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THEOSOPHY
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Plotinus

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.THE THEOSOPHY OF THE GREEKS.

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S..: PLOTINUS BY G:""'^^ Sr^MEAD. INDIA W. DUKE STREET.C. ADELPHI.A. 7. 1895 . MADRAS BENARES : ADYAR THE THEOSOPHICAL PUBLISHING SOCIETY. LONDON THEOSOPHICAL PUBLISHING SOCIETY. B.A.R. : " THEOSOPHIST " OFFICE. M.

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{The folloxving essay was written as a Preface
^^'

to

a new edition of Thomas Taylor^s

Select

Works of

Plotiitus^''^

published in

the

Bohn Libraries^

. FOREWORD THEN AND NOW THE SYSTEM OF PI^OTINUS BIBWOGRAPHY .. .. . ...... PAGE I 6 22 44 .CONTENTS.....

.

is ver^^ similar to that of the times The public interest in the philo- sophy of mysticism and theosophical speculation has so largely developed during the last twenty years that a demand for books treating of A . In presenting to the public a new edition of it Thomas Taylor's Select Works of Plotinus^ will not be out of place to may be show cause for what considered by many a somewhat temerous proceeding. of Plotinus.. that the temper of the public mind of with regard to the problems of religion and philosophy. PLOTINUS. In the following paragraphs. FOREWORD. What it has the present English-reading public to do with Plotinus what still further has to do with I the translations of Thomas Taylor ? hope to show to-day.

Harnack says. Platonic philosopher transcended the genius of Plato. Neither Socrates nor Ammonius committed anything to writing. as . so no Neoplatonic philosopher sur- passed the genius of Plotinus. if not the founder. and the basis of the whole system. Ammonius Saccas. "the primary and classical document of Neoplatonism " of that document there is no There translation in the English language. so far from his great master Plato. but English scholarship has till now of Plotinus are. steadily Now was of Neoplatonism Plotinus was the cor^-phseus. are complete translations in Latin. Plotinus What Plato was to his master. French and German.2 PLOTINUS is Neoplatonism and kindred subjects increasing. the works of Just as no Plotinus are the most indispensable document. The Enneads entirely neglected Plotinus. as far as we can judge. to teachers in brilliancy of genius. far transcended their Therefore. to Socrates. being inferior to who. Plato and Plotinus were the great expounders of the tenets of their respective schools and. the student of Neoplatonism. was thought to be a reincarnation of his genius .

As Th. Proclus. the editor of The Platonist and an enthusiastic admirer of Taylor. .FOREWORD i^'' 3 . English scholarship has left the pioneer work of Thomas Taylor the concluding years of the past century and the opening years of the present) entirely fifty unsupported. Porphyry.) A Bibliography at the end of this essay will show the reader that though French and scholars have laboured in this field with German marked (in industry and success. Augustine. 12. Since Taylor's time something has been known . "This By his arduous labours modern of the times became acquainted with many works of Plotinus. especially that of Plato and In the midst of great opposition and adverse criticism he laboured on single-handed. Taylor devoted upwards of toil to years of unremitting the restoration of Greek philosophy. M. glance at the De Civitate Dci^ viii. etc. says in the preface translation of three treatises of Plotinus to his : and profound philosopher devoted his whole life to the elucidation and propagation of the Platonic wonderful genius philosophy. in hoc revixissc putandtis stty —St. the Neoplatonists. Ita ejus similis jndicatiis tile cst^ ict . Johnson.

he knew more Plato. It is true that the perfected scholarship of our own demands his : a higher standard . however^ is too great a risk without first testing the public interest by a new edition of the only translation of any size which we possess. he was a philosopher in the Platonic sense of the word and the translations of Taylor are still in great request." Taylor was a pioneer. hope that may pave the way to a complete translation of the works of the greatest of the . but he to many a mere name. and of pioneers we do not demand times the building of Government roads. The expense and labour of preparing .4 PLOTINUS is still of Plotinus. presented to the public in the it is. a complete translation of the Enneads. Taylor was more than a scholar. nevertheless. is quite faithful enough for all ordinary purposes. A new edition of Taylor's Select Works of Plotinus therefore. is true of his though they may know more Greek. of translation than Taylor presents but what was true of critics critics then. The present to-day translation. and command so high a price in the second-hand market that slender purses cannot procure them.

That the signs of the times ever growing interest in such and that it is of great importance to learn what solution one of the most penetrating minds of antiquity had to offer of problems in religion and philosophy that are insistently pressing upon us to-day. 5 presage an subjects.FOREWORD Neoplatonists. . will b^ seen from the following considerations.

and the chief arena for the enactment of this intellectual drama was at Alexandria. and seemed to the conquerors to have united even the ends of the earth. The early centuries of the Christian era are perhaps the most interesting epoch that can engage the attention of the student of histor}'. The conquests of Rome had opened up communication with the most distant parts of her vast empire.: THEN AND NOW. As Vacherot says '' Alexandria. of Chaldsea. . . now in friendly embrace. now in conflict. at the time to when Ammonius had become the The asylum sanctuar}' of universal wisdom. The thought of the Orient and Occident met. it was at the same time the birthplace of new doctrines. Alexandria that the Gnosis synthesized traditions all the of Syria. It was at Alexandria that the school of Philo it was at represented Hellenizing Judaism Saccas began teach. of the old traditions of the East. of Persia.

as a time in which the nations had . unveiled for mysteries which the genius of a Plato or an Aristotle had never fathomed 331)- Indeed. if not wholly which the supports of life on its material. A strong life flowed in the veins of all these schools and Philo. the culture . the 7 blended with Judaism. intellectual. vitalized all their discussions. in part. the popular religions national forms of their power. Zeller says. Saint Clement and Origen. had been broken asunder. " lost their and spiritual it was. and The School raised of Alexandrian fathers it Christian surpass. and with the in prophetic sense of the approach of a a time in which the longing after new era a new and . independence.THEN AND NOW even with Greek philosophy. physical. Valentinus. Basilides. . opened up for the mind new it vistas of thought. thought to a height which was not to and which was to strike fear into the heart of the orthodoxy of the Councils. their peculiar stamp. as well as on its spiritual side. the time was one of great strain. and the great civilizations of the world were impressed with the consciousness of their own downfall. and " (i. with Christianity.

