Category: Volume 3

THE TELEGONY : TELEMACHUS AND TELEGONUS

 

<< Previous : The Suitors in Asphodel Meadows and Odysseus with Laertes (Book XXIV)

Before dying falsehood rises in full swing. Still people
understand only the lesson of catastrophe. 
Will it have to come before they open their eyes to the truth?
I ask an effort from all so that it has not to be.
It is only the Truth that can save us : truth in words, truth in action,
truth in will, truth in feelings. It is a choice
between serving the Truth or being destroyed.

                 Message from the Mother on the 26th of November, 1972.
 (Mother’s Agenda, Volume 13)

 

It is to be regretted that the last work of the Epic cycle, the Telegony, signifying ‘that which is to be born in the future’, has not survived. Said to have been composed by Eugammon of Cyrene in the mid-sixth-century BCE, this last part has only been preserved in very succinct summaries written by Proclus and Apollodorus. But the Knowledge of evolution never disappears, for it is recorded in the subtle planes and perhaps even in corporeal matter, which, at a certain level, forms a part of unity. Science is only just beginning to glimpse this truth.

The fact that this Knowledge has not remained as easily ‘accessible’ throughout all periods is probably due to the alternation of the forces of union and separation, which seems to be translated by the oscillation of consciousness from one side of the brain to the other. Over the last thirteen thousand years, we have descended more and more deeply into the process required for individuation to occur, also progressively losing our ease of access to Reality, Truth, the Tao, etc., whichever be the name we give to that which is Unthinkable. Knowledge has retreated into the background, where it is more difficult to reach it.

The end of Hesiod’s Theogony mentions the children of Odysseus (Ulysses) and Circe: Latinus, Agrius and Telegonus, ‘who ruled in the depths of the divine islands over the Tyrrhenians’. It also alludes to Nausithous and Nausinous, children mothered by Calypso.

No clue has reached us which could explain the meanings of the names Latinus and Agrios, sons of Circe, nor their royal standing in the Tyrrhenian islands. From their genealogical lineage, we can only surmise that they point to a perfecting of the ‘discerning vision of Truth’ which must accompany the work of Telegonus, ‘that which is to be born in the future’.

Regarding the prefix τηλε, it must be remembered that for the sake of general coherence, we have given prevalence to a sense of temporal distancing for Telemachus, although he most often represents a spatial distancing. The name Telemachus can therefore be understood as ‘he who stands away from combat’, which is to say one who has come away from duality, and who works through integration rather than through exclusion. It can also be understood as one ‘who carries out the work of yoga by widening his consciousness’ in matter, for he was Penelope’s son.  Similarly, the name Telegonus can be interpreted as signifying ‘that which will appear most broadly’ within the spirit, for he was Circe’s son.

We have but little comparable information on Nausithous and Nausinous, the sons of Calypso. They represent the results of a lengthy period of integration which takes place before the entry into the new yoga: ‘an extremely swift evolution’, repeatedly underlined by the Mother, as well as an ‘intelligence of the path’. If we adopt the order of genealogical descendants given by Apollonius, which identifies Calypso as a daughter of Atlas, it would be a question of a work of perfecting the mental in the ascension of the planes of consciousness.

According to the summary which has reached our hands, the Telegony begins with the massacre of Penelope’s suitors, from the moment in which The Odyssey concluded:

The bodies of the dead suitors were burnt. Odysseus (Ulysses) offered sacrifices to the nymphs and then journeyed to Elis, where he visited Polyxenus. The latter gifted him a crater, upon which were told the histories of TrophoniosAgamedes and Augeas.

He then travelled to the province of Thesprotia and married queen Callidice, who bore him a son by the name of Polypoetes. He fought alongside the Thesprotes (or else led them as their king) in a war against their neighbours, who had mounted an attack against them. Ares forced Odysseus (Ulysses)’ men to retreat. Athena then rose in opposition to her brother, but Apollo intervened to reinstitute peace. When Callidice died, Polypoetes inherited the throne, and Odysseus (Ulysses) returned to Ithaca.

During this time, Circe was raising her and Odysseus (Ulysses)’ son Telegonus on her own on the island of Aeaea. Following the counsel of the goddess Athena, Circe revealed to Telegonus his father’s name so that he could go in search of him. She gave him an extraordinary spear with a poisoned ray’s sting at its end, and which was crafted by Hephaestus.

Telegonus set out accompanied by a group of sailors, but a storm buffeted them to the shores of an island, which unbeknownst to them was Ithaca. They turned to pillage to collect enough food, stealing from livestock which belonged to Odysseus (Ulysses). Odysseus (Ulysses) then intervened to defend his property, and an armed conflict ensued. Telegonus wounded him fatally with his spear, thus carrying out Tiresias’ prophecy, which had foretold that Odysseus (Ulysses)’ death would come to him from the sea. As he lay dying, Odysseus (Ulysses) recognised his son Telegonus. After lamenting his error, the latter carried his father’s body to the Island of Aeaea, accompanied by Penelope and Telemachus. Circe then burned the corpse and made the others immortal.

Telegonus then wed Penelope, and Telemachus entered into a union with Circe.

At the beginning of this new stage directed towards an integral union that goes beyond personal yoga, the seeker opens himself to multiple possibilities (Odysseus (Ulysses) meets Polyxenus, ‘he who experiences a great number of strange things’, in Elis, province of Olympia, the symbolic city of seekers who have accomplished the personal yoga and have reached the overmind).

Then, a warning is given by the anecdote of the two famous architects Trophonios, ‘he who nourishes the evolution of consciousness’, and Agamedes, ‘he who has a strong intention’, who had stolen from the property of King Augeas, ‘a dazzling light’. (Polyxenus gifted a crater to Odysseus (Ulysses), upon which were told the histories of Trophonios, Agamedes and Augeas). This myth has been discussed earlier on in Chapter 2, in a variation of the anecdote in which the king was named Hyrieus, and in which the two architects had surreptitiously pilfered from the king’s treasures before being found out and killed.

Here, it is a question of the temptation suffered by those who have a great capacity for organising Knowledge – a capacity originating from the work of yoga, for they were sons of Erginos – and who make use of it for their own gain, that is to say at this stage, for the aim which they consider to be the best, who make use of the ‘lights of truth’ received from the psychic being or the Absolute. The work of yoga must in fact no longer be led by the adventurer, even if it concerns the highest Knowledge or liberation, but by and for the Divine alone.

The seeker then sets as his aim a deepened work of exactness and accuracy, which continues psychic transformation (Odysseus (Ulysses) wed queen Callidice, ‘the beautiful and truthful manner of acting’). It is a yoga which closely follows ‘the inner intuitions originating from the greatest heights of the spirit’ (the union takes place in Thesprotia, the region in which ‘that which speaks according to the gods is brought to the forefront’). The fruit of this union is Polypoetes, whose name appears to signify ‘one who makes numerous realisations or creations on the plane of the spirit’ (Callidice bore Odysseus (Ulysses)’ son Polypoetes).

Then, the seeker enters into an inner conflict, a pretext for repositioning the higher forms of aid which had accompanied the yogic process till this point (Odysseus (Ulysses) had led the Thesprotes in a war against their neighbours who had attacked them, and the gods became involved in the conflict).

While the spiritual power acting through the renewal of forms strives to maintain itself, it comes up against the opposition of the master of yoga, before the psychic light finally establishes peace (after Ares had forced Odysseus (Ulysses)’ troops to retreat, Athena rose up against him, but Apollo appeased their quarrel). Thus begins to be realised Hera’s premonition that the children of Leto would rise to be greater gods than her own children. In the new yoga, there would in fact no longer be the need for the destruction of forms for this evolutionary progress to be accomplished.

When the right action is acquired, the creative capacities already present in the right action become fully ‘inspired’ (when Callidice dies, Polypoetes becomes the king of the Thesprotes).

At the same time, ‘the discerning vision of Truth’ originating from the supramental light consolidates the foundations of the future discernment in every detail, without the seeker being able to link it with the work of transparency which has generated it (Helios’ daughter Circe raised on her own her son Telegonus, ‘what will be born faraway or in the far future’). This takes place in a small and isolated region of consciousness, the first to be completely ‘clarified’ (on the island of Aeaea). While Telemachus represents that which will develops in the future as a consequence of the work of transparency oriented towards ‘the global vision of a greater freedom’ or ‘the vision of the framework’ in the intuitive mind – for he is a son of Odysseus (Ulysses) and Penelope, a descendant of Taygete -, Telegonus represents that which will appear in the future as a consequence of the work of ‘transparency’ carried out with the aim of ‘the discerning truthful vision in all its details’ – for he is the son of Odysseus (Ulysses) and Circe.

Once this ‘truthful vision in all details’ has been sufficiently developed, it must recognise the work of transparency which has produced it (following Athena’s counsel, Circe disclosed to Telegonus his father’s name so that he could go in search of him).

The adventurer acknowledges that the work of transparency is accomplished when he recognises as a continuation of this work the first emergence of a new yoga which has forced him to halt, and which is confirmed by his vision of Truth (Odysseus (Ulysses) was fatally wounded by Telegonus before being able to recognise him, and his remains were set fire to by Circe).

Transparency having been realised, which is to say the end of psychic and spiritual transformations, supramental transformation can begin in the body. What has been realised in discerning truthful vision must henceforth strive for a widened vision (Circe’s son Telegonus wed Penelope), while that which was realised in the widened evolutionary vision must henceforth strive for a perception of details in truth (Penelope’s son Telemachus entered into a union with Circe).

These crossed unions, with the son of one union marrying his father’s other wife (or partner), express the need for perfect transparency to allow the free circulation of divine energies in the body. The divine Force (Shakti) must be able to work freely within the body, either from above or from below according to the needs of transformation and the resistances faced.

The protagonists finally access non-duality (Circe grants immortality to Telemachus, Telegonus and Penelope).

This last work of the cycle, therefore, introduces the most advanced phases of yoga. Although we lack a sufficient number of elements from ancient Greece to deepen an understanding of these phases, we may perhaps find more material within the Mahabharata and the Vedas, and even within the texts of ancient Egypt engraved in stone.

For while Victor Hugo wrote about Homer in his work William Shakespeare (first part, Book II, Geniuses), that ‘the world is born, Homer sings. He is the morning bird of this dawn’, we can now inversely understand that Homer was the last light of a world which was being plunged into darkness.

 

AND NOW…

In The Iliad and The Odyssey, Homer therefore particularly insists on two advanced stages of yoga, which are translated by reversals in consciousness.

He first affirms that the truth of evolution must be sought in complete acceptance of incarnation in which spirit and matter are united, rather than in a path which demands the renunciation of the world and aims at liberation alone in some removed paradise of the spirit, on earth or in death. This is the first great reversal indicated in The Iliad by the Trojan War.

He then specifies that wisdom, sainthood or genius are not the highest pinnacles of humankind. The adventurer of consciousness must go beyond these to carry on with evolution. If man must grow within the mental, he must then exceed it, not only through a deepened purification of the heights of intelligence but also through the purification of the roots of evolution. This is the second turning point described in detail in The Odyssey.

A ‘perfect transparency’ must be achieved from the top to the bottomOdysseus (Ulysses), originating from the overmind through his mother, works through the intuitive mind, incarnated by Penelope – to allow the action of divine forces for the transformation of man into a divine Man, within whom spirit and matter are one, upon this Earth and not in some paradise of the spirit after death.

Through Odysseus (Ulysses)’ numerous adventures in Egypt, Homer suggests that this vision of evolution was already present amongst the initiates of ancient Egypt, a vision which probably also echoed that of the Rishis of the Vedic periods, which Sri Aurobindo refers to as ‘the ages of Intuition’.

What then can be understood about these paths, which, in our days, must hold a privileged place to accompany evolution, if it is true that man must henceforth consciously participate in the evolutionary process?

Homer does not seek to cancel out the ancient paths of yoga, even though the seeker sometimes seems to cross periods of doubt, such as when Achilles defiles Hector’s body. For the path implies accomplishments which must then be exceeded to reach the next stage. We cannot, in fact, annul reason as long as illusion remains unvanquished (Chimaera), abolish an ego (the Nemean lion) which has not yet been properly built up, or vanquish desires (the Lernaean Hydra) which maintain their hold even more strongly when they are constrained or repressed, or renounce effort if we have not yet allowed it to bear fruitfully (Sisyphus).

Homer, therefore, bases himself on the general structure of the ancient paths of yoga to propose a higher synthesis. He insists on the necessity of rendering the mind spiritual, which implies both its purification and the ascension of the different planes till the overmind to achieve perfect individuation followed by a clarity ‘above‘ (liberation in the Spirit). But he also insists on the purification of the lower nature and the liberation of the ways of nature to obtain transparency ‘below‘ (the liberation of Nature). Through different means, he indicates that progression on the two paths must be undertaken in a parallel manner.

Without developing them further, he integrates the theoretical foundations, experiences and errors articulated by other thinkers, such as the struggles against illusion, fear, desire and the ego, and the numerous traps in which the mental is likely to fall (for instance, the errors corrected by Theseus, the lack of consecration of Minos, the perjuries of Laomedon or the errors illustrated by the suitors and their servants, etc.). He underlines the fact that ‘adversity’ is most often induced by the subconscious (Poseidon, ‘the earth-shaker’). The latter strives for the same goal as the spiritual forces which appear to us to be favourable, suggesting that the presence of obstacles is the best means for progress.

Therefore, he does not propose a specific path, but rather a map of the territory over which each seeker must mark out his or her own path to actively participate in the process of evolution.

Almost three thousand years later, Sri Aurobindo proposed, in the words of today and integrating the experience of past millennia, a ‘map’ similar to the one bequeathed to us by Homer.

We do not have the pretension of summarising this here in the space of a few lines, but only wish to prompt the reader to turn his attention towards this prodigious work.

Taking up what Homer left off, he defines in great detail the widening movement of the mental through the ascension of the planes of consciousness, and the process of liberation in the spirit and in nature.

He also gives primary importance to the contact with the inner Divine, which is at first manifested by a quest for beauty, harmony and greater knowledge. This contact allows for the purification and orientation of the external nature, ‘bringing right vision into the mind, right impulse and feeling into the vital, right movement and habit into the physical — all turned towards the Divine, all based on love, adoration, bhakti‘, to obtain ‘the realisation of the psychic being’, or the submission of the external nature to the soul (Letters on Yoga Vol. III, Chapter Five ‘The Psychic and Spiritual Transformations, Psychicisation and Spiritualisation’, p. 2337). This ‘psychicisation’ leads not only to exactness but also calls for an opening towards the heights and a union with the Divine in the spirit, followed by the descent of a higher spiritual principle once this channel has been cleared.

