Who Is “Satan” and Where Is “Hell”?

[Editor’s Note:  This is a partially corrected scan of an extraordinary essay by Ananda Coomaraswami.  The original footnotes (presented here as end-notes) are indicated by the numbers in brackets.  Some effort has also been made to transliterate the Greek words which were garbled by the scanner.]

Who Is “Satan” and Where Is “Hell”?, by Ananda Coomaraswami

He that doeth sin is of the Devil
1 John 3:8

Gustave Doré: Satan in Hell, Paradise Lost Book IThat in this day and age, when “for most people religion has become an archaic and impossible refuge,” [1] men no longer take either God or Satan seriously, arises from the fact that they have come to think of both alike only objectively, only as persons external to themselves and for whose existence no adequate proof can be found. The same, of course, applies to the notions of their respective realms, heaven and hell, thought of as times and places neither now nor here.

We have, in fact, ourselves postponed the “kingdom of heaven on earth” by thinking of it as a material Utopia to be realized, we fondly hope, by means of one or more five-year plans, overlooking the fact that the concept of an endless progress is that of a pursuit “in which thou must sweat eternally,” [2] –a phrase suggestive less of heaven than of hell. What this really means is that we have chosen to substitute a present hell for a future heaven we shall never know.

The doctrine to be faced, however, is that “the kingdom of heaven is within you,” here and now, and that, as Jacob Boehme, amongst others, so often said, “heaven and hell are everywhere, being universally extended. . . . Thou art accordingly in heaven or hell. . . . The soul hath heaven or hell within itself,” [3] and cannot be said to “go to” either when the body dies. Here, perhaps, the solution of the problem of Satan may be sought.

It has been recognized that the notion of a Satanic “person,” the chief of many “fallen angels,” presents some difficulties: even in religion, that of a Manichean “dualism” emerges; at the same time, if it be maintained that anything whatever is not God, God’s infinity is thereby circumscribed and limited. Is “he,” Satan, then a person, or merely a “personification,” i.e., a postulated personality? [4] Who is “he,” and where? Is he a serpent or a dragon, or has he horns and a poisonous tail? Can he be redeemed and regenerated, as Origen and the Muslims have believed? All these problems hang together.

However the ultimate truth of “dualism” may be repudiated, a kind of dualism is logically unavoidable for all practical purposes, because any world in time and space, or that could be described in words or by mathematical symbols, must be one of contraries, both quantitative and qualitative, for example, long and short, good and evil; and even if it could be otherwise, a world without these opposites would be one from which all possibility of choice, and of procedure from potentiality to act, would be excluded, not a world that could be inhabited by human beings such as we.  For anyone who holds that “God made the world,” the question, Why did He permit the existence in it of any evil, or that of the Evil One in whom all evil is personified, is altogether meaningless; one might as well enquire why He did not make a world without dimensions or one without temporal succession.

Our whole metaphysical tradition, Christian and other, maintains that “there are two in us,” [5] this man and the Man in this man; and that this is so is still a part and parcel of our spoken language in which, for example, the expression “self-control” implies that there is one that controls and another subject to control, for we know that “nothing acts upon itself,” [6] though we forget it when we talk about “self-government.” [7] Of these two “selves,” outer and inner man, psycho-physical “personality” and very Person, the human composite of body, soul, and spirit is built up. Of these two, on the one hand body-and-soul (or –mind), and on the other, spirit, one is mutable and mortal, the other constant and immortal; one “becomes,” the other “is,” and the existence of the one that is not, but becomes, is precisely a “personification” or “postulation,” since we cannot say of anything that never remains the same that “it is.” And however necessary it may be to say “I” and “mine” for the practical purposes of everyday life, our Ego in fact is nothing but a name for what is really only a sequence of observed behaviors. [8]

Body, soul, and spirit: can one or other of these be equated with the Devil? Not the body, certainly, for the body in itself is neither good nor evil, but only an instrument or means to good or evil. Nor the Spirit– intellect, synteresis, conscience, Agathos Daimon –for this is, by hypothesis, man’s best and most divine part, in itself incapable of error, and our only means of participation in the life and the perfection that is God himself. There remains only the “soul”; that soul which all must “hate” who would be Christ’s disciples and which, as St. Paul reminds us, the Word of God like a two-edged sword “severs from the spirit”; a soul which St. Paul must have “lost” to be able to say truly that “I live, yet not I, but Christ in me,” announcing, like Mansur, his own theosis.