was universal 391- by Mozley. It requires no greac effort of the imagin- ation for even the most superficial student of the history of these times to see a marked similarity between the general unrest and searching after a new ideal that marked that period of brilliant intellectual development. thought more active. experience more extended. a fellowship that should embrace all peoples. the desire of the soul. is conquests of physical science that have in truth united the ends of the earth. Such was the similar is and very the condition of things in our own day. a form of belief that should bear men over all present. and built up an arterial and nervous system for our . quoted and tranquillise " (v. The tendency in degree. It is not Rome who it has the united the nations under her yoke. the need of the solution of the problem more pressing. but not To-day life is far more intense. is the same in kind. the misery of the 392. and the uncertainty and eager curiosity of the public mind in the closing years of the nine- teenth century.) state of affairs then.8 PLOTINUS satisfying more form of spiritual being.

initiation of a science of comparative religion. The which for between religion and science. more than two hundred years has has produced a generation for a reconciliation. have led to the . the radical changes that the study of Sanskrit has wrought in the w^hole domain of philology. " the all higher criticism conflict that has once struck the death-blow to mere Bible -fetishism. that longs and searches . To-day the it is comes in not a Marcion who but for queries ^' authenticity of texts. not even the philosophy of the then confined Occident meeting with the somewhat vague and unsystemized ideas of the then Orient it is the meeting of the great waters.THEN AND NOW common mother which viously possessed. It is 9 she has never prenot the philosophy of Greece and it is Rome that are meeting together. all which is slowly but surely modifying it de- partments of thought with which contact. the developed thought and industrious observation of the whole Western world meeting with the old slow stream of the ancient and modern East. The great impetus that the study of oriental languages has received during the last hundred years. raged so fiercely.

10 PIvOTINUS the extreme of The pendulum has swung from pseudo-scientific materialism blind and ignorant faith to the extreme of and negation faith and now swings back again towards once more. The pendulum swings back towards belief once more the phenomena of spiritualism. are compelling investigation. which has been either entirely neglected by scientific evolutionists or has remained with an explanation that is at best fantastically inadequate. and that investigation forces us to recognize that these factors must press : be taken into serious account.. it Thus is that there is a distinct tendency in the public thought of to-day towards a . The religious factor. once more upon the notice of the western nations. but faith rationalized by a scientific study of the psychological problems which. if the problem of religion is to receive any really satisfactory solution. after a couple of centuries of denial. must be taken into primary account and with it the psychic nature of man must be profoundly studied. hypnotism and psychism generally.. trace the details if we are to sweep of human evolution in all its and have a right understanding of the history of civilization.

the slavery of over-competition) breed strikes. and now and once more the hope that mystic religion has ever held But mysticism is not an unmixed blessing. fraternity. is offered. and at no time previously do distinctly at we find the various factors so work as in the first centuries of .. tells a renaissance of ? all us to avoid true All these vagaries obscure the mystic way. men and women are very like then of to-day. symbolists. Psychism dogs its heels and hence it is that the history of the past shows us that wherever mysticism has arisen. there psychism with its dangers. the idea of a universal religion. Have we not to-day of amongst us crowds phenomenalists. diabolists. of a league of peace. such ideas appear beautiful ideals to the sorely suffering and over-driven Yes. and out. the sweating system. the desire for altruism. socialism.. that the past searchers after strange arts. the It is ii a time also when : human heart questions as well the head the great social problems which cry out for solution (over-population. Humanitarianism. the times . errors. anarchy — in brief. insanities has obscured it. THEN AND NOW modified mysticism. betterment. etc.

12 PLOTINUS It the Christian era. be of great interest. to consider the views of perhaps the most acute reasoner of the Greek philosophers. who and Platonic methods.and whether the Christian doctrine had any influence on the teachings of the greatest of the Neoplatonists. not only the Aristotelean combined The learn reader will doubtless be anxious to what was the attitude of Plotinus to Christianity. It will. especially by German scholars but it is safer to avoid all extreme opinions. ... when the strong power of mystic religion poured into human thought. but also added a refined and pure mysticism of his own which the times of Plato and Aristotle were unable to produce. therefore. Much has been written on the influence of Christianity on Neoplatonism. enormities was against wild all these that and is the imaorinino^s invariably follow. that Plotinus arose to revive the dialectic of Plato and rescue the realms of pure philosophy from the host of disorderly speculation. for those who are inclined to believe in mystical religion in the present day. and of Neoplatonism on Christianity. while at the same time brilliantly defending the best that mysticism offered.

unlikely because it is only the later Neoplathe Gnostics." tonism that offers striking and deep-rooted parallels to Philo and and Porphyry Christians. that " the influence of Christianity whether Gnostic or Catholic on Neoplatonism was at no time very considerable. " since Neoplatonism originated in Alexandria. where Oriental modes of worship were accessible to everyone. (c.THEN AND NOW 13 and be content with the moderate view of Harnack. we may safely assume that even the earliest of the Neoplatonists possessed an acquaintance with Judaism and Christianity." and — — with regard to the first entirely unnoticeable.) distinctly states that the Gnostics against whom be Plotinus wrote were And yet there can life strong spiritual no doubt that the and hope which the teaching of the Christ inspired in the hearts of . xvi. teachers of the school Nevertheless. and since the Jewish philosophy had also taken its place in the literary circles of Alexandria. But if we search Plotinus for evidence of any of Jewish and Christian phraseology. we search in vain and the existence of any such influence is all the more actual influence .

