Avatars as mentioned in Various Cultures
Robert Browning’s poem “Paracelsus”:
“Man is not man as yet,
Nor shall I deem his object served, his end
Attained, his genuine strength put fairly forth,
While only here and there a star dispels
The darkness, here and there a towering mind
O’erlooks its prostrate fellows.
“When all mankind is perfected;
Equal in full-blown powers—then, not till then,
I say, begins man’s general infancy,
Such men are even now upon the earth
Serene amid the half-formed creatures ’round.”
The German mystic C.von Eckharthausen in Disclosures of Magic (1790) writes about the true Adepts of the Rose Cross:
These sages, whose number is small, are children of light, and are opposed to darkness. They dislike mystification and secrecy; they are open and frank, have nothing to do with secret societies and with external ceremonies.
They possess a spiritual temple, in which God is presiding. They live in various parts of the earth, and do not meddle with politics; their business is to do as much good to humanity as in their power, and to drink wisdom from the eternal fountain of truth. They never quarrel about opinions, because they know the truth. Their number is small. Some live in Europe, others in Africa, but they are bound together by the harmony of their souls, and they are therefore as one. They are joined together, although they may be thousands of miles apart from each other. They understand each other, although they speak in different tongues, because the language of the sages is spiritual perception.
Paracelsus, who was called the “Luther of Medicine”,[Franz Hartmann in Life & Prophecies of Paracelsus (1493-1541)] describes these mystics sages as “persons who have been exalted (verzueckt) to God, and who have remained in that state of exaltation, and have not died (…) nobody knew what became of them, and yet they remained on the earth”. [Rose Cross]
In Wonders of the World, Lecture 7 Rudolf Steiner writes:
When in the world outside the modern leaders of men go about in human garb, they are unrecognised by the world. When from the standpoint of Spiritual Science we talk about ‘The Masters of Wisdom and of the Harmony of Feelings’ people would often be surprised to know in what simple, unassuming human form these Masters are to be found in all countries.
From the Gospel of John, end scene:
Peter turned around and noticed the disciple whom Jesus kept loving following them. He was the one who had put his head on Jesus’ chest at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is the one who is going to betray you?”
When Peter saw him, he said, “Lord, what about him?”
Jesus said to him, “If it is my will for him to remain until I come back, how does that concern you? You must keep following me!” So the rumor spread among the brothers that this disciple wasn’t going to die. Yet Jesus didn’t say to Peter that he wasn’t going to die, but, “If it is my will for him to remain until I come back, how does that concern you?” [Anthropos and Sophia]
Eight Taoist Immortals
Do we know these in other religions and cultures under other names?
Wikipedia: Eight Immortals
See also Eight Immortals (disambiguation).
HO HSIEN KU A woman of great wisdom and discipline who carries a lotus bloom.
At birth she had six long hairs on the crown of her head. When she was about 14 or 15, a divine personage appeared to her in a dream and instructed her to eat powdered mica, in order that her body might become etherized and immune from death. So she swallowed it, and also vowed to remain a virgin.
One day during the Jīng Lóng (景龍) period (about 707 CE), she ascended to Heaven in broad daylight, and became a Hsien (Taoist Immortal).
LU TUNG PIN A government official during the Tang dynasty who received the “Scholarly and Martial Complete Talent” award.
He has been very intelligent since childhood and had many academic achievements. Lü Dongbin is usually portrayed as a scholarly, clever man with a genuine desire to help people obtain wisdom/enlightenment and to learn the Tao.
Lü’s teacher Zhongli Quan became an immortal and was about to fly to heaven, while saying to Lü that if he kept practicing the Tao he would also be able to fly to heaven himself some day. Lü Dongbin replied to his teacher that he’ll fly to heaven only after he enlightens all the sentient beings on earth (another story says all his relatives). According to the book “The Eight Immortals Achieving the Tao (《八仙得道摶》),” in his previous incarnation, Lü Dongbin was a Taoist master and the teacher of Zhongli Quan.
According to the official History of the Song Dynasty (《宋史》), Lü was seen several times visiting the house of Chen Tuan (陳摶), who was believed to be the first person to present to the public the Taijitu.
According to Richard Wilhelm, Lü was the founder of the School of the Golden Elixir of Life (Jin Dan Jiao), and originator of the material presented in the book “Tai Yi Jin Hua Zong Zhi” (《太一金華宗旨》), or The Secret of the Golden Flower.
CHUA LI CHUA A former Han dynasty official who taught Li Tung Ping and carries a fan or “peach of immortality”.
According to legends, bright beams of light filled the labour room during his birth. After birth he did not stop crying until seven full days had passed. Later Taoists celebrate his birthday on the fifteenth day of the fourth month of the Chinese Calendar.