Sri Aurobindo recommends that the path which aims chiefly at the ascent of the Kundalini be avoided, for it carries great risks as long as the ego remains present. He also recommends that the intellect be rendered more supple, clear and disciplined till a purified intuition can take over.

Following the detailed description of the different paths of yoga, he encourages each person to follow the one which corresponds to his or her nature, and for those who are more intensely engaged, to progress on all sides at once through an integral yoga applied to the being as a whole, without lingering for too long on any specific method.  Like Homer, he does not grant a privileged place to any specific form or process, leaving to each one the responsibility of finding his or her way of yoga, for ‘religion and yoga are not situated on the same plane of the being, and the spiritual life can exist in its purity only if it is free from all mental dogma’ (Mother’s Agenda, Volume 1, 29th April 1961). As his yoga excludes retreat from the world, renouncement is not necessary, but detachment remains indispensable:

‘There are many things belonging to older systems that are necessary on the way – an opening of the mind to a greater wideness and the sense of the Self and the Infinite, an emergence into what has been called the cosmic consciousness, mastery over the desires and passions; an outward asceticism is not essential, but the conquest of desire and attachment and a control over the body and its needs, greeds and instincts are indispensable. There is a combination of the principles of the old systems, the way of knowledge through the mind’s discernment between Reality and the appearance, the heart’s way of devotion, love and surrender and the way of works turning the will away from motives of self-interest to the Truth and the service of a greater Reality than the ego.’ (Sri Aurobindo himself wrote The Teaching of Sri Aurobindo in 1934, as part of a booklet entitled The Teaching and the Ashram of Sri Aurobindo, reprinted as Sri Aurobindo and His Ashram, first edition in 1948 by Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry).

His yoga essentially rests upon an aspiration – reflecting both the need for ‘something different’ and a will for transformation – as well as upon sincerity and ‘surrender’, a term which refers to notions of consecration, letting go, submission to the Absolute and self-giving.

He reveals the later phases of yoga situated beyond those described in the Telegony: in the first place, the end of the spiritual transformation, which is ‘the established descent of the peace, light, knowledge, power, bliss from above, the awareness of the Self and the Divine and a higher cosmic consciousness and the change of the whole consciousness to that’, and then the supramental transformation which is the divinisation of the whole nature (Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga, Vol. 3 Part Four, ‘The Triple Transformation: Psychic – Spiritual – Supramental’, p. 2337).

The evolutionary process as a whole is illustrated within his poem Savitri.

Finally, he sketches characteristics of supramental Man for centuries or even thousands of years to come, as well as the conditions for the establishment of the first communities of beings who will have reached this degree of evolution.

But humankind cannot directly access the stage of supramentalised Man, which, by definition, no longer undergoes the processes of ordinary Nature such as birth and death. Therefore, the first step is that of realising an intermediary being, which the Mother refers to as the Superman (See Mother’s Agenda, Volume II, 18th July 1961)

which must in no way be confused with Nietzsche’s superman. It is no longer a question of a bettered man, more saintly, wise, or gifted with great genius, but of a being who through evolution and transformation will succeed in manifesting supramental consciousness and powers.

It is this passage which has been described in the thirteen volumes of Mother’s Agenda. It begins by stating the need for the renouncement of the serenity of total detachment and the attitude of authority conferred by a complete union with the Divine, obtained from the inner vision of truth. For, as explained by the Mother, ‘I have renounced the uncontested authority of a god, I have renounced the unshakable calm of the sage, to become the superman. I have concentrated everything upon that (…) absolute calm implies withdrawal from action, so a choice had to be made between one or the other (…) And actually, to do Sri Aurobindo’s work is to realize the Supramental on earth’. (See Mother’s Agenda, Volume I, 10th May 1958)

Having been Mother’s confidant for a great number of years and being familiar with Sri Aurobindo’s works, Satprem attempted to impart the first keys for this transition in his work On the Way to Supermanhood.

Having given up the wish to change the world before having changed himself, and having chosen the path of the world rather than an escape into the kingdoms of the spirit, the seeker will first acquire the ability of retreating within, of ‘taking a step back’ to position himself within a silent clearing where the habitual mechanisms no longer have a hold, and thus of being able to ‘disidentify’ himself. This disidentification is practised on numerous paths and through a variety of methods.

The seeker will then be able to attentively observe the most minute occurrences and vibrations without automatically having to ‘rectify’ them, which is to say without instantly covering them up with the filter of his hopes, desires, preferences, morality, beliefs, attractions or repulsions, and habits. He will then progressively become able to perceive ‘the law of the rhythm’, which is that of exactness, and will access a new understanding through the most minute details of daily life.

Satprem also notes, in a few brief expressions, certain keys which complete or explain the work of transparency represented by Odysseus (Ulysses), and on which he too particularly insists:

  • ‘Everything contribute to the right direction’: there are no obstacles, negligible or negative things or contrary circumstances, but only unconsciousness.
  • ‘Look at the Truth that is everywhere present’: coexisting with its distortion.  There is a true vibration present in each thing.
  • ‘From inner towards external’: the seeker learns to see that all inner disturbance provokes a disturbance in matter and that inversely, matter responds to inner truth with harmony.
  • ‘Each second completely and clearly’: the seeker must nourish his inner fire, his intensity of presence at each instant, and his transparency.

Following Sri Aurobindo, who expresses that the way is a path of ascension followed by integration in the depths to bring about the descent of a light attained in the heights, Satprem explains that this is a path of descent which constantly demands ‘clarification’, of a very humble functioning distant from the great illuminations and revelations of the path of ascension. For, he tells us, we have been falsely led by the tradition of the visionary, by the partial truths gained by our efforts, our virtues and our meditations, which imprison us more surely than does anything else (see Satprem’s On the Way to Supermanhood). It is through our blind groping, stumbling and errors that we progress.

He insists upon the fact that there are no useless or unimportant occurrences, incidents or encounters, similarly as does the Mother, who affirms that what we consider to be negligible is often of greater importance than so-called great events.

The further the seeker advances, the more he becomes conscious of a ‘response’ in daily events and of an Aid which has never done him wrong and knows where he is headed.

His need for truth increases in proportion to his feeling of being stifled. In Satprem’s words, ‘The fire is formed by the particles of consciousness we put into unconsciousness‘ (Satprem, On the way to Supermanhood, Ch. XIV ‘The victory over death’), till the seeker enters into a marvelling at precision, everywhere and in each second, and gets in touch with the Harmony of the new state through the aid of the power of Truth which presses upon the world.

 

Over the thousands of years spanning from Homer to Sri Aurobindo, we can behold with wonder that the same vision of evolution has been followed from one age to another. The accomplishments presented in this mythological system can undoubtedly seem so distant that discouragement can take a hold of us even before we set out upon the path. But, children would never begin walking if their aspiration for growth did not outweigh all else. Likewise, let us refuse any half-heartedness, and allow this need to carry us forward and kindle the inner fire within us. We have the great privilege of being aware of the direction of our evolution, of having access to the keys to it and of knowing what awaits us on this path. The length of the road to be travelled is therefore of little importance when we are accompanied by the words of these visionaries, based upon their experience and promising us a world of joy.

Although at times Earth can seem to have been abandoned by the gods, and man given up to his demons and governed by inconscience and falsehood, we must never forget that obstacles are also acts of grace, and must work in truth and for Truth, trusting in Sri Aurobindo’s words in The Hour of God:

‘Nor let worldly prudence whisper too closely in thy ear; for it is the hour of the unexpected, the incalculable, the immeasurable’.

Back To Summary and Introduction : The Returns

The Suitors in Asphodel Meadows and Odysseus with Laertes (Book XXIV)

 

<< Previous : Penelope and Odysseus (Ulysses) reunited (Book XXIII)

The souls of the suitors were guided by Hermes. Beyond the course of the Ocean and the White Rock, beyond the Gates of the Sun and the Land of Dreams, they finally reached the Asphodel Meadows inhabited by the shadows. They saw those of Achilles, Patroclus, Antilochos and Ajax, and then the one of Agamemnon and all those who had died with him. Agamemnon evoked the glorious death of Achilles: Thetis coming out of the waves accompanied by the Nereids for a final farewell to the body of her son, the singing of the nine Muses in his honour, the mourning of the gods and men together for seventeen days and seventeen nights, his ashes deposited in an urn with those of Patroclus, the burial mound and the magnificent prizes offered by Thetis to the winners of the funeral games.

Agamemnon, seeing the suitors, was astonished by the presence of so many such great heroes in this place, all young men of the same age. He then questioned Amphimedon, the son of Melaneus, who hosted him when he went to convince Odysseus (Ulysses) to participate in the war. Amphimedon described to him the pressure exerted by the suitors on Penelope and the weaving of the veil which had no end. Then he recounted the exposed scheming, the completion of the veil, the misbehaviour of the suitors in relation to the beggar Odysseus (Ulysses), their death brought about by the latter and their corpses lying unburied.

Then Agamemnon praised the fidelity and perseverance of Penelope, whereas he died because of the treachery of his wife Clytemnestra. 

Meanwhile, Odysseus (Ulysses) and his companions arrived at Laertes’ house. While they were preparing the feast, he came to his old father in the orchard, wondering if he would recognize him. Dolios and his sons were far off, working on the fence wall.

Laertes, his heart full of sorrow, was scantily clad but his orchard was beautifully tended. Without revealing himself, Odysseus (Ulysses), posing as a stranger, pointed it out to him. But he could not control himself for long in the face of his father’s distress and threw himself into his arms, announcing the death of the suitors. However, in order to convince him he had to show him his scar and remind him of the trees he received from him as a child.

Fearing that the Cephallenians would come to attack them, they went back to the house. The old man took his bath and as he was made to look taller and stronger by Athena, Odysseus (Ulysses) understood that it was the action of a god.

Laertes recalled his feat as the leader of the Cephallenians against the city of Nericus. Then Dolios arrived with his six sons and was delighted to find Odysseus (Ulysses).

Meanwhile, the Rumour had done its work. The Achaeans came to the house of Odysseus (Ulysses) to bury their dead, and then gathered at the agora. Eupeithes, whose son Antinoos had been shot with an arrow by Odysseus (Ulysses), harangued them to prevent the hero from fleeing to Pylos or to the divine Elis, and avenge their brothers and children.

But Medon joined them and told them that he had seen a god support Odysseus (Ulysses). Halitherses, one of Mastor’s sons, who saw the past and the future, also reminded them of the excesses of their sons (the young suitors who no longer believed in the return of Odysseus (Ulysses)) whom he and Mentor warned them from.

But many of them did not listen to these words of appeasement and took up arms under the leadership of Eupeithes.

Then Athena asked Zeus if he intended to prolong this conflict, to which he replied that he gave her the freedom to do as she pleased while offering to restore peace by giving power to Odysseus (Ulysses) and let the grieving families forget.

As the armed people approached the house of Laertes, one of Dolios’ sons saw them and all took up arms themselves, including the old man.

Before the fighting began, Odysseus (Ulysses) told Telemachus to remember not to tarnish the reputation of his forefathers.

Then Athena approached them in the guise of Mentor. First, she gave Laertes a new vigour and had him throw his javelin on Eupeithes, who died immediately. Then Odysseus (Ulysses) and Telemachus killed many Achaeans until the goddess ordered the crowd of Ithaca to stop the fight with a shout. As Odysseus (Ulysses) darted to pursue them, Zeus launched his thunderbolt in front of Athena-Mentor. Then the goddess had to ask Odysseus (Ulysses) to stop this battle between valiant warriors if he did not want to incur the wrath of Zeus. His heart full of joy, the hero accepted.

Then Athena-Mentor sealed an accord between the two parties.

Although many ancient and modern exegetes may have doubted the affiliation of this last chapter of the Odyssey to the original corpus, it helps to clarify some important points at this time of the yoga: the recognition of past realisations, the major importance of total surrender to the Divine (surrender that is both consecration and self-giving, implying leaving the responsibility of the yoga to the Supreme by abandoning the pretension of wanting to effect the transformation by oneself) and the necessary transition from a yoga of exclusion and elimination to a path of total integration of opposites, transcending the process of cause and effect (by an act that no longer “forgives” but “erases”).

First, it is the overmind that enables the seeker to put into perspective past realisations and their exact participation in the evolutionary process (Hermes guides the souls of the suitors). These realisations are examined from the point of view of divine integration (this happens in Hades, the place of realisation of unity in matter), which allows to preserve their memory in the radiant Truth of the Supramental. First, they are judged in their relation to the purification in the incarnation allowing access to the supramental world, to the knowledge of other planes of consciousness and to the world of Truth (they go beyond the “White Rock,” “The Gates of the Sun,” “The Land of Dreams” to reach the “Asphodel Meadows”).

Although the symbolism of Asphodel is unknown to us, the splendour of this flower and the location of the Asphodel Meadows, at the edge of Hades’ kingdom, suggest it is a symbol of the Supramental since it is a place beyond the “Gates of the Sun”.

As the suitors are symbols of higher realisations, it is normal for their souls to meet in Hades those of other great heroes, respectively symbols of the “achievement of liberation” (Achilles), “glorious realisations” (Patroclus), “vigilance” (Antilochos) and “highest consciousness” (Ajax). Homer insists that Achilles belongs to the lineage of major realisations (his ashes are with those of Patroclus), which have also enabled the seeker to receive great “helpers” on the vital level (the magnificent prizes offered by Thetis to the winners of the funeral games).

When the seeker relates his old aspiration oriented towards human perfection to its realisations, he is surprised that these have been surpassed as soon as they were obtained (Agamemnon is surprised to see the young suitors in these places). He gets the explanation by observing that the “will for perfection” that manifested at the beginning of the great reversal process, carried the seed of a twist (Amphimedon, son of Melaneus, who hosted Agamemnon when he went to convince Odysseus (Ulysses) to participate in the war, described to him the behaviour of the suitors and their deaths).

Then the seeker becomes aware of the help given to him by “the vision of greater freedom” while what “aspires” in him strayed to pursue a refinement of the present nature (Then Agamemnon praised the fidelity and perseverance of Penelope, he who died because of Clytemnestra’s treachery). For, let us remember, it is not a question of making man wiser or more virtuous, but of moving towards a different humanity.

He returns to the quest for humility undertaken on the mental level and finds that it has never stopped working (Laertes, united with Anticlia “humility”, is of pitiful appearance but his orchard is beautifully maintained). But this “mental humility” cannot recognize whether transparency is achieved in the vital (Laertes cannot recognize Odysseus (Ulysses)). When recognition is effective, it confirms that mental and vital transparency has been achieved. The continuity of yoga is then well established.

However, the part of the seeker that is still marked by the previous phase – the consecration related to personal yoga – fears a powerful return of the highest mind that it had once set against the new one (Laertes fears that the Cephallenians will attack them, a people he once led in an attack on Nericos’ “openness to the new”). The seeker understands all the better the risk of interference by the mind because he once developed it to the maximum of its possibilities. This observation would give validity to the lineage of Odysseus (Ulysses) given by Hygin, namely that his grandfather Arcisius, son of Laertes, is a son of Cephalus, himself the son of the Aeolian Deion.

The inner guide then rekindles the flame of commitment for the being who has achieved humility (Athena, the inner guide, gives a beautiful stature to Laertes, widower of Anticlia).

Although this is not indicated in this chapter, we can assume that the character of Dolios “deceitful” mentioned here is the same as the father of Melantheus (the goatherd) and Melantho (the assistant of Penelope) massacred by Odysseus (Ulysses). His wife is an old Sicilian, “who is dishonest”, which shows the danger of progressing in “sneaky falsehood” if a righteous attitude does not thwart her. So it would have made sense for Odysseus (Ulysses) to fight and kill them as well. But this is not the case, and here Homer presents Dolios and his six sons in a rather favourable light: they are faithful servants of Laertes, helping to maintain his orchard in a beautiful way, and demonstrating their affection and fidelity to Odysseus (Ulysses).

Icarios “opening to the heights of the mind” had offered Dolios as a servant to his daughter Penelope when she came to Ithaca. At that time, before the Trojan War, the seeker was in search of the Supramental in the spirit (with reference to homonymy, see the myth of Icarus), and this quest introduced the possibility of deviance, depending on the attitude adopted. This “shadow” is useful as long as it helps the quest for knowledge in perfect humility, but if the seeker deviates from this attitude, it brings the risk of a fall. (Dolios’ two children, Melantheus and Melantho, fell into this trap. The first was the goatherd at the service of the suitors, mainly Antinoos “wisdom” and Eurymachos “holiness”, while the second assisted Penelope). The closer these “sneaky falsehoods” are to the highest realisations and even to the “vision of greater freedom,” the more their pernicious influence reveals itself, whereas one might think instead that they are redressed by holiness and wisdom or the vision of the goal.

But when this “deception” remains in contact with what works for humility, the shadow cannot find a breeding ground for developing and even serves the yoga (the old Sicilian, her husband Dolios and their six sons remained always with Laertes united with Anticlia).

It is interesting to note that the movement represented by Laertes, initiated in the heights of the spirit, ends in the most perfect humility in contact with a well-maintained orchard, and thus close to the body. In a way, Dolios was the evolutionary chance of Laertes and the latter prevented Dolios from being harmful.

The deviance of the suitors is therefore presented here as a lack of humility. But when the latter is present, the shadow itself is integrated and can no longer have a hold. It is even constitutive of the right progression in the incarnation and used to fight what still opposes the New (Dolios and his sons arm themselves to fight alongside Odysseus (Ulysses)).

In the new yoga, the seeker will have to progress by integration and no longer by rejection.

Once he has recognized that achieving transparency is the right development of the work of humility, the realisations of ancient yoga can be put in their rightful place (after the reunion of Odysseus (Ulysses) and Laertes, the bodies of the suitors were taken away to be buried by their families).

While the yoga is “corrected” there is still opposition in some parts of the being, especially in what has paved the way for the realisations of the ancient yoga: beliefs in immutable laws stand in the way of crossing the “door” for complete unification (Eupeithes “vast belief”, father of Antinoos “powerful spirit, wise,” fears that Odysseus (Ulysses) will leave for Pylos or the divine Elide).

Neither the “protective intuition” that perceives the movement of divine forces, nor “fire” that can see past and future (from the body consciousness if omega is taken into account in the name), can defeat these beliefs (Medon saw a god helping Odysseus (Ulysses) himself, and Halitherses who saw the past and future, son of Mastor, reminded them of the excesses of their sons, the suitors, but to no avail).

The master of yoga, seeing a new yoga struggle in separation, enters into contact with the super-conscious to perceive the right path (Athena asked Zeus for his intentions). But all latitude is left to the master of yoga with, however, the indication of a new path: no longer struggle or forgiveness, but a higher movement of consciousness that “erases”. Indeed, when forgiveness is a personal act, it maintains duality, but what comes from the world of Truth erases the consequences of the acts (Zeus tells his daughter Athena that she is free to continue the fight but offers to restore peace by making the families forget wanting revenge). In a way this movement implies the end of yoga in a space-time of inescapable causes and consequences, because the Supramental will work according to other laws. In the Agenda (Vol. 2, June 2, 1961), Mother insists that the past can be completely purified and abolished and have no effect on the future provided that it is not repeated into a perpetual present, provided that the vibration is no longer reproduced.

But before that, the inner guide fuels one last struggle in duality in order to eradicate definitively the beliefs in immutable states or way of functioning: anything is possible, no “law” can stop Divine evolution (the group led by Eupeithes “vast belief” must be destroyed).

Before this last confrontation, the seeker convinces himself that none of the fights has been useless so far and should not be denied (Odysseus (Ulysses) recommends to Telemachus not to tarnish the name of the forefathers). And the master of yoga, giving new energy to the commitment to higher freedom, allows him to put an end to ancient certainties (Athena gives new vigour to Laertes who kills Eupeithes).

He must no longer seek to eliminate anything because, at this level of yoga, when transparency is achieved, everything now contributes equally to the new yoga (Athena asks Odysseus (Ulysses) to stop pitting fighters of the same value against each other).

It is then the super-conscious which indirectly imposes his will in order to put a definitive end to the yoga working by exclusion (Zeus throws his thunderbolt in front of Athena so that she stops Odysseus (Ulysses) pursuing the Achaeans).

The seeker then definitely goes from “neither this, nor that” to “and this, and that”, from a yoga by exclusion to a yoga by integration.

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Penelope and Odysseus (Ulysses) reunited (Book XXIII)

 

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Euryclia announced to Penelope the return of Odysseus (Ulysses), who went from joy to doubt and then to the will to check his presence herself. She went down into the room, and despite Telemachus’ remonstrations, could not fully persuade herself that this beggar was indeed her glorious husband.

Odysseus (Ulysses) understood her trouble, explaining to Telemachus that his mother had some reason not to be able to recognize so soon the murderer of so many suitors. He asked everyone to prepare for mock wedding so that the news of the death of the suitors would not reach the city. Then Eurynomos clothed him, and Athena made him shine, making him the same as the immortals.

He then returned to Penelope and asked for a bed to rest alone. Still doubting, she set a trap to test him: she asked Euryclia to move the marital bed out of the room and to prepare it for their host. But Odysseus (Ulysses) knew that no one could have changed the place of the bed without cutting the trunk of the olive tree to which he himself had pegged it, and he described its construction with numerous details. Then Penelope threw herself into his arms because the secret of the bed was known only to them and to her faithful chambermaid Actoris.

For a long time the two spouses cried in each other’s arms. To prolong the joy of their reunion, Athena extended the night that covered the world, holding Eos at the edge of the ocean.

Then Odysseus (Ulysses) told Penelope that the tests were not over yet, for he had to complete an immense, difficult and arduous work. It was the soothsayer Tiresias who said so when he visited the kingdom of Hades.

At the insistence of his wife, he repeated what had been announced to him by the soothsayer (see Nekuia, Book XI). After punishing the excesses of the suitors, he would have to leave again with the oar on his shoulder, and walk so much that in the end he would meet people who didn’t know the sea, nor boats and oars, and ate without salt. Then he would find a traveller on his way who would ask him why he was carrying a grain shovel on his shoulder. He should plant the oar in the ground, and sacrifice to Poseidon a bull, a ram and a boar old enough to service the sows. Then he should go back to his home and offer to all the immortal gods the holy hecatombs. He would then live a happy old age, surrounded by wealthy people, until a sweet death would take him.

Then the couple went to bed, led to their room by Eurynome. Before falling asleep, each told the other the hardship endured.

When they were well rested, Athena let Eos, the goddess of Dawn, go to do her duty.

Odysseus (Ulysses) asked Penelope to return to her apartments and not receive anyone while he went to see his father Laertes accompanied by Telemachus, Eumaeus and the cattleman, all equipped with their weapons.

Athena covered them with a cloud to allow them to leave the city discreetly, for Odysseus (Ulysses) did not yet want the death of the suitors to be known.  

The sudden disappearance of the suitors reflects a common process in yoga where more often than not a long preparation is required before a sudden change occurs. Thus, the seeker, in his “vision of a more total freedom”, has difficulty accepting that the work has been done (Penelope doubts that Odysseus (Ulysses) is back and could have killed the suitors). Then the whole being must be gradually brought to understand it (the news of the death of the suitors must not be known in the city).

First, the seeker needs a clear sign to understand that the goal is reached (Penelope tests Odysseus (Ulysses)). He must recall to memory what was immutably established from the outset to determine the purpose of the quest: the bed firmly tied to an olive tree indicates that purification was the basis of the work of transparency for greater freedom.

Then the seeker has the experience of a very powerful inner union “out of time” (Athena extended the night that covered the world in order to prolong the joy of reunion).

However, the work for achieving transparency, to ensure the transition to the new yoga that will be led by Telemachus, is not completely finished.

Indeed, the seeker remembers and integrates the extreme difficulty of an upcoming yoga of which he had the premonition during his first experience of descent into the bodily unconscious (Odysseus (Ulysses) told Penelope what Tiresias told him during his descent to the kingdom of Hades: he still had to carry out an immense, difficult and arduous work).

After giving up the old realisations, the seeker had to first complete transparency by starting to work with the old means while being aware that they were no longer really effective (after punishing the excesses of the suitors, he would have to leave with “the oar on his shoulder”).

He had to proceed to the point where the path of evolution is not marked out (Odysseus (Ulysses) must walk continuously until he meets people who ignore the sea), work in the banality of everyday life (who eat without salt), where there can no longer be any structures or fixed yoga practices to move forward (and do not know vessels and oars).

Then he can consider that the phase of transparency is over and give thanks for the help given to him by the highest subconscious (Odysseus (Ulysses) must plant the oar in the ground and sacrifice to Poseidon; he would live in his home a happy old age surrounded by wealthy peoples until the sweetness of death.

Then can begin the yoga for humanity that is to be taken up by Telemachus.

This progression once clearly established in consciousness, the seeker makes a complete inner assessment of his past yoga by comparing the difficulties to maintain the vision of greater freedom with those encountered in the work for transparency (Odysseus (Ulysses) and Penelope tell each other their adventures).

Then, before the whole being agrees to adopt the new yoga, he must extend this assessment to what started it and work for humility (Odysseus (Ulysses) wishes to see again his father Laertes, united with Anticlia, and no one on the island should be aware of the suitors’ death). Indeed one can assume that Laertes represents the beginning of the work of humility in the mind, a work which was taken up and then expanded by his son Odysseus (Ulysses).

This assessment must be made both in terms of “transparency” – which is the fulfilment of humility or perfect consecration in the mind and vital – as well as “engagement in the new yoga”, “management and mastery of the basic vital” and “love for Consciousness” (To meet Laertes, Odysseus (Ulysses) takes with him his son Telemachus, the swineherd Eumaeus and the cattleman Philoetius).

Once again, the seeker receives help from the master of yoga to allow this assessment to be carried out without interference (Athena covered them with a cloud so that they could leave the city discreetly).

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The slaughter of the suitors (Book XXII)

 

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After getting rid of his rags, the beggar-Odysseus (Ulysses) fired an arrow into the throat of Antinoos who died immediately. Then he revealed his identity to the suitors green with terror.

Then Eurymachos accused Antinoos of being solely responsible for the Achaeans’ crimes. He did not seek marriage but wanted only to rule Ithaca after killing Telemachus. He offered to compensate Odysseus (Ulysses) largely in exchange for their lives, but the latter left them only the choice to perish with arms in their hands. Eurymachos then wanted to organize the defence, but an arrow of the hero punctured his liver and he gave up his soul.

Telemachus killed Amphinomos and went to the treasure room to fetch helmets, spikes and shields for himself, his father, the swineherd Eumaeus and for the cattleman Philotios.

Meanwhile, Odysseus (Ulysses) shot the suitors until his arrows were exhausted. Then he put on his armour and seized two spikes.

Melantheus went to the treasure room and returned loaded with twelve helmets, twelve shields and twelve spears, which he distributed to the suitors. When he saw them armed, Odysseus (Ulysses) failed. Telemachus accused himself of having not properly locked the door of the treasure room. Both suspected that Melantheus, the master goatherd, had taken the arms. As the latter returned to the treasury again, Odysseus (Ulysses) sent the two servants with orders to tie him up and hang him from the ceiling so that he would endure much suffering before he died, which was done.

Athena introduced herself to Odysseus (Ulysses) under the appearance of Mentor, son of Alcinous, but the hero recognized the goddess. The suitor Agelaos, son of Damastor, tried to discourage Mentor. Then Athena-Mentor vilified Odysseus (Ulysses) to stimulate him into battle. But the goddess left the battle undecided because she wanted Odysseus (Ulysses) and his son to prove their strength and courage. She turned into a swallow and came to land on a high beam.

Agelaos urged the most valiant of the surviving suitors to fight: Eurynomos, Amphimedon, Demoptolemus, Pisander of the race of Polyctor and the wise Polybus.

Six of them threw their javelins, but Athena deflected them.

In turn, the four heroes threw their javelins: that of Odysseus (Ulysses) reached Demoptolemus, that of Telemachus Euryades, that of Eumaeus Elatos and that of Philotios Pisander. Then all four went to remove the weapons from the corpses.

The suitors threw other javelins, but Athena turned them away from their target, so that Telemachus was barely scratched on the hand by the one of Amphimedon and Eumaeus on the shoulder by the one of Ctesippus.