: 14 PLOTINUS not his hearers. kindled by a sense of in the world the rivalr}^ they felt. moralizing and ordering the hearts of men and this stirred them to find a parallel power on their own side. With such a ferv^id spirit of hope and enthusiasm aroused. were fired with this hope taught that this ideal was realizable. a power such as they themselves sought to exercise." whose power elicited Xor were the better instructed of the Chris- tian fathers free from a like rivalry with the and from this rivalr}^ arose the svmbols of the Church and the subtleties of an philosophers . both in character and degree. was found in Plato. and the nearest approach to it. . but they selected from Plato those elements which lay on the same line as that Christian teaching their rivalry. To Plato they turned themselves with the fer\^our of pupils towards an almost unerring master . that it had already been realized. brought a reality into men's lives that would be content with the mere Those who envisagement of a cold ideal. present and actually working. And in the '' words of Mozley. philosophy had to look to its laurels. based on Vacherot. philosophers were . nay.

unless their intercourse was intimate and continuous in fact. in rises superior to its purest and best sense. satisfactorily established. a number of the most enlightened Christian writers striving to show that Christianity. As Max '' Muller says : The difficulty of admitting any borrowing on the part of one religion from another is much greater than is commonly supposed. It seems impossible that any religious community sliould have adopted fundamental principles of religion from another. namely. there seems to me only one way in which it can be. and if it has taken place. unless they . . . The ence theory of direct borrowing' on either side. however. 15 Curiously enough in our rivalry in own days we notice a like religious Christian apologetics in contact with the great eastern systems . by the actual occurrence of foreio^n words which retain a certain unidiomatic appearance in the language to which they have been transferred. but direct plagiarism is unsupported by any evidence that has yet been discovered. has to be abandoned is indirect influ- a thing that cannot be denied.THEN AND NOW Athanasius. is what best in the Orient.

thoughts in a common have a religions. .. nevertheless it is beyond doubt that he was acquainted with them. an Egy^ptian of Lycopolis (Sivouth) for eleven years he attended the school of Ammonius at . moreover. that he joined the expedition of Gordian in order to learn the religio-philosophy of the Persians and Indians his pupils. his interest in the systems of the was so great. language. PP. to their questioning that Plotinus Wrote the most powerful books of the Enneads. 1893." logical Religion. were filled with oriental teaching.Z^l-Z^^-) And though Plotinus cannot be said to have borrowed directly either from Christianity or other oriental ideas. and it was in answer further East . Alexandria . very learned nature Against . {Theosophy or Psycho- London. and By birth he was that too most intimately. Amelius and Porphyry.the Por- phyry.^ i6 PLOTINUS freely could *' express . their . of Nor should we feeling forget that hostility most religions towards other and that they are not likely to borrow from others which in their most important and fundamental doctrines they consider erroneous. wrote" a long treatise of a Christians .

: THEN AND NOW so that it 17 cannot have been that the master should have been unacquainted with the views of the pupil.Platonic philosopher was saturated with oriental ideas. . He is perfectly familiar with the works of and his admiration goes so far as to ask whether it is Philo who platonizes. as Vacherot tells us (i. should go even further back and take hold of the doctrines of Pythagoras. B . Judsea and Persia than in the philosophical doctrines of Greece. not less deeply versed in the religious traditions of Syria. If the doctrines of Philo have it is at all influenced the philosophy of Greece. out of which Amelius and Porphyr^^ came into Neoplatonism. to owing Numenius. and this Pythagoreo. or Plato who philonizes he dubs Plato the Attic Philo. ^' The oriental tendency of the philosopher is shown by the following It must be that he who ' w^ords of Eusebius: treats of the Good. Moses. a Syrian by origin and living is in the Orient. Numenius again was highly esteemed by Plotinus and his school. and who has affirmed his doctrine with the witness of Plato. 318) ^' Numenius. the father of this Syrian School.

characterised Plotinus more than any of ancient India. '' : other philosopher of his age was . dogmas and institutions which originally established by the Brahmans..' {De — — Bono. vii. and a rational and practical mysticism on the other that reminds us very strongly of the best phase of the yoga-systems As Brandis remarks The endeavour which. to pave the way to the solution of any question by a careful discussion of the difficulties of the case. nevertheless. VIII..). opinion of Mozley " In the There is ." We. i8 It PIvOTINUS must be that he should appeal to the most renowned of the nations. and that he should present the rituals. find in Plotinus . therefore.: . Jews." And though the method is somewhat tedious. a real soberness in the mind of its author the difficulties connected with the divine self-substance and universality. though . in relation to the individuality of man. as far as we can judge.the philosophy of Plotinus is one of remarkable power and symmetry. two marked characteristics the method of stern dialectic on the one hand. Magians and Egyptians are in agreement with the doctrines of Plato.

'* This is a orreat admission for a man writinor in a dictionary of Christian biography. and I cannot but think that he still kept silence deliberately on this all-important point. when applied to such a man as Plotinus. For years Plotinus kept secret the teachings of his master Ammonius Saccas. no- where does Plotinus enter into any details of the methods by which this supreme state of consciousness is to be reached. curious to notice that. and against which no manner to serious charge of irreverence can be brought.THEN AND NOW in a 19 they cannot be said to be solved. which consummates itself in ecstasy. . platonist that has been the Samadhi of the yoga-art of Indian mystics. if supremely ridiculous. and not till his fellow-pupils Herennius the Church father) and Origen (not broke the compact did he It is begin to expound the tenets publicly. and not the word ''serious" might well be omitted from the last line as totally unnecessary. though this ecstasy was the consummation of the whole system. The part of the system of our great Neo- and will be the least understood. are presented which little objection can be taken intellectually. is that connected with the practice of theurgy.

spiritual if we are to believe Porphyry. he himself attained to spiritual in- shows all the signs of a student of eastern Raja Yoga.) And. the master. he shows a thorough contempt for such magic arts. his own power was great." (eVeiVovs Set -n-pos €/A€ epxeaSaL.20 PLOTINUS Ammonius.) . " Those gods of yours must come to me. eclectic. —Porphyry^ Iv rj/xlv Oelov -n-po^ ii. though. —Porphyry^ X. magicians and phenomena-mongers of the time. In his attitude to the astrologers. evidently the This was mode of leaving the world seek to lead back the self followed by our philosopher. indeed. or in other words enter into a deep state of contemplation. sight. ovk e/xe Trpos eKeivov^. for his last words were: "Now me TO) TravTL I within TO €v to the All-self" {jo Oilov. When the hour of death approaches they perform Tapas. made such an impression on his times by his great wisdom and knowledge that he was known as the godtaught" (^€o8t8aKTos) he was more than a mere ^' . he ended his life in the way that Yogins in the East are said to pass out of the body. The pupil Plotinus also the ''kingly art" of the science of the soul. The gods and daemons and powers were to be commanded and not obeyed. not I to them.

but with even greater insistence. in our own days. It is. ''in so 21 far as we have z\l records of him. was in his personal character one of the purest and most pleasing of philosophers. therefore. and what solution he offered of the problems which are again presented to us. of great interest for us to learn on the thought of his own time. ancient or modern" (Mozley).THEN AND NOW Indeed Plotinus. take a glance at the main features of his system. . We his opinions will. therefore.

