Today I have brought a map showing the exact places that Apollonus traveled through. I took this itinerary of Apollonius (from AD 17 to AD 98) from a book which a ran across at the Edgar Cayce Library in Virginia Beach, Virginia. At the time I thought it might have been a coincidence that I found the book there, but I am now quite aware that there are no coincidences in metaphysics, knowing that a higher force is guiding us to the right places for the right reasons. The book is entitled A Sketch of the Life of Apollonius of Tyana or the First Ten Decades of Our Era by Daniel M. Tredwell. This author has done considerable research on Apollonius of Tyana. What he has done in his work is that he has taken Philostratus’ Life of Apollonius, and he has done a sketch of it. He even designates the work as a sketch. He traces all the places that Apollonius went to, and he documents all the areas visited. The way he documents this is quite ingenious and original. He was writing at the end of the 19th century (1886), and he got a hold of a collection of coins (actual or writings about) that referred to the different places. Now, coins are preserved during the passage of time, and these Roman and Greek coins had the various images preserved on them. Each region of the Ancient World had their individual coins which not only gave a historical dating, but also gave credit to the local heroes and leaders. Let’s take, for example, the city of Athens; the image of Athena would be imprinted on some of their coins, and on the back of the coin there would be some symbolism connected with her, like the Parthenon. When you look at American coins, you will notice a similarity. For example, an image of Thomas Jefferson is imprinted on a nickel, and on the back of the coin is his home in Monticello. When you look at the image of Abraham Lincoln imprinted on a penny, you will notice his Memorial (or Temple) in Washington D.C. on the back of the coin. So we have a history of our nation on our coins just like they had a history of their time and space (in the Ancient World) on their coins.
Apollonius - journey
(compare St. Paul’s chronology, travels)
(St. Paul - timeline, life and journeys)
St. Paul Timeline
So when Daniel Tredwell looked at the route or itinerary that Apollonius took, he looked at all the coins to see if he could verify what was said in the book by Philostratus. To give you a rough sketch of the itinerary, you first need to locate Tyana in Cappadocia on the map. You can locate it by following a line drawn slightly northeast from the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea. Tyana was where Apollonius was born; that’s why he was called Apollonius of Tyana. It is kind of difficult to follow the faint lines on the map; you might have to darken the lines with a dark pen to make the route more visible. If you follow the lines you will find that from Tyana, Apollonius went to Tarsus (remember Paul of Tarsus?). Then the line goes across Mesopotamia to India. The journey to India is not covered in Daniel Tredwell’s book; he indicates that another author already had done a good job of it, and there is no purpose in repeating someone else’s work.
I want to devote a special lecture just to go through all the experiences of Apollonius in India. After all, he supposedly received his original gospel called the Diegesis (“Original Gospel”), which consisted of the teachings of the Buddha, from India; and in order to understand what Apollonius is all about at his philosophical core, you have to delve into the teachings of Buddha, for Buddha was the originator of much of the religious thought that later filtered into the Christian world, especially the Christian monastic tradition: Buddha taught vegetarianism, continence (a form of chastity), and being kind to animals and to all living creation. It is curious to note that Buddha did not teach a religion, and neither did Apollonius. A religion was established afterwards to preserve the life and teachings of the enlightened servants of humanity. What the Buddha did teach was an application of “rightness” (righteousness) to life, and this was established by means of a teacher-disciple relationship and through the method of a dialogue or dialectic conversation. In other words, a student would come up to the teacher and say, “What is the meaning of life?” And the Buddha would ask, “Why do you want to know?” And the student would answer, “I’m troubled by certain things.” And the Buddha would inquire, “What are you troubled about?” And the student would confess, “I fear certain things.” And the Buddha would probe, “Why do you fear this?” And so the dialectical process would continue through this ongoing dialogue so that the student would be forced to examine his own mind and his own thinking process so as to ascertain the reasons behind his experiences. So what the Buddha was actually teaching was a method whereby a person could understand himself and the universe around him. Thus it wasn’t a religion in the technical sense of the word at all. We’ll go more into this when we travel with Apollonius to India.
