening), Autonous, ‘he who is directed according to his own will or intelligence’, as well as Melanippos, ‘a black force’, and Pylartes ‘of the securely fastened doors’.
There is a character named Adraste in both camps. When the moment of transition draws nigh, the seeker must cease ‘maintaining’ his separative stance.

While the seeker is ready to claim victory through the use of ancient methods, he is halted in this movement by the highest inner light within himself (Apollo pushes Patroclus back thrice).
That which had till then assisted the movement of an opening of consciousness towards the realms of the spirit disappears (Cebriones, Hector’s second coachman, is killed).
The inner psychic light then ensures that the ‘realisation of union supporting itself on the mind’ is no longer able to utilise the methods and protection of the new yoga (Patroclus is despoiled by Apollo of Achilles’ breastplate and weapons, being recalled that Patroclus belongs to the lineage of Iapetus through Deion). For it is not here a question of an extension or perpetuation of the ancient forms of yoga supporting themselves on the mind through new means, but of an entirely different undertaking. This does not annul the usefulness of the ancient forms of yoga, even though Sri Aurobindo has proposed a more integral method to arrive more rapidly to that point.
Already weakened, ‘past realisations on the path of union which support themselves on the mind’ are definitively annulled under the blows of the yogic process which searches for Divine realisation only outside the living world, while at the same time the seeker becomes aware that a definite reversal is near (dying, Patroclus predicts Hector’s death approaching). Before Patroclus’ death the seeker must accept the end of the intervention of the mind in the yogic process to such an extent that the mental element will be taken away from him.

Book XVII: Great deeds of Menelas

Setting forth to bring back Patroclus’ body, Menelas came up against Euphorbus and slew him. Under the guise of Mentes Apollo urged Hector to face Menelas, who called Ajax to his aid. Without a moment’s pause Hector seized the ‘immortal’ battle-gear of Achilles which Patroclus had donned. He was then called upon by Glaucus, who pressed him to fight against Ajax and Menelas. He pulled his men and allies towards the body of Patroclus, around which the battle raged. For his part, Menelas was gathering the Achaean forces.
Zeus then brought about a blinding mist which proved favourable to the Achaeans.

Ajax slew Hippothous.
Hector slew Schedius.
Ajax slew Phorcys.

While the Trojans were on the point of giving in, Apollo addressed Aeneas to encourage his troops. The hero recognised the god, who was under the guise of Periphas.

Aeneas then slew Leiocritus.
Lycomedes slew Apisaon.

Not far from there Achilles’ horses, which feared neither old age not death, refused to budge and grieved the loss of Patroclus, their heads bent down to the ground, but Zeus infused them with renewed ardour. Automedon led them before the Trojan army and entrusted them to Alcimedon. Hector and Aeneas attempted to seize them, but Automedon called both Ajax and Menelas to his aid.

Automedon killed Arete, and seized his weapons.

Then Zeus sent Athena under the guise of Phoenix to awaken the ardour of the warriors surrounding the site of Patroclus’ death, while Apollo under the guise of Phaenops gave Hector courage. But again Zeus ensured the Trojans’ victory, and a fog enveloped the battlefield.

Menelas kills Podes. Penaleus was wounded, as was Leitus. Coeranus was slain by Hector.

Ajax the Great implored Zeus to come to his aid, and the god took pity and lifted the fog. He then requested Menelas to send forth Nestor’s son Antilochos to announce to Achilles the death of Patroclus, ‘the most courageous of all the Achaeans’.
Protected by the two Ajax, Merion and Menelas succeeded in bringing Patroclus’ corpse till the ships, all the while pursued relentlessly by Hector, Aeneas and the Trojan soldiers.

The yogic movement which only sees a way out through the spirit reclaims to its profit the new means with which the seeker had believed for a moment to be able to claim a decisive victory in the reorientation of the yogic process (Hector reclaims Achilles’ weapons). These means are those of non-duality, for these weapons are ‘immortal’.
A difficult period then begins during which the seeker is no longer able to discern the right direction to be followed (Zeus had caused a fog to descend upon the battlefield), especially as the new yogic methods are regained and put to work by the very thing it fights against (Hector dons Achilles’ battle-gear).

Even the forces and powers of the vital which the seeker could formerly draw upon limitlessly in accordance to his needs and which never weakened seem to now abandon him (Achilles’ horses, which know neither age not death, remain prostrate). But this does not last, for the supraconscient only deprives him from these forces for a short period.
This access to the sources of vital power has been obtained by the liberated individual who has descended into the depths at the origins of subconscient life (the horses had been a gift to Peleus at the time of his marriage with Thetis, the daughter of Nereus, ‘the old man of the sea’). These vital forces can therefore only be handled by one who has acquired ‘a complete mastery over himself’, or he who has ‘mastery over forces’ (Automedon and Alcimedon). But this mastery must soon call for the aid of ‘the work of the widening of consciousness’ in incarnation, as well as ‘an unshakeable will extended towards its aim’ (the two Ajaxes and Menelas).
The forces of the overmind are in action in an indirect manner during this phase – here Athena and Apollo appear under the guise of Phoenix, ‘renewal’, and Phaenops, ‘of the shining, illuminated gaze’ – in such a way that the seeker only perceives its manifestations.

From his widest consciousness the seeker then implores the Divine for a clear vision of the developing process to be granted to him, which the Divine indeed grants (Ajax implores Zeus to dissipate the blinding fog). This implies that the early realisation in the quest for union through the mind must be abandoned even if it remains indispensable for reaching this point (Achilles must be informed of Patroclus’ death and due funerary rites be given to him).

Book XVIII: The forging of new weapons for Achilles

Nestor’s son Antilochos came to announce the death of Patroclus to Achilles. The latter uttered a terrible cry of grief, which was heard in the depths of the ocean by his mother Thetis. Accompanied by her numerous sisters the Nereids, she ascended from the ocean’s depths till she reached her son’s side.
Achilles grieved the death of his inseparable companion, reproaching himself for not having protected him in battle and wishing for the disappearance of the spirit of quarrel, Eris, who had kept him away from the battlefield.
Then as he announced to his mother his desire to avenge Patroclus, she asked him to wait for her to ask Hephaestus to forge him a new set of battle-gear and arms.
During this time the Trojans had made the Achaeans retreat back to their ships, and Hector drew closer to being able to seize Patroclus’ body.

The goddess Iris, messenger of the gods, was hastened by Hera, Zeus and the other gods to speak to Achilles. She urged the latter to enter the battle without waiting for his new weapons to be brought to him. Athena then handed him an aegis, adorned his forehead with a golden halo and caused a resplendent flame to surge from his body. Thus he entered the battle, and moved in the direction of Patroclus’ body. As the day was drawing to a close, the Trojans were seized with fear and retreated. Twelve amongst their best warriors were killed outright at the sound of his terrible cries.

In the Trojan camp Polydamas the son of Panthous began to speak. He alone could know both the past and the future, and because of his wise counsel had won prevalence over Hector. He advised a careful retreat into the walls of Troy but Hector chided him for such words, giving his soldiers the order to remain in readiness for an attack at dawn.
Achilles then grieved by the side of Patroclus’ body, foreseeing his own imminent death. But he could not fathom burying his friend and dying before having slain Hector, and meanwhile ordered that the body be prepared for burial according to custom.

By this time Thetis had reached the dwelling of Hephaestus and of his divine wife Charis. The lame god was attended to by two servants made of gold who were made to look like living images of virgins.
Hephaestus recalled that Thetis, with the aid of Eurynome the daughter of Ocean, ‘the river which flows towards its source’, had welcomed him when he was hurt. As he was lame at birth his mother Hera, wishing to keep him from being seen, had flung him from the top of Mount Olympus, and he therefore felt indebted to Thetis.
As she told him of the motive of her visit, complaining that she was the only goddess to have united with a mortal, he assured her that he would make for Achilles weapons even more wonderful than the ones taken by Hector from Patroclus’ body. Upon returning to his forge he created a breastplate, helmet, gaiters and a splendid shield. On the latter were depicted, aside from the sky, the earth, the sea and the stars, scenes of justice, war, labour, a royal domain, a vineyard, a flock of gold and brazen cattle, a flock of sheep and a dance scene. At the extreme right-hand side of the shield was depicted the powerful river Oceanus.
He then lay these weapons at Thetis’ feet.

The seeker eventually admits that a new form of yoga which abandons all mental support as well as the structures of past yogic forms is henceforth necessary for moving in the direction of evolution beyond the psychic transformation and individual liberation (Antilochos, ‘a sharpened vigilance’, informed Achilles of Patroclus’ death).
This shift of awareness ‘descends’ down to the place in which is found the pure force which orders all things at the root of life, the aim of the movement of yoga which works within the shadowy depths of the vital (the piercing cry of Achilles reaches Thetis, Achilles’ mother through her union with Peleus). The seeker who wishes to bring a definitive end to the origin of the consciousness of separation (Eris, the spirit of conflict and quarrel), then receives the message through means of the (vital) intuition that new tools for his yogic practice will be given to him (Thetis, daughter of Nereus, ‘the old man of the sea’, tells her son that she is going to ask Hephaestus to make him new weapons).
However the seeker is not yet certain that the realisations aiming at union and operated by the ascension of the planes of consciousness were necessary for the new path (Hector draws near and seizes Patroclus’ body).
But he understands at the level of the body that he must express the turning point of the yogic work to his being as a whole without waiting to recover the new modes of operation which have been announced to him (Iris ‘the messenger’ presses Achilles to appear before the Trojans). Faith, the powerful light of the mind and the inner fire (the aegis, the forehead marked with gold and the flame leaping from Achilles’ body) which accompany this movement are so powerful that they push back any other movement within the being which seeks to oppose them (filled with terror, the Trojans retreat).
The mode of yoga which refused the rendering divine of the body then loses strength, a great number of possibilities for action as well as its certainties about the right direction to be followed (the Trojan horses turn back, twelve of the best Trojan warriors are killed and the coach-drivers are at a loss).
The mastery acquired in numerous domains has allowed for the obtaining of a vision of the three times, trikaldrishti (see Sri Aurobindo’s Journal of Yoga). This vision, which is more trustworthy than that resulting from an opening towards the heights of the spirit, tries in vain to oppose the latter movement (Polydamas, who alone was able to know both past and future, and through his wise counsel was more greatly respected than Hector, tries in vain to persuade the latter to return within the walls of Troy).

The seeker then takes the inner decision to conclusively abandon this movement which opens itself towards the heights of the spirit (Achilles vows to kill Hector) through his renouncement to any creation of the overmind, as for example the establishment of a new religion.
Aware that he is entering into a transitory movement however, he cannot yet completely integrate the disappearance of past realisations – those which had been obtained through the work of purification and liberation which supported themselves on the mind – before having entirely given up all desire to pursue an ascension of the planes of consciousness (Achilles, who senses his imminent death, cannot envisage burying his friend and dying himself before having slain Hector).

It must be remembered that Achilles (Χ+ΛΛ) represents the process of purification and liberation which has reached the muddy waters of the roots of life (for he is a son of Peleus, ‘that which is active within the mire’, and of the Nereid Thetis, ‘the deepest consciousness’ in the vital). As Thetis is the only goddess to have entered a union with a mortal, her son Achilles represents at that moment the most advanced movement of the yogic process. This work of deepened purification has been prepared by all of the ancient realisations on the path towards union and equality (Achilles was raised with Patroclus, ‘the glory of the fathers’, son of Menoetius, ‘that which is accessible to the spirit’, who was himself a son of Deion, one who seeks for ‘a union in consciousness’). But this form of yoga would have probably not been able to reach a successful conclusion if the process of the ascension of the planes of consciousness represented by Hector had not been developed simultaneously. The one could not have been possible to achieve without the other.
It is the part which is best placed to make the transition towards the new mode of yoga which has retreated before the power of the fire of aspiration (Achilles’ anger towards Agamemnon). This demonstrates that a very lengthy process of cleansing and purification is necessary before the change can be brought about, from the abduction of Helen till the end of the Trojan War. Achilles’ ‘strike’, which seems to have halted the process, is in fact the condition for the acceleration of the reversal yogic process.

The narrative is continued with Thetis asking Hephaestus for a new set of weapons for her son Achilles.
The lame god, creator of the forms issued from the supraconscient, is at that moment surrounded by the most evolved forms which can be generated within a period of alternation dominated by the forces of separation, but these forms only carry the appearance of life for they are not connected to the Source (Hephaestus is accompanied by two servants made of gold, who have the appearance of living virgins). These servants remind one of the automatons of Daedalus, who also appeared to be alive.
The fact that Thetis had taken care of Hephaestus when he had been flung from Mount Olympus indicates that the process of alternation which governs the mind was active from the origins of life. And the river Oceanos, ‘which flows towards its source’, gives the image of an evolution which returns towards its origin.

From the moment in which the seeker prepares himself to progress into this new path beyond the liberation of the spirit, the supraconscient grants him ‘practices of yoga’ and ‘protections’ most appropriate to the new mode of yoga (Achilles’ new weapons which are better than the old: a shield, a breastplate, a helmet and a pair of gaiters).
The description of Achilles’ shield, of which only a brief summary is given below, refers to a number of realisations which constitute an indispensable protection for the next stage of the path: a vast consciousness, a great discernment, a precise vision of duality, a good yogic practice, joy, an illumined mind, a fitting harmony of the action of the masculine and feminine within the being, and finally a powerful aspiration for evolution which maintains a coherence of the whole.

Book XIX: Achilles gives up his anger

Thetis brought to her son Achilles the weapons and battle-gear crafted by the lame god. The goddess also reassured him, for he feared that Patroclus’ body had been contaminated by flies. She then administered ambrosia and the red nectar into the dead man’s nostrils.
Achilles convoked an assembly of Achaeans, with at its head Diomedes, Ulysses and Agamemnon. Before them all he announced the end of his refusal to fight, and Agamemnon was in his turn contrite.
Ulysses then advised that the armies take rest to be able to endure the lengthy combat to come. He also bade Agamemnon to fulfil the promises that he had made to Achilles as reparation for the dishonour he had brought upon him. As Achilles was becoming impatient, Ulysses reminded him that he was his elder and therefore exceeded him in wisdom, and bid him to follow his counsel. Followed by several other heroes he went into Agamemnon’s encampment in search of the seven tripods, twenty cauldrons, twelve horses, seven able women, ten gold talents and the beautiful Briseis promised to Achilles.
Agamemnon them swore before the gods that he had never touched Briseis. The latter, ‘akin to golden Aphrodite’, beholding the corpse of Patroclus, grieved for him who had taken care of her with great gentleness and had promised that she would be Achilles’ bride.
Then Achilles, so greatly weighed down by grief that he could partake of no food, shed many tears over Patroclus’ corpse. He spoke of the father of the dead man, who in Phthia grieved the absence of his son who he guessed might already be dead. He also spoke of his son Neoptolemus, who looked like a god and was being raised alone in Skyros. Zeus took pity and ordered Athena to intervene, which the goddess did, administering nectar and ambrosia into the hero’s breast.
When ready for battle the Achaeans emerged in great numbers from the ships.
Achilles donned the battle-gear and weapons crafted by Hephaestus. He then pulled out of its sheath the heavy spear which his father had been gifted with by Chiron, and which he was the only one amongst the Achaeans to be able to handle (Patroclus had therefore not taken it with him). Automedon and Alcimus prepared the team of horses which would bring him into battle. Shining, he called the horses Xanthos and Balius to come to him, begging them to ‘change their manner of thinking’ and bring him back alive and well. Suddenly endowed with a human voice by Hera, Xanthos promised him this, whilst reminding the warrior that his death was soon to come and that he could do nothing to prevent this, ‘for his destiny was to be tamed by force by a god and by a man’.
Then Achilles went forward, impatient to bring to the Trojans ‘the distaste of war’.

The seeker fears that harmful mental elements might damage the memory – and therefore their utility in their time – of the ancient realisations striving towards union, but he receives the indication from powers acting in the greatest depths of the vital that no such thing would happen for they will ensure that their integrity is maintained within the being (flies will not be able to bring decay to Patroclus’ corpse, which Thetis renders incorruptible).
He then takes action, the moment having come to conclusively turn the page on the movements of yoga in the spirit which reject the perfecting of matter. The yoga of the depths takes the direction of the struggle for reversal, and the seeker abandons his will for a ‘bettered man’ (before the entire assembly Achilles announces the end of his abnegation, and Agamemnon in his turn begs forgiveness).

That which takes on the task of establishing an equilibrium of forces within the seeker (Ulysses) invites the latter not only to recoup the greatest amount of energy possibly before precipitating himself into the final battle, but also encourages him to bring into order all backward things. The realisations of the movement which through its power of aspiration sought a betterment of the human being, must be transferred to that which will operate the reversal: they are the supports necessary for a purification aiming towards a psychic opening (the seven tripods, which are Apollonian symbols), the tools of the purification to come (the twenty cauldrons), the impeccability of works of consecration and receptivity (the seven skilled women), and finally ‘the power of transformation through a union with the Absolute (the beautiful Briseis, who dwelt in the city of the soothsayer Mynes, and whom Patroclus promised as a bride to Achilles).
The seeker then notices that while his aspiration towards a human perfection of man in his present form (Agamemnon) has for long been developed to acquire ‘a power of transformation through a union with the Divine’ (Briseis) which has grown within a structure devoted to ‘the evolution of consecration’, it has never taken this seriously as its object (Agamemnon, husband of Clytemnestra, swears that he has never laid a hand on Briseis, who was ‘like the golden Aphrodite’, and used to dwell in the city of the soothsayer Mynes).
(‘The golden Aphrodite’ is the highest love of which the seeker is capable at this stage of yogic progress, the compassion obtained through consecration).
However, the seeker recognises that earlier realisations turned towards union on the path of purification and liberation had previously taken care of this ‘power of transformation through a union with the Divine’ which can be acquired only through a work on the depths of the being (Patroclus had taken care of Briseis, and had promised her that she would be Achilles’ bride).
He then recalls the path which had taken him through the dark regions of the vital depths of the being (he alludes to his father Peleus), and foresees future battles which were in preparation outside this war for the yogic reversal to be carried out (he thinks of his son Neoptolemus, ‘the new battles’, who is being raised far from him).
The supraconscient then intervenes, and offers him an experience of non-duality at the highest level (Athena administers nectar and ambrosia into the chest of the warrior).

The seeker then readies himself for the great turning point of his yogic progress. He has not only been given protections by the power which creates new forms (Hephaestus), but also ‘a powerful means of action’ which can only be utilised by one who works for the purification and liberation of the deep layers of consciousness. These means have been forged by ‘that which acts within the lower nature by manipulating energies in the appropriate manner’, and allows that which is entirely free in the mind to pursue the yoga battles in the depths of the vital (the spear was given by Chiron to Peleus, and only Achilles could handle it). This is perhaps in reference to mantra.
Courage and complete mastery (and/or a very strong consecration) are the motor elements capable of directing the vital force in this turning point of the yogic process (Automedon, ‘he who is master of himself’, and Alcimede ready a team of horses for Achilles). It must be remembered that horses are symbols of strength and power, most often vital power.)
Belonging to non-duality, these forces which lead the yogic process originate from the work of purification at the roots of the vital, for Xanthos and Balius are born of Zephyr, the western wind, and the harpy Podarge. The Zephyr is in fact a spiritual aid to purification, the divine wind which lifts ‘the violence of autumn storms that make fall leaves and dead branches’, and the Harpy Podarge ‘of the clear feet’ is a symbol of the movement of return to a luminous equilibrium in incarnation (the appropriate state of homeostasis).
Precisely at this turning point in the yogic process, ‘detachment’ and ‘the conversion of the vital’ (its adherence to yoga) work to clear the depths of the vital, a task initiated by Peleus and further pursued by Achilles. But when the seeker deepens the yoga in the vital up to the cells these forces must ‘alter their way of thinking’, which is to say that the processes to which they are linked must change (shining, he called to him his horses Xanthos and Balius, asking them to ‘alter their way of thinking’ so as to bring him back alive). It is an indispensable condition for transformation to occur, allowing a descent of the forces of Truth down into the body.

If we consider their origins, these forces are issued from a spiritual aid to purification (the western wind, the Zephyr), which supports one of the movements of primitive vital nature acting within man, the Harpy Podarge daughter of Thaumas (see diagram 2). The latter, the principle of a return to equilibrium or homeostasis, therefore governs for instance the development of the healing processes of the body which had become fixed since millions of years. Through his yogic endeavour the seeker therefore asks the divine and his body to alter the process of nature which man habitually considers as immutable.
This attempt is the subject of numerous conversations in the Agenda. That of the 24th February 1962 (Volume 3, pp. 49-51) is particularly significant: The Mother, who was that day celebrating her 84th birthday, had for several years undergone, as she put it, a spell which had made her very ill and almost brought her to death’s door:
‘Something was saying (I don’t know who, because it doesn’t come like something foreign to me any more, it’s like a Wisdom, it seems like a Wisdom, something that knows: not someone in particular, but “that which knows,” whatever its form), something that knows was insisting to the body, by showing it certain things, vibrations, movements, ‘From now on, O unbelieving substance, you can’t say there are no miracles.’ Because the substance itself is used to each thing having its effect, to illnesses following a particular course and certain things even being necessary for it to be cured. This process is very subtle, and it doesn’t come from the intellect, which can have a totally different interpretation of it; it’s rather a kind of consciousness ingrained in physical substance, and that’s what was being addressed and being shown certain movements, certain vibrations and so forth: ‘You see, from now on you can’t say there are no miracles.’ In other words, a direct intervention of the Lord, who doesn’t follow the beaten path, but does things … in His own way.’

Further on within this same conversation the Mother specifies:

‘…and on the 20th I was concentrated all day long: no contacts with anyone, nothing external, only an intense invocation … as intense and concentrated as when you’re trying to melt into the Lord at death. It was like that. The same movement of identification, but at its core a will for everything to work out in a good way here [on the material plane]. ‘In a good way’ … I mean I said to the Lord, ‘YOUR Good, the true Good, not…. The true Good, a victorious Good, a real progress over the way life is usually lived.’ And I stayed in this unwavering concentration the whole day, all the time, all the time: even when I spoke, it was something very external speaking. And then at night when I went to bed I felt something had changed – the body felt completely different. When I got up in the morning, all the pains and disorders and dangers had … vanished. ‘Lord,’ I said, ‘You have given me a gift of health….’ Voila.
And with this change, the bodily substance, the very stuff of the cells, was constantly being told, ‘Don’t you forget, now you see that miracles CAN happen.’ In other words, the way things work out in physical substance may not at all conform to the laws of Nature. ‘Don’t forget, now!’ It kept coming back like a refrain: ‘Don’t forget, now! This is how it is.’ And I saw how necessary this repetition was for the cells: they forget right away and try to find explanations (oh, how stupid can you be!). It’s a sort of feeling (not at all an individual way of thinking), it’s Matter’s way of thinking. Matter is built like that, it’s part of its make-up. We call it “thinking” for lack of a better word, but it’s not “thinking”: it is a material way of understanding things, the way Matter is able to understand.’

It must be remembered that Thaumas, the father of this Harpy, symbolises ‘that which is astonishing, marvellous, surprising, admirable’. Within the beginnings of the evolution of life there therefore existed remarkable capacities of vital matter which had been buried and forgotten during the course of the evolution of the mind.

At this request from the seeker to ‘alter its way of thinking’, bodily nature responds positively and in a very clear manner which the seeker cannot doubt (suddenly granted a human voice by Hera, Xanthos promised to grant his request).
Xanthos, Achilles’ immortal horse, is a force which has appeared at the time of the first developments of life when the connection with the subtle physical was clear rather than obstructed by fear and the mental vital, fear only emerging during the following stage with Phorcys and Ceto. When the seeker can establish a pure connection with the plane of the subtle physical, as is the case at this stage of the yogic process, he has acquired knowledge of the future. This is why Xanthos can promise Achilles that he will bring him back from battle alive this time (Xanthos made Achilles this promise). The Mother develops the distinction between different levels of premonition in the Agenda of the 27th February 1962 (Volume 3, p. 55), in particular the passage below about the subtle physical:

‘Anyway, to go back to what I was saying, depending on the plane of one’s vision, one can judge approximately how much time it will take to be realized. Immediate things are already realized, they are self-existent and can be seen in the subtle physical – they already exist there, and the reflection (not even transcription) or projection of this image is what will take place in the material world the next day or a few hours later. In this case you see the thing accurately, in all its details, because it’s already there. Everything hinges on the precision and power of your vision: if your vision is objective and sincere, you will see the thing as it is; if you add personal sentiments or impressions, it gets coloured. Accuracy in the subtle physical depends exclusively on the instrument, the one who sees.’

All the same, even if this force ‘alters its way of thinking’, it will not be able to change anything in terms of the movement of purification in the depths of the vital, which functions within the framework of the ancient forms of yoga, for it is an action from a force of the overmind linked to a particular kind of yoga which will put an end to it (Xanthos could not alter the proximity of Achilles’ death, for his destiny was to be tamed by force by a god and by a man).

Book XX: The battle of the gods

Zeus ordered Themis to convoke the gods to an assembly. All of them answered the call, even the river gods and the wood nymphs, with Oceanos being the only one missing. Impatient for the fighting to come to an end, Zeus ordered the gods to all descend into the field of battle and bring their aid to whichever side they chose while he would remain on Olympus and watch the ensuing battle.
Hera, Athena, Poseidon, Hephaestus and Hermes then went forth on the side of the Achaeans, while Ares, Apollo, Artemis, Leto, Aphrodite and the river Xanthos took the side of the Trojans.
Athena and Ares encouraged the warriors with terrible cries, Zeus sent forth thunder and Poseidon made the earth shake with such force that in his underground kingdom Hades took fright, fearing that Poseidon might ‘open to the eyes of mortals and immortals alike the terrible and vast domains which caused the gods themselves to shudder’.
The gods were facing each other in pairs: Poseidon faced Apollo, Ares faced Athena, Hera faced Artemis, Leto faced Hermes, and Hephaestus faced Xanthos, known as Scamander by mortals.

Apollo urged Aeneas to fight Achilles despite his apprehension, infusing him with great fire and courage. Following Poseidon’s counsel, the gods prepared themselves to contemplate the combat of the two heroes.
Aeneas enumerated the kings of his lineage, including its founders: Dardanos, whose subjects lived on the slopes of Mount Ida, Erichtonios of the three thousand mares to whom Boreas got united and from whom were born twelve colts who sprang gracefully over ears of wheat, and finally Tros, father of Ilos, Assaracus and Ganymedes.
Then Aeneas flung his pike, frightening Achilles who was not aware that ‘the gifts of a god are not easily destroyed by a mortal’.
But although Poseidon supported the Achaeans he obstructed Achilles’ sight with a thick mist and pulled Aeneas from the battlefield, ‘ for it is ordained unto him to escape, that the race of Dardanus perish not without seed and be seen no more – of Dardanus whom the son of Cronos loved above all the children born to him from mortal women’. He then announced that Aeneas and his descendants would rule over the Trojans in the future, and dissipated the mist from Achilles’ eyes.
Apollo advised Hector to instil ardour into his troops and not to venture before Achilles, who was encouraging his own, but to wait for him amongst the warriors.

Achilles slew Iphition, Democleon and Hippodamas.

Then Achilles slew Polydorus, the youngest and best loved amongst Priam’s sons. Hector, filled with pain at the death of his younger brother, rode before Achilles. While they flung their spears at each other Athena redirected Hector’s spear, while Apollo hid Hector from Achilles’ sight thrice with a thick mist.

Achilles then slew Dryops, Demuchus, Laogonus Dardanos, Tros, Mulius, Echeclus, Deucalion, Rhigmus and his chariot driver Areithous, as well as many others.

Achilles sprang from one side of the battlefield to the other like a god, the dark earth crimson with the blood of his victims, his horses’ massive hooves crushing corpses and abandoned shields strewn over the battlefield.

For the great reversal of the yogic process to take place, all forces and ‘currents’, or rivers, which participate in the process of evolution are mobilised in accordance to divine law (Themis). Oceanos does not appear in this assembly, most probably to indicate that the new phase of purification and liberation has not yet been initiated, which confirms the fact that Neoptolemus, whose name signifies ‘the new combats’ and who was the son of Achilles, has not yet reached Troy.

At this turning point of the yogic process the seeker draws closer and closer to the forces of the overmind. The gods therefore more often appear with uncovered faces. The fact that they divide themselves into the two camps indicates that the overmind is still a plane of duality in which forces can come into conflict, for they all share the same legitimacy in pursuing the path proper to them. While some defend a position which seems indefensible – in this case the Trojan side – they are however not in error. It is only our own limited vision which can give that impression, for they actually all only have as their aim to contribute to a greater human perfection by leading the Trojan movement of the flight in the spirit to its most extreme limit.

The seeker is then potently shaken by the subconscient down to the depths of the physical being. The power which watches over the work of union within the body even fears a moment in which the body, opening itself to supreme consciousness, might be unable to withstand the horror of planes which are diametrically opposed and in which Truth is corrupted (Hades fears that Poseidon ‘might shatter the earth into the skies, and open to the eyes of mortals and immortals the terrifying domain of corruption feared by the gods themselves’). This is evocative of a text from the Mother’s Agenda from December 31, 1965 (Volume 6, p. 244), in which she speaks to Satprem of the following: ‘You say you see horrors – mon petit, your horrors must be something quite charming in comparison with the horrors I have seen! I don’t think one human being can bear the sight of what I have seen.’

The seeker brings face to face the following within himself:
The power which directs the subconscient and the psychic light (Poseidon and Apollo).
That which decides on the life of forms and on what aids mastery and that which look after inner growth (Ares and Athena).
The divine laws and the psychic perception of the right movement (Hera and Artemis).
The psychic and the knowledge of the overmind (Leto and Hermes).
That which creates new forms and detachment (Hephaestus and the river Xanthos).

He then questions himself anew on the rightness of his path: the inner psychic light (Apollo) pushes him to bring face to face within his consciousness the movement which wishes to strive for liberation in the depths of the vital (Achilles) and the process which within the path of ascension moves forward not in the division of spirit and matter (Hector, in the genealogical lineage of Ilos and Laomedon), but in that of unity with the aim of achieving love (Apollo encourages Aeneas to fight Achilles despite Aeneas’ reluctance). Aeneas, ‘evolution’, is in fact a son of Anchise, ‘he who is close to man’, and of Aphrodite, ‘the evolution of love’, within the lineage of Assaracus, ‘the right movement of the opening of consciousness within a unified being’.
This is still a final attempt of the psychic light to make the evolution of love take prevalence over that of Truth.

At this point the seeker has not yet understood to which extent his work on the depths of the vital is supported and protected by that which watches over the building of new forms (Achilles is not aware that his shield, built by Hephaestus, is protecting him, for ‘the gifts of a god are difficult for a mortal to destroy’).
Even if the seeker is ready to radically question the ancient ways (if Achilles is likely to be victorious), however it is not a question of putting an end to the aspiration for love in humankind, for this is to take place later with Aeneas and his descendants. In fact, this will ultimately be the path of evolution taken by humankind during centuries of Christianity.

But for the seeker who has already achieved the highest level of realisation of love with a psychic realisation it is a question of embarking upon another path; the mind’s participation in the path of love will only be able to recommence when Truth will have been established within the depths of the being. The subconscient thus also keeps the seeker from prematurely severing ties, and obliges him to recognise the fact that evolution has long been fittingly driven by this quest for love amongst men (Aeneas is removed from the battle, for ‘destiny willed that he be saved so that the lineage of Dardanos would not perish, Dardanos having been the best loved by the Cronid amongst all of his children born of himself and a mortal).
Here the subconscient takes action by bringing about a state of temporary uncertainty and then simultaneously making understood the continuation of the evolutionary process (Poseidon brought a thick mist over Achilles’ eyes, and announced that Aeneas and his descendants would rule over Troy in the future).

This yoga of the depths puts an end to the gifts or powers which have most recently appeared within the path of ascension, and to which the seeker is most attached (Achilles slew Polydorus, the youngest and most beloved of Priam’s sons).
But the moment of reversal has not yet come (on both sides, the gods delay the conclusion of the conflict, Athena diverting Hector’s spear and Apollo thrice hiding Hector from Achilles’ sight).

Book XXI: Battle by the river

The Trojans retreated before Achilles, some towards the city while others were pushed back to the river of silver currents, the Xanthos, son of Zeus. Achilles pursued them till its bed, and with his sword brought about great bloodshed. He also took twelve prisoners to avenge the death of Patroclus.
Achilles found himself before Lycaon, a son of Priam and Laothoe, whose brother Polydorus had just been killed. Lycaon had already been captured by Achilles in the past and sold to one of Jason’s sons at Lemnos. Despite his entreaties, Achilles slew him. He then killed Asteropaeus, son of Pelegon, who was himself the son of the rivers Axios and Periboea. He then slew numerous Paeonians: Thersilochus, Mydon, Astypylus, Thrasius, Aenius, Ophelestes.

Under the guise of a mortal man, the Scamander River (the Xanthos), complained to Achilles that its waters were being filled with corpses so that its currents were no longer able to flow down into the sea. But Achilles did not put a stop to his massacre of the Trojans, till the river in fury rose up against him with its waters heaving, pushing the dead to its banks and hiding those still living within its great swirling currents. Achilles was obliged to grip himself to an uprooted tree to escape and make his way back to the river bank. While he took flight terrified, the river pursued him in great tides, breaking several times in great waves upon his shoulders and striving to pull him back into its currents, ‘taming him to kneeling’. Achilles begged Zeus, Poseidon and Athena to aid him and they reassured him and promised that the river would quieten down, urging him to deploy every effort to slay Hector.
But the river Xanthos did not abate in its fury, instead calling upon the river Simois to join in the effort to bring down Achilles. The entire plain was flooded and Hera became alarmed. She bade her son Hephaestus to set on fire the banks of the river, while she herself stoked the winds Zephyr and Notus to spread the fire till the Trojan lines, incinerating them.
Hephaestus’ flames dried the plain and burned the river banks so well that the immortal Xanthos capitulated, begging Hera to put an end to the fire of the divine blacksmith. The goddess heeded his appeal immediately.

Then, though divided in heart the gods precipitated themselves upon one another to Zeus’ great pleasure. Ares threw himself upon Athena and struck her aegis, but the goddess in turn seized a heavy stone and struck her brother on the neck so that he collapsed upon the ground. Aphrodite came to lift him up, and while she led him away by the hand she was struck by Athena prompted by Hera, so that she too collapsed upon the ground.
Poseidon defied Apollo, allowing him to attack first because of his younger age. As Apollo remained reluctant to attack his father’s brother Artemis took him to task, inciting Hera’s anger who struck her across the face in punishment. Artemis then fled away in tears.
On his side Hermes refused to fight Leto, for he knew that she was the strongest of the two.
When the conflict reached its conclusion the gods returned on Mount Olympus, with the exception of Apollo who penetrated into Ilion.

As Achilles was about to reach the gates of the city Apollo stimulated Agenor, a son of Antenor, and stood by his side wrapped in a thick mist. When Achilles stood on the point of killing him, Apollo stole him away from Achilles’ sight and placed himself in his guise. Then Agenor-Apollo treacherously allowed himself to be pursued through the fertile plain, thus leaving enough time to the Trojan warriors to find safety within the city’s walls.

A great part of this book recounts the quarrels of Achilles with the river of the Trojan plain, which the gods knew as Xanthos ‘the golden-yellow or golden-red’, and men as the Scamander, ‘the man on the left’.
The name Xanthos is not only that of the river in Troad, but also that of one of Achilles’ immortal horses, of one of Hector’s mortal horses and of several secondary characters as well.
The spring of the river Scamander is described in the following chapter: ‘ Past the place of watch, and the wind-waved wild fig-tree they sped, ever away from under the wall along the waggon-track, and came to the two fair-flowing fountains, where well up the two springs that feed eddying Scamander. The one floweth with warm water, and round about a smoke goeth up therefrom as it were from a blazing fire, while the other even in summer floweth forth cold as hail or chill snow or ice that water formeth.’
(Homer and A.T. Murray, Iliad 22.131).
Through the structuring characters Χ+ΝΘ the name Xanthos expresses ‘the accomplishment of inner evolution’.
Applied to a horse, it therefore refers to ‘an inner accomplishment at the vital level’, which is to say of vital liberation (attractions and repulsions, etc.), which is also a realisation of equality, more or less accomplished depending on whether the horses are mortal or immortal (in which case they have symbolically attained a state of non-duality). Detachment, which is symbolised by the yellow-golden colour, is an element of this equality.

When this name is applied by the gods to the Troadian river, it represents ‘the current of energy-consciousness composed of both an aspiration for union and of that which leads towards an extreme separation and allows the process of individuation to take place (from one arises thick smoke as from a burning fire, and from the other icy waters).
Symbolically the Scamander can also represent the unity of the two currents of energy-consciousness which animate the structure of the tree of Sephiroth (‘the river of silver currents’) and which are depicted by the two snakes of the caduceus. These currents support the world of forms and ensure the continuation of the link between Spirit and Matter. They utilise the channels known as Ida and Pingala and are often represented by the opposite colours of black and white in the Caduceus.
These are two currents of opposite natures which are a translation of the fundamental forces of fusion and fission, distancing and nearing, union and separation, etc. One leads towards individuation and distancing from the Absolute, whereas the other leads towards an ardent fusion with the Divine. Their origin is in ‘the two fountains’ which nourish the water of the world of forms at the point at which the heads of the two snakes of the Caduceus meet. They are situated ‘beyond the fig-tree’, the tree of supreme Knowledge, of Emptiness in which it finds its origin, or of the Unity within which everything is gathered (it is the level of the occult Sephiroth Daat. Here it is not a question of the tree of the mind or of the world of forms, for according to Homer Xanthos is a son of Zeus. The fruit of the fig-tree has probably been taken as a symbol of multiplicity in unity because of its numerous seeds, which when the fruit is cut transversally give the impression of the innumerable elements within a whole).

While these currents maintain creation within a state of equilibrium, their influence on certain planes is however reinforced according to cosmic cycles unheeded by men, for the latter only predominantly perceive the flow of energy within which they are immersed. During the mental cycle of individuation in which humankind has been plunged for the past thirteen thousand years, they only clearly sense the separative influence from the left-hand side (the logical left side of the brain). This is the Scamander, ‘the man who perceives that which is on the left’, and which leads towards individuation and therefore towards the separation of spirit and matter. The gods have a higher vision, being aware of the cycle as a whole and of the reason of its existence within the process of evolution.
The situation of the Xanthos in Troad demonstrates that the process of evolution symbolised by this province cannot conclude with the Trojan War, which only aims at the eradication of an error arising from a lack of consecration. Aeneas will in fact have to establish the foundations of the future city of Troy.

More particularly, taking into account the golden-yellow colour of the river as seen by the gods (Xanthos), this river could be at their level the sign of a complete detachment as a result of an ‘integration’ of opposites while at present humanity level, only renunciation can be envisaged.

At this stage of the yogic process the seeker is filled by an inflexible impulse for reversal, but the numerous residues of the transformations brought about to change the ‘laws’ and beliefs linked to the ancient form of yoga block the fundamental circulation of energies (or the process of renunciation) within the seeker for he is unable to integrate them in a progressive manner (Achilles carries on with the massacre of the Trojans, the corpses of which impede the flow of the Scamander in its course towards the sea).
The seeker is attacked in his link to the divine in spirit as well as in incarnation, within the forces of life and therefore within the body as well (the Xanthos crashed down on Achilles’ shoulders repeatedly, and strove to force his knees to bend so as to pull him into its currents).
Mother’s Agenda repeatedly refers to this opposition of the forces which seek to maintain what is ‘ancient’ (old forms) and attempt to disrupt the seeker’s consecration to divine work.
This obstruction of the currents of the Xanthos by Achilles’ power and its alliance with the Trojans, similarly as in the case of Leto’s children, is perhaps necessary for maintaining within the seeker a compassion which would otherwise be in danger of disappearing in the face of inflexibility.

However, the seeker is inwardly warned that he has nothing to fear and that he must consecrate himself to the process of reversal by putting a definite end to that which within himself works towards the separation of spirit and matter oriented towards the paradise of the spirit (Athena and Poseidon reassure Achilles and urge him to kill Hector).

The fundamental currents which sustain the process of evolution then call upon another current of energy-consciousness, that of the rhythm of alternation of the phases of separation and fusion (the Xanthos calls upon this brother the Simois, ‘the curved’). In fact, it would seem that the reversal can only occur in agreement with the fundamental rhythms of nature which must accompany each movement. This seems true both from the individual point of view as from that of the changes of humankind as a whole. When the two movements join each other, the tipping-point is attained (in the Trojan plain the Simois joins its waters to those of the Xanthos).

But the seeker also receives the aid of a spiritual power which watches over the right movement of evolution. It calls upon the power which utilises the inner fire to create new forms in opposition to the ‘overflowing’ of its fundamental energies (of renunciation) through a powerful fire of purification (Hera bids Hephaestus to help return the Scamander to its bed by setting fire to its banks). She also calls upon the spiritual aid which supports purification, as well as that which favours confusion (she also sent forth the winds, the Zephyr and the Notus, ‘which brings a fog hateful to shepherds’, to spread the fire to the Trojan lines).

When the seeker regains a certain degree of peace he witnesses within himself the opposition of the highest spiritual forces of which he is aware, forces which follow their own trajectory:
The movement of consolidation and of destruction of forms is halted at its origin by the power of the inner guide who works towards an evolution through transformation (Ares is struck on the neck by Athena and collapses). The seeker can henceforth hoist himself above the world of forms.
Love in evolution, coming to the aid of that which renews forms, is also vanquished by the inner master, the highest knowledge (Aphrodite comes to the rescue of her lover, but she was also struck down by Athena). Within the evolutionary movement taking course it is no longer the development of love which predominates, but rather that of Truth.
The seeker refuses to pass the manifestation of the subconscient through the scrutiny of the psychic light, even though the quest for a greater purity desires this ardently and is also obliged to efface itself during this phase (Apollo is reluctant to face Poseidon in battle, and when his sister Artemis takes him to task for this she is soundly reprimanded by Hera and flees in tears).
The seeker recognises that the highest mental knowledge at the level of the overmind cannot measure itself against the psychic truth in its knowledge and its action (Hermes cannot face Leto).

However, the seeker was not to claim victory before the forces of opposition had the opportunity to gather together for one last time. For this to take place, the seeker’s attention is turned away by the psychic light which manifests itself within him under the guise of the ancient forms of yoga (Apollo, supporting the Trojans, takes on the appearance of Agenor and makes Achilles pursue him across the Trojan plain). This delays the reversal, probably with the aim of a greater perfection.

Book XXII: Hector’s death

Apollo put an end to the chase and revealed his identity to Achilles, who understood that the god had tricked him.
Beholding Achilles and already suspecting the death of two of his sons, Lycaon and Polydorus, Priam begged Hector to remain within the protection of the Trojan walls. Hector’s mother Hecabe also implored him to do so, but Hector did not heed them, bitterly regretting that he had not followed Polydamas’ advice of retreat and had consequently lost such a number of warriors. He even momentarily considered returning Helen to the Achaeans along with numerous treasures. Then as Achilles drew near, terror seized him and he turned back.

After having ridden past the lookout and the fig-tree with its two fountains of beautiful waters (the springs of the Scamander), Achilles pursued Hector thrice around the city’s walls. All of the gods stood watching. Zeus considered removing Hector from the certainty of death, but as Athena opposed herself to this he accepted that she take action without any further delay but in accordance to her own wishes.

Each time Hector attempted to enter the refuge of the city’s walls Achilles pushed him back towards the open plains. For the last time, Apollo then gave renewed vigour to Priam’s son. But while the two heroes passed by the fountain for the fourth time, Zeus consulted his golden scale by placing their destinies on either side of it. The side with Hector’s death weighed heavier, and Apollo abandoned his protégé.
Athena then revealed her plans to Achilles. Having taken on the guise of Deiphobe, a son of Priam who had remained within the city’s walls, she persuaded Hector to face Achilles in single combat.
When the two warriors came face to face Hector proposed to make an agreement whereupon the corpse of the vanquished was to be returned to his own people, but Achilles refused this agreement and hurled his spear at Hector. It missed its mark, but Athena returned the spear to him without Hector noticing it. When Hector had hurled his and in turn missed Achilles, he called upon Deiphobe (in fact Athena) to return it to him, but understood that the gods had tricked him.
The two heroes then precipitated themselves one upon the other, Hector with his sword and Achilles with his spear, which he plunged into Hector’s neck in the place where the clavicle separates the shoulder and the neck. Mortally wounded, Hector again begged Achilles to return his body to his own people so that he could be given proper burial rites, but Achilles once again refused. As he lay dying Hector predicted that Achilles would be killed by Paris-Alexander and Apollo before the Scaean gates.

Achilles then stripped Hector of his weapons and pierced his heels, strapping him to his chariot. He whipped and urged his horses forward, dragging Hector’s body through the dust behind him.
Within the city, Priam and Hecabe wept inconsolably.
Hector’s wife Andromache, not yet aware of her husband’s fate, climbed upon the city’s ramparts and fainted upon beholding his body being dragged behind Achilles’ chariot. As she regained consciousness all her thoughts went towards her young son Astyanax, who would have to endure the sad fate of a solitary orphan stripped of his possessions, one to whom the elderly give alms. Having lost his father, he would in addition be excluded from festivities.
Astyanax was wearing this name because his father protected the gates and walls of the city. His father Hector was the only one to call him by the name Scamander.
Then Andromache announced that she would set fire to Hector’s clothing in commemoration of his glory.

The seeker ultimately understands that the outcome is delayed by the psychic light. He guesses that a reversal is nigh, for the movement of an opening towards the heights of the spirit no longer seems to be supported by the new lights and new powers which this path could bring (Priam foresees the deaths of Lycaon and Polydorus).
He tells himself that he would not be in such a miserable situation if only he had pursued his yogic work of mastery whilst protecting himself sufficiently through the use of ‘structures’ when beginning to work within the depths of the being (Polydamas had advised Hector to return within the city’s walls when Achilles’ anger was soothed). He even momentarily thinks that he will be able to reach a compromise between the old and the new (Hector considers returning Helen and the treasures she had brought with her to the Achaeans).

The inner battle then shifts beyond that which can observe, beyond the witness consciousness and even beyond the frontiers of Knowledge and the sources of the currents of energy-consciousness which nourish duality (Achilles pursued Hector past the lookout point, past the fig-tree and the two fountains of beautiful waters, the springs of the river Xanthos).

This final confrontation must involve the ancient structure of yoga in its totality (the two heroes chase one another thrice around the city). That which resists change within the seeker attempts to comfort itself by striving to seek refuge within the forms of the earlier modality, which is not allowed by the new aspiration which plunges into the depths (Hector attempted to seek refuge within the ramparts, but Achilles repeatedly pushed him back towards the open plain).
Then comes a moment in which the supraconscient decides that the right time has come, and allows the inner master to support the reversal (Zeus allows Athena to take action). The latter then induces the seeker into error within that which within him desires to pursue the separation of spirit and matter (Hector believes that he is in the presence of his brother Deiphobe, ‘he who destroys fear’).
Then the seeker attempts to persuade himself that the great labour of yoga carried out in the movement of ascension of the planes of consciousness has not been carried out in vain, but for that which is at work in the depths of the being, this ascension seems useless (Hector requests that the appropriate funerary rights be granted if he is the one to be killed, but Achilles refuses to grant him this). He then understands that his fate has been sealed (Hector understands that the gods had tricked him).