Odysseus (Ulysses) killed Eurydamas, Telemachus shot Amphimedon, the swineherd Eumaeus killed Polybus, and the cattleman Philotios killed Ctesippus, son of Polytherses.

Then Odysseus (Ulysses) killed Agelaos, son of Damastor. Telemachus killed Leocritus, son of Evenor.

Then Athena, on the ceiling, spread her aegis, sowing panic among the surviving suitors which the heroes massacred.

Liodes the haruspex begged for the mercy of Odysseus (Ulysses), but he killed him with Agelaos’ sword which fell to the ground.

The bard Phemius, son of Terpes, also pleaded for his life, arguing that he had sung for the suitors under duress. Telemachus supported him and asked his father to spare also the herald Medon who always had taken care of him during his childhood. The herald, who had hidden under an armchair, heard him and came to Telemachus’ knees to implore him to intercede on his behalf with Odysseus (Ulysses). The latter spared them both, but asked them to leave the room. They were the only survivors of the massacre.

Odysseus (Ulysses) then sent his son to look for the nanny Euryclia. When she saw the suitors dead, she wanted to shout her joy, but Odysseus (Ulysses) held her back, asking her to respect the dead. He asked her to tell which maids betrayed him. Euryclia mentioned twelve of the fifty she had trained in domestic work. Odysseus (Ulysses) asked her to make these twelve felons available to his son, Eumaeus, and the cattleman to clean the room, and ordered to kill them once the work was finished. Telemachus refused them a dignified death and they were horribly hanged.

Then Melantheus was taken off the ceiling. His nose, ears, sex, hands and feet were cut off, leaving him dying.

Thus, the work was accomplished.

Odysseus (Ulysses) purified the whole house and the court by burning brimstone and then sent Euryclia to look for Penelope and the women who remained faithful to him. The latter went down first. They surrounded Odysseus (Ulysses), whom they covered with kisses, and the hero recognized them all.

First of all, it is the realization of transparency, which bridges the gap between mind and matter, that puts an end to the two main obstacles.

“Wisdom” was the first realisation given up, struck by surprise and at the symbolic spot of expression (Antinoos was mortally shot in the neck while drinking his wine).

The seeker understands how the realisations of the ancient yoga were opposed to the goal only when transparency was completed (the suitors pale in terror when they understood who was the stranger).

In him, the “great warrior” whom we have identified with “holiness” blames mental “wisdom” that ruled yoga for the error of orientation, arguing that this “wisdom” did not seek greater freedom “in itself” (a yoga done for the Divine alone) but only for the sake of the power he could derive from it, for its “utility” (Eurymachos asserts that Antinoos did not seek marriage but wanted only to rule Ithaca after killing Telemachus). This “holiness” attempts to survive by proposing to give up many realisations, that is, by achieving greater detachment by an asceticism that would weaken the whole being (Eurymachos proposes the reimbursement of the consumed goods and other prize gifts by taking them in the country).

Duality cannot continue in any of its aspects in the new yoga that aims for unity and must integrate everything. Holiness achieved by the rejection of “evil” based on the principle of exclusion must therefore disappear.

Before being eliminated, it demonstrates its ambiguity by its insurmountable adherence to duality: it fights a final battle, opposing the work of transparency with all its power (Eurymachos, faced with Odysseus (Ulysses)’ refusal to spare them, calls on the suitors to take arms and fight).

If we consider that the liver is the symbol of faith supported by beliefs, as we saw in the myths of Prometheus and the giant Tityos, then “holiness” is touched here through its ultimate beliefs and certainties.

The extreme of this experience is reported in Volume 1 of Mother’s Agenda, dated May 10, 1958 “I have renounced the uncontested authority of a god, I have renounced the unshakable calm of the sage… in order to become the superman”. At the level of the adventurer of consciousness, it is the renunciation of wisdom and holiness as they are ordinarily understood: to renounce the power of intelligence (wisdom) and the power of life (the saint) which is for man the sign of perfection, to surrender completely to the power of the Divine in matter, in the body (see Mother’s Agenda, Volume 7).

Among the other realisations, the first destroyed is symbolized by Amphinomos, “the well-ordered mind.” In the future yoga, perception is no longer mental but corporal. The seeker will therefore have to go through a difficult period when the mind will be taken away from him in order to learn other ways of functioning.

Then Odysseus (Ulysses) killed other suitors with arrows but Homer does not give their names.

All the forces that must contribute to the reversal are preparing for the final battle, for a commitment without possible backtrack (Telemachus will fetch the weapons in the treasure room for Odysseus (Ulysses), himself, Eumaeus and Philotios).

But the “dark double” that has perverted the orientation of the aspiration does not intend to give up easily and mobilizes all available resources to maintain the primacy of ancient realisations (Melantheus “the black flower” or “what grows falsely inside,” the son of Dolios “the deceitful”). This creates uncertainty in the inner struggle, especially since “the fights for the new yoga” are not yet “vigilant” enough (Melantheus returns with weapons for twelve suitors; Odysseus (Ulysses) falters when he sees them armed, while Telemachus blames himself for his distraction).

At first, the “work of transparency” prevents the “dark double” from acting (Odysseus (Ulysses) sent the two servants with orders to tie Melantheus and hang him close to the ceiling so that he would endure a great deal of suffering before dying).

Let us take a moment to look at the characters of the goatherd Melantheus and his sister Melantho, Penelope’s servant, as they represent a major obstacle in the progression and orientation of the spiritual quest, a deviance that disrupts the work and the vision of purpose. Both are the result of a false illusion (they are the son of Dolios “what deceives”) of whom the seeker does not become aware until very late (almost twenty years after the departure of Odysseus (Ulysses), when the suitors arrived at the mansion of Odysseus (Ulysses), Telemachus being an adult).

As soon as it appeared, the spiritual vision accepted and integrated the “double dark”, without recognizing its true nature, while it developed without contributing in the least to the task (Melantho was raised by Penelope as her child and was till the end the object of her attentions, although she had no compassion for the queen).

In terms of action, the same process develops and the aspiration is gradually diverted, to the point of feeding the old realisations that stand in the way of the New (Melantheus came to give his best goats to the suitors). Goats are indeed the symbol of the fundamental need for growth. (This is why Zeus was breastfed by the goat Amalthea.)

The coming to consciousness of this “dark double” is quite old. If we admit by namesake a close relation between Icarus and Icarios, it would correspond to the moment of emergence of the desire to rise to the Supreme. If Penelope represents the vision of greater freedom waiting for the realization of transparency in order to begin the future yoga, Dolios is the worm in the fruit (Icarios, Penelope’s father, had indeed offered him the servant Dolios, father of Melantheus, when she arrived in Ithaca). But it is only when the seeker engages in the future yoga that this dark double really manifests itself (Melantheus and Melantho are indeed contemporaries of Telemachus, since Penelope raised Melantho as his daughter). This corresponds to the moment when wisdom and holiness want that only they stay put, when the seeker reintegrates a total vision of the human experience and simultaneously endures a forced period of integration (when Menelaus is in Egypt and Odysseus (Ulysses) in Calypso). During a very long period of yoga, this double remained dormant (as long as the suitors did not gather in Ithaca, i.e. for the sixteen years following the departure of Odysseus (Ulysses)).

We can identify “this obscure double” as what Sri Aurobindo and Mother evoke about “central contradictions”: “a very talented person for the work has always, or almost always (perhaps we should not make too rigid universal rules in this area), a being attached to it, sometimes looking like a part of himself, and which is exactly the contradiction of what he represents centrally in the work to be done. Or, if this being is not there at first, if it is not attached to his personality, a force of this kind enters his atmosphere as soon as he begins the movement of realization. Its role seems to be to oppose, to encourage mistakes, to create bad conditions, in short to put in front of him all the problem of the work he has undertaken. In the world’s occult economy, it would seem that the problem cannot be solved without the predestined instrument taking on the difficulty. This would explain many things that seem very disconcerting on the surface”. Mother also explains that everyone must resolve a central contradiction in his being, which is the exact opposite of what he must accomplish. This contradiction is probably only widespread in the advanced phases of yoga. (See. Mother, Questions and Answers, February 3, 1954 in which is reproduced an excerpt from the Letters on Yoga, by Sri Aurobindo).

We should not think that Melantho and Melantheus represent easily identifiable movements. For obviously, this shadow takes on all the appearances of a yoga that could not be more accurate and in accordance with what everybody considers to be the just approach towards the Absolute, Reality or Divine. (Melantho is indeed very close to Penelope and she is also the mistress of Eurymachos “the great warrior of yoga, the saint” while her brother Melantheus is a friend of the latter and considers that Apollo “psychic light” is likely to support him.)

Various clues given by Homer also show that Melantheus works in a devious way. His means of action are marked by falsehood, so he will be the only one to be symbolically deprived of certain sense organs and means of creation (his nose, ears, sex, hands and feet will be cut off: false sensation, false understanding, wrong creation and action, wrong approach). His taste for “soft couches” signal the need for an easy path at the expense of sincere surrender.

In the following, the names of the suitors are not clear enough to allow for an obvious interpretation.

Then the yoga master shows his presence without actively supporting the seeker (Athena, transformed into a swallow, lands on a beam).

It is the personal will that supports the resistance of the ancient yoga movements (Agelaos “who is led by will or vision” urged Eurynomos, Amphimedon, Demoptolemus, Pisander and the wise Polybus to fight): the great ancient laws of yoga (Eurynomos, son of Aegyptus), the search for perfection or personal power opposed to true surrender (Amphimedon, son of Melaneus “deviated evolution”), the fight in the division (Demoptolemus), belief in customary laws (Pisander “the persuaded man”, son of Polyctor “many openings in the consciousness”), and the many realisations (the wise Polybus, father of Eurymachos).

Then the master of yoga intervenes by offering strong support to the seeker. We have already mentioned the help that comes as soon as the first steps are taken along the spiritual path to protect the seeker both physically and psychologically: even if he is close to physical death or the greatest psychological disorders, he will never lack help, provided he is absolutely sincere (Athena deflects the arrows of the suitors).

Then Homer lists the last obstacles to be removed (the death of the surviving suitors):

– The unification work of “Spirit-matter” ends the “fight in division” (Odysseus (Ulysses) kills Demoptolemus)

– “Future yoga” puts an end to “great disgust” (Telemachus kills Euryades)

– “What watches over the basic vital” stops “aspiration to the heights or occult knowledge” or “movement that always leads forward”, i.e. ambition (Eumaeus kills Elatos)

– “What loves the highest consciousness” or “what works for self-improvement” destroys “belief in customary laws” (Philotios kills Pisander)

– “The work for transparency” puts an end to “great mastery” (Odysseus (Ulysses) kills Eurydamas)

– “Future struggles” puts an end to the “will for perfection” that undermines their integrity (Telemachus shoots Amphimedon who scratched him)

– “What watches over the basic vital” puts an end to the excessive consideration for the “many realisations” in the incarnation (the swineherd Eumaeus kills Polybus)

– “What loves the highest of mental consciousness” eliminates the “power” obtained by a great inner fire (Philotios kills Ctesippus, son of Polytherses)

– “The work of union spirit-matter” puts an end to the “personal will” developed by mastery (Odysseus (Ulysses) kills Agelaos, son of Damastor)

– “The struggles of the future” put an end to the “recognition” adorning what has evolved well (Telemachus kills Leocritus, son of Evenor).

Then, the master of yoga shows clearly his presence, which helps to put an end to the last oppositions to the new yoga (Athena deployed her aegis and the heroes massacred the suitors).

– Finally, “the work of spirit-matter unification” puts an end to the “intuitive possibilities of determining the right path” (Odysseus (Ulysses) kills Liodes the haruspex).

However, two realisations can be preserved for the new yoga:

– “what celebrates the knowledge of the path” which comes from the experience of joy (Telemachus pleads for the aedes Phemius, who says he worked for the suitors under duress). He is a son of Terpes, a name composed like the one of the muse Euterpe, which expresses a joy that comes from truth and harmony.

– “a protective intuition” or “protective power” warning the seeker in time of dangers or pitfalls (Medon is a herald who has always taken care of Telemachus during his childhood). This “protection” is not always fully recognized by the seeker, except by what in him works for the future yoga (which makes Telemachus say that he may have been killed by Odysseus (Ulysses), Philotios or Eumaeus).

Since the “realisations” of the ancient yoga have been discarded, the seeker has to determine the “means” that would still be useful to him, for only twelve out of fifty maids had to be eliminated. Homer gives no name, for what must be preserved probably depends on each one. The number twelve only indicates that they should be removed in all areas of yoga.

It is “a vast will to share” which, it seems, represents the intention to pursue yoga for all humanity and no longer for individual liberation alone, which is best able to determine what must be preserved (it is the nanny Euryclia who denounces the maids who will be killed). This intention was evident from the beginning of the quest for the spirit-matter unification and the seeker is delighted to see it now as a possible achievement, while acknowledging that the old realisations were unavoidable (Odysseus (Ulysses) asks his nanny to dampen her joy out of respect for the dead). 

Before being eliminated, the means (practices) that have become obstacles for the new yoga must still help perfect the purification (the twelve felons must help remove the bodies and then clean the room of the blood and mud).

Last but not least, it is the very root of what has deflected the aspiration, Melantheus “the dark double”, who is eliminated. He is first symbolically mutilated where the deviance occurred: false sensation, false understanding, false creation, false action, false evolution (his nose, ears, sex, hands and feet were cut off).

Before embarking on the new yoga, the seeker recognizes the importance of the means or practices that have supported him in the past tests (Odysseus (Ulysses) recognized the maids who remained faithful to him and all embraced him).

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The Bow of Odysseus (Book XXI)

 

<< Previous : Before the slaughter of Penelope’s Suitors (Book XX)

Penelope fetched the bow, arrows and axes that were stored with Odysseus (Ulysses)’ treasure in a locked room.

The bow was a present from Iphitos whom Odysseus (Ulysses) had met one day at Orsilochus. Odysseus (Ulysses), then a young man, had been sent to the Messenians to obtain compensation for a theft of three hundred sheep carried out by them in Ithaca. On his side, Iphitos had gone in search of twelve mares and their mules that had been lost. Iphitos was the son of Eurytus, the master of Heracles in archery, who gave him his bow when he died. During this encounter, Odysseus (Ulysses) gave Iphitos a spear while Iphitos gave him his bow. But they were not to see each other again, for Iphitos was killed by Heracles who seized his horses in defiance of the hospitality laws.