In Taoism, he is known as “正陽祖師” (Zhèngyáng Zǔshī), literally the True-Yang Ancestor-Master. He is also called “Master of the Cloud-Chamber” (雲房先生 Yún Fáng Xiān Shēng) in accounts describing his encounter with Lü Dongbin before achieving immortality.
LI TIEH KUAI A cripple with an iron crutch who has a bad temper and abrasive peronality
His characteristic emblems are the gourd bottle which identifies him as one of the Eight Immortals and also his iron crutch. A vapour cloud emanates from the gourd, and within it is the sage’s hun ([soul ]); which may be depicted as a formless shape or as a miniature double of his bodily self.
He is sometimes described irascible and ill-tempered, but also benevolent to the poor, sick and the needy, whose suffering he alleviates with special medicine from his gourd (calabash ). He is often portrayed as an ugly old man with dirty face, scraggy beard, and messy hair held by a golden band. He walks with the aid of an iron crutch (t’ieh kuai) and often has a gourd slung over his shoulder or held in his hand (Encyclopædia Britannica). He often is depicted as a clown figure who descends to earth in the form of a beggar who uses his power to fight for the oppressed and needy.
Li Tieh-Kuai, in the beginning of his Taoist training was said to live in a cave.
CHANG KUO An eccentric delighting in riding his donkey backward and carrying a bizzare musical instrumen.
By the time of Empress Wu, he claimed to be several hundred years old. A strong believer in the magic of necromancy, he also declared that he had been Grand Minister to the Emperor Yao during a previous incarnation. Zhang Guo Lao also had a love for wine and winemaking. He was known to make liquor from herbs and shrubs as a hobby. Other members of the Eight Immortals drank his wine, which they believed to have healing or medicinal properties. He was also known to be a master of Taoist Breath or Qigong and could go without food for days, surviving on only a few sips of wine.
He was known to be quite entertaining, often making himself invisible, drinking off of poisonous flowers, plucking birds from the sky, as well as wilting flowers simply by pointing in their direction, while in the presence of Emperors.
He can be seen standing or seated, but is most often shown riding his white mule, which he is usually riding backwards. His emblem is a Yü Ku, or fish drum, which is a tube-shaped bamboo drum with two iron rods or mallets that he carries with him, or carrying a phoenix feather or a peach, representing immortality.
Zhang Guo Lao was known for wandering between the Fen River & Chin territories during his lifetime and was known to travel at least a thousand li per day upon a white donkey or mule. When his journey was finished, he folded his mule up and placed it in his pocket or a small box. When he wished to use the mule again, he poured water on it from his mouth and the mule regained its form.
Zhang Guo Lao is a white spiritual bat which came out of primeval chaos. Zhang Guo Lao was believed by some to be able to transform himself into a bat, another symbol of permanence.
… during the period A.D. 742-746, Zhang Guo Lao fell ill and returned to die in the Heng Chou Mountains. When his disciples opened his tomb, they found it empty.
The Three Pure Ones are examples of Taoist deities. They are the highest powers in the Taoist pantheon. The Three Pure Ones (Chinese: 三清; Pinyin: Sānqīng), can be translated in to: Three Pure Pellucid Ones, the Three Pristine Ones, the Three Clarities, the “Taoist trinity”, or the Three Purities. “The Three Pure Ones” are manifestations of the primordial cosmic energy, Chi (Qi).” By the time of the Song Dynasty(~960-1127), the Three Pure Ones had come to represent the three divine natures of all living beings: past, present and future. http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/Philosophy/Taichi/gods.html
In the Taoist scheme of things, the entire manifested universe is ruled by three original forces, the Three Pure Ones. The Three Pure Ones were brought into existence through the interaction of yin and yang. The Taoist classic, the Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu, tells us:
- The tao produced the one (Tai Chi)
- The one produced two (yin and yang)
- The two produced the three (The three pure ones);
- The three produced all the myriad beings (all of existence) (Yudelove, 114).
The “Three Pure ones” are:
The Jade Purity, *The [Yuanshi Tianzun ] (Chinese: 玉清; Pinyin: Yùqīng), is also known as “The Universally Honoured One of Origin”, or “The Universal Lord of the Primordial Beginning” (元始天尊, Yuanshi Tianzun).
The Supreme Pure One, (Chinese: 上清; Pinyin: Shàngqīng), is also known as “The Universally Honoured One of Divinities and Treasures”, or “The Universal Lord of the Numinous Treasure” (靈寶天尊, Lingbao Tianzun).
The Supreme Pure One is associated with yin and yang and was responsible as the custodian of the sacred book. Shangqing also calculates time and divides it into different epochs.The Grand Pure One (Chinese: 太清; Pinyin: Tàiqīng), also known as “The Universally Honoured One of Tao and Virtues” or “The Universal Lord of the Way and its Virtue” (道德天尊, Daode Tianzun) or the “Grand Supreme Elder Lord” (太上老君, Taishang Laojun).
