Chapter 30: New Bottles for the Old Wine
The other night you spoke of the mystery school. At that moment I thought of Pythagoras. Since you started speaking again, I’ve wanted to ask questions about him - his name comes to me often. The main part of his teachings I love are the three P’s: Preparation, Purification, Perfection.
Would you speak on them again?
Pythagoras is a link between East and West, between a civilization that disappeared in the Atlantic and a civilization that we are living in; hence he has a significance of his own.
He traveled almost all his life in search of fragments of truth. Most of his time he was in Egypt, in Alexandria. In those days Alexandria had the biggest library in the whole world, particularly scriptures containing all the discoveries of consciousness made in the lost civilization of Atlantis - a whole civilization drowned with the whole continent in the Atlantic ocean. The name Atlantic comes from the continent Atlantis, that went down into it. The only fragmentary knowledge available about it was in Alexandria - and perhaps Pythagoras was the first and the last man of such integrity, intelligence, ingenuity, to look into those scriptures.
That library exists no more, so whatever we know about Atlantis we know through Pythagoras. That library was destroyed by Mohammedans. The man who destroyed it, Mahmud Gaznavi, destroyed many beautiful things in India, in Afghanistan, in Egypt. But the most precious was the vast library that contained everything about a whole civilization which had reached to the peaks of consciousness. The day this man destroyed the library, he took Koran Sharif in one of his hands and a burning torch in another, entered the library and asked the learned librarian, “Listen carefully - the existence of your library depends on your answers. My first question is: Is there anything in your whole library which goes against the holy Koran? And my second question is: If there is nothing which goes against the holy Koran, then the holy Koran is enough; why bother about this big library?”
The librarian must have been in a dilemma - whatever he says will be dangerous. If he says there are many things in the library which are not in the Koran, Mahmud is going to burn the library, because that which is not in the Koran is untrue - the Koran contains all and ultimate truth. And if he says that everything that is in the library is substantially and essentially contained in the Koran, then too he is going to burn the library, saying, “Then it is useless; the Koran has it all.” And the library was so huge and so immense that you can only conceive.. He burned it, and the fire continued for six months. For six months continuously books were burning; perhaps the greatest treasure of humanity was destroyed.