Now, when Apollonius returns from India, we see him stopping at Antioch, then sailing to the island of Cyprus – where he stops at Salamis and Paphos – and then on to Rhodes, across the land designated as Asia Minor (modern day Turkey), stopping at Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Abydos, Troy, Lesbos, Chios, and Samos; then sailing across the Aegean Sea to Greece, where he visited Corinth, Athens, Eleusia (where the Eleusian Mysteries were practiced), Delphi (where the famous oracle of Delphi was), Olympia, Sparta, Epidaurus, and down to the island of Crete; and then across the Mediterranean Sea to Italy, where he went on up to Rome, and then his adventures took him to Spain later on, where you can see him going through Sicily, Carthage in Northern Africa, and across the coast on into Spain. Later, he went to Egypt and up the Nile River, stopping at places such as Alexandria, Memphis, Hermopolis, Heliopolis, and Karnak. After Egypt, he later went back to Rome again. That’s the basic outline of his itinerary. It would be interest to compare the itineraries of Apollonius (Apollos) and St. Paul (of Tarsus) as recorded by four authors. The Biblical version, first of all, talks about a first, second, third, and last journey. The first journey was from Seleucia to Cyprus (Salamis, Paphos), Attalia, Perge, Antioch (in Pisidia), Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe. The second journey was from Jerusalem (home base) to Tyre, Antioch, Tarsus, Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, Troas, Samothrace, Philippi, Apollonia, Thessalonica, Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, Rhodes, Caesarea, and back to home base. The third journey was from home base to Philadelphia, Hierapolis, Miletus, Samos, Lesbos, Troas. There was a supposed planned journey to Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, and other sites. Then, of course, there was the last journey through Myra, Crete, Malta, Sicily (Syracuse), Rhegium (Italy), Puteoli, Forum of Appius, Three Taverns, and finally Rome. The key that connects Paul with Apollonius is the passage in Romans 15:25, where Paul is quoted as saying: “Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you.” Apollonius actually did go to Spain!
The exact itinerary that Daniel M. Tredwell records in his A Sketch of the Life of Apollonius of Tyana, after Apollonius returns from India, is a lengthy journey starting from Antioch (Syria), and going through Cyprus (Salamis, Paphos), Rhodes, Halicarnassus, Issus, Bamos, Panormus, Ephesus, Pergamus, Ilium Lesbos (Methymna), Mytilene, Samos, Athens, Delphi, Thermopylae, Epirus, Marathon, Eleusis, Megara, Corinth, Olympia, Sparta, Epidaurus, Boea (Malea), Acmea (Cythera), Gnossus (Crete), Puteoli (Italy), Appian Way, Rome, Spain, Gades, Africa, Carthage, Utica, Sicily (Lilybaeum), Agrigentum, Syracuse, Catana (Mt. Etna), Messana, Leucas (Leucadia), Ithaca, Chalcis, Lechaeum, Corinth, Port Schoenus, Athens, Chios, Rhoses, Cos, Cnidus (Doris in Caria), Alexandria (Egypt); then up the Nile to Sais, Heliopolis, Memphis, Antinoe, Lycopolis, Coptos, Thebes, Philae, Memnon, Pentapolis; then from Alexandria he visited the country of the Idumeans, Poenicins, Syrians (Antioch), Silicians (Tarsus), and afterward into Ionia, “closely observing the habits, customs, and religion of the people.” From Tarsus he went to Smyrna, Chio (Chios), Cenchreae, Corinth, Lechaeum, Dicaearchia, Puteoli, Rome under Emperor Domitian, back to Puteoli, Sicily, Peloponnesus, Olympia, Lebadea, Ionia (Smyrna, Ephesus), supposedly ending his final days in Ephesus.