It is at the symbolic level of the ‘gateway of the gods’ (the clavicle) that the mortal blow is dealt: the seeker must not choose as an absolute the world of the spirit alone, but rather take part in rendering matter divine.
Till the moment in which he abandons the process of ascension in a definite way, the seeker attempts in vain to convince himself that the yoga of the past has not been pursued in vain (as he lies dying Hector reiterates his request, which Achilles again refuses to grant).
He is once again confirmed in his belief, and this time by the highest realisation of the ancient yoga, that the movement with achieves liberation within the depths of the vital and allows a reversal to occur also reaches its own conclusion. He will be stopped by the highest psychic light associated with the yoga of ‘equality’ (Hector announces that Achilles will meet his death at the hands of an alliance between man and god), for he warns Achilles with ‘Verily I know thee well, and forbode what shall be, neither was it to be that I should persuade thee; of a truth the heart in thy breast is of iron. Bethink thee now lest haply I bring the wrath of the gods upon thee on the day when Paris and Phoebus Apollo shall slay thee, valorous though thou art, at the Scaean gate’. (Iliad XXII, 355.) The Scaean gates, Σκαιαι πυλαι, from Σκαιος ‘occidental, or leftwards’, and πυλαι, ‘gateway or doorway’, can be understood as the gateways of human consciousness’, or of ‘the left-hand side’, which in relation with the left brain separates spirit and matter, or in other words ‘the doorways of duality’. They therefore constitute a weak point within the Trojan defences: these are the entry points through which the famous Trojan horse will enter the city’s walls.

During a prolonged period the seeker negates his earlier progression, which has led him to the highest summits of the spirit (Achilles drags Hector’s body through the dust of the battlefield), while another part of himself remains attached to the aims of the earlier path, both those which aimed at a liberation from the process of incarnation, as well as those which the seeker considered in view of a greater mastery (Hecabe, ‘that which is outside of incarnation’, and Andromache, ‘the man who battles’ or ‘who fights against man’, mother of Astyanax, ‘the mastery of the city’, mourn Hector’s death).
The seeker becomes aware that the pursuit of a yet greater mastery would no longer constitute an advantage on the new path but would be put aside from the new works of yoga, not be able to claim its place within the process of evolution, and would be very poorly recognised and supported (Astyanax would be stripped of his possessions, becoming an orphan excluded from festivities, to whom only the elderly would give alms).
For it is no longer a question of imposing a power over matter from above, but rather of purifying the layers which cover it so as to return its own immense power to it.

It is from almost all perspectives that the seeker considers ‘mastery’ to be the essential structure and protection of the ancient forms of yoga, and only the part which has reached ‘the heights of the spirit’ can truthfully see that it is only a limited vision of current humanity plunged within the process of separation (Astyanax was known by this name by all because his father protected the gateways and walls of the city. His father Hector was the only one to call him by the name Scamander, ‘the man on the left’)

The seeker who ‘combats’ then decides to honour the ‘tasks’ fulfilled by this quest at the heights of the spirit, which amongst other things lead to a great mastery (Andromache announces that she will set Hector’s garments alight to commemorate his glory).
While the mastery acquired by the power of the mind is therefore indispensable for the initiatory stages of the yogic process, it will not succeed in remaining a major element in the yoga of the body, for the mind itself then becomes an obstacle.

Book XXIII: Funeral games of Patroclus

As night fell the Achaeans returned to their vessels. But Achilles led the Myrmidons back to continue mourning Patroclus, and all the men assembled walked thrice around the dead man in their chariots. Taken to Agamemnon’s side, Achilles refused to bathe himself before having buried his companion. As he lay asleep after the dinner Patroclus visited his dream and implored him to carry out his funeral rites rapidly and ensure that their remains would rest side by side. Wanting to hug him, Achilles noticed: ‘look you now, even in the house of Hades is the spirit and phantom (ψυχη) somewhat, albeit the heart (φρεν) be not anywise therein’ (Iliad 23.99).
Following Agamemnon’s orders all the men followed Merion to collect timber for building the funeral pyre. Once this had been completed Achilles requested the Atride Agamemnon to ensure that the military leaders alone would remain by his side. He then sacrificed numerous animals, as well as the twelve prisoners, noble sons of magnanimous Trojans whose bodies he placed upon the pyre.
During this time Apollo and Aphrodite busied themselves with protecting Hector’s body, not only from scavenging dogs but also from the degradations which Achilles or the sun’s rays could wreak upon it.
As the pyre would not catch on fire Achilles prayed to the winds Boreas and Zephyr to kindle the fire, which they immediately did.

Then Achilles organised games in honour of Patroclus, enumerating the many prizes which would be won by the winners.
The chariot race was carried out in an order drawn by lots: Antilochos, who was urged by his father to prove his great intelligence, Eumelos (son of Admete), Menelas with the horses Aetha and Podarge, Merion, and finally Diomedes with the horses which Aeneas had inherited from Tros. At the finishing line Phoenix served as arbiter of the race. Once the race was well underway Apollo attempted to slow down Diomedes by making him drop his weapon, but Athena gave him a new one and caused Eumelos to fall. It was Diomedes who was the first to cross the finishing line, and his chariot driver Sthenelus claimed the prize. Then Antilochos arrived, having vanquished Menelas through trickery, and was followed by Merion and finally Eumelos. Prizes were given to the victors, though not without some complaints. Achilles gifted Nestor a two-handled cup, promising that he would never have to fight again.
In a hand-to-hand combat Epeios the son of Panopeus vanquished Euryale son of Mecisteus, himself born of Talaos.
Ajax the Great and Ulysses also faced one another, but neither could gain the upper hand.
In the trial of sprinting the Lesser Ajax, Ulysses and Antilochos competed with one another. Athena caused Ajax trip to ensure that Ulysses would win, as he had implored her.
To the winner of a duel of swords Achilles promised the weapons of Sarpedon. Ajax the Great and Diomedess came face to face, but the Achaeans were filled with dread for Ajax and brought the duel to an end.
In discus throwing Polypoetes triumphed over Leonteus, Ajax the Great and Epeios.
In archery Teucer was outdone by Merion, for he had failed to make an offering to Apollo.
In spear-throwing Meriones wished to defy Agamemnon, but Achilles knew that this was an unequal match and gave the prize to the Atreid directly.

In this phase the seeker does not concern himself with the pursuit of purification till having correctly integrated past realisations (Achilles refused to cleanse himself before burying Patroclus’ remains). A nocturnal vision then makes him aware that these past realisations will not have to be dissociated from that which is then at work within the depths of the vital at this moment of yogic reversal (the cremation urns of Achilles and Patroclus are to rest side by side).
The seeker understands that they have been integrated at the level of the psychic being (ψυχη, representing the soul within incarnation), but that they no longer constitute a motor force for the yogic process to come for they are no longer endowed with an ‘animating breath’ within the body in the kingdom of the corporeal inconscient (φρην) (as he strove to embrace Patroclus, Achilles realised that ‘even in the house of Hades is the spirit and phantom (ψυχη) somewhat (ψυχη), albeit the heart (φρεν) be not anywise therein (Iliad 23.99).

Then the seeker symbolically puts an end to any possibility of a work towards the heights of the spirit, the figure twelve being a representation of totality in incarnation (he sacrifices twelve noble Trojans).
In his trilogy on the Mother, Satprem writes that at a given moment of the personal yoga, he had conclusively renounced attempting to escape to the higher heavens of pure whiteness, to which he had never returned.
If however the seeker at this moment remains entirely certain of rejecting the movement of ascension, this is not so for the forces of the supraconscient which protect the memory of ‘that which has been’ from any form of aggression: a disdain for the ancient paths, destruction by the movement which ends liberation, or even the first effects of the action of the overmind must not lead to forgetting that the ascension of the planes of consciousness is indispensable uptil a given point (Apollo and Aphrodite watch over Hector’s body to ensure that it is not preyed upon by scavenging dogs and the degradations which could be brought about by Achilles’ wrath or the sun’s rays).
To more swiftly integrate the ancient realisations in view of a union which had supported itself on the mind the seeker calls upon a sustained asceticism and an accelerated purification (Achilles prayed to the winds Boreas and Zephyr to kindle the fire to set Patroclus’ funeral pyre aflame).

Then, as is often the case in the major stages of the yogic process, symbolic games were organised to conclude the path just travelled. In this occasion the essential characteristics of the seeker which have allowed the reversal to occur are honoured.

The chariot race must reveal which association of yogic forces and of a particular yoga is the most conducive for evolution. The work of the liberated individual who plunges down to the roots of vital consciousness and supports himself on powers originating from non-dual planes of course comes first and cannot be compared to the other forms of yoga (none can rival Achilles, who is the master of the immortal horses Xanthos and Balios and therefore does not take part in the race).
The seeker finds some difficulty in discerning the specific importance of each association (the incidents during the race are numerous), but the final order is as follows:
‘A surrender to the Divine’, or ‘he whose aim is to be Divine’ and who has entered into a state of stable joy and supports himself on the powers developed on the path of ascension, being led by a ‘powerful liberation’ (Diomedes the son of Oeneus with his chariot driver Sthenelus, who led the horses of Tros).
‘The will for harmony or ‘exactness’, which is pulled into a ‘fall’ by the power which watches over the yogic work but is given the second place by the seeker even though it seems to be the last to arrive at the finishing line (as Athena had made Eumelos fall during the race he finished last, coming well behind Merion, but Achilles granted him the second place). This pressure of the supraconscient probably aims at helping the seeker avoid an excessive will for perfection, but it also reveals that he is henceforth no longer entirely submitted to the decisions made by the powers of the overmind.
‘A sharpened vigilance’, which must rest upon discernment and originates from ‘the evolution of integrity’ (Antilochos the son of Nestor exhorts his son to prove his intelligence).
‘An unshakeable will striving towards a vision of the final aim’, pulled forward by the inner fire and a purification in incarnation (Menelas and his two horses Aetha and Podarge).
‘The right movement of consciousness towards receptivity’ which serves ‘the will for union’ (Merion, the chariot-driver of Idomeneus).

In hand-to-hand combat Epeios son of Panopeus overcame Euryale son of Mecisteus, himself born of Talaos: an equality originating from a global vision proves stronger due to its adaptability and flexibility in regards to a liberation originating from a very great endurance. It must be remembered that Pollux (Polydeuces) who represents both ‘softness’ and ‘flexibility’, was known for his excellence in this sport.

During the games Ajax the Great and Ulysses faced one another without either of them being able to gain the upper hand; in that which comes to grips with reality (in hand-to-hand combat), ‘a consciousness extended within incarnation’ comes into equal terms with ‘the realisation of inner union of polarities’.

In sprinting Ulysses overcomes the lesser Ajax as well as Antilochos; ‘the labour of the realisation of union of the two currents within oneself’ does more for the acceleration of the yogic process than the ‘development of the lesser self’ or ‘vigilance’ associated with discernment’.

Ajax the Great and Diomedes face one another swords in hand, but the Achaeans put an end to this as they feared that Ajax would be harmed: the seeker recognises that ‘the will for union’ derived from joy is superior to ‘a widening of consciousness’, but he must nevertheless protect the latter. (Interpreting the names of the competitors in the other three games – discus-throwing, archery and spear-throwing, is difficult.)

The horses’ progress.

Through this work we can recapitulate the principal elements of the seeker’s progress in his relationship to the vital energies and powers, symbolised by the famous horses.
The first divine horse was Areion, ‘the best’ or ‘a just consciousness’, and belonged to Adraste, ‘he who does not seek to escape’ who is gifted with ‘an unshakeable courage’. Adraste was the son of Talaos, ‘he who endures’, and therefore the nephew of Jason and the father of Argeia, who entered into a union with Polynices, who had led the first war against Thebes. This force therefore concerns the first stages of the path of purification. According to early sources later reported by Apollodorus, Areion was the fruit of Poseidon’s passion for Demeter, who was then in a desperate search for her daughter Persephone. He therefore symbolises the result of an action of the subconscient in the first stages of the work of purification.
Although Areion was of divine origin Nestor, ‘rectitude’, asserts to his son Antilochos, ‘vigilance’, that he will be able to overcome his opponent by utilising his intelligence even with slower horses.

Then come several great horses of the Trojan lineage, which are not described as being of divine origin by Homer however.

First appear the three thousand horses of Erichtonios, ‘the wealthiest of mortals’. This son of Dardanos represents a seeker who has accumulated an impressive number of ‘realisations on the vital plane’ (under the guise of a blue-maned stallion, Boreas united with the mares which bore twelve foals that raced over the wheat fields without bending a single stalk, and leapt over the tops of the whitening waves); the vital forces sparked by a spiritual aid oriented towards asceticism which has taken on the guise of a force endowed with a powerful intuitive power in the vital (Boreas, under the guise of a blue-maned stallion), generates new powers in all the receptive aspects of the being (the twelve foals), which neither modify nor in any way disturb the realisations of the yogic process (Demeter, ‘mother of union’, is the goddess of wheat fields), and undisturbed dominate the surface emotional movements.
(In a general way the colour blue is associated with the mind, with different nuances depending on which plane it concerns.)
It can be logically supposed that Tros the son of Erichtonios inherited them, but he also received from Zeus ‘the best horses to have existed under sun or dawn’ in exchange of his son Ganymedes, ‘he whose intention is joy’. These are the most beautiful vital energies and powers in the domain of what is ‘new’, abilities for ‘just action’ for ‘they can retreat before the enemy or pursue him, depending on the occasion’.
Tros’ son Laomedon is the last within this genealogical lineage to have profited from this, for they were taken by Heracles when the latter returned to seek vengeance and destroyed the city of Troy.

However, Anchise, grandnephew of Laomedon, had his mares mate with the latter’s stallions without his knowledge. Having thus obtained six foals, he kept four and gave two to his son Aeneas, and these were later taken in battle by Diomedes.
‘That which remains close to humankind’ and must strive for the development of love (Aeneas is the son of Anchise and Aphrodite), ‘profited’ for some time from the powers of vital realisation obtained on the path of union in the spirit, but within the frame of future evolution the seeker did not have the ability to keep them (the two horses which he gave to Aeneas, the last of their lineage, were to be seized by Diomedes in battle).

Then finally came the immortal horses of Achilles Xanthos and Balius, which neither age nor death could touch. They represent the highest powers of the purified and liberated vital, including the re-harmonisation which allows illness to be healed. They are of the order of the present moment (an adaptation to the movement of becoming) and of non-duality. Originating from the harpy Podarge and the wind Zephyr, they are the fruits of the spiritual energy of purification striving to achieve a luminous equilibrium within the evolutionary foundations of life.

Book XXIV: Ransom of Hector

During the nights following Hector’s death Achilles lay sleepless, for he was filled with memories of Patroclus. When dawn would break he would secure Hector’s body to his chariot and drive it thrice around Patroclus’ remains. But Apollo had enveloped Hector’s body with a golden sheath which protected it from any form of degradation.
While the gods held counsel atop Mount Olympus, some suggested that Hector’s body be removed from Achilles’ fury by Hermes, but Zeus refused to allow this. When at the tenth dawn Apollo again lamented the fate undergone by Hector, Hera was angered against him. Zeus then intervened, sending Iris forth to seek out Thetis who stood in a cavern under the sea surrounded by the other ocean divinities. When she arrived on Mount Olympus once the funeral rites had been concluded, Zeus told her of the indignation of the gods and implored her to try to convince her son to return the body, which she did directly. He then dispatched Iris to ask Priam to prepare sufficient compensation as ransom and to approach Achilles. Zeus also indicated that the Trojan chief was to only be accompanied by an elderly herald who should drive the chariot filled with gifts and harnessed to a mule. He was not to fear the Achaeans’ wrath, for Zeus promised him Hermes’ protection.

Priam did not heed his wife Hecabe, to whom he had imparted the message carried by Iris and who begged him not to follow Zeus’ directions. He freely insulted his people and his nine surviving children, grieving the deaths of Mestor, Troilus and Hector. Just before his departure, as Hecabe implored him to ask Zeus to send a good omen (on their right), the eagle of his supreme power, he did as his wife had bid him and Zeus granted his prayer.
The convoy began moving forward. At its head was the chariot driven by Idaeus, followed by Priam’s team of horses. Zeus instructed Hermes to conceal himself till they reached Achilles. Hermes tied his sandals and picked up his wand (the caduceus), with which he could charm and close at his will the eyes of mortals or awaken the sleeping. He revealed himself to Priam in the guise of a young prince, and presented himself as one of Achilles’ squire. He informed him that his son’s body had been protected by the gods. At Priam’s behest he jumped up into the chariot and cast a deep sleep over all the Achaeans on their path, leading the convoy to Achilles. There he revealed himself to Priam, and then returned to Olympus.
Achilles was only in the company of Automedon and Alcimus. Priam implored him to return his son to him, and the two of them then grieved those deceased and gone missing. Guessing that Priam had only been able to approach him through the aid of the gods he gave the order for Hector’s body to be washed, anointed with oil and laid in a tunic, and then had him lifted till Priam’s chariot.
To convince Priam to share his meal Achilles reminded him of Niobe, who had regained her strength from partaking of food after grieving the deaths of her six sons and six daughters. These had been killed by Apollo and Artemis and deprived of burial rites, for Niobe had presumed to be greater than Leto and had later been turned into a rock atop Mount Sipylus.
After having regained strength Achilles and Priam considered one another with respect and admiration. As Achilles enquired about the time which would be needed for Hector’s funeral rites to be carried out Priam proposed a truce of eleven days, of which nine would be dedicated to grieving Hector.
Then as all commenced their rest for the night and Achilles lay by the side of the beautiful Briseis, Hermes worried about Priam’s safe return if Agamemnon were to learn of his presence in the Achaean camp. He therefore awoke Priam and his herald in the middle of the night, and accompanied them till the banks of the Xanthos.
Watching from the top the ramparts Cassandra recognised them from afar, and announced the news throughout the city.

While funerary singing rose from the people Andromache held between her hands the head of Hector, ‘the killer of men’, and lamented the future fate of their son Astyanax. Then were heard Hecabe’s cries, and those of Helen whom Alexander, ‘alike to the gods’, had brought with him twenty years earlier. Helen spoke of the gentleness of her father-in-law Priam and Hector’s kindness towards her, fearing that all other Trojans could henceforth only feel hatred for her.
For nine days the Trojans gather wood for the pyre. On the tenth they raised the funeral pyre, which they lit after having placed Hector’s body upon it. On the eleventh day they gathered Hector’s ashes and placed them within a gold case which they wrapped in crimson fabric. Having buried the ashes they built a tomb for Hector and assigned to guards to watch over it. Then in Priam’s household Hector’s funeral rites were celebrated with a great feast.

In his will for a greater purification the seeker finds it difficult to accept the fact that the earliest and most ancient experiences of union on the path of ascension will no longer be useful to him on the new path (Achilles cannot forget Patroclus’ death). Even though he is persuaded of the uselessness of pursuing this path of ascension, he cannot yet find its appropriate place within his past evolution (he resists the final burial and each morning drags Hector’s body behind his chariot, which he drives around Patroclus’ tomb). But the psychic light does not allow the memory to be tarnished or any part of it to be forgotten (Apollo covered Hector’s body with a golden sheath).

The powers of the overmind then desire for the end of the harassment against the earlier quest of the Divine in the spirit (the gods wish to remove Hector’s body to safety, far from Achilles’ wrath). But the height of the overmind rules that it is to be the result of a work on the depths of consciousness (Thetis) rather than a movement imposed from above by the overmind (some suggest that the body of Hector was removed by Hermes from Achilles’ wrath, but Zeus refuses to allow this).

It is the archaic consciousness of the nervous system (Iris, the messenger of the gods) which must then mobilise the deepest layer of vital consciousness (Iris must seek out Nereus, ‘the old man of the sea’, and Achilles’ mother). This occurs at the level of the ‘thinking senses’ for Iris is a daughter of Thaumas, which is to say that this occurs at the level of the first mentalisation of life through the senses, allowing for the creation of reflexes and instincts (See Volume 1 Chapter 3).
The supraconscient therefore prompts the seeker to alter his attitude by calling upon the deep layers of the vital corporeal consciousness, the planes of spirit and matter then working in perfect accordance (Thetis convinces Achilles to relinquish Hector’s body). It ensures that on the one hand the seeker integrates the past utility of the path of ascension, and on the other transfers to the work on the depths the best realisations obtained in this path of the heights (the relinquishing of Hector’s corpse and the compensations given to Priam). He also offers the assistance of the overmind so that this movement be carried out in inner peace (within a secure environment), for only an influence from this plane can guarantee a harmonious transition (Zeus offers Hermes’ protection).

Of course, that which within the seeker still searches for an exit-point outside of incarnation wishes to reject this agreement and to receive through the mind a favourable sign from the highest point of the supraconscient which would give him the certainty that the path of ascension has not been conclusively closed off (Hecabe attempts to divert Priam from this request to the gods, while encouraging him to implore for a sign from Zeus).

The overmind ordinarily acts from the supraconscient of the seeker, either bringing him clarity or confining him within ignorance according to the needs of his evolution (Hermes utilises his wand (caduceus), ‘with which he charms and closes at will the eyes of mortals or awakens those who sleep’). Here he accomplishes a reconciliation between the two paths, which will allow the integration of the past, and the seeker eventually comes to understand that he has at least temporarily accessed the level of the overmind (Hermes reveals himself to Priam).

The seeker involved in the new yoga essentially supports himself upon ‘a perfect self-mastery’ (Automedon) and upon ‘a powerful consecration’ (Alcimede). He understands that the supraconscient requires him to recognise the needs of the path just covered.
He then recalls a painful test on the path, which be however accepts unflinchingly. He had been punished for his presumption after having claimed that the results of his aspiration were superior or greater in number than those brought about by the psychic (Achilles recalled the story of Niobe, daughter of Tantalus and therefore sister of Pelops, who had claimed that her children were more handsome and numerous than those of Leto, who then sent her children Apollo and Artemis to slay the children of Niobe. However, the latter accepted food once her children had been given burial rites by the gods).
He then recognised with humility and gratitude the truth of the two paths, that of ascension and that which aims at the liberation of the external nature till its deepest layers (Achilles and Priam considered one another with mutual respect and admiration). The seeker consequently takes into account the need for a time of integration (an eleven-day truce is agreed upon).

All the same, the supraconscient overmind still fears that ‘the movement which still aspires strongly for a betterment of man’ (Agamemnon) might disturb a fitting development of the process taking place. He therefore also takes care to neatly mark out the two paths before the final reversal (Hermes ensures Priam’s safe return to his palace).
The intuition which has been developed on the path of ascension – which strives to defend this path because it is aware of its future evolution, although its voice is always silenced – is the first to understand that the integration of the path of ascension is imminent, just as it will later on intuit the final reversal, the fall of Troy (Cassandra catches sight of Priam returning with Hector’s body from afar).

The seeker understands that the path of ascension which exclusively develops mastery is condemned to end (Andromache grieves the fate of her son Astyanax). This is in reference to all the modalities of yoga which concentrate exclusively on a perfect mastery of the mind, the vital of the body, but construct rigid inner structures.
However he also admits that the ‘quest for freedom’ has always been supported by the movements directing the path of ascension, even when all the practices had been diverted (Helen speaks of Hector and Priam’s kindness in spite of the Trojans’ hatred for her).

There then occurs a final integration of the progress on the path of ascension, with a full recognition that it belonged to an evolution in accordance to the divine plan (Hector’s ashes are preserved in a gold case enveloped in crimson fabric).

LAST EVENTS OF THE TROJAN WAR

It is generally accepted that the Iliad used to be contained within a cycle known as The Epic Cycle. This poem probably followed the Cypria, which spoke of the origins of the war and was followed by the Aethiopia (the death of Achilles), the Little Iliad (the distribution of Achilles’ arms and the episode of the Trojan Horse) The Sack of Troy (the Iliupersis), the Nostoi (the Returns) , and finally The Odyssey, followed by Telegony.
Aside from the Odyssey there mostly remain only brief and late summaries of all of these texts, allowing us to understand specific episodes on the path preceding or following the great movement of yogic reorientation.
Outlined below are the most important events, interpreted to the best of our understanding.

Support by the Amazons under the leadership of Penthesilea

The Amazon Penthesilea, a daughter of Ares of Thracian origin, fought on the side of the Trojans and was one of their finest warriors. (Apollodorus adds that Penthesilea had unintentionally slain Hippolyte, Theseus’ former spouse.)
Achilles killed her in battle, and she was buried by the Trojans.
Then Achilles killed Thersites when the latter slandered him by claiming that he was enamoured with Penthesilea. A dispute then broke out amongst the Acheans regarding Thersites’ death. After this Achilles sailed for Lesbos and presented a sacrifice to Leto and her children Apollo and Artemis. He was purified from the stain of the murder by Ulysses.

Penthesilea was a woman, and therefore symbolises a realisation whose name signifies ‘liberation from suffering’. She is an incarnation of the most advanced stage of spiritual experience at that time, a realisation which the seeker erroneously considers to be an ultimate realisation.
Penthesilea was from a region situated even further east than Troy. In fact, the Amazons were a female warrior group which resided beyond the Propontis, ‘an advanced work on the vital (Pro-Pontos)’, on the shores of the Black Sea then called Pontus Euxin, ‘a work on an inhospitable vital world of great strangeness’, to the north of modern Turkey and halfway to Colchis. Their capital was at Themiscyra, a name which designated ‘those who share the divine law’. Themiscyra is a word built from Themis,’ that which is established as a rule’ or ‘divine law’, by opposition to nomos, ‘human law’, and kyra, ‘that which is shared’.
This city is situated at the mouth of the river Thermodon, which is to say that the ‘spiritual realisation’ represented by the Amazons is situated at the highest level of intensity of the inner fire of union, referred to as Agni in the Vedas, or the psychic fire. It is the culminating point of the period which concludes ‘the growth of the uniting life’ associated with psychic realisation, a permanent union with the Divine within the Self and the continuous perception of the divine ‘presence’.
At this level it is of course a question of psychological suffering which accompanies the liberation from desire and from all attachments, and the realisation of a degree of equality and an aspiring divine intoxication.
Penthesilea is a fitting illustration of the fifty-first verse of the second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita: ‘The sages who through intelligence have attained union (with the Self) remain detached from the fruits of action, and liberated from the ties of birth they attain a state free of pain’.
She is taken to be a daughter of Ares and therefore indicative of a realisation within the formless world, Ares being the destroyer of forms. She also represents a realisation within the plane of the gods, the overmind.
Till the very last moment of this great inner conflict the seeker has never considered questioning this realisation, and this is why Penthesilea remained aloof from the battle.
This realisation has been acquired by a difficult asceticism (Penthesilea is a native of Thrace) which has rejected the vital rather than having transmuted it; this is why Penthesilea had slain the wife of Theseus, Hippolyte, ‘a liberated vital energy’.
Achilles must slay Penthesilea, for this realisation must be overtaken in the new modality of yoga.

Achilles also killed Thersites: the seeker must free himself from an ‘inflamed spirit’. Thersites is the son of a Calydonian king, and is therefore linked to the purification of gross energies. He is known for being lame, and therefore expresses a lack of equilibrium within his own energies. He probably incarnates the process of purification which is carried out from above through the imposition of an illumined mind. But in the new yoga it is no longer a matter of imposing a mastery from above but of carrying out a transformation through a progressive unveiling from below.
The fact that he mocks Achilles’ attraction for Penthesilea perhaps indicates that there might be a moment when the seeker no longer believes in the transformation of the deepest vital without any suffering (Achilles slew Thersites in retaliation for his accusation about Penthesilea).
If the descent into the depths of nature brings great pain through the confrontations which it presupposes it remains true that the seeker must not at any moment justify it, for according to the Mother it constitutes ‘the symbolic sign of a life lived in ignorance’. (Mother’s Agenda Volume 3, entry from January 12th 1962.)

Memnon’s support of the Trojans

Clad in an armour forged by Hephaestus, Memnon son of Eos arrived at Troy to lend his assistance to the Trojans. Thetis then discussed with her son Achilles the conflict which was to come with this great hero. The battle broke out. Antilochos son of Nestor was killed by Memnon before the latter was himself killed by Achilles. Eos then obtained from Zeus the gift of immortality for her son (it seems that some early texts had already mentioned a weighing of the souls of Achilles and Memnon on the scale of fate).

Within this movement of ascension (the Trojans), a movement of aspiration is manifested at the height of the inner being directed towards ‘the supramental dawn’; Memnon, ‘he who aspires’, is the son of Eos sister of Helios, and of Tithonus, himself a son of Laomedon. This movement is protected by forms elaborated by the creative forces of the seeker (Memnon wears a breastplate and arms forged by Hephaestus).
In the Odyssey, Memnon is said to be ‘the most handsome of all the men at Troy’, more handsome than Neoptolemus himself. Memnon is therefore the ‘truest’ movement, the one closest to the supramental amongst all those engaged in the great inner combat.
All the same, as it is a movement linked to the spirit it automatically supports the higher path while the supramental must be found in matter. This movement must therefore be halted by a work of deepened purification (Memnon is slain by Achilles).
The anecdote about the weighing of Achilles and Memnon’s souls demonstrates that the two movements – that of purification in the depth of the external nature and that of aspiration for the descent of the supramental – might have had the same intensity in the quest before the final reversal.
This aspiration originating from the supramental dawn is necessarily non-dual, henceforth the immortality obtained by Eos on his son’s behalf.

The death of Achilles, the distribution of his battle-gear and the suicide of Ajax.

Achilles was killed by Paris and Apollo before the Scaean gates, and a fierce battle then ensued around his body. Ajax killed Glaucus and brought back Achilles’ body to the ships, while another Achaean warrior brought back his battle-gear and Ulysses kept back the Trojans.

As it has been seen, the death of Achilles was announced on several occasions in the Iliad, and earlier sources confirm that Achilles was in fact slain by Paris and Apollo before the Scaean Gates. Virgil alone specifies that Paris shot the arrow but that it was guided by Apollo.
None of the early sources mention the wound to the heel, which only appears in Apollodorus’ account. But considering the myth in which his mother attempted to render him invincible in infancy by plunging him in the Styx and holding him by the heel, several modern scholars have been able to deduct that Achilles’ heel was the only vulnerable place on his body. However, no ancient Greek poet directly mentions Achilles’ now-famous heel.
The death of Achilles, ‘he who accomplishes a (mental and vital) liberation’, marks the beginning of a different kind of yoga altogether, that of the body. But it also indicates a pause within the process, for the seeker is not yet ready for this new yoga.
In fact, he must renounce maintaining himself within this state of liberation, as well as renounce the attitude of authority, conferred by a union with the Divine and obtained from an inner vision of truth (the saint) and the serenity of perfect detachment (the wise man), for these realisations lead to a restraint of action.
The death of Achilles, which requires the joint effort of a man and a god (Paris-Alexander aided by Apollo), marks the end of the liberation of Nature by the work of equality associated with the psychic light (which is to say, ‘the rendering equal of nature’ which prepares the ground for ‘spiritual equality’). His death before the Scaean Gates indicates that the seeker has reached a stage which works upon the roots of duality.
This is probably meant to indicate that liberation has not yet been achieved on the physical corporeal plane, as the mortal wound was dealt to the hero’s heel, the point of articulation between the vital and the physical.
The new yoga of the purification of the depths traversed several different phases in its early stages, for the son of Achilles, Neoptolemus, ‘the new battles’, will first unite with Andromache, ‘the active yoga of the warrior’, the widow of Hector, before marrying Hermione, symbol of an evolution in the overmind.

Thetis, the Nereids and the nine Muses arrive in time for Achilles’ funeral rites.
According to some sources Thetis removed her son’s body from the funeral pyre, taking it to the White Island. According to other sources the remains of the hero were placed within a golden urn by the side of Patroclus’. Once the Achaeans raised the funeral pyre for Achilles they organised funeral games in his honour.
Ulysses and the Great Ajax then both fought over Achilles’ battle-gear. Ulysses emerged victorious, and Ajax committed suicide.
According to some sources, as Ajax had wished to avenge himself on the Achaean leaders Athena cast him into madness, and he attacked and massacred a herd which he believed to be the Achaean leaders. Upon regained his sanity, he committed suicide by flinging himself upon his sword.

The presence of the Nereids and the Muses at Achilles’ funeral rites indicates that at this point the seeker experiments with the proximity of archaic processes of consciousness, as well as with the most elevated spiritual harmonies. The Muses were in fact the daughters of Zeus and the Titanide Mnemosyne, the highest expressions of harmony from the origins of creation of which man can be conscious.

In the dispute over the battle-gear of Achilles, the practical means which the seeker has put to work in the yoga of the purification of the deep vital, which are no longer needed for the reversal to take place, are recovered by the movement which strives for the reunification of the currents linking spirit and matter (Ulysses or Odysseus, Δ+ΣΣ), to the detriment of the widening of consciousness in incarnation (Ajax son of Telamon). This is to say that the means previously utilised in the yoga of the depths of the being are redirected towards a yoga of unification and transparency.
Actually Ajax and Achilles, who were first cousins, represent the two movements which have allowed to lead to its conclusion the process of purification and liberation (within the lineage of Oceanos) which leads to rendering the being psychic, a sign of which is the attainment of equality. Once the process is well underway, ‘the descent’ of the higher forces can intervene.
As the work on the vital plane has been completed, the widening of consciousness through incarnation of which Ajax is the symbol can finally be concluded. It will however serve as a protective measure in the later phases of the yogic process: Ajax had a son named Eurysaces, ‘the great shield’.

In popular depictions, acts which are difficult to be comprehended by reason were often justified by a madness of this kind, in this case caused by Athena, as that of Heracles who slew Megara’s children.
It must be remembered that Pindar stated that ‘the Achaeans were blind in placing Ulysses above Ajax’ ; in other words, he could not agree with situating the work aiming at the transparency of the action of divine forces above that of the widening of consciousness.

Philoctetes’ return to Troy and the death of Paris-Alexander.

Philoctetes, ‘the will of realisation’, had been left on the island of Lemnos when the Achaean fleet had sailed for Troy. He suffered from a fatal wound caused by a snake’s bite. As the possessor of Heracles’ bow, he is the symbol of the will and the power of realisation extended towards its aim (the bow), which here represents the accomplishment of the process of purification and liberation which precedes the realisation of spiritual perfection, the union with nature of the divine being (Heracles).

According to a prophecy by Calchas (or Helenus, a son of Priam who had been imprisoned by Ulysses), Troy could not be seized without the aid of Heracles’ bow. Diomedes, accompanied according to the tragic playwrights by Ulysses and at times by Neoptolemus, therefore sailed back to bring Philoctetes to Troy. At his arrival in Troy Philoctetes was healed by Machaon (or Podaleirius), and then slew Paris during the course of a single combat.

Some sources mention the intervention of a first spouse of Paris named Oenone at this point. At the time of Helen’s abduction her prophetic abilities were said to have warned Paris of the consequences of his actions, and of a wound which only she would be able to heal. When he was wounded he sent forth a messenger to her, but she did not come and he soon met his death.

The seeker perceives that reconnecting with his deepest parts is indispensable to the final destruction of the ancient forms of yoga (Heracles’ bow was necessary for the seizing of Troy). This intuition has come to him either from the illumined mind (the seer Helenus, ‘the work of evolution towards a state of freedom’, who is a son of Priam), or from the process of purification when this is a revelation of Calchas ‘the crimson’, symbol of an inner uprightness, the power of perception given by the submission of the vital to the psychic.
The ‘will for realisation’ (Philoctetes) extended towards its aim must also be present on the battlefield. It is ‘that which has the intention of divine perfection’ (Diomedes) – possibly with ‘he who strives to unite within himself the two currents of opposing energies’ (Ulysses) and ‘the new battles’ (Neoptolemus) – which bring back to consciousness this will of realisation extended towards its aim. This will is reconstituted, or ‘cured’, of the waiting and expectation generated by the ‘bite’ of the evolutionary process by the ‘spiritual battle’ itself (Philoctetes is cured by Machaon), or by ‘that which strives to render incarnation more pure’ (Podaleirius).
This recalling of the final aim brings to an end all modalities of yoga which refuse the rendering divine of man by separating spirit and matter (Philoctetes slays Paris-Alexander).

The pursuit of rapture (ecstasy) had been abandoned by the seeker when he had set the quest for evolutionary Truth as his principal aim (Paris had abandoned Oenone, ‘the evolution of intoxication’, for Helen). Although the seeker was aware that only a plea to divine intoxication, to rapture, would have been able at that critical moment to sustain the Trojan movement towards the heights of the spirit, this divine intoxication eventually fails him (Oenone had warned that only she would be able to cure Paris-Alexander’s wound, but she did not come and he lost his life).

The conditions of the fall of Troy

After the death of Paris-Alexander, Helenus and Deiphobe entered into a dispute over whom would next claim Helen’s hand in marriage, and Deiphobe emerged victorious. However, according to some sources it was Priam who offered him Helen’s hand.
Helenus then sought refuge on Mount Ida, where he was captured by Ulysses for this Trojan prince knew the secrets which would allow the Achaeans to seize Troy. These were the following:
Pelops’ bones were to be brought to the site.
Neoptolemus the son of Achilles was to fight on the side of the Achaeans.
The Palladium (the effigy of Pallas, the childhood friend of Athena unintentionally killed by the goddess during their play), was to be taken out from within the city’s walls.
The Achaeans consequently went forth to seek Pelops’ bones.

Then, Ulysses accompanied by Phoenix travelled to Skyros to meet Lycomedes, his maternal grandfather, to persuade Neoptolemus to leave for war. Neoptolemus there received from Ulysses’ own hands the weapons of his father Achilles.
He slew Eurypylus, who was of a great beauty only surpassed by that of Memnon. (Eurypylus, son of Telephus, had come to the Trojans’ aid with numerous troops.)

Then Ulysses, accompanied by Diomedes who remained at the city’s gates, entered Troy under the disguise of a beggar. Only Helen recognised him. As she now wished to be reunited with her first husband Menelas she aided Ulysses in seizing the Palladium. (Some texts describe two successive missions of Ulysses into Troy. Here the simplified version of Apollodorus has been used.)

The seeker is still situated in the intermediary phase of reversal, in which the future path is not yet visible. This is why Helen is given another husband before she is able to find her way back to Menelas. Between the two principal directions of the work which have presided over the realisations of union within the spirit, it is that of ‘the cessation of all fear’ (Deiphobos ‘the one who kills fear’) which gained the upper hand over that of ‘the pursuit of liberation in the spirit’ (Helenus).
That which is ‘most free in the spirit’ (Helenus, Trojan prince and son of Priam) then spontaneously seeks refuge within the highest regions of the unity with the Divine (Ida) from which the quest of the future path obliged it to come down to reveal the final conditions necessary for the reversal to be carried out, for only the highest realisation within the liberation of the spirit knows the keys of the yogic reversal (on Mount Ida Ulysses captures Helenus, who alone knows the secrets necessary to bring about the fall of Troy).

As a last condition, the bones of Pelops, son of Tantalus, were to be brought back: the seeker must find again ‘the foundations of aspiration (the essential structure)’ which seeks the mastery of the vital through the ‘vision of darkness’ (the bones of Pelops, who is married to Hippodamia).

The second condition is that of integrating within the yogic process the ‘new battles’ which concern themselves with the purification of the archaic layers of the vital: the habits of the being, the least sensations, modes of thinking and reacting beyond the state of equality (Neoptolemus, son of Achilles and king of the Myrmidons, must come to the battlefield and fight against Troy). It was Lycomedes, ‘he who concerns himself with the nascent light’, who watched over the development of these new battles.
It is ‘the simultaneous work of opposing currents’ and ‘power in the vital’ which forge the link with these first battles of the new yoga (Ulysses and Phoenix go in search of Lycomedes).
The seeker therefore reclaims the necessary ‘tools’ for a future yoga in the depths of the being, after which he closes again the ‘vast gateway’ which opens upon the distant lights of the spirit-worlds (Neoptolemus was given his father’s weapons by Ulysses, and slew Eurypylus, ‘a vast gateway’, son of Telephus, ‘that which shines in the distance’, who was himself a son of Heracles and Auge). These vast luminous horizons are at this point of the yogic process what is truest within the seeker’s consciousness, just after the aspiration for what is new, in the establishment of supramental consciousness (Eurypylus was very handsome, his beauty only just surpassed by Memnon, the son of Eos). They had come forth naturally to support the movement of ascension (Eurypylus had come to the aid of the Trojans, leading numerous troops). This corresponds with the moment in which the seeker conclusively shuts the access to the refuge of the white heavens, as discussed by Satprem in his trilogy on the Mother.

Finally, the effigy of ‘peace obtained by a double liberation of mind and vital’, which was an embodiment of the aim of the process of ascension, must no longer be utilised as a pretext for refuting matter: the Palladium (Π+ΛΛ+ΔΙ) must be removed from within the precincts of Troy.
It is ‘the work of circulating opposing currents linking spirit and matter within the self’ resulting from endurance, humility and a perfect discernment, which achieve this action (Ulysses, the son of Laertes and Anticlea, granddaughter of Hermes). This action is made without the knowledge of that which still defends the structures of the ancient modalities of yoga, as well as through a humble ‘infiltration’ (Ulysses entered Troy in the guise of a lowly and grimy beggar). In other words, the change of objective must be carried out with great gentleness and humility, the final ‘liberation’ not having been yet acquired with any certainty. Only the aim of ‘freedom’ can judge the exact level of progress and bring to it its aid (only Helen recognised him and aided him in his undertaking).

The fall of Troy

The Trojans found themselves in a desperate situation. Athena suggested to the architect Epeios the idea of building a wooden horse, and Ulysses supervised the work. The timber was cut on Mount Ida, and assembled into a hollow horse within which fifty warriors concealed themselves. On the horse’s sides were engraved hymns in offering to Athena. Then the Achaeans began carrying out their strategy, setting their encampment alight and sailing to a nearby island. They were to return on the following night, guided by a fire which Sinon was to light.
When day broke, the Trojans were fooled into believing that the Achaeans had taken flight. They brought the horse within the city’s walls, and debated about what was to be done with it. Supported by the soothsayer Laocoon, Cassandra warned that Achaean soldiers were hidden within it. Some believed her and wished to set the horse on fire, but the vast majority did not heed her warnings, for they stood in awe of such an offering to the gods. They brought the horse deeper into the city while they feasted, and Apollo sent them a sign: two snakes from a neighbouring islands swam across the sea and devoured Laocoon’s sons.
Helen then walked around the horse, calling the soldiers within it by name and mimicking the voices of their wives. But none of the heroes fell into this trap except for Anticlus, who was swiftly gagged by Ulysses.

Even though the conditions of the fall of Troy had been fulfilled, the seeker must yet again resort to trickery with himself to bring about a definite reversal into the new modality of yoga. As with the palladium, this must be carried out by gentle process of infiltration rather than by sheer force. To bring down ancient structures and that which animates them, the seeker must penetrate within under the guise of a force or power which is familiar, respected and desired: the new yoga must in fact infiltrate the older yoga progressively to avoid a closing off of the being. This process implies deluding a part of oneself by giving it that which it is used to and aspires to, but the content of which is modified in the direction of the new yoga (Ulysses must ensure that the wooden horse filled with warriors be brought into the city). In addition, at first, change must be brought about not by direct conflict, but rather through the relaxation brought by a provisional distancing which removes all tension and allows a future victory (the Achaeans pretend to flee).
These tricks are necessary for transforming processes which are but poorly developed within the deeper vital and the body, and over which the mind has no hold. This is the kind of process which was employed by the Mother to alter the mind of the cells through a modification of the content which they repeat in a ceaseless loop. The Mother did not simply strive to remove the essential process of repetition which ensures when necessary the stability of matter and forms, but rather strove to alter its content.
Both the ancient and the new paths being in agreement to bring vital power and force to the service of yoga, the Trojans are naturally able to integrate the symbol of the horse.

‘That which beholds from the highest plane’ in the movement which pushes man back from incarnation (Cassandra, also known by Homer as Alexandra, ‘she who pushes away or rejects man’), perceives this ‘ruse’, and her impression is confirmed by ‘that which perceives energies’ (the soothsayer Laocoon). But that which is still attached to the ancient yoga within the being does not pay attention to it as it is turned towards its habitual consecration (in fact, most of the Trojans respected the offering made to the gods), despite a sign which appears through the sudden disappearance of certain previously-acquired perceptions due to the effects of evolution (two serpents devour the sons of Laocoon).
Both the highest perceptions gained during the process of ascension as well as those which originate from the purification of the vital become obstacles to the reversal if the seeker gives them attention.

But there is another near-defeat arising at the last moment. The aspiration towards ‘an evolution towards greater freedom’ (Helen) almost brings about the failure of this strategy by taking on the appearance or guise of the aims of each of the forces mobilised for the reversal. It is a moment of uncertainty regarding the direction of the path on which the seeker, pushed forward by his aspiration for freedom, must imperatively hold back his frustration over not having accomplished that which he has strived for in a number of domains (the warriors must not reply to the calls of Helen, who imitates their wives’ voices). As it is a question of a movement from the personal yoga to a yoga for humankind as a whole, this movement may also be indicative of a conclusive renouncement of all personal goals no matter how consecrated they may be.

Anticlus, whom Ulysses is obliged to gag, may represent, depending on the meaning given to the prefix ‘anti’, two obstacles which can put everything in question if not opposed by a just equilibrium of energies: either an excess of ‘humility’ which would be contrary to a true gift of oneself, or the remainder of an attraction to ‘personal glory’, which at this stage perhaps constitutes only a slight trace of a feeling of personal responsibility in the achievement of a transition towards a more advanced yoga.

When the Achaeans sensed that the enemy was asleep they emerged from the horse and opened the city’s gates to the Achaean troops, which carried out a great massacre.
Priam’s son Axion was slain by Eurypylus.
Agenor, Eioneus and Priam were slain by Neoptolemus, who also killed Hector’s son Astyanax by throwing him down from the top of a tower (in a variation of this story, Astyanax was killed by Ulysses).
Helen’s last husband Deiphobe was killed by Menelas.
Coroebus, son of Mygdon and fiancé of Cassandra, was killed by Diomedes or Neoptolemus.

Ajax the Lesser, son of Oileus, pursued Cassandra who sought refuge by the altar of the goddess Athena. As he sought to drag her away with him she clung to Athena’s statue, which toppled over. Outraged by this the Achaeans wished to stone him, but they were unable to do so for Ajax had in his turn sought refuge close to another altar to the goddess (during their ‘return’ to Troy the Achaeans were forced to again endure a storm brought about by the gods for not having punished the Lesser Ajax for this insult).

Ulysses and Menelas intervened to save Glaucus, son of Antenor and Theano.
Helicon, another of Antenor’s sons, was saved by Ulysses. His wife Laodice, Priam’s most beautiful daughter, was engulfed by the earth. According to Lycophron she descended into Hades alive.
Those who sought to harm Helen, amongst them Menelas who was about to kill her with his sword, dropped their weapons when they beheld her.

