The Gates of Hell – Las puertas del Infierno


 

Two or three days ago we quoted some verses of the immortal Virgil from the Aeneid (Vl. 192-201). This was taken from a book by the great Platonist Thomas Taylor, under the section called ‘On the Eleusinian Mysteries’. The English translation, which we did not give, is as follows:

The Gates of Hell are open Night and Day;

Smooth the Descent, and easie is the Way:

But, to return, and view the cheerful Skies;

In this the Task, and mighty Labour lies.

To few great Jupiter imparts this Grace:

 

Taylor gives an interpretation of these verses basing himself on his profound understanding of Plato’s philosophy as well as that of his continuators, the so-called Neo-Platonists, Plotinus being the first one. He has this to say:

 

“… is it not obvious… that by Avernus, in this place, and the dark gates of Pluto, we must understand a corporeal nature, the descent into which is indeed at all times obvious and easy, but to recall our steps, and ascend into the upper regions, or, in other words, to separate the soul from body by the cathartic virtues, is indeed a mighty work, and a laborious task? For a few only… whom ardent virtue has elevated to divine contemplation, have been enabled to accomplish the arduous design.”

 

     (with apologies, the time of Halloween having  just passed)

 

………………………………………………..

 

Hace dos o tres días citamos unos versos del inmortal Virgilio, de la Eneida (Vl. 192-201), sacados de un libro del gran platonista Thomas Taylor (‘the Platonist’), bajo la sección ‘Sobre los misterios de Eleusis’. Puede verse la traducción al inglés (creo por el mismo Taylor) más arriba.

 

Taylor da una interpretación de estos versos en base a su profundo conocimiento no sólo de la filosofía de Platón, sino también de la de toda la Grecia antigua, particularmente la de Plotino y los llamados Neo-platonistas (Proclo, Iámblico, Porfirio, etc.). Comenta a continuación sobre esa estrofa:

 

“¿… no es obvio… que por Averno, en este lugar, y las oscuras puertas de Plutón, debemos entender la naturaleza corporal, el descenso a la cual es de hecho obvio y fácil en todo momento, pero cuyo ascenso a partir de ella, volviendo nuestros pasos hacia las regiones superiores, o, en otras palabras, separando el alma del cuerpo por medio de las virtudes catárticas, es un gran trabajo y un cometido laborioso? Pues solamente unos pocos… a quienes una ardorosa virtud ha elevado a la divina contemplación, han sido potenciados para lograr un designio tan arduo.”

 

          [con disculpas, puesto que Halloween (el día de todos los Santos y difuntos) acaba de pasar]

 

About amartingarcia

General surgeon (retired). Studied Western philosophy at U of Toronto. Afterwards interest turned to advaita vedanta and non-duality for past 20 yrs, plus a long interlude in Sufism coinciding with that period. Now contributing in ’Advaita Vision’ with regular posts and discussions.
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