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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