Odysseus (Ulysses) never took this bow with him when he left for war.

Penelope then announced to the suitors that she would marry the one who would succeed to bend the bow with the most ease and shoot an arrow through the twelve axes. She ordered Eumaeus to bring the bow and axes.

Antinoos ordered the cattleman and the swineherd to wipe their tears because, he said, no one could compare himself to Odysseus (Ulysses) and achieve this feat. But in his heart, he hoped to succeed.

Telemachus put up the axes and then tried three times to bend the bow. Perhaps he would have succeeded in the fourth attempt, but Odysseus (Ulysses) stopped his effort with a sign.

Leiodes the haruspex, son of Œnops, who blamed the impiety of the suitors, was the first of them to try his luck, but he could not bend the bow because he had delicate and weak hands. Then he challenged the others to do so, declaring that this bow would bring misfortune to many of them. All the young people tried in turn but none succeeded. Only the two leaders, Antinoos and Eurymachos with the face of God, had still to compete.

The swineherd Eumaeus and the cattleman Philoetius then left the room, followed by the beggar-Odysseus (Ulysses). The latter, after having tested their loyalty and made sure of their commitment to support him, revealed his identity and showed them his scar on his leg as proof. To thank them for their loyalty, he assured them that he would give them wife, house and property. All three wept with joy at finally being reunited. Odysseus (Ulysses) explained to Eumaeus that he should bring him the bow that the suitors would have refused him and order the women to close the doors of the room and stay in their apartments, no matter what happen.

All three returned to the room while Eurymachos tried in vain to bend the bow. As he complained of being so weak compared to Odysseus (Ulysses), Antinoos comforted him by assuring him that the festival of Apollo celebrated that same day was not conducive to such an exercise, but that the next day would see their victory.

Then the beggar asked to test his vigour with the bow; this provoked the wrath of the suitors who feared that he would succeed. Antinoos, accusing him of drinking too much, evoked the unreason of the Centaur Eurytion. The latter, drunk, wanted to abduct Pirithoos’ wife, thus triggering the Lapiths’ war against the Centaurs, where Eurytion lost his life first.

Antinoos even promised the beggar to send him to King Echetos. But Penelope pleaded for him to be allowed to try his luck, assuring the suitors that she could not marry him. Eurymachos, Polybus’ son, retorted that what he feared was not this unlikely marriage, but the shame that would fall upon them if he succeeded. Penelope then insisted, saying that she would be content only to clothe him anew and give him spear and sword. But Telemachus said he was the only one who could decide on lending the bow and begged his mother to return to her apartments where Athena gave her sleep.

The swineherd Eumaeus took the bow but, frightened by the boos of the suitors, put it back in its place. As Telemachus threatened him, he took the bow again and brought it to the beggar. Then he asked discreetly the nanny Euryclia to close the doors of the room remaining on the maids’ side while the cattleman barricaded the door of the courtyard.

The beggar-Odysseus (Ulysses) took the bow, held it out and made the rope sing. Then Zeus flashed his lightning and this omen delighted the hero. He took an arrow and shot straight at the target through the holes of the axes. Then he gave the signal to Telemachus who took his sword and seized his spear.

Considering that Hermes, the god of the overmind, is the great-grandfather of Odysseus (Ulysses), the beginning of this Book is the link between the work of purification-liberation and that of the ascension of the planes of consciousness.

We already have met Eurytus “a great tension towards the spirit”, the master of Heracles for archery, that is, the one who taught him the art of achieving the goal. He himself had received his bow from Apollo – psychic light – and his name indicates that he could lead to spiritual liberation. But he could not lead beyond: Heracles killed him at the end of the twelve labours because he refused to give him his daughter Iole, a greater “liberation.” Others say that he died at the hand of Apollo because he pretended to compete with the god (only the psychic is able to discern in Truth the evolutionary path).

Some say that Eurytus was the son of Melaneus “a black or perverted evolution” and Stratonike “victory in battle”, Melaneus being himself the son of Apollo and the nymph Pronoe “who furthers evolution”: this parentage indicates that the quest for liberation in the spirit, called by the psychic light, and experienced by renouncing the world, was the result of an inescapable deviance, a sort of consequence of the “fall” in separating duality.

Eurytus’ son, Iphitos,”who tends strongly towards the spirit,” Iole’s brother, also died at the hand of Heracles, either at the same time as his father, or later, when the reorientation of yoga occurred. At this point, the seeker wants to keep the powers acquired in the mind (Heracles wants to seize the horses of Iphitos and for this, kills his host).

The proposed challenge seems to require two things: on the one hand a will power forged in endurance, on the other a “skill in works” defined in the Bhagavad Gita as the realization of unity with the Supreme in action and not only in a static bliss of the mind, that is, the realization of transparency enabling exactness (one must be able to bend the bow of Odysseus (Ulysses) and then send an arrow accurately through twelve axes).

It seems obvious that “the struggles of the future”, resulting from the realization of transparency, must be able to meet the challenge, but it is not yet time for them to take over (Telemachus, was about to succeed but he was stopped by his father).

The first achievement that presents itself to the seeker’s mind as having any chance of being able to work for the future (to marry Penelope) is “harmony” from the state of joy provided by the paradises of the spirit (divine ecstasy). Realizing that even this realization does not have the necessary power to start the yoga of the body, the seeker understands that no other past achievement will be able to, even if they still believe themselves capable of it (Liodes “the sweet song”, son of Oenops “the divine drunkenness descending into the being” could not bend the bow and defied the others to do so). Homer points out that Liodes could not hold the tension of the bow because he had delicate and weak hands: this means that the paradises of the spirit cannot transform the outer nature if the corresponding purification is not performed (in the lower vital strong desires and bodily habits).

Then the seeker examines other potential realisations in his consciousness, but sees that none is capable to work for “greater freedom” or even modify circumstances through “the vision of the weft”. This possibility of modification is based on the fact that everything is linked and that an action on a tiny point can generate upheavals in other points with no apparent causal link and in a different space-time (all the suitors have tried their luck except for the two leaders, Antinoos and Eurymachos). (See Satprem, Mère, L’espèce nouvelle (not translated).)

Before the great reversal, the seeker must ensure that “what has looked after his basic vital energies” and “what has increased his illuminations” are on his side, that is, that the highest of the mind and the deepest vital give their full agreement for the work of complete purification (Odysseus (Ulysses), after having tested the loyalty of Eumaeus and Philotios and ensured their commitment to support him, revealed his identity). Sri Aurobindo himself says that if he had known beforehand the immense difficulty of the yoga in the body, he might not have started it.

Then the seeker examines in his conscience what the chances of “holiness” are in obtaining greater freedom, but “wisdom” in him understands that no realization of the ancient yoga can attain it if the psychic does not give his consent (while Eurymachos tries in turn to bend the bow, Antinoos says that the day of Apollo was not propitious and that first they had to sacrifice to the god). 

At this point, what in him remains still attached to the forms of the ancient yoga measures the “derisory” power of this yoga without fearing it could be a tool for a greater freedom (the suitors feared that the beggar would succeed but did not imagine that he could marry Penelope).

In the most spiritually advanced being, the “shame” that would befall the suitors is the sign of a persistent attachment to one’s own vision of the true path. It is also a sign of spiritual pride that considers unthinkable that a yoga of the “insignificant” would surpass those that offer illuminations, extraordinary experiences, etc.

“The vision of a more total freedom” is then the most likely to feel that what looks insignificant deserves consideration without knowing what it is. But she has to retreat to the background while “the fights of the future” assert themselves (Penelope insists that the beggar tries his luck and offers, if successful, to gift him new clothes and weapons. But Telemachus asserts himself as the only one to decide the lending of the bow and asks her to withdraw.) 

Then the old realisations attempt to prevent what is taking care of the basic vital and which is deeply under their influence, to serve the movement of union (While Telemachus had sent Eumaeus to look for the bow and hand it over to the beggar, Eumaeus was frightened by the words of the suitors. But Telemachus encourages him).

According to what he had imagined, the seeker doesn’t allow himself any escape and gathers in the “enclosure” of consciousness what must first be eliminated (according to the plan, the doors of the room and the courtyard are closed).

Then the “will for spirit-matter union” orients his force towards the New, with the approval of the highest of the super-conscious (Odysseus (Ulysses) bends his bow, made the rope sing, and Zeus flashed his lightning).

If the axe can be seen as the symbol of separation necessary for the individualization process, the arrow that crosses the twelve axes would represent the end of all duality in an overall experience. It would no longer be only the liberation from what maintains the spirit/matter dichotomy – the realization of wisdom and holiness that is a beacon for present-day humanity – but the entry into a process of transformation towards integral divinization, where personal liberation alone no longer makes sense since nothing can be separated.

Then, what in the seeker worked for union and accomplished transparency, initiates the fights of the future (Odysseus (Ulysses) signalled to Telemachus who slung his sword around his shoulder).

Next : The slaughter of the suitors (Book XXII) >>

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Before the slaughter of Penelope’s Suitors (Book XX)

 

<< Previous : Odysseus (Ulysses) and Penelope (Book XIX)

Odysseus (Ulysses) did not sleep, trying to calm the anger that rose in him at the sight of the cheerful maids who went to sleep with the suitors.

Then Athena appeared to him as a woman, but he immediately recognized the goddess and told her of his helplessness in the face of the group of suitors. Athena confirmed her future help and told him that even fifty battalions of mortals cannot defeat them when she stands by his side. Odysseus (Ulysses) then fell asleep.

In the night Penelope awoke and wept, wishing to suffer the same fate as the daughters of Pandareus. These had been taken care of by the goddesses after the death of their parents struck by the gods: Aphrodite had fed them honey and sweet wine, Hera had given them beauty and wisdom, Artemis had increased the size of their bodies and Athena had taught them to do superb work.

But when Aphrodite asked Zeus a husband for each of them, the Harpyes sent them as servants to the Erinyes.

Penelope also asked to be taken to the kingdom of Hades so that she could find Odysseus (Ulysses) and that she would never unite with less noble hero. As dawn came, each of the spouses had the strong impression of the presence of the other at his side.

Then Odysseus (Ulysses) asked Zeus for a double sign: that an awakening man utters a prophetic word for him and that a sign of the god appears outside. Immediately, the thunder rumbled over Olympus and Odysseus (Ulysses) rejoiced, and then a woman spoke. She was one of the twelve milling women, the only one who did not sleep because she was the weakest and had not completed her task. Having seen lightning in a cloudless sky, she was emboldened to ask that this day the last meal be served to the suitors. And Odysseus (Ulysses) rejoices again, realizing that the time of his vengeance had come.

When Telemachus woke up, he asked Euryclia if she had taken care of the beggar, suggesting that sometimes his mother lacked discernment. The nanny reassured him and then she put the maids to work to prepare the house for the feast. Twenty of them went to draw water from the fountain pouring Black Waters.

Then Eumaeus arrived, pushing three pigs in front of him.

Then Melantheus arrived with his most beautiful goats, taunting Odysseus (Ulysses) and promised him a beating.

Then the head of the cattlemen came, Philoetius, arriving from the ferry. He came from the Cephalonean fields on the mainland and brought with him a sterile cow and fat goats. He first asked Eumaeus about this beggar who looked like a king, then the beggar himself. He mourned Odysseus (Ulysses), who had taken him at a young age at his service and whose flocks he had increased considerably. Although against his will, he had to give his animals for the suitors’ meals. The beggar promised him that he would soon see his master again and witness the death of the suitors. In turn, he assured him that he would fight alongside Odysseus (Ulysses).

As the suitors plotted Telemachus’ death, an eagle appeared to their left, holding a dove in its claws. Then Amphinomos predicted the failure of their plot and encouraged them to stop dealing with it. 

When the preparations for the meal were completed, the pig farmer Eumaeus distributed the cups, the cowherd Philoetius distributed the bread and Melantheus served the wine.

Telemachus warned the suitors not to mistreat the beggar and all were amazed at his aplomb.

Antinoos then understood that Zeus was protecting the son of Odysseus (Ulysses). 

Athena increased the resentment in Odysseus (Ulysses)’ soul by refraining from preventing the suitors from insulting him. The brute Ctesippus who lived in Same and was immensely rich, threw a cow hoof at the beggar which the latter avoided with a bitter smile. Telemachus rebuked Ctesippus forcefully, signalling to the suitors that he was running out of patience.

Damastor’s son, Agelaos, asked Telemachus to press his mother to choose the noblest of the suitors, but he refused.

Then Athena sent a sign: the suitors laughed without cause and without stopping although they wanted to cry, and the meat they ate began to bleed.

Then the soothsayer Theoclymenos saw the suitors wrapped in darkness, blood pouring from the walls, the awning filled with ghosts, the sun dying out and death covering everything. And as all the others laughed at him and Eurymachos wanted to drive him out, he announced their end and went to Piraeus.

The beginning of this Book opposes the revolted sadness of what works for transparency to the confident certainty of ancient realisations (Odysseus (Ulysses) expresses anger and sadness, while on the side of the suitors and maids a joyful relaxation reigns). But the master of yoga promises the seeker his unwavering help and assures him of victory, thus allowing him to recover inner peace.

In his “vision of more total freedom” refined by divine help, the seeker aspires to find the path of future yoga for transformation (Penelope wishes to suffer the same fate as the daughters of Pandareus who, although led to their perfection by the goddesses, had been deprived of husbands).

The daughters of Pandareus “the one who gives everything to the righteous movement towards union” had indeed been led to a certain perfection and their abduction led them more towards consecration to a divine task than to a true punishment: the forces that work for balance (or break) at the level of the true vital had indeed directed them towards the service of those who put back in the right divine path (they were abducted by the Harpyes who had sent them as servants to the Erinyes).

This story highlights a very important point of yoga that we have had the opportunity to address several times: the movement of ascension/integration that explains the constant interaction between the path of ascent and the one of liberation-purification. As Satprem says, “you can only heal (access the Truth) if you go to the bottom, and you can only get to the bottom if you go all the way to the top.” This explains why the great heroes must relate to the deities at the bottom of the sea, to those of the underworld where the god of the overmind Hades reigns, explains that Iris is the messenger of the gods, that Chrysaor “the man with the golden sword” is the son of the Gorgon Medusa, that the Erinyes punish perjury in the underworld or that the daughters of Pandareus become their maids.

The name Pandareus means, with the Greek structuring letters, “who gives everything to the just movement towards union.” His parentage is not given by Homer and the one indicated in other sources is unreliable.

