Who was this great unknown prophet of God?
Pythagoras was born in 570 BC, in Samos of Greece, son of Mnesarchus, a ring engraver, and Pythia. When Pythia visited the oracle of Delphi, she was told her son would surpass others in beauty and would impart sacred wisdom to humanity. Such a prophecy could only pertain to such men as Socrates and Plato, souls who descended to mortality, beacons of light. Pythagoras likewise had all the hallmarks of such a divine man.
He reminded us our world is filled with mathematical wonder and mystery, to help us raise ourselves beyond the mundane. He reminded us of how sacred beauty lies within all of us, our world is embedded in a sacred algorithm. Such arcane wisdom testified to his divine acumen.
He clarified his mission was to help people purify themselves from the darkness to go back to a super light by a journey via stars and beyond, to intelligence, the ether and pure cosmic divinity. Ultimately, God is just and fair, as the soul comes into the body and it obtains freedom through acquired wisdom and effort. He taught that men are rational animals with a divine connection.
Pythagoras’ youthful endeavours testified to his prophetic character and wisdom. He was known as being pious, dignified and temperate whilst he withheld himself from anger and was not given to excessive laughter or emulation. Compatriots remarked he was immutably quiet and serenity marked all his actions. The ‘long haired Samian’, gained much life experience travelling in his youth to Phoenicia, with his father who acquired new skills for tools and stone cutting. However, it was in his 18th year that the tyrant Polycrates seized power bending laws to become a dictator, and in order to practice his faith he left the region.
During this phase, his teachers included Anaximander, a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher who lived in Miletus, a city of Ionia. Anaximander convinced Pythagoras to go to Egypt. Prior to this, he sailed to Sidon, conversed with Phoenician initiates and was granted entry in the mystery schools of Byblos, Tyre. He later engaged with some sailors on Mt. Carmelus, who agreed to grant him safe passage to Egypt. However, on meeting such a wise and educated man, they hatched a plan to sell him. However, Pythagoras impressed them so much with his serene modesty and considerate conduct, that after 2 to 3 days of barely any sleep or food they led him to Heliopolis. After their rejection, he implored Polycrates to help him. He agreed and sent an appeal to Pharaoh and was granted permission to go to Memphis priests of Jupiter and Thebes among the cult of Amun.
After 22 years in Egypt, Pythagoras became a polymath in Astronomy Geometry, arithmetic, ethics and theology. He composed his sacred doctrine, Golden Verses and many adherents began to see him as a prophet. After being taken captive by soldiers in Cambyses, he sojourned to Babylon, and learnt esoteric wisdom and even went to the brahmans of India. The Magi taught him arithmetic and music before he finally returned to Samos. With his reputation enhanced he was given political responsibility to establish a political semicircle. He expelled savage and licentious men from the council. He became revered for his divine knowledge and was accepted as a messenger of God. However, the governor became envious and forced him to retreat to a cave to teach his disciples.
Eventually he sought a sanctuary, literally where he could avoid the spotlight and train his initiates. In the colony of Croton he inducted a new school with strict rules to rebuild a society on truth, justice and divine virtues. He gained 600 followers giving laws as divine precepts, in order to form a divine republic, similar to that of Plato, dissolving tyrannies and emancipating the oppressed. Temples were built for the muses and to preserve concord.
Initiates were required to undertake at least 2 years study and 5 years of silence before they could learn from the master behind a curtain. This was not an egotistical stance, as he simply wanted to ensure only sincere souls who could handle such divine wisdom were included. This led to a probation period, goods were given over to common usage, but those who relented were expelled with their wealth and a tomb erected, to signify they were spiritually dead to the order. Five pillars of faith were installed to reach a divine goal.
Demons or angels assist man or hinder, as they are a midway point from God to man. Therefore, we must follow the order of nature as we are held accountable.
He recognized the dual aspect of the soul, a self moving rationale which is immortal and composed of intellect and reason. Whilst this was contrasted by an irrational, irascible mortal aspect, full of sensual passion, as in all creatures. The soul faculties are invisible derived from the Aether, which is an essential source to help facilitate spiritual purification and enable the soul to rise to union with the divine. There were certain mystical symbols and all brothers of the order observed strict loyalty and secrecy. Divulgence to the profane led to expulsion. Morning walks were encouraged in solitude to harmonise reasoning power, later discussion of doctrine, some wrestling, with light food such as bread & honey. Evening walks in groups of 2-3, bathing and shared meals were encouraged.
