The Trojan War sung by Homer in the Iliad illustrates a major reversal in the process of spiritual quest. This reversal marks the end of the quest for the divine in the spirit when the seeker finally agrees to purify the depths of the vital.
Achilles and Ajax playing game
To fully understand this web page, it is recommended to follow the progression given in the tab Greek myths interpretation. This progression follows the spiritual journey. In particular, the pages that deal with major lineages involved in the war must be studied beforehand.
The method to navigate in the site is given in the Home tab.
The main characters appear in the following family trees :
Achilles and Ajax: Family tree 25
Agamemnon and Menelaus: Family tree 15
Priam, Paris and Hector: Family tree 16
Helen: Family tree 13
Diomedes: Family tree 9
Odysseus (Ulysses) and Patroclus: Family tree 14
THE SEEKER’S REALISATIONS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE WAR
Break the moulds of the past, but keep safe its gains and its spirit, or else thou hast no future’. Sri Aurobindo, Aphorism 238
The legend of the Trojan War, handed down to us in detail in the Iliad, describes the challenge of carrying out a reversal between ancient forms of yoga – which do not consider the possibility of man being rendered divine, but aim to bring humankind forward solely through an individual liberation into the paradise of the spirit – and newer forms of yoga which reject this stance and aspire to an evolution of humankind as a whole, moving towards a divinised humanity through an integral transformation of human nature. This war illustrates the rejection of a sole personal accomplishment, represented by the Trojan coalition, and a quest for a higher truth incarnated by Helen, who was married to Menelaus, a hero of the Achaean coalition. While this illustrates an inner battle, it also probably expresses an opposition between different currents of Greek spirituality of that period.
It is probably useful to remember that the action is carried out in the tenth and last year of the Trojan War.
According to the masters of wisdom of ancient Greece, this reversal would occur when under the pressure of his aspiration the seeker seeks to rise to the plane of the intuitive mind.
In fact, the royal dynasty of Troy belongs to the plane of the illumined mind within the genealogical line of descent of the Pleiad Electra (Diagram 16). But as heroes placed within the genealogical lineage of Tantalus, ‘aspiration’ (diagram 15), the plane towards which Agamemnon and Menelaus tend is the next plane of the intuitive mind, or intuition, for these two kings were respectively wed to Clytaemnestra, ‘a wisdom of great renown’, and Helen, ‘an evolution towards greater freedom’. Both sisters belong to the genealogical lineage of Taygete, which represents the intuitive mind (diagram 13). It must however be noted that the corresponding yoga represented by Agamemnon and Menelaus has been established on a foundation of the higher mind, for Hippodamia, ‘vital mastery’, is their grandmother, her own mother or grandmother being Sterope, ‘the higher mind’.
The Trojan War is therefore representative of an inner battle with the aim of discerning the best path for reaching a greater freedom brought by the intuitive mind, that of the pursuit of yoga in the process of separation of spirit and matter (the Trojans), or that of aspiration allied to the purification of the depths (the Achaean coalition supported by Achilles’ Myrmidons).
It would therefore seem that the lack of consecration which has led to the separation of spirit and matter occurs when the seeker truly establishes himself within the illumined mind with a simultaneous lack of ‘surrender’ illustrated by Laomedon’s perjuries.
The first was to refuse to give the gods Apollo and Poseidon the agreed upon compensation for their aid in building the Trojan citadel. This is to say that the seeker has not yet accomplished the second stage of yoga as described in the Bhagavad Gita; even if he has renounced the results of action, he has not yet entirely dissociated himself from the conviction of being himself the author of these actions.
The second act of perjury consisted of refusing to give Heracles the immortal white horses which he had been promised as a prize for the liberation of Hesione, bound to a rock in the ocean as an offering to the sea monster. These immortal white horses symbolise powers acquired by the work of yoga. As Heracles is the hero who incarnates the yoga, or tapasya, to be followed till the point of being rendered divine, this second refusal or negation demonstrates that the seeker is not ready to abandon his past acquisitions, or rather to put them in the service of a deep consecration.
(While the Iliad is an essential source for this part of the path, we will also base ourselves on other texts, such as those put together by Timothy Gantz.)
To understand the complexity of this account it is necessary to remember the symbolism of the forces facing each other, with each claiming to be the sole form of yoga.
All the participants illustrate aspects of a seeker who has reached what is generally considered to be the limits of the spiritual experience, limits represented by states of wisdom and sainthood. It is only after the war, with the adventures of Ulysses on his journey back to his home in Ithaca, that there will be a definite renouncing to wisdom – to the power of intelligence – and to sainthood – to the force of life and its powers. These two realisations are respectively incarnated by the two main suitors of Ulysses’ wife Penelope, Antinoos and Eurymachos.
Helen, the stake of the war, belongs to the lineage of Sparta, that of the resurgence of what is new. Of her two brothers and two cousins, Idas, ‘a vision of the whole’, Lynkeus, ‘detailed vision or discernment’, ‘Castor, ‘the power conferred by mastery’, and Polydeuces, ‘he who fights with great softness’, only Polydeuces survives, indicating a great compassion. But even the latter is no longer alive when the Trojan War begins.
The disappearance of Idas and Lynkeus could indicate that the powers of vision which have been developed in the preceding yogic phases disappear before the reorientation of yoga is begun: the adventurer who readies himself to carry out a yoga in the body will then no longer be able to support himself on them to find his way.
This may perhaps also refer to what the Mother expresses in her Agenda of June 2nd 1961: ‘What is necessary is to abandon EVERYTHING. Everything: all power, all comprehension, all intelligence, all knowledge, everything. To become perfectly non-existent, that’s the important thing’.
On the other hand the power and gentleness symbolised by Castor and Polydeuces are still present and active, linking the corporeal inconscient with the conscious, and according to Homer ((Odyssey XI, 301-304) in alternation, for:
‘These two the earth, the giver of life, covers, albeit alive,
and even in the world below they have honour from Zeus.
One day they live in turn, and one day they are dead;
and they have won honour like unto that of the gods. ‘
Furthermore, these are the works of yoga situated at the level of the overmind, the level of the gods, as indicated by the last verse.
The Trojan side represents therefore the most advanced state of spiritual progression in the ascension of the planes of consciousness, that of the liberated in spirit (Ilos), which is near to equality (Assaracus) and to the state of joy (Ganymedes).This state allows a liberation of the vital to a certain degree, allowing access to non-duality in the vital or the perfection of sainthood, although this is not wholly acquired (for the horses of Tros are not immortal).
But there was a moment in which the consecration (the gift of self) was not integral, directing the yoga in an erroneous direction (Laomedon). Although the seeker attempted to come back to the right one (with Priam the ‘reclaimed’), he finally oriented himself towards the rejection of man in his external nature (Paris-Alexander), essentially focusing on an opening into the worlds of the spirit so as to acquire greater mastery (Hector wed Andromache, who bore him Astyanax).
Within the Trojan path, which has deviated by separating spirit from matter, there can no longer be an aspiration to ‘becoming’ as the goal is immutable being, non-temporal and impersonal, true Self or Brahman, or the Nirvana behind.
This path of ascension of the planes of consciousness, which is not in itself a dead end but also constitutes a fundamental marker for human evolution, will only be possible to continue after the redressing of error and the implementation of a state of truth.
The opposing camp is constituted by the Achaean coalition; supported by ‘aspiration’, ‘lack’ or ‘need’ (the branch of Tantalus), it represents the will of pursuing the process of liberation in action (Menelaus of the lineage of Atreus was joined in marriage to Helen). But the directing movement, the strongest aspiration (Agamemnon), is still in search of a betterment of man towards a superior wisdom (Clytaemnestra), and is not able to conceive that the new yoga must orient itself towards a radical transformation. For it is in fact a question of a mutation towards a supramental humanity here, rather than a betterment of mental man, no matter how saintly and wise he may be.
This transformation must be carried out by diving deep into the roots of the consciousness at the origin of life so as to purify its evolutionary memories and to reach the Truth of Matter, of the body. Initially it must be the accomplishment of vital liberation, in view of the liberation of Nature and its modalities, the guna, to lead to a perfect ‘equality’ (through Achilles, son of the Nereid Thetis). But for a long time the seeker does not realise the degree of importance of the necessary transformation of the outer being (this is symbolised by Achilles’ ‘strike’, which lasted close to ten years).
Certain characters of the Achaean camp merit mention:
Diomedes, who represents a seeker who has established a degree of mental silence and, as a consequence of acquiring divine intoxication, the goal of merging entirely with the Absolute.
Nestor, symbol of rectitude, sincerity or integrity, one of the supporting pillars of the yogic word since its beginnings.
Patroclus, ‘glorious forefathers’, who incarnates past realisations of union with the Divine within the frame of the ascension of the planes of consciousness.
The work of the new yoga can only begin when the seeker accepts to descend into his depths to purify his external nature (when Achilles’ strike ceases), when he succeeds in putting in their places past realisations (the funeral rites of Patroclus), renounces the paradise of the spirit with the fall of Troy, successfully brings the psychic being to the forefront – a realisation signalled by perfect equality under all circumstances – and becomes familiar with the powers of the overmind.
To summarise, the seeker is one whom we would know as a liberated individual yet living in this world. He has had experiences of Self, of the Absolute, of states of Nirvana, of cosmic union, etc.
To a great degree he has also completed the ‘psychic’ transformation’ of the lower nature: ‘Psychicisation means the change of the lower nature bringing right vision into the mind, right impulse and feeling into the vital, right movement and habit into the physical’. (Letters on Yoga, Volume 3 Part 4, The Triple Transformation: Psychic – Spiritual – Supramental.) According to the Mother, tradition ruled that thirty years of sustained yoga are necessary for the psychic to come to the forefront of the being, ‘a realisation which consecrates the work of equality, for the most certain sign is a state of consciousness that is stable, immobile, and in which the being is perfectly unified’.
The seeker is already well engaged on the path of spiritual transformation, which, according to Sri Aurobindo, ‘is the descent, stabilised from above, of peace, light, knowledge, power, beatitude, a becoming conscious of the Self, the Divine, of a superior cosmic consciousness and within this the transformation of consciousness as a whole ’. (Letters on Yoga, Volume 3 Part 4, The Triple Transformation: Psychic – Spiritual – Supramental.)
While he is liberated from desire and ego, he is nonetheless not liberated from the laws of physical Nature (the assumed ‘impossibilities’ of transformation).
It is in fact the issue of the liberation of the submission to the three modes of action of nature, the gunas, which is posed here. For, as was said by Sri Aurobindo in his commentary on the 35th verse of the Bhagavad Gita, ‘the ego is there, concealed, in the mind of the saint as in that of the sinner’. (Essays on the Gita, The determinism of Nature.)
THE PREMISES OF THE WAR
For one ‘liberated in spirit’, the double refusal of honouring his spiritual commitments of total consecration to the Absolute is the first reason for an inner evolutionary conflict, the resolution of which must be a great reversal (the double refusal of Laomedon was said to have first incited the Trojan war). But we have seen that it is not the only one: an error had already occurred in the interpretation of a sign received from the supraconscient (Ate, ‘error’, was cast down upon the earth by Zeus at Troy at the same time as the Palladium when Ilos, father of Laomedon, founded the city). Furthermore, this error of ‘understanding’ was emphasised by the fact that an ‘illumination’ had materialised itself upon an erroneous foundation (Ilos had followed a cow which had come to rest on ‘the hilltop of error’, thus marking the spot on which the city of Troy was to be founded).
The Trojans persisted so strongly in these errors that Ilion (Troy) could not be conquered by the Achaeans as long as the Palladium remained within its walls. The ancient forms of yoga defended by awakened individuals (the Trojan heroes) had as their highest goal the ‘peace of liberation in the spirit’ (the Palladium),, and no evolution was possible as long as the seeker persisted in considering flight into the kingdoms of the spirit and the escape of worldly life as the only possibility for perfection.
This state is well described by the Mother (Mother’s Agenda Volume 1, p. 379): ‘For, you see, you can go right to the height of your consciousness and from there sweep away the difficulties (at a certain moment of the Sadhana, difficulties truly don’t exist, it’s only a matter of nabbing the undesirable vibration and it’s over, it’s reduced to dust). And everything is fine up above, but down below it’s swarming.(…) The mastery must be a TRUE mastery, a very humble and austere mastery which starts from the very bottom and, step by step, establishes control. As a matter of fact, it is a battle against small, really tiny things: habits of being, ways of thinking, feeling and reacting.’
The birth and youth of Paris-Alexander
Different sources suggest that the seeker intuitively knows that the ‘Trojan’ position, the certainty of having arrived at the end of the path, must be questioned, as illustrated by a vision beheld by Priam’s spouse.
Hecabe, who was pregnant, dreamed that she was giving birth to a burning torch or to a creature of a hundred arms that breathed out fire, incinerating the forests of Ida and Troy and entirely destroying the city. When the child was born, the soothsayers advised that the child was to be abandoned. A female bear fed him for five days, after which he was discovered by shepherds, who named him Paris and raised him.
Once he matured into an adult, he was gifted with remarkable strength and beauty. Later he was renamed Alexander because he was able to repel brigands and protect the flocks.
What within the seeker ”wishes to break away from incarnation’ (Hecabe), nonetheless intuits that the pillars of ancient forms of spirituality are to disappear if the seeker refuses to evolve. This is as much true of the structure which supports the ‘right movement towards the spirit’ as the energy which feeds this union (Troy will be razed to the ground and the forests of Ida burned).
That which surges forth in the being during this phase of the path expresses, through Paris, the realisation of a degree of ‘equality’. Widening out, this equality brings greater truth and power; Paris was gifted with remarkable beauty and strength.
Alexander, the new name given to Paris, can be interpreted in different ways but with the same final meaning. Either his name could signify ‘he who repels man’, symbol of a refusal to admit to an evolutionary possibility beyond the liberation of the spirit or ‘he who repels his external nature without seeking to master it’ (he repels or pushes away wild beasts), concerned only with protecting what he has acquired (he who ‘protects’ the flocks).
The order in which the child receives the two names varies according to the author, which is understandable as he represents two simultaneous movements, a growth in equality and a rejection of external nature (or a renouncement of transformation). Here we will use both words interchangeably.
Paris was breastfed by a bear for five days. From this image it can be extrapolated that one of the first movements to appear in the Trojan lineage borrows qualities from the Arcadian lineage which have amongst its last realisations ‘a vast mastery’ and ‘equality’ (Amphidamas and Atalanta). Arcas is in fact ‘he who resists, who holds firm’ (he who endures) and his name is very alike that of the bear, thus symbolising a combination of power and endurance.
From the moment in which important changes linked to the yogic process and supported by the experiences and wisdom of the ‘glorious forefathers’ appear, the seeker distances them from his consciousness; so as not to provoke the ruin of Troy, the child is distanced from the royal lineage and abandoned to the mercy of wild beasts.
To entrust a young infant – an emerging movement – to a hostile environment and to put him through the trial of death marks a great rite of passage requiring a complete abandonment to the Absolute. The reply of the Divine is then given without the seeker’s awareness of it, and guides him ‘on the margins of his spiritual preoccupations’; as a usual procedure in myths, the child is rescued and raised by a shepherd.
The way in which Paris-Alexander found his place within the royal lineage is but rarely mentioned.
Having become a shepherd himself, he was part of Priam’s court and participated in the famous games in honour of the child believed dead (Paris himself). He in fact wished to reclaim the bull which had been taken from his flock to be given as a prize. He emerged triumphant against all the other contestants, and was then recognised by his sister Cassandra.
Thus, ‘that which from the heights of the spirit refuse the transformation of human nature ‘ (for Homer also refers to Cassandra as Alexandra, ‘she who rejects man’), is reconnecting with a similar but complementary energy (symbolised by Paris-Alexander); Cassandra-Alexandra and Paris-Alexander are therefore the yin and yang aspects of the same movement rejecting the possibility of the transformation of external nature.
To explain why this receptive and therefore intuitive yin energy is afterwards inefficient, the myths specify that once Cassandra having rejected Apollo’s advances, the god had taken away from her prophecies the power of convincing their hearers; as the seeker refuses to forge a link between his highest mental perception and the psychic light, the intuitive elements which could have better supported the supremacy of ancient forms of yoga are rejected by active consciousness (the prophecies of Cassandra were never taken seriously by the Trojan leaders).
Helen’s suitors and her marriage to Menelaus
Homer mentions neither the other suitors nor their oaths to support Menelaus.
It must be remembered that Helen is ‘ the most beautiful of mortals’, and therefore represents the ‘truest’ evolutionary path towards liberty. As a daughter of Leda, she belongs to the lineage of Protogenia, that of the ‘adventurers of consciousness’. She has Zeus as divine father and Tyndareus as human father, which places her within the lineage of the Pleiad Taygete, symbol of the plane of the intuitive mind or intuition which precedes the overmind, this last plane being incarnated by the Pleiad Maia, mother of the god Hermes. At this point in the yogic process, Helen therefore represents the highest conception of evolutionary truth accessible to the spirit, a truth which remains governed by the world of the gods, that of the overmind. It is only by the light of this last plane that the adventurer will become ‘a light to himself’, equal to that of the gods (Autolycos, ‘he who follows his own light’, is a son of the god Hermes).
A number of paths therefore seek to put themselves forward as the best able to lead to this greatest freedom: these are Helen’s suitors.
Fragments from the Catalogue of Women indicate the following names, but there may have been others that have been lost.
Ulysses, ‘he who strives for the union of the two currents which unite spirit and matter’ and therefore also ‘the equilibrium between the masculine and feminine polarities’.
– Thoas, ‘evolutionary speed (in experiences)’.
– Podarces, ‘he who advances swiftly upon the path’ (a son of the Achaean Iphiclos, who must not be confused with Podarces-Priam).
– Protesilaos, ‘the best of vision’.
– The great Ajax, ‘the widening of consciousness in incarnation’.
– Elephenor, literally ‘the man of ivory’, symbolic of ‘a thorough purification down to the level of the body’.
– Idomeneus, ‘he who desires union’ (a grandson of Minos, not to be confused with the homonymous Trojan).
– Alcmaeon, ‘an ardent quest’ and/or ‘a powerful consecration’, and Amphilochus, ‘he who is watchful’, both sons of the seer Amphiaraos, ‘he who draws near to the right perception’.
– Menelaus is not mentioned in this list. The poem suggests that the Dioscuri would have given their sister’s hand in marriage to one of them if Agamemnon had not intervened in favour of his brother Menelaus; despite some hesitation, it is ‘the greatest aspiration’, Agamemnon, who is alone able to discern the best path towards freedom, Helen, that is the one symbolised by Menelaus, he who is ‘an unwavering will fixed on its goal’.
Apollodorus gives a list of thirty-one names indicating other realisation of the same kind. These are for the most part the same as those mentioned by Homer in the Catalogue of Ships (Iliad Canto 2), the canto from the Iliad in which are listed the contingents of the Achaeans setting out to Troy, as well as those of the defenders of Troy.
Tyndareus asked all of Helen’s suitors to take an oath by which they would swear to support whosoever amongst them would be chosen if he faced aggression due of his marriage.
Menelaus won her, for he was ‘the wealthiest of the Achaeans’, but he would not have done so if Achilles had been amongst the suitors (some versions of this story claim that it was Tyndareus who made the decision, or even Helen herself).
Menelaus therefore married Helen, and inherited the kingdom of Sparta at the death of his father-in-law Tyndareus.
The oath indicates that the seeker foresees a number of potential difficulties, and that his yogic work of progress towards greater freedom will not be possible with only one form of yoga but will require the support of others.
This is ‘what desires and aspires for greater freedom’, or ‘an unshakeable will fixed upon its goal’ that is put forward by the seeker to pursue his quest of freedom, for it is his most developed quality (Menelaus, the wealthiest of the Achaeans, is chosen). It may appear surprising that Achilles is not listed as one of the suitors, but this is because he was too young at the time; the yoga of the depths of the being, striving for a complete purification in the depths of the vital through an attention given to the most minute movements of consciousness, had not yet begun.
The judgement of Paris
At the time of Thetis and Peleus’ marriage, Eris brought about a quarrel between Hera, Athena and Aphrodite, who wished to determine which amongst them was most beautiful. Zeus asked Hermes to lead the goddesses to Mount Ida, where Paris was to pick out the most beautiful (Paris is later described as a shepherd, but it can be assumed that he was more likely to have been a royal wandering shepherd who had found his place within the lineage again).
The goddesses all strove to be chosen: Athena offered Paris glory (success in battle), Hera absolute sovereignty (the governance over all of Asia), and Aphrodite promised him that she would make him the most handsome and desirable of men. According to certain sources, she also promised him Helen’s love.
As an outcome of this judgement Paris abandoned his lover Oenone.
Some early versions of this story claim that Zeus wished to trigger the Trojan War; when the right moment comes, it is an impulse of the supraconscient which opens new paths.
In the Iliad, Homer describes this as the madness of Paris, who had displeased Hera and Athena in favour of one who offered him an object of painful desire – for Aphrodite had promised Helen to him.
According to another version of the story, he chose ‘she who promised to make him the most desirable of men’, which would suggest that it may have been Helen who succumbed to the charms of Paris-Alexander rather than the inverse; it would then have to be understood that in his quest for truth, the seeker loses his way in the rejection of external human nature. This would explain the shift in Helen’s attitude, as can be seen in the Iliad when in the last year of the war she bitterly regrets her previous union with Menelaus.
Whether Helen was the seduced or the seductress, she left for Troy out of her own free will, even bringing with her a number of Menelaus’ belongings according to Homer. This indicates that at this point it is obvious for the seeker that the path towards greater freedom includes a rejection of the human dimension. Given this, it is therefore of little importance whether it was Helen or Paris who was first seduced.
This story suggests a third cause of the Trojan War following the seeker’s refusal to honour his spiritual commitments (Laomedon) and the introduction of a deviation at the moment in which peace resulting from both mental and vital liberation was established as a supreme goal of yoga (Ate was cast down onto the earth at the same time as the Palladium).
But when the right time has come and the seeker wishes to restore the just operating laws that lie at the roots of life (following the marriage of Thetis and Peleus), the supraconscient opens the new paths of evolution and pushes beyond the limits of earlier forms of spirituality (Zeus intended to provoke the war). But the power of separation intervenes simultaneously to distance the seeker from the path of transformation in the depths with which he was beginning to engage (Eris provoked a quarrel during the marriage of Thetis and Peleus). As long as the seeker is unready, obstacles obstruct his path so as to later strengthen an opposite movement; the obstacle works as a lever. Said in another way, the seeker who wishes to accelerate the evolutionary process comes up against forces which profit from what is existing, and wish to maintain their hold on the world.
It must be remembered that Eris, whose name is constructed around the character Rho as are the names Hera, Ares and Eros, can indicate both a right movement and its opposite, both of which exert pressure to arrive at the same result. This is why in Works and Days Hesiod identifies two goddesses who carry this name, an awful one abhorred by men, and another, ‘emulation’, the daughter of Nyx the night, given by Zeus as a form of stimulation.
During a first and rather lengthy phase, the supraconscient retreats into the background and puts the choice of the new orientation into the hands of ‘equality’, judging it to be sufficiently established (Zeus leaves the task of judgement to Paris). This equality is then in fact the highest spiritual realisation of the seeker, for Hector, the eldest brother of Paris, only symbolises the quest towards the heights of the spirit. But it also stems from the path most inclined to negate the possibility of the transformation of the lower nature (the Trojan lineage).
It is the overmind which guides the seeker towards the obligation of making a choice, with the goal of a deepening union within the spirit (Zeus dispatches Hermes to guide Paris towards Mount Ida).
The subject of the dispute is determining which of the spiritual powers of the overmind plane personified by the three goddesses is the appropriate one to lead closest to divine Truth: the inner guide striving towards discerning intelligence and mastery of external nature, the right movement in the spirit or love in evolution.
Each of the spiritual powers is then perceived in relation to the present realisation, and expresses the advantages which the seeker could acquire from each if he followed the corresponding path:
– Athena promises him success in battle; by relying completely on the force which supports the development of the discerning intelligence for mastery, the seeker could emerge victorious from all yogic combat which aims at a development of the inner being and full mastery.
– Hera promises him absolute power (according to some sources dominion over Asia, or over what is New); it is perhaps not only a question here of the power given by Knowledge through identity, but of direct Power over matter originating from an identification with the latter (See Mother’s Agenda Volume 2, 23rd December 1961).
– Aphrodite promises him that she will make him the most handsome and desirable of men, suggesting that no woman could then resist his charms, not even the most beautiful amongst them. In other words, the truth of evolution, Helen, would automatically associate herself with the equality which he represents, an equality achieved through the path of the ascension of the planes of consciousness that rejects the rendering divine of matter. That is to say that at the evolutionary stage of love in man during that period of ancient Greece (representative of a certain stage of yoga), there was no better evolutionary path towards Love than a perfect equality, for Paris, ‘the just movement towards equality’, is associated with the rejection of the perfecting of external nature.
On the other hand, Aphrodite’s promise of giving Helen to Paris (or, according to the summary given by the Cyprian Odes, when she led Helen and Paris to the same bed) suggests that the goddess, who represents love in evolution, leads the seeker into error by supporting the Trojan path. It would then be fitting for the seeker to accept that for a length of time a rejection of the perfecting of the lower nature is the right path for an evolution towards love, unless this promise aims only at seeing through a purification leading to sainthood.
Since the marriage of Helen and Menelaus, the ‘evolutionary truth towards greater freedom’ became the object of an ‘unshakeable will’ of the seeker within the lineage of aspiration, of his will for progress and his capacity for endurance (Menelaus belongs to the lineage of Tantalus).
At this stage of the quest the seeker, considering on the one hand that his realisation of equality in the separation of spirit and matter is the highest achievement of yoga and the most conducive to evolution, and on the other hand that Love transcends all, chooses love as an expression of the highest evolutionary truth (Paris declares that Aphrodite is the most beautiful of the three goddesses).
As we understand it, it is not the choice which is erroneous, but the lack of a perfect consecration which brings about a deviation. This has led Sri Aurobindo to affirm that Truth must be incarnated in humankind before divine Love is able to take its place within it. For corporeal matter itself could not resist the descent of Love in its original intensity, and man would be annihilated by it instantaneously.
The abduction of Helen
When Menelaus and Helen’s daughter Hermione was nine years of age, Paris-Alexander set off for Attica. He was first welcomed by the Dioscuri and then set off for Sparta, which Menelaus had inherited through his marriage with Helen. Menelaus celebrated his arrival during nine days, and then left Sparta for Crete for the funeral rites of his grandfather Katreus. Aphrodite then led Paris and Helen to the same bed. Paris persuaded Helen to leave with him, and both embarked for Troy during the night with many of Menelaus’ treasures, leaving Hermione in Sparta. Helen’s participation was fully consensual, for she later admitted to having been blinded by love.
During their voyage, Hera sent forth a storm which obliged them to come to port at Sidon. They were later joined in marriage on the island of Cranae, and celebrated their wedding upon their arrival in Troy.
It must be remembered that Helen was first abducted by Theseus when she was not yet nubile, indicating a relatively unadvanced stage in the process of liberation.
The second abduction by a Trojan prince demonstrates that the seeker has chosen to consider that the evolution towards greater freedom must cease to be the object of an aspiration expressing itself though an unshakeable endurance and will for purification so as to henceforth be sought outside of incarnation (Helen of the Spartan lineage leaves Menelaus of the lineage of Tantalus to unite with Alexander). This work of aspiration in action had however been maintained for a full cycle, if we consider the time of Hermione’s growth towards puberty, nine years being indicative of a cycle of gestation. It must also be noted that the name Hermione is built from the same word root Rho-Mu (ΡΜ) as the name Hermes, with the Nu indicating evolution, and suggesting an evolution in the overmind.
The affirmations of the Cyprian Odes, according to which Alexander was first welcomed by the Dioscuri, has no other aim than that of indicating that the seeker has not yet achieved non-duality in the spirit, for the conflict between the two brothers with Idas and Lynkeus has not yet taken place.
Menelaus welcomed Paris-Alexander generously, but was obliged to leave temporarily to attend the funeral of his grandfather Katreus, son of Minos. This reminds us that the lineage of the Atrides is moving from Atreus towards more purification because the wife of Atreus is Aerope, daughter of Katreus, himself son of Minos in the lineage of Océanos. The death of Katreus indicates that the path towards the heights of the spirit is completed.
Katreus had four children: a son named Althaimenes, ‘he who causes the soul to grow’, and three daughters, Apemosyne, ‘she who is without suffering’, Aerope, ‘a mental vision’, and Clymene, ‘she who is of great renown’.
For reasons explained below, the seeker who ‘rejects’ or pushes away man but is concerned with making love blossom within himself considers himself to be on the correct evolutionary path (under the influence of Aphrodite, Paris-Alexander and Helen come together and set off for Troy).
The change of orientation took place within a certain degree of inconscience (they eloped at night), but the seeker maintains a number of realisations obtained through his yoga of action (they carried away with them a good portion of the treasures of Menelaus, son of Atreus).
At this stage he is however obliged to deepen his understanding of divine love, for Hera brings about a storm which obliges the lovers to stop at Sidon, its name signifying pomegranate fruit. It must be remembered that the ancient Greeks considered the pomegranate, a fruit consecrated to the goddess Aphrodite, to be a symbol of love and fertility, and that according to the Mother it is a symbol of ‘Divine love spreading upon the earth’ (Mother’s Agenda, Volume 9, 2nd November 1968).
According to Homer (Iliad III:443), this new orientation does not begin without difficulties; the lovers are joined in marriage on the island of Cranae, an island that is ‘rough and rocky’.
In a seemingly quite ancient version of this tale, it was only an ‘eidolon’ of Helen, an ‘image’ or ‘reflection’, which was taken to Troy, while the real Helen spent the duration of the Trojan War with Proteus or else in Egypt.
Like Nereus, Proteus is a divinity of the archaic vital, an ‘old man of the sea’. He therefore also symbolises the forces active in the extreme depths of the vital.
These authors must have considered that ‘the most rightful evolution towards truth’, Helen, could not be misled. It was therefore only her image which engaged itself in the Trojan error, while the quest for truth continued its work in the depths of vital consciousness down to the level of the body, if we keep in mind the omega included in the name Proteus.
The first gathering at Aulis and the first expedition to Mysia.
The two Atrides, Agamemnon and Menelaus, were informed of the flight of Helen and Paris by Iris, and consequently organised an expedition and brought together the heroes in Aulis. In fact, due to their promise, Helen’s former suitors were obliged to support Menelaus in the offence brought upon his marriage.
Just before the gathering together of the heroes there took place the conflict between the Dioscuri Castor and Polydeuces and the Apharetides Idas and Lynkeus (This conflict is explained in the preceding chapter and mentioned again earlier in this chapter).
Agamemnon and Menelaus first sought out Nestor, who accompanied them to assemble the heroes and their troops. Two notable events marked this endeavour: Ulysses’ ‘madness’ and the ‘disguising’ of Achilles.
The battle for the reorientation of yoga which has been led astray into an erroneous direction cannot take place without the participation of a hero present from the beginning of the great epics; Nestor, symbolising the work of ‘integrity’ or of ‘the just evolution of rectitude’ (and perhaps also of the ‘integration of experience’). He represents the only tool of an active yoga present from the beginning (he was the only one of the twelve children of Neleus, grandson of Salmoneus, not to be slain by Heracles). It is not a question of maintaining a virtuous position here, but of providing consistency between the inner being and the external nature, which is a growth of sincerity.
Ulysses’ feigned insanity
When Agamemnon and Menelaus reached Ithaca, they found Ulysses feigning insanity in order not to set off to war, even though he had taken the oath to support Menelaus.
Palamedes unmasked him using a variety of tricks which vary according to different sources, but which most often include threats of slaying his son Telemachus.
Several sources mention that as a part of his pretence of madness, Ulysses had harnessed animals of different kinds to his chariot.
Within the lineage of Deion, Ulysses (or Odysseus) represents that aspect of the seeker which struggles with all its might, and with the support of the light of the overmind, to achieve a transparency of being through ‘the action of the two currents uniting spirit and matter’. However, there are not many details in this myth which can help us understand Ulysses’ refusal to collaborate. Hyginus alone specifies that Ulysses was informed by a prophecy that he would be absent for all of twenty years, an indication of the premonition of a very long inner struggle.
This shirking away from duty is perhaps simply a stepping back on the part of the seeker who intuits a very challenging yoga ahead, akin to Arjuna’s refusal in the Bhagavad Gita to engage in a war against members of his own family.
To convince this part of himself, the seeker must therefore appeal to a ‘logical intelligence’ applied to the path (Palamedes, son of Nauplios), who makes him understand that if he persists in his refusal, the battles of the future yoga will not be able to occur (Telemachus, ‘he who combats in the far distance’, would die). We will in fact see that Palamedes represents ‘the intelligence of the path’ which contributes to discernment.
When the expedition to Troy was first planned, Thetis (or Peleus) concealed his young son Achilles at Skyros, disguising him as a girl in the midst of the women of king Lycomedes’ court. According to some sources, the young women of the palace nicknamed him Pyrrha after his fiery-coloured hair. It was Ulysses who unmasked him by drawing out his deeply ingrained warrior nature.
During his time at Skyros, Achilles fathered a son, Neoptolemus, with the king’s daughter Deidameia.
(According to another version – the author of which most probably considered the young man’s female disguise to be incompatible with the act of fathering a son – this episode takes place only after the first missed departure for Troy, when it is said that Achilles was swept away till Skyros by a storm following the disembarkation at Mysia).
While the seeker mentally balks before his commitments (Ulysses feigns insanity), he also does not hasten to carry out a work in the depths of the vital. In fact, the spiritual power (or that which works in darkness if it is Peleus who brings Achilles to Skyros) which has undertaken this work in the depths of the being is aware that if he participates in the movement of reversal, the ‘glory’ obtained by his complete mental and vital liberation will not endure (Thetis knew that his son would enjoy a glorious but short life if he took part in the Trojan War). It therefore hides from conscious awareness the movement which will allow the reversal to take place (it hides Achilles away from sight).
The seeker therefore has the choice of remaining for a long time a liberated yet living individual, without bringing new elements to evolution. But if he engages in battle he will be unable to profit for long from the advantages resulting from the access to non-duality and the liberation of the spirit, for another kind of yoga awaits him, one more challenging than he can yet imagine at that moment.
Thus this movement is dissimulated among the potential realisations of what ‘concerns itself with the light’; the task of the ‘accomplishment of liberation’ is maintained, oriented towards the heights of the spirit amongst the objectives of realisation of an ‘illuminated’ spirit (and thus inoperative for the transformation of the outer being).
According to Hyginus, from this stage onward the seeker in fact possesses a very strong connection with the light issued from the overmind, for Achilles is red-headed. This at least in part confirms the establishment of the seeker in the overmind, for it must be remembered that the other great hero, Ulysses, is associated with this plane by his great-grandfather Hermes, and Homer describes him as characterised by ‘a mind equal to that of Zeus’.