In Penelope’s complaint, only the impatience to begin the future yoga is expressed by a powerful aspiration for “divine exactness.” The perfect education of Pandareus’ daughters reveals that the seeker was guided and accompanied on the way by spiritual energies to replace those of the ego (at the death of their parents struck by the gods, the daughters of Pandareus were taken care of by the goddesses). What ensures the growth of true love has nourished his psychic and his ecstatic joy (they were nourished by Aphrodite with honey and sweet wine). The highest strength of the superconscious presiding over the right movement enabled him to grow in Truth and acquire knowledge (Hera gave them beauty and wisdom). Spiritual help for purification has facilitated the transition to a higher humanity, the one which can be associated with the superman guided by the psychic being (Artemis has increased their size). The master of yoga allowed him finally to achieve a certain perfection in divine work: detachment, attention, humility, consecration, etc. (Athena taught them to make magnificent works).

Union in spirit can no longer be his goal: therefore, in the previous Book, it is said that a daughter of Pandareus mourns the child Itylos “liberation in spirit” that she had of Zethos “the quest” and that her dagger immolated.

At this stage of the path, it is no longer yogas governed by the mental personality that can achieve such realisations, but only the action of divine forces. The daughters of Pandareus can no longer have husbands, but also cannot be the wives of the gods. Aphrodite’s plan is foiled: the spiritual forces that watch over the evolution of Love must therefore give way to forces of another order, superior to them, the forces of Truth. This is also what Sri Aurobindo asserts: Truth must be established in humanity before Divine Love can manifest.

It is then the primordial movements of the vital consciousness that ensure either the reversal or the stabilization of forms by homeostasis (the Harpyes) that position “these perfections in the making” as help for the establishment of the true movement (the Harpyes, daughters of Thaumas, gave them as servants to the Erinyes “the movement of evolution in Truth”).

Let us remember that the Erinyes correct yoga mistakes cutting off from the Divine, the Real, or the Right Order. According to Hesiod, their source is far beyond the powers governing the mind because they are born from the blood of Ouranos spilled on Gaia, and thus at the origin of creation. They are therefore equal to the Titans that Ouranos begot alone, if not of a slightly higher rank. Therefore Zeus and the deities of Olympus are forced to obey them. They are the guardians of the highest divine order in the Universe. This is why they can also intervene in the kingdom of Hades, in the body. They avenge crimes against the natural order, bring back in the right path according to absolute order, the worst crimes being to cut oneself off from one’s divine source (murder against the parents) or to prevent evolutions (infanticide). They have therefore a function far superior to that of the Harpies, the latter being only the forces ensuring stability in the deep vital by breaking the balance or its recovery (the principle of homeostasis and repetition that promotes stability). It is the sister of the Harpyes’, Iris, who provides the “information” at their level.

In this phase of yoga, like the daughters of Pandareus, the seeker, always striving for a more total freedom, yearns very strongly for divine exactness in all his movements, and thus for the yoga to descend into the bodily unconscious where the realization of transparency would be confirmed (Penelope asks to be taken to the kingdom of Hades so that she can find Odysseus (Ulysses) there). To her, any other goal would seem a step backwards (she does not want to satisfy the wishes of a less noble hero). This realization is already confirmed on the subtle level (Penelope and Odysseus (Ulysses) had both a strong impression of the presence of each other).

Then, “The movement that works for transparency” asks that this be confirmed, both in spirit and in its physical reality. To which the Divine responds by giving a “power” in the mind and the indication that the yoga that runs out of steam in the old forms is finally turning away from it (Odysseus (Ulysses) asked Zeus a double sign: the thunder rumbled on Olympus and one of the twelve miller women who saw lightning in a cloudless sky, wished the death of the suitors. She was the only one who did not sleep because she was the weakest and had not completed her task). 

The seeker takes into account that the “vision of the future” that has supported the yoga so far is no longer as operative for future fights (Telemachus asks Euryclia if she took good care of the beggar, fearing that his mother did not measure his worth). He also notes that certain elements still serve the ancient yogas by feeding on energy sources opposed to the New (twenty maids went to draw water from the fountain giving Black Waters).

On the other hand, it clearly identifies what is compatible and even constitutes a support: “management of the basic vital” has always remained faithful to the movement of union and “who loves the highest of the spirit” is committed to support it (Eumaeus has remained faithful to Odysseus (Ulysses) and Philotios, the commander of the cattlemen working on the land of Cephalonia, the “realisations” in the “mind”, pledges to support it). In this reorientation of yoga, it is clear that there is absolutely no question to combat the realisations of the mind. This is not about the intellectual or mental separator which since long has finished its work. However, what manages these realisations does not let us know the degree of unification because he worked independently (Philotios increased the herds on the continent and questions the beggar). 

What needs to be changed is the fixity of beliefs conveyed by the ancient forms of yoga and the erroneous resulting aspiration, that which aims for the improvement of man but not his transformation (the goatherd Melantheus).

Through his “well-organised mind,” the seeker realizes that the old yoga systems will not prevent the future yoga (Amphinomos announces the failure of the plot against Telemachus). He understands that the power of the mind will no longer regard wisdom (or non-duality in spirit) as the highest achievement of yoga (an eagle appeared to the left of the suitors, holding a dove in its claws). Doves bring ambrosia to Zeus and are therefore symbols of non-duality in spirit. Remember that any bird appearing on the left is an omen of death while its flight to the right is a happy omen.

However, the movements of the ancient yoga continue their task: divine drunkenness or joy is “served” by a movement that is now an obstacle to progress (Melantheus “what developed erroneously for the improvement of man and not his transformation”, serves wine).

In turn, what in the seeker is “wisdom” acknowledges that the movement of the future struggle resulting from the union spirit-matter is unavoidable and receives the support of the superconscious (Antinoos realises that Zeus was protecting the son of Odysseus (Ulysses)).

But the real tipping point cannot happen until the tension between the two yoga movements has reached its climax (Athena increases the pressure on Odysseus (Ulysses) by stimulating the insults of the suitors).

Everything then stands against the desire of transparency, especially the vital and the powers associated with it (the brute Ctesippus “the one who owns the horses” assaults him by throwing an oxen hoof).

Then the “personal will (of the ego)” stemming from “mastery” tries once again to ensure that the future yoga diverts the vision for greater freedom towards any of the ancient forms of yoga (Agelaos, son of Damastor, requested Telemachus to ask his mother to chose the noblest of suitors, which the latter refused to do).

Then, under the influence of the yoga master, the seeker is forced to recognize that the vital he thought he had mastered (the expression of emotions) and conquered definitively, manifests itself in him by uncontrollable expressions (Athena then sent a sign: the suitors laughed without cause and without hindrance as they wanted to cry, and the meat they ate began to bleed).

Then, what in the seeker “perceives the Truth” by the psychic being has the revelation that the yoga reversal is close (the soothsayer Theoclymenos “an unmistakable truth”, of the lineage of Melampus, who has in his bosom a perfectly healthy spirit, has the vision of the suitors wrapped in obscurity and blood flowing from the walls).

This capacity to perceive “Truth”, quite distinct from the old realisations that must be exceeded, must remain active in the new yoga and support the “experiments” in the discovery of the new paths (Theoclymenos takes refuge at Piraeus “who experiments”).

Next : The Bow of Odysseus (Book XXI) >>

<< Summary and Introduction : The Returns

Odysseus (Ulysses) and Penelope (Book XIX)

 

<< Previous : The Beggars Fight (Book XVIII)

At Odysseus (Ulysses)’ request, Telemachus sent away the women. Then, as Athena provided light with her golden lamp, they both carried helmets, spears and shields to the treasure. Telemachus told his father of the prodigy he witnessed: he saw the walls, beams and high columns sparkling like a bright flame. Odysseus (Ulysses) instructed him not to question him, for it was, he said, the way the gods revealed themselves.

As Telemachus left to rest for the night, Penelope went down to the great room where Odysseus (Ulysses) was. One of the women who was busy rearranging the room, Melantho, again insulted Odysseus (Ulysses)-beggar, trying to chase him out. The latter told her of his past riches and warned her to fear the return of the master of the place. Then Penelope rebuffed her and made the beggar sit down, questioning him about his origins. The beggar avoided answering, in order, he said, not to aggravate her sorrow.

Then Penelope told him that she remained indifferent to anything but her husband. She told him about the cunning she had used for more than three years to fool the suitors who had finally been warned by her maids. She also told about the pressure she was subjected to for her remarriage and renewed her question. 

Odysseus (Ulysses) then said that his father was Deucalion, himself the son of the great Minos whom Zeus consulted every nine years. Idomeneus was his brother and he claimed to be Aithon. In the absence of his brother, who had just left for Troy, he had welcomed Odysseus (Ulysses) and his men for twelve days, whom a Boreas wind prevented from going to sea.

Penelope asked him to prove his claims by describing Odysseus (Ulysses)’ clothes. The beggar detailed a splendid coat and gave the name of the herald who accompanied him, Eurybates, with black skin and a hunched back. Then he said that King Pheidon from Thesprotid had given him news of Odysseus (Ulysses). After being saved by the Phaeacians, the latter returned with great wealth. But his boat and crew had sunk during their return from Trident Island (Thrinacia) because they had eaten the cows of Helios. While a boat of King Pheidon stood ready to bring him back, Odysseus (Ulysses) left for Dodone to hear the voice of Zeus speaking through the great oak to find out if he had to hide to return home. To conclude, the beggar said that Odysseus (Ulysses) would be back soon.

Then Penelope ordered her maids to wash the beggar’s feet, prepare a bed and plan the next morning’s bath. Odysseus (Ulysses) refused the bed and also refused that Penelope’s maids wash his feet unless there was one, old, wise and reserved, having suffered as much as he did.

Then Penelope called Euryclia, who, lamenting Odysseus (Ulysses)’ fate, claimed that she had never met anyone who looked so much like him.

The beggar moved away from the hearth and Euryclia came to wash his feet. She immediately recognized the scar on the thigh from a wound made by a wild boar when Odysseus (Ulysses) followed his uncles, the sons of Autolycos (Odysseus (Ulysses)’ maternal grandfather), to the Parnassus. It was the latter who suggested Odysseus (Ulysses) name because so many people on the way had “ulcerated” (from greek Odussomai) his heart.

As Euryclia wanted to warn Penelope, Odysseus (Ulysses) prevented her from speaking while Athena distracted the queen’s gaze.

Then the queen asked the beggar for advice on a dream she had: “An eagle came from the mountain and broke the necks of her twenty geese. As she lamented, the eagle returned, and taking a human voice, told her that this was not a dream, but rather the announcement of an accomplishment to come. The eagle symbolized her husband who returned to the mansion to kill the suitors.” When he woke up, her geese were alive and well.

The beggar confirmed the validity of the interpretation given in the dream.

Penelope knew the nature of the dreams – misleading when they came from sawn-off ivory and truthful when they came from polished horn – but she could not tell where the one she just told came from.

Then she announced that she would propose a game to the suitors. It would consist of bending the bow of Odysseus (Ulysses) and, at a good distance, throwing an arrow through twelve lined up axes, as her husband used to do. She’d marry the one who would succeed.

Odysseus (Ulysses)-beggar approved of this choice and told her that her husband would be back before the game began, and then she returned to her apartments to sleep.

As we approach the decisive moment, it seems that the reversal must take place in successive phases: first that of the yoga labours (the death of the suitors) and then the goals and yoga supports that are no longer suitable (the death of the women and maids who did not remain faithful).

The seeker then has the experience of the luminous nature of the structures of matter, which happens from a certain level in the overmind (According to the initial plan, the weapons of the suitors are taken to the treasure where Telemachus has a strange experience: he saw the walls, beams and high columns sparkle). (See at the beginning of the chapter what was said about Autolycos. On many occasions, Mother mentions the experience of points of brightness in matter or the radiation of matter. See, for example, Mother’s Agenda, October 30, 1961.)

What has worked in him for the spirit-matter union imposes an end to all questioning because transformation must operate in ways that go beyond the mind (Odysseus (Ulysses) ordered Telemachus not to ask questions).

Then for the second time, the perversion that developed as a result of an illusion but which seemed the most real of all yoga supports, denigrates the movement that works for transparency. But this movement, linked to the vision of greater freedom, gives the seeker the certainty that this illusion is coming to an end (for the second time Melantho, who by her brilliance surpasses all the maids, insults the beggar; the latter and Penelope threaten her with death).

As the ways of integrating the path are different for each part of the being – here for the one who has the vision of greater freedom (of a broader vision of Reality) and for the one who governs and maintains the basic vital energy – the story of Odysseus (Ulysses) to Penelope is quite different from the one made to Eumaeus in the Book XIV.

What the seeker asserts in the context of evolution towards greater freedom is the need for perfect “surrender” in the purification process and a “burning inner fire”, a “need” that worked in concert with the “desire for union” (Odysseus (Ulysses) pretends to be Aithon “the one who burns”, to be a grandson of Minos “the evolution of consecration” and to have as his brother Idomeneus “who cares about union” or “the seer”).

As part of the vision of a greater freedom, he acknowledges that the yoga of transparency is more active than ever in him, and that he continues the widening of consciousness – the quest for Knowledge since it is a herald – although he does not mention it (at Penelope’s request, the beggar describes the clothes of Odysseus (Ulysses) and of the one who accompanied him, the herald Eurybates “who has access to a large space”, with black skin and hunched back).

Then he explains his complete devastation, not as a punishment for the “plunder” of the very ancient yogas (Egyptian) but of the use of the supramental gifts (his boat with crew had sunk on the return from Trident island because they had eaten the cows of Helios).

Then, having recalled the experience of union with the Absolute in the spirit, he finds that he has managed almost unnoticed to receive “inspiration” and “revelation” (having mentioned without lingering his stay with the Phaeacians, he relates, as in Eumaeus, the recent journey to King Pheidon of Thesprotes, the one who in “discretion” reigns over those “who put forward what speaks like the gods”).

Finally, he knows that he seeks, from the highest level of the superconscious capable of delving into the roots of life, the path that leads to “a great unity in matter”, but that he needs to know the modalities (Odysseus (Ulysses) went to seek advice from the foliage of Zeus’ great oak in Dodona “a great unity turned to matter” to know how to organize his return).

At that moment he must avoid anything that might weaken his determination (the beggar refuses the moist sheets) and accept to be helped only by what has the same degree of purification, and therefore the same vibration (he refuses to let a servant wash his feet except one who would have suffered as much as he did).

