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Eastern Thoughts Part 5


Purgatory relates the second part of poet and narrator Dante Alighieri’s depiction of his fictitious Spiritual Journey. It begins with Self-discovery when he begins by understanding his Life. He realises he is spiritual by nature and discovers has an inborn capacity to live within his human experiences. He is superstitious and believes in some a ‘spiritual magic’. He knows he can take part in developing his self-discovery if he follows the call of his need for Happiness. His journey is hindered by his education, political history, and churchian pressures of the Middle Ages.

He writes about his violent experiences in Hell (Inferno). He experiences self-cleansing in Purgatory to restore his bodily and perturbed disposition. A recurring character in Divine Comedy is Beatrice who appears at the end of Purgatory as a pure figure made ready to live in the company of those dedicated to Divine Love. She guides Dante through Heaven only after Dante has grounded himself through bodily, mental and intellectual cleaning. While Inferno features Dante traipsing around after Virgil and trying not to step on burnt, frozen and wounded bodies of condemned sinners, Purgatory is about afterlife1 (life-hereafter after physical death in conditional immortality). Thoughts of Beatrice (guru)2 keep Dante going through trials of agitations on spiritual life3 through Hell and then Purgatory. Beatrice replaces Virgil as Dante’s guide into Heaven.

Ante-Purgatory is on the Second Spur of the seven terraces of Purgatory. It holds those who died by Violence and without Last Rites. The First Terrace holds the proud (self-satisfied with possessions and achievements); the Second Terrace holds the envious (unhappy because of jealousy and wishing misfortune on others); the Third Terrace holds the wrathful (feeling intensely angry and expressing wrath).

Dante and Virgil leave Inferno and arrive at the Mount of Purgatory4, which is surrounded by an ocean. Mount Purgatory is split into different terraces for beings made ready to enter heaven. At the top of Mount Purgatory is the Garden of Eden. On ten terraces running up the side of the mountain are souls purging themselves of less serious sins of negligence, pride, jealousy, sloth, or political intrigues.

Dante exults in the Light of Self-Realization at the first meeting with the state of Reality here. He confidently hopes his wants will have the resources to help him through his spiritual practices. Trust and inner conviction will greet him after leaving Hell. Through Inferno Virgil helps Dante experience the darkness (materialism) and spiritual death (Romans 5:125). At the entrance to Purgatory, Dante and Virgil meet Cato6. An ancient Roman Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis (184 BC) – was a censor who tried to root out immorality and corruption in Roman life.
Normally the seven deadly sins include (1.Kama: Want and Lustful cravings for the sensory pleasures of the body; 2.Krodha: Anger, fury and Wrath; 3.Lobha: Greed for material wealth while ignoring the realm of the spiritual. It includes Gluttony to consume more than one requires; 4.Moha: delusion of control over another and material covetousness; 5.Mada (pride) in the pleasure of self-importance; 6.Matsarya: Envy for another’s’ traits, status, abilities, or situation. They are regarded Arishadvarga (six passions of mind) or enemies of desire); 7. Ahamkar: Ego expressed through mind-intellect-memories. Vision of the ego expresses as creativity (rajas), harmony (sattva), or sloth (tamas).

Sloth is avoiding physical or spiritual work which is neglected by Dante and the angel therefore tells Dante to wash away the P’s: to purge him of the seven sins while he is in Purgatory. On the same terrace he meets inhabitants who were excommunicated but repent before they died. There is a lazy Florentine who postponed doing good works most of his life.
There are monarchs who neglected their duties. As Dante and Virgil continue upward, they meet the proud, the jealous, the greedy, the wasteful, and the lustful. Further up the mountain, they gaze across the River Lethe7 and see the Earthly Paradise8. Here Virgil signals it is time for him to leave Dante and return to his normal environment, back to the First Circle for unbaptized heathens in Hell.

While still viewing from the opposite bank of the river but still in Purgatory, Dante sees a pageant. Participants carry sacred objects of God’s covenants. They are sacred books like the Bible. They record communications with the people on virtues, human and divine natures of Jesus, about Saints Peter and Paul, and other disciples of the Christian (and other) religion. They are sacred ceremonial objects used in rituals because they are used for worship of gods. Beatrice is there, too. Out of love for him, she rebukes him for the sins he has committed. After he confesses9 his guilt, she invites the decontaminated Dante to come across the river and move up to Heaven.

Dante’s Purgatory

Purgatory Canto 1: The Shores of Purgatory. The Four Stars; Cato of Utica; The Rush.

1. To run o’er better waters hoists its sail//The little vessel of my genius now// That leaves behind itself a sea so cruel;
2. And of that second kingdom will I sing// Wherein the human spirit doth purge itself// And to ascend to heaven becometh worthy.
3. But let dead Poesy here rise again// O holy Muses, since that I am yours// And here Calliope somewhat ascend,
4. My song accompanying with that sound// Of which the miserable magpies felt// The blow so great, that they despaired of pardon.
5. Sweet colour of the oriental sapphire// That was upgathered in the cloudless aspect// Of the pure air, as far as the first circle,
6. Unto mine eyes did recommence delight// Soon as I issued forth from the dead air// Which had with sadness filled mine eyes and breast.
7. The beauteous planet, that to love incites// Was making all the orient to laugh// Veiling the Fishes that were in her escort.
8. To the right hand I turned, and fixed my mind// Upon the other pole, and saw four stars// Ne’er seen before save by the primal people.
9. Rejoicing in their flamelets seemed the heaven.// O thou septentrional and widowed site// Because thou art deprived of seeing these!
10. When from regarding them I had withdrawn// Turning a little to the other pole// There where the Wain had disappeared already,
11. I saw beside me an old man alone// Worthy of so much reverence in his look// That more owes not to father any son.
12. A long beard and with white hair intermingled// He wore, in semblance like unto the tresses// Of which a double list fell on his breast.
13. The rays of the four consecrated stars// Did so adorn his countenance with light// That him I saw as were the sun before him.
14. “Who are you? ye who, counter the blind river// Have fled away from the eternal prison?”// Moving those venerable plumes, he said:
15. “Who guided you? or who has been your lamp// In issuing forth out of the night profound// That ever black makes the infernal valley?
16. The laws of the abyss, are they thus broken?// Or is there changed in heaven some council new// That being damned ye come unto my crags?”
17. Then did my Leader lay his grasp upon me// And with his words, and with his hands and signs// Reverent he made in me my knees and brow;
18. Then answered him: “I came not of myself// A Lady from Heaven descended, at whose prayers// I aided this one with my company.
19. But since it is thy will more be unfolded// Of our condition, how it truly is// Mine cannot be that this should be denied thee.
20. This one has never his last evening seen// But by his folly was so near to it// That very little time was there to turn.
21. As I have said, I unto him was sent// To rescue him, and other way was none// Than this to which I have myself betaken.
22. I’ve shown him all the people of perdition// And now those spirits I intend to show// Who purge themselves beneath thy guardianship.
23. How I have brought him would be long to tell thee.// Virtue descendeth from on high that aids me// To lead him to behold thee and to hear thee.
24. Now may it please thee to vouchsafe his coming// He seeketh Liberty, which is so dear// As knoweth he who life for her refuses.
25. Thou know’st it; since, for her, to thee not bitter// Was death in Utica, where thou didst leave// The vesture, that will shine so, the great day.
26. By us the eternal edicts are not broken// Since this one lives, and Minos binds not me// But of that circle I, where are the chaste
27. Eyes of thy Marcia, who in looks still prays thee// O holy breast, to hold her as thine own// For her love, then, incline thyself to us.
28. Permit us through thy sevenfold realm to go// I will take back this grace from thee to her// If to be mentioned there below thou deignest.”
29. “Marcia so pleasing was unto mine eyes// While I was on the other side,” then said he// “That every grace she wished of me I granted;
30. Now that she dwells beyond the evil river// She can no longer move me, by that law// Which, when I issued forth from there, was made.
31. But if a Lady of Heaven do move and rule thee// As thou dost say, no flattery is needful// Let it suffice thee that for her thou ask me.
32. Go, then, and see thou gird this one about// With a smooth rush, and that thou wash his face// So that thou cleanse away all stain therefrom,
33. For ’twere not fitting that the eye o’ercast// By any mist should go before the first// Angel, who is of those of Paradise.
34. This little island round about its base// Below there, yonder, where the billow beats it// Doth rushes bear upon its washy ooze;
35. No other plant that putteth forth the leaf// Or that doth indurate, can there have life// Because it yieldeth not unto the shocks.
36. Thereafter be not this way your return// The sun, which now is rising, will direct you// To take the mount by easier ascent.”
37. With this he vanished; and I raised me up// Without a word, and wholly drew myself// Unto my Guide, and turned mine eyes to him.
38. And he began: “Son, follow thou my steps// Let us turn back, for on this side declines// The plain unto its lower boundaries.”
39. The dawn was vanquishing the matin hour// Which fled before it, so that from afar/ I recognised the trembling of the sea.
40. Along the solitary plain we went// As one who unto the lost road returns// And till he finds it seems to go in vain.
41. As soon as we were come to where the dew// Fights with the sun, and, being in a part// Where shadow falls, little evaporates,
42. Both of his hands upon the grass outspread// In gentle manner did my Master place// Whence I, who of his action was aware,
43. Extended unto him my tearful cheeks// There did he make in me uncovered wholly// That hue which Hell had covered up in me.
44. Then came we down upon the desert shore// Which never yet saw navigate its waters// Any that afterward had known return.
45. There he begirt me as the other pleased// O marvellous! for even as he culled// The humble plant, such it sprang up again
46. Suddenly there where he uprooted it.


Purgatory Canto 1: The Shores of Purgatory. The Four Stars; Cato of Utica; The Rush.

Dante has left Hell. The second part of the poem begins with the invocation to the Muses10 to go with his song. Dawn approaches and feels renewed as he sees four stars (four stars represent the four cardinal virtues: prudence. temperance, fortitude, and justice) in the heavens.

Then he sees a dignified old man standing near him: Cato of Utica. He questions Dante and Virgil because he assumes they have escaped from Hell. Virgil explains the purpose of Dante’s journey and why he is still a living man doing this journey. Cato, then, commands Virgil to make sure Dante’s ego gets cleaned with a reed (humility). The two descend to the shore, and Virgil performs the cleansing ritual. The poet comes to Purgatory, beholds four stars seen only by our first parents, and meets Cato of Utica.

Dante begins Purgatory with a metaphor. He compares his own genius to a ship that now has the task of crossing waters of Hell to a place where people are cleansed of their sins. After inflating his own ego, Dante continues to invoke the Muses. He asks Calliope11, the head muse, to help him so his “poem [may] rise again from Hell’s dead realm.” He is relieved to be out of Hell which is located underground. At last he sees the sky – “the gentle hue of oriental sapphire” – all over again at last.

On the eastern horizon Dante sees the planet Venus (goddess of Love and beauty), which looks like a bright star. At the South Pole (Hell), four old stars are glowing. They are ancient because Dante says they were seen by the “first people” (Adam and Eve). Looking back to the North Pole, Dante sees a constellation that tells him the time of day, but before he can calculate it down to the exact minute, an old man distracts him.

The old man is a sage-like white-bearded man worthy of and commands respect. His face is framed by the light of those four mysterious stars. The old man approaches Dante and asks him to introduce himself – since he is one who escaped Hell. He asks about his guide Virgil, because he wonders if the Laws of Hell are broken and have been changed by cosmic powers. Virgil unlike Dante is not distracted by the questions. Virgil makes Dante kneel “knees and brow [to] show reverence.”

Then Virgil goes through his talk: that Blessed Virgin Mary (Beatrice) sent him because Dante needed to learn a lesson over Time. He therefore guided Dante and showed him Hell, and is now going to show him Purgatory. He asks for the sage’s blessing. Virgil then identifies the nameless old man as, “You are Cato and you died in Utica for political freedom. And I (Virgil) come from the same circle in Hell as your truelove, Marcia12 (dutiful wife who is still proud and warlike as before). She still prays for your love.” Then Virgil adds: “You should let us through Purgatory because if you do, I will take your condolences back to her.”

But Cato, who could not heal his passion for Marcia despite his Stoic ideals, never let her go emotionally. After allowing her to marry and bear a child for Quintus, he took her back at the first opportunity once she became a widow. He did not blame her for marrying Quintus Hortensius Hortalus (114 BC – 50 BC), the Roman orator and politician. He tells Virgil that Quintus “has no power to move me any longer” because he is not in Hell for marrying Marcia for the second time when she was widowed.

Cato then tells Virgil that if he was sent by the Virgin Mary, there is no need to flatter him. He can go through to Purgatory for the Virgin Mary’s sake. Cato then commands Virgil to go on,
but to first get Dante a new wardrobe. He needs to get a new belt made of a rush and reed. He has to wash his face so he is free from polluting Hell before entering Purgatory. Cato says rushes and reeds is all that grows on this island. After freshening up, they should start climbing Mount Purgatory. Having said what he had to say, Cato vanishes.

Virgil and Dante head back down to the shores to get rushes for belts. The rushes are all wet with dew. Dante notices the dew should have evaporated because it is in the sunlight, but the “sea winds” protect it, so the grass is still wet. Virgil places his hands on the wet grass. Dante reads his mind and kneels. He lets Virgil wash his face with the dew. Meanwhile, the sun rises.
In the distance, the sea trembles. Dante notes that they are walking on a shore that has never felt the footsteps of a living man. Virgil purposefully ties a new rush belt around Dante’s waist. Right where Virgil has plucked the reed, new reed re-grows- immediately (symbolic of enduring roots of virtue even if damaged).


Purgatory Canto 1: The Shores of Purgatory. The Four Stars; Cato of Utica; The Rush.

If one wants to learn, you need a teacher. If you want to know about spirituality, then you need a guru. He or she is the burning candle to light another candle. Only an illumined soul enlightens another soul. There is a need for guru at every life and there are infinite paths to Self-realisation.

Dante has faced life-situations where he does not know what to do. It is in such times when one needs guidance. Student: Teacher Relationship in the 13th and 14th century Era of False Rulers and Prophets has left Dante confused. The teacher is his own true nature hidden within him. He simply needs to deeply trust himself.

He has entered the domain of spiritual awakening and explores the awareness that is happening. There is spiritual growth and a shifting of consciousness which comes with healing and understanding. He is not alarmed because he is open to receiving knowledge necessary for spiritual journeys. He has been longing for more than is available in the materialistic world. He will realise there are stages to awakening into Love who is God.

Dante’s personal and professional life seems designed to help him better understand the Circle of Life. He meets ‘super-friends’ and powerful characters to awaken subjective experiences that are spiritual, sometimes mystical and even sacred.

In Dante’s poem, Cato symbolizes the four cardinal virtues of Roman Catholicism: prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance. On Cato’s instructions, Virgil cleans Dante’s face to remove the grime of hell which also girdles his waist. He uses a reed for the act of removing Dante’s imagined self-worth and arrogance. The reed symbolizes humility, without which it would be impossible to follow God’s commandments. A great love of God causes him to see the malice of his own faults in a clearer light who is obviously not a saint. Humility is the first virtue he must adopt because it will remove the obstacles to his faith. An Angelic Doctor knows humility cannot suit God. The virtue may attach to Dante’s human nature to His divinity and add merit to his search for spirituality. It will wean his heart from worldly glory to the love of divine glory. The angel appears and vices (seven P’s) opposed to humility (Pride, Envy, Wrath, Sloth, Greed, Gluttony and Lust) are written across Dante’s forehead.

Purgatory Canto 2: The Celestial Pilot. Casella. The Departure.

1. Already had the sun the horizon reached// Whose circle of meridian covers o’er// Jerusalem with its most lofty point,
2. And night that opposite to him revolves// Was issuing forth from Ganges with the Scales// That fall from out her hand when she exceedeth;
3. So that the white and the vermilion cheeks// Of beautiful Aurora, where I was// By too great age were changing into orange.
4. We still were on the border of the sea// Like people who are thinking of their road// Who go in heart and with the body stay;
5. And lo! as when, upon the approach of morning// Through the gross vapours Mars grows fiery red// Down in the West upon the ocean floor,
6. Appeared to me-may I again behold it!-// A light along the sea so swiftly coming// Its motion by no flight of wing is equalled;
7. From which when I a little had withdrawn// Mine eyes, that I might question my Conductor// Again I saw it brighter grown and larger.
8. Then on each side of it appeared to me// I knew not what of white, and underneath it// Little by little there came forth another.
9. My Master yet had uttered not a word// While the first whiteness into wings unfolded// But when he clearly recognised the pilot,
10. He cried: “Make haste, make haste to bow the knee!// Behold the Angel of God! fold thou thy hands!// Henceforward shalt thou see such officers!
11. See how he scorneth human arguments// So that nor oar he wants, nor other sail// Than his own wings, between so distant shores.
12. See how he holds them pointed up to heaven// Fanning the air with the eternal pinions// That do not moult themselves like mortal hair!”
13. Then as still nearer and more near us came// The Bird Divine, more radiant he appeared// So that near by the eye could not endure him,
14. But down I cast it; and he came to shore// With a small vessel, very swift and light// So that the water swallowed naught thereof.
15. Upon the stern stood the Celestial Pilot// Beatitude seemed written in his face// And more than a hundred spirits sat within.
16. “In exitu Israel de Aegypto!”// They chanted all together in one voice// With whatso in that psalm is after written.
17. Then made he sign of holy rood upon them// Whereat all cast themselves upon the shore// And he departed swiftly as he came.
18. The throng which still remained there unfamiliar// Seemed with the place, all round about them gazing// As one who in new matters makes essay.
19. On every side was darting forth the day.// The sun, who had with his resplendent shafts// From the mid-heaven chased forth the Capricorn,
20. When the new people lifted up their faces// Towards us, saying to us: “If ye know// Show us the way to go unto the mountain.”
21. And answer made Virgilius: “Ye believe// Perchance that we have knowledge of this place// But we are strangers even as yourselves.
22. Just now we came, a little while before you// Another way, which was so rough and steep// That mounting will henceforth seem sport to us.”
23. The souls who had, from seeing me draw breath// Become aware that I was still alive// Pallid in their astonishment became;
24. And as to messenger who bears the olive// The people throng to listen to the news// And no one shows himself afraid of crowding,
25. So at the sight of me stood motionless// Those fortunate spirits, all of them, as if// Oblivious to go and make them fair.
26. 22. One from among them saw I coming forward// As to embrace me, with such great affection// That it incited me to do the like.
27. 23. Empty shadows, save in aspect only!// Three times behind it did I clasp my hands// As oft returned with them to my own breast!
28. I think with wonder I depicted me// Whereat the shadow smiled and backward drew// And I, pursuing it, pressed farther forward.
29. Gently it said that I should stay my steps// Then knew I who it was, and I entreated// That it would stop awhile to speak with me.
30. It made reply to me: “Even as I loved thee// In mortal body, so I love thee free// Therefore I stop; but wherefore goest thou?”
31. “My own Casella! to return once more// There where I am, I make this journey,” said I// “But how from thee has so much time be taken?”
32. And he to me: “No outrage has been done me// If he who takes both when and whom he pleases// Has many times denied to me this passage,
33. For of a righteous will his own is made.// He, sooth to say, for three months past has taken// Whoever wished to enter with all peace;
34. Whence I, who now had turned unto that shore// Where salt the waters of the Tiber grow// Benignantly by him have been received.
35. Unto that outlet now his wing is pointed// Because for evermore assemble there// Those who tow’rds Acheron do not descend.”
36. And I: “If some new law take not from thee// Memory or practice of the song of love// Which used to quiet in me all my longings,
37. Thee may it please to comfort therewithal// Somewhat this soul of mine, that with its body// Hitherward coming is so much distressed.”
38. “Love, that within my mind discourses with me,”// Forthwith began he so melodiously// The melody within me still is sounding.
39. My Master, and myself, and all that people// Which with him were, appeared as satisfied// As if naught else might touch the mind of any.
40. We all of us were moveless and attentive// Unto his notes; and lo! the grave old man// Exclaiming: “What is this, ye laggard spirits?
41. What negligence, what standing still is this?// Run to the mountain to strip off the slough// That lets not God be manifest to you.”
42. Even as when, collecting grain or tares// The doves, together at their pasture met// Quiet, nor showing their accustomed pride,
43. If aught appear of which they are afraid// Upon a sudden leave their food alone// Because they are assailed by greater care;
44. So that fresh company did I behold// The song relinquish, and go tow’rds the hill// As one who goes, and knows not whitherward;
45. Nor was our own departure less in haste.


Purgatory Canto 2: The Celestial Pilot. Casella. The Departure.

As the Sun rises on the shores of Purgatory, Dante sees a reddish glow moving across the waters. The Light approaches at an incredible speed: it is a boat moved by the wings of an angel. It brings the souls of the Redeemed who are singing a liturgical song. The souls get off, and wander on the shore, not knowing what to do. Dante and Virgil join them, who are now, all strangers to the place. In the crowd Dante recognizes a singer and composer friend from Florence, Casella, who sings one of Dante’s songs. The crowd is broken by Cato, who again urges them to go to the mountain.

Dante turns to Virgil to ask what it is. Virgil knows exactly what is happening. He orders Dante to kneel towards Mars13 and join his hands in prayer. The glowing figure is an Angel of God and Virgil adoringly says: “Look – our angel is simply too good for mortals. He will only use his wings as sails and oars. Look how they point to heaven, and always towards the immortal milky-white.”

As the angel Mars (Mathew 7:7-814) gets closer, Dante must turn away because his eyes are being blinded. The angel reaches the shore with his promise of Divine Love and compassion for Dante’s transformation. Mars is guiding a boat (personality) intended for Venus (Divine Love). Because he cannot look at the angel, Dante has to content himself with looking at the boat. He notes there are at least a hundred souls seated within. The souls are all singing a psalm in Latin words, “In exitu Israel de Aegypto.” from Psalm 11415 and translate as “During the departure of Israel from Egypt.” The angel makes the sign of the cross over the souls before leaving. They fling themselves to the ground and the boat leaves because the souls are penitents who have arrived in Purgatory to cleanse themselves of sin.

The new arrivals break up and look around. They finally see Dante. They ask him how they can climb the mountain for baptismal purification and regeneration through devotion (mountain) through Divine grace. Because Dante is just as ‘out-of-himself’ as the penitents, Virgil answers instead. He admits that although he and his friend look like experts, they are just as lost as them. He tells them they are arriving from Hell.

The penitents were now not listening. They are all fixated on Dante, and gasp with astonishment that Dante is in the flesh and alive. Many paled and watched Dante with an olive branch. He becomes the center of attention. Dante says he comes as a messenger (dove) of peace and goodwill. Everyone crowds around him to hear the good news. One admiring soul even steps forward to hug the poet. Dante returns the embrace because he recognizes the admirer, but cannot because he is a Shade and is not made of flesh. Dante tries to embrace him three times but his hands go straight through him. It takes him three tries to realise what is going on.

The soul-Shade comforts him, by reassuring him that he still loves Dante, and then asks him why he is here. Dante gives him his story and realises the soul is Casella16 who asks Dante why it has taken him so long to arrive in Purgatory – inferring that Casella died a while ago, well before Dante’s journey began through Hell.

Casella does not give a straight answer. He says the Helmsman Angel who was guiding the boat of penitents souls, can pick and choose whom he wants to take first, even though he has been taking all arrivals for the past three months. But there is no harm done, because the angel’s will is God’s will. So Casella has waited it out at Ostia17, Rome’s port at the mouth of the River Tiber.
Then Dante asks for Casella to sing and Casella complies. He sings a love song. Casella’s voice is so beautiful that his singing hypnotizes everyone, including Virgil. They all gather motionless around Casella.

Cato breaks up the entertainment and shouts at them to stop faltering with their impractical music and get a move on dealing with decontamination. Casella’s audience breaks up like a flock of feeding doves interrupted by some beast. They all rush towards the slope of the mountain. Dante and Virgil, follow quickly.


Purgatory Canto 2: The Celestial Pilot. Casella. The Departure.

Dante states it is a spiritual Dawn which will include that he breathe, walk, and become clad in the beauty of Love, that is God. He personifies its expression with Aurora18 – the sunrise19 with its natural light display of changing colours: turning from pale white to orange, as she ages.

From a Hindu perspective, he is seeing physical and spiritual centres (chakras) reviewing the many reincarnations and elliptical lives of Dante’s progressive evolution. Dante spies something in the water. It is glowing like the planet Mars (where the glowing iron dust reflects the sunlight directly) symbolising God is guiding all towards Light for whoever wants spiritual transformation. It is like a flying bird when morning approaches.

Purgatory: Canto 3: Conversation on the Limits of Reason. The Foot of the Mountain. Those who died in stubborn refusal to obey the Holy Church. Manfred.

1. Inasmuch as the instantaneous flight// Had scattered them asunder o’er the plain// Turned to the mountain whither reason spurs us,
2. I pressed me close unto my faithful comrade// And how without him had I kept my course?// Who would have led me up along the mountain?
3. He seemed to me within himself remorseful// O noble conscience, and without a stain// How sharp a sting is trivial fault to thee!
4. After his feet had laid aside the haste// Which mars the dignity of every act// My mind, that hitherto had been restrained,
5. Let loose its faculties as if delighted// And I my sight directed to the hill// That highest tow’rds the heaven uplifts itself.
6. The sun, that in our rear was flaming red// Was broken in front of me into the figure// Which had in me the stoppage of its rays;
7. Unto one side I turned me, with the fear// Of being left alone, when I beheld// Only in front of me the ground obscured.
8. “Why dost thou still mistrust?” my Comforter// Began to say to me turned wholly round// “Dost thou not think me with thee, and that I guide thee?
9. ‘Tis evening there already where is buried// The body within which I cast a shadow// ‘Tis from Brundusium ta’en, and Naples has it.
10. Now if in front of me no shadow fall// Marvel not at it more than at the heavens// Because one ray impedeth not another
11. To suffer torments, both of cold and heat// Bodies like this that Power provides, which wills// That how it works be not unveiled to us.
12. Insane is he who hopeth that our reason// Can traverse the illimitable way// Which the one Substance in three Persons follows!
13. Mortals, remain contented at the ‘Quia;’// For if ye had been able to see all// No need there were for Mary to give birth;
14. And ye have seen desiring without fruit// Those whose desire would have been quieted// Which evermore is given them for a grief.
15. I speak of Aristotle and of Plato// And many others;”-and here bowed his head// And more he said not, and remained disturbed.
16. We came meanwhile unto the mountain’s foot// There so precipitate we found the rock// That nimble legs would there have been in vain.
17. ‘Twixt Lerici and Turbia, the most desert// The most secluded pathway is a stair// Easy and open, if compared with that.
18. “Who knoweth now upon which hand the hill// Slopes down,” my Master said, his footsteps staying// “So that who goeth without wings may mount?”
19. And while he held his eyes upon the ground// Examining the nature of the path// And I was looking up around the rock,
20. On the left hand appeared to me a throng// Of souls, that moved their feet in our direction// And did not seem to move, they came so slowly.
21. “Lift up thine eyes,” I to the Master said// “Behold, on this side, who will give us counsel// If thou of thine own self can have it not.”
22. Then he looked at me, and with frank expression// Replied: “Let us go there, for they come slowly// And thou be steadfast in thy hope, sweet son.”
23. Still was that people as far off from us// After a thousand steps of ours I say// As a good thrower with his hand would reach,
24. When they all crowded unto the hard masses// Of the high bank, and motionless stood and close// As he stands still to look who goes in doubt.
25. “O happy dead! O spirits elect already!”// Virgilius made beginning, “by that peace// Which I believe is waiting for you all,
26. Tell us upon what side the mountain slopes// So that the going up be possible// For to lose time irks him most who most knows.”
27. As sheep come issuing forth from out the fold// By ones and twos and threes, and the others stand// Timidly, holding down their eyes and nostrils,
28. And what the foremost does the others do// Huddling themselves against her, if she stop// Simple and quiet and the wherefore know not;
29. So moving to approach us thereupon// I saw the leader of that fortunate flock// Modest in face and dignified in gait.
30. As soon as those in the advance saw broken// The light upon the ground at my right side// So that from me the shadow reached the rock,
31. They stopped, and backward drew themselves somewhat// And all the others, who came after them// Not knowing why nor wherefore, did the same.
32. “Without your asking, I confess to you// This is a human body which you see// Whereby the sunshine on the ground is cleft.
33. Marvel ye not thereat, but be persuaded// That not without a power which comes from Heaven// Doth he endeavour to surmount this wall.”
34. The Master thus; and said those worthy people:// “Return ye then, and enter in before us,”// Making a signal with the back o’ the hand
35. And one of them began: “Whoe’er thou art// Thus going turn thine eyes, consider well// If e’er thou saw me in the other world.”
36. I turned me tow’rds him, and looked at him closely// Blond was he, beautiful, and of noble aspect// But one of his eyebrows had a blow divided.
37. When with humility I had disclaimed// E’er having seen him, “Now behold!” he said// And showed me high upon his breast a wound.
38. Then said he with a smile: “I am Manfredi// The grandson of the Empress Costanza// Therefore, when thou returnest, I beseech thee
39. Go to my daughter beautiful, the mother// Of Sicily’s honour and of Aragon’s// And the truth tell her, if aught else be told.
40. After I had my body lacerated// By these two mortal stabs, I gave myself// Weeping to Him, who willingly doth pardon.
41. Horrible my iniquities had been// But Infinite Goodness hath such ample arms// That it receives whatever turns to it.
42. Had but Cosenza’s pastor, who in chase// Of me was sent by Clement at that time// In God read understandingly this page,
43. The bones of my dead body still would be// At the bridge-head, near unto Benevento// Under the safeguard of the heavy cairn.
44. Now the rain bathes and moveth them the wind// Beyond the realm, almost beside the Verde// Where he transported them with tapers quenched.
45. By malison of theirs is not so lost// Eternal Love, that it cannot return// So long as hope has anything of green.
46. True is it, who in contumacy dies// Of Holy Church, though penitent at last// Must wait upon the outside this bank
47. Thirty times told the time that he has been// In his presumption, unless such decree// Shorter by means of righteous prayers become.
48. See now if thou hast power to make me happy// By making known unto my good Costanza// How thou hast seen me, and this ban beside,
49. For those on earth can much advance us here.”


Purgatory Canto 3:

The journey resumes from the shores of the island-mountain. Dante realises the enormous height of the mountain from the Southern Hemisphere. It has clefts around it towards a valley cut into the side. It is the steep bare heights they must climb. Then he realises that he is the only one casting a shadow.

That leads Virgil to explain the theory of the nonastral bodies20, capable of physical sensations. As they reach the foot of the mountain, Dante finds it difficult to go up, because the mountain slope is too steep. Meanwhile a band of souls moving slowly appear. They are still scared at seeing Dante alive. These are the souls who were excommunicated. Dante talks to Manfred, who repented at the last moment, but is still excluded from sacraments by the Church. Manfred presents himself not as an emperor, but as a family man.


As the souls scatter, Dante draws close to Virgil because of their special connection. Dante feels like Virgil, that he is his Conscience. They run together towards the mountain. As they slow down, Dante focuses on the mountain before them. He describes the way the sun shines on his body.

He knows heat of God’s Love flows from a hotter to a colder body. Like Fire, life-force (prana) shines unhindered through the Sun Path (pingala) through the head and down the spinal cord (sushumna).

He then becomes afraid and emotional when he sees that he alone casts a shadow on the ground but Virgil does not fret. Virgil again must remind Dante he is still alive and is in the physical body, whereas Virgil’s body has long gone and is buried in Naples. Virgil goes on to praise the Lord by stressing that a lowly man like the two of them cannot hope to understand His divine ways. He pleads for humankind to try to answer only the what, not the why, of God’s ways (Isaiah 55:8-9)21.

Because those who try to answer the why (like Aristotle and Plato) are doomed to fail. This upsets Virgil since he knows he is so much like Aristotle and Plato and is therefore like them who are condemned to Hell’s Limbo. He hangs his head.

Dante is likely experiencing a plane of existence expostulated by classical Platonic thought. It is his mind’s ability to leave the confines of the body and face outwards so the body is open for postmortem life. It needs taking care of properly, but most are unaware of its presence but also do not know how interpret the signs body gives every day.

The Astral Body is the seat of emotional life and holds want impulses developed during evolution beginning in the animal kingdom. The striving is towards individualization from their Group Soul, through awareness of one’s individual needs and emotions. In humans, this individualization has already been achieved. It is prominently marked as the evolutionary goal to refine a primal need to be unselfish and eventually to nonexistence. This takes several lifetimes of spiritual work on the Path of Entry to achieve this.

By this time, they have reached the foot of the mountain they find it steep. Virgil remarks that it would be hard to find a place where a creature without wings can climb it. As Virgil studies the slope, Dante spies a group of souls approaching them slowly from the left. Dante tells Virgil to look up. Dante asks the Shades for advice, since he seems at a loss. Virgil happily agrees to ask for help and even tells Dante to have hope.

The pilgrims approach the souls but the group huddles against the wall of the mountain and freeze there. Virgil speaks nicely to them, asking eloquently if they know of a gentler slope on the mountain that can be climbed. These spirits, “favoured by good fortune,” are timid and approach Dante and Virgil like a flock of sheep.

When the flock of souls see that Dante casts a shadow, they stop and back up a little. Virgil is tired of the fuss and he tells the souls Dante has a shadow because Dante is alive but is virtuous enough to qualify to be here in Purgatory. This convinces the flock and they gesture for the pilgrims to come forward. One of the souls taps Da nte on the shoulder and asks if he recognizes him. This soul is handsome princely blonde, but one of his eyebrows is cut in half.

Dante does not recognize him. The smiling blond points to his massive chest wound. He proceeds to introduce himself as Manfred22, the grandson of the Empress Constance23. He seeks that when Dante gets back to the living world, he visit Manfred’s daughter to give her news that her father is in Purgatory, and not in Hell.

Manfred’s story: At the battle of Benevento, he received two fatal wounds. Right before dying, Manfred repented of all his sins and gave himself to the merciful God. Unfortunately, his enemy was Pope Clement IV24 and he excommunicated him after death. So this Pope’s men dug up Manfred’s body – originally buried at Benevento – to move it outside papal territory.

Manfred snubs the Pope’s authority, claiming that God forgives everyone who repents – despite the Pope’s sentence. However, regretful souls are not just granted Purgatory. If they have died with hearts set against the Church, they must wait for thirty times the length of their sin to actually start climbing the mountain of Purgatory. However, they can shorten that wait if they receive prayers from living souls. Manfred asks Dante to take his message to Manfred’s daughter Constance25 (his wife) so she can pray for him.

Purgatory Canto 4: Farther Ascent. Nature of the Mountain; the Negligent who postpone Repentance till the last Hour; Belacqua.

1. Whenever by delight or else by pain// That seizes any faculty of ours// Wholly to that the soul collects itself,
2. It seemeth that no other power it heeds// And this against that error is which thinks// One soul above another kindles in us.
3. And hence, whenever aught is heard or seen// Which keeps the soul intently bent upon it// Time passes on, and we perceive it not,
4. Because one faculty is that which listens// And other that which the soul keeps entire// This is as if in bonds, and that is free.
5. Of this I had experience positive// In hearing and in gazing at that spirit// For fifty full degrees uprisen was
6. The sun, and I had not perceived it, when// We came to where those souls with one accord// Cried out unto us: “Here is what you ask.”
7. A greater opening ofttimes hedges up// With but a little forkful of his thorns// The villager, what time the grape imbrowns,
8. Than was the passage-way through which ascended// Only my Leader and myself behind him// After that company departed from us.
9. One climbs Sanleo and descends in Noli// And mounts the summit of Bismantova// With feet alone; but here one needs must fly;
10. With the swift pinions and the plumes I say// Of great desire, conducted after him// Who gave me hope, and made a light for me.
11. We mounted upward through the rifted rock// And on each side the border pressed upon us// And feet and hands the ground beneath required.
12. When we were come upon the upper rim// Of the high bank, out on the open slope// “My Master,” said I, “what way shall we take?”
13. And he to me: “No step of thine descend// Still up the mount behind me win thy way// Till some sage escort shall appear to us.”
14. The summit was so high it vanquished sight// And the hillside precipitous far more// Than line from middle quadrant to the centre.
15. Spent with fatigue was I, when I began:// “O my sweet Father! turn thee and behold// How I remain alone, unless thou stay!”
16. “O son,” he said, “up yonder drag thyself,”// Pointing me to a terrace somewhat higher// Which on that side encircles all the hill.
17. These words of his so spurred me on, that I// Strained every nerve, behind him scrambling up// Until the circle was beneath my feet.
18. Thereon ourselves we seated both of us// Turned to the East, from which we had ascended// For all men are delighted to look back.
19. To the low shores mine eyes I first directed// Then to the sun uplifted them, and wondered// That on the left hand we were smitten by it.
20. The Poet well perceived that I was wholly// Bewildered at the chariot of the light// Where ‘twixt us and the Aquilon it entered.
21. Whereon he said to me: “If Castor and Pollux// Were in the company of yonder mirror// That up and down conducteth with its light,
22. Thou wouldst behold the zodiac’s jagged wheel// Revolving still more near unto the Bears// Unless it swerved aside from its old track.
23. How that may be wouldst thou have power to think// Collected in thyself, imagine Zion// Together with this mount on earth to stand,
24. So that they both one sole horizon have// And hemispheres diverse; whereby the road// Which Phaeton, alas! knew not to drive,
25. Thou’lt see how of necessity must pass// This on one side, when that upon the other// If thine intelligence right clearly heed.”
26. “Truly, my Master,” said I, “never yet// Saw I so clearly as I now discern// There where my wit appeared incompetent,
27. That the mid-circle of supernal motion// Which in some art is the Equator called// And aye remains between the Sun and Winter,
28. For reason which thou sayest, departeth hence// Tow’rds the Septentrion, what time the Hebrews// Beheld it tow’rds the region of the heat.
29. But, if it pleaseth thee, I fain would learn// How far we have to go; for the hill rises// Higher than eyes of mine have power to rise.”
30. And he to me: “This mount is such, that ever// At the beginning down below ’tis tiresome// And aye the more one climbs, the less it hurts.
31. Therefore, when it shall seem so pleasant to thee// That going up shall be to thee as easy// As going down the current in a boat,
32. Then at this pathway’s ending thou wilt be// There to repose thy panting breath expect// No more I answer; and this I know for true.”
33. And as he finished uttering these words// A voice close by us sounded: “Peradventure// Thou wilt have need of sitting down ere that.”
34. At sound thereof each one of us turned round// And saw upon the left hand a great rock// Which neither I nor he before had noticed.
35. Thither we drew; and there were persons there// Who in the shadow stood behind the rock// As one through indolence is wont to stand.
36. And one of them, who seemed to me fatigued// Was sitting down, and both his knees embraced,
37. Holding his face low down between them bowed.
38. “O my sweet Lord,” I said, “do turn thine eye// On him who shows himself more negligent// Then even Sloth herself his sister were.”
39. Then he turned round to us, and he gave heed// Just lifting up his eyes above his thigh// And said: “Now go thou up, for thou art valiant.”
40. Then knew I who he was; and the distress// That still a little did my breathing quicken// My going to him hindered not; and after
41. I came to him he hardly raised his head// Saying: “Hast thou seen clearly how the sun// O’er thy left shoulder drives his chariot?”
42. His sluggish attitude and his curt words// A little unto laughter moved my lips// Then I began: “Belacqua, I grieve not
43. For thee henceforth; but tell me, wherefore seated// In this place art thou? Waitest thou an escort?
44. // Or has thy usual habit seized upon thee?”
45. And he: “O brother, what’s the use of climbing?// Since to my torment would not let me go// The Angel of God, who sitteth at the gate.
46. First heaven must needs so long revolve me round// Outside thereof, as in my life it did// Since the good sighs I to the end postponed,
47. Unless, e’er that, some prayer may bring me aid// Which rises from a heart that lives in grace// What profit others that in heaven are heard not?”
48. Meanwhile the Poet was before me mounting// And saying: “Come now; see the sun has touched// Meridian, and from the shore the night
49. Covers already with her foot Morocco.”


Purgatory Canto 4: Farther Ascent. Nature of the Mountain; the Negligent who postpone Repentance till the last Hour; Belacqua.

After talking to Manfred, Dante is absorbed in a discussion with Virgil and is not aware Time is passing. He realises that when faculties are taken by intense thought26, he becomes unaware of everything else. The climb is hard27, and when they reach the first ledge, the poet is amazed at the sun’s location. It is opposite to what he is used to seeing. Virgil explains that this is so because they are in the Southern Hemisphere. Their conversation is interrupted by Belacqua, an old friend of Dante, who is seated outside purgatory and is doing nothing. Because he was slow in accepting salvation, he must wait outside Purgatory. Belacqua repeats the policy that people still alive can help the deceased through their prayers.


Purgatory Canto 4: Farther Ascent. Nature of the Mountain; the Negligent who postpone Repentance till the last Hour; Belacqua.

Dante is so fascinated by Manfred’s tale that he loses track of Time28 during which period the sun has risen fifty degrees in the sky. He uses his distraction to challenge one of Plato’s theories about the human soul: that a single human being has more than one soul (“plurality of souls”). Plato believed that each of man’s different roles: like life, intellect, sensation, movement is controlled by a different soul.

According to Dante, if a person had several souls, he would still notice the passage of Time in Space, no matter how spellbound he might be; because not all of his souls are concentrating on the same thing at one particular time. Dante does not notice passing Time, which proves that man, has only one soul. This ‘one soul’ therefore remains connected to things of this world through his or her senses. It has little to do with the linear idea of life.

Dante’s logic is cut short by a bellowing. The mysterious band of souls has found what Dante is seeking: a mountain path of spiritual awareness he can climb. The path is narrow making Dante mindful of his commitment to the spiritual path. Its opening is small where true knowledge must first be sought. The mountain29 itself is full of vigour and spiritual powers

To climb the steep path Dante would have to fly up it. Dante then asks Virgil which way they should go, only to be warned by Virgil to just keep climbing and striving with all his heart and soul to reach the goal. Worldviews on Spiritual Paths are different but that is not Dante’s concern. With true Faith, they find someone who can give them directions since Virgil also did not know where he was going.

They climb higher and higher with an open mind but cannot see the mountain’s top. Dante is exhausted and begs Virgil to stop. Virgil shows a glimmer of mercy. He asks Dante to climb up to the ridge where he was standing so they may rest together. Dante scrambles up unquestioningly. The two pilgrims relax for a bit. Dante looks down the crusading path they have just climbed and feels satisfaction. Through contemplative spirituality30 he knows he has not yet been freed from his faults and misdeeds.

There is however something wrong because the sun is on their left! The world somehow has turned upside down! Virgil reads Dante’s mind and explains in astrological and geographical terms that Dante is seeing the world from the southern hemisphere (lowest chakras related to want, lust, anger, greed, covetousness, pride, jealousy and self-importance) after spending a lifetime seeing downwards from the northern hemisphere (It can only be reached by following the do’ and do not’s of moral behaviour, constant practice, harmlessness in thought, word and deed).

Dante then cites the exact distance between them (lowest chakra) and the equator (third chakra): Apana Vayu (downward-flowing energy) works repeatedly by unblocking energy trapped largely in the first three chakras, the physical, emotional and mental ; and between Jerusalem (seventh chakra) in the northern hemisphere and the equator31. Then he asks Virgil how much further they have to keep climbing. Virgil comforts Dante, telling him the climb32 is at its worst at the bottom and should get better as they go on climbing.

Soon a voice cries out, “Perhaps you will need to sit before you reach that point!” Dante and Virgil now notice a boulder they have not seen before. On investigation behind the boulder they find a little community of naked men lounging around – all look tired. One of them catches Dante’s eyes. He’s sitting up with his head down between his knees. Dante makes fun of his sluggishness.

The apologetic man overhears Dante and dares him to keep climbing. Dante recognizes the man’s voice. Overwhelmed Dante sits down beside the tired man and looks him in the face. The lazy male keeps speaking. Dante replies Belacqua33 and with a smile tells him he is relieved to find him in Purgatory and not in Hell. Dante asks him why he is languishing here.

Belacqua is unhappy. He asks Dante, “What’s the use in continuing to climb?” The guardian angel won’t let him through the gate to do his penance until he has languished his whole life out here in ante-Purgatory34. For now, he can only hope for prayers (Psalm of David 62.1, 5)35 to shorten his wait. Before Dante can comfort his friend, Virgil says it is already noon and must move on.

Purgatory Canto 5: Those who died by Violence, but repentant; Buonconte di Monfeltro. La Pia.

1. I had already from those Shades departed// And followed in the footsteps of my Guide// When from behind, pointing his finger at me,
2. One shouted: “See, it seems as if shone not// The sunshine on the left of him below// And like one living seems he to conduct him.”
3. Mine eyes I turned at utterance of these words// And saw them watching with astonishment// But me, but me, and the light which was broken!
4. “Why doth thy mind so occupy itself,”// The Master said, “that thou thy pace dost slacken?// What matters it to thee what here is whispered?
5. Come after me, and let the people talk// Stand like a steadfast tower, that never wags// Its top for all the blowing of the winds;
6. For evermore the man in whom is springing// Thought upon thought, removes from him the mark,
7. // Because the force of one the other weakens.”
8. What could I say in answer but “I come”?// I said it somewhat with that colour tinged// Which makes a man of pardon sometimes worthy.
9. Meanwhile along the mountain-side across// Came people in advance of us a little// Singing the Miserere verse by verse.
10. When they became aware I gave no place// For passage of the sunshine through my body// They changed their song into a long, hoarse “Oh!”
11. And two of them, in form of messengers//Ran forth to meet us, and demanded of us// “Of your condition make us cognisant.”
12. And said my Master: “Ye can go your way// And carry back again to those who sent you// That this one’s body is of very flesh.
13. If they stood still because they saw his shadow// As I suppose, enough is answered them// Him let them honour, it may profit them.”
14. Vapours enkindled saw I ne’er so swiftly// At early nightfall cleave the air serene// Nor, at the set of sun, the clouds of August,
15. But upward they returned in briefer time// And, on arriving, with the others wheeled// Tow’rds us, like troops that run without a rein.
16. “This folk that presses unto us is great// And cometh to implore thee,” said the Poet// “So still go onward, and in going listen.”
17. “O soul that goest to beatitude// With the same members wherewith thou wast born,”// Shouting they came, “a little stay thy steps,
18. Look, if thou e’er hast any of us seen// So that o’er yonder thou bear news of him// Ah, why dost thou go on? Ah, why not stay?
19. Long since we all were slain by violence// And sinners even to the latest hour// Then did a light from heaven admonish us,
20. So that, both penitent and pardoning, forth// From life we issued reconciled to God// Who with desire to see Him stirs our hearts.”
21. And I: “Although I gaze into your faces// No one I recognize; but if may please you// Aught I have power to do, ye well-born spirits,
22. Speak ye, and I will do it, by that peace// Which, following the feet of such a Guide// From world to world makes itself sought by me.”
23. And one began: “Each one has confidence// In thy good offices without an oath// Unless the I cannot cut off the I will;
24. Whence I, who speak alone before the others// Pray thee, if ever thou dost see the land// That ‘twixt Romagna lies and that of Charles,
25. Thou be so courteous to me of thy prayers// In Fano, that they pray for me devoutly// That I may purge away my grave offences.
26. From thence was I; but the deep wounds, through which// Issued the blood wherein I had my seat,
27. // Were dealt me in bosom of the Antenori,
28. There where I thought to be the most secure// ‘Twas he of Este had it done, who held me// In hatred far beyond what justice willed.
29. But if towards the Mira I had fled// When I was overtaken at Oriaco// I still should be o’er yonder where men breathe.
30. I ran to the lagoon, and reeds and mire// Did so entangle me I fell, and saw there// A lake made from my veins upon the ground.”
31. Then said another: “Ah, be that desire// Fulfilled that draws thee to the lofty mountain// As thou with pious pity aidest mine.
32. I was of Montefeltro, and am Buonconte// Giovanna, nor none other cares for me// Hence among these I go with downcast front.”
33. And I to him: “What violence or what chance// Led thee astray so far from Campaldino// That never has thy sepulture been known?”
34. “Oh,” he replied, “at Casentino’s foot// A river crosses named Archiano, born// Above the Hermitage in Apennine.
35. There where the name thereof becometh void// Did I arrive, pierced through and through the throat// Fleeing on foot, and bloodying the plain;
36. There my sight lost I, and my utterance// Ceased in the name of Mary, and thereat// I fell, and tenantless my flesh remained.
37. Truth will I speak, repeat it to the living// God’s Angel took me up, and he of hell// Shouted: ‘O thou from heaven, why dost thou rob me?
38. Thou bearest away the eternal part of him// For one poor little tear, that takes him from me// But with the rest I’ll deal in other fashion!’
39. Well knowest thou how in the air is gathered.// That humid vapour which to water turns// Soon as it rises where the cold doth grasp it.
40. He joined that evil will, which aye seeks evil// To intellect, and moved the mist and wind// By means of power, which his own nature gave;
41. Thereafter, when the day was spent, the valley// From Pratomagno to the great yoke covered// With fog, and made the heaven above intent,
42. So that the pregnant air to water changed// Down fell the rain, and to the gullies came// Whate’er of it earth tolerated not;
43. And as it mingled with the mighty torrents// Towards the royal river with such speed// It headlong rushed, that nothing held it back.
44. My frozen body near unto its outlet// The robust Archian found, and into Arno// Thrust it, and loosened from my breast the cross
45. I made of me, when agony o’ercame me// It rolled me on the banks and on the bottom// Then with its booty covered and begirt me.”
46. “Ah, when thou hast returned unto the world// And rested thee from thy long journeying,”// After the second followed the third spirit,
47. “Do thou remember me who am the Pia// Siena made me, unmade me Maremma// He knoweth it, who had encircled first,
48. Espousing me, my finger with his gem.”


Purgatory Canto 5: Those who died by Violence, but repentant; Buonconte di Monfeltro. La Pia.

As he leaves behind the souls of the lazy36, Dante sees, as he goes up, another group: the souls of Late Repentant37. They are chanting a liturgical song. These are the souls of people who died a violent death, but managed to repent in their final moments. Dante talks to three of them: 1.The Magistrate Jacopo Del Cassero (1260-1298), who tells how he was ambushed and left to bleed to death in a swamp. 2. Buonconte da Montefeltro, who tells of a struggle between the forces of good and evil over his body and soul at his death. He was saved because he died with Mary’s name in his heart and exited the body as a true repentant. Finally Dante talks to 3. Pia de’ Tolomea who gently asks Dante to remember her.

As Dante and Virgil are leaving the Lazy souls in the First Spur of Mount Purgatory behind, one of the souls sees Dante, stares at him and then points him out to the other Shades. They stare at Dante’s shadow and realise he is alive and in the flesh! Dante turns around to see who is talking to him. Virgil rolls his eyes and commands Dante to ignore them. He tells him to be like “a sturdy tower” in the face of strong winds. Dante is ashamed and follows Virgil’s orders. They continue climbing, and are approached by a band of singing penitents singing38 the Latin hymn: “Miserere mei Deus.”39

However when the Christian repentants see that Dante casts a shadow, their song changes in unison into a long “Oh”; two of the souls rush up from the group to ask Dante to tell them more about him. Virgil speaks for Dante instead. He tells the two messengers Dante is alive (and in the flesh successful and famous, obsessive and guilty of alienation from awareness about the purpose of human existence). The two messengers quickly speed back to join their group. Virgil is weary of Dante’s celebrity and tells him to move on, but to keep his ears open. The penitents call after them to stop and talk, and to bring word about them to the living world40.

They announce they all died violently and repented of their sins at the last second before death. Dante stops to look at them and says he does not recognize any of them but would be happy to help them. One soul steps forward and asks Dante to bring news of him to Fano, his hometown.

Before his life-and-death story he says he was betrayed and killed in Padua. He regrets fleeing towards Oriaco instead of Mira. The town of Oriaco was in on the dastardly scheme. Had he gone to Mira, the regretful implies, he might still be alive. Instead, he ended in a marsh where his blood soaked into the ground. From this account, Dante identifies this man is Jacopo del Cassero41.

Then without a break, another penitent starts talking. He asks for Dante’s help in bringing news to the Montefeltro. Guido da Montefeltro was also among the false counsellors in Hell. He names himself as Buonconte da Montefeltro42.

Dante excitedly asks him how he died. The last anyone had seen of him was in the Battle of Campaldino43. After that, nobody could find his body. Buonconte gives his story: during the battle, he suffered a throat wound and was running for his life when he fell along the Banks of the Archiano44, where he repented, and died. He stops to beg Dante to retell this true story and dispel any rumours about him. After his death, he was taken by an angel in Heaven, despite a Hell demon’s argument. Buonconte compares the demon’s ill will to the power of a storm. A storm like the one that suddenly broke loose that night, flooded the Archiano, and buried Buonconte body in silt and debris. That is why nobody could find him.
Suddenly, a third soul speaks; it belongs to a woman, who identifies herself as La Pia de Tolomea45 and she begs Dante to take her story to the living world.only after he has rested a bit, though. She implies that her treacherous husband caused her death, despite his wedding vows to her.


Purgatory Canto 5: Those who died by Violence, but repentant; Buonconte di Monfeltro. La Pia.

The subject of forgiveness of sins during the ritual of last rites is explained in (Ezekiel 33:15-16) and also in (Exodus 22:12). The last rites are the last prayers and ministrations given to many Catholics when possible shortly before death. The concept of everlasting life is continued movement and blessing beyond the grave under Judaism. Jesus in the gospel of John discusses everlasting life back as two expressions of life (earthly and everlasting) for purposes of becoming The Christ. Psalms of Solomon 14.3 utilizes Leviticus 18:5 to show that Law of Life is dependent life which continues into everlasting life; “the righteous ones of the Lord will live by it [the Law] forever” and again, “Love is keeping her commandments; Observance of her laws is the guarantee of immortality.”

Laws of Life illustrate character values of generosity, courage, compassion and perseverance. According to Swami Vivekananda Love is the Law of Life because all “love is expansion, all selfishness is contraction. Love is therefore the only law of life. He who loves lives, he who is selfish is dying.”

The quest of this Mystery of Life’s purpose happens in each individual life eventually when we discover we are co-creators of Love between ‘this and that’.

Sin and confession are dealt with separately in Hinduism: The heart of the sinful man always proclaims (guilt) the sins he has committed. They meet with destruction (Law of Karma) by seeking to conceal them from the good. However, “Even if thou art the most sinful of all sinners, yet thou shalt verily cross all sins by the raft of knowledge (Gita, Ch. 4, Verse 36). As the blazing fire reduces wood (fuel) to ashes, so does the fire of knowledge reduce all actions to ashes (Gita, Ch.4: Verse 37).

Purgatory Canto 6: Dante’s Inquiry on Prayers for the Dead. Sordello Italy.

1. Whene’er is broken up the game of Zara// He who has lost remains behind despondent// The throws repeating, and in sadness learns;
2. The people with the other all depart// One goes in front, and one behind doth pluck him// And at his side one brings himself to mind;
3. He pauses not, and this and that one hears// They crowd no more to whom his hand he stretches// And from the throng he thus defends himself.
4. Even such was I in that dense multitude// Turning to them this way and that my face// And, promising, I freed myself therefrom.
5. There was the Aretine, who from the arms// Untamed of Ghin di Tacco had his death// And he who fl pursuit was drowned.
6. There was imploring with his hands outstretched// Frederick Novello, and that one of Pisa// Who made the good Marzucco seem so strong.
7. I saw Count Orso; and the soul divided// By hatred and by envy from its body// As it declared, and not for crime committed,
8. Pierre de la Brosse I say; and here provide// While still on earth the Lady of Brabant// So that for this she be of no worse flock!
9. As soon as I was free from all those Shades// Who only prayed that some one else may pray// So as to hasten their becoming holy,
10. Began I: “It appears that thou deniest// O light of mine, expressly in some text// That orison can bend decree of Heaven;
11. And ne’ertheless these people pray for this.// Might then their expectation bootless be?// Or is to me thy saying not quite clear?”
12. And he to me: “My writing is explicit// And not fallacious is the hope of these// If with sane intellect ’tis well regarded;
13. For top of judgment doth not vail itself// Because the fire of love fulfils at once// What he must satisfy who here installs him.
14. And there, where I affirmed that proposition// Defect was not amended by a prayer// Because the prayer from God was separate.
15. Verily, in so deep a questioning// Do not decide, unless she tell it thee// Who light ‘twixt truth and intellect shall be.
16. I know not if thou understand; I speak// Of Beatrice; her shalt thou see above// Smiling and happy, on this mountain’s top.”
17. And I: “Good Leader, let us make more haste// For I no longer tire me as before// And see, e’en now the hill a shadow casts.”
18. “We will go forward with this day” he answered// “As far as now is possible for us// But otherwise the fact is than thou thinkest.
19. Ere thou art up there, thou shalt see return// Him, who now hides himself behind the hill// So that thou dost not interrupt his rays.
20. But yonder there behold! a soul that stationed// All, all alone is looking hitherward// It will point out to us the quickest way.”
21. We came up unto it; O Lombard soul// How lofty and disdainful thou didst bear thee// And grand and slow in moving of thine eyes!
22. Nothing whatever did it say to us// But let us go our way, eying us only// After the manner of a couchant lion;
23. Still near to it Virgilius drew, entreating// That it would point us out the best ascent// And it replied not unto his demand,
24. But of our native land and of our life// It questioned us; and the sweet Guide began:// “Mantua,”-and the Shade, all in itself recluse,
25. Rose tow’rds him from the place where first it was// Saying: “O Mantuan, I am Sordello// Of thine own land!” and one embraced the other.
26. Ah! servile Italy, grief’s hostelry!// A ship without a pilot in great tempest!// No Lady thou of Provinces, but brothel!
27. That noble soul was so impatient, only// At the sweet sound of his own native land// To make its citizen glad welcome there;
28. And now within thee are not without war// Thy living ones, and one doth gnaw the other// Of those whom one wall and one fosse shut in!
29. Search, wretched one, all round about the shores// Thy seaboard, and then look within thy bosom// If any part of thee enjoyeth peace!
30. What boots it, that for thee Justinian// The bridle mend, if empty be the saddle?// Withouten this the shame would be the less.
31. Ah! people, thou that oughtest to be devout// And to let Caesar sit upon the saddle// If well thou hearest what God teacheth thee,
32. Behold how fell this wild beast has become// Being no longer by the spur corrected// Since thou hast laid thy hand upon the bridle.
a. German Albert! who abandonest// Her that has grown recalcitrant and savage// And oughtest to bestride her saddle-bow,
33. May a just judgment from the stars down fall// Upon thy blood, and be it new and open// That thy successor may have fear thereof;
34. Because thy father and thyself have suffered// By greed of those transalpine lands distrained//
35. The garden of the empire to be waste.
36. Come and behold Montecchi and Cappelletti// Monaldi and Fillippeschi, careless man!// Those sad already, and these doubt-depressed!
37. Come, cruel one! come and behold the oppression// Of thy nobility, and cure their wounds// And thou shalt see how safe is Santafiore!
38. Come and behold thy Rome, that is lamenting// Widowed, alone, and day and night exclaims// “My Caesar, why hast thou forsaken me?”
39. Come and behold how loving are the people// And if for us no pity moveth thee// Come and be made ashamed of thy renown!
40. And if it lawful be, O Jove Supreme!// Who upon earth for us wast crucified// Are thy just eyes averted otherwhere?
41. Or preparation is ‘t, that, in the abyss// Of thine own counsel, for some good thou makest// From our perception utterly cut off?
42. For all the towns of Italy are full// Of tyrants, and becometh a Marcellus// Each peasant churl who plays the partisan!
43. My Florence! well mayst thou contented be// With this digression, which concerns thee not// Thanks to thy people who such forethought take!
44. Many at heart have justice, but shoot slowly// That unadvised they come not to the bow// But on their very lips thy people have it!
45. Many refuse to bear the common burden// But thy solicitous people answereth// Without being asked, and crieth: “I submit.”
46. Now be thou joyful, for thou hast good reason// Thou affluent, thou in peace, thou full of wisdom!// If I speak true, the event conceals it not.
47. Athens and Lacedaemon, they who made// The ancient laws, and were so civilized// Made towards living well a little sign
48. Compared with thee, who makest such fine-spun// Provisions, that to middle of November// Reaches not what thou in October spinnest.
49. How oft, within the time of thy remembrance// Laws, money, offices, and usages// Hast thou remodelled, and renewed thy members?
50. And if thou mind thee well, and see the light// Thou shalt behold thyself like a sick woman// Who cannot find repose upon her down,
51. But by her tossing wardeth off her pain.