According to Tredwell, Apollonius “passed from province to province and temple to temple without distinction of sect, in an endeavor to purify the pagan worship, as he had done at Antioch, Ephesus, Smyrna, and Athens, establishing new parishes, bishops, presbyters, elders, and priests. In this work he was assisted by the priests of the temples, and his disciples. He revised the pagan festivals, amended the rites of sacrifice and penance, during a period in which Paul is said to have instituted Christian churches in the same places.” (p. 128) Another clue to the identity of Paul-Apollonius is discovered by realizing that Tarsus is said to have been the birthplace of St. Paul, and Tarsus is also where the youth Apollonius became the man of wisdom, a sainted man. According to another author, Wolfgang E. Pax, in his In the Footsteps of St. Paul, the first journey began from Seleucia, then to Cyprus (Salamis, Paphos), Attalia, Perge, Antioch (in Pisidia), Iconium, Lystra, Derbe, and return to Antioch in Palestine. The second journey was from Jerusalem, then to Syria, Cilicia, Lystra, Galatia, Troas, Samothrace, Neapolis, Philippi, Amphipolis, Apollonia, Thessalonica, Beroea, Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, Caesarea, Antioch (in Syria), and back to home base. The third journey was from Galatia to Phrygia, Colossae, Ephesus, Laodicea, Hieropolis, Sardis, Pergamum, Philippi, Neapolis, Troas, Assos, Mytilene, Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Miletus, Cos, Rhodes, Lindos, Patara, and Tyre. The last journey was from Tyre to Ptolemais, Caesarea, Jerusalem, Antipatris, Caesarea, Sidon, Myra, Crete, Malta, Syracuse (Sicily), Rhegium, Puteoli, Forum of Appius, Three Taverns, and Rome.
According to Philostratus in The Life of Apollonius, a source upon which most scholars rely, Apollonius was born in Tyana and educated at Tarsus and Aegae. He then traveled to Aspendus, Antioch, Nenevah, Zeugma, Ctesiphon, Cissia, Babylon, Taxila, Hyphasis, Parax (India); across the Red Sea to Vardanes, Ninevah, Antioch, Cyprus, Ionia, Ephesus, Smyrna, Ephesus (translation to), Pergamum, Ilium, Methymna; traversed the Euboean Sea to Athens, Thermopylae, Dodona, the Isthmus, Corinth, Olympia, Lacedemon; sailed from Malea to Cydonia in Crete and visited Gortyna and Ida, Aricia, Rome, Gadeira, Baetica; returned by Lybia to Lilybaeum and Messina, Syracuse, Catana, Sicily; returned to Greece, then Athens (by way of Leucas and Lecheum); sailed from Piraeus for Ionia, Chios, Rhodes, Alexandria, Memphis; sailed up the Nile River to Ethiopia; returned to Phoenicia and Cilicia, to Ionia and Achaea, and finally to Italy; returned to Antioch, Ephesus, Smyrna, Corinth, Dicaearchia; sailed up Tiber to Rome; acquittal by Emperor Domitian, and then set out for Sicily, Syracuse, Peloponnese, Olympia, Lebadea, Greece, Ionia (Smyrna, Ephesus), and supposedly died (or disappeared) at Ephesus.
According to H.P. Blavatsky in Isis Unveiled, the travels of Apollonius as narrated by his constant companion, Damis, is also an allegorical record of his initiation into the ancient Mysteries of several schools of which he was an illustrious adept. She says: “The greatest teachers of divinity agree that nearly all ancient books were written symbolically and in a language intelligible only to the initiated. The biographical sketch of Apollonius of Tyana affords an example. As every Kabalist knows, it embraces the whole of the Hermetic philosophy, being a counterpart in many respects of the traditions left us of King Solomon. It reads like a fairy story, but, as in the case of the latter, sometimes facts and historical events are presented to the world under the colors of a fiction. The journey to India represents allegorically the trials of a neophyte. His long discourses with Brahmans, their sage advice, and the dialogues with the Corinthian Menippus would, if interpreted, give the esoteric catechism. His visit to the empire of the wise men, and interview with their King Iarchas, the oracle of Amphiaraus, explain symbolically many of the secret dogmas of Hermes. They would disclose, if understood, some of the most important secrets of nature. Eliphas Levi points out the great resemblance which exists between King Iarchas and the fabulous Hiram, of whom Solomon procured the cedars of Lebanon and the gold of Ophir.” (Vol. I, p. 19) So much for the itineraries of Apollonius.
Now, today what I wanted to do – I promised last time to cover a little about the Essenes – was to fulfill my promise and give some background to the role Apollonius played with the Essenes. Last time, I covered some ground of Biblical references to Apollonius under the name of Apollos, which we understood to be Apollonius. We also saw how St. Paul was indirectly referring to himself when he said Apollos, and we saw how Paul or Pol was an abbreviated form of Apollonius. There seems to be an interesting irony going on in the Bible, how St. Paul could have known about Apollonius (Apollos) when St. Paul was actually Apollos (i.e. Apollonius). It’s one of the funny things going on in the Bible to deliberately confuse the reader.
