GNOOSIS IS THE KNOWLEDGE ABOUT HOW TO BE BAPTIZED INTO THE KRATER OF NOUS (Z)


(BEING CONTINUED FROM  14/10/18)

OHN’S ANSWER TO JESUS CONCERNING THE ANGEL OF DEATH (§ 33).

Yahyā proclaims in the nights, Yōhānā on the Night’s evenings.

   YAHYĀ proclaims and speaks: “Stand I not alone? Because of my voice the [heavenly] wheels quake and the chariots capsize. The tempest became silent and settled down in the world’s deserts. Sun and Moon wail, and Earth and Heaven mourn.”

   Messiah opened his mouth and spake to Yahyā in Jerusalem: 

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“I asked thee, Yahyā, by Great Life and by Sunday, whose name is dear. I asked thee Yahyā, by the Way, whereby the Men of piety put to the test go without hindrance. Tell me: To what is the shape of Ṣauriēl’s1 knife like? Tell me: If the soul leaves the body, with what is it clothed, and to what is it like in the vain body? Surely the soul is not possibly like the blood, that it should become heated in the body and come to a stop in it? Surely the soul is not possibly like the wind, that it should fare to the mountains, be lost there and come to a stop? Surely the soul is not possibly like the dew, that it should fall on the fruit and be lost?”

   When Messiah said this, Yahyā cries aloud; tears come to him without ceasing, and he speaks: “[God] forbid that the high King of Light should look for lot in deceivers. The soul is not like the blood, that it should become heated in the body and come to a stop, The soul is not like the dew, that it should fall on the fruit and be lost. The soul is not like the wind, that it should fare to the mountains and come to a stop. Firmly developed has the soul been brought into the vain body. If the soul has kept herself perfect, she ascends in a garment of glory.

   “Ṣauriēl’s knife consists of three flames.2 When he (Ṣ) drives her (the soul) to hasten, so as to bear her away, he lets loose the three flames against her. One he lets loose against her in the evening, the other at cock-crow; the third lets he loose ‘gainst her at the coming-forth of the rays. If the fire begins to be fierce, the soul slips out of the feet and the knees. Out of the feet and the knees slips she, and draws nigh to the hips. Thereon leaves she the hips, reaches the heart, and seeks to keep there her ground. Then falls she into the breast, and it squeezes … … The eyes, the face and the lips of the man twitch, and the tongue twists hither and thither.

   “Then Ṣauriēl sits on the eyebrows; [he sits] and speaks to her: ‘Go hence, O Soul! Why dost thou still watch over the body?’—Then says she to him: ‘Thou wilt hale me, Ṣauriēl, out of the body. First show me my vesture [and clothe me therewith]; then hale me out and hence bring me.’—’First bring me 

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thy works and thy wage,’ makes he answer to her; ‘then will I show thee thy vesture and clothe thee.’—’I knew not, O Ṣauriēl,’ says she to him, ‘that my time is come, and they then send quickly for me, for doing good works, so that thou mayest bring me my vesture and clothe me therewith.’—Natheless he made answer unto her: ‘Has no one yet died before thee and have they not yet carried forth anyone to the graveyard?’—Thereon she says to him: ‘Through the power of him who has died before me, and through the power of him whom they have carried forth to the graveyard1 . . .   . . . .

   “[The women] who wept ran hither and thither and [the men] who wailed ran hither and thither, as long as the body lay there before them. When the soul leaves the body, four2 go forth to the graveyard. [The women] who wept ran hither and thither. the men who wailed ran hither and thither; and they ran hither and thither crying, until they lowered it into the pit. When they had lowered the vain body and covered it over [sc. with earth], then the women ceased fram their death-wail. They filled up the pit, and the men went away… … . In haste left they the body and grave and went away; they took hold of cup and ate bread and forgot the vain body.—Now, an thou wilt, Ṣauriēl, let me stay here still two days. Then will I sell the whole of my goods and share out among my sons, and will take my vesture with me, the robe that ascends to Light’s region.’