It is believed that Taishang Laojun manifested himself in the form of Lao Tzu. The Grand Pure One is also the treasurer of spirits, known as the Lord of Man who is the founder of Taoism. He is the most eminent, aged ruler, which is why he is the only Pure One depicted with a pure white beard.
According to [Daozang], The Universally Honoured One of Tao and Virtues had manifested many various incarnations to teach living beings, and [Lao Tzu] is one of his incarnations.
Each of the Three Pure Ones represents both a deity and a heaven. The first heaven is Yu-Qing, and it is found in the Jade Mountain, The entrance to this heaven is named the Golden Door. “He is the source of all truth, as the sun is the source of all light”. The Grand Pure One(Lao-Jun) rules over the heaven of Tai-Qing. The Supreme Pure One (Ling-Bao Tian-Song) rules over the heaven of Shang-Qing. The Three Pure Ones are often depicted as throned elders.
Schools of Taoist of thought developed around each of these deities. Taoist Alchemy was a large part of these schools, as each of the Three Pure Ones represented one of the three cinnabar fields of the body: jing, qi and shen. The congregation of all three Pure Ones resulted in the return to Tao.
The first pure one is universal or heavenly chi. The second pure one is human plane chi and third pure one is earth chi. Heavenly chi includes the chi or energy of all the planets, stars and constellations as well as the energy of god (the force of creation and universal love). Human plane chi is the energy that exists on the surface of our planet and sustains human life and the earth force includes all of the forces inside the planet as well as the five elemental forces.
Saptarishi – The Seven Rishis or Sages
The earliest list of the Seven Rishis is given by Jaiminiya Brahmana 2.218-221: Vasistha, Bharadvaja, Jamadagni, Gautama, Atri, Visvamitra, and Agastya, followed by Brihadaranyaka Upanisad 2.2.6 with a slightly different list: Gautama and Bharadvāja, Viśvāmitra and Jamadagni, Vasiṣṭha and Kaśyapa, and Atri. The late Gopatha Brāhmana 1.2.8 has Vasiṣṭha, Viśvāmitra, Jamadagni, Gautama, Bharadvāja, Gungu, Agastya, and Kaśyapa.
In some parts of India people believe these are seven stars named “Vashishta“, “Marichi“, “Pulastya“, “Pulaha“, “Atri“, “Angiras” and “Kratu”. There is another star slightly visible within it, known as “Arundhati“.
Sapta Rishis are the Hierarchy working under the guidance of the Highest Creative Intelligence, God. The present batch of the Sapta Rishis: Bhrigu, Atri, Angirasa, Vasishta, Pulastya, Pulalaha and Kratu. They bring down to the earth the required Knowledge and Energies to strengthen the processes of Transition (Pralaya). They are naturally the most evolved Light Beings in the Creation and the guardians of the Divine Laws.
In Hindu astronomy the seven stars of the Saptarshi Mandal or Big Dipper orUrsa Major are named as
Vasishtha is accompanied by his wife the faint companion star Arundhati (Alcor/80 Ursa Majoris).
Vashist was the mānasaputra(“mind son”) of Brahma. He had in his possession the divine cow Kamadhenu, and Nandini her child, who could grant anything to their owners. Arundhati is the name of the wife of Vashista.
He was a peace-loving, selfless, intelligent and great Rishi. He had established Gurukula (residential college) on the banks of the river Saraswati, where he and his wife Arundhati were taking care of thousands of students.
Vashista was the Sadguru of his time, possessing 20 “kala’s” (divine arts) and had complete knowledge of the whole cosmos and the god. Many of his Shlokas are found in Vedas as well.
Vashista possessed a cow named Kamadhenu or Nandini who could instantly produce food enough for a whole army. The king Kaushika (later called Vishwamitra), who visited Vashista’s hermitage, was very impressed with the cow and tried to take it away from Vashista by force, but Kamadhenu/Nandini’s spiritual power was too great for him.
Is the wife of the sage Vashishta, one of the seven sages (Saptarshi) who are identified with the Ursa Major. She is identified with the morning star and also with the star Alcor which forms a double star with Mizar (identified as Vashista) in Ursa Major. Arundhati, though the wife of one of the seven seers, is accorded the same status as the seven seers and is worshipped with them as such.
The Shiva Purana describes her as being Sandhya, the mind-born daughter of Brahma, in a previous birth. On instruction of Vashista, Sandhya pleased Shiva by penance in order to purify herself from passion, and Shiva asked her to jump into Medhatithi’s fire. She was then born as Medhatithi’s daughter and married Vashista.
In one of the rituals of a Hindu marriage, the groom shows the bride the double stars of Vashista and Arundhati as an ideal couple, symbolic of marital fulfilment and loyalty.
Seven Sages of Greece
|Seven Sages of Greece by various authors|
Other names mentioned are Pherecydes, Lasus, Aristoxenus, Anaxagoras, Orpheus, Linus, and Epicharmus.