Dualistic ontology and cult - History of religion

Dualistic ontology and cult

The teachings of Mani gave the impression of an inexhaustibly deep mysterious teaching and was in demand at that time of heightened interest in occultism and mysticism. Bizarre fantastic stories combined with rationalistic explanations - in Manichaeism, the mind was highly valued. Educated Manichaeans (and there were many of them) were considered not only connoisseurs of occult ways of influencing events, but also by scientists, fortune tellers, doctors, especially since they were really well read, erudite in the field of religion and philosophy by people. "They have a lot of faithful observations of nature. Their reasonable explanations were supported by calculations, a change of time, a visible position of the stars, "Augustine wrote. At the same time, he noted that Manichaean books are filled with tales.

Manichaeism in the most acute form reflected the helplessness of people before the evil reigning in society, the lack of faith in the possibility of overcoming it. Dualistic doctrine allowed to solve the problem of evil, transferring the human drama into the sphere of the cosmic drama. Mani, who was able to combine the ontological and ethical aspects in his teachings in the most intimate way, tried to give a convincing within the framework of the worldview of that time the answer to the age-old question, what is the nature of evil. What is its cause? Are there ways to overcome it and thereby save the world from evil? Declaring the social order along with their institutions (the royal power, the ruling classes, the official church) as the embodiment of the evil principle, Manichaeism gave rise to opposition groups to use this religion to condemn social evil - especially after the disappearance of Manichaeism as an autonomous religion and the flow of his ideas into heretical movements.

Attracted and a kind of liberalism in the faith: Manichaean communities, despite their isolation and isolation were open to any person, regardless of nationality, class and former faith. However, in the end Manichaeism lost the competition with Christianity for the place of world religion. Perhaps this was facilitated by the denial of earthly values ​​laid down in Manichaeism, and most likely by the brutal persecution of Christianity, Islam, Zoroastrianism, paganism and, in addition, the discrediting of Mani's teachings and the very personality of numerous Christian writers. Thus, Eusebius of Caesarea (circa 263-340) wrote that "the demon, Satan himself, who rebelled against God, brought this man to the perdition of many, having in his nature something demonic and insane," and the doctrine of Mani called " deceitful and blasphemous "," deadly poison ", poured throughout the earth. During the time of Justinian (483-565), the Manichaeans were physically exterminated, and those who sheltered them were executed, their books were burned. In all areas of the Byzantine Empire, military detachments operated with the help of which the Manichaeans were forced to convert to Christianity or were killed. In 527, many Manichaeans were burnt.

The basis of the ontology of Manichaeism is extreme theological dualism, a kind of duothesis, according to which there are always two independent equal rights separated by an empty space; they are absolutely opposite and hostile to each other - Light and Darkness. They symbolize The Tree of Life and The Tree of Death. They are located in space, one source, vertically: Light at the top, Darkness at the bottom; on the other - horizontally: Light - in the north, west and east, Darkness - in the south. The World of Light is divided into certain spaces - zones, in which emanations of Light dwell. Unlike the gnostic understanding of the zone as a personified deity emanation, Manichaeism treats zones as a kind of space in the realm of Light in which deities dwell, with the number of aeons infinite. The Kingdom of Light is characterized by harmony, peace, wisdom, goodness, truth, beauty, the immortality of its creations; it is immaterial, but wholly spiritually; the kingdom of Darkness - disharmony, chaos, strife, evil, madness, disgrace, death. The abstract concepts of Light and Darkness are personified: Light appears in the image of the supreme deity the Father of Greatness , and his < strong> luminiferous emanations - in the bright deities image (gods, rich and angels). Darkness is personified in Matter, which, being the creative power of Darkness, creates beings destined for war with Spot. This war is conditioned by the very nature of Matter, aggressive and envious, generating innumerable evil demons. In every kingdom there are five elements, or elements. In the realm of Light these are pure beneficial elements: wind, water, fire, light, ether; in the realm of Darkness - material harmful: the whirlwind, the tyna (poison), the devouring flame (fire), the darkness, the suffocating fog (smoke). The kingdoms are strictly delimited from each other, and for the time being, the universe maintains a dualistic balance.