Of the two in us, one the “spark” of Intellect or Spirit, and the other, Feeling or Mentality, subject to persuasion, it is obvious that the latter is the “tempter,” or more truly “temptress.” There is in each of us, in this man and that woman alike, an anima and animus , relatively feminine and masculine; [9] and, as Adam rightly said, “the woman gave, and I did eat”; also, be it noted, the “serpent,” by whom the woman herself was first beguiled, wears, in art, a woman’s face. But to avoid all possibility of misunderstanding here, it must be emphasized that all this has nothing whatever to do with a supposed inferiority of women or superiority of men: in this functional and psychological sense any given woman may be “manly” (heroic) or any given man “effeminate” (cowardly ). [10]

One knows, of course, that “soul,” like “self,” is an ambiguous term, and that, in some contexts, it may denote the Spirit or “Soul of the soul,” or “Self of the self,” both of which are expressions in common use. But we are speaking here of the mutable “soul” as distinguished from the “spirit,” and should not overlook to what extent this nefesh, the anima after which the human and other “animals” are so called, is constantly disparaged in the Bible, [11] as is the corresponding nafs in Islam. This soul is the self to be “denied” (the Greek original meaning “utterly reject,” with ontological rather than a merely ethical application), the soul that must be “lost” if “it” is to be saved; and which, as Meister Eckhart and the Sufis so often say, must “put itself to death,” or, as the Hindus and Buddhists say, must be “conquered” or “tamed,” for “that is not my Self.” This soul, subject to persuasion, and distracted by its likes and dislikes, this “mind” that we mean when we speak of having been “minded to do this or that,” is “that which thou callest “I” or ‘myself,’ ” and which Jacob Boehme thus distinguishes from the I that is, when he says, with reference to his own illuminations, that “not I, the I that I am, knows these things, but God in me.” We cannot treat the doctrine of the Ego at length, but will only say that, as for Meister Eckhart and the Sufis, “Ego, the word I, is proper to none but God in his sameness,” and that “I” can only rightly be attributed to Him and to the one who, being “joined unto the Lord, is one spirit.”

That the soul herself, our “I” or “self” itself, should be the Devil— whom we call the “enemy,” “adversary,” “tempter,” “dragon,”—never by a personal name [12] –may seem startling, but it is very far from being a novel proposition. As we go on, it will be found that an equation of the soul with Satan has often been enunciated, and that it provides us with an almost perfect solution of all the problems that the latter’s “personality” poses. Both are “real” enough for all pragmatic purposes here, in the active life where “evil” must be contended with, and the dualism of the contraries cannot be evaded; but they are no more “principles,” no more really real, than the darkness that is nothing but the privation of light.

No one will deny that the battleground on which the psychomachy must be fought out to a finish is within you, or that, where Christ fights, there also must his enemy, the Antichrist, be found. Neither will anyone, “superstition” apart, be likely to pretend that the Temptations of St. Anthony, as depicted in art, can be regarded otherwise than as “projections” of interior tensions. In the same way that Picasso’s “Guernica” is the mirror of Europe’s disintegrated soul, “the hell of modern existence,” the Devil’s horns and sting are an image of the most evil beast in man himself. Often enough it has been said by the “Never-enough honoured Auncients,” as well as by modern authors, that “man is his own worst enemy.” On the other hand, the best gift for which a man might pray is to be “at peace with himself ”; [13] and, indeed, for so long as he is not at peace with Himself,[14] he can hardly be at peace with anybody else, but will “project” his own disorders, making of “the enemy”—for example, Germany, or Russia, or the Jews—his “devil.” “From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even from your lusts (pleasure, or desires, Skr. kamah) that contend in your members?” (James 4:1).

