The lineages involved in the Trojan War include: the Tantalum lineage, the Trojan royal lineage, the Spartan lineage, the Maia lineage, the Deion lineage and the Asopos lineage. The Trojan royal lineage (Electra lineage) studied here symbolizes access to the illumined mind and its stabilization in the context of the search for the divine in the heights of the spirit and the separation spirit/matter. It includes in particular Tros, Ilos, Ganymedes, Laomedon, Priam, Paris and Hector.
Ganymede holding a hoop – Louvre Museum
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The leaders opposing the Achaean troops at Troy belong to the royal Trojan lineage, which itself forms part of the greater lineage of the Pleiad Electra. Electra has been associated with the plane of the illumined mind, situated directly above the higher mind to which some ancient authors connected the lineage of Atreides by the ascendants of Hippodamia.
See Family tree 16
If this association is correct then the Trojans represent the vastest or most integrative space that can be established on the mental plane at this particular stage of yoga, at least during this period of ancient Greek history. It is for this reason that the war took place in Troy on the coast of Anatolia and at the easternmost limits of the Greek empire, which is to say at the limits of personal yoga. Lands even further to the east are mentioned in the myths, such as Colchis or the land of the Amazons, but there are only few instances.
The Trojan War was therefore a civil conflict rather than a war of the Greeks against a foreign people. On one side of the conflict were the Achaeans, ‘they who through concentration strive towards the purification and liberation of the being’ (sometimes also known as the Danaeans, ‘they who strive for union’, or the Argeans, ‘they who strive towards the goal of purity and light’). They were led by the aspiration of a ‘unified intelligent will’ (Agamemnon). On the other side were the Trojans, ‘they who strive for the right development on the plane of the spirit’, also known as the Dardanians, ‘they who strive towards union in the separation of spirit and matter’ (descendants of Tros and his grandfather Dardanos).
In this inner struggle for the conquest of the Truth of evolution (Helen), two parts of the seeker will fight each other:
On the one hand the will of incarnating the Divine in man, which is to say a refusal to separate the world of the Spirit and that of Matter, associated with the will for transformation to achieve an integral divinity of man;
And on the other hand the will of the ‘liberated seeker’ to maintain himself within the peace and joy of the Self, no longer relating to the action of this world. This attitude is uninterested by the transformation of the outer being, perhaps because it considered it to be an impossible task beyond a certain threshold of mastery.
In fact, Sri Aurobindo writes that ‘self-knowledge, the absence of desire, impersonality, beatitude and freedom in relation to the modes of Nature, when withdrawn into themselves, absorbed into themselves and inactive, have no need for equality, for they do not have awareness of things that bring about the opposition of equality and inequality’. (Essays on the Gita, The Divine Teacher).
The founder of the lineage is Dardanos, thought to be the son of Zeus and the Pleiad Electra, symbols of the illumined mind. His name is built in the form X+RX, like that of Tartarus. It could therefore indicate both a union and its opposite. In this work, it is interpreted as a union in spirit in the separation of spirit and matter.
Dardanos fled Samothrace to escape the pain of the death of his brother Iasion, struck dead by lightning for having had the presumption of desiring Demeter. He sought refuge with the king of Phrygia, Teucer (Teukros), who was wed to Idaia. This king was the son of the river god Scamander, the river of the Trojan plane known by the gods as the river Xanthos. He gave Dardanos half his kingdom as well as the hand of his daughter Batia in marriage, who was sometimes also known as Arisbe.
According to some sources Dardanos, following the counsel of Apollo, founded on the slopes of Mount Ida a city which was named Dardania as his namesake (this city must be distinguished from Troy, which would be built on the plain). He then inherited the kingdom upon Teucer’s death, and fathered Ilos and Erichtonios.
The seeker who represents the symbolic opening of this lineage inherits the initiations granted by Samothrace, ‘a high asceticism’, for Dardanos was originated from this land. He is obliged to resume his journey when the supraconscient puts an end to the part of himself which assumes that it has completed the yogic process (Dardanos leaves Samothrace when his brother is struck to death by the lightning of Zeus for having desired a union with Demeter). Reaching a state which grants ‘the power of healing’, if this is in fact the significance of the name Iasion, does not in any way constitute an ultimate realisation of the union to which leads Demeter, ‘the mother of union’. It must also be remembered that except for a few rare exceptions mortals were not to enter into unions with goddesses.
It would seem that the initiations given in Samothrace, which were open to all, constituted a prerequisite to those of Eleusis, where took place the mysteries of Demeter and Persephone. Thus, even at the beginning of the lineage there existed a lack of ‘knowledge’ of the true path of evolution, foreshadowing Laomedon’s refusal to honour his commitments in the Trojan War.
The seeker then leaves behind the ancient forms of asceticism and turns towards a work on ‘the right opening of consciousness to the height of the spirit’ to achieve union (Dardanos sought refuge by the side of king Teucer, who was wed to Idaia. The Teucer referred to here is to be distinguished from Teucer the son of Telamon and brother of Ajax). Teucer was the king of Phrygia ‘the burning’, symbolising the inner fire (Agni).
