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The Golden Verses of Pythagoras

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  • Kim
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    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 10, 2010
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      Although no original writings of Pythagoras have survived antiquity, this collection of seventy-one aphorisms is mentioned by Hierocles of Alexandria in the fifth century CE. From internal evidence, some scholars believe that they come from a hexameter poem by Pythagoras, which was transmitted orally until persecution scattered the Pythagoreans, and they were then committed to writing.1 The present edition is an original translation by Florence M. Firth,2 adapted here for modern readers.

      1.    First worship the Immortal Gods, as they are established and ordained by the Law.
      2.    Reverence the Oath, and next the Heroes, full of goodness and light.
      3. Honour likewise the Terrestrial Guiding Spirits by rendering them the worship lawfully due to them.
      4. Honour likewise your parents and those most nearly related to you.
      5.    Of all the rest of humanity, make friends with those who distinguish themselves by their virtue.
      6.    Always give ear to their mild exhortations, and take example from their virtuous and useful actions.
      7. Avoid as much as possible hating your friend for a slight fault.
      8. [And understand that] power is a near neighbour to necessity.
      9.    Know that all these things are as I have told you; and accustom yourself to overcome and vanquish the following passions:
      10. First gluttony, sloth, sensuality, and anger.
      11. Do nothing evil, neither in the presence of others, nor privately;
      12. But above all things respect yourself.
      13. In the next place, observe justice in your actions and in your words.
      14. And do not involve yourself in anything without rule or reason.
      15. But always realize that it is ordained by destiny that all human beings shall die,
      16. And that the goods of fortune are uncertain; and that as they may be acquired, so may they likewise be lost.
      17. Concerning    all    the    calamities    that humans suffer by divine fortune,
      18. Support with patience your lot, be it what it may, and never repine at it.
      19. But endeavour what you can to remedy it,
      20. And consider that fate does not send the greatest portion of these misfortunes to good people.
      21. There are many possibilities that people can choose from, both good and bad;
      22. So, from among the possibilities, carefully choose the best path for yourself.
      23. But if falsehoods be advanced, hear them with mildness, and arm yourself with patience.
      24. Observe well, on every occasion, what I am going to tell you:
      25. Let no person, either through words or deeds, ever seduce you.
      26. Nor entice you to say or to do what is not beneficial for yourself.
      27. Consult and deliberate before you act, that you may not commit foolish actions.
      28. For it is the mark of a miserable person to speak and to act without reflection.
      29. But do that which will not afflict you afterwards, nor oblige you to repentance.
      30. Never do anything which you do not understand.
      31. Learn all you ought to know, and thus you will lead a very pleasant life.
      32. In no way neglect the health of your body;
      33. Give it drink and food in due measure, and also the exercise of which it has need.
      34. Now, by measure, I mean what will not inconvenience you.
      35. Accustom yourself to a way of living that is neat and decent without luxury.
      36. Avoid all things that will occasion envy.
      37. And be not prodigal out of season, like one who knows not what is decent and honorable.
      38. Be neither covetous nor stingy; a modest measure is excellent in these things.
      39. Do only that which will not hurt you, and think carefully about what you are going to do before you do it.
      40. Never fall asleep after going to bed,
      41. Till you have carefully considered all your actions of the day:
      42. Where have I gone amiss? What have I done? What have I omitted that I ought to have done?
      43. If in this examination you find that you have gone amiss, reprimand yourself severely for it;
      44. And if you have done any good, rejoice.
      45. Practice    thoroughly    all    these    things; meditate on them well, for you ought to love them with all your heart.
      46. It is they that will put you on the path of divine virtue.
      47. I swear it by the one who has transmitted into our souls the Sacred Quaternion, the source of nature, whose cause is eternal.
      48. But never begin to set your hand to any work, till you have first prayed to the gods to accomplish what you are about to begin.
      . . . observe justice in your actions and in your words.
      49. When you have become familiar with this habit,
      50. You will know the constitution of the Immortal Gods and of humans.
      51. Even the extent of the power of gods and humans, and what contains and binds them together.

