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By Yoga Teacher Gregorian Bivolaru

Apollonius of Tyana received extraordinary initiations from the great sages of Shambala

Historical evidence of Apollonius existence

Following Pythagoras

The travel into the land of sages – pilgrimage to India and Tibet

The meeting with the sages of Shambala

Self-knowledge, a necessary step on the path of spiritual completion

Apollonius drank from the nectar of immortality

Apollonius travel for the completion of his spiritual mission

Apollonius was accused for sacrilege and conspiracy

The mysterious disappearance of Apollonius of Tyana

 


Apollonius of Tyana received extraordinary initiations from the great sages of Shambala

Sage of Pythagoras tradition and priest of the Apollonian cult, Apollonius of Tyana lived during the 1st century from the Christian era and, like once Pythagoras, he was famous for ascetics and thaumaturgy meaning he made wonders (telesmata) and he was attributed divine healing powers and the capacity to cast demons away.

5565_1The data about him that remained until the present day allow us to rebuilt the case of Apollonius of Tyana – the portrait of a special sage told that lived like a god amongst people; he realized in his own being the superior synthesis between a mystic, healer and philosopher (understood as a fond (filos) of wisdom (sofia)).  His preoccupations for a contemplative life and spiritual ecstasy came in continuity with Pythagoras and Plato doctrines. Thus Apollonius was considered a theurgist practitioner; theourgos is the art of communion with God through prayer and invocation that enables the descent of God into the heart of the one willing to know and become one with Him. In contrast with theourgos ekstasis is the art of ecstasy by which the soul is torn away from the bodily shell and heightened towards its original divine essence. Upon his return from India, Apollonius always praised the wise Brahmans and yogis he met over there and he considered them to be superior to all the people preoccupied by the soul and Divinity relationship. A fragment from the writings of Apollonius (“About Sacrifices”) was kept and in it he says God is the most beautiful being that can’t be influenced by perfunctory prayers and sacrifices, but God can be touched through a spiritual procedure involving the nous (human spirit) because God himself is nous, pure divine Spirit and the most precious gift of man is the very essential sparkle from this divine Spirit given to him by the Almighty.

Like all Pythagoras followers he strongly believed not only in the immortality of the soul but also in its transmigration (metempsychosis) or evolution through successive reincarnations and the necessity for bodily and soul purification. He was against the animal sacrifices and claimed no one has the right to take another life. He was skilled with the preparation of medicinal remedies for the bodily illnesses but also with the cure of some cases of neurosis – reason for which he was called a healer (goetes). Apollonius considered himself an adept of Escallop (Asclepius), the mythical hero who became the father of medicine. Well-known for his moral integrity Apollonius was also famous for his numerous travels to India, Middle East, Africa and Europe done with the purpose of knowing – besides  his own orphic-Pythagorean doctrine – other spiritual doctrines and the Indian Vedas especially.

Most of his contemporary people worshipped him and he was famous for his honesty. According to the Christian apologist Lactantius in Ephesus a cult was instituted in the honor of Apollonius considered a hero (heros) and theurgist, meaning a person endowed with powers and capacities surpassing the ones of common mortals (hyper ton anthropon). In the biography of Emperor Aurelian written by Flavius Vopiscus, Apollonius was called “saint”, “venerable”, “divine” (sanctus, venerabilis, divinus) and mentioned he showed up in a vision to the Emperor Aurelian begging him to spare Tyana from destruction. Impressed by it, the emperor gave up his intended repressions over Tyana and instituted a cult of Apollonius.

Few in number, the ones who didn’t understand his modalities of action, denigrated and categorized him as a magician. Some from the Christian primary hierarchy of the Church used all their power in order to transform Apollonius of Tyana in a myth or a wizard at least. The miracles of Apollonius troubled some Fathers of the Church as we can see in the embarrassment of Justin the Martyr: “How can we explain the fact Apollonius talismans had the power to calm down the fury of waves, violence of winds and the attacks of wild beasts and while the miracles of our Lord are only kept in tradition the ones of Apollonius seem more numerous and literally manifested in such concrete deeds that the entire audience was captivated and amazed?”