The final moment of reversal is carried out when the liberated consciousness in the spirit ‘falls asleep’, during a loosening of vigilance (the Trojans lie sleeping when the Achaean warriors emerge from the horse).
Several blockages reach their end:
Firstly, the idea that the evolutionary progression is carried out by merit is annulled by a wide opening up: Axion, ‘he who merits’, is killed by Eurypylus, ‘he of the wide doors or gateway’. Several heroes carry this name, amongst them a Trojan, son of Telephus, who appears earlier in this study. Here the reference is to a single Achaean, son of Evaemon, ‘of good race’, whose genealogy seems to go back to Helios, symbol of the light of the supramental, supramental which does not seem to ‘act’ according to ‘merit’ or ‘realisations’.
‘The new battles’ of yoga (Neoptolemus) bring to an end on the one hand that which had previously led the process of yoga (Agenor), and more particularly the evolution of consciousness within Trojan logic (Eioneus), and on the other hand the pursuit of the path into the heights of consciousness (Priam) and of that which works towards a ‘mastery’ which can be considered to have reached completion (Astyanax, ‘the master of the city’, son of Hector).
Humility and unshakeable will conclude the process of the destruction of fear (Menelas slays Deiphobe, ‘he who slays fear’).
The ‘disgust for incarnation’ which engages the seeker in a refusal to incarnate, is annulled by ‘that which aims for a divine perfecting of nature’ or by ‘the new battles of yoga’ (Coroebus, Cassandra’s fiancée, is killed by Diomedes and Neoptolemus). (On this topic refer to Sri Aurobindo’s words on the repulsion towards the cosmic action of the Divine ‘ at the end of chapter IX of the Yoga of self-perfection.)
The work of the liberation of consciousness at the level of the personality, or the lesser self, is still delayed within the evolutionary process and the seeker is still seduced at this level by certain ‘powers’ acquired during the process of ascension, which are turned towards ‘that which rejects man’ (the Lesser Ajax pursues Cassandra/Alexandra). He may well attempt to grapple with the roots of the ego, but this is still premature for ‘the lesser self’ remains necessary during a time to complete the growth of the inner being (the Achaeans wished to kill the ‘Lesser’ Ajax, but he sought refuge at Athena’s altar). The seeker must undergo a great storm during his return before the ego or the lesser self are able to disappear in a definitive way, Poseidon then bringing about the death of the Lesser Ajax.
Within the movement of ascension there is a ‘luminous consciousness’ which has been generated by the evolutionary movement which sought inner growth (Glaucus, son of Antenor and Theano). Logically it must not disappear, and this is why the Trojan Glaucus, ‘the shining’, is saved by Ulysses and Menelas. This is also why Antenor had intervened in Ulysses and Menelas’ favour when an embassy had been sent to Troy to ask for Helen’s return.
Another of Antenor and Theano’s sons (therefore also originating from ‘a movement of evolution which seeks inner evolution’ on the path of ascension) named Helicon, ‘he who works in a spiralling pattern’, is also spared. This yoga is in fact a work of ascension and integration which evolves in a spiralling pattern on planes of consciousness which are both increasingly higher as well as increasingly material; victories of a similar nature must therefore be carried out within the mental plane, then within the vital and finally within the body. For instance, ‘attachment’ must be triumphed over in the plane of ideas, then in that of the affect and finally in that of bodily corporeal habit. This is why many of the experiences narrated by Apollonius in The Quest of the Golden Fleece (The Argonautica) and which were clustered around the first great opening or illumination, have surprising resemblance to those described by Homer in the Odyssey. However these experiences become more and more difficult as they begin to involve planes of increasing depth.
The goal pursued through this spiralling movement – ‘a right will’ or ‘a right vision’, or perhaps ‘a right way of acting in all the parts of the being’ (Laodice wife of Helicon) -, was that which was most in agreement with the truth of the evolutionary path within this path of union in spirit which rejected matter (Laodice was the most beautiful of Priam’s daughters). But this aim must henceforth involves the body instead of maintaining itself within the spirit (she was engulfed by the earth, and descended into Hades alive).
When in his aspiration for complete freedom the seeker understands what in truth is ‘the freedom in evolution’, he can no longer have any complaint about past errors or that which appear to have been errors (the Achaeans who had wished to harm Helen dropped their weapons upon beholding her).

It must be noted that depictions of the fall of Troy often show infanticides, which has not ceased to surprise those studying these myths but is justified within the frame of our interpretation; the seeker must in fact eliminate within himself all that is still only poorly developed but involves the rejection of matter or in a more general manner any movement of ‘separation’.

There are no early sources describing Hecabe’s death. Euripides was the first to write that she had climbed to the top of one of the ship’s masts, where she was turned into a dog. Keeping in mind the reserve and precaution which must be taken with this author, this would indicate that ‘the escape into the spirit’ (Hecabe) would therefore only serve in the next stages of yoga as a vital intuitive attention to orders from the skies (the dog is positioned as a lookout at the top of the mast).

Theseus’ sons Demophon and Acamas, who had not taken part in the war, went to Troy to bring back Aethra, wife of Aegeus, who had become Helen’s slave. It must be remembered that Aethra had been made a prisoner by Castor and Polydeuces, who had come to seek out Helen when she was abducted by Theseus and then given to the latter as a slave. She had then gone with Helen to Troy when the latter had taken flight with Paris-Alexander.

This anecdote, which appears in the earliest sources, seems to have the function of linking the lineages of the legendary kings of Athens to the Trojan War. Acamas ‘the tireless’ and Demophon, ‘a penetration of consciousness into numerous parts of the being’ (son of Theseus, ‘human consciousness turning inwards’, and of Phaedra ‘the luminous’, daughter of Minos), must in fact participate within the new yoga in the process of growth of the inner being (these are kings of Athens).
When the seeker renounces pursuing the path of ascension he must reclaim for the new yoga the ‘light’ obtained by aspiration in earlier times (Aethra is the granddaughter of Pelops and Hippodamia) which had allowed him to come to the end of all obstructions to the growth of the inner being, and to progressively bring to the forefront the psychic being (their father was Theseus, who had vanquished the Minotaur). This ‘light-knowledge’ had been forcefully brought into the service of the quest for freedom then turned towards the spirit in a rejection of matter (Aethra was given as a slave to Helen, who left for Troy) (see Chapter 1).
The reorientation of the yogic process towards a deep purification in which the kings of Athens must cooperate can then benefit from the past knowledge.

Finally, according to Apollodorus, Polyxena, one of Priam’s daughters, was either wounded by Ulysses and Diomedes and died from her wounds, or had her throat slit by Neoptolemus on Achilles’ tomb (others say that the Achaean leaders were the ones to have carried out this sacrifice under Ulysses’ instructions).

A Polyxenus ‘numerous strange things’ existed amongst the Achaean leaders, and was according to Homer ‘like the gods’. This would then refer to experiences or capacities of the overmind which lie outside what is common and aid the reversal of the yogic process.
On the other hand, the search for unusual powers which was sometimes one of the aims of the ancient modalities of yoga must no longer be the aim of the new yoga from the end of the reversal (Polyxena must die).

Aeneas’ flight

Aeneas’ flight is described differently by different writers. They wrote that he had left Troy after the ill omen of the death of Laocoon and his son, or else because the Achaeans had allowed him to take flight during the sack of Troy out of respect for his great piety. We will discuss this part of his story in the chapter about the ‘returns’. For the fact that Aeneas is to survive and found the future city of Troy indicates that Love is more potent than the power of purification, for it has no need of dissolving to transform. (Mother’s Agenda Volume 2, 12 January 1962.) For, according to Homer, ‘it is ordained unto him to escape, that the race of Dardanus perish not without seed and be seen no more – of Dardanus whom the son of Cronos loved above all the children born to him from mortal women’.

THE LINEAGE OF ASOPOS, THE EACIDS

The necessary preparation for accessing the supramental world (Diagram 25)

Although Apollodorus suggests other ancestries (Zeus and Poseidon), he first cites Oceanos as father of the river god Asopos, who like all other rivers, is a symbol of energy-consciousness striving for evolution.
The name Asopos, as that of his wife Metope, exists in relation with ‘vision’ (Οψ). It means ‘the marshy’, or ‘he who beholds sludge’. In this one could therefore see an indication of the yogic work plunging into the murky depths of the subconscient and the inconscient.
We have already come across some of the twenty daughters of Asopos, each of which represents an important movement of Yoga.
Antiope, ‘a reversal or reorientation of consciousness’, who marks the entry into the process of purification. According to Homer she bore by a union with Zeus two sons named Amphion and Zethos who would become the founders of Thebes, the city in which is incarnated the process of purification and liberation. (However, in the earlier study of these two heroes we have also considered another genealogical progression through Nycteus).
Thebe, ‘the process of incarnation of the inner consciousness’. She entered into a union with Zeus and had the city of Thebes named after her.
Ismene, ‘personal will’, who united with Argos ‘the luminous’, symbol of the seeker of truth.
Harpina, ‘a powerful evolution of the reversals of equilibrium’. She entered into a union with the god Ares, and by him bore Oenomaus, ‘he who truly desires divine intoxication’, and became the father of Hippodamia, ‘the mastery of vital energies’ (it has been previously discussed that other genealogical origins have been given for Oenomaus).
Salamis, ‘a drive towards consecration’. She entered into a union with Poseidon, the god who rules over the subconscient, and by him bore Cychreus, ‘the opening of consciousness to the right movement of accomplishment’, who later fathered Chariclo, ‘a joy of great renown’. The latter entered into a union with the great physician Chiron, ‘he who handles energies in the appropriate manner (through his hands)’, and to whom were entrusted a number of the great heroes in their youth including Achilles.
And the most important of all, Aegina, ‘the need for evolution’. Zeus abducted her to lead her to Oenone, ‘the structure for the evolution of joy’. It was Sisyphus, ‘intellect’, who revealed to Asopos the identity of the abductor. The river god strove to impede a union between his daughter and Zeus, but the latter halted his pursuit with a bolt of lightning.
This abduction perpetrated against the father’s will shows reticence on the part of the seeker who ‘beholds the deep human marsh or mire’ to commit himself further to the path of descent (he resists Zeus’ union to Aegina). The intellect supports this refusal (Sisyphus denounces Zeus and informs Asopos).
This abduction suggests a change in the direction of the yogic progress; the supraconscient brings its support to the ‘need for evolution’ to lead it towards ‘a structure meant for the evolution of joy’.

In continuing the story of Aeacus, son of Aegina and Zeus, one must bear in mind the union of Aegina with Actor ‘the guide’, or ‘the right movement of the opening of consciousness towards the spirit’.
The latter is either a son of Deion, ‘the union in consciousness’ (the son of Aeolus who we have discussed last), or a son of Myrmidon ‘the ant’ and Pisidice, ‘she who searches for the right mode of action’. He therefore represents the will to find what is right in the insignificant movements of daily life up to the deepest level of consciousness (at the level of the ant).
From Actor and Aegina was born Menoetius, ‘he who remains in the spirit’, who himself engendered Patroclus, ‘the glorious ancestors’, which is to say the past realisations to which the seeker clings so as not to carry on his yogic work beyond the liberation in spirit. This reversal took place during the Trojan War when Patroclus was slain by Hector, indicating the time when the seeker ceases to ‘remain in the spirit alone’, and most importantly ceases to ‘cling to the realisations of the past’.

Aeacus

Aeacus, ‘the opening of consciousness’, was a son of Zeus and Aegina, and therefore embodies a new impulse given by the supraconscient to the ‘need for evolution’. If we take into consideration that the name Aeacus is formed from the base Αια, an alternative form of the name Gaia, Earth (symbolic of matter or body), this name would therefore express an ‘opening of corporeal consciousness’.
The name alone would then evoke a major reversal in the yogic work, which did not till that point consider a transformation of the body to be possible. All the same, a definite reversal cannot yet occur for the vital and mental liberation has not yet been fully accomplished (this stage is marked by the deaths of Hector and Achilles).

According to a text attributed to Pindar, upon reaching adulthood Aeacus found himself alone on an island and was overcome by loneliness. Zeus then transformed all the ants on the island into men and women, creating the Myrmidon people. This story points to a new level of attention brought to the most minute movements of consciousness and a purification up to the deepest levels of consciousness under the impulse of the supraconscient (ants clean up to the bones).

Aeacus was ‘the most pious amongst all Greeks’, as well as ‘the most able both in combat and in counsel’. Pindar adds that he was arbiter and judge over the disputes of the gods, and some later authors even affirm that in Hades his place was by the side of Minos and Rhadamanthys.
Aeacus therefore symbolises the most advanced seekers within the three forms of yoga, that of Devotion (for Aeacus was the most pious), that of Knowledge (the most able in counsel), and that of Work (the most able in combat).
According to Pindar he even represents a seeker who has established himself in the overmind and is able to discern within himself and handle the conflicts of forces active in the overmind (Aeacus is as an equal of the gods and arbiters their disputes). It must in fact be remembered that while being a very high one the plane of the overmind still participates in duality and is not yet at the level of Unity of the supramental.

Along with Apollo and Poseidon Aeacus participated in the erection of the walls of Troy. Apollo witnessed three snakes striving to reach the top of the walls and saw the first two fail to do so, which led him to predict that the city would be seized from the side built by Aeacus, and possibly even by one among his own descendants.
Pindar states that neither the psychic light nor the work on the subconscient can on their own bring about a reversal or reorientation (symbolised by the failed attempts of the first two snakes). It is the work on the three paths of yoga in view of an opening towards ‘a new corporeal consciousness’ which brings about a reorientation of the yogic work (the city is predicted to fall on the side built by Aeacus).
But upon its awakening this new consciousness working through the triple path (an integral yoga) first of all contributes to the establishment of a protective layer to allow the spiritualisation of consciousness. It is this protection which will first fall through the action of one of Aeacus’ first descendants, which is to say under the effects of this triple yoga of Work, Devotion and Knowledge. In other words, the consolidation of the Trojan error by the first steps in this new opening of (corporeal) consciousness cannot be avoided. And it is in the body and through an integral yoga that the reversal will be carried out.

Aeacus, ‘an opening of (corporeal) consciousness’, entered into a first union with Endeis ‘the inner fire’, daughter of Chiron ‘the concentration of consciousness which evolves in a true manner’ and of Chariclo, ‘a joy of great renown’.
From this union were born two sons, Peleus, ‘he who lives in sludge’ (who plunges into the depths of humanness), and Telamon, ‘the resistant or enduring’. (Here we follow the version recounted by Pindar.)
This first union announces the seeker’s descent into the silt of the subconscient, and warns that a great endurance will be necessary to carry out this new yoga.

From a second union with Psamathe, ‘sand’, daughter of Nereus the old man of the sea, (with N+Ρ signifying ‘the evolution of the true movement’), Aeacus engendered Phocus, ‘the seal’. Nereus symbolises the first impulses of life emerging from matter. Psamathe can be understood as an ‘inner sand’, which is to say ‘a clean soil’ of ‘true movements’ in contrast to the muddy silt in which plunges the seeker (Peleus). Phocus ‘the seal’ therefore symbolises a capacity for adaptation and transformation, suppleness and the appropriate work of consciousness which descends into the vital for a work transformation irrespective of the challenges.

Phocus incited the jealousy of his brothers, either because of his greater skill in the games or because he was Aeacus’ favourite. And so Peleus and Telamon, or in some accounts only one of them, plotted for Phocus’ death and following his murder were banished by their father in punishment for their crime. Telamon sought refuge in Salamis and Peleus in Phthia at the court of Eurytion who absolved him of the act of murder.

This adaptability gives better results in the yogic process than endurance or a work on the depths (Phocus is more skilled in the games than either Peleus or Telamon), and naturally holds a place in the continuation of the new opening of consciousness (he is Aeacus’ favourite).
But the seeker can most probably not understand this fact, for even if it has proved its worth, this adaptability in lightness cannot yet be fully accepted by the seeker who is still attached to his old yogic schemas (Peleus and Telamon are jealous). The realisations which will later on emerge from this need for ‘suppleness’ embodied by the descendants of Phocus do not yet have their rightful place for the Trojan War has not yet occurred. This is why Peleus was absolved of the murder.
However Pindar, (Nemean Odes V. 6-12), does not seem to support this interpretation, for he states that he cannot find justifications for this crime.)

Phocus and his sons

With the children of Phocus we anticipate very much on the latest developments in yoga. However a word must be said about this here, for this lineage will not be discussed again.
The descendance of Phocus is an expression of one of the greatest discoveries made by the Mother in her yogic work; the power of the mantra to infuse corporeal matter with a new consciousness. The depressive and indefinitely repetitive mental of the cells is substituted by a mantra that carry a true energy and a joyful hope of transformation by the gift of self.

Phocus, ‘adaptability’, entered into a union with Asterodeia, ‘the path of light which manifests itself in a multitude of starry sparks’, with who he fathered two sons, Panopeus, ‘he who has a vision of the whole’, and Crisus, ‘he who distinguishes’ and therefore ‘he who sees’ or perceives all elements in detail and in their rightful place in the whole.

Panopeus fathered a son named Epeios, probably signifying ‘a stable consciousness’, who built the Trojan horse with Athena’s assistance. It is in fact the seeker ‘who has a vision of the whole’ who can perceive what must be accomplished so as to put an end, with the help of the inner guide, to a conception of the spiritual path that is no longer in agreement with the divine goal of evolution.
In the Iliad Epeios says of himself that he is an able wrestler but is not skilled in war: Let us remember that amongst the Dioscuri it is Polynices, ‘he who is gentle in all things’, who is a great wrestler and the only survivor to the conflict of the two brothers, the Dioscuri, against Idas and Lynkeus. The accomplished wrestler is therefore an ‘artist of non-duality’ or of ‘integration’ beyond the level of mastery in which excels Castor the horse-tamer.
Here the vision of the whole (Panopeus) confers certain qualities to consciousness – including suppleness, adaptability, agility, swiftness, concentration and inner calm and strength -, which do not allow for the exactness of action in the details of duality (which is given by Crisus).

While the first son gives the key for bringing about the reversal, the second gives the key for the next stage, the perfecting of nature down till the level of the body.
In fact the second son of Phocus, Crisus, ‘he who distinguishes’ or ‘he who perceives all elements in detail and in their rightful place within the whole’, fathered a son named Strophius, ‘coiling onto itself’, who entered into a union with Anaxibia, ‘that which rules over life’, who was the sister of Agamemnon. The seeker thus makes clear the fundamental process of repetition and coiling inwards at the root of life, a process which must be transformed to allow a new evolution in the body.
This transformation allows a crossing over of the major threshold of yoga; Strophius and Anaxibia had a son named Pylades, ‘the doorway of union (with the Divine)’. It is actually not so much a matter of elimination but rather of changing what the body has obsessively repeated for millions of years, which in the consciousness of the cells constitutes a deep desperation. The threshold to be crossed intends a reconnecting of the cellular consciousness with its divine source.
Pylades, ‘the doorway of union’, is the closest friend of Orestes, ‘the right movement of integrity’, son of Agamemnon, ‘he who aspires with a powerful intelligent will. He married Electra, symbol of the ‘illumined mind’ and one of the daughters of Agamemnon, who bore him two children, Medon, ‘true power’, and a homonymous Strophius, ‘coiling inwards’: when the new movement is recorded into cellular consciousness the true power of the divine appears.

Telamon and his sons, Teucer and the great Ajax

It has been noted that the genealogy of Telamon is not unanimously agreed upon. Homer never mentions him as an Aeacidae (of the lineage of Aeacus), and Pherecydes identifies him as the son of an Aktaios who we have been unable to situate within the different genealogical lineages. Lacking the necessary elements to construct any other genealogy, we will use the one usually given, in which he is a son of Aeacus and Endeis.

Telamon ‘the enduring’ is twice implicated in the adventures of Heracles.
In his ninth labour, the Belt of Hippolyte, he slew Melanippe, ‘a black and distorted energy’, sister of the queen. It seems logical that it is ‘endurance’ which finally puts an end to the deviating energies of the lower vital in the most advanced stages of yoga.

He also participated in the conquest of Troy when Heracles returned to avenge himself on Laomedon long after the end of his labours. In recompense he was presented with the daughter of Laomedon, Hesione ‘serenity’. He engendered the hero Teucer (Teukros) ‘the right opening towards the heights of consciousness’, as well as ‘the best apprehension of the goal’, for he was considered to be the greatest Greek archer, the one best able to move close to the distant goal.
(The latter must not be confused with a homonymous Teucer who gave his daughter to Dardanos, thus participating in the founding of the Trojan lineage. The first leads to union in spirit, while the second allows the pursuit of the path of freedom much later on.)

A generation after the expedition of Heracles in which participated his father Telamon, Teucer very actively engaged himself in the Trojan War on the side of his half-brother Ajax, ‘the work of the expansion of consciousness’. However upon his return from Troy he was very ill-received by his father, who accused his of not having defended his half-brother and consequently sent him into exile; when the yoga of the body begins it is difficult for the seeker to accept the loss of the greater means for knowledge which were previously at his disposal (‘the great Ajax’); they are in fact withdrawn from him.

Telamon’s main union was with Eriboea (also known as Periboea in many texts), ‘a powerful illumination in incarnation’, daughter of Alcathoos, ‘he who experiments very swiftly’. She bore him a renowned son, the great Ajax, ‘the work of (vertical) expansion of consciousness’ which strives towards the union of spirit and matter.
He is referred to as ‘great’ to distinguish him from the ‘lesser’ Ajax, son of Oileus, ‘a liberation pursued by the personality alone’, who was killed by Poseidon during his return from Troy. Later on we will see that this ‘lesser’ Ajax was the cause of numerous losses in the Achaean army, and that his greatest mistake was to pursue Cassandra with the intention of raping her. By doing so, he showed disrespect to the goddess Athena which cost his people, the Locrians, a thousand years to be pardoned for.
But both the ‘great’ and the ‘lesser’ Ajax accomplished numerous feats during the Trojan War.

Peleus

Peleus, ‘he who dwells in sludge’, who was the other son of Aeacus and Endeis, participated in a number of the great collective adventures including the quest of the Golden Fleece, the funerary games in honour of Pelias, the war against the Amazons, the Calydonian Boar Hunt and Heracles’ campaign against Troy. He in fact represents the seeker’s work on the dark side of his being, a work which begins from the time of his entry onto the path.
Two other events on this topic must be examined here.

To begin with, his attempted seduction by the wife of Acastos, who was himself a son of Pelias in the lineage of Salmoneus the son of Aeolus.
Hippolyte had further wronged her husband Acastos with a lie by alleging that Peleus had sought to dishonour her, while she was in fact the one to have made advances. Acastos wished to kill Peleus with the sword of Daedalus but Chiron prevented this deed. Later on Peleus returned to Iolkos and destroyed the city, slaying both Acastos and Hippolyte.

According to Apollodore, Acastos married Astydamia ‘mastery of one’s nature’. According to Pindar Acastos was part of a union with Cretheus’ daughter, Hippolyte.
Whatever the name of the wife, approximately a same story is recounted which is usually considered to take place immediately after the Calydonian Boar Hunt.
We have already encountered Acastos, ‘he who searches for great purity’, during the study on the children of Aeolus. He is a son of Pelias ‘the dark’, who propelled Jason into the quest of the Golden Fleece and is therefore a symbol of the seeker’s first plunge into his ‘shadow’ side and also a willingness to do well that is in fact also a resistance to evolution.
Acastos the son of Pelias expresses the active quest for purity which accompanies this just-initiating asceticism.
Hippolyte seems able to represent both of the opposing meanings ‘liberated and unfettered vital energy’ as well as ‘pushed away and constrained vital energy’, and both can be used for the purpose of understanding the ninth labour of Heracles (we have only retained this last hypotheses in the study of the ninth labour of Hercules in Volume 1).
In fact, vital energy must be neither constrained nor appeased for the sake of satisfying the ego. It is not a question of returning to animal energy, which is ‘pure’ in its own way but results from an inconscient union with what is Real. This cannot be used as a way of escaping the hold of the mind, for what is needed is rather a transcending of man by moving beyond the mind.
But the energy of life must also not be constrained or annulled, for it is indispensable for the development of yoga.
Moving beyond these alternatives one must achieve an appropriate mastery and then the transcendence of the action of the three modes of nature or Gunas (the acquisition of Hippolyte’s golden girdle in the ninth labour of Heracles).
Throughout the progress of his yogic work the seeker will tend to allow himself to be pulled towards these two excesses, which will be illustrated by the hero’s love for an Amazon. But as he draws nearer to the golden girdle, which is to say to a perfect mastery, Pindar can qualify Hippolyte ‘unbriddled vital force’, as Kretheis, ‘the balanced and tempered’, (the daughter of Créthée), which expresses a stabilisation in the third Guna (sattva, the principle of equilibrium) which will in its turn have to be surpassed as well.
However as the obstacles become greater as the seeker progresses further along the path, there is still an attempt of the energies of life to waylay from the right path the seeker who ‘moves forward in darkness’ (Hippolyte wishes to seduce Peleus).
This attempt seems to be sufficiently unconscious for the seeker to attempt using the weapons of mental ability (the sword of Daedalus) to justify a possible loss of direction. This however will be impeded by the true element within the vital (the good centaur Chiron, son of the Titan Cronos, impeded the action).
In a more advanced stage of yoga taking place after the Calydonian Boar Hunt, the seeker will put an end to any excess in his desire for mastery as well as in his search for purity. These cannot continue if the seeker wishes to carry on with his action in the world while at the same time carrying out a yogic work in the body (Peleus destroyed Iolkos and slew Acastos and Hippolyte).

The marriage of Thetis and Peleus and the birth of Achilles

The Titanide Themis, mother of the Moirai who hold in their hands the destinies of men, had predicted that Thetis, the daughter of Nereus, would bring to the world a child more powerful than his father. Zeus and Poseidon, who were both courting the goddess, consequently curbed their ardour and the gods agreed to bring her into a union with Peleus, for the latter was the most pious of mortals and had been lavished with presents by the gods since his birth. In the Iliad there is in fact mentioned a character named Polydora ‘of numerous gifts’, who was said to be the daughter of a first marriage of Peleus with a homonymous Antigone.
Peleus was obliged to capture Thetis and to hold her fast for she was a sea deity skilled in the art of shape-shifting and metamorphoses, and under his gaze she changed successively from a powerful fire to a snake, and then into a frightful lion.

Themis is the Titanide of divine laws perceived by the inner being. She therefore knows the future of human evolution and knows that a day will come when the rule of the gods will reach its end. This will mark the end of the creations of the overmind and of the great evolutionary impulses issued from this plane (such as religions, movements of civilisation, etc.). As she is a Titanide the laws which she evinces are laws of Truth, of a superior rank to those given by the gods. No mental power, either supraconscient or subconscient, can go beyond them (Zeus and Poseidon are obliged to step back).

In the world of mortals it makes sense that a son would be more powerful than his father, for the progress of generations always symbolises an increase of power over what is Real. On the other hand, on the plane of the gods a son more powerful than his father indicates a profound reversal of evolution. This first occurred when Cronos mutilated his father Ouranos, and then when Zeus ousted the Titans from power. In each instance the order of the world was overturned and the foundations of evolution changed.
In Homer’s time the initiates knew that the time had not yet come for this reversal (the passage from mental consciousness to the supramental), but that an intermediary step between current man and supramental man was to be prepared. In fact, the subconscient and the supraconscient were already showing an interest in the transformation of the deep layers of the vital: Zeus and Poseidon were courting Thetis, daughter of Nereus ‘the old man of the sea’.

It was therefore necessary to provide a new impulse to spur change in humankind. But the one which took place in this case shows an inversion of the usual order, for it involved the coupling of a goddess of high rank with a mortal, even if he was the most ‘consecrated’ mortal in the eyes of the gods (Peleus was said to be the most pious of mortals). This is the first time when there emerged the possibility of a joint effort between the spiritual force ruling over the archaic layers of the vital and a seeker who had attained such a level of equality and self-giving. Such were the roles ascribed to Peleus and Thetis.

The gods had lavished Peleus with numerous gifts since his birth; at this stage of yogic progress the seeker has accumulated a remarkable quantity of experiences and realisations which he henceforth applies to the minute movements of consciousness for deep purification (Peleus was the son of Aeacus, ‘king of the ants’).
However, in Homer’s time initiates believed that this union represented the highest limit of human possibility. In fact Peleus had to successively master a powerful fire, a redoubtable lion and a terrible serpent without losing strength:
The seeker must be able to withstand the all-powerful fire of the spirit which descends into the body. The Mother and Satprem describe this fire as a compact lightning force with can instantaneously kill whoever is not prepared for it.
He must be able to tear out the roots of the ego which oblige him to sustain an extreme level of suffering.
Finally, he must master the serpent guarding the current state of evolution so as to change its course.

As for the wedding of Cadmus and Harmonia, all the gods were present for the wedding of Thetis and Peleus on Mount Pelion. Chiron gifted a spear made of the wood of an ash tree, and Poseidon the immortal horses Xanthos and Balius which later became Achilles’.
The wedding symbolically took place on Mount Pelion, the dwelling place of the Centaurs, for it is in the hidden depths of the being that the work of purification must be pursued.
The spear of ash wood symbolises the transformation of the vital from a dual to a non-dual vital, represented by the immortal horses of Achilles, Xanthos, ‘detachment’, and Balius, ‘the vital converted to yoga’.

Some time later Thetis gave birth to Achilles.
She tried to render him immortal, plunging him into fire every night to dissolve the mortal part of him inherited from his human forefathers, and rubbing his body with ambrosia by day. But Peleus came upon her as she was thrusting the convulsing infant into the fire one night, and frightened he put an end to his spouse’s doings.
Thetis then returned to the depth of the ocean by the side of her father Nereus and her sisters the Nereids, while Peleus remained in his palace in Phthia. However Thetis did not entirely abandon her son, and continued supporting him at important moments of his life.
Achilles was entrusted to Chiron who became his instructor, particularly in the field of medicine. According to Apollodorus the child was first named Liguron, and was then renamed Achilles. Some sources claim that he slew wild animals in his youth.
Peleus ended his life on the Isles of the Blessed.

The first manifestation of the penetration of consciousness into the lower layers of the vital must perfect exactness and adaptability so as to render the vital nature ‘transparent’ to the action of the Divine. This is expressed by the name Liguron, ‘he who renders a clear and melodious sound’, as well as ‘he who is supple and flexible’. This is the work of the seeker corresponding to Achilles’ first years, till the time when he is entrusted to Chiron.

From the beginning of this phase the divine forces strive to bring about an integral purification of nature. It was the goddess Thetis who officiated this, symbolising the power ruling over the roots of the vital, for it is no longer a question of a liberation in spirit but in Nature.
The seeker is not conscious of the work carried out on him (the infant is plunged into the fire at night), but he can observe the growth of his sensitivity and the progressive liberation of the mechanisms of Nature (his body is rubbed with ambrosia during the day).The liberation of Nature is the abolition of its limits and its laws, with the seeker beginning to experience the first transformation of his senses.
This transformation increases within him the clear joy and laughter of the soul (it must be remembered that it was Ganymedes, ‘joy’, who served ambrosia to the gods).

But the seeker is alarmed by this deep transformation, for if he is to abandon all his attachments and points of reference he must also bear powerful energies coursing through his body and labouring in it (the infant convulses in the fire).This first fear makes transformation cease.
In other words, the possibility for transformation is directly linked to the acquirement of a perfect equality, including one at the level of the body. As long as physical fears remain man cannot for long sustain the divine energies, even if they remain very near to him and available during the strongest periods of his yoga (the husband and wife cannot remain by each other’s side for very long although Thetis remains ever-present and active in all the key events of Achilles’ life, including for example his departure for war). A reading of The Mother ‘s Agenda and Satprem’s Notebooks of an Apocalypse gives ample understanding of the manifestations and challenges of a physical order which appear at this advanced stage of yoga.

There exists a relatively later account according to which Achilles was bathed by Thetis in the Styx, the waters of which were said to confer invulnerability. As the goddess held him by his heel, that part of his body alone remained vulnerable, and so he was slain in the Trojan War by an arrow to the heel.
The seeker is close to non-duality as he can no longer be wounded in any part of himself except the one which connects him to matter (the heel). This still un-unified part can most probably be associated with the physical mind.

Achilles was instructed by the centaur Chiron, ‘he who acts in the lower nature by manipulating energies in the appropriate manner’, who taught him the art of hunting (vigilance and concentration on the vital energies), horse riding (mastery), singing and playing of the lyre (inner and outer harmony), and most importantly the art of medicine, which implies both capacities for re-harmonisation and the knowledge of energies and planes of consciousness.
Considering this phase of Yoga it would seem logical that he would pursue a cleansing of the archaic movements of the vital (Achilles slays the wild animals).

The significance of the name Achilles is obscure. To be better understood it can probably be compared to the names Achaios (the Achaeans) and Achelous, which communicate elements of concentration, gathering inwards and liberation. In this work the character Khi has been taken to signify concentration, origin, opening, annulment and arrest, as well as achievement and accomplishment. Through the structuring characters of his name (Χ+ΛΛ), Achilles would therefore mean ‘he who strives to accomplish a double liberation in the mental and vital planes.

Calchas was known as the greatest of soothsayers, for he had been instructed in this art by Apollo and could read the present, the past and the future. He was the soothsayer of the Achaeans during all of the Trojan War, but after the war he ceded his place to a still greater soothsayer, Mopsus, who was a son of Apollo.
When Achilles was nine years of age Calchas predicted that Troy could not be seized without his help. But Thetis knew that if his son participated in the war he would not return and she therefore disguised him as a girl and entrusted him to Lycomedes.

Calchas ‘the crimson’, son of Thestor, ‘inner rectitude or sincerity’, represents an intuitive state of great truth linked to the ascension of the planes of consciousness, gifted with a certain degree of closeness to the psychic light (Apollo was the one to instruct him in his art). The colour crimson may also be a symbol of the power in the vital which manifests itself through knowledge.
But the intuition which comes about from a direct expression of the psychic taking its place at the forefront of the being (represented by Mopsus, ‘that which penetrates into the consecrated being’, who is a son of Apollo), is by far superior to a psychic light which only illuminates and prepares the mind. This transition did not however take place till after the Trojan War.
With Calchas the seeker can already understand his ‘task’ and to a certain extent the events which will mark out his yoga (he knows the future), understand how the events of his past life have led him with the greatest precision to each moment (the past) and be free of illusion (the present).

The adventurer of consciousness then understands that he will be able to enjoy the ‘accomplishment of liberation on both the mental and the vital planes’, which is to say the complete realisation of the states of wisdom and sainthood, for only a short time if he wishes to pursue the path towards an integral union of spirit and matter in the depths of the corporeal inconscient (Thetis knew that if Achilles participated in the war he would not return alive).
As a matter of fact, the pursuit of yoga beyond the point of ‘liberation’ illustrated by the death of Achilles marks a rupture with the ancient forms of yoga. Although some initiates committed themselves to this work, it would appear that this possibility was entirely forgotten during the last three thousand years.
The accomplishment of this liberation is however necessary for continuing the work of yoga, for the war cannot be won without the intervention of Achilles.

Achilles was nine years of age – echoing the period of pregnancy – when Thetis disguised him as a girl; the seeker who has almost accomplished this liberation is protected by spiritual forces that keep him from engaging too soon in the new direction. These forces insist on the development of the receptive aspect and its consecration to Supreme Reality, and entrust him to that which seeks for light and Truth within himself (Lycomedes is ‘he whose aim is light’).
In the following chapters we will continue discussing the story of Achilles and of his son Neoptolemus ‘the new warrior’, which is to say the seeker of the new yoga.

Achilles, Phocus and his sons Panopeus and Crisus, the great Ajax and his half-brother Teucer are all symbols of the capacities defined by the Mother for accessing the supramental world (Mother’s Agenda Volume 3, 12 January1962):
‘Capacity for indefinite expansion of consciousness on all planes including the material.
Limitless plasticity to be able to follow the movement of becoming.
Perfect equality abolishing all possibility of an ego reaction’.
These heroes were Myrmidons, all acting within a movement which concerns itself with ‘the minute details’ usually considered to be completely unimportant in order to achieve perfect purification. According to the Mother (Mother’s Agenda Volume 6, 10 October 1965) these were the most challenging of obstacles, as she describes that ‘those very small things that belong to the subconscious mechanism and because of which in thought you are free, in sentiment you are free, even in impulse you are free, and physically you are a slave.

THE ROYAL FAMILY OF ARCADIA

The royal family of Arcadia (Diagram27)
(The power of endurance which leads to perfect equality or equanimity)

As with Tantalus and Ulysses, it is not possible to determine with certainty the genealogical lineage of the Arcadian Lycaon, especially as several elements converge to suggest that there were actually two characters named Lycaon who were often confused with one another.

The first was a Pelasgian Lycaon linked to the beginnings of the path, son of Pelasgus and grandson of Zeus and Niobe. He offered the flesh of his son Arcas to Zeus as part of a feast, but Zeus brought him back to life. Then Zeus struck Lycaon and his other fifty sons to death with lightening as a punishment for their pride. This Lycaon founded the most ancient city in Greece, Lycosura, which brought together dispersed members of the population.
This symbolises a seeker who has begun to gather his energies towards a single direction (Lycosura, ‘that which flows from the nascent light’), but who offers to the Absolute the realisation resulting from a first luminous opening, erroneously believing that it can ‘nourish’ non duality, which is to say to be of the same nature. The supraconscient puts an end to this mad presumption.

The second Lycaon was the father of Callisto ‘the most beautiful’, a follower of Artemis. He was also the founder of the royal lineage of Arcadia, a province symbolic of the progression on the path which we situate between Thessaly (the province of ordinary seekers), and Elis (the acquisition of Union), which was founded by either Endymion or Aethlius. It must be remembered that the Centaurs had sought refuge in Arcadia after having been driven out of Thessaly; driven out of their usual province, the current state of consciousness, the unpurified vital energies seek refuge within a deeper layer of consciousness, from which they will again be ousted in a more advanced stage of yoga.

Several elements can be used to distinguish between the two Lycaons, including the presence of Auge, wife of Heracles, and of Atalanta in this lineage, and that of Arcas in the lineage of Taygete. Additionally, the three grandsons of the Pelasgian Arcas were Lapiths (from Thessaly). According to some sources the Pelasgian Lycaon had also fathered a son named Arcas who taught his people how to cultivate wheat (a work on the perfecting of nature), how to prepare bread (making it fruitful), and how to spin wool (preparing the accomplishment of the task, for dress is a symbol of function).

However, in a number of sources Callisto is not related to Lycaon. According to Hesiod she was a nymph, a daughter of Nycteus ‘originating from night’ according to Asius, and a daughter of Ceteus according to Pherecydes. Ceteus signifies ‘the opening of consciousness to a higher level’ which allows a descent into the depths, hence also the sense ‘sea monster’ attributed to his name.
This Callisto would therefore symbolise the results of a deepened work on consciousness.
The name Lycaon means ‘nascent light, that which is obtained by the lower nature as a result of purification. Let us remember that this name is built from the archaic term λυγ, which means ‘the light which appears before dawn’. Associated with the character omega, it indicates an irruption of light in the outer nature rather than in the spirit.

Several versions of the legend of Callisto’s transformation exist, but in this study we will follow the one given by Apollodorus.
Callisto had chosen to hunt the wild animals of Arcadia with Artemis, but Zeus fell in love with her and coupled with her against her will, for she had sworn to remain a virgin. Artemis understood that she was pregnant during their bathing, and turned her into a bear, although it has also been said that it was Zeus who did so to hide his disloyalty from Hera. It is under this form that she gave birth to Arcas.
Hera then convinced Artemis to slay Callisto, or else Artemis did so on her own initiative out of fury that her follower had lost her virginity.
Following her death Zeus took the infant and entrusted him to Maia in Arcadia, giving him the name Arcas. He then transformed Callisto into a constellation, which was named the Great Bear.
According to Epimenides, Arcas had a twin brother named Pan.

Callisto is ‘the most beautiful’, which means ‘the most true’.
This therefore indicates that the seeker has attained a level of reception of truth which allows work to be carried out on the deep nodes of the being through the active force of the psychic (Artemis).
But even if this nascent light of truth cannot be maintained, the fruits resulting from its fertilisation by the supraconscient will bring about an important realisation, that of the beginning of ‘equality’ or equanimity (Arcas is the forefather of Atalanta). This flash of truth will only be possible to maintain as a memory of a light in the spirit, a constellation.

The supraconscient aids the seeker to become aware of the realness of this new aspect of the quest; Zeus named the child Arcas, ‘he who resists and holds firm’ (he who endures).
(Its structuring characters and a number of words of the same family complete its significance as ‘a right opening of consciousness which gives stability and allows endurance’. It has also been pointed out in this study that it can be interesting to put together the names Arcas and Arcisius which are built from the same root, the second being the grandfather of Ulysses).

Arcas is the same name as that of the bear, αρκος (or αρκτος), an animal associated with Artemis as the priestesses of this goddess are known as ‘little bears’. The symbolism of the bear is however difficult to define; it may represent a very great power associated with endurance and courage.
According to Epimenides Arcas was a twin brother of the god Pan, who we have also encountered earlier in this study (See Volume 2 Chapter 5). Dwelling in Arcadia, Pan is often cited amongst the sons of Hermes or Apollo. This god represents a very advanced stage on the path, with the integration of the darkness inherent in a diving into the deep layers of the archaic vital and the revelation of the true vital. He was also, like Lynkeus, gifted with a piercing sight, which likens him to the ‘discerning seers’ who observe the world from above, for he watches over his sheep from the mountain peaks.

This ‘enduring power’ depends first and foremost on a consecration emerging from the overmind for the purpose of its growth (Arcas is entrusted to Maia, Hermes’ mother).
There are no salient anecdotes about the adult life of Arcas, but it is known that he entered into a union with Leanira, ‘she who is attached to liberation’ (daughter of Amyclas, ‘he who is without desire’, himself a son of Lacedaemon and a grandson of the Pleiad Taygete), thus establishing a link with the plane of the intuitive mind at a very advanced stage of liberation.
As a couple Arcas and Leanira are therefore an expression of an enduring ‘power’ existing beyond all desire and motivated by a powerful call to truth.

Leanira bore Arcas two sons, Elatus, ‘adaptability’, and Aphidas, ‘he who does not save or spare’, or in other words ‘he who severs’. It is said that the two brothers shared Arcadia, but that it was Elatus who held the totality of power; the seeker learns to combine the capacities of adapting to all situations and of severing unhesitatingly, with the first capacity predominating.
This notion of ‘adaptation’ or of ‘acceptance of whatever is’ holds a very special place in yogic work, but it must not hinder action. It is to begin with a passage to the first plane of the psychic being, and it is then through a complete transparency down to the level of the body that the right action must be accomplished. We have already mentioned this in the conflict between Atreus and Thyestes.

Elatus, ‘adaptability’, entered into a union with Laodice, ‘desiring or seeing in an appropriate way’, with who he engendered several children. Amongst them a homonymous Stymphalos (slain by Pelops, the son of Tantalus) engendered a homonymous Parthenopaeus, ‘virginal purity’. The latter bore with Heracles a son named Eueres, ‘precision and suppleness’.

Aphidas, ‘he who severs’, fathered on his side Aleos, ‘growth’ (or perhaps ‘liberty’), and Stheneboea, ‘a powerful work’ or ‘a strong incarnation’. The latter wed Proetus, ‘he who puts forward consciousness on the higher planes’, who has been discussed in this work amongst the ancestors of Heracles (See Volume 2 Chapter 1).
Aleos fathered two sons and a daughter:
Auge, ‘resplendent light’: after his unions with Megara and Deianeira Heracles entered into a long-lived liaison with this heroine, who he had seduced or raped when he was reclaiming the horses of Laomedon. She bore him a son named Telephus, ‘light in the distance’, who was himself the father of Eurypylus, ‘a wide door’. Angered, the father locked both the child and the mother in a chest and cast them into the ocean. We will examine this story as part of the Trojan War in which intervened these two heroes, and also as part of the study of the last labours of Heracles, the praxeis.
Cepheus, ‘the mind’: he fathered a daughter named Sterope, ‘an extended vision in lightening flashes’, which illustrates the establishment of the higher mind and the end of the predominance of the separative mind. Cepheus allied himself with Heracles in his expedition against the sons of Hippocoon at Sparta (see earlier in this chapter the story of Hippocoon, brother of Tyndareus in the lineage of Taygete). The support of the mind proves to be a precious aid in pulling oneself out of an attachment to the perceptive capacities. Cepheus and his sons died in the expedition, at the same time as Iphiclos, Heracles’ half-brother. Iphiclos can be understood either as one who is initially ‘strongly or securely locked’, or as one who ‘works through the personality in view of a greater glory’. In either case, the death of Cepheus and his sons as well as that of Iphiclos mark the end of the dual mind.
A homonymous Lycurgus ‘he who passionately desires truth’. He formed a union with Cleophyle, ‘a glorious order’, or Erynome, ‘great precision’, who bore him four sons:
Ancaeus, ‘he who gathers into his arms’.
This hero participated in the quest of the Golden Fleece and in the Calydonian Boar Hunt. He fathered Agapenor, ‘true courage’, which is also ‘lower nature opening itself to the evolution of true love’. He became one of Helen’s suitors and one of the Achaean leaders against Troy as the leader of the Arcadians.
Amphidamas, ‘everything which involves mastery’.
He fathered Meilanion, ‘the penetration of consciousness into darkness’, and a daughter named Antimache, ‘she who opposes herself to combat’ and therefore refuses to confront darkness (or possibly meaning ‘she who resists’). This heroine entered into a union with Eurystheus, ‘a great inner force’, who was the one to set Heracles to his labours.
Iasos, ‘he who heals’ or ‘who heals himself’.
He most probably symbolises one who heals himself of all inner nodes, a process which leads to equality (or peace) as embodied by his daughter Atalanta.

Atalanta
She was the first heroine to participate in a panhellenic adventure, and was described as having swift feet, gracefully slim ankles and rounded eyelids. She symbolises a seeker who progresses swiftly on the path of equality (Atalanta is fleet-footed), which suggests an adaptation that is fitting to incarnation (she is slim-ankled) and which develops an inner vision of the whole (her eyelids are rounded).
She has already appeared in Jason’s quest, but her appearance there may be erroneous for she is associated with the more advanced stages of the path.
On the other hand, it has been seen at the beginning of this volume with the study of the two lineages mentioned by the initiates of ancient times that Atalanta of Arcadia took part in the Calydonian boar hunt and was one of its main actors. Amongst the attackers of Thebes we have also encountered her son Parthenopaeus, ‘he of a virginal sight’, which is to say one who is free of all opinions and preferences.
She is most often identified as a daughter of Melanion, ‘a consciousness which descends into darkness’; having established an unshakeable peace within himself through a work on his shadow-self, the seeker obtains a precise vision of what is Real.
Other writers identify her as a daughter of Meleagros, ‘he who pursues a work of exactness’, or yet again of Ares, the god who ensures the right action.
(According to others, Parthenopaeus was not a son of Atalanta but of Talaos, ‘he who endures’, who entered into a union with Lysimache, ‘the end of the logic of combat’.
Parthenopaeus, ‘a purified vision’, was one of the Seven against Thebes, and died before the ramparts of the city. For initially when the seeker is just beginning the process of purification, an ‘exact vision’ does not suffice to destroy the perverted elements of his nature. Parthenopaeus’ son Promachos, ‘he who commits himself entirely’ (who fights on the front line), becomes one of the leaders of the second expedition ten years later, the expedition of the Epigoni which finally reclaims Thebes.

Sri Aurobindo devotes two chapters in his Yoga of Self-Perfection to the work of ‘equality’. He makes a distinction between a passive equality which liberates itself from the action of the lower nature (a liberation in spirit), and an active equality which completely accepts the phenomena of existence but only as manifestations of the Divine (the liberation of Nature). It is towards this liberation that Parthenopaeus and his son Promachos strive.
The spiritual notion of ‘perfect equality’ implies a complete inner immobility on both the vital and the mental planes, independent of any external events. It implies remaining ‘equal and one to all things in spirit, understanding, mind, heart and natural consciousness, – even in the most physical consciousness (…)’. (Sri Aurobindo, Synthesis of Yoga, Chapter 10 in Part IV, The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Publication Department 1999, p. 693.)

According to the Mother’s Agenda, psychic realisation consecrates the work of equality, for a sure sign that the psychic being has moved to the forefront is a state of stable and immobile consciousness. The being is then entirely unified.

To finish it must be noted that three of Heracles’ first six Labours (the Hind of Ceryneia, the Erymanthean Boar and the Stymphalian Birds) take place in Arcadia, thus indicating that the spiritual, vital and mental purifications start when the seeker reaches the stage of progress symbolised by this province.

THE LINEAGE OF DEION, THE YOUNGEST OF AEOLUS’ CHILDREN

THE LINEAGE OF DEION, THE YOUNGEST OF AEOLUS’ CHILDREN
(Diagram 14)

It has previously been indicated that in this work we would be using the list of Aeolus’ children given by Apollodorus. However there does not seem to exist any earlier source which confirms beyond doubt Ulysses’ place in this lineage – Hyginus is in fact the only Greek writer to have placed Ulysses’ grandfather Arcisius within this lineage. On the other hand, Pherecydes established a connection through the lineage on the mother’s side, identifying Philonis, the daughter of Deion, as the mother of Autolycos, maternal grandfather of Ulysses. It is for this reason alone that we have considered Deion to be at the origin of one of the most advanced yogic experiences (Ulysses).
The name Deion can be understood as ‘a union in consciousness’ or ‘the burning one’.

Philonis, ‘she who loves evolution’ (or that which is new), is the only one amongst Deion’s daughters to be mentioned by Pherecydes. If the genealogical placing of Deion which we are considering is exact, then it follows that Philonis entered into unions ‘on the same day’ with both Apollo and Hermes, gods who are respectively in relation with the psychic and the overmind, which is to say with the paths of purification and liberation and the ascension of the planes of consciousness.
From Hermes she bore Autolycos, ‘he who is his own light’, and Apollo engendered the great musician Philammon, ‘he who loves a great consecration’ and who achieves ‘exactness’ resulting from rendering the being psychic (he was a musician).The latter became the first man to instruct young girls’ choirs; through the realisation or achievement of exactness or harmony by the gift of self, he allows the receptive capacities at different levels of the being to work together in harmonious accord. With Argiope, ‘a clear vision’, Philammon engendered Thamyris, ‘numerous right movements’.