      Never fall asleep after going to bed, till you have carefully considered all your actions of the day...

      52. You shall likewise know that according to Law, the nature of this universe flows through all things alike,
      53. So that you shall not hope for what you ought not to hope; and nothing in this world shall be hidden from you.
      54. You will likewise know that human beings bring on their own misfortunes, voluntarily and of their own free choice.
      55. Unhappy that they are! They neither see nor understand that what is best for them is within them.
      56. Few know how to deliver themselves out of their misfortunes.
      57. Such is the fate that blinds humanity, and takes away their senses.
      58. Like huge barrels they roll to and fro, always oppressed with innumerable problems.
      59. For fatal strife, seemingly innate, pursues them everywhere, tossing them up and down; nor do they perceive this.
      60. Instead of provoking and stirring up strife, they ought, by yielding, to avoid it.
      61. Oh! Jupiter, our Father! If you would deliver humans from all the evils that oppress them,
      62. Show them the veil of ignorance that blinds their eyes.
      63. But take courage: the human race is divine:
      64. Sacred nature reveals to them the most hidden mysteries.
      65. If she imparts to you her secrets, you will easily perform all the things for which I have ordained you,
      66. And by the healing of your soul, you shall deliver it from all evils, from all afflictions.
      67. But    abstain    from    meat,    which    will prevent you from the purifying and the deliverance of your soul;
      68. Carefully distinguish between things, and examine all things well.
      69. Leaving yourself to always be guided and directed by the understanding that comes from above, allowing it to control your destiny.
      70. And when you have eventually divested yourself of your mortal body, you will arrive at the most pure Ether,
      71. And you shall be a God—immortal, incorruptible— and Death shall have no more dominion over you.

      Where have I gone amiss? What have I done?
      What have I omitted that I ought to have done?

      middlemiddlemiddlemiddlemiddlemiddlemiddle

      Anonymous 


    • dottie zold
      Kim, thank you for these. It s interesting for me as I cannot but help find Rudolf Steiner and Pythagoras as one. For me they are the closest of the closest in
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 10, 2010
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        Kim, thank you for these. It's interesting for me as I cannot but help find Rudolf Steiner and Pythagoras as one. For me they are the closest of the closest in looking at their biographies more so then any other biography put upon Rudolf Steiner. It feels like the Count Saint Germain for me and Christian Rosenkreutz: I can know Christian for I know Saint Germain, I know Rudolf Steiner for I know Pythagoras.
         
        Such subleties though are what drives the thinking man or allows it to come to understand 'Thinking as a spiritual activity' really. For when one reads words and has not the experience of that which is dark one can only know through reading, but when allows oneself to also enter into the darkness, only then will one comprehend in the body what other men who are lost in the material understanding of things, encounter everyday. And then one learns how to lead people through hell to the heavenly worlds.
         
        I am learning to face the shedog. And I have no thing else to do but to keep on moving forward to the best of my ability. It seems many get caught in a sideways movement as the world keeps pounding them and there are not many to lead foward out of experience that does not lead to a dogmatism of the spirit. Being free is immanent in our world yet we walk as if we are not free. And those who hold they are free have not yet really come do deal with the darkness so they can understand man and lead forward through hell. It is not about being perfect it is about learning how to lead through humility out of experience that is accompanied through self reflection. The manichean path is a righteous Noahite path is what it seems to me.
         
        And it is interesting in today's time and it feels almost to me like I can feel the Pythagoras time and what that meant for them and now what it means to us today: community is spread out whereas it was together back then. And now we are required or compelled to find one another through our diversities, through our meeting the adversary one by one and then finding the others who can accompany us through the difficult days. When we find one another and when we seek one another we are strengthened. And we are known one to the other through our non judgement and through our understanding of what is taking place in our world. We see through the maya, through the poverty of the world that puts its faith in buildings and cars and material things, things that are transitory, instead of also moving in depthful ways to what is spirit filled and eternity.
         