 


Historical evidence of Apollonius existence

5565_4In the Roman annals is written how the Emperor Caracalla ordered a sanctuary to be built in Apollonius memory and Alexander Sever exhibited a statue of Apollonius in his private temple. The Capitoline museum from Rome has a bust of him. In 1943 the Sanskrit scholar Vidhushekhara Bhattacharya quotes two Sanskrit texts in which Apollonius shows up under the name Apalunya and Dames is called Damisa. Those texts claimed Apollonius and Dames were yogis of the Occident supporting Buddhist views but further they were converted to the right Advaita doctrine. In spite of the controversial within Western academic circles, this was a proof right from the source that Apollonius was in India.

The main source referring to Apollonius of Tyana kept until today is the text of Philostratus, a Greek sophist and orator prepared in Rome under the guidance of Proclos and Antipatros and he reached in Rome during the ruling of Septimius Sever, Roman emperor between 193 and 211. Ms. Julia, the second wife of Septimius Sever, was a Syrian descending from a sacerdotal family. Beautiful and cultivated she surrounded by a group of literates and philosophers among which, along with Philostratus, were Diogenes Laertios, the poet Oppianus and the writer Heliodor. She is the one who encourages Philostratus, now one of her inner circle and participant in this literary cenacle, to write the literary work “The Life of Apollonius of Tyana”. Philostratus affirms that for his work he consulted first of all the “Memories” in Greek of the Assyrian Dames (the student and faithful comrade of Apollonius that accompanied him in all his travels and noted down all his facts, words, gestures, wonders and meetings) but also the biographies written by Maximus of Aegean and Moiragenes, then the Letters attributed to Apollonius and the philosopher Testament. His work summed essential information about Apollonius, the sage and presented a picture of the spiritual preoccupations during the first centuries of Christianity.

The homeland of Apollonius was Cappadocia – in the geography of Middle Ages it was a vast region from the Middle East placed on the Anatolian plateau, between the Taurus Mountains and Black Sea. Presently Cappadocia is a province in central Turkey, at East of Ankara. The scholar was born under the sign of miracle, in the city of Tyana, in a Greek colonizers family. Before birth, an old sage showed up to his mother in a divine vision. Instantly she realized that old man was actually the all-knowing Egyptian god Proteus that had the gift of foretelling and he was known to possess the power of modifying his appearance as he wished. The mother recognized him immediately and asked him to predict the future of the baby she was going to give birth. And his answer came: “You should know that you’ll give birth to me.” Overwhelmed by this divine prediction, the mother had the inspiration to ask the god, in order for her to be certain she didn’t misunderstood: “But who are you?” And he confirmed his identity answering: “Proteus, the god of Egypt.” Next, Apollonius fully manifested the gifts of the god Proteus being able to foretell the future and change his shape as he wished.

Reached to the age of study the child proved he had a good memory and power to study. Not only Apollonius had a remarkable intelligence but he also had a striking beauty in contradiction with the preconceived idea that philosophy (or the love for wisdom) is a simple refuge of the non-adapted ones and destined only for those with physical handicaps.

At 14 years old, his father sent him to Tars, in Cecily in order for him to complete his education with Euthydemos, teacher in oratory. Drawn by Pythagoras teachings (Mathema), the young man founds as his teacher Euxenos of Aegean, epicurean philosopher that paradoxically knew the doctrine of Pythagoras but didn’t practice it.

