Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Mani

“The Gardens of Light” by Amin Maalouf (Reviewed in April 19, 2007 and posted in 2008)

“The gardens of light” is translated from French. Amin  Maalouf is currently a French Academician from Lebanese origin who immigrated during the civil war. I read all his books

In the middle of 200 AC, Mani set about spreading his Message and he preached for over thirty years a new religion, a mixture of Christianity (Nazarene), Buddhism and Ahura Mazda (Zoroastrianism and whose priests were called Magi).

Mani was born around AD 216 in Mardinu (Mardin, a town east of present Turkey on the North of the Tigris River, a Syrian region that French mandated power offered to Turkey in 1937).

Mani called himself the “son of Babel“. He experienced the unyielding faith, the teachings and the rigorous life style of the White clad Brethren or monks of a Nazarene sect on the Euphrates River banks, where his father Patek was a member and who adopted the doctrines and teachings of this Christian Nazarene sect..

This sect was called “Halle Haware” or white garment in the Aramaic language.

The members of the sect did Not eat meat or drink wine or leavened bread; the disciples wore white from top to bottom.

This sect was scared of fire, a counter faith to the most common Zaradust faith in the region at the time, and thus would eat only raw fruits and vegetables grown by the community.

Food from outside the community was prohibited and considered “female” food because women were banished from the community and the female names in the scriptures were not mentioned unless the names represented calamities and bad augurs.

(I told my young nephew William, who insists on wearing white garment and who spent three weeks in India at a meditation center in Mount Abu, about this novel and he sounded interested but he claimed that his sect (which he would not give it this label as if it is a bad connotation like cult) is far ancient and going back many thousands of years. William is no longer into these “fashionable” trends)

Mani is now a very close advisor to the Divine King of Kings, the Sassanian monarch Shapur, and managed for 3 years to delay a resumption of war with the Roman Empire.

The Roman Emperor Philip the Arab (Born in Syria) had struck a deal with Shapur to cede Armenia to the Persian Empire and to deliver a tribute of 100,000 sacs of gold every year by a caravan of bedouins of his tribe. 

Philip needed badly a truce in order to celebrate the 1000 years of the creation of Rome.

After Philip was assassinated, his successor resumed paying the tribute but was assassinated two years later and four generals were vying for the throne of Rome and the tribute could not arrive.

Shapur succeeded his father Ardashir, the founder of the Sassanid Dynasty, who defeated the powerful Parthian king Artabanus in AD 226, who had previously defeated the Emperor Caracalla in AD 217.

The Parthian Empire was located in Northern Iran and was comprised of the current Kurdistan territory, part of Anatolia (in current Turkey) and the central Iraqi plains and including Babylon.

The Roman Empire had the Western parts of current Turkey with Cappadocia as the main city and all of Syria (Aram) and Egypt. 

The Sassanid Dynasty had Ctesiphon as its Capital, near Babylon, but on the Eastern shore of the Tigris and which used to be the Capital of the defeated Parthian Empire. The Sassanid Empire expanded to include Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

Shapur could have installed his capital anywhere he wanted further to the East but he wanted to be close to the Roman Empire, his arch-enemy.  Shapur succeeded twice more in defeating the Romans and captured Emperor Valerian and made him prisoner in AD 259.

Shapur begged Mani to join him on one of his war expeditions so that he may promote his religion to the conquered territories but Mani declined the offer saying: “My words shall shed no blood. My hands shall bless no blade. My hands shall neither bless the knives of sacrificing priests, nor even a woodcutter’s axe.”

While the Magi were destroying the Gods in the conquered territories of Armenia, Cappadocia, and Syria Mani and his followers “The Sons of Lights” were preaching peace and contempt for all swords and the hands which wield them. 

Mani and his followers prayed at the tomb of his father Patek and his mother Mariam and he felt weak in the natural surrounding of his village.

Patek, the father of Mani, was from a Parthian warrior class and Sittai, and the leader of the White-clad sect had ordered him to go home and bring his son to live within the community after he is weaned.

Mani was 4 years old when he was baptized in the river and lived in the community without knowing who was his father or mother since Patek was not allowed or cared to show affection for his son.