        Thanks again,
        Love,
        Dottie

        "Hence only by means of love can we give real help for karma to work out in the right way." Rudolf Steiner



        --- On Sun, 1/10/10, Kim <kimgm@...> wrote:

        From: Kim <kimgm@...>
        Subject: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] The Golden Verses of Pythagoras
        To: anthroposophy_tomorrow@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Sunday, January 10, 2010, 10:08 AM



        middlemiddlemiddlemiddlemiddlemiddlemiddle


        Although no original writings of Pythagoras have survived antiquity, this collection of seventy-one aphorisms is mentioned by Hierocles of Alexandria in the fifth century CE. From internal evidence, some scholars believe that they come from a hexameter poem by Pythagoras, which was transmitted orally until persecution scattered the Pythagoreans, and they were then committed to writing.1 The present edition is an original translation by Florence M. Firth,2 adapted here for modern readers.

        1.    First worship the Immortal Gods, as they are established and ordained by the Law.
        2.    Reverence the Oath, and next the Heroes, full of goodness and light.
        3. Honour likewise the Terrestrial Guiding Spirits by rendering them the worship lawfully due to them.
        4. Honour likewise your parents and those most nearly related to you.
        5.    Of all the rest of humanity, make friends with those who distinguish themselves by their virtue.
        6.    Always give ear to their mild exhortations, and take example from their virtuous and useful actions.
        7. Avoid as much as possible hating your friend for a slight fault.
        8. [And understand that] power is a near neighbour to necessity.
        9.    Know that all these things are as I have told you; and accustom yourself to overcome and vanquish the following passions:
        10. First gluttony, sloth, sensuality, and anger.
        11. Do nothing evil, neither in the presence of others, nor privately;
        12. But above all things respect yourself.
        13. In the next place, observe justice in your actions and in your words.
        14. And do not involve yourself in anything without rule or reason.
        15. But always realize that it is ordained by destiny that all human beings shall die,
        16. And that the goods of fortune are uncertain; and that as they may be acquired, so may they likewise be lost.
        17. Concerning    all    the    calamities    that humans suffer by divine fortune,
        18. Support with patience your lot, be it what it may, and never repine at it.
        19. But endeavour what you can to remedy it,
        20. And consider that fate does not send the greatest portion of these misfortunes to good people.
        21. There are many possibilities that people can choose from, both good and bad;
        22. So, from among the possibilities, carefully choose the best path for yourself.
        23. But if falsehoods be advanced, hear them with mildness, and arm yourself with patience.
        24. Observe well, on every occasion, what I am going to tell you:
        25. Let no person, either through words or deeds, ever seduce you.
        26. Nor entice you to say or to do what is not beneficial for yourself.
        27. Consult and deliberate before you act, that you may not commit foolish actions.
        28. For it is the mark of a miserable person to speak and to act without reflection.
        29. But do that which will not afflict you afterwards, nor oblige you to repentance.
        30. Never do anything which you do not understand.
        31. Learn all you ought to know, and thus you will lead a very pleasant life.
        32. In no way neglect the health of your body;
        33. Give it drink and food in due measure, and also the exercise of which it has need.
        34. Now, by measure, I mean what will not inconvenience you.
        35. Accustom yourself to a way of living that is neat and decent without luxury.
        36. Avoid all things that will occasion envy.
        37. And be not prodigal out of season, like one who knows not what is decent and honorable.
        38. Be neither covetous nor stingy; a modest measure is excellent in these things.
        39. Do only that which will not hurt you, and think carefully about what you are going to do before you do it.
        40. Never fall asleep after going to bed,
        41. Till you have carefully considered all your actions of the day:
        42. Where have I gone amiss? What have I done? What have I omitted that I ought to have done?
        43. If in this examination you find that you have gone amiss, reprimand yourself severely for it;
        44. And if you have done any good, rejoice.
        45. Practice    thoroughly    all    these    things; meditate on them well, for you ought to love them with all your heart.
        46. It is they that will put you on the path of divine virtue.
        47. I swear it by the one who has transmitted into our souls the Sacred Quaternion, the source of nature, whose cause is eternal.
        48. But never begin to set your hand to any work, till you have first prayed to the gods to accomplish what you are about to begin.
        . . . observe justice in your actions and in your words.
        49. When you have become familiar with this habit,
        50. You will know the constitution of the Immortal Gods and of humans.
        51. Even the extent of the power of gods and humans, and what contains and binds them together.