Well, the Dead Sea Scrolls or Scriptures talk about the Essenes and their life-style. The life of the Essenes has to be looked at in the light of the times. This was actually about several centuries before the coming of Apollonius, and even before the idea of a Christian or Christians came into being. What the Essenes were doing at this time was to gather together into a community. The writings of the Essenes were in actuality not original. They were taken from the writings of the Persian sage, Zoroaster. Now the Greek sage Pythagoras had – centuries before – performed the same initiatory task that Apollonius was required to perform: he went to India and brought back the teachings and established (or reformed) centers and temples wherever he could. The centers and temples were known as communities where the spiritual teachings were practiced and discussed according to the needs of the time.
The reason I mention that the writings of the Essenes were taken from Zoroaster is that there are a lot of parallels between the concepts of the Essenes and what Zoroaster taught. The Scriptures of Zoroaster wee called the Avesta, the bible of the Persians. This book taught the idea of the continuous struggle of good and evil. The Essenes taught the concept of the Children of Light and the Children of Darkness, a concept taken directly from Zoroaster’s teachings about the good forces and the evil forces. This is the continuous battle that keeps going round and round; it’s not a linear idea where you have just a historical timetable, and then a Day of Judgment and that’s it. It was a cyclical idea; it’s something that happens over and over again. So there is actually no end triumph, like the Christians began to teach later on. There was also the idea that the new world was continually “a borning” – an interesting term that I ran across for the first time. The term means that the world is born again and again. Here you have the idea of reincarnation not only for souls on earth, but of the earth itself going through the same process of reincarnation (like a renewal of spring after a death of winter). There is also the concept of good coming from the source of light and evil coming from the source of darkness; in other words, the Children of Light come from the source of light and they reflect that light, whereas the Children of Darkness, those that come from darkness, reflect only darkness. Here again you have the concept of good and evil.
Now, if you are acquainted with the hidden wisdom of the Mysteries, you know that the cycle of good and evil is divided into the dual aspect of involution and evolution; in other words, darkness is when man goes through the material or world of matter, and light is when man returns to the spiritual or the world of spirit. There are other parallels between the two systems of belief, such as the idea of the unquenchable flame and the eternal agony of gloom coming at the end. The scrolls foretell for the wicked an endless torment in fire and darkness. This is a concept that they appropriated for themselves, and others that followed misrepresented the symbolism behind it. When a person returns again to the material world, which some might represent as a passionate period in one’s cycle of existence, that person is actually tormented in the darkness (ignorance) and the fire (desires) within his own physical body; it’s a chain that he puts around himself due to his own physical desires. The unquenchable flame that keeps burning is symbolic of the kundalini or serpent fire, which is the energy that flows in the spine of a person. Both scriptures have a lot to say about the “serpent.” The serpent lore is very rich with the symbolism of Zoroaster’s teachings, which is the teaching of the kundalini (serpent energy) that rises within the spinal cord of man. The Essenes brought that teaching into their scrolls, and later that symbolism was perverted by unknowledgeable minds that exploited sacred writings for political purposes to mean something evil and demonic, personified by the figure of a devil (or Satan, the Adversary). So we see that there are definite similarities in both scriptures.
The thing to remember about the Essenes is that they were a practical organization, a Brotherhood with a spiritual purpose. They tried to have certain tasks set up within their community so people could learn about themselves and develop spiritually. In order to have such a concept work or succeed, what was needed was the co-operation of the entire community. How is that brought about? How do you have a community cooperate? First of all, the members have to adhere to certain rules. Second, they need a spiritual desire to learn about the Ultimate Truth. Third, and perhaps the hardest, they have to have no interest in the material world. This third aspect was one of the main features of the Essene community. By coming into the community, each member gave up his or her personal material possessions; everything was donated to the general good; all things were held in common. It was the beginning of the Communist idea, but not in the contemporary sense of the word. It was thought of in spiritual terms, and not in political terms. In the political sense, a person is thought of as surrendering or sacrificing all his possessions for the good of the State. In the Essene spiritual sense, a person gave for the good of the community so that all needs would be met and nobody was getting rich. It was a true non-profit organization. The reason for such a philosophy of life was that the Buddha taught that when a person is attached to the things of the physical world, then the person’s consciousness is totally identified with the material possessions. We know that the American involvement with the “All-mighty Dollar” is a good example of the way consciousness is geared toward the accumulation of wealth; and the involvement is so complete at times that there is no time left for spiritual matters. Thus, the Essenes set up a community where spiritual ideals could be worked on without striving after material possessions. In such a manner, carnal man was left behind in order to build up spiritual man. The high ideals of sharing and love were easier to develop and work on in such an environment.