As Jung so penetratingly observes: “When the fate of Europe carried it into a four years war of stupendous horror–a war that no one wanted— hardly anyone asked who had caused the war and its continuation.” [15] The answer would have been unwelcome: it was “I”–your “I” and mine. For, in the words of another modern psychologist, E. E. Hadley, “the tragedy of this delusion of individuality is that it leads to isolation, fear, paranoid suspicion, and wholly unnecessary hatreds.” [18]

All this has always been familiar to the theologians, in whose writings Satan is so often referred to simply as “the enemy.” For example, William Law: “You are under the power of no other enemy, are held in no other captivity, and want no other deliverance but from the power of your own earthly self. This is the one murderer of the divine life within you. It is your own Cain that murders your own Abel,” [17] and “self is the root, the tree, and the branches of all the evils of our fallen state … Satan, or which is the same thing, self-exaltation. . . . This is that full-born natural self that must be pulled out of the heart and totally denied, or there can be no disciple of Christ.” If, indeed, “the kingdom of heaven is within you,” then also the “war in heaven” will be there, until Satan has been overcome, that is, until the Man in this man is “master of himself,” selbes gewaltic, egrateis heauton.

For the Theologia Germanica (chs. 3,22, 49), it was the Devil’s “ ‘I, Me, and Mine’ that were the cause of his fall. … For the self, the I, the me and the like, all belong to the Evil Spirit, and therefore it is that he is an Evil Spirit. Behold one or two words can utter all that has been said by these many words: ‘Be simply and wholly bereft of self.’” For “there is nothing else in hell, but self-will; and if there were no self-will, there would be no devil and no hell.” So, too, Jacob Boehme: “this vile self-hood possesses the world and worldly things; and dwells also in itself, which is dwelling in hell”; and Angelus Silesius:

Nichts anders stiirzet dich in Hollenschlund hinein
Als dass verhasste Wort (merk’s wohll): das Mein und Dein. [18]

Hence the resolve, expressed in a Shaker hymn:

But now from my forehead I’ll quickly erase
The stamp of the Devil’s great “I.” [19]

Citations of this kind could be indefinitely multiplied, all to the effect that of all evil beasts, “the most evil beast we carry in our bosom,” [20] our most godless and despicable part” and “multifarious beast,” which our “Inner Man,” like a lion tamer, must keep under his control or else will have to follow where it leads. [21]

Even more explicit sayings can be cited from Sufi sources, where the soul (nafs) is distinguished from the intellect or spirit (aql, ruh) as the Psyche is distinguished from the Pneuma by Philo and in the New Testament, and as anima from animus by William of Thierry. [22] For the encyclopaedic Kashfu’l Mahjiib, the soul is the “tempter,” and the type of hell in this world. [23] Al-Ghazall, perhaps the greatest of the Muslim theologians, calls the soul “the greatest of your enemies”; and more than that could hardly be said of Satan himself. Abu Sa‘id asks: “What is evil, and what is the worst evil?” and answers, “Evil is ‘thou,’ and the worst evil ‘thou’ if thou knowest it not”; he, therefore, called himself a “Nobody,” refusing, like the Buddha, to identify himself with any nameable “personality.” [24]  Jalalu’d Din Rumi, in his Mathnawi, repeats that man’s greatest enemy is himself: “This soul,” he says, “is hell,” and he bids us “slay the soul.” “The soul and Shaitan are both one being, but take two forms; essentially one from the first, he became the enemy and envier of Adam”; and, in the same way, “the Angel (Spirit) and the Intellect, Adam’s helpers, are of one origin but assume two forms.” The Ego holds its head high: “decapitation means, to slay the soul and quench its fire in the Holy War” (jihad); and well for him who wins this battle, for “whoever is at war with himself for God’s sake, . . . his light opposing his darkness, the sun of his spirit shall never set.” [25]

’Tis the fight which Christ,
With his internal Love and Light,
Maintains within man’s nature, to dispel God’s Anger, Satan, Sin, and Death, and Hell;
The human Self, or Serpent, to devour,
And raise an Angel from it by His Pow’r.
John Byrom