In Apollodorus’ version of this myth Deion entered into a union with Diomede, ‘she who concerns herself with union in consciousness’, who bore him four sons and a daughter named Asterodeia (Apollodorus does not mention Philonis here).
Asterodeia, ‘the path towards the light’, entered into a union with Phocus, a son of Aeacus whose lineage we will discuss later on (in manuscripts she is referred to as Asteropia, ‘a vision in lightening flashes’).
Ainetus, ‘he who consents’, does not have any known descendants.
Actor, ‘the guide’ or ‘the opening movement of consciousness towards the spirit’, entered into a union with Aegina, ‘the need for evolution’ (a need more fundamental than aspiration), who bore a son named Menoetius, ‘he who remains in the spirit’. The latter had a son named Patroclus, ‘the glorious ancestors’, who represents the ‘renowned’ accomplishments of a seeker before the great reversal of the Trojan War.
Pindar identifies Actor and Aegina as the parents of Menoetius in the Ninth Olympian, but does not mention Actor’s father by name. Another genealogical ordering identifies Actor as a son of Myrmidon and Pisidice. But in every version of this myth Patroclus is linked to an advanced stage of the path, either through Aegina or through Deion
Phylacus, ‘the guardian’, entered into a union with a homonymous and renowned Clymene who was the daughter of Minuas, ‘the evolution of consecration and of the gift of self’. Clymene bore him a son named Iphiclos and a daughter named Alcimede, sometimes identified as the mother of Jason.
The story of Iphiclos, ‘he who is strongly locked’, has been studied as part of the genealogical branch of Bias and Melampus (See Volume 2 Chapter 2 of this work). It must be remembered that he had become sterile following a violent reprimand by his father, but the seer Melampus discovered the cause of this sterility and cured Iphiclos with a remedy of a homoeopathic nature. Iphiclos then conceived a son, a homonymous Podarces, ‘he who advances swiftly’, who became one of Helen’s suitors and an Achean leader against Troy.
– Cephalus, the mind, entered into a union with Procris, ‘she who puts forward the right movement of the opening of consciousness, she who chooses and severs’. The story of Cephalus and Procris has been studied earlier in this work along with that of the Athenian Kings (See Volume 2 Chapter 4). It more closely refers to the beginnings of the path, which confirms the doubts expressed earlier in this work regarding the genealogical order of descent which makes Procris the great-grandmother of Ulysses, this version being given by Hyginus alone.

Ulysses, who can be considered to symbolise the most advanced of seekers who strives for a ‘union of the two currents uniting spirit and matter’, would logically be the descendant of ancestors in both the branch of liberation and the branch of the ascension of the planes of consciousness. On Iapetus’ side, this ascendency is already marked by his ancestors on his mother’s side, who include Hermes, ‘the overmind’, and Philonis, daughter of Deion. It would therefore appear to be more sound to ascribe to him a paternal ascent in the genealogical branch of Oceanos. But due to a paucity of mythological sources this question will have to be left unresolved, as was that of Tantalus and the Atrides.

Ovid identifies Ulysses as the grandson of Arcisius, ‘he who holds firm and who endures’, himself son of Zeus. (The name Arcisius is built on the same root as Arcas, origin of the Arcadian lineage which we will be discussing at a later point in this work, and which eventually leads down to the heroine Atalanta, ‘equality’. The name of Arcisus’ wife does not appear in any myth.)

The genealogical order becomes clearer from Arcisius onwards. The latter engendered Laertes, whose name could signify ‘he who sets into motion’ or ‘gathers together the people’ (the different elements of the being), or could also be derived from λαω, ‘to see’.
Laertes entered into a union with Anticlia, ‘the greatest humility’ (opposed to spiritual pride), who bore him a son named Ulysses (Odysseus in Greek).
It was Homer himself who, through Autolycos’ words, gives one of the meanings of the name Odysseus: ‘Lo, inasmuch as I am come hither as one that has been angered with many, both men and women, over the fruitful earth, therefore let the name by which the child is named be Odysseus. And for my part, when he is a man grown and comes to the great house of his mother’s kin at Parnassus, where are my possessions, I will give him thereof and send him back rejoicing’ (Odyssey, Book 19, line 405). The seeker who since long strives to guide himself by his own inner light complains that aspects of his egotistical personality have created many obstacles, preventing him from perceiving Truth and deviating him from due progress. The seeker is therefore ‘angered’ or frustrated at being unable to act with exactness in his own imperfection, hence the name Odysseus which may carry the meaning of ‘angered’ or ‘ulcerated’ depending on the translation (Derived from the Greek verb Οδυσσομαι, ‘being irritated’). This annihilation animates his incoercible need to find Truth, and this ulceration may perhaps refer to the need of ending the rule of the personality, ultimately leading to a state of ‘nullity’ which leaves space for the inner fire (thus becoming ‘nobody’ as Ulysses says to the Cyclops Polyphemus).
Pierre Chantraine, one of the greatest French scholars of the Greek Language, author of the Etymological Dictionary of Greek language, who is considered to be an expert in this field, explicitly affirms that the true etymology of this name remains unknown. As there also exist form Olysseus (Ολυσσευς) with a lambda instead of a delta from which originated the modern form Ulysses through the Latin, we can take the liberty of using the structuring characters to understand this name. Odysseus would be spelled either Δ+ΣΣ, or Λ+ΣΣ, which is to say the symbol of liberation or of union obtained by bringing together the two essential masculine and feminine principles, the symbol of ‘he who strives for the union of the two opposing currents which unite spirit and matter’. These two currents form the Caduceus of Hermes.

As long as irritation (or ulceration) and integrity are not sufficiently developed, the seeker knows that he will have to find in the application of humility elements of a superior understanding, which will become quite necessary for the undertaking of his journey into the new yoga (humility because Ulysses is to go to the maternal manor, which is to say by the side of Anticlia, ‘humility’).
Anticlia’s manor is located on Mount Parnassus. This mountain, the etymology of which name remains obscure, was consecrated both to the god Apollo and to the nine Muses. It was in fact one of the two dwelling-places of the Muses, the other being Helicon, (‘helical or spiralling movement’, echoing the movement of yoga which is a spiralling ascent towards the supramental Helios).
In the Odyssey, Homer adds that in his youth Ulysses was wounded by a monstrous boar while accompanying his maternal uncles, the sons of Autolycos, on a hunt (this incident taking place well before his departure for Troy). The boar lay hidden beneath some shrubbery, under a covering so thick that neither rain, wind nor the rays of the sun could penetrate through it. During the hunt it attacked Ulysses, tearing away part of his thigh with his tusk before Ulysses pierced him with his spear. The hero was attended to by the sons of Autolycos, who used a medicinal charm to stop his bleeding.
This adventure describes a period situated a little before the great reorientation of yoga (before Ulysses’ departure for Troy), for the seeker who has begun the work of the union of spirit and matter already has access to some knowledge from the light of the overmind (his uncles are the sons of Autolycos, ‘he who is his own light’, himself a son of Hermes). With their help he strives to discover and eliminate from his nature the most archaic of brute vital forces, but before achieving this he is seriously wounded and his power is diminished (his thigh is wounded), so that he can recover only with the intervention of the light of the overmind. This story illustrates the great difficulties which the seeker encounters in his attempt to master the vital forces. At this stage it is no longer a question of the ‘conversion’ of the individual’s vital, the latter having since long given its full agreement and support to the yogic work.
This relationship between Ulysses and the overmind is confirmed on the one hand by the identity of his great-grandfather Hermes, and on the other by Homer’s description of him as ‘Ulysses whose thought is equal to Zeus’.

THE LINEAGE OF MAIA

THE LINEAGE OF MAIA, daughter of Atlas and the last of the Pleiades.

The lineage of the Pleiad Maia has already been discussed in the first volume of this work as part of the analysis of the god Hermes. We will only go over the essential points here, specifying certain points which will be better understood at this stage.
Maia symbolises a ‘complete consecration’, a ‘surrender’ akin to the one defined above.
Without Hera’s knowledge, Zeus at night visited the cavern in which Maia dwelt, set apart from the other gods, and some accounts claim that Maia conceived Hermes whilst gods and men were asleep.
The Pleiades belong to the fourth divine generation, as do Athena, Aphrodite, Apollo and Artemis, but except for Maia not one of them is ever described in such a proximity to the gods. This is probably because mastery of the planes which they represent had been fully accomplished by a number of adventurers of consciousness which integrated them into the human sphere. On the other hand, the stage of the overmind only recently appeared in humankind some millions or tens of millions of years ago (Hermes was the last of the gods to arrive at Mount Olympus). It is still imperfectly explored and therefore still belongs to the supraconscient plane, the plane of the gods, the overmind (not to be confused with the supramental), which is why Maia lives isolated in a cavern despite being accepted amongst the gods.
Some say that she was the nurse of Arcas following the death of Callisto, which confirms the correspondence of Arcadia with an advanced stage of yoga.

Hermes and his children – some points to remember

The fecundation of consciousness by the supraconscient in a state of complete consecration was carried out without any part of the seeker (or the individual within humankind) being conscious of it (Maia conceived Hermes while gods and mortals lay sleeping). In fact, the widest movements of evolution always take place in the general inconscient. Sri Aurobindo (Savitri Book I, Canto IV) announces the advent of the supramental in a similar way:
‘As a thief’s in the night shall be the covert tread
Of one who steps unseen into his house’.

Hermes therefore represents the last mental plane which can be accessed by human consciousness in a stable way, in a period preceding Homer and probably taking place even prior to ancient Egypt. It forges a link with the Supramental, Helios, which is still only perceived in brief lightening flashes (see the last labours of Heracles), or through some of its manifestations like Circe and Aeetes.
Hermes is the only god to appear in the fifth divine generation, thus making the supraconscient ‘descend’ into the human and bringing together gods and men.
As the deity of the surpassing of limits in the ascension to the world of Spirit Hermes must also allow a descent into the depths, for evolution is a process of both ascension and integration. He therefore represents a spiritual power which can lift the barriers that separate us from the deep subconscient and the corporeal inconscient. Hence his role as ‘psychopomp’, guide of psychic souls who escorts the shades of mortals into the kingdom of Hades, where takes place the reunification of Spirit and Matter.

We have also seen that the seeker who reaches the overmind at first tends to attribute to it realisations originating from the light of the psychic being, while these are only mental experiences (Hermes steals Apollo’s herds).
As the herald of the gods Hermes transmits the truth originating from the higher planes of the Spirit, but he cannot do so without causing distortions. For however high they may be, the mental planes cannot access the totality of Truth, and are certainly not able to express them at lower planes without creating distortions. Instead, through its contact with Truth through identity, the psychic being manifests itself on the mental plane in a more precise way (Apollo and Artemis).

Hermes’ characteristic elements or attributes are his Caduceus and his winged sandals.
The Caduceus is a symbol which reveals in a single simple form the widest Knowledge about human evolution and the domains of Consciousness – a few words about it will be written at the end of this work.
The winged sandals allow a very swift progress along the path without being halted for long months or years by various obstacles. They also grant access to the highest worlds of the Spirit.

The children of Hermes

The most well known of Hermes’ children is Autolycos, ‘he who is his own light’, borne by Philonis, ‘she who loves evolution’, herself the daughter of Deion, the youngest of Aeolus’ children. Free of any external reference, this expression of the overmind sometimes attributes to itself realisations which are not its own. This is why Autolycos is sometimes described as the greatest of thieves, more skilled than even his father.
He is Ulysses’ grandfather. He entered into a union with Amphithea, ‘all which concerns the inner divine’, and with her engendered a daughter named Anticlia, ‘humility’, as well as several sons. Anticlia entered into a union with Laertes, ‘the complete engagement of the unified being’, and by him bore Ulysses. Only Hyginus places Laertes within the lineage of Deion.

Some of Hermes’ other children have been previously mentioned in this work, including Abderos, the companion of Heracles, Eurytus the Argonaut and Cephalus, all of them representing different impulses of the nascent overmind.

THE ROYAL LINEAGE OF SPARTA (THE LINEAGE OF TAYGETE)

THE LINEAGE OF TAYGETE – THE ROYAL LINEAGE OF SPARTA (Diagram 13)
The new orientations of evolution (those which ‘surge forth’).

Amongst the Pleiades, daughters of Atlas, the lineage of Taygete corresponds to the level of the intuitive mind (or more directly to that of intuition in the classification given by Sri Aurobindo), a level which follows upon that of the illumined mind and precedes the overmind. According to Sri Aurobindo, it is a state of consciousness in which the seeker operates through different kinds of powers: ‘Intuition has a fourfold power. A power of revelatory truth seeing, a power of inspiration or truth-hearing, a power of truth-touch or immediate seizing of significance, which is akin to the ordinary nature of its intervention in our mental intelligence, a power of true and automatic discrimination of the orderly and exact relation of truth to truth, – these are the fourfold potencies of Intuition. Intuition can therefore perform all the action of reason -including the function of logical intelligence, which is to work out the right relation of things and the right relation of idea with idea, – but by its own superior process and with steps that do not fail or falter. It takes up also and transforms into its own substance not only the mind of thought, but the heart and life and the sense and physical consciousness’ (The Life Divine, Chapter 23 ‘The Ascent Towards Supermind’).
It is therefore possible to guess that this was the highest level which the adventurers of consciousness could access and perhaps also remain in at that time. In fact the next level is that of the overmind, of Maia and her son the god Hermes, of which the seeker only receives lightening flashes unless he is a living avatar. This is why Ulysses, representing the most advanced of seekers, belongs to this lineage through his mother Anticlia.

On the other hand the lineage of Taygete is closely linked to that of Perieres amongst the descendants of Aeolus, thus linking the stages of ascension to corresponding realisations. In fact, one member from each of the lineages entered into a union with Gorgophone, ‘she who slays fear’, who was a daughter of Perseus (although it must be noted that other writers describe different versions of genealogical relatedness).
A number of authors even seem to have confused the two lineages, bringing some uncertainty into these myths. Apollodorus, who seems to have always sought to present the most coherent and reliable versions of the myths, gives several alternative versions in this case. In the first version, which he attributes to the poet Stesichorus, the four great heroes Tyndareus, Icarius, Aphareus and Leucippus are brothers who descended directly from Perieres, himself a son of Cynortes, and therefore belong to the lineage of Taygete.
In the second version, Apollodorus mentions homonymous Perieres, each belonging to one of the two lineages. From the first (or it is sometimes said directly from Cynortes) and within the lineage of Taygete was born Oebalus, who was the father of Tyndareus and Icarius. From the second were born Aphareus and Leucippus within the lineage of Aeolus.
In this work it is this last version which is considered (see the first chapter), for it corresponds to the version in the Catalogue of Women in which Tyndareus is described as a son of Oebalus. In fact there is a tendency to consider that not identifying with what acts within ourselves, the ego (incarnated by the children of Aphareus in the lineage of Perieres), belongs to the domain of experience rather than to that of simple theoretical description, even if it is closely tied to the plane of the intuitive mind (Taygete) or at least to a temporary access to this plane. Sri Aurobindo also explains that the static experience of Self belongs to this plane of the intuitive mind, and that there exists beyond this the experience of the dynamic Self on the planes of the overmind and the supermind (See Replies on p.234, paragraph 404 bis).
Whatever the case may be, these two lineages characterise an advanced stage of the yogic process in which the seeker strives to surpass duality, and which occurs long after the Calydonian boar hunt.

The name of the Pleiad Taygete, which is of obscure origin, also refers to a mountain in the region of Sparta, and therefore to a movement of hoisting oneself towards the heights of ‘that which is sown’, of the newness surging forth.
We have already come across the Spartans or ‘sown ones’ in the quest of the Golden Fleece, in which they represented memories surging forth from consciousness. This parallel is most probably not fortuitous, for advanced spiritual work is for the most part a work on memories.
The mountain Taygete is sometimes associated with Artemis and with the doe pursued by Heracles in his third labour, then indicating a kind of purity in the achieved receptivity.

The significance of the first four generations issued from the union of Zeus and Taygete is relatively obscure, for there are few myths about them and the versions which have been passed down to us are often unclear.
According to Apollodorus Zeus entered into a union with Taygete and fathered Lacedaemon, ‘a divinity resounding with force’, who in his turn entered into a union with Sparta, ‘that which is sown or that which surges forth’ (and which is therefore in relation to what is new and/or ancient). Sparta was a daughter of Eurotas, ‘a vast consciousness on the plane of the spirit’ which seeks to be incarnated. The seeker is therefore solidly connected to the heights of the Spirit, and strives to make what is new surge forth.
Lacedaemon engendered a son named Amyclas, ‘he who must achieve a desireless state’, as well as a homonymous Eurydice, ‘the right manner of behaving’.(According to Apollodorus she entered into a union with Acrisius, the father of Danae and therefore the grandfather of Perseus, which associates Lacedaemon with work on fear.)
On his side Amyclas entered into a union with Diomede, ‘she who has the goal of being divine’, daughter of Lapithus, who bore Cynortes, the meaning of which name remains obscure, and Hyacinthus, the ‘hyacinth’.

According to some sources Apollo fell in love with the comely Hyacinthus, but inadvertently killed him during a game of disc throwing. Ovid wrote that the blood of the young man spread over the earth and rose as a flower, which would resemble a lily if it was not scarlet in colour.
An understanding of the second part of the myth rests on a coherent understanding of the symbol of the flower, for which we do not have any clues. It would not seem that this flower refers to the one which we know by that name today.
The name Hyacinth itself does not bring much new understanding, aside from a notion of an inner evolution perhaps.
If we leave aside the part of this myth in which the flower appears, it would seem to refer to a link between the psychic light and a true realisation in the ascension of the planes of consciousness (Hyacinth was very handsome), but this link is difficult to maintain. This difficulty would be a sign that the corresponding realisation, that of mental light originating from the spirit, is not strong enough to support the psychic light or to ‘play’ with it on an equal footing. This confirms a placing of the lineage of Taygete well before that of the overmind, which includes Maia and her son the god Hermes who can ‘play’ at being Apollo’s rival even in his early youth.
Some say that it was Boreas who altered the disk’s course, suggesting that this would be an unfitting asceticism which would put an end to a true drawing close.

Cynortes engendered Oebalus, whose name is of an obscure origin. The latter entered into a union with Gorgophone, ‘she who vanquishes fear’ (who has slain the Gorgon), who also became the wife of Perieres. This element allows the two lineages to be brought closer together.

The children of Oebalus (Perieres): Aphareus and Leucippus

It has already been noted that in this work we will adhere to the version of the myth in which Castor and Polydeuces are sons of Tyndareus and Zeus within the lineage of the Pleiades, representing a theoretical descriptions of the different planes. On the other hand, Aphareus and Leucippus are sons of Perieres, ‘he who works around the right movement’, or of his son Oebalus within the lineage of Aeolus, representing corresponding realisations.

In a union with Gorgophone, Oebalus (Perieres) engendered Aphareus, ‘he who is without a mask’, and Leucippus, ‘the white horse’; the seeker who succeeds in vanquishing his fears lets fall the masks and armouring which have facilitated his evolution till that point but which can no longer do so, and acquires a pure vital energy or power.

A study of the children of Aphareus and Leucippus has already been broached in the first chapter. Here the essential points will be repeated, for they are meaningful to the conflict which set them in opposition to the Dioscuri Castor and Polydeuces.

Aphareus and his sons Idas and Lynkeus

Aphareus, ‘he who does not wear a mask’, which is to say ‘he who lets fall his defences’ and who strives for a transparency in face of the Absolute, entered into a union with Arene, ‘the evolution of the true or just movement’, who bore him two sons, Idas and Lynkeus.
Idas, ‘he who sees the whole’ (and perhaps also ‘union in consciousness’ and therefore ‘the realisation of the Self’), was according to Homer (Iliad IX.557) the most powerful of the mortal men of his time (he who possesses the greatest powers), while Lynkeus ‘the lynx’ represents a perception of detail or ‘penetrating vision’.
These two heroes represent simultaneous aspects of the intuitive consciousness which ‘sees’ what is Real, which is to say the vision of the whole and the discerning vision of detail, the vision of the conditioned and the unconditioned, the vision of subjective reality and that of the Absolute, etc.

Idas is the central figure of a myth discussed in the first chapter of this work, in which he opposed Apollo and finally enters into a union with Marpessa, who Zeus had given the freedom to choose a union of her own choice. Euenos, the father of this young woman, had died in pursuit of his daughter.
The light of the psychic being, Apollo, strives to pull the seeker onto the path of psychicisation but the seeker shies away, preferring the security of a global mental vision, personified by Idas, than a psychic light which he considers to be an uncertain perception due to the disturbances of the lower nature not yet rendered pure and transparent. The subconscious allies itself to this security, for Poseidon supports the interests of Idas over those of Apollo. But in the end it is the supraconscient which decides (Zeus allows Marpessa to choose for herself), for the psychic being never imposes itself. That which till this point had been a ‘beautiful evolution’ comes to a halt after having sabotaged the energies which brought it dynamism (Euenos kills his horses and ends his own life).
This impedes the yogic evolution from progressing beyond the realisation of the Self. It must be remembered that in fact the latter does not in any way bring about a right attitude in incarnation, nor any desire for evolution. For this, it would be necessary for the psychic being to come completely to the forefront, which, as the Mother reminds us, was traditionally said to require thirty years of dedicated yoga to be attained.
Idas, who Homer describes as the most powerful man of his time, died under the blows of his cousins Castor and Polynices before the beginning of the Trojan War, which foreshadowed a change of orientation in the yogic process.
It has been said that Idas was a son of Poseidon, thus underlining the fact that this realisation could not be obtained through any specific method. Rather, it manifests itself when the seeker is ready.
The experiences attained when the seeker is in the Self leave a strong mark both in the seeker himself and in others around him. In fact, from a union with Marpessa Idas engendered Cleopatra, ‘ancestors of great renown’ – the realisations and achievements of the ancients -, who later became Meleagros’ wife. This vision of the whole allows the seeker to identify and purify, through the Calydonian boar hunt, the most archaic and gross of the perturbing vital elements.

Aphareus’ other son is Lynkeus, ‘a penetrating vision’. According to Apollodorus, he was characterised by a power of vision so piercing that he could see what lay underground.
According to some sources, in the conflict which set him against the Dioscuri Castor and Polynices, Lynkus ran till the summit of Mount Taygete to find out where the latter lay hidden. This is therefore a discernment which is able to elevate itself to the highest levels of the ‘intuitive mind’ and to perceive the depths of matter, and therefore to also perceive the dysfunctions of the body and what is most deeply hidden within others, the basic nature invisible even to their own eyes.
This sharpened discernment can most probably be associated with the ‘penetrating vision’ of Buddhism (also known as Vipassana), and characterises a direct perception of reality which can occur when the obstacles created by the ego are removed.
Despite being mainly of an intuitive type, this is a discernment which belongs to the higher regions of the mind and can no longer be useful or must no longer be utilised in a personal way, even it does not disappear altogether, when the yogic work is reoriented for a deepened purification of the vital and the body. This is why Lynkus was eventually killed by one of the Dioscuri.

It must always be remembered that when great heroes like Idas and Lynkeus or Castor and Polynices are mentioned in the great epic poems preceding their chronological appearance in the genealogical lineages, their presence only refers to preparations in the corresponding domains rather than to integral realisations, which only truly begin at the time of their genealogical appearance. This is why mentioning the Self and the penetrating Vision has been avoided in the study of the quest of the Golden Fleece, in which these heroes appear as companions of Jason. These are then only the first steps in view of such realisations, and were described as a ‘will for union’ in the case of Idas and ‘discernment’ in that of Lynkeus.

Leucippus and his daughters

The state which no longer identifies itself with the ego allows the liberation of an unperturbed vital energy, here represented by Leucippus ‘the white horse’.
According to later accounts Leucippus fathered two daughters, Hilaira ‘the beneficent’ or ‘that which is favourable’, and Phoebe ‘the pure and shining’.
Some add Arsinoe, whose name can signify either ‘the elevation of the spirit’ or else its opposite, ‘the suppression of the thinking mind’. It is the second meaning rather than the first which is to be retained, for she is more strongly linked with the healing capacities originating from the psychic being. In fact she is sometimes identified as the mother of the great physician Asclepius, who she bore from a union with Apollo.

The Cyprian Hymns attribute to Hilaira and Phoebe Leucippus as a human father and Apollo as a divine father. They therefore symbolise a result not only of the purification of the vital, but also of the growth of the psychic.

The children of Oebalus/Perieres: Tyndareus, Icarius, Hippocoon and Arene

The name Oebalus is of an obscure origin. Most probably linked to the root βαλ or βελ, it could mean ‘he who launches consciousness in a forward direction’. He entered into a union with Gorgophone, ‘one who slays the Gorgon’, and therefore exemplifies a work on the suppression of fear. According to other sources he entered into a union with Batia, ‘the place to which consciousness can go’, and thus represents a will to explore the limits of consciousness.
Whether through one union or the another, the couple parented four children: Tyndareus, Icarius, Hippocoon and Arene.

Arene
Above we have studied the descendance of Arene, ‘the evolution of the true or just movement’, who united with Aphareus and bore him two sons, Idas and Lynkeus.

Icarius
Icarius, ‘the opening towards the right movement of consciousness, belongs to the plane of the intuitive mind. He was according to all sources the father of Penelope, and his story is linked to that of his half-brother Hippocoon.
As Penelope’s father he represents that which draws nearest to the supramental consciousness, an association formed through an analogy with Icarius who flew too close to Helios the sun. His daughter is therefore the end-goal of Ulysses’ quest, Ulysses being the most advanced of the adventurers of consciousness.

Hippocoon
He is most often described as a bastard son of Oebalus and of Nicostrate, ‘the victorious warrior’. His name could signify ‘he who perceives energies’.
Hippocoon drove Tyndareus and Icarius away from Lacedaemon (Sparta), or else was helped by Icarius in driving Tyndareus away. But he gravely offended Heracles who brought about his death and that of his twelve or twenty sons, one of whom had according to some accounts killed one of Heracles’ parents, Oeonus. From that time onwards Tyndareus was able to return to Sparta (also known as Lacedaemon), while Icarius remained in Calydon (province of Aetolia).
To carry through his expedition Heracles first journeyed to Tegea and persuaded Cepheus, the son of Aleos, to grant him his support and his twenty sons as warriors. As Cepheus feared leaving his city defenceless, Heracles entrusted Cepheus’ daughter Sterope with a strand of hair of the Gorgon Medusa enclosed in a brazen urn. In case of an attack she was to wave this strand three times without laying eyes on it, and would thus force the enemy to flee.
Cepheus and most of his sons were subsequently slain in the battle against Hippocoon.

Apollodorus and Diodorus place this event after the plundering of Elis and of Troy by Heracles, and thus once the liberation in the spirit has been accomplished. It is therefore included in the ‘praxeis’ or ‘free acts’ of Heracles which follow his labours. The plunder of Elis having taken place almost two generations before the Trojan War, it can be concluded that Helen was not yet born at this time, for Tyndareus only met Leda during her exile in Calydon. The mention of this city suggests that one is to place this event roughly at the same time as the Calydonian boar hunt, within the phase of yoga which engages with the work of purification of the major archaic movements of the vital.

This story evokes an attachment which causes the evolutionary process of yoga to cease. In fact, the numerous modes by which the seeker works through his ‘perceptions of energy’ (Hippocoon and his twelve sons) bring about a discontinuation of the ‘highest intuition’, for they kill Oeonus, ‘the bird of prey’ or through the structuring characters ‘the evolution of consciousness in incarnation’.
This work on energy momentarily derails the seeker from the path of ‘what is to be born’ or from a listening to ‘the inner divine resounding with force’ (Tyndareus and Icarius are turned out of Sparta/Lacedaemon).
There may perhaps be a warning for seekers who have developed unusual perceptions and capacities by exploring the limits of consciousness (exceptional capacities compared to those of ordinary men, such as the capacity to perceive energetic structures of the living world, etc.).Trusting in them completely, they may in fact use them, whether consciously or not, for ends which though noble may get in the way of the yogic process.

To overcome this obstacle and end the corresponding illusion, the seeker must ‘open himself to the process of descent of consciousness in the being’ and appeal to the support of the mind (Heracles journeyed to Tegea to ask for the support of Cepheus and his twenty sons).
The mental fear of losing the structures of spiritual protection (Cepheus feared that the city of Tegea would be attacked) must be annulled by the higher mind by carrying out a ritual of faith against fear (Heracles ensured the safety of Cepheus’ city by giving his daughter Sterope a strand of the hair of the Gorgon, which she was to waive thrice in the air). The higher mind can handle this dangerous strand, for the struggle against fear has already been acted out repeatedly. In this struggle intellectual reasoning, even if it is to be mobilised in the widest way possible, disappears almost completely (Cepheus and most of his sons are killed).

Tyndareus and Leda, and their children Castor, Polynices, Helen and Clytaemnestra

Tyndareus entered into a union with Leda, ‘union through liberation’, who bore him four children: Castor, ‘the power which confers mastery’ or the absolute mastery of the vital which results from the right movement towards purity in incarnation, Polynices, ‘the entirely gentle’, Helen, ‘the evolution of liberation’, and Clytaemnestra, ‘renowned wisdom’.
However, other versions of this myth exist which address their paternal ascendancy.
In Homer and Hesiod’s accounts Helen is always a daughter of Zeus and Leda.
In regards to Castor and Polynices the sources diverge. In the texts of Homer, who refers to them as Tyndarides, they are attributed Tyndareus as their human father as was Clytaemnestra. In the Catalogue of Women they are both sons of Zeus, or else Castor is the son of Tyndareus and Polynices that of Zeus (the opposite is not possible, for in the conflict which opposes them to Idas and Lynkeus only Polynices survives).
Of the four children, Clytaemnesta is the only one not to be described as a daughter of Zeus in any account.

There is an ancient tradition, which would have been described in the Cyprian Hymns according to which Helen was the daughter of Zeus and Nemesis, ‘retributive justice’, which is meted out in accordance to merit.
In this account Nemesis was forced to enter into a union with Zeus. To escape from the god she turned herself first into a fish, and then into a goose. Zeus consequently also shape-shifted to be able to couple with her, and Helen was eventually born of an egg.
A later tradition recounted by Apollodorus claimed that Zeus transformed himself into a swan rather than a goose. In this version Leda was only Helen’s adoptive mother, raising her as if she was her own daughter.

Finally, in a version of this story which appears from the time of the tragic playwrights but which is perhaps much older, it was Leda herself who was courted by Zeus in the form of a swan, and it is she who gave birth to Helen in an egg.
According to some records both the Dioscuri and Helen were born from this egg. The egg plays a primordial role in the formation of the world in numerous traditions, as does the image of the incubation of consciousness.

According to Apollodorus, who also mentions the version in which Nemesis appears, Leda and Tyndareus first had three children:
Timandra, ‘she who ascribes value to man’, who wed Echemus, ‘he who accomplishes consecration’.
Clytaemnestra, ‘renowned wisdom’.
Philonoe, ‘she who loves intelligence or consciousness’. She was granted immortality by Zeus; in response to this ‘love for consciousness’, the supraconscient grants access to non-duality.
Then in the same night Zeus and Tyndareus coupled with Leda. Under the form of a swan Zeus engendered Polynices and Helen, while Tyndareus engendered Castor and Clytaemnestra.

It can be understood from these different versions that the Dioscuri characterise a seeker who broaches the source of duality (at the level of attraction and repulsion in the vital). This idea is supported by the Cyprian Hymns, in which Zeus allows the Dioscuri to live amongst the gods for a single day after their death, either together or separately, indicating that the access to non-duality is possible but has not yet been established. These comings and goings probably also allow the path between the supraconscient and the conscient to be consolidated and balanced.

On the other hand if the highest wisdom, Clytaemnestra, is never established as originating from a fecundation of the overmind, then Homer, who has the tendency of focusing on the work in progress rather than on the final realisation, does not seem to attribute to the yogic work in regards to power and gentleness an origin in the overmind (for Homer, Castor and Polynices are sons of Tyndareus). Let us remember that according to Homer, Aphrodite is love in evolution rather than in its supreme state as portrayed by Hesiod.
If we only consider the lineage these are clearly realisations of the intuitive mind rather than the overmind (for all four belong to the lineage of Taygete rather than to that of Maia) whether they receive their impulse from the overmind or from elsewhere.

On the other hand, if the swan is taken to be a symbol of the psychic light then the goose is most probably associated with the female swan and would therefore be a symbol of the active expression of the psychic, one of exactness. In the different versions of this myth it is never Apollo who couples with Leda, but rather Zeus who transforms himself into his symbol of the swan. The union between goose and swan (Leda and Zeus) could then be understood as an expression of a fecundation by the supraconscient to achieve exactness, an impulse which the seeker perceives as being of the nature of psychic light rather than supraconscient.

While the children who are born of these unions still belong to a certain kind of duality, which is as we shall see more complementary than oppositional, this remaining duality disappears with the conflict between the Dioscuri Castor and Polynices and their cousins Idas and Lynkeus, of which the only survivor was Polynices, ‘he who is in complete sweetness’ or complete compassion.

(It must be mentioned that another daughter of Leda, Phoebe ‘the shining and pure’, is depicted both on vases from Attica and in the work of Euripides, giving a fitting illustration of a seeker who has attained this state.)

The Dioscuri or Tyndarides (sons of Tyndareus)

In the Iliad, Castor is the ‘horse tamer’, he who masters energies or power. Homer describes Polynices, ‘the very gentle’, as an able wrestler; here gentleness is in no way associated with half-heartedness, but is instead a combination of suppleness, adaptability, agility, swiftness, concentration, inner calm and strength. For one who liberates himself from fear and ego becomes transparent, and the course of events loses its strong hold on him.

The Dioscuri are known to grant a special protection to sailors. They take part in Jason’s expedition as well as in the Calydonian boar hunt; even before non-duality is established as an aim of the yogic work, working on what they represent, both a power of realisation and an extreme gentleness, will always be a protection on the path (a special protection for sailors).
For seekers who have advanced in the process of their realisation they can ensure an appropriate orientation of the quest: the Dioscuri watch over the courtship of their sister Helen.

The name Dioscuri, which appeared relatively late, signifies ‘the young boys of Zeus’, in the sense that they are the most advanced works of yoga in the direction of the overmind. It is with the next Pleiad, Maia, that will be established the overmind with Zeus’ son Hermes. It must be remembered that while Zeus is the symbol of the supraconscient in general, he is more particularly so the symbol of its highest level, the overmind. The name Dioscuri also carries a connotation of ‘warrior’ or ‘free servant’, terms which also apply to the seeker.

Aside from their participation in the major epics the Dioscuri took part in three important exploits:

The rescuing of Helen after she was abducted by Theseus and Pirithoos

This was alluded to in the first chapter. It explains the fact that the seeker must wait to be ready to begin the phase of yoga which takes place in the corporeal inconscient; Helen was nubile at this time.

The abduction of the Leucippides (the daughters of Leucippus, Hilaira and Phoebe)

Only later sources mention the abduction of the Leucippides.
Promised in marriage to Idas and Lynkeus, they were abducted by the Dioscuri, by who they each bore a son: the purification of the vital nature generates a possibility of ‘shining’ and ‘right action’, for they are daughters of Leucippus. In contrast to what is commonly believed, the seeker must allow that this work depends more on the psychic being than on his capacity for vision.
We have in fact seen that Hilaira, ‘that which is favourable’, and Phoebe, ‘the pure and shining’, were described in the Cyprian Hymns as daughters of Apollo, and therefore only as adopted daughters of Leucippus, ‘a pure energy’. They are therefore representative of expressions of a psychic light which develops itself under the effects of vital purification.
However Apollodorus does not mention the promise of marriage, and therefore does not attribute the origin of the conflict between the cousins to the abduction of the young women. Instead, he attributes the origin of the conflict to a litigious division of livestock.

The conflict between the Dioscuri (Castor and Polynices, sons of Zeus) and the Apharetids (Idas and Lynkeus, sons of Aphareus).

The conflict which set the Dioscuri against the Apharetids took place after Paris’ abduction of Helen. In fact, as long as the problem of Truth on the path of an evolution beyond ‘liberation’ has not been set, there is no reason for this conflict to arise.
This is confirmed by the poet Lycophron, according to whom it was Zeus who sparked off a quarrel between the cousins so that Troy, which could not have withstood a combined attack by the four heroes, would not fall too soon to the Greeks. In fact only Polynices survived the violent quarrel. The supraconscient thus delays the possibility of a swift resolution of the conflict resulting from the reorientation of yoga. According to this poet, in addition to the need to perfect non-duality, the seeker must also lose his abilities and capacity for vision so as to attain an integral submission to the Divine, which would alone be able to grant the right orientation.
The abilities which he had with so much effort obtained disappear for the most part so as to make him discover within himself a new possibility for resolution (the intervention of Achilles). In other words, it is not possible to find a solution for collective evolution which extends beyond personal liberation through the power and capacities of vision of the spirit alone. In fact, irrespective of the varying accounts of their genealogical origins, Idas, Lynkeus and Castor all belong to the lineage of Iapetus either through Aeolus or Atlas.

According to other accounts the quarrel was caused by a raid on Arcadian herds carried out by the four heroes. When came the time to share the spoils of the raid, the task was conferred to Idas. The latter cut a cow into four parts, and declared that half of the herd would belong to the one who finished his part first, and the rest to the one who finished second. Swiftly he devoured his own part first, and then also swallowed that of his brother. Idas and Lynkeus therefore claimed all of the cattle, but the Dioscuri ambushed their cousins and stole the herds.
This story indicates that some parts of the seeker wish to profit from the realisations attained by the power of endurance at an advanced stage of yoga, and hence enter into a dispute. The province of Arcadia is linked to the history of Callisto ‘the most beautiful’, who hunted wild animals with Artemis and who Zeus fell in love with, engendering the hero Arcas. Despite the difficulties of situating this province within a general progression due to the contradictions appearing in different accounts, we will see later on in this work that Callisto represents a very advanced state of realisation in the conquest of the vital archaisms through a power of Truth (for Callisto, ‘the most beautiful’, hunts wild animals in the company of a goddess). She is indicative of a form of yoga which reaches far beyond that carried out in Thessaly, for it must be remembered that the Centaurs were driven out of Thessaly and Arcadia.
Here the seeker wishes to enjoy the realisations and achievements of this phase. It is his ‘capacities for vision’, to which his other realisations, power and gentleness, have willingly submitted themselves at first, that organise themselves in order to reap the benefits of all realisations (Idas claims the whole herd for his brother and himself).
But this attempt taking place before the Trojan War fails, and ends with the annihilation of all the seeker’s powers and capacities of vision. Only a complete gentleness remains, an infinite compassion (only Polynices survives the bloody conflict).

At the beginning of the struggle Lynkeus utilises his powers of vision from the summit of Mount Taygete, the highest plane of the intuitive mind (see below).
The exact progression of the struggle is recounted with some variations. Of these different versions we can retain the points that Lynkeus was slain by Polynices, and that Idas, after having slain Castor, died under Polynices’ blows or else was struck dead by the lightening of Zeus. According to several traditions Idas and Lynkeus were killed near the tomb of their father Aphareus, ‘he who strives to be without mask’.

The loss of great realisations aim to place the seeker in a state of integral consecration to the Absolute. It is to be remembered that according to the Mother, ‘Complete surrender… It is not a matter of giving what is small to something greater nor of losing one’s will in the divine will; it is a matter of ANNULLING one’s will in something that is of another nature’ (Mother’s Agenda, Volume 1, 7 October 1956).

The end of the Dioscuri

According to Apollodorus Zeus allowed Polynices to ascent to the heavens, but as the latter did not wish for immortality if he could not share it with his brother Zeus allowed them both together to spend a day amongst the gods and one amongst mortals.
In the Odyssey, Homer confirms this end: ‘These two the earth, the giver of life, covers, albeit alive, and even in the world below they have honor from Zeus. One day they live in turn, and one day they are dead; and they have won honor like unto that of the gods’ (Homer and A.T. Murray, Odyssey XI.301-304).
The seeker has renounced his quest for a ‘complete vision’ and a ‘penetrating vision’ in the personal being for the sake of pursuing evolution. The supraconscient then grants him the experience of ‘infinite compassion’ from the non-duality of the spirit, but the seeker also aspires to its being a source of power to be able to move forward towards the transformation of humanity as a whole (Polynices does not accept to live amongst the immortals if Castor is not able to share this existence with him). According to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother it would seem that the transformation is possible only if the seeker has identified himself in the spirit and from there pulls forward Power from the inconscient (see Mother’s Agenda Vol. 2, p 419).
But this is not the solution, for the transformation cannot be carried out by the power of the spirit alone – an alliance between gods and humans is necessary. This is why Zeus creates an alternation by which power and compassion strengthen themselves by moving from the Absolute to a descent into the corporeal inconscient (within the fertile earth) so as to infuse it with consciousness; they therefore strive for a corporeal transparency.
But these are only the first layers of the inconscient, for the descent does not take place in Hades but rather beneath the earth of their native Lacedaemon.

It is possible to situate this conflict within the same period as the abduction of Helen for it had already taken place when the Trojan War begins; the seeker has therefore already begun to work on the depths of the unconscious.

THE ROYAL TROJAN LINEAGE (THE LINEAGE OF ELECTRA)

THE LINEAGE OF ELECTRA, THE ROYAL TROJAN LINEAGE (Diagram 16)

The generals and leaders opposing the Achaean troops at Troy belong to the royal Trojan lineage, which itself forms part of the greater lineage of the Pleiad Electra. Electra has been associated with the plane of the illumined mind, situated directly above the higher mind to which some ancient authors connected the lineage of Atreides by the ascendants of Hippodamia.
If this association is correct then the Trojans represent the vastest or most integrative space that can be established on the mental plane at this particular stage of yoga, at least during this period of ancient Greek history. It is for this reason that the war took place in Troy on the coast of Anatolia and at the easternmost limits of the Greek empire, which is to say at the limits of personal yoga. Lands even further to the east are mentioned in the myths, such as Colchis or the land of the Amazons, but there are only few instances.

The Trojan War was therefore a civil conflict rather than a war of the Greeks against a foreign people. On one side of the conflict were the Achaeans, ‘they who through concentration strive towards the purification and liberation of the being’ (sometimes also known as the Danaeans, ‘they who strive for union’, or the Argeans, ‘they who strive towards the goal of purity and light’). They were led by the aspiration of a ‘unified intelligent will’ (Agamemnon). On the other side were the Trojans, ‘they who strive for the right development on the plane of the spirit’, also known as the Dardanians, ‘they who strive towards union in the separation of spirit and matter’ (descendants of Tros and his grandfather Dardanos).
In this inner struggle for the conquest of the Truth of evolution (Helen), two parts of the seeker will fight each other:
On the one hand the will of incarnating the Divine in man, which is to say a refusal to separate the world of the Spirit and that of Matter, associated with the will for transformation to achieve an integral divinity of man;
And on the other hand the will of the ‘liberated seeker’ to maintain himself within the peace and joy of the Self, no longer relating to the action of this world. This attitude is uninterested by the transformation of the outer being, perhaps because it considered it to be an impossible task beyond a certain threshold of mastery.
In fact, Sri Aurobindo writes that ‘self-knowledge, the absence of desire, impersonality, beatitude and freedom in relation to the modes of Nature, when withdrawn into themselves, absorbed into themselves and inactive, have no need for equality, for they do not have awareness of things that bring about the opposition of equality and inequality’. (Essays on the Gita, The Divine Teacher).

Origins of the lineage

Dardanos

The founder of the lineage is Dardanos, thought to be the son of Zeus and the Pleiad Electra, symbols of the illumined mind. His name is built in the form X+RX, like that of Tartarus. It could therefore indicate both a union and its opposite. In this work, it is interpreted as a union in spirit in the separation of spirit and matter.

Dardanos fled Samothrace to escape the pain of the death of his brother Iasion, struck dead by lightning for having had the presumption of desiring Demeter. He sought refuge with the king of Phrygia, Teucer (Teukros), who was wed to Idaia. This king was the son of the river god Scamander, the river of the Trojan plane known by the gods as the river Xanthos. He gave Dardanos half his kingdom as well as the hand of his daughter Batia in marriage, who was sometimes also known as Arisbe.
According to some sources Dardanos, following the counsel of Apollo, founded on the slopes of Mount Ida a city which was named Dardania as his namesake (this city must be distinguished from Troy, which would be built on the plain). He then inherited the kingdom upon Teucer’s death, and fathered Ilos and Erichtonios.

The seeker who represents the symbolic opening of this lineage inherits the initiations granted by Samothrace, ‘a high asceticism’, for Dardanos was originated from this land. He is obliged to resume his journey when the supraconscient puts an end to the part of himself which assumes that it has completed the yogic process (Dardanos leaves Samothrace when his brother is struck to death by the lightning of Zeus for having desired a union with Demeter). Reaching a state which grants ‘the power of healing’, if this is in fact the significance of the name Iasion, does not in any way constitute an ultimate realisation of the union to which leads Demeter, ‘the mother of union’. It must also be remembered that except for a few rare exceptions mortals were not to enter into unions with goddesses.
It would seem that the initiations given in Samothrace, which were open to all, constituted a prerequisite to those of Eleusis, where took place the mysteries of Demeter and Persephone. Thus, even at the beginning of the lineage there existed a lack of ‘knowledge’ of the true path of evolution, foreshadowing Laomedon’s refusal to honour his commitments in the Trojan War.

The seeker then leaves behind the ancient forms of asceticism and turns towards a work on ‘the right opening of consciousness to the height of the spirit’ to achieve union (Dardanos sought refuge by the side of king Teucer, who was wed to Idaia. The Teucer referred to here is to be distinguished from Teucer the son of Telamon and brother of Ajax). Teucer was the king of Phrygia ‘the burning’, symbolising the inner fire (Agni).
This new search is supported by the ‘energy current’ which supports the widening of consciousness through separation, the river Scamander. From the perspective of the lower mind it is a force which allows man to open his consciousness on the left side, the side of separation, directing the aspiration towards the heights of the spirit. But in its totality and beheld from the overmind this river, known by the gods as Xanthos or the ‘golden-yellow’ river, symbolises a current of energy-consciousness which leads the inner being in the direction of identifying with the nature and the power of being of the Supreme (Ξ).
According to Sri Aurobindo, this light is that of the overmind illuminating the higher planes (the overmind, the intuitive mind and the illumined mind), and becoming in each plane the highest light of truth possible. When it is of a reddish-gold colour it is indicative of the same light of Truth reaching the physical level.
The seeker therefore chooses to pursue the process of ascension till the point that is ‘accessible to consciousness’ (the name Batia, spouse of Dardanos, is evocative of the point ’till which consciousness can reach’). For this reason it establishes the foundations of his quest on what leads towards the heights of union (he builds the foundations of the city on the slopes of Mount Ida).
Although both of these mountains are symbols of unions in the spirit there are distinguishing factors between the Mount Ida of Crete, the birth-place of Zeus, and the Phrygian Mount Ida of Troade. The first reflects the first manifestation of the overmind in man, while the second reflects a completion of the union in spirit with the Divine.

Dardanos engendered Erichtonios, ‘he who strives for a powerful incarnation’, or the basis of liberation. There is also mention of a homonymous Ilos, ‘free consciousness’, but he was said to have died without leaving any descendants behind. The renowned Ilos was the son of Tros and grandson of Dardanos.

Erichtonios

Erichtonios was said to be the wealthiest of mortals.
Amongst his many possessions could be counted three thousand proud mares and bounding fillies, which Boreas, the North Wind, once fell in love with as he beheld them grazing. Taking the form of a blue-maned stallion he fathered twelve fillies which galloped over the wheat crops without bending a single stalk and playfully over the wide back of the ocean and the waves breaking on the reefs.
Erichtonios fathered a son named Tros.