The Essene idea of continence or abstinence from sexual intercourse was taken from the teachings of Zoroaster about the serpent fire (kundalini energy flowing through the spine). The reason why they had separate sections in their community, where men were segregated from the women unless they had arrangements to live a pure life together, is that man develops spiritually only through his ability to overcome the physical. If one can overcome the physical (i.e. conserve kundalini energy), then the spiritual can be built up (i.e. sexual energy converted into spiritual energy). If one can’t overcome the physical, then the same karmic patterns of physical desire are repeated. The Buddha taught that if one desires certain physical objects, then a karmic pattern is already set up in one’s thinking, because the desire in itself builds up a need for satisfaction. By putting the process of thought (desire) into one’s head, a karmic pattern is already set into motion. The scriptures say, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” You are what you think! The thought is the beginning of all things; the thought is father to the deed. The thought proceeds toward the actual materialization of the object thought of. So by setting up continence in thought and action, the Essences were setting up spiritual man as an ideal for themselves. And by setting up the ideal of living together in the form of a brotherhood, they were setting up a community where people could grow in the spiritual understanding of God.
The question arises: What did they do to grow spiritually? This was an interesting type of community, where people could actually come together and have a spiritual master (a “teacher of righteousness”) to guide them and help them along. They might have a small farm or field, and they would plow and work their little field; while working they would pay attention to what was going on in their mind. They would observe their thoughts and actions. In a sense they would follow the injunction of the Delphic Oracle to “Know Thyself.” This little community would revolve around the idea that everything would be shared, and all available money would be put into a common fund. Harmlessness toward all life would be practiced where feasible. In this manner, one’s role and purpose in life would be discovered by realizing one’s role in a community. It wasn’t necessarily the Christian idea of “separating oneself from the world.” The Buddha had understood the fallacy of separating oneself from the world, because he had tried to separate himself so he could meditate in solitude, but he realized that the solitary ascetic life served no useful purpose. He realized that man needed to involve himself in a community and at the same time to become aware of (or be mindful of) his spiritual self, the creative spirit within that was one with God. The reasoning behind this realization was that when one is away from his fellow man, one cannot help his fellow man. That’s what the basis of the Buddhist philosophy is all about. If you think only of self, then there can be no practice of godliness in the sense of God’s love working through man and helping man. Love is worked out through service to mankind. Service was the key word. The Essenes tried to serve their fellow man in any way they could. They developed the healing arts to a great extent. They felt that the greatest service they could perform for man was to heal man’s infirmities. Apollonius of Tyana picked up the science of healing from Asclepius, who during his time was known as the savior of mankind. The reason why he was the savior of man was because he helped man; he helped man to overcome his illnesses, his diseases; he helped man to keep his inner and outer body clean; he helped man to be healthy and to feel at one with the universe and with God.
These are some of the things that were practiced at the time. There were some technical aspects to the practical organization of the community: they had probationary periods; they had councils; they had the members dining together in silence; they had strict codes about washing and keeping clean; they had strict rules that required excommunication if there was an extreme infringement of some law. All this was an important part of their community. The first century Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, devotes twelve sections to a thorough description of the community of Essenes (Jewish Wars, Book II, chapter 8, sections 2-13).