“Spark of the soul … image of God, that there is ever in all wise at war with all that is not godly . . . and is called the Synteresis” [26] (Meister Eck- hart, Pfeiffer ed., p. 113). “We know that the Law is of the Spirit . . . but I see another law in my members, warring against the Law of the Intellect, and bringing me into captivity. . . . With the Intellect I myself serve the Law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin…. Submit yourselves therefore to God: resist the Devil.” [27] And similarly in other Scriptures, notably the Bhagavad Gita (vi.5, 6): “Lift up the self by the Self, let not self sit back. For, verily, the Self is both the friend and the foe of the self; the friend of one whose self has been conquered by the Self, but to one whose self hath not (been overcome), the Self at war, forsooth, acts as an enemy”; and the Buddhist Dhammapada (103, 160, 380), where “the Self is the Lord of the self” and one should “by the Self incite the self, and by the Self gentle self” (as a horse is “broken in” by a skilled trainer), and “one who has conquered self is the best of all champions.” (Cf. Philostratus, Vit. Ap., 1.13: “Just as we break in skittish and unruly horses by stroking and patting them.”)

At the same time, it must not be forgotten that the Psychomachy is also a “battle of love,” and that Christ—to whom “ye should be married . . . that we should bring fruit unto God” (Rom. 7:3, 4)—already loved the unregenerate soul “in all her baseness and foulness,” [28] or that it is of her that Donne says: “Nor ever chaste, except Thou ravish me.” It was for nothing but “to go and fetch his Lady, whom his Father had eternally given him to wife, and to restore her to her former high estate that the Son proceeded out of the Most High” (Meister Eckhart). [29] The Deity’s lance or thunderbolt is, at the same time, his yard, with which he pierces his mortal Bride. The story of the thunder-smitten Semele reminds us that the Theotokos, in the last analysis Psyche, has ever been of Lunar, never herself of Solar stock; and all this is the sum and substance of every “solar myth,” the theme of the Liebesgeschichte des Himmels and of the Drachen Kampfe.

“Heaven and earth: let them be wed again.” [30] Their marriage, consummated in the heart, is the Hieros Gamos, Daivam Mithunam , [31] and those in whom it has been perfected are no longer anyone, but as He is “who never became anyone.” [32] Plotinus’ words: “Love is of the very nature of the Psyche, and hence the constant yoking of Eros with the Psyches in the pictures and the myths” [33] might as well have been said of half the world’s fairy-tales, and especially of the Indian “pictures and myths” of Sri Krishna and the Milkmaids, of which the Indian commentators rightly deny the historicity, asserting that all these are things that come to pass in all men’s experience. Such, indeed, are “the erotica (Skr. srngara) into which, it seems that you, O Socrates, should be initiated,” as Diotima says, and which in fact he so deeply respected. [34]

But, this is not only a matter of Grace; the soul’s salvation depends also on her submission, her willing surrender; it is prevented for so long as she resists. It is her pride (mana, abhimana; oieima, oieisis; self-opinion, overweening), the Satanic conviction of her own independence (asmimcara, ahamiara, cogito ergo sum), her evil rather than herself, that must be killed; this pride she calls her “self-respect,” and would “rather die” than be divested of it. But the death that she at last, despite herself, desires, is no destruction but a transformation. Marriage is an initiatory death and integration (nirvana, samskara, telos). [35] “Der Drache und die Jung-frau sind natiirlich identisch”; [36] the “Fier Baiser” transforms the dragon; the mermaid loses her ophidian tail; the girl is no more when the woman has been “made”; from the nymph the winged soul emerges. [37] And so “through Thee an Iblis may become again one of the Cherubim.” [38]

And what follows when the lower and the higher forms of the soul have been united? This has nowhere been better described than in the Aitareya Aranyaka (ii.3.7): “This Self gives itself to that self, and that self to this Self; they become one another; with the one form he (in whom this marriage has been consummated) is unified with yonder world, and with the other united to this world”; the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad (iv.3.23): “Embraced by the Prescient Self, he knows neither a within nor a without. Verily, that is his form in which his desire is obtained, in which the Self is his desire, and in which no more desires or grieves.” “Amor ipse non quiescit, nisi in amato, quod fit, cum obtinet ipsum possessione plenaria”; [39] “Jam perfectam animam . . . gloriosam sibi sponsam Pater conglutinat.” [40] Indeed:

Dafern der Teufel konnt aus seiner Seinheit gehn,
So sahest du ihn stracks in Gottes Throne stehn. [41]

So, then, the Agathos and Kakos Daimons, Fair and Foul selves, Christ and Antichrist, both inhabit us, and their opposition is within us. Heaven and Hell are the divided images of Love and Wrath in divinis, where the Light and the Darkness are undivided, and the Lamb and the Lion lie down together. In the beginning, as all traditions testify, heaven and earth were one and together; essence and nature are one in God, and it remains for every man to put them together again within himself.

All these are our answers. Satan is not a real and single Person, but a severally postulated personality, a “Legion.” Each of these personalities is capable of redemption (apokatastasis), and can, if it will, become again what it was before it “fell”—Lucifer, Phosphorus, Helel, Scintilla, the Morning Star, a Ray of the Supernal Sun; because the Spark, however it may seem to be smothered, is an Asbestos that cannot be extinguished, even in hell. But, in the sense that a redemption of all beings cannot be thought of as taking place at any one time, and inasmuch as there will be devilish souls in need of redemption throughout all time, Satan must be thought of as being damned for ever, meaning by “damned,” self-excluded from the vision of God and the knowledge of Truth.

The problem with which we started has been largely solved, but it still remains to accomplish the harder tasks of an actual “self-naughting” and consequent “Self-realization” to which the answers point, and for which theology is only a partial preparation. Satan and the Ego are not really entities, but concepts postulated and valid only for present, provisional, and practical purposes; both are composite photographs, as it were of X-1, X-2 , X-3 . It has often been said that the Devil’s most ingenious device is to persuade us that his existence is a mere “superstition.” In fact, however, nothing can be more dangerous than to deny his existence, which is as real, although no more so, as our own; we dare not deny Satan until we have denied ourselves, as everyone must who would follow Him who said and did nothing “of himself.” “What is Love? the sea of non-existence”; [42] and “whoever enters there, saying ‘It is I,’ I [God], smite him in the face”; [43] “What is Love? thou shalt know when thou becomest Me.” [44]

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[This essay was first published in the Review of Religion, XI ( 1947 ).— ed.]

[1] Margaret Marshall in The Nation, February 2, 1946.

[2] Jacob Boehme, De incarnalione Verbi, ii. 5.18.

[3] Jacob Boehme, “Of Heaven and Hell,” pp. 259, 260.

[4] “Person cannot be affirmed . . . of living things . . . bereft of intellect and reason . . . but we say there is a person of a man, of God, of an Angel” (Boethius, Contra Evtychen II). On this basis, Satan, who remains an angel even in hell, can be called a Person, or indeed, Persons, since his name is “Legion: for we are many”; but as a fallen being, “out of his right mind,” in reality a Person only potentially.  Much the same could be said of the soul, viz. that there is a Person of the soul, but hardly that the soul, as it is in itself, is a Person. Satan and the soul, both alike invisible, are only “known,” or rather “inferred,” from behavior, which is just what “personality” implies: “personality, that is the hypothetical unity that one postulates to account for the doings of people” (H. S. Sullivan, “Introduction to the Study of Interpersonal Relations,” Psychiatry, I, 1938).

[5] Plato, Republic 439DE, 604a; Philo, Detenus 82; St. Thomas Aquinas, Sum. Theol. 11-11.26.4; St. Paul, II Cor. 4:16; and in general, as the doctrine is briefly stated by Goethe: “Zwei Seelen wohnen ach, in meiner Brust, die eine will sich von der andern trennen” (Faust, I, 759). Similarly in the Vedanta, Buddhism, Islam, and in China.