But the fundamental nature of the warrior-seeker prevails; once he has taken the irrevocable decision of consecrating his life to yoga, he can no longer ignore the power of his commitment (Achilles cannot resist the call to arms, even when he is tempted to distance himself from the field of battle). This part of the myth is more coherent if Peleus is the perpetrator of the dissimulation.
At this stage of the path the seeker is in the process of concluding his work of mastery; with Deidameia, ‘she who passes beyond mastery’ (she who kills that which submits to the yoke)’, he fathered Neoptolemus, ‘the new battles’, a hero who participated in the final destruction of Troy. This birth therefore symbolises the end of the personal yoga and the beginning of the direct action of the spiritual forces within a vitally and mentally transparent being.
The first disembarkment at Mysia
We will later on discuss the Achaean leaders and their military contingents, described in detail in the second book of the Iliad known as the Catalogue of Ships. Each leader represents a specific task necessary for this stage of the path, and the number of boats and of men probably indicates the degree of completion necessary.
The Achaeans launched the first expedition about two years after the abduction of Helen. Upon reaching the shores of Asia Minor, the heroes mistook a city of Mysia for Troy. Telephus was its king.
It must first be noted that neither of these two failed attempts for setting out for Troy are mentioned by Homer. They were probably added later on to explain certain initial meanderings in the great change of yoga.
The account of the first expedition is quite complex, as it brings in the intervention of several lineages and stages of the great reversal.
It is closely associated with the seeker’s confusion regarding the nature of the ‘lights’ he can perceive. This misunderstanding is in fact linked to the story of king Telephus, of which several versions exist. Here we will discuss the most simple of these versions.
Heracles entered into a union with Auge, daughter of Aleos in the royal Arcadian lineage, who bore the hero a son named Telephus. In anger, Aleos shut away his daughter Auge and her child in a trunk, which he cast into the ocean. It drifted till the shores of Mysia, where it was found by king Teuthras, who married Auge and raised the child.
Once he had grown to adulthood, Telephus took Teuthras’ place on the throne.
When the Achaeans disembarked and attacked the city Telephus pushed them back, slaying Thersander, son of Polynices, and was himself wounded by Achilles.
When they set sail again the Achaeans were hit by a storm which dispersed their ships and brought Achilles to Skyros.
As Telephus was advised by an oracle that only the one to have inflicted his wound would be able to heal it, he left for Argos in search of Achilles. He was healed after promising the Achaeans to show them the way to Troy and pledging not to support the Trojans, even though he was married to a Trojan woman himself (identified by certain authors as Laodice, daughter of Priam, or Astyoche, daughter of Laomedon). However, his son Eurypylus would later on take the side of the Trojans against the Achaeans, and was subsequently slain by Neoptolemus the son of Achilles.
Dispersed at Mysia, the Achaeans only regrouped at Argos two years later. Eight more years passed before they launched their second campaign against Troy.
We can only understand the general sense of this period in the following way:
The seeker is aware that it is a matter of bringing an end to the domination of the mind in the orientation of the quest; the Trojan lineage in fact belongs to the plane of the illumined mind within the descendance of Electra.
However, because of his power of endurance he has experienced ‘flashes of light’ which push him to orient the process of purification and liberation in the direction indicated by these flashes of lights in view of a distant light or truth (Heracles entered a union with Auge, who bore Telephus). But if we consider the union with Astyoche mentioned by Apollodorus, this quest for truth is linked at first with ancient yogic truths which build the foundations of sainthood and wisdom (Telephus unites with a Trojan woman, Astyoche, ‘the concentrated personality’ or Laodice, ‘the just manner of acting in all parts of the being).
During the first attempts at a reorientation of yoga, the seeker mistakes the ‘lights’ of the mind – those in which he must cause a reversal – with those he seeks and experiences as results of his purification, but which have become associated with past conceptions. A lengthy maturation period must therefore elapse before a new attempt can be made.
There is every reason for assuming that the lights resulting from purification are linked to the psychic being, especially as Apollo and Artemis support the Trojans in the war (although no connection is drawn with these two divinities in this particular myth).
However, during this first attempt there occurs a remarkable phenomenon; the extinguishing of the powerful inner fire which marks the conclusion of a long process of purification and liberation (the death of Thersander, ‘the burning man’). The Catholic contemplative Bernadette Roberts attributes this to the possibility that the Divine henceforth occupies the entire space once the ego has given in. However, no confirmation of this supposition has been found in Mother or Sri Aurobindo’s works.
This task, directed towards a ‘distant light’, oriented towards the heights of the spirit and ignorant of matter, leads to a ‘great threshold’, most probably the one from beyond which spiritual traditions claim it is not possible to return (Eurypylus, ‘a vast doorway’, son of Telephus and of a Trojan princess). It is the ‘battles of the future’ which will put an end to this path (when Neoptolemus slays Eurypylus at the end of the war).
Telephus belongs to the royal lineage of Arcadia, the principal figures of which can be outlined again here. Arcas, ‘the power of endurance’, son of Callisto ‘the most beautiful’ and of Zeus ‘the supraconscient’, wed Leanira, ‘she who is attached to liberty’. From this union is born Aphidas, ‘he who severs’, and Elatus, ‘he who adapts’. Aphidas fathers a son named Aleos, ‘the task of liberation’. This work, being allied to a strong incarnation (Stheneboea, sister of Aleos), generates a powerful aspiration for light: Auge, ‘flash of light’, and Lycurgus, ‘he who desires the nascent light’, grandfather of Atalanta, ‘equality’, a heroine who participates in the Calydonian Boar Hunt. Auge entered into a union with Heracles and engendered Telephus, ‘that which shines in the distance’.
However, because of his power of endurance the seeker has experienced ‘flashes of light’ which encourage him to direct the process of purification and liberation in their direction with the goal of a distant light or truth (Heracles came together with Auge, who bore Telephus). But at that moment of the quest the task of liberation appears to him to be primary (Aleos is in fact angered by this birth). He therefore rejects those ‘flashes of truth’ till a movement in the direction of consecration takes the initiative of deepening them (Auge is abandoned with her son to the tides of the ocean, till she is washed ashore and claimed by the king of Mysia as his bride. It is sometimes said that Aleos gave them to Nauplios, who in turn presented them to Teuthras, which would hold the same symbolic meaning.)
Later versions add that Aleos feared that his own sons would be killed by his daughter’s child if she became a mother; the fact that the seeker places liberation above all else is thus underlined, for he fears that his realisations in the domain of purification and liberation may disappear in favour of the quest for truth.
During the first attempts at a reorientation of yoga, the seeker mistakes the ‘lights’ of the mind – the very ones in which he must cause a reversal – with those he seeks and experiences as results of his purification, but which have become associated with past conceptions (the heroes had mistaken the city of Mysia governed by Telephus and his Trojan consort with Troy itself).
The inner fire will then disappear under the effects of an aspiration for a greater light, signalled by the death of Thersander, ‘the burning man’, son of Polynices, ‘he who wages numerous battles’, killed by Telephus, ‘that which shines in the far distance’.
This fire is replaced by an aspiration for the truth of the future represented by Telephus. But here aspiration is tied to the ancient truths of yoga, those which establish the foundation of sainthood and wisdom (Telephus is married to a Trojan woman, Astyoche, ‘the concentrated personality’, or Laodice, ‘just action in all parts of the being’). She is therefore herself undermined by a work of consciousness on the most minute of daily events for deep purification (due to his marriage, Telephus was obliged to fight against the Achaeans, and was wounded by Achilles).
This aspiration can only establish itself again when the suspicion of what had undermined it is replaced by an alliance with a work on the depths of the being (Telephus has been warned by an oracle that only he who had inflicted the wound could heal it, and so left for Argos to find Achilles). But even while being attached to it, it must also avoid supporting the division of spirit and matter (Telephus must not himself bring aid to the Trojans, even though he is associated to them through marriage).
It is nonetheless this aspiration which must allow the seeker to orient himself towards the higher truths of yoga which are impeding the process of evolution and must undergo a reversal. Nevertheless, this vision accepts to no longer serve the goal which it had set for itself (Telephus must guide the Achaeans till Troy while renouncing to defend the city, despite his union with a Trojan woman). What is being described here is of course an inner dialogue and evolution.
This aspiration for light at the heights of the spirit leads to the ‘great threshold’ alluded to earlier in this text.
This first departure is also the subject of a myth in which appears Anios, a son of Apollo.
Anios invited the Achaeans to remain in Delos for nine years till a day fixed by destiny for the fall of Troy, knowing that his daughters, Oeno, ‘wine’, Spermo, ‘seed’, and Elais, ‘the olive tree’, would take care of them, for they possessed the power of materialising wine, grain and oil at will. The Achaeans declined this invitation.
According to some sources, the three sisters followed the Achaeans to Troy and saved them from starvation.
From this myth it can be understood that the seeker may be tempted to delay the task of the great reversal, for if he remains in contact with his psychic being (if he remains in Delos) he will have at his disposal a number of overwhelming realisations, for Anios, ‘he who heals’, is a son of Apollo and can furnish what is represented by the three universal symbols of wine, oil and grain. These can be understood as the joy of union or of ‘presence’ (wine), the power of creation of new forms (grain or seed), and that which brings light to darkness and also symbolises peace, strength and wisdom (oil).
Nonetheless, the seeker refuses to pause at the benefits afforded by the psychic light, a halt which would distance him from a deeper purification of his nature in view of the great reversal ahead. But he does not reject the benefits as such, for the king’s three daughters accompany the Achaeans to Troy.
Eight more years are to go by before the second assembly at Aulis which therefore took place ten years after Helen’s departure.
The second gathering at Aulis, the sacrifice of Iphigenia.
Much time therefore passes before the seeker engages himself in a reorientation of yoga. He must undergo a lengthy period of purification, ten years in total, which is to say the totality of a cycle of evolution which will culminate with the sacrifice of Iphigenia.
Homer does not mention Iphigenia at any point. The first version of this myth is given in the Catalogue of Women, or what it has been possible to reconstruct of it from a manuscript riddled with gaps and omissions. The heroine identified as Iphigenia in the abstract of the Cypria by Proclus is named Iphimedeia in the Catalogue of Women.
With Clytaemnestra Agamemnon had fathered Iphimedeia (or Iphigenia) with slender ankles, and Electra, whose beauty rivalled that of the goddesses.
The Achaeans assembled at Aulis could not set sail due to strong winds, the cause of which was revealed by the seer Calchas; Agamemnon had claimed to be Artemis’ superior as a hunter, provoking the goddess’ wrath. To appease her the Achaeans had to sacrifice Iphigenia.
They slaughtered the young woman on Artemis’ altar, or rather slaughtered her ‘eidolon’, Artemis having substituted her with a deer.
Then the goddess granted Iphigenia immortality and eternal youth and brought her amongst the Taures, where she became one of her followers.
(Euripides was the first to write that she was brought back from Tauridae by her brother Orestes and his friend Pylades)
Apollodorus adds that Iphigenia was the most beautiful amongst her sisters.
Aside from the realisations listed in the Catalogue of Ships, which describe the necessary preparation for the great yogic reversal, we are here dealing with a myth which evokes another imperative: ‘a powerful aspiration’ for deep purification still oriented towards ‘renowned wisdom’ must give up following this path, tending towards ‘that which is born with force’ and is seeking to manifest itself (married to Clytaemnestra, Agamemnon must accept the sacrifice of his daughter Iphigenia). It is not in fact a question of the betterment of present man towards greater wisdom, but rather of his transformation.
As long as the seeker lacks humility and consecration and believes himself to be the only one able to achieve purification in the depths of the vital, he cannot engage in the quest of the paths of the future (Agamemnon rests in an enclosure consecrated to Artemis, or else boasts of being a greater huntsman than the goddess, or in other versions is punished for his father Atreus’ failure to sacrifice the golden lamb). But the highest intuition leads him to understand that the process has not yet been completed.
In fact, the seer Calchas ‘the purple or crimson one’, son of Thestor, ‘sincerity’, was acquainted with the present, the future and the past. He is to be the soothsayer of Achaean camp till their return from Troy, when Mopsus will take his place. He represents a state of intuition of great purity linked to the ascension of the planes of consciousness and associated with a certain proximity to the psychic being. Mopsus, who is the son of Apollo himself, symbolises a direct transmission by the psychic light.
This indicates that the seeker must still purify an essential element of his nature.
It is not the ‘radiant truth of the illumined mind’ (symbolised by Electra, whose beauty rivals that of the goddesses themselves), but rather ‘that which desires to be born with force’, Iphigenia, or ‘that which wishes to put into effect a great purpose’ (Iphimedeia). It can be understood that the seeker must give way to the expression of a great task which pushes for its manifestation, a task of the order of a creation of the overmind rather than a simple project. This encompasses the establishment of a religion, or of any work aiming at the evolution of mankind.
The authors who recount that only an image of the young woman was sacrificed, suggest that only the personal form of the task must be abandoned while its essence must be preserved and given up to the Divine. A perfect consecration is required; that which must appear must belong to non-duality and constantly adapt to the movement of becoming, which is to say that it must belong to the eternal present (Iphigenia is granted immortality and eternal youth).
In addition, this task or purpose which seeks to emerge must in the first place put itself in the service of the power watching over purification (Iphigenia is taken to Tauridae to become a follower of Artemis).
All the same, Pindar and Aeschylus agree in stating that Iphigenia died at Aulis. They therefore opted for a pure and simple abandonment of any personal plan, of any aspiration to accomplish a work other than that of following the divine plan at each moment. Sophocles, who adheres to the same version, affirms that the young woman was drawn to Aulis by the false promise of marriage with Achilles, thus clearing Agamemnon; the seeker must not only acquire a greater humility, but must also cease to believe that he could satisfy a personal goal through his work on the depths of the being.
The voyage towards Troy – Philoctetes
According to early sources, the journey towards Troy was marked only by a single notable event.
Philoctetes, son of Poeas, participated in the expedition at the head of a contingent of seven ships and fifty archers from Magnesia. But he was bitten by a snake on the island of Tenedos. As his wound would not heal and emitted a nauseating smell, he was abandoned on the island of Lemnos, where he remained for the ten years of the war’s duration. He possessed Heracles’ bow, which either he or his father had inherited at the time of the hero’s death.
However a campaign would bring him back to Troy to participate in the Achaeans’ last offensive, for the city could not be seized without Heracles’ bow.
Philoctetes, ‘he who loves that which can be acquired’, son of Poeas, ‘he who builds’, is associated with a powerful aspiration (he is a native of Magnesia, and is accompanied by seven times fifty archers), and represents the will of implementing the ‘powers’ of the vital plane which have been revealed by the yogic work. In fact Poeas is himself a son of Thaumacus, ‘he how opens himself to the true vital in a wondrous way’. (Let us recall that Thaumas is the second son of Pontos).
Philoctetes possesses Heracles’ bow, which is to say the power of aspiration stretched towards a given goal in the process of purification and liberation. This bow is most probably also linked to the power of realisation, for like Ulysses’ bow it required great strength to be strung.
But from the moment in which begins the process of yogic reversal (the beginning of the war), the seeker must abandon his highest plans and renounce the use of power if he wishes to carry on with an evolution towards the unity of spirit and matter (Philoctetes is bitten by a snake on the island of Tenedos, ‘that which strives towards union’).
At this point the use of power interferes too strongly with the other active elements of the yogic work, which leads the seeker to turn away from them (the snake bite does not heal, and emits a nauseating smell which leads the Achaeans to leave Philoctetes behind). As long as the union of spirit and matter (or that of the opposing principles of masculine and feminine or separation and fusion) is not realised, and as long as the seeker moves forward through exclusion rather than integration, he will be unable to utilise these powers: Philoctetes is abandoned on the island of Lemnos – an island symbolic of the union of opposing polarities at every level – till the very last stages of the war.
It must in fact be remembered that during the ‘Quest of the Golden Fleece’, the Argonauts had sailed past this island and had formed unions with the women who inhabited it. The latter had slain their husbands, who had rejected them because of the distasteful odour they emitted. In this phase it is therefore the beginnings of the yogic process which are at stake; the seeker must position himself clearly both in relation to the forms of spirituality which are his heritage, as well as to more ‘exotic’ forms foreign to his own culture.
But as Philoctetes possessed Heracles’ bow, symbol of a ‘tension extended towards the goal’, his presence was necessary for the final conquest of Troy, which is to say for the new orientation of the process of purification and liberation towards matter. It is in fact indispensable that the transformation of the vital be a complete one, which is to say that a complete adherence of the vital to the yoga must be realized rather than maintaining one’s own demands such as sympathies, antipathies, attractions, repulsions, etc.
Arrival at the Trojan shores, and death of Protesilaos and Cyknus.
Thetis had advised his son Achilles not to disembark before the other warriors, for the first to set foot on the land would also be the first to die. The first was Protesilaos, who was to be slain by Hector. He would leave behind him an unfinished house.
Then Achilles slew Cyknus, a son of Poseidon who according to some was practically invulnerable. Other sources add that his skin and head were white.
The Trojans then took flight. The Achaeans caused many deaths in the enemy’s camp, and brought their ships to shore.
The meaning of the name Protesilaos is not clear. It seems to indicate ‘a putting forward of the mental personality’, the perfection of which is not wholly realised, for, according to Homer, Protesilaos left behind him an unfinished house. According to Apollodorus this is a matter of mastery, for he names his wife Laodamia ‘the mastery of the people’.
This episode suggests that the pursuit of perfection in the mind must cease in the process of reversal towards the future yoga.
This evokes the moment in which Sri Aurobindo and the Mother cease to work on the perfecting of the mind and the vital, having realised that a total perfection could only by possible after the transformation of physical matter.
A Trojan hero, Cyknus ‘the swan’, was also to lose his life in this first encounter. This bird is usually associated with Apollo, but here he is associated with the subconscient for Cyknus is a son of Poseidon. The Trojan campaign has till this point received the support of the psychic light acting through the subconscient to allow the realisation of sainthood. Radically changing the yogic orientation and occupying oneself with a deep purification – through a yoga in the depths of the being by the study of the most minute of the movements of consciousness – will cause the cessation of this subconscious help.
In other words, the realisation of sainthood is no longer helpful in the process of the reversal of the future yoga.
This is evocative of a passage from the Mother’s Agenda (Volume 2), in an entry from 15th July 1961: ‘For example, as I was saying at the beginning, the body’s formation has a very minimal, a quite subordinate importance for a saint or a sage. But for this supramental work, the way the body is formed has an almost crucial importance, and not at all in relation to spiritual elements nor even to mental power: these aspects have no importance AT ALL. The capacity to endure, to last is the important thing.’
The delegation to Troy
The Achaeans then sent a delegation to Troy, in which took part Menelaus and Ulysses, to request the return of Helen and Menelaus’ treasures. Some sources claim that the delegation was sent during their stay at the island of Tenedos, prior even to their arrival on Trojan shores.
The two heroes received a warm welcome from the Trojan Antenor, husband of Theano, a priestess of Athena. The latter brought the demands of the Achaeans before the Trojan assembly, considering them legitimate and not warranting the outbreak of war. But his opponents, led by Antimachos, received greater general support.
According to Homer the latter even proposed to have Menelaus slain on the spot, but this was vetoed. Antimachos had been manipulated by Paris-Alexander, who had influenced him with magnificent gifts of gold. But he paid a heavy price, for both his sons were immediately killed by Agamemnon.
Before the battle for reversal begins, the seeker attempts a last reconciliation between the two paths, through which he could profit from his earlier realisations and lead a quest for the perfecting of man in his present state – a quest for wisdom considered to be the only evolutionary truth -, and according to this hope could have been pursued alongside a yoga of the higher planes (the delegation sent to request the return of Helen and of Menelaus’ treasures).
The inner initiative is incited by Menelaus, ‘the will of liberation in incarnation’, and Ulysses, he who works to realise ‘the union of the two currents linking spirit and matter’ and the perfecting of the process of liberation from the overmind level.
But the seeker forgets that the liberation acquired at this stage rests on an imperfect equality, which had supported itself from the beginning on one of the three gunas, giving privilege to ‘heroic endurance, wise indifference or pious resignation’. But it is a much vaster spiritual equality which is henceforth called upon beyond the equality maintained by the discerning intelligent will (the buddhi). It cannot be satisfied by realisations such as impersonality or beatitude, which, when the seeker does not concern himself with the world of dualities, do not claim a perfect equality. (On this topic, refer to Sri Aurobindo’s Essays on the Gita, Chapter II, The Divine Teacher).
If a part of the being which aspires to union is ready for reconciliation (Antenor, ‘the man who goes forward to the encounter’, is joined with Theano, ‘the evolution of contemplation’), another more ‘persuasive’ one is deeply linked to the separation of spirit and matter (Antimachos, ‘he who fights against’, who in addition has received strong support from Paris-Alexander, a level of an incomplete realisation of ‘equality’. Following both paths simultaneously is then revealed to be impossible, and inner conflict becomes inevitable.
It would even seem that the seeker undergoes an inner attack, and is tempted to renounce a higher evolution of yoga (Antimachos asked that Menelaus, ‘an unwavering will extended towards its goal’, be killed on the spot).
Achilles’ capture of Aeneas’ cattle, the sack of cities in Asia, the murder of Troilus and the capture of Lycaon.
The nine first years of the war are quite sparse in details of notable events, and few accounts of this time have been preserved till our days.
It is generally said that the Trojans remained within their walls, hoping that the assailant would exhaust himself. Some sources claim that this did almost occur, and that Achilles was obliged to keep back the troops which wished to leave the battle.
However, it must be noted that all of the noteworthy events of this period were brought about by Achilles, although it is the latter’s refusal to act which constitutes the turning point of the Trojan War. In other words, this would indicate that the seeker initiates a work in the depths of the vital, and then pauses for a lengthy period, the lapse of Achilles’ ‘strike’, to allow the other parts of the being to bring themselves to the same point of evolution.
According to a later source which bases itself on the Cypria, Achilles captured Aeneas’ cattle on Mount Ida. This means that a realisation of ‘that which seeks to pursue an evolution towards the realisation of love’ towards the heights of a union in consciousness (Ida), are claimed by the movement of ‘purification of the depths of the being’, which interests itself with the most minute movements of consciousness and holds the destiny of the future evolution of yoga in its hands. In other words, the seeker progressively transfers the acquisitions of yoga to the side of a deepened purification.
The sack of the cities of Asia (the preliminary purification of a great reversal).
Achilles raided a great number of cities in Asia, eleven by land and eleven by sea. He brought back the booty to Agamemnon, who remained in the vicinity of the ships and only redistributed a small part of the treasures. Among these cities, let us cite Thebes in Cillicia, where perished the magnanimous Eetion, father of Andromache, Hector’s wife, and his seven sons. Achilles did not rob him of his property, but made him a funeral pyre with his weapons and gave him a dignified burial. Mountain nymphs, daughters of Zeus, planted elm trees around his grave.
These first years of war served to purify the most external blockages of the Trojan ‘evolutionary lock’.
It was Achilles, ‘he who must end the process of liberation’, who is here the movement acting on yoga. Situated not far from Troy, the cities which he ransacks in Asia symbolise the secondary structures established by the most advanced early forms of yoga, which must first be demolished either in the vital (those attacked by sea) or in their bodily habits (those attacked by land), before the seeker is able to begin working on the central knot.
(Apollodorus cites by name only fifteen of these cities, but alludes to there having been more than a hundred).
The sack of Thebes through the high door could indicate that it is the moment for the halting of the personal yoga of purification and liberation. This city is situated on the coast of Asia Minor, and must not be confused with its homonym in Boeotia, nor with Thebes in Egypt. However it shares a similar symbolism, representing ‘a structure of incarnation of the inner being’ aiming at exactness. It may therefore symbolise an accomplishment (the high door) of the purification which was the object of the two ‘wars’ in view of a widening of the centres of consciousness or chakras (the war of Seven against Thebes, and that of the Epigoni).
It is also at this point that are halted the active movements which result from ‘the highest mental consciousness’, and have as their object ‘a yoga of combat’ (Achilles slays Eetion and his seven sons). All the same, this active movement of the warrior of light who has allowed access to a union in the spirit deserves due consideration (even the muses of the mountains, the daughters of Zeus, paid their respects to Eetion and his sons).
But the very principle represented by Andromache, ‘the man who combats’, must be maintained (Andromache is safe). Although the seeker is at first oriented towards greater mastery (according to the name of her son Astyanax, ‘the master of the city’ within the process of the opening of consciousness towards the spirit, for she is the wife of Hector), he must henceforth pursue this in another way in the attitude of self-giving, consecration and abandon to the Absolute. This is why she will become the wife of Neoptolemus, ‘numerous battles’, upon the fall of Troy.
The murder of Troilus (the transcendence of the state of sainthood).
Troilus was a son of Priam, renowned for his beauty and the ‘glow of love shining on his blushing cheeks’. According to some authors he was a son of Apollo and Hecabe. Others claim that Achilles first fell in love with Troilus, but then pursued and killed him in a place consecrated to Apollo, where he had gone in the company of his sister Polyxena (many illustrations depict him with two horses).
Plautus affirms that the death of Troilus was one of the necessary preliminaries for the conquest of Troy.
Troilus represents ‘liberation through the right movement towards the heights of the spirit’. As a son of Priam, he is the symbol of a realisation of the illumined mind, and as a son of Apollo also that of a psychic realisation. He represents the movement towards the spirit which leads to the state of ‘realisation’, that of the ‘liberated living individual’ glowing with a very pure love (the glow of love shone on his cheeks). However, as beautiful as this realisation may be the seeker must not consider it as an ultimate accomplishment nor follow this path if he is searching for a greater freedom for humankind as a whole, which is why his death conditions the fall of Troy. This has led Sri Aurobindo to affirm that Truth must be incarnated in humankind for divine Love to be able to take its place within it. Nonetheless, realising a state of sainthood as a preliminary step is indispensable for the yogic progress, hence Achilles’ initial love for Troilus.
The presence of his sister Polyxena indicates that this state is accompanied by ‘numerous strange occurrences’, which is to say numerous powers.
The capture of Lycaon (the state of wisdom is constrained to limit its dominating influence)
Lycaon was a son of Priam and Laothoe, daughter of Altes. A lengthy passage in the Odyssey recounts how in the first years of war Achilles had taken him prisoner during a nocturnal raid and had sold him to Euenos of Lemnos, son of Jason. In exchange, Euenos had given him a resplendent silver bowl.
He was subsequently bought by Eetion of Imbros, who sent him to the divine city of Arisbe.
He escaped and returned to Troy at the very end of the war, twelve days before being recognised and slain by Achilles.
Lycaon, ‘the light preceding dawn’, represents an element of ‘true wisdom’, but which has been acquired on the path of the refusal of the divinisation of man (he was born of the Trojan lineage). This causes a division within the seeker, who supports himself on this luminous higher knowledge and strives to elaborate ‘a knowledge originating from the Emptiness which contains all’ according to the symbolism of the fig tree (which is analysed later on in this text) and on which he could support his yoga (he builds a ramp for a chariot from the wood of the fig tree).
The movement which pursues a total liberation then attempts to redress through force the orientation of this emerging ‘knowledge of truth’ appearing at the heart of the Trojan conception (Achilles takes Lycaon as his prisoner).
But after having been constrained to submit himself to the ‘just evolution’ in ‘the assembling of opposites’ (Lycaon was bought by Euenos of Lemnos), and subsequently to that of the ‘highest mental consciousness’ (Eetion), this element of ‘true knowledge’ will ally itself again on the side of its first orientation in the separation of spirit and matter, which will eventually cause its disappearance (Lycaon escaped and returned to Troy, where he was killed by Achilles some years later at the end of the war). But it is actually much more difficult to put an end to ‘knowledge’ than to ‘sainthood’.
This ‘knowledge’ assists through its work of union that of Ulysses (Lemnos), and then that of the ‘highest mental consciousness’ (Eetion). In the Agenda, the Mother repeatedly alludes to the need of renouncing the desire to be virtuous, which she specifies as renouncing the wish of appearing virtuous and renouncing to be ‘intelligent’ so as to accept to appear ‘stupid’ or ‘foolish’, which is much more difficult.
The death of Palamedes (the end of the aspect of the mind which transcribes divine laws through fixing them)
Palamedes, son of Nauplios and Hesione (and according to some, grandson of Poseidon and of the Danaid Amymone), was known as an inventor and a benefactor of the Achaeans. His inventions included weights, numbers, measures, the interpretation of the movement of heavenly bodies, and most importantly, writing.
Diomedes and Ulysses (or according to some accounts only the latter) were responsible for his death, the precise reasons for which remain unexplained. Some say that they hatched a plot against him, accusing him of having hidden some gold so that he was consequently stoned to death by the army for his betrayal.
His father Nauplios avenged him by first persuading the wives of several Greek heroes to be unfaithful to their husbands, such as Clytaemnestra with Aegisthus, and then by attempting to sink their ships upon the return of the Achaeans at the end of the war.
It must be remembered that Palamedes ‘the ingenious’ participated in the unmasking of Ulysses through a crafty strategy. He symbolises a logical mental capacity which brings its support to the seeker in the domains of organisation, evaluation, prevision, the memory of the path and the knowledge of symbols, all capacities which reveal logical intelligence, a form of reason which bases itself on memory and supports itself on the separative current necessary for individuation.
It is he who ‘skilfully navigates the path’ (his father is Nauplios) who has generated this superior state of understanding that is sometimes known as ‘wisdom’, and which is based on the experience of knowledge (sophia).
But in this work we reserve the term ‘wisdom’ for the highest state of the intuitive mind, which has required a pause of the habitual functioning of this separative logical mind. This is why Pindar recounts that Palamedes surpassed Ulysses in the domain of ‘sophia’, for Ulysses’ intuitive and integrative intelligence is far superior to this ‘sophia’ and reduces it to silence. Ulysses eventually slays Palamedes.
Palamedes’ mother is also known in different instances as Philyra, ‘she who loves the just movement’, Clymene, ‘she who is renowned, or who has followed a recognised path’, or as Hesione, ‘balanced consciousness or serenity’.
(As a grandson of Poseidon and Amymone ‘the irreproachable’, this hero expresses a powerful intervention of the subconscient)
But the points of reference are nevertheless a necessity, for without them the seeker runs great risks: Nauplios later carried out his revenge in every way possible, striving to deviate the yogic work either by giving it other aims and thus provoking instability and lack of perseverance, or by generating ‘false lights’ which prove catastrophic for the yogic progress (by persuading the women to be unfaithful to their husbands or by causing shipwreck).
THE TROJAN WAR (THE ILIAD)
The Iliad does not limit itself to a description of the conflict but incorporates numerous elements of the path, often simple allusions meant for a public who is already familiar with these stories. We have already encountered a number of these but will not be able to fit a detailed study of the text here for it would take several volumes.
For instance, the second book, also known as the Catalogue of Ships, lists the contingents which left for Troy along with the names of their leaders, their provinces and cities of origin, as well as the number of ships and of men on board. A similar but less detailed description of the Trojan troops is also given. If we consider that no detail is given randomly, this constitutes a structure of over six hundred names to be decoded and interpreted, and which probably describe the state to be attained by the seeker if he wishes to embark upon the adventure of the great reversal of yoga.
There are several aspects which we will therefore only be able to treat briefly in this discussion.
Book I: Achilles’ rage
The first book of the Iliad explains the reason for Achilles’ anger and for his consequent ‘strike’, or abstention from action, which is the main topic of the poem. In fact, as long as the seeker has not concluded the vital liberation and abstains from diving into the depths of the being for a deeper purification and engagement in an attentive observation of the most minute movements of consciousness, no decisive reversal can take place (Achilles is the king of the Myrmidons, ‘the ants’)
The war takes place in Asia minor, which is to say in the province of the most advanced seekers (in eastern Greece), and this episode takes place during the tenth year of the siege, at the end of an endless inner fight.
When Achilles returned to the Achaean encampment after sacking Thebes (a homonymous city located in Troad), ‘the saintly city’ governed by Eetion, he brought back numerous captives. Amongst these was Chryseis, daughter of the priest Apollo Chryses, who was given to Agamemnon.
But the priest sought out Agamemnon and asked him to give back his daughter to him in exchange for a sizeable ransom. Although the Achaean troops understood and approved the request, Agamemnon rejected it.
Chryses then appealed to Apollo, who cast a plague onto the army and thus claimed many men’s lives. As the soothsayer Calchas revealed the reason for this request, Agamemnon capitulated and agreed to return Chryseis against a compensation, and on the condition of claiming one of the women taken by Achilles, Ajax or Ulysses.
As Achilles reacted most violently to the demand of Agamemnon, who was known as ‘the most greedy of all’, the latter chose to claim Achilles’ share, the captive Briseis.
Achilles had brought her back from the sack of Lyrnessus, and at Agamemnon’s request drew his sword, incensed. But he was calmed by Athena, who had been sent by Hera. Having recognised the goddess and acting on the promise that he would be amply compensated for his loss, he obeyed and regained a hold on himself, but declared before all present that neither he nor his men would henceforth fight for Agamemnon.
In addition, he announced that the Atrides would suffer heavy losses. To be sure that this curse would be realised, he bade his mother Thetis to speak to Zeus to ensure that he would support the Trojans till Agamemnon understood his error.
In the meantime, the latter had sent his heralds to bring Briseis to him, and had asked Ulysses to lead Chryseis back to her father.
Zeus agreed with Thetis’ request, which elicited Hera’s wrath, for she guessed the motive of Thetis’ intervention.
Till the symbolic moment of the departure for Troy, the aspiration is turned towards the highest intuitive mental realisation, that which precedes the overmind and confers a ‘renowned wisdom’, which is to say one tending towards the bettering of man in his current state (Agamemnon is in fact married to Clytaemnestra, who belongs to the lineage of Taygete).
The war expresses at its beginnings the inner conflict between two paths, each of which claims evolutionary truth (Helen); the Trojan path which refuses to consider the possibility of integral human perfection but pursues mastery from the heights of consciousness, and that of the Achaeans, which aims towards a higher perfection of man but cannot yet accept that it is necessary to institute a radical transformation rather than simply an amelioration.
It must be remembered that Agamemnon is the king of the Mycenaean people, signifying ‘a violent ardour’. The city was founded by Perseus, who vanquished fear, and symbolises an inner elaboration which opposes itself to lukewarm half-heartedness. He therefore symbolises a seeker ‘free’ of any fear.
In the preliminary ‘cleansing’ of the neighbouring areas of Troy, that which fights for this amelioration strives to claim for itself certain realisations which concern the psychic light (Chryseis, ‘golden’, daughter of the priest Apollo Chryses), obtained through the process of purification and incarnation of the inner being (Thebes, the sacred city).