In the introduction to the Dead Sea Scrolls (or Scriptures), a certain writer makes an important query: Were the Essenes a forerunner of Christianity? It’s interesting how he answers his rhetorical question. He says: Yes, in the sense that they offered or furnished a picture of the cultural climate of a community out of which the Christian community grew and evolved later on. He calls it the “spiritual idiom that John and Jesus spoke.” In other words, the Essenes used the same language that John the Baptist later used when he spoke about the Kingdom of God (“the Kingdom of God is at hand”), and the same concepts that Christians attribute to Jesus, such as loving your neighbor and doing good unto others. But this same author and translator, Theodore H. Gaster, in his celebrated translation of the Dead Sea Scriptures, says that the documents do not restore a long-lost forerunner of Christianity; he calls the documents “the rude clay as yet unmolded by Christian hands.” (p. 14) The molding by Christian hands took place, as we know, by Emperor Constantine and the Nicean Council in 325 AD when Christianity was established as a state religion. The reason why Gaster makes such a statement is because “the scrolls contain no trace of any of the cardinal theological concepts.” That he is saying is that the Dead Sea Scrolls do not have any of the main Christian doctrines contained in its writings. The idea of the incarnate Godhead is not there; there is no mention of God coming down (incarnating) in the person of “an only begotten Son,” an idea which was later developed by the Christians. There is no mention of Original Sin, where man fell because of a certain sin (or act of disobedience); instead, the Essenes believed in karmic patterns according to the principle “as you sow, so shall you reap.” There is no mention of redemption through the Cross; there is no single idea in the scrolls saying that there was a man who could die as a sacrifice (or sacrificial lamb) for the sins of the world. All these omissions made people start thinking that if these Christian concepts weren’t mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and these Essenes were the first Christians, then why weren’t these major doctrines mentioned, especially if they were the main doctrines upon which Christianity was built. There was also the idea of a “teacher of righteousness,” which most Christians try to ascribe to Jesus as being the Savior, but which actually has no bearing in the scrolls because the “teacher of righteousness” as a spiritual leader of the community was only a type of guru or rabbi. This teacher was a leader who taught right living.
Furthermore, there is no mention of the doctrine of atonement in the scrolls. Nor is there any mention of a suffering and a resurrected savior. The Essenes were not aware of any of those Christian doctrines. The were only aware of the fact that man had to suffer his own individual crucifixion (upon the “cross of material existence”) and his own spiritual resurrection (from the “grave of bodily limitations”). There was no Calvary. Perhaps there was a spiritual Golgotha (“place of the skull”), the place in the brain (skull) where the spiritual regeneration (or transformation) takes place. And there was no Communion in the sense of the Eucharist (“take eat, this is my body”). The prototype of the communion is supposedly where they have a feast at a table; it was a long table and all the members would sit together. There is no mention of bread and wine as a special sacrament or as its capacity to be transubstantiated into the body and blood of a savior. If there is any similar celebration, it would have to be the “agape” (or “love feast”), where people would gather together in fellowship.
Thus, we find that all the Christian doctrines were omitted in the scrolls. The only logical reason why they were omitted was because they did not have, nor adhere to, those doctrines at the time. They did have a feeling and concept for a “Messiah,” for they had the idea of a “perfect man.” But this man was the “celestial man,” or the “heavenly man.” This Messiah, according to their expectations, would be a saintly person. His personal appearance was a matter of symbology, for this was not an actual person that they were drawing; he was a symbolical person, a composite person with many spiritual features. He had the traits of a human being and also the characteristic of a microcosm, for each human being is like a universe. The conception of humans according to the Judea-Christian tradition is quite different from what the Essenes were teaching. The Essenes were teaching that we have the God presence in all of us, a certain divinity within the inner man. The reason that they could see it in that manner is because they could comprehend that man is made out of a certain “Good-ness” or “God-ness.” Some philosophers like the term “such-ness,” which means “that which is.” We are a miniature walking universe. When you start looking at yourselves – at your cells, at the elements you are made out of, the chakras you are composed of, the nerve cells – you will find that everything about you has the presence of the universe within it. This is part of the Mysteries that were taught about man. And the Mysteries were basically the science of man. The symbolism that later came out in Christian terminology was completely alien to the teachings of the Essenes.