This new search is supported by the ‘energy current’ which supports the widening of consciousness through separation, the river Scamander. From the perspective of the lower mind it is a force which allows man to open his consciousness on the left side, the side of separation, directing the aspiration towards the heights of the spirit. But in its totality and beheld from the overmind this river, known by the gods as Xanthos or the ‘golden-yellow’ river, symbolises a current of energy-consciousness which leads the inner being in the direction of identifying with the nature and the power of being of the Supreme (Ξ).
According to Sri Aurobindo, this light is that of the overmind illuminating the higher planes (the overmind, the intuitive mind and the illumined mind), and becoming in each plane the highest light of truth possible. When it is of a reddish-gold colour it is indicative of the same light of Truth reaching the physical level.
The seeker therefore chooses to pursue the process of ascension till the point that is ‘accessible to consciousness’ (the name Batia, spouse of Dardanos, is evocative of the point ’till which consciousness can reach’). For this reason it establishes the foundations of his quest on what leads towards the heights of union (he builds the foundations of the city on the slopes of Mount Ida).
Although both of these mountains are symbols of unions in the spirit there are distinguishing factors between the Mount Ida of Crete, the birth-place of Zeus, and the Phrygian Mount Ida of Troade. The first reflects the first manifestation of the overmind in man, while the second reflects a completion of the union in spirit with the Divine.
Dardanos engendered Erichtonios, ‘he who strives for a powerful incarnation’, or the basis of liberation. There is also mention of a homonymous Ilos, ‘free consciousness’, but he was said to have died without leaving any descendants behind. The renowned Ilos was the son of Tros and grandson of Dardanos.
Erichtonios was said to be the wealthiest of mortals.
Amongst his many possessions could be counted three thousand proud mares and bounding fillies, which Boreas, the North Wind, once fell in love with as he beheld them grazing. Taking the form of a blue-maned stallion he fathered twelve fillies which galloped over the wheat crops without bending a single stalk and playfully over the wide back of the ocean and the waves breaking on the reefs.
Erichtonios fathered a son named Tros.
Erichtonios, ‘he who plunges deeply beneath the earth’i or into the unconscious, represents a work in the corporeal vital inconscient, a descent allowed by a more or less stabilised access to the illumined mind. At this point the seeker has then developed numerous powers in the domain of vital force, for Erichtonios ‘was the wealthiest of men, and owned three thousand mares with their fillies’, symbols of a great number of ‘powers’ or capacities.
The horse holds a special place for the Trojans who worshipped it in an almost cult-like fashion to the point of allowing an effigy of it to penetrate into their city (the Trojan horse). Previously discussed in regards to the Centaurs, the mares of Diomede and other examples, the symbolism of the horse is linked in a general way to power, force and strength, and often more specifically to vital power.
This powerful capacity for incarnation or individuation generates the greatest number of realisations, forces or capacities (Erichtonios was the wealthiest of mortals and owned three-thousand mares).
A work of mastery applied to these vital potentialities allows the revelation of powerful, light and able forces which do not disturb yogic growth or are not ruffled by the perturbations and nodes of the vital (the bounding fillies engendered by Boreas do not bend a single wheat stalk beneath their hooves and move effortlessly above the breaking waves).
Boreas is the North Wind, symbolic of yogic asceticism. Sri Aurobindo reminds us that while powers and forces must not be sought after, the seeker must also not systematically refuse them when they manifest themselves. Sri Aurobindo’s Journal of Yoga describes all the accomplishments which can be linked to this stage.
This highest level of realisation is possible through an asceticism of which the inspiration originates in the heights of the mind (Boreas had taken the form of a stallion with a blue mane), the blue mane of the stallion indicating the power of the overmind.
The word used to describe this is κυανοχαιτη, ‘of the dark blue mane’, and it is perhaps possible to draw a parallel here with the light of the Supreme Krishna, whose name translates into ‘dark blue’. A special blue is also the colour of Sri Aurobindo’s aura.
Unlike in other contemporary studies, in this work we will differentiate between the horses of Erichtonios and those gifted by Zeus to Tros in exchange for Ganymedes (see below).
Tros and his sons Ilos, Ganymedes and Assaracus
Erichtonios, wed to Astyoche the daughter of the river god Simois, fathered a son named Tros.
The latter fathered three sons in his turn, whom Homer describes as ‘perfect’. These were Ilos, Assaracus et Ganymedes.
Erichtonios, ‘he who plunges deeply into the earth’ (into the inconscient), enters into a union with Astyoche, ‘the concentration of the capacities of the being’, who bears him a son, Tros.
The seeker goes forward on the path of incarnation or individuation through a gathering together of his being, and develops a ‘right movement on the plane of the spirit’ – if we can indeed interpret the name Tros through the structuring characters ΤΡ). The name Tros is similar to Atreus, ‘the transforming will’, found in the lineage of the Achaean adversaries. His name is made up of the same structure with the addition of a privative ‘a’: α-ΤΡ : Atreus and Tros thus foreshadow two opposite directions of the quest.
Homer writes that Tros was a Trojan king, and is therefore representative of everything that works in the highest planes of the illumined mental consciousness.