" . it In these bears a remarkable similarity to the great Vedantic system of Indian philo- sophy. respects. or of the Jivatman with the Param- atman —are the main subjects of his system. that it is inexpressible. Deity. viz. we have the One Reality. Brah- man or Paramatman. macrocosmic identity and microcosmic. soul. the Good (to ov. or in the w^ords of the Upanishads. view^ of the great universe. The whole system of Plotinus revolves round the idea of a threefold principle. the One. and reaches the only conclusion possible.22 THE SYSTEM OF PLOTIXUS. or the Real. unable to reach it. to ayaOov). and of pure intuition. and the of the divine in essential man with the divine in the Oelov universe TravTt —the to cV tJ/^-iv with the to cV to3 ^etov. or trinity. Thus from the point of. ''the falls mind It back from it. spirit. Plotinus bestows much labour on the pro- blem of the Absolute. to ev.. body. this is the All.self of the Upanishads. trichotomy.

i) — '* the self hidden in the heart of . But we are in the region of paradox and inexpressibility and so had better hasten on to the as says Brandis . coming weaker (VI. then. It is by of the Universal (i^^^x^ ''"^^ Mind says that the World-Soul is (§ -n-avros or Twvo\a)i/) brought into being. 207) '' As Tennemann (vov?) In as much as Intelligence [Univer- ." xi. 8. ix. SYSTEM itself. K6(TfjLo<. VI. viii. iii. produce everything out of without suffering any diminution or be. 19) essences must flow from it and yet it experiences no change it is immanent in all existences (IV. for that question no solve . there arises — (how. all and Harnack dubs the system of Plotinus ''dynamic Pantheism. First. 9). the primal ways of the man can One are known vorjTos:) ." whatever that may mean. to the Omniscient alone) (yovs —the Universal Mind. 17. say the Upanishads it is the Absolute it as result.oyos).: . all. nevertheless. Plotinus does not say. 23 must. or ideal universe or the Ishvara or Lord of the Vedantins. for as absolutely perfect must be being the goal not the operating cause of (VI. the thought (>. first stage of emanation.

viii. i. and inseparably united [This resembles the Sachrest.] The object contemplated and the thinking subject. By always thinking. . vii. 4. IS possible^ the latter acqtiires the and limited and Conso becomes the Actual and Real (ov). vii. Thought. And for an V. the Hiranyagarbha (resplendent germ or shining sphere or envelope) of the Upanishads. 12. VI. Chid-Anandam of the Vedantins. VI. are identical and that which Intelligence thinks. see 17 . 9 viii.24 sal PLOTINUS Mind] contemplates in Unity that which character . 5. total of infinite life. We thence pass on to the World-Soirl. - '' The image and product of the motion- . Upanishads iii. it at the same time creates. difference. 6 iii. VI. it produces all things [the logos all idea] : it : is the essence of imperishable the i6 . Bliss. essences ['the base of all the worlds' of the ' . 16 V. of something determined sequently. yet continually with new . Intelligence is the primal reality." (See Eri. 5. . i. . 317). on it all worlds rest '] . . 2 7 exposition of the logos theory in Plotinus. or Being. sum IV. Vacherot. and always in the same manner. ix. . 5. the base of to real all the Being. 13.

according to immaterial. It stands between the nous and the phenomenal world. the soul. which. like the nous. and is lose themselves in the finite (Harnack). is permeated and illuminated by the former. This precisely the same idea as that of the Hiranyagarbha. As a world . . differentiation (Panchikarana. relation to the nous is the same as that of the nous to the One. and thus being disintegrated." SYSTEM less 25 nous is is. the individual souls arising by a process of from it. single soul (world-soul) to it belongs in essence and destination also the intelligible but it embraces innumerable in- dividual souls and these can either submit to be ruled by the nous. ") or quintuplication of the primary " elements Its nature and function are thus sum- . but at the same time it has the power of uniting with the corporeal world. . or turn aside to the sensual. but is also in conThe nous is indivisible tact with the latter. It therefore occupies an intermediate position. Its Plotinus. [the root of monadic individuality the Sattva of the Buddhist theory of Ekotibhava as the soul viay preserve its applied to man] unity and remain in the nous.

i. which gives form to matter (Xoyo? TTotoji/) .^. original but a reflected light. viii is 6. different classes of souls. It is therefore Intelligence. 208. 22 . /ao/3<^^) and thought All that takes (\oyos) are one and the same. for form (elSos. marized by V. in turn. . and VI. 4 (/. and connected with matter. . and ''The Soul the SoiU of the World) [vov?]. (^§ ii. activity consists in contemplation (^cwpta) and in the production of objects by means it of this contemplation. the and among of which have Its a tendency to elevation or debasement. energy of the lowest order.. its In this manner faculties produces. " is Nature (<^vVts). others the human. but with a more obscure vision and less perfect knowledge inasmuch as it . does not itself directly contemplate objects. 7. Its proper . 209) from En. III. being itself also productive and creative. the principle of action and of external Nature.: 26 PLOTINUS Tennemann vi. being endowed with an energetic force which carries It is not an its perceptions beyond itself. but through the medium of intelligence. the oflfspring of Intelligence and the thought (A-oyos) of Intelligence. • Nature is a contemplative and creative energy. creative.