   “Natheless Ṣauriēl returned answer unto her: ‘Is there a child that has left the womb of its mother, and that they shall have brought back again into its mother, that I should leave thee in the Wicked Ones’3 Dwelling, so that thou mayest see after a sharing among thy sons? I will lead thee hence and put the robe of darkness upon [thee], for that thou hast not let thyself be warned in this world, and hast not loved thy way to Light’s region. Therefore shalt thou be put in ward in the House of the Wicked, till Heaven and Earth pass away.'”

And praisèd be Life.

II.—THE STORY OF THE BREACH WITH JUDAISM.

MIRYAI IS EXPELLED FROM JEWRY (§ 34).

In the Name of Great Life, may hallowed Light be glorified.

   MIRYAI am I, of the Kings of Babel1 a daughter, a daughter of Jerasalem’s mighty rulers. They have given me birth; the priests brought me up. In the fold of their robe they carried me up into the dark house, into the temple. Adonai laid a charge on my hands and on my two arms: I must scour and cleanse the house [that is] without firmness. There is naght therein for supporting the poor, naught to revive the tormented souls.

   My father went to the house of the people, my mother went to the temple. My father went out and said to me, and my mother went out and charged me: “Miryai, close thy inner doors and bolt the bar. See that thou goest not forth into the main streets and that the suns of my Lord2 fall not upon thee.”

   But I, Miryai, listened not to what my mother did tell me, and hearkened not with the ear to what my father did charge me. I opened the inner doors, and the outer let I stand open. Out went I into the main streets and the suns of my Lord fell upon me. To the house of the people would I not go, but my way bore me unto the temple [sc. of the Mandæans]. I went and I found my brothers and sisters, how they stand and carry on proclamations. My brothers carry on proclamations and my sisters throw out explanations.3 With the voice of their proclamations and with the voice of their explanations I became drowsy and laid me down on the spot.4 My brothers went forth and did not wake me, and my sisters withdrew and roused me not. But thou, my sister in Truth,5 dost rouse me from sleep and dost say: “Arise, arise, Miryai, before the day breaks and the cock lets crow his morn-call, before the sun shines and his glory rises over the 

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worlds, before the priests and the priests’ sons go forth and sit them down in the shade of the Ruins—Jerusalem, before thy father comes and brings upset upon thee such as thou never hast had.”

   I, Miryai, keep secret my prayers and utterly secret keep my discourses.

   Early, day began to dawn, early the cock let crow his call, early the sun shone and his glory rose over the worlds. The priests and priests’ sons went out and sat them down in the shade of the Ruins—Jerusalem. Then came my bodily father and brought on me upset such as I never have had. He spake:

   “Where hast come from, thou debauched trough, whom [? locks] and bars [cannot keep in]? Where hast thou come from? Woe [unto thee], thou bitch in heat, who [? mindest] not [door-] pins and lockings! Where hast thou come from? Woe, woe [unto thee], thou bit of coarse stuff that has been patched on my robe!”

   “If I am a debauched trough, I will burst thy [boltings] and bars. If I am a bitch in beat, I will draw back the pins and the lockings. If I am a bit of coarse stuff that has been patched on thy robe, then out of thy robe cut and rip me.”

   Thereon he cried: “Come (pl.), look on Miryai, who has left Jewry and gone to make love with her lord. Come, look on Miryai, who has left off coloured raiment and gone to make love with her lord. She forsook gold and silver and went to make love with her lord. She forsook the phylacteries1 and went to make love with the man with the head-band.”2

   Then Miryai makes answer unto him: “Far lies it from me to love him whom I have hated. Far lies it from me to hate him whom I have loved. Nay, far from me lies it to hate my Lord, the Life’s Gnosis, who is for me in the world a support. A support is he in the world for me and a helper in the Light’s region. Dust in the mouth of the Jews, ashes in the mouth of all of the priests! May the dung that is under the feet of the horses, come on the high ones and Jerusalem’s mighty rulers.”

Life is exalted and is victorious, and victorious is the Man who has come hither.

p. 64

A VARIANT OF THE ABOVE FROM THE OXFORD MS. (L.’s J. B., pp. 123-125).