Tros entered into an union with Callirhoe, ‘that which flows well’, which is to say a very right movement on the plane of the spirit. Callirhoe herself was a daughter of Scamander or Xanthus, the ‘golden-yellow’ river, a force which expresses the fundamental will of freedom and an aspiration to break one’s boundaries.
This hero is therefore symbolic of a seeker who achieves a spiritual harmony at ease in its own movement, but also strives to widen his field of action and render it cosmic.
The corresponding region of Troy was named after his son Ilos at the time when the city itself was known as Ilion, ‘a state of realised freedom’.
Callirhoe bore him three sons, for this extension of spiritual consciousness develops within three distinct lineages:
Firstly through Ilos, the path of ‘personal liberation’ which characterises a seeker free of desire, ego and attachment of every kind.
Subsequently through Assaracus, the path of the ‘right movement of the opening of consciousness in a unified being’, or of a peace obtained through equality. This hero was the grandfather of Anchise, who together with Aphrodite parented Aeneas. He is therefore at the origin of the lineage which Virgil associates with the founders of Rome and the Roman emperors.
And finally through Ganymedes, he who ‘watches over joy’, belonging to the lineage in which inner happiness and the joy of the soul is established.
These three sons are ‘irreproachable’ according to Homer, in that they are very far advanced on the path of mastery, of the intelligent will which elicits wisdom and sainthood.
Zeus abducted Ganymedes, the most comely of mortals, to be a cup-bearer in Olympus. In his stead he gifted Tros with ‘the greatest horses beheld by sun or dawn’.
Ganymede and Zeus – Ferrara Archaeological Museum
The progression into Joy is the highest realisation which the seeker could attain on the path towards non-duality through liberation and union in spirit. At this point the seeker possesses the highest powers of the vital to which man could aspire to in this evolutionary phase (the greatest horses beheld by sun or dawn).
Some sources affirm that in becoming an immortal Ganymedes was also freed from the effects of age, which expresses an ‘unceasing adaptation to the movement of becoming’. A little later on in this study we will learn in the myth of Eos and Tithonus that this goddess forgot to request eternal youth for her lover. This would suggest that it was the perjury of Laomedon, the son of Ilos, which put an end to this adaptation.
Ganymedes was a prince of Phrygia, ‘that which burns’, symbolising a seeker whose inner fire is developed to its highest level. This province is situated to the east of Troy in central Anatolia, and as the easternmost province of ancient Greece. It therefore symbolises the most advanced form of yoga.
In certain texts Ganymedes was abducted by Tantalus, ‘the will for progress’, or Minos, ‘the purification of the discerning intelligence’, rather than Zeus. Other authors described him as a son of Erichtonios, Laomedon, Ilos or Assaracus, ascribing as origins of this joy a number of different yogic progressions: ‘he who enters deeply into the inconscient’, ‘mastery’, ‘liberation’ or ‘equality’.
In the most common of later traditions, it is said that Zeus sent his eagle forth, or transformed himself into an eagle to abduct Ganymedes ; this specifies that the joy obtained through liberation establishes itself in the heights of the spirit at the level of the overmind (through the intervention of the supraconscient, the eagle of Zeus), where it henceforth collaborates in its nourishment (Ganymedes becomes a cup-bearer to the gods). In return, the seeker receives the most effective of powers (the greatest of horses).
The Mother perfectly explains the level of realisation attained here in a Questions and Answers interview from the 17th of October 1956, in which she describes a joy far beyond the one symbolised by Ganymedes:
‘Indeed, that delight is beyond the states which are generally considered as the highest from the yogic point of view, as for instance, the state of perfect serenity, of perfect equality of soul, of absolute detachment, of identity with the infinite and eternal Divine, which necessarily raises you above all contingencies. Parallel to this state there can be another which is the state of perfect, integral, universal love, which is the very essence of compassion and the most perfect expression of the Grace which wipes out the consequences of all error and all ignorance. These two states have always been considered as the summit of consciousness; they are what could be called the frontier, the extreme limit of what the individual consciousness can attain in its union with the Divine. But there is something which lies beyond; it is precisely a state of perfect delight which is not static: delight in a progressive manifestation, a perfect unfolding of the supreme Consciousness. The first of the two states I spoke about leads almost always to a withdrawal from action, an almost static condition, and very easily would it lead to Nirvana—in fact, it has always been the way prescribed for all those in search of Nirvana. But this state of delight I am speaking about, which is essentially divine because it is free, totally free from all possibility of oppositions and opposites, does not break away from action; on the contrary, it leads to an integral action, perfect in its essence and completely liberated from all ignorance and all bondage to ignorance. One can experience, on the path—when one has made some progress, when there is a greater understanding, a more total opening, a more intimate union with the divine Consciousness, one can experience this Delight as something that passes by and colours life and gives it its true meaning, but as long as one is in the human consciousness, this Delight is very easily deformed and changes into something which no longer resembles it at all.