Purgatory Canto 6: Dante’s Inquiry on Prayers for the Dead. Sordello Italy. Ante-Purgatory, the Second Spur: for those who Died by Violence and without Last Rites

More souls crowd Dante. Once they realise he is alive, they wish to ask him to bring a message to their living relatives about the help they may give or receive. But people remember people with contempt. Similarly Dante recognizes a few of them in Purgatory. Dante therefore asks Virgil how the power of prayer46 (the great unclaimed resource for the Christian) affects the will of heaven47. Virgil can give only a partial explanation48. He defers answering the question to Beatrice, who will give him a more comprehensive education of the matter.

Then Dante sees one Shade nearby standing alone in silence. Virgil and Dante go to him to ask for directions. When the stranger learns that Virgil is from Mantua by birth, he embraces him. This is Sordello, a 13th century troubadour and poet of the Provencal language. His lament, on the death of his patron Blacatz49, invites all Christian princes to feed on the heart of his hero so they might absorb his virtues. At this point, the poets digress with a powerful tirade against the evil and corruption in Italy50.

Dante compares himself to the winner of a dice game, who gets all the attention while the loser sulks in solitude. The penitents lavish him with attention, tapping his shoulders, tugging at him, all asking to be remembered.

Among the crowd, Dante recognizes such luminaries as Benincasa da Laterina51, Federigo Novello52, Gano of Pisa53, Count Orso54, and Pier de la Brosse55. Dante struggles free of all the penitents who pray and seek prayers for others. Then he realises something and addresses Virgil. Dante remarks that “in one passage” of Virgil’s Aeneid), Virgil refutes the power of prayer to “bend the rule of Heaven56.” But these souls in Purgatory do exactly what Virgil challenges as untrue.

Virgil answers that he is talking only about pagan souls57, whose “prayers are without a passageway to God.” Christian prayers, he asserts, is indeed effective. To further convince him, Virgil tells Dante to wait until he meets Beatrice, who will defend him. At the mention of Beatrice, Dante perks up and urges Virgil to get moving because it is getting late.
Virgil responds that they should climb as far as possible during the day. Dante does not expect they will make much progress so quickly. They cannot possibly climb to the top before the sun sets. At that moment they see a soul seated alone and they rush towards him to get directions.

The soul says nothing but only watches them. Instead of telling them where to go, the mysterious soul asks them who they are and where they are from. When Virgil utters the word “Mantua,” the penitent’s attitude changes. He stands up, identifies himself as Sordello of Mantua58 and quickly hugs Virgil.

At this point, Dante launches into a scathing invective against Italy, calling his native country first a ship without a navigator and second a whore. He looks admiringly on Sordello, who can – just by mentioning his hometown – wish such goodwill on his comrade citizen, while the Italians can find no such inner peace. Instead, they wage war among themselves.

He then goes into a long imagery comparing Italy to a horse. Historical figures like Emperor Justinian59 have come along to “mend your bridle,” but Dante ends this is useless since “the saddle is empty.” In other words, Italy has yet to find a good leader. Dante rants on against Italy, but adds the Church to the metaphor of the horse. He scolds the Church for not allowing Caesar to sit in Italy’s saddle, but instead controlling the bit themselves. In short, the Church has made Italy its plaything and allowed it to roam free, lawless and wild.

Now he is on a rampage. Dante continues, reprimanding Albert I of Austria60 for ignoring Italy during his reign and for failing to quell its internal strife. He summons him to come and see the results of his reign. Then, Dante uncharacteristically shows pity for the Ghibellines (his rival faction) by lamenting both Guelph and Ghibelline nobility together. Had a proper emperor ruled

Italy, he would’ have reunited the two parties and brought peace to the country.
Dante then turns his eyes towards God and asks why He is letting this misfortune continue in Italy. Finally, Dante turns to his own city. He ironically “exempts” Florence from his insults. But his tone goes: “while other cities ignore justice, Florence.talks about it. And he ends by calling Florence a sick woman.


Purgatory Canto 6: Dante’s Inquiry on Prayers for the Dead. Sordello Italy. Ante-Purgatory, the Second Spur: for those who Died by Violence and without Last Rites

“Remember me” is a likable request made by mortals while alive, dying and by the dead. Shakespeare rightly remarked that life should be measured by deeds, not years between birth and death. Isha Upanishad states “Ashes are my body’s end. OM… O mind, remember Brahman [God]. O mind, remember thy past deeds. Remember Brahman…” OM (Amen; Amin; Hum) is the only Truth that matters. It is deeds that are incorporated in Hindu beliefs and practices until humans overcome delusions and remember the purpose of existence.

Veneration of Ancestors is prevalent in many older cultures but perhaps forgotten during the times of Dante. Prayer for the dead is one of the greatest acts of charity that is part of Jewish services. According to the Catholic Church, prayers help them during their time in Purgatory.

Purgatory Canto 7: The Valley of Flowers; Negligent Princes.

1. After the gracious and glad salutations// Had three and four times been reiterated// Sordello backward drew and said, “Who are you?”
2. “Or ever to this mountain were directed// The souls deserving to ascend to God// My bones were buried by Octavian.
3. I am Virgilius; and for no crime else// Did I lose heaven, than for not having faith;”// In this wise then my Leader made reply.
4. As one who suddenly before him sees// Something whereat he marvels, who believes// And yet does not, saying, “It is! it is not!”
5. So he appeared; and then bowed down his brow// And with humility returned towards him// And, where inferiors embrace, embraced him.
6. “O glory of the Latians, thou,” he said// “Through whom our language showed what it could do// O pride eternal of the place I came from,
7. What merit or what grace to me reveals thee?// If I to hear thy words be worthy, tell me// If thou dost come from Hell, and from what cloister.”
8. “Through all the circles of the doleful realm,”// Responded he, “have I come hitherward// Heaven’s power impelled me, and with that I come.
9. I by not doing, not by doing, lost// The sight of that high sun which thou desirest// And which too late by me was recognized.
10. A place there is below not sad with torments// But darkness only, where the lamentations// Have not the sound of wailing, but are sighs.
11. There dwell I with the little innocents// Snatched by the teeth of Death, or ever they// Were from our human sinfulness exempt.
12. There dwell I among those who the three saintly// Virtues did not put on, and without vice// The others knew and followed all of them.
13. But if thou know and can, some indication// Give us by which we may the sooner come// Where Purgatory has its right beginning.”
14. He answered: “No fixed place has been assigned us// ‘Tis lawful for me to go up and round// So far as I can go, as guide I join thee.
15. But see already how the day declines// And to go up by night we are not able// Therefore ’tis well to think of some fair sojourn.
16. Souls are there on the right hand here withdrawn// If thou permit me I will lead thee to them// And thou shalt know them not without delight.”
17. “How is this?” was the answer; “should one wish// To mount by night would he prevented be// By others? or mayhap would not have power?”
18. And on the ground the good Sordello drew// His finger, saying, “See, this line alone// Thou couldst not pass after the sun is gone;
19. Not that aught else would hindrance give, however// To going up, save the nocturnal darkness// This with the want of power the will perplexes.
20. We might indeed therewith return below// And, wandering, walk the hill-side round about// While the horizon holds the day imprisoned.”
21. Thereon my Lord, as if in wonder, said:// “Do thou conduct us thither, where thou sayest// That we can take delight in tarrying.”
22. Little had we withdrawn us from that place// When I perceived the mount was hollowed out// In fashion as the valleys here are hollowed.
23. “Thitherward,” said that Shade, “will we repair// Where of itself the hill-side makes a lap// And there for the new day will we await.”
24. ‘Twixt hill and plain there was a winding path// Which led us to the margin of that dell// Where dies the border more than half away.
25. Gold and fine silver, and scarlet and pearl-white// The Indian wood resplendent and serene// Fresh emerald the moment it is broken,
26. By herbage and by flowers within that hollow// Planted, each one in colour would be vanquished// As by its greater vanquished is the less.
27. Nor in that place had nature painted only/// But of the sweetness of a thousand odours// Made there a mingled fragrance and unknown.
28. “Salve Regina,” on the green and flowers// There seated, singing, spirits I beheld// Which were not visible outside the valley.
29. “Before the scanty sun now seeks his nest,”// Began the Mantuan who had led us thither// “Among them do not wish me to conduct you.
30. Better from off this ledge the acts and faces// Of all of them will you discriminate// Than in the plain below received among them.
31. He who sits highest, and the semblance bears// Of having what he should have done neglected// And to the others’ song moves not his lips,
32. Rudolph the Emperor was, who had the power// To heal the wounds that Italy have slain// So that through others slowly she revives.
33. The other, who in look doth comfort him// Governed the region where the water springs// The Moldau bears the Elbe, and Elbe the sea.
34. His name was Ottocar; and in swaddling-clothes// Far better he than bearded Winceslaus// His son, who feeds in luxury and ease.
35. And the small-nosed, who close in council seems// With him that has an aspect so benign// Died fleeing and disflowering the lily;
36. Look there, how he is beating at his breast!// Behold the other one, who for his cheek// Sighing has made of his own palm a bed;
37. Father and father-in-law of France’s Pest// Are they, and know his vicious life and lewd// And hence proceeds the grief that so doth pierce them.
38. He who appears so stalwart, and chimes in// Singing, with that one of the manly nose// The cord of every valour wore begirt;
39. And if as King had after him remained// The stripling who in rear of him is sitting// Well had the valour passed from vase to vase,
40. Which cannot of the other heirs be said.// Frederick and Jacomo possess the realms// But none the better heritage possesses.
41. Not oftentimes upriseth through the branches// The probity of man; and this He wills// Who gives it, so that we may ask of Him.
42. Eke to the large-nosed reach my words, no less// Than to the other, Pier, who with him sings// Whence Provence and Apulia grieve already
43. The plant is as inferior to its seed// As more than Beatrice and Margaret// Costanza boasteth of her husband still.
44. Behold the monarch of the simple life// Harry of England, sitting there alone// He in his branches has a better issue.
45. He who the lowest on the ground among them// Sits looking upward, is the Marquis William// For whose sake Alessandria and her war
46. Make Monferrat and Canavese weep.”


Purgatory Canto 7: The Valley of Flowers; Negligent Princes.

The story continues after Dante’s invective against Italy. Sordello continues his embrace of Virgil as he realises that his compatriot is also the great poet Virgil, the glory of the Latin race. Virgil explains to Sordello (Lombardian 13th century troubadour) the nature of Dante’s journey and asks for the quickest way to continue up on the mountain. Sordello volunteers to guide them, but nightfall approaches and he tells them that they have to stop.

It is the law of Purgatory (prayer expressing desire to follow God’s Law) that no one may go up without the light of the sun 61 (symbolic of cosmic power and central Source of Light which is the Life of the Soul).

Following Dante’s ranting about Italy, Sordello introduces himself to the two pilgrims. He then delicately asks Virgil who he is. Virgil in a humble way explains who he is and that he is a sinner. At which point, Sordello drops to his knees, kowtows to the Roman poet. He asks where Virgil comes from: Hell or elsewhere?

Virgil answers that he is indeed from Hell but that God is allowing him to move beyond Hell and into Purgatory, where he usually could not have entered. He adds he is not terrible because he lives in Limbo, and not in the real Hell. Virgil stresses those who live as pagans died before the existence of The Christ62 and therefore were unaware about following the three holy virtues (faith, hope, and charity), but they were all souls who followed all the other virtues.

Then Sordello takes Dante to a peaceful place to rest: the valley of the negligent princes who ignore (Four Cardinal Moral Virtues63 (in Christianity they are foundations of natural morality and include prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude. All other virtues hinge on these four). As they get there, they hear a liturgical song: Salve Regina64. Sordello then points to a number of princes.

Sordello points out the highest-seated penitent and identifies him as Holy Emperor Rudolph I of Germany65, who is the only one not singing. Sordello laments that this is the one monarch who could have restored Italy to glory but obviously did not.

Beside him is Ottokar II of Bohemia (1233-1278)66, the Iron King who Sordello says is much better than his son the lazy son, Wenceslaus I. The “small-nosed man” nearby is Philip III (1245-1285)67, a disgrace to France because he lost a big battle. Dante, in trying to poetically describe this defeat, calls it “deflowering the lily” (because France’s symbol is the lily).
Philip’s friend – who is resting his head on his hand – is Henry I (1068-1135) “the Fat” the fourth son of William the Conqueror who modernised royal administration. He was called Henry Beauclerc because he could read and write. He quarrelled with his elder brothers, William II of England and Robert II, duke of Normandy, and tried with little success to set up a territorial base for himself on the Continent. When William II was killed, Henry seized the treasury and had himself elected and crowned king while Robert was away on crusade. Henry issued a charter promising to right injustices inflicted by William and to refrain from unjust demands on the church and the barons. He was not interested in piety.

Sordello returns to discussing Philip III and calls him the “father-in-law of the pest of France,” this pest being Philip IV the Fair (1268-1314), the King of France whose policies of his reign strengthened the French monarchy and increased the royal revenues. Philip asserted his right to tax the clergy for the defence of the realm, thus making permanent a special tax allowed by the popes for support of crusades.

Pope Boniface VIII opposed this measure (1296), but when threatened with loss of revenues from France he capitulated (1297). The conflict was revived by the arrest and condemnation by the king’s court (1301) of Bishop Bernard Saisset. Boniface demanded that Saisset be sent to Rome for trial. Philip, in retaliation, gathered the nobility, clergy, and commons to hear a justification of his course of action and Boniface issued a statement of his right to intervene in temporal and religious matters. Threatened by excommunication, Philip had Boniface seized at Anagni. Although freed, Boniface soon died (1303).

After the brief pontificate of Benedict XI, Philip secured electing pope of Clement V, who revoked Boniface’s bulls. In 1309 he transferred the papal residence to Avignon, thus beginning the “Babylonian captivity” of Pope Clement V. He cooperated with Philip in his persecution of the Knights Templars, whose wealth the king appropriated to finance his wars. This resulted in the Pope being abducted from Rome.

Other wealthy groups persecuted by Philip were the Jews and the Lombards (Italian bankers). Philip was more successful in his attempts to expand at the expense of the Holy Roman Empire. Philip sent for the States-General twice more (1308, 1314), chiefly to get support for his warfare. His son, Louis X, succeeded him.

Then there is the determined Charles of Anjou (1226-1285) the king of Sicily who received a papal grant. Many Ghibelline officials fled the Kingdom of Sicily to the court of Peter III of Aragon, who had married Constance, the daughter and heir of Manfred. There was also on the ledge the fourth king Pedro III of Aragon (1239-1285) who in 1262 married Constance, heiress of Manfred, the Hohenstaufen king of Sicily. After the Sicilian revolt in 1282 he invaded the island and was proclaimed king at Palermo, despite strong Guelph and papal opposition. His enterprise was unpopular in Aragon, where an association of nobles and some towns, forced him to grant a privilege of legal rights and by it lessened some of the crown’s rights.

Sordello’s point in naming these kings is that they are singing in harmony in purgatory but on earth they were bitter rivals over the throne. Pedro III left Aragon to his eldest son Alfonso III and Sicily to his second son James III. Alfonso III’s reign was marred by a constitutional struggle with the Aragonese nobles, which eventually devolved several key royal powers into the hands of lesser nobles. His inability to resist the demands of his nobles was to leave an inheritance of disunity in Aragon. Further dissent among the nobility continued. They saw little reason to respect the throne, and brought the Kingdom of Aragon close to anarchy. During his lifetime a dynastic marriage with Princess Eleanor of England, daughter of King Edward I of England, was arranged. However Alfonso died before meeting his bride. He died at the age of 27 in 1291.

Dante Alighieri, in the Divine Comedy, recounts that he saw Alfonso’s spirit seated outside the gates of Purgatory with the other monarchs whom Dante blamed for the chaotic political state of Europe during the 13th century.

Seated behind them is Pedro III’s youngest son, who might have brought virtue to the throne had he succeeded in gaining it. In the Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri sees Pedro III of Aragon “singing in accord” with his former rival, Charles I of Anjou and king of Sicily, outside the gates of Purgatory. But now, Sordello laments, the throne belongs to nasty old James and Frederick.

Then Sordello launches into a general complaint that so few kings have sons worthy of their legacy. Sordello continues. Only Henry III of England (1207-1272), who reigned for 56 years “who led the simple life,” had a worthy son. Only nine years old when his father, King John, died, Henry was the first English monarch to be crowned while still a child. On reaching adulthood, his indifference to tradition and lack of effective ruling ability resulted in the barons forcing him to agree to a series of reforms known as the Provisions of Oxford. Later, when he refused to carry out the rules, a revolt resulted and he was captured by Simon de Montfort at the Battle of Lewes. Henry was restored to the throne when de Montfort was defeated by Henry’s son Edward at the Battle of Evesham over a year later.

Finally, the ruler seated lowest in the valley is William the Marquis, whose son brought on war between Montferrat and Canavese. William, Marquis of Montferrat, was treacherously seized by his own subjects, at Alessandria in Lombardy 1290, and he ended his life in prison. Sordello now ends his extensive catalogue of the Valley of Rulers.

Purgatory Canto 7: (Ante-Purgatory: the Valley of the Rulers)


Purgatory Canto 7: The Valley of Flowers; Negligent Princes.

Having introduced himself, Virgil asks Sordello to point them to the path (sadhana- spiritual practice for ego transcendence) which would be a means to take them easily to the entry of Mount Purgatory (Antaha Karana for Kundalini Sadhana)68. Sordello decides to guide them. It is nighttime and the rule in Purgatory is that no one can travel at night. He refers to the evil of darkness69 plagued by monstrous forces. Sordello invites them to sleep with his people. Virgil’s curiosity has been piqued. Why can they not climb at night?

Sordello patiently explains his superstition (belief resulting from ignorance and fear of the unknown or false conception of cause) so rampant in a 13th century confused public; it was a time of restriction that discouraged from doing middle-of-the-right climbing towards knowledge and wisdom. According to Sordello, darkness (meaning forces of darkness or light) seemingly saps people of their will and they therefore a seeker cannot physically climb higher. For those who wish to catch the sunrise from the top of the mountain, it is what ‘real yoga body’ would look like.

However, Sordello, Dante and Virgil are invited to go downwards and rest, but not upwards. Bedtime does not sound too bad, and Virgil agrees to go sleep. Sordello therefore leads them to a spot in the valley that is so bright with the fresh colour of grass and flowers that it surpasses such beauties as “gold and fine silver, cochineal, white lead and Indian lychnite70.” In fact, it is so pretty that Dante describes Nature like a reverential painter does. Worship of this generative Energy was and still is the most simple and primitive form of a chaste idea. It is Dante’s subconscious homage to the Supreme Power, the Author of Life, the Sun.

However, picnicking on this lovely spot with a group of penitent souls is not lost on the pilgrims. The penitents are so faultlessly singing a hymn, “Salve, Regina” which translates to “Hail, Queen.” Sordello declares this spot has the best view of the valley. Here Dante and Virgil can do some sight-seeing in case they get bored.

Purgatory Canto 8: The Guardian Angels and the Serpent. Nino di Gallura. The Three Stars. Currado Malaspina.

1. ‘Twas now the hour that turneth back desire// In those who sail the sea, and melts the heart// The day they’ve said to their sweet friends farewell,
2. And the new pilgrim penetrates with love// If he doth hear from far away a bell// That seemeth to deplore the dying day,
3. When I began to make of no avail// My hearing, and to watch one of the souls// Uprisen, that begged attention with its hand.
4. It joined and lifted upward both its palms// Fixing its eyes upon the orient// As if it said to God, “Naught else I care for.”
5. “Te lucis ante” so devoutly issued// Forth from its mouth, and with such dulcet notes// It made me issue forth from my own mind.
6. And then the others, sweetly and devoutly// Accompanied it through all the hymn entire// Having their eyes on the supernal wheels.
7. Here, Reader, fix thine eyes well on the truth// For now indeed so subtile is the veil// Surely to penetrate within is easy.
8. I saw that army of the gentle-born// Thereafterward in silence upward gaze// As if in expectation, pale and humble;
9. And from on high come forth and down descend// I saw two Angels with two flaming swords// Truncated and deprived of their points.
10. Green as the little leaflets just now born// Their garments were, which, by their verdant pinions// Beaten and blown abroad, they trailed behind.
11. One just above us came to take his station// And one descended to the opposite bank// So that the people were contained between them.
12. Clearly in them discerned I the blond head// But in their faces was the eye bewildered// As faculty confounded by excess.
13. “From Mary’s bosom both of them have come,”// Sordello said, “as guardians of the valley// Against the serpent, that will come anon.”
14. Whereupon I, who knew not by what road// Turned round about, and closely drew myself// Utterly frozen, to the faithful shoulders.
15. And once again Sordello: “Now descend we// ‘Mid the grand Shades, and we will speak to them// Right pleasant will it be for them to see you.”
16. Only three steps I think that I descended// And was below, and saw one who was looking// Only at me, as if he fain would know me.
17. Already now the air was growing dark// But not so that between his eyes and mine// It did not show what it before locked up.
18. Tow’rds me he moved, and I tow’rds him did move// Noble Judge Nino! how it me delighted// When I beheld thee not among the damned!
19. No greeting fair was left unsaid between us// Then asked he: “How long is it since thou camest// O’er the far waters to the mountain’s foot?”
20. “Oh!” said I to him, “through the dismal places// I came this morn; and am in the first life// Albeit the other, going thus, I gain.”
21. And on the instant my reply was heard// He and Sordello both shrank back from me// Like people who are suddenly bewildered.
22. One to Virgilius, and the other turned// To one who sat there, crying, “Up, Currado!// Come and behold what God in grace has willed!”
23. Then, turned to me: “By that especial grace// Thou owest unto Him, who so conceals// His own first wherefore, that it has no ford,
24. When thou shalt be beyond the waters wide// Tell my Giovanna that she pray for me// Where answer to the innocent is made.
25. I do not think her mother loves me more// Since she has laid aside her wimple white// Which she, unhappy, needs must wish again.
26. Through her full easily is comprehended// How long in woman lasts the fire of love// If eye or touch do not relight it often.
27. So fair a hatchment will not make for her// The Viper marshalling the Milanese// A-field, as would have made Gallura’s Cock.”
28. In this wise spake he, with the stamp impressed// Upon his aspect of that righteous zeal// Which measurably burneth in the heart.
29. My greedy eyes still wandered up to heaven// Still to that point where slowest are the stars// Even as a wheel the nearest to its axle.
30. And my Conductor: “Son, what dost thou gaze at// Up there?” And I to him: “At those three torches// With which this hither pole is all on fire.”
31. And he to me: “The four resplendent stars// Thou sawest this morning are down yonder low// And these have mounted up to where those were.”
32. As he was speaking, to himself Sordello// Drew him, and said, “Lo there our Adversary!”// And pointed with his finger to look thither.
33. Upon the side on which the little valley// No barrier hath, a serpent was; perchance// The same which gave to Eve the bitter food.
34. ‘Twixt grass and flowers came on the evil streak// Turning at times its head about, and licking// Its back like to a beast that smoothes itself.
35. I did not see, and therefore cannot say// How the celestial falcons ‘gan to move// But well I saw that they were both in motion.
36. Hearing the air cleft by their verdant wings// The serpent fled, and round the Angels wheeled// Up to their stations flying back alike.
37. The Shade that to the Judge had near approached// When he had called, throughout that whole assault// Had not a moment loosed its gaze on me.
38. “So may the light that leadeth thee on high// Find in thine own free-will as much of wax// As needful is up to the highest azure,”
39. Began it, “if some true intelligence// Of Valdimagra or its neighbourhood// Thou knowest, tell it me, who once was great there.
40. Currado Malaspina was I called// I’m not the elder, but from him descended// To mine I bore the love which here refineth.”
41. “O,” said I unto him, “through your domains// I never passed, but where is there a dwelling// Throughout all Europe, where they are not known?
42. That fame, which doeth honour to your house// Proclaims its Signors and proclaims its land// So that he knows of them who ne’er was there.
43. And, as I hope for heaven, I swear to you// Your honoured family in naught abates// The glory of the purse and of the sword.
44. It is so privileged by use and nature// That though a guilty head misguide the world// Sole it goes right, and scorns the evil way.”
45. And he: “Now go; for the sun shall not lie// Seven times upon the pillow which the Ram// With all his four feet covers and bestrides,
46. Before that such a courteous opinion// Shall in the middle of thy head be nailed// With greater nails than of another’s speech,
47. Unless the course of justice standeth still.”


Purgatory Canto 8: The Guardian Angels and the Serpent. Nino di Gallura. The Three Stars. Currado Malaspina.

Dante opens this canto by describing the sunset (heartagram of Love and Infinity) as “the hour that makes hearts grows tender” and that “pierces the new traveller with love when he has heard, far off, the bell that mourn the dying of the day.” He claims the sunset is beautiful.

Amid his reverie, one of the penitents raises his hand for attention. He turns to face the east (all churches and temples face east toward the rising sun), and begins a hymn called “Te lucis ante.”71 Everyone follows suit. This hymn is so beautiful, that Dante stops to listen. Then a miracle happens and Dante calls on all to take notice. From the gorgeous sky descend two angels holding flaming swords with broken tips. They are dressed in vibrant green and their wings are green also. One angel lands above Dante, the other on the opposite bank. Dante notes that they are both blonde.

The canto begins with all the souls singing another liturgical evening chant. Meanwhile two angels descend from Heaven taking position on both sites of the crevice entrance. Sordello is familiar with angels sent by Mother Mary to serve as guards. They will appear at any moment to guard the valley against the serpent72. On the three steps into the valley to meet the princes, Dante recognizes Nino Visconti, who discusses his wife’s infidelity. Then he notices three stars that cannot be seen in the northern hemisphere. The serpent comes and the angels chase it away. The evening passes with Dante talking to Nino and Currado Malaspina.

Dante takes three steps before he realises someone is watching him – a soul is trying to recognize Dante. Dante is glad it is not too dark yet. He identifies his stalker – it is his old friend Judge Nino73. Dante is relieved to find his friend among the penitents and not among the damned in Hell. When Nino asks where Dante has come from, Dante answers that he has just arrived in Purgatory that morning and is still alive. This surprises both Nino and Sordello. The judge calls Currado Malaspina74 to greet Dante. Then he turns to Dante and humbly asks for a favour. He asks that when Dante returns to the living world, he visit Nino’s daughter, Giovanna, and ask for her prayers.

This seems like a harmless request. But then Nino starts babbling about his grudges against his former wife75. He prophecies that she will regret remarrying because her new husband will soon experience hard times and not be able to provide for his family. Dante, meanwhile, has stopped listening and has fixed his eyes on the horizon.


Purgatory Canto 8: The Guardian Angels and the Serpent. Nino di Gallura. The Three Stars. Currado Malaspina.

Sordello76, who is familiar with angels, explains that they come from the Virgin Mary herself and serve as guards for the valley against the serpent. Dante was always afraid of snakes. At the mention of “serpent,” he keeps turning around to see if a reptile is approaching them. He hides behind Virgil. Unaware of Dante’s fear, Sordello calmly leads the two pilgrims down the bank to meet with singing penitents.

Virgil asks Dante what he is looking at. Dante answers that he is watching three stars on the South Pole77. Virgil explains the four stars Dante saw earlier are now setting, which is why only three are visible. Sordello then points out a serpent. At the edge of the valley, an “evil streak” slithers among all the flowers, stopping occasionally to look back but is suddenly gone. Dante explains the two blond angels made their move so swiftly in the air that human eyes could not follow it. They swept down on the serpent and scared it away.

Now the venomous threat of Ignorance has been conquered, Dante notices that Currado is staring at him. After several awkward moments, Currado speaks. He wishes Dante luck in his endeavours for Knowledge 78while climbing up Purgatory, and then asks for news about his homeland, Val di Magra, the beautiful valley between hills, mountains and the sea. He introduces himself as Currado Malaspina II, son of Currado Malaspina.

Dante replies politely, heaping praise on Currado’s homeland. He goes on that although everyone else is affected by the “evil head” (Satan), the Malaspina family alone walks the true path. Currado agrees. He prophecies that in seven years, Dante will experience firsthand the greatness of the Malaspina family.

Purgatory Canto 9: The Gate of Purgatory Dante’s Dream of the Eagle. The Angel at the Gate. Seven P’s. The Keys.

1. The concubine of old Tithonus now// Gleamed white upon the eastern balcony// Forth from the arms of her sweet paramour;
2. With gems her forehead all relucent was// Set in the shape of that cold animal// Which with its tail doth smite amain the nations,
3. And of the steps, with which she mounts, the Night// Had taken two in that place where we were// And now the third was bending down its wings;
4. When I, who something had of Adam in me// Vanquished by sleep, upon the grass reclined// There were all five of us already sat.
5. Just at the hour when her sad lay begins// The little swallow, near unto the morning// Perchance in memory of her former woes,
6. And when the mind of man, a wanderer// More from the flesh, and less by thought imprisoned// Almost prophetic in its visions is,
7. In dreams it seemed to me I saw suspended.// An eagle in the sky, with plumes of gold// With wings wide open, and intent to stoop,
8. And this, it seemed to me, was where had been// By Ganymede his kith and kin abandoned,/ When to the high consistory he was rapt.
9. I thought within myself, perchance he strikes// From habit only here, and from elsewhere// Disdains to bear up any in his feet.
10. Then wheeling somewhat more, it seemed to me// Terrible as the lightning he descended// And snatched me upward even to the fire.
11. Therein it seemed that he and I were burning// And the imagined fire did scorch me so// That of necessity my sleep was broken.
12. Not otherwise Achilles started up// Around him turning his awakened eyes// And knowing not the place in which he was,
13. What time from Chiron stealthily his mother// Carried him sleeping in her arms to Scyros// Wherefrom the Greeks withdrew him afterwards,
14. Than I upstarted, when from off my face// Sleep fled away; and pallid I became// As doth the man who freezes with affright.
15. Only my Comforter was at my side// And now the sun was more than two hours high// And turned towards the sea-shore was my face.
16. “Be not intimidated,” said my Lord// “Be reassured, for all is well with us// Do not restrain, but put forth all thy strength.
17. Thou hast at length arrived at Purgatory// See there the cliff that closes it around// See there the entrance, where it seems disjoined.
18. Whilom at dawn, which doth precede the day// When inwardly thy spirit was asleep// Upon the flowers that deck the land below,
19. There came a Lady and said: ‘I am Lucia// Let me take this one up, who is asleep// So will I make his journey easier for him.’
20. Sordello and the other noble shapes// Remained; she took thee, and, as day grew bright// Upward she came, and I upon her footsteps.
21. She laid thee here; and first her beauteous eyes// That open entrance pointed out to me// Then she and sleep together went away.”
22. In guise of one whose doubts are reassured// And who to confidence his fear doth change// After the truth has been discovered to him,
23. So did I change; and when without disquiet// My Leader saw me, up along the cliff// He moved, and I behind him, tow’rd the height.
24. Reader, thou seest well how I exalt// My theme, and therefore if with greater art// I fortify it, marvel not thereat.
25. Nearer approached we, and were in such place// That there, where first appeared to me a rift// Like to a crevice that disparts a wall,
26. I saw a portal, and three stairs beneath// Diverse in colour, to go up to it// And a gate-keeper, who yet spake no word.
27. And as I opened more and more mine eyes// I saw him seated on the highest stair// Such in the face that I endured it not.
28. And in his hand he had a naked sword// Which so reflected back the sunbeams tow’rds us// That oft in vain I lifted up mine eyes.
29. “Tell it from where you are, what is’t you wish?”// Began he to exclaim; “where is the escort?// Take heed your coming hither harm you not!”
30. “A Lady of Heaven, with these things conversant,”// My Master answered him, “but even now// Said to us, ‘Thither go; there is the portal.'”
31. “And may she speed your footsteps in all good,”// Again began the courteous janitor// “Come forward then unto these stairs of ours.”
32. Thither did we approach; and the first stair// Was marble white, so polished and so smooth// I mirrored myself therein as I appear.
33. The second, tinct of deeper hue than perse// Was of a calcined and uneven stone// Cracked all asunder lengthwise and across.
34. The third, that uppermost rests massively// Porphyry seemed to me, as flaming red// As blood that from a vein is spirting forth.
35. Both of his feet was holding upon this// The Angel of God, upon the threshold seated// Which seemed to me a stone of diamond.
36. Along the three stairs upward with good will// Did my Conductor draw me, saying: “Ask// Humbly that he the fastening may undo.”
37. Devoutly at the holy feet I cast me// For mercy’s sake besought that he would open// But first upon my breast three times I smote.
38. Seven P’s upon my forehead he described// With the sword’s point, and, “Take heed that thou wash// These wounds, when thou shalt be within,” he said.
39. Ashes, or earth that dry is excavated// Of the same colour were with his attire// And from beneath it he drew forth two keys.
40. One was of gold, and the other was of silver// First with the white, and after with the yellow// Plied he the door, so that I was content.
41. “Whenever faileth either of these keys// So that it turn not rightly in the lock,”// He said to us, “this entrance doth not open.
42. More precious one is, but the other needs// More art and intellect ere it unlock// For it is that which doth the knot unloose.
43. From Peter I have them; and he bade me err// Rather in opening than in keeping shut// If people but fall down before my feet.”
44. Then pushed the portals of the sacred door// Exclaiming: “Enter; but I give you warning// That forth returns whoever looks behind.”
45. And when upon their hinges were turned round// The swivels of that consecrated gate// Which are of metal, massive and sonorous,
46. Roared not so loud, nor so discordant seemed// Tarpeia, when was ta’en from it the good// Metellus, wherefore meagre it remained.
47. At the first thunder-peal I turned attentive// And “Te Deum laudamus” seemed to hear// In voices mingled with sweet melody.
48. Exactly such an image rendered me// That which I heard, as we are wont to catch// When people singing with the organ stand;
49. For now we hear, and now hear not, the words.


Purgatory Canto 9: The Gate of Purgatory Dante’s Dream of the Eagle. The Angel at the Gate. Seven P’s. The Keys.

Dante falls asleep. It is near dawn, He dreams he is being snatched up into the fire by an eagle. The imaginary heat of his dream wakes him up, and he is confused and terrified until he sees Virgil nearby. Virgil explains that they have now come to the Gates of Purgatory. He is also told that while he was asleep, a woman named Lucia came and brought him up. Dante gets near the gates, and sees three steps of different colours leading up to the entrance. The first is of white marble, the second is darker than black, and the third step is fiery red. On the last step stands a guardian angel, clothed in ash garments is holding a sword. He traces seven “P” on Dante’s forehead, telling him to wash away these wounds as he goes through Purgatory. Then the angel takes two keys – one in gold and one in silver. They are given by St. Peter to unlock the gates. He warns Dante not to look back as he gets in. The two poets and Sordello enter the gates and hear a liturgical song.


Purgatory Canto 9

Night has fallen. Dante says that dawn (Aurora) has abandoned the bed of her lover and is growing beautifully pale. Meanwhile, opposite her the constellation Scorpio79 has jewels (stars) lining its tail. Roughly two-thirds of the night has passed by. Dante sees that, unlike his comrades, he bears “something of Adam” (meaning he has a human body with a biological clock) and is feeling sleepy. So he lies down on the grass and falls asleep. In the hour “when the swallow begins her sad songs,”80near dawn, Dante has a dream.

Dante sees a golden eagle poised high in the sky, as if ready to swoop down on him. Dante imagines the eagle can only hunt for food here, not elsewhere. Then the eagle dives like a lightning bolt and snatches up Dante in its talons and soars upward. They both burn in the flaming sky. Dante wakes up. Being the proud man Dante compares his awakening to Achilles’ when he woke up in a new kingdom after being carried there by his mother81. Dante is so startled that he turns pale and cold. Virgil, at his side, comforts him.

Dante notices the sun is already up; it is two hours into the morning. But something has gone skewed. Dante sees the sea.which was not in sight when he went to sleep. Virgil explains to Dante that they are already at the gate of Purgatory. Virgil continues: at dawn, while Dante was still in the throes of his nightmare, a woman came by, called herself Lucia82, and asked permission to “speed Dante on his way.” She carried Dante all the way to Purgatory’s gate, with Virgil in tow. She set Dante down, showed Virgil the entrance, and then disappeared. Dante listens with confusion but quickly regains his composure.

Afterwards, he follows Virgil confidently to the entrance. As they draw near, Dante notices three stair-steps that lead towards the entrance, each of a different colour. There is also a guard sitting on the top step and he is shining. He83 is so bright that Dante cannot bear to look at him. It does not help the guard holds an unsheathed sword that reflects more light into Dante’s eyes. The guard speaks, asking them where their escort is and warns them to be careful in their approach. Virgil answers: that a woman from Heaven just brought them here. Suddenly, the guard doesn’t seem so menacing anymore. He blesses them and invites them onto the stairs.

Dante, being a keenly observant poet, makes note of the colour of each step. The first step84 is made of white marble, so polished that Dante can see his own reflection in it. The second, made out of cracked rock, is dark purple. And the third appears to be made from blood-red porphyry. On the top step stands the guardian angel before the diamond gate.

Virgil urges Dante to climb these steps and to beg the guard to let them through. Dante beats his chest thrice and then throws himself at the angel’s feet, begging for mercy. The angel’s response is strange. He raises his sword and carves seven letter P’s85 in blood on Dante’s forehead. The angel says that when Dante enters Purgatory, he will slowly be able to wash away those wounds.

Dante notes that the angel’s robe is the colour of ash and from beneath that robe, the angel fishes out two keys86, one on gold and one in silver. He uses both to unlock the gates. He then tells Dante that although one key is more expensive, the other requires more skill to use.

He tells Dante that he got the keys from Peter, who warned him to open the gate rather than turn praying souls away. He allows Virgil and Dante to enter87, but warns them that they cannot look back or they will be ousted. The gates creak as they open. From within come the lovely strains of “Te Deum laudamus,” yet another hymn (“We praise you Lord”)88. Dante compares this music to an organ and vocal song – where the words are fleeting and of a strange note.

Purgatory Canto 10: The Needle’s Eye. The First Circle: The Proud. The Sculptures on the Wall.

1. When we had crossed the threshold of the door// Which the perverted love of souls disuses// Because it makes the crooked way seem straight,
2. Re-echoing I heard it closed again// And if I had turned back mine eyes upon it// What for my failing had been fit excuse?
3. We mounted upward through a rifted rock,.// Which undulated to this side and that// Even as a wave receding and advancing.
4. “Here it behoves us use a little art,”// Began my Leader, “to adapt ourselves// Now here, now there, to the receding side.”
5. And this our footsteps so infrequent made// That sooner had the moon’s decreasing disk// Regained its bed to sink again to rest,
6. Than we were forth from out that needle’s eye;/ But when we free and in the open were// There where the mountain backward piles itself,
7. I wearied out, and both of us uncertain// About our way, we stopped upon a plain// More desolate than roads across the deserts.
8. From where its margin borders on the void// To foot of the high bank that ever rises// A human body three times told would measure;
9. And far as eye of mine could wing its flight// Now on the left, and on the right flank now// The same this cornice did appear to me.
10. Thereon our feet had not been moved as yet// When I perceived the embankment round about// Which all right of ascent had interdicted,
11. To be of marble white, and so adorned// With sculptures, that not only Polycletus// But Nature’s self, had there been put to shame.
12. The Angel, who came down to earth with tidings// Of peace, that had been wept for many a year// And opened Heaven from its long interdict,
13. In front of us appeared so truthfully// There sculptured in a gracious attitude// He did not seem an image that is silent.
14. One would have sworn that he was saying, “Ave;”// For she was there in effigy portrayed// Who turned the key to ope the exalted love,
15. And in her mien this language had impressed// “Ecce ancilla Dei,” as distinctly// As any figure stamps itself in wax.
16. “Keep not thy mind upon one place alone,”// The gentle Master said, who had me standing// Upon that side where people have their hearts;
17. Whereat I moved mine eyes, and I beheld// In rear of Mary, and upon that side// Where he was standing who conducted me,
18. Another story on the rock imposed// Wherefore I passed Virgilius and drew near// So that before mine eyes it might be set.
19. There sculptured in the self-same marble were// The cart and oxen, drawing the holy ark// Wherefore one dreads an office not appointed.
20. People appeared in front, and all of them// In seven choirs divided, of two senses// Made one say “No,” the other, “Yes, they sing.”
21. Likewise unto the smoke of the frankincense,.// Which there was imaged forth, the eyes and nose// Were in the yes and no discordant made.
22. Preceded there the vessel benedight// Dancing with girded loins, the humble Psalmist// And more and less than King was he in this.
23. Opposite, represented at the window// Of a great palace, Michal looked upon him// Even as a woman scornful and afflicted.
24. I moved my feet from where I had been standing// To examine near at hand another story// Which after Michal glimmered white upon me.
25. There the high glory of the Roman Prince// Was chronicled, whose great beneficence// Moved Gregory to his great victory;
26. ‘Tis of the Emperor Trajan I am speaking// And a poor widow at his bridle stood// In attitude of weeping and of grief.
27. Around about him seemed it thronged and full// Of cavaliers, and the eagles in the gold// Above them visibly in the wind were moving.
28. The wretched woman in the midst of these// Seemed to be saying: “Give me vengeance, Lord// For my dead son, for whom my heart is breaking.”
29. And he to answer her: “Now wait until// I shall return.” And she: “My Lord,” like one// In whom grief is impatient, “shouldst thou not
30. Return?” And he: “Who shall be where I am// Will give it thee.” And she: “Good deed of others// What boots it thee, if thou neglect thine own?”
31. Whence he: “Now comfort thee, for it behoves me// That I discharge my duty ere I move// Justice so wills, and pity doth retain me.”
32. He who on no new thing has ever looked// Was the creator of this visible language// Novel to us, for here it is not found.
33. While I delighted me in contemplating// The images of such humility// And dear to look on for their Maker’s sake,
34. “Behold, upon this side, but rare they make// Their steps,” the Poet murmured, “many people// These will direct us to the lofty stairs.”
35. Mine eyes, that in beholding were intent// To see new things, of which they curious are// In turning round towards him were not slow.
36. But still I wish not, Reader, thou shouldst swerve//From thy good purposes, because thou hearest//How God ordaineth that the debt be paid;
37. Attend not to the fashion of the torment// Think of what follows; think that at the worst// It cannot reach beyond the mighty sentence.
38. “Master,” began I, “that which I behold// Moving towards us seems to me not persons// And what I know not, so in sight I waver.”
39. And he to me: “The grievous quality// Of this their torment bows them so to earth// That my own eyes at first contended with it;
40. But look there fixedly, and disentangle// By sight what cometh underneath those stones// Already canst thou see how each is stricken.”
41. ye proud Christians! wretched, weary ones!// Who, in the vision of the mind infirm// Confidence have in your backsliding steps,
42. Do ye not comprehend that we are worms// Born to bring forth the angelic butterfly// That flieth unto judgment without screen?
43. Why floats aloft your spirit high in air?// Like are ye unto insects undeveloped// Even as the worm in whom formation fails!
44. As to sustain a ceiling or a roof// In place of corbel, oftentimes a figure// Is seen to join its knees unto its breast,
45. Which makes of the unreal real anguish// Arise in him who sees it, fashioned thus// Beheld I those, when I had ta’en good heed.
46. True is it, they were more or less bent down// According as they more or less were laden// And he who had most patience in his looks
47. Weeping did seem to say, “I can no more!”


Purgatory Canto 10: The Needle’s Eye. The First Circle: The Proud. The Sculptures on the Wall.

The First Terrace of the PridefulDante and Virgil pass through the gate which closes behind them. They make their way up a narrow path to emerge on a deserted ledge. The walls that rise on the side of this ledge are adorned with carvings in white marble, all of them offering example of the virtue of humility. The first example is the scene of the Annunciation; the second represents David who, having set aside his kingly dignity, humbly dances before the Lord; and the third scene presents the Emperor Trajan stopping his warriors to listen to a poor widow’s plea for justice. Then the poets see a group of souls coming toward them. These are the Proud who, beating their breasts, make their way around the ledge under a heavyweight they carry on their backs.
Carved on that rock are images of Gabriel the angel89 who opened Heaven to men after Adam and Eve had been banished from Eden. The artist presented Gabriel so beautifully that he hardly seems just an image. Dante claims one can almost hear him saying “Ave” (“Hail”) in prayer to a painted Virgin Mary in front of him. Even her figure cries out “Ecce ancilla Dei”90 (“Behold the handmaiden of the Lord”).The Open Heaven before Dante’s eyes says ‘Only One God reigns.’

Virgil, who is on Dante’s right-hand side, interrupts Dante’s staring and advises him to look carefully at all the images. So he looks some more. Past the figure of Mary is another Biblical story presented in stone. This one shows a cart drawn by oxen carrying a sacred ark. A crowd of people stands before it, divided into seven choirs. These choirs seem so realistic that although Dante’s eyes are telling him they are not real; his ears can almost hear their singing. Similarly, his nose and eyes try to sense whether he smells the incense painted there. In front of the ark, King David91 is dancing, while Archangel Michael92 (for protection of Earth and remover of injustice and carrying a sword of mercy) watches from the palace window.

Beyond that picture is another. There, Dante sees the Roman Emperor Trajan93 mounted on horseback and surrounded by golden banners emblazoned with the eagle emblem. Near him stands a poor widow. The representation is so detailed that Dante can hear the conversation being held.

The widow begs God to avenge her son’s murder. The Emperor Trajan asks her to wait until he returns to fulfil her request. She asks sadly, what if he does not return. Trajan responds that his regent will perform the duty for her. Still doubtful, she asks why he is neglecting his duty. He assures her the act will be done before he leaves because his duty and mercy want it of him.
Dante is filled with love and wonder that God could make a picture seem so real. He explains this is because God sees nothing fantastic, while men are fascinated by novelties all the time. Virgil interrupts Dante and points out a group of approaching penitents. He hopes that they will be able to show them the way up the mountain. Dante turns toward them, reluctantly tearing his eyes from the wonderful paintings.

He warns the punishment they are about to see may be harsh, but not to mull on that. He thinks about the salvation that lies beyond Judgment Day (At end of world, God judges’ moral worth of individual). Dante thinks: Those people coming towards them do not seem like.people. He shares this thought with Virgil who assures him he is not seeing a vision. The people are punished by bearing heavyweights (boulders) on their shoulders94 and are thus bent over. On closer inspection, Dante finds the forms beneath the stones are indeed human.

He laments that men could be so proud to make them blind and force them to walk backwards (Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” John 9.39). He asserts that men are worms and that only after they have gone through purgation (metamorphosis95 from physical to astral) can they change into angelic butterflies.

He asks the rhetorical question: why do men try to fly when they are still merely sinful worms. He then compares these bent-over penitents to wooden brackets used to support a roof. They are shaped like men in despair, with their knees drawn up to their chests.

When Dante looks again, the regretful forms echo ‘despair’. Everyone is bent over at different heights, according to the weights (of karmic debt) on their backs. All of them seem on the verge of collapsing.


Purgatory Canto 10: The Needle’s Eye. The First Circle: The Proud. The Sculptures on the Wall.

After they cross the threshold, Dante is proud to say: few men are privileged enough to arrive here96 and Dante hears the door close but fears to look back. Their path is hard – running up the mountain and constantly doubling back on itself like waves on the sea. The spiritual is an insidious difficult trail (spiritual path is like walking a razor’s edge97). It begins with not being fulfilled. The depth and extent of the past (causal past) makes their going slow. The moon or lunar [Ida] path set in with past-birth memories in the subconscious consciousness is a reminder that infinite beings have human expressions. The pilgrims have set before them a task to find their way out.

They finally come on an open space, and realise they are tired and still lost, and therefore must stop. The mountain ledge is deep, its depth measuring three times a man’s height. A distressed Dante even measures it and groans in frustration. He then notices the opposite embankment which is less steep and prettier. It is not only made of white marble98 but is also decorated with carvings so complex that even such artists as Polycleitus99 and Nature herself would be overwhelmed.

Aim of a Spiritual Journey is to Inner peace (no matter what!) is a Balanced life success; Physical vitality, Joyful relationships; Everyday connection to spirit and soul; Self expressive creativity and Alignment with the natural world

Purgatory Canto 11: The Humble Prayer. Omberto di Santafiore; Oderisi d’ Agobbio. Provenzan Salvani.

1. “Our Father, thou who dwellest in the heavens// Not circumscribed, but from the greater love// Thou bearest to the first effects on high,
2. Praised be thy name and thine omnipotence// By every creature, as befitting is// To render thanks to thy sweet effluence.
3. Come unto us the peace of thy dominion// For unto it we cannot of ourselves// If it come not, with all our intellect.
4. Even as thine own Angels of their will// Make sacrifice to thee, Hosanna singing// So may all men make sacrifice of theirs.
5. Give unto us this day our daily manna// Withouten which in this rough wilderness// Backward goes he who toils most to advance.
6. And even as we the trespass we have suffered// Pardon in one another, pardon thou// Benignly, and regard not our desert.
7. Our virtue, which is easily o’ercome// Put not to proof with the old Adversary// But thou from him who spurs it so, deliver.
8. This last petition verily, dear Lord// Not for ourselves is made, who need it not// But for their sake who have remained behind us.”
9. Thus for themselves and us good furtherance// Those Shades imploring, went beneath a weight// Like unto that of which we sometimes dream,
10. Unequally in anguish round and round// And weary all, upon that foremost cornice// Purging away the smoke-stains of the world.
11. If there good words are always said for us// What may not here be said and done for them// By those who have a good root to their will?
12. Well may we help them wash away the marks// That hence they carried, so that clean and light// They may ascend unto the starry wheels!
13. “Ah! so may pity and justice you disburden// Soon, that ye may have power to move the wing// That shall uplift you after your desire,
14. Show us on which hand tow’rd the stairs the way// Is shortest, and if more than one the passes// Point us out that which least abruptly falls;
15. For he who cometh with me, through the burden// Of Adam’s flesh wherewith he is invested// Against his will is chary of his climbing.”
16. The words of theirs which they returned to those// That he whom I was following had spoken// It was not manifest from whom they came,
17. But it was said: “To the right hand come with us// Along the bank, and ye shall find a pass// Possible for living person to ascend.
18. And were I not impeded by the stone// Which this proud neck of mine doth subjugate// Whence I am forced to hold my visage down,
19. Him, who still lives and does not name himself// Would I regard, to see if I may know him// And make him piteous unto this burden.
20. A Latian was I, and born of a great Tuscan// Guglielmo Aldobrandeschi was my father// I know not if his name were ever with you.
21. The ancient blood and deeds of gallantry// Of my progenitors so arrogant made me// That, thinking not upon the common mother,
22. All men I held in scorn to such extent// I died therefor, as know the Sienese// And every child in Campagnatico.
23. I am Omberto; and not to me alone// Has pride done harm, but all my kith and kin// Has with it dragged into adversity.
24. And here must I this burden bear for it// Till God be satisfied, since I did not// Among the living, here among the dead.”
25. Listening I downward bent my countenance//And one of them, not this one who was speaking//Twisted himself beneath the weight that cramps him,
26. And looked at me, and knew me, and called out// Keeping his eyes laboriously fixed// On me, who all bowed down was going with them.
27. “O,” asked I him, “art thou not Oderisi// Agobbio’s honour, and honour of that art// Which is in Paris called illuminating?”
28. “Brother,” said he, “more laughing are the leaves// Touched by the brush of Franco Bolognese// All his the honour now, and mine in part.
29. In sooth I had not been so courteous// While I was living, for the great desire// Of excellence, on which my heart was bent.
30. Here of such pride is paid the forfeiture// And yet I should not be here, were it not// That, having power to sin, I turned to God.
31. Thou vain glory of the human powers// How little green upon thy summit lingers// If’t be not followed by an age of grossness!
32. In painting Cimabue thought that he// Should hold the field, now Giotto has the cry// So that the other’s fame is growing dim.
33. So has one Guido from the other taken// The glory of our tongue, and he perchance// Is born, who from the nest shall chase them both.
34. Naught is this mundane rumour but a breath// Of wind, that comes now this way and now that// And changes name, because it changes side.
35. What fame shalt thou have more, if old peel off// From thee thy flesh, than if thou hadst been dead// Before thou left the ‘pappo’ and the ‘dindi,’
36. Ere pass a thousand years? which is a shorter// Space to the eterne, than twinkling of an eye// Unto the circle that in heaven wheels slowest.
37. With him, who takes so little of the road// In front of me, all Tuscany resounded// And now he scarce is lisped of in Siena,
38. Where he was lord, what time was overthrown// The Florentine delirium, that superb// Was at that day as now ’tis prostitute.
39. Your reputation is the colour of grass// Which comes and goes, and that discolours it// By which it issues green from out the earth.”
40. And I: “Thy true speech fills my heart with good// Humility, and great tumour thou assuagest// But who is he, of whom just now thou spakest?”
41. “That,” he replied, “is Provenzan Salvani// And he is here because he had presumed// To bring Siena all into his hands.
42. He has gone thus, and goeth without rest// E’er since he died; such money renders back// In payment he who is on earth too daring.”
43. And I: “If every spirit who awaits// The verge of life before that he repent// Remains below there and ascends not hither,
44. (Unless good orison shall him bestead,)// Until as much time as he lived be passed// How was the coming granted him in largess?”
45. “When he in greatest splendour lived,” said he// “Freely upon the Campo of Siena// All shame being laid aside, he placed himself;
46. And there to draw his friend from the duress// Which in the prison-house of Charles he suffered// He brought himself to tremble in each vein.
47. I say no more, and know that I speak darkly// Yet little time shall pass before thy neighbours//Will so demean themselves that thou canst gloss it.
48. This action has released him from his confines.


Purgatory Canto 11: The Humble Prayer. Omberto di Santafiore; Oderisi d’ Agobbio. Provenzan Salvani. First Terrace: the Prideful

The canto opens with the prayer of the Lord’s Prayer but it is an expansion of the Lord’s Prayer (Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…)

Virgil asks the Penitent to tell him the quickest way up the mountain and one of them complies. He is Omberto Aldombrandino, who admits that Pride has ruined not only himself but his entire family. Dante is recognized by Oderisi of Gubbio, who proclaims the empty glory of human talents. The canto ends with meeting the third soul, Provenzan Salvani, dictator of Siena. Despite the stones on their backs, the penitents praise God. The penitents ask God to give them His blessing and daily manna100 so they may come into His kingdom. They then collectively forgive everyone who has ever wronged God and ask that He set them free from evil, as also their associates who are still alive. The prideful penitents lug their loads around the first terrace as they sing the Lord’ Prayer.

Suddenly Dante steps in, voicing a strong opinion. He expresses gratitude to the penitents for praying for those still alive and then insists that all humanity should pray for them so that they can eventually reach Heaven. Virgil voices what Dante is thinking, but puts it in more practical terms. Virgil agrees to pray for the Prideful penitents if they will show him and Dante the easiest way up the mountain. He whispers that to Dante because he is still of flesh and is not as athletically gifted in climbing as the bodiless souls.

One of the souls, lost in the crowd, answers. He urges the pilgrims to follow along the right-hand path, where even a living person can climb. He goes on, wishing aloud that he would raise his eyes if he could, but is weighed down, and cannot see Dante’s face. He also begs for Dante’s prayers. The speaker is Tuscan and his father is Guglielmo Aldobrandesco101, who was apparently a great man. The speaker takes pride in his family and his once pompous in lifestyle.

Another names himself as Omberto and laments that his arrogance has not only brought pain to him, but to his whole family. Omberto admits that here in Purgatory he bears the burden he refused to shoulder while on earth. Dante recalls Omberto was a posture of prideful, bent over and facing the ground. This allows Omberto to turn his head around sideways and catch a glimpse of Dante’s face.

Dante suddenly cries out in recognition of Oderisi102 the superstar illuminator. Medieval people loved their comic books that were illustrated versions of the Bible. Oderisi is obviously pleased that he is so famous, but quickly shows how far he has come as prideful penitent.

Oderisi then insists his colleague Franco Bolognese103 was the better painter. Oderisi regrets being so proud during his lifetime and is paying the price here. He rants against mankind in general for its pride, because those acclaimed at a certain time can never stay great forever. As an example, Oderisi cites his fellow artists: Cimabue104, whose glory gave way to Giotto’s105, whose glory gave way to Guido’s.

Then Dante characterizes human glory as a fickle wind that is always changing its course. Human pride is nothing in comparison to God’s power, he claims. Oderisi points out the guy in front of him and whispers to Dante that this man was once the pride of Siena. Apparently, he won a big battle against the Ghibellines in Florence. Human greatness is fleeting Dante asserts but Oderisi agrees his glory has gone from the green of flourishing grass to a withered brown brought on by the sun’s rays.

Dante is dying to know who this Ghibelline hater is. He tells Oderisi that his words have inspired great humility in him, but please tell who is this man of whom you speak? Oderisi answers: his name is Provenzan Salvani106 and he is amongst the prideful because he reached too far in trying to conquer all of Siena. One of Provenzan Salvani’s friends was detained in captivity by Charles I of Sicily. In an attempt to free his friend from Charles of Anjou’s prison, Provenzan raised the ransom money by begging on the streets. This act of self-abasement at the height of his power, suddenly made Provenzan stop acting pompous because he humbled himself for a cause he believed in “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6).

Provenzan must have died lately because Dante asks how he reached the first terrace so quickly, especially if the penitents have to spend the length of their whole lifetime praying before they can enter Purgatory proper. After Oderisi answers to tell Dante he suddenly throws in a prophecy, predicting that Dante will understand his words more fully when he witnesses his “neighbour’s acts,” which will free him from ante-Purgatory.


Purgatory Canto 11: The Humble Prayer. Omberto di Santafiore; Oderisi d’ Agobbio. Provenzan Salvani. First Terrace: the Prideful

Pride107 and Humility are both misguided virtues aspired by society for human beings. Humility is to have a modest opinion of one’s own importance before the gods while pride is an inwardly directed emotion. It can be both where the emotion within is a humble pride while having a clear perspective on a subject. Egoistic pride or pride in oneself is considered an obstacle to peace and liberation. Pride rears its head even in the most unsuspected corners.

“Hypocrisy, pride, self-conceit, wrath, arrogance and ignorance belong, O Partha, to him who is born to the heritage of the demons” (Gita 16. 4).

While pride harms only the proud, arrogance due to overbearing pride brings contempt for others. An arrogant is often rude, fond of offending everyone who comes in contact with him. Arrogance is an absorbing sense of one’s own greatness: a feeling of one’s superiority over others. Pride is too self-satisfied to care seeing the good in others.

A by-product of pride is vanity, which intensely craves admiration and applause. It is undue an assumption of self-importance. It manifests as open and rude expression of contempt and hostility. It quickly takes for granted superiority and privilege, which others are slow to concede.

The play of the ego pervades life. As long as the body is alive and the mind functions in and through the body, ego or the personality will arise and exist. This ego or pride is not a permanent and unquestionable reality. It is a temporary phenomenon; it is ignorance that invests it with permanency. Ignorance elevates it to status of reality. Only enlightenment can bring this wisdom. How does enlightenment arise? How does the realization “God is the real doer and we are just His means” get instilled in our hearts? Until this realization arises in minds and inner intelligence, we cannot get rid of the ego.

Purgatory Canto 12: The Sculptures on the Pavement. Ascent to the Second Circle.