In Aegean Apollonius also found a famous temple of Asclepius. In the case of the ones goind to the temple for the healing of body and soul, Asclepius showed up to them in inspiring visions and dreams helping them to get cured. When he was 16 years old, he started to live a life like Pythagoras and fed himself on fruits and vegetables as he was convinced that everything which earth provides is pure and he refused to eat meat as “it is impure and slows down the mind.” About wine he said it is a pure drink because it is obtained from grapes, but if drunk over the counter “it troubles the normal functioning of the mind and defiles the soul nobility.” Thus, in order for him to purify for the practice of medicine he didn’t consume meat and wine. Out of a desire for a simple and pure life he started to walk bare footed and wear clothes of linen avoiding the clothes of wool and animal skin. Also he let his hair grow freely. Apollonius considered that the cold bathing is the only kind of a healthy bathing because it gives vigor and rejuvenation to the body, while the warm bathing make it soft and they are for the old people.

Asclepius, the governing deity of the temple the young scholar often visited, showed up in a vision to the sacerdotal one from the temple and told him he would love to have Apollonius as a witness for the healing taking place over there and thus the young man started to live from that time to the temple of Asclepius.

 


Following Pythagoras

5565_3The young Apollonius received the Pythagorean initiations proving an ardent desire to gain the knowledge of the secrets of nature, amazing healing capacities and clairvoyance.

So it happened that the governor of Cecily, a lustful man prone against the natural love and obsessed by the adolescent beauty of Apollonius, pretended he was sick and asked for his help. In fact he was only after his perverse desires but Apollonius immediately corrected the brazenfaced. The last one threatened him with decapitation fact that didn’t intimidated Apollonius at all and as he instantly had a premonition he started to laugh and said out laud: “Oh, it will come, a certain day will come!...” Surprised the governor let Apollonius leave unharmed.  Three days after this meeting the governor was decapitated because he plotted against Romans.

Philostratus also said about Apollonius that he made predictions which turned true and miracles; he resurrected a girl during her funerals.

During that time Apollonius at 20 years of age loses his parents. A huge fortune was his heritage. How does a young man react when he already adopted the Pythagorean lifestyle yet without making the vow of poverty? He leaves the greatest part of fortune to his brother that lived a life of luxury and profligate. Then, with persistence, loving pieces of advice and personal example, Apollonius succeeded to turn his brother on the right path. The goods Apollonius would rightfully posses were given to the ones in need. While his father was alive, he donated a big house in Tyana to he old teacher Euxenos.

Immediately after solving these material issues, Apollonius imposed five years of silence on himself, an austerity he strictly followed in any circumstance and it actually was the next stage of Pythagorean initiation.

Under these circumstances he calmed down the riot of the inhabitants of the city Aspendos from Pamfilia stricken by famish because, out of greed, the merchants hide the grains in order to sell it more expansively outside the city. Even if he didn’t speak, Apollonius asked by hand gestures for the citizens to calm down and the guilty ones to be called. Then he wrote a message on slates and asked the governor to read it. This was the message: “Apollonius towards the grains merchants from Aspendos: The land is everybody’s mother because it is just. But you are unjust and you want it to be your mother only.  If you don’t cease the evilness you will perish from the face of the earth.” Terrified by these harsh but honest words of a man already famous for his sanctity, the merchants filled the market with grains and the city came back to life.

After the end of silence period, Apollonius left to Antiohia (Antakia today) passing by the temple of Apollo from Dafne, close to the city, and over there, accompanied by adepts he was spending his time in prayer and contemplation and invigoration of the temples rites, that were decayed and forgotten. He was bringing them back on the old stream of holiness by guiding the priests with wisdom according to the ancient teachings of Pythagoras.