But once the fundamentals of the conflict are clearly defined, the ‘powerful aspiration’ of the seeker who aspires for perfection in action recognises that it is preferable to wish to acquire a psychic light rather than an intuitive mental one turned upon the bettering of man, irrespective of the wisdom gained by the latter (in the first years of war, Agamemnon had come to prefer the captive Chryseis, daughter of the priest of Apollo, to his own wife Clytaemnestra). But at this stage, the expression of the psychic being at the overmind level, which we refer to as ‘psychic light’, still supports the ancient yogic forms which separated spirit from matter (Apollo, son of Zeus and Leto, supports the Trojans).
The seeker will therefore no longer be able to ask for his support in combat (Agamemnon must give Chryseis back to him). Aspiring to a perfecting of the external being, he cannot keep this as a means (she is in fact a slave). He is doubtless still not sufficiently purified to act from the psychic being in all the details of daily life, even if the intuitive mind communicates a certain degree of light (Agamemnon belongs to the lineage of Pelops, who has a single ivory shoulder). Only he who pursues a purification and liberation in the depths of the being through the observation of the most minute movements of his being would be deserving this golden psychic light(Achilles had ‘won’ her in his first battles against Troy).
In an initial stage, the seeker believes himself to be more advanced than he truly is, and refuses to give in. He will have to undergo numerous reversals before admitting reality and listening to his inner being (Calchas). But the remains of ego keep him from submitting, and that which leads the process of reversal of the ancient forms of yoga pretends to be better able to utilise the realisation which must normally support the process of liberation in the vital, the extension of consciousness in incarnation or the realisation of transparency (Agamemnon requests Achilles’, Ajax’s or Ulysses’ booty as his own to make up for his loss). Ultimately it is ‘the power (of transformation through a union with the Absolute at the psychic level)’, Briseis, that he chooses.
Some authors describe Briseis ‘power’ as a daughter of a priest of Apollo like Chryseis, in which case she would represent a force originating from the psychic light. But Homer only mentions that she dwelt in the city of the soothsayer Mynes, ‘the evolution of consecration’, and that she was comparable to the golden Aphrodite. She therefore represents ‘a power of transformation through union with the Divine’ which can only be acquired through a work on the depths of the being, for Patroclus had promised her as a bride to Achilles.
This power of transformation can therefore not be acquired through an aspiration turned towards the perfecting of actual man towards greater wisdom. This would remain the cause of the Achaeans’ defeat till the end of Achilles’ refusal to fight.
The seeker is then warned by a communication issued from the heights of the overmind which is attentive to the right movement (Hera) through the force which watches over the yoga of discerning intelligence (Athena) to allow free play to this erroneous movement with the knowledge that he would be duly recompensed (Delegated by Hera, Athena bids Achilles to control his anger): the seeker knows that he must play out every possible error before the right movement can manifest itself.
Achilles insults Agamemnon by describing him as the most greedy of men, who never had the heart to arm himself and fight alongside his troops; the seeker is still firmly established in the heights of the liberation of the spirit, in the Self, and does not yet accept to return to the level of the common and everyday life where true transformation must occur.
The adjective ‘greedy’ often used to describe Agamemnon may therefore not only be an epithet to describe the intense aspiration which has led the yogic process till this advanced stage of personal liberation, but also describes in the seeker that which demands, justified by this great aspiration, a power of transformation at the collective level without carrying out the corresponding work.
On the other hand, the aspect of the seeker which pursues the process of liberation in the depths of the vital (Achilles) is wholly conscious of the means to be attributed to each of the parts collaborating in the yogic process, and does not wish to alter this, ‘the redistribution of that which we have pillaged’.
At this stage the seeker therefore cannot, or does not wish to, recognise the right path which will allow him to progress beyond this liberation in the spirit even though the movement in this direction is already engaged.
It must also be noted that Achilles does not in any way reproach the Trojans, which is to say that the seeker recognises the value of the ancient forms of yoga which have allowed both an evolution in the higher planes of consciousness and a psychic opening and transformation.
From this moment onward, a part of the seeker knows that work on the depths of vital consciousness cannot be continued as long as the erroneous movement has not been exhausted till it breaks down by itself (when the Trojans will be abreast of the Achaean fleets, and the situation will appear to be hopeless).
In addition he mobilises within himself the forces which rule over the most archaic vital (Thetis), bringing them in contact with the supraconscient in order that the latter put a stop to the actions which seek the bettering of man through personal power, although the separator movement might prevail for some time (Achilles asks Thetis to intervene to secure Zeus’ support of the Trojans).
Even Hera, the right divine law of evolution which supports the Achaeans, allows this to carry on for she knows that this is necessary at that moment. She is displeased however, for she is angered by anything which diverges from what is just.
The situation is therefore an accord between the deep vital and the supraconscient to allow the ancient movement to dominate till the last moment. Within the yogic process, the seeker will often come across desperate situations which unbalance the situation at the last moment.
It is probable that the entirety of the Trojan War being carried out under the influence of personal ‘power’ refers to what is described by the Mother when she outlines the accomplishment of the three conditions which shape the access to the supramental, and must be successively realised in the mind and the vital before the yoga of the body and their application to this plane can begin. This includes:
‘- Capacity for indefinite expansion of consciousness on all planes including the material.
– Limitless plasticity to be able to follow the movement of becoming.
– Perfect equality abolishing all possibility of ego reaction.’
(Mother’s Agenda, Volume 3, 12 January 1962.)
If we consider that all three conditions are already fulfilled on the mental plane, it would here be a question of a corresponding realisation on the vital plane, a realisation which gives formidable power with the ability of upturning the history of the Earth, a power which the seeker must “sacrifice” (offer to the divine) if he wishes to progress any further. The fact that Aphrodite and Apollo had supported the Trojans till the very end is most probably so that the emotional affect may be widened into the Supreme dimension.
(Mother’s Agenda Volume 3, 12 January 1962: ‘For thought, it’s elementary, very simple. It’s not difficult for the feelings either;for the heart, the emotional being, to expand to the dimensions of the Supreme is relatively easy. But this body! It’s very difficult, very difficult to do without the body losing its center. ” ‘And when I did it, I understood what people here in India mean when they say: he surrendered his experience .I had never really understood what that meant.When I did it, I understood. ‘No,’ I said,’I don’t want to stop there; I am giving it all to You, that I may go on to the end.’ Then I understood what it meant.Had I kept it, oh – I would have become one of those world-renowned phenomena, turning the course of the earth’s history upside down!’)
Book II: The forces present at Troy
Zeus sent Oniros to Agamemnon under the guise of Nestor to incite an offensive. The latter then, with the advice of the elders, put into practice a strategy to motivate the troops; while he himself encouraged them to return to their homes, the members of the counsel were to on the contrary encourage them to fight.
Agamemnon appeared before the troops and addressed them accordingly, holding the royal sceptre in his hands. It had been given by Zeus to Hermes, who had then given it to Pelops, after which it was in turn inherited by Atreus, Thyestes and Agamemnon.
Convinced by Agamemnon’s words, the troops were ready to turn back home, but Hera then bid Athena to hold them back. The latter appeared before Ulysses, who recognised her. The hero then received the sceptre from Agamemnon’s hands, and harangued the troops to remain and fight. Thersites alone blamed the kings and sought a quarrel with Agamemnon, but Ulysses soon put him in his place.
Then Nestor reminded all that Zeus had promised them a victory at the time of the assembly at Aulis which was to be announced ‘by an inscrutable sign’.
Certain that the troops would now follow him, Agamemnon invited the Panachaean leaders to a sacrifice: Nestor, Idomeneus, the two Ajax, Diomedes, Ulysses and Menelaus.
The omniscient Muses then describe the leaders and contingents of the two camps.
This first phase (of the end of the movement of reorientation, for it is the tenth year of the war) is initiated by the supraconscient, which sends an erroneous intuitive perception so as to establish the will for transformation (following the agreement given in support of the Trojans, Zeus sent Oniros to Agamemnon). It is not in this case a fault of perception on the part of the seeker, but rather an erroneous movement induced by the supraconscient without his knowledge. In fact, the dream comes to Agamemnon under the most respectable form of yoga, Nestor, ‘the evolution of rectitude (coherence of the external and inner being)’.
According to Hesiod, Oniros is a son of the Night, of the ‘darkness’ of consciousness. While the aspiration believes itself to be spreading out in integrity, it is in fact being misled. It must consequently use certain strategies to mobilise its powers while a profound exhaustion fills it. This in fact constitutes the end of a lengthy period of gestation, ‘for nine years of the great Zeus had passed’. For this, the ‘intelligent will applied to perfection’ followed by ‘the movement of realisation of transparency’ must reaffirm their legitimacy in directing the yogic process (the emblem of power is given by Agamemnon to Ulysses). Inherited by the overmind for a work on the depths of the being, this direction has successively allowed a ‘victory over fear’, the ‘realisation of integrity’, ‘ecstatic submission’, and finally ‘the aspiration for a perfecting bettering in action’ (the sceptre was given by Hermes to Pelops, ‘he who has vision over darkness’, and was then handed down to Atreus, ‘he who is without fear’, Thyestes ‘the perfumer’, and finally Agamemnon, ‘a strong aspiration’ associated to an ‘intelligent will for perfection’).
Hera, ‘the right movement of evolution according to the spirit’ who has not been informed of the strategy by Zeus, could not allow the evolution to be interrupted (the departure of the Achaean troops), and bade Athena, the power which directs the quest, to intervene.
Only Thersites, ‘inflamed spirit or mind’, opposed this. He is described as the ugliest man in Ilion, hunchbacked and lame, for whom everything was good as long as he made people laugh in Argos’: Here Homer denounces the last mind’s tendency to become inflamed, manifested by a lack of balance and harmony as well as a need for recognition (a search for approval). But at this stage this tendency cannot cause major damage (Ulysses put him firmly back in his place).
Then the movement of aspiration, assured of its ultimate success, reassembles ‘that which has given everything within itself for the sake of accomplishment’ so as ‘express gratitude’ (Nestor gives a reminder of the indisputable sign of victory, and Agamemnon invites the Panachaean leaders to a sacrifice to the gods). The leaders include:
– Nestor, ‘the evolution of rectitude in incarnation’, or that of ‘integrity’ or ‘sincerity’.
– Idomeneus, ‘he who aspires for union’.
– The lesser Ajax, ‘the little consciousness of the personality’, son of Oileus, ‘free consciousness’. He is an incarnation of the first ‘liberation of consciousness’, that which free from the ideas about good and evil not simply by giving them license but through a vaster demand and vision.
– The great Ajax, ‘higher consciousness’
– Diomedes, ‘he who concerns himself with a total union of consciousness, and who plans to be a seer’ (he represents an intuitive functioning, for his ancestor is Endymion, ‘mental silence’)
– Ulysses, ‘he who strives to realise a union with the two currents which link spirit and matter’, or ‘he who realises within himself the union of polarities’, or ‘the union of opposites’ through the light of the overmind.
– Menelaus, ‘he who has an unshakeable will’, or ‘he who remains faithful to his vision’.
The Catalogue of Ships (the Achaean coalition).
This list, which occupies an important part of the second book, still keeps many of its secrets. It would seem that Homer attempted to make an as detailed description as possible of the qualities and realisations indispensable for accessing that phase of the path. From this time onward, it is no longer a question of a yoga carried out by personal effort alone, but of a progressive and integral submission allowing the powers of the spirit to descend into the different planes to illuminate and then transform them. The number of ships indicated specify the ratio of realisations necessary for each of the directions of yoga, identified by the name of each province. The names of the cities and their leaders helps elucidate the nuances.
A small number of ships does not indicate that the work involved is of lesser importance, but only that it is not a priority at this point or else has not moved into its full power yet.
For example Nireus, ‘the evolution of the right movement of exactness’, son of Aglaia, ‘splendour, joy’, and of Charops, ‘he whose gaze is clear’, is ‘the most handsome of the Danaeans to have arrived at Ilion after Achilles’. As the most handsome after Achilles, he represents the second truest realisation, the exactness which originates from transparency in an aspiration for Joy. However this only provides a reduced and limited power, for the seeker has not extended this exactness to the whole being. (‘Nireus only goes to battle with three ships’, and ‘does not exert great power for he has too few men under his command’).
To cite another example, we find Medon, ‘the true power’, replacing Philoctetes, ‘he who loves that which can be acquired, the will of realisation’. He commands only seven ships of fifty men each; the true power is still in an embryonic state, for it is necessary for all attachments to ancient forms of yoga to disappear. Let us remember that Philoctetes was abandoned in Lemnos for almost all of the war, Lemnos being the location in which the transformation of exclusion into integration must be carried out. The new yoga in fact implies a reversal of the combative attitude to abolish that which is against the divine in creation so as to replace it with acceptance (See Mother’s Agenda Volume 3, 21st January 1962).
Philoctetes joins the campaign much later on, for he possesses Heracles’ bow, without which Troy could not be conquered.
Here we must also mention a son of Heracles, Tlepolemos, ‘the warrior of endurance’ (in the same sense as Atlas, which includes the two same structuring characters ΤΛ and holds up the heavens with patience and endurance). He was from Rhodes, ‘the island of the rose’, and commanded nine ships; the transition to the foreground of the psychic being is not yet complete.
If we consider the leaders by the number of ships in their possession, they can be ordered in the following way:
– Agamemnon, ‘a powerful aspiration’, commanding a hundred ships.
– Nestor, ‘the evolution of rectitude’, or ‘integrity’, commanding ninety ships.
– Diomedes, ‘he who has the goal of being divine’, coming from Argolis and assisted by Sthenelus, ‘a powerful individuation or autonomy’, son of Capaneus, ‘the consciousness opening itself to everything’, who was one of the Seven leaders against Thebes, most often mentioned as fighting before the gate of Electra, symbolising ‘the opening of the heart’. Euryale, ‘a vast liberation’, also accompanied him, symbolising one who draws close to the plane of the gods for he is ‘a mortal equal to the gods ‘, son of Mecisteus, ‘the great’, himself born of Talaos, ‘that which endures’. These three leaders describe a vast and powerful freedom, an indomitable will, a great psychic opening and a no lesser capacity for endurance.
– Idomeneus, ‘he who desires union’, and Merion, ‘the right movement of consciousness towards receptivity’. They sailed from Crete with eighty ships.
– Menelaus, ‘an unwavering will (for freedom) who has ‘a powerful battle cry’, coming from Lacedaemon (Sparta) with sixty ships, thus symbolising a powerful will supported by the vital and extended towards what is New.
– Agapenor, ‘external nature opening itself to evolution in true love’, son of Ancaeus, ‘he who holds tight’, coming from Arcadia with sixty ships given by Agamemnon.
The list given below is complete, and includes the other leaders who came with fifty ships or less.
While the different provinces seem to clearly designate the stages of the path, many uncertainties remain in what concerns the cities named by Homer. The names of several amongst them can be deciphered through the methods of interpretation used here.
Nevertheless, this suggests that the cities were renamed to fit into the mythological narratives, which seems difficult to accomplish in the case of a whole country. However, if, according to current estimates, Greece included less than a million inhabitants in the Homeric era, a partial modification of the names is more plausible.
Are indicated successively : Province or city, Leaders and number of Ships (each ship carrying a hundred and twenty soldiers)
Boeotia: Peneleos, Leitus, Archesilaus, Prothoenor and Clonius,50
Boeotia (Aspledon and Orchomenus of the Minyans): Ascalaphos and Ialmenus, son of Ares, 30
Phocys: Schedius and Epistrophe, sons of Iphitos, 40
Locris (beyond Euboea): Ajax son of Oileus, the most skilled in javelin throw, 40
Euboea: Elephenor, son of Ares, 40
Athens: Menestheus, son of Peteos (the best at ordering and storing), 50
Salamis: Ajax son of Telamon, 12
Argolis (Argos and Tiryns): Diomedes, Sthenelus son of Capaneus, and Euryale, ‘a mortal equal to the gods’, son of Mecisteus, himself born of Talaos, 80
Argolis (Mycenae, Corinth, Cleone, etc.): Agamemnon, 100
Laconia (Lacedemonia): Menelaus, 60
Messenia (Pylos, etc.): Nestor, ‘the old carriage driver’, 90
Arcadia: Agapenor, son of Ancaeus, 60 (given by Agamemnon)
Elis (Epeans): Amphimachus and Thalpius, grandson of Actor, Diores and Polyxenos, ‘same as the gods’, 40
Ionian Sea (Dulichium): Meges, comparable to Ares, 40
Ionian Sea (Dulichium): ‘Ulysses whose thought is equal to Zeus’, 12
Aetolia: Thoas, son of Andraemon, 40
Crete: Idomeneus, Merion, 80
Rhodes: Tlepolemos the Heraclid, 9
Islands of Asia Minor (Syme): Nireus, son of Aglaia and Charops, ‘the most handsome of the Danaeans arriving in Ilion after Achilles’, 3
Islands of Asia Minor (Syme): Phidippus, Antiphos, 30
Pelasgian Argos, Phthia and Hellada :The Myrmidons, Hellenes and Achaeans: Achilles, 50
Thessaly (Phylacus, etc.): Elephenor, son of Ares, 40
Thessaly (Phylacus, etc.): Eumelos, son of Admete, 11
Thessaly: Medon (Philoctetes), 7 (each ship carrying fifty soldiers)
Thessaly (Oechalia): Podalirius, Machaon, 30
Thessaly: Eurypylus, 40
Thessaly: Polypoetes, son of Pirithoos and Hippodamia, Leonteus, 40
Thessaly: Guneus, 22
Thessaly (the Magnetes): Prothoos, 40
The Trojan coalition
Homer gives much fewer details of the Trojan side. He only mentions that the Achaeans numbered more than ten to one Trojan, but he does not give exact figures for the troops.
The first to be cited is the greatest of the Trojans, the divine Hector, ‘he who strives for a right movement of the opening of consciousness towards the spirit’. He is the greatest amongst the sons of Priam, ‘the redeemed, he who is given a second chance’, king of Troy, ‘the organisation of a just development on the plane of the spirit’.
The second is Aeneas, son of Anchise and Aphrodite. He is the symbol of ‘a future evolution towards Love’. His name can also be understood as ‘the terrible’ or inversely as ‘praise, the action of grace’. He does not belong to the main Trojan lineage of Ilos which strives for a ‘liberation’ of the spirit, but rather to that of Assaracus, ‘he who dwells in peace’ or ‘he who strives for the unification in the right path. He is an incarnation of the future path towards Love, opening when the seeker will have reunified within himself spirit and matter towards a higher Truth. He originates from Dardania, the province of the ‘right movement towards unity’.
The third is Pandareus, ‘he who gives everything to the just movement towards union’, son of Lycaon, ‘he who exists within the nascent light’. He is from Mount Ida, representing the ascension of a ‘union’ in spirit. We will see that this is only an intention which is not followed by a mobilisation of the corresponding forces (for he did not listen to his father, but left his chariots behind).
Then follow their allies from different regions of Asia Minor: Phrygia, Lydia, Mysia, Ionia, Lycia, the coasts of Hellespont and of oriental Thrace, as well as nearby islands. Their leaders were named Adrastos, ‘he who possesses unwavering courage’, or is ‘fearless’, Acamas ‘the tireless’, Euphemos, ‘he whose predictions are correct’ (based on a correct intuitive receptivity), Phorcys, ‘he who bears the opening of consciousness’, Ascanius, who is the same as the gods , ‘he who is without protection (who is completely open)’, (a homonym of the son of Aeneas and Creusa), etc.
City or region, Leaders
Troy: Hector, son of Priam
Dardania: Aeneas, son of Anchise and Aphrodite, Achelous and Acamas, sons of Antenor
Zelys (Mount Ida): Pandareus, son of Lycaon
Adraste, Apaesus, Pityeia, Tereis: Adraste and Amphius, sons of Merops, ‘he who knows the art of divination better than anybody’.
Percote, Practicus, etc.: Asius
Pelasgus: Hippothoos, Pyleus, son of Ares
Thracians: Acamas, Pireus
Kikones: Euphemos, son of Troesen
Halizones: Odius, Epistrophe
Mysia: Chromis, Ennomus
Phrygia: Phorcys, Ascanius ‘similar to the gods’
Meonia: Mesthles, Antiphos
Caria: Nastes, Amphimachus
Lycia: Sarpedon, Glaucus
The gods supporting the two camps
To complete this description of the forces present, one must add the powers of the overmind which support these two orientations. It is in fact the first time that they will come up against each other within the seeker, who at this stage of yoga sees them at play within himself for the heroes recognise them more often.
Even if some of them remain initially disengaged from the conflict, Homer clearly indicates the gods supporting either side. (Ref Book XX, 30)
In the Achaean camp:
There are first and foremost Hera, ‘the right movement of evolution’ (according to the divine order), and Athena, an emanation from the heights of the overmind which aids in the evolution of the inner being towards the vastest consciousness (higher wisdom or intelligence) and the mastery of the outer being through the battles of yoga, which we associate with the ‘master of yoga’. These deities can of course do nothing but support the movement which puts forward the union of spirit and matter. In this myth their engagement is motivated by the choice of Aphrodite’s in the famous judgement of Paris.
Hephaestus, the god who forges new forms, is logically also on the Achaean side.
Even if Poseidon, the god of the subconscient, seems to often create obstacles on the path, these ultimately only act as leverage for evolution. As long as vital purification has not been completed, this god must work for a liberation in the spirit and the bringing forward of the psychic being. This is the reason for his indecisive position at the beginning of the war, and of the support which he seems to offer the Trojans. It must be remembered that he had assisted Laomedon in the construction of the walls of Troy. Moreover, we will see him complaining to Zeus of the wall which the Achaeans will build before their ships to shield themselves from Trojan attacks. But when this last year of war was well underway, he took pity on the Achaeans and took their side definitively. (Ref Book XIII.)
Finally Hermes, the god of the highest Knowledge of the overmind, supports the Achaeans as well even though he does not take part in the beginning of the conflict. Representing the most elevated plane of the mind, he must forge a link with the supramental and therefore intervene at the end of the conflict to bring about a definitive reversal. However, as his aim is a complete unity without any exclusion, he is sympathetic to the Trojans’ cause. Specifically, he will help Priam seek out Achilles’ clemency.
In the Trojan camp:
Ares seems indifferent at the beginning of the war. He then promises the goddesses Hera and Athena to support the Achaeans, but soon breaks this promise by joining the side of his lover Aphrodite.
The name Ares is built around the letter Rho (Ρ), which is a double character. Ares is therefore both a force which ‘severs’, and also one which ‘maintains’ when the right time has not yet come. This is why, even when he promises to support the right evolutionary movement, the Achaean side, he eventually gives his support to the Trojans as does his lover Aphrodite, and initially supports the side of those who separate spirit and matter. Wounded by Diomedes in the first period of the war, he will have to withdraw from battle, allowing a final reversal to be carried out.
Aphrodite, the goddess of love, also grants her support to the Trojans. Homer describes her as a daughter of Zeus and Dione, and a symbol of ‘love in evolution’. Nevertheless Troy represents one of the greatest accomplishments of the ancient forms of yoga in the domains of love and devotion, and is therefore a real symbol of Love in evolution. This is why the descendants of Aeneas, sons of Aphrodite and Anchise, will become the founders of the future city of Troy. It is Aphrodite whom Paris-Alexander identifies as the most beautiful of all, and therefore the truest. He thus chooses the primacy of love (yet imperfect) over the right evolution in truth and over the direction given by the inner master for the growth of mastery and of discerning intelligence. A state of perfect, integral and universal compassion must be achieved before the reversal can be operated. But as Sri Aurobindo has written, Love will only be able to truly establish itself on the earth in a world of Truth. Aphrodite had to accordingly leave the field of battle after having been violently defeated by Athena.
The Trojans also receive the support of Leto and her two children, Apollo and Artemis, whom we have associated with the growth of the psychic being. The psychic centre is situated at the level of the heart behind the emotional centre, and prepares Divine Love in incarnation beyond the achievement of exactness.
Apollo is therefore like Aphrodite turned towards true Love, and Troy is his true nation. He will only leave the city with regret and return with the descendants of Aeneas when the process of evolution will permit, in new forms, for Truth to be sufficiently established in man.
On the side of the Trojans must also be mentioned the river-god of the Trojan plain, the Xanthos, or ‘yellow’ (a golden yellow going towards red), the double current of energy-consciousness which unites spirit and matter but which men only perceive a single sense of. (See the explanation later in this text.)
While appearing to lie outside the conflict, Zeus, symbol of the supraconscient at the frontier of space-time, predicts the outcome notwithstanding. His actions, apparently long in disfavour of the Achaeans, only translate an obedience to the laws of creation, one being that any movement must develop till its eternally predestined end. But it can be supposed that for the seeker this is still of the supraconscient domain, unless he can perceive that in the initial impulse of any movement is included a development to its end.
The last two deities of Mount Olympus remain neutral. In fact, Hestia never leaves the centre of the being. Demeter, ‘the mother of union’, who through her daughter Persephone aids in drawing together the conscient and inconscient, can never be an advocate, for it supports both the work of liberation in Spirit and that of liberation in Nature.
In any case it must be noted that Homer affirms that the responsibility of the war lies with the gods, and more specifically with Apollo, for Agamemnon had shown contempt to his priest Chryses by refusing to return his daughter Chryseis to him. This is to say that the movement which triggers the great reversal originates from the psychic light translated by the overmind. (Iliad I, 8.)
Book III : Duel of Paris and Menelaus
While the two armies stood facing each other, Menelaus challenged Alexander, who in fear retreated and hid amongst his men. Hector then reproached him in great anger. Alexander then offered to fight against Menelaus in single combat, a proposition which Hector immediately communicated to the Achaeans. If Alexander emerged triumphant, the Trojans would keep Helen and all her husband’s treasures which she had taken away with her, and the Achaeans would turn back. If the opposite took place, the Achaeans would take back Helen and the treasures of Menelaus and would be additionally compensated.
Iris presented herself before Helen to inform her of the proposition of this single combat, and this reawakened Helen’s forgotten love for Menelaus.
The council of elders wished for Helen’s departure but Priam stood up for her, asserting that it was not she but the gods who were responsible for the conflict.
Then Helen described to Priam the leaders who appeared in the distance and whom he could not recognise due to his advanced age: Agamemnon and Ulysses, ‘who was smaller than he was but broader of chest, and a master of tricks and wiles’, Ajax, ‘the bulwark of the Achaeans’, and Idomeneus.
Priam then went forth to meet Agamemnon to settle the agreement. Once this was done, he returned within his palace not to run the risk of witnessing the death of his son.
The duel began with javelin throwing, which each adversary skilfully avoided. Menelaus then attacked with his sword, but it unexpectedly shattered into four pieces. Then, as he dragged Alexander by the strap of his helmet, Aphrodite caused it to shatter and created a thick fog to hide Alexander from sight, transporting him to his chamber and informing Helen of his return. Recognising the goddess even in her guise as an old woman, Helen was initially angered but eventually obeyed her and joined Alexander, whom Menelaus was searching for amongst the soldiers. There she mocked her second husband’s boastfulness as he invited her to join him.
Agamemnon then announced to all assembled the victory of Menelaus, and asked for the agreement to be fulfilled.
This first single combat illustrates the will of the seeker to find the right evolutionary path (Helen), either on the side of Alexander, ‘he who rejects or pushes away man’ outside of incarnation, or on the side of Menelaus, ‘an unwavering will extended towards its aim’ or ‘fidelity to his vision’ in incarnation. The nine years of war preceding these events allowed the heart of the problem to be accessed (through the sacking of the cities of Asia by Achilles).
The seeker who does not confront duality is not vulnerable as long as he remains in the heights of the spirit, but when he leaves them he becomes conscious of his weakness (Alexander sought refuge amongst his men).
Evidently, the seeker has become conscious that it cannot be his evolutionary aim towards a greater freedom (Helen) which is responsible for his inner conflict even if an erroneous movement has taken hold of it, but rather the supraconscient within himself (the gods). The first duel thus demonstrates his lack of decisiveness; even if the ancient adequacy between the yogic works carried out under the aegis of his unwavering will extended towards its aim in a yoga of action and an evolution towards greater freedom, returns to his consciousness, he cannot bring himself to return to it (even though Helen remembers with nostalgia her former love for Menelaus, the two heroes face each other in combat with no clear outcome).
A clear reversal of the situation then occurs, first with the surprising shattering of Menelaus’ sword, and then with the intervention of Aphrodite who causes Alexander to disappear from the battlefield. None of the other gods dares oppose this goddess, although she is wounded much later on. At this moment all the gods are therefore in agreement to not limit this battle to certain parts of the being alone; a yogic reversal implies an engagement of the whole being which will bring about many other changes, and the personal will alone cannot be sufficient to do it.
The seeker can therefore not remove himself from the deep imprint made on his spirit when, already deeply engaged on the path of equality, he had chosen to consider love in evolution as the most just of the yogic works (Aphrodite removed from the scene of battle Paris-Alexander, who had chosen her amongst the three goddesses).
He however becomes aware that what in himself rejects human perfection in its entirety is not able to put a stop to the movement of yogic reorientation, even if the break is not yet consumed (Helen mocked Alexander’s pretentiousness, but went to his side).
Book IV: Breach of the pledge
From Book IV onwards Homer describes a great number of deaths on both sides of the conflict without giving much detail to explain the experiences depicted. Only the names and sometimes the genealogies can therefore give us the necessary details here. Each of these ‘deaths’ would merit an analysis which we will not be able to carry out here even supposing that a correct interpretation would be possible. Therefore only some of the deaths will be described, but they will all be indicated in the summaries of the next books.
While the gods assembled on Olympus, Zeus gave in to Hera’s anger, who demanded the destruction of Ilion while affirming that the city had always been her favourite. In return, Hera gave Zeus license to destroy cities which were under her protection, namely Argos, Sparta and Mycenae. Both then agreed to cause the war to break out again, and hastened Athena to the Trojans’ side to incite them to break their agreement.
In disguise Athena went to the Trojan Pandareus, and incited him to shoot an arrow at Menelaus. However she deviated the arrow, so that the wound inflicted was very light. It was at the level of the navel, and Machaon, son of Asclepius, tended his wound.
The two camps then prepared for battle.
Agamemnon reviewed the troops and honoured Idomeneus, the two Ajax and Nestor who encouraged humility and determination in his troops. He urged on the men of Menestheus, son of Peteos, as well as those of Ulysses, who had not yet heard the signal for battle, and even treat harshly the latter.
He then mocked Diomedes, celebrating before him the exploits of his father Tydeus, who had aided Polynices in assembling the army during the war of Seven against Thebes. Diomedes kept quiet, but the son of Capaneus, Sthenelus, replied that the Epigoni had showed more courage than their fathers.
While the Achaeans advanced united and silent, the Trojans met them in noisy confusion like that of bleating sheep with a multitude of languages and accents, pushed forwards by the god Ares. On their side the Achaeans were supported by Athena, Deimos, ‘terror’, Phobos, ‘fear’, and Eris, ‘separating discord’, Ares’ follower. She grew ceaselessly, till her forehead touched the sky, and the two armies charged against each other.
The first Trojan to be killed was Echepolus, slain by Antilochos. Elephenor, son of Chalcodon, attempted to rob his corpse, but Agenor killed him before he could do so.
The divine Ajax then slew Simoisius, son of Anthemion and of a woman descended from Ida.
Antiphos, son of Priam, killed Leucus while aiming at Ajax. Ulysses was deeply grieved and angered; aiming his spear, he slew Democoon, an illegitimate son of Priam.
Then were killed the Trojan Peiros, leader of Thracians, and the Achaean Diores, leader of the Epeans.
This book marks a decisive turning point in the process of yogic reversal, and the supraconscient strives for a mobilisation of the whole being in keeping with the preceding book (Hera, ‘the just movement’, took the decision of making the war carry on, and Zeus dispatched Athena to trigger the breaching of the agreement made between Trojans and Achaeans).
The inner guide then ensures that the movement be carried out with the least possible damage: ‘the unwavering will extended towards its aim’ is questioned in the vital (a wound at the level of the second chakra, and therefore eliciting a loss of joy), by that which in the seeker has the intention of ‘giving everything to the just movement towards union’, but which is without real strength (Menelaus is wounded in the abdomen by Pandaros, who had gone to war leaving his horses behind). But the inner guide attentively ensures that this test is not a grievous one, so that the seeker is relatively unaffected by it (Athena ensured that he was only lightly wounded). This is evocative of a passage from the Agenda in which the Mother explains to Satprem that her work is to prepare humankind for the transition towards supermanhood with the least destruction possible.
Menelaus was healed by Machaon, ‘he who combats in matter’, an expression of a conscious action on the body.
Homer stresses the fact that the liberated seeker has not entirely unified his being in the heights of the spirit (the different parts of himself are not in agreement): there is a multitude of languages and accents spoken amongst the Trojan troops) while everything which supports ‘aspiration’ and advanced purification moves forward in a unified order (the Achaeans advance as a united and silent whole).
The Trojan camp is supported by the power of separation and destruction which acts so as to allow a crossing of obstacles (Ares).
The passage in which it is mentioned that the Achaean camp is supported by forces which generate doubt, fear and terror (Phobos and Deimos), as well as the consciousness of the fundamental separation which then develops to its fullest potential (Eris grew incessantly, and soon her forehead touched the sky) indicates that some forces strive to make the seeker experience the consequences induced by the separation of spirit and matter. In fact these forces support the Achaeans and elicit doubt, fear and terror amongst the Trojans.
This passage is doubtlessly also a revelation of the fundamental differences between older forms of yoga which enter into conflict (by rejection and suppression) and newer ones which work through integration.
It must also be remembered that impersonality, absence of desire and joy do not necessarily mean the establishment of a perfect equality in the being, for the seeker holds himself above the state within which duality is born.
In the current context it is necessary to make disappear the ‘nascent power’, the outcome of the yogic work on the path of Self (Echepolus, son of Thalysius). The seeker must therefore renounce the powers of the saint and the wise man. It is a vigilance originating from ‘the right evolution of rectitude’ which puts an end to it (he is slain by Antilochos, a son of Nestor); this renunciation is carried out naturally without the need for a specific asceticism and as a natural consequence of the yoga of the past (for Nestor is very advanced in years at the time of the war).
While the quest for purity wishes to utilise the weapons acquired by these powers (Elephenor, ‘the man of ivory’, wishes to rob Echepolus’ corpse), the soul’s nobility puts an end to this quest (the magnanimous Agenor slays Elephenor).
Then the seeker must close his receptivity to the spirit and open himself to matter to an even greater degree; the widening of consciousness in incarnation acquired during the process of purification and liberation must put an end to the receptivity originating from the ‘blossoming of consciousness’ which aims to establish an union in spirit (Ajax kills Simoisius, son of Anthemion and of a woman from Ida).
Then, effort on the path of ascension of the planes of consciousness ceases, as do the specific movements of yoga aiming at equality (Piros, ‘he who strives’, leader of the Thracians on the Trojan side, and Diores, leader of the Epeans on the Achaean side, are both killed).
Book V: Diomedes’ deeds
Athena wished to bring distinction upon Diomedes, the son of Tydeus, and breathed passion and boldness into him. He then leaped forward into battle against the two sons of Dares and killed Phegeus, priest of Hephaestus, but his brother Idaeus was saved by this father.