1. Abreast, like oxen going in a yoke// I with that heavy-laden soul went on// As long as the sweet pedagogue permitted;
2. But when he said, “Leave him, and onward pass// For here ’tis good that with the sail and oars// As much as may be, each push on his barque;”
3. Upright, as walking wills it, I redressed// My person, notwithstanding that my thoughts// Remained within me downcast and abashed.
4. I had moved on, and followed willingly// The footsteps of my Master, and we both// Already showed how light of foot we were,
5. When unto me he said: “Cast down thine eyes// ‘Twere well for thee, to alleviate the way// To look upon the bed beneath thy feet.”
6. As, that some memory may exist of them// Above the buried dead their tombs in earth// Bear sculptured on them what they were before;
7. Whence often there we weep for them afresh// From pricking of remembrance, which alone// To the compassionate doth set its spur;
8. So saw I there, but of a better semblance// In point of artifice, with figures covered// Whate’er as pathway from the mount projects.
9. I saw that one who was created noble// More than all other creatures, down from heaven// Flaming with lightnings fall upon one side.
10. I saw Briareus smitten by the dart// Celestial, lying on the other side// Heavy upon the earth by mortal frost.
11. I saw Thymbraeus, Pallas saw, and Mars// Still clad in armour round about their father// Gaze at the scattered members of the giants.
12. I saw, at foot of his great labour, Nimrod// As if bewildered, looking at the people// Who had been proud with him in Sennaar.
13. Niobe! with what afflicted eyes// Thee I beheld upon the pathway traced// Between thy seven and seven children slain!
14. Saul! how fallen upon thy proper sword// Didst thou appear there lifeless in Gilboa// That felt thereafter neither rain nor dew!
15. mad Arachne! so I thee beheld// E’en then half spider, sad upon the shreds// Of fabric wrought in evil hour for thee!
16. Rehoboam! no more seems to threaten// Thine image there; but full of consternation// A chariot bears it off, when none pursues!
17. Displayed moreo’er the adamantine pavement// How unto his own mother made Alcmaeon// Costly appear the luckless ornament;
18. Displayed how his own sons did throw themselves// Upon Sennacherib within the temple// And how, he being dead, they left him there;
19. Displayed the ruin and the cruel carnage// That Tomyris wrought, when she to Cyrus said// “Blood didst thou thirst for, and with blood I glut thee!”
20. Displayed how routed fled the Assyrians// After that Holofernes had been slain// And likewise the remainder of that slaughter.
21. I saw there Troy in ashes and in caverns// O Ilion! thee, how abject and debased// Displayed the image that is there discerned!
22. Whoe’er of pencil master was or stile// That could portray the Shades and traits which there// Would cause each subtile genius to admire?
23. Dead seemed the dead, the living seemed alive// Better than I saw not who saw the truth// All that I trod upon while bowed I went.
24. Now wax ye proud, and on with looks uplifted// Ye sons of Eve, and bow not down your faces// So that ye may behold your evil ways!
25. More of the mount by us was now encompassed// And far more spent the circuit of the sun// Than had the mind preoccupied imagined,
26. When he, who ever watchful in advance// Was going on, began: “Lift up thy head// ‘Tis no more time to go thus meditating.
27. Lo there an Angel who is making haste// To come towards us; lo, returning is// From service of the day the sixth handmaiden.
28. With reverence thine acts and looks adorn// So that he may delight to speed us upward// Think that this day will never dawn again.”
29. I was familiar with his admonition// Ever to lose no time; so on this theme// He could not unto me speak covertly.
30. Towards us came the being beautiful// Vested in white, and in his countenance// Such as appears the tremulous morning star.
31. His arms he opened, and opened then his wings// “Come,” said he, “near at hand here are the steps// And easy from henceforth is the ascent.”
32. At this announcement few are they who come!// O human creatures, born to soar aloft// Why fall ye thus before a little wind?
33. He led us on to where the rock was cleft// There smote upon my forehead with his wings// Then a safe passage promised unto me.
34. As on the right hand, to ascend the mount// Where seated is the church that lordeth it// O’er the well-guided, above Rubaconte,
35. The bold abruptness of the ascent is broken// By stairways that were made there in the age// When still were safe the ledger and the stave,
36. E’en thus attempered is the bank which falls// Sheer downward from the second circle there// But on this, side and that the high rock graze.
37. As we were turning thitherward our persons// “Beati pauperes spiritu,” voices// Sang in such wise that speech could tell it not.
38. Ah me! how different are these entrances// From the Infernal! for with anthems here// One enters, and below with wild laments.
39. We now were hunting up the sacred stairs// And it appeared to me by far more easy// Than on the plain it had appeared before.
40. Whence I: “My Master, say, what heavy thing// Has been uplifted from me, so that hardly// Aught of fatigue is felt by me in walking?”
41. He answered: “When the P’s which have remained// Still on thy face almost obliterate// Shall wholly, as the first is, be erased,
42. Thy feet will be so vanquished by good will// That not alone they shall not feel fatigue// But urging up will be to them delight.”
43. Then did I even as they do who are going// With something on the head to them unknown// Unless the signs of others make them doubt,
44. Wherefore the hand to ascertain is helpful// And seeks and finds, and doth fulfill the office// Which cannot be accomplished by the sight;
45. And with the fingers of the right hand spread// I found but six the letters, that had carved// Upon my temples he who bore the keys;
46. Upon beholding which my Leader smiled.


Purgatory Canto 12: The Sculptures on the Pavement. Ascent to the Second Circle. First Terrace: the Prideful

As they leave the souls of the Proud, Virgil Dante sees to a new set of carvings in the rock beneath their feet. There are deadly sins of Negative Thinking. These are examples of the sin (karma)108 and Pride is being punished in this. There are 13 examples divided into three groups of four plus one as conclusion that recurs in all three themes. They take the form of Negative thinking, in all its many forms, and have a way of creeping into conversations and thinking without noticing them. Finally, Virgil has Dante lift his head as he is about to face the Angel of Humility. The angel, with a brush of his wing, removes the first P from Dante’s forehead, and the first of the beatitudes is heard to say: “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” As the first P is removed, Dante feels lighter, and can climb the mountain with less effort.

Dante is encircled by Prideful penitents. He compares himself being yoked to an ox that pulls his load alongside his companion cattle – sluggish and tranquil. Virgil follows and has had his fill of the sorry followers. He tells Dante to leave his new friends for continuing their journey. Dante then quits hunching over like the prideful penitents and stands up straight again. Dante comments that his thoughts are still “bent” or humble109. Dante and Virgil speed their pace.

Virgil then tells Dante to look downwards because it will give him some comfort. Dante glances down at some statues. They immediately become ambiguous. He compares the statues on the path to carved stone images on tombs that depict the dead inside. He claims viewing such reminders of lost ones can bring tears to the eyes of sympathetic onlookers. The sculptures protrude from the mountain.

On one side, Dante sees a sculpture of Lucifer110 falling from Heaven. On another side, there’s a sculpture of Briareus the giant impaled on a thunder bolt. He continues to see sculptures of many mythological figures who have suffered for their pride: Thymbraeus (Apollo), Mars(Roman god of war), and Pallas (Titan associated with war with the Giant), who think about the giants they have dismembered; Nimrod (great grandson of Noah who started his kingdom in Babylon) at the foot of his Tower of Babel; Niobe (tragic figure of Greek mythology and prototype of a bereaved mother) among her fourteen murdered children; Saul (first king of old Israel), who died on his own sword; Arachne (mortal weaver who boasted her skill was greater than of Athena), who was turned into a spider; Rehoboam (who rejected Israel’s elders and promoted monotheism), who is running from a chariot Alcmaeon; the children of Sennacherib (moon god who replaced his lost brothers and became king of Assyria – he fought most of his reign) as they attack their father Tomyris (like the nomadic queen who killed the Persian Emperor Cyrus); the Assyrians (inhabitants of Mesopotamia); and, finally, the city of Troy.

Dante walks with his head bent, taking in all the images below. He is surprised by how lifelike they seem. He rages against the arrogant “sons of Eve” (humankind), telling them sarcastically to turn a blind eye on their evil ways. From the position of the sun, Dante realises he has spent a long time browsing the sculpture garden. So Virgil tells Dante to lift his eyes because it is time to stop browsing; would he be so polite to greet the angel who is fast approaching them? Dante is told to be nice because the angel might allow them to continue. Unless the chance is grabbed, they may not get another. The angel is handsome, dressed all in white, and glows like a star in the morning sky.

The angel is beautiful and loses no time in opening his arms and welcoming Dante and Virgil to the staircase of the next terrace. He remarks few human beings make it this far because they make mistakes through disobedience in human interactions. The angel leads them to a crack in the wall, but before they enter, the angel hits Dante on the head with his wing. They enter and the path is surprisingly not steep and they walk towards the right. As they walk, they hear a song.

The words to the song are “beati paupers spiritu111” and they float along beautifully on the breeze. Dante takes us back to Inferno, remarking on how different this song is compared with Hell’s sound track, which consists mostly of bloodcurdling screams. As they continue climbing the stairs, Dante realises he does not have to work as hard. He is not as heavy as he used to be, because the weight of our sins is hard for us to bear!

He is told he cannot be as tired because one of his P’s is erased from the forehead and every time that happens the load eases a little and the feet take joy in travelling uphill. Dante’s reaction is a big ‘what’ and his hands fly to his forehead. He feels only six P’s on his forehead now. Meanwhile, Virgil watches Dante poking at his forehead and it makes him laugh.


Purgatory Canto 12: The Sculptures on the Pavement. Ascent to the Second Circle. First Terrace: the Prideful

Prideful is to have a high opinion, merit or superiority cherished in the mind is usually displayed in bearing and conduct. There is a difference between being proud and being prideful in one’s self-sufficiency as regards randomness of life. Jesus says, “The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents'” (Matthew 25:20). I harvest where I have sown and gather where I scattered seed.

Being proud is associated with accomplishing a task well done while pride is arrogance that a person lives in. The servant with the five talents was proud of the work he was able to accomplish with what the master had given him. He knew if the master had not given him any talents, he would have accomplished nothing. There is nothing wrong with being proud of the work that we or someone else does. In the same light, as children of God, He is proud of us too. As we are being encouraged and motivated by the Holy Spirit, God sees us growing.

Purgatory Canto 13: The Second Circle: The Envious. Sapia of Siena.

1. We were upon the summit of the stairs// Where for the second time is cut away// The mountain, which ascending shriveth all.
2. There in like manner doth a cornice bind// The hill all round about, as does the first// Save that its arc more suddenly is curved.
3. Shade is there none, nor sculpture that appears// So seems the bank, and so the road seems smooth// With but the livid colour of the stone.
4. “If to inquire we wait for people here,”// The Poet said, “I fear that peradventure// Too much delay will our election have.”
5. Then steadfast on the sun his eyes he fixed// Made his right side the centre of his motion// And turned the left part of himself about.
6. “O thou sweet light! with trust in whom I enter// Upon this novel journey, do thou lead us,”// Said he, “as one within here should be led.
7. Thou warmest the world, thou shinest over it// If other reason prompt not otherwise// Thy rays should evermore our leaders be!”
8. As much as here is counted for a mile// So much already there had we advanced// In little time, by dint of ready will;
9. And tow’rds us there were heard to fly, albeit// They were not visible, spirits uttering// Unto Love’s table courteous invitations,
10. The first voice that passed onward in its flight// “Vinum non habent,” said in accents loud// And went reiterating it behind us.
11. And ere it wholly grew inaudible// Because of distance, passed another, crying// “I am Orestes!” and it also stayed not.
12. “O,” said I, “Father, these, what voices are they?”// And even as I asked, behold the third// Saying: “Love those from whom ye have had evil!”
13. And the good Master said: “This circle scourges// The sin of envy, and on that account// Are drawn from love the lashes of the scourge.
14. The bridle of another sound shall be// I think that thou wilt hear it, as I judge// Before thou comest to the Pass of Pardon.
15. But fix thine eyes athwart the air right steadfast// And people thou wilt see before us sitting// And each one close against the cliff is seated.”
16. Then wider than at first mine eyes I opened// I looked before me, and saw Shades with mantles// Not from the colour of the stone diverse.
17. And when we were a little farther onward// I heard a cry of, “Mary, pray for us!”// A cry of, “Michael, Peter, and all Saints!”
18. I do not think there walketh still on earth// A man so hard, that he would not be pierced// With pity at what afterward I saw.
19. For when I had approached so near to them// That manifest to me their acts became// Drained was I at the eyes by heavy grief.
20. Covered with sackcloth vile they seemed to me// And one sustained the other with his shoulder// And all of them were by the bank sustained.
21. Thus do the blind, in want of livelihood// Stand at the doors of churches asking alms// And one upon another leans his head,
22. So that in others pity soon may rise// Not only at the accent of their words// But at their aspect, which no less implores.
23. And as unto the blind the sun comes not// So to the Shades, of whom just now I spake// Heaven’s light will not be bounteous of itself;
24. For all their lids an iron wire transpierces// And sews them up, as to a sparhawk wild// Is done, because it will not quiet stay.
25. To me it seemed, in passing, to do outrage// Seeing the others without being seen// Wherefore I turned me to my counsel sage.
26. Well knew he what the mute one wished to say// And therefore waited not for my demand// But said: “Speak, and be brief, and to the point.”
27. I had Virgilius upon that side// Of the embankment from which one may fall// Since by no border ’tis engarlanded;
28. Upon the other side of me I had// The Shades devout, who through the horrible seam// Pressed out the tears so that they bathed their cheeks.
29. To them I turned me, and, “O people, certain,”// Began I, “of beholding the high light// Which your desire has solely in its care,
30. So may grace speedily dissolve the scum// Upon your consciences, that limpidly// Through them descend the river of the mind,
31. Tell me, for dear ’twill be to me and gracious// If any soul among you here is Latian// And ’twill perchance be good for him I learn it.”
32. “O brother mine, each one is citizen// Of one true city; but thy meaning is// Who may have lived in Italy a pilgrim.”
33. By way of answer this I seemed to hear// A little farther on than where I stood// Whereat I made myself still nearer heard.
34. Among the rest I saw a Shade that waited// In aspect, and should any one ask how// Its chin it lifted upward like a blind man.
35. “Spirit,” I said, “who stoopest to ascend// If thou art he who did reply to me// Make thyself known to me by place or name.”
36. “Sienese was I,” it replied, “and with// The others here recleanse my guilty life// Weeping to Him to lend himself to us.
37. Sapient I was not, although I Sapia// Was called, and I was at another’s harm// More happy far than at my own good fortune.
38. And that thou mayst not think that I deceive thee// Hear if I was as foolish as I tell thee.// The arc already of my years descending,
39. My fellow-citizens near unto Colle// Were joined in battle with their adversaries// And I was praying God for what he willed.
40. Routed were they, and turned into the bitter// Passes of flight; and I, the chase beholding// A joy received unequalled by all others;
41. So that I lifted upward my bold face// Crying to God, ‘Henceforth I fear thee not,’// As did the blackbird at the little sunshine.
42. Peace I desired with God at the extreme// Of my existence, and as yet would not// My debt have been by penitence discharged,
43. Had it not been that in remembrance held me// Pier Pettignano in his holy prayers// Who out of charity was grieved for me.
44. But who art thou, that into our conditions// Questioning goest, and hast thine eyes unbound// As I believe, and breathing dost discourse?”
45. “Mine eyes,” I said, “will yet be here ta’en from me// But for short space; for small is the offence// Committed by their being turned with envy.
46. Far greater is the fear, wherein suspended// My soul is, of the torment underneath// For even now the load down there weighs on me.”
47. And she to me: “Who led thee, then, among us// Up here, if to return below thou thinkest?”// And I: “He who is with me, and speaks not;
48. And living am I; therefore ask of me// Spirit elect, if thou wouldst have me move// O’er yonder yet my mortal feet for thee.”
49. “O, this is such a novel thing to hear,”// She answered, “that great sign it is God loves thee// Therefore with prayer of thine sometimes assist me.
50. And I implore, by what thou most desirest// If e’er thou treadest the soil of Tuscany// Well with my kindred reinstate my fame.
Them wilt thou see among that people vain// Who hope in Talamone, and will lose there// More hope than in discovering the Diana;
51. But there still more the admirals will lose.”


Purgatory Canto 13: The Second Circle: The Envious. Sapia of Siena. Second Terrace: the Envious)

Dante and Virgil reach the second terrace, which is set in the livid colour of stone. They do not see anyone around to ask for direction. Virgil turns his attention to the Sun for guidance (Sun is the ancient symbol of God Consciousness). As the two walk along the terrace, they hear a disembodied voice crying out examples of Generosity, the virtue that is opposite to Envy. Two of the examples are from the Gospels, and one from Greek history. Then Dante becomes aware of how the sin of Envy is punished: the penitents are sitting next to one another against the rocks reciting the Litany (a serial monotonous prayer). They are dressed in coarse haircloth; their eyelids have been stitched shut with iron thread. Dante here talks to Sapia from Siena, who confesses she rejoiced in the defeat of her own citizens at the battle of Colle.

Dante and Virgil arrive at the top of the stairs which is the starting line of the second terrace. It looks the same as the first terrace except it is smaller in circumference. Here there are no strange sculptures, and the colour of the rock is a bluish black. Just as Dante begins settling down to wait for another passersby so they can ask for directions, Virgil says they would be wasting too much time waiting. Instead, Virgil uses the Sun as a natural compass.

First, Virgil utters a prayer to the Sun 112that it guides them safely. He then turns to face the Sun and starts walking. Dante just follows. They travelled a mile and make good time. They are interrupted by the sound of souls speaking all around them. They are being greeted with words of Love. Dante hears “vinum non habent”113 “I am Orestes”114 and “Love those by whom you have been hurt.” Instead of running away screaming, Dante calmly asks Virgil what is going on.

Virgil explains: this is the terrace in which envy is purged with Love. Just when Dante is beginning to slacken, Virgil warns him that he will get to hear the punished envious ones soon. He directs Dante’s attention towards the path in front of them, where a crowd of souls sits. Dante sees people wearing clothes the same colour as the stone all around them. As Dante and Virgil approach, the souls cry out to famous Biblical people who were full of love, like the Virgin Mary.

As he gets closer, Dante realises that he is witnessing the punishment of envious souls, and his eyes immediately fill with tears. They are all wearing “coarse haircloth” – a blue-black fur. Each envious soul rests his hands on his neighbour’s shoulder. Dante cries at these Envious beggars who are blind have their eyelids are sewn shut with iron wires.

Dante compares them to hooded hunting hawks, blinded so they are easier to handle. Dante sympathetically says, they cannot see the light of heaven. Dante turns to Virgil with the comment that it is rude for them to pass through the midst of the Envious, without being seen. The irritated Virgil allows Dante to speak to the Envious souls, provided he keeps it short. As he approaches them, Dante becomes aware of the local geography. Virgil is to his right, protecting him from falling off the mountain. To his left are souls with their eyes sewn shut and tears on their cheeks.

Dante first praises the Envious because they are destined to eventually enter Heaven and to regain their sight and memory. Then he asks if anyone there is Italian. Dante suggests he might be able to help his fellow citizens. One soul answers rather impudently, correcting Dante. She claims that everyone here is a citizen of “one true city” and what Dante meant to say was “one who lived in Italy as a pilgrim.”

Not used to being corrected, Dante fixes his eyes on the speaker – who cannot see him – and asks her who she is. She answers that she is Sienese and that she is sorry for her vices in life. She says, “I was not wise, though I was called Sapia” (noble woman Sapia Salvani of the Bulgarni family and wife of Ghinbaldo di Saracino who owned their palace. She lived overjoyed in exile at Colle when her countrymen were defeated near her place). She also took more joy in others’ misfortune than in her own good luck.

She tells Dante how her fellow Sienese backed the Ghibelline leader Colle di Val d’Elsa, while she was envious of their power. When they were defeated in battle, Sapia rejoiced and dared to turn her face to God to say “Now I fear you no more!” However, she continues, she repented at the end of her life and thus ended in Purgatory. She also gives a shout-out to a pious friend named Pier Pettinaio of Siena (1180-1289) whose prayers have already gotten her into Purgatory.

Then she turns her attention to Dante and asks who he is, that he should be able to see and to use breath to speak. She is curious why he is alive and allowed in Purgatory. Dante answers that he will pass through Purgatory eventually too and be blinded for a little while; But not for long, because he never was envious in his life. Instead, he is more afraid of the first terrace and most likely to end among the Prideful. Sapia is not finished with Dante. She asks who guided him up here. Dante avoids her question by saying only that his guide is a soul just like them. He also asks if she wants him to pray for her.

She immediately jumps at his offer. She tells him that, miraculously, he already has “God’s love” and asks him to please pray for her. Greedily, she also asks him to give her a good reputation back on earth. Sapia also ends with a prophecy. Among the Sienese, she claims, there are still envious people. These people can be easily identified because they either invest in or work at the port of Talamone in Genoa. Being a dead person, Sapia can foresee the venture will end badly.

Talamone was doomed because its banks contained much silt, needing frequent dredging to clear up the water so ships could safely dock. It was infested with malaria. Sapia predicts the admirals at Talamone “will lose the most.”


Purgatory Canto 13: The Second Circle: The Envious. Sapia of Siena. Second Terrace: the Envious

Since the Fourth Century AD, the message that came with Jesus was replaced by an era of Oligarchy. Since then, Superstition and Ignorance is depicted as Strength, Sovereignty as Slavery and Warfare as Peace: Emmanuel Goldstein

Three kinds of people the High, the Middle, and the Low make up the world’s society. They are subdivided as Class, Caste, Ancestry and Societal standing. Their attitudes towards each another have been diverse from age to age but arranging society emerges from actions of groups of individuals. They are both prideful and jealous of one another. The essential structure of society has therefore never altered for the last 2000 years. The aims three groups (High, Middle and Lowly) are entirely opposed. The High whether in Hell or Purgatory is to remain where they are. The Middle Class want to become the High. The Low, if they have an aim are too crushed by drudgery and are only intermittently aware of anything outside their daily lives. They wish to abolish all distinctions and create a society in which all men shall be equal. Thus throughout history a struggle which is the same in its main outlines recurs over and over again.

Purgatory Canto 14: Guido del Duca and Renier da Calboli. Cities of the Arno Valley. Denunciation of Stubbornness.

1. “Who is this one that goes about our mountain// Or ever Death has given him power of flight// And opes his eyes and shuts them at his will?”
2. “I know not who, but know he’s not alone// Ask him thyself, for thou art nearer to him// And gently, so that he may speak, accost him.”
3. Thus did two spirits, leaning tow’rds each other// Discourse about me there on the right hand// Then held supine their faces to address me.
4. And said the one: “O soul, that, fastened still// Within the body, tow’rds the heaven art going// For charity console us, and declare
5. Whence comest and who art thou; for thou mak’st us// As much to marvel at this grace of thine// As must a thing that never yet has been.”
6. And I: “Through midst of Tuscany there wanders// A streamlet that is born in Falterona// And not a hundred miles of course suffice it;
7. From thereupon do I this body bring.// To tell you who I am were speech in vain// Because my name as yet makes no great noise.”
8. “If well thy meaning I can penetrate// With intellect of mine,” then answered me// He who first spake, “thou speakest of the Arno.”
9. And said the other to him: “Why concealed// This one the appellation of that river// Even as a man doth of things horrible?”
10. And thus the Shade that questioned was of this// Himself acquitted: “I know not; but truly// ‘Tis fit the name of such a valley perish;
11. For from its fountain-head (where is so pregnant// The Alpine mountain whence is cleft Peloro// That in few places it that mark surpasses)
12. To where it yields itself in restoration// Of what the heaven doth of the sea dry up// Whence have the rivers that which goes with them,
13. Virtue is like an enemy avoided// By all, as is a serpent, through misfortune// Of place, or through bad habit that impels them;
14. On which account have so transformed their nature// The dwellers in that miserable valley// It seems that Circe had them in her pasture.
15. ‘Mid ugly swine, of acorns worthier// Than other food for human use created// It first directeth its impoverished way.
16. Curs findeth it thereafter, coming downward// More snarling than their puissance demands// And turns from them disdainfully its muzzle.
17. It goes on falling, and the more it grows// The more it finds the dogs becoming wolves// This maledict and misadventurous ditch.
18. Descended then through many a hollow gulf// It finds the foxes so replete with fraud// They fear no cunning that may master them.
19. Nor will I cease because another hears me// And well ’twill be for him, if still he mind him// Of what a truthful spirit to me unravels.
20. Thy grandson I behold, who doth become// A hunter of those wolves upon the bank// Of the wild stream, and terrifies them all.
21. He sells their flesh, it being yet alive// Thereafter slaughters them like ancient beeves// Many of life, himself of praise, deprives.
22. Blood-stained he issues from the dismal forest// He leaves it such, a thousand years from now// In its primeval state ’tis not re-wooded.”
23. As at the announcement of impending ills// The face of him who listens is disturbed// From whate’er side the peril seize upon him;
24. So I beheld that other soul, which stood// Turned round to listen, grow disturbed and sad// When it had gathered to itself the word.
25. The speech of one and aspect of the other// Had me desirous made to know their names// And question mixed with prayers I made thereof,
26. Whereat the spirit which first spake to me// Began again: “Thou wishest I should bring me// To do for thee what thou’lt not do for me;
27. But since God willeth that in thee shine forth// Such grace of his, I’ll not be chary with thee// Know, then, that I Guido del Duca am.
28. My blood was so with envy set on fire// That if I had beheld a man make merry// Thou wouldst have seen me sprinkled o’er with pallor.
29. From my own sowing such the straw I reap!// O human race! why dost thou set thy heart// Where interdict of partnership must be?
30. This is Renier; this is the boast and honour// Of the house of Calboli, where no one since// Has made himself the heir of his desert.
31. And not alone his blood is made devoid// ‘Twixt Po and mount, and sea-shore and the Reno// Of good required for truth and for diversion;
32. For all within these boundaries is full// Of venomous roots, so that too tardily// By cultivation now would they diminish.
33. Where is good Lizio, and Arrigo Manardi// Pier Traversaro, and Guido di Carpigna// O Romagnuoli into bastards turned?
34. When in Bologna will a Fabbro rise?// When in Faenza a Bernardin di Fosco// The noble scion of ignoble seed?
35. Be not astonished, Tuscan, if I weep// When I remember, with Guido da Prata// Ugolin d’ Azzo, who was living with us,
36. Frederick Tignoso and his company// The house of Traversara, and th’ Anastagi// And one race and the other is extinct;
37. The dames and cavaliers, the toils and ease// That filled our souls with love and courtesy// There where the hearts have so malicious grown!
38. Brettinoro! why dost thou not flee// Seeing that all thy family is gone// And many people, not to be corrupted?
39. Bagnacaval does well in not begetting// And ill does Castrocaro, and Conio worse// In taking trouble to beget such Counts.
40. Will do well the Pagani, when their Devil// Shall have departed; but not therefore pure// Will testimony of them e’er remain.
41. Ugolin de’ Fantoli, secure// Thy name is, since no longer is awaited// One who, degenerating, can obscure it!
42. But go now, Tuscan, for it now delights me// To weep far better than it does to speak// So much has our discourse my mind distressed.”
43. We were aware that those beloved souls// Heard us depart; therefore, by keeping silent// They made us of our pathway confident.
44. When we became alone by going onward// Thunder, when it doth cleave the air, appeared// A voice, that counter to us came, exclaiming:
45. “Shall slay me whosoever findeth me!”// And fled as the reverberation dies// If suddenly the cloud asunder bursts.
46. As soon as hearing had a truce from this// Behold another, with so great a crash// That it resembled thunderings following fast:
47. “I am Aglaurus, who became a stone!”// And then, to press myself close to the Poet// I backward, and not forward, took a step.
48. Already on all sides the air was quiet// And said he to me: “That was the hard curb// That ought to hold a man within his bounds;
49. But you take in the bait so that the hook// Of the old Adversary draws you to him// And hence availeth little curb or call.
50. The heavens are calling you, and wheel around you// Displaying to you their eternal beauties// And still your eye is looking on the ground;
51. Whence He, who all discerns, chastises you.”


Purgatory Canto 14: Guido del Duca and Renier da Calboli. Cities of the Arno Valley. Denunciation of Stubbornness. Second Terrace of the Envious

The canto opens with two blind souls excited by their awareness of Dante’s presence. They ask Dante where he is coming from, and as he says that he is coming from the “valley of the Arno River,” one of the penitents begins a lengthy outburst of anti-Tuscan sentiment. This is Guido Del Duca, and the other, Rinier da Calboli, who does the same against his country, Romagna (a northern Italian region). As Dante leaves the section of Envy, he hears more voices of Envy.

Two unnamed souls in the Envious group are speaking. They wonder aloud who this person is, who can not only see, but is alive. One urges the other to ask “you are closer.” Dante watches the souls argue, and is amused. One of them finally turns to Dante and asks who he is and where he is from, since he is such an oddity in this place.

Dante answers that he is from the Tuscan land which holds a great river “born in Falterona” and refuses to give his name because “my name has not yet gained much fame.” The first soul ponders this and correctly identifies Dante’s mysterious river as the Rover Arno. Then his friend asks why Dante hid the name of the river from them.

The other soul answers that they should not speak of that place because there, “virtue is seen as serpent, and all flee from it.” In fact, it is so bad that its name has changed. Then, he starts tracing the geography of the river. According to the soul, the River Arno starts in a place full of “foul hogs” (symbol: never try teaching a pig)” then descends to a land of dogs (symbolic of digging and being raucous) that fight among themselves. Apparently these dogs are so disgusting that even the Arno turns away from them and makes a sharp right and as it grows wider, while the dogs surrounding it become wolves (symbolic of pathfinders). As the river descends further, it comes across wily foxes: (symbolic of cleverness, camouflage, stealth and solitude) of the horrible people living near the river.

The Shade then makes a prophecy out of nowhere. He predicts that his companion’s grandson has become a wolf hunter (symbolic of loyal cooperative family pack) on the banks of the river. The wolves are scared of this wolf hunter because he “sells their flesh while they are still alive” and then, like the devil, kills them all. These actions bring dishonour upon him115. He triggers such fear in the forest that when he leaves, it is never the same.

The listener who is also the grandfather of this troubled teen grows increasingly depressed. Dante’s curiosity finally overwhelms him and he asks the two speakers who they are. The first soul points out that Dante has asked him for something that he himself refused to give (his name), but reveals his identity anyway. His name is Guido del Duca116. He confesses that he was so envious in his lifetime that when he saw his neighbours happy, he grew livid with jealousy.

He introduces his friend as Rinieri da Calboli117, a worthy man who unfortunately did not pass that quality onto his sons. Seeing how dejected poor Rinieri is, Guido goes on to say that it is not only the Calboli family that has lost Truth and gone bad, but a bunch of other good families’ children118 (“poisoned stumps”) as well. In fact, it is so bad that any reform would be too little too late.

Guido laments on a bunch good Tuscan souls who either died or have been corrupted – people like Bernadin di Fosco (gallant defender of Faenza against Frederick II in 1240 and a Guelph); Ugolino d’Azzo Ugolin d’Azzo (1293), of the Ulbaldini family ; Guido da Prata (1245 – a grandee of Ravenna); Federigo Tignoso, a generous nobleman of Rimini; Fabbro dei Lambertazzi (1259), a Ghibelline of Bologna ; Ugolino de’ Fantolini, and the houses of Bagnacaval, Castrocuro, Conio, The Traversari and the Anastagi were distinguished Ghibelline families of Ravenna. After praising the achievements of the past, the poet turns to lament the present sad state of affairs, with heirs that are extinct or are degenerates.

The Manardi family who once held Bretinoro and the Malvicini family that were lords of Bagnacavallo are without survivors, while the Pagani clan have produced the ruthless demoniac leader Maghinardo (1250-1302)119 who built a fortress to defend against the Manfreds. Finally, there is Ugolino de’ Fantolini of Faenza (1278), who led an honourable quiet life, but lost both his sons by 1286. Pagani Guido, overcome by his grief, sends Dante away.

Just as Dante and Virgil leave the Envious behind, a thunderous voice speaks out of nowhere: “whoever captures me will slaughter me.”120 Before our heroes have time to react, another voice thunders, “I am Aglauros121, who was turned to stone.” At this, Dante inches nearer Virgil for protection.

These are voices calling out examples of punished envy, to help the Envious learn their lesson. Virgil scolds Dante for not recognizing good, but fearing it.


Purgatory Canto 14: Guido del Duca and Renier da Calboli. Cities of the Arno Valley. Denunciation of Stubbornness. Second Terrace of the Envious

Human Consciousness decides humankind’s general behaviour. The nearness or distance away of the Sun from humanity decides the virtues or nonethical values of humanity. In Hindu Cosmology, ‘yuga’ is an epoch or era within a four-yuga-cycle. A Maha Yuga is a Sun Cycle of 24,000 years. Each Yuga changes Consciousness of humanity, depending on the closeness or distance of the Sun (the Universal Intelligence of humanity). As mankind’s consciousness changes, so do civilizations and human development.

Development of mankind is intricately bound with the development of every human consciousness. When establishing connection between inner consciousnesses to outward behaviour, the seeming chaos of history falls into a visible pattern.

This canto describes attitudes of different ‘classes’ of people towards each other and society. Dante is part of this society during the Age of Pisces (Kaliyuga) which began in 26 AD and ended in 2012. Churchian Age influenced many in the progression (and retrogradation) of Earth’s inhabitants. The New Age of Aquarius has started. Could this occurrence be a prelude to the start of the removal of the Church replaced by the Age of Grace for humanity?

Purgatory Canto 15: The Third Circle: The Irascible. Dante’s Visions. The Smoke.

1. As much as ‘twixt the close of the third hour// And dawn of day appeareth of that sphere// Which aye in fashion of a child is playing,
2. So much it now appeared, towards the night,.// Was of his course remaining to the sun// There it was evening, and ’twas midnight here;
3. And the rays smote the middle of our faces// Because by us the mount was so encircled// That straight towards the west we now were going
4. When I perceived my forehead overpowered// Beneath the splendour far more than at first// And stupor were to me the things unknown,
5. Whereat towards the summit of my brow// I raised my hands, and made myself the visor// Which the excessive glare diminishes.
6. As when from off the water, or a mirror// The sunbeam leaps unto the opposite side// Ascending upward in the selfsame measure
7. That it descends, and deviates as far// From falling of a stone in line direct// (As demonstrate experiment and art,)
8. So it appeared to me that by a light// Refracted there before me I was smitten// On which account my sight was swift to flee.
9. “What is that, Father sweet, from which I cannot// So fully screen my sight that it avail me,”// Said I, “and seems towards us to be moving?”
10. “Marvel thou not, if dazzle thee as yet// The family of heaven,” he answered me// “An angel ’tis, who comes to invite us upward.
11. Soon will it be, that to behold these things// Shall not be grievous, but delightful to thee// As much as nature fashioned thee to feel.”
12. When we had reached the Angel benedight// With joyful voice he said: “Here enter in// To stairway far less steep than are the others.”
13. We mounting were, already thence departed// And “Beati misericordes” was// Behind us sung, “Rejoice, thou that o’ercomest!”
14. My Master and myself, we two alone// Were going upward, and I thought, in going// Some profit to acquire from words of his;
15. And I to him directed me, thus asking:// “What did the spirit of Romagna mean// Mentioning interdict and partnership?”
16. Whence he to me: “Of his own greatest failing// He knows the harm; and therefore wonder not// If he reprove us, that we less may rue it.
17. Because are thither pointed your desires// Where by companionship each share is lessened// Envy doth ply the bellows to your sighs.
18. But if the love of the supernal sphere// Should upwardly direct your aspiration// There would not be that fear within your breast;
19. For there, as much the more as one says ‘Our,’// So much the more of good each one possesses// And more of charity in that cloister burns.”
20. “I am more hungering to be satisfied,”// I said, “than if I had before been silent// And more of doubt within my mind I gather.
21. How can it be, that boon distributed// The more possessors can more wealthy make// Therein, than if by few it be possessed?”
22. And he to me: “Because thou fixest still// Thy mind entirely upon earthly things// Thou pluckest darkness from the very light.
23. That goodness infinite and ineffable// Which is above there, runneth unto love// As to a lucid body comes the sunbeam.
24. So much it gives itself as it finds ardour// So that as far as charity extends// O’er it increases the eternal valour.
25. And the more people thitherward aspire// More are there to love well, and more they love there// And, as a mirror, one reflects the other.
26. And if my reasoning appease thee not// Thou shalt see Beatrice; and she will fully// Take from thee this and every other longing.
27. Endeavour, then, that soon may be extinct// As are the two already, the five wounds// That close themselves again by being painful.”
28. Even as I wished to say, “Thou dost appease me,”// I saw that I had reached another circle// So that my eager eyes made me keep silence.
29. There it appeared to me that in a vision// Ecstatic on a sudden I was rapt// And in a temple many persons saw;
30. And at the door a woman, with the sweet// Behaviour of a mother, saying: “Son// Why in this manner hast thou dealt with us?
31. Lo, sorrowing, thy father and myself// Were seeking for thee;”-and as here she ceased// That which appeared at first had disappeared.
32. Then I beheld another with those waters// Adown her cheeks which grief distils whenever// From great disdain of others it is born,
33. And saying: “If of that city thou art lord// For whose name was such strife among the gods// And whence doth every science scintillate,
34. Avenge thyself on those audacious arms// That clasped our daughter, O Pisistratus;”// And the lord seemed to me benign and mild
35. To answer her with aspect temperate:// “What shall we do to those who wish us ill// If he who loves us be by us condemned?”
36. Then saw I people hot in fire of wrath// With stones a young man slaying, clamorously// Still crying to each other, “Kill him! kill him!”
37. And him I saw bow down, because of death// That weighed already on him, to the earth// But of his eyes made ever gates to heaven,
38. Imploring the high Lord, in so great strife// That he would pardon those his persecutors// With such an aspect as unlocks compassion.
39. Soon as my soul had outwardly returned// To things external to it which are true// Did I my not false errors recognize.
40. My Leader, who could see me bear myself// Like to a man that rouses him from sleep// Exclaimed: “What ails thee, that thou canst not stand?
41. But hast been coming more than half a league// Veiling thine eyes, and with thy legs entangled// In guise of one whom wine or sleep subdues?”
42. “O my sweet Father, if thou listen to me// I’ll tell thee,” said I, “what appeared to me// When thus from me my legs were ta’en away.”
43. And he: “If thou shouldst have a hundred masks// Upon thy face, from me would not be shut// Thy cogitations, howsoever small.
44. What thou hast seen was that thou mayst not fail// To ope thy heart unto the waters of peace// Which from the eternal fountain are diffused.
45. I did not ask, ‘What ails thee?’ as he does// Who only looketh with the eyes that see not// When of the soul bereft the body lies,
46. But asked it to give vigour to thy feet// Thus must we needs urge on the sluggards, slow// To use their wakefulness when it returns.”
47. We passed along, athwart the twilight peering// Forward as far as ever eye could stretch// Against the sunbeams serotine and lucent;
48. And lo! by slow degrees a smoke approached// In our direction, sombre as the night// Nor was there place to hide one’s self therefrom.
49. This of our eyes and the pure air bereft us.


Purgatory Canto 15: The Third Circle: The Irascible (easily angered) and indolent; Dante’s Visions. The Smoke.
Dante says in complex astronomical terms that it is three o’ clock in the afternoon. The pilgrims are heading west, straight into the sunlight122. They are blinded, not just by the sun. Dante raises his hands to shield his eyes from the brilliance (of the Higher Self-manifesting as the central Source of Light and Life within the Soul). After a long calculation123, Dante compares the Light to that which is reflected by a mirror124 (symbolic of reflecting the soul which does not lie).
Dante asks Virgil what the light is. He sees that it is moving closer125. Virgil reassures him the Light126 is nothing to worry about. It is an angel come to welcome them to the third terrace. He tells Dante he will delight in all that he sees. The poet is stunned by the light emanating from the Angel. Virgil reassures Dante soon he will become used to the bright light. The Angel performs the ritual of passage which marks Dante’s transition from one status to another by cleaning the second P. This happens against a background singing of the second Beatitude “Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.” (Mathew 5:7).
The angel invites both where to enter the terrace, and to keep climbing because the slope has become even less steep. They obey, and as they enter the staircase, they hear a strain of a hymn, “beati misericordes.” Familiar now to random bursts of song, Dante decides he wants to learn something from Virgil as they walk. He asks what Guido del Duca (first of the envious souls they meet – he was a renowned noble of Ravenna and a Ghibelline of the Onesti family) meant when he said “sharing cannot have a part.”127
Virgil explains it by envy, which is Guido’s sin of an emotional want rather than need. Jealousy and envy concern possessing something. When a person wants something that must be divided and each share is small, it can inspire envy. But if the person turns desire into and an unselfishly jealous act, envy is not possible because Love allows more love and happiness to go around. Then Virgil explains the difference between earthly and heavenly possessions.
Dante, meantime, is counting on his fingers. He hits a snag. He asks Virgil how something shared between more people could make them all richer than if it were shared by only a few. Virgil reminds his na?ve pupil that Heaven does not work like earth does, explaining patiently that God is attracted to love and that wherever He finds love in a person’s heart, He adds to it. Thus, the more loving souls there are, the more love there is. If this he does not believe, continues Virgil, he must wait for Beatrice.
Virgil wants to hurry up so those five remaining P’s on Dante’s forehead can be erased as well. Satisfied with Virgil’s answer, Dante hurries to comply with Virgil’s commands. He is suddenly stopped in his tracks by an ecstatic vision128 carrying a revelation.
He sees a temple with a woman inside, lecturing a boy129 at her feet. The boy is in trouble. She asks him why he did what he has done, which is worrying his parents. With that, she fades away. This scene is reminiscent of a New Testament story of Mary and the young Jesus. Mary and her husband Joseph had just returned from a Passover feast in Jerusalem to discover their son missing. For three days they searched, only to find their son in the temple, debating with scholars.
The vision of the Virgin Mary is followed by another. A woman appears, crying. She begs her husband – King Pisistratus of Athens130 – to kill the man who has dared to touch their daughter. The good King answers no, for how should they treat their enemies if they condemn someone who only wants their love?131
As the two visions fade away, a new vision appears. An angry mob chants “Kill! Kill! Kill!” while stoning a boy. As the youth dies, his eyes turn towards Heaven, and he prays to God to forgive his persecutors. When he disappears, Dante comes back to himself. He wakes up and asks what is wrong with him. Virgil tells Dante that he has sleepwalked crookedly132 for more than half a league133.
Dante begs Virgil to hear his explanation. But Virgil already knows everything because he reads Dante’s mind. He tells Dante that he cannot hide his thoughts from him, even if he wore a hundred masks over his face. He explains that Dante’s visions are images of his innate gentleness, in the hopes of making Dante free of that vice.
Virgil continues, saying that he asked Dante “what’s wrong with you” because, having involved yourself in the visions, he wanted to urge Dante to hurry along his moral and spiritually intellectual path in purgatory which makes demands on his life through divine grace, forgiveness and self-healing. He needs set his pure Love on the right path and take advantage of the daylight to continue his purgation. They continue walking until vespers (evening prayers to achieve holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven), are following the Light of the Sun. Soon, though, they are swallowed up by black smoke (which swallows up the Light), which appears from nowhere. This smoke blinds them.


Purgatory Canto 15: The Third Circle: The Irascible (easily angered) and indolent; Dante’s Visions. The Smoke. Envy makes the Wrathful
He arrives to the Third Terrace, where the sin of Wrath is cleansed. The poet’s first experience consists of three examples of Meekness, the virtue opposite to the sin of Wrath. These come in ecstatic visions: the first is the Virgin Mary questioning Jesus when he was late in the Temple, the second is about Pisistratus who forgives the man who embraces his daughter, and the third is Lazarus, the first martyr. The canto ends with the appearance a thick black cloud of fog which envelops the poets.
Light and Sun are again mentioned as the great universal symbols of the Higher Self, the central Source of the Light of Life and Consciousness. According to Hindu cosmology, souls are programmed to go to the sun or moon at death, to be recycled as Energy.
Wise gentle loving parents help children reach their full educational development and opportunities. They practice how to manage emotions of envy and anger, to move into a new experience of life that is rewarding. If studying just to remember, children will forget, but, If they study to understand, they will remember and understand materialism is not worth the motivation of wrath or envy. Managing to educate children on their emotional nature is to keep it

Purgatory Canto 16: Marco Lombardo. Lament over the State of the World.

1. Darkness of hell, and of a night deprived// Of every planet under a poor sky// As much as may be tenebrous with cloud,
2. Ne’er made unto my sight so thick a veil// As did that smoke which there enveloped us// Nor to the feeling of so rough a texture;
3. For not an eye it suffered to stay open// Whereat mine escort, faithful and sagacious// Drew near to me and offered me his shoulder.
4. E’en as a blind man goes behind his guide// Lest he should wander, or should strike against// Aught that may harm or peradventure kill him,
5. So went I through the bitter and foul air// Listening unto my Leader, who said only// “Look that from me thou be not separated.”
6. Voices I heard, and every one appeared// To supplicate for peace and misericord// The Lamb of God who takes away our sins.
7. Still “Agnus Dei” their exordium was// One word there was in all, and metre one// So that all harmony appeared among them.
8. “Master,” I said, “are spirits those I hear?”// And he to me: “Thou apprehendest truly// And they the knot of anger go unloosing.”
9. “Now who art thou, that cleavest through our smoke// And art discoursing of us even as though// Thou didst by calends still divide the time?”
10. After this manner by a voice was spoken// Whereon my Master said: “Do thou reply// And ask if on this side the way go upward.”
11. And I: “O creature that dost cleanse thyself// To return beautiful to Him who made thee// Thou shalt hear marvels if thou follow me.”
12. “Thee will I follow far as is allowed me,”// He answered; “and if smoke prevent our seeing// Hearing shall keep us joined instead thereof.”
13. Thereon began I: “With that swathing band// Which death unwindeth am I going upward// And hither came I through the infernal anguish.
14. And if God in his grace has me infolded// So that he wills that I behold his court// By method wholly out of modern usage,
15. Conceal not from me who ere death thou wast// But tell it me, and tell me if I go// Right for the pass, and be thy words our escort.”
16. “Lombard was I, and I was Marco called// The world I knew, and loved that excellence// At which has each one now unbent his bow.
17. For mounting upward, thou art going right.”// Thus he made answer, and subjoined: “I pray thee// To pray for me when thou shalt be above.”
18. And I to him: “My faith I pledge to thee// To do what thou dost ask me; but am bursting// Inly with doubt, unless I rid me of it.
19. First it was simple, and is now made double// By thy opinion, which makes certain to me// Here and elsewhere, that which I couple with it.
20. The world forsooth is utterly deserted// By every virtue, as thou tellest me// And with iniquity is big and covered;
21. But I beseech thee point me out the cause// That I may see it, and to others show it// For one in the heavens, and here below one puts it.”
22. A sigh profound, that grief forced into Ai!// He first sent forth, and then began he: “Brother// The world is blind, and sooth thou comest from it!
23. Ye who are living every cause refer// Still upward to the heavens, as if all things// They of necessity moved with themselves.
24. If this were so, in you would be destroyed// Free will, nor any justice would there be// In having joy for good, or grief for evil.
25. The heavens your movements do initiate// I say not all; but granting that I say it// Light has been given you for good and evil,
26. And free volition; which, if some fatigue// In the first battles with the heavens it suffers// Afterwards conquers all, if well ’tis nurtured.
27. To greater force and to a better nature// Though free, ye subject are, and that creates// The mind in you the heavens have not in charge.
28. Hence, if the present world doth go astray// In you the cause is, be it sought in you// And I therein will now be thy true spy.
29. Forth from the hand of Him, who fondles it// Before it is, like to a little girl// Weeping and laughing in her childish sport,
30. Issues the simple soul, that nothing knows// Save that, proceeding from a joyous Maker// Gladly it turns to that which gives it pleasure.
31. Of trivial good at first it tastes the savour// Is cheated by it, and runs after it// If guide or rein turn not aside its love.
32. Hence it behoved laws for a rein to place// Behoved a king to have, who at the least// Of the true city should discern the tower.
33. The laws exist, but who sets hand to them?// No one; because the shepherd who precedes// Can ruminate, but cleaveth not the hoof;
34. Wherefore the people that perceives its guide// Strike only at the good for which it hankers// Feeds upon that, and farther seeketh not.
35. Clearly canst thou perceive that evil guidance// The cause is that has made the world depraved// And not that nature is corrupt in you.
36. Rome, that reformed the world, accustomed was// Two suns to have, which one road and the other// Of God and of the world, made manifest.
37. One has the other quenched, and to the crosier// The sword is joined, and ill beseemeth it// That by main force one with the other go,
38. Because, being joined, one feareth not the other// If thou believe not, think upon the grain// For by its seed each herb is recognized.
39. In the land laved by Po and Adige// Valour and courtesy used to be found// Before that Frederick had his controversy;
40. Now in security can pass that way// Whoever will abstain, through sense of shame// From speaking with the good, or drawing near them.
41. True, three old men are left, in whom upbraids// The ancient age the new, and late they deem it// That God restore them to the better life:
42. Currado da Palazzo, and good Gherardo// And Guido da Castel, who better named is// In fashion of the French, the simple Lombard:
43. Say thou henceforward that the Church of Rome// Confounding in itself two governments// Falls in the mire, and soils itself and burden.”
44. “O Marco mine,” I said, “thou reasonest well// And now discern I why the sons of Levi// Have been excluded from the heritage.
45. But what Gherardo is it, who, as sample// Of a lost race, thou sayest has remained// In reprobation of the barbarous age?”
46. “Either thy speech deceives me, or it tempts me,”// He answered me; “for speaking Tuscan to me// It seems of good Gherardo naught thou knowest.
47. By other surname do I know him not// Unless I take it from his daughter Gaia.// May God be with you, for I come no farther.
48. Behold the dawn, that through the smoke rays out// Already whitening; and I must depart-// Yonder the Angel is-ere he appear.”
49. Thus did he speak, and would no farther hear me.


Purgatory Canto 16: Lament over the State of the WorldAn Argument as they proceed through Purgatory Marco Lombardo. Lament over the State of the World.

Dante begins this canto with a metaphor. He claims this mysterioussmoke is darker and rougher than the darkness of Hell on a moonless night. It is so bad that Dante is forced to close his eyes. Virgil, in a helpful mood, moves closer to Dante to lend him a helping hand. Again, Dante compares himself to a blind man seeking to help a guide (to discover the why of a human existence who is lost in materialism) to protect him. Virgil urges Dante not to lose him in the smoke (perplexed by doubts and fears).

Suddenly, countless voices compete for dominance in the smoke. They are praying and singing the Gregorian hymnal chant “Agnus Dei” where John the Baptist exclaims “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin the world” in John 1:29 when he sees Jesus. Lamb of God refers to Jesus Christ in his role as a perfect sacrificial off.

Because they are singing in unison, Dante gets the impression that each singer is in perfect harmony with the others, and not just vocally. They genuinely like one another. Dante makes a wild guess that these people are spirits. Virgil applauds him for knowing that they are all souls. Virgil also knows the singers are the Wrathful134, trying to purge away wrath with calmness.
A ghostly voice calls out to Dante. It asks the identity of this Dante “whose body pierces through our smoke” and “who speaks of us exactly like a man who uses months to measure time.” The speaker is intrigued by Dante’s alive-ness. Virgil advises Dante to answer and then suggests he ask for directions. Dante answers the Wrathful penitent in a grandiose style, but what he saying is “you are a penitent” so “I am free while with you, therefore you follow me.” The apologetic agrees to follow Dante as far as he is “allowed.” In case Dante feels worried about losing him in the smoke, the soul comforts the poet, saying that they can keep track of each other through their sense of hearing (from a particular ideal inner perspective).

Dante now speaks and admits that he is alive and is permitted access not only to Purgatory, but also to Hell. He then puts his privileged status (ego) on the offensive, charging the soul to reveal his life story and then direct them to the path (left-right symbolism135): because God supposedly gives him the right to know.

Properly intimidated, the soul tells Dante that he is a Lombard and his name is Marco (who can give people power and share his experience to make the world less mysterious for a seeker). He claims that he lived in a time when men had better moral values than they do now (moral reasoning about dilemmas of ethics and values past and present). Then he continues to answer Dante’s other question. He tells the two visitors to go keep going straight and they will reach the top of the mountain. As an afterthought, Marco begs Dante to pray for him.

Dante agrees, but has a question still unanswered. Marco’s speech has reminded Dante of a conversation he had with Guido del Duca (about replacing Envy with Love). In support of Marco’s words, Dante agrees the world is now full of sin (violating ideal relationship between God and individual), but he wants to know why (admits not understanding sin or why it is committed). Is man’s wickedness caused by heaven or earth136? Dante begs Marco to answer him so he can spread the word.

Marco sighs. His wise words are dismissive of Dante. He tells the eager pupil that “the world is blind, and you come from the world.” In other words, Dante cannot possibly understand. He continues anyway. Mortals, Marco lectures, believe that Heaven controls and preordains everything.

Interestingly, he puts it in physical terms, saying that people believe Heaven is “the necessary source of every motion.” This, of course, is wrong, because then there would be no free will. Marco goes on to explain that if there were no free will, the punishment (Hell, Purgatory,.) would break down, because then man could neither be blamed for his sins nor rewarded for his virtue (Law of Karma).

Marco argues that Heaven “set[s] your appetites (sensual wants-bodily cravings-unfulfilled desires) in motion.” In other words, all Heaven does is awaken some inbred desires (urgent wants). Here is where free will comes in. Marco claims that a greater power than Heaven (impulses and imprints of past impressions in past lives) created man’s mind (as memories of likes-and-dislikes and past habits). This power is God, who has made man in such a way that he is not be completely ruled by the heavens. He can choose how to behave. Thus if the world is a worse place than it once was, man has only himself to blame, not God.

The lecture continues. The soul (personality of mind-intellect-ego), Marco argues, was created by God. He made the soul a simple thing, like a playing child who is unaware of his maker. The only thing the child cares about is pleasing himself. This childlike soul, though, does not necessarily know what is good for it. (Therefore ideal nurturing through moral parenting is critical during the first two decades in a child’s life). Otherwise a child pursues “trivial goods” that may or may not promote virtue. Because of this, men need some force to restrain their desires or guide them in a better direction. This force is domestic, political and spiritual: men need laws to restrain them and a ruler (at home and outside) to direct them to the only true city – the city of God.

Marco continues to verbally assault the political rulers of the day, but he does it in a confusing way. He accuses the “shepherd” (who is supposed to enforce the laws on his herd) of “chew[ing] the cud” while he “does not have cleft hooves.” (The shepherd is Boniface VIII who should be symbolising the life of Jesus. He never had the time to ‘chew the cud’ through meditation or experience the delight of its inspiration. Because he did not engage in such practices, he became ‘the cloven hoof’ unable to make out the Spirit).

This particular phony ‘shepherd’ is Dante’s favourite villain of all time: Pope Boniface VIII. The Pope alleged to his congregation he “chews the cud” meaning reads the Scriptures, but his lack of “cleft hooves” does not recognize the need for separation of church and state leader. Marco goes on to blame this shepherd for setting a bad example for his flock.

People now, he claims, follow only their greed, thanks to their bad role model. Marco blames men’s immorality on “misrule,” not on the heavens, which men have claimed as the source of their depravity. In his tirade, Marco laments that Rome, which “made the world good” by separating and limiting the powers of church and state, now joins the two separate forces under one ruler, who is Boniface. Now that “the sword has joined the shepherd’s crook,” neither church nor state balances out the other and they no longer have to fear one another.

Marco asserts the old is morally superior to the new. He cites the example of the country of Lombardy137, which once had “valor and courtesy,” but now houses people “ashamed of talking with the righteous.” He names three old men who are moral exemplars: Currado da Palazzo, Gerardo, and Guido da Castel138.

Marco accuses the Roman Church which now mixed up two powers which should be separate, and because of this dilution, the entire society sinks into degeneracy139even though the Levi priests separated lifestyles of church and state. Dante wisely humbles himself before Marco, complementing his impressive reasoning power.

Dante has a question. Dante asks who Gerardo140 is, seemingly too good for this modern age. Marco’s is surprised when he hears that Dante does not know who Gerardo is, especially since Dante is Tuscan. Marco says Gerardo was also known as “Gaia’s father”141 and then decides the conversation is over. He tells Dante the smoke is starting to clear up and sunlight is coming through; this is his sign to leave – before the angel arrives. Marco makes a hasty flight, leaving Dante and Virgil alone again.


Purgatory Canto 16: Lament over the State of the World an Argument as they proceed through Purgatory Marco Lombardo. Lament over the State of the World.

Dante is blinded by the smoke and clings to Virgil. He hears the voices of the Wrathful singing the Agnus Dei. One of the souls, Marco Lombardo, comes forward to speak with Dante and, at his invitation accompanies him (and Virgil) to the end of the smoke-filled space, while discussing problems connected with the present-day corruption of society(when civil society accepts political and churchian corruption). He downplays the influences of the stars on human affairs (humans argue a determining capability of astrology on actions), affirms the existence of Free Will (rational capacity to choose life ethics and morals), and points out the lack of good leadership in church and state (able to inspire humankind with confidence, sponsorship and right judgment).

Purgatory Canto 17: Dante’s Dream of Anger. The Fourth Circle: The Slothful. Virgil’s Debate of Love.

1. Remember, Reader, if e’er in the Alps// A mist o’ertook thee, through which thou couldst see// Not otherwise than through its membrane mole,
2. How, when the vapours humid and condensed// Begin to dissipate themselves, the sphere// Of the sun feebly enters in among them,
3. And thy imagination will be swift// In coming to perceive how I re-saw// The sun at first, that was already setting.
4. Thus, to the faithful footsteps of my Master// Mating mine own, I issued from that cloud// To rays already dead on the low shores.
a. thou, Imagination, that dost steal us// So from without sometimes, that man perceives not// Although around may sound a thousand trumpets,
5. Who moveth thee, if sense impel thee not?// Moves thee a light, which in the heaven takes form// By self, or by a will that downward guides it.
6. Of her impiety, who changed her form// Into the bird that most delights in singing// In my imagining appeared the trace;
7. And hereupon my mind was so withdrawn// Within itself, that from without there came// Nothing that then might be received by it.
8. Then reigned within my lofty fantasy// One crucified, disdainful and ferocious// In countenance, and even thus was dying.
9. Around him were the great Ahasuerus// Esther his wife, and the just Mordecai// Who was in word and action so entire.
10. And even as this image burst asunder// Of its own self, in fashion of a bubble// In which the water it was made of fails,
11. There rose up in my vision a young maiden// Bitterly weeping, and she said: “O queen// Why hast thou wished in anger to be naught?
12. Thou’st slain thyself, Lavinia not to lose// Now hast thou lost me; I am she who mourns// Mother, at thine ere at another’s ruin.”
13. As sleep is broken, when upon a sudden// New light strikes in upon the eyelids closed// And broken quivers ere it dieth wholly,
14. So this imagining of mine fell down// As soon as the effulgence smote my face// Greater by far than what is in our wont.
15. I turned me round to see where I might be// When said a voice, “Here is the passage up;”// Which from all other purposes removed me,
16. And made my wish so full of eagerness// To look and see who was it that was speaking// It never rests till meeting face to face;
17. But as before the sun, which quells the sight// And in its own excess its figure veils// Even so my power was insufficient here.
18. “This is a spirit divine, who in the way// Of going up directs us without asking// And who with his own light himself conceals.
19. He does with us as man doth with himself// For he who sees the need, and waits the asking// Malignly leans already tow’rds denial.
20. Accord we now our feet to such inviting// Let us make haste to mount ere it grow dark// For then we could not till the day return.”
21. Thus my Conductor said; and I and he// Together turned our footsteps to a stairway// And I, as soon as the first step I reached,
22. Near me perceived a motion as of wings// And fanning in the face, and saying, “‘Beati// Pacifici,’ who are without ill anger.”
23. Already over us were so uplifted// The latest sunbeams, which the night pursues// That upon many sides the stars appeared.
24. “O manhood mine, why dost thou vanish so?”// I said within myself; for I perceived// The vigour of my legs was put in truce.
25. We at the point were where no more ascends// The stairway upward, and were motionless// Even as a ship, which at the shore arrives;
26. And I gave heed a little, if I might hear// Aught whatsoever in the circle new// Then to my Master turned me round and said:
27. “Say, my sweet Father, what delinquency// Is purged here in the circle where we are?// Although our feet may pause, pause not thy speech.”
28. And he to me: “The love of good, remiss// In what it should have done, is here restored// Here plied again the ill-belated oar;
29. But still more openly to understand// Turn unto me thy mind, and thou shalt gather// Some profitable fruit from our delay.
30. Neither Creator nor a creature ever// Son,” he began, “was destitute of love// Natural or spiritual; and thou knowest it.
31. The natural was ever without error// But err the other may by evil object// Or by too much, or by too little vigour.
32. While in the first it well directed is// And in the second moderates itself// It cannot be the cause of sinful pleasure;
33. But when to ill it turns, and, with more care// Or lesser than it ought, runs after good// ‘Gainst the Creator works his own creation.
34. Hence thou mayst comprehend that love must be// The seed within yourselves of every virtue// And every act that merits punishment.
35. Now inasmuch as never from the welfare// Of its own subject can love turn its sight// From their own hatred all things are secure;
36. And since we cannot think of any being// Standing alone, nor from the First divided// Of hating Him is all desire cut off.
37. Hence if, discriminating, I judge well// The evil that one loves is of one’s neighbour// And this is born in three modes in your clay.
38. There are, who, by abasement of their neighbour// Hope to excel, and therefore only long// That from his greatness he may be cast down;
39. There are, who power, grace, honour, and renown// Fear they may lose because another rises// Thence are so sad that the reverse they love;
40. And there are those whom injury seems to chafe// So that it makes them greedy for revenge// And such must needs shape out another’s harm.
41. This threefold love is wept for down below// Now of the other will I have thee hear// That runneth after good with measure faulty.
42. Each one confusedly a good conceives// Wherein the mind may rest, and longeth for it// Therefore to overtake it each one strives.
43. If languid love to look on this attract you// Or in attaining unto it, this cornice// After just penitence, torments you for it.
44. There’s other good that does not make man happy// ‘Tis not felicity, ’tis not the good// Essence, of every good the fruit and root.
45. The love that yields itself too much to this// Above us is lamented in three circles// But how tripartite it may be described,
46. I Say not, that thou seek it for thyself.”