Therefore, one could hardly say that if one loses the delight, one’s consciousness is lowered, for… the Delight I am speaking about is something which cannot ever be lost. If one has reached beyond the two states I spoke about a while ago, that is to say, the state of perfect detachment and close union, and the state of perfect love and compassion, if one has gone beyond these two states and found the divine Delight, it is practically impossible to come down from there. But in practical life, that is, on the path of yoga, if you are touched, even in passing, by this divine Delight, it is obvious that, should it leave you, you are bound to feel that you have come down from a peak into a rather dark valley. But Delight without detachment would be a very dangerous gift which could very easily be perverted. So, to seek Delight before having acquired detachment does not seem to be very wise. One must first be above all possible opposites: indeed, above pain and pleasure, suffering and happiness, enthusiasm and depression. If one is above all that, then one may safely aspire for Delight. But as long as this detachment is not realised, one can easily confuse Delight with an exalted state of ordinary human happiness, and this would not at all be the true thing nor even a perversion of the thing, for the nature of the two is so different, almost opposite, that you cannot pass from one to the other. So, if one wants to be safe on the path, it seems to me that to seek for peace, for perfect calm, perfect equality, for a widening of the consciousness, a vaster understanding and liberation from all desire, all preference, all attachment, is certainly an indispensable preliminary condition. It is the guarantee of both inner and outer equipoise. And then on this equilibrium, on this foundation which must be very solid, one may build whatever one wants. But to begin with, the foundation must be there, unshakable.’
This excerpt explains why the future Joy is to be built by the descendants of Anchise and his son Aeneas in the genealogical lineage of Assaracus, ‘prefect equality’, rather than in the lineage of his brother Ilos. It is from the time of Laomedon, the son of Ilos, that deviations will begin to occur in the yogic work. After an extended period of purification and reorientation of the yogic work the adventurer of consciousness, and following in his footsteps all of humanity, will be able to re-embark upon the path of the ascension of the planes of consciousness in pursuit of love within a world of Truth (for Aeneas is a son of Anchise and Aphrodite). But as pointed out by Sri Aurobindo, before this time the forces of Truth must be incarnated so as to allow an illumination of matter to take place.
In an effort to link the lineage of the Roman emperors to Ancient Greece, Virgil interpreted the indications given by Homer about the founding of a future Trojan city as an account of the founding of Rome. However this interpretation seems to have been made with a lack of in-depth understanding of the symbolism of the Iliad. An analysis of the work of Virgil including the Roman emperors of this lineage lies beyond the scope of this study.
Through the structuring characters of his name, Assaracus represents the ‘right movement of the opening of consciousness in a unified being’ or ‘a peace originating from equality’. He wed Hieromneme, ‘who is the custodian of sacred things’ and daughter of Simois, who bore him his son Capys. The significance of Capys remains obscure, but it contains structuring characters signifying ‘opening to equality’.
He had made his home on Mount Ida, the mountain of union in consciousness; once the seeker surpasses the Trojan error it will be possible for the yoga of union to be established on cleaner foundations (through his great-grandson Aeneas).
According to legend he advised the Trojans to cast the wooden horse into the ocean but was not heeded. Representing the aspect of the seeker that has the greatest equality, he perceives that an attachment to power is an error (for the horse will bring about the downfall of Troy).
Capys then entered into a union with Themiste, ‘the law of rectitude’, and fathered Anchise, ‘he who is close to man’, or perhaps ‘he who considers man as an integral whole’.
Anchise aroused the love of the goddess Aphrodite, who bore him a son named Aeneas.
Anchise was already an elderly man at the end of the Trojan War, for his son had to carry him on his back to flee from Troy. Like Achilles, Aeneas was the son of a goddess and owned two exceptional horses. He was wounded during the war, and nursed by Leto and Artemis while Apollo created a mannequin in his image to be placed on the field of battle.
We will return at a later point in this study to this part of the myth, to which Homer attaches a particular importance as the Trojan lineage will become, through Aeneas ‘he who pursues evolution’, one of the principal elements of future evolution. In fact Aeneas has a great affinity for the development of love, for he is a son of Anchise and Aphrodite. Homer writes that ‘destiny wished him safe so that the race of Dardanos, the best-loved child that the Cronid had conceived with a mortal woman, would be carried on’. He also adds that ‘in the future Aeneas and his descendants would rule over the Trojans’. This evolution in the illumined mind cannot in fact end with the error of the Trojan branch issued from Laomedon. Before being able to carry on, it is only necessary for the seeker, who represents humankind, to ready himself for a reorientation, which is ultimately what brings about the fall of Troy; Truth must in fact be established in man before Love can manifest itself within him.
Ilos, representing one who strives for ‘liberation’, was the eldest son of Tros and founded the city of Ilion. He is therefore considered to be the founder of the royal lineage of Troy.
To decide the future location of the city Ilos followed the same procedure as did Cadmus in founding the city of Thebes.
Participating in games organised by the king of Phrygia he won fifty young men and fifty young women, as well as a cow which he was to follow in its wanderings till, as foreseen by the oracles, it would choose a place to lay down and thus mark the location on which Troy was to be built.
After having set down the foundations of the city Ilos asked Zeus for a sign of confirmation. At dawn, he beheld a wooden statuette fallen from the heavens, the Palladium.
The story of the Palladium is as follows: after her birth Athena was brought up in the home of Triton, and became friends with his daughter Pallas who was of the same age as she. The two young girls were wont to practice exercises of combat with each other, and one day they quarrelled. Fearing that Athena might be wounded by her friend, Zeus extended her aegis to protect her. Struck by fear, Pallas’ vigilance was shaken and Athena unintentionally struck her a fatal blow. Greatly afflicted, the goddess built a wooden effigy of her friend. Having set the aegis upon the statue, Athena placed it by Zeus’ side and venerated it.