Erichtonios, ‘he who plunges deeply beneath the earth’i or into the unconscious, represents a work in the corporeal vital inconscient, a descent allowed by a more or less stabilised access to the illumined mind. At this point the seeker has then developed numerous powers in the domain of vital force, for Erichtonios ‘was the wealthiest of men, and owned three thousand mares with their fillies’, symbols of a great number of ‘powers’ or capacities.
The horse holds a special place for the Trojans who worshipped it in an almost cult-like fashion to the point of allowing an effigy of it to penetrate into their city (the Trojan horse). Previously discussed in regards to the Centaurs, the mares of Diomede and other examples, the symbolism of the horse is linked in a general way to power, force and strength, and often more specifically to vital power.

This powerful capacity for incarnation or individuation generates the greatest number of realisations, forces or capacities (Erichtonios was the wealthiest of mortals and owned three-thousand mares).
A work of mastery applied to these vital potentialities allows the revelation of powerful, light and able forces which do not disturb yogic growth or are not ruffled by the perturbations and nodes of the vital (the bounding fillies engendered by Boreas do not bend a single wheat stalk beneath their hooves and move effortlessly above the breaking waves).
Boreas is the North Wind, symbolic of yogic asceticism. Sri Aurobindo reminds us that while powers and forces must not be sought after, the seeker must also not systematically refuse them when they manifest themselves. Sri Aurobindo’s Journal of Yoga describes all the accomplishments which can be linked to this stage.

This highest level of realisation is possible through an asceticism of which the inspiration originates in the heights of the mind (Boreas had taken the form of a stallion with a blue mane), the blue mane of the stallion indicating the power of the overmind.
The word used to describe this is κυανοχαιτη, ‘of the dark blue mane’, and it is perhaps possible to draw a parallel here with the light of the Supreme Krishna, whose name translates into ‘dark blue’. A special blue is also the colour of Sri Aurobindo’s aura.
Unlike in other contemporary studies, in this work we will differentiate between the horses of Erichtonios and those gifted by Zeus to Tros in exchange for Ganymedes (see below).

Tros and his sons Ilos, Ganymedes and Assaracus

Erichtonios, wed to Astyoche the daughter of the river god Simois, fathered a son named Tros.
The latter fathered three sons in his turn, whom Homer describes as ‘perfect’. These were Ilos, Assaracus et Ganymedes.

Erichtonios, ‘he who plunges deeply into the earth’ (into the inconscient), enters into a union with Astyoche, ‘the concentration of the capacities of the being’, who bears him a son, Tros.
The seeker goes forward on the path of incarnation or individuation through a gathering together of his being, and develops a ‘right movement on the plane of the spirit’ – if we can indeed interpret the name Tros through the structuring characters ΤΡ). The name Tros is similar to Atreus, ‘the transforming will’, found in the lineage of the Achaean adversaries. His name is made up of the same structure with the addition of a privative ‘a’: α-ΤΡ : Atreus and Tros thus foreshadow two opposite directions of the quest.
Homer writes that Tros was a Trojan king, and is therefore representative of everything that works in the highest planes of the illumined mental consciousness.

Tros entered into an union with Callirhoe, ‘that which flows well’, which is to say a very right movement on the plane of the spirit. Callirhoe herself was a daughter of Scamander or Xanthus, the ‘golden-yellow’ river, a force which expresses the fundamental will of freedom and an aspiration to break one’s boundaries.
This hero is therefore symbolic of a seeker who achieves a spiritual harmony at ease in its own movement, but also strives to widen his field of action and render it cosmic.
The corresponding region of Troy was named after his son Ilos at the time when the city itself was known as Ilion, ‘a state of realised freedom’.

Callirhoe bore him three sons, for this extension of spiritual consciousness develops within three distinct lineages:
Firstly through Ilos, the path of ‘personal liberation’ which characterises a seeker free of desire, ego and attachment of every kind.
Subsequently through Assaracus, the path of the ‘right movement of the opening of consciousness in a unified being’, or of a peace obtained through equality. This hero was the grandfather of Anchise, who together with Aphrodite parented Aeneas. He is therefore at the origin of the lineage which Virgil associates with the founders of Rome and the Roman emperors.
And finally through Ganymedes, he who ‘watches over joy’, belonging to the lineage in which inner happiness and the joy of the soul is established.
These three sons are ‘irreproachable’ according to Homer, in that they are very far advanced on the path of mastery, of the intelligent will which elicits wisdom and sainthood.

Ganymedes

Zeus abducted Ganymedes, the most comely of mortals, to be a cup-bearer in Olympus. In his stead he gifted Tros with ‘the greatest horses beheld by sun or dawn’.
The progression into Joy is the highest realisation which the seeker could attain on the path towards non-duality through liberation and union in spirit. At this point the seeker possesses the highest powers of the vital to which man could aspire to in this evolutionary phase (the greatest horses beheld by sun or dawn).
Some sources affirm that in becoming an immortal Ganymedes was also freed from the effects of age, which expresses an ‘unceasing adaptation to the movement of becoming’. A little later on in this study we will learn in the myth of Eos and Tithonus that this goddess forgot to request eternal youth for her lover. This would suggest that it was the perjury of Laomedon, the son of Ilos, which put an end to this adaptation.

Ganymedes was a prince of Phrygia, ‘that which burns’, symbolising a seeker whose inner fire is developed to its highest level. This province is situated to the east of Troy in central Anatolia, and as the easternmost province of ancient Greece. It therefore symbolises the most advanced form of yoga.
In certain texts Ganymedes was abducted by Tantalus, ‘the will for progress’, or Minos, ‘the purification of the discerning intelligence’, rather than Zeus. Other authors described him as a son of Erichtonios, Laomedon, Ilos or Assaracus, ascribing as origins of this joy a number of different yogic progressions: ‘he who enters deeply into the inconscient’, ‘mastery’, ‘liberation’ or ‘equality’.

In the most common of later traditions, it is said that Zeus sent his eagle forth, or transformed himself into an eagle to abduct Ganymedes ; this specifies that the joy obtained through liberation establishes itself in the heights of the spirit at the level of the overmind (through the intervention of the supraconscient, the eagle of Zeus), where it henceforth collaborates in its nourishment (Ganymedes becomes a cup-bearer to the gods). In return, the seeker receives the most effective of powers (the greatest of horses).
The Mother perfectly explains the level of realisation attained here in a Questions and Answers interview from the 17th of October 1956, in which she describes a joy far beyond the one symbolised by Ganymedes:
‘Indeed, that delight is beyond the states which are generally considered as the highest from the yogic point of view, as for instance, the state of perfect serenity, of perfect equality of soul, of absolute detachment, of identity with the infinite and eternal Divine, which necessarily raises you above all contingencies. Parallel to this state there can be another which is the state of perfect, integral, universal love, which is the very essence of compassion and the most perfect expression of the Grace which wipes out the consequences of all error and all ignorance. These two states have always been considered as the summit of consciousness; they are what could be called the frontier, the extreme limit of what the individual consciousness can attain in its union with the Divine. But there is something which lies beyond; it is precisely a state of perfect delight which is not static: delight in a progressive manifestation, a perfect unfolding of the supreme Consciousness. The first of the two states I spoke about leads almost always to a withdrawal from action, an almost static condition, and very easily would it lead to Nirvana—in fact, it has always been the way prescribed for all those in search of Nirvana. But this state of delight I am speaking about, which is essentially divine because it is free, totally free from all possibility of oppositions and opposites, does not break away from action; on the contrary, it leads to an integral action, perfect in its essence and completely liberated from all ignorance and all bondage to ignorance. One can experience, on the path—when one has made some progress, when there is a greater understanding, a more total opening, a more intimate union with the divine Consciousness, one can experience this Delight as something that passes by and colours life and gives it its true meaning, but as long as one is in the human consciousness, this Delight is very easily deformed and changes into something which no longer resembles it at all.
Therefore, one could hardly say that if one loses the delight, one’s consciousness is lowered, for… the Delight I am speaking about is something which cannot ever be lost. If one has reached beyond the two states I spoke about a while ago, that is to say, the state of perfect detachment and close union, and the state of perfect love and compassion, if one has gone beyond these two states and found the divine Delight, it is practically impossible to come down from there. But in practical life, that is, on the path of yoga, if you are touched, even in passing, by this divine Delight, it is obvious that, should it leave you, you are bound to feel that you have come down from a peak into a rather dark valley. But Delight without detachment would be a very dangerous gift which could very easily be perverted. So, to seek Delight before having acquired detachment does not seem to be very wise. One must first be above all possible opposites: indeed, above pain and pleasure, suffering and happiness, enthusiasm and depression. If one is above all that, then one may safely aspire for Delight. But as long as this detachment is not realised, one can easily confuse Delight with an exalted state of ordinary human happiness, and this would not at all be the true thing nor even a perversion of the thing, for the nature of the two is so different, almost opposite, that you cannot pass from one to the other. So, if one wants to be safe on the path, it seems to me that to seek for peace, for perfect calm, perfect equality, for a widening of the consciousness, a vaster understanding and liberation from all desire, all preference, all attachment, is certainly an indispensable preliminary condition. It is the guarantee of both inner and outer equipoise. And then on this equilibrium, on this foundation which must be very solid, one may build whatever one wants. But to begin with, the foundation must be there, unshakable.’

This excerpt explains why the future Joy is to be built by the descendants of Anchise and his son Aeneas in the genealogical lineage of Assaracus, ‘prefect equality’, rather than in the lineage of his brother Ilos. It is from the time of Laomedon, the son of Ilos, that deviations will begin to occur in the yogic work. After an extended period of purification and reorientation of the yogic work the adventurer of consciousness, and following in his footsteps all of humanity, will be able to re-embark upon the path of the ascension of the planes of consciousness in pursuit of love within a world of Truth (for Aeneas is a son of Anchise and Aphrodite). But as pointed out by Sri Aurobindo, before this time the forces of Truth must be incarnated so as to allow an illumination of matter to take place.
In an effort to link the lineage of the Roman emperors to Ancient Greece, Virgil interpreted the indications given by Homer about the founding of a future Trojan city as an account of the founding of Rome. However this interpretation seems to have been made with a lack of in-depth understanding of the symbolism of the Iliad. An analysis of the work of Virgil including the Roman emperors of this lineage lies beyond the scope of this study.

Assaracus

Through the structuring characters of his name, Assaracus represents the ‘right movement of the opening of consciousness in a unified being’ or ‘a peace originating from equality’. He wed Hieromneme, ‘who is the custodian of sacred things’ and daughter of Simois, who bore him his son Capys. The significance of Capys remains obscure, but it contains structuring characters signifying ‘opening to equality’.
He had made his home on Mount Ida, the mountain of union in consciousness; once the seeker surpasses the Trojan error it will be possible for the yoga of union to be established on cleaner foundations (through his great-grandson Aeneas).
According to legend he advised the Trojans to cast the wooden horse into the ocean but was not heeded. Representing the aspect of the seeker that has the greatest equality, he perceives that an attachment to power is an error (for the horse will bring about the downfall of Troy).

Capys then entered into a union with Themiste, ‘the law of rectitude’, and fathered Anchise, ‘he who is close to man’, or perhaps ‘he who considers man as an integral whole’.
Anchise aroused the love of the goddess Aphrodite, who bore him a son named Aeneas.
Anchise was already an elderly man at the end of the Trojan War, for his son had to carry him on his back to flee from Troy. Like Achilles, Aeneas was the son of a goddess and owned two exceptional horses. He was wounded during the war, and nursed by Leto and Artemis while Apollo created a mannequin in his image to be placed on the field of battle.
We will return at a later point in this study to this part of the myth, to which Homer attaches a particular importance as the Trojan lineage will become, through Aeneas ‘he who pursues evolution’, one of the principal elements of future evolution. In fact Aeneas has a great affinity for the development of love, for he is a son of Anchise and Aphrodite. Homer writes that ‘destiny wished him safe so that the race of Dardanos, the best-loved child that the Cronid had conceived with a mortal woman, would be carried on’. He also adds that ‘in the future Aeneas and his descendants would rule over the Trojans’. This evolution in the illumined mind cannot in fact end with the error of the Trojan branch issued from Laomedon. Before being able to carry on, it is only necessary for the seeker, who represents humankind, to ready himself for a reorientation, which is ultimately what brings about the fall of Troy; Truth must in fact be established in man before Love can manifest itself within him.

Ilos

Ilos, representing one who strives for ‘liberation’, was the eldest son of Tros and founded the city of Ilion. He is therefore considered to be the founder of the royal lineage of Troy.

To decide the future location of the city Ilos followed the same procedure as did Cadmus in founding the city of Thebes.
Participating in games organised by the king of Phrygia he won fifty young men and fifty young women, as well as a cow which he was to follow in its wanderings till, as foreseen by the oracles, it would choose a place to lay down and thus mark the location on which Troy was to be built.
After having set down the foundations of the city Ilos asked Zeus for a sign of confirmation. At dawn, he beheld a wooden statuette fallen from the heavens, the Palladium.
The story of the Palladium is as follows: after her birth Athena was brought up in the home of Triton, and became friends with his daughter Pallas who was of the same age as she. The two young girls were wont to practice exercises of combat with each other, and one day they quarrelled. Fearing that Athena might be wounded by her friend, Zeus extended her aegis to protect her. Struck by fear, Pallas’ vigilance was shaken and Athena unintentionally struck her a fatal blow. Greatly afflicted, the goddess built a wooden effigy of her friend. Having set the aegis upon the statue, Athena placed it by Zeus’ side and venerated it.
But in answer to Ilos’ prayers Zeus sent down Ate ‘error’, at the same time as the Palladium (according to Apollodorus, Palladium and Ate were not sent down at the time of the founding of Ilion, but rather when Zeus seduced Electra, the mother of Dardanos, which is to say at the time of the very origins of the Trojan lineage).
Ilos built a temple in Troy in which to place the statue, and as long as the statue remained within its walls the Palladium protected the city of Troy. When the statue was stolen by Ulysses, the days left before the fall of Troy became numbered.

Through the growth of his inner fire (for Phrygia is the province of ‘burning’) the seeker has reached the end of individual liberation and of the realisations linked to this specific form or mode of yoga (represented by the fifty young men and women). For fifty is the number symbolising the completely realised form. In Aphorism 238, Sri Aurobindo cautions one to ‘Break the moulds of the past, but keep safe its gains and its spirit, or else thou hast no future’.
Ilos must therefore follow an inner light, which is given to enable him to continue the path of yoga and establish the foundations of a new stage in his evolution (Ilos must follow the cow).
This time the foundations for the new city are laid in the plane; this indicates that the seeker is drawing further from the heights of union (from Mount Ida where Ilos’ forefather Dardanos had founded the first city, Dardania).
This original error of orientation of the yogic process caused by the simultaneous sending down from the heavens of both the Palladium and Ate (Zeus sent down Ate, error, at the same time as the Palladium) is highlighted by Apollodorus, who specifies that the cow lay down on the hilltop of error (Ate).
This would seem to be an inevitable error however, at least at the time of the ancient Greeks. In fact, the seeker asks the supraconscient for a confirmation of the chosen direction, and in answer receives a ‘sign’ which he interprets as a validation (the Palladium). But the supraconscient sends down the symbol of the ‘peace of liberation’ as well as ‘error’ (Zeus sends down both Ate and the Palladium). But the passage through the error represented by Troy seems to be no longer inevitable. Specifically, the yoga proposed by Sri Aurobindo, which places an application in the realm of life as primarily important, gives the necessary keys to avoid this error.
If we consider the fact that the name Ate is built around the character T (Tau) and that she was Zeus’ eldest daughter according to Homer, then her name could be taken to indicate a tension straining towards a realisation at the heights of the overmind. She then only represents an ‘error’ insofar as the time of spiritual ascension reaches its end.
Another understanding of this name could be that as the overmind is the first plane of duality accessed when the threshold of the supramental is crossed, it holds within it opposing principles that include both truth and error.
The support of several of the primary gods including Ares, Aphrodite and Apollo in favour of the Trojans underlines the difficulty of discernment within this ‘trap’ set by the supraconscient.

The Palladium appears in Athena’s youth, which is to say at the beginning of the path, at the time when the seeker learns to listen to his ‘inner guide’ whilst seeking to develop ‘the peace resulting from the work of mental and vital liberation which much be exercised down to the depths of the archaic vital’ (Athena and Pallas, the daughter of Triton, are close friends).
In fact Pallas (Π+ΛΛ) is a daughter of the god Triton who is himself a son of Poseidon and Amphitrite, both deities of the subconscient. Triton, whose upper body is human and whose lower body is that of a fish, is therefore the god working at the boundary-line between the conscient and the subconscient vital, at the root of the vital.

The seeker strives to balance within himself these two movements – a deep purification and a listening to the inner guide -, but there comes a moment in which the two enter into opposition (Pallas and Athena come face to face in conflict whilst practising games of combat).
The supraconscient then fears that the quest for peace resulting from purification and liberation in the deep layers of the vital may harm the growth of the inner being, for the seeker has not yet been liberated from fear (Zeus’ aegis frightens and destabilises Pallas). The work of purification in the depths of the being then ceases (Pallas is mortally wounded). However the inner guide recognises the importance of this, and places it at the height of the spirit as a supreme goal to be attained (Athena places the effigy of Pallas by Zeus’ side).
Much later on in the yogic process the supraconscient recalls to awareness the need for this work (Zeus sends down the Palladium).
But at the same time this work on the depths of the being cannot be separated from the tendency for separation, for Zeus also sends down Ate, an influence which induces error through separation (according to one of the meanings of the letter Tau, which is the structuring character of the name Ate).
But as the seeker does not at that moment wish to tackle the root of duality, he simultaneously impedes the establishment of peace at the depths of the being. Instead of reviving this work, he distances it from himself whilst at the same time adoring it (Ilos builds a temple in the city of Troy to hold the statue). For it is in fact much easier to adore than to transform oneself.
As long as a part of the seeker maintains this position, no true yogic progress will be possible; Troy could not fall as long as the Palladium remained within its walls.

From this moment onwards the seeker who has attained a liberation in spirit can freely seek refuge in the paradises of spirit, which makes him disinterested in worldly affairs. This lack of interest, which can be found at different levels, has been condemned for instance in Christianity as ‘quietism’.

Apollodorus mentions two characters named Ilos. The first is a son of Dardanos who died without leaving any descendants, and the second is the founder of Ilion. This double naming underlines the fact that the liberation is fulfilled from the time of the son of Dardanos, and therefore applies to the lineage of Priam as well as that of Ganymedes and Assaracus, which will also give rise to Aeneas.

Ilos, ‘he who accomplishes liberation’, is the eldest son of Tros, and is therefore the rightful heir to the throne. He entered into a union with a homonymous Eurydice, ‘the right manner of acting’, daughter of Adrastus, ‘he who confronts’, who bore him two children, Laomedon, ‘mastery’, and Themiste, ‘rectitude as law’. As we have seen above, the latter entered into a union with Capys, son of Assaracus.

Tros also fathered a daughter named Cleopatra, whose name signifies ‘the renowned ancestors’, and which demonstrates that the adventurer of consciousness rediscovers numerous ‘realisations’ of ancient masters of wisdom from past historical eras. The biographies of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother till the point of their meeting and Sri Aurobindo’s Journals of Yoga are a clear statement of this fact.
It is for the progression of this triple realisation that the greatest Trojan hero is referred to as ‘the divine Hector’ by Homer.
This level of realisation has allowed the acquisition of a certain vital power and force, but it is not yet an absolute power of transformation originating from the world of unity, the supramental, for the horses of Tros are not immortal. Except for the gods, only the horses of Achilles were granted immortality.

To summarise, the three children of Tros define a seeker advancing on the path of freedom from desire and ego. This seeker has achieved a degree of inner joy and freedom from mental, vital and physical preferences, as well as a certain degree of peace, the condition necessary for the establishment of love. However, an error has inserted itself in the interpretation of a sign received from the supraconscient (for Ilos received Ate at the same time as Palladium). This error of understanding is reinforced by the fact that the illumination by a light issued from the spirit has been distorted due to a false mental-physical basis (the cow has settled down on the hill of error on which was subsequently founded the city of Troy).

It is therefore at this stage that the first deviation from the right path which would lead to the Trojan error is manifested. It is then further reinforced by the refusal to recognise the action of powerful spiritual forces and to abandon the powers acquired; it has in fact been said that it was the double refusal of Laomedon to honour his commitments which brought about the first Trojan War. We will outline the main elements of it below.

Laomedon and his children

We have already come across Laomedon in the study on the ninth labour of Heracles.
Following the orders of Zeus, for which Homer does not give any explanation, the gods Poseidon and Apollo were pledged to serve Laomedon for a year, during which they built the walls of the citadel of Troy (Pergamon). But when the work had been completed Laomedon refused to give the gods the due remuneration for their labour which they had agreed upon.
Apollo and Poseidon were angered by this breach. The former sent a plague onto the Trojan land, and the latter a flood and a sea monster which devoured its inhabitants. The oracle was then consulted, and answered that only a sacrifice of the king’s daughter Hesione would appease the anger of the gods. She was consequently tied to a rock by the shore to become the monster’s pray.
Laomedon promised the swift horses inherited from his father to whomsoever would slay the monster and liberate his daughter. But when Heracles achieved this task, Laomedon again refused to give him the promised prize.
It is said that this double refusal of Laomedon’s brought about the first Trojan war, as at the end of his labours Heracles returned to avenge himself on Laomedon.

Laomedon signifies ‘he who strives to gather’, ‘he who strives to master the elements of his outer being’ or ‘he who labours for the mastery of vision’. Pergamon is the name of the citadel of Ilion, symbolic of its highest structure of realisation, and signifies ‘completely united’ (here it is a question of a union in the spirit).
The seeker on the path of liberation pledged to give something of himself or consecrate himself (give remuneration) for the completion of the work of union (Pergamon is the ‘union above’). But he then refused to recognise that it is not through one’s own capacities, but thanks to the aid of the psychic light and of the subconscient higher force (Apollo and Poseidon) that are built the structures which allow access to a liberation in spirit (the walls of Pergamon, the citadel of Troy). According to some sources he was not entirely accountable for this first denial, for the gods had disguised themselves in order to help him.
According to some sources Poseidon built the walls of Troy while Apollo watched over the herds; the light of the psychic being ensures that the previously-acquired advancements are not be lost while the subconscious is at work.
Using Sri Aurobindo’s terminology, it would seem that in this instance Poseidon represents the subliminal mental and vital (the immense reaches of the vital and the mind situated beneath the threshold of our active consciousness), rather than the subconscious reservoir of all impressions and sensations gathered by consciousness.

The seeker therefore refuses to recognise that he is not the creator of his own liberation.
These are the first signs of spiritual ego, which claims ownership of the work and its realisations. For example, one who goes through much experimentation and thus obtains certain results can think that it is his own actions which have generated these results. The boundary-line is very thin between a right movement that demands no false humility and a false movement that believes itself to satisfy the divine while following its own tendencies, irrespective of how noble they may be.
Following this refusal to honour ‘spiritual engagements’, the powers of the spirit then give a first warning. The seeker is thoroughly shaken by the forces whose work he refuses to recognise. The psychic light withdraws, generating a growing darkness and possibly a variety of physical disharmonies as well (Apollo curses the people with a plague). The subconscient shakes the seeker even more deeply by generating emotional perturbations and raising forces of destruction which deprive him of his resources (Poseidon sends forth a flood and a sea monster which devours the people).
The seeker then intuitively understands that to halt this deserved experience and keep intact his energies for the yogic work (Laomedon consults the oracle to appease the anger of the gods and save the inhabitants of Ilion), he must abandon what we understand as a certain ‘wisdom’ or ‘serenity’ (he must sacrifice his daughter Hesione). There is no clear understanding of the significance of the name Hesione. In this work we follow an index of mythological characters compiled by Pape and Benseler, who surmise that the name derives from ἧσις , synonymous to τέρψις and signifying ‘serene’.
With the structuring letters, this name would mean ‘the evolution of balanced human mental consciousness, reason and intuition together’ which, given the position of Hesione in the Trojan lineage, can be associated with wisdom or serenity. Indeed, the mind must not be rejected but put in its proper place. This is the reason why Hesione will be saved by Heracles who will give it as reward to Telamon. She will therefore escape the massacre of the Trojans and will be integrated into the Achaean lineage.

Once the sacrifice has been accepted and prepared, an opportunity to continue the yoga with this wisdom presents itself, subject to the seeker proving his sincerity by renouncing the personal use of powers and thus placing them back into the hands of what heroically leads the yogic process forward (stopping at Troy on his journey back from the land of the Amazons, Heracles offers to free Hesione in exchange for the horses of Tros).

But for the second time the liberated seeker refuses to honour his inner commitments. He refuses to transfer his ‘powers’ to the inner divine by refusing to adopt an attitude of perfect consecration. Considering his stage of development, his powers are probably seen as great realisations by other men however. But it is the ‘spiritual ego’ which claims the upper hand, standing in the way of a complete abandonment to the hands of the Divine.
This time it is no longer gods in disguise who are denied their recompense but rather the foremost actor of the yogic work, Heracles, which suggests that this incident points to a more conscious refusal.
It is said that this double refusal of Laomedon’s brought about the first Trojan War.

Therefore long before the abduction of Helen or even the judgement of Paris, the elements which are to bring about the great inner conflict regarding the direction of evolution are already in place; the gradual divergence from the right path occurs more or less insidiously.

Laomedon’s wife is known by several different names: Strymon, ‘she who builds up consecration’, Leucippus, ‘a purified vital force’, etc.
Laomedon’s most often-cited sons are Tithonus, ‘inner evolution towards the highest consciousness’, Lampos, ‘he who shines’, Clytios, ‘he of great renown’, Hicetaon, ‘he who comes in supplication’, Podarces, ‘he who moves away from incarnation’. Following Heracles’ victory over Troy, Podarces will later be renamed Priam, ‘he who is bought again’. A number of daughters are also mentioned, including Hesione, ‘evolution of the mental unified consciousness, reason and intuition’, Cilla, ‘a widening towards liberation’, and Astyoche, ‘a well-organised personality’.
The seeker builds up his consecration but at the same time refuses to abandon his own goals and powers which he should have offered to the Divine, leading him to a rejection of incarnation.

Tithonus
We have already come across Tithonus, ‘an inner evolution towards the highest consciousness’, in the fourth chapter of Volume 1, where Eos, the goddess of dawn, falls in love with him.
Eos requested Zeus to grant Tithonus immortality, but failed to ask for eternal youth. As long as Tithonus remained young they lived together happily at the outermost frontiers of the earth, at the shores of the ocean currents. But with the passage of time the ravages of age gradually reduced Tithonus to a larvae, which Eos locked into a closed room in which he was to babble on eternally from then on.
This demonstrates that even if the supraconscient allows the seeker to access non-duality in the spirit, he cannot yet accomplish an ‘adaptation to the movement of becoming’, which implies an adaptation to what is New and changing from one moment to the next. Even if the seeker takes this newness as his aim he does not work on it sufficiently (Eos ‘forgets’ to ask for eternal youth for Tithonus). That which does not evolve regresses, returning to the primordial movements of repetition and coiling inward (Tithonus becomes a larvae babbling on eternally).
Tithonus fathered two sons, Memnon, ‘intelligent will’, and Emathion, ‘inactive inner consciousness’. Memnon was killed by Achilles during the Trojan War, but Eos obtained immortality for him, since the intelligent will turned towards action allows access to non-duality. On the other hand, ‘the inactive (quietist) inner consciousness must disappear; Emathion is killed by Heracles during his quest for the golden apples.

Hicetaon
Hicetaon, or ‘he who comes supplicating’, represents an erroneous attitude towards the Divine, expecting everything from Him without applying one’s own efforts to one’s transformation.
According to Homer (Iliad 5, 540) he fathered a son named Melanippos, ‘a dark vital energy’. Honoured by Priam as if he were his own son, Melanippos would lead his twisted-legged oxen to Percote, and returned to Troy whilst the ships of the Athenian coalition drew near the city. Hector later accused him of remaining unmoved by the murder of his cousin, and he was eventually killed by Antilochos.
This attitude of the seeker who does not apply himself to transformation develops a negative force (Melanippos) which results in realisations that are erroneously positioned in regards to what is real and are engaged in a twisted relationship with incarnation (the twisted-legged oxen). The concept of the separative yoga accepts this attitude without difficulty, but without however being able to integrate it (he is honoured by Priam as if he were his own son, but he leads the oxen to graze far from Troy, in a ‘blackish’ place, Percote). But when the inner conflict is amplified this attitude is absorbed into the Trojan position, despite the reproaches he receives for his lack of concern (when the opposing coalition approaches he returns to Troy, but Hector accuses him of not demonstrating an appropriate level of mourning for the death of one of his family members). This mistaken attitude disappears in the reversal of yoga (Antilochos later kills him).

Hesione

Of the three daughters of Laomedon only Hesione, ‘mental wisdom’ or ‘serenity’, plays an important role in mythology. To begin with she was, as we have seen, first secured to a rock to become the prey of a sea monster, and then freed from this end by Heracles. When much later on we see Heracles avenging himself on Laomedon, he takes Hesione captive and gives her to Telamon as a recompense for accompanying him on the journey. Telamon, ‘he who carries consecration to its completion’, is a son of Aeacus and therefore a brother of Peleus and an uncle of Achilles. He therefore belongs to the lineage of the adventurers of consciousness on the path of purification and liberation. He takes Hesione with him, and she bears him a son named Teucer. The meaning of this hero’s name remains obscure. Here he is linked to ‘endurance’, the work of the acquisition of serenity. Homer writes of Teucer that he was the best archer in all of the Greek army. We have already surmised that archery was synonymous to the capacity to identify oneself with the goal, concentration, perseverance, determination and self-mastery. Teucer is therefore the warrior best able to concentrate on the goal and to persevere in his effort to attain it. A homonymous Teucer is also mentioned at the beginning of the Trojan lineage. Appearing on both sides of the conflict, he represents a positive element of the highest consciousness, and through the structuring characters of his name represents ‘the right opening towards the heights of consciousness’. We will therefore associate him with a ‘persevering concentration towards the heights of consciousness’, while he could also be associated with ‘power’ considering his status as a warrior.
With another wife Telamon also fathered Periboea, ‘everything concerning incarnation’, as well as a son of great renown, the Ajax the Great, ‘a work of the widening of consciousness”.

Hesione is therefore the symbol of a serenity which has developed within the framework of the illumined mind, for she is a Trojan princess, but becomes the aim of endurance in a yoga which works on the perfection of detail (she is presented to the hero Telamon, who brings her back with him to Greece), thus generating a ‘work of widening consciousness’ represented by the great Ajax.

Podarces/Priam

After presenting Hesione to Telamon Heracles completed the destruction of Troy. As he had slain Laomedon he offered the kingdom to Podarces, for the latter was the only one amongst Laomedon’s sons to have urged his father to honour his commitments. Podarces then took on the name Priam.
The fact that Podarces, ‘he who sets aside incarnation’, took on the name Priam, ‘one who is bought back’, suggests that a second chance is given to the seeker when he returns to the right path, and is supported by a widening of consciousness (Hesione and Telamon’s departure for the island of Salamis). But the Trojans will put an end to this opportunity with the judgement of Paris and the abduction of Helen.

Priam was wed to Hecabe, the daughter of Dymas, who bore him nineteen sons. With other ladies of his palace he fathered thirty-one others, making a total of fifty sons. He also fathered twelve daughters who got married, and two others, Cassandra and Polyxena, who remained unmarried and continued to live under his roof.
Of his children, Hector, Paris/Alexander and Cassandra became the most widely known (we must however note that Hector and Troilus are described as sons of Apollo by some Greek writers who wished to underline the importance of the psychic light).

Although he has been given a second chance, the liberated seeker refuses incarnation; Priam enters into an union with Hecabe, ‘she who is outside incarnation’.
If the total number of fifty sons expresses a totality in the world of forms, those born of Hecabe represent a minority (the symbolism of the number nineteen indicated by Homer is unknown to us).

As for what concerns the new goals of the quest, his daughters, quite a wide expression is given covering all domains as well as the means by which to bring them into action.
Cassandra, ‘she who is against man’ (who refuses the possibility of his perfection), also referred to as Alexandra by Homer and signifying ‘she who rejects man (to the benefit of the spirit)’, is unmarried; the refusal to incarnate perfection in matter does not actually have the means of opposing the movement of evolution. For not only is Cassandra unmarried, but her predictions also always go unheeded.
According to some sources another of Priam’s daughters remains unmarried. This is Polyxena, ‘the evolution of numerous perceptions from above’; at this stage the seeker cannot profit from what he receives from the spiritual planes.

Homer only specifies the names of five sons amongst the nineteen borne by Hecabe: Antiphonus, ‘that which opposes the desire for conflict’, Deiphobe, ‘that which slays fear’, Hector, ‘the right movement of the opening of consciousness towards the spirit’, Helenus, ‘the pursuit of the process of liberation’, and Paris, ‘the just movement towards equality’, who will be renamed Alexander, ‘he who puts aside the human (the possibility of its transformation)’.
Of the fourteen daughters of Priam, only Cassandra, ‘she who is against man’, and Laodice ‘to see or desire in the right way’, the most beautiful of his daughters, are mentioned by Homer as children of Hecabe.

THE LINEAGE OF TANTALUS (THE EVOLUTION OF ASPIRATION)

Pain is the touch of our Mother teaching us how to bear and grow in rapture. She has three stages of her schooling, endurance first, next equality of soul, last ecstasy.
Sri Aurobindo
Thoughts and Aphorisms, Aphorism 93,

THE LINEAGE OF TANTALUS, or THE EVOLUTION OF ASPIRATION
(Diagram 15)

The origins of Tantalus

In the genealogical diagrams used in this work, the lineage of Tantalus has been described in relation to the descendants of the Pleiad Sterope, although Apollodorus and Hyginus were the only one amongst the initiates of ancient Greece to have identified her as the mother or spouse of Oenomaus, father of Hippodamia.
However, if Tantalus is taken to be a primary symbol of aspiration, of a will for progress and/or of a need for evolution, his lineage can be placed neither within the path of the ascension of the planes of consciousness nor within that of purification and liberation. Aspiration, or the need for evolution, is in fact the motor force of all that lives with the purpose of uniting with the Source. In man in can express itself through action, through the heart or through the mind. But this is a need of the soul, and is therefore situated beyond the five categories of primary needs defined by Maslow: physiological or vital needs, needs for security, for love and belonging, for self-esteem, and for realisation or personal accomplishment, since it is a need of the soul.

Aspiration can lead to a variety of experiences of union with the Absolute, but both the liberation into spirit – the end of desire and ego – which is the result of a process of purification – and to an even greater extent the liberation of nature, remain tied to a progression within the mind till a certain point. Expressed by the fundamental movement of yoga of ascension and integration, this link constitutes quite a complex problem. In fact the seeker can progress quite far in a specific area even while leaving behind other parts of the being, which will eventually force him to turn back. In mythology this link is marked by unions between heroes and heroines of different lineages, by the participation of the heroes of these lineages in Panhellenic adventures or by ‘visits’ and gifts exchanged by characters from different lineages. The number of generations within each lineage adds an element of complexity to this problem.

Pindar describes Tantalus as one who is on familiar terms with the gods and even as an immortal, reflecting a seeker who is familiar with the powers of the overmind and who has possibly even attained a state of non-duality in the spirit. Marking the origin of the lineage, this accomplishment therefore presupposes a very advanced stage of mental progression.
However, the sacrifice of his only son offered to the gods shows that the researcher, although very dedicated, think to have reached the end of yoga since no more yoga work would be necessary (the death of the only son). There is then the need to go back to achieve a more complete mastery; it will be the union of Pelops and Hippodamia.

This is why the order of descendance described by Apollodorus and Hyginus, which is apparently drawn from ancient sources, seems coherent. It associates this remarkable aspiration to a great development of the higher mind, represented by the Pleiad Sterope, ‘a vision in lightening flashes’. Hence the mention of Hippodamia, ‘the mastery of vital force’, as a daughter of Oenomaus and Sterope or granddaughter of the god Ares and Sterope.
We can understand therefore that the seeker has to come down from the higher planes of the mind to complete purification which would then be started from the higher mind.
Sterope, a symbol of the higher mind plane, quite logically sets in place the Atrides in relation to the royal Trojan lineage, which according to a number of Greek authors originated from Zeus and the Pleiad Electra, the illumined mind. In fact the Trojans, a people of the East, represent a part of the being that is more advanced in the ascension process than that symbolised by the Achaean coalition.
Tantalus represents the culmination of an aspiration that put the seeker on the path, symbolised by Deucalion “the one who calls the union”, son of Prometheus.
Since the link with the higher mind is only through a maternal ancestry, the Tantalus lineage is therefore considered in this work separately from the two main paths of ascension and purification, while keeping in consideration the parallels and links drawn by the initiates of ancient Greece between this lineage and the two main paths.

When associating Hippodamia with the mastery of the vital, one must remember the distinction between on the one hand the ‘control’ imposed by the ego, and on the other the principle of mastery, the responsibility of which must be progressively transferred from the personal will to the psychic being as the ego progressively disappears. In this case, ‘mastery’ comes to signify ‘liberation’, and it is the progressive quest for a ‘true mastery’ which Hippodamia represents. This is the reason for the infamous punishment of Tantalus in Hades, which expresses an aspiration which has ‘descended’ into the body, the corporeal inconscient, or an ‘aspiration of the cells’. In other words, the symbol of Hippodamia’s union with Pelops, son of Tantalus, is that of the beginning of a quest for the power of transformation.
While a great mastery of the vital and mental planes leads to a state of ‘liberated’ seeker – a liberation from desire, ego and suffering linked to the mind and the vital – this stage must be transcended to allow a progression to the next stage of yoga. This reversal is illustrated by the story of Pelops the son of Tantalus, and then by the Trojan War led by the Atrides.

The significance of the name Tantalus is difficult to ascertain. Through its structuring characters it could be a symbol of the evolution of aspiration towards the Absolute in the heights of the spirit. If considering only the single word root ‘Tal’, endurance, then this aspiration would be linked to the principle of endurance.
This character’s origins are obscure. Some relatively weakly supported sources (Diodorus and Pausanias) describe him as a son of Zeus and Pluto, ‘wealth’, sometimes considered to be a daughter of Atlas or a nymph of Mount Sipylus, ‘the doorway’ or ‘frontier of the human’.
As a son of Zeus he symbolises an impulse of the supraconscient aiming at a major realisation to be carried out through his descendants, Agamemnon and Menelas.
As Pluto’s son, Tantalus was famous for his wealth, obtained through a very advanced degree of spiritual evolution. This is why he was said to be on familiar terms with the gods, which is to say that he represented a seeker who had attained the level of the overmind, at least up to a certain extent.
In her representation as a nymph of Mount Sipylus ‘the door out of human consciousness’, Pluto is the symbol of a spiritual force at the height of the process of personal yoga, before the latter is transferred to the Divine.

Several names are given to the wife of Tantalus. These are Euryanassa, (‘a vast mastery’), Eurythemis, (‘obedience to the supreme law’ and daughter of the river Xanthos, ‘golden yellow’, symbol of the accomplishment of detachment and inner development, current of consciousness/energy linked to liberation from dualities), Klytia (‘she of great renown’, daughter of Amphidamas, ‘everything which concerns mastery’), or Dione, (‘the evolution of union in consciousness’ and daughter of Atlas).
All of these names express the aspiration and the work of the seeker in view of a vast mastery which has no constraint, rejection nor denial.

The punishment of Tantalus

Tantalus is most well known for the punishment that he underwent in the kingdom of Hades. To thoroughly understand this story, one must go back to those who endured other forms of punishment in the underworld, namely Tityus, Sisyphus and Tantalus. All three of these characters represent elements which have been useful in evolution, but which are still at work in the body, and must be vanquished there or must achieve their accomplishment during the last stage of yogic progress (See Volume 1 Chapter 4 of this work).

The first character, Tityus, is a son of Gaia, and therefore represents a process generated at the source by the principle of Existence. He symbolises the fundamental distancing of man from his divine origin, or the sense or awareness of separateness.
In Hades his body was spread over a distance of about fifty acres, and vultures devoured his liver. He had been slain by Apollo and Artemis for his attempted abuse of their mother Leto.
This awareness of separateness must be vanquished, not only in the mind, but also within the vital and finally within the body down to the level of the cells. It must be noted that the power of union brought forth by the psychic is incompatible with separation but not with differentiation.
It is therefore necessary for the belief of separation symbolised by the liver to progressively disappear at the corporeal level as well. In the Caduceus the liver can be attributed to the Sephiroth Netzach, centre of consciousness in which one can also situate the liver, while reason rests on Hod, the other pillar. The liver of Tityus thus symbolises the belief in separation.

The second character to be punished in the underworld was Sisyphus, father of Bellerophon the conqueror of the Chimera. It therefore seems apparent that he had served his role in evolution. But when all illusions have been vanquished in the mind and in the vital it is still necessary for the body to abandon its illusions as well, which are linked to millions of years of evolution and the evolutionary logic of which form an impregnable bastion. It is then a matter of transforming the paradigms linked to the past, going against the sense of logic, through a total abandonment to what is Real and to the supramental action. The illusions of the body are those which seem like ‘impossible’ to us. But already at the cellular level – without even considering the molecular and corpuscular levels, the first paradigms of which science is just beginning to discover – these impossibilities can begin to be banished.
Within the deep subconscient or the inconscient, the personal effort sustained by the mind and represented by Sisyphus can no longer bear fruits; everything is to be ceaselessly begun again, for nothing is acquired in a definitive way.

Placed at the origin of the lineage of the Atreides, Tantalus represents the tertiary process which first allows an access to divinity in the Spirit and a certain degree of proximity with the psychic being, but which must reorient itself towards a purification and liberation of the lower nature down till the level of the body. It is for this reason that Homer writes of his ‘old age’, a phase in which aspiration or the will for progress cannot cease till man has been rendered divine.

According to Homer, when Ulysses descended into the kingdom of Shadows he beheld Tantalus amongst the damned.
Then in his old age, the latter stood in a lake of water which rose till his chin. Although parched with thirst, he could not reach the water which was being continually absorbed by the soil. Around his feet then appeared a dark earth which was being dried out by a god.
And when his hand reached for one of the succulent fruits which hung above his head, the wind would push it away into the shadowy clouds.

Other texts which describe this myth evoke an initial state in which the seeker has managed to reach, at least temporarily, a level of the overmind, for Tantalus sits at the table of the gods. According to some Greek authors Tantalus had even attained immortality, which symbolises a seeker who exists as a spirit within Spirit, rather than as a mind within a body. Immortality must be understood as described by Sri Aurobindo in his Essays on the Gita, in The Creed of the Aryan Fighter. There he writes that ‘by immortality is meant not the survival of death, – that is already given to every creature born with a mind, – but the transcendence of life and death. It means that ascension by which man ceases to live as a mind-informed body and lives at last as a spirit and in the Spirit. Whoever is subject to grief and sorrow, a slave to the sensations and emotions, occupied by the touches of things transient cannot become fit for immortality. These things must be borne until they are conquered, till they can give no pain to the liberated man, till he is able to receive all the material happenings of the world whether joyful or sorrowful with a wise and calm equality, even as the tranquil eternal Spirit secret within us receives them.’

Tantalus therefore represents ‘aspiration’ or ‘a will for yogic progress’, marked by an at least partial ascent to the overmind, the plane of the gods. This is why Agamemnon, his most renowned descendant, was described by Homer as ‘the greediest of the Greeks’, he whose aspiration and will for progress is strongest.
This aspiration occurs within the body when the corresponding yogic process begins, but it never allows an enjoyment of the fruits which the adventurer of consciousness beholds close at hand. On the contrary, he must face a progressive aridity in the body, the crepuscular cellular matter in which the vital becomes less and less involved, in relation to his capacity to come face to face with it (the dark earth is dried by a god).
Tantalus’ ‘old age’ in the kingdom of Hades confirms the fact that this points to the end of a process.

In the version recounted by Athenaeus (second century BCE), Tantalus was on familiar terms with the gods and used to dine at their table, so that he in his turn invited them to a feast. Zeus promised to fulfil any wish Tantalus would make, and the latter asked to live as one of the gods. Zeus was obliged to accede to his request, but hung a rock over his head so that he would be unable to enjoy all that which was presented to him.
A number of elements in this version of the myth had already been alluded to by Pindar six centuries earlier, but in his account the rock did not threaten to crush Tantalus, but only kept him from accessing full enjoyment. In the present version, the author insists on the essential lack, the need for something else, as the motor of the lineage

In other versions, Tantalus was punished either because of sacrificing his son Pelops, or because he had shown arrogance or had divulged the knowledge of mysteries which were to remain secret.

The sacrifice of Pelops

Two main versions of this story exist.
In the most well known one, Tantalus slew his son, and presented his flesh as part of a feast for the gods. While this version seems to draw elements from an archaic tradition and was mostly picked up again by the Greek tragic playwrights, it would seem that Pindar was probably not keen to support the misunderstandings which would interpret this story as a cannibal repast offered to the gods. This author in fact rejected this as a fiction of mortals, and proposed an alternative version in his First Olympian. He left a number of elements unexplained, including that of Pelops having been placed within a cauldron and given a shoulder of ivory.

The most common version can be summarised as follows:
Tantalus was on familiar terms with the gods, whose meals he often shared. One day he slew his young son Pelops, and served him as a repast to the gods. Recognising the nature of the dish the gods brought Pelops back to life, according to some sources by boiling his remains in a giant cauldron under Rhea’s attentive gaze. However, Demeter, distraught by grief at the disappearance of her daughter Persephone, had in her distracted state eaten one of Pelops’ shoulders. (This version appeared with Lycophron in the fourth century BCE.) Realising her mistake, she replaced it with a shoulder of ivory – or this was said to have been done by the gods unanimously in certain accounts.
It is sometimes attributed to the sacrifice of his son and to the resulting cannibal feast that Tantalus was later punished in Hades.

All Greek writers who recounted this myth were in agreement regarding Tantalus’ familiarity with the gods. Pindar even affirms that he had been rendered immortal by consuming nectar and ambrosia. It is therefore improbable that he would have wished to ‘test’ the gods or even to trick them as Prometheus had attempted to do, for here the seeker’s relationship with the worlds of the Spirit is no longer the same.

It must be remembered that the nourishment of the gods consisted of nectar and ambrosia.
The immortal ambrosia is the nourishments which maintains a state of non-duality (a-brosios: that which is not mortal). According to Homer it had been brought by doves from the Far West; it is what maintains peace or a perfect equality. Homer (Iliad 5.369) adds that Iris used to feed ambrosia to the divine horses of Ares; the current of consciousness-force, which links the powers of the overmind to each other or to human consciousness, gives ambrosia to nourish and dynamise the vital forces which work towards a renewal of forms for the right evolution.
The word nectar is made up of the same structuring characters as Actor and the ‘divine’ Hector. It is therefore a question of ‘that which in manifestation allows the evolution of the right movement of the opening of consciousness towards the spirit’ (Ν+ΚΤ+ΩΡ). Like ambrosia, it comes from the origins of life (far West), nourishing from behind the veil the supraconscient that guides humanity. While ambrosia is linked to the principle of Unity in the spirit, nectar, which is a beverage, is more strongly linked to the principle of Joy.

Tantalus offering his son as food for the gods is the image of a seeker who offers as a sacrifice to the divine everything which results from his aspiration, assuming that he has come to the end of his yogic progress. In fact, the slaying of his own son actually ends his descendance, and therefore halts the movement of aspiration.
But for the states of consciousness of the overmind, it cannot be a matter of putting an end to the yogic process as long as the external nature has not been transformed.
The versions of this myth in which the gods partake of the meal offered by Tantalus would therefore seem to be the results of a gradual misunderstanding.

Pindar does not mention the feast, but only describes that Pelops had been thrown into a cauldron and then given a shoulder of ivory, without however specifying whether he had been killed or cut into pieces beforehand:
Tantalus was highly esteemed by the gods, and had even been rendered immortal by nectar and ambrosia. When his young son Pelops was rescued from the cauldron by Clotho, he emerged resplendent and ivory-shouldered, and Poseidon fell in love with him.
Then, while Tantalus was inviting the gods to partake of a feast on Mount Sipylus, Poseidon abducted young Pelops, brought him to the palace of Zeus and made him into one of cup-bearers of the gods. (This task would later on be ascribed to the Trojan Ganymedes, son of Tros in the lineage of Electra).
As the child did not return to his mother, an envious neighbour was said to have spread the rumour that the gods had dismembered, boiled and eaten him. This Pindar clearly denounces as pure falsehood.
The author then adds that Tantalus was punished in Hades for his pretentiousness, for he had dared to share nectar and ambrosia with his other guests of his age. Kept from enjoyment in Hades, he ceaselessly struggled to remove the heavy stone which Zeus had suspended above him.
And as to his son Pelops, he was sent back amongst mortals by the gods.