Once Athena had pulled Ares out of the battle, the Achaeans gained the upper hand.
Agamemnon slew the great Odius.
Idomeneus brought down Phaestus.
Menelaus killed Scamander, son of Strophius.
Merion slaughtered Phereclus.
Meges killed Pedaeus.
Eurypylus killed the divine Hypsenor.
While Diomedes took part in the battle, Pandaros, son of Lycaon, wounded him on the shoulder with an arrow later removed by Sthenelus. Having prayed to Athena to give him back strength, Diomedes was revived by the goddess with the passion and inner fire of his father Tydeus, and the darkness veiling his sight was lifted. In addition, she counselled him to abstain from fighting with the immortal gods, except for Aphrodite whom he was to strike with his spear.
We must remember some details about Diomedes, ‘he who intends of being divine’, or rather ‘the goal or design of achieving non-duality in the spirit’, for he belongs to the lineage of Iapetus. He is a son of Tyndareus, ‘he who aspires to a union in spirit’, himself a son of Oeneus the winegrower in the lineage of Protogenia, ‘those who walk at the forefront’, and Iapetus. His ancestor is Endymion, he who has achieved mental silence (he has obtained the boon of eternal sleep from his lover Selene). This ‘intention’ is therefore not a project of the intellect but rather an independent aspiration of the mind in contrast to what characterises the descendants of Tantalus.
When the seeker has almost achieved non-duality he ‘discourages’ the forces of the supraconscient (while Athena wished to confer immortality on Tydeus, he had devoured Melanippos’ brains, eliciting her disgust and causing her to renounce granting him this gift). But he does not renounce for good, begging his inner guide to grant him non-duality indirectly in the future (on his deathbed, Tydeus asked for this gift to be granted to his son).This request probably explains Athena’s continued support of Diomedes.
The hero also participated in the campaign of the Epigoni, who successfully launched the second assault against Thebes, and therefore represents an indispensable element in the process of purification. He also numbered amongst Helen’s suitors, but ‘the will for accessing non-duality’ could not prove worthier than ‘an unwavering will extended towards its aim’ of greater freedom (it was Menelaus who won Helen’s hand in marriage).
Described in the Iliad as ‘the bravest of the heroes after Achilles’, Diomedes played a very important role in the Trojan war, in which he commanded eighty ships. He would even wound Aphrodite and Ares during the war. This will to access non-duality is supported by the inner guide, or the power which ‘watches over the growth of the inner being’ (Athena pushes Diomedes to the forefront).
The seeker then undergoes a lowering of intensity in his ‘intention for union’ (a plan or aim resulting from inner silence, joy and the closeness of non-duality) brought about by that which wishes to ‘give everything to the right movement towards union’ without first acquiring the means to do so (Lycaon’s son Pandaros wounds Diomedes).
We have already come across Pandaros, who, according to Homer, did not listen to his father’s advice when he left for Troy and only took his bow, leaving behind him his eleven chariots for he feared that his horses would suffer starvation. He thus represents an intention which is not followed by a mobilisation of corresponding forces. If the vision of the goal to be attained (a total vision) is present (Pandaros is a proficient archer and has taken his bow with him), he fears the unknown and refuses to test his strength. This element which supports the yoga of separation corresponds to the fear of the seeker of being incapable of facing the challenges of the new yoga and the fear of exhausting his capacities.
But the inner guide then brings him a superior strength and light (Athena dissipates the darkness which veiled his vision) and at the same time makes him understand that he is not yet ready to face the deities of the overmind, except for that which incarnates love and has been chosen as a path of evolution to the detriment of the paths of growth of the inner being and of truth (Athena advises Diomedes to avoid a confrontation with the gods, except for Aphrodite). This recommendation demonstrates that the seeker has attained a level very close to that of the overmind.
Diomedes killed numerous Trojans:
Astynous and Hyperion
Abas and Polyidus, son of Eurydamas
Xanthe and Thoon
Echemmon and Chromios, sons of Priam, humiliated by being forced to step down from their chariots and having their weapons taken from them.
Witnessing Diomedes’ action in combat, Aeneas again sought out Pandaros to shoot a new arrow. As the latter retorted that he had left for Troy without his eleven chariots Aeneas invited him to climb into his own, to which were hitched the horses which Zeus had given Tros in exchange for Ganymede. Aeneas allowed him to choose his place, and he chose that of the warrior rather than the driver.
Having drawn close to Diomedes’ chariot Pandaros threw his javelin but was not able to wound him. Diomedes then killed him with his spear and with a huge rock crushed Aeneas’ hip. While Aphrodite hastened to bring support to her son in battle, Diomedes pursued her and wounded her on the wrist so that she dropped Aeneas. It was then Apollo who carried him away from the battlefield.
The wounded Aphrodite implored her brother Ares to give her his chariot to return to Olympus. There her mother Dione bade her to resign herself to the test, arguing that other gods before her had already suffered for the sake of mortals, such as Ares trapped for thirteen months in an urn by Otos and Ephialtes, or like Hera and Hades wounded by Heracles’ arrows.
Aeneas (Αινειας) ‘consciousness in evolution’ towards Love which ‘considers man as a whole’ (Aeneas is the son of Aphrodite and Anchise), belongs to the genealogical branch of Assaracus, ‘he who is untroubled’. He will symbolically resume leading the quest after the deaths of the principal descendants of the brother of the latter, Ilos, ‘the movement towards liberation’: Hector, Alexander and Astyanax (Aeneas is to rule over Troy in the future). He therefore represents a resumption of yoga for the growth of love once the unity of spirit and matter is realised. Symbolising a future evolution of humankind, he must necessarily survive the war.
But at this stage this will of evolution towards love is still inhibited by the certainty of an impossible rendering divine of the archaic vital and the body. In this Iliad’’s book, it nevertheless seeks to impose itself by allying with what wishes to ‘give everything to the right movement towards union’ but lacks strength (Aeneas seeks out Pandaros). This claim to love strives to distance that which wishes to realise non-duality (Diomedes), but as the movement with which it unites lacks strength this fails. Diomedes, ‘that which aims for unity’, simultaneously redirects the yoga towards the primacy of union: Aeneas is wounded at the hip and Aphrodite at the wrist, leading to their temporary withdrawal from the field of battle.
Aeneas’ wound to the hip signifies a weakness at the level of the link with the lower vital, symbolising an imperfect transformation of the vital, and the wound to Aphrodite’s wrist expresses a temporary stop to the possibility of acting in the name of love.
Diomedes sought out Aeneas in battle several more times, but the latter was being protected by Apollo. In anger, the god warned him not to ever attempt to be the equal of the gods again, and transported Aeneas into the Trojan citadel where Leto and Artemis gave him back strength and glory. Then Apollo created a ghostlike image of Aeneas which he placed within the battle, and requested Ares to take Diomedes away from the battlefield.
Sarpedon, who came from faraway Lycia where the river Xanthos flows to support the Trojans, called Hector into battle. To aid the Trojans Ares enveloped the battlefield in a sudden darkness, and encouraged the troops as Apollo had bid him to do. Having recovered from his wound, Aeneas returned to the battlefield.
(Sarpedon’s Lycia is not that of Pandaros, but both symbolise higher knowledge acquired in the process of the liberation of the spirit.)
Agamemnon killed Deicoon, son of Pergasos.
Aeneas killed Crethon and Orsilochus, sons of Diocles, himself a son of Ortilochus.
Menelaus killed Pylemenes, ‘he who is the equal of Ares’.
Antilochos killed Mydon, son of Atymnius.
Having disguised himself as a mortal, Ares marched to the Trojan battlefront. Catching sight of him Diomedes retreated, and bade his men not to engage in open combat with the gods.
Hector killed Menestheus and Anchialos.
Ajax slew Amphius, son of Selagus, but was not able to seize his weapons.
Tlepolemos, son of Heracles, faced Sarpedon, leader of the Lycians. Gravely wounded, they were both taken away from the scene of combat by their companions.
Ulysses killed Coeranus, Alastor, Chromios, Alcander, Halius, Noemon, and Prytanis.
Hector then helped Ares slay Teuthras, a homonymous Orestes, Trechus, Oenomaus, Helenus and Oresbius.
Hera and Athena prepared for battle while Hebe prepared Hera’s chariot. Then the Hours opened the doors of heaven to the two goddesses. Once upon the field of battle, Hera asked from her heavenly husband permission to attack Ares, but Zeus bade her send Athena against him as she was more experienced in such hardship. After having aroused Diomedes’s ardour against Ares Athena stepped into his chariot.
Ares killed Periphas, son of Ochesius.
Wearing Hades’ helmet, Athena diverted the spear which Ares had thrown at Diomedes.
The latter then aimed his spear at Ares, and Athena pushed it into the god’s abdomen. Wounded, Ares gave a terrible cry and sought refuge on Olympus, where he brought his complaints before Zeus. But Zeus did not give him any sympathy although he asked Paeon to heal him.
‘The future evolution towards Love’ could not however remain weak for long, and in its purificatory role the psychic being reintroduces it as a fundamental element, the place of which must be clarified in the yoga of the future (Aeneas is nursed back to health by Leto and Artemis). However, at this moment of the battle the ‘psychic light’ considers that the seeker must never be deprived of this awareness of the necessary progression towards love even when deprived of any possibility for action (Apollo places a ghost image of Aeneas in the midst of the battle until he is ready to return).
While a certain ‘wisdom’ originating from ‘the nascent light’ at the heights of the spirit stimulates the ‘right movement of opening of consciousness towards the spirit’ (Sarpedon has come from Lycia, where flows the River Xanthos, and pushes Hector into battle), a force which ‘destroys outdated forms’ originating from the supraconscient provokes the fall of a ‘night’. It is an event which as we have seen occurred repeatedly throughout the seeker’s path (Ares filled the battlefield with sudden darkness). The one mentioned here does not seem more terrible or of greater length than the others, but appears to indicate a deep-seated meandering or incertitude about the path to be followed, for the battle cannot be carried on within this night from which benefits ‘love in evolution’ reintroducing itself into the inner conflict (Aeneas returns to battle).
The power of the supraconscient ‘which destroys outdated forms’ but also ‘preserves those which are not ready for change’ then becomes very active in supporting the ancient paths of yoga (Ares then becomes active on the side of the Trojans, as ordered by Apollo). Even if the seeker becomes aware of this he does not feel ready to face the forces which still support the separation of spirit and matter (Diomedes recognising Ares and Enyo shuddering and retreating).
But other forces from the supraconscient then become involved: ‘she who expresses what is just within the limits of incarnation’ (Hera) and ‘she who watches over the growth of the inner being (Athena, the inner master)’. This intervention can occur only when equality, purity and exactness in action are firmly established within the being (these are the hours – Eirene (equanimity), Dike (just action), and Eunomia (a vast order), who open the doors to the skies).
At this stage the seeker is conscious of the majority of spiritual forces which have come to his aid, but it is only from the inconscient that the inner guide brings its aid to action (while Ares for instance can be seen by Diomedes, Athena wears Hades’ helmet of invisibility).
The power which supports separation (the destruction of forms) is then weakened (Ares is wounded).
Book VI: Hector’s speech
The great Ajax slew Acamas, son of Eusorus, the bravest of all Thracians.
Diomedes killed Axylus, son of Teuthras.
Euryale, son of Mecisteus, killed Dresus, Opheltes, Esepe and Pedasus.
Polypoetes slew Astyalus.
Ulysses brought down Pidytes,
Teucer killed Aretaon.
Antiloche struck Ablere.
Agamemnon brought about Elatus’ death.
Leitus killed Phylacus.
Eurypylus annihilated Melanthos.
Agamemnon killed Adraste (not to be confused with the Argive Adraste).
Nestor encouraged the Achaeans, who made the Trojans retreat. But Helenus, son of Priam, addressed Hector and Aeneas and asked them to stop the Trojans’ rout while Hector went to his mother Hecabe’s side to ask her to bid Athena to pull Diomedes away from battle.
Diomedes was then readying himself to confront Glaucus, son of Hippolochos and Lycia, and enquired about his adversaries’ identity. Glaucus introduced himself as a descendant of Bellerophon, the murderer of Chimera, who was himself a descendant of Sisyphus through another homonymous Glaucus. At these words Diomedes lay down his weapons, for his grandfather Oeneus had welcomed Bellerophon into his home, which made Glaucus his hereditary guest. They even exchanged weapons, trading Glaucus’ gold weapons against Diomedes’s brazen ones.
Hector went to Priam’s palace, which included fifty rooms for his sons and twelve for his daughters, so as to carry out what had been decided by the Trojan leaders. He asked his mother Hecabe to make an offering to the goddess Athena so that she would take Diomedes away from the battlefield, but she refused to do so.
‘Loved by Zeus’, Hector then went to Paris-Alexander and reproached him for not having yet become involved in battle. To this Helen replied that her husband was without will (Phren).
Hector then went to his wife Andromache, daughter of Eetion and of her son Astyanax. Having reminded him that her father and seven brothers had been killed by Achilles, Andromache begged her husband to remain on the ramparts and to gather his troops below it, close to a wild fig tree. Andromache added that three assaults had already been carried out by the Achaean leaders on the side of this fig tree where the wall was most fragile. Hector answered that he knew the fall of Troy to be unavoidable, but was more strongly motivated by the shame and dishonour which would be cast on his family if he did not return to the battlefield.
He therefore returned to it in the company of Paris-Alexander, ‘resplendent as a sun’, and told to the latter: ‘Brother, no one could justly criticize your work in battle, for you fight bravely. But you deliberately hold yourself back and do not wish to fight. It pains my heart when I hear shameful things about you from Trojans, who are suffering much distress because of you.’ (Iliad, book VI, line 634.)
It is again Diomedes, ‘he who has the design of being divine’, who is the central figure in this book. The Trojans feared him much more than Achilles, and in fact he represents that which after having realised union in the spirit does not wish to separate spirit from matter and is most apt at annihilating obstacles to change. It is certainly not ‘that which wishes to escape from incarnation’, Hecabe, which can make this movement cease by imploring the aid of the inner guide, Athena, even if the request results from a work of the opening of spirit (Hector).
Diomedes prepared himself for facing Glaucus ‘the shining’, son of Hippoloches, ‘the nascent power’ which originates from a true knowledge (he is a native of Lycia, ‘the nascent light’). This is however only a mental knowledge originating from the loss of illusions, for the grandfather of Glaucus is Bellerophon, who vanquished Chimera and is of the lineage of Sisyphus.
But the grandfather of Diomedes, ‘he who has the design of being divine’, Oeneus, ‘he who strives for joy’, had welcomed the grandfather of the second, Bellerophon, ‘he who vanquishes illusion’, creating a strong link between these two progressions within yoga, the work on joy which originates from the annihilation of oneself (Oeneus, ‘the winegrower’, son of Porthaon, ‘he who is devastated’), gives an important support to the battle against illusions. This link could not be broken within their respective developments, at any rate at the beginning of the process of reversal, for Glaucus, representing the clarity issued from the logical mind, will ultimately be killed later on by Ajax, ‘the work of the widening of consciousness in incarnation’.
This event indicates that the use of the intellect must not be put aside prematurely.
However it proves possible at this stage to transfer towards the work of union the most perfected means of action elaborated by the logical mind with the aim of mental clarity (the gold weapons of Glaucus), the latter accepting a lesser power (brazen weapons). Diomedes is in fact linked to an entirely intuitive functioning, for his ancestor Endymion had already achieved mental silence (he had asked his lover Selene to give him eternal sleep).
There then occurs within the movement of ascension an attempt for the ‘opening towards the spirit’ through combat to bring about a transformation towards greater abandon in the hands of the Absolute. But the seeker is not ready to loosen his hold, still believing himself to be the solely responsible for his yoga (Andromache, ‘she who incites combat’, pushes Hector to adopt a purely defensive position, but the latter refuses on the pretext of avoiding future shame).
Achilles had already greatly weakened this attitude of ‘active combat’ by killing Andromache’s father Eetion, ‘the highest mental consciousness’, as well as his seven sons, while recognising their past utility (he had honoured Eetion by not taking away his weapons).
That which maintains the separation already feels the weakening of its position, for the aspect of the seeker which reaches supreme Knowledge originating from emptiness and a Unity from which is born duality is close to abolishing the beliefs which support this separation (Andromache adds that three attacks had already been led by the Achaeans on the side of the fig tree, where the city’s wall was weakest). The fig tree is in fact a symbol of the highest Knowledge originating from the Emptiness which contains all, and its fruits symbolise unity in diversity; when the warrior succeeds in settling down in this place the foundations of separation are automatically annulled. The wall which protects the separation is therefore necessarily weak near the fig tree.
(In the Tree of the Sephiroth, the fig tree symbolises the occult Sephirah Daat, a centre of consciousness over which are extended the wings of supreme Knowledge which are the starting point of duality. This centre is also above the heads of the two serpents.)
The last part of this section makes it clear that the seeker knows at this moment that a reversal is inevitable (Hector confides to his wife that he had always known that the fall of Troy was unavoidable) but also that his lack of interest in worldly affairs weighs heavily on his defence of the ancient yoga (as Helen had said, Alexander had no will -phren). This lack of interest characterises one who is immersed in the Self and possesses the means of working on his external nature but has lost all motivation for doing so. One must in fact remember that Alexander represents a work on ‘equality’ which is interrupted when Paris becomes Alexander.
Book VII: Hector and Ajax’s duel
Alexander killed Menestheus, son of Areithous.
Hector killed Eioneus.
Glaucus slew Iphinous
Watching this massacre of the Achaeans, Athena came down to the battlefield, and Apollo immediately appeared before her and proposed a day’s truce. To obtain it both gods stimulated Hector’s ardour against the Danaeans, who in turn sent one of their champions against him. The seer Helenus understood within his heart the plan of the gods, and communicated this to Hector who gladly carried out their will.
The armies then ceased fighting, and Athena and Apollo then settled upon Zeus’ oak tree to enjoy the scene. Hector then challenged the Achaeans, purely for the sake of glory and the taking of adversary’s weapons. Menelaus wanted to take up the challenge but Agamemnon dissuaded him, considering that his chances of defeating Hector were too weak.
Nine heroes then stepped forward to face the Trojan leader: Agamemnon, Diomedes, the two Ajax, Idomeneus, Merion, Eurypylus, Thoas and Ulysses. The great Ajax was chosen by a drawing of lots.
After a battle of uncertain outcome when the warriors were on the verge of resorting to their swords, the heralds Talthybius (of the Achaeans) and Idaeus (of the Trojans), messengers of Zeus and men, proposed an end to the fighting as night was approaching swiftly. Hector accepted, and invited the great Ajax to exchange gifts with him so that their friendship would be one of renown. Then the two heroes returned to their respective encampments to general festivities.
In the Achaean camp Nestor proposed the construction of fortifications, a proposition which was approved by all.
In the Trojan camp, Antenor proposed returning Helen and Menelaus’ treasures, but Alexander was opposed to this and only agreed to return Menelaus’ treasures and adding his own possessions to them if necessary. Priam therefore decided to send the herald Idaeus to the Achaeans to put forward Alexander’s proposition and to ask for a truce to bury the dead.
The Achaeans rejected the first proposition but accepted the truce and after having buried their dead built fortifications as suggested by Nestor.
Poseidon complained to Zeus that the Achaeans had not offered the prescribed hecatombs to the gods before beginning to build their fortifications. Furthermore, he feared that the future glory of this wall might eclipse that of the wall he had built with Apollo for Laomedon. But Zeus gave him permission to bring it down only after the end of the war.
Then, while the Achaeans revelled Zeus brought down a terrifying peal of thunder. terrorised, they ceased drinking and offered a libation to the god. They then all fell asleep.
The forces of the supraconscient then ensured that there would be a pause in the movement of the reorientation of the yoga (Apollo and Athena decided to hold a truce).
The work of intuitive truth carried out in the spirit orients the movement of separation into an opposition more clearly aimed against that which reorients the yoga, which has the advantage of not exhausting its forces uselessly (Helenus informed Hector of the gods’ plan for single combat).
The seeker does not exactly know what within him can put a stop to the ‘separative yoga’, but he knows that ‘loyalty to his vision’ is insufficient (Menelaus cannot gain victory, and it is Ajax who is chosen in a random draw).
In this battle, the two most fully developed realisations of consciousness – that of an opening towards the heights of the spirit with Hector and that of its expansion in incarnation with Ajax- are of equal forces. The seeker then comes to understand that the two movements of yoga are of equal value and have been till that point both indispensable even if one of them must henceforth give way (Hector and the great Ajax settle their friendship through the exchange of gifts).
Within the frame of ‘the right evolution of rectitude’ which he has long pursued, the seeker establishes within himself the necessary ‘protections’ to support the new direction of yoga (following the advice of Nestor, who is of a very advanced age, the Achaeans build their fortifications). The new yoga in fact implies a conscious participation of man, while the ancient yoga was conducted solely by the forces of Spirit and Nature.
The seeker then hopes that a partial giving up of some of the fruits of the realisations obtained through his aspiration and his ‘unwavering will’ will suffice in appeasing his inner conflict without having to abandon his separative conception of spirit and matter (Alexander proposed to only return Menelaus’ treasures to him). But the reversal of yoga demands a complete abandon of the ancient structures and their fruits (the offer is rejected by the Achaeans).
The subconscient, whose aid most often consists in a form of opposition, demands the destruction of the Achaean wall, for it fears that the seeker will tend to forget the ‘protections’ which have allowed him an access to liberation in the spirit for the benefit of new paths (Poseidon fears that the glory of the Achaean wall will efface that of Troy, which he and Apollo had built).
But the supraconscient only allows the destruction of the new protective structures once a definite reversal of yoga has taken place (Zeus authorises Poseidon to destroy the wall only at the end of the war).
It is difficult to rightly describe these ‘protections’ which only last for the duration of yogic reversal, for Homer does not give any details and we know very little about the subject. They doubtlessly originate from occultism, but this can also relate to specific yogic methods like mantra.
The future destruction of the Achaean wall by Poseidon demonstrates that these protections will either no longer be necessary or else will become obstacles for the future yoga, which will work on the consciousness of the body and the cells.
The seeker then experiences the power of the supramental forces through the supermind (Zeus brought about a terrifying peal of thunder). Let us recall that the thunder and lightning has been given to Zeus by the Cyclops.
Book VIII: A pause in the war
While ‘Dawn in her saffron robes glowed over all the earth’, Zeus assembled the gods and forbade them to intervene in the war. Nevertheless, he allowed Athena to give counsel to the Argives, admitting that he had not spoken ‘from an entirely sincere heart’. He then retreated to Mount Ida on the peak of Gargara, ‘mother of wild animals’ where his sanctuary was situated, observing the bloody battle from its heights. In the middle of the day he lifted his golden scale, which dipped in favour of the Trojans, ‘the tamers of horses’. He then spread a flaming glow over the Argives which broke down the courage of their leaders. Nestor would have then lost his life if he had not been protected from the attack of Hector by Diomedes, who uttered a terrible scream. The latter then vainly attempted to hold back Ulysses, who was running towards the ships. He then took Nestor to drive his chariot, to which were tied the horses of Tros taken from Aeneas, so as to be himself ready for combat. He twice missed Hector but killed his chariot driver Eniopeus, son of Thebe, who was instantly replaced by Archeptolemus, son of Iphitos.
Zeus then brought down lightning before Diomedes’s chariot, causing panic amongst the horses. Seized by fear, Nestor then counselled Diomedes to return to the ships. Despite his shame, Diomedes turned back. He was plagued by Hector’s mockeries, who made the most of his luck and stimulated the ardour of his men. He then asked his horses Xanthe, Podarces, Aethon and the divine Lampos to repay the care lavished upon them by his wife Andromache.
While the Trojans brought down the Achaean lines Hera inspired Agamemnon, who with a crimson banner in his hand stimulated his troops in turn. He prayed to Zeus, and the king of the gods heard his prayer and sent his eagle to place a fawn upon the sacrificial altar. All those assembled there understood the origin of this sign.
Diomedes then killed Agelaos, son of Phradmon.
Teucer, the illegitimate son, brought down with his arrows Orsilochus, Ormenus, Opheltes, Daetor, Chromios, Lycophontes, Amopaon, Melanippos and Gorgythion, sons of Priam.
Diomedes also slew Archeptolemus, Hector’s new chariot driver, who was instantly replaced by his brother Cebriones. Hector then wounded Teucer with a stone, but his half-brother Ajax protected him and ensured that he was brought back to his ships to be healed.
Then the Trojans forced the Achaeans to their ships. Seeing this, Hera and Athena decided to disrespect the orders of Zeus and prepared themselves for battle. Hera equipped her horses, while Athena put on Zeus’ tunic and took her weapons. But Zeus spotted them as they exited Olympus, and greatly angered, he sent Iris to stop them with terrible threats.
Once again assembled on Mount Olympus, Zeus ignored the anger of the two goddesses and announced the events which were to occur; the Achaeans would fight for Patroclus’ body and bring about Achilles’ return to battle.
Night then brought an end to the fighting, and Hector ordered the lighting of fires in all directions so that none of the Achaeans could escape under the night’s cover.
The personification of dawn alluded to at the beginning of this book is dressed in saffron-coloured robes, which indicates a detachment fitting to one who has developed the great consecration of the renouncing sannyasin. ln the Odyssey, Eos is known as the ‘rosy-fingered goddess’ in reference to the delicateness with which the Divine guides evolution.
At this stage the seeker crosses a phase in which he loses close contact with the forces of the spirit (Zeus’ prohibition to the other gods to become involved in the war). He who till then rested in his superior perception of what is just and on his inner contact can henceforth only count on his own strength.
The supraconscient ‘observes from the heights’ from a place of union, Mount Ida, but on a peak which contradicts the just sense of the evolutionary impulse of the highest consciousness to the benefit of instinctive nature (the peak of Gargara, the name of which is built like Tartarus; here ΡΓ, that which moves in the opposite direction to the impulse of the spirit, and is ‘the mother of wild beasts’). From this vantage point, the scale can only move in favour of the Trojans, and is in fact what occurs (Zeus consulted his golden scale, which indicated a favour for the Trojans).
The seeker then almost loses his ‘rectitude’, which is saved at the last moment by ‘that which has the design of being divine’ when the work of union of the polarities ceases its participation to asceticism (Nestor is succoured by Diomedes while Ulysses returns to his fleet). This ‘goal of divinisation’ also allows to end that which maintains the energies turned towards the heights of the spirit (Diomedes killed the chariot driver of Hector, Eniopeus, ‘he who holds the reins’), but a will still predominantly turned towards separation instantly takes its place (it is replaced by Archeptolemus, ‘the logic of battle’, originating from a ‘profound separation’ of he who holds himself in spirit whilst refusing matter, Iphitos).
That which strives for union within the seeker is then obliged to give way, while an opening towards the spirit is stimulated (Zeus forced Diomedes to retreat from battle while Hector encouraged his men). The yoga of old also asks for the support of certain vital forces which were developed by ‘which rejects incarnation’ (Hector asks for the support of the horses raised and fed by Andromache). These were: Xanthus, golden-yellow, ‘renouncement’ (Xanthus is also another name of the river Scamander, the Trojan river), Podarces ‘he who refuses incarnation’, Aethon ‘the inflamed’, and the divine Lampos, ‘the illumined’, who were all nourished by Andromache, ‘she who combats man’s nature’.
On the other hand, in response to his aspiration the seeker receives through a precise inspiration an answer to his prayer; the supraconscient indicates to him the necessary sacrifice in view of a greater purity and integrity (Agamemnon implored Zeus for his support, who sent him his eagle with a fawn for his sacrificial altar). This sign allows a vast progression in different domains (Diomedes and Teucer kill numerous Trojans), and most importantly the end of a perverted vital energy which supports a flight into the spirit (Melanippe). (The chariot driver of Hector is again killed and replaced by his brother, the meaning of whose name remains unclear).
Then Hector wounds Teucer, a hero who through his parents forms a bridge between the two camps; he is the son of Hesione, sister of Priam, and of Telamon, son of Aeacus, who is also Ajax’s father. (It must be remembered that it was Heracles who had given the captive Hesione to Telamon during his campaign against Troy). With this wound the division between the two paths is conclusively established. But Teucer, who fights for the Achaeans, must not die, for through the structuring characters of his name he represents ‘a just opening towards the heights of consciousness’.
The seeker then fearing the failure of the transformation of yoga, spiritual forces prepare themselves for intervention (the Trojans forced the Achaeans back to their fleet, and seeing this Hera and Athena decided to transgress the orders of Zeus). But the highest element of the supraconscient puts a stop to this mobilisation, and indicates that one must first decide on the fate to be ascribed to former yogic forms and revive the movement which concerns itself with the purification at the root of the vital through an examination of the most minute movements of consciousness in view of terminating the process of liberation (the two sides must fight for the body of Patroclus, and Achilles must return to battle).
Book IX: Delegation to Achilles
The Achaeans were routed, and a great discouragement filled Agamemnon. As Diomedes mocked him for his cowardice, Nestor encouraged them to retire to rest, reflect and discuss. He then encouraged Agamemnon to make up for the offence done to Achilles, which the Achaean chief agreed to do. He offered not only to return Briseis to him, even swearing that he had never visited her bed, but also promised to gift Achilles great wealth, women, cities and even one of his daughters in marriage.
A delegation was therefore designated by Nestor to approach Achilles. It included Phoenix, Ajax and Ulysses, with an escort made up of Eurybates and Odius.
Achilles received them graciously. By his side stood his uncle Patroclus, son of Menoetius, who was ‘equal to the gods’. Ulysses informed him of Agamemnon’s offer, reminding Achilles of the words of his grandfather Peleus upon embarking for war, the latter having stated that victory would be granted to him by Athena and Hera if they so wished, but that he must master his anger for softness was preferable.
Achilles, who did not believe Agamemnon capable of recognising his worth and repairing the wrong done to him, reiterated his grievances and refused Agamemnon’s offer. He then remembered the destiny which his mother had predicted for him; he would either die on the battlefield and would gain undying fame, or else would enjoy a long life at home and enjoy his wealth but be deprived of glory.
Consequently he announced that he would set off on the morrow, and bade Phoenix to accompany him. The latter had sought refuge in Peleus’ palace to escape a hard quarrel with his father. He had watched over Achilles’ childhood, and had instructed him in both the use of the right word and the right act.
Phoenix strove to bend Achilles’ will by telling him of a similar case in the war between the Curetes and the Aetolians, to which Meleagros long refused to participate, before entering the battle and finally ending the danger. But he could not bring himself to part from the one whom he had raised.
Achilles sent back the Achaean delegation, informing Ajax that he would not mobilise till Hector would have reached the fortifications and fleet of the Myrmidons. Then all retired to bed in his settlement. By his side slept the beautiful Diomede, daughter of Phorbas, and Iphis lay near Patroclus.
The delegation returned to Agamemnon, and told him of Achilles’ decision. Diomedes then gained everybody’s agreement when he concluded that Achilles must be left to his own choices.
The ‘powerful aspiration’ which is also an ‘intelligent will which aspires for the perfecting of man’ seems finally ready to recognise its error, which was ‘a defect of humility’, and to admit that only ‘a work in the depths of the being’ would allow him to acquire ‘the power of transformation (through a union with the Divine)’ or ‘the power of compassion’ (Agamemnon offered to return Briseis to Achilles). But the seeker still refuses to engage in this work, even if it has already allowed him to win a number of secondary victories (Achilles’ conquest of the Troadian cities), for he awaits the signal that his being as a whole recognises its fundamental importance (Achilles waits for Agamemnon to fully make amends for his insult).
The seeker is even ready to transfer the best of his realisation to this yoga, which must put an end to the vital liberation (Agamemnon is ready to give Achilles his daughter’s hand in marriage). He then finally understands that the only ‘intelligent will’ (buddhi) which strongly aspires to a bettering of man in his present state is not only insufficient for the realisation of a yogic reversal, but has also not yet entirely renounced its goal (Agamemnon, husband of Clytaemnestra and descendant of Pelops and Hippodamia, has not yet made up for his insult).
It is the work of rectitude which strives to find a higher balance amongst the forces involved in the reversal, without nevertheless considering a radical change (it is Nestor who convinced Agamemnon and organised the delegation). He had been one of the supporting pillars of yoga since the beginning, and had allowed the development of equilibrium of the gunas, that which is founded at the mental level (sattva) and brings wisdom. In other words, the seeker would like to introduce the new yoga without letting go of certain modalities which have become ineffective.
For this attempt at ‘reconciliation’, the seeker calls upon:
– Phoenix, ‘the crimson one’ (in the preceding section, Agamemnon motivated his men with a crimson banner in his hand). He symbolises one of the first realisations brought about by the psychic, for he had raised Achilles in both the right speech and the right action, and possibly a ‘power in the vital’ as well.
– The great Ajax, ‘the work of the widening of consciousness’ in incarnation.
– Ulysses, ‘he who strives to realise a union with the two currents which link spirit and matter’, or ‘the union of the two polarities’ through the light of the overmind.
During this movement he strives to convince himself of the supremacy of ‘balance’, sattva (Ulysses reminds Achilles that his mother had advised him to acquire greater softness). It must be remembered that the sattvic realisation – a state of equilibrium – is a stage of yoga which must be surmounted. But at this stage, it is still Ulysses’ work.
At this point the seeker also remembers having received the intuition that he would only be able to enjoy the ‘accomplishment of liberation on the mental and vital planes’ – which is to say a complete realisation of the states of wisdom and sainthood – for a short time only if he wished to follow the path towards an integral union of spirit and matter (he in fact only renounces to the highest wisdom, for he has already renounced sainthood). In the opposite case, his progression would end on the spot and his soul would be disappointed even if it he had the freedom of benefiting for a long time from numerous realisations (he could enjoy a long life in his home and enjoy his wealth, but would not win glory).
The seeker then indefinitely delays his engagement with a complete yoga till the moment in which ‘the highest opening in the domain of the spirit’ has to confront ‘the quest for complete liberty in the vital’, the complete abolition of ego (when Hector will come face-to-face with Achilles). Hector is in fact symbolic of a state of sufficient purity and beauty to forego the perception of ugliness and evil, to not be affected by it and therefore remain detached, for the seeker remains in the heights of the spirit.
In the meantime, ‘that which wishes to pursue the movement of liberation’ through purification is stretched towards ‘that which has the design of being divine’ or ‘the will for a total perfection’ in incarnation (Achilles lays with Diomede, daughter of Phorbas), while the ‘glorious realisations of the past’ in the process of purification are still strongly present, and shine powerfully (Patroclus is tied to Iphis). This suggests that till the death of Patroclus, the seeker can support himself on the ancient processes of purification.
Book X: Surveying the enemy’s camp
Agamemnon gathered the Achaean leaders to hold counsel: Menelaus, Ajax, Idomeneus, Ulysses ‘whose thought is equal to that of Zeus’, as well as Diomedes, Merion, Nestor and his son Thrasymedes.
