Pythagoras and the Pagan Mystery Religions
To fully understand the Essene and their Teacher, you have to at least have an idea of the life and teachings of Pythagoras. Most people view Pythagoras as someone whose only role in life was to torment them in high school geometry with his famous theorem which bears his name. Few people are aware that Pythagoras, was also a religious and ethical teacher, and could very well have been the real Jesus Christ. At least, most of the gospel teachings of Jesus originated with him which stands as a clear indication of their Essene roots. Pythagoras was expelled from his native Greece and did most of his teaching in Italy. His teachings did not garner favor among most of the native population and he was reportedly assassinated, though no one seems to know exactly how, and after his death many of his students were massacred.
Pythagoras was undoubtedly monotheistic, but his religious philosophy contains the very same dualism as that found in the teachings of Paul. He believed that the soul was imprisoned in the mortal body which was governed by evil passions. "We must not, declared Pythagoras, be slaves of our own bodies; and we can improve and save our souls by escaping from the domination of the flesh."ŚMartin A. Larson, "The Story of Christian Origins." This concept corresponds with that of the Buddha who conceived it as a method for people to escape the evil caste system created by the Aryan Brahamanas to enslave the indigenous people of India. It was the Brahamanas' claim that people were born into their caste based on the merits of past lives. So, regardless of a persons merits in this life, they were forever chained to their lowly caste by their past lives while the Brahamanas inhabited the upper caste due to thier pristine prior lives. The Brahamanas or Brahaman priests referred to themselves as 'Fathers,' hence we find in the gospels "And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven."ŚMatthew 23:9. Of course, the Catholic clergy failed to practice what they preached and wound up calling themselves 'Fathers.' Notice the difference between the conflict between good and evil in Buddhism as opposed to Zorastrianism. In Buddhism there is no evil force only physical passions.
Pythagoras was initiated into the rites and mysteries of not only the Greek mystery religions, but also was a student of Egyptian and a pupil of Zoraster and a disciple of the Brahmanas. He was pretty much a contemporary of the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, so any doctrines similar to Buddhism are probably a coincidence. He formed an order known as the Pythagorean Brotherhood. His students were divided into 2 distinct categories; the more advanced members of the inner circle were called esoteric and his more casual followers were known as the exoteric. He required his students to divest themselves, of all worldly possessions, and to undergo instruction in silence. He dressed in a white linen robe, wool was prohibited since it came from an animal. His esoteric students, much as himself, subsisted on a raw vegetarian diet and abstained from sex. His students also received the daily sacrament in which they symbolically consumed the body of Dionysius. The cannabalistic practice of the eucharist dates back to the cult of Osiris in which the participants consumed an image of the god made of wheat paste and drank a libation of barley ale. The ale was later replaced by wine among the Greek Dionysians (the Greek incarnation of the Osiris myth.) The practice was based on the concept that you are what you eat, and by eating the symbolic body and blood of a god, you would become holy. Earlier indigenous Egyptian people had partaken in the cannabalistic practice of eating the flesh of their deceased loved ones. The Pythagoreans also practiced regular baptismal purification, which Pythagoras undoubtedly picked up from the Zorastrians, and would become a staple of the Jewish Essene centuries later.
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