But in answer to Ilos’ prayers Zeus sent down Ate ‘error’, at the same time as the Palladium (according to Apollodorus, Palladium and Ate were not sent down at the time of the founding of Ilion, but rather when Zeus seduced Electra, the mother of Dardanos, which is to say at the time of the very origins of the Trojan lineage).
Ilos built a temple in Troy in which to place the statue, and as long as the statue remained within its walls the Palladium protected the city of Troy. When the statue was stolen by Ulysses, the days left before the fall of Troy became numbered.
Through the growth of his inner fire (for Phrygia is the province of ‘burning’) the seeker has reached the end of individual liberation and of the realisations linked to this specific form or mode of yoga (represented by the fifty young men and women). For fifty is the number symbolising the completely realised form. In Aphorism 238, Sri Aurobindo cautions one to ‘Break the moulds of the past, but keep safe its gains and its spirit, or else thou hast no future’.
Ilos must therefore follow an inner light, which is given to enable him to continue the path of yoga and establish the foundations of a new stage in his evolution (Ilos must follow the cow).
This time the foundations for the new city are laid in the plane; this indicates that the seeker is drawing further from the heights of union (from Mount Ida where Ilos’ forefather Dardanos had founded the first city, Dardania).
This original error of orientation of the yogic process caused by the simultaneous sending down from the heavens of both the Palladium and Ate (Zeus sent down Ate, error, at the same time as the Palladium) is highlighted by Apollodorus, who specifies that the cow lay down on the hilltop of error (Ate).
This would seem to be an inevitable error however, at least at the time of the ancient Greeks. In fact, the seeker asks the supraconscient for a confirmation of the chosen direction, and in answer receives a ‘sign’ which he interprets as a validation (the Palladium). But the supraconscient sends down the symbol of the ‘peace of liberation’ as well as ‘error’ (Zeus sends down both Ate and the Palladium). But the passage through the error represented by Troy seems to be no longer inevitable. Specifically, the yoga proposed by Sri Aurobindo, which places an application in the realm of life as primarily important, gives the necessary keys to avoid this error.
If we consider the fact that the name Ate is built around the character T (Tau) and that she was Zeus’ eldest daughter according to Homer, then her name could be taken to indicate a tension straining towards a realisation at the heights of the overmind. She then only represents an ‘error’ insofar as the time of spiritual ascension reaches its end.
Another understanding of this name could be that as the overmind is the first plane of duality accessed when the threshold of the supramental is crossed, it holds within it opposing principles that include both truth and error.
The support of several of the primary gods including Ares, Aphrodite and Apollo in favour of the Trojans underlines the difficulty of discernment within this ‘trap’ set by the supraconscient.
The Palladium appears in Athena’s youth, which is to say at the beginning of the path, at the time when the seeker learns to listen to his ‘inner guide’ whilst seeking to develop ‘the peace resulting from the work of mental and vital liberation which much be exercised down to the depths of the archaic vital’ (Athena and Pallas, the daughter of Triton, are close friends).
In fact Pallas (Π+ΛΛ) is a daughter of the god Triton who is himself a son of Poseidon and Amphitrite, both deities of the subconscient. Triton, whose upper body is human and whose lower body is that of a fish, is therefore the god working at the boundary-line between the conscient and the subconscient vital, at the root of the vital.
The seeker strives to balance within himself these two movements – a deep purification and a listening to the inner guide -, but there comes a moment in which the two enter into opposition (Pallas and Athena come face to face in conflict whilst practising games of combat).
The supraconscient then fears that the quest for peace resulting from purification and liberation in the deep layers of the vital may harm the growth of the inner being, for the seeker has not yet been liberated from fear (Zeus’ aegis frightens and destabilises Pallas). The work of purification in the depths of the being then ceases (Pallas is mortally wounded). However the inner guide recognises the importance of this, and places it at the height of the spirit as a supreme goal to be attained (Athena places the effigy of Pallas by Zeus’ side).
Much later on in the yogic process the supraconscient recalls to awareness the need for this work (Zeus sends down the Palladium).
But at the same time this work on the depths of the being cannot be separated from the tendency for separation, for Zeus also sends down Ate, an influence which induces error through separation (according to one of the meanings of the letter Tau, which is the structuring character of the name Ate).
But as the seeker does not at that moment wish to tackle the root of duality, he simultaneously impedes the establishment of peace at the depths of the being. Instead of reviving this work, he distances it from himself whilst at the same time adoring it (Ilos builds a temple in the city of Troy to hold the statue). For it is in fact much easier to adore than to transform oneself.
As long as a part of the seeker maintains this position, no true yogic progress will be possible; Troy could not fall as long as the Palladium remained within its walls.
From this moment onwards the seeker who has attained a liberation in spirit can freely seek refuge in the paradises of spirit, which makes him disinterested in worldly affairs. This lack of interest, which can be found at different levels, has been condemned for instance in Christianity as ‘quietism’.