“Great glory,” with the underlying idea of “a great willingness to share,” has contributed to increase the desire for transparency and for the yoga of the future (Euryclia was the nanny of Odysseus (Ulysses) and Telemachus). This “sharing” is “compassion,” which explains Euryclia’s suffering. This “compassion” goes hand in hand with the “humility” represented by Odysseus (Ulysses)’ mother, Anticlia.

Let’s recall that it was Autolycos “who is his own light”, the maternal grandfather of Odysseus (Ulysses), himself the son of Hermes, who had given the name Odysseus (Ulysses) (Odysseus (Ulysses), who is “injured”) because “so many people on the way had ulcerated his heart”.

(The story of Odysseus (Ulysses)’ thigh injury was treated at the end of Chapter 3, with the study of The Lineage of Deion.)

It is through compassion that the seeker acknowledges that the realization of transparency has been achieved, but the time has not yet come to activate the consequences (Odysseus (Ulysses) silences Euryclia who recognized him).

What has “the vision of a more total freedom” is then informed by a vision that a power coming from the heights of the mind, as a result of “transparency”, would put an end to the old realisations, however true and pure they may be. (Penelope dreamed that an eagle from the mountain was killing her twenty geese symbolizing the suitors). But the seeker is still somewhat attached to these realisations and can’t help but have some nostalgia for their disappearance. (In her dream-vision, Penelope enjoys looking at her geese and laments their death).

A short digression is made on the origin of dreams and the importance the seeker must give them: those who look very good are often deceitful while those who seem to be insignificant are mostly carrying the truth (those who come by the sawn ivory or by the polished horn). We can also notice that ivory tusks are teeth and therefore related to memories or “knots”, while the polished horn is related to the refinement of intuition. Here Homer makes a pun in Greek with the verb “deceiving by vain expectations” (ελεφαιρομαι) built from the word elephant or elephant tooth (ελεφας).

The inner decision is then made, whether to start the new yoga or to give up in the face of difficulty, knowing that deep down, the seeker already knows what the outcome is (Penelope decides for the archery game that must determine his fate, which the beggar approves).

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The Beggars Fight (Book XVIII)

 

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An extremely gluttonous beggar, without strength or vigour but of very good appearance, arrived in the great hall. His name was Arne, but the young men nicknamed him Iros because he carried all the messages. He wanted to drive out the beggar-Odysseus (Ulysses) and an argument broke out. The suitors aroused themselves to fight, but swore, at the request of the beggar-Odysseus (Ulysses), not to intervene. As the latter undressed and showed his noble stature, Iros became frightened. He was immediately threatened by Antinoos with being sent to the terrible Echetos.

Then Odysseus (Ulysses), moderating his strength so as not to be recognized, threw a violent punch at Iros’ neck, then dragged him out of the room, forbidding him to return begging. The suitors cheered him on. Antinoos and Amphinomos offered him their best food. He then tried to warn Amphinomos of the near return of the master of Ithaca, but to no avail.

Then Athena aroused the queen’s desire to appear to the eyes of the suitors. Penelope informed her steward Eurynome about her desire to speak to her son Telemachus, begging her to warn Autonoe and Hippodamia, her maids with white arms by whom she wished to be accompanied. Then Athena put her to sleep for a short time to adorn her with her immortal gifts, washing her face with the ambrosia of Aphrodite.

When she awoke, Penelope found that she had been overcome by a benevolent torpor that she aspired to extend into her death.

When she appeared before the suitors, all were seized with love. As she accused Telemachus of letting a stranger be insulted, he defended himself by saying that he could not know the right attitude to adopt in front of the suitors who, he said, had nothing to do with the dispute. 

As Eurymachos praised Penelope’s beauty, she complained about the attitude of the suitors being contrary to custom, instead encouraging them to present her gifts as was customary. Odysseus (Ulysses) then realized that his wife was cunning.

Antinoos invited each of his companions to offer a present, which was immediately done. The most beautiful gifts were brought: embroidered veil with gold rings, gold and amber necklace, and many other marvels.

Then Odysseus (Ulysses)-beggar asked the maids to go to the queen, saying that he would watch over the torches that had just been lit to illuminate the great hall. One of them, Melantho, daughter of Dolios (and thus sister of Melantheus), insulted him because she was Eurymachos’ lover. She had no compassion for Penelope, although the latter had raised her as her daughter and given her all that could please her.

Athena did not put an end to the insults of the suitors because she wanted Odysseus (Ulysses) to be pushed to the limit. Eurymachos, mocking the beggar-Odysseus (Ulysses), replied that he could easily measure himself against him in field work and in war. Eurymachos then threw a step ladder at him, but the beggar dodged it by sitting at Amphinomos’ knees.

As the suitors lamented that a beggar had thus come to sow trouble among them, Telemachus asked them to withdraw. They were surprised by what they considered to be brazenness on his part. But Amphinomos, son of Nisus and descendant of Aretes, invited them to respect the laws of hospitality and to rest in their homes. 

The capture movement which is at the source of ego, which the ancient realisations in the overmind regret not having been able to eradicate, emerges clearly in the consciousness (a beggar named Arne “who strives to take”, extremely gluttonous, without force nor vigour, arrived in the great hall). The beggar’s nickname – Iros – is similar to that of Iris “the messenger of the gods”, daughter of Thaumas and symbol of true non-dual information communicated to the higher mind by the deep vital (the plane concerned is before the intrusion of the mind and the constitution of the ‘animal ego’).

With Iros, it is the same movement, but this time distorted by the mind and duality. As it manifests itself in the depths of the vital, it is “without strength” because it does not have the support of the mind. It is pure “gluttony” because it is an undistorted capturing movement. It is therefore the symbol of the capturing force at the root of ego. Just as Iris “the messenger of the gods”, daughter of Thaumas on the plane of the pure vital, ensures the cohesion of the overmind forces, so Arne-Iros ensures the coherence of the corresponding realisations in the plane immediately below that of the gods: he is the messenger of the suitors.

Neither wisdom nor holiness can therefore suppress the capturing force at the root of the ego. Only perfect transparency can achieve this feat.

This is the reason why the choir promises to send Iros back to King Echetos “who possesses” because he must return to his domain.

What in the seeker “achieves transparency” tries to spare the “well-ordered mind that organizes” in the hope of converting it, but without success (Odysseus (Ulysses) tried in vain to warn Amphinomos of his return, but he walked sadly away).

Then the inner master who leads the process of reversal manifests himself so that “the vision of a more total freedom”, while stimulating the new, seems to give in to the old yogas (Athena aroused Penelope’s desire to appear to yield to the hopes of the suitors, but to please her husband and son even more).

This “vision” wants to warn the warrior of the future yoga that the old one only seeks to keep him in its limits while pretending to support him (Penelope wants to warn her son Telemachus so he distances himself from the suitors who have beautiful words but think only of killing him). To oppose it, this “vision” must show a “perfect mastery” and its “own intelligence of things” that confer “the right act” (she asks to be accompanied by Hippodamia and Autonoe, the maids with white arms).

In the context of the vision of the future, the seeker has then a particular experience in semi-unconsciousness, and therefore remembers only the associated feeling of bliss.

During this experience, the master of yoga reveals in him capacities related to non-duality, like true Love, which leave the seeker filled with an immense blissful peace in which he aspires to immerse himself for good. (Athena put Penelope to sleep and dressed her with immortal gifts, applying Aphrodite’s ambrosia on her face. When she awoke, Penelope found that she had been overcome by a benevolent torpor that she aspired to prolong in her death.)

This vision or experience of divine Love is so real that the realisations of the ancient yoga can only but wish to accomplish it (All the suitors were seized with love at the sight of radiant Penelope and all wanted to unite with her).

The new yoga, however, does not yet know the right attitude to adopt regarding the old yoga (Telemachus defended himself from his mother’s accusation by saying that he could not know the right attitude).

On the other hand, the “vision of more total freedom” that has never deviated from its purpose continues to “delude” the ancient yogas, suggesting that she will choose one of them for his fulfilment. She demands that each of them give her the best of what it has achieved beforehand (the suitors must bring presents to obtain the hand of the bride-to-be and Odysseus (Ulysses) understands that his wife is cunning).

The movement that makes the transition no longer expects outside help, as it is certain to be able to look after discernment by itself (Odysseus (Ulysses) keeps the women away, telling them that he would take care of the torches himself).

But the inner lie, turned towards the incarnation and born of an illusion, remains linked to the yoga struggling through the separation (the servant Melantho “the lie”, daughter of Dolios “deceitful”, insulted him because she was the lover of Eurymachos “vast struggle”).

At the beginning of the work of transparency, during the preparation of the future yoga, this illusion was necessary, but the transition to the new yoga requires admitting and integrating everything; the goal must therefore change and all lies be eliminated (Penelope had raised Melantho as her daughter, giving her all that could please her, but she had no compassion for Penelope because she loved Eurymachos).

Here, as in yoga in general, the movements must be completed before a reversal can take place (Athena did not put an end to the insults of the suitors because she wanted Odysseus (Ulysses) to be pushed to the limit).

What works on transparency tries to persuade the yoga that separates that he is superior, both for asceticism and for the work on the shadows (the beggar-Odysseus (Ulysses) claims to be able to compete against Eurymachos in field labour and in war).

Until the decisive moment of the new yoga has come and to prevent what works for transparency from being weakened, the seeker is still obliged to appeal to his “well-ordered mind”. It is the yoga movement of which the seeker is most familiar at this stage and which is best approaching the vision of greater freedom (Odysseus (Ulysses) puts himself under the protection of Amphinomos appreciated by Penelope).

The “old realisations” take the measure of a change and “the well-ordered mind” invites them to adopt an attitude of true submission (as the suitors were surprised by Telemachus’ effrontery, Amphinomos invited them to calm down and honour the gods).

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Odysseus the beggar (Book XVII)

 

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Telemachus, declaring that he did not want to take care of him, entrusted the “beggar” to Eumaeus to take him to the city while he himself would go to Penelope’s house.

Upon his arrival at the manor, he was greeted by Euryclia and then by his mother, to whom he announced the arrival of a beggar. She had to promise hecatombs to the gods if Zeus punished the suitors for their crimes. And as Penelope implored her son to give her news of Odysseus (Ulysses), he told her about his travels at Nestor’s and Menelaus’ places but did not mention his encounter with his father.

Then the soothsayer Theoclymenos “who has the divine aspect” announced to Penelope what had been revealed to him: Odysseus (Ulysses) was back in Ithaca and preparing his revenge.

While the suitors finished their games and prepared to feast, Eumaeus and the “beggar” left the pigs’ enclosure, one guiding the other to the city after supplying him with a stick because the road was slippery. They passed the spring where the city drank, with masonry built by Ithacos, Neritus and Polyctor. Then Melantheus, who led his goats for the meal of the suitors, covered them with insults, calling the swineherd the king of the raggamuffins and the “beggar” lazy and worthless. He struck the “beggar” on the hip, who held back his reaction, then continued on to the mansion and sat among the suitors in front of his friend Eurymachos. 

Arriving in front of the great hall, the “beggar” and Eumaeus wondered which of them should enter first. Odysseus (Ulysses) then saw the dog Argos, which he had finished raising just before he left for Troy. The dog recognized him, but he had been so neglected in the absence of his master that he could not even move and died immediately.

Eumaeus entered first and sat in front of Telemachus who sent him to bring food to the “beggar” who had just entered, telling him that he had to go and beg among all the suitors, which Athena confirmed to him. Indeed, the hero had to know the compassionate and the unjust, knowing that none of them would escape death anyway.

Antinoos violently accused the swineherd of having brought the beggar into town. Eumaeus began to respond, but Telemachus silenced him and incited Antinoos to give the beggar food that did not belong to him anyway. The latter pretended to accept but grabbed a stool under the table.

The “beggar,” coming in front of him, told that he had once been very rich, but that Zeus had sent him to Egypt where his people had been massacred or subjected to forced labour for misbehaving. He himself was given as a gift to Dmetor, a powerful man from Cyprus, from where he now arrived after suffering a thousand evils.

Antinoos threw the stool at the “beggar” who was hit in the right shoulder. The latter did not flinch but he cursed his attacker, wishing his death before he was even married.

Penelope sent for Eumaeus and asked him to bring in the “beggar” who might perhaps be able to tell her about her husband. The swineherd told her that the beggar had confided to him that Odysseus (Ulysses) was alive and Penelope then told him that she would dress the beggar if she found out that he was telling the truth.

Eumaeus informed the beggar of Penelope’s request, but he replied that he would not find her until dusk because he feared the reactions of the suitors. Eumaeus brought back these words to the queen and then went to take care of his pigs.

At this point in the narrative, the two movements – the achievement of transparency and the pursuit of the realisations of the ancient yogas – are no longer compatible. Athena, the inner guide, has decreed the death of the suitors who, let us remember, have been bothering Penelope for only about four years. During the Trojan War and in the early years of Odysseus (Ulysses)’ absence, they each resided in their province: the seeker had therefore engaged in the integral yoga without his practice questioning the realisations and laws of the ancient yoga.

But there comes a time when the best performing part of the ancient yoga denies the possibility of “transformation” while it develops without its knowledge. It seems to be customary in yoga, even in the most advanced phases, that evolutions take place without the seeker being “aware” of it. This is either because he does not connect them to yoga, or because areas of unconsciousness create a discontinuity in the consciousness. “Holiness” and “wisdom” (and the realisations associated with them) attempt then to establish themselves as the only future paths of evolution, with the sole perspective of improving the present man.

These realisations have no way to “convert” because their goal – improving the present man – is totally foreign to the new yoga and even constitutes an obstacle to the coming of the Supramental. Wisdom and holiness, after being realized, must therefore be exceeded because it is the Divine who must think and feel in the seeker. This will result (after the death of the suitors Antinoos and Eurymachos) in a state of apparent “stupidity” and “insensitivity” which is in reality that of perfect surrender and exactness.

At this point, a total cancellation of his being has been achieved by the adventurer, confirming the announcement made by Odysseus (Ulysses) “hero of endurance” to Polyphemus that he was “nobody”. All opinions, preferences, prejudices, tastes and disgusts, etc. and above all, all spiritual constructs have collapsed; as Satprem says, it is a complete devastation of the cage. That is why Athena can turn him into an old and hideous beggar: he has apparently become a perfect “nullity”.