        Never fall asleep after going to bed, till you have carefully considered all your actions of the day....

        52. You shall likewise know that according to Law, the nature of this universe flows through all things alike,
        53. So that you shall not hope for what you ought not to hope; and nothing in this world shall be hidden from you.
        54. You will likewise know that human beings bring on their own misfortunes, voluntarily and of their own free choice.
        55. Unhappy that they are! They neither see nor understand that what is best for them is within them.
        56. Few know how to deliver themselves out of their misfortunes.
        57. Such is the fate that blinds humanity, and takes away their senses.
        58. Like huge barrels they roll to and fro, always oppressed with innumerable problems.
        59. For fatal strife, seemingly innate, pursues them everywhere, tossing them up and down; nor do they perceive this.
        60. Instead of provoking and stirring up strife, they ought, by yielding, to avoid it.
        61. Oh! Jupiter, our Father! If you would deliver humans from all the evils that oppress them,
        62. Show them the veil of ignorance that blinds their eyes.
        63. But take courage: the human race is divine:
        64. Sacred nature reveals to them the most hidden mysteries.
        65. If she imparts to you her secrets, you will easily perform all the things for which I have ordained you,
        66. And by the healing of your soul, you shall deliver it from all evils, from all afflictions.
        67. But    abstain    from    meat,    which    will prevent you from the purifying and the deliverance of your soul;
        68. Carefully distinguish between things, and examine all things well.
        69. Leaving yourself to always be guided and directed by the understanding that comes from above, allowing it to control your destiny.
        70. And when you have eventually divested yourself of your mortal body, you will arrive at the most pure Ether,
        71. And you shall be a God—immortal, incorruptible— and Death shall have no more dominion over you.

        Where have I gone amiss? What have I done?
        What have I omitted that I ought to have done?
        middlemiddlemiddlemiddlemiddlemiddlemiddle




      • dottie zold
        Well friends, I had cause to consider the position I am in regards to the community I am mostly aligned with here in Hollywood: Russian Jew. That is very
        Message 3 of 3 , Jan 11, 2010
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          Well friends, I had cause to consider the position I am in regards to the community I am mostly aligned with here in Hollywood: Russian Jew. That is very interesting to me. And out of this came the realization as to how unbelievable it is that I can first hand say that I have seen the Risen Christ. I have seen Christ with my own eyes. And in this community this is really something to say. I do not only say I am a Christian because I believe, I do and have since a child, but I also say it clear and plain because I have also seen. And this brought me to consider the Samaritan, the Woman at the Well, as she is called.
           
          I cannot believe that I meet Jew after Jew in deep conversations about God and when asked what I am I say I am a Christian. And they look at me and I can say and I do say, 'I have seen Him three times, and so I cannot deny Him'. There are no words to respond. It's just a stop, a full stop. And then a head nod trying to digest what I just said. For one must think how it is that I speak so normally about such a thing as if its a normal occurrance. It is for me.
           
          But I found myself thinking on this woman at the well. I found myself considering how it was that from her words a firestorm took place across the country. So I went looking to understand that conversation that took place between He and she and encountered a few things below I thought to share. And intereting is that I also, again, have a thought of these women in the bible and where their other incarnations meet.
           
          I was reading Rick's consideration and it always strikes me to have Lazarus as a singular deed, I just cannot understand how this could be, I just can not understand how one could be spoken of without the other. In any case, here are a few things below.
           
