Apollonius of Tyana
by Dr. R. W. Bernard (1964)
Web Publication by Mountain Man Graphics, Australia
Part 5: Apollonius' Visit to the Brahman Sages of the Himalayas
This was revealed to Apollonius at a half-abandoned temple of Daphnaean Apollo some distance from Antioch, where a peasant-priest brought him the temple treasure, which had been preserved by tradition, handed down from father to son. This consisted of some sheets of copper on which were figures and diagrams. The priest had zealously preserved them till that moment; awaiting the arrival of the man worthy to receive this gift.
While engaged in his early morning devotions in the light of the rising sun, the priest gave Apollonius the copper sheets, which, as a Pythagorean, he was able to decipher as a record of his Master's journey to India, including the deserts and high mountains to be crossed before he reached the river in which elephants disport themselves. He also saw before him a description of the exact spot which he had to reach (in trans-Himalayan Tibet), and of the monastery among the thousands of monasteries in the Far East where, five centuries previously, Pythagoras had studied at the feet of the same Masters who were soon to become his teachers.
For Apollonius was to become their new western emissary, as Pythagoras had been five centuries previously.*
Reaching the little town of Mespila, which had once been Ninevah, Apollonius met his future traveling companion and disciple, Damis, who immediately was attached to him and remained with him as his follower tbroughout his life. Apollonius accepted him as his guide to take him to Babylon, since Damis said he knew the way there perfectly, and boasted, too, of knowing the languages spoken in the countries through which they would have to pass: To this Apollonius smiled and replied that he himself knew all languages spoken by men and understood their silence as well.
Apollonius's chief public work was that of religious reform, involving the abolition of animal sacrifices, which he replaced by bloodless offerings that involved the death of no living being. The following incident is cited concerning his teachings of kindness to animals, which constituted the basis of his opposition to animal sacrifices and his advocacy of vegetarianism.
When he reached Babylon, after refusing to do obeisance to the golden image of the king, the latter, who knew him already by repute, called him and, about to sacrifice a white horse to the sun, he asked Apollonius to accompany him. Apollonius refused, replying, "You, O King, sacrifice in your own manner, and give me leave to sacrifice in mine." Then, having thrown frankincense on the flame, and uttered a prayer to the god, he departed, so as to have no share in an offering of blood. When the king invited him to join him in hunting the animals of his park, he expressed disapproval of the pleasure taken in hunting and killing of wild animals kept for sport.
After they had spent some time with the magi of Babylon and conversed with them, the two travelers, Apollonius and Damis, climbed mountains whose summits were veiled in the clouds. Unaffected by the gradual unfolding of their snowy immensities, Apollonius said "When the soul is without blemish it can rise far above the highest mountains." (into the higher spiritual planes). They crossed the Indus and came across kings clothed in white who despised ostentation. One evening, on a lonely river bank, they came on a brass stele inscribed with the words; "Here Alexander halted."
Coming into the land of elephants, (India), nomads offered Apollonius date wine, which he refused, though he did not forbid Damis to take it, just as he did not refuse him to eat flesh, not wishing to impose his will on his disciple; however, he himself abstained from both.
Coming to the court of Phroates, King of Taxila, Apollonius was hospitably received by this vegetarian emperor who led a Pythagorean life except for his mild use of wine. When he tried to argue with Apollonius concerning the benefits of the moderate use of wine, saying that it promotes restful sleep, Apollonius, defended his water-drinking, saying it preserves the soul untroubled and makes true divination (clairvoyance) through dreams possible, with which wine interferes.
Following the course of the Ganges, they climbed more hills and mountains (the Himalayas), and when they were eighteen days' march from the Ganges, they saw in the middle of a plateau (Tibet) high in the mountains, the home of the wise men, which had the same elevation as the Acropolis at Athens. A strange fog hovered over the place, and on the rocks surrounding it were the imprints of men who appeared to have fallen in an attempt to scale the heights, for an almost perpendicular ascent was necessary at this point.