Purgatory Canto 17: Third and final vision of wrath of the third terrace on Purgatory Fourth Terrace – Love Dante’s Dream of Anger. The Fourth Circle: The Slothful. Virgil’s Debate of Love.
As Dante emerges from the cloud of smoke that surrounds the Wrathful (Assembly of Repentants), the sun is about to set. He experiences three more visions of examples of Wrath from classical and biblical sources. Then the Angel of Meekness (‘life is about waiting for the storm to pass and learning to dance in the rain’) Katy Meek appears and points the way to continue the journey up the mountain. Another P disappears from Dante’s forehead, and the poets hear beatitude: Blessed are the Peacemakers. As they reach the Fourth Terrace, Dante and Virgil feel weak, and rest from the journey. This is the terrace of the Slothful (spiritually slothful can be frenetically active in unspiritual matters – Roman 12:11142).

Dante now continues to have a fantasy – specifically, about an example of wrath since they are on the Terrace of the Wrathful. First up is the image of Procne, who was turned into a nightingale for her sin of wrath. The back-story is that Procne’s sister, Philomela, was a great beauty, so gorgeous that she inspired the lust of her own brother-in-law, Tereus. The rest is a standard Greek tragedy: boy sees girl; boy wants girl; boy rapes girl; boy cuts out girl’s tongue so she cannot tell; girl goes to her sister with magical powers; girl magically conveys what happened; girl and sister take their revenge by murdering the rapist’s son and serving him on a silver platter to his father, who -when he finds out what has happened, tries to have girl and sister murdered. While they are running, they are all magically changed into birds.

Procne disappears from Dante’s inner sight, only to be replaced by another image of wrath: the crucified body of Haman143. He is surrounded by the ancient Persian King Ahasuerus, his wife Esther144, and Mordecai (son of Jair, of the tribe of Benjamin). In the Bible, Haman is the counselor for King Ahasuerus of Persia. When Mordecai, a Jew, refuses to bow down to him, Haman tries to have all the Jews killed. Esther, the King’s wife, comes to the rescue and Haman is hanged for his crime on the same gallows he has prepared for Mordecai.

Then this image bursts like a bubble and another replaces it. A beautiful girl cries and laments for her dead mother, who has committed suicide. The girl is Lavinnia145 and the unnamed mother is Amata from Virgil’s Aeneid. According to Virgil, when Queen Amata sees her city of Latinum attacked by Aeneas’ forces, she assumes that Lavinnia’s suitor, Turnus (King of Rutuli), has been killed by Aeneas. She hangs herself in rage.

Just when getting lost in the sea of mythological names, Dante’s visions stop. Of course, they must stop poetically; so, Dante analogizes (maya146) stopping his visions to waking up (spiritual awakening and becoming aware of a new reality). When the sunlight beats on one’s closed eyes, they draw the sleeper into wakefulness (transformation and wakening of the kundalini). In just this way, Dante comes back to his senses when a peculiarly bright Light shines on him. He looks around wildly for the Source of Light (electro-magnetic radiation attracting individual spiritual magnets on a spiritual path), but hears only a voice that says, “Here one can ascend.”147 The voice is so attractive that it makes Dante want to see its Source (‘self’ seeking Self). But then the Sun metaphor continues, thwarting his plans. When the Sun (Source Self) shines too brightly, Dante says, one cannot look at it. This Source of Light is, like the Sun, simply too bright (seekers need to learn four spiritual laws to ‘see and know’ God: Training, Prayer; Receiving; Experiencing.

Virgil intervenes. He explains to Dante that this is a divine messenger (an angel)148, who has kindly offered to lead them to the fourth terrace. Virgil urges Dante to follow him quickly before night falls. Led by the angel, they climb a stairway towards Heaven149. Just as Dante puts his foot on the first step the angel flaps the wing. There is a wind against Dante’s face, and a voice cries out “Beati pacifici, those free of evil anger!” Night has fallen rather abruptly. They have only made it to the top of the stairs. Dante feels his strength melt away and his legs stop of their own accord. He describes their halting at the top of the stairs as a ship which has just touched the shore.

Dante perks his ears, straining in the darkness to hear what this new terrace will bring. Then he decides it would be much easier to ask Virgil instead. He asks what vice is punished here. Virgil answers that “the love of good that is too tepidly followed is mended,” meaning “the Slothful.” Virgil orders Dante to pay attention since they are stuck here for the night. Dante will learn something while they are resting.

Night has arrived, and Virgil takes advantage of the pause to talk to Dante on the Nature of Love, showing that all the sins in Purgatory arise from one of the three perversions of Love. The discussion continues in the next canto.


Purgatory Canto 17: Third and final vision of wrath of the third terrace on Purgatory Fourth Terrace – Love Dante’s Dream of Anger. The Fourth Circle: The Slothful. Virgil’s Debate of Love.
This commentary is argument on practicing meditation. The pilgrims emerge from thick vapour. Dante puts readers into his shoes and says: Remember that time when you were trapped on a misty (obscure recollections) mountain area (with limited intellectual landform above stretches of ideology) in a vast human history? You could not see anything and the sunlight was just able to make its way through the thick fog. That is what it feels to him at that moment.

But, what about those who never get lost on mountains Dante? When at last Dante and Virgil can see the sky again, they realise the sun is about to set and they walk from darkness into more darkness. Dante follows Virgil’s trustworthy footsteps out of the cloud of smoke.

Dante then has one of his weird moments in which he randomly starts spouting rhetoric about some subject. This time, it is a fantasy. He speculates that such daydream (enlightenment) is made possible by human contemplation (meditation) on an external object (trataka). Having established this, he then asks how fantasy works without an external object to reflect on. He continues to answer his own question. When there is no object to think about, fantasy is directed by the Light from the heavens (like stars) or is directed by God’s will itself150.

Virgil begins talking about love – the real in all its variations and the slothful kind. He is not confessing his eternal devotion to Dante. Instead, he talks about love from a theological standpoint. All creatures created by God are love. There are two types of love151: natural and mental. Natural love, Virgil claims, is infallible, but mental love can choose to love the wrong thing or err in loving too much or too little. If mental love is directed toward God first and foremost, it will not succumb to evil. However, if it turns toward evil or does not love God above all other things, then it is turning against its Maker. So, the big message, Virgil says, is that love is the sole motivation of every action, whether it promotes virtue or vice.
Virgil is more familiar with the Greek classification of Love as apape (unconditional love), eros (primordial passionate love), philia (friendship), storge (natural interfamilial) and xenia (hospitality and generosity). By Virgil’s logic, entities cannot hate themselves because love is always concerned with the well-being of the lover152. Similarly, since no being creates itself, it cannot be separated from God; thus, it cannot hate God. Virgil decides that “ill love,” can only mean faulty love by the slothful for one’s neighbour.

This love consists of three categories: 1) pride (when someone wishes that his neighbour might fall so he – by contrast – will look better), 2) envy (when someone wishes for his neighbour’s misfortune when his neighbour is better than he), and 3) wrath (when someone seeks to harm his neighbour for some made out injury). These types of ill love are the terraces of Mount Purgatory that Dante has already passed.

Virgil talks about “love that seeks the good distortedly.” Those who love distortedly do indeed love God the best, but do not act enough on their love to win it. This fourth terrace punishes those who have been lax. Other distorted loves target secondary goods (not God) as objects of primary love and thus love them too much. Virgil, does not tell Dante how distorted love reveals itself in humans. He reveals only that in the three terraces to come, distorted love is punished. Dante will have to discover those vices on his own.

Purgatory Canto 18: Virgil further discourses of Love and Free Will; The Abbot of San Zeno.

1. An end had put unto his reasoning// The lofty Teacher, and attent was looking// Into my face, if I appeared content;
2. And I, whom a new thirst still goaded on// Without was mute, and said within: “Perchance// The too much questioning I make annoys him.”
3. But that true Father, who had comprehended// The timid wish, that opened not itself// By speaking gave me hardihood to speak.
4. Whence I: “My sight is, Master, vivified// So in thy light, that clearly I discern// Whate’er thy speech importeth or describes.
5. Therefore I thee entreat, sweet Father dear// To teach me love, to which thou dost refer// Every good action and its contrary.”
6. “Direct,” he said, “towards me the keen eyes// Of intellect, and clear will be to thee// The error of the blind, who would be leaders.
7. The soul, which is created apt to love// Is mobile unto everything that pleases// Soon as by pleasure she is waked to action.
8. Your apprehension from some real thing// An image draws, and in yourselves displays it// So that it makes the soul turn unto it.
9. And if, when turned, towards it she incline// Love is that inclination; it is nature// Which is by pleasure bound in you anew
10. Then even as the fire doth upward move// By its own form, which to ascend is born// Where longest in its matter it endures,
11. So comes the captive soul into desire// Which is a motion spiritual, and ne’er rests// Until she doth enjoy the thing beloved.
12. Now may apparent be to thee how hidden// The truth is from those people, who aver// All love is in itself a laudable thing;
13. Because its matter may perchance appear// Aye to be good; but yet not each impression// Is good, albeit good may be the wax.”
14. “Thy words, and my sequacious intellect,”// I answered him, “have love revealed to me// But that has made me more impregned with doubt;
15. For if love from without be offered us// And with another foot the soul go not// If right or wrong she go, ’tis not her merit.”
16. And he to me: “What reason seeth here// Myself can tell thee; beyond that await// For Beatrice, since ’tis a work of faith.
17. Every substantial form, that segregate// From matter is, and with it is united// Specific power has in itself collected,
18. Which without act is not perceptible// Nor shows itself except by its effect// As life does in a plant by the green leaves.
19. But still, whence cometh the intelligence// Of the first notions, man is ignorant// And the affection for the first allurements,
20. Which are in you as instinct in the bee// To make its honey; and this first desire// Merit of praise or blame containeth not.
21. Now, that to this all others may be gathered// Innate within you is the power that counsels// And it should keep the threshold of assent.
22. This is the principle, from which is taken// Occasion of desert in you, according// As good and guilty loves it takes and winnows.
23. Those who, in reasoning, to the bottom went// Were of this innate liberty aware// Therefore bequeathed they Ethics to the world.
24. Supposing, then, that from necessity// Springs every love that is within you kindled// Within yourselves the power is to restrain it.
25. The noble virtue Beatrice understands// By the free will; and therefore see that thou// Bear it in mind, if she should speak of it.”
26. The moon, belated almost unto midnight// Now made the stars appear to us more rare// Formed like a bucket, that is all ablaze,
27. And counter to the heavens ran through those paths// Which the sun sets aflame, when he of Rome// Sees it ‘twixt Sardes and Corsicans go down;
28. And that patrician Shade, for whom is named// Pietola (Virgil’s birthplace) more than any Mantuan town// Had laid aside the burden of my lading;
29. Whence I, who reason manifest and plain// In answer to my questions had received// Stood like a man in drowsy reverie.
30. But taken from me was this drowsiness// Suddenly by a people, that behind// Our backs already had come round to us.
31. And as, of old, Ismenus and Asopus153// Beside them saw at night the rush and throng// If but the Thebans were in need of Bacchus,
32. So they along that circle curve their step// From what I saw of those approaching us// Who by good-will and righteous love are ridden.
33. Full soon they were upon us, because running// Moved onward all that mighty multitude// And two in the advance cried out, lamenting,
34. “Mary in haste unto the mountain ran// And Caesar, that he might subdue Ilerda// Thrust at Marseilles, and then ran into Spain.”
35. “Quick! quick! so that the time may not be lost// By little love!” forthwith the others cried// “For ardour in well-doing freshens grace!”
36. “O folk, in whom an eager fervour now// Supplies perhaps delay and negligence// Put by you in well-doing, through lukewarmness,
37. This one who lives, and truly I lie not// Would fain go up, if but the sun relight us// So tell us where the passage nearest is.”
38. These were the words of him who was my Guide// And some one of those spirits said: “Come on// Behind us, and the opening shalt thou find;
39. So full of longing are we to move onward// That stay we cannot; therefore pardon us// If thou for churlishness our justice take.
40. I was San Zeno’s Abbot at Verona// Under the empire of good Barbarossa// Of whom still sorrowing Milan holds discourse;
41. And he has one foot in the grave already// Who shall erelong lament that monastery// And sorry be of having there had power,
42. Because his son, in his whole body sick// And worse in mind, and who was evil-born,.// He put into the place of its true pastor.”
43. If more he said, or silent was, I know not// He had already passed so far beyond us// But this I heard, and to retain it pleased me.
44. And he who was in every need my succour// Said: “Turn thee hitherward; see two of them// Come fastening upon slothfulness their teeth.”
45. In rear of all they shouted: “Sooner were// The people dead to whom the sea was opened// Than their inheritors the Jordan saw;
46. And those who the fatigue did not endure// Unto the issue, with Anchises’ son// Themselves to life withouten glory offered.”
47. Then when from us so separated were// Those Shades, that they no longer could be seen// Within me a new thought did entrance find,
48. Whence others many and diverse were born// And so I lapsed from one into another// That in a reverie mine eyes I closed,
49. And meditation into dream transmuted.


Purgatory Canto 18: Fourth Terrace Virgil further discourses of Love and Free Will; The Abbot of San Zeno.

Virgil talks further about the nature of love. Then a multitude of spirits rush by with fervent affection, and another, who was Abbot of San Zeno in Verona, declares himself to Virgil and Dante; and last follow other spirits, ‘Dante continuing his meditations, falls into a dreamy slumber. Virgil the teacher ends his high talk with earnest inquiring looks. Dante is content but Dante is still thirsty to hear him. He wishes Virgil to continue but is mute outwardly, yet inwardly Dante says: “Perchance my too much questioning offends”. But Virgil like all benevolent Masters continues to speak.

Dante admits his inner sight gathers a lively a virtue from his guru’s shaft of light. All his words send distinctive messages. He therefore asks him to unfold “Love, the Source from which, you bring all good deeds and their opposite.” He is then: told what will be disclosed plainly.

Dante will witness: How much those blind have erred especially made worse when badly informed teachers have made themselves guides of men. Love attracts the soul and a new nature of pleasure appears within.

The first part of the canto ends the philosophical conversation by Virgil on the nature of Love, and the second presents the content of the Terrace of the Slothful. Dante asks for more details on the subject of Love, and Virgil ends his conversation. As Dante is about to fall asleep, a group of Penitent rushes from behind. These are the Slothful. They walk fast, shouting examples of the virtue of Solicitude (which they ignored through carelessness through Sloth). One of them, the Abbot of St. Zeno154, exchanges a few words with Virgil. The canto ends with Dante falling asleep.


Purgatory Canto 18: Fourth Terrace Virgil further discourses of Love and Free Will; the Abbot of San Zeno. The Slothful

Everyone wants to love and give love but when one tries to love, it often falls short. After finishing his small lecture on Love Virgil watches Dante: to makesure he has understood everything. Dante perhaps may have questions but remains silent, thinking he has already annoyed his guide by asking too many queries. Virgil is good at reading Dante’s mind and tells Dante to stop being so nice and continue receptively for what he wants. So Dante asks: What is this love which causes both good and evil? His question is: Speak on Love in all its expressions155 – both virtuous and evil. Dante is a devout Catholic and knows: “Hate evil, love good; preserve justice in the courts. Perhaps the Lord God will have mercy on the remnants of Joseph (Amos 5:15)”.

The disciplinarian Virgil is committed to taking care of all that is serious and mundane and orders Dante: “direct your intellect’s sharps eyes toward me.” In other words, “Pay attention!” Virgil then launches into a second lecture on Love, both correct and wrong. The soul, which he has already proved is God, who is made to love and be loved and is drawn to anything likeable, pleasurable and beautiful.

Virgil confirms “Being Love” supports awareness of being a loving human being because human nature is unconditional love. A meditation to discover self-love is to looking at the mirror with eyes of love. Love is the soul breathing. By breathing love one understands, love is not an act, it is being. This meditation is about parenting and nourishing oneself in reality- by doing it. Without love a man stands alone, separated from the core of existence. Without love everyone is a lone entity, lacking any connection with others of his kind. Therefore Dante intermittently finds he is alone.

However when mortals see something one likes, minds conjure up an ‘image’ of that in an idealized form, based on memories and habits of past impressions from many past births. What we are therefore seeing and lusting after is not the ‘real thing’ in the material world. We are seeing and wanting some self-created too-good-to-betrue illusion. When our ‘wanting’ soul has “turned towards it”, which it does often, it ‘wants’ but does not necessarily ‘need’ it. Mortals call it ‘love’ through ‘attachment’ and make every effort to gain it, be it through evil or virtue.
Just when Dante is beginning to actually understand what Virgil’s saying, he goes into symbolic state. He compares man’s longing for a said beautiful object to the natural leaning of fire reaching towards the sky, where heavenly fires burns. Dante understands the five primary elements (earth, water, fire, air and space) have both earthly forms and higher etheric forms. This explanation by Virgil explains the natural ‘reaching upwards’ in all human wants and wishes. Their fires burn and their flame-tips reach upwards. The flames are just trying to get back to their purest form of ‘love’ in the sky where gods live.

Virgil continues: there are some folks who say that all love is good. But Virgil says that is not true because although God’s love (agape) is holy and perfect, man’s love (eros) is not always the mirror image of God’s. The purpose of Love is to become Love. Then is good always right?

Dante sees a problem in that and is not satisfied with defining love, but if as Virgil says, love is the only force that drives man to act156, then God makes it that way. Then how can it be said that man has free will? How can he be rewarded or punished for his actions if God controls them all through love in all its expressions? Virgil has an answer ready but Dante sees a glimmer of doubt in Virgil. He replies to Dante’s question, but Virgil the logician will answer only so far as reason can apply. If his reason is unbelievable then he must learn to have faith. For that Dante is told to trust Beatrice’s advice.

Dante therefore starts off on a tangent that one cannot see love, but can only know of its presence through actions of others. Virgil thinks this rationalization needs some explaining, so he compares it to a tree. Nobody would know trees were alive except that they sprout leaves and flowers periodically. In this same way, human beings are unaware that love is their innermost, motivating wish of being. So this Love that God puts in all plant, creature and human is foreordained before and nobody can do anything about it. Thus, man cannot be praised or blamed for that part of him, meaning he is Love. It displays it in all actions, whether as a vice or virtue.

There is, however, another part of man that judges and distinguishes between right and wrong. This is the part of man, his intellect (logic) and intelligence (divinity), that can be praised or blamed for his actions, because it is through free will that humanity acts. Therefore, even though love may want a million things at once, one still has the power to judge and will whether it is want or need it wants. Such action is made possible by exercising free will. This ability to control one’s desires, Virgil says, is what Beatrice means by free will.

With that Virgil’s sermon ends; it is now the moon157 that has risen so high that its light makes the stars dim. It is late and Dante is happy with all the knowledge he receives from Virgil. He is about to fall asleep on his lovely ledge of rock, when a partying crowd interrupts him.

A group of penitents singing counter examples of sloth against love. Two of the penitents run ahead of their main party, chattering a meaningless prattle. The words are about Mary158 rushing to a mountain and Caesar rushing back and forth across the Continent to make war. The rest of the penitents are rushing after the first two. They too are shouting stuff about making haste because there is so little time. They want to work and be productive!

Virgil tries to calm them down by assuring them that Dante, still a living man, will pray for them, if they just do a small favour. Would they please show them the way up the mountain? One penitent Shade answers, telling Virgil and Dante to follow him. He apologises but they must not to be offended by their scurrying: it is their punishment for being lazy and dishonouring ‘love’ on earth. The Shade keeps on talking hurriedly and tells them he was the abbot of St. Zeno in Verona159.

This triggers a cascade of memories and prophecies which he, cannot keep to himself. So he tells Dante and Virgil all about the future of St. Zeno. Right now, it is under the rule of a man “with one foot in the grave, who soon will weep over that monastery.” He will become a penitent also because this man has stupidly and slothfully handed down the abbacy to the worst possible candidate: his illegitimate son – product of vice. (For the record, the father is Alberto della Scala160 and his son is Giuseppe.)

This is all that Dante can hear from the abbot, because at this point the rush of the crowd has carried him faraway. Virgil turns his attention to the last two members of that crowd, who are still within earshot. As they run away, Dante hears the Slothful penitents giving two last examples of lazy people who have been punished.

They chatter on about the Israelites who refused to follow Moses161 to the Promised Land. They were therefore left to die in the desert. Then there were Trojans who pleaded exhaustion to get out of following Aeneas to Italy but ended dying cowardly deaths. As these words of wisdom fade away, Dante has a host of new thoughts, which float randomly from one to the other because he is having some crazy dreams.

Purgatory Canto 19: Fifth Terrace of Avaricious and Prodigal

1. It was the hour when the diurnal heat// No more can warm the coldness of the moon// Vanquished by earth, or peradventure Saturn,
2. When geomancers their Fortuna Major// See in the orient before the dawn// Rise by a path that long remains not dim,
3. There came to me in dreams a stammering woman// Squint in her eyes, and in her feet distorted// With hands dissevered and of sallow hue.
4. I looked at her; and as the sun restores// The frigid members which the night benumbs// Even thus my gaze did render voluble
5. Her tongue, and made her all erect thereafter// In little while, and the lost countenance// As love desires it so in her did colour.
6. When in this wise she had her speech unloosed// She ‘gan to sing so, that with difficulty// Could I have turned my thoughts away from her.
7. “I am,” she sang, “I am the Siren sweet// Who mariners amid the main unman// So full am I of pleasantness to hear.
8. I drew Ulysses from his wandering way// Unto my song, and he who dwells with me// Seldom departs so wholly I content him.”
9. Her mouth was not yet closed again, before// Appeared a Lady saintly and alert// Close at my side to put her to confusion.
10. “Virgilius, O Virgilius! who is this?”// Sternly she said; and he was drawing near// With eyes still fixed upon that modest one.
11. She seized the other and in front laid open// Rending her garments, and her belly showed me// This waked me with the stench that issued from it.
12. I turned mine eyes, and good Virgilius said:// “At least thrice have I called thee; rise and come// Find we the opening by which thou mayst enter.”
13. I rose; and full already of high day// Were all the circles of the Sacred Mountain// And with the new sun at our back we went.
14. Following behind him, I my forehead bore// Like unto one who has it laden with thought// Who makes himself the half arch of a bridge,
15. When I heard say, “Come, here the passage is,”// Spoken in a manner gentle and benign// Such as we hear not in this mortal region.
16. With open wings, which of a swan appeared// Upward he turned us who thus spake to us// Between the two walls of the solid granite.
17. He moved his pinions afterwards and fanned us// Affirming those ‘qui lugent’ to be blessed// For they shall have their souls with comfort filled.
18. “What aileth thee, that aye to earth thou gazest?”// To me my Guide began to say, we both// Somewhat beyond the Angel having mounted.
19. And I: “With such misgiving makes me go// A vision new, which bends me to itself// So that I cannot from the thought withdraw me.”
20. “Didst thou behold,” he said, “that old enchantress// Who sole above us henceforth is lamented?// Didst thou behold how man is freed from her?
21. Suffice it thee, and smite earth with thy heels// Thine eyes lift upward to the lure, that whirls// The Eternal King with revolutions vast.”
22. Even as the hawk, that first his feet surveys// Then turns him to the call and stretches forward// Through the desire of food that draws him thither,
23. Such I became, and such, as far as cleaves// The rock to give a way to him who mounts// Went on to where the circling doth begin.
24. On the fifth circle when I had come forth// People I saw upon it who were weeping// Stretched prone upon the ground, all downward turned.
25. “Adhaesit pavimento anima mea,”// I heard them say with sighings so profound// That hardly could the words be understood.
26. “O ye elect of God, whose sufferings// Justice and Hope both render less severe// Direct ye us towards the high ascents.”
27. “If ye are come secure from this prostration// And wish to find the way most speedily// Let your right hands be evermore outside.”
28. Thus did the Poet ask, and thus was answered// By them somewhat in front of us; whence I// In what was spoken divined the rest concealed,
29. And unto my Lord’s eyes mine eyes I turned// Whence he assented with a cheerful sign// To what the sight of my desire implored.
30. When of myself I could dispose at will// Above that creature did I draw myself// Whose words before had caused me to take note,
31. Saying: “O Spirit, in whom weeping ripens// That without which to God we cannot turn// Suspend awhile for me thy greater care.
32. Who wast thou, and why are your backs turned upwards// Tell me, and if thou wouldst that I procure thee// Anything there whence living I departed.”
33. And he to me: “Wherefore our backs the heaven// Turns to itself, know shalt thou; but beforehand// ‘Scias quod ego fui successor Petri.’
34. Between Siestri and Chiaveri descends// A river beautiful, and of its name// The title of my blood its summit makes.
35. A month and little more essayed I how// Weighs the great cloak on him from mire who keeps it// For all the other burdens seem a feather.
36. Tardy, ah woe is me! was my conversion// But when the Roman Shepherd I was made// Then I discovered life to be a lie.
37. I saw that there the heart was not at rest// Nor farther in that life could one ascend// Whereby the love of this was kindled in me.
38. Until that time a wretched soul and parted// From God was I, and wholly avaricious// Now, as thou seest, I here am punished for it.
39. What avarice does is here made manifest// In the purgation of these souls converted// And no more bitter pain the Mountain has.
40. Even as our eye did not uplift itself// Aloft, being fastened upon earthly things// So justice here has merged it in the earth.
41. As avarice had extinguished our affection// For every good, whereby was action lost// So justice here doth hold us in restraint,
42. Bound and imprisoned by the feet and hands// And so long as it pleases the just Lord// Shall we remain immovable and prostrate.”
43. I on my knees had fallen, and wished to speak// But even as I began, and he was ‘ware// Only by listening, of my reverence,
44. “What cause,” he said, “has downward bent thee thus?”// And I to him: “For your own dignity// Standing, my conscience stung me with remorse.”
45. “Straighten thy legs, and upward raise thee, brother,”// He answered: “Err not, fellow-servant am I// With thee and with the others to one power.
46. If e’er that holy, evangelic sound// Which sayeth ‘neque nubent,’ thou hast heard// Well canst thou see why in this wise I speak.
47. Now go; no longer will I have thee linger// Because thy stay doth incommode my weeping// With which I ripen that which thou hast said.
48. On earth I have a grandchild named Alagia// Good in herself, unless indeed our house// Malevolent may make her by example,
49. And she alone remains to me on earth.”


Purgatory Canto 19: Fifth Terrace: the Avaricious and Prodigal

Just before dawn Dante dreams of a woman who is ugly, cross-eyed, maimed, and with ugly skin. But as he stares at her, she loses her deformities and takes on a desirable feature. She is the Siren, and her singing captivates the poet, until a saintly woman appears to show up her ugliness and stench, which wakes up Dante. As the two poets begin their third day in Purgatory, the Angel of Zeal appears and washes off another P from Dante’s forehead, while they are hearing the beatitude: Blessed are they who mourn. Dante and Virgil reach the next terrace, and see souls stretched out on the ground everywhere. They are reciting a prayer. These penitents are the Avaricious. Dante talks to Pope Adrian V, who explains the condition of the Penitents. He asks Dante to bring news about him to his niece, the only one in his family who is free from corruption.

Dante has more dreams as dawn draws near. Dreams near dawn were and are still believed to have the greatest chance of coming true that is if they occur in the morning: that is the belief in Dante’s time162. In Dante’s dream, a woman appears. Her eyes are crossed, her feet are crooked, her hands are crippled, she is pale, and stammers when she talks. But Dante decides that it is his own dream, so he turns her into his fantasy woman. With just one look of the reviving rays of the sun, with his gaze “loosens her tongue and then, in a little time, sets her contorted limbs in perfect order, and, with the colouring that love prefers, his eyes transformed the wanness of her features.” The newly beautiful but dangerous woman is a Siren163.

She talks about Siren: like seducing men to their deaths on the rocks, distracting Ulysses164, brushing her hair, seductive singing, and luring mariners to self-destruct. The bewitched Dante drools more and more. But before she even finishes her song, another woman shows up. The second woman is “alert and saintly.” Her appearance makes Siren silent. She then tells Virgil the identity of Siren and glares daggers at her. Virgil appears in the dream in the ancient Roman toga and approaches Siren. He does what Dante wanted to her clothes off.

But, Dante’s dream does not turn at this point. Instead of being turned on by the naked Siren, Dante is completely revolted by a terrible rotten stench that is steaming from her bared stomach. Dante wakes up in a cold sweat. Virgil though, takes no notice, because it is morning and he is eager to get moving up the mountain. He says he has already called to Dante three times to get up. Dante practices the unhealthy technique of suppressing his worries and follows Virgil humbly, his head bent. At some point, they hear a voice announcing their arrival at the passageway onto the fifth terrace. It turns out that it is an angel speaking165.

As they walk past in reverence, the angel fans them with his wings, telling them that those “qui lugent” (“blessed are they who mourn their sinfulness”) will have comfort in their souls (As in previous terraces, the angel performs the ritual that allows the passages to the next terrace by removing a P from the pilgrim’s forehead and giving him directions. The beatitude here is Qui lugent (Mathew 5.5-15). Virgil notices Dante’s depression (acute sudden loss of spirit and not knowing how to get it back). After they pass the angel, he asks Dante what is wrong. Dante answers that his dream from last night troubles him. Virgil comforts him by explaining what the dream means.

The hag whom Dante transformed into a beautiful Siren represents vice which is atoned for in the terraces above. This is Virgil’s way of explaining the dream and getting Dante to hurry up. He tells Dante to “fasten [his] eyes upon that lure that’s spun above” (Heaven) instead of focusing on his dream. Dante obeys. In doing so, he creates a metaphor. He compares his desire to climb higher (on his path towards Heaven) up the mountain to a falcon’s (the visionary power of wisdom and guardian) desire for the food (promised ecstasy of union with Love who is God) in its Master’s hand (Guru).

Immediately, Virgil and Dante see the penitents enduring their punishment. Here on the fifth terrace, penitents lie face down on the ground, chained down, and weeping. Virgil speaks. They are sacred pilgrims in darkness seeking to make progress and to rediscover the majesty of their mysterious journey. They are praying for their own salvation and asking for the proper path to follow from where the pilgrims left off.

A penitent speaks to the pilgrims and says if they do not need to lie down with his companion penitents, they should move on and take the path to the right166. Dante hears something in that voice and looks at Virgil, who wordlessly gives him permission to do as he wishes. Dante asks the penitent who he is, why he is lying on the ground, and if he should pray for him. The penitent goes on to say that he has once worn the “great mantle” and been the “Roman shepherd,” meaning a pope on earth!

This former pope Adrian V only got his office after converting and finding the mortal life held no satisfaction for him167. So he became interested in the afterlife (implying he was saved). Until that point, he claims, he was a ‘greedy’ (for position and power) person. He explains the logic of their punishment for greed and extravagance as (the ‘Avaricious and Prodigals’). Since they wanted only material things on earth and they never “lifted their eyes on high.” But here in Purgatory their eyes are “impelled.towards earth” – meaning they had no earnestness in looking at religious symbols while alive as humans. Their limbs are chained down by “justice” so they cannot move and cannot face Dante when he talks to them.

Dante therefore kneels. He wants to hear some more talk, but instead the penitents and the pope wait for him. They ask Dante why he is kneeling. Dante answers that seeing them prostrate on the ground makes him feel ashamed of standing up over him. The pope does not want his pity and orders Dante to stand up straight.

He says they are now all under the power of God and to underscore it he spits out another Latin phrase neque unbent which translates as “not marrying” to mean: earthly attachments (church marriages) do not continue after death. This phrase comes from the New Testament book of Matthew (22:29-30) and talks metaphorically about the “marriage” between God and the Church, headed by the Pope168. Pope Adrian V admits his “marriage” on earth, was corrupt. But now that he is in Purgatory his earthly past does not matter anymore. Fully disturbed by now, the pope tells Dante to leave him alone to his suffering. As an afterthought, he mentions his good niece Alagia who is still alive and pious. He means for Dante to find her and ask for her prayers.


Purgatory Canto 19: Fifth Terrace: the Avaricious and Prodigal
Dante describes a dream and states an Angel summons the two pilgrims to rise towards the Fifth Cornice where the sin of greed is cleaned, and where he finds Pope Adrian the fifth. The ashamed goes on to say that he’s worn the “great mantle” and been the “Roman shepherd”. His mortal life held no satisfaction for him and became interested in the afterlife as a ‘saved’ Shade.
He explains the logic of punishment of the Avaricious’ and Prodigals’ since they wanted only material things on earth and never lifted their eyes on high. Their limbs are chained down by “justice” and cannot face Dante when he talks to them. Dante kneels but the penitent asks why he is kneeling. Dante feels ashamed of standing up over him. The pope orders Dante to stand up straight because they are all under the power of God.

The Pope states while married to the Church when on earth he was corrupt, but in Purgatory his earthly past should not matter anymore. But, The perturbed pope tells Dante to leave him alone to his suffering. The Law of Action and Reaction is obviously known to the pope. As an afterthought, he informs his good niece Alagia is sti

ll alive and pious. It is assumed Dante is to find her and ask for her prayers.

Purgatory Canto 20: Avarice and Prodigality

1.	Ill strives the will against a better will// Therefore, to pleasure him, against my pleasure// I drew the sponge not saturate from the water.
2.	Onward I moved, and onward moved my Leader// Through vacant places, skirting still the rock//As on a wall close to the battlements;
3.	For they that through their eyes pour drop by drop// The malady which all the world pervades// On the other side too near the verge approach.
4.	Accursed mayst thou be, thou old she-wolf// That more than all the other beasts hast prey// Because of hunger infinitely hollow!
a.	heaven, in whose gyrations some appear// To think conditions here below are changed// When will he come through whom she shall depart?
5.	Onward we went with footsteps slow and scarce// And I attentive to the Shades I heard// Piteously weeping and bemoaning them;
6.	And I by peradventure heard "Sweet Mary!"// Uttered in front of us amid the weeping// Even as a woman does who is in child-birth;
7.	And in continuance: "How poor thou wast// Is manifested by that hostelry// Where thou didst lay thy sacred burden down."
8.	Thereafterward I heard: "O good Fabricius// Virtue with poverty didst thou prefer// To the possession of great wealth with vice."
9.	So pleasurable were these words to me// That I drew farther onward to have knowledge// Touching that spirit whence they seemed to come.
10.	He furthermore was speaking of the largess// Which Nicholas unto the maidens gave// In order to conduct their youth to honour.
11.	"O soul that dost so excellently speak// Tell me who wast thou," said I, "and why only// Thou dost renew these praises well deserved?
12.	Not without recompense shall be thy word// If I return to finish the short journey// Of that life which is flying to its end."
13.	And he: "I'll tell thee, not for any comfort// I may expect from earth, but that so much// Grace shines in thee or ever thou art dead.
14.	I was the root of that malignant plant// Which overshadows all the Christian world// So that good fruit is seldom gathered from it;
15.	But if Douay and Ghent, and Lille and Bruges// Had Power, soon vengeance would be taken on it// And this I pray of Him who judges all.
16.	Hugh Capet was I called upon the earth// From me were born the Louises and Philips// By whom in later days has France been governed.
17.	I was the son of a Parisian butcher// What time the ancient kings had perished all// Excepting one, contrite in cloth of gray.
18.	I found me grasping in my hands the rein// Of the realm's government, and so great power// Of new acquest, and so with friends abounding,
19.	That to the widowed diadem promoted// The head of mine own offspring was, from whom// The consecrated bones of these began.
20.	So long as the great dowry of Provence// Out of my blood took not the sense of shame// 'Twas little worth, but still it did no harm.
21.	Then it began with falsehood and with force// Its rapine; and thereafter, for amends// Took Ponthieu, Normandy, and Gascony.
22.	Charles came to Italy, and for amends// A victim made of Conradin, and then// Thrust Thomas back to heaven, for amends.
23.	A time I see, not very distant now// Which draweth forth another Charles from France// The better to make known both him and his.
24.	Unarmed he goes, and only with the lance// That Judas jousted with; and that he thrusts// So that he makes the paunch of Florence burst.
25.	He thence not land, but sin and infamy// Shall gain, so much more grievous to himself// As the more light such damage he accounts.
26.	The other, now gone forth, ta'en in his ship// See I his daughter sell, and chaffer for her// As corsairs do with other female slaves.
27.	What more, O Avarice, canst thou do to us.// Since thou my blood so to thyself hast drawn// It careth not for its own proper flesh?
28.	That less may seem the future ill and past// I see the flower-de-luce Alagna enter// And Christ in his own Vicar captive made.
29.	I see him yet another time derided// I see renewed the vinegar and gall// And between living thieves I see him slain.
30.	I see the modern Pilate so relentless// This does not sate him, but without decretal.//He to the temple bears his sordid sails!
31.	When, O my Lord! shall I be joyful made// By looking on the vengeance which, concealed// Makes sweet thine anger in thy secrecy?
32.	What I was saying of that only bride// Of the Holy Ghost, and which occasioned thee// To turn towards me for some commentary,
33.	So long has been ordained to all our prayers// As the day lasts; but when the night comes on// Contrary sound we take instead thereof.
34.	At that time we repeat Pygmalion// Of whom a traitor, thief, and parricide// Made his insatiable desire of gold;
35.	And the misery of avaricious Midas// That followed his inordinate demand// At which forevermore one needs but laugh.
36.	The foolish Achan each one then records// And how he stole the spoils; so that the wrath// Of Joshua still appears to sting him here.
37.	Then we accuse Sapphira with her husband// We laud the hoof-beats Heliodorus had// And the whole mount in infamy encircles
38.	Polymnestor who murdered Polydorus.// Here finally is cried: 'O Crassus, tell us// For thou dost know, what is the taste of gold?'
39.	Sometimes we speak, one loud, another low// According to desire of speech, that spurs us// To greater now and now to lesser pace.
40.	But in the good that here by day is talked of// Erewhile alone I was not; yet near by// No other person lifted up his voice."
41.	From him already we departed were// And made endeavour to o'ercome the road// As much as was permitted to our power,
42.	When I perceived, like something that is falling// The mountain tremble, whence a chill seized on me// As seizes him who to his death is going.
43.	Certes so violently shook not Delos// Before Latona made her nest therein// To give birth to the two eyes of the heaven.
44.	Then upon all sides there began a cry// Such that the Master drew himself towards me// Saying, "Fear not, while I am guiding thee."
45.	"Gloria in excelsis Deo," all// Were saying, from what near I comprehended// Where it was possible to hear the cry.
46.	We paused immovable and in suspense// Even as the shepherds who first heard that song// Until the trembling ceased, and it was finished.
47.	Then we resumed again our holy path// Watching the Shades that lay upon the ground// Already turned to their accustomed plaint.
48.	No ignorance ever with so great a strife// Had rendered me importunate to know// If erreth not in this my memory,
49.	As meditating then I seemed to have// Nor out of haste to question did I dare// Nor of myself I there could aught perceive;
50.	So I went onward timorous and thoughtful.


Purgatory Canto 20: Fifth Terrace: the Avaricious and the Prodigal

As the two poets begin their way through the terrace of the avaricious, they hear someone calling out examples of virtue - the opposite to greed. The speaker is Hugh Capet, forefather of the Capetian dynasty. In talking to Dante, he denounces his descendants for their greed. 

Then he explains the Penitent in Purgatory keep reciting different examples of greed and are condemning attachment to acquisitiveness towards people, wealth and things that cause the Spirit to become deluded. The list of examples is followed by a mysterious trembling of the mountain, and there is a song of praise of insight of Truth: Gloria in excelsis Deo.

The greedy pope is sick of Dante now, so Dante wisely decides to leave, reining in the countless questions he still has. The poet Dante wanted to talk more," but instead says "I drew my unquenched sponge out of the water." Virgil leads the way, finding walking room wherever the path is not covered by prostrate penitents. Dante starts ranting about a starving feudal she-wolf (church and state) that is sultry, confident and hungry after Italy169. Dante prays at length for someone170 to come and drive the wolf away during the Dark Ages of Italy171. Virgil meanwhile keeps walking and Dante follows suit. As they travel, they notice the souls around them lamenting and crying. One voice of a penitent (undergoing metamorphosis) calls out, like a woman experiencing pain (Mary's spiritual motherhood while giving birth) and crying out "Sweet Mary". It symbolises Mary's unfolding of a bud (from Jesus to The Christ) into a flower while giving birth to Jesus in the stable - her most precious possession. 

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, because the kingdom of God is theirs. Mary's readiness to surrender Jesus her most loved "treasure" is a sign of her 'poor in spirit.' She is being detached and is voluntarily renouncing dominion over everything, including her 'self' that is important to her heart. She is willing to part with all that has become for her a "treasure" that she carefully guards, takes care of and defends. While living on earth, the penitent had not understood what the true treasure is. That is why poverty of spirit is a deep emotional attachment of the heart (moha172). The penitent is aspiring for a way to true happiness, not only while aspiring for heaven, but also here on earth and while on the spiritual path in purgatory. It comes as the only beatitude that brings with it the promise of owning, here, the greatest treasure: the kingdom of God. 

The penitents continue to call out further examples of poverty and generosity, which are the cures to their sins of greed and prodigality. Another voice praises Fabricius, who "chose.indigence with virtue rather than much wealth with vice." Gaius Luscinus Fabricius, a Roman commander and consul (282 BC) tried to censor the Romans' materiality and was famous for his refusal to take bribes to further his political career: he died in self-chosen poverty (nonattachment) against unwholesome roots of attachments stems from 'love' towards people, things and about self-worth. This show of humility and existing in an egoless state pleases Dante so much that he steps forward, trying to find the speaker. The voice is chanting about Saint Nicholas, the bishop of Myra in Asia Minor during the time of Constantine, who generously provided dowries for the daughters of an impoverished noble.

Dante asks the speaking soul who he is and why it is only he that talks about such good role models. To get him to talk, Dante promises him prayers when he returns to the living world. The penitent soul agrees, but specifies that he is doing it not for the prayers, but simply because Dante looks like he is in God's grace173. He introduces himself with "I was the root of the obnoxious plant that overshadows all the Christian lands." He is Hugh Capet or as some believe, it is his father Hugh I who is perhaps the real penitent speaker in this purgatory. 


Purgatory Canto 20: Fifth Terrace: the Avaricious and the Prodigal

	Hugh Capet was the founder of the Capetian dynasty. This son of a Frankish duke, inherited vast estates in the regions of Paris and Orleans, which made him one of the most powerful vassals in France and a serious threat to the Carolingian king, Lothair. By 985 Hugh I was the ruler of France in all but name, and two years later he was elected king. He immediately crowned his own son to ensure the line of succession, a practice continued until the time of Louis VII. He arbitrated disputes among French nobles and survived a conspiracy to betray him to Otto III.

	On inheriting the French throne, he modeled himself on his grandfather, Louis IX. He was also king of Navarre as Philip I (1284-1305), ruling jointly with his wife, Joan I of Navarre. War with England (1294-1303) ended with a peace treaty with the engagement of his daughter to the future Edward II. Philip forced a harsh treaty on Flanders in 1305. He also conducted a long struggle with Boniface VIII (1297-1303) that led to the breakdown of medieval papacy. He was pacified by succeeding popes, including Clement V. Philip expelled the Jews from France (1306), and his persecution of the Knights Templar in 1307 led to their suppression by the pope for four years

	Hugh Capet goes on to name four cities that would like to take vengeance on him and prays to God that they might do it. These towns in Flanders were later invaded by Philip the Fair (Philip IV) between 1297 and 1304. The French were routed at the battle at Courtrai in 1302.These four French cities (Douai, Lille, Ghent, and Bruges) have reason to want revenge against the speaker because he devastated them in a bloody episode of the Flemish wars (1297-1305). He names himself as Hugh Capet, a king of France, who had many sons named Louis and Philip. Hugh says he was not of royal blood. He was the son of a butcher. However, when the current king died without an heir, Hugh somehow took control and crowned his own son king after that.

	When a marriage in Provence allowed Hugh to take the throne, his family - the Capetians started seizing cities, killing people, and poisoning enemies. Then Hugh the regretful starts prophesying. He sees a man named Charles coming out of France to seek eternal fame. Charles, Duke of Lorraine, the last Carolingian, died in prison in 991; he was not a monk. This Charles does not carry weapons except the "lance that Judas tilted." He brings "shame and sin" on himself. This is Charles of Valois (1270-1325), who at the summons of Boniface VIII, took over Florence in 1301, leading to the exile of the White Guelphs and Dante. He was sent by Boniface VIII to make peace with Florence. Except that he ended throwing that cause out the window for ratcheting up the power of the Black party (Dante's hated rivals) so much that they exiled the Whites (with Dante). He is discredited for being underhanded.

	Then Hugh foresees another Charles, defeated at war, selling his daughter like pirates might sell slave girls. Charles of Anjou married Beatrice of Provence in 1246. Charles of Anjou seized the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily in 1266; two years later he defeated and executed the rightful heir Conradin, Manfred's son. Charles II, king of Naples and son of Charles of Anjou, was defeated in a naval fight with Philip III of Aragon in 1284. Charles was rumoured to have poisoned Thomas Aquinas. This is Charles II of Anjou, who was taken prisoner in a naval battle. He married off his daughter Beatrice to Azzo VIII of Este for an expensive settlement. Hugh laments that his house has fallen so low to the point of trafficking their children for money.
	Then there is Philip the Fair, one of Hugh's sons, who kidnapped Pope Boniface VIII and has him, tortured. Boniface VIII is captured in 1303 by the troops of Philip the Fair, the king of France, who is about to be excommunicated. Philip also is guilty of persecuting the Templar Knights. Hugh compares Pope Boniface to Jesus Christ, who was equally mocked and tormented. Philip's puppets are so evil that Hugh compares them to the "new Pilate," by whose orders Jesus was crucified.

	Finally, Hugh turns back to Dante and tells him that this is how he and his associate penitents talk all-day. But at night, they recite contrary examples of avarice (greed and acquisitiveness). They start with Pygmalion, where Queen Dido's husband who tries to murder her for her inheritance. Pygmalion, king of Tyre and brother of Dido, murdered her husband Sichaeus for his wealth (Aeneid I).

	Then, Hugh talks about King Midas, who, out of greed, made everything he touched turn to gold. Midas, king of Phrygia, asked and received from Bacchus the power to turn whatever he touched into gold (Metamorphoses). Then he mentions Achan a member of the tribe of Judah who with his family are stoned to death for stealing forbidden spoils, despite Joshua's orders. This is so because the spoils of a battle were already consecrated to God.	

	Then the penitents discuss Sapphira and her husband Ananias who withhold from the apostles, profits from the sale of property they held in common. Rebuked by Saint Peter, they fall dead at his feet (Acts 5:1-11). Then there is Heliodorus, sent by the Syrian king to loot the treasures from the Jerusalem temple, who is kicked by a horse as he flees (2 Maccabees 3:25-27).
	Then what about Polymnestor, the King of Thrace who is entrusted with the care of Polydorus, the son of Priam, and a large sum of money. After Troy fell, the king kills the boy and keeps the ill-gotten money. Finally, the most famous example of all. They discuss: Crassus. A member of a famous Roman triumvirate - a "coalition of three men"; who ruled Rome with Julius Caesar and Pompey. Marcus Licinius Crassus was a triumvir with Pompey and Caesar. Famed for his greed, he was defeated by the Parthians in 53 BC. They sent his head to their king who poured molten gold down its throat. His greed was so well known that when he was finally defeated, his enemies poured molten gold down his throat to kill him.

	To explain why his is the only voice Dante hears today, Hugh Capet tells that sometimes the penitents sing loudly or softly, depending on their mood. It just so happens that he s singing the loudest today. Finally, Dante leaves him. Before Virgil and Dante have gone far, there is an earthquake! The whole mountain shakes. Dante is not too scared to make up a metaphor. He compares the trembling mountain to trembling the island of Delos when the goddess Latona gave birth to the twins that would eventually become the sun and moon - Apollo and Diana. 

	To comfort Dante, Virgil tells him not to be afraid. The penitents seem happy and sing the hymn "Gloria in excelsis Deo." Gloria in excelsis Deo is sung by the angels and heard by the shepherds at the birth of Jesus (Luke 2:14).The song stops Dante in his tracks and he listens, stunned, until they finish. As soon as the quake ends, they start moving again. Curiously, the penitents have a mood swing. Instead of singing joyfully, they are now crying again. Dante feels confused. He cannot understand penitents' behaviour, but does not ask Virgil, because they all "make haste". Dante wisely follows Virgil.

Purgatory Canto 21: Avaricious and Prodigal:

1.	The natural thirst, that ne'er is satisfied// Excepting with the water for whose grace// The woman of Samaria174 besought,
2.	Put me in travail, and haste goaded me// Along the encumbered path behind my Leader// And I was pitying that righteous vengeance;
3.	And lo! in the same manner as Luke writeth// That Christ appeared to two175 upon the way// From the sepulchral cave already risen,
4.	A Shade appeared to us, and came behind us// Down gazing on the prostrate multitude// Nor were we ware of it, until it spake,
5.	Saying, "My brothers, may God give you peace!"// We turned us suddenly, and Virgilius rendered// To him the countersign thereto conforming.
6.	Thereon began he: "In the blessed council// Thee may the court veracious place in peace// That me doth banish in eternal exile!"
7.	"How," said he, and the while we went with speed// "If ye are Shades whom God deigns not on high// Who up his stairs so far has guided you?"
8.	And said my Teacher: "If thou note the marks// Which this one bears, and which the Angel traces// Well shalt thou see he with the good must reign.
9.	But because she who spinneth day and night// For him had not yet drawn the distaff off// Which Clotho176 lays for each one and compacts,
10.	His soul, which is thy sister and my own// In coming upwards could not come alone// By reason that it sees not in our fashion.
11.	Whence I was drawn from out the ample throat// Of Hell to be his guide, and I shall guide him// As far on as my school has power to lead.
12.	But tell us, if thou knowest, why such a shudder// Erewhile the mountain gave, and why together// All seemed to cry, as far as its moist feet?"
13.	In asking he so hit the very eye// Of my desire, that merely with the hope// My thirst became the less unsatisfied.
14.	"Naught is there," he began, "that without order// May the religion of the mountain feel// Nor aught that may be foreign to its custom.
15.	Free is it here from every permutation// What from itself heaven in itself receiveth// Can be of this the cause, and naught beside;
16.	Because that neither rain, nor hail, nor snow// Nor dew, nor hoar-frost any higher falls// Than the short, little stairway of three steps.
17.	Dense clouds do not appear, nor rarefied// Nor coruscation, nor the daughter of Thaumas177// That often upon earth her region shifts;
18.	No arid vapour any farther rises// Than to the top of the three steps I spake of// Whereon the Vicar of Peter has his feet.
19.	Lower down perchance it trembles less or more// But, for the wind that in the earth is hidden// I know not how, up here it never trembled.
20.	It trembles here, whenever any soul// Feels itself pure, so that it soars, or moves// To mount aloft, and such a cry attends it.
21.	Of purity the will alone gives proof// Which, being wholly free to change its convent// Takes by surprise the soul, and helps it fly.
22.	First it wills well; but the desire permits not// Which divine justice with the self-same will// There was to sin, upon the torment sets.
23.	And I, who have been lying in this pain// Five hundred years and more, but just now felt// A free volition for a better seat.
24.	Therefore thou heardst the earthquake, and the pious// Spirits along the mountain rendering praise// Unto the Lord, that soon he speed them upwards."
25.	So said he to him; and since we enjoy// As much in drinking as the thirst is great// I could not say how much it did me good.
26.	And the wise Leader: "Now I see the net// That snares you here, and how ye are set free// Why the earth quakes, and wherefore ye rejoice.
27.	Now who thou wast be pleased that I may know// And why so many centuries thou hast here// Been lying, let me gather from thy words."
28.	"In days when the good Titus178, with the aid// Of the supremest King, avenged the wounds// Whence issued forth the blood by Judas sold,
29.	Under the name that most endures and honours// Was I on earth," that spirit made reply// "Greatly renowned, but not with faith as yet.
30.	My vocal spirit was so sweet, that Rome// Me, a Thoulousian, drew unto herself// Where I deserved to deck my brows with myrtle.
31.	Statius179 the people name me still on earth// I sang of Thebes, and then of great Achilles// But on the way fell with my second burden.
32.	The seeds unto my ardour were the sparks// Of that celestial flame which heated me// Whereby more than a thousand have been fired;
33.	Of the Aeneid speak I, which to me// A mother was, and was my nurse in song// Without this weighed I not a drachma's weight.
34.	And to have lived upon the earth what time// Virgilius lived, I would accept one sun// More than I must ere issuing from my ban."
35.	These words towards me made Virgilius turn// With looks that in their silence said, "Be silent!"// But yet the power that wills cannot do all things;
36.	For tears and laughter are such pursuivants// Unto the passion from which each springs forth// In the most truthful least the will they follow.
37.	I only smiled, as one who gives the wink// Whereat the Shade was silent, and it gazed// Into mine eyes, where most expression dwells;
38.	And, "As thou well mayst consummate a labour// So great," it said, "why did thy face just now// Display to me the lightning of a smile?"
39.	Now am I caught on this side and on that// One keeps me silent, one to speak conjures me// Wherefore I sigh, and I am understood.
40.	"Speak," said my Master, "and be not afraid// Of speaking, but speak out, and say to him// What he demands with such solicitude."
41.	Whence I: "Thou peradventure marvellest// O antique spirit, at the smile I gave// But I will have more wonder seize upon thee.
42.	This one, who guides on high these eyes of mine// Is that Virgilius, from whom thou didst learn// To sing aloud of men and of the Gods.
43.	If other cause thou to my smile imputedst// Abandon it as false, and trust it was// Those words which thou hast spoken concerning him."
44.	Already he was stooping to embrace// My Teacher's feet; but he said to him: "Brother// Do not; for Shade thou art, and Shade beholdest."
45.	And he uprising: "Now canst thou the sum// Of love which warms me to thee comprehend// When this our vanity I disremember,
46.	Treating a shadow as big thing."


Purgatory Canto 21: Avaricious and Prodigal:

	Dante is still plagued with confusion. He cannot figure out the penitents'  behaviour that are and were Avaricious (excessively acquisitive)180 and Prodigal (lavish wastefulness is avoided in life by right teachers181). However Dante moves on with Virgil, even if still confused. The man speaks by greeting them. Curiously Dante compares himself to Jesus, newly raised from his grave. The pair of pilgrims is being followed by someone. They at first do not realise he is there until he speaks. 

	A comparison of himself to Jesus182 is a wild self-evaluation of himself by Dante. Virgil meanwhile returns the greeting, by saying he is " eternal exile." The mysterious man is surprised that he is forever consigned to Hell, but is also in purgatory at the same time. Virgil explains by pointing to Dante's forehead that is still emblazoned with the three remaining Ps. He goes into a discussion about how Dante is meant to "reign with all the righteous," but had fallen off his spiritual path and it is Virgil's job to correct and set Dante straight.

	As Dante and Virgil walk along the Terrace of Avaricious, a Shade appears and speaks to them. Virgil explains Dante's presence, and asks him the reason for the trembling. The Shade says the Mountain of Purgatory is not affected by Nature, such as rain, winds, and lightning, but when a soul feels it is time to progress, or to be free of Purgatory altogether, the mountain shakes with joy. This time the trembling was for his release: he is the Latin poet Statius, an imitator of Virgil, author of minor epics on Achilles and Thebe. Statius expresses his wish to have lived at the same time as Virgil, and to have met the poet. Dante reveals Virgil's identity to Statius, who embraces Virgil, only to be reminded that both are Shades. 


Purgatory Canto 21: Fifth Terrace: the Avaricious and the Prodigal 

	Then Virgil questions the newcomer, asking why there was an earthquake just now. Dante listens silently. The mysterious man explains that its happening is not an inaccurate happening. Purgatory proper, he says, does not have regular weather. Here the clouds cannot reach any higher than the three steps at the entrance of Purgatory. Therefore the trembling of the mountain signals something special. It only shakes when a soul has been cleansed and is ready to move up to Heaven. When there are such events, all the penitents give joyous shouts and sing happy hymns. The man reveals that it is for him the mountain shook. 

	Virgil congratulates him, and then asks this graduate of Purgatory who he is. He uses the phrase, "who you were." The mysterious man explains how he was a famous person in his own time, but not a Christian. He came from Toulouse but found his glory days in Rome. Finally he names himself as the poet Statius183, who wrote the Thebiad and the Achilleid, but lost his moral compass while writing the final one. Next he speaks about his favourite work of all time: Virgil's Aeneid. Statius is talking to Virgil, but does not know it. Statius continues talking. He worships Virgil so much that he would gladly add a year to his sentence here in Purgatory to have been able to live during Virgil's time.

	At these words, Virgil turns to Dante silently with a look that says, "Be still." But as hard as he tries to remain impassive, Dante cannot help smile knowingly. Statius notices it and looks inquiringly at Dante. Dante feels torn between telling Statius the truth and obeying Virgil's order to keep quiet. Finally, Virgil decides. He lets out a great big sigh. He orders Dante to tell Statius the truth, which he does.

	With the big revelation, Statius drops to his knees to kiss Virgil's feet. Virgil quickly lifts the man to his feet. He tells him there is no need to humble himself so, and saying, "You are a Shade, a Shade is what you see." In other words, they are of the same rank - just souls. Statius answers that his reaction of dropping to his knees shows just how much respect he has for Virgil. He treats Virgil almost as a human being, instead of a fellow soul.

Review Summary of Terraces

From the gate of Purgatory, Virgil guides the pilgrim Dante through its seven terraces. These agree to "seven roots of sinfulness"( the seven deadly sins). These psychological sins are based on motives and less on actions. They are drawn from Christian theology, rather than from classical sources. The classification is based on Love: the first three terraces relate to perverted love directed towards harm of others, the fourth terrace relates to deficient love (sloth), and the last three terraces relate to excessive love for fine things. Each terrace purges a particular sin in an appropriate manner. 