[6] Nil agit in scipsum: axiomatic in Platonic, Christian, and Indian philosophy: “the same thing can never do or suffer opposites in the same respect or in relation to the same thing at the same time,” Plato, Republic 43611; “strictly speaking, no one imposes a law upon his own actions,” Sum. Theol. 1.93.5; “because of the antinomy involved in the notion of acting upon oneself” (svatmani ca kriyavirodhat), Sankara on BG 11.17.

[7] “Art thou free of self? then art thou ‘Self-governed’ ” (selbes gewaltic = Skr. svarat), Mcister Eckhart, Pfeiffer ed., p. 598.

[8] “How can that which is never in the same state ‘be’ anything?” (Plato, Cratylus, 490E; Theatetus, 152D; Symposium, 207D, etc.). “‘Ego’ has no real meaning, because it is perceived only for an instant,” i.e., does not last for even so long as two consecutive moments (naivaham-arthah ksanikatva-darsanat; Vivekacudamani of Sri Sankaracharya , 293, Swami Madhavananda, tr., Almora, 3rd ed., 1932).

[9] It is unfortunate that, in modern psychology, an originally lucid terminology and distinction has been confused by an equation of the “soul-image” with “the anima in man, the animus in woman.” The terms are even more misused by Father M. C. D’Arcy in his Mind and Heart of Love (London, 1946), ch. 7. Traditionally, amma and animus are the “soul” and the “spirit” equally in any man or any woman; so William of Thierry (cf. note 22 below)  speaks of animus vel spiritus. This usage goes back to Cicero, e.g., Tuscalan Disputations 1.22.52, “neque nos corpora sumus . . . cum igitur: Nosce te dicit, hoc dicit, Nosce animum tuum,” and v. 13.38, “humanus . . . animus dccerptus [est] ex mente divina”; and Lucius Accius (fr. 296), “sapimus animo, fruimur anima; sine animo, anima est debilis.”

[10] In all traditions, not excepting the Buddhist, this man and this woman are both equally capable of “fighting the good fight.”

[11] Cf. D. B. Macdonald, The Hebrew Philosophical Genius (Princeton, 1934), p. 139, “the lower, physical nature, the appetites, the psyche of St. Paul . . . ‘self,’ but always with that lower meaning behind it”; Thomas Sheldon Green, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (New York and London, 1879), s.v. psychos (“governed by the sensuous nature subject to appetite and passion”); “anima . . . cujus vel pulchritudo virtus, vel deformitas vitium est . . . mutabilis est” (St Augustine, De gen. ad litt. 7.6.9, and Ep. 166.2.3).

On the other hand, the “Soul” or “Self,” as printed with the capital, is Jung’s “Self . . . around which it [the Ego] revolves, very much as the earth rotates about the sun . . . [its] superordinated subject” (Two Essays on Analytical Psychology, London, 1928, p. 268); not a being, but the inconnumerable and indefinable “Being of all beings.”

We are never told that the mutable soul is immortal in the same timeless way that God is immortal, but only that it is immortal “in a certain way of its own” (secundum quemdam modum suum, St. Augustine, Ep. 166.2.3). If we ask, Quomodo? seeing that the soul is in time, the answer must be, “in one way only, viz. by continuing to become; since thus it can always leave behind it a new and other nature to take the place of the old” (Plato, Symposium 207D). It is only God, who is the Soul of the soul, that we can speak of as immortal absolutely (1 Tim. 6:16). It is incorrect to call the soul “immortal” indiscriminately, just as it is incorrect to call any man a genius; man has an immortal Soul, as he has a Genius, but the soul can only be immortalized by returning to its source, that is to say, by dying to itself and living to its Self; just as a man becomes a genius only when he is no longer “himself.”

[12] Even the Hebrew Satan, “opponent,” is not a personal name.

[13] Contest of Homer and Hesiod [Oxford Classical Texts, ed. Allen, Vol. 5— ed.], 165, where the expression eunoun einai hautoi = metanoein (“repentance,” i.e., “coming to be in one’s right mind”), the opposite of paranoein.

[14] The Self we mean when we tell a man who is misbehaving to “be yourself’ (‘en sautoi genou’, Sophocles, Philoctetes 950), for “all is intolerable when any man forsakes his proper Self, to do what fits him not” (ibid. 902-903).

