2014-10-01

Book Two of the Essene Gospel of Peace

Vatic Note:   As noted before, this was a surprise finding for me.   I did not know there were other writings by the Essenes, besides the Dead Sea Scrolls.  These are turning out to be excellent and explains much about Jesus teachings about forgiveness, non judgementalness, etc. Love and compassion, caring, service, etc.  Lots and lots of good stuff. 

When Christ came he overturned the "eye for an eye" retaliation edict that was prevalent in the Jewish culture, and forgiveness was raised to an art form, rather than revenge being celebrated and practiced.  He changed the entire conversation with his providing us with "The two greatest commandments"  "Love God with your whole heart and soul and love your neighbor as yourself".   This is a great read and well worth the time.  The author has done a great job on this subject.

Book Two of the Essene Gospel of Peace

I have to begin this preface with a great confession: this is not my first translation of Book Two of the Essene Gospel of Peace; it is my second. The first effort took many years to complete, and it was composed painstakingly and literally, with hundreds of cross references and abundant philological and exegetical footnotes. When it was finished, I was very proud of it, and in a glow of self
satisfied accomplishment, I gave it to my friend, Aldous Huxley, to read. 

Two weeks later, I asked him what he thought of my monumental translation. "It is very, very bad, he answered. "It is even worse than the most boring treatises of the patristics and scholastics, which nobody reads today. it is so dry and uninteresting, in fact, that I have no desire to read Book Three." I was speechless, so he continued. "You should rewrite it, and give it some of the vitality of your other books-make it literary, readable and attractive for twentieth century readers. 

I'm sure the Essenes did not speak to each other in footnotes! In the form it is in now, the only readers you will have for it may be a few dogmatists in theological seminaries, who seem to take masochistic pleasure in reading this sort of thing. However," he added with a smile, "you might find some value in it as a cure for insomnia; each time I tried to read it I fell asleep in a few minutes. You might try to sell a few copies that way by advertising a new sleep remedy in the health magazines-no harmful chemicals, and all that."

It took me a long time to recuperate from his criticism-. I put aside the manuscript for years. Meanwhile, I continued to receive thousands of letters from many readers from all parts of the world of my translation of Book One of the Essene Gospel of Peace, asking for the second and third books promised in the preface. 

Finally, I got the courage to start again. The passing of the years had mellowed my attitude and I saw my friend's criticism in a new light. I rewrote the entire manuscript, treating it as literature and poetry, coming to grips with the great problems of life, both ancient and contemporary. it was not easy to be faithful to the original, and at the same time to present the eternal truths in a way that would appeal to twentieth century man. 

And yet, it was vitally important that I try; for the Essenes, above all others, strove to win the hearts of men through reason, and the powerful and vivid example of their lives.

Sadly, Aldous is no longer here to read my second translation. I have a feeling he would have liked it (not a single footnote!), but I will have to leave the final judgment to my readers. If Books Two and Three will become as popular as Book One, my efforts of many, many years will be amply rewarded.

EDMOND BORDEAUX SZEKELY
San Diego, California
the first of November, 1974.

There are three paths leading to Truth. The first is the path of the consciousness, the second that of nature, and the third is the accumulated experience of past generations, which we receive in the shape of the great masterpieces of all ages. From time immemorial, man and humanity have followed all three paths.
                                                                               
The first path to Truth, the path of the consciousness, is that followed by the great mystics. They consider that the consciousness is the most immediate reality for us and is the key to the universe. it is something which is in us, which is us. 

And throughout the ages the mystics have made the discovery that the laws of human consciousness contain an aspect not found in the laws governing the material universe.
 
A certain dynamic unity exists in our consciousness, where one is at the same time many. it is possible for us to have simultaneously different thoughts, ideas, associations, images, memories and intuitions occupying our consciousness within fragments of a minute or a second, yet all this multiplicity will still constitute only a single dynamic unity. 

Therefore the laws of mathematics, which are valid for the material universe and are a key to its understanding, will not be valid in the field of consciousness, a realm where two and two do not necessarily make four. The mystics also found that measurements of space, time and weight, universally valid in nature and throughout the material universe, are not applicable to the consciousness, where sometimes a few seconds seem like hours, or hours like a minute.

Our consciousness does not exist in space and therefore cannot be measured in spatial terms. It has its own time, which is very often timelessness, so temporal measurements cannot be applied to Truth reached by this path. The great mystics discovered that the human consciousness, besides being the most immediate and the inmost reality for us, is at the same time our closest source of energy, harmony and knowledge. The path to Truth leading to and through the consciousness produced the great teachings of humanity, the great intuitions and the great masterpieces throughout the ages. Such then is the first path to or source of Truth, as the Essene traditions understand and interpret it.

Unfortunately, the magnificent original intuitions of the great masters often lose their vitality as they pass down the generations. They are very often modified, distorted and turned into dogmas, and all too frequently their values become petrified in institutions and organized hierarchies. The pure intuitions are choked by the sands of time, and eventually have to be dug out by seekers of Truth able to penetrate into their essence.

