Saturday, 20 October 2012
Roma Mater I
"At noon upon that Birthday of Mithras..." (p. 13)
The Andersons' Note explains that Mithras' Birthday, 25 December, had been the winter solstice but the latter had moved. (p. 443) Although our family recognizes 25 December with a Christmas Tree, we are also invited to a Pagan friend's house for Yule on the current solstice, 21 December.
I understand that Mithraism emerged from Persian Zoroastrianism in the same sort of way that Christianity emerged from the Abrahamic tradition. However, another Andersonian Note adds, and other sources confirm, that Mithras reached Rome via Persia from the Aryans. That makes his origin considerably older.
I prepare for meditation by invoking a named deity. I do not believe that such beings exist but see no harm in continuing the tradition of our ancestors, as in the Hippocratic Oath. Asking to be led from darkness to light focuses attention on "light." I think that "Indra" is an appropriate name. As the chief Vedic god, he would have been known to Gautama and is mentioned in Buddhist scriptures. However, Mithras, with slight variations of spelling, is comparably ancient and the Andersons adapted a Latin prayer from Kipling's "A Song to Mithras":
" 'Tene Mithra, etiam miles, fidos nostris votis nos!' " (p. 347)
"Mithras, also a soldier, keep us true to our vows!" (p. 481)
Not bad. Although not literally soldiers, we sometimes engage in conflicts and need to practice the karma yoga, nonattached action, taught by Krishna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. I would occasionally visit the Hindu Temple in Preston, which has images of Krishna and other deities on its ceiling, if I lived nearer to it.