Then a young Indian approached the travelers, and coming over to Apollonius, speaking in perfect Greek, he told him to halt and follow him upwards, saying the Masters were expecting their arrival and had commanded him to go to receive the visitors. Apollonius and Damis were then led by their guide towards the community of Brahman sages dwelling on the Himalayan heights, whose chief was IARCHUS, a great Buddhist religious reformer. Philostratus described these sages as "Brahmans who dwell on the earth, and yet are not on the earth; in places fortified, and yet without walls; and who possess nothing and yet all things.*
(*From de Beauvoir Preiaulaux, in his "The Indian Travels of Apollonius of Tyana," we gather the following facts about these Brahmans , whom he describes as a race superior to the rest of mankind. He writes: "The Brahman's education began even in his mother's womb. During the period of gestation she was soothed by song and chants in praise of continence, which in proportion as they won her pleased attention, beneficially influenced her future offspring. After the child's birth, and as it grew in years, it was passed from one preceptor to another, until it was old enough to become an auditor of the philosophers. These lived frugally, abstained from animal food and women, and in a grove outside the city spent their days in earnest discourse, communicating their knowledge to all who chose to listen. But in their presence, the novice was not permitted to speak, or spit, under the penalty of one day's banishment from their society. At the age of thirty-seven, his student life ceased.
"The mountain Brahmans subsist on fruit and cow's curd with herbs. The others live on the fruit trees which are found in plenty near the river and which afford an almost constant succession of fresh fruits, and, should these fail, on the self-sown wild rice that grows there. To eat any other food, or even touch animal food, they held to be the height of impiety and uncleanliness. Each man has his own cabin, and lives as much as he can by himself, and spends the day and the greater part of the night in hymns and prayers to the gods....")
And so saying he told Apollonius who his father was, his mother, all that happened to him at Aegae, and how Damis joined him, and what they had said and done on the journey; and he related this so distinctly and fluently, that he might have been a companion of their route. Apollonius, greatly astonished, asked him how he knew all this.
"In this knowledge," he answered, "You are not wholly wanting, and where you are deficient, we will instruct you, for methink it not well to keep secret what is worthy of being known especially from you, Apollonius -- a man of most excellent memory. And memory, you must know, is of the gods the one we most honor.
"But how do you know my nature?" asked Apollonius.
"We," he answered, "see into the very soul, tracing out its qualities by a thousand signs. But as midday is at hand, let us to our devotions in which you also may, if you will take part."*
Apollonius then asked Iarchus what opinion the Brahmans held of themselves, and was told that they held themselves to be "gods" [advanced spiritual beings] because they were good men, who knew all things because they first knew themselves." Iarchus then told Apollonius his former lives, stating that in his [former] incarnation he was an Egyptian sailor.
The Brahmans then undressed and took a bath, after which they put garlands on their heads around their long hair, and proceeded to the temple, intent on their hymns. There (quoting Damis's account), standing round in a circle, with Iarchus as their leader, they beat the ground with their staves, till bellying like a wave, it sent them up into the air about two cubits; and they then sang a hymn, very like the paeon of Sophocles sung at Athens to Aesculapius. They then descended to earth."* (*According to Philostratus, the Brahmans levitate at will in the air "not for the sake of vain glory, but to be nearer their Sun God," to whom they pray.)
When Apollonius asked the Brahmans whether, since they knew everything, whether they knew themselves, they replied in Socratic fashion, We know everything just because we begin by knowing ourselves, for no one of us would be admitted to this philosophy unless he first knew himself." When Apollonius inquired of Iarchus whether the cosmos was composed of Four elements, the latter replied that it was made not of four but of five, the fifth being the ether. There is, said the Indian sage, "the ether, which we must regard as the stuff of which gods are made, for just as mortal creatures inhale the air, so do immortal and divine natures inhale the ether."
On an occasion when he was praising Apollonius for his devotion to mystic lore, Iarchus said, "My great friend Apollonius, those who take pleasure in divination [clairvoyance--a byproduct of the awakening of dormant latent spiritual powers in the average man] are rendered divine thereby and contribute to the salvation of mankind."
The word "salvation" embraced for Iarchus both spiritual and physical health, for he declared that among the many blessings which the art of divination conferred upon mankind, the gift of healing was the most important, and to this art of divination he emphatically attributed "the credit of discovering simples which healed the bites of venomous creatures, and in particular of using the virus itself as a cure for many diseases. For I do not think" he added, "that men without the forecasts of a prophetic wisdom, would ever have ventured to mingle with medicines that save life, those deadly of poisons."