At sunrise Apollonius fulfilled alone, according to the received initiations, some secret rites that he revealed only to the ones who were subjected to the Pythagorean rule of a four years silence. He said it is the duty of philosophers to “talk” at dawn with the gods, then to talk about the gods and in the afternoon to talk about human things but not before taking a cold purifying bath. So, before afternoon Apollonius prayed, meditated or toughed his close adepts. Only in the afternoon he shared with the crowd the fruit of his knowledge, prayers and meditations. This rhythm of work belongs to a certain initiatic tradition in which the work is done from afternoon till midnight and the spiritual study is done from midnight till afternoon. Analogically it corresponds to the rhythms of nature because from Dec 25th till June 25th, from the winter to the summer solstice, the sowing and germination take place – and this period corresponds in the case of a day to the elapse of time from midday to midnight and in the case of a human life it corresponds to childhood and youth. From June 25th till Dec 25th, from the summer to the winter solstice, the fruits ripe and it is the threshing-time – this period corresponds in the case of a day to the interval of time between midnight and midday and in the case of a human life it corresponds to the age of maturity, aging and wisdom.

In this sense Apollonius answered to one of his students amazed by the certainty of his answers: “I long and ardently searched during my youth while keeping silence, to listen and follow my masters and after this period necessary for research and study now it is the time to share with the others that which I discovered. Now search with the same ardor that which I searched in my youth and then you’ll be able to speak with more certainty and fearless.”

The silence period required by the Pythagorean spiritual school had, beyond any doubt, an important role in the formation and inner maturity of young students just as the wise Apollonius underlined. Only after the surpassing of the listening period and gaining of certain knowledge, the perseverant student was allowed to altruistically spread this knowledge but with a lot of discernment of course.

Exactly in this sense of the process of initiation stages, the famous “Nuctemeron” of Apollonius must be mentioned as a true spiritual schedule of a sage and also makes us think at the movement of the Sun and the 12 symbolic works of Hercules.

 


The travel into the land of sages – pilgrimage to India and Tibet

5566_1At the end of his life period in Antiohia, Apollonius planned a long trip thinking of Indian people, the Brahman sages and ascetics from the woods. He started his trip accompanied only by two servants, in the search of the source of essential knowledge, on the footprints towards India of his teacher Pythagoras.

It is told that finding out about his journey, a priest of Apollo from the temple of Dafne gave him some metal casted plates with engraved diagrams representing Pythagoras travel along deserts, rivers and mountains, with representations of elephants and other symbols in order to mark the path the philosopher took to reach to India. Apollonius decided to follow the same itinerary and started to organize his long expedition.

At Mespila (the old Nineveh) Apollonius met the Assyrian Dames who became his guide for the first portion of this trip and close friend till death for all the other journeys of the sage. To a great extent we owe to Dames the story of Apollonius pilgrimage to India and Tibet.

Once they reached Babylon they are received by Vardan, the king of the country.  Apollonius witnessed the scarification of a white hourse by Vardan in the honor of the Sun; as a Pythagorean knower of the rites he is content to just throw incense into the fire and carefully notice the predicting signs: the heightening of smoke, the way the smoke curls and in which side gets thick.

And he said to Vardan that wanted to host him in the hospitality of his palace: “The sages are much more disturbed by abundance than other people get disturbed by needs.” Thus Apollonius refuses to live in the royal palace and with the approval of the suzerain he is hosted into the city of Babylon to a nice man from a distinguished family.

The king offers him ten favors; great to the surprise of Dames, he accepts. Prior to this Dames heard Apollonius giving this prayer to the gods: “O, gods, please allow me to accept the few and essential things and never need anything else.” When the king wanted to fulfill his ten desires, amazingly he noticed Apollonius asked just one favor and in fact he asked nothing for himself. He solicited and obtained the freedom of the Eritreans, a captured population at that time and always harassed by the king solders because some time ago they rioted against the king.

 

 


The meeting with the sages of Shambala

 

 


Self-knowledge, a necessary step on the path of spiritual completion

 

 


Apollonius drank from the nectar of immortality

 

 


Apollonius travel for the completion of his spiritual mission

 

 


Apollonius was accused for sacrilege and conspiracy

 

 


The mysterious disappearance of Apollonius of Tyana

 


Article translated by Virginia Marginean from yogaesoteric.net


 

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