He taught respect and honour of parents, as they are owed a return as much as to a man who brings someone back to life. Temperance for body and soul is a paucity of food and the governing of the tongue and contempt of the material. The key was to dwell in mild joyfulness, as rage or despondency lead to disharmony. Just as Imam Ali pbuh told adepts to wait until the calm before admonishing anyone, he denounced sluggishness but saw opportunity in all actions, and taught adepts to discern what was advantageous to himself, principle of justice for body and soul. He promoted the just arrangement of domestic affairs, which led to tranquility in the cities. He warned of luxury and insolence leading to injustice, and how true justice is like medicine, healing disease.
Local leaders were encouraged to be God conscious, a strict justice of rulers was implemented as they had the care of the nation and a common deposit to handle. Adepts such as Charondas, Catania, Phytius, Theocles excelled in their study and manners.
Pythagoras had to go to his master to know his incarnations. He remembers he was the son of Hermes and he was granted a wish to know about past lives. He was Pyrrhus, Aethilades, Euphorbus, Hermotimus. He saw a shield and remembered it was his from when he was killed in the Trojan war, so he said it was from the spoils of war and on the back of the shield he revealed an inscription bearing his name.
Imam Ahmed Al Hassan pbuh has revealed that Hermes or Thoth and Idris are the same person who wrote the Emerald Tablets and today he has incarnated as Aba Al Sadiq pbuh. Pythagoras also taught about how the soul can transmigrate into animals only esteem animate creatures to be of the same kind. How transgressors are sent into bodies, purified by discipline to return to the soul world. However, if wicked, they are sent into more irrational creatures, for the right expiation. Such examples are angry people sent into serpents, ravenous ones into wolves audacious into lions, and fraudulent people into foxes.
Soul is either in anima or vice versa, the soul incorruptible walks in air like a body. Mercury is the one who escorts souls, impure ones are sent to the underworld and bound by the furies in dissoluble chains. Such a knowledge is in accord to Islam with the truth of maskh.
“Faith should never be separated from friendship, neither seriously nor in jest. For it is no longer easy for the existing friendship to remain in a sane condition, when falsehood once insinuates itself into the manners of those who assert themselves to be friends.” – Pythagoras
Friendship without justice is not worthy of God.
“A just stranger is to be preferred, not only before a countryman, but before a kinsman.” – Pythagoras
Also a true friend is willing to reproach you to help you correct bad traits.
“Rejoice more in reprovers than in flatterers: fly from flatterers as enemies.” – Pythagoras
“And before we renounce a friend, we must ingeniously pause to see if by challenging him he may be diverted from this habit and become rectified.” – Pythagoras
He encouraged his elect to abstain from bad manners, to bring out the divine aspect and to purify the soul. By freeing the mind, the divine part of soul from the body, the adept sees and hears all things.
“Respecting the communion of divine goods, the concord of intellect, and things pertaining to a divine soul, are much more admirable…they perpetually exhorted each other, not to dilute the God within them. Hence all the endeavour of their friendship both in deeds and words, was directed to a certain divine mixture, to a union with divinity, and to the communion with intellect and a divine soul.” – Pythagoras
He taught parents they should not neglect adolescents as they have a turbulent nature. He stated how left alone they could easily fall into vice and depravity. That their Desires are impermanent.
An example of his teachings was a story concerning a sick Pythagorean who was provided for by an innkeeper. Once he knew he was dying, he left a symbol on the roadside near the inn. His goal was to recompense the keeper for his kindness, and eventually a man came and reimbursed the keeper.
He taught how the truth of what is immaterial is the eternal soul agency and the actual cause of corporeal things.
“…the knowledge of things that are; and the knowledge of things divine and human; as also the meditation of death, daily endeavouring to free the soul from the prison of the body; and the resemblance of God as far as is possible for man.”
Such teachings were familiar to Plato who taught that the psyche was the essence of a person, an eternal occupant of the being. His maxim summed up the reality of true wisdom: a horse is not to be guided without a bridle, nor riches without wisdom. How many rich men have squandered their wealth in vain pursuits leaving no legacy for the poor and oppressed.
He adhered to monotheism expressing how God is supreme, from which all nature proceeds. Though not out of the world but within himself, as a circle surveys all, the principle of all, mind and animation of all. God only is wise, and is not subject to emotion. He has no beginning as the first cause. He is the dynamic essence of all spirits and souls, separate from the multitude not changing and stable, inclining to no side. Therefore submission to his chosen servant, such as Pythagoras pbuh called the Divine man is incumbent upon us. Such a man is the ‘philosopher king’ spoken of by Plato like the captain of a ship people submit to. Likewise if the disciple is not willing to be disciplined and listen then he can’t absorb wisdom and correct his ways nor become an exemplar to his city.