Thus we see Iarchus instructing his student, Apollonius of Tyana, in the science of medicine, as he instructed him in astrology and other sciences. Reville, in his "Apollonius of Tyana, the Pagan Christ of the Third Century," writes as follows concerning the Brahmans: "They worshipped fire, which they boasted had been brought down directly from the.sun...With his own eyes, Damis saw these sages rise up into the air to the height of two cubits, without any extraneous support and without any trickery whatsoever. The wise men do not live in houses, and when it rains they summon a cloud and shelter under it. They wear their hair long, have white mitres on their heads, and are clothed in linen garments, woven from a peculiar kind of flax which is only lawful for themselves to gather. Their prodigious wisdom overwhelmed even Apollonius, who was not frequently astonished. They are in possession of absolute science; they know at once the past history of every one they see; they can answer all questions. When asked, "Who are you?" they answer, We are `god.' Why? Because we are virtuous." [See "The Life and Teachings of the Masters of the Far East" by Baird T. Spalding, in 5 volumes, for a detailed account of the advanced spiritual sciences practised by the Himalayan yogic adepts of India and Tibet].
The Brahmans were furnished with everything they needed as a spontaneous gift of the earth, partaking of fresh vegetables and fruits in season which were brought to them by their countrymen dwelling below them. During his repast with the Brahman sages and their king, Apollonius and Damis were amazed to observe that the food was brought to their tables by self-moving tripods, while automata served as cup-bearers; these mechanical robot waiters making the use of human servants unnecessary.*
[*Atlantean technology is known to be secretly stored in underground caverns beneath the Potala at Lhasa, and in the many other caves that network underneath the sedimentary structures of the Himalayan mountains. Here we a have a demonstration of some of the lost technology being displayed, two thousand years before our supposedly advanced technological age].
Apollonius observed his teacher, Iarchus, perform miracles identical with those purported to have been performed by the New Testament messiah, such as, driving evil spirits out of a woman who was possessed, curing a cripple, restoring sight to a blind man and restoring a man with paralyzed hands to health. He had a high degree of clairvoyance, could see at any distance, beheld both past and future, and could tell the past lives of those he met.
Reville notes that Apollonius studied astrology and the science of divination under Iarchus, for these sessions were secret and to them Damis was not admitted, nor would Apollonius reveal to him the esoteric knowledge then imparted to him by his Himalayan teacher. [Advanced astrology can reveal the dates and times of previous incarnations of an individual; it is an exact science when properly understood and applied. The popular version commonly available today is but an enfeebled version of the true astrology, which reveals the inner outworkings of the karmic wheel, which balances all causes with corresponding effects.]
During his stay among the Brahman sages, Apollonius was instructed by his Master in the basic doctrines of reformed Buddhism, of which movement Iarchus was the recognized leader, who had fled to his far-off Himalayan retreat to escape persecution by the established Brahman priesthood of India. Apollonius carried westward the Buddhist teachings which he received from Iarchus in the form of certain Buddhist gospels, otherwise known as the DIEGESIS or the ORIGINAL GOSPEL, which he translated and rewrote, adapting it to the language and psychology of his native land.
Among the ESSENES he found the first converts to this new doctrine, the gospel of Chrishna; and those who followed these teachings (the Essenian Therapeuts, who were otherwise known as NAZARENES) subsequently became known as the first Christians. On his departure Iarchus gave Apollonius Seven rings named after the seven planets, one of which was to be worn on one day of the week; these seven rings would, he said, impart health and long life. Before parting, Iarchus prophesied that Apollonius would, even during his life, attain the honors of a divinity.
Thus for several months Apollonius lived among men who were `gods' in human form, and from them he learned spiritual wisdom which he was destined to later bring back to the west as the basis of a new religion (Christianity) of which he was to be the founder. It was from Iarchus that he received the mission that was to send him wandering all his life among the temples of the Mediterranean countries, for the purpose of restoring the ancient mysteries to their former purity.
When he left his Brahman master, Apollonius had certain assurance that he would thereafter be in constant telepathic communication with him and receive his guidance and instruction wherever he may be--which later actually was the case.*
(*On this subject, Magre, speaking of the Inner Voice on which Apollonius always relied for guidance, writes: "We shall never know to what order the spirit-guide of Apollonius belonged; whether the being who advised him took on a form as chaste as himself and as beautiful as the statue of the gods which he liked to contemplate, or whether the voice came from a distant Master who wished to see his pupil carry out the mission with which he entrusted him.
"I shall continue to speak to you as though you were present," Apollonius had said as he left his Indian Masters.
"Was it their words that he heard at a distance? Did he by divine inspiration receive the influx of their wise thoughts? The man to whom he gave the name of Iarchus must have brought the consolation of distant support to the untiring traveler, the wandering mystic.")