Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Life of Mani

We begin by posting the story as given by Francis Grant in his Oriental Philosophy:

"Its doctrine, which interwove a call to high universal brotherhood with a curious cosmogonic fantasmagoria, seemed to possess a strange lure, and long after the most rigorous measures had been taken to stamp out
the faith by popes and kings, sporadic evidences of its survival were discovered, and sparks of its existence were revealed not only in Persia, but in such far-removed spots as China, Central Asia and the Graeco-Roman empire! 
"It was on the very day of the coronation of King Shapur of Persia - March 20, in the year 242 - that Mani, a native of Ectabana [Hamadan - the ancient Median capital], chose to proclaim to the celebrating throngs that he was a prophet of God with a new revelation.
"Mani was then twenty-four years old and the son of a high-born Persian of the Moghtasilah sect. This sect, having its foothold in southern Babylonia, professed a sort of Baptism, and had absorbed the teachings of various faiths, and probably some of the tenets of Christianity, still young.

"Thus, with the faith of his father, Mani had already accepted a varied gospel, and during his boyhood years he is said to have had visions and revelations. But even before his birth, the Manichaean tradition tells us, his mother had been visited by the Angel Tawn [Twin] who had brought her the annunciation of her mission.

"Mani himself was forbidden to make known his ministry until
his twenty-fourth year. And this he elected to do on the high holiday when all were assembled to rejoice at the ascent of their king. It is said that the king's brother, Piruz, was already a convert to this eclectic new faith- perhaps this would explain the amazing daring of the young apostle of a new order, who intruded upon the solemnity of a king's feast day. However, it does not appear that Shapur was offended by the young apostle, in fact, he listened with a sympathetic ear to the views of this new self-acclaimed redeemer.

"Remaining but a short while in Iran, Mani is said to have set out on a vast proselytizing mission which took him far and wide over the breadth of Asia - and that he actually trod the distant trails of the land during his lifetime is no longer dubious, as each explorer today adds his evidence to the growing story. It was in Asia and China undoubtedly that Mani, who appears also to have had unusual artistic talents, encountered Chinese art which had reached so high a level.

"Returning to his native land, he brought these arts back to Persia - to a soil fertile for artistic creation. But this time Shapur was not open to his gospel, for the Magian priests by now so influential in his court, denounced Mani and he was forced to flee. With the accession of Shapur's successor, Hamiz, the young Persian apologist returned to his home, carrying on his teaching without molestation, but watched with vengeful eyes by the Magians, who had now lost favor. No sooner however did Hamiz die and Bahram come to the throne, than the Magians returned to power.

"Determined to stamp out this noxious growth which took root so swiftly, they took Mani prisoner, then crucified him - and as a special warning to all who dared to follow his heretical doctrine, they flayed his body and stuffed his skin with hay. Mounting this ominous effigy upon the gates of the royal city, Gunde Shapur...."

The Enc. Britannica states his dates are 215/6-274. This is interesting because some give 215 as the start of the astrological age of Pisces - Robert Powell in his Hermetic Astrology gives 215 to 2375 as the dates for the Piscean age.

The name of his father is Patek (Patekios), [Fâtâk Bâbâk (Ratekios, or the "well preserved") citizen of Ectabana, the ancient Median capital]  who had joined a religious community practising abstinence and baptism. 

Mani's father himself must have displayed considerable activities as a religious reformer and have been a kind of forerunner of his more famous son, in the first years of whose public life he had some share. Through his mother he was related to the Parthian royal family (overthrown in 224) [Arsacids, who were a dynasty of Parthian kings who ruled Iran between 247 B.C.- 224 A.D.]. 

The boy was born in the village of Mardinu in Babylonia  near Seleucia-Ctesiphon, according to other accounts in the town Abrumya, from a mother of noble (Arsacide) descent.
The city was called Mardinu- now Mardin in Turkey.

Here is a map. Mardin is near the Syrian border:


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