          All good things,
          Dottie
           
           
           
          Sunday School Lesson: Bible Studies for Life - February 24
          The model
          By Tony Latham
          2/20/2008
          Focal Passage: John 4:4-10, 13-18, 24-26
          The story of the “woman at the well” is a God-sized story. Its application calls us into God-sized activity with Jesus. The Divine Appointment apparent in this story is available to followers of Jesus. God still leads His disciples to such appointments for the same reason: that the harvest might be gathered (vv. 35-36).
          The unexpected journey (vv. 4-10). The journey Jesus made into Samaria to Jacob’s well was one of Divine necessity (v. 34). Animosity between Jew and Samaritan ran so deep that the preferred travel plan from Jerusalem to Galilee for Jewish people avoided Samaritan territory altogether; but as far as Jesus was concerned, the journey must happen. We also prefer familiar paths to those that may get us into uncomfortable situations. Where are we reluctant to share our witness?
          The unexpected conversation (vv. 7-18). Four unexpected things occurred at Jacob’s well. First, a Samaritan woman was at the well by herself. While the “sixth hour” (NIV) was likely noon, not “six in the evening” (HCSB), the odd thing was that she was by herself. The second unexpected thing was that Jesus spoke to her.. It was not just a gender issue (woman/man) or a matter of prejudice (Samaritan/ Jew). It was also a religious division: If you use the drinking vessel I use, you will become unclean, for I am considered unclean by you Jews. The third unexpected thing was Jesus’ offer of living water after having just asked for a drink of well water. Just as in John 3, Nicodemus had not understood the shift in conversation between the natural world and the spiritual world, this woman also did not understand. Jesus was referring to the living, indwelling, pure Spirit of God available for our lives, but she was not yet ready to understand that dimension of the conversation. The fourth unexpected turn was Jesus’ request that she go, get her husband, and return. She declared that she had no husband. Jesus surprised her with personal information about her that should have been beyond His knowledge. He knew that she had had five husbands and that the man she was living with now was not her husband. Judaism allowed for divorce but a woman who had been divorced two or three times had pretty much reached the limit of society’s patience. Her reputation may be the reason for her isolation at the well. Perhaps she knew that she had exhausted the community’s patience with her; so why not the patience of Jesus? Are there people that we have written off from conversations that seek to bring them to Christ? What are some common reasons why we write them off?
          The unexpected conversion (vv. 24-29). By this point the woman knew Jesus was a prophet. She raised the question of the proper place to worship God, whether on Mt. Gerizim or Mt. Zion? His answer was that worship was not centered on the temple at Jerusalem or the temple site at Gerizim. Those who worshiped God must worship Him in spirit and truth (v. 23). Jesus identified Himself as the Messiah. The unexpected journey and its unexpected conversation issued in an unexpected conversion. We must learn to let the Spirit guide us into conversations in which God’s words break into men’s words and challenge listeners to rethink life itself.
           
           
           

          HASHIVENU FORUM #10 – JANUARY 2008

          HESED AND HOSPITALITY

          Embracing Our Place on the Margins

          © Russell Resnik

          This is My servant, whom I uphold,

          My chosen one, in whom I delight.

          I have put My spirit upon him,

          He shall teach the true way to the nations.

          He shall not cry out or shout aloud,

          Or make his voice heard in the streets.

          He shall not break even a bruised reed,

          Or snuff out even a dim wick.

          He shall bring forth the true way. . . .

          And the coastlands shall await his teaching.

          (Isaiah 42:1-4, NJPS; applied to Yeshua in Matthew 12:18-21)

           

          On a recent Shabbat morning, after the Torah reading, the rabbi opened his d’rash by saying, Judaism is a religion of law. In Judaism, we ask the question, “What does the halacha say I should do?” Christianity is different. It likes to ask, “What would Jesus do?” But

          we already know what Jesus would do—he would keep the halacha!
           
           

          The woman at the well, of course, reminds us of a series of similar encounters in the Torah, as Levine notes.

          7 First, in Genesis 24, Abraham sends his unnamed servant back to the ancestral homeland to find a bride for Isaac. The servant arrives at the outskirts of Nahor in the evening, and pauses at the well. He prays that the young woman who responds to his request for a drink by offering to water his camels as well will be the one

          the Lord has chosen, and so it comes to pass. The servant, and through him Isaac, is a marginal figure in this setting, an outsider subject to the kindness of the insiders. But he is a well-stocked outsider, with a whole caravan of gifts to bestow.

