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 f