Pythagoras' ban of beans: The rationale for this proscription is explained physiologically, pathologically, politically, sexually, mystically, biochemically, esoterically, and etymologically.

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Pythagoras lured, flattered, and controlled animals by the power of his voice, even a bean-eating ox! For he enjoyed the same dominion over nature as Orpheus, possessor of the phorminx, symbol of the sevenfold mystery of initiation.

He persuaded an ox to renounce eating beans by merely whispering in the animal’s ear, and a she-bear to give up eating human flesh. He also forced a white eagle to descend from the clouds, and subdued him by stroking him gently with the hand, and by talking to him.

The Samian Philosopher exhorted his disciples to abstain from beans on account of several different reasons. The rationale for this proscription is explained from eight different perspectives:

1. A physiological explanation: Fava beans produce flatulence, which is disturbing to those who seek mental calm, particularly before sleep.

2. A pathological explanation: Beans may cause acute haemolytic anaemia in genetically predisposed individuals.

3. A political explanation: The ban of beans was meant to curb the itch for power and profit associated with public office.

4. An unclean explanation: As beans were slang for testicles, Empedocles perpetuated their prohibition to temper sexual pursuits.

5. A mystical explanation: Aristotle believed that the reason for the ban is because beans bind souls to earth.

6. A biochemical explanation: The high nitrogen contents of beans makes their protein border on the animal kingdom.

7. An esoteric explanation: Their magnetism dulls the inner man and stifles the psychic man, says Blavatsky.

8. An etymological explanation: The name of the bean itself gives away the true reason for its notable ban by the Samian Master.

Truth is wiser than the wise. The antipathy that sometimes exists even among kindred substances is clearly demonstrated in the case of the Mexican pomegranate. Milo of Croton holds the pomegranate or matter tightly in one hand, while extending the other in prayer to the goddess of matter. The difference between the bells of the heathen worshippers, and the bells and pomegranates of the Jewish worship is also explained.

The old Athenians loved beans so much that they even worshipped a Bean-Man. But those initiated to the Eleusinian Mysteries were ordered to abstain from domestic birds, fishes, beans, pomegranates, and apples, says Porphyry.

Claims that Pythagoras was not a strict vegetarian are counterbalanced by Apollonius Tyanaeus:

Counterpoise 1. The story of the fishermen as retold by Porphyry suggests that Pythagoras absolutely abstained from fish.

Counterpoise 2. Eudoxus maintains that Pythagoras not only abstained from animal flesh, he also kept clear of butchers and hunters.

Counterpoise 3. Apollonius of Tyana, more Pythagorean than Pythagoras himself, has always maintained his purity by shunning animal flesh as well as animal clothing.

Counterpoise 4. Following Pythagoras’ example, Apollonius sacrificed a bull made out of frankincense.

Counterpoise 5. Noting that men and beans arose out of putrefaction, Pythagoras forbid the consumption of beans as well as of human flesh.

Counterpoise 6. Five centuries later, the Cappadocian Adept sternly rebuked the gladiatorial barbarities of the Athenians that were taking place in the Theatre of Dionysus Eleuthereus on the southern slope of their Acropolis.

Counterpoise 7. He provided evidence of the utter futility of human sacrifices and of cocks, pigs, and bulls being unworthy vehicles of divination.

The ban of beans is far older than Pythagoras, as evidenced by the Orphic Hymn to Earth, where the sacrificer is ordered to fumigate from every kind of seed, except beans and aromatics.

 

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