Apollodorus mentions two characters named Ilos. The first is a son of Dardanos who died without leaving any descendants, and the second is the founder of Ilion. This double naming underlines the fact that the liberation is fulfilled from the time of the son of Dardanos, and therefore applies to the lineage of Priam as well as that of Ganymedes and Assaracus, which will also give rise to Aeneas.
Ilos, ‘he who accomplishes liberation’, is the eldest son of Tros, and is therefore the rightful heir to the throne. He entered into a union with a homonymous Eurydice, ‘the right manner of acting’, daughter of Adrastus, ‘he who confronts’, who bore him two children, Laomedon, ‘mastery’, and Themiste, ‘rectitude as law’. As we have seen above, the latter entered into a union with Capys, son of Assaracus.
Tros also fathered a daughter named Cleopatra, whose name signifies ‘the renowned ancestors’, and which demonstrates that the adventurer of consciousness rediscovers numerous ‘realisations’ of ancient masters of wisdom from past historical eras. The biographies of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother till the point of their meeting and Sri Aurobindo’s Journals of Yoga are a clear statement of this fact.
It is for the progression of this triple realisation that the greatest Trojan hero is referred to as ‘the divine Hector’ by Homer.
This level of realisation has allowed the acquisition of a certain vital power and force, but it is not yet an absolute power of transformation originating from the world of unity, the supramental, for the horses of Tros are not immortal. Except for the gods, only the horses of Achilles were granted immortality.
To summarise, the three children of Tros define a seeker advancing on the path of freedom from desire and ego. This seeker has achieved a degree of inner joy and freedom from mental, vital and physical preferences, as well as a certain degree of peace, the condition necessary for the establishment of love. However, an error has inserted itself in the interpretation of a sign received from the supraconscient (for Ilos received Ate at the same time as Palladium). This error of understanding is reinforced by the fact that the illumination by a light issued from the spirit has been distorted due to a false mental-physical basis (the cow has settled down on the hill of error on which was subsequently founded the city of Troy).
It is therefore at this stage that the first deviation from the right path which would lead to the Trojan error is manifested. It is then further reinforced by the refusal to recognise the action of powerful spiritual forces and to abandon the powers acquired; it has in fact been said that it was the double refusal of Laomedon to honour his commitments which brought about the first Trojan War. We will outline the main elements of it below.
Laomedon and his children
We have already come across Laomedon in the study on the ninth labour of Heracles.
Following the orders of Zeus, for which Homer does not give any explanation, the gods Poseidon and Apollo were pledged to serve Laomedon for a year, during which they built the walls of the citadel of Troy (Pergamon). But when the work had been completed Laomedon refused to give the gods the due remuneration for their labour which they had agreed upon.
Apollo and Poseidon were angered by this breach. The former sent a plague onto the Trojan land, and the latter a flood and a sea monster which devoured its inhabitants. The oracle was then consulted, and answered that only a sacrifice of the king’s daughter Hesione would appease the anger of the gods. She was consequently tied to a rock by the shore to become the monster’s pray.
Laomedon promised the swift horses inherited from his father to whomsoever would slay the monster and liberate his daughter. But when Heracles achieved this task, Laomedon again refused to give him the promised prize.
It is said that this double refusal of Laomedon’s brought about the first Trojan war, as at the end of his labours Heracles returned to avenge himself on Laomedon.
Laomedon signifies ‘he who strives to gather’, ‘he who strives to master the elements of his outer being’ or ‘he who labours for the mastery of vision’. Pergamon is the name of the citadel of Ilion, symbolic of its highest structure of realisation, and signifies ‘completely united’ (here it is a question of a union in the spirit).
The seeker on the path of liberation pledged to give something of himself or consecrate himself (give remuneration) for the completion of the work of union (Pergamon is the ‘union above’). But he then refused to recognise that it is not through one’s own capacities, but thanks to the aid of the psychic light and of the subconscient higher force (Apollo and Poseidon) that are built the structures which allow access to a liberation in spirit (the walls of Pergamon, the citadel of Troy). According to some sources he was not entirely accountable for this first denial, for the gods had disguised themselves in order to help him.
According to some sources Poseidon built the walls of Troy while Apollo watched over the herds; the light of the psychic being ensures that the previously-acquired advancements are not be lost while the subconscious is at work.
Using Sri Aurobindo’s terminology, it would seem that in this instance Poseidon represents the subliminal mental and vital (the immense reaches of the vital and the mind situated beneath the threshold of our active consciousness), rather than the subconscious reservoir of all impressions and sensations gathered by consciousness.
The seeker therefore refuses to recognise that he is not the creator of his own liberation.
These are the first signs of spiritual ego, which claims ownership of the work and its realisations. For example, one who goes through much experimentation and thus obtains certain results can think that it is his own actions which have generated these results. The boundary-line is very thin between a right movement that demands no false humility and a false movement that believes itself to satisfy the divine while following its own tendencies, irrespective of how noble they may be.
Following this refusal to honour ‘spiritual engagements’, the powers of the spirit then give a first warning. The seeker is thoroughly shaken by the forces whose work he refuses to recognise. The psychic light withdraws, generating a growing darkness and possibly a variety of physical disharmonies as well (Apollo curses the people with a plague). The subconscient shakes the seeker even more deeply by generating emotional perturbations and raising forces of destruction which deprive him of his resources (Poseidon sends forth a flood and a sea monster which devours the people).
