“Everyone who received initiation has to shine
with the received Fire and
ignite new Light — the Light of Knowledge and
Love for the Creator of everything!”
This cold night in the Libyan Desert seemed endless for both the prisoners and their guards.
The chief of the Persian guards already started to worry that they had gone astray.
Finally, the lights of the fire of the huge camp became visible ahead and everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
All the captives, except one, were taken to the rest of the slaves captured by the Persian army.
“What about this Phoenician? Looks like he is a priest, and seems to be important! Where should we bring him?”
… The Persian with a grim visage and a badly healed scar across his face scowled and silently waved his hand toward the distant campfire.
The new captive was very tall and powerfully built, as if he was an athlete but not a priest. He had long and thick curly black hair. His simple linen and formerly white robe was torn in several places and had the obvious signs of struggle.
The priest-Phoenician was brought to the indicated spot. One of the guards, passing him off to the new guards, said:
“Here we go, take this Phoenician! He is said to be a mage and a priest. Be careful with him! Six of us barely tackled him.”
With these words he cut the tight ropes, which were bound about the hands of the priest.
The Phoenician looked upon the guard with a haughty, contemptuous glance, and started to rub his hands which had become numb under the ropes.
Eight people were sitting around a campfire. They were priests, foretellers, astrologers, and healers captured in different cities and temples of Egypt. According to the order of Cambyses — the King of Persia — these people should be kept separate and delivered safely to the capital of the Persians. After all, Egypt was not only rich with gold, but it was recognized by the secrets stored by the priests in the temples and pyramids and giving power to this country for thousands of years.
Only now did the Egyptian Empire fall under the military power of the Persian army. So, those who held this knowledge represented an especially valuable trophy that should be kept and used in the future.
The newly arrived prisoner cast an attentive gaze at his future fellow prisoners from his great height. His gaze only lingered for a few moments on one person whose clothes were very clean and were white, according to the Greek tradition. Then, once again, he immersed in his thoughts.
The very same man who drew the Phoenician’s fleeting attention moved over, allowing the Phoenician to have a seat next to the campfire. From the folds of his clothing he took out a piece of bread, wrapped carefully in a clean cloth and handed it to the Phoenician, then poured water into a bowl.
The new captive looked again with surprise at that person who willingly shared food with him. It was hard to assume that the captives were well fed. He nodded in appreciation and started to eat.
After the meal the Phoenician asked:
“You don’t look like an Egyptian, are you Greek?”
“Yes. My name is Pythagoras.”
“And I am Hamilcar from Carthage,” the Phoenician introduced himself. “What brought you to Egypt?”
“I studied in Memphis.”
“The priests still let you receive initiations even though you were a foreigner? Lo and behold!”
The conversation had ended.
The Phoenician was laconic and he did not join the general conversations. From time to time he cast attentive gazes on the Greek and listened when Pythagoras spoke. The Greek obviously had aroused his interest, unlike other captives, whom he treated with some disregard or even arrogance.
The same thing cannot be said about the Greek. Sometimes he was talking to other captives, asking about medicinal herbs and healing techniques, and he listened with interest to their discussions about the planets and the structure of the universe.
Usually, the conversations were held in the Egyptian language, which all of the captives understood, but Pythagoras was also fluent in other languages and, when it was necessary, He could easily carry on conversation with his companions in their mother tongue. He could also express himself freely in Persian, which commanded respect even from the guards.
Pythagoras didn’t talk much and never argued with others. When he was expressing a different point of view, he was laconic and explained something in detail only when someone had shown a keen interest on the subject.
He was different, not outwardly, but inwardly. He carried inside himself a special state of calm, harmony, and goodwill. At first glance, his movements looked like being just smooth, but, with a closer look, one could see that they were filled with a special power. Also, his words carried weight: They penetrated down into the depths of the listener’s being, as if measuring the depth and purity of the soul.
Hamilcar had communicated with the priests of many different temples. He could easily distinguish imaginary “greatness” from the true strength and power of the soul. But there was something inside of the Greek, — something that he had never seen before. It remained a mystery to Hamilcar. Well, there will be enough time to solve it…
… One day, the convoy with the slaves and other Persian trophies stopped to have a rest before the next long passage. The reason for this was the fact that the Persians celebrated the news about the complete victory of King Cambyses and his enthronement to the throne of the Pharaohs of Egypt. From that moment on, there will be many more caravans with captured trophies, since Egypt is fully subjugated!
Wine was everywhere. Only those guards who remained on duty were sober, and they were fiercely jealous towards the others. Meat was being cooked in the cauldrons, and wild fowl was being roasted on the fire.
One of the chief guards of the Persians became kinder on account of being drunk and he ordered that the special prisoners be better fed: “Perhaps, they won’t be able to reach our destination! Then I will be responsible for them!”
When this food had been offered to the captured priests, Pythagoras was the only person who refused. Amongst all the luxurious food by the standards of the prisoners, he took only a handful of dates and nuts, then went to the side, and sat there separately, while others partied. He also didn't drink any of the wine.
Afterwards, Hamilcar approached Pythagoras and asked:
“Do you reject the food that gives you strength? Are these your beliefs? Are you Orphic?”
“I accept neither in my thoughts nor in my body the dark force of the murder that comes to a person as a result of eating the bodies of killed animals.
“Orphics are not the only ones that considered a vegetarian diet as an ethical prerequisite for the development of the soul. Now, there are some sages and their disciples in the countries of the Far East, such as India and China who follow this as well. Yes, in Greece the Orphics still remember it. In Egypt it was well known too, some time ago. Perhaps, the sunset of Egypt began because the highest priests and pharaohs, endowed with unlimited power, had lost the purity of their lives.
“To drink the blood of fallen enemies or even to eat their flesh in order to gain their power are the customs of barbaric people. You probably heard about such customs. You find it wild, Hamilcar, don’t you?”
“Greek, your way of thinking is interesting,” the Phoenician said in response, but then he did not continue the conversation. Pythagoras also did not continue this topic.