“Neither can a house, nor a city, be well instituted, unless each has a true ruler, who governs those that voluntarily submit to him. For it is necessary that in both these the governor should be willing to rule, and the governed to obey.” – Pythagoras
He presented virtue as meritorious to help life run smoothly, and lastly to gain any pleasures. He encouraged initiates to expect good from God.
All things may be the objects of our hope, Since nothing hopeless anywhere is found: All things with ease Divinity effects, And nought can frustrate his almighty power.
He also reminded them that only total commitment and readiness would lead to their victory.
“Having departed from your house, turn not back, for the furies will be your attendants,”
Temperance is a strength and a light of the soul to remove passion. He taught that no man is free who does not command himself, emphasising the need for us to labour in such continence.
We must avoid with our utmost endeavour, and amputate with fire and sword, and by all other means: from the body, sickness; from the soul, ignorance; from the belly, luxury; from a city, sedition; from a family, discord; from all things, excess.
He warned man that his irrational part is prone to desires, passions and that he must strive against himself to overcome them, just as Muhammad pbuhahf had done so. This was in line with his doctrine on self-purification from the material irrationality of the mortal body. By the virtue of truth he would encourage avoidance from the excess of passions to induce the divine form. The purgative element was ultimately self-control to remove sedition and purify their hearts.
“…expelled from themselves lamentation, weeping, and everything else of this kind; and that neither gain, – nor desire, nor anger, nor ambition, nor any thing of a similar nature, became the cause of dissension among them; We must faithfully restore to him that entrusts us the deposit, not only of money, but of words.” – Pythagoras
Likewise an eye not cleansed of dirt, when looking upon bright things can’t see the soul in virtue and truth.
“First man must be made good then a God.” – Pythagoras
Therefore we must imitate God and for this we need the light of truth, a mirror of truth to transmute. We are taught to aim to resemble God.
“Follow God, not visible to the eye, but intelligible to the understanding, by the harmony of the World.” Then stripped of flesh up to free Aether soar, A deathless God, divine, mortal no more.” -Pythagoras
A disciple noted,
“Pythagoras believed that ultimately man would reach a state where he would cast off his gross nature and function in a body of spiritualized
ether…From this he would ascend into the realm of the immortals, where by divine
birthright he belonged.”
This was not just theory but a practical wisdom to apply.
“That the discourse of that Philosopher is vain by which no passion of a man is healed. For as there is no benefit of medicine if it expels not disease out of bodies, so neither is there philosophy if it expels not ill out of the soul.” – Pythagoras
It is revealed how pure Maths was as a formula for understanding life, and that numbers could indicate life, victory, death, proposerity. He gained a proportion of his wisdom from Orpheus,
“The son of Calliope, having learnt wisdom from his mother in the mountain Pangas, said, that the eternal essence of number is the most providential principle of the universe, of heaven and earth, and the intermediate nature; and farther still, that it is the root of the permanency of divine natures, of Gods and demons.”
Pythagoras adopted this approach as well,
“Through the same numbers also, he produced an admirable fore-knowledge and worship of the Gods, both which are especially most allied to numbers.”
As with all messengers of God, Pythagoras met with resistance as soon as he threatened the aristocratic and political status quo. It is through these occasions we see the loyalty and devotion of the elect to God’s divine cause. Dionysus the tyrant of his region could not flatter him, so he sent 30 soldiers to intercept 10 Pythagorean pilgrims, as they sourjoned to Metapontum. Once pursued, they could not escape, as they refused to tread on beans, and would not allow themselves to be taken alive as customary to their creed. They were all slain in this spot. Only two who fell behind were captured, but refused to divulge secrets of the cult despite the offer of vast riches. Milus spoke out, ‘My companions indeed submitted to death in order they might not tread on beans, but I would rather die than tell you the cause of this.’
Dionysus, astonished by Myllias’s bravery, ordered his wife Timycha to be tortured, thinking the pregnant women would divulge the secrets. Instead, she ground down on her tongue with teeth, and spat it into the tyrant’s face as a symbolic act of defiance to the despot. Pythagoras, when held by tyrant Phalaris, used this as an opportunity to denounce his captor’s stance. He spoke of how all things follow the heavens, the energy of reason, and injustice of human greed. He declared that gods are not the causes of evils, and that diseases, and such things as are the calamities of the body, are the seeds of intemperance. He revealed how the mind sees and hears, and all else that exists is deaf and blind. The need to apply maths to learn the truth and abstinence, to keep the soul in charge.
He remained a thorn in the side of the establishment at home and abroad especially as his fame spread and at 80 years finally faced his curtain. Cylo, a local aristocrat, had desired to become an initiate with Pythagoras, but was rejected due to his turbulent manner. He set fire to the house of Milo and many were killed in the devastating fires that resulted, including Pythagoras.