The Dilemma of the Gnostic Gospels


Tom Saunders

Most Biblical scholars today are still trying to compare and align Gnostic texts with the traditional Christian interpretations of the Bible.  If so much were not at stake, I would just laugh them off

as misguided minions of the ‘Crystal Palace‘ of academia.  After all the ‘Crystal Palace,’ pays the light bill for a lot of scholars who know full well they are there to help maintain the ‘Right Wing,’ hold on the Church.

As a lay scholar I discovered the underlying metaphysical philosophy of the Monad, which was adopted by pre-Christian, and first century Christianity.  For most Bible scholars the study and mention of the Monad, or parts of the Monadology does not come up in their study, and I think it is because they can ignore it, but its not going away.   The main writings of Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Tertullian, and other early church writers all mention the link to the Pythagorean study of the Monad, but none of them can explain it. There are many who have tried.

The early proto-Orthodox church, was not a part of those Gnostics who formed many little churches within churches. Gnostics clearly studied a secret Christianity, which church leaders such as Irenaeus could target as heretical.  Gnostics tended to seek individual Gnosis as the real power of spirituality, the Orthodox formed power through unification of the Church as the primary force representing God. By the second century the Orthodox Church had the kind of power to declare themselves the real link to Godliness, and everyone else was an enemy of the Church.

The syndication of the proto-Orthodox church bonded with governments and this increased their power enough to overcome any chance the Gnostics had to become an equal force.  Until the Nag Hammadi Library, and the other related Gnostic texts were found in the sands of Egypt, could anyone in modern times identify the true metaphysics behind the Gnostic texts. This has been the focus of my work.

I discovered the Pythagoreans and the Christian Sethians used the Monad, like the Chinese use the Ba Gua, or eight trigrams of the Tai Chi. Ba Gua Science, is not a usual subject in Western culture, and its easy to see why centuries of Biblical scholars missed it.  I only found this link because I have been an Isshinryu Karate student for forty years, and this system is a classical one aligned with the Tai Chi. My discovery was that these two systems are almost identical as to how they work, as a heuristic device.

It is not the focus of this essay to teach this system, as I have dedicated myself to doing that with other works.  What should be said about learning this system is needed to encourage scholars to pay attention, there is an 800 lb. gorilla in the room called the Monad. It is the basis for the Sethian Christian metaphysics, its one of the best kept secrets in Christian history, and it is one of the most powerful teaching tools ever devised by mankind.

This being said, the down side for Biblical scholarship is the fact the people paying the light bill believe in a sentient all powerful God who can manifest change.  The Gnostic message is not quite opposite but it means an end to the sentient being God, who helps pay the light bill. This is Gnostic humor as these people are seen to be in darkness about the Gnostic metaphysics and therefore the epistemology of the Gnostic texts. All of them.

Without a working understanding of the Monad, in concern to the Sethian Christian texts, an accurate translation of them is a happy accident.  This is because works like Codex III of the Nag Hammadi are written in express reference to how the Monad works.  This is easy to understand if you know the secret to the Monadology, because what the texts in Codex III are talking about is the creation of the Monad, and how it effects the perceptions of the students of Jesus. One quick lesson on how the Monadology starts..

“As I said earlier, among the things that were created the Monad is first, the dyad follows it, and the triad, up to the tenths. Now the tenths rule the hundredths; the hundredths rule the thousandths; the thousands
rule the ten thousands. This is the pattern <among the> immortals. First Man is like this: His monad […]. ( is His God, my insertion.) (From “Eugnostos the Blessed,” Nag Hammadi Library, Codex III, Robinson, 1990.)

Again it is this pattern that exists among the immortals: the Monad and the thought are those things that belong to Immortal Man. The thinkings are for <the> decads, and the hundreds are the teachings, and the thousands are the counsels, and the ten thousands are the powers. Now those who come from the […] exist with their […]

in every aeon […].” (From “Eugnostos the Blessed,” Nag Hammadi Library, Codex III, Robinson, 1990.)

Most people would not have to look too hard to see what is being explained from the Sethian texts is exactly the same pattern as with the Wu Chi, or great void, which begets the Monad, the dyad, the triad, etc.  Only in Chinese the dyad is usually called Yin and Yang, ( Li Yang).  This represents duality. The triad is called the San Ti.  As it turns out the sequences work alike, and the parts are called by different names, but these two mechanisms can be shown easily, as the same heuristic device.

A “heuristic device” like the Tai Chi or Monadology works as an abstract concept or model applied to contemplation and application about physical, mental, verbal, and social phenomena. Not only are they good devices for contemplation, they can be applied to a number of human skills. Playing chess is an example of one type of system considered a heuristic device mentioned in “The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy,” Audi, Cambridge, 1999.

The device of the Tai Chi, and Monadology are without a doubt historically Occult, both in Asian, and Western studies. The modern church still contends this ‘Pythagorean study’ is heretical.  However it is obvious from the comparisons of the Gnostic texts, to what was said about them, that the ‘Church’ never uncovered more than a little of the secret teaching.

Once the Church could stop the Gnostic studies, but not today.  As I know a great many people who now know how the Ba Gua, or the Monadology works, and use it, I know it has potentials for learning not realized before.  I see the denial of the Gnostic teachings, as one of the biggest sins of the Church.

A Gandharva (Sanskrit) or Gandhabba (Pāli) is one of the lowest-ranking devas in Buddhist theology. They are classed among the Cāturmahārājikakāyika devas, and are subject to the Great King Dhtarāṣṭra, Guardian of the East. Beings are reborn among the Gandharvas as a consequence of having practiced the most basic form of ethics (Janavasabha-sutta, DN.18). It was considered embarrassing for a monk to be born in no better birth than that of a gandharva.

Gandharvas can fly through the air, and are known for their skill as musicians. They are connected with trees and flowers, and are described as dwelling in the scents of bark, sap, and blossom. They are among the beings of the wilderness that might disturb a monk meditating alone.

The terms gandharva and yaka are sometimes used for the same person; yaka in these cases is the more general term, including a variety of lower deities.

Among the notable gandharvas are mentioned (in DN.20 and DN.32) Panāda, Opamañña, Naa, Cittasena, Rājā. Janesabha is probably the same as Janavasabha, a rebirth of King Bimbisāra of Magadha. Mātali the Gandharva is the charioteer for Śakra.

Timbarū was a chieftain of the gandharvas. There is a romantic story told about the love between his daughter Bhaddā Suriyavaccasā (Sanskrit: Bhadrā Sūryavarcasā) and another gandharva, Pañcasikha (Sanskrit: Pañcaśikha). Pañcasikha fell in love with Suriyavaccasā when he saw her dancing before Śakra, but she was then in love with Sikhandī (or Sikhaddi), son of Mātali the charioteer. Pañcasikha then went to Timbarū’s home and played a melody on his lute of beluva-wood, on which he had great skill, and sang a love-song in which he interwove themes about the Buddha and his Arhats.

Later, Śakra prevailed upon Pañcasikha to intercede with the Buddha so that Śakra might have an audience with him. As a reward for Pañcasikha’s services, Śakra was able to get Suriyavaccasā, already pleased with Pañcasikha’s display of skill and devotion, to agree to marry Pañcasikha.

Pañcasikha also acts as a messenger for the Four Heavenly Kings, conveying news from them to Mātali, the latter representing Śakra and the Trāyastriśa devas.

Gandharva or gandhabba is also used in a completely different sense, referring to a being (or, strictly speaking, part of the causal continuum of consciousness) in a liminal state between birth and death.