THE TROJAN WAR (THE ILIAD)

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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

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 li