When Nestor had solicited their help to spy on the Trojans, Diomedes was the first to volunteer, and chose Ulysses to accompany him from amongst all those who had presented themselves. The latter wore a leather helmet studded with boar’s teeth, which had been passed down by Autolycos to Amphidamas, then to Mole and finally to Merion. They both offered a prayer to the goddess Athena, who heeded their plea.
Meanwhile, in the Trojan camp Hector also called up his leaders, for he was in search of a warrior to spy upon the Achaeans. Dolon, son of Eumede, offered his services on the condition that Achilles’ horses be given to him following his victory. He clothed himself with a wolf-skin, and slipped into the enemy’s lines. But he was instantly spotted by Ulysses, who, accompanied by Diomedes, tracked him down and killed him after having extorted from him every useful detail about the Trojan army and their allies. Amongst these was included the Thracian contingent, which had but recently arrived at Troy and rested exhausted and unguarded. Their king Rhesus, son of Eioneus, was the master of two remarkable white horses of great size and of massive hooves, and his formidable weapons were made of gold. Making the most of this information, Ulysses and Diomedes entered the Thracian encampment. There Diomedes wreaked a veritable carnage, even killing the king, while Ulysses tied together the king’s horses to lead them away. While Diomedes was still contemplating further destruction, he was warned by the goddess Athena to leave immediately. Alerted by Hippocoon, who had been awakened by Apollo, the Trojans grieved the atrocious carnage bitterly while Ulysses and Diomedes sped away taking with them the two extraordinary, giant-hoofed horses.
This Book describes each party’s desire to evaluate the inner forces of the opposing movement so as to gain an advantage in battle.
This exploration gives place to two distinct movements of consciousness: one in the clarity of the consciousness of the overmind striving for union (with Diomedes and Ulysses), and the other in the certainty of a liberation which follows its movements towards the height of the spirit without concerning itself with the transcendence of dualities.
The movement which strives for the union of the currents dons a protection which calls upon the most archaic vital energies (Ulysses was equipped with a helmet of leather studded with boar’s teeth) reclaimed by the highest mental light aiming at greater mastery, and then for a liberation through submission and finally towards the acquisition of strength and power (communicated by Autolycos to Amphidamas, then to Mole and finally to Merion).
There is first of all an attempt of infiltration by the movement which separates spirit and matter under a misleading guise; it appears in the guise of light, but is certainly not free from a quest for higher powers (Dolon dons a wolf-skin, and asks to be given Achilles’ horses in recompense for his collaboration). But the seeker instantly unmasks this inner falsity and puts an end to it.
He then reclaims for his own use these remarkable techniques, as well as the powerful and pure powers over matter acquired through asceticism (the gold weapons and the great-hoofed horses of the Thracian king Rhesus). In other words, everything which has been developed beforehand by the practice of asceticism is not lost, but can be useful in serving the following stages of yoga as long as the seeker has attained pure disinterestedness (the death of Dolon).
Book XI: Agamemnon’s exploits
Zeus sent forth Eris the goddess of discord to encourage the Achaeans. Agamemnon then donned the cuirass gifted to him at the time of his departure for Troy. It was made up of ten bands of dark blue, twelve of gold and twenty of pewter, with dark blue snakes, three on each side, which leapt forward towards the neck.
Meanwhile the Trojans too readied themselves for battle.
Then followed the terrible battle for which only Eris was present.
Agamemnon slew Bienor and Oileus, then Isus and Antiphos, sons of Priam whom Achilles had captured and returned as ransom, and then Pisander and Hippolochus, sons of Antimache.
Zeus then protected Hector from javelins, and sent Iris with golden wings to him bearing the following message: he was to fight and allow Agamemnon to emerge victorious till the latter was wounded, and Zeus would then grant him the power to vanquish him.
Agamemnon killed Iphidamas, son of Antenor of Thrace, who had wed Theano. His brother Coon then wounded Agamemnon on the elbow, and was subsequently killed by the latter. But suffering from his wound, Agamemnon was obliged to withdraw from the field of battle.
Hector then came forward and slew Asies, Autonous, Opites, Dolops, Opheltius, Agelaus, Aesymnus, Horous and Hipponous.
Diomedes killed Thymbraeus and the sons of Merops, as well as Agastrophus and the son of Peon. On his side Ulysses slew Molion, equal to the gods, as well as Hippodamus and Hyperochus.
Diomedes narrowly missed Hector, his javelin striking his helmet. Then Alexander wounded Diomedes on the foot with an arrow. Ulysses found himself alone, isolated amongst the Trojans.
He wounded Deiopites and then slew Thoon, Ennomus and Chersidamas.
Then Ulysses wounded Charops son of Hippasus and killed his brother, the wealthy Socus, who was equal to the gods and who had just wounded him with his javelin. Ajax and Menelaus came forth to their rescue.
Ajax killed Doryclus and wounded Pandocus, Lysander, Pyrasus and Pylartes.
Alexander wounded Machaon, son of Asclepius, whom Nestor brought back to their fleet to be attended to.
Cebriones then drove Hector’s chariot towards the Achaean army, where Hector caused great ravage and bloodshed. Zeus caused fear to grip Ajax, but despite this the hero kept back the Trojans single-handedly with alternating waves of bravery and dismay.
Eurypylus son of Euemon came to his aid and slew Apisaon, but was soon killed by Alexander. He then called upon the Achaeans to protect Ajax, which allowed the latter to reassemble his men.
Watching the battle scene, Achilles sent forth Patroclus to identify the wounded.
Nestor then told Patroclus of his exploits against the Epeans and against the two Molionidae, whose human father was Actor and whose divine father was Poseidon. He strove to convince Achilles to fight, or to allow him to himself don his weapons so as to trick and cow the Trojans.
Departing towards Achilles’ fleet, Patroclus crossed Eurypylus, who was wounded and felt that the end of the Achaeans was drawing near. Taking pity on him he brought him into his camp, and removed the arrow that was piercing his thigh.
Agamemnon’s weapons and battle-gear constitute a collection of symbols still to be deciphered. It is possible to liken the colours of his breastplate with what the Mother had been able to perceive of a great Tantric master who wielded great power in the physical mind: ‘this dark blue light of power in matter was there, shot through with streaks of white and gold’. This colour could also relate to the supramental light. (Ref Mother’s Agenda Volume 1, 20 September 1960.)
In this stage of the path the seeker must fight with the very forces of his nature with no external aid from spiritual forces. The structures which must change within himself – beliefs, rigid fixations, etc. – are modified only through a confrontation with what is Real. Only the goddess Eris, the principle of separation, is present. According to Hesiod she is the daughter of Nyx, the inconscient, and according to Homer the daughter of Zeus, sister and companion of Ares, and does not cease to grow, ‘so that soon her forehead touched the skies, while her feet still stood upon the ground’: if she encourages the Achaeans while Ares supports the Trojans, it is to demonstrate that the first stand within a movement which searches for a complete integration of spirit to matter, while the second still follows the separative movement necessary for the renewal of forms.
That which in the seeker allies itself with the ancient yoga intuitively understands that his position must become more flexible if he wishes to maintain it (Zeus tells Hector that he must retreat before being able to advance into a more advantageous position). It is therefore a kind of vision which believes that the lower nature cannot be altered, and which seems to be predominant in early stages, the corresponding powers of action being hindered on the plane symbolically defined by the specific wounds of the Achaean chiefs, wounds which also represent a point of weakness. Thus Agamemnon was wounded on the elbow (aspiration can no longer guide the seeker), Diomedes on the foot (union can no longer be carried out within incarnation), Ulysses on the side (one of the currents joining spirit and matter is interrupted), Machaon on the shoulder (that which severs is no longer operational on a higher plane), and Eurypylus on the thigh (the great ‘opening’ of consciousness no longer has the strength of eliciting the growth of the yogic process). Even ‘higher consciousness’ loses its bearings, for it is the medium chosen by the supraconscient to ensure that nothing is forgotten in the yogic work (Zeus caused fear to rise in Ajax’ s breast). It is a moment within the yogic process in which despite moments of doubt the widening of consciousness in incarnation can alone still take action (there are alternating waves of bravery and recoil or apprehension).
The movement which must carry out the reversal (which for the moment stands apart from the process of yoga whilst following its development) supports itself on earlier realisations, in the quest for an integration striving to make a final evaluation (Achilles sends Patroclus, son of Menoetius within the lineage of Deion).
Then the seeker recalls the path trodden with the purpose of evaluating the application of the ancient methods to the new path. If he cannot yet decisively commit to leading a battle in the depths of the vital, he nevertheless proposes to support himself on the spirit of the ancient realisations, which aimed to carry out integration through the mind, but utilising new methods which alone were likely to break down existing beliefs on the nature of the future yoga (while he cannot convince Achilles to fight, Nestor proposes that Patroclus don his weapons and thus terrify the Trojans).
Book XII: Battle by the Achaean ramparts
The wall built by the Achaeans had not received the sanction of the gods, for no sacrifices had been offered to them before its construction. But some time was still to pass following the fall of Troy till Apollo and Poseidon would unite their efforts to destroy it. Apollo would then make the rivers of Troad converge: the Ida, the Rhesus, the Heptaporus, the Caresus, the Rhodius, the Granicus, the Aesepus, the divine Scamander and the Simois. During nine days the rivers would strive to bring down the wall, aided by Poseidon who would remove stones and tree trunks from their waters while Zeus would unleash a ceaseless downpour. Then Poseidon would level the ground, and bring the rivers back to their original beds.
But this occurred much later on. For the time being the battle was still raging in the vicinity of the city’s walls. Polydamas advised Hector to renounce his idea of crossing the fortified ditch with chariots. Hector approved of this, and consequently it was five lines of Trojan soldiers on foot who charged forward, led by Hector, Paris, Helenus and Deiphobe, Aeneas and finally Sarpedon, who led the contingent of the Trojan allies.
It is at this moment that Idomeneus killed Asius.
Leonteus and Polypoetes, son of Pirithoos, stood protecting a breach in the wall (it would seem that this fortification, which was constituted in the very least of a wall and a ditch, also included five gateways which were attacked by the five groups). Around the wall raged a great fire.
Polypoetes killed Damasus, Pylon and Ormenus.
Leonteus killed Hippomachus, Antiphates, Menon, Iamenus and a homonymous Orestes.
At that moment an eagle holding a huge crimson snake in his talons flew over the Trojan army. The snake, which was still living and had not given up its struggle, stung the eagle near its neck, and the latter let it drop from its grip.
Hector refused to heed the warnings of Polydamas, who was respected for his wise counsel, and encouraged his troops to attack. Zeus himself aided him by casting a spell over the spirit of the Achaeans.
But while the two Ajax encouraged the Achaean defenders, Sarpedon, son of Zeus, brought Glaucus and the Lycians into the battle. Their peoples believed in both of these leaders as if they were gods. They advanced towards the position held by Menestheus, who called the two Ajax and Teucer to lend their support. The great Ajax, his brother Teucer and Pandion rushed forward.
Ajax slew Epicles.
Teucer wounded Glaucus on the arm.
Sarpedon killed Alcmaeon, and then faced Ajax and Teucer.
Then Hector lifted and flung against the doors an enormous stone which Zeus had rendered light for him, and the doors gave way. He then gave the Trojans the order to follow him towards the Achaean fleet.
For conclusively putting an end to the temporary structures put in place to protect the energies striving for reversal, some more time would have to pass after the reversal (the Achaean fortifications were to be destroyed following the departure of the armies). It has already been mentioned that their nature remained unknown, but they must in any case protect the seeker who is in a state of heightened sensitivity, whether they do so through material or occult means.
It will only later on become an alliance of the powers of the overmind – those of the psychic light and the subconscient assisted by the supraconscient (Apollo and Poseidon aided by Zeus) – which will allow the orientation of all the energies which nourish the illumined mind (the rivers which flow in the Trojan region) to erase all traces of these ‘fortifications’. These cleansing energies include ‘the vision of the whole’ (Ida), ‘the right word’ (Rhesus), ‘the seven energy centres’ (the Heptaporus), ‘the mind’ (the Caresus), ‘the psychic’ (the Rhodius), ‘that which deals with what is ancient’ (the Granicus), ‘detachment’ (the Scamander), as well as energies which carry a more obscure meaning (the Aesepus and the Simois, perhaps signifying ‘receptivity’). These forces, which gathered to cleanse all memories of the battle in duality for the reversal, were to then regain their proper function (the rivers would eventually return to their usual courses).
But for this phase in the progression of yoga, that which rejects the possibility of perfecting the external nature chooses to renounce the use of vital forces and powers in its battle to definitively eliminate all desires of the rendering divine of matter (the Trojans and their allies decided to leave behind their horses to cut across the fortifications). This then immediately comes up against a ‘powerful will for experimentation’ and ‘an indomitable courage’ (Leonteus and Polypoetes, sons of Pirithoos).
The seeker then receives a sign destined for the movement which refuses to move forward in perfection (a sign is given to the Trojan army): the heights of the mind to which he has acceded hold in their grip the spiritual evolution, and keep it out of its usual field of action (an eagle holding an enormous crimson snake in its talons flies over the Trojan army). But the force of evolution liberates itself from the hold of the mind by ‘attacking’ the link which ties the physical body to the mind, and the latter is obliged to admit that it is no longer able to control the process of evolution (the eagle was bitten on the neck by the snake, and was obliged to let it go).
Even though the seeker is thus ‘spiritually’ warned that he has committed an error by remaining in a state of refusal of integral perfection, he does not heed that within himself which knows exactly at which point he is at within the process of mastery (Polydamas, ‘he who tames to a great degree’, is not heeded).
He therefore continues on his way, supported in his error by the forces of the supraconscient which ensure that nothing is left behind, or in other words push each movement, however erroneous it may be, to its full development (Zeus casts a spell upon the Achaeans).
In fact, the supraconscient is not only there to keep him from falling into traps, but also to put him through certain tests. (According to Mother’s Agenda Volume 1, 12 November 1957), there are three categories of examiners; spiritual forces are one of them, the others being hostile forces and the forces of nature).
The seeker is then faced with his ‘illuminations’ (the Lycians, ‘those of the nascent light’, led by Glaucus ‘the luminous’ and Sarpedon ‘the wise’). It must be remembered that the Trojans are situated on the branch of the Pleiad Electra, that of the illumined mind). To develop his discernment there must be an opposition from ‘the power of one’s intention’, which is to say that of realising the Divine upon the earth (Menestheus) which appeals to ‘ordinary consciousness’ or ‘the lesser self’ (Ajax the Lesser), ‘the consciousness that is most extended in incarnation’ (the Great Ajax) and ‘the widest consciousness in the spirit’ (Teucer), as well as ‘a complete consecration to the Divine’ (Pandion).
This section ends with a temporary victory of the path which separates spirit and matter.
Book XIII: Battles by the fleets
Poseidon took pity on the Achaeans. Upon reaching his sea palace Aigas, he hitched up his brazen-hoofed horses and spoke to both Ajax the lesser and Ajax the Great under the guise of Calchas, filling them with courage and making their limbs more supple. Ajax the Lesser recognised the god, who then stimulated the ardour of the Achaean troops so thoroughly that they put an abrupt stop to Hector’s momentum.
Teucer slew Imbrius.
Hector killed Amphimachus, which provoked Poseidon’s anger as he was the grandfather of the former. The god then appeared before Idomeneus under the form of Thoas, and gave him strength. Idomeneus then entered the battle, followed by Merion.
Poseidon lent his support to the Achaeans, being directed by Zeus to do so.
Idomeneus then killed Othyoneus, who had come to ask for Cassandra’s hand in marriage, and then killed Asius.
Deiphobe killed Hypsenor. Idomeneus then slew Alcathoos, who was the son-in-law of Anchise, having married his daughter Hippodamia.
Deiphobe called upon Aeneas to come to their rescue, and Idomeneus and Aeneas both called upon their men to support them. Idomeneus slew Oenomaus. Deiphobe slew Hypsenor. Aeneas slew Aphareus. Antilochos slew Thoon. Merion slew Adamas. Helenus slew Deipyrus. Helenus was wounded on the hand by Menelaus, who then killed Pisander. Harpalion was killed by Merion. Euchenor, son of the divine Polyidus, was killed by Paris.
Polydamas advised Hector to assemble the Trojans, so as to discuss the strategy to be followed. Then, Ajax and Hector challenged each other verbally.
At this stage of the path, the subconscient is mobilised in favour of a reversal of the direction of the yogic process (Poseidon definitively takes the side of the Achaeans) and reveals himself to the seeker by taking on the appearance of an intuition originating from the psychic light (in the guise of the seer Calchas, ‘the crimson’). This action of the subconscient is first perceived by ‘the lesser self’ (the Lesser Ajax), which lends the seeker confidence in his pursuit of yogic reversal, which then seems almost a desperate endeavour.
Finally, two fundamental movements of yoga are clearly brought forward into the awareness.
The first, represented by Hector, symbolises the right movement of the opening of mental consciousness towards the spirit which had led the seeker to the illumined mind (he belongs to the lineage of the Pleiad Electra). He supports himself on the work of ‘mastery’ (Polydamas, ‘he who tames’, is respected for his wise counsel).
the second, represented by Ajax the Great, Achilles’ first cousin in the lineage of Aeacus and Asopos, symbolises the widening of consciousness which ceaselessly goes forward and strives to descend into the depths of the vital and the body so as to transform it.
The subconscient then dynamises the forces of the seeker, even though the link between subconscient and supraconscient has not yet been established (Poseidon acts without Zeus’ knowledge).
Book XIV : Outwitting Zeus
Nestor came out of his encampment, and saw that the Achaean wall had not held up against the onslaught. He then decided to join Agamemnon’s forces. The mass of warriors was indescribable before the sterns of the ships, which had been hauled onto the plain and against which the walls had been built.
Agamemnon suggested that the ships closest to the shore be brought back to the water and utilised for refuge, which infuriated Ulysses. Remembering his glorious origins, Diomedes in contrast encouraged the wounded leaders to go forth to encourage their armies. They and their men were then encouraged by Poseidon, who, under the guise of an elderly man, gave a great cry.
Hera then decided to cast Zeus into deep slumber. To do so, under the pretext of uniting Oceanos and Thetys who in anger were refusing to give themselves to one another, she asked Aphrodite for a love-philter, which the latter could not refuse to give. Then she bade Hypnos, the god of sleep, to cast Zeus into a deep sleep when she would be in his arms. As Hypnos was reticent, remembering a similar experience following the sack of Troy by Heracles, she promised him in exchange to grant him as his wife Pasithea, one of the Charites (or Graces), whom he had long desired.
Hypnos then made his way to the top of the highest pine tree on mount Ida, ‘like the musical bird’ which the gods knew as Chalcis (of the colour of bronze), and men as Cyminde (a kind of owl).
Then Hera joined Zeus, and at the top of Mount Ida, at the summit of Gargarus, they came together. Zeus enveloped them both with a golden cloud, so as to remain invisible to all, even Helios. Beneath them sprung up a gentle layer of turf, made of lotus blossoms covered in dew, saffron and hyacinths. Then, by Hypnos’ intervention Zeus fell asleep in the arms of his spouse.
The god of sleep then went to inform Poseidon, who harangued the Danaeans and marched forth as their leader against the Trojans.
Ajax succeeded in striking Hector on the chest, just below his throat, with a stone. As the best amongst the Trojan men carried him far from the battle, he coughed up blood and fainted.
Ajax then wounded Satnius. Polydamas wounded Prothoenor. In reprisal, Ajax killed Archelochus. Acamas wounded Promachos. Peneleos slew Ilioneus. Ajax wounded Hyrtius. Antilochos killed Phalces and Mermerus. Teucer killed Prothoon and Periphetes. Menelaus killed Hyperenor.
Once again the seeker is filled with discouragement as he feels that the defences which he has developed to protect himself from the onslaught of the movement of separation give way when faced with hardship (the Achaean wall gives way under the onslaught). While the aspiration for perfecting man weakens, that which in him remembers the path trodden with the intention of a complete union resists this weakening, and is strongly supported by the subconscient (recalling his glorious origin Diomedes opposes Agamemnon, and, supported by Poseidon, called for all forces into battle). It must be remembered that Diomedes is placed within the lineage of Protogenia, ‘those who walk at the forefront’, of her grandson Endymion, ‘he who is filled with a consecrated consciousness and has achieved mental silence’, and that of his grandfather Oeneus, ‘the winegrower, he who strives to attain an ecstatic state’.
Then the supraconscient forces which watch over the right path of evolution mobilise themselves to bring about a reversal of the yogic process (Hera planned to cast Zeus into a deep sleep). They call upon the forces which watch over the development of love (Aphrodite), claiming a blockage of the forces of evolution of the inner being which normally undergoes a process of purification and liberation (Oceanos and his spouse Thetys no longer lay together. Note that this Thetys must not be confused with the Nereid Thetis, mother of Achilles.). This is to say that the yogic processes of the past have reached an evolutionary impasse with regards to the fundamental growth of love within the seeker. Here, Hera’s act implies that the movement of reorientation must receive the approval not only of the forces of expansion (Zeus), but also of those which limit consciousness as it works in the overmind plane (Hera). For it is here a question of a shift in evolutionary paradigms; not a betterment of man in his current state but rather a moving beyond his current state.
These forces of limitation at this moment request the action of the force which brings about a retreat and temporary suspension of the vigilance of the supraconscient. Hypnos in fact represents non-consciousness or the loss of the memory during the night, while his brother Thanatos represents non-consciousness or the complete loss of the memory in death, both of which are different from the fundamental inconscience of corporeal matter represented by Hades and Nescience as represented by Tartarus. The seeker desires a complete continuity of consciousness, and therefore aspires to the disappearance of this nocturnal loss of memory (Hypnos desires Pasithea, ‘she who has the vision of the whole’, a union promised to him by Hera).
This ‘loss of memory’ in sleep is the vehicle of dreams, visual expressions which from the point of view of the overmind are linked with a vision of indestructible truth, but from the point of view of the ordinary dual mind are only very imperfect and questionable visions; the melodiously-singing bird known by the gods as chalcis (of the colour of indestructible bronze and by men as cyminde, a kind of owl, symbol of nocturnal vision). At the overmind level, these ‘visions’ are realities which lie outside of time, which is to say which include the future without all of the distortions induced by the layers of the mind and the vital when these visions appear in our dreams.
Zeus is then settled atop Mount Gargarus, one of the peaks of Ida, the place in which ‘the evolutionary impulse is blocked’ within the frame of ‘the highest union within the spirit’. The supraconscient then exhibits the first signs of its ‘acceptance’ of the coming of the time for reversal (Zeus falls asleep in Hera’s arms).
Homer specifies that even Helios was not able to glimpse their union, for Zeus had enveloped both himself and his divine spouse in a golden cloud; the supramental not only never imposes itself, but it would even seem that the overmind is capable of blocking its vision.
The acceptance of the supraconscient then liberates the action of the subconscient in favour of a reversal, an action which the seeker then becomes entirely conscious of (Poseidon takes the side of the Achaeans, advances at the head of their troops and commands them). It is at this turning point of the yogic process that a serious breach is first formed in that which opposes the reversal movement; Hector, ‘an opening towards the heights of the spirit’, was wounded by Ajax, ‘the work of the widening of consciousness in incarnation’.
Book XV: The counter-offensive of the Achaeans
Upon awakening on Mount Ida Zeus witnessed the routing of the Trojans and reprimanded Hera, suspecting that his spouse had brought about this development. He decided to send forth Iris to put a stop to the involvement of Poseidon, ‘ground-shaker with azure locks’, and to send forth Apollo to encourage the Trojans’ ardour in battle. He then predicted a series of future events and how they were to occur till the time of the fall of Troy so as to honour his promise to Achilles, beginning with interdiction the gods to come to the aid of the Danaeans (the Achaeans).
When Hera ‘with the dark blue brows’ had regained her place on Olympus, Ares announced that he would descend into the scene of battle only to avenge the death of his son Ascalaphos, but Athena stopped him before he could do so.
Then Hera passed on Zeus’ orders to Iris and Apollo.
Meanwhile over the Gargarus a perfumed cloud formed a halo around the king of the gods.
Poseidon consented to leave the battlefield and rejoined his oceanic domain, although he resented Zeus for this order as he considered himself to be his equal, the three brothers holding equal dominion over the earth and the summits of Mount Olympus.
Apollo then went down to Hector’s side, and revealing himself filled him with renewed martial ardour.
As the Achaeans stood back in alarm before the reappearance of the Trojan hero, Thoas advised the retreat of the largest part of the armies towards their fleet, while the most courageous of the soldiers protected the rear.
Led by Hector, the Trojans then advanced. Apollo preceded them, his shoulders encircled by a cloud and brandishing Zeus’ aegis.
Hector slew Stichius and Archesilaus. Aeneas killed Medon and Iasus. Polydamas slew Mecisteus. Polytes slew Echius. Agenor slew Clonius. Paris slew Deiochus.
So as to open a passage for the Trojans Apollo filled the ditch and made the wall crumble down. Pushed back till their ships the Achaeans prayed to the gods, and Zeus heard the prayer of Nestor. Patroclus then left Eurypylus’ encampment to find Achilles.
Ajax slew Caletor. Hector slew Lycophron. Teucer slew Cleitus.
Hector slew Schedius. Ajax slew Laodamas. Polydamas slew Otus. Meges slew Croesmus. Menelaus slew Dolops.
Hector brought forth Melanippos, a mortal equal to the gods, but Antilochos killed him. Hector slew Periphetes.
While the Trojans attacked the first line of ships brought onto the land, Athena concealed from sight the Achaeans with ‘a miraculous cloud of mist’.
While Ajax encouraged the Achaeans, Hector, pushed by Zeus, rushed towards the ships.
Protesilaos’ ship then became the center of a fierce struggle. Hector gave the order to set the ships aflame, but Ajax slew all those who drew near.
The regaining of confidence due to the mobilisation of the subconscient invoked in the preceding section proves to be ephemeral. A very intense pressure weighs down again upon the seeker, who has not yet accepted to give up the leadership of the yogic process to a work of deepened purification (Achilles has not yet entered the battle). In his highest consciousness he is however perfectly acquainted with the development of this phase of yoga (the events foreseen by Zeus); the supraconscient ensures that the last resistances are vanquished, not allowing the reversal to be carried out until the purification of the depths is prioritised.
The aid of the subconscient is withdrawn – the seeker ceases to receive any guidance or indications – while the psychic light brings its aid to the movement which dissociates spirit and body: the psychic light, which has allowed a maturation of the phase of yoga which leads to a union in the spirit (it has built the walls of Troy), will also be the last to accept the reversal, pushing the seeker of the spirit to his limits. The supraconscient then weakens the seeker’s resistance in his will and concentration (the Achaeans) and in his aspiration for a complete union (the Danaeans).
‘The soul of ancient yoga’ (and of the realisations obtained on the path of union supported by the mental plane) cease to be preoccupied with the higher passage towards the Divine so as to mobilise the yoga of the purification of the depths of the being (Patroclus of the lineage of Deion leaves Eurypylus, ‘the vast gateway’, and rejoins Achilles’ camp).
The seeker then becomes clearly conscious of that which fights or desists within himself (Athena removed a thick fog from before the Achaeans’ eyes, as well as from before those of the warriors who had retreated towards the ships).
It is the seat of a decisive battle which strives to discern the right path (by the ship of Protesilaos, ‘the best for vision’) while that which in himself turns towards the spirit is ready to conclusively put aside the new path (Hector wishes to destroy the Achaean ships with fire).
Book XVI: Patroclus’ Exploits
As suggested by Nestor (see book XI), Patroclus begged Achilles to fight or to allow him to use his battle-gear himself and lead the Myrmidons into battle. Achilles accepted this proposal and encouraged Patroclus, whilst asking him not to eclipse his own glory but only to put a stop to the Trojans’ advance. He even wished for the death of all the soldiers, not only of the Trojans but also of the Argians (Achaeans).
While Ajax was in the heat of battle his spear was shattered by Hector, and fire was then set to the ship which he was defending.
Patroclus then donned Achilles’ battle-gear, with the exception of the spear which Chiron had gifted to his father Peleus, and which Achilles alone could use. Then Automedon, Achilles’ chariot-driver, brought forth the immortal horses Xanthos and Balius, gifted by the gods to Peleus and born of the union of the Harpy Podarge and the wind Zephyr. By their sides he harnessed Pedasus, a mortal horse brought by Achilles from Eetion, which was capable of keeping pace with the immortal horses.
Achilles had come from Troy with fifty ships carrying fifty men each. Patroclus and Automedon led the contingent, which was divided into five groups led by Menestheus (son of Sperchius and Polydorus), Eudore (son of Hermes and Polymelus), Pisander (son of Memalus), Phoenix and Alcimedon (son of Laerces).
Achilles then offered a libation to Zeus and in return asked for the safe return of Patroclus, but Zeus refused to grant this.
Patroclus slew Pyraechmes and put out the fire on the ship. He then slew Areilycus. Menelaus slew Thoas. Antilochos slew Atymnius. Thrasymedes slew Maris (Atymnius and Maris were the sons of Amisodarus, who had fed the Chimera, claiming the lives of many men). Ajax the Lesser killed Cleobule. Peneleos slew Lycon. Merion slew Acamas. Idomeneus slew Erymas.
Patroclus then killed Pronous, Thestor, Erylaus, Erymas, Amphoterus, Epaltes, Tlepolemus, Echius, Pyris, Ipheus, Euippus and Polymelus.
Zeus was tempted to remove his son Sarpedon, king of the Lycians, from the battlefield, for he knew that Patroclus would kill him. But Hera bid him to refrain to avoid eliciting jealousy.
Patroclus then put to the sword Sarpedon’s chariot driver Thrasymedes. Then Sarpedon unintentionally killed the horse Pedasus, before being himself slain by Patroclus. Before his death he urged on Glaucus, another Lycian leader who had been wounded on the arm by Teucer. Glaucus invoked Apollo to heal him, which the god agreed to do. He then took leadership of the Lycians and asked Aeneas and Hector to ensure that the burial rites of Sarpedon be carried out in accordance to his will.
The two sides then faced one another around the body of Sarpedon, the Achaeans striving to seize his weapons and the Trojans attempting to defend it against outrage and robbery.
Hector slew Epigeus. Patroclus slew Sthenelus. Glaucus slew Bathycles. Merion slew Laogonus.
Zeus first weakened the vigilance of Hector, who had beheld ‘the scale of Zeus’ tilting in favour of the Achaeans. When the Lycians’ guard was down, the Achaeans seized Sarpedon’s weapons. Zeus then sent forth Apollo to remove Sarpedon’s body from the battleground so that he could be washed and taken to Lycia by Hypnos and Thanatos, where he would be buried and honoured according to custom.
But Patroclus did not heed Achilles’ order, and constrained by the will of Zeus exhorted his horses and Automedon – Achilles’ squire who had accompanied him -, to pursue the Trojans and the Lycians till the walls of Troy.
Patroclus then killed Adraste, Autonous, Echeclus, Perimus, Epistor, Melanippe, Elasus, Mulius and Pylartes.
Thrice Patroclus attacked the ramparts, and thrice he was pushed back by Apollo. At the fourth attempt the god’s voice against him was so terrible that Patroclus retreated far back. Under the guise of Asius, brother of Hecabe, Apollo incited Hector to rejoin the battle, provoking a terrible tumult amongst the Argians. While Hector precipitated himself upon Patroclus, the latter killed his charioteer Cebriones. Hector and Patroclus fought over Cebriones’ body, and then the struggle spread.
The Achaeans finally seized the weapons of the charioteer, while Patroclus slew numerous Trojans.
Patroclus’ destiny was then sealed: Apollo drew close to him from behind and struck him with his open hand, sending his helmet flying, breaking his spear and causing his shield and breastplate to fall. Then Euphorbus, son of Prothous, wounded him on the back with a spear and Hector ended his life with a blow to his side. In the agony of death he predicted Hector’s imminent death. The latter then attempted to strike Automedon, Achilles’ charioteer, but the latter managed to escape on the chariot drawn by the immortal horses.
Here there is a turning point towards the yoga which seeks to pursue purification, initiated by one of the most ancient yogic movements (Nestor, ‘the right evolution of rectitude’). In this attempt, it is still ‘the spirit of ancient yoga’ which is at play, but new methods are introduced (Patroclus enters the battle wearing Achilles’ weapons). Before being distanced from the yogic process the ancient realisations in union seem indispensable for ensuring a transition which utilises for its reversal new means of investigation of the depths of consciousness (Achilles’ weapons), but they must not overuse this aid to further they own power (Patroclus, whose death is announced, must not eclipse Achilles’ glory or defy Apollo, who watches over the Trojans). This movement must only prepare the work of reversal (Patroclus must return to Achilles’ side after having put a stop to the Trojan assault).
The seeker aspires to fully clear all the elements which from both sides participate in the inner conflict by their mere presence the ones in front of the others (according to Achilles’ wish, the soldiers would eventually wipe each other out).
It is a perfect mastery which can lead the energies which bring about the reversal (Automedon, ‘he who masters himself’, Achilles’ chariot-driver and squire). This mastery allows a sourcing from the reservoir of vital energies which are not tied to duality, forces originating from detachment and liberation which emerge from the turning of the vital towards yoga and the asceticism of purification (the immortal horses Xanthos and Balius, born of the Harpie Podarge and the western wind Zephyr).
It can be noticed that Hector and Achilles both possess a horse by the name of Xanthos, ‘the golden-yellow’, symbolic of detachment. But Hector’s horse is not immortal, due to the ‘renouncement’ which most often adds itself to the process of detachment within the Trojan path, and of its belonging to the path of duality. The new path represented by Achilles does not in fact require renouncement, but rather an integral acceptance within a complete consecration.
In addition to the vital forces originating from non-duality the seeker who advances in accordance with the ancient ways can also utilise an impulse linked to the dual personality (represented by the mortal horse Pedasus, ‘he who lunges forward’).
The description of the contingent of the Myrmidons reveals a movement which is completely accomplished in its form (only the figures five and fifty are present). It describes a liberated seeker endowed with a strong will (Menestheus), rightly consecrated (Eudore), who has full trust in the Divine (Peisandros), who has access to a vital power of regeneration (the ‘crimson’ Phoenix), and who exerts great mastery over himself.
The supraconscient then reluctantly accepts to sacrifice the ‘mental wisdom’ of which he is the origin (Zeus balks at contemplating his son Sarpedon’s imminent death). This wisdom in fact originates from the will of the supraconscient to achieve a degree of mastery over vision through the struggle of the logical intellect against illusion (Sarpedon is the son of Zeus and Laodamia, herself the daughter of Bellerophon, ‘he who vanquishes Chimera’, and therefore a descendant of Sisyphus). This wisdom has till today supported and directed the ‘illuminations’ of the ancient paths of yoga, but must henceforth give up its place to a light of a higher order (Sarpedon, who leads the Lycians and is allied with the Trojans, must die). These are ‘the ancient realisations within union’ equipped with new methods which simultaneously annul this knowledge-wisdom and that which served it, ‘he who concerns himself with asceticism’ (Patroclus slew Sarpedon and Thrasymedes). From this moment onwards, it is in fact no longer a matter of a personal act of asceticism oriented towards a quest for Knowledge, but of an integral submission to the Divine who Himself directs the course of yoga.