In this version of the myth Pindar presents the bend in the yogic progression a little differently, without however clearly specifying the sense of having reached personal yoga achievement. There is only mentioned the arrogance of having wished to prematurely extend the state of non-duality to the being as a whole. In fact, the pretence of being beyond duality because it has been realised in the spirit must not be used as a protective screen for those who have not yet freed themselves from the hold of the ego. The perception of good and evil is necessary till this liberation takes place so as not to run the risk of indulging one’s weaknesses or tendencies.

The seeker then reaches a very advanced stage of yoga in Knowledge, even taking part in the non-duality of the spirit (the spiritualisation of the being, or spiritual transformation); Tantalus partakes of the nectar and ambrosia meant for the gods.
The name of his son, Pelops, can be understood as ‘one whose vision is darkened’, a sign of a loss of direction on the path. Other interpretations could be ‘he who draws near to vision’ (one who is on the point of becoming a seer in Vedic tradition), or ‘he who possesses the vision of darkness’.
However, the seeker maintains a degree of self-importance which, according to some sources, brings upon Tantalus his punishment in the kingdom of Hades. This assurance of being more advanced on the path than he truly is will be confirmed later on by the story of the children of Niobe the daughter of Tantalus, who were killed by Artemis and Apollo as a punishment for Niobe’s claims to being more fertile than Leto, symbol of the psychic being.

The seeker has been put through a very deep process of purification by spiritual forces (Pelops was plunged into a cauldron). For this he has undergone an alchemical-like process, with a separation of elements, purification and final reunion, which is perhaps what was meant to be symbolically expressed by the dismemberment and the boiling of Pelops in the archaic myth. But Pindar gives no explanation or details regarding this purification, noting however that it reaches a point at which the seeker has advanced halfway through ‘the doorway of the gods’. This is symbolised by the ivory shoulder given to Pelops by Demeter, the force watching over the process of union. This image then expresses the fact that the liberation of the spirit only constitutes half of the path.
Let us remember that the ‘doorway of the gods’ of the Tree of Sephiroth is situated at the level of the clavicles within the body, and constitutes the passage towards non-duality that is permanently in the Spirit. In fact, ivory is the most beautiful and pure of bone matter.
The shoulder is also symbolic of a ‘power of realisation’ flowing from the Will.

It was the goddess Clotho, ‘she who threads the fabric of life’, one of the Moirai and a daughter of Themis and Zeus, who rescued the child Pelops from the cauldron. Knowing however that Pelops was sent back to live amongst mortals, we find ourselves confronted by two elements which suggest a complete reversal of the spiritual path, a radical modification of the general framework. While the totality of aspiration was till this point entirely oriented towards a union with the Divine within the realm of Spirit, the adventurer of consciousness must henceforth plunge into the foundations of life and corporeal matter to strive for a more complete union. But this will not be carried out without difficulties.

The seeker has arrived to the ultimate point of his personal yoga, symbolised in this myth by Mount Sipylus, ‘Σ (sigma)’, which is to say ‘the doorway of man’. Beyond this point, he must abandon his personal will in the yogic process to give himself up exclusively to the hands of the Divine. This signifies that he is connected not only to the higher light of the spirit but also to the psychic being, indicating exactness in all of its movements.

At the end of this extended purification the seeker goes through a phase in which he is filled with joy resulting from his aspiration without however perceiving the exact origin of it as it is brought up by the subconscious. Pelops is abducted by Poseidon to be made into one of the cup-bearers of the gods. He precedes Ganymedes in this role, the latter being ‘he whose aim is joy’ and who was himself abducted by Zeus.

As the lineage of Tantalus is linked to the higher mind while the Trojan lineage is linked to the illumined mind, this refers to a progression in divine joy. This first experience is however only temporary (Pelops is sent back amongst mortals), for joy is only definitively established with the advent of the illumined mind when the Absolute takes charge of the direction of yoga (when Zeus gives the divine horses in exchange for Ganymedes of Troy).
According to ancient traditions this moment of personal liberation is also the point at which there is no longer a need for reincarnation. Pelops’ return amongst mortals would therefore also be the choice of the highest subconscious aiming to carry on the process of yoga for humanity.

As the personal process of yoga reaches its culmination, it is in the body that the aspiration or will for progress is to be henceforth inscribed (Tantalus is cast into Hades). It is not a question of a mental aspiration imposed on the body externally, but of an aspiration which must be born in the cells themselves so that they discover the joy of union and access their own power, for instance the power over illness. It is therefore a question of the rendering divine of corporeal matter.
Pindar, who rejected the version recounting the cannibal feast, had to find another reason for Tantalus’ banishment. To do so he supported himself on the seeker’s wish to extend non-duality and joy to all parts of his being prior to their being sufficiently purified (Tantalus shared nectar and ambrosia with the other guests of his age). According to Pindar Tantalus was full of pretentiousness.

In the kingdom of Hades Tantalus did not seem to fear the fall of the rock but to perceived it simply as a permanent obstruction hovering above his head; the seeker experiences an inability to connect to the worlds of the Spirit to which he was previously close. In contrast to the joy which he was used to taste in those worlds, he entered into an existence that is stripped of it (Tantalus looses the joys of Olympus).
The process of Yoga is often filled with these numerous reversals, in which that which has been enjoyed during a certain period is suddenly taken away.

It would make sense that the wife of Tantalus expresses through her name this complete personal liberation. However, none of the early sources give such an indication, even though they are all in general agreement in indicating a high degree of mastery.
She is given different names depending on the secondary source:
Euryanassa, ‘a vast mastery’.
Klytia, ‘she of great renown’, daughter of Amphidamas, ‘a complete mastery’ (Pherecydes).
Sterope, ‘vision in lightening flashes’, a Pleiad and daughter of Atlas.
Dione, ‘the evolution of union in consciousness’. According to Hyginus she was a Pleiad, but this is not corroborated by other authors.

The children of Tantalus: Pelops and Niobe

Niobe
We have already discussed the story of Niobe, ‘the incarnation of consciousness in evolution’, in the second chapter as part of the discussion on the founding of Thebes. Here we will only repeat what occurs at the end of this process.
Niobe had six sons and six daughters, all in the full bloom of their youths, and she boasted of being Leto’s superior because of her many children. Offended, Leto asked her children to avenge this insult, and so Apollo slew Niobe’s sons, and Artemis her daughters. Their corpses remained unburied and lay in their own blood for nine days, for according to some sources Zeus had turned the entire world to stone. But on the tenth day the Ouranian gods were appeased and buried the dead themselves. Niobe was turned into a stone upon Mount Sipylus, where she underwent the mourning inflicted upon her by the gods.

Niobe was the wife of Amphion, kind of Thebes. Amphion had laid the foundations of Thebes with his brother, which is to say that he had set the bases of the process of purification. But at this point it is the personal will which is at work rather than the psychic being, irrespective of the number of realisations accomplished. At a certain point on the path, the psychic being quite violently halts all the developments of this process of purification (Leto’s children, Apollo and Artemis, slay Niobe’s sons and daughters), for the seeker is too confident of being on the right path due to the accomplishments already obtained whilst following only his own ideas and personal will (Niobe presumed to be Leto’s superior).
This myth highlights the fact that spiritual progression is most often not measured by the number of accomplishments or realisations that are obtained and spread out in full sight. Many amongst these can if fact be the results of the resurgence of ancient progresses of humankind or of long-lasting traditions, without the evolutionary process having been necessarily correctly integrated. The Mother insists on this point repeatedly when Satprem complains of a lack of visible realisations or achievements, and also gives this explanation in regards to the disciple’s Tantric guru.

In fact, the six sons and daughters of Niobe are expressions of perfectly balanced yogic works and realisations, obtained through a process of purification led by the personal will. But the personal will, which prides itself on bearing more fruits than the psychic being and even subtly boasts of this, must give way to the guidance of the psychic being in the yogic work (Niobe had boasted that she was more fertile than Leto).

This myth confirms what was underlined by the story of Tantalus, which shows a seeker wishing some parts of himself to access non-duality before having been appropriately purified (Tantalus sought to share with his comrades the divine nectar and ambrosia).
Henceforth it is no longer the personal will for progress which can on its own carry out the work, and the instruments of the psychic being take its place so as to govern the nature as a whole. Pelops and Niobe then roughly correspond to the stage of psychic transformation.

The seeker is then deprived of the corresponding realisations and accomplishments, which are not erased from consciousness however (the corpses lay unburied, resting in their own blood).
So as to clearly mark the fact that this is a radical transformation, there emerges from the supraconscient an upheaval in the awareness of the process which renders the seeker unable to recognise and honour what had been useful at a certain point of the path, but which must henceforth give way (the corpses lay unburied for nine days).
It is also the supraconscient which, after a period of integration, imposes this understanding on the being (on the tenth day the gods were appeased and buried the dead themselves).
Mount Sipylus marks the final limit of the yogic process led by the personal will (the doorway or gateway of the human).The process of consciousness represented by Niobe cannot be continued beyond this point, for it is immobilised at the ‘threshold of human consciousness’ (Niobe is turned into a stone upon Mount Sipylus).

This myth therefore evokes a fundamental reversal in the yogic progress, preparing the ground for the Trojan War with the will for a more intensified transformation of the external nature.
In fact in the cases of Tantalus and his son Pelops one can consider that spiritual transformation (Tantalus is on familiar terms with the gods) and psychic transformation (Pelops is married to Niobe) are at play.

This phase of yoga is therefore an unavoidable passage, for it must allow a going beyond what constitutes the ultimate goal of past forms of yoga. The symbolic time lapse of nine days corresponds to a stage of gestation which cannot be avoided or shortened by the personal will (for it was the gods who finally buried the corpses on the tenth day).
The allusion to the Ouranian gods may perhaps refer to the transition from the static Self to the dynamic Self, which is according to Sri Aurobindo controlled by the Supramental.
In the experience of Self in which the ego consciousness disappears, the seeker loses the awareness of himself as a separate entity, bringing about a state in which there is no longer any desire to take part in the affairs of the world. The identification with the body, the vital and the mind ceases, and the seeker discovers the impersonal source of his being standing in silence. The seeker then enters into ‘an emptiness with is full of light, peace and immensity, escaping all form or definition. This is a void, but one which is real and the existence of which can continue eternally’. This understanding removes one from time, and therefore from becoming. The first stage gives an appearance of unreality to life and consequently the seeker has no desire to implicate himself, to the point of wishing to irreversibly escape into the Absolute. He can also go through the experience of Nirvana, the ‘extinction’ or dissolution of individuality in consciousness, a cosmic or transcendent Being. But there is a second realisation which leads to the perception not only of the static aspect but also of the dynamic aspect of Self, and opens the doors to a complete reorientation of the yoga towards a terrestrial transformation. There is in fact a gap to be traversed between the realisations of the static Self and the dynamic Self, breached by the supramental that is simultaneously static and dynamic.

Pelops

Pelops is therefore the symbol of the end of the ‘personal yoga’ and of the beginning of the yoga pertaining to humanity as a whole.
To begin with the seeker must accept that the work of mastery has not yet been completed. This is exemplified by the story of the conquest of Hippodamia, ‘mastery of force’, by Pelops, ‘the veiled vision’ or ‘he who draws near to vision’. It is a stage of the path in which the seeker, not satisfied by personal liberation alone, wishes to acquire the power of transformation for humanity as a whole.

We have seen that after the deep purification carried out by the forces of the Spirit and the partial passage through the threshold or ‘doorway of the gods’ (when Pelops is boiled in a cauldron and given a shoulder of ivory), the seeker temporarily dynamises the powers of the spirit within himself through the joy of his being liberated from desire and ego (Pelops becomes the cup-bearer of the gods on Olympus).
(If the first ivory shoulder corresponds to the liberation of the spirit, then the second is to be associated with the liberation of Nature, in keeping with the distinctions described by Sri Aurobindo, and placed at the beginning of a supramental transformation. This presupposes a prior ‘liberation of mental, vital and physical preferences; a solid peace and an absence of all perturbations or cloudiness; a pure spiritual and inner joy and an unchangeable spiritual ease in one’s natural being; a clear joy and a laughter from the soul which embraces life and existence’.)
It is at this point that the ‘aspiration for union’ must begin to work on corporeal matter, whilst the seeker is deprived of the proximity and support of the powers of the spirit: Tantalus is banished into Hades, and Pelops is sent back to Earth. This therefore indicates that a double process is to take place within the conscient and corporeal inconscient.

When Pelops’ beard had grown, he thought of getting married. He chose to wed the daughter of Oenomaus, king of Pisa and Elis, who had sometimes been said to be a son of Ares and Sterope. Oenomaus had organised chariot races and announced that he would give his daughter’s hand in marriage to the winner. He was the owner of excellent horses, for they had been gifted to him by his father Ares. He therefore cunningly allowed the participants to take the lead long enough to offer a sacrificial sheep to Zeus, and then caught up with them and speared them in the back.
‘Alone in the darkness’, Pelops was aware that he would have to face Oenomaus and sought Poseidon’s protection, asking for his assistance in this venture. Poseidon, who had previously fallen in love with Pelops and had brought him to mount Olympus, offered him a golden chariot and indefatigable winged horses.

When Pelops presented himself at the race, Oenomaus had already slain twelve or thirteen suitors.
Hippodamia begged her father’s driver, Myrtilus the son of Hermes, to favour the victory of Pelops, for she had fallen in love with him. Pelops then emerged triumphant, Myrtilus having tampered with the chariot and thus having brought about the death of Oenomaus. According to other sources, it was Pelops himself who slew him.
Then Myrtilus was in his turn killed by Pelops for attempting to rape Hippodamia, who he had also fallen in love with. As he lay dying Myrtilus damned Pelops’ entire race, but the latter was later purified of the act of murder.

Marking a turning point in the yogic process, this story probably has its place between the slaying of Niobe’s children and the time when the Ouranian gods finally buried them. It takes place in Elis, the province of victory in which is found the city of champions, Olympia, symbol of those who accomplished liberation, who came to the end of the personnel yoga (the two-fold psychic and spiritual transformation, and the access to the overmind).
During this period the seeker has involved himself further in an unknown path, has acquired a more penetrating vision of the nature of darkness or has drawn nearer to vision (Pelops’ beard had grown).

Mastery has already been largely acquired in the preceding phases of yoga on the mental and the vital planes. Hippodamia, literally ‘she who tames the horse’, represents in this myth ‘the mastery of force’, which united to Pelops becomes the power of transformation.
That which within the seeker ‘intensely desires divine intoxication’, symbolised by Hippodamia’s father Oenomaus, is associated with the higher mind, Sterope being his spouse. Hyginus and Pausanias, who identified Oenomaus as a son of Ares, place this quest for joy within the framework of the progress of exactness through a rapid renewal of forms. It is an indication for the seeker to avoid remaining riveted to forms that are no longer useful.
According to Sri Aurobindo, to be able to accomplish the transition of personal liberation and of the joy of cosmic unity towards complete transparency, it is necessary for the mind to have widened and to have entered into union with the Spirit, so that its instruments, Knowledge, Will and Joy, may begin to act. These three symbols of realisation appear in the myth of Pelops: Tantalus shares meals with the gods, Pelops is endowed with a shoulder made of ivory, and Oenomaus, ‘he who intensely desires intoxication’, fathers Hippodamia.

There comes a moment in which the ‘force of progress’ stimulate the seeker to acquire a power of transformation over his lower nature (Pelops, son of Tantalus, wishes to wed Hippodamia). But this aspiration alone is unable to ensure victory, for the elements within the seeker which are attached to the quest for divine enjoyment do not accept to orient the yogic process in any direction but the highest one (Oenomaus, ‘he who intensely desires divine intoxication’, will only give his daughter to one capable of winning in a chariot race with him).
The seeker then seeks the assistance of the power which governs the subconscious, and which has shown him an unflinching support in leading him to liberation of the spirit (Pelops seeks the support of Poseidon, who is in love with him and had brought him to Mount Olympus).
According to Pindar, Pelops progresses ‘alone in darkness’ to seek Poseidon’s help; the seeker goes forward without knowing the right path.
It must however be noted that Poseidon does not always appear to be as well-intentioned, for he represents a force at the service of the soul rather that of the ego personality.

But emerging from a struggle for exactness through the renewal of forms (the spiritual warrior), this quest for joy acquires the support of vital forces that have originated from the same source (Oenomaus’ horses excelled because they had been gifted by his father Ares).
In other words, the seeker cannot imagine a higher aim than that of the pursuit of Joy or one that can bring about a higher level of mastery (some sources state that Oenomaus was in love with his daughter). He therefore progressively eliminates all other paths of yoga which present themselves. The only enumerations of the latter – constituted of the names of Hippodamia’s suitors – are given by Pindar and the historian Pausanias, but are not reliable and therefore not worth noting.

During a certain period the seeker allows these paths to express themselves though he knows them to be ineffective, and then eliminates them one by one. (Oenomaus allowed the suitors to ride past him, and then slew them).

But at this stage the pursuit of a personal ‘divine enjoyment’ cannot constitute a sufficient goal for some individuals, for they aspire to a transformation of humanity as a whole.
To surpass this quest sustained by the forces of the supraconscient working for the ultimate aim of exactness, the seeker must appeal to his highest subconscient. In response, he receives the support of a liberated vital force capable of great endurance. This willpower can act in the mind in a form perfectly adapted to the path (Poseidon gifts indefatigable winged horses and a golden chariot to Pelops).This is a sign that the seeker has attained a level of great detachment and equality which allows him to stay focused on his yogic goals with a high level of constancy and efficiency. At a more practical level, there exists a stage of yoga in which the seeker is no longer tired by activity.
The golden chariot ought most probably to be understood as a personality purified of all its attachments, desires, preferences and repulsions.
As a matter of fact, these gifts are the results of a lengthy work of purification carried out both by the seeker and by spiritual forces (Pelops was scalded by the gods).

For the reversal to be entirely carried out Pelops must wed Hippodamia, which is to say that the will for purification and mastery must be turned away from a purely personal striving for ecstasy (Oenomaus) to focus itself on the work of the external nature in the archaic vital and physical layers of the body.

In some of the more elaborate versions it is not only the horses gifted by Poseidon which allow Pelops to win the race, for Hippodamia asks her father’s coach driver Myrtilus, ‘myrtle’, to bring about his master’s death.
Myrtle was carried by priestesses and mystics of the temples of Demeter and Persephone during the Eleusinian mysteries; the initiates of the mysteries of Dionysus used to crown themselves with this favourite plant of the god.
Although this detail is unverified, it has been said that myrtle berries were used by drinkers to delay intoxication. This matches with the meaning of the myth.
Myrtle must not be confused with myrrh. Myrtle is a tree symbolically linked to those who choose the path of ecstasy, or at least with those who aim not only at liberation, but also at a cosmic enjoyment of the power of Spirit.
As a son of Hermes, Myrtilus represents a specific development in the overmind.
Till this point it was the highest part of the mind which had directed the quest towards the development of divine intoxication (Myrtilus was Oenomaus’ coach driver), and in this sense he occupied his rightful place for he was a son of Hermes.
But in this reversal it is necessary for the part of the overmind that had until that point devoted itself to the quest for ecstasy, however illuminated and intuitive it may be, to accept to participate in the change of objective of the yogic process. It may then even be necessary for it to be removed from the direction of the yogic path, for the direction of the quest can no longer depend on its lead.
Certain authors justify its elimination by stating that Myrtilus had attempted to rape Hippodamia; this aspect of the overmind attempts to seize the direction of the work of mastery by force.
This is why Pelops was later purified of the murder, as his action was in agreement with the right path.

Henceforth the path can no longer be motivated by a personal quest for divine enjoyment (Myrtilus), and only two specific aspects of aspiration can then lead the quest, which under the symbols of Atreus and Thyestes, appear to be contradictory and difficult to reconcile, the throne being passed repeatedly from one to the other.

The murder of Myrtilus is at the origin of the curse cast upon Pelops’ race (As he lay dying Myrtilus damned Pelops’ entire race). It is in fact from this moment onwards that the seeker agrees to enter into the path of the purification of his lower nature, and the real difficulties then begin.
But this curse is in synchrony with the appearance of true power, emerging from the highest intelligent consciousness and transmitted by the overmind. The symbol of this is the sceptre of Agamemnon crafted by Hephaestus, which confirms the significance of the ivory shoulder. It was given by Zeus to Hermes, who in his turn gifted it to Pelops, and was then passed on to Agamemnon through Pelop’s sons Atreus and Thyestes. According to Homer this sceptre was ‘hereditary’, being passed on by Pelops and therefore a sign of a royal status not only individually merited by Agamemnon, but also one that was ‘indestructible’, a sign of a definite acquirement.

Additional details have been added by other authors:
Hippodamia had fallen in love with Pelops and stood by his side in the chariot: from the moment in which the ‘will for progress which goes forward in darkness’ and ‘the mastery of force’ which gives the capacity for transformation meet one another they begin to immediately work together.
It was said that an oracle had predicted that Oenomaus would be slain by his son-in-law: the seeker intuited that the entry into this new phase of yoga would put an end to the quest for personal enjoyment.
According to Pindar, Pelops was the first to emerge victorious at Olympia due to the speed of his horses: the stage of yoga corresponding to Pelops is that of the end of the personal yoga.

The Olympic games

Pelops established the Olympic games to mark his victory over Oenomaus and his conquest of Hippodamia, and Pindar affirms that he became the first winner due to the speed of his horses. These games took place in Olympia in the province of Elis, symbol of the union in the spirit and of liberation (the stage of the ‘liberated’ seeker).These games therefore preceded the great reversal of yoga, the seeker being under the complete governance of the psychic – for the children of Niobe, who thought herself to be Leto’s superior, are dead – and the descent into the body.
These games mark the last great victory of the personal yoga, for the yoga of the body is a yoga carried out for and by the Divine, and for humanity as a whole.

However, there are different stories behind the founding of the Olympic games in the ancient world, and the story of Pelops is not unanimously agreed upon.
According to other Greek authors the games were established by a Dactyl Cretan deity, Heracles of Ida, which is to say the completion of the work of purification carried out for the aim of union, which also corresponds to the end of the heroes’ labours.
According to other authors they were organised by Zeus himself in honour of Heracles. Alternatively, it has also been said that Heracles had established them in honour of Zeus after his victorious expedition against Augeas the king of Elis, an event which would seem to have clearly taken place before the Trojan War.
Finally, some authors drew a parallel between theory and practice, claiming that the games were established by Pelops and renewed by Heracles.
These games conclude the series of the four great games of Ancient Greece, beginning with the Isthmian games of Sisyphus, ‘the entry into the path’, followed by the Nemean games, ‘the becoming aware of the task and the beginning of the work of purification’, the Pythian games, ‘the conscious contact with the psychic light’, and finally the Olympic games.
It is interesting to note that almost all of Pindar’s work was written for the winners of these games. This detailed study would therefore probably contain this great initiate’s recommendations for the four great phases of the path described by the Greeks, and the corresponding reversals or reorientations.

The children of Pelops, including Atreus and Thyestes

There is no earlier text than Sophocles’ which clearly supports the belief that Atreus and Thyestes were in fact children of Pelops. However this was confirmed by Apollodorus. According to different writers Pelops fathered a varying number of children, the lists of which diverge whilst maintaining a number of names common to all: Atreus, Thyestes and Pittheus (Theseus’ grandfather). Other authors add to this list Chrysippos, ‘a purified or golden vital energy’, who was often described as an illegitimate son of Pelops. Other names to be cited repeatedly are Alcathoos, ‘a great speed on the path’, and Plisthenes, ‘the force of navigation’ or ‘one who is filled with force or strength’.
The daughters of Pelops, Astydamia, ‘mastery of the city (of external life)’, and Nicippe, ‘the victorious force’, are mentioned in the Catalogue of Women and described as being courted by the three sons of Perseus. This element would suggest a link with the genealogical branch that symbolises a victory over fear.

Chrysippos ‘golden vital energy’, an illegitimate son of Pelops who Laios had fallen in love with, has already been discussed in the second chapter of this work. He died either by suicide, by a murder instigated by Hippodamia or by a plot directed by Atreus.
In the classical version of this myth, Pelops favoured this first-born child. Hippodamia and her children Atreus and Thyestes consequently plotted for his death, fearing that he would be given the throne. When Pelops discovered this awful plot he exiled his sons and cursed them along with all of their descendants.
In a rarer version of the myth it is Hippodamia herself who slew Chrysippos.
Let us remember that this story was evocative of a premature will to pursue the effort for a complete purification of the vital (Chrysippos signifies ‘a golden vital’), before the work of liberation is appropriately deepened and completed by the two sons of Hippodamia, Atreus and Thyestes.
This curse cast by Pelops reiterates the one cast by Myrtilus before he died.

The conflict between the two brothers is not described by Homer, in whose account the transfer of power was a peaceful one, the sceptre being passed on from Atreus to Thyestes and then on to Agamemnon. Only later authors described the rivalry between the two brothers, the throne going from one to another and then back again according to some sources.
The tragic playwrights also give divergent accounts of some key details.

We can understand this myth not as the indication of mutually exclusive paths, but rather as a hesitation on the exactness of the movement.
According to Homer it is a question of an ascension or of an alternation of movements without any particular indecision. The bloody episodes added to this story seem to be in fact only there for dramatic effect.

The general development of the myth from Pelops to Orestes can be understood in the following way:
With Atreus and Thyestes, two elements indispensable for the reversal of the yogic process take form. Then, after a period of maturation, a ‘powerful aspiration turned towards the highest wisdom’ initiates the reversal (Agamemnon weds Clytaemnestra, and sets out on the Trojan War). When the reversal is well engaged, a power of elevation is developed, still situated within the framework of a search for the betterment of mental man (while the war is reaching its end, Aegisthus forms a union with Clytaemnestra, and together they plot the death of Agamemnon upon his return to Mycenae. After the murder Aegisthus rules for eight years). The power or impulse of elevation finally comes to an end when the Divine begins to take possession of nature as a whole, the work of exactness in the body then claiming the upper hand (Orestes eventually slays Aegisthus and Clytaemnestra).

It is this progression which we will take up in detail here, from the succession or alternation of power and the conflict of the two brothers Atreus and Thyestes.
The name Atreus is built around the root ΤΡ, which can be found in the opposing Trojan lineage in the name Tros, great-grandfather of Priam, as well as in Katreus, son of Minos and father of Aerope, herself the wife of Atreus. It could signify ‘he who does not tremble, who does not seek to escape incarnation’, and therefore the end of fear. This understanding is strengthened by his sisters’ marriage to the sons of Perseus.
Through its structuring characters this name would signify ‘he who does not pursue the right movement towards the heights of the spirit’. He would therefore symbolise the prelude of the Trojan War, an inner conflict between that which strives to transform man for the sake of his perfection in incarnation, and that which negates this possibility.
Atreus therefore expresses ‘equality’ (fearless), and a ‘powerful determination’ which supports the will for transformation. He is linked to a great capacity for endurance, or even of resistance within the body. It is this determination which allows, thanks to his sons Agamemnon and Menelas, a victory over the Trojans and thus the definite reorientation of the yogic process. In short, he is the incarnation of ‘an intensity of aspiration for Becoming’.
The name Thyestes is linked to the root Θυω, and is therefore associated with the ‘perfume-maker’, or ‘he who mans the pestle for the sacrifice’, representing the action of grace for the divine perfection of creation at each moment, the ‘joyful, passive, and thankful acceptance of what Is (ecstatic)’.

The conflict between Atreus and Thyestes

The conflict between the two brothers Atreus and Thyestes expresses the extreme difficulty of differentiating between the two attitudes so as to achieve exactness in every detail.
On the one hand, Thyestes represents a perfectly carried out adherence (acceptance) to all things, including the worst calamities, because they are the divine will and nothing exists but the Divine. This attitude leads to a static state of ecstasy.
On the other hand, Atreus represents an intensity of aspiration for a perfection of creation which is to come, and which imposes action so as to differentiate between what must be and what must cease.
According to the Mother this experience is one of going ‘from one to the other, or one is in front and the other behind, one active and the other passive. With the feeling of perfect joy comes an almost static state (certainly the joy of movement is also there, but all anticipation of the goal stays in the background).Then, when the aspiration of the Becoming is there, the joy of divine perfection at each moment withdraws into a static state. And this very going back and forth is the problem.’ (Mother’s Agenda Volume 3, entry from 6th February 1962.)

Untold by Homer, the various accounts of the conflict between Thyestes and Atreus can be summarised in the following way:
Atreus had pledged to sacrifice to Artemis the most beautiful animal to be born in his herds. But when a golden lamb was born, Atreus felt unable to separate himself from it, and so smothered it and kept it locked in a chest.
Thyestes then seduced his sister-in-law Aerope, who gave him the lamb without Atreus’ knowledge (Aerope was a daughter of Katreus of the lineage of Minos). Resorting to trickery, he declared before the people that the one to own the golden lamb was the rightful king of Mycenae, and so seized the throne.
But Zeus considered Thyestes to be an unlawful usurper of power, and sent Hermes to speak with him. The latter made Thyestes agree that he would give up power if the sun reversed its course, and once Thyestes accepted, the sun did in fact set in the east. Atreus then reclaimed the throne and sent his rival into exile.
Later on, upon learning of the adulterous liaison between Thyestes and Aerope, Atreus pretended to seek for reconciliation and summoned him back to Mycenae. He then slew the children which a nymph had borne of Thyestes, and dismembering them prepared a feast for his brother. Once he had eaten it, Atreus revealed the nature of the repast to his brother and again sent him into exile.
Eager for revenge, Thyestes consulted the oracle, who predicted that the son he would father with his own daughter Pelopeia would avenge him (according to some sources this act of incest was carried out behind the veil of darkness, Thyestes not knowing that the woman who shared his bed was in fact his daughter).
Upon reaching manhood, Aegisthus learned that Thyestes was his father, and reinstituted him to power after having slain Atreus.
Later on Agamemnon and Menelas ousted Thyestes from power and sent him into exile again, this time to Cythera.
Agamemnon then became the ruler of Mycenae, and some time later organised the Trojan campaign.

In considering the various incidents surrounding the Mycenaean throne, it must be remembered that this city was founded by Perseus (the hero to triumph over the Gorgon, and therefore a symbol of the victory over fear), and that his grandson Eurystheus, ‘a great inner power’ and also a king of Mycenae in his own time, had been at the origin of the twelve labours of Heracles. It is therefore coherent to consider that these labours had already been completed at the beginning of the story, which confirms the achievement of a personal liberation.

According to Aeschylus, who discards the notion of an incestuous liaison between Thyestes and his own daughter, Aegisthus was simply one of Thyestes’ numerous children. Aeschylus thus skips a generation.
But according to Hyginus, the incest was an act of rape carried out by Thyestes without his identity being revealed. Then a priestess of Athena, Pelopeia committed suicide when she learned that the perpetrator of this crime had been her own father.
It should also be mentioned that Clytaemnestra, the wife of Agamemnon, had had a first marriage with a homonymous Tantalus, a son of Thyestes who had escaped the cannibal feast. It was said that Agamemnon had slain him and his sons.

Having renounced the path of ecstasy (Oenomaus), and then the personal quest for divine enjoyment to orientate the quest (Myrtilus) and the pretension to a complete vital purity (Chrysippos), the seeker beholds a first experience of “revival” in a perfect transparency (a golden lamb was born). The yogic work in fact offers at every stage experiences which herald future realisations and achievements.
But the seeker is neither capable of giving thanks, nor of detaching himself or even of maintaining this experience alive within himself (Atreus slays the lamb and keeps its corpse in a chest), so that it is only preserved in his memory.

The beginning of this myth rests on a correct understanding of the symbolism of the lamb, or more specifically of the golden lamb.
We have already come across the story of a hero who refused to sacrifice an animal to the gods despite his pledge to do so. In this other instance it was a bull, symbol of the ‘power of the luminous mind’, which Minos kept in his herds, a sign that the seeker could not give up his attachment to his works and the fruits borne by them.
In this case, the animal to be sacrificed is a golden lamb. The lamb is generally understood as a symbol of revival, of victory over death. The golden lamb would therefore be symbolic of the first manifestation of the undeniable possibility of this victory, the consequence of a perfect sincerity down to the level of the body, a complete transparency in the face of the Absolute. This passage therefore refers to an experience in the body.
But this realisation cannot be sustained, for the seed of separative appropriation endures. As the ego, the will to enjoy for one’s own sake rather than for that of the Divine has already been eradicated at the individual mental and vital levels, and so this incident points to the existence of its roots within the body.

The seeker is therefore not entirely ready for integral purity, for the presence of the physical ego is still too strong (the promise to sacrifice the most beautiful animal to Artemis). From the moment in which transparency appears, it is nipped in the bud first by ‘the intensity of aspiration for transformation’ (Atreus kills the golden lamb), and then claimed by the attitude of ‘ecstatic acceptance’ (Thyestes steals the dead lamb).

But both of these orientations, ‘the power of aspiration for transformation beyond fear’ as well as ‘joyful acceptance’, demand to be the leaders of the entire being, each seeking the approval of the whole being (the people of Mycenae). They both believe themselves to be at the origin of this first experience of which the seeker only maintains a memory (the throne will belong to the one who possesses the lamb, which has been killed and locked in a chest).
The seeker first convinces himself that a ‘passive and joyful acceptance’ is better able to achieve the goal (Thyestes becomes the lover of Atreus’ wife Aerope, who gives him the lamb).
But the supraconscient is aware that the change of direction of the yogic process must be led by a ‘determination for transformation’ (Zeus considers Thyestes to be an usurper). Because of this he ensures that the seeker anticipates a manifestation of the supramental, which is then carried out; Zeus sends Hermes to Atreus to persuade his brother that if Helios was to invert his course across the sky his power would be restored, and this does then take place). It must be remembered that Helios symbolises the supramental light, existing beyond the plane of the overmind represented by Hermes and more generally represented by the world of the gods. The supramental therefore furnishes the seeker with the visible proof that he has taken the right direction, and shows him that the path is the complete opposite of every principle which he had till that point followed. It thus establishes itself as the supreme source of the directional changes of the yogic process, marking a fundamental reversal of the laws of evolution (Helios sets in the east).
(According to some authors this inversion of the sun’s course took place after the cannibal feast rather than before it.)

The murder of Thyestes’ children and the cannibal feast

The attitude of ‘passive and joyful acceptance’ ceases to develop, for Atreus slays the three eldest sons of his brother Thyestes and this lineage is only to ascend to the throne again through Aegisthus, the son of Thyestes, following the death of Agamemnon.
This attitude is even pushed to the point of ‘mourning’ in a definite way its own realisations, most probably the joys of contemplation, which it had been constrained to abandon under the pressure of the ‘determination for transformation’ (not satisfied with having slain Thyestes’ children, Atreus dismembered their bodies and invited his brother to a feast in which he fed Thyestes their flesh before revealing its origin).
But from the time in which ‘joyful acceptance’ enters into union with the darkness which it has itself unveiled it produces a power useful for the new orientation of Yoga (Thyestes entered into a union with his child Pelopeia, ‘the vision of darkness’, and engendered Aegisthus, ‘the inner rising man’). In fact, this ‘orientation of acceptance’ will twice again take the lead of the yogic process. For Thyestes’ lineage ascended to the Mycenaean throne two more times, the first when Aegisthus, after having slain Atreus, returned the power to his father Thyestes, who maintained his rule till Agamemnon seized power. Then Aegisthus ruled over Mycenae again for seven years after having seduced Agamemnon’s wife, Clytaemnestra, and killed Agamemnon upon his return from Troy.

A number of shifts of power therefore took place from one genealogical branch to another till the final vengeance of Orestes, the son of Agamemnon, and the consequent death of Aegisthus. These two attitudes, an aspiration for transformation and a passive ecstatic acceptance, were predominant at different times.
During the Trojan War itself the path represented by Thyestes and Aegisthus remained in the background while aspiration laboured in incarnation to affirm the primacy and truth of this new path (when Agamemnon, ‘he who desires intensely’ and the ‘greediest of all Achaeans’ according to Homer, fought at Troy to reclaim Helen who had been abducted by Paris).

Plisthenes

Several Greek writers included in the lineage of the Atreides a character named Plisthenes, ‘he who fills lack with power’ or ‘ he who is filled with power’ or ‘he who possesses the power to navigate’, symbolising a seeker who goes forward without pause irrespective of the challenges faced in the process of transformation.
His genealogy seems to be a relatively confused one with variations in different sources. Some considered him to be the son of Atreus and the father of Agamemnon and Menelas through Aerope or Cleolla, ‘a renowned liberation in two planes’, herself the daughter of a sister of Atreus, Dias, ‘a union in consciousness’. But as he died young, it was said that his children were brought up by their grandfather Atreus. According to other sources he is only important in lending his name to the lineage, as did the Atreides. Menelas is consequently known as a Plisthenid or an Atreid by the Greek poet Bacchylides. According to Aeschylus, Thyestes cursed all of the Plisthenid race after having learned of the contents of the cannibal feast he had partaken of.

The only interesting remark regarding him is given in a fragment by Hesiod, who describes him as a lame man or a hermaphrodite wearing a woman’s cloak. These clues would seem to indicate that the seeker is in the process of reunifying the feminine and masculine polarities within himself, or that he is working on them (he is described as a hermaphrodite or a lame man). He wears the cloak of receptivity, or a true submission to what is Real.

Other children of Pelops

Amongst Pelops’ other children let us first cite Pittheus, the maternal grandfather of Theseus. Placed within the lineage of aspiration, he allows a link to be forged between the growth of aspiration and an inner evolution supported by the inner master (the lineage of the Athenian kings). This link between the lineages, which situates Atreus and Thyestes at a time preceding the birth of Theseus, demonstrates that the lack of the sacrifice of the lamb is considered to be an error in yoga, one which Theseus will combat later on (Theseus is the great ‘redresser’).

Several daughters of Pelops are also mentioned, including Astydamia, ‘mastery over the personality (over the city)’, Lysidice, ‘liberated action’, Nicippe, ‘victory over the vital’, and a homonymous Eurydice, ‘a right manner of acting’. All four entered into unions with sons of Perseus, who symbolise yogic strivings rendered possible by a victory over fear (Perseus had previously slain the Gorgon).

The descendants of Atreus

Leaving aside Plisthenes we will now consider the most commonly given genealogy which identifies Atreus as the father of Agamemnon and Menelas. (If Plisthenes is introduced, Atreus is only their grandfather.)

Agamemnon, son of Atreus and part of the lineage of Tantalus, is an expression of the synthesis of a great determination or will for transformation (Atreus), and of a ‘powerful aspiration’ (Tantalus). According to Homer, he was in fact ‘the greediest of all Achaeans’. Even though the etymology of his name is relatively obscure, it covers in this context the principles of discerning will and intelligence. The liaison between Agamemnon and Clytaemnestra indicates that this ‘intelligent will’ is oriented towards ‘the highest wisdom’. The ancient form of Clytaemnestra’s name does not include the character ‘Nu’ (Κλυταιμηστρα), and this name is therefore linked to the verb μηδομαι.
This well-known couple, an essential pillar of the Trojan War, must therefore be understood as a ‘unified intelligence’, an expression of the concentrated mind which not only has knowledge but also decides and persists in its decision. It includes the two aspects of knowledge and will; he is symbolic of ‘unified intelligent will fixed on the illuminated soul’, at the service of a powerful aspiration for Becoming. (According to Sri Aurobindo, this is the meaning of the term buddhi in the Bhagavad Gita. See Sri Aurobdindo’s Essays on the Gita.)
As long as this intelligence considered itself to be the highest and legitimate leader of the yogic process, a reorientation towards greater freedom cannot be achieved. This only becomes possible once Agamemnon accepts to efface himself in the face of the new striving represented by Achilles, which will complete the liberation by addressing the most minute movements of consciousness in the apparently insignificant details of life in the depths of consciousness, up to the root (Achilles is the king of the Myrmidons ‘the ants’).

Agamemnon leads the army against Troy to support his brother Menelas, ‘he who dwells determined in his vision’, towards a greater freedom symbolised by Helen.
(The name Menelas, the etymology of which is uncertain, is associated with the verb λαω (to see) by the radical λα. Another interpretation could be made through the name λαος (people, as in populace), thus suggesting ‘humility’, but the validity of this interpretation seems unlikely.)
Without the aspiration for an intelligent will calling for a response from above, the vision of what must be would in fact be incapable of leading on its own a reorientation of the yogic process.

Aside from these two great heroes, Apollodorus mentions a daughter of Atreus, Anaxibia, whose name could indicate ‘power over strength, force or life’.

Agamemnon fathered numerous children, the most well-known being Iphigenia, ‘that which is born with force’ (not mentioned by Homer), Chrysothemis, ‘golden law, or obedience to divine law’, Laodice, ‘she who sees in a just manner’, Iphianassa, ‘she who possesses great power’, and Orestes, ‘he who stands on the mountain’ or ‘he who develops rectitude or integrity’.

Through his union with Helen Menelas engendered Nicostratus, ‘the victorious warrior’, as well as Hermione, ‘the right evolution of consecration in the movement of aspiration’, homonymously similar to the overmind represented by Hermes.

Thyestes’ descendants

Thyestes’ three sons are only noteworthy in having been slain by Atreus, this act of murder putting a temporary end to the active aspect of this lineage, an aspect which itself arose from a ‘passive ecstatic acceptance’.
Thyestes conceived Aegisthus with his own daughter Pelopeia, and Aegisthus later became the lover of Clytaemnestra who in her turn gave birth to Erigone and Aletes; through the integration of darkness new possibilities are opened.

THE MYTH OF OEDIPUS AND THE THEBAN WARS

OEDIPUS AND THE THEBAN WARS

The Fiend was visible but cloaked in light;
He seemed a helping angel from the skies:
He armed untruth with Scripture and the Law;
He deceived with wisdom, with virtue slew the soul
And led to perdition by the heavenward path.

Sri Aurobindo
Savitri Book II Canto VII

While Oedipus has become widely known through Freud’s work, the Oedipus myth only constitutes, through a reversal of consciousness, an introduction to the process of purification illustrated by the Theban Wars.
In the preceding volume a study of the descendants of Oedipus was presented down till the children of Cadmus, and this will now be outlined again.

The wedding of Cadmus and Harmonia indicates a path of incarnation of the inner being (Thebes) through which a work of mastery and purification aiming at the ‘transparency’ of the being takes precision or exactness as its aim. For Cadmus is the son of Agenor and either Telephassa or Damno, and Harmonia, through the structuring characters of her name, also implies ‘an evolution of consciousness towards the right movement of consecration’.
This couple parented a son and four daughters:
Ino, the excessive asceticism of seekers at the beginning of their paths.
Autonoe, or the deviations of an overly-perfectionistic seeker.
Agave and her son Pentheus, or an attachment to effort and suffering (the path of darkness).
Semele, ‘appropriate submission or surrender’ or ‘exactness’ in the growth process of love, towards which the seeker strives through the path of purification and liberation, and her son Dionysus (the path which embraces the totality of the being to carry out the delight and enjoyment of the Divine).
Polydorus, the significance of whose name remains uncertain. It may mean either ‘he who gives generously, the gift of oneself’, which is to say the movement of consecration or the path of sacrifice (in Sri Aurobindo’s sense; Chapters IV, V and VI in The Synthesis of Yoga, Part I: The Yoga of Divine Works), or ‘numerous gifts’, which is to say the development of the personality and of its capacities.

While the daughters of Cadmus and Harmonia can be associated with the path of passive consecration, Polydorus can be taken to represent that of active consecration in the domain of an intelligent will for realisation. These two movements must combine so as to accomplish ‘exactness’, which is to say to bring the right vision within the mind, the right impulse and sentiment within the vital, and the right movement and the right habit within the physical. The accomplishment of this ‘exactness’ corresponds to the full submission of the external nature to the psychic being.

No evidence in early myths clearly indicates that Polydorus bore descendants. It is only at the end of the 5th century with Herodotus and the advent of the tragic playwrights that a link was forged between this character and Oedipus. However, this genealogical association seems plausible as Oedipus is also associated with myths addressing purification and re-harmonisation, like the War of Seven against Thebes and the War of the Epigoni.

THE FOUNDING OF THEBES AND ITS FIRST KINGS
(See Diagram 22)
There is a collection of myths, unfortunately uncorroborated by earlier sources, which describe the founding of Thebes and therefore the beginnings of the process of incarnation of inner life. They are sometimes linked to Polydorus when Antiope is presented as his sister-in-law, or else are presented independently when the latter is described to be the daughter of the river Asopos. Both versions will be successively discussed here.

In discussing the first version one must go back to the ancestors of Nycteis, the wife of Polydorus; they are considered to be either Poseidon and Alcyone (‘a powerful evolution’, the dynamism of which originates in the subconscious, Poseidon), or Chthonius, ‘the depths of the earth’, issued from one of the dragon’s teeth seeded.

Hyrieus, or an understanding of the path and the preparation for entering the quest through a first reversal

Poseidon and Alcyone parented a son named Hyrieus.
Hyrieus ruled over a city in Boeotia which was named after him.
He possessed a great treasure, which he protected in a fortified shelter designed by two architects of great renown, Agamedes and Trophonios.
(Agamedes has wed a homonymous Epicasta, who had coupled with Apollo and borne Trophonios. Other sources claim that the latter was a son of Erginos of the lineage of Minuas.)
These two architects were said to have previously designed the bridal chamber of Alcmene in Thebes, the temple of Apollo in Delphi and that of Poseidon in Arcadia. They were pilfering fractions of the king’s treasure over time, having secretly arranged to maintain access to it by removing a carefully dissimulated stone. But the king guessed what was happening, and asked Daedalus for advice. The latter designed a trap in which Agamedes was caught. To avoid being denounced by his partner, Trophonios decapitated him, but the earth opened up and engulfed the murderer.
(There is a variation of this myth, in which the king is Augeas rather than Hyrieus.)

‘The right movement of consciousness towards a state of receptivity’, which is fortified in the subconscious in response to a powerful will for evolution, allows numerous realisations and accomplishments; Hyrieus, son of Poseidon and Alcyone, had successfully amassed a great treasure for himself. This treasure is reserved for a future yoga, and protected from danger by an inner organisation established simultaneously by ‘one who has a powerful intention’ aiming towards purification, and by ‘that which nourishes consciousness’ (the structure protecting the treasure had been built by Agamedes and Trophonios, renowned architects of the lineage of Minuas, ‘the evolution of a receptive state aiming at consecration’). Agamedes was wed to Epicasta, and therefore represents a movement which seeks ‘all that is akin to purity’. In the version of this myth in which Apollo couples with Epicasta, this search for purity is ‘appreciated’ and fertilized by the psychic light represented by Apollo. From this union is born Trophonios, ‘he who nourishes the evolution of consciousness’.

This consciousness-structuring movement had already led to a recognition of the important work carried out by the subconscious through life events and of the need for putting forward the psychic light (the two architects had previously built temples to Poseidon and Apollo).
This movement had also prepared those seekers who have developed ‘a powerful soul or personality’ to embark upon the quest for purification/liberation (they had designed the bridal chamber of Alcmene in which took place her union with Zeus, from which was born Heracles).
It had also given the means to avoid wasting the ‘flashes of truth’ or luminous experiences which the seeker had accrued (by safeguarding Hyrieus’ treasure).

Despite all of these accomplishments, it is still ‘a powerful personal intention’ that is at work in this situation, pushing the seeker to try to steal for himself the fruits of these realisations and accomplishments, and thus making them of less benefit (the architects were pilfering parts of king Hyrieus’ treasure).
The movements which strive to organise consciousness must therefore cede their place; it is an advanced element coming from an inner guidance which strive for this goal (it was Daidalos of the royal Athenian lineage who set the trap).
For this to occur, the seeker must in fact use cunning in regards to his own mechanisms, for a reversal is necessary; the energy so far utilised to build the structures necessary to safeguard the acquisitions of yoga henceforth only serve to diminish them, for the ego demands its dues.
Intelligence unveils this loss through its skillful capacities, but it is ‘that which nourishes the evolution of the organisation of consciousness’ which puts an end to the ‘powerful personal intention’ and cuts away its directing element (Agamedes was decapitated by Trophonios). Then, that which has allowed for the organisation of this first phase of yoga disappears in its turn (Trophonios is engulfed by the Earth).