           

          Isaac’s son Jacob returns to the same land and comes upon a well (Gen. 29), as a far more marginalized figure than his father. Unlike Isaac, he has no proxy, but must make the long journey himself. Indeed, he arrives at the well because he is fleeing for his life from the wrath of Esau, and he arrives empty-handed. Isaac, through the servant, can offer abundant gifts as a bride price. Jacob has only his own body and labor to offer. But

          his descendant Moses, in the third well-encounter in Torah (Ex. 2) is even more marginalized. Like Jacob, he is fleeing for his life from the wrath of a powerful figure, and he arrives empty-handed. Jacob, however, has at least returned to the homeland of his mother’s family; Moses does not return to any ancestral homeland. Indeed, even after he reveals himself as a hero and marries his bride, he declares, “I have been a stranger in a

          strange land” (Ex. 2:22, AV).

           

          The trajectory is clear—the outsider who arrives at the well becomes more and moren marginal in each successive story. In all three stories, however, the outsider reveals himself as a heroic figure as well. At the well, Isaac’s servant shows a hint of his riches to Rebecca (Gen. 24:22). At the well, Jacob rolls away a massive stone to enable Rachel to

          water her flocks (Gen. 29:10). At the well, Moses stands up to defend the seven daughters of Reuel the priest, including Zipporah his bride-to-be, against the abusive shepherds (Ex.2:17). And in each story, after this initial revelation at the well, the protagonist meets the family and wins his bride.

           

          Yeshua enters this ongoing story by coming to Samaria as an outsider. Just as the Jews marginalized Samaritans, so did Samaritans marginalize Jews,

          8 as the Samaritan woman points out in what seems to be a mocking tone: “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” (John 4:9). Traditional commentaries tend to miss Yeshua’s marginality here and focus on that of the woman. Thus, Raymond Brown

          summarizes the exchange: Vs. 7.

          Jesus asks the Samaritan for water, violating the social customs of the time. Vs. 8. Woman mocks Jesus for being so in need that he does not observe the proprieties.

          Vs. 9.

          Jesus shows that the real reason for his action is not his inferiority or need, but his superior status. 9
           

          True, Yeshua does reveal his “superior status” in a sense, just as Abraham’s servant, Jacob, and Moses reveal their superior status through heroic deeds at the well. Like his ancestors, Yeshua performs a heroic deed there, in his case by offering living water to the woman. Like the servant of Abraham, Yeshua bears abundant gifts, speaking of the “gift

          of God” that he has to offer (Jn. 4:10). He then shows his supernatural insight into the woman’s personal life. But the outcome is more nuanced than Brown suggests; it is precisely within his perceived marginality and need that Yeshua is able to reach this woman.. When he asks her to return with her husband, it is not merely to “uncover her evil deeds,”

          10 as Brown says, nor to remind her “of her many disappointments in personal

          relationships in order that she may appreciate the more deep and lasting satisfaction that Jesus brings,”

          11 as F.F. Bruce more kindly suggests. Rather, Yeshua continues to follow the pattern set in Torah in which each hero, after encountering the woman at the well, must meet the folks.

          It is impossible to overlook the contrast between the Samaritan woman with five exhusbands and a current paramour, and the beautiful Rebecca whom the text describes as “a virgin; no man had known her” (Gen. 24:16). Within her questionable situation, however, the Samaritan woman ends up introducing Yeshua not just to her family, but to the entire city. Like the servant of Isaac, Yeshua has abundant gifts to offer. Unlike him,

          he gains not one bride, but a multitude of Samaritans. It is no accident that in John’s narrative the fruitful encounter with the Samaritan

          woman comes right after the more ambiguous encounter with a Jewish man in chapter 3.

           

          There too Yeshua is a marginal figure, approachable only at night, but the non-marginal Nicodemus seems unable to embrace him as such. As Levine points out, “The unnamed Samaritan woman understands Jesus, while Nicodemus, the elite teacher, fails to get the point, and the unexpected result provides satisfaction to those outside the academy and

          the institutional church,”

          12 a category that would include much of our Messianic Jewish constituency."


           
          "Hence only by means of love can we give real help for karma to work out in the right way." Rudolf Steiner



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