In the name of Great Life, may hallowed Light be glorified.

   AT the door of the house of the people her mother came upon Miryai. Her mother came upon Miryai and put question to her: “Whence com’st thou, my daughter, Miryai, whose face gathers roses? Roses gathers thy face and of sleep are thy eyes full. Full of sleep are thy eyes, and upon thy forehead lies slumber.”

   Thereon she made answer: “It is two,—three days to-day that my brothers sat down in the house of my Father. In my Father’s house sat down my brothers and let wonderful proclamations be heard. Because of the voice and the ringing of the proclamation of the treasures, my brothers, there comes no sleep over my eyes. Sleep comes not over my eyes, nor slumber upon my forehead.”

   “Hast thou not heard, Miryai, my daughter, what the Jews are saying about thee? The Jews are saying: Thy daughter has fallen in love with a man. She has gotten hate against Jewry and love for Nazōræanity. Hate has she gotten against the house of the people and love for the door of the temple (sc. of the MM.). Hate has she gotten against the phylacteries and love for the flaunting wreaths. Work does she on Sabbath; on Sunday she keeps her hands still. Miryai has cast aside straightway the Law that the Seven have laid [upon us].”

   As Miryai stands there, she puts dust on her feet, and speaks: “Dust in the mouth of the Jews and ashes in the mouth of all of the priests! May the dung that lies under the horses, come on the elders who are in Jerusalem! I cannot hate him whose love I have won, nor love him ‘gainst whom I have gotten hate. Yea, I have won the love of my Lord the Life’s Gnosis, [and hope] that in him a helper will for me arise, a helper and a support from the region of Darkness unto Light’s region.”

   Thou hast won the victory, Gnosis of Life, and helped all thy friends to victory.

And Life is victorious.

p. 65

THE EXILED COMMUNITY SETTLE ON THE EUPHRATES (§ 35).

In the Name of Great Life, may hallowed Light be glorified.

   MIRYAI am I, a vine, a tree, who stands at the mouth of Eu-phrates (Frash). The tree’s leaves are precious stones, the tree’s fruits pearls. The vine-tree’s foliage is glory, its shoots precious light. Among the trees its scent it diffuses, and it spreads over all the worlds. The birds of the air scented it; a flock settled down on the tree. A flock on it down-settled, and they would build their nest there. They flutter about in it and settle not down in it firmly. Of its foliage they eat . . . from its inner part they drink wine. They eat what is not to be cast away, and drink what was not wine.1

   While the birds sat on the vine, winds and tempests broke loose. They shook the good birdlets awake, they smote ‘gainst the tree; on all sides they scattered the leaves of the vine-tree and scared the birds out of their place. Many a bird there was who flew not away, but held on fast with claws and with wings, till the winds and the tempests were over. Many again held not on fast and were hurried away … . Woe unto those who did not hold fast, but were dashed from the tree and flew off. How fair is the tree of Life and fair the birds who dwell on it!

   The winds and the tempests passed and rest came over the world.

   As the birds sit there and chirp and would be a-building their nest, as the birds sit on the vine, an eagle wheeled and flew hither. A white eagle-bird2 came, looked down and caught sight of the birds. Round wheeled he, sped down on them with his wings, and came and sat on the tree. In converse with him joined the birds, and said to him:

   “By thy Life, Eagle! On this tree were we birds without number.—But there broke loose against them the winds, and on the tree came raging tempests. They shook them off from the tree, so that they tore their wings from them [nearly]. Many a one held fast, whom the winds and tempests could not tear away; but many a one flew off at top speed.—We speak to thee, therefore, 

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O Eagle, we ask thee respecting the birds, because thou art sharp of sight and dost see all in this world: What have the winds and the tempests done with those birds, our brothers? What spyest thou out (?) over them?”