Maya) with the Universal Mind. the indeterminate. he does not entirely clear himself from a similar misconception. . the /^r) 6v." The Vedantins. all phenomenal world unity and harmony are replaced by strife and discord the result is a conflict. Matter is the basework in the actual of each (to pdOos eKao-Tov r] vXt]) ." It is here that the system of Plotinns . a becoming and vanishing. it is the dark which has no qualities. Destitute of form and idea it is evil as capable of form it is neutral. And the reason for this state of things is that bodies rest on a substratum of matter. principle. on the contrary. and though he view of certain Gnostic schools which made matter the root of all evil. an illusive existence. but in dealing with the problem of matter he scarcely avoids stumbling. and make it of like dignitv. pair the root of matter (Asat. Prakriti.SYSTEM place in the world around lis 27 is the work of is contemplation. somewhat weak it is true that he has a strong admiration for the beauties of Nature. that . It is the object of the Worldcriticises the Soul so to pervade the natural world that its parts shall be in perfect harmony — "but .

i. or states of consciousness. again. Attempts have been made to trace correspondences between the three first principles ot : Plotinus and the Christian Trinity God the Father and the One Absolute. The remarkable agreement between the view of Plotinus as to the three spheres of existence. and the Holy Spirit and the World-Soul. necessarily to a large extent in- terblended with the above. the man and the uni- one being but a reflection of the . in verse. or spiritual veil ment Self. the or impedi- causal vesture. Siikshmopadhi. 308.28 It is PLOTINUS by the removal of this primal veil that is the great secret of the Self revealed.) for is So much microcosmic the macrocosmic side. Jesus Christ and the First Intelligence or Universal Mind. precisely the : same division as that of the Vedantins viz. the subtle vesture. of the and Sthulopadhi. Karanopadhi. (Jules Simon. by which prism the rays of the primal unity are deflected. of the Self. and also man by means of a trichotomy soul (lAw)) into spirit ^^^ body is (o-w/xa). or hypostases of being. The views (vovs). or psychic veil or impediment.. This. the gross vesture or physical body.

so far. but cause is absolute body self-forgetfulness. not translated into any European taken from the work of a The Dream of Ravan (a reprint from The Dublin University MagaLondon. " Awakening to Reality. 5 nor soul. unfortunately. bodies. and mystic. veiling and looked through by a primordial —gross outward body [Sthiilopadhi — subtle. witnessed and watched by the spirit w^hicli . dreaming. PPzine of 1853." one of the most re- markable of Shankara's small language.SYSTEM other. are known. ^^54 entitled 5 211-215). because the original sin of ignorance of his true nature which him from the spirit into the life-condition. 1895. 29 and that of Shankaracharya. These three existing in the all waking. called the it [Karanopadhi precipitates — vovs]. brilliant may be seen from the following resume from the point of view of a It is based on the Tattvabodha^ or mystic. is treatises. the great master of the Advaita Vedantin school of ancient India. standeth behind sleeping states. '' Man is represented as a prismatic trinity. internal body or soul [Sukshmopadhi — ^Aw] ^ being neither body unity of light o-w/xa] .

or absolute unconsciousness. one the other —the inmost sphere of Turiya. the sphere of transition. in which delusion it thoroughly believes. "There enfolding are four spheres of existence. but the state of simplicity or oneness (aTrAwo-ig. under . in which it intuitively knew and experiin.30 PLOTINUS in the and apart from them. Lethe. and now endeavours to realise whereas the true knowledge which it had in the state of Turiya. ocean of Ajnana. . or spirit-waking. in which the individualised spirit lives the ecstatic life . knowledge outward from itself. undergoes a change of gnostic tendency [polarity ?] and from not knowing at all." The writer then goes on to speak of four is spheres. the influence. or spirit. of an illusive Prajfia. but the ''innermost" in reality no sphere. emerges on the hither side of that Lethean boundary to a false or reversed knowledge of things (viparita jnana). unwinking vigi- lance of ecstasy. ci/wcrts). . or belief and tendency to. in which the plunged in the unconsciousness. was all' within itself. or total and utterly forgetting its real self. This is the State of ecstasy of Plotinus. or the ecstatic life.

progresses into or outermost sphere. struggling to all reach and recover outside itself that lost it once possessed and —to regain for the lost intuition an objective perception through the senses and understand- which the spirit became an intelliit merges into the third sphere. semi-material. where. or substantial form. in due time. "From the first this subtle personification it and phan- tasmal sphere. where all things exist in the mode of Akara. where matter and sense are triumphant. which is the sphere of dreams. or phantasm. and from this outward struggling intelligence imagined itself into a conscious. where it believes in a universe of light and shade. or out-knowing within —this itself. . And from Prajna. and awoke on this side of that boundary of oblivion into an intelligence struggling out- ward. There soul it imagines itself into the Ivinga-deha ethereal (Psyche). the universe is believed a solid reality. and where that which successively forgot itself from spirit into absolute unconsciousness.SYSTEM enced all 31 the sphere of things. and where all ing A —in gence — existence is in the way of Abhasa. or subtle.

return to a star [the sidereal region . from ecstasy it forgot itself into deep sleep from profound sleep it awoke out of unconsciousness. 508 of Creuzer's edition. plished. sq^^ based for the most part on En. further clothing. There are two degrees of reward pure souls. 12 II. prepared for out-realises itself feeling. the latter tenet to be . now from soul into a body *' The first or spiritual state was ecstasy. are three divisions in the morals of and how the metempsychosis in which he metaphor." These ideas will help us exceedingly in studying our philosopher and in trying to understand what he meant by ecstasy. p. 2 . and why there Plotinus. I. iii. ix. breathing. was neither for him the . believed. 588. and on Ficinus' com- mentary'. whose simplification is not yet accom^' .the actualising of a The most is sympathetic notice of found in Jules Simon's Histoire de VEcole d' Alexandrie (I. i. 6 .. ii. V. thoroughly waking and the outer world of sense. 32 PLOTINUS nervous soul. but ternal world still within itself. caressing of a dream nor . 9 . IV. from dreaming passed finally into the state. into the init of dreams.

and in which he allowed his imagination to stray when knowledge failed him ? Whatever may have been the importance of metempsychosis for Plato. the world of sense] 6) . the Jews. amongst the Egyptians. but who have c . which Plotinus met with everywhere around him. But Here comes in the doctrine of metempsychosis. souls that are perfectly pure [or simplified] gain union [or at-one-ment] with Deity. III. without entirely casting them aside or admitting them. Souls that have failed to raise themselves above [the ordinary level of] humanity. and his forerunners in Neoplatonism [Potamon and Ammonius SacDoes Plato really take the doctrine of cas]. He rehabilitates all and strange transformations of the TimcEus and the myth of Er. the Armenian. as the Republic would have us believe ? Does he not speak of it merely to banter contemporary superstition. as seems evident from the TimcBiis? Or is it not rather one of those dreams which what of retribution ? Plato loved to fondle. we can hardly suppose that Plotinus did not take the ironical it seriously. iv. metempsychosis seriously.SYSTEM rather] to live as [into 33 fall they were before the (En.

if who have only lived a life pass into animal bodies.] .). x. if they have lived an entirely vegetative existence. Hardened criminals descend to the hells.] A more terrible punishment is reser\'ed for great crimes.34 PLOTIXUS in nevertheless respected that characteristic themselves. evaSor iXOoin-a (En. for instance. 13). and Undergo those terrible punishments which Plato sets III. are con- demned class]. " Those who have erred through a too great love of music. forth in the Republic (Bk. are reborn into a those human body. that of a bee . 2). iv. [This reminds us of the Patalas of the Brahmans and the Avichi of the Buddhists. they have been entirely without energ\'. become singing birds. while t\Tants and men notorious for their cruelty animate wild beasts. or even. bestows the privilege of inhabitttoXitucov ^Cxn-^ ing the body of a sociable animal. of sensation. [The eifMDveia^ OT irouical vein. of Plato is more than apparent in the above. to live the life of a plant. and too speculative philosophers are transformed into eagles and other birds of soaring flight (En. I. The exer- cise of the merely political virtues [the lowest which do not deser\'e rebirth into a human form. viii.

Fabric. Hermes {Comm. 350) declares in unmistakable terms that soul can never return to the of a human body (O^ov diro of an animal. Chalcidius the same interpretation. of Chalcidius on Timccus^ ed.SYSTEM '' 35 Even though admitting is that this doctrine literally of metempsychosis tinus. pel us. KarteVat et? ^lov {Proclus. qui no7i naturam viodo feram^ scd ctiamformas. The commentators the Alexandrian school sometimes interpreted Plato in this sense. cfivXdcrcriLV Moreover. for he distin- guishes between the doctrines of Plato and those of Pythagoras and Empedocles. ]\Iarinus tells us that Proclus. and that the will for ever preserves yoip v6ixo<i the gods it from such disgrace avOpwTTLvqv <f)V)^r]v ot'T09. and whether it for Plato. Tini. is not reborn only into a human body which of reflects the nature of a certain animal by the character of its passions.^ p. p. taken by Plo- we should still have to ask for him as whether the human soul really inhabits the body of an animal. -gives condemns the brutes and not to become 6t]puov^ koX ovk €t? o-wyxa O^peiov Comm. . Thus according to Pro- Plato in the Phccdrus^ wicked to live as ^hem. 329).

36 PLOTINUS '' the last great master of Xeoplatonism. think that there are certain similitudes of men to brutes. with his usual says he. and the same kind so that they may become wolves and panthers. And that this is the only mode of insinuation. which they call savage lives . and that the desouls are of one graded soul may. because . however. for they by no means think it possible that the rational essence can become the soul of a savage animal. yet in such a manner." "to enquire how human souls can descend into brute animals. the Pythagorean. was of persuaded that he possessed the soul Nichomachus. indeed. asserts that the human soul may be lodged in brutes. But true reason. If. we have proved by a multitude of arguments. acuteness^ as follows (V. in his Commentaries on the Tuiiccus^ vindicates the tenet. . as that it may obtain its own proper life. indeed. And some. be carried above and be bound to the baser nature by a propensity and similitude of affection. and ichneumons. in our Commentaries on the Phcedrics. others allow all it On the contrar}'. 329): ''It is usual. as it it were." and Proclus. may be sent into brutes.

SYSTEM it 2>7 be requisite to take notice. we add that in his Republic he says. proper soul. 1816. that this is the opinion of Plato. and to suggest that the contradictory interpretations of commentators and the difficulties of modern criticism on this im- . return to the p. is And into in this he says changed a brutal For a brutal nature is not a brutal body but a brutal life. Introd. 7. but not the body of an ape and in the : Phcednts^ that the soul descends into a savage life. but not into a savage body." (See The Six Books of ProcliLson the Theology of Plato Taylor's trans^ lation. its it For life is conjoined with place nature. view of Jules Simon.). interpretations have the history of the philo- sophy of Plato but we can conclude from the care which the old commentators have taken to tone down the strangeness of the it dogma of metempsychosis in Plato." would venture to differ somewhat from M. the distinguished Academician concludes his dissertation with the following words : To "These contradictory very little interest for . that was not a literal I doctrine with Plotinus. London. Jules Simon. that the soul of Thersites assumed an ape.

1894. ''that it our star in this former life. p. the Veddnia Philosophy^ London. reincarnation. it risks to pass through the Cycle of Necessity (kvkXos dvayK->^s). with its twin doctrine of reincarnation. The portant tenet have arisen because sufficient distinction has not been spiritual idea of union runs through the whole doctrine^ and if the Psyche does not centre itself in the Nous. Speaking of Max Mliller goes so far as to well-known that this dogma has been accepted by the greatest philosophers of say: ^' It is all centuries. our life's star. by a more profound study of the psychic and spiritual nature of man than has as yet been attempted in the western world. and may be possible ere long to reconcile much that ap- pears contradictory in these doctrines. 93) and quoting the well-known lines of Wordsworth' on ''the soul that rises with us." he in a endorses them. is it arousing much interest in our times. is not the real man." (Three Lectures 07i . But the Psyche. and adds tentatively. or soul vesture.38 PLOTINUS drawn between the and psychic envelopes of man. life is what we made would probably sound strange as . or Punarjanman. The doctrine of metempsychosis.

SYSTEM yet to 39 (p. and of a principle identified with all its we see the rudi- ments of Spinozism. many ears" in the West 67). i6. is and as applied to the theory of rebirth. VI. and that rather apparent than real. . and reminds us of ethic of Plotinus. 32. Out of this concatena- tion of things arise the principles of natural Magic and Divination. 415. and the Theodicee of Leibnitz). the complementary doctrine is That he did so of evident from the : summary " Tennemann (§ 213) Everything that takes place consequences (in this is the result of Necessity. III. All things are connected together . vii. This next brings us tical to speak of the prac- his which was based on trichotomy of man. 40. of Unity). iv.IV. ii- 3)- Though insisted the in doctrine its is not sufficiently upon moral bearings by Plotinus. (a system of by a perpetual dependency imiversal Determinism from which there is only one exception. ii. 8-10. VII. This brines us to the consideration whether or not Plotinus also put forward the doctrine of is Karma which of rebirth. never- theless the general idea there." (See En.

'' As Tennemann as says (§ 204) : Plotinus assumes. and whose aim is the destruction of the passions and the preparation of the soul for mystic union and lastly the at-one-ment of the soul . says Jules Simon (i. whose . his principle. that philosophy can have no place except in propor- knowledge and the thing known the Subjective and Objective are identified. The employment of philosophy is to Acquire a knowledge of the Unity. aim is the negative avoidance of evil (Ka^cipo-as). 562). Avith God. the higher or cathartic virtues can only be attained to which by philosophers. the essence and first principle of all things and that not mediately by thought and meditation.40 PLOTINUS {^I/vxikol) the Gnostic division into psychics and pneumatics (Trvru/i-artKot) and the perfected Christ. and the consummation of virtue was the union with the One. There are. the cathartic to the Nous." it Thus will be seen that the political virtues pertained to the Soul. It was by the practice of these virtues that the end of true philosophy was to be reached. : '' three divisions in the ethic of Plotinus tical virtues necessarv^ for all the polisole men. but by tion as — — : .

7. admirably the set forth by Jules Simon life. sq. is 8. VI. ix. same view as of the that enshrined great logion Upanishads. 41 direct intuition anticipating the progress of refleciii. especially a that of the East. These are (i. 549) : " Reminiscence is a natural consequence of dogma .SYSTEM a more exalted method. by {Trapovcria). new. clear enouo^h for the student but the idea Meditation is of mysticism. soul is means whereby the prepared to receive ^'flashes" of the supreme wisdom. V. That thouP The divine in is man have is the divine in the universe. nay the Divinity in all its in reality fullness. It is here (dva/xvTyo-ts) that the doctrines of reminiscence and ecstasy (eKo-rao-t?) come in.) This put very clumsily by far is Tennemann and with a from careful selection of terms. We to realize the truth it ignorance which hides by getting rid of the from us. 4." (See En. of a past The Nous [the spirit or root of individuality] has had no begin- ning the man [of the present life] has had a . . 3. all the realization of the ever present is This " precisely the in the d^xX. It is not the gaining of something lost. but the regaining of what has been and above Deity. tion. v.

It is a brief respite bestowed by the favour of Deity. and therefore " it conceives for the world of intellithe proper habitat g^bles [ra vQYjTa. it is a state of the soul. xxiii).] to become man and become God.. The state w^ill not be permanent until our union with God is irrevocable here. it properly so called. in earth life. of the allows [e^eox?] vols] it a powerful love which no longer to turn away its thought. but man cannot be God and man at the same time. different conditions." not a that But ecstasy (p." has lived in higher realms. beginning the present . 552). [Such flashes are resting places on our long ]\Ian cau cease joume}^ ayoLTTavXax iv x/>oVot?. life it is therefore a new- situation for the spirit has lived elsewhere and under It (p. This love is rather a part than a consequence is of reminiscence." And that Plotinus w^as not a mere -theorist but did actually attain unto such a state of consciousness is testified to by Porphyry (c. Koafjuo^ vov/rtk. which transforms it in such a way then perceives what was previously hidden from it. ecstasy is but a flash. the consum'^Ecstasy is mation of reminiscence faculty- 553 j. 42 PLOTIXUS . Plotinus also treats of this in the last .

KOL Svcr(f>paaTOV can hardly be described TllUS to Oia/xa). and in a needs.SYSTEM Book but. Plotinus is many dangers manner suited to western a guide that can be highly recommended. WC reach the borderland of philosophy as it. as he says. 3). (8to 43 of the Enneads it (see also En. avoiding the of the way. And if any one can lead us b}' a safe path to those supernal realms. we understand Beyond this region lie the realms of pure mysticism and the great unknown. . V. v.

Enof are deavours to correct the fault}' punctuation there Creuzer.). Teubner). Perna (Petrus) Basle. F. neither notes nor annotations. Title Plotini Opei'a Omnia. It gives all the variae lectiones from the codices. CerCreuzer (Fridericus) tainly the best text j'et produced. 4to. : Diibner (F. and adopts a chronographical order. Plotini Eniieades. F. and with additional notes by Wyttenbach. In M. G. Title: Plotini Platonici Operuin Omnium Philosophicorum Libri LIV. abandons Porphyry's order of the Books. Leipzig (B. 1580. : Based on Creuzer again. Berlin. This : merely a reproduction of Title Plotini Enneades. 3 vols. Leipzig (Teubner). Paris. Svo. Oxford. 1492) was appended. 8vp. 8vo. Didot's Library is of Greek Authors. 1835. in-folio. with the translation and commentaries of Ficinus appended.).). 7883. 1855. Title (R. Volkmann vols. Kirchofr(M. Svo. Creuzer' s text. . . Title Plotini Enneades. 2 Text simply. A faulty Greek text. Miiller (H.: 44 BIBLIOGRAPHY Complete Editions. and is an admirable production. to which the Latin translation of Ficinus (Florence. . 1884. and an apparatus criticus by Moser.) . 1856. 1878 (Weidmann). without various readings.