In order to understand the time and age in which Apollonius was teaching, we have to understand that he was a Greek philosopher, a Neo-Pythagorean. Not only was he a Greek philosopher, but he was a stoic at heart. Now, a stoic is a very interesting person, with an interesting philosophy of life. A stoic basically had no fears about the future. He had no fear for his personal body, because he knew that the body was just a physical vestment that is recycled, and it was the soul of man that lived forever. Apollonius taught that there is really no such a thing as death. In a letter to the Governor Valerius, Apollonius expounds that “there is no death of anyone save in appearance only.” (The Life of Apollonius, Vol. II, p. 455) What appears to be death is just an illusion. Birth itself is just an illusion. Both are doors though which the human soul enters and exits. From being to becoming seems to be birth. In short, we always are, but when we come into physical birth it seems to be like a birth. And the change from becoming, which is physical life, to being seems to be like death, which is just leaving the physical body. “But in reality no one is ever born, nor does one ever die. The whole becomes parts and parts become whole in the oneness of the all.” When you come from unity into multiplicity, you come from the oneness of God into the multiplicity of Nature. And then back again from the multiplicity of Nature, with its myriad forms, to the oneness of God. This is the grand cycle. So what seems to be birth is when you come in to the multiplicity of Nature and death is when you come to the oneness of God. This is what Apollonius was actually teaching at the time, making sure that people understood the reality of Life.
The times were such that the philosophers were not accepted in Rome. They were kicked out by the Emperor Nero. Philosophers had a rough time because of the pressure from the Roman emperors. The Roman emperors did not like the philosophers because the philosophers were a breed of men who did not care for the material things of earth. The emperors, on the other hand, cared only for the meager material possessions and pleasures of life; they tried to squeeze every ounce of pleasure and debauchery out of existence that they could. During Apollonius’ time, there were persons who came along and became great teachers; these teachers at that time were known either as gods (that’s why in Greek mythology we have the “gods” who are presently thought of as super-human or spirit-beings) or saviors. In essence, these teachers were only humans who had reached an illumined state of mind; they did not want to elevate themselves, nor to be elevated or worshipped by the populace. The people who elevated these teachers were the people who were looking for answers to their questions or looking for saviors to solve their problems.
Emperor Augustus – an emperor at that time – had a title of “Son of God.” We know that he was not a Son of God, but what was meant by the title was that, because of the heroic deeds that he performed, he was given an honorary title to designate his greatness in the eyes of the people (of the Roman world). Other caesers and emperors tried to copy the same honor and glory by calling themselves “Son of God,” also. There was also the idea at the time of worshipping men of high learning and achievement as saviors. Aesculapius, who was considered to be the “Father of Medicine,” and from whom Apollonius learned everything about the healing arts, was also known as a savior or a “Son of God.” In fact, they still have coins extant which bear witness to the honorary title. Saviors and “Sons of God” were expressions of so common application to men who had, or who had imagined they had, rendered service to humanity that nothing was thought of it. The lower orders of society believed it, and the wise lent themselves to the fraud. What you had were people who believed that these were actually saviors, and the wise people saying, “Well, if they want to believe it, let them believe it; if they want to believe that I’m such a great person, go ahead, let them believe it.” In actuality, they knew that they weren’t. They were just human beings rendering service to humanity. Like Apollonius was. I would like to go back to one major point that I failed to expound on previously. This concerns the identity of Paul-Apollonius. We know that the places that Apollonius went through were approximately the same places that Paul traveled through. The interesting thing to note is that at this time there were churches (or temples) already established. Apollonius went to these different temples where they had bishops and presbyters already established. There “churches” were already set up, and there was no “Christianization” in the New Testament sense of the word. “Christianization” would require that churched be established to further the teachings of Christ. And how could there be “Christianization” when there were already churches in existence? The New Testament concept is that St. Paul went all over the Roman Empire and organized and set up churches, and that the Christians then spread the gospel of their savior to the known world. But the “gospel” was already there: “for the truth of the gospel which is come unto you, as it is in all the world.” (Colossians 1:5-6) There is even a mention of “the church” in Matthew 18:17 before the apostles gathered at Pentecost to establish the first “official” church. We now know that the Romans wanted to establish a religion that wold unite the east and the west, so they tried to bring all the prevailing religious groups and ideals under one large umbrella (“the church”) and then say “this is our religion.” Apollonius talks about the Romans as being the greatest plagiarists (“copy-cats”), who appropriated all their gods and statues and mythology from the Greeks. Everything they did was copied from somewhere else or plundered through conquest.