As Mother says, “What is necessary is to abandon everything: all power, all understanding, all intelligence, all knowledge, everything, everything, become perfectly non-existent” (Cf. Agenda of March 27, 1961).

The seeker gradually realized that certain realisations were exhausting the older ones (Penelope and Telemachus complain that the suitors destroy the assets of Odysseus (Ulysses)), but he nevertheless pursued both movements with the same sincerity (achievement of transparency / wisdom and holiness).

Even if the “future yoga” has integrated that “transparency” is achieved, it cannot impose itself in the being until the latter has completed its task by recovering the means that will allow him to put an end to the last obstacles constituted by the “best of the old” Telemachus, even if he has found Odysseus (Ulysses), cannot be active until Odysseus (Ulysses) has recovered his bow and killed the suitors).

Finally, let us remember that the accounts of the adventures of Odysseus (Ulysses) made in Ithaca to Eumaeus, Penelope or Antinoos, should not be considered as contradictory to those he made to the Phaeacians, but only expose different points of view.

In this episode, the future yoga starts to demand that “the vision of total freedom” also understands that the ancient realisations must be surpassed (Telemachus asks Penelope to promise a sacrifice to the gods if they punish the suitors). This “vision” acquires then by an exact superior intuition the certainty that the transition is coming to an end, that total transparency is achieved (the soothsayer Theoclymenos with divine aspect, the “unmistakable inner contact” of the lineage of Melampus, announced the return of Odysseus (Ulysses)).

The seeker who has “nullified” himself reconnects with the pure current of consciousness whose origin was clearly identified and organized by what in him worked for “just widening of consciousness” (Odysseus (Ulysses) bypasses the masonry fountain where the city is drinking, built by Ithaca “just widening of consciousness,” Neritus “infinite” and Polyctor “many openings of consciousness in matter”). This pure current of consciousness “feeds” the basis of the new yoga (the inhabitants of Ithaca “the place of the widening of consciousness in a just way” come to draw water from the well).

When the seeker approaches it, it highlights what “unfolds” in the shadows to its exact opposite. Here, it is what drives the aspiration in the wrong way, that is, what subjects evolution to the ego and is therefore the exact opposite of surrender to the Absolute (Odysseus (Ulysses) and Eumaeus meet the master-goatherd Melantheus “black flower” or “what grows inside in a deceitful way”, son of Dolios “deceitful”). This deviance, which occurs as a result of a deceptive illusion, diverts the best aspiration from the union mind/matter; for it is Falsehood that directs it (Melantheus brings his best goats to the suitors). It is the result of a lack of sincerity attempting to make the seeker doubt the merits of his aspiration for “transformation”, supporting only his “improvement”. It is a movement that wants to “do” by itself instead of being led by the Divine.

However, transparency is sufficiently realized to no longer be in the reactivity (the “beggar” refrained from reacting).

Homer points out that the goatherd “was still roaming the city while the cattle withered”: “the movement that misguidedly led the aspiration (for the betterment of man and not its transformation)” left it withering because it was still too dependent on structures. Of course, this deviance is also closely linked to the “warrior’s struggles” of the ancient yoga to achieve “holiness” (Melantheus’ great friend is Eurymachos).

In the early days of the work to “achieve total transparency”, the seeker was accompanied by a “vigilance” that helped him to find elements that go through consciousness very fast, aspirations not yet oriented towards purification (Odysseus (Ulysses)’ dog, Argos, once ran after deer, hare and wild goats). But since the work of the great reversal began (from the time of leaving for Troy), what should have watched over this vigilance in search of new impulses has put itself at the service of ancient realisations, wisdom and holiness (the servants of Odysseus (Ulysses) devoted to the suitors have let the withering dog Argos die). In the new yoga, this vigilance is no longer necessary because there is no more ego and therefore no work of personal purification in mental and vital planes (as soon as the contact is established with Odysseus (Ulysses), the dog Argos dies).

Pressed both by his inner guide and by the movement of the future yoga, the seeker must then evaluate the realisations of the ancient yoga to know those having remained in exactness and those having deviated from the path of love, although all must be eliminated from the yoga (Both Telemachus and Athena urge Odysseus (Ulysses) to beg among all the suitors, in order to know the compassionate and the unjust ones, knowing that none of them would escape death anyway).

Here it must be understood that “wisdom” and “holiness” (and the realisations associated to them) must have been accomplished with as much righteousness as possible – staying as close as possible to exactness, i.e. dependent on the psychic being – before being removed from the yoga. This is why Odysseus (Ulysses) would later ask that Apollo grant him the glory of killing Antinoos “wisdom.” Eurymachos’ death “holiness” would follow immediately afterwards.

Then “the future yoga movement” incites “wisdom” to recognize what it does not understand or despise, but to no avail, because this intelligence cannot accept to feed a yoga movement that has a poor appearance and even wants to destroy this movement (Telemachus incited Antinoos to give food to the beggar but Antinoos, pretending to accept, grabbed a stool).

In an inner dialogue, “what works for transparency” tries then unsuccessfully to make this “wisdom” understand that it is still in a process of hoarding (Antinoos refused to give bread). For this, a story is invented: the work of uniting mind/matter had many realisations to its credit, but it was stripped of everything because of the persistence of the ego movements. It had in fact used to his advantage powers derived from the “ancient knowledge of humanity”. To learn true love, he was then forced to deepen right mastery, the one that develops in a healthy, “healed” being (Odysseus (Ulysses) said that he was once very rich, but was stripped of everything because his men engaged in looting in Egypt. Then he knew Cyprus, then was taken as a slave by Dmetor “who controls”, son of Iaso “who is healed”). The seeker has just completed this forced learning (Odysseus (Ulysses) has just returned from Cyprus after suffering a thousand ailments).

“Wisdom” then tries to stop the realization of transparency at the level of “the door of the gods”, because it is the frontier where the fight is fought and where it must disappear, but this realization is now absolutely devoid of any reaction of the ego (the beggar, after being hit by Antinoos on the shoulder, abstains from any reaction). The seeker who works for union aspires to put under the guidance of the Absolute the mind constructed by the personal yoga, including the highest, before the latter finds a goal on which to focus (Antinoos must die before his marriage).

“The vision of the future yoga” is ready to consider any yoga movement, even the most insignificant, and even to give it a prominent place if it can provide indications on the progression of transparency, indications that it can recognize as exact (Penelope learning from the swineherd that Odysseus (Ulysses) was alive, she promises that she would give clothes to the beggar if she believed he was telling the truth).

But the “movement of spirit/matter union” (achieving transparency) cannot and does not want to move towards more freedom as long as the forms of ancient yoga still stand in the way of transformation (Odysseus (Ulysses) did not want to meet Penelope before taking revenge on the suitors).

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Odysseus (Ulysses) reveals himself to Telemachus (Book XVI)

 

<< Previous : The Return of Telemachus (Book XV)

Telemachus was greeted by the dogs of Eumaeus, who wagged their tails without barking, and then by the swineherd himself, who could not hold back his joy and his displays of tenderness. By virtue of the sacred laws of hospitality, he assured Eumaeus that he would clothe and feed the beggar so that he would not be in his care. Indeed, he was afraid to send him to the suitors who would mistreat him and assured that he could not protect him if he took him in his home. Then he sent Eumaeus to warn his mother of his return. The swineherd was not to go himself and warn his grandfather Laertes, but Penelope had to send the steward.

Athena then appeared in the guise of a tall and beautiful woman, visible only to Odysseus (Ulysses). She took the hero aside and told him that it was time to reveal his identity to his son and prepare the death of the suitors, and then she gave back his splendid appearance.

Odysseus (Ulysses), the “hero of endurance,” made himself recognized by Telemachus, but the latter was in doubt, unable to believe that a mortal could change his appearance instantaneously. Odysseus (Ulysses) replied that Athena had always accompanied him and that for her, this transformation was child’s play. Their coming together was then the occasion for abundant tears.

Then Odysseus (Ulysses) informed his son of his time with the Phaeacians and inquired about the number of suitors. Telemachus counted them: fifty-two came from Doulichion accompanied by six valets, twenty-four from Same, twenty from Zante and twelve from Ithaca.

There was also the herald Medon and the divine aedes Phemius, as well as two servants.

As Telemachus doubted that they could, by themselves, overcome them, Odysseus (Ulysses) told him of the participation of Zeus and Athena, explained his plan and gave him detailed instructions. Telemachus had to go to the mansion, pay the suitors with kind words, bear without flinching the affronts Odysseus (Ulysses) could endure under his appearance as a beggar and gather the weapons to hide them. He had to set aside two spears, two swords and two shields that he would recover later. Under no circumstances was he to reveal that Odysseus (Ulysses) had taken on the appearance of a beggar. Finally, both should also test the women and servants in order to know who had remained faithful to them.

It was then that the boat that had brought back Telemachus entered into the port of Ithaca. A herald came to warn Penelope of the return of her son, which all the suitors heard. But it was to her alone that Eumaeus, who had arrived at the manor, said where he was.

It was then that Antinoos’ boat returned to port after having set out to lay in ambush with his men. Antinoos encouraged the suitors to immediately kill Telemachus and share his belongings before he denounced the ambush to the people’s assembly. Amphinomos, son of Nisus and descendant of Aretes, leader of the suitors from Doulichion “the island with wheat”, whose words pleased Penelope, replied that he would refuse to kill Telemachus without the order of Zeus. All the suitors took the same position.

Penelope, who had learned from Medon that some planned to kill her son, entered the room and went after Antinoos, although he was considered the most sensible of those of his age. She reminded him that Odysseus (Ulysses) had saved his father’s head.

Eurymachos reassured her, assuring her of his friendship for Telemachus, but he only thought in his heart of his death.

Just before the return of Eumaeus back home, Athena gave Odysseus (Ulysses) his old appearance so that the swineherd would be kept in ignorance, because she feared that he would warn Penelope.

As Eumaeus recounted that he had seen the return of the boat which left for the ambush, the “sublime” Telemachus smiled at his father without the swineherd noticing. 

The future yoga will need to build on what has nurtured, consecrated, and organized the basic vital (Eumaeus considers Telemachus as a son).

The old realisations, on the other hand, are not capable of admitting an element that arises on the way and is foreign to them, especially if this element seems to have no use for the yoga and does not correspond in any way to their conceptions despite their pretention of “openness”. It is therefore the “future yoga” that alone assumes this new element (Telemachus does not want to risk sending the “beggar” to the suitors despite the sacred law of hospitality, and takes on him his maintenance and his food).

In this delicate transition to the new yoga, some precautions must be taken because the different parts of the being must adhere one after the other in a certain order: Penelope must be informed of the return of her son, but not yet Laertes, not even Eumaeus. Then the inner guide ensures that the “future yoga” recognizes that transparency is accomplished (Athena convinces Odysseus (Ulysses) to reveal himself to Telemachus).

It is this “future yoga” that is able to identify the ancient realisations that stand in the way: about half comes from the “liberated” spiritual nature of the seeker (Doulichion “the end of slavery”), a quarter of the consecrated mental human nature (Same) and a quarter of what has seen the emergence of the psychic (Zante), in other words “the best of the old” (Telemachus states the origin of the suitors). At this stage it is not the vital or the mind that constitutes the greatest obstacles, but the spiritual realisations and beliefs associated with them.

“The memory of progress on the way” (the bard) and his “higher understanding” (the herald) are also quoted by Telemachus, but they will be spared by Odysseus (Ulysses). Indeed, the “memory” of the path and the “transmission of Knowledge” – because the word “herald” in Greek also means “Caduceus,” a symbol that the herald carries on the hand (κηρυκειον) – deserve to be preserved for all of humanity.

While realizing that the conditions are right for the new yoga, the seeker has a very precise intuition of how the transition should be carried out and the help supporting it, not only the inner guide (Athena) but the superconscious, at the highest level of the overmind (Zeus): the new yoga will have to “infiltrate” the old forms without their knowledge and without disturbing them, maintain an absolute “equality” regardless of the attacks endured, and deprive these ancient realisations of the means they could later use against him (the true nature of Odysseus (Ulysses) should not be revealed, Telemachus must flatter the suitors and steal their weapons). The seeker also plans to examine the old goals, as well as what was associated with these goals and yoga work, to find out which ones could be kept in the new yoga (it is planned to test the fidelity of women and servants).

At the same time, the “wisdom” that took note of the failure of its first attempt to eliminate the new yoga, tries to gather all the old realisations of yoga in a final burst against it (Antinoos tells the suitors to murder Telemachus before he could denounce the ambush to the people’s assembly). But these old realisations begin to understand the Truth of this new battle (the suitors only agree to eliminate Telemachus if Zeus gives them the order).

What the suitors are aiming for are the assets of Odysseus (Ulysses) (what has been acquired in the spirit-matter union), but they do not want his house (the structure) and are indifferent to whom Penelope will choose: no matter the old realisation that “expands” as long as one stays in the “known.”

Amphinomos can be understood as “what organizes all around.” He was the leader of the suitors from Doulichion, the “island with wheat”: wheat representing domesticated nature, it would be related to great mastery. Son of Nisus and descendant of Aretes, he represents a capacity derived from mental evolution itself coming from “what rises in a just way.” This explains why he refuses to act without an inner order from the highest mind, in other words the mental will to conform to the divine law whose expression obviously satisfies “the vision of a more total freedom” (his words please Penelope). The latter, realizing that the new yoga is in peril, decides, through an inner dialogue, to appeal to her “wisdom” to reorient it (Penelope, who was informed of the murder plan against her son, attacks Antinoos who was considered the most wise and tries to bring him back to his senses).

What in the seeker is the most beautiful achievement, that of “holiness”, tries to convince “the vision of a more total freedom” that it is the best protection for the future yoga, although the seeker knows deep down that it is fundamentally opposed (Eurymachos “with the face of a God, the most accomplished warrior” reassured Penelope, assuring her of his friendship for Telemachus, but he thought only in his heart of his end). Indeed, holiness is based on the highest human conception of what pleases the divine and not on an absolute surrender to the divine, for, as Sri Aurobindo says, there is always an ego in the saint and the wise.

To address the fight against old realisations, “what has realized the possibility of energies flowing between mind and matter” must begin to get closer to them by being on a different plane that they cannot integrate (Athena restores Odysseus (Ulysses) to his appearance as an old man in rags so as not to be recognized by Eumaeus or the suitors).

Next : Odysseus the beggar (Book XVII) >>

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