[15] C. G. Jung, The Integration of Personality (New York, 1935), p. 274.

[16] E. E. Hadley, in Psychiatry V (1942), 133; citing also H. S. Sullivan, op. cit., pp. 121-134; “emphasized individuality of each of us, ‘myself.’ Here we have the very mother of illusions, the ever pregnant source of preconceptions that invalidate almost all our efforts to understand other people.”

[17] William Law, The Spirit of Love, and an Address to the Clergy, cited in Stephen Hobhouse, William Law and Eighteenth Century Quakerism (London, 1927), pp. 156, 219, 220.

[18] Angelus Silesius, Der Cherubinische Wandersmann, v.238.

[19] E. D. Andrews, The Gift to be Simple (New York, 1940), p. 18; cf. p. 79, “That great big I, I’ll mortify.”

[20] Jacob Boehme, De Incarnatione Verbi, 1.13.13.

[21] Plato, Republic 588c ff., where the whole soul is compared to such a composite animal as the Chimaera, Scylla, or Cerberus. In some respects the Sphinx might have been an even better comparison. In any case, the human, leonine, and ophidian parts of these creatures correspond to the three parts of the soul, in which “the human in us, or rather our divine part” should prevail; of which Hercules leading Cerberus would be a good illustration.

[22] William of Thierry, The Golden Epistle of Abbot William of St. Thierry to the Carthusians of Mont Dieu, tr. Walter Shewring (London, 1930) §§50, 51.

[23] Kashf al-Mahjub, tr. R. A. Nicholson (Gibb Memorial Series XVII), p. 199; cf. p. 9, “the greatest of all veils between God and man.”

[24] For Abu Sa’id see R. A. Nicholson, Studies in Islamic Mysticism (Cambridge, Wat), p.53.

[25] Citations are from Mathnawi i.2617; ii.2525; iii.374, 2738, 3193, 4053 (nafs va shaitan har du ek in bud’and) ; cf. 11.2272 ff., v.2919, 2939. The fundamental kinship of Satan and the Ego is apparent in their common claim to independent being; and “association” (of others with the God who only is) amounts, from the Islamic point of view, to polytheism (ibid, iv.2675-77).

[26] On the meaning of the “Synteresis,” etymologically an equivalent of Skr. samtaraka, “one who helps to cross over,” see O. Renz, “Die Synteresis nach dem HI. Thomas von Aquin,” Beitrage zur Geschichte der Philosophic des Mittelalters, X (Munster, 1911).

[27] Rom. 7:14-23; James 4:7.

[28] St. Bonaventura, Dominica prima post octavum epiphaniae, 2.2. For the whole theme, see also Coomaraswamy, “On the Loathly Bride” [in Vol. I of this edition—ED.].

[29] Pfeiffer ed., p. 288.

[30] RV x.24.5.

[31] SB x.5.2.12.

[32] KU 11.18.

[33] Enneads vi.9.9,

[34] Plato, Symposium 21OA.

[35] Nirvana, J. 1.60; samskara, Manu 11.67; re’Aos, H. G. Liddell and R. Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, 8th ed., Oxford, 1897, s.v. vi.2.

[38] E. Siecke, Drachenkampfe (Leipzig, 1907), p. 14.

[37] For die Fier Baiser see the references in Coomaraswamy, “On the Loathly Bride.” For the marriage, Meister Eckhart (Pfeiffer ed., p. 407) and Omikron, Letters from Paulos, New York, 1920, passim.

[38] Rumi, Mathnawi iv.3496.

[39] Jean de Castel, De adhaerendo Deo , C. 12.

[40] St. Bernard, De grad, humilitatis, vii.21.

[41] Angelus Silesius, 1.143. Cf. Theologia Germanica, ch. xvi: “If the evil Spirit himself could come into true obedience, he would become an angel [of light] again, and all his sin and wickedness would be blotted out.”

[42] Mathnawi 111.4723.

[43] Rumi, Divan, Ode xxvin. “None has knowledge of each who enters that he is So-and-so or So-and-so,” ibid., p. 61.

[44] Mathnawi n. Introduction.


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