Another danger is that persons following this path to Truth, the path of the consciousness-may fall into exaggerations. They come to think that this is the only path to Truth and disregard all others. Very often, too, they apply the specific laws of the human consciousness to the material universe where they lack validity, and ignore the laws proper to the latter sphere. The mystic often creates for himself an artificial universe, farther and farther removed from reality, till he ends by living in an ivory tower, having lost all contact with reality and life.

The second of the three paths is the path of nature. While the first path of the consciousness starts from within and penetrates thence into the totality of things, the second path takes the opposite way. Its starting point is the external world. it is the path of the scientist, and has been followed in all ages through experience and through experiment, through the use of inductive and deductive methods.
The scientist, working with exact quantitative measurements, measures everything in space and time, and makes all possible correlations.


With his telescope he penetrates into far-distant cosmic space, into the various solar and galactic systems; through spectrum analysis he measures the constituents of the different planets in cosmic space; and by mathematical calculation he establishes in advance the movements of celestial bodies. Applying the law of cause and effect, the scientist establishes a long chain of causes and effects which help him to explain and measure the universe, as well as life.

But the scientist, like the mystic, sometimes falls into exaggerations. While science has transformed the life of mankind and has created great values, for man in all ages, it has failed to give entire satisfaction in the solution of the final problems of existence, life and the universe. The scientist has the long chain of causes and effects secure in all its particles, but he has no idea what to do with the end of the chain. He has no solid point to which he may attach the end of the chain, and so by the path to Truth through nature and the material universe he is unable to answer the great and eternal questions concerning the beginning and end of all things.

The greatest scientists recognize that in the metaphysical field beyond the scientific chain there is something else - continuing from the end of that chain. However, there are also the dogmatic scientists who deny any other approach to Truth than their own, who refuse to attribute reality to the facts and phenomena which they cannot fit neatly into their own categories and classifications.

The path to Truth through nature is not that of the dogmatic scientist, just as the first path is not that of the one-sided mystic. Nature is a great open book in which everything can be found, if we learn to draw from it the inspiration which it has given to the great thinkers of all ages. if we learn her language, nature will reveal to us all the laws of life and the universe.

It is for this reason that all the great masters of humanity from time to time withdrew into nature: Zarathustra and Moses into the mountains, Buddha to the forest, Jesus and the Essenes to the desert-and thus followed this second path as well as that of the consciousness. The two paths do not contradict one another, but harmoniously complete one another in full knowledge of the laws of both. It was thus that the great teachers reached wonderful and deeply profound truths which have given inspiration to millions through thousands of years.

The third path to Truth, is the wisdom, knowledge and experience acquired by the great thinkers of all ages and transmitted to us in the form of great teachings, the great sacred books or scriptures, and the great masterpieces of universal literature which together form what today we would call universal culture.

In brief, therefore, our approach to Truth is a threefold one: through consciousness, nature and culture.
In the following chapters we shall follow this threefold path leading to Truth and shall examine and translate some of the great sacred writings of the Essenes.

There are different ways of studying these great writings. One way-the way of all theologians and of the organized Churches-is to consider each text literally. This is the dogmatic way resulting from a long process of petrification, by which truths are inevitably transformed into dogmas.

When the theologian follows this most easy but one-sided path, he runs into endless contradictions and complications, and he reaches a conclusion as far removed from the truth as that of the scientific interpreter of these texts who rejects them as entirely valueless and without validity. The approaches of the dogmatic theologian and the exclusivist scientist represent two extremes.

A third error is to believe, as do certain symbolists, that these books have no more than a symbolic content and are nothing more than parables. With their own particular way of exaggeration these symbolists make thousands of different and quite contradictory interpretations of these great texts. The spirit of the Essene traditions is opposed to all three of these ways of interpreting these ageless writings and follows an entirely different approach.

The Essene method of interpretation of these books is, on the one hand, to place them in harmonious correlation with the laws of the human consciousness and of nature, and, on the other, to consider the facts and circumstances of the age and environment in which they were written. This approach also takes into account the degree of evolution and understanding of the people to whom the particular master was addressing his message.

Since all the great masters had to adapt their teaching to the level of their audience, they found it necessary to formulate both an exoteric and esoteric teaching. The exoteric message was one comprehensible to the people at large and was expressed in terms of various rules, forms and rituals corresponding to the basic needs of the people and the age concerned. 

Parallel with this, the esoteric teachings have survived through the ages partly as written and partly as unwritten living traditions, free from forms, rituals, rules and dogmas, and in all periods have been kept alive and practiced by a small minority.

It is in this spirit of the interpretation of the Truth that the Essene Gospel of Peace will be translated in the following pages. Rejecting the dogmatic methods of literal and purely scientific interpretation as well as the exaggeration of the symbolists, we shall try to translate the Essene Gospel of Peace in the light of our consciousness and of nature, and in harmony with the great traditions of the Essenes, to whose brotherhood the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls themselves belonged.   (Continue reading here )


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