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“If someone has a fine physical appearance or good social
position, that it obviously what others notice, especially on
first acquaintance. But these advantages do not impress them for
long unless they sense beyond the appearances something subtle
and alive, for this corresponds to what everyone needs in the
deepest part of themselves.
You already know this; you’ve already experienced it, but have
you drawn the conclusion that, in order to encounter true love,
you must work on yourself and create something pure, luminous,
poetic and musical within? That is the only way to attract men
or women to you who are also seeking purity, light, poetry and
music. Never forget that what is essential is found in these
subtle vibrations, these currents of energy that circulate
between beings.”

Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov

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Here begins the story about the snakes “Heavy-to-carry” and “Light- to-carry”

 

‘ Furthermore it was heard that there were once two snakes, and the first snake was called “Heavy-to-carry.” Their bodies were equally large, and their tails were very long. Being of one mind, they loved each other so much that one could not bear to be separated from the other. And lo, they went along a path together. After they had traversed much land, one snake glided into a depression. And the other snake proceeded along the way. On one side of the path there was a very high mountain, and on the other side a very deep body of water. And on the path, a trapper had set up a snare and a pitfall. Inside it was full of burning coals, and all kinds of fiery apparitions rose from it into the air. The trapper was hiding nearby. And when the snake came to that place, it was pleased and amazed at the fiery apparitions in the air. But it was not possible for it to avoid the pitfall, for, alas, it had to go ahead along this path and there was no way back. And lo, it paused , and then darted ahead, thinking, “I want to jump over the pitfall with my whole body.” But, because the pitfall was very wide and the snake’s body was long and very thin in the middle, and its tail was very long, it could not cross the pitfall. Its head came across, but the tail remained behind, and the middle of the body remained lying across the pit, and the snake could not pull it over to its neck. So it burned there and died. And the trapper came quickly, stretched out his hand toward the pit, cut open the head neatly, took the stone, and went away very happy.

 

The second snake came along and found its companion dead, its head mutilated. It cried out from the depths of its soul, “Alas! You were very dear to me.” And it wept and lamented bitterly, wailed pitifully and said, “0 wonderful brother, how have you died without your brother and shame?” When it had stopped lamenting, it thought to itself, “My brother died because he had not thought of a remedy for the body. I will also have to die.” And] it considered the matter carefully. And the snake said, “Because he was a male, he could not bear the separation from his dear tail; he could not endure corruption and suffering in his body. But there is really no other way out.

If I endure separation from my dear tail and endure a little pain in my body for the sake of my soul, then I will be able to jump over the pitfall.” Then it returned to the depression and found the abandoned fire of a shepherd. And it burned off as much of its tail as could be harmful [to its body. And, when it had become smaller, the tailless body jumped very lightly and crossed the pitfall safely.

 

Of these two snakes, one is the person who loves the body, for whom bearing. ..is troublesome, but who is unconcerned about the soul. And his.. .is long. The second snake is the person for whom the soul is dearer than the body. There is very little poison in him and his attachment to the world is very weak, and the fetters binding his soul  are very thin. And the pitfall, the high mountain and the deep body of water are the three trenches. The trapper] is Ahriman, and the stone is the soul. Ultimately the Old Man, being without good works, is the one who cannot jump over the three ditches with the tail of the body.  But the chosen New Man has purged the three poisons from the body and has borne in his body the agony caused by observing the Law, and he can endure separation from his dear wife and children and from riches, and on the Final Day his soul will arise from the body and will attain the peace of Paradise. ..

 

–Iranian Manichaean Parable (from the Sogdian book of parables)

 

 notes:

Ahriman:In Zoroastrianism we find this is a demonic destructive force/being. Although Mani and the Manichaeans drew from Zoroastrian language it is a mistake to assume that such terminologies are wholly zoroastrian. Essentially Mani put his own “spin” on such terms.  In this example I would think it is safe to assume Ahriman has similar negative conotations, if not the exactly same as the Zoroastrian ones.

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The “Old man” as opposed to the new man. This image is taken from Paul

Colossians 3:9

Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices

Ephesians 2:14-16

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.

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The concept of the soul of the deceased has to first pass over the three ditches before it can reach the World of Light is found in the Parthian hymns:

“Who will lead me beyond the walls and over the moats, which ravaging demons fill with fear and trembling?”

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The three poisons in the body correspond to the three ditches of the cosmos.

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more:

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Nicene_and_Post-Nicene_Fathers:_Series_I/Volume_IV/Manichaean_Controversy

Gnosis on the Silk Road 

Mani, The Angel and the Column of Glory 

The Manichaean Body 

 

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