Posts Tagged Sophocles
The motif in the birth of Krishna, where his mothers brother wished to take his life, and his wounded feet as a result of his fight with the snake, are known in different myths, within the same time frame, for Zarathustra, Oedipus, Dan, and Isak. I am not making a deep interpretation, which Steiner does better than I, but I just want to emphasize the motif:
Hence the legend relates how the child Krishna, even at his birth, was surrounded by miracles, and that Kansa, the brother of his mother, wished to take the life of the child. In the uncle of the child Krishna we see the continuance of the old, and Krishna has to defend himself against him; for Krishna had to bring in the new, that which kills the third epoch and does away with the old conditions for the external evolution of mankind.
That was the twofold deed of Krishna, He acted as a world-historical hero, in that he crushed the head of the serpent of the old knowledge and compelled man to re-enter the physical body, in which alone the ego could be won as free and independent ego, whereas formerly all that made man an ego streamed in from outside.
I am wounded in the feet, but with my own body I tread under foot the head of the serpent,” that is to say, the serpent with its head ceases to be the instrument of thought. The physical body and especially the physical brain, kills the serpent, and the serpent revenges itself by taking away from one the feeling of belonging to the earth. It bites one in the heel.
There may also be a relation to Orpheus [Orphan] and Eurydice. Orpheus could charm animals by his music, as Zarathustra could charm the animals when people would kill him as child, and also Eurydice was bitten in the heel like Krishna. Both Zarathustra and Orpheus was killed at the Holy place of Apollo/Ahura Mazdao.
Poets like Simonides of Ceos said that, with his music and singing, he could charm birds, fish and wild beasts, coax the trees and rocks into dance.
While fleeing from Aristaeus (son of Apollo), Eurydice ran into a nest of snakes which bit her fatally on her heel.
Oedipus was set out in the wood to die, with his feet mutilated. He was found by shepherds after an attempt to get rid of him. Teiresias was a blind prophet, as in the story about Krishna. Oedipus goes through life with clubbed feet. Steiner relates the story of Oedipus and the Sphinx with Faust and the clubfooted Mephistopheles of Goethe (Steiner).
In Apocalypse of Moses chapter 26 states:
1 But he turned to the serpent [in great wrath] and said: “Since thou hast done this, and become a thankless vessel until thou hast deceived the innocent hearts, accursed art thou among all beasts.
2 Thou shalt be deprived of the victual of which thou didst eat and shalt feed on dust all the days of
3 thy life: on thy breast and thy belly shalt thou walk and be robbed of hands and feet. There shall not be left thee ear nor wing, nor one limb of all that with which thou didst ensnare them in
4 thy malice and causedst them to be cast out of paradise; and I will put enmity between thee and his seed: he shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel until the day of Judgement.”
Jacob says the following words about his son Dan:
“Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.”
Wikipedia have a good reference article on the symbolism of serpents: