Spiritual text 4

Mysteries of God, Cosmos, Humanity: receiving esoteric teachings

Spiritual text: Corpus Hermeticum 14:1-25


Tat: In your general discourse, Father, you were enigmatic and vague when you talked about the divine nature. You did not reveal that nature to me, saying that no one can be saved unless he has been reborn. But when, after your talk with me, I made myself your supplicant during our descent from the mountain, and inquired about the doctrine of rebirth so that I might come to know it as this is the only part of the doctrine that is unknown to me, you promised to convey it to me as soon as I had disengaged myself from the world.
Now I have done so and have made myself inwardly strong against the world’s delusion. So would you please now complete what is lacking in me, just as you promised me, and teach me about rebirth, either by word of mouth or by means of a mystery. For I do not know, O Trismegistus, from what matrix the true man is born, and from what seed.

Hermes: My son, he is born from the wisdom which thinks in the silence, and from the seed which is the Only Good.

Tat: But then, who sows it, Father? All this is utterly incomprehensible to me.

Hermes: It is the will of God, my son.

Tat: And of what quality is the one who comes to birth, Father? For he will neither participate in my earthly being nor in my intellectual thinking.

Hermes: The reborn one will indeed be different: he will be a god, a son of God, all in all and equipped with all faculties.

Tat: You are talking in riddles, Father, and not like a father speaking to his son.

Hermes: Such things cannot be taught, my son. But God willing, He himself will restore your memory of it.

Tat: You are telling me things, Father, which pass my understanding and which perplex me utterly. The only appropriate response I can make is to say: I am a son who is a stranger to his father’s house. Do not continue to withhold your wisdom, Father, for I am your legitimate son. Explain in detail in what manner rebirth takes place.

Hermes: What can I say, my son? Only this: When I perceived in myself an indefinable vision, brought forth by God’s mercy, I went out of myself into an immortal body. So I am now no longer the one I was before, but have been begotten of the Spirit. Such a thing cannot be taught nor can it be perceived by the physical element through which we see here. That is why I no longer worry about the composite form that once was mine. I no longer have any colour, nor a sense of feeling, nor dimension; all this is foreign to me. At this moment you see me with your eyes, my son, but what I am you are not able to understand by looking at me with your  physical eyes. Indeed, you are not seeing me now with those eyes, my son.

Tat: You have put me into a state of considerable confusion and conceptual bewilderment, Father. For now I no longer even see myself.

Hermes: May God grant you to go out of yourself like those who dream in their sleep; but then, in your case, without sleeping.

Tat: Now reveal this also to me: Who is it that instigates the rebirth?

Hermes: It is the son of God, the one man, according to God’s will.

Tat: Now you have really made me speechless, Father, because now I no longer understand any of it: I still see you with the same body, with the same outward appearance.

Hermes: In this you are mistaken, for the mortal form changes from day to day. Imaginary as it is, it changes in the course of time by increasing and decreasing.

Tat: What, then, is true and real, Trismegistus?

Hermes: It is that which is not defiled, my son, that which is unlimited, colourless, unchangeable, uncovered, formless, radiant, only to be fathomed by itself, the unalterable Good, the incorporeal.

Tat: That is beyond my comprehension, Father. I thought I had become wise through you. But all my insight has been confounded by these concepts.

Hermes: That is how it is, my son, with what goes up like fire, or down like the earth, or is liquid like water or blows through the universe like air. But how would you be able to perceive with your senses what is neither solid nor liquid, what can neither be collected nor caught, and can only be comprehended through its aptitude and active power – something which is possible only for one who can comprehend the birth in God.

Tat: Am I then incapable of that, Father?

Hermes: That is not what I meant, my son.Withdraw into yourself, and it will come.Will it, and it will happen. Still the body’s sensory activities, and the birth of the divine will become a fact.