Title: Three Treatises of Plotinus. N. Svo. Oxford. iSSo. Title Select Works of : Plotinus. L ix. iv. : . London.A paraphrase of En. of Taylor. 1794." "On Providence. Svo.). W.) London. i2mo.folio . viL Title On Suicide. London. Basle. pp." Title vi. Title Die Enneaden des Plotin. also 1492. Bouillet (M.). Title : An ex- and painstaking work F. Muller (H. Svo. 129. Svo. Berlin (Weidmann). Contains translations of En.) . pp.) Five Books of Plotinus. Jolmson (T. pp.1861. 560. pp. v." " On Nature. Mo. I." "On the Nature and Origin of Evil.). Svo. xx. 4. (Creuzer's ed. Partial Translations. This is the work which is now reproduced. Les Enniades Leipzig. 1857. 1615. . de Plot in." and ''On the Descent of the Soul. the work of an enthusiastic admirer Taylor (T. 1S7S : . Title . Taylor Concerning the Beautiful.) Osceola. Contemplation and the One. Taylor (T. 22S. Contains three Books only.). and extracts from En. The above represents the sum total of the labours of English translators of Plotinus. : (T. 3vols. M. in-folio. Contains " On Felicity.) .. Paris. 1S34. 17S7 reprinted with another title page 1792. iSSo. in. . 45 Florence. 8vo. cellent TiXl^: Plotini Opera. Ficinus (M.: BIBLIOGRAPHY Complete Translations.). VI. 15S0 1S35 (Pema's ed. . 1S17. London. Taylor (T.

8vo. and Salvini translated two books in Discorsi Acadeiv. 8vo. Landshut. 1809. Anquetil and Barthelemy Saint-Hilaire have each translated En. Pythagorcs. 6. Steinhart De Dialectica (1829) and Meletemata Plotiniana Neander des 9. 1838. Title : Adum- bratio Decretorum Plotini de Rebus ad Doctri?Min Pertinentibus. 1823." in the Abhandl. 8vo. : miciy 1733. Principiis : Commentatio' Philosophica de Rationum Philosophica? um. . " Ueber die welthistorische Bedeutung in der 2. J. Strasbourg.) . Nuinine Sninmo intercedit.). Platonis atque Plotitii. Title An excellent study by the well known author of Histoire Critique du Gnosticisme. Halle. W.) . Basilius Ploti7iizans. Bern. : Die Enncaden des I. under the title 'J'raite du Beau.). 4to. Kircher. F. Title . 1820. Enneade des Plotinos. Title et : Disfni- de Differentia qnce inter Plotini Shellingii Doctri?ias de Heigl (G. PLOTINUS G. Only a partial translation with notes and explanations. Jahn . Winzer (J. Title: Die PlotiniG. 4to. 181 1. Buchs Also the two following "Theses for the Doctorate. . 1815. Wittemberg. Title : Dis- sertatio de Dionysio Areopagita Plotinizante. Plotini Ratio fie (1840). Engelhardt (J. Erlangen.) sche Physik.) . 1817. Erlangen. Wittemberg. 1854. V. Essays and Articles. Plotiniis. Title: Die Philosophie der Plotin. 1820.46 Engelhardt Title (J. 4to. A. Morum Gerlach tatio (G. V. der Berliner Akademie (1843).) . ." Matter (M. (A.

2 vols. Oxford.of Plotinus to be found. And the histories of philosophy xxi). Very superficial patronizing^. 1848. d. See also articles in Bayle's Dictionnaire Historique. "Plotinus. 1845. Book ii. Fr. Paris.). Altetthums. (iii. " Neoplatonism." in the Thco. 47 and Paris. (J. Dounau's (M. de Gerando. M. 1S46. Plotinus. Vol." in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography (1870). Loesche Augustinus Plotinizans . pp. of Tiedemann . in Smith and Wace's Dictionary of Christian Biography (1887). Harnack Mozley (A. (vi. 197-599. (1881). Kritikcn . are entirely devoted to Alexandrie. 1796. s. "Plotinus" and " Neoplatonisni " (for admirable digest of system). klass. Essai suf (III. and Cousin But by i. vSimon (Jules Francois) Paris. (A.) . 9th ed. Vahricius' Bid/iotheca GrcEca 691-701).).BIBLIOGRAPHY Daunas (A.).\x\y's Realeficyklop. Etudes sut le JSTysticisnie : Plotitt Valentiner. (1884). u. 5^. 1819." in Encyclopaedia Drit- tanica. A. Brandis (C. 1832. R. 8vo) or §§ 203-215 of the English and French translation.). 8vo.). Title et sa Docirifie. Metaphysique d' Arisiote of 281 380-467). "Plotin 21. (ii. Stud. and of Tennemann \^^ sq.). : 8vo.) Geschichte der Philosophic (LiQi^zig.). 1839. Johnson (V. Enneaden. (v." in Va. (1S64). Paris. Title: Histoire de VEcole d'' . Steinliart " Plotin. where a is capable digest of the philosoph}. Biographic des Sciences Univcrselle and Franck's Diction?iaire Also Ravaisson la Philosophiques. far the most important works to consult are: .

Limited. . Paris. 2 vols. iv. General. 228 sq.. ed. Vacherot(Etienne). also the histories of philosophy by Schwegler. Consult the whole of the Introduction to Book II. A painstaking. et Rom. . Die Philosophie der Griechen. Women's Printing Society. 418-865 Hegel. also VoL i. Thilo. 3d. die7i: Title: Nenplatonische Stu- Darstellung des Lebens und der Philosophie des Plotins.. . pp. Richter(A. according to Harnack). iii. exhaustive and enthusiastic work. pp.). 8vo. 2. Ueberweg (gives the fullest account of the literature.C. Zeller. 1867. iii. phiL Grczc. Hist. for a full and sympathetic description of Plotinus' system.). Svo. Philos. 3 sq.. 364-599. W. Brandis. d. Ritter. Brucker (ii. Whitcomb Street. 1881. Erdmann. und Preller. 66.48 PLOTIXUS 1846. Striimpell. 531 sq. Halle. pp. pp.. 571-72S Ritter . Cousin^ Prantl and Lewes. . Gesch.

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