In associating Sarpedon with Knowledge it must be understood here in the sense defined by Sri Aurobindo when he stated that the Triple path of Knowledge, Love and Work is in fact a path of knowledge. The ancient forms of yoga can be considered as paths of knowledge even though they give greater importance to feeling or action as a means for their work.
Before it disappears, the wisdom acquired in ancient times ensures that it is no longer an ordinary vital force, no matter how purified it maybe, which supports the yogic process, but only a force originating from the non-dual vital plane (Sarpedon slew Pedasus).
If the seeker renounces the mental ‘knowledge’ which supported the ancient forms of yoga, he cannot help but replace it with a knowledge originating from the vital and equally resulting from a victory over illusions (Sarpedon and Glaucus were in fact grandsons of Bellerophon, Sarpedon being born of Zeus and Hippodamia and Glaucus of Hippolochus , ‘he who bears power’). It is the psychic light, already active since some time in the Trojan camp, which ensures the transition and returns strength to a power which the seeker has been obliged to leave aside (Apollo heals Glaucus). No longer able to feed upon intellectual arguments, the opposition to this new yoga calls upon the established forces and ‘truths’ of the vital-mental to bring forward the impossibilities. Obviously, this limited light will also have to eventually disappear (Glaucus will later on be killed by Ajax, ‘the most extended consciousness’ within incarnation).
Of course, the ancient form of yoga wishes to maintain the structure of this wisdom intact within the seeker (the pillaging of Sarpedon’s body), while the new form wishes to seize only its genius (his weapons). The battle is won by that which aspires to transformation (the Achaeans seize Sarpedon’s weapons).
But Homer affirms that the acquisition of this wisdom is a mandatory passage, and the psychic light ensures the safeguarding of its memory; it is actually first ‘forgotten’ before being definitively ‘moved away’ from the yogic process (Apollo removed Sarpedon’s body, which was later given all due honours in Lycia thanks to the intervention of Hypnos and Thanatos).
The ‘past realisations which support themselves on the mind’ with the aid of new tools then put an end to numerous yoga practices and behaviours which block the transition towards new forms in both negative and positive ways. In fact, Patroclus slew numerous Trojans, including Adraste, ‘he who does not attempt to flee’ (that which upholds its own truth without weakening), Autonous, ‘he who is directed according to his own will or intelligence’, as well as Melanippos, ‘a black force’, and Pylartes ‘of the securely fastened doors’.
There is a character named Adraste in both camps. When the moment of transition draws nigh, the seeker must cease ‘maintaining’ his separative stance.
While the seeker is ready to claim victory through the use of ancient methods, he is halted in this movement by the highest inner light within himself (Apollo pushes Patroclus back thrice).
That which had till then assisted the movement of an opening of consciousness towards the realms of the spirit disappears (Cebriones, Hector’s second coachman, is killed).
The inner psychic light then ensures that the ‘realisation of union supporting itself on the mind’ is no longer able to utilise the methods and protection of the new yoga (Patroclus is despoiled by Apollo of Achilles’ breastplate and weapons, being recalled that Patroclus belongs to the lineage of Iapetus through Deion). For it is not here a question of an extension or perpetuation of the ancient forms of yoga supporting themselves on the mind through new means, but of an entirely different undertaking. This does not annul the usefulness of the ancient forms of yoga, even though Sri Aurobindo has proposed a more integral method to arrive more rapidly to that point.
Already weakened, ‘past realisations on the path of union which support themselves on the mind’ are definitively annulled under the blows of the yogic process which searches for Divine realisation only outside the living world, while at the same time the seeker becomes aware that a definite reversal is near (dying, Patroclus predicts Hector’s death approaching). Before Patroclus’ death the seeker must accept the end of the intervention of the mind in the yogic process to such an extent that the mental element will be taken away from him.
Book XVII: Great deeds of Menelaus
Setting forth to bring back Patroclus’ body, Menelaus came up against Euphorbus and slew him. Under the guise of Mentes Apollo urged Hector to face Menelaus, who called Ajax to his aid. Without a moment’s pause Hector seized the ‘immortal’ battle-gear of Achilles which Patroclus had donned. He was then called upon by Glaucus, who pressed him to fight against Ajax and Menelaus. He pulled his men and allies towards the body of Patroclus, around which the battle raged. For his part, Menelaus was gathering the Achaean forces.
Zeus then brought about a blinding mist which proved favourable to the Achaeans.
Ajax slew Hippothous.
Hector slew Schedius.
Ajax slew Phorcys.
While the Trojans were on the point of giving in, Apollo addressed Aeneas to encourage his troops. The hero recognised the god, who was under the guise of Periphas.
Aeneas then slew Leiocritus.
Lycomedes slew Apisaon.
Not far from there Achilles’ horses, which feared neither old age not death, refused to budge and grieved the loss of Patroclus, their heads bent down to the ground, but Zeus infused them with renewed ardour. Automedon led them before the Trojan army and entrusted them to Alcimedon. Hector and Aeneas attempted to seize them, but Automedon called both Ajax and Menelaus to his aid.
Automedon killed Arete, and seized his weapons.
Then Zeus sent Athena under the guise of Phoenix to awaken the ardour of the warriors surrounding the site of Patroclus’ death, while Apollo under the guise of Phaenops gave Hector courage. But again Zeus ensured the Trojans’ victory, and a fog enveloped the battlefield.
Menelaus kills Podes. Penaleus was wounded, as was Leitus. Coeranus was slain by Hector.
Ajax the Great implored Zeus to come to his aid, and the god took pity and lifted the fog. He then requested Menelaus to send forth Nestor’s son Antilochos to announce to Achilles the death of Patroclus, ‘the most courageous of all the Achaeans’.
Protected by the two Ajax, Merion and Menelaus succeeded in bringing Patroclus’ corpse till the ships, all the while pursued relentlessly by Hector, Aeneas and the Trojan soldiers.
The yogic movement which only sees a way out through the spirit reclaims to its profit the new means with which the seeker had believed for a moment to be able to claim a decisive victory in the reorientation of the yogic process (Hector reclaims Achilles’ weapons). These means are those of non-duality, for these weapons are ‘immortal’.
A difficult period then begins during which the seeker is no longer able to discern the right direction to be followed (Zeus had caused a fog to descend upon the battlefield), especially as the new yogic methods are regained and put to work by the very thing it fights against (Hector dons Achilles’ battle-gear).
Even the forces and powers of the vital which the seeker could formerly draw upon limitlessly in accordance to his needs and which never weakened seem to now abandon him (Achilles’ horses, which know neither age not death, remain prostrate). But this does not last, for the supraconscient only deprives him from these forces for a short period.
This access to the sources of vital power has been obtained by the liberated individual who has descended into the depths at the origins of subconscient life (the horses had been a gift to Peleus at the time of his marriage with Thetis, the daughter of Nereus, ‘the old man of the sea’). These vital forces can therefore only be handled by one who has acquired ‘a complete mastery over himself’, or he who has ‘mastery over forces’ (Automedon and Alcimedon). But this mastery must soon call for the aid of ‘the work of the widening of consciousness’ in incarnation, as well as ‘an unshakeable will extended towards its aim’ (the two Ajaxes and Menelaus).
The forces of the overmind are in action in an indirect manner during this phase – here Athena and Apollo appear under the guise of Phoenix, ‘renewal’, and Phaenops, ‘of the shining, illuminated gaze’ – in such a way that the seeker only perceives its manifestations.
From his widest consciousness the seeker then implores the Divine for a clear vision of the developing process to be granted to him, which the Divine indeed grants (Ajax implores Zeus to dissipate the blinding fog). This implies that the early realisation in the quest for union through the mind must be abandoned even if it remains indispensable for reaching this point (Achilles must be informed of Patroclus’ death and due funerary rites be given to him).
Book XVIII: The forging of new weapons for Achilles
Nestor’s son Antilochos came to announce the death of Patroclus to Achilles. The latter uttered a terrible cry of grief, which was heard in the depths of the ocean by his mother Thetis. Accompanied by her numerous sisters the Nereids, she ascended from the ocean’s depths till she reached her son’s side.
Achilles grieved the death of his inseparable companion, reproaching himself for not having protected him in battle and wishing for the disappearance of the spirit of quarrel, Eris, who had kept him away from the battlefield.
Then as he announced to his mother his desire to avenge Patroclus, she asked him to wait for her to ask Hephaestus to forge him a new set of battle-gear and arms.
During this time the Trojans had made the Achaeans retreat back to their ships, and Hector drew closer to being able to seize Patroclus’ body.
The goddess Iris, messenger of the gods, was hastened by Hera, Zeus and the other gods to speak to Achilles. She urged the latter to enter the battle without waiting for his new weapons to be brought to him. Athena then handed him an aegis, adorned his forehead with a golden halo and caused a resplendent flame to surge from his body. Thus he entered the battle, and moved in the direction of Patroclus’ body. As the day was drawing to a close, the Trojans were seized with fear and retreated. Twelve amongst their best warriors were killed outright at the sound of his terrible cries.
In the Trojan camp Polydamas the son of Panthous began to speak. He alone could know both the past and the future, and because of his wise counsel had won prevalence over Hector. He advised a careful retreat into the walls of Troy but Hector chided him for such words, giving his soldiers the order to remain in readiness for an attack at dawn.
Achilles then grieved by the side of Patroclus’ body, foreseeing his own imminent death. But he could not fathom burying his friend and dying before having slain Hector, and meanwhile ordered that the body be prepared for burial according to custom.
By this time Thetis had reached the dwelling of Hephaestus and of his divine wife Charis. The lame god was attended to by two servants made of gold who were made to look like living images of virgins.
Hephaestus recalled that Thetis, with the aid of Eurynome the daughter of Ocean, ‘the river which flows towards its source’, had welcomed him when he was hurt. As he was lame at birth his mother Hera, wishing to keep him from being seen, had flung him from the top of Mount Olympus, and he therefore felt indebted to Thetis.
As she told him of the motive of her visit, complaining that she was the only goddess to have united with a mortal, he assured her that he would make for Achilles weapons even more wonderful than the ones taken by Hector from Patroclus’ body. Upon returning to his forge he created a breastplate, helmet, gaiters and a splendid shield. On the latter were depicted, aside from the sky, the earth, the sea and the stars, scenes of justice, war, labour, a royal domain, a vineyard, a flock of gold and brazen cattle, a flock of sheep and a dance scene. At the extreme right-hand side of the shield was depicted the powerful river Oceanus.
He then lay these weapons at Thetis’ feet.
The seeker eventually admits that a new form of yoga which abandons all mental support as well as the structures of past yogic forms is henceforth necessary for moving in the direction of evolution beyond the psychic transformation and individual liberation (Antilochos, ‘a sharpened vigilance’, informed Achilles of Patroclus’ death).
This shift of awareness ‘descends’ down to the place in which is found the pure force which orders all things at the root of life, the aim of the movement of yoga which works within the shadowy depths of the vital (the piercing cry of Achilles reaches Thetis, Achilles’ mother through her union with Peleus). The seeker who wishes to bring a definitive end to the origin of the consciousness of separation (Eris, the spirit of conflict and quarrel), then receives the message through means of the (vital) intuition that new tools for his yogic practice will be given to him (Thetis, daughter of Nereus, ‘the old man of the sea’, tells her son that she is going to ask Hephaestus to make him new weapons).
However the seeker is not yet certain that the realisations aiming at union and operated by the ascension of the planes of consciousness were necessary for the new path (Hector draws near and seizes Patroclus’ body).
But he understands at the level of the body that he must express the turning point of the yogic work to his being as a whole without waiting to recover the new modes of operation which have been announced to him (Iris ‘the messenger’ presses Achilles to appear before the Trojans). Faith, the powerful light of the mind and the inner fire (the aegis, the forehead marked with gold and the flame leaping from Achilles’ body) which accompany this movement are so powerful that they push back any other movement within the being which seeks to oppose them (filled with terror, the Trojans retreat).
The mode of yoga which refused the rendering divine of the body then loses strength, a great number of possibilities for action as well as its certainties about the right direction to be followed (the Trojan horses turn back, twelve of the best Trojan warriors are killed and the coach-drivers are at a loss).
The mastery acquired in numerous domains has allowed for the obtaining of a vision of the three times, trikaldrishti (see Sri Aurobindo’s Journal of Yoga). This vision, which is more trustworthy than that resulting from an opening towards the heights of the spirit, tries in vain to oppose the latter movement (Polydamas, who alone was able to know both past and future, and through his wise counsel was more greatly respected than Hector, tries in vain to persuade the latter to return within the walls of Troy).
The seeker then takes the inner decision to conclusively abandon this movement which opens itself towards the heights of the spirit (Achilles vows to kill Hector) through his renouncement to any creation of the overmind, as for example the establishment of a new religion.
Aware that he is entering into a transitory movement however, he cannot yet completely integrate the disappearance of past realisations – those which had been obtained through the work of purification and liberation which supported themselves on the mind – before having entirely given up all desire to pursue an ascension of the planes of consciousness (Achilles, who senses his imminent death, cannot envisage burying his friend and dying himself before having slain Hector).
It must be remembered that Achilles (Χ+ΛΛ) represents the process of purification and liberation which has reached the muddy waters of the roots of life (for he is a son of Peleus, ‘that which is active within the mire’, and of the Nereid Thetis, ‘the deepest consciousness’ in the vital). As Thetis is the only goddess to have entered a union with a mortal, her son Achilles represents at that moment the most advanced movement of the yogic process. This work of deepened purification has been prepared by all of the ancient realisations on the path towards union and equality (Achilles was raised with Patroclus, ‘the glory of the fathers’, son of Menoetius, ‘that which is accessible to the spirit’, who was himself a son of Deion, one who seeks for ‘a union in consciousness’). But this form of yoga would have probably not been able to reach a successful conclusion if the process of the ascension of the planes of consciousness represented by Hector had not been developed simultaneously. The one could not have been possible to achieve without the other.
It is the part which is best placed to make the transition towards the new mode of yoga which has retreated before the power of the fire of aspiration (Achilles’ anger towards Agamemnon). This demonstrates that a very lengthy process of cleansing and purification is necessary before the change can be brought about, from the abduction of Helen till the end of the Trojan War. Achilles’ ‘strike’, which seems to have halted the process, is in fact the condition for the acceleration of the reversal yogic process.
The narrative is continued with Thetis asking Hephaestus for a new set of weapons for her son Achilles.
The lame god, creator of the forms issued from the supraconscient, is at that moment surrounded by the most evolved forms which can be generated within a period of alternation dominated by the forces of separation, but these forms only carry the appearance of life for they are not connected to the Source (Hephaestus is accompanied by two servants made of gold, who have the appearance of living virgins). These servants remind one of the automatons of Daedalus, who also appeared to be alive.
The fact that Thetis had taken care of Hephaestus when he had been flung from Mount Olympus indicates that the process of alternation which governs the mind was active from the origins of life. And the river Oceanos, ‘which flows towards its source’, gives the image of an evolution which returns towards its origin.
From the moment in which the seeker prepares himself to progress into this new path beyond the liberation of the spirit, the supraconscient grants him ‘practices of yoga’ and ‘protections’ most appropriate to the new mode of yoga (Achilles’ new weapons which are better than the old: a shield, a breastplate, a helmet and a pair of gaiters).
The description of Achilles’ shield, of which only a brief summary is given below, refers to a number of realisations which constitute an indispensable protection for the next stage of the path: a vast consciousness, a great discernment, a precise vision of duality, a good yogic practice, joy, an illumined mind, a fitting harmony of the action of the masculine and feminine within the being, and finally a powerful aspiration for evolution which maintains a coherence of the whole.
Book XIX: Achilles gives up his anger
Thetis brought to her son Achilles the weapons and battle-gear crafted by the lame god. The goddess also reassured him, for he feared that Patroclus’ body had been contaminated by flies. She then administered ambrosia and the red nectar into the dead man’s nostrils.
Achilles convoked an assembly of Achaeans, with at its head Diomedes, Ulysses and Agamemnon. Before them all he announced the end of his refusal to fight, and Agamemnon was in his turn contrite.
Ulysses then advised that the armies take rest to be able to endure the lengthy combat to come. He also bade Agamemnon to fulfil the promises that he had made to Achilles as reparation for the dishonour he had brought upon him. As Achilles was becoming impatient, Ulysses reminded him that he was his elder and therefore exceeded him in wisdom, and bid him to follow his counsel. Followed by several other heroes he went into Agamemnon’s encampment in search of the seven tripods, twenty cauldrons, twelve horses, seven able women, ten gold talents and the beautiful Briseis promised to Achilles.
Agamemnon them swore before the gods that he had never touched Briseis. The latter, ‘akin to golden Aphrodite’, beholding the corpse of Patroclus, grieved for him who had taken care of her with great gentleness and had promised that she would be Achilles’ bride.
Then Achilles, so greatly weighed down by grief that he could partake of no food, shed many tears over Patroclus’ corpse. He spoke of the father of the dead man, who in Phthia grieved the absence of his son who he guessed might already be dead. He also spoke of his son Neoptolemus, who looked like a god and was being raised alone in Skyros. Zeus took pity and ordered Athena to intervene, which the goddess did, administering nectar and ambrosia into the hero’s breast.
When ready for battle the Achaeans emerged in great numbers from the ships.
Achilles donned the battle-gear and weapons crafted by Hephaestus. He then pulled out of its sheath the heavy spear which his father had been gifted with by Chiron, and which he was the only one amongst the Achaeans to be able to handle (Patroclus had therefore not taken it with him). Automedon and Alcimus prepared the team of horses which would bring him into battle. Shining, he called the horses Xanthos and Balius to come to him, begging them to ‘change their manner of thinking’ and bring him back alive and well. Suddenly endowed with a human voice by Hera, Xanthos promised him this, whilst reminding the warrior that his death was soon to come and that he could do nothing to prevent this, ‘for his destiny was to be tamed by force by a god and by a man’.
Then Achilles went forward, impatient to bring to the Trojans ‘the distaste of war’.
The seeker fears that harmful mental elements might damage the memory – and therefore their utility in their time – of the ancient realisations striving towards union, but he receives the indication from powers acting in the greatest depths of the vital that no such thing would happen for they will ensure that their integrity is maintained within the being (flies will not be able to bring decay to Patroclus’ corpse, which Thetis renders incorruptible).
He then takes action, the moment having come to conclusively turn the page on the movements of yoga in the spirit which reject the perfecting of matter. The yoga of the depths takes the direction of the struggle for reversal, and the seeker abandons his will for a ‘bettered man’ (before the entire assembly Achilles announces the end of his abnegation, and Agamemnon in his turn begs forgiveness).
That which takes on the task of establishing an equilibrium of forces within the seeker (Ulysses) invites the latter not only to recoup the greatest amount of energy possibly before precipitating himself into the final battle, but also encourages him to bring into order all backward things. The realisations of the movement which through its power of aspiration sought a betterment of the human being, must be transferred to that which will operate the reversal: they are the supports necessary for a purification aiming towards a psychic opening (the seven tripods, which are Apollonian symbols), the tools of the purification to come (the twenty cauldrons), the impeccability of works of consecration and receptivity (the seven skilled women), and finally ‘the power of transformation through a union with the Absolute (the beautiful Briseis, who dwelt in the city of the soothsayer Mynes, and whom Patroclus promised as a bride to Achilles).
The seeker then notices that while his aspiration towards a human perfection of man in his present form (Agamemnon) has for long been developed to acquire ‘a power of transformation through a union with the Divine’ (Briseis) which has grown within a structure devoted to ‘the evolution of consecration’, it has never taken this seriously as its object (Agamemnon, husband of Clytemnestra, swears that he has never laid a hand on Briseis, who was ‘like the golden Aphrodite’, and used to dwell in the city of the soothsayer Mynes).
(‘The golden Aphrodite’ is the highest love of which the seeker is capable at this stage of yogic progress, the compassion obtained through consecration).
However, the seeker recognises that earlier realisations turned towards union on the path of purification and liberation had previously taken care of this ‘power of transformation through a union with the Divine’ which can be acquired only through a work on the depths of the being (Patroclus had taken care of Briseis, and had promised her that she would be Achilles’ bride).
He then recalls the path which had taken him through the dark regions of the vital depths of the being (he alludes to his father Peleus), and foresees future battles which were in preparation outside this war for the yogic reversal to be carried out (he thinks of his son Neoptolemus, ‘the new battles’, who is being raised far from him).
The supraconscient then intervenes, and offers him an experience of non-duality at the highest level (Athena administers nectar and ambrosia into the chest of the warrior).
The seeker then readies himself for the great turning point of his yogic progress. He has not only been given protections by the power which creates new forms (Hephaestus), but also ‘a powerful means of action’ which can only be utilised by one who works for the purification and liberation of the deep layers of consciousness. These means have been forged by ‘that which acts within the lower nature by manipulating energies in the appropriate manner’, and allows that which is entirely free in the mind to pursue the yoga battles in the depths of the vital (the spear was given by Chiron to Peleus, and only Achilles could handle it). This is perhaps in reference to mantra.
Courage and complete mastery (and/or a very strong consecration) are the motor elements capable of directing the vital force in this turning point of the yogic process (Automedon, ‘he who is master of himself’, and Alcimede ready a team of horses for Achilles). It must be remembered that horses are symbols of strength and power, most often vital power.)
Belonging to non-duality, these forces which lead the yogic process originate from the work of purification at the roots of the vital, for Xanthos and Balius are born of Zephyr, the western wind, and the harpy Podarge. The Zephyr is in fact a spiritual aid to purification, the divine wind which lifts ‘the violence of autumn storms that make fall leaves and dead branches’, and the Harpy Podarge ‘of the clear feet’ is a symbol of the movement of return to a luminous equilibrium in incarnation (the appropriate state of homeostasis).
Precisely at this turning point in the yogic process, ‘detachment’ and ‘the conversion of the vital’ (its adherence to yoga) work to clear the depths of the vital, a task initiated by Peleus and further pursued by Achilles. But when the seeker deepens the yoga in the vital up to the cells these forces must ‘alter their way of thinking’, which is to say that the processes to which they are linked must change (shining, he called to him his horses Xanthos and Balius, asking them to ‘alter their way of thinking’ so as to bring him back alive). It is an indispensable condition for transformation to occur, allowing a descent of the forces of Truth down into the body.
If we consider their origins, these forces are issued from a spiritual aid to purification (the western wind, the Zephyr), which supports one of the movements of primitive vital nature acting within man, the Harpy Podarge daughter of Thaumas (see diagram 2). The latter, the principle of a return to equilibrium or homeostasis, therefore governs for instance the development of the healing processes of the body which had become fixed since millions of years. Through his yogic endeavour the seeker therefore asks the divine and his body to alter the process of nature which man habitually considers as immutable.
This attempt is the subject of numerous conversations in the Agenda. That of the 24th February 1962 (Volume 3, pp. 49-51) is particularly significant: The Mother, who was that day celebrating her 84th birthday, had for several years undergone, as she put it, a spell which had made her very ill and almost brought her to death’s door:
‘Something was saying (I don’t know who, because it doesn’t come like something foreign to me any more, it’s like a Wisdom, it seems like a Wisdom, something that knows: not someone in particular, but “that which knows,” whatever its form), something that knows was insisting to the body, by showing it certain things, vibrations, movements, ‘From now on, O unbelieving substance, you can’t say there are no miracles.’ Because the substance itself is used to each thing having its effect, to illnesses following a particular course and certain things even being necessary for it to be cured. This process is very subtle, and it doesn’t come from the intellect, which can have a totally different interpretation of it; it’s rather a kind of consciousness ingrained in physical substance, and that’s what was being addressed and being shown certain movements, certain vibrations and so forth: ‘You see, from now on you can’t say there are no miracles.’ In other words, a direct intervention of the Lord, who doesn’t follow the beaten path, but does things … in His own way.’
Further on within this same conversation the Mother specifies:
‘…and on the 20th I was concentrated all day long: no contacts with anyone, nothing external, only an intense invocation … as intense and concentrated as when you’re trying to melt into the Lord at death. It was like that. The same movement of identification, but at its core a will for everything to work out in a good way here [on the material plane]. ‘In a good way’ … I mean I said to the Lord, ‘YOUR Good, the true Good, not…. The true Good, a victorious Good, a real progress over the way life is usually lived.’ And I stayed in this unwavering concentration the whole day, all the time, all the time: even when I spoke, it was something very external speaking. And then at night when I went to bed I felt something had changed – the body felt completely different. When I got up in the morning, all the pains and disorders and dangers had … vanished. ‘Lord,’ I said, ‘You have given me a gift of health….’ Voila.
And with this change, the bodily substance, the very stuff of the cells, was constantly being told, ‘Don’t you forget, now you see that miracles CAN happen.’ In other words, the way things work out in physical substance may not at all conform to the laws of Nature. ‘Don’t forget, now!’ It kept coming back like a refrain: ‘Don’t forget, now! This is how it is.’ And I saw how necessary this repetition was for the cells: they forget right away and try to find explanations (oh, how stupid can you be!). It’s a sort of feeling (not at all an individual way of thinking), it’s Matter’s way of thinking. Matter is built like that, it’s part of its make-up. We call it “thinking” for lack of a better word, but it’s not “thinking”: it is a material way of understanding things, the way Matter is able to understand.’
It must be remembered that Thaumas, the father of this Harpy, symbolises ‘that which is astonishing, marvellous, surprising, admirable’. Within the beginnings of the evolution of life there therefore existed remarkable capacities of vital matter which had been buried and forgotten during the course of the evolution of the mind.
At this request from the seeker to ‘alter its way of thinking’, bodily nature responds positively and in a very clear manner which the seeker cannot doubt (suddenly granted a human voice by Hera, Xanthos promised to grant his request).
Xanthos, Achilles’ immortal horse, is a force which has appeared at the time of the first developments of life when the connection with the subtle physical was clear rather than obstructed by fear and the mental vital, fear only emerging during the following stage with Phorcys and Ceto. When the seeker can establish a pure connection with the plane of the subtle physical, as is the case at this stage of the yogic process, he has acquired knowledge of the future. This is why Xanthos can promise Achilles that he will bring him back from battle alive this time (Xanthos made Achilles this promise). The Mother develops the distinction between different levels of premonition in the Agenda of the 27th February 1962 (Volume 3, p. 55), in particular the passage below about the subtle physical:
‘Anyway, to go back to what I was saying, depending on the plane of one’s vision, one can judge approximately how much time it will take to be realized. Immediate things are already realized, they are self-existent and can be seen in the subtle physical – they already exist there, and the reflection (not even transcription) or projection of this image is what will take place in the material world the next day or a few hours later. In this case you see the thing accurately, in all its details, because it’s already there. Everything hinges on the precision and power of your vision: if your vision is objective and sincere, you will see the thing as it is; if you add personal sentiments or impressions, it gets coloured. Accuracy in the subtle physical depends exclusively on the instrument, the one who sees.’
All the same, even if this force ‘alters its way of thinking’, it will not be able to change anything in terms of the movement of purification in the depths of the vital, which functions within the framework of the ancient forms of yoga, for it is an action from a force of the overmind linked to a particular kind of yoga which will put an end to it (Xanthos could not alter the proximity of Achilles’ death, for his destiny was to be tamed by force by a god and by a man).
Book XX: The battle of the gods
Zeus ordered Themis to convoke the gods to an assembly. All of them answered the call, even the river gods and the wood nymphs, with Oceanos being the only one missing. Impatient for the fighting to come to an end, Zeus ordered the gods to all descend into the field of battle and bring their aid to whichever side they chose while he would remain on Olympus and watch the ensuing battle.
Hera, Athena, Poseidon, Hephaestus and Hermes then went forth on the side of the Achaeans, while Ares, Apollo, Artemis, Leto, Aphrodite and the river Xanthos took the side of the Trojans.
Athena and Ares encouraged the warriors with terrible cries, Zeus sent forth thunder and Poseidon made the earth shake with such force that in his underground kingdom Hades took fright, fearing that Poseidon might ‘open to the eyes of mortals and immortals alike the terrible and vast domains which caused the gods themselves to shudder’.
The gods were facing each other in pairs: Poseidon faced Apollo, Ares faced Athena, Hera faced Artemis, Leto faced Hermes, and Hephaestus faced Xanthos, known as Scamander by mortals.
Apollo urged Aeneas to fight Achilles despite his apprehension, infusing him with great fire and courage. Following Poseidon’s counsel, the gods prepared themselves to contemplate the combat of the two heroes.
Aeneas enumerated the kings of his lineage, including its founders: Dardanos, whose subjects lived on the slopes of Mount Ida, Erichtonios of the three thousand mares to whom Boreas got united and from whom were born twelve colts who sprang gracefully over ears of wheat, and finally Tros, father of Ilos, Assaracus and Ganymedes.
Then Aeneas flung his pike, frightening Achilles who was not aware that ‘the gifts of a god are not easily destroyed by a mortal’.
But although Poseidon supported the Achaeans he obstructed Achilles’ sight with a thick mist and pulled Aeneas from the battlefield, ‘ for it is ordained unto him to escape, that the race of Dardanus perish not without seed and be seen no more – of Dardanus whom the son of Cronos loved above all the children born to him from mortal women’. He then announced that Aeneas and his descendants would rule over the Trojans in the future, and dissipated the mist from Achilles’ eyes.
Apollo advised Hector to instil ardour into his troops and not to venture before Achilles, who was encouraging his own, but to wait for him amongst the warriors.
Achilles slew Iphition, Democleon and Hippodamas.
Then Achilles slew Polydorus, the youngest and best loved amongst Priam’s sons. Hector, filled with pain at the death of his younger brother, rode before Achilles. While they flung their spears at each other Athena redirected Hector’s spear, while Apollo hid Hector from Achilles’ sight thrice with a thick mist.
Achilles then slew Dryops, Demuchus, Laogonus Dardanos, Tros, Mulius, Echeclus, Deucalion, Rhigmus and his chariot driver Areithous, as well as many others.
Achilles sprang from one side of the battlefield to the other like a god, the dark earth crimson with the blood of his victims, his horses’ massive hooves crushing corpses and abandoned shields strewn over the battlefield.
For the great reversal of the yogic process to take place, all forces and ‘currents’, or rivers, which participate in the process of evolution are mobilised in accordance to divine law (Themis). Oceanos does not appear in this assembly, most probably to indicate that the new phase of purification and liberation has not yet been initiated, which confirms the fact that Neoptolemus, whose name signifies ‘the new combats’ and who was the son of Achilles, has not yet reached Troy.
At this turning point of the yogic process the seeker draws closer and closer to the forces of the overmind. The gods therefore more often appear with uncovered faces. The fact that they divide themselves into the two camps indicates that the overmind is still a plane of duality in which forces can come into conflict, for they all share the same legitimacy in pursuing the path proper to them. While some defend a position which seems indefensible – in this case the Trojan side – they are however not in error. It is only our own limited vision which can give that impression, for they actually all only have as their aim to contribute to a greater human perfection by leading the Trojan movement of the flight in the spirit to its most extreme limit.
The seeker is then potently shaken by the subconscient down to the depths of the physical being. The power which watches over the work of union within the body even fears a moment in which the body, opening itself to supreme consciousness, might be unable to withstand the horror of planes which are diametrically opposed and in which Truth is corrupted (Hades fears that Poseidon ‘might shatter the earth into the skies, and open to the eyes of mortals and immortals the terrifying domain of corruption feared by the gods themselves’). This is evocative of a text from the Mother’s Agenda from December 31, 1965 (Volume 6, p. 244), in which she speaks to Satprem of the following: ‘You say you see horrors – mon petit, your horrors must be something quite charming in comparison with the horrors I have seen! I don’t think one human being can bear the sight of what I have seen.’
The seeker brings face to face the following within himself:
– The power which directs the subconscient and the psychic light (Poseidon and Apollo).
– That which decides on the life of forms and on what aids mastery and that which look after inner growth (Ares and Athena).
– The divine laws and the psychic perception of the right movement (Hera and Artemis).
– The psychic and the knowledge of the overmind (Leto and Hermes).
– That which creates new forms and detachment (Hephaestus and the river Xanthos).
He then questions himself anew on the rightness of his path: the inner psychic light (Apollo) pushes him to bring face to face within his consciousness the movement which wishes to strive for liberation in the depths of the vital (Achilles) and the process which within the path of ascension moves forward not in the division of spirit and matter (Hector, in the genealogical lineage of Ilos and Laomedon), but in that of unity with the aim of achieving love (Apollo encourages Aeneas to fight Achilles despite Aeneas’ reluctance). Aeneas, ‘evolution’, is in fact a son of Anchise, ‘he who is close to man’, and of Aphrodite, ‘the evolution of love’, within the lineage of Assaracus, ‘the right movement of the opening of consciousness within a unified being’.
This is still a final attempt of the psychic light to make the evolution of love take prevalence over that of Truth.
At this point the seeker has not yet understood to which extent his work on the depths of the vital is supported and protected by that which watches over the building of new forms (Achilles is not aware that his shield, built by Hephaestus, is protecting him, for ‘the gifts of a god are difficult for a mortal to destroy’).
Even if the seeker is ready to radically question the ancient ways (if Achilles is likely to be victorious), however it is not a question of putting an end to the aspiration for love in humankind, for this is to take place later with Aeneas and his descendants. In fact, this will ultimately be the path of evolution taken by humankind during centuries of Christianity.
But for the seeker who has already achieved the highest level of realisation of love with a psychic realisation it is a question of embarking upon another path; the mind’s participation in the path of love will only be able to recommence when Truth will have been established within the depths of the being. The subconscient thus also keeps the seeker from prematurely severing ties, and obliges him to recognise the fact that evolution has long been fittingly driven by this quest for love amongst men (Aeneas is removed from the battle, for ‘destiny willed that he be saved so that the lineage of Dardanos would not perish, Dardanos having been the best loved by the Cronid amongst all of his children born of himself and a mortal).
Here the subconscient takes action by bringing about a state of temporary uncertainty and then simultaneously making understood the continuation of the evolutionary process (Poseidon brought a thick mist over Achilles’ eyes, and announced that Aeneas and his descendants would rule over Troy in the future).
This yoga of the depths puts an end to the gifts or powers which have most recently appeared within the path of ascension, and to which the seeker is most attached (Achilles slew Polydorus, the youngest and most beloved of Priam’s sons).
But the moment of reversal has not yet come (on both sides, the gods delay the conclusion of the conflict, Athena diverting Hector’s spear and Apollo thrice hiding Hector from Achilles’ sight).
Book XXI: Battle by the river
The Trojans retreated before Achilles, some towards the city while others were pushed back to the river of silver currents, the Xanthos, son of Zeus. Achilles pursued them till its bed, and with his sword brought about great bloodshed. He also took twelve prisoners to avenge the death of Patroclus.