Another baffling discovery is that there is no mention of Christians in these areas. Philo Judeas was a historian of the time, and he makes no mention at all of Christians, nor of the Christian religion. Josephus, a Jewish historian, makes no mention of them. There are historians who covered every possible religion of the time, and they make no mention of the Christian religion. The reason for the silence is that the Christian religion was not formally established until 325 AD. This fact is hard to swallow for some people, and it is a bitter pill that most Christians spit out upon contact. But as we study Apollonius and we get his biographer’s account of his pilgrimage through all the temples and religious centers of the time, we are led to accept the truth of the discovery.
We eventually realize that Paul-Apollonius are identical because of identical journeys. We are led then to pose a vital question: If both journeys are basically identical, then who is copying from whom? The same problem is encountered when we analyze the miracles attributed to Apollonius, for the Romans utilized the same miracles for their religion and for their savior. And thus we continue to wonder: Who is copying whom? There is a long discussion and a prolonged debate as to who the real savior really is. It’s as if the reader and seeker after truth must finally demand: “Will the real savior please stand up!” The whole issue comes to a focal point in the work of Philostratus on The Life of Apollonius, for he doesn’t make a single mention of a Christian savior. Philostratus received the memoirs from Damis, a disciple of Apollonius. And Damis makes no mention of a Christian religion either, because there wasn’t a Christian religion at the time. There was a Jewish religion in Palestine, and there was the official religion of the Roman Empire dedicated to the gods (borrowed from Greece).
If these things can be actually analyzed, it’s really a sad case of historical deception. All of a sudden, we have to change our awareness of what really happened and how history transpired. We realize that we are involved in something that needs to be clarified. The common concept of “the Christ” is “the Anointed One” or the Messiah. The other concept of “Christ” is “clear-thinking” and the idea that “Christos” means “clarity of thought.” It is also known as Christ-consciousness, or the creative thought energy that pervades the universe. We have to reanalyze some of the things that have happened in history and reveal the fundamental truth. The fundamental truth is: a human being must be understood for what he/she really is, not as some creature or lowly sinner who has to plead for mercy before a judgmental God, but as a person who has to evolve and grow in the understanding of God as the divinity within each human being. Man must see himself as a responsible human being; what he sows he must also reap, and he cannot escape the karmic patterns that he himself sets into motion.
In conclusion, I would like to point out that although mankind has throughout the ages looked for magical and supernatural acts as signs of greatness and marks of heroic gods and saviors, Apollonius was more interested in the virtuous development of man. He stressed that man should develop the good qualities within the inner self. During a discussion, Apollonius was asked whom he preferred most: Homer, who writes about the Greek gods and heroes, or Aesop. Apollonius replied, “I’ll tell you why I prefer Aesop. Aesop, who wrote all those fables, always included a moral truth to his short stories or parables. Apollonius knew that we can’t have God coming out of a machine; the Latin concept is expressed the words “Deus ex machine.” This was a device used at the end of a Greek play, where a god would solve the entire dilemma or conflict in the drama. Here the idea was stressed that the gods would do everything for the human beings whom they favored. Apollonius then expounds on the virtue of Aesop’s simple wisdom: “I find them more conducive to wisdom than the others. For those others, of which all poetry is so fond, and which deal with heroes, positively destroy the souls of their hearers, because the poet relates stories of outlandish passion and of incestuous marriages, and repeats calumnies against the gods, of how they ate their own children, and committed crimes of meanness, and quarreled with one another; and the affectation and pretence of reality leads passionate and jealous people and miser-like and ambitious persons to imitate the stories. Aesop, on the other hand, had in the first place the wisdom never to identify himself with those who put stories into verse, but took a line of his own; and in the second, like those who can dine well off the plainest dishes, he made use of humble incidents to teach great truths, and after serving up a story he adds to it the advice to do a thing or not to do it. Then, too, he was really more attached to truth than the poets are; for the latter do violence to their own stories in order to make them probable; but he by announcing a story which everyone knows not to be true, told the truth by the very fact that he did not claim to be relating real events. And the poet, after telling his story, leaves a healthy-minded reader cudgeling his brains to know whether it really happened; whereas one who, like Aesop, tells a story which is false and does not pretend to be anything else, merely investing it with a good moral, shows that he has made use of the falsehood merely for its utility to his audience.” (Life of Apollonius, Book V, Chapter XIV, p. 495)