The seeker then intuitively understands that to halt this deserved experience and keep intact his energies for the yogic work (Laomedon consults the oracle to appease the anger of the gods and save the inhabitants of Ilion), he must abandon what we understand as a certain ‘wisdom’ or ‘serenity’ (he must sacrifice his daughter Hesione). There is no clear understanding of the significance of the name Hesione. In this work we follow an index of mythological characters compiled by Pape and Benseler, who surmise that the name derives from ἧσις , synonymous to τέρψις and signifying ‘serene’.
With the structuring letters, this name would mean ‘the evolution of balanced human mental consciousness, reason and intuition together’ which, given the position of Hesione in the Trojan lineage, can be associated with wisdom or serenity. Indeed, the mind must not be rejected but put in its proper place. This is the reason why Hesione will be saved by Heracles who will give it as reward to Telamon. She will therefore escape the massacre of the Trojans and will be integrated into the Achaean lineage.
Once the sacrifice has been accepted and prepared, an opportunity to continue the yoga with this wisdom presents itself, subject to the seeker proving his sincerity by renouncing the personal use of powers and thus placing them back into the hands of what heroically leads the yogic process forward (stopping at Troy on his journey back from the land of the Amazons, Heracles offers to free Hesione in exchange for the horses of Tros).
But for the second time the liberated seeker refuses to honour his inner commitments. He refuses to transfer his ‘powers’ to the inner divine by refusing to adopt an attitude of perfect consecration. Considering his stage of development, his powers are probably seen as great realisations by other men however. But it is the ‘spiritual ego’ which claims the upper hand, standing in the way of a complete abandonment to the hands of the Divine.
This time it is no longer gods in disguise who are denied their recompense but rather the foremost actor of the yogic work, Heracles, which suggests that this incident points to a more conscious refusal.
It is said that this double refusal of Laomedon’s brought about the first Trojan War.
Therefore long before the abduction of Helen or even the judgement of Paris, the elements which are to bring about the great inner conflict regarding the direction of evolution are already in place; the gradual divergence from the right path occurs more or less insidiously.
Laomedon’s wife is known by several different names: Strymon, ‘she who builds up consecration’, Leucippus, ‘a purified vital force’, etc.
Laomedon’s most often-cited sons are Tithonus, ‘inner evolution towards the highest consciousness’, Lampos, ‘he who shines’, Clytios, ‘he of great renown’, Hicetaon, ‘he who comes in supplication’, Podarces, ‘he who moves away from incarnation’. Following Heracles’ victory over Troy, Podarces will later be renamed Priam, ‘he who is bought again’. A number of daughters are also mentioned, including Hesione, ‘evolution of the mental unified consciousness, reason and intuition’, Cilla, ‘a widening towards liberation’, and Astyoche, ‘a well-organised personality’.
The seeker builds up his consecration but at the same time refuses to abandon his own goals and powers which he should have offered to the Divine, leading him to a rejection of incarnation.
We have already come across Tithonus, ‘an inner evolution towards the highest consciousness’, in the fourth chapter of Volume 1, where Eos, the goddess of dawn, falls in love with him.
Eos requested Zeus to grant Tithonus immortality, but failed to ask for eternal youth. As long as Tithonus remained young they lived together happily at the outermost frontiers of the earth, at the shores of the ocean currents. But with the passage of time the ravages of age gradually reduced Tithonus to a larvae, which Eos locked into a closed room in which he was to babble on eternally from then on.
This demonstrates that even if the supraconscient allows the seeker to access non-duality in the spirit, he cannot yet accomplish an ‘adaptation to the movement of becoming’, which implies an adaptation to what is New and changing from one moment to the next. Even if the seeker takes this newness as his aim he does not work on it sufficiently (Eos ‘forgets’ to ask for eternal youth for Tithonus). That which does not evolve regresses, returning to the primordial movements of repetition and coiling inward (Tithonus becomes a larvae babbling on eternally).
Tithonus fathered two sons, Memnon, ‘intelligent will’, and Emathion, ‘inactive inner consciousness’. Memnon was killed by Achilles during the Trojan War, but Eos obtained immortality for him, since the intelligent will turned towards action allows access to non-duality. On the other hand, ‘the inactive (quietist) inner consciousness must disappear; Emathion is killed by Heracles during his quest for the golden apples.
Hicetaon, or ‘he who comes supplicating’, represents an erroneous attitude towards the Divine, expecting everything from Him without applying one’s own efforts to one’s transformation.
According to Homer (Iliad 5, 540) he fathered a son named Melanippos, ‘a dark vital energy’. Honoured by Priam as if he were his own son, Melanippos would lead his twisted-legged oxen to Percote, and returned to Troy whilst the ships of the Athenian coalition drew near the city. Hector later accused him of remaining unmoved by the murder of his cousin, and he was eventually killed by Antilochos.
