Dialogue of Odysseus (Ulysses) with the Swineherd Eumaeus (Book XIV)

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During Odysseus (Ulysses)’ absence, without consulting Laertes or Penelope, Eumaeus had built a pigsty of twelve magnificent stables side by side and backed by a circular wall. Each stable contained fifty sows that had given birth. Under the care of four dogs, the males slept outside, but only three hundred and sixty remained, for the divine swineherd had to provide the suitors with the most beautiful one every day. Eumaeus also had four assistants.

As the dogs leapt upon him, Odysseus (Ulysses) sat down and dropped his stick. Eumaeus ran, dispersed the dogs, and praised his master, who, he said, would have filled him with blessings if the gods had not prevented his return. Then he offered his host a meal of roasted piglets and listed the riches of his master: on the continent, twelve herds of cows, as many sheep, pigs and goats, and on Ithaca, eleven herds of goats, whose suitors take daily the most beautiful of the kids.

Eumaeus assured Odysseus (Ulysses) that no one in Ithaca could believe the passing travellers who said anything in order to get beautiful clothes.

The “beggar” then swore to his host that Odysseus (Ulysses) was alive and would soon come back to punish the suitors, even before the new moon, but the swineherd refused to listen to him and said he was worried about Telemachus.

The beggar invented a story that presented him as a Cretan warrior always happy to fight. He accumulated a great deal of wealth and accompanied the Cretan contingent to Troy under the orders of Idomeneus, grandson of Minos. As soon as he returned, he was reportedly beset by travel fever that took him to the River Aegyptus. There, he said, his people plundered and massacred but were soon decimated in return. He himself was saved only by the king, to whom he had begged for salvation.

He stayed seven years in Egypt, then one year in Phoenicia. Having survived a shipwreck, he was reportedly taken in by the king of Thesprotes, Pheidon, who told him that he had met Odysseus (Ulysses). According to him, Odysseus (Ulysses) went to seek advice from the oracle of the great oak of Zeus. But barely at sea, the king’s sailors robbed him and enslaved him. It was a divine hand that released him.

As Eumaeus refused to believe the story concerning his master, having already been fooled, the “beggar” offered a bet as a sign of his good faith, but the swineherd refused.

Eumaeus, tired of working for so long for the suitors, sacrificed the most beautiful of his pigs and offered the beggar the portions of choice.

His servant Mesaulios, whom he had acquired with his personal funds from the sailors of Taphos without consulting Laertes or Penelope, served them bread.

As the night was cold and rainy, the “beggar”, in order to test the generosity of the swineherd, recounted how Odysseus (Ulysses) had given him the mantle of one of his men when he was about to die of cold during the Trojan War. The swineherd made then a warm bed for the beggar and gave him a coat which he had put aside for himself. Then he went to take care of his animals, which delighted the heart of Odysseus (Ulysses), and then lay down next to them.

During the long period of yoga that precedes the great reversal, and then the thorough purification that follows (the twenty years between the departure for Troy and the return of Odysseus (Ulysses) to Ithaca), the seeker accomplishes certain things without linking them necessarily to his yoga. This is about developing, organising and establishing protective structures for the basic vital and bodily energies so that they are as efficient as possible (the swineherd Eumaeus did not consult Penelope nor Laertes to build the twelve stables of fifty sows each, all of which had given birth). The wild boar being the symbol of a crude vital energy, the pig represents the same energy that has been somewhat tamed.

The seeker observes and deplores the fact that if the ancient yogic realisations did not require the better part of this vital energy, he would have more in reserve (the suitors take the best pig every day). It is a great vigilance in the incarnation that watches over these energies (four dogs).

In order for the resumption of contact to be carried out without damage, yoga that seeks union must “let go” and continue the integration process.

It may seem surprising that some parts of consciousness are either unaware or do not recognize each other, but Mother explains that some parts of the being can have exceptional experiences “without one being aware of it” (see Agenda, Vol. 2, March 25, 1961). Elsewhere, she mentions that certain layers of consciousness may not be “awakened” and therefore prevent to some extent the flow of energies. But here, it would be more about accomplishments carried out without the researcher being aware in the least that they were participating in the necessary preparation for the new yoga.

The seeker’s realisations in his progression towards transparency obtained in the ancient yoga are then at their peak in terms of illuminations, dynamic of transformation, disciplined vital energies and impetus for yoga (On the continent Odysseus (Ulysses) has twelve herds of cows, as many sheep, pigs and goats). But for the new yoga, the aspiration is not yet at its peak and moreover, the old realisations divert every day the best part of it (there are only eleven herds of goats on Ithaca from which the suitors take every day the most beautiful animal).

On the other hand, the part of the seeker who has maintained, organized and disciplined the basic vital, despairs of not being able to be useful to the new yoga and only to feed the old one. It cannot yet believe in the success of realising transparency because it already has been disappointed several times and had to recognize that this illusion emanated from the pretensions of the ego (Eumaeus does not believe the “beggar” who announces the return of Odysseus (Ulysses), because he was repeatedly coned by passers-by who only wanted to get nice clothes in exchange for their false words).

In order to convince certain parts of the being that they must participate in the new yoga process, what has achieved transparency must persuade them by respecting their own logic. What can understand what develops, consecrates and organizes the basic vital (what the swineherd Eumaeus can hear) is the zeal for yoga, consecration, the quest for ancient knowledge, organization, mistakes made with “the best intentions,” distress, discouragement, etc. (see the story of the beggar’s journey).

But the part of the seeker which has maintained, organized and disciplined the lower vital, and which still refuses to believe in the realization of transparency, gives nevertheless the best result of his work to the new yoga without even knowing it (Eumaeus sacrifices the most beautiful of his pigs in honour of the beggar). It is also known that this part managed to awaken from its deadly stupor “a very deep consciousness” without the help of the powers of the other planes (Eumaeus redeemed with his money his servant Mesaulios from the Taphians “burial, stupor”, “the consciousness that is in the inner courtyard, deep inside”).

What works for “transparency” is finally trying to find out to what extent this part is ready to serve what it may consider to be the most just cause, and receives confirmation beyond its expectations; the seeker then realizes that the part that deals with the basic vital energy is simpler and works more clearly than he imagined (the beggar deplores that he was not given a coat, which Eumaeus immediately corrects, because hospitality obliges him to do so).

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