This story illustrates the necessary transformation of a path carried out for personal motivations, even if it is for the sake of the liberation or the perfection of oneself, into one in which the yoga is carried out for the Divine itself. For the seeker must not submit the yogic process to his own conditions nor be preoccupied with his own fulfillment, but rather that of the Divine work. The seeker’s own liberation, his perfection and his spiritual fulfillment should result from and be part of the manifestation of the Divine rather than the aim of his yoga. (On this subject see Sri Aurobindo, Lights on Yoga.)

Hyrieus’ children Nycteus and Lycus, and his grandchildren Nycteis and Antiope.

The version analysed here is of a later date, and is a second-hand account. In fact, it was retold by Hyginus who took it up from a lost work by Euripides.
Hyrieus married Clonia, who bore him two children, Nycteus and Lycus, although according to Apollodorus, Nycteus had originated directly from Chthonius. After having slain Phlegyas they arrived in Thebes, and Nycteus became regent as the Theban heir Labdacus was still a child. Hyrieus wed Clonia who bore him two daughters, Nycteis and Antiope. His brother Lycus wed Dirce.

Later on Antiope was either seduced or raped by Zeus, and became pregnant with twins. To escape the anger of her father Nycteus she fled to the most distant lands of the Corinthian isthmus, where king Epopeus claimed her as his bride. Nycteus died of grief, or according to some committed suicide. On his deathbed he asked his brother Lycus, who was his successor on the Theban throne, to ensure that his daughter and her husband would be punished.
Lycus consequently organised an expedition to the Corinthian lands, where he slew Epopeus and brought Antiope back to Thebes. On the journey back to Thebes she gave birth to the twins Amphion and Zethos, who were abandoned, or exposed, on Mount Cithaeron (or it is sometimes said in Eleutherae), and later rescued and adopted by a goatherd or cowherd.
(‘Exposed’ is a term used to describe the abandoning of a child in a hostile environment in which he is destined to be taken in by others or to die.)
Held captive in Thebes for years, Antiope was mistreated by Dirce, Lycus’ wife. But one day, the bonds imprisoning Antiope loosened, and she rejoined her children in the hut in which they lived, the latter later slaying Dirce and Lycus (in another version of the story, Lycus was saved by Hermes).
The twins Amphion and Zethos became the rulers of Thebes and built the ramparts of the city, from which they banished Laios, grandson of Polydorus and father of Oedipus.

It is after the overthrow described here that begins to emerge the first light of truth, the first ‘awakening’: Lycus is ‘the light preceding dawn’, while the rest of the being remains enveloped in night and sleep, Nycteus signifying ‘the night’.
The union of Hyrieus, ‘a right movement of consciousness towards a state of receptivity’, and of Clonia, ‘an impulse forward, a shaking or collapse’, in fact indicates both an aspiration for a powerful evolution, and in answer to this, a shaking or collapse of the seeker’s life.
(In a variation of this story, Nycteus and Lycus are children of the ‘sown man’ Chthonius, which could indicate that this first awakening is a rememoration of a previous life.)

But at this point of the path the seeker is not able to recognise this first light of Truth; it is his inconscient parts which ally with the numerous ‘truths received from above’ (Nycteus is wed to Polyxo), while the emerging light is oriented in an erroneous direction by uniting with Dirce; Lycus wed the inverse of the ‘right manner of acting (Δικη+Ρ)). This is why for many years Dirce would abuse Antiope, her brother’s daughter.

The order of succession of Theban rulers during this first period is quite unclear. The order most often agreed upon, or at least the one which avoids the most contradictions, is the following:
Polydorus succeeded his father Cadmus on the throne, and was then deposed by Pentheus. When the latter was killed by his mother Agave, Nycteus and Lycus became regents one after the other, first in place of Labdacus and then in place of Laios.
Labdacus is said to have ruled for a brief period during Lycus’ regency.
(According to Apollodorus, Pentheus’s rule was intercalated between the rules of Cadmus and Polydorus. Of the two brothers Nycteus and Lycus, only the latter inherited the throne.)
Then Lycus was assassinated by Amphion and Zethos, who seized power. During their rule there took place the massacre of the Niobids, which brought about the death of Amphion. Zethos died soon afterwards.
Laios then reclaimed the Theban throne, of which he was the legitimate ruler.

This story is a summary of several evolutionary movements.
It has been studied in detail in the previous volume, so it will only be described in its general outline here.

It has been pointed out that the symbolism of the name Polydorus remains uncertain, and the corresponding yogic movement is therefore difficult to determine. This name represents either ‘one who gives himself a lot, the gift of self or active consecration’, or ‘numerous gifts’, which is to say the development of the personality and its capacities.

The second movement is easier to understand; it consists of taking suffering as the preferred means for spiritual evolution. This tendency is put to an end by the Dionysian path, which does not reject any element of nature; Agave slays her son Pentheus, the attachment to ‘suffering’ (see Volume II).

The third stage begins when Nycteus and Lycus arrive in Thebes after having slain Phlegyas, ‘the inflamed’. The latter belongs to the lineage of Sisyphus, who was his great-grandfather. Some authors also consider him to be the father of Coronis, mother of the renowned healer Asclepius. This is therefore a mental rather than a psychic flame, a way of embarking upon the path through intellect alone. In fact, while understanding the path and its means and aims is necessary, this understanding must not block or substitute a work of purification.

The first of Hyrieus’ children to act as regent was Nycteus; in regards to the process of purification the seeker progresses through the ‘night’, but he nevertheless strives towards ‘numerous partial truths’ (Polyxo).
This work carried out in the night has the effect of maintaining darkness (Nycteis), while also allowing an ‘opposite vision’, which is to say a capacity for inversing perspectives or eliciting a ‘reversal of consciousness’ (Antiope).
At this point is introduced a fundamental element of yoga, an action originating from within the being rather than as a reaction to an external stimulus.
This new orientation is ‘fertilised’ by the highest elements of the being within the supraconscient realm (Zeus).
(Homer considers Antiope to be a daughter of the river Asopos, ancestor of the divine Achilles.)

But this process probably develops when the seeker has oriented his progress towards an erroneous direction, an error which will for a long time oppose the ‘reversal of consciousness’. Lycus, ‘the nascent light’, had wed Dirce, whose name must be understood as that of Dike, ‘the right manner of acting’, but with the insertion of the character Rho symbolising an inversion or opposite quality as is the case in the construction of the name Orthros.

To flee her father’s wrath, Antiope sought refuge in the most distant lands of the Corinthian isthmus, which were under the control of Sisyphus, and there was wed to Epopeus.
To be able to function effectively, ‘the reversal of consciousness’ must retreat to the background, outside of the field of action of the intellect which can thus no longer harm it. An ‘enlarged vision from above’ claims her as its aim (Antiope wed Epopeus).
But the erroneous orientation of the light puts an end to this opening of consciousness (an enlarged vision), impeding and even mistreating this reversal of consciousness (Lycus, wed to Dirce, slew Epopeus and imprisoned Antiope, who was then mistreated by Dirce).

But on the return journey to Thebes preceding her imprisonment Antiope gave birth to the two twins Zethos and Amphion, who were abandoned on the mountainside and then rescued and raised by a goatherd.
This reversal of consciousness does then allow for the appearance of two yogic movements which must work together, for the children born are twins.
Zethos is ‘he who seeks’, the will to experiment and to purify oneself (he devoted himself to the care of livestock and to hunting wild animals). He joined his destiny to that of Thebe ‘an incarnation through what comes from within’.
(It is difficult to relate to the founding of Thebes the passage from the Odyssey in which Zethos united with the daughter of Pandareus, the green Aedon or ‘the nightingale’, who mistakenly slew her own son Itylos and was transformed into a nightingale.)
Amphion is ‘he who remains in the surroundings’, or ‘remains aloof’, or in other words ‘the witness presence’ which watches from a distance (he played a lyre gifted to him by Hermes). Amphion wed Niobe, ‘incarnation through the evolution of consciousness’.

These movements develop at the margins of what the seeker considers to be the right path, under the protection of that which watches over aspiration (while Lycus was wed to Dirce, a goatherd raised the twins without Lycus and Dirce being aware of it).
They constitute the bases of the processes of purification and psychicisation (they built the foundations of the city of Thebes).

When these two movements attain a sufficient level of development they can rectify the error of orientation; Amphion and Zethos slew Lycus and Dirce.
There is also a version of this story in which Lycus was saved by Hermes, which would indicate that the light of truth is able to orient itself in an appropriate direction once the error has been redressed.

This version of the founding of Thebes is closely tied to Polydorus, its development being parallel to the experiences represented by his sisters, Ino, Autonoe and Semele.
It is the union of Polydorus, considered here to be the symbol of the development of personal gifts, with Nycteis, the night, which introduces a shift and founds the lineage of Oedipus. This union indicates an erroneous orientation of the personal gifts of the seeker, a diversion that is for his own profit instead of a consecration to the Absolute.

(In certain variations of the story Nycteus was born from the ‘sown man’ Chthonius, or from the union of Alcyone and Poseidon. He would then represent a surging to the surface of a psychological ‘knot’, or of a powerful evolutionary impulse induced by the subconscient).

Other accounts of the founding of Thebes

There is an earlier account describing the founding of Thebes written by Pherecydes. Long before the time of Cadmus, Amphion and Zethos founded and fortified Thebes to defend the population against the Phlegyans. Led by Eurymachos, the latter destroyed the city after the twins’ death.
In this version Antiope is the daughter of the river Asopos, himself the ancestor of the Myrmidons, ‘the ant people’ preoccupied with deep purification, the greatest of whom was Achilles. The founding of the city was therefore not necessarily linked to an advanced form of yoga, but did imply the same capacity for becoming conscious of the necessity of purification in the depths of the vital.
‘The incarnation through what comes from within’ must first and foremost protect itself from the agitation of the intellect (the Phlegyans). But once the first impulse for the quest has been surpassed, the inflamed intellect takes the upper hand again and destroys the first foundations, guided by a powerful element which engages in combat within duality (Eurymachos leads the Phlegyans in combat).
It is only with the episode of the Danaids and with Epaphus, a first ‘touching’ of the worlds of the spirit, that Cadmus will progress to the second founding of Thebes.
Some Greek authors who sought to reconcile the two versions of the story claimed that Amphion and Zethos had built the lower city, and Cadmus the citadel.

Other writers claimed that Amphion and Zethos had raised the walls of Thebes with the sound of a lyre or that the stones fell into place on their own as they played, suggesting that the first bases of the process of liberation and purification, as well as its protection, were put in place spontaneously and with no major difficulty.

Some also wrote that with Hermes as his teacher, Amphion became the first mortal to play the lyre; this hero is an embodiment of the seeker’s first opportunity to directly receive the influence of the overmind, Hermes, which presupposes a receptive mind rather than an inflamed intellect.

Death of the Niobids: the end of the achievements linked with the witness consciousness

Amphion, a son of Antiope and Zeus, wed Niobe, the daughter of Tantalus, who bore him numerous children (six sons and six daughters according to Homer, and a variety of different numbers according to other sources).
Niobe had dared compare herself to Leto, claiming that she was more fertile than the goddess who had only borne two children. Infuriated Apollo and Artemis slew Niobe’s children, Apollo killing her sons and Artemis her daughters. Their corpses were left lying in their own blood for nine days, for as Zeus had immobilised the entire world there was nobody to bury them. Finally, on the tenth day the gods themselves buried the corpses, and Niobe, exhausted by ceaseless weeping, finally accepted nourishment.
Homer describes the scene, writing ‘On Sipylus, where, men say, are the couching-places of goddesses, even of the nymphs that range swiftly in the dance about Achelous, there, albeit a stone, she broodeth over her woes sent by the gods.’ (Homer and A.T. Murray, Iliad 24.600).
Other authors claim that Niobe’s life ended in Lydia, where she turned into a stone.

As is usual in mythology the death of the main hero, Amphion, went unrecorded. In Aeschylus’ text Amphion’s palace is destroyed, and Apollodorus cites a source according to which he is slain by Apollo’s arrows.

Aside from the genealogy presented by Aeschylus, in which Niobe was the daughter of Tantalus, this version is taken from Book XXIV of the Iliad, in which Achilles attempts to convince Priam of taking nourishment despite the latter’s sorrow. This draws the attention to the need to not confuse the first results of the witness-consciousness, striving to infuse consciousness into incarnation, with the manifestation of a psychic opening.
This witness-consciousness can concern the beginnings of the seeker’s path, the time of the first founding of Thebes and that of the Lion of Cithaeron, for according to Apollodorus, the sons of Niobe were slain on this mountain. But this consciousness in fact must be operative over an extended period, as for most seekers the psychic being begins to lead only very progressively.

A study of Tantalus, ‘aspiration’ and ‘the will for progress’, was begun in the fourth chapter of Volume 1, and we will study his lineage in greater detail in the chapter in which are discussed the protagonists of the Trojan War. Let us remember that Tantalus refers to a seeker who has attained the highest summits of human consciousness in the spirit, a ‘higher doorway’, for Tantalus is permitted to share nectar and ambrosia. But even at the highest levels of non-duality the mind can never fulfill the ‘essential need’, and it will be the descendants of the hero, Menelas and Agamemnon, who will ensure the transition of the yogic process towards the depths of the inconscient.
As the daughter of Tantalus, Niobe symbolises this conscious will of progress. But irrespective of the number of realisations obtained, as it is the personal will which is at work here rather that the psychic being, only a radical transformation can follow, for the mind cannot reach beyond itself.

The union of Amphion, ‘the witness consciousness’, and of Niobe, ‘evolving consciousness at work in incarnation’, marks the moment in which the seeker seriously commits himself to the yogic path in a process of incarnation of the inner being and therefore of coherence and purification (the first foundation of Thebes). But the mind and the ego are still extremely active.

The children of this couple express a totality of realisations, in the receptive and intuitive aspects as well as in the active discernment at the core of incarnation (six daughters and six sons). But as numerous as these realisations or experiences may be, they cannot compare in quality to those of the psychic being (the children of Leto).
There comes a moment when in accord with the supraconscient, the psychic being intervenes to put an end to what is still developing and immobilising this evolutionary process and everything which accompanies it (Apollo and Artemis slay the children of Niobe, while Niobe and Amphion’s people are turned to stones). Even when it is not destroyed, this first movement working through the ‘witness consciousness’ is no longer useful for the path when the psychic being takes precedence. It was said that thirty years of sustained yogic work would be necessary to achieve this realisation.

However, the seeker seems to find great difficulty in accepting this change and renouncing former acquirements while recognising their past utility. He must therefore appeal to a higher action (Niobe’s slain children are given a burial by the gods on the tenth day after their deaths).
During a first phase the seeker then sets in motion the process of evolution (Niobe accepts food again). Much later on, once he attains the limits of the personal will and when the psychic being has moved to the forefront, the initial process of incarnation of consciousness is immobilised and the seeker integrates the loss of his first realisations (Niobe, transformed into a stone on mount Sipylus, ‘the doorway of human consciousness’, undergoes her mourning in the form imposed by the gods).

The union of Polydorus and Nycteis, and their son Labdacus

The marriage of Cadmus and Harmonia’s son Polydorus with Nycteis is only confirmed in later sources. In this context Nycteis cannot be considered to be a goal, but must be understood as a development of potentialities or of the giving of oneself through a ‘descent into night’. In this case she represents a necessary point of passage.

In the preceding volume a possible interpretation was evoked, in which Polydorus was understood as ‘he who gives himself generously, the gift of self’, although the sense ‘the numerous gifts which one receives’ cannot be entirely put aside. Irrespective of its cause the shadows emerge to be worked upon, being nothing other than the rigidified crystallisations of the past (in this case Nycteis is therefore a descendant of Chthonius).
This union would therefore be linked to the work on darkness or on the ‘night’ alluded to in every spiritual tradition.
These nights are necessary passages on the process of purification, and characterise periods in which previous points of reference are abandoned before the next ones are clearly established in consciousness. Amongst the Christian mystics, saint John of the Cross developed this concept of night particularly strongly, and distinguished two specific types, ‘the night of the senses’ and ‘the night of the soul’. The Christian mystic Bernadette Roberts adds a third kind which implies an annihilation of the reflective self.
While recognising that these periods of aridity are inevitable, Sri Aurobindo recommends that the seeker avoid attaching himself to this notion or attributing an exaggerated importance to it, stressing that the attention must always be brought back to a joyful consecration.

It seems to be a generally admitted fact that Polydorus succeeded his father Cadmus and was shortly afterwards deposed by Pentheus; the first period during which the seeker develops his potentials is followed by a phase of evolution in which an attachment to effort and suffering takes precedence.

Polydorus and his spouse Nycteis parented a son, Labdacus. The initiates of ancient times seem to agree that his rule was of a brief duration, marked by a territorial war which opposed him to Pandion I, the king of Athens. The latter emerged victorious from this conflict, with the support of Tereus. According to Apollodorus, ‘Labdacus perished soon after Pentheus did, for he held a similar attitude’.
When Pentheus was killed by his mother Agave Nycteus and Lycus became regents one after the other, first in place of Labdacus and then in place of Laios.

The origin of the name Labdacus is obscure, but we can form several hypotheses with the knowledge that the ancient form of the character lambda was written without the M (Λαβδα). It then symbolised ‘the opening of consciousness to the process of liberation’. We can also consider that the absence of the M corresponds to a lack of receptivity, which would cause a disequilibrium echoing the claudication of Labda, daughter of Amphion. By piercing Oedipus’ feet at the time of his birth, Laios increased this symbolic separation between spirit and matter.

Pandion I, ‘he who gives himself completely to the union of consciousness’, belongs to the lineage of the Athenian kings, which relates to the growth of the inner being and the progressive development of action carried out from the center of the being. It has been previously noted that Tereus, ‘he who watches’ and therefore indicating vigilance, was a son of Ares and aided this process.
But the boundary line between what must be submitted to a process of purification and liberation by the sense of judgment as well as through the means of personal action (Labdacus), and that which must be offered to the Divine to be transformed is uncertain; there is a territorial war between Labdacus and Pandion. The seeker therefore finds it difficult to define the limits between what he must undertake with the means of the ego, and what he must abandon to the action of the Divine. The answer of this myth is that a ‘mental vigilance’ allied to ‘consecration’ allows the discernment of the right attitude.
Still too tainted by an attachment to suffering, this period must cease (Labdacus holds the same attitude as Pentheus and dies soon after the latter does).
This attachment is also linked to the fact that the seeker still considers ‘an almighty god’ to be external to himself (Pandion I is wed to Zeuxippe, ‘the god-horse’).

Tereus’ treatment of Procne and Philomela indicates that this mental vigilance must be transformed into ‘attention’ if it is not to destroy the process of evolution towards Knowledge (see the history of Tereus in Chapter 4 of Volume 2).

When the seeker ceases to take suffering as a point of reference on the path there follows a period of uncertainty in which ‘inconscience’ and ‘vague light or glow’ alternate (when Pentheus was killed by his mother Agave, Nycteus and Lycus became regents one after the other, first in place of Labdacus and then in place of Laios). It must be pointed out that this alternation is not mentioned by all authors.

Laios and Jocasta (Epicasta)

At the time of Labdacus’ death, Laios was only a year old, and Lycus therefore became regent. Later on when Amphion and Zethos ascended to the throne after having slain Dirce and ousted Lycus, they also exiled Laios.

The etymology of the name Laios is obscure, but it can mean ‘left’ or ‘on the left’. We can also associate it with the Dorian Ληιον, which in this case signifies ‘a sown field’, which is to say a first result of yoga. Through its structuring characters Λ+Ι it would mean ‘a consciousness on the path of liberation’, a state but little developed at the time of the death of Labdacus, as Laios was then only a year old. A long period of maturation ‘in the night’ or guided by ‘a feeble glow’ and then by ‘the witness consciousness’ associated to ‘a will for experimentation’ will therefore be necessary before a definitive engagement to the path is made (according to some sources the regency of Lycus was preceded by that of Nycteus and then that of Amphion and Zethos before Laios ascended on the throne).

Aside from his murder at the hands of his son, only a single other story was later told regarding Laios; that of the abduction of Chrysippos, the legitimate son of Pelops. It appears for the first time in the work of Euripides, but no earlier source confirms it.
According to this version Laios fell in love with Chrysippos while he was teaching him to drive a chariot, but the latter rejected his advances and in shame committed suicide. This event was said to be the cause for the curse inflicted by Pelops on the Labdacid lineage.
There exists another version, recorded by Hellanicus in the middle of the fifth century, in which Atreus led a plot aiming to eliminate Chrysippos, son of Pelops in an illegitimate or pre-marital union. In fact Hippodamia, the legitimate spouse of Pelops and the mother of Atreus and Thyestes, feared Chrysippos’ ascent to the throne as it would stand in the way of her own sons’ ascent to power.
In another version, Hippodamia is said to be the only murderess.

Through the shame-stricken suicide of Chrysippos, the symbolic content of this myth seems to have been used to create a condemnation of homosexuality.
The version which includes a plot for the seizing of power is therefore to be given more credence. It exposes the risk of placing a perfect vital purification as the aim of the path, while it is only meant to be a means for it. In fact, while the path is at that moment one of ‘the mastery of force’, (the spouse of Pelops is Hippodamia), it is no longer a question of vital mastery (Chrysippos is an illegitimate son, or one born of a pre-marital affair).
Chrysippos, ‘a golden vital energy’, represents the work necessary for obtaining the purest vital, symbolised by the daughter of Pontos, Eurybia, ‘a great life’ or ‘a widened vital’.
The seeker who strives through purification to attain a ‘liberated consciousness’ and is still absorbed with establishing the bases of yoga (which are worked upon by Amphion and Zethos) must avoid becoming overly fascinated with this vital purity towards which he attempts to redirect the personality (Laios’ abduction of Chrysippos, who Laios had fallen in love with and to whom he taught to drive the chariot). The future yoga which must be carried out through the descendants of Hippodamia – Atreus and Thyestes followed by Agamemnon and Menelas – does not demand that this complete purity of the vital be taken as a primary objective, for the future yoga must develop in the heart of life, in which this kind of demand would become a stumbling-block.

In one way or another this error must be put to an end, either by disappearing of its own accord (Chrysippos’ suicide), or by being eradicated by that which aspires for an appropriate mastery within the seeker (the murder carried out by Hippodamia, or by her children Atreus and Thyestes under her direction).

THE MYTH OF OEDIPUS

The three great tragic authors, Sophocles, Aeschylus and Euripides, used this myth as the subject of many of their tragedies, but for dramatic effect they introduced into the earlier version numerous alterations which can at times distort the symbolic meaning of the legend.
Only a single work by Aeschylus on this subject has survived till the modern day, titled Seven Against Thebes, which was probably part of a trilogy. If Aeschylus was an initiate his condemnation of Polynices must highlight an attitude of the seeker which must disappear even though the war in itself was justified, as the Epigoni finally conquered Thebes. But we will not study this hypothesis hereafter. The Hellenist Paul Mazon argues that Aeschylus was not an initiate, but this is still an open-ended question.
In Aristophanes’ work The Frogs, the author describes Aeschylus invoking the goddess with the words ‘O Ceres (Demeter), you who have nourished my soul, make me worthy of your mysteries!’ Paul Mazon argues that ‘other facts seem to support an opposite conclusion. He was one day accused of having betrayed the secret of the mysteries in one of his tragedies. According to Aristotle, he defended his case by declaring that he was not aware that what he had written of was to be kept secret. An initiate could not have answered in this way, and so we must interpret Aeschylus as had done Clement of Alexandria, who concluded that Aeschylus could not have been an initiate. This fact is in no way surprising; Aeschylus was more religious than he was devout.’ (see Paul Mazon’s introduction to his translation of the works of Aeschylus in Eschyle –Tragédies, Gallimard Folio 1982).
As has been already mentioned, Euripides was almost certainly not an initiate, and so his works must for the most part not be considered in interpretation.

Before considering the details of the myth, it is good to have an overview.
With the foundation of Thebes by Cadmos, the seeker entered a process of purification/liberation in order to achieve harmony (Cadmos united with Harmony). After uncovering some unconscious memories (the Sowns), several paths are experimented. That of mystical ecstasy with Dionysus and several other paths that turn out to be dead ends (Autonoe, Ino, Agave). Then it is the path of the one “who works by many gifts” (or “gives a lot of himself”), Polydoros, who is pursued. To the reign of Labdacos succeeds that of Laios, symbol of the one who works “on the left”, that is to say by the intellect, or the one who works for the “freedom of the conscience”. The seeker then pursues a superficial purity (Epicasta/Jocasta) which in time will cut him off from his spiritual roots. That is, the quest for purity has been replaced by a quest for virtue.
But in parallel, a materialistic path governed by reason is developing (Sisyphus is raised by the Polybos-Merope couple who reigns in Corinth). When it has become powerful enough, it cuts off the seeker from the roots of the yoga of purification and pursues the same error of the virtuous path, not without having first put an end to a form of spiritual pride (after having rid Thebes of the Sphinge , Sisyphus kills his father and unites himself with his mother Epicasta).
Much later, this error disappears on its own when the researcher becomes aware that he has cut himself off from his source (Epicasta commits suicide). It will be then a return on the interiority and the reconquest of the chakras (the wars of Thebes) which will awaken the inner fire (Thersander, son of Polynices).
The detailed myth is as follows.

Following the slaying of Amphion and Niobe’s children by Apollo and Artemis, Laios was called back to the Theban throne by the city’s citizens. According to other sources, he rose to power following the death of Amphion and Zethos. According to Homer he then wed Epicasta, who was from Pherecydes’ time renamed Jocasta, a name only used by the tragic playwrights.

Apollo had prophesied that Laios would ensure the well-being of Thebes as long as he did not father any heirs, but Laios did not heed this warning.
In another version, a soothsayer had warned Laios that any son born of him would eventually bring about his death and wreak havoc amongst his descendants. But Laios did not heed this warning, and fathered a child, Oedipus.
To avoid the predicted fate Laios chose to abandon the three year old child, and “exposed” him (left him to meet his death) in the mountains. Jocasta gave the baby to a shepherd who was to abandon him on mount Cithaeron, with his ankles bound together, or pierced according to other versions. It is sometimes said that the infant was then found by cowherds who brought him to Polybus, the childless king of Corinth. According to other sources the shepherd refused to abandon him, and instead handed him over to another shepherd who brought the baby to king Polybus. His foster parents Polybus and Merope/Periboea raised him, not knowing his true identity till he had grown to adulthood.

At this stage of the path the bases are solidly established: Amphion, ‘the witness consciousness’, and Zethos, ‘the will to experiment’, have given back power to the legitimate heir Laios, ‘the process of liberation of consciousness (no doubt guided by the intellect). The seeker is no longer in search of a purification of the vital for its own sake (Chrysippos is dead). However, if his goal remains to tend towards liberation, it is towards “superficial purity” that he works (Epicasta).

The name Epicasta is built from the Greek word καστεια, ‘purity’. If one considers the structuring characters of this name, it can be seen that it is linked to the root ΣΤ, which signifies ‘to stand upright and erect’, a posture proper to man, the being who forges the link between earth and sky. This root can be found in the verb ‘to stand’ and in mythological names such as Asteria, Sterope, Themisto, Adrastos, Aristaeus, Orestes and Styx. It evokes rectitude, uprightness, inner and outer coherence, integrity and sincerity. On the other hand, the prefix επι indicates what is “above, on the surface of”.
The tragic playwrights’ use of the name Jocasta, ‘a pure consciousness’, instead of Epicasta, shows in our opinion a loss of the deep meaning of the myth. It is only Euripides, in his The Phoenician Women (verse 940 onwards), who retraces the genealogy of Jocasta and Creon to the ‘sown ones’ originating from the dragon’s teeth sown by Cadmus (see diagram 22).

Through a psychic intuition, the seeker knows that if he wishes to proceed with the process of incarnation of the inner being by the process of purification/liberation, he must change his yogic direction (Apollo has predicted that for the safeguarding of Thebes, Laios had to abstain from fathering any children).
According to the other version, the seeker is warned that if he continues on the same path, he will cut off from his roots, from the impulse that initiated the process of purification/liberation (his son would bring about his death, and his lineage would be cursed).
But he does not take into account these internal warnings, rejecting far from him what seems to him to present a danger for his present orientation. This refusal of change will continue for a long time, during the entirety of Oedipus’ growth towards mature adulthood and even until his son’s adulthood.

The myth specifies that Laios had asked the shepherd who was to abandon Oedipus to tie together or even to pierce the infant’s ankles. This was the reason behind the name given to the child, as Oedipus signifies ‘he of swollen feet’. (Oedipus is also known as Οιδιποδης, in accordance with the construction of proper names from the basis of the genitive of the names.) This detail indicates that the seeker refuses to bring his realisations or accomplishments into contact with incarnation, and that he seeks to maintain the separation between spirit and matter. But these ‘mental’ plans are foiled by life, for Oedipus is taken in by Polybus, ‘one who works for incarnation in all its aspects’ and his wife Merope according to Sophocles (Periboea according to the other authors).

There is therefore an active element of the quest which develops outside of or without the awareness of conscious asceticism. It develops in the process of incarnation and individuation, or autonomy, under the guidance of the highest aspect of the intellect (Polydorus is the king of Corinth, the country of Sisyphus). Recall that another Merope “partial vision” is the wife of Sisyphus.

The play Oedipus Rex by Sophocles develops along the following plot:
During a banquet, Oedipus is insulted by a Corinthian, who calls him a bastard. Oedipus then questions king Polybus, who insists that he is indeed his father. But beset by doubt, the young man decides to consult the oracle of Delphi. The latter does not reply to his question, but predicts that Oedipus’ destiny was to slay his father and marry his mother. He therefore decided to flee the region in which lived Polybus, who he considered to be his true father.
On the crossing between three roads (other authors describe either a single narrow road or a crossing of two roads), he came across a carriage drawn by horses, the occupants of which tried to forcefully push him from the road. Oedipus first struck the guide of the party who was pushing him. Then, as the carriage drew forward, the ‘old man’ within it struck Oedipus, who was infuriated and slew him along with all the other occupants of the carriage. For long he would remain ignorant of the fact that in doing so he had slain his biological father, Laios.

Then comes the moment in which the seeker feels ill at ease within his incarnation, doubting the appropriateness of the separation of spirit and matter (Oedipus doubts his parentage).
Going within himself, he perceives that this movement of reversal would risk of cutting him off from the roots of his yoga without him perceiving the right path of yoga. He therefore does his utmost to avoid this conclusion and believes himself to be successful. But this attempt of escape will not in the long term be effective in avoiding his destiny.

The seeker has also realised that he would have to pursue the same aim as before (Oedipus has been warned by the oracle that he would one day marry his own mother).
But here again he deludes himself about this goal (Oedipus thinks that his mother is Merope).
It is the arrogance of what has developed in parallel under the guidance of the highest intellect that provokes what will turn out to be a tragedy.

In fact, the theme of this myth is not the murder in itself, but rather the acts of patricide and incest. Oedipus therefore feels no guilt or remorse regarding the murder, as Laios had struck him first. If the occupant of the carriage had not been his own father, the murder would not have in itself been problematic. This is confirmed by Oedipus’ words in Sophocles’ text, as he pleads ‘I slew who else would me have slain; I slew without intent, A wretch, but innocent In the law’s eye, I stand, without a stain’ (Sophocles and F. Storr, Oedipus at Colonus, verse 550).

The description of the meeting place can refer either to the ‘narrow path’ of yoga, or to the meeting point of the three forms of yoga which work through intelligence, feeling and action (a crossroads at which three roads meet).

Victory over the Sphinge

Some time later, Oedipus arrived to the doors of Thebes. Creon, Jocasta’s brother, was then king; he had ascended to the throne when Laios was slain.
But for some time a monster had been wreaking terror in the city. Some said that he had been sent by Hera to punish Thebes for Laios’ misconduct towards the young Chrysippos. This monster, the Sphinge, was a monstrous being with the head of a woman, the body of a lion and a pair of wings. It carried away and killed its victims, who were mostly young men.
An ancient fragment of the Oedipodea claims that the Sphinge was responsible for the death of the most handsome and desirable amongst all, the divine Haemon, son of the irreproachable Creon.
King Creon had promised the kingdom to whoever would succeed in freeing Thebes from the Sphinge. In addition, he would offer as a bride to the new king queen Epicasta/Jocasta, widowed since Laios’ death.
Prompted to come to their assistance, Oedipus put an end to the curse of the Sphinge. (We will leave aside the version in which the Sphinge makes a suicidal leap from the heights of the citadel, as this is incompatible with the fact that it was a winged creature.)

From the beginning of the fifth century BCE, greek poet Pindar writes of the existence of ‘an enigma that emerged from the wild jaws of a virgin’. According to later tradition, as recorded by Asclepiad and Sophocles, the Sphinge would set riddles to all those who passed before it. It then devoured those who were unable to solve the riddle, which was always the case.
According to Asclepiad, the riddle was as follows:
‘There is on earth a creature that is two-footed, four-footed and three-footed, and whose voice is unique. Amongst the creatures which live on the earth, the air and the sea it alone changes form. But in the motion of its limbs it is slowest when it goes forwards supporting itself on its three feet, or on the greatest number of his feet’.
Oedipus reflected on this, and answered,
-‘Man. When he is a child he walks on all fours, when he is an adult he walks on two feet, and when he becomes old his walking stick becomes his third leg’.
Another riddle is sometimes cited, which is ‘They are two sisters, of which one engenders the other, the second in turn engendering the first’, to which Oedipus answered, ‘Night and Day’. (In the Greek language, Night and Day are feminine nouns.)
The Sphinge was thus vanquished and destroyed. According to several authors it killed itself, and Oedipus was celebrated as a hero. He was wed to Queen Epicasta/Jocasta and became the ruler of Thebes.

The genealogy of the Sphinge, or Phix, has already been discussed in the first volume of this work. One must remember that the Sphinge was a daughter of Orthros, ‘falsehood’, born of the union of the latter with his own mother Echidna, ‘the end of evolution in union’, or with Chimera, ‘illusion’, herself the daughter of Echidna. Other sources describe her as a daughter of Echidna and Typhon, ‘ignorance’.
Through its structuring characters the name Phix can also be considered as φιχ+ς , for the xi is a contraction of the khi and of the sigma. In this case this monster is the symbol of the ‘end of the penetration of consciousness in the being’.
Sphinge is therefore a result of ignorance, separation and illusion, or of the falsehood resulting from them. But in its representation it also maintains the idea of one of the highest realisations as symbolised by the Sphinx, an image of the ego subjugated to spiritual consciousness. In fact, the Greeks referred to the Egyptian Sphinx as the Androsphinx (ανδροσφιγξ), depicted with the head of a Pharaoh and the body of a lion, symbol of true wisdom. But in the case of the Sphinge, the Pharaoh’s head is replaced by that of a woman, and is receptive rather than active. It is therefore no longer representative of a superior element directing an inferior one, but rather of man’s ego governing, as represented by the lion’s body. This lion’s body receives the support of the mind as well, being endowed with a pair of great wings. The Sphinge is therefore a perversion, a falsehood disguised as truth, a receptivity paired with a powerful mental ego. It can most probably be associated with spiritual pride.

None of the ancient sources explain the Sphinge’ presence in Thebes. Some say that it was sent by Hera, the power that watches over the right and appropriate progression of yoga.
It had appeared during Laios’ rule, and represents a consequence of the quest for liberation when this quest is linked to a rejection of incarnation or turned towards virtue instead of true purity. This is why it considerably weakens the forces which should be allocated to the path of the seeker (the monster devours Laios’ subjects). It even brought about the death of the divine Haemon, whose name signifies ‘blood’ and in its wider sense ‘passion’ and the essence of life, who was the son of Creon, ‘the movement of incarnation’. We can here understand that pursuit of virtue can kill life energies. (This Theban Creon, son of Menoeceus, must not be confused with Creon the son of Lycatheus, who fathered a daughter named Glauce who would later wed Jason.)

Even before he consciously orients himself in a new direction, the seeker must put an end to this deviation. So as to unmask the perversion he must put to work that which has been developed during his time with Polybus, a discernment that only incarnation allows for. The efforts produced within the frame of liberation in the spirit are not only incapable of bringing falsehood to light, but are also themselves ‘absorbed’ (the subjects of Laios do not succeed in solving the riddle, and are devoured by the monster). The researcher has indeed privileged superficial purity, that is to say virtues that have nothing to do with true spirituality.
What solves the enigma is a certain candor that has developed in the materialistic way.

When the error is unmasked, it disappears by itself; the Sphinge kills itself.
But the seeker has not finished with the illusion of the virtuous path, since he pursues in the same way a purity in appearances (Oedipus ascended to the Theban throne and married his mother Epicasta).

So as to avoid any interpretation that focuses on incest, which was far removed from the preoccupations of mythology, certain sources claim that Oedipus was married not to his own mother but to his step-mother, his father’s second wife. Laios’ first spouse is then known by a variety of names: Euryclia, ‘renowned vastness, a great will to share’, Eurygania, ‘a vast shining’, Euryanassa, ‘a great power and vast mastery’, and Astymeduse, ‘power over the city, or mastery over the personality’.
On his side, Pausanias based his understanding on the Oedipodea, and claimed that according to this source Oedipus’ children were not borne by Epicasta, but rather by Eurygania, ‘a great radiance and joy’, who was herself the daughter of Hyperphas, ‘he who shines far above’. It was Aeschylus who first claimed that Oedipus fathered his mother’s four children, an interpretation then repeated by Sophocles.
But in every version, the names of the children remain the same.

The unveiling of murder and incest

Whether with his own mother or his mother-in-law, Oedipus fathered four children, two sons named Eteocles and Polynices, and two daughters named Ismene and Antigone. When they reached maturity a plague ravaged the city of Thebes, decimating the population, livestock and vegetation. The oracle who was consulted advised that the murder of Laios was to be punished. Oedipus committed himself to finding the guilty party and made enquiries about his identity with the soothsayer Tiresias, who was reticent at first but finally admitted to knowing the murderer, although he would not clearly reveal his name.
Oedipus and Jocasta told each other their histories, including the abandonment of Jocasta’s child and Oedipus’ slaying of the occupants of the carriage, and Oedipus finally learned the truth through the corroborating accounts of the shepherds: he was himself the murderer that he had been seeking.
When she learned this, Jocasta precipitated herself into the palace and hung herself. Crazed with pain and shame, Oedipus blinded himself.
In Homer’s Odyssey, Oedipus remained at Thebes until his death.
For others, Creon took over the governance of Thebes and sent Oedipus into exile, the latter embarking upon a long erring journey after having cursed his sons for their disrespect in his regard.
In another tradition, he cursed his sons for not having taken care of him.
When they became old enough to rule, Eteocles banished his brother Polynices from Thebes, and the latter sought refuge in Argos.
Other sources claim that the two brothers agreed to take turns as rulers. But when the time of his rule was reaching its end, Eteocles refused to give up power.

This story is the subject of Sophocles’ play Oedipus Rex, or Oedipus the King. It confirms the fact that the seeker becomes aware after a long time that he has cut himself from the basics of the yoga of purification. This ends with a radical interiorisation (Oedipus blinds himself).
Most of the elements added by Sophocles are not interesting save for their dramatic value. In a more sober style, Apollodorus continues the narrative by writing that when that which was hidden became unveiled” Jocasta hung herself (Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 56).

On the other hand, certain details in the Iliad and the Catalogue of Women indicate that Oedipus continued to rule Thebes even after the revelation of his guilt. The Thebaid also describes the quarrels of Oedipus and his sons in Thebes, which would suggest that the former was not exiled. It is also quite possible that he had not even blinded himself.
It can therefore be assumed that the later version recounted by the tragic playwrights was developed to illustrate moral elements very distant from the initial preoccupations of mythology.

But the central story shared by all the different versions is the conflict of Oedipus and his sons and the curse which he cast upon them, especially upon Polynices.
In fact, the two brothers killed each other before the doors to Thebes during the first war, which gives credence to the version of the story in which they were both cursed, and marking the failure of a first attempt for deep purification.
Their deaths demonstrate that they both represent erroneous processes blocking evolution.

In this study we will be considering the versions written by Pherecydes and Sophocles, in which Eteocles drove his brother Polynices from Thebes by force. According to Sophocles it was only Polynices, who, having exiled Oedipus from Thebes, was cursed by his father when he sought his benediction.

To understand the different accounts of these curses and the role of each character in the ensuing fratricidal wars, one must keep in mind the development of the story in its totality, ending with the victory of the Epigoni, the sons of the ‘Seven’ leaders who had left to war ten years before.
The war led by Polynices, ‘numerous quarrels’, and of his allies against Thebes is therefore a legitimate endeavour, even if the reconquest of the city failed at first. This failure of purification must only be attributed to the limitations of its framework, which is duality. As this is a question of yoga, one must in fact understand Polynices as ‘an asceticism within the frame of duality, in which is manifested division and exclusion rather than integration’. That is to say that the seeker is fighting against his defects what only reinforce them. The failure of purification (the reconquest of Thebes) is therefore due to a still too-present ego and a lack of unity, and thus from an excess of personal will created by a lack of submission to the Absolute and of inner contemplation, as initiated by Oedipus.

This explains why in the work of Sophocles, who is considered to be an initiate, Oedipus curses Polynices, while this author could not possibly be oblivious to the fact that the reconquest of Thebes was symbolically coherent. According to Sophocles, Oedipus acted with exactness; while in exile he received the support of Theseus, and was supported by his daughter Antigone till the end while he wandered across the country blindly and ended his life in a kind of apotheosis.
However, these battles oriented towards purity (Polynices’ wife is Argeia ‘the pure’) are not useless; they accrue the level of consciousness in the being, and thus the inner fire as well (their son is named Thersander, ‘the burning man’).

The name of Oedipus’ second son, Eteocles, introduces another element of incertitude into the interpretation due to the fact that some Greek writers mention a character named Eteocles amongst the assailants. In either case, it is a symbol of a ‘truly glorious’ element. Oedipus’ son Eteocles can therefore be understood as ‘that which is well established’ and which creates an obstacle for what is new, whether these are the laws of yoga or those of nature. This explains why some Greek writers affirm that the two brothers agreed to take turns as rulers of Thebes.

The conflict of embodying the process of purification and liberation from the inner being (seizing the Theban throne) could then be at its root a conflict of change between the dualities of stability and activity, and passivity and inertia. Whether they are the laws of ancient yoga or are habits of nature, they are the ones to dominate on this phase of the path (it is Eteocles who rules over Thebes).

But the ultimate aim is a purification followed by a universalisation – the removal of all limitations – from the body’s centres of consciousness (the seven doorways of Thebes). As most authors agree that the Theban Wars occurred prior to the Trojan War, they must then only represent a deep purification and re-harmonisation of the centres. In fact, there is a vast difference between a harmonious functioning of the centres and their universalisation, which presupposes a progressive transferring of the corresponding planes to the Divine.

Polynices’ wedding

Before continuing the story of the two brothers, a certain myth linked to Argeia, Polynices’ wife, must be discussed, for it forges a link between the paths of purification and liberation (the Theban lineage), and that of the ascension of the planes of consciousness. In fact Argeia was a daughter of Adrastos, ‘he who does not act according to his personal will’, or ‘he who does not try to escape’, or ‘he who strives to be imperturbable’, and who belongs to the lineage of the Aeolian Cretheus through Amythaon, ‘the work of sincerity in speech’, Bias, ‘he who develops vital force’, and Talaos, ‘he who endures’ (See diagram 12).

The myths linked to the children of Cretheus have been discussed as part of the study about the first five children of Aeolus (Chapter 2 Volume 2), and only their main points will be repeated here.
The descendance of Cretheus, son of Aeolus, is a complex one, but we can distinguish two distinct phases of it.
The first period regards a seeker who works on his mental faculties and develops both his personality (Aeson), a certain endurance (Pheres, ‘he who supports’), and a sincerity in speech (Amythaon). It is this work which will allow an increase of sensitivity and the first great experience of contact, as told in the quest of the Golden Fleece, as well as the acquisition of strength (Bias) and of an intuitive mental capacity (Melampus).
There then opens a second phase of deepening in which the seeker develops an integrative endurance (Talaos, ‘he who endures’, was joined to Lysimache, ‘she who makes combat cease’, who was herself the daughter of Melampus). This period permits the establishment of a great ‘quality of presence’ or ‘presence at the instant’ (Eriphyle), as well as a correctness of action (Adrastos, ‘he who does not act according to his personal will’, or ‘the will to face obstacles and to become imperturbable’ or ‘he who does not try to escape’).
This is how the seeker draws closer to the inner divine and attains a certain degree of purity (Adrastos was joined to Amphithea, ‘she who is close to the inner divine’. She bore him several children, including Argeia ‘the pure’ who later wed Polynices, and Deipyle ‘the doorway of union’, who wed Tydeus).
According to Homer, Adrastos was the master of a prodigiously swift divine horse named Areion; vital power expressed ‘in the best way’ or according to ‘the right consciousness’. He appears in the first campaign against Thebes, but was especially active during the campaign of the Epigoni.
Parallelly, the seeker progressively develops his intuition, as illustrated by the lineage of the renowned soothsayers and seers beginning with Melampus, the seer ‘of black feet’ and a symbol of mental intuition, and of his sons Mantios ‘who performs oracles’ and Antiphates, ‘that which is indescribable’ (See diagram 29). The latter was the father of Oicles, ‘a renowned consciousness’, who himself became the father of Amphiaraos, ‘that which draws near to the right perception’, and of Eriphyle, ‘a great quality of presence’. The latter fathered two sons, Alcmaeon, ‘a powerful consecration’, and Amphilochus, ‘he who achieves powerful attention’.

THE FIRST THEBAN WAR

The story of Polynices’ marriage, which concerns a phase of preparation for purification, is recounted by Euripides in the following way:
Polynices and Tydeus, son of Oeneus, meet one night under the doorway of Argos, a city then governed by Adrastos. They begin to fight for the best place to spend the night, and Adrastos steps out of his quarters to find out the cause of the noise. Remembering an oracle of Apollo which had advised him to marry his daughters to a wild boar and to a lion respectively, he understood that this injunction referred to the two fighting heroes. According to Apollodorus, Polynices’ shield was decorated with the image of a lion, and that of Tydeus with that of a wild boar (some say instead that the two men were dressed with the skins of these animals).
Adrastos thus gave them his daughters’ hands in marriage, presenting Argeia to Polynices and Deipyle to Tydeus.

If Euripides’ account of these unions is to be trusted, then this story establishes the links between three lineages:
To begin with, that of Oeneus, ‘the winemaker, he who strives for the growth of joy’, and that of his son Tydeus, ‘he who aspires for union’.
Then with the lineage of Cadmus and Harmonia on the path of exactness, with Polynices, ‘he who fights in division and exclusion’.
And finally the lineage of Adrastos, ‘he who does not act according to his personal will’, or ‘he who does not try to escape’ or ‘he who strives to be imperturbable’, and who was a descendant of the Aeolian Amythaon, ”the work of sincerity in speech’.
This therefore situates the Theban Wars within a certain time frame:
On the one hand, after the first great experience of contact (the winning of the Golden Fleece) but still in the same progression linked to growth in the higher mind, characterised by Cretheus’ three sons Pheres, Amythaon and Aeson.
On the other hand, the lineage of Aethlius (and therefore according to some that of Protogenia, ‘those who advance at the forefront’) and of his son Endymion, ‘he who strives for consecration’, which illustrates a work of appeasement of the mind and of the growth of joy (Oeneus).
It has also been noted that Tydeus was a half-brother of Meleagros, with both being sons of Oeneus; the first Theban war is therefore close to the Calydonian boar hunt discussed in the previous chapter. Although some early mythographers claimed that this hunt had taken place a generation before the Theban Wars, it is in fact very difficult to situate it, as it refers to a process as a whole. If one considers the death of the wild boar as consecrating the elimination of every desire, this hunt must have taken place at the same time as the Theban Wars.