But the era of absolute separation of kingdoms comes to an end. The second period in the evolution of the world is characterized by a catastrophic confusion of the two origins, caused by the invasion of Darkness into the Light, resulting in the creation of the earthly world and man. The intricate architectonics of the Manichaean ontology was designed to define the man's place in this world as a creature taking on the world function of the helper , contributing to the approach of the next, final era, when there will be a division of chaotically mixed principles, the complete liberation of Light from Darkness and the restoration of the disturbed balance. Fantastic stories, partially gleaned from Zoroastrianism and Gnosticism, paint a colorful picture of the universal catastrophe caused by the invasion of Darkness into the realm of Light. The reason for the invasion is ethical, namely envy. Matter, seeing the brilliance and beauty of the kingdom of Light, envied and decided to attack him with his army. The Father of the Great, learning about this, causes (from unlike Matter does not create) the first emanation from his kingdom - Mother of Life, or Great Spirit, and the following emanation - The First Person (Ormizd ), called first to enter struggle with the Dark. The five light elements became his weapons and vestments. He entered the kingdom of Darkness and entered into a struggle with it, gradually losing the elements of Light. They linked the forces of Darkness and did not allow them to capture the kingdom of Light, but, left unarmed, was captivated by them. Thus began the mixing of light-bearing and material elements, particles of Light and particles of Darkness.

For the liberation of the First-Majesty, the Father of the Majesty caused his emanation - the Spirit of the Living, which returned the First-Person to the Kingdom of Light. The elements of Light, which stopped the advancement of the elements of Darkness (including one of the elements - darkness) into the sphere of Light, tied them up, thus merging with Matter. At the boundary of the two substances there is a chaotically mixed space: in the bright elements there is an admixture of Matter. For the complete liberation of luminous particles from Matter and the return of substances to the former, divided, state The Spirit of the Living creates the visible world. This is the starting point of the cosmogonic concept

Mani. From the defeated dark forces, the earth is created, and the plant and animal worlds are created, which contain the non-liberated particles of light. Above the earth rises the sphere of stars and planets, created from a partially contaminated matter - the souls of the leaders of demons, or archons, in which are particles of light. They form a wheel of stars, or path, according to which light particles purified from matter should rise to the Moon and the Sun - ships of light, created for their complete purification. It is curious that the phase arrival of the Moon was associated with the acceptance here of the souls of the deceased, and its decrease - with the departure of them to the Sun, which, in turn, directs them to God. The ascent of light particles to the Moon and the Sun is performed by a deity similar to Mitra - this is the The third messenger, caused by the Father of Majesty.

But the powers of Darkness decided, in his likeness, to create different-sexed Adam and Eve - the first people whose luminous origin must be dissolved, shattered in their offspring, so that eventually the light particles absorbed the overgrown flesh, matter. Thus, it turns out that the earthly world is created by the emanation of Light, strong> (unlike the cosmogonic concept of the Gnostics), humanity is created by the forces of Darkness, who aspire to this action to keep the particles of light in their kingdom. In this story there are two more emanations of the Father of the Greatness: Jesus-Radiance and The Virgin of Light. The Virgin of Light must appear to the archons so that they will expel light particles from themselves. Jesus the Light descends to the first people and, temporarily incarnating in Eve, invites Adam to taste the fruits from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, so that he will learn about the divine essence of his soul. Three Emanations emanate from Jesus-Shining: the Mind of Light, the Christ-infant and the eschatological Judge. The reason of light is sent to to the apostles for the creation of a true church and for their enlightenment. He dwells in every believer, therefore the church has a single divine soul. The eschatological Judge judges the souls at the Last Judgment. The functions of Jesus the infant are not established, it is believed that he, being left by Jesus the Radiance in a mixed substance, protected the Light of the material world.

In addition to Jesus the Shining, the Manichaeans recognized the existence of the historical Jesus, the predecessor of Mani as an Apostle.

The Manichaean cult was relatively uncomplicated. The Manicheans had no images of God; The service consisted in reading prayers and singing psalms and hymns accompanied by instrumental music. Music was given special significance, because it was believed that it was of divine origin. It was the duty of every Manichaean to observe fasts on Sundays, Mondays, on great holidays, and on the day of the death of Mani; selections fasted more often. The post was given special significance. It was believed that fasting helps to cleanse the Soul alive. On a lean day, the purified light particles fly away from the person, who were called angels. The main holiday was the holiday Bema (Greek. βήμα - seat, elevation) in memory of Mani, who once read the sermons, sitting on the altar. In honor of Mani, prayers were performed and the "Altar Psalms" were performed.

Manichaeism reflected in fantastic form some significant unfavorable for man side of natural and social being. It is no coincidence that the researchers described it as a pessimistic teaching: pessimism is a completely stable attitude during periods of stagnation in the social order; in this case we are talking about a slow transition of slave-owning relations into feudalism. (True, M. Eliade and I. Couliano dispute the opinion of Manichaeism as a pessimistic doctrine: "The light shines in every blade of grass.") Despite the fact that Manichaeism as an autonomous religion has exhausted itself mainly to the 9th-10th centuries, it turned out to be demanded - in varying degrees and in different forms - in subsequent centuries, forming the basis of heretical movements in the West and East.

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