This attitude of the seeker who does not apply himself to transformation develops a negative force (Melanippos) which results in realisations that are erroneously positioned in regards to what is real and are engaged in a twisted relationship with incarnation (the twisted-legged oxen). The concept of the separative yoga accepts this attitude without difficulty, but without however being able to integrate it (he is honoured by Priam as if he were his own son, but he leads the oxen to graze far from Troy, in a ‘blackish’ place, Percote). But when the inner conflict is amplified this attitude is absorbed into the Trojan position, despite the reproaches he receives for his lack of concern (when the opposing coalition approaches he returns to Troy, but Hector accuses him of not demonstrating an appropriate level of mourning for the death of one of his family members). This mistaken attitude disappears in the reversal of yoga (Antilochos later kills him).
Of the three daughters of Laomedon only Hesione, ‘mental wisdom’ or ‘serenity’, plays an important role in mythology. To begin with she was, as we have seen, first secured to a rock to become the prey of a sea monster, and then freed from this end by Heracles. When much later on we see Heracles avenging himself on Laomedon, he takes Hesione captive and gives her to Telamon as a recompense for accompanying him on the journey. Telamon, ‘he who carries consecration to its completion’, is a son of Aeacus and therefore a brother of Peleus and an uncle of Achilles. He therefore belongs to the lineage of the adventurers of consciousness on the path of purification and liberation. He takes Hesione with him, and she bears him a son named Teucer. The meaning of this hero’s name remains obscure. Here he is linked to ‘endurance’, the work of the acquisition of serenity. Homer writes of Teucer that he was the best archer in all of the Greek army. We have already surmised that archery was synonymous to the capacity to identify oneself with the goal, concentration, perseverance, determination and self-mastery. Teucer is therefore the warrior best able to concentrate on the goal and to persevere in his effort to attain it. A homonymous Teucer is also mentioned at the beginning of the Trojan lineage. Appearing on both sides of the conflict, he represents a positive element of the highest consciousness, and through the structuring characters of his name represents ‘the right opening towards the heights of consciousness’. We will therefore associate him with a ‘persevering concentration towards the heights of consciousness’, while he could also be associated with ‘power’ considering his status as a warrior.
With another wife Telamon also fathered Periboea, ‘everything concerning incarnation’, as well as a son of great renown, the Ajax the Great, ‘a work of the widening of consciousness”.
Hesione is therefore the symbol of a serenity which has developed within the framework of the illumined mind, for she is a Trojan princess, but becomes the aim of endurance in a yoga which works on the perfection of detail (she is presented to the hero Telamon, who brings her back with him to Greece), thus generating a ‘work of widening consciousness’ represented by the great Ajax.
After presenting Hesione to Telamon Heracles completed the destruction of Troy. As he had slain Laomedon he offered the kingdom to Podarces, for the latter was the only one amongst Laomedon’s sons to have urged his father to honour his commitments. Podarces then took on the name Priam.
The fact that Podarces, ‘he who sets aside incarnation’, took on the name Priam, ‘one who is bought back’, suggests that a second chance is given to the seeker when he returns to the right path, and is supported by a widening of consciousness (Hesione and Telamon’s departure for the island of Salamis). But the Trojans will put an end to this opportunity with the judgement of Paris and the abduction of Helen.
Priam was wed to Hecabe, the daughter of Dymas, who bore him nineteen sons. With other ladies of his palace he fathered thirty-one others, making a total of fifty sons. He also fathered twelve daughters who got married, and two others, Cassandra and Polyxena, who remained unmarried and continued to live under his roof.
Of his children, Hector, Paris/Alexander and Cassandra became the most widely known (we must however note that Hector and Troilus are described as sons of Apollo by some Greek writers who wished to underline the importance of the psychic light).
Although he has been given a second chance, the liberated seeker refuses incarnation; Priam enters into an union with Hecabe, ‘she who is outside incarnation’.
If the total number of fifty sons expresses a totality in the world of forms, those born of Hecabe represent a minority (the symbolism of the number nineteen indicated by Homer is unknown to us).
As for what concerns the new goals of the quest, his daughters, quite a wide expression is given covering all domains as well as the means by which to bring them into action.
Cassandra, ‘she who is against man’ (who refuses the possibility of his perfection), also referred to as Alexandra by Homer and signifying ‘she who rejects man (to the benefit of the spirit)’, is unmarried; the refusal to incarnate perfection in matter does not actually have the means of opposing the movement of evolution. For not only is Cassandra unmarried, but her predictions also always go unheeded.
According to some sources another of Priam’s daughters remains unmarried. This is Polyxena, ‘the evolution of numerous perceptions from above’; at this stage the seeker cannot profit from what he receives from the spiritual planes.
Homer only specifies the names of five sons amongst the nineteen borne by Hecabe: Antiphonus, ‘that which opposes the desire for conflict’, Deiphobe, ‘that which slays fear’, Hector, ‘the right movement of the opening of consciousness towards the spirit’, Helenus, ‘the pursuit of the process of liberation’, and Paris, ‘the just movement towards equality’, who will be renamed Alexander, ‘he who puts aside the human (the possibility of its transformation)’.
Of the fourteen daughters of Priam, only Cassandra, ‘she who is against man’, and Laodice ‘to see or desire in the right way’, the most beautiful of his daughters, are mentioned by Homer as children of Hecabe.