	Those in Purgatory can leave their circle voluntarily, but will only do so  when they have corrected the flaw within themselves that led to committing that sin. On the first terrace where proud souls purge their sin, Dante and Virgil see beautiful sculptures expressing humility, the opposite virtue. 

	On the Second terrace of the envious, Envy is the sin that "looks with grudging hatred on other men's gifts and good fortune, taking every opportunity to run them down or deprive them of their happiness." This is in contrast to covetousness, the excessive desire to have things. On entering this terrace of the envious, Dante and Virgil first hear voices on the air telling stories of generosity, the opposite virtue. 

	On the terrace of the wrathful, examples of meekness, the opposite virtue, are given to Dante as visions in his mind. The souls of the wrathful walk around in burning smoke, which symbolises the blinding effect of anger; Marco Lombardo conversations with Dante on free will. The prayer for this terrace is "Lamb of God, you who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us... grant us peace").

	At this point Virgil explains to Dante the organization of Purgatory and its relationship to perverted, deficient, or misdirected love. The three terraces they have seen so far have purged the proud, the envious and the wrathful. On the fourth terrace of the slothful are sinners of deficient love. Allegorically, spiritual laziness and lack of caring lead to sadness; Night falls (for the second time) while the poets are on this terrace, and Dante dreams of a Siren. 

	The Fifth terrace houses Shades who sinned by loving good things, but loving them in an excessive or disordered way (covetousness).Excessive concern for earthly goods - whether in the form of greed, ambition or extravagance - is punished and purified on this terrace. The avaricious and prodigal shades lie face-down on the ground, unable to move. Their prayer is Psalm 119:25 ("My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word," which is a prayer expressing the wish to follow God's law. Pope Adrian V, an exemplar of want for ecclesiastical power and prestige, directs the poets on their way.

	Further down the terrace, Hugh the Great personifies greed for worldly wealth and possessions. He bemoans the greed that motivated actions of his successors, and "prophesies" events which occurred after the date in which the poem was written:

	In a scene that Dante links to the episode where Jesus meets two disciples on the road to Emmaus, Dante and Virgil are overtaken by the Roman poet Statius, whom Dante presents as a convert to Christianity.[He has just finished his time of purgation in this circle, and, as a Christian, his guidance will supplement Virgil's. 

	On the sixth terrace are purged the gluttonous for food, drunkenness for drink, and bodily comforts. In a scene reminiscent of punishing Tantalus, they are starved in the presence of trees whose fruit is forever out of reach. The examples here are given by voices in the trees. The Virgin Mary who shared her Son's, gifts with others at the Wedding at Cana. John the Baptist, who lived on locusts and honey is an example of the virtue of temperance.

	Here Dante also meets his friend Forese Donati and his poetic predecessor Buonagiunta Orbicciani. Buonagiunta has kind words for Dante's earlier poem, La Vita Nuova, describing it as the sweet new style. He quotes the line "Ladies that have intelligence of love," written in praise of Beatrice, who he will meet later in the Purgatorio. Climbing to the seventh terrace, Dante wonders how it is possible for bodiless souls to have the gaunt appearance of the souls being starved here. In explaining, Statius discourses on the nature of the soul and its relationship to the body. 
	The Seventh terrace of the lustful has an immense wall of flame through which everyone must pass. Souls repenting of misdirected sexual desire (both heterosexual and homosexual) run through the flames calling out examples of lust (Sodom and Gomorrah and Pasiphae) and of chastity and marital fidelity. As they circle the terrace, the two groups of penitents greet each other.
	Among the flames, which he dare not enter, are the poets of love Guido Guinizelli and Arnaut Daniel, with whom Dante speaks. By reminding Dante that Beatrice can be found in the Earthly Paradise on the other side, Virgil finally persuades Dante to pass through the intense fire. On the stairs to the Earthly Paradise, night falls for the third time, and Dante dreams of Leah and Rachel. They are symbols of the active (non-monastic) and contemplative (monastic) Christian lives, both of which are important.

Purgatory Canto 22: Statius' Denunciation of Avarice. The Sixth Circle: The Gluttonous. The Mystic Tree. 

1.	Already was the Angel left behind us// The Angel who to the sixth round had turned us// Having erased one mark from off my face;
2.	And those who have in justice their desire// Had said to us, "Beati"184 in their voices// With "sitio," and without more ended it.
3.	And I, more light than through the other passes// Went onward so, that without any labour// I followed upward the swift-footed spirits;
4.	When thus Virgilius began: "The love// Kindled by virtue aye another kindles// Provided outwardly its flame appear.
5.	Hence from the hour that Juvenal185 descended// Among us into the infernal Limbo// Who made apparent to me thy affection,
6.	My kindliness towards thee was as great// As ever bound one to an unseen person// So that these stairs will now seem short to me.
7.	But tell me, and forgive me as a friend// If too great confidence let loose the rein// And as a friend now hold discourse with me;
8.	How was it possible within thy breast// For avarice to find place, 'mid so much wisdom// As thou wast filled with by thy diligence?"
9.	These words excited Statius at first// Somewhat to laughter; afterward he answered:// "Each word of thine is love's dear sign to me.
10.	Verily oftentimes do things appear// Which give fallacious matter to our doubts// Instead of the true causes which are hidden!
11.	Thy question shows me thy belief to be// That I was niggard in the other life// It may be from the circle where I was;
12.	Therefore know thou, that avarice was removed// Too far from me; and this extravagance// Thousands of lunar periods have punished.
13.	And were it not that I my thoughts uplifted// When I the passage heard where thou exclaimest// As if indignant, unto human nature,
14.	'To what impellest thou not, O cursed hunger// Of gold, the appetite of mortal men?'// Revolving I should feel the dismal joustings.
15.	Then I perceived the hands could spread too wide// Their wings in spending, and repented me// As well of that as of my other sins;
16.	How many with shorn hair shall rise again// Because of ignorance, which from this sin// Cuts off repentance living and in death!
17.	And know that the transgression which rebuts// By direct opposition any sin// Together with it here its verdure dries.
18.	Therefore if I have been among that folk// Which mourns its avarice, to purify me// For its opposite has this befallen me."
19.	"Now when thou sangest the relentless weapons// Of the twofold affliction of Jocasta"186// The singer of the Songs Bucolic said,
20.	"From that which Clio there with thee preludes// It does not seem that yet had made thee faithful// That faith without which no good works suffice.
21.	If this be so, what candles or what sun// Scattered thy darkness so that thou didst trim// Thy sails behind the Fisherman thereafter?"
22.	And he to him: "Thou first directedst me// Towards Parnassus187, in its grots to drink// And first concerning God didst me enlighten.
23.	Thou didst as he who walketh in the night// Who bears his light behind, which helps him not// But wary makes the persons after him,
24.	When thou didst say: 'The age renews itself// Justice returns, and man's primeval time// And a new progeny descends from heaven.'
25.	Through thee I Poet was, through thee a Christian// But that thou better see what I design// To colour it will I extend my hand.
26.	Already was the world in every part// Pregnant with the true creed, disseminated// By messengers of the eternal kingdom;
27.	And thy assertion, spoken of above// With the new preachers was in unison// Whence I to visit them the custom took.
28.	Then they became so holy in my sight// That, when Domitian persecuted them// Not without tears of mine were their laments;
29.	And all the while that I on earth remained// Them I befriended, and their upright customs// Made me disparage all the other sects.
30.	And ere I led the Greeks unto the rivers188// Of Thebes, in poetry189, I was baptized// But out of fear was covertly a Christian,
31.	For a long time professing paganism// And this lukewarmness caused me the fourth circle// To circuit round more than four centuries.
32.	Thou, therefore, who hast raised the covering// That hid from me whatever good I speak of// While in ascending we have time to spare,
33.	Tell me, in what place is our friend Terentius// Caecilius, Plautus, Varro, if thou knowest// Tell me if they are damned, and in what alley."
34.	"These, Persius and myself, and others many,"// Replied my Leader, "with that Grecian are// Whom more than all the rest the Muses suckled,
35.	In the first circle of the prison blind// Ofttimes we of the mountain hold discourse// Which has our nurses ever with itself.
36.	Euripides is with us, Antiphon// Simonides, Agatho, and many other// Greeks who of old their brows with laurel decked.
37.	There some of thine own people may be seen// Antigone, Deiphile and Argia// And there Ismene mournful as of old.
38.	There she is seen who pointed out Langia// There is Tiresias' daughter, and there Thetis// And there Deidamia with her sisters."
39.	Silent already were the poets both// Attent once more in looking round about// From the ascent and from the walls released;
40.	And four handmaidens of the day already// Were left behind, and at the pole the fifth// Was pointing upward still its burning horn,
41.	What time my Guide: "I think that tow'rds the edge// Our dexter shoulders it behoves us turn// Circling the mount as we are wont to do."
42.	Thus in that region custom was our ensign// And we resumed our way with less suspicion// For the assenting of that worthy soul
43.	They in advance went on, and I alone// Behind them, and I listened to their speech// Which gave me lessons in the art of song.
44.	But soon their sweet discourses interrupted// A tree which midway in the road we found// With apples sweet and grateful to the smell.
45.	And even as a fir-tree tapers upward// From bough to bough, so downwardly did that// I think in order that no one might climb it.
46.	On that side where our pathway was enclosed// Fell from the lofty rock a limpid water// And spread itself abroad upon the leaves.
47.	The Poets twain unto the tree drew near// And from among the foliage a voice190// Cried: "Of this food ye shall have scarcity."
48.	Then said: "More thoughtful Mary was of making// The marriage feast complete and honourable// Than of her mouth which now for you responds;
49.	And for their drink the ancient Roman women// With water were content; and Daniel// Disparaged food, and understanding won.
50.	The primal age was beautiful as gold// Acorns it made with hunger savorous// And nectar every rivulet with thirst.
51.	Honey and locusts were the aliments// That fed the Baptist in the wilderness// Whence he is glorious, and so magnified
52.	As by the Evangel is revealed to you."


Purgatory Canto 22: Sixth Terrace: the Gluttonous; Statius' Denunciation of Avarice. The Sixth Circle: The Mystic Tree. 

	 In the time between the last canto and this one, three heroes including Statius, have reached the Angel of Justice191. Dante has another 'P' purged from his brow, and the angel has blessed them who hunger and thirst for righteousness because they shall have their fill. That is part of Beatitude (Matthew 5192), which is condemning thirst and hunger to satisfy various lusts for pleasure. The angel, however, stops at the word thirst, implying the rest of the Beatitude will be heard later, after they have passed through the Terrace of the Gluttonous.

	Dante now follows his two guides (Virgil and Statius). His feet are light and his heart happy. Virgil begins speaking about "love that is kindled by virtue" and how it always is reciprocated. He continues, talking about how Statius' unconditional love (agape) for Virgil has come down to him in Hell, making Virgil know he likes Statius too.

	Now Virgil asks Statius as a friend, how he became materialistically greedy and is on the fifth terrace when he seems like such an inoffensive person. Statius answers that Virgil is assuming his sin was avarice (insatiability193), but it was the opposite - prodigality (wastefulness194 through profuse mindless generosity). Here on this level greed and wastefulness are both take origin in covetousness and punished as sin195 on the fifth terrace. 

	Statius was a spendthrift and he paid for it with many months' of penance in Purgatory. But, he says, he is thankful because if he had not realised his sin of avarice and covetousness he would be pushing weights with the prodigally wasteful Shades in Hell who have inclination towards malice, irresistible liking for falsehood, unconquerable appetite for indulging in possessions, boastfulness, rashness, and perpetration of every evil act. 

	Virgil continues questioning him about his book Thebiad, where he does not sound like Christian. So what caused Statius' religious conversion196 to follow the faith (Christianity) of Peter the fisherman? Statius answers, "You"; meaning "You (Virgil) were.the first who, after God, enlightened me." He goes on to tell Virgil: you are like a lantern-bearer; you yourself gain nothing by carrying the light, but it lights the path for the ones who come behind you. He then quotes Virgil and tells him it was by reading his works, he (Statius) converted to Christianity. How is it possible for Virgil the pagan to convert someone to Christianity? 

	Statius goes on to "colour what I sketch"; in other words, he will give more details. Christianity had already spread and was widely practiced during days of the Byzantine Empire which followed his life during the Roman Empire. The preachers communicated197 its messages. Statius found Christianity in Virgil's writings. He therefore often hung out with them. Emperor Domitian198 was stoutly against paganism and had all the Christians persecuted. Statius felt sympathetic for the Christians. He therefore converted secretly, was baptized, and hid his new faith for a long time. For this reluctance to show his faith, he was punished for a long time in Purgatory. 

	Now, Statius wants to ask Virgil some questions. He asks about locating some poets he knew - Publius Terence (185-159 BC) Roman writer of comedies of North African descent;, Caecilius (20-62 AD) a banker who lived in the Roman city of Pompeii; Plautus (254-184 BC) the Roman playwright of comedies; and Varius (74-14 BC) the Roman poet and a friend of Virgil who wrote the Aeneid199. Virgil answers they all reside in Limbo, a part of Hell. He names other poets who live there as well. Homer stands out. Now both of them fall silent and content themselves with walking.

	Dante notices the position of the Sun in the sky and assumes it is about 10am. Virgil, deciding where to go, orders everyone to turn so the terrace is on their right hand side. They travel like this for a little while, with the two Shade-guides ahead, Dante walks behind, listening in on their talk of poetry and learning a lot.

	They are soon interrupted by the sight of a huge upside down tree200 in front of them, fragrant with the scent of ripe figs. It is shaped unusually. Instead of branching up and out, the entire branches taper downward, making it impossible to climb the tree. Beneath the tree is a pool of bright water. As they approach the tree, a disembodied voice cries out, "This food shall be denied to you." The voice goes on, citing examples of temperance (virtue for the sin of gluttony). 


Purgatory Canto 22: Sixth Terrace: the Gluttonous; Statius' Denunciation of Avarice. The Sixth Circle: The Mystic Tree. 

	Leaving the Fifth Terrace, Dante and Virgil with Statius are directed to the next ledge by the Angel who removes another P from Dante's forehead, and recites the Beatitude. There is a long discussion between Virgil and Statius on various matters, one of them dealing with Statius's changeover to Christianity; it is here the Virgil's Fourth Eclogue is brought up. Meanwhile they arrive to the Sixth Terrace, of the Gluttonous. They see, in the middle of the road, a tree with sweet-smelling fruits with a cascade of freshwater raining down on the leaves. From the tree comes a voice shouting examples of moderation, a virtue opposite to gluttony.

	Moderation in all actions, thought, word and feeling is encouraged in all humans through the practice of habitual moderation in natural appetites and prevent excesses of passions. It talks about Mary201, who noticed at the marriage feast of Cana202 there was no wine in the 6 water pots203 for her guests. The wedding story correlates to humanity's redemption. It shows arriving at The Christ is vital to the plan of salvation204. The wedding depicts a rules in progress. The wine running out alludes to mortality of every human which through sacrifice ends. The arrival as water represents immortality. Mary sees the pots full of water and allows her guests enough wine to match the status of their level spiritual growth.

	The symbol of the name Cana (John 2:1) "On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee. In Sanskrit Kha means empty space and Na means no/not, referring to the empty water pots being filled with water	transformed into wine. It also refers to the successful filling up of the empty space (kha) in the cranial vault with water transformed into nectar. Then Jesus go down from Cana to Capharnaum after the miracle (John 2:12) with His mother, His brothers and His disciples. The Wedding at Cana suits to moving water to the Svadhisthana Chakra. The symbolism of the wedding at Cana represents the yogic process by which the adept turns inwards and unifies the kundalini shakti with Siva in the crown of the head after piercing the first 6 chakras. The wine corresponds to the nectar of immortality emitted at the top of the head once this is completed. 

	The voice goes on to talk about how ancient Roman women only drank water, never wine except as medicine when ill with gastric problems (1 Timothy 5:23).Then it mentions how Daniel (1:8-16) refused food and drink. The king wanted food Filled with Daniel's Word of Wisdom. Then, in the Golden Age, fasting and prayer were important spiritual disciplines and devotional practices. Men ate only acorns and drank only nectar and life was good because the Holy Spirit transformed life. Finally, the voice cites the example of John the Baptist in the wilderness. He ate only honey and locusts. It is nature's most ancient universal cure for many problems.

Purgatory Canto 23: Forese. Reproof of immodest Florentine Women. 

1.	The while among the verdant leaves mine eyes// I riveted, as he is wont to do// Who wastes his life pursuing little birds,
2.	My more than Father said unto me: "Son// Come now; because the time that is ordained us// More usefully should be apportioned out."
3.	I turned my face and no less soon my steps// Unto the Sages, who were speaking so// They made the going of no cost to me;
4.	And lo! were heard a song and a lament// "Labia mea, Domine," in fashion// Such that delight and indolence it brought forth.
5.	"O my sweet Father, what is this I hear?"// Began I; and he answered: "Shades that go// Perhaps the knot unloosing of their debt."
6.	In the same way that thoughtful pilgrims do// Who, unknown people on the road o'ertaking// Turn themselves round to them, and do not stop,
7.	Even thus, behind us with a swifter motion// Coming and passing onward, gazed upon us// A crowd of spirits silent and devout.
8.	Each in his eyes was dark and cavernous// Pallid in face, and so emaciate// That from the bones the skin did shape itself.
9.	I do not think that so to merest rind// Could Erysichthon have been withered up// By famine, when most fear he had of it.
10.	Thinking within myself I said: "Behold// This is the folk who lost Jerusalem// When Mary made a prey of her own son."
11.	Their sockets were like rings without the gems// Whoever in the face of men reads 'omo'// Might well in these have recognised the 'm.'
12.	Who would believe the odour of an apple// Begetting longing, could consume them so// And that of water, without knowing how?
13.	I still was wondering what so famished them// For the occasion not yet manifest// Of their emaciation and sad squalor;
14.	And lo! from out the hollow of his head// His eyes a Shade turned on me, and looked keenly// Then cried aloud: "What grace to me is this?"
15.	Never should I have known him by his look// But in his voice was evident to me// That which his aspect had suppressed within it.
16.	This spark within me wholly re-enkindled// My recognition of his altered face// And I recalled the features of Forese.
17.	"Ah, do not look at this dry leprosy,"// Entreated he, "which doth my skin discolour// Nor at default of flesh that I may have;
18.	But tell me truth of thee, and who are those// Two souls, that yonder make for thee an escort// Do not delay in speaking unto me."
19.	"That face of thine, which dead I once bewept// Gives me for weeping now no lesser grief,"// I answered him, "beholding it so changed!
20.	But tell me, for God's sake, what thus denudes you?// Make me not speak while I am marvelling// For ill speaks he who's full of other longings."
21.	And he to me: "From the eternal council// Falls power into the water and the tree// Behind us left, whereby I grow so thin.
22.	All of this people who lamenting sing// For following beyond measure appetite// In hunger and thirst are here re-sanctified.
23.	Desire to eat and drink enkindles in us// The scent that issues from the apple-tree// And from the spray that sprinkles o'er the verdure;
24.	And not a single time alone, this ground// Encompassing, is refreshed our pain,-// I say our pain, and ought to say our solace,-
25.	For the same wish doth lead us to the tree// Which led the Christ rejoicing to say 'Eli'205// When with his veins he liberated us." And I to him: "Forese, from that day// When for a better life thou changedst worlds// Up to this time five years have not rolled round.
26.	If sooner were the power exhausted in thee// Of sinning more, than thee the hour surprised// Of that good sorrow which to God reweds us,
27.	How hast thou come up hitherward already?// I thought to find thee down there underneath// Where time for time doth restitution make."
28.	And he to me: "Thus speedily has led me// To drink of the sweet wormwood of these torments// My Nella with her overflowing tears;
29.	She with her prayers devout and with her sighs// Has drawn me from the coast where one where one awaits// And from the other circles set me free.
30.	So much more dear and pleasing is to God// My little widow, whom so much I loved// As in good works she is the more alone;
31.	For the Barbagia of Sardinia// By far more modest in its women is// Than the Barbagia (a wild area of Sardinia, is compared to Florence)I have left her in.
32.	brother sweet, what wilt thou have me say?// A future time is in my sight already// To which this hour will not be very old,
33.	When from the pulpit shall be interdicted// To the unblushing womankind of Florence// To go about displaying breast and paps.
34.	What savages were e'er, what Saracens// Who stood in need, to make them covered go// Of spiritual or other discipline?
35.	But if the shameless women were assured// Of what swift Heaven prepares for them, already// Wide open would they have their mouths to howl;
36.	For if my foresight here deceive me not// They shall be sad ere he has bearded cheeks// Who now is hushed to sleep with lullaby.
37.	Brother, now no longer hide thee from me// See that not only I, but all these people// Are gazing there, where thou dost veil the sun."
38.	Whence I to him: "If thou bring back to mind// What thou with me hast been and I with thee// The present memory will be grievous still.
39.	Out of that life he turned me back who goes// In front of me, two days agone when round// The sister of him yonder showed herself,"
40.	And to the sun I pointed. "Through the deep// Night of the truly dead has this one led me// With this true flesh, that follows after him.
41.	Thence his encouragements have led me up// Ascending and still circling round the mount// That you doth straighten, whom the world made crooked.
42.	He says that he will bear me company// Till I shall be where Beatrice will be// There it behoves me to remain without him.
43.	This is Virgilius, who thus says to me,"// And him I pointed at; "the other is// That Shade for whom just now shook every slope
44.	Your realm, that from itself discharges him."


Purgatory Canto 23: Forese. Reproof of immodest Florentine Women. 

	Dante is tempted by the fruit-laden fig tree and is puzzled by the disembodied voice. He seems hypnotized. Virgil is unperturbed by the voice, and tells Dante to come on. They need to hurry up. He obeys. As they travel, they hear a hymn sung on the wind: "Labi mea, Domine" (which means "O Lord, open thou my lips"). Dante asks who is singing this and Virgil answers that it is probably the penitents.

	A crowd of penitents overtakes them, travelling along the same road faster than the pilgrims. Each party silently examines the other. Dante is struck by how skinny206 each soul is. Matthew 17:21207. They are so thin he can almost see their skeletons underneath their skins. In his head, Dante compares them to Erysichthon208.

	The Shades are so skinny (starved) that Dante can clearly see the M of OMO209 on their faces. As Dante wonders why they are so thin, one of the souls turns and speaks to him. His face is so emaciated that Dante does not recognize it, identifying the figure only by his voice. He turns out to be Dante's friend Donati Forese210. He begs Dante not to scold him for being so malnourished. He fasted without faith in prayer. Fasting without prayer leads to starvation but with prayer there is healing. But he wants to know about Dante's two guides.

	Dante answers a question with a question. He asks Forese why he is here. Forese points out the tree behind them and replies that all the souls here suffer the sin of covetousness manifesting as gluttony while on earth. Their punishment is to constantly smell the fruit of pure water but they vainly circle the tree, unable to eat or drink. Forese calls their suffering "pain," but corrects himself, by saying it should be called "solace" because they are following in Jesus' footsteps to reach God.

	Dante continues questioning Forese. Forese died only five years earlier. He asks his friend why he is not still in ante-Purgatory, where Dante would expect to find him. Forese answers that his sweet wife Nella has been praying for him and that this is winning her God's love more than ever, because she is living alone. He rhapsodizes on how faithful and modest she is and so much better than Florentine women who go around bare-breasted.

	Forese then goes into prophecy-mode. He foresees a time when it will be forbidden for Florentines to walk around so indecently. If they could see what is coming, they would howl in pain. Then he remembers the questions he asked Dante, which remains unanswered. So he begs Dante not to keep the information from him any longer.

	Dante introduces Virgil as the man who guided him from Hell up to this point and who will continue to guide him until he finds Beatrice. Then he points to Statius. Without naming him, Dante simply calls him "the Shade for whom, just now, your kingdom caused its every slope to tremble as it freed him from itself."


Purgatory Canto 23: Forese. Reproof of immodest Florentine Women. 

	As the poets get closer to the tree (ficus religiosa considered sacred by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains and worshipped as the home of Trimurti211), they hear a devotional liturgical song of worship. Then they see a quick moving group of emaciated spirits with famished hungry faces coming from behind them. Dante recognizes one of them from his voice - he would have never recognized his face because it was altered by starvation (fasting is for conferring on the practitioner spiritual and physical well-being by starving the senses and lift them towards contemplation). He is Forese Donati. Dante is surprised to see him so high up on the mountain, since he was a late repentant and dead for only five years. Forese tells Dante it is because of his wife Nella's prayers ("Confess your faults one to another and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" James 5:16), that helped him advance. This brings Forese to pass judgment against the corrupted custom of modern Florentine women. Well born Florentine women had no public life on the street or palaces of government. Performing for strangers was considered contrary to Florentine customs. The canto ends with Dante explaining to Forese the reason for his journey.

Purgatory Canto 24: Buonagiunta da Lucca. Pope Martin IV, and others; Inquiry into the State of Poetry. 

1.	Nor speech the going, nor the going that// Slackened but talking we went bravely on// Even as a vessel urged by a good wind.
2.	And shadows, that appeared things doubly dead// From out the sepulchres of their eyes betrayed// Wonder at me, aware that I was living.
3.	And I, continuing my colloquy// Said: "Peradventure he goes up more slowly// Than he would do, for other people's sake.
4.	But tell me, if thou knowest, where is Piccarda// Tell me if any one of note I see// Among this folk that gazes at me so."
5.	"My sister, who, 'twixt beautiful and good// I know not which was more, triumphs rejoicing// Already in her crown on high Olympus."
6.	So said he first, and then: "'Tis not forbidden// To name each other here, so milked away// Is our resemblance by our dieting.
7.	This," pointing with his finger, "is Buonagiunta// Buonagiunta, of Lucca; and that face// Beyond him there, more peaked than the others,
8.	Has held the holy Church within his arms// From Tours was he, and purges by his fasting// Bolsena's eels and the Vernaccia wine. 
9.	He named me many others one by one// And all contented seemed at being named// So that for this I saw not one dark look.
10.	I saw for hunger bite the empty air// Ubaldin dalla Pila, and Boniface212// Who with his crook had pastured many people.
11.	I saw Messer Marchese213, who had leisure// Once at Forli for drinking with less dryness// And he was one who ne'er felt satisfied.
12.	But as he does who scans, and then doth prize// One more than others, did I him of Lucca// Who seemed to take most cognizance of me.
13.	He murmured, and I know not what Gentucca214// From that place heard I, where he felt the wound// Of justice, that doth macerate them so.
14.	"O soul," I said, "that seemest so desirous// To speak with me, do so that I may hear thee// And with thy speech appease thyself and me."
15.	"A maid is born, and wears not yet the veil,"// Began he, "who to thee shall pleasant make// My city, howsoever men may blame it.
16.	Thou shalt go on thy way with this prevision// If by my murmuring thou hast been deceived// True things hereafter will declare it to thee.
17.	But say if him I here behold, who forth// Evoked the new-invented rhymes, beginning// 'Ladies, that have intelligence of love?'"
18.	And I to him: "One am I, who, whenever// Love doth inspire me, note, and in that measure// Which he within me dictates, singing go."
19.	"O brother, now I see," he said, "the knot// Which me, the Notary, and Guittone held// Short of the sweet new style that now I hear.
20.	I do perceive full clearly how your pens// Go closely following after him who dictates// Which with our own forsooth came not to pass;
21.	And he who sets himself to go beyond// No difference sees from one style to another;"// And as if satisfied, he held his peace.
22.	Even as the birds, that winter tow'rds the Nile// Sometimes into a phalanx form themselves// Then fly in greater haste, and go in file;
23.	In such wise all the people who were there// Turning their faces, hurried on their steps// Both by their leanness and their wishes light.
24.	And as a man, who weary is with trotting// Lets his companions onward go, and walks// Until he vents the panting of his chest;
25.	So did Forese let the holy flock// Pass by, and came with me behind it, saying// "When will it be that I again shall see thee?"
26.	"How long," I answered, "I may live, I know not// Yet my return will not so speedy be// But I shall sooner in desire arrive;
27.	Because the place where I was set to live// From day to day of good is more depleted// And unto dismal ruin seems ordained."
28.	"Now go," he said, "for him most guilty of it// At a beast's tail behold I dragged along// Towards the valley where is no repentance.
29.	Faster at every step the beast is going// Increasing evermore until it smites him// And leaves the body vilely mutilated.
30.	Not long those wheels shall turn," and he uplifted// His eyes to heaven, "ere shall be clear to thee// That which my speech no farther can declare.
31.	Now stay behind; because the time so precious// Is in this kingdom, that I lose too much// By coming onward thus abreast with thee."
32.	As sometimes issues forth upon a gallop// A cavalier from out a troop that ride// And seeks the honour of the first encounter,
33.	So he with greater strides departed from us// And on the road remained I with those two// Who were such mighty marshals of the world.
34.	And when before us he had gone so far// Mine eyes became to him such pursuivants// As was my understanding to his words,
35.	Appeared to me with laden and living boughs// Another apple-tree, and not far distant// From having but just then turned thitherward.
36.	People I saw beneath it lift their hands// And cry I know not what towards the leaves// Like little children eager and deluded,
37.	Who pray, and he they pray to doth not answer// But, to make very keen their appetite// Holds their desire aloft, and hides it not.
38.	Then they departed as if undeceived// And now we came unto the mighty tree// Which prayers and tears so manifold refuses.
39.	"Pass farther onward without drawing near// The tree of which Eve215 ate is higher up// And out of that one has this tree been raised."
40.	Thus said I know not who among the branches// Whereat Virgilius, Statius, and myself// Went crowding forward on the side that rises.
41.	"Be mindful," said he, "of the accursed ones// Formed of the cloud-rack, who inebriate// Combated Theseus (founder king of Athens) with their double breasts;
42.	And of the Jews who showed them soft in drinking// Whence Gideon (Mighty Warrior and Israel's Fifth Judge) would not have them for companions// When he tow'rds Midian216 the hills descended."
43.	Thus, closely pressed to one of the two borders// On passed we, hearing sins of gluttony// Followed forsooth by miserable gains;
44.	Then set at large upon the lonely road// A thousand steps and more we onward went// In contemplation, each without a word.
45.	"What go ye thinking thus, ye three alone?"// Said suddenly a voice, whereat I started// As terrified and timid beasts are wont.
46.	I raised my head to see who this might be// And never in a furnace was there seen// Metals or glass so lucent and so red
47.	As one I saw who said: "If it may please you// To mount aloft, here it behoves you turn// This way goes he who goeth after peace."
48.	His aspect had bereft me of my sight// So that I turned me back unto my Teachers// Like one who goeth as his hearing guides him.
49.	And as, the harbinger of early dawn// The air of May doth move and breathe out fragrance// Impregnate all with herbage and with flowers,
50.	So did I feel a breeze strike in the midst// My front, and felt the moving of the plumes// That breathed around an odour of ambrosia;
51.	And heard it said: "Blessed are they whom grace// So much illumines, that the love of taste// Excites not in their breasts too great desire,
52.	Hungering at all times so far as is just."


Purgatory Canto 24: Sixth Terrace: the Covetously Gluttonous; Buonagiunta da Lucca. Pope Martin IV, and others; Inquiry into the State of Poetry. 

	As they walk on, the Gluttonous penitents gather around Dante, incredulous that he casts no shadow. Continuing to talk about Statius, Dante muses that perhaps he would not have climbed so fast had he not met Virgil. (Statius delays his ascent out of respect to Virgil). Dante asks Forese about his sister Piccarda217. Forese answers that she is already in Heaven. Then he remembers his etiquette and introduces a few of the Gluttonous souls around him. Dante is only interested in one - Buonagiunta da Lucca218, a fellow poet and friend.

	On seeing Dante, he immediately starts prophesying. He murmurs the name Gentucca Moria (wife of Cosciorino Fondora and Dante's friend between 1314 to 1316 when he was in Lucca when she was still unmarried), and tells Dante that when he visits his [Bonagiunta's] home, the woman Gentucca will welcome him, even though the men of city are all worthless. In 1315 was fought the Battle of Montecatini between Pisa and forces of Naples and Florence resulting in the decisive defeat of the Guelphs where many die.

	After he finishes his daily dose of foresight, Buonagiunta asks, in a complex poetic way, who Dante is. This is strange, given that he has already prophesied for him and knows Dante's identity. He asks if Dante was the man who wrote "Ladies who have intelligence of love" (the first line of Dante's Vita Nuova). Dante answers yes: that he is that love poet.

	Unexpectedly, Buonagiunta begins to humble himself and his writing before Dante. He says that he sees now how his own style of writing is "short of the sweet new manner that I hear." This is a reference to Dante's innovative way of writing, called the 'dolce stil novo' (the sweet new style). By calling his own work "short" of that, he is admitting Dante's superiority in poetry. It seems like their visit is over because all the souls suddenly turn in unison like a concerted flock of birds they hurry away - except for Forese Donati. Forese who died in 1296 was the brother of the wicked Corso and his sister Piccarda. They were childhood friends of Dante and distant relatives (Ghibelline Blacks) through his wife Gemma Donati (1266-1329) whom Dante married when 12 years old. Forese stays for more small talk.

	Forese asks Dante when they will see each other again. He means: when do you plan to die? Dante replies that he does not know, but that he will always long to come back here because his city on earth is a wretched place. Forese tries to comfort Dante, the Guelph, by foreseeing a Florentine sinner being punished. He sees his own Ghibelline brother, Corso Donati punished. He prophecies that his brother - a violent Black Ghibelline, will die by being dragged by the tail of a horse and having his body smashed, all the way to Hell. 

	With those words, he tells Dante he must leave because he is losing too much time by staying. As he strides away, Dante compares Forese to a horse rider riding out to seek glory ahead of his cavalry. Dante strikes out yet again with his two companions.

	As they are walking (the Path of Life which ends with credentials of a life free from demands of the mortal flesh of the senses), they glimpse another fig tree, again heavy with fruit (Fruits of Eternity). Beneath it the Gluttonous are vainly reaching up (covetously) towards the fruit on the branches. The tree taunts them by keeping its branches just out of reach. Eventually, they give up and leave because they obviously realise the brief life is just an opening act towards the Path of Eternity and arrival at The Christ depends on how life is lived.

	Again, there is a disembodied voice that warns the pilgrims not to get close to the tree because it is related to the one that Eve covetously ate from (Tree of Knowledge) and discovered good from evil in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:3). The voice then goes on to cite other examples of gluttony being punished in Purgatory: Centaurs who gorged with the food and wine at a wedding feast abducted the bride and were later driven away by Theseus. It also references the Hebrews who "drank too avidly" and were thus abandoned by Gideon219
	Dante, Virgil, and Statius listen as they walk and eventually run into 

the Angel of Temperance220, who glows a brilliant red. He takes them by surprise. They do not even see him until he speaks; warning them to turn right or else they will lose their way. They obey, and as they turn, Dante feels the wind of the angel's wing against his forehead. The canto ends with the angel's song221. He finishes the Beatitude begun at the start of Canto 23, which praises those who use moderation in all acts of covetousness which can otherwise lead to excessive wants, anger when not satisfied, greed, possessiveness, pride of possessions, jealousy and egotism.


Purgatory Canto 24: Sixth Terrace: the Covetously Gluttonous; Buonagiunta da Lucca. Pope Martin IV, and others; Inquiry into the State of Poetry: 

	Dante and Forese continue their conversation. Forese mentions that his sister Piccarda is already in heaven and then points out several souls present here. The most important for Dante is Buonagiunta Orbicciani, another poet of the earlier school of poetry than Dante's. The topic of their discussion is the meaning of true poetry. Buonagiunta recognizes in Dante the new poet, who has expressed new rhymes. Then Dante states his poetical manifesto as the sweet new style: that is poetry stems from true inspiration and must be pleasing at the same time. Then the Penitent moves away, and Dante is left with Forese for further talk. Meanwhile the group reaches another tree, and from this tree examples of gluttony come out. The canto ends with the Angel of Abstinence performing the usual ritual, wiping out the sixth P from Dante's forehead, and showing him the way to the next terrace.

Purgatory Canto 25: Discourse of Statius on Generation. The Seventh Circle: The Wanton. 

1.	Now was it the ascent no hindrance brooked// Because the sun had his meridian circle// To Taurus left, and night to Scorpio;
2.	Wherefore as doth a man who tarries not// But goes his way, whate'er to him appear// If of necessity the sting transfix him,
3.	In this wise did we enter through the gap// Taking the stairway, one before the other// Which by its narrowness divides the climbers.
4.	And as the little stork that lifts its wing// With a desire to fly, and does not venture// To leave the nest, and lets it downward droop,
5.	Even such was I, with the desire of asking// Kindled and quenched, unto the motion coming// He makes who doth address himself to speak.
6.	Not for our pace, though rapid it might be// My father sweet forbore, but said: "Let fly// The bow of speech thou to the barb hast drawn."
7.	With confidence I opened then my mouth// And I began: "How can one meagre grow// There where the need of nutriment applies not?"
8.	"If thou wouldst call to mind how Meleager// Was wasted by the wasting of a brand// This would not," said he, "be to thee so sour;
9.	And wouldst thou think how at each tremulous motion// Trembles within a mirror your own image// That which seems hard would mellow seem to thee.
10.	But that thou mayst content thee in thy wish// Lo Statius here; and him I call and pray// He now will be the healer of thy wounds."
11.	"If I unfold to him the eternal vengeance,"// Responded Statius, "where thou present art// Be my excuse that I can naught deny thee."
12.	Then he began: "Son, if these words of mine// Thy mind doth contemplate and doth receive// They'll be thy light unto the How thou sayest.
13.	The perfect blood, which never is drunk up// Into the thirsty veins, and which remaineth// Like food that from the table thou removest,
14.	Takes in the heart for all the human members// Virtue informative, as being that// Which to be changed to them goes through the veins
15.	Again digest, descends it where 'tis better// Silent to be than say; and then drops thence// Upon another's blood in natural vase.
16.	There one together with the other mingles// One to be passive meant, the other active// By reason of the perfect place it springs from;
17.	And being conjoined, begins to operate// Coagulating first, then vivifying// What for its matter it had made consistent.
18.	The active virtue, being made a soul// As of a plant, (in so far different// This on the way is, that arrived already,)
19.	Then works so much, that now it moves and feels// Like a sea-fungus, and then undertakes// To organize the powers whose seed it is.
20.	Now, Son, dilates and now distends itself// The virtue from the generator's heart// Where nature is intent on all the members.
21.	But how from animal it man becomes// Thou dost not see as yet; this is a point// Which made a wiser man than thou once err
22.	So far, that in his doctrine separate// He made the soul from possible intellect// For he no organ saw by this assumed.
23.	Open thy breast unto the truth that's coming// And know that, just as soon as in the foetus// The articulation of the brain is perfect,
24.	The primal Motor turns to it well pleased// At so great art of nature, and inspires// A spirit new with virtue all replete,
25.	Which what it finds there active doth attract// Into its substance, and becomes one soul// Which lives, and feels, and on itself revolves.
26.	And that thou less may wonder at my word// Behold the sun's heat, which becometh wine// Joined to the juice that from the vine distils.
27.	Whenever Lachesis has no more thread// It separates from the flesh, and virtually// Bears with itself the human and divine;
28.	The other faculties are voiceless all// The memory, the intelligence, and the will// In action far more vigorous than before.
29.	Without a pause it falleth of itself// In marvellous way on one shore or the other// There of its roads it first is cognizant.
30.	Soon as the place there circumscribeth it// The virtue informative rays round about// As, and as much as, in the living members.
31.	And even as the air, when full of rain// By alien rays that are therein reflected// With divers colours shows itself adorned,
32.	So there the neighbouring air doth shape itself// Into that form which doth impress upon it// Virtually the soul that has stood still.
33.	And then in manner of the little flame// Which followeth the fire where'er it shifts// After the spirit followeth its new form.
34.	Since afterwards it takes from this its semblance// It is called Shade; and thence it organizes// Thereafter every sense, even to the sight.
35.	Thence is it that we speak, and thence we laugh// Thence is it that we form the tears and sighs// That on the mountain thou mayhap hast heard.
36.	According as impress us our desires// And other affections, so the Shade is shaped// And this is cause of what thou wonderest at."
37.	And now unto the last of all the circles// Had we arrived, and to the right hand turned// And were attentive to another care.
38.	There the embankment shoots forth flames of fire// And upward doth the cornice breathe a blast// That drives them back, and from itself sequesters.
39.	Hence we must needs go on the open side// And one by one; and I did fear the fire// On this side, and on that the falling down.
40.	My Leader said: "Along this place one ought// To keep upon the eyes a tightened rein// Seeing that one so easily might err."
41.	"Summae Deus clementiae," in the bosom// Of the great burning chanted then I heard// Which made me no less eager to turn round;
42.	And spirits saw I walking through the flame// Wherefore I looked, to my own steps and theirs// Apportioning my sight from time to time.
43.	After the close which to that hymn is made// Aloud they shouted, "Virum non cognosco;"// Then recommenced the hymn with voices low.
44.	This also ended, cried they: "To the wood// Diana ran, and drove forth Helice// Therefrom, who had of Venus felt the poison."
45.	Then to their song returned they; then the wives// They shouted, and the husbands who were chaste.// As virtue and the marriage vow imposes.
46.	And I believe that them this mode suffices// For all the time the fire is burning them// With such care is it needful, and such food,
47.	That the last wound of all should be closed up


Purgatory Canto 25: The Seventh Circle: Discourse of Statius on Generation. The Seventh Circle: The Wantonly lustful. 

	The constellations in the sky show that it is 2pm and time to move on. Our three companions climb the straight and narrow stairway onto the Seventh222 and last terrace. Something is bothering Dante at the last terrace but he is too hesitant to ask what. He describes himself as a "fledgling stork" who wants to fly (who wants to share the experience of Awareness and Consciousness with others by following the footsteps of Jesus) but can only lift and drop its wing repeatedly as it decides whether to try (especially since there is no spiritually knowledgeable bird around to teach Dante how). 

	Virgil knows what Dante is thinking and encourages him to ask, since "the iron of the arrow's touched the longbow; let the shaft of speech fly." So Dante asks a logical question. How can a Shade (that is an astral soul) grow so skinny (starved body) if it does not eat food anyway? It is matter of concern. He needs a discussion about the difference between Starving of Senses in an attitude of Faith and Prayer versus Starving the physical body towards emaciation without any change in the soul's attitude towards covetousness. (The soul therefore remains disempowered). 

	Virgil looks to Statius and asks him to answer instead. Statius agrees to do it, only because he cannot refuse Virgil. He starts by explaining how a soul comes to be born223. Medieval people thought that food goes through four rounds of digestion, the third taking place in the heart. Statius claims that when the food goes through its fourth round of digestion, and is taken out of the heart and turned into "perfect blood," there is some leftover blood. Not all the blood in the heart gets transformed into perfect blood.

	 Within the heart, the remnant of blood gains a formative power and is transformed again. It flows down into the genital area, which Statius delicately calls "what is best not named." There the blood remains as semen. From there, the semen flows into the "natural receptacle," which is a polite way of saying "womb." Here the blood of the man and woman mix - two-thirds of it is "passive" (the woman's menstrual blood) and one-third of it "active" (the male's semen). When the active blood reaches the passive, the whole mass clots and becomes a soul. 

	 Within the newborn soul, the active substance (from the male) gives the senses shapes so it has limbs. But how does the soul become human? Statius warns Dante to be careful in what he is made to believe because wiser men have been mistaken about this. Nonetheless Statius adds: Once the foetus is in complete human form, God himself intervenes. He turns to it with joy and breathes into it "new spirit," which combines with the active substance. Suddenly the soul has self-consciousness; it is now fully human and ready to be born.

	After the soul dies, it lands bodiless in Hell or on the shores of Purgatory. Once the soul has landed, that formative power that shaped it in the womb becomes active again. An invisible aura radiates from the soul outward, forming a new airy semblance of a human body. Now it is called a "Shade." 

	Statius compares this radiating process to the sun sending out its rays to form rainbow colours all around it. After that, the Shade can do whatever humans physically do - speak, laugh, cry, sigh, fast and eat. And that is how the Gluttonous Shades can become thin and emaciated. They are back on the journey of fasting and starving the body but not their senses, whether on earth or in purgatory. As our heroes make a final turn, they confront a wall of flame that is kept in check only by a strong wind that forms its boundaries. The trio tries to bypass it, walking with the sheet of flame on their left and the cliff on their right. The way is narrow and hazardous224.

	 Virgil warns Dante not to look at the flame or else they could become distracted, take a misstep, and plummet to their doom. When one is not into one's personal mischief, life is a seamless whole and the spiritual path is without problems. Right on cue, voices are heard from within the flames. Because all great achievements are the result of walking on a razor's edge and courage of conviction, they are singing "Summae Deus Clementiae225," which translates as "God of Greatest Mercy." Dante disobeys226 Virgil and looks at the flames, only to see many souls walking in the flames. As they finish singing their hymn, the voices begin shouting examples of punished covetousness of lust. Dante introduces this as the punishment for "the final wound of all," lust.


Purgatory Canto 25: The Seventh Circle: Discourse of Statius on Generation. The Seventh Circle: The Wantonly lustful. 

	This is another doctrinal canto based on codes of belief in the body of teachings of the Catholic Church. It starts with Dante asking how the Penitent on the sixth terrace could be so emaciated, if they have no physical body. Virgil cannot answer, and calls on Statius, who embarks on a long discussion based on science and theology: developing the soul from conception to the after-life. When he has finished, the three, Dante, Virgil and Statius, have arrived at the Seventh Terrace. Here they discover a wall of fire. From inside the flames Dante hears another liturgical song, and sees the souls of the Lustful. Then they see examples of chastity, the virtue opposite to the sin of Lust. These are followed by examples of husbands and wives who watch the laws of virtuous marriage.

Purgatory Canto 26: Sodomites. Guido Guinicelli and Arnaldo Daniello. 

1.	While on the brink thus one before the other// We went upon our way, oft the good Master// Said: "Take thou heed! suffice it that I warn thee.
2.	"On the right shoulder smote me now the sun// That, raying out, already the whole west// Changed from its azure aspect into white.
3.	And with my shadow did I make the flame// Appear more red; and even to such a sign// Shades saw I many, as they went, give heed.
4.	This was the cause that gave them a beginning// To speak of me; and to themselves began they// To say: "That seems not a factitious body!"
5.	Then towards me, as far as they could come// Came certain of them, always with regard// Not to step forth where they would not be burned.
6.	"O thou who goest, not from being slower// But reverent perhaps, behind the others// Answer me, who in thirst and fire am burning.
7.	Nor to me only is thine answer needful// For all of these have greater thirst for it// Than for cold water Ethiop or Indian.
8.	Tell us how is it that thou makest thyself// A wall unto the sun, as if thou hadst not// Entered as yet into the net of death."
9.	Thus one of them addressed me, and I straight// Should have revealed myself, were I not bent// On other novelty that then appeared.
10.	For through the middle of the burning road// There came a people face to face with these// Which held me in suspense with gazing at them.
11.	There see I hastening upon either side// Each of the Shades, and kissing one another// Without a pause, content with brief salute.
12.	Thus in the middle of their brown battalions// Muzzle to muzzle one ant meets another// Perchance to spy their journey or their fortune.
13.	No sooner is the friendly greeting ended// Or ever the first footstep passes onward// Each one endeavours to outcry the other;
14.	The new-come people: "Sodom and Gomorrah227!"// The rest: "Into the cow Pasiphae228 enters// So that the bull unto her lust may run!"
15.	Then as the cranes, that to Riphaean mountains// Might fly in part, and part towards the sands// These of the frost, those of the sun avoidant,
16.	One folk is going, and the other coming// And weeping they return to their first songs// And to the cry that most befitteth them;
17.	And close to me approached, even as before// The very same who had entreated me// Attent to listen in their countenance.
18.	I, who their inclination twice had seen// Began: "O souls secure in the possession// Whene'er it may be, of a state of peace,
19.	Neither unripe nor ripened have remained// My members upon earth, but here are with me// With their own blood and their articulations.
20.	I go up here to be no longer blind// A Lady is above, who wins this grace// Whereby the mortal through your world I bring.
21.	But as your greatest longing satisfied// May soon become, so that the Heaven may house you// Which full of love is, and most amply spreads,
22.	Tell me, that I again in books may write it// Who are you, and what is that multitude// Which goes upon its way behind your backs?"
23.	Not otherwise with wonder is bewildered// The mountaineer, and staring round is dumb// When rough and rustic to the town he goes,
24.	Than every Shade became in its appearance// But when they of their stupor were disburdened// Which in high hearts is quickly quieted,
25.	"Blessed be thou, who of our border-lands,"// He recommenced who first had questioned us// "Experience freightest for a better life.
26.	The folk that comes not with us have offended// In that for which once Caesar, triumphing// Heard himself called in contumely, 'Queen.'
27.	Therefore they separate, exclaiming, 'Sodom!'// Themselves reproving, even as thou hast heard// And add unto their burning by their shame.
28.	Our own transgression was hermaphrodite// But because we observed not human law// Following like unto beasts our appetite,
29.	In our opprobrium by us is read// When we part company, the name of her// Who bestialized herself in bestial wood.
30.	Now knowest thou our acts, and what our crime was// Wouldst thou perchance by name know who we are// There is not time to tell, nor could I do it.
31.	Thy wish to know me shall in sooth be granted// I'm Guido Guinicelli, and now purge me// Having repented ere the hour extreme."
32.	The same that in the sadness of Lycurgus// Two sons became, their mother re-beholding// Such I became, but rise not to such height,
33.	The moment I heard name himself the father// Of me and of my betters, who had ever// Practised the sweet and gracious rhymes of love;
34.	And without speech and hearing thoughtfully// For a long time I went, beholding him// Nor for the fire did I approach him nearer.
35.	When I was fed with looking, utterly// Myself I offered ready for his service// With affirmation that compels belief.
36.	And he to me: "Thou leavest footprints such// In me, from what I hear, and so distinct// Lethe cannot efface them, nor make dim.
37.	But if thy words just now the truth have sworn// Tell me what is the cause why thou displayest// In word and look that dear thou holdest me?"
38.	And I to him: "Those dulcet lays of yours// Which, long as shall endure our modern fashion// Shall make for ever dear their very ink!"
39.	"O brother," said he, "he whom I point out,"// And here he pointed at a spirit in front// "Was of the mother tongue a better smith.
40.	Verses of love and proses of romance// He mastered all; and let the idiots talk// Who think the Lemosin surpasses him.
41.	To clamour more than truth they turn their faces// And in this way establish their opinion// Ere art or reason has by them been heard.
42.	Thus many ancients with Guittone did// From cry to cry still giving him applause// Until the truth has conquered with most persons.
43.	Now, if thou hast such ample privilege// 'Tis granted thee to go unto the cloister// Wherein is Christ the abbot of the college,
44.	To him repeat for me a Paternoster229// So far as needful to us of this world// Where power of sinning is no longer ours."
45.	Then, to give place perchance to one behind// Whom he had near, he vanished in the fire// As fish in water going to the bottom.
46.	I moved a little tow'rds him pointed out// And said that to his name my own desire// An honourable place was making ready.
47.	He of his own free will began to say:// 'Tan m' abellis vostre cortes deman// Que jeu nom' puesc ni vueill a vos cobrire;
48.	Jeu sui Arnaut, que plor e vai chantan/// Consiros vei la passada folor// E vei jauzen lo jorn qu' esper denan.
49.	Ara vus prec per aquella valor// Que vus condus al som de la scalina// Sovenga vus a temprar ma dolor.'*
50.	Then hid him in the fire that purifies them. So pleases me your courteous demand// I cannot and I will not hide me from you.
51.	I am Arnaut (an Armenian), who weep and singing go//Contrite I see the folly of the past// And joyous see the hoped-for day before me.
52.	Therefore do I implore you, by that power// Which guides you to the summit of the stairs// Be mindful to assuage my suffering!


Purgatory Canto 26: Seventh Terrace: the Lustful on Examining Love Sodomites. Guido Guinicelli and Arnaldo Daniello. 

	As Dante is transfixed watching the flames. Virgil cautions him not to forget his warning about not looking at fire flames reaching towards the night - the symbol of the archangel Michael: depicting passion of sexuality and untamed lustful consumption of covetousness. Dante takes no heed. Virgil is describing the flames of knowledge against the arc of the Sun, which shows him it is almost dusk and around 4pm. Where the sun strikes him, he leaves a shadow on the flames. Dante is watching the spectacle ahead. That excites the curiosity of the Lustful souls within the seventh terrace.

	One of them steps forward, careful not to move beyond the boundaries of the fire, and begs Dante to tell them why he is still alive. The Shade and his friends desire life more than an "Indian or Ethiopian thirsts for cool water." Dante almost answers when he is distracted by something. In the distance, he sees another group of souls coming the opposite way toward the group in the fire. When the two groups meet, they hug each other briefly before returning to walking on their path through the fire and flames. They are obviously together on a Path through both good and hard times because Heaven awaits them. 

	As soon as they finish hugging, they begin shouting examples of unnatural lust, such Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18, 19), and Pasiphae who slept with a bull. Then like a flock of migrating cranes, the two parties part, traveling in opposite directions, but both within the flames. The first party comes back to Dante to hear his response. 
	He tells them that he is still alive and has a body. A divine woman has sanctioned his visit here so he may learn to be virtuous in the mortal world. Citing his need to learn, Dante asks them who they are, as well as who those people are, moving in opposite directions. The Lustful are stunned into silence, like mountaineers who catch their first glimpse of a city. Soon one begins to talk. 

	He explains the other group of Lustful contains those who have committed acts of unnatural lust, which is why they shouted those examples. This group of Lustful, he claims, committed normal acts of lust with the opposite sex. With this introduction, he names himself as Guido Guinizelli230, a poet. At that name, Dante compares himself to a joyous son who has found his mother after long years of separation. He knows Guinizelli through his poetry and admires him like a father. Indeed Guinizelli is considered one of the first proponents of the dolce stil novo style which Dante uses. Dante offers to serve him.

	Guinizelli is flattered. But he is curious why Dante considers him so dear. Dante explains simply that he loves Guinizelli poetry. Guinizelli responds with a modest self-conscious unpretentious manner and points out another soul walking ahead of them. That man, he says, is a far better poet than I; he wrote these amazing love songs. Some people think that another poet, Giraut de Bornelh231, is better, but they are listening only to rumors, not truth. Some others even consider Guittone232 to be the best, but they are all great. But if you want to help us out, say a prayer for both me and him.

	With that, Guinizelli plunges back into the fire, like a fish diving through water. Saying a prayer for Guinizelli, Dante approaches the other poet that Guinizelli has pointed out. He welcomes him and introduces himself as Daniel Arnaut233. He narrates how his "hoped-for day" is drawing near and beseeches Dante to say a prayer for him. Then he, too, draws back into the fire. 


Purgatory Canto 26: Seventh Terrace: the Lustful on Examining Love; Sodomites. Guido Guinicelli and Arnaldo Daniello. 

	In this canto the conversation on poetry is brought to conclusion with Dante meeting two poets: Guido Guinizelli and Arnaut Daniel. This is the last terrace, where the Lustful, divided into two groups run in opposite direction, and embrace each other as they meet. Each group quotes opposite example of the sin of lust: the Sodomites, and the Heterosexual or Bisexual (hermaphroditic, as Dante says). The Penitent that explains this to Dante is Guido Guinizelli considered by Dante the forefather of the new poetry. However, Guinizelli does not accept the credit of his talent, and points to a poet greater than himself in vernacular rhymes, Arnaut Daniel, who ends the canto by introducing himself in his own language, Provencal (he is the only one who does speak Florentine).

Purgatory Canto 27: The Wall of Fire and the Angel of God. Dante's Sleep upon the Stairway, and his Dream of Leah and Rachel. Arrival at the Terrestrial Paradise. 

1.	As when he vibrates forth his earliest rays// In regions where his Maker shed his blood// (The Ebro falling under lofty Libra,
2.	And waters in the Ganges burnt with noon// So stood the Sun; hence was the day departing// When the glad Angel of God appeared to us.
3.	Outside the flame he stood upon the verge// And chanted forth, "Beati mundo corde,"// In voice by far more living than our own.
4.	Then: "No one farther goes, souls sanctified// If first the fire bite not; within it enter// And be not deaf unto the song beyond."
5.	When we were close beside him thus he said// Wherefore e'en such became I, when I heard him// As he is who is put into the grave.
6.	Upon my clasped hands I straightened me// Scanning the fire, and vividly recalling// The human bodies I had once seen burned.
7.	Towards me turned themselves my good Conductors// And unto me Virgilius said: "My son// Here may indeed be torment, but not death.
8.	Remember thee, remember! and if I// On Geryon have safely guided thee// What shall I do now I am nearer God?
9.	Believe for certain, shouldst thou stand a full// Millennium in the bosom of this flame// It could not make thee bald a single hair.
10.	And if perchance thou think that I deceive thee// Draw near to it, and put it to the proof// With thine own hands upon thy garment's hem.
11.	Now lay aside, now lay aside all fear// Turn hitherward, and onward come securely;"// And I still motionless, and 'gainst my conscience!
12.	Seeing me stand still motionless and stubborn// Somewhat disturbed he said: "Now look thou, Son// 'Twixt Beatrice and thee there is this wall."
13.	As at the name of Thisbe oped his lids// The dying Pyramus, and gazed upon her// What time the mulberry became vermilion,
14.	Even thus, my obduracy being softened// I turned to my wise Guide, hearing the name// That in my memory evermore is welling.
15.	Whereat he wagged his head, and said: "How now?// Shall we stay on this side?" then smiled as one// Does at a child who's vanquished by an apple.
16.	Then into the fire in front of me he entered// Beseeching Statius to come after me// Who a long way before divided us.
17.	When I was in it, into molten glass// I would have cast me to refresh myself// So without measure was the burning there!
18.	And my sweet Father, to encourage me// Discoursing still of Beatrice went on// Saying: "Her eyes I seem to see already!"
19.	A voice, that on the other side was singing// Directed us, and we, attent alone// On that, came forth where the ascent began.
20.	"Venite, benedicti Patris mei,"// Sounded within a splendour, which was there// Such it o'ercame me, and I could not look.
21.	"The sun departs," it added, "and night cometh// Tarry ye not, but onward urge your steps// So long as yet the west becomes not dark."
22.	Straight forward through the rock the path ascended// In such a way that I cut off the rays// Before me of the sun, that now was low.
23.	And of few stairs we yet had made assay// Ere by the vanished shadow the sun's setting// Behind us we perceived, I and my Sages.
24.	And ere in all its parts immeasurable// The horizon of one aspect had become// And Night her boundless dispensation held,
25.	Each of us of a stair had made his bed// Because the nature of the mount took from us// The power of climbing, more than the delight.
26.	Even as in ruminating passive grow// The goats, who have been swift and venturesome// Upon the mountain-tops ere they were fed,
27.	Hushed in the shadow, while the sun is hot// Watched by the herdsman, who upon his staff// Is leaning, and in leaning tendeth them;
28.	And as the shepherd, lodging out of doors// Passes the night beside his quiet flock// Watching that no wild beast may scatter it,
29.	Such at that hour were we, all three of us// I like the goat, and like the herdsmen they// Begirt on this side and on that by rocks.
30.	Little could there be seen of things without// But through that little I beheld the stars// More luminous and larger than their wont.
31.	Thus ruminating, and beholding these// Sleep seized upon me,-sleep, that oftentimes// Before a deed is done has tidings of it.
32.	It was the hour, I think, when from the East// First on the mountain Citherea beamed// Who with the fire of love seems always burning;
33.	Youthful and beautiful in dreams methought// I saw a lady walking in a meadow// Gathering flowers; and singing she was saying:
34.	"Know whosoever may my name demand// That I am Leah, and go moving round// My beauteous hands to make myself a garland.
35.	To please me at the mirror, here I deck me// But never does my sister Rachel leave// Her looking-glass, and sitteth all day long.
36.	To see her beauteous eyes as eager is she// As I am to adorn me with my hands// Her, seeing, and me, doing satisfies."
37.	And now before the antelucan splendours// That unto pilgrims the more grateful rise// As, home-returning, less remote they lodge,
38.	The darkness fled away on every side// And slumber with it; whereupon I rose// Seeing already the great Masters risen.
39.	"That apple sweet, which through so many branches// The care of mortals goeth in pursuit of// To-day shall put in peace thy hungerings."
40.	Speaking to me, Virgilius of such words// As these made use; and never were there guerdons// That could in pleasantness compare with these.
41.	Such longing upon longing came upon me// To be above, that at each step thereafter// For flight I felt in me the pinions growing.
42.	When underneath us was the stairway all// Run o'er, and we were on the highest step// Virgilius fastened upon me his eyes,
43.	And said: "The temporal fire and the eternal// Son, thou hast seen, and to a place art come// Where of myself no farther I discern.
44.	By intellect and art I here have brought thee// Take thine own pleasure for thy guide henceforth// Beyond the steep ways and the narrow art thou.
45.	Behold the sun, that shines upon thy forehead// Behold the grass, the flowerets, and the shrubs// Which of itself alone this land produces.
46.	Until rejoicing come the beauteous eyes// Which weeping caused me to come unto thee// Thou canst sit down, and thou canst walk among them.
47.	Expect no more or word or sign from me// Free and upright and sound is thy free-will// And error were it not to do its bidding;
48.	Thee o'er thyself I therefore crown and mitre!"