Apollodorus’ description of the emblems depicted on the two shields suggests that this was a work in progress. In fact, it is only the front part of a lion that is depicted on the shield of Polynices ‘he who fights in division and exclusion’, which is to say a well-advanced struggle for the disappearance of the ego. Similarly, only a view of a front part of a wild boar is represented on the shield of Tydeus, ‘he who aspires for union’, which is to say a state that is almost desireless. In all events, this cannot point to a definite eradication of the ego and of desire, which will only intervene later on with the victory of the Epigoni.

The quarrel between Tydeus and Polynices to secure the best place to rest under the walls of Adrastos’ city of Argos indicates, within the yogic work directed by ‘a will not to flee before obstacles’, a doubt meant to bring to the forefront of asceticism either ‘the aspiration for union’ or ‘a conflict in which are manifested division and exclusion rather than integration’. The seeker does not know if he must strive for unity as his priority (the way of love), or else strive for purification in his everyday life by plunging into his dual and conflicted nature (the way of truth).
At this stage the myth only gives an orientation to each of the two movements: Tydeus, ‘he who aspires for union’ and seeks joy (for he is Oeneus’ son), must strive towards ‘the doorway of union in consciousness’ (Deipyle), while Polynices, ‘he who leads numerous battles in duality’, must search for clarity or purity (Argeia), which feeds the inner fire (their son is Thersander, ‘the burning man’). But these two movements are shown to be incapable of productively leading the process of purification, for these two heroes are killed in the first war.

The betrayal of Eriphyle

Eriphyle, Adrastos’ sister, had married her distant cousin Amphiaraos, both being descendants of Amythaon. The latter was a seer of great renown, protected by both Zeus and Apollo. He had predicted the first campaign against Thebes and the deaths of all its participants except for Adrastos.
But he was obliged to fight as well due to the betrayal of his wife Eriphyle. Although he had forbidden her to accept any gift from Polynices, when the latter offered her a necklace inherited through direct descent from Cadmus and Harmonia, she accepted, and in exchange agreed to persuade her husband to join the campaign. Due to an old quarrel Adrastos and Amphiaraos had both agreed to adhere to any decision made by Eriphyle, and so Amphiaraos was obliged to participate in the battle. However he made his son Alcmaeon swear to renew the attack against Thebes and to avenge him by killing his mother.

The Theban Wars represent the process of re-harmonisation of the main energy centres referred to as ‘chakras’ in Indian tradition.
At the beginning of the first campaign the seeker intuitively knows that he is not yet ready for this deep purification, and that numerous movements of his quest will not be able to resist in the face of it (the seer Amphiaraos had predicted the failure of the first campaign and the death of all its participants). This intuition originates both from the supraconscient and from the psychic light (Amphiaraos is protected by both Zeus and Apollo).

The seeker has decided that both his ‘quest for a right perception’ and his ‘resolution to face obstacles’ must henceforth depend upon his ‘quality of presence’ or ‘presence of the moment’ which is integrative, and no more upon mental alone (Adrastos as well as Amphiaraos, Eriphyle’s husband, had accepted to submit themselves to her decisions). But this presence will be able to disappear once a very great receptivity and consecration will have been established (when Eriphyle will be slain by her son Alcmaeon).

The seeker also intuitively knows that this ‘quality of presence’ must not under any circumstance support itself on realisations originating from the ‘battle within duality’, and therefore from the work of purification carried out by the ego (Amphiaraos had forbidden Eriphyle to accept any gifts from Polynices). These achievements proceed from exclusion in fact, and cannot lead to the sought-after goal of unity.

The seeker will have to commit himself to a movement contrary to what is dictated by his deeper intuition; Polynices, who was wed to Argeia, forced Amphiaraos to participate in the war. His ‘quality of presence’ is tinted not by a ‘perfection of expression’ which is a speech mastery, but rather by a ‘power of persuasion’. Here, this power originates from a work of purification led by the personal will (Eriphyle is seduced by the necklace of Harmonia gifted to her by Polynices). The ‘presence’ would in fact have had to remain linked to a movement of unity rather than to a work of the mental ego (Eriphyle should have listened to Amphiaraos).

This ‘perfection of expression’ must develop with the yoga (the necklace of Harmonia is handed down from generation to generation). Harmonia’s dress and necklace in fact underline two important aspects of the exactness to be achieved; the rightness of expression, and the rightness of function.
According to Sri Aurobindo, the throat center is linked to the physical mind: ‘the throat centre is the physical mind centre. It is the centre of externalization – speech, expression, the power to deal mentally with physical things etc. Its opening brings the power to open the physical mind to the light of divine consciousness instead of remaining in the ordinary outward-directed mentality’ (see p 239 in Sri Aurobindo’s Letters on Yoga Vol. I, The Throat Centre, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Publication Dept. 2012).

In short, an opportunity is presented for acquiring an important power of persuasion which the seeker uses against himself and to which he sacrifices his faculty of right perception, which informs him of his lack of readiness for a deepened work of purification and liberation. In fact, this story reveals the process through which the seeker with all goodwill engages in a premature asceticism of purification, although not without a vague sense of having committed an error (this is why Amphiaraos asks his son to kill his mother and lead a second war against Thebes later on).

Archemoros’ departure for war, and his subsequent death

Polynices and Tydeus sought to make allies in Mycenae, but Zeus sent them ill omens and the mission ended in failure (Iliad).
When the Seven leaders arrived at Nemea, they first went in search for water.
The city was then governed by king Lycurgus. With a homonymous Eurydice he had parented a son named Opheltes, who was later taken care of by the slave Hypsipyle. The latter had been sold to Lycurgus because she had spared her father Thoas when the women of Lemnos decided to eliminate all the male inhabitants on the island. When the other women had become aware of this, they had killed Thoas and sold Hypsipyle.
One day Hypsipyle left the child under her care on the ground while indicating the path towards a spring to the heroes, and in the meantime the sleeping child was bitten by a snake (Hyginus adds that a prophecy had warned that the child was not to touch the ground till he could walk). The heroes then killed the snake, and buried the child.
As Amphiaraos announced that this death was in agreement with destiny’s decree and warned the leaders of the expedition’s fate, they renamed the child Archemoros, ‘the announcer of destiny’, and established the Nemean games on the banks of the river Asopos in his honour.

This preliminary adventure of the heroes on their way to Thebes occurred in Nemea where Heracles vanquished the lion, symbol of the ego.
The history of the island of Lemnos has been discussed in the study of the quest of the Golden Fleece; the women of Lemnos had killed not only their husbands, who had brought back Thracian slaves as their concubines and neglected their rightful spouses, but had also killed every other male inhabitant on the island including boys and elderly men. This points to the quest for ‘exotic spiritual forms’ rather than an aspiration to transform existing ones.
At that moment however, the most advanced aspect of the seeker had preserved its ‘ardour’ or its capacity to ‘move swiftly’ on the path (Hypsipyle, ‘the elevated doorway’, had spared her father Thoas). But this was only to last for a certain period, the seeker falling back on his earlier beliefs (the women of Lemnos eventually slew Thoas).

At the beginnings of the path, the highest form of the quest was to watch over the first ‘expression’ of the ‘nascent light’ oriented towards ‘a right movement’ (Hypsipyle was to take care of Opheltes, ‘he who brings growth’, son of Lycurgus, ‘he who aspires for the light’, and of Eurydice, ‘the right way of acting’).
In this instance it is truly a question of the first gleams of the spiritual light, for according to Apollodorus Lycurgus was a son of Pheres and therefore a brother of Admete and a cousin of Jason.
This nascent light must be carefully protected from any premature use; the infant must not touch the ground before he is able to walk, which is to say before having acquired a vertical posture which links spirit and matter, and constitutes incarnation. Still wrapped in his baby blanket, Opheltes represents the vague desire of one who wishes to ‘be of service, aid or rescue, or make himself useful’.

But what must impede this premature wish to serve is diverted from its task by the first impulse towards purification (Hypsipyle assists the heroes in their search for the spring).
Due to this, the ‘will to serve’ is prematurely incarnated and disappears under the effect of evolution, without it even being conscious of the fact (Opheltes was bitten by a snake while he slept). The seeker must in fact disengage from any interference of the ego before being truly able to help another individual, which is to say before the Divine becomes able to help others through him.

Because of Lycurgus’ place in the genealogical lineages, this episode is attributed to the beginnings of the path. But the chronologies of the initiates of ancient times place the first Theban wars long after the quest of the Golden Fleece, even later than the Calydonian board hunt but still prior to the Trojan War.
We can therefore understand that the Theban Wars encompass the process of purification as a whole. This first episode can therefore address both the first impulses to bring aid to the ‘disinherited’, as well as a more or less conscious wish to ‘save the world’ at a more advanced stage of yoga.

If the wish to serve directed by the ego disappears, the ‘real task’ manifests itself more and more clearly (Opheltes is renamed Archemoros, the announcer of destiny’).
This death describes a passage towards the acceptance of whatever life puts forward, the renunciation of the personal desire to serve and a submission to destiny’s unfolding or to the task set by the psychic being.
But it can be assumed that only a part of the being is truly conscious at the beginning, a complete submission to the task only arising with the second campaign against Thebes. For very often the seeker is obliged to enter into battles set by his ego even if he is to suffer defeat (failure of the first campaign).

The Nemean games were established on this occasion. Heracles rendered them famous with his victory over the Nemean Lion, and consecrated them to Zeus.
These games can therefore be associated with an acquiring of consciousness regarding the task at hand.
Let us remember that the other games were:
The Isthmian games, established by Sisyphus and marking the entry into the path.
The Pythian games established in the honour of Apollo, who soon after his birth had slain the serpent Python, a symbol of the ‘process of decomposition’. They consecrate the first contact with the immortal psychic being.
The Olympic games established by Heracles on Mount Ida (the mountain of Union) in commemoration of the end of his Labours, which is to say the end of a personal yoga through a Union with the Absolute and the end of the phases of psychic and spiritual transformation.

Attackers and defenders of Thebes

Thebes represents the process of manifestation of the inner being in incarnation, implying a progressive purification aiming to achieve Harmony which is exactness.
The seven doorways of Thebes can be associated to the seven main centres of energy-consciousness of the subtle body, known as chakras in occult tradition.
There are actually other centres situated above and below the physical body (Mother knew of three above and three below), as well as numerous other minor centres in the subtle body.
The seven chakras are rooted at different levels of the spine, spanning from its base till a point above the top of the skull. They shine before and behind the body, and above it in the case of the crown chakra. Those with a special vision for them sometimes perceive them as vortexes within which appear coloured petals.
Three currents of energy known as Ida, Pingala and Sushumna flow vertically, sustaining and nourishing the chakras.
From the higher center shines an energy similar to a fountaining light, hence the name given to one of the first doorways of Thebes, ‘the doorway of the fountain’.

There are relatively few indications about the Theban Wars in earlier texts. The names of the attackers, the defendants and the doorways only appear in the works of the Greek tragic playwrights. The ones handed down to us are those by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, and later on by Apollodorus, Diodorus, Statius and Hyginus. The names of the defenders are often not mentioned.

It has already been specified that these wars are linked to the process of purification which brings about psychicisation, and not to the process of universalisation of the centres. In fact, the texts of the ancient initiates indicate that these wars ended well before the beginning of the Trojan War.
It would therefore be a question of the purification of the chakras or of an amelioration of their functions rather than of a radical reversal of the formers. In fact, everything occurs as though the radiance of their energies were limited by the construction of individuality. Additionally, they are to a greater or lesser extent blocked or disturbed by ‘knots’ or influences of different kinds. It is through this perspective that we will analyse the symbolism of the warriors and doorways of Thebes.

On the other hand, the process of universalisation of the centres assumes a surpassing of individual limits on the corresponding planes, of which the Mother speaks in the Agenda, explaining that for herself ‘Above, beginning with the center between the eyebrows, the work has been done for a long time. There it is blank. For ages upon ages upon ages, the union with the Supreme has been realized and is constant.
Below this center is the body. And this body has indeed the concrete sensation of the Divine in each of its cells; but it needs to become universalized. That’s the work to be done, center by center. I understand now what Sri Aurobindo meant when he repeatedly insisted, ‘Widen yourself.’ All this must be universalized; it is the condition, the basis, for the Supramental to descend into the body. According to the ancient traditions, this universalization of the physical body was considered the supreme realization, but it is only a foundation, the base upon which the Supramental can come down without breaking everything.” (Mother’s Agenda Volume 1, April 21, 1959.)
Amongst all the lists of heroes leading the troops which have been handed down to us, we can discard the two contradictory lists by Euripides, as well as those of later historians.
We will therefore mostly rely on those given by Sophocles, and with greater reserve those by Aeschylus, for the latter associated an assailant and a defendant with each of the gates of Thebes. In fact, it seems quite obvious that it is not unique and particular behaviours which either block the chakras or allow them to be universalised. To make such association therefore seems to point to descriptions of the ‘knots’ which block particular realisations, rather than to an opening of one energy centre or the other.
We have also seen that the opening of these centres was necessary, and that the defeat of the first campaign was only due to a lack of preparation. However, as it was the defenders who were glorified by Aeschylus and by Euripides, one must deduce that this was only done for dramatic effect.

It is also interesting to note that amongst the “Seven” four belonged to the lineage of Iapetus, the Greek initiates thus attributing four centres to the growth and the spiritualisation of the mind.
Sri Aurobindo also attributes the three higher centers to the spiritualisation of the mind:
The lotus of a thousand petals (Sahasrara) governs the highest thinking mind, shelters the illumined mind higher still and at its summit opens towards intuition, through which it can establish contact or communication with the overmind.
The centre situated between the eyebrows (Ajna) governs the dynamic mind, the will, the subtle vision and mental forms.
The centre of the throat (Vishuddha) governs the mind of expression and externalisation.
The heart centre (Anahata) governs the emotional being
The centre at the navel (Manipura) governs the vast or higher vital
The abdominal centre (Swadhishthana) governs the lower vital, which is solely occupied by petty desires, feeble passions and such drives which constitute the everyday reality of ordinary man living in the world of the senses.
The centre at base of the spine (Muladhara) governs the physical plane down till the subconscious level.

Adrastos, ‘he who does not act according to his personal will”, or “he who does not try to escape” or “he who strives to be imperturbable’, does not appear amongst the attackers of Thebes, neither in Aeschylus’ works nor in Sophocles’, but he is said to have accompanied the attackers till the gates of Thebes. He is in fact the only one to survive, and ten years later participated in the campaign of the Epigoni.
This hero is in fact the symbol of one of the primordial elements put forward by Sri Aurobindo in the advanced stages of yoga. He implies both the courage and the equality acquired through ‘endurance’, for Adrastos is a son of Talaos, ‘he who supports and endures’. He flees far from the field of battle upon his famous horse Areion, who leads the seeker towards ‘the best movement’ of the vital. However, in the Thebaid the poet Statius includes his name rather than Eteocles’ amongst the Seven.

The lists of attackers are identical in Aeschylus’ and Sophocles’ works. Below will be listed and described the elements given by Aeschylus regarding the attackers, the gates of the cities and its defenders. The descriptions of the heroes and their shields must be understood as achievements that are still in progress.

Polynices, ‘he who undertakes numerous battles whilst the ego is still very present’, was the leader of the attackers. He faced his brother Eteocles, ‘the glory of that which is well established’.
On his shield is displayed the image of an armed man led calmly forward by a female hand. This was the hand of Dike, ‘an appropriate manner of acting or ‘exactness’. Here she is the daughter of Zeus, the supraconscient, and of Themis, the goddess of divine law or of submission to the inner being. She claimed that she would reinstate Polynices to his rightful place within the city, and it is therefore while being guided by exactness in a receptive attitude that the seeker will find his rightful place within the harmony of what is Real.
During this first expedition the seeker is not yet able to ‘vanquish’, which is to say to purify the chakras, but only to build up his inner fire through an enlargement of his consciousness and through the first steps of purification; Thersander, ‘the burning man’, was in fact the son that Argeia ‘the pure’ bore Polynices. It follows that Eteocles answers the messenger who informs him that he has never witnessed his brother acting with exactness, which predicts the failure of the first campaign.
The gateways of the city are unnamed in Aeschylus’ texts. It is ‘the highest gateways’ (Hypsistes) in Apollodorus’ text and ‘the doorways of the fountain’ in Euripides’ which evoke the crown chakra, the radiance of which is often represented as an outpouring of water.
Tydeus, ‘he who aspires to union’.
In Aeschylus’ account, Tydeus’ shield showed a depiction of a chiseled sky, in which twinkled stars and a shining moon at its centre; the seeker must attain a detachment which is achieved through mastery. But he specified that he had not crossed over the ford of the Ismenus, which is to say that he has not yet surpassed the stage of the ordinary human personality.
Tydeus was a son of Oeneus the winemaker of the lineage of Protogenia, ‘that which is at the forefront’, and was therefore a half-brother of Meleagros and Deianeira and the father of the great Diomede, ‘he who aspires to be divine’.
The warrior to oppose him was Melanippos, ‘non-purified vital energy’, son of Astacus, ‘he who does not open himself to integrity’ and a descendant of the “sown men” issued from sowing of the dragon’s teeth, which is to say an expression of unresolved knots in the vital. A union in the vital can therefore not occur as long as this plane is not purified.
The battle took place before the Proetidian gate, ‘that which brings forward consciousness on the higher plane’.
Capaneus is perhaps ‘the consciousness which opens to all or in totality’.
He was a son of Hipponous ‘the vital mind’, who was of great stature.
He was joined to Euadne, ‘an appropriate evolution towards union’.
On his shield was depicted a man brandishing a torch and proclaiming that he would burn down the city, which is to say that he would destroy the organisation of the self. He fought Polyphontes, ‘he who slays many’, here supported by Artemis before the Electran gate, ‘the opening of the heart’.
The consciousness of the seeker which enlarges itself increases the inner fire which must destroy the fortifications of the ego.
The opposition can be understood as a series of cleansings carried out prior to the consciousness being able to widen.
Eteoclos, ‘a true glory’, seems to symbolise the achievements of the earlier yoga, as does Eteocles, brother of Polynices.
On his shield was depicted an armed warrior ascending a ladder lain against a rampart, image of a progression related to a spiritual ascent. But that which halts the ascension is the impatience of the rajasic ego, as his enraged fillies strained to precipitate themselves towards the gates.
His adversary was Megareus, ‘the appropriate movement in greater things’, a son of Creon, ‘incarnation’, and of a homonymous Eurydice, ‘the appropriate manner of behaving’, and therefore possibly a descendant of the sowing of the dragon’s teeth. This battle consequently relates to a resolution of the knots and contortions within the being. It was carried out before the Neistan gate, ‘the evolution of rectitude’.
Hippomedon, ‘the master of horses’ or ‘vital mastery’.
According to Sophocles he was a son of Talaos, ‘he who endures’, but according to others was only his grandson through Aristomachos, ‘the best warrior’. He therefore represents a very advanced mastery.
On his shield was depicted an image of Typhon, black smoke billowing out of his mouth. He was possessed by Ares, and to him a hand to hand combat held the intensity of pleasure of an orgy. The hero had to first confront the goddess Athena and then the defender Hyperbios, son of Oenops.
It is therefore up to the seeker to vanquish ignorance (Typhon), caused by the vital ego in direct combat with its own shadow. This represents a very advanced stage of vital yoga, the crowning of which must be in accord with the name of the gate Oncaidian dedicated to Onka Athena ‘the majestic’, or ‘she who has acquired amplitude or density’.
The seeker must first be faced by the goddess to prove through his equality to the gods that he is worthy of acquiring the powers of this plane, which he will then have to abandon if he wishes to pursue his path (see the tenth labour of Heracles). This is why he must then face Hyperbios ‘the highest life’, son of Oenops, ‘of the colour of wine’, or he who has attained divine intoxication. In fact, the highest vital achievement is not the mastery, for the vital play must be entirely free in a way that it is completely surrendered to the Absolute. On the shield of Hyperbios was depicted Zeus holding a fiery thunderbolt; the seeker must pass beyond the plane of the gods and beyond the overmind.
Parthenopaeus, ‘he who strives to acquire a virginal vision’, which is to say a completely untroubled vision free of any preference, opinion, desire, fear, distaste or attraction. He is a son of the Arcadian Atalanta, whose name signifies ‘equality’ (see chapter 1). It is in fact only through a perfected detachment or equality (the establishment of a ‘solid peace’) that the seeker is able to acquire the appropriate vision of ‘that which is or must be’.
According to Sophocles, he was attributed this name because his mother had for so long remained a virgin before bearing him; this it therefore an ascetic practice which cannot bear fruit quickly.
According to Aeschylus this young man carried a shield bearing a depiction of the Sphinge, the devouring ogress; through a recent realisation, the seeker has surpassed the counterfeit wisdom of spiritual pride (the image of the Sphinge on the shield indicates that the hero has killed her).
According to Aeschylus his adversary was Actor, ‘the guide’ and brother of Hyperbios, ‘the highest life’. Actor did not boast but carried out that what is to be done; through a completely purified vision, the seeker must surpass even his most developed instinctive nature.
The battle unfolds before the Borraean gate (of Boreas), which is that of asceticism and the ‘incarnation of the right movement’.
The seer Amphiaraos, ‘the intuitive movement towards exactness’, son of Oicles, ‘a renowned consciousness’.
Let us remember that he belongs to the lineage of Melampus and Cretheus, and therefore concerns mental intuition. The seeker uses this capacity for the progress of his yoga, and Amphiaraos is consequently described as a warrior of great renown.
He was unequalled in his skill with the spear and in reading the omens of passing birds; his mental intuitions are therefore of a remarkable exactitude.
Aeschylus adds that he was resentful towards a warrior from his own camp, Tydeus, ‘he who strives towards union’, because he considered him to be a troublemaker in Argos. Thus, the right intuition perceives the reprehensible behaviours to which can lead a premature purification.
It has been stated above that Amphiaraos knew that this first campaign would be defeated and that he would meet his death in it, but that he could not avoid participating in it.
Against him stood Lasthenes, ‘the force of the people’ or ‘injury, insult and contempt’, which is to say the ego in its usual state.
They fought before the Homoloian gate, ‘an equal vision’ which is to be conquered.

Tydeus’ mission as ambassador

Halfway on the journey to Thebes, the Seven sent Tydeus as an ambassador, a ‘bearer of sweet words’ to ask Eteocles to give his brother the throne as he had promised.
Tydeus challenged the Theban chiefs across several different skills, and with Athena’s help defeated them all. Affronted, they sent forth fifty men led by Maion, who was a son of Haemon and close to an immortal, and Lycophontes, son of Autophonos, to ambush Tydeus on his return journey. But Tydeus slew them all, sparing only Maion.

When the first attempt for purification has been engaged with, ‘that which strives for union’ demonstrates its supremacy to the entire being so that the latter can respond to its demands (so that the direction of the process of purification may be handed back to Polynices). This is supported by the inner master (supported by Athena, Tydeus emerged as the winner in every exercise).
But the aspect of the seeker who does not wish to question the established order attempts to exclude from the yogic work ‘that which strives for union’ (Tydeus is ambushed) in the following ways:
By obscuring the light through self-destructive processes (indicated by Lycophontes, ‘he who destroys the light’, son of Autophonos, ‘he who destroys himself’).
Through a consecration mixed with vital passion (Maion, ‘he who strives for the consecration of consciousness’, son of Haemon ‘the passionate’). But although it originates from a process tainted by the ego, this consecration is preserved by the seeker nonetheless (trusting the oracle of the gods, Tydeus spared Maion).
But at this stage of the quest these kinds of oppositions cannot have truly disastrous consequences on the progress of yoga. It also seems logical that once reoriented, the ‘consecration of consciousness’ is maintained.

The war

The first war of Thebes is marked by the fratricidal battle between the two sons of Oedipus, and the death of all the assailants. This illustrates the fact that the seeker is not yet ready for a definite purification – the end of the personal yoga – even though he is willing to achieve it.

Several of the incidents occurring during the conflict deserve to be noted, such as Zeus striking with a lightning bolt Capaneus, ‘the consciousness which opens to everything or opens in totality’, a sign that the widening of consciousness cannot be carried out without a certain degree of purification. (In his work the Thebaid, the poet Statius develops an analogy of this process of purification.)
But it is first and foremost the death of Tydeus, ‘he who strives for the joy of union’, which will be analysed here.
Tydeus was fatally wounded in the belly by Melanippos, the son of Astacus, who was himself then killed by the seer Amphiaraos. Other sources claim that it was Tydeus who slew Melanippos. Then Amphiaraos severed his head, and flung it to the dying Tydeus. Statius wrote that he did so in accordance to the wishes of Tydeus, but other sources claim that it was a vengeful act on the part of Amphiaraos, who resented Tydeus for having organised the campaign.
Before dying, Tydeus split Melanippos’ skull and began to devour his brain.
At the same time Athena descended from Olympus to offer Tydeus an elixir given by Zeus which would grant him immortality. But disgusted by the spectacle, the goddess chose not to offer this gift. Before drawing his last breath, Tydeus asked her to grant this favour to his son Diomede instead.
Then Amphiaraos fled and was swallowed by the earth, which Zeus parted with a bolt of lightning to keep him from being killed by his pursuer, Periclymenus.

That which in the seeker ‘strives for the joy of union’ is halted in its animating principle by a manifestation of deviated vital energies opposing themselves to the Truth of yoga in consequence to a lack of sincerity (Melanippos, ‘he who develops a dark vital force’, son of Astacus, ‘he who does not open himself to integrity, wounds Tydeus in the belly). While his ‘intuitive capacity drawing near to the right perception’ eliminates this deviated energy, ‘that which seeks union through joy within himself’ does not trust him, and wishes to ensure that all traces of duality are eliminated. The seeker is unable to believe that his capacity for a right perception or his desire for union are capable of by themselves putting an end to duality. Here it is a question of a vital liberation, for the union in the spirit, or at the very least a mental silence, had in fact already been attained long before by his ancestor Endymion.
The supraconscient notices that the realisation of a vital liberation is very close at hand (Athena descends onto the earth to grant Tydeus immortality). But the seeker has either not eradicated the roots of desire within himself and succumbed to the energies of attraction and repulsion, or has not yet rid himself of the doubting element in his mind and wishes to be certain that the work has indeed been completed (Tydeus cannot refrain himself from devouring Melanippos’ brains).
The seeker had initially refused to follow his mental intuition, which would lead to its disappearance (disregarding Amphiaraos’ warnings, Tydeus had opted for the war, and the seer’s life was to end during that event). This intuition which ‘draws near to the right perception’ draws close to its end in the mind and in the vital, but it cannot disappear entirely for the work is still to be carried out within the body, and it is in this direction that it is oriented by the supraconscient (Amphiaraos is engulfed by the earth through the action of Zeus).
But for this to occur the seeker must renounce the realisations and powers resulting from his liberation, or else definitively renounce what is ‘known’ and ‘established’ (Amphiaraos must flee, pursued by Periclymenus, ‘that which is renowned all around’ or ‘that which concerns what has been acquired’). (It is for instance something such as a creation of the overmind, which the Mother speaks about in the Agenda, which can create an obstacle in the yoga of the body.) The supraconscient comes to his aid in this, pulling him into a new yoga.

Eliminating the root of desire does not however signify an end to the process of purification and the right functioning of the energy centres; the first Theban War is a failure despite the death of Melanippos. The seeker then asks his inner guide to ensure that his aspiration for union may bear fruits, and that what flows from it may attain non-duality (as he lay dying, Tydeus asked for the gift of immortality to be given to his son Diomede).
At the beginning of the Trojan War Agamemnon states that Diomede is not as great a warrior as his father, but is more skilled during assemblies; here it is no longer a question of an active yoga meant for acquiring liberation, as the personal yoga has been completed with the Theban Wars. Rather, it is a tool capable of facilitating discernment in the reversal of yoga towards a yoga of the body, Diomede being ‘he whose aim is to be divine’ in the totality of his being. This is why he returns safely to Argos only days after the end of the Trojan War.

The burial of the Seven

Although the burial of the Seven was given great importance by the tragic playwrights, these elements only hold minor importance for the purpose of this study.
Nothing about this was evoked before the fifth century. Homer only states that Tydeus was buried in Thebes, and Pindar that seven pyres were raised for the Seven dead chiefs.

Creon forbade burial rites for the Seven chiefs as they had taken up arms against their own city. But Antigone acted against his orders and attempted to bury her brother Polynices. She achieved this symbolically with a handful of earth, thus saving her brother’s soul (in some versions of the story, she successfully buried him in secret). More submissive, Ismene supported her but did not take part.
When he discovered her disobedience Creon walled Antigone alive and would not listen to the pleas of his son Haemon, who was betrothed to Antigone. As the seer Tiresias announced that the gods were refusing the sacrifices of the Theban people Creon let himself be persuaded, but it was too late; Antigone had hung herself, and Haemon killed himself as well to share her destiny.

Several times during the building of Thebes, Creon, ‘he who works within incarnation’, had acted as ruler or regent. He represents the process of incarnation which supports itself on what is known but refuses to have it questioned, denying the possibility of rendering divine the lower nature and rejecting any attempt in this direction as useless (Creon resented the Seven Chiefs for having taken up arms against Thebes, and refused to grant them burial rites).
However, this process has already generated a ‘passion’ which orients itself in the opposite direction; Haemon ‘the passionate’ is engaged to Antigone, ‘that which is born in the opposite direction’ or ‘that which supports what is being born’. This opening to what is new is of course in accordance with every attempt at purification (Antigone wishes to carry out burial rites for her brother), while that which is linked to the human personality remains in the background (Ismene does not take part).
While the ferment of a possible evolution manifests itself, that which opposes it entrenches its position (Antigone successfully gives Polynices a symbolic burial, but is then entombed by Creon).
The process of purification and the evolutionary passion which supports it then cease for a lengthy period (Antigone and Haemon both commit suicide).

THE SECOND THEBAN WAR OF THE EPIGONI

It was the children of the Seven chiefs who, ten years later, succeeded in reclaiming the city of Thebes during what is known as the expedition of the Epigoni, ‘those who were born afterwards’.
In the Iliad, Sthenelus boasts that ‘We declare ourselves to be better men by far than our fathers: we took the seat of Thebes of the seven gates, when we twain (with Diomede) had gathered a lesser host against a stronger wall, putting our trust in the portents of the gods and in the aid of Zeus ‘ (Homer and A.T. Murray, Iliad 4.401).
Thus, when the seeker is ready much less effort is required although the erroneous beliefs regarding the path have become even more firmly rooted; a less numerous army is needed even though the defenses of the city have been strengthened, for the seeker has become more ‘attentive’ to his intuitions and holds a more deeply-rooted faith in divine leadership.
He knows intuitively that it is only through a ‘powerful consecration’ that a total purification and liberation will be achieved (the oracle had predicted that Alcmaeon was to be the leader of the expedition).

Eriphyle’s second betrayal

At the time of the first expedition, Eriphyle, ‘quality of presence’, had received a necklace previously belonging to Harmonia, ‘the mastery of expression’, gifted by Polynices so that Eriphyle would convince her husband, the seer Amphiaraos, to participate in the campaign even though the latter knew that he would lose his life in it. This indicates that the seeker had led his intuition, ‘that which draws near to the right perception’, to the end of its work in the vital despite a certain resistance.
In this instance it is no longer a matter of expression, but rather of a task.

Alcmaeon had to honour his promise to his father Amphiaraos, who had participated in the campaign against his will, by leading a second campaign against Thebes and slaying his own mother. As he showed little alacrity in setting out to war, his own mother Eriphyle pressed him to do so. Thersander had in fact inherited Harmonia’s robe from his father Polynices, and offered it to Eriphyle so that she would incite her sons Alcmaeon and Amphilochus to go to war.

The ‘inner fire’ was still insufficient in the first attempt for a re-harmonisation and purification of the centres, but after a symbolic half-cycle of maturation (ten years), it acquired sufficient force to carry out this work effectively (Thersander was still too young to participate in the first expedition).
However, the seeker seems but little inclined to renew the attempt. It is his inner fire which brings about and mobilises a ‘complete consecration’ and a ‘capacity for attention’. For this to occur, he gives power to his ‘quality of presence to the moment’ to carry out its function (Thersander, ‘the burning man’, gifts Harmonia’s robe to Eriphyle so that she may incite her sons Alcmaeon, ‘a powerful consecration’, and Amphilochus, ‘attention’).
This robe can in fact be considered to be a symbol of a function or ‘task’ to which the wearer has completely consecrated himself.
Let us remember that this robe had been woven by the Charites or Kharites, the Graces, daughters of Zeus and Eurynome, whose name signifies ‘the right order’. They are joy (Euprosyne), an over-abundance of life or plenitude (Thalia) and radiance (Aglaia), which must be the aim of the seeker following the action of the inner fire (Thersander).
(Homer only mentions one of the youngest without even indicating her genealogy, and gives her the name Pasithea, which signifies ‘a total vision’ or ‘awakening’.

The Epigoni

We do not have any ancient source describing the Epigoni, ‘those who came afterwards’. The only lists to have been handed down to us are those written by Apollodorus, Hyginus and Pausanias. That of Apollodorus, which is made up of eight hero names, seems to be the most trustworthy. Like the Seven of Thebes, four of these heroes belong to Iapetus’ lineage, and therefore describe the spiritualisation of the mind.
Six amongst the eight were sons or grandsons of the Seven, while the others were descendants of Talaos, ‘he who endures’.

Adrastos, ‘he who does not act according to his personal will’, ‘he who does not try to flee’ or ‘he who strives to be imperturbable’, is only listed as one of the warriors by Pindar. According to the other authors he was too advanced in years to fight but still went along with the expedition, indicating a seeker who is never to be discouraged. His son Aegialeus took his place as a warrior, being ‘he who resides by the sea’, symbol of a work done to hoist oneself above all vital perturbation (according to Apollodorus, he was the only one of the attackers to lose his life in this expedition, being killed by Laodamas, ‘the mastery of the personality’).
Alcmaeon, ‘a powerful consecration’ and the leader of the expedition, son of Amphiaraos, ‘ he who draws near to the right perception’, and Eriphyle, ‘the presence to the instant’.
Amphilochus, ‘extreme attention’, brother of Alcmaeon.
Thersander, ‘inner fire’, son of Polynices, ‘numerous battles in duality’. It is this fire which directs the process of transformation when the psychic being more definitively seizes the reins (when Thersander is crowned as the new Theban king at the end of the first war).
Sthenelus, ‘a powerful liberation’, son of Capaneus, ‘a consciousness which opens in totality’.
Promachos, ‘he who commits himself completely (who fights at the front line)’, son of Parthenopaeus, ‘purified vision’, himself the son of Atalanta, ‘equality’.
Euryalos, he who seeks ‘a wide life’ or ‘a vast liberty’, son of Mecisteus, ‘very large’, himself the son of Talaos, ‘he who endures’.
Diomede, ‘he who has the intention of being a seer’, or ‘he who preoccupies himself with a union in consciousness’, son of Tydeus, ‘he who aspires for union’. He would later become one of the great warriors of the Trojan War and be close to Ulysses.

The names of the defenders are not mentioned aside from Laodamas, ‘the mastery of the personality’, and Aegialeus, ‘the shore of the sea’.
Only a few minor elements of the battles themselves were described by later authors:
Laodamas, son of Eteocles, slew Aegialeus before being himself killed by Alcmaeon (in Hyginus’ work it was Aegialeus who was killed, but his father gave up his own life in exchange for his).
After Laodamas’ death Tiresias incited the Theban citizens to flee their city before it could be seized. The Epigoni then entered Thebes, and brought down the ramparts of the city.
When the seeker is ready, the process of mastery is completed and the vital yoga completed (Laodamas, he who masters the people’, has been killed, as well as Aegialeus). The purification and liberation then ends in non-duality without any effort or fighting (the battlements are no longer necessary).

Manto the prophetess, daughter of the seer Tiresias, was captured and became the first Delphic Sibyl. Coupling with Apollo she became the mother of Mopsus, who was recognised as superior to himself by Calchas, the head seer of the Achaeans gone to war against Troy. Tiresias died some time later after drinking the water from a fountain consecrated to Apollo.
The mental intuition which has guided the seeker all along this phase of purification has completed its role (Tiresias, ‘who receives signs of his human nature’, dies).  It will instead be an intuition linked to the psychic light which will take his place, in the form of Mopsus, ‘he who receives from above in a state of receptivity and consecration’.

At the end of a long journey, the Thebans founded the city of Hestiaea; the forces which in the seeker opposed the questioning of the established order must still evolve for a long time before being able to establish a new structure, this time consecrated to the protection of the inner fire (Hestia is the goddess who watches over the hearth at the centre of the home).

Alcmaeon’s destiny

No author before Apollodorus seems to have evoked an occurrence of matricide, such as the death of Eriphyle under the blows of her son Alcmaeon. However, no other source questions or contradicts this either.
Although he had obtained Apollo’s approval before killing his mother Eriphyle, Alcmaeon was blighted by madness by the Erinyes in retribution for the murder. Then, having been purified by Phegeus, he wed the daughter of the latter, Arsinoe, to whom he gifted both the necklace and the robe. But the earth was later cursed with sterility on his account. The oracle then ordered him to go to the river Achelous, ‘receiving from it a soil which did not yet exist under the sun when he killed his mother’. He went back till the source of the river, which purified him again and presented him with its daughter Callirhoe, his second spouse. He then founded a city in a place which the Achelous had formed with its alluvium.

A hero who kills his own mother is an indication of one who no longer wishes to take on the aim of the lineage. This is therefore the symbol of a radical reorientation of the yoga. Alcmaeon, ‘a powerful consecration’, was the son of the seer Amphiaraos and Eriphyle, and thus the result of a work on the right perception of the information originating from worlds of the spirit, and aiming at the establishment of a ‘quality of presence’, which is the presence to the present moment.
Henceforward intuition must no longer come from the heights, but from the heart through the psychic light. This is why the psychic light approves of a reorientation (Apollo gave his acquiescence for the matricide).
The ‘quality of presence’ which attracted to itself a mastery of expression and the realisation of a task to the detriment or loss of the right intuition must disappear (Eriphyle must die, having received the necklace and the robe from Polynices and from Thersander respectively, thus causing the loss of Amphiaraos)
Deprived of his usual mode of perception, the seeker then loses his sense of orientation in the path (Alcmaeon was struck by madness by the Erinyes).
However, the first purification of Alcmaeon indicates that the seeker is in the right movement. He then confides the carrying out of the task to his inner silence (Alcmaeon gifts the necklace and the robe to Arsinoe, ’emptiness of spirit’).
But this new movement is halted in its yogic progression (the earth becomes sterile and fruitless). The seeker then intuits that the current which ‘leads towards liberty’ must give him a new impulse, a new terrain for his work; Alcmaeon must receive from the river Achelous a soil which had not existed under the sun’s rays at the time of his mother’s murder.
To do this he must go back to the origin of the movement of consciousness which accomplishes liberation – to the source of the Achelous, the eldest son of Oceanos, who represents the most ancient current of energy-consciousness in evolution in accordance with nature, and link himself with the energy ‘which flows fluidly’ (Callirhoe).

The accomplishment of personal liberation opens a new path, which was not perceptible prior to the liberation being accomplished (a soil which had not existed under the sun’s rays at the time of his mother’s murder).
By picking up evolution’s course again and supporting oneself on all that it has brought with it, the seeker can establish the basis for a new yoga (Alcmaeon, ‘a powerful consecration’, founded a city in an area formed by the river’s alluvium).

The end of the story, recounted by Apollodorus and partly by Pausanias, is quite complex. It would seem that it demonstrates an error of orientation of the ‘liberated seeker’, which chooses an erroneous evolutionary path by taking away from its silent nature the realisation of the task to entrust it to a path of more obvious ease (he takes back the necklace and the robe which he had presented to Arsinoe, gifting them to Callirhoe, ”that which flows well’). The seeker then loses his appropriate consecration (Alcmaeon is killed).
This story could echo an episode of the Agenda in which the Mother recounts that having engaged in the beginnings of a creation of the overmind, she was ‘reoriented’ by Sri Aurobindo towards the supramental work.

THE LAST THEBAN KINGS

The death of Thersander and the episodes about his descendants are only mentioned in later sources, and must therefore be considered prudently. In the Second Olympian, Pindar does not make any allusion to the death of Thersander, ‘the growth of the inner fire’, and makes him out to be a champion honoured at Olympus, a sign that the seeker has reached the stage of the accomplishment of the Heracles’ labours.

Thebes, the principal city of Boeotia, is the symbol of the process of purification and incarnation of the psychic (Θ+Β), and the myths which occur there may refer to very different periods of the path. It would therefore seem that later authors had confused the immortal psychic fire, ‘Agni’, linked to Apollo and to Hestia, guardian of the sacred fire, with the fire of aspiration originating from a higher place than the vital or the mind. In the first volume it has been discussed that during the Golden Age, which was the time of Cronos before Zeus’ vengeance on Prometheus, men were still in the phase of vital growth and sought ‘the fire of the skies’ at the tops of ash trees. The fire of aspiration of the seeker who aspires to know the will of the Divine disappears when the seeker discovers his own ‘task’.
If on the other hand we consider that Thersander is an incarnation of Agni, the psychic fire, the work of an integral submission of the being to the psychic being, then he cannot die. Additionally he is a son of Polynices and appears in a relatively advanced period of the path, so his association with a vital aspiration therefore seems impossible.

Thersander wed Demonassa, daughter of the seer Tiresias, who bore him a son named Tisamenos. He then left for Troy at the head of a contingent of Boeotians, but was killed on the way there by Telephus, king of Mysia. As his son Tisamenos was still too young to lead the contingent, the Thebans chose Peneleos as their leader. The latter was killed at the end of the war by Eurypylus, who had allied with the Trojans. Tisamenos returned to Thebes and ruled over the city, but his son Autesion did not ascend to the throne as he had left Thebes before it was time to do so. The Thebans then gave the throne to Damasichthon, the grandson of Peneleos.

While keeping in mind the reservations listed above, one can make the following analysis: the inner fire of aspiration develops by supporting itself on the mastery of the outer being, being itself issued from the intuition linked to incarnation and purification (Thersander, ‘the burning man’, was joined to Demonassa, ‘the queen of the people’, daughter of the seer Tiresias).
But this fire disappears when the psychic is to take the direction of the being (Thersander dies on the way to Troy, slain by Telephus, ‘the distant light / who shines faraway, in the future’, king of Mysia, that which directs the movement towards consecration’).

Tisamenos, ‘he who acquits himself of an obligation’, could be understood as ‘the accomplishment of the task’, which is still at its first stages and will be followed by the Trojan War, twenty years before Ulysses’ return to Ithaca.
It is still the ‘framework of the personality’ (Peneleos) who leads the contingent towards Troy. He was killed at the end of the war by Eurypylus, ‘the vast doorway’, indicating an eradication of the ego and a major turning point of the yoga.
There then begins the ‘yoga of the depths’ (Damasichthon, ‘the mastery of the deep layers of the body’), in which the call of the Divine for purification no longer has its place , as it is He who directs the being (Autesion, ‘he who invokes’, left Thebes and no longer rules there).

TIRESIAS

To end this chapter, we will discuss some anecdotes linked to the seer Tiresias.
The initiates of ancient times categorised the seers by the origin of their intuition.
When it originated in the subconscient (Poseidon), the seers concerned were ones like Phineus or Proteus.
When it originated from inner integrity or rectitude it was incarnated by Calchas, ‘crimson’, son of Thestor, ‘rectitude coming from within’, himself the seer of the Achaeans before Troy.
If produced by the psychic light, it would take on the appearance of Idmon, son of Apollo.
When it originated from the heights of the spirit as expressed through the mind it generated an important lineage of seers, beginning with the grandson of Aeolus, Amythaon, ‘he who enters into silence’. This lineage includes Melampus ‘of the black feet’ (an intuition that is not linked to the body), as well as his descendants Antiphates, Mantios, Oicles, Amphiaraos, Amphilochus and Alcmaeon.
Finally, according to Apollodorus the intuition which originated from the body inscribed itself amongst the descendants of the “Sown man” Oudaios, ‘that which emerges from the earth’. It concerned the deep process of liberation and purification, and included the seers Tiresias, Manto and Mopsus.

According to Homer, Tiresias was the only seer who Persephone had allowed to maintain his mental faculties after his death’; the transmission of information continues from the corporeal unconscious.
Oudaios fathered a son, Eueres, ‘he who has the appropriate movement’, who united with Chariclo, ‘a renowned joy or grace’; it is through a permanent adaptation to the movement of becoming, with suppleness and exactness, that joy surges in the body. Within this movement, their son Tiresias was the symbol of the process of acquisition of information. His name could perhaps evoke a receptivity to the ‘celestial signs’ in human nature, and he was the seer of Thebes, he who ‘illuminates’ the process of purification which will lead to the psychisation of the being.

Several authors describe the origin of his blindness, a symbol of a turning inward of perception.
In the first version, it was due to his divulging to men that which the gods wished to keep secret, perceptions originating from ‘below’ and obtained through a yoga which accelerates the slow process of nature supported by the gods, the rhythm of which they are reluctant to modify.

In the second version, he had beheld Athena naked. The goddess blinded him, but in reply to the pleas of his mother Chariclo she then gave Tiresias a walking stick, which allowed him to walk as though he still possessed the power of vision.
In this instance the seeker perceives the exact nature of the inner master, who possesses the key to his evolution. This vision obliges him to only take into account his inner perceptions. Although this reversal is indispensable to a sincere seeker, it also causes him to partly lose his ability to adapt to the world. This is why the inner master offers him a means to carry out the yoga as if he was still participating in the world, and because the growth of joy demands it.

But it is the third version which is most widely known:
Tiresias had beheld two coupling snakes near Mount Kyllini, and was turned into a woman for having wounded them. But by watching the coupling of the two snakes once more he became a man again.
When Zeus and Hera entered into an argument about whether men or women could experience greater sexual pleasure, they turned to Tiresias for an answer as he had experienced both sexes. The seer replied that in pleasure, of ten parts man enjoys only of one, while woman enjoys in her heart the plenitude of all ten. This angered Hera – either because she had lost her argument with Zeus or because she had wished to keep the secret – and she consequently blinded Tiresias.

The seeker has the opportunity of observing within himself the harmonious functioning of the masculine and feminine energy currents. But as he is not ready to withstand this for an extended period of time, he must experience the perception according to a passive mode in complete opposition to his habitual one (Tiresias wounds the snakes, and is turned into a woman).
He must then wait for the renewal of the experience, in which he does not intervene the second time, to recover his original nature.
This story probably refers to a great classic element of spirituality, a necessary passage through the characteristics of the opposite sex or of the opposite energy to attain the plenitude of one’s own nature. Ovid confirms this point by stating that Tiresias sought to verify the belief that whoever would strike the snakes would automatically transform into the opposite gender; one who refuses to integrate the two energies must prepare himself to experience the radical opposites to his own.

The quarrel between Zeus and Hera indicates that access to the overmind cannot give a precise understanding of mystical union – the symbol of which is sexual union – when it occurs in the lower planes. They cannot determine whether joy unfolds more fully in receptivity or in action (Zeus and Hera are obliged to ask a mortal for arbitration).
The gods of the overmind are in fact the conscious forces of their divinity but are limited to their own modality of being; they do not know for instance the joy of a submission to the Divine, and it is only through man that they can experience it. (On this subject, see Mother’s Agenda Volume 2, 2 August 1961.) The overmind cannot give the experience of mystical union, for this does not occur in the heights of the spirit but within the heart. Only human perception in relation with the psychisation of the being (Tiresias) is able to comprehend it. In this union, Joy is experienced more fully by a complete opening to the Divine rather than through a movement oriented towards individuality.
The masculine must in fact be understood here as the movement of the One towards the multiple, while the feminine is that of the return of the separated individual towards the Whole.
Hera represents the force which ensures that the movement that must lead towards what is Real respects the whole rather than a part. While she can be a restraining force when acting within the frame of an evolution in accordance with Nature, she can also allow an acceleration of the movement of yoga. It is in fact only through a turning inwards that Unity can be attained, and consequently Tiresias is blinded by Hera.