The Situation in Ithaca (Book I)

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Before continuing the story of Odysseus (Ulysses), we must study the course of events in his homeland, Ithaca.

As had been decided at the assembly of the gods, Athena went to Ithaca to convince Telemachus, the son of Odysseus (Ulysses), to convene a meeting and inquire about her father’s return.

Having taken on the appearance of Mentes, she found the superb suitors making a feast. Telemachus, who was sorry for his father’s absence, dragged him away to converse with him, while the song of Phemius covered their exchange. He thought his father was dead and lamented it.

Athena-Mentes, announcing himself as the son of Anchialos, told him that he was sure that Odysseus (Ulysses) was alive and would return soon. Telemachus, in turn, complained about the outrageous behaviour of the suitors who wooed his mother and ate her assets.

(Then Homer relates a voyage of Odysseus (Ulysses) to Ephyra to obtain a poison with which he wanted to tip his arrows, but we found no evidence with other authors to understand this anecdote.)

Athena-Mentes encouraged him to send the suitors home and go to Nestor at Pylos, then to Sparta to Menelaus to get news of his father. If he found out that Odysseus (Ulysses) was still alive, he would have to wait until the end of the year. Otherwise, he should give a husband to his mother and then kill all the suitors by cunning or force. Then Athena-Mentes went away, not without promising help to Telemachus who, in his heart, recognized the goddess.

In the great hall, the bard Phemius, whose voice made him the equal of the immortals, sang for the suitors the return from Troy. Penelope’s heart was torn because it reminded her of Odysseus (Ulysses)’ absence, and she urged the poet to evoke other high deeds. But Telemachus begged her to return to her occupations in her room, which she did while admiring the wise words of her son. Then the latter invited the suitors one last time to feast, telling them that he would ask them the next day to leave. Antinoos, son of Eupeithes, and Eurymachos, son of Polybus, said that they refused to consider his reign over Ithaca.

Then Telemachus went to bed accompanied by his servant Euryclia, who had been his nurse. She was the daughter of Ops, himself the son of Pisenor.

As the waiting and maturing phase continues (at Calypso), the inner guide intervenes to “stimulate” the future-oriented yoga that has not been able to take the proper measure of the work done to establish the free movement of forces between spirit and matter (while Odysseus (Ulysses) was at Calypso’s, Athena went to Telemachus who thought his father was dead).

The inner guide or master of yoga manifests itself in the form of a “spirit” refined by “the closeness of liberation” (Athena took on the appearance of Mentes, son of Anchialos).

The awareness takes place on the fringe of the old realisations and the celebration of what has been accomplished must conceal it (Athena-Mentes and Telemachus talk at a distance from the suitors, and the bard Phemius “the one who celebrates” covers the exchange with his singing).

“What works for future yoga” acknowledges its powerlessness because the “best past realisations” try each to present themselves as the appropriate way to work for the future yoga and plunder what should be dedicated to it (Telemachus told Athena-Mentes of the outrageous behaviour of the suitors who wooed his mother and ate his assets).

The inner master makes it clear that the path is going in the right way; he asks that the old realisations be put in their rightful place, and announces that it is on the basis of a great “sincerity” (or “rectitude”) that enables the crossing of the doors, and then on the “unwavering will” for a greater “liberation” that an accurate stock-taking of the work in progress can be made (Mentes confirmed that Odysseus (Ulysses) was alive, encouraged Telemachus to send the suitors home and then to go first to Nestor in Pylos and then to Menelaus and Helen in Sparta).

If the seeker finds that the realization of transparency (the free flow of energies between the highest and the lowest) is not completed, he will have to wait more. Otherwise, it does not matter which path is chosen among the ancient yogas provided that only one is kept. (If Telemachus were to learn that Odysseus (Ulysses) was still alive, he would have to wait until the end of the year; if not, he would have to give a husband to his mother and then kill all the suitors by cunning or force).

For the first time, “the vision of a more complete freedom” or “the vision of the weft” takes note that the future yoga is emerging even if it sees that all conditions are not yet met (Penelope is delighted that her son Telemachus has grown in confidence but saw how painful it was to be separated from Odysseus (Ulysses)).

This “future yoga” then decides to put back in their rightful place the ancient realisations (Telemachus announces to the suitors that they will have to go home). But what represents the fulfilment of the ancient yoga, “wisdom”, poses as an adversary of this future yoga (Antinoos “the wise man”, son of Eupeithes “who is convinced of the righteous”, refuses to consider the reign of Telemachus). And what was the best “warrior” of the previous yoga in the incarnation process becomes the second opponent, allying with the first: the “holy” supports the “wise” (Eurymachos “the great fighter”, son of Polybus “embodied in many fields”, supports Antinoos). As Mother and Satprem have repeatedly stated, “the best of the old” is the greatest obstacle to the New.

Homer adds that Telemachus’ “future yoga” was nurtured in a “broad vision”, itself born of a state of peace (Euryclia “a broad vision”, the nurse of Telemachus is the daughter of Ops “vision”, himself son of Pisenor “the pacified man” or “the higher intelligence” because “he is of good advice”).

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