Mahabharata & Trojan War
Oct 27, 2012 11:05 AM
Thomas Taylor in his "The Wandering of Ulysses"
gives a passage from the neoplatonist Hermeas, explaining the basic symbolism of the Iliad:
"By Ilion we must understand the generated material place, which is so denominated from mud and matter (para ten iloun kai ten oulen), and in which there are war and sedition. But the Trojans are material forms, and all the lives which subsist about bodies. Hence, also, the Trojans are called genuine (ithageneis). For all the lives which subsist about bodies, and irrational souls, are favourable and attentive to their proper matter. On the contrary, the Greeks are rational souls, coming from Greece, i.e. from the intelligible into matter. Hence, the Greeks are called foreigners (Epeiloudes) and vanquish the Trojans, as being of a superior order."
So one can equate the Pandavas with the Achaeans or Greeks and the Kuravas with the Trojans. Hermeas' reading being therefore similar to WQJ's, who states his interpretative project thus:
"This valuable privilege of looking for the inner sense, while not straining after impossible meanings in the text, is permitted to all sincere students of any holy scriptures, Christian or Pagan....The moment we are aware of its existence in the poem, our inner self is ready to help the outer man to grasp after it; and in the noble pursuit of these great philosophical and moral truths, which is only our eternal endeavor to realize them as a part of our being, we can patiently wait for a perfect knowledge of the anatomy and functions of the inner man."
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