Achilles found himself before Lycaon, a son of Priam and Laothoe, whose brother Polydorus had just been killed. Lycaon had already been captured by Achilles in the past and sold to one of Jason’s sons at Lemnos. Despite his entreaties, Achilles slew him. He then killed Asteropaeus, son of Pelegon, who was himself the son of the rivers Axios and Periboea. He then slew numerous Paeonians: Thersilochus, Mydon, Astypylus, Thrasius, Aenius, Ophelestes.
Under the guise of a mortal man, the Scamander River (the Xanthos), complained to Achilles that its waters were being filled with corpses so that its currents were no longer able to flow down into the sea. But Achilles did not put a stop to his massacre of the Trojans, till the river in fury rose up against him with its waters heaving, pushing the dead to its banks and hiding those still living within its great swirling currents. Achilles was obliged to grip himself to an uprooted tree to escape and make his way back to the river bank. While he took flight terrified, the river pursued him in great tides, breaking several times in great waves upon his shoulders and striving to pull him back into its currents, ‘taming him to kneeling’. Achilles begged Zeus, Poseidon and Athena to aid him and they reassured him and promised that the river would quieten down, urging him to deploy every effort to slay Hector.
But the river Xanthos did not abate in its fury, instead calling upon the river Simois to join in the effort to bring down Achilles. The entire plain was flooded and Hera became alarmed. She bade her son Hephaestus to set on fire the banks of the river, while she herself stoked the winds Zephyr and Notus to spread the fire till the Trojan lines, incinerating them.
Hephaestus’ flames dried the plain and burned the river banks so well that the immortal Xanthos capitulated, begging Hera to put an end to the fire of the divine blacksmith. The goddess heeded his appeal immediately.
Then, though divided in heart the gods precipitated themselves upon one another to Zeus’ great pleasure. Ares threw himself upon Athena and struck her aegis, but the goddess in turn seized a heavy stone and struck her brother on the neck so that he collapsed upon the ground. Aphrodite came to lift him up, and while she led him away by the hand she was struck by Athena prompted by Hera, so that she too collapsed upon the ground.
Poseidon defied Apollo, allowing him to attack first because of his younger age. As Apollo remained reluctant to attack his father’s brother Artemis took him to task, inciting Hera’s anger who struck her across the face in punishment. Artemis then fled away in tears.
On his side Hermes refused to fight Leto, for he knew that she was the strongest of the two.
When the conflict reached its conclusion the gods returned on Mount Olympus, with the exception of Apollo who penetrated into Ilion.
As Achilles was about to reach the gates of the city Apollo stimulated Agenor, a son of Antenor, and stood by his side wrapped in a thick mist. When Achilles stood on the point of killing him, Apollo stole him away from Achilles’ sight and placed himself in his guise. Then Agenor-Apollo treacherously allowed himself to be pursued through the fertile plain, thus leaving enough time to the Trojan warriors to find safety within the city’s walls.
A great part of this book recounts the quarrels of Achilles with the river of the Trojan plain, which the gods knew as Xanthos ‘the golden-yellow or golden-red’, and men as the Scamander, ‘the man on the left’.
The name Xanthos is not only that of the river in Troad, but also that of one of Achilles’ immortal horses, of one of Hector’s mortal horses and of several secondary characters as well.
The spring of the river Scamander is described in the following chapter: ‘ Past the place of watch, and the wind-waved wild fig-tree they sped, ever away from under the wall along the waggon-track, and came to the two fair-flowing fountains, where well up the two springs that feed eddying Scamander. The one floweth with warm water, and round about a smoke goeth up therefrom as it were from a blazing fire, while the other even in summer floweth forth cold as hail or chill snow or ice that water formeth.’
(Homer and A.T. Murray, Iliad 22.131).
Through the structuring characters Χ+ΝΘ the name Xanthos expresses ‘the accomplishment of inner evolution’.
Applied to a horse, it therefore refers to ‘an inner accomplishment at the vital level’, which is to say of vital liberation (attractions and repulsions, etc.), which is also a realisation of equality, more or less accomplished depending on whether the horses are mortal or immortal (in which case they have symbolically attained a state of non-duality). Detachment, which is symbolised by the yellow-golden colour, is an element of this equality.
When this name is applied by the gods to the Troadian river, it represents ‘the current of energy-consciousness composed of both an aspiration for union and of that which leads towards an extreme separation and allows the process of individuation to take place (from one arises thick smoke as from a burning fire, and from the other icy waters).
Symbolically the Scamander can also represent the unity of the two currents of energy-consciousness which animate the structure of the tree of Sephiroth (‘the river of silver currents’) and which are depicted by the two snakes of the caduceus. These currents support the world of forms and ensure the continuation of the link between Spirit and Matter. They utilise the channels known as Ida and Pingala and are often represented by the opposite colours of black and white in the Caduceus.
These are two currents of opposite natures which are a translation of the fundamental forces of fusion and fission, distancing and nearing, union and separation, etc. One leads towards individuation and distancing from the Absolute, whereas the other leads towards an ardent fusion with the Divine. Their origin is in ‘the two fountains’ which nourish the water of the world of forms at the point at which the heads of the two snakes of the Caduceus meet. They are situated ‘beyond the fig-tree’, the tree of supreme Knowledge, of Emptiness in which it finds its origin, or of the Unity within which everything is gathered (it is the level of the occult Sephiroth Daat. Here it is not a question of the tree of the mind or of the world of forms, for according to Homer Xanthos is a son of Zeus. The fruit of the fig-tree has probably been taken as a symbol of multiplicity in unity because of its numerous seeds, which when the fruit is cut transversally give the impression of the innumerable elements within a whole).
While these currents maintain creation within a state of equilibrium, their influence on certain planes is however reinforced according to cosmic cycles unheeded by men, for the latter only predominantly perceive the flow of energy within which they are immersed. During the mental cycle of individuation in which humankind has been plunged for the past thirteen thousand years, they only clearly sense the separative influence from the left-hand side (the logical left side of the brain). This is the Scamander, ‘the man who perceives that which is on the left’, and which leads towards individuation and therefore towards the separation of spirit and matter. The gods have a higher vision, being aware of the cycle as a whole and of the reason of its existence within the process of evolution.
The situation of the Xanthos in Troad demonstrates that the process of evolution symbolised by this province cannot conclude with the Trojan War, which only aims at the eradication of an error arising from a lack of consecration. Aeneas will in fact have to establish the foundations of the future city of Troy.
More particularly, taking into account the golden-yellow colour of the river as seen by the gods (Xanthos), this river could be at their level the sign of a complete detachment as a result of an ‘integration’ of opposites while at present humanity level, only renunciation can be envisaged.
At this stage of the yogic process the seeker is filled by an inflexible impulse for reversal, but the numerous residues of the transformations brought about to change the ‘laws’ and beliefs linked to the ancient form of yoga block the fundamental circulation of energies (or the process of renunciation) within the seeker for he is unable to integrate them in a progressive manner (Achilles carries on with the massacre of the Trojans, the corpses of which impede the flow of the Scamander in its course towards the sea).
The seeker is attacked in his link to the divine in spirit as well as in incarnation, within the forces of life and therefore within the body as well (the Xanthos crashed down on Achilles’ shoulders repeatedly, and strove to force his knees to bend so as to pull him into its currents).
Mother’s Agenda repeatedly refers to this opposition of the forces which seek to maintain what is ‘ancient’ (old forms) and attempt to disrupt the seeker’s consecration to divine work.
This obstruction of the currents of the Xanthos by Achilles’ power and its alliance with the Trojans, similarly as in the case of Leto’s children, is perhaps necessary for maintaining within the seeker a compassion which would otherwise be in danger of disappearing in the face of inflexibility.
However, the seeker is inwardly warned that he has nothing to fear and that he must consecrate himself to the process of reversal by putting a definite end to that which within himself works towards the separation of spirit and matter oriented towards the paradise of the spirit (Athena and Poseidon reassure Achilles and urge him to kill Hector).
The fundamental currents which sustain the process of evolution then call upon another current of energy-consciousness, that of the rhythm of alternation of the phases of separation and fusion (the Xanthos calls upon this brother the Simois, ‘the curved’). In fact, it would seem that the reversal can only occur in agreement with the fundamental rhythms of nature which must accompany each movement. This seems true both from the individual point of view as from that of the changes of humankind as a whole. When the two movements join each other, the tipping-point is attained (in the Trojan plain the Simois joins its waters to those of the Xanthos).
But the seeker also receives the aid of a spiritual power which watches over the right movement of evolution. It calls upon the power which utilises the inner fire to create new forms in opposition to the ‘overflowing’ of its fundamental energies (of renunciation) through a powerful fire of purification (Hera bids Hephaestus to help return the Scamander to its bed by setting fire to its banks). She also calls upon the spiritual aid which supports purification, as well as that which favours confusion (she also sent forth the winds, the Zephyr and the Notus, ‘which brings a fog hateful to shepherds’, to spread the fire to the Trojan lines).
When the seeker regains a certain degree of peace he witnesses within himself the opposition of the highest spiritual forces of which he is aware, forces which follow their own trajectory:
The movement of consolidation and of destruction of forms is halted at its origin by the power of the inner guide who works towards an evolution through transformation (Ares is struck on the neck by Athena and collapses). The seeker can henceforth hoist himself above the world of forms.
Love in evolution, coming to the aid of that which renews forms, is also vanquished by the inner master, the highest knowledge (Aphrodite comes to the rescue of her lover, but she was also struck down by Athena). Within the evolutionary movement taking course it is no longer the development of love which predominates, but rather that of Truth.
The seeker refuses to pass the manifestation of the subconscient through the scrutiny of the psychic light, even though the quest for a greater purity desires this ardently and is also obliged to efface itself during this phase (Apollo is reluctant to face Poseidon in battle, and when his sister Artemis takes him to task for this she is soundly reprimanded by Hera and flees in tears).
The seeker recognises that the highest mental knowledge at the level of the overmind cannot measure itself against the psychic truth in its knowledge and its action (Hermes cannot face Leto).
However, the seeker was not to claim victory before the forces of opposition had the opportunity to gather together for one last time. For this to take place, the seeker’s attention is turned away by the psychic light which manifests itself within him under the guise of the ancient forms of yoga (Apollo, supporting the Trojans, takes on the appearance of Agenor and makes Achilles pursue him across the Trojan plain). This delays the reversal, probably with the aim of a greater perfection.
Book XXII: Hector’s death
Apollo put an end to the chase and revealed his identity to Achilles, who understood that the god had tricked him.
Beholding Achilles and already suspecting the death of two of his sons, Lycaon and Polydorus, Priam begged Hector to remain within the protection of the Trojan walls. Hector’s mother Hecabe also implored him to do so, but Hector did not heed them, bitterly regretting that he had not followed Polydamas’ advice of retreat and had consequently lost such a number of warriors. He even momentarily considered returning Helen to the Achaeans along with numerous treasures. Then as Achilles drew near, terror seized him and he turned back.
After having ridden past the lookout and the fig-tree with its two fountains of beautiful waters (the springs of the Scamander), Achilles pursued Hector thrice around the city’s walls. All of the gods stood watching. Zeus considered removing Hector from the certainty of death, but as Athena opposed herself to this he accepted that she take action without any further delay but in accordance to her own wishes.
Each time Hector attempted to enter the refuge of the city’s walls Achilles pushed him back towards the open plains. For the last time, Apollo then gave renewed vigour to Priam’s son. But while the two heroes passed by the fountain for the fourth time, Zeus consulted his golden scale by placing their destinies on either side of it. The side with Hector’s death weighed heavier, and Apollo abandoned his protégé.
Athena then revealed her plans to Achilles. Having taken on the guise of Deiphobe, a son of Priam who had remained within the city’s walls, she persuaded Hector to face Achilles in single combat.
When the two warriors came face to face Hector proposed to make an agreement whereupon the corpse of the vanquished was to be returned to his own people, but Achilles refused this agreement and hurled his spear at Hector. It missed its mark, but Athena returned the spear to him without Hector noticing it. When Hector had hurled his and in turn missed Achilles, he called upon Deiphobe (in fact Athena) to return it to him, but understood that the gods had tricked him.
The two heroes then precipitated themselves one upon the other, Hector with his sword and Achilles with his spear, which he plunged into Hector’s neck in the place where the clavicle separates the shoulder and the neck. Mortally wounded, Hector again begged Achilles to return his body to his own people so that he could be given proper burial rites, but Achilles once again refused. As he lay dying Hector predicted that Achilles would be killed by Paris-Alexander and Apollo before the Scaean gates.
Achilles then stripped Hector of his weapons and pierced his heels, strapping him to his chariot. He whipped and urged his horses forward, dragging Hector’s body through the dust behind him.
Within the city, Priam and Hecabe wept inconsolably.
Hector’s wife Andromache, not yet aware of her husband’s fate, climbed upon the city’s ramparts and fainted upon beholding his body being dragged behind Achilles’ chariot. As she regained consciousness all her thoughts went towards her young son Astyanax, who would have to endure the sad fate of a solitary orphan stripped of his possessions, one to whom the elderly give alms. Having lost his father, he would in addition be excluded from festivities.
Astyanax was wearing this name because his father protected the gates and walls of the city. His father Hector was the only one to call him by the name Scamander.
Then Andromache announced that she would set fire to Hector’s clothing in commemoration of his glory.
The seeker ultimately understands that the outcome is delayed by the psychic light. He guesses that a reversal is nigh, for the movement of an opening towards the heights of the spirit no longer seems to be supported by the new lights and new powers which this path could bring (Priam foresees the deaths of Lycaon and Polydorus).
He tells himself that he would not be in such a miserable situation if only he had pursued his yogic work of mastery whilst protecting himself sufficiently through the use of ‘structures’ when beginning to work within the depths of the being (Polydamas had advised Hector to return within the city’s walls when Achilles’ anger was soothed). He even momentarily thinks that he will be able to reach a compromise between the old and the new (Hector considers returning Helen and the treasures she had brought with her to the Achaeans).
The inner battle then shifts beyond that which can observe, beyond the witness consciousness and even beyond the frontiers of Knowledge and the sources of the currents of energy-consciousness which nourish duality (Achilles pursued Hector past the lookout point, past the fig-tree and the two fountains of beautiful waters, the springs of the river Xanthos).
This final confrontation must involve the ancient structure of yoga in its totality (the two heroes chase one another thrice around the city). That which resists change within the seeker attempts to comfort itself by striving to seek refuge within the forms of the earlier modality, which is not allowed by the new aspiration which plunges into the depths (Hector attempted to seek refuge within the ramparts, but Achilles repeatedly pushed him back towards the open plain).
Then comes a moment in which the supraconscient decides that the right time has come, and allows the inner master to support the reversal (Zeus allows Athena to take action). The latter then induces the seeker into error within that which within him desires to pursue the separation of spirit and matter (Hector believes that he is in the presence of his brother Deiphobe, ‘he who destroys fear’).
Then the seeker attempts to persuade himself that the great labour of yoga carried out in the movement of ascension of the planes of consciousness has not been carried out in vain, but for that which is at work in the depths of the being, this ascension seems useless (Hector requests that the appropriate funerary rights be granted if he is the one to be killed, but Achilles refuses to grant him this). He then understands that his fate has been sealed (Hector understands that the gods had tricked him).
It is at the symbolic level of the ‘gateway of the gods’ (the clavicle) that the mortal blow is dealt: the seeker must not choose as an absolute the world of the spirit alone, but rather take part in rendering matter divine.
Till the moment in which he abandons the process of ascension in a definite way, the seeker attempts in vain to convince himself that the yoga of the past has not been pursued in vain (as he lies dying Hector reiterates his request, which Achilles again refuses to grant).
He is once again confirmed in his belief, and this time by the highest realisation of the ancient yoga, that the movement with achieves liberation within the depths of the vital and allows a reversal to occur also reaches its own conclusion. He will be stopped by the highest psychic light associated with the yoga of ‘equality’ (Hector announces that Achilles will meet his death at the hands of an alliance between man and god), for he warns Achilles with ‘Verily I know thee well, and forbode what shall be, neither was it to be that I should persuade thee; of a truth the heart in thy breast is of iron. Bethink thee now lest haply I bring the wrath of the gods upon thee on the day when Paris and Phoebus Apollo shall slay thee, valorous though thou art, at the Scaean gate’. (Iliad XXII, 355.) The Scaean gates, Σκαιαι πυλαι, from Σκαιος ‘occidental, or leftwards’, and πυλαι, ‘gateway or doorway’, can be understood as the gateways of human consciousness’, or of ‘the left-hand side’, which in relation with the left brain separates spirit and matter, or in other words ‘the doorways of duality’. They therefore constitute a weak point within the Trojan defences: these are the entry points through which the famous Trojan horse will enter the city’s walls.
During a prolonged period the seeker negates his earlier progression, which has led him to the highest summits of the spirit (Achilles drags Hector’s body through the dust of the battlefield), while another part of himself remains attached to the aims of the earlier path, both those which aimed at a liberation from the process of incarnation, as well as those which the seeker considered in view of a greater mastery (Hecabe, ‘that which is outside of incarnation’, and Andromache, ‘the man who battles’ or ‘who fights against man’, mother of Astyanax, ‘the mastery of the city’, mourn Hector’s death).
The seeker becomes aware that the pursuit of a yet greater mastery would no longer constitute an advantage on the new path but would be put aside from the new works of yoga, not be able to claim its place within the process of evolution, and would be very poorly recognised and supported (Astyanax would be stripped of his possessions, becoming an orphan excluded from festivities, to whom only the elderly would give alms).
For it is no longer a question of imposing a power over matter from above, but rather of purifying the layers which cover it so as to return its own immense power to it.
It is from almost all perspectives that the seeker considers ‘mastery’ to be the essential structure and protection of the ancient forms of yoga, and only the part which has reached ‘the heights of the spirit’ can truthfully see that it is only a limited vision of current humanity plunged within the process of separation (Astyanax was known by this name by all because his father protected the gateways and walls of the city. His father Hector was the only one to call him by the name Scamander, ‘the man on the left’)
The seeker who ‘combats’ then decides to honour the ‘tasks’ fulfilled by this quest at the heights of the spirit, which amongst other things lead to a great mastery (Andromache announces that she will set Hector’s garments alight to commemorate his glory).
While the mastery acquired by the power of the mind is therefore indispensable for the initiatory stages of the yogic process, it will not succeed in remaining a major element in the yoga of the body, for the mind itself then becomes an obstacle.
Book XXIII: Funeral games of Patroclus
As night fell the Achaeans returned to their vessels. But Achilles led the Myrmidons back to continue mourning Patroclus, and all the men assembled walked thrice around the dead man in their chariots. Taken to Agamemnon’s side, Achilles refused to bathe himself before having buried his companion. As he lay asleep after the dinner Patroclus visited his dream and implored him to carry out his funeral rites rapidly and ensure that their remains would rest side by side. Wanting to hug him, Achilles noticed: ‘look you now, even in the house of Hades is the spirit and phantom (ψυχη) somewhat, albeit the heart (φρεν) be not anywise therein’ (Iliad 23.99).
Following Agamemnon’s orders all the men followed Merion to collect timber for building the funeral pyre. Once this had been completed Achilles requested the Atride Agamemnon to ensure that the military leaders alone would remain by his side. He then sacrificed numerous animals, as well as the twelve prisoners, noble sons of magnanimous Trojans whose bodies he placed upon the pyre.
During this time Apollo and Aphrodite busied themselves with protecting Hector’s body, not only from scavenging dogs but also from the degradations which Achilles or the sun’s rays could wreak upon it.
As the pyre would not catch on fire Achilles prayed to the winds Boreas and Zephyr to kindle the fire, which they immediately did.
Then Achilles organised games in honour of Patroclus, enumerating the many prizes which would be won by the winners.
The chariot race was carried out in an order drawn by lots: Antilochos, who was urged by his father to prove his great intelligence, Eumelos (son of Admete), Menelaus with the horses Aetha and Podarge, Merion, and finally Diomedes with the horses which Aeneas had inherited from Tros. At the finishing line Phoenix served as arbiter of the race. Once the race was well underway Apollo attempted to slow down Diomedes by making him drop his weapon, but Athena gave him a new one and caused Eumelos to fall. It was Diomedes who was the first to cross the finishing line, and his chariot driver Sthenelus claimed the prize. Then Antilochos arrived, having vanquished Menelaus through trickery, and was followed by Merion and finally Eumelos. Prizes were given to the victors, though not without some complaints. Achilles gifted Nestor a two-handled cup, promising that he would never have to fight again.
In a hand-to-hand combat Epeios the son of Panopeus vanquished Euryale son of Mecisteus, himself born of Talaos.
Ajax the Great and Ulysses also faced one another, but neither could gain the upper hand.
In the trial of sprinting the Lesser Ajax, Ulysses and Antilochos competed with one another. Athena caused Ajax trip to ensure that Ulysses would win, as he had implored her.
To the winner of a duel of swords Achilles promised the weapons of Sarpedon. Ajax the Great and Diomedess came face to face, but the Achaeans were filled with dread for Ajax and brought the duel to an end.
In discus throwing Polypoetes triumphed over Leonteus, Ajax the Great and Epeios.
In archery Teucer was outdone by Merion, for he had failed to make an offering to Apollo.
In spear-throwing Meriones wished to defy Agamemnon, but Achilles knew that this was an unequal match and gave the prize to the Atreid directly.
In this phase the seeker does not concern himself with the pursuit of purification till having correctly integrated past realisations (Achilles refused to cleanse himself before burying Patroclus’ remains). A nocturnal vision then makes him aware that these past realisations will not have to be dissociated from that which is then at work within the depths of the vital at this moment of yogic reversal (the cremation urns of Achilles and Patroclus are to rest side by side).
The seeker understands that they have been integrated at the level of the psychic being (ψυχη, representing the soul within incarnation), but that they no longer constitute a motor force for the yogic process to come for they are no longer endowed with an ‘animating breath’ within the body in the kingdom of the corporeal inconscient (φρην) (as he strove to embrace Patroclus, Achilles realised that ‘even in the house of Hades is the spirit and phantom (ψυχη) somewhat (ψυχη), albeit the heart (φρεν) be not anywise therein (Iliad 23.99).
Then the seeker symbolically puts an end to any possibility of a work towards the heights of the spirit, the figure twelve being a representation of totality in incarnation (he sacrifices twelve noble Trojans).
In his trilogy on the Mother, Satprem writes that at a given moment of the personal yoga, he had conclusively renounced attempting to escape to the higher heavens of pure whiteness, to which he had never returned.
If however the seeker at this moment remains entirely certain of rejecting the movement of ascension, this is not so for the forces of the supraconscient which protect the memory of ‘that which has been’ from any form of aggression: a disdain for the ancient paths, destruction by the movement which ends liberation, or even the first effects of the action of the overmind must not lead to forgetting that the ascension of the planes of consciousness is indispensable uptil a given point (Apollo and Aphrodite watch over Hector’s body to ensure that it is not preyed upon by scavenging dogs and the degradations which could be brought about by Achilles’ wrath or the sun’s rays).
To more swiftly integrate the ancient realisations in view of a union which had supported itself on the mind the seeker calls upon a sustained asceticism and an accelerated purification (Achilles prayed to the winds Boreas and Zephyr to kindle the fire to set Patroclus’ funeral pyre aflame).
Then, as is often the case in the major stages of the yogic process, symbolic games were organised to conclude the path just travelled. In this occasion the essential characteristics of the seeker which have allowed the reversal to occur are honoured.
The chariot race must reveal which association of yogic forces and of a particular yoga is the most conducive for evolution. The work of the liberated individual who plunges down to the roots of vital consciousness and supports himself on powers originating from non-dual planes of course comes first and cannot be compared to the other forms of yoga (none can rival Achilles, who is the master of the immortal horses Xanthos and Balios and therefore does not take part in the race).
The seeker finds some difficulty in discerning the specific importance of each association (the incidents during the race are numerous), but the final order is as follows:
– ‘A surrender to the Divine’, or ‘he whose aim is to be Divine’ and who has entered into a state of stable joy and supports himself on the powers developed on the path of ascension, being led by a ‘powerful liberation’ (Diomedes the son of Oeneus with his chariot driver Sthenelus, who led the horses of Tros).
– ‘The will for harmony or ‘exactness’, which is pulled into a ‘fall’ by the power which watches over the yogic work but is given the second place by the seeker even though it seems to be the last to arrive at the finishing line (as Athena had made Eumelos fall during the race he finished last, coming well behind Merion, but Achilles granted him the second place). This pressure of the supraconscient probably aims at helping the seeker avoid an excessive will for perfection, but it also reveals that he is henceforth no longer entirely submitted to the decisions made by the powers of the overmind.
– ‘A sharpened vigilance’, which must rest upon discernment and originates from ‘the evolution of integrity’ (Antilochos the son of Nestor exhorts his son to prove his intelligence).
– ‘An unshakeable will striving towards a vision of the final aim’, pulled forward by the inner fire and a purification in incarnation (Menelaus and his two horses Aetha and Podarge).
– ‘The right movement of consciousness towards receptivity’ which serves ‘the will for union’ (Merion, the chariot-driver of Idomeneus).
In hand-to-hand combat Epeios son of Panopeus overcame Euryale son of Mecisteus, himself born of Talaos: an equality originating from a global vision proves stronger due to its adaptability and flexibility in regards to a liberation originating from a very great endurance. It must be remembered that Pollux (Polydeuces) who represents both ‘softness’ and ‘flexibility’, was known for his excellence in this sport.
During the games Ajax the Great and Ulysses faced one another without either of them being able to gain the upper hand; in that which comes to grips with reality (in hand-to-hand combat), ‘a consciousness extended within incarnation’ comes into equal terms with ‘the realisation of inner union of polarities’.
In sprinting Ulysses overcomes the lesser Ajax as well as Antilochos; ‘the labour of the realisation of union of the two currents within oneself’ does more for the acceleration of the yogic process than the ‘development of the lesser self’ or ‘vigilance’ associated with discernment’.
Ajax the Great and Diomedes face one another swords in hand, but the Achaeans put an end to this as they feared that Ajax would be harmed: the seeker recognises that ‘the will for union’ derived from joy is superior to ‘a widening of consciousness’, but he must nevertheless protect the latter. (Interpreting the names of the competitors in the other three games – discus-throwing, archery and spear-throwing, is difficult.)
The horses’ progress.
Through this work we can recapitulate the principal elements of the seeker’s progress in his relationship to the vital energies and powers, symbolised by the famous horses.
The first divine horse was Areion, ‘the best’ or ‘a just consciousness’, and belonged to Adraste, ‘he who does not seek to escape’ who is gifted with ‘an unshakeable courage’. Adraste was the son of Talaos, ‘he who endures’, and therefore the nephew of Jason and the father of Argeia, who entered into a union with Polynices, who had led the first war against Thebes. This force therefore concerns the first stages of the path of purification. According to early sources later reported by Apollodorus, Areion was the fruit of Poseidon’s passion for Demeter, who was then in a desperate search for her daughter Persephone. He therefore symbolises the result of an action of the subconscient in the first stages of the work of purification.
Although Areion was of divine origin Nestor, ‘rectitude’, asserts to his son Antilochos, ‘vigilance’, that he will be able to overcome his opponent by utilising his intelligence even with slower horses.
Then come several great horses of the Trojan lineage, which are not described as being of divine origin by Homer however.
First appear the three thousand horses of Erichtonios, ‘the wealthiest of mortals’. This son of Dardanos represents a seeker who has accumulated an impressive number of ‘realisations on the vital plane’ (under the guise of a blue-maned stallion, Boreas united with the mares which bore twelve foals that raced over the wheat fields without bending a single stalk, and leapt over the tops of the whitening waves); the vital forces sparked by a spiritual aid oriented towards asceticism which has taken on the guise of a force endowed with a powerful intuitive power in the vital (Boreas, under the guise of a blue-maned stallion), generates new powers in all the receptive aspects of the being (the twelve foals), which neither modify nor in any way disturb the realisations of the yogic process (Demeter, ‘mother of union’, is the goddess of wheat fields), and undisturbed dominate the surface emotional movements.
(In a general way the colour blue is associated with the mind, with different nuances depending on which plane it concerns.)
It can be logically supposed that Tros the son of Erichtonios inherited them, but he also received from Zeus ‘the best horses to have existed under sun or dawn’ in exchange of his son Ganymedes, ‘he whose intention is joy’. These are the most beautiful vital energies and powers in the domain of what is ‘new’, abilities for ‘just action’ for ‘they can retreat before the enemy or pursue him, depending on the occasion’.
Tros’ son Laomedon is the last within this genealogical lineage to have profited from this, for they were taken by Heracles when the latter returned to seek vengeance and destroyed the city of Troy.
However, Anchise, grandnephew of Laomedon, had his mares mate with the latter’s stallions without his knowledge. Having thus obtained six foals, he kept four and gave two to his son Aeneas, and these were later taken in battle by Diomedes.
‘That which remains close to humankind’ and must strive for the development of love (Aeneas is the son of Anchise and Aphrodite), ‘profited’ for some time from the powers of vital realisation obtained on the path of union in the spirit, but within the frame of future evolution the seeker did not have the ability to keep them (the two horses which he gave to Aeneas, the last of their lineage, were to be seized by Diomedes in battle).
Then finally came the immortal horses of Achilles Xanthos and Balius, which neither age nor death could touch. They represent the highest powers of the purified and liberated vital, including the re-harmonisation which allows illness to be healed. They are of the order of the present moment (an adaptation to the movement of becoming) and of non-duality. Originating from the harpy Podarge and the wind Zephyr, they are the fruits of the spiritual energy of purification striving to achieve a luminous equilibrium within the evolutionary foundations of life.
Book XXIV: Ransom of Hector
During the nights following Hector’s death Achilles lay sleepless, for he was filled with memories of Patroclus. When dawn would break he would secure Hector’s body to his chariot and drive it thrice around Patroclus’ remains. But Apollo had enveloped Hector’s body with a golden sheath which protected it from any form of degradation.
While the gods held counsel atop Mount Olympus, some suggested that Hector’s body be removed from Achilles’ fury by Hermes, but Zeus refused to allow this. When at the tenth dawn Apollo again lamented the fate undergone by Hector, Hera was angered against him. Zeus then intervened, sending Iris forth to seek out Thetis who stood in a cavern under the sea surrounded by the other ocean divinities. When she arrived on Mount Olympus once the funeral rites had been concluded, Zeus told her of the indignation of the gods and implored her to try to convince her son to return the body, which she did directly. He then dispatched Iris to ask Priam to prepare sufficient compensation as ransom and to approach Achilles. Zeus also indicated that the Trojan chief was to only be accompanied by an elderly herald who should drive the chariot filled with gifts and harnessed to a mule. He was not to fear the Achaeans’ wrath, for Zeus promised him Hermes’ protection.
Priam did not heed his wife Hecabe, to whom he had imparted the message carried by Iris and who begged him not to follow Zeus’ directions. He freely insulted his people and his nine surviving children, grieving the deaths of Mestor, Troilus and Hector. Just before his departure, as Hecabe implored him to ask Zeus to send a good omen (on their right), the eagle of his supreme power, he did as his wife had bid him and Zeus granted his prayer.
The convoy began moving forward. At its head was the chariot driven by Idaeus, followed by Priam’s team of horses. Zeus instructed Hermes to conceal himself till they reached Achilles. Hermes tied his sandals and picked up his wand (the caduceus), with which he could charm and close at his will the eyes of mortals or awaken the sleeping. He revealed himself to Priam in the guise of a young prince, and presented himself as one of Achilles’ squire. He informed him that his son’s body had been protected by the gods. At Priam’s behest he jumped up into the chariot and cast a deep sleep over all the Achaeans on their path, leading the convoy to Achilles. There he revealed himself to Priam, and then returned to Olympus.
Achilles was only in the company of Automedon and Alcimus. Priam implored him to return his son to him, and the two of them then grieved those deceased and gone missing. Guessing that Priam had only been able to approach him through the aid of the gods he gave the order for Hector’s body to be washed, anointed with oil and laid in a tunic, and then had him lifted till Priam’s chariot.
To convince Priam to share his meal Achilles reminded him of Niobe, who had regained her strength from partaking of food after grieving the deaths of her six sons and six daughters. These had been killed by Apollo and Artemis and deprived of burial rites, for Niobe had presumed to be greater than Leto and had later been turned into a rock atop Mount Sipylus.
After having regained strength Achilles and Priam considered one another with respect and admiration. As Achilles enquired about the time which would be needed for Hector’s funeral rites to be carried out Priam proposed a truce of eleven days, of which nine would be dedicated to grieving Hector.
Then as all commenced their rest for the night and Achilles lay by the side of the beautiful Briseis, Hermes worried about Priam’s safe return if Agamemnon were to learn of his presence in the Achaean camp. He therefore awoke Priam and his herald in the middle of the night, and accompanied them till the banks of the Xanthos.
Watching from the top the ramparts Cassandra recognised them from afar, and announced the news throughout the city.
While funerary singing rose from the people Andromache held between her hands the head of Hector, ‘the killer of men’, and lamented the future fate of their son Astyanax. Then were heard Hecabe’s cries, and those of Helen whom Alexander, ‘alike to the gods’, had brought with him twenty years earlier. Helen spoke of the gentleness of her father-in-law Priam and Hector’s kindness towards her, fearing that all other Trojans could henceforth only feel hatred for her.
For nine days the Trojans gather wood for the pyre. On the tenth they raised the funeral pyre, which they lit after having placed Hector’s body upon it. On the eleventh day they gathered Hector’s ashes and placed them within a gold case which they wrapped in crimson fabric. Having buried the ashes they built a tomb for Hector and assigned to guards to watch over it. Then in Priam’s household Hector’s funeral rites were celebrated with a great feast.
In his will for a greater purification the seeker finds it difficult to accept the fact that the earliest and most ancient experiences of union on the path of ascension will no longer be useful to him on the new path (Achilles cannot forget Patroclus’ death). Even though he is persuaded of the uselessness of pursuing this path of ascension, he cannot yet find its appropriate place within his past evolution (he resists the final burial and each morning drags Hector’s body behind his chariot, which he drives around Patroclus’ tomb). But the psychic light does not allow the memory to be tarnished or any part of it to be forgotten (Apollo covered Hector’s body with a golden sheath).
The powers of the overmind then desire for the end of the harassment against the earlier quest of the Divine in the spirit (the gods wish to remove Hector’s body to safety, far from Achilles’ wrath). But the height of the overmind rules that it is to be the result of a work on the depths of consciousness (Thetis) rather than a movement imposed from above by the overmind (some suggest that the body of Hector was removed by Hermes from Achilles’ wrath, but Zeus refuses to allow this).
It is the archaic consciousness of the nervous system (Iris, the messenger of the gods) which must then mobilise the deepest layer of vital consciousness (Iris must seek out Nereus, ‘the old man of the sea’, and Achilles’ mother). This occurs at the level of the ‘thinking senses’ for Iris is a daughter of Thaumas, which is to say that this occurs at the level of the first mentalisation of life through the senses, allowing for the creation of reflexes and instincts (See Volume 1 Chapter 3).
The supraconscient therefore prompts the seeker to alter his attitude by calling upon the deep layers of the vital corporeal consciousness, the planes of spirit and matter then working in perfect accordance (Thetis convinces Achilles to relinquish Hector’s body). It ensures that on the one hand the seeker integrates the past utility of the path of ascension, and on the other transfers to the work on the depths the best realisations obtained in this path of the heights (the relinquishing of Hector’s corpse and the compensations given to Priam). He also offers the assistance of the overmind so that this movement be carried out in inner peace (within a secure environment), for only an influence from this plane can guarantee a harmonious transition (Zeus offers Hermes’ protection).
Of course, that which within the seeker still searches for an exit-point outside of incarnation wishes to reject this agreement and to receive through the mind a favourable sign from the highest point of the supraconscient which would give him the certainty that the path of ascension has not been conclusively closed off (Hecabe attempts to divert Priam from this request to the gods, while encouraging him to implore for a sign from Zeus).
The overmind ordinarily acts from the supraconscient of the seeker, either bringing him clarity or confining him within ignorance according to the needs of his evolution (Hermes utilises his wand (caduceus), ‘with which he charms and closes at will the eyes of mortals or awakens those who sleep’). Here he accomplishes a reconciliation between the two paths, which will allow the integration of the past, and the seeker eventually comes to understand that he has at least temporarily accessed the level of the overmind (Hermes reveals himself to Priam).
The seeker involved in the new yoga essentially supports himself upon ‘a perfect self-mastery’ (Automedon) and upon ‘a powerful consecration’ (Alcimede). He understands that the supraconscient requires him to recognise the needs of the path just covered.
He then recalls a painful test on the path, which be however accepts unflinchingly. He had been punished for his presumption after having claimed that the results of his aspiration were superior or greater in number than those brought about by the psychic (Achilles recalled the story of Niobe, daughter of Tantalus and therefore sister of Pelops, who had claimed that her children were more handsome and numerous than those of Leto, who then sent her children Apollo and Artemis to slay the children of Niobe. However, the latter accepted food once her children had been given burial rites by the gods).
He then recognised with humility and gratitude the truth of the two paths, that of ascension and that which aims at the liberation of the external nature till its deepest layers (Achilles and Priam considered one another with mutual respect and admiration). The seeker consequently takes into account the need for a time of integration (an eleven-day truce is agreed upon).
All the same, the supraconscient overmind still fears that ‘the movement which still aspires strongly for a betterment of man’ (Agamemnon) might disturb a fitting development of the process taking place. He therefore also takes care to neatly mark out the two paths before the final reversal (Hermes ensures Priam’s safe return to his palace).
The intuition which has been developed on the path of ascension – which strives to defend this path because it is aware of its future evolution, although its voice is always silenced – is the first to understand that the integration of the path of ascension is imminent, just as it will later on intuit the final reversal, the fall of Troy (Cassandra catches sight of Priam returning with Hector’s body from afar).
The seeker understands that the path of ascension which exclusively develops mastery is condemned to end (Andromache grieves the fate of her son Astyanax). This is in reference to all the modalities of yoga which concentrate exclusively on a perfect mastery of the mind, the vital of the body, but construct rigid inner structures.
However he also admits that the ‘quest for freedom’ has always been supported by the movements directing the path of ascension, even when all the practices had been diverted (Helen speaks of Hector and Priam’s kindness in spite of the Trojans’ hatred for her).
There then occurs a final integration of the progress on the path of ascension, with a full recognition that it belonged to an evolution in accordance to the divine plan (Hector’s ashes are preserved in a gold case enveloped in crimson fabric).
LAST EVENTS OF THE TROJAN WAR
It is generally accepted that the Iliad used to be contained within a cycle known as The Epic Cycle. This poem probably followed the Cypria, which spoke of the origins of the war and was followed by the Aethiopia (the death of Achilles), the Little Iliad (the distribution of Achilles’ arms and the episode of the Trojan Horse) The Sack of Troy (the Iliupersis), the Nostoi (the Returns) , and finally The Odyssey, followed by Telegony.
Aside from the Odyssey there mostly remain only brief and late summaries of all of these texts, allowing us to understand specific episodes on the path preceding or following the great movement of yogic reorientation.
Outlined below are the most important events, interpreted to the best of our understanding.
Support by the Amazons under the leadership of Penthesilea
The Amazon Penthesilea, a daughter of Ares of Thracian origin, fought on the side of the Trojans and was one of their finest warriors. (Apollodorus adds that Penthesilea had unintentionally slain Hippolyte, Theseus’ former spouse.)
Achilles killed her in battle, and she was buried by the Trojans.
Then Achilles killed Thersites when the latter slandered him by claiming that he was enamoured with Penthesilea. A dispute then broke out amongst the Acheans regarding Thersites’ death. After this Achilles sailed for Lesbos and presented a sacrifice to Leto and her children Apollo and Artemis. He was purified from the stain of the murder by Ulysses.
Penthesilea was a woman, and therefore symbolises a realisation whose name signifies ‘liberation from suffering’. She is an incarnation of the most advanced stage of spiritual experience at that time, a realisation which the seeker erroneously considers to be an ultimate realisation.
Penthesilea was from a region situated even further east than Troy. In fact, the Amazons were a female warrior group which resided beyond the Propontis, ‘an advanced work on the vital (Pro-Pontos)’, on the shores of the Black Sea then called Pontus Euxin, ‘a work on an inhospitable vital world of great strangeness’, to the north of modern Turkey and halfway to Colchis. Their capital was at Themiscyra, a name which designated ‘those who share the divine law’. Themiscyra is a word built from Themis,’ that which is established as a rule’ or ‘divine law’, by opposition to nomos, ‘human law’, and kyra, ‘that which is shared’.
This city is situated at the mouth of the river Thermodon, which is to say that the ‘spiritual realisation’ represented by the Amazons is situated at the highest level of intensity of the inner fire of union, referred to as Agni in the Vedas, or the psychic fire. It is the culminating point of the period which concludes ‘the growth of the uniting life’ associated with psychic realisation, a permanent union with the Divine within the Self and the continuous perception of the divine ‘presence’.
At this level it is of course a question of psychological suffering which accompanies the liberation from desire and from all attachments, and the realisation of a degree of equality and an aspiring divine intoxication.
Penthesilea is a fitting illustration of the fifty-first verse of the second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita: ‘The sages who through intelligence have attained union (with the Self) remain detached from the fruits of action, and liberated from the ties of birth they attain a state free of pain’.
She is taken to be a daughter of Ares and therefore indicative of a realisation within the formless world, Ares being the destroyer of forms. She also represents a realisation within the plane of the gods, the overmind.
Till the very last moment of this great inner conflict the seeker has never considered questioning this realisation, and this is why Penthesilea remained aloof from the battle.
This realisation has been acquired by a difficult asceticism (Penthesilea is a native of Thrace) which has rejected the vital rather than having transmuted it; this is why Penthesilea had slain the wife of Theseus, Hippolyte, ‘a liberated vital energy’.
Achilles must slay Penthesilea, for this realisation must be overtaken in the new modality of yoga.
Achilles also killed Thersites: the seeker must free himself from an ‘inflamed spirit’. Thersites is the son of a Calydonian king, and is therefore linked to the purification of gross energies. He is known for being lame, and therefore expresses a lack of equilibrium within his own energies. He probably incarnates the process of purification which is carried out from above through the imposition of an illumined mind. But in the new yoga it is no longer a matter of imposing a mastery from above but of carrying out a transformation through a progressive unveiling from below.
The fact that he mocks Achilles’ attraction for Penthesilea perhaps indicates that there might be a moment when the seeker no longer believes in the transformation of the deepest vital without any suffering (Achilles slew Thersites in retaliation for his accusation about Penthesilea).
If the descent into the depths of nature brings great pain through the confrontations which it presupposes it remains true that the seeker must not at any moment justify it, for according to the Mother it constitutes ‘the symbolic sign of a life lived in ignorance’. (Mother’s Agenda Volume 3, entry from January 12th 1962.)
Memnon’s support of the Trojans
Clad in an armour forged by Hephaestus, Memnon son of Eos arrived at Troy to lend his assistance to the Trojans. Thetis then discussed with her son Achilles the conflict which was to come with this great hero. The battle broke out. Antilochos son of Nestor was killed by Memnon before the latter was himself killed by Achilles. Eos then obtained from Zeus the gift of immortality for her son (it seems that some early texts had already mentioned a weighing of the souls of Achilles and Memnon on the scale of fate).
Within this movement of ascension (the Trojans), a movement of aspiration is manifested at the height of the inner being directed towards ‘the supramental dawn’; Memnon, ‘he who aspires’, is the son of Eos sister of Helios, and of Tithonus, himself a son of Laomedon. This movement is protected by forms elaborated by the creative forces of the seeker (Memnon wears a breastplate and arms forged by Hephaestus).
In the Odyssey, Memnon is said to be ‘the most handsome of all the men at Troy’, more handsome than Neoptolemus himself. Memnon is therefore the ‘truest’ movement, the one closest to the supramental amongst all those engaged in the great inner combat.
All the same, as it is a movement linked to the spirit it automatically supports the higher path while the supramental must be found in matter. This movement must therefore be halted by a work of deepened purification (Memnon is slain by Achilles).
The anecdote about the weighing of Achilles and Memnon’s souls demonstrates that the two movements – that of purification in the depth of the external nature and that of aspiration for the descent of the supramental – might have had the same intensity in the quest before the final reversal.
This aspiration originating from the supramental dawn is necessarily non-dual, henceforth the immortality obtained by Eos on his son’s behalf.
The death of Achilles, the distribution of his battle-gear and the suicide of Ajax.
Achilles was killed by Paris and Apollo before the Scaean gates, and a fierce battle then ensued around his body. Ajax killed Glaucus and brought back Achilles’ body to the ships, while another Achaean warrior brought back his battle-gear and Ulysses kept back the Trojans.
As it has been seen, the death of Achilles was announced on several occasions in the Iliad, and earlier sources confirm that Achilles was in fact slain by Paris and Apollo before the Scaean Gates. Virgil alone specifies that Paris shot the arrow but that it was guided by Apollo.
None of the early sources mention the wound to the heel, which only appears in Apollodorus’ account. But considering the myth in which his mother attempted to render him invincible in infancy by plunging him in the Styx and holding him by the heel, several modern scholars have been able to deduct that Achilles’ heel was the only vulnerable place on his body. However, no ancient Greek poet directly mentions Achilles’ now-famous heel.
The death of Achilles, ‘he who accomplishes a (mental and vital) liberation’, marks the beginning of a different kind of yoga altogether, that of the body. But it also indicates a pause within the process, for the seeker is not yet ready for this new yoga.
In fact, he must renounce maintaining himself within this state of liberation, as well as renounce the attitude of authority, conferred by a union with the Divine and obtained from an inner vision of truth (the saint) and the serenity of perfect detachment (the wise man), for these realisations lead to a restraint of action.
The death of Achilles, which requires the joint effort of a man and a god (Paris-Alexander aided by Apollo), marks the end of the liberation of Nature by the work of equality associated with the psychic light (which is to say, ‘the rendering equal of nature’ which prepares the ground for ‘spiritual equality’). His death before the Scaean Gates indicates that the seeker has reached a stage which works upon the roots of duality.
This is probably meant to indicate that liberation has not yet been achieved on the physical corporeal plane, as the mortal wound was dealt to the hero’s heel, the point of articulation between the vital and the physical.
The new yoga of the purification of the depths traversed several different phases in its early stages, for the son of Achilles, Neoptolemus, ‘the new battles’, will first unite with Andromache, ‘the active yoga of the warrior’, the widow of Hector, before marrying Hermione, symbol of an evolution in the overmind.
Thetis, the Nereids and the nine Muses arrive in time for Achilles’ funeral rites.
According to some sources Thetis removed her son’s body from the funeral pyre, taking it to the White Island. According to other sources the remains of the hero were placed within a golden urn by the side of Patroclus’. Once the Achaeans raised the funeral pyre for Achilles they organised funeral games in his honour.
Ulysses and the Great Ajax then both fought over Achilles’ battle-gear. Ulysses emerged victorious, and Ajax committed suicide.
According to some sources, as Ajax had wished to avenge himself on the Achaean leaders Athena cast him into madness, and he attacked and massacred a herd which he believed to be the Achaean leaders. Upon regained his sanity, he committed suicide by flinging himself upon his sword.
The presence of the Nereids and the Muses at Achilles’ funeral rites indicates that at this point the seeker experiments with the proximity of archaic processes of consciousness, as well as with the most elevated spiritual harmonies. The Muses were in fact the daughters of Zeus and the Titanide Mnemosyne, the highest expressions of harmony from the origins of creation of which man can be conscious.
In the dispute over the battle-gear of Achilles, the practical means which the seeker has put to work in the yoga of the purification of the deep vital, which are no longer needed for the reversal to take place, are recovered by the movement which strives for the reunification of the currents linking spirit and matter (Ulysses or Odysseus, Δ+ΣΣ), to the detriment of the widening of consciousness in incarnation (Ajax son of Telamon). This is to say that the means previously utilised in the yoga of the depths of the being are redirected towards a yoga of unification and transparency.
Actually Ajax and Achilles, who were first cousins, represent the two movements which have allowed to lead to its conclusion the process of purification and liberation (within the lineage of Oceanos) which leads to rendering the being psychic, a sign of which is the attainment of equality. Once the process is well underway, ‘the descent’ of the higher forces can intervene.
As the work on the vital plane has been completed, the widening of consciousness through incarnation of which Ajax is the symbol can finally be concluded. It will however serve as a protective measure in the later phases of the yogic process: Ajax had a son named Eurysaces, ‘the great shield’.
In popular depictions, acts which are difficult to be comprehended by reason were often justified by a madness of this kind, in this case caused by Athena, as that of Heracles who slew Megara’s children.
It must be remembered that Pindar stated that ‘the Achaeans were blind in placing Ulysses above Ajax’ ; in other words, he could not agree with situating the work aiming at the transparency of the action of divine forces above that of the widening of consciousness.
Philoctetes’ return to Troy and the death of Paris-Alexander.
Philoctetes, ‘the will of realisation’, had been left on the island of Lemnos when the Achaean fleet had sailed for Troy. He suffered from a fatal wound caused by a snake’s bite. As the possessor of Heracles’ bow, he is the symbol of the will and the power of realisation extended towards its aim (the bow), which here represents the accomplishment of the process of purification and liberation which precedes the realisation of spiritual perfection, the union with nature of the divine being (Heracles).
According to a prophecy by Calchas (or Helenus, a son of Priam who had been imprisoned by Ulysses), Troy could not be seized without the aid of Heracles’ bow. Diomedes, accompanied according to the tragic playwrights by Ulysses and at times by Neoptolemus, therefore sailed back to bring Philoctetes to Troy. At his arrival in Troy Philoctetes was healed by Machaon (or Podaleirius), and then slew Paris during the course of a single combat.
Some sources mention the intervention of a first spouse of Paris named Oenone at this point. At the time of Helen’s abduction her prophetic abilities were said to have warned Paris of the consequences of his actions, and of a wound which only she would be able to heal. When he was wounded he sent forth a messenger to her, but she did not come and he soon met his death.
The seeker perceives that reconnecting with his deepest parts is indispensable to the final destruction of the ancient forms of yoga (Heracles’ bow was necessary for the seizing of Troy). This intuition has come to him either from the illumined mind (the seer Helenus, ‘the work of evolution towards a state of freedom’, who is a son of Priam), or from the process of purification when this is a revelation of Calchas ‘the crimson’, symbol of an inner uprightness, the power of perception given by the submission of the vital to the psychic.
The ‘will for realisation’ (Philoctetes) extended towards its aim must also be present on the battlefield. It is ‘that which has the intention of divine perfection’ (Diomedes) – possibly with ‘he who strives to unite within himself the two currents of opposing energies’ (Ulysses) and ‘the new battles’ (Neoptolemus) – which bring back to consciousness this will of realisation extended towards its aim. This will is reconstituted, or ‘cured’, of the waiting and expectation generated by the ‘bite’ of the evolutionary process by the ‘spiritual battle’ itself (Philoctetes is cured by Machaon), or by ‘that which strives to render incarnation more pure’ (Podaleirius).
This recalling of the final aim brings to an end all modalities of yoga which refuse the rendering divine of man by separating spirit and matter (Philoctetes slays Paris-Alexander).
The pursuit of rapture (ecstasy) had been abandoned by the seeker when he had set the quest for evolutionary Truth as his principal aim (Paris had abandoned Oenone, ‘the evolution of intoxication’, for Helen). Although the seeker was aware that only a plea to divine intoxication, to rapture, would have been able at that critical moment to sustain the Trojan movement towards the heights of the spirit, this divine intoxication eventually fails him (Oenone had warned that only she would be able to cure Paris-Alexander’s wound, but she did not come and he lost his life).
The conditions of the fall of Troy
After the death of Paris-Alexander, Helenus and Deiphobe entered into a dispute over whom would next claim Helen’s hand in marriage, and Deiphobe emerged victorious. However, according to some sources it was Priam who offered him Helen’s hand.
Helenus then sought refuge on Mount Ida, where he was captured by Ulysses for this Trojan prince knew the secrets which would allow the Achaeans to seize Troy. These were the following:
Pelops’ bones were to be brought to the site.
Neoptolemus the son of Achilles was to fight on the side of the Achaeans.
The Palladium (the effigy of Pallas, the childhood friend of Athena unintentionally killed by the goddess during their play), was to be taken out from within the city’s walls.
The Achaeans consequently went forth to seek Pelops’ bones.
Then, Ulysses accompanied by Phoenix travelled to Skyros to meet Lycomedes, his maternal grandfather, to persuade Neoptolemus to leave for war. Neoptolemus there received from Ulysses’ own hands the weapons of his father Achilles.
He slew Eurypylus, who was of a great beauty only surpassed by that of Memnon. (Eurypylus, son of Telephus, had come to the Trojans’ aid with numerous troops.)
Then Ulysses, accompanied by Diomedes who remained at the city’s gates, entered Troy under the disguise of a beggar. Only Helen recognised him. As she now wished to be reunited with her first husband Menelaus she aided Ulysses in seizing the Palladium. (Some texts describe two successive missions of Ulysses into Troy. Here the simplified version of Apollodorus has been used.)
The seeker is still situated in the intermediary phase of reversal, in which the future path is not yet visible. This is why Helen is given another husband before she is able to find her way back to Menelaus. Between the two principal directions of the work which have presided over the realisations of union within the spirit, it is that of ‘the cessation of all fear’ (Deiphobos ‘the one who kills fear’) which gained the upper hand over that of ‘the pursuit of liberation in the spirit’ (Helenus).
That which is ‘most free in the spirit’ (Helenus, Trojan prince and son of Priam) then spontaneously seeks refuge within the highest regions of the unity with the Divine (Ida) from which the quest of the future path obliged it to come down to reveal the final conditions necessary for the reversal to be carried out, for only the highest realisation within the liberation of the spirit knows the keys of the yogic reversal (on Mount Ida Ulysses captures Helenus, who alone knows the secrets necessary to bring about the fall of Troy).
As a last condition, the bones of Pelops, son of Tantalus, were to be brought back: the seeker must find again ‘the foundations of aspiration (the essential structure)’ which seeks the mastery of the vital through the ‘vision of darkness’ (the bones of Pelops, who is married to Hippodamia).
The second condition is that of integrating within the yogic process the ‘new battles’ which concern themselves with the purification of the archaic layers of the vital: the habits of the being, the least sensations, modes of thinking and reacting beyond the state of equality (Neoptolemus, son of Achilles and king of the Myrmidons, must come to the battlefield and fight against Troy). It was Lycomedes, ‘he who concerns himself with the nascent light’, who watched over the development of these new battles.
It is ‘the simultaneous work of opposing currents’ and ‘power in the vital’ which forge the link with these first battles of the new yoga (Ulysses and Phoenix go in search of Lycomedes).
The seeker therefore reclaims the necessary ‘tools’ for a future yoga in the depths of the being, after which he closes again the ‘vast gateway’ which opens upon the distant lights of the spirit-worlds (Neoptolemus was given his father’s weapons by Ulysses, and slew Eurypylus, ‘a vast gateway’, son of Telephus, ‘that which shines in the distance’, who was himself a son of Heracles and Auge). These vast luminous horizons are at this point of the yogic process what is truest within the seeker’s consciousness, just after the aspiration for what is new, in the establishment of supramental consciousness (Eurypylus was very handsome, his beauty only just surpassed by Memnon, the son of Eos). They had come forth naturally to support the movement of ascension (Eurypylus had come to the aid of the Trojans, leading numerous troops). This corresponds with the moment in which the seeker conclusively shuts the access to the refuge of the white heavens, as discussed by Satprem in his trilogy on the Mother.
Finally, the effigy of ‘peace obtained by a double liberation of mind and vital’, which was an embodiment of the aim of the process of ascension, must no longer be utilised as a pretext for refuting matter: the Palladium (Π+ΛΛ+ΔΙ) must be removed from within the precincts of Troy.
It is ‘the work of circulating opposing currents linking spirit and matter within the self’ resulting from endurance, humility and a perfect discernment, which achieve this action (Ulysses, the son of Laertes and Anticlea, granddaughter of Hermes). This action is made without the knowledge of that which still defends the structures of the ancient modalities of yoga, as well as through a humble ‘infiltration’ (Ulysses entered Troy in the guise of a lowly and grimy beggar). In other words, the change of objective must be carried out with great gentleness and humility, the final ‘liberation’ not having been yet acquired with any certainty. Only the aim of ‘freedom’ can judge the exact level of progress and bring to it its aid (only Helen recognised him and aided him in his undertaking).
The fall of Troy
The Trojans found themselves in a desperate situation. Athena suggested to the architect Epeios the idea of building a wooden horse, and Ulysses supervised the work. The timber was cut on Mount Ida, and assembled into a hollow horse within which fifty warriors concealed themselves. On the horse’s sides were engraved hymns in offering to Athena. Then the Achaeans began carrying out their strategy, setting their encampment alight and sailing to a nearby island. They were to return on the following night, guided by a fire which Sinon was to light.
When day broke, the Trojans were fooled into believing that the Achaeans had taken flight. They brought the horse within the city’s walls, and debated about what was to be done with it. Supported by the soothsayer Laocoon, Cassandra warned that Achaean soldiers were hidden within it. Some believed her and wished to set the horse on fire, but the vast majority did not heed her warnings, for they stood in awe of such an offering to the gods. They brought the horse deeper into the city while they feasted, and Apollo sent them a sign: two snakes from a neighbouring islands swam across the sea and devoured Laocoon’s sons.
Helen then walked around the horse, calling the soldiers within it by name and mimicking the voices of their wives. But none of the heroes fell into this trap except for Anticlus, who was swiftly gagged by Ulysses.
Even though the conditions of the fall of Troy had been fulfilled, the seeker must yet again resort to trickery with himself to bring about a definite reversal into the new modality of yoga. As with the palladium, this must be carried out by gentle process of infiltration rather than by sheer force. To bring down ancient structures and that which animates them, the seeker must penetrate within under the guise of a force or power which is familiar, respected and desired: the new yoga must in fact infiltrate the older yoga progressively to avoid a closing off of the being. This process implies deluding a part of oneself by giving it that which it is used to and aspires to, but the content of which is modified in the direction of the new yoga (Ulysses must ensure that the wooden horse filled with warriors be brought into the city). In addition, at first, change must be brought about not by direct conflict, but rather through the relaxation brought by a provisional distancing which removes all tension and allows a future victory (the Achaeans pretend to flee).
These tricks are necessary for transforming processes which are but poorly developed within the deeper vital and the body, and over which the mind has no hold. This is the kind of process which was employed by the Mother to alter the mind of the cells through a modification of the content which they repeat in a ceaseless loop. The Mother did not simply strive to remove the essential process of repetition which ensures when necessary the stability of matter and forms, but rather strove to alter its content.
Both the ancient and the new paths being in agreement to bring vital power and force to the service of yoga, the Trojans are naturally able to integrate the symbol of the horse.
‘That which beholds from the highest plane’ in the movement which pushes man back from incarnation (Cassandra, also known by Homer as Alexandra, ‘she who pushes away or rejects man’), perceives this ‘ruse’, and her impression is confirmed by ‘that which perceives energies’ (the soothsayer Laocoon). But that which is still attached to the ancient yoga within the being does not pay attention to it as it is turned towards its habitual consecration (in fact, most of the Trojans respected the offering made to the gods), despite a sign which appears through the sudden disappearance of certain previously-acquired perceptions due to the effects of evolution (two serpents devour the sons of Laocoon).
Both the highest perceptions gained during the process of ascension as well as those which originate from the purification of the vital become obstacles to the reversal if the seeker gives them attention.
But there is another near-defeat arising at the last moment. The aspiration towards ‘an evolution towards greater freedom’ (Helen) almost brings about the failure of this strategy by taking on the appearance or guise of the aims of each of the forces mobilised for the reversal. It is a moment of uncertainty regarding the direction of the path on which the seeker, pushed forward by his aspiration for freedom, must imperatively hold back his frustration over not having accomplished that which he has strived for in a number of domains (the warriors must not reply to the calls of Helen, who imitates their wives’ voices). As it is a question of a movement from the personal yoga to a yoga for humankind as a whole, this movement may also be indicative of a conclusive renouncement of all personal goals no matter how consecrated they may be.
Anticlus, whom Ulysses is obliged to gag, may represent, depending on the meaning given to the prefix ‘anti’, two obstacles which can put everything in question if not opposed by a just equilibrium of energies: either an excess of ‘humility’ which would be contrary to a true gift of oneself, or the remainder of an attraction to ‘personal glory’, which at this stage perhaps constitutes only a slight trace of a feeling of personal responsibility in the achievement of a transition towards a more advanced yoga.
When the Achaeans sensed that the enemy was asleep they emerged from the horse and opened the city’s gates to the Achaean troops, which carried out a great massacre.
Priam’s son Axion was slain by Eurypylus.
Agenor, Eioneus and Priam were slain by Neoptolemus, who also killed Hector’s son Astyanax by throwing him down from the top of a tower (in a variation of this story, Astyanax was killed by Ulysses).
Helen’s last husband Deiphobe was killed by Menelaus.
Coroebus, son of Mygdon and fiancé of Cassandra, was killed by Diomedes or Neoptolemus.
Ajax the Lesser, son of Oileus, pursued Cassandra who sought refuge by the altar of the goddess Athena. As he sought to drag her away with him she clung to Athena’s statue, which toppled over. Outraged by this the Achaeans wished to stone him, but they were unable to do so for Ajax had in his turn sought refuge close to another altar to the goddess (during their ‘return’ to Troy the Achaeans were forced to again endure a storm brought about by the gods for not having punished the Lesser Ajax for this insult).
Ulysses and Menelaus intervened to save Glaucus, son of Antenor and Theano.
Helicon, another of Antenor’s sons, was saved by Ulysses. His wife Laodice, Priam’s most beautiful daughter, was engulfed by the earth. According to Lycophron she descended into Hades alive.
Those who sought to harm Helen, amongst them Menelaus who was about to kill her with his sword, dropped their weapons when they beheld her.
The final moment of reversal is carried out when the liberated consciousness in the spirit ‘falls asleep’, during a loosening of vigilance (the Trojans lie sleeping when the Achaean warriors emerge from the horse).
Several blockages reach their end:
Firstly, the idea that the evolutionary progression is carried out by merit is annulled by a wide opening up: Axion, ‘he who merits’, is killed by Eurypylus, ‘he of the wide doors or gateway’. Several heroes carry this name, amongst them a Trojan, son of Telephus, who appears earlier in this study. Here the reference is to a single Achaean, son of Evaemon, ‘of good race’, whose genealogy seems to go back to Helios, symbol of the light of the supramental, supramental which does not seem to ‘act’ according to ‘merit’ or ‘realisations’.
‘The new battles’ of yoga (Neoptolemus) bring to an end on the one hand that which had previously led the process of yoga (Agenor), and more particularly the evolution of consciousness within Trojan logic (Eioneus), and on the other hand the pursuit of the path into the heights of consciousness (Priam) and of that which works towards a ‘mastery’ which can be considered to have reached completion (Astyanax, ‘the master of the city’, son of Hector).
Humility and unshakeable will conclude the process of the destruction of fear (Menelaus slays Deiphobe, ‘he who slays fear’).
The ‘disgust for incarnation’ which engages the seeker in a refusal to incarnate, is annulled by ‘that which aims for a divine perfecting of nature’ or by ‘the new battles of yoga’ (Coroebus, Cassandra’s fiancée, is killed by Diomedes and Neoptolemus). (On this topic refer to Sri Aurobindo’s words on the repulsion towards the cosmic action of the Divine ‘ at the end of chapter IX of the Yoga of self-perfection.)
The work of the liberation of consciousness at the level of the personality, or the lesser self, is still delayed within the evolutionary process and the seeker is still seduced at this level by certain ‘powers’ acquired during the process of ascension, which are turned towards ‘that which rejects man’ (the Lesser Ajax pursues Cassandra/Alexandra). He may well attempt to grapple with the roots of the ego, but this is still premature for ‘the lesser self’ remains necessary during a time to complete the growth of the inner being (the Achaeans wished to kill the ‘Lesser’ Ajax, but he sought refuge at Athena’s altar). The seeker must undergo a great storm during his return before the ego or the lesser self are able to disappear in a definitive way, Poseidon then bringing about the death of the Lesser Ajax.
Within the movement of ascension there is a ‘luminous consciousness’ which has been generated by the evolutionary movement which sought inner growth (Glaucus, son of Antenor and Theano). Logically it must not disappear, and this is why the Trojan Glaucus, ‘the shining’, is saved by Ulysses and Menelaus. This is also why Antenor had intervened in Ulysses and Menelaus’ favour when an embassy had been sent to Troy to ask for Helen’s return.
Another of Antenor and Theano’s sons (therefore also originating from ‘a movement of evolution which seeks inner evolution’ on the path of ascension) named Helicon, ‘he who works in a spiralling pattern’, is also spared. This yoga is in fact a work of ascension and integration which evolves in a spiralling pattern on planes of consciousness which are both increasingly higher as well as increasingly material; victories of a similar nature must therefore be carried out within the mental plane, then within the vital and finally within the body. For instance, ‘attachment’ must be triumphed over in the plane of ideas, then in that of the affect and finally in that of bodily corporeal habit. This is why many of the experiences narrated by Apollonius in The Quest of the Golden Fleece (The Argonautica) and which were clustered around the first great opening or illumination, have surprising resemblance to those described by Homer in the Odyssey. However these experiences become more and more difficult as they begin to involve planes of increasing depth.
The goal pursued through this spiralling movement – ‘a right will’ or ‘a right vision’, or perhaps ‘a right way of acting in all the parts of the being’ (Laodice wife of Helicon) -, was that which was most in agreement with the truth of the evolutionary path within this path of union in spirit which rejected matter (Laodice was the most beautiful of Priam’s daughters). But this aim must henceforth involves the body instead of maintaining itself within the spirit (she was engulfed by the earth, and descended into Hades alive).
When in his aspiration for complete freedom the seeker understands what in truth is ‘the freedom in evolution’, he can no longer have any complaint about past errors or that which appear to have been errors (the Achaeans who had wished to harm Helen dropped their weapons upon beholding her).
It must be noted that depictions of the fall of Troy often show infanticides, which has not ceased to surprise those studying these myths but is justified within the frame of our interpretation; the seeker must in fact eliminate within himself all that is still only poorly developed but involves the rejection of matter or in a more general manner any movement of ‘separation’.
There are no early sources describing Hecabe’s death. Euripides was the first to write that she had climbed to the top of one of the ship’s masts, where she was turned into a dog. Keeping in mind the reserve and precaution which must be taken with this author, this would indicate that ‘the escape into the spirit’ (Hecabe) would therefore only serve in the next stages of yoga as a vital intuitive attention to orders from the skies (the dog is positioned as a lookout at the top of the mast).
Theseus’ sons Demophon and Acamas, who had not taken part in the war, went to Troy to bring back Aethra, wife of Aegeus, who had become Helen’s slave. It must be remembered that Aethra had been made a prisoner by Castor and Polydeuces, who had come to seek out Helen when she was abducted by Theseus and then given to the latter as a slave. She had then gone with Helen to Troy when the latter had taken flight with Paris-Alexander.
This anecdote, which appears in the earliest sources, seems to have the function of linking the lineages of the legendary kings of Athens to the Trojan War. Acamas ‘the tireless’ and Demophon, ‘a penetration of consciousness into numerous parts of the being’ (son of Theseus, ‘human consciousness turning inwards’, and of Phaedra ‘the luminous’, daughter of Minos), must in fact participate within the new yoga in the process of growth of the inner being (these are kings of Athens).
When the seeker renounces pursuing the path of ascension he must reclaim for the new yoga the ‘light’ obtained by aspiration in earlier times (Aethra is the granddaughter of Pelops and Hippodamia) which had allowed him to come to the end of all obstructions to the growth of the inner being, and to progressively bring to the forefront the psychic being (their father was Theseus, who had vanquished the Minotaur). This ‘light-knowledge’ had been forcefully brought into the service of the quest for freedom then turned towards the spirit in a rejection of matter (Aethra was given as a slave to Helen, who left for Troy) (see Chapter 1).
The reorientation of the yogic process towards a deep purification in which the kings of Athens must cooperate can then benefit from the past knowledge.
Finally, according to Apollodorus, Polyxena, one of Priam’s daughters, was either wounded by Ulysses and Diomedes and died from her wounds, or had her throat slit by Neoptolemus on Achilles’ tomb (others say that the Achaean leaders were the ones to have carried out this sacrifice under Ulysses’ instructions).
A Polyxenus ‘numerous strange things’ existed amongst the Achaean leaders, and was according to Homer ‘like the gods’. This would then refer to experiences or capacities of the overmind which lie outside what is common and aid the reversal of the yogic process.
On the other hand, the search for unusual powers which was sometimes one of the aims of the ancient modalities of yoga must no longer be the aim of the new yoga from the end of the reversal (Polyxena must die).
Aeneas’ flight is described differently by different writers. They wrote that he had left Troy after the ill omen of the death of Laocoon and his son, or else because the Achaeans had allowed him to take flight during the sack of Troy out of respect for his great piety. We will discuss this part of his story in the chapter about the ‘returns’. For the fact that Aeneas is to survive and found the future city of Troy indicates that Love is more potent than the power of purification, for it has no need of dissolving to transform. (Mother’s Agenda Volume 2, 12 January 1962.) For, according to Homer, ‘it is ordained unto him to escape, that the race of Dardanus perish not without seed and be seen no more – of Dardanus whom the son of Cronos loved above all the children born to him from mortal women’.