   Then made he answer unto them: “You had better not to have known, my brothers, what has become of those birds. Slingshots drove them far from me; their wings broke; torn off were they, broken off; they went hence and relied on the bird-catchers.1 The harrier and hawk wheeled round them, tore pieces out of their flesh and fed on those who were fat. Woe to those who fell prey to the water,2 if there was no portion for them at the crossing. Well for you, ye birds, who hold fast to this vine [here]; you became a companionship of Miryai, the vine, who stands at the mouth of Euphrates. See and satisfy yourselves, ye birds, that I have come to you. I have come to my brothers to be a support for them in this world. I have come to heal Miryai, [come] to bring water to the good, beloved plants, to the vines, who stand at the mouth of Euphrates. In a white3 pail I draw water and bring it to my plants. I bear and I hold [it] on the arms of glory which are my own. I bear and I hold [it] and give [them] to drink. Well for him who has drunk of my water. He drinks, finds healing and confirmation, and grows to double [his stature]. The vines who drank water, brought forth good fruit. Their leaves turned on high and made a brave show. The branches which drank no water, brought forth bitter herbs and worm-wood (?). Woe to those who have not gone forward upon the Way; woe to those who have not passed on by the way-stone! They hated Life’s Treasure-House,4 Miryai, the dear Truth.

   “My brothers, hold fast, be a companionship of Miryai. I will look round in the world, let Life’s call sound forth and rouse the sleeping and wake [them].”

   The eagle flew off from the tree; he wheeled round and instructed his friends. He speaks to them: “Give ear to me, my 

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brothers! Stay fast and endure persecution. Be a companionship to Miryai. Woe to the Jews, who were a persecution for Miryai! Woe to Elizar, the great house, the pillar that props the temple! Woe to Zatan, the pillar,1 who has witnessed lies against Miryai!”

(TO BE CONTINUED)

by G. R. S. Mead

Footnotes

p. 60

1 The Angel of Death, as with the Jews. Cp, the knife, sword or scymytar of the Ophite Diagram in Origen’s reply to Celsus.

2 Cp. the flaming sword of the Hebrew form of the Paradise-myth.

p. 61

1 Here something seems to have fallen out. The following recital of the soul describes a burial which has taken place.

2 Unexplained; it may possibly mean two female and two male professional mourners.

Sc. the Seven Rulers.

p. 62

1 A by-name for Jerusalem.

2 Presumably Adonai; M.’s Lord is (below) the King of Light and later on her Lord is Gnosis of Life.

3 Cp. the prophesyings and interpretations of Early Christendom and the ‘glossolaly’ of the earliest Pauline communities.

4 M. became entranced.

5 Presumably a heavenly visitant.

p. 63

Ṭuṭiftā = Heb. tefillīm.

2 Cp. § 22, ‘the pure burzinqā,’ and J. B., pp. 301 and 501.

p. 65

1 The whole description is intentionally symbolic or allegorical.

2 The White Eagle is manifestly Gnosis of Life.

p. 66

1 Presumably the Seven.

2 Presumably the End-Sea.

3 White for purity, the M. colour par excellence. The water is of course the Living Water or Water of Life.

4 Or Treasury, Sīmath-Haiyē, a feminine personification, called elsewhere the Mother of all the [Light] Kings’; she is par excellence the Treasure or Treasury of Light.

p. 67

1 Mentioned also in § 32 {p. 57}, but unexplained.

2 In the Lud (cp. note on R. Eliezar, founder of the Lud school in § 18, p. 34) Ben Stada Talmūd Jesus stories, Jeshu is stoned and hanged on a stake afterwards (see D. J. L. 100 B.C.?—pp. 176ff.). It was the custom for the dead body after the stoning (e.g. of an adulterer, or of a fornicator—i.e. heretic) to be exposed on a stake or post.

3 Gnosis of Life is called the Stranger (sc. to the world) par excellence.

4 The MM. were bitterly persecuted. The fellings or slaughterings of the ‘trees’ and the snaring or imprisonment of the ‘doves’ refer to the martyrdom of the faithful. Cp. the hewing-down of the ‘trees’ in the Synoptic John-sermon and also the John-Jonah (Dove) word-play.

5 ‘Fishes’ and ‘birds’ are the new ‘hearers’ of the faith.

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