Mani was used to isolate himself and discovered a favorite place for seclusion in a peninsula by the Tigris River surrounded by palm trees. By the age of twelve Mani must have gathered from bits of conversation how he was conceived and his origins and he liked to paint. 

It is at that age that he saw on the surface of the river the image of his “Twin” or “Double” who told him: “Draw what seems right to thee, Mani.  He who sends me knows no rival.  All beauty is the reflection of His beauty”. 

Mani told his close friend Malchos in the community: “Tread lightly on this earth, avoid sudden movements, and do not kill trees or flowers. Pretend to plow the soil, but do not wound it. When others scream and yell, move only your lips.”

When he was 24, Mani’s “twin” told him that it was time for him to get out to the world and spread the Message of tolerance to all religions and bring down the walls among casts and races. 

Mani shed his white garment and wore colorful cloth and walked to Ctesiphon to find his friend Malchos.  Malchos was originally from Tyre (south current Lebanon) and stayed in the community when his father drowned there and then was excommunicated at the age of fifteen.

Patek joined his son in order to bring him back to the community and ended up becoming his first disciple. 

Mani started teaching that every person or object is a mix of light and darkness and it is through the five senses that individuals need to differentiate the good and beautiful in the world and increase their knowledge, sense of beauty and tolerance.

Mani left for Deb by sea, on the estuary of the Indus River (in current Pakistan). This city was where all the ships from West to East stopped and the Kushan princes and kings were tolerant to all religious beliefs and it is said that Thomas, the twin brother of Jesus, was the apostle who spread Christ’s teachings there and in India.

It used to be a treacherous voyage and took a month under the best monsoon conditions around the month of May.

Deb is no more, and the emplacement of Karachi is very close; Ctesiphone is no more, but current Baghdad was built close by.

Hormisdas, the grandchild of Ardashir, had defeated the Kushan princes and was ready to enter Deb.  Mani met him with a delegation, saved Hormisdas favorite daughter from death, and saved Deb from destruction. 

Instead of gold, Mani asked Hormisdas to give him Denagh, a 13- year old daughter of a martyred officer that Hormisdas has taken under his protection. Denagh has stayed near Mani the whole night healing the little girl.

When later Patek wanted to know the kind of relationship Mani had with Denagh he replied: “Her garments trace the boundaries of my nomadic realm“. 

He indirectly answered the implicit question by stating: “What merit would there be in depriving oneself of a pleasure which one had never enjoyed?”

Back to Ctesiphon, Mani met the Divine King Shapur and secured permission to spread his Message under his protection.  Mani was 26 then and his speech was: “I respect all creeds. The religious sects do not want to listen to the good in the other sects but they assemble the flocks of the faithful around hatred because it is only in confrontation that they show their solidarity. 

When men are tired of rites, myths and curses, they will remember that, one day, during the reign of the great Shapur, a humble mortal sent a cry resounding across the world.”

Mani had a special relationship with King Shapur and the latter was ready to adopt Mani’s Message if he agreed to stay close to him at the court. 

Mani declined the deal and the Magi gave Mani hard times because his message was a threat to their cast.  Hormisdas, Shapur’s younger son and King of Armenia and a follower of Mani’s Message, succeeded in the throne for a short period because the Magi poisoned him.

The next king was Bahram who tortured Mani for 30 days and exposed him shackled for everyone in Beth-Lapat to see. Mani remains were hanged naked for three days at the entrance of the city and no one was to know where he was buried. But the wall became a place of pilgrimage.  

The disciples of Mani wrote everywhere “Mani Hayye” (Mani is alive) which was transformed into “Manichean“.

The Magi and the Catholic Church did their best to annihilate his books, paintings, and any icon of Mani.

The Western and Eastern religions succeeded in deforming Mani teachings and casting him as “The Devil”, the “lying demon” and the “pestilential heresy”. 

For a thousand years, he was called “The Apostle of Jesus” in Egypt and “The Buddha of Light” in China.

It is unfortunate that Shapur was dying when the Romans invaded Palmira (Tadmor) and captured Zenobia prisoner. Zenobia had managed to rule over Syria and Egypt from Tadmor.

Note: Mani message was the predominant religion in North Africa when St. Augustine lived in Tunisia

“You sexually harassed me, and my older sister too…” (fiction story, Chapter 4)

The gang of Mani, Baptiste, and Tenderness came down for lunch at 2 pm.

I happened to be there, working on editing a few of my articles.

I stepped into the kitchen and without warning Mani immediately uttered:

“So I heard that you had a fight with my youngest sister last night… That was wrong”

If you are interested in what Mani was referring to, do read first https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/what-is-to-be-done-short-of-clinical-testing-for-hormones-deficiencies/

I replied: “Yes, I had to defend myself from physical aggressions. But no physical harms ensued. Your sister suffers from hormones imbalance…”

Mani retorted: “Self defense on a young girl of 15 is not acceptable. I understand how much you suffered in your life, but reacting physically is not permissible…”

I replied: “Self defense is admissible in all cases. Your sister should have learned by now that initiating a physical attack on people is wrong. If you have trained your sister to behave adequately and stopped cajoling her everytime she throws a tantrum, we would not have had this conversation…”

Mani said: “You are never to respond physically to my sister attacks, even in self defense. We have suffered you enough and in the event of recurrence, you’ll have to deal with me…”

I have no idea how he might deal with me, and I didn’t care for Mani’s soft outburst that dripped of poison and condescension.

I replied: “I will always react physically to anyone who attacks me physically. Someone in this family has to point to the correct attitude. And I tell you that you don’t know your sister: She would have spat in my face if I didn’t confront her physically…”

Baptiste, the hairy tall new comer in the extended family, and about to go bald in a couple of years, interjected in the discussion and blurted out with effusion and anger: “You were wrong. Period. That you disagree with everyone around this table is a good reason for voicing an ultimatum…”

From the onset, I had this strong feeling that this meeting was programmed and rehearsed, and the three members of the gang were intent on vomiting their venom.

I had no idea this Baptiste applied this brand of “democracy”: If you disagree from the vast majority (only 3 people around the table), you are the bad sheep to be kicked in the behind… Baptiste was the least of my concerns and I refused to reply to his “opinion”.

I always strongly suspected Baptiste to be this unidirectional kind of people, idiotically clinging to a restricted set of value system… Occasionally camouflaged under a kind and smiling face.

I know that mother likes Baptiste very much and appreciate his dedication to her married granddaughter. Mother and Baptiste easily laugh to one another quips and he is very respectful to mother, and I have no complaints in that respect…  and I am comfortable with this bonding.

Except that Baptiste cannot fool me: When he has an opinion about another person (a perception), nothing can alter his position…

And here Radyia (Contented) barged in, furious and ready to scream her anger, a pent up anger that never finds a release valve.

Radyia gave a short break to her sweet ass from the couch, sitting for hours watching stored TV series on her laptop. Radyia is now about 18, but looking younger for her small stature, flat chested, and seemingly skinny when dress the way she does.

Radyia repeated the same statements and arguments of her younger sister, as if her sister learned exactly how to reply from Radyia.

Radyia went a step further and screamed: “You sexually harassed me, and my older sister too. You should never be allowed in this house…” (It is an apartment that dad gave them).

Radyia ejaculation didn’t turn out to be a bombshell to the assembled party. As if they had coordinated their roles in that comical scene.

Their mother Concita was wiping the dust in the dinning room, and her hand movements got faster and frantic. As if she was wondering: “Is this family evolving into a mad and unchecked entity?”

I asked Radyia for explanation and what she recalls when she was 13 of age, But Baptiste whisked her away, back to her comfortable couch.

Mani resumed with a mocking smile: “Not two but three sisters. And you were lucky: My dad contemplated to take you to court many years ago, and desisted…”

Now, that was news to me.

They are 4 sisters, and I wondered who was spared and who is cultivating a front page story. And I said: “Name the sisters and tell me what happened and what you considered sexual harassment…”

Mani said: “They are not here now, and I am not in a position to speak on their behaves…” (And why he was so confident in his statement?)

Mani taunted himself to be very careful not to be biased in his discussions and be fair by hearing both parties… Not in this case, and not today.

Claiming sexual harassment is a lost case, anyway you try to explain or respond. Best way is to communicate in writing.

When a girl of 13, not pretty, skinny, short and flat chested is curious about the transformation in her physical and emotional states, she never lacks of tricks to implicitly let you make a move.

Maybe there are very few males who are perceptive and hot enough to comprehend the first  female signals.  In my case, many signals are needed and done in many ways to attract my attention.

Frankly, it is hard to pinpoint what was going on, how the process got started and evolved. The only moment I can recall is the first time I touch tits of a receptive girl.

Radyia was 13 then, and she is 18 now, and she is as flat chested, as small and as not pretty as ever.

No matter how she keeps with the latest fashion and try hard to look sexy and attractive. No boy ever fell for her, yet.

Radyia used to come down in her transparent night gown to see me. Understandable. It is very hot here in summertime, and no air conditioned facilities.

Her descents got frequent and with a twist every time: variations in attraction tactics…

I finally got it and felt pity for her unstable emotional situation.

What could I do with this girl and how could I handle such a situation?

Three clear alternatives to ponder upon:

1. You refrain from reacting and making a move, telling her bullshit story that she is beautiful and attractive… but this is not right. You cannot fool a girl this way: Children are better than adult in recognizing what you are trying to convey and avoid. And she will be thinking: “I am not beautiful and I am not attractive, and you are full of shit…”. And this girl will hate you and despise you for the way you treated her with condescension, an idiot girl, a non-entity..

2. You respond harshly that her attitude is indecent, that only sluts do these things… The message is the same, though not as bad as the previous alternative. The girl will stop treating you as friend to rely upon in times of needs…

3. A third alternative is to say nothing, touch the breasts, kiss the neck. Going no further…

I touched her breast a little.

The next afternoon she was back, for more. What the heck: Soon her older brothers will be playing with her tits for “fun”, and Radyia will be screaming, playfully. As she should.

The troubles come later, as a repeat is expected and the process gets complicated: Holding hands is fine for a week…

And one party gets tired of the game. And one partner learns to get detached.

I had written a poem on what happened and let Radyia read it. She did read it reluctantly. I asked her: “What is your opinion”. She replied: “This post is not correct”.

I wanted to reedit the poem to include her side of the story, but Radyia refused. I assumed that she lacked the verbal ability to express her feelings.

And the girl grows up and forgets the situational conditions: It is not possible that she had made the move toward this elderly creature…

Radyia’s bitterness has no bound, and her humorless acquired condition is totally abject.

She couldn’t lure any boy, even a brainless one, to fall for her. Not a single boy, None. No matter how she dressed in the latest fashion and tried to attract boys.

It is a lost cause:

If you refrain from interfering with family affairs, the extended family circle, and your experience taught you not to engage in family troubles, you are blamed for detachment behavior, heartless feelings, and lack of compassion, of loyalty… for the general good

If you occasionally get engaged in family matters, you are designated as the convenient subject to load all the blame on your shoulders… for immersing yourself into issues that are None of your “business”. All the troubles are heaped on your head…

And these grown kids have forgotten that they relied on me to take them to parks, zoos, biking by the rivers, hiking, swimming, skiing, going to movies… and giving rides to schools and universities, a teaching how to drive…

And I am barely suffered to be among these people

What the heck. We grow up in stages, and we have to deal with each stage as we best knew how.

Misha is the Idiot dog of the neighborhood; (October 15, 2009)

Misha is a gentle female dog that had submitted to surgery after twice giving birth to too many puppies.

We had hard time distributing the puppies.  Misha loves to be cajoled and seeks friendly touches; she never barked before; when she did, it was soft with a message.

One day, my nephew William returned from the university with Misha in his car; she was a stray puppy and scared.

Misha slept in William’s room and William got serious raising Misha according to Internet information and guidelines on the effective ways to train an “intelligent” dog.

Misha would not eat before the right order for “go eat” is given. Many other various orders and signals were peppered around that got us all confused, except Misha the smart dog.

Four years later, William had to move on and settle in an urban city to have easy access to clients and in order to bike instead of driving with a mask on. Yes, William is a strict vegetarian, almost an extremist in his conviction of the kind of food that can harm your body and mind.

Every now and then, the ingredients and varieties of food change according to the new “intelligence” gathered on the Internet. Definitely meat and milk based products are evil food; onion and ail are enemies to focusing and meditating. The varieties of beans vary depending on the latest “intelligence” and research.

I won’t talk of William’s white garment (after his retreat in India), a remnant of Mani’s in third century Persia.

Well, this post is not about William but is focused on the student Misha.

One night, a dark brown and sort of ugly male dog, with almost mauve eyes, paid Misha a visit. In the dark I thought he was Misha and the dog conjectured that we might be friendly people. “Browny” parked in our parking lot and befriended Misha.

Misha was the leader and Browny followed her. Browny might not be a stray dog: he wears a collar but he liked very much our company and Misha gave him priority at eating time.

Once, Browny took a vacation for a couple of days and Misha got upset and started barking at night calling after Browny, the ugly dog.  Browny vacations increased and his staying outside the parking lot extended for many days and then weeks.  Misha got the habit of barking all night long.

Mother is unable to sleep. Even the dogs in the neighborhood stopped responding to Misha.

Misha has become the idiot of the neighborhood at night fall.  Misha might have a prophetic message to disseminate, but we comprehend not her language. The neighborhood dogs are not encouraging us to take Misha’s message too seriously.

William is urgently asked to go back to Internet and find out what animal researchers have in their bags to resolve Misha idiotic period.

William had an “valid” excuse for Misha’s current behaviors, but I forgot the premises.

It is sad to say that Elie drove on purpose over Browny, claiming that he didn’t see it at the entrance of the driveway.

The Nazarene: An unpublished coherent biography (December 16, 2008)

 

Preamble: Over a hundred different manuscripts (Bibles) have been written on Jesus and his message in the early days of Christianity and before the four New Testaments (that were written by Mathew, Luke, Mark and John) that the Council of Nicee (Turkey) in 325 decided to select as the official representatives of the story of Jesus.

(Ironically, the selected Bibles were written in Greek; maybe the language was one of the main factors for retaining them). 

There are evidences that the Bible of Mathew was originally written in Aramaic before being translated into Greek. Many of these early manuscripts were written by the disciples of Jesus and close companions like Barnaby (the spiritual guide of Paul and who accompanied Paul in his first apostolic trip in the interior of Turkey),

Thomas (not necessarily the twin brother of Jesus who established the first Christian community in the port of Deb on the Indus River), Philip, Bartholomew, and others. There are many folk tales that are to be considered as more valid than the canonical “truths or facts”.

What we are told is that Jesus had his Bar Mitzvah in Jerusalem and he sat among the priests and had a discussed with them.  In between this event and his preaching adventure (over 25 years) the Church has nothing to offer but that Jesus obeyed his parents.

Even the story of his birth until his Bar Mitzvah is not reliable and could be considered as one of the acceptable version.

It is said that Jesus was 33-year old when he was crucified; that is the minimum age because Jesus was older and probably close to be forty.

How Jesus spent the time in between (a span of at least 20 years) and where did he live and grew to maturity?  As is the custom in Judaism, boys were married at 13 and Jesus was not to be an exception but he had an outlet to tradition:  Nazareth was a hotbed for the Essenien Jewish sect located in Qumran (not far from the western side of the Dead Sea).

The Essenien sect (cabala) lived in a closed community; women were not included, and the members vowed celibacy; they were vegetarians, ate together, distributed their wealth to the whole community, and each member worked according to his skills.

The members wore a unique white dress code in summer and another outfit in winter. The members of this community were known to be excellent healers. This sect was also labeled the “Baptist“, the “Nazoreen” and “Ossene” (the Strong).

The teachings of Buddhism had reached this community two centuries ago because King Ashoka of India had dispatched Buddhist monks to this region. It is very plausible that Jesus opted to join the Qumran community to avoid being wed. The Essenien caste had branches in Alexandria (Egypt) called Therapeutic or healers and also in Syria.

John the Baptist was Essenien.  The fact that the canonic testaments reveal that John the Baptist didn’t recognize Jesus at the first sight might suggests that the two men didn’t meet in the community of Qumran at the same periods or that Jesus had left the community long time ago: Jesus was a traveler and not a community dweller.

There are evidences that Jesus was a wide traveler, knew many languages and was highly versed in religions and other legal aspects of the land.  It is very plausible that Jesus visited Alexandria, Syria, and even reached India; he lingered in India and Persia before returning to Syria and Galilee.

A manuscript named “Himis” was discovered in Kashmir, close to the city of Leh, which described the “Lost years of Jesus”. In that manuscript it is referred to Jesus as Issa (an Aramaic name that the Arabs adopted) who traveled to most of the Holy Cities in India such as Djagguernat, Radjagriha, and Benares, and was frequently chased out by the clergies (sacerdotal officers).

The manuscript relates multitudes of pronouncements and teachings by Issa that are compatible to the canonic Bibles. Issa fled to Kashmir, Afghanistan, and Persia.

It is plausible that a Christian sect in the vicinity of Kashmir wrote that narrative. It is also plausible that Jesus survived his wounds and headed eastward: the shroud of Milan have marks of a body still hot and not of a cadaver.

I frankly cannot see why this story should be thrown out; countless adolescents tour the world nowadays; it was even more common in those times for young people trekking to learn and attend renowned schools.

Jesus knew more than three language; Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek (the language of the educated of the time) and Latin since he spoke to Roman centurions and Pontus Pilate.

It is also narrated that Jesus lived for a time in Sidon (a Lebanese port) teaching in its famous law school.  His mother Mary and part of her family moved to a town nearby (Qana) when Jesus was a lecturer in the law school.

It is no fluke incident that Jesus and Mary attended a wedding in Qana (a town close to Sidon); it is also very rational that Jesus decided to start his message after Qana when his mother removed the cover of secrecy and exposed his supernatural gifts of turning water to wine.

Jesus was a high priest in the Essen sect and preached a message based in symbolism and fables and was highly spiritual and staunchly anti-Pharisee.  The Jewish cabala sect is a branch of the Essen sect and is founded on the Sumerian theology and myths.

Albert Schweitzer, a theologian, physician, thinker, organ player and Nobel Peace laureate offered his version on Jesus.  Schweitzer said, based on the first two Bibles of Mathew and Marc, that Jesus preached his message to the general public in the last year before his crucifixion.  Six months, all in all, was the period that Jesus was accompanied by the public; the remaining months he spent them among his close disciple around Caesarea of Philippi.

In the beginning, Jesus accepted the label of a prophet among the prophets but then he reached the belief that he is the Messiah of the Jews.

Thus, he sent his disciples two by two to preach the message of the end of time.  Jesus was very surprised when all his disciples returned safe and sound; he expected his disciples to suffer terribly and be put to death if the “prophesy of end of time” was to be accomplished.

Jesus then decided that God would accept his sacrifice and save his close disciples from atrocious deaths before the first coming of the Messiah.  The version of what happened in Jerusalem and Jesus crucifixion can be followed in my article “Judas Iscariot“.

 

Note 1:  Jesus had a large extended family; he had many brothers and sisters and his grandmother Ann married a second time and had many boys and girls.  Mathew made a valiant attempt through 42 generations to link Jesus to David. If we have no records of Jesus own family then how could we go that far back in genealogy? 

The Christian Jews wanted a Jewish King very badly.  Actually, several early Christian communities unified the New Testament into one coherent book and had eliminated Mathew’s ridiculous endeavor.

 

Note 2: The first Christian communities emulated the monastic and ascetic life of the Essenien sect. A few early Christian sects went beyond the ascetic of the Essenians; for example, the author Amine Maaluf, in his book on Mani, mentions a community called in Aramaic “Halle Haware” or white garment clad people; this caste did not eat meat or drink wine or leavened bread; the disciples wore white garments from top to bottom, were scared of fire (symbol of evil), and thus would eat only raw fruits and vegetables grown by the community. 

Outside food was prohibited and considered “female” food because women were banished from the community and the female names in the scriptures were not mentioned unless the names represented calamities and bad augurs.  Travelers of this community carried with them the unleavened bread and produce of their home grown community because outside food was not pure.

Many monophysist Christian sects (Jesus is only divine) like the Jacobite and Nastourian (a name originated from the name Nazareth) had reached China before Islam (around 600 AC); they translated their Bible into Chinese and were permitted to preach their brand of religion and build churches. 

The Nastourians built churches all along the Silk Road and many of these edifices can still be found in Tibet, Mongolia, China, Afghanistan, and Persia.

It is also believed that the Prophet Mohammad learned about Christianity from these sects that were marginalized by the official Byzantine Church and labelled “heretics” and persecuted.

“The Gardens of Light” by Amin  (Written in April 19, 2007)

“The gardens of light” is translated from French.

In the middle of 200 AC, Mani set about spreading his Message and he preached for over thirty years a new religion, a mixture of Christianity (Nazarene), Buddhism and Ahura Mazda (Zoroastrianism and whose priests were called Magi).

Mani was born around AD 216 in Mardinu (a town east of present Turkey on the North of the Tigris River) and he called himself the “son of Babel“. He experienced the unyielding faith, teachings and the rigorous life style of the White clad Brethren or monks of a Nazarene sect on the Euphrates banks, where his father Patek was a member and who adopted the doctrines and teachings of this Christian Nazarene sect..

This sect was called “Halle Haware” or white garment in the Aramaic language. The members of the sect did not eat meat or drink wine or leavened bread; the disciples wore white from top to bottom. This sect was scared of fire, a counter faith to the most common Zaradust faith in the region at the time, and thus would eat only raw fruits and vegetables grown by the community.

Outside food was prohibited and considered “female” food because women were banished from the community and the female names in the scriptures were not mentioned unless the names represented calamities and bad augurs.

I told my nephew William, who insists on wearing white garment and who spent three weeks in India at a meditation center in Mount Abu, about this novel and he sounded interested but he claimed that his sect (which he would not give it this label as if it is a bad connotation like cult) is far ancient and going back many thousands of years.

Mani is now a very close advisor to the Divine King of Kings, the Sassanian monarch Shapur, and managed for 3 years to delay a resumption of war with the Roman Empire. The Roman Emperor Philip the Arab had struck a deal with Shapur to cede Armenia to the Persian Empire and to deliver a tribute of 100,000 sacs of gold every year by a caravan of bedouins of his tribe. Philip needed badly a truce in order to celebrate the 1000 years of the creation of Rome.

After Philip was assassinated, his successor resumed paying the tribute but was assassinated two years late,r and four generals were vying for the throne of Rome and the tribute could not arrive.

Shapur succeeded his father Ardashir, the founder of the Sassanid Dynasty, who defeated the powerful Parthian king Artabanus in AD 226, who had previously defeated the Emperor Caracalla in AD 217.

The Parthian Empire was located in Northern Iran and was comprised of the current Kurdistan territory, part of Anatolia and the central Iraqi plains and including Babylon. The Roman Empire had the Western parts of current Turkey with Cappadocia as the main city and all of Syria (Aram) and Egypt.  The Sassanid Dynasty had Ctesiphon as its Capital, near Babylon, but on the Eastern shore of the Tigris and which used to be the Capital of the defeated Parthian Empire.

The Sassanid Empire expanded to include Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Shapur could have installed his capital anywhere he wanted further to the East but he wanted to be close to the Roman Empire, his arch-enemy.  Shapur succeeded twice more in defeating the Romans and captured Emperor Valerian prisoner in AD 259.

Shapur begged Mani to join him on one of his war expeditions so that he may promote his religion to the conquered territories but Mani declined the offer saying: “My words shall shed no blood. My hands shall bless no blade. My hands shall neither bless the knives of sacrificing priests, nor even a woodcutter’s axe.”

While the Magi were destroying the Gods in the conquered territories of Armenia, Cappadocia, and Syria Mani and his followers “The Sons of Lights” were preaching peace and contempt for all swords and the hands which wield them.

While the fathers of the prophets from Moses, to Buddha, to Jesus or Zoroaster were absent or ghost figures, Mani’s father followed closely in his footsteps, a disciple of the apostle.  Mani and his followers prayed at the tomb of his father Patek and his mother Mariam and he felt weak in the natural surrounding of his village. Patek, the father of Mani, was from a Parthian warrior class and Sittai, the leader of the White-clad sect had ordered him to go home and bring his son to live within the community after he is weaned.

Mani was 4 years old when he was baptized in the river and lived in the community without knowing who was his father or mother since Patek was not allowed or cared to show affection for his son.

Mani was used to isolate himself and discovered a favorite place for seclusion in a peninsula by the Tigris River surrounded by palm trees. By the age of twelve Mani must have gathered from bits of conversation how he was conceived and his origins and he liked to paint.  It is at that age that he saw on the surface of the river the image of his “Twin” or “Double” who told him: “Draw what seems right to thee, Mani.  He who sends me knows no rival.  All beauty is the reflection of His beauty”.  Mani told his close friend Malchos in the community: “Tread lightly on this earth, avoid sudden movements, and do not kill trees or flowers. Pretend to plow the soil, but do not wound it. When others scream and yell, move only your lips.”

When he was 24, Mani’s “twin” told him that it was time for him to get out to the world and spread the Message of tolerance to all religions and bring down the walls among casts and races.  Mani shed his white garment and wore colorful cloth and walked to Ctesiphone to find his friend Malchos.  Malchos was originally from Tyre and stayed in the community when his father drowned there and then was excommunicated at the age of fifteen.

Patek joined his son in order to bring him back to the community and ended up becoming his first disciple.  Mani started teaching that every person or object is a mix of light and darkness and it is through the five senses that individuals need to differentiate the good and beautiful in the world and increase their knowledge, sense of beauty and tolerance.

Mani left for Deb by sea, on the estuary of the Indus River. This city was where all the ships from West to East stopped and the Kushan princes and kings were tolerant to all religious beliefs and it is said that Thomas, the twin brother of Jesus, was the apostle who spread Christ’s teachings there and in India. It used to be a treacherous voyage and took a month under the best monsoon conditions around the month of May.

Deb is no more, and the emplacement of Karachi is very close; Ctesiphone is no more, but current Baghdad was built close by.

Hormisdas, the grandchild of Ardashir, had defeated the Kushan princes and was ready to enter Deb.  Mani met him with a delegation, saved his favorite daughter from death, and saved Deb from destruction.  Instead of gold, Mani asked Hormisdas to give him Denagh, a 13- year old daughter of a martyred officer that Hormisdas has taken under his protection.

Denagh has stayed near Mani the whole night healing the little girl. When later on Patek wanted to know the kind of relationship Mani had with Denagh he replied: “Her garments trace the boundaries of my nomadic realm“.  He indirectly answered the implicit question by stating: “What merit would there be in depriving oneself of a pleasure which one had never enjoyed?”

Back to Ctesiphon, Mani met the Divine King Shapur and secured permission to spread his Message under his protection.  Mani was 26 then and his speech was: “I respect all creeds. The religious sects do not want to listen to the good in the other sects but they assemble the flocks of the faithful around hatred because it is only in confrontation that they show their solidarity.  When men are tired of rites, myths and curses, they will remember that, one day, during the reign of the great Shapur, a humble mortal sent a cry resounding across the world.”

Mani had a special relationship with King Shapur and the later was ready to adopt Mani’s Message if he agreed to stay close to him at the court.  Mani declined the deal and the Magi gave Mani hard times because his message was a threat to their cast.  Hormisdas, Shapur’s younger son and King of Armenia and a follower of Mani’s Message, succeeded in the throne for a short period because the Magi poisoned him.

The next king was Bahram who tortured Mani for 30 days and exposed him shackled for everyone in Beth-Lapat to see; his remains were hanged naked for three days at the entrance of the city and no one was to know where he was buried but the wall became a place of pilgrimage.   The disciples of Mani wrote everywhere “Mani Hayye” which was transformed into “Manichean“.

The Magi and the Catholic Church did their best to annihilate his books, paintings, and any icon of Mani; West and East religions succeeded in deforming his teachings and casting him as “The Devil”, the “lying demon” and the “pestilential heresy”.  For a thousand years, he was called “The Apostle of Jesus” in Egypt and “The Buddha of Light” in China.

It is unfortunate that Shapur was dying when the Romans invaded Palmira (Tadmor) and captured Zenobia prisoner.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

December 2020
M T W T F S S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

Blog Stats

  • 1,441,786 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.adonisbouh@gmail.com

Join 784 other followers

%d bloggers like this: