Ariadne/Chapter Three: Leonardo
Still impressed by what she heard, Ariadne slowly descended the steps of the amphitheater. Almost all the listeners have already dispersed, only a few have surrounded Pythagoras and asked questions.
A little in the distance, Ariadne saw a young man who seemed familiar to her. Perfect complexion, with dense light curly hair, some strands of which so burned in the sun that they became light golden. Shining eyes.
Ariadne could not take her eyes off, because something else surprisingly beautiful was in him. It was something like Pythagoras Himself, but not external! He, like Pythagoras, radiated the Divine Energy — pure and shining…
And suddenly she remembered: he is her childhood friend from Athens, Leonardo!
Ariadne joyfully approached:
“Is it really you, Leonardo?”
“Yes, Ariadne! How glad I am to see you! You have become such a beauty!”
“I’m also very glad, Leonardo! You have changed so much! I could hardly recognize you! Are you with Pythagoras?”
“Oh yes, Ariadne! I’ve changed a lot — thanks to Him!
“Yes, I am with Him! We are constructing a school here, in which there will be training for those who aspire to Wisdom and Beauty!
“There will be temples where people can remain in silence and listen to Divine Revelations. Also — houses for all students, and an amphitheater in which we will listen to Pythagoras! There will be tracks along the sea, and a place for swimming, and a beautiful garden!
“Do you want to come with me? I’ll show you all this!”
“Let’s go! I was very interested in listening to His speech!”
… On the way, they were talking:
“Tell me: how did you get to know Pythagoras?”
… Leonardo pondered briefly, then began the account:
“Now even to remember brings shame… There was a trial of three citizens of Athens. The speakers spoke in turns: in accusation or defense. The charge was false, the sentence was cruel. The orator who spoke in defense was inept, his statements in defense of the accused were weak and uninformed. He then blushed, then paled in excitement, but he could not connect his thoughts into orderly evidence and clothe the truth in words…
“My friend and I used to go to such meetings to have fun, practice wit. But we never spoke publicly. We never worried about the results, but there was only a false pleasure from the feeling of superiority over others — superiority in the mind and eloquence…
“And now, having already ridiculed the absurdity of accusations amongst ourselves, we scornfully ridiculed the awkward defender.
“Suddenly Pythagoras appeared near us.
“He suggested I speak in defense of the accused — to act better than the man who was so obviously defeated in the opinion of those who will now have to pass sentence.
“At first, I refused, saying that this fuss about ridiculous charges is not serious…
“Pythagoras answered then:
‘But behind these words is the fate of those three people! Do you not have the courage and the intelligence to apply your eloquence to protect them?’
“… He then touched my pride. And I made a speech.
“It should be noted that my first public speech was not very successful, but it was quite effective.
“I disproved the arguments of both inept prosecutors and the absurd statements of the defender, then I illuminated the situation as I understood it. Under the rapid approval of all listeners, the accused were acquitted.
“The most unexpected thing for me was the gratitude of that unqualified defender, Theoritas, for my speech. He was not touched at all by my kinky ridicule over his performance. He sincerely rejoiced that my speech showed the truth and saved people from false accusations and an unfair sentence!
“Nearby Pythagoras stood. And suddenly, I became painfully shamed for all I did, flaunting before people my wit!
“My friend, with whom we mocked, did not understand me and, in perplexity of the change that occurred in me, left us.
“But I — embraced Theoritas as a friend.
“I will introduce you, if you want. Now his performances far surpass mine — in eloquence. He wanted to master this — and he has managed.
“And now I’m attracted to something quite different: the ability to master… However, we will talk about this later.
“And then — Pythagoras invited both of us to go with Him.
“He said that He had conceived the creation of a spiritual school that includes a community of like-minded people — where wisdom and eloquence serve Truth, where justice has power, where kindness reigns in all its splendor, where evil and other vices are subject to denunciation and annihilation. Because they are the greatest folly and insanity that can be inherent in people.
“… And here we are! Look: how beautiful it is!”
… The place was really beautiful! There was a wonderful view of the sea, one wanted to spread wings like a bird and soar over all this natural beauty!
… Leonardo showed Ariadne the future layout of the school. He led her along the slope and the top of the hill and described with delight in words not yet built houses, not yet laid out marble stairs.
Ariadne listened, smiling slightly. So far only a small group of students worked in the distance, constructing a basin; in the way of the mountain stream, to form a convenient place to collect fresh water.
“And are you digging the ground, building a swimming pool, planting a garden? Why do you wear stones and paint walls? Why you yourself — instead of slaves — work here!”
“No, Ariadne: everyone does the work that is feasible for him or her! Well, the slaves — there are none and never will be! It would be immoral if one person serves another in coercion, not out of a desire to help!
“Here — the greatness of those souls who strive for Purity and Light!
“And the work in any earthly — it helps them in this!
“Yes, there are among us those who, by the will of fate, were in slavery. They were bought by Pythagoras. And many of them are much smarter, more honest, more beautiful souls, than those who think of themselves as aristocrats!”
“Are you hinting at me?”
“Oh no! Not at all! Sorry!…”
… Suddenly Pythagoras came out to meet them.
Ariadne did not know what to say and how to behave in surprise…
“I salute the beautiful by both soul and body Ariadne! I’m glad that Leonardo spoke so well of our plans!”
… And then Ariadne did not hear whether Pythagoras was speaking or was silent. That wave of Light that she felt during Pythagoras’ performance — became the Ocean of Divine Light, Which embraced from all sides and filled the body with bliss…
When she returned to the usual perception of the world, Pythagoras was no longer around.
“I do not remember anything, Leonardo! There was only Light — everywhere: outside and inside me! What was it?”
“The Divine part in you is ready to wake up! You — as the soul — are ready to awaken and comprehend the reality of being. And in it — the world of both objects and people and even the seas and mountains is only a small superficial part of the Great, Perfect, and Whole Creation.
“Shall I escort you home?”
“No, thank you! I must now comprehend all this — myself…”