Purgatory Canto 27: (St. Peter of the Church on the Seventh Terrace: the Lustful) The Wall of Fire and the Angel of God. Dante's Sleep upon the Stairway, and his Dream of Leah and Rachel. Arrival at the Terrestrial Paradise.

	According to the sky, it is almost sunset and our heroes hurry ahead. Luckily, they soon meet the last angel, the Angel of Chastity (In the West it is a condition of being pure or chaste through Virginity; Virtuous character and Celibacy). He sings the Sixth Beatitude (Mathew 5:8), "Beati mundo corde," which translates as "Blessed are the pure of heart." He then tells them that they cannot move forward until they have gone through the Fire of the Lustful. Virgil urges them to proceed and to listen for the song in the flames. At this, Dante becomes frozen with fear (Dante is part of a society where death is obscured by fear and its denial). He lifts his hands to block the flames (awareness) from his face. 

	Virgil and Statius try to calm him, reminding him that there is no possibility of death here while on the Path. Virgil reminds Dante of their mutual trust, built up by riding on Geryon's back in Hell (Three-bodied Giant in the Circle of Fraud) and he tells Dante that he is close to God, and will be even more faithful. He promises Dante the flames will not harm him and urges Dante to put his hands in the flames to prove it. But Dante stands his ground. Perplexed, Virgil tries a different tactic. He tells Dante that Beatrice is waiting on the other side. At that name, Dante opens his eyes, just as the dying Pyramus did to see his beloved Thisbe234.

	With that, Virgil plunges into the fire, and is followed by Statius. Dante follows. As he walks through, he thinks it is much so he would rather throw himself on molten glass to try to find some coolness. But Virgil is at his side, constantly reminding him of Beatrice who is his hoped achievement.

	Around the same time, an angelic voice sings a hymn, "Venite, benedicti Patris mei," which translates as "Come, ye blessed of my father." Dante follows the sound out of the fire. The angel's voice tells them to hurry onward because the sun will set soon. They hurriedly climb a staircase of rock, but they have only gone a few steps before the sun sets, as shown as Dante's vanishing shadow.

	The travellers drop down to make their beds on the stony steps, unable to climb further. As they rest, Dante compares himself to a goat guarded by two shepherds. As he is falling asleep, Dante looks at the stars, which seem so much bigger at this altitude. That is his last waking thought.

	In his sleep, he dreams. He sees a young woman gathering flowers along a field and singing. She sings that her name is Leah and that she loves to make flower garlands. Her sister is Rachel who fears marrying Jacob and sits all-day (action in in-action) in front of a mirror. Where Rachel takes delight in inaction (contemplation), Leah labours (action) and bears seven children for Jacob.

	 In the Bible, Jacob loves Rachel who is a symbol of the Lord's Love and works as her father's (God) servant for seven years to earn her hand in marriage (Shiva-Shakti235). On their wedding night, the father substitutes his older daughter Leah for Rachel. To regain Rachel the father forces Jacob to work (the spiritual path) another seven more years (takes twelve to fourteen years of working at the spiritual path to reach The Christ - Agnya Chaka of Awareness of the Holy Spirit) before he will gives him Rachel as well. To Jacob the seeker, Rachel is a perfect spouse and mother. Meanwhile, Leah (who feels reviled bears Jacob seven children (symbolising wealth of children, seven basic Hindu gods, seven Forces and Elements of Nature, seven chakras, seven virtues to combat seven deadly offences or sins fatal to spiritual progress), while Rachel only gives him two (Kartikeya and Ganesha236). Leah is often considered an exemplar of the active life for 'oneself' on the spiritual path, while Rachel is the archetype for the quiet reflective life of one who knows "God loves each of us as if there were only one".
When Dante wakes up, he finds his two guides already awake. Virgil announces that today Dante's wants will be fulfilled. Dante's joy is so great that he climbs quickly because his feet are now as light as wings. When he reaches the top step of the staircase, Virgil turns to him and tells him how proud he is. 

	Virgil tells Dante that so far he has been guided only by "intellect and art" (for which Virgil is the symbol). Now that Dante's mental love has been perfected he can turn to God. It is safe for him to follow his own fulfilment now. He urges Dante to explore the Earthly Paradise (place of exceptional happiness and delight before expelling Adam and Eve when heaven and earth were close - belief of Islam and Christianity. In Hinduism it is the experience of Union [yoga] with the Divine) until he meets Beatrice. Before sending him off, Virgil blesses him with these words: "There I crown and miter you over yourself." 


Purgatory Canto 27: (St. Peter of the Church on the Seventh Terrace: the Lustful) The Wall of Fire and the Angel of God. Dante's Sleep upon the Stairway, and his Dream of Leah and Rachel. Arrival at the Terrestrial Paradise.

	As the day ends and the sun is getting close to sunset, Dante is still afraid to enter the fire and go to the other side to achieve holiness necessary to enter the joy of Heaven. Purgatory is Dante's path for awakening and purifying his inner fire: (Dhuni in Sanskrit) symbolizing the purifying the inner fire of Divine Love). He has to do that willingly. He then meets the holy Angel of Chastity237 who performs the last ritual, followed by the last Beatitude: Blessed the pure in heart. The Angel reminds Dante that he can go no further without passing through the flames (Corinthian238). Because Dante hesitates for a long time, Virgil urges him to move on; by reminding him that Beatrice (Divine Love) is waiting for him. 

	He then enters the fire (to achieve holiness necessary by repeatedly reincarnating as viewed by Eastern Religions) until they enter the joy of inner perfection after feeling tormenting heat (reaction to karmic debts). They emerge with the belief that they have endured long-lasting punishment through fire. It is a final cleaning of human faults before one can enter on the other side of joy. 

	They hear the invitation to advance, and the Angel urges them to climb as long as there is daylight. Soon the sun sets, and the three pilgrims, are feeling exhausted, and they stop to rest. Toward morning, Dante dreams of Leah and Rachel. They represent Active as well as Contemplative Life239 or selfless karma in service of the Cosmic Whole. When he wakes up, Dante feels refreshed and is eager to continue. The canto ends with Virgil describing the moral development achieved by the poet Dante and that he no longer needs his guidance. Virgil's last words: he crowns Dante master of himself.

Purgatory Canto 28: The River Lethe. Matilda. The Nature of the Terrestrial Paradise. 

1.	Eager already to search in and round// The heavenly forest, dense and living-green// Which tempered to the eyes the new-born day,
2.	Withouten more delay I left the bank// Taking the level country slowly, slowly// Over the soil that everywhere breathes fragrance.
3.	A softly-breathing air, that no mutation// Had in itself, upon the forehead smote me// No heavier blow than of a gentle wind,
4.	Whereat the branches, lightly tremulous// Did all of them bow downward toward that side// Where its first shadow casts the Holy Mountain;
5.	Yet not from their upright direction swayed,..//So that the little birds upon their tops// Should leave the practice of each art of theirs;
6.	But with full ravishment the hours of prime// Singing, received they in the midst of leaves// That ever bore a burden to their rhymes,
7.	Such as from branch to branch goes gathering on// Through the pine forest on the shore of Chiassi// When Eolus unlooses the Sirocco.
8.	Already my slow steps had carried me// Into the ancient wood so far, that I// Could not perceive where I had entered it.
9.	And lo! my further course a stream cut off// Which tow'rd the left hand with its little waves// Bent down the grass that on its margin sprang.
10.	All waters that on earth most limpid are// Would seem to have within themselves some mixture// Compared with that which nothing doth conceal,
11.	Although it moves on with a brown, brown current// Under the Shade perpetual, that never// Ray of the sun lets in, nor of the moon.
12.	With feet I stayed, and with mine eyes I passed// Beyond the rivulet, to look upon// The great variety of the fresh may.
13.	And there appeared to me (even as appears// Suddenly something that doth turn aside// Through very wonder every other thought)
14.	A lady all alone, who went along// Singing and culling floweret after floweret// With which her pathway was all painted over.
15.	"Ah, beauteous lady, who in rays of love// Dost warm thyself, if I may trust to looks// Which the heart's witnesses are wont to be,
16.	May the desire come unto thee to draw// Near to this river's bank," I said to her// "So much that I might hear what thou art singing.
17.	Thou makest me remember where and what// Proserpina that moment was when lost// Her mother her, and she herself the Spring."
18.	As turns herself, with feet together pressed// And to the ground, a lady who is dancing// And hardly puts one foot before the other,
19.	On the vermilion and the yellow flowerets// She turned towards me, not in other wise// Than maiden who her modest eyes casts down;
20.	And my entreaties made to be content// So near approaching, that the dulcet sound// Came unto me together with its meaning
21.	As soon as she was where the grasses are. Bathed by the waters of the beauteous river,.// To lift her eyes she granted me the boon.
22.	I do not think there shone so great a light// Under the lids of Venus, when transfixed// By her own son, beyond his usual custom!
23.	Erect upon the other bank she smiled// Bearing full many colours in her hands// Which that high land produces without seed.
24.	Apart three paces did the river make us// But Hellespont, where Xerxes passed across// (A curb still to all human arrogance,)
25.	More hatred from Leander did not suffer// For rolling between Sestos and Abydos// Than that from me, because it oped not then.
26.	"Ye are new-comers; and because I smile,"// Began she, "peradventure, in this place// Elect to human nature for its nest,
27.	Some apprehension keeps you marvelling// But the psalm 'Delectasti' giveth light// Which has the power to uncloud your intellect.
28.	And thou who foremost art, and didst entreat me// Speak, if thou wouldst hear more; for I came ready// To all thy questionings, as far as needful."
29.	"The water," said I, "and the forest's sound// Are combating within me my new faith// In something which I heard opposed to this."
30.	Whence she: "I will relate how from its cause// Proceedeth that which maketh thee to wonder// And purge away the cloud that smites upon thee.
31.	The Good Supreme, sole in itself delighting// Created man good, and this goodly place// Gave him as hansel of eternal peace.
32.	By his default short while he sojourned here// By his default to weeping and to toil// He changed his innocent laughter and sweet play.
33.	That the disturbance which below is made// By exhalations of the land and water// (Which far as may be follow after heat,)
34.	Might not upon mankind wage any war// This mount ascended tow'rds the heaven so high// And is exempt, from there where it is locked.
35.	Now since the universal atmosphere// Turns in a circuit with the primal motion// Unless the circle is broken on some side,
36.	Upon this height, that all is disengaged// In living ether, doth this motion strike// And make the forest sound, for it is dense;
37.	And so much power the stricken plant possesses// That with its virtue it impregns the air// And this, revolving, scatters it around;
38.	And yonder earth, according as 'tis worthy// In self or in its clime, conceives and bears// Of divers qualities the divers trees;
39.	It should not seem a marvel then on earth// This being heard, whenever any plant// Without seed manifest there taketh root.
40.	And thou must know, this holy table-land// In which thou art is full of every seed// And fruit has in it never gathered there.
41.	The water which thou seest springs not from vein// Restored by vapour that the cold condenses// Like to a stream that gains or loses breath;
42.	But issues from a fountain safe and certain// Which by the will of God as much regains// As it discharges, open on two sides.
43.	Upon this side with virtue it descends// Which takes away all memory of sin// On that, of every good deed done restores it.
44.	Here Lethe, as upon the other side// Eunoe, it is called; and worketh not// If first on either side it be not tasted.
45.	This every other savour doth transcend// And notwithstanding slaked so far may be// Thy thirst, that I reveal to thee no more,
46.	I'll give thee a corollary still in grace// Nor think my speech will be to thee less dear// If it spread out beyond my promise to thee.
47.	Those who in ancient times have feigned in song// The Age of Gold and its felicity// Dreamed of this place perhaps upon Parnassus.
48.	Here was the human race in innocence// Here evermore was Spring, and every fruit;// This is the nectar of which each one speaks."
49.	Then backward did I turn me wholly round// Unto my Poets, and saw that with a smile// They had been listening to these closing words;
50.	Then to the beautiful lady turned mine eyes.


Purgatory Canto 28: The River Lethe. Matilda. The Nature of the Terrestrial Paradise. 

	Dante walks along in the heavenly forest until a gentle breeze stops him. On the other side of the stream he sees a lady singing and gathering flowers. At Dante's request, she approaches him, and smiling from the opposite bank, she tells him that this is Earthly Paradise, the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve were created. She explains the constant moving gentle breeze is caused by Earth's rotation, and explains the reproduction of plant life. She further speaks of two streams240 in the Garden, Lethe and Euno?; the first washes away the memory of sin (ida), and the second restores the memory of good deeds (pingala). 


Purgatory Canto 28: The River Lethe. Matilda. The Nature of the Terrestrial Paradise. 

	Dante now leaves to explore the forest of the Earthly Paradise. In religious term the place is an earthly school for souls of Eastern Religions. In the West Paradise is lush, green, and fragrant. A gentle wind blows on him and he notices the wind bends the branches of the trees gently, but not enough to disturb the songbirds singing so sweetly there. Indeed, the place is so perfect the wind harmonizes with the birdsong. But do Eastern religions believe in heaven and hell241?

	By now Dante has wandered so far into the forest that he cannot tell where he entered. This place might be scary if he did not know that he is in Earthly Paradise. He comes across a stream of the purest water imaginable. But then Dante notices the water is dark, and untouched by the sun or moonlight. It is like a stream of moving shadows. Not disturbed in the least by this, Dante gazes at the far bank and is astonished to see a young woman gathering flowers there.

	So he uses his charm on her, asking the lovely woman to move nearer the bank so Dante can hear more fully what song she is singing. Her singing is so lovely that it reminds Dante of the song Ceres242 sings every winter when her daughter Proserpina243 must leave her for the Underworld244. The lady turns to Dante, her eyes lowered. She inches nearer the bank and keeps singing. When she reaches the edge of the bank, where the waves can lap at her feet, she lifts her eyes and looks at Dante.

	Dante is completely taken aback by her breathtaking beauty, calling her glance a "gift". He thinks that she is even more beautiful than Venus245 when she was struck by Cupid's arrow. Now the stream keeps them only three steps apart and Dante compares his situation to that of Leander246, kept apart from his beloved Hero by the hated sea.

	Finally, the young woman speaks. She understands, she says, why he might be perplexed because she smiles here and takes such delight in a place where original sin247was committed. But to understand why, she directs him to the Psalm (92:4)248 beginning Delectasti, which translates as "gladdened."

	She asks him if he has any more questions, because she is here to please him. Perplexed by the wind that seems to be blowing, Dante asks about it, since Statius told him before that Purgatory does not experience any atmospheric changes. The lovely woman explains that here man made the mistake of committing original sin. For this his stay his stop here is cut short, as he hears exchanges of "frank laughter and sweet sport for lamentation and for anxiousness." 

	It is true what Statius told him, that all the atmospheric disturbances occur far below them, and not up on the mountain. This place is indeed free of such earthly weather. But the sky above revolves in a circle and the music of the spheres, made by the stars, and is echoed here in the Earthly Paradise.

	Because the foliage is so thick here, whenever this heavenly wind strikes a plant (mature dedicated enlightened spiritual seeker), it releases some seeds (of human goodness and change) into the air. These are carried into the other hemisphere (spheres of heaven) in the north, where they might land in the soil and sprout in this garden of virtue. That is why, she explains, he should not be surprised if he happens to see plants growing great treasures of virtue where no seeds can be seen at first. They come from here249.

	She continues revelling in her Knowledge (spiritual enlightenment), that Dante should know that every real plant (mystically enlightened being) flourishes here, even species (serene and saintly people) not seen on earth. Even the water (pure life-nectar or amrita) from the stream (sushumna) does not come from such a mundane source as melted snow or some watery runoff, but from a "pure and changeless fountain" of the crown chakra (sahasrahara). 

	The pure water flows as the left sided Ancient Human Ancestor Mandakini River - the Moon Daughter of Ida, embedded with fossilised records of habits, like-and-dislikes and karmic debts accrued over lifetimes. She has the power of making one forget all past sins. On the other right side is Yamuna, daughter of the Sun flowing in the Pingala with powers to restore memories of good deeds. The former is called Lethe (one of 5 rivers250 of Hades) and the latter called Euno? (Nymph daughter of river god Sangarius with Persephone as mother). In order for their powers to work, the yogic channels must be in a state of Divine Drunkenness flowing one right after the other and reaching for the Divine Mother in the Agnya chakra. Here the cool air flow activates the waters to echo the Omkara.

	At this point, the charming lady stops to take a breath. She continues to say that she realises Dante's thirst may be satisfied, but that she will give him one last bite of information: this is the place where old poets used to dream of, the only place in the world where man was once innocent. Hearing this, Dante turns to his two poet guides and finds them smiling; they like this information. Seeing them happy, Dante turns back to the beguiling lady.

Purgatory Canto 29: The Triumph of the Church. 

1.	Singing like unto an enamoured lady// She, with the ending of her words, continued:// "Beati quorum tecta sunt peccata."
2.	And even as Nymphs, that wandered all alone// Among the sylvan shadows, sedulous// One to avoid and one to see the sun,
3.	She then against the stream moved onward, going// Along the bank, and I abreast of her// Her little steps with little steps attending.
4.	Between her steps and mine were not a hundred// When equally the margins gave a turn// In such a way, that to the East I faced.
5.	Nor even thus our way continued far// Before the lady wholly turned herself// Unto me, saying, "Brother, look and listen!"
6.	And lo! a sudden lustre ran across// On every side athwart the spacious forest// Such that it made me doubt if it were lightning.
7.	But since the lightning ceases as it comes// And that continuing brightened more and more// Within my thought I said, "What thing is this?"
8.	And a delicious melody there ran// Along the luminous air, whence holy zeal// Made me rebuke the hardihood of Eve;
9.	For there where earth and heaven obedient were// The woman only, and but just created// Could not endure to stay 'neath any veil;
10.	Underneath which had she devoutly stayed// I sooner should have tasted those delights// Ineffable, and for a longer time.
11.	While 'mid such manifold first-fruits I walked// Of the eternal pleasure all enrapt// And still solicitous of more delights,
12.	In front of us like an enkindled fire// Became the air beneath the verdant boughs// And the sweet sound as singing now was heard.
13.	Virgins sacrosanct! if ever hunger// Vigils, or cold for you I have endured// The occasion spurs me their reward to claim!
14.	Now Helicon must needs pour forth for me// And with her choir Urania must assist me// To put in verse things difficult to think.
15.	A little farther on, seven trees of gold// In semblance the long space still intervening// Between ourselves and them did counterfeit;
16.	But when I had approached so near to them// The common object, which the sense deceives// Lost not by distance any of its marks,
17.	The faculty that lends discourse to reason// Did apprehend that they were candlesticks// And in the voices of the song "Hosanna!"
18.	Above them flamed the harness beautiful// Far brighter than the moon in the serene// Of midnight, at the middle of her month.
19.	I turned me round, with admiration filled// To good Virgilius, and he answered me// With visage no less full of wonderment.
20.	Then back I turned my face to those high things// Which moved themselves towards us so sedately// They had been distanced by new-wedded brides.
21.	The lady chid me: "Why dost thou burn only// So with affection for the living lights// And dost not look at what comes after them?"
22.	Then saw I people, as behind their leaders// Coming behind them, garmented in white// And such a whiteness never was on earth.
23.	The water on my left flank was resplendent// And back to me reflected my left side// E'en as a mirror, if I looked therein.
24.	When I upon my margin had such post// That nothing but the stream divided us// Better to see I gave my steps repose;
25.	And I beheld the flamelets onward go// Leaving behind themselves the air depicted// And they of trailing pennons had the semblance,
26.	So that it overhead remained distinct// With sevenfold lists, all of them of the colours// Whence the sun's bow is made, and Delia's girdle.
27.	These standards to the rearward longer were// Than was my sight; and, as it seemed to me// Ten paces were the outermost apart.
28.	Under so fair a heaven as I describe// The four and twenty Elders, two by two// Came on incoronate with flower-de-luce.
29.	They all of them were singing: "Blessed thou// Among the daughters of Adam art, and blessed// For evermore shall be thy loveliness."
30.	After the flowers and other tender grasses// In front of me upon the other margin// Were disencumbered of that race elect,
31.	Even as in heaven star followeth after star// There came close after them four animals// Incoronate each one with verdant leaf.
32.	Plumed with six wings was every one of them// The plumage full of eyes; the eyes of Argus// If they were living would be such as these.
33.	Reader! to trace their forms no more I waste// My rhymes; for other spendings press me so// That I in this cannot be prodigal.
34.	But read Ezekiel, who depicteth them// As he beheld them from the region cold// Coming with cloud, with whirlwind, and with fire;
35.	And such as thou shalt find them in his pages// Such were they here; saving that in their plumage// John is with me, and differeth from him.
36.	The interval between these four contained// A chariot triumphal on two wheels// Which by a Griffin's neck came drawn along;
37.	And upward he extended both his wings//Between the middle list and three and three// So that he injured none by cleaving it.
38.	So high they rose that they were lost to sight// His limbs were gold, so far as he was bird// And white the others with vermilion mingled.
39.	Not only Rome with no such splendid car// E'er gladdened Africanus, or Augustus// But poor to it that of the Sun would be,-
40.	That of the Sun, which swerving was burnt up// At the importunate orison of Earth// When Jove was so mysteriously just.
41.	Three maidens at the right wheel in a circle// Came onward dancing; one so very red// That in the fire she hardly had been noted.
42.	The second was as if her flesh and bones// Had all been fashioned out of emerald// The third appeared as snow but newly fallen.
43.	And now they seemed conducted by the white// Now by the red, and from the song of her// The others took their step, or slow or swift.
44.	Upon the left hand four made holiday// Vested in purple, following the measure// Of one of them with three eyes m her head.
45.	In rear of all the group here treated of// Two old men I beheld, unlike in habit// But like in gait, each dignified and grave.
46.	One showed himself as one of the disciples// Of that supreme Hippocrates, whom nature// Made for the animals she holds most dear;
47.	Contrary care the other manifested// With sword so shining and so sharp, it caused// Terror to me on this side of the river.
48.	Thereafter four I saw of humble aspect// And behind all an aged man alone// Walking in sleep with countenance acute.
49.	And like the foremost company these seven// Were habited; yet of the flower-de-luce// No garland round about the head they wore,
50.	But of the rose, and other flowers vermilion// At little distance would the sight have sworn// That all were in a flame above their brows.
51.	And when the car was opposite to me// Thunder was heard; and all that folk august// Seemed to have further progress interdicted,
52.	There with the vanward ensigns standing still.


Purgatory Canto 29: The Triumph of the Church. 

		When Matelda has finished speaking, she begins to sing, and moves upstream, with Dante keeping pace with her on the opposite side of the stream. Soon Matelda stops, and tells Dante to pay attention: A strong Light is seen in the air, and a heavenly pageant approaches. It is led by seven golden candlesticks, which produce a Light that extends over the procession that follows them. Next come twenty-four elders, two by two, and behind them four creatures251. They form a square, in which there is a chariot252 (corporal carrier of our own special journey towards individuation) drawn by a griffin- a creature with body, tail and back legs of a lion, head and wings of an eagle and eagle talons (an individualized human personality of ego-logic-emotion or chitta). To the right of the chariot there are three women (illusionary vision of enchanters or maya) dressed in three colours: one red (stale passions - tamas), one white (existence in harmony, unthinking purity, hope and innocence gained through meditation-sattva), and one green (rebirth stimulating creativity); to the left of the chariot there are four women dressed in purple. The colour purple is of the blush of the crown chakra: the sahasrahara. It is reached through four efforts: awareness-perfection-integration-unity with the Divine and attaining wisdom. All are achieved through purposeful meditation guidelines. A balanced lifestyle, determination to be receptive to experiences of increasing circumspection is a seeker's commitment while on the spiritual path. All steps express themselves in the exalted phases of Love who is God. And finally in the pageant there is an old man alone. He is the author the Book of Revelation (1:4 Apostle John the Elder who wrote the Gnostic Gospels). The chariot stops with a thunder opposite Dante.


Purgatory Canto 29: The Earthly Paradise The Triumph of the Church. 

	As soon as the woman Matelda is done speaking, she immediately starts singing in a Medieval psalm in Latin: "Beati quorum tecta sunt peccata!" (Psalm 31 -32)253 Which translates as "Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven."

	She turns and begins walking demurely along the riverbank, against the current, like a woodland nymph. Dante follows, shortening his footsteps to match hers. Before they have gone more than a hundred paces, the bank curves so they are facing east. At this point, she gets Dante's attention by calling him "brother" and telling him to watch and listen carefully for something afar.

	At once a brilliant Light lights up the forest. The Light comes with a deep understanding of the unknown forest. The journeying Dante at first thinks lightning has struck. He quickly realises it cannot be lightning because the Light is lighting up the presence of the Great Mother (Forest). The enlightenment lasts far too long to be just a flash. Just as his brain is working at its frantic pace to unravel the significance of his vision, Dante hears a lovely melody waft through the air. It is so persuasive that Dante feels a stab of revulsion at Eve's arrogance stemming from want to eat a forbidden fruit. He mentally rebukes her for being disobedient at the Dawn of Time. She is being blamed for forcibly taking away from humanity all divine pleasures and fearlessness while under God's benign protection. Had she just listened to God, Dante himself would have been able to enjoy worldly pleasures, many blessings and grace forever.
	As the song grows stronger, Dante invokes the Muses (goddesses of literature and inspiration in science and arts) to help him truthfully record the miraculous to come from his search in purgatory. The first thing he sees approaching looks like seven golden trees. As they come nearer, Dante realises that distance made them be something they were not. Now that they are easier to make out, Dante realises that they form a single candelabra with seven separate candles254. These candles flame more brightly than a full moon at midnight on a cloudless night.
	Astonished, Dante turns to Virgil with a question on his lips, but for the first time, Virgil is as awestruck as Dante. Dante looks by turning back and sees a long line of people approaching him at a snail's pace. They look like a bride coming down the aisle at her wedding.

	The nameless woman takes this moment to scold Dante for looking only at the "living lights" and for ignoring the people dressed in white behind them. Only then does Dante even realise there are people in his rear. They are dressed in white which is so brilliant that it is reflected in the clear stream flowing and reflecting like a mirror.

	Dante moves to the edge of the stream so he can see them more clearly. Still focused on the candles, Dante realises that as they move forward, each one leaves a banner of light behind it. Each banner is of a different colour representing emblems of Triumphs in awakening to the Presence. As they pass, a beautiful streamer of rainbows (Mother Nature's Light emanating from Her heart and reminding humankind to put God first in one's life) drifts along behind. The scene is as if a painter has just painted the sky. 

	Ten paces behind the candelabra come twenty-four elders255 (the structure of revealed mortals: (Revelations 4:4-11), all dressed in white and wearing wreaths of lilies (or pure pink lotus that blooms despite unfavourable conditions in deep mud faraway from the sun, but reaches the Light and becomes the most beautiful flower) on their heads. They sing as they advance. After the twenty-four elders come four animals, each of them bearing green leaves as a crown on his head and each having six wings full of eyes (Ezekiel 10:5256 and Psalm 91:4257), like the monster Argus258. Dante cannot "squander more rhymes" describing the animals, but directs the reader to Ezekiel (5-9)259, for more about them there.

	After the animals comes a triumphal two-wheeled chariot260 drawn by a griffin (creature with body, tail and back legs of a lion; head and wings and talons of an eagle and tail of a serpent or scorpion) The wings of the griffin are lifted high, but they are positioned so they do not break the seven bands of coloured light (rainbow). Instead they are seen rising between the penitents. The griffin's wings are gold, as are the rest of his eagle parts, while the lion half of him is "white mixed with blood red." Achaemenids considered the griffin "a protector from evil, witchcraft and secret slander".	

	The chariot is so grand that not even the famed sun chariot of Phaethon (shining radiant chariot of the Sun) can rival it, or those of such eminent generals as Africanus261 or Augustus. Then three women dance by, each dressed in a different colour - the first in fiery red, the second in emerald green, and the third in snow white. They change places and paces as they dance, one sometimes leading and soon conceding the lead to another. On the left side, four more women dance by, all dressed in red, following the rhythm set by the first three. Behind them, a group of seven elders follows, divided into groups of two, then four, then one.

	Dante identifies the first one as Luke (patron saint of doctors and surgeons), a follower of the "great Hippocrates"262 and the other one carries a naked sword. The next four pass by, followed by a "lone old man, his features if in sleep." These seven are dressed in white, just like first twenty-four, except they wear no lilies on their heads, but instead red roses. As the procession passes by Dante, a peal of sudden thunder rends the sky, block their path, and they stop; the chariot is right in front in Dante.

Purgatory Canto 30: Virgil's Departure. Beatrice. Dante's Shame. 

1.	When the Septentrion of the highest heaven263//(Which never either setting knew or rising// Nor veil of other cloud than that of sin,
2.	And which made every one therein aware// Of his own duty, as the lower makes// Whoever turns the helm to come to port)
3.	Motionless halted, the veracious people// That came at first between it and the Griffin// Turned themselves to the car, as to their peace.
4.	And one of them, as if by Heaven commissioned// Singing, "Veni, sponsa, de Libano"// Shouted three times, and all the others after.
5.	Even as the Blessed at the final summons// Shall rise up quickened each one from his cavern// Uplifting light the reinvested flesh,
6.	So upon that celestial chariot// A hundred rose 'ad vocem tanti senis,'// Ministers and messengers of life eternal.
7.	They all were saying, "Benedictus qui venis,"// And, scattering flowers above and round about// "Manibus o date lilia plenis."
8.	Ere now have I beheld, as day began// The eastern hemisphere all tinged with rose// And the other heaven with fair serene adorned;
9.	And the sun's face, uprising, overshadowed// So that by tempering influence of vapours// For a long interval the eye sustained it;
10.	Thus in the bosom of a cloud of flowers// Which from those hands angelical ascended// And downward fell again inside and out264,
11.	Over her snow-white veil with olive cinct// Appeared a lady under a green mantle// Vested in colour of the living flame.
12.	And my own spirit, that already now// So long a time had been, that in her presence// Trembling with awe it had not stood abashed,
13.	Without more knowledge having by mine eyes// Through occult virtue that from her proceeded// Of ancient love the mighty influence felt.
14.	As soon as on my vision smote the power// Sublime, that had already pierced me through// Ere from my boyhood I had yet come forth,
15.	To the left hand I turned with that reliance// With which the little child runs to his mother// When he has fear, or when he is afflicted,
16.	To say unto Virgilius: "Not a drachm// Of blood remains in me, that does not tremble// I know the traces of the ancient flame."
17.	But us Virgilius of himself deprived// Had left, Virgilius, sweetest of all fathers// Virgilius, to whom I for safety gave me:
18.	Nor whatsoever lost the ancient mother// Availed my cheeks now purified from dew// That weeping they should not again be darkened.
19.	"Dante, because Virgilius has departed// Do not weep yet, do not weep yet awhile// For by another sword thou need'st must weep."
20.	E'en as an admiral, who on poop and prow// Comes to behold the people that are working// In other ships, and cheers them to well-doing,
21.	Upon the left hand border of the car// When at the sound I turned of my own name// Which of necessity is here recorded,
22.	I saw the Lady, who erewhile appeared// Veiled underneath the angelic festival// Direct her eyes to me across the river.
23.	Although the veil, that from her head descended// Encircled with the foliage of Minerva// Did not permit her to appear distinctly,
24.	In attitude still royally majestic// Continued she, like unto one who speaks// And keeps his warmest utterance in reserve:
25.	"Look at me well; in sooth I'm Beatrice!// How didst thou deign to come unto the Mountain?// Didst thou not know that man is happy here?"
26.	Mine eyes fell downward into the clear fountain// But, seeing myself therein, I sought the grass// So great a shame did weigh my forehead down.
27.	As to the son the mother seems superb// So she appeared to me; for somewhat bitter// Tasteth the savour of severe compassion.
28.	Silent became she, and the Angels sang// Suddenly, "In te, Domine, speravi:"// But beyond 'pedes meos' did not pass.
29.	Even as the snow among the living rafters// Upon the back of Italy congeals// Blown on and drifted by Sclavonian winds,
30.	And then, dissolving, trickles through itself// Whene'er the land that loses shadow breathes// So that it seems a fire that melts a taper;
31.	E'en thus was I without a tear or sigh// Before the song of those who sing for ever// After the music of the eternal spheres.
32.	But when I heard in their sweet melodies// Compassion for me, more than had they said// "O wherefore, lady, dost thou thus upbraid him?"
33.	The ice, that was about my heart congealed// To air and water changed, and in my anguish// Through mouth and eyes came gushing from my breast.
34.	She, on the right-hand border of the car// Still firmly standing, to those holy beings// Thus her discourse directed afterwards:
35.	"Ye keep your watch in the eternal day// So that nor night nor sleep can steal from you// One step the ages make upon their path;
36.	Therefore my answer is with greater care// That he may hear me who is weeping yonder// So that the sin and dole be of one measure.
37.	Not only by the work of those great wheels// That destine every seed unto some end// According as the stars are in conjunction,
38.	But by the largess of celestial graces// Which have such lofty vapours for their rain// That near to them our sight approaches not,
39.	Such had this man become in his new life// Potentially, that every righteous habit// Would have made admirable proof in him;
40.	But so much more malignant and more savage// Becomes the land untilled and with bad seed// The more good earthly vigour it possesses.
41.	Some time did I sustain him with my look// Revealing unto him my youthful eyes// I led him with me turned in the right way.
42.	As soon as ever of my second age// I was upon the threshold and changed life// Himself from me he took and gave to others.
43.	When from the flesh to spirit I ascended// And beauty and virtue were in me increased// I was to him less dear and less delightful;
44.	And into ways untrue he turned his steps// Pursuing the false images of good// That never any promises fulfil;
45.	Nor prayer for inspiration me availed// By means of which in dreams and otherwise// I called him back, so little did he heed them.
46.	So low he fell, that all appliances// For his salvation were already short// Save showing him the people of perdition.
47.	For this I visited the gates of death// And unto him, who so far up has led him// My intercessions were with weeping borne.
48.	God's lofty fiat would be violated// If Lethe265 should be passed, and if such viands// Should tasted be, withouten any scot
49.	Of penitence, that gushes forth in tears."


Purgatory Canto 30: The Earthly Paradise; Virgil's Departure. Beatrice. Dante's Shame. 

	Calling the candelabra the "Seven-Star"266 Dante compares them to the constellation of the Bear, which guides sailors (spiritual seekers on the Path to Truth) home. The twenty-four elders between the candelabra and the chariot turn toward the candelabra and one sings a hymn three times: "Veni, sponsa, de Libano," which translates as "Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse"267

	In response, all the elders rise to sing back, as though they are at the Final Summons singing the Alleluia. They cry "Benedictus qui venis" (Blessed art thou that comest) and as they scatter flowers around, they call out "Manibus, oh, date lilia plenis" (With full hands, give me lilies). Beatrice is the archetype of inner centeredness. She was known to be mild mannered, upstanding, charitable, as well as a protector. To Dante she was the goddess of hearth, home and family.

	Then out of the cloud of falling flowers - which Dante beautifully compares to mist veiling the face of the rising sun - a woman appears, wearing a white veil, green cape, and a flame-red dress268. Her head is crowned by olive branches. At the first sight of her, even veiled, Dante trembles, feeling within himself a familiar sensation, "the mighty power of old love." Like a scared child, Dante turns to Virgil to tell him who this is, but finds - to his chagrin that Virgil is gone. Where has Virgil gone? The separation from his guru269 makes him sad and he feels tearful. Dante heals by mingling the dew on his cheeks with his tears again (two fluids but are one water).

	For the first time, he hears Beatrice's voice - she is Dante's Divine Love. She implores Dante not to cry because he will need to keep his tears ready for yet another wound from another sword. As he turns to look at Beatrice, Dante compares her to an admiral stepping down to check on her fellow sailors. Indeed, she stands beside the chariot (Dante), her face obscured by a veil symbolising the veil of oneness of existences, which must be recognised during their spiritual marriage as teacher and taught. As he gazes both with admiration and a little fear, she announces, "Look here! For I am Beatrice, I am!"

	Without mercy, she scolds Dante for weeping here in the Earthly Paradise, where men are supposed to be true, good and beautiful in a happily lived everyday life conscious of the purpose of human existence. Ashamed, Dante bends his head and catches sight of his reflection in the stream. The reflection he sees seems so unbelievably shame-faced that he diverts his eyes back to the grass. Beatrice seems like a mother scolding her child. Suddenly the angels surrounding Beatrice intervene, singing in Latin and then begging their lady to have pity on poor Dante. An intercessory prayer plea for mercy is made on his behalf. Dante is so moved that his tears burst forth like a stream fed by the melting runoff from the mountain snows.

	Beatrice turns to them, reprimands them gently for interrupting and explains to them why she wants Dante to understand and heed her words. She explains to them (though her speech is clearly meant for Dante) that when Dante was young, all the spheres and godly graces favoured him so much that he could have succeeded with his great poetic talent. But, Beatrice says, Dante neglected to till his seed well and it has grown "wilder and more noxious." In other words, his talent has thus far been misguided.

	She goes on: when I was young, I used to lead him down the right path by his love for me. But as soon as I died, he abandoned me to follow someone else and began going down a crooked path where he "followed counterfeits of goodness." I tried to come to him in dreams and lead him back, but he never heeded me again. Finally, he strayed so far from the true path the only way to save his soul was to show him all the horrors of Hell. For that task, I asked Virgil. He is meant to drink of the Lethe and to purge his soul to match the "deep design of God" intended for him.


Purgatory Canto 30: The Earthly Paradise; Virgil's Departure. Beatrice. Dante's Shame. 

	As the procession stops, the twenty-four elders (gods) run toward the chariot (individual microcosmic being). One of them sings: "Come, with me from Lebanon, my bride". A hundred singing angels appear overhead, filling the air with a rain of flowers. Through the flowers Beatrice (heavenly Master-traveler) appears. Dante turns to Virgil to express his astonishment, only to find out that he is gone. Beatrice then speaks harshly to Dante, calling him by name and reprimanding him for having wasted his talents, wandering from the path that leads to Truth. So hopeless, was his case and to such depths he had sunk, a spiritual journey to see damned soul in Hell was the only way of setting him back on the road to salvation. 

Purgatory Canto 31: Reproaches of Beatrice and Confession of Dante. The Passage of Lethe. The Seven Virtues. The Griffon. 

1.	"O thou who art beyond the sacred river,"// Turning to me the point of her discourse// That edgewise even had seemed to me so keen,
2.	She recommenced, continuing without pause// "Say, say if this be true; to such a charge// Thy own confession needs must be conjoined."
3.	My faculties were in so great confusion// That the voice moved, but sooner was extinct// Than by its organs it was set at large.
4.	Awhile she waited; then she said: "What thinkest?// Answer me; for the mournful memories// In thee not yet are by the waters injured."
5.	Confusion and dismay together mingled// Forced such a Yes! from out my mouth, that sight// Was needful to the understanding of it.
6.	Even as a cross-bow breaks, when 'tis discharged// Too tensely drawn the bowstring and the bow// And with less force the arrow hits the mark,
7.	So I gave way beneath that heavy burden// Outpouring in a torrent tears and sighs// And the voice flagged upon its passage forth.
8.	Whence she to me: "In those desires of mine// Which led thee to the loving of that good// Beyond which there is nothing to aspire to,
9.	What trenches lying traverse or what chains// Didst thou discover, that of passing onward// Thou shouldst have thus despoiled thee of the hope?
10.	And what allurements or what vantages// Upon the forehead of the others showed// That thou shouldst turn thy footsteps unto them?"
11.	After the heaving of a bitter sigh// Hardly had I the voice to make response// And with fatigue my lips did fashion it.
12.	Weeping I said: "The things that present were// With their false pleasure turned aside my steps// Soon as your countenance concealed itself."
13.	And she: "Shouldst thou be silent, or deny// What thou confessest, not less manifest// Would be thy fault, by such a Judge 'tis known.
14.	But when from one's own cheeks comes bursting forth// The accusal of the sin, in our tribunal// Against the edge the wheel doth turn itself.
15.	But still, that thou mayst feel a greater shame// For thy transgression, and another time// Hearing the Sirens thou mayst be more strong,
16.	Cast down the seed of weeping and attend// So shalt thou hear, how in an opposite way// My buried flesh should have directed thee.
17.	Never to thee presented art or nature// Pleasure so great as the fair limbs wherein// I was enclosed, which scattered are in earth.
18.	And if the highest pleasure thus did fail thee// By reason of my death, what mortal thing// Should then have drawn thee into its desire?
19.	Thou oughtest verily at the first shaft// Of things fallacious to have risen up// To follow me, who was no longer such.
20.	Thou oughtest not to have stooped thy pinions downward// To wait for further blows, or little girl// Or other vanity of such brief use.
21.	The callow birdlet waits for two or three// But to the eyes of those already fledged// In vain the net is spread or shaft is shot."
22.	Even as children silent in their shame// Stand listening with their eyes upon the ground// And conscious of their fault, and penitent;
23.	So was I standing; and she said: "If thou// In hearing sufferest pain, lift up thy beard// And thou shalt feel a greater pain in seeing."
24.	With less resistance is a robust holm// Uprooted, either by a native wind// Or else by that from regions of Iarbas,
25.	Than I upraised at her command my chin// And when she by the beard the face demanded// Well I perceived the venom of her meaning.
26.	And as my countenance was lifted up// Mine eye perceived those creatures beautiful// Had rested from the strewing of the flowers;
27.	And, still but little reassured, mine eyes// Saw Beatrice turned round towards the monster// That is one person only in two natures.
28.	Beneath her veil, beyond the margent green// She seemed to me far more her ancient self// To excel, than others here, when she was here.
29.	So pricked me then the thorn of penitence// That of all other things the one which turned me// Most to its love became the most my foe.
30.	Such self-conviction stung me at the heart// O'erpowered I fell, and what I then became// She knoweth who had furnished me the cause.
31.	Then, when the heart restored my outward sense// The lady I had found alone, above me// I saw, and she was saying, "Hold me, hold me."
32.	Up to my throat she in the stream had drawn me// And, dragging me behind her, she was moving// Upon the water lightly as a shuttle.
33.	When I was near unto the blessed shore// "Asperges me," I heard so sweetly sung// Remember it I cannot, much less write it.
34.	The beautiful lady opened wide her arms// Embraced my head, and plunged me underneath// Where I was forced to swallow of the water.
35.	Then forth she drew me, and all dripping brought// Into the dance of the four beautiful// And each one with her arm did cover me.
36.	'We here are Nymphs, and in the Heaven are stars// Ere Beatrice descended to the world// We as her handmaids were appointed her.
37.	We'll lead thee to her eyes; but for the pleasant// Light that within them is, shall sharpen thine// The three beyond, who more profoundly look.'
38.	Thus singing they began; and afterwards// Unto the Griffin's breast they led me with them// Where Beatrice was standing, turned towards us.
39.	"See that thou dost not spare thine eyes," they said// "Before the emeralds have we stationed thee// Whence Love aforetime drew for thee his weapons."
40.	A thousand longings, hotter than the flame// Fastened mine eyes upon those eyes relucent// That still upon the Griffin steadfast stayed.
41.	As in a glass the sun, not otherwise// Within them was the twofold monster shining// Now with the one, now with the other nature.
42.	Think, Reader, if within myself I marvelled// When I beheld the thing itself stand still// And in its image it transformed itself.
43.	While with amazement filled and jubilant// My soul was tasting of the food, that while// It satisfies us makes us hunger for it,
44.	Themselves revealing of the highest rank// In bearing, did the other three advance// Singing to their angelic saraband.
45.	"Turn, Beatrice, O turn thy holy eyes,"// Such was their song, "unto thy faithful one// Who has to see thee ta'en so many steps.
46.	In grace do us the grace that thou unveil// Thy face to him, so that he may discern// The second beauty which thou dost conceal."
47.	Splendour of the living light eternal!// Who underneath the shadow of Parnassus// Has grown so pale, or drunk so at its cistern,
48.	He would not seem to have his mind encumbered// Striving to paint thee as thou didst appear// Where the harmonious heaven o'ershadowed thee,
49.	When in the open air thou didst unveil?


Purgatory Canto 31: Reproaches of Beatrice and Confession of Dante. The Passage of Lethe. The Seven Virtues. The Griffon. 

	Now, having told her story indirectly to the angels, Beatrice turns her speech directly on the shamefaced Dante. She commands him to speak, to tell her if her accusations are true. His confession must be like this, she says, intertwined with both her accusations and his confession. Stunned at her words, Dante cannot speak. Seeing him silent, she encourages him a little more gently to speak, because the waters270 of the Lethe have not wiped clean his memories271 yet. Still unable to speak, Dante wants to say "yes" and to agree to all her accusations, but his voice will not cooperate. Finally, all his pent-up emotion bursts forth, like a crossbow strung so tautly (symbolic of enduring all human crisis through sadhana of yoga with an correct posture (asana) that when it finally shoots its arrow (merging of three psychic channels), its bowstring breaks and the arrow (kundalini) just barely finds its target (kutastha). In this way, Dante's voice pours out of him but his Repentance for forgetting the Beloved is not strong enough to make its way to Beatrice, mingled as it is with tears.

	But Beatrice is unmerciful. She continues, asking Dante straight up what troubles he ran across after her death (student's commitment to a spiritual teacher must be sustained even after his/her physical demise) that made him stop moving forward along the true path (a true guru's intention is directed toward a chela's ultimate reunion with its Source)? What temptations did others lure him with to make him parade in front of them?272 Finally, Dante manages to whisper bitterly that "mere appearances turned me aside with their false loveliness, as soon as I had lost your countenance." Beatrice thunders that had Dante failed to confess this, he would have still been guilty of abandoning the spiritual path, because God knows all of his faults273. But because he has openly admitted to his sins, the blade of justice274 will come down a little less harshly. 

	She is not done yet. She tells Dante he must feel more shame to keep from sinning again when temptation comes along. She tells him what he should have done after she died. Beatrice says that nothing should have been as beautiful to Dante as herself275, even after her death. If her supreme beauty could not keep him from sin, what could? Dante, she says, you should have "lifted up your wings to follow me." Nothing else should have tempted you - no young women or other novelties. You should have flown.

	As he listens, guilt-ridden, Dante compares himself to a fledgling bird, which must be struck a couple times by his parents before he learns. He stands like a child, sullen and silent but knowing the truth of his accuser's words. When Beatrice sees Dante looking down, she tells him to lift his eyes so, by looking at her, he can increase the shame he feels just hearing her. He meekly obeys and as he lifts his eyes, he sees her facing the griffin.

	Underneath her veil, she seems even more beautiful than he remembers, and this brings on more tears, because he cannot imagine being lured away from her. The sight of her beauty and his matching shame overwhelm him so that he faints. When he awakens, he finds himself being held by the nameless young lady, who plunges him into the Lethe up to his neck, and then draws him up into her gondola to take him to Beatrice. Near the shore, she dips him in the water again, this time so deeply that he is forced to drink some of the water. Then, she gently bathes him and leads him among the four dancing women (stability, permanence, prosperity and the hearth). They introduce themselves in song as the handmaidens of Beatrice, though they are stars in the sky; their task is to help Dante see into her eyes. 

	They lead him over to where Beatrice stands beside the griffin and tells him to gaze into her eyes. He obeys and finds himself lost in her brilliant green eyes. Her eyes seem full of emerald fires as they gaze serenely on the griffin, but the flames make the reflection of the griffin waver and constantly shift shape276. Dante is hypnotized. As one of the handmaidens stands beside Dante, the other three approaches Beatrice and beg her to look at her lover. Also, they ask her to reveal her face to him, "so that he may discern the second beauty (of discriminating the Practical Value of theological study) you have kept concealed." At this Dante prays to the Muses (his goddesses) again, pleading for the ability to stay sane when confronted with Beatrice's full beauty.


Purgatory Canto 31: Reproaches of Beatrice and Confession of Dante. The Passage of Lethe. The Seven Virtues. The Griffon. 

	Beatrice finishes her harsh remark, and Dante is left incapable of speech. He is overcome by remorse, admits he is guilty, and faints for shame. When he comes to his senses, he discovers that Matelda (powerful battler) has drawn him into the 'stream of forgetfulness' in the underworld - to the Lethe River which springs from the Cave of Hypnos. She immerses him so he drinks some of the waters. Then she leads him onto the other side, where he is accepted by dancing ladies. At this point he can finally stare at Beatrice in the eyes, where he sees the reflection of the griffin, and the mystical union between Dante and Beatrice takes place.

Purgatory Canto 32: The Tree of Knowledge. Allegory of the Chariot. 

1.	So steadfast and attentive were mine eyes// In satisfying their decennial thirst// That all my other senses were extinct,
2.	And upon this side and on that they had// Walls of indifference, so the holy smile// Drew them unto itself with the old net
3.	When forcibly my sight was turned away// Towards my left hand by those goddesses// Because I heard from them a "Too intently!"
4.	And that condition of the sight which is// In eyes but lately smitten by the sun// Bereft me of my vision some short while;
5.	But to the less when sight re-shaped itself// I say the less in reference to the greater// Splendour from which perforce I had withdrawn,
6.	I saw upon its right wing wheeled about// The glorious host returning with the sun// And with the sevenfold flames upon their faces.
7.	As underneath its shields, to save itself// A squadron turns, and with its banner wheels// Before the whole thereof can change its front,
8.	That soldiery of the celestial kingdom// Which marched in the advance had wholly passed us// Before the chariot had turned its pole.
9.	Then to the wheels the maidens turned themselves// And the Griffin moved his burden benedight// But so that not a feather of him fluttered.
10.	The lady fair who drew me through the ford// Followed with Statius and myself the wheel// Which made its orbit with the lesser arc.
11.	So passing through the lofty forest, vacant// By fault of her who in the serpent trusted// Angelic music made our steps keep time.
12.	Perchance as great a space had in three flights// An arrow loosened from the string o'erpassed// As we had moved when Beatrice descended.
13.	I heard them murmur altogether, "Adam!"// Then circled they about a tree despoiled// Of blooms and other leafage on each bough.
14.	Its tresses, which so much the more dilate// As higher they ascend, had been by Indians// Among their forests marvelled at for height.
15.	"Blessed art thou, O Griffin, who dost not// Pluck with thy beak these branches sweet to taste// Since appetite by this was turned to evil."
16.	After this fashion round the tree robust// The others shouted; and the twofold creature:// "Thus is preserved the seed of all the just."
17.	And turning to the pole which he had dragged// He drew it close beneath the widowed bough// And what was of it unto it left bound.
18.	In the same manner as our trees (when downward// Falls the great light, with that together mingled// Which after the celestial Lasca shines)
19.	Begin to swell, and then renew themselves// Each one with its own colour, ere the Sun// Harness his steeds beneath another star:
20.	Less than of rose and more than violet// A hue disclosing, was renewed the tree// That had erewhile its boughs so desolate.
21.	I never heard, nor here below is sung// The hymn which afterward that people sang// Nor did I bear the melody throughout.
22.	Had I the power to paint how fell asleep// Those eyes compassionless, of Syrinx hearing// Those eyes to which more watching cost so dear,
23.	Even as a painter who from model paints// I would portray how I was lulled asleep// He may, who well can picture drowsihood.
24.	Therefore I pass to what time I awoke// And say a splendour rent from me the veil// Of slumber, and a calling: "Rise, what dost thou?"
25.	As to behold the apple-tree in blossom// Which makes the Angels greedy for its fruit// And keeps perpetual bridals in the Heaven,
26.	Peter and John and James conducted were// And, overcome, recovered at the word// By which still greater slumbers have been broken,
27.	And saw their school diminished by the loss// Not only of Elias, but of Moses// And the apparel of their Master changed;
28.	So I revived, and saw that piteous one// Above me standing, who had been conductress// Aforetime of my steps beside the river,
29.	And all in doubt I said, "Where's Beatrice?"// And she: "Behold her seated underneath// The leafage new, upon the root of it.
30.	Behold the company that circles her// The rest behind the Griffin are ascending// With more melodious song, and more profound."
31.	And if her speech were more diffuse I know not// Because already in my sight was she// Who from the hearing of aught else had shut me.
32.	Alone she sat upon the very earth// Left there as guardian of the chariot// Which I had seen the biform monster fasten.
33.	Encircling her, a cloister made themselves// The seven Nymphs, with those lights in their hands// Which are secure from Aquilon and Auster.
34.	"Short while shalt thou be here a forester// And thou shalt be with me for evermore// A citizen of that Rome where Christ is Roman.
35.	Therefore, for that world's good which liveth ill// Fix on the car thine eyes, and what thou seest// Having returned to earth, take heed thou write."
36.	Thus Beatrice; and I, who at the feet// Of her commandments all devoted was// My mind and eyes directed where she willed.
37.	Never descended with so swift a motion// Fire from a heavy cloud, when it is raining// From out the region which is most remote,
38.	As I beheld the bird of Jove descend// Down through the tree, rending away the bark// As well as blossoms and the foliage new,
39.	And he with all his might the chariot smote// Whereat it reeled, like vessel in a tempest// Tossed by the waves, now starboard and now larboard.
40.	Thereafter saw I leap into the body// Of the triumphal vehicle a Fox// That seemed unfed with any wholesome food.
41.	But for his hideous sins upbraiding him// My Lady put him to as swift a flight// As such a fleshless skeleton could bear.
42.	Then by the way that it before had come// Into the chariot's chest I saw the Eagle// Descend, and leave it feathered with his plumes.
43.	And such as issues from a heart that mourns// A voice from Heaven there issued, and it said:// "My little bark, how badly art thou freighted!"
44.	Methought, then, that the earth did yawn between// Both wheels, and I saw rise from it a Dragon// Who through the chariot upward fixed his tail,
45.	And as a wasp that draweth back its sting// Drawing unto himself his tail malign// Drew out the floor, and went his way rejoicing.
46.	That which remained behind, even as with grass// A fertile region, with the feathers, offered// Perhaps with pure intention and benign,
47.	Reclothed itself, and with them were reclothed// The pole and both the wheels so speedily// A sigh doth longer keep the lips apart.
48.	Transfigured thus the holy edifice// Thrust forward heads upon the parts of it// Three on the pole and one at either corner.
49.	The first were horned like oxen; but the four// Had but a single horn upon the forehead// A monster such had never yet been seen!
50.	Firm as a rock upon a mountain high// Seated upon it, there appeared to me// A shameless whore, with eyes swift glancing round,
51.	And, as if not to have her taken from him// Upright beside her I beheld a giant// And ever and anon they kissed each other.
52.	But because she her wanton, roving eye// Turned upon me, her angry paramour// Did scourge her from her head unto her feet.
53.	Then full of jealousy, and fierce with wrath// He loosed the monster, and across the forest//Dragged it so far, he made of that alone
54.	A shield unto the whore and the strange beast.


Purgatory Canto 32: The Tree of Knowledge. Allegory of the Chariot. 

	Dante and Statius (symbol of working tools for copying ritual passage towards heaven); with Matelda (powerful seeker of spiritual path), follow the procession. It stops in front of a Tree of Knowledge (opportunity to learn regardless of constraints and challenges). Here Beatrice (compassionate teacher or guru of Divine Love) descends from the chariot (yin-yang to represent duality in unity). They are at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but is stripped bare of leaves and fruit. That is a result of Adam and Eve's misdeed. The griffin (multilayered personality) attaches the chariot (pleasure carriage of the human body) to the tree (sacrifice, sensitivity and higher knowledge), which immediately blooms. This means The Christ's rescue (leader for the Fellowship in a search for the soul-Self through Gnostics) gave new life to humanity. Then Dante falls asleep (Without leadership the mission in purgatory is incomplete). When he is awakened by Matelda (character with a passionate desire to do what is right and fulfilling a seeker's destiny), he realises the procession is gone (Fellowship goes ahead). Only Beatrice with her seven handmaidens (seven chakras for aligning and unblocking) are here. (Paul writes in Romans 8:38-39 "Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any power, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God"


Purgatory Canto 32: The Tree of Knowledge. Allegory of the Chariot. The Earthly Paradise 

When Beatrice (symbolically the Sixth-Seventh Chakra277 as last milestone for integration and evolution of human striving on a spiritual path) unveils herself. Dante is utterly hypnotized, quenching their "ten-year thirst"278 so fully that he does not notice anything else. Finally, the handmaidens (Seven Divine Mothers279) tells Dante to turn away, saying, "You stare too fixedly" (into the sun which eventually causes blindness). He obeys, but is so dazzled by Beatrice's beauty (Shakti) that he remains blind for a little while.

	When he regains his sight, he realises the entire procession has turned to be facing east, just like a squadron will wheel around to save itself in battle. The griffin (personality) is so noble, though, that his movements do not even ruffle his feathers. Dante, led by the lovely lady (destination) and Statius (path), falls in behind the chariot (of the three aspects of the Soul described as reason, emotion and body appetite described by Plato) on its right-hand side (the right-hand horse is the Star of Hope, and the left-hand horse for vanity and false pride). 
	They march three flights of arrows280 (first three chakras committed to yama, niyama and asana) before Beatrice (guru) dismounts from the chariot at the foot of a huge tree (study of tree of knowledge). The tree, though, is barren, stripped of all leaves or flowers. All those around Dante murmurs "Adam" as they approach the tree, identifying it as the Tree of Knowledge from which Eve stole the forbidden fruit.

	In unison, the whole company blesses the griffin for stopping from tasting the fruit that brought about the fall of mankind. The griffin (personality), speaking for the first time, replies, "Thus is the seed of every righteous man preserved." With that, he pulls the chariot closer, reaches up and grabs a branch, and ties the chariot and the tree together (individual and knowledge). When the two are linked, the enormous tree miraculously bursts into bloom (wisdom), its colour somewhere between red (creativity - rajas) and violet (harmony - sattva).
While Dante watches this miraculous sight, the others begin chanting a hymn that Dante cannot understand. Instead, he feels himself getting sleepy. After describing the scene he wishes he had the talent to paint just now, but he falls asleep. When Dante awakes, he finds the nameless lady standing over him. Groggy, he voices his first waking thought: "Where's Beatrice?"
The nameless woman281 answers: she is sitting alone on the root of the tree. All the others have moved up, following the griffin into Heaven. Dante stops listening when she reveals Beatrice's location. He finds Beatrice sitting beneath the tree, guarding the chariot, and surrounded by her seven handmaidens.

	As Dante approaches, she announces that he will stay with her now for a little while (though, after he dies, he will be able to spend eternity with her), and his task for now will be to see and write down what he sees, with the greatest possible adherence to the truth, so his work can "profit that world which lives badly." Having grabbed Dante's attention now, Beatrice continues to show him what she wants him to write about.

	Like a lightning bolt from above, an eagle282 (symbol of resurrection and rebirth) plummets from the sky, tears through the branches of the tree, and attacks the chariot (human personality of ego) with all its might, leaving the poor vehicle twisted like a storm-battered ship.

	After that, a ravenous fox (devious and fearing God) leaps deviously into the seat of the chariot, looking like pure mischief. Beatrice herself "rails against its squalid sins" and drives it out of the chariot. Suddenly, the eagle plummets again, this time leaving its feathers scattered all over the chariot. 

