“This too shall pass”
For several years I have been interested in where our common customs, cultures and ways of thinking come from. Where our common understanding of what is right and wrong, good and bad comes from. Our values. Why we as a civilization have become what we have become, for better or for worse.
In my research, I have come across many ancient myths and tales, thousands of years old, which are shared by almost all religions and philosophies of the world, and which over time have been imperceptibly woven into our language.
For example, the way of speaking; that something is ‘hermetically sealed’ is an expression that something is secret.
We often use that expression without knowing where it actually comes from.
Hermes Trismegistus was a mythical god figure – possibly a real person – from ancient Greece who is said to have invented the written language, alchemy, astrology and who a thousand years before the time of the ancient Greeks went by the name Thoth in ancient Egypt. Thoth was from about 8000 years ago worshipped as a moon god and the patron of science, literature, wisdom, and invention. According to one story, Thoth was born from the lips of Ra at the beginning of creation and was known as the “god without a mother”. Sound familiar?
The secret knowledge of Hermes Trismegistus is said to be the foundation of all religions and sciences, and that secret knowledge has been passed down from special initiate to special initiate over the millennia, and hence the expression ‘hermetically sealed’. Hidden from the uninitiated.
There is another old saying that has become quite popular.
‘This too shall pass’
A Google search shows that it was first said by Abraham Lincoln, but the good Lincoln had borrowed the saying from the silent past.
The saying is found in Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam and one can only speculate how old this phrase actually is.
History tells us that It was first formulated by the Persian Sufi poets (1200-1300) like – Rumi, Sanai and Attar of Nishapur and who knows where they got the saying from!
The story of ‘this too shall pass’ goes like this.
“Long ago there was a king who sought wisdom. He searched all over his kingdom for wisdom, but found none.
One day he heard of a man who lived in a remote part of the kingdom and who was reputed to possess great wisdom.
The king sent for this man and offered the him a great reward if he would share the secret of his wisdom. The man accepted and promised to return with the secret.
He returned several weeks later and presented the king with a small box.
The king was disappointed when he discovered that the box only contained a ring.
“Is that all?” he yelled to the wise man.
“Read the inscription aloud” replied the wise man.
The king read the inscription:
“This too shall pass”.
The wise man gave the king this advice:
“Wear the ring at all times and look at it often, and whether you experience prosperity or adversity, remind yourself that
‘This too shall pass…’
The king was happy that he had finally found true wisdom, and he rewarded the wise man with great wealth.”
Be curious about where things, words and customs come from. Behind all the trivialities of every day life, there is wisdom and learning. If you care to look for it.
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