“Love is the eldest and noblest and mightiest of the Gods and the chiefest author and giver of virtue in life and of happiness and death.” Plato
Plato is considered one of the great philosophers of Western civilization, however, in truth he was one of the great spiritual teachers. He carried on the lineage of the great mystery schools that was started by Orpheus (Buddha), Pythagoras (Kuthumi) and Socrates. This lineage of the Greek mystery schools was carried on by Aristotle after Plato’s death. Many of the “great philosophers” were not even what I would call spiritual in the orientation, however, this was not the case with Plato.
Plato became a disciple of Socrates at the age of twenty, and studied with him for approximately eight years. The night before Plato was introduced to Socrates, Socrates had a dream that a young swan had flown from cupids altar in the academy and had settled to rest in his lap. The swan remained for a short time and then took wing again and flew back to heaven where it was received by the Gods. When Plato arrived the next day, Socrates exclaimed, “Friends, this is swan from cupid’s altar.”
Plato dedicated his life to the discovery of truth. He traveled to Italy to study with the Pythagoreans. It was here that he learned of natural and divine philosophy. He traveled to Egypt and studied astrology. From Socrates he learned much of grammar and rhetoric. In the province of Sais, he studied with the spiritual teachers concerning the immortality of the soul, and the nature of creation.
He was initiated in Egypt in the Hermetic rites (teachings of Thoth), Mosaic practices, and later in all the mysteries of the Greek mystery schools. In this regard he was much like Orpheus and Pythagoras who traveled extensively.
When Plato returned to Athens he established his school called The Academy. Over the entrance of the school were the words, “Let none ignorant of geometry enter here.” Geometry, to Plato, was the whole understanding of the mechanics of the universe. Plato’s academy is considered the first university in history.
Plato never married, and died at the age of 81 on the same day he was born. He is considered one of the great philosophers because knowledge came to him not as spiritual revelation, but through the unfolding of his reasoning powers. The base of his beliefs came from the teachings of Orpheus (Buddha) 1000 years before Plato’s birth. Plato may have had a high regard for reasoning, however, he was also very intuitive. It was really Aristotle, one of his disciples, who worshipped reason to a fault. Plato referred to Aristotle as the “mind” of his school. Aristotle was often very critical and argumentative with Plato. Aristotle had a brilliant mind, however, didn’t seem to have the spiritual depth of Plato, his teacher. Upon Plato’s death, Aristotle founded a second institute of learning in Athens called, the “Peripatetic”.
During Socrates trial before his death, Plato greatly defended his teacher and offered to pay the money needed to secure Socrates freedom. Socrates would not allow this to happen, however. Plato, upon Socrates death, fled to Megara to avoid the prejudice of the Athenians who had brought about the fall of Socrates.
So we see here the great line of spiritual Masters in the Greek mystery schools, beginning with Orpheus (Buddha), Pythagoras (Kuthumi), Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Appolonius of Tyanna (Jesus). It was really Orpheus and Pythagoras, that laid the foundation of the Greek mysteries. The others built upon this foundation.
Plato never got to meet Pythagoras, for he had been dead for 100 years before Plato’s live, however, was greatly influenced and was even considered to be a disciple of his. He incorporated much of Pythagoras’ teachings of mathematics and numerology, and saw God as the supreme geometrician. The essence of what he learned from Socrates was logic and ethics. Plato was truly holistic in his approach, incorporating the arts, sciences, philosophy, and religion.
The philosophers who followed him never equaled his brilliance except for Appolonius of Tyanna, who came three to four hundred years later. When Plato died his school fell apart. For the first twelve centuries of the Christian era, Plato’s teachings dominated the Christian nations.
In the 13th Century Aristotle’s more rational teachings began to overshadow Plato’s teachings, which was really a move backwards. Platoism was not just a philosophy, but was a religion. His major focus was the unity of all things. Division was seen as an illusion. For Plato, a life unexamined was a life not livable.
He was very much into using reason to decide moral questions, which he learned from Socrates. The soul, however, also played a crucial role in his overall philosophy. The soul was seen to function on three distinct levels. The three parts are the reasoning, the assertive, and the desiring. Each of these parts had its virtue or right exercise of function. These were wisdom, courage, and temperance.
The fourth virtue was seen as the balance of these three virtues or functions. This was called justice or righteousness. The integration of the personality was seen to come about when reason established control over instinct and emotion.
In one of his writings called the “Phaedrus”, he described the soul as a chariot drawn by two horses. One horse was good and one bad, with the charioteer being the reason. The spirited and the desiring parts of the soul represented two forms of the love principle. One was attraction to eternal beauty and the other to physical beauty. The soul was seen as winged in its pre-existent state when with the Gods, and losing its wings upon incarnation or birth. The wings were seen as being able to sprout again upon achieving an awakened life. The soul as pre-existent, was taken from the teachings of Orpheus (Buddha). In this regard the soul was seen as a divine element imprisoned in a mortal body.
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