	A disembodied voice (of disembodied logic and rationalism) from Heaven cries out, charging the chariot (human body that lives by habits of duality) with carrying "freight" of "wickedness" (Seven Deadly Sins)283. As if this is not strange enough, the ground beneath the chariot suddenly splits open and a massive dragon284 (potent symbol that swallows souls that do not have knowledge of gnosis or experience through meditation) surfaces, only to drive its venomous tail through the poor chariot. When it withdraws its tail, it takes part of the chariot with it back into the earth.

	Eagle feathers (which Dante thinks look like they have been offered with kindness, cover what is left of the chariot. Out of nowhere, the chariot (ego) suddenly begins sprouting three heads (emotions, feels self and ego - chitta). Then, just as suddenly, the chariot turns into a naked whore285 (of Babylon: Revelation 17286) who is guarded by a jealous giant (intuitive warning against impending spiritual struggle). Over and over they "embrace" each other. But when the whore turns her seductive glance on Dante (Temptations), the giant flies into a rage and advances to beat her thoroughly.	

	Finally, he unties the "chariot-made-monster" (ego supported body-mind-intellect personality or chitta) from the tree (spiritual path of awakening kundalini in sushumna which extends from the root to the crown chakra). The chariot drags the monster and the whore (materialist) away into the forest, and disappears. 

Purgatory Canto 33: Lament over the State of the Church287. Final Reproaches of Beatrice. The River Eunoe. 

1.	So steadfast and attentive were mine eyes// In satisfying their decennial thirst// That all my other senses were extinct,
2.	And upon this side and on that they had// Walls of indifference, so the holy smile// Drew them unto itself with the old net
3.	When forcibly my sight was turned away// Towards my left hand by those goddesses// Because I heard from them a "Too intently!"
4.	And that condition of the sight which is// In eyes but lately smitten by the sun// Bereft me of my vision some short while;
5.	But to the less when sight re-shaped itself// I say the less in reference to the greater// Splendour from which perforce I had withdrawn,
6.	I saw upon its right wing wheeled about// The glorious host returning with the sun// And with the sevenfold flames upon their faces.
7.	As underneath its shields, to save itself// A squadron turns, and with its banner wheels// Before the whole thereof can change its front,
8.	That soldiery of the celestial kingdom// Which marched in the advance had wholly passed us// Before the chariot had turned its pole.
9.	Then to the wheels the maidens turned themselves// And the Griffin moved his burden benedight// But so that not a feather of him fluttered.
10.	The lady fair who drew me through the ford// Followed with Statius and myself the wheel// Which made its orbit with the lesser arc.
11.	So passing through the lofty forest, vacant// By fault of her who in the serpent trusted// Angelic music made our steps keep time.
12.	Perchance as great a space had in three flights// An arrow loosened from the string o'erpassed// As we had moved when Beatrice descended.
13.	I heard them murmur altogether, "Adam!"// Then circled they about a tree despoiled// Of blooms and other leafage on each bough.
14.	Its tresses, which so much the more dilate// As higher they ascend, had been by Indians// Among their forests marvelled at for height.
15.	"Blessed art thou, O Griffin, who dost not// Pluck with thy beak these branches sweet to taste// Since appetite by this was turned to evil."
16.	After this fashion round the tree robust// The others shouted; and the twofold creature:// "Thus is preserved the seed of all the just."
17.	And turning to the pole which he had dragged// He drew it close beneath the widowed bough// And what was of it unto it left bound.
18.	In the same manner as our trees (when downward// Falls the great light, with that together mingled// Which after the celestial Lasca shines)
19.	Begin to swell, and then renew themselves// Each one with its own colour, ere the Sun// Harness his steeds beneath another star:
20.	Less than of rose and more than violet// A hue disclosing, was renewed the tree// That had erewhile its boughs so desolate.
21.	I never heard, nor here below is sung// The hymn which afterward that people sang// Nor did I bear the melody throughout.
22.	Had I the power to paint how fell asleep// Those eyes compassionless, of Syrinx hearing// Those eyes to which more watching cost so dear,
23.	Even as a painter who from model paints// I would portray how I was lulled asleep// He may, who well can picture drowsihood.
24.	Therefore I pass to what time I awoke// And say a splendour rent from me the veil// Of slumber, and a calling: "Rise, what dost thou?"
25.	As to behold the apple-tree in blossom// Which makes the Angels greedy for its fruit// And keeps perpetual bridals in the Heaven,
26.	Peter and John and James conducted were// And, overcome, recovered at the word// By which still greater slumbers have been broken,
27.	And saw their school diminished by the loss// Not only of Elias, but of Moses// And the apparel of their Master changed;
28.	So I revived, and saw that piteous one// Above me standing, who had been conductress// Aforetime of my steps beside the river,
29.	And all in doubt I said, "Where's Beatrice?"// And she: "Behold her seated underneath// The leafage new, upon the root of it.
30.	Behold the company that circles her// The rest behind the Griffin are ascending// With more melodious song, and more profound."
31.	And if her speech were more diffuse I know not// Because already in my sight was she// Who from the hearing of aught else had shut me.
32.	Alone she sat upon the very earth// Left there as guardian of the chariot// Which I had seen the biform monster fasten.
33.	Encircling her, a cloister made themselves// The seven Nymphs, with those lights in their hands// Which are secure from Aquilon and Auster.
34.	"Short while shalt thou be here a forester// And thou shalt be with me for evermore// A citizen of that Rome where Christ is Roman.
35.	Therefore, for that world's good which liveth ill// Fix on the car thine eyes, and what thou seest// Having returned to earth, take heed thou write."
36.	Thus Beatrice; and I, who at the feet// Of her commandments all devoted was// My mind and eyes directed where she willed.
37.	Never descended with so swift a motion// Fire from a heavy cloud, when it is raining// From out the region which is most remote,
38.	As I beheld the bird of Jove descend// Down through the tree, rending away the bark// As well as blossoms and the foliage new,
39.	And he with all his might the chariot smote// Whereat it reeled, like vessel in a tempest// Tossed by the waves, now starboard and now larboard.
40.	Thereafter saw I leap into the body// Of the triumphal vehicle a Fox// That seemed unfed with any wholesome food.
41.	But for his hideous sins upbraiding him// My Lady put him to as swift a flight// As such a fleshless skeleton could bear.
42.	Then by the way that it before had come// Into the chariot's chest I saw the Eagle// Descend, and leave it feathered with his plumes.
43.	And such as issues from a heart that mourns// A voice from Heaven there issued, and it said:// "My little bark, how badly art thou freighted!"
44.	Methought, then, that the earth did yawn between// Both wheels, and I saw rise from it a Dragon// Who through the chariot upward fixed his tail,
45.	And as a wasp that draweth back its sting// Drawing unto himself his tail malign// Drew out the floor, and went his way rejoicing.
46.	That which remained behind, even as with grass// A fertile region, with the feathers, offered// Perhaps with pure intention and benign,
47.	Reclothed itself, and with them were reclothed// The pole and both the wheels so speedily// A sigh doth longer keep the lips apart.
48.	Transfigured thus the holy edifice// Thrust forward heads upon the parts of it// Three on the pole and one at either corner.
49.	The first were horned like oxen; but the four// Had but a single horn upon the forehead// A monster such had never yet been seen!
50.	Firm as a rock upon a mountain high// Seated upon it, there appeared to me// A shameless whore, with eyes swift glancing round,
51.	And, as if not to have her taken from him// Upright beside her I beheld a giant// And ever and anon they kissed each other.
52.	But because she her wanton, roving eye// Turned upon me, her angry paramour// Did scourge her from her head unto her feet.
53.	Then full of jealousy, and fierce with wrath// He loosed the monster, and across the forest
54.	Dragged it so far, he made of that alone
55.	A shield unto the whore and the strange beast.


Purgatory Canto 33: Lament over the State of the Church288. Final Reproaches of Beatrice. The River Eunoe. 

	The Seven Ladies sing, weeping over the sorrowful fate of the chariot289, and Beatrice grieves also. But soon they move on, the seven ladies, followed by Beatrice (guide or guru), with Dante (seeker), Matelda (powerful battler who is always on the spiritual path) and Statius (inspiration to persist on the Path) behind her. As they walk, Beatrice (Pure Love or God) gives an obscure prophecy predicting the rescue and eventual liberation of the corrupted papal Church. She instructs Dante to go over in writing about the Medieval Church and its Politics, exactly as he has seen and experienced. The record would serve to instruct the living against oligarchy. At Dante's request, Beatrice explains that her difficult language about repentance and remaining on the evolutionary path of self-realisation is also needed to teach divinely inclined subjects. He states the language to understand the purpose of the path, is at times not understandable to human intellect. Then they come to the second stream, Euno? (waters of the terrestrial paradise) to make Dante "ready and cleansed to rise to the stars". It is Matelda, as told by Beatrice, who then leads Dante to drink its waters, which restores his recollection of the Beloved and beneficial results of experiences while on the spiritual path. This is the last ritual in Purgatory. Dante says that the pages for the second canticle of the Commedia are all filled, and he is now ready to rise to the stars.


Purgatory Canto 33: Lament over the State of the Church290. Final Reproaches of Beatrice. The River Eunoe.
	Horrified, Beatrice's handmaidens cry and begin to sing a Psalm. Beatrice, too, seems as sad as Mary was underneath the cross. After they complete their Psalm, Beatrice speaks some phrases in Latin which translate to "A little while and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me."

	Beatrice then orders all her handmaidens, the lovely, nameless lady, and Statius to fall in behind her while she approaches Dante. She looks into his eyes, and - calling him "brother" - tells him to ask any questions he might have about his travels through Hell and Purgatory. Again, Dante is tongue-tied. After several stuttering tries, he gives up and simply tells Beatrice she knows best what he needs to know and to please teach him. She first orders him: "Disentangle you.from fear and shame that you no longer speak like one who dreams."

	She then turns her attention to the happenings with the chariot (personality). She tells him not to fear for the chariot which the serpent broke because God will punish him soundly. She goes on: the eagle which left its feathers in the chariot will not be forever without an heir, for she can foresee in the constellations a figure called only the "Five Hundred and Ten and Five" who will come to slay both the whore and her giant companion.

	She tells Dante that she knows her words are mysterious and hard to decipher at this point, but that time will clarify them. Now, she tells him to pay attention to her words so he can "send them in [his] turn to those who live the life that is a race to death." Whoever, she says, robs the tree of its fruit offends God, who created the tree for His sole use.
	She tells him that his mind is asleep if he cannot see why the tree is built so strangely, made so tall and its branches inverted (upside-down tree - nervous system with its roots above and the branches below) to make it hard to climb. Dante's arrogance and vain thoughts are keeping him from seeing this simple truth: God made the tree this way to make it difficult for anyone to trespass against His decrees.

	Seeing that his intellect is blind to this, she urges him to copy her words down, so he does not forget them - even if it means bearing back to earth a pilgrim's staff as a reminder. He answers that there is no need for the staff. Her words are already emblazoned on his mind. But, Dante finally asks, why her words escape his grasp, no matter how hard he tries to understand them? She answers the difficulty of her words is proof of just how much distance there is between man's reasoning and God's. Man cannot hope to 'understand' God who needs to be experienced personally.

	Dante finally works up enough courage to say he does not remember her being so cold to him before. She says that he does not remember because his mind has just been washed by the Lethe of all memories. To soften a little, she promises that her words from now on will be "naked," so that Dante with his "still-crude" sight can understand them.

	At this point, Dante notices from the position of the sun that it is noon. The seven handmaidens suddenly stop walking before the banks of a river. To Dante, the twin streams seem like the Euphrates and Tigris, two familiar rivers that bring him comfort. He asks her what rivers these are, and if they come from a single source. She tells Dante to ask Matelda, the lovely lady - who is now finally named.

	Matelda explains that he has already heard of these two rivers (Ida and Pingala). Even the Lethe cannot have wiped that memory from him. They are the Lethe and the Euno? Rivers. Beatrice adds that perhaps some other concern has made Dante forget this important fact about cleansing by the waters of these rivers. So she orders Matelda to lead Dante into the Euno? to restore his memory of good deeds.

	Just like a noble soul who does not try to make any excuses, Matelda leads him forward and asks Statius to come as well. At this point, Dante addresses his readers directly, telling them that all the pages allotted for Purgatory have run out and that now it is time to stop. However, there is a final glimpse of him of Dante, after he has bathed in the Euno? and has returned "remade" to Beatrice. Now, he is ready to climb up into the stars of the Heaven.


	1	Afterlife Hinduism & Judaism: Similarities about afterlife abound between Hinduism and Judaism. Both religions generally agree that salvation comes from a combination of being a good person and a devout religious follower. Religions seek answers from sacred texts and rituals. There is a well-defined idea of what individuals must do in life to ensure they are redeemed in death. The Gita also concludes there are many different, but acceptable paths to salvation: meditation, duty, and personal devotion to a god. Additionally, the Old Testament states that "through righteous living a person can look forward to God's kingdom....but Judaism rather distinctively has emphasized that personal fulfilment comes through daily life." Faith alone does not guarantee a person's eternal salvation. Moral obligation is imperative for both religions to gain admission into the afterlife. Heaven and hell are also referenced in the scriptures for both Hinduism and Judaism. Those who are good ultimately move to a realm of paradise; those who are bad find themselves stuck in damnation. For Hindus the possibility of going to heaven or hell depends on action or  Karma.  Judaism also makes a clear distinction between what happens with those who are good and those who are wicked. Both reiterate that it is not just religious piety that enables individuals to be saved and live after death. "The notion of salvation in Hinduism is that of release from a cycle of life, death, and transmigration. The solution is to meditate until we realise our spiritual identity and escape the hold of karma."  Judaism believes there will be a battle between good and evil that will end the world. All who are saved will go with God. Each religion-through its teachings and rituals-offers followers an answer to the question of what happens and how to flourish after death.
	2	Guru: Personal spiritual teacher and guide who has already attained spiritual insight;
	3	Trust in God and guru through duration of trial period towards spiritual well-being and advancing maturity;
	4	Purgatory - Abrahamic: State or place of temporary punishment; Hindus call it Naraka which is beneath the earth: between the seven realms of the underworld (Patala) and the Garbhodaka Ocean, which is the bottom of the universe. It is located in the South of the universe where the dead ancestors are also located in this region. Yama, the Lord of Naraka, resides in this realm with his assistants.
	5	Roman 5:12: Sin was introduced and spiritual death spread;
	6	Cato: Collection of proverbial wisdom and morality from 4th century AD author;
	7	River Lethe: River of Forgetfulness. Is one of 5 rivers in the Underworld whose waters cause drinkers to forget their past through oblivion.  The other four being Styx (the river of hate), Acheron (the river of sorrow), Kokytos (the river of lamentation) and Phlegethon (the river of fire); 
	8	Earthly Paradise: Garden of Eden before the expulsion of Adam and Eve;
	9	Sacrament of Confession: One of seven sacraments of Catholic Church teaching sinner is forgiven for past, present and future sins;
	10	Muses are goddesses of inspiration believed to preside over minds of poets, philosophers and musicians in all sciences, literature and arts;
	11	Calliope: eldest of the Muses - goddess of Music and gift of eloquence;
	12	Marcia: Marcia was the second wife of Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis (Cato the Younger) and the daughter of Lucius Marcius Philippus. She was born about 80 BC. After Cato divorced his first wife Atilia because of rumours about her infidelity, in 63 BC he married Marcia who bore him two or three children. Marcia's second marriage, in the year 56 BC, was to the renowned orator and advocate Quintus Hortensius Hortalus, whom Cicero styled as "king of the courts". Hortensius was an admirer and friend of Cato's. The 60 year old Hortensius' wife had just died without an heir, and requested to be married to Cato's daughter Porcia, who was only about 20 years old at the time. However, because Porcia was already married and the age difference was so great, Cato refused.  Hortensius immediately suggested that he marry Marcia instead because she had already borne Cato his heirs. With Marcia's father consent Cato divorced Marcia. Once under her father's charge. Hortensius promptly married Marcia. She bore him an heir. After Hortensius' death in 50 BC, she inherited much of Hortensius' considerable wealth. At the outbreak of the civil war in 49, Marcia and her children moved back into Cato's household. Cato remarried Marcia. 
	 	Julius Caesar accused Cato of wife trafficking and marrying Marcia off to Hortensius simply in order to gain his wealth. In 49 BC Cato was fleeing Rome with the rest of the aristocracy with Pompeius as a result of Caesar's approach. Because of his impending absence, he needed someone to look after his young daughters and household in his place, which Marcia did. Plutarch described Marcia as "...a woman of reputed excellence, about whom there was the most abundant talk..." This suggests that she was a more mature woman and Appian suggests that Cato was extremely fond of her. Because of this, one can assume that the involved parties viewed marriage as a perpetuation of State without romantic ideals of love. This sacrifice is used by Plutarch and other historians to illustrate Cato's honorability and his willingness to sacrifice a wife he liked in the name of friendship. This positive interpretation of Cato's character is reflected in Lucan's Pharsalia and how the Utahans mourned his death.
	13	Mars: Source of Cosmic Fuel to reach the fourth stage of spiritual and philosophical purposes towards spiritual gold (Sun);
	14	Mathew 7:7-8: Ask and it will be given; seek and it will be found; knock and it shall be opened; 
	15	Psalm 114: Here God is spoken of as leading his people from Egypt to Canaan, and causing the whole earth to be moved at his coming. Even the inanimate are imitating actions of living creatures when the Lord passes by. They are questioned with the marvellous force of language. The God of Jacob is exalted as having command over river, sea, and mountain, and causing all nature to pay homage and tribute before his glorious majesty.
	16	Casella: Florentine composer and singer (died before 1300) and friend of Dante's, who set at least one poem from Dante's Convivio to music. 
	17	Ostia is where all souls who are not damned to Hell gather to cross to Purgatory. It is a 7th century BC harbour city of ancient Rome at the mouth of the River Tiber.
	18	Aurora: Goddess of Dawn whose luminous bands of light become visible in the night/dawn sky;
	19	Sunrise: while residing in darkness, the prevailing light takes the earth from darkness, ignorance and evil into the light of knowledge, and righteousness. All religious rituals begin with good deeds at the break of dawn, when the birds are singing loudly, and the masses are still asleep.
	20	Astral Body does not exist in 'scientific' non-astral spaces yet astral travellers report adventures as 'involuntary 'out of body experiences'.
	21	God's ways are not our ways: For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways." [This is] the Lord's declaration. "For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts."-Isaiah 55:8-9;
	22	Manfred: King of Sicily from 1258 to 1266. He is encountered as an excommunicate in Purgatory, where he waits 30 years for each year of his excommunication. "Manibus, oh, date lilia plenis." ("O, give lilies by the handful.") is a Quotation from Virgil's Aeneid:  Sung by angels in the Pageant of the Church Triumphant, and welcoming Beatrice to the procession. 
	23	Empress Constance of Sicily (1154-98): wife of Holy emperor Henry VI; the popular Salerni Uprising against the Empress. The people of Solerno attacked the palace was a revolution against excesses;
	24	Pope Clement IV: Before, became a priest in 1256 (when his wife died). He was a respected jurist under King Louis IX. After his ordination, he quickly climbed the Church hierarchy and was appointed bishop in 1257. As pope, Clement IV had the opportunity to end the Great Schism between Eastern and Western Christianity. Emperor Michael Palaeologus had declared a willingness to bring about a reunification but Clement demanded grovelling submission, a price too high to pay. After Clement died, the cardinals required nearly three years to elect a successor. 
	25	Manfred' Daughter Constance: Sicilian nobleman Ruggiero di Lauria entered the service of Manfred's daughter, Constance (wife of Peter III of Aragon), after the defeat of Manfred in 1266. In the following years, Ruggiero was to play a decisive role in the war between France and Aragon for control of Sicily.
	26	Intense Thought exhibits itself in an intense life as a high quality of action which is so concentrated, strenuous and earnest that its discovery is connected with culture and creativity;
	27	Climb is hard: Spiritual journeys require innovative anchoring solutions to humility, self-rescuing with solutions based on ethics, climbing rocks before reaching the climbing route;
	28	Time: Hindus do not believe in the concept of Time; they believe the process of Creation moves in Cycles of Four epochs each; it exists as long as humans are bound to the things of this world and the senses;
	29	Any mountain of this life, the mountain of accomplishment, the mountain of obstacles, of difficulty to climb, has to be worth dying for, to brave wind and cold and storm, symbolic of adversities. But on the mountain top alone, one feels close to the Lord. The voice of His Spirit there is so loud it is like it is a thundering! But the voice of the multitude is so loud in the valley; one cannot hear the voice of God. The silence on the mountain peak is deafening. The thrill is  almost terrifying! 
	30	Contemplative Spirituality: life of Faith in the inner submission to God and Guru pervading in the soul's life of prayer, motivation and behaviour;
	31	Seven chakra symbols are vital to health. Negative feelings hamper the spin of these chakras, resulting in physical and emotional sickness.  A chakra is a vital energy center that resides in our bodies, that is not detectable by most modern medicine means. Eastern nations, as well as aboriginal people all over the world are aware of these chakra symbols and what they are capable of doing. 
	32	Climb gets one in touch with our core, the deeper or higher self. It nourishes and feeds a part one has  cut off from. It is like finding a long lost friend. The core is ultimately connected to the source of creation. When one reaches those depths we experience a taste of the divine. The spiritual path is not a place you arrive at and stay put. It is not stagnant. It is flowing, growing and ever changing and expanding. There's no hurry to get there. It's a journey.
	33	Belacqua: Shade with arms wrapped around knees and head lowered who epitomises lazy spirits who wait till the last moment of a slothful life to repent for a useless life lived. He was a Florentine lute maker in Dante's times who gave up on ever reaching heaven;
	34	Antepurgatory is where souls wait before entry into Purgatory; It is where Hell opens into a reed-grown shore with mount Purgatory looming above;
	35	Psalm 62:1: My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him through prayer;
	36	Lazy Seeker: Faith is needed to create a relationship with God; Scriptures are helpful to find Knowledge. Being lazy is selfishness in disguise. Such people are convinced they are secure whether disagreeing or ignoring God's wisdom;
	37	Final Moments of Life: For Catholics Lent is a time for Repentance and Renewal; the final moments of life is a simple belief and a childlike faith of that all sins are forgiven at any time before Judgement. 
	38	Repentance: - To feel remorse, contrition, or self-reproach for what one has done or failed to do; be contrite. By doing so, Christians believe God will not mention such sins when judged; (Ezekiel 33:15-16).
	39	Miserere mei Deus": Hymn set in Psalm 51 during reign of Pope Urban VIII and composed by Gregorio Allegri: it is a prayer for mercy;	
	40	Links between Living and Dead: When a Christian of the Middle Ages, or even a Christian of recent centuries, turned his thoughts in prayer to the dead known to him, his prayers and feelings bore him upward to the souls of the dead with much greater power.  The souls of the dead feel warmed by the breath of the love streaming from those who looked upwards or sent their thoughts upward to them in prayer. If we allow external culture to be our guide, Pitra Shanti Puja is performed by Hindus for the living for departed souls who have not attained peace at death.
	41	Jacopo del Cassero (1260-1298) was Son of Uguccione, belonging to a noble family of Fano and a brave man of weapons and a political essay; in 1288 he took part with the Guelphs marches to the wars between Florence and Arezzo. In 1296 he was Podesta of Bologna and opposed with violence the ambitious aims of the Lord of Ferrara, Azzo VIII d'Este. These facts sent assassins who killed him at Oriaco, on the banks of the Brenta, while Jacopo was trying to reach Milan in 1298 to assume the post of Mayor of the city. The body was brought back to Fano and buried with great honour in the Church of St. Domenico. The memory of that horrendous crime was still alive in the memory of Dante and his contemporaries. Jacopo did not omit to mention "serious offenses" of violence that had marked his life. He recognizes violence practised and violence suffered, maintains itself in the futility of human hatred and desire for revenge		
	42	Buonconte: Son of military strategist Guido da Montefeltro, he helped expel the Guelph party from Arezzo in 1287. His army was defeated by Guelphs from Florence at the Battle of Campaldino in 1289. Dante fought for Florence in the battle. Buonconte's body was not found after the battle. Dante encounters Buonconte waiting to enter Purgatory among the souls who died violent deaths and repented in the final moments. 
	43	18 Battle of Campaldino: 1289 between pro-papal Guelphs and pro-nobility Ghibellines  between Florence  and Arezzo - two Tuscan towns fought close to the walls of the castle;
	44	Banks of Archiano: Mortally wounded Buonconte arrived at the river bank and died with Mary's name;
	45	La Pia de Tolomea: In 1260 in Siena, Ghino falls in love with Pia, wife of his cousin Nello, a Ghibelline lord. When she refuses his love, as revenge Ghino informs Nello that he has discovered a secret message proving that Pia has an adulterous relation. Ghino goes to the place described in the message, and does find Pia with a man with her brother Rodrigo, a Guelph, whom she is helping to escape from Nello's prison. Rodrigo manages to escape, but Pia is captured and imprisoned. Ghino again offers her his love, promising to give her freedom in exchange; but the woman still refuses. Impressed by Pia's virtue and informed of the true identity of her alleged lover. Ghino repents, is mortally wounded in battle, and reveals the truth to Nello. However, Nello had already given to his servant Ubaldo the order to kill Pia by poisoning. Nello rushed to stop the servant, but it is too late: he finds his wife is dying. On her deathbed, Pia forgives her husband, and effects a reconciliation between him and Rodrigo (Pia's brother). Dante is familiar with this tragedy during Pia's lifetime. 
	46	Power of Mantra Chanting uplifts the sound of mantra lifts the believer towards the Higher Self;
	47	Will of Heaven: Hindus claim Desire to live as mortals drives human life. There are clear stipulations in the Bhagavad Gita about the kind of acts that can lead one to heaven or hell: ".those who worship the gods go to the gods; .those who worship the Bhutas (denizens) go to the Bhutas; and those who worship me (God) come to me." 
	48	Heaven and Hell: For some, heaven and hell are the ultimate destinations after death. However, in other religions that believe in the recurring nature of life or the belief in reincarnation, they are seen as a transitional environment. Some religions also suggest that heaven or hell are not a single destination, but have multiple realms, where a person can end up depending on his sins or actions.
	49	Blacatz (1165-1237) was a French feudal lord of Aups and a trobadour. Sordello wrote a lament (poem) on his death;
	50	Evil and Corruption in Italy - Middle Ages: Cycles of Societal and economic corruption led by a heretical Medieval Church and a strong series of secular rulers; 
	 51	Benincasa da Laterina: Illustrious magistrate 
	52	Frederico Novello: Member of Conti Guidi Family killed while assisting a friend;
	53	Gano of Pisa: Their history begins in Messina in 397 BC a city in Sicily. The Saracens took their city in 831 AD and suffered the Normans in 1061. They were host to Christian Crusaders in 1190. They were a family of persons of rank and landowners;
	54	Count Orso from the di Orsini Family of 938 AD of Orzano, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy;  
	55	Pier de la Brosse (1230-1278): was a royal favourite and councillor during the early reign of Philip III;
	56	Bend the rule of Heaven: to cause a change in direction of the Law of Karma;
	57	The notion of God as a supernatural being preceded Christianity by thousands of years. The Christian God was stamped from a Pagan mold. The deities are conceived personally, as beings with intelligence and will, The Gods concern themselves with earthly society; the aid or oppose man's plans and efforts; they reward men for fidelity and virtue and punish them for impiety and sin." [The Great Ideas, 1952, Ch. 29]
	58	Sordello: 13th-century Italian troubadour, born in Giotto near Virgil's home town of Mantua. In Purgatory he personifies    patriotic    pride. The three stars represent Faith, Hope, and Charity.
	 59	Emperor Justinian I (482-565 AD) - a holy and right-believing Byzantine ruler;  
	 60	Albert I of Austria/Germany: Founder of greatness of the House of Hamburg; Albert sought to play an important part in European affairs. He seemed at first inclined to press a quarrel with the Kingdom of France over the Burgundian frontier, but the refusal of Pope Boniface VIII to recognize his election led him to change his policy, and, in 1299, he made a treaty with King Philip IV, by which his son Rudolph was to marry Blanche, a daughter of the French king. He afterwards became estranged from Philip, but in 1303, Boniface recognized him as German king and future emperor; in return, Albert recognized the authority of the pope alone to bestow the Imperial crown, and promised that none of his sons should be elected German king without papal consent. He was on the way to suppress a revolt in Swabia when he was murdered on 1 May 1308, at Windisch on the Reuss River, by his nephew Duke John, afterwards called "the Parricide" whom he had deprived of his inheritance.
	61	Light of Sun - Gayatri Mantra: is chanted to release the supreme solar power of the Inner Sun of Self-realisation and Cosmic Creation. It invokes the power and radiance to energise all earthly life, to destroy sin and to reveal the Supreme;
	62	The Christ: is the experience of an inner anointing with the Living Christos Within. Messengers (Messiahs) like Jesus share their life experience of living the miraculous transformations through Knowledge, Wisdom and Meditation; supporters of the Christ Myth (Christians) continue to use Jesus' life as a means to overcome our sins;
	63	Four Cardinal Virtues: In Hinduism: 1. Non-violence 2.Truth 3.Purity 4.Self-control; Plato: Wisdom, courage, self-control, and justice; Sioux: bravery, fortitude, generosity, and wisdom;
	64	Salve Regina: known also as Hail Holy Queen, a Marian hymn and one of four sections sung at different seasons;
	65	Holy Emperor Rudolf I of Germany: To win the approbation of the Pope, Rudolph renounced all imperial rights in Rome, the papal territory, and Sicily, and promised to lead a new crusade. Pope Gregory X, in spite of Ottokar II of Bohemia's protests, not only recognized Rudolph himself, but persuaded King Alfonso X of Castile to do the same. Rudolph surpassed the two heirs of the Hohenstaufen dynasty that he had earlier served so loyally. Rudolph was not very successful in restoring internal peace. Orders were indeed issued for the establishment of land peaces in Bavaria, Franconia and Swabia, and afterwards for the whole Empire. But the king lacked the power, resources, or determination, to enforce them, although in December 1289 he led an expedition into Thuringia where he destroyed a number of robber-castles. Dante finds Rudolph sitting outside the gates of Purgatory with his contemporaries, and berates him as "he who neglected that which he ought to have done".
	66	Ottokar II: shrewdly exploited the disorders of the interregnum in the Holy Roman Empire. He built an empire reaching from Bohemia to the Adriatic. He won (1251) the duchy of Austria by election, marriage, and conquest and became involved in a long war over Styria with Bela IV Bela IV, 1206-70, king of Hungary (1235-70), son and successor of Andrew II. He tried to curtail the power of the magnates and set out to recover the crown lands his father had given to supporters.
		Ottokar sought the German crown in 1273, but his unprecedented power made him unpopular with the electors. Rudolf I the first king of the Hapsburg's dynasty election as king ended the interregnum (1250-73), during which time there was no accepted German king or Holy Roman. In 1276, yielding to a powerful German-Hungarian coalition headed by Rudolf, Ottokar surrendered all but Bohemia and Moravia, with which he was reinvested by Rudolf. However, Ottokar's revived ambitions and Rudolf's interference in Bohemian affairs provoked a new war. Ottokar was defeated and killed in a fierce battle against Germans and Hungarians. He was succeeded by his son, Wenceslaus II 1271-1305, king of Bohemia and of Poland (1300-1305). Unlike the son, Ottokar II was an astute diplomat, and a courageous warrior. 
	67	Philip III also called the Bold was a Capetian King of France who reigned from 1270 to 1285. He accompanied his father on the Eighth Crusade to Tunisia in 1270. His father died at Tunis and there Philip was declared king at the age of 25. Philip was indecisive, soft in nature, timid, and apparently crushed by the strong personalities of his parents and dominated by his father's policies. He was called "the Bold" on the basis of his abilities in combat and on horseback and not his character. He was pious, but not cultivated. He followed the dictates of others, first of Pierre de la Broce and then of his uncle Charles I of Sicily.Philip made numerous territorial acquisitions during his reign, the most notable being the County of Toulouse which was annexed to the Crown lands of France in 1271. Following the Sicilian Vespers, a rebellion triggered by Peter III of Aragon against Philip's uncle Charles I of Naples, Philip led an unsuccessful Aragonese Crusade in support of his uncle. Philip was forced to retreat and died from dysentery in Perpignan in 1285. He was succeeded by his son Philip the Fair.
	68	Antaha Karana: Entry into the Path (Kundalini) exists at two places: i. Muladhara Chakra which takes the Kundalini towards Brahmanda (inner/outer cosmos); and ii. Agnya Chakra which gradually begins in the front from the Navel (navi chakra which is located lower than the manipura chakra) and ascends with continued practice towards supreme consciousness.
Recognition of Muladhara and Agnya Centres:
		1. Muladhara: When the yellow colour becomes clarified then by the Tankore of Pranas a triangle becomes visible. Tankore means to produce light and sound from their collision giving rise to Bliss and ecstasy. It blesses the Sadhaka with visualization of the flame of BRAHMA. It provides the capacity to unite various types of pranas, and to finally merge Atma with God It is made up of the light of sun, moon, and fire or made up of Ida, Pingala and Prana particles. It is an active form. In fact entry into Sushumna means entry into Antaha Karana. A black dot in the centre of the triangle is the opening for and entry into Sushumna, It is only practiced in Kundalini discipline: 
		2. Agnya Chakra: After visualizing AUM give Tankore on its knot by Prana. Repeatedly concentrate the Manas. A dark spot in the shiny knot is the opening for entering into Antaha Karana. The grace of the master reveals it. The Sadhaka endowed with sattvik attributes and desirous for the knowledge of BRAHMA can only perceived it. The others cannot even see it.
	69	Evil of Darkness: Any time is a 'specified time' for sadhana; each moment is for celebrating the "Silence of Life".  Silence is not of sadness and the celebration is not frivolous and superficial. For celebration to get depth, you need silence. For silence to manifest in its total glory, you need celebration. It is what reduces violence, sufferings and conflicts by spreading the love, harmony, and peace throughout the world in various societies.
	70	Lychnite:short-lived perennial that will usually self-seed for many years;
	71	Te lucis ante terminum: hymn by St. Ambrose: To Thee, Before the close of day //Creator of the world, we pray that with Thy wonted favor//Thou wouldst be our Guard and Keeper now. From all ill dreams defend our eyes//from nightly fears and fantasies//tread under foot our ghostly foe//that no pollution we may know. O Father, that we ask be done//through Jesus Christ Thine only Son,//who, with the Holy Ghost and Thee//shall live and reign eternally. Amen.
	72	Serpent: Devil or treacherous person who is a guileful tempter who tempted Eve;
	73	Nino de' Visconti was better known as Nino. He was a son of Giovanni Visconti and nephew of Ugolino della Gherardesca. He was the first husband of Beatrice, daughter of Obizzo II d'Este. His chaplain, a friar named Gomita, was caught taking bribes to release prisoners and so Nino had him hanged. Gomita was placed in the eighth circle of Hell in the Inferno and Nino was commended for the act of justice and piety. In 1288, he began to share power with his uncle in Pisa, but the two quarreled.  Nino was an important patron of literary culture. Dante Alighieri was a friend, and, in the eighth canto of his Purgatory, to his mild surprise, meets Nino in the region of Purgatory outside St. Peter's gate, where the souls of those who neglected their spiritual welfare for the sake of their country are detained for a period equal to their earthly lifetimes before beginning their purgation. Nino asks Dante to remind Joanna to pray for him, especially as his widow was remarrying into the Milanese branch of the Visconti.
	74	28 Currado Malaspina: grandson of the elder Malaspina family. He was a Ghibelline marquis of Villafranca in Lunigiana; he died in  1294
	75	Currado predicts an unexplained event that happened in 1306, during the early years of Dante's exile, when he was a guest of the Malaspina family
	76	Sordello da Giotto in the Province of Mantua: spent a life of brawling and intrigue while serving at the court. Like other Italian troubadours before him, he wrote in Provencal. His best-known poem, Serventese (1237), is a bitter lament on the death of his patron. Dante gave Sordello a patriot's status in Purgatory.  Robert Browning used him as the subject of a long poem, Sordello (1840).
	77	The three stars represent Faith, Hope, and Charity.
	78	Knowledge helps to move forward with wishes. With knowledge, patience increases. With patience, any wish, becomes a commitment and resolution). Rooted in commitment moving forward is possible. In life, Yoga is essential, meaning to be one with the Self - the One Being. Surrendering all wishes and commitments, there is a realisation 'I want nothing.' The mind becomes stronger, the intellect becomes sharper, the body becomes healthier, and the spirit becomes gentle. This happens due to yoga. So stay in Yoga.
	79	The moon, here described as the concubine of Tithonus, the brother of Priam, is rising with the constellation Scorpio gleaming on  her forehead. Two steps of the night have flown by and the third is about to do so: it is approaching 9:00 P.M.
	 80	Philomena was changed into a swallow, her sister Procne into a nightingale, to prevent Procne's husband Tereus from killing  them. The story is found in Ovid's Metamorphoses VI
	 81	Ganymede, a handsome youth, was snatched up to Olympus by an eagle to become the cupbearer of Zeus.	 
	 82	Saint Lucia stands for divine light. She is one of the three heavenly ladies in Inferno II.
	 83	This is one of the many angels that Dante encounters throughout purgatory.
	84 	The first step represents confession; the second for contrition, third for penance: the 3 steps together stand forgiveness of sins.
	85	The seven P's are the seven sins (peccata) or wounds to be wiped away or wounds (plagae) to be healed. 
	86	The two keys are the signs of papal power to bind or loose sin, the gold indicating authority and the silver discernment of spirit.	
	87	Temple of Saturn on Tarpeian Rock held the Roman treasury: Metellus failed to stop Caesar from breaking into it in 49 BC. 	
	88	The Te Deum is a hymn of praise sung in the church on days of celebration since the fourth century.
	89	The angel Gabriel announced the birth of Jesus to Mary (Luke 1:26-38). 
	90	Ecce Ancilla Domini: Gabriel promises Zacharias that his elderly wife Elizabeth will bear a son they will call John and Mary will be the mother of a prophet Jesus (Luke I: 38) It means "Behold the Handmaid of the Lord". The words are traditionally the Virgin Mary's answer to the Archangel Gabriel in the Annunciation.
	91	Second scene shows King David dancing before the Ark of the Covenant, Uzzah touching and being punished and David's wife Michal watching him with disapproval (2 Samuel 6).
	92	Archangel Michael: Through succeeding Cycles of Time, he has provided The Pathway for the descent of new Spirits, as the Guardian Overlord of the Angelic Elemental Kingdom and of humanity. He will not fold his Cosmic Wings to return home until all angelic beings are freed; the last man is redeemed and returned to its perfect state. This is the love of Michael, who like many others, is a Prisoner of Love to the life he serves. Archangel Michael is referred to as the greatest of all angels in writings throughout the world, including Jewish, Christian and Islamic.
	93	Emperor Trajan (117 A.D.) was popularly believed to have been brought back to life and baptized by Saint Gregory. In the third panel he is shown dismounting to administer justice in behalf of a poor widow, even while on his way to battle.
	94	Karmic Debt is a means to learn lessons that allow the soul to evolve; it is not a punishment. Energy of action must be freed from the debts of destiny. It is the only way for resolving the negatives in life;
	95	Spiritual Metamorphosis through Transcendental Meditation: self-development process which blends positive psychology with neuroscientific techniques to support, in practical ways, the spiritual evolution of humanity.  By moving from fear-based realities based on confusion, illusion, delusion, and conflict, transformation spiritual metamorphosis is a  movement is  towards clarity, authenticity, love and cooperation. 
	96	For the needle's eye, the narrow way to heaven, (Matthew 19:24 and Mark 20:25);  
	97	The Serpent Power (Kundalini) is located in the Ida or lunar channel on the left is associated with Shakti-rupa or the female principle; the Pingala or solar channel on the right with the masculine principle - purusha) The central channel or Sushumna is associated with fire and the union of the two.
	 98	The first level is where the proud repent. 
	99	Polycleitus (412 B.C.) was a famous Greek sculptor;
	100	Manna: miraculous food given to Israelites for 40 years while crossing the dessert; 
	101	Guglielmo Aldobrandesco Count of Santafiore the father was of ancient blood and gallant deeds.  The speaker is Omberto   Aldobrandesco, son of Guglielmo. He was killed by the Sienese in the siege of his stronghold at Campagnatico in 1259.
	102	Oderisi da Gubbio (1299) belonged to the Bolognese school of manuscript illuminators, as did his pupil Franco of Bologna. 
	103	Franco Bolognese is a minor artist, well known at the beginning of the 14th century. Vasari mentioned that he was appreciated by the popes. The painter was a friend of Giotto and Dante. Franco of Bologna was said to have been a pupil of Oderigi's.  His talents were discovered by Cimabue, while he was tending sheep for his father in the neighbourhood of Florence, and he was afterward patronized by Pope Benedict XI and Robert, King of Naples; and enjoyed the society and friendship of Dante, whose likeness he has transmitted to posterity. Guido Cavalcanti, the friend of Dante had eclipsed the literary fame of Guido Guinizelli. 
	104	Cimabue (1240-1302), the Florentine artist, was followed by his student Giotto di Bondone    (1266-1337) who not only excelled his master but became the founder of European art.
	105	Probably Dante refers to Guido Cavalcanti (1300) who is mentioned in Inferno X, l. 60, and the other is Guido Guinizelli of Bologna (1276). He is in the seventh terrace of purgatory. The two poets were highly regarded by Dante for the innovations in their poetry.
	106	Provenzan Salvani (1269) led the Ghibelline Sienese at the battle of Montaperti in 1260; later captured and beheaded by the Florentine Guelphs. He was reputed to have publicly begged in Siena for the ransom money to free a friend captured by Charles Anjou.
	107	Pride rears its head even in the most unsuspected corners. One is proud that he is proud, and another is proud that he is not proud. Learning may render one man proud, and yet ignorance can also be the source of pride for another man.
	108	Sin is Karma: Sin is action causing harm in any manner to all others. Sin is wrong action based on 'thinking/thoughts that are carried out in action. It is a transgression of religion especially when it is a deliberate action, whether while asleep, awake or when sharing with anyone capable of using the gift in causing harm.  Prayaschitta (atonement) does not actually destroy the karmaphala (reaction (fruit) of action) but allows the person to transact with society. Hinduism relates sin to karma: it is the harmful result of one's misdeeds in both the present life and in one's past lives. Most monotheistic religions believe that human sinning is volitional because of free will, while at the same time they attribute the power of sin to the works of the Devil.
		In Hinduism, the term sin or is often used to describe actions that create negative karma, or violate moral and ethical codes adharma. Hinduism does not view sin as a crime against God, but as an act against dharma, meaning: moral order and against one's own self. Among many monotheistic religions, the chief among all sins is either rebellion against God and manifesting as pride, disobedience, or idolatry. Sometimes sexual transgression is placed at the top of the list. All religions teach that humans suffer a penalty for their sins, either through karma that "ripens" in a future life, through some misfortune in the present life, or by being cast into Hell. All religions, however, teach their followers to avoid committing sin and prescribe a path to eradicate accumulated sin:  a doctrine of atonement. 
	 	An adharmic action automatically brings negative consequences. The residue of sin is called sin conceived of as an astral substance that can be dissolved through penance (Prayaschitta), austerity (tapas), and good deeds (sukritya). Sin is also accrued through unknowing or unintentional transgressions of dharma, as in the term aparadha (offense, fault, and mistake). 
	 	Manu 11.228-239 makes the definitive declaration on the atonement of sin. '' By confession, by repentance, by austerity and by reciting the Veda a sinner is freed from guilt, and in case no other course is possible, by penance. Its austerity is in proportion to the done wrong which he confesses - until he is freed from guilt, like a snake freed from its slough. In proportion his heart loathes his evil deed, his body freed from guilt.
	109	Thinking negatively is Sin and includes: 1.Greed; 2.Comparisons through imagined Insufficiency; 3. Envy or Jealousy; 4. Negative Self-image and Self-Apprehension manifesting as Fear; 5. Selfishness through self-interest; 6.Frustrations with events and happenings; 7.Personal opinionated comments of prideful judgement or jealousy based on beliefs; 8.Insults both witty and cruel; 9.Lack of Self-belief and not achieving (sloth) purpose of being human;10.Anger tendency as reaction through retaliation; 11.Possessiveness through domination and ownership; 11. Pride in an imagined self-worth; 12. Ego in a distinct world of "I" personality; 13. Deception through lying and falsehood. 
	110	Lucifer's fall was due to his pride and rebellion. See Jesus' words in Luke 10:18: "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven." The first letters of lines 26 to 63 spell out "UOM" ("MAN").
	 111	Beati pauperes spiritu: Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
	112	Prayer to Sun Consciousness
	113	Vinum non habent: 'they have no wine" says Mother Mary; Jesus performs 1st miracle changing water in 6 large pots into wine.
	114	Orestes Lyric: The world is good and I made it according to my will and I am Goodness. But you    Orestes you have done evil and the very rocks and stones cry out against you;
	115	Medieval Hunting: necessity of hunting was transformed into a stylized pastime of the aristocracy. More than a pastime, it was an important arena for social interaction, essential training for war, and a privilege and measurement of nobility
	 116	Guido del Duca, a renowned nobleman of Ravenna and a Ghibelline of the Onesti family;
	 117	Rinier da Calboli (1296), a Guelph of the Paolucci family, a native Forl? & administrator of Ravenna
	 118	Fulcieri da Calboli, grandson of Rinier,a magistrate for Florence who persecuted the White Guelphs.
	119	Pagano was a cruel leader who was just as unscrupulous in death. In his final will, he laid out very specific instructions for his tomb, located in the Abbey of Vallombrosa in Susinana. Although the tomb's exact location in the monastery remains a mystery even today, it is rumoured that he was buried with his famous golden sword and a treasure chest overflowing with jewels and coins.  According to the legend that is still told by farmers in the area, on the nights of a full moon, Maghinardo Pagano rides through the countryside on his white horse, wearing his gold armor and carrying his golden sword. Dante called him a 'lion' and a 'demon';
	 120	The words are those of Cain to God after killing his brother Abel (Genesis 4:14).
	 121	Aglauros, daughter of King Cecrops of Athens, envied her sister Herse because Mercury loved her; the god turned Aglauros into stone.	  
	 122	The poet describes the sun's annual ecliptic course through the sky and concludes  it is three hours before sunset on the mount and midnight in Italy
	 123	Calculating time of Day: An experiment from optics is used to explain the reflection of a ray of light
	124	Mirror: The echo of the Self is moving closer - at first as flickering images of the old self and finally finding oneself in the mirror.
	125	Moving closer to Light symbolising illumination and enlightenment;
	126	Light: Representing rebirth from cleansing;
	127	Beati misericordes is the beatitude the two poets hear after the angel gives them permission to proceed. The pilgrim refers to the words of Guido del Duca in the previous canto
	128	Ecstatic Vision: Ecstatic Vision is an introceptive and extroceptive experience.  The miracle happens as a physical/emotional encounter with a high degree of sensory recognition. Colour and detail are all magnified in strong positive resilience coupled with a sensation of communion with a divine force of almost overwhelming goodness. 
	129	The first whip of the third terrace for the wrathful is the example of Mary's meek remonstrance after finding Jesus in the temple (Luke 2:42-50).
	130	Pisistratus, tyrant of Athens (560-527 BC.), took no action, despite the urgings of his wife, against an unwelcomed suitor of his daughter after the young man kissed her in public.
	131	Athena and Neptune both wanted Athens named for them.
	132	Sleep walked crookedly: Dante's sad disappointment with life finds expression in magically transforming a devious sleepwalk into spiritual path of renewal.
	133	The third scene is of the stoning of Saint Stephen (Acts 7:54-60). Dante has daydreamed each of these scenes.
	134	Wrathful Deities: Tibetan deities (Buddhistic bodhisattvas) manifest in wrathful forms and "are supposed to wage war without any mercy against the demons and enemies of moral ethics (dharma). Humans ask  for gentleness by chanting 'Om mani padme hum.' 
	135	Left-right Symbolism: in science and society symbolize the "spiritual" right side is intact and the thought-provoking the Sinister Side is fanciful and confused. 
	136	Why Sin? Humans are free moral agents and have to make choices in all matters but do not take God's word seriously.
	137	Lombardy between the Adige and the Po rivers was a battling-ground for Emperor Frederick II and the popes with their allies.
	138	Currado da Piazza, a Guelph of Brescia, acted as Charles I of Anjou's vicar in Florence in 1276. Gerardo da Camino of Brescia and Guido da Castello of Treviso are here given as models of highborn generosity
	139	The sons of Levi are ancestrally entitled to priesthood according to Moses. Jesus was a Levi.
	140	Gerardo Suarez. It is called "El limbo" and represents the Fourth Song of Dante's Divine Comedy.
	141	Gaia: Between goddess of Earth and the god Aither (primordial first-borns of elements) were born Lyssa (madness), Poena (vengeance), Lethe (Oblivion), Aergia (Sloth) and Hysminai (conflict) who were all personifications of battle.
	142	Roman 12:11: Spiritual Slothfulness: Knowledge is not faith and principles are not Power. Never lack in zeal but keep spiritual fervour by serving the Lord.
	143	Haman, favorite of King Ahasuerus of the Persians, was charged by queen Esther for persecuting Mordecai and the Jews; he was hanged
	144	Ahasuerus is the father of Darius the Mede, who "was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans" after the conquest of Babylon and death of Belshazzar. Darius acted under Cyrus as governor of Babylon. 
	145	Lavinnia, daughter of Latinus and Amata, was promised to Aeneas rather than Turnus; Amata in distress killed herself (Aeneid XII), The three reins or bridles come to the poet as visions of his imagination.
	146	Maya: Hindu concept of illusions and delusions which blind mind and allow it to influence life, lives, senses, knowledge, desires, creativity and actions of the human.
	147	Beati pacifici is the liturgical prayer Dante hears at the end of the third terrace to mean Blessed are the peacemakers. 
	148	This angel, as in other passages from terrace to terrace, gives Dante directions to proceed, and wipes out one of the P's from his forehead.
	149	 Stairway to Heaven (Final Book of Daniel 12): "...but you Daniel, go your way, for the words are to remain secret and the book sealed until the time of the end, many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase." (Daniel 12) 
		Yoga is not a religion. It is a pathway to self realization for truth and the life. It is the hard-core meditative process and methods of attaining Divinity. Awakening as an angel involves a sustained, awakened kundalini and possessing "miraculous" powers with ability to transcend awareness into the great beyond of Consciousness using the Word. All the seven chakras (energy centers) when unified, allows the power of kundalini - the serpent fire located at the base of the spine to rise and meeting the crown chakra. This blending of the seven centers creates a channel for the divine Spirit to flow and radiate dazzling Light, and the wings became visible for all to see. The Light is a tangible power which after awakening allows the seeker to attain degrees of transcendental Consciousness. It is achievable not for "just Jesus" but there would be others who would do the works he did to attain The Christ (kutastha chaitanya).  
		Seekers students of truth in all various faiths speak of the same God. Sameness is blocked by differences in narrow dogma preventing the way to wisdom and understanding divine universal truths. At the bottom 15% of the Universal Diamond are the atheists, agnostics and materialists and secularist humanists. Higher up in the diamond are the fundamentalists, extreme doctrinal and dogmatic with shallow rigidity who  believe in God and have faith, but are generally lacking insight into the higher truths. Somewhere in the middle exists the bulk of humankind classified as "normal." They believe in the religion of the common man who believe mis-understood half-truths, are regular Church goers, and live a moral, charitable life who believe in a simplistic theology. They are resistant to change in beliefs or character, taking the path of conformity and security.
		Higher up on the scale of the diamond, are open-minded and tolerant of others' beliefs, and are continuously seeking internal and external truth, whatever the source may be. At the top, which contains even fewer souls, are the wise, intense seekers of truth and higher wisdom, knowledge and true reality. Far beyond bigotry and ignorance they seek liberation, but acknowledge that it must take effort on their part. The path is of much inner turmoil, contemplation, meditation, and transcendence. They intuitively know they must turn inward and do the rigorous spiritual work and become a one with God. Those who take the path (kundalini) must enter the narrow gate (agnya chakra or The Christ) that leads to eternal life. "No one comes to the Father but," where "me" is the 'The Christ Way' at the kutastha in the 'Third Eye' between and above the eyebrows' This Knowledge of How to Experience is available to Sufi Muslims, Kabbalists Jews, Christian Gnostics, Nirvana seeking Buddhists and yogis of Hinduism. Yoga is the path to God-realization; there are infinite paths to the One Way. They are the mystical branches of the major religions. It is out of these you will find the Masters, the Christs, the Avatars, the mystics and saints. These movements are identical in philosophy, just said differently.
	150	Samadhi is enlightenment: Samadhi is periods of time-loss when a human loses awareness; Three samadhi experiences: Laya samadhi is potential level of samadhi; savikalpa samadhi is meditating through an object like Light; and nirvikalpa samadhi is experiencing enlightenment without the medium of object of concentration;  
	151	Two kinds of Love: The pilgrims arrive at the fourth cornice for the slothful. The poet is challenged to a probing study of love which is either natural or rational in human beings; rational or elective love can err in a number of ways. 
	152	Love defined in Ancient Greek distinguishes different senses with the word "love" is used. Agape is the verb I love  refers to a "pure," ideal type of love, rather than the physical attraction suggested by Eros which is passionate love, with sensual desire and longing. Although Eros is i felt for a person, with contemplation it becomes appreciation of beauty within that person. It contributes to an understanding of spiritual truth. Philia  a dispassionate virtuous love as loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires virtue, equality, and familiarity. Philia is motivated by practical reasons to benefit from the relationship. It is "love of the mind."
		Storge is natural affection, like that felt by parents for offspring. Xenia is hospitality -  a ritualized friendship between a host and his guest. 
	153	Ismenus and Asopus, rivers of Thebes where Bacchus was born, were the sites, along their banks, of the frenzied rites of his worship.
	154	St. Zeno died in 380. According to legend, over his tomb, along the Via Gallica, the first small church was erected by Theodoric the Great, king of the Ostrogoths. The history of the present basilica and the associated Benedictine monastery begins in the 9th century, when Bishop Ratoldus and King Pepin of Italy attended the translation of the saint's relics into the new church. 
	155	Evil borders upon good and vices are confounded by virtues "and even though He is of necessity the ultimate cause of evil as he is of good" (Amos 5:15) says recognize good as good, evil as evil, and never confuse the two. When they pervert justice and ethics by its influence of becomes many do not even believe in the existence of good and evil. They consider them as moral standards on individual preferences or societal factors.
	156	Here Virgil begins his analysis (based on Thomas Aquinas) of the operations of the human soul which transcends the body and yet operates with it. He integrated Aristolean philosophy to Christian thought
	157	On the opposite side of the world, the moon appears moving west to east along the path the sun would take in Sagittarius or late November;
	158	Mary "in haste" visited Elizabeth after learning of her cousin's pregnancy (Luke 1:38-40). Julius Caesar's speedy campaign against the forces of Pompey provides the second example of zeal, shouted by the sinners of sloth as they run past.
	159	Gerardo abbot of San Zeno in Verona, died in 1187 during the reign of Frederick I who sacked Milan in 1162;
	160	Alberto della Scala, lord of Verona, placed his bastard and deformed son Giuseppe as abbot of San Zeno in 1292
	161	Two more examples of sloth are the Israelites who, after passing through the Red Sea, so grumbled and rebelled in the desert that they were denied seeing the Promised Land (Exodus 14:10-20, Numbers 4:26-34); and the followers of Aeneas who stayed in Sicily;(Aeneid V);
	162	Dreams and the planet Saturn was thought to cause cold weather when close to the horizon; moonlight had the same effect. Geomancers or soothsayers would study patterns in the constellations, like the figure of Fortuna Major, to forecast the future.
	163	Siren: Dante's second dream involves the Siren, representing the sins of the flesh that remain to be purged: avarice, gluttony, and lust. He is aided by the lady of good conscience.
	164	Ulysses the Greek hero never refers to the Siren when he gives an account of his own death.
	165	As in previous terraces, the angel performs the ritual that allows the passages to the next terrace by removing a P from the pilgrim's forehead and giving him directions. The beatitude here is Qui lugent
	166	Right-hand Path and Left-hand Path: use of the terms originated in the West with Madame Blavatsky, a 19th century occultist who founded Theosophy. She claimed to have met with many mystics and magical practitioners in India and Tibet. She developed the term Left-Hand Path as a translation of the term Vama-marga, an Indian Tantric practice which literally meant "the left-hand way" in Sanskrit. Returning to Europe, Blavatsky began using the term and to associate left with evil in many European countries, where it already had an association with many negative things. Dave Evans referred to homosexuals as "left-handed" whilst in Protestant nations, Roman Catholics were called "left-footers". This association with negative aspects of society can be traced back to the Bible, in which it states:"And he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. And he shall set the sheep on his right, but the goats on his left.
		- Matthew 25: 32-33
	167	The Sheppard Adrian V is pope for five weeks in 1276. His uncle Pope Innocent IV appointed him cardinal. He was legate to England (1265-68), charged with establishing peace between the English king Henry III and the rebellious barons in 1265. He was elected as successor to Innocent V but died a little more than a month later before this want was fulfilled. He did however revoke the stern conclave regulations of Pope Gregory X. Because Adrian died even before he was ordained a priest or consecrated, Dante in his Purgatory portrays him as lamenting his avarice to become ordained and acknowledging vice "how the great mantle weighs" and "so justice here holds us close."
	168	Pope Adrian V reigned for only one month before his death in 1276. He speaks in Latin: scias quod ego fui successor Petri.. He was of the Fieschi family of Genoa, counts of Lavagna in Liguria. His niece Alagia was the wife of Morella Malaspina, a friend of Dante in exile.
	169	The first King of Germany to claim Rome as part of his realm was probably Otto I in the 10th Century. Otto I overthrows the Germanic dynastic of Roman emperors and Italy is officially incorporated into the Holy Roman Empire. Then there follows years of Oligarchy by King and Popes.
	170	Someone: Dante wished there was worthy King or pope to give Florence her rights and hoped there would be someone around. Therefore Dante sees Henry III ("the king of simple life") sitting outside the gates of Purgatory with other contemporary European rulers. Unlike the other rulers, who neglected their spiritual welfare due to preoccupation with worldly concerns, Henry appears to have been relegated to Ante-Purgatory for neglecting his kingly duties out of an excess of religious piety. 
		 Then there was German Henry VII (1275-1313) who was Holy Roman Emperor from 1312. During his brief career he reinvigorated the imperial cause in Italy, wracked with the partisan struggles between the divided Guelf and Ghibelline factions, and inspired the praise of Dino Compagni and Dante Alighieri. His premature death undid his life's work. Henry is the alto Arrigo in Dante's Paradiso, and gives him a seat of honour that awaits Henry in Heaven. Henry in Paradiso is "He who came to reform Italy before she was ready for it". Dante also alludes to him numerous times in "Purgatory" as the saviour, who will bring imperial rule back to Italy, and end the inappropriate temporal control of the Church. Henry VII's success in Italy was not lasting, and after his death the anti-imperial forces regained control.
	 	At Henry VII's death and for the following decades, the central figure Robert of Naples remained a nemesis in Italian policy. After Henry VII's death, two rivals, Ludwig of Bavaria and Frederick of the House of Habsburg, laid claim to the crown. The legacy of Henry remained successful in the careers of two local despots he made Imperial Vicars in northern cities.  Pisa was a Ghibelline city, supported the Holy Roman Emperor. Boniface VIII (1235 - 1303). 
	 	Today, Boniface is best remembered for his feuds with Dante, who placed him in the Eighth Circle of Hell among the simoniac. Boniface placed Dante's city of Florence under an interdict and invited the ambitious French Count Charles of Valois to enter Italy in 1300 allegedly to end the feud of Black and White Guelphs, when the poet Dante was in the party of the Whites. Boniface's political ambitions therefore affected Dante's life when the pope, who under the pretence of peacemaking, invited Charles of Valois to intervene in the affairs of Florence. Charles's intervention allowed the Black Guelphs to overthrow the ruling White Guelphs, whose leaders, including the poet Dante, were sentenced to exile. Dante settled his score with Boniface in the Inferno, by damning the pope, and placing him within the circles of Fraud. 
	 	The conflict between Boniface VIII and King Philip IV of France came at a time of expanding nation states and the desire for the consolidation of power by the increasingly powerful monarchs. The increase in monarchical power and its conflicts with the Church of Rome were only exacerbated by the rise to power of Philip IV. During his reign, Philip surrounded himself with the best civil lawyers and decidedly expelled the clergy from all participation in the administration of the law. Boniface took a hard stand against it. It was during hostilities between Boniface and Philip that Philip retaliated by denying the exportation of money from France to Rome, the funds that Church required to operate. Boniface had no choice but to contest Philip's demands, informing Philip that "God has set popes over kings and kingdoms."
	 	Philip was convinced that the wealth of the Catholic Church in France should be used in part to support the state. He prohibited the export of gold, silver, precious stones, or food from France to the Papal States and blocking a main source of papal revenue. Philip also banished from France the papal agents who were raising funds for a new crusade in the Middle East. In the bull Ineffabilis amor of September 1296, Boniface retreated. He sanctioned voluntary contributions from the clergy for the necessary defence of the state and gave the king the right to determine that necessity. Philip rescinded his ordinances regarding the exports and even accepted Boniface as arbitrator in a dispute between himself and King Edward I of England. Boniface decided most of those issues in Philip's favour.
	171	Medieval European History: The High Middle Ages started around 1000 AD, when the modern countries of Europe began to take form. After the Norman Conquest in 1066, beginnings of England, France, and Germany took shape. In Spain, the Reconquest begins to push out the Islamic rulers. Italy was still struggling between being part of the Holy Roman Empire and being a lot of independent cities, but kingdoms were also forming further east in Poland and Russia. In the Eastern Mediterranean, the past Roman Empire (now the Byzantine Empire) lost a lot of ground to the Seljuqs at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, and Islamic rule became less powerful.
	 	Throughout the High Middle Ages, Europe was fighting against the Islamic Empire and take back the Eastern Mediterranean - especially Jerusalem for Christianity. The First Crusade did manage to capture Jerusalem, but after that the Crusades were less successful, until finally people stopped trying.
	 	In the Late Middle Ages, the Mongol Empire brought peace to most of Asia, and encouraged trade along the Silk Road. Poland, Russia, and Italy profited from this trade. By the early 1300s, however, Europe suffered from both war and disease (plague). England and France began to fight the Hundred Years' War, which made both England and France poorer. Germany and Italy fought a long series of wars as well. The Black Death spread along the Silk Road from China to Europe starting in 1328, killing millions and causing the collapse of the Mongol Empire. 
	 	Like nearby Genoa, Florence got its independence when the Holy Roman Empire lost power over Italy around 1000 AD. By 1059, Florence was able to rebuild its Christian baptistery in a beautiful Romanesque style. By 1115, Florence established a republican system of government where many men had some voting rights. Most of the 1200s in Florence saw intense fighting between two rival political groups, the Guelphs and the Ghibellines. The poet Dante was exiled from Florence for being a Guelph. In the late 1200s, Florence began building a big new cathedral. Florence did even better after Genoa defeated Pisa, in 1284 AD. In 1293, Florence's government passed new laws protecting the rights of the citizens. 
	 	After the gap from 1254 to 1273 AD when there was no more Holy Roman Emperors once set up by Charlemagne, new emperors took charge, but never got back the power of the earlier emperors. The Holy Roman Empire had given up on controlling Italy, which now operated as a group of independent city-states like Florence and Genoa. Even though by 1338 AD, the Holy Roman Emperors had lost the power to choose their own successors, but a group of rich men, the Electors, met to elect an emperor. These Electors wanted to elect picked weak Emperors. The Electors formed their own governments that collected taxes, minted money, and ran their own court systems. Many of the Holy Roman Emperors stayed mainly on their own personal land, leaving the rest of their empire to run itself.
	172	Moha: Attachment to any person or object is infested with delusion and becomes the root cause of most harm inflicted on 'self' and the society. One who leads a Life with unattached attitude is able to maintain a balance between the physical manifested Life (the mundane existence) and the Spiritual component propelled by Atman (the Self-soul) within. 
	173	God' Grace: There is nothing stronger than a humble man who renounces 'self' and yields to God;
	174	The Samaritan woman at the well asks Christ for living water to drink (John 4:5-15).
	175	On the day of his resurrection, Christ appeared to two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-32).
	176	Clotho Lachesis is the Fate who spins the thread of life. 
	177	Iris, the rainbow, is the daughter of the centaur Thaumas and Electra.
	178	Titus, son of Vespasian, razed Jerusalem in 70 A.D. The act was long regarded by Christians as a divine reprisal for the crucifixion of Christ.
	179	Statius, a Roman poet born in Naples, authored the epics Thebiad on the siege of Thebes and Achilleid, which he left unfinished at his death in 96 AD
	180	Avarice: Hindu texts reduce aspirations in life to three: dharma ("virtue"), material gain, and love or pleasure. Dharma is is the underpinning for the others. Dharma establishes an ideal of behavior, religion, and ethics at each stage of living at the various stages of life, and always doing our dharma. Hinduism teaches the ultimate goal of life is to keep from being reborn. It is only by transcending selfishness that one can achieve that destiny. According to the Bhagavad Gita, the way to the cessation of the cycle of rebirth is to perform all of our actions just because such actions are our dharma, without egotistical concern for their fruits. The Law book of Yajnavalkya states: where there is a conflict between righteousness and material advantage, dharma and artha, dharma comes first.  Reason ranks first among the four ends because it is a supervisor.
	 	Plato maintained 'reason' should be that faculty in the soul that controls appetite and desire. In Hinduism, dharma plays the same role that reason plays for Plato. Whatever one chases in life, reason or dharma function as a supervisor. 
	181	Prodigal tendency: Hinduism maintains teaching dharma happens in are four stages of life by four types of gurus. Parents provide for the body and acquaint children with the problems of life. Worldly teachers at schools and universities help educate. The spiritual master knows the purpose of life and explains the way to self-realization. The fully enlightened cosmic guru is the final guru is introduced to this guru through the spiritual master.
	182 	Comparisons with Jesus:  Comparisons to God and Jesus come from past Christian deeds by political and irreligious Freethinkers who exploit popular religion for selfish purposes.
	183	Statius: (45-96 AD) was a Roman poet with versatile abilities. Taught by his educated father, Statius was familiar with classical literature and displayed his learning in his poetry. He produced deeply researched refined epics in a variety of themes. His poetic skill inspired the support of his patrons and the emperor. 
	184	The Beatitude, quoted in Latin by the angel, is "Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after justice, for they shall be filled." The phrase "they who hunger" is here omitted to reserve it for the gluttons on the terrace above.
	185	Juvenal (140 AD) was a Roman satiric poet who mentions the poverty of Statius in his Satires.
	186	Jocasta, mother and wife of Oedipus, saw her twin sons Eteocles and Polynices slay one another. And Clio, the muse of history, is invoked at the beginning of the Thebiad.
	187	Parnassus : Mountain in Central Greece;
	188	Before reaching the seventh book of the Thebiad, where the Greeks approach the Theban Rivers, Statius became a Christian. No historical evidence indicates that he was a convert. Euripides and the rest were Greek playwrights and poets.
	189	Terence and the others here were Roman playwrights; Perseus was a satirist;
	190	Five examples of fasting follow: Mary at the feast of Cana, noble matrons of Rome, Daniel at the king's table, primitive people, and John the Baptist who ate locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:4 and Mark 1:6).
	191	Angel of Justice: Raguel is angel of justice, fairness and harmony - the sixth angel (Rev 9:14) who works for God's Will in human relationships;
	192	Mathew 5 Jesus' Sermon on the Mount: 'And seeing the multitudes he went up on a mountain: and when he sat down, the disciples came to him: And he taught them ..." these teachings transcend some aspects of the Laws of Moses. He commands the crowd to be perfect like their Father God because 'Blessed are the meek and humble for they shall inherit the earth.'
	193	Insatiability: The right to livelihood must be earned for living but without avarice or greed. Such covetousness is a lust and gluttony - a sin of excess is the greatest calamity and one of Seven Deadly Sins in Abrahamic religions. Hinduism and Buddhism call avarice lobha which is an impediment to enlightenment. It is cited in the Mahabharata as one of five sins that cause spiritual ignorance.  
	194	Wastefulness: Fullness of Life reveals the Source of Life which is the ground of All Beings built upon virtues of speech, humility, peace, avoidance of wastefulness, practicality, application according to need with a freedom of adaptability, consistency and without abuse of the senses. Materialism associated with conformity associated with latest trends  and extravagant display displays uselessness and in excess is wastefulness which leads to lack of contentment, destroys enthusiasm for work, and causes slothful and laziness. Eastern Philosophies and Quakers believe it leads to spiritual wastefulness - a sin.
	195	Mahabharata and Sin: Yudhishthira said: I desire, O Bhishma to hear in detail the source of sin which becomes the foundation upon which it rests. Bhishma said: Hear, O King, what the foundation is of sin. Covetousness alone is a great destroyer of goodness. From covetousness emerges sin. It is from this source that sin and irreligiousness flow, together with great misery. This covetousness is the spring of all the cunning and hypocrisy in the world and makes men commit sin. From covetousness comes wrath; from covetousness flows lust. It is from covetousness that loss of judgment, deception, pride, arrogance, and malice, as also vindictiveness, loss of prosperity, loss of virtue, anxiety, and infamy spring. Miserliness, cupidity, desire for every kind of improper act, pride of birth, pride of learning, pride of beauty, pride of wealth, pitilessness for all creatures, malevolence towards all, mistrust in respect of all, insincerity towards all, appropriation of other people's wealth, ravishment of other people's wives, harshness of speech, anxiety, propensity to speak ill of others, violent craving for the indulgence of lust, gluttony, liability to premature death, violent propensity towards malice, irresistible liking for falsehood, unconquerable appetite for indulging in passions, insatiable desire for indulging in ear, evil-speaking, boastfulness, arrogance, non-doing of duties, rashness, and perpetration of every kind of evil act,- all these proceed from covetousness.
	 	When humans are unable, whether infants or youth or adults, to abandon covetousness remember the nature of covetousness is that it never decays even with the decay of life. Like the ocean that can never be filled by the constant discharge of even immeasurable rivers of immeasurable depths, covetousness is incapable of being gratified by acquisitions to any extent. Covetousness is never gratified by acquisitions and not satisfied by the accomplishment of desires. That is known to gods and power-seeking deities both good and evil. All classes of beings know this irresistible passion, and the folly which invites the heart to unrealities of the world. It should therefore be conquered by a person of cleansed soul.
	 	Pride, malice, slander, crookedness, and incapacity to hear other people's good, are vices. These are seen in persons of unclean soul under the domination of covetousness. Even persons of great learning who bear in their minds have all the voluminous scriptures, and who are competent to dispel the doubts of others, show themselves in this respect. They are of weak understanding and feel great misery as a result of this passion. Covetous men are wedded to envy and anger and outside the pale of good behaviour. Of crooked hearts, their speeches utter sweetness. They resemble, dark pits whose mouths are covered with grass. They attire in the hypocritical cloak of religion. They rob the world of the standard of religion and virtue. Relying on the strength of reasons, they create diverse kinds of schisms in religion. Intent n accomplishing their purposes  they destroy the ways of righteousness.
	 	When wicked-souled persons under the domination of covetousness practice duties of righteousness, the results are the desecrations committed by them which soon become current among men. Pride, anger, arrogance, insensibility, paroxysms of joy and sorrow, and self-importance, all these are to be seen in persons swayed by covetousness. Know that they who are always under the influence of covetousness are wicked. Addressing King  	Yudhishthira, Bhishma continued and said:
		The heart of the sinful man always proclaims the sins he has committed. Those men who have deliberately committed sins meet with destruction by seeking to conceal them from the good. Indeed, they that are confirmed sinners seek to conceal their sinful acts from others. Such persons think that their sins are witnessed by neither men nor the deities.   The sinful man, overwhelmed by his sins, takes birth in a miserable order of being. The sins of such a man continually grow, even as the interests the usurer charges (on the loan he grants) increase from day to day. If, having committed a sin, one seeks to have it covered by righteousness that sin becomes destroyed and leads to righteousness instead of other sins. If a quantity of water be poured upon salt, the salt immediately dissolves away. Even so, when expiation is performed, sin dissolves away. For these reasons, one should never conceal a sin. Concealed, it is certain to increase. Having committed a sin, one should confess it in the presence of those that are good. 
	196	Religious Conversion: is the adoption of a different religion. Abrahamic Religions refer to it as a moral change and a turning to God of a true religion. Faiths are in a flux and roughly two-thirds of those who were raised Catholic or Protestant but now say they are not affiliated with any particular religion have changed faiths at least twice in their life, including those who have changed within the unaffiliated tradition (e.g., from atheist to agnostic). The same is true for roughly half of former Christians who have changed and have become affiliated with other faiths. 
	 	Hinduism does not practice Conversion, because it is the practice of "Sanatana Dharma": the righteous way of living. It encompasses the entire creation and is not founded by any one messiah. 
		Hinduism views itself in the vastness of its scope of practice and perception. The concept of one supreme God, who is amenable for worship in multitudes of names and forms, is one major aspect of religion that sets Hinduism apart from other religions. This has resulted in numerous sects and sub-sects in Hinduism. Hinduism ss practiced at the grass root level and as is comprehended individually from a basic to the elevated spiritual and philosophical level with a vast difference in between. Hinduism is a multifaceted religion. Like a pyramid with multiple faces at the bottom, it culminates at a single point at the top. There is no "single point of entry" to the religion which accepts all. This being the reality how can one "convert" to Hinduism? One basic question must be answered. What is the motive of one to adopt Hinduism? If it is to reach the highest degree of self-realisation, it is made technically possible by Shuddhi Karma. Arya Samaj, a religious organization founded by Swami Dayananda Saraswati (1824-1883) offers service for procedural conversion to Hinduism. This conversion practice was originally started by the founder in 1877 to bring back Hindus who converted to some other religion by choice or by coercion, who were subsequently willing to come back to Hinduism.
	 	The Vedic purification ceremony called "Shuddhi Karma" is possible in an Arya Samaj Temple by making a written application based on his/her free will, with proof of age and residence signed by the applicant before 2 witnesses. The Shuddhi Karma (purification ceremony) involves conducting a "homam" (ritual in front of fire) involving chanting of certain Hymns from the Vedas by the applicant, as guided by a priest. After the purification ceremony, a Certificate of Conversion to Hinduism is issued to the applicant.
	197	Statius quotes the celebrated passage from Virgil's fourth Eclogue of his Bucolic which predicts the coming of a child to issue in a new age.
	198	Domitian was emperor of Rome from 81 to 96 AD; Antigone and the others are characters in Statius' epics. Hypsipyle pointed out the spring of Langia in the Thebiad, and Manto is the daughter of Tiressias. Dante actually placed Manto not in Limbo but among the soothsayers
	199	Homer an
d other pagan poets are in Limbo.
200 Upside-down Tree: A banyan is a fig that starts its life as an epiphyte (a plant growing on another plant like a child-foetus off its mother). Hindus compare the world to an upside-down tree (Pipal tree). Metaphorically, the Illusion of human existence is compared with such a tree. In Hinduism, the leaf of the banyan tree is the resting place for Krishna. He can see the tree reflected in the clear water below. In the Bhagavad Geeta (3:13:21) the tree is referred to as the Ashwatha. John,"
201 Mary is simply referred to as 'Jesus' mother' who refers to the 6 water pots that stood for imperfections in the first six of the chakra system. She saw only partial glimpses (in the guests )of union of the divine and human in their feminine form of their kundalini.
202 Marriage Feast of Cana: Has no logic of banqueting protocol. It has the religious symbolism of a marriage between soul and Spirit, which Mary noticed was empty in 6 water-pots. John 2:1-2 - On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; and both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. The process of involution occurring within the body is like a wedding (sandhya). The bride (Kundalini Shakti) enters into Sushumna (the central nadi), pierces the first 6 chakras and finally meets and embraces the bridegroom (Siva) in the last chakra at the crown of the head. By this embrace, they make floods of nectar of immortality flow.
Bhagavad Gita 18:37-38: "That which in the beginning may be just like poison but at the end is just like nectar and which awakens one to self-realization is said to be happiness in the mode of goodness. That happiness which is derived from contact of the senses with their objects and which appears like nectar at first but poison at the end is said to be of the nature of passion."
203 Turning of water into wine: The good wine in the Wedding at Cana represents the nectar that results from the awakening to self-realization. The pursuit of self-realization is difficult, bitter like poison, but if one eventually achieves liberation, he begins to drink real nectar, and he enjoys life.
204 Water: Water as a symbol of life is a means of cleansing in the Old Testament. It was created on the first day (Genesis 1:2, 6-8). God commanded the water to bring out an abundance of living souls (Genesis 1:20-21). It is a powerful purifying element and can destroy evil and enemies as in the stories of the Flood and the flight of Israel from Egypt (Genesis 3:1-15; Exodus 14:1-15:21). According to Old Testament Law, it cleanses defilement (Leviticus 11:32; 13:58; 14:8, 9; 15-17; 22:6; cf. Isaiah 1:16) and Water is seen to heal the Syrian cured from his leprosy in the waters of Jordan (2 Kings 5:1-14). John the Baptist used the waters of Jordan to cleanse people's sins. In the New Testament the role of water seems more significant yet more symbolic. Jesus turns water into wine at Cana (John 2:1-11), saying water is a means to a new spiritual birth into the kingdom of heaven (John 3:5).
In Hinduism and other Eastern The symbol of the Water jars (John 2:6-7)"Now there were six stone water pots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus said to them, "Fill the water pots with water." So they filled them up to the brim. The water jar (kamandalu) is one of the eight basic sacred symbols of Hinduism. The water jar originates from the churning of the Ocean of milk. Out of the water of the ocean appears a jar filled to the brim with the nectar of immortality carried by the goddess Varuni. She is the goddess of wine and intoxication in Hindu mythology and is the purifying nectar of immortality (amrita). On the microcosmic level, the ocean/water is a symbol of the human body and the wine is a symbol of the nectar of immortality. The waters of the lower body will eventually be turned into the Living Waters of the upper body (the wine/nectar of immortality).
The clay vessel refers to the vessel called the body. In the process of raising the Kundalini, as the water is raised along the length of the sushumna nadi, it is transformed into nectar. This process is consummated in the empty Brahma Randhra, the uppermost sahasrahara chakra located in the cranial vault. Here, the water transformed into nectar and the practitioner gains immortality. When allowed to flow back downwards, the nectar of immortality floods the yogi's body.
The Water turned into Wine: John 2:8-10 - And He said to them, "Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter." So they took it to him. When the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom, and said to him, "Every man serves the good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now."
In the Eastern tradition, the water in a jar represents the nectar of immortality (Amrita) - the elixir of life. In tantric worship the ritual requires five Panchamakara: madya (wine); mamasa (meat); mudra (bean); matsya (fish); maithuna (ritual embracing). In the symbolism of the Panchamakara, the wine (madya) stands for the nectar of immortality that is said to ooze down from the thousand petalled lotus at the crown of the head. The good wine as the nectar of immortality and the poorer wine represent the enjoyment perceived as pleasurable coming from the senses. The enjoyments coming from the passion of the senses seem pleasurable at first but do not last and eventually will not be satisfying.
205 Eli Eli: Matthew 27:46: My God, my God why have You forsaken me;
206 Fasting versus Starving: Self-starvation by fasting is supposed to shed karma according to some Eastern (Jain) philosophies If it is a ritualistic practice it can be carried out to voluntary death. During absence of food (fasting) the body systematically cleanses itself of everything except the vital organs of the body. Starvation will occur only when the body is forced to use vital tissue to survive.
207 Jesus' disciples were given power to cast out demons (Matthew 10:5-8), but they could not do what Jesus did. They lacked faith and even with faith they did not have the power of Jesus for instantaneous healing. He said to them "Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it shall move; and nothing shall be impossible to you. "But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting" Matthew 17:14-21. And He said to them, "This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer and fasting" (Mark 9:29).
208 Erysichthon is a Thessalian prince who makes the mistake of chopping down a goddess' sacred tree. She punishes him by making him starve, and he eventually gets so desperate that he tries to eat himself.
209 "Homo" is the Latin word for man, and medieval people saw it (minus the H) inscribed OMO on everyone's face. The two O's are the eyes, while the M consists of the lines from the two cheekbones connected to the nose. So these people's faces are so emaciated that the M shows more prominently than any of the other letters.
210 Forese Donati, a friend of Dante and fellow poet, died in 1296. A Black Guelph, he was related to Dante by marriage to his wife Giovanna ("Nella"). Dante and Forese exchanged sonnets of personal insults when they were young.
211 Ashwatha: The (banyan/fig) tree is considered sacred and worshipped as the abode of the Trimurti as stated in the verse:
Moolatho Brahma Roopaya, Madhyato Vishnu Roopini; Agratas Shiv Roopaya, Vriksha Rajayte Namaha
Brahma shaped at the root, Vishnu shaped in the middle and Shiva shaped at the top, we salute you, the king of all trees.
Krishna extolled the Ashwatta tree in Bhagavadgita (Ch. 10. 26)
Ashwattah sarva vrikshanaam, devarsheenaancha naaradah, Gandharvaanaam chitra ratah, siddhaanaam kapilo munihi.
Ashvwatta the tree of trees, Naarada the supreme deva rishi Chitrarata the supreme Gandharva, and Kapila the supreme siddha.
212 Ubaldino della Pila (1291), a Tuscan Ghibelline and father of Archbishop Ruggieri, was a known glutton. Boniface is probably the member of the Fieschi family who was Archbishop of Ravenna from 1274 to 1295
213 Messer Marchese of Forl?, a magistrate for Faenza in 1296, explained his heavy drinking by an even heavier thirst.
214 Gentucca may be a lady from Lucca who befriended Dante in exile. Buonagiunta predicts her future kindness to the poet ;
215 This is the tree of knowledge of good and evil at the summit of the mount in the Garden of Eden. Other reins against gluttony include the examples of the drunken centaurs defeated by Theseus and Gideon who chose his troops by the way they drank from the stream: those who knelt were disqualified (Judges 7:4-7).
216 Midian (Genesis 25:1-4):Son of Abraham and his concubine Kenturah;. To them were born 5: Of them Midian reigned his city of Avith;
217 Piccarda Donati, Forese's sister, dwells in the sphere of the moon in Paradise).
218 Buonagiunta Orbicciani degli Overardi, poet, judge, and orator, came from Lucca;
219 Gideon: Son of Josh the Abiezrite from Ophrah (Judg 6:11); Israel's fourth major judge in the period between the death of Joshua and the institution of the monarchy. Fulfilling no judiciary role, the judges were individuals imbued with the spirit of God who headed military campaigns to free Israel from periodic foreign oppression. Gideon had several wives, and 70 sons, one of them, Abimelech, by a concubine in Shechem (Judg 8:30-31). He was also known as Jerubaal, "let Baal contend" (Judg 6:32; I Sam 2:11), a name he acquired after overturning an altar to Baal which had been built by the Israelites (Judg 6:24-32). For this idolatrous behavior, it was held, God had set the Midinites against Israel (Judg 6:11).
Gideon was called to be a judge by an angel and later by a miracle involving wet and dry fleece (Judg 6:11-24, 36-40). His task was to deliver Israel from the Midinites, the Amalekites and the children of the East (Judg 6:3). With an army of 300 men, selected out of 22,000 by means of several selective tests, Gideon defeated the Midinites in a night attack (Judg 7:3-25). The Midinites princes Oreb and Zeeb were captured and beheaded (Judg 7:25), and Gideon also pursued the kings Zebah and Zalmunna until he captured and killed them (Judg 8:5-21). His victory over the Midinites was remembered for many generations as the "Day of Midian" (Is 9:4). The men of Israel requested Gideon to be their ruler, but he refused saying that only God is the ruler of Israel (Judg 8:22). Instead he returned to his home and lived to an old age. He was buried in Ophrah in the sepulcher of Josh his father (Judg 8:29-32).
220 This is the angel who wipes out one more P from Dante's forehead and gives him direction to continue on his journey.
221 Dante paraphrases the beatitude Beati qui esuriunt et sitiunt iustitiam - 'Blessed are those who thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled' (Matthew, 5:6).
222 Stairway to Heaven: The 7th stairway or chakra connects seeker on the Path to the Divine Father (Shiva). Life force (Holy Spirit or Shakti) travels through the 'stairway of awareness' after aligning and balancing oneself at the root chakra (muladhara) through avoiding covetousness in all its facets. The crowning achievement is an awakening of Awareness to Consciousness through the sahasrahara (7th step of purgatory).
223 Body and Soul: The medieval person needed the 'protection' of two securities: the body and the soul. Nourishment was used for elevation of the spirit by using the bodily experience. The body was meant to control the soul - which means the soul loses it s power to control the bodily senses and organs of action.
224 Serpentine Path through Earth, Wind, and Fire: According to yogic terminology the force of Kundalini is raised through meditative exercises and activated within the subtle body barriers of energy of Earth/Water, Fire and Wind (first few chakras). Personal experiences in the various stages of Kundalini awakening is a kundalini meditation called The Great Invocation. Energy flow and subsequent manifestation of Kundalini experiences are understood in terms of the Hindu chakra system. It is the understanding of psycho-spiritual energy centers along the spine. According to Hindu tradition the Kundalini raises from the root-chakra (muladhara) up through the spinal channel, called sushumna, and is believed to activate each chakra it goes through.
225 A 7th century hymn GREAT GOD of boundless mercy hear; Thou Ruler of this earthly sphere; in substance one, in Persons three, dread Trinity in Unity! Do Thou in love accept our lays of mingled penitence and praise; and set our hearts from error free, more fully to rejoice in Thee. 3 Our reins and hearts in pity heal, and with Thy chastening fire anneal; gird Thou our loins, each passion quell, and every harmful lust expel. 4 Now as our anthems, upward borne, awake the silence of the morn, enrich us with Thy gifts of grace, from heaven, Thy blissful dwelling place! Amen. Hear Thou our prayer, Almighty King; hear Thou our praises, while we sing, adoring with the heavenly host the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
226 Dare is to lose oneself: describes the razor's edge as the place "fools and dreamers dare to tread."
I would submit that it is more foolish to avoid the razor's edge because of a fear of failing. For the optimistic risk-taker, failure is not to be feared because it puts you one step closer to success. Real understanding of the effect of an individual's thoughts and beliefs gives power of change in life experiences.
227 Sodom: Biblical city, which during the Middle Ages, became associated in Christian thinking with the "sin" of homosexuality. Sodomy, like usury, was viewed as a sin against nature. It is used to locate the sodomites as being punished in the last ring of the seventh circle: "Sodom and Gomorrah" is recited penitentally by one group on the terrace of the lustful.
228 Pasiphae: Wife of King Minos of Crete and mother of the Minotaur. According to Virgil's Eclogue she conceived by a bull while hiding inside a hollow wooden cow; Cited penitentally by souls on the terrace of the lustful.
229 Paternoster: The "Lord's Prayer" taught by Jesus to his disciples. Dante is asked to say the prayer when he returns home to assist the passage of souls in Purgatory;
230 Guido GuinizelliL1230-1276) Italian poet and founder of school of poetry and altering the prevailing local 'municipal' kind of poetry;
231 Giraut de Bornelh (1138-1215)nicknamed Bornell who performed (troubadour) at the court of Alfonso II of Aragon (Spain);
232 Guittone d'Arezzo (1235-1294) was a Tuscan poet who founded Tuscan School of Secular Love Poetry;
233 Daniel Arnaut: a troubadour praised by Dante as a great composer and grand master of love
234 Pyramus and Thisbe: Love story of ill-fated lovers between the handsomest youth and the fairest maiden in all of Babylonia; their families grew up in a one-room house. Youth committed suicide when he mistakenly thought his lover Thisbe was dead;
235 Shiva-Shakti: Jacob-Rachel: Force of empowerment of primordial passive transcendent male energy with active feminine principle;
236 Ganesha & Kartikeya: Ganesha is symbolic of Intelligence, patience and wisdom. Kartikeya has child-like love, is strong willed, and propels us on the righteous path;
237 Chastity and Celibacy: Terms of 'chastity' and 'celibacy' are misunderstood. 'Chastity' meaning 'cleanliness' does not necessarily mean the renunciation of all sexual relations. It is observance of moderation in sexual behaviour which in the ancient Greek world was the chief philosophical virtue. In the first century Paul in Corinthians favoured celibacy. In the second century, Pope Clement of Alexandria said sexual intercourse should be undertaken in marriage in service of God and for the begetting of children. He was concerned about the continence of unmarried men. Clement was trying to accommodate Christian principles within the Roman and Greek household structure.
By the fourth century, celibacy was seen as decidedly superior. Many wrote on the importance of virginity. Only Augustine who himself advocated virginity wrote in support of chaste marriage outlining the three goods of marriage: offspring, fidelity, and the sacramental bond. The term chastity essentially has come to mean celibacy by the sixth century. In Hinduism, chastity (brahmacharya) is the substance of yoga and a vow of celibacy. Chastity is celibacy, and temperance; sobriety and continence is observed by students and married couples. For monks, the goal is to freely dedicate themselves to God and study. Celibacy is a symbol of living for the kingdom of God. It is recognition of the calling. Chastity and celibacy become witness of the Spirit that draws humans to prayer and devotion.
238 Corinthian desires a sort of wisdom dialogue with Paul with seekers still at an immature stage of spiritual development. The natural person's existence, perceptions, and behavior are determined by purely natural principles and the flesh of creatureliness. Such persons are only infants who remain on a purely human level. When animated by a higher principle, the God's spirit they are to become spiritual and mature in their perceptions and behavior.
Jealousy, rivalry, and divisions in the community are symptoms of arrested development; they reveal the immaturity both of their self-understanding and of the judgments about their apostles. Corinthians evaluate leaders by the criteria of human wisdom and spiritual gifts as gifts of grace through which God works and a form of service for the common good.
Diverse functions in the service of the community, is serious, and each stands accountable for the quality of contribution. On the Day of Judgment, Fire both destroys and purifies.
Although Paul envisions harsh divine punishment he appears optimistic about the success of divine corrective means both here and elsewhere. 1 Cor 3:15 is used to support the notion of purgatory.
239 Active & Contemplative Life: Action is the sine qua non of life in the body. The Gita says: no one can abstain from action even for a moment (3:5, 33). It is neither possible nor desirable for living beings to renounce all actions. Therefore acts of sacrifice, gifts, austerity, and other duties must be performed in all circumstances (18:5-6). Such works are essential for purifying even a wise person and for maintaining him or her in a state of purity. The Gita contrasts sannyasa (a life of renunciation from the activities of the world) and karma-yoga (a life of involvement in the world). Krishna speaks of both of them in chapter 4:41. Sannyasa or contemplative life therefore cannot mean cessation of all action. He wants the sannyasi to be involved constantly in karma (action) performed in a spirit of detachment: "the sannyasa of The Gita is all work and yet no work."(6) This 'no-work' is not a state of 'not working; but is a complete liberation from selfish motives and attachments. A karma-yogi works as God works, without any binding necessity. When a karma-yogi's egoism is removed, actions originate at the depths of his or her being, and they are governed by the Lord. The Gita describes this highest state of contemplative activity in these words: "He has no object to gain or lose by what he does in this world"(3:18).
The Gita does not separate the way of sannyasa (contemplation) and action as two different ways opposed to each other. In the Gita's view, sannyasa is necessary for action because no one can rise to the stature of karma-yogi or active contemplative in the world without engaging in deep contemplation (6:1-2). Thus, if a person practices one or the other way fully, he or she attains the goals of both (5:4).
240 Subtle Rivers (nadis) are Spiritual Energy Channels that flow along and within the spinal cord. Three psychic channels are the left sided parasympathetic Ida, right sided sympathetic Pingala and the central Sushumna. Neither the left not the right channel predominates, the sushumna stays closed and the power of kundalini remains dormant when not actively seeking the Highest. When these two nadis are purified and balanced, and the mind is controlled, the most important nadi, sushumna, begins to flow. Sushumna must be flowing if there is to be success in meditation. If pingala flows, the body will be restless; if ida flows, the mind will tend to think too much. When sushumna flows, kundalini rises through the chakras.
241 Heaven and Hell: According to Hindu cosmology, above the earthly plane are six heavenly planes and six hellish planes where souls migrate to for earthly deeds of good or bad during human expression.
242 Ceres: goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relations;
243 Proserpina: goddess of springtime and queen of the underworld;
244 Greek mythology: Underworld ruled by sons of Kronos; the brother of Zeus; and the husband of Persephone. At the division of the universe after the overthrow of Kronos, Zeus took the sky, Poseidon the sea, and Hades the underworld 'The house of Hades' was the habitation of the Shades, the dead. They called him Pluto, 'the giver of wealth', because they dreaded name of Hades. This title refers of course to the blessings of the earth: crops, minerals, and clear water from springs. It was never a place of punishment or Hell as imagined by Churchians.
245 Venus: named after the goddess of love and beauty. Julius Caesar claimed to be her descendent through Aeneas;
246 Leander: Hero and Leander were famous lovers in Greek mythology. Hero, lived Sestos, served as a priestess of the goddess Aphrodite* (Venus). Leander was a youth from the nearby town of Abydos, located across a narrow strip of water called the Hellespont. Hero and Leander met at a festival and fell in love. However, because she was a priestess of Hero had to remain a virgin and was forbidden to marry. The two lovers decided to see each other secretly. Each night Hero would leave a lamp burning in a window of the tower in which she lived, and Leander would swim across the Hellespont, using the light to guide his way. One winter night, the wind blew out the flame in the lamp, causing Leander to lose his way and drown. The next morning, when Hero saw his lifeless body washed up on the shore, she killed herself by jumping out of the tower.
Several ancient poets, including Ovid* and Virgil*, told the tale of Hero and Leander.
247 Original Sin: or ancestral sin resulting from the Fall of Man stemming from Adam and Eve;
248 Psalm 92:4: For You O Lord have made me glad by what you have done; I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands;
249 He that soweth the good seed is the son of man (prophets); The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom (Matthew 13:37-38).
250 Seven most Sacred Cities (saptapuri) for Moksha (liberation) are scattered all over India and some found along India's sacred Rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Saraswati, Narmada, Sindhu and Kauveri: These 7 sacred special rivers are recited by Hindus while bathing in the rivers: Gange cha Yamune chaiva Godavari Saraswathi; Narmada Sindhu Kaveri Jale asmin sannidhim kuru.
Saptapuri is also referred along with Char Dhaams as 'mokshadayika.': The sacred cities in the Saptapuri are: Kashi, Allahabad, Kanchipuram, Hardwar, Ayodhya, Ujjain, Mathura/Dwarka. There is also a Sanskrit sloka referring to the seven great Tirthas: 'Kashi, Kanchi, Maya, Ayodhya, Avantika; Mathura, Dwaravati chaiva saptaita mokshadayika'.
Kashi also known as Varanasi is in Uttar Pradesh, Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, Hardwar also known as Mayapuri in Uttarakhand, Ujjain also known as Avantika in Madhya Pradesh, and Ayodhya, Allahabad and Mathura/Dwarka are in Uttar Pradesh. Kashi is associated with Lord Shiva and is on the banks of Ganga. Kanchipuram is the Golden city of Temples where Brahma worshipped Vishnu. Hardwar is the gateway to Lord Vishnu and also known as Ganga dwara as the River Ganga enters the plain here. Ayodhya is the birth place of Lord Ram while Ujjain is the place where Lord Shiva killed Demon Tripura. Mathura and Dwarka are synonymous with Lord Krishna.
Ganga, Yamuna and Sarasvati in Allahabad is the place of Triveni Sangam - a confluence of three rivers. Of these river Saraswati (sushumna) is invisible but it meets the other two rivers (Ida and Pingala) from the base (muladhara chakra). The point of confluence (agnya chakra) is a sacred place for all religions. Here lies The Christ or Krishna Centre in the Third Eye or kutastha. The site of Sangam is seen the muddy and pale yellow water of 4 ft deep Ganges merging with green water of the 40 feet deep Yamuna. The river Yamuna ends at this point and Ganges continues after this till it meets sea at Bay of Bengal.
The Triveni Sangam is where drops of Nectar fell out of the pitcher, from the hands of gods. The Sacred Kumbha Mela is held every 12 years (time needed to metamorphose through sadhana) at the banks of the Sangam. It represents the confluence of three subtle rivers (ida, pingala and sushumna). Legend has it that at the time of the great deluge which submerges the earth Prayag (Allahabad) remains intact and Vishnu resides here as a Yoga Murthy, on a banyan leaf. Shiva is believed to be personified here as the immortal banyan tree. Alongside this tree is a shrine to Shiva.
Prayag is associated with the Hindu Legend of Samudra Manthan and also the legend of the Churning of the Ocean for the celestial nectar of immortality - Amrita. A famous bas-relief at the temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia depicts devas and asuras working together in a giant tug of war to stir up the nectar.
A variation of the legend has it that Jupiter, the guru of the Devas, picked up the pot of the celestial nectar as it emerged from the milky ocean and made off with it, to prevent the demons from having access to it. The enraged demons chased him. In the course of the chase, the pot Kumbha overflowed, and the nectar fell into four different places on earth, corresponding to Prayag, Nasik, Ujjain and Hardwar. Offerings are made to the souls of the departed by visiting pilgrims here as in Benares and in Gaya.
251 Four Creatures: body, mind, heart and soul to be a clear vehicle for the presence of Indwelling Spirit
252 Chariot: represents the vehicle of conveyance for consciousness.
253 Psalm 31:1 To David himself, understanding//Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered//2 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord hath not imputed sin, and in whose spirit there is no guile//3 Because I was silent my bones grew old; whilst I cried out all the day long//4 For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: I am turned in my anguish, whilst the thorn is fastened//4 For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: I am turned in my anguish, whilst the thorn is fastened//5 I have acknowledged my sin to thee, and my injustice I have not concealed. I said I will confess against myself my injustice to the Lord: and thou hast forgiven the wickedness of my sin//6 For this shall every one that is holy pray to thee in a seasonable time. And yet in a flood of many waters, they shall not come nigh unto him//7 Thou art my refuge from the trouble which hath encompassed me: my joy, deliver me from them that surround me//8 I will give thee understanding, and I will instruct thee in this way, in which thou shalt go: I will fix my eyes upon thee//9 Do not become like the horse and the mule, who have no understanding. With bit and bridle bind fast their jaws, who come not near unto thee//10 Many are the scourges of the sinner, but mercy shall encompass him that hopeth in the Lord//11 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye just, and glory, all ye right of heart.
Psalm 32: 1 A psalm for David. Rejoice in the Lord, O ye just: praise becometh the upright//2 Give praise to the Lord on the harp; sing to him with the psaltery, the instrument of ten strings//3 Sing to him a new canticle, sing well unto him with a loud noise//3 Sing to him a new canticle, sing well unto him with a loud noise//4 For the word of the Lord is right, and all his works are done with faithfulness//5 He loveth mercy and judgment; the earth is full of the mercy of the Lord//6 By the word of the Lord the heavens were established; and all the power of them by the spirit of his mouth//7 Gathering together the waters of the sea, as in a vessel; laying up the depths in storehouses//8 Let all the earth fear the Lord, and let all the inhabitants of the world be in awe of him//9 For he spoke and they were made: he commanded and they were created//10 The Lord bringeth to naught the counsels of nations; and he rejecteth the devices of people, and casteth away the counsels of princes//11 But the counsel of the Lord standeth for ever: the thoughts of his heart to all generations//12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord: the people whom he hath chosen for his inheritance//13 The Lord hath looked from heaven: he hath beheld all the sons of men//14 From his habitation which he hath prepared, he hath looked upon all that dwell on the earth// 15 He who hath made the hearts of every one of them: who understandeth all their works//16 The king is not saved by a great army: nor shall the giant be saved by his own great strength//17 Vain is the horse for safety: neither shall he be saved by the abundance of his strength//18 Behold the eyes of the Lord are on them that fear him: and on them that hope in his mercy//19 To deliver their souls from death; and feed them in famine//20 Our soul waiteth for the Lord: for he is our helper and protector//21 For in him our heart shall rejoice: and in his holy name we have trusted//22 Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, as we have hoped in thee.
254 Seven lamps of Candelabra: Wise should discern between self and non-self: Non-self are 5 sheaths (koshas) or layers of the body and map for navigating the inner journey through (food, physiological, mental. intellectual, and causal layers) and to Awareness (chitta: mind/intellect/ego) before arriving at Consciousness (chit).
255 Twenty-four Elders: (5 elements + 5 senses + 5 physiological pranas + 5 organs of action + Mind + Intellect + Ego + Om). Sankhya philosophy from the beginning, describes two opposing forces (light and dark or attraction and repulsion) that cause everything created. The interaction produces a vibration of a peculiar sound 'Aum' or 'Om' in Hinduism, and the Word (Amen) in the Bible, and Amin in the Koran. This sound has three qualities: (Time, Space and Atom) and create four thought images of an Object (Word, Time, Space and the Atom). They are the building blocks from which everything in the universe is created.
According to Sankhya the human body is made up of three other bodies: the physical body, the astral body and the causal (or ideational body). These three bodies developed through the descent of the Spirit into the body, which is reflecting the ideas ever present in the cosmos. Nan, being the microcosm of the universe, reflects in his body the whole workings of the universe.
The physical body comprises of sixteen elements; the astral body comprises of nineteen elements, and the causal body, being the cause of the other two bodies, therefore consists of thirty five elemental ideas (16+19). The physical body is made up of flesh and blood. The astral body is composed of life force (prana) and the mind. The causal body is held together by wisdom and perpetual bliss. When creating a human, He decided on a matrix of thirty five ideas (the causal body). Then nineteen of these ideas were utilized to form the astral body and the remaining sixteen the physical body. Both the causal and astral bodies are not visible to the naked eye. The nineteen ideas of the astral body are - ten senses, five life forces, the ego, feeling, mind and intelligence. The remaining sixteen ideas were converted into the gross physical body of sixteen basic elements, like iron, copper, calcium, carbon etc.
Each of these three bodies has its own distinguishing qualities. The physical body is the result of solidified physical vibrations. The astral body is the result of energy and mind vibrations, and the causal body is of nearly pure vibration of Cosmic Consciousness. The physical body is dependent on food, the astral on energy, will and evolution of thought. The causal body is dependent on wisdom and bliss.
The Universal Soul is reflected in the individual as the individualized soul. It is this individualized soul that is surrounded by the three bodies mentioned above. At death, the physical body is destroyed, but the astral and causal bodies are still held together by unfulfilled desires and unresolved karma. The individualized soul then, wearing these two bodies as garments, reincarnates again and again into new physical forms, until all desires are eventually conquered through spiritual activities like meditation, and liberation achieved.
The Soul (Purusha) is encased in five sheaths or koshas. Koshas are not physical things, but spiritual manifestations. The five koshas, beginning from the one closest to soul are as follows: The Anandamaya Kosha is composed of the four ideas and is the arena which feels or enjoys, and is the seat of supreme bliss or ananda. The Jnanamaya Kosha - this sheath manifests Intelligence, and determines what truth is. It is the seat of knowledge or jnana. The Manomaya Kosha - this sheath represents the mind, and is composed of the organs of the senses, through which the mind knows the outside world. The Pranamaya Kosha - This is the body of energy and life force (prana) composed in the organs of action. The Annamaya Kosha - is the grossest of all the sheaths. It is composed of the Atom's outer coating which becomes nourishment (Anna). It is this sheath that supports the visible world.
As a man develops spiritually, each of these koshas are eradicated one by one, starting with the lowest kosha, the Annamaya kosha. If a man meets death after he has effectively destroyed the Annamaya kosha, then he would most likely reincarnate in a planet where most of its inhabitants will have only the four of the higher koshas instead of the five. Present day medical science understands the physical body though it is often puzzled as to the cause of certain diseases or why it is extremely difficult to treat others.
By understanding of the Sankhya philosophy, one is able to know why this is so, and what measures can be taken to eradicate these hard-to-cure diseases. Even sub atomic levels, Western medical science has no power to reach beyond the molecular level. The healing science of ancient India, Ayurveda, which is now making a comeback all over the world, is curing hitherto ' incurable ' diseases. It has its foundation in the Sankhya philosophy. Besides using herbs, massages etc. this system of medicine also employs chants and the power of music to reach into the atomic and sub atomic levels to nip in the bud disease causing embryos, (which a seer can see), that have not yet manifested themselves as diseases in the patient's body.
Comprehension of the workings of the causal body requires a deep understanding of the concepts of the Sankhya philosophy. The astral body however is well understood by many who come across 'chakras' and the 'nadis'. As many of the alien races seem more advanced than us, it would be fair to assume that their souls are not screened in the five sheaths like ours, but encased perhaps only in the higher two or three sheaths. This would enable them to live with little food, and not expend too much energy in physical activities. Most of their physical work therefore will be accomplished through mental energy, including communicating through telepathy and constructing the fantastic crafts they fly in.
256 Ezekiel 10:5: "The sound of wings of the cherubim could be heard as far away as the outer court, like the voice of God Almighty when He speaks);
257 Psalm 91:4:He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart;
258 Argus: (All-Eyes) is a giant with 100 eyes;
259 Ezekiel 5:9: Is about 'Discerning the World' by Ezekiel and by John In Revelation 4 (John) saw "a door was opened in heaven." John says he heard "a trumpet talking with me" which said to him, "Come up hither" and is lifted out of 'self' into the Spirit. He immediately "saw a throne set in heaven, and a one sat on the throne." There was a Rainbow around the throne (Hope) and round about the throne were four and twenty seats. Upon the seats were four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment. There were Seven Lamps of Fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. In the midst of the throne were Four Beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face of a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each six wings about him; and they also were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come."
Sankhyan holds there are separate purushas ("selves"). They draw into prakriti as facets of "spiritual awareness". A deep ego consciousness is evolved and faceted into five gross elements (space, air, fire, water, earth), five subtle (fine) elements (sound, touch, sight, taste, smell), five organs of perception (with which to hear, touch, see, taste, smell), and five organs of activity (with which to speak, grasp, move, procreate, evacuate), and mind (manas). Together they are twenty-four elements (principles, tattvas)...Philosophies of India [Phi]. Kaivalya (the soul's "divorce" from the universe) is liberation, and the goal towards heaven.
260 Chariot Allegory of Plato, which appears in the Phaedrus - is an important part of the Western spiritual and philosophical tradition. It presents a metaphor for the soul and its journey. The soul is portrayed as a charioteer (Reason), and two winged steeds: one white ('spiritedness' of boldness ;) and one black (desire). The goal is to ascend to divine heights but the black horse poses problems. The chariot figure leads to a revealing portrayal of the 'ups and downs' of the spiritual or philosophical life. The myth itself is not Plato's. It comes from the Eastern and Egyptian or Mesopotamia Civilisations but he adapted and reworked it.
261 Africanus: (236-183 BC) was a general, historian and traveller with human and ape-like features
262 Hippocrates (460-370 BC) ancient Greek physician;
263 Heaven: Dante compares his ascent to the Empyrean to dawn on earth. An hour before sunrise, it is noon six thousand miles to the east and already the stars begin to fade. The handmaid of the sun is dawn
264 Sparks and Flowers: The pilgrim sees the host of angels and the host of the redeemed in their glorified bodies. They are first pictured as sparks (angels) and flowers (saints).
265 Lethe: River of Oblivion - one of five underworld rivers and its goddesses;
266 Seven Stars: world-guardians; In Hinduism they Seven chakras for 1.Morality ethics of right living; 2. Duty and obligation rules; 3. Stillness; 4. Silence; 5. Contemplation; 6. Meditation; 7. Assimilation.
267 Song of Solomon 4:8: 'Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, come with me from Lebanon: come with the flowing streams from the crest of Amana, and from the top of Senir and the summit of Hermon with the north and south winds. Come from the lions' dens and from the mountains of the leopards.' Solomon most likely wrote this song during the early part of his reign around 965 BC. The lyric poem extols the virtues of love between humankind and the Holy Spirit (Shiva and Shakti) or husband and his wife. It presents marriage as God's design for Matter and Spirit to live together within the context of 'marriage' because each is one-half of the other. By loving each other spiritually, emotionally, and physically, The Song of Solomon describes the experience of every believer in a place of great spiritual wealth and are covered by His love when he says, "My beloved is mine, and I am his," the experience of Oneness of Seeker and Sought in Meditation. This book combats two extremes: asceticism (the denial of all pleasure) and hedonism (the pursuit of only pleasure). The marriage profiled in Song of Solomon is a model of care, commitment, and delight experienced for the Sought by the Seeker.
268 She is an ancient woman of mystery with hidden knowledge, who guards a power older and greater than that of Immortals. No matter if the walls of her castle are upright or crumbled, her inner serenity is her strength, and to those who are troubled, she offers a refuge. She also guards ancient secrets and possesses magical powers;
269 Guru: Shows the path but refuses to be the crutch for his students. He shows the spiritual paths and philosophical positions of dualism and monism. The Guru's aim is to show there is only one kind of ultimate substance made up of unitary interdependent parts.
270 Water represents the "sea of the unconscious," in metaphysics, the ocean of pure, clear Light. It is where restoration of the Word, the "Voice of the Silence," which contains secrets incommunicable with human tongue. Occult speech (meditation) by passes the mind and influences the subconscious and Spirit then flows in abundance.
271 Memories in subconscious and unconscious sheaths;
272 Six priestess at the first six chakras watched by day and by night to make sure the sacred fire of Aspiration for the Path did not die out. Psychologically, this initiation meant that the temptations of the physical world were surmounted. They entered in Dante's service around the ages of six to ten years old and their term of active service lasted thirty years. They instilled him with the virtues of these goddesses and Dante received great honour and important public privileges. His person was considered inviolable and spotless but he did not maintain it.
273 Repentance for Forgetting the Beloved: Mir Hadian, a Sufi teacher, tells students about his experiences while on his spiritual path which leads to self-change. He realises self-transformation is not sequential. The Spiritual Path is Circular. It begins with self arriving at the self, who is a part of the Beloved. This experience is neither linear nor can it be sequentially pigeon-holed. A Spiritual Journey begins with Repentance for neglecting the Beloved who is with us continuously. It is identifying, looking at and understanding the faults. Consciousness shows what is at fault. A realistic and sincere assessment is made with a detached awareness of the fault is recommended without making self-judgement is the first step. This is Continuous Reflection which begins with recognition of fault, and learning to detach and but not judge, knowing that nothing is perfect except the Beloved. Repentance comes with becoming aware of faults without guilt.
The Second Stage begins when developing Consciousness begins feeling the loving of the Beloved in the heart; meditation and prayer suddenly feels different and the heart is open to experiences. Even faults are attributes of the Beloved, of whom the seeker is part of. This stage is known as 'repentance of the repentance' wherein the Beloved loves the constantly repentant and purifies oneself. The seeker arrives at a stage of developed consciousness in which seeker knows and understands his or her shadows: bad and good points, and then detaches. The seeker's world expands but is too busy making and loving the horizon and making the cosmic connection. This is my positive shadow. You begin noticing the impact of your mediations, prayer, remembrances and attraction pulling you towards the Beloved.
In the Third Stage, prayers make demands for guidance to the right path towards what the seeker wants: the Beloved. But it is the Beloved who must pull the seeker towards Itself. This stage is of Humility and the Beloved is Merciful and accepts the repentance of the sin of forgetfulness. Once the Beloved's majesty is experienced as sensitivity, lovingness and tenderness
The seeker forgets itself and pulls itself from everything futile and worthless - this is a stage of detachment from covetousness. This is an intense stage of Loving Nothingness. It is a state of being transfused to the Higher Self. Consciousness talks about the intensity of love for Nothingness. It is beautiful, satisfying but the Beloved is Invisible and submission to the Invisible is not complete.
To suddenly trust and submit to One who is neither seen nor felt can be a hurdle. The seeker finds it difficult to submit to an unseen Beloved after all these steps but finds it easier to His representative - the guru. This is because of the seeker's physical and intellectual boundaries created by the Ego.
These are steps to be followed by oneself and not to find faults in others. The main thing about a Spiritual Path is humankind's forgetfulness and neglecting the Beloved. A seeker is a 'child of the moment': past is dead and gone - only learn from it. The future is as yet unborn. Live the today alone.
274 Blade of Justice: Law of Karma;
275 Bhuvaneshwari: The Great Mother (Durga) and Queen of Nature whose Divine Plan for each of us is realised by slaying the seven sins.
276 The potency of the internal critic/voice of judgment is insidious. It creeps up, plays havoc and runs wild until disempowered. It can be a persistent experience and reappear after a long time being away.
277 Seventh chakra - a symbol of truth, consciousness and beauty;
278 Adherence to path and committing to God will send the Holy Spirit who will decide on the course of action. It takes 10 to 12 years to see the true nature of guides and helpers from the Spirit world.
279 Seven Divine Handmaidens: Sapta-matrikas are seven mothers who are Shaktis of Shiva who when invoked through Gnostic assist in combating eight mental qualities that are morally bad: Yogesvari negates Kama or desire; Maheswari, Krodha or anger; Vaishnavi lobha or covetousness; Brahmani, mada or pride; Kaumari moha or illusion; Indrani, matsanya or faultfinding; Chamunda pasunya or tale bearing;
280 Yama, niyama asana: Three qualifying steps to begin practice of spiritual path - ethical disciplines, self-observation, stillness in posture;
281 Nameless Lady: Kundalini or primordial psycho-spiritual energy of consciousness aroused from the root and up along the spine (Tree) when one awakens spiritually
282 Eagle: symbol of resurrection and ascension:
283 Seven Deadly Sins (transgressions fatal to spiritual progress) 1.Wealth without Work 2.Pleasure without Conscience 3.Science without Humanity4.Knowledge without Character5.Politics without Principle 6.Commerce without Morality 7.Worship without Sacrifice; and Seven Heavenly Virtues(1.prudence2.temperance3. courage4. justice5.love6. hope,;
Seven good works;1.feed the hungry2.give drink to the thirsty3.give shelter to strangers4.clothe the naked5.visit the sick 6.minister to prisoners 7.bury the dead;
Live by: 1.prudence 2.temperance3.fortitude (courage) 4.justice 6.hope
284 Ancient Chinese Dragons are ultimate symbols of cosmic Chi (energy). Most potent symbol of good fortune for new beginnings; The Dragon also has the power to release water to parched lands, and which in turn stands for abundance and relief. Continued success, high achievement, and prosperity are also listed among the Dragon's arsenal of good qualities, which rank it one of the most popular of Asian signs.
285 Naked whore: desolate and found-out personality who struggles but is guarded by a giant (nightmares);
286 Revelation 17:God's covenant of salvation given to save mankind from the power of evil and destruction;
287 Lament by John in Revelation over Prophesy of Oligarchy Revelation 17 gives a picture of oligarchy to come: Dante experienced it as the true picture of a deadly evil power seeking to have the whole world "worshipping her". The "woman" is the 'harlot of Babylon' whose 'desire' led her true husband to sin. Revelation 17 shows what we can expect on the religious horizon. It is by placing, a genuine "Christian" system on the back of a dragon who is gathering nations to worship him. The woman on the dragon's back is the HARLOT, the one who has left her true husband and has joined herself with the "kings of the earth" and the princes of darkness. In Revelation 14 there is a call to worship the God who created the heavens and the earth. (Rev. 14:7). Prophesied Fall of Nations has happened: Ancient Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome have fallen. The Papal beast received is wounded is falling. A "new beast" the dragon's sixth head grows in an effort to help restore the first beast that was wounded. They attempt to form the "New World Order" to which all nations must bow or die. People worship the government they ordain. Disguised in the robes of "new Christianity" it has imposed its will on humanity for 1250 years. The world order of an ancient monotheistic theological religion was and still is being overwhelmed. A new head of the dragon will appear as the eighth head and impersonate as the messiah! This will be the great overwhelming delusion to face the world. In Revelation 17.9 The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sits. 17.10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.
Revelation 11 gives us some interesting insights as to this beast from the bottomless pit.
288 Lament by John in Revelation over Prophesy of Oligarchy Revelation 17 gives a picture of oligarchy to come: Dante experienced it as the true picture of a deadly evil power seeking to have the whole world "worshipping her". The "woman" is the 'harlot of Babylon' whose 'desire' led her true husband to sin. Revelation 17 shows what we can expect on the religious horizon. It is by placing, a genuine "Christian" system on the back of a dragon who is gathering nations to worship him. The woman on the dragon's back is the HARLOT, the one who has left her true husband and has joined herself with the "kings of the earth" and the princes of darkness. In Revelation 14 there is a call to worship the God who created the heavens and the earth. (Rev. 14:7). Prophesied Fall of Nations has happened: Ancient Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome have fallen. The Papal beast received is wounded is falling. A "new beast" the dragon's sixth head grows in an effort to help restore the first beast that was wounded. They attempt to form the "New World Order" to which all nations must bow or die. People worship the government they ordain. Disguised in the robes of "new Christianity" it has imposed its will on humanity for 1250 years. The world order of an ancient monotheistic theological religion was and still is being overwhelmed. A new head of the dragon will appear as the eighth head and impersonate as the messiah! This will be the great overwhelming delusion to face the world. In Revelation 17.9 The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sits. 17.10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.
Revelation 11 gives us some interesting insights as to this beast from the bottomless pit.
289 Goddesses of outcome or Fate are white-robed incarnations of self-created destiny through eightfold spiritual path (yama-niyama-asana-pranayama-dharana-pratyahara-dhyana to reach samyama). They control the thread of life of every mortal from birth to death. They are independent and at the helm of necessity and directed fate assigned by eternal laws. Natural Laws take their natural course without obstruction. Both gods and men must submit to them. In the Kutastha (third eye) or Christ, Love is portrayed in two ways: as the only one who can command the goddesses or as the one who is also bound to the goddesses in the incarnation of their fates. They are related with the limit and end of life. Prophets and gurus like Beatrice appear as the guider of destiny.
In the sacred texts the first three Muses are female deities of motherhood, love and the family who are personified, and are acting and influencing all the gods. Elevated daughters of the King of gods are embodiments of divine order and rule of law. Even the gods cannot alter what was and is ordained. The concept of a universal principle of natural order is similar to concepts in other cultures like the ancient Vedic, the Zoroastrian and the Egyptian religions. Even in earliest Greek philosophy, the cosmogony of existence is based on these beliefs. The goddesses justice and divine retribution (law of Karma) keep the order and sets a limit to any actions.
290 Lament by John in Revelation over Prophesy of Oligarchy Revelation 17 gives a picture of oligarchy to come: Dante experienced it as the true picture of a deadly evil power seeking to have the whole world "worshipping her". The "woman" is the 'harlot of Babylon' whose 'desire' led her true husband to sin. Revelation 17 shows what we can expect on the religious horizon. It is by placing, a genuine "Christian" system on the back of a dragon who is gathering nations to worship him. The woman on the dragon's back is the HARLOT, the one who has left her true husband and has joined herself with the "kings of the earth" and the princes of darkness. In Revelation 14 there is a call to worship the God who created the heavens and the earth. (Rev. 14:7). Prophesied Fall of Nations has happened: Ancient Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome have fallen. The Papal beast received is wounded is falling. A "new beast" the dragon's sixth head grows in an effort to help restore the first beast that was wounded. They attempt to form the "New World Order" to which all nations must bow or die. People worship the government they ordain. Disguised in the robes of "new Christianity" it has imposed its will on humanity for 1250 years. The world order of an ancient monotheistic theological religion was and still is being overwhelmed. A new head of the dragon will appear as the eighth head and impersonate as the messiah! This will be the great overwhelming delusion to face the world. In Revelation 17.9 The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sits. 17.10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.
Revelation 11 gives